4.16.2017

Celebrating 10 Years of "Purple Jars of Rice" (2007)

Purple Jars of Rice is a collection comprising a short story, a novella, and several poems. The first tale, "Murder in the Whorehouse", recounts the lives of four sisters who have experienced one disappointment in life after the other and seemingly begin to exist in a world apart. The second story, "Sunrise over Juju Mountain", is a fictionalized memoir of a cynical young girl whose overly eccentric (and slightly perverse) father attempts to balance Old World culture with modern day distractions. And finally, the poems echo the thoughts and comments of various young students on their roles in society.
Wow.  Can't believe it's been a whole decade.

And yet...ten years ago I published my very first book under the name Ankhesen Mié. I would later discontinue its production and sale for various reasons, but in honor of its tenth year, I've decided to re-release physical copies through the Middle Child Press Bookstore. I currently have fourteen copies for sale from my private collection; I will autograph them as Ankhesen Mié.

For those of you just know getting to know me, you may not recognize me in my writing from over ten years ago. I was in much more...turbulent headspace, if you will. Nevertheless, holding a copy of my first, self-published book will always be one of the proudest moments in my entire life.

4.14.2017

Dreamcasting #Xena

So I'm on one of my Xena kicks, and while combing through some of my old posts, I came across a dreamcast I did for Joss Whedon's Firefly.  After all these years, it finally occurred to me to do one for Xena.

Now, Lucy Lawless herself said she was down for a reboot and cheered on the idea of a Black Xena.  I disagree (I know, weird...right?).  By all means, keep Xena a butch, dark-haired White woman.  Make Gabrielle the petite, feminine, dark-skinned Black woman.  Doing so kills two birds with one stone.

Alicia Napoleon as "Xena"
As far as I'm concerned, she should've been Wonder Woman.  I really respected what Napoleon recently said in an interview with Allure that it's not a man's body; it could never be a man's body because it's a woman's body...it just happens to also be strong.  Never forget that the most offensive thing a woman can ever do is to actually be strong (just ask Serena Williams).

Ashleigh Murray as "Gabrielle"
Murray has this perky, bubbly, fun vibe I've adored since I saw her in Deidra and Laney Rob a Train.  And though she was playing a teen in that film, she's actually almost thirty.  Puts me in mind of another sorceress actress.  She'd be great as the chatty, whimsical companion of the Warrior Princess.  And I'd love to see Murray's take on "accidentally" becoming an Amazon Princess.

4.09.2017

"The Get Down" Better Stop Fucking With Our Emotions #dizzeeXthor

Noah Le Gros as "Thor" and Jaden Smith as "Dizzee"
Spoilers, I guess

I just finished Part 2 of The Get Down on Netflix last night and I am pissed AF at the handling of graffiti artists Dizzee and Thor.

Seriously, tho.  I'm rooting for these two.  They're my favorite couple on the whole damn show (I'm so over Zeke and Mylene).  Dear hetero writers: if you're gonna give us a same-sex couple, then give us a damn same-sex couple.  Don't give us "hints"; don't tease us like we're middle school children.  Dizzee and Thor are not only sexually attracted to each other, they're in love.  When they're busted for spray painting and Thor is sent to jail, I was ticked at first, but then the writers made it work by having Dizzee write to Thor regularly, thus beautifully continuing their romance (also, it was nice to have the White boy go to jail rather than the other way around; the pilot established Dizzee already got locked up before).

When Thor is let out, the first thing he does is find Dizzee who, in a drug-induced haze, finally admits out loud he's in love.  He then collapses and a calm, methodical Thor is shown removing his coat to cover Dizzee's body and then applying chest compressions.  I can't explain why I love that scene so much.

But then we don't see them together during Dizzee's recuperation (we don't really see much of them period), and the next time we do, they're...painting.  Each other (somewhat), walls, other stuff, but no kissing or real touching or even conversation.  It was like someone allowed Jaden Smith to both write and direct that scene, which was a huge mistake.

3.29.2017

Doing the Least: White Feminism and the Word "Girl"

*insert eye roll emoji*



Y'all, the only reason on I'm weighing on this nonsense is it's long past time that White people start using the word "White."  It's a damn adjective, a modifier, if you will.  And the reason I'm pushing for its use is that while White people may consider themselves the "default" here in America, they are most assuredly not.

When you hear the phrase "women and people of color" what the speaker really means and should say is "White women and POC."  And the reason I'm bringing THAT is up should be obvious: White feminism is real, children, and we need to label it every time we see it because when White women are considered the "default", the things which only they say and do are considered the default for all women in America.  So when Mayim I-benefit-from-White-privilege Bialik goes on a rant saying, "We shouldn't call women 'girls'", what she should be saying, "White women don't like being called 'girls'" and leave the rest of us out of it.

