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.

2.11.2017

The Bar Loves Pop ETC


Christopher Chu...I see you.

You see, Chris here is the frontman of POP ETC, a band currently based in New York and formally known as the Morning Benders.  Chris founded the group around ten years ago and despite changes in the line-up, it's still going strong.

I first learned about POP ETC ("pop etcetera", by the way) while watching the second season of Lovesick on Netflix and I heard a song that I would later discover was called "Running in Circles."  It didn't take long to scour the net to track it down and find its creators.

I'll admit I didn't become a fan of theirs right away because without seeing them, I thought they were another Thriving Ivy/Jonas Brothers-type of deal and I'm really not about that life. I just wanted to buy the "Running in Circles" mp3 and have done with it.

But when I discovered they were mostly POC...it was all over.

Leaving Our Heroes for Dead: Why We Can't Have Nice Things

"How many leaders you said you needed, then left ‘em for dead?
Is it Moses, is it Huey Newton or Detroit Red?
Is it Martin Luther, JFK, shooter you assassin
Is it Jackie, is it Jesse, oh I know, it’s Michael Jackson"

- Kendrick Lamar, "Mortal Man"
"Mortal Man" is my favorite Kendrick Lamar song; it's the only one of his that's truly capable of leveling me to tears for various reasons, from his choice of music sample to verses like the one quoted above. But I think what truly sells the song for me is the urgency in his voice, an emotional combination of devastation, exasperation, and awe.

"Mortal Man" comes to mind now because in an online private discussion, I learned that some former fans of a couple of beloved activists (who I won't name individually) were deeply upset with them, going so far as to accuse them of things like misogynoir.

I just can't help but recall a particularly eye-opening article by a trans woman of color, in which she explains how social justice language can be used to abuse people.  Now, I bring this up because over the past few years I've noticed this really annoying tendency on news and activist sites where readers who get deleted, banned, or have a request/suggestion denied, lash out with sociological terms.  They're accused of things like misogynoir, homophobia, and self-internalized racism.

Kai Cheng Thom, the writer, uses her own experiences to explain how she felt these words were the only weapons she had to defend herself when she felt scared or angry. So if a White, cisgender boyfriend was breaking up with her, she could always call him a transphobic racist.  If he tried to get her to calm down, she could say he was tone-policing her.  Now, in Thom's case, she's describing intimate relationship situations.  But her overarching theory about the potentially abusive aspect is not only sound, but applies to online interactions as well.

1.29.2017

The Cheeto, the Edgelord, and the Coup d'√Čtat

Previously

No we will not "come together"

Let's not get it twisted; the American government has been hijacked.

We've got a candidate who won the popular vote, yet was denied the presidency by members of the elite who have since thrust this country into an international crisis.  Government agencies are being defunded and gagged, salaries and new hires are frozen, ambassadors have been fired and recalled, the entire senior management of the State Department has walked out, and a self-loathing, alcoholic edgelord is drafting executive orders, bypassing the judicial branch, and making military decisions.  You've got China gearing up for war.

It's happened, guys.  All those discriminatory, unconstitutional things Cheeto supporters swore would never happen and claim they never voted for in the first place...are happening.

I don't know about the rest of you, but my one consolation right now is that so many of them will be suffering right along side the rest of us.  The repeal of the Affordable Care Act will be their death sentence too.  The Muslim/green card ban will tear apart their families too.  The salary and hiring freezes, and continued outsourcing of jobs, and the expulsion of integral members of society will destroy their economy too.  The destruction of their environment will most assuredly impact them too.

And the best part of all?  They'll actually deserve it.

Because I, for one, am not forgiving anyone and I refuse to forget anything...and I won't be alone.  Ignorance and privilege have shielded these people for far too long, and the one silver lining in all this chaos is that in their desperation to preserve White supremacy, they've exposed it more than ever and hastened its destruction.  We are going to see a rapid decline in (White) American privilege here in the near future as other countries step up and fill the roles America typically has.  Iraq and Iran won't be the last nations to ban American citizens from entering their countries.

So for all the remorseful Cheeto supporters penning these self-indulgent, masturbatory think pieces...keep your mea culpas.  You're not forgiven and no one is forgetting what you did any time soon.  In fact, all of you will go to your graves after a lifetime of constant reminding.

People like me will see to it.

12.28.2016

The Bar Loves "From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series"

So, Netflix recently released Season 3 of FDTD and I ignored it as usual because the original films did nothing for me, and I couldn't see how or even why they would translate those films into a show.  But then, I remembered Brandon Soo Hoo was supposed to be on the show.  I found out he's a member of the main cast and has been for all three seasons thus far.  When you think of how rare that is for Asian Americans in Hollywood, I decided to give it a try.

I got hooked right away; I binge-watched like a crazed junkie for days straight, and am just now restarting Season 1.  For one, Quentin Tarantino has nothing to do with the show, which puts it squarely in the hands of Robert Rodriguez, who came up with the original story in the first place.  The series expands on that story, evoking Mesoamerican mythology and thus giving us a much more interesting version of vampires (and later on, other demons and gods).  The story is set in the deserts of Texas and Mexico, the dialogue has a lot of Spanish in addition to various Mesoamerican languages and dialects, and the soundtrack is bangin', featuring both tracks and actual appearances by Rodriguez's own band, Chingon (you remember them).

Most importantly, FDTD boasts a mostly brown cast.