March 18, 2013

My theory classes at art school are now so crowded there are students sitting on the floor where the teacher can’t be seen or heard properly.

This is what Australian youth apathy looks like. I did my bit, raised awareness. Our way of life will be destroyed by Tony Abbott unless the young people in my classes realise we can hopefully vote against him. If he wins my respect for this country will be in the toilet.

Part of the reason I’ve been losing interest in visual art right now is how utterly irrelevant postmodernism, beauty in contemporary art, and conceptual bullshit is in the face of utter societal destruction of the safety net and trust in the system is soon to evaporate too.

Me, I shouldn’t worry too much cause I’ve been in this fight long enough to figure out that novelists/writers/bloggers will never be destroyed by such turbulent times cause we were raised in a world where we’re poor by default. We’re like a 1990s Steven Seagal movie about a man out for revenge, Hard To Kill. The rest of the arts suffers from underfunding, but given a laptop and Internet access, the average writer and blogger’s gonna be just fine. Film production and theatre funding will be slashed, but haterade is a renewable resource, and a writer raised on the internet’s never gonna run out of that in a hurry. We’ll run out of oil before us writers run out of haterade. We’re friends of the gutter cause society puts us there to begin with.

And we got your back, rest of the arts. Our hatred is working to serve you better.

Sincerely, the writers and bloggers of web culture.

March 17, 2013

Sometimes I wonder if the posts I make about Australian issues matter at all, since Tumblr seems very US-Canada centric, but it warms my heart that the Ameri-Canadians on Tumblr are nipping a whole bunch of problems like SOPA/CISPA in the bud before they become a problem here.

I have this sense of doom where I feel I have to watch over affairs in America like a hawk so the bullshit policies that could harm the future don’t trickle their way down here. Because Australians suck at protesting this shit.

July 6, 2012
I Welcome Our New Teenybopper Overlords

To call me a sellout to the mainstream pop agenda after years of carving out a niche in being a grim warrior shut in of the web for so long would be dismissing the uncomfortable reality that the second album I ever bought with my own money was the Schumacher version of The Phantom Of The Opera soundtrack.

See this is why the few friends I have offline are ashamed of me, and why I have no dreams of being a serious music critic. Film critic or book critic maybe, but music, NO.

I haven’t liked club music with loud bass that screws with my mind, dub step is ear poison to my brain, but radio hits like Call Me Maybe and the return of boy bands through new blood like One Direction doesn’t frighten me nearly as much as a societal shift as I remember a certain day in 2001 being, or the death of my surrogate grandpa being. My point is I’m not passionately angry about the Teenybopper Overlords as most men of my age seem to be, and my utter rejection of my man card ripped up by my brother far beyond my recollection might have something to do with it.

I remember watching an Alice Cooper interview on TV where Mr Golf N Goth himself said his daughter brings home something like a Marilyn Manson album and he scoffs but when she brings home a Pat Boone album he’s mortified. People who grow up in different environments have to rebel in ways appropriate to their upbringing.

One Direction from the songs I’ve heard seem utterly harmless to the downfall of society, and while I’m wary of all bands in the next half of this decade being like that, I’m put in a weird situation where I have to admit serious problems I have with youth culture’s constant sneering at anything that doesn’t have something raunchy or sleazy in every rap song and the like.

I’m forced to rebel against principles I thought I held dear because now that censorship has been relaxed for me as an adult I’m wondering if I went too far pushing against society’s cultural mores for the sake of being against something to fill the void of my social life which was lacking so I became a vocal activist for Internet freedoms in order to give my precious little life some redeeming value and human worth.

And now ACTA’s dead and buried, SOPA’s corpse is decomposing, until some other awful hydra rears its youth culture hating head to destroy the Internet again, I’m probably gonna listen to a bunch of pop music records I actually like rather than wasting my few precious moments alive trying to please people on the other side of the Earth who hate my taste or people on my end who I don’t think have done nearly enough towards helping the causes I care about and think they should considering activism is pumped with new blood on campus and we can’t be picky about our recruits to fight real enemies like political corruption instead of Justin Bieber when his record label’s much more dangerous than Bieber is.

Like Musashi who wrote The Book Of Five Rings said, one must pay attention to both the serious and trivial matters in life. I’ve been too unbalanced towards serious and maybe it’s easier to defeat the enemy if I look like him and know about the same pop stars.

