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So.  Last night, while taking a much-needed stress relief bath, I watched the third season finale of Mad Men-- which means that I'm now all caught up on those episodes, and have to wait for brand new ones just like every other sad bastard in the world.

I likewise have to wait weekly for Doctor Who episodes (which, if River Song appears in that many more episodes, will cease to be an excruciating wait for me.  Eurgh).  It has been several months since I felt the "when in doubt, re-watch Torchwood" urge-- I daresay I might be breaking up with that fandom, and to be honest, I've more or less taken a general hiatus from any fan activity for the past couple months.  I don't even know what the latest meta debates are.  You know how that feels?  It feels refreshing.

But that's not my point.  My point is, I do not currently have a TV show to obsess over-- to watch in long marathon sessions.  And this hurts my heart a bit.

So, dear readers, what TV show do you recommend I obsess over next and why?  Please comment.

Also, secondary, but still important questions: 1) If a person (say, me) felt woefully ignorant when it came to film-- film history, classic film, quality film in general, what would you demand they watch?  2) Name one band/musician who has come to your attention in the past three years that you think I should be listening to right now.
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I should really be going back to work, but I just have to-- HAVE TO-- share the following gem of an article with y'all:

OH NOES, YOU GUYS. AMERICANS ARE GETTING TOO FAT TO JOIN THE MILITARY AND FIGHT SENSELESS WARS. WHICH SURELY MEANS THAT THE TERRORISTS ARE GOING TO WIN! NOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!

I mean, I could get upset at the uncritical fatphobia here, and the insensitive picture of the headless fatty torso with which the BBC oh-so-imaginatively chose to adorn the article, but seriously: the whole story's too ludicrous for sustained rage.

In conclusion: LOL.

STOP THE WAR IN AFGHANISTAN.  GET TOO FAT TO FIGHT.


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Those of you who know me on Facebook have already seen my request for recs, but I thought I'd replicate it in my DW and LJ, for maximum coverage.

This year for Giftmas, I received, among other things, some gift cards for Powell's and Amazon.com. At the moment, I'm also in Portland, city of the awesomest independent bookstores ever (hello, Powell's and In Other Words), and would like to blow some of said money in these stores while they're still just a public transit ride away. In order to achieve this most noble of goals, I am looking for book recommendations in the following areas, in order of priority:

1. Fantasy and/or sci-fi novels with queer characters and/or themes.

2. Books about bi/pan/omni/fluid sexuality, that are not-- I repeat, NOT-- personal essays. I want something that's a little less navel-gazey than most of the current work out there on bisexuality, and a little more researched. Please. Oh, please.

3. Books about neoliberalism. Preferably with a scholarly bent, since that's part of where my research is headed.

4. Books about the intersection of race and body politics, where "body politics" might be considered to include (but not be limited to) fatness, disability, health, genetics, reproductive rights, sex, and/or the politics of corporeality or bodily autonomy in general.

5. Books about the intersection of race and sexuality.

6. Anything else you can think of, given what you know about my personality, interests, tastes, etc.

Thanks in advance for any recs!
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Why am I awake at this ungodly hour, you ask? Well, there are two reasons. The first is that last night's New Year's festivities kept me up past 4 a.m., and like an idiot, I spent a good 2-3 hours this afternoon napping, instead of dealing with my fatigue and then getting to bed at a decent hour. The second reason is that now is the time my brain picked to finally process today's (well, technically yesterday's, now) airing of The End of Time Part 2, which marks the end of David Tennant's run as The Doctor (*sob*).

Here thar be dragons. Er, well, spoilers. Spoiler-bearing dragons? )
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So, I've been thinking about the recent controversy surrounding the so-called "too fat to graduate" rule at Lincoln University, in which students with a BMI over 30 are required to take a three credit-hour class on fitness in order to graduate.

Now, like most fat activists, I think the rule is bullshit. I've been thinking about the ways in which the whole BMI system of measurement is bullshit anyway (Discuss: my final in one of my classes involves me writing a Foucauldian analysis of the BMI. Revolutionary idea, or the academic equivalent of having a wank?), and the ways in which body size, physical fitness, intellectual fitness, and fitness for the "real world" are equated in this policy are both obvious and infuriating.

