Tuesday, January 31, 2017

From the Desktop

Time to clear the clutter a little---here are a few photos I've taken or resurrected recently.
In chronological order.

1. My father as a young man, c. 1950--a favorite photo of mine (nibbled on the edges by my ex-cockatiel):

2. Me and R., coworkers at the art-college library, seventeen years ago almost to the day, back when we ate carrots without a care.
Well, not really without a care:
the Supreme Court had just ruled for George W., but it was still pre-9/11, and Someone Whose Voice Is So Odious I've Turned the Radio Off until 2020 (pleasegod it will be safe then?). 

Also my hair was dark, and I fit in that pink ruffly shirt.

 3. The other afternoon I felt like civilization was crumbling (it's not, right?), so I did my part by clearing all my papers off my desk/table and setting it with the Star Trek fabric Marz gave me for Christmas, and cloth napkins. Not ironed, but cloth.

 4. After the memorial service on Saturday for my friend Kathy Moran, I added to my dead-friends corner a photo I took of her at the coffee shop (with the brick-red wall, below) where we often ran into one another.
(I know you can't help it, but everyone please stop dying please.)

Monday, January 30, 2017

Bar None

What can I even . . . ?
I can't. *

So, instead, here's a weirdly good mashup of lyrics from
Hamilton, a musical about the IMMIGRANT on the US $10 bill,
with High School Musical.

Really, it might cheer you up and give you oomph. It did me.
Rise up! Don't throw away your shot!

"If Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote High School Musical"

* No, wait, I can! I can borrow an idea from Orange Crate Art:
Join the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)--you can donate any amount--it adds up (I'm kind of not-very-employed right now so I only gave $10):


Friday, January 27, 2017

Hijabi America, I salute you.

Captain America cosplay by Dania (aka Hijabi Hooligan Cosplay):

^ via Black Nerd Problems, “I can still have fun without compromising my faith!” Dania said:
"Cosplay to me means many things. It’s freedom from the stress of normal life, and to some extent it allows me the opportunity to live vicariously through the characters I cosplay and that gives me more confidence to talk to people and have fun! Cosplay for me also means making a statement. I am a Muslim, hijab-wearing woman, and there is a lot of stigma surrounding the hijab. I want to show people that choosing to cover up does not deprive me of anything that my fellow women have — I can still have fun without compromising my faith!"
 also see Buzzfeed article "15 Hijabi Cosplayers That Are Flawless"

Thursday, January 26, 2017

On the Beach

Sister & father at the Pacific Ocean this week made masks inspired by New Yorker cartoonist Saul Steinberg.

(Yes, I was thinking of Nevil Shute's book.)

Mr. Spock Smiles upon the Humans

Scientists have made Mr. Spock break into an almost unheard of smile by planning a March for Science on Washington D.C.

You've no doubt seen that "America's scientists are launching unofficial Twitter accounts to defy Trump"

"Science writer and public health researcher Caroline Weinberg said that the news Tuesday [1/24/17] that scientists with some federal research agencies were barred from communicating with the public “lit a fire under us.”

Who can participate:
Anyone who values empirical science. 
That's it. That's the only requirement.

If there's a sister march here, I'm going... because I have sign ideas!!! 

From ^ Galileo's sketchbook. (If he didn't actually say, "eppur si muove", I bet he's pleased to have it attributed to him anyway.)

You can sign up for e-mail notifications here: www.scientistsmarchonwashington.com

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Action 1: Rebel Alliance Postcards... with Science!

I. The postcards I made to write my senators, per 10 Actions/100 Days
 I paisley-upped the Star Wars Rebel Alliance logo, and I cut the sentences from an old kids' Q&A book. 

"Almost any substance may be a catalyst."

 "What causes the molecules to dash about is heat. 
But there is motion even in a piece of ice!"
II. Welcome to Night Vale
I made these while listening to the funny, creepy podcast Welcome to Night Vale: [links to their youtube channel where you can listen to all 100+ news reports from the freaky town of Night Vale, where surreality is normal--the likable newscaster talks about, for instance, the color of the helicopters of the sheriff's secret police.

Not only good company while making art, but sadly apropos of the freaky place we find ourselves. Who knew we'd be defending science? Geez. What's happening, guys?

These are watercolor, so I'll have to send them in an envelope. My senators (Al Franken & Amy Klobuchar) are good, so I'll just say, "Thanks--keep it up!"

