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Emma-the-Australian-Shepherd

Sep. 1st, 2015 12:00 am
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Emma-the-Australian-Shepherd puppy
Emma is a sweet little girl who was half the size of her 5 brothers when she came home, weighing less than 3 pounds. She is always looking for her next adventure (things to chew on) and always looking for her next place to take a puppy nap. She loves human and puppy friends and will give lots of puppy kisses until you tell her to stop! She sleeps at your feet at night and cuddles next to you in the morning. Although her sense of curiosity has gotten her in trouble, she is so lovable and has made friends with everyone who has seen her!

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Anne dreams of being a concert pianist, who sweeps onto stage in a gorgeous gown, and ravishes an adoring audience of classical aficionados with the Liszt she listened to on her mother's favorite record album. So she decides to take up piano.

Burt's friends convince him to go out with them to see an old movie at the local art house cinema. He didn't know a thing about "The Sting" going into it, but he fell in love with it: the brilliant plot, the witty dialog, the old-timey visual style, and above all, the soundtrack, which seems to be the movie's rakish attitude distilled to 200 proof. Especially the theme. He doesn't know what it is ("The Entertainer", a rag), he doesn't know who it's by (Scott Joplin), all he knows is that it's played on piano and that seems to him the most marvelous sound he's ever heard, and he wants to be able to make that sound. So he decides to take up piano.

Catherine has no desire whatsoever to take up piano. Catherine wants to conduct orchestras. But an aspirant conductor's got to do what an aspirant conductor's got to do. So she decides to take up piano.

David, when he was little, used to love it when Uncle Don came to the big family celebrations at Thanksgiving and Christmas. He'd pull out the piano bench, crack that same joke as always about the piano being dusty, and then rally the family in great rollicking sing-alongs. David wants to be able to do that too. So he decides to take up piano.

Emily went out on a date once, where she wound up in this funky basement restaurant, where the ceiling was painted like the sky, and a woman in an evening gown played this incredibly sophisticated up-town jazz. Emily really liked jazz, but wasn't well educated about it, and didn't recognize what the pianist was playing. So when she went up to put money in her jar, she asked her. The pianist said she wasn't playing any one particular piece at all: it was all free improvisation, extemporaneous. Emily was blown away. The date didn't work out, but she couldn't get what that pianist did out of her mind. She wanted to be able to do that. So she decides to take up piano.

Frank is Elton John's biggest fan. So he decides to take up piano.

Grace is tired of being seen and not heard. Grace is tired of being small and powerless. Sometimes Grace just wants to scream and pound her fists, but she doesn't, because she's a good girl. She knows it would be futile if she did: they wouldn't listen to her. She wants to make them listen. One day at school one of the other girls teaches her to pick out half of "Heart and Soul", and she discovers that she can make the lion of 88 teeth roar for her, too, and slam her hands down as hard as she wants. She doesn't care what she plays, Mendelssohn to Paul Simon, just so long as it has lots of what she doesn't yet know are called parallel octaves. So she decides to take up piano.

Herbert always had a vague sense that he liked "old-timey" music, but then he went with a friend to something called a contra dance. He liked the dancing fine, but the music that whirled him away felt like a riot in his heart. He sits some numbers out to catch his breath, and finds he's right by the piano with a great view of the pianist's hands. So he decides to take up piano.

Isabel has been having a lot of fun with the midi keyboard she got for Christmas, but she realizes she'd have a lot more fun if she actually knew what she was doing on the keys. So she decides to take up piano.

Jake wants to be a singer-songwriter, so he was looking forward to taking the guitar class when he gets to seventh grade. But then his family moves, and his new school district doesn't teach guitar, and the nearest guitar teacher is an hour away. But there's a piano in the basement that the previous tenants left behind, and a piano teacher down the block. So he decides to take up piano.

Leigh's mother feels that classical music training is an important part of a balance college application. Lee, it emerges after a miserable year of violin, has absolutely no ear for tuning. So Leigh decides to take up piano.

Marty's therapist at school would sit him down at the piano and they'd play musical games together. Things were hard for Marty since his dad went away; he found that when he was playing piano with his therapist, he relaxed a little, he hurt receded a little. He could just focus on following the rules of the game for a little while, and this beautiful sound would come out. Sometimes he even felt like he could make the sound that was the sound of how he was feeling. So Marty decides to take up piano.

Nancy has espoused that she wants to be a singer since she was a wee tiny child. She has a speech impediment of which she is unaware, and the speech pathologist warned her parents that studying voice might make her self-conscious of it; if she doesn't become self-conscious about her speech impediment, they are told, she will probably just grow out of it. It would be best if they could distract her from her ambition, channel it somehow. Nancy loves complicated mechanisms, so her parents do the obvious, and bring home a piano. Nancy is fascinated. Her parents ask if she'd like lessons on the piano. So Nancy decides to take up piano.

Oswald's parents took him to classical music concerts ever since he was small. The names "Bach", "Beethoven", and "Brahms" were known to him before he'd entirely sorted out all his aunts and uncles. Eventually he came to understand: these venerated names were those of the people who made up the music he was hearing, and the idea of being the person who invents the music absolutely fired his imagination. When his first grade class first went to music class, he proudly told the music teacher that when he grew up, he was going to be a composer. "Well, you'd better study piano, then." So Oswald decided to take up piano.

Patricia's mother played piano beautifully, before she got so sick. Patricia would lie on the floor under the grand piano, watching her mother's feet work the pedals, the music cascading down from above. That was when Patricia was very little; it's one of the few things she remembers about her mother from before her mother had to go to the hospital. At the funeral, all she can think is, "I will never hear my mother play piano again." So Patricia decides to take up piano.

Quentin has always wanted to be in a marching band. Quentin is often somewhat confused about things. So Quentin decides to take up piano.

Ramona's second grade class had a visit from an early music group. They had a harpsichord with them: it had the most enchanting sound, and had a beautiful painting inside the lid. Ramona was smitten. Ramona asked her mother for harpsichord lessons, and after a bit of Googling, her mother counter-proposed piano lessons as a stepping stone to harpsichord. So Ramona decides to take up piano.

Sammy saw a documentary on piano makers. He loved the idea of working with his hands, and he loved the idea of these great physical forces being harnessed to be operated by such delicate mechanisms to produce this elegant and liquid sound. He's too young to actually do much on his dream of studying to make pianos, but he can have music lessons. So Sammy decides to take up piano.

Toni has a dream of rocking a stadium full of people, belting out her own songs while self-accompanying on the piano music of her own arranging. She populates the stage of her imagination with back-up singers, a bassist, two guitarists, three saxophones, two slide trombones, a trumpet, a small string orchestra, and Neil Peart. So Toni decides to take up piano.

