Monday, January 31, 2011

Newest Cometbus Zine Will Be Dedicated to Creator's Trip Through China With Green Day

"Aaron Cometbus went to China with Green Day last year. He's dedicated an entire issue of his Cometbus zine to the experience called In China with Green Day.

It's out now at NYC local independent underground bookstores, particularly at Book Thug Nation in Brooklyn. It will be available online soon: HERE."

In other Green Day-related news, Melissa Etheridge will soon begin her stint as St. Jimmy in American Idiot and Mike Dirnt's side project The Frustrators will be playing a local show soon!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

American History: The Brown Berets and the Word "Chicano"

(via nezuavampisol and intifada on Tumblr):
…At the same time, East LA was at the heart of the Chicano rights movement in the 1960s. El Movimiento began in the 1940s, when “chicano” was still considered derogatory. By the 1960s, chicanismo was embraced as a symbol of ethnic pride and chicano rock, literature, theatre and art flourished in East LA and other Mexican communities. In 1966, a group of East LA high school students formed the Young Citizens for Community Action. In 1967, they founded East LA’s Piranya Coffee House and changed their name to the Brown Berets. In 1969, they began distributing their own newspaper, La Causa. That same year, Wayne Alaniz Healy, David Rivas Botello, Jose Luis Gonzalez and Juan Gonzalez started the first Chicano art studio, the still extant Goez Art Studio.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

This Saturday: Emergency San Francisco Demonstration in Solidarity with Egyptian People

I received this in my inbox today:

Sat. Jan. 29, 12noon, Market & Montgomery Sts., SF
Emergency Demonstration in Solidarity with Egyptian People
Down with Mubarak – Stop the Repression!
End U.S. Aid to the Mubarak Regime!
Victory to the Egyptian People!
Following the popular revolt that overthrew the U.S.-allied dictatorship in Tunisia, the Egyptian people have taken to the streets in the hundreds of thousands demanding the fall of another U.S. client dictator, Hosni Mubarak. The U.S. gives $1.3 billion per year in “security aid” to Egypt, second only to Israel as the largest recipient of U.S. aid. That “security aid” has been used to buy the tear gas and other weapons and equipment that are killing Egyptian people attempting to exercise their right to protest and speak out.
Many organizations including the ANSWER Coalition will be participating in the Jan. 29 emergency demonstration.
Click here to see a video of the protest held on Wed., Jan. 26 in SF, which was called on just a few hours notice.
A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition
2969 Mission St.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Do you know about Brisenia Flores? Nine year old shot dead by Minutemen in Arizona.

There’s another infamous shooting of a nine-year-old girl that is making headlines this week in Tucson. This time, we wonder if the rest of the media will bother to cover it.

The little girl’s name was Brisenia Flores. She lived near the border with her parents and sister outside the town of Arivaca, Arizona. On May 30 of 2009, a woman named Shawna Forde, who led an offshoot unit of Minutemen who ran armed border patrols for patriotic “fun”. Forde’s gang had decided to go “operational,” which meant they concocted a scheme to raid drug smugglers and take their money and drugs and use it to finance a border race war and “start a revolution against the government”. They targeted the Flores home, which had neither money nor drugs, based on dubious information. They convinced Flores to let them in by claiming to be law-enforcement officers seeking fugitives, then shot him point-blank in the head when he questioned them and wounded his wife, Gina Gonzalez. And then, while she pleaded for her life, they shot Brisenia in cold blood in the head. (Her sister, fortunately, was sleeping over at a friend’s.)  (via CrooksandLiars)
[image is a portrait photograph of Brisenia Flores with a closed-mouth smile]
There are and were plenty of people who remember and invoke the name, life, and spirit of Brisenia in their work and will continue to do so whether or not even the progressive white blogosphere pays attention (or not)
 Spreading the word, because this is the first I'd heard of this story, and that's not ok.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

On Naming

"We are obsessed with naming ourselves
because for so many years we were named by others."

