Archive for the ‘ Thoughts ’ Category

Why #BlackLivesMatter can’t die and get over your brunch being interrupted.

Racists gonna racist.

This morning I linked to a Washington Post article on Twitter about the #BlackBrunchNYC tactic. In it, activists interrupt brunch in “white spaces” — as brunch, especially in NYC, is often a very white activity — with four and a half minutes reading names of people of color who’ve been murdered in a racist system. The amount of time is chosen to represent the four and a half hours Mike Brown was left on the ground in the street after he was shot by Darren Wilson.

Even as a black person is killed every 28 hours by police. Even as new deaths are added to the list and more stories come out about white people wielding guns and machetes at cops but getting taken into custody without a scratch on them. You can deal with the inconvenience of a reality check during your meal. You can deal with it while the list increases of people who can’t, who don’t have a choice because they’ll never eat another meal again.

Soon as I posted the link and in waves through the rest of the day, trolls quickly starting trailing @ me, mostly with dumb or confusing messages. Some tried to insult me (I think? Is “Do I come to McDonalds to bother you while you’re working?” an insult?) Others tried telling me to “calm down” and “relax,” which I always find funny in its irony that they’re truly hoping I’ll do the opposite. A few called me racist or cursed at me, which I didn’t even try to respond to. Because if you don’t understand what racism is, you’re not going to understand it in my 140 characters. (It’s prejudice + power. White is the dominant race and viewed as better than people of color. White people have power. Ones who are prejudice are also racist. Is that 140 characters?)

Trolls are gonna troll, that’s what they do, I get it. But what I don’t get is, where are they during all the #BlackLivesMatter tweets? Huge protests in the streets, cities completely shut down by activists, and they have nothing to say? Since I started using that hashtag, I got one snide and poorly worded response from a troll. It’s when the sanctity of their precious brunch is called into question that they pounce?

Activists can’t and shouldn’t stop until a system that places no value on the lives of people of color is dismantled. Y’all trolls can spend your day refreshing hashtags, but that’s not going to stop us from provoking a change in on the streets and on your screens.

Here’s your rudie tuesday music for the story. Diamond District’s recently released “March on Washington” album. Smooth, (sometimes) politically-charged hip-hop that harkens back to some of the best rhythms and beats of the 90s:

Cheers to a rude, reckless and revolutionizing 2015

Now playing:

A friend of mine posted on Facebook about how in 2014, some good things happened and some bad things happened. Then some really bad things happened. Then some really good things happened. And that’s what happens every year.

I agree. 2014 made me cringe, cry and hurt — sometimes in pain, and a lot of other times in laughter. Hell, the last time I posted on here was over a year ago and was a really tough post. A lot more beautiful people were lost the following year. Other people did surprising and beautiful things.

Two nights ago was the first time in years that I actively wrote down stuff I want to give myself 365 days to do and change. One of them is to bring back rudie tuesdays. I missed a lot of moments that I wished I’d written about in 2014. A lot of pieces of life changed for me that year. I don’t want 2015 to go by without a chance to be another voice on the internet drawing my own conclusions and having opinions at a screen.

So among other things that I hope I stand by, I resolve to muse, rant and link regularly again in 2015. I’m shooting for every Tuesday, but let’s not get carried away — bi-weekly is likely where I’ll start.

And in honor of the new year, here’s something old: I finally listened to Bandwidth’s top DC songs of 2014 today. It make me realize that why am I not listening to more Priests all of the time. Every song I hear of theirs rocks, and I always want more loud distortion-filled music by women who rock. Their vocalist has a gritty, powerful, no-apologies voice and Courtney Love-esque hair. Check out the fourth song on Bandwidth’s list: “Right Wing” by Priests. And then go listen to everything else on their Bandcamp.

Life is music June 11, 2013: Love is a PRISM edition

On this rudieTuesday, I continue a theme of events that can be tagged under “civil-liberties.” (Or lack thereof.)

By now, news of the NSA tracking your emails, credit card transactions, Skype conversations and more is pretty widespread.

Today, the ACLU has announced a lawsuit against the Obama administration over the attack of freedoms. Since the freakishly broad nature of the NSA snooping was revealed, it’s been a huge issue of contention. Lawmakers, the ones within the government who benefit from the information, are generally supporting it. According to a Pew poll, civilians, the ones who are being surveilled, are split. If the poll is accurate, Americans lean towards supporting the NSA, but I question what the reaction would be if they knew for a fact that they were the ones being surveilled. Some say surveillance like this is necessary for national security, and that civilians did not need to know PRISM is happening — a wonderfully cliche position that ignorance is bliss.

