One of the most fun projects I have been invited to so far in my PhD program has been my time as a Fellow of the Paulo Freire Democratic Project. We meet and discuss ways that we can interact with the to local community that surrounds Chapman University, and we talk about the schools and projects around the world that work to embody and live out the educational framework Freire presented throughout his writing. We also plan events where we can host speakers to discuss the concerns that everyone faces outside (and sometimes within) the university.
To that end, I have been part of a subcommittee that has worked to develop a framework for a salon (think Modernist Salons of Paris and New York that encouraged discussion and participation from and with everyone) to take place on campus. And I presented, as a stretch and because I knew I would love it, that for the first topic we discuss comics and comic books. I expected the idea to be disregarded, because most of the rest of the board are not involved or particularly interested in such a niche community. But everyone so far has loved it. We presented the idea to one of the (apparently billions) Vice Chancellors of the university, and he was completely supportive of the idea.
So now I have to help make this whole project become real. It will take place around the time of WonderCon, and it will be open to the community. And we would really love to have creators participate, but we’re trying to work out those details. More information will be posted here as soon as it all gets settled. But if you’re in the area for WonderCon, Chapman University (where the Salon will happen) isn’t that far away.
Also, if you want to chime in with ideas, that would be awesome! Leave comments here or reach out through the contact page.
The Grand Jury decision came back yesterday with a No Indictment. I’ve been seeing some people equate that with a Not Guilty. They aren’t the same thing, because Darren Wilson wasn’t actually on trial. The Grand Jury was convened by county prosecutor, Bob McCulloch, to decide whether there should be a trial or not. He could have laid out a case before a jury of Darren Wilson’s peers and actually had a trial. But I don’t think he ever wanted to go to trial. And I think the Grand Jury was a legal cover.
I went to a drag show fundraiser the other day, to support Orange County Dream Team and my friends who preformed. And I was talking with some of my friends before the night really took off, when one of them asked if I thought of them differently since they were in drag. (for a bit of context – this particular part of the conversation included me and 2 male friends, 1 gay and 1 hetero, and it was the gay one who asked the question). And I thought about it a moment (because I can only answer trivial questions without thinking), and I said I didn’t think differently about either of them, because what does it matter to me what clothes they wear?
And this is true, but it is the simple gloss of my thoughts on that situation. Especially, since the way the question was phrased and asked, it felt most like a question about whether I felt differently about my hetero friend dressing in drag.
The longer answer is that seeing my friends in drag helped me better understand them and my thoughts and feelings toward them. I realized that they could’ve been dressed in trash bags, and I would’ve still been standing with them, talking, because they are my friends. Socially, it’s more acceptable for gays to drag, but societal conventions are really the best rules to break, and they both looked phenomenal in their dresses and wigs and makeup. They’re both attractive when they look like the social definition of male, and they were still attractive when they were dressed in the social markers of female.
But their physical attractiveness isn’t even what I saw when my friend asked what I thought. I saw my friends; 2 guys I’ve talked and shared with and worked toward a more just world with and debated ideologies with. And I thought of specific moments in Saga* and Game of Thrones** and realized I finally understood these moments more completely.
There’s a moment in book 2 of Game of Thrones where 1 character, a spy and master of disguise comes to the house where another character has hidden his mistress, a prostitute, to discuss the political situation. The man doesn’t immediately recognize the disguised spy, until his mistress calls the spy by name to offer him a drink. Her lover realizes that she can see beyond the physical distractions of appearance to see the person, and he attributes this to professional necessity.
Saga has a gorgeous moment in Chapter 8 when Alana is talking with Marco’s father, Barr. He is trying to understand why Alana would forsake her own race to run away with Marco, in an effort to understand why his son would willingly sacrifice everything for her. Alana begins by telling Barr that Marco annoyed her when they first met, so Barr asks her why she would risk everything to be with him. Alana says because Marco is “so goddamn beautiful.” Barr assures Alana looks don’t last forever, and Alana explains she wasn’t talking about Marco’s looks.
In a moment where my friends were disguised and asking if I viewed them differently in a context where others might have thought less of them, I saw my friends as they are and thought, through breaking the conventions (1 even more so than others) they were showing those who haven’t had the chance to get to know them like I have what I knew already – how beautiful they are. And sometimes they only way to see the truth of a person is to see through the disguises they wear.
*Saga is the great comic by Brian Wood and Fiona Staples. It’s other-worldly (like literally set on other worlds) and set in the middle of a war no one really understands but is over differences no one can change. I love this series, and highly recommend it, especially if you like comics that deal with issues.
**Seriously, if you don’t know what Game of Thrones (I know the real book series goes by Song of Fire and Ice but that’s too long to reference all the time) is, run the Google search and you can catch the drift. Basically it’s an epic fantasy about politics…
My first thoughts:
*That was so much fun!
*Can we do it again!
*I’m so glad most of the people are local and I have excuses to interact with them more!
The conference, conversation, hacktivist, educational challenge space was great. I learned so much about data visualization tools, the many different ways that people are approaching education, particularly in the humanities, and the ways academics are embracing and modifying technology to educate students. I left the conference feeling inspired and awed by what everyone was doing and the ways which our interests connect and diverge.
