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Archive for October, 2011

It’s Halloween Time!  My favourite time of the year to dress up in questionable outfits and make bad decisions.  I’d have Halloween every month of I could, if not just for the costume potential.

Speaking of which, the ladies of Shiggytv managed to make a Sucker (or is that “Shucker”?) Punch trio and got absolutely nowhere on our girl’s night out.  We didn’t make it very far, but I think I had a good time?

Anyways, speaking of costume choices, while I have no problem with ho-ing it up for Halloween, I have a problem with the significant number of “Pocahotties” walking around the streets, and other similar getups.  I strongly recommend reading the article, it articulates the issue much better than I ever could.

Don’t Mess Up When You Dress Up: Cultural Appropriation and Costumes | Bitch Media.

When will people learn that it’s just never a good idea to dress up as a culture that isn’t yours?  It reeks of disrespect, novelty factor, and racial entitlement.  The best case scenario still has you walking away looking like a douchebag.

I’m personally a fan of dressing up as movie characters, and this year was the first year that I decided to stop letting race of those characters dictate who I portrayed.  If I wanted to only dress up as Asian women, I’d be constantly playing sidekick for the rest of my life.

There’s a difference between dressing up as an individual of historical or cultural significance and dressing up as a generic person of a different race, however.  Dressing up as an individual means that you imbue your costume with an identity that is based on knowledge that transcends generic stereotypes; you have a name, a birthplace, and a history.  You have your own personality.  You also have clothes that are representative of that identity.  To me, dressing up as an individual shows a lot of respect.

Dressing up as a nameless person of a different race means that by definition, you have no individual name or identity.  You can only build your costume around generalizations and stereotypes, thereby reaffirming an inherent belief that everyone from one culture or race are incapable of being individuals.  No one dresses up as a “white person” for Halloween.

There’s obviously grey areas.  What about Osama Bin Laden?  I have no answer for everything, but I do think that when something can be interpreted as borderline douchebag-y, it might be safe to either reserve you costume for a private party with close friends (you know, the kind you feel comfortable being politically incorrect about), or to get a better costume.  At the very least, awareness of entitlement might be fitting.

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I’m watching the David Suzuki movie right now, Force of Nature, and there’s an interesting segment where Suzuki visits a bluefin tuna auction in Japan. Remember all that uproar over the banning of shark fin soup?  Basically the same thing.

I believe that today’s children will look back on what’s happening here and say,

“That was criminal. What you did, was an inter-generational crime, that what you did was take part in the liquidation of a species that should have been the right of our children and grandchildren and all future generations, to know and enjoy and use.”  

But we are doing it right now, if that isn’t a crime then I don’t know what is.

I really detest when people try to frame the shark fin debate or the bluefin debate as parallel to the harvest of foie gras, and then posit that if foie gras isn’t illegal, then neither shark finning nor bluefin harvesting should be either.  It’s not the same thing.  The reason that shark finning or bluefin harvests should be regulated is because they aren’t regulated right now and wild populations will be unable to recover from human impacts if the current trend continues.  If it continues, then the species will be gone.  It’s not like wild geese are being used in the process of making foie gras.  Simple as that.

It can’t be racist to want to preserve populations for future generations to enjoy.

For more info on Force of Nature  . . . .. 

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There are seven candidates standing there.  God, just look at them.  Look at how accurately they reflect the demography of America.

Nothing against Republicans, just another one of the things I notice on a minute by minute basis, all across the board.

God Bless America.

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My Job is Ambiguous . . . 

I’m still in the process of absorbing a lot of the films that the NFB is working on/has already made.  There are a lotttt of movies to watch, and I’m sure for a few weeks this place will become some sort of a referral service to the films that I’m looking at.  Don’t worry though, I have good taste, I think.

One of the films that is in the process of filming/development is really intriguing to me, but I’m not sure if I can post the name here.  It is following the life of Joseph Kony‘s former favourite wife.  If you don’t know you Kony is, you can read more about him at the Wikipedia link.  Interestingly enough, there’s also some news on him today, as President Obama has begun a mission to hunt him down.

A Portrait of Joseph Kony

I’ve read the proposal for the project and it’s actually really interesting.  Kony claimed that his actions were supported by the Ten Commandments, that his kidnapping of children for the Lord’s Resistance Army were the cost of setting up theocratic rule.  Most of the preview is centred around meetings with his former wife, Evelyn.  She talks about the days when he would sit down with her beside a river and tears would flow from his eyes.  I’m supposed to feel like he’s a more human character, that he isn’t some kind of monster.  He’s being sought for crimes against humanity, by the way.

Evelyn also used to be a powerful figure in the LRA, but she was kidnapped at the age of eleven and made Kony’s wife.  She has since left the LRA and Kony’s side, but not before spending eleven years in the LRA.  They had three daughters, and now everyone in Uganda wants Kony’s children to pay retribution for what he did to the country.  They probably also want Evelyn to pay for what she used to be.  When you are kidnapped, I’d say you don’t really have much of a choice in how you survive, let alone if you are also a child.

