Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Rest is Part of the Work

I remember this one minister was always talking about protests in her sermons.  And yes, she would mention that marching and writing to Congress weren't the only ways to work for change, to hopefully push the world into a better place.  But, a decade or so later, I understand wanting to rally people all the time even if the pollen is kicking my butt right now, and the idea of marching makes me want to take a nap.  
Someone asked after the 2016 election, why folks were protesting, unless they had concerns about the election itself.  And I had noted that sometimes the point of protest is to demonstrate that we are going to keep pushing.  
I have marched for things, I have written to my council member about things, I have donated to things, there are lots of ways to push the world a bit.  Many of them won't get to the ideal result in my lifetime but pushing is important.  
But even I, who abhor most official forms of exercise, know you can't only push.  Sometimes you have to rest.  And resting, is not just so you can push more later.  Rest is also important because the things you enjoy and do to rest and relax, are what give you the energy to keep making this world a better place.  
So if your happy place was cuddling with people and/or pets, reading, eating delicious things, or just pondering the clouds a bit, I hope you found some space for rest.  

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Three Interesting Things

1. I always love E. Alex Jung's profiles, and this one with Melanie Lynskey is fascinating.  Note: There is frank discussion of disordered eating, and mention of a sexual predator.  
2. This use of conference call lines as a pirate radio for Hmong Americans is interesting. 
3. I was pointed to this Teju Cole poem, Live Update.  

Monday, May 23, 2022

Tropes and Problematic Execution

One of the things I find tough to remember to think about once you are an experienced reader of a genre is things that were always problems but that you are used to. 
I was reading a book and our delightful female main character ran into a scruffy looking dude right around when she and her long term dude broke up. 
Now as an experienced media consumer, you might go, ah yes, that person you trip over right as the clearly not good enough for you person exits the story is your new love interest. Yay for you.
And of course, our character is upset, she misjudges, because it would be weird for her to be like hello hotness while still wiping off tears. 
But you the reader know, this is the one, and since you the reader are presumably in a better emotional state, you don't judge new person for their scruffiness, and you forgive main character.
Except a main character who only remembers someone looked scruffy one time, and fails to think about how we all have sweatpants days or whatever, well, if this so-called mistaken identity continues on for too long, even the tropetastic-ness cannot save it, because the main character is now just judgey.
I do sometimes think rom-com patterns exacerbate this. Some rom-coms really traffic in embarrassing the heroine a lot to prove she deserves to have things go her way. And so, through that lens, you can sort of see how you could get to a place where a character stumbling over her next beloved but not seeing him because he's not dressed in a manner she feels a person should be, seems funny. 
But the trope doesn't require that. That's just bad execution of the trope. 

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Three Interesting Things

1. This story about what losing access to a grocery store on a day that might be the only day that week people have to go shopping is one of the things that attacks on underserved neighbors exacerbates. 
2. I confess, I have been limiting my reading on the congregation members in Laguna Woods who managed to detain a shooter.because the story makes me incredibly emotional.  LAist has this piece about the man who was killed stopping the shooter.  
3. And the Journal of Popular Romance Studies has a special open access issue on Black Romance.  

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

On Faux Compliments

I know, I know, this poorly prepped for media parent is clearly vying for fame and I should just ignore her. 
And yet. As a mixed race person, who, by the way is part native Hawaiian, having people tell you weird things that in their brain is clearly a compliment but actually is just not, well it can be hard to explain. 
So, to the teen who is Black and white (but not Hawaiian) who's mom went on TV to say that school taught him to see himself as Black and to see that there is racism in the world, I am sorry. And then she said, on TV mind you, that you don't even look Black, you look Hawaiian. 
I am sorry. 
Because let's unpack what happened here. This parent decided that it was a problem that her child identified as his actual race. And in order to support her feeling that he should not consider himself Black, she stated that he doesn't look Black. 
A. If he is Black, then he looks Black. 
I realize a lot of people are confused by this. But people not looking the way you expect is not a failure of their appearance, it is a failure of your imagination.
B. People can be Black and Hawaiian. Just like they can be Black and white. 
And look, I know there are some people thinking, well, she just meant she thinks he's handsome like Jason Momoa or Keanu Reeves. And, even if she did mean that, the way to compliment someone is not so say they look like something they are not. Because if you actually appreciated what they were, you wouldn't need to change it to compliment them. 
Happy AAPI Heritage Month folks!

