Marriage is tricky. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t; sometimes couples get divorced, sometimes couples stay together for 20 years and hate each other in the end but still won’t get divorced. Same-sex marriage isn’t legal when there are thousands of same-sex couples that have been together for 10, 20, 30 years whose marriages aren’t, or wouldn’t be, recognized by the state or the federal government, but there are lots of (straight) celebrity quickie marriages that end a few days later that are legal and recognized at the state and federal levels.
I don’t know why the topic of marriage irritates me so much. I don’t necessarily believe that marriage is the ultimate expression of love the way most people do. I recognize it’s a symbol that you’re willing to spend the rest of your life with that person (ideally, that’s what a marriage is, right?). Wanting to spend the rest of your life with one person is a serious commitment and takes serious dedication. Sure, I haven’t met someone who I’d want to spend the rest of my life with, so I don’t understand what it’s like to feel that type of commitment and dedication.
Maybe my ideas of marriage are backward and old-fashioned, but I feel like when you’re married, you’re suddenly barred from doing a lot of things in life. You can’t just go gallivanting in Europe or Asia or Africa or South America for two months. Ideally, your partner would support you in your decisions or you two would at least discuss these decisions; but there’s no discussion when you’re not married. You go or you stay. Easy.
It’s true; I’m selfish and pretty self-absorbed.
Unless you live outside of the United States, under a rock, and/or just don’t pay attention to the news, you probably know that the Supreme Court of the United States has a big week. The justices are hearing two cases regarding same sex marriage, marking an important milestone in civil rights and states’ rights.
On Tuesday, the justices heard Hollingsworth v. Perry, which is about whether California’s Prop 8 will continue to be the law. At its core, the case is about same sex marriage, but the decision, which is expected to come out around late June, will also have implications when it comes to states making their own decisions (through citizens’ votes) about their laws regarding same sex marriage.
On Wednesday, the justices will hear a challenge of the Defense of Marriage Act, which was enacted in 1996 and defines “marriage” as a union between a man and a woman. The act also doesn’t require individual states to recognize same sex marriages. (For example, if two guys get married in, say, Massachusetts, another state, such as Oregon, isn’t legally required to recognize that marriage.)
But I’m not here to blog about my opinion of marriage or what I think the justices should do or what I think of people who I don’t agree with. If you must know, I think marriage should be defined as a union between one man and one woman – and one man and one man, and one woman and one woman. But you didn’t see me changing my profile picture to this:
These past couple weeks, news agencies (New York Times, Wall Street Journal) and companies (Coca-Cola) have reported that their networks were hacked. For years, companies have reported that their information systems were hacked by the Chinese. These hackers were traced to a group in Shanghai, appropriately called the “Shanghai Group,” which was reported to be housed in a building in Shanghai that also houses a headquarters for the People’s Liberation Army.
Last night, “Rock Center with Brian Williams” aired a segment on the hacking, titled, “Hacked!” where David Faber looked at companies that were hacked by the Chinese and talked to cyber security insiders about the Chinese “threat”.
The segment seemed to be playing into the idea of “Yellow Peril,” where Chinese people are the villains and out to get the “honest, hardworking, pulled-themselves-up-by-their-bootstraps white folk,” which I think we’ve been seeing a lot of in the past year. (Remember the Ron Paul 2012 ad and the Pete Hoekstra/Debbie SpendItNow ad?)
I get it – cyber security is a legitimate area of concern since so much of our infrastructure (water, power grids, military defense, etc.) is on some type of network and so many companies in the US have trade secrets in secret networks. We don’t want other countries to have protected information about our government; we don’t want other/foreign companies to get a hold of trade secrets.
I get it.
For a long time, I didn’t know that statements such as, “You speak really good English,” and “But, where are you really from?” had a term – microaggression. Microaggressions are those statements and actions that aren’t physically or verbally threatening, but have subtle, often demeaning, messages behind them. The person behind the action (or statement) doesn’t intentionally say those things to hurt the other people. For example, saying “You speak English beautifully,” to me means that the person who said it probably assumed I was going to have an accent, which assumes that I wasn’t born in the US, that I was a recent immigrant (the “forever foreigner” myth), or something along those lines of assumption. (Sure, I’m making assumptions about people, but, honestly, why else would you tell someone their English is “beautiful”?)
It doesn’t make me feel very good; it’s demeaning and insulting.
