xenologer: (do not even)
TW: Game of Thrones is 40% good and 60% racist hilaribad

We've had convos in my journal before about racist Eurocentric fantasy and so I obviously knew what I was getting into with Game of Thrones but oh my god

nobody warned me about the "thank you" thing

"I do not know how to say thank you in Dothraki." "There is no word for thank you in Dothraki."

I mean aside from her clearly beginning the process of civilizing the hypersexual violent darkie savage with her magic white poontang of compassion and reason... can we just spend a minute and sit with THE DOTHRAKI DO NOT HAVE A WORD FOR THANK YOU

they do not have that



I like the female characters, and knew I would. It's just pretty clear that they're only for white people. ALSO I get the feeling that with all George RR Martin's ingenuity with tormenting his characters, the only misery he can think of for women is sexual violence just over and over and over. I keep wanting to get myself to a place of willful enjoyment, but all I can think about are the following two things:

1. It's pretty sad that fantasy boards that are blatant rip-offs of this setting and plot constitute progress in the land of Misogynist Whitelandia roleplaying. How fuckin' sad.

2. the dothraki do not have a word for thank you

Thank goodness for the Lannisters. I don't think I could deal with this without their smarmy behinds. No word for thank you. What the shit. halp
xenologer: (vagina)
Advice to a Discarded Lover
by Fleur Adcock

Think, now: if you have found a dead bird,
not only dead, not only fallen,
but full of maggots: what do you feel -
more pity or more revulsion?

Pity is for the moment of death,
and the moments after. It changes
when decay comes, with the creeping stench
and the wriggling, munching scavengers.

Returning later, though, you will see
a shape of clean bone, a few feathers,
an inoffensive symbol of what
once lived. Nothing to make you shudder.

It is clear then. But perhaps you find
the analogy I have chosen
for our dead affair rather gruesome -
too unpleasant a comparison.

It is not accidental. In you
I see maggots close to the surface.
You are eaten up by self-pity,
crawling with unlovable pathos.

If I were to touch you I should feel
against my fingers fat, moist worm-skin.
Do not ask me for charity now:
go away until your bones are clean.

via GreatPoets
xenologer: (happy!)
I donated to the Kickstarter for this and it is doing super well and I am pretty excited about it, and I haven't gushed about it over here yet. So brace yourselves. I am gushing. Here is info from the Kickstarter page:
Most written chronicles of history, and most speculative stories, put rulers, conquerors, and invaders front and center. People with less power, money, or status—enslaved people, indigenous people, people of color, queer people, laborers, women, people with disabilities, the very young and very old, and religious minorities, among others—are relegated to the margins. Today, mainstream history continues to perpetuate one-sided versions of the past while mistelling or erasing the stories of the rest of the world.

There is a long and honorable legacy of literary resistance to erasure. This anthology partakes of that legacy. It will feature stories from the margins of speculative history, each taking place between 1400 and the early 1900s and putting a speculative twist—an element of science fiction, fantasy, horror, or the unclassifiably strange—on real past events.

Our plan is to include about 20 stories, or about 100,000 words. The anthology will be released in trade paperback and DRM-free digital formats in the first quarter of 2014.

These amazing authors will be submitting stories for the anthology:

Linda Addison
Jennifer Marie Brissett
Chesya Burke
Aliette de Bodard
Tananarive Due
Amal El-Mohtar
Andrea Hairston
Beverly Jenkins
Alaya Dawn Johnson
Kima Jones
Victor LaValle
Ken Liu
Sarah McCarry
Neesha Meminger
Nnedi Okorafor
An Owomoyela
Kiini Ibura Salaam
Veronica Schanoes
Rion Amilcar Scott
Nisi Shawl
Troy Wiggins
YOU!


So I am really jazzed and you should support this to make sure that you at least get an ebook sent to you when it is done, because that is what I did.

I am mostly posting here for another reason, though. Submission guidelines are up! I know plenty of writers on here, so please take a look at this and consider whether it is something you want to try to get involved in. I have already essentially bought this book and I would love there to be writing in it from someone I know, and given the people I know, I am sure someone on my list will understand why this is AWESOME and can contribute their own personal awesomeness to the project.

<3
xenologer: (Ravenna)
For months my daughter carried
a dead monarch in a quart mason jar.
To and from school in her backpack,
to her only friend’s house. At the dinner table
it sat like a guest alongside the pot roast.
She took it to bed, propped by her pillow.

