Open Media

Katara: It’s not magic. It’s waterbending, and it’s-
Sokka: Yeah, yeah, an ancient art unique to our culture, blah blah blah. Look, I’m just saying that if I had weird powers, I’d keep my weirdness to myself. 

So I wanted to talk a little about Katara, because I think we often focus on her grief for her mother, and forget her relationship to her culture, and her experience of the Southern Water Tribe genocide (unlike the Air Nomads genocide, which was for the greater part over after four big terrifyingly effective simultaneous strikes, this one took place over a long length of time - more than 40 years? 50? - and it wasn’t total, but it definitely was one. genocide = the deliberate and systematic extermination of a national, racial, political, or cultural group, fwiw)

(Kanna’s village - before and after)

All of the Southern water benders were exterminated or taken away to rot in prison (where they all died eventually except for Hama). Katara was born the only bender left in the whole South Pole. Then when she was eight years old, she survived a raid that was meant to kill her, but took her mother instead (she probably was too young to realize that, to her it must have been a question mark up until she met Yon Rha - gratuitous cruelty? Why her mother in particular? They took nothing else!).

So Katara from a young age had a double burden to bear: that of her mother, and the legacy of her bending (and she was shown as painfully aware of her situation and what it meant on both front). But here’s the thing: Katara could be a mother, she was naturally good at it, and her grandmother could teach her what she didn’t already knew. Her family and tribe demanded that of her, they needed her to be that for them (especially after her father and the rest of the men basically abandoned them). However, there was no one left to teach her how to waterbend - she had almost no hope of ever becoming a master without formal training, her brother thought it was silly and weird and let her know, her grandmother thought it was a waste of time. But she kept practicing, because she knew how important it was, to her and to her tribe, that she kept trying (as the only one left who could).

(…an ancient art unique to our culture, blah blah blah…)

(Of course she would obsess over that waterbending scroll)

When she gets to the North Pole, she meets Pakku, and with him the opportunity of finally becoming a true master. But because she is a girl, he judges her unworthy. He judges her, the only remaining southern waterbender, unworthy of carrying on their culture. The Fire Nation didn’t care about the gender of their prisoners, men and women - they all fought side by side for their freedom in the South, and they were all taken away to the last one, and killed to the last one. In the South, the women had the choice to learn how to fight, or be defenseless. And privileged master Pakku couldn’t possible realize the extend of what he was denying her in that moment.

Katara had to prove herself, she had to earn her right to these teachings. And if she had been less good or less stubborn or not Kanna’s granddaughter - well the North would have refused their sister-tribe the power to use their common cultural heritage to fight back against the nation that destroyed them.

(It’s sexist and terrible.)

Meh, thankfully, she was that good, stubborn, and Kanna’s granddaughter, and she did get to become a master.

Good.

But, of course, her story doesn’t end here, and wrt her culture, the next chapter is a much more traumatizing experience. In the Fire Nation, she meets another master. This time it’s an old woman from the South like her (“You’re a waterbender! I’ve never met another waterbender from our tribe!”), and she is, ah, more than willing to help her.

Look how happy Katara looks at the idea to learn from her in particular:

Katara: I can’t tell you what it means to meet you. It’s an honor! You’re a hero.
Hama: I never thought I’d meet another southern waterbender. I‘d like to teach you what I know so that you can carry on the southern tradition when I’m gone.
Katara: Yes! Yes, of course! To learn about my heritage… it would mean everything to me.

But when Hama starts her lesson, the techniques she teaches have been obviously developed with one goal in mind: survival in enemy territory. They can’t possibly have been invented in the South Pole, where water is abundant everywhere. They are deadly and cruel, and the damage they do to the environment leaves Katara sad and uncomfortable, but Hama waves that off as unimportant. It doesn’t matter, she doesn’t have the time to worry about flowers or beauty or nature. To her that peace and beauty is probably just an illusion anyway, a lie: years after her escape she is still living the war, and war is ugly and rotten and messy (her world is ugly and rotten and messy - this is her comfort zone).