But.

I've also been thinking about how I read the fact that Lincoln University is a HBCU, and the implications of me, as a fat white girl, getting all up in arms over their fitness policy. I'm not saying absolutely that I have no right to be indignant about what I see as a fatphobic policy, particularly if that anger can be somehow expressed in solidarity with the students who are opposed to the policy, and who suffer adverse effects because of it. But the online discussion I've seen so far has pretty much utterly neglected to mention the way race figures into this issue, and/or what this controversy reveals about the ways race and body size intersect.

While I haven't come to any conclusions on this matter myself, I feel that it would be irresponsible to not speak out about the possible problems with the way this controversy is being framed right now. So I'm hoping to open up a space for discussion. What are the intersections between race and body size that are brought up by Lincoln University's BMI policy? As a fat white woman, where does my right to express rage about fatphobic policies end, and my risk of participating in white paternalism begin? Is it at all possible to engage in the former without invoking the latter, and if so, how? Finally, how is the failure on the part of many people in the "fatosphere" to really deal with the possible racial dimensions of this issue contributing to further white supremacy in the fat activist community?

Thoughts, anyone? 'Cause all I've got is questions.
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This is a question for the anti-racist types. Particularly those who do some teaching:

Can any of you point me to an good article about the phrase "the race card," or "playing the race card"? I have way too many students who are using that phrase uncritically in their papers and/or class discussions, and I'd like to get them to think a bit more critically about what that phrase means.

Thanks in advance, y'all.
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There I was, just correcting student papers, and fuming over the [profile] kinkfreezone debacle. And then it hit me.

A plot bunny.

And then there was fic. And it was... fic.

I am so, so sorry.

Title: Vanilla
Fandom/Pairing: Torchwood; Jack/Ianto
Rating: Well, there's no sex in it.
Timeline: Post-They Keep Killing Suzie
Summary: Ianto doesn't want to do anything kinky.
Wordcount: 788
Disclaimer: Torchwood is not mine. Hell, I'd disown this fic, too, but I can't.
Author's Notes: This is: (a) a very blatant response to the kink restriction list on [profile] kinkfreezone; and (b) the first fic I have written and finished since I was... oh, about 16 or so. I do not promise a literary masterpiece, but at least, I hope it is mildly (albeit pointedly) entertaining. No beta; ergo, this is all my fault.

The twenty-first century is when everything changes, and everything is supposed to include sexual mores. )
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Help me fannish friends.  You're my only hope!

I have to do a presentation in my class tonight about Henry Jenkins' Convergence Culture, and I wanted to talk a little about Jenkins' role as a fandom scholar, as a potentially divisive figure, how his work has evolved, etc.  And I am trying-- believe me when I say I have searched the Internets far and wide-- for that quote from Textual Poachers that half of fandom has posted on their blogs.  Only, of course, the one time I actually need it is the one time I can't find it anywhere.

Help me!  What is the quote from Textual Poachers everyone loves?  You know, the one about how fans are creating a folk tradition in a time where the folk tales are all owned by corporations, or some shit.  What exactly does he say there?

Thanks, love, kisses, &c.

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Wow. I'm really fucking glad I busted my ass, forsaking all other classes, to read 100+ pages of Critical Race Theory for my class today, only to discuss exactly none of it.
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I cannot in any way take credit for this discussion. sheanaSheana started it, and I am shamelessly stealing it from her Facebook, because I am curious as to other people's responses.

The topic is: old people who are hot. I recognize that "old" is a highly subjective and culturally loaded term; however, in this particular discussion, I am operationally defining "old" as "anybody over the age of 60." Below, please find an incomplete list of people we (well, mostly I) think are hot:

Judi Dench
Maggie Smith
Ian McKellen
Toni Morrison
Patrick Stewart
Elisabeth Sladen
Alan Rickman
Helen Mirren
Jeremy Irons
Kate Bornstein
Stevie Nicks

All right, friends list, now it's your turn. Hot old people: GO!
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Apparently, being passionate about sci-fi and/or fantasy makes you a member of a minority.

