Surviving R. Kelly Reflections

Hello readers, can you take a second to make sure if you’re prepare to read about sexual assault?

Initially, I did not think I was but felt that it was important to learn about since I didn’t know about accusations. Watching a documentary is literally the least I could do if when I do get around to reading articles, that’s more graphic and overwhelming for me. So it’s completely understandable if you’re not comfortable…

I’m kind of in the continual process of rearranging and organizing my blog, and as preferable (and probably more profitable) as it is to only write about makeup and music, I gotta purge about other stuff for which I wouldn’t want a blog (i.e., troll comments) to be solely dedicated. Enter my new Reflections tag.

In watching Surviving R. Kelly, whichever Clinton/Lewinsky program was recently played, and just my own got danged product-of-an-older-white-man-and-(Southeast) Asian-lady life, I can’t help but notice the parallels. Kelly’s victims may not have become a household name like Monica, but the predation on young women and the relegation of them to a fucking punchline is stunningly disgusting. The exploitation of white supremacy to get away with abuse of black and brown women. I’m reminded of a poem by Barbara Jane Reyes where she says she can’t find an article about a Filipina woman whom was dismembered by her white, USian husband that doesn’t mention that he was in the Navy or a tenured professor or something.

Statused, privileged men are able to exploit those titles, their wealth, and connections to prey on and manipulate young, impressionable women. Yet, who is supporting the abuser? The community of the abused. Whenever I see this type of dynamic, I think that people like supporters in this case, want such structures. Perhaps they think that if they stand by the statused, if they believe, they will be rewarded, recognized either by the person in power. Or they otherwise benefit from misogyny or xenophobia. So long as they’re beating you, they’re not beating me. Who cares if a few of them are mutilated so long of the rest of them keep sending those remittances, baby!!

I just happen to be figuring out how to use ebooks and am reading Angela Davis’s Women, Race, and Class. It’s not surprising that rape is about power and control rather than any sort of attraction. But what Davis brings to light is putting this in the context of slavery and imperialism: “Rape was a weapon of domination, a weapon of repression, whose covert goal was to extinguish slave women’s will to resist, and in the process, to demoralize their men. … Since the Vietnamese women were distinguished by their heroic contributions to their people’s liberation struggle, the [U.S.] military retaliation specifically suited for them was rape.”

Vietnam War quote
Source: Women in Vietnam, Arlene Eisen-Bergman. 1975

While women bear the brunt of these actions, men and boys are affected as well. They see what’s permitted; they see what happens to loved ones. It’s very dispiriting to see people so actively against their own people and interests. But we must address systems in addition to individuals to ensure sure “never again.” Although that seems like a big task, it makes me hopeful to see survivors living and all the people screwed over by power {vs. those in it} who will overthrow our oppressors!

To watch: Surviving R. Kelly on Lifetime. They’ve also provided several organizations that help victims of abuse.

To support survivors + their work:

Sparkle

Kitti Jones

Asante McGee

Jerhonda Pace

Gifts for Harry Potter Fans That Aren’t HP Merch

Wingardium leviosa readers, are you still a Potterhead?

I was a hipster child and had always been reading, so when everyone and the news busted a nut about how J.K. Rowling got kids to actually read, I was like: “Hello? I’ve been reading about sharks and dinosaurs, and y’all are queueing up at midnight for some dictionary books? Nerds.” When the last movies were coming out, I figured I might as well try it, so I’ve actually seen all of them and read 3 or 4 of the books.

I gotta say, I stand by my 8 year old self. No foul to fans– my closest friends love it– but there’s other stuff out there! Not only do I get a little tired of watching the films at gatherings, but I also don’t want to keep relying on Harry Potter merchandise as gifts. I’m sure they’d like Dobby socks or handcrafted wands, but 1) they already have tons of HP stuff and 2) it can be difficult to know what all that stuff is. Are you in a similar position? That’s why I’m going window shopping, thinking about what else I think Harry Potter fans would like based on my Potterhead friends.

This post contains affiliate links.

Media

T. Swift, Game of Thrones, the Black Panthers, The Fault in Our Stars

Media Gift Ideas
T. Swift Record | Fault Stars DVD | Power to the People post | SoIF collection

If someone was a fan of the magic and fantasy of HP, perhaps they would like the equally vast world of George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice & Fire series, popularized through HBO’s Game of Thrones tv show. Or perhaps another popular young adult author like John Green. 