The last technique she teaches Katara is bloodbending. She forces Katara to learn something she finds disgusting, repulsive (just like Hama was forced to learn?) by torturing her (Hama was tortured), by overpowering her, invading her, making her lose control over her own body, bending her blood (Hama herself is clinging to the last remain of control she managed to get back after rotting in prison for years), and finally by threatening to have the two people she cares most about in the world kill each other right under her eyes (Hama lost everyone too, she had to say goodbye).

(Katara: But, to reach inside someone and control them? I don’t know if I want that kind of power.
Hama: The choice is not yours. The power exists…and it’s your duty to use the gifts you’ve been given to win this war. Katara, they tried to wipe us out, our entire culture… your mother!
Katara: I know.
Hama: Then you should understand what I’m talking about. We’re the last Waterbenders of the Southern Tribe. We have to fight these people whenever we can. Wherever they are, with any means necessary!
Katara: It’s you. You’re the one who’s making people disappear during the full moons.
Hama: They threw me in prison to rot, along with my brothers and sisters. They deserve the same. You must carry on my work.)

And this, this, is the only truly southern waterbending Katara is ever going to learn. This is her tribe’s bending heritage, what’s left of it: blood, grief, suffering, hatred, loss of control over both your body and mind (because it’s terrible, but I think that’s what’s implied by the show: bloodbending makes you lose your mind. Hama’s only mean of regaining physical freedom ended up trapping her in another nightmare). Hama gifts her with a power she despises (but will use anyway in her darkest hour when she loses control) and a philosophy of violence and revenge.

Katara chose peace and forgiveness. As an adult, she will have bloodbending outlawed, she will become the greatest healer in the world, and she’ll teach her daughter, the next avatar, probably many others. These choices matter, and we should talk about them with that background in mind. Katara redefined her heritage - or rather she created a new one for herself: she refused the condition that was forced upon her (bloodbender) and ensured nobody could legally do to someone else what Hama did to her (and it’s implied this law is valid anywhere in the world). She transmitted Pakku’s warrior teachings, the ones she fought for, to the next generations (and did a great job of it!), but she also taught them how to heal, refusing to separate the arts as in Northern Water Tribe tradition - and healing was something she discovered by herself, that she felt was always a part of her. At that, she became the universally acknowledged best. Her legacy, despite everything that happened to her, will never be one of violence.

tl;dr: Katara is one of the strongest fictional characters ever created bye

group of black teenagers at a pool party literally commiting no crimes: skinny black girl gets thrown to the ground like she’s nothing then cop kneels on her back with all his weight and arrests her while yelling at her

white man that shot 9 black people in their literal place of worship: arrested peacefully and white media portrays him as “mentally disabled”

Truth behind Asian Media & Entertainment companies

First of all, I decided to be anonymous because of course, I don’t want to lose my job. Any people I know in real life might find me in no time, so I don’t want to take the risk. I will be stating some examples, I’ll try to be less specific as possible so I wouldn’t give in the identity of the artists I’ll be talking about. Anyway, if ever I don’t make any sense explaining things, I apologize because English is not my first language. 

Second, why am I writing this? I’ve been seeing indirect arguments between some Kaisoo shippers and some Kaistal shippers regarding SM Entertainment, etc. I will have to be honest here: it kind of annoys me when some people drop statements about Asian media as if they know everything about it. Also, I feel really bad for the people who are manipulated. So, I decided to reveal what I know. But I wouldn’t be shocked if there are still people who will chose not to believe in what I have to say, so, I’m not here to force you to believe. I just wanted to share some truth behind BIG entertainment and media companies like SMent. (I emphasized BIG because not every companies does this because of the risks & because they’re not powerful enough like the BIG ones). I want you to be open minded about this, I don’t want everyone to be totally fooled. 

Third, yes, I’m a fan of EXO, SNSD, f(x) and Shinee. They’re the only groups I thoroughly followed since the beginning. But I will not state who my biases are and who do I ship because it doesn’t matter, I will not be biased on my statements. I will be stating facts from real life experiences I have from studying and working in Asian media & entertainment industry. I won’t be on Kaisoo shippers’ side, nor Kaistal shippers’ side.   

Lastly, I don’t work for SM Entertainment or any entertainment companies in South Korea. I work for a big media and entertainment company somewhere in Far East Asia (East and Southeast Asia, I’m sorry I don’t want to be very specific about this for obvious reasons). I’m not going to claim that everything I’m going to say about media companies are 100% evident and true in SM, but everything I’m going to say is a common practice among media and entertainment companies in East and Southeast Asia.

