Underneath my yellow skin

Category Archives: Tirades

Burn It All to the Ground

I was listening to NPR on the way home from the grocery store, and they were talking about how the Weinstein Co. is negotiating to receive equity from a private donor in order to continue. The CEO of the equity company (who was some kind of adviser to this president during his campaign. MASSIVE side eye for that) said something like he wanted to ensure that the quality of independent film-making continues.

The whole thing rubbed me the wrong way, and I’ll tell you why. Harvey Weinstein’s sexual predatory behavior did not exist in a vacuum. He’s been doing this since at least the eighties, which is thirty years. There is a harrowing account of an actress trying to leave the situation, asking the assistant if her car was there, only to be told no and to go into Harvey’s room. Think about that. It was such common knowledge, the assistant was in on it*. There is no way in hell the assistant knew and Bob (the brother) Weinstein and/or the members of the board didn’t. They might not have had concrete proof, but they knew. They heard the rumors. They saw the way he acted. They chose not to know so they wouldn’t have to do anything about it.

I don’t want Weinstein Co. to continue and flourish. I want it to be burned to the ground. It fostered the atmosphere in which Weinstein was able to traumatize countless women with no consequence except writing a check now and again. The numbers may seem significant, but for a man like Weinstein, writing a check for a hundred thou was nothing. He probably shit away more than that on a regular basis. It’s much easier for him to write a check than to have to go through sexual harassment/sexual assault trial, and it doesn’t put his reputation at risk, either. Sure, it was an open secret he was a predator, but that didn’t cost him anything in Hollywood. He was still a powerful man–it’s his victims and potential victims who had to adjust their behavior. Angelina Jolie said she warned others about him. Jessica Chastain said she was warned about him. Yet, not one single thing  was done TO him.

Side note: Can we please stop with the ‘it hasn’t been proven in court’ derailments that always crop up when cases like this happen? Twitter is not The Law, and it’s perfectly fine to judge him in the court of public opinion. I am more than comfortable saying that Harvey Weinstein is a serial predator, and I don’t need a court to confirm the stories I’ve been reading about him. Of course he deserves his day in court (if it even comes to that, which I’m quite cynical about), but that doesn’t mean I have to pretend I haven’t already made up my mind.


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The Unbearable Lightness of Believing Your Own Hype

This weekend, the news that movie mogul, Harvey Weinstein, is a serial sexual harasser broke with more disturbing details being revealed on a seemingly minute-by-minute basis. As I was reading an article about it, I was caught by surprise when I read that he had hired Lisa Bloom as one of his attorneys. Lisa Bloom is a lawyer who rose to Twitter fame roughly around the time of the start of the BLM because of her wokeness* on the issue. I saw her being constantly retweeted, checked out her tweets, and followed her. She was a champion of feminist causes, including standing up for victims of sexual abuse, and I was ready to roar alongside her.

Fast-forward several months, and I noticed that she was beginning to believe her own hype. I don’t know how to explain it clearly, but the tone of her tweets changed. They became more about her and less about the people/causes she was championing. It’s hard to give a quantitative response as to how bad it was, but it was enough to cause me to unfollow. I stopped paying attention to her, but I still saw her RT’ed on occasion. In my mind, she was a feminist lawyer who cared passionately about racial discrimination and victims of sexual abuse. I was glad she was out there fighting the good fight, even if I no longer wanted to read about her exploits on Twitter.

You can imagine my surprise and dismay, then, when I read that Weinstein had retained her. I was disappointed because it gave him a shield for his behavior, but I tried to give her the benefit of the doubt. I wanted to think that maybe she actually believed he could learn and change, but statements about him being a dinosaur from a different age and minimizing his behavior (saying he didn’t know how his behavior could be seen as inappropriate if not intimidating) really disappointed me. In addition, her refusal to call it sexual harassment and calling some of the women liars…yeah, I wasn’t pleased at all. In addition, everything Weinstein said in his statement screamed spin control to me. Saying he grew up in an era when it was Just The Way Things Are? Check. (I saw a tweet pointing out that this dinosaur was hep enough to name-check Jay-Z, which is also a good point.) Saying he knows he has to do better? Check. Tossing in the bit about the money he’s giving to women in film? Check, check, check. Pandering to his base (bigwig Dems with deep pockets) by saying he’s going after the NRA? Check. The one part that was weird and really offensive to me was the bit about him trying to change this for the last ten years and not being able to. If that’s the case, it makes it worse. He was aware that he had a problem but simply couldn’t help assaulting young, vulnerable women around him? He should be locked up then until he can keep his grubby paws to himself.

