umadoshi: (Ahiru determined (fritters))
[personal profile] umadoshi
Out of bed. Have had tea and a muffin. Have read the paper (meaning "skimmed Twitter, DW, LJ...").

Twenty minutes until my bus, in which time I must get dressed (for dreary weather) and fill the travel mug with tea and get out the door.


...'s dark outside.

But for real this time, self. Onward!

Daily Happiness

Sep. 29th, 2014 09:16 pm
torachan: sakaki from azumanga daioh holding a cat, with the text "I like cats" in Japanese (sakaki)
[personal profile] torachan
1. I got Irene hooked on Brooklyn Nine-Nine! :D :D :D

2. Busy day today doing non-work stuff, but it was still nice to have a day off.

3. Got two of the three scanlations I need to post by the end of the month posted and should be able to post the third tomorrow no problem.

4. The kitten has been seeming like she doesn't feel too well for the past couple days, and then this morning I found tapeworms coming out of her butt. >:( So we took her in to the vet this afternoon and got her some worm pills and flea stuff (the fleas are what got her the worms yay). Hopefully she will be feeling better soon.

New fic! For everyone!

Sep. 29th, 2014 09:52 pm
cofax7: Lantern Waste in the snow (Narnia - Lantern)
[personal profile] cofax7
Hey, folks!

So the Narnia Fic Exchange 2014 just opened, and you all should check it out. There are over two dozen stories posted, including stories about the Pevensies, and Polly and Digory, and Eustace, and Bacchus. There are AUs, and there's some porn, and some awesome world-building, and even a few crossovers.

Go read!n

(There are also two stories by me, at least one of which is really obviously by me. But I won't say which.)

Scanlations: Himegoto ch. 26

Sep. 29th, 2014 09:12 pm
torachan: yoshiki from himegoto (himegoto)
[personal profile] torachan

Title: Himegoto
Original Title: ヒメゴト~十九歳の制服~ (Himegoto~Juukyuu Sai no Seifuku~)
Author: Minenami Ryou
Publisher: Big Comics
Genre: Seinen
Status in Japan: 7 volumes, ongoing
Scanlator: Megchan's Scanlations + Krim + Kurokishi Scans
Scanlation Status: Ongoing
More Info: Baka Updates

Summary: This is the story of three college freshmen with secrets: Yuki, aka Yoshiki, a boyish girl who gets off on wearing her old high school uniform skirt; Mikako, who acts innocent around her classmates, but at night pretends to be a 15-year-old and has sex for money; and finally there's Kaito, who's obsessed with Mikako to the point of dressing up like her.

Chapter Summary: Realizing that Mikako's shadow is always over her and Kaito when they're together, Yoshiki feels more alone than ever.

Chapter 26: Shadow

Scanlation: Yasha ch. 23

Sep. 29th, 2014 07:32 pm
torachan: sei and rin from yasha (yasha)
[personal profile] torachan

Title: Yasha
Author: Yoshida Akimi
Publisher: Flower Comics
Genre: Shoujo
Scanlator: Megchan's Scanlations feat. Molly
Status in Japan: 12 volumes, complete
Scanlation Status: Ongoing
More Info: Baka Updates

Summary: Twelve-year-old Sei lives a normal, quiet life on a small island in Okinawa until one day a strange man who seems to know his mother shows up and tries to kidnap him. After that, nothing is normal or quiet in this sci-fi thriller from the author of Banana Fish.

Chapter Summary: While Rin continues to work on his deadly virus, Sei undergoes various tests in the Amamiyas' secret lab.

Chapter 23

(no subject)

Sep. 29th, 2014 08:57 pm
the_rck: figure perched in a tree with barren branches (Default)
[personal profile] the_rck
I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who's offered sympathy for my grandfather's death. I don't feel up to answering those comments individually, but I wanted to say something. I'm taking comfort in the fact that he's with Grandma now. I know he missed her.

Yes Gay YA strikes back!

Sep. 29th, 2014 04:51 pm
rachelmanija: (Engaged!)
[personal profile] rachelmanija
Due to the upcoming release of Stranger, I am doing some interviews in which I will be asked how or if things have changed in terms of LGBT characters in YA novels. I am armed, of course, with the most recent statistics. (Summary: representation has increased from 0.6% of all YA novels to 2%. However, most of those books are put out by LGBTQ-specialty small presses, and the percentage of LGBTQ characters in YA novels from American large presses has actually gone down.)

