prodigy: Stylized red illustration of a key and a bell along with the four card suits. (oh marvelous things)
Crossposted to [community profile] poetry. In honor of Black History Month in the United States:

Let America Be America Again
by Langston Hughes, pub. 1936

Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed--
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.) )
prodigy: Charles Vess illustration of a harpist and a woman leaning over him. (had i known but yesterday)
Oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever. The yearning for freedom eventually manifests itself, and that is what has happened to the American Negro. Something within has reminded him of his birthright of freedom, and something without has reminded him that it can be gained. Consciously or unconsciously, he has been caught up by the Zeitgeist, and with his black brothers of Africa and his brown and yellow brothers of Asia, South America and the Caribbean, the United States Negro is moving with a sense of great urgency toward the promised land of racial justice. If one recognizes this vital urge that has engulfed the Negro community, one should readily understand why public demonstrations are taking place. The Negro has many pent up resentments and latent frustrations, and he must release them. So let him march; let him make prayer pilgrimages to the city hall; let him go on freedom rides -and try to understand why he must do so. If his repressed emotions are not released in nonviolent ways, they will seek expression through violence; this is not a threat but a fact of history. So I have not said to my people: "Get rid of your discontent." Rather, I have tried to say that this normal and healthy discontent can be channeled into the creative outlet of nonviolent direct action. And now this approach is being termed extremist. But though I was initially disappointed at being categorized as an extremist, as I continued to think about the matter I gradually gained a measure of satisfaction from the label. Was not Jesus an extremist for love: "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you." Was not Amos an extremist for justice: "Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever flowing stream." Was not Paul an extremist for the Christian gospel: "I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus." Was not Martin Luther an extremist: "Here I stand; I cannot do otherwise, so help me God." And John Bunyan: "I will stay in jail to the end of my days before I make a butchery of my conscience." And Abraham Lincoln: "This nation cannot survive half slave and half free." And Thomas Jefferson: "We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal . . ." So the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be. Will we be extremists for hate or for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice or for the extension of justice? In that dramatic scene on Calvary's hill three men were crucified. We must never forget that all three were crucified for the same crime--the crime of extremism. Two were extremists for immorality, and thus fell below their environment. The other, Jesus Christ, was an extremist for love, truth and goodness, and thereby rose above his environment. Perhaps the South, the nation and the world are in dire need of creative extremists.


I am not a person who ascribes to the notion of an educational canon, but if ever something belonged in the civics and government canon of the United States, it would be Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Letter from a Birmingham Jail -- and if ever someone deserved an American state holiday dedicated to remembering them, it would be him.

RIP Dr. King, and may people read and hear your words, not just the ones that make them feel comfortable, and continue to think and believe.
prodigy: Titus Pullo looking really sad. (sorry about that)


Let's find some other day and reason to give thanks in the United States.
prodigy: Sherlock concentrates looking into a microscope. (rebels at stagnation)
This ep picked up the pace a bit from "Piggy Piggy" and I'm glad they're moving the storyline along in a very un-House M.D. sort of way (Ben and Vivien actively trying to sell the house and all); I just hope we're not stuck in a new status quo with the Harmons somehow never realizing that Constance and Moira sabotage all their attempts to do anything that get them out of the house, like a never-ending loop of The Prisoner in some universe where Number Six doesn't realize Number Two keeps dragging him back and is like "wait, how did I end up in the Village again?? Weird!" If they go somewhere meta with it -- IE that the house itself is cursed that no one who moves in moves out except in a body bag and will contrive various meta ways to make this happen, including Constance and Moira's interference, other life events, whatever -- then that'd be better, making the premise of "Harmons are in fact STUCK here" explicit. I like breaking-the-curse metaplots. That assumes the show's thought through that far, though.

AHS is kind of interesting to watch because it's such a typical middle-of-the-roadly bigoted example of horror media in terms of what stuff it leans on for creep factor and scares. Which is to say, a lot of horror stories are about trotting out freakshows, and freakshows wind up featuring a lot of 'grotesques' that Mom and Pop and Bobby and Susie in front of the TV are afraid of -- cripples, crazies, queers, vengeful women, children, you name it, if your average all-American John Smith might be secretly afraid of it, then it's fair game for the horror genre. Turning marginalized people or controversial concepts into scary monsters is the backbone of horror. Xenophobia is the backbone of horror. H.P. Lovecraft is the xenophobic granddaddy of this in the United States.

AHS, xenophobia, and bigotry in horror in general; warning for references to violence and abuse )

In other words, it's the same-ol' same-ol' bullshit. I watch because Wednesday is a boring night, the Harmon family themselves and the story are entertaining, I like to know what's going on in the horror genre, and there's nothing on TV that doesn't perpetuate the same-ol' same-ol' anyway. It's TV. It's the centrist Republicans of the media political caucuses. It's there to tell middle America what it already knows. And horror is generally there to reassure middle America that they're not bad people for locking their doors to the people they lock their doors to -- after all, strangers are scary. AHS is like a rogues gallery of that.

