Crabs in the Swamp // 11.02.17

D.Va Room by artist/cosplayer Jenni (Pixelninja)

Why are women still sexualized in cyber-punk fantasies? Why do scifi artists still imagine worlds on the ground as we approach our over-heated climate reality? Why do our imagined fantasies still revolve around colonized/privatized spaces? What about the outback, the badlands, or decolonized/uncolonizable spaces? Exclusion causes misery, but the excluded still find ways to survive. The same people who are crying about institutions falling are the same ones who chose to deny or accept who moved through said institutions in the first place. They don’t get to imagine the future, we do. I do.

We don’t control our own data/internet footprints.

Joy is so necessary. Don’t deny yourself joy as the world falls apart. Don’t aid in your oppressor’s goal to kill you faster.

We must leave eek out space in the badlands of the net. We must decolonize the boundary between capitalist publics and authoritarian privates.

I’m being transformed by my grandmother’s passing. She left me blessings as she moved into the pantheon of the ancestors. I can feel it. Another magical femme powerup.

mine&mine // 9. 01. 17

I had a really relaxing break? With minimal stress, excluding select instances that turned out to be minor? Usually I don’t do valley-girl inflected statements, but this is unironic because THIS ALMOST NEVER HAPPENS TO ME ;____________; Truly! During undergrad, I worked or had to focus on some kind of research project year after year, and families usually just dysfunctionally family it up during the holiday, so 🙃🙃🙃🙃🙃🙃 Instead, I got to sleep infinitely better, not cook ever, not pay to do my laundry, be around my family and not combust (except that time I went to Ikea with my boyfriend and Mom and she embarrassed the fuck outta of me ;___;;;), eat good food with friends! Upgrade my phone, and  now my whole iTunes library finally fits ☺️☺️☺️

I also had the best nachos of the year, and they were vegan! The restaurant I was blessed to receive them at substitutes dairy cheese with cashew “cheese.” Cashews? I know it sounds suspect, but I swear by it: cashew cheese sauce is a fantastic substitute for regular nacho cheese, which I say as the King of Homemade Nacho Cheese Sauce. As long as you can put good filler in the nachos and use your spices, it tastes fantastic! Perhaps vegan food gets a bad rap because white people have trademarked veganism, and they still refuse to use spices in their cabinet drawers

I made a strategic plan for 2K17, filled with ambitions, goals, and plan pathways along career, health, and personal lines. I think I’ve spoken about this on social media, but there is a strange irony in how folks are either apathetic or terrified out of their minds right now. Additionally, I feel like the world is accelerating faster than it actually is, via social media outlets reinforcing that feeling. I do believe in being well-informed, and I’m an obsessed information nerd; but it got super draining with time to read Sarah K or Paul Krugman’s tweets. Of course, the world is terrible and the coming admin (minus 11 days and counting) will induce some incredible suffering; no buts about it. Something does have to give, though. Will I feel better knowing everyday how bad things are going to get, even though I’m a historian and my background in US history already tells me I know what is coming, just with some tech updates? Or, do I just live my life, wanting and trying to hope for the best, but still expecting the worst? Furthermore, do I do the later and just prioritize my well-being and those of the folks I love?1 

Duh, the second one. Stress kills, I don’t want to be stressed out, and I need some good buffers that affirm my humanity while i’m working on my doctorate degree. And I already know what those things are + I left some of it by the wayside years ago because I thought I needed to be a “serious person…” which was actually some bs about how scholars become scholars and is some white supremacist trash tbh. So I will pick back up web-coding, re-teach myself Adobe Suite and drawing, learn new code languages, among other things (I see knitting, zine-making, and food crafts in my future). My domestic sphere needs to be my refuge from the world. It’s a brave thing to do!

Speaking of refuges, I think 2K17 will be the year that I do sever my ties with big social media. I think I’ve given up on the idea that I just delete them outright (lbr nobody wants to read e-mails anymore), but using them as small branches that re-route back here. I do believe we are being robbed and scammed out of our online lives, which are transformed into cash cows without compensation.2 Of course, I’ve written about this numerous times, but I’ve also realized that the importance of carving out a personal space online is the fact that all of those websites are a ticking timebomb: like Livejournal, they will also die. Interestingly enough, they may enact it themselves, by not taking care of their tr*ll problem. Anyway, that’s that. Point: let’s save ourselves lol.