Since the start of Obama’s presidency, FBI requests of information gathered by the Patriot Act have risen like crazy. The Act is what allowed the creation of PRISM, the once-top secret federal project that did the snooping into civilians’ private information and conversations.

A man named Edward Snowden will likely soon be placed on trial by America as the leaker of the NSA info, the whistleblower, the traitor. He’s set to be a new Pfc. Bradley Manning (who, by the way, has been detained in some pretty awful conditions.)

So I offer a song this week that makes light of a dark situation. A band of fellows who sing about crime in a way that makes committing ones sound like a punk show. Some Masked Intruder for you all, for the sweet irony of pop-punk licks and sad, sad subject matter that they provide. Also for the fact that I can make a pun off the lyric “love is a prison” in my head by turning it into “love is a PRISM.”

… And the research I did for the article, all the links I found and linked, I’m sure are now in the NSA’s database, too.

Life is Music May 21, 2013 edition: Oklahoma City tornado recovery resources

It’s another rudieTuesday, which means another day where I equate a news event with a song.

Seems like this is another week where I’m left writing about a story that I wish I didn’t have to talk about. The good thing is this week’s disaster wasn’t a deliberate act of human hatred; the bad is that natural disasters can leave just as tragic a mess in their wake.

As of when I’m writing this, 91 people are reported to have died. Just a few hours ago, that number stood at about 50. By the time you see this, it will probably be an even higher statistic.

Having lived the vast majority of my life on the east coast, tornadoes were for a long time very foreign to me. I knew of the movie Twister. I had seen photos of them happening; a 400×600 pixel .jpg cannot do justice to the sheer power of a real tornado touching land. I heard stories of one passing through my college alma mater, but any aftermath of the minimal damage had been fixed long before I arrived.

Then, last year, I served with AmeriCorps NCCC. Part of my service took me to Henryville, Indiana, a town that is now a year into recovery efforts that will likely be ongoing for the better part of the decade. The town, along with neighboring towns that were in the unavoidable path of destruction, was completely leveled by a vicious tornado in March 2012.

It’s strange to see the aftermath of such destruction up close. To me, hurricanes were expected, but tornadoes were once so foreign. They leave a very specific, and very brutal, type of damage in their wake. Survivors of storms like this can be left with post-traumatic stress disorder, just like someone returning from war can experience it.

Unless I ever have to live through a natural disaster, I can never know the terror felt by everyone in that Oklahoma City suburb last night. I can never know the loss felt by families in Henryville who lost a doublewide trailer, the only home they knew, as they huddled in shacks and hoped for their lives to be spared by the storm.

What I can know, and what I did learn, is the strength people have inside them to rebuild. People will mourn; we will have ups and downs. Some will never recover from the mental stress; others will immediately run outside once the storm has passed to look for neighbors in need. Communities can and do band together with solidarity they didn’t know they could posses.

Moore will recover, just as will Henryville, and Joplin, and other communities affected by disaster natural and otherwise, at home and abroad. The communities have a support system within themselves, an inevitable bond with each other, and solidarity from others who can only empathize from afar.

It’s going to be a long, long road. But the survivors will rebuild, move on, and become stronger as a result.

Resources:
The City of Moore Recovers
All-encompassing list of immediate needs, shelters, emergency services and more
Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma
Feed the Children

En español
Red Cross
Moore Oklahoma Tornado Info Facebook
Resources for pets and animals

Edit: At this time the death toll has been revised and lowered to 24. Here’s hoping it stays down.

Life is Music May 15, 2013: ‘You Rang? Here’s Your Cuffs’ Edition

It’s another rudieTuesdayWednesday, which means another day where I equate a news event with a song.

In case you hadn’t heard, news broke Monday that the Justice Department subpoena’d a whole bunch of Associated Press phone records, supposedly as part of an investigation into a failed terror plot. The story spread fairly quickly; this isn’t just big news for journalists, but for anyone who makes phone calls. Or texts. Or has some sort of conversation with others in a form that can be recorded.

For journalists, if this can be allowed, sources can’t necessarily be kept anonymous. For whistleblowers and sources, who already face an inordinate amount of pressure to keep their blowholes far away from any whistle or face the consequences, this may be even less incentive to step forward.

This is also pretty bad-looking for the Obama admin, which keeps hailing itself for transparency and yet seems to keep taking awfully bumbling and obvious steps towards opaqueness.

