It's usually a mistake to read YouTube comments, but I quite appreciated this exchange (in the comments thread of a Q.I. episode):

  • Why does England get all the good shows, and good comedians, and sexy actors?

    spongeyruler 1 year ago 51 

  • @spongeyruler As an apology for their shit politicians.

    xfrahox 5 months ago


Friends only.....

....not because my life is super scandalous and fascinating (quite the reverse), but because I dislike getting comments from spambots. Please comment here if you want to be friended!

ETA: I'm not cutting any friends! Sorry for giving that impression! Everyone who is currently friended will stay friended (unless they ask not to be, for some reason). I'm just all about hiding from the 'bots!

Update on the hate crime against NYC taxi driver Ahmed Sharif

The New York Taxi Workers Alliance union is holding a press conference with Mr. Sharif tomorrow. TPM has the most complete coverage of the story that I've seen, but I think this quote from the director of the union just about sums it up:

"While a minority of has-been politicians spew ignorance and fear, it's the working person on the street who has to face the consequences," said NYTWA Executive Director Bhairavi Desai. "This kind of bigotry only breeds more violence and makes taxi drivers all the more vulnerable on the streets where there are no bully pulpits or podiums to hide behind."
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Yoga and cuteness/patriotism overload!

Hah, I am super sore from yoga yesterday. Well, not SUPER sore, I mean I can still walk, but I can also feel every single muscle in my back. This is why it's important to do yoga with a teacher --- she pushes me so much harder than I push myself, and also helps me get into (or sort-of into) poses that I can't possibly contort myself into without help. Anyway, feels good.

I did not also do cardio because I was late getting to the gym and only really had time to set up my mat and get started doing sun salutations before my teacher showed up. However, I did meet up with Mr Raya and some friends afterwards and three of us walked home through the park -- a gentle 2-mile saunter, because it was stupidly hot outside. The last two nights we have broken down and put on the A/C in the bedroom, because even I with my hardcore "NO WE MUST ADAPT TO THE CLIMATE IN WHICH WE LIVE" attitude (and desire to save electricity) cannot quite handle trying to sleep in a room that's airless *and* hovering around 100 degrees F (or 35 degrees C for the metric crowd). Maybe if it weren't so humid....but it is.

Patriotism/cute overload: those who know me know that I think patriotism is not a virtue but a sentimental indulgence, one to be disciplined and kept in perspective rather than cultivated. That said, I do really really love New Zealand and love it even more when outsiders dig it too. So naturally I was completely charmed to find this video of Imran and Sonam (the stars of "I Hate Luv Storys") being tourists in NZ and loving it!

video behind the cutCollapse )

I also love the way NZ scenery is used in this song:

Sonam Kapoor reminds me a great deal of Emma Watson -- or perhaps it's that her character in this film is quite similar to Hermione's in the later HP films (Goblet of Fire and on). Hard-working, serious, detail-oriented, annoyed by her lovable but immature and bumbling suitor-to-be (who has yet to figure out that he's supposed to step up to the plate as romantic hero). But she has the same kind of delicacy, elegance, and infectious smile -- with the offscreen persona to match -- that EW has. And, of course, they're both of that very thin, frail-shouldered body type -- but who in the movies isn't, these days. Sigh.

Imran is just adorable.

Man, I need to go back to New Zealand soon. I wonder if I can swing the time and money over Xmas break. Probably not, sadly.

the only thing that went through the mind of the bowl of petunias as it fell was 'Oh no, not again'

I see we are once again in RaceFail territory thanks to some writer in SPN fandom (is it just me or does that fandom generate more drama than the rest of TV fandom put together?).

Protip: ALWAYS ASSUME that members of any group of human beings you might be talking or writing about are in your audience. Not because you should be censoring yourself in public while giving free rein to bigotry in private, but because the same reification of "difference" that leads you to assume that your audience is composed entirely of people just like you is what prompts your weird portrayals of people not like you as "rapidly jabbering" in their unintelligible language or resembling large pet animals or whatever. Most of these failed apologies seem to boil down to "Oh no, I didn't realize you would read this." Well, why didn't you?

Not that there aren't plenty of white people who can see for themselves how shocking it is to exploit a Haitian tragedy as the backdrop for a white-on-white romance, or call out racist language when they see it. Just like there are plenty of men who can see and call out sexism and misogyny without needing to be prompting. Etc. But I'm struck by the relationship between fandom racefail and this:
Ms. [Katherine] Mangu-Ward had an extra cup of Stumptown and revisited that online university education Wal-Mart is offering its drones, which had earlier excited her so much that she expressed a desire to live at Wal-Mart. She is delighted to hear that diploma vendor American Public University was willing to "go the extra mile" by customizing programs for Wal-Mart -- which "includes giving course credit for on-the-job time and training."

Mangu-Ward shows some awareness that there's a "question of whether there will be more than one employer interested in those Wal-Mart degrees." But it seems not to have crossed her mind that Wal-Mart's arrangement is designed to push workers who may, once upon a time, have expected free job training into spending thousands of dollars to improve their chances at promotion (or even at keeping their jobs). They might as well call it Company Store University.

