gilley's

anonymous asked:

I was surprised to see you post about Dany. I wasn't sure if you liked her. It's weird because Dany haters who are POC use that as a weapon against Dany. Then Dany lovers who are POC say they love Dany. Seems to me like people liking Dany or hating her have little to do with them being POC. I'm a POC and I see these Dany haters reach to call her a white supremacist. Then I see POC Dany lovers excuse Slaver's Bay because she had good intentions!

I’ve had this ask in my inbox for a while. Sorry, anon, for taking so long!

To address what you said about POC, POC are not exempt from internalizing regressiveness or excusing it in a character they like. POC are also not exempt from going too far and using their identity when it’s a character they just don’t like. So those POC like Dany or POC hate Dany posts are meaningless. 

This is a loaded ask so I have a long answer. I am ambivalent about Dany is the most succinct answer. I think Dany as a person, divorced from story context, is great. Dany within story context can be troubling because of how GRRM has positioned her.  I think if someone victim blames Dany or attacks her ruthlessness, you should not take them seriously. But if they call out Slaver’s Bay without resorting to “Dany is an imperialist white supremacist!!!!” or you know being a slavery apologist, you should probably listen without dismissing them.

Dany is not a white supremacist. Dany is not an imperialist. Dany is not a colonialist nor a white saviour by definition but Dany’s narrative is clothed in colonial and white saviour imagery. This is why I separated Dany from story context earlier.

Colonialism’s main purpose has always been for the benefit of the coloniser. In present-day, scholars like Niall Ferguson and Bruce Gilley still mythologize that British colonialism was different, that it was benevolent. This thinking forgets that whatever “benefits” British colonialism brought to its colonized countries was first for the benefit of the Empire. The fact that it also benefitted the native population was secondary. Often these “benefits” like railways were initially restricted to native populations due to racism.  America does not wade into the MENA like a bull in a china shop because America is just so outraged for the native populations. America did not invade Iraq because they wanted to free Iraqis from Saddam’s brutality. America wanted to benefit America first and foremost. The lie they sell the public is not the truth of why America invades countries. 

Dany did not go to Slaver’s Bay to benefit herself. Once Dany had the power to act and the conviction to act, she saw an injustice and tried to save people from slavery. She is not a colonialist by her actions in the story. The slaves Dany frees are not all black or brown people either despite what the show did. 

But on a meta level from our position as readers who know other narratives and know history, Dany’s narrative is clothed in colonial and white saviour imagery so I wonder if that’s where POC who know this imagery and are ~woke~ become uncomfortable. It makes me uncomfortable, but it’s reductive to not unpack this stuff and label Dany a colonialist and leave it at that.

Dany being a mother to the slaves she frees (”Mother! Mother!”) is emphasized in the story. Queen Victoria was seen as an Imperial Mother to her colonial children. The Victoria Memorial in London alludes to this. “Victoria is figured by association as unvanquishable force and “Great White Mother” who civilizes and protects her so-called children - those subjects of territories colonized under her gaze.” Remaking Queen Victoria. 1997. This reply is already too long but look up White Woman’s Burden, White Man’s Burden, read Edward Said. For a feminist twist on colonialism and Western women trying to save Third World (I hate this phrase) women, look up Chandra Talpade Mohanty. Dany is a saviour. But when paired with GRRM’s otherizing writing of Slaver’s Bay, that’s where the white saviour comments come in. The characters are caricatures and aren’t written the same dimensional way as the Westerosi, or even the Wildlings. If he’d written a narrative that wasn’t top-down and where the slaves got to be actors in the revolution that frees them rather than be acted up on, things would be different. All of this is narrative and writing - Dany as herself is a revolutionary character. Dany with her narrative accoutrements as written by GRRM alludes to aspects of colonialism and white saviourism, while herself not fitting either descriptor.

We can talk about cultural imperialism because Dany imposes her views on an entire region and demands they change, but there are few issues that muddle up that water. Cultural imperialism, by precedence, has been enforced by whole civilizations that were already practicing imperialism and not by one individual whose sole purpose was to eradicate an evil. And it’s slavery that Dany tries to eradicate. I’m really okay with that. We’ve all been told white women go abroad and see veiled women or cultural practices they disagree with and try to ban it - white feminism bad! If you read the author I mentioned above, Chandra Talpade Mohanty, she talks a lot about white women trying to save Third World women. The difference is context. Mohanty mentions “while your countries are bombing us.” Dany doesn’t go to stop Slaver’s Bay’s cultural practices while being part of an Empire that is exploiting the people of Slaver’s Bay. Slaver’s Bay IS exploiting the people of Slaver’s Bay. I think the slaves outnumber the masters. I think this makes a vast difference in how you treat the cultural imperialism of the British banning sati in India while exploiting India and Americans trying to save women from countries that are exploited by America. 