Was it the year her brother was born?
Was this her own too-fragile baby
that had lived—so briefly—in its glassed world?
Or the year she refused to go to her father’s house?
Was this the holding-her-breath girl she became there?

This plump child in her rolled-down socks
I sometimes wanted to haul back inside me
and carry safe again. What was her fierce
commitment? I never understood.
We just lived with the dead winged thing
as part of her, as part of us,
weightless in its heavy jar.
xenologer: (do not even)
IT’S STILL DARK AT TWILIGHT: Scrubbing off the Whitewash of Urban Fantasy!

Come on, y’all…if you write a story and set it in a place like Broaddus’ Indianapolis, Chicago, Atlanta, London, or Las Vegas, basic demographic research will indicate the presence of people of color. To read and enjoy Urban Fantasy, I am expected to just accept that Black people don’t exist? You get the side-eye for that one.

Whether or not you like Urban Fantasy, the fact of the matter is that this subgenre of Fantasy has had an immense and global impact on people through literature, television and film.

It is because of this impact that we cannot ignore the messages that Urban Fantasy brings. Each time an author of this subgenre decides to tell a story, instead of working so hard to erase people of color out of existence, they should work just as hard to erase the problems that plague our society. And fanboys…do not say that writers should not have to be political; that they should be free to write merely to entertain. Every statement we make is political. Every sentence we write is potentially life-changing for someone. Such is the power of the word.

You cannot truly change culture without literature. We can pass a thousand laws saying that racism and sexism are wrong. We can make a thousand impassioned speeches to rouse the marginalized masses; but if everyone returns home after those speeches and sits down to read the latest installment of Twilight, or watch the next episode of The Vampire Diaries and their fictional worlds in which those same marginalized masses barely even exist – then how much change can truly be affected?

It is within the pages of books and under the light of the TV screen where we will reach people and change the world for the better…or worse.

Over and over again, we are told that our stories aren’t worth being told. We do not get to be the heroes. We are never “the one destined to come since man was young upon the earth”. If we are lucky, we get to be the “magical negro”; the “noble savage”; the sidekick; the Black person who doesn’t die in the first ten minutes of the film.

This is damaging to the psyches of people of color. And a devastating blow to the self-esteem of our babies.

So, don’t tell me writers just write to merely entertain, when entertainment has such a powerful, deep and lasting impression on the minds of us all.


My note: This obviously shouldn't necessarily be your primary motivation to seek out and support fiction that is inclusive of multiple kinds of people, but it's worth noting that ever since I started reading fiction by people who think critically about how real people in real cultures deal with and are dealt with by real politics, I have read much better fiction.

Or you can read urban fantasy about the same magical white people rehashed over and over again by people who learned everything they know about culture and politics from rehashes of magical white people rehashed from World of Darkness. Enjoy sifting through all that derivative crap; I quit.

great poem

Jan. 9th, 2013 08:03 pm
xenologer: (angel/11)
"mississippi drowning" by saeed jones

I’ve lined my throat
with the river bottom’s best
silt,
allowed my fingers to shrivel
and be taken for crawfish.

I’ve laced my eyelashes with algae.

I blink emerald.
I blink sea glass green.

I am whatever gleams
just under the surface.

Scoop at my sparkle. I’ll give you nothing
but disturbed reflection.

Bring your ear to the water
and I’ll sing you

down into my arms.

Let me show you how

to make your lungs
a home for minnows, how

to let them flicker

like silver

in and out of your mouth
like last words,

like air.
xenologer: (human monsters)
This sums up basically everything I feel about the nasty impulses I learned from my parents.

Read more... )
xenologer: (happy!)


