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Posted by Kendra James

by Guest Contributor Belleisa, originally published at PostBourgie

There’s a game I like to play when I walk into a bookstore. Based on the the title, cover and store placement I can always interpret the marketing intention for a book meant for a black American audience. The best part of this game is that the books will, typically, fit into the following categories (they are, in no particular order):

1. Black Pathology or “What’s wrong with Black people?”
2. The literature of “sistah gurl”
3. Christian-oriented fiction/inspirational
4. Street-Lit or Hip-Hop fiction
5. The Slave Novel
6. The Civil Rights Book (This also includes Black Nationalism)
7. The extraordinary rise from street life/poverty/welfare into the middle class.
8. Poorly styled celebrity memoir, or well researched and documented hagiography
9. Black Queens and Kings
10. Hip-Hop analysis
12. The “Black” version of some mainstream topic (For example: “Black Girl’s Guide to Fashion; “Black Families’ Guide to Wealth;”) Guides will include slang, bright colors, and inevitably the phrase “the legacy of slavery.”
13. The Classics: Harlem Renaissance 101 and/or The Black Arts Movement. Toni Morrison.
14. Contemporary Classics or Literary Fiction (Mostly woman, mostly diaspora authors)
15. Non-black author writes really compelling story about black person(s); story gets awards accolades, lots of press and movie deal.

These topics produce wonderful books and poorly written books. They often represent a compendium of the black American experience, and just as often, they are simply a reflection of what publishing thinks black people read.

In a recent Washington Post op ed, author, Bernice L. McFadden wonders about the nature of books that would fit into number 15 on my list.

Kathryn Stockett’s novel The Help, published by a Penguin Books imprint, sold 1 million books within a year of publication. Her novel has gained accolades and awards, including the prestigious South African Boeke Prize. The Help is being adapted for the screen; at the helm of production is the Academy Award-winning director and producer Steven Spielberg. Sue Monk Kidd’s best-selling novel The Secret Life of Bees, also published by Penguin Books, is another story set in the South with African American characters. Kidd’s novel garnered similar fame, fortune and recognition. Kathryn Stockett and Sue Monk Kidd are living the dream of thousands of authors, myself included. But they are not the first white women to pen stories of the black American South and be lauded for their efforts.


We can add to her examples last year’s Little Bee by Chris Cleave, and this year’s The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. Both of these books are well-crafted stories written by talented writers. But that doesn’t obviate the question: who gets to tell these stories and why? Cleave’s and Skloot’s (admittedly compelling) stories get pushed by publishers and popular radio shows, and it’s difficult to think of a black author who gets similar treatment.

McFadden argues that many black authors, aside from the few who have crossed over into the mainstream, get relegated to the “seg-book-gation.” She does acknowledge that black writers have an easier time getting published than they used to, although the op-ed slips in and out of preachy academic theory (she mentions colonialism). But her initial argument, about authorial authenticity and which authors get the better marketing support for the same types of stories, takes a quick dive into condescension:

Mainstream publishing houses contort themselves to acquire books that glorify wanton sex, drugs and crime. This fiction, known as street-lit or hip-hop fiction, most often reinforces the stereotypical trademarks African Americans have fought hard to overcome. And while we are all the descendants of those great literary pioneers who first gave a voice to the African American experience, and one certainly could not exist without the other, somewhere down the line the balance was thrown off and the scales tipped in favor of a genre that glorifies street life and denigrates a cultural institution that took hundreds of years to construct.

Not really. For all the problems of race and mainstream publishing, the industry likes to acquire books with hopes that those books will sell. McFadden unfairly singles out street-lit, with a belittling ‘holding back the race’ tone. Authors of this genre have the right to be published and have their stories read. Sure, we can talk about the way they’re published: there can be a complete disregard for plot structure, grammar and style. And yes, we can talk about the reason why these books are published in such large numbers (and why they sell well), but it’s unfair to hold a select segment of people, or art form, in contempt because of the “message” it sends out, or the “narratives” it may perpetuate.

By arguing against street-lit, McFadden is relieving the gatekeepers of their responsibility to help disseminate a wide-range of experiences and stories for all people. Also, she’s making black writers responsible for telling one kind of story: a story she deems appropriate. That’s a responsibility that no individual should have to bear and one that will unnecessarily silence too many black voices.

If the problem is already that varied black voices are denied agency through limited marketing resources, it’s counterproductive to police the authors.  To do so will keep the experience and the work limited to categories 1 through 15.

The post [Thursday Throwback] Who’s Allowed to Tell the Tale? (And Which Tales Should They Tell?) appeared first on Racialicious - the intersection of race and pop culture.

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Posted by Latoya Peterson

1411d404e293911e9202c80d8c0f6987If you are in Brooklyn (or the New York Area) this Friday and Saturday (the 25th and 26th), please come and check out Theorizing the Web! It’s an amazingly geeky conference that discusses the internet and its impact on culture and society – I livetweeted the first one, back in 2011.

I’m keynoting the last panel on “Race and Social Media” and it will be a great time. I’m planning to do a short thing on language and private/public space, and I’ll be on the panel with Lisa Nakamura, Jenna Wortham, Ayesha Siddiqi and André Brock. (Longtime readers may remember I’ve teamed up with Lisa and André many times since Sarah Gatson’s 2009 Race, Ethnicity, and New Media Symposium.)

Long time Racialicious rollers N’jaila Rhee (Blaysian Bytch) and Molly Crabapple will also be in the building being smart. Come say hi to us! One of the things I love about TTW is the small, intimate feel. You can actually talk to people at this conference.

Entrance is cheap – the requested donation is $1 but that’s really just to help cover food and drink:


Hope to see you there!

The post [EVENT] Theorizing the Web ’14: “Race and Social Media” appeared first on Racialicious - the intersection of race and pop culture.

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Posted by Racialicious Team

Race matters to a young man’s view of society when he spends his teenage years watching others tense up as he passes, no matter the neighborhood where he grew up. Race matters to a young woman’s sense of self when she states her hometown, and then is pressed, ‘No, where are you really from?’, regardless of how many generations her family has been in the country. Race matters to a young person addressed by a stranger in a foreign language, which he does not understand because only English was spoken at home. Race matters because of the slights, the snickers, the silent judgments that reinforce that most crippling of thoughts: ‘I do not belong here.’

We are fortunate to live in a democratic society. But without checks, democratically approved legislation can oppress minority groups. For that reason, our Constitu­tion places limits on what a majority of the people may do. This case implicates one such limit: the guarantee of equal protection of the laws.