I will answer questions/arguments/assumptions that frequently come up because of the Baekyeon & Kaistal issue and this insider info in 2012. This is just an eye-opener for those who are not familiar w/ how the media & entertainment industry in Asia works. My purpose is to let you guys be aware of some of our practices, I don’t intend on going against any companies and any people. 

Is everything scripted? What they say on interviews are scripted?

Not all the time. Expected and general questions are usually half scripted, half scripted because we only say the gist of what they have to say, we don’t require them to memorize everything, of course. This is for PR purposes, it’s for their image and the image of the company. The artists know it anyway, that they have to keep their reputation good no matter what. Also, it’s the company’s decision if the artist will have to keep quiet about a certain topic.  

Are artists really packaged? Aren’t they showing their true personalities?

Not all the time. We only do this to artists who are considered important for the company, or the company’s favorites. One example is this actor-singer under our company, we debuted him with a manly image, a lady’s man type (because he really is handsome & looks manly). But in real life, he’s actually gay. There were scandals about him being gay because he was caught two times (he’s so stubborn about going out at night, I’ll talk about this later), 1st: w/ another actor from the same company, 2nd: w/ a male singer from the same company, but our company remained silent about it (it’s actually a strategy as well, keeping silent about a scandal, because if we refrain from talking about it, then people will forget eventually). So the company continued on giving him projects as if no scandal has ever happened. The journalist who reported both incidents later apologized in public, she/he received a lot of hate actually because the public really loves this guy whom they truly believe is straight. There is also this one singer whom we debuted as a “sexy-type” lady. But she’s actually the girly and shy type in real life.  

Are artists really paired beforehand? 

Again, not all the time because we only do this to important and favorite artists of the company. We choose those who look physically good together. Actually, there’s a certain pair that has no chemistry at all in real life, like they don’t even care about each other (but they became friends eventually since they’re always together). They each have their own private romantic relationships w/ non-celebs, but since they look physically good together, they were paired. So our company reported & confirmed that they are dating in real life (I’ll talk about fake dating later). But fans saw the guy with another girl recently (even took a picture), but the company remained silent about it, as always. Probably soon, they will release a statement that “they’re only friends” if the issue is still alive for a long time. BUT! There are paired artists who eventually started real romantic relationships because they actually fell in love. Like this dancer couple (who got married) and these two singers (who, sadly, broke up). ALSO, there are a few real relationships whom we took advantage of IF and only IF they are famous & are loved by fans as a couple (this is kind of rare though).  

Is fake dating really a thing/marketing strategy?

Yes. If we learned that a lot of people loves seeing them together, then we will show what the public wants to see. But we mostly do this to create hype for both artists & their future activities, and of course, the profit that the company can get from it. But what if the public suddenly doesn’t want to see them together? How about the fans who would be brokenhearted? This will be bad for both artists! Honestly and unfortunately, the company doesn’t care. It’s true that we consider all publicity as good publicity. We actually have this phrase: success from scandal. After the scandal (any kind of scandal actually) arose, we will not bring that up ever again. We’ll continue giving the artist their activities to still promote them, & proceed as if nothing happened. This is very effective actually. Anyway, I saw someone said that why would they do this to get attention, they’re already famous! Because we only use the “reporting/confirming a fake relationship strategy” for artists who are already famous. We will never get the attention we want if we suddenly report that there are two not-so-famous artists dating.

Do entertainment companies have control over what other media reports?

Yes. But only those big, influential & powerful companies can do that, especially those who have partnership w/ other media companies. Those who have the money. Even the government and powerful politicians can control what the media reports. Media practitioners actually have this code of ethics like others have, but there are still people who chose not to follow (journalists who accept bribes!!!). But that’s a different story. You know, money is such a powerful thing. You can’t underestimate money when it comes to businesses. 

Does the company have control over everything involving the artist?