However, I spent the intervening years mostly focused on grad school, and so am not caught up on recent books. Are there any YA novels that have come out since 2010 with LGBTQ characters that I should check out or at least be aware of? What about self-published books? Any prominent LGBTQ teenage characters in non-book media (comics, movies, etc?)

Any changes in your own personal experience? For example, I have noticed that just in my circle of friends/acquaintances, kids seem to be coming out younger (13-15, as opposed to 18-20) and with less or no negative reactions from others. Obviously, these are kids from liberal families in LA. But I always knew liberals in LA, and I did not encounter any kids coming out at age 13 until about five years ago. Ditto straight teenage boys wearing gay rights buttons.

The UWaterloo paper reviewed us!

Sep. 29th, 2014 06:41 pm
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Lovers of sci-fi and fantasy at UW don’t need to go beyond their own backyards to find skilled authors in both genres, as the KW Science Fiction and Fantasy convention held last Saturday in Kitchener proved. In fact, James Nicoll, the MC of the event, stated that KW is home for quite a number of them.
[syndicated profile] thehairpin_feed

Posted by Megan Reynolds

by Megan Reynolds

I don’t really buy much online, though I always intend to start. It’s on my mental to-do list of things I should do to save money, like doing my own laundry instead of dropping it off, or cooking every single meal at home. Everyone I know swears by it. "You don’t have to go to the store! You don’t have to deal!" they say as they open boxes full of new things from the comfort of their own home.

I prefer my shopping with consequences, because without them, I foresee financial ruin. I see a future of myself mindlessly purchasing sweaters and wearing them while becoming incapable of paying my bills. This is not a future I want, and why I buy things only in real life.

I have a variety of online shopping carts, scattered across various tabs at any given time: There’s the Amazon cart that holds The Bone Clocks, a stupidly expensive hair product that I read about somewhere and a pair of socks. There’s an Urban Outfitters cart that at any given time contains a sundress, some shoes on super-sale and one of their overpriced, floppy sweaters that I covet every fall but never buy because paying $69 for a sweater made primarily out of acrylic is something that only crazy people do. None of these carts ever total more than $100. Spending more than $100 from the comfort of my own home one feels like a dangerous luxury. When you think about it, $100 isn’t necessarily that much money. That tidy sum slides down easy on a weekend, when there are beers to be imbibed with friends in the fading autumn sun—just as easily as it would be if I were to click "purchase" on a pair of shoes and a purse I don’t need from ASOS and close the tab.

Mostly, I’m impatient. If I’m struck with the urge to purchase something, I would like it at that very moment, if not sooner. I have the unfortunate trait of wanting everything that I want immediately. Part of the thrill of buying stuff in real life is the occasional torture you go through to actually purchase these things. It’s not fun. There are lines, there are people, it is loud and crowded and impossible to find anything. Often, you are hungry or thirst, yet somehow find yourself in SoHo on a sunny Saturday, or shopping three days before Christmas, armed with a list of things you could’ve knocked out in one night online with a glass of wine and Netflix.

If I do end up buying something on these excursions, the reward is worth the effort expended. I’m deflated, but triumphant, the proud owner of a new book, or a pair of jeans, or a shirt that was on sale for $10. There’s really something about just looking at new things that puts me at ease. I do my best thinking in the home goods section of TJ Maxx, wandering the aisles, listening to music and contemplating discount cookware.

I have bought a few things online, because it is easier. Ordering contact lenses, for example, is irritating, but necessary. Shopping for clothes, or makeup or hair things or Cuisinarts feels entirely different. The few times I’ve made a purchase, I’ve felt an initial dread when I click the button, but it’s replaced almost immediately with elation. I will get mail. This thing I needed so desperately will come to me fast, because I paid for expedited shipping. The handy confirmation email that Amazon sends me after any purchase is another thing in my inbox that I glance at, and then delete. It’s low stakes, consequence-free, like having free things, except I paid for them, but didn’t really think about it.

When you buy stuff in person, in real life, at a store, it just feels more significant. Buying a pair of boots, at full price, is a decision that I do not make lightly, and the long walk to the register, clutching the boots in one hand is a walk that lets me actually decide whether or not I want to do this thing. I came all the way out here. I’m in the city, for Christ’s sake. It’s a Saturday, it’s raining, and yet, here I am, boots in hand. The great whoosh in my stomach when I hand over my card and the mental calculations I perform after the receipt is in my wallet are the consequences. Shopping needs to have consequences.

