• Feb. 16th, 2012 at 3:01 AM
la_vie_noire: (Utena-orz)
I'm trying to read A Dance With Dragons, and failing hard because I'm not even remembering what happened in the latest book. Heck, not even remembering most minor characters. Possibly spoilery if you know NOTHING about this series )

Do I need to read the books again?


Feb. 14th, 2012

  • 2:33 AM
la_vie_noire: Anthy painting a portrait (Anthy painting)
Always brilliant [personal profile] deepad has a great post: On JLF, Rushdie, but also, On Violences. I think you should read it all because I cannot quote it enough.

As totemic bineries go, Valentine's Day vs. right wing religious fundamentalists is just about as irksome as Salman Rushdie vs. right wing religious fundamentalists. I saw Valentine's Day being cooked up in India as I was growing up along with Archies Gallery and the desire to market greeting cards; it's an festival imported by capitalist marketeers that is embarassing in its conspicuous display of materialistic measurement of heterosexual conventional romantic relationships. Of course no one should be stoned for wanting to flaunt pink heart-holding teddy bears. (Of course, Salman Rushdie should not be threatened with any form of violence.) It's just a little wearying, though, to be asked to make Valentine's Day a symbol, when having a conversation about gay rights, or honor killings, or polyamorous relationships, or marital rape with the average person who wants to buy a greeting card for their sweetie is an exercise in verbal violence more often than not. And Salman Rushdie, defender of rapist Roman Polanski and U.S.'s war against Afghanistan, advocate of declaring Pakistan a terrorist state, and disparager of all post-colonial vernacular writing is hardly a poster child for the virtues of a self-righteously unrestricted tongue.

One of the posters designed for flashreads has a quote by Salman Rushdie: "Free Speech is the whole ball game. Free Speech is life itself."

The hubris of such a sweeping statement does not appeal to me, not when people are fighting to liberate their bodies from physical violence, not when they weigh their words against the impact it will have on their life, and choose silence, or obfuscation, or tempered disagreement because they know that death of words is not actually the same thing as death of a living, breathing body, whether that is of a loved one or one's own.


Ah yes. The benevolent white USian church ladies who feed the starving children in 'Africa'. From the book donation guidelines at Books for Africa and The Book Bus, it seems that there is a pressing need to send books written in English and published in the U.S. and U.K. thousands of miles across to those deprived, needy children, though nothing says that maybe what those books say about race, and class, and nationality and normativeness is really important to think about.

I've known what its like to be yearning for books, but I've also known what it is like to yearn, while surrounded by books, for ones that represent people like me. I can't speak for the child I was, but the adult I am is happy to have not been exposed to some of the more virulent books I know about now back then, when I was more desperate and less discerning.


I defend the rationality of being offended by a misrepresentation of what one holds sacred. I defend the right of those in the marginalised, threatened or oppressed position in a hierarchy to challenge and question and reject those ideas and stories that reinforce the injustice being done to them.

But no matter how much value I may want ascribed to non-physical violence--be it economic, ideological, legal or cultural--I do not wish to downplay my rejection of physical violence. In the hours it has taken me to write this, I scroll up and compare my kneejerk irritation at the JKF Rushdie imbroglio to the aching empathy I felt for Rashid in Haroun and the Sea of Stories, exiled from the source of his stories. Free speech and it's consequent debates around book banning, censorship and the like is one thing. But bodies imprisoned or exiled because of threat of violence, translators stabbed, defenders beaten;** this is wholly more absolute injustice. I consider the written word sacred enough that though I have felt the desire to do damage to a book, I could never imagine ripping, or burning or physically harming even the most loathsome text. How much more sacred then, is even the most antagonistic human soul, the source for those words, enshrined in a fragile and totally irreplaceable body.

