serve the world

10

#HAPPYCHENDAY | 2017
→ From collaborating with seniors in the industry, to having his hair bleached for the first time ever (and slaying us all). Kim Jongdae, you have never failed to surprise us and you didn’t disappoint when you said that you’ll show us better performances and an improved image of yourself. You deserve nothing but the best, because you gave us your best. Thank you and Happy 26th Birthday, you are so loved ♡

Never blame your fans

I know many of you artists - whether you draw, write, or compose - are frustrated that your original work, especially your dream projects, aren’t getting the responses you were hoping for.

I feel the same way.

But some of you express your frustrations completely destructively and blame the world for not giving you the spotlight.

When you do that, you’re blaming your problems for existing rather than adjusting and compromising to solve them. You’re making excuses for your mistakes. You’re demanding the world to change but you are not willing to change with it.

This is the perfect mindset to NEVER succeed in anything, ever.

You need to accept some basic truths of art before you can go any further:

  • Your art should teach you as much as or more than it teaches others: If you claim your art opens horizons and widens minds, yours should be the first priority. You cannot speak without listening. You are not a righteous prophet enlightening the heathens with the true word. You are one humble person and your art is one humble person’s story.
  • There are no new stories, but there are always new storytellers. That amazing idea you have that nobody’s ever thought of before? Someone has. But nobody has told the story your way, or drawn the character your way, or sung the song your way. Art is not about being new. It is about being you.
  • Popular art is all about the beholder. All these shows and games with so much fan art? They got to that level because they command a personal investment from and serve the viewer - they have worlds their fans want to be part of, and your canon will be swept aside along the way. You the artist are not a god or a wise sage. You are a guide and a footman. To be an artist is to be humanity’s servant, not its lord - and there’s no shame in that.
  • Most of your fans are not artists or art critics. While there will be a good number of them in your fanbase, the vast majority are not going to be super-open-minded creative thinkers who value every single opinion, outlook, and story just because it’s done technically well. They will be ordinary people with ordinary, selfish interests, and they will care about your content more than your talent. You have to balance what you want to draw with what everyone wants to see.

But the most important part of being an artist or really a person at all is to understand this:

Nobody owes you success.

Nobody is under any obligation to pay anything you produce a second glance or support or promote it in any way.

Nobody is spiting or robbing you by not giving you a like or a reblog or a follow.

Every single gesture of appreciation you receive from someone is a courtesy - a gift that you earn, not a right you’re entitled to.

It is not the job of your audience to love your work. It is your job to make it lovable. And just because you are working really hard does not mean you are working in the right direction.

I know that thousands upon thousands of artists put hours or months or years into a project and feel like they get nothing in return. Sometimes it is not how hard you’re working but what you’re working for that is the problem. 

Sometimes you need to slow down and think, “Do I have to have this just so? What would the kind of person interested in my work be looking for, and where can I address it? Am I maybe taking myself and my work a little too seriously?” 

And a lot of artists don’t realize that as an amateur, you are the sole proprietor - you are your art. Whether people like you determines whether they like your art.

And that’s why when you blame everybody else and post ungrateful, catty garbage like this:

… you don’t subsequently become the next Toby Fox.

The simple fact is that people will pay you attention if they think your offering + your hassle are worth their attention.

You need to create a world that someone other than you will have fun in and you need to be a good host to everyone who visits

You need a world that will welcome your fans with open arms.

You need to build a world people can live & play in.

And you and your world need to appreciate your fans just for showing up.

Because this is exactly what the big fish do.


because they spread your work around to more people without shanking you on credit and who gets the likes


because they make your work show up sooner & more often on searches and are simply a nice gesture


because they take time out and pay good money to listen to your story and make you from a pauper into a prince


because if you appreciate no one, no one will appreciate you, nor should they

10

Daisy Johnson in Agents of SHIELD: ‘Farewell, Cruel World!’

anonymous asked:

I’m not trying to be inflammatory, I’m just curious. How do het ace/aro people face SYSTEMATIC oppression? Gay/bi/trans people face oppression like difficultly adopting children, finding housing, they may be fired from employment because of their gender or orientation. So they are bared from normal parts of live because of their gender/sexuality. Gay ace/aro people face this too, but what do het ace/aro people experience on a societal level?

If you’d been following my blog at all or even bothered to peruse it a little before dropping this message in my inbox, you’d probably already know the answer to your question. 

