I've been on an obsessive Kristen Holden-Ried (of Lost Girl) tip lately, and I think it was fate. It led me to this gem of a movie: Touch of Pink, wherein he plays the white boy brit lover of a queer Ismaili Muslim boy.

Lovely postcolonial politics, surprisingly clever dialogue, and adorableness ensued.

to be continued... (been sick for over a week and still sleepy...)

we are sickly in our living room, doing nothing but eating pazenlavida 's mama's delicious chicken soup. so we spend the day watching whose wedding is it anyway, and then talking about jose vasconcelos' la raza cosmica and how much gloria anzaldua read into his writing stuff that wasn't there and whether he was fucked up or not, then we turn to lost girl, then to merlin. merlin is not a good show, but incredibly entertaining. also, i love anthony head (<3 giles forever).

*various screaming at the tv for emotional manipulation of morality*
me: no! dude, i love anthony head but uther should totally die and merlin is an uncle tom and boo.
pazenlavida: he's kinda like la malinche.
me: *considers* yeah, i see that. especially with all the homoeroticism on this show.

merlin = la malinche

(were you expecting a more scholarly breakdown? sorry. you'll get that sometimes. not right now.)

cuz this is how we be.

Sick for the last few days with incredibly vivid fever dreams... would have been willing to do various things that need to be done with the tv as background if it weren't for the fact that Tyra is on and she is shaming mothers about how they raise their children and it's icking me out. So, rewatching Avatar: The Last Airbender so I can talk about HOW AWESOME IT IS while I eagerly await the sequel. I know there is plenty of writing about how awesome it is, but why not more? (NOTE: OF COURSE I MEAN THE CARTOON AND NOT THE TRAVESTY WHITEWASH OF A MOVIE.) Sniffle. Also the cats (who belong to roomies [personal profile] effex and pazenlavida) have declared my lap a battleground. I need claw proof pants.

EDIT: OH MY GOD AND THEY JUST SHOWED A PROMO WHEREIN TYRA PITS SEX WORKERS OF DIFFERENT STRIPES AGAINST EACH OTHER FOR OUR SELF-RIGHTEOUS VOYEURISM AND EW EW EW SQUICKED OUT.

MY THROAT IS STILL RAW FROM SCREAMING IN OUR LIVING ROOM ABOUT HOW AWESOME AND AMAZING THIS EPISODE OF COMMUNITY IS AND I MUST SLEEP SOON SO I WILL JUST POST MY STATUSES FOR THE PAST 10 MINUTES:


though there is fail in the construction of the dean and sr chang. lots of fail in the construction of the dean's character/ casting him as "deviant"/bad. BUT SO MUCH WIN.

11 min ago: ALSO THEY WERE A GEEKY BLACK MAN AND GEEKY MUSLIM MAN AND THEY SAVED EVERYONE FROM ZOMBIES. ZOMBIEEEES. DID I MENTION HOW AWESOME THIS EPISODE WAS???

12 min ago: Also initially I thought I could work an outfit to be Xena in Rome & then the line at the Halloween store was really long so we came up with a full back story to our characters that involves leftist vigilantism and organizing as undead/spirits/vampires for hundreds of years that we are going to turn into a graphic novel/story & put online. So Troy & Abed just made my life forever. So happy they went there. SO HAPPY.

35 min ago: COMMUNITY IS THE BEST SHOW EVER. THE *GEEKY* MEN OF COLOR SAVE THE DAY AND THERE ARE ZOMBIES. ZOMBIES! OMG I THIS WAS ABSOLUTELY THE BEST 30 MIN OF TV I HAVE EVER SEEN EVER IN MY LIFE.

50 min ago: OH MY GOD YES COMMUNITY JUST MADE ALL THE WHITE PEOPLE IN THE CAST INTO ZOMBIES AND ALL THE POC ARE LEFT AND ABED SAID THAT TROY WOULD BE THE FIRST BLACK MAN TO MAKE IT TO THE END AND TROY SAID HE LOVED ABED OH MY GOD YES I LOVE EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS.

REALLY, UNDERCOVERS?? REALLY??

So this show is kind of underwhelming in general. I don't even find it that cute, though yes, it's nice to see a healthy couple of color, even if the show is kind of ridiculous (and not in a good way).

But. This. Episode.

The title, first of all. Yes, the title is literally "Not Without My Daughter" and there is no doubt it is an intentional allusion to the horribly Islamophobic (so racist you'd think it was actually a parody) Sally Field in Iran movie. The ep is set in North Korea. SPOILER- the doublecrossing bad guys are French agents.

So in one fell swoop, the ep manages to make the Blooms complicit in the demonization of Iran, North Korea, and France. ALL IN ONE GO.

If I wanted to do a full post I'd start talking about the ways in which black folks "are emerging in popular culture as leaders of the American nation and empire," but it's raining outside and we just started watching Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge because it's like comfort food even if I hate Shah Rukh Khan's character in the first half of the film.
This episode has convinced me I still adore Community, despite the episode before this in which it was all horrible and fail. Though I would like to point out that if we're assuming Abed was raised with some kind of Islamic school, he would have had some familiarity with Jesus pre-reading the New Testament. Just sayin.



Also, can they please just say Esposito and Ryan from Castle are boyfriends? Please? Explicit queerness would make this show much better.
I rewatched Veer-Zaara with my roomie [personal profile] effex the other day and forgot how much I liked some of the songs and also how boring a lot of it was. But! Pretty! Bollywood! Angst!



