Archive for February, 2011

Why all stories should end happily (via io9)


Could not agree more with this article by Esther Inglis-Arkell on io9. Life’s depressing enough; fiction shouldn’t have to be. Pro-read.

Why all stories should end happily.

Having your cake and being forced to spit it out


So recently I’ve been having a small meltdown —I mean, carefully and calmly considering my future and the futures of my course mates and in fact everyone facing the threshold of graduation. Here’s how that’s going:

 

So with creative media I’m entering a highly competitive field, I knew that. Cut throat, rat-race, etc., but seriously the future’s looking pretty bleak if I actually want to get to use my brain for something not mind-numbing or that I actually enjoy. What does that feel like? This:

 

 

So I got to thinking, who’s to blame for this quandary? Is it me, for being born a creative type?

 

 

Is it the world for not providing enough places for people like me to earn a living that’s above the poverty line without having to sell my soul? Or is it somewhere in between?

Now, call me ungrateful, I absolutely love my university course and I don’t think I’d have come to university to do anything else that was on offer (if you ignore that brief time I considered nursing or psychology)… BUT the thought occurs: why are there so many courses like this one? Why are so many universities churning out graduates for saturated markets? There seems to be a breakdown in logic here. If there aren’t the jobs to go to, why are there so many people being trained for the aforementioned nonexistent jobs? Surely there are fields that actually require people to work them. The answer, of course, is money. Everything comes down to money.

 

 

 

Perhaps (probably) I’m just a little chewed up that the carrot of an exciting career after uni has been dangled in front of me for three years, but now that it gets close to crunch time I can see the path becoming a very narrow iron funnel, not a great expanse of open pasture. Though in fairness no one ever said it would be easy, but I can’t help wondering does it really have to be this hard?

 

 

I had to go for 'easy' because I assure you you don't wanna know what came up when I searched for 'hard'.

 

 

I’m getting way ahead of myself here though, I have to graduate first. Plenty of work between now and then. Except that to hit the ground running when you graduate you have to do a lot of career-minded legwork while you’re still stuck in the quagmire of uni-minded brain grind. To say that this puts a little pressure on an already stretched temperament would be an understatement.

 

 

So that’s where I’m at. Less the grey hair and, regrettably, less the espresso IV.

But it’s okay, everything will be fine.

And in the meantime? There’s always retail therapy.

 

 

 

Guest post: RE: “All European Life Died In Auschwitz”


I recently received a chain email entitled “All European Life Died In Auschwitz.”

That’s some title —and not in a good way. This title immediately flags the content up as a hate-filled anti-muslim rant. I read the beginning bit and couldn’t read any more, because it made me too angry. I get sent these chain emails all the time and they always get my goat. The Muslims this! The immigrants that…!

I posted on facebook that no one should send me any more of these poignantly written, but deeply venomous diatribes. And I repeat: I am not interested in your futile hate. It accomplishes nothing but feeding an already frenzied pool of bile.

However, one of the cc’s on the email —Eddy Widdup— did read the whole thing and found it as offensive as me. A few days later I was cc’d with his highly articulate response, which I have reproduced with permission below as it sums up my feeling on the situation, but with more ammunition that I could have mustered:

With the greatest of respect what died at Auschwitz was millions of innocent people. What died in the wars we have fought since then is millions of innocent people. No more no less. Racism didn’t die there and tolerance is a virtue that should be cherished and passed on. Muslim people do not bring intolerance, we are all good at that. Jewish people are not all peace loving innocent as the article would have us believe. Just look at Ariel Sharon and the Hebrew extremism forcing Palestinians from their homes and into Ghettos, no different from what National Socialism did.

Jews may well have given us some of the great minds of the last century but also remember that it was the Saracens who invented particle theory, much of modern medicine and even the parachute.

The article says they bought us stupidity and ignorance. But it was Christians who burnt the library at Damascus during the Crusades, effectively destroying the greatest collection of Ancient learning ever assembled. This included many of the original scripts from the New Testament, which because the soldiers could not read were considered heresy.

Then what about white extremists? Groups like the IRA or ETA? Are we to look at these idiots in a different light as they are white?

It is nonsense to think that Muslims are responsible for the all of Europe’s problems. We have done this before, except last time people donned brown shirts and burnt down synagogues.

It wasn’t Muslims that bought up the worlds food dividends when the property market crashed, callously driving the price of food up world wide. It wasn’t Muslims that gave the 3rd world huge loans then alter the interest rates so they would never be able to pay it back. It is not Muslim economies that are consuming the worlds resources at a rate where most will run out in 50 – 100 years.

The West has caused and will continue to cause the deaths of millions of people world wide, not through religious extremism but something far colder: PROFIT.

