rhivolution: Ace is pensive and/or upset (say your life is on fire: Ace)
This post sort of starts in medias res because I can't figure out how to start it otherwise: I managed to be a responsible adult last week in epic ways, before starting to come down with a cold the day after. It whinged for a while as my body threw things at it, but then I ended up so poorly early this week I had to take a sick day for the first time in two years. (Oddly enough, I was also sick, though with GI issues, in early April 2012...idek.)

So this week has pretty much been a wash. Shit has not got done outwith work. And here we are in April and Easter is next week and the US in a month or so and I am thirty... cue existential crisis

A few things I know for sure, though.

I've not seen Winter Soldier so I feel a bit left out, but carry on squeefully!

I will be at Wiscon on the Friday so make your plans accordingly? (insert Sally Field moment here with not understanding why people like me so damn much.*) I need to vid for this omg, but my idea involves going through a ton of canon which is causing much anxiety.

In a similar vein, I finally am reading through the copy of the Year's Best SF that I picked up before going to Birmingham (2009, so this'd be YBSF 2008?) and now I remember why I stopped reading SF indiscriminately. Not just because of the obvious fail, but also the more insidious things...for example, I feel like I want someone to talk with about Ian McDonald and why his work creeps me out so much. Also, it's helped me realise that I made the right choice in not touching Bacigalupi's work. (Conceptually the protagonist's work and workplace in that story is a fantastic concept that rings stunningly true to today's social media and pageclick driven journalism. But that's negated and buried under the amount of sideeye I have to do because it's just...)

so many white dudes in this omg thank fuck there's at least an Aliette de Bodard story near the end and I think Nancy Kress is in it somewhere

This is part of my project to read more, and while it's not failing, I need to push myself a little harder, I think. Or track what I read over lunch better, because I don't tweet about what I don't find amazing.

I...have run out of steam thanks to exhaustion. Ask me things, instead, maybe?


* To deconstruct this, I think this is a combination of imposter syndrome and the fact that at school/work (e.g. social situations where the group is not self-selected) I have always been deemed 'pleasantly quirky' at best and 'wtf' at worst. Therefore I believe the negatives because I am a goddamn cynic.
rhivolution: David Tennant does the Thinker (Default)
I passed the Life in the UK Test. So, one wee hurdle over. (Easy, yes--I did the test part in literally 3 minutes, with checking my work--but if I hadn't studied, I would have been fucked.)

Thanks for your support, seriously.

Now debating Springsteen ticket, because I have never seen the Boss and it's right down the street (Hampden Park) and Fleetwood Mac haven't announced any UK dates anyway. Goddamn. Running out of time to decide. HELP ME INTERNETS.
rhivolution: Abed from Community with his camcorder (pop culture/film = OTP: Abed Nadir)
First off, happy birthday, Dreamwidth! And a happy May Day to everyone.

Right, so as a massive cultural studies geek...lots of you wanted me to write about fandom and cultural studies. So I am writing about that, because I can't think of anything to write about British/US American cultural differences that wouldn't sound trite at the moment.

Please note: the below is my interpretation of cultural studies and is not by any means definitive. It's a combination of how I learned the field and my own interpretations since. (Your mileage may vary. This is actually quite fitting, as you will see in a couple of paragraphs.)

First, a bit of background: Cultural studies is a bit of a newcomer to academics, and as such is often slagged off as being not academic enough...as most things that don't fall into the historically traditional (read: white Western) subject matter are.

This is because it studies everything within a culture as artefacts or texts of that culture, including popular culture and things that are not privileged with status therein, or things not imbued with value by the hegemony. Also, cultural studies takes as a credo the postmodern idea that everything is interpretable, and that there is no absolute truth or true narrative. You can take that as 'everything is true in some way' or 'nothing is true at all'; personally I lean towards the former. One doesn't want to dismiss any point of view out of hand, though the dominant and hegemonic point of view is considered only at the side because it's already been focused on in that 'historically traditional' narrative. Not entirely dismissed, because it's true, but only to the people who are enfranchised. If you catch my drift.

Cultural studies is about what communities of people do and why they do it, and what that means in the bigger picture of the world.