Online shopping is just too easy—the financial equivalent of a gateway drug. One epic shopping spree at Urban Outfitters, where everything is on heavy discount, erases any guilt I have about spending money. Look at all the things I got, and look how cheap they were! Look how easy it was! That is a particular kind of euphoria that I do not ever need to feel, because it is just the thing to convince me that this is an appropriate behavior. Like the makeup aisle at the drugstore, anything that’s available 24 hours a day feels dangerous and entirely unnecessary.

I am a person who likes to buy things. I buy things I don’t need all the time; it's a part of a complicated ballet of feelings tied to material wealth. This is a nasty habit to break, and the road is not easy. Not buying things online is my way of exerting control over my bank account, which is precisely what I need.

Megan Reynolds lives in New York.

Photo: Alden Jewell


(no subject)

Sep. 29th, 2014 04:53 pm
synecdochic: torso of a man wearing jeans, hands bound with belt (Default)
[personal profile] synecdochic
I wore her out playing fetch with her rattly mouse. Read more... )

(no subject)

Sep. 29th, 2014 04:40 pm
synecdochic: torso of a man wearing jeans, hands bound with belt (Default)
[personal profile] synecdochic
Also, I forgot to mention this here: I've got a few open decant circles going on:

* Lilith
* Fatherhood (BPTP)
* Halloweenies

I'm placing the order for the Halloweenies tonight, so I'm still adding bottles for Lilith and the Weenies. (I placed the BPTP order on Saturday, so no more bottles there.)

(no subject)

Sep. 29th, 2014 04:14 pm
synecdochic: torso of a man wearing jeans, hands bound with belt (Default)
[personal profile] synecdochic
Mondays, every week, let's celebrate ourselves, to start the week right. Tell me what you're proud of. Tell me what you accomplished last week, something -- at least one thing -- that you can turn around and point at and say: I did this. Me. It was tough, but I did it, and I did it well, and I am proud of it, and it makes me feel good to see what I accomplished. Could be anything -- something you made, something you did, something you got through. Just take a minute and celebrate yourself. Either here, or in your journal, but somewhere.

(And if you feel uncomfortable doing this in public, I've set this entry to screen any anonymous comments, so if you want privacy, comment anonymously and I won't unscreen it. Also: yes, by all means, cheer each other on when you see something you want to give props to!)
[syndicated profile] thehairpin_feed

Posted by Stassa Edwards

by Stassa Edwards

Mattress Performance: Carry That Weight began nearly five weeks ago. Throughout the performance the artist Emma Sulkowicz, a 22 year-old Columbia University senior, will carry a boxy blue mattress everywhere she goes on campus. Weighing in at fifty pounds, the mattress stands in for the mattress on which she was raped by a fellow student. Sulkowicz’s work is profoundly simple: a young woman visually manifests the psychological weight of the crime committed on her body and demands recognition of that burden. Carry That Weight is a purely visual performance, one so piercing it resists language.

Like most performance art, Sulkowicz’s piece has clearly defined parameters, what she terms “rules of engagement.” They are: the performance will last until her rapist has left campus. The mattress will only be carried on campus. She cannot ask for help, but can accept it once it is offered. Once a person helps her carry the mattress, they enter into “the space of performance.” By quite literally bringing the site of the crime (in this case an ostensibly “safe” domestic space) into public sight, Sulkowicz’s performance relocates its subject in between the shifting grounds of public and private, personal and political.

Carry That Weight implies that within the discourse surrounding rape, the separation of these categories are meaningless. The public and private cannot be separated. The discourse of rape inhabits the public, private, personal, and political simultaneously. Carry That Weight’s poignant acknowledgment makes Sulkowicz’s performance one of the most salient pieces of feminist performance art produced in recent memory.

Carry That Weight has a revival quality, renewing a 1960s tone of radical consciousness-raising: defiantly political, resistant to silence, and deconstructive of cultural definitions of rape. And since Sulkowicz’s performance has easily been one of the most discussed artworks of the year, I want to revisit some of the women who have tread in ugly discourse of rape culture; to return to a long artistic project that, like Sulkowicz, sought to dissect aspects of that culture and expose vernaculars of terror.

