eumelia: (little destiny - bookworm)
I just finished reading The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller, the 2012 winner of the Orange Prize for Fiction.

Broadly, it is a retelling of the story of Achilles from the eyes of his loyal companion Patroclus. If you know your Greek mythology, poems and plays, then every single moment in this book was known to you. Basically you were "spoiled", if one can be spoiled when the source material is several thousand years old.

If you don't know your "Greek", you may find yourself coming home from work one evening and have your mother ask you: Spoilers for the book, the poems by Homer and the various plays written by other Greeks! )

For the TL:DR folks, it's a fun and fluffy book with some depictions of gore. I recommend it if you love mythology, fanfiction and romance.
eumelia: (Default)
Workers of the World Unite and Dance around the Maypole!

So, yeah, where was I?!

Well, the day after I posted about the Seder, I actually went on a proper holiday weekend with a couple of my friends. We stayed in a very nice lodge with a stable motif. It also had no mobile phone reception(!!) and barely there WiFi (which I cared less about because I didn't bring anything that needed WiFi in order to live).

During that lovely weekend I read one the best young adult books ever and one of the few original Israeli sci-fi books!
There's a sizeable sci-fi/fantacy community in Israel and it's a very creative one too, there's plenty to chose from when it comes to translated works, but when it comes to original work in Hebrew the pickings are a little slimmer and this book was just, oh my god, I really hope it gets translated into other languages soon so that you can all read its gorgeousness.

Right after that holiday I was dumped back to school in which I wrote a crappy paper and probably got a decent grade on an exam.

I also found myself escaping into fanfiction a lot, being annoyed at Glee, being annoyed at Doctor who (I haven't seen yesterday's episode yet! EEK!) and being really unsure what to make of Game of Thrones... it is good. Really good. It's making me want to read the books good, though I have a feeling the books are not as good, because damn, High Fantasy does not like me about as much as I don't like it - that is to say, the series is making me have major, huge, thinky thoughts about many things, but they are possibly not the ones every one else is thinking. Or maybe they are, very possibly they are and I'm just not reading them.

And now, lunch. This year has been brutal on my updating, why!?
eumelia: (little destiny - bookworm)
I love second hand books.

I love the fact that the books that belong to me now, were loved by someone before me. I love the creased spines and the yellowed, aged pages. The smell of bookcases and cardboard boxes rather than glue.

Like Giles said: Smell is the most powerful trigger to the memory there is. A certain flower or a whiff of smoke can bring up experiences long forgotten. Books smell... musty and rich. The knowledge gained from a computer is... it has no texture, no context. It's there and then it's gone. If it's to last, then the getting of knowledge should be tangible. It should be, um... smelly.

Mind, that I have a very healthy love for computers, but Giles is possibly one of the most inspiring characters and figures of my early adolescence and late childhood - there's a reason I want to be a tweed wearing, martial arts knowing Librarian Hero!

I received my order from Better World Books (which I ordered just over a week ago, dude they're fast!) and I four of the books I bought were for a course I'm taking next semester - I'm taking a Toni Morrison course - yes, yes, lucky me!

But the one book I purchased without a cause other than "hey, there's a sale! I'll get a book I've been wanting for a while!" and that book is Sarah Schulman's People in Trouble.

Another thing about second hand books is that usually, they are third or fourth hand books and they come to be marked and used and dog-eared. I won't be unfolding the dog ears in this book, as I'm interested in seeing what pages caught the reader's attention and how invariably it now has mine.

But the very best thing? Finding a note.

This book came with a note! From one woman to another. Due to the nature of the book and the author (the book being about the AIDS crisis, a lesbian affair and written by a lesbian woman) I safely assume that the women who exchanged this book are queer themselves and I feel they were probably good friends.

This is the note I found in the book.

Amy dearest. Managed you two Sarah books 2nd hand (people in trouble is best). My grandma died in Jan 2nd. Sigh. Been a hard week.
Speak to you soon. Was wonderful seeing you.
♥ Viaoex

I'm not sure if the last word, which I think is the writer's name, is that or "Viavex" or something else.
Opinions?

Regardless, how cool is that?!
eumelia: (little destiny - bookworm)
Working at a library has many perks.

You get to see how it actually works, the whole system and drudgery of hauling books to and fro, discovering that students (my peers) are often so helpless in the wake of the scope of the stacks.

That's very charitable thinking as very often they are simply lazy. That's also an unfair assessment, the books are intimidating, especially when you have this system to work through. It's called Dewey-Decimal. Why can't it just be alphabetical?
I used to think that, when I was in high school and spent most of my free time (or the time skiving off lessons) hiding in the stacks, reading useless sex-ed books (hey, you had to find porn where you could get it) and the slim selection of Science Fiction and Epic Fantasy was not much to go on.
But woe, the alphabet is sorely lacking in the nuance needed for arranging books in a Library that caters to those who are to be over-educated (like moi!).

I'm still under a lot of scrutiny. I try to take in stride but my boss is one of those unsmiling sorts and takes making sure I put all the books on the shelf correctly. I'm waiting for this month to end, if only so that I can be trusted with the books a bit more.

I find myself loving books more now that I handle them as objects and not things which contain things I want to read or know. it's a different way of interacting with a book. The majority of the books I handle are so incredibly boring I don't even bother leafing through them - seriously, "Introduction to Microeconomics", "Qualitative Research". Those are the titles.
I pity my fellow over-educated peers. I mean, granted not everything I have to read is a page turner, but still, they would pity themselves more than they would pity me.