Ulrich find a copy of the Windham Hill Records Piano Sampler II in a CD player he buys at a yard sale. He finds it very pleasing. There's something about it which sets his mind to wandering in delightful new directions. He starts fantasizing about being able to make such music for himself. So he decides to take up piano.

Veronica just wants to be able to play Vienna Teng's "Harbors". So she takes up piano.

Warner read Gödel, Escher, Bach at an impressionable age. He dutifully listens to the Bach, but he knows he's still on the outside, looking in, his nose pressed to the glass wanting what is inside the music: that which you cannot truly know, until you can play it for yourself. He hears the echos of something grand and celestial in each flawless note, and yearns to join himself to it. So Warner decides to take up piano.

Xena won six free piano lessons with the school music teacher in a fundraiser raffle for the school. So Xena decides to take up piano.

Yosef's church has the best choir, and he loves it when they sing, which is a lot, because they're awesome and bring everyone into the spirit. But it's when the organ starts to play that Yosef feels like God himself is there and present. Once, after service, he snuck back in and crept up to the organ. He touched one note – just one! – and this amazing golden reedy sound filled the space like Gabriel's trumpet. It felt like a promise. Yosef's momma came charging in to take custody of him, even as the organist came in another door. Momma was scandalized, but the organist just laughed, and said he'd noticed how much Yosef liked the organ. They talked. Momma doesn't have an organ, she does have a piano; that's alright, said the organist, it was how he got his start, himself. So Yosef decides to take up piano.

Zacharia grew up listening to Billy Joel, and her favorite song of all was, of course, "Piano Man". First, when she was little, just because it was catchy; a little older, because it was so sad and wistful; older still, because it described a scene that was at once tawdry and uninhibited, filled with beautiful loser; older still, the craft of what he did with the piano part, and how it reified the very song; older still, because of this idea it at once described and embodied of the musician as observer, at once in the scene and detached enough from it to describe it, someone who sings a people their lives back to them in song. And she realizes that's what she wants to do, too. So Zacharia decides to take up piano.




(I swear, when I started writing this, I figured I'd dash off, like, five examples. But they just kept coming. The list just about wrote itself as fast as I could type it. I maybe even could have kept going.)

Now you know why all of these 26 imaginary, yet so very real, people, decided to take up one particular musical instrument, the piano.

But you know what now you also know? Why most of them will probably stop pursing music all together.

All of these people walk into a piano teacher's studio with their dreams or desires or agendas or expectations, and chances are, the piano teacher will never find out about them. It's not the custom – though I strongly feel it should be – for music teachers to ask their students, "Why are you here? What have you come here to learn to do?"

They assume they know: to "study piano", of course. Which in their experience and training means studying classical music, to be played solo, in concert, the highest flourishing of which is the professional classical concert pianist. Piano teachers generally assume their students are Anne; or at least, they teach their students as if they are. It is the convention to teach piano students as if they wanted to become classical concert pianists, even while they might have all these other aims (and no doubt others I haven't listed), or no particular aims at all (like Xena), or entirely nonsensical aims (like Quentin).

I started studying piano at six – I was Nancy, above, by the way – and I loved it. I loved playing at the piano, I loved lessons with my teacher, I loved learning to read music, I loved stories about composers (I was also Oswald to his 1st grad music, teacher too), I super loved theory and I super, super loved my teacher, herself. I threw myself into "studying piano" with enthusiasm.

One little hitch: I don't like classical music. I don't mean that in the vague, in-principle reverse-snobbery way most people who say that do. I mean it in the terribly precise way only somebody who spent nine years playing it can mean. I don't hate it, and I don't disapprove of it, and I certainly don't regret a single moment I spent on it.

It's just not my music. It took me until I was just shy of my 16th birthday to figure out: the reason I was getting so disenchanted with studying piano, since I moved 3,000 miles from the piano teacher I adored, was that, for one thing, the repertoire I was playing didn't speak to me, at all.

I had this epiphany, one day, practicing. It finally dawned on me that Mozart's "Turkish Waltz" was not my fault. It did not sound like that because I was an inadequate player. It sounded like that because it was supposed to. It wasn't that I was playing it badly, it was that it was the Turkish Waltz, and I don't like the Turkish Waltz, and nothing I did while playing it was ever likely going to fix it being the Turkish Waltz.

It was not until that moment that it occurred to me to ask the question, "What am I doing here?" It had never been asked of me. It didn't occur to me to ask it of myself until then.

I, like most piano students, had simply boarded the pedagogical train labeled "piano lessons", without making much note that its ultimate destination was Classical Concert Pianist. That was the choice that presented itself.

It didn't occur to me that music instruction doesn't have to be a train. It can be more like a taxi cab. You can say, "This is where I would like to get to. Can you take me there?"

I am supremely lucky that it did occur to me to ask the question. If it hadn't, I probably would have dropped out of music all together.

That's what happens to an awful lot of people who get on that train with dreams of going to completely other stations; they eventually lose their patience. Studying music takes a lot of patience; you have to be willing to suck for quite a while. You have to trust that practice works, and that after a while, you will be able to do what you weren't previously able to do. You have to trust that your teacher knows what they're about, and will know what you need to learn to play your instrument.

At first, all progress is great, and takes you closer your destination of Being Able To Play. But with time, and with progress, if your goal isn't being a Classical Concert Pianist (or a Symphonic Violinist, or Classical Guitarist, or Opera Singer, or whatever train you found yourself on), you will start to notice you're not making as much progress towards the destination as once you were. How far you go depends on your temperament, and how far your goal is from being a Classical Concert Pianist (or whatever). But if your goal isn't particularly close to being a Classical Concert Pianist (or whatever), you have this sense you're making "progress", but it doesn't feel very satisfying. It feels pointless. You can see that with each piece you master, your skills improve, but it doesn't feel like progress. It feels... futile. Which is confusing. And dispiriting.

What's not conscious is that deep inside, the part of you with the musical aspiration is noticing that you've spent all this time and effort – years – any you're not getting any closer to your chosen destination. Nothing you do in your studies seems to get you any closer to where you want to be, even as you note it moves you up the ever steeper slope towards Classical Concert Pianist. That's where the sense of futility comes from. It was okay that one wasn't immediately playing Scott Joplin or Elton John or rocking stadiums; but the unarticulated assumption was that one would eventually do that, that that was in fact the point of the enterprise. If this is what you have to go through to get there, then you could be patient with that. It's when you begin to suspect the musical destination of your heart isn't getting any closer that you lose patience with what you previously put up with in the name of learning.

I am so glad I didn't just drop out, which is what happens to a lot of people for whom their study of music doesn't get them where they want to be: "I studied music once, because I thought it would be fun. But then it wasn't."

