i feel like this house is stuck in time, all DDT-tainted tap water and hazardous wiring. this town too, froze decades ago when the mines closed and the only thing left to do was to purgatory forest after forest in some great lumber frenzy like all we can cull from the earth now is sustains us, pumps out oxygen in response to our timeless respirations

Book Recs: Books by black women (about black women)
  • The Color Purple by Alice Walker (1982), Historical fiction/ LGBT. It is a devastating, beautiful, heart-wrenching story of 14-year-old girl named Celie surviving abuse, racism, and poverty in rural 1930s Georgia. Alice Walker portrays the resilience, intelligence and strength of black women in this story while also condemning and challenging sexism and traditional gender roles. There’s also been an incredible film adaptation, Broadway adaptation, and Broadway revival.
  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou (1969), Autobiography. Maya tells her powerful story. As a young girl, Maya was sent by her mother to live in small Southern town, and she and her brother Bailey experience severe abandonment and racism.This book wrecked my soul at moments, but it’s also filled with a tremendous amount of power and light and hope. 
  • Color Blind: A Memoir by Precious Williams (2010), Autobiography.  Precious was handed off in a basket by her birth mother to Nan, a white 60-year-old “color-blind” foster mother. Precious is taunted and ostracized in her all-white school, and Nan could never really understand or articulate her daughter’s struggles. This memoir was brave, personal and beautifully dealt with identity and race.
  • The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (2009), Post-Colonial/ Short Story Collection. This work has a great legacy. First it started with a 117-year-old book called the Heart of Darkness by a white male British author that dehumanized African people. Later, Nigerian author Chinua Achebe wrote Things Fall Apart which retold the narrative from a Nigerian author’s perspective. And now we have Adichie’s story, which presents a needed female Nigerian perspective. All 12 of her short stories are beautifully written and critically examine Africa and the effects of colonization.
  • White Teeth by Zadie Smith (2000), Contemporary Fiction/ Post-Colonial/ LGBT elements. The novel is divided into sections, each one focusing on different characters. You have Archie Jones and his friend Samad Iqbal, and the latter half of the novel focuses on their families: Clara, Irie, Millat, and Magid. Zadie Smith challenges racism and prejudice all the way from British imperialism to casual every-day racism and homophobia while being incredibly cheeky and hilarious.
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (1937), Historical Fiction. Hurston insisted that her novel not be “miserable” or “downtrodden.” And I think she really succeeds in her celebration of black womanhood and poor rural black communities. We get to see Janie Crawford’s growth from a silenced teenage girl into a woman with agency and power who gets to decide her own fate.
  • A Small Place by Jamaica Kincaid (1988), Creative Non-Fiction/ Autobiography.  This is a series of essays, written in four sections, that expresses Kincaid’s powerful rage towards slavery, colonialism and the broken identify of her home of Antigua. From start to finish, this collection of essays was a giant f-you to colonization.
  • Beloved (and honestly anything) by Toni Morrison (1987), Historical Fiction. This book changed my life. Toni Morrison is a deeper, grander, more nuanced and just generally better Faulkner. If you like ghost stories, mysteries, stories full of rage and hope that deeply examine human consciousness, books that tear apart your perceptions of humanity, books that force you to read them over and over again to pick through all the layers of meaning, you will love this book.

People who try to solve rural poverty issues by applying principals appropriate to helping with urban poverty issues drive me crazy. For example: no, I cannot save money by taking the bus. There is no bus. A car is not a luxury in rural areas, it is a necessity.

I don’t think people who have never left the city really understand the distances involved in the everyday life of their country cousins.

The Atlantic: 

“Rural America’s Silent Housing Crisis

Accounting for only 20 percent of the population, residents of more isolated areas struggle to find a safe, affordable place to live—and to make anyone else care.


Conversations about affordable housing are often dominated with the question of how to get lower-income residents in expensive cities—like New York, Los Angeles, or San Francisco (and their surrounding areas)—safe, affordable places to live. That makes sense: Often urban hubs are a good bet for jobs and economic vitality, but they’re also prohibitively expensive for many—creating well-known housing problems. But cities aren’t the only places that are lacking when it comes to adequate housing at affordable prices. In rural America, it’s both prices and the terrible condition of existing homes that are problematic.”