* * *

I could write an entire history of art on the bodies of rape victims. Leda, Susanna, the Sabine women, the daughters of Leucippus, Io, Dinah, Europa, Lucretia, and Daphne are just a few of the real and mythological women whose rapes appear as famous works of art. The list would go on and on.

In the history of art, rape scenes, lusciously painted and beautifully sculpted by the so-called Old Masters, are often called “heroic rapes.” Heroic because the narrative is one of tension: a struggle, followed by rape, and then total capitulation to romantic love. Heroic because the Old Masters could capture that tension and render it in paint—think of the dimpled, nude women of Peter Paul Rubens’s The Rape of the Daughters of Leucippus, their writhing forms bringing compositional order to a chaotic scene. Heroic because some of these women killed themselves to protect the ambiguous moral concept of honor. Heroic because assailants are the gallant founders of Rome or residents of Olympus. Heroic because the erotics of violence could mask itself beneath an aesthetic reflection on mythologies.

In this history, heroic rape is uncomplicated: victims are willing, rape is pleasurable, romance inevitable. Heroic rape still haunts the history of art. There is a tactic acknowledgment that artistic expression is written on the bodies of women, that the violence of the gaze is inevitable. But there is another kind of rape scene too; artistic narratives that are perhaps less heroic, less celebratory of the power of ancient men, far more unsettling in their radical approach. Images that expose the aggressiveness of merely looking.

In the late 1960s, feminist performance artists began to intervene in the heroic rape scenes of the Old Masters. They questioned the celebratory depiction of violence wrought on the bodies of women, and also isolated an enduring narrative that, in hushed tones, had effectively echoed the myth of heroic rape for centuries. Yoko Ono, Ana Mendieta, Suzanne Lacy, Nancy Spero, Jenny Holzer and Tracey Emin scrawled over the erotica of violence, replacing the shapely, acquiescent bodies of Rubens with the voices and bodies of abused women.

Throughout the 1970s, the radical consciousness-raising of feminist art, particularly performance art, looked like it would succeed in its political and artistic aims. There was a proliferation of feminist art, with collectives like WAR (Women Artists in the Revolution) being formed, journals published, institutions established to exhibit the works. But the radical moment was short-lived: the confrontational aims of radical, feminist art had always been resistant to the profit mode of the art gallery (who wants “real” rape hanging in their home?).

But it’s worth reviving again because, like Sulkowicz’s work, so much of feminist art grapples with violence, culture and art. And in the midst of fractious political debates about “legitimate” rape, campus rape, and “forcible” rape—the deconstructive work of feminist artists is mournfully relevant again.

* * *

The history of feminist art is a history of the body; of the ways a woman’s body can be terrorized, how that violence is internalized, and the subsequent expression of that violence. The bold expression of fear underpins the rape narratives of feminist art.

* * *
Yoko Ono’s 1968 film Rape, a 77-minute documentary, captures the easy terrorization of women in public places. Rape follows an unsuspecting and unnamed twenty-something woman, pursuing her through the streets of London.

The woman, Eva Majlath was, at the time, illegally living in Britain and spoke little English. Ono was not present for the film. She hired a male cameraman to purse Majlath, who was unaware she was part of the work.

Rape is a difficult film to watch. Majlath’s increasingly panicked responses to a strange man approaching her in public are familiar. At first she smiles, uncomfortably trying to assuage and perhaps assess the intentions of the cameraman. The language barrier makes communication impossible. She becomes increasingly panicked and tries to run away, even running into traffic to avoid him, before succumbing to the overwhelming reality of fear. Sobbing, Majlath crumples into a corner of her apartment.

Rape is challenging on a number of levels, such as the deeply troubling ethics of the film itself: Ono arranged for a woman to be relentlessly pursued without her consent.

Ono has maintained that her collusion poses questions about women’s “complicity when working within patriarchal image-making.”

Ono’s answers are hardly satisfying, but they acknowledge the proximity the film’s viewer has to both artist and exploitation. Watching the film makes the viewer a proxy for both artist and cameraman, part of and complicit with the act of terror. With no narration to frame response, the viewer too, partakes in the thrill of the chase.

Indeed, the excitement of watching terrorized women—their harassment in public places and its seepage into domestic spaces—is an old filmic trope, particularly in thrillers. As one critic of the film later noted: “Ono knew it would be safe (camera equipment is expensive) to terrorize someone on the street only if that someone was female.”