Basically what I’m saying is that its very easy to write an article profiling one group as the “cause” of our problems but its far harder to look inside and point the fingers at ourselves.

Sorry mate, but these kind of emails insult me deeply.

Eddy

The original email text is here, should you wish to read it, however it is fairly standard for this kind of thing.

Be sure to read the entire email.
ALL EUROPEAN LIFE DIED IN AUSCHWITZ – Please take a few minutes to read this and pass it on.The following is a copy of an article written by Spanish writer Sebastian Vilar Rodriguez and published in a Spanish newspaper on Jan. 15, 2008.

It doesn’t take much imagination to extrapolate the message to the rest of Europe – and possibly to the rest of the world.

REMEMBER AS YOU READ — IT WAS IN A SPANISH PAPER, Date: Tue. 15 January 2008 14:30

ALL EUROPEAN LIFE DIED IN AUSCHWITZ

—By Sebastian Vilar Rodrigez
I walked down the street in Barcelona , and suddenly discovered a terrible truth – Europe died in Auschwitz ….

We killed six million Jews and replaced them with 20 million Muslims.

In Auschwitz we burned a culture, thought, creativity, talent.

We destroyed the chosen people, truly chosen, because they produced great and wonderful people who changed the world.

The contribution of this people is felt in all areas of life: science, art, international trade, and above all, as the conscience of the world.

These are the people we burned.

And under the pretense of tolerance, and because we wanted to prove to ourselves that we were cured of the disease of racism, we opened our gates to 20 million Muslims, who brought us stupidity and ignorance, religious extremism and lack of tolerance, crime and poverty, due to an unwillingness to work and support their families with pride.

They have blown up our trains and turned our beautiful Spanish cities into the third world, drowning in filth and crime.

Shut up in the apartments they receive free from the government, they plan the murder and destruction of their naive hosts.

And thus, in our misery, we have exchanged culture for fanatical hatred, creative skill for destructive skill, intelligence for backwardness and superstition.

We have exchanged the pursuit of peace of the Jews of Europe and their talent for a better future for their children, their determined clinging to life because life is holy, for those who pursue death, for people consumed by the desire for death for themselves and others, for our children and theirs.

What a terrible mistake was made by miserable Europe .
***********************************

A lot of Americans have become so insulated from reality that they imagine America can suffer defeat without any inconvenience to themselves.

Absolutely No Profiling! Pause a moment, reflect back, and take the following multiple choice test.

These events are actual events from history. They really happened! Do you remember?

HERE’S THE TEST

1. 1968 Bobby Kennedy was shot and killed by:
a. Superman
b. Jay Leno
c. Harry Potter
d. A Muslim male extremist between the ages of 17 and 40

2. In 1972 at the Munich Olympics, athletes were kidnapped and massacred by:
a. Olga Corbett
b. Sitting Bull
c. Arnold Schwarzenegger
d. A Muslim male extremist between the ages of 17 and 40

3. In 1979, the US embassy in Iran was taken over by:
a. Lost Norwegians
b. Elvis
c. A tour bus full of 80-year-old women
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

4. During the 1980’s a number of Americans were kidnapped in Lebanon by:
a. John Dillinger
b. The King of Sweden
c. The Boy Scouts
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

5. In 1983, the US Marine barracks in Beirut was blown up by:
a. A pizza delivery boy
b. Pee Wee Herman
c. Geraldo Rivera
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

6. In 1985 the cruise ship Achille Lauro was hijacked and a 70 year old American passenger was murdered and thrown overboard in his wheelchair by:
a. The Smurfs
b. Davey Jones
c. The Little Mermaid
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

7. In 1985 TWA flight 847 was hijacked at Athens, and a US Navy diver trying to rescue passengers was murdered by:
a. Captain Kidd
b. Charles Lindberg
c. Mother Teresa
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

8. In 1988, Pan Am Flight 103 was bombed by:
a. Scooby Doo
b. The Tooth Fairy
c. The Sundance Kid
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

9. In 1993 the World Trade Center was bombed the first time by:
a. Richard Simmons
b. Grandma Moses
c. Michael Jordan
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

10. In 1998, the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were bombed by:
a. Mr. Rogers
b. Hillary Clinton, to distract attention from Wild Bill’s women problems
c. The World Wrestling Federation
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

11. On 9/11/01, four airliners were hijacked; two were used as missiles to take out the World Trade Centers and of the remaining two, one crashed into the US Pentagon and the other was diverted and crashed by the passengers. Thousands of people were killed by:
a. Bugs Bunny, Wiley E. Coyote, Daffy Duck and Elmer Fudd
b. The Supreme Court of Florida
c. Mr Bean
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

12. In 2002 the United States fought a war in Afghanistan against:
a. Enron
b. The Lutheran Church
c. The NFL
d Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

13. In 2002 reporter Daniel Pearl was kidnapped and murdered by:
a. Bonnie and Clyde
b. Captain Kangaroo
c. Billy Graham
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

14. And now we can add: In 2009, 31 people wounded and 13 American Soldiers murdered on base at Fort Hood by a Major that was known as…
a: You guessed it – A Muslim male extremist between the age of 17 and 40.

