sqbr: Rose and the doctor (dw?)
Sunday, July 13th, 2014 11:03 pm
Let's see if I can remember what I wanted to say for any of them...

Jennifer Lawrence And The History Of Cool Girls. I had some further thoughts on tumblr (which I'd been pondering turning into a post here but tumblr got to me first) This ffa discussion of what people consider a feminist character touches on related points.

I've been thinking a lot about the moral obligations of adults towards the teenagers we encounter online, especially now I'm on tumblr which is FULL of teenagers. I deliberately seek out friends around my age and still have heaps of teen followers, some of them mutual because we genuinely have stuff in common.
How we were fooled into thinking sexual predators lurk everywhere argues that we need to look out and care for vulnerable teens more than worry about malicious adults (though that's important too) Here's a discussion on ffa of the issues around teens and adults and porn, something I don't have to worry about as much personally since everything I create tends to be at most PG rated anyway but still find disquieting, mostly when I encounter the porn my teen friends are into (I don't object to them being into it I JUST DON'T WANT TO KNOW). But that particular aspect aside I feel like...I have a responsibility to be a NON creepy adult rather than just avoiding younger people, or the only adults teenagers will meet are the creepy ones (and not just sexually creepy, they can take advantage emotionally or monetarily too)

Meditation Nation On the intense emotional upheaval meditiation can cause, and the difference between doing it for personal gain and religious insight.

Curbing Online Abuse Isn’t Impossible. Here’s Where We Start About constructing social networks that encourage good social norms.

The difference between cultural appropriation and cultural exchange

Inspiration Disinformation on the artists vs haters dichotomy.

Why Are Doctors Skeptical & Unhelpful about Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

Why I no longer engage the “Are aces queer?” question The important thing is respect and inclusion in general, eg if people who didn't see aces as queer didn't THEN divide the world into "straight vs queer" instead of "straight, queer, or asexual" there'd be much less of a problem.

The People vs the Political Class The gap between politics and what the people (of Australia, and in general) actually want.
sqbr: zuko with a fish on his head (avatar)
Thursday, March 6th, 2014 10:34 am
There's been some discussion on tumblr of the culturally ignorant and thoughtless way white feminists often talk about anime/manga:
the original post, with my transcript, some following discussion.

This is something I've been thinking about for a while, I'm really uncomfortable with the combination of fetishisation/othering and erasure that's applied to Japanese culture in most anime and manga discussions I encounter, and would like to do better. So here are some thoughts on that. (Yeah, I know, ANOTHER WHITE FEMINIST POV /o\)
Read more... )
sqbr: She's getting existential again. It's ok I have a super soaker. (existentialism)
Wednesday, March 30th, 2011 11:30 am
I've often linked to stuff where people in fandoms I'm in have made me really annoyed by being thoughtlessly racist/sexist/ablist etc. Thus I feel it's only fair to acknowledge having the opposite experience: I've been reading a lot of meta about the character Fenris from Dragon Age 2 and other fans have been consistently better at noticing and articulating problematic stuff in the text etc than I have. (I mean, not all the other fans. But often at least one or two per conversation)

No spoilers in this post, and I've tried to explain the context.
Read more... )
sqbr: A cartoon cat saying Ham! (ham!)
Saturday, April 24th, 2010 10:35 pm
So Cam was watching Supernatural and I had my headphones on listening to music instead. But he knocked on my shoulder "This is actually pretty good." he said. Yeah..guess how long that lasted.
Cut for spoilers for 5.19 )
sqbr: She's getting existential again. It's ok I have a super soaker. (existentialism)
Friday, April 23rd, 2010 05:27 pm
The thought hasn't had time to coalesce yet, but this unfunnybusiness post about Snape fans denying the "blood purity=racism" metaphor got me thinking about how in some ways being a muggle is like a disability, and so muggle-borns are the able-bodied children of disabled parents. Like...hearing children of Deaf parents who grew up in Deaf culture (of course some Deaf people would argue that it's not a disability, just a different way of being, but I'd say that's just as true of being a muggle, whatever the wizards think on the subject) Plus of course there's the squibs.

On the whole I think anti-muggle prejudice functions more like racism, but it's interesting to ponder.
sqbr: Asterix-like magnifying glass over Perth, Western Australia (australia 2)
Wednesday, March 24th, 2010 12:19 pm
This keeps coming up in speculative fiction and it bugs me. I'm not a historian, and I know it's wrong (and the more history I learn, the more obviously wrong it becomes). If there's some actual historian debunking this narrative somewhere I can link to I would be very grateful!