Dog Stuff

Harry Potter Dog Gifts
Reusable Bag | Hearts Socks | Santa Tie | Retriever Ornament

Cats might be a familiar pet within witchy tales, but 75% of Harry Potter fans that I know have dogs (3 out of 4 is still 75% 😜)! Cute accessories are a great stocking stocker. Or if you’ve a dog and are more comfortable buying for them, a treat for man’s best friend might be acceptable.

Instant Camera

Harry Potter Polaroid Ideas
Fujifilm Instax | Polaroid Gradient Frames | Instax Case

If your budget is on the higher end, an instant camera is a fun idea for anyone! I’ve really no HP connection other than my fan friends have them. But if a camera is pricey or they already own one, maybe you can slip some mystical aspect with themed film frames. Cases are so practical, and this one makes it look like you’re going on some kind of epic adventure.

Arts & Crafts

Arts Crafts Ideas
Scrapbook Page Kit | Cross Stitch Kit | Emergency Color Kit

Are Hufflepuffs supposed to be artsy-fartsy? I believe my friends are both. One is a painter and another is getting into cross stitching. I’ve no idea if people are still doing it, but for a hot second I thought I saw people doing dollhouse furniture kits like it was the next adult coloring book. Are they still doing it? If not, there’s all sorts of other model kits out there!

(Fantastical) Home Goods

Home Goods
Coconut Tea | Unicorn Mold | Feather Pen | Star String Lights

I don’t think that any of us are sous-chefs by any means, but we sure do like dreaming about Instagram-worthy rooms. A canister of tea or a strand of lights may easily fit the aesthetic, but it’s the Harry Potter pillow or Lord of the Rings welcome mat that inject personality and make a house a home.

Hopefully I don’t come off as some kind of miser that thinks you kids are going to hell for practicing witchcraft!! If someone really wants a Harry Potter thing, by all means! … if they are a child, lol. As I said, this is just for inspo and when both parties have already bought a lot of HP stuff. What do you think of combining ideas like a HP color-by-number?

Movies

1804: The Hidden History of Haiti

Salutations followers, how are you?

This week I want to share a documentary that I recently watched about the Haitian Revolution.

Embarrassingly, I don’t really know anything about Haiti which is why I wanted to check it out. I certainly wouldn’t say that I know everything about the topic now, but the movie is definitely one to see to learn and consider viewpoints with regard to the enslaved and uprising population. This is often left out of history books and similarly popular knowledge.

The Hidden History of Haiti features different speakers that talk about the conditions leading up to 1804, leaders of the revolution, and how these events even influence the status of Haiti today.  Some things that stuck with me include that it’s the only slave uprising that lead to an independent nation. The colonizing French gassed slaves to death with sulfur. Napoleon seems like a name from so long ago (that gets discussed a lot), but he was the ruler at this time, and the Haitians defeated him!

Apparently there is the notion that black people went wild and killed all the white people on the island. In this documentary, guests say that Haitians were joined by deserting Polish forces, left neutral Germans alone, and even allowed some French to flee (whom were so grateful that they fired cannons ashore).

I love the free spirit of Haiti and look forward to learning more about its culture. However, that will definitely be a long-term project! Since we’re all here, I’d like to encourage action, but the only thing that I can think of is to support something like the FLIC which can help Haitian-American immigrants with the legal process as well as alert the rest of us as to when to get everyone to support TPS!

What resources do you recommend?

 

Scandalize My Name pin

Scandalize My Name

Heya pals, give up your resolutions yet? 😅

Perhaps I should start a series on the things I find at 4am. I wrote about The Visit, and today I want to share a short documentary called Scandalize My Name.

Although the US allied with the Soviet Union in WWII, soon afterwards, we decided that communists can’t sit with us. McCarthyism became the witch hunt of the times. Like how witch hunts targeted those on the fringes of society, conservatives exploited such hysteria by accusing political opponents (e.g., suffragettes, black civil rights activists) as undercover agitators.

