Fri, 27 May 2005

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little brown fucking machines

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JRM forwards me an interesting read.

The following e-mail is reproduced under provisions of fair use as protected by existing copyright law.

From: henrico galvez <e-mail address redacted> Date: May 27, 2005 12:02:25 AM PDT To: webmaster@magandamagazine.org Subject: READ this…

just saw your recent publications...I couldn't understand, why you people keep on repeating this "little brown fucking machines" term,, what is your bloody objective? Anything that is ugly is best FOUND A SOLUTION and rarely brought GLARINGLY in pinoy's faces.You don't hear black people constantly talk about slavery do you?You people have totally missed the boat,you use artistic expression as an excuse when out of ignorance and naivete, you're causing more DAMAGE than you can imagine.The government of the Philippines need to change it's policies concerning the trafficking and tretment of it's citizens.But your CONSTANT repetition of these UGLY terms serves no purpose, at best for non-filipinos who seem not to know anything about this and a non-bias look at Filipinos, is now destroyed thanx to your too much ROMANTICIZATION of being an activist kuno.You like to harp on these ugly terms but the actual people who should be MOVED by this[the Phil. government] has heard this a million times and apparently don't give a shit. So who are we destroying? NObody but ourselves.I couldn't figure out why seemingly educated students who went to Berkely would be so bloody excited to keep on repeating this ugly terms, and for what? To educate the white world, you people who's priority in life is to marry the next caucasian guy/gal who comes your way, who are we fooling here.The problem with you people is that in every art form that you produce, it's always the VICTIMS LANGUAGE that you employ.You ROMANTICIZE your ACTIVISM BUT THEN when you all turn around,walking proudly with your white boyfriends and girlfriends, AS IF you've bagged a treasure.You damn INFERIOR, PATHETIC maggot, no wonder nobody gives you any respect.You keep on proclaiming these ugly terms to the world, you express your hatred for it and to the dominant culture which you perceived to have EXPLOITED you, and finally foaming at the mouth to have a relationship with these bastards.YOU PEOPLE ARE A PATHETIC, BREED OF PEOPLE,mONGRELS WHO ARE NAIVE AND IGNORANT.Stop playing the victims language, and ingrain what nIETZCHE CALLS "will to power",Of course, you wouldn't know anything about that would you?In the meantime let's keep coming-up with all this 3rd world/ "I am a victim, boo-hoo hoo,/ hate the dominant culture who exploited you, sensibilities, and pass it as art too, an INFERIOR FORM OF ART THAT IS.And proudly walk with your bagged white girl/boyfriends.You people are ignorant maggots....Pathetic!!!!Your activism does more damage than good, when you're not doing anything...Read a book, so you can put some real knowledge in your cocunuts, instead of ROMANTICIZING activism....

Now, given my profession, the first thing my mind gloms onto is the level of pathology in this e-mail. As someone who occasionally takes care of those who have been abused—I've been involved in the care of people involved in child abuse and elder abuse as well as in domestic violence cases—it is heart-rending and not a little bewildering to see the same theme repeated over and over again. These people are caught in very ugly and awful situations, and what many of them end up doing is denying that the ugliness and awfulness of their situation exists. Some people even destructively channel their rage against others, thinking that their acts of violence are a sign of their strength, rather than just another symptom of denial. And, not infrequently, they strike at people who are trying to help them, and perversely often times protect the very people who are abusing them.

What we have here is this kind of pathology on a sociological scale.

I don't know how other progressive-thinking Filipinos feel about this, but I've pretty much accepted the notion that Filipino culture is the product of abuse on the nation-state level, a culture that has been repeatedly humiliated and violated, and is now riddled with emotional trauma and widespread mental pathology, having been at the mercy of several imperial regimes—the Spanish, the Americans, the Japanese. And consequently, a lot of sociological phenomenon can be traced back to a peculiar self-loathing mingled with self-esteem, and a bizarre hatred of the oppressor despite admiring their qualities. And then there is the splitting behavior: things are either bad or good, but there is no in-between.

