Tag Archives: activist

“Kimmy Goes to a Play” as a Conversation Between Tina Fey and Asian American Activists

The culture war is a conversation.

While it is ultimately a conflict, more often than not this takes the form of ideas and criticism being slung back and forth across the trenches. To be heard is a minor success, but to be actually understood is victory.

Within this conversation it’s undoubtedly artists, especially those who have garnered celebrity status, who have the most powerful voices.


In 2014 the eponymous host of The Colbert Report featured a segment on his show about “The Ching-Chong Ding-Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever”. Given his popularity it reached far and wide, and was eventually viewed by a Twitter activist who created the hashtag #CancelColbert in response.

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As it was meant to call attention to and ridicule the outrageous fact that a national sports team is named after an ethnic slur the response was out of line. It was a classic case of [obvious] satire being taken the wrong way, but by inadvertently contributing to what has been dubbed “a fake year of outrage’ this person’s misstep resulted in others who campaign for better representation and the like being worse than silenced, which is to say, ignored.

Despite calling out from what is ostensibly the same side, the misstep of a single loud voice meant that others were unheard.


The exchange between artist and critic is rarely ever an even one, and only becomes more difficult given the sensitivity surrounding such personal creative endeavours.

Lena Dunham is the star and creator of HBO’s Girls, and received enough disapproval about the lack of diversity in a show set in New York City that she was asked about it by NPR. She responded that “[she takes] that criticism very seriously,” and that very same year had Donald Glover playing Hannah’s Black boyfriend on the show.

While the presence of Sandy on the dramedy was a beneficial one, with arguments between the two capturing the tension that can be present in interracial relationships [including such exchanges as: “I never thought about the fact that you were black once.” / “That’s insane. You should, because that’s what I am.”], Glover’s character faltered in that he was very much a response to criticism. Continue reading

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Am I Disablist? 2 Surprising Ways We Still Oppress Disabled People or: How A.J. Withers Changed the Way I Think About Disability

A little while ago, I was chatting with Evan when I made some offhand comment about something being “crazy” or “lame”. Honestly, I can’t remember what the comment was about. I do remember Evan mentioned that he was making a conscious effort to avoid language that helped embed our negative cultural attitude towards disability and mental illness.

At the time I was somewhat dismissive of his comment. Don’t get me wrong, I certainly do believe that our words matter.

But in that moment, I just filled away his comment without much thought.

I wonder if the reason I was so dismissive is because of the social invisibility of disability. As a society, we tend to ignore the voices of disabled people, unless they have a particularly tragic and/or inspirational story to share. We don’t want to hear about the ways our society continues to be stacked against disabled people. And we certainly don’t want to hear that we need to change. Continue reading

Bernie Sanders VS. Black Lives Matter: How Is This Helping?

I haven’t been this depressed about writing a post since the attack on Charlie Hebdo. Even as my fingers move across my keyboard I can feel my willpower just oozing right out of me. And it’s not that the issues here aren’t worth talking about- they absolutely are. It’s just that the whole affair has been so…

pointless.

Let me just hit you with the hard facts before we jump into this morass of stupidity and futility.

This Saturday in Seattle Democratic-Socialist and presidential-hopeful Bernie Sanders was holding a political rally for his campaign. Shortly after beginning, a pair of protestors from Black Lives Matter (a nation-wide movement speaking out against police violence towards African Americans) climbed up on stage. The two protestors, for some twenty minutes, recounted grievances of the local black community and scolded Sanders for not having been vocal enough about police violence towards minorities. “…Join us now in holding Bernie Sanders accountable…” stated Marissa Johnson, one of the protestors.

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Fame Day: Seth Rogen, Alzheimer’s Disease Activist

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“America whispers the word Alzheimer’s because their government whispers the word Alzheimer’s, and although a whisper is better than the silence that the Alzheimer’s community has been facing for decades it’s still not enough.”

Those make up some of the closing remarks from a man who starred opposite James Franco in a hilarious parody of Kanye West’s “Bound 2” music video. An actor who portrayed a disgruntled barista whose get-rich-quick idea scheme was to create the adult film Swallow My Cockuccino. He’s the one responsible for co-writing a film that starred Jonah Hill being anally violated by a demon [spoilers for This Is The End, my bad].

Seth Rogen is all of those things, but he is also an Alzheimer’s disease activist. Continue reading

Fame Day: Cop Watch

Readers, as I was in the middle of researching my originally intended Fame Day I was interrupted by the sound of pounding outside my door. It was the cops, interrogating my next door neighbor about the last time he saw someone. I stood by the door, listening- though the primary cop speaking was yelling so loudly I really didn’t have to. Of course, it just made me extra sure I got his exact words:

“I hate this fucking complex.”

“I will give you shit until you give me what I want.”

Other, similar statements followed- though I try to observe Evan’s general rule of keeping profanity to a minimum. The neighbor repeatedly said that he hadn’t seen they guy they were after, which only resulted in both more shouting from the cop and, from the sound of it, him stomping into the apartment. Without a warrant or the consent of the my neighbor, which constitutes a violation of his 4th amendment rights.

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Fame Day: Socialism Conference

I’m writing these words in the last hours of what has been a quiet May Day.

For me, at least.

Elsewhere in the world, red and black flags are being proudly waved as people march through the streets, chanting and singing. In Greece, a nation-wide strike is being carried out in defiance of massive lay-offs enacted by the government. In Bangladesh, thousands are protesting after the collapse of a sweatshop resulted in the death and injury of hundreds of workers. Similar protests have broken out in the Philippines as nearly 10,000 workers march in Manila. Youth in Spain are raging against the nearly 30% unemployment rate. Korea, Cambodia, Turkey, Indonesia- just to name a handful- are witnessing similar turnouts.

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