July 5, 2012
Idiot Male Superhero Thinking

I found some particularly distressing clarity in my emotional maturity at my age, in the least likely place I’d expect to find it. Jerry Seinfeld’s only stand up comedy record I’m Telling You For The Last Time. It surprised me too.

Essentially his particularly scathing commentary on Superhero Male Thinking comes shortly after a funny rant about why it occurred to men to bring a car with them when they walked on the moon. What follows is a particularly brutal assessment of male thinking in adult life that leads one to try emulating superheroes like Batman, Superman, Spiderman. These are options to men, as Seinfeld said.

It took me a good long while to understand why people thought Seinfeld’s brand of by today’s standards, kind of quaint and innocent comedy from a simpler time - was hilarious.

He talked about a lot of things that seem outdated now, but in an Internet era of superhero blockbuster films… good God is some of his stuff a brutal indictment of modern masculinity which even feminist activists didn’t see as a gold mine of mocking the male gender’s flaws less related to objectifying women till years later.

A lot of men feel like they want to be superheroes out there saving the world. It’s a childish fantasy men have to be sure, but considering that Superman is a better role model to children than say, James Bond in the original Ian Fleming novels, the success of the superhero as a role model to male children is one of the less troubling heroic archetypes available (and women too, but that’s another discussion, here is the time for pointing out where in men’s lives do they think acting like Batman solves problems more complex than say a bank robbery committed by The Joker).

The problem with grown men trying to apply Superman or Spiderman or Batman’s logic to complex social justice issues is, a lot of the time you get a lot of superhero wannabes swooping in to save the day when Wonder Woman’s the gal to solve a crisis of women represented in media to begin with. It’s sad not just because a lot of men end up intruding into forum discussions women want to have alone and unbothered by men blundering in there, but the non-trolling men in this pile up of Kryptonian level disaster are actually trying to help in situations where nobody asked for their help at all.

People like this, who paid to see The Dark Knight in the theater and ended up wanting to change the world to a better one like their hero Batman tries to do… they’re not trying to hurt anyone directly. A lot of the time, people like this… especially me, a guy who made a career in amateur Internet activism and novelist book-writing about heroes who hold these values to help a new digital world… when we rightfully get called out for meddling in affairs where we don’t belong - it doesn’t just make us feel sad because we’re being yelled at, we’re ashamed because we’re both wrong and we failed you in the end.

I can’t pretend I have all the answers, I only have some of the answers to a bizarrely specific selection of dilemmas, and pretending otherwise gets me into trouble, with people angry and the problems made worse. What I’m saying is, guys like me end up trying to be a hero to people even if nobody asks, cause a lot of the time we see on the news a lot of crooks getting away with it, a lot of people hurt, and we want to be worth something before we kick the bucket. We want to reach the end of our lives having felt like we mattered.

And we want to do that in a way that still makes sure other people of different backgrounds feel like they matter too.

June 27, 2012

There are moments in simple conversations that change lives. There are also moments that come right after that change language. Because if there is an emotion or moment that has no name… the human animal is compelled to name it so it is no longer feared.

There are times when discussing ideas offline changed my perception of how ideas are spread online and off alike. I had this conversation with a fellow art student named Fiona (I name her because to not do that would dampen the credibility of my tale) in a week where much kerfuffle online about Tropes Vs. Video Games was first flaring up and I certainly didn’t feel qualified to discuss it at length because at times my online attempts at starting conversations on Twitter and Tumblr can end badly due to a lack of experience with the issue affecting a group that’s angry or concerned about it. So I did what I never thought I’d do willingly. I went off Twitter, and while waiting for my assessment review appointment with my art school professors, discussed with Fiona her recent work where she stitched and sewed decorated hoods which were placed on female models’ heads when they would otherwise be naked, and each hood had a message stitched onto it to reflect how ever present objectification of women was.

"It’s like our teacher doesn’t get why I did it," Fiona complained. "Why doesn’t he get that it’s about objectification instead of nudity for nudity’s sake?"

I turned to her with not ever looming dread as I often seem like I have online where I worry about being taken out of context due to Twitter’s 140 character limit making it hard to discuss real, complicated issues harder to solve than “What sandwich will I have for lunch?”.

