Brett Favre: The Chimercal Trickster of American Sports

by Guest Contributor invisman52, originally published at Max Protect

After Brett Favre threw an interception at the end of the NFC Championship Game–a fatal mistake that cost his team a chance to make the Super Bowl–I knew that if the Saints would go on to win the game in overtime, many in the media would bemoan the end of Favre’s incredible, improbable season.  (At age 40, he had the best statistical season of his career.)  Since the Saints did win the game in the extra period, I was immediately attuned to how those in the football punditry would react to the game.  To be fair to Favre, with the exception of that crucial late-game turnover, he played remarkably.  Yet, in a twisted sort of poetic football justice, and if Favre retires, his last pass as a Minnesota Viking will be an interception.  His last pass a New York Jet: an interception.  His last pass a Green Bay Packer: an interception.  For all of Favre’s success, he has also thrown more interceptions than anyone in the history of the league.

Many will attribute this fact to his longevity and durability, that Favre has played so many games.  This argument is often coupled with the notion that Favre is a “gun-slinger,” risking whatever it takes to help his team win.  But what underlines most of this line of defense is a love affair that many in the media have for Favre; and it is much more than a so-called “man crush.”  What is clear to me is that what courses through pundits’ constant approbation and excusing of Favre is a deep, racialized identification.  That is, many white pundits in the media are quick to absolve Favre of any kind of blame because of his particular brand of whiteness–a whiteness that I argue is consciously performed.
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Whatever Happened to Rufio?: The Non-Asian Ideal of Masculinity

by Guest Contributor CVT


Here’s one of my first Portland (Oregon) memories:

I’m at a bar with two white male friends.  Well, actually, I’m at a Chinese restaurant and bar . . . at a karaoke night. (*1)  With two white male friends.

Anyway.

My friends, in looking for a larger table for us, chat up these three cute(ish) white girls and get them to let us join them.  The inevitable stupid conversations and “the game” ensue.

While this is all going down, I remember thinking to myself – so vividly – “these girls could give a sh– about me here, the Chinese dude.  All the attention is on (name of one of my friends), and they have hardly looked at me.  This sucks.” (*2)  I don’t know if it was reality, or me having a few too many drinks, but I ended up falling deeper and deeper into this little self-pity fest, as the evening progressed.

The thing is,  I’m actually not a bad-looking guy. (*3)  The friends with me were not exactly blessed with movie-star looks.  So what was my problem?

Well, my problem was that I’m Asian.  And male.  An Asian male.  And let’s just say that Asian males don’t have a lot of noticeable role-models in the “known-for-their-looks” department anywhere outside of the Asian continent.

No – instead, for our entire lives, we are bombarded with images and messaging about the “ideal” man – and he sure as Hell has never had Asian features.  He’s probably white.  But he may be black.  Or even Latino or Arab.  But he isn’t Asian. Continue reading

links for 2010-01-27

  • "I wanna just go down there and get some of those babies," Latifah said, according to CelebrityBabyScoop.com. "If you got a hook up, please get me a couple of Haitian kids. It's time. I'm ready. I got two arms, I can handle at least two. I can take a third in a backpack, and one in the front, we could just wrap it in some swaddling cloth … give me four."
  • "Esther Bejarano says music helped keep her alive as a Jewish prisoner in Auschwitz and in the years that followed.
    Now, 65 years after the liberation of the Nazi death camp, the 85-year-old has teamed up with a hip-hop band to spread her anti-racism message to German youth.

    "It's a clash of everything: age, culture, style," Bejarano, a petite lady with an amiable chuckle, told The Associated Press ahead of Auschwitz Liberation Day on Wednesday. "But we all love music and share a common goal: we're fighting against racism and discrimination."

An Interview with Cherien Dabis, the Woman Behind Amreeka

by Special Correspondent Fatemeh Fakhraie

Fatemeh Fakhraie spoke with Cherien Dabis, the director behind the film Amreeka, a story about a Palestinian woman and her son as they adjust to their new life in America.

It seems that your experiences as an Arab-American have really shaped the way you tell stories. I remember reading in another interview of yours that the story behind Amreeka is a personal one. Could you talk a little bit about that?

Cherien Dabis: The story is very much inspired by my family and the love, strength and pride that held us together during a difficult time. I grew up in a small town in Ohio where there was no anonymity. So everyone knew that my parents were Arab and that we spoke Arabic at home and went away to Jordan and the West Bank every summer. That was all it took for people to treat us differently. Mostly they were just ignorant, asking questions like: Are there cars in Jordan? It wasn’t until the first Gulf War when ignorance turned into racism. My father – who’s a physician – lost a lot of his patients because people didn’t want to support an Arab doctor. We got death threats on a daily basis. And the secret service even visited my high school because of a tip that they got that my 17 year-old sister allegedly threatened to kill the president. I was 14 years old at the time and actually lost a lot of my friends, that’s how ostracized we were. When a so-called friend came up to me at my locker one day and said, “my brother could go to war and die because of you,” I knew it had gone too far. I knew that I needed to try to do something about it. But not only is the film loosely based on what happened to my family in 1991, my family members also inspire the characters in the film. In fact, the main character Muna is inspired by my Aunt who immigrated to the U.S. with her teenaged son in 1997. What struck me about my aunt was her attitude. She was so full of hope and optimism, despite the daily challenges that she faced. She was so trusting of people that she unknowingly disarmed them. Even people who didn’t want to like her or would have otherwise been suspicious of her couldn’t help but ultimately fall in love with her. It’s this quality that inspired Muna. When I sat down to write the script, I kept thinking: If more people were like my aunt, the world would be a better place. Continue reading

The Dangerous Desire to Adopt Haitian Babies

by Guest Contributor (and frequent commenter) Atlasien

Haitian American Adoptive Parent Margalita Belhumer

Haitian American Adoptive Parent Margalita Belhumer

I’m a foster care adoptive parent. I can’t speak for all of us, since we’re a diverse bunch. Some of us have also adopted internationally and support international adoption strongly. Others despise the institution, and are angry about what the perceived hypocrisy of parents who walk past the foster kids in their own cities and states so that they can adopt from a far-away country. I’m somewhere in the middle, but definitely leaning more towards the anti side, especially after this week.

