kaigou: this is what I do, darling (4 usual suspects)
Joel Chandler Harris' home is in Atlanta, and I just came across some of the storytellers who tell the various Brer stories -- because there's not just Brer Rabbit, there's Brer Coon, and Brer Vulture, and Brer Lion, even. I have no idea whether we actually saw a storyteller at The Wren's Nest, though I thought it had been at the High Museum. And all of the storytellers are much too young to have been the one I saw, but if you imagine a deeper voiced Akbar Imhotep, then you'd be getting close. His accent's a little softer, but still.

To hear the story of how Brer Coon gets his meat, click on the first link on this page from the Wren's Nest site (audio only). There are some clips from several of the other storytellers, as well. (I also recommend swinging by the biographies for the staff.) Then scroll down to the bottom of the storyteller's page and listen to Woodie Person's telling about the time Brer Gator Meets Trouble. It's a classic, and one more example of how each of the critters in the various stories have their own personalities. (Me, I like Brer Gator. Not as much as Brer Rabbit, but very close.)

They've started doing videos of some of the stories being retold. Click here for Mr. Imhotep retelling Brer Terrapin Learns to Fly or go here for Curtis Richardson retelling Brer Lion Meets Mr. Man. I have no earthly idea why the youtube embedding isn't working.

If you're wondering, Mr. Imhotep speaks with the Georgia accent I heard for most of my childhood. Listening to him talk is like a short visit back home.
kaigou: stop it. you're scaring the dog. (2 scaring the dog)
Quoted from Clients from Hell:

“We want a total of 8 languages: English, French, Spanish, Canadian…”
kaigou: sometimes it's better to light a flamethrower than curse the darkness. (2 flamethrowers)
From a Salon essay about the English-language translation of The Ringbearer, a satirical/parodic take on The Lord of the Rings. First, tying into both myth-making and a broader pop culture application, per the issue of fantasies in re women's roles, this food for thought:
"The Lord of the Rings" wouldn't be as popular as it is if the pastoral idyll of the Shire and the sureties of a virtuous, mystically ordained monarchy as embodied in Aragorn didn't speak to widespread longing for a simpler way of life. There's nothing wrong with enjoying such narratives -- we'd be obliged to jettison the entire Arthurian mythos and huge chunks of American popular culture if there were -- but it never hurts to remind ourselves that it's not just their magical motifs that makes them fantasies.

And an intriguing reaction from the reviewer, too, in the final paragraph:
Yeskov's "parody" -- for "The Last Ringbearer," with its often sardonic twists on familiar Tolkien characters and events, comes a lot closer to being a parody than "Wind Done Gone" ever did -- is just such a reminder. If it is fan fiction (and I'm not sure I'm in a position to pronounce on that), then it may be the most persuasive example yet of the artistic potential of the form.

And since translations and language have been on my brain, this paragraph from an interview with Arundhati Roy, author of The God of Small Things:
To be able to express yourself, to be able to close the gap—inasmuch as it is possible—between thought and expression is just such a relief. It’s like having the ability to draw or paint what you see, the way you see it. Behind the speed and confidence of a beautiful line in a line drawing there’s years of—usually—discipline, obsession, practice that builds on a foundation of natural talent or inclination of course. It’s like sport. A sentence can be like that. Language is like that. It takes a while to become yours, to listen to you, to obey you, and for you to obey it. I have a clear memory of language swimming towards me. Of my willing it out of the water. Of it being blurred, inaccessible, inchoate… and then of it emerging. Sharply outlined, custom-made.
kaigou: Toph says, this! (2 this!)
...who has posted so much music that's widened my horizons, I figured maybe it was time to try a hand at returning the pleasure. (But the rest of you should watch, too.)

From one of the artist's fansites:
Zhang Yun Jing (Jing Chang) is a Taiwanese singer who emerged as the winner of the first season of the Taiwanese singing competition "Super Idol" back in 2008.

Releasing her debut album in 2009 and winning countless music awards across the globe, she is now a force to be reckoned with within the Taiwanese music community. Her sophomore album "The Opposite Me" was released on July 9, 2010 and quickly soared to the number one spot on multiple charts.

