Tag Archives: South Park

**TRIGGER WARNING** “I Say It’s All Good When It Really Ain’t:” Rape as Respectability?

By Guest Contributor R.N. Bradley

Image via madamenoire.com

“He so fine, he could rape me so good.”

Pause.

Yeah. You read that correctly. To borrow from my southern roots, I got “thowed off” when my student put this in the atmosphere while talking about black women’s sexuality in a multicultural space like hip hop.

Thowed. Off.

It happened in class about a month ago, and I have yet to find the words to ease the levels of high anxiety and horror that I continue to grapple with after hearing this phrase. Part of me recoiled like the 9-year-old little girl I talked about here; part of it was me as a grown woman angry at the fact that rape is contextualized and dismissed as a spectacle. By no means is this quick commentary intended to be a polished discussion of rape and blackness in the popular imagination. Instead, is more sporadic and “off the dome.”  It has no shaped trajectory but accentuates the messiness of rape discourse that currently exists in (black) American popular culture.

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On Supporting, and Not Supporting, Molly Norris

islam

By Thea Lim

I heard about Molly Norris for the first time last week, on Fatemeh’s blog. Fatemeh wrote that she had signed a petition in support of Molly Norris, and gave this reason:

I was unhappy to read that “Draw Muhammad Day” creator Molly Norris had voluntarily gone into hiding. While I thought the concept of “Draw Muhammad Day” was ridiculous and viewed it in the same light as the South Park episode that supposedly depicted the prophet, I recognize that Norris’ intent wasn’t to be offensive or malicious. In Islam, intentions count for something just like actions, and no one should be punished for simple naïveté. It’s atrocious that Norris has received threats and feels unsafe enough to go incognito.

I have to say that after doing a little bit of reading about Norris, “Draw Muhammad Day” and the outpouring of support for Norris, I am finding it difficult to be as generous as Fatemeh.

When Fatemeh writes that she supports Norris, what I understand is that Fatemeh supports Norris’ right to live a life free of violence and threats.  That, I find entirely reasonable – I too support Norris’ right to safety, as I support anyone’s right to safety.  But what I am struggling to understand is exactly what all the other people who say they support Norris, are actually in support of.

Aaron Goldstein at The American Spectator writes:

Freedom of expression in America took another step closer to a slow death last week when the Seattle Weekly announced it would no longer be publishing the work of cartoonist Molly Norris because she had gone into hiding…I cannot help but wonder that if Norris had been more assertive in her own defense then others would have been more eager to stand beside her…So given the current political climate regarding Islam in America who among us could be the next Molly Norris?

James Taranto at the Wall Street Journal writes:

Where is President Obama? Last month, speaking to a mostly Muslim audience at the White House, the president strongly defended the right of another imam held up as a moderate to build a mosque adjacent to Ground Zero. The next day, and again at a press conference last week, Obama said he was merely standing up for the First Amendment. As far as we recall, it’s the only time Barack Obama has ever stood up for anybody’s First Amendment rights.

Now Molly Norris, an American citizen, is forced into hiding because she exercised her right to free speech. Will President Obama say a word on her behalf? Does he believe in the First Amendment for anyone other than Muslims?

Abigail R. Esman at Forbes writes:

Let me repeat: The U.S. government is suggesting that Ms. Norris change her name, strip away her past, possibly even change her appearance, because she has been targeted by Muslim extremists who are not amused by her work or her ideas. Rather than protect her, rather than defend her, rather than stand up for her Constitutional and democratic rights, declaring their intention to route al-Awlaki out and bring him (and others who are threatening her life) to justice, the American government, as it were, is itself in essence allying with him by taking away her freedom and her life.

Now listen. I will say this again: I emphatically support Molly Norris’ right to safety. I think it is terrible that she has to go into hiding, and I can only imagine the fear and distress that she is feeling right now.

But. I 100% do not support Norris’ right to mean-spirited mockery. I do not support anyone’s right to belittle, poke fun at, show insensitivity or thoughtlessness towards anyone else’s system of belief – but especially at Islam, seeing how it seems to have become some sort of Liberal American pastime to see who can make the most Islamophobic joke.  And this is while the rights of Muslims to pursue their system of belief is under attack, all across the Western world.

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The Camouflaged Cartoonist

By Fatemeh Fakhraie, cross-posted from her blog

I was unhappy to read that “Draw Muhammad Day” creator Molly Norris had voluntarily gone into hiding. While I thought the concept of “Draw Muhammad Day” was ridiculous and viewed it in the same light as the South Park episode that supposedly depicted the prophet, I recognize that Norris’ intent wasn’t to be offensive or malicious. In Islam, intentions count for something just like actions, and no one should be punished for simple naïveté. It’s atrocious that Norris has received threats and feels unsafe enough to go incognito.

Which is why I’ve added my name to the list of American Muslims in the media who support Molly Norris and her right to free speech. My signature on a statement isn’t going to do much for her, but I hope she understands that she has our support.

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Don’t Hate the Player, Hate the Game: the Racialization of Labor in World of Warcraft [Conference Notes]

by Latoya Peterson

These are the notes for “Don’t Hate the Player, Hate the Game: The Racialization of Labor in World of Warcraft.” The notes are for the keynote presentation given by Dr. Nakamura at the Texas A & M University Race and Ethnic Studies Institute’s Symposium exploring Race, Ethnicity and (New) Media.

The full paper is available on Lisa Nakamura’s research site. The abstract is as follows:

This article examines the racialization of informational labor in machinima about Chinese player workers in the massively multiplayer online role playing game World of Warcraft. Such fanproduced video content extends the representational space of the game and produces overtly racist narrative space to attach to a narrative that, while carefully avoiding explicit references to racism or racial conflict in our world, is premised upon a racial war in an imaginary world—the World of Azeroth.

This profiling activity is part of a larger biometric turn initiated by digital culture’s informationalization of the body and illustrates the problematics of informationalized capitalism. If late capitalism is characterized by the requirement for subjects to be possessive individuals, to make claims to citizenship based on ownership of property, then player workers are unnatural subjects in that they are unable to obtain avatarial self-possession. The painful paradox of this dynamic lies in the ways that it mirrors the dispossession of information workers in the Fourth Worlds engendered by ongoing processes of globalization. As long as Asian “farmers” are figured as unwanted guest workers within the culture of MMOs, user-produced extensions of MMO-space like machinima will most likely continue to depict Asian culture as threatening to the beauty and desirability of shared virtual space in the World of Warcraft.

Notes

  • People don’t hold video games accountable for racism; however they do hold them responsible for violence. Gaming has to constantly defend its portrayals of violence, but almost never discusses how it reinforces racism.
  • More people play Warcraft now than were on the internet in 1995. There are a significant number of players in China and S. Korea. Digital games are one of the only platforms we had that were transnational from the inception. People who would never think of trying out Japanese media has actually been engaging for a long time without being aware of it through the gaming world.
  • Nakamura starts her presentation off with a clip from South Park from the episode Make Love, Not Warcraft. In the segment she plays, the following conversation happens:
      Cartman: “I am the mightiest dwarf in all of Azeroth!”
      Kyle: “Wow, look at all these people playing right now.”
      Cartman: “yeah, it’s bullcrap. I bet half of these people are Koreans.”

    With that, Nakamura starts the discussion on how Cartman’s off-handed comment reveals how many think of Asian players – specifically Korean and Chinese – as “not real” players in this online world and begins to explore how racial bigotry is manifesting itself in the World of Warcraft.

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