Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Wake up, America!



I saw this photo earlier today: 


It got me thinking. And when I start thinking, I sometimes start wanting to rant. So, here we go. 

Maybe it’s time to start asking: who are our police? What is it about this job that attracts some people who seem to want to pull a gun and start shooting the moment they’re uncertain about a situation? 

Obviously there’s more to it than that. We have a very real problem of racism and violence. Comfortable white folk need to wake the fuck up and see what’s really happening here. This is a mixed race country that we live in. And we desperately need to stop hating the “other” part of ourselves. 

But! Maybe we need to NOT give a gun and the protection and “authority” of a badge with the assumption they’ll “do the right thing” to people who appear to have a tendency toward violence, aggression, a lack of self-control. Anybody who wants a job where they take on the responsibility of watching out for, investigating, hunting down, and/or punishing other people really should have ongoing training in de-escalation of potentially violent situations. And they should ABSOLUTELY be required to pass some stringent psychological tests before and during their employment. 

Sure there are plenty of decent cops out there who don’t go around murdering the people they’re supposed to be protecting and serving, but there are clearly way too many who are. These are not isolated incidents when they keep happening all over the country. When you look back at the records of these thugs in blue uniforms who acted in “self-defense” and murdered some person of color, why is it that you’ll often find prior complaints against them of excessive force, etc.? What the fuck is wrong with these people? And all the other assholes who protect and defend them when they murder people? 

Wake up, America! This is not okay.


Tuesday, September 6, 2016

"Sorry, but..."


Somebody made this comment this morning on a post by a friend of mine.




Now, I don’t really feel like starting a fight with someone I don’t know on my friend’s facebook post, but I feel compelled to comment on this.

So...

Dear stranger,
If you think that the thing you’re about to say (or type) may be a sexist (or racist or whatever) comment, and you feel the need to say “Sorry, but...” maybe you just shouldn’t make that comment? If you recognize that this might be offensive &/or demeaning to a large group of people, how about this: perhaps you might stop and ask yourself why you feel compelled to make the comment. Saying, “Sorry, but...blah-blah-blah...offensive thing,” doesn’t negate the offensive thing, nor absolve you of the offense. It just fools you into thinking you’re somehow a better person for recognizing your sexism (etc.) before indulging it. I’m not so sure that makes you a better person. In fact, it might make a worse person. I just don’t know.

I’m sure that I am similarly guilty of the same, “Sorry, but...” behavior. And perhaps this was just an innocent compliment. But then why the need to preface an innocent compliment with an apology? And while I don’t disagree with your comment, her attractiveness has nothing to do with the original post. If this were a post asking, “Hey, facebook friends, how does this outfit look on me?” then by all means, comment on how she looks. But this was not that post.

So, in review, if you know that you’re about to be offensive, maybe don’t. Instead perhaps spend some time working on yourself.


Okay, rant over. (For now.)

Sunday, April 10, 2016

idea for a photo project



There are two photo projects I recently discovered.

The Nu Project is an ongoing project by a pair of photographers photographing volunteers (all women) around the world. And the Daily Portrait Berlin is a project where a Berliner photographs a person they don’t know, then the next day that model photographs a person they don’t know, etcThese projects are really cool, and they make me want to be involved in something similar. 

I don’t know of any such project locally, and I couldn’t find anything online. so I thought I’d try to start one. Since I have a really difficult time finding people willing to model for me, I thought I’d try taking myself out of the equation. Sort of. If I make it a submission kind of thing, then people do not have to commit to showing up for a photo, and also they would have a sense of choice and control of the images being used. 

I need to come up with a name for the project and a statement of purpose, start a page online somewhere, set up guidelines, and hope for submissions.

The purpose would be to say to the world, “Hey, I am a human, and, as such, I have a body. Having a body is not shameful nor is being nude. This is what my body happens to look like at this time, and that’s okay.” Or something like that. I need a name for this project that is interesting or catchy but that also concisely reflects that idea.

The guidelines would be something like:
     - decent quality artistic nudes or casual nudes of “ordinary people”
     - full-length or 3/4
     - may be individuals, couples or groups
     - please include a simple statement of permission by all people in the photo 
        and the photographer
     - photo size between 600 and 3000 pixels
     - no selfies; self-portraits are okay, but no arm’s length or mirror holding 
        your phone/camera photos
     - no close-ups of your genitalia or sexually explicit photos (that’s a totally 
        different sort of project) 
     - no overly edited, or obviously retouched photos
     - studio photos are okay, but the idea is simple, natural

I literally cannot do this alone. 