You’d ALSO probably know that there are bi and pan aspecs too (e.g., I’m panromantic demisexual) which isn’t “gay” (does this term also include lesbians?) so I feel like your ask erases part of my own identity and that of others in the community.

For these reasons and more, I’d bet money that you’re not here because you’re “curious”. You’re probably here because you figure this is how you’re gonna stop a “self-imposing” aspec from speaking up for herself. 

Well guess what: That’s just hateful & sad.

Regardless though of your intentions, I’m here to say that there is in fact SYSTEMATIC oppression against aspecs. For example, Dr Gordon Hodson wrote this about his 2012 study: 

In a recent investigation (MacInnis & Hodson, in press) we uncovered strikingly strong bias against asexuals in both university and community samples. Relative to heterosexuals, and even relative to homosexuals and bisexuals, heterosexuals: (a) expressed more negative attitudes toward asexuals (i.e., prejudice); (b) desired less contact with asexuals; and © were less willing to rent an apartment to (or hire) an asexual applicant (i.e., discrimination). Moreover, of all the sexual minority groups studied, asexuals were the most dehumanized (i.e., represented as “less human”). Intriguingly, heterosexuals dehumanized asexuals in two ways. Given their lack of sexual interest, widely considered a universal interest, it might not surprise you to learn that asexuals were characterized as “machine-like” (i.e., mechanistically dehumanized). But, oddly enough, asexuals were also seen as “animal-like” (i.e., animalistically dehumanized). Yes, asexuals were seen as relatively cold and emotionless and unrestrained, impulsive, and less sophisticated.

When you repeatedly observe such findings it grabs your attention as a prejudice researcher. But let’s go back a minute and consider those discrimination effects. Really? You’d not rent an apartment to an asexual man, or hire an asexual woman? Even if you relied on stereotypes alone, presumably such people would make ideal tenants and employees. We pondered whether this bias actually represents bias against single people, a recently uncovered and very real bias in its own right (see Psychology Today column by Bella DePaulo). But our statistical analyses ruled out this this possibility. So what’s going on here?

If you’ve been following my column, you’ll recall that I wrote a recent article on what I called the “Bigotry Bigot-Tree” – what psychologists refer to as generalized prejudice. Specifically, those disliking one social group (e.g., women) also tend to dislike other social groups (e.g., homosexuals; Asians). In our recent paper (MacInnis & Hodson, in press), we found that those who disliked homosexuals also disliked bisexuals and asexuals. In other words, these prejudices are correlated. Heterosexuals who dislike one sexual minority, therefore, also dislike other sexual minorities, even though some of these groups are characterized by their sexual interest and activity and others by their lack of sexual interest and activity.

This anti-asexual bias, at its core, seems to boil down to what Herek (2010) refers to as the “differences as deficit” model of sexual orientation. By deviating from the typical, average, or normal sexual interests, sexual minorities are considered substandard and thus easy targets for disdain and prejudice. Contrary to conventional folk wisdom, prejudice against sexual minorities may not therefore have much to do with sexual activity at all. There is even evidence, for instance, that religious fundamentalists are prejudiced against homosexuals even when they are celibate (Fulton et al., 1999). Together, such findings point to a bias against “others”, especially different others, who are seen as substandard and deficient (and literally “less human”). “Group X” is targeted for its lack of sexual interest even more than homosexuals and bisexuals are targeted for their same-sex interests.

From news coverage of a recently published study (2016):

What should the average person take away from your study?

Since I first became interested in the issue, I have come to conclude that U.S. society is both “sex negative” and “sex positive.” In other words, there is stigma and marginalization that can come both from being “too sexual” and from being “not sexual enough.” In a theoretical paper, I argued that sexuality may be compulsory in contemporary U.S. society. In other words, our society assumes that (almost) everyone is, at their core, “sexual” and there exists a great deal of social pressure to experience sexual desire, engage in sexual activities, and adopt a sexual identity. At the same time, various types of “non-sexuality” (such as a lack of sexual desire or activity) are stigmatized.

For this particular study, I identified thirty individuals who identified as asexual and asked them first, if they had experienced stigma or marginalization as a result of their asexuality, and, second how they challenged this stigma or marginalization. I found that my interviewees had experienced the following forms of marginalization: pathologization (i.e. people calling them sick), social isolation, unwanted sex and relationship conflict, and the denial of epistemic authority (i.e. people not believing that they didn’t experience sexual attraction). I also found that my interviews resisted stigma and marginalization in five ways: describing asexuality as simply a different (but not inherently worse) form of sexuality; deemphasizing the importance of sexuality in human life; developing new types of nonsexual relationships; coming to see asexuality as a sexual orientation or identity; and engaging in community building and outreach.