So, because it's not particularly quantifiable, because it focuses on the agency and history of people outside the hegemony, and because it asserts things like authorial intent alongside reader interpretation, cultural studies gets kicked quite a bit by the traditional academic. But it does police itself, to a certain extent--I can't just claim that Barney the purple dinosaur is an example of the dominant US narrative of giving respect only to those who meet your value system. If I were writing about it in an academic paper, I would need to back that up.

It's not perfect, by any means (for a start, it's still looking at things from Western theory), but deconstructing that isn't really part of the scope of this project.

There are lots of different ways to do cultural studies, and I generally go at it from a feminist/queer/restoring agency perspective, with as little Marxism as possible except when it comes to disenfranchisement, because I find it to be oversimplification. Semiotics comes into play a bit, because I was taught Dick Hebdige when I was impressionable, and because subcultures are cool. Like Stetsons and fezzes.

So, essentially, what I do/have done in academic projects is look at fandom groups--most particularly, online transformative works fandom and SJ fandom, so when I say 'fandom' from hereon out, assume that's what I mean--as communities or subcultures of their own accord, because they fulfil1 the specifications of subcultures. They have texts and language and are reactive to the existing cultures from which the canons originate without being entirely apart.

And fandom, frankly, is the oppressed (or the subaltern, though I hesitate to use that word because for some it is a specific referent--see Spivak) when it comes to reacting to texts/canon. Fic and vids and meta examining social justice issues are all devalued both by the dominant culture and even within fandom itself, which is a whole other kettle of fish.

So that is WHY I look at it from a cultural studies perspective, because for me it provides the best possible academic framework for discussing this, where everything can be read and accepted as a text, while holding the creators of the texts accountable, and because I want to understand...or try to understand...why we do what we do and how that helps us process our understanding of bigger cultures.

Questions are entirely welcome, by the way.

Later, or tomorrow, or whenever I get around to writing it: fandom, culture, and the devaluing of fanworks/transformative works.

1 Actually, this would be a good starting place for a post on 'why the hell does fulfil only have two Ls in BritE'. Other words that have come up in writing this post--artefact and me refusing to put a dash in postmodern.
rhivolution: the Tenth Doctor, looking mightily pissed off (gonna cut you: the Tenth Doctor)
Right, not to start a flame war, but I've left the usually interesting [livejournal.com profile] dw_britglish because I don't really want to hang out with a bunch of imperialist apologists. (of both the British and US American varieties, by the by.)

If I ever needed an illustration of how little the impact of the British Empire on former colonies is currently understood by white people, I just got it. You can be interested in British culture without supporting all historical (and, frankly, current) decisions that hurt people or white-washing over the bad parts.

Yes, I am white and from the US, but, to take a turn of phrase from my relatives, that ain't no reason to be fuckin' IGNORANT.

That is all, carry on.

(PS: This isn't just Britain, either. Anyone who knows me knows I will gladly air US dirty laundry. It just didn't come up.)

ETA: The pertinent post has been deleted. [snort]
rhivolution: text only: "I hate so much about the things that you choose to be." (sheer disgust: TO (US) quote)
Forthcoming: meta on the Torchwood US casting call that's going around, because there are multiple levels of fail there (race [any non-white person is interchangeable!], gender [she's in love], disability [he's an insane but clever criminal] and...well, what I get into in the subject line).

Not that I was expecting much from RTD, but nothing this bad.

Anyway, I've got to go to the orthodontist and deal with my father today, but this...I've got things to say.

It may tie into my 'the dominant UK paradigm about US people is about as fucked as what the dominant US paradigm about the UK' concept.

Edited because I made a blanket statement that I thought better of.
rhivolution: text only: "I hate so much about the things that you choose to be." (sheer disgust: TO (US) quote)
Just wanted to draw people's attention briefly to some more RPS fail, sadly, in bandom. This time we've got some negation of Jewish identity! And when it is pointed out, a massive derailing tone argument!

Sigh.

By the way, though [personal profile] sohotrightnow doesn't touch on it in her analysis post but did earlier, this gets into race in other ways, as Gabe Saporta is Uruguayan.

So also, of course the Latino guy is a Catholic priest. Latino people aren't Jewish, don't be silly! /sarcasm

The more I think about this, the more fucked up it gets. I got nothing. I'm off to my shrink (no, actually, I really am).