 You can like Dany who is a revolutionary character and criticize the allusions to colonialism and white saviourism in GRRM’s writing for her story. I’m not going to analyze the show for deep thoughts. 

(House Targaryen’s imperial conquest of Westeros and Dany’s attempt to retake the throne is often criticized but the Andals and the First Men, also being colonizers are rarely mentioned. If we are to take a hardline on conquest, House Stark should concede the loss of the North and leave it all together)

On the early hours of April 27th, 1984, 18 year old Billy Gilley woke up his sister Jody (16 at the time) by pushing their younger sibling Becky (11) into her room and instructing her to stay there. Confused and sleepy, Jody didn’t stop Becky when she curiously went downstairs to see what was going on. Next thing Jody new, the house filled with screams.

Billy had taken a baseball bat and killed his parents, Bill and Linda, by savagely beating them. Because Becky had interrupted him, he hit and killed her too. Jody thought she was next when she heard her brother coming up the stairs. He appeared in her doorway, agitated and covered in blood, but instead of attacking her, he said “We are free. I’m not crazy.”

The two siblings escaped the house and, as soon as she found herself alone for a moment, Jody called 911 to alert authorities of the crime. Billy was arrested and was convicted and sentenced to three life terms of a minimum of 30 years each. He appealed said sentence in 2008, but it was upheld. Another appeal, in 2011, was denied, so he stays in prison.

Although the jury never got to hear this during his trial, Billy and Jody lived in an abusive household. Their parents were religious fundamentalists. In fact, although he was considered a sociopath by some of the forensic experts that analyzed him, Billy insists that it was the head trauma caused by his father’s punches that led him to the murders.

This case was covered in the book While they Slept, by Kathryn Harrison, in which Jody and Billy share their views on the case. You can also read an emotional testimony written by Jody for the Washington Post in 2005 here.

Watch on behindthegrooves.tumblr.com

On this day in music history: April 26, 1961 - “Stand By Me” by Ben E. King is released. Written by Benjamin Earl Nelson, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, it is the sixth solo single for the R&B and pop vocal legend. In spite of recording several classics as the lead singer of The Drifters including the classics “There Goes My Baby”, “This Magic Moment” and “Save The Last Dance For Me”, a contractual dispute with manager George Treadwell drives Ben E. King out of the group in mid 1960. Continuing to work with the songwriting and production team of Leiber and Stoller, King begins recording on his own. After his initial solo releases “Brace Yourself” and “A Help-Each-Other Romance” (duet with LaVern Baker) fail to make an impression on the charts. On October 27, 1960, King is recording at Atlantic Studios in New York City, working on the song “Spanish Harlem” (#10 Pop, #15 R&B) which becomes his first major solo hit. With time still left in the session, Leiber and Stoller ask King if he has any more songs. The singer plays them an unfinished song he had originally intended to record with The Drifters. Inspired by the song “Stand By Me Father”, written by Sam Cooke during his days as lead singer of The Soul Stirrers, Leiber and Stoller re-work the initial melody and Ben and Jerry write the lyrics. Calling the musicians back, the song now titled “Stand By Me” is quickly recorded. Before the session concludes, all involved know that they have created something special. Released in the Spring of 1961, “Stand By Me” makes its impact felt immediately. An instant classic, it quickly rises up the R&B and pop singles charts, spending four weeks at #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart beginning on May 29, 1961, and peaking at #4 on the Hot 100 on June 12, 1961. Following its release, “Stand By Me” is covered numerous times over the years, including versions by John Lennon, Spyder Turner, Mickey Gilley and Maurice White. Ben E. King’s original recording has a long life after its initial run on the charts. In 1986, director Rob Reiner uses the song as the theme to his film “Stand By Me”, based on the Stephen King short story “The Body”. Featured prominently on the oldies dominated soundtrack, Atlantic Records reissues the song as a single. Driven by the popularity of the film, “Stand By Me” re-enters the Billboard Hot 100, and returns to the top ten, peaking at #9 in December of 1986, over twenty five years after it had originally charted. The song becomes a smash in the UK a second time, thanks to its inclusion in the film, and being featured in a popular commercial for Levi’s jeans, sending the single to #1. In 1998, “Stand By Me” is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame, in 2012 receives the Towering Song Award by the Songwriters Hall Of Fame, and in 2015, King’s original recording is selected for inclusion into the National Recording Registry by The Library Of Congress, just five weeks before the singer’s passing.