What striking words—the safety of terrorizing women.

* * *

While a student at the University of Iowa, Ana Mendieta performed Untitled (Rape Scene). Mendieta conceived of the performance in response to the brutal rape and murder of a fellow student, Sara Ann Otten, in 1973. Mendieta invited her classmates to her tiny apartment where, through an open door, they found the artist stripped from the waist down and bent over a table. Blood smeared over her naked body, dripping down her legs and pooling on the dark floor. Broken bric-á-brac and bloodied clothes were strewn across the floor. Later, Mendieta described the scene: “[the audience] started talking about it. I didn’t move. I stayed in position about an hour. It really jolted them.”

Mendieta continued iterations of Untitled (Rape Scene) throughout the year, challenging fellow students to confront the bloody violence of rape. In Rape Performance she again posed naked and bloody, but this time outside on campus, her body draped over a log. In Bloody Mattress (1973), she staged a crime scene, abandoning a blood-splattered mattress at an abandoned farmhouse on campus and waited for it to be discovered. None of these works were reenactments. Rather, they were drawn from the media’s framing of rape (particularly Otten’s) and “a reaction against the idea of violence against women,” Mendieta later said.

In 1980, she commented that the rape had ‘moved and frightened’ her, elaborating: "I think all my work has been like that—a personal response to a situation … I can’t see being theoretical about an issue like that.”

* * *

In 1977, as a response to the cultural conditions that had allowed Ono’s and Mendieta’s work to be produced, Suzanne Lacy staged Three Weeks in May. The three-week performance took place at multiple events throughout Los Angeles, mapping the sites of rape throughout the city. Lacy graffiti-tagged sidewalks, “2 WOMEN WERE RAPED HERE, MAY 9, MAY 21.” She drew a large, yellow map of the city, publicly displayed it downtown, each morning stenciling “RAPE” in bold, red font on the map to name the sexual assaults that had been reported to the LAPD the prior day.

“What this map is about, what the whole project is about, is women speaking out to each other,” Lacy said, “sharing the reality of their experience. By exposing the facts of our rapes, the number of them, the events surrounding them, and the men who commit them, we begin to break down the myths that support rape culture.”

Carry That Weight has shades of Lacy’s performance: collaborative and public, it graphs the violence of rape to a site-specific location. They both examine the issue of cartography, the maps—both physical and internal—that rape culture continually draws. Lacy demarcates scenes of crimes, labels the public spaces most dangerous to women, while Sulkowicz’s mattress reminds that the cartography of danger expands beyond urban streets and into comfortable, domestic spaces.

In all of these works, safety is merely perception; fear is very real.

* * *
These works all traverse the terrain of the fear and violence that map women’s lives. They acknowledge that violence and fear determine women’s geography; that women are constantly being located and relocated within that prescribed space, that our movements are regulated by that geography (don’t go here or here or here, don’t seek out danger). But that mapping operates two-fold. It is given to us and subsequently internalized, as Nancy Spero once said: “All women carry this inherent knowledge, that we can be raped, that we are in danger.”

* * *

Sulkowicz, like Mendieta, made me think that the artistic intersection of the personal with political is the most profound way to challenge rape culture. I think too of Patricia Lockwood’s Rape Joke, an absurdist gesture that questioned both the stereotypical language it employed and the structure of poetry:

“The rape joke is that this is finally artless. The rape joke is that you do not write artlessly.”

Lockwood’s poem recalls Lacy’s 1976 book Rape Is…, a pseudo-dictionary of rape culture’s infinitely shifting meanings: “Rape Is…” reads one passage, “when your boyfriend hears your best friend was raped and he asks, “What was she wearing?”

* * *

We should acknowledge the violence outside the frame of these works. We should acknowledge that while Ono and Mendieta’s works were “fictional,” that violence operated in and around the lives of these women.

Eva Majlath was murdered in 2008, beaten to death in a domestic dispute. Her body was dismembered and set on fire. It took the police months to find her remains, buried a few feet from her home.

Mendieta, “somehow went out the window” falling 33 stories to her death after a loud argument with her husband.

The violence that spurred Sulkowicz’s project was not “fictional;” it was real and her rapist still walks the same campus grounds where she is currently performing.

That seems to be the reality of violence: it can never be kept at bay or limited to the realms of the artistic or the political. It will always inevitably manifest itself in the lives of women.