The reason I didn't drop out of music is that it occurred to me to ask What am I doing here? What do I want to be doing here?

I started, belatedly, asking all sorts of important questions of myself. What kind of music do I want to play? What kind of music do I like to listen to? What kinds of instruments is it played on? Is piano any good for playing it? What sort of playing do I want to do? What social role do I want my music playing to involve? Do I want to be a performer? An entertainer? An artist? What can you do with this piano playing stuff, anyways, and is it what I want to do?

It eventually dawned on me that I listened to approximately no piano music, and that in turn raised the fascinating question of why, if I didn't feel like spending my money on piano music recordings, I was spending my musical time playing piano? (I was a little bit Quentin, too.)

I spent a while thinking about these things and listening to a lot of recordings and playing through old favorites, and eventually came to the rather astonishing conclusion that I wanted to start exploring being a woodwindist.

Oddly enough, it turns out 9 years of classical piano and theory is a fabulous formal background for the study of early winds. I wasn't on the wrong train, I just discovered I wanted to head somewhere no train went; I'd taken the train I had as close as it could get me, and it was time for me to disembark, pull out my machete and head overland cutting my own path.

The one regret I do have, if it can be termed that, is that I wasn't exposed to more options as a young music student. I didn't know about contra dance bands and nobody ever talked to me, for all the rock fake sheets I played from and despite my time playing keys in jr high jazz band, about opportunities in other forms.

If you are setting out – or have long since set out – as a music student, you can't assume somebody else is going to ask you what you're doing here, and ask you where you're trying to get to. I think you have to speak up, which is awkward to make the student's responsibility, but here we are.

But asking those questions – and continuing to ask them, because our dreams and goals change and grow over our lives – is what lets you figure out how to connect your practice with your passion.




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Aug. 31st, 2015 11:34 pm
jhameia: ME! (Default)
[personal profile] jhameia
This morning, JC and I took the bus to campus. It's rare for me to want to take the bus because to me campus is so close I might as well leave whatever time I want, and just walk.

I've been thinking through really carefully primary texts for my dissertation like Dr. HBZ has been telling me. Mostly I've been looking at graphic design, but maybe there's something to be said about having some particular primary texts that discuss the things I'm looking at.

In my dissertation first chapter, I'm looking at some steampunk motifs, in pairs, and right now it looks like this:
Gears - rayguns (evoke adventure)
Goggles - airship (evokes mad science)
Corsets - tea (evokes Englishness, and sense of self-display, which I call promenade)

I thought about it further in relation to the theories I'd like to think of them with:

Gears - ray guns - evokes adventure - expansive capitalism that comes from unrootedness (gears as units can be moved from machine to machine, rayguns as weapons displace)

Goggles - airship - evokes mad science - globalization that comes from scientific inquiry stemming from post-Enlightenment desire to demystify and conquer the unknown (wear goggles in the lab, use the airship to explore, then create the train system to grid and manage known lands)

and here's where it got interesting, because I wasn't sure I cared very much for the tea thing... I was gonna use it to symbolize how steampunks indulge in "Englishness" by drinking tea (which would give me an excuse to talk about tea-dueling) and ignore the globalizing violence that comes from the tea (and sugar) trades but I found it more compelling to think about corsets through the theory of anatomo-politics... Foucault's lesser-known concept; biopolitics is more important.

What are anatomo-politics? they are basically forms of disciplining the body, on an individual level. Anatomo-politics then feed biopolitics, which are forms of disciplining populations, determining wider-scale life-and-death patterns based on which bodies are more desirable to maintain.

Corsets - prosthetics - evokes promenade - both are forms of anatomo-politics, and I want think through Michel de Certeau's theory of movement and space since when in costume, there will be some negotiation of such (corsets bind the body's silhouette, prosthetics signify, in crip drag, a desire to compensate for lack, or, out of crip drag, a desire to break biological limitations and be more efficient)

Unfortunately, the only primary text that definitively talk about the feelings that these things evoke, is Hugo, in relation to gears. I'm still cobbling together other possible texts, and will have to read widely for it.

Interestingly, when I looked over my string of notes from very early on, I found that I'd already paired corsets with prosthetics, so I'm really going back to an original idea, just with a better theoretical approach.

I had a great chat with Foz Meadows about how the corset would have become a fashion thing, and we figure that it's due to the burlesque pinups. I have a theory about the Makers in steampunk who're inspired by the old Wild Wild West series, and the Disney Victorian science fiction movies, and how they would have returned to that aesthetic when they were affluent enough to do so. And I figure something similar happened with corsets--a generation after they phased out as underwear, popularized in the burlesque scene (where it's common to subvert norms), girls turn to the corset when they become women and gain the affluence to wear them as a highly-sexualised fashion style.

All this, while freaking out over having to make phone calls to AT&T and just about breaking down into tears because I absolutely could not handle being on the phone, not at all, and not being able to move is so stressful to think about, I cannot deal.

I left campus around 2pm, because I was finally way too hungry, and calmed down while eating fried rice. So I felt slightly better, and went downtown to the Utilities and ask them to delay my service at the new place. When I got home, I called AT&T and managed to not die on the phone. (I freaked out a bit and thought they'd canceled my service because my internet was not connecting. Halfway thru the phone call, I unplugged the modem and replugged it in and it was fine. Oh well.)

JC and I went to Busy Cafe (where I had eaten earlier) and we hammered out some basic details, agreements on tidiness and chores, what we wanted to clean and how often. Sorted out maximum number of parties per month (1), houseguesting, volume. So... yeah apparently I am capable of adulting on the roommate challenge.

We walked to campus because I saw some boxes in my department and wanted to grab any left (there was just one) and JC had to return books to the library. It was a really nice cool night out! And he showed me the route he used when walking home to his apartment, which is closer to where the new place will be than mine is. It's weirdly convoluted, but he assures me that it's an extremely direct and takes less time to get to campus than sticking to the main roads.

A few friends have volunteered to help me out on Friday, but in the morning instead. That makes me a bit nervous because I have an afternoon appointment at 2pm, but it looks like with as many people as we have, we might be able to be done in just a few hours? As long as I have my crap together, and have things ready for folks to grab and go, it will be relatively painless and efficient. Irene's letting me borrow her dolly too. And I'll cook lunch for them.