My stacks are not sexy stacks, alas. They are metal and have many copies of one book - many of them is very bad condition. Wear and tear comes with the territory, but it being a reading hall Library (there is more hall than Library, in fact) you'd think people would take care - after all, the books don't actually belong to them.

In relation to the above, I was sitting around with friends a few days ago and while I can't remember what it was we were watching, it did contain a chase scene and the person running away pushed over a bookcase and I cried out along with a wince:
"No! Not the books!"
And was promptly laughed at by my friends.

The main (and self-indulgent and shows you all how anti-social I actually am) perk, is that I get to show off my mad book finding skills and feel superior to the other over-educated students who think we're going to find jobs with a crummy B.A. in the Humanities and the Social Sciences.

Unless you major in Econ. Then you have a chance. Maybe.

P.S.
BBC's Sherlock has taken over my brain side by side with Inception. I cannot wait to finally have a functional DVD player so that I can re-watch some of Doctor Who and Torchwood. I've been completely neglecting those fandoms!
.
eumelia: (queer rage)
Israel's Interntional Day Against Homophobia Day website is up - IDAHO Israel (It's all in Hebrew, but it looks pretty). The nice thing about the acronym of IDAHO in Hebrew, which is הבנה - Havanah, is that it spells out the word "Understanding".

I like that.

Getting the launch notice in my email box also got me thinking about a topic I'd been meaning to write about for a while now.

I know that throughout the past year my "queeriosity" tag pretty much exploded. I feel guilty about that.
Not for talking about the queer thing, or for info dumping my perspective on queer issues, but the fact that it took a trauma for me to realise how sheltered and privileged I was (I still am).

When I came out the first time at 15 it was because I was fighting with my mother, god knows about what and I blurted it out. It shut her up, which was the desired effect. She told me not to tell my dad and that I should try the "hetero way before [I] decide something rash" (I will never forget her words).

Five years later I came out again; I was out of the army, I was starting my life after two years of stagnation and I thought it was as good a time as any.
I told my dad as we drove home from work and it was a classic cliché thing, "Daddy, I have something to tell you".
And I did.
His response, after a few moments of quiet (which I thought would last forever, my dad is one those laconic quiet types) said: "Are you seeing a woman at the moment?"
I was single at the time, which is my default state any way, so: "No", I replied.
"Why are you telling me now?"
It stung.
A lot.
Still, at the time I thought that as far as responses go, it could have been worse.

As time went by and I became more vocal about being a queer person, I could see that my parents did their best to ignore this, my sibs didn't seem to really get why I was getting riled up - especially when no one was actually being, you know, intolerant towards me.

Why wasn't I happy with this tolerance? It could have been so much worse. I could have been thrown out on my ear, I could have been told to never mention such horrible things again. I live with my parents, am supported financially by them and will probably not move out until I have finished my studies.

I am not about to confront them about the fact that I feel that their treatment of me and [Southern!Girl] during the year that we were together was severely under par. That I wasn't treated as though our relationship was equal to any of the guys I dated for a couple of months before I met [Southern!Girl].

During the year that were together I was asked time and time again not to introduce [Sothern!Girl] as my girlfriend, but just by name. When I complained I was accused of "not understanding" their point of view.

I read Sarah Schulman's book, the one I mention when I wrote about meeting her, Ties That Bind, in which she coins the term "familial homophobia" and discusses the phenomenon from a very personal and (obviously) political place.
I have so many passages underlined.
I scribbled a lot in that book.

In the book she lays out how familial homophobia operates and how by being a part of the nuclear family structure heterosexual children and relationships are privileged is various and sundry ways.
It is radical in it's assessment.

What does it say about the society that we live in when a 25 year old Israeli bisexual-queer Grrl recognises the experiences of a 51 year old New-Yorker lesbian?
Far too much.
Unlike Ms. Schulman, I was not ostracised out of my family and I am a (hopefully positive) influence on my niece and nephews and hope to be able to teach them and be there for them in ways their parents aren't.
But the feeling of difference is there. Deeply and it's disturbing and it's masked as "not so bad".

That we are tolerated is something to be appreciated.

I'm not a tolerant person, I know this of myself. I'm judgemental and elitist and will argue my point until your ears bleed. I may not let you get a word in edgewise.
Some things, are not an opinion.
Asking us to be "understanding" of how we impose ourselves is so insulting I don't even know how to articulate the hurt I feel when it's asked of me.

I get upset when I mention the marriage of a friend and am asked "Have I found a suitable boy yet?" and when I say "no", am then asked jokingly "I suppose I should ask about a girl" as though my most serious relationship ever was, ya know, a passing fluke.

It may not be as earth shattering as being expelled from the family, being mourned and sat Shivah on as though I had died, but these little daily instances are diminishing, softly dehumanising... plainly and simply wrong.

To get straight people - family and friends - to see it that way can be even more upsetting, because you're forcing the people you love to confront the fact that their behaviour hurts you - and be rebutted by a line that basically says "we love you too, but your existence is difficult for us".

There's more to say. Not now, though.

Happy May Day.
eumelia: (fangirl)
I am an admirer of those who use words. Those who convey a world Next Door as though I can walk by it and know I just need to reach out and be there.

Neil Gaiman is one of those word-smiths.

