Month: September 2008

September 30, 2008 / / action alert

by Special Correspondent Thea C. Lim, originally published at The Shameless Blog

From Daily Kos:

Muslim Children Gassed at Dayton Mosque After “Obsession” DVD Hits Ohio

    On Friday, September 26, the end of a week in which thousands of copies of Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West — the fear-mongering, anti-Muslim documentary being distributed by the millions in swing states via DVDs inserted in major newspapers and through the U.S. mail — were distributed by mail in Ohio, a “chemical irritant” was sprayed through a window of the Islamic Society of Greater Dayton, where 300 people were gathered for a Ramadan prayer service. The room that the chemical was sprayed into was the room where babies and children were being kept while their mothers were engaged in prayers.

Recently I’ve heard a lot of talk about how the deaths and abuse of women and children of colour are not taken as seriously as the deaths and abuse of white women and children.

Why We Want Our Kids Back Too
From Racialicious:

    There were no crush of grief counselors when our 11 year olds got shot by strays or on purpose. There were no pundits filling column space and air time when our girls got raped or became pregnant too soon. And when our children came up missing… when our children came up missing…I saw enough missing and dead black kids coming up that it taught me something about black folks, or at least the way black folks are perceived:

    Black children are disposable expectations.

Read the Post muslim children gassed in ohio – but where’s the outrage?

September 30, 2008 / / comedy

by Guest Contributor Tami, originally published at What Tami Said

I was excited to watch Chris Rock’s fifth HBO special, “Kill the Messenger,” which aired last night. But by the end of the 90-minute show, I was disappointed, as I was at the end of “Never Scared,” the comedian’s last cable effort. When Rock is stalking the stage and talking about race, politics and social issues, he is at his best: insightful, creative, and most importantly: funny as hell. But when he jokes about women and relationships, he comes off as pathological and bitter. Worse (since Rock is a comedian), the women/dating/marriage schtick is hackneyed and unfunny.

First, let me say, I’m not humorless. I’m not so wrapped up in political correctness about race or gender, that I can’t find humor in the taboo. My bias is toward nuanced, layered and dry comedy. I like comics who hide message and social critique and pokes at life’s absurdities among the punchlines. I like the off-kilter and the edgy. I hate broad comedy and don’t get slapstick. And while I find “clean” comedy boring, I lose patience with jokes that simply parrot stereotypes or offend simply for the sake of offending. And here’s a confession: I saw “Tropic Thunder” and loved it, even though I noticed all the things about it that people have found so offensive. So see, I laugh at stuff.

Back in the day, Chris Rock was one of my favorite comedians. The Chris Rock I like is the one who last night pointed out that while the handful of black people living in his tony New Jersey neighborhood (Eddie Murphy, Mary J. Blige) have exceptional careers, his white neighbor is a…dentist. Rock jokes that for a black dentist to make his way into that neighborhood, he’d have to invent teeth.

Another highlight of last night’s special was Rock’s thoughts on the 2008 presidential election. Barack Obama is so cool and calm, Rock says, you’d think he believes a black man getting the most votes is going to mean something. After all, society has been known to change the rules when black folks are playing the game. “Good you got the most votes. Too bad you lost. We don’t do it that way anymore.” Rock remains one of the few comedians who can kill with observations about race that move beyond the “white people do this; black people do that” tropes. Read the Post Save it for your therapist, Chris

September 30, 2008 / / race

by Arturo R. García, also published at The Instant Callback

*Spoilers Ahead*

Continuity. It’s a beautiful thing.

By simply following up on last season, rather than ignoring it, Heroes kicked off its’ third year in a lot better shape. As ever, the world’s Going To Be Destroyed, but unlike last year, every one of the main characters is going somewhere with their storyline.

Last volume’s cliffhanger is answered within seconds, as we learn a future iteration of Peter Petrelli was responsible for shooting his brother Nathan before he could reveal the Specials’ existence to the world. After disposing of Present-Day Peter and Parkman, Future Peter later heals Nathan, who instead credits the Almighty for the save, despite the fact that Peter saved him last year. Well, the Petrelli boys were never known for their super-intellect, so that’s consistent.

