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.


  • Nov. 17th, 2010 at 12:43 AM
la_vie_noire: (Stop with the idiocy)
I was writing a kinda long post about this article here: For Catholics, Interest in Exorcism Is Revived.

About how it annoys me, also the racist priest, also the stupid condescending (and clueless) commenters at Feministe, and all this shit in general.

Then I got tired. Because there isn't a single thing I can remotely consider non-fucked up about the whole thing. Neither side inspires me sympathy.

Don't know.

Nov. 14th, 2010

  • 6:22 PM
la_vie_noire: (Anthy flower)
Via [personal profile] the_future_modernes, this is kinda awesome.

Infographic of the Day: What the Bible Got Wrong

So to anyone who thinks the Bible’s the last word on anything, remember this: It isn’t even the last word on itself.

I have a paid account for a month. And I'm so lazy to upload icons.
la_vie_noire: (Default)
[personal profile] shewhohashope writes: Cultural Imperialism: Bans and Fatwas

- It's more than a little ironic that citizens of the United States of America feel comfortable in accusing Muslims of oppressing them through the threat of violence. Just in terms of scale, it's laughable.

- It's frankly obscene that after a century of placing Algerians in what Fanon called "a state of absolute depersonalisation", France claims that a few hundred Muslim women wearing niqabs and abayas, or burqas constitutes "an attack" on the fundamental values of the French nation. Unless he is, in fact, arguing that intolerance, thinly-disguised xenophobia, and lack of regard for women's agency is a fundamental value of the French republic. In which case, bravo!

- Christopher Hitchens thinks that a woman in a niqab can legitimately be likened to a member of the KKK in a white hood. Yes, that KKK. Oh, Christopher Hitchens.

[...] Not all Muslims are equally offended by drawings of people, although representations of the Prophet (pbuh) are more widely regarded as impermissible, largely because of fear of idol worship, when - as I hope you already know - Muslims do not worship the Prophet (pbuh). I don't really care for my own sake, although I admit to wincing on behalf of those taking part. I don't understand how anyone could feel at ease with either aiming to offend people by disrespecting closely held beliefs, or not caring that what is a thoughtless act of protest will have inevitably have this result. Of course I also don't understand how anyone can threaten to kill someone over a poor quality, generally unfunny (yes, I said it!) cartoon, and claim to be doing it for the love of Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala).
la_vie_noire: (Michiko sticking tongue)
Muslimah Media Watch talks about the orientalism in Telemundo's El Clon based on Brazilian O Clone:

Cómo Orientalista: Telemundo’s El Clon, Part I

Cómo Orientalista: Telemundo’s El Clon, Part II

Oh God. Who remembers that soap opera?

En mi casa no habia alma que no la veía. O Clone digo.

Apr. 13th, 2010

  • 4:37 PM
la_vie_noire: (Meets Minimal Standards of Decent Human)
[personal profile] iambickilometer writes: Five+ Ways Being Transgender in Fandom Really Sucks, and Why I Stick With It Anyway.

There are almost no transgender characters. I can't think of any transgender TV personalities or celebrities. No sports stars, few "out" politicians. You know what sucks about being a transgender fan? There are so few people to identify with. I watch these shows and read these comics and books and I look for myself in the characters, because that's what makes them good stories, right? And I maybe see my personality, and maybe some of my experiences, but no one's feeling my gender dysphoria. No one's doing their damndest to pass every day. They're all wearing stylish tight-fitting shirts or tailored suits or (god forbid) all-revealing spandex so we can see they've got the bodies they seem to identify with. Maybe not perfect bodies, but they're not wrong. They're not wishing desperately that they could tear off their chests and make their genitalia just disappear. They're not afraid that their voices, their body language, their face, or their friends or family will give them away. Not like I am.

I love many cisgendered characters, mind. Just like I love many straight characters and many non-Latino characters. But I want to be able to love transgender characters, too. And I want other people to love them, to follow their stories and root for them and see them as people and interesting, complex characters that they can ship and analyse. I want people to feel like they can write trans characters even though they're not trans themselves. I want to be able to say I'm transgendered and have people know what that means.

The Elephant in the Room for cis fans.

ETA: I forgot, something I wanted to quote days ago when I was still busy and I read the article was the bit about the "gender-swap" thing going on in fandom. Seriously, go read the article.

[personal profile] the_future_modernes at [community profile] politics: Iran fights Fifa ban on hijab.

instead of asking that adjustments be made to satisfy their safety requirements, they just banned religious symbols entirely. Which is in my view discriminatory and high-handed.

Seeing what some famous football players use while playing? I don't see why they don't try to make some adjustments for hijab to make it what they consider safer. Seriously, I don't think they will be such a big things, maybe some rules for rivals about touching the cloth and some other little things, these girls are probably very used to play while wearing it and I don't think there are more accidents than the ones involving t-shirts and shorts (considered obligatory because people can't go on naked, which is, you know, social construction also! Well, these girls have to use hijab).


la_vie_noire: (Default)
[personal profile] la_vie_noire

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