Under our Constitution, majority rule is not without limit. Our system of government is predicated on an equilibrium between the notion that a majority of citizens may determine governmental policy through legislation enacted by their elected representatives, and the overriding principle that there are nonetheless some things the Constitution forbids even a majority of citizens to do. The political-process doctrine, grounded in the Fourteenth Amendment, is a central check on majority rule.

The Fourteenth Amendment instructs that all who act for the government may not “deny to any person … the equal protection of the laws.” We often think of equal protection as a guarantee that the government will apply the law in an equal fashion — that it will not intentionally discriminate against minority groups. But equal protection of the laws means more than that; it also secures the right of all citizens to participate meaningfully and equally in the process through which laws are created.

In my colleagues’ view, examining the racial impact of legislation only perpetuates racial discrimination. This refusal to accept the stark reality that race matters is regrettable. As members of the judiciary tasked with intervening to carry out the guarantee of equal protection, we ought not sit back and wish away, rather than confront, the racial inequality that exists in our society.

– From her dissenting opinion in Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action. Decisions can be read in full here.

The post Quoted: Selections from Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s Argument For Affirmative Action appeared first on Racialicious - the intersection of race and pop culture.

The OTW Merchandise Store is coming!

Apr. 23rd, 2014 05:34 pm
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Posted by Claudia Rebaza


Red ballpoint pen with OTW logo in white

The OTW's Development & Membership Committee is working on a permanent OTW merchandise store. It’s our goal to give fans of the OTW and our projects (like AO3 and Fanlore) ways to show your love, give back to the organization, and get swag! When it’s ready, the merchandise store will be available online for anyone to buy without needing to become an OTW member.

So we need all of you to tell us what kinds of products you’d like to purchase! Would you wear a Fanlore t-shirt? Have you always wanted an AO3 kudos mug? What about an OTW umbrella or a poster with all our projects listed? Whether it's a product you want, or something you'd want on that item, the sky’s the limit!

You can leave comments here or, as always, drop us an email at devmem [at] transformativeworks.org.

Check out the OTW’s new donation premiums!

Although the merchandise store isn't up and running yet, you can already get OTW swag by making a donation of US$50 or above. Even though our membership drive is over, you can donate at any time of year. Here’s a few of the reasons there’s no better time to become a member of the Organization for Transformative Works — new premium rewards for you to select!

Black tote bag with OTW logo in redDark grey tumbler and straw with OTW logo in red

Red ballpoint pen with OTW logo in white

If you decide to become a recurring monthly contributor to the OTW, you can still get premiums! Email the Development & Membership committee and tell us which premium you want your recurring donations to count toward. When your monthly donations have reached the premium amount, we’ll send you cool stuff!

And thanks for supporting the OTW!

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Posted by Guest Contributor

By Guest Contributor Scot Nakagawa, cross-posted from RaceFiles

It’s time to kill the Asian American model minority myth, and I mean really kill it.

That myth is one of the tenets of American racism, used repeatedly for decades to promote the idea that racism and structural racial disadvantage are either non-existent or at least entirely surmountable, while suggesting that some people of color, and Black people in particular, are just whiners unwilling to pull themselves up by their bootstraps. And that belief, that the black poor are just entitlement junkies, has negative consequences for all poor people because the tough “love” solutions this belief inspires, like cutting back on food stamps and other programs, see no color.

For Asian Americans, killing the myth requires destroying the veil of elevated expectations and assumptions that surround us to reveal the real face of our richly diverse communities and experiences. I call it model minority suicide. Need convincing?

Here are five reasons:

Reason 1:

The idea that Black people are a “problem” minority is the flip side of the model minority myth. Problem minority stereotyping is one of the often cited justifications for resistance to programs like affirmative action (and still is) and for tough on crime policing of low-income black neighborhoods, including the war on drugs. The economic costs of the related prison build up, not to mention the human toll on targeted communities, is just too high. We pay for it in the tragic currency of broken families, impoverishment, and the measurable financial consequences to tax payers of policing, prosecuting, warehousing, and post-prison supervision of far too many people, among whom a not insignificant number did nothing more than pocket some marijuana.

Reason 2:

While being idealized as a model of Americanism has a certain upside in the form of elevated societal expectations, we know all too well that all that idealizing wouldn’t stick if Asians weren’t too often regarded as inscrutable strangers in our own country. Only a group regarded as strangers could be so often found living side by side with middle class white Americans and yet be stereotyped as, in some regards, as very nearly an alien species. And strangers are easy targets when the going gets rough and scapegoating is on the agenda, as evidenced by the wholesale violation of the rights of those perceived to be Muslim in the U.S. in the wake of the 9/11 tragedy, and the continuing persecution of Muslim Americans 13 years later.

Reason 3:

In spite of the fact that most Asian voters identify as liberals, we’ve become a tool of conservatives. This quote from Charles Murray, the author of that veritable ode to eugenics, The Bell Curve, appeared in The National Reviewimmediately after the 2012 election,

… somewhere in the vicinity of 70% of Asians voted for Barack Obama in the last presidential election.

Something’s wrong with this picture. It’s not just that the income, occupations, and marital status of Asians should push them toward the right. Everyday observation of Asians around the world reveal them to be conspicuously entrepreneurial, industrious, family-oriented, and self-reliant. If you’re looking for a natural Republican constituency, Asians should define ‘natural.’

More recently, former Florida governor Jeb Bush made this argument during a TV interview in order to make the case that Republicans are failing to win over their “natural” constituents,

… I mean, if you look at Asian Americans, for example, in general, they have higher income[sic] than the median of our country, more intact families, more entrepreneurship, higher levels of education. And they supported President Obama 75-24; higher margins than with Hispanics …

Now, I ask you, if being family-oriented, entrepreneurial, industrious, self-reliant, and better educated makes one “naturally” conservative, what are “natural” liberals? Takers? Entitlement junkies? Nanny-State weaklings? I’m guessing all of the above with a heaping helping of lazy on top.

Reason 4:

The myth covers up some difficult realities, such as the fact that Asian groups such as the Vietnamese and Cambodians are among the poorest by ethnicity in the U.S., and 12.8% of Asian Americans lived below the poverty line in 2011. The very real service needs and challenges of these Asian Americans are obscured or minimized because of model minority stereotyping.

Reason 5:

The model minority myth also adds some steel to the bamboo ceiling, that invisible yet all too consequential barrier between Asian Americans and top-level leadership. Apparently, in the corporate world, being perceived as quiet, passive, and hyper-industrious makes Asians seem more suitable for technical positions and unfit for leadership. And that, it seems, is why Asian Americans, lumped together as we are, are simultaneously the most highly educated racial group in the U.S. and the least likely to make it to the top tiers of the corporate ladder.