* * *

When I look at Sulkowicz’s work, I see shades of Ono, Lacy and Mendieta, but she signifies more than just fear and violence. Carry That Weight also centers a body reconstituted after violation (by both her rapist and a legal system that protects him) and the pain of that reconstitution.

Sulkowicz’s work is powerful because it expresses what cannot be narrated. The visuals are striking, the elucidation of pain is so heart-wrenching; the reference to violence, infuriating.

I want to say that Sulkowicz is brave, but that seems too glib of a word to describe her performance. Carry That Weight fractures language to disperse the routine phrases we use to characterize rape or its survivors.

And indeed, language fails me here. To summarize Sulkowicz’s work is only to arrive at a series of conclusions that are at best fractured: conflicted by mournfulness and anger, infused with a certain kind of numbness developed to armor myself against the familiar repetition of violence. And perhaps that’s why Sulkowicz’s work pierces me, the burden she reenacts chips away at that numbness, recalling a history of art that is striking in its righteousness. Ono’s film is forty-five years old, yet she could still, today, reproduce an identical kind of terror in nearly any woman. I am reminded that personal cartographies are still formed by violence.

Stassa Edwards is a freelance writer and PhD candidate living in the Deep South. For more of her misguided opinions, you can follow her on Twitter

umadoshi: (headache (skellorg))
[personal profile] umadoshi
...but it's September 29, and since I do seem to have posted at least once a day all month so far, I'm posting this despite the lack of thrills/chills/particular info.

This morning I successfully dragged myself out of bed hours earlier than I have been (still not early by most people's standards, I know), after a badly broken sleep, and went and got my B12 shot. (I would have gotten my flu vaccine while I was at it, but it's not available yet. So I guess I just have to remember to call periodically to see when it'll be available.) And then, through a haze of grogginess, I got the script that's due on Wednesday essentially polished up and ready to go.

Being tired doesn't seem to make me prone to mistakes; it just makes everything take significantly longer. But hey, at least "that took forever because I was tired" is a change from "that took forever because I couldn't focus"--a change that Casual Job is going to make uncomfortably familiar in short order. ^^;

In other "news", my desktop's system clock is incredibly messed up. No idea why, and [personal profile] scruloose's tinkering yesterday didn't fix it. :/ I know it started when I adjusted the time by two minutes a few days ago, which somehow turned into it now running nearly two hours fast. (It was more like an hour and ten minutes fast when I got up this morning.) Mystery.

[ETA: Oh, that could be a useful data point: as always, I ticked off "use the time when entry is posted", and this posted with the correct time, not the one displayed in the system tray. And yet emails more recent than a couple of hours ago still all claims to have arrived zero minutes ago, and all recent tweets in my Twitter feed continue to give "Now" as their posting time.]
[syndicated profile] loweringthebar_feed

Posted by Kevin

Okay, it's not "breaking," but it does seem worth commenting on two recent cases in which officers did not open fire on a suspect.

Of course most police-citizen interactions do not end in death, but lately it has at least started to seem a little like that's the exception rather than the rule.

The first of these surprisingly non-fatal incidents is the one in which a 42-year-old man jumped the fence, ran across the lawn and got into the White House [update: two rooms into it] before he was apprehended. Some, perhaps understandably, saw this as a failure. "Under no circumstances," said Politico, "should anyone be able to vault over the fence and run unimpeded into the residence." Really? What if the place is on fire and the person is a firefighter? What if the vaulter is a 14-year-old kid who doesn't know there are supposed to be snipers on the roof to protect the lawn?

Okay, maybe they should not actually be able to "run unimpeded into the residence"—and the White House has announced that from now on, darn it, it is going to keep that door locked—but in cases like that I think most would prefer that the intruder not end up dead, even if a shooting might be seen as understandable.

And that, surprisingly, is what happened here. As Josh Voorhees wrote at Slate, "it's worth pausing for a second to acknowledge something the Secret Service got right amidst all they did wrong: not a single shot was fired. [Omar] Gonzalez, an Iraq War veteran who is likely mentally ill, is still alive."

The second and possibly even more astounding incident happened over the weekend in Ann Arbor, Michigan, when this happened:

[T]hree men were in the street, one of whom had a sword raised over his head and was moving toward another man. The officers shined their spotlight on the man and told him to drop the sword, while taking out their guns and pointing them at the man.

The man ... did not comply and instead ran at the police officers. He stopped about 15 feet away from the officers and was placed under arrest....