And then... and then there's this Otamatone shit right here. It's the melody, you guys. At least watch it until the melody kicks in and tell me if you are crying like I do when I watch it.
xenologer: (Ravenna)
It has rained for five days
running
the world is
a round puddle
of sunless water
where small islands
are only beginning
to cope
a young boy
in my garden
is bailing out water
from his flower patch
when I ask him why
he tells me
young seeds that have not seen sun
forget
and drown easily.
xenologer: (objection!)
Me: I am pretty sure I just successfully identified the sucker size wounds and beak wound of an attack by a giant pacific octopus before the Winchester boys on Supernatural did.
JW: ...
JW: Holmesy.
JW: Dude.
Me: They haven't figured it out yet. But I swear that's a beak wound.
Me: Come on.
Me: Get with the beak channel.
JW: Dude, really?
JW: Go back to school. Become a marine biologist. Just make it official.
JW: Specializing in cephalopods.
Me: That's not a vampire bite! That's a beak wound. That's a fucking beak.
Me: God I should do that.
JW: Or an entomologist specializing in bees, yeah.
Me: But I would have to move, I think. Not a lot of marine biology to be done in Indiana.
JW: You could totally do entomologist.
JW: And then you'd have enough shared background to tack on marine biology pretty easily in the future.
Me: I don't like dead bugs. They sorta squick me.
JW: That's fair.
JW: They are quite weird.
Me: They're hollow! D:
Me: WHY ARE THEY HOLLOW
Me: ugh

Being Nice

Aug. 31st, 2012 01:05 am
xenologer: (snail cuddle)
Long (by my standards) but very worthy video that not only fits my experience as a skeptic talking both to other skeptics and to believers who are pretty sure atheists are empty vessels for their apologism, but also as a feminist talking to people who are pretty sure they don't talk to feminists, and as a liberal talking to people who are pretty sure they don't talk to liberals.

"Carrie Poppy, Director of Communications at the James Randi Educational Foundation and co-host of the popular "Oh No, Ross and Carrie!" podcast, discusses the importance of using inclusive language while doing outreach. Combining communication strategy and a spirit of friendly investigation, Carrie suggests that skeptical activists mirror themselves after a group she investigated and joined... the Mormon church."

Sorry I couldn't find a transcript of this talk. I would love one for accessibility reasons and for easy citation, but there doesn't seem to be one.



I think this is a great thing for people to consider. We have to be willing to draw boundaries, but it's also just plain tactically wiser to be kind to people up until the point when they make it absolutely clear that they'll repay it with dickery.

This is why when a friend of mine was finding that he cared more about truth than he did about what the truth could take from him, I explicitly told him not to chew his still-Christian wife's ankles off. I have been the still-identifying-as-theist partner of an atheist, and the best wisdom I had to pass on was that he should not get so excited about what he's figured out that he starts using his wife for target practice.

He took this under advisement. I was pleased. I didn't like the woman, but I felt I had done the right thing anyway, because what she deserved as a fellow human being and what would be most tactically effective for him happened to be the same option: be nice, even when someone is being ridiculous.

(It didn't work, but it was still the right thing to do!)

Now, this approach is exhausting and time-consuming to the point that not everybody can be required or even expected to do it. Additionally, an activist movement needs more than friendly and relateable people willing to connect on an individual level with every single goddamn person we encounter, which means we cannot all be diplomats. We cannot all be ambassadors. If we are all busy welcoming everybody, there's nobody left over to draw boundaries or do guiding work.

However, this kind of ambassadorial work--in my experience--is only effective if you do it the way Poppy describes.

Concede everything possible. Apologize whenever possible. Speak about personal experience only whenever possible. Rather than talking about how someone's unsubstantiated and potentially toxic dogma pisses you off (even though if you give a crap about your fellow humans, it probably does piss you off), speak from a position of sadness and hurt whenever you feel resilient enough to do so.

I cannot understate how important that latter one is. So many people who hold and act on toxic beliefs do so because they don't see the people they're affecting as real. This is true of people who think that atheists are heartless fun-ruining psychopaths just like it's true of people who think feminists are shrieking hysterical castrating harpies who want all babies born with penises to be pre-emptively convicted for rape at birth.

This is not a value judgement; it's a tactical decision. People are armored against outrage almost universally. Not everyone is susceptible to the "listen I am a person like you and I know you care whether you hurt people and this hurts me" approach, but far fewer people are armored against hurt compared to anger. For one example of how I have gotten back to this approach and the results I am having, check out my Obligatory Chick-Fil-A Post, an entry I wrote after all that bullshit with Chick-Fil-A shredded a lot of my peace and patience and I had to climb back up to the point that I was able to do what I know is most effective for me.