I didn’t see real remorse on his part, but this post really isn’t about him. I will probably do that post in the near future, outlining what is wrong with a society that codifies this kind of behavior in powerful men–he’s been doing this for decades without any serious ramification–but that’s not what this post is about. Quick side note: Republicans need to STFU about this. They sanctioned Roger Ailes and look at who they elected president. Weinstein is scum, but at least many Democrats are coming out and saying this. They need to clean their own goddamn house first before crowing over this.

Back to my point, and I do have one.


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Lay Down Your Guns, Boys

I woke up to the news of the Las Vegas shooting, and I had a complex set of reactions. First, horror. Second, anger. Third, disbelief. Fourth, resignation. They happened rapidly and in that particular order. Sadly, the disbelief was just for how many people were injured/killed. It wasn’t that it happened, oh no. That’s a daily occurrence in America, and it barely gets a yawn from the press. The only reason this made the national news is because over 500 people were hurt and at least 58 people killed (according to ABC News). The scope is unfathomable, and it’s certainly newsworthy. I think the horror and anger are self-explanatory. The resignation, however, is because nothing will change. We’ll all be shocked and horrified–for a day or three. The politicians will say it’s terrible, and they’ll pray loudly for the families and friends of the victims. Then, they will continue to do exactly jack and shit about gun laws and other problems besetting America (more on that in a bit), and keep trying to take healthcare away from as many Americans as possible.

Let me be clear. Normally, when I’m railing about politicians, it’s implicitly understood that I mean Republicans. In this case, however, Democrats haven’t done much more to change our gun culture. I don’t think Democrats are as wedded to their guns as are Republicans, but it’s not a priority to them at all. Even PBO recognized the futility of trying to tackle this issue and mostly took a pass on it.

I’m not a fan of trotting out ‘the children’, but when Sandy Hook happened without barely a ripple in the national discussion of our peculiar brand of violence, I knew we had lost that fight. Most Americans at least give lip service to the sanctity of children’s lives, but we allowed Sandy Hook to happen with only the meekest of protests. That’s when I knew that we had accepted guns and some people’s inordinate love for them as an acceptable trade-off for losing lives at the blunt end of them.

I went on a Twitter rant right after I heard about it because I can’t believe we’re still putting up with this shit. Here it is:


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No Flag, No Country

Eddie Izzard is hilarious, and he has several bits about being an empire and colonization. It’s funny because it’s apt, and he has the typical British self-deprecatory sense of humor. One of my favorites is one in which he tells how the UK became a great empire with the cunning use of…flags.

“I claim India for Britain.”

“You can’t claim us. We live here. Five hundred million of us!”

“Do you have a flag?” (Funny grimace.)

“We don’t need a bloody flag. It’s our country, you bastard.”

“No flag, no country; you can’t have one. That’s the rules that I’ve just made up! And I’m backing it up with this gun that was lent from the National Rifle (riffle, as he pronounces it) Association.”

(Back to being Eddie)

“And that was it. You know.”

 

I bring it up because of the brouhaha being stirred up over the American flag, which isn’t really the issue, even though it’s become the center of the drama.

Quick background: Colin Kaepernick, an NFL quarterback, took a knee last year during the national anthem as a peaceful way of protesting the systemic injustices that black people, men in particular, suffer in this country. The backlash was swift, and he became a pariah to many white Americans. They wanted him to just play football and keep his politics out of their Sunday entertainment.

Fast-forward to this year and this past week. This president opened his gob and more stupid shit fell out. For whatever reason, he thought it would be a good idea to comment on the situation and said:

“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners — when somebody disrespects our flag — to say, ‘Get that son of a b*tch off the field right now. Out. He’s fired. He’s fired!'”

Now, I’m not surprised that’s what he said because it’s who he is, but he didn’t have to open his mouth at all. He could have said nothing, and it would have been better than what he did say. Then again, that’s true of approximately 99% of what he says. Before I get into the meat of what he said and why it’s idiotic, the best response to this shitty statement is from Colin Kaepernick’s mother, Teresa. She tweeted:

OT: I really hate the habit of using an asterisk for one letter of a ‘controversial’ word (or more asterisks for more letters), especially in a written piece. Who the f*ck do you think you’re fooling? Like, people aren’t just putting in the g*dd*mn letters as they’re reading? It’s even worse than saying ‘n-word’. There’s a great Louis CK bit about this that says, “You’re just making me say the word in my head so you don’t have to be uncomfortable saying it out loud.” Anyhooooo….