EDIT: So apparently this was named and described in 1931: Whig history. And yet people still use it! (Well, that isn't exactly what I'm talking about. But it's certainly close)
Read more... )
sqbr: exploding train. This is fremantle station, this train terminates here. (train)
Thursday, January 14th, 2010 07:40 pm
I went into Avatar expecting the movie to have a creepy appropriative racist subtext. I was not expecting it from the ads. (Warning, it's pretty obnoxious)

Wicked Energy drink ad

Rough description of relevant parts:
A white man drinks some Wicked energy drink, and a drop falls on a geisha tattoo.
She rips off her kimono to reveal leopard print underwear. Her dragon tattoo turns into a real dragon which she rides. She rides a surfboard with a samurai who is eaten by a koi. She dances exuberantly in contrast to some less scantily dressed 50's style sailor girls. A japanese demon kills a lotus flower with a fart. She pole dances and then makes out with a western style skull. The drink bottle comes up and an asian style dragon comes out before the slogan "bring out your wicked side".

This is all in one minute. How..efficient.
sqbr: And yet all I can think is, this will make for a great Dreamwidth entry... (dw)
Thursday, December 24th, 2009 09:15 am
I like wishing people a merry Christmas. But I know that as a Christian-encultured atheist I'm a lot more comfortable with Christmas as a secular holiday than people from other cultural or religious backgrounds.

I'm not sure the American "Happy Holidays" is an improvement: it assumes that everyone has a holiday around this time, which is fine if you're jewish(*) or (most types of?) pagan but not so much if you're Buddhist or Muslim etc, as are a great many of the people I know who are members of a religion other than Christianity (eg it's reasonableness as a greeting assumes the sort of religious demographics you get in America but not here(**)). And saying it tommorrow feels like "I'm wishing you a merry Christmas but giving it a veneer of inclusiveness."

Worse along these lines is "Happy Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/whatever", imo.

I like "A merry Christmas to those who celebrate it and a generally happy day to everyone else" and similar.

What are other people's thoughts?

(*)Though apparently Hanukkah isn't that big of a deal compared to some of the other holidays?
(**)Plus Americans have Thanksgiving. We all have New Years I guess, but I don't think people mean "Happy new year" when they say "Happy Holidays".
sqbr: I lay on the couch, suffering an out of spoons error (spoons)
Thursday, August 13th, 2009 10:06 am
[personal profile] attentive linked me Transhumanism and the Limits of Democracy by Ronald Bailey and reading it I had so many things I wanted to complain to the author about I decided to write them down. I wrote this ages ago, I'm posting it now because I got inspired to write another post riffing on the same ideas.

I have very little patience for Transhumanists on the whole, they tend too much towards capitalist libertarian bootstrap myths which seem to inevitably contain the belief that the poor deserve what they get. But sometimes it's cathartic to enumerate why someone I disagree with is wrong :)
Read more... )
sqbr: A cartoon cat saying Ham! (ham!)
Friday, March 27th, 2009 12:31 pm
Unfortunately I didn't finish this book, not because it's bad but because I'd reached my quite low mental limit for nonfiction books(*) (Why yes, this did help make my Phd unbearable) "Luckily" I accidentally arrived at the library 45 minutes before it opened, so spent the time reading the last chapter (having read the first 2 or 3 already) and deciding on bits to quote.

So: this is a very good book, exploring the problems with the global food industry, how it's bad for everyone from farmers to consumers, and how everyone can fix it.

There's a website, which has one of the most important things to take away from it, what to do.

Here's a the full annotated list but in short:

  • Transform our tastes.
  • Eat locally and seasonally.
  • Eat agroecologically.
  • Support locally owned business.
  • Insist that the workers who grow our food have the right to dignity.
  • Advocate profound and comprehensive rural change.
  • Demand living wages for all.
  • Support a sustainable architecture of food.
  • Snap the food system’s bottleneck.
  • Own and provide restitution for the injustices of the past and present.

Read more... )
(*)This being entirely [livejournal.com profile] sanguinity's fault.
sqbr: She's getting existential again. It's ok I have a super soaker. (existentialism)
Friday, March 27th, 2009 08:12 am
Two related topics I have strongly held opinions about which I can't quite put into words are cultural appropriation and the flaws in an overly individual focussed point of view.

