Opinionated Man is back

I’ve run across obnoxious people online before but I’ve never had them stalk me from blog to blog. This guy is fast becoming a wad of chewing gum stuck to the bottom of my shoe that I just can’t scrape off, the first point of contact being when I had the misfortune of visiting his blog in the first place. I have no idea why he feels the need to follow my blogs and comment when he knows I feel this way about him and also what I know about his brand of social commentary/expression of his opinions. I thought I made this very clear–

I have no interest in engaging with him. But I guess if enough people follow your blog and tell you you’re right, you start thinking everyone wants to hear what you have to say. I think he writes other things, though I’m not really interested in knowing more about an “opinionated” man who doesn’t know when to shut up and back off because his opinions aren’t wanted.

I view myself as a passionate person and while I sympathize to some minimum extent with what he so obviously thinks his blogging is about, what I do and what he does are too completely different things. What is the point of his online persona, other than to purposefully offend everybody and what does that give to the world? What is the point of glibly and unnecessarily challenging and disrespecting life experiences, thoughts, feelings, and struggles you obviously know nothing about and see fit to devalue? Because he is this way and makes a conscious choice to do what he does in complete blind and utter ignorance, there is no reason or way for me to engage or reason with him that wouldn’t be a waste of my time and energy, like so many of his predecessors.

So I was looking to see if this guy was for real, outside of face value, and ironically enough I came across a perfect article on what he is and how to deal with him.

Opinionated people are people who announce their opinions multiple times without being asked. Sure, sometimes opinions can just be slipped out, but if it becomes a habit then it’s a problem. These people are not bad, but they just earn the reputation of “annoying”. In life, we might come across a few opinionated people….

1. Understand what qualifies for “opinionated”. People who are opinionated usually have little or no respect/value for the beliefs of others, however, this varies. Also, opinionated people have an opinion on every single thing. They will announce their opinion in public, and get irritated or mad when someone else respectfully criticizes their opinion. Opinionated people will often assume that you care or are interested in hearing their opinion, and even if they know you aren’t, they still will announce it anyway.

2. Look at the below templates, as these will help you recognize more on the definition for opinionated. Notice how the second template is much more respectful then the first one.

  • Bad Opinionated: I like pizza, but people who don’t like it are stupid.
  • Non Opinionated: I like pizza, but if you don’t, then that’s fine too.

3. Show the person that you really don’t care. Listen to their view of things and respect it, but don’t think you are required to believe the same thing. You cannot “modify” the person’s behavior or opinions.

4. Speak up! This is vitally important. If the opinionated person says something that is offensive or disrespectful to what you believe, don’t let it pass by. Tell the opinionated person respectfully that your opinion are just as valuable as theirs. If they get “mad” about what you said, then it’s their problem to overcome. They shouldn’t be offended if you’re just standing up for yourself.

5. Try to avoid the opinionated person. This doesn’t mean you can’t spend any time with them at all, but keep your distance […] just remember, keep your distance.

Musings on ‘Afro-Futuristic Vision #11 Utopia Sucks’

View this reply with proper spacing (its irking me that a reblog looks like this).

I think what is said here is true to an extent, and I find wisdom in it as I turn it over in my mind…

This argument, however, already assumes ideas about the world and how “nature” supposedly operates (as a dichotomy I guess this would be one of “Order” and Chaos). That’s the problem with a rigid view of all two-sided-looking things (i.e. light and dark, yin and yang, hot and cold, good and evil, god and satan, order and chaos, republicans and democrats, black and white, blah, blah etc. dichotomies). It is a rigid worldview that bows to only two forces and defines everything as one or the other then claims both things are really one force working in tandem to 1) create balance or 2) cause a lack of balance when there is too much of one of them. Its a rationalization mechanism, the trinity of rationalization, the greatest, in fact–

One that divides everything in the universe into one basket or the other. Then says the two baskets are actually one basket that carries everything.

The postulation of utopia simply as escapism, a world devoid of struggle and strife, and a reflection of people’s childish desire to “start over again” is presumptuous and strict in definition and ideology in and of itself. Accepting only war and chaos (and whatever you think is its companion is) sounds like a human mind caving under its need to rationalize the world and everything in it to minimize its own importance or existence within the world. Like passively riding the wave and leaving everything to the ocean just because you a) could drown or b) you could live when the third option is just swim to shore and see how things go from there. Crappy analogy? Sorry. In short, it seems to me to be a very human rationalization for being constantly and continuously embroiled in drama and conflict with no end and no justice. Look at the state of science fiction and general fiction in the mainstream, open up any popular book, and you will see it there: this thirst for drama and conflict that drives so much of the media with no satiation, not because its natural but because its what people expect and have been taught to expect and desire. Space fights, alien invasions, apocalypse, scientific imperialism, interstellar colonialism and Manifest Destiny.

