[News] strange happenings of 2015

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Postby Ornette » Thu Jul 09, 2015 11:28 pm

A few days old but a searchable index of emails from the Hacking Team data breach over at wiki leaks. A gold mine of crazy stuff and a really detailed look into what large state-sponsored sized offensive hacking involves, politics and corruption, too!

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Postby r1cepurin » Fri Jul 10, 2015 9:34 am

ITT: we bitch and shit our pants over cute designs embedded on cloths attached to sticks


Anyway,

Boston museum cancels event after racism complaints

hurf a durf muh cultural appropriation

For the record, the Japanese typically do not care if a white person wears a kimono. My sister was specifically targeted often in Osaka by store clerks to buy a kimono, and I saw a kimono tryout booth when I went to Nara, and most of the photos displayed outside of the booth were of foreigners
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Postby Ornette » Fri Jul 10, 2015 9:37 am

https://forum.evageeks.org/post/800842/News-2015-News-NO-POLITICS/#800842

It's probably more insulting to cosplay at a Japan day. That's like Japanese people visiting Mount Rushmore dressed up in Scooby Doo costumes.

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Postby Bagheera » Fri Jul 10, 2015 9:54 am

View Original Postr1cepurin wrote:Anyway,

Boston museum cancels event after racism complaints

hurf a durf muh cultural appropriation

For the record, the Japanese typically do not care if a white person wears a kimono. My sister was specifically targeted often in Osaka by store clerks to buy a kimono, and I saw a kimono tryout booth when I went to Nara, and most of the photos displayed outside of the booth were of foreigners


Yeah, that whole fiasco was dumb as hell. It's not cultural appropriation if people are just learning about it, dumbasses!
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Postby Nuclear Lunchbox » Fri Jul 10, 2015 10:43 am

View Original Postr1cepurin wrote:Boston museum cancels event after racism complaints

hurf a durf muh cultural appropriation

Bags hit the nail right on the head. This is dumb. If I want to wear a kimono, I'm bloody curious about what it feels like to wear a kimono.

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Postby drinian » Fri Jul 10, 2015 11:05 am

This whole event really bothered me, as the complaints were so alien that I had trouble finding any understanding or empathy for the protesters at all. I ended up thinking about it a lot.

I went and read the protesters' manifesto on Tumblr in the hope that maybe I could come to some understanding of what they're angry about, but I can't. Their use of language has become so divorced from the mainstream that even having encountered its cousin in my university's literature department many years ago (big fans of Marx and Zizek, them), I had difficulty with it.

More to the point, it seems like their use of language is built on top of a lot of ideas that they take as axiomatic and self-evident but are actually quite disturbing if taken as logical statements. Following the scraps of logic in their manifesto and FAQ, I came to the conclusion that, according to them, people whose DNA happens to make them white are not allowed to "take" anything from people whose DNA happens to make them appear differently, because they have the right to "own" ideas, designs, and art by right of how they look.

Cultural exchange and cultural change are pretty much the basis of civilization, and these protesters benefit extensively from ideas of individual liberty and free speech that largely originated in Europe, so this seems absurd -- especially when the issue at hand seems to be protesting the idea that people unfamiliar with Japanese design and culture -- therefore, making it "exotic" to them -- might be allowed to experience a little of it.

Their FAQ seems to address this, though, even more bizarrely, by saying that it's OK because people whose DNA makes them appear non-white can use ideas from people whose DNA makes them appear white, because such people are "powerless."

In short, although they claim that it's impossible to be racist if you're not white, they seem to want a static world where everyone belongs to a race, according to some categories they've constructed (that are very US-centric, I might add) and behaves as that race "should." What a horrible point of view. Reminds me of systemic discrimination in Malaysia. It's even worse that they presume to speak for all people who have similar DNA to them, even going so far as to lecture these people in their FAQ about how they don't know they're oppressed. I thought that we were trying to move towards a society where everyone is an individual with their own influences and understanding of culture.

But can I understand at all where they're coming from?

