Friday, May 27, 2011

It's Friday and The Question Is.........

Questions?photo © 2008 Valerie Everett | more info (via: Wylio)

Not only do I read a lot, I also love to watch movies.  A good movie is actually quite rare and stays with you for a long time. Some movies however stay with you not because they are good, but  because they reach such a level awful that they are unforgettable.  So, this week's question is: What are your three least favorite movies of all time and why?

Thoughts on Buffy Season One

Buffy in Viennaphoto © 2008 anna Hanks | more info (via: Wylio)

Okay, because of the project that I am currently engaged in, I have been forced to watch all seven seasons of Buffy.  Since I know that there are plenty of urban fantasy fans reading this blog, I thought that I would share my impressions of each season with you.

While I was into vampires when Buffy originally aired, it was something that I never got around to watching.  Now that I have seen the first season, I am convinced that I didn't miss a thing.  The original Star Trek had better special effects than Buffy. For all the punches and kicks that Buffy threw, it didn't look look like she actually connected with a single one. Filming the fight scenes in bad lighting certainly did not fool me.  The title of the first season should have been shoestring budget.

What I find interesting about the series is that Buffy truly is the archetype for unlikeable female protagonist, who is filled to the brim with spunky agency. I get that she is the chosen one -- the slayer-- but really, is caution really such a bad thing?  Gotta vampire to kill, why not bring your date along? Then there is Angel. Mmmm Angel, the archetype for the musty vampire.  He denies who is, drinks blood from bags and so he is one of the rare good ones.  I know that Anne Rice started this trend in 1976 when she wrote the character of Louis de Pointe du Lac in Interview With the Vampire, but I am convinced that had Whedon just left the mustiness alone, it might have died the slow painful death that it deserved.  For me, the musty vampire, (see Louis, True Blood's Bill etc) just need to be gone for good. 

Things People Need To Stop Believing.

Jaded16 is a Radical Feminist from India. She writes a humour blog ‘Oi With The Poodles Already’, attempting to make her world a little woman-friendly using healthy doses of irony and sarcasm to de-condition the Indian masses. It is at times like these when she loses all her sense of humour and starts looking for a rock big enough to live under. 

As a dusty third worldling, one of the things I learned first was to see if there were other dusty people in the room whenever I go to any transnational feminist conferences. Something else I also learned is to not expect ‘solidarity’ from anyone unless expressly proven otherwise — and these views are a result of the way people view me and my body in not India, what people assume of me in most internet spaces and fandoms. My friend and I compiled this list comprising of a few of the most repetitive and inane stereotypes that we’ve encountered of Third World Women. By no means is this list exhaustive, feel free to add your experiences in the comments — and tread carefully, the list is full of racial slurs and epithets.

1. We’re not disposable objects or your fetish or ‘flavour’ of the month. Not all Third World Women are ‘women’, but we don’t have the choice to identify the way we want, because exotification gets in the way of our special plans.
2. Not all Third World Women live in lands that are in a state of constant war. We exist in cities, between towns and villages — many in the West. There is no fixity of geo-political location, we don’t need to be in the Third World to be marginalised.
3. Not all of us live in tin shacks or mud houses, like every other group we too are scattered across classes and communities across the planet.

The Colour of Money

Eva Rivera is a proud lesbian Chicana, daughter, sister and sex worker who can walk in 6 inch heels and twirl naked on a pole in front of total strangers but is still viciously afraid of moths. She hails from Fresno, CA and is a poet and aspiring film maker. You can find her more personal writing on her blog.   

Racism is a plague that runs through every vein of society and the sex industry is certainly no exception. Racism, at some point,is expressed in every type of sex work you can imagine and from every direction: those who produce, those who consume and even those who sell.  White (cis-woman) sex workers are something of anomaly to me. On one hand they are considered top dollar escorts. Generally they charge more because they can expect to be in high demand while also being treated as precious, delicate and "clean". Obviously, this is a direct result of a society that praises and upholds white standards of beauty and portrays white bodies as pure and, in the case of sex work, something of a holy grail.

One feeling is that white women are in the club as a side thing: a hobby, for a good workout, to pay for college, etc. While women of color in the business are in it as a long-term career and to support children. Women of color also talk about how difficult it is to get into a strip club in the first place. Pornography already has a reputation for producing films with many racist themes. These are just some basic examples of racism that affect sex workers. It pits workers against each other and makes it nearly impossible to forge a truly cohesive community. I will explore this topic more in the future but for this post I would like to elaborate on how sex workers respond to clients who are men of color and how this directly affects our ability to fight against racism.