Scandalize My Name is about black US performers who blacklisted– their names and affiliations compiled to shun. Celebrated singer/actor and activist Harry Belafonte recalled how black people had served their country in WWII, defeating fascism abroad but faced discrimination at home (such as being rejected for housing and jobs).

Belafonte and guests including Ossie Davis and Rosetta LeNoire talked about Paul Robeson (whom you may/may not know as the incredible baritone of “Ol’ Man River“). They doted on how handsome, intelligent, talented, and charismatic he was. Davis compared that inspiration to Martin Luther King Jr. Those who know how politics are played wanted to prevent Robeson from similarly leading masses.

Robeson spoke at the 1949 Paris Peace Congress, making comments seen as sympathetic to the Soviet Union. HUAC subpoenaed Jackie Robinson (yes, the baseball player) to divide support from Robeson. His concerts were protested and there was even an effigy shown with his name on it, lynched.

Scandalize My Name pin

The film touched on other performers and topics. Theatre producer/director Dick Campbell wrote articles protesting the often janitorial roles to which black actors were relegated. Davis said that undignified representation gave whites justification of stereotypes. LeNoire and Frederick O’Neal spoke of repercussions of blacklisting which included loss of careers and even suicide attempts.

Scandalize My Name was a little meandering to me, but it sheds light on a covered up subject that has so many parallels to today. What Ossie Davis said about holding the community to a higher standard because representation impacts real life is exactly what Hari Kondabolu attempts in The Problem with Apu, a critique of the Simpsons character. After our last presidential election, many want to blame the US’s problems on Russia, and anyone that dares to criticize the Democratic Party are Putin puppets.

Additionally, the government keeping a naughty list (with a malleable definition of naughty) still exists today. Like Paul Robeson, Colin Kaepernick speaks of and acts on the injustice but is mischaracterized as unpatriotic and harassed by the racism he points out!

I guess one could say the whole “those who don’t know history…” thing, but I’d a whole spiel about how flimsy it is. So perhaps it’s better to end with lyrics from the Robeson song which Scandalize gets its name:

I met my brother the other day
I gave him my right hand
And just as soon as ever my back was turned
He scandalized my name

Now do you call that a brother? No, no
You call that a brother? No, no
Call that a brother? No, no
Scandalize my name

P.S.- Did you know that Lucille Ball was registered as a Communist and also had to testify before Congress?

End Year Wrap Pin

Rounding Down 2017

Hello partners, are your holiday plans falling into place?

I’ve been kind of swamped trying to figure out holiday budgets, gifts and other spending, not to mention blogging and everything else. So I kind of just want to take a post to sort of blah out and make sure yall don’t think I’m some kind of big fancy blogger now since my last three posts were “sponsored” !

Of course it’s the dream to be paid to test things, right? So it’s still a little unbelievable to me. But, I wasn’t technically paid, so I still have some work to do!

Falafel Inn image

Falafull

Last week there was a local Arab Fest that I wanted to check out, but it was rather far, and I was already driven-out from taking my dad to the airport. He wanted to save some money by flying out of the smaller one that I wasn’t as familiar with and I got lost after dropping him off 😭

Since I was planning to stop by downtown anyway, I thought the $10 parking cost I’d have to spend at the festival would be better spent going all towards somebody’s business. So my mom and I went to Falafel Inn where we got the the chicken shawarma plate and rice pudding. It’s so weird; I think I used to hate rice pudding, but now I think I love it.

Small Support

Speaking of supporting small business and scrapping all previous plans: my Christmas presents! I wanted to have everybody’s gifts centered around something from an indie creator, but it hasn’t exactly worked out the way I was thinking. But I’ve managed to sneak in some support if you count my friend’s birthday for which I got her some melts from Comadre Candles.

My brother likes Pikachu, so I’m going to rub my 8-bit Surfin Pikachu-covered feet in his face, haha! But he also likes Mimikyu, so I’m getting him an enamel pin from Just Peachy. I’ve been kind of running low on ideas for my dad and his wife, so I’m going to make some donations on their behalf to Jewish Voice for Peace, ALCADEV, and the Florida Immigrant Coalition.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bc3dIaOncDd/

 

Currently

I’ve been watching all the horror movies I reserved at the library for Halloween 😅 Interestly, they’ve all been non-US films. Some I’ve watched include Ôdishon (Audition– Japan, 2001), Les Yeux sans Visage (Eyes Without a Face- French, 1960), and Dek hor (Dorm– Thai, 2006). I don’t think I’d ever seen a Thai horror movie. I don’t think Visage or Dorm was particularly gory, but Ôdishon is definitely bloody.