#miscellaneous stuff: podcasts & footnotes & fandom
☁ Yuri!!! on Ice is perhaps the best anime of the 2010s. Watch it.
☁  Listen to dadfeelings: the episodes on Vegeta and Professor Utonium killed me.

☁ 1. Ta-Nehisi Coates on the Ezra Klein show 
2. Melissa Gira Grant‘s episode on Woodland Feelings expands a lot more on my social media net takeover feelings

byeeeeeeeeeeeee for now 💖💖💖

Internet Roundup // 4.12.16

Poster for Satoshi Kon’s Perfect Blue (1997)

You think I’ll be the dark sky so you can be the star? I’ll swallow you whole. – Warsan Shire

“Why do we have to live in an anime?” I’ve asked my friends this in frustration, cynicism, and humor the past month. Later, I switched it from “anime” to “Final Fantasy X.” I think you can keep swapping it for something else over and over. In most anime and Final Fantasy X, there is some semblance of a happy ending. No happy ending is guaranteed at this moment, and perhaps not in our own lifetime. Only the suggestion that we may perish en masse.

I believe in radical optimism: it may fluctuate, but it is always with me, eternal. It does not mean willful obtuseness, like in the Panglossian sense, but rather that understanding justice, accountability, and renewal as long processes, which improve despite the likely possibility of being unable to see it. James H. Cone elaborates on this in his book the Cross and the Lynching Tree.

See, whites feel a little uncomfortable because they are part of the history of the people who did the lynching. I would much rather be a part of the history of the lynching victims than a part of the history of the one who did it. And that’s the kind of transcendent perspective that empowers people to resist. That’s why King knew he was going to win even when he lost by human sense.

I believe in myself. ‘While There is Despair, I Am Not Hopeless.’

Photo credit: Clitselfie

☁ Normalize joy.
☁ This really is a great tribute to Jet Set Radio & Jet Set Radio Future.
☁ Why the folks who were dying to say how they really felt about the most vulnerable social groups’ visibility need to remember that they, too, are also a social group. This is the reason why they refuse. The United States is worse off for it.
☁ Stop blaming everything on young people. It makes baby boomers and their destructive bullshit invisible.
☁ Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie reminds us to say what we really mean, no longer hiding behind pretty phrases to become smaller in the face of unequal cordiality.
☁ This episode of PhDivas really touched me. “Remember that we are our ancestor’s wildest dreams[…]What if we were our own wildest dreams?”
☁ Chani‘s readings for me are, as always, on point:

No spiritual practice can be liberating if it isn’t also deeply challenging in its nature. To only listen to teachings that lull us to sleep isn’t spiritual in nature. Spiritual practice is meant to jolt us awake. Disrupting our lives. Interrupting our complacency. It is a call so loud that it stirs the same kind of howl within us. It engages us with the world. As it is. As imperfectly as it appears. As difficult as it can be to contend with[…]

There are certain roles that we can’t get out of. We have to play them out. We are someone’s child. We are someone’s family. We are someone’s hope. Someone’s point of envy. Someone’s misunderstanding. Someone’s wildest dream. The roles that we inhabit aren’t always negotiable. We can’t always get out of them. But how we inhabit them is entirely up to us.

(more…)

Internet Roundup // 6.11.16

Image source: どんぐり

☁ Apple has traded longevity for e-waste and easy capital, which ensures I will never buy a new Apple product beyond the iPhone 6s generation.
☁ Why the “poor white working class” pity-party essays/thinkpieces are tired.
☁ Healing the Shame that Binds You, by John Bradshaw
☁ Solange giving some serious looks on SNL, my god.
☁ This interview with Amy Rose Spiegel is good. Her book on sex is even better.

Internet Roundup // 6.10.16

I am enamored with A Seat at the Table. It has acted as the needle that threads together my entire being, and all the links to my family, my spirit, my rage, my struggles, and power. It works beyond representation: not only do I see myself in the mirror, but I am recognized as regal. So much to unpack and learn, which I am gaining more context from Solange’s interviews and subsequent essays from others musing on this masterpiece.