(Emphasis added.) Wait, what? I would call that last sentence a "twist ending," because it is most unlikely that anybody doing what this guy did would ever get the chance to stop voluntarily. In fact, I just paced off 15 feet here in my office and I'm now upgrading that to "almost impossible." My office is frankly not that big, but if I were armed, once inside that door waving a sword your lifespan might be limited. But this guy, too, is still alive.

Compare that case to this one, in which two St. Louis officers killed a 25-year-old man who walked toward them with a knife. The incident was caught on video (which, needless to say, is graphic). As soon as they arrive, the officers leap out with guns drawn, though at that point they have no reason to think he's dangerous. (He had been wandering around outside a convenience store, yelling.) And while a shot or at least a tasing is probably understandable once he approaches, they shoot to kill.

There's also video of the fatal shooting in the John Crawford case, which shows officers immediately opening fire on a man wandering around Wal-Mart with an air rifle that he had picked up off the shelf, talking on the phone and making no threatening moves. In that case a 911 caller had claimed (falsely) that the man was threatening others, but still the police made no attempt to assess the situation before opening fire. (Last week a grand jury declined to indict the shooter.)

Finally there's this one, which was not fatal but the speed with which the officer opens fire is incredible. He has stopped this driver for a seatbelt violation, and the driver's standing outside the open door of his truck. The officer asks him for his license, and he calmly leans in to get it. Apparently assuming the driver is reaching for a gun, the officer almost immediately fires four shots at him, hitting him once in the hip. All this was captured by the officer's dash cam, which also then recorded quite a few iterations of the question, "Why did you shoot me?" and some not-very-convincing answers. Possibly more surprising is that in this case, the officer has actually been fired and is being prosecuted.

Anyway, while officers who shoot too fast should be criticized (at a minimum), as Voorhees was suggesting we should take a second to praise the ones who don't shoot when they probably could have. Two cops in Michigan stood their ground and kept their heads when some guy charged them with a sword. Now that's bravery.

Do they give out decorations for not shooting people? If they do, those two should get one.

Also, there is a shark

Sep. 29th, 2014 03:16 pm
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
My review of Sewer, Gas & Electric: The Public Works Trilogy by Matt Ruff, which I am sad to say I didn't like as much this time around as I did the first time.
[syndicated profile] thehairpin_feed

Posted by Jazmine Hughes

by Jazmine Hughes

advanced style

In 2010, filmmaker Lina Piloplyte teamed up with Ari Seth Cohen to create short films of the subjects of "Advanced Style," Cohen's style blog women over 50. The short videos were wildly successful, and after the release of both a coffee table book and a coloring book, the pair Kickstarted a campaign to fund a full-length documentary, raising over $20,000 more than their goal.

The film premiered in New York last Friday, and is on its way to theaters across the country; I talked to Lina briefly the morning of the premiere. Here's my grandma's review, emailed to me last week after we watched it together: "Thanks for thinking of me with the documentary. I can certainly identify with those seasoned ladies and the DRESS, WOW, I love it. It's my kind of style. I love the vintage look. You know of any places in NY that I can shop?" Get inspired.

You moved to NYC in 2007, and you met Ari soon after. What brought you here?
I was studying journalism, completed my degree, and came over to NYC. I'm not one of those people who came to New York to make it! I just loved it so much that I stayed. It felt like home. I didn't have a grand plan for working for a great filmmaker or anything, I just liked it here. I like that you have to haul ass, and you have to be on top of your game. I love that all of your heroes are here, and you can bump into them anywhere. These streets are iconic, and you see the most incredible characters.

I came for an MTV internship, and then I got a NYLON internship, and then I got a job doing videos for NYLON, which is where my love for fashion really started. There was full access to Fashion Week, designers, models, to new events, and it was amazing. I had to make videos about it and I got paid to do that! It was a dream job! It was a bootcamp for me, and it was a great experience.

And the blog began soon after, in 2008, so by the time you and Ari decided to make the film, there were a multitude of women that had been featured. How did you two decide how to narrow down the women to focus?
That was a process: we started off filming between 10 and 13 women and only some of them ended up in the film. It really depended on how much the women opened up, how much they'd let us into their home, and how intimate our bonds got. It was started being clear who was going to be in it, especially when the women started meeting one and another, and they started building a small community. You could start to see mini-families being shaped, and they became ambassadors for the Advanced Style world. Those were the ones who became stars of the film.