This has been a horrific week for the United States. On Tuesday, there was a shooting at Clackamas Town Center near Portland, Oregon. Three people died, including the gunman, Jacob Taylor Roberts, who shot himself. This morning, there was a shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newton, Connecticut. Twenty children and eight adults died, including the gunman, Adam Lanza, who shot himself in the school. (I would also like to mention that a 36 year old man stabbed 22 children in a primary school in Chenping, China today, too.)
A lot of Facebook statuses have been sad and angry that these things happened. Some of those statuses went straight to the point and called the gunmen “idiots.” I don’t really know if it’s appropriate to call them “idiots” or to call their actions “stupid” because we just don’t know what was going on in their head or in their lives. Their actions may have been random and senseless, but judging the people and their actions assumes too much.
Other people are saying what a crazy, sad, and dangerous world we live in. Though the world we live in isn’t totally peaceful, I still don’t think the world is sad and dangerous.
I have been blessed to have lived a safe and mostly happy life so far. I haven’t grown up in a neighborhood where violence is common. I managed to stay safe in Eugene when I went to school there, and my life didn’t turn in to “Taken” when I went to Paris. Maybe you don’t take me as seriously now. But maybe you should. If you really believed the world was a dangerous place, would you have returned to the mall (a different mall maybe) to do some shopping for the holidays? Would you have gone to work? Are you going to start home schooling your children now?
My faith in humanity has be restored. Slightly. Good job, ‘Murrica.
Last night’s election was pretty exciting, wouldn’t you say? While I’m not excited for four more years of Obama, I voted for him because I think he does try to put other issues besides the economy at the forefront of our lives. The economy is important, but the decisions about what I do to my body are my own decisions and helping those who are less-privileged should be priorities, too.
And, let’s be real, I know how this game works - if I wanted my voted to count, a vote for the Independent or Libertarian party wouldn’t have counted as much. (Herein lies the problem - because everyone thinks this way, we don’t have powerful parties that aren’t the Democrats or the GOP. This I recognize.)
As my brother pointed out, political parties are a lot about money, too. We’re pretty sure that the Democratic party and the Republican are the two biggest parties because they don’t just have a lot of money - they have the most money out of all the political parties (at least those listed in our voter’s guides). If the other national political parties had more money, would they have more power? Would they be heard more?
And who pays attention to the polls before election day? I don’t understand why we have so many sample sets from different organizations with different (or similar) agendas. Data is skewed by, among other things, who you ask, when you ask, what you ask, where you ask, how the data is presented, and where the data is presented. The polls before election day are useless to me - they’re only accurate for that sample set, and not anybody else. So what if it was accurate after? The election could’ve easily gone the other way. Even if you compiled all the polls just from this election, that’s no concrete prediction. It just isn’t logical to me; it’s a jump in logic. How can you say This Person will probably be President because This/These Poll/s say/s so? You might as well have had Paul the Octopus predict who the President would be - it would’ve been quicker, and we could put all suspicion and drama to an end that much sooner.
Ok, I’ll be honest with you - I am so sick of this song. I don’t hate it - it is catchy, the music video is silly, and the associated dance is ridiculous (I’m pretty sure it’s becoming a mainstay at clubs now) - I just don’t like hearing it. I’ve heard it too much. The Korean restaurant my family and I go to have that music video on loop (with other Kpop videos), and it plays what feels like every five minutes. It’s too blown up - I’m generally not a fan of things once they become too mainstream, not because I’m some sort of hipster, but because once these things are everywhere, these things become almost inescapable so I just stop tuning in.
Actually, this post isn’t about “Gangnam Style.” (Sidenote: Did you know that the song has helped PSY’s father’s company? I guess this is one of those effects that people just don’t think about because it’s not associated with the music industry.)
A link to a blog post, titled, “Gangnam Style, Dissected: The Subversive Message Within South Korea’s Music Video Sensation,” written by Max Fisher forThe Atlanticshowed up on my Facebook newsfeed. At first, I was impressed that there was a social commentary in the song, whether PSY intended it or not. I was impressed that someone took the time to look at the messages in “Gangnam Style.” I learned about how “Gangnam Style” isn’t just a pop song - it reinforced the idea that Western influences are, indeed, everywhere and pervasive.
