Fear and Loathing in Woodley Park II March 13, 2008Posted by Lindsay in Anime, Commentary, Writing.
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Part Two: The Line That Blurs
I happened upon a group of college-age convention patrons sitting on the floor of a merchandise room and decided to see what they knew about webcomics. They were open to being a group interview, which would make for good “round-table” discussion sort of tape, so I sat down with them and began to ask them questions.
Fear and Loathing in Woodley Park February 24, 2008Posted by Lindsay in Anime, Commentary, Manga, Writing.
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Part One: Getting In(to Character)
On the night of Friday, February 15, the day after Valentine’s Day, I took the Metro to the Adams Morgan station on the red line, with my flash recorder slung around my shoulder. It was in the early evening, and I was still dressed in the clothes I had worn to the office that day, but with the added accessory of the headphones on my flash recorder around my neck, the only place they would fit. The train hadn’t passed too many stops before I began to see teenagers dressed as pink-haired samurai and robots made of plastic and foil climbing on. They were clearly headed to the same place I was, the Omni Shoreham Hotel, for Katsucon – the biggest Japanese pop culture convention of the season.
As I rode the escalator up out of the subway, holding my coat closed in the cold, I recognized even more familiar characters from Japanese animation. At least four or five Uzumaki Narutos, ninjas young and loud; a gang of death gods from Bleach, their soul-sealing swords at their waists; Sailor Moon and the Supremes…I mean, fellow Sailor Scouts, ready to fight with love and honor against the insidious Queen Beryl. This wasn’t the first time I’d been to an anime convention – there was one every year at Smith College, just a few hours away from Amherst, my all-too-recent alma mater. But it was definitely the first time I’d gone as a reporter. (more…)
Not Black, just black. January 27, 2008Posted by Lindsay in Criticism, History, Media, News, Philosophy, Politics, Race.
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Obama’s South Carolina win and acceptance speech convincingly rebuked the “black candidate” perception that he has. But when listening to the speech, we must keep in mind how ridiculous the debate has become. The false dichotomy of “the black candidate versus the candidate who happens to be black” is merely a euphemism for the ignorant ideas they connote, that is, “candidate influenced by and committed to the ‘negative’ aspects of black culture versus the candidate who is black but is more influenced by white culture.” Depending on your point of view, what exactly those elements of black culture that are negative differ.
The cognitive dissonance of the Iowa Caucus. January 3, 2008Posted by Lindsay in Comedy, Commentary, Criticism, Media, News, Politics.
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Here is a handy guide to the Iowa Caucus process. Notice how much more convoluted the process is for the Democratic Party is than it is for the Republicans. Defenders have likened it to instant run-off voting, but this is anything but instant. For it to be effective, there should be a simple, secret ballot system in which a voter may mark his or her candidates in numerical order in the event that their first choices do not get the required fifteen percent of the electorate to move on to the next step. This is why Kucinich decided to give a recommendation as a second-choice for voters caucusing for him–in his case, Obama. At least he’s making an effort to avoid the “Nader effect.”
But notice the lower-right hand corner. Although the Iowa Caucus tends to predict the party nominee, those nominees rarely win the general election. So it seems to me that if the Democrats want to choose the most “electable” candidate, they need to go with anyone but the winner of the Iowa Caucus. That’s kind of how they got their beloved Bill Clinton.
For a party that claims to be about change and progress, the Iowa Democrats sure pick some ridiculous traditions to uphold.
Redactions. November 21, 2007Posted by Lindsay in Announcements, Webcomics, Writing.
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At the advice of a friend, I’ve decided to take down my novella, Minstrel for security/monetary purposes. Those purposes being, there is the possibility that an internet interloper might copy the work and pass it off as his or her own. I’ve allowed an excerpt consisting of the first two chapters to stay up, and if you’d like to read the rest, contact me.
In other news, visit the site for my political cartoon, Lucky + Guy, which was updated today.