This week, I’ve been deeply disturbed at the swelling public desire to adopt Haitians. Haitian orphan babies. The very name is problematic. In our imagination, an orphan has no family, but the vast majority of “orphans” all over the world have living parents, and almost every single one has living extended relatives. And the children that need family care are, overwhelmingly, older children.

Quite a few other parents I know are really pissed off about it. If you want to adopt, why not consider adopting from foster care? Why Haitian babies? I can guess at some of the answers. Most of them will not be very flattering.

There’s a certain group of white adoptive international parents that dominate much of the discourse around adoption in this country. The most organized of these are evangelical Christians, but many of them are secular in their beliefs on adoption. They’re across the political spectrum, ultraconservative to ultraliberal, though if I had to hazard a guess, most of them are center-right in politics. I believe these people are, basically, a force for evil. If I put it in any nicer words, that would be a lie. Examining their belief system, and their potential political influence on the recovery efforts in Haiti, is a pretty terrifying process. Continue reading

links for 2010-01-26

  • "And what's this about bar graphs? You're saying here that… kids are getting low test scores… because they're on free lunch? Yeah, that makes sense. We all know how increasingly unhealthy our nation's school lunches are, and it's hard to achieve without those basic building blocks.

    Just kidding! You're saying kids are on free lunch because their parents are too lazy to work! Why would they need to, if their kids are getting lunch for free? Of course! And said parents are also too lazy to care about their kids at all — far too lazy to come in for a parent-teacher conference."

  • Both the Golden Globes and the SAG Awards have generally been viewed as credible predictors of the Oscar winners, and surely, as the ceremony approaches, Mo’Nique’s role will come under more scrutiny and debate. Many believe that African-American women (and men for that matter) only receive awards for negative roles, believing a larger conspiracy of sorts exists within the studio system of Hollywood.

    But is this really true? Are negative roles the only way black actresses achieve the awards and recognition of the Academy and their peers?

  • In Massillon, Ohio, south of Cleveland, Jackson High School started its Chinese program in the fall of 2007 with 20 students and now has 80, said Parthena Draggett, who directs Jackson’s world languages department.
    “We were able to get a free Chinese teacher,” she said. “I’d like to start a Spanish program for elementary children, but we can’t get a free Spanish teacher.”
    (Jackson’s Chinese teacher is not free; the Chinese government pays part of his compensation, with the district paying the rest.)
  • "[T]hat is where Peta fails. They don’t care when their actions reinforce oppressive systems, they don’t care when their actions cause those of us who don’t agree with those oppressive systems to turn away from campaigns, or even caring about animals. Peta doesn’t view it as pragmatic to care."
  • "There is a huge chasm between white women who frame their experience in terms of feeling pressure to live up to a harsh set of standards versus women who live on the margins yet are still expected to adhere to the same standards that do not even recognize their existence. The former often focuses on specific traits such as blondness, thinness without much critical examination, with the expectation that intersectionality should have no bearing on the discourse."

Did “The Wire” Presage Politics Post-2008?

by Guest Contributor Aymar Jean Christian, originally published at Televisual


Get ready for reason #573 why The Wire was the best television show of the aughts. In the wake of Scott Brown’s upset in the Massachusetts special election for the U.S. Senate, I’ve been thinking a lot about the cycle of politics. I’ve been a pretty steady proponent of the politics of idealism and, borrowing from Tony Kushner, the ethical responsibility to hope, but the aftermath of Martha Coakley’s defeat may test my resolve. Where can I find the blueprint for my incipient cynicism? The Wire, of course!

The Wire’s central thesis was simple: short-term politics and the quest for power kills long-term progress and social justice. From gangs to government, the media to schools, the same rule applies. Everyone, sadly, violates the rule. They think about themselves and the system never gets fixed. This is the fundamental cynicism of The Wire: it perfectly diagnoses how groups and institutions kill hope. Continue reading

Campus Ghost Story [Comic Review]

by Guest Contributor Jenn, originally published at Reappropriate

Campus Ghost Story Trailer from People Pictures on Vimeo.

When I was in college, there sure as heck weren’t zombies, ghosts, and incredibly beautiful people having a bunch of sex with each other. Okay, at least there weren’t a lot of zombies and ghosts.

Filmmaker Quentin Lee has teamed up with artist John Hahn to write and illustrate an online graphic novel entitled Campus Ghost Story. Both Asian American, Lee and Hahn have set out to create a “fun and sexy horror story” that “[at] the heart of it is about how young adults construct their identity and fear against issues of race, gender and sexuality”.

Since I’m y’know me, I pretty much jumped at the idea of a couple of Asian American creators making a comic book about race and gender. And who doesn’t love a good comic with sexuality, right?

So, since I’m sitting here at my desk waiting for tissue to digest (I won’t bore you with the science-y details), I decided to check out the 13-page preview of Campus Ghost Story (which, it seems, represents the first of eight chapters in the book). Continue reading