emandink: (Default)

I just did some ranting up in here regarding an aspect of Amazon's total douchyness that's not getting a lot of play. (Thanks to [info]bifemmefatale  for the head's up.)

It kind of surprises me that this aspect surprises people, to be honest.

(P.S., in the unlikely event that anyone is interesting in linking to me about this, I'd appreciate using the notimpressed link, as opposed to LJ. ;)
emandink: (White People)
And I am a racist.

I say that without a sense of irony and with some small sense of shame. It is primarily passive racism at this point, but I benefit from the color of my skin in innumerable ways every day. And if you are reading this, and you are white, so do you. And you have been trained by our society not to see it and to embrace it and to benefit - every day - from the fact that you are not a person of color.

I am racist. I don't like it. I hate it. But every fucking day I struggle with myself. I fail at being an anti-racist ally every fucking day. But I keep trying. And I learn. I'm not saying this because I want someone to give me a cookie and a pat on the back for trying not to be an asshole. I'm saying it because we can all learn together if we want to, but first we have to see our prejudice for what it really is. We have to own it. We have to admit to ourselves the way that we react to people of different races and not try to explain it away as something other than an instantaneous value judgement based primarily on the color of someone's skin.

There has been a ton of fail around these here internets latey - RaceFail, if you will. It is bleeding over - as it should - into other venues I frequent (and if you frequent them too, then a lot of this might look a little familiar, but it needs to be said). It makes people uncomfortable. Fact is, it's not nice to be confronted with our own privilege. It's not nice to think that we as white people might be racist. It's a lot easier to talk about racial prejudice, and privilege. It's lot easier to not push ourselves out of our comfort zone. It's uncomfortable, and it sucks, and it burns and if we are even the slightest bit concerned with social justice, it can make our entire selfhood squirm to call our race based prejudice by its actual name.  RACISM.

But here's the thing.
It's not about us. It's not about the white people.

It's not about how our feelings get hurt when people call us out for saying stupid shit.
It's not about how an innocent comment (or chapter or essay or statement) was misconstrued.
It's not about how hard it is to be sensitive to other people's cultural sensitivities.
It's not about how it stings and burns and makes us want to rage when someone suggests that we are, in fact, racist.
It's not about us white folks.

At it's root it's about systematic racism and how generations of racial oppression have created a system in which what a white person says is valued more highly than what a person of color says. It's about how generations of passive lack of resistence have benefited white people at the expense of people of color. It's about using the language of oppression to cast white people we don't like into the role of racial other when there is no other target, or to make the case that we're not racist, we're classist. It's about white being the default and non-white being "special interest." It's about not having to bear scrutiny for our entire race when we fuck up.

It is not about how uncomfortable we feel. If it hurts to be called a racist, too damn bad. If it hurts that much, do what you can to help create a world that is less racist. It's our fault as a race, not peoples of color. We can listen. We can speak up. We can see to it that we learn and that we don't leave anti-racist work to people of color. We can call out our friends.

We can own up to our own racism.
emandink: (copyright)
I'm sure it will come as no surprise to some of you that I am facinated by the developing Shepard Fairey copyright case.  Part of what makes it so facinating is that, unlike a lot of copyright cases where a close look at existing law and precident makes it pretty clear who is likely to win, this one is a crap shoot to my mind.  Cases like this one, and the recent Harry Potter Copyright Trial of Doom, illustrate a trend in the U.S. federal courts to apply nuanced reasoning about what fair use really means and what it truly means to "transform" a work into something new that does not depend on the original.  I don't think that Fairey will win on his declaratory judgement action.  There are too many questions of law and fact at stake and I suspect that it will require a full trial (provided that it doesn't settle first).  At full trial, though, I think he has a decent chance.  Then again, so - potentially - does AP.  I suspect, though, that it would tip in his favor, since while his image is clearly derivative, it does not represent a market that AP was likely to exploit, nor does it supercede the value of the original image.  OTOH, he copied it.  AP has made it's basic case.  Whether Fairey's Stanford legal team can esablish the fair use defense will be the real issue.  It's a decent case, but not a slam dunk.