I am sure there are people somewhere who can make more progress by saying, "You are an entire bag of dicks and everyone who ever loved you was wrong," because there are lots of persuasive motherfuckers in the world and everybody's got a different approach. I know there is someone on the planet with a Charisma score of like 50 who could say those precise words and have people around them go, "Well I'll be goshderned. Am I a bag of dicks? I should work on that."

I am not that person, though. Here is what works for me.

Granted, it's vulnerable. It requires a lot of courage on my part because it means not pre-emptively striking at people I think are likely to be dickbags, and continuing to work through things this way even though lots of those people *gasp!* turn out to be dickbags after all.

But they won't all turn out to be dickbags, and the people who seem like dickbags but aren't (and instead just have no fucking clue how not to seem like dickbags) are the best candidates for outreach we'll ever get. They are the low-hanging fruit, people. Go get them.

When I have the energy for this exhausting but highly effective approach, I consider it one of the best things I can do for any movement I am a part of, not least because I know how few people have the energy to do a lot of it. The more I do, the better a contribution I feel like I am making, and so I wanted to pass this on in the hopes that others who could be good at the in-group empathy-based ambassadorial approach will take from this entry the motivation they need to give it a try.

The more ambassadors go out and pick up the easy converts, the fewer people our beautiful and precious firebrands will have to go stomp on. That's good for everyone!
xenologer: (happy!)
I do not have a single emotional need that is left unmet by this video, except perhaps for if maybe it had shown Michael Fassbender eating an apple.



If there is a god and it sends me to heaven, you have now seen where I am going.
xenologer: (human monsters)
So there have been a lot of suggestions that James Holmes, the Aurora shooter, for those of you who somehow haven't heard, may not have been well. Like, mentally, this may not have been a healthy person. This, according to many, is an ablist inference to make.

Here's one.
So, one more time, because oh my god you just don’t get it, JAMES HOLMES KILLED PEOPLE BECAUSE HE’S A HORRIBLE HUMAN BEING, NOT BECAUSE HE’S CRAZY. BECAUSE BEING CRAZY AND BEING A HORRIBLE HUMAN BEING ARE NOT. THE SAME. MOTHERFUCKING. THING.


I have seen this linked around as well.
We are the ones who have to live with the stigma you perpetuate. I am at risk of being killed because you tell the population that I am dangerous-despite that I am one of the 97% of developmentally disabled people who has been the victim of non mentally ill, non disabled violent perpetrators. You make the world more dangerous for me every time you do this. You make it more dangerous for my entire community.

We are not your scapegoat, and the trope of the dangerous neurodivergent is not only irresponsible, it is sloppy. Do some real research instead of lazily reaching into the bag of tropes every time someone does something terrible. Statistically speaking, we didn't do it, and spreading the idea that we did has very real consequences that can mean life and death for us.


Here's my vibe on it. I think that unaddressed disordered thinking is a necessary, if insufficient on its own, component of this kind of tragedy. And I am not sure that's ablist. Like, "making unhealthy and even destructive decisions that impair your life and those lives around you" is... um... kind of what disordered thinking results in if nobody does anything; that's why it's bad.

I think for me it comes down to this: the vast majority of mentally ill people are a danger to no one and a few are a danger to themselves at most. The number of mentally ill people who are a threat to others is a vanishingly small portion of the vast and diverse population of people who have (or should have) a diagnosis.

So James Holmes.

Nobody is assuming out of nothing and nowhere with no evidence that Holmes is mentally ill. He has demonstrated grossly disordered behavior, and odds seem good that his behavior seems reasonable to him! Which... means we're probably looking at disordered thinking. The people crying "ablism" say all we know about him is that he massacred strangers and told the cops he's a comic book supervillain. Which is... not nothing. I would say that is actually a very significant thing for us to know here.

I just... you know, it's that he told the cops he's a comic book supervillain. Until then I was riding right along thinking, "This looks like the action of a stable and reasonable individual. I see no evidence of disordered thinking in this massacre," but then he had to go and say he's the Joker.

WAIT NO THAT'S A LIE.

A civilian opened fire on dozens of strangers at a movie premiere. If that is not a mentally ill person, that's a funny goddamn picture of healthy and adaptive thinking. Add in that he claimed to be the Joker and my doubts become very smallish indeed. It's icing, though, really.

