Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Who's the cutest of all the little potatoes?

Abbie, that's who.

I am a dork. Albeit a funky groovy one.

So there I am eating lunch on campus listening to my new-used sidekick's mp3 player, reading about Anglo archeologists making up Montezuma legends for Pecos Pueblo when I realize I've forgotten I'm in a crowded cafeteriaand have started doing a humming, butt-wiggling chair dance, and yes, people are staring at me.

It was all so much easier when I had a mohawk and people were staring at me anyway.

Monday, January 28, 2008

I accidentally made a white girl sad today.

So this semester I'm taking a cultural anthropology class on the peoples of the Circum-Caribbean, taught by this tiny, outspoken African-American female professor with an accent I might call "used-to-be-Brooklyn." Slightly intimidating woman for a certain type of person, I guess.

The first day of class, after some introductory, get-to-know-you type stuff, we started talking about race, and specifically how it's constructed in the United States. The professor started asking a girl, a very sweet-looking, very young-looking, (maybe even looking a lot like the mythical college girl ranted about by a certain crazy blogger we'll call Smizmar) white girl in the front row questions about the differences between the two of them. The girl mentioned skin color, hair curliness, nose width, and other phenotypical (physical) traits, at which the professor kept prompting, "What else? What is the difference between black people and white people in the United States?"

I got what she was trying to get at (as in, the differences lie more in terms of social, cultural constructions than physical ones), so I, thinking I was being helpful, offered to the white girl, "Well, you might live in a wealthier neighborhood." After which the white girl turned beet-red and everyone else in the class went, "OOOoooOOoo!" The black girl behind me said under her breath, "Nice one!"

So now for the rest of the semester I guess I'm Huey Freeman from The Boondocks or something.

To which I have to ask, why is that? Why is merely acknowledging the social and economic disparities that occur between races (yes, that's a touch simplistic, I know, but for brevity's sake, etc., etc.) a revolutionary, radical thing? Especially in the context of an anthropology class, because you can't talk about the culture unless you can talk about the fucking culture.

Bah. So, white girl, I'm sorry I embarrassed you. I didn't mean to. I didn't think reality would be embarrassing.

Testing...

This is a test of Vanessa's new Sidekick's (thanks Timmy!) blogging capabilities. This is only a test.

Carry on.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Okay, one more thing.

Just in case no one will click on the link below. Every time I watch this, I blubber.



Seriously, this guy is living in the heart of everyone who works a shitty retail McJob. I feel like a tiny this guy is singing from inside my chest every time I take a phone call at my own personal shitty McJob. Corny, I know. Stupid reality show, I know, I know.

Maybe the next revolution will be everyone leaving their pre-fab cubicles and following their individual bliss.

Via Jack via Portly Dyke.

Blogging: The Lightning Round

The semester is two days old and I already don't have time to blog, so these one-word links will have to do you.

Exactly!

So?

Cool!

Duh!

Opera!


Please!

And that's all folks!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Race: The Power of an Illusion

I was thinking about Barack Obama and being multiracial last night, and this documentary came to mind. But I couldn't remember the name of it until I literally had one of those three a.m. Eureka! moments where I sat bolt upright in bed and went, "Race: The Power of an Illusion!!!"

I could only find this one bit on YouTube, and wanted to write more on the issue but really kind of don't feel like it now. But, watch it anyway. Highly recommended.

It's that time of year again, kids.

So the semester starts on Monday. I plan on spending the weekend deciding whether to spend my privileged student loan money on a Wii or a Playstation 3.

Joke! Joke!

So, have fun perusing the archives and leaving nasty comments no one will ever read. You may not be seeing too much of me for awhile.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

So, yes.

There was a sex work discussion. Again. You can read the whole thread if you want, but mostly it gave me a headache. Really, though, I just wanted to quote this section of this comment by annalouise.
98% of trafficking victims in the United States do not work in the sex industry. The most common industry that trafficking victims are found in is the domestic service industry. Many of them work for wealthy foreign nationals under a particular provision of US immigration law that provides them with very restrictive entry visas and little to no workplace protections. Others work in exploitive circumstances for American citizens who take their passports, underpay them and use the fear of deportation to keep them cowed. The largest growing group of trafficked persons in the US is men being trafficked from South and Central America to work on post-Katrina reconstruction of the Gulf Coast. This is the face of trafficking victims in the US.
Why does it not get press coverage? Because the NYTime wouldn’t be able to publish a titilating cover of a girl in a schoolgirl uniform to accompany their stories on exploited nannies. Because looking at the men being trafficked in New Orleans would shine light onto exactly what a “guest worker” program means and big business doesn’t want that. Because mainstream feminism would have to do some genuine soul-searching about how some women’s liberation has come at the expense of other women. Because we might have to look at global capitalism and that make everybody uncomfortable.
The titillating image of a schoolgirl, especially I think disturbs me. In a Human Rights in Anthropology class I took last semester, someone did their final presentation on forced prostitution and trafficking of sex slaves. And the power point he put together was filled with images of scantily-clad, young Asian women, some with black eyes or other cuts and bruises, posing sexily for the camera.