In the meantime, how about that Shepard Fairey.  The more I learn about him as an artist, the more I sort of dislike him.  From a legal perspective, my feelings are mixed - on the one hand, probably 30-40% of the art referenced in that first link (thanks to [livejournal.com profile] hooper_x and [livejournal.com profile] likeawoman for the tip, btw) is in the public domain.  OTOH, a lot of it isn't.  And forget the comparisons to Warhol and Lichtenstein - they copied iconic images, for sure - iconic images that were easily recognizable from their source.  And they transformed them into something else.  Warhol turned household goods into art objects (and did settle a lawsuit with Campbells for his trouble).  Lichtenstein took comic images from the 2x2 inch paper booklet and put them on walls.  Obama poster aside (which is somewhat like Warhol's famous figure works), Fairey takes other people's propaganda and turns it into...propaganda.  And, as pointed out by [livejournal.com profile] likeawoman here, he borrows heavily from works made by people of color to publicize and fight their oppression and commodifies them into somehting easily consumable by an audience comprised primarily of white hipsters, while simultaneously marketing some of the actual emblems of their oppression right along side. 

Shepard Fairey makes a good poster boy for the anti-copyright movement right now.  But I'm not entirely sure why they would want him.

emandink: (Obama Jedi)
Four years ago when I wrote this post, I was sad.  I was sad more that Bush had won - again - than that Kerry had lost.  I was sad that again there were votes that might change the outcome that would never be counted.  I was frustrated with the way that Bush was handling his alleged victory.

And I was also disappointed at the continued narrative of polarization of America; of hearing otherwise open minded and caring people talk of violent action against those who voted for a candidate they didn't care for; of otherwise open minded and caring people lament the stupidity of entire regions of this country.

In the words of the 44th President of these United States, "we have never been a collection of Red States and Blue States: we are, and always will be, the United States of America."

Today, I am thrilled, not sad.  I am excited, not frustrated.  I have hope - that the people of this nation can put their differences behind us.  Six months ago, conventional wisdom had it that supporters of Hillary Clinton would refuse to support Barack Obama - not because of his positions or his politics, but because of acrimony and bitterness on both sides of that contest.

We proved them wrong.  Yes we did.

I hope that with
Obama's stirring words and McCain's graceful concession, that we can all move forward into a less partisan, more understanding future.

That may be too much to hope for, but one year, even six months ago, so arguably were yesterday's results.

Let's prove them wrong. 

emandink: (bill of rights)

Copy this sentence into your LiveJournal if you're in a heterosexual marriage, and you don't want it "protected" by the bigots who think that gay marriage hurts it somehow.

Seriously.  My choice to marry is more degraded by people who want to stop committed couples from marrying than it is by the fact that some of such couples happen to have matching genitalia.  Which, some to think of it, doesn't degrade that choice at all - more than anything, it affirms it. 

Oh, and here's an anti-Prop 8 video by one of my favorite former law professors.
emandink: (Default)
...links from around my f-list and other haunts:

Given all of the crap people are raining on their political opponents these days, this story is almost tear-worthy.  In sum - a man planning to vote for McCain lent his jacket to a trio of eldery Jewish women refused entry to an Ohio polling place because of their pro-Obama t-shirts so that they could go in and vote.

Surely I'm not the only person on the planet thinking "gee, they couldn't see this one coming?" about Palin going rogue.  I have to admit it's sort of nice to see her actually standing up for herself, even if I disagree with pretty much everything out of her mouth.

Most of y'all have probably seen this already, but Biden pretty much proved his worth in the following interview:

Finally, was I the only one who somehow missed the memo about political t-shirts/buttons/etc. being the subject of a statewide polling place ban in Virginia?  I knew that overy campaigining was a no no, but I was not aware until a few minutes ago that failing to take the Obama  button off of my purse strap could get me bounced. 

emandink: (Default)
Pretty much anything I could possible say about this, [livejournal.com profile] ayun  has said better.  The knock off bag thing slays me.

I will add that evidently not even $150,000 worth of designer clothes which were probably purchased in some urban bastion of non-Americanism are enough to make Sarah Palin "elite."
emandink: (War is Hot)
This Land Is Your Land, Woodie Guthrie, 1940
The verses we know and sing )
As I went walking I saw a sign there
And on the sign it said "Private Property."
But on the other side it didn't say nothing,
That side was made for you and me.

In the shadow of the steeple I saw my people,
By the relief office I seen my people;
As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking
Is this land made for you and me?

Nobody living can ever stop me,
As I go walking that freedom highway;
Nobody living can ever make me turn back
This land was made for you and me.

According to Wiki (always the absolute best source for anything, of course), the Guthrie wrote this song as an answer to "God Bless America" by Irving Berlin. This was the anthem for the dust bowl days, the depression era soup lines, the Okies who left their homes and their families to try to find a better life in California. My grandmother who refused to leave Olkahoma, even when my grandfather's family headed west.

This land is not for the corporations and the wealthy and the educated. This land is for everyone...

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free."

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