Some people I've talked to have cast the behavior of pretending that nothing bad is happening as a cultural trait of Filipinos. I see it merely as a culture-wide expression of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Then again, the writer has a point with regard to the fact that dwelling on and wallowing in victimization is not helpful. The point of realizing that I am a victim is not so I can lie around pathetic and waiting for someone else to help me. The point of realizing I am a victim is so that I can ascribe blame for my circumstances not to myself, which many people of abuse tend to do, but to the rightful party. To put it in concrete, simplistic terms, if I have no money because someone robbed me, then I shouldn't get bogged down in self-blame and kick myself for getting robbed. Rather, I will have to go after the robber one way or the other. And when people notice the fact that I have no money and deride me for it, I can justifiably tell them to fuck themselves, I was robbed. I'm certainly not asking these asshats for pity, but they've got to recognize that I didn't get to this low spot by my own design. To use the analogy the writer introduced, black people do not bring up slavery again and again to tear down their own people. The reason they point it out is for all those asshat white people who think that black people did this to themselves. What black people are saying when they point to slavery is that, wherever they are, even if it is at this low point, it isn't like they tried to get there on purpose. Someone (notably white slaveowners) brought them down to this point, and to blame them for their state is plainly bullshit.

But, yeah, on a personal level, nothing pisses me off more about some Filipinos than the urge to cover shit up, to make believe that everything is all right, and all we need to do is pray to God to obviate the fact that, culturally speaking, we have all been violated. I saw this all the time when I was a kid. My aunts and uncles would deny their plainly existing bastard children, would deny infidelity and straight up sexual perversion, would deny addiction, would deny that their children were gang-members and drug-abusers. They have a word for this in the DSM-IV. It is called delusional disorder and it is one symptom of psychosis. And as far as I'm concerned, it's rampant in Filipino culture.

And (you knew I was gonna pull this in somehow) this is all made manifest in the curious cultural phenomenon known as PCN. Pilipino Cultural Night. All these stereotypes are made replete, and in typical borderline fashion, things are either metaphorically airbrushed or are stylized so as to be caricatures. While the younger generations are less apt to deep-throat and swallow the Ferdinand-and-Imelda-like notion of "one big happy family," neither are many of us willing to deal with the sharp, barbed complexities of being a member of a diasporic culture caught within the interstices of American Civil Rights Movement and the general anti-neoliberal global revolution. Despite never being able to fit in with the retro 1950s, McCarthy-era white suburban utopia, some of us are nonetheless loth to accept the dissolution of nation-states, the decreasing importance of tradition, and the general trend towards anarchy (and I mean the ideal anarchy posited by the Greeks) and away from central government.

Which brings me back to a thesis that I frequently ponder. We belong to culture that the conquerors have tried hard to erase. Notice how little Americans know about the Philippines, this despite the fact that the Philippines was an American colony for 50 years (and, in reality, longer than that, given the Cold War and the military presence in Subic) How almost no one learns about the Filipino-American War. About how Americans massacred up to a million Filipinos, including women and children, during this war. About how the Filipinos already had a tradition of democracy and freedom prior to the arrival of the Americans, how Aguinaldo was about to defeat the Spaniards, but that it was the Americans who finally prevented us from obtaining independence.

Instead, what do they know? Like it or not, you type in "filipino" in Google, and a lot of those hits are going to point to porno sites or mail-order bride sites.

But seriously, are we really going to try to repress this shit? What for? So we can live our delusional lives and pretend that our culture was never abused and humiliated?

But the reason why I think this becomes key is because the process is repeating itself in Iraq. Halliburton et al are busy literally razing the terrain and attempted to Americanize their society, and, while it is bound to fail, I would not be surprised to see Iraqi culture turn out similarly to Filipino culture. A culture designed by committee, with all the "ugly" parts elided, made to please the white-bread minds of corporatist America.

Seriously, though, I think it is key to accept the fact that we are part of a defeated, colonized culture. We are not the conqueror hegemons, folks. We are not the Empire. We are the Resistance. There is a lot more honor in accepting what we are rather than pretending to be what we are not.

But from the didactic side of things: if you are willing to reject the Bawlderized, Bayanihanized, Marcosized version of Filipino history and are willing to learn even all the ugly parts, then you will be one step closer to understanding how the global new world order works. It ain't a pretty place. There is oppression and exploitation everywhere. But recognize that our job in the Resistance is not to make the world a pretty place. It is to rid the world of oppression and exploitation, one step at a time.

I'm not trying to be militant here. I'm trying to be realistic. In my profession, you can't get away with just treating the symptoms of disease. It's not enough to just make someone feel better. You've got to treat the disease itself, and that means first diagnosing the disease and accepting that it is there and then going after it, in which case sometimes you have to cause pain before you can start the healing. Sounds cliched, I know, but this is kind of the essence of good medicine.