Basically yes, since the artist have to ask permission before doing anything that the company didn’t ask them to do. Like, even if the artist has free time, they still have to ask for permission if they can have a vacation on a certain place, or if they can hang out with this person. There are artists who are stubborn about asking for permissions actually, they sneak in and do what they want. Because of their stubbornness, scandals may arise (it happened for a few artists actually, like what I mentioned earlier). If that artist is very important for the company, we will still keep him/her even if he/she is very stubborn. But of course, we will warn him/her, but we will offer some benefits for them to obey and stay w/ the company. If the artist is not so important, we will have to ask him/her the question: “this or the company/contract/career”. So yeah, company favorites are pretty much treated very differently than the others. 

In conclusion: here’s a famous saying, “truth is stranger than fiction”, w/c is true in so many different cases. Remember that NOT EVERYTHING shown is TRUE especially about celebrities who are under a contract w/ very big companies and agencies. We will never fully know every truth about these artists, especially their true feelings, personalities, relationships, sexuality, and their private lives. As for Baekyeon & Kaistal and others, since the insider info was posted in 2012 and what stated there are actually practiced in the entertainment industry, there’s a high probability that the couples are fake. There’s also a possibility that they’re real and SM just took advantage of it, but it’s less likely. BUT, we will never know if they actually felt something for each other or not. Maybe they did fell in love w/ each other, or they actually have other romantic relationships that the public doesn’t know. Or they’re actually single. Who knows. There are many possibilities but they only know the truth themselves, of course. 

Once again, I have nothing against SM, any people, any ships. The sole purpose of this is to be an eye opener for those who are not familiar w/ the media & ent industry in Asia. I am not claiming that everything I said are 100% evident and true in SM Ent, but everything I said is a common practice in Asia, and is true in my country and our company. What I said is true & are based on my experiences. I didn’t include links, pictures, other proofs because I don’t want to give in my identity, my nationality, and the company I work in. I’m a lazy but busy person, I wouldn’t waste my free time writing this if they were all lies. But I know that there are still people who will chose not to believe, but who am I to force you? Just remember this: the media and entertainment industry is very manipulative, DON’T let media control and fool you. There are many studies, research, and theories regarding the media and its effects on the public (when I was in college, we memorized a lot of theories regarding media and its effects, just search about it if you’re interested, you’ll understand media even more!). And even though media has negative effects on the public, they will still continue with their doings. Because it’s business. It’s the industry. It involves money. 

So yeah, in general, don’t be fooled. Also, there’s nothing wrong w/ questioning the media because you have the right anyway (because remember? media claims to “serve” the public, entertainment companies claim to “do this for the people”). 

Have a good day! Let’s have peace w/ one another :)

Watch. Whiteness. Work. 

Twitter is losing itself this morning over this dumbass questions we’d not be asking if Sharapova wasn’t a white woman who even doping can’t win.

Friendly reminder that white men are still walking around with rifles in grocery stores.

Kroger is about to become the latest battle ground for the open carry battle after recent demonstrations in Ohio and Texas (of course) caught the attention of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.

Related:  Blacks Demand Due Process Before Being Gunned Down in America still gaining no traction.

Keep reading

Dear Asian-Americans:

by Beverly Murray

You already know the drill.

We live in a country where every time we turn on the TV, hardly anyone looks like us. No one in the movies has looked like us since we were kids. Onscreen, the ones who do look like us are either math nerds, asexual corporate drones, or prostitutes. We were stoked in the mid-90s that finally, finally we were going to get a TV family that physically resembled ours. Of course, that show was abruptly cancelled, and we’ve had to wait another 21 years for a comparable Asian TV family.

Twenty. One. Fucking. Years. Welcome to our reality.

In a world that is becoming more interconnected by the day, where movie blockbusters and hit TV sitcoms export American soft power to the world, where diplomacy is carried out—not just within embassies, but vis-à-vis pop cultural icons and entertainers—Asian-Americans are invisible.

This phenomenon is especially disturbing when you look at the statistics: Asians are the fastest-growing ethnic group in the U.S. Our households outspend the average American family by 19% annually, and are more likely than the average American to spend more money on name brands—by a whopping 29%. We’re avid internet shoppers, spending almost double of what the average U.S. population spends annually.

