Expanding the Golden Rule (Are We Taking Animals “Foie Gras-ted?”)

I don’t eat liver.  Doesn’t matter what animal it came from, it is literally the body’s filter, and I’m not putting that in my mouth.  Unsurprisingly, a large portion of humanity does not share my distaste for consuming fleshy contaminant processors.  Take foie gras, for example.  It’s a special kind of gross, prepared organ, which Wikipedia describes as “the liver of a duck or goose that has been specially fattened.”  Thing is, “specially fattened” is a euphemism for “force fed with a metal tube.”

This was brought to my attention recently, as a student from my school was recently arrested for secretly recording video from inside a Foie Gras farm, and, allegedly, stealing some ducks.  She’s facing up to seven years in prison for this.

Now, I am a meat eater.  I love meat, hell, I evolved to eat meat, as did the rest of you (assuming all of our dear readers are human).  That being said, I don’t like meaty foods that require inhumane treatment of the animal that material’s coming from.  It’s why I don’t touch veal.  I think an animal should get to live its life like an animal, with its own kind, moving around, eating, sleeping, having sex… If the meal in question requires that an animal be pumped full of chemicals and locked in a box to restrict its movement to keep it tender, I will have none of that.

In general, the issue of “animal rights” is a tricky one, for a variety of reasons.  Mainly, because our use of animals is almost ubiquitous across every area of our lives.  We eat their meat, we ride on their backs, we drink their milk, we feed them to our other animal friends…  It’s hard to step back and reconsider something so inextricably incorporated into our lives.  And of course, there are other things that make the topic a sour one for many…

Go home, PETA.

Go home, PETA.

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Lisa Nakamura Part 1: Tumblr Activism and This Bridge Called My Back : A Culture War Report

On Thursday and Friday UVic hosted Lisa Nakamura, Collegiate Professor from the University of Michigan, to speak about her research on Digital Media and Race, Gender and Sexuality. Nakamura has been writing about digital media since 1994. While she has written several books about race and the internet, some of her shorter pieces focus on things like “The Racialization of Labour in World of Warcraft”. In order to feel qualified to write about platforms like World of Warcraft, she spent hours playing the game herself.

On Thursday, Nakamura’s talk was titled “The Digital Afterlife of This Bridge Called My Back: Women of Color, Feminism and the Internet”. She began by giving a brief overview of the book and explained why it matters so much.

As an anthology that prioritized written work by women of colour, This Bridge Called My Back responded to the whitewashing of feminism long before movements like the #SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen hashtag began to highlight the problem. This book also introduced the concept of intersectionality, which has since become a key element of feminist theory.

Unfortunately, since it’s original publication the groundbreaking collection has struggled to remain in print. According to Wikipedia,

“The anthology was first published in 1981 by Persephone Press, and the second edition was published in 1983 by Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press. The book was out in its third edition, published by Third Woman Press, until 2008, when its contract with Third Woman Press expired and it went out of print.”

The book’s struggle to remain in print made it an “artificially scarce commodity” and drove up the price. At its inflated price, the book’s authors might even have been unable to afford their own work.

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2 Broke Girls, S4E13 “And the Great Unwashed”: A TV Review

greatunwashed

Between the two titular characters [pun never intended] it should be plainly apparent to you all by now that Caroline is my favourite. Even if Max wasn’t as unfunny and abrasive as I personally find her the former heiress to the Channing fortune is still brimming with just the right amount of optimism and grim awareness about the reality of life to charm anyone. That being said she’s hasn’t received a lot of character work this season and I actually believe the show has been poorer for it.

“And the Great Unwashed” is all about Caroline trying to figure out who she is, or rather, who she wants to be. That sounds deep, I realize, especially for an episode of 2 Broke Girls, but stay with me. Is she a waitress? If she is, what does that mean for the one-time rich girl? Continue reading

The Internet and Mob Justice

On January 16th, a pet supply worker was fired for a racist tirade on a blog. On the 13th of the same month, Iron Mountain Daily News blacklisted a freelance writer after she was revealed using racial slurs. On the 11th of this month, a juvenile justice employ in Kentucky was fired for racist and violent postings on his Facebook wall.