I hope that average people would take away from this study the idea that some people can lead fulfilling lives without experiencing sexual attraction but can experience distress if others try to invalidate their identities.

Some of the social isolation we aspecs experience comes from religious communities. Indeed, the popular myth that religious people revere aspecs is very much NOT TRUE. For example, read “Myth 8″ from the VISION Catholic Religious Vocation Guide:

MYTH 8: Religious are asexual

Question: What do you call a person who is asexual? 

Answer: Not a person. Asexual people do not exist. Sexuality is a gift from God and thus a fundamental part of our human identity. Those who repress their sexuality are not living as God created them to be: fully alive and well. As such, they’re most likely unhappy.

All people are called by God to live chastely, meaning being respectful of the gift of their sexuality. Religious men and women vow celibate chastity, which means they live out their sexuality without engaging in sexual behavior. A vow of chastity does not mean one represses his manhood or her womanhood. Sexuality and the act of sex are two very different things. While people in religious life abstain from the act of sex, they do not become asexual beings, but rather need to be in touch with what it means to be a man or a woman. A vow of chastity also does not mean one will not have close, loving relationships with women and men. In fact, such relationships are a sign of living the vow in a healthy way. Living a religious vow of chastity is not always easy, but it can be a very beautiful expression of love for God and others.

Religious women and men aren’t oddities; they mirror the rest of the church they serve: there are introverts and extroverts, tall and short, old and young, straight and gay, obese and skinny, crass and pious, humorous and serious, and everything in between. They attempt to live the same primary vocation as all other Christians do: proclaiming and living the gospel. However, religious do this as members of an order that serve the church and world in a particular way. Like marriage and the single life, religious life can be wonderful, fulfilling, exciting, and, yes, normal. Yet, it also can be countercultural and positively challenging. It’s that for us and many others.

If you thought religious life was outdated, dysfunctional, or dead, we hope you can now look beyond the stereotypes and see the gift it is to the church and world.

NOTE: YOU CAN BE A GAY CATHOLIC PERSON BUT NOT ASEXUAL, BC ASEXUALITY DOESN’T EXIST (yet somehow we’re also “most likely unhappy” and “oddities”). I sincerely hope and believe that not all religions characterize us aspecs this way. But here are some personal accounts I found on a reddit site answering the question “Do any religions have a negative stance toward asexuals?”:

Please note that the Christian pastor in the last example was fearful (or something?) that an asexual was helping to lead a youth group and kicked them out of the church as a result.

MY JOHNLOCK FIC REC LIST
  1. Absolutely all of these fics have happy endings. I can’t read hardcore angst or I’ll die. I mean it. 
  2. If there are any other relationships in these fics then it’ll be minor but Johnlock is def front and center and endgame for all of them.
  3. I’ve avoided reccing the really famous Johnlock fics. I love them but all these fics need more love cause they’re all so amazing! 
  4. 99% of these fics are bottomlock but since I don’t care who bottoms or who tops (as long as they fuck and as long as they are in character) (that means no DFP Sherlock) (or Baby Princess John) so if you have a problem with toplock in general, tread carefully.
  5. All of these fics are from AO3. 
  6. Also please excuse my crappy summaries.
  7. Be sure to read all the tags before reading!