The slope of humanity. November 1, 2007Posted by Lindsay in Commentary, Criticism, Literature, Philosophy, Writing.
For a long time, I’ve felt it was not just the mark of the greatest literature, but a responsibility of literature, to expand the realm of what human beings consider part of the human condition. That is, to discover the concepts and ideas that make people human, especially if those concepts have not been a theme in prior canonical works. This article from Slate confirms several of my worries about the role of the members of the literary community that guard at the gates — that is, of course, the publishers.
In “The Invisible Lesbian,” Sarah Schulman, a well-reviewed novelist within the gay and lesbian literary community, discusses the difficulties she has had to face in getting her latest novel, The Child, published:
The Child is about a romantic, sexual relationship between 15-year-old Stew and 40-year-old David. Many editors’ letters explicitly pointed to this relationship as the reason for rejection. What troubled the editors was my point of view. I did not come out “against” the relationship. Instead, I was, as one blurber ultimately put it, “objective.”
Reign. October 11, 2007Posted by Lindsay in Constitution, Criticism, Humor, Media, News, Politics.
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Recently, I’ve been concerned about the possibility of questionable methods of maintaining power in Pakistan and Russia being repeated by the Bush administration. After all, if Cheney can exist in a phantom 2.5th branch of government between the executive and legislative, he might manage to find a rift in the space-time fabric large enough for him to remain in power past the end of the universe itself. Of course, if Bush wants to stay in power, he’ll use a much blunter method, like creating an office of Burger King or something like that.
Pakistan’s leader, Pervez Musharraf, the Chief of Army Staff who took power in a coup, promised he would return the nation to civilian rule if re-elected for president, by turning over the army chief post to a crony. Musharraf has been fighting judges for months, trying to prevent elections from being held, but in the end, he managed to win with 98% of the vote. Similarly, Vladimir Putin has just appointed Viktor Zubkov, who has “no visible political ambitions” to the post of the Prime Minister of Russia, and the two will likely switch places at the end of Putin’s presidential term. But here in the U.S., if a Republican candidate were to somehow win in November 2008, it wouldn’t be very smart of them to put anyone from the Bush administration in their Cabinet. Also, Bush doesn’t have the audacity to suddenly raise the terror alert level in January 2009 so that he can institute martial law and remain in power that way. Although, if he did, I can’t see Pelosi and Reid putting up a serious resistance to it.
Taxation without representation. September 4, 2007Posted by Lindsay in Constitution, Criticism, History, Media, Violence.
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In an op-ed published in The Washington Post, the mayor of Washington, D.C., Adrian M. Fenty, and District Attorney General Linda Singer, summarizing their arguments for why the city should be able to ban handguns in Washington, D.C. Such a ban has been in place since 1976, until the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit overturned it earlier this year on the grounds that it was unconstitutional. This was a mistake. Although Republicans allowed the Federal Assault Weapons Ban to expire in 2004, there are a multitude of similar laws at the state level around the country. Clearly, the “right of the people to keep and bear Arms” does not have any stipulations about what kinds of arms the people can keep. The second amendment itself places no upper or lower limit on what kinds of arms the people have a right to wield, nor does it prohibit the states from imposing such limits. In this light, the city of Washington has every right to maintain its ban of handguns, which are uniquely dangerous because of their ability to be concealed easily, and the massive body count they have allowed criminals to almost effortlessly amass.
Naturally, the last line of defense for the pro-gun crowd on this case will be whether or not D.C. has the full rights of a state. Unfortunately, home rule in the District of Columbia has its boundaries. Congress still has the right to impose or repeal any law it so chooses regarding the District of Columbia. However, in this case, it has, for the most part, remained silent, to the citizens’ benefit.
For all of the bad press the city of Washington gets — whether its crime or our school system — we can at least say that we’ve evolved enough to the point where we can protest “taxation without representation” just as our forefathers did without giving both ourselves and criminals the deadly means to reenact the revolutionary script.