So, if anyone has suggestions or is interested in participating or in helping me get this thing going, please get in touch. 

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Female Protagonist in Star Wars Trailer


“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” 



When I watched this trailer, my honest reaction was something like, “Cool! I’m much more interested in this Star Wars movie based on the trailer than ‘The Force Awakens’.” 

But, apparently, the biggest reaction according to the internet is that a bunch of dudes are complaining about “another” female lead. 


I don’t get it, guys. I never had the thought, “Oh, no! Here’s a character who doesn’t have all the same body parts that I do.” Is that really a problem for you? “The Force Awakens” was not a movie about women taking power and how men suck. There was that hand-holding bit, but that’s about it. And I see nothing in the trailer to suggest that “Rogue One” is going to be about women taking power and how men suck. What I see is a scruffy, Han Solo-type who happens to be a women and who is surrounded by mostly men. 


Oh yeah, and there’s a scene with Mon Mothma. (Given the nature of her character, I’d be surprised if she plays a large role with a lot of screen time.)

I cannot help but think the only reason for this kind of “Damn it, not another female lead, enough already” reaction is that these guys with these thoughts see these characters as females and not as people. Or maybe as females first, and then hot or not hot, etc., then somewhere down the line as people. 

Guys, seriously, women are people. Just like Blacks and Jews and Little People and Albinos and Albanians and Soylent Green. Sorry, that list got a little ridiculous and probably undercuts the seriousness of this point. 

Guys, women are people, just like you. And there’s no reason that they can’t or shouldn’t be the hero or the protagonist or the leader or anything that you could be. Go meet some women – not just women who you’re hoping will have sex with you – and have conversations with them. Listen to them, and consider the words and ideas they are communicating for their own value. Evaluate their abilities and their actions, and then judge them as a human person. Do a lot of that, and then, go back and watch that “Rogue One” trailer again. And then apologize for your harmful, sexist comments.


Monday, March 7, 2016

Here goes!


I have been unfriended by many people on facebook. It’s not really surprising anymore, but it does still sting. So, knowing that feeling, I have not unfriended many people. But I will. In fact, I’m about to. I’ve been thinking about a couple of people for a while, thinking how I’m clearly not really friends with them now. And that was their decision. Honestly, it’s a little surprising that neither of these people unfriended me.

They are separate individuals who, at different times, had a bit of a... disagreement, or falling out maybe, with me. Both these people, when last we communicated, expressed a disinterest in trying to be friends or trying to talk or whatever. And in both cases it had to do with my photography.

I suspect the overwhelming majority of people who’ve unfriended me in the past few years did so because they were uncomfortable with my photographic endeavors. It saddens me, especially when people who work in the arts (or at least pursue some art form as a hobby) are that uncomfortable with someone else’s art. Then again, I’m sure there are people who’ve unfriended me because of religion/politics. 

Anyway... Yeah, I’m going to unfriend a couple of people. Here goes!






Friday, February 26, 2016

Les Revenants


The second season of this show - The Returned (Les Revenants) - is now on netflix, and I am re-watching the first season, as it's been a while. 

This is something I wrote about it a few years ago after watching the first season. 

The women in Les Revenants
I watched this show recently on netflix: The Returned (Les Revenants)  It was very good. It’s about people in this little French town dealing with the return of dead loved ones. It is absolutely NOT your standard zombie-fighting story. It’s more about loss and letting go, or rather not letting go. I guess also there’s a fair helping of secrets and lies. It’s sort of moody and sad. Anyway, I really liked it. 
Something I really enjoyed about it is the way the women looked. I couldn’t help but notice that the female characters in the show were NOT presented in an especially “sexy” way. Their clothing and makeup and hair seem to not have been designed to make them look enticing. In fact, none of them wore much noticeable makeup. Some of them had wrinkles, some had dark circles under their eyes, some had moles or other “imperfections”…and they were beautiful. Well, of course they were all attractive. I mean, they’re actors in a TV show. But they weren’t all sexified. They looked like people. 
Even the love scenes (some of which even included actual nudity) did not seem to my eye and brain to be designed for enticement. Sure, they could’ve communicated that these people were having sex without having to show it. But it never seemed really gratuitous. It really was part of the story. It was very refreshing. 
Also, these female roles were generally not just someone’s wife or girlfriend or mother. I guess you could say they were “strong female characters”. But that’s not something that occurred to me while I was watching it. They were just people—people who had relationships and feelings and actions, and happened to be women. Gee, imagine that. 

