Saturday, April 26, 2008

and a wee bit of analysis, of a sort.

Just coming off the comments of one of the uberlong threads on omg you got your racism in my feminism! how on earth did that happen?! (part XXVIII), at feministe:

(Chris Clarke responding to a person/torduange)

... It’s a good point. No one’s success is purely their own. Standing on the shoulders of giants, and cetera.

Yeah, that's kind of the bottom line, here, isn't it?

And the thing is–you know, people keep saying: it’s -not- all unconnected, the stuff about “appropriation” (which for the last gorram time NO is not the same thing as “she copied off someone else’s paper word for word” or even about y’know “copyright”), the images, and yeah, the theme in the book itself and Amanda’s whole um narrative such as it is. This is what's meant by appropriation: the refusal to understand that

No one’s success is purely their own.

...and further, that some people whose shoulders are stood upon are consistently rendered the designated stood-upon, and it's all part of the game; this is what is known as "institutionalized" (not -personal-, as in "I can't stand Those People") racism, among other "isms," is all about.

and back to the case at hand, just to be clear: I’ve no idea how the process of choosing these pics came about; if Seal says it’s all on them, okay, so be it (and I still think those two need to have their asses fired for sheer incompetence at this point, that AND the “hi! let’s totally alienate everyone by swanning onto someone’s blog, snotting at them, then starting a “no really, please don’t boycott us” thread at our own place, then nuke that when it gets too hot, okay! We Value Your Opinion! -plonk-). And definitely, without the pics I wouldn’t have probably had much objection to the content itself, as I saw it–seemed relatively innocuous, certainly no overt racism along the lines of the pics (which just seemed such a -stupid- move all around–anyway).

But…as I think little light noted (can't remember which thread, sorry)…there is something, yeah, about the let’s say myth? of the noble, brave, -conquering- hero, okay? There’s a reason the “Tarzan” and “King Kong” shit appeals enduringly: it’s NOT because they’re -universal- tropes, it’s because they speak to deeply entrenched myths in this culture. We’re supposed to identify with the sun god, the lone warrior braving savage nature and demonic/animalistic sub-humans, and coming back with the prize.

And the whole point is, for most of us, in fact, while we’re -supposed- to ID with the hero, in reality most of us -can’t- LIVE like him, because garsh someone has to be the backdrop/savages/supporting cast and well you LOOK like the backdrop/savages/supporting cast…or, just, well, you don’t -fit-, anyway; but, most of all, -the hero does it by himself.- Maybe with a few sidekicks. But…the hero is a Hero. Not “part of a community.”

And…the -repeated- theme that keeps coming up over and over and fucking OVER again in -all- these flameouts in the feminist sphere, is this: that -substituting a Heroine for the Hero isn’t fucking enough if nothing else changes.-

But…for some people, see, it seems like it IS enough, if they think -they- can be the Heroine.

But that doesn’t mean everyone else has to keep playing the parts they were assigned, and for damn sure anyone asking them to do it isn’t “progressive” or “feminist” in any real sense.


littlem said...

*applause* *whistles*

Clue Truck. Special Delivery.

And in the face of this, I think it is appropriate to share that I saw your "second" on Ilyka's blog, and I haz here a speshul responz for u.

(Although I think it is important to note that with fatigue comes bad poetry.)

why littlem does not blog

“I cannot blog,” she sadly said,
"I’d drown in words ‘till I was dead."
There are so many in the ‘sphere
Inspiring both awe and fear;
I’d far rather support them loud
Than add my voice to that big crowd.

Additionally, I think we’ve learned
It’s way too easy to get burned
By "majurritees" who can outlast you
Quite simply by just talking past you.
And though I make a fair good list,
I’m naught if not a pragmatist.

Sometimes it’s better strategy
To stay a shadowed mystery
For a long list of issue ranges
(Until such time as we make changes!!!)
And “shape moves” for Sisters & Brothers
'Cause some vox are ARE heard more than others.

(And I’ve seen worse for which folks strove --
It’s worked so far for Ailes and Rove. ;-))

So in choosing challenges to be solved
With Max Victoire, I have resolved
To keep my visible mouth shut
At least for the time being.


If someone offers tea and toasts,
I have been known to make guest posts.


P.S. I haz not forget I owez u emayll

belledame222 said...

ahahahaha, excellent. fair 'nuff. and sure, guest posts could certainly be arranged. coffee, chocolate, what you will.

"Sudy" said...

Hi Belle..

Just stopping in because I haven't been a good visitor to many blogs lately.

Catching up on your stuff,

Alon Levy said...

Just out of curiosity... are you really interested in these blog issues? I mean, personally I was mildly interested in some reviews of FFF because I read it, thinking it would be good, but this just comes off to me as a complete snorefest.

belledame222 said...

Um, AL, the short answer is "yes, it does."

The long answer, you -really- don't want to hear it right now.

Really good to see you, Sudy, sorry to read that you're thinking of shutting up shop, too. I don't blame you for being totally fried, but selfishly, I like having you on the Interwebs, by any other name.

PhysioProf said...

Hi, belledame222! I saw your comment at Ilyka's and came here to visit. Nice blog!

My analysis of the customs of academic attribution are here (although not from a specifically feminist or privilege-based perspective):

belledame222 said...

Hey, thanks, PP! Welcome! Will check out later.

Brown Shoes Don't Make It said...

Can I also just say I think it's ridiculous that by standing up for people who aren't being listened to, you've somehow become a bully of the poor oppressed Christine?

belledame222 said...

heh, yeah well. welcome, brown shoes, p.s.

belledame222 said...

oh Mary. So I finally go over to check out the blog of poor beleaguered Christine, and, well, golly. -blinks at it.-

Renegade entrepreneur — and runaway success story — Christine Comaford-Lynch has lived the kind of life most of us can only dream about. From model to monk to multi-millionaire, she has always gone after what she wanted—and gotten things done. She’s won, lost, worked, played, and every step of the way, she’s written her own rules.