A banned book may be resurrected, a dead person cannot be.
la_vie_noire: (Michiko sticking tongue)
No. 6 and its always pretty AWESOME talk about power imbalances/inequalities in relationships and. Privilege:

Spoilers for direct quotation of the novel. Talk between Nezumi and Shion. )

Bolding mine. My goodness, I love Nezumi.


Any number of things make a post

  • Jan. 4th, 2012 at 10:18 PM
la_vie_noire: (Claymore8 smirk)
I had a sudden epiphany about Penguindrum. And I know. It's genius. Thank me later.

Spoilers for Mawaru Penguindrum. And for inane talk )


No. 6 novels are an amazing thing, they talk about social issues/inequalities like whoa, everyone has to read it (sadly, the anime doesn't stand a chance, mainly for its ending), etc., but now I just have to say that woman DID the research in a very different area:

Spoilers for Vol. 1 quotation )


Rec me science fiction books, people.
la_vie_noire: (Era una bruja)
Why did no one tell me this existed?

Also. Since LJ/DW knows it all; I have seen these books recommended in Amazon and other places, they made it sound like they were some post-capitalist, kind of progressive sc-f books. Both are written by white men though:

The Windup Girl.

And Seed.

Anyone heard of them/read them?

GoT episode 8

  • Jun. 8th, 2011 at 1:49 AM
la_vie_noire: (Claymore9 standing)
I said to myself I wouldn't comment on this series until it was over, and I bet everyone already discussed everything useful about this. So I'm just going to say something pretty superficial that has been bothering me.

Could be spoiler by someone's standards, episode 8 of Game of Thrones. )

Natsuo Kirino, Out

  • Feb. 26th, 2011 at 3:13 AM
la_vie_noire: (Stop with the idiocy)
Yes. I'm also pissed because I looked for this book for an eternity; I bought it here, in Spanish; and it was EXPENSIVE.

Not that coherent spoilers. Rant about the book, it's late and I'm sleepy. )

Also, I'm kinda tired of reading stupid shit on facebook. God, I can't make myself away from it due to having a lot of my real life there, but how much I wish it every time politic issues are mentioned. Stupid, stupid privileged assholes.

Some important linking

  • Jan. 15th, 2011 at 12:10 AM
la_vie_noire: (Default)
Massive protests in Tunisia have ended in President Ben Ali (in power since 1987) leaving the country. Tunisia: The end of an era.

It all started about a month ago when a public suicide of a frustrated, disillusioned Tunisian grew into widespread anger. Days later the ink-spot has been ever growing in an unprecedented scope and magnitude.

The outcry against unemployment rapidly evolved into a popular movement asking for Ben Ali to leave power, for corruption to be rooted out and for the repressive police apparatus to be held accountable for human rights abuses.

Leslie Feinberg: While a hostile relative re-writes my life: ‘Who is, and is not, my family.’

In autumn 2010, Knopf published a “transgender” themed young adult novel. The author, Catherine Ryan Hyde, is an estranged relative of mine.

The analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of Hyde’s young adult fiction novel will come from those who are living the identities, and oppressions to which she has applied her imagination.

However, as part of the media coverage and publicity tour for the release of the young adult novel, Hyde claims much of her expertise and authority for writing her “transgender”-themed young adult novel as based on my life and identity.

[...] Since I became acutely ill in October 2007, it has been very hard for me to write, or to speak. So it is opportunistic and unconscionable that a hostile relative would take this opportunity to re-tell my life in a way that changes my sex, mis-describes my gender expression, and closets my sexuality. Hyde also attempts to silence me politically as a revolutionary, reasserts the dominant legal control of the biological family, and ignores and disrespects my chosen family.

My verbal and written request for no further contact has been violated by my relatives numerous times over the last forty years. So I do not rely on them to respect my wishes. Instead, I have clarified and strengthened my legal papers, and I am making this statement public: My living biological relatives—Irving David Feinberg, Betty Vance Hyde, and Catherine Ryan Hyde—are not my family. They do not speak for me.