Yes, I am aware that there is a stigma against mentally ill people that makes it harder for them to get treatment. I think about that every time I see dissociatives portrayed on TV and in books and in roleplaying/writing communities as having an "evil" personality that hacks people up for funsies. It makes perfect sense to me that most mentally ill people are not violent, nor are most acts of violence pinnable on mental illness.

I am also aware that individuals whose mental illnesses are being addressed really are no more dangerous than anyone else. I am also aware that untreated mental illness eats away at the things that make people not just pleasant to be around, but safe to be around, especially in the case of things like personality disorders. Read that link again. Does reality have an ablist bias?

Not all acts of violence are attributable to mental illness, but the denialism surrounding the mere possibility that Holmes's might be is really puzzling to me right now. People without a mental illness commit violence all the time. A lot of that is because of pervasive bullshit like racism, misogyny, transphobia, homophobia, etcetera, and these are sane people who have been fed bullshitbullshitbullshit by society, but unfortunately because it's society telling them "those people don't count" and not a voice in their head, they're sane. They're wrong and they're horrible, but they're sane. If we really must divide it into teams, they're on my "team," much to my dismay.

Because seriously, if we aren't going to say that James Holmes's behavior was influenced by mental illness, then we have to say that he was mentally healthy. We don't have all the evidence, but contrary to some people's assertions, we don't know nothing and what we do know sorta has that "this boy ain't right" smell about it.

We can do the equivalent of "LALALALA HE WAS JUST HORRIBLE SO THERE IS NO EXPLANATION" or "LALALA THE DEVIL MADE HIM DO IT" but both amount to "we don't like the explanation so let's just pretend there isn't one." We really can begin to venture a guess that Holmes may not be wired particularly well. I am surprised we can't say that without every fucking anxious or depressed person on Tumblr screaming "HOW DARE YOU SAY THAT I AM A MURDERER!"

Joe Scarborough was being ablist, though. It's a little ridic to be like "I think these mass murderers are all a little autistic" because that is so fucking far distant from how autism works that the only reason he could possibly say that is a certain "well all mental illnesses are interchangeable so w/e they're all psycho" sort of thinking that is not useful and is ablist.

But what doesn't seem ablist to me is looking at someone who caused brutal murderous random mayhem in the style of a comic book and movie supervillain he later claimed to the cops to be and saying, "That boy doesn't seem right."

Just like how all squares are rectangles but not all rectangles are squares, we can say that as a general rule people who re-enact violent large-scale comic book supervillainy are mentally ill without arguing the reverse: that as a general rule mentally ill people re-enact violent large-scale comic book supervillainy.

Going to go out on a limb and say that that kind of thing is probably a fairly reasonable warning sign where mental health is concerned. I mean, it's a red flag by my personal standards. Y'all people on Tumblr are welcome to consider it a non-factor, though. You go ahead and suspend judgement until you get a more obvious sign of his mental problems than... you know, the attempted supervillainy.
xenologer: (objection!)
Okay, so the Harry Potter universe? I hate the wizarding world. Hate hate hate. I would go absolutely barmy there because I actually give a damn about anybody but myself and people exactly like me. Maybe I'm not always going to do a great job of getting past the various privileges accorded to me because of my race, level of ability, or the fact that my gender and orientation are generally able to pass cultural muster. That's fair. However. I am at the point in my basic humanity where I understand that I am not the only real person in the world and that other people's experiences matter even if I am not having them.

I would probably be a Gryffindor because I am probably too RARRRRRRRRRRRRR INJUSTICE I WILL FIGHT IT, but here's the thing. Even Gryffindor falls dismally short by my standards. Even people who aren't overtly whitewizard supremacists still don't really see muggles as anything but an exotic non-magical Other who must be prevented from having access to magic at all costs, because... apparently they thought that without any real witches or wizards, religious fanatics would stop killing each other over accusations of witchcraft (hahahahahaha yeah okay) and, no shit, because then wizards might have to help muggles.

No, I am not kidding. That's why there is a Wizarding Masquerade. Those are the reasons. The first one pretty much just means they don't know how religion works, which... y'know, whatever. I can excuse that, because I actually wouldn't mind living in a world where I didn't need to know about religion as a survival skill. So I won't hate on them for that. But the latter? Muggles will make them cast magic "for their own ends."

Well, yes, you assholes. Because you have all this magical shit and muggles have actual real world problems that you could be helping with given your superior access to magical resources and training. Yes, actually, muggles might expect you to use your privilege for anybody's benefit but your own. DAMN UPPITY MUGGLES AMIRITE?