In short, we’re the perfect consumers. You’d think it’d make sense for TV networks and media companies to devote more time to Asian perspectives—but no. Year after year, we faithfully flock to opening nights of movies that reflect someone else’s narrative. Not ours. Not even close. Which brings me to my next point. You might have heard about the Emma Stone kerfuffle a few weeks ago.

You know, Emma Stone? Blonde hair, blue eyes, pale skin, freckles. She’s playing the lead role in Aloha, a Cameron Crowe movie. As a half-Asian woman. Named Allison Ng. Who lives in Hawaii. A state which, despite being 60% ethnically Asian/Pacific Islander, has somehow been personified in an all-white cast. The fact that my mom’s maiden name is Ng is just icing on this giant ironic shitcake.

(To recap: Emma Stone, half-Asian woman, movie “all about Hawaiian cultural heritage,” all-white cast.)

So who’s to blame for this? Our first instinct is point fingers at Hollywood, and sure, the outrage is entirely warranted. Hollywood bears the brunt of culpability, because their entrenched myopia and inability to embrace our narratives—as rich and diverse as they are—has directly resulted in our pathetic representation in the media. To be fair, Asian-American groups have raised a huge stink about Aloha. And box offices around the country are hearing it, loud and clear. Two months after its release, Aloha has raked in a paltry $23 million—Crowe’s worst movie to date. On the other hand, Rotten Tomatoes currently ranks Aloha at an abysmal 19%, so there is a good chance that this movie has managed to royally suck all by itself.

But is that the full story? Is Big Bad Hollywood solely responsible for this void? Does that really explain why we aren’t better represented in the media?

My Asian brothers and sisters—you diverse, multi-colored, heterogeneous, polyglot group of sexy bitches—I need you to listen up. Part of this shit is our fault.

I’m talking to you, Asian parents. I see you with your flash cards, violin lessons, piano recitals, math drills, Kumon-everything. Quite frankly, it makes me want to scream. Not because I don’t believe in a rigorous education, or in setting high academic standards for kids. But because I’ve seen this dog-and-pony show with my own eyes, way too many times. I know where it all leads. So many of you pay lip service to “encouraging creativity,” and sure, you’re proud of the odd watercolor painting here and there. And you’d probably come around if your child wanted to become a professional musician. But it’d better one of the traditionally prestigious orchestral positions (read: a cellist, and not, say a drummer in a punk band). You and I both know that within our communities, if little Kimmie wanted to study sculpture at a small Midwestern liberal arts college, ¾ of you would freak the fuck out. We may not talk about this in public, but behind closed doors, away from “the other” Americans, many of us have acknowledged that this is an old, old record that we’ve heard in various iterations.

I’m looking at you, too, Asian kids. I’m stoked that you’re flocking to pre-med, engineering, and computer science programs. If this is truly what excites you, go for the gold. (And expect a call from me later—I hate dealing with the Apple Genius Bar). But for the rest of you who are secret artists, actors, writers, creatives. The weird ones. The black sheep of your families. The freaks who have always marched to the beat of their own drum. We need you. We need you now, more than ever. We need your names in lights, your stories on bookshelves, your art on display for all to see. Believe me, I know what kind of pressure you’re under. Most of us are from immigrant families. Some of us have known crushing poverty in our home countries. And if we haven’t, there is always that Asian perspective which holds that the needs of the group collective outweigh the desires of any one individual. We buy into the notion that the only acceptable route to the American Dream is via one of five career options. It’s a lie. And if you don’t reach back to yank out that apparatus that connects you to the Asian-American Matrix, you’ll live in crushing spiritual imprisonment, even as you peer out from your gilded cage.

Do it. Share your art. Do your thang, even if your parents tell you that entertainers have no future in the States, that the safer option is to become a CPA. Do it even if you think you’ll fail spectacularly, because you don’t have the right look, the right build, the right whatfuckingever for audiences. Do it especially if it makes your soul sing, because you do the world no favors by hiding your light. It took me decades to realize this. And none too soon, because as we speak, even the publishing world is studiously whitewashing minority narratives.

And if you’re not an artist? You sure as fuck are still a consumer, my Asian friend, and a discerning, Grade A one at that. We don’t have to continue settling for movies and sitcoms with people who look nothing like us, whose experiences and voices are not our own. We can’t just politely ask and wait—we have to demand a seat at the table—call out networks and studios when they deploy another Tired Asian Caricature, and reward the progressive ones with our support, financial or otherwise. Support homegrown artists. It’s time for male Asian characters reclaim their swagger, lest we’re subject to another Hangover sequel with Ken Jeong’s naked ass and his inability to get laid; time for Asian women to be something other than modern day Suzie Wongs, auxiliary to whichever white heroes they’re simpering over at present. Time for us to be an integral part of the zeitgeist.

Is this too much to ask? Don’t we have bigger fish to fry? Fuck that. All we have in the end are stories, stories that are ours, stories that deserve to be told in our own unique voices.

It’s what our forefathers would have wanted for us.

Originally published at Back That Sass Up.

3

Drawing: The Video Game

A letter to the internet. Or to whom it may concern. Or just a letter.

Dear you.

I want to start with a little disclaimer. Opinions below are my own and in no way represent the opinions of other asexuals and people in general. Those are just my thoughts. Nothing more, nothing less.

To be honest, I don’t know why I’m writing this. I just am. I guess I just want to talk about who I am.

I’m asexual.  And, you know, I came a long way to this realization. It all started out with me in a biology class being told about puberty and sexual attraction. Young me thought: ”yeah cool whatever. I’m still a kid I don’t need none of your sexy stuff”.  Then I grew up into a preteen.  I think I was too preoccupied by ornithology and bird watching to think about anything else. Huzzah, I became a teenager. Nothing much changed, I was a bird-obsessed wannabe rebel. I got over ornithology by the time I was 15 and kinda hung around doing nothing (still a wannabe rebel though) when I noticed my peers. I guess I was too busy looking for European turtle doves to notice that others were deep in the dating game, guys bragging about how many “chicks they scored” and girls huddling up in gangs and discussing stuff I was never told about. I felt like l missed something! Why (and how) were everyone getting boyfriends/girlfriends and should I get one too? What does one do with a date? What the hell is going on?

Ok, maybe I am playing dumb just a tad. Of course I knew what that was all about. But what I didn’t get was why? Am I missing something? Plus I was a kind of hermit crab so I didn’t really spend much time with my peers.

I somehow managed to avoid the topic of sex until I was 16. I was a sweet, smol, innocent and naïve cinnamon roll. And I suppose I was a bit overly friendly with some people… who regarded my friendliness in a more of a romantic way. My friend asked me out and I was like: “oh yeah hang-out time with mah buuuud!” but yeah no, half way it all clicked. The next few months things got a bit weird between us… we drifted apart and I blame myself for everything up to this day. Anyway, I spent those months thinking about what’s wrong with me. Looking at the difference between me and my peers, I understood that the reason why intimacy creeped me out, why I didn’t understand dating was because I never experienced attraction. It all finally clicked! I never regarded anyone in a sexual way, I never understood why date if you’re friends and can just hang out and I never thought any other way. It was normal for me.

I was brought up by my mum. She and dad lived separately since I was 5 and she didn’t date anyone else.  So I suppose that’s why romantic/sexual relationships slipped out of my view. And that’s ok. I’m completely fine.  

Honestly, I don’t know how I stumbled over asexuality. But once I found out what it was, I understood that that’s who I am. That I’m not alone.  I’m not ill. Reading more, I discovered an amazing community of people just like me, who were happy and proud with who they are. it made such an impact on me, that I started to accept myself and find pride. I finally felt right.

The next step was to come out. The single thought of me coming out about something was very entertaining! First I talked to my friend (the one I mentioned earlier). I told about me being asexual and hoped to be met with understanding. And I was. My dear dear friend supported me completely and stands by my side to this day. Because of that I got the courage to come out to my sister. She was just as loving. In fact, she later then told me that identifies herself as aromatic! Mum was the tricky part, and I didn’t quite tell her. Not in fear of receiving hate towards my persona, no I’m sure she will understand too, I think she will regard my asexuality as “just a phase”. So I think I’ll wait a bit longer.

So that’s it. That’s the story of my realization.

Today I glanced at my black ring on my middle finger and smiled. It reminds me of who my am and the fact that I accept who I am every single day.

Sure, I still face different challenges when it comes to asexuality. I think all ace people do. Like I mentioned, I’m very friendly, maybe too friendly, and I tend to smile at strangers which results in awkward misunderstandings… or when people check me out on the street or wink at me in a weird way it’s a bit uncomfortable, but oh well…

Sometimes I think how sexualized our society is. Are people ok with that? Doesn’t it bother them that a simple taxi ad is topped off with a skimpy dressed winking woman? (honestly what’s up with sexy winks??) Or that in most shaving cream ads I see guys who are probably supposed to be naked but the camera doesn’t pan down enough to for me to check if that’s true or not.  That can’t be right.

I know sex is supposed to be this thing people enjoy, but not like this! This looks more like obsession. Yes, sex sells, but dang, it’s getting weird.  

And it’s not only the media, some people have a matching mindset! This one time I was talking about asexuality and was met with peculiar words: “don’t experience sexual attraction? Wow, are you even human? How does one live like that?!”. And that made me think – if that person regards sex as the sole purpose of life, how are you any different a rabbit of some sort? No, even rabbits have other interests. They at least like carrots and hopping around and whatever it is what rabbits like.

I guess I still didn’t fully grasp the mentality of our society, but I still have time to do that.

Anyway, I’m glad I wrote this letter. Maybe it doesn’t have a purpose and is all over the place, but I enjoyed getting it all out.

Love, X.

cnn.com
IMPORTANT: 'Pay to play' on the Web?: Net neutrality explained
I can’t believe I haven’t seen a 100k post about this on tumblr yet. This could seriously affect every internet user, especially if you watch Netflix and Youtube and shop on any site that isn’t’ Amazon. 

Net neutrality explained. Will you have to pay more for Netflix, or a fee to be able to stream YouTube videos at full speed?

(CNN) – How would you like to have to pay a fee to be able to stream YouTube videos at full speed? What if you liked downloading music from, say, Last.fm or Soundcloud, but those sites suddenly became infinitely slower than bigger sites like Amazon or iTunes?

Those are the kind of major changes to the Internet some folks are envisioning after a federal court ruling this week on what’s come to be called “net neutrality.”

This stuff can get really confusing, with all the government jargon, Internet lingo and competing arguments mixed up in it.

But it’s also really important and could rework the Web as we know it – like allowing the hypothetical situations above become realities.

Here’s a breakdown of what this week’s ruling could mean to you.

What is “net neutrality?”

Generally speaking, when folks talk about neutrality, they’re referring to the ideas that led to a set of rules the Federal Communications Commission approved in 2010. The point of the rules was to keep the companies that hold the keys to the Web from playing favorites.

The “open Internet” rules prevent Internet service providers from blocking or “unreasonably discriminating” against any legal website or other piece of online content.

The philosophy behind it all, preached vociferously by Web activists, is that, in 2014, Internet access is a human right. Denying access, even in part, or giving preferential treatment to one user over another, violates that right, they say.

(The term itself was coined by Columbia law professor Tim Wu.)

What happened this week?

A federal appeals court ruled on Tuesday that the FCC doesn’t have the right to enforce those rules. The court said that the government is tasked with overseeing crucial utilities like telephone service and electricity, but that the Internet isn’t considered to be one of those utilities under current law.

The decision harks back to statements and decisions made by the FCC and other government agencies in the early 2000s, when molasses-slow dial-up connections were the norm and Web access wasn’t nearly as common or, some would say, necessary as it is today.

The FCC has suggested it will appeal the ruling.

So what?

Everybody who accesses the Internet does so through an Internet service provider. And these providers have been pushing for the ability to dole out that access to us on their own terms.

What does that mean? For one, companies like Verizon, who sued the FCC over the rules, would be able to pick and choose who gets the best access.

So, for example, they might start charging big fees for websites to get in the “fast lane.” Those fees presumably would be no problem for the Web’s monster moneymakers but tougher to take for the little guys.

Then, all of a sudden, you’re starting to get two Internets – a quick, smooth highway for the major players and a slow, bumpy trail for everybody else.

The providers could also just blatantly play favorites. So imagine AT&T, a major provider, making traffic quicker on the websites of smartphone companies that use its mobile service and slower on the sites of phone makers who don’t. We’re not saying they’d do that, of course. But, theoretically, they could.

