theradishpress

Tuesday, April, 14, 09

Yes, Who Watches The Watchmen?

by theradishpress

This is what happens when I wait forever to post something…it loses momentum, or is no longer relevant. Oh well, I am posting this anyway. I was not done with all of my thoughts.

I think it would really be wonderful if attention were taken away from Dr.  Manhattan’s penis and maybe focus were given to I don’t know…the movie. As Kim Voyner points out in “The Big Blue Elephant in the Corner of the Room” why is there such an outcry over Dr. Manhattan’s genitals and not the barely dressed female characters, or the rape scene, or the gruesome blood and broken bones? Apparently naked women is totally fine and expected, but a blue penis, woah! Not that this is news.

I do not want to focus on the need to steer clear of the penis, rather I want to focus on the movie, as an adaptation, as a piece of stand alone art independent of the graphic novel, its politics, social commentary, cinematography, and all of the other things that it has to offer aside from or in addition to a blue penis.

As an adaptation I have to give Zack Snyder serious credit for doing an amazing job of translating the graphic novel to screen. I know, I know, Alan Moore does not approve, but as much as I like him, I do not always agree with Alan Moore, and does he ever give his approval?

Snyder took a complicated story with multiple layers and multi-dimensional characters and created a beautifully sculpted piece of art. The opening credits serve as a background story of who the Watchmen are and how history has played out, including the endless presidency of Richard Nixon and a US victory in Vietnam.

The Watchmen are a group of people who over the years took it upon themselves to serve as protectors, enforcers of order, bringers of justice. Some retired, some were killed, some went crazy. Finally, their vigilante justice was stopped by the US government. The idea of a “regular” person, that is someone without powers like Superman or Spiderman, doing heroic acts and fighting injustice, is not foreign to the world of comics. And Moore seems to have a dislike for vigilantes like Batman, regular folks who take it upon themselves to enforce order, or what they know to be order. Now, I am a huge Batman fan. I have been since childhood, sucked into the Adam West series early on, and I do not know that Moore has a dislike for all regular folks fighting crime, so to speak, but in general finds it to be a bad idea.

After all, it is only people so ego-maniacal, so self- righteous who could possibly think that they alone, or even as a collective – even then this collective is so shattered and often times the Watchmen are left working in isolation – could take it upon him or herself to be a saviour. The only non-crazy member, Rorschach (Jackie Earle Haley), is the craziest member, and the hero and narrator of the story. It is through Rorschach’s memories and present experiences that the majority of the story is told. Rorschach is not so stuck on himself, what he does is not about him, but about everyone. Ozymandias (Matthew Goode) and The Comedian (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) are certainly self-serving characters. Okay, Ozymandias thinks he is working for the greater good, but George Bush thought attacking Iraq and Afghanistan were for the greater good too. And that is Moore’s point, well one point anyway. Who determines what the greater good is, and why do some people think that they have the right to enforce certain actions, thoughts, and behaviours? And why do we stand by and allow them to? The Watchmen are a complicated group. They fight for what they believe in, but often what they believe in is in alignment with the very system and enforcers who have created chaos. The Comedian and Dr. Manhattan use their power, strength, abilities and so on to help the US government. There is no question from either of them on whether or not that is right, and in the case of The Comedian, his assistance is for wealth and celebrity. Rorschach, on the other hand, sees an injustice, such as rape or murder and acts accordingly. He does not do this for the US or any other larger system. He does it because it is right.

As I watched the movie it struck me that yet again, here are heroes who are all white. The only black character is the psychiatrist Malcolm Long, whose screen time is minimal (and I could not locate the name of the actor who portrayed him), and frankly, he is a somewhat obnoxious and particularly cowardly and ignorant character. Then it got me to thinking – mind you, this in no way justifies the lack of people of color in this movie – only folks in places of privilege would think that they literally and figuratively have the power to save others. So, here are these white characters, several of whom are wealthy, and they have taken it upon themselves to save the world…or at least the United States. And people want to talk about a blue penis! Really? Come on. Here is not one great white hope, but many. They represent the idea of spreading democracy and liberty to people who apparently do not have it, that is anyone who is not from the US and especially everyone who is poor and brown. And those folks being liberated are supposed to be eternally grateful. The fact that the Watchmen are not these unquestioned heroes is what makes it so complex. Yes, Spiderman is questioned, as is Batman, but this story takes things to a whole new level. Batman/Bruce Wayne has his darker moments, but at least as far as the film adaptations are concerned, until Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, Batman was presented primarily as a hero, the good guy. I for one, want my good guys and my bad guys to be complex. I want to question their motives. This is why I cannot stand Superman. He is too perfect.