*siiiiiigh*

Philanthropic Wizards and What They Could Really Do If They Didn't Suck

Sadly, muggles cannot actually mix potions, but a lot of powerful potions in the Harry Potter universe are literally stuff children can make. Some will require more precision and a more-educated intuition about them, but the amount of raw power required seems fairly minimal. Nonetheless, a wizard who graduates toward the bottom of his class is still a wizard, and you wouldn't have to be much of one to make potions provided you had the skill to compensate for a lack of raw power.

Muggle studies teachers need to be doing fieldwork, or else they need to get actual muggles to teach the course. Before you tell me there aren't muggles who know what magic is, where exactly do you think Hermione Granger's parents think she's going to school? And yes, her mother and father both know what witches are and think it's keen that their daughter is one.

Considering that it was apparently standard procedure to tell the parents what is really going on, consider how many wizards are not pure-blood wizards and then consider how many muggles that means they have in the hiring pool. In fact, if it were important to people in the setting to keep this secret, they'd have a huge problem.

Let's get right into what wizards can actually do, what they choose not to do, and why that means they are useless assholes that I hate.

Either the girding potion or strengthening solution would be literally a performance-enhancing drug. You think that shows up in drug tests? I bet it doesn't. And even if it does, I can think of plenty of legit uses for it besides cheating at sports. Then again, the most important accomplishment in the Wizarding world seems to be Quidditch, so perhaps by wizard priorities cheating at muggle sports is an absolutely brilliant way to make yourself significant to history through magic.

Personally, though, I would be more likely to try any number of these goddamn antidotes for things.

Look at that list. Look at that list. If you can find a cure for malaria or this miracle drug for amputees or people with serious skeletal injuries or a memory potion that you could at least offer to people with Alzheimer's or any number of the stuff that phoenix tears could save you from provided there's any phoenix in the world that considers muggles worth the trouble of shedding a single tear--something that I'd like to point out they can do voluntarily and without anybody needing to torture them for or anything--or any of the things which are clearly magical psych meds and not think, "I can actually make the world a better place for millions of people," you are an asshole and I seriously would hate you if this were actually the Harry Potter universe.

If you as a muggle--which I know you are because this is real life--look at this list and don't immediately think of helping muggles as a valid use for all this magic, what makes you think that if you were surrounded by wizard supremacists who only ever hear about muggles in a high school elective course you'd give a single damn about how many muggle children die of malaria every year?

And this isn't even getting into the bullshit about luck potions that allow you to succeed at anything (Such as actually going and killing Voldemort since even a small dose is clearly enough to protect you from insta-death curses? Or maybe researching a vaccine for HIV? Or for brewing more luck potions?). Keep in mind that potions that never wear off or never run out of doses are a canonical certainty and read those options I listed again.

No, they're fiercely preoccupied with Quidditch (and other ways of establishing and defending Wizard Cred among other wizards) and magical date rape.

And don't tell me wizards aren't smart enough to think of these things. They have potions to make themselves smarter, too.

Wizards are just assholes, that's all. They're assholes who clearly just don't consider "muggle problems" to be worthy of their attention, never mind all the wizards who are themselves related to muggles or dependent on the good graces of muggles willing to help wizards maintain The Wizarding Masquerade.

But! But!

I mean, maybe you're thinking, "But there aren't actually enough wizards in the world to meaningfully participate in solving the problems that plague the human race!" Okay, maybe you're thinking that. Maybe there are just so many utterly-unsolveable-by-muggles problems and not enough wizards to impact those problems even slightly. At that rate, is it really their fault that millions and possibly billions of innocent muggles have suffered and died for lack of access to things like magical medicine? How can we blame wizards for not being able to be everywhere at once? Is that fair or reasonable?

Yes.

I'm just gonna leave this here.

It's not like those are literally given to children so they can take more classes or anything.

I mean maybe magic is inexplicably and inexcusably useless with NO IN-SETTING JUSTIFICATION, or maybe... just maybe... wizards are simply assholes who can't see past their goddamn wizarding privilege to the fact that real human people are suffering and dying completely needlessly because wizards have the worst priorities ever.