Monday, May 16, 2022

I Wish This Wasn't Normal

Mass shootings occur pretty regularly in the US, the thing that fluctuates is the ones where we are sure the victims did not deserve it. So grocery store shootings, church shootings, and the like get treated as special. To be clear, I would like the number of people killed by guns to be zero. 
But I am aware we remember to talk about gun violence sometimes, and ignore it others.
One of the mass shootings this weekend involved a Civil Rights activist who had, among other things, taken the time to write about gun violence last year. 
If the news has angered, enraged, or saddened you, consider looping into local violence interruption efforts and looking at what kind of support they need. Sometimes it's money, sometimes it's letters written to local electeds to tell them you support such efforts. 

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Three Interesting Things

1. Hat Tip to NapMinistry for pointing me to this post on trauma drive, and how motivational slow down can be a good sign.  I am aware that there is a current cultural excess in the use of the word trauma, and yet, I do think pandemic living means more of us are experiencing it than not.  
2. This post about digital privacy is aimed at if Roe v. Wade falls, but as is noted, the consequences for many of current reproductive law are already here.  
3. I am really intrigued by the Smithsonian's announcement that they will return unethically looted items, and look forward to seeing how they and other museums form such policies.  

Monday, May 09, 2022

Reading Mad

Sometimes I know a book is not for me, and yet I keep reading. Sometimes I want to see if the story pulls itself away from the ditch my brain has shoved it into, but the reality is that happens rarely. Not because I am mean or terrible or even prescient. Okay, I'm a little bit prescient. Because not about the world, just about stories. 
So sometimes my brain is like nope, and I'm like no, we judged too fast and my brain is right because the signs of a thing I will not like are already there. 
But sometimes I keep reading anyway. And it occurred to me that sometimes reading is escape, but sometimes the escape I need is to be mad at something terrible. So reading a book I know is going to make me mad feels like control. It's making me mad, but I knew it was going to make me mad, and so I am mad because of this and only this. *Ignores the entire rest of the world* 
And I am not a professional psychologist, but just like folks exploring their sexuality often focus on celebrities because you get to gush and squee and yet it is entirely expected for this person to never call you, never show up, never speak directly to you. So you have signed on to a one sided relationship.
And similarly me reading a book that is making me mad lets me be mad, and then put the book away. And sometimes that is what I need. 

Thursday, May 05, 2022

Three Interesting Things

2. I am not a librarian, but Anne Helen Petersen's talk to librarians about work these days may resonate for folks in a lot of fields right now. 
3. Jackie Lau compiled a list of Asian Romance authors with books in $5 and under range. 
Also, I created a Bookshop list of some Hawaiian authors writing in a range of categories (includes me). 

Monday, May 02, 2022

Be Gentle

I spent the last week trying to be very gentle with myself.  I'm coming up on some anniversaries of things, and heading into parental holiday season, and well, it is both a lot, and it is fine.
This is often a transitional time for folks.  On the northern hemisphere, while it is still spring, signs of summer are beginning to appear. School kids and teachers are eyeing summer plans, and those of us in jobs that don't automatically shift for reasons are still aware that time is shifting.  
Businesses often do quarterly reporting, evaluating how things are going, and schools often do too.  So as humans, we are trained to look out for these changes, and re-evaluate what it means.  
Pandemic rules are different of course, but most of us have more non-pandemic traditions embedded within us, than not.  (Shout out to my pandemic born cousin, who has only ever known a life where his parents telecommuted. It's a good life, kid.)
For folks who make five year plans, the plans are likely a little dented, even if you've rewritten them a few times.  
So, be gentle.  Progress isn't the only measure of success, sometimes survival really is an achievement.