I don't want to rehash the incident, which you can read about here, as context is important and should be known, but for the benefit of those who haven't been in the conversation: See me rehash )

Now, my thoughts.

The biggest problem, beyond the obvious of Gaiman's Tweets (which is just a ghastly thing to do), is the implication of Gaiman's comment on Reese's blog post in which he apologised for his response in 2008 and continued to put his foot in his mouth by flippantly saying sorry to the Vikings and Norwegians who he may have misrepresented in the comment.

It is humour politics done very badly.

It is also a very Euro-centric mode of thought, that until the America's were settled by white people there wasn't anything there.

I myself am guilty of such thought, it's a white privilege thing (and not living in the North American continent thing as well, for some).

"A few dead Indians" is a bad turn of phrase. Very, in fact.
I ponder if Gaiman would ever make a Holocaust joke of a similar ilk, but then the only people I've ever heard make Holocaust jokes are Israeli Jews and not other kinds of Jews.

Sorry, derailing. It is however, the power of the joke. The notion that the issue is not important enough for anything other than a laugh. Historical narrative is complicated in what it includes, more so in what it excludes.

When I hear talk of America, my automatic knee-jerk thought is Discovery and not Invasion. This is because I am indoctrinated, period.

When I think of Gaiman and his treatment of America, I think of American Gods, in which he had a PoC (who I always thought was mixed race black/white, but later realised was native/white) protagonist who uses a name that is descriptive and not literal, in which the bloody history of American "immigration" (From the First Nations who cross the Bering Straight to the kidnapped Tribes from Western Africa to the Impoverished Farmers of Eastern Europe. And of course, his beloved Vikings) is detailed in the "interval" chapters found throughout the book between moments of the main plot.
The book is conceptually problematic in the way Spirit of America (The Buffalo Man IIRC) is framed, but I would argue that it's about the defeat of that spirit by the invading colonialist religions than anything else.
Sorta, a large point of the book is that the land itself is no good for the colonising gods, hence... the whole plot of the book.

It is Eurocentric, it's also self-indulgent in a way that managed to speak to a great many people who like the philosophy that Gaiman presents in his work overall.

Problematic yes, bad in and of itself, I don't think so.

Still, Gaiman uses his privilege as a famous author, as someone known to have a dry sense of humour and as a writer who has been known to write the Other to deflect this necessary criticism.

This is not about his knee-jerk reaction to the aforementioned posts regarding what he said in interviews, but regarding what he said about American history.

Writing this is difficult for me, you see I'm a fan. A huge fan. A fan who *squeed* quite a lot when I met him four years ago and I still admire his writing. Even when I heard about the premise of The Graveyard Book which is conceptually based on Kipling's The Jungle Book, I ate up the critique because I love being informed and thought that what Gaiman did in The Graveyard Book was truly brilliant - intertextuality is a kink of mine.

I also think it's important to know where authors and creators fall short. And it this instance, it is Gaiman.

It's disappointing and still... I feel a loyalty towards him. His work has inspired me, changed my way of thinking and is one of the reasons I managed to think about religion and faith more critically and in a way that satisfied me both intellectually and emotionally.
Meeting Neil was one of the best moments of my short life.

I always considered Neil Gaiman to be one of those authors who got things right, who wrote the world with a certain Truth. It is a talent that has garnered him great acclaim and fame. It helps that he himself is a pretty funny guy, self-deprecating but arrogant at the same time, a dry sense if humour that belies the notions of superiority he has about himself.

I always liked that kind of humour, it's uniquely British and makes me nostalgic about Black Adder, French and Saunders and P.G Wodehouse's Jeeves and Wooster (just to name a few, I could go on).
(Dear god, yes I know of the problematic dynamics in these programmes... I'm an Anglophile and everything that suggests. *sigh*).

But this is a fail and as a loyal and adoring fan I have to take this into account. I have to look at the works of this author, his words on and off the page and wonder, how is it that mainstream historical narrative (i.e. racist and elite oriented) is so pervasive that a the notion of genocide that continues to this day is viewed as nothing more than a cavalier utterance? That those deaths continue to haunt America and that the death of a Nation is an absence felt all the time, not only by those who survived the killings but by the cultural and narrative vacuum of that death.

Genocide lingers, either as an traumatic imprint or as the absence that I mention. There is more to this than "a few dead Indians" and European tombstones.

Oh, Neil...

I'll be paying attention to this. I may write some more.
eumelia: (fight like a girrl)
I met Sarah Schulman yesterday in Tel-Aviv.

I and a few other lesbian identified (boy this is complicated for me) women are trying to get together a grass roots movement off the ground, aimed at creating lesbian visibility which is lacking in the gay community and generally speaking (my aim is also to weed out biphobia and bisexual erasure with in the lesbian community) and make feminism accessible to young women - feminism is very much perceived to be a high brow theoretical thing, something that only the educated can be and something that doesn't actually help women, or anyone, from a lower socio-economic base.

Sad, but true. We're very backwards here when it comes to feminism on the street.

Any way. Ms. Schulman came to speak with us and it was a really wonderful experience. We were five women in a Tel-Aviv apartment lounge and Ms. Schulman. It was very intimate.
I had no idea who she was until my fellow group member told me she was coming to Israel on a solidarity trip to Israel-Palestine. We spoke the structure of oppression, the disinformation, the fact that we are such a teeny-tiny minority (radical queers, anti-Occupation activists - I should do more), how the IDF stratifies class mobility, how class is tied with ethnicity, what it means to have served, what it means to not have served, the PTSD mentality that's infected people here, that is and how LGBTQ rights are used as propaganda to the outside world to show how fucking liberal Israel really is.