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General Housekeeping: A New Day is Breaking

let's tidy up in here.
Clean up in aisle 5!

Hello Gentle (and Not-So-Gentle) Reader! This is your friendly blogger here to inform you that changes will be coming to the blog. I have been dissatisfied for some time with the blog–not because I haven’t been doing what I intended to do. I have. I’ve written a post every weekday, and I’m mostly satisfied with the way they’ve turned out. The problem is, I feel like I have said pretty much all I want to say on certain subjects. I know I circle around to my pet issues over and over again, and I’m fine with that. However, I don’t want to write something just to have written something.

I still have sit to say on many subjects, and I’m not going to quit writing, don’t you worry. However, I would like to change things up a bit for several reasons. One is the aforementioned one. Two is to get myself out of my comfort zone. I’ve been writing longform pieces for some time now, and while I’m good at it, it’s something I can do in my sleep. I’ll still do it, but I want to mix things up. Three, video is where it’s at these days. All the kids are doing it, and most people would rather watch a five-minute video than read a two-thousand words pot.

The question is, what do I want to do for those videos? One idea is to riff on the topic of the day, similar to the posts I write. I probably would write the script out ahead of time because the way I circularly write about these issues isn’t as viable in video form, but it would still be loose and casual. My second idea is to do Twitch streaming, except in a funny way. Either playing video games where you can’t see the game being played, for example, or me sitting on my couch with my cat while I’m drinking my coffee. That’s it. Nothing more. I’ve had people tell me in all seriousness that they would watch me do that.

Another idea I’m tossing around is a cooking show. But, Minna, I can hear you say. You don’t cook. Details, shmetails. Neither does half the people on The Food Network, so why let that stop me? It would actually be part of my shtick I went down this route. I could either do recipes only for ‘dummies’ or make foods that don’t actually require cooking (such as egg salad sandwiches, for example). Another gimmicky idea is to have my face hidden the whole time I’m cooking. By a cupboard door, by the oven door, by a grocery bag, etc. My favorite idea, however, well, I’m going to keep that to myself for now.

Yet another idea I’m thinking about is, well, some backstory. I used to write one-woman shows that were social commentary mixed with stand up. I miss it a lot, and another of my video ideas is to do these acts (after I create them) for the camera. I’m still in the musing phase, but it’s something I really want to try.

Do not worry. I will continue to write posts in the meantime, but I may not adhere to my own schedule (though I’m pretty loosey-goosey with that as it is). I will keep you updated as I implement the changes. I’m excited about this, and the possibilities are endless.

One Love, One Love

Late Monday night, a situation unfolded on Twitter that was glorious to behold. Ian commented on it first, and then I had to check it myself. Apparently, Ted Cruz liked a porn video tweet and much merriment ensued. It’s of an attractive (in a bland American porn sort of way) ‘older’ blond woman (meaning probably in her late thirties to early forties) watching a younger blond woman being fucked from behind by a young man. We on Twitter sharpened our knives, and we went all in. I did a bunch of Ted Cruz orgasm face memes, and it was a blast. This tweet made me choke on my own laughter:

I couldn’t read it out loud to Ian, but he guffawed as well when I showed it to him.

I haven’t laughed like I did over the Ted Cruz Twitter porn scandal in a long time. Twitter is at its best when we all come together as one and mercilessly mock people who deserve it.

Of course, there were wet blankets who scolded people for kink-shaming. I don’t want to get into that because it’s not the point of this post, but they didn’t understand or chose not to understand that nobody was kink-shaming Ted Cruz over the porn itself but because he is so anti-sex and anti-queer and anti-anything with a whiff of sexuality. He has a stick so far up its ass, he shits twigs.

I also marveled at how bland and boring the porn actually was. I mean, it’s racy for him, of course, but it’s…meh. I heard that it’s supposed to be a stepmother watching her stepdaughter get fucked, which is yawn. Even if it was her hubby and the babysitter, it’s pretty vanilla. I’m somewhat surprised, actually, because usually the most repressive people are the freakiest freaks in their sex lives. I would have expected him to enjoy being dressed up as a pony and being taken for a ride. Literally.

Ian pointed out that it’s a rookie mistake to like a porn video on Twitter, which I hadn’t thought about, but is so true. There are so many options for discreet porn viewing in this day age. There’s no need to like a goddamn video on Twitter! Pornhub pointed this out to Ted:

They’re really trying to help a brutha out!

