I wrote a poem many years ago about wishing I was black so I could have an afro. How do you beat afros as a hairstyle? About the only way is by having...moreI wrote a poem many years ago about wishing I was black so I could have an afro. How do you beat afros as a hairstyle? About the only way is by having afro puffs, which white dudes also can't have. Partially because they are white, and partially because they're dudes.
I used to skip over that page of job applications that asks your ethnicity. I thought it was stupid that anyone would care what my race, or my sex, was before deciding whether or not to hire me. Hahahah, I was soooo naive!
Since then, I've realized to what a great extent the law attempts to make that pesky All men are created equal clause actually true. I've also read some statistics that make it pretty clear those laws aren't getting the job done. Racism, sexism, ableism, sexualpreferenceism, attractivenessism, sizism, there are a fuckton of isms that people still engage in. They aren't conscious of doing them, but they have a sense that the slightly heavier, balding guy my own age isn't going to be as much of a go-getter as me, so they hire me. If he's also black, well FUCK! The job is as good as mine.
I believe in the idea of race even less than I used to. But, I have an awful confession to make. I now fill out that page of the application because I now understand that--although it's not technically legal--my whiteness helps me get jobs. Which begs the question, WHY ARE PEOPLE SO FUCKING STUPID?
American Born Chinese is the story of an American boy who struggles with the stigma that comes from his Chinese ancestry. He's treated like a second-class citizen, bullied and made fun of. This book also tells the story of Chin-Kee, a Chinese stereotype who comes to live with his white cousin, making the whiteboy's life a living hell as he starts being ostracized by his friends and the girl he has the hots for.
This graphic novel is a fast read, yet has a complex story, weaving three tales together that don't unite until the climax. It's my favorite combination of elements in a book: constantly funny, but funny and sad at the same time. The ending was relatively satisfying, and the intricacies of the plots make the book more complex than some novels. This book carries more literary weight than a lot of other books, despite the fact that it's a graphic novel. (I'm still prejudiced against this genre. "It's perrty good....fer a graphic novel!")
I could use this to launch into yet another political tirade about how instances of "reverse racism" are now given a lot more attention in the press than instances of real racism. If anyone really wants that kind of tirade, though, maybe it'll happen in the comments. OOhh, maybe I can attract a troll! I'll try a little bit harder to do so: REVERSE RACISM IS A TERM MADE UP BY RACISTS WHO ARE SICK OF BEING TREATED LIKE EVERYONE ELSE.
I have a headache. Oh, and by the way, Goodreads.com, I'm about to plunge back into another semester, so I may not be around much at all, other than when I'm on here experimenting with you guys. But, I will be thinking of you longingly, and I look forward to the time when we can again be together for more than a quick trist.
In typical comic book male-centric fashion, this series wonders what life would be like if all men died spontaneously...except for one.
I suppose if w...moreIn typical comic book male-centric fashion, this series wonders what life would be like if all men died spontaneously...except for one.
I suppose if we're trying to put ourselves in the head of an early-nineties comic book reading teen, this might feel innovative. Unfortunately, I find that innovative in the world of comics is pretty much Iron Age for the rest of literature. How does Vaughan manage to make a series with gender issues at its center so bizarrely sexist?
Example: In a world where all men are dead except for one, and the death of that one man will mean the end of humanity, VIOLENT CULTS OF FEMINISTS SPRING UP TO TRY AND HUNT DOWN MEN AND MALE SYMPATHIZERS. What is the motive here? There sure isn't one written into the plot, other than the one speech about social inequality between the sexes--and how the only way to escape this inequality is to KILL ALL MEN.
Characterwise, I was exceptionally not impressed. Even the main character has vague motivations. As for the women, pretty much none of them function as anything but placeholders: the token love interest, the sister who has gone astray, the protective mother. IN A WORLD WHERE ONLY ONE MAN SURVIVED...apparently the world still revolves around that man.
And here's where the cultural rant starts...
This is a symptom of thinking that is still prevalent in most of popular culture, although not to as great an extent in literature. F'rinstance, lets talk about movies: movies are a great medium for making political statements. Statements about social injustices, such as the way that women are objectified, sexualized, expected to live up to some bleached, shaved, makeup-smeared, surgically modified yet waifishly thin ideal that has been developed over centuries of patriarchal society...and how this objectification upon women is psychologically damaging--to men.
This poor guy above has been so mentally warped by Hollywood and advertising that he's incapable of developing a physical attraction to any of the normal girls he knows in real life. Let's take a moment to pitty him.
Okay, we done? Good. Fortunately, a blonde porn star moves in next door, and immediately falls for him, even though he's intensely dorky, because, you know, it's what's on the inside that counts. But, I'm not just cherry-picking films here. I could point to this one:
Another example of an attractive woman with a *cough cough* career who ends up with a loser whose only redeeming trait is that he's willing to "raise" the baby...if sleazy frat boys without jobs can be said to raise babies.
