Wednesday, June 24, 2009

on Steampunk and POC

@Racialicious, cocolamala wrote:

i like steampunk anime and fiction because of the technology (crank operated flashlights!?) and the idea of bringing modernity to people 1-2 generations earlier. i enjoy the “money shots” in steampunk anime where the huge monstrous “airship” rises above a pokey rural town and townspeople experience the present as both the past and the future simultaneously.

i don’t get into the dress-up aspects becuase that wanders too close to fetishising the colonial experience, and makes me wonder who I would have been at that time.

(prolly not wearing a whalebone corset and drinking tea with a bunch of engineers).

true to life victorian-era dress-up for my southern agrarian/coal mining roots probably wasn’t gibson girl attire (maybe a little bit though, for special occassions ; )

anyway, in victorian england, the explorers were going off to conquer and exploit ppl who looked like me, doing their best to exclude folk like me from the whole mission of exploration and conquest and enrichment.

back then, i probably would have been protesting (or at least disagreed with) these explorers and their colonial efforts, rather than going to parties and marvelling at their machines.

i hear you on the alternate visions issue though, but i would note this. science fiction was an outgrowth of the colonial experience (translated metaphorically). sci-fi narratives express a fictionalized colonialism. however, those stories don’t have to always serve or promote colonialism, they can be approached non-traditionally from the perspective of the alien (the OTHER), or in light of alien victory (flipping the role of the colonizer and colonized), or in the ways you detailed above, and those types of sci-fi stories critique the colonial experience rather than serve it up unexamined.

so, to more fully participate in steampunk culture, there needs to be space for the experiences and history of POC in the Victorian era on both sides of the colonial experience. And in a creative way, NOT in a way that simply reproduces the classist and racist structures of that time. There needs to be respectful inclusion of roles/ characters I would enjoy taking on.

also, can i fully participate in the aesthetics of goth culture if i am not pale? hanging out in clubs with my gothier friends, i knew that the pale skin, robert smith hair, red lipstick thing, just wasn’t convincing on me.

Posted 24 Jun 2009 at 2:49 pm ¶

Monday, June 15, 2009

Is anyone keeping up with the election protests in Iran? Amadinijad says he won, but the many, many protestors in green (who voted for Mousavii) disagree with that…

Twitter #iranelection
(real time updates, from anonymous strangers !! in Tehran, Iran and supporters around the globe)

Andrew Sullivan
(round up of news, pics and twitter feed updates)—going slow cause it’s one of only a couple places with wall to wall coverage.

The Huffington Post

(usually an annoying vanity press, but scooping CNN and NYT and mainstream media in general, on this topic)

The pictures from these protests are so moving because of how many people are involved
Boston Globe