And as interesting and intelligent as everyone is, everyone at the conference was extraordinarily nice and supportive and interested in everyone. (This is, sadly, often not the case when so many super-smart people are in 1 space)
I have so many new ideas/tools/articles/websites/people to go and learn more about. And I’ve met a number of undergrads I’m excited to keep an eye out for to see where their lives and interests take them.
The space was great, and the meeting was very much the best part of all cons – conversations about topics we’re jointly passionate about. I’m definitely in the post-con high of wanting it to happen again. Now. But I’ll be content if it simply happens again next year.
So Thank You THATCamp Feminisms West 2013! I had a blast! And thanks especially to Jacqueline Wernimont! The conference wouldn’t have happened without you, and you were delightful to chat with!
I am so looking forward to seeing you all again. Sometime. Soon?
It’s part of THATCamp, which is a collection of academic unconferences. From what I gleaned from their site, it’s the conversation part of an academic conference without the paper-reading part. I have a feeling it’ll feel more like the nerd cons I’ve been to, which will be great.
I’m not sure yet if I’m going, as they have an application registration process. And they keep their cons small, so I may have submitted the registration form too late.
But I hope I get to go. It would be nice to meet other people who are as interested in technology and the ways social media is shaping us and our understanding of ourselves. I’d like to learn more about what I should know and what ideas are being turned over. And it be nice to have a conversation with people about what I find fascinating without their eyes immediately glazing over (ever an optimist).
Just another possible adventure in the near future!
Update: I just heard back from THATCamp Feminisms West, and I’m definitely going! I’m quite excited about this fact! I can’t wait to meet everyone and chat!
As anyone who has been around this blog can attest, I am quite passionate about the things that matter to me. Most of those things only matter to a small number of other people on the planet (like the proper use of colons or my newest favorite album or book), but I am not bother by the small number of other people who share my passions.
And then I have this entire other set of passions that I don’t talk about with everyone as much.
But today, I participated in my first ever chanting-on-the-street-corner rally with a group that I have supported since I finally realized they existed (because I’m occasionally quite obtuse), so I decided this is a great time to share.
You might have heard about something called the DREAM Act and a group of nebulous entities who have been called lots of things, from aliens to illegals to undocumented (and numerous other derogatory names. I call them my friends. Or my students. Or the future.
And while I’ll probably post more about their plight, history, desires, and options in the future, this post isn’t about that. This post is about how I finally learned from my friends the reason for these kinds of rallies.
My friends, Sean and Fernando, looked around last fall at the challenge one of our other friends was facing paying for his education at UCR. They decided that they could use their talents with graphic design and making things happen to create a way to raise money for college scholarships.
Best of all, they only keep the cost of production and pool the rest into the scholarship fund. And they’re super ethical about the whole process, which is good because I wouldn’t be friends with jerks.
The first design is now out in the wild for sale, and it’s awesome. It’s really fun to see how excited they are about their product, and its launch. I’ve been making fun of them for weeks now as each piece came together to create their line. But I’ve really been entertained and couldn’t be more proud of or happy for them. (but don’t tell them; I’d never hear the end of it)
So check out their site, and order a shirt. They’re still working out the kinks for shipping, but they’ll get one to you if you want it. If they still have any. They’re selling really well, so pick one up soon. Seriously, you don’t want to miss out on this.
What I like about the Nook Color – It’s available now; it’s epub compatible along with more file types (which means it’ll be more useful for my desired field of study); it seems easier to make my own outside of the app store.
What I’m not so much a fan of – The store isn’t the first with books; it’s a little heavier than the Kindle Fire; it has a slower processor.
What I like about the Kindle Fire – It’s more of a tablet without belonging to Apple; it’s got a faster processor; it has more books in it’s bookstore.
What I’m not so much a fan of – It’s got Amazon’s wonky DRM without a plausible workaround; it’s not as versatile in its file reading; it’s not available yet (which means that there’s no regular person reviews and I have to wait).
I’m leaning toward a Nook Color, and taking the hit on the hardware, because it comes with less technical annoyances than the Kindle Fire. But I’m not decided, because they aren’t particularly cheap, and I’m looking for a reader that will be the most versatile and provide the most help for trying out new media formats for reading.
So I’m posing the question to you, the readers. Which e-reader/tablet will be the best bet for the money? Leave your thoughts, including other readers I may have overlooked, in the comments! Thanks!
Although I arrived later than I planned, and missed one of the panels I would have liked to see, I did get to see the Womanthology panel, which was fantastic. I went to several others, and I learned a lot about the publishing side of the industry, mostly from Indie publishers.
The day felt rather like this at the outset:
But after sitting through a few panels, getting a better feel for the Exhibit Hall, buying some comic books, and drinking some coffee, I started to feel more like this:
I will be writing more about the presenters who stood out to me, and my overall experience. Just wanted to share the pictures of my initial feelings for the day.
I’m quite excited for tomorrow, when I will (hopefully) use the bravery inspired by the second picture to make some helpful contacts. We’ll see what the day brings.
And I’m headed to Long Beach to hang out at the Long Beach Comic Con. Because I hear it’s small and a good place to start the whole con experience.
Plus they have several Guild panels and a Womanthology panel. I couldn’t pass those up!
So for the first time in my life, I will be at the con and not merely following other people’s experiences. I’m a little nervous about being there alone, but I think if there’s any place where that’s not going to be a super weird thing, it’s a con.