Tuesday, 10 January 2012

what i've been reading online in the last week

since i'm still on holiday this week, i've had time to read various bits and pieces around the internet, and i'm going to share the links. because i've read so much stuff and forgotten who referred me to it, i'm going to leave out the attributions - apologies for that.

- there's this piece in the new york times in which a former inmate of guantanamo bay writes about his experiences, or at least some of them. his actual experiences of how he was treated while incarcerated aren't included.

- i liked this list of human rights issues related to business and commerce. that first one is just so relevant to what's happening with ports of auckland just now, but also relevant to many low-payinbg jobs such as cleaners and bus drivers.

- speaking of the ports of auckland dispute, here is the fact sheet prepared by the unions (pdf) and a couple of really good posts at the standard.

- i found this a useful primer on new detention laws passed in america. one point of view i struggle with in the comments is that such laws are ok to apply to foreigners but an outrage when applied to american citizens. seems to be a real disconnect in that way of thinking and perhaps those people need to have a read of the first post i've linked to.

- excellent post by keith ng about astroturfing by the tobacco industry. if you have a few spare dollars, i strongly recommend you send a little of it his way. this is the kind of reporting that is crucially important and that we're not seeing enough of in mainstream media.

- i came across this post a couple of days after i'd watched the original video of things white girls say to black girls at womanist musings. the video itself i didn't find particularly wonderful though i truly understand the frustration behind it - especially because i could easily do one of my own with "aren't you hot wearing all those clothes", "did you have an arranged marriage", "i thought your husband forced you to wear that scarf" and many, many more. but the actual post i've linked made some really good points around institutional racism, power and privilege.

- i found this a rather sad story about a native american woman being cast out of her tribe for not having the correct lineage. there are issues around who has the power and the inability to challenge that power, issues of self-determination, a need for the tribe to protect it's resources by not allowing "outsiders" to be taking shares, and also very sad for me that the wealth of the tribe is coming from operation of casinos which are in themselves exploitative. no easy answers here.

- i remember writing a brief paragraph about stieg larsson's "girl with a dragon tattoo" after i'd read it, because it just didn't seem to me to be quite the feminist novel it's portrayed as being. this post really nails the issues i had with it - having previously read one dean koontz and one richard north patterson (i know the linked post mentions james patterson) novel some years before i read larsson's book, my mind had immediately connected the similarity in styles and the misgivings i'd had with those earlier authors. i've never felt the desire to read anything by them again.

- i'm not going to watch the tintin movie because of my desire to never contribute further to the financial success of peter jackson. this post gives another reason for not watching it.

- there's this post about african musicians responding to mr geldof's question of whether they know it's christmas time. i thought the question posed by mr geldof wasn't about their actual level of knowledge about christmas, but more around the fact that many of the severely impoverished didn't have the money for a special meal or presents. even so, i thought it was a bit insensitive because of the fact that many africans aren't even christian so are unlikely to celebrate it. though the song was about capturing attention in western nations, it would have been wise to try to capture the essence of the people you're singing about.

and finally, i've written a couple of posts at the hand mirror aside from the one cross-posted yesterday. there's one today about domestic violence in relation to immigration status, and another a few days ago regarding the loss of another free-to-air channel in nz.


Silent Strider said...

That's a little unfair to Herge

"Tintin in the Congo" was indeed racist and imperialist, but Herge later disdained the views he'd held as a very young man(he was only 20 when he wrote it) and later wrote books that were quite progressive about race issues (Tintin in Tibet, for instance)

Herge effectively disowned Tintin in the Congo and actively prevented it from being reprinted when he was alive (It was only reprinted after his death)

So to claim racism runs through his entire work and must therefore necessarily infect the current film is a major misrepresentation. It's more accurate to say that Herge was briefly a racist but later moved on. And given that the current film is based off a book that had no racist content, I really think using a picture from an entirely different book is quite misleading.

stargazer said...

well i won't argue with you about mr herge because i don't really know anything about him and was never a fan of tintin anyway. for myself, i won't be watching the movie because of peter jackson, rather than mr herge. and also because there don't appear to be any strong female characters in the film (from what little i've read about it).

i'm not sorry to have linked to the post in question though, because i'd never heard that there were issues of racism with tintin (even if it was only in the earlier books) and i think it's important for that fact to be widely known. thanx for your input though.

Mercy Seat said...

"well i won't argue with you about mr herge because i don't really know anything about him"

Just that he was racist, apparently.