Now Christine is ready to tell her story. In ten outrageous life lessons, she’ll show you how to make your dreams come true. Your way. Your rules.

Order this New York Times bestseller online now at these fine booksellers:

um, even the one about eating a giant marshmallow? because i'm not sure if i want that one to come true. i'm running low on pillows as it is.

Brown Shoes Don't Make It said...

Now I'm just confused about why such a self-styled success in all possible and impossible aspects of life would spend so much time complaining about being bullied on a feminist website. I'm not a stupid guy, either, but this just seems to elude me.

Octogalore said...

Good point, Belle. There's even more to analyze about those pictures than the egregiousness that's now being discussed, apologized for, etc.

Yeah, if ones goal is to change the organs on the person wielding the knife or arrow or whatever, that's not a winning ticket.

There are three essential pieces, I think, and if any one of them are ignored, it becomes a "new boss" situation (as you've pointed out) or simply a non-event.

1) more women and POC need to be empowered as power is currently recognized

2) these spokespeople need to use their influence in ways that change the structure to help others, rather than simply repeating the same old mechanisms

3) neither (1) nor (2) will be successful unless people in positions of power, whether it's government, industry, technology, art, journalism, whatever, are connected with their communities, at all income levels.

belledame222 said...

BSDM: to be fair, I don't think she (Christine) was complaining about being bullied at first so much as her defenders, who at this point would each appear to have their own special little snowflake of an agenda, respectively. whatevs. -flick-

she's special, though. she left after no one wanted to be "enlightened" by her, i can't think why.

belledame222 said...

it's actually not a total tangent, is it? that's like, a self-parody of what we're talking about here. The American Dream! I Can Do Anything I Set My Mind To! And I'm Filthy Rich! And I DID IT MY WAY. Now, Buy My Book, and You, Too, Can LIVE YOUR (or someone's) DREAMS! (well, no, but hey, at least fantasize about being the Fabulousness that is Me!) w00t

brown shoes don't make it said...

Ultimately, I guess, the feminist blogosphere doesn't aspire to a life beyond comprehension with time spent in a Buddhist monastery just to say you've done it. Small people with their small ambitions. Wonder why she'd spend her time there in between consulting with every company, big and small, in the Western world.

belledame222 said... yeah. okay. golly, I, um...

2) Learn To Love Networking

Far too often, and for far too many people, networking is an uncomfortable social ritual. Most of us don’t do it well, and most of us don’t enjoy it, either. When done right, networking will not only be a career-enhancing experience, but will also build fulfilling personal connections. Learn the optimal techniques to increase your networking momentum.

* Start focusing on how much emotional equity you have--how deep your connections are--with others. Now improve your connections in 3 ways: do daily appreciation, practice palm-up networking [see networking essentials column], join a mastermind group
* Get out there and mingle: resolve to attend at least 1 networking event where you’ll meet new people each month. Mix it up, too, don’t always go to the same venue. Need a networking group? Consider joining Business Networking International, Ideally attend 1 additional networking event each month virtually, by interacting with like-minded people on
* Help others find you: update your profile, consider a page (great option for when you have to turn down link requests), update your web site, join

3) Prime Your Power

As we go through life we learn about power—who has it and who doesn’t. Where does it start and stop? How do you exercise it with responsibility and compassion? How do you get it and grow it? Explore a new take on what power means and how to use it.

* Define what power really means to you. Is it positive? Who are your examples of power? Philanthropic/humanitarian leaders? Business/political leaders? The cute old lady next door? Your dog? Famous people? Unknown people? Really think about it.
* Where do you get a sense of power in your life? Make sure you can list at least 3 diverse areas (from exercise, from spirituality, from your career, from your family life, from your hobbies, etc). Now take it to 5 this year!
* Follow the Rich n’ Famous Formula: QTIP (quit taking it personally from Larry Ellison), declare supreme self-confidence (from Bill Gates), be gracious and really connect with people (from Barbara Walters)


I will, indeed, promptly cease and desist taking it personally from Larry Ellison. I must say I'm a bit unsettled to find that I've -been- taking it personally from the gentleman, especially when I've no idea who he is. Oh dear.

also, um...what's with the geisha thing?

Brown Shoes Don't Make It said...

it seems to mostly revolve around:

A) new-agey "attempting to be profound while not saying anything" style self-help

B) namedrop, namedrop, namedrop

Also, Larry Ellison is the founder of Oracle, which is some kind of immensely popular database software thing.

Is it wrong that I took a sexual connotation from "taking it personally from Larry Ellison"? I guess that means you need to really stop taking it from him then, or something.

Jay Smooth said...

nice post, and your patience and persistence in those latest comment threads is remarkable (along with the other voices of reason (i mean uhh negative discourse)).. does pulitzer have a blog comment category yet?

belledame222 said...

-snort- i'm sure any day now. welcome, Jay.

Sarah J said...

You said it. and octogalore said it too. "changing the organs on the person wielding the knife..."

beautiful. keep on kickin' ass, ladies.

belledame222 said...

welcome, sarah j.

Kristen said...

I know I'm late! But I just wanted to say I love this post.

In the end I think the problem with the Tarzan/King Kong rubbish is the same problem with racism in general. We have to stop needing an "other" to vilify in order to feel good about ourselves.

Look at me being all optimistic about humanity. Someone must have slipped me some prozac.

Anonymous said...

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