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Exercise, Activity, and Mood

I have struggled all my life with depression. At times, it has been chronic and crippling, to the point where me brushing my teeth was a major accomplishment. Right now, I would say I have a low-grade enduring depression that flares up into serious depression from time to time. It’s my go-to when I’m under stress, and the difference is how alien the encompassing depression feels now as in comparison to how comfortable it was back when I was in the middle of it day-to-day-to-day.

I would love to say that I worked on my depression and that’s why I’ve gotten better. I would love to be able to give a list of things you can do to feel better. I would love nothing more, but I can’t because that’s not how I emerged from the suffocating embrace of depression. Sure, I did my due diligence by seeking out therapy and medication through therapy, then starting taiji which has helped a great deal, but it was an outcome, not the main intent, but nothing I did consciously to help my depression mattered as much as the indirect results of other behavior such as the aforementioned therapy and taiji.

However, I’ve been in and out of therapy for the past thirty years, and I’ve been practicing taiji for almost nine years. Neither are an easy or quick solution, and I didn’t go into taiji with the intention of easing my mental health issues. That’s just been a nice side bonus. I will say, however, it makes me more aware now how fragile my mental health balance is. I went through a period recently of deep depression, not as bad as it was before, but still pretty intense. I knew it wasn’t from within me, which made it almost worse. Rationally, I knew there was no reason I should be depressed, but I also knew I couldn’t talk myself out of it. It lasted a few weeks, and I just gritted my teeth and powered my way through it. I was terrified it would last forever, but it faded after two  or so weeks.

On Saturday, I had to get up early to pick up Ian from the airport. Without thinking, I checked my social media. Then, I remembered that it was my day not to be on social media, and I quit. I felt bad, but not too bad. I can’t tell you how much better I feel on the days when I stay offline. I don’t think it’s viable for day-to-day life, but it’s nice to get a break twice a week. It’s too easy to get overwhelmed while scrolling through my TL, thinking that the world is going to hell in a hand basket. I mean, it is, but not more so than it has been in the past. There is a lot of shit in this world, and there always has been. Having it flash past my eyes on a continuous basis leaves me in a state of numb depression. It’s something I’ve railed about before–how overwhelming all the bad news can be. It’s easy to feel hopeless about the state of the world and think that there’s nothing you can do to alleviate the pain.


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Romance? Bah, Humbug!

I’ve been thinking a lot about romantic relationships lately, in part because I’ve been reading a shit-ton of the Captain Awkward’s archives, and it’s not surprising that she focuses heavily on fucked-up romantic relationships. She’s a woman, and most of the people who write in are women. I see myself in many of the letter writers, and who among us has not found herself in a relationship thinking, “What the fuck am I doing here?” And, even acknowledging how fucked-up it is, have stayed? I’m sure most of us can relate to this, and it’s the bulk of Captain Awkward’s letters. Sure, there are some letter writers who truly have incompatibilities with their partners, but it’s mostly that they’re in a toxic relationship and are trying to either convince themselves that they are bad partners who just need to work harder/grow up/be more generous, etc., or they’re trying to convince themselves to leave. The latest letter on fucked-up relationships hits Captain Awkward BINGO, and it’s fucking depressing. She thinks she needs to work harder? B! She thinks she needs to grow up? I! He treats her with disdain (‘accidentally’ giving away her clothing when he was donating his is the most egregious example)? N! He controls her to a ridiculous degree and makes her feel like she’s the controlling one? G! Is she sneaking around in secret to do her laundry? O–wait a fucking minute. She’s sneaking around to do her laundry in secret because he gets mad. Not that she’s not doing his, but that she doesn’t wait until he deigns to do hers (and ruins it when he does it which is just short of never). That’s B-I-N-Get the hell-Out of there!

Captain Awkward is wonderful as an advice columnist. She gets right to the point, but she shows endless compassion for the letter writers. She gives great scripts for difficult situations, and her GIF game is on point. I know she gets burned out from all the shittiness she reads (understandably), but she doesn’t let it show in her answers. One thing she’s pushing  back on is the idea that relationships take work. Or rather, the kind of work they take. In another letter, the letter writer (LW) details all the recent problems and how her girlfriends are like, “At least you have a boyfriend”, when it’s clear that he’s just not into her any longer, and Captain Awkward said this:

There’s this Hollywood & Glossy Magazine narrative we have that privileges having a (heterosexual) relationship over being alone (no matter the quality of the relationship) and that puts it on the woman to do the emotional work of keeping the relationship together by having the big serious talks and speaking up about feelings and stuff. And I use the word “work” on purpose. We hear that “relationships take work” and what they mean is “women’s work” – the work of reading magazine quizzes and carrying the emotional water and looking pretty all the time and finding ways to “drive him wild” in bed and cooking new recipes and making excuses.