...which would all sound so very, very... pat, until you realize she's pretty much breaking a whole lot of templates when it comes to what's expected -- just watch & you'll see what I mean. Also, see more videos from The Opposite Me via the last link in this post.

And from dramacafe:
...up-and-coming singer Zhang Yun Jing (also written Chang Yun Jing) was one of the most eye-catching newcomers of 2008. Originally a graphic designer, Yun Jing has won acclaim for the poster design of [the Taiwanese] movie Beautiful Crazy...

And, because any artist who can do this must be someone with a great sense of humor, especially when you consider the instrument involved. (And it works! Really. I kid not!)

More information at LJ's AiyaTheyDidn't comm.
kaigou: you live and learn. at any rate, you live. - doug adams (2 live and learn)
If you suffer from any kind of a chronic condition -- and I do think many of the mental disabilities/illnesses could fall into this category -- you should read this letter to patients with chronic disease, from a Dr. Rob. A short bit from it, to give you an idea of why I think it's particularly valuable reading (and something not often said or admitted by doctors):
...chronic unsolvable disease stands square in our way. You don’t get better, and it makes many of us frustrated, and it makes some of us mad at you. We don’t want to face things we can’t fix because it shows our limits. We want the miraculous, and you deny us that chance.

And since this is the perspective you have when you see doctors, your view of them is quite different. You see us getting frustrated. You see us when we feel like giving up. When we take care of you, we have to leave behind the illusion of control, of power over disease. We get angry, feel insecure, and want to move on to a patient who we can fix, save, or impress. You are the rock that proves how easily the ship can be sunk. So your view of doctors is quite different.

(h/t to [profile] readerofasaph)
kaigou: Toph says: hell yeah, meeting adjourned. (2 meeting adjourned)
M. Night Shyamalan Finally Made A Comedy
The brilliance of Noah Ringer's performance cannot be understated — he is the first performer ever to convince me utterly that he is standing in front of a greenscreen. Even when Ringer is filmed on location, in front of a real-life mountain, he still manages to create the impression that his surroundings have been keyed in, and he's actually in a studio somewhere. ... And I think everybody who has criticized Shyamalan for casting white actors as Asian characters in this film should admit they were wrong. Clearly, Shyamalan tried to cast Asians, but he just couldn't find any whose performances were lifeless enough.


Not to mention the many scenes in which characters rattle off exposition, and it feels as if somebody must have fed the scripts from the TV series into an office shredder, and then glued some of the word stripes together. You can just imagine Shyamalan stopping the actors and demanding a retake, over and over again, because the actors were still stringing the sentences together as if they had a logical sequence. It must have taken hours to get the right level of random, Ketamine-overdose level of dissociation into every scene where somebody explains about importance of the avatar and how you have to feel your feelings, in order to gerbil machete fish dumpling crank handle.
kaigou: this is what I do, darling (2 never get to work on time)
Alright. Have survey. Need eyeballs to make sure I'm not going off-the-rails at any point. I don't mean in a formal sense (unless, of course, you know the formalities of surveys) but in a way that's very specific to me: I tend to use a lot of colloquialisms, US-ian and not, and that can be confusing for non-native English speakers. Being aware of that doesn't mean I always catch where I'm confusing a reader, and that's where I need someone (several someones) to double-check for me, if you have about ten minutes.

ETA: wow, there are a lot of folks on my list willing to help! I am inundated, but very much appreciative at the same time. I will be emailing you, just give me a day to climb out from under various other swampage. Very very much thank you, everyone who replied!

(I closed comments since that's probably enough eyeballs, whew, many helpful and awesome eyeballs!)
kaigou: this is what I do, darling (2 candy mountain)
First, go read these:

Part 1: Romance Novels & The Legitimacy of Criticism, from [personal profile] manifesta:
The unconditional feminist criticism of romance novels is backlash against what some feminists see as the perpetuation of heterosexual, monogamous, frequently white gender roles. The empowering aspects of romance novels are eclipsed in the rush to generalize. Is this quality of unconditional criticism justified? No. Is it understandable that feminist critics have reacted out of a similar hurt and rage as romance writers and readers when they feel that women--because that is who and what it boils down to--are being threatened, dismissed, or silenced? Yes. There are very real feelings on either side, feelings that can lead to blanket statements and end up pitting women against women.

