Taylor Swift should be ashamed of herself for romanticizing brutal, mid-20th-century European colonialism in Africa with her new video “Wildest Dreams”!
Okay, so I don’t agree with that – at all. But in the Age of Outrage, where the level of supposed outrage tends to translate to clicks and Internet traffic, it’s white noise (no pun intended).
Pop culture’s main Pop Princess, Taylor Swift, recently released the beautiful Out of Africa-meets-1930s/40s-Vogue video for her song “Wildest Dreams.” We see her up against the backdrop of the “wild” African surroundings while donning gorgeous, timeless styles. I’m not a Swiftie, but I obviously liked the video, as did most viewers and critics.
End of story, right? Nope. This is 2015, remember? Outrage…OUTRAGE, I tell you!
Almost immediately, some writers jumped on the video as yet another example of an insensitive, white pop star carelessly hurting the feelings of all people of African ancestry, or something.
“[She] packages our continent as the backdrop for her romantic songs devoid of any African person or storyline,” wrote NPR contributing writer James Kasaga. “[She] sets the video in a time when the people depicted by Swift and her co-stars killed, dehumanized and traumatized millions of Africans. That is beyond problematic.”
Yes, by merely using the styles of Hollywood’s golden age in the wild plains of Africa, Swift is shoving colonialism in the faces of Africans. Huh? Not only is this quite the stretch – it ignores the fact that art is the ultimate subjective expression of human emotion.
For example, if I were to release a music video where I’m dressed as a Spanish missionary in the New World, it doesn’t automatically mean I’m making light of or celebrating the atrocities committed by Spanish colonists and conquistadors. It means I’m using the imagery to communicate a larger point with elaborate costumes.
I’m not in any way defending what European colonizers did to the people and lands of the African continent. I would never do that – colonialism does have a horrible, painful history. But that’s not what the damn song is about. Mid-20th century styles are used as glamorous props and the African landscape as a stunning, artistic expression of her song. Her video becomes the visual representation of her “Wildest Dreams.” She even donated money to the conservation of African wildlife and lands.
She did a lot in the video. She did not romanticize European colonial rule. She. Just. Didn’t.
Not one to miss out in the outrage culture, Mic was on the video for it’s social justice warrior beat. “The image of Africa as a frontier playground is on full display in Swift’s video,” wrote Zak Cheney-Rice. “Not a single black African person is present, let alone one of specified national origin from among the continent’s 54 countries.”
So Swift is acting like a careless, insensitive frontierswoman because she didn’t put any black Africans in her video….and she should be ashamed, or something. The point doesn’t hold up under scrutiny…but at the time of this blog post going up, it helped garner over a million Facebook likes. And that’s the whole point.
Outrage sells and boy does it generate likes, shares and clicks. Swift’s race makes the outrageous package irresistible because it crudely diminishes her art to an example of the rich and powerful white person exploiting the disenfranchised person of color. Again, this post isn’t about disregarding racism or colonialism. It’s about calling out clickbait masquerading as think pieces. Now that’s “problematic.”
Note: For those who don’t understand the title, it’s a lighthearted reference to one of the funniest movies ever made – “Mean Girls.”
EQCAI is working with Gay Central Valley of Fresno, and other LGBT and immigration groups, and health clinics to increase access to healthcare for LGBT and undocumented people in the Central Valley. Our aim is to engage and educate the broader community on the unique health needs of LGBT and undocumented individuals, and to advocate on behalf of undocumented people across California.
Equality California Institute and Gay Central Valley will be holding a Town Hall Meeting focused on “Healthcare Access for the LGBT and Undocumented Communities in Kern County”.
This event will be held on Thursday September 10th, from 6:00pm - 8:00pm at the Painted Table, which is located at 1211 N. Wishon Ave. Fresno, CA 93728.
More than a month after a transgender woman died after being stabbed on a Fresno street, law enforcement agencies are continuing to seek the person who attacked her.
K.C. Haggard, 66, of Fresno, who's been recalled as a "sweet" person, was seen on the surveillance video from a tattoo shop walking down North Blackstone Avenue early in the morning of July 23.
In the video, an SUV drove toward Haggard and stopped near her. Haggard walked over to the vehicle and appeared to talk for a few moments with someone inside. After someone jabbed at her throat, Haggard walked away and collapsed on the sidewalk.
An ambulance and a police car finally arrived several minutes after the attack, and she was pronounced dead at 2:52 a.m.
Fresno police Lieutenant Joe Gomez said in an email Tuesday, September 1 that no arrests have been made.
I remember the days when conservative religious groups loved their witch hunts. They would find people who were either gay or friendly to the LGBTQ community; then they would expose them, out them and ruin their lives. These groups toppled political figures, decimated careers and in some cases were the lead cause of suicide. It is my thought, shared by many others, that sometimes these groups were the reason that we were so slow in responding to the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
Now that the tide has turned and of course, these groups are crying foul. A news article by the Portland Press Herald exposed seven major donors who tried to defeat marriage equality laws by donating to the National Organization for Marriage. Chris Plante, a director for NOM says that “it is a tactic of same-sex marriage advocates across the country to try to chill the free speech…We find there is a particular effort to attack and force retribution against those who stand in the public square.”
This group and other groups that have spewed hate and contempt for years are now saying that they are being discriminated against.
Other than the irony that makes me giggle – I also feel great about the strides that our society is making in recognizing sexual orientation equality. We are not 100 percent there yet but we are moving in the right direction. This article written even 10 years ago would have been slanted completely different.
Remember back in grade school when the still-damp ditto sheets were passed down the row before a test or quiz? You took a deep whiff of that awesome mimeograph ink and put your Number Two pencil to work. The next day you waited with nervous anticipation – would you receive a coveted gold star? Then, the crushing revelation: a big red C Minus. Letting you know you are average. Or just below it.