I hope it works out okay.
sporky_rat: Torches outside the Bulgarian Communist Headquarters. (post from the ether)
[personal profile] sporky_rat
via http://ift.tt/1X9ufC0 at September 01, 2015 at 02:30AM:
yeoja:

duckindolans:

Thank u Jackie

I’m gonna cry

Pick Your Style

Sep. 1st, 2015 07:16 am
[syndicated profile] viridian5_feed
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<a data-flickr-embed="true" data-header="false" data-footer="false" data-context="false" href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/26154094@N03/21052072421/in/dateposted-public/" title="The World Is a Mess (reclining)"><img src="https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5785/21052072421_79567a2669_m.jpg" width="240" height="165" "="&quot;" border="1" align="left" hspace="9" alt="The World Is a Mess (reclining)"></a>My final posting from May: a bunch of preppy vacationers at Polo Ralph Lauren and a summer-themed fever dream at Bloomingdale's, all shot at 4 a.m. You can find my 27 new photos at <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/26154094@N03/" target="_blank">my Flickr account</a> and <a href="http://viridian5.deviantart.com/" target="_blank">my deviantArt</a>.

A few weeks ago, during another insomnia-fueled 4 a.m. ride through Manhattan for photo ops, I was at Kleinfeld Bridal taking shots, the only person out on the street aside from two guys on the other side. I noticed them watching me but didn't go to leave until I was ready. I got into the car and saw one of them calling to me. Since I couldn't hear him, he came up to my closed door and I opened the window. I don't know if I was older or less pretty than he expected, if he saw I was obviously about to leave since I had my foot on the brake and a "I'm going home" air, or if he belatedly realized that a woman would have to be nuts to go off with two unknown men in Manhattan who picked her up on an empty street after 4 a.m., because after a moment standing there he said, "You're going home now, aren't you? Be safe." I said, "You too!" and drove off. It was about ten minutes later that I realized that it could've gone badly. It was the first time anyone came up to me like that in the years I've been doing this; the other time was someone passing by saying that the windows <i>are</i> amazing. That late the city is mostly mine; most of the few other people out are on the job. (Though I still wonder about that woman and 7-year-old boy I saw wandering the empty streets of Midtown at about 3:15 a.m. one night, what they'd been doing.)

My confidence comes from having my car, which can function as shelter, escape, and a weapon. (Having been in a fight or die situation, I know my usual empathy goes on hold and I will protect myself even if I have to hurt someone to do it.) I would never do a late night photo run on mass transit because my photo targets are blocks apart, I can't depend on trains and buses that late (especially buses, and in Queens they don't run at all after a certain hour), trains run on different lines after certain hours, and I can't rely on being able to know and make my way to the nearest subway station if I get in trouble or have a weak spell.

Spring through summer, for my night photo drives I open Civic's moon roof, listen to and feel my music in my car, let the night inside, and <i>be</i>. (Colder parts of the year, I listen to and feel my music running through my car with everything <i>closed</i>.) I don't know how much longer Civic has left, so I'm enjoying her while I can.
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Posted by Charlott

Lass es Sommerpause sein

Lass es Sommerpause sein

„Hatten wir dazu nicht schon einmal einen Beitrag?“ – Eine Frage, die gar nicht so selten auftaucht, denn (leider) bleiben viele Debatten auch über Jahre ganz zeitlos aktuell oder branden ‚plötzlich‘ wieder auf. Statt immer einen neuen Text zu verfassen, juckt es manchmal in den Fingern einfach die älteren Werke vorzukramen und zu posten: „Hier, war schon vor drei Jahren kritikwürdig.“
Eigentlich ist dieser Reflex doch auch gar nicht schlimm, wenn Gedanken schon einmal gut ausformuliert wurden, müssen sie ja nicht in der digitalen Schublade verstauben. Aus diesem Grund haben wir die Sommerpause genutzt und posteten auf Facebook und Twitter Artikel aus den letzten Jahren. Diesen #SommerImArchiv könnt ihr nun auch hier noch einmal gesammelt nachverfolgen. Viel Spaß beim Stöbern! (Und falls ihr unsere Arbeit finanziell unterstützen wollt, freuen wir uns jederzeit über Spenden.)

Fett am Strand. Ist das nicht voll ungesund?!

Sommer, Badestrand oder Freibad – für viele eine unschlagbare Kombination. Doch die Freude wird auch häufig schnell getrübt, z.B. durch fatshamende Kommentare. Im letzten Jahr schrieb Magda zu Fatkinis und Gesundheitsdiskursen:

Ich höre Gefährdung und möchte schreien: Jaaa!! Stolze, glückliche fette Menschen sind gefährlich – weil sie hegemoniale Bilder von den traurigen™ und inaktiven™ Fatties in Frage stellen. Weil manche dicke Menschen einen lauten Furz darauf geben, ob andere es „ästhetisch“ oder „schön“ finden, wenn sie knappe Bikinis oder Neon-Badeanzüge tragen. Dicke Leute, die ihren Körper nicht verstecken, ihn sogar stolz präsentieren? Passt in keine gesell­schaftliche Erzählung über das Dicksein: Dicke Menschen sollen entweder abnehmen oder zumindest sagen, dass sie es tun wollen. Aber doch bitte nicht fett und glücklich im Badeanzug posieren.

Zum Freispruch für George Zimmerman

Im letzten Monat jährte sich bereits zum zweiten Mal der Freispruch für George Zimmerman. Im Juli 2013 schrieb accalmie über das Urteil und seinen Kontext:

Institutionalisierter Rassismus führt dazu, dass drei Mal mehr Schwar­ze US-Bür­ger_in­nen zur To­des­strafe verurteilt werden als weiße. Jener institutionalisierte Rassismus führte auch dazu, dass das Ver­fah­ren ge­gen Geor­ge Zim­mer­man auch zum Ver­fahren darüber wurde, wie Schwarz Tray­von Mar­tin war: wie sehr hood(ie), wie stereo­typi­sier­bar, wie entmenschlich- und entindividualisierbar genug, um eine „beiläufige“ Er­schiessung zu recht­fer­ti­gen.

Feminist Bore-Out

Eine Sommerpause tut aus so vielen Gründen Not – zum Beispiel? Feminist Bore-Out! Ein Phänomen, dessen Name Nadia im letzten Jahr prägte:

Es wird ja auch nicht besser wenn den Leuten™ das Ganze unter dem Deckmantel von “Es geht den Autorinnen ja eigentlich und tatsächlich um Gleichberechtigung!” untergejubelt wird. Und ich weiß auch nicht, womit wir diese ganzen Buchpupser_innen verdient haben. Ich meine, das Problem an all dem wirklich grenzwertigen und problematischen Herrschaftsgelaber der Mainstream-Unterhaltungsliteratur “mit Message”™ ist ja mittlerweile nicht mehr nur, dass in diesen Büchern stringent falsches und empirisch nicht haltbares Zeug behauptet wird – das Problem ist ja auch noch, dass dieses ganze Zeug furzlangweilig ist. Weil immer wieder der immer gleiche Scheiß erzählt wird.