So Mangu-Ward is bullish: "The company brings dramatic change to every industry that they touch," she says, "and higher ed will be no exception." And that's good, because colleges have gotten too arty-farty for her tastes anyway:
If we're going to push every 18-year-old in the country into some kind of higher education, most people will likely be better off in a programs that involves logistics and linoleum, rather than ivy and the Iliad. And, in contrast to an associate's degree in Japanese studies from Northern Virginia Community College, we know there is at least one employer interested in a Wal-Mart-subsidized logistics sheepskin: Wal-Mart.
Mangu-Ward knows whereof she speaks, having attended Yale, where she no doubt majored in Food Handling.
Roy Edroso's beautifully dry last line sums it all up: Mangu-Ward sees no problem in arguing that Wal-Mart workers have no business reading the Iliad, or in getting a liberal arts education, while blithely claiming the benefits of just such an education herself. (Does anyone seriously think that she would ever have chosen to major in linoleum rather than the political science and philosophy she now derides?) If she had any inkling that her audience at the Atlantic might include Wal-Mart workers, she might have thought more carefully about the elitism of that position. But, of course, she's an Ivy League graduate writing for other Ivy League graduates, so it's terribly clever and subversive to dis Homer and Japan (dude, who would major in Japanese Studies? It's not like Japan is real, or important in any way!) and talk up linoleum, the mopping of which (for college credit, provided you pay the $24,000 discount price for a bachelor's degree) is, presumably, all those Wal-Mart workers (whoever they are!) are good for. Don't aspire to read Great Books, you plebes. We wouldn't want the labor market for stupid inconsequential blogging to be flooded with poor people and immigrants.

Needless to say, Ms. Mangu-Ward is a libertarian.

ETA: I didn't do a very good job of articulating the connection I'm trying to draw above, but I think I maybe did a better job of it in the reply i just posted to schemingreader's comment?:
...So the reason I posted is not to be yet another person condemning the story, or self-righteously staking out my anti-racist ground, but because I'd just read the other post about Wal-Mart and the similarity between the two situations struck me. I don't think I did a good job of articulating it in my post, but there's something about the cluelessness, the privileged obliviousness, of both writers as they high-handedly dispose of some less fortunate group of people (devastated Haitians, indentured Wal-Mart workers) to suit the story they want to tell (handsome white men fucking, libertarian dreams of siccing unscrupulous corporations on higher ed. -- a well-known refuge of Jews [or radical Islamists, depending on who's critiquing -- ed.] and Communists).

I maintain that the solipsism that enabled whatsername to write a story without it ever occurring to her that some of her readers would likely be Haitian is the same solipsism that enabled her to write THAT story without noticing the myriad things that were wrong with it. Same with whatsername at the Atlantic: Wal-Mart workers aren't really people, they're just a theory. It's like Roman Polanski saying "Everyone wants to fuck young girls!". . . no, Roman Polanski, not EVERYONE wants to fuck young girls. Some people, for example, ARE young girls. It's about having a definition of "everyone" that mysteriously overlooks everyone who isn't exactly like oneself.

Welcome Home

I'd like to think that Dave Dobbyn speaks for all New Zealanders in this song; I know he speaks for many of us (and the song is universally beloved, although I think a lot of its fans, especially expats, think it's about them rather than realizing that it's about refugees and immigrants in New Zealand. Lyrics here). The video features New Zealanders from a variety of backgrounds; mild controversy was stirred by his inclusion of Ahmed Zaoui, the man in the video who appears flanked by Dominican friars, with whom he was still under house arrest when the video was made (happily, his "security risk" status was later removed and he is now happily settled with his family in NZ). Zaoui appeared on stage with Dobbyn when he performed this song live at the 2005 NZ Music Awards.

I love that that Dobbyn acknowledges the homesickness that migrants from other lands feel, no matter how necessary or desired their immigration to New Zealand may be. And I think the message "Welcome home" should be one that ALL countries extend to ALL immigrants, as well as to their own citizens of whatever origin. New Zealand lives up to Dobbyn's vision of it only patchily, but at least we haven't sunk quite as low as this yet (and note that the only surprise in that story is that she wasn't treated much, much worse; this is the story of a person with white privilege, English-speaking privilege, and plenty of money, who hadn't done anything illegal and was entering the country on a legal and appropriate visa with no false pretences. To understand how this country treats actual "illegal immigrants," multiply by 10 for each of the above privileges that the individual in question lacks. The brutality -- and secrecy, the tendency of detainees to "disappear" so that no one from their family or legal representation can find them -- increases exponentially. As Jacqueline Stevens points out in that article, "ICE under the Obama administration was holding people charged with a civil infraction in conditions approaching those no longer authorized for accused terrorists." 1000 people are deported daily without regard for the family, including dependant children, who get left behind).

This girl can remember no other home than the US, having grown up here and been educated here; English is her first language, Spanish a poor second. By any commonsense definition, she is American; she belongs here; this is her home. She faces deportation because she had the bravery to speak up, to offer herself as a human face against Arizona's inhuman, racist new immigration law. I hope whatever judge hears her case has the good sense and human feeling to stay the deportation. But it will take a lot more than that to make her "legal," because there simply isn't any way she can become "legal" under current law. And as long as that law is on the books, she will be at constant, hair's-breadth risk of being handed over to ICE, "disappeared," and deported to God knows where.

It is time to stop disappearing people and start saying "Welcome home."