I like my Bruce Wayne with a side of guilt and a pinch of remorse topped off with some revenge.

It’s the 80’s and Nixon is still president. That is just depressing. Almost as depressing as the reality of George Bush Jr. taking office without the majority of votes. The actor playing Nixon (Robert Wisdon) looks like a man in a mask. The make-up is so obvious. Nixon did look like a guy in a mask after all. And the fact that so much attention was paid to every last detail of the film, from the costumes to the make-up to the opening credits, I cannot imagine that Nixon looking so superficial was a mistake. So here it is, the 80’s, an alternative 80’s to what we know, nevertheless a significant mirror for today. Just because there is a new body in the White House does not mean that the US is far from a colonizing empire. Why are we in Iraq and Afghanistan, again? (I say “we” because while I am not there and you are not there, we sure as hell are a part of the system that is there, whether we like it or not). Why does the US have bases around the world? Oh right, protection. Democracy. Homeland security.

Watchmen, like other futuristic or alternative history tales is a reflection of current states and future issues, that is when change does not occur. The 80’s were not exactly as Orwell or Moore imagined them, but that does not mean they were perfect. And that does not mean the current state of the world is perfect either. I think it is easy to see works like 1984 or Watchmen and view them as strictly fiction. The fact that they are not banned proves that the powers that be, or “they,” think “we” are too dumb to realize the truth, that these works of art are not only art but truth. These are not just imaginative worlds and words, but based on fact. Voltaire, Swift, and other satirists got away with their work because it was viewed as humourous and harmless, unable to incite deep thought or riots. That fact of the matter is, there are plenty of us who can see the parallels between the realities we live in the imaginations of artists.

Zack Snyder is not an idiot, nor are his producers and distributors. 300was released at a critical time, when Iran and the US were at each other’s throats. Watchmenis a part of that same world. So, Iran is not the focus, nor is the Middle East, but there is still this supposedly unstoppable EVIL out there (and really, Russia has been getting it bad since the 50’s). The US cannot see its own evil, the Watchmen cannot see their own flaws. Every superpower, whether individual person or government, views itself/himself/herself as on the side of good. Ok, fine, some admit to having purely villainous motives.

I was intrigued by the commonalities between the Watchmen and the government that banned their activities. On the one hand, the Watchmen help people who cannot wait fora  fire truck to show up or a slow police investigation. On the other hand the Watchmen, at least some of them, are employed by a tyrannical government.

I am publishing this. I can’t keep putting it off then coming back.

Thursday, February, 5, 09

Yet Again

by theradishpress

I keep thinking about Slumdog Millionaire, trying to understand my dislike for the film. It started out as an inability to see the magnificence that had been thrust upon the film, and now I simply do not like it. I am tired of thinking about it and talking about it and trying to place words to my feelings. I decided writing about it once more should help clear the air.

I have been conversing with different people while reading about the awards piling on and both praise and annoyance over this movie. Without having seen it Sadiqeh observed that in her experience white folk often enjoy movies about people of color they can relate to or where there is some sort of triumph over hardship; in other words yet another opportunity to pity.

While watching Slumdog I could not help but feel a colonial gaze over the entire thing. After all, the director, at least the one who is getting all the praise and taking all the credit, is Danny Boyle. The co-director, Loveleen Tandan has, with much protest from onlookers, not been nominated for the same awards Boyle has. That’s ok, too many women have received Oscars for directing anyway.

A friend passed on what I found to be an insightful observation of the film’s colonial lense, while also talking about enjoying the production: http://diaryofananxiousblackwoman.blogspot.com/2009/01/bollywood-meets-national-geographic-my.html

The author talks specifically about the imagery of a young Jamal covered in shit as reminiscent of comparisons made by whites of darker peoples’ skin to feces. She also mentions the use of the word “dog” in the title (the booked upon which it is based is titled Q & A) as being questioned due to the fact that dog was a term used by the English in reference to Indians. This author has also helped put into words or clarify for me some of my aversion to the film, that there is no context for the disturbing things viewers see, except that it all takes place in India. The child beggars and prostitutes, the evil adults, the rioting, the cheating, it all is part of the slum country where anyone can pull themselves up by their bootstraps – or in this case, the shoes the poor kid has to steal from Taj Mahal tourists! – and win millions just to show his love, not prove it.