I also saw Ingrid Goes West starring Aubrey Plaza. It’s a wild but relatable ride about which I’m honestly still trying to unravel my thoughts. I was very much expecting it to be another Baby Boomer finger-wagging about kids and their phones, but the story has been told many times already. It’s just the tech that’s new. However, surely living a double life catches up with you. Why hadn’t the fraudsters that Ingrid was imitating unravel? I’ve other questions, but perhaps it’s not meant to be that deep. Just like the social media???? LOL.

 Just hit a bit of milestone with my followers too! Thank you all so much for following!
Are you ready for this year to be over? Or are you squeezing in some last goals?

poster

The Visit

A pal reblogged a post on Tumblr the other day of a list of movies with the theme “Damn yall, she did that” or something along those lines 😄 It had your Gone Girl, your A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, but it did not have Bernhard Wicki’s 1964 The Visit which I just happen to catch one 3 am simply because I felt like I hadn’t seen an old movie in a while.

First of all, if you wish to watch it, please do not Google it! I feel like its trailers and IMDB summaries spoil it. I will be talking about the whole thing (and therefore spoiling it), but I also think that if you know, you can still rewatch it, catch the irony, and still have things to analyze.

The Visit looked interesting because the tv guide description was something like, “A rich woman returns to the small European town where she was born.” And being from a smaller city, I know that small means TRADITIONAL. And there would be no reason for a film unless she is showing them up!!!

Ingrid Bergman (Casablanca) plays the woman, Karla Zachanassian, who is said to “own 5% of the world” after her husband dies. She returns to her small hometown of Guellen which has gone bankrupt. After some cajoling by town officials and even her former lover, Serge, Karla announces she will give Guellen 2 million– on the condition that they kill Serge.

gracious lies

After calling out the mayor’s and other town heads’ flattery to be gracious lies, she further reveals that when she was impregnated by Serge 20 years earlier, he paid off two men to give false testimonies, portray her as promiscuous and of low morals. The child was taken away from Karla and soon died.

Guellen is horrified at the proposition, but Karla says that she can wait. Old women chastise, “she should know better.” Serge’s wife, Mathilda, wonders how she could get “decent” people to agree to murder. However, it does not takes long for the rundown town to at least consider and soon the idea spreads.

Citizens start to buy fancy things from Serge’s shop on credit, and he becomes paranoid. He tries to leave town, but a crowd blocks him, laughing. Eventually even Mathilda seems nonchalant about the inevitability of Serge’s death.

karla

Town leaders approach Karla with a counteroffer. Guellen has mines and factories that she could buy. Karla laughs for nearly TWENTY SECONDS uninterrupted. She’s already bought them. She’s owned them this entire time.

Eventually, a vote is held in front of Guellen with all officials sentencing Serge to die. Even the doctor, who seemed sympathetic to both Karla and Serge, votes for the money, shrugging, “What good would one vote have been?”

Before Serge is put to death, Karla asks the town– repeatedly– if anyone, one person finds it unjust. They are as silent as Serge is dead. Then, she turns on them again. She brands them killers, murderers. When they protest, she says they’re to keep the money: “If you killed him, in a few weeks, you might begin to forget.”

Guellen

I thought that The Visit was phenomenal and highly recommend it. I would love to hear if readers have read the play it’s based on as Wikipedia says it’s a German keystone. Although I wanted to add it to a list featuring Amy Dunne,The Visit is not as exaggerated as Gone Girl (or is it?) but has that classic writing sprinkled with philosophic comments and dialogue that’s not only being spoken by a character but really represents them. The philosophic comments really give you something to think about with the various themes presented.

Have you seen The Visit or another adaptation? Would you compare it to Gone Girl?

The Movie I’ve Watched Most

jesse eisenberg

I don’t really have favorites. Favorite food, favorite color… I feel like they’re supposed to be representative of you, and I’m just too multifaceted and evolving. However, I will say that the movie that I’ve watched the most– and would be my favorite if I had them at the present– is The Social Network. 