Also, EVIL Muslim men. EVILLLLLL. It's always interesting to me to check out the different flavors of Islamophobia/Orientalism. Europe-- freaking out that formerly colonized subjects are now coming to your country cuz they know your language and you screwed over their country (yum). U.S.-- rationalizing neocolonialism. And India, the particular strange and sad communalism of the subcontinent where we had notions of difference and yes, some hatred and tensions pre-colonialism, but certainly not genocidal notions of racialized nationalism that were linked to a static definition of religion.

The thing that is sort of great about Bollywood is that there is absolutely no subtlety in their military allusions. The hero of the story is LITERALLY in the Indian military (Air Force). Though-- irony! Played by Shah Rukh Khan (Muslim background).

And now we enter into the "four-stage gendered logic of empire:"
1) Women have inalienable rights within universal civilization;
2) civilized men recognize and respect these rights;
3) uncivilized men systematically abrogate these rights; and
4) such men thus belong to an alien (Islamic) system.
Imperial logic genders and separates subject peoples so that the men are the Other and the women are civilizable. To defend our universal civilization we must rescue the women. To rescue these women we must attack these men. 

This movie is literally textbook Gayatri Spivak style saving of brown women, except everyone in the movie is technically "brown" by white supremacy's standards-- which makes it all the more tragic, because here we have the racialized legacy of the nation-state pitting the people of color against each other in horrible, horrible ways.

Rani Mukherji plays the Western-style lawyer upholding post-Enlightenment liberal "universal human rights" rhetoric who is inspired by the legacy of her dead father (the only semi-developed "Good Muslim" man in the film). The Good Muslim women of the film are all ones who help/enable/fall in love with the Indian Hindu man. Preity Zinta is the cute, rich, spoiled Pakistani Muslim woman who is put in check by the Indian Hindu with whom she falls hopelessly in love.
 
These women are to be rescued not because they are more "ours" than "theirs," but rather because they will have become more "ours" through the rescue mission.

Dude, she and Shabbo literally go to India and become "theirs" through this process of glorifying the Indian military.

There is a lot of interesting gender stuff about women "softening" men a la Beauty and the Beast, but there is also some room to actually interact with some of that material in a nice way. I do like that when Preity Zinta calls Amitabh Bachchan out for not having a girls school he doesn't just wallow in guilt, he actually starts working on fixing shit right then. Though DEAR LORD Amitabh Bachchan YOU ARE SO CREEPY WITH YOUR FAKE SON'S LOVE INTERESTS. We need to establish a no-touch rule for you, ok?

I'm actually a bit curious about the Sufi qawwali scene at the engagement. (Devotional songs in an Islamic spiritual tradition. Signifies longing for the Divine.) I don't know enough about how things go to know if that's something that would actually happen or if that's a weird bit of commodifying Sufism. Or is that a bit too much regulation on the popularization of Sufism? I guess I can just ask someone. EDIT: I have asked an Islamic studies grad student friend, and she tells me it is true/ possible! WEIRD. Though of course, people get all upset over "real" sufis singing "real" qawwalis and vs. the commercialization/popularization of it all, so I should probably step out of that regulation/authenticity debate (since me = SO TIRED of poc/religious regulation/policing of authenticity, lemme tell you).

Also as I am writing this King of the Hill is teaching us a nice lesson about the dangers of regulating masculinity with violence (as well as trying to challenge hegemonic masculinity with violence). There are some decent storylines in this show at times. Like their ep on gentrification.

And now Scrubs is on and they have awkwardly racialized Turk in a way that was not like they did in the first three seasons. I used to like you a lot and then you got so weird Scrubs. Why does this always happen?
This clip is like our apartment's dinner conversations. Last night we segued from The Bad Girls Club to discussing the meaning of violence and what kind of property destruction counts as violence.

(Conclusion: an action must threaten a person's actual self and/or sense of self and leave trauma, whether physical or psychological, to constitute violence. Therefore, uprooting olive trees in Palestine = violence, throwing a brick through a corporation's window = not violence, slashing someones tires = conditional on if the act threaten's someone's self/livelihood/sense of self. Because that's how we roll during a night out.)



"This is smart, hiding yourselves on this little mountain. Because when the revolution comes people won't be able to get up here."
I choose to secretly think of James Roday as a person of color (even though he performs white boy) because it pleases me immensely to pretend that a latino boy and a black boy are the main (geeky!!) characters of a show.

But seasons 4 and 5 of Psych WHYYYYYY. You were never radical or anything, but you were not so explicitly complicit in horrible displays of racism and sexism! Bollywood and Chinese gang episodes = FAIL.

While I was pleased by the opening credits for the Bollywood episode I am so over the race tropes in that episode. Also over Sendhil Ramathurmy. Your voiceovers made me yell at the tv, Sendhil. And Dr. Suresh sucked as a character.

Anyways, I get it's a tv cop-type show and many characters are introduced as plot devices. But I am tired of women love interest characters being introduced solely to create angst for the male leads. And so not pleased by the introduction of a Chinese secretary for the sole purpose of milking him for information on a Chinese gang (probably an ancient Chinese gang), firing him, and not paying him. Because we're supposed to think that wage theft and casual racism are charming in its oppression. THEN THERE WAS A DRAGON AND MARTIAL ARTS AND GUS REASSURING THE AUDIENCE RACISM IS OVER BY FALSELY PLAYING THE RACE CARD IN A CON TO GET ACCESS TO THE MARTIAL ARTS CLASS. They made attempts to point out the badness of the behavior, but it was certainly not sufficient.

I had to skip the Chi McBride episode for the horrible performance of blackness and James Roday's Friday impressions. Also the first openly queer character being the murderess REALLY?

Sigh.
SO MUCH AWESOME LEATHER-- jacket, boots, EVERYTHING. Covet, covet, covet!

ALSO, "thieves is such a harsh word. think of it more as redistribution." YESSSSSSSS.

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February 2011

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