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Art

Drugs by Bryan Lewis Saunders

Bryan Lewis Saunders takes different sorts of drugs and expresses his experiences through art.

 

100 mg Seroquel

I’m surprised he can still draw after taking Seroquel. I used to take 10mg of it for my manic depression and it always made me feel dizzy, lethargic and all around crappy. Nevertheless, props for this man for being so brave in trying those drugs and chronicling his experiences. I wonder how far should a man go in the name of art?

Society

The Internet is a surveillance state by Bruce Schneier

Welcome to an Internet without privacy, and we’ve ended up here with hardly a fight.

Bruce Schneier writes about how panopticons are now everywhere through the internet and it’s almost an impossibility to stop them. George Orwell would be surprised how efficiently his work of fiction has come to life. After I publish this, companies and government agencies are probably analyzing what I have written in this post. Unwanted collection of personal data really is creepy and rather scary.

Evolution

Essentialism Revisited by John Wilkins

In fact it is my opinion that essentialism in biology postdates Darwin, and was in fact due to the revival of Thomism among German and French speaking Catholic biologists who were reacting to the metaphysical views of people like Herbert Spencer and Ernst Haeckel.

John Wilkins talks about how essentialism in evolution is most probably not what we think it is. For one, he’s of the opinion that essentialism was not the norm in the pre-Darwinian era as most people believe and as stated by Ernst Mayr. In fact, it may be more of a post-Darwinian thing and even so, only a few people held it to be true.

If that’s the case, we have to change a whole bunch of textbooks. It would also give us a different perspective of the history of evolution. I wonder, if not essentialism, then what was the general paradigm before Darwin’s evolution? And was it really a backward paradigm compared to the Darwinian thinking?

Comics

Banned and Challenged Comics Revealed! by Betsy Gomez

Click on the link to see the list of banned and challenged comic books in the US. In all honesty I believe comic books are more than just a piece of entertainment. It is a reflection of life and reality so I don’t see the point of removing it from shelves. It may actually teach people a thing or two.

 

I am more than just your alarm clock and sandwich maker

By Patty Sue

Note: This post can also be found in Patty Sue’s blog, thenyannyanadventures

Hi! The male who drew me is a jerk (Image via cSlacker)

As an anthropology student, I have been exposed to a rich amount of literature which deals with gender issues especially those concerned with women empowerment and equal rights in society. In a culture where patriarchal manifestations are greatly felt, it is but appropriate and empowering for me at the same time to identify even in brief discourse the various institutions in society which create or reinforce unjustified gender roles and stereotypes to women.

Family

The family is the most basic unit in society. In most cultures, just like ours, it is in the family where our deep socialization is deeply rooted. As the only daughter (and child) in my family, I have personally experienced situations wherein I am identified and defined because of my gender. My father who is quite the conservative one would often downplay my capacity to protect myself and would oftentimes reprimand me and confine me at home, even in school field trips. There are many underlying reasons as to why he does this and possibly one reason is because he wants to protect me. However, it is also in this context that I am degraded to nothing but someone who must be protected. My father would always say, “Babae ka. Hindi ko kaya proteksyonan sarili mo. Mahina ka.” These words would always have a great impact on me because I do not believe that I am merely defined by my biological characteristics.

Women- The Domesticated sphere of Economics

In a recent public presentation that my batch mates and I had in Naga, one interesting topic stood out in my classmate’s paper and it was the role of women as fisherman’s wives. I can’t but to reflect more on it because it has presented how women are clearly misconstrued and delegated to household chores and child rearing while the husband is the one who goes out and earn for the family through fishing. Being the Haligi ng tahanan would always undermine being theIlaw ng tahanan. It is in the connotations that most people attach to women as doing nothing but domesticated work or serving as alarm clocks for their husband and children that devalues women worth in the face of a capitalist society.