So, given these incentives, what are we to do about it? Here are five suggestions:

1. Don’t say things like, “we need to get beyond the black-white paradigm” because that paradigm is the foundation of white supremacy, and the injustice anti-black racism, both historical and contemporary, is not yet resolved (as evidenced by the continuing utility of the anti-black ideas at the root of concepts like the “entitlement junkie,” the “culture of poverty,” and the assumption that successful black people are undeserving affirmative action recipients).

2. Don’t call Asian American rights campaigns “the new Civil Rights Movement” as if the goals of the Civil Rights Movement were achieved, no longer matter, and/or only benefited black people. Asian Americans owe a great debt to the Black-led Civil Rights Movement, and our contemporary campaigns for civil rights reforms, at their best, aspire to move all people of color forward together into the new century.

3. Recognize that the “Asians suffer from racism too” response to the model minority myth is not enough. Side-stepping the damage that the myth has done to other people of color while raising the visibility of our own suffering actually reinforces the damaging “problem minority” flip side of the mythWe need to acknowledge that Asian Americans suffer from racism, but that white supremacy is perpetuated through an intersecting array of racist bigotries of which Orientalism is just one example.

4. Become an advocate for racial justice, not just for Asian Americans, but as a matter of pushing forward the unfinished business of winning democratic rights for everyone including women, LGBT people, undocumented immigrants, religious minorities, Native Americans, Native Hawaiians, and other people of color. And while raising a ruckus online is a fine way to get involved, joining a group in your community allows you to take concrete steps toward justice alongside those who suffer from racism and exclusion the most, including those on the other side of the digital divide.

5. Raise the visibility of Asian Americans’ political activism both of the past and in the present. We’ve been far from quiet throughout U.S. history and we’re making trouble and making noise today. Let’s turn up the volume.

The post Model Minority Suicide: Five Reasons, Five Ways appeared first on Racialicious - the intersection of race and pop culture.

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Posted by Racialicious Team

By Tope Fadiran Charlton, Arturo R. García and Kendra James

Olivia (Kerry Washington) and Rowan (Joe Morton) reconcile — for now?

After threatening to go out by blowing the president up, Scandal ended its third season by making him whimper, in an oddly melancholy episode that actually did seem to change everything for Olivia Pope and her associates — if not end them altogether.

Remember, the series has not been confirmed for renewal, even if signs suggest we’ll see a new season announced soon.

But do we even want to see the show return after a third season that was inconsistent at best? For this special edition, Arturo and Kendra were joined by friend of the blog Tope Fadiran Charlton, whose work can also be found at Are Women Human?

SPOILERS under the cut

So, what worked for you this season? Or was it a total write-off?

Tope: Rowan, definitely. He had the lion’s share of the best lines and the most memorable scenes. He’s the first character in a while that walks the line that Scandal at its best does so well: recognizably terrifying and thoroughly amoral, but still somehow a character that you (or at least, I) like and find yourself torn between rooting for and being appalled by. I especially love his unapologetic Blackness. I know I’m not the only Black viewer who found myself nodding along to his monologues about needing to be twice as good or how the white president is an entitled little boy. And nobody, not nobody, can tell someone about themselves like Rowan can. He must have been a dream for Shonda and the Scandal team to write, and so much fun to play for Joe Morton.

I have to confess I missed a few episodes in the second half of the season, so I didn’t get to see as much of Mama Pope. But what I did see of her had me a bit underwhelmed. She wasn’t as fleshed out or complex a villain as, say, Rowan or Cyrus.

Kendra: I have to agree with Tope. I’m still not onboard with the One Monologue Per Episode clause that’s clearly written into Joe Morton’s contract, but I found him to at least be one of the more consistent characters on the show this season. And he’s certainly the most intensely involved Black parent on television that I can think of since Sisko.

Tope: “Intensely involved” is a very diplomatic euphemism for Rowan’s parenting philosophy.

Kendra: Hah! As I said in one of the few recaps I wrote this season, I can at least believe that Rowan and Maya could have raised a child together. Neither of them misses an opportunity to remind Olivia that she’s made a career out of cleaning up after incompetent white men.

Other than Rowan’s (and Jake’s) character consistency I wasn’t overly enthralled with this as a cohesive season of television. Adnan, Maya, David, Harrison, and Abby all felt superfluous — like threads that weren’t properly woven in at the end. James’ death, while probably one of the better handled lines of the season, marked the departure of one of the few sympathetic characters left. Someone we’d actually been allowed to grow attached to through, amazingly, plot development, and screentime.

And finally: this marked a third season of dramatic tension overlayed with “Papa Was A Rolling Stone.” I love a show with a gimmick, but this has got to stop.

Tope: The music on the show, pardon the pun, is a little too one-note. Three seasons of funk is enough. Other music exists.

Maya (Khandi Alexander) kept her wits about her in jail. How will she handle the Hole?

Arturo: I felt there were moments where various members of the ensemble did more with the material they were given than perhaps even the show desired. Kate Burton managed to take Sally’s descent into instability in a compelling direction before Sally was snapped out of it and shunted into the background; Khandi Alexander provided a stellar counterpoint to Joe Morton, with Maya and Rowan turning into this show’s agents of chaos and order, respectively. And against all odds, Tony Goldwyn and Kerry Washington managed to make it plausible seeing two people seemingly so wrong for each other continue to insist on giving it a go.

I’d still call “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” my favorite episode of the season, since it provided enough warmth to counter the encroaching darkness facing the Gladiators. But as I’ve mentioned throughout this home stretch, playing each of these elements against an election story blunted all of them too much for comfort.

We left Harrison in an open-ended situation, since, theoretically, he still had time to talk himself out of B613′s crosshairs. Obviously, this is more complicated when one factors in Columbus Short’s apparent issues. Your thoughts on how the show should approach this?

Arturo: I can’t say I support him continuing to be in the show in light of these multiple allegations of assault. At least not at the moment, and the show has ample opportunity here to write him out while a) these allegations are heard in court and b) Short gets the help he apparently seems to require.

Kendra: I think we should all mentally prepare ourselves for a Harrison v. 2.0 next fall.

Given that Harrison’s most developed character trait is, “I wear loud suspenders” the show isn’t going to lose anything when it’s revealed that he’s not emerging from that room next season (as I suspect is going to happen). Aside from Olivia and Huck* I find most of Pope and Associates to be pretty replaceable and his departure might even do the show some good. Even before his IRL issues, Harrison wasn’t getting that much screentime or plot. I’m still blurry as to the full nature of his relationship with Adnan and the other disposable woman they found dead at a bus stop a few episodes back.

*(And, to be perfectly fair, Huck isn’t earning any points either with this Huck/Quinn thing.)