A hurricane may occur naturally.

On the other hand, the levees breaking could’ve been prevented.

So I think the problem is not utopia itself but what the initial argument/definition of what it is as presented in the article or reflection in the first place. Because when you define it like that, it does sound immature, impossible, ridiculous, and ignorant.

Strip utopia of the limitations imposed by this interpretation of the Principle of Opposition and its definition by DjaDja (from what I understand of it), and then…

An actual Utopia just sounds boring to a civilization dominated by greedy brutes like Earth. Its not an environment for drama, mass suffering, violence, and conflict to thrive in. And in the whole of the vastness of the universe, you tryin’ to tell me that utopia, or something close to it, doesn’t exist anywhere? Not buying it.

I agree that if such a thing as utopia were to exist or does exists currently here and now, it is within afrofuturism and in the mind. The definition of utopia to me is not an absence of war, chaos, struggle, or strife but a society bent towards the opposition of evil, injustice, and extreme social disharmony. Utopia is a world where (if you must rely on a dichotomy) good has the most clout and evil wastes itself trying to dominate.

To say war and chaos is natural is to say that it is allowed. To say that it is allowed begs the question of who is allowing it. The only answer I can come up with for that is people. Therefore, its not natural, its manmade. Maybe chaos is natural but war is manmade and when DjaDja added war to the argument, it put his position in perspective for me. Human beings make order out of chaos. What order are you helping to create and maintain? Good or evil, justice or injustice?

On my own spiritual journey, I won’t pretend that I know everything. But I do know that there are at least two sides to every story, not that there are just two sides and nothing else. To state that there are only two things in the world and a balance between them just sounds cynical and defeated. I’m not even sure this made any sense because the dichotomy presented in DjaDja’s article/reflection is so heavy and trying to address it is like walking around in a great big manmade circle.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go write myself a great big afrofuturistic utopia story.

The Renpet Phenomenon

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Utopia Sucks

Everyone wants to live in a society that is free from pollution, crime, unemployment and whatever else man allows to ail his soul. This form or construct of social living is called ‘Utopia’.

utopia
1550s, from Mod.L. Utopia, lit. “nowhere,” coined by Thomas More (and used as title of his book, 1516, about an imaginary island enjoying perfect legal, social, and political systems), from Gk. ou “not” + topos “place.” Extended to “any perfect place,” 1610s.
utopian
1550s, with reference to More’s fictional country; 1610s as “extravagantly ideal, impossibly visionary,” from utopia + -ian. As a noun meaning “visionary idealist” it is first recorded c.1873 (earlier in this sense was utopiast, 1854).

Has anyone stopped to think that such an ideal is somewhat childish and creates a blame game. All societies in the world are lead by government and it is government that sets the trend and standard…

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Harmful Entertainment: a kind of sadomasochistic, or apathetic, disconnect to suffering

“The transformative power of love is not fully embraced in our society because we often wrongly believe that torment and anguish are our ‘natural’ condition.”

bell hooks (via womenorgnow)

I’ve had two or three people, including friends, say to me that they find the suffering and oppression of others in entertainment to either be amusing, pleasurable, funny, or that they feel nothing about it.

I’ve always wondered why people see a show like Law & Order, particularly the Special Victims Unit series, as entertaining. How can they watch episode after episode and not feel anything, especially knowing that those situations are not completely fictional. Because I know that those scenarios happen to people in real life, and even if it was completely fictional, I just cannot find it in me to find it entertaining in almost any sense.

I feel the same way about these popular racist, so-called satirical cartoons like Family Guy, South Park, American Dad, and The Cleveland Show.

Movies. Books. Artwork. Anime. Manga. Everyday life.

I guess I’m just in a state if shock because it never crosses my mind that other viewers don’t feel for or try to understand the character. It certainly never enters my mind that they might be sitting there, enjoying their suffering, fictional or otherwise.

Two things:

1. Someone and somebodies are somewhere producing this stuff for profit and trying to market it as amusement/entertainment.

2. People are being socialized to view it as entertainment and think nothing of it, fictional, scripted, or otherwise.

Its disturbing and unnerving, this reality of desensatization, apathy, cruelty, and pleasure received from th unwanted suffering and pain of others.

I do not find the suffering of others entertaining, fictional or otherwise.

….Do you? Just for the sake of knowing.