When we're not.

At all.

Hence the fact that the murderer of the gay youth club shooting is still at large. Fuck, I can't believe it's been eight months and still nothing. There are kids who are still in rehab wards in the hospitals and they're not going to be getting social security welfare because this shooting doesn't count as an "Act of Terror" when it fucking was!

Yes. Okay. The past year was a big kick in the ass for me when it came to treatment of queers in Israel, by the State and from society at large.

I asked her about her book Ties That Bind: Familial Homophobia and its consequences, which I've just ordered. She was very informative and made me feel better about the fact that I don't actually want an "alternative" family.
My family has enough estrangement and I can't bear the thought of not having them in my life.

Homophobia in the family, like everything else, isn't a personal thing. It's a political thing. And it really needs to be exposed for what it is and not just focus on the fact that "oh, parents, siblings etc. just need to "get used to the idea".

I don't have time for people to get used to the fact that I fucking exist.

Any way, it was fascinating and we spoke about being gay, radical and how we want to include women from every where and be more direct action, which we should have asked more about because of Schulman's involvement in ACT UP and Lesbian Avengers.

I think I'll email her at some point.

This was a bit angry, a bit not. Well, mostly angry. But it was a really god meeting. It's a real privilege to meet people like her.
eumelia: (Default)
Today was full of events and NSFW language!

First my Deleuze & Guattari Seminar prof came into class in the most hideous shirt I've ever seen! Good god, man, why?! Dark forest green with orange leaves, weird grey "blue print" sketches splotched all over.
It was hilarious. I was so distracted. I'm so happy he's compelling in his own right and I could focus on his voice while I stared either at my notepad or the whiteboard.

Then I hung out with friend in which we spoke about eugenics, which always makes me uncomfortable, not just because the subject is disgusting in its own right, but because I have strong associations to Mengele when speaking about race-based genetic research - Josef Mengele is my Boogyman.
Then we stalked other profs we like.
Yes, we're those students.

The highlight was seeing and hearing Michael Cunningham speak about writing. He read us the first chapter of his new book and it has a het sex scene in it. Which was kinda hawt seeing as it was basically a description of a man going down on a woman. I always enjoy hearing the word "clit" in public. He spoke about the female sex organ being either medicalised ("Vagina", blech) or, ya know, just demeaning (if you're not into reclaiming "cunt" or "pussy"), which was great too.

I like Cunningham's work, The Hours is an amazing book and got me looking at Virginia Woolf in a different way and appreciate her even more. I told him so and I even got a bit emotional, it's not every day you meet an author you appreciate and had an affect on your life.

I didn't expect him to be such a large man, then I again, I always imagine myself as much bigger (sometimes I feel like I've got a Hulk wanting to rip out of my skin... but that's when I'm angry... usually I'm simply a huge uber-nerd-geek fangrrl monster).

Last but not least, I had a Sign Language lesson today and got the gumption to ask my instructor how you say "gay" and "lesbian" (she didn't even know what "bisexual" was, so I gave up on "queer") and friend... I knew ISL would be sexist language, after all Hebrew and Arabic are very gendered, but I seriously didn't expect the Signs to be so unabashedly homophobic.

Gah, when she showed me the sign for "gay" I wrinkled my face, for "lesbian" I just burst out laughing... it's so rude! How would you make that Sign in public?!
Any way, I've decided that once I'm a bit more proficient and speak to some Queer Deaf people that there be changes done to those words.
And find out what the words, should they exist, for "bisexual", "queer", "transgender" and other pertinent words for the community.
eumelia: (Default)
I haven't seen Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes yet, and I fully intend to.

As those of us who follow the media and enjoy movies know, there's been a huge amount of talk and play regarding the more homoerotic facets of the new movie.

I've only seen the trailers, and even there, despite Ms. Adler's fetching lingerie, the Slash Factor between Holmes and Watson is apparent.

RDJ and Jude Law have been playing up on that for promotional reasons.
It wouldn't surprise me if either of these men were queer, but for convenience sake and because Hollywood is a conservative corporate town, chose not to disclose this and had public heterosexual relationships.
Hollywood is not conductive for being out of the closet.

That's beside the point.

The point is, that slash is a way of interpreting text. Finding homoeroticism is the original Doyle books is so easy - Watson being divorced (or widowed) twice, Holmes not actually even appearing to be in a relationship, Ms. Adler being possibly the only woman that misogynist (if you contradict this by saying that Holmes is a misanthrope, I will be annoyed, if he were really such a misanthrope, he wouldn't tolerate Watson as much as he does... besides which, misanthropes are not immune to societal misogyny) considered intelligent enough to find human and interesting.

I hear Carole Nelson Douglas Irene Adler stories are worth reading, is this true?

Back to my point. Not every interpretation of the text is a good one, you have to be able to create a cohesive and essentially un-contradictory (in- ?) analysis and give good, clear examples and indications from the text that what you say is indeed supported by the words, images, metaphors, Synecdoche, etc.

I apologise for the Literary Lingo, there's more of it coming, please don't hold it against me! Thanks.