Photo by Ari Seth Cohen

What was your goal in making the film?
I did not want an "old people movie" with ragtime and black-and-white photos of New York, and a big feeling of “that was then.” These women are more connected with New York today than I am–they're always going to exhibitions or shows or dinners. They always know what's going on. The film is all about today, it's all about the modern and current. I tried to make a colorful and modern film that was relevant, and not an eye into the past.

The feeling that I got when hanging out with these women every day is to just go and do it and be myself and be free and fearless. All I wanted to do is to make that visible to the audience. Dressing up is only one small part of the way they live their lives. They're all very strong invdividuals, through and through–they way they eat or act or do anything. They're colorful inside and out. I found myself with answers to questions about aging, and even though we approached it through clothing, the outcome is much deeper.

The film itself is really beautifully shot, sort of like Wes Andersen meets Vogue. How did you decide on this particular style?
I think it just came out of who I am naturally and who these women are. It was all about texture and richness and color and surroundings–there aren't any white walls in the movie! We're always surrounded by little details–earrings, scarves, everything in their world. Accessories, everywhere. Everything around them is texture, so it was important to me to show that in the film. We had to reflect every single one of them so it was like hmm, what would speak to this particular woman? Let’s do something really flashy for her.

You’ve mentioned in a press junket that you have a fear of aging. Did working on the documentary help?
I have a healthier approach to it than I used to. I’ve always had an incredible respect and love for older people — I was what people call an old soul. I'd always talk to the older people at the parties! But when I was younger, all the media concepts about aging and wrinkles and sagging and how you have to stop all of that immediately and how you have to prevent any signs of aging because it's supposed to be worst thing to happen to a woman really affected me. At 25, I was very concerned! The future seemed kind of dark.

But hanging out with the women, it was like holy cow, it looks like 65 and up are the best years of your life. It's like a big party. What's important about the film is that we're not lying to get there–there's pain with getting older. It's not always easy. You're not as flexible as you once were. But you can have so much freedom, and you can be whomever you want, and you can still be in the limelight and you can do whatever you want. I don't like the concept that people are old when they're 50–these women are 80! I was raised with a waiting-for-death-to-arrive view of aging, but these women are dancing 'til the last moment. It was really eye-opening and life-affirming. It's not even about style or age, it's just how to live every day in that kind of inspiring way. They do a lot of positive thinking–they wake up and say, "this is going to be a great day!" Why the hell wouldn’t it be?

Right! What blew me away about the film about how confident these women were, especially Ilona, aged 93 in the film, who is the oldest woman profiled.
The craziest thing is that Ilona was not confident at all until her 80s. She was an artist, and produced an incredible amount of work, but she's always felt that she was worse than anyone else and totally insecure. She has an incredible approach to life — she's a Buddhist teacher without being a Buddhist!

And we get to see how she makes her own eyelashes, which is nuts. How close are you with the women?
Right now I see them every day. I'm on my way to see Ilona, actually, because she requested that I come by. She's one of the people that became my life advisor, my shrink–she has consoled my broken heart so many times. She's an incredible presence. She somehow shows that the small stuff doesn’t really matter–look up to the sky, look at this tree, isn't life beautiful? That just oozes from her. Deborah, another woman–she's become like my mother. We’re both Lithuanian and yesterday we had a Jewish new year celebration at her house. She made a fantastic amount of healthy food, and she checked in on me. She and I can talk about anything — issues and feelings of an artist, how to be creative. I’ve formed these deep bonds with a lot of them. It’s generally a no no for a filmmaker to become friends with the subject, but I think I stayed objective when it came making the movie, but you can't help to fall in love with them. They changed my whole perspective of aging — I'm less fearful of aging now at 31 than I was at 25 when I started this project. If people watch this and have a tiny bit of what I now feel, the message is there.

So, as stylish as you are now: if you were going to be honored with a wax figure at Madame Tussaud’s, what would you wear?
Hah! It would be leopard skinny pants, and a sparkle blazer on top. The one I’m wearing right now, actually.

Images courtesy of Ari Seth Cohen.


~"I'm hilarious!" "That's debatable."

Sep. 29th, 2014 11:25 am
zarla: thoughtfully pondering (kylesup)
[personal profile] zarla

also some more qr codes, i have an addiction

actually not that many, really )


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