But as it happens posts on both have come up in [livejournal.com profile] racism_101 in the last few days which deal with them reasonably well, so here they are, plus some attempts to express myself:

First: A link to, and discussion of, the video "yellow apparel: when the coolie becomes cool", about american appropriation of asian culture (while american and australian attitudes to race and culture differ in some ways, I think the history and treatment of people of asian descent is pretty similar)

It doesn't spoonfeed it's ideas, it's more a series of images and interviews which add up to a pretty compelling experience if you watch it all the way through (thus I included the discussion, for those who can't be bothered. There's also Cultural Appropriation 101, and more cultural appropriation links at my delicious)

Second: Individualism as enabler for racism about the way treating everyone as an "individual" allows people with unfair advantages to avoid taking responsibility for the inequalities of society.
thoughts on individuality, going more into class )
sqbr: She's getting existential again. It's ok I have a super soaker. (existentialism)
Wednesday, January 7th, 2009 10:27 am
Reading the article I mentioned in my last post I was reminded of stuff white people like, specifically this video of the creator talking about his experiences was interesting, the way he went from making a blog for fun to book deal in like a month is intense.

Something he said, which took me a while to realise when I first saw the blog, is that it's not about "white people", it's about upper middle class left wing types and the way they we see ourselves as free-thinking unique snowflakes1. Really most of the digs are about class not race but since "White people" care more about being seen as non-racist than non-classist2 and are very self conscious about white guilt etc that name is more effective. Kind of annoying for white people who aren't White People and don't get the joke, I imagine.

See for example #62 Knowing what’s best for poor people. I am often amazed at how openly "left wing" people despise the poor. They watch Today Tonight! And have badly dyed hair! And use bad grammar! (Unlike poor people from other countries who are adorably authentic and charming. Unless they chop down trees or eat McDonalds or something)

Also there was a link to this black guy who set up a stall so people could have their photo taken with him, I salute his bravery :)

I've often pondered talking more about class but am worried about (a)Coming up against the fairly unselfconscious classism a lot of people have3 and (b) Collapsing in self consciousness as I ponder my own class.

1)And I think a large part of the appeal of the blog for White People is feeling smug at how much more self aware they are compared to all those other White People.
2)Which is very different from being less racist
3)Cue my friends from the country saying "Bah! You have it easy!" :)
sqbr: A cartoon cat saying Ham! (ham!)
Wednesday, January 7th, 2009 09:25 am
I keep meaning to post about cultural appropriation since I think it's a really important and interesting issue, but since I'm still figuring it out my ideas never quite coalesce. But in the meantime White American culture is General Tso’s Chicken and Chop Suey.

The video (by Jennifer 8. Lee) is definitely worth watching, about the way that "chinese american" food is as american as beer and pizza and the history of it's invention and misrepresentation.
It's interesting as someone from a different non-chinese country, with it's own different "chinese" food. It took me years to figure out what "egg rolls" and "pot stickers" were :)

The article (by Restructure) is more interested in why this is bad.

Something Restructure brings up in the comments which really pinged for me is that people go on about "authenticity" and it gets this social cache (ie "authentically exotic" food/clothes/music etc as a sign of being cosmopolitan) when what we should worry about is if something is representative.
my thoughts )
sqbr: She's getting existential again. It's ok I have a super soaker. (existentialism)
Thursday, October 2nd, 2008 12:34 pm
(A follow on from Speaking about bad ideas...atheism and race! since a lot of the same arguments came up in the comments)

Why I see cultural intolerance as racist: VERY few people in polite modern western society are explicitly racist in the "I hate everyone with dark skin" way. I tend to use "racist" to mean any tendency in society which consistently and unfairly discriminates against people of a particular ethnicity, even though most of these justify themselves using cultural rather than explicitly racist ideas. If you scratch the surface, a lot of the time these ideas are being applied arbitrarily or inconsistently and it really is about race after all.

I covered the basic ideas in Why you can't trust your values, so this is just a "few" *cough* extra things.

I mean you can't help but have values and judge other people by them, and since you don't grow up in a vacuum chances are you're going to end up seeing people from your own culture as being (on average) better since they follow your values more closely. But you have to be very careful about thinking about where those values come from, and if you're applying them fairly, and what consequences you bring from them.

Short version:
It's ok to say "I don't understand why more americans don't oppose the death penalty, though I guess I can see how it ties in with the emphasis their society tends to place on justice"
It's not ok to say "All christians are a bunch of bloodthirsty savages, just look at the bible and the way they all support the death penalty"
Read more... )