Speaking of fandom, the all-audio Welcome to Night Vale inspires some great art! It's like a prompt-generator.
by Starlock ^

The rest of Starlock's WTNV comix: 

(Just to note, I haven't deserted Star Trek, but it doesn't much lend itself to resistance art, since Kirk & Co. reflect creator Gene Roddenberry's idea of a near-utopian future--you can easily punch holes in it now, but they serve a [mostly, supposedly] benign interplanetary government. Actually, yeah, you can punch holes in it, but there are some solid ideas there too.)

III. Hello? The Internet exists now.

Here's a surprisingly clueless article from Vox: "The Women’s March shows how intertwined pop culture and politics have become" Jan 24, 2017. 

It starts fine: "Judging by the Women’s Marches that took place around the world on Saturday, January 21, the revolution will be pop cultural," and posts signs that use pop culture. (Like I did.)
But then it quotes some Expert:
“The consumer of popular culture is an isolated individual. There is nothing that binds the consumer with his or her fellow citizens other than the act of consumption."
? ? ?
Where's this guy from? The '70s? 
Oh! He's a philosophy professor. Maybe he doesn't even know about the internet & fandom.

Counter-Example: This fanartist on Tumblr sharing with others about making art while living with depression:
"I also always wanted to aggressively demystify the artistic myth as much as possible. It’s easy to assume artists got where they are because they figured out some sort of shortcut you didn’t. The opposite is often true. "
To the extent that the philosophy guy is right, the same thing could be said about politics:
Many people just "consume" politics, reading all the news sources, as if knowing what's going on is the same as being involved, as if watching sports were the same thing as playing sports.

I think the 10 Actions is smart to start with such a simple--and physical--action as sending a postcard, to encourage people to step across the threshold between observing and acting. 
Worked for me.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

10 Actions / 100 Days

I'm a lazy sod when it comes to taking political action, so I welcome the first step-by-step action in the 10 Actions in 100 Days from the My Little Rebel Alliance Women's March:

This is activism-made-easy for people like me who need their "enter your zip code to find your senators" option.
I don't need no stinkin' printed postcards though: I'm going to paint my own!

You can sign up on the site (scroll to the end) to get e-mails of the actions as they roll out every ten days. 

 [What's going to be the name of our resistance movement I wonder?]

"Who would have thought a good little girl like you could destroy my beautiful wickedness."

I pray/hope that whatever damage Trump causes doesn't outweigh the good he's doing by being so blatantly unlikable.
That is his greatest gift to those of us who want to resist him and his works:
He is disgusting like the giant slug Jabba the Hut, not seductive like Edward (the vampire who literally sparkles). That's a great aid to the resistance.

We Americans keep electing likable bad guys as president, like Reagan and George W. 

It's harder to work up resistance to someone who brews attractive hypnotic drugs, like the pretty poppies of the Wicked Witch of the West.
Along with complacency, fear and disgust are efficient political tools. Political manipulators are great at hyping (or even just making up) things that make your lip curl or your stomach go acid-y.

People & politics that want to be kind, understanding, and helpful can't utilize that political strategy. 
So this scary and icky guy is a boon to the center-left.
Trump is like a self-saucing pudding*: he makes his own puddle of ooze. 

A Full Bucket of Water
Of course there's a lot of paper- and footwork to wrangle free-roaming disgust into something effective.

From the New York Times:
"Todd Gitlin, a former president of Students for a Democratic Society and a scholar of political movements, noted that the civil rights and antiwar movements succeeded because of the organized networks that preceded and followed any single mass protest.
'The march on Washington in 1963 was the culmination of years of local activism, including civil disobedience, registering voters, protecting civil rights workers and voter education movements, he said. 'Organizations need to be ready to receive the protesters when they’re ready to take the next step. You need to be a full-service movement.'
"That effort, the [Women's March] organizers say, is already underway." 

Quote from John Waters, who knows something about utilizing disgust, from ^ 

* I hadn't heard of self-saucing puddings until  I watched the Great British Bake-Off. They sound pretty great, but there's also something off-putting about food that oozes.

Still, I wouldn't say no if you made me these:
Paul Hollywood's Chocolate Volcanoes

Monday, January 23, 2017

Intersectional Pussycat! Knit! Knit!

Some folks have pointed out that all the emphasis on lady-parts and pink pussies at the Women's Marches excluded transgender people by focusing on reproductive systems as the determining factor in gender. 
As someone whose parts match her self-identity, I liked seeing vulvas etc. on display in a positive, powerful way for a change, but it would be fun if there more posters that mixed up gender & sex too. There were some.