No, I really don’t see a pattern here to justify profiling, do you?
So, to ensure we Americans never offend anyone, particularly fanatics intent on killing us, airport security screeners will no longer be allowed to profile certain people. They must conduct random searches of 80-year-old women, little kids, airline pilots with proper identification, secret agents who are members of the President’s security detail, 85-year old Congressmen with metal hips, and Medal of Honor winner and former Governor Joe Foss, but leave Muslim Males between the ages 17 and 40 alone lest they be guilty of profiling.
________________________________

The Global Islamic population is approximately 1,200,000,000; that is ONE BILLION TWO HUNDRED MILLION or 20% of the world’s population. They have received the following Nobel Prizes:

Literature:
1988 – Najib Mahfooz

Peace:
1978 – Mohamed Anwar El-Sadat
1990 – Elias James Corey
1994 – Yaser Arafat:
1999 – Ahmed Zewai

Economics:
(zero)

Physics:
(zero)

Medicine:
1960 – Peter Brian Medawar
1998 – Ferid Mourad

TOTAL: 7 SEVEN

The Global Jewish population is approximately 14,000,000; that is FOURTEEN MILLION or about 0.02% of the world’s population. They have received the following Nobel Prizes:

I’ve cut this down for the sake of brevity:

Literature: 10

Peace: 8

Physics: 53

Economics: 13

Medicine: 44

TOTAL: 129!

The Jews are NOT promoting brain washing children in military training camps, teaching them how to blow themselves up and cause maximum deaths of Jews and other non Muslims. The Jews don’t hijack planes, nor kill athletes at the Olympics, or blow themselves up in German restaurants. There is NOT one single Jew who has destroyed a church. There is NOT a single Jew who protests by killing people. The Jews don’t traffic slaves, nor have leaders calling for Jihad and death to all the Infidels. Perhaps the world’s Muslims should consider investing more in standard education and less in blaming the Jews for all their problems. Muslims must ask ‘what can they do for humankind’ before they demand that humankind respects them.

Regardless of your feelings about the crisis between Israel and the Palestinians and Arab neighbors, even if you believe there is more culpability on Israel ‘s part, the following two sentences really say it all:

‘If the Arabs put down their weapons today, there would be no more violence. If the Jews put down their weapons today, there would be no more Israel .” Benjamin Netanyahu

General Eisenhower Warned Us

It is a matter of history that when the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces, General Dwight Eisenhower, found the victims of the death camps he ordered all possible photographs to be taken, and for the German people from surrounding villages to be ushered through the camps and even made to bury the dead.

He did this because he said in words to this effect: ‘Get it all on record now – get the films – get the witnesses – because somewhere down the road of history some bastard will get up and say that this never happened’

Recently, the UK debated whether to remove The Holocaust from its school curriculum because it ‘offends’ the Muslim population which claims it never occurred. It is not removed as yet. However, this is a frightening portent of the fear that is gripping the world and how easily each country is giving into it.

It is now more than 60 years after the Second World War in Europe ended. This e-mail is being sent as a memorial chain, in memory of the 6 million Jews, 20 million Russians, 10 million Christians, and 1,900 Catholic priests who were ‘murdered, raped, burned, starved, beaten, experimented on and humiliated’ while the German people looked the other way.

Now, more than ever, with Iran , among others, claiming the Holocaust to be ‘a myth,’ it is imperative to make sure the world never forgets.

This e-mail is intended to reach 400 million people. Be a link in the memorial chain and help distribute this around the world.

How many years will it be before the attack on the World Trade Center ‘NEVER HAPPENED’ because it offends some Muslim in the United States ?

Do not just delete this message; it will take only a minute to pass this along.

Now I’m not contesting the numbers —atrocities have been committed and still are being committed on all sides— but unless people on all sides learn tolerance and acceptance, we’re all going to hell/posthumous-penal-location-of-choice in a handcart.

Wake up, people.

Video: Lady Gaga and the ethos behind the Grammys egg


Lady Gaga appeared last night on Jay Leno’s show. Apart from speaking of her admiration of Madonna (8:26) and thus acknowledging the honking great elephant in the room RE: Express Yourself/Born This Way, Gaga also explained the ideology behind her by now infamous mode of entrance at the Grammys (10:34)

The performance we did last night at the Grammys was… and what we’ve been doing with the egg and the rebirth… It’s meant to signify an artistic statement of birthing a new race and it’s a race with no prejudice. A race within the race of humanity that bears no prejudice against anyone. That’s really the statement in itself.