People of Colour and Video Games

Dan Waters is a snarky 22 year old queer biracial wonderment who is part White, Portuguese, and Native American (Wampanoag-Kiowa). He currently lives in Massachusetts, and plans to become a Lawyer. That is, if he can survive Algonquin language classes and polyamorous dating right now! He also identifies as Two Spirit, and prefers male pronouns, but cherishes his female body that he was given graciously by the Creator. He blogs at Identity Exposure.

I’m probably going to get hell for this post, mostly because I know a lot of my own friends are sick and tired of hearing me bounce up and down talking about video games. It may not be so obvious when one first meets/reads me, but I am a pretty good gamer.

Another thing I am just as equally good at is pointing out the POC characters in a game series or stand alone. So one of the things I love about most modern gaming, is that POC’s are taking the rise. They play supportive, constant roles, or they are actually the headlining person. I got into the gaming mood recently because of the release of L.A Noire and pre-ordering like mad some games coming up in the Fall. Here’s a breakdown of some of my favorites.

Michelle and Julia Chang – When I first got Playstation, Michelle Chang was always my first choice in the arcade fighting game Tekken. She’s half Native American, and half Chinese. She had a few outfits to choose from, and to me the best combos to remember. Her adopted daughter, Julia (who is assumed a full blood Native American), makes an appearance in Tekken 6, decked out in braids and boots to curb stomp. She is an archaeologist, and specifically of tribal lands.

King – Again another Tekken character, King was most memorable for his jaguar head mask. He’s a chicano that specializes in wrestling, and my Dad often picked him to play. His combos always landed a heavy health hit, and getting a K.O in 10 seconds flat was probably something awesome. Many of his outfits are flashy and reminiscent of Mexican wrestling style.

Christie Monteiro – Okay, last Tekken character, I swear! She’s a Brazilian jujitsu artist and is best at Capoeira. Her combos are sick, and headstands are deadly. She fights barefoot, like a genuine Portagee. Her story was especially touching because her grandfather, a capoeira master, falls ill, and thus entered into the Tekken realm, even being pitted against her male counterpart, Black Brazilian Eddy Gordo. And I must say, his character render looks oh-so-fine in the Brazilian flag colors. Mmm-mmm.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Sick Day

Sick Seeking Helpphoto © 2011 Susana Fernandez | more info (via: Wylio)

I'm sorry everyone, I have to take a sick day today.  I didn't get enough sleep last night and my fibro is flaring.  I will try and be back tomorrow.  I apologize for the light posting this week.  It has been a really rough week.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

What Are You Reading?

My Stack of Books for Valentine's Dayphoto © 2009 J Brew | more info (via: Wylio)

Okay, so yesterday I wrote a review on the first book in The Chicago Land Vampires.  Today I would like to know what you are reading.  We have not done one of these for awhile, so please share what you are reading and if you would recommend it. 

Please note: we are always open to suggestions for urban fantasy books to read for those of you who are fans of the genre.

Good Bye Oprah

Oprah and Schmitty the Real New Yorkie at her show in NYCphoto © 2009 Michael Dolan | more info (via: Wylio)

Today at 4pm EST, marks the end of The Oprah Winfrey Show.  I cannot believe that it has been 25 years.  I started watching Oprah as a very young woman, and I must admit that she has been a constant throughout the years. I have not always agreed with what she has had to say, or the approach that she has taken on many issues, but I cannot deny that she has been an impressive source of encouragement for many, and has represented some of the best of Black womanhood over the years.

I know that critics have pointed out repeatedly that much of the money and gifts that she has doled out over the years, has come from corporations, who were attempting to buy a little cheap goodwill from the public.  Even considering this, it would be ridiculous to pretend that the various people who were helped, did not in many cases have a life changing moment.  Yes, Oprah is not the paragon giving that she has constructed her public image to be, but the truth is, that for a woman beholden to so many, she managed to do a lot of good. In the end, I suppose it would simply be best to say that for a shrewd businesswoman, she has a good deal of heart. I will however hold her absolutely accountable for unleashing the slut shaming, homophobic, transphobic Dr. Phil on an unsuspecting world.

I remember when White women went into a tizzy, because she refused to have Sarah Palin on her show before the election.  Oprah held fast saying:

Mike Alvear Teaches How Not To Date A Trans Woman

As you all know, I am a cisgender woman in a long term relationship.  This means that I have no idea about the various issues that trans women face when it comes to dating and in fact being in a relationship means that when it comes to dating I am the equivalent of a fish out of water.  I do however have the good sense to see when someone has left the arena of friendly advice, and gone straight into demeaning and oppressive.  From beginning to end, Mike Alvear the so-called Sexorcist, gets it wrong. 