I have nothing else to do *cough cough* but play around with a couple re-presentations. So I made these.

Also, some folks said the pink pussy hats were racist because not everyone's labia are pink. The hats make your head into a pussy-cat with ears, but, still, yeah, point taken. (I did think the march was awfully pink myself.)
Anyway, the hat colors would be really easy to change--for instance, the bottom knitter in the photo below is knitting a dark purple edge...  

Thinking about knitting, I had to make this collage.

Would folks get the pun? Not sure how generally well known this movie is--Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!
I haven't actually seen it, so now I must.

Noted queer feminist film critic B. Ruby Rich said that when she first saw Faster, Pussycat! in the 1970s she "was absolutely outraged that [she'd] been forced to watch this misogynist film that objectified women and that was really just short of soft-core porn."
"Years later it got re-released and I watched it on video at the start of the New Queer Cinema moment — it must’ve been ’91 or ’92 when I saw it, and I just loved it.
And I ended up programming it at the Pacific Film archive in a program they’d asked me to do for a special summer festival called “Scary Women” where I showed it with Basic Instinct.

And what I talked about was how the audience writes the film; how this film, which seemed to be one thing when I saw it in the ’70s in the heyday of feminism, turned into something completely different when I saw it again 15 years later in the heyday of queer culture.

So I wrote that piece for the Village Voice, talking about my first opinion, my radically changed opinion, and how films get edited by history. And that’s a really wonderful thing to be able to do.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Political Fan-art: Star Wars Edition

I can't get enough of the homemade signs from the Women's March yesterday. I've really missed hand-printed signs since the advent of home printers. Plenty of posters were more high-tech, but  I loved seeing that a piece of cardboard and a magic marker still work!

This is my round-up of posters from the march and other political fan-art that draws on (mostly) Star Wars
Be forewarned: contains some pro-Trump art too.

Princess-General Leia appears in the role of unofficial Mother of Us All at anti-Trump marches.
How did everybody know? 
Was it independent convergent evolution––entirely possible, since not only is she an actual rebel general, but her actor, the very feminist Carrie Fisher, recently died–– or was it like my grade school days, when some girls used to call each other up and agree on wearing matching outfits the next day?

This one showed up a lot: A Woman’s Place Is In The Resistance [links to downloadable image], designed by Hayley Gilmore:
 Gilmore says, 
"Due to copyright of the Princes Leia press photo from 1977, I’m unable to place this poster for sale online.
A Woman’s Place Is In The Resistance … featuring General/Princess Leia Organa is intended to be a tribute to the life and legacy of Carrie Fisher. I wanted it to serve as a source of inspiration to those participating in the women marches across the country. It’s amazing to see how much joy this has brought people!"
Luke Skywalker tweets his approval:

Here's a great mash-up of Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Star Wars from the Daily Dot's "32 of the best protest signs from the Women's March". The lines Princess Leia said to Obi Wan Kenobi are now addressed to RBG: 
 And here, below, is our president as the Death Star in Star Wars. HARSH!
Btw, I only found one Star Trek poster, but it's a good one:
in London, Ian McKellan carried a poster of his friend Patrick Stewart as Captain Jean-Luc Picard, facepalming. (It's an old meme.)

So... I got wondering if pro-Trump fan-art exists.
I found various photoshops of Trump Triumphant that aren't fanart. I love this one--I can really get behind its message:
                                   "Photoshop is hard, guys!"

I didn't find a much pro-Trump fan art based on popular media...
But then, I think fandom expresses its political views in the more immediate form of memes of photos of-the-moment (with or without words), like Michelle Obama's side-eye at the inauguration next to Jim Halpert, from the Office Scenes' Twitter:

Flama ("a digital network created by, for and starring young Latinos") posted a round-up in Nov. 4, 2016:
"There’s Donald Trump Fan Art And It’s Really Very Sad":
"A lot of the images conflate Trump with images from the Warhammer 40K series, in which a God-Emperor has arisen to protect humanity from cosmic threats."
Again, I sympathize: Photoshop is hard! and one of the hard things about it is getting the relative sizes right. I've had a hard time with that myself.

But--sometimes it works! This is a pretty great manip of David's "Napoleon Crosses the Alps", from

"5 Ways In Which Trump Supporters Are Like Cult Followers"
If you want a megalomaniac who is going to decimate the nation's youth and bankrupt its economy you could do worse than Napoleon. Heck, the French still love him, right? Well, some do.

