With Such Words
if you aren't a hypocrite, your moral standards aren't high enough
Recent Entries 
18th-Dec-2037 12:29 am - Creative Commons permissions
talibusorabat: Creative Commons logo with the text "Creative Commoner" (Creative Commoner)
Everything in this blog is licensed under Creative Commons' Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license. You are free to distribute and remix for any purpose, so long as you retain attribution and a similar license for your own work.

This includes the right to use the characters and worlds in my fiction works for any purpose (stories, art, roleplay, etc). If you do, I would be flattered! Please let me know so I can admire and feel all the warm fuzzy feelings.
26th-Nov-2014 01:09 pm - for Michael Brown
talibusorabat: Captain Sisko from DS9 looks angry "The Sisko is Not Impressed" (DS9: Not impressed)
I don't know what to say about the decision not to indict Darren Wilson for the murder of Michael Brown. I could spew a whole invective of inarticulate but colorful curse words that would capture only a fraction of the outrage, revulsion, and shame I feel.

I don't know what to say, and I'm not the one who needs to be heard.

Today in Tabs: I Will Only Bleed Here
Here’s another story. I am the only black person on the editorial floor at my place of employment. The other ones who look like me work as cleaners or in the mailroom. When we lock eyes I nod, and it is both the easiest and hardest thing in the world. I know nothing of their lives, and yet here we are the same. Today I will do this. We will share a look that encompasses last night’s indignities and acknowledges tomorrow’s. We will keep our heads down and our hearts guarded, and I will only bleed here, in words, on this page.

Nikky Finney | Choking on a Waterfall of Watermelon Seeds
Life as "normal" for this Black girl's life has meant that every day in America I have to be prepared to endure the shotgun fire of old watermelon jokes aimed at my heart and my life. After the shotgun fire of these "unfortunate" words I am then told to stand there and "let it sink in" as if it wasn’t already lodged beneath my skin like a spray of bullets and then I am expected to just move my broken Black girl heart along. The old LP record starts to play: Pick up some Duck tape on the way home Black girl, bandage up your wounds for the umpteenth million time—you’ll be fine in the morning.

Is Darren Wilson receiving affirmative action?
The 12 grand jurors in Wilson’s case — six white men, three white women, two black women and one black man — should be deciding whether there is probable cause to believe a crime occurred, not guilt or innocence beyond a reasonable doubt. The latter is left to a trial jury, if the prosecution has any real interest in prosecuting Wilson. The grand jury should address indicting Wilson and vindicating the interest of the public, not criminalizing Brown and defending the interest of Wilson.

Why Darren Wilson Was Never Going to Be Indicted for Killing Michael Brown
The truth is that the law gives wide berth to the police’s use of deadly force. Just two months before Brown was killed, the Supreme Court gave its ruling in Plumhoff v. Rickard, where the plaintiffs were suing after police officers ended a high speed chase by shooting 15 rounds into the car, killing the driver and a passenger. The court held that this wasn’t “excessive force” in violation of the Constitution, affirming years of deference to police departments. “It stands to reason,” wrote the justices in a 9–0 opinion, “that if police officers are justified in firing at a suspect in order to end a severe threat to public safety, the officers need not stop shooting until the threat has ended.”

Chronicle Of A Riot Foretold
From the outset, the great difficulty has been discerning whether the authorities are driven by malevolence or incompetence. The Ferguson police let Brown’s body lie in the street for four and a half hours, an act that either reflected callous disregard for him as a human being or an inability to manage the situation. The release of Darren Wilson’s name was paired with the release of a video purportedly showing Brown stealing a box of cigarillos from a convenience store, although Ferguson police chief Tom Jackson later admitted that Wilson was unaware of the incident when he confronted the young man. (McCulloch contradicted this in his statement on the non-indictment.) Last night, McCulloch made the inscrutable choice to announce the grand jury’s decision after darkness had fallen and the crowds had amassed in the streets, factors that many felt could only increase the risk of violence. Despite the sizable police presence, few officers were positioned on the stretch of West Florissant Avenue where Brown was killed. The result was that damage to the area around the police station was sporadic and short-lived, but Brown’s neighborhood burned. This was either bad strategy or further confirmation of the unimportance of that community in the eyes of Ferguson’s authorities.

Here is a list of ways you can help the people of Ferguson.
21st-Nov-2014 08:11 pm - weekend reading
talibusorabat: Rarely pure & never simple (DS9: Never simple)
As usual, I have no idea how to cut this list down. I feel like I should aim for themes or something sensible. Or read less. That could also work.

Links to read over the weekend )
14th-Nov-2014 09:46 am - weekend reading
talibusorabat: A cartoon man thinks "Deep thoughts" (Avatar: Deep thoughts)
Managed to cull this week's list down to 22 links, and I'm still crying a little over some of the ones I left out. (If you're an RSS addict like I am, you can subscribe to my Pinboard's RSS feed here and skip these entries entirely.)

I've realized that I'm currently in a phase where I'm consuming a lot of information but interacting with very few people. (I'm mostly on Plurk these days, but even there, I'm actually interacting with less than 5 people regularly.) That's something I'd like to work on changing, because why read cool things if you can't have meaningful conversations about them?