- Angela Davis


Saturday, January 15, 2011

"Sex" is not an "adult" activity

So here's something that, in discussions online, I have seen come up again and again that really annoys me: the idea that "sex" is "for adults."

In fact, the idea that sex is ONLY for adults is something that is really pervasive in U.S. culture. We often use "adult" as a stand-in for "sexual," and in most states the "age of consent" is 18, which is our arbitrary decision of when people become "adults."

Before that threshold, apparently, we can't legally be trusted to make important decisions for our lives; our parents, in fact, know better than us what we need. (That idea is worthy of a whole other post but if you're interested there's good writing on it going on here, here [of this fame] and here, just to name a few.)

And so we take for granted this idea that "sex" is something that adults, and only adults, do. Or at least, we take that as the *BEST* way. Most people I know are *resigned* to the fact that children do things like masturbate, have sexual fantasies and desires, and have sexual experiences with a partner or partners. But see, even they, most of the time, are resigned to that fact. This is something that happens, though it isn't the *ideal.*  This is why even comprehensive programs of sex ed stress abstinence, because "childhood" abstinence is held up as the ideal.

Even so, I'm now starting to think I lived in the golden age of sex education in USian public school, given the reports coming out of the high schools in my area NOW as compared to when I went to school (a whopping 9 years ago)... And even in my classes, sex was presented as something we should probably avoid, but if we didn't, here, we'll help protect you from the dangers. And of course, dangers they actively protected us (white, suburban, middle class, Californian us, for the most part) from were: pregnancy and STD's.

This approach is what made me want to write my own damn curriculum. Because (among other things) do you know, we never discussed consent?  Weird, huh?

(Again...a whole other post...)

(And did we ever consider or include non cis, non hetero classmates? Um, no.)

But see, we never discussed consent because one of the foundational ideas of the courses was that "well, we're not going to teach kids HOW to have sex!"

(Oh gods how many times I've heard that phrase.)

And therein lies the origin of my problem.

This idea that sex is something that only adults do means that we are consistently resistant to anything that smacks of "teaching our kids HOW to have sex".

What does that mean to the lives of all those who are under 18?

And hell, even 18 and older, because after 18 years of being taught "this is something we don't talk about" we don't suddenly become comfortable talking about it; let's be real on that point.

So what happens is we end up in a situation where, most people, come to this place where we WANT to have sex and we have no idea how to even begin to go about it.  How do we talk to someone about this thing we're not supposed to talk about?  Maybe it's easier just NOT to talk about it, eh?  We can like, just go for it, right?  If they don't want to be kissed or touched they'll slap us or say no, right?  (That's how it goes in the movies.)

Surely you see where this all leads right?

Which is why we have to, HAVE TO, tell kids HOW to have sex, and stop thinking that sex isn't something non-adults are curious about, thinking about, desiring, and, doing.

Because healthy sexual relationships (at whatever age, in whatever form) aren't built in silence.

Because we need a healthy foundation to make good decisions for ourselves.

And because, ironically, if you aren't teaching kids how to communicate honestly, you're also actively working against their ability to articulate boundaries, to "just say no" which is what so many of you want, right?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Review: Kalpa Imperial: The Greatest Empire That Never Was

Kalpa Imperial: The Greatest Empire That Never WasKalpa Imperial: The Greatest Empire That Never Was
by Angélica Gorodischer
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

As with many books which are basically compilations of short stories, this had it's highs and lows. Mostly I found the stories interesting but not "page turners" in the strictest sense (in fact, sometimes I was a bit bored, hence the rating not being higher).

One thing I definitely enjoyed was the way the stories pulled together as tales from the history of an empire, at times alluding to other stories in the book. I can't think of another sci-fi/fantasy book I've read that takes on that particular method.

I also enjoyed that this was written as if it were being told to you in person by a storyteller. This was another unusual element in my reading experience and added another layer to the text. For certain my favorite story by far was "Portrait of the Empress," followed closely by "The Old Incense Road" which was actually quite funny in parts.