When it first announced, I was probably someone who groaned and wrote it off as “the Facebook movie.” Although I remember liking the layering of Kanye West’s “Power” declaring, “No one man should have all that power” over previews when the face of the real life Zuckerberg was named Time‘s Person of the Year.

But after seeing the film and reading analysis, I was obsessed with it. I don’t know if it’s my age or the connection of filming digitally for a technology movie, but just the way it’s shot is beautiful. I love director David Fincher’s “trademark cool” color palettes, and his shots are unbelievably clear. Yet distant. Some people say they like vinyl records because you can hear scratches. It brings them to life. There are no scratches on digital. It’s cold, robotic, inhuman. Is that what Zuckerberg is? Is that what Facebook is making us?

To be honest, I despise that kind of question because people have always used technology to avoid each other. But perhaps due to Jesse Eisenberg’s acting prowess, you’re much more inclined to say yes. He became one of the youngest actors nominated for Lead Actor from Network and would’ve been the youngest winner if he’d won (fuck you, King’s Speech!).

Mark Eduardo beer

His nuances were really impressive, but let’s not forget Andrew Garfield. Playing the supportive best friend, Eduardo, who eventually gets screwed out of Facebook, there is a scene in which he grabs a beer for both him and Mark, who is grabbing one for himself and doesn’t even notice Wardo. I’m so emotional!! Mark, you asshole!!!!

I’ve mentioned the medium and a little bit about method, but I also love how Fincher fills a frame. At the end of the film, after Wardo has smashed Mark’s laptop, his replacement, Silicon Vally bad boy Sean Parker is arrested, his glitz and glamour worn off. He calls Mark as the Facebook office lights shut down, and they literally occupy opposite sides of the screen, representing how incompatible they’ve become, how Mark’s risked it all to get to his position, and how alone he’s rendered once again.

I love feeling fake-sad. Real-sad? Awful. Happy? Yeah it’s alright, but I don’t know. Getting worked up about fiction is like a catharsis. Fincher’s next film was an adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo which came out December 20th, 2011 and touted itself as “the feel bad movie of Christmas,” and I cheered.

Sean Mark

Beautiful, sad stuff is just my favorite, and I feel like there’s a very limited pool of that. Obviously, it’s not fit for every film or story, but as shown by Gone Girl or Se7en, people don’t like not-happy endings! It takes a little gall to go for the unique.

So I “love” the bittersweet juxtaposition of Mark, alone after a day of his best friend suing him, text saying he’s the youngest billionaire in the world, and the soundtrack of the Beatles asking, “How does it feel to be one of the beautiful people?”

I could write more about The Social Network from its memorable lines to its score by my favorite musician (yes, I do have one). But so long as it’s the closest to my favorite movie, I’m going to watch it on its release date, October 1st, probably noticing something I didn’t catch the last time.

FilmThe Social Network
Director: David Fincher
Screenplay: Aaron Sorkin
Year: 2010
Ebert Rating: ☆☆☆☆

Movies

Where to Invade Next

Film Banner

As I mentioned in my last post, we recently celebrated my dad’s birthday, and one of my gifts to him was Michael Moore’s latest documentary Where to Invade Next. In it, Moore presents a fictionalized meeting between him and U.S. military heads where they ask him for help after 70 years of losing wars.

He decides to “invade” countries and take what we need from them. These nations include Italy, France, Germany, and Norway. Moore speaks to employees, CEOs, presidents, criminals, and students about workers’ rights, education, prison and health care.

Being familiar with Moore’s filmography and just reading in general, it’s no surprise to see other countries have universal health care and free college. But that doesn’t mean it’s any less a kick in the gut when I revisit it!

I mean, my pal that just had a baby told me she had to pay to have it… And this couple from Italy are talking about their 5 months paid leave. The comparison between American school lunches and France’s. The Norwegian maximum prison is nicer than my mom’s apartment… it’s incredibly insulting and why I have no sympathy for the rich and powerful.

Screencapscreencap same

However, to suggest that nothing happens in the States when college tuition increases is also insulting. Not only is it just another hacky example of kicking young and probably disenfranchised people but it erases students who have protested, exactly what the filmmakers were looking for!!