9GAG.com

Media and its new forms namely the Internet and Visual media have had a great influence in reinforcing ideologies on gender. The picture above which I got from 9GAG.com, an entertaining and fun site which is becoming an internet phenomenon, would often display pictures like this of the adventures of Derp and Derpina and how Derp, being the male and all, makes use of sexist jokes on her girlfriend, Derpina all the time. Although I find these picture posts funny, there is also that hidden fear as to how sexist jokes are taken to the extreme as posts like this, “Make me a sandwich” gain several likes on Facebook and other social networking sites. Truly, media has helped reinforcing gender stereotypes and sometimes it does so in its sneaky, magic tricks and lures people into sensationalizing and disguising gender stereotypes in humor or satire, which can be eye-opening but personally more and more normal for society especially in a generation of youth where internet is the primary means of information and entertainment.

So how do we resist? Run the world, girls!

I may be identified as a feminist (not the extreme one though) because of a fairly amount of papers that I made in my years as an anthropology student. For me, there is really an existing gender inequality, not only between male and female but also among gays and lesbians in society. It is in this light that I propose that the greatest resistance one could even do is change the perceptions of gender roles and assignments and society. In a society where patriarchy is dominant, woman resisting should be able to prove that staying in home and taking care of the children is empowering rather than degrading, a girl like me should be able to go beyond my biological identity and will be able to defend herself (I enrolled in Elorde boxing class, by the way, much to my father’s disapproval) and characters such as Derpina must be able to fight back against Derp and his sexist jokes (or even play jokes on him too as sweet revenge).

Women should because women can.

Kert’s Note: This is a reflection paper Patty Sue wrote for her Anthro 141 (Political Anthropology) class under Prof. E.M. Taqueban

 

The idiocy in Philippine mainstream TV

By Kert

Philippines has always been a country of festivities. Even our political system is modeled upon festivities. The one who gives the best show gets to become President. Case in point, Pres. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III made use of the background of his family to create this drama that he holds the banner of democracy.

It is not then very surprising how the entire country is so enamored by noon-time TV shows and game shows. The Philippine TV is filled with them. Or should I say, infested with them. From Wil-Time Big Time (which used to be Wowowee), Face-to-face to Eat Bulaga. They’re all fundamentally the same. They’re all just one hour or so of nothing but dancing half-naked women, confused impoverished people who are hoping to have some cash or an entire crew putting up a carnival show at the expense of the poor. I’m not at all apologetic in saying I wish TV networks stop showing these things. These shows are wrong in many levels.

Does this guy look like he can be trusted to you? (Image via Underside)

1. Objectification of Women — Half-naked women gyrating their hips while screaming, “Yes yes awwww!” isn’t my idea of entertainment at all. I am not a conservative person but I am very much against the idea of objectifying and commodifying the female body. The show pretty much sells the bodies of these women so that they can be ogled at by bald men with beer bellies who have nothing to do but click on the remote control and leave all the work to their wives. And Willie Revillame can very much be indicted with several counts of sexual harassment. . Yes, dancing half-naked on TV can be seen as empowering for women and I’m all for that, but we are still at that stage in which women are treated as sexual toys. And men paying women to do just that feeds this cycle of the industry satisfying only the masculine needs of the society.

2. Exploitation of Human Emotions — Making people cry for ratings is just lowest of the low. I am vehemently against how TV shows make such a drama out of people’s lives for entertainment. It’s just despicable how they make the people cry or make them fight on TV. We are making emotions mundane, inauthentic and void of meaning just for money. What’s so good about that?

3. False hope — TV game shows give the people the false hopes that if they sing some songs, dance a little or join some games, they may hit jackpot. It gives the adults false hopes, and the children wrong values. TV shows exist in the liminal space and what happens inside it could not happen in our “reality”. We cannot just hit “jackpot” by a stroke of luck. It is a process that can only be achieved through hard work.