I am reminded of my lack of interest in Kiterunner. I have never read nor seen the movie, and the main reason was that I did not trust the fact that the majority of people who praised it were white. I could not help but feel that this meant there must be something off about the story, or something to make “them” feel sorry for “us.” (And now that I know about a certain incident in the story I have no intention of ever reading or seeing it.)

I could not help but wonder how much praise Slumdog would receive if the director were Indian. But I guess who knows Indians better than the Brits!

All this aside, I have a problem with rags to riches stories. I find them ridiculous and providers of false hope. And in this case this Indian boy gains his new riches because of colonization through media. If it were not for Who Wants to Be a Millionaire he would still be serving tea.

And despite my political and social observations, I still remain clueless as to how this film is deserving of a best picture nomination, and not just from the Oscars. What is so brilliant about it? Yes, the cinematography is good, the music is great, the sets design, and costumes, but really? This is one of the top five? I would not say that the editing is anything worth raving about. Let’s just be honest and admit that when a movie makes this much money it has to get recognition. Titanic, anyone! Forrest Gump. Hell, Return of the Kingis not the best LOTR movie, but they had to give one of them Best Picture at the Oscars after three years and millions upon millions of dollars. Or maybe the Oscars folks feared some sort of Elfish riot from crazed fans.

Even if this film were brilliant in terms of production I still cannot get passed the colonial lense through which it is told. I admit to enjoying the dancing at the end, but even that seems random and insulting. Is this supposed to be some sort of shout out to Bollywood movies? Is this supposed to remind us that this is an Indian film, or take my attention away from the fact that Danny Boyle is behind the camera?

If this movie wins Best Picture it will be yet another reminder for me of why I hate the Oscars and as far as I am concerned can join the craptastic wins given to The English Patient, Crash, and others listed above.

Friday, January, 23, 09

Oscars

by theradishpress

Here are the nominees for best Motion Picture:
* The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
* Frost/Nixon
* Milk
* The Reader
* Slumdog Millionaire
I have yet to see Frost/Nixon or The Reader, so no comment.
I liked Benjamin Button, but best picture seems like a stretch. It was enjoyable, the acting was good, I liked Brad Pitt despite thinking I would not, the make-up was incredible…but really? Overall, best picture? Benjamin Button was actually better than, say, Revolutionary Road? I have not seen that, mind you, but considering the praise it has received, I am surprised.
I agree with Milk. I think that Gus Van Sant may have finally figured out how to bring his knowledge of art and make it mainstream compatible. I like art house movies, I always felt like Van Sant was trying too hard. My Own Private Idaho is hard to watch, and not because it deals with difficult subject matter or because watching River Phoenix has a bitter sweetness to it, but because the Shakespearean melodrama is pushed a little too forcefully down my throat. It is possible I lied to myself about liking Gerry. Maybe I should see it again.
So, Slumdog Millionaire…I anticipate anger from whoever the hell may read this, if anyone does. I don’t get what the big deal is. The imagery was good, I loved the music, and Danny Boyle knows how to set music to images and images to music. I felt absolutely no emotional connection to the characters. Watching children being abused is hard enough to stomach, and I feel as if that is supposed to create some sort of automatic sympathy on my part or feelings for the hero. Ok, I found that not easy to watch and felt terrible at the knowledge that that kind of abuse was not made up for the sake of the film, but children are abused every day, etc. So how come I could not connect with those characters? I have been thinking about this since I saw the movie on Monday. I wondered if I missed something, but no I do not think so. I recognize the elements of what makes a good story and what makes a good film, but somehow those elements did not come together in the amazing fashion everyone claimed.
And let’s not kid ourselves, I wanted The Dark Knight to at least get nominated.
oh, and I still think Into the Wild needs and Oscar, can’t it get nominated twice?
At least Gran Shithead wasn’t nominated.
But seriously, if Forrest Dump and Shitanic can get so many Oscars how come The Dark Knight isn’t worthy?