But for now —

Links to read over the weekend )
8th-Nov-2014 08:33 pm - analyzing "One Missed Call"
talibusorabat: A young cartoon woman gets ready to fight with fire (Avatar: Korra feel the fire)
One Missed Call. There is way more going on in this movie than I feel qualified to talk about. I've watched it twice now, I've read about it around the web, and yet the more I think about it, the more questions I have. I'm not sure if the film is intentially ambiguous, or if there are cultural references and translation problems that impede my understanding, but would make sense to a fluent speaker.

Regardless, it is a fascinating story.

Spoilers behind the cut )
7th-Nov-2014 09:48 pm - weekend reading
talibusorabat: Puppy with glasses "I am who I am. Your approval is not needed." (Default)
I started teaching myself Swift, Apple's new programming language, this week. Considering I've never learned a programming language before, it's been an interesting exercise to say the least, but it's been a fun challenge.

Also means I haven't been reading quite as much. But I still have a goodly collection of articles for you perusal.

Links to read over the weekend )
talibusorabat: A cartoon man thinks "Deep thoughts" (Avatar: Deep thoughts)
A few articles I've read this week have got me thinking about politics and polarization. The funny thing is, they were about two completely different topics. One was an article by John Lanchester about being a restaurant critic; the other was an article by Ezra Klein about the politics of #Gamergate. But they both hit upon basically the same point. (Emphasis added to make my own points.)

Not so long ago, food was food. (I’ve lost count of the number of conversations I’ve had with people in the industry, debating some point backward and forward, that end with someone shrugging and saying, “It’s just food.”) That’s not true anymore. Food is now politics and ethics as much as it is sustenance. People feel pressure to shop and eat responsibly, healthfully, sustainably. At least, that’s the impression you get from what’s written and said about food culture—that it’s a form of surrogate politics. To some, it’s not even surrogate politics; it’s the real deal, politics at its most urgent and consequential.


This isn't a world in which we should be surprised that video games have been politicized. This is a world in which it was only a matter of time until video games were politicized. This is a world in which, sooner or later, most everything will get politicized.


Both articles, without outright stating "and this is bad", indicate discomfort with how politically charged things outside of politics have become. Lanchester, while admitting that he himself does his best to shop ethically, questions whether it's actually an important political act or if we're setting our political sights too small. Klein talks about how a debate within the gaming community has been co-opted by outside political forces; video games are just a new battlefield for conservatives and liberals to duke it out.

And I just think: The personal is political.

It's a tenant of second wave feminism, popularized by Carol Hanisch. The original idea was that things like childcare, household division of labor, and abortion are not personal issues for individual women to address, but political problems that had to be dealt with on a collective level. The heart of the idea is recognizing the hidden, systemic forces of oppression.

Food has always been political. Video games, movies, any kind of entertainment have always been political. The environment, human rights, violence against women and ethics in journalism are all political issues which are inexorably linked to things we didn't used to think of as political.

I think Lanchester makes a great point when he says: "If these tiny acts of consumer choice are the most meaningful actions in our lives, perhaps we aren’t thinking and acting on a sufficiently big scale." Yet I also think about how the United States Supreme Court has ruled that money is speech, and since the days of Ronald Reagan we've been told to vote with our feet. In a country where our vote matters less and less, is it any wonder that we turn to things which are in our power, such as what we buy? And Klein's points about polarization are spot-on. But I don't think the problem is that "Once political identities are activated, these fights will spread far beyond their natural constituencies..." A discussion about ethics in video game journalism is relevant far beyond the gaming community — especially as so many news networks are owned by huge conglomerates. Let the fight spread. Let people draw connections and see patterns. Broader culture can learn from subcultures; BDSM culture has a lot to teach even the most vanilla about how to communicate during sex.

I think the real problem is a corollary to "the personal is political," which is: "the political is personal." In personal arguments, it's hard to listen to what the other person is saying. We get defensive; we spend our time thinking about how we can fight back instead of actually listening to what the other person is saying. Especially as our political identities become even more important to us, as Klein points out, the communication problems which we have in our personal lives are magnified on the political stage. While there are personal issues that can only be addressed in a political arena (such as harrassment and bullying), these fights will only be productive if individuals use personal skills like active listening. The tools & techniques good counselors teach people for dealing with conflict are the same ones we need for political discourse.

Maybe American society just needs a really good marriage counselor.
2nd-Nov-2014 10:05 am - one of my greatest regrets in life
talibusorabat: Crystal Kay smiling and wearing big blue headphones (Music: Crystal Kay with headphones)
Is that I played the violin instead of the cello in middle school/high school.

I really freaking love cellos.



31st-Oct-2014 09:34 pm - defining narrative compassion
talibusorabat: An older white man in a crown "So I've executed all the sorcerers...wait, there's Harry Potter." (Merlin: Harry Potter)
As promised, and in honor of Halloween, I'm launching a series of posts about narrative compassion in horror films.

This has been a research paper fantasy of mine for awhile now. But I'm not an academic, really, and I don't have the discipline to do a properly researched paper. I can, however, write blog posts (believe it or not).

so watch me write )
31st-Oct-2014 03:24 pm - for your weekend reading
talibusorabat: Rarely pure & never simple (DS9: Never simple)
Happy Halloween, everyone! Later on today I'll be launching a new little blog project in honor of the season, but first — this week's recommended reading! It turns out I save a ridiculous number of links over the course of a week — seriously, I had 50+ links in this list before I culled it down to about 22. You can find all the links I've saved on my Pinboard. But these are, I think, the truly must-reads.

Links to read over the weekend )
This page was loaded Dec 21st 2014, 10:39 am GMT.