Is the correct response to this "Being oppressed: ur doing it wrong", or "Appropriation: ur doing it"?

I suppose geeks and fen are statistical minorities, sure. But taking a term that, at least in an American context, is laden with connotations of being historically marginalized, of systematically lacking access to societal privileges; a term that, I would argue, clearly has racial connotations in the US, and using it to argue that you're unfairly marginalized because your favorite fictional characters get killed off? And all this so close on the heels of RaceFail? Not okay. DO NOT WANT.

In other news, I have, gods help me, started writing a fic. It's not fantastic, but it's pretty damn good for someone who hasn't written fiction of any sort in seven years. Can I convince anyone to beta that shit for me once I'm done? What if I bat my eyelashes flirtatiously in your general direction?
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The following links were ganked from, I believe, [livejournal.com profile] ithiliana and [livejournal.com profile] rm, respectively. I've had some interesting discussions about them (well, about the first one; for the second, I more or less seethed in silence) on my Facebook profile, and I wanted to bring the discussion over to my LJ, to see what y'all thought.

First link: The Radical Masculinity blog discusses why the term "ally" is problematic. There are a lot of reasons why I think this essay is interesting and crucial, but the topic I wanted to bring to my LJ is this: how does the meaning of "ally" differ depending on the community one allies oneself with? Do all marginalized communities require the same things of their allies?

Further thoughts: we cut because we care. )

The second link is less abstract, but nonetheless broke my poor little politically charged fangirl heart. It's about how Torchwood is apparently a pro-American neoconservative show that is all about how Europe needs a more or less constant dose of tough American love to stay afloat. It's also apparently about: a) Jack Harkness mounting a War On Terror against the evil alien hordes, staying the course and never questioning his tactics; c) people of color embracing the American melting pot ideal and never once "complaining" about the impact of racism on their lives; c) advancing a pro-life agenda.

OMG YOU GUYS, I DO NOT EVEN KNOW WHERE TO START. )

Thoughts, y'all?
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A friend of mine posted a Washington Blade article on Facebook-- an annual affair in that particular newspaper, I think-- examining the salaries of assorted national and East Coast LGBT organization leaders, and how those salaries compare to the salaries of other executive directors of non-LGBT nonprofits with similar budgets. Not a lot here that's surprising-- Joe Solmonese of the HRC is in the 90th percentile of nonprofit executive director earnings? Shocking!-- but it stirred some thoughts that have been kicking around in my head lately about the rise of activism as a profession, and what those of us on the ground expect of our supposed "leaders."

I've written a lot lately-- more in Facebook than on here, I think-- about leftist queers who do not think that marriage should be the foremost focus of LGBT equality struggles. The argument, as I understand it, is that most LGBT people do not spend most of their adult life in monogamous romantic dyads, so an activist agenda that favors and secures rights for that one particular family form, at the expense of all the other family and household arrangements we form, is prejudiced, misguided, and frequently unhelpful. And even if you are in that kind of arrangement, a lot of the benefits that LGBT activists cite as evidence that legalizing marriage is necessary are only available to people of a certain income bracket. (Access to employer health insurance comes to mind here.) Obviously, a same-sex couple, both of whom work at minimum wage jobs that don't offer benefits, will not have access to rights such as employer health insurance, no matter how married they are. And, of course, there are the questions of mainstreaming and assimilation: will the right to marry become the imperative to marry? Does this focus on marriage necessarily take time and energy from other issues LGBT rights organizations should also be addressing, such as trans rights?

Generally speaking, I agree with all of this, though it must be said that my critiques are more in line with Lisa Duggan and Nancy Polikoff than those of Matt "Mattilda" Bernstein Sycamore. (I don't have a link for Sycamore's work, but man, does ze piss me off. I yelled at hir a few years back when ze made an appearance at Powell's.) What frustrates me about the bulk of critiques of the focus on same-sex marriage-- and one of the principal reasons that I align more with Duggan and Polikoff than with Sycamore-- is the question of responsibility. We may agree that the present-day priorities of most mainstream LGBT rights organizations are fucked up, but whose responsibility is it to challenge and/or change that agenda, and how?

