eruthros: Ivanova from B5 saying "boom boom boom boom" to Londo -- angry icon!! (B5 - Ivanova boom)
I should've written it before I was born, but I just - omg, I can't believe I just watched that.

So someone linked to this show that I'd seen in reruns and had really liked when I was ten - The Fantastic Journey. Basically it is an extremely low-budget 1977 scifi tv show in which the Bermuda triangle is a collapsed space-time-whatever with lots of bands of different times. Our heroes are trying to get back to their own times and out of said Bermuda Triangle without being killed by random sixteenth century English naval dudes or twenty-second century androids. As a consequence, there is hilarious fighting, and hilarious pseudo-time-travel, and hilarious future-dudes (Varian, who travels with them, is from the future, when there are no nations and everyone is a pacifist and doctors use music to heal people) and hilarious low-budget psychic ladies (Liana, who is an alien AND from the future, has a psychic relationship with her cat which mostly involves picking it up and staring intently into its face and cuts to close-up cat face in which the cat is blinking).

Anyway! I thought I'd snag some of it and watch it nostalgically and facepalm at my younger self, who totally had a crush on Varian and his deep v-neck shirts. The copies that I have are off of VHS from the circa-1992 scifi channel, without the commercials edited out, so it's basically 100% my childhood experience of watching the show. (Omni and Psychic Hotline commercials! Yeesh.)

Except I started with the pilot and the first couple of episodes, which I'd missed when I was a kid. And the reasons I am making this post, which include racism and rape in two unconnected scenes, are under the cut )
eruthros: Ivanova from B5 saying "boom boom boom boom" to Londo -- angry icon!! (B5 - Ivanova boom)
So remember how Johannes Mehserle, a white BART police officer, shot and killed Oscar Grant, an unarmed black man, last year in Oakland?

And remember how a couple months ago, the jury returned a verdict of involuntary manslaughter? And tacked a "gun enhancement change" on top of that? Rather than the second-degree murder or voluntary manslaughter charges the prosecutor was asking for?

Well now Mehserle has been sentenced! To two whole years in prison (minus time served, of course). The shortest possible sentence. Yes. Two fucking years. Why?

Because the judge rejected the gun enhancement charge on the grounds that the jury must not have understood it.

Oh, and also because he's concerned about everyone's tone:

"The judge said he received more than 1,000 letters from the public advocating the maximum sentence of 14 years for Mehserle and that he was concerned by their anger." (from a different Bay Citizen article on the trial)

ETA: Oscar Grant Sr, Oscar Grant's grandfather, said: "Knowing how the judicial system in this country works, I was not surprised. Two years is just a slap in the face." (from sfgate.com's article on protests in Oakland)

No kidding.

ETA2: Scenes from the protests in Oakland tonight by Oakland North. According to the SF Chronicle, 500 police and Homeland Security officers are blocking off the 250 person protest.

WHAT

Apr. 23rd, 2010 10:33 am
eruthros: Asterix comics: Fulliautomatix hit with a fish, captioned "thwap" (Asterix - fish thwap Fulliautomatix)
So there I am reading an article about Catholic priests and sexual violence against young African and Asian nuns and then there is this:
    In Africa, however, where Catholic priests often have open heterosexual contact, the church's ranks are hefty with converts only a few generations removed from the illiterate, poor, uneducated innocents that missionaries first discovered living in tribal communities. Totally unaware of concepts like gender equity or criminal punishment for sexual assault, many of those locals came to a church that offered food, medical care and education in exchange for religious conversion.
WHAT? I mean, WHAT? I mean, OH MY GOD, SERIOUSLY?
eruthros: Ivanova from B5 saying "boom boom boom boom" to Londo -- angry icon!! (B5 - Ivanova boom)
Here is a thing that makes me really sad: this sign [note: link contains image of Holocaust victims], at the anti-health care march in Washington D.C. today. Which, okay, is horrifying enough as a piece of political rhetoric, if you presume that the people in question don't believe in it, it's horrifying enough as a parallel between mostly-white mostly-Christian Americans who don't want health care and, you know, the torture and deaths of Jewish and Romani and homosexual folks, but what really horrifies and depresses me is the idea that the person holding that sign, the person waving that sign around, might not just be doing it as political rhetoric, might actually believe in that comparison. How horrifying is it to think about the mostly-white mostly-Christian mostly-conservative anti-health care folks imagining themselves to be the same as Jews and Romani and queer folks in Nazi Germany? To think about what they must believe to make this comparison in all seriousness? To make the comparison between socialized medicine and genocide? I am just "..."