Often, what we say is merely a subconscious justification of an irrational emotional reaction, and from reading the manifesto what I saw was that the authors betrayed a lot of emotional scars from real or perceived discrimination, anger at being labeled with a "model minority" stereotype and a feeling that they can't be recognized as individuals. How on Earth this got connected to enjoying the craftsmanship of a kimono and one of the world's great artists, I don't know.

It seems to be an extreme symptom of a wider problem that I don't have any answers to -- whether it's Asian-American acquaintances I've seen make constant self-deprecating jokes about themselves fitting stereotypes or minority teenagers bullied for "acting white." I wish I could find an article I read months ago by an Asian-American who recognized and was trying to fight an irrational inferiority complex he and his friends had.

There are undoubtedly systemic problems; privilege does exist by some definition. But there's also some sort of internal struggle going on in many people, I think, and rather than realize it's something within themselves they need to come to terms with, they are shifting blame onto others and removing their individual identity, with all the responsibilities that entails, in favor of the mindlessness of being a member of some sort of inevitable, unchangeable racial group.

That really worries me. And not just because I don't want to see people protesting cosplay at Otakon. It's easy to dismiss this as stupid, but a very small group of people were just able to shut down a major art museum's exhibit, and this will have chilling effects elsewhere.

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Postby Mr. Tines » Fri Jul 10, 2015 11:43 am

i.e. so anti-racism that they've fallen off the end and wrapped around again.
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Postby Ray » Fri Jul 10, 2015 12:09 pm

This picture sums up their whole argument in spades.

SPOILER: Show
Image
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Postby BobBQ » Fri Jul 10, 2015 12:13 pm

Taken to the logical conclusion, wouldn't this mean the Japanese shouldn't be allowed to write with kanji?

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Postby Ray » Fri Jul 10, 2015 12:26 pm

I'm working on a much Longer and in depth response. Given I have conflicting feelings on the topic.
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Postby Bagheera » Fri Jul 10, 2015 1:15 pm

drinian: Some great insights there. It's tricky, because as you note there are some very real wounds there. And, by the same token, it's not up to me to tell a margianalized group how they ought to feel, or whether or not they have the right to be upset. But this does seem to be an overreaction, as I really can't see any way to call this appropriation -- this isn't white folks wearing kimonos as part of a tacky new fashion trend, it's white folks trying on kimonos to learn more about them. That's cultural exchange, not appropriation.

I think the painting might be a big part of the problem. Regardless of Monet's status as an artist he did come from a time when Orientalism and cultural appropriation of all things Asian were huge problems, and it may be that that combined with the kimono business (which might have come across at kitschy to some) just set people off. So, between the (perceived) trivialization of Japanese culture and the fact that white folks are interacting with it using a white guy's painting as a vehicle might have left them feeling demeaned somehow. And so they overreacted, and here we are.

I think it might have helped if the museum reached out to members of the local Japanese community and asked for their participation in the event. If they were the ones showing the kimonos and running things I don't think there would have been any objections.
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Postby drinian » Fri Jul 10, 2015 2:54 pm

View Original PostBagheera wrote:I think the painting might be a big part of the problem. Regardless of Monet's status as an artist he did come from a time when Orientalism and cultural appropriation of all things Asian were huge problems

Your response is a good example of the difficulty in talking about such things. Terms like "appropriation" and "Orientalism" are largely meaningless outside of a small, academically-oriented population. I'm familiar with Orientalism only through a brush with Edward Said at university, and even there it was originally applied to the Near East. The usage of "appropriation" assumes a mutual understanding with the listener about a lot of cultural concepts that the listener might not even be familiar with. I've hardly heard it before the last few years.

Personally, I think there's value in giving names to these concepts, but they remain so nebulous that I think the danger is in making them too "real" by trying to define them precisely and then making particular events conform to the definition or not. Culture is notoriously difficult to pin down in that way. That is to say, it's better to have a conversation about what the problem is and what the final goal is, rather than debating whether a particular word describes it or not.

