Movie Friday: Hari Kondabolu

I got sick this week, and was thus robbed of the motivation to write something. I’ve got a bunch of ideas clogging up the ol’ brain-bin, which SUCKS because I also have a lot of stuff to get done this month. Here’s where you can catch me over the next week:

Thursday, January 10th

Playing a solo gig at the Sunset Grill (Yew @ York st. in Kitsilano)

Friday, January 11th

My first gig of 2013 with Even Handed Odds at the Coppertank (Broadway @ Balaclava in Kitsilano). We’re celebrating our anniversary as their house band, and our first time playing together since mid-December.

Saturday, January 12th

I’ll be in Kamloops, BC, giving a talk about the HPV Vaccine and confronting some of the info and misinfo that’s out there. It’s pitched for a general audience, and will reference the scientific literature without diving into it too heavily.

There is a FB event page here, and an event webpage here.

Sunday, January 13th

I’ll be in Kelowna, BC, giving an extended version of my talk looking at racism in the zombie apocalypse. I felt really rushed trying to cram all that information into 30 minutes, so this longer format (I have two hours, I am planning on talking for the heavy side of 45 minutes, with a Q&A afterward) will be a lot more comfortable for me.

There is a FB event page here, but it doesn’t say that the event will be at the Kelowna Pride Centre on Water st..

And now for the movie! [Read more...]

Movie Friday: FAN MAIL!

Ohmygosh you guyse, I am just super excited. I was poking around in the dashboard of this site yesterday, and I noticed that I was getting a lot of hits from a Youtube video. Seeing as it is highly unusual for me to get referrals from Youtube, I clicked on through to see what was driving traffic to the site. Well wouldn’t you know, someone loves me and loves this blog enough to record a ten minute piece of fan mail! I’m so incredibly flattered. For someone to take ten whole minutes out of what I’m sure is a very busy schedule of hating the shit out of women to talk about little ol’ me? Gosh…

Let’s watch!

Well it’s the oddest piece of fan mail I’ve ever got. It doesn’t even seem like fan mail. It seems like he doesn’t like me! But that can’t be… I’m so loveable.

For those of you who didn’t/couldn’t watch all the way through, I will summarize IntegralMath’s* points: [Read more...]

Movie Friday: Optimism

During the panel on social justice last weekend at Eschaton, someone asked us if we were optimistic or pessimistic about the future – whether we saw the world getting better, or if it was in fact getting worse. It’s a complicated question, because we are now more aware of what is going on in the world than ever before. Stephen Pinker’s book suggests that there is less violence today than at any point in our measurable history, so that’s something to be glad about I guess. My answer was pretty equivocal: we are still struggling with the same challenges we always have; we just find different words and technologies in which to contextualize them. Unless we radically change the foundational assumptions of our civilization, we’re going to keep having the same problems forever.

But seeing as how depressing that answer is, I decided to point to some things that made me happy, one of which was the subject of a post here on the blog – a story that reminds us that human beings are capable of finding solutions to completely novel problems if given the time and the opportunity. Here’s another such story:

This kid is undeniably a genius. Imagine what it would have been like if he had been born under the circumstances that, say, I was. Ready access to both the raw materials needed to learn, but an environment that encouraged him to learn and experiment and explore. As it is, there may be thousands of Kelvins all across the African continent who, for reasons having nothing to do with their intelligence, are languishing in poverty and desperation. We are doing ourselves a disservice as a species by not providing the opportunities for all human beings to realize their potential, regardless of their wealth.

Which is why this story makes me a little optimistic. As our borders become more permeable, and as globalization forces an increasing awareness of parts of the world that were formerly completely ignorable, it is possible that we will see stories like this become increasingly common. The way to get there is to begin listening to the stories that we previously did not have access to, and to be willing to expand our notion of “us” wide enough that we can provide opportunities for personal growth and development to people who may not share our geography or ethnicity, but who embody our aspirations for a better world. Not necessarily just for their sakes, but for ours as a species as well.

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Movie Friday: Jason Chu

I’m in Ottawa at the Eschaton2012 conference. Well… I guess right now I’m about to take a tour of the Supreme Court building, but that’s what I’m up to this weekend. I’ll be live-tweeting the event, so if you’re not following me on Twitter you should be.

Yesterday I talked about the conspicuous and consistent absence of voices of colour from stories that recognize their (our) agency in civil rights struggles. While black or brown faces might be present in stories, but it’s rarely to acknowledge that we were the architects, at least in part, or our own ascendancy from second-class to… well… whatever we are now.

It is hard to talk about this issue without pointing out the notable and near-complete absence of actors of Asian descent from anything but the most stereotypical roles. Again, roles when a group’s foreign-ness is their chief identifying feature only serve to perpetuate their ‘other’ status. This issue came to a head recently when La Jolla Playhouse cast a multi-racial group in a play set in China: [Read more...]

Movie Friday: Equal Opportunity Enforcement

Here in BC, policy-makers and law enforcement agencies are starting to ask themselves some serious questions about our approach to marijuana (and if they’re not, they should be). After the marijuana legalization votes in Washington State, cross-border drug trafficking is going to change character in a significant way. Considering how much of BC’s economy is fueled by drug money, and how much we spend trying to prosecute gangs that make money from weed and other, more dangerous drugs, it’s going to become a serious issue.

But one simply cannot talk about drugs and law enforcement in the absence of a deep understanding of how white supremacy and plutocracy operate in the War on Drugs. ‘Batman’ explains: [Read more...]

Movie Friday: Suspicious

So last night we had a bit of a chuckle at the expense of a hapless boob from Maine who is the chairman of the state Republican party. After the laughter subsided, I said this:

What I will say is that this fits neatly with the larger Republican narrative from this last election cycle: that black people voting is suspect for fraud. That black people have to provide additional proof that they are indeed qualified to vote. In the old days, this was done through explicit policies like poll taxes and “literacy tests”. Today it’s done through barely-covert policies like “voter ID” that is designed to suppress the votes of not only black people, but pretty much anyone who would vote for a Democratic candidate. This is not a new story, and it is part of the attempt to erase people of colour from the collective consciousness, or at least to deny them (us) the possibility of equal partnership and participation. This story is not new, and it’s not just chuckle-fucks like Charlie Webster who are behind it.

And I wasn’t kidding either: [Read more...]

SERIOUSLY?! Episode 5

We’re back with another episode of our podcast series that we’re calling “SERIOUSLY?!”. This week we talked about a post-election “riot” that happened on Ole Miss campus in Oxford, Mississippi. Roughly 400 students gathered in outrage over the election results, and some were overheard shouting racist epithets at both President Obama and black people in general. No physical violence was reported at this event, but it brought a lot of unwelcome attention to a school and a region that has a particularly fraught history when it comes to racism.

We were joined this week by Jasmine and Robert. Video and links below the fold: [Read more...]

SERIOUSLY?!

Hey all,

I’m happy to announce that we have finally decided on a name for our little podcast project. We’re calling it “SERIOUSLY?!”, because the subject matter we tackle tends to be things that defy the capacity for belief in all but the most out-there segments of our society.

This week’s episode is below the fold, with some associated links:

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