EXPLICIT 

  • The Dialogue of John and Sherlock Series by cwb - Sherlock decides that he and John are in a romantic relationship. John tries to educate Sherlock on what that actually means. (this is the cutest, Sherlock is literally hopeless)
  • The Bachelors’ Handfasting by jurgbury - 1800s Scotland where younger Sherlock and older John are in an arranged marriage. (John is so fucking hot in this I want to die)
  • Thirteen Dances (Or, The Doctor Dances) by Knackorcraft - John can dance!!!
  • Hellfire by testosterone_tea - Magical Realism! John is a Berserker (powerful fire monster thing that’s supposed to be extinct) and is believed to be a threat to the country and Mycroft wants him held captive so of course Mage Sherlock is like NO.
  • Bury the Bells by unknownsister - Parade’s End AU. 
  • The Kepler Problem by kinklock - Alienlock and space-explorer/worker/maintainer/something John! (all of Kinklock’s fics are awesome af really)
  • The High Tide Series by stardust_made - A rich arse of a bloke tries to woo a clueless John and Sherlock just about loses his mind I LOVE JEALOUS SHERLOCK (The first story is rated T but the other two are E so…) (my fave)
  • The Haunting of Sherlock Holmes by MapleleafCameo - Sherlock investigates a 60 year old disappearance in the countryside and gets a shock along the way. (Not angsty, don’t worry)
  • The Life that is Waiting For by Youameliakaleigh - Sherlock is the son of a Goddess (so basically a demigod) and John is his trusty guardian/teacher/person/Sun sentinel okay just read!
  • Neighbours by thelookyouredoingthelookagain - John moves into 22IC and Sherlock is very silly, as he always is. 
  • Irrational and Sentimental Series by apliddell - Post S3 lovely Johnlock sweetness.
  • Intimacy Series by sussexbound (SamanthaLenore) - Love confessions and then smut! (First story is T later story is E) 
  • Never Have I Ever by hudders-and-hiddles (huddersandhiddles) - The boys play Never Have I Ever with some of the Met and they get together cause John and Sherlock are so dumb that it takes alcohol and a truth game for them to realize that their feelings are REQUITED DAMN IT okay okay I’m sorry canon stresses me out.
  • First and Only by crimsonwinter - Babylock to Kidlock to Teenlock to Unilock, growing up with John. WIP
  • A Study in Movement by Supernova12 - Teen rugby John is working on an art project and needs to improve drawing movement so he draws teen ballet Sherlock. 
  • A Hard Day’s Night by 221Btls - John the Knight and Sherlock the peasant. WIP
  • To the Sticking Place by blueink3 - John and Sherlock as theatre actors, both acting as the main roles in a Hamlet production! WIP (I don’t know why this doesn’t get more love, this is the theatre version of Performance In A Leading Role!) (my fave) 
  • How Do You Know? by LaurieRoar - John having sex with Virgin Sherlock to see whether or not his claim that he doesn’t like sex is true. (my fave) (but I hardly ever see this recced) (super fucking hot)
  • Well Begun Is Half Done by Avice - Sherlock tryna seduce John but John’s like “Fuck that, let’s get down to it”. (Avice’s fics are severely underrated, they are all awesome)
  • Angel Hair Series by justacookieofacumberbatch (buffyholic) - Successful surgeon John and waiter Sherlock get it on wohoho. WIP
  • A Study in Sex Series by Castiel_For_King - John teaching Sherlock The Ways of Sex.
  • The City of Dreams Series by bittergreens - Lots of sex? Lol.
  • Spinning by Tispy-the-Minx (ComeAlongPond14) - Seventeen-year-old John is assigned to Sherlock’s care.
  • For you, there’s only me by shock_blanket - So much pining the boys are idiots I swear to God.
  • Six Degrees of Separation by testosterone_tea - Sherlock highkey wants to meet John but treats it all like a ridiculous experiment to stay cool, I could kill him, he’s so ridiculous. (testosterone_tea is awesome, their fics need more love)
  • Lovesick by distantstarlight - Sherlock getting sick and John taking care of him and also sex.
  • The Republic of Heaven by Blind_Author - His Dark Materials AU. WIP (okay so this is my fave out of all my faves but it hasn’t been updated in forever but I refuse to believe it’s been abandoned or else I’ll perish) (the fave)
  • Imaginary Pictures by crossroads - Teenlock falling in love with John. Loads of pining. (this needs more love)
  • In Care Of by quietasasleepingarmy -  John writes instructions for Sherlock’s ‘lover’ on how to care for him aka I hate them PLEASE DIE.
  • In A Changing Age by allonsys_girl -  Sherlock wakes up in the 19th century, with no idea how he got there aka I love them I’M GONNA DIE.
  • Pretending to Be by 221BJen (jcoz1701) - John is hired to track down Sherlock, who is an asset to The Centre, a secret agency.
  • The Wrong Wagon by DancingGrimm - Molly starts crushing on John instead of Sherlock when the doctor saved her life. Sherlock (aka the gay baby loser that I hate) notices and just about goes insane.
  • Angel With A Fiddle by Remy_Writes5 - Young soldier John meets violinist Sherlock at a carnival the day before he is to be deployed to Germany to serve in World War 1.
  • The Boffin and the Bachelor by starrysummernights - Uh… John and Sherlock getting together and there’s some fluff and some smut and a bit of angst? (Idk how to summarize this. Really good, though)
  • Fool For You by sheerrloockk - Poor clueless Sherlock proposes to John on April Fools’ Day by accident.
  • Operation Inked by QuinnAnderson - John has a tattoo and Sherlock makes it his mission to see it cause he dumb.
  • Discerning Tastes by Irrevocably_Sherlocked - Sherlock tries to get some good Scotch for Mycroft’s birthday but is faced with a hot, kilt-wearing John and practically loses all his genius because of it. (Irrevocably_Sherlocked’s fics need more attention cause they are the bombdotcom)
  • Lightning and Sea Glass by 221b_careful_what_you_wish_for - Frankenlock AU. (This is a bit angsty so watch out)
  • In Nomine by Atiki - Sherlock can only manage to say John’s name when they have sex. (Sherlock is too cute, I will perish)
  • See Recipe for Details by pandoras_chaos - John makes a list of things Sherlock likes to eat. (Reading this made me hungry. For food. Obvs)