Monday, January, 12, 09

09 jan 09

Filed under: a moment in my head,what do i know — theradishpress @ 8:59 pm

by theradishpress

I tend to avoid resolutions. I like to make changes during Ramadan and Lent. I find a new year placed in the midst of a dead season strange, and prefer the Iranian New Year at the beginning of Spring. But why not celebrate both? And why not embrace changes or amendments that need to take place. I decided that I am going to be more open and honest with myself as well others around me. (I also decided to keep better contact with people and see more movies).

After learning some things this winter break and getting angry about secrets, it occurred to me that I am just as guilty of maintaining that status quo and not opening up about things. And this does not mean I need to be exposed or without the safety of my own intuition, but it is time for me to cultivate my emotions, to be completely honest with myself, and to know how to take steps forward, how to sometimes remain silent, and how to embrace the fear and hesitation that often times accompanies speaking out.

The first few days in California I felt for certain that I am an East Coast person, that CA is not a place for me. I did not see the need to carry a conversation with anyone other than those I was there to see. As I spent time in California I acknowledged that while NY has its merits emotionally, mentally, physically, and that I often feel completely at home, it has also provided me with an excuse to retreat into a former self and to act out in ways that are easily excused because of my geographical location. This is not about completely denying who I am, because NY also helped me learn that I had suppressed a true part of myself. This is, however, about learning and growing and developing…and I will not stifle myself. I cannot.

I need to use the time that have, the time not occupied by work, to continue working on creations. I need to focus on myself and what my personal expectations are and not be so concerned if I do not always meet them.

I can see myself in California. I can see myself wandering. I can feel myself losing some of the daring I had even last year. I do not like that. Traveling always puts things into perspective for me. I can see, from far away, what was there, already in front of me.

I felt a NY promise had been made, but that is not the case. It was a promise to myself. And things change. They evolve.

I am learning to be open with my emotions. I am more willing to allow myself to show how I truly feel, especially if my feelings are related to sorrow and sometimes accompanied by tears.  I am open to allowing myself to feel, and to not keep those feelings in isolation.

Sunday, December, 7, 08

Let’s Talk H8

by theradishpress

It has been over one month since Barack Obama won the presidential election and Proposition 8 was passed in California.

First, I want to congratulate those Californians who voted for the passing of this bill, which constitutionally bans gay marriage, on their victory. You did it! You took your hate and had it written into law. I bet there are some Obama haters who wish they had the same amount of sway.

Ahhhh, so much to say.

Let me just say it, maybe it will ramble, maybe it will flow out perfectly into coherent thoughts. Maybe I can go back and edit.

I am constantly amazed by the amount of energy some people put into hatred. Why does it matter to me or anyone else who another person chooses to love and/or marry? Even for those people who claim that their opposition is based on religious beliefs, fine, then join religious institutions that don’t allow gay marriage. Why does it have to be written into law that gay marriage is forbidden?

Now, let’s talk about the backlash from the gay community. Certain statistics claimed that Proposition 8 passed because of the high number of black voters who turned out this year due to Obama running. Hooray, a black man is president, now we can make racist claims while claiming we aren’t racist…after all, there is a black man in the white house. For starters, only 12% of the entire US population is black. Secondly, isn’t it convenient to go and blame one group for the passing of this bill instead of looking at the overall picture, like the fact that this country was built on hatred, enslavement, and genocide, and that gay rights are something that have been consistently denied? Here is a wonderful breakdown from Tara’s blog: http://bias-cut.livejournal.com/610141.html (Because I cannot seem to figure out how to hyperlink…awesome).

So first black voters were blamed, then Mormons. Ok, ok, so the Mormon church donated large amounts of money to Proposition 8, I understand that, but again, attacking Mormons for something that the church did is completely ludicrous. As if there are not gay Mormons and gay black folk! Black folk who showed up to protests against the passage of Proposition 8 had racial slurs yelled at them by other gay folk. Great job queers, way to show support and way to gain favour for your fight. But hey, at least those black gays and Mormon gays know where you stand now. Isn’t it interesting too, that so many queer folk compare gay rights to the civil rights movement in the 60’s, yet here they are, throwing racial slurs out? Maybe they have that right since the struggles are so close…yeah, that must be it.