But if you're not going to treat the disease, if all you're going to do is mask the symptoms and pretend the disease isn't there, then you might as well just be masturbating.

18:21:39 27 May 2005 > /via-trails > permalink > 83 comments

Tue, 14 Oct 2003

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i need a miniblog

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One of the things I had on my old blog that I haven't figured out how to reimplement in Blosxom is a mini-blog in a sidebar. It let me document various sites I visited without having to write a full-on entry on them. But I don't want to screw around with Perl right now, so I'm just going to do it here, for now.

There is this story about a black man who shot a white man who broke into his house for the purpose of "killing him some niggers." Unsurprisingly, there are many skeptics. One can only wonder at their motives. As a person-of-color, my first instinct is to believe that they just want to promulgate the lie that racism no longer exists in America. Although you only have to look at such abominations like the World Church of the Creator to know that white people routinely shoot people-of-color for ridiculous reasons such as "keeping America white."

And then there's a little blurb regarding Raymond Damadian, a believer of creation science, who incidentally came up with the idea of applying nuclear magnetic resonance to imaging human anatomy (in other words, he came up with the idea that became the MRI.) Of course, his actual research and paper was completely worthless, but it did provide the seed for the actual inventors of the MRI. But then, given that logic, science fiction authors such as Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov, and William Gibson ought to be awarded Nobel Prizes as well, for being the first to come up with some outlandish ideas that are now our reality.

Gillen makes explicit the interesting apophenic connection between the latest incarnation of Mac OS X called Panther, and Malcolm X. (Black Panthers, X, hee-hee. Good thing that Apple has better sense than to try to exploit this connection.)

Livejournal is like a virus. I don't know how I found this: girlyunderwear.

22:13:39 14 Oct 2003 > /via-trails > permalink > 5 comments

Fri, 19 Sep 2003

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blogging: a retrospective

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Somehow I stumbled onto this essay by Rebecca Blood (author of The Weblog Handbook: Practical Advice on Creating and Maintaining Your Blog and We've Got Blog: How Weblogs Are Changing Our Culture) about the history of blogs. And this led me to the eatonweb portal which led to some really random blogs:

(Sorry, just a random list of places I clicked-through. No commentary as of yet.)

Then, somehow I ended up at the website of the esteemed science fiction writer Harlan Ellison, where I learned about the game "I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream," which is based on a collection of short-stories by Mr. Ellison (and which sounds very "Matrix"-like.) Which made me immediately think of the meme "Hello Kitty Has No Mouth" (and she must scream....)

The web is a random, random place.

23:14:31 19 Sep 2003 > /via-trails > permalink > 0 comments

Thu, 04 Sep 2003

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google is god reprised

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For some reason, this article entitled "Blogs: Hanging dirty laundry on-line" makes me think of a recently circulating meme "Google is God." Link from littleyellowdifferent. Maybe it's the whole confessional aspect of it. Google as priest.

There is something cathartic about blogging, but there is something disturbing about people suddenly accosting you with things you have blogged. (I'm sure you know what I mean, R. Heh. They aren't kidding about how blogs sometimes degenerate into private messages to people....)

Then there is the anonymity factor. In some professions, this is actually crucial. For example, in medicine, you can't really blog about your patients, not without making yourself anonymous. (Because, believe me, if a patient looked at your blog and found out you were spewing their personal details throughout the net, it wouldn't matter if you didn't use their actual names.) Or, as another example, this soldier who is stranded in Iraq—it might be very detrimental for him to have his identity exposed.

The other thing is that, well, the better you know your audience, the less cavalier you are about spewing certain thoughts. I mean, if I knew that a girl I liked was reading this, you could be sure I would elide all mention of my thoughts about her.

So. The private journal is definitely not obsolete.

That's all I have to say for now.

17:03:07 4 Sep 2003 > /via-trails > permalink > 3 comments

Sun, 31 Aug 2003

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nelson.monkey.org

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Nelson Minar helped me out with problems on my site. My webhost was getting hammered by bots that were getting lost in blosxom.cgi because, one, I had done the "remove CGI kludge" and, two, Blosxom doesn't generate an error code when a bogus URL is requested. Tens of thousands of requests were being generated and my webhost had to shut me down.

So Nelson Minar created a plugin to return 410 Gone if a URL matches a user-defined regex. Regardless, traffic seems to have dropped ever since my webhost disabled my scripts. Hopefully it'll stay that way.

nelson.monkey.org

22:52:56 31 Aug 2003 > /via-trails > permalink > 0 comments