 


Schöne neue Welt – „Hellcome to Germany“

Im August 2013 schrieb Sabine ihr Essay zu Flucht, Asyl, Grenzen, Gewalt. Jetzt zwei Jahre später scheint es aktueller denn je:

Das Leid hat sich nicht verändert, aber die Gesetze sind schärfer. Ein Wunder, wer es schafft über die Wüste, Menschenhändler, Foltercamps oder das Mittelmeer. Es ist Spätsommer, da ist das Mittelmeer etwas ruhiger und die Flucht kann gelingen. Dass weiß auch die Bundes- und Grenzschutzpolizei. Hochsaison, die Jagd hat begonnen. In dieser Welt möchte niemand bloß Mensch sein.


IDAHOT* – Sollten homosexuelle und transgender Personen getrennt kämpfen?

Anlässlich des diesjährigen IDAHOT* schrieb Jayrôme über die Argumente für und wider seperater Kämpfe von transgender Aktivist_innen:

Darum plädiere ich für die Selbst-Organisation jedes einzelnen Buchstabens und dann plädiere ich für unterschiedliche Bündnisse und unterschiedliche Dächer – abhängig vom Thema.

Zum Beispiel wäre ein Runder Tisch zur Gleichstellung der Geschlechter definitiv ein Thema für das CTI-Bündnis: Die cisgender, transgender und intersex Community.

Samstagabendbeat

(Fast) Jeden Samstagabend präsentieren wir euch Musiker_innen unterschiedlichster Genres und Jahrzehnte. Für alle Musikfans, und jene, die es werden wollen, lohnt sich auch da ein Blick ins Archiv. Oder noch einfacher: Auf unsere Youtube-Seite, wo es den Großteil der Songs in einer super Playlist gibt.

Wer war… May Ayim

Am 9. August vor 19 Jahren starb die afro-deutsche Dichterin, Schriftstellerin, Aktivistin May Ayim. Vor fünf Jahren stellte Magda sie in unserer Reihe „Wer war eigentlich…“ vor.

Ehe abschaffen! Und bis dahin: Eheprivilegien umverteilen

Es war eines der Themen des Frühsommers: Öffnung der Ehe. Erst Irland, dann die USA, drumherum viel Konfetti. Nadine forderte stattdessen: „Ehe abschaffen!“

Die Kritik, dass die Institution Ehe im Kern ein kolonialrassistisches, heterosexistisches und kapitalistisches Ordnungs- und Gewaltinstrument ist, das die staatliche Gewalt-Dynamik bis in den persönlichen Nahraum von Menschen wiederholt (siehe Links am Ende des Textes), scheint der „Why not?“ und „Tut ja keine_r weh!“-Stimmung keinen Abbruch zu tun.

Critical Whiteness und das Ende der Sektstimmung

Manchmal muss man die Worte „Critical Whiteness“ nur flüstern und schon sieht man sich konfrontiert mit einer Abwehr-Welle. Oder aber „Critical Whiteness“ wird als Platzhalter für alles, was uncool empfunden wird, genutzt. Egal, ob sinnhafter Zusammenhang oder nicht. Drum heute einen Klassiker zum Thema von Nadia:

Kulturell, sozial, politisch, ökonomisch: Es gibt keine Rassismus-befreiten Zonen in Deutschland. Das ist das Resümee des Buches [Deutschland Schwarz Weiß von Noah Sow], und es schmerzt vielleicht manchen (weißen) Leser_innen noch mehr, wenn ihm_ihr dann auch noch direkt mitgeteilt wird, dass auch er_sie ständig an den vielzähligen Mikromechanismen mitwirkt, ob er_sie es will oder nicht.

Über das Gucken und Sehen: Schwarze Frauen in Deutschland an_erkennen

Was ist der Unterschied zwischen ‚gucken‘ und ’sehen‘? Wie werden Blicke etabliert? Was machen diesen Blicke? Wie sich selbst und andere sehen, erkennen, unter all den *istischen Strukturen? Dazu dieser wunderbare Text von Sharon aus dem Mai:

Insgesamt erzählen die Blicke von Mitgliedern einer mächtigen Gesellschaftsgruppe eigensinnige Geschichten über ein Objekt. Mit der Zeit besitzen diese Geschichten eine größere Autorität, als was das Objekt jemals könnte. Jedoch ist die Information, die das „Gucken“ bietet, unvollständig, da die Kommunikation nur in eine Richtung geht. Gucken ist nicht das Gleiche wie Sehen. In einem Kontext, in dem der weiße männliche Blick dominiert, wurden Schwarze Frauen immer angeguckt aber selten gesehen.


Über Verlust und Trauer

Noch relativ frisch in unserem Archiv dieser wichtige Texte über Gefühle und Erfahrungen mit dem Tod von Eltern sowie den Umgang mit Trauer und Trauernden (auch in queer-feministischen Kontexten).

In unseren Communities heißt es oft: Familie ist nicht nur die Herkunftsfamilie, lasst uns mehr über Wahlfamilie sprechen! Die theoretische Auseinandersetzung derjenigen, die dann trotzdem zu ihren Eltern nach Hause fuhren, wurde für mich praktische Realität. Ehrlich gesagt hat es sich nicht so befreiend angefühlt. Meine Traurigkeit kann ich nicht dekonstruieren.

Warum ich nicht mehr über ‚Hate Speech‘ diskutieren will

In regelmäßigen Abständen ist sie wieder da: die Hate-Speech-Debatte. Wer ist betroffen? Warum gibt es so viel Hass im Netz? Etc. Charlott schrieb im Mai darüber, warum sie zu mindestens den Begriff nicht mehr hören kann:

Ja, ich mag Hate Speech nicht – also natürlich zum einen die Akte, die mit dem Konzept gemeint sind (wie überraschend, ich mag es nicht bedroht und beschimpft zu werden), aber eben auch den Begriff ‚Hate Speech‘ an sich. Mich stört, dass der Begriff schnell relativ entpolitisiert verwendet werden kann. Dann wird plötzlich über die ‚Debattenkultur‘ im Internet diskutiert und nicht mehr über Macht- und Diskriminierungsverhältnisse.