A Game I'd Run

I was talking to my husband earlier tonight about what I would do if I ever ran a game in the Harry Potter universe. I would play a muggle-born potions or muggle studies instructor who sends students out on philanthropic adventures. Their first mission would be something super simple and innocuous and easy to cover up, like finding people's lost pets. This would also serve to give an enormous emotional reward to the students for helping a ten year old muggle child get their puppy back. We'd scale this up in their final years at school to disaster relief using apparition to get food and medical supplies into afflicted areas and get survivors out with minimal risk to a skilled user or to the people they're helping.

Why? Because wizards are citizens of the whole world, not just the wizarding world. I don't care what the classist wizard supremacist assholes in Slytherin are telling kids, and I don't care that apparently nobody else at Hogwarts is telling them to quit being so goddamn racist all the time. They're wrong, and muggles matter.

That's what I would use for adventure plot hooks. Go help people, kids. Understand that great power doesn't just come with great responsibility in comic books. If you're a witch or a wizard, you are a superhero, so get out and goddamn act like it.

Naturally, this teacher would probably get in trouble with the wizard supremacists. So here is what would happen. Wizard supremacists teleport to the outside of this teacher's house and decide that they're going to have a duel, because I guess in the wizarding world if you don't want to get thrown in Azkaban, you settle all disputes by seeing who can toss the other's wand into a corner, and the one who has to go pick up their wand loses at everything now and... I guess is forced to stop what they're doing to piss people off by... the honor system, I guess?

That's what the wizard supremacists expect. Unfortunately, this is a muggle studies professor who actually has done fieldwork among muggles and done shit like watch television or movies and guess what. Professor Not-A-Dick owns a gun and tells them to get the fuck offa her lawn or she's going to defend herself and her property.

Even if the wizard supremacists start throwing around killing curses, they can get what? One person at a time? What if this professor and her students have... I don't know... guns? One person on the side of good will definitely die--probably the teacher for dramatic effect--but then the students can retaliate by gunning down an entire crowd of people who expected to be able to win a war by killing a single person every round, because they didn't take their don't be a dumbass potion that day, or apparently pay attention in muggle studies.

So now the students are fugitives who have to continue their teacher's legacy of actually doing anything significant at all with magic. Quite probably I would have them eventually break out Carlotta Pinkstone from Azkaban because until 1996 she was seriously being subjected to Dementors as punishment for civil disobedience founded in her opinion that muggles shouldn't be denied access to magic, and that is not okay. But hey. It's 2012. No Dementors to contend with now, so go get her and let the revolution begin.

Meanwhile the wizard supremacists are wanking off to their obvious natural supremacy while accomplishing absolutely nothing with their magic except to own people (I swear if more wizards were farmers they'd have Field Elves, too) and pass those people on to their children who will also pretty much just sit around circle-jerking about how pure their lineage is and how significant they mistakenly believe they are.

I mean, they've done everything but set in place a system of squib plaçage.

So fuck Harry Potter wizards.

Except you, Carlotta. You're okay; I'm not mad at you.

Everybody else, you need to GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER.

Edit: If you want to share this, please share the public version over at Dissent of a Woman.
xenologer: (Ravenna)
Overall Review

This movie was very pretty and most of the acting was absolutely spot on. I will say that Kristen Stewart needs to close her mouth or she's gonna get a bug in there, and that I had been hoping Twilight had simply been a particularly poor exhibition of her acting skills (since her job in those movies has been to stare a lot and weep beautifully and basically nothing more), but I am coming to the conclusion that that's really all she can do. Propers to the young woman for crying on cue, because that's not easy, but I really want to run her through the facial warm-ups that we did in high school before speech meets so that she can find the muscles that move her eyes and mouth.

You know how they say that strippers often dance with this dead-eyed absent expression? She went through the movie like that. Needless to say, I found it less inspiring than all of the other characters seemed to. To be brutally honest? Her acting was so flat that she made everyone else around her look like worse actors because they seemed like they were responding way out of proportion to her simply because they were actually acting. The "twist" surrounding Snow White's reawakening shouldn't have been a twist at all, because there should have been enough chemistry between Snow White and the Huntsman to make it... maybe not obvious, but detectable would have been nice.

Kristen Stewart so dismally fails at screen presence that even Chris Hemsworth could not create chemistry between them. I defy anybody reading this who is attracted to men to fail to respond to Chris Hemsworth. So let's just think about how utterly absent the character of Snow White would have to be from Kristen Stewart's acting to make it a complete surprise that they have a connection. That's pretty serious.

