For most of America, Psy is a funny name, a funny face, and a funny personality. He doesn’t sing in English and most people just don’t get it leaving most of them to not take him seriously. It’s easy to strip the significance behind “Gangnam Style” down if you don’t know what it means and solely find entertainment in the Asian guy shaking his hips. But what most people don’t realize is that Psy doesn’t take himself seriously. He’s a satirist and political dissident. “Gangnam Style” was a commentary, not just a fun pop tune with a silly dance.
Gangnam is Seoul’s wealthiest and flashiest neighborhood. For South Koreans, Gangnam represents the ideal life of excess and consumerism. Psy’s character in the video is a wannabe Gangnamite. He dreams he’s living the flashy, excessive lifestyle while he’s really just like everyone else, swimming in a public pool and riding the subway. But never in the video does it seem that Psy’s character is unhappy. He’s content to play in a children’s playground and meet the girl of his dreams in the subway. “Gangnam Style” is much more that we have made it, but that’s not surprising considering Psy’s background and how little we know about it.
In America, it seems like “Gangnam Style” was Psy’s big break when in fact the song had been released on his sixth studio album and his music career hadn’t been about making flashy and catchy songs. He believes music is the key to overcoming the intolerance embedded in his country’s political systems. Throughout his career, his songs have been banned for inappropriate content and have been surrounded by controversy, not to mention the fact that he fought his mandatory military draft.
Psy is a voice for his people. He’s fighting the oppression and intolerance he sees in his culture through his music. And by ignoring his worth and his value, we’re reducing the culture of South Korea into a short man with funny pants doing a ridiculous dance. —
Opinion: American media chooses to undervalue artists like Psy from “Gangnam Style” (via kpop-confessions)
T H A N K S
(Source: pag-asaharibon, via jeannedarkrecords)
'she wants to move' by Em’kal EYONGAKPA
I attempted to re-capture a feeling I had as a child, driving through these forests with my parents. An unknown spirit of moving trees.
What happens when a stream of water is exposed to an audio speaker producing a loud 24hz sine wave
Looking at the most visible exemplars of epic fantasy — from J.R.R. Tolkien to such bestselling authors as George R.R. Martin and Robert Jordan — a casual observer might assume that big, continent-spanning sagas with magic in them are always set in some imaginary variation on Medieval Britain. There may be swords and talismans of power and wizards and the occasional dragon, but there often aren’t any black- or brown-skinned people, and those who do appear are decidedly peripheral; in “The Lord of the Rings,” they all seem to work for the bad guys.
Our hypothetical casual observer might therefore also conclude that epic fantasy — one of today’s most popular genres — would hold little interest for African-American readers and even less for African-American writers. But that observer would be dead wrong. One of the most celebrated new voices in epic fantasy is N.K. Jemisin, whose debut novel, “The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms,” won the Locus Award for best first novel and nominations for seemingly every other speculative fiction prize under the sun. Another is David Anthony Durham, whose Acacia Trilogy has landed on countless best-of lists. Both authors recently published the concluding books in their trilogies.
Although they came to the genre from different paths, both Jemisin and Durham have used it to wrench historical and cultural themes out of their familiar settings and hold them up in a different light. “I never felt that fantasy needed to be an escape from reality,” Durham told me. “I wanted it to be a different sort of engagement with reality, and one that benefits from having magic and mayhem in it as well.”
In Durham’s trilogy, four royal siblings are deposed and then fight their way back to the throne in an empire presided over by the island city of Acacia. Their dynasty’s power resides in a Faustian bargain made with a league of maritime merchants: the League supplies a rabble-soothing drug in exchange for a quota of the empire’s children, who are sent off across the sea to meet an unknown fate. As promised, “Acacia” is a sweeping yarn filled with adventure, intrigue, sorcery and battles.
Jemisin’s series, too, is set in the capital of an empire that has been run by an aristocratic clan for generations. The power of the Arameri family, however, resides in the gods — specifically a pantheon of deities whom they have imprisoned and enslaved. The narrator of “The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms” is the daughter of a renegade member of the clan who ran off with a foreigner. Raised in a remote kingdom with its own fiercely independent customs, she returns to the capital seeking information about her mother and, once there, becomes embroiled in vicious palace intrigues.
She made the main character a woman and, in an even more marked departure from the norm, she decided to have that character narrate the book in the first person. “I knew that what I was writing was inherently defiant of the tropes of epic fantasy,” Jemisin said, “and I wasn’t sure it would be accepted.”
When Durham decided to write an epic fantasy, he set out to recapture the enchantment he felt as a 12-year-old, discovering Tolkien at his father’s house in Trinidad, while “brushfires and buzzards” ranged over the neighboring hills. Jemisin, on the other hand, based her trilogy on “the old-school epics: not Tolkien, but Gilgamesh.” The gods in her imaginary world evoke the squabbling divine families of the world’s great myths: “The ancient tales of mortals putting up with gods and trying to outsmart gods, of trickster gods outsmarting other gods: That’s the basis of my work.”
“The genre can go many, many more places than it has gone,” said Jemisin. “Fantasy’s job is kind of to look back, just as science fiction’s job is to look forward. But fantasy doesn’t always just have to look back to one spot, or to one time. There’s so much rich, fascinating, interesting, really cool history that we haven’t touched in the genre: countries whose mythology is elaborate and fascinating, cultures whose stories we just haven’t even tried to retell.”