Also, for those of you into steampunk, an opening assay from [personal profile] branchandroot on Steampanku vs Victorientalism:
what I'm thinking of is more along the lines of what one useful author has dubbed steampanku: a re-imagining of Japanese history, especially late Edo and Meiji, with the addition of 'steam' and clockwork based technologies. See also, Samurai Seven, only a good deal more optimistic and less constrained by the urge to Extreme Pathos. More cheerful erasure of gender inequality as per speculative fiction that wants to make a point. Steam mecha.

Hmm. Last Exile? ...which leads into [personal profile] starlady's panel notes from Wiscon, The Politics of Steampunk.
kaigou: Toph says: hell yeah, meeting adjourned. (2 meeting adjourned)
This is an old post (c 2006) from Making Light, that I came across while googling for something completely different, but being me, clicked out of curiosity. And herein follows the insight, from TNH:
Storytelling is basic to our species. It’s one of the ways we parse our experience of the universe. Whatever moves us or matters to us will show up in the stories we tell, whether or not we have a socially approved outlet for those stories. It might surprise you to find out how many writers have works of personal erotica tucked away in their unpublished-or-unpublishable manuscript trunks. There’s no good way to get those published, but they write them anyway, because they’re writers, and eroticism is an important part of our lives.

Good fiction gets under our skin. It can change the way we see the world. But whatever its effect, it’s a significant experience. It would be a bizarre thing—unnatural, even—for writers to not engage with that experience. They always have. I could show you stuff centuries old—heck, some of it’s millennia old—that’s fanfic by any modern definition.

Of course, it would have to be a modern definition. In a purely literary sense, fanfic doesn’t exist. There is only fiction. Fanfic is a legal category created by the modern system of trademarks and copyrights. Putting that label on a work of fiction says nothing about its quality, its creativity, or the intent of the writer who created it.

The Pulitzer Prize for Fiction this year went to March, a novel by Geraldine Brooks, published by Viking. It’s a re-imagining of the life of the father of the four March girls in Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women. Can you see a particle of difference between that and a work of declared fanfiction? I can’t. I can only see two differences: first, Louisa May Alcott is out of copyright; and second, Louisa May Alcott, Geraldine Brooks, and Viking are dreadfully respectable.

I’m just a tad cynical about authors who rage against fanfic. Their own work may be original to them, but even if their writing is so outre that it’s barely readable, they’ll still be using tropes and techniques and conventions they picked up from other writers. We have a system that counts some borrowings as legitimate, others as illegitimate. They stick with the legit sort, but they’re still writing out of and into the shared web of literature. They’re not so different as all that.

Fanfic means someone cares about what you wrote.

Personally, I’m convinced that the legends of the Holy Grail are fanfic about the Eucharist.

This really is a basic impulse.

And the addendum is the cherry on top.
kaigou: It's dangerous to go alone, Alphonse says, and holds out a cat: here, take this. (2 dangerous to go alone)
I came across this post at Pandagon, and it's well worth the read if you're in the dating pool: Red Flags. For those of you who get a little skeevy at the notion of visiting a feminist, libertarian/liberal, big-d Democrat blog, this particular post isn't ultra-politicized. It's just a list of simple things to watch out for when dating, signs of whether a guy can (or will) treat you decently, as a fellow human being.

An excerpt:
...I’ve never seen this red flag fail to pan out---if a guy can’t think of any female musicians or writers he admires, then he’s a giant, honking sexist and you will regret dating him. The deeper he is into being a fan of an art form, the more women in that field he should admire. ...

What’s funny about this red flag and most others is that you don’t have to be on some hunt for them. These red flags are things men pay very little price for waving, generally speaking, so they see no reason not to wave these red flags. I’ve noticed that guys---even ones that claim to be feminist---don’t often go out of their way to hide their contempt for female abilities in this field or that. Very often, a guy’ll be deep into something, and if he feels this way about women, he won’t hesitate to proclaim it, with lots and lots of bullshit attached. Often of the evo psych variety. I’ve heard men deny that women can rap, that women can really play lead guitar, that women can’t write a great novel or even a sci-fi novel. If a man makes blanket statements about the lack of female genius, this will not work out well. The exception to this rule is that if a man seems to believe women can’t play in the NFL, then he’s just observing a fact. However, I’d monitor how gleeful he is about that fact, and whether or not he stretches this observation to suggest women can’t golf or something of that nature.