Overall a unique and interesting book worth reading.

View all my reviews

Monday, January 10, 2011

Billie Joe Armstrong Considering Creating Original Play w/Michael Mayer and "American Idiot" Film Adaptation

Now for something a bit lighter and very fan girl...
"As a follow-up to his “American Idiot” musical now on Broadway, Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong said on Sunday night that he’d like to try his hand at creating an original musical with Michael Mayer, the director of “American Idiot.” The two men, interviewed as part of The Times’s Arts & Leisure Weekend, said they had no definite plans, but Mr. Armstrong rhapsodized frequently about this first experience with theater — creating “American Idiot” with Mr. Mayer (“Spring Awakening”) and now performing in the show through late February as the malevolent character St. Jimmy."
They are also working to create a film version of “American Idiot.” Mr. Mayer said: “We’re definitely in talks. There are people who have the ability to make it happen, who have expressed genuine interest in it, and we want to do it, so I think it could happen.” He declined to identify the potential producers, but news reports said that the Playtone partners Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman were interested.

On the matter of playing St. Jimmy in a film, Mr. Armstrong smiled and shrugged and said nothing, but Mr. Mayer chimed in: “I think that’s a no-brainer.”

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Oh the irony; Gifford's Life Saved by a Arizona

Reposted from Tumblr...
Daniel Hernandez had been U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ intern for five days when she was shot Saturday outside Tucson.

The junior at the University of Arizona was helping check people in at the “Congress on Your Corner” event when he heard gunfire. He was about 30 feet from the congresswoman. When the shots began, he ran toward them.
Using his hand, Hernandez applied pressure to the entry wound on her forehead. He pulled her into his lap, holding her upright against him so she wouldn’t choke on her own blood. Giffords was conscious, but quiet.

Ron Barber, Giffords’ district director, was next to her. Hernandez told a bystander how to apply pressure to one of Barber’s wounds.

Barber told Hernandez, “Make sure you stay with Gabby. Make sure you help Gabby.”

Hernandez used his hand to apply pressure until someone from inside Safeway brought him clean smocks from the meat department. He used them to apply pressure on the entrance wound, unaware there was an exit wound. He never let go of her.
The fact that Hernandez was nearby and able to react quickly probably saved Giffords’ life, said state Rep. Matt Heinz, D-Tucson, and a hospital physician. He talked to Hernandez at the hospital after the shooting.
I had an incredibly strong emotional reaction reading this.  Anger. Sorrow. But a lot of anger. For reference, here is a picture of Hernandez:
Photo description: Hernandez (a young tall, fat, Latino man
with glasses) and Giffords (a middle aged white woman
whose face is covered with a white cloth and blood).
Giffords is on a stretcher and Hernandez is holding her hand.

Reading this Latino surname over and over again, and then looking at his picture… “This is in Arizona” kept coming to my head.

This is a body that the kyriarchally empowered majority of Arizona would love to be rid of (on more than one level).

A body that Arizona has literally criminalized.

This hero.

If that majority had their way, he wouldn't have even been there.

His is a body they say doesn’t belong, isn’t good enough to live in Arizona (or, let's be honest, in the U.S. for a lot of people).

His is a body, a fat, Brown, gay, body that isn’t “American”.  And we know many think that, because even children raised here aren't "American" enough to stay if their parents brought them here undocumented, right?

This hero.

All of those narratives (and more) are in this, for me.
And it just makes me want to cry with rage.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Assassination Attempt in Arizona - Developing Story

Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head this afternoon. She has made it through surgery and her surgeon is optimistic about her chances.

Giffords is a fairly progressive / moderate Democrat and has received threats, and vandalism on her office, before as well as being put "in the cross hairs" by the likes of Sarah Palin and other TEA Party opponents (see picture).