Renate Künast, der Vergewaltigungsparagraph 177 und die Unzulänglichkeiten des Rechtsstaats

Im Februar wandte sich Renate Künast in einem Beitrag auf Zeit Online an Thomas Fischer, Richter am Bundesgerichtshof, und seine Behauptung im Sexualstrafrecht bestehe kein Handlungsbedarf. Nadine analysierte die Debatte:

Die Diskussion über die Reform von §177 ist nicht nur eine über die Strafbarkeit von Vergewaltigung, sondern auch eine über das Subjekt des deutschen Rechts. Über Dogmen, die vorgeben, dass das Strafrecht kein Opferrecht ist, das nach Gerechtigkeit strebt, sondern ein Täterrecht, das vorgibt fair gegenüber allen Beteiligten zu sein und ggf Sanktion ausübt (und die Bedingungen von „fair“ nicht mehr zur Debatte stehen), kein Recht für, sondern ein Recht gegen. Eine Diskussion darüber, dass Rechtsgüter (egal ob menschlich oder nicht), vor dem Gesetz so gleich behandelt werden, dass bestehende Hierarchien und Machtverhältnisse schlicht nicht stattfinden. Eine Diskussion darüber, dass der Täter im Strafrecht immer „der Andere“ ist, aber nie das Rechtssubjekt selbst: die Norm (weiß, cis-typ, hetero, gesund, deutsch, staatsbürger, christlich säkular). Und wenn doch, muss eben eine Abweichung herbeikonstruiert werden, um das Tatmotiv zu verdecken („verrückter“ Einzelgänger) und bestenfalls noch Mitleid abzunötigen („er konnte halt nicht anders“).


Reproduktive Rechte im Kontext – der Winterpodcast

Anfang 2014 fanden sich accalmie, Anna-Sarah und Charlott bei Nadia in Bielefeld ein. Neben gemütlichen (und langem) Pizza-Abend haben wir vor allem einen Podcast produziert zu reproduktiven Rechten. Ziel war es über die dominanten Fragen zur ‚Pille danach‘ und Abtreibung hinauszugehen, größere historische Kontexte zu diskutieren und die Weite des Felds anzudeuten.

Wir sprechen unter anderem darüber, wo eigentlich das Konzept von ‚reproduktiven Rechten‘ auftauchte, an wen sich Anrufungen des Familiengründens richten, Abtreibungsrecht in der DDR, und wie heterosexistische, cissexistische, ableistische, klassistische sowie rassistische Vorstellungen mit dem Thema verküpft sind.

Hat jemand „Knutschverbot“ gesagt?! – Critical Hetness 101

2013, einer der Höhepunkte der Debatte um (vollkommen fiktive) Knutschverbote. Anna-Sarahs Text dazu und zum Hinterfragen alltäglicher Praxen bleibt ein Knaller:

Die Welt verändern, solidarisch sein und alles so machen wie ich es gewohnt bin oder es mir selbst am besten passt – manchmal geht das nicht alles gleichzeitig. Auch die sophisticatedste Argumentation, warum es jetzt gerade speziell in meinem Fall alles ganz anders ist, führt da nicht dran vorbei. Auch wenn’s keinen Spaß macht. So fühlen sich Machtstrukturen an.

„Gesundheit“ ist ein Machtbegriff

Mit dem Begriff ‚Gesundheit‘ wird auch häufig eher unreflektiert um sich geschmissen. Hannah hat den Einsatz analysiert und herausgearbeitet, wie die Norm von ‚Gesundheit‘ produziert wird und ebenfalls als Machinstrument wirkt:

Mit jeder Forderung nach “gesunden Körperbildern” werden die existierenden Körperbilder pathologisiert und das Spektrum, das “Gesundheit” haben kann, enger gesteckt. Wieder geht eine Kluft auf zwischen “okay” (weil sogenannte, so definierte, “Gesundheit” mit Selbstbestimmung und Unversehrtheit belohnt wird) und “nicht okay” (weil sogenannte – so definierte “Krankheit” mit Stigmatisierungen, die wiederum zu Diskriminierung im Recht auf Selbstbestimmung und Unversehrtheit einhergehen).

Rassismus raus aus Kinderbüchern

Die Kinderbuchdebatte. Wir befinden uns wieder im Jahr 2013. (Was war in dem Jahr eigentlich los?!) Eine Zusammenfassung gab es von Lisa:

‘Zeter! und Mordio! Kultur­verfall! Und Sprach­polizei! Und Säu­berungs­kam­pagne! Und sowieso, Political! Correct­ness!’ regt sich die Presse von FAZ über Deutsch­land­funk bis Spiegel auf. (Die Artikel wurden ab­sicht­lich nicht ver­linkt, am harm­losesten ist noch dieses Interview mit Paul Maar.) In all dieser Auf­regung, wird, so oft es sich ir­gend­wie unter­bringen lässt, genussvoll das diskriminierende N*Wort geschrieben, am besten schon in der Überschrift. Dabei offenbart sich, neben teilweise erschreckend reaktio­närem Ge­danken­gut, eine un­glaub­liche Ignoranz und Un­sensi­bili­tät.

Wenn ihr übrigens nach Lesetipps (für jüngere und ältere Leser_innen) sucht, dann lohnt sich immer ein Blick in unsere Feministische Bibliothek.

Aus dem Wortschatz streichen: „Fremdbetreuung“

Jetzt, wo vor einigen Wochen, der Bundesgerichtshof die bundesweite Einführung des Betreuungsgelds als verfassungswidrig einstufte, ist auch mal wieder ein guter Zeitpunkt den Text zu ‚Fremdbetreuung‘ von Melanie aus dem Archiv zu zerren:

„ich möchte mein kind nicht so früh fremd betreuen lassen/abgeben…“ höre ich oft. wenn ich dann nachbohre, was „fremdbetreuung“ heißt, stehen dahinter konkrete formen von betreuung, die nicht erwünscht sind: betreuung, für die bezahlt wird. anders kann ich es mir oft nicht erklären, warum es ok ist, dass oma an vier vormittagen das kind bespaßt, aber die tagespflege oder die kita abgelehnt werden. und zwar auch von menschen, die sich solche betreuung grundsätzlich finanziell leisten können.

Warum der BMI scheiße ist (und ich kein Sellerie mag)

Ein Text, der Standardlektüre sein sollte: Magda erklärt im Juli 2014, warum der BMI nicht wirklich irgendetwas aussagt und bitte in der Schublade verschwinden sollte.

Es gibt nicht das „gesunde“ Essen auf der einen und das „ungesunde“ Essen auf der anderen Seite. Genauso wenig ist es sinnvoll, auf irgendwelche Rechnungen zu vertrauen, wenn es darum geht, Körper in „gesund_normal“ (BMI 20 – 25) und „risikobehaftet_krank“ (BMI ab 25) einzuteilen. Körper überhaupt in diese Kategorien einzuteilen ist, pardonnez-moi, kackscheiße!

Mehr wichtige Beiträge gibt es außerdem in der Reihe „(Mein) Fett is politisch„.

Fragmente

Viel zu seltene Form bei der Mädchenmannschaft: Lyrik. Darum aus dem Archiv die berührenden und erschütternden „Fragmente“ von Sabine.