Poet Susana Chavez’s Death Sparks Outrage in Juarez

Chavez is one of over 500 women in Juarez who have been found murdered in the last decade. And her death has caused an uproar because she had been one of few to speak out against the growing femicide, coining the phrase, “Ni una mas,” (“Not one more) and routinely criticizing local authorities for refusing to properly investigate the crimes. Her death has cast new suspicions about local authorities’ ability to handle the cases. That is to say that they’ve largely chosen to ignore them; so far, 92 percent of cases of women who’ve been murdered in the region remain unsolved.

First post of the year

  • Jan. 1st, 2011 at 6:49 PM
la_vie_noire: (Claymore8 smirk)
Via [ profile] ew_younerd: How racist is American anthropology?

Yes, Ntarangwi has conducted an anthropological study of American anthropology! An important undertaking. He has studied textbooks, ethnographies, coursework, professional meetings, and feedback from colleagues and mentors. He “reverses the gaze", he stresses: Whereas Western anthropologists often study non-Western cultures, he studies “the Western culture of anthropology".

He is especially interested in “the cultural and racial biases that shape anthropological study in general".

In the preface and introduction he writes:

If anthropology truly begins at home as Malinowski states, how come, as I had thus far observed, anthropology tended to focus on the “exotic"? How come only a small percentage of fieldwork and scholarship by Western anthropologists focused on their own cultures, and when they did it was among individuals and communities on the peripheries, their own “exotics” such as those in extreme poverty, in gangs, ad others outside mainstream culture? (…)

This book is a personal journey into the heart of anthropology; representing my own pathways as an African student entering American higher education in the early 1990s that I knew very little about. It is a story about my initial entry into an American academic space very different from my own experience in Kenya, where we followed a British system of education.

It is also a story hemmed within a specific discourse and views about anthropology that can be best represented by remarks from fellow graduate students who wondered what i was doing in a “racist” discipline. (…) Troubled by this label, I consciously embarked on a journey to find more about the discipline.


And, randomly, I take the opportunity to wish you all a great 2011.
la_vie_noire: (Default)
Or Kiss of The Spider Woman, as it was translated to English.

I read it in Spanish, of course, I'm going to do my review in English for my own reasons, I guess.

Everybody and their mothers talks about this as a tale of "a gay relationship," "a gay love story." For me, it couldn't be more wrong.

Big, big Spoilers, everything and the ending )

Feb. 20th, 2010

  • 7:40 PM
la_vie_noire: (Default)
Well, everybody and their mothers is recommending N.K. Jemisin's The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms which just came out. I'm still kinda feeling left out because I can't read it (yes, I'm jealous of people who can!), but I'm pretty sure that you should if you can, and if you like high fantasy.

Via Willow: first three chapters here in N.K.'s blog.

ETA: I have read the three chapters and then the Amazon's reviews and I think I spoiled myself, but Oh God. I want this book. I will get it for sure.

Feb. 12th, 2010

  • 12:58 AM
la_vie_noire: (Default)
I started to read Naomi Klein's No Logo (I downloaded it, of course, you know that).

This is a village where some multinationals, far from levelling the global playing field with jobs and technology for all, are in the process of mining the planet's poorest back country for unimaginable profits. This is the village where Bill Gates lives, amassing a fortune of $55 billion while a third of his workforce is classified as temporary workers, and where competitors are either incorporated into the Microsoft monolith or made obsolete by the latest feat in software bundling. This is the village where we are indeed connected to one another through a web of brands, but the underside of that web reveals designer slums like the one I visited outside Jakarta. IBM claims that its technology spans the globe, and so it does, but often its international presence takes the form of cheap Third World labour producing the computer chips and power sources that drive our machines. On the outskirts of Manila, for instance, I met a seventeen-year-old girl who assembles CD-ROM drives for IBM. I told her I was impressed that someone so young could do such high-tech work. "We make computers," she told me, "but we don't know how to operate computers." Ours, it would seem, is not such a small planet after all.