Rich white people only try and play the “what about the rural poor” card as a form of racebaiting or when they’re trying to shut up poor people from cities or poor POC.

They don’t actually give a tiny fuck about rural poor people.  Their views harm rural poor people.  Their policies harm rural poor people.  They have no concern for any of the actual needs of rural poor people.  Not only that, but their interests are directly opposed to giving rural poor people any actual social equality.

But rural poor people and city poor people don’t have opposed interests.  Obviously, white poor people can be invested in racism, but not all rural poor people are white and not all poor people in cities are POC (there is definite stereotyping in a lot of these discussions though, to the point where I can’t just say urban poor because that’s heavily coded as meaning poor Black people despite the fact that rural poor Black people also exist and poor white people can live in cities).  All else being equal though, poor city people and poor rural people might have slightly different needs, but it’s not too hard to work out solutions when groups of poor people are dealing with each other instead of trying to fight the ruling class separately.

I’m a rural poor person and trust me, poor people in cities and in suburbs aren’t the cause of my problems and they aren’t the ones benefiting from fucking rural poor people over either.  Rich white people who try and use poor rural people’s existence to silence poor people in cities are being enemies to rural poor people.

>Filipino ISIS kidnaps 50-60 year old single white European/American guys vacationing alone in rural poverty stricken south Asian villages and promises to behead them.

I hope they fucking do, there’s only one reason these people fucking travel there and it’s not because they enjoy the weather and scenery of Child Prostitute Village.

Bobbie Gentry was so progressive and never gets the credit for it. She explored a lot of themes in her music that feminists of the time never even touched- for instance, suicide and mental illness (Ode to Billie Joe), sex work (Fancy, Belinda) and rural poverty (basically every other song). Come to think of it a lot of mainstream feminists still don’t talk about those issues. I really love her!

Alice Dunnigan began life in rural poverty and eventually became the first African American woman to serve as a White House and congressional news correspondent. The book has been described as an unflinching look at how Dunnigan endured the rough-and-tumble political terrain of the 1940s and 1950s and how she persevered to keep civil rights in the public eye before the civil rights movement was recognized by white America.
We have Carol McCabe Booker to thank for bringing this story back into the light. Booker condensed Dunnigan’s 1974 self-published book editing it to add scholarly annotations and historic context resulting in a book with wide appeal. Booker is a former journalist and DC attorney. She and her husband, Simeon Booker, wrote Shocking the Conscience: A Reporter’s Account of the Civil Rights Movement. Booker is an engaging writer and a captivating presenter.

I currently have internet but not running water.

Our water is undrinkable more than half the year, but I have a smart phone.

There’s this idea perpetrated by the rich that if poor people have “stuff” or access to any technology they must automatically then also be able to have other aspects of high living standards.

And its not true.

I have the $80 a month (because I’m on SSI) to get internet, but not the several thousand dollars at least that it would take to dig a deeper well so it wouldn’t go dry whenever we have an extended dry period in the summer.  I can buy bottled water with food stamps but not a fucking deep well.

A smart phone costs me $40 a month, but to even try to get constantly safe to drink water my mother would have to give up the revenue from renting the fields would mean that 9 people, including me, would become homeless.  Not to mention that even if that were not the case, we would still get run-off from neighboring properties that we can’t control.

Poor people can’t magically fix massive infrastructure problems by giving up the other things in our lives.  That just makes our suffering worse.

alright, y'all need to know why Yoru no Yatterman is so exciting

see, back in the late seventies, a new installment of the “Time Bokan” anime franchise came out, called “Yatterman”.

Yatterman was significant in large part for establishing or codifying a lot of tropes of anime, with its 108 episode run being the foundation of a lot of people’s fond childhood memories. It was very much what you might expect of the time, and as a foreigner my best guess for a comparison in mood and impact might be Adam West’s Batman. 

A creation of Tatsunoko Productions, Yatterman has continued to make appearances over the years, including remakes, and crossovers with other franchises like Gatchaman. Its biggest showing in the English-speaking world was the appearance of the characters in Tatsunoko vs. Capcom.