Nice vs. Good

So we have a portrait of a woman whose had a difficult life for reasons that were probably out of her control.  The only problem is the undercurrent running through the film of “Good vs. Evil.”  Without going into Evelyn’s story, she tries to paint for the audience her version of Kony, who was apparently sensitive and loving for many years of their relationship.   It is supposed to confuse an audience that is accustomed sorting through people in a binary way

I think this whole concept is framed incorrectly though, probably because I no longer think that good or evil exist, they are too subjective.  But let’s assume that they do for a second, shall we?  Another metric of character that sometimes gets confused with ‘goodness’ is ‘niceness,” and those two do not always move in the same direction.  There are probably some serial killers out there who are just bursting with charm and hospitality.

The portrayal of Kony as a man with two sides isn’t entirely accurate, because he has orchestrated the destruction of innocent lives through rape, murder, war, enslavement, etc.  I guess this would make him “evil.”   However, evil does not preclude someone from also being a “nice” person, which can explain Evelyn’s recounts of how candid and emotional and intimate Kony could be.  It is possible to possess both qualities simultaneously.

Manners in Nanking

Too bad the quality of ‘goodness’ in a person is so ambiguously defined, eh?  I guess my roots come from a culture of people who are on the surface, very rude.  Don’t try to convince me otherwise!  The Chinese, especially in China, are pushy, and loud, and prone to doing all sorts of things in public that North Americans would consider unhygienic.  The Chinese are also considered incredibly miserly.  From working in the service industry, I can tell you, we probably aren’t the best tippers, which is a constant source of my embarrassment.

The Japanese have a reputation for manners that is probably the opposite of the Chinese, especially internationally: Japanese tourists have often been voted the most polite, meekest tourists in the world.  There is also social pressure to conform to norms which prevents all sorts of common acts in North America, such as vandalism or littering.  This pressure also ensures that in public, the Japanese will go to lengths to avoid embarrassing themselves.  When I had a table of Japanese tourists, the tipping was unreal, and this was probably out of a fear of  undertipping.  Needless to say, I wasn’t complaining.

Our reputations as “nice” and “not so nice” cultures did not stop the Japanese from finding brutal ways to murder hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of Chinese civilians during the WWI, in humiliating and painful and creative ways.  It wasn’t simply the conquest of a land; the torture of innocent men, women, and children, and their slaughter, can be considered sociopathic.  It wasn’t enough to kill civilians, the focus was more on prolonging the suffering and degradation than anything else.  The Rape of Nanking does not go over well in China; if you visit the south like I just did, you can still find an undertow of bitter resentment of the Japanese.  This is only aggravated by the fact that there’s still nothing in the way of education of children in schools about what happened, or any sort of official government apology to the Chinese.  I remember that I had to read about it on my own as a high schooler; and for weeks the images I saw would haunt me.

The Chinese have done some egregious things to repress people as well, but the point I’m trying to make is that a culture of manners and an outward projection of “niceness” does not stop a society from exhibiting the potential to act in “evil” ways.   The two qualities are entirely unrelated to each other.

Which Matters?

Ultimately, if both existed, I would choose to be “good” over “nice.”  I’m not a nice person, but I can fake it if an occasion calls for it.  Faking “goodness” would get a bit more tricky.  The more difficult problem is that my framework for “good” and “evil” has been slipping away from me for quite some time, and so I’m not even sure if I can be “good.”

Maybe I can’t be anything at all.

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In an effort to distract me from some frustrating problems of a personal nature, God has tonight, plagued me with not only a roommate’s cat that refuses to sleep on any surface that isn’t my neck, but also with a fire alarm at 2:15 in the morning that didn’t stop until just recently.  I just got back from standing outside in light rain and I don’t have an umbrella.  I’m awake!  I’m awake for all the worst reasons!   Are you happy now?

x_x

Now the cat’s back.

 

Anyways,

 

A Bloody Sunday in Cairo

I feel strangely apologetic to Egypt after reading about this.  As if the West has promised you some magical cure-all called “Democracy” and it turns out that we can’t really help at all.  All we have done is shifted power and brought to surface a new plague of issues you are not prepared to deal with.  I’m already wincing at what might be next, because if this ends badly for Egypt during the November elections, then what has/will everyone in Libya, Syria, Bahrain be dying for?

Maybe we are just sham salesmen selling a faulty product.  I may or may not be overly pessimistic because of sleeplessness, but now I’ma try to do something about that after attempt number three.

Over and out!

 

 

 

 

 

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What to live by: part 2

I’m starting to feel like maybe the desire to seek God is a human impulse, kind of like the part of my brain that tells me bacon tastes delicious.

Unlike other impulses, I am slowly losing the desire to placate this one.

Gee, that shit looks like fun.  Don’t do it. 

-God

I found Scott Clifton’s Youtube Channel, Theoretical Bullshit, and you can watch the rest for yourself.  He’s clearly put a lot of thought into this, and there’s quite a list of uploads.

The sad part is the highest rated comment reads something like “you’re super hot.”

Which is true.  I feel bad, but honestly, women have to deal with this all the time, so I guess I don’t feel more bad than I normally do. I think my brain is just confused because never before have so many different parts of my body been excited all at the same time.

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