The oppressor wants their token artists so they can feel good about themselves. Singular acts of recognition do very little about the systemic harassment we encounter on a daily basis. A singular act of recognition is not a job.
They erase our sharp edges and turn us into pieces that can be moved around on a field of discourse. Rarely do they engage us as equals.
When we put down other marginalized artists, we do the work of the oppressor. It suits them just fine when we cull ourselves, because they have less work to do figuring out which marginalized artists to tokenize.
How do we empower a plurality of art when gatekeeping replicates itself down to the smallest social unit? When we imply, through our insidious, cryptic tests, that art is for the able-bodied. What strength remains to play the social game?
The oppressor’s tactic is to surround themselves with the oppressed that are most willing to dignify their mindless discourse and put down other marginalized artists. The most successful way to be a token is to do the work of the oppressor and let them know you’re doing it.The perfect guilt-free solution to their problem. Laundered oppression.
They encourage the idea of limited resources for marginalized people. Fight for that one female spot on a panel with four men. Fight to be the best woman in your industry. Surely it makes mathematical sense that pushing another woman out of a 10th story window would enhance your position.
These myths of scarcity are harmful and false. We should not punish others for the limited attention of the oppressor, we should make our own attention, our own care, our own power, and demand reforms that are visible on a day to day basis. Because the day to day is where we live. The day to day is where we go insane.
We are responsible for how digestible the machine finds us.
What gives power its hold, what makes it accepted, is quite simply the fact that it does not weigh like a force, which says no, but that it runs through, and produces, things, it induces pleasures, it forms knowledge, it produces discourses; it must be considered as a productive network which runs through the entire social body much more than as a negative instance whose function is repression.Michel Foucault, Power, Truth, Strategy
The Velvets, like Dylan and Simon & Garfunkel who were already doing it* (and it was in the Stones and Airplane and a whole bunch of others then and now, really is all over modern culture), were — however ambivalently — promulgating the idea of dysfunction and self-destruction as a form of social protest against a contaminated and compromised world that had contaminated and compromised the self. A refusal, a denial. Being fucked and making an issue of it as a semi-social-marker, part of a sort of an identity politics of freaks and punks and bohos and ilk. The intersection of social class and conspicuous self-destruction.
Frank Kogan, “Sally’s Week Beats Blue’s Year”
"*Not that the idea is new. Presumably goes back at least to Germany in the mid 1700s. See ‘Romanticism, Age Of.’ I know almost nothing about Gothic novels of the time, but later on it was in Byron and Stendhal and later still all over Hemingway and Faulkner (when I was rereading Absalom, Absalom! for college I’d put “Sister Ray” on in the background). But I don’t know how much it makes it into popular song until the 1960s. Is kinda there as potential in the Delta blues of people like Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters.”
I’ve decided to compile all my writing on K-pop in one place. Here’s the essay and mix that started me writing about K-pop:
Here are a few more pieces of long-form writing:
And here are the essays I used to write on my favorite new K-pop songs each month, with links to download each song and writing for each:
Not K-pop, but related: A Radical Narrative Disguised as a K-Drama: “Coffee Prince,” Gender, and Sexuality
In a Scene, any Scene, you can go out and find a warm body to touch – for some definition of “touch”, be that fuck, talk, dance, whatever – without a whole lot of set-up cost, but it doesn’t matter; in fact, you may end up being touched in ways that make you feel even more lonely.
In your community, it matters when you touch each other – but, because the members of a given community aren’t interchangeable, if you find yourselves separated from each other by physical or emotional distance, there’s really nothing you can do about the loneliness besides just…ache.
Whiteness is a social and political construct rooted in white supremacy. Drawing from the work of Frank Wilderson, I understand white supremacy as a structure and system of beliefs rooted in European and US imperialism in which certain racialized bodies (non-white) are selected for premature negation whether through cultural, physical, psychological genocide, containment or other forms of social death. White supremacy is at the heart of the US social system and civil society. In short, white supremacy is not just a series of practices or privilege, but a larger social structure and system of domination that overly-values and rewards those who are racialized as white. The rest of us are constructed as undeserving to be considered human, although there is significant variation within non-white populations of how our bodies are encoded, treated and (de)valued.Kil Ja Kim, “The White Anti-Racist is an Oxymoron: An Open Letter to ‘White Anti-Racists’”
Dominance—like whiteness, maleness, straightness, and sanity—is a structure of domination; there is nothing redeemable or reformed about dominance. The inverse of that statement is equally important to articulate: submission is a choice to endure violence. Contrary to the BDSM Scene’s rhetoric, submission is not a gift given, but a power taken.
Choosing to submit to oppression, to endure violence, is a power with which we can sterilize The System. In choosing to submit, we neutralize dominance because we are neither resigning ourselves to its domination nor seeking to dominate it in response. Dominance, a manifestation of pure evil, cannot be dominated, for any attempt to overpower it strengthens it anew.
Bill Mullen, “Is there a white skin privilege?”
Marxism holds that people’s ideas—such as their ideas about race—can change depending on objective historical conditions. From Bacon’s Rebellion to the CTU strike, there are examples of ordinary people who have defied the expected behavior based on their possession of property, social standing or place in existing hierarchies of power, and acted according to the principle of solidarity—that an injury to one must be confronted because it is an injury to all.
Privilege theory is predicated on an unchanging status—privilege—rather than a dynamic understanding of human consciousness or human history. Its pessimism follows from its premise. Privilege theory’s skepticism about social change flows from its investment in a conceptual category that is static and often, as we have seen from the evidence, ahistorical.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
POP UTOPIANISM: a manifesto /
WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT K-POP: a mix
Depression, Melancholia, and Me:
Lars von Trier’s Politics of Displeasure
Masochism, Sadism, and the “Perverse Pleasure
of the Cinema” in Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive
A Radical Narrative Disguised as a K-Drama:
“Coffee Prince,” Gender, and Sexuality Subscribe via RSS.