I guess what I didn't actually say explicitly was that in most of the American TV shows and movies I watch, the women ARE "sexified". So even when they are not doing anything that's specifically sexual, it's almost as if they're still be presented as a sexual enticement - the way they're dressed and made up and the relationships. 

Or maybe it's just me. I don't know. Anybody care to comment? 

Friday, February 19, 2016

backsliding


I feel like I’m slipping into a depressed episode. Like “backsliding”. 

It seems a little odd that it’s happening now; usually when this happens I’m not doing much of anything, just a lot of time with nothing at all to do. These days I’ve got a couple of things going on, things that should distracting my mind from how I feel about life and everything. But it’s not. 

This isn’t good. I worry. 

Friday, January 1, 2016

some thoughts on my past year


2015 was a particularly difficult year for me, especially at times when I had nothing going on, which feels like most of the time. I didn’t work much, and when I did, it wasn’t full time, and it paid shit. I don’t see that changing in this new year. Anyway, the thing is, I feel that I don’t have many people – sometimes none – that I’m close to, people who are really my friends, people that I see and communicate with, people that I actually spend time with. 

That’s the big problem for me. When I’m in rehearsals for a show, then at least I interact with people, though it’s in a pretty limited way. It also helps to distract my brain from how full of nothing my life is. The one thing I’ve learned this past year— No, really the past several years – is that people aren’t meant to be alone. 

Another thing I’ve learned –and it’s really hit home this year – is that people don’t want to change. Specifically, I’m thinking about relationships. When people have an established relationship – whatever the nature of it, however close or distant or limited or whatever – they don’t want to put any effort into improving it. It might degrade slowly, and that seems okay for people. Or, if someone gets angry about something, then a relationship might drastically end or lessen. But people just don’t want to put effort into becoming closer to others. Or maybe that’s just when other is ME. Maybe I shouldn’t generalize my experience to all if human-kind. People just don’t want to be MY friend. They’re content with acquaintance-ship. Or maybe all these people that I sort of know really think that we’re friends. We’re not. Not really. 

There was one person – I’m sure I wrote about this a few months ago – with whom I tried to re-establish some kind of positive relationship (after a thing that had happened), but this person refused. And another person with whom I’d had a falling out died early last year. So I’ll never be able to reconcile that relationship. 

I can’t make people be my friend. I suppose if I changed who I am – specifically if I didn’t say what I think and pretended I shared all the bullshit cultural norms that people cling to – then maybe people would be more comfortable with me. Then I could make friends. 

I just don’t know if I could stand myself like that. 

So, I’m alone. Desperately alone. And quite depressed.

People are not meant to be alone. 

This past summer was particularly bad. I think there’s one person who knows how bad it was, because there’s one person I really talked to about it. I’ve been feeling this past week or 10 days a little bit like I was this summer. Not quite as bad. But I’ve not talked to that “friend” about it. She’s gotten busy with her own life. 

It’s the holidays. I think pretty-much all holidays now seem to be times that you spend with your friends and loved ones and feel happy as you share the time together. But what if you don’t have any of those? You know, friends and loved ones. Then holidays are just a reminded of how shitty your life is. 

And my life is pretty shitty. 

The one thing I need to not feel this way is the thing that I can’t make happen. The people I know – the ones I might be interested in spending time with – all have their own lives, their jobs and families and circles of friends and hobbies and interests. And I’m not part of those things. I can’t make people be my friend, just like I can’t make people model for me, nor can I make people do a show I’ve written (or even show up to do a reading of a script). I can’t. And being “facebook friends” isn’t really friendship. At least, it doesn’t feel that way to me. The thing that I need is people. In all the various aspects of my life, I need people. I can write a play, but without people I can’t hear it or see it. I can take photos of myself – but that just seems to push a lot of people away, and even makes them not want to hire me for totally non-photography-related work. 

I don’t know if I can really deal with another year like this. I need to figure out something different. Something better. Just SOMETHING. 

Well, those are my rambling, slightly drunken thoughts about the past year. Comments will be accepted at this time.