MATURE

  • Tell it Like it is by testosterone_tea -  Sherlock and John go out to the pub with some of the officers from Scotland Yard and played some games while they’re at it. (This is fucking hilarious) 
  • The Semantics of Crop Circle Formation: a case study by Sherlock Holmes [unpublished] by canolacrush - John and Sherlock are investigating a weird extraterrestrial-like case but for once, John knows more about it than Sherlock does wink wink read it! (my fave) (this needs heaps more love wtf!!!)
  • My Life Had Stood A Loaded Gun by HeartOfTheMirror - Magical Realism! John is a Healer. (I hate Mycroft in this)
  • Aparecium by 1electricpirate - Potterlock! Sherlock is a Muggle but John isn’t. WIP
  • Enigma by khorazir - The Imitation Game-esque fic. WIP
  • Splatter Patterns by beezee - John is an artist and Sherlock is an art critic.
  • Apprehension by BashfulBunny (Aequoreavictoria) - John is hired to kidnap Sherlock but things go awry obvs. WIP
  • Captains of Industry series by 221b_hound - John is a hot barista and Sherlock is, of course, a fumbling mess. (This series is awesome, the whole gang is here, working close by.)
  • where the good things grow by anchors - Sherlock has a magic garden he uses to brew tea and John has a tea shop. (This fic is so sweettttt and deserves more love)
  • Down with this Ship by FrostedFlame (PinkOrchid) - Sherlock takes John to a gay bar expecting him to be uncomfortable but BAM John the Raging Bisexual comes out to play and shocks the fuck out of the detective.
  • The Thin Line by Odamaki - Sherlock and John in a super snug closet  and John gets a raging boner lolllllllll.
  • The Frost Child by twistedthicket1 - Everyone have gifts and John keeps his a secret but Sherlock finds out. (my fave)
  • Dawn Before the Rest of the World Series by PoppyAlexander - 1920s England, butler Sherlock and gardener John. (John is so romantic in this, I want to cry)
  • Dreamer by MagdaTheMagpie - After Afghanistan, John keeps dreaming about Sherlock dying and does everything he can to stop it. (my fave)
  • ROT-13 by berlynn_wohl -  John the spaceman crashes his pod in Sherlock the alien’s planet where he meets Sherlock and fuck it’s hilarious just read.
  • Don’t Underestimate John Watson by BakerTumblings - John is offered the role of Lester Nygaard in Fargo and basically never underestimate him, for reals.
  • Brother Mine by annabagnell - Parentlock and MPreg! Sherlock gives birth to a baby much to the impatience and delight of excited big sister Michaela (This is so sweet)
  • Care of Magical Creatures by stillaseeker - Some Potterlock domestic cuteness and hilarity. 
  • Ink and Honour Series by moonblossom - 1800s. Mrs. Hudson takes in young Captain John Watson who was injured in the Napoleonic wars alongside her young ward Sherlock. (first story is M but the ratings after that are all over the place so read tags) 