I'm not going to go into how Black women refer to one another as "my girl" or "girlfriend" and the affection and solidarity the term represents for us (Black men do it too with "my boy/my dude").  I will point out, though, that White women have often tried to get in on that culture and most are - rightly - rejected at once because the terms are not meant for casual use and we don't know you like that.

Furthermore, while While women complain about being seen as perpetual children, Black people in general are never really considered children, even when we are children.  Nobody ever considers us fragile or innocent, too young to die or to work.  Most White people - medical professionals included - don't even believe we feel pain. So this is not our conversation...much less our fight.

We've got bigger fish to fry.

3.26.2017

#ChickenTendersTho: Black People, We Need to Have a Conversation

So I'm watching listening to this vlog by Izidora Storm, and whilst browsing the comments, I came across this right here (click to enlarge):

Did anybody else read that and have a "bitch, whet????" moment?

Before I begin, let me clarify that we are not here to discuss Izidora's video, colorism, or dating preferences.  I used the above hashtag for a reason.  Tonight's discussion will be focusing squarely on chicken tenders.

So pull up a stool, grab the strongest drink from the Bar, and buckle up, kids.

The first time I read this comment, my hearing automatically shut off and I missed the rest of the video.  My brain zeroed in on "chicken tenders."  This dude was bashing Black women for free chicken tenders, y'all.  *cue preacher voice* Now, I know...dear sistas and brothers, that Black people have been doing some hard time in the Sunken Place, but be that as it may, we got melanated menfolk out here hoein' themselves for chicken tenders.

You ever read something so messed up that it triggers repressed memories?

See, the second time I read the above comment, I was in denial.  I refused to believe that free drinks, desserts, and chicken tenders were so important to a Negro that he would sell his sisters down the river, spending his evenings spewing misogynoir to strangers just to get fed.  And let's be real...we know what kind of "restaurant" this is.  Whenever drinks, desserts, and chicken tenders all appear on the same menu, folks are really there for the chicken tenders.  The drinks are too expensive and the desserts ain't shit.  Thus, the chicken tenders are the real star in this equation.

By the third time I read the above comment, I started recalling shit from years past...memories of behaviors which never...quite...fully added up.  Like, they did...but then they didn't.  My first summer home from college, I'm having lunch at Bennigan's with the Red-Headed Sis (yes, this was THAT long ago).  This brotha from high school was busing the tables there part-time.  He recognized us, came over, struck up a convo, focused mainly on me, and laid the compliments on THICK.  Red actually thought some sort of romance was about to start so she was all encouraging and ish.  But even back then my pygmy sense would tingle when a Black man - or boy - would start talking to me like this.  In the back of my mind, I was wondering why this dude had basically pressed pause on his shift to come over and flirt shamelessly with me for nearly half an hour.  I was an angry-looking Gothic pygmy back then.  In high school, I always either looked like I'd just rolled out of a bed in a mental asylum in hell...or a malevolent medieval maiden - there was no in-between.

And we all know how flattering that first year of college usually is for women.

So I was really trying to figure why this dude was tryna holla at me with a straight face.  But then at one point Red caught him looking at our leftover biscuits/rolls, and offered him one.  And he was like, "Nah...I probably shouldn't", but then caved 2.36 seconds later.  After the roll was safely in his hand, he suddenly remembered he was at work and then promptly disappeared.

I never fully understood what about that exchange rubbed me the wrong way, so I blew it off until almost two decades later...until now.

By the fifth or sixth time I'd read the above comment, I had shared Izidora's video and screen caps of the comment in a private group with some flabbergasted sistas. And while I couldn't - and still can't - stop laughing out one side of my mouth, the other side can't stop repeating the same epiphany over and over again: nignogs are out here dogging the race for some unseasoned chicken tenders, y'all.  It is that deep to them, fam.  Like...do Black people need to declare a state of emergency?

Because we can set up some peer counseling sessions with them and whoever raised them/whoever was supposed to raise them, and talk about where, when, and how things first went left.

See...by about the tenth time I'd read the above comment, I suddenly remembered one of my Eldest Sis's random stories about getting drunk in the club (her friend was DD).  Now, when my sister gets drunk, she likes to hit up Whataburger.  So this dude she'd been talking to all night totally perked up, saying he'd absolutely LOVE to go to Whataburger with my sis and her friend.  He agreed to follow them on his motorcycle.  When they pulled up in the drive-thru, my still very sister drunk placed her order and then yelled for the dude to come pay for her burger.  He maneuvered his motorcycle to line up along the passenger's side, silently gesturing for her to lower her window.  When she did, he leaned in and quietly told her he'd only brought enough money to go clubbing and couldn't afford to buy her a burger.  Now at the time my sister told me this story, we just laughed and blew it off, cuz...whatcha gon do?