My constant anxiety over using Tumblr or Twitter to talk about issues like this is that the internet is fast to react to posts about things in ways where people get angry at each other from misunderstandings, whether rage over it is justified against Internet trolls or harmless men who would have to leave their bedrooms to pose any threat to women, real or imagined as those threats may be.

A misunderstanding over Twitter can lose you a follower because of the toneless text discussion had. But a discussion over these weighty subjects between face to face, real people… am I the only one who finds it weird that I find it really intimidating to talk to people online who I don’t know well about controversies out of fear they’ll hate me five minutes in, while talking to strangers in real life is nowhere near as scary as it was for me as a teenager due to me being a battle hardened flame war veteran whose tendency to not use his anonymous usernames on forums for evil won him not only online respect but a gained wisdom in how to talk to real people offline with a confidence that I can possess strangely enough outside of Internet forums rather than posting on them?

With this in mind, the struggle for women to be able to freely discuss their issues privately online and how men fail to bring any progress when reaching out to them, good intentions or bad… became crystal clear to me as not an issue of women or men being universally the good guys or bad guys in a debate… but the uncomfortable realisation that a lot of these men trying to defend their gender from the so called Feminazis as I sometimes see in comments or angry women from the well meaning, trying to be polite and failing at it ones, are failing at real two way cross-gender debate because a lot of us guys haven’t left our bedrooms and talked to real women who aren’t on Twitter or Tumblr in some time.

See, I was so used to seeing angry women being deservedly angry about sexist bullshit online that at times it seemed like feminists online had adopted this as a default mood. At the same time, women who were grumbling about privileged white males hijacking their conversation probably hadn’t had a face to face conversation about this stuff offline from the message boards in some months too, and both genders were left blaming each other for misunderstandings that if the conversation happened with men and women in the same physical room together, would not go nearly as badly with the diplomacy because the Internet has this odd way of rewarding anonymous rage about things without taking physical living people’s emotions about it on board.

The failures of men and women implementing feminism online and in RL wasn’t the fault of Mars declaring war on Venus (in most cases), it was as tragically simple as men and women not talking to each other about this stuff face to face with friends because as sad as I am to admit this, a lot of men and women both feel that they have few friends to confide in, so they post their frustrations online because they have nowhere else to go. So they think.

People online have been separated from the realities of actual people being behind those fun avatars of anime characters or fan art of celebrities or Hello Kitty thumbnails that we forgot that those sometimes adorable little images is the personally chosen Internet face of an actual person whose personal situation, home life and up bringing is expressed nowhere in that little jpg file or their username.

It’s saddening that I have to remind people that we need to remember to talk to actual people about these issues so that we get a more accurate perception of what people are saying and what worldview brought them to this ideological minefield.

It’s sad not because I’m mocking people on the Internet as losers for spending lots of time there, but because as an admitted shut in/hikikomori sympathiser, I would be the FIRST to admit that NOBODY is universally cool in ANYONE’S eyes anymore. The Internet utterly destroyed everybody’s unified idea of whose role in life was to be beaten up for the extraction of lunch money, and in the alarmed power grab to fill that trauma providing void, cyber bullying trolls stepped up to the challenge and while successful at making people miserable suddenly had their master plan for world domination backfire on them because forum admins and user blocking options had them on the run like a Wild West Outlaw, chased down till no shanty town would take these wanted men dead or alive.

Which leaves the law abiding people online in constant fear of both making satirical jokes on the Internet in an unironically mean way AND being labeled as a troll under false pretenses at the same time.

The flame wars in the past months at that time I spoke to Fiona left me so PTSD ridden that I now have flame war thread flashbacks like old men in retirement homes have repressed memories of much more horrifying conflicts like Vietnam. I was left not knowing whether it was safe to discuss feminism issues with women as a man at all anymore. I was the Internet age’s answer to the poor soul sent out to kill Colonel Kurtz, only in troll form so there were millions of ‘em.