As many as 15 18 others were also shot by this assassin and at least one has two (possibly six) have died: an unnamed 9 year old girl Christina Taylor Greene and Arizona Chief Judge John Roll, who received death threats when he agreed to let a lawsuit by undocumented migrant workers go ahead against (presumably) their employer.

Those threats were whipped up by, wait for it, right wing radio talk shows...

Check out my twitter for infos, I'm trying to keep up in real time.

The shooter is reportedly 22 year old Jared Loughner. Some sources have indicated he is a military veteran, and possibly mentally ill. However, I haven't seen the mentally ill part substantiated well, and in my personal opinion it seems to be simply an easy (and ableist) scapegoat in trying to rationalize this heinous action.

More info can be found here.

Photos are coming out here.

The names of the six people killed in yesterday’s shooting in Arizona have been released.
See also this piece which gives some information about each victim.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

One Example of Many of Transphobic Feminism

via Yet Another Kiri Bloggish Thing:
"In the early eighties, there was a report, written for the US Government, called Technology on the Social and Ethical Aspects of Transsexual Surgery. This report argued that transition-related treatments were medically unnecessary. As a result, consideration of federal and state aid for trans people was dropped, and private insurance companies quickly followed suit, disingenuously expanding the definition of “transition-related” to include absolutely anything that could even conjecturally be related to hormone treatments, including various types of cancer. Trans people have died as a result.
I wonder how many people know who was responsible for that report, who it was that convinced the US government (and, indirectly, insurance companies) that helping trans people wasn’t important. You’d probably think it was some fundiegelical Republican, right?
Nope. It was Janice Raymond."
[emphasis added]

Saturday, January 01, 2011

"Where is the Palestinian Gandhi?"

via guerrillamamamedicineWho Decides How the Oppressed Should Fight Oppression?
Every so often, an article, video or book surfaces with a similar message: Palestinians are being taught nonviolence; Palestinians are responding positively to the teachings of nonviolence.

As for progressive and Leftist media and audiences, stories praising nonviolence are electrifying, for they ignite a sense of hope that a less violent way is possible, that the teachings of Gandhi are not only relevant to India, in a specific time and space, but throughout the world, anytime.

These depictions repeatedly invite the question: where is the Palestinian Gandhi? Next they invite the answer: a Palestinian Gandhi already exists, in numerous West Bank villages bordering the Israeli Apartheid Wall, where they peacefully confront the carnivorous Israeli bulldozers eating up Palestinian land.
The problem with the nonviolence bandwagon is that it is grossly misrepresentative of the reality on the ground. It also takes the focus away from the violence imparted by the Israeli occupation – in its routine and lethal use in the West Bank, and the untold savagery in Gaza - and places it solely on the shoulders of the Palestinians.
As for the gross misrepresentation of reality, Palestinians have used mass nonviolent resistance for generations - as early as the long strike of 1936. Nonviolent resistance has been and continues to be the bread and butter of Palestinian moqawama, from the time of British colonialism to the Israeli occupation. At the same time, some Palestinians fought violently as well, compelled by a great sense of urgency and the extreme violence applied against them by their oppressors. It is similar to the way many Indians fought violently, even during the time that Mahatma Gandhi’s ideas were in full bloom.
Those who reduce and simplify India’s history of anti-colonial struggle are doing the same to Palestinians.
(via afghanipoppy)
Our collective history of the South African struggle against apartheid, including Mandela himself and the armed wing of the ANC which he led, has been completely sanitized of all its violent elements as well. No one seems to remember that it was only in July 2008 that Mandela himself was taken off the US terror list since the ANC was designated a terror organization. I need to write that again, just for my own sanity, UNTIL 2 AND 1/2 YEARS AGO MANDELA AND THE ANC WERE CONSIDERED TERRORISTS BY THE US.
(via somerset)

Sharing good stuff from Tumblr in the new year!


Here's hoping 2011 totally owns 2010 eh?


[image description: a sandy beach has 2010 written into the sand above a similar 2011
a wave is washing away the 2010, picture via your hue]