Once upon a time, I used to think LJ cuts were for lazy people who couldn't handle reading. Now I graciously place them in most of my entries. Feel grateful. )

What can we (can I) do to advance the gay agenda we actually want to see? I'm particularly interested in talking to people who have experience agitating for health care reform-- that's a movement I've been wanting to get into, but I'm not really connected to anyone in it yet.
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It occurs to me that, between freaking out over finishing my thesis and my week of fangirlish anxiousness, I never wrote in here about the protest I helped plan a couple of weeks ago. So I wanted to take some time to dwell on that a bit-- what happened, what worked, and what didn't.

The Tuesday before last, my friend Angie sent me a text message while I was studying in the local coffee shop. She had been driving down one of BG's main drags (we have two; maybe you could count Poe Road as the third. Let's split the difference and say that BG has two and a half main drags), and had seen the Girls Gone Wild van in front of Ziggy Zoomba's, a local bar. The Girls Gone Wild franchise and its founder, Joe Francis, have a varied and well-documented history of treating women in an illegal, semi-legal, and just plain exploitative manner, so naturally we were not best pleased to see Francis and his ilk in our town. But by the time we knew they were there, it was 3 p.m., and the Girls Gone Wild "party" was slated to start at 9. So I won't say we planned the best protest ever, but I think we did pretty damn well for only six hours of preparation.

Planning and protest details in here. )
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This one will consist of less critique, and more squee.

Now, in new list format! )
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So, I just watched the first episode of Torchwood: Children of Earth. Normally, I'd keep this in my fangirl filter, but since a bunch of my friends are suddenly coming out of the closet as Torchwood fans, I thought I'd make it more widely available.

Mostly what I have to say is: be careful what you wish for.

Oh sweet Jebus, the fangirls are going to kill me. )
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I would like to take a moment this Memorial Day weekend to explain why I, a self-described leftist, radical queer, and pacifist, who is actively opposed to the current tangle o' wars the U.S. is embroiled in and to war in general, support the repeal of the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy toward LGBTQ folk in the U.S. military.

A lot of radical queers, in and out of my acquaintance, are really critical of mainstream gay rights organizations' decision to make the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell a movement priority. They argue that the "freedom" to serve as an openly LGBTQ person in the military is, in fact, the freedom to participate in a violent, unnecessary, racist, generally fucked up institution that serves only the interests of the wealthy corporation CEOs who stand to gain financially from war. Many argue, furthermore, that prioritizing the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell denotes a woeful lack of attention to intersectional politics in the mainstream LGBTQ (or, well, let's not kid ourselves-- the mainstream gay) rights movement. Basically, the argument is that putting so much stock in allowing lesbian and gay people to serve openly in the U.S. military amounts to prioritizing the "rights" of gay Americans at the expense of people in less wealthy countries, and that human rights gained by one group at the expense of others are not, in fact, rights at all.

And generally, I agree with these viewpoints. I am highly skeptical of mainstream, liberal and moderate gay rights activists who couch the debate over Don't Ask, Don't Tell in terms of simple patriotism, in terms of the right to "serve one's country openly." I think that anyone who can argue after the last eight years (hell, after the last fifty years) that taking part in the U.S. military constitues "freedom" or "service" is, at best, naive; and at worst, full of shit. I sure as hell agree that mainstream gay rights activists and organizations fail, for the most part, at intersectional politics, and that the framing of the policy (but, as I will explain later, not the attempt at repealing the policy itself) is reflective of that failure. But I'm going to argue, hopefully convincingly, that it is precisely in the name of intersectional politics that the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy needs to be repealed.

Reasons and analysis lurk behind this here cut. )
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So... I'm working through the race and ethnicity chapter with my students at the mo', and predictably, several of the white students are turning in reaction papers to me that talk about the evils of "reverse" discrimination. I know that, once upon a time, I read a pretty excellent essay on the term(s) "reverse discrimination"/"reverse racism," and why these terms are egregious and offensive warpings of the way discrimination and racism actually work. But I cannot, for the life of me, remember what it is I read; and an Intarwebz search for the term "reverse discrimination" reveals any number of resources that take the term at face value. Help, anyone?
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