And it really creeped me out thinking about this guy googling all night long looking for the most disturbing, most twisted images to put to his descriptions of the ultimate victims. These women, who will never know he used their faces in this way, without asking, are not humans to him. They are concepts. He was using them as concepts, the Ultimate Helpless Victims, look at them in their tawdry clothes and cheap makeup, look at how they are beaten up for money!

It was, needless to say, quite gross.

Likewise when the mainstream media tries to talk about trafficking of humans, or when feminists talk like they did in that thread, or for a more extreme example, here.

It doesn't help. It makes it worse.

And, on a related note, I've always wondered if say, appearing in a porn movie contributes directly to more suffering than, say, shopping at Wal-Mart. (Or Starbuck's, for that matter, you corporate sheep!) i mean, I shop at Wal-Mart, mostly because I have to. How many people have I directly injured by doing so? Maybe I'm making assumptions based purely on liberal guilt, but I think the tally would be much much higher.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

5 things meme

So Ren tagged me with a fairly good meme. Here goes.

5 things I regret. These are all kind of self-involved.

1. Dropping out of college the first time. Because I thought I was too cool for school, literally, and now I find that embarrassingly stupid.

2. Dropping out of college the second time, because I was afraid of taking out another student loan. All that did was cause me to waste 5 years of my life getting carpal tunnel at a call center, growing more and more jaded.

3. Missing out on a school trip to St. Petersburg, Russia when I was in high school because my mother couldn't afford it.

4. Not hooking up with my husband the first time we met. We were friends, then didn't see each other for two years, then became friends again. Life is too short to waste that kind of time.

5. Missing the first Lollapalooza. This is kind of a juvenile one, sure. When the first Lollapalooza came about in 1991 I was what, 12? A freshman in high school, anyway. The show was in Denver, I think, and I had a young cousin from the east coast who was working on the lighting for the show, so he drove down to Albuquerque to visit for the afternoon, offering to take me to the show. My mother, quite rightly, I'm sure, said no. I was already a Jane's Addiction fan at that point and was heartbroken.

Now, 5 things I don't regret.

1. Going back to school. Plus, now that I don't party every weekend it's so much easier to get better grades than my younger classmates.

2. Getting married. I don't think it changed the nature of our commitment to each other, though, so I guess maybe I mean making that commitment, not the piece of paper.

3. Having a kid. Yes, even when it's hard and bad and I'm covered in vomit (it may take me awhile to get over that) it's still somehow great. I know that doesn't really make sense. But it's true. There's not really words to explain how great it feels to me to have a kid.

4. Blogging. Even when there's huge annoying blog wars.

5. Speaking my mind. Sometimes I phrase things badly, and that doesn't always work out well. But one has to speak one's mind.

Now, to tag. Hmmm. Ummm, Jack, Lilo, and spyderkl.

Better

Everyone is pretty much better now, although there are still some things in the laundry.

Sheesh. There's only so many times you can be projectile vomited upon in a three-day period without having a minor emotional trauma. Hats off to the nurses of the world!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Busy

We all seem to have the plague. I'll let you know when my husband, my daughter, and/or I stop vomiting.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Is anyone even talking about this?

Is anyone even talking about how no one is talking about this?

I'll tell you what. The next presidential candidate to mention this (or hey, even this!) gets my vote.

More reasons why Hillary Clinton is not all that great

The other day skippy had this to say about Hillary Clinton.
heaven knows we are not fans of clinton's politics, and have said elsewhere that we would vote for her only if someone shoots us in the head and sneaks into the voting booth with our body and uses our dead arm to pull the lever over her name, a metaphor that would be funny if they still had levers in voting booths.
And I gotta say I agree.

Why? Well, here's a reason. She calculatedly and unashamedly misrepresented Obama's voting record on abortion rights.
What pisses me off is that Clinton and her campaign are smart enough to know better. They know that the ads are huge manipulations of the truth and that Obama is actually an incredibly strong pro-choice candidate. In fact, it’s probably my favorite thing about the guy. So I call bullshit very loudly and indignantly.
Also, she only has two more years of experience in politics than Barack Obama. And I don't think its sexist to suggest that the unelected position of first lady does not count as political experience. In fact, I think it's a little sexist to suggest that it might.