With specific reference to my last post about diversity and tolerance, I fully appreciate this sentiment (as fantastical as it may seem) and I hope the movement behind Gaga –who has done more for the self-acceptance of the ‘freaks and monsters’ of the world than anyone is recent history– continues to grow and gain strength.

Here’s the full interview:

Genderqueer – gender outside of the binary


biological sex: male

Browsing one site a while ago I came across an interesting term, genderqueer. Implicitly the meaning of this is obvious, but it doesn’t do to assume when an article hinges on the term in question, so I looked it up. What am I talking about? Well…

biological sex: female

intergender

bigendered

ambigender

intergender

non-gendered

androgyne

third gendered

gender-fluid

transgendered

genderfuck

All these terms, according to Wiki, basically mean the same thing, i.e.people who do not define themselves in alignment to the ‘traditional’ or sociotypical binary gender identities allocated by biological sex:

Gender identity (otherwise known as core gender identity) is the gender(s), or lack thereof, a person self-identifies as. It is not necessarily based on biological sex, either real or perceived, nor is it always based on sexual orientation. The gender identities one may identify as include male, female, both, somewhere in between (“third gender“), or neither.

Some genderqueer people see their identity as one of many possible genders other than man or woman, while others see “genderqueer” as an umbrella term that encompasses all of those possible genders. Still others see “genderqueer” as a third gender to complement the traditional two, while others identify as genderless or agender. The term “genderqueer” can also be used as an adjective to refer to any people who transgress distinctions of gender, regardless of their self-defined gender identity.

Polygender describes it this way:

What does it mean to be polygendered?

Polygendered people are transgendered. Transgendered people are defined by TGS-PFLAG as “individuals of any age or sex who manifest characteristics, behaviors or self-expression, which in their own or someone else’s perception, is typical of or commonly associated with persons of another gender. ” Among transgendered people, there are transsexuals (who get sex-change operations), non-op transsexuals (who fulfill all the steps of a sex-change except for the genital operation), drag kings and queens (who dress as the “opposite” sex for performances) and transvestites (who do so all the time). And then there are us, the less well-known transgender folks. We are people who identify as bi-gendered, non-gendered, or third-gendered. We may feel we belong to more than one gender, that we have no gender at all, or that we are our own gender, something neither male nor female.

I should mention at this point that these terms are not to be confused with or substituted for intersex people, pomosexuals, or guydykes and girlfags, which are a whole other kettle of fish that I am so not getting into right now.

So why bring all this up? Well because it’s salient (to me at least), it’s interesting and it’s a sign of our times. The diversity and complexity of our society, the blurring of lines. It gives me hope. Binary is boring, restrictive and oppressive. If I go to a formal occasion, e.g. a wedding/funeral/interview, I wear a suit. That’s what I feel appropriate wearing for those occasions. I do not, even for a moment, consider wearing a dress/skirt and a pair of heels. Why? Because it’s unnatural (for me, yes, it is). So why should I get disparaging looks because I don’t fit into some age-old patriarchal dichotomy? I look forward to a time when gender-fluidity is known beyond just the catwalks and crude stereotypes of gay people. Acceptance of difference and variation could be the glue that binds us as a species — if we can just get over our social conditioning first.

Yours,

Anti-Barbie ;):-

***

Sites for and about genderqueer people:

Genderqueer – beyond the binaries

Genderfork – beauty in ambiguity

Below the Belt – deconstructing gender

Polygender and Transgender information

United Genders of the Universe

Guide to proper f*ck distribution techniques (via KC @ Autostraddle)


I found the following inspiring article via Twitter, my omnipresent link to the world. At some stage I may count how many times the F word is used throughout the article, but until then, I intend to refer to it often in an attempt to view life as a less stressful place to spend my time. Pro-read.

Autostraddle — This Is How We Live, No F*cks to Give: KC Danger’s Guide To Not Giving a F*ck.

Quick post: female character flow chart


Found the below image here, via Twitter and then had to sniff out the whole article by mlawski – not through any force you understand, I just had to know what textual accompaniment it might have.

 

And?

It makes a hell of a lot of good points. Feminism or, as I prefer, equalicism (yeah I made that up, but you catch my drift, right?) evidently has a long way to go! Thanks kindly to mlawski for the insights into modern fiction.

Note: ‘fridge-stuffing’, as seen in the top right of the infographic is best explained here and a whole gamut of mlawski’s Overthinking It articles can be found  here.

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