For this week’s story, I’m going with The Slackers’ “Information Error.” It’s in honor of this “error” of secrecy in the Justice Department’s method of obtaining the memos. It’s for the fact that any information we transmit is becoming more and more subject to scrutiny and guilt until proven innocence “in this age of terror.” And it’s because The Slackers help me feel better when things are looking bleak.

Life is Music April 30, 2013: Gay in the (w)NBA

It’s another rudieTuesday, which means another day where I equate a news event with a song.

It’s been a huge deal the past few days that Jason Collins is the first NBA athlete to come out as gay. (Phew, that was a lot of links.) I don’t care much for sports, but I do care greatly for fact-checking. And Jason is far from the first famous athlete to be publicly LGBT*.

Many women athletes have told the world that they identify as gay. The website The Advocate, for instance, is currently running an article on Brittney Griner, a gay woman in the WNBA. The article, which talks about how she came out before her first pro game, is being featured on the site at the same time as an article hailing Jason as the first out NBA athlete. And it’s not unrelated that the sub-headline of the article questions whether Brittney’s gayness will interfere with the femininity of women’s sports.

I offer many kudos to Jason. In this world that wants to know exactly what’s going on in everyone’s bedroom, it must be incredibly tough to be a public figure and share something so personal and private about oneself, to open oneself up to such criticism. Even in one that’s becoming more accepting of gay men, Jason has already had to deal with intolerance.

As if this blog doesn’t have enough RVIVR, “Wrong Way/One Way” offers a message appropriate with today’s topic. While I want to reinforce that many athletes (including many women) have come out with much less fanfare, what’s really important is that everyone is accepted for who they are, no matter who they love.

Life is Music April 23, 2013: Put your wallet where your classroom is (because you have to)

It’s another rudieTuesday, which means another day where I equate a news event with a song. Today, coming in just over the wire, the first generation to be worse off than our parents keeps getting hit harder!

There’s lots of ways this seems to keep happening. Today in particular, Cooper Union announced that they will start charging up to about $20,000 in tuition for students who can afford to pay. Considering how mind-blowingly expensive some colleges are, this might not sound like much. But Cooper Union is a venue of higher education that has offered free tuition for accepted students for more than a century.

“The time has come to set our institution on a path that will enable it to survive and thrive well into the future,” the board chairman, Mark Epstein, said in an announcement to students and faculty members in the college’s Great Hall. “Under the new policy, the Cooper Union will continue to adhere to the vision of Peter Cooper, who founded the institution specifically to provide a quality education to those who might not otherwise be able to afford it.”

That’s interesting. And, I’d argue, inaccurate. I don’t know the details of the true costs of operations for the school, but I’d say it’s a pretty devastating change in character for Cooper Union to start charging students. Charging students tuition is pretty incongruent with a mission of offering a quality education without having to worry about cost.

It’s a sad day for higher education. But really, it’s just another continuation of a trend in rising college costs. And so, this week’s song is Big D and the Kids Table’s “We All Have to Burn Something.” Because this event can be described as infuriating, and saddening, but not that surprising considering the state of higher ed (and the toyed-with futures of millennials).

By the way, I originally planned on covering how fans are asking Streetlight to consider changing their venue location in Virginia due to recent homophobe comments made by someone who worked there. It’s a story worth following, and likely I’ll post more about it if the venue does get changed.

HEY KIDS!!! Put down those cyanide pills!! It's time for...

Comix and stuff written by Mellie the Sweetie <3

leftytgirl

...the courage to strangle fate and conceive our own destiny

Fusion

Championing a young, diverse, and inclusive America with a unique mix of smart and irreverent original reporting, lifestyle, and comedic content.

The Hard Times

Punk News Comin' Your Way!

journoterrorist

nothing's more hypocritical than a thin-skinned journalist

Crafted in Carhartt

about women who do amazing things

Franky Benítez

Celebrating #latinolit, #latism, & #socialmedia

Feed the Weird

A Baltimore Lifestyle Blog

Support CeCe!

Fight racist, transphobic violence!

Shades of Silence

Colors of Revolt

rottenindenmark.wordpress.com/

Is this gentleman bothering you?

EARGGH!

To struggle is futile! You cannot escape! The most uncanny music ever seen!

POC ZINE PROJECT

news, radio, punk rock and politics

www.crunkfeministcollective.com/

Where Crunk Meets Conscious and Feminism Meets Cool

old man riv

digital outdoor photography

%d bloggers like this: