Underneath my yellow skin

Category Archives: Topical Politics

The More Things Don’t Change….

I spent much of yesterday morning ranting about Harvey Weinstein on Twitter, and I still have Things To Say about it, so here goes. I said I would write this post, and I’m keeping my promise. More and more women are coming out and Weinstein assaulted them, too. Several famous women who come from Hollywood families. Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie are two of the top names, and while I don’t want to focus on them, the fact that they are included on the list indicate just how much of a systemic problem this is. They’re from Hollywood elite families. Steven Spielberg is Paltrow’s godfather, for fuck’s sake. And yet, Weinstein felt free to sexually harass them, probably thinking they’d know it was just part of the culture. I had an argument with a friend about the ‘this is just the way we did things in the seventies’ part of Weinstein’s statement. She maintained that it wasn’t OK at that time, either, even if it wasn’t talked about. I said in his industry, it was absolutely OK. It was tacitly condoned, and I would bet overtly in some cases. In other words, there’s a reason Weinsten thought it would be fine to harass Paltrow and Jolie, and it’s from being steeped in the culture.

I saw statements from more than one male star claiming they had no idea and were horrified. (To be fair, I also saw a few female stars, including Meryl Streep, make the same claim, but it was way more men.) It was after I saw the statement by Benedict Cumberbatch that I snapped. I hasten to add it’s not because of Cumberbatch, and I really appreciated that he added the part about zero tolerance going forward, but I have to say, really? Really you had no inkling? Because shit like this is an open secret. So much so, Seth MacFarlane made a joke about it at the 2013 Oscars and everyone laughed. So much so, Jessica Chastain tweeted about how she’d been warned about Weinstein when she first got into the industry. Glenn Close released a statement in which she admitted she’d heard the rumors but dismissed them. She was frank about how toxic the industry is and that she’s angry.

I wrote a series of tweets to Hollywood dudes who want to know what they can do, but I think it can be used by men in general when they want to know how they can help dismantle the mindset behind systemic sexual violence.


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Fixing a Broken Society

It’s been three days since the Las Vegas shooting, and it’s already fading to the background as new atrocities spring up to take its place. Yes, the news is faithfully reporting about it, but there’s not much there, so it’s not dominating the headlines as it once was. I’ve read about the shooter, but there’s not much there. He’s the oldest of four boys, and his father left the family unexpectedly when they were kids. It turns out the father was a bank robber, which was interesting, but not sure it means much of anything. The picture of the killer is a high-stakes gambler. He met his girlfriend while he was gambling and she was working in a casino. The shooter’s brother said his brother was a multimillionaire, but if he liked to gamble, who knows what happened to the money? Another brother said they were all angry when their father left, but the shooter was the least-angry of the four. Then the brother revealed that he hadn’t spoken to the shooter in twenty years, but wouldn’t say why. To me, that negates the ‘least-angry’ claim as the brother doesn’t know what happened to his brother in the last twenty years. The girlfriend claimed not to have known anything, and she told her brother not to panic. The police weren’t aware of the shooter before this, and there are no immediate red flags as to why he did this.

Putting him aside, when I hear about a shooting, I immediately assume a few things. One, the shooter is male. This one is solid as there have been very few mass shootings done by women. Second, that it’s going to be a white man. This one is pretty solid as the vast majority of mass shootings have been done by white men. One notable exception was Elliot Rodger, the…

::has to Google it because there have been so many mass shootings::

Santa Barbara shooter. He was half-Asian, and part of his screed was a healthy dose of internalized racism. He would see white women with full Asian men and grow angry that he couldn’t get a girlfriend because in his mind, he was better than those full-blooded Asian men because he was half-white. The first people he killed were his Asian male roommates (with a knife), and I bet it’s partly because of his internalized racism. He was a PUA (Pick-Up Artist) and an incel (his word. Involuntary celibate), and he was full of rage because he wasn’t getting pussy he thought he so richly deserved.

His race was notable, but his mentality wasn’t. Another thing I think when I hear about a mass shooting is that the shooter will be an angry man who has a history of violence and/or watches a ton of FOX ‘News’ and gets riled up about all the ‘illegals’, ‘hostile blacks’, and ‘angry atheists’. This man is bitter because his life hasn’t gone the way he’s been told it should go, and he knows it’s ‘their’ fault. It doesn’t matter who ‘they’ are. It could be women (it’s women a lot of the time. 54% of mass shootings involve domestic violence, as I noted before); it could be minorities or undocumented immigrants; it could be Jews; it could be just about anyone else. It certainly isn’t their own fault; it can’t be!


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Memories Are Sometimes Best Left Remembered

I’m on a mission to winnow out my mounds of books, and I started weeding through them today. It can be a strange thing to look at a bunch of books that I labeled my favorites and realize that I’ve moved past many of them. There are others that I still think of fondly, but many of them I put in the give away pile. The unofficial ratio seems to be one book kept for every eight or nine I’m giving away. One bad thing about books is that they were made with cheap material back in the day, so they can get moldy or grimy and feel tacky.

Anyway, I was going through a box of books, and I came across a few cards from an ex. I scanned them, and they were filled with billing and cooing, and I felt…nothing. That’s not exactly true. I felt a bit of regret, disgust, and shame. The regret wasn’t that we had broken up, though, but that we had hooked up in the first place. We were both messed up, and we were friends first. We shouldn’t have gotten together, but there’s nothing I can do about that now. In addition, because I was with him, there was a path not taken that I deeply regret. I was musing about it on Twitter last night because, well, sit back and grab a cold beverage. This is going to be unwieldy because that’s the way my brain works.

I was waxing poetic about how Mike Ness from Social Distortion would have terrified the 22-year old me, but that’s he’s insanely hot. It reminded me of a bartender I had met while I lived in the East Bay who looked a lot like Mike Ness with tats and nipple piercings to match. He was one of the hottest guys I’d ever met in my life. We hit it off, and he asked me out. Unfortunately, I was dating the aforementioned ex, and while we were technically open*, we had to talk about it before doing it. I turned the Mike Ness lookalike down with deep regrets, and I was tweeting about how one of my biggest regrets was that I never fucked him. The bartender, I mean. Mike Ness, too, but that was never an option. We probably wouldn’t have lasted, but my god, he was so fucking hot.


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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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Political Fatigue

zip it, goddamn it!
Enough already!

I’ve reached my limits as to how much political bullshit I can deal with. Actually, I reached my limit during the election campaigns with all the mudslinging back and forth between Sanders supporters and Clinton supporters. As I’ve said many times, I was a Sanders supporter in the primaries, and then I voted for Clinton in the general election. I’m ideologically a progressive but I’m a pragmatist at heart. When this president became the Republican candidate, my mentality became, “Anyone but him.” More specifically, any Democrat but him. I think Jill Stein would have been arguably worse, but that’s not the point of this post.

Once this president won, I naively hoped Democrats would present a united front against him. I knew better, of course, but still, I hoped. Democrats are our own worst enemies, and we’d rather punch each other in the face than compromise with each other. It’s so funny that we preach tolerance and open tent, but we don’t practice it. As someone who wasn’t enamored with either Democratic candidate, I feel as if I’m stuck in the middle. I can see the positives and negatives of each candidate, and it’s frustrating to see both sides (truly both sides in this case) hunkering down in their respective bunkers. I know both sides feel attacked because I’ve heard it from both Sanders supporters and Clinton supporters. “They started it!” each side cries, pointing their fingers vigorously. I got into it (mildly) with a FB friend who was a Clinton supporter, and he said Clinton supporters only started attacking in response to attacks by ‘BernieBros’.

Side note: I loathe that nickname because it’s dismissive and reductive. I know several people who were Sanders supporters, and only two of them were white dudes. The majority are women, and there are more than one PoC I know who supported him. Also, people who are not straight. Yes, I fall in three of those categories, but I’m not the only one. It was infuriating to see Clinton supporters sneer about only white dudes supporting Sanders when it wasn’t true. Then, anyone who was a minority who supported Sanders was similarly dismissed, though not quite as easily. It follows the liberal pattern in general of trumpeting the voices of the oppressed–until said voices disagree with their own opinions. Then, it’s internalized blah, blah, blah, not just a matter of different perspectives.

In addition, it was amazing to watch Clinton supporters attack Sanders for being tone-deaf about race, for example, then shrug off instances of Clinton’s own racial problems. I know it’s human nature to indulge in confirmation bias, but it’s still disheartening to see by people who claim to be open-minded. By the end of the campaign, I pretty much kept my mouth shut as a bisexual, Taiwanese American woman who supported Sanders because I felt so alienated by the Clinton supporters who didn’t want to acknowledge I existed. Any time I mentioned this on Twitter, I had other minorities DM me to tell me they felt the same way. It was really unpleasant, and it jaded me even further on politics.

Anyway, back to the FB friend who argued that Sanders supporters started it. I said he felt that way because he’s a Clinton supporter, so of course he’s going to hone in on examples of Sanders supporters acting badly. I said I saw way more Clinton supporters acting like asses, but that’s because I supported Sanders. The truth is, it probably was equal, but it just depended on what you were looking for. Plus, more people I followed were Clinton supporters than Sanders supporters, so there’s that, too.

I tried to make HillaryHunks happen, but it didn’t catch on. I felt there were Clinton fans who were just as dismissive of Sanders and his supporters as vice-versa. I lost respect for several people during the elections because they showed their asses by being rude and gross to and about Sanders supporters. It reached the point where anything Sanders did was considered defective or wrong in the eyes of Clinton supporters. Vice-versa, too, but I’m speaking from the perspective of a Sanders supporter.

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Taking People at Their Word

I ran across the video below last night as I was surfing YouTube. It was on my YouTube front page as a recommendation, and as my friend, Ian, has met and interviewed Dee Snider (which he, Ian, was in the army. he said Dee was a good dude), I clicked on it.

It hit me in the gut, and I cried while watching it at the rawness and the emotion. I shared it, then tweeted to Dee Snider my respect. He did it to help fund research for childhood cancer, and that’s an admirable thing.

Then I found out that Dee Snider was friends with this president, and I experienced a ‘what the fuck’ moment.  I Googled it and found out it was true. They became friends when Dee Snider was on The Celebrity Apprentice twice a few years back.  I  found out in the context of this president asking to use this song on the campaign trail, and Dee said sure. He said they were friends because they followed the adage to not talk about politics, religion, or sports (which, by the way, is not a luxury everyone has. Politics is not compartmentalized for many minorities, but another post, another day). When Dee started hearing this president on the campaign trail, he was confused because what the president was espousing wasn’t what he believed in, and more to the point, went against what the song is about. As he said, the first line is about the right to choose, which he elaborated meant a woman’s right to choose. So he asked this president to stop using the song because he didn’t want people thinking he (Dee) endorsed the hateful ideas he (the president) was spewing, and the president agreed. Dee talked about when Paul Ryan tried to use it and was flabbergasted the latter didn’t vet it. Dee:

I had to step up and say, ‘Wait a minute. Didn’t you vet the song? You’re singing the song, ‘We’ve got the right to choose’,’ and then railing against women’s right to choose. So I can’t endorse you using it.’ And that’s where I draw the line.

This was in June of last year, and Dee said he still liked this president, but couldn’t get behind him. Dee also sounded like he was struggling because he knew the president as pro-choice and a Democrat. That’s valid because this president has been all over the map, agreeing with the last person to present an argument he likes.
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Crouching Hackles, Hidden Buttons

I forget it was Wednesday (as I write this) and checked my social media before realizing this is supposed to be a social media-free day. I quickly backed out, but it’s just a reminder that I have to be mindful all the time.

I also got into it with my mom last night, which is another reminder. She wanted to talk about a few things before she goes back to Taiwan (tomorrow), and while these talks are never ‘hell yeah! what a great talk’, I wasn’t dreading it this time. We sat down in our usual places across from each other, and she said, “Hey, come here and see this funny thing!” I just sat down, and something in me was like, “No.” So, I said no, let’s just talk. She pushed it by saying, “Would you just come and see this funny thing?” I said no again, and it suddenly became A Thing. After a few rounds of this, I said to turn the computer around, and I’ll look at it this way. She started rambling how hard it’d be, and I knew she wouldn’t let it go, so I turned the computer around. Sure enough, it wasn’t funny (which I told her I was pretty sure it wouldn’t be to me), and that set a bad tone for the conversation. It made me feel like this:

via GIPHY

Then, she said something that crossed a huge boundary and pressed my ‘she cares more about my brother’s time/opinions/thoughts than mine’ button, and I snapped at her. That devolved into an argument about the Asian way of relating versus the American way of relating along with other things, and it wasn’t pretty. When I tried to explain about the joke thing, she said, “I thought it was such a small thing, but I apologize.” Can you guess why my hackles went up? She’s a psychologist, and I was a psych major, so I tried to explain it in a way she would understand–flipping the script back at her. “If it was such a small thing, why couldn’t you let it drop?”

Probing a bit more, she said she thought sharing a joke would be a nice way to start the conversation that wasn’t going to be pleasant in the first place. Then, I understood that she had one of her scripts running in her mind, and she was determined I’d follow it. That actually was made clear when she asked me a question at the beginning of the conversation, then as I tried to answer, talked over me several times. She hadn’t designated a ‘response’ time to her question (it was rhetorical at that point), so she simply didn’t hear my response. This is her MO in general: I have a firm idea of how this interaction should go, and I will not let reality stand in the way. I almost admire her because who among us doesn’t wish we could shape reality to our liking?