Jenseits von „choosing my choice“ und „käuflichem Geschlecht“ – feministische Debatten über Sexarbeit

Ein feministisches Dauerbrenner-Thema: Sexarbeit. Anna-Sarah schrieb im November 2013 einen Beitrag, der einen differenzierten Blick auf die allgegenwärtigen Argumente und weitere Lehrstellen anbietet.

Wodurch kann ich als Feministin Sexarbeiter_innen unterstützen/Solidarität zeigen – und zwar gleichermaßen jene die sagen, dass sie ihren Job gern machen und keinen anderen wollen; jene die sagen, dass sie ihren Job zwar nicht sonderlich toll finden, es für sie aber aus Gründen ihr Weg zum Geldverdienen ist; jene die sich um eine Alternative zur Prostitution bemühen; und besonders auch jene die von unmittelbarem Zwang und Gewalt betroffen sind? Und das erstmal ganz unabhängig von der Frage, ob und aus welchen Gründen ich eine Gesellschaft ohne Prostitution grundsätzlich für wünschenswert halte oder nicht? Ich würde mir wünschen, dass ein solcher Ansatz immer als Prämisse über Debatten stünde, wie wir sie hier führen.


Ablasshandel oder solidarische Handlung? Über Umverteilung mittels Geldspenden

Über Geld reden ist ja immer so eine Sache – eine ganz wichtige eigentlich. Im letzten Juli machte sich Nadine Gedanken zu den Politiken rund ums Spenden:

Insofern halte ich es für Luxus und wenig praktikabel erstmal unter uns weißen zu diskutieren, ob Spenden an unterstützenswerte Organisationen, Vereine und Projekte dem weißen Gönnertum zuträglich sind, das eigene Gewissen erleichtern oder sonst wie problematisch im Hinblick auf die Reproduktion von white supremacy (weißer Überlegenheit) sind. Es geht schließlich auch nicht um ein Entweder (spenden) – Oder (anders unterstützen). Solidarische Handlungen sollten im besten Falle auf mehreren Ebenen erfolgen, angefangen bei eigener Weiterbildung oder Übernahme von Tätigkeiten, die keine repräsentativen Zwecke haben (infrastrukturelle, organisatorische arbeiten im Hintergrund, für die in diesem fall weiße keine öffentliche Anerkennung erhalten).

Die Politik Schwarzer Haare

In ihrem ersten Artikel, den accalmie jemals für die Mädchenmannschaft schrieb, diskutierte sie die Politik Schwarzer Haare zwischen Rassismus, Hierarchien und Solidaritätspotential:

Dass auch die Mehrheit der Friseur_innen in Deutschland nicht mit Schwarzen Haaren umgehen kann, ist angeblich aber nicht etwa deren mangelnder Ausbildung durch Ignoranz gegenüber nicht-weißen Kund_innen geschuldet, sondern mein eigener Fehler, weil meine natürliche Haartextur nicht angemessen gebändigt ist, um damit irgendetwas anfangen zu können. Während ich also Pflege­­mittel im Internet bestelle oder in den Afro-Shop (oder in den USA in die „ethnic hair section“) wandere, bleiben weiße (Haare) ethnienlos, und sind unmarkierte „Normalität,“ von der alle(s) andere(n) abweichen. Schwarze Haare sind ein zentrales Element dieses als weniger wert definierten „Anders­­seins“, mit dem Rassismus People of Color kategorisiert.

Buschkowsky: Die Stimme des Blutes deines Bruders

Als im September 2012 die Vorabdrucke des rassistischen Buchs „Neukölln ist überall“ des SPD-Politikers Heinz Buschkowsky erschienen, schrieb Nadia diesen immer noch absolut empfehlenswerten Text:

Buschkowsky ist 1948 geboren. Ich kam 1980 auf die Welt. Als er 1991 das erste Mal Bezirksbürgermeister wurde, wurde ich von meiner Klassenlehrerin im Unterricht nach vorne gebeten, damit ich erklären sollte, wie ich mich zum Irak-Krieg positioniere. Ich wusste damals nicht, wo der Irak liegt, aber das interessierte die Lehrerin nicht – als ethnische Schwester im weitesten Sinne würde ich ja schon etwas irgendwie Erhellendes sagen können.


Pink stinkt nicht, ihr Lauchs!

Der zweite Text von Hengameh, der bei der Mädchenmannschaft veröffentlicht (in diesem Fall gecrosspostet) wurde.

Interview mit Peggy Piesche über Lesben in der DDR: „Sichtbarkeit kann niemals nur die eigene sein“

Im Mai diesen Jahres konnte Nadine Peggy Piesche interviewen zu Lebensrealitäten und Aktivismus von Lesben in der DDR. Eigentlich hätte das Gespräch im Freitag erscheinen sollen, warum dies nicht geschah, beschreibt Peggy Piesche selbst in dem Nachtrag „Die Bequemlichkeit der Ignoranz“ unterhalb des Interviews:

Dagegen [journalistische Standards einzuhalten] ist nichts einzuwenden. Allerdings dagegen schon, ein politisch wichtiges Thema so runterzukochen und reißerisch aufzumachen, dass es für die zwei beteiligten Perspektiven nicht nur nicht mehr wiederzuerkennen, sondern auch schlichtweg entperspektiviert und entpolitisiert wird. In meinen Gesprächen mit Frau Löffler [Community-Managerin/ Onlineredakteurin beim Freitag] wurde das Problem schon schnell ersichtlich. Die „Leserschaft“ schien aus einer homogenen Masse einer heteronormativen weißen, westlichen Erfahrungswelt zu bestehen. Alle Referenzen auf eine Erfahrungswelt in der DDR, wie z.B. die gesellschaftliche Bedeutung von „unter dem Dach der evangelischen Kirche“ bzw. eine geanderte, marginalisierte und rassifizierte Perspektive wurden mainstreamfähig aufgepappt.

trans*parent – trans* und Elternschaft

Im März konnten wir einen Gastbeitrag von E veröffentlichen, in dem E über die Komplexitäten des Eltern- und gleichzeitig trans*-Seins schreibt.

ich laufe also bei dieser erzwungenen geschlechter ordnung gegen wände an. trotzdem finden sich manchmal wände, die ich einbrechen kann, wände, die andere vor mir eingebrochen haben und (schutz-)wände, die ich mir selber gebaut habe – wege, lücken oder kompromisse.

Wir haben die Definitionsmacht!