From the moment we are old enough to comprehend what it means to be graded, evaluated, praised and ranked, we strive for that big red A, the bright gold star, the shiny blue ribbon or the hypnotic gleam of the first place trophy. We study, we train, and we learn to channel our abilities to be the best. But what about the constant study of relationships? How do we know when we are good at what we do in the bedroom and not the classroom?
We don’t receive a textbook and a syllabus of how to be an amazing partner or a fantastic lover, so where do we glean the knowledge that takes us through our personal lives? We see the romantic gestures that people make in the movies: the anonymous love notes, the grand declarations of love in the pouring rain, even the rushing to the airport to stop the one you love from leaving for Paris. By the way, why are they always jetting off to Paris? Just once I’d like to see someone stop their beloved from flying off to Newport News or Jackson Hole.
These cinematic sequences look great on film and we dissect them and take what we need from their dialogue and hyper-real situations. But in real life, unsigned love letters seem creepy, not everyone looks stunning when they are soaking wet, and there is no way you could make it through the airport in time due to all the constant restrictions. Besides, everyone’s definition of what is and isn’t romantic is different. For me, the most romantic ending to a movie is still Sixteen Candles. Why couldn’t the breathtaking Jake Ryan be waiting for me when everyone was leaving my sister’s wedding?
The only other option is to study those around us: our parents, our friends, even other couples that we don’t even know, just to see how they act and spar within their relationships. The problem with that is, no two couples are ever alike. So how the hell do we know what to do? And how do we know we are doing the right thing?
Las Vegas. Lit in a blaze of neon and fueled by alcohol, the city itself seems to be weighed down with secrets and promise. The polished gloss of its sparkling skyline is a siren song to anyone searching to become someone else – if only for a weekend. Whether it’s the darkness of the kinky sex that permeates the background on CSI or the sunlit drunken amnesia of TheHangover, Las Vegas has been the setting for numerous stories that twist like tangled vines through its history. The truth is, most of the fiction couldn’t hold a candle to the facts.
They say what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, but is that really true? The basic premise of this catchy and oft-repeated slogan is that Vegas cultivates the idea that it’s okay to lie, to change who you are and to do things you would never do, because when you leave, you leave it behind. But memories are like fingerprints; everyone has a unique set and they will always be a part of you. Everywhere you go, your experiences are stamped in your brain like initials in sealing wax.
My experience in Vegas is usually a whirlwind of bad behavior, chance encounters, dance beats and hotel sheets- somewhere between Ke$ha’s “Take It Off” and Katy Perry’s “Waking Up In Vegas”- but nothing I wouldn’t do in any other town, including this one. The only difference in this equation is the introduction of a brand new catalyst. Or two. Or three at a time. Maybe it’s because for the very reason that people believe they can be and do whatever they want within the confines of this jewel embedded in the desert, it changes their attitude and their approach to others.
And the “time” is now here to write about it, as the Apple Watch is out and available at your local Apple Store for purchase. And our household finally owns one of the illustrious new offerings from our favourite and often-talked-about tech giant.
But before you get out your wallet let me be clear after using our watch for a week or three: The Apple Watch is not for everyone. Ours came at a sizable discount, as husband Ivan is a full “time” Apple employee. And I’m sure even if a discount had not been offered we eventually would have found the cash to buy one. I’m told, too, as I write this that there is now a friends and family discount on them so if I decide I want one for myself it won’t hurt my semi-retiree wallet too much.
But on to the meat of my review…. and what is it, or could it be, that makes the Apple Watch so great that I should at least go by my Apple store for a try on?
Nothing and everything.
The Apple Watch — while it is what Apple refers to as a “Hero product” much like the iPhone and the Apple TV — is not a gadget that offers instant gratification.
When ours arrived via FedEx literally overnight from China (We were in awe at watching it track from China to Alaska, to the UPS Air Hub in Louisville and finally to our door all in 24 hours…) the weight of the long brown shipping box and the yet lighter but still substantial glamour box or retail packaging enclosed were both impressive.
From there we continued to open and unwrap each item. The box contains one extra long charging cable (USB on one end and inductive magnetic charging disk on the other), a new power block, and of course, the watch itself. After turning the watch on and waiting several minutes for its first boot up, we were presented with a spiral graphic with a small Apple logo in the centre and a description of the device spelled out around the outside. At this point we were ready to pair it with our phone.
The process is started by holding the watch screen below our iPhone 6’s camera and allowing it to be connected. Once it was paired, the watch display graphic dissolved into dancing pixels of dust flowing around the screen before ending with an Apple logo in the middle and a circular progress line that started at the top and went clockwise around the entire face until it was fully synced with the phone.
Morgana Bailey has been hiding her true self for 16 years. In a brave talk, she utters four words that might not seem like a big deal to some, but to her have been paralyzing. Why speak up? Because she’s realized that her silence has personal, professional and societal consequences.
Always the weekend after Labor Day! Kampout is a 3 day LGBTQ social, fun filled camping event held at Texas Flats up above Oakhurst, CA. The Theme for 2015: Gypsies, Tramps & Thieves. $30 per person for the entire weekend! Can't beat that anywhere! Includes 2 breakfasts, 1 dinner, a whole lot of booze! Games, prizes, a hilariously fabulous drag show, did I mention booze? An all around great bunch of women to hang out with all weekend. Plus you get to dress up as a gypsy, tramp, or thief!
Check out www.kampoutfresno.com for all you need to know. Get involved with the activities, volunteer to help the Kampout Committee
REEL PRIDE 26's KICK-OFF PARTY will be held Friday, August 14th!