The Queering of Sherlock Holmes is about as out there, as Queering Star Trek, that is, it's bloody easy and people do it.
A lot.

But again, it's a reading that does travels along the weaving of the plot and focuses on the relationship between the two men, or rather, on the fact that Watson's admiration of Holmes has an erotic edge to it.

In the movie, which I have yet to see, because it isn't in fact the story as seen through Watson's eyes, but an action adventure movie in which we, the audience is sucked in via diegesis that we are shown and not told, which makes the queering both easier to see and easier to refute.
Why?
Because while there is a revealed text (i.e. what we see on the surface, the text itself) there is also subtext which contains hidden meanings which are more subtly revealed via interaction with the reader and the narrative as it goes along.

There is a reason why slashers call "Subtext", "Buttsex" (anagrams are teh awesome).

Thus, when Andrea Plunket who claims to hold the remaining US copyrights of Doyl'es estate is quoted:
"I hope this is just an example of Mr. Downey's black sense of humor. It would be drastic, but I would withdraw permission for more films to be made if they feel that is a theme they wish to bring out in the future." She then added, "I am not hostile to homosexuals, but I am to anyone who is not true to the spirit of the books."
Emphasis mine.
Regarding RDJ's antics regarding the more-or-less obvious (I'll let you know when I see it) homoeroticism between Holmes and Watson, I call foul.
Foul, I say!
Because who the fuck are you, Ms. Plucket, to say what is and what isn't in "the spirit of the books"?
Being that, a) it's a movie! b) it's based on the books and isn't in fact telling a story Doyle wrote and c) there isn't, in fact, anything wrong with Watson and/or Holmes being Gay *gasp* Together!

Oh, and when you use the term "Homosexuals" when talking about gay and/or queer folk, it sounds as though you think we're sick, because that's the psychiatric term when speaking about the identity of many an LGBT.
It's also the term used by right wing conservatives who do their best to misname us as a group, under the guise of neutrality: "But you are attracted to your own sex, so you're homosexual".

So, yeah Ms. Plunket, it actually sounds like you kind of are hostile to the Homosexuals, deviant text manipulators that we are. The mere fact that you felt the need to defend your position pretty much gives away your homophobic ass.

Hopefully, I'll get to see both Sherlock Holmes (and Avatar) over the coming weeks.

Edited To Add: I now want an icon that says "Deviant Textual Manipulator". Alas, I have no skillz!
eumelia: (Default)
...as I write this.

I'm not ashamed.

I decided to watch it, so that I could pin-point my hate of this franchise. Yes, I went into it knowing that I'd hate it.
Twihards, I know Good Vs Bad is hard to resist. I also know that reading about a girl who could be you (because you can transplant your personality onto her) being with a handsome boy who isn't all about the sex (though it really is) is compelling.

But let's get one thing straight; abusive relationships are not romantic. Thinking your boyfriend is a predator is not sexy. Stalking is a crime.

Also, my god she could be replaced by a blow-up doll and it have the same effect on plot, narrative and her personality.

That's great female role-modelling you've got there.

WTF! Sparkles?!

*sigh* I'm disappointed in literature sometimes, and thus the human race.

Related to this, I've taken to reading [livejournal.com profile] fandomsecrets. It's very fascinating, what anonymity enables us to say and do. Most of what's written there is quite common and a large amount of the secrets repeat each other in variations.
By reading F!S I can also tell which Fandom is bigger than others.

Today, this secret appeared:
Hating Fiction ).
You can read the comments here.

I'm not planning on commenting.
Mainly because I find the "secret" a fascinating one. To me it reads as someone who possibly enjoys reading fiction that they are ashamed of.
Fiction and possibly fanfiction because it is de facto unedited by an outside reader and usually Beta readers (the editors of the Fanfic world) encourage the writers to go beyond what they consider their limits - you can read that often when authors thank their Beta readers.
The all encompassing offence of this "secret" is just incredible.

The way I see it, fiction gives us the ability to discuss all the "offensive exploitation and glorification of real issues" - humanity is not really good with dealing with things head on. We do truly horrible things to each other.

The monsters of fiction (Vampires and Werewolves and Zombies... whatever) are yet to have been verified by science - but we all know those people who suck the life out of us, those people who can be the sweetest people one second and then without warning can make you cry from the violent cruelty they impose and who hasn't met those people who just wander through life without passion and want nothing but to take the passion out of others.

Most of life's bad things are not actually spoken about. We do not talk about torture or how sexual it is. We do not speak about the fact that rape is a crime against humanity and that it is committed against 1 in 4 women, 1 in 10 men, 1 in 6 children of any gender - usually by someone they knew.
That incest is far more common than we want to imagine.
Fiction is able to present us with a disturbing, yet palpable picture of the world.

The "secret" is obviously accusatory, but I think it's more inward than anything else. The person who wrote the "secret" most likely has read a bunch of fiction that "offensive" and "glorified violence", enjoyed it and was ashamed of pursuing the stories that were gritty, disturbing, kinky and fantastic (= fantasy, not "amazing").

I say, if we can't discuss, talk, explore and live fictional lives how can we do the same for non-fictional lives - in which we hide, repress, suppress and oppress so much more?

As I finish writing this, the credits of Twilight are rolling. A more boring movie I can't remember seeing. Disturbing gender, race and class relations abound.
This is fiction that many find meaning in. It is bad, it glorifies behaviour that in our world can get you killed, relationships that can wreak emotional havoc and personalities I hope one day get help to sustain healthier lives.