Ein feministisches, anti-*istisches Dauerthema (und gern auch von Kritiker_innen aufgegriffen): Sprache. Wie drücken wir uns aus? Welche Begriffe nutzen wir? Welche sollten wir weglassen? Und was ist der Effekt. Zu all diesen Fragen ein Plädoyer von Sharon:

Es gilt anzuerkennen, dass bestimmte Wörter verbrannt sind. Das Wort „Endlösung“ können wir nicht mehr verwenden, um zum Beispiel über das Ergebnis einer Rechenaufgabe im Matheunterricht zu sprechen, denn es hat eine grausame Konnotation. Klar ist auch, dass die Intention der sprechenden Person hierbei nicht maßgeblich ist. Andere Wörter, die mit Gewalt, Hass und Verbrechen konnotiert sind, gehören ebenfalls auch nicht in unserem Wortschatz. Als Amadeu Antonio 1990 in Eberswalde von Rechtsradikalen zu Tode getreten wurde, und als ich im gleichen Jahr an einer Bushaltestelle in Hannover von einem Nazi angeschrien und bedroht wurde, sind dieselben rassistische Bezeichnungen gefallen, über die in Deutschland 2013 immer noch hitzig diskutiert wird, ob sie wirklich aus Kinderbüchern gestrichen werden sollten.

Die Feministische Feuerwehr

Bevor es wieder mit dem Blog-Alltagsgeschäft weitergeht ein friendly reminder in Form eines Texts von accalmie: Es gibt keine Feministische Feuerwehr!

Seien es obsessiv gesetzte Pingbacks oder konstante Lektüre-„Tipps“ von allies (Verbündeten): offenbar herrscht die kuriose Annahme vor, dass es so etwas wie eine Freiwillige Feministische Feuerwehr gäbe. Jene wird gerufen, wenn erneut die antifeministische Argumentationsschablone zum Einsatz kam und die Feministische Feuerwehr nun das Sexismusinferno löschen soll.

Und damit auf in den Rest von 2015!

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September 2015 - Requests

Sep. 1st, 2015 08:11 am
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Being the first Tuesday of the month, it#s that time of the month to make your requests to your fellow community members.

Have a story in mind you'd like to see posted? Ask the community!

Have scans for a story one of your fellow citizens wishes to see? Post it to the comm!

Still have a story that you've requested in the past but haven't seen yet? Request it again. Someone might have it now!

Please put your requests in the comments below!

Off-Topic Tuesday - Come on down...

Sep. 1st, 2015 07:55 am
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It's "Off-Topic Tuesday"!

In the comments to these weekly posts (and only these posts), it's your chance to go as off topic as you like.

Talk about non-comics stuff, thread derail, and just generally chat amongst yourselves.

Legal Anime Streaming site Crunchyroll now PS compatible in many countries!


The last :( Terry Pratchett novel released

So... away you go!

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Pretty Guardian Sailormoon: Act 14Plot Recap: Sailormoon is going to become a youma! Because some bad guy’s hair wrapped around her throat and got absorbed by her body! DRAMAZ! Also, sweet-natured Shin turned out to be evil Kunzite, the last and most powerful of the shitennou, and we shall never see Shin again. T_T But before that happened, he returned Kamekichi, Motoki’s turtle, to Motoki and its far too tiny aquarium. Which was yay for Motoki because he loves Kamekichi. And not so yay for the turtle because THAT IS A SERIOUSLY TINY BOX.

Also, Usagi and Mamoru hung out together to help Shin and Usagi was nice and sweet and Mamoru was not a complete jerk-face at her. HUZZAH! Also-also! Apparently Mamoru is potentially this guy named Endymion who has something to do with the princess and Sailor Venus turned out to be the princess of the Moon Kingdom and I think that’s us all caught up to speak.

So onwards! To spoilers for episode 14!

Read the rest of this entry » )

Mirrored from Little Lion Lynnet's.

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“I’m here for you,” says Hannibal’s face. “I am Shiva the God of Death” says that tie matched with that jacket.
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via http://ift.tt/1Q5sXTR at September 01, 2015 at 01:45AM:

astrologysecrets:

Sagittarius, Pisces, Capricorn, Gemini, Scorpio, Aries

Book rec

Aug. 31st, 2015 10:18 pm
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Lately I've been trying to work my way through my unread paperback box. These are a grab bag of books acquired from used bookstores, garage sales, and heaven knows where else, most of them by authors I've never heard of. Usually this results in a lot of dreck with some tolerable reads, but sometimes I'll stumble onto a gem.

Like this one: Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin. It's partly a murder mystery and partly a slice-of-life glimpse of small-town Mississippi, moving back and forth between the early '80s and the present day.

Thirty years ago, a secret friendship develops between Larry, a white redneck farm kid, and Silas, the son of the black squatters who live on their land. Things blow up between them in ways that are probably predictable given that it's rural Mississippi. Three decades later, Silas got out, went to college and became a cop, while Larry got sucked into the downward spiral of small-town poverty and is now the town pariah, blamed for the rape and murder of a young woman who went missing after a date with him.

Now another girl has gone missing under similar circumstances, and Larry is the prime suspect. Silas has to figure out whodunnit while also confronting everything that happened between him and Larry all those years ago.

Content warning: the plot revolves around the rape/murder of two young women, and this is very much Silas and Larry's book, so there are only a handful of female characters anyway and all of them are in the background. I know that's an understandable dealbreaker for some. Also, due to the book's setting and theme, there is a ton of textual racism and racial slurs to be navigated, as well as the sharp edge of rural poverty.

However, this book hit my friendship/family/reconciliation buttons hard, while also managing to avoid (at least I felt so) most of the cliches that I would expect to run into in fiction about race relations in the South in a book written by a white author. The characters are flawed and unpredictable, the general depiction of life in small-town Mississippi (the good and the bad) felt believable for both the black and white characters (the '80s are not the '50s are not the 2000s, and the different flavor of life in different eras was well done, I thought). Nobody learns a ~valuable lesson about racism~, and Larry's unconscious racism and Silas's cutting defense mechanisms are both realistically portrayed. It's a painful book at times, an uncomfortable one at others, but overall there's a sense of warmth and optimism that flows through the book -- a feeling that things could either careen headlong into tragedy or come out okay, and at any point, individual characters' choices could give it the push that's going to turn it one way or the other: is this the time we do the right thing, the humane thing -- the time we manage to be better than our past selves, better than the people we grew up around ... or not?

On the basis of this book, I also checked out The Tilted World from the library, co-written by Franklin and his wife Beth Ann Fennelly, and set during Prohibition in rural Mississippi. Very good so far, with a female bootlegger, a pair of prohibition agents investigating a murder deep in moonshine country, and an Accidental Surprise Baby they acquire after a shooting.
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We're more than halfway through revealing the 2015 FKFicFest stories! At one story per day, 8 all-new stories have released so far, and we have 5 yet to go! Expect adventure, humor and romance for all your favorite Forever Knight characters, across all your favorite factions and shades. Come read!

Talking It Through: Marenco 2000 #1

Aug. 31st, 2015 10:38 pm
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sasha_feather: Retro-style poster of skier on pluto.   (Default)
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August 2015

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