Revisiting Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer 2: Black folks

This is what I wrote initially, please read to the end for the post script. My displeasure here shows.

Shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer are just like wounds that I can’t stop picking at because they never heal anyway no matter how long I leave them alone. Days, months, years, a decade. Doesn’t matter. When it comes up, I like it until I remember why I started hating it.

I’ve been unfortunately reliving Buffy with my sister, who has all the sociological awareness of a teaspoon. She doesn’t care about herself let alone Black people’s history or positions in society so its kind of pointless talking with her about the finer points of racism in a show like Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Why? She goes into her everything’s-not-‘Black-and-white’ mode, a fallacious argument given the context considering the fact that for seven seasons, 144 episodes, the majority of the Buffy cast is white and Black folks/people of color rarely appear and when they do they end up dead, with the exception of Robin Wood, the butt of some latently/overtly racist fun-having humor, sex objects, or doomed to disappear into set extra/side character hell.

Bones I just pick with portrayals of people of African descent:

  • The First Slayer
  • Kendra
  • Robin Woods
  • Nikki Woods
  • Forest
  • That evil demon woman played by Ashanti

But I’m kind of satisfied that this happened. It forced me into the mood to update this blog.

The sooner we stop trying to make racism out to be an arbitrary anomaly, the sooner we can really educate people about it for a better future.

UPDATE: Later, we talked about our disagreement and my sister explained that television is her escape from her own problems and even though she may be aware of issues of racism in what she sees and hears. All my sociological analysis ruins for her. I just stopped watching near the end of the series and refused to continue and that hurt her feelings because she wanted to watch it with me. I remembered why I wasn’t thrilled about the final season in particular period, especially that situation between Spike and Robin Woods.

I get that. I do but that doesn’t change my low tolerance for television entertainment drenched and sopping in ads pumped full of racism, sexism, classism, etc. We cannot continue to actively support the media that oppresses us.

Evermore,

~MsQ

Revisiting Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer

As a kid, I was happy to sit down for forty-four minutes and watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel every evening. This was back when I had hope for television and their potential for creating great shows.

My sister and I have recently begun trying to get back in touch with why we loved Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Watching the show now, I realized something I never wanted to see as a kid:

Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its producers have never been very kind to characters of color nor has the show ever had any permanent 3-dimensional characters of color. Even the supposedly Black female slayer, Kendra, didn’t survive the third season.

This is a trend that carried over to Angel. As a matter of fact, the first extras we see in the show who plays parts of any significance is a Black guy dressed as a loan shark demon creature whose harrassing Doyle and the other one is a lonely body-snatching demon. Gunn was a Black male stereotype from f*king hell created by white producers!

Not to mention the ever-lurking presence of white British European power, oppression, and authority presented in Giles, Wesley, and the Watcher’s Council itself. Let’s not forget also that the only [Black (British) woman]/woman of color who appears in the show by the fourth season with any amount of screen time is Gile’s little sex friend.

Buffy and Angel are funny and entertaining in some ways, even thoughtful, and I still enjoy it enough to watch some of it, but in other ways…not so funny or entertaining or thoughtful at all.

More to come?

~MsQ

Cathartic Reflections: On Beverly Diehl

I hate it when I run into white folks who seem like they’re all about equality and totally get where you’re coming from, despite being white, but who then turn out just to be smooth talkers like car salesmen and those cell phone people at kiosks in the mall with scripts like a teleprompter?

I admit, Beverly Diehl almost had me won over, because I’m gullible like that. But something just kept asking me every time I e-mailed with her at the back of my head, “What’s she really doing here?”

I met Beverly Diehl through the Romantic Friday Writers, a weekly blog fest that I participate in. I was alarmed at her well-crafted but still rather racist excerpt from a book she’s working on. We both commented about it on her blog a little, I even consented to reading a chapter from the book she wants to publish and gave up time to offering her my personal thoughts on it—the one about the same interracial couple she posted for the weekly blog fest group. I tried to enter an acquaintance with her on a positive, helpful, and constructive note though cautiously.

I thought, “I’ve had some bad experience and she doesn’t seem THAT bad. Give her a chance”. With this allowance on my part, Beverly Diehl and I corresponded then planned to do interviews concerning racism in writing and the so-called “post-racial” America and cross-post them on our respective blogs.

But after the e-mailing with her a few times, I realized the whole thing might have been benefitting her more than me, especially when her answers to questions of mine started reading a little bit like “I don’t think we really live in a post-racial society but in my mind we do and I’d like to write books based on the fact that we don’t”. Eventually I got frustrated, so she suggested we take a little break from interviewing. I knew it was over and wasn’t going to e-mail her back except to tell her it wasn’t going to work and to thank her for her time.

