EDITOR’S NOTE: We end this year by each taking a look back and picking our five best posts, explaining both their importance to us and to the world we currently live in. Clicking the banner images will link you to each post, so as 2014 comes to a close join us in remembering how far we’ve come, but also how far we still have to go.
Given the vehicle through which you’re reading these words the relationship between the internet and communication is never very far from my mind. It should also go without saying for those who spend any amount of time online that Tumblr as a community has cultivated quite a reputation for itself over the past few years.
While the sentiments found within this post are certainly nothing new [the squeaky wheel gets the grease, the concept of the vocal minority, etc.] I do think that it establishes them while also backing them up with hard evidence. At the very, very least it also lays out, for those who never cared to look into it, what exactly an “SJW” is.
Another deeply personal post makes it onto this list, just like last year’s. As if letting you all read my current writing didn’t make me vulnerable enough it also featured a full op-ed from my college days [some stylistic choices make me cringe even now].
“It is difficult to be alone,” reads a since discontinued t-shirt from an AWOL webcomic creator. Those words have felt more and less real as seven years of being single has passed by, and what energy they offered I poured into penning some thoughts on the idea of marriage. Admittedly tailored more to those of the young Christian demographic it’s my hope that it helps at all with fellow single men and women in this group, as well as acting as a bit of an eye-opener for those who aren’t.
I don’t think there’s ever going to be a year where Culture War Reporters doesn’t feature at least a handful of posts covering Asians in media and pop culture, and 2014 actually featured two such posts. With this year I opted for just the one, in particular because it dealt pretty directly with how we interact with our entertainment.
To reiterate a point I made many times in the post itself, I genuinely enjoyed The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and consider it one of the best shows I watched in 2015. It even featured an Asian character as a desirable love interest, which is something I genuinely appreciate. All that said, Ki Hong Lee’s Dong Nguyen lacks a lot in terms of verisimilitude. I ultimately ask how much applause the show deserves [and it most certainly deserves a good amount] if they couldn’t be bothered to depict an authentic Vietnamese character.
As a minor cheat which may or may not bring this list up to six, I also covered the idea of generally good entertainment containing deeply troubling issues in: Putting The Martian On Blast – Racebending, Whitewashing, and the Last Straw
The internet is genuinely one of my favourite topics, and this post was particularly fascinating to write because it ended up with the latter of the two Facebook pages, the generally bigoted and misogynistic “GRUNTS 11 Bravo, U.S. Infantry Soldiers” sharing it with their forty-something thousand followers. It also garnered two comments from people who I assume are from that very page, and who misconstrued that I was firmly on the side of women joining the army [it’s not something I’ve really looked into at any length].
Ultimately this brief look into the two served as a brief glimpse into the sort of toxicity that can be cultivated within military social groups, as well as a fantastic example of an echo chamber, in which opinions [positive or negative, in this case the latter] are spoken and then repeated ad nauseam.
Scanning through my posts this year I was surprised to see that I conducted a number of interviews, and while talking to Federico Dordei was genuinely eye-opening as far as what goes behind the scenes of the only sitcom I review, the conversation I had with Christopher Zeischegg, formerly known as Danny Wylde, stood out among all others.
Not only did Zeischegg openly opine about the adult industry, in which he currently works in a non-participatory capacity, he genuinely expressed how he felt about an incident involving him being done up in yellowface makeup. In doing so he asked some very piercing [and as far as I’m concerned, unanswered] questions about how to balance our desire for political correctness and our fetishes, and if there’s a sphere out there in which both can exist.
In a great many ways 2015 was just like 2014. Asians continued to be shafted, to some extent, in the media. Misogyny still exists and even thrives online [as well as offline]. Art remains extremely difficult to interact with or understand, and opinions surrounding it remain divisive. Relationships are hard.
My favourite posts of 2015 dealt with how to make these ideas or sentiments feel more real. If Tumblr is in fact improving then where are these enlightened posts you speak of? What do you mean Dong Nguyen isn’t a good depiction of a Vietnamese character, where’s your proof? Not to toot my own horn in regards to any research I’ve done, but we can better understand our culture, just like anything else, with concrete facts and actual sources.
Of course this breaks down with more personal aspects, and questions about both marriage and sexual fantasizing prove that not everything is easily pinned down. Culture as we know it is can be recorded and better understood, but not every side of it.
This year I sought to create conversations that had more solidity to them, while acknowledging that this could not be applied to every topic. Looking forward to 2016 one of my resolutions is to keep the facts in place while exploring how else to improve the discussion, possibly by emphasizing the human element.