4. Faking a charity — Game and noon-time TV shows always claim that other than entertainment, they exist to help the people. But are they really helping? Out of the hundreds of thousands that pour in into the network’s account after one hour of show, how much of that actually goes to the poor? After one month of groceries, the winners of the shows go back to being hungry and impoverished. Then they return to their false hopes and gamble again in the TV shows. I see the broken down tricycles given away by Wowowee in the streets and ask “how much did this thing really help alleviating poverty?”.  What they got doesn’t even compare to the tax exemptions and profits the network gained.

It’s easy to say, “Go blame the poor people, why blame TV networks?”. I would, if only this people know any better and if they have actually a choice. But then again, it’s cheap entertainment. It’s easy to chew, easy to digest but has zero nutritional value. Serve them on a cold platter daily and the people would just gobble it up eventually. As my mother said when we went to my grandparents’, “TV has become a necessity of the people. Look at them. Without TV, what can they do?”

We are breeding a country composed of many people without proper education. Something should be done about this. And Philippine mainstream TV isn’t helping in any way.

Note: Last night (16/11/2012), I encountered the term imagology (Kundera 1991) for the first time. Milan Kundera first used imagology in his work Immortality. See actual quote here. He tells us that ideology is now replaced by imagology, in which we passively consume various bombardments of images through TV and radio. Daniele Conversi (2010) says that this imagology has rendered us complacent with critical thinking removed in the process of consuming forms of culture. In relation to nationalism, Conversi states:

In the passage from ideology to imagology, forms of banal nationalism have rapidly spread without the mediation of intellectuals and without soliciting critical thought.

Continuing,

…the reign of image belongs to a ‘hyperreality’ which merges reality with fantasy (Baudrillard 1994:1-42) as well as to a generalised ideology which is no longer mediated by individuals.

Reference:

Conversi, D. 2010. Ideology and Nationalism.In Routledge Handbook of Ethnic Conflict (Cordell, K. and Stefan Wolff, eds.). New York: Routledge

What makes you a woman?

By Patty Sue

Note: This post can also be found in Patty Sue’s blog, thenyannyanadventures

You will all burn in hell. Mwahah! (Image via whynotcoconut.com)

”Homosexuality is not a sin, it is a lie from the devil. Do not be deceived. God loves gays and wants them to know the truth.”  -Miriam Quiambao

This is a tweet from the former beauty queen, Miss Miriam Quiambao. At first, I could not believe that she thinks this way of the LGBT community. I thought beauty queens are chosen not only for their beautiful appearance but also because they represented what is beautiful in humanity. But, what the heck, who am I kidding. I hate beauty pageants in the first place. Even if most people in society regard this as a significant event that seeks “true beauty”, I think it’s just a venue of parading women who live up to society’s expectations of beauty. In short, it’s more of an imposition of beauty rather than a discovery of one. My art studies professor once said that beauty pageants are no more  than sheep contests, wherein you pin a blue ribbon to the most attractive and well-bred sheep. You can’t really realize genuineness through a bikini, vital statistics, or long gown contest. The question-and-answer portion won’t suffice either. (I think we have been witnesses to that so many times.) So this makes me really frustrated and angry to hear such statements from a beauty queen.

Now, what was the issue that, Miriam Quiambao had to say things like this? Well, it all started with Donald Trump’s announcement that in 2013, Miss USA will allow transgenders to join. This decision was pushed to a finality after it was revealed that Miss Canada 2012 was actually a transgender. Although the it is still deemed to be problematic, LGBT sees this an important step to assert their identity and empower their community even more. Let’s face it, LGBTs are discriminated against in every social institution there is. They’ve been called demons and social deviants. They are stigmatized with stereotypes that are far from which they truly are. There have been several incidents of abuse and hate-crimes against the LGBT in the country. One case describes the burning of a gay person then stabbing him to death. All of these happen because of reckless words and unjust actions.

Now back to Miriam Quiambao. Okay, she has her own opinion on this issue. I respect opinions but I abhor imposing your opinions on everyone else. Aside from her tweets, she also had a number of interviews on TV where she was seated with transgenders. Of all the arguments which were laid in the discourse, Miss Miriam used one of the ‘most used’ and rather ‘misused’ of them all- religion. Roman Catholicism to be exact. I am Roman Catholic but I don’t persecute or humiliate others using my religion as a front.