Has this ever actually happened?

In 2007, Comcast started blocking some peer-to-peer networks – the kind customers use to transfer data-heavy files like entire movies and the like.

The FCC ordered them to stop. Comcast sued the FCC. An appeals court ultimately sided with the FCC, but by that time, the backlash had been enough for Comcast to quit on its own (after paying $16 million to settle a lawsuit, that is).

For what its worth, the Web’s major service providers put out statements Tuesday saying they don’t have plans to change anything based on the court’s decision. Of course, it would probably be bad business to make a multimillion-dollar move before the case has played itself all the way out to the Supreme Court, which is where this one might ultimately be decided.

What’s the argument against the rules?

The service providers and their supporters essentially say this is a free-enterprise issue. They say they provide a service and, therefore, should be able to decide how to deliver it and how they charge customers for it.

When the FCC approved net neutrality on a 3-2 party-line vote, Commissioner Robert McDowell, one of two Republicans who opposed it, called the vote a “radical step.”

“Nothing is broken in the Internet-access market that needs fixing,” he said at the time.

Randal Milch, a Verizon executive vice president, said in a statement that Tuesday’s ruling “struck down rules that limited the ability of broadband providers to offer new and innovative services to their customers.”

Bottom line – could it cost me money?

It’s possible.

If providers start charging a premium to websites for services, you can bet those sites will turn around and pass the cost on to their customers.

Netflix, whose movie streaming is one of the Internet’s biggest bandwidth hogs, already took a ding to its stock price after the court ruled. The presumption by some investors was that providers are most likely to charge more to sites like Netflix that use so much data.

For fee-based services like Netflix, it’s hard to imagine monthly fees not increasing if their cost of doing business increases. And while it’s obviously all still speculation, it’s possible that currently free services like Google-owned YouTube – which already offers paid subscriptions – could adopt adopt more pay models to make up the difference.

What’s next?

The ruling wasn’t a complete blasting of the FCC’s position. In fact, it said the body still has the right to make rules for the Web, so the commission could possibly try again with a new set of rules.

Congress could settle the issue once and for all with a new, clearly worded law. And there’s always the Supreme Court if the FCC does, in fact, decide to appeal.

Things you did not know VLC Media Player could do

As howtogeek.com puts it, VLC Media Player is the Swiss Army Knife of all media players,  with over 100 million downloads and with it’s new release for android last June 13- we users would want to know what VLC has in store for us. While there are many, here are 7 that appealed to me most and hopefully to you as well.

  1. Convert Media Files -  ctrl+R or media>Convert/Save
    Choose the media file you want to convert, input where you want to save the output file, choose the output file, then convert.
  2. Watch Videos on your Network or over the Internet (such as youtube, vimeo, and vine) - ctrl+N or media>Open Network Stream
    Simply paste the URL of the video you’d want to watch. You can also stream torrent files if you have a decent connection at work/home.
  3. Record your desktop - media>Convert/Save>Capture Device>Select Desktop as capture device>Input Destination>Alter Settings>Press Start.
    You can use this to record a video of your desktop while creating a program then use it after with a voice over (helpful if you are doing tutorials and demos), or use this in conjunction with VLC’s stream feature to do a live stream over the network/Internet.
  4. Do a live stream of your Desktop - ctrl+S or media>Stream>Capture Device>Select Desktop as Capture Device>Choose HTTP if you’re streaming via HTTP>StreamThis is useful if you want to teach someone over the internet things you normally do on your desktop. There’s a similar feature in skype whether you can ‘share screens’ but it has lower resolution compared to VLC’s stream.
  5. Internet Radio - Click on Playlists>Icecast Radio Directory>On the search bar, search for anything you want to listen to.
    his most especially helpful to us anime fans who like to listen to Internet radio but have no means to pay for a service.
  6. Podcasts - Playlists>Podcasts>Add Podcasts
    Listen to podcasts without having to install additional software.
  7. Effects! - ctrl+E or Tools>Effects
    You can do almost anything from audio editing to video editing, you just have to be imaginative. If there are tweaks you’d want to learn, google is your friend.

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You can download VLC Media Player here.

sources: 1, 2.