I didn't go see it for her, though. I went to see it for Ravenna, for the queen. She was everything I had hoped for and more, and as a bonus this movie provided me with quite possibly the most balls to the wall fantastic soundtrack I have purchased in a long time. Prometheus? Decent soundtrack. Snow White and the Huntsman? This movie owned the bejesus out of most of the other soundtracks on my computer. It's got competition from... maybe... Donnie Darko, Lord of the Rings, The Dark Knight (which he did with Hans Zimmer), and Murray Gold's Doctor Who. I do not say those things lightly.

This is about what I went to see and what it turned out to be like, though. This is about Ravenna, about whom I have all manner of srs bsns thinky thoughts.

Read more... )
xenologer: (everybody's aunt)
There is another problem with PayPal. They are censoring ebook retailers because they don't want their service being used for certain kinds of erotica.

PayPal is huge, and the revenue streams for thousands of independent artists and authors get funneled through it. If they start telling us what we can and cannot put out there to sell, what we can and cannot buy, well . . . if you can't see there's a huge problem there, I honestly don't know if I can help you, and you might want to just go lie down for a while and hope the denseness passes. (...)

This is not just about incestuous underage dog-rape porn, okay? Who the hell would rally to protect that? Nobody. Which is the problem, here. People glance at the issue and they see indefensible garbage, and they move on.

That is a smokescreen! This is not about that crap. This is about people with no familiarity with genre fiction, with erotica, with the outer boundaries of sexual fantasy, being allowed to dictate how we express ourselves. This is about those people deciding where the line gets drawn between okay and not okay. This is not a new thing, though this crackdown is new, a new push against "obscene" content that previously nobody gave a shit about. They've already proven that they decide where the line is and that they can move it anytime they like; that they are doing this represents a shifting of that line. This is about being told what we can and cannot publish, and can and cannot buy. It affects everyone. And that should scare the shit out of you.

And while we're at it, let's discuss that indefensible incestuous underage dog-rape porn. It's sick, and I don't write it, and I don't want to read it, and if a given indie self-pub outlet wants to say "we will not allow people to publish that through us" I suppose I am very grudgingly okay with that. But if a bank – and that is really how PayPal works, as a bank for e-commerce – wants to tell me that I cannot buy that stuff, THAT IS NOT OKAY. I will spend my money any goddamned fucking way I see fit. They have crossed the line. We need to unfuck this situation.

A lot of the erotica described here is not my cup of tea, but Indiana Members' Credit Union doesn't tell me I can't subscribe to online porn or buy bondage tape, so I am not sure why PayPal should get any more leeway without any complaint from customers.
xenologer: (vagina)
Originally posted by [livejournal.com profile] afro_dyte at TODAY is the last day to support "Tulpa, or Anne&Me"
On January 12 at 11:59pm EST, the IndieGoGo campaign for my play, Tulpa, or Anne&Me is ending. Although people have supported the project by contributing a total about $1,700, there is still $1,300 to go.

Let’s break this down mathematically. If only 130 people on LiveJournal each donate just $10 TODAY, Tulpa, or Anne&Me will reach its fundraising goal.

With so many conversations going on about who gets to tell POC stories, the importance of things like “Shit White Girls Say … To Black Girls,” the release of George Lucas’ Red Tails, and otherwise being an ally supporting POC voices in arts and entertainment, your contribution sends a message that it matters to you that POC stories find their way on stage and screen, that it matters who tells these stories, that it matters who benefits from these stories, and that it matters who gets to witness these stories.

Tell the world this matters to you. Take a couple of moments to say so now.

P.S. If you are sick and tired of first-person shooters starring square-jawed White dudes, you should check out and support the Arkh Project too.



I donated because let's face it. This looks cool as heck.

"Part whimsical fantasy, part realist drama, part gothic horror, Tulpa, or Anne&Me tells the story of a lonely artist whose world gets turned upside down when Anne Hathaway crawls out of her TV. As their friendship blossoms, they examine how race impacts the way they understand and relate to each other. At the same time, they struggle to connect across racial barriers to find out who they can really be to one another."

I mean, seriously. Spread this around. Get us some more cool stories.

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