Miss Miriam Quiambao should have been careful in choosing her words. Although I understand where she’s coming from since she is a former beauty queen and tradition has also been a huge and great wall to break in our country, it still does not justify her saying that homosexuality is a lie from the DEVIL. She should have realized that she is an icon in the country and very much part of the media so anything she says will make a great impact or influence on the audience. And to use biblical passages to defend this, if I must say, is insulting to those like me who loves LGBTs and GOD. I have to be honest by saying that since I was little, I didn’t mind interacting with LGBTs, considering my father is a homophobic. I guess it has a lot to do with my mother who’s always fair in treating people (that’s why I love her so much!) I studied in Christian schools and I’ve met with the most stern and horrific nuns and school administrators. Posing a question in class that leans on going against the Scripture was actually a taboo. You questioning their authority (and assumingly God’s) will either make you a troubled child to be sent for counselling or a real troublemaker that needs to be silenced. I was a ‘good’ girl back then and I basically conformed to everything that my teachers said. There were a few mentors whom I can confide with and few friends who share my sentiments.

Everything changed when I went to college where I befriended beautiful and wonderful people who aren’t straight. most of them are my best friends now. And I tell you they’re not any less lovable or respectable as any of my straight friends. When you attach labels, you create a division that isn’t supposed to exist. Furthermore, if it’s reinforced in institutions which are supposed to protect you, it creates an atmosphere of hate based on opinions which are strengthened through force and enculturation and without much enlightenment. I mean, really. Hearing Miriam Quiambao hurts my ears so much and makes me think how the hell does she deal with gays in her everyday life? The most talented fashion gurus and stylists are gays and considering her line of work, she must have dealt with a lot of them. Does she judge them while looking at them? Does she bat her eyes and say thank you whenever they make her look beautiful, while deep inside she thinks that they are lies from the devil?

Aside from her tweets, (which now turned to apologies with matching biblical quotations) there was one particular interview that also got on my nerves. It was when she asked a transgender, “What makes you a woman?” Well, it could have been just an inquiry for the sake of shedding light in the issue but I recognize a malicious tone when I hear one. So what did the transgender say? She told Miriam that she knows herself probably more than anyone and that being a woman is not only determined by your biological characteristics. ”Beauty is not in the vagina,” said JC Tejano, former chairperson of our college student council. I wished I could have shoved this statement right on Miriam’s mouth.

Well, what makes a woman, a woman?

In beauty pageants, one of the most popular question would be, “What is the essence of a woman?” A lot would say it’s having children or when you have an education or do things that men could do. These could be valid answers but I think it all boils down to having a choice. In other words, whatever you choose to define yourself with, people should respect that and recognize that you are empowered in what you’re doing. In fact, I’d like to take this to the extremes by citing that some Japanese porn stars find pornography empowering for them since they are in control of their bodies. I won’t go far from home and say that my mother, who is “just a mere housewife” for some men and women alike, take pride in being at home and taking care of me and the rest of the family. Our society will always have the notion that successful womanhood entails only those women who have a high-paying job and a prestigious career. In lack of a better reaction to this, I’ll just say that it’s completely BS. :)

How do I end this blog? I guess, I’ll conclude it by saying that Miss Miriam Quiambao is irresponsible and insensitive in her statements. To apologize on how she said it but not on what she said is an even greater insult to the LGBT community. To say that she didn’t expect that her statements would cause an upset is a presentation of complete ignorance of the dynamics of human discourse and ethics. To limit womanhood and beauty to a biological woman is a grave assault to the LGBTs out there who live and express their lives, their whole being, to what they believe is right. To use religion and to preach in God’s name to spread animosity instead of understanding is a sin against the basic commandment of God that all “preachers’ tend to forget: love one another.

People are people, Miriam. You’re crazy to judge others just because they’re different from you.