But, here’s the thing: Yatterman’s two heroes and their ridiculous cartoonish mecha are memorable… but their villains were even more so. 

The Doronbo Gang, led by the scantily-clad Doronjo and her hapless comrades Tonzura and Boyacky. Every team of bumbling idiot villains you can think of in anime and video games owes something to this bunch, especially Team RocketThe Doronbo Gang are the reason anime villains so often get blown to the horizon in a massive explosion, only to return again with some absurd new scheme. They’re the reason Jesse and James use so many ludicrous giant robots. The heroes beat them over and over, the kids cheered, and they showed up episode after episode, movie after movie, video game after video game to be about half as menacing as Gargamel.

Now, here’s where the new anime Yoru no Yatterman (Yatterman of the Night) is interesting: the entire story of Yatterman as we know it forms the distant backstory. Generations ago, the Doronbo Gang (spelled “Doronbow” in Funimation’s subtitles for this series) were defeated by the Yatterman duo, and banished to live in squalor as punishment. A “Yatterman Kingdom” was established, and renowned as a heaven on Earth…

…but if there’s heaven, there must be hell, and that’s what life is like for the descendants of the Doronbow Gang. Living meager but contented lives in rural poverty, Dorothy (descended from Doronjo) is tended to by Voltkaze (far more bishonen than his ancestor Boyacky) and strongman Elephantus (taking after Tonzura). When Dorothy takes ill, her daughter Leopard heads to the Yatterman Kingdom to seek a cure that doesn’t exist in their impoverished lands, only to be attacked by “Yatterman” with fucking laser beams after an immense wall rises out of the sea to block her way. Blaming Yatterman for her mother’s death and rationalizing that her ancestors may have actually been heroes fighting against the secret evil of Yatterman, she makes Elephantus and Voltkaze join her in assuming the identities of their ancestors to hunt down Yatterman and punish them.

Turns out that there’s an endless army of Yatterman robots, though. Uh-oh.

To continue the Team Rocket comparisons, this anime is as if the great-great-grandkids of Jesse, James, and Meowth grew up in a totalitarian regime, hunted by Terminator-esque Twerpbots, while revering the old Team Rocket motto as being a declaration of heroism. It’s a magnificent twist on the concept of Yatterman, and while it’s only two episodes in, I’ve got to recommend it if only for the concept alone.

aetheric-oddball  asked:

what is Wanda's education/intelligence like? I know she doesn't have a formal education/degree but I don't think she's like Meggan whose thing was being the naive romani that doesn't know stuff. sometimes I hear Wanda is really good at math, does this carry over in the 626 incarnation? is there anything besides magic that Wanda shown great knowledge or skill in (e.x computers, botany, etc)?

Wanda left school as a young teen (pre-teen??) after her mother died and she was separated from her father. Marvel is vague as to when that was, but 13-14 sounds right to me. She never went back to school, as far as I can remember, and if she was being taught by Magneto as a teen, we didn’t see it.

Chris Claremont wants you think she’s been studying physics with Tony Stark, and, uh, sure, why not? That’s a one-off thing though, and there’s no real indication Wanda was studying anything except magic. But her magic studies were important to her (”the most serious study of my wasted life!”). She devoted a lot of time and effort to the esoteric, and magic in 616 is just as valid and practical as any science, in spite of how uncomfortable it makes Tony Stark: Physics Teacher.

Intelligence is the sort of thing that’s vague, inconsistent, and largely unremarked on in comics unless you’re one of the super-geniuses. There’s not much commentary on how smart she is or isn’t. She is sometimes written as a wide-eyed, sheltered farm girl, but that’s rare and it’s never taken to the extreme it is for some other characters. That’s more about being too trusting or naive about how the world works than intellect anyway.

One thing Wanda usually is though is articulate. She often speaks in almost stilted way that’s common for ESL characters in superhero comics. Hawkeye says she talks “like Churchill in a skirt.” She’s not as stuffy as Pietro can be, but she also uses words like “transmogrify” in the middle of a battle. She’s got a sizable English vocabulary and plenty of knowledge about classic English poetry and literature.