What I see coming from this is an opportunity for the queer community to come together and fight not for the right to marry, but for civil rights overall. Suicide is insanely high in the queer community, particularly amongst teenagers. Homelessness, sex education, poverty, these are all things that impact the community, and yet, marriage is at the top of the list!? People wanting to get married is fine. I see no reason for that right to be denied. However, I do see a problem with it being the focal point of a community that is riddled with so many other issues, not to mention blatant discrimination from its own government.

And there are those in the queer community who fight for things like better medical care, education, and anti-hate crime laws. There are people in the community who do not see marriage as the number one issue. But like everything else, when the elite and the privileged have the ability to speak up, have access to all the resources, then it is their issues that are heard. And what else do queers who are privileged need? Marriage, that is it. Queer people of color do not just deal with homophobia, but racism outside of and within the queer community. Queer women deal with sexism out of and within the community. Why should marriage be the number one issue for people who are fighting against racism and sexism? (And these are only two examples of those not in the privileged class).

The queer community as a whole needs to really step back and take a look at what is needed and what is wanted, and doors need not be shut in the faces of those who do not fit the desired profile. Barack Obama winning the election is by no means an end to racism, it is only a great way for racists to get away with a lot more. But it is also an opportunity for people to prove their loyalty and dedication to the elimination of discrimination.

This is a chance for the elite, the white queers, to examine how their privilege impacts not only their entire community, but themselves. What are they missing or denying themselves by focusing on the right to marry whilst ignoring the fact that there is a lot of work to be done in regard to racism, poverty, sexism, and homophobia overall, to name a few?

And this is a chance for all allies to stand together and command and demand equality. If this really is a country formed with the intent to support freedom, then let’s prove that to ourselves. Let’s take it. No one can give it to us, but ourselves.

I waited to write this one, because I was lazy; two, I needed to gather my thoughts; three, it is still important, and until discrimination is squashed, it will remain important.

You can’t shut me up.

Friday, September, 5, 08

Palin, Biden, Obama, McCain…

Filed under: a moment in my head,what do i know — theradishpress @ 11:39 am
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

by theradishpress

I do not have television, nor have watched DNC and RNC speeches online. I have read the transcripts. Palin definitely knows what to say and based on the words, how to say. They all do, let’s be honest.

This is like casting for a giant blockbuster film. Put your make up on. Memorize your lines. Lure people in, not with what you say, but HOW you say it. The Bush blockbuster has been a major action film with some serious comedic and tragic moments. Sometimes the tragedy has been comedy and vice versa. But it’s not just Bush. It’s the US blockbuster. It’s not as if Clinton refrained from dropping bombs. He was bombing Iraq too. Oh, but he gave them a break in Ramadhan. I mean, they’re fasting anyway, why kill them. Maybe with all the sanctions against them, Iraqis will starve quicker during that holy month.

Obama and McCain are not talking about ending war. Sure, sure Obama talks about pulling troops from Iraq, but within the same breath he mentions the “issue” of Iran and protecting Israel. Do listeners not ask: Why protect Israel specifically? What is the deal here? Apparently not. Apparently protecting Israel is just part of “our” (the US’s) job. And Obama did not elaborate on the “issue” of Iran, nor did Palin, nor has anyone.

Does Obama mean to pull troops from Iraq and then send them to Iran? Does McCain mean to send troops to Iran with those still in Iraq?

A friend once told me, when I said that Kerry would instill the draft, that there already is a draft; the poor draft. This is true. What options are given to people? None. Joining the military is not a choice. Not when death is part of that choice.

And I am still not voting. I refuse to select the lesser of two evils. Listen, it’s not two evils anyway, it’s all one giant evil with two heads. And voting did not matter when Bush was running either. There has been extnsive research done and some documentaries made on the “elections” of George Bush. The decision has already been made. If Obama is to be president, or McCain, that vote does not matter. Whoever has been selected as the next leader will be in that office, dropping bombs and serving the elite and ignoring the poor and spreading democracy one death at a time, whether they got the majority of votes or not.

And I will be one of the first to admit that I have not been out there protesting. I was not by Amy Goodman when she was arrested. I was not with those at the RNC who were attacked by police. I was not at the DNC demanding truth. Silence speaks volumes, and my lack of protest and the overall lack of protest from those of us who are in a state of terror as a result of this government, is our compliance. The only good that would come from the draft is that suddenly those who have been silent or too afraid to speak or too busy or too whatever, will fight back. And maybe that is why it won’t happen.