Speaking of Ryan Murphy, I loathe Glee with the passion of a thousand fiery suns burning the fuel of the universe's autotune machines but somehow his horrible pandering Disney Channel show has produced a cover of a song (that I normally also hate? Adele knock it off with the Whitney Houston runs) that now sounds like a haunting bitter love song from a queer person to their ex-partner they're still in love with who's chosen to settle down into a hetero life without them. Naya Rivera, why can't you be on a better show?

prodigy: Frodo Baggins looks haunted and somewhere to the right. (but i do not know the way)
I wouldn't be crossposting this here unless it was seriously desperate, since I know only a handful of people read this. But since that handful exists: I'm posting here about the imminent execution of Troy Davis of Georgia, a Death Row inmate about to be killed by the state for a crime there's almost no substantiating evidence that he actually committed. Some of you are familiar with this case already. Some might not be. Here's the rundown:

Troy Davis is a Georgia death row inmate -- a 42-year-old black man -- who was convicted of murdering a police officer 20 years ago. Since then, seven of the nine witnesses have recanted, it's been shown that there is no physical evidence connecting him to the crime, and several witnesses are now claiming that a different person committed it. Basically, there's not enough evidence any more to even convict him, much less execute him. But due to the legal system in Georgia and the way appeals work, he's still sentenced to death.

His execution has been slated for tonight at 7PM, in five and a half hours. All of his appeals have been denied -- Amnesty International's appeal has been denied -- the parole board and the judge and all the state officials involved are absolutely refusing to stay his execution even long enough to open an investigation. As of today, his likeliest avenues to deliverance from his execution appear to be closed, but that doesn't mean we should stop raising hell.

Please read about this and sign a petition/make a phone call before Troy Davis's time is up. He is not a guilty man, not proven guilty under our system of American justice, and his execution would be a murder by the state -- I say this absolutely as both a law student and a moral human being. People from the former director of the FBI to Pope Benedict have come out against this execution and to protest to save Davis's life. Take five minutes. It might not do anything, but it might do something, and if it does something it could save a man from being unjustly and illegally murdered by the state of Georgia.

This would be without question a murder under both American principles and almost any religious ones -- read this, take it seriously, and boost the signal to others before it's too late. It seems all but certain that Davis will be executed tonight, but it is never entirely too late for another appeal or intervention. Make it known to Georgia State and the US government that America won't stand for the murder of Troy Davis.

Links:

Clemency Denied for Troy Davis - Take Action Now to Stop the Execution (The Innocence Project)
Troy Davis (Amnesty International)
The Troy Davis case at Wikipedia
Troy Davis to be executed after parole board denies clemency (Yahoo! News)
prodigy: "Blondie" from Leone's Old West trilogy accompanied by Pikachu. (vess harpist)
So, yeah, Harry Potter. How about that? We saw it at 12:20 AM in Cherry Hill and had to sit a row apart because we made the mistake of getting there all of 20 minutes early, which wouldn't have been so bad did it not mean that I was sitting directly behind the Notorious Cherry Hill Hysterical Laugh-Sobber. I have nothing else to report about seeing it except that it took a full half hour to get out of the parking lot after and that when the "19 years later" screen showed for the epilogue, the whole theater groaned and somebody shouted "That's bullshit!"

But I'm wool-gathering, aren't I. How do you describe a generation like Harry Potter? How do you catch a cloud and pin it down? You don't, I guess, you either live it or you don't -- I lived it. Other people didn't. Here's some perspective:

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, or Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone as it was originally retitled in America, came out in the US in October 1998. I'm 20 years old now, for a few more weeks. I was eight years old then, living in Portland, and I had a lot of time to myself. The first HP book had a funny cover and a funny title. I didn't pick it up for a few months, until the hardcover book with the funny cover and the funny title tempted me a little too much and I did read it. At the time I was the only kid in my class who'd read it: that would change in a few months. I read Chamber of Secrets and Prisoner of Azkaban when they came out too, and the first self-insert I ever dreamed up was an Evans-sister love interest for Sirius Black, at the age of nine or ten, before it ever occurred to me that self-inserts didn't have to be girl stand-ins. So that was that.

The first film came out in November 2001. I had just turned 11, my family was about to go bankrupt, and it wasn't lost on me that my Hogwarts letter should be due this year if I was still the kind of kid who admitted to waiting for Hogwarts letters. Which is to say, it wasn't lost on me that my Hogwarts letter was due this year, but silently. It was also the first time I got to have spirited book-to-screen casting opinions, thinking already that Rupert Grint was too round-faced and Daniel Radcliffe was funny-looking. So that was that too.