You could argue there’s a disparity here. She didn’t graduate from high school (or even get close), and yet, she’s eloquent to a degree we associate with people with a much higher level of education. That’s a by-product of her not getting a backstory until 15 years after her creation. If she had originally been conceived as having grown up in rural poverty or as not having an education, she would be treated more like Meggan.

But seeing a character who isn’t well-educated say big words and devote herself to private study doesn’t break my realism meter. You don’t have to have a fancy degree to speak with standard grammar. Using large words or having what is considered “correct” grammar =/= having a fancy degree =/= intelligence. None of those things are the same, no matter how much society conflates them, and I don’t think any of them matter. Wanda is curious and determined. She speaks a ridiculous number of languages because comic books are ridiculous, and she devoted herself to learning magic like her life depended on it. It’s not hard to imagine her reading widely and studying fervently to learn the kind of grammar people are taught in school.

I wish more people, especially in fandom, would remember that Wanda grew up in abject poverty outside of the first world as part of an oppressed minority. The odds were stacked against her in every conceivable way. She was homeless as a teenager. She didn’t have a chance to stay in school, and her desperation and lack of resources guided her decision to stay with Magneto for years. She got where she is not through intelligence or education, but through determination and willpower. All of those things should influence how we see her character.

On Being a Non-Native

Dear Tumblr,

I am surrounded by beauty.  Each day I am greeted by the sun rising over the mountains on my morning walk to work.  Weekend hikes take me to awe-inspiring views.  This is sharply contrasted by the people I am here to serve.  People who are marginalized and forgotten about by most of society.  People who have welcomed me into their lives.

I elected to spend a month working for the Indian Health Service because, quite frankly, I am ignorant about Native Americans.  I come from a white, middle class background and my exposure to cultures not my own is lacking.  Though many of my peers are seeking to do audition rotations or overseas trips for 4th year, I wanted to broaden my experiences here in my own country.  So my girlfriend and I packed up the car and drove to our assigned Native American reservation.

The health problems here are dramatic.  Crime and violence reach rates seen in downtown L.A.  Patients are brought to the Emergency Department with BACs of 0.80 and walk out with BACs of 0.40 (for the record you are considered driving impaired when your BAC is 0.08).  Some areas of the reservation seem more like 3rd world countries in regards to poverty and living condition.  The impact of western culture is ever present in the sky-high diabetes rates.  

But the people are kind and noble.  They are more than the statistics presented about their population.  They are intelligent, yet quiet.  After just a few weeks I am finding myself comfortable in their presence, and more adept at making them comfortable in mine.  My introduction now includes a brief joke; my interview is less direct than what I might use with anglo people in my own community. 

The hospital we work for is small enough that providers literally work in all departments.  Board certified pediatricians see adults; internists see pregnant patients.  Hospital Wi-Fi is non-existent, and sometimes the internet is so slow we use paper charts.  It is a magical community where doctors practice the type of medicine I dreamt about before med school.  My heart feels a longing to stay in this simpler place forever. 

But this cannot last.  Before long I have to return to the hustle and bustle of an academic medical center.  My hospital has its own magic, thought it has lost its luster from the hours and hours I have spent inside its walls.  Perhaps it will seem a bit shinier when I return; or perhaps I will shine a bit brighter from this experience.  And maybe I will return one day, to this mountain hospital.  But for now I have to begin preparing for my next big training adventure.  

T-minus 6 months until I officially become an MD.      

Hopefully I will have time to write more about my experiences in the coming days.

Always yours,

The Disagreeable Doctor

Behind the scenes on the Call the Midwife Christmas Special: High fives!

We just love this picture taken during filming for our forthcoming Christmas special! It’s taken in South Africa, where our Christmas story is set - a time of harsh racial segregation and rural poverty.
Our production just LOVED its time spent there. We used local talent both in front and behind the camera… and great friendships were formed between our cast and the supporting artistes!

In this photograph, Helen George spends time between takes brushing up on her high fives with one of the brilliant and talented local children!
Call the Midwife was made incredibly welcome by the South Africans we lived and worked with - and we were proud to be able to tell a story set in that beautiful country which involved so many local people in its making.

Now we can’t wait to show the results to the world! :-)
Call the Midwife returns with its Christmas Special in the forthcoming holiday season, and then a new series 6 in early 2017. :-)