So, I confided in Fiona my concerns, sincere, honest, and real, about discussing objectification of women while being a man at all. I braced myself for the real life slap in the face to come, but I was world weary from so many forum threads that burned down in flames, many good men and women blocked or banned in the line of duty, I couldn’t take it anymore, if death was to come at the hands of a woman after I survived being humiliated by Germaine Greer herself, I was prepared to die in battle, not as a coward, but a soldier praying for the flames to end…

"You know Fiona, your artwork isn’t feminist because of the nudity - it’s empowering to women because it subverts traditional… um… women’s arts and crafts like sewing to make hoods with embroidered messages hiding women’s faces over naked bodies to make a point about how women are objectified. Please don’t hurt me! I just want to help!".

I braced for the yelling, the argument that sewing was not just “women’s craft”… but it never came. Because I was there face to face, Fiona clearly understood I wasn’t trolling her or sucking up. She knew I wanted to help, because earlier I’d told her about the forum battlefields raging over the Tropes Vs Video Games issue happening even as we spoke. She knew why I found it so hard to communicate clearly when I had high functioning autism since she knew me from two full years of Uni already, and had a good idea that my brain was dodging political minefields in conversations every day. She never knew about my secret life as a PTSD ridden internet soldier on a tour of duty that seemed endless though. She thought it was hilarious. And for the first time in my life I really thought about it, and considered that maybe it was.

"So you’re saying that all these… Internet flame war crimes…" she laughed, "…are over a simple discussion about how women are depicted in video games?".

"Yeah, I know, right?" I laughed. In retrospect when talking about this stuff in real life with real people all these Internet tales of valour and glory sounded bloody stupid but jolly exciting. "These feminists aren’t even dealing with all trolls, all the time. Sometimes they’re dealing with men who’d have to leave the house to be any threat to women’s rights at all. It’s like, I’m a guy, but I don’t wake up in the morning and think: "God it’s tough being a man, so many women to oppress, how will I find the time to subjugate them all? They’re half the population, woe is me!". I mean, these feminists online are dealing with people like me who can’t even put a cat in real danger."

She laughed and laughed. “Jake, you crack me up, how do these people find the time to post these comments at each other, you have lives, right?”
“Sometimes we do, but when we don’t - stuff like this happens.” I replied.

"I still dunno how to make this artwork mean something. I feel dumb sometimes, Jake."
“You’re not dumb, you haven’t dropped out yet. You got this far, and your idea is going places. I mean, yeah, you have photos of naked people, but surely the naked people have hobbies, and lives? Like if you took photos of naked people doing their taxes, washing the dishes, brushing their teeth… like you could say with that, “Being naked is not my only identity…”. It could work.”

We looked at each other, and suddenly our brains aligned. We have a platonic friendship, me and Fiona, but we help each other out. And by a twist of fate, both of us realised we just solved each other’s problems with our artistic, creative practice.

"Omigod, Jake." she said. "You’re a genius. You figured it out!"
“How did I do it, how could I have had a penis this whole time, and yet understand a core element of the objectification of women without even trying?” I gasped.
“It all makes sense… It shouldn’t, but it does!” she laughed.

Little moments like this, it had no name on that day. It was like gaining enlightenment by complete accident, without even trying like a bloody idiot. Like I finally understood not feminism itself, but a core element of why a lot of attempts at implementing it went horribly wrong. Feminism had come to me, like a glimpse of nirvana. It was like… FEMINIRVANA.

Speaking face to face helps us understand each other, even when it seems the people online are the only ones that care. But you make new friends even if they seem old, and new words even if they seem silly.

I didn’t have all the answers to an issue… for the first time I wasn’t afraid of admitting that and reaching out to somebody without being worried of offending them by accident. And it’s a relief to admit you don’t have all the answers. Because if you find one of them you can see it right there in front of you.

June 14, 2012
Women Know What Women Want Better Than Us

I’ve noticed a lot of the time I see on Twitter there’s reports of misogynist attacks on women in games Kickstarters or attacks on feminist causes, when really I think that while it’s better to stay out of women’s discussions of issues they’d want to talk about in an environment where they’re not hassled by us guys, no matter how well meaning it may or may not be, there’s other causes related to gamer minority visibility that certainly could use some more “manpower” as it were that’s wasted on hassling women in these debates.

For example, you ever wonder how many disabled gamers there are out there, that might not find there’s enough disabled characters in games, or worse, the controllers made by game hardware companies haven’t been helping disabled people like myself enjoy video games for about ten years of my life since I first attempted playing video games with other people who don’t have the same crippled motor skills I and many other barely mentioned disabled gamers do?