Arturo: So Huck goes from not caring that Maya’s loose because he’s hooking up with Quinn to telling her off entirely because she told him about her family to going to his family after getting encouragement from Olivia. I get internal conflict and all, but maybe Charlie had the right idea packing up and ditching the whole situation (even if he was ultimately wrong about the result of giving Quinn the file).

Tope: I’m assuming Harrison’s number is up, and that the same goes for Columbus Short. Shonda Rhimes has to cut that sucker loose. I get the sense she has little patience for behind-the-scenes trouble with her actors since the controversy over Isaiah Washington’s use of homophobic slurs (have to note that he’s since been pretty visible as an ally) and then Katherine Heigl bad-mouthing the show while she was still on it … and none of that involved physical violence or being charged with a crime. Heigl and Washington were both let go and it’s likely Short will get the same treatment. Which is right and appropriate, in my opinion.

The episode also delivered — at least for now — on the thread that Olivia really would be better off away from the Grants, the White House and Washington. How long do you give it?

Arturo: You know what this episode reminded me of? The Buffy The Vampire Slayer finales where she left town, or the Angel Season 4 finale. It felt like a point of demarcation — like the show picked this point to end this story and I’m betting we’ll go back to something closer to a Case of the Week format if/when the show returns. Hopefully we’ll get through 2-3 episodes before Olivia’s inevitable return.

I will say, though, I was annoyed at Jake going from “I’m just gonna have a beer and collect my unemployment” to hitching a ride on Pope Air. Way to fight for your job there, Ballard.

Kendra: I was more confused that Jake would get into any plane chartered by Pope Sr. given, y’know, everything we know about Rowan and planes.

Tope: Jake has been pretty consistent about the whole wanting to be with Olivia thing. Then the opportunity presents itself for him to do that and not have Fitz around to compete with? I would have been surprised if he hadn’t asked Olivia if he could go with her. When it comes to “love” the man is nothing less than a glutton for punishment.

Olivia contemplates her future away from Washington.

Kendra: Even with this season being shorter due to Kerry Washington’s pregnancy the serialized, season-long multi-episode arc didn’t work out too well. Something about the storyline wasn’t tight.

This felt like a series finale to me. It’s probably going to be renewed (even if all major players’ contracts are not), but it definitely seemed like it could stand on its own. And I think the show needs more episodes that stand on their own — maybe a few that focus specifically on character development for someone other than Mellie (or something that focuses on character development for Mellie that doesn’t center around her having a horrible life). Maybe a few episodes focusing solely on the relationships within the Pope family? Just something to pull the focus back in– not every episode needs to begin with a voiceover telling me I’m going to be on the edge of my seat during the last five minutes.

I think removing David, Abbie, and Quinn would help pacing a lot to be perfectly honest.

Tope: Oh god, the sooner RobiQuinndsay is off the show, the better.

I felt this episode could stand as a series finale. There isn’t a single major character—except maybe Cyrus—who doesn’t go through a huge game-changer or major transitional point in the finale, and it feels like resolution for most of them. And for all of the mayhem and violence in this episode, there’s something oddly hopeful about the end. Not just Olivia flying off into the sunset, but Huck going back to his family. Shonda basically hit a giant reset button for the show.

My favorite scene was Olivia and Cyrus’s conversation in the hospital. Finally Olivia realizes she’s not a white hat at all. That for her is the “price of a free and fair election,” letting go of her illusions of innocence. I hope that awareness is still there when she inevitably returns to OPA. Olivia’s conviction that she’s one of the “good guys” has been both increasingly annoying and one of the reasons why she’s worse and worse at her job.

Also: as much as the election part of this episode felt rushed (c’mon, saint Sally is television gold), I loved the arc from Fitz not being able to believe he was going to lose to getting the win he assumed he deserved at the cost of pretty much everything else. Now that is irony.

Arturo: It looked like the whole election story was set up just so we could see Fitz on his knees (again) when it was all said and done. Which, hey, nice shot and all, but now they’ve played themselves out of a solid story for whenever the show really is on its way out.

Kendra: Fitz ultimately losing the election would have piqued my interest a lot more. But Art, what I suspect they’ve played themselves into is the setup for an eventual impeachment plot. Defiance won’t stay silent in the second term.

Tope: I’m definitely ready for something different from Scandal, though, so maybe it’s for the best that they got this storyline wrapped up now.

Kendra: Removing Harrison from the cast would at least free up the money to bring Jasika Nicole in as a full time cast member. Anything to pull focus away from Huck/Quinn.

Arturo: I don’t see where they can really go with Huck/Quinn anymore; Huck’s apparently going to re-establish ties with his family, which is good. But Quinn’s in the wind again; we don’t know if she’s going to keep working for B613, and there’s little to no chance Abbie will hire her in this new incarnation of OPA. More crucially, though: Does anybody really care about Quinn?

Tope: That would be a no.

The Big Reveal, of course, was that Jerry Grant Jr.’s death was the key to Rowan’s plot to reclaim the mantle of Command. Your thoughts on how that played itself out?

Arturo: I thought the episode tipped its hand just a second too soon; when Rowan told Fitz he’d killed Maya, that’s when it came together for me. (Of course, it made sense for Fitz to believe that.) It also keeps the possibility of Eli and Maya teaming up open. Perhaps in time for the next sweeps period?

Kendra: Am I a horrible person for just not caring that Jerry died? It takes a lot more than what they gave us in that one episode (the Grant kids’ first introduction) to get me invested enough to care — especially given how detached that entire family is from one another. Fitz is already naming those two unborn kids he thinks he’s having with Olivia. I think they also had the unfortunate timing of airing less than a week after the other far more impactful death of child royalty over on HBO. Once again, I think it highlights the show’s weakness– the failure to cement emotional ties between the characters and the audience which comes back around to a lot of the characters being poorly developed.

That plot felt forced too — or perhaps it was just the staging and shooting of it. At first I assumed he’d been shot or stabbed, but finding out in the final few minutes that it was a rare strain of meningitis that they’d just found out was missing? That came out of nowhere.

Mellie (Bellamy Young) and Fitz (Tony Goldwyn) are together again, under the most horrible of circumstances.

Tope: We can be horrible people together, Kendra. The only thing that interested me about Jerry’s death was the total absence of Baby Grant. Where is the little rugrat? Mellie and Fitz should really look into getting some professional assistance with their disappearing children problem. Anyway, seeing Fitz grieve his son’s death was literally the first time in the entire series I’ve felt the tiniest bit sorry for him. But I was more torn up for Mellie—she’s just starting to deal with how she’d kept Jerry at a distance for fear that he wasn’t Fitz’s son, and then he dies. That’s especially tragic timing.