It would be naive to believe that Western consumers haven't profited from these global divisions since the earliest days of colonialism. The Third World, as they say, has always existed for the comfort of the First. What is a relatively new development, however, is the amount of investigative interest there seems to be in the unbranded points of origin of brand-name goods. The travels of Nike sneakers have been traced back to the abusive sweatshops of Vietnam, Barbie's little outfits back to the child labourers of Sumatra, Starbucks' lattes to the sun-scorched coffee fields of Guatemala, and Shell's oil back to the polluted and impoverished villages of the Niger Delta.

Very good, isn't it? Until the exact next paragraph:

The title No Logo is not meant to be read as a literal slogan (as in No More Logos!), or a post-logo logo (there is already a No Logo clothing line, or so I'm told). Rather, it is an attempt to capture an Anticorporate attitude I see emerging among many young activists. This book is hinged on a simple hypothesis: that as more people discover the brand-name secrets of the global logo web, their outrage will fuel the next big political movement, a vast wave of opposition squarely targeting transnational corporations, particularly those with very high name-brand recognition.

Uhm. So let me get this straight, Klein. You write this for First World Liberal Westerners. Who just have to wake up from their comfortable lives and fight corporations. Never mind that the same Third World Activism have been doing this for decades by now. I hope I'm reading you wrong, but I'm having a feeling you see them (us?) as Those Poor People who have to be saved by White First World Westerners. We have agency, you know.

I just hope the rest of your book doesn't treat Developing Countries citizens as The Other (Object) That Has to be Saved and Protected because I would be pissed.

(To be fair, I just started reading, so I have no idea. It says hell of important things, but it just reminded me to a post I read casually today on one of the linkspams about HOW WE NEED THE POWERFUL WHITE PEOPLE BECAUSE WE HAVE TO BE PRACTICAL EVEN IF IT COSTS US OUR DIGNITY, and sorry, I don't subscribe to your magazine. Sorry again. Powerful White People? Treat other human beings as human beings. A snake isn't more important than me, I don't care how your white self may see it. That's all.)

ETA: Also, its introduction is treating Western Activism as a Salvation and totally dismissing the effect a lot of it really has in Third World communities of color (I'm just seeing the praising of White Environmentalist). But I don't know if these things will be mentioned again through the book.

ETA 2: Ah. Okay.

Most memorably, it led me to factories and union squats in Southeast Asia, and to the outskirts of Manila where Filipino workers are making labour history by bringing the first unions to the export processing zones that produce the most recognizable brand-name consumer items on the planet.

Okay. I'm still wary. "Most memorably" because it differs from the rest of the activism she mentioned by being from South-Asian people and not Westerners? You know that's weird. But still, I may have a better relationship with this than I thought. Maybe I'm just being uber-picky because I have had a bad day at on-line discussions.

The bleeding of the rose

  • Jul. 8th, 2008 at 11:24 PM
la_vie_noire: (Default)
The Red Rose Rages (Bleeding) is an astonishing and thought-provoking novella by L. Timmel Duchamp. It's the first book I read by her, but it definitely won't be the last.

Feminist science fiction set in a dystopian (but no alien at all) future, exploring the relationship of power between a medical officer working in an all-women's facility of a prison and her brilliant patient/prisoner. The amorality of corporations -the placing of profit over humans lives specifically- that reflects our capitalist present is a major theme.

Slightly spoilery commentary. )

While I was looking if someone talked about the book ending (which was not-so-clear to me), I discovered some pretty ugly things that make me feel shame about my own ignorance - hey, I'm no part of a World Power, but I should have at least heard about these things, and I didn't. I know, most of you probably know all this. But here? It wasn't even a word about it that I can remember. And those are some things nobody shouldn't forget because they show how accepted torture and abuse can be in a environment where some individuals have a lot of power.


la_vie_noire: (Default)
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