I am amazed at the inability to see through the illusions and allusions presented by these candidates, by these supposed “everyday” people. I am not like Obama or McCain or Palin or Biden. Trying to sell me your childhood or your marriage or whatever aspect of you and make it seem like we have something in common is not going to work. Maybe all we have in common is that we breathe the same air and are made of the same matter. I cannot relate to a woman who calls herself a dog or a man who uses his pain and suffering to win the votes of people, or a man who has counted himself among the elite at a university. I cannot relate to their privilege or their distance from reality. Maybe theirs is reality. Maybe I am living the lie. Maybe I am taking this deeper than I intended.

Wednesday, July, 2, 08

I am not sleeping in white girls’ room either -Raul

Filed under: a moment in my head,what do i know — theradishpress @ 10:49 am

So, it hit me even more this weekend how much my social anxiety has kept me from doing things. I have been making an effort, a small one, but never the less an effort to go out and do things, and I knew that what was preventing me from meeting people and from getting out was my social anxiety…and still is, let’s be honest, it’s not as if it disappears over night. But this weekend, when 6 of my friends were up, and one day before 2 other friends were up, I realized that for most activities I have been relying on people visiting me or my own visits back home. I have successfully avoided parties, movies, lunches, dinners, dances, etc and managed to not feel completely isolated because I have gone home enough and had enough visitors to keep myself occupied. Not to mention, I have learned over the years to interpret my anxiety as a dislike for people, in addition to an already existing dislike. I have used it as an excuse to not do things.

But I want to break out of that. There is so much to see and so much to do and there are cool people out there. I have met some truly genuine human beings here in NY, LC specifically comes to mind, and some really amazing, some really fun and funny, some really generous, some really open people.

I had a great weekend. And at the end it was sort of bittersweet when my new realization hit. Not only was it already sad to see everyone off and to have to return to a world completely different from the one we occupied for a few days, but to figure out one more piece of what I have used as an excuse to not get to know anyone new. I have managed for – 2 weeks shy of a year now – to keep a safe distance from all but one person in this city. And this is how I have gone through most of my life. On the one hand I am completely fine with it. I don’t need quantity, rather quality. On the other hand, I am fully aware that Will Hunting my way through life can’t last forever. It won’t.

Thursday, June, 5, 08

If you see something, say something. Something would be me.

I am getting ready to fly out tonight. Maz Jobrani – an Iranian comedian – jokes about how whenever he goes to the airport he suddenly feels paranoid, like maybe he does have a weapon on him or maybe he is a terrorist. I laughed when I first heard him say that, mostly because I always get the same feeling. So, I woke early this morning, around 630 with a heavy pain in my chest and deep rumble in my stomach. Here we go, I thought, panic attack. I sat up slowly. I thought maybe if I could get up and move around, but no, that didn’t help. And I was exhausted. I was too tired to be awake this early, especially without work today. I lay back down finally. Breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe in. Breathe out.
I am not afraid of flying. I never have been.
Airports, on the other hand, terrify me. They always have. I used to associate them with business trips my dad took, long far away places, for long far away months. I used to cry at the gate.
I hate airports because I am randomly searched, hands search my body for threats, eyes stare accusingly.
Agah sets off the red alert.
Now, though, without my scarf, I have managed to breeze through. My last flight was in the US and I was not stopped. I was almost angry. How dare they pass me by? How dare they ignore my blood? My religion?
Today I fly internationally. I have my scarf in my passport picture. I keep thinking I will be pulled aside for questioning. Why did you take it off? Who are you trying to fool? I always have smart-ass remarks in my head. But I shut down at the airport. I follow orders. The last thing I want is to be sitting in some orange jump suit waiting for my next torture session.
I sound paranoid because I am paranoid. And with reason. Anyone who doubts me, calls me crazy, well they can spend one day in my shoes, in my mind, in my heart.
I dreamt about a month ago that when trying to return from Ireland the US would not allow me back into the country. But instead of keeping me in Ireland they detained me at JFK, held me there for 2 weeks, tortured me. But I refused to speak. Not in Farsi, not in English. I remained silent and stone faced for 2 weeks. They will not break me, I thought. They will not make me confess to things I did not do. They will not make me turn on people I love. And all I could think is that they are going to get my family.
I was taught by this government, by this society, by this media, that I am a threat, that my people are threats. I have caught myself staring suspiciously at Muslims and Middle Easterners. I remember as a kid I sometimes thought, maybe Mommy and Baba really do work for the CIA and sometimes I thought maybe my family really is a threat to this country. When 9/11 happened I thought, maybe there is evidence against us, maybe we did do something! I felt so guilty for these thoughts, and feel guilty when I look on my own with suspicion. But do you see? Do you see what this world has done to me, to my people? And we are only one small group. We are only one group of oppressed peoples.
I read those posters in the subway about 1,944 New Yorkers seeing something and saying something and I wonder how many of the things that they saw were associated with Middle Easterners and Muslims and how many of those were actual threats, if any?
I am flying out tonight. I am flying out tonight. I will not be paranoid. I will not hate myself. I will not allow anyone or anything to bring suspicion upon myself. I will not be suspicious of any Muslim or Middle Easterner I see. I will love myself.