It's really much easier to find anti-Trump fan art. 
Here's another Star Wars one (wow):
Trump as Jabba the Hut with Mexican artist Frida Kahlo taking the place of Princess Leia as his chained slave:

And another: Trump as villain Darth Vader & Hillary as Princess Leia, from the "Trump x Hillary I Love to Hate You" series, by Brazilian artist Billy Butcher:

But, "Rebellions are built on hope," according to Star Wars Rogue One.
So let's end on a happy, hopeful note:
This isn't fanart, but these collaged lady-bits prints by artist Ashley Longshore are so pretty & fun!
(From ^ "32 of the best protest signs from the Women's March" in the Daily Dot, "the internet's newspaper") 

Does all this give me hope?
You know what? It really does. The energy, the creativity, and the existence of a set of shared pop-culture references, yeah, it really does.

Sunday Morning Musing on the March

"There are more of us"
--sign at the Women's March, January 21, 2017 [via The Atlantic,  "When Protest Fails", comparing yesterday's march with Russian protest marches]

I know a lot of people like me who didn't march in the Women's March yesterday, though we hate Trump.

Is "hate" the right word? 
*looks up etymology*
from PIE root *kad- "sorrow, hatred" (source also of Avestan sadra- "grief, sorrow, calamity," Greek kedos "care, trouble, sorrow," Welsh cas "pain, anger")
 (Avestan? [see *footnote])

Sorrow? grief? calamity? care? trouble? pain? anger?

Check, check, check, check, check, check, check.

OK, yeah, I'll stick with "hate." It's a legitimate feeling, after all, not an action. You can hate something and choose nonviolence.

People didn't march because they were sick, out of town, too old for the cold, don't like crowds, working, otherwise unable...
I love everything about this--the bike, the idea, the toy--from this morning ^. (Maybe Red Bear wants to do this too...)

Though the headcount of marchers here went up to 100,000, I can name a dozen people who chose not to or couldn't march but are just as strongly pro-democracy and -human rights as those who did. 

On the other hand, Maura marched with a couple women friends who'd never protested anything before. 

My point is, that was just the tip of the iceberg.  

Isn't it weird, the gap between the march and the inauguration, between the millions of women in pink hats and the one man in the tin hat?
This is the weirdest politics I've ever seen. Not that I pay a lot of attention.
From this blog's sidebar index:
things look like other things (16)
Finland (28)
Starsky and Hutch (43) 
politics (83) 
poetry (85) 
food (96)  
movies (217) 
Star Trek (382)  
But whether I like it or pay close attention or not, US politics usually makes some sense to me.
I can't quite do the math for this though.

So, what now?
Will the energy dissipate, or will we, as the sign with the Beyoncé lyric exhorts, get in formation?

People organize to push back when there's something to push against. This guy [I don't even like to use his name] is so consistently rigid, he might just provide a wall to push against. His whiny, blaming, stupid tweet yesterday [reported by Washington Post], for instance, infuriated me.
And all his petty bickering about size. He's disgusting, like stepping on something wet and soft with your bare foot when you get up at night.

I was heartened by the marches around the world!
Women's rights = human rights. 

I think my blog's index entries for "politics" will start going up.
"Avestan is one of the Eastern Iranian languages (related to Old Persian) within the Indo-European language family known only from its use as the language of Zoroastrian scripture, i.e. the Avesta*, from which it derives its name." 

BELOW: An illustrated copy of the Avestan Videvdad Sadeh, the longest of all the Zoroastrian liturgies, copied in Yazd, Iran in 1647, British Library:

Saturday, January 21, 2017

#WomensMarchMN (Fandom Version)

More than 60,000 people [revised to 100,000] turned out at the Minnesota Capitol in St. Paul for the Minnesota Women's March!
That's 3x 5x the expected number.

I didn't go because I can't take a day off writing, 
and also I'm feeling very introverted right now;
therefore I've extra-enjoyed seeing the round-up of social media.

As I browsed, I screencapped some signs that referred to fandoms or pop culture (or literature or history).
I'm just going to plunk them here in no particular order.

  ^ William Shakespeare — "Though she be but little, she is fierce!"

 One more sign--maybe the most startling and unexpected reference:

The reference is to Judith Slaying Holofernes, a painting by Italian artist Artemisia Gentileschi completed between 1614–20, depicting the assassination of the Assyrian general Holofernes by the Israelite hero Judith, from the apocryphal Book of Judith.