If we can't say that on a world found in books, how will we ever be able to say it about the world that exists at the end of our nose?
eumelia: (Default)
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Quoi?
What kind of internet user thinks up these questions?

In short, I wouldn't ban any book. Really. No, not even The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, not Mein Kampf, not Huckleberry Finn.
Not any hate-mongering, free-love-ing, right wing, left wing... what have you.

That doesn't mean I'm not going to tell the kid who may or may not be interested in a book to be aware that every book presents and represents a certain stand-point and that it's usually better to be not take every piece of writing at face value.

Literary merit is for book critics, not for critical analysis.

I'd prefer to steer teens towards work that doesn't implicitly (or explicitly) state that some people are more human than others - because that would just make me a hypocrite. But I think that disallowing those subjects simply make it harder to fight and oppose the ideas and ideals which exist - having them where you can see them, makes it easier to argue and fight against.

That's what I think.
eumelia: (Default)
Vampires have taken over our lives. They suck out time via books, television and film like no other supernatural beast ever could.

Why?

Because they look like people, like you and me, they can walk among us unknown and seduce us with their glamour, mystique and plain ole' attractiveness.
Vampires are always beautiful, those that ugly, do not need to be. We are attracted to the fact that they are excluded from daylight, that they are reflected only in the eyes of human (their prey) and to the fact that they are immortal.

They do not die.

We pass away and they pass on.

Vampires have reached a kind of peak of pop-culture popularity. Ten years ago when I was fourteen and obsessed with Buffy, I read Dracula, Interview with a Vampire and thought Bella Lugosi was the shit.
Vampires were awesome.

Now... they're poster boys for Abstinence.
Where have we gone wrong.
This glamour will make you click on the cut )
eumelia: (Default)
When some one links to an article titled The War on Science Fiction and Marvin Minsky on a website called The Spearhead and the Author's nick is Pro-male/Anti-feminist Tech; you know you're in for some fun sci-fi critique!

My first thought after reading that diatribe of misogyny, homophobia and exclusionary nostalgia, was pretty uncharitable, petty and mean.
Not even the most "one of the boys/I'm not a feminist" female-geek wouldn be able to consider this person particularly tasteful.
Seeing as he's laying out misogyny and homophobia pretty fucking thick. Without any shame and certainly without any self-reflection.
But That's what cowards do.

I'm reminded of my entry into the comic book world, there are women there (readers that is) and I gravitated to the classics (Batman, Superman, Catwoman, Wonder Woman, the Justice League - yeah, I'm a DC grrl) and to horror-fantasy (DC's Vertigo line; Sandman, Hellblazer, Fables, Lucifer etc).
This is not an odd thing, most people like more than one kind of genre in they chosen form of medium, but I definitely felt the overwhelmed by the amount of boys in this medium and how my reading of the stories being feminist (even before I could articulate why it was feminist - I was 15 when I got into comics) made me iffy about getting into discussion with other Batman fans - many of them, somehow, ignoring the fetish gear he dons in order to fight crime and the only women he's ever been interested in sexually (he doesn't do romance) have been other criminals who wear costumes.
I digress.
This is cut for length )

Times they are a changing, and guess what, they've been "changing" and "changed" since the mid-60's, you, Pro-Male/Anti-Feminist Tech failed to get on that boat and complaining about us women and queers taking over your genre and taking your jobs in science...
This is not a tree-house club and there are no more Wendy houses.
This is a sandbox - please stop peeing in it.

ETA: I couldn't stop myself. I commented, sans a link to this blog. I don't need to make easier for them to find me.
eumelia: (Default)
In my previous post regarding the Lammy Awards I was very fuzzy on where I stood regarding the fact that non-queer authors were now disqualified from submitting their work for the award.

The way I roll, I think stories should be honoured first and foremost. Just this evening I was talking to my older sister and she was telling her kids how their dad was seeing the same Moon in India right now (because that's where he is) and it slipped out of my mouth "Because all times are now and all places are here. And that's why even fictional people are real" h/t [livejournal.com profile] rm.
My sister agreed with me whole heartedly and it began a whole discussion with my seven year old nephew about the veracity of Vampires and Werewolves.

My concern, first and foremost, is the policing of identity. We live in such fluid times, it causes problems.
I know I prefer to my Lesbian Friends and Sisters when it comes to political identification and queer social gatherings... I'm also wary of the fact that if I ever date a man (cis man specifically, whether he is queer or not), that I will be viewed as though I'm betraying some kind of identity promise.

That's a Queer concern.

So are the Lammy Awards.

When I first read about the Lammy Awards change, the people who were raising alarms and concerns were people who are openly queer.
Later on, as I read more on the issue I encountered the voices of straight authors who write same-sex romance, specifically m/m. Professional Slash authors, as they've been dubbed and like most Slash authors they are Straight.
Straight Cis authors who write LGBTQ characters, I thank you for writing awesome people with which we can fall in love, identify with and celebrate.
That doesn't mean you get to say that by taking Orientation into account you are being oppressed.
You are not, because you have straight and cis privilege.
By bringing up the fact that you're a member of another oppressed community you're derailing and playing the Oppression Olympics.