As for Rowan — I knew as soon as he said it that he hadn’t killed Maya. It was just too pat and tidy. But I totally did not see the Jerry reveal coming.

This will probably sound terrible…but it was kind of good to see Rowan back in top form? I never bought that Jake could take over as Command in a day. I loved the flashback montage of Rowan’s monologues, going back to the first time he tried to get Olivia on that plane. This is who Rowan has always been, the whole down-and-out act was just that, biding his time until he could make his move. Also worth pointing out: Jerry’s death is also a pretty ironclad way to keep Olivia and Fitz apart, which Rowan has wanted from the beginning. I wouldn’t put it past Fitz to leave his grieving wife, but that’s a line Olivia wouldn’t cross with him. And he uses it to catch Maya? It’s a win-win-win for Rowan. This is what happens when you underestimate Command.

I for one am SO THANKFUL that the trainwreck that is Olitz (please Jesus and Shonda) finally, finally over.

Kendra: Is it though? This is why I hate straight soap operas — this Olivia/Jake/Fitz love triangle has a good five seasons of “plot” left in it by soap standards whether there’s any meat left on the bones of the story or not. The show’s main relationship and the lack of likeable people is something I’m going to need see flipped around a bit if I’m going to consider tuning in next season. I know the antihero thing is very in right now and Scandal has them in spades– but they lack substance. This show is not going to be carried on Mellie’s shoulders alone.

Tope: I dunno, between Fitz’s guilt over Mellie suffering alone after being raped and burying one of their children … those are pretty considerable obstacles for illicit love. Maybe not for Fitz, but I think (I hope) definitely for Olivia. She’d have to be a truly horrible person to do that to a grieving mother. I also felt Mellie and Fitz’s reactions to Jerry’s collapse and death was reminiscent, in a kind of awful way, of how they came together when Mellie was in labor with Baby Grant. For the period that Mellie was in labor, they were a team again; it could be the same with the much lengthier process of coming to grips with the death of their child.

Kendra: I think all of that depends on the timing of when Season 4 dumps us back into the Scandalverse. If it’s a few days to even a few months later then they’ll get to spend the time they need dealing with the fall out. I just have the feeling that they’re going to pull another massive jump so they can deal with all of that in flashbacks and put most of their energy into the love triangle.

Tope: I’m putting together my prayer circle to rebuke that as we speak.

The post Table For Three: Scandal 3.18, ‘The Price Of Free And Fair Election’ appeared first on Racialicious - the intersection of race and pop culture.

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April 23rd, 2014next

April 23rd, 2014: Guys, The Midas Flesh #5 comes out today! AHHH. It's the comic I'm writing about oh I don't know KING MIDAS IN SPACE WITH DINOSAURS and this issue is a big one. You can read a preview here! And you can pick the book up at your local comic book shop, or download a digital version instead (/ ALSO??)

Check it out!

One year ago today: some days you write the comics and some days the comics write you

– Ryan

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April 22nd, 2014next

April 22nd, 2014: So because of my surgery I have been taking PAINKILLERS and been posting what I've been told are Painkiller Tweets, but I'm still pretty sure they're good? Anyway my painkillers have been giving me really vivid dreams: they're nothing exceptional in terms of plot, but more richly detailed. It makes for an odd combination: I truly experienced what it was like to catch a ride with my dad to high school last night.

One year ago today: in her face i can see the world

– Ryan

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Posted by Claudia Rebaza


Banner by Bremo of Pikachu dancing in excitement while a horde of other Pokémon characters look on in annoyance.

  • Slate was among several sites which wrote about the fanfiction-writing, Avengers-loving Ms Marvel. However, Slate also pointed out the important role fandom had in launching her. "A diverse and exuberant fan community, the Carol Corps, emerged almost overnight and began tweeting, blogging and cosplaying their love for both the character and DeConnick. (It’s worth noting that in addition to offering sharp writing and great stories, the new series let Carol trade her revealing leotard and domino mask for an actual body-covering uniform.)"
  • As The Daily Dot points out, fans will also appropriate existing heroes to address current concerns. "Most of the time, fandom’s remix culture is about taking a particular detail from a book or movie, and expanding upon it until it tells the story you wanted to hear in the first place." Captain America is an interesting example of this treatment. "There’s even an ongoing debate on Tumblr over just what aspects of Cap’s backstory would support the widespread headcanon that Steve Rogers is a feminist, socialist, socially liberal guy."
  • At Reflexive Horizons, Laz Carter writes about Pokémon and a Fandom of Nostalgia. "[T]the very ‘franchise’ model propagated by Pokémon – wherein one can consume the Pokémon universe through not only film but also animated television series, videogames, comics, trading card games, theme parks, merchandise and a plethora of other Poké-paraphernalia – means that any attempt to usefully separate one medium from the rest remains a futile endeavour that does not benefit any serious study." Carter argues that "When examining examples of ‘franchise fandom’, one must account for the fact that a consumer’s experiences of any given aspect of the product will affect their appreciation of the remainder...I argue that 2014 has seen a revival of ‘Poké-mania’, albeit a different brand of the fervour which had been evident during the peak of Pokémon’s success."
  • kpopstarz also looks at changing fandom, specifically Idol Fandom. "The beginning of 1st generation idols, H.O.T, was labeled the 'teen's idol.' However, idols are no longer the exclusive property of teen fans. As the idol market grew, idol fandoms have been overtaken by fans in their 20s and 30s...These adult fans are nothing to be trifled with, and are showing great influence. Now idol groups must not only target teens, but also focus on catering to the 2030 fans." However, these new fans show a very old pattern of behavior. "Upon conducting a survey, it was found that many fans in their 20s keep their activity on fan sites a secret. In many cases their identity as a fan was kept a secret to everyone except maybe some family members or close friends."

What fandom developments have you been seeing? Write about them on Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in an OTW Fannews post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.


Beyond the Politics of Voting

Apr. 22nd, 2014 02:00 pm
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Posted by Guest Contributor

By Guest Contributor Alexandra Moffett-Bateau, cross-posted from The Feminist Wire

As a political scientist, during any given election year, I’m bombarded with questions about my assessment of the current electoral slate. The look of disappointment is always palatable when I tell folks that, that isn’t what I do. After all, what good is a black political scientist that doesn’t study black public opinion?

As a scholar, one of the things I’ve struggled with is pushing back against the dominance of voting based politics within black communities in our post-civil rights era, without minimizing the importance of showing up at the polling booth. After all, in a midterm election year, just like in presidential years, whether or not our communities show up can be a make or break for the services and programs that are desperately needed for our communities.