Well there’s good news for well meaning male gamer activists given that there’s a lot of ground to be covered there as of yet that sorely need male game journalists and gamers probing into these issues rather than just having us blunder into women’s attempts at representing themselves online and in gaming.

There’s a whole bunch of causes within gaming that men can help out with that may not be related to feminism in games, but if somebody, anybody’s campaigning for disabled video games accessibility, race in games or even gay men as depicted in game design, if you’re a guy that fits into any of these categories you could probably help these issues to be solved a lot more than flinging defensive comments at women gamers on blogs and the like.

Is it too bold to ask that if women feel uncomfortable expressing our views online about gamer issues unrelated to us when we’re around… aren’t there other gamer advocacy causes that don’t have enough support from either gender that could be improved by legions of men who are affected by different issues but by solving them, video games will be better for everyone involved?

I’m holding out for those brain helmets that control video games with your mind, the potential of brain helmet controlled computers for the disabled alone is exciting enough to turn my attention away from defending my male gender and instead doing something useful like trying to help create… MIND HELMETS.

Probably not alone there. I want those mind helmets so nobody talks shit about handicapped gamers in online matches ever again, I suppose the pwnage delivered to the trolls by said helmets will get this message across. A man can dream, but he doesn’t have to get in the way of meaningful, much needed discussions by women about the games they play to solve big problems that affect more people in more ways than you think.

June 7, 2012
Tumblr Versus Google Images

There’s been a lot of talk on Tumblr being a haven for feminists of all spectrums, and the checking of privileges, and I realise now that I’m not the best person to be talking about feminist issues if I’m not a woman or a person of colour with experience in those related issues. So why am I making a post like this if I’ve been worried about being yelled at for being right or wrong about issues such as these?

Well, there’s certainly an exciting idea to be shared that may not be directly related to the male gaze and feminism, but while I don’t have any direct experience with being a feminist aside from the time I was personally yelled at by Germaine Greer, I do have experience as a third year Photomedia student who looks at images on the internet all the time, as well as offline printed photo books in the library.

What I’m about to say, I’m confident enough to admit, is what I think that people will find interesting to read regardless of cultural background or gender, for it concerns the nerdiest of all Photomedia ethical debates… HASHTAGS APPLIED TO IMAGES OF NUDITY!

"But surely you jest, images of women in media can’t be reduced to a simple Tumblr hashtag!" I hear you cry. Well, here’s the thing, I’m going to lay this theory bare, and I hope it provokes discussion of what I believe might turn into a far more developed PhD thesis than what I’m about to provide, and it’s something I don’t see mentioned in many posts about images of nudity on the internet at all.

How much do hashtags applied to images of nudity, male or female, affect how we might imagine that nude person’s identity to be like?

It’s the game the whole family of internet nerds and activists can play, since rather than looking at the broader issues of why images of nudity are taken in the first place, we’re looking at how hashtags like Tumblr or Google Images has to help you find related images might shape how you might see the person in the nude photos as a person or a sexual entity or whatever.

Has anybody else noticed this, some of you must have, where Google Images when you try to search for images of female or male nudity mostly turns up porn movie stills whereas if you look on Tumblr, you get much different depictions of nudity that may or may not be divorced from a sexual context whatsoever?

And have you noticed that the stills from the porno movies on Google Images have much more slut shaming hashtags than the ones on Tumblr? Why is this?

Well, pornographic imagery is intended to stimulate sexual response, hence hashtags on Google Images claiming a woman in that image is “horny” or a “slut” is meant to appeal to a male gaze (I think, when you search for lesbian imagery it’s really hard to tell where to find stuff made for actual lesbians) of somebody who wants to fantasise about relations of a sexual nature with that person in the image.

Tumblr on the other hand has plenty of nudity, but look down in the hashtags and you’ll notice that a lot of the time the words “slut” or “horny” are nowhere to be found. And as a result, the people who heart the images on their Tumblrs or reblog it don’t really comment with remarks of slut shaming or body image dissing, but praise for the woman in the picture being confident in their body image or whatever?

It makes me start to wonder if there’s a Venn Diagram of people wanting to see nudity that’s sex positive, people who want to see pornographic imagery, and people who want to see naked people on the internet without the hashtags judging the people in the images for, well, being in the images as presented.