Also, linking to the above at Think Progress reminded me of how much I hate reading comments on progressive blogs. I skim the front pages of a number of progressive blogs, and I usually don't read the comments -- there are so few blogs that think about intersectionality, that really try to keep out the misogyny and the homophobia and the transmisogyny and the racism and the ablism. I read the comments on this post about a racist sign in an Georgia bar a while ago, though, and just -- this is exactly it, this is exactly the problem. Here are some things I learned about the TRUTH about racism from reading comments, which I have put behind a cut because they hit just about every -ism ever )
eruthros: Wizard of Oz: Dorothy in black and white, text "rainbow" in rainbow colors (Dorothy singing rainbow)
Take Back the Night at my undergrad university had a strict policy that only (self-identified) women could march; there was an ally's meeting for men to talk about violence against women. And there were two ways that men dealt with this:

"But I'm an ally! I support you! Don't you want men to support you? You can't fight this battle alone. Is this equality? Don't you want people to stop using gender to divide us?" etc This is the ally as Nice Guy TM, as a self-defined ally -- as an asshole.

"Part of my support involves not intruding on your space -- and hey, the men's meeting sounds really informative! Is there anything else I can do to help? I could make posters -- I have smelly markers!" This is the ally as actual nice guy.

***

I've been thinking about safe spaces lately, both in offline and online life. I've been thinking about the degree to which some people don't understand what a safe space is, and what it means -- a self-determined space, a space I declare safe, a space under my control. When the above asshole tries to march with me, he's saying: I know what is safe for you. I know that I'm okay and I declare that you are not allowed to be uncomfortable around me, because I'm an ALLY, so therefore you're just being mean. He is saying: your emotional reactions are just ridiculous. He is saying: I will call myself an ally, but never respect your ability to speak, to define yourself and your spaces. He doesn't understand that sometimes a safe space means he's not invited.
safe spaces )

PSA

Jan. 22nd, 2009 01:15 pm
eruthros: Delenn from Babylon 5 with a startled expression and the text "omg!" (Default)
Remember how two weeks ago I said you should buy Emma Bull's book? Please disregard that post.

This is going to come out of left field for some of y'all who haven't seen the context. The brief summary is: Avalon’s Willow posted a critique of Elizabeth Bear’s description of how to write "The Other." Elizabeth Bear said it was valid, and that her lj was a safe space; she then let people leave horrible comments in her lj using all the classics from how to suppress discussions of racism -- completely failing to maintain that safe space. Elizabeth Bear's friends (including Emma Bull) piled on Avalon's Willow (and others), there and in other lj threads, dismissing her concerns, dismissing her writing, dismissing her reading, calling for her credentials.

You can read Emma Bull ([livejournal.com profile] coffeeem)'s attempt at complete dismissal here, and throughout that comment thread. To pull sentences out of context: "I can't give a lot of weight to a critique of a book and its author that's based on a shallow reading of the book, that doesn't take into account all the text, but substitutes the reader's own expected subtext for what's actually there." ... "But I don't want to go as far as to say that an opinion based on a shallow reading and a reaction to cultural injustice is as insightful as an opinion based on careful consideration of the text."

How to suppress discussions of racism 101. [livejournal.com profile] coffeeem offers no proof that Avalon's Willow's reading of the book is flawed; she uses her authority to dismiss it instead, and not incidentally to deflect conversation from the content of AW's post, to AW's credentials and AW's emotions and AW's tone. When someone points out to her the privilege inherent in deciding what are deep and shallow readings, she deflects again and says that her questioners are clearly opposed to studying literature -- again, by fiat, by defining terms without allowing question. And in doing so, she completely changed the direction of the conversation, completely dismissed the original post, and hurt people. A lot of people.

I still think that Bone Dance is a good book, but I can't stand the idea that I told you guys to buy a new copy, to send money to the person who began what became a meme and turned a conversation into something uglier, who first declared by fiat that a person of color's reading of a book as racist was shallow and wrong and could be immediately dismissed. She hurt people, and she derailed the conversation to make it -- once again -- all about white people, and she has not apologized. Please don't buy her books. If you want to read them, there are libraries and used book stores and friends who will loan them to you.