Stop it, just... no. Your entitlement and privilege blindness is showing by demanding to be recognised in an Award that is about celebrating our lives and stories. You happen to write people who could live our lives, and that's great, I love reading and knowing stories like that, that still doesn't entitle you to come into our space and trample all over what we (or the Lambda Literary Foundation, rather) built so that our status and visibility could be elevated.

I'll not be writing any more about this, but I wanted to get my piece out there. I wanted to say, this is a queer concern, about queer visibility, queer identity and queer story telling. As such, it's not about straight cis people.

The end, ces't tout.

Now I have to decide whether I'm going to write about Rape Culture, or about the fact that my Identity is flaunted as propaganda in order to deflect criticism over the human rights violations my country commits on a daily basis.

Any takers?
eumelia: (Default)
The Lambda Literary Foundation, for those of you who do not know, is an American LGBT Literary that works to raise the status of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender authors, who are marginalised, in the literary world.

Awesome says I.

An organisation that works to elevate the visibility and merit of LGBT(Q!) authors is good.

The Lambda Awards (hereby known as the Lammy's) though, are about the stories. Or at least, that's what I (and probably many others) thought.

However, the new guidlines contain within them a new rule, which is a source of contention:
The Lambda Literary Foundation (LLF) seeks to elevate the status of openly gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans (LGBT) people throughout society by rewarding and promoting excellence among LGBT writers who use their work to explore LGBT lives.

As such, it should be noted that the Lambda Literary Awards are based principally on the LGBT content, the gender orientation/identity of the author, and the literary merit of the work.

Let's get one thing straight (laugh it up); queers having our own space, our own awards and our own rules as to who applies, is not a bad thing.
Really, it's not.
The problem is, who decides.

The Lammy's guideline specifically states:
As to what defines LGBT? That is not up to anyone at Lambda Literary Foundation to decide. The writers and publishers are the ones who will be doing the self-identifying. Sexuality today is fluid and we welcome and cherish this freedom. We take the nomination of any book at face value: if the book is nominated as LGBT, then the author is self-identifying as part of our LGBT family of writers, and that is all that is required. There are many permutations of LGBT and they're all welcome as that LGBT term we've all adopted makes clear.

Okay, so they accept anyone who ID's as part of the LGBT(Q damnit!) family. And if that bisexual cis woman who is married to her straight cis male husband of such-and-such years submits an award. Sure, of course she's eligible.
But wait, no she doesn't, she doesn't live the "lifestyle".
An exaggeration?
Not so much, when that kind of thing happens all the time, you're not queer enough if you have het privilege.
Is it stupid? Of course it is, but whoever said marginalised groups were good with the whole acceptance thing.

Honestly, I don't think it would go that way, I'm also obviously being satirical here. I mean, it could, but I'm trying for optimism here. LGBT(Q) authors having their place and awarding those of us who wrote a story in which our portrayal brings us and the characters in the story alive is a very good thing.
Telling people that who they are may not be enough in order to be eligible for the award is not the way to go.

The main problem that came out of this whole thing is that the change in the guidelines came with such short notice.
The notice of the change came out September 25th, submission begins October 1st and ends December 1st.
Yeah, no matter how you look, that is short notice, especially when it's effective immediately.

I say my opinion is fuzzy, the "litmus" should be for people to be able to say:"I'm queer", accept that statement at face value and move on in order to read a good book or story about people who are like me (potentially). But queer isn't a visible thing, our statements of who we are, are under constant attack because we are marginalised, because we are not "normal", because if we really wanted to and tried hard enough, we wouldn't have to be marginalised, now would we.

I'm getting frustrated from all this thinking about which box we're supposed to fit into. Sexuality is fluid (not for everyone!), but it better remain in that little bowl.

Regardless of how us queers feel about the change in the guidelines, which is not clear cut at all, here is one thing I have to say about those straight authors, who are yelling at the Interwebs, about being marginalised because the Lammy's changed the rules on their gay romance.

Shut up.

No, really. Shut. The. Fuck. Up.

I've had it up to fucking here with stupid straight people appropriating my space, in order to promote an agenda that has nothing to do with actually being queer, and has everything to do with "but I want to play in this sandbox too".
Yes, well, at the moment you are peeing in it, because the attitude of entitlement is not the one members of the LGBTQ family who happen to be cis and straight should be throwing around.
You feel strongly about your portrayal of gay characters, that's good, I feel strongly about it to.
Saying that because you feel excluded from a prize, you are oppressed is irksome, irritating and shows that you are so privilege blind that you really have no fucking clue what homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, etc actually causes the psyche of a person who does deal with these prejudices and hates on a bloody daily basis.

God, am I the only one who had a flashback to the trek stupidity a couple months back.
Seriously, peeps, what the fuck?!

On that, I'm not so fuzzy headed.

A thanks to [livejournal.com profile] rm, [livejournal.com profile] kynn and [livejournal.com profile] vashtan; their posts really enabled me write this post in a (hopefully) semi-coherent way.
Their own opinions and fact finding skills were extremely helpful.
eumelia: (Default)
If you still want in on this meme, you can fill it out here.
But now, the lists!

There is no hierarchy to this Top Five Lists, all are equally awesome in my mind!

Top Five Catchphrases )

Top Five Musicians )

Top Five Fights )

Top Five Books )

Top Five Comic Book Characters )

Top Five Dream Jobs )

Any questions?
eumelia: (Default)
Via [livejournal.com profile] sabotabby:

Every now and then the police arrest somebody suspected of some terrible, violent crime, and as a piece of public relations they'll announce all of the horrible books, movies and/or CDs they found in the suspect's house, as if to prove that the suspect is obviously guilty and horrible and monstrous.

