Saturday, April 26, 2008

Youtube Favorite... Saturday

Hey. Sorry I'm late again. Finals are cracking down. (Aaaaaand Season 4 of Buffy arrived in the mail.)

So, some lighter fare today:


Saturday, April 19, 2008


Hey, all. I was going to blog about Toaster Strudel today. I even wrote "not paid to say this" in frosting on a toaster strudel and took a picture. They're delicious, was what the point was going to be. But I got an email from The Boy this morning, and now something else is totally occupying my brain.

The Boy, as I affectionately refer to my significant other of over three years on this blog, is studying in Buenos Aires right now. He mentioned to me last night that the city has been covered in smoke for a few days, but seemed to be clearing up last night. This morning, he emailed me to say the smoke wasn't over. So I looked into what the news had to say about it. And I saw this video:

And that's some mind-occupyingly-frightening stuff.
I keep reading that this is farmers burning residue from crops, and that they do it annually- so has this happened before? Or did something just go wrong this year? The Boy told me, with what seemed like a fair amount of certainty, that this was connected to the dispute Argentinian farmers have been having with the government. That could just be his perspective or what the people in Buenos Aires are saying, but no new sources I've seen have mentioned it. I clearly don't know what the truth is. It's just another question to occupy my brain today.

(pictures from here)

The Boy was told it's not dangerous. That certainly sounds familiar. Obviously there's a difference, but how can breathing in smoke this dense every moment not do any damage?

"They say that it's okay, but I say don't breathe that shit in."
Anthrax, Kimya Dawson. song, lyrics.


Friday, April 18, 2008

Youtube Favorite Friday: Buffy

The Saint-Marie, not the slayer.
This video hasn't been working for me. If it doesn't work for you either, let me know and another song of hers up. If it does work for you, lucky, you get to enjoy the voice of Buffy Saint-Marie.

I first found her when Kimya Dawson posted the same video in her livejournal. She went on to talk about how inspiring and strong Buffy is, how brave, and gives Wal-Mart a great big fuck you. I really enjoyed the latter part at the time, but for whatever reason didn't pay the former so much mind.
Then I started writing an article for the Women's Center newsletter (I'll post it when it goes online) about progressive female artists, and I put Buffy on my list of people to check out, because I certainly trust Kimya's tastes. I ended up listening to Buffy Saint-Marie constantly for a solid week. She's amazing.

At the same time, a lot of things corresponded- my housemate went to a conference about women in politics, and the last speaker talked about how women often don't get politically involved because they don't think they understand every facet of the issue(s), but men don't have that same political inhibition. And in an essay class, we had to write about an experience with an animal, and I wrote about an injured pigeon that some kids were tormenting in kindergarten, and the essay ended up being about how baffling cruelty and a lack of sympathy has always been to me, and how powerless I feel every time I think about the fact that I'm in a country whose government condones torture. Then the Yoo memos were released. And none of my friends knew about it, and the TV didn't talk about it, and at this point everyone is watching Obama and Clinton and thanking their lucky stars that there's less than a year left of Bush, but there's still torture and we should still be talking about it. Fuck, we should be yelling in the streets about it! And I spent my days at work reading and writing about Buffy Saint-Marie and Billie Holiday and Patti Smith and Sweet Honey in the Rock and Ani DiFranco, and I one day I finished the piece on Buffy, and I went home, and I wrote my first protest song.

I ended up going back to that livejournal entry of Kimya's because, of course, I wrote about her, too, and wanted to work in some quotes displaying her feminist and anti-corporate sensibilities. So I read it again, I read this again: "All the strong women, who helped make me who I am, are on my mind. Maybe because of all the messages I have gotten from those of you who have said that I have changed or empowered you. Let's keep it going."
Kimya Dawson is the whole reason I picked up a guitar for the first time in eight years, and why I started teaching myself and writing songs. When I read those words, it just felt like magic, like the universe made sense for just a few minutes. It felt powerful.
Maybe that's all incomprehensible to you. It might be beyond words.
I guess, all I can say is, thank you, brave women. Thank you, Kimya. Thank you, Buffy.

More Buffy
More Kimya
More Me (including the protest song, "Inexcusable", uploaded for the occasion- it has some mistakes because it's new and quite fast, making it hard to play over and over. Be forgiving.)


Thursday, April 17, 2008

Nice Try, Facebook

There's a new ad being targeted at me on Facebook. They seem to be trying to make up for their recent offense.

Awfully suspicious, eh? Alas, I know that they never try to appeal to my feminist sensibilities, just playing to my gender. And often to the fact that I have a Buffy the Vampire Slayer application? They advertise Buffy DVDs a whole lot.


Friday, April 11, 2008

Youtube Favorite Fridays: Calpernia Addams Chaps Your Ass (or, Hitting the Brick Wall)

For this week, I chose Calpernia Addams's long list of Bad Questions to Ask a Transsexual.

Her smiling rage is so lovely and righteous. There can only be so many polite, even-toned education moments (usually met with confusion, skepticism or flat-out offense) before a person either stops bothering or starts screaming. I live a relatively comfortable and privileged life, and still, I know I've run out of steam (or, less often, had steam build up to the point of explosion) when trying to engage others in real conversation about sexism, racism, ableism, homophobia, transphobia and so forth from time to time. Sometimes it just feels like there's no progress, not even that seed of enlightenment planted, and you just want to shout some sense into some eardrums. That, of course, gets you labeled as over-sensitive (or a feminazi, or a reverse racist, or selfish, or a plain old bitch) and others use it to undercut your credibility. Sometimes it's a brick wall that you no longer have the strength to dismantle.

That devastating discouragement has hit progressive bloggers hard in the past, and right now it seems to be particularly affecting women of color. Brownfemipower is down, and the permanence is unclear. Holly at Feministe covers that better than I could. Reappropriate also went on hiatus late last month, and Jenn, the blogger there, posted a comprehensive explanation. You should really go read it, and I'll end with an excerpt:

I’m tired of discussions of sexism being misconstrued as male-bashing, I’m tired of people who don’t know feminism thinking they can define it, and above all, I am tired of the suspicion of my racial solidarity and my pride in the Asian American community because of my identification as a feminist and the choices in my personal life. I’m tired of constantly talking and not being heard, and having to defend who I am to the men in my community. I’m saddened by the countless emails from feminists who write to me to tell me that the hoarde of anti-feminist commentors on this blog have chased them from commenting. I feel like I’ve been banging my head against a brick wall, and all I have to show for it is ostracization, derision, and occasionally ridicule from some Asian American men. I feel like the adage “working twice as hard to get half as far” is poignantly relevant to how hard I’ve struggled for the same acceptance in the APIA online community that some of my male colleagues enjoy almost innately.
It’s telling to me that this kind of hiatus occurs so frequently in the feminism of colour blogosphere. Something about having to fight the tides of racism in the feminist community and the sexism within our racialized communities makes us more susceptible to weariness. We are fighting a war on two fronts; perhaps this is why so few feminists of colour blog, and our blogosphere community remains so small. Perhaps this periodic need to rejuvenate is all the evidence needed to demonstrate how difficult it is to exist at the political intersection of race and gender.


Monday, April 07, 2008

Whoops! Late Youtube Favorite

I was away this weekend, so I missed my one steady feature. Sorry about that.
I'll give you the Youtube Favorite, and a bonus: the March newsletter of the Women's Center at which I work. Our year's theme is Stereotypes, and that month's theme was stereotypes about mothers. Enjoy! (pdf)

To compliment that, here's one of my favorite lady Kimya's songs about motherhood: