Frankenstein’s (Healthy) Babies

In case you hadn’t heard, the UK just approved the creation of what people are calling “three-parent babies.”  Now, where I come from, this has inevitably spawned a sermon or two about “playing god,” as well as a few horror fans imagining a new era full of bizarre roles for Benedict Cumberbatch to play.

The Guardian does a fantastic job of laying what is actually going on here, so there’s little I can do from here beyond expanding a few facts and gracing you with my own opinions.

To start, here’s the gist of the situation: the procedure that has been approved would involve replacing the mitochondrial DNA of a fertilized egg with DNA from an anonymous, female donor.  This procedure would be used in cases where the biological mother has passed on defective mitochondrial DNA, which can lead to some pretty atrocious diseases in the child. Continue reading

Kat can’t come to the blog right now, please try again next week

If you are reading this, then I am still buried under a stack of homework that I haven’t been able to dig my way out of.

 

Please come back next week to read my second report on the amazing Lisa Nakamura!

BURAAQ: Two Brothers, A Superhero, And the Truth About Islam

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Kamil and Adil Imtiaz.

This past Saturday I had the opportunity to connect with Adil Imtiaz, one half of the two sibling team responsible for the comic book BURAAQ, which stars a Muslim superhero. While he was the illustrator starting out he shared, and continues to share, creative responsibilities with his brother Kamil, and was more than happy to talk to me a little bit more about how this project came to be and why.

Ms. Marvel, as you may have guessed, came up in conversation, and I ended up learning a few things about Islam that I didn’t originally know.
Throughout our talk it was clear that this character and all he presents is a passion for Adil, and that he believes it can, and has done, good things for Muslim youth.

After thanking him for finding the time to speak with me about his work we got right down to questions and answers, the latter of which he was very ready to provide.

Evan: Now I can’t wait to get into talking about BURAAQ, but before we get there would you like to say a few words about yourself?

Adil: Adil Imtiaz is my name. I’m an IT professional, just so you know. And I came here from Pakistan back in 1990; me and my  brother and my family. So we’re here with our families and that’s pretty much it as far as my background is concerned.

Evan: Would you say that your interest in comic books began at a very young age?

Adil: Absolutely. Even in Pakistan as kids, my brother and I used to have a stack of comic books by our bedside. Every night we used to read Marvel, DC, superhero stories. We were, and still are, fascinated with sci-fi and superhero stories and characters.

And movies, of course. Hollywood as you can see is all about superhero films. And we used to draw comics and superhero characters as kids. I got sidetracked when I had to focus on higher education, pursuing a career. I had to put it on the back burner so to speak.

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Evan: In the PDF I was given to review you and your brother’s mission was very clearly stated, and I’m just going to reiterate it for all my readers:

  • To provide a clean, fun (halal) and positive entertainment media alternative for our Muslim youth.
  • Reconnect our Muslim youth to Islam and make them feel proud to be a Muslim.
  • Enable interfaith dialogue and increase positive Islamic awareness.
  • Our principles are based on the Quran, Islamic values, and the teaching of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

How long this been in the works? It seems particularly relevant now given recent events in North Carolina [with what I’m going to call a hate crime]-

Adil: Well, no, actually. This is something, the idea was born back in 2009 actually. Especially after 9/11 things changed in the US. And in the media, traditionally, Arabs and Muslims have been portrayed in a negative light in Hollywood, but after 9/11 things really picked up steam; a bunch of crazy people around the world who claim to be Muslims and other agencies at play, not to get into politics…

Sammy Sheik as Mustafa in American Sniper.

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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 

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

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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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