TEEN AND UP AUDIENCES 

  • Love or What You Will by miss_frankenstein - John is an English professor and Sherlock is a PhD student assigned to be his TA. (I just… I love this one so much… I will die) (my fave) (this fic introduced me to my favourite poem, Sylvia Plath’s Mad Girl’s Love Song)
  • Bookshop Series by alivingfire - John meets Sherlock at a bookshop.
  • The Master of Latham Hall by Kryptaria - John and Sherlock investigates murders at Latham Hall and is in for a bit of a shock. (A bit of angst but not in regards to John and Sherlock) (I love you. I will always love you. God, I die every time)
  • A Haunted House series by cassyl - Major Character Deaths but not angsty. (Can’t say anything more cause spoilers but seriously, don’t worry, just read)
  • Once Upon a Beast Becoming by antietamfalls - Sherlock is an ancient being cursed by a Druid and John is the only person who can rid him of it. (loveeeeeeeee)
  • between each beat are words unsaid by darcylindbergh, hudders-and-hiddles (huddersandhiddles) -  On their wedding night, John and Sherlock gift each other with a collection of writings they wrote about the other. (Sweet af)  
  • Deleted Files Series by oh_my_stars_and_sky - Every time Sherlock deletes something from his Mind Palace it shows up in John’s mind. WIP
  • Four Shots Series by Opy3332 - John works at a Starbucks at SIS Headquarters and meets Sherlock.
  • Quality of Life Series by cleflink - John has great healing powers! WIP
  • Truth or Consequences Series by Majela - John gives Sherlock a taste of his own medicine in regards to drugging people without their consent.
  • Witness Protection by missilemuse -  John used to be Jim’s fiance but he finds out about him being super evil and all and testifies against him. He meets Sherlock and ya know: lurve. (my fave)
  • The Red Dianthus by kinklock -  The boys investigate a mysterious disappearance in a supposedly haunted house, and get much more than they bargained for.  
  • Watch What They Photograph Series by Itsallfine - “If you want to learn what someone fears losing, watch what they photograph.” (First two stories are rated T the last is E)
  • A Different Kind of Complication by Atisenia - John, living alone in 221B, started getting letters addressed to Sherlock.
  • Without a Doubt by prettysailorsoldier - 1950s Teenlock.
  • The Strait of Juan de Fuca by mightypog - Post Reichenbach. John is distant from Sherlock even though he has forgiven him and Sherlock tries hard to fix their friendship.
  • Turbulence in the Sky by esplanade - Sherlock wants to tell John how he feels about him but he keeps spouting bullshit instead oh my poor child…
  • Affectionate Investment by MillieTheFreak - Sherlock and John feeding each other like it’s the most natural thing in the world I LOVE THEM
  • What Would Sherlock Do? Series by EinahSirro - John uses his deductive powers to find out if Sherlock reciprocates his romantic feelings and to seduce him! 


GENERAL AUDIENCES

  • The Contingency Plan by mightypog -  When Sally and Greg prevent Sherlock from committing suicide when he thinks John has been killed, Sherlock and Sally reconsider each other. (bit of angst, nothing heavy) (this is so real like this is exactly how canon Sherlock will react if anything happens to John) (my fave)
  • Evidence by JezebelGoldstone - Angry papa Lestrade comes bounding up to 221B demanding the return of all the evidence Sherlock stole so the detective tells the DI about some of the evidence so he’ll let him keep it. (Sherlock is amazingly sentimental in this, I love him)
  • And as the seasons change, I love you more by Teatrolley -  A year in the lives of John and Sherlock, essentially. (I will bawl my eyes out, this is so… just so! So much) (This isn’t rated so I’ll just put it under here) 


If I’ve mentioned your fic here and you want me to credit you or add a link to your Tumblr or anything like that, let me know! 

I’ll be updating this post regularly as more great fics will inevitably come along. And I’ll always be happy to rec specific fics to anyone and everyone! Just ask. I read Johnlock fanfic 24/7 every single day so might as well utilize it somehow. 

4

The Swingin’ Harlem Hellfighters Band,

The Harlem Hellfighters have taken to the spotlight in modern times thanks to the popularity of the video game “Battlefield 1″, where the African American soldiers are featured in the very opening of the game. The US 369th Infantry Regiment was a unit of African American soldiers who served with incredible distinction during World War I. During the war many white American soldiers refused to serve with blacks, and as a result the 369th was assigned to the French Army, the French having little qualms with serving with African Americans, nor did they have a policy of segregation such as the US Army. They were even issued French weapons and wore French helmets while in combat. During their service in World War I the 369th was nicknamed by the French “The Harlem Hellfighters” because of their tenacious fighting spirit.  They never gave ground in combat, not one soldier was ever captured, and they served the longest continuous deployment of any other Allied unit during the war (191 days of continuous combat). Due to their bravery, they were also among the most decorated Allied units, with two Medals of Honor, 171 French Croix de Guerre’s, and numerous Distinguished Service Crosses.

One of the most unique features of the Harlem Hellfighter’s was their band, perhaps the only unit in the entire war to have a ragtime band.  Unlike pretty much all other military bands which played traditional marches and