Reblogging for the books tag! (I’ve read both these series myself and they are quite good.)
i’m also real tired of every pedantic motherfucker pointing out that comedians and artists have the freedom to say all sorts of shitty things. i know it, you know it, everyone fucking knows it. everyone’s free to say all sorts of fucked up shitty goddamn things and in return i am equally free to tell them that their mouth is full of fucking shit. nobody needs an artist’s freedom to their expression explained to them, but it’s obviously always done in a way as to suggest that because of their freedom of expression, they should be free from people calling them massive pieces of shit too, because they’re comedians. they’re artists. they’re whatever and that makes it different, somehow
fuck the use of comedy and art as some kind of shield. fuck it. it’s lazy and despicable.
Seriously tho. Why *should* she be asked to smile?
Asking a woman to smile is to make her more approachable. It’s to make you feel more comfortable - not her. I, personally, have zero fucks to give about being approachable to strange men on the street. Women are not here to entertain and please random folks.
Asking me to smile is akin to asking me to jump. Um. For what?
There’s this weird responsibility placed on women to be happy and lady-like and pleasant all of the time. It rids us of being able to express our own range of human emotions.
No one is asking for men and women to not interact with each other. That’s silly. This project is asking for women to be interacted with as if they have agency over their own bodies. —
Creator of the Stop Telling Women To Smile project
(Source: gradientlair, via hollabackberlin)
i’m just saying, take as many selfies as you want.
there are multi-million dollar companies with old white men as ceos that profit off of your low self-esteem and self-hate.
(Source: tastefullyoffensive, via kalifragisch)
Burning Mysteries Revealed -
1. Why are you running a free tumblr blog when this information is obviously extremely valuable?
Because in many situations, accepting funds more or less negates my control over the content. In other words, all those messages you’ve seen from people that are basically, “You SAY you’re [trying to eliminate all existing inequality/educating people/trying to promote diversity] but you NEED to be [nicer to racists/catering to white historical vanity/acknowledge my sense of entitlement to your time and effort]!!!” would actually be the ones deciding what the content would be.
which leads to…
2. When is MedievalPOC going to be a book?
When I started this blog, I assumed there would be like 900 other people who had the same idea, but apparently that was not even remotely the case. Included on the list of things I was not expecting: That there would be a roiling volcano of untapped and underutilized information, just how few people have bothered to make anything cohesive out of it, and the massive amount of people who gave a crap.
This project has become much more than I ever expected, and it does need to be a book. It would have to be crowd-funded and independently published in order to maintain its thesis and integrity, however. I’ve been looking into the logistics of what it would take for that to happen, and when I have that hammered out, I’ll definitely announce it.
3. What do you think is the most controversial topic you’ve covered?
Hands-down, without a doubt, the number one topic that people get the angriest about, spew the most hate and vitriol over, and that reveals the most blatant, ingrained and deep-rooted racism is the lack of representation of people of color in American animated children’s films. While media for adults often brings out the “everyone in this movie with dragons and elves HAS to be white because it’s historically accurate!" crowd, but it doesn’t hold a candle to what I have seen when it comes to defending whiteness in Disney cartoons.
The closest runner-up is probably anything to do with Lord of the Rings.
4. Do you think the critics of this blog have a point?
Yes, I do.
The thing is, a lot of the criticism centers on an American running a blog about European art. Which pretty much amount to people screaming at me every five minutes, “you’re an American!!!” and then the subsequent bafflement when I don’t spontaneously burst into flames and then implode from this basic statement of fact. (Although as a Native American I have to admit I derive a great deal of oily mirth from being accused of cultural imperialism by white Europeans.)
My sense of geography is abysmal. My awareness of lineages and whether someone was someone else’s brother’s son’s wife is similarly so. When people correct me on those two counts, which happens literally all the time, I publish the corrections. I don’t speak every language, I haven’t seen every piece of art, and there’s a ton of stuff I’ve never heard of. There have been times when I’ve gotten defensive, kept talking when I should have listened, or was dismissive when I should have been learning. I’ve said things that made people who should have felt welcome feel hurt and excluded instead.
I get the sense that both my critics and my fans would be a lot more comfortable if I would just pretend to be right all the time and act “objective”, instead of continuing to live with embarrassingly public mistakes and being so messily human. But I implore you to look inside yourself and ask whether or not this discomfort comes from the same place in your heart that wants to believe your history textbook was born like Venus from the foam rather than being written on purpose by a human being with thoughts and feelings and a race and a gender and all the other assorted accoutrements of actual human existence.
5. Why aren’t you more professional/respectable?
Because no one is. Because presenting yourself that way is a tool used for social control. Because it’s that very illusion that is used to keep people from participating in their own education. Because academic language all too often operates as a form of gatekeeping, and because the first half of this sentence does the thing it describes.
Because the inequalities that exist in the world right now are not due to shortages of commodities, but because people in power control their distribution. Because I live in a country where police restrain hungry people while they throw food into dumpsters, and sends homeless women to prison for sending their children to school.
Because that kind of “respectability” requires exclusion aligning with existing power structures, and I’m not into that.
6. Why do you change your avatar?
Fun fact: changing my avatar image back to “male” cut the hatemail I receive by about two-thirds. Also, having a “female” avatar led a lot of people to make some serious assumptions about my gender. Mostly based on the cultural expectation that no man would ever willingly accept being perceived as a woman without having the biggest tantrum ever witnessed by humanity. 90% of the hate is based on who or what they think I am, rather than who I actually am. Some mysteries are better left intact, even when they’re not really mysteries at all.
in awe. 5. and 6. especially… well.. put…. excuse me for a second