Nothing surprising at first glance.

With ever-increasing social consciousness and public focus on modern-day racism in the past year, it’s nothing shocking that a person would be fired for getting caught making bigoted claims. Only these folks weren’t caught- they were exposed.

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Homosexuality in Comics: Here Be Lesbians

Just as in most forms of media LGBT representation has been lacking in comic books, both in the content created and those responsible for its creation. It’s a conversation that will last for decades until such a time that we can look to art and see that yes, it does reflect the world we live in, such as it is. In regards to all of this there are times when a person will look at their pull list and decide that the stars have aligned just right, and that it’s time to dust off a blog feature of sorts that hasn’t been used in years.

It began with “Homosexuality In Comics As Of May 20th”, a post in 2012 that shone some light on DC Comics’ announcement that they would be introducing a previously straight character as gay,  having that person become “one of [their] most prominent gay characters.” One year later there was “… As of July 26th”, in which I revealed the aforementioned hero-

Alan Scott, the Green Lantern of Earth-2 [an alternate universe]

-and shared my personal opinion on how not to introduce LGBT characters [ie. as a revelation after decades of established straightness]. That was where I left things, saying that we need more gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, etc. men and women and others in the medium that I love so dearly without offering much of a solution.

Thankfully two of this week’s titles helped a) me out in this regard and b) improve the pop culture landscape of which comic books are only a small part of. Continue reading

Je suis Miyazaki?

While the tragic terrorist attack on the offices of French satirical paper Charlie Hebdo may be a month behind us, that doesn’t mean that a lot of people aren’t still talking about it.  Most recently, one of those people is (quite surprisingly, given his reclusive reputation) famed animator and all around wonderful human being Hayao Miyazaki.

Now if you don’t already know who this guy is, you are a deprived human being.  Go watch Spirited Away, seriously.  The guy is responsible for some of the most beautiful, creative, and thought-provoking animated films of our age.  He also has some great stuff to say about the state of animation in his home country of Japan.

But anyway, Charlie Hebdo.  In case you’ve been living under a rock, a quick summary:  the aforementioned French satirical paper often featured crude, insulting cartoons mocking various religions, and recently contained a few choice ‘toons about the prophet Muhammad, which then sparked a brutal terrorist attack in which 12 of its staff were killed.  Since then, sales of the periodical have skyrocketed, and many have marched in support of Charlie Hebdo under the banner of “Je suis Charlie” (“I am Charlie”).  All in all, the victims have been seen as martyrs for “free speech.”

And what does Miyazaki have to say about all of this?  Well, basically, that the Charlie Hebdo comics were a “mistake.”

Clearly, this will not sit well with many.  But hey, let’s let the man explain.

“For me, I think it’s a mistake to make caricatures of what different cultures worship […] It’s a good idea to stop doing that.”

[via Kotaku‘s translation from Yahoo! News].”

So basically… He wants people to be respectful of the dearly held beliefs of others.

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Ms. Marvel, #12: A Comic Book Review

msmarvel12If you’re reading this comic issue to issue, like I am, I know what you’re thinking: a new Ms. Marvelalready? Not that I [or you, in all likelihood] am complaining, but the last issue did come out just two short weeks ago.

Brought to us by the usual crew with the new addition of artist Elmo Bondoc, this is a much-needed lull in the action. They can’t all be spitting truth about the generational divide, and it seems like forever since Kamala’s doing everyday normal high school kid stuff. Given the cocktail of emotions that the average aforementioned teen is comprised of,what better way to return to that part of her life than on Valentine’s Day?

That was a hypothetical question, but one that was meant to be answered by the enthusiastic response of “there isn’t one!”. With that in mind, it breaks my heart to say that this is probably the worst issue of Ms. Marvel to date. WHICH-
please, put down your pitchforks and hear me out for a second- simply means that as one installment of a title that has knocked it out of the park for the past eleven consecutive issues this one scores a double. Maybe a single with the man on first stealing second. Sorry, I’ll stop with the baseball metaphors. Continue reading