The commentariat is all over it, saying it shouldn’t be work in the ‘I hate my job and have to do it’ kind of way, and it should be work that both partners participate in.

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Fake It Until You Make It, Part II

Hi. I wrote the first part of this post here. I have more things to say about it, so this is part two.

Another part of my problem is that my father has the inability to look at things from a viewpoint other than his own. He brought up an example that has been a sore point between us for many years. Rather, it was a sore point, but then it kind of got glossed over, and I eventually shrugged it off. He’s brought it up the last two times he’s visited, so obviously, it stuck with him. When I was a kid, he had a firm belief that having wet hair meant you’d catch cold. In addition, he has a lower set point for coldness than do I. And, in case I haven’t mentioned it a time or a million, he’s a narcissist. When I was a kid, I used to go outside after taking a shower. Or I would go outside without a coat on in the winter. He would say, “Put on a coat; I’m cold.” To hear him tell it, I rebelled because he didn’t ask me nicely such as, “Please put on a coat; it’s cold outside.” He’s framing it as a question of etiquette and culture. (Taiwanese culture it’s more acceptable to order your child around.) My issue isn’t because of the politeness, however. I still would have resisted because I wasn’t cold. I don’t care if he’s cold–that won’t change by me putting on a coat.

Now, I’ve come to realize that this coat thing is a power struggle between parents and children of different cultures, so it’s not strictly a Taiwanese thing, but the difference is, he told me to put on a coat because HE was cold (looking at me). Or, as he explained it, he would have been cold in that situation, so he just assumed I would be, too. Now, once, OK, I can see that. But, if the person in question tells you repeatedly that she isn’t cold, then wouldn’t you eventually believe her? The fact that I was diagnosed with Graves’ Disease years later (hyperthyroidism) validated my point of view. One of the symptoms is never feeling cold, grossly simplified, and it’s one thing I can point to now when I question whether I’m right to feel a certain way. I shouldn’t *need* outside validation, but when you grow up with two parents denying the way you feel, it can be helpful. I still hate the heat to this day, though I’m now hypothyroid, and I still don’t wear a coat in the winter except on the chilliest days.


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Emotional Labor and Why I’m Resigning

I’ve been thinking lately about romantic relationships and why I’m terrible at them. This is not me being too hard on me–this is objectively true. I haven’t been in one in six years, but I doubt I’ve changed that much in the meantime. Actually, I have changed quite a bit, but it’s still my bugaboo. Here are some of the major things I’ve put up with:

  1. Being lied to by an ex who said he had broken up with his last partner before I came into the picture. When I found out it wasn’t true and confronted the ex, he said he had opened the relationship, even though the other woman wasn’t happy about it. I’m not sure it was open except in his mind, but even so, it’s not the good way to do polyamory. Even later, I discovered that this person suggested opening the relationship specifically to date me, which made it even more suspect as he had been my best friend up until that point. We broke up and got back together more than once. He wanted to date me and his ‘ex’ at the same time, but then put his foot down when I started dating someone else. We ended up monogamous, but I’m pretty sure he was messing around with the ‘ex’ on the side.
  2. Being told by another ex that he wanted to open the relationship, and then he freaked out when I became interested in someone else. Dumped me because he wanted to be open and I didn’t (in the end), and then found out from reading his LiveJournal that he found my love ‘so tiring’ which was never mentioned once in the four years together. I got the last laugh, though, when he wanted to be monogamous with their next girlfriend, and she dumped him for the other guy she was dating.
  3. This one is complicated. I became involved with a couple. He went abroad, and she and I started dating. She had a problem with alcohol, and I had to drag her out of the Gay 90’s (sic) (gay club) because she was acting so obnoxious, one guy told me to get her out before she got herself in trouble. I dragged her to my car, and she started fumbling with the door as I was driving. I screeched to a halt, and she puked (thankfully, after opening the door). When we got to her apartment, I dragged her upstairs and deposited her on the couch and sat with her for half an hour. I made sure she was breathing before leaving. In addition, she stopped the sex once she started feeling guilty (though she and her boyfriend were open), but then would tease about what she would love to do to me even though she wouldn’t do it.
  4. Emotional abuse and the very real fear of physical abuse with a healthy side dish of gaslighting.

Any of those should have been deal-breakers, but they weren’t. At the core, it was about the fact that I had absorbed the idea that I should be with someone at any cost, that I was not worthy of someone better, and that I should be grateful that someone, anyone would want to date me.


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