But surely this is a phenomenon in teen comedies?
Well, look at "romances."
Here's a fairly recent romantic comedy where a successful, relatively well-balanced woman who is portrayed as HORRIBLY DESPARATE for being interested in a neighbor....meanwhile, the character played by Gerard Butler mudwrestles with models on television, and has no interest in anything but one-night stands, yet this is understandable because of his childhood. This is a ROMANCE. Aren't these supposed to be geared more towards female audiences? It really bothers me that I'm more bothered by this film than any women I know.
Okay, BUT, regardless of how inadequately this comic deals with gender issues, it at least TRIES to grapple with them, and it does a better job than any of the movies mentioned above. Perhaps by the end of the series, the author's portrayals of gender issues will become more interesting and sophisticated. This was an entertaining comic, and I plan on continuing it for at least a little longer...but I'll admit that I'm highly confused by the acclaim it has gotten. (less)
The heartwarming story of a little boy born with a horribly fucked up face. No, I mean, this kid is all
"HEYYOUGUYS!" kinds of homely. This book, full...moreThe heartwarming story of a little boy born with a horribly fucked up face. No, I mean, this kid is all
"HEYYOUGUYS!" kinds of homely. This book, full of cute-yet-creepy illustrations, is about a child who is born wanting to hide his face from the world. His father is ugly in all the same ways, and has some even more deeply ingrained issues with his appearance. If I remember correctly, he wears a mask and a wig. Anyway, throughout the story, the little boy grows into a little man. He goes out to seak his fortune, and works to overcome his self-doubt.
So, you know the moral, but you probably haven't seen it delivered in such an understated way. It's charming.
Although we're all exceedingly goodlooking here on goodreads, everyone can relate to having something about them they would change if they could. For me, I've always despised my hair, because it's incredibly thick, and it automatically looks stupid whenever it gets longer than an inch or two. Plus, I don't look good bald. When I was in sixth grade, I had a rattail, because I thought that was cool at the time. This is a picture of a random kid with a rattail, because YOU WILL NEVER SEE PICTURES OF ME WITH ONE.
I don't remember why I went off on that tangent. I'm tired, grad school sucks, I hate literature reviews, and I'm going to fail at life.
Anyway, back to this loverly book, "The Ticking": I read this over a half-hour lunch break, and it entertained me. You can read roughly ninety pages a minute, because each page is an illustration with one line of dialogue beneath it. This is what French's art looks like:
Isn't he cute for an ugly little boy? But really, you should see his face. It's Picasso-level jacked up.
Some of the pictures are pretty freaky, like the one where a tongue starts coming through the wall. And, if there's one thing I don't see enough of in graphic novels, it's gloominess. This book is pretty gloomy, but not in a pretentious or self conscious kind of way, just mildly sad in a comforting way like Anne Sexton poems. And, since I should stop enjoying myself and start studying again, I'll close with a photograph taken by the author. This is one of my faves.
Two stories. Cool art. Strange twist endings. Very short. The first one is stronger; the second is a bit of a stretch. Worth the 1 minute and 45 secon...moreTwo stories. Cool art. Strange twist endings. Very short. The first one is stronger; the second is a bit of a stretch. Worth the 1 minute and 45 seconds it will take to read. (less)
It took me a couple comic strips to really "get" the deadpan non-jokes of Migraine Boy, but now I think he's amazing. Most of the time after I've fini...moreIt took me a couple comic strips to really "get" the deadpan non-jokes of Migraine Boy, but now I think he's amazing. Most of the time after I've finished a book, even if I thought it was a "five star" book, I take it to a used book store or give it to someone I think would like it. I have a constantly rotating set of books on my shelf, with only three or four permanent books remaining long after I finished reading them. For some inexplicable reason, "Migraine Boy" is one of those keepers. I've had it ever since high school, and I still laugh every time I pick it up.
They all consist of Migraine Boy talking to...umm...the other character, whatever his name is. Migraine Boy is curmudgeonly and unhappy because of his constant migraines. His friend is friendly, obesessively so, maybe in love with Migraine Boy. Sometimes, his friend dies in the comic strips. That's about as much as you need to know about the setup.
You can see a bajillion Migraine Boy comic strips just by googling it. But, in case you don't want to go to all that effort, here's a randomly selected but fairly representative strip:
First panel: The friend has a sling on his arm. He says, "Ow, I HURT my ARM, Migraine Boy!"
Second panel: Migraine Boy shouts, "It probably happened because you're an IDIOT!"
Third panel: The friend looks down. Migraine Boy grimmaces.
Fourth panel: Migraine Boy says, "I'm Sorry."
Fifth panel: Migraine Boy says, "I just had to add INSULT to INJURY."