Somewhere between then and now I fell out of love with Harry Potter -- the series, though also the boy himself, with whom we all so readily identified in book 1 and were thoroughly sick of by book 7. I think some of this was the series decay everybody knows about, the fact that the books did, in fact, get worse, and some of it for me was "growing up with Harry Potter" like everyone is always talking about -- just that in my case, it was less growing up with a childhood best friend and more growing up with a childhood best friend that you turned around once and realized wasn't the friend you first made years ago any more, and neither were you. But there's no denying this series was my first fictional best friend; there were others I loved before, but none that I spent so much wishful obsessive time with, and nothing I loved when I was eight that I still have complicated fandom opinions on, or that I'll go to see the last movie version of the night it comes out. I'm no longer best friends with Harry, but sometimes late at night I'll look him up on Facebook and wonder how he's been. But I don't think we could reconnect.

Anyway, I think that, via [personal profile] themis, Michelle Dean's What Harry Potter Knows is an irritating, passive-aggressive article with which I agree, and which says what I mean. I guess I'll close by repeating something I just said regarding that, which is that Harry Potter was a bigger part of my life than many of my living relations. I'm a few years out of college, we don't talk so much any more, but I remember pressing my hands up against the glass at Waldenbooks and speculating on what a Goblet of Fire was. I wish I'd never found out.

H/C Bingo

Jul. 5th, 2011 06:39 pm
prodigy: "Blondie" from Leone's Old West trilogy accompanied by Pikachu. (Sherlock goes hmm)
So I signed up for [community profile] hc_bingo. Ayup. But my card doesn't format correctly on the Dreamwidth default layout )

Truth be told, I find [community profile] hc_bingo to be charmingly absurd and straightforward in concept in a time when it's really, really uncool to admit you like stupid shit in fanfiction unironically. I also like bingoes because they have a maximum sense of accomplishment for a minimum time pressure, and also because you get a bingo card. There is something inherently appealing about bingo cards. Also, this challenge has soulbonding in it!! Soulbonding!!! What even is soulbonding??? Who knows!! Who cares!!!

Probably going to do a mixture of original and fandom on this one! Who knows, I'm sure I'll make up my mind in the eons of time allotted to make up my mind.

Regarding H/C, Exploitation, Fandom, and Why I'm Doing This )
prodigy: "Blondie" from Leone's Old West trilogy accompanied by Pikachu. (but I do not know the way)
So, NYC Pride. You know, I don't actually enjoy journaling the events of my life half as much as I enjoy reviewing things, but in this case I feel like I'll regret it ten years hence if I don't -- historic NYC Pride, eve of the marriage equality resolution that lit up the Empire State Building in rainbow colors, parade through Stonewall Place, all that stuff. Alternatively, I may in ten years be of the opinion that this day wasn't all that significant at all, because marriage equality is barely the start of the LGBT struggle/it got repealed a moment later (please no)/more important things happened since/aliens invaded/SkyNet/climate change/bears/other. But I also might regret it. So: New York Pride 2011, the [personal profile] prodigy and [personal profile] thez version. I'm appropriating [personal profile] thez until she writes her own version.

2:31PM: Dude who looks like Maes Hughes dancing with abandon on a float in red hot pants to Cee Lo Green )

And as for the parade: the first post I made about it, when I got home, was an honest one; I'm glad for my sunglasses. Cool guys don't look at explosions. But while we're talking about not crying behind them or anything and things I couldn't possibly have teared up at -- I didn't-tear-up at the beginning at all the signs thanking Governor Cuomo, and I-didn't-tear-up really hard at the tiny contingent of people honoring Harvey Milk. And every time I saw the Stonewall Pl streetsign a handful of yards away from us.

All in all: an insane, enormous celebration, Cave of Forgotten Dreams, and I think I'll give my feet some time to heal before I next go a-wandering with Z. But I'm looking forward.

I know marriage equality is the first yellow brick on our road, and that there are a lot of us the mainstream political gay rights movement have thrown under the bus or sold out straight-up for the holy grail of marriage equality. It's no unqualified We Did It!. But I also know that -- standing in the Village not far from the Stonewall Inn -- the streets hold the blood of many boys and girls who shed it and because of them, a boy and a girl could stand there in 2011 and complain about people trying to stand on a potted plant, and know for just one day of the year that it would be the straight bullies who were afraid right now of us. And for that I have to say thank you. Thank you, everyone from Stonewall, and thank you for fighting the fight that I'm young enough to benefit from. I don't know what else to say. I don't have my sunglasses on.

NYC Pride

Jun. 27th, 2011 02:21 am
prodigy: A parody Choose Your Own Adventure book cover with the title "Gay Viking Holiday." (gay viking holiday)
Today I stood in Greenwich Village on Christopher Street and watched a pride parade go by days after the state of New York legalized marriage equality. If my Sniper aviators are smudged, it must be because of my shirt or something.

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prodigy: "Blondie" from Leone's Old West trilogy accompanied by Pikachu. (Default)
the late, or rather, later Henrik Egerman

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