Obviously, I'm cutting out a lot of subtlety here, but the phrase "cultural appropriation of all things Asian were huge problems" bothers me because it seems to make the cultural intermingling the problem, rather than the reason the intermingling could take place, which were some definitively Bad Things -- e.g. empire-building, warmaking, looting.
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Postby Tankred » Fri Jul 10, 2015 3:04 pm

View Original PostMr. Tines wrote:i.e. so anti-racism that they've fallen off the end and wrapped around again.


The typical tumblr trash eh?

The Greeks are considering trying to dig deeper into economic hell.

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Postby drinian » Fri Jul 10, 2015 3:13 pm


Every time this story comes up, I'm fascinated by the relative number of hours worked annually by Greeks compared to Germans (ignore the article and scroll down to the graph). I think it speaks to the enormous number of economic variables and cultural differences at play.

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Postby pwhodges » Fri Jul 10, 2015 4:59 pm

View Original PostTankred wrote:The Greeks are considering trying to dig deeper into economic hell.

No, they are trying to find a way to prevent the strongest members and institutions of the Eurozone from burying them in it.

A more authoritative source.

And more.

Also this:
Thomas Piketty, the French academic who leapt to fame with the publication of his 2013 book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, which criticises wealth and income inequality, told the German newspaper Die Zeit, that Germany has "no standing to lecture other nations".

He said it was a "joke" that Germany was demanding Greece repay the €1.6bn it owes to the IMF highlighting that in the past, Germany's debts had been forgiven.

"What struck me while I was writing is that Germany is really the single best example of a country that, throughout its history, has never repaid its external debt"
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Postby Trajan » Fri Jul 10, 2015 11:12 pm

View Original Postpwhodges wrote:No, they are trying to find a way to prevent the strongest members and institutions of the Eurozone from burying them in it.


Greece's economic woes are largely self-inflicted this time around and they actually managed to get their budget under control before the new regime managed to oust them because the Greek people didn't like the austerity measures. Regardless of who you blame, Greece shouldn't be getting any more loans for now. Their economy's foundation is fundamentally unstable and their best bet is just to default and start over at this point.

Honestly, the German and French banks should've just bitten the bullet in 2010, all that (and this current) crisis is doing is kicking the problem down the road a ways. This could set a very bad precedent if not handled right by the IMF and other creditors, especially with regard to Spain and Italy. We can debate about whether or not Germany taking over Euro is a good or a bad thing, but they're pretty much holding together the EU right now because they're one of the only economies that isn't crippled from bad fiscal policy.

But hey, things might work out after all.
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Postby Ray » Fri Jul 10, 2015 11:24 pm

Speaking of economics. Chinese investors are currently panicked about the fall of their stock market

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=TPMmoJrkxeg
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Postby Nuclear Lunchbox » Sat Jul 11, 2015 12:51 am

View Original PostRay wrote:This picture sums up their whole argument in spades.

SPOILER: Show

Except in this instance, the museum was trying to foster an appreciation of other cultures. It would be like a museum having an exhibit on native Americans where one could try on typical native dress and then having that shouted down.

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Postby Bagheera » Sat Jul 11, 2015 3:48 am

View Original Postdrinian wrote:Personally, I think there's value in giving names to these concepts, but they remain so nebulous that I think the danger is in making them too "real" by trying to define them precisely and then making particular events conform to the definition or not. Culture is notoriously difficult to pin down in that way. That is to say, it's better to have a conversation about what the problem is and what the final goal is, rather than debating whether a particular word describes it or not.


Isn't that what I was doing, though? I was trying to identify the problem and suggest a way it might have been avoided.
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People's deaths are to be mourned. The ability to save people should be celebrated. Life itself should be exalted. -- Volken Macmani, Tatakau Shisho: The Book of Bantorra
I hate myself. But maybe I can learn to love myself. Maybe it's okay for me to be here! That's right! I'm me, nothing more, nothing less! I'm me. I want to be me! I want to be here! And it's okay for me to be here! -- Shinji Ikari, Neon Genesis Evangelion
Yes, I know. You thought it would be something about Asuka. You're such idiots.


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