But then I was reading the above comment for about the fifteenth time, and I couldn't help but wonder...what exactly did he think was going to happen when he agreed to go to Whataburger?  Did he expect her to buy him some chicken tenders - cuz they make them too - then take him home with her AND give him some???

What am I missing here, people?

Y'all, we need to call this what this is: begging.  This is just good old-fashioned begging.  Yes, there's the temptation to empathize because poverty is no joke; the Great Recession humbled entire nations, and brown people were hit the hardest.  In the wake of the Great Recession we're still being hit the hardest.  That being said...come on, now!!!  A part of me can't stop laughing because this all sounds so ridiculous when you say it out loud.  Meanwhile, another part of me is so embarrassed, I can feel the horror cringing in a deep place.  Like, is this really what we've been reduced to?  Do we need to bring back the Black Panther practice of feeding our own neighborhoods so we can keep all the ashy indigents present and accounted for, and just overall away from mixed company?

And who are these women paying for validation in the form of chicken tenders???  What the hell is that about?  We talk about Black people being in the Sunken Place, but if your self-esteem issues run so deep that you gotta bribe a stranger with chicken tenders to make you feel better about your life...you're beyond the Sunken Place, boo-boo.  You've hit whatever's below rock bottom.  Like, you must have some Klingon Dahar Master-level Daddy issues if the high point of your night is paying some broke, destitute Negro in chicken tenders to tell you you're better than Black women.  And just 'tween us girls, once you've reached that point, whatever imaginary, one-sided competition you think you've going with sistas...you lost.

3.21.2017

Thank the gods for "Into the Badlands"

A few weeks ago, it might have seemed like bad fortune that Into the Badland's second season was debuting mere days after Iron Fist hit Netflix. Geeks only have so much room for martial arts fantasy in their weekly diet, right? But given the uniformly negative reaction to Iron Fist, the timing might wind up working out in AMC's favor instead. If you're feeling jilted at Iron Fist's lukewarm display of fighting prowess, Into the Badlands is here to wash away the bad taste. (Source)
Let me start by saying when Netflix added Into the Badlands to their collections, there was no alert, o email, no "New Episodes" label, no nothin'.  And they smooth thought that people like Moi weren't gonna notice that.  Or how when Irish Fist dropped, I got an alert and three emails in one day.

Mm.

3.18.2017

The Bar Celebrates the Life of Trish Doan


Previously

Witness the Return of Trish Doan
At the Bar with Trish Doan

I don't know why this is fucking with me as much as it is, but this week I learned that Trish Doan, former bassist for the all-female Canadian metal band Kittie, died last month at the age of 31.

I became a fan of Kittie more than 20 years ago, when I was a teenager.  They first caught my attention with the presence of Fallon Bowman, who later left the band and went solo.  Doan joined as bassist in 2005, leaving in 2007 and returning in 2011.  In my youth, I didn't like all the drama and chaos which seemed to constantly surround Kittie, but as an adult fan, I can't deny that they've been an influential platform, providing global visibility for women of color in metal (shout out to Jennifer Arroyo).





I don't know the cause of death and I'm not going to dig or dwell on it.  Whenever I see fan theories, I immediately leave the page (don't post that here either, please.  Her friends and family have understandably requested that we respect their privacy.  Comments referring to the specifics of her death with be deleted).

Initially, I was going to title this "The Bar Pours a Sip for Trish Doan," but I'm not going to mourn someone whose presence inspired me and so many others.  As linked above, I did have the great pleasure and honor of interviewing Doan three years ago here At the Bar, and I'd hoped she'd be making music for decades to come so I could interview her again and possibly even meet her in person some day.  I'd even planned to "dreamcast" her as a character in one of my fics.  I so was thrilled to learn that she actually lurked on this site, and the day she casually commented here was one the happiest days of my blogging life.

So as devastating as the news is, I'm going to strictly focus on the happiness, and the thrill, and the gratitude I feel when I think of Trish Doan.

Rest in power, sis.  You will definitely be missed.

3.12.2017

#MillennialShaming: Do You Even Know What a Millennial Is?

So, Millennial-shaming is REALLY in right now, and being a Millennial myself, I often read these articles (notably written by non-Millennials) which insist that me and mine are a spoiled, selfish, self-centered, emotionally fragile, and overly entitled generation.  And I have wonder...who the fuck are these people writing about?

And then what's even more annoying on top of that, is that I'll be watching a TV or film in which tiny humans and teenagers are being referred to as Millennials.