Tuesday, June, 3, 08

connections

Filed under: a moment in my head,what do i know — theradishpress @ 10:40 am

After living in NY for almost one year and several months visiting John’s restaurant, I finally hung out with D outside of the restaurant. Of course, he’s moving and I am leaving this Thursday, so it only makes sense that I had a great time hanging out. I know that what I enjoy most is good conversation, and there was plenty of that. And despite his moving, I am glad we hung out. I prefer that over never having done so.

It is a reminder to me of something I realized about a month ago: I live in NY and need to start living in NY. I have allowed my social anxiety and anxieties overall really cloud my actions and prevent me from making connections with people. But I have been making an effort and enjoying it. I have been going out, whether it’s for cupcakes at 1030 or for drinks when I don’t drink, or dancing…well, I always enjoy dancing. I didn’t just move to NY for school, I also came to experience things. I think I was expecting some major shifts like happened in England. There have been some changes and other developments, maybe I am just more accustomed and less surprised by changes that occur.

I have been having some great conversations with T as well. We are both part of similar and same communities and our mixed identities have been especially prominent in our lives, particularly at present. In speaking with T and expressing my interest in reaching out to more people of color and mixed people, I also realized that I have been so bad about doing my own research, on finding things, places, people. I know there are Iranians in NY. A lot. And because of some of my past experiences of feeling not quite Iranian enough, I have shied from from locating any groups. I was part of a meetup collective of Iranians, but never went out with them.

So maybe this is my big shift, my comparable to England change. Me actually fighting my anxiety, not trying to hide it.

I am looking forward to this summer of travel, friends, family, concerts, and whatever else may happen.

Thursday, May, 15, 08

little secrets i know

Filed under: a moment in my head,what do i know — theradishpress @ 10:18 am

like the time you told me you were honest and proved yourself wrong but you really believed it and i think you still believe it but i know it is not true and so does everyone else because i like to warn people about liars

and this reminds me of when amu abbas told me to write about i and not me and i thought i was being really deep but i think i may have missed a lot of what he was trying to get at, if not everything

but sometimes i was much more intelligent, i have decided, ten years ago than i am now.

boy cat is hungry

my throat hurts cause i smoked again and i should not

my wrist hurts just because it exists

concert summer

dreams about ticketmaster screwing people over

dc this weekend/va this weekend

drive drive drive

tolls

and trolls

and dances

and mommy and baba

zombie dance

how much clothes can i borrow?

here it is: i think i want to live in ny for one more year, then travel around and stay in different places, work odd jobs. i could live in ireland for up to 3 months. i could live in germany for a bit…maybe also 3 months. i could live in iran for as long as i want, i could live in california, utah, tennessee, oregon, va, md, dc…a backpack with some clothes, some books, and me. earn my keep. i am bound to nothing and no one, only myself. i am tired of living my life in terms of financial things. i can try to get a “i don’t have money” deferment on my loans, ’cause at the rate i am going, i won’t get a break for years and years, and i need not let this bread hit the floor george.

it is as i remember it. frightening and true. maybe another george wrote it. like o’brien as goldstein. maybe it is all lies to keep us sedated, to keep us thinking it is not what it could be, what they say it is. maybe not. maybe yes. maybe marky mark.

i ate delicious pizza on tuesday.

i do not like thinking about work outside of work.

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