But then I wondered who this Max Fisher was. Who is he to make social commentary for a South Korean music phenomenon? Does he identify as Asian-American, Asian, South Korean, North Korean? Does he live in South Korea, has he lived there in the past - what makes him qualified to talk about such things? In the post, he talks to people who are South Korean, bloggers of South Korean events, but does that make his dissection legitimate? It certainly is valuable, and it does force readers to think critically about something many might think is, “Oh, another Asian being kooky. Haha, all Asians are kooky.”
Hm. I’ll let you decide.
Anywhere, if you’re interested, here’s a “Gangnam Style” translated: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=HUk69c72UlY
Written and directed by Stephan Zlotescu
Director of photography: H1
What does the film say about Bangkok? At first glance, Bangkok is a destination for sex tourism (without actually saying it; that’s not even what the film is about), criminals, the black market, danger, escape. Bangkok in the future, as portrayed in the film, is still that place. Is that the Bangkok that existed 10 years ago? Is it the Bangkok most people are familiar with? Is it the Bangkok that exists today? Why does this image of Bangkok still exist today? right now?
Though the portrayal of Bangkok is problematic, the short is still pretty exciting, and the aesthetic of the short is cool - sleek, minimal, neon-colored. The story might seem tired - and if it reminds you of “Total Recall,” “District 9,” “Blade Runner” (only one of which I’ve watched, and I didn’t even finish it), or anything else, you aren’t the only one. N1ON Productions says this is a “glimpse into a much larger story in the works,” so maybe the story will change. Give it a watch if you have a few minutes.
(Please watch the trailer first before reading.)
I saw this trailer on channelAPA.com. Before I watched the clip, I read the description. My first thought was that the plot would be an interesting point of view because the plot was about a Vietnamese-Australian woman, a point of view that is hard to come by in the US. I was intrigued because the movie was about a story about the Vietnamese-Australian experience coupled with the experience of being a woman.
Turns out I was sort of right and sort of wrong. The parts I got right were the things the trailer showed. There is a point of view and a strong, clear voice of a Vietnamese-Australian woman (regardless of how her morals become gray during the process of the movie) - that’s something that goes against the grain of the stereotype of Asian women being weak and without a voice. The parts I got wrong (or just didn’t anticipate) were the things the movie doesn’t say about Asian women (or Vietnamese/Vietnamese-Australian) women. I read that Linh becomes a prostitute, and the trailer became another example of Asian women, especially SE Asian women, becoming a commodified object, not to mention purely an object of lust and desire and sex, instead of, oh, I don’t know, an actual person.
But the trailer (and probably the movie) doesn’t just show how Linh becomes the object of desire, it gives Linh time to narrate. It gives Linh her own voice, one with which to share her reasons for doing what she does and, potentially, how she deals with her inner conflicts. It makes Linh a human, and not an object, which pushes some boundaries of thought somewhere (I hope, anyway).
So I guess I’m sort of undecided about the movie. It has its good points, which are important, but it also has common stereotypes that some people might not be able to get past. Will they be able to move past Linh-the-prostitute and see that it’s important to recognize Linh, and by extension all Asian women (and men!), as a person?
(Ok, before you start reading, I have to warn you that this is a long post. It mostly consists of long Facebook comments, but I also have quite a bit to say about those comments. This post isn’t about Victoria’s Secret lingerie line “Go East” or the racist “Sexy Little Geisha” get up on their site; it’s about the response to the Racialicious post I saw on Facebook.)
About a week ago, Angry Asian Man and Racialicious and a whole host of other blogs wrote about Victoria’s Secret’ new line called “Go East.” I did my usual cynical, “That’s fucked up.” It raised my eyebrows because it was creepy and reminded me that “Asian” and “Asian women” are still synonomous with “exotic” (among other things, such as “foreign,” “obedient,” and “passive”). Then I left it at that.
I didn’t really give it much more thought until yesterday when one of my friends posted the Racialicious post on his Facebook, and I was reading through a couple of the comments. I really had no choice to react to one comment because I felt as if there was a huge misunderstanding, and I wanted to make something clear to this person.
(A is for one person, B is for a second person. No edits have been made to the Facebook comments, except for names. I’m also allowed to use these comments without permission because the only people who can identify the commenters are those who can see the original post on my friend’s wall. I’m not here to make you look bad. I’m here to expose a way of thought that I disagree with and to explain what makes sense to me.)