Thus revealed, the creature buried its nose in the tire-tilled soil...
May 21, 2004
And now for something a little more serious.
Category: Serious

I'd planned on blogging about the series finale of "Angel" in tonight's post, but that'll have to wait until next time. Also, I owe Estella five answers to her five questions, a la the ones here. While I'm at it, I'll dig up that question Dee asked a while ago, and maybe answer MF's too, though MF seems to be long gone. WHERE ARE YOU, MF? ;_;

Oh, and whenever I update the template again, Estella and Sarah will totally be getting links. Dunno when that'll be, since it'll require me to republish a lot of crap (well, unless I just do the index), but it'll happen someday.

Aaaand before we get into the meat of the post, Medicant Downline is having a show on May 27th with a few other bands. So go to the site, check out some samples, and if you like their music and live in the New England/Connecticut area -- or are in the mood for a road trip -- stop by next week and check out the show. Cool!

So like I said, I'd meant to write about Angel tonight, but something came up. And by "something" I mean "today's installment of Twisted Kaiju Theater". The particular episode (#567) is here, but you'll want to read the foreword on the index page first. Or if you're reading this on Monday or later, the foreword won't be there anymore (the main page gets updated), but it should (I think) still be the opening post of episode discussion thread in the TKT forums. Anyway, I had a lot to say in response to that comic and I kinda wrote myself out for the night, so I figured I'd two-for-one it and use the text of my response in the forum in tonight's blog entry. Besides, it's been a while since we've had a serious post. My comment makes reference to some things that Space Hojo wrote in his foreword, as well as the comic itself, so refer to those as necessary. Here goes:

Huh. Well, I'm new to the board, relatively new to TKT, and admittedly I've not read back very far in the archives, so I'm not sure how shocking this was compared to some earlier installments. But I take it if you're going to deal with socio-political issues and have a comments thread open, you'd want people to give their honest views, yes? I'll be honest, then.

I didn't like it.

Of course, there's more to be said. I understand the sentiments put forth in Space Hojo's foreword -- and particularly agree with his thoughts regarding point #2. And thus far, I don't think that Shin-Goji is a racist, though I might question that if I weren't assuming that the script for today's episode more/less came from Space Hojo. See, I find the "I'm not a racist" protests to be just a tad unsettling, since I think the "I love black people" line is almost as problematic as if not equal to the "I hate black people" assertions. What is it that you like, particularly? Unless your answer is purely based on aesthetics (in which case it's pretty shallow, if you just like people based on the hue of their skin), you're veering into stereotype territory. (Whether it's a "negative" stereotype or an "empowering" one makes no difference; no stereotype is ever empowering and all stereotypes are negative.) Granted, I understand your dilemma here -- almost nobody likes being called a racist (excepting those who take pride in being one), so in such a situation almost everyone would want to say something in his/her defense. And off the top of one's head, "I'm not a racist; I love black people!" and, "I'm not a racist; I have black friends!" are pretty much the default rejoinders.

When people accuse me of being a racist and insist that I "don't like black people," I respond, "No, I don't. I don't like 'black' people any more than I like 'white' people or any other people you care to name. If I like anyone, I like individuals, and I don't categorize them with respect to the color of their skin. I call them by their names." Or I say something along those lines -- you get the idea. Oftentimes my accusers won't find that answer to be satisfactory, and will either say, "Okay, but do you like black people?" or "Ha! See, you said you don't like black people." And if that's how they reply, they can suck eggs, 'cause I've given them their answer and THEY GETS NO MO'.

See, I feel the same way Shin feels about prefixing "American" with "African" when it comes to prefixing "people" with some reference to the color of their skin or some stereotypical judgment about their "culture". And similar to Shin's association of the word "African" with a country apparently doesn't think too highly of and doesn't want associated with himself, I think that racialized terms like "black" (where it refers to people) necessarily carry with them implications about a person's "culture", political beliefs, background and upbringing, etc. So I'd just as soon jettison them and call people by their names and, if we must classify them, classify them by what they do, or at least terms that really say something about who they are and what they like.

And finally, I did find the use of the N-word to be offensive. Well, not extremely offensive, and it didn't make me think, "OMG! Shin-Goji is a racist bastard!" But I did think it was totally unnecessary, so that it was used at all was really the offensive part. I mean, you could've used a number of other words in there -- "assholes", "hoodrats", "punk bastards", "thug wannabes", "straight-out-of-an-urban-movie, ignorant, crotch grabbing stereotypes", etc. -- and the message of the statement would've come through just as clear, if not more so, since the N-word wouldn't have been there to divert or distract or offend readers. Remember, this is a word that carries with it other connotations, associations, and implications. This is a word with a history. Thoughts of those things follow the use of the word, for me, no matter who uses it, and I don't think they are easily divorced from the term. Better not to use it at all, I say.

Thanks for reading, all -- apologies if anyone was offended.

I really like the mini file cabinet, by the way. 🙂

So that's that. Comment away! Next time, Angel. Then, questions. And probably a quick SC update somewhere in there, too. We'll see. Ja for now.

-posted by Wes | 2:22 am | Comments (0)
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