Case in point: Future Pete’s save, according to the ever-EEEEVIL Mama Petrelli, leads to Sylar assaulting Claire Benett at home and stealing both her ability and a dossier of the baddest of the bad, imprisoned in the eponymous Company’s “Level 5.” We learn Future Pete somehow imprisoned Our Peter in the body of super-criminal Jesse Murphy. Jesse/Peter is last seen rolling with three murderous escapees after an attack on Level 5 by Sylar. For his trouble, Sylar appears to be the newest recruit to the Company, now headed by Mama P, and slated to partner with the understandably terrified Mr. Benett. Read the Post Days of Future Peter: TIC vs. Heroes 3.1 + 3.2

September 29, 2008 / / international
September 26, 2008 / / politics
September 26, 2008 / / addicted to race
September 25, 2008 / / Uncategorized

by guest contributor Jen Chau, originally published at The time is always right

Over the last couple of months, I have begun to expect that every un-identified number that pops up on my cell phone is probably connected to a well-intentioned (most of the time) reporter wondering if I could offer my thoughts on Obama‘s mixed race identity. Asking me to comment because of my work with Swirl, they have all wondered how hot of a topic Obama has been amongst other mixed race people. Was everyone excited about it? Were people taking offense to the fact that he was identifying as an African-American man? And what does he mean for the future of mixed race people everywhere? These are just some of the questions that came up during the interviews in which I have taken part (I guess though, that I should at least mention my favorite of all, “What if Obama identified as a white man? What would people think of that?” The best rhetorical question I have heard in a while. If nothing else, these conversations surely have been entertaining).

Now, before I get into my answers to any of these questions, let me say (lest I sound ungrateful) that I am thrilled that Obama is getting a chance at the Presidency. I am also happy that people are feeling pushed to talk about race. I am very happy with how Obama himself handles the whole topic, and I am happy that I have been asked to comment in the midst of all of these national discussions. With all of that said, these conversations about race are just not cutting it. Nowhere even close. Now, I don’t expect us to all of a sudden get really adept at talking about race as a country just because we have a Presidential candidate who is pushing the envelope. We can‘t and shouldn’t be lulled into a false sense of security because he us getting this shot (it sounds like: “Oooooh, I think Racism is ending. Look! A black man is getting a chance to be President of the United States!” I have heard some rendition of this thought several times already). We have to remember that we are at a challenging place in this country and have been here for some time — where some care about these issues, some don’t. Some are terribly experienced with discussing, thinking and living these issues, others are more unfamiliar. This makes for a lot of the tension that exists. Those who are unfamiliar wonder why others have to talk about race so much and those who live it every day wonder why other people just don’t get it. Having a person of color lead this country doesn’t automatically make all of those tensions immediately go away.

Now I offer you a segment from my ideal interview — where whatever I want to say, I say because I am not worried about the interviewer thinking I am too much of a rabble-rouser and moving onto someone else who is low-key and doesn’t have opinions that are too strong (borrrring). On top of that, none of my statements are edited (oh the joy of interviewing yourself and then putting it on your own blog). J By the way, let’s also say that this is a radio interview with a guy named Bob. It just sounds right, doesn‘t it? Read the Post I love fake radio interviews: about Obama and race

September 25, 2008 / / diversity

By Arturo R. García, also posted at The Instant Callback

The saving grace for Heroes last year? Without a doubt, the writers’ strike, for stopping the series’ fall from grace – and common sense.

Coming off one of the best debut seasons in sci-fi history, the critical and commercial darling went completely off the rails during its’ sophomore season, collapsing under the weight of an ill-advised semi-reboot of the story, new and pointless characters, and scripts that felt grafted from first-season drafts. Ominous vision of the future? Check. Overwrought sense of urgency? Check. Overt lack of resolution? Check. For a series whose creators seemed to insist wouldn’t take after comic-books, bad comic-book tropes sure seemed to pop up last season. It wasn’t until the Volume II finale that our favorite super-dudes and dudettes (mostly) stopped being dumb, and Hiro emerged as a super badass, putting erstwhile false idol Adam “Takezo Kensei” Monroe six feet under, that the show regained its’ sense – and its’ senses.

In true Hollywood fashion, series creator Tim Kring accepted responsibility last year by blaming the fans, explaining last season’s sluggish start as the result of inflated fan expectations. He repeated his complaint more bluntly to geek-centric Wizard Magazine: “How do you build a story when all the audience really wants is crack?”

This season, one would imagine the audience really wants the show it fell in love with to return, especially after the creative team had additional time to prepare for this coming story arc, the much-anticipated “Villains.” Read the Post Is The Worst Over?: Heroes Season Preview