So here is my challenge to you. You can either do this from memory or take a moment to look through your book and music collections, and then answer this question:

Name ten books, CDs and/or movies that you own that the police would cite as evidence against you at their press conference.


Now, I don't actually have much "subversive" stuff in Hard Copy (I'm pretty screwed if the authorities get their hands on Ursula the Laptop and/or my Disk-on-Key), but here are the things I think may raise some suspicion if I'm deemed "anti-social":
Under the Cut - Nothing by Marx! )

I have some Naomi Klein, Noam Chomsky, Bertrand Russel and the like, and of course, other books about sexuality (queer, BDSM) and various other feminist politics, but those are just for fun.
Of course.
eumelia: (bollocks)
Here is a funny usage of Amazon Rank, I shall be using it as much as I can.

And a whole bunch of links about the issue to be found here at meta_writer.

If you find more info or interesting posts on the subject you can and should comment to the post linked above at [livejournal.com profile] meta_writer.

Thanks.

Also: Amazon: What Does the Amazon Sales Rank Mean and is It Significant?.
eumelia: (Default)
Amazon.com, the great book, music, dvd and other assortment of commodities has revamped their sales ranking system.
They're in fact, removed the sales ranking from what they deem "adult" material.
What does this actually mean, you ask?

An author of a young adult book with an m/m relationship at the centre noticed that the sales of his book disappeared and he wrote to Amazon, this is the reply he received:
In consideration of our entire customer base, we exclude "adult" material from appearing in some searches and best seller lists. Since these lists are generated using sales ranks, adult materials must also be excluded from that feature.

Hence, if you have further questions, kindly write back to us.

Best regards,

Ashlyn D

Member Services

Amazon.com Advantage

Here is a list of the books that have been "purged" - It is long and they are all GAY!.
Please note that children's books like Heather has Two Mommies and Am I Blue? are included in this list.
The Playboy Centrefold, however, is not.

Books containing LGBT material of any kind are no longer ranked in sales and are not part of best seller searches.

So much for targeting "adult" content.

This is blatant homophobia and I urge you, if you care about the representation and treatment of queers in real life and the media write letters and boycott them.
In Protest of Amazon's New "Adult" Policy - Petition.

If you want to buy books online might I suggest Better World Books?

I'm off to remove my Wish list from Amazon and create an independent one.

I'm more boggled than pissed off to tell you the truth, as just today I added things of they consider "adult" content to my shopping cart and must say I'm so very disappointed in their (what I feel is) a reactionary response to the changing social climate on the US.

Screw them.

Yeah... I am a bit pissed.

Edited to Add: Means of directly contacting Amazon.com:
connect-help@amazon.com
http://clicheideas.com/amazon.htm

Jeffrey Bezos, CEO
AMAZON.COM
1200 12th Avenue South
Seattle, Washington 98144-2734
United States
Phone: 206-266-1000
Fax: 206-622-2405

Edited to Add again: I love you Neil!!!
eumelia: (Default)
As usual.
Neil wins.

And they're both so cute!


Must get The Graveyard Book already!
And I want the English edition, I don't want want imprinted with the Newberry emblem.

Profile

eumelia: (Default)
Eumelia

June 2015

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V and Justice

V: Ah, I was forgetting that we are not properly introduced. I do not have a name. You can call me V. Madam Justice...this is V. V... this is Madam Justice. hello, Madam Justice.

Justice: Good evening, V.

V: There. Now we know each other. Actually, I've been a fan of yours for quite some time. Oh, I know what you're thinking...

Justice: The poor boy has a crush on me...an adolescent fatuation.

V: I beg your pardon, Madam. It isn't like that at all. I've long admired you...albeit only from a distance. I used to stare at you from the streets below when I was a child. I'd say to my father, "Who is that lady?" And he'd say "That's Madam Justice." And I'd say "Isn't she pretty."

V: Please don't think it was merely physical. I know you're not that sort of girl. No, I loved you as a person. As an ideal.

Justice: What? V! For shame! You have betrayed me for some harlot, some vain and pouting hussy with painted lips and a knowing smile!

V: I, Madam? I beg to differ! It was your infidelity that drove me to her arms!

V: Ah-ha! That surprised you, didn't it? You thought I didn't know about your little fling. But I do. I know everything! Frankly, I wasn't surprised when I found out. You always did have an eye for a man in uniform.

Justice: Uniform? Why I'm sure I don't know what you're talking about. It was always you, V. You were the only one...

V: Liar! Slut! Whore! Deny that you let him have his way with you, him with his armbands and jackboots!

V: Well? Cat got your tongue? I though as much.

V: Very well. So you stand revealed at last. you are no longer my justice. You are his justice now. You have bedded another.

Justice: Sob! Choke! Wh-who is she, V? What is her name?

V: Her name is Anarchy. And she has taught me more as a mistress than you ever did! She has taught me that justice is meaningless without freedom. She is honest. She makes no promises and breaks none. Unlike you, Jezebel. I used to wonder why you could never look me in the eye. Now I know. So good bye, dear lady. I would be saddened by our parting even now, save that you are no longer the woman I once loved.

*KABOOM!*

-"V for Vendetta"

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