Let's start with the letter itself which claims to be interested in a woman who "is clearly in the process of or has already been sexually reassigned to a female." This immediately left me questioning, because while some women do go through an awkward stage, many pass successfully (please note: I hate the word pass but am unaware of a word that can be substituted). Something about the letter itself did not feel right and this feeling only intensified as I read the response.

More Policing of Serena Williams

From the moment the Williams sisters burst onto the professional tennis courts, Whiteness and patriarchy have attempted to silence, discipline and shame them into submission.  Criticism abounds regarding the sisters and yet, as far as I can see, the most repeated issue that arises, is based solidly in the fact that they are unapologetically Black women. When the media is not attempting to turn them into loud mouth sapphires, they are slut shaming them. Who could forget the media hype over this outfit.

It was hardly surprising when the following image caused a stir in the media.

The above photo was taken for the World Tennis Association’s Strong is Beautiful campaign.  I think the choice was quite apropos because Serena absolutely fits the slogan.  This is especially true when you consider that we have repeatedly been told that strong and beautiful are not characteristics that reside in Black women.   

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Chigaco Land Vampires: Some Girls Bite

Over the last week, our beloved Sparky subjected me to the Connor Grey series, by Mark Del Franco.  After reading the first book, Unshapely Things, I determined that series read like Law and Order meets X-Files.  He was so enthused by the series, I assumed that there must be something I was missing, instead of trusting the adage that Sparky is always wrong.  Yes, wrong, wrong, wrong. Even after his most grievous recommendation of Mark del Franco, I decided to give him another chance.  This week he selected The Chicago Land Vampires series by Chloe Neil.

Spoilers Ahead

I stayed up quite late last night reading Some Girls Bite.  I can safely tell you that it is as cheesy as the title suggests.  If it were a pizza it would be triple cheese but as we all know, good cheese can make a pizza.  Merit, the female protagonist is the victim of a violent crime walking across the campus of a university.  Ethan, the master vampire of the Cadogan House, interrupts the attempt to murder and decides to turn her into a vampire to save her life.  Merit must reconcile the fact that she is now a vampire, with the fact that she was not given a choice in the matter. 

We quickly learn that Neil has created a world in which every super natural creature that we have always thought to be false, is actually in existence; however, the only supernatural that the public is aware of are vampires.  Does this sound familiar to anyone yet?  Instead of drinking a form of synthetic blood, the vampires drink human blood from bags, or with permission, from a human donor. Just like another vampire series that we are all familiar with, there is a very distinct vampire hierarchy and laws that must be obeyed.

It's Time for Another Round of Celebrities Spouting Slurs!

This is a guest post from Sparky, of Spark in Darkness.  Many of you are  familiar with him from Livejournal, as well as from his insightful and often hilarious commentary here. Each Tuesday, Womanist Musings will be featuring a post from Sparky.  
And now it's time for another round of Celebrities spouting slurs!

So, another star has decided that calling people "[email protected]" is totally acceptable. This time, basketball player Joakim Noah, but really anti-gay slurs keep turning up from sportsman, sports coaches, musicians, in musicians lyrics, actors and just about every kind of star there is. 

So hold on guys, because we're going to be riding that same old roller coaster again.

First step will be a non-pology. The words "intend" will be in their somewhere. It will likely imply that either a) nothing homophobic was meant by using an explicitly homophobic slur and b) that random passing hate aliens beamed the word into his mouth and it's not at all because he's a homophobe at all.

Second step is a gazillion straight fans leaping up and down in frothing agitation because an anti-gay slur is totally not homophobic and why are we so upset?! We may even get creative supporters using the slur repeatedly to show us how not problematic it is. If, on the off chance, there are actual CONSEQUENCES (I know, I know, doesn't usually happen, but sometimes) to said bigotry, then their hair may actually catch fire from the sheer incandescence of their rage. When not howling with rage, they may pause to slowly and painfully explain to us why anti-gay slurs are a) not homophobic b) not real slurs, c) not that bad or d) all of the above.

Monday, May 23, 2011

True Blood's Joe Manganiello as Alcide Hervaux

Can you believe Sookie kicked him out of bed in the last book? You're welcome, and in case you're wondering, also MINE MINE MINE.

Happy Victoria Day

Beer at the supermarketphoto © 2009 Daniel Spiess | more info (via: Wylio)

Today is Victoria day and it marks the first long weekend of the summer.  Like fellow Cannucks across the coast, I shall spend the day getting together with friends, drinking good Canadian beer and eating bbq.  I will be back bright and early, tomorrow. 

The podcast is still going to happen at 6pm EST though, so please join us for that.

Happy Beer and BBQ everyone!

BBQ Buffalo Clicken Wingsphoto © 2009 Taz | more info (via: Wylio)