You know how I keep bringing up the need for people to learn what words actually mean?  This is one of those times.  First of all, Millennials are not children, so stop talking down to us like we are.  The oldest Millennials are currently in their mid to late thirties.  Like, we're a hop and a skip away from being forty.  The youngest Millennials are currently in their early twenties.  Those teens and pre-teens and tiny humans people keep referring to are Postmillennials - Generation Z.  A basic internet search would clarify that.

Side note: if you thought Millennials have no fucks left to give...*chuckles*...then y'all are really not ready to deal with what's coming up behind us.

Secondly, Millennials are the kids who fought (and died) in wars we didn't start, and have borne the brunt of a Great Recession we didn't cause.  We are the most educated yet underpaid and unappreciated members of the labor force.  Many of us haven't bought houses or had any children because we can't afford them.  We are buckling under millions of dollars in student loan debt that we took our because we were told our education was an investment, and that once we graduated, it would all be worth it.

So naturally, America is handling the tragic fates of Millennials the same it handles everything else - denial and victim-blaming.  Have you noticed that every time another industry or franchise (which predates us) collapses...it's always somehow our fault?

Whenever I read an article about how awful and useless we are, not a single, solitary socioeconomic fact is listed.  It's all anecdotal, subjective opinionated bullshit with no actual basis in reality.  My parents and teachers didn't tell me I was special my whole life.  None of my age-mates had that experience; quite frankly, the majority of us had the opposite (we were being raised by a resentful, regretful generation).  I was not born with a silver spoon in my mouth and I was not handed everything - why do people keep saying Millennials have been handed everything?  We weren't handed shit.  Because the economy was already in slow decline once we hit our late teens, many of our parents struggled just to cover the basics.

In fact, from elementary school all the way up until after I finished graduate school and got a 9 to 5 (after extensive searching, interviewing, and eventually, settling for a low-paying job), the only people I knew who were "handed" shit came from already rich (never actually wealthy though) families, and I could count all of them on one hand).  Everywhere, I saw struggle.  I saw people wearing the same clothes to work every week and talking about bills, checking accounts being in the negative, payday taking too long to get here, and relying a credit card just to get by.  As a social worker, I saw clients who were 2-3 financial steps behind me.  FYI, I finished graduate school nine years ago.  Not a damn thing has changed...except for the cost of living steadily going up.

Poverty is the language of Millennials; not a single day goes by when we don't think, speak, or meme about the never-ending financial struggle. But it's nice to know all of this is our fault and if we stopped being so spoiled and entitled, it would magically fix everything.

2.12.2017

White Supremacists Aren't Human; They Don't Need Our Defense

Beloved vlogger Kat Blaque recently came under fire from readers from stating that she respected Nazis as still being people, and nothing more.  Though an understandably unpopular opinion, I can respect that Kat was speaking from a humanist perspective (self-education, kids, remember?).  That was a very civil thing for her to say.  In fact, I will be the first to raise my hand and proclaim she bettern me.

Cuz from where I sit...fuck 'em.

White supremacists advocate for the subjugation and decimation of every and any person who does not fit their criteria of what is "human"...which ironically excludes over 90% of the human species. White supremacists espouse genocide, enslavement, and eugenics.  In my humble opinion, White supremacy has caused more damage to our species and planet than any act of the gods.  In fact, White supremacy has been like a planet-wide hurricane/tornado/earthquake/flood/bubonic plague that's been going nonstop for the last 500 years...give or take.
I think to some degree humans make the choice to be human - the conditions are all there to make choose...flip between rational, and irrational, for love and not love, it seems so either, or...but I suppose that's how life is sometimes.

- Fallon Bowman, on her album Human, Conditional
Racism is not a mental illness; it is a learned behavior, ergo it will not simply "die on its own".  Adults who champion White supremacy do so by choice.  So as far as I'm concerned, White supremacists are not human.  Nothing in this universe comes free of charge, and in this case, they paid for their supremacy with their very humanity.
I have a choice: I can be white — that is, I can refuse to challenge white supremacy or centrality — or I can be a human being. I can rest comfortably in the privileges that come with being white, or I can struggle to be fully human. But I can’t do both.

- Dr. Robert Jensen, "What White People Fear"
If you tell me that my life does not matter, and insinuate that I'm inferior to you in any way, I am going to respond in kind.

POC were not shedding any tears when our news feeds told us the body of a KKK Imperial Wizard was found in a friggin' river.  We had no fucks to give - not for the deceased, not for the friends and family (who apparently offed him themselves).  As one commenter on Facebook pointed out, Emmett Till was also found in a river, while his last surviving killer still walks free.  Another commenter noted that 2017 gets a cookie for "getting one right".  I myself realized this happened during Black History Month, the same month that took out Scalia last year.

*shrug* I'm having a party right now.