The entire post is a very handy, and concrete, list. I think the Leo scored damn well on it, but then, we dated after I'd done my time meeting and un-meeting losers, so by then I had a better grasp on the red flags, even if I never articulated it quite as clearly as Amanda does in the linked post.

Come to think of it, the only advice my mother could articulate for who'd be worth my time were that (a) a guy who'd wear pink was a man secure in his sexuality, and (b) if you want to know how a guy will treat you in twenty years, look at how he treats his mother now. Though I admit it took me a few years to realize she didn't just mean whether he's courteous. It's that, but also things like whether he talks to her at all, or does he not tell her on the grounds it's better off if 'she just doesn't know' or worse, 'she wouldn't understand, anyway'. Eventually a man with that attitude will see his partner in the same light. Frustrating, but true.

Regardless, if you're dating now or might be later, the linked post is some damn good advice. Worth reading.
kaigou: this is what I do, darling (4 usual suspects)
In the aftermath of my post on digression in online discussions, I followed several suggested links. By a process I can no longer track, I ended up on an essay by Claire Light, Outrage, Pullback, Punishment: The Structure of One Common Antiracist Post. Her description of the dynamics in an Antiracist post really crystallized my understanding of what fundamental conflict lies within the issue of derailment vs digression.

The three concepts -- outrage, pullback, and punishment -- she defines as:
Outrage: something racist happens in the world. A blogger or group of bloggers pick up on it. They note it in their blogs and express outrage at it. The item gets passed on from blog to blog.

Pullback: of the bloggers who post on this topic, less than half will express anything other than outrage. But a subset of these bloggers will spend a little time pulling back from the outrage to contextualize this incident of racism and explain why it's a problem. They will go into the history of these types of incidents, they'll go into academic theories of X, they'll give talking points on why this sort of thing is bad for people of color, bad for justice, and bad for the world in general.

Punishment: of the bloggers who pull back and contextualize, an even smaller subset will propose or initiate action. This action is dual: it proposes advocacy of a particular view, action (usually apology and some sort of remediation), and threatens punishment if this action isn't taken up immediately.

There can be -- and I have seen -- additional conflicts (of an emotional type) [eta] tension even between otherwise agreeing positions [/eta] when some bloggers begin the pullback before the main core have exhausted the outrage. The timing of that second step is crucial lest it come across not as a valid digression and exploration, but as a derailment. Beyond that, though, this is the part in Light's essay that really got me thinking about what might be going on:
If you look back on any effective movement of the 20th century (suffrage, civil rights, Vietnam) their communication structure all had these things in common:
  1. A clear, articulated overall goal towards which all participants were willing to work for years.

  2. A set, but evolving discourse and vocabulary, which the movement controlled.

  3. Media: alternative media organs (papers and magazines) dedicated to promoting this message and discourse; and, over time, allies in the mainstream media dedicated to promoting this message and discourse.

  4. The necessity of responding deliberately and thoughtfully, owing to the lack of instantaneous communications technology. Because everything written was printed and had to be edited and proofread, everything broadcast had to be accepted by media corporations and could be heavily controlled, the message and discourse were very polished, thoughtful, respectful, and carefully tailored to appeal to listeners who may have held a differing opinion.

If you think about it, OPP simply cannot exist in a movement in which the above conditions obtain. Chaos and Freedom are the twin faces of the same internet beast. The viral responsiveness and speed of protests like Jena 6 and A&F owes to the Freedom face. The lack of a goal, a message, a discourse, and deliberate or thoughtful response owes to the Chaos face.

Go, read. Well worth it.
kaigou: this is what I do, darling (2 no srsly)
I'm not sure whether I'm more impressed by the Durarara!! animators for such realism, or by [profile] kissmygeass for tracking this down and putting it all together. Very impressive! (h/t to [personal profile] defenestrator)


kaigou: this is what I do, darling (Default)
锴 angry fishtrap 狗

to remember

"When you make the finding yourself— even if you're the last person on Earth to see the light— you'll never forget it." —Carl Sagan

October 2016

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