Additionally, while I agree there should be equal gender representation in all fields, the homogenization of women’s “DNA” and Moore’s strange montage of random women seems almost patronizing especially when you actually consider factors like race (conveniently glossed over, Moore only invading countries inhabited mostly by “Caucasians” ) and class.

Just on my timeline today, Madeleine Albright, the first woman U.S. secretary of state, was being protested at a speaking engagement for her involvement in Iraq, Colombia, and Rwanda. Poverty rose under Thatcher, who made homosexuality taboo and closed support groups. Clinton equates the nonviolent boycotting of Israel as a means for human rights to censorship and anti-Semitism. Doesn’t sound too concerned with one’s neighbor or family.

As the Scripps protesters wrote,

Representing the category of ‘woman’ in this way evacuates feminism of its anti-racist, anti-paternalistic, and anti-imperialist potential to address those lives that are systematically made vulnerable to sickness and death.

In other words, “there’s nothing inherently feminist about voting for a woman candidate.”

So does Invade conquer? At its finale, Moore and a friend visit the Berlin Wall which they say seemed indomitable all those years ago but was over overnight. “There’s always simple answers to these things,” his friend says.

I think it’s fine, it gets some necessary truths out, perhaps if your dad too is a Daily Show liberal, but perhaps something more useful would be what these simple methods are. Everybody wants to police how protesters and activists practice, but does singing “Kumbaya” work? Do these online petitions change anything?

Moore brings up how gay marriage was illegal in the U.S. up until 3 years ago. Roe v. Wade was passed 40 years ago, and people are still trying to overturn and create barriers around it. I don’t think anyone who has been pepper sprayed, tear gassed, spied on, arrested or otherwise harassed would say victory is easy.

Or for that matter, any country we’ve actually invaded.

My #Pokemon20

My Pokemon 20

Pokemon turned twenty years old last month, and while I can barely name a pocket monster beyond the original 151, the franchise still occupies such a space in my heart that I’m really disappointed Pokemon Go didn’t come out on the 26th???

So in honor of feeling like an ancient Kabuto fossil, I wanted to share some of my Pokemon memories. I feel like some others might’ve had a similar idea seeing the youngins play Red, Blue, and Yellow. Someone should probably meme me playing whatever comes after Yellow!

POKEMEMORIES

Weird Pokemon Cards
· Um, did anybody else’s grandma get them these cards instead of the regular trading cards? What the heck were they?
· Those gold cards that came in a PokeBall from Burger King
· This VHS tape that magically arrived in the mail.
· So I don’t subscribe or follow any glitch or creepypasta threads or anything, so I don’t know if this has happened to anyone else, but one time I was walking toward the Elite 4. I walked into the grass, and you know, along there are your Pidgeys, your Rattatas.

HOWEVER, you know when you come across a GHOST in Lavender Town without that Silph Scope? And I don’t think you can run from because it just says, “Get out…”? Well, that’s what it said for whatever I’d come across outside of Viridian City!

And maybe this’ll muddy up the story, but I’m pretty sure after I got away, Pikachu had the same scared emotion it does in the Pokemon Tower.
· It’s probably worth all of $10, but I still haven’t opened my Ancient Mew.
· Back in elementary, it being such a ~ DISTRACTION ~ (or maybe adults feeling like kids might lose their cards or smth), we weren’t allowed to bring Pokemon stuff to school.

I’m sure I could list more if I thought about it, but unfortunately now, I can’t spend all day thinking about Pokemon. Now, I have to think about what it means that Pete Holmes and Eren Jaegar have the same birthday and how to get those Sailor Moon eyeglasses. Hariharian says! 😁

Tuesday Tuneage: The Apology Song

I just watched The Book of Life, and it’s probably the best film I’ve seen in awhile. The animation is so interesting and unique which is how I’d also describe the story. I may have expected a silly kids movie, but I laughed at Gabriel Iglesias’s mariachi character, gasped along with the children being told the story, and wept for Manolo.

Anything about Manolo in particular? NO JUST MANOLO IN GENERAL.

It also has a pretty amazing soundtrack that includes original movie tracks as well as fresh takes on songs like Biz Markie’s “Just a Friend” and Radiohead’s “Creep.”

But if you want to get back to crying, here’s “The Apology Song.”