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Explaining “That’s Too Bad” For the Uninitiated

Before I get into the meat of my post, I have one request from everybody when talking about this president. Stop saying, “Can you believe he said ____?!?” Yes, yes I can. As I’ve said before, unless that phrase is followed by, “I’m sorry to all the people I hurt, and I realize that I’ve been so wrong”, nothing this president says surprises or shocks me. Don’t get me wrong. It’s still disgusting and disturbing, but it’s not surprising. I feel we’re wasting too much energy on, “A president can’t/shouldn’t/won’t ____.” This is who he is. He’s not going to change at this late date. He’s been spouting hateful shit all his life, so do not act shocked now. It’s amazing how many people, mostly white, were willing to give him the benefit of the doubt or said it was just an act. Many of us minorities knew exactly who he was from day one.

This relates to the post of the day because of what happened with the USS John McCain–side note, it’s really distracting to my brain that it’s named that because I keep thinking they’re talking about the senator for whom it was named (and his father)–and this president’s reaction to the news. When informed that the USS John McCain had been in a collision and ten naval officers were missing, this president replied, now famously, “That’s too bad.”

The reaction and backlash were swift. “How could he say  that?” “Omigod! He’s sunk even lower than I imagined!” All the responses were in this vein, which was very annoying for reasons mentioned above. I know we’re all still clinging to the notion of how a president should and shouldn’t behave (and, by the way, this president has shown how much of that is tacit and not explicit), but get the fuck over it. We have to deal with the way things are, not how we think or wish they should/would be.

My formula for figuring out what this president is going to say on any given topic: What is the worst thing I can think of him saying, and then what’s even worse than that? Double that, and it’s close to what he’s actually going to say. Look, I’m not saying don’t be outraged at what’s happening in our country–I’m just saying it’s a waste of your emotional reserves to be continually shocked and surprised by what this president says. Some people are addicted to the outrage, though. I felt that when I’d see people ranting about Morning Joe day after day. Dude. You don’t have to watch. Also, it’s who he is. You know that!

I realize the president is different in that we can’t (or rather, shouldn’t) just turn him off and pretend he doesn’t exist. Still. We need to accept that he is an ignorant, thin-skinned, bullying, narcissistic, incurious, cruel, sociopathic asshole in order to better deal with him. There is no better side to him. There is no deeper layer. He is exactly as he appears, and we would do well to remember that.


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Resistance and Art in the Time of Fascism

I’m still reeling from what happened in Charlottesville, especially since this president is still ‘both sides’ing the situation. He came out with a statement denouncing the KKK, but had to throw in ‘other hate groups’, and it was clear he was only saying it because he felt he had to. It shouldn’t take two days to say, “Fascism and white supremacy have no place in America. We will not tolerate Nazis in this country”, but that’s where we are right now. He got a lot of pushback for his lukewarm statement, tweeted his temper tantrum at being told it wasn’t good enough, and had a meltdown yesterday in which he said there are good guys in on the white supremacy side, honestly, and the ‘alt-left’ is just as bad as the ‘alt-right’.

I mean.

WHAT???

I’m not surprised. I have to say that up front because this is who he is. Many of us minorities knew this from the very beginning, which is why we weren’t willing to ‘just give him a chance’. We didn’t need time to know he’s a racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-Semitic fuck, but if anyone had any doubt, his words yesterday should put that illusion to rest.

In addition, he’s a narcissistic, vindictive, petty man who can’t see anyone other than himself, and everything is about him. 24/7. Of course he had to make it about him because he’s incapable of doing otherwise. Of course he wasn’t going to denounce the white supremacist because he believes the same things they do. His grandfather was a slum landlord who did not want to rent to black people, and it’s clear the apple does not fall far from the tree. This president has said racist things time and time again about people of many different ethnicities, and he has white nationalists on his staff for fuck’s sake.

In other words, he’s no friend of minorities, and we’ve known that even before he ever ran for president. This is my way of saying while it’s disheartening that this president refused to full-throatedly denounce white supremacists, it’s not surprising in the least.

I was off Twitter for about twenty minutes when he made his announcement, and when I returned, I had a TL full of anger, disbelief, pain, and fear. This president had just signaled to his base–and, let’s be clear. His base are racist fuckers–that he is with them 100%. It was so appallingly bad, even Republicans were moved to denounce his message, albeit not directly to him. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan subtweeted the president saying that white supremacy is unacceptable. I said, “OK. What are you going to do about it?” Because words don’t mean shit if you don’t back it up with actions.

I think it’s really hard to explain to white non-Jewish people, even really supportive liberals, how exhausting it is to be a minority in this president’s America. Waking up every day, wondering how else he’s going to hate on me and my kin, it’s more than my brain–and heart–can take. I saw so many of my Twitter family in pain, and it broke my heart. I tweeted a message to them because I’m a caregiver even if I’m also cantankerous and a misanthrope, and I’ll post the beginning of the thread here.


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