You get into all sorts of interesting situations like how pornographic stills on Google Images gets into racial fetishising territory with Asian women and African American women, but if you look into photographic artists like Nobuyoshi Araki you get weird overlap between smut and art where Araki’s clearly enjoying his job taking pictures of women in various bondage poses but you look at the images and there’s no hashtag telling you if the Japanese women Araki photographs are horny or slutty, visually it might seem like Araki’s a dirty old man, which there is evidence pointing towards, but from interviews I’ve read he seems to be the kind of dirty old man more concerned with taking pictures of women in bondage but he’s not really trying to depict them as slutty sex objects as pornography understands it.

For a photographer sometimes decried as pornographic, Araki’s deal is kind of an interesting case study of where smutty art photos are actually less degrading on some level than the pornography you’d find on the internet. In interviews Araki states that he finds these women sexy but I’ve never in my life heard him say that they’re slutty or used up because they’ve had pictures taken of them by him, he equates photography TO fucking, but I’ve certainly never heard him imply the women he photographs are slutty or used goods at all, he seems to just be interested in taking bondage photos, and not because he’s trying to appeal to an internet pornography audience.

When you keep this in mind, certain ideas spread further and you start contemplating whether an image is sexist and objectifying because it contains nudity in a sexual context… or whether the image is mostly innocuous but the porn site it came from that is linked through Google Images is making assumptions about the women in the photo stills that, to be honest… I’m not sure every man out there thinks those women are like on their own. The hashtags might be objectifying these women more than men trying to see naked people on the internet want to objectify them, if at all, since if a person looking for images didn’t make those hashtags themselves, you’re assuming that they think women in porno stills are like that all the time due to hashtags they never wanted to be there to begin with. As decried as obscene like Araki can be… he’s never put hashtags or titles of his images that decry the women his photographs as sluts or whores to be used as sexual objects in the same way actual pornography seems to.

That’s what’s fascinating about Photomedia as an art school degree. I could have gone and done a sociology or English Lit degree and studied ideas of a more abstract nature, but studying Photography rather than just gender theory or sociology on its own opens up new adventures in “Did men throughout history deliberately set out to objectify women in the arts humanity produced, or did some of them just want to see some breasts or buttocks without really trying to judge the subject of the image too much for being there to be looked at?” and “What if images of women’s bodies aren’t sexist because they’re nude… but they’re sexist because of what we project onto that nudity that the woman depicted certainly wasn’t thinking back then?”.

The study of female and male interactions in the scope of sociology and feminism certainly needs to be explored and Tumblr communities help that along very nicely. But if I spent this long in a Photomedia degree learning about not just how to take photographs, but also what they might mean… is it wrong to suggest that studying images beyond just surface value by either men or women is an invalid expression of activism, or criticism of media, because of their backgrounds rather than the downright fascinating ideas brought to the table?

May 9, 2012
I Wonder Who The Real Activists Are

So as you may have known if you’re directly involved in my life (I can’t assume you are, so I’ll explain) - I spent the last three weeks angsting over how to make an art school video artwork succeed versus coming off as insincere or too “ironic” as hipsters would put it. Today I was told that hipster is a derogatory term now, even though my close friends realised that I didn’t know or mean it to be so when I used it. But what did come out of this new project’s metamorphosis from a poorly thought out comedy trailer of a horrendously gory movie (Cannibal Holocaust) into a moving portrait of police brutality framed in the sense of somebody looking at a distillation of the themes of Cannibal Holocaust into a five minute, animal cruelty free short that instead of trying to deliberately shock people, remind people about why police brutality, no matter how tame it seems compared to a horror movie like Cannibal Holocaust, is still more brutal than we imagine it to be after years of media saturation. 

The video artwork can be viewed here, it contains police brutality footage from real life but many of you might not have been as shocked by this as you would have been if I showed the animal cruelty from the actual movie instead. I was surprised indeed that when I posted this on YouTube I expected to be lynched by protestors who were abused by these police who thought I was mocking them, but as it turned out the protestors loved that I used the framing device of the infamous Cannibal Holocaust to show sympathy to them that the mass media news wasn’t giving to them.