This is my read of Beverly Diehl after interacting with her:

  1. Yet another white woman/person looking for lessons on how not to be a racist [writer] from a mammy (that would be me in this case).
  2. One of those white folks who says, “I totally understand where you’re coming from, Black person”, who all the while really wants to say and is probably thinking, “Why can’t Black people get over it, so I can watch and read ‘The Help’ and publish my multiculturalist, Blaxploitation erotica in peace—OMG, GOSH!”. I’ve seen it before and this was eerily similar, only milder and thought to be more well-intentioned than usual.
  3. “Let me tell what you should be doing, as a Black person with half-a-brain, to improve your community because I know your situation better than you do, naturally.” Politely offered yet condescending unsolicited advice is truly one of my pet peeves.
  4. Skill as a writer trumps racist writing and other forms of bigotry—the good old argument of bigots and bigots alike over the centuries.

My friend, who is white and understood that while she might have been well-intentioned she was testing my patience, pretty much told me to leave Beverly Diehl alone from the beginning. Then…her response to my expression of frustration with the very concept of a published work like ‘The Help’ at Ms. Queenly’s Blog was about it for me. She and only one other person dropped by and/or e-mailed to convey displeased opinions about what I had to say about it (the other being Tosh Fomby from totsymae.com, who I had another negative run-in with previously at SheWrites). My friend back home in GA suggested I write about it, after asking me what happened with the whole thing, knowing that I have a tendecy to blame myself for the shortcomings of others. And here I am, a cathartic reflection.

I’ll probably edit this post later to include some of our correspondence, but right now I’m just trying to put the weight of yet another experience with polite bigotry behind me and focus on the here and now of another strenuous chapter in my life.

evermore,

MsQ

To White Writers

It would be less insulting if white writers, academics, and producers would just say, Its beyond the realm of my capabilities and experience to portray 3-dimensional characters of color who aren’t foils, gags, typecasted to the maximum, or supporting characters. It would much less insulting to just admit this rather than:

1. pretending that they can and failing,

2. supposing that they can and not trying,

3. and/or appropriating aspects of other cultures and misrepresenting them to entertain largely white audiences.

Just say you can’t do it. Put us all out of our misery. I’m not saying they all suck at this…just that most of them probably do.

Ever more real,

Ms. Queenly

Anime: A Precursor

A lot of people in America think Japanese animation, known as anime, is just kids’ cartoons. Maybe in Japan, they view it the same way, but to many fans of anime in America, such as myself, believe differently. For every person who disparges anime and dismisses it, there are just as many who love it (sometimes labeled as otaku), giving rise to manga (“comic”/”graphic novel”) and anime DVD sales, anime conventions such as Washington state’s Sakura-Con and Atlanta, Georgia’s Momo Con and Anime Weekend Atlanta (AWA).

Personally, I watch anime forseveral reasons:

 The music

  • opening and closing animation songs that rock, OST (original soundtrack) music that I’ve just got to have
  •  music associated with the feeling/mood, battles, and drama of the show
  • at least 30%-40% of the music in my iTunes library is anime-related

The story:

  • I’m always interested what story the mangaka (manga artist) or animators and writers are trying to portray
  • I prefer a unique blend of several or more of these elements: drama, romance, fighting, strong heroines (which is rare), magic, slice of life, magical girl, certain school life types, shinobi (ninja) themed, supernatural, vampire, yaoi (boys love), comedy, and even mobile suit stuff sometimes. Haven’t seen any good yuri….
  • I generally enjoy anime’s with strong stories and developed characters that the artists and animators have given a lot of care to.

The artwork:

  • I’m not going to lie, I have certain tastes in artwork and there are some that really turn me off. For example, I enjoy Miyazaki films but the way his characters are drawn isn’t my usual style.
  • I like beautiful and defined characters with some sharpness as necessary, in particular I enjoy many of the beautiful and strong men I see in yaoi, even more “delicate-looking” ones sometimes.
  • I love the eyes. Beautifully expressive eyes are often the mark of a good anime or manga.
  • I’m not an expert at drawing so I can’t really delve too much into the topic without giving examples. For those who are familiar with anime, maybe the list of anime I have seen will help with an understanding of the style I enjoy…?
  •  Sometimes, an artist’s style will grow on me though even if I’m not fond of it initially.

Like field of literature, there is just as much to love as criticize about anime and manga. This post is a precursor to my adding anime to my list of things to talk about.

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