A Seat at the Table stages artful, grounded pictures of the ephemeral. Phenomena like institutional racism and other indignities are entrenched in the fabric of the country. It is in the air here. We know its strategies well. The knowledge doesn’t preclude that at any given time, the air can coalesce into a “metal cloud,” can freshly distress you. A Seat uncovers these moments, gives loose shape to both them and the consequences they wreak. So much of this album documents, with colossal beauty, the way environments conspire to ruin or lift the moods of black people. For Mathew Knowles on “Interlude: Dad Was Mad,” the surroundings are the fallout from school integration. For Lil Wayne, clarified and vulnerable on the twinkling “Mad,” it’s general despair. Whatever the cause, Knowles makes room for the effects, the weariness, and the defiance. Knowles is unmoved by didacticism, by referential storytelling. She prefers traditions like anguish, annoyance, aggression, pride, haughtiness, and jubilance, and in that order. She maps the escalation of feeling.

Doreen St. Felix, “In Solange’s Room

She recognizes that anger can be a burden on our souls, that it can keep us from our true potential as black Americans. This is why she invites her mother, Tina Lawson, to remind us that there’s “so much beauty in being black.” The conversations with her parents harken to a black childhood of hearing your elders sit around the kitchen table, engaged in conversation, sharing grievances, and laughing over joyous shared experiences. When Solange named her album A Seat at the Table, it wasn’t about black people clamoring for a seat at the proverbial table of whiteness. After all, as Erykah Badu once sang, “Don’t feed me yours / ’Cause your food does not endure.” We don’t need a seat at any other table — we have our own. And once we’re nourished, we’ll juba down.

Ira Madison III, “Solange’s Feast

Diamond Sharp, “Sonic Healing
Bim Adewunmi, “‘A Seat At The Table’ Contemplates Black Life’s Contradictions
Judnick Mayard, “A Seat With Us: A Conversation between Solange Knowles, Mrs. Tina Lawson, & Judnick Mayard
Anupa Mistry, “An Honest Conversation with Solange Knowles

Cribs – Master P from The CF on Vimeo.

By the time this piece comes out, you’ll know that Master P actually narrates my album. I remember being a teenager, much like many teenagers at the time, and seeing Master P on MTV Cribs, and it being one of the most gaudy, incredible displays of wealth that I had ever seen in my life. It really impacted me that, out of all the houses on MTV Cribs, this was a black man from New Orleans, and he got this by completely staying firm in his independence. As a teenager, and my family being in the industry, I would hear my dad talk about No Limit and how they never sold their company and how they started from the trunks, from nowhere, from nothing. It left a huge impression on me. I saw a lot of my father in Master P, and him in my father, as young black men who dreamed really big and manifested those dreams. Although I, like everybody else, loved “Hoody Hoo” and TRU and all of the No Limit jams, I, at a very young age, felt a deep, deep connection with his story.

Solange on Master P, from “Solange Shares Her Inspirations for A Seat at the Table” by Tom Breihan

Other links:
Review: Michael Jackson’s Dangerous by Jeff Weiss
The Anti-Blackness of Interracial Porn” by CiCo3
The Final Countdown – Getting Ready for the final PhD Years” from PhDivas Podcast (XIne Yao & Liz Wayne)
First episode of season 2 of the Pineapple Diaries!

If this white man offer me a million dollars I gotta be worth forty, or fifty…

And they offered me a million dollar deal, and had the check ready. Said I wouldn’t be able to use my name. I was fighting my brother, because “Man, you shoulda took the million dollars!” I said “No, what you think I’m worth? If this white man offer me a million dollars I gotta be worth forty, or fifty… Or ten or something.”
To being able to make “Forbes” and come from the Projects. You know, “Top 40 Under 40.” Which they said couldn’t be done. Had twenty records on the top “Billboard” at one time. For an independent company. Black-owned company. You know, going to the white lady’s house where my Grandmother lived at, and say, “Look, you don’t have to work here no more Big Mama! We got more money than the people on St. Charles Street.”
And I, I took that anger and said, “I’mma put it into my music.” I tell people all the time, “If you don’t understand my record, you don’t understand me, so this is not for you.