Besides, if she wants to be counted as a member of the Clinton administration, then let's talk about it. Let's talk about their role in the Rwandan Genocide. Let's talk about mealy-mouthed "acts of genocide" sound bites. And then let's talk about the Sudan, and Kenya (in fact, is anyone talking about Kenya?).

I really, really, really hope she doesn't get the nomination.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Oh, come on.

Okay. Here's the thing.

I found Hillary Clinton's emotional chokeup on TV this morning to be soooo fake. Disgustingly fake.

I mean, come on. It was like she was saying, "I love America so much *choke* that I hate to think what would happen *sob* if you all failed to vote for me! *fans eyes* It would be so sad if I weren't president! Otherwise, I'd have eaten all these carbs for nothing!"

We're supposed to believe that the woman who is lambasted for not being emotional enough coincidentally showed public emotion the day before the next big primary? Right. Hillary Clinton is too Machiavellian for me to believe that.



Am I being mean? I don't think so.

Also, while I'm ranting on the subject, let me just say that I've not so far understood how her Presidency would be some sort of symbolic victory for women. What's the message there? Listen up girls, if your husband is President, notoriously and continually cheats on you, if you don't leave his wandering ass then someday you could be President too! But only if you cry on TV so everyone knows what a sweetheart you really are!

I say no thanks.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Hrm.

So, in an off-blog conversation about music tastes something started to vex me. Well, not vex per se. But to prick at my thoughts a bit.

When is it okay to culturally appropriate?

For example, me. I love Russia, Russian culture, Russian movies, Russian music, the sound of the Russian language (if not the genitive plural noun case endings), etc. Is that weird? Am I appropriating a culture that is not mine? (And here's an excuse to make you all listen to this song again.)



I mean, who wouldn't like that? Although it's a ska song, which was a musical style itself appropriated from another culture, so my dilemma is furthered.

I've had this vexation before, but have always come to the conclusion that it's okay.

Another anecdote. I'm not sure how exactly I stumbled upon this, but I think I was half-assedly googling around about modest dressing with the mind of doing a post about it when I came across this website. The bonnets! The boots! The aprons! The capelets! I kind of coveted them. Really. I *almost* ordered something, but decided in the end it would be wrong to adopt someone's religious artifacts because they looked both cool and cozy.

But I have to ask, what makes religious apparel off-limits but not other aspects of a culture (as in, their pop music or food or language) okay to borrow? The other aspect being, of course, why am I, a black woman, so bothered about the thought of potentially "stealing" the culture of other white people when white culture in America has consistently and continuously "stolen" black culture?

As I said, vexing.

Hrm. Maybe I better examine my choices grumble grumble.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Oh, it's true!

It Takes A Tough Man To Make A Tender Vanessa.

Enter a word for your own slogan:

Generated by the Advertising Slogan Generator, for all your slogan needs. Get more Vanessa slogans.



Via Jack.

So ashamed.

I've never even read the book that I am.







Which literature classic are you?




Charles Baudelaire: The Flowers of Evil. You are one of the most loved and hated poetic works. Death and decadence are important themes for you, but none should overlook your impressive aesthetics, either. Deep down youre not evil at all, you just like to play the tough guy on the block.
Take this quiz!








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| Make A Quiz | More Quizzes | Grab Code



Via Daisy.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Lighten Up, It's Just Faaashion!



Yes. What Ren said.

**Added** I want an entire high-heeled chorus line of Santino Rices to fan-kick while singing, "Lighten up, it's just faaashion!"

And then...jazz hands!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

New Year's Day.



Nothing changes on New Year's Day.
NAIROBI, Kenya - A mob torched a church where hundreds had sought refuge Tuesday, and witnesses said dozens of people — including children — were burned alive or hacked to death with machetes in ethnic violence that followed Kenya's disputed election.
Not under a blood red sky.
BAGHDAD - A suicide attacker killed at least 32 men gathered in eastern Baghdad Tuesday to mourn the death of a retired Iraqi army officer, a Shiite who was slain last week in a car bombing blamed on al-Qaida in Iraq.
No, nothing changes on New Year's Day.
A US diplomat in Sudan has died of his injuries following a shooting in the capital, Khartoum, US officials say. The diplomat's Sudanese driver was killed on the spot during the attack in the early hours of Tuesday.