I didn't recommend any of these folks' books, and I haven’t read any of their work myself, but these are the other published authors who made similar statements, who continue to ignore the hurt they have done, who have made it clear that they want cookies for being anti-racist while still being racist: Elizabeth Bear ([livejournal.com profile] matociquala), W*ll Sh*tt*rly, and Sarah Monette ([livejournal.com profile] truepenny -- she has sort-of apologized, but her apology is not great). Other publishing-related people include Patrick Neilson Hayden (Tor editor) and [livejournal.com profile] mac_stone, editor of an e-zine. And probably others whose posts or comments I missed, or whose lj names I didn't link to author names.

For a better-written post on the topic of the published authors who have shown their asses, see [livejournal.com profile] chopchica here. For the comprehensive link roundup to read from the beginning, missing only the posts that were deleted or flocked after the fact, see [livejournal.com profile] rydra_wong's amazing compilation here. Commentary on [livejournal.com profile] matociquala's most recent post here, as [livejournal.com profile] matociquala has been banning people who call her out.

Oh, and: while we're on the subject of authors showing their asses? Robin McKinley, don’t say this shit. You do not get to decide what Barack Obama’s racial identity is, and you do not get to declare him white.

ETA: More on EBear, Emma Bull, and others here; more on the problems of the facile apology here.

ETA 2: Aaaand Theresa Neilson Hayden shows her ass here.

sigh.

Jan. 9th, 2009 12:11 am
eruthros: Delenn from Babylon 5 with a startled expression and the text "omg!" (Default)
So, I just got back from a marvelous two days of lounging in hot springs and reading novels -- two of my favorite things!

And I found this on my flist:



Guys, that is the new cover of Emma Bull's Bone Dance for it's re-release this year. I'm thrilled about the re-release; I have two copies of the old version, at least, because I pick it up at used bookstores whenever I find it. (It's hard when the only way you can get someone to read one of your favorite books is to give them your copy.) And I love this book times about a million, so I want everyone to read it. ETA: BUT see what I wrote here for reasons to read it from a library or used bookstore instead of buying it.

But. But but but. This is the old cover:



And one of the things you may notice? Even on that bleached-out cover? Is that Sparrow is not white. And in case people miss it on the cover, Emma Bull points it out in the text. SPARROW. IS NOT WHITE.

Everyone over on Emma Bull's post, including Emma Bull, is all "yay!" -- which I'm sure you have to be, because, well, re-issue, and Emma Bull's post -- but I am more than a little distraught.
eruthros: Ivanova from B5 saying "boom boom boom boom" to Londo -- angry icon!! (B5 - Ivanova boom)
Again, without commentary. They stand on their own.

Bill O'Reilly had some things to explain about the Iraqi people:
I think that they're a prehistoric group ...Bill O'Reilly, continued )
Victor Davis Hanson of the Hoover Institution on Why Europe Doesn't Matter:
The ethicists of Europe don't want to see success in Iraq, since it might be interpreted as a moral refutation of their own opposition to Saddam's removal. Victor Davis Hanson, continued )
Tom Gross, former Middle East correspondent for the New York Daily News, on the BBC:
But then the Cold War plays a very small part in the worldview of the BBC. They seldom showed signs of caring much about hundreds of millions of people living under Communist dictatorship then, Tom Gross, continued )
Oliver North:
In the original statement issued by his captors, they referred to Abu Ghraib. Oliver North, continued )
Michael Savage, man. Michael Savage:
The word progressive today is a code word for the new Communist movement.Michael Savage, continued )
Also, this is from April, but is relevant because the man who said it will shortly have his own show on PBS called Tucker Carlson, Unfiltered. Tucker Carlson, for those of you who don't know, is currently co-host of CNN's Crossfire.
...one liberal phenomenon that I support is female bisexuality Tucker Carlson, continued )
eruthros: Ivanova from B5 saying "boom boom boom boom" to Londo -- angry icon!! (B5 - Ivanova boom)
I was going to do another round of quotes from right-wing commentators -- and believe me, there are some real doozies on the National Review today -- but then I hit Savage Nation, and it depressed me so much I just couldn't deal with attempting to make a long post and all that.

I mean. He uses his "background" as an anthropologist to explain that "smallpox in a blanket" is too good for Arab nations. The quote in context. )

...

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