I think it’s important to note that while a lot of the time I seem cynical or depressive, the truth is closer to depressive rather than cynical. I’d much rather be making posts about the fun things I’d be doing with my friends… but I don’t have the same social connections other people my age have. So my anguish over being lonely and scared about what this world is coming to is funnelled into artwork that reflects that fear at society’s worrying trends towards authoritarianism.

And I think the powerful feature of my artwork was really down to how much it revealed of Cannibal Holocaust's true message about media and imperialism versus the sensationalist, exploitative animal cruelty and gore it's infamous for. I took a depressing, dark indictment of the human species and transformed certain elements of it into a much more optimistic short that revealed the closer attention to human themes of a gentle pleading for humane treatment of our fellow man we so often forget because our thoughts are so clouded with anger and rage about what's wrong with our world. Cannibal Holocaust was always about a poor schmuck anthropologist that’s more humane than anyone else in the movie trying to explain to jaded TV executives why snuff films are so abominably inhuman because they’ve forgotten just how brutal violence between man on man truly is in reality.

Because I stuck to this instead of making the ill conceived college campus comedy parody trailer I originally tried to make work, the sincerity of my belief that Cannibal Holocaust has more going for it than turtle murder was reflected in the fact that even people who protested and were arrested in this footage weren’t offended by this footage I’d mashed up which I previously thought would ensure my being sent to hell if there was a devil put aside for me.

This version of my idea felt right because if it was funny, it wasn’t because it made fun of the protestors, it made fun of the police beating down on peaceful objectors to destruction of their University’s former ideals. It was funny not because people were being hurt, but because it mocked the enforcers of power with a caricature of their actions via audioswap with an infamous Amazon Cannibal movie with eerily similar visual parallels. 

I showed it in class today and it was a big hit, but I was careful not to gloat over it compared to what my fellow classmates brought to the table.

An Anglo-Indian woman next to me in class had to present her idea in a Super-Critique where she only had ten minutes to present her idea throughly. Since I presented my idea in a much earlier class I had more time to bask in my achievement. So since I’d already been lauded enough, I decided to listen to what her idea was in combining traditional women’s craftwork like sewing into photography that was condemning the objectification of women by showing women’s faces obscured in different, creative and distinctive as well as decorative hoods. It was an idea well expressed and I told her this fact afterwards, since nobody seemed to know what to make of this idea.

I have a confession to make, I am not the best person to speak up about women’s rights when the only reason why I’m not a default white guy is because of my high-functioning autism, which is a disability issue and not a gender one at all. If my intentions are confused with privilege white guy speaking for women syndrome, it’s usually my feeble attempts to join forces like a DragonBall Z warrior team to fight a greater foe, not a deliberate attempt to discount the actual, better articulated struggles of women.

Women are better at articulating women’s issues than men by default, that’s just the reality I have to accept. As much as men want to help solve these problems in the cases they want to help out, it is like asking an oil mechanic why there is a rusty nail in your car tire. A similarly related issue, but you just can’t approach it the same way.

It made me sad that this woman felt she was bad at articulating ideas, when what she was trying to say about the issue was far better articulated in a visual form compared to what I could have come up with to say about the same thing. Especially since while I’m good at talking about certain issues like disability or the resistance to authoritarianism with art and writing, I’m rubbish at getting to the bottom of how to truly help women in a language both genders will understand unlike this lady who said a statement as eloquent as my Cannibal Holocaust mashup was about police brutality about how men objectify women without really thinking about it, and told visually as well.

There are activists for all sorts of issues and it’s hard to join forces on many sides of those issues, but there are times when collaboration would clearly help a greater awareness of these causes amongst artistic communities. I think a meeting of minds with artists is just as important, or more important than the solitary genius cliche these days.

March 15, 2011
Join the #burntheoflc hashtag feed on Twitter. It now has a logo to spread amongst yourselves. The time to fight against censorship with a FATALITY is now, if my nation chooses to remove my freedoms such as playing Mortal Kombat I will remove them from office with my VOTE combo.

Join the #burntheoflc hashtag feed on Twitter. It now has a logo to spread amongst yourselves. The time to fight against censorship with a FATALITY is now, if my nation chooses to remove my freedoms such as playing Mortal Kombat I will remove them from office with my VOTE combo.

Liked posts on Tumblr: More liked posts »