Yet, and still, political engagement cannot and should not, be only about politicians. We do a severe injustice to ourselves, and especially young people, when we insist that to be political, we must be limited to engaging with politicians in someway. To be clear, this is not to say that pushing against institutional structures and the people who populate them is not important. But it is to say that in order to politically empower marginalized populations, we have to identify, celebrate and make meaningful, the everyday resistance strategies present in our neighborhoods.

When I was interviewing women in a public housing development on the south side of Chicago over the course of the year, this became increasingly apparent to me. In particular, one example comes to mind.

During the fall of 2011, during the height of the Occupy movement, other “occupy” groups like Occupy the Hood, Occupy the South Side, and so forth, were beginning to spring up. In large part, this was because a lot of folks of color, particularly those living below the poverty line, just didn’t feel as though their particular set of needs were being addressed by the Occupy organizers downtown. While this began to change over time, initially, it was a major problem throughout the Occupy movement across the country.

As a result, the women at the development decided to begin their own Occupy movement. Except they weren’t protesting the banks, or local government institutions and bureaucracies, instead, their target was a local grocery store.

This particular grocery store is the only grocery store within 10 miles of the development. As a result, the markup on the prices of food (according to residents) was, in some instances, twice as much as other stores throughout the city. In addition, the grocery store refused to accept food stamps, which was another major barrier to many of the women I spoke with that needed to feed their families.

A resident-run environmental justice organization put together the Occupy action and was able to recruit women from all over the development to participate. For almost two weeks, the women stood on the sidewalk in front of the grocery store, flagging down cars and turning them away. They had huge colorful signs and loud voices. When a car would pull up, somebody would go over to the vehicle and explain what was happening. While they weren’t always successful, over the course of two weeks, the group was able to turn away almost 200 hundred cars from shopping at the small store.

Eventually, the storeowners were so frustrated by the loss of business that they asked for a meeting. According to organizers, the store agreed to start accepting food stamps, and to start lowering the prices on basics like dairy and poultry.

While this story still features a somewhat traditional style of political organizing, I share it here because I think it helps to make an important point that often gets missed in mainstream conversations about what constitutes political engagement. During my interviews when I asked women “what do you think of when I say the word ‘politics’” I wasn’t surprised when most said things like “white people,” or “the white house.” Even in my own life, most of my family and friends outside of the academy tend to think about institutions, politicians and voting when the word politics is mentioned.

What I think is important about this story is that it shows that every part of our lives, can and is political. Where you get your food (and whether or not you are able to access a grocery store), where you live (and what you can afford to rent), transportation, treatment in medical facilities, education, all of these things can be, and I would argue, should be, sites for political action, as well as resistance.

Scholars like Robin D.G. Kelley and James Scott have done important work in showing how everyday behaviors like refusing to pay rent, squatting, story-telling, social media, gossip, and cultural forms like music, all can be forms of political resistance and rebellion. While there is a temptation to exclude these things as “simply” part of political culture, they are in fact, important avenues for information transmission, reputation destruction and the diffusion of power.

Whether we are talking about the way women in hip-hop forever changed the way women and sexuality are thought about in the public eye, or the subtle erosion of a politician’s reputation after a rumor is spread. All of these day-to-day activities, that on the surface seem meaningless, matter a lot when we think about how populations empower themselves, and dis-empower those who behave badly.

These daily acts of resistance took on a variety of forms. For some women resistance against bureaucratic power structures looked like; painting walls in their apartments when they weren’t supposed to, owning dogs when the rules around animals were debatable and picking up trash around the development. This work mattered (and still matters), because it contributed to an internal sense of power that contributed to their confidence in dealing with power structures. For many, successfully pushing back in making their spaces beautiful, allowed them to face down other power structures in their lives, later.

Ultimately, what I am trying to argue here is that we need to be more expansive in our idea of what constitutes politics. As activists, organizers, loved ones, academics, and students, we stand to gain a lot by valuing the work and engagement of the people in our lives. By pointing out to someone that their communication on twitter is significant, or that their music could be powerful, we stand to politically empower a new generation (young and old) of socio-political minded folks.

At the end of the day, we have nothing to lose by affirming how others chose to show up in the world.

Alexandra Moffett-Bateau is a member of Echoing Ida, a project of Forward Together. She is a Ph.D Candidate in the Department of Political Science at the University of Chicago. Alexandra is currently in residence as a Pre-Doctoral Fellow in the Carter G. Woodson Institute at the University of Virginia. You can find Alex her at twitter, on her website, and Facebook.

The post Beyond the Politics of Voting appeared first on Racialicious - the intersection of race and pop culture.

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Posted by Claudia Rebaza


Banner by Diane with the outlines of a man and woman speaking with word bubbles, one of which has the OTW logo and the other which says 'OTW Announcement'

Our Content Policy workgroup has been at work on some FAQ updates and Terms of Service (ToS) changes for the Archive of Our Own which have now been approved by the OTW Board. This post begins a two-week open comment period so that AO3 users can leave feedback on these changes before they are added to the current ToS and FAQ pages.

The ToS changes are mainly small wording changes that reflect the way AO3 features have evolved from the time in which the document was originally drafted. There is one policy change that will not make a significant difference in our practices but may be of particular interest to users, which is our adoption of a DMCA policy similar to that of Wikipedia's. It takes fair use into account, but also provides us with more protection in case we are threatened by copyright trolls.

Continue reading on AO3 News

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Posted by Racialicious Team

Solidarity with our dreams will not make us feel less alone, as long as it is not translated into concrete acts of legitimate support for all the peoples that assume the illusion of having a life of their own in the distribution of the world.

Latin America neither wants, nor has any reason, to be a pawn without a will of its own; nor is it merely wishful thinking that its quest for independence and originality should become a Western aspiration. However, the navigational advances that have narrowed such distances between our Americas and Europe seem, conversely, to have accentuated our cultural remoteness. Why is the originality so readily granted us in literature so mistrustfully denied us in our difficult attempts at social change? Why think that the social justice sought by progressive Europeans for their own countries cannot also be a goal for Latin America, with different methods for dissimilar conditions? No: the immeasurable violence and pain of our history are the result of age-old inequities and untold bitterness, and not a conspiracy plotted three thousand leagues from our home. But many European leaders and thinkers have thought so, with the childishness of old-timers who have forgotten the fruitful excess of their youth as if it were impossible to find another destiny than to live at the mercy of the two great masters of the world. This, my friends, is the very scale of our solitude.

Nobel Prize acceptance speech, Dec. 8, 1982

When I became a professional writer the biggest problem I had was my schedule. Being a journalist meant working at night. When I started writing full-time I was forty years old, my schedule was basically from nine o’clock in the morning until two in the afternoon when my sons came back from school. Since I was so used to hard work, I felt guilty that I was only working in the morning; so I tried to work in the afternoons, but I discovered that what I did in the afternoon had to be done over again the next morning. So I decided that I would just work from nine until two-thirty and not do anything else. In the afternoons I have appointments and interviews and anything else that might come up. I have another problem in that I can only work in surroundings that are familiar and have already been warmed up with my work. I cannot write in hotels or borrowed rooms or on borrowed typewriters. This creates problems because when I travel I can’t work. Of course, you’re always trying to find a pretext to work less. That’s why the conditions you impose on yourself are more difficult all the time. You hope for inspiration whatever the circumstances. That’s a word the romantics exploited a lot. My Marxist comrades have a lot of difficulty accepting the word, but whatever you call it, I’m convinced that there is a special state of mind in which you can write with great ease and things just flow. All the pretexts—such as the one where you can only write at home—disappear. That moment and that state of mind seem to come when you have found the right theme and the right ways of treating it. And it has to be something you really like, too, because there is no worse job than doing something you don’t like.

Interview with Paris Review, published Winter 1981

The letters I find most interesting are from people who ask me where I got this theme or that passage or such and such a character. Because they feel it is about something or someone they know. They will say: So and so is just like my aunt. Or: I have an uncle just like him. And: that episode happened exactly like that in my village. How did you know about it? People from all over Latin America wrote such things, especially after ”One Hundred Years of Solitude.” They felt it was part of their lives.

Interview with The New York Times, published April 10, 1988

If I were to choose a country which had politics that I like, I would not live anywhere.

Interview with The Atlantic, published Jan. 1, 1973

The Cafe de la Parroquia could be in Cartagena perfectly well. The fact that it isn’t is purely incidental, because al1 the conditions exist in Cartagena for it to be there. As a matter of fact, the very same Cafe de la Parroquia of Veracruz would be in Cartagena if the Spaniard who built it had immigrated to Cartagena instead of to Veracruz. It’s just a matter of chance, the way it is was for my wife’s grandfather, who was an Egyptian who left for New York and ended up in Magangue. Well, that was quite a case of the poetization of space–a bit of an exaggerated one. Cartagena still needs a cafe 1ike the Cafe de la Parroquia in Veracruz, so I took the one from Veracruz, which I needed in Cartagena for my novel.

When I’m in Cartagena I sometimes suddenly feel the desire to go to a place like the Cafe de la Parroquia in Veracruz. I have to go to the bars in hotels and places like that, and I feel something is missing. How marvelous to have the freedom to be a writer who says, “Well, I’m going to put the Cafe de la Parroquia where I want it to be” Every day I’m writing I say to myself how marvelous it is to invent life, which is what you do, although within the bounds of some very strict laws because characters don’t die when you want them to, nor are they born when you want.

Interview conducted by Raymond Leslie Williams, University of Colorado-Boulder, 1987.

According to my mother’s version, the two of them met at a wake for a child. She was singing in the courtyard with her friends, following the popular custom of singing love songs to pass the time through the nine nights of mourning for innocents. Out of nowhere, a man’s voice joined the choir. All the girls turned to look at the man who was singing and were stunned by his good looks. “He is the one we’re going to marry,” they chanted, and clapped their hands in unison. He did not, however, impress my mother. “He was,” she said, “just another stranger.” And he was. His name was Gabriel Eligio Garcia, and after having abandoned his medical and pharmaceutical studies in Cartagena de Indias, owing to a lack of funds, he’d found work in some of the nearby towns in the more mundane profession of telegraph operator. A photograph from that time shows him distinguished by the equivocal bearing of impoverished gentility. He wore a suit of dark taffeta, with a four-button jacket, very close-fitting, in the style of the day, and a high, stiff collar, wide tie, and flat-brimmed straw hat. He also wore fashionable round spectacles with thin wire frames. He had a reputation as a hard-living, womanizing bohemian, but he never had a cigarette or a glass of alcohol in his long life.

– From “Serenade,” as published in The New Yorker, February 2001.

In reality, I don’t know anyone who, on a certain level, does not feel alone. This is the meaning of loneliness that interests me. I’m afraid that it may be metaphysical and that it may be reactionary and that it might look like the opposite of what I am, of what I want to be in reality, but I think that man is completely alone. I think it’s an essential part of nature.

– Interview conducted in 1967 by fellow Nobel Prize winner Mario Vargas Llosa, republished by El Comercio, Dec. 12, 2010

[Top image via CBC.ca]

The post In His Own Words: Gabriel Garcia Marquez (1927-2014) appeared first on Racialicious - the intersection of race and pop culture.

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[staff profile] denise posting in [site community profile] dw_dev
It's storytime with mama rahaeli: I think we've got a legacy 'feature' that can be removed, but I'm not 100% sure. Read the background and try to convince me one way or the other.

The situation as it is now: If you try to post to your journal with a time before your most recent entry, you are prevented from doing so.

(The check is in cgi-bin/LJ/Protocol.pm, lines 1323-1327; the error is "You have an entry which was posted at $u->{'newesteventtime'}, but you're trying to post an entry before this. Please check the date and time of both entries. If the other entry is set in the future on purpose, edit that entry to use the \"Don't show on Reading Pages\" option. Otherwise, use the \"Don't show on Reading Pages\" option for this entry instead.")

This check was added in the LJ days (I'm not sure when, because the web gateway to LJ's source is down right now and I can't look up the history, but it was very early in my tenure so I want to say 2002 or so) to prevent a very common problem with people's computer clocks being set wrong. It was a horrible support burden (leading to dozens if not more support requests per day): someone's computer battery would be dying and their clock was set wrong because of it, or their clock would just be set a year or two off. Because entries in personal journals are displayed on the Recent Entries page by the time they're dated, not by the time the server received the post, a post dated 1970-01-01 would disappear completely: the person would post it, it would display on Recent Entries behind every other post they'd ever made, and they wouldn't be able to find it when they loaded their journal to see it so they would assume it hadn't been posted at all.

(This is not a problem in communities: to avoid the problem with having posters from many timezones, communities show all entries ordered by server time, not by user-supplied time.)

The fix definitely helped that problem, but it introduced the opposite problem (someone who posts once with an accidental date of 2038-01-01 then has to do some farting around with the backdating flag) and the whole concept of backdating in general is very hard to explain to people. It also, for us, causes issues with emailed-in posts: when someone emails a post to the site, it's posted with the timestamp in UTC (aka, DW server time), which then causes problems if someone wants to post within the 'window' of their timezone offset. (This is what made me start this post: I emailed in today's stupid kitten pic, which got a timestamp of 2014-04-21 0500 UTC, then I tried to post a second entry at 2014-04-21 0421 EDT and got the error. I've opened an issue for applying timezone offsets to emailed-in posts, but there's still the wider question to address.)

My gut instinct is that this check may have been necessary in 2002 (or whenever) when very few people had self-correcting clocks, but now it's 2014 and I don't think there's a single operating system out there that doesn't ship with the "update from timeservers" checkbox checked. I think the few people who will have disabled that auto-time-correction will be used to things behaving weirdly for them if their clock is hella off, and any potential support burden will be alleviated by the lack of having to support questions like "I posted an entry in 2020 to future-date it and now I can't update without errors".

So, discuss:

1) Do people think we can safely remove the "are you trying to post in the past" check?

2a) If not, should we switch to using system time for the "are you trying to post in the past" check? (IE, go by "time the entry was received by DW" rather than "time the user specifies for their post".)

2b) If yes, which of the two options should we take:

2b1) Eliminate all future-date/past-date checks when updating, but otherwise leave things as-is, so that entries on a personal journal's Recent Entries page are still displayed in the order they're dated, not the order they were posted;

2b2) Eliminate all future-date/past-date checks when updating, and switch to treating personal journals like communities, in which entries are displayed in strict order they're posted regardless of date specified by the user.

(I can make up some examples if people are confused about the distinction.)

I think we should get rid of the check, and we should otherwise leave things as-is (so: yes to 1, and of the two, option 2b1) but I am willing to entertain arguments in any direction. Convince me!
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Posted by Claudia Rebaza


Banner by Erin of a spotlight on an OTW logo with the words 'Spotlight on Legal Issues'

In our continuing effort to protect against online censorship that would harm fans, last week, the OTW filed an amicus brief in the case of Garcia v. Google. The case involves the scope and application of the safe harbor provisions of the DMCA and section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which together prevent content hosts -- like YouTube, the AO3, and many others -- from being liable for what their users post.

This case is partly a classic example of "bad facts make bad law," since the plaintiff -- an actress tricked into taking part in the film Innocence of Muslims -- has good reason to want the film taken down. But in response to her request, the court not only applied a tortured interpretation of copyright law (an issue addressed in many other briefs filed with the court at the same time), but also ignored important anti-censorship "safe harbor" laws.

The court forced Google to not only to take the film down, but also to ensure that it is never re-posted. In so ruling, the court ignored the provisions that protect content hosts from having to "police" what their users post. These safe harbors exist to prevent online censorship, and they are important to fans. Just about every site that hosts fan content depends on them. Just imagine if every allegedly infringing or defamatory fanwork led to a lawsuit, or if fan sites were required to monitor their archives to make sure no one ever posted objectionable material: many of the sites fans rely on wouldn't be able to afford to operate. That's the sort of thing these laws are designed to prevent.

For that reason, the OTW, along with Floor64 (the operator of TechDirt), filed a brief asking the court to reconsider its decision with an eye to the fact that although the decision may create a good factual result in this particular case, it makes terrible law that will harm freedom of expression on the Internet. As Techdirt explained in its post about the brief, "There is a reason why Congress was so intent on providing safe harbors, recognizing the incentives for broad censorship when you blame service providers for the actions of their users. Judge Kozinski appears to have ignored nearly all of Congress' intent in his ruling, and we're hopeful that (among the many other reasons why his ruling should be reviewed), the rest of the 9th Circuit will recognize that the original ruling has serious First Amendment implications, beyond just the basic copyright questions."

For those interested in reading more, you can find this latest brief on our Legal Advocacy page along with past filings.


On clients and APIs

Apr. 20th, 2014 01:53 am
darael: Black lines on a white background.  A circle, with twenty-one straight lines connecting seven equally spaced points. (Default)
[personal profile] darael posting in [site community profile] dw_dev
Dreamwidth's APIs are poorly documented (people basically have to work off docs for old versions of LJ's APIs). They're also missing key features, like comment handling for more than backups.

I've been told there have been "some internal conversations about deprecating the XML-RPC API -- keeping it for backwards compatability, but moving to a much more modern second-gen API", but that nobody has had both the time and the inclination to work on designing such a thing.

Well, this is me, volunteering. To that end, I'm looking for input on what exactly such a new API needs to provide, and whether there's a preferred underlying technology to build on (exempli gratia, stick with XML-RPC? Change to SOAP? Use JSON? RESTful or not? et cetera). What I'm getting at here is that I'm entirely happy to take point, as it were, and to make decisions (especially where there's little or no consensus and someone has to make the call), draw up specs, write docs, and so forth, but the result is highly unlikely to be a really useful API unless I get input from more sources than my own experience and looks at the code.

At this stage, therefore, I want everything you, the reader, have to say on the subject. Use cases especially.

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Posted by Claudia Rebaza


Banner by Erin of a shield bearing the logos of several digital rights organizations.

  • The Asahi Shimbum detailed fan concerns about the TPP. "Usami and other creators of fan fiction, however, could face the possibility of legal prosecution as copyright violators in the future, depending on the outcome of TPP negotiations. Some countries are apparently demanding that Japan clamp down on knock-off and pirated works in the intellectual property arena, even if the copyright holder does not object to it. Under current Japanese copyright law, authorities take action only after the copyright holder, such as the artist of the original work or publisher, lodges a formal complaint."
  • India's Business Standard wrote about book piracy and its turn to crossover fiction. "By the 2000s, piracy had changed across all kinds of language publishing in India. In 2003, Harry Potter's publishers successfully sued Uttam Ghosh, preventing him from introducing a character called Jhontu in a sub-series where Harry Potter goes to Calcutta, a work of fan fiction if there ever was one...Book pirates in China had stayed ahead of the curve, by passing off a weird little book called Harry Potter and Bao Zoulong as a new Potter sequel. In this version, Harry Potter became a leading character in a translation of The Hobbit, with an explanatory paragraph to tell the reader how Harry Potter was turned into a hobbit one day while taking a bath."
  • The Wire explored the origin of The Office Time Machine. Creator Joe Sabia "wasn't really a fan of the show" but created it to "advocate for copyright reform and highlight the importance of fair use in protecting creators and their art."
  • Yet fair uses of content can be beneficial to creators. The Toronto Star discussed how music companies made more money from fan videos than official videos. “A lot of that is due to consumers putting more and more repertoire and new versions up there, but also it’s YouTube getting better at advertising" as now more than 50 countries are part of video ad monetization. "'It’s a massive growth area. We’re very excited about the creativity of consumers using our repertoire and creating their own versions of our videos,' said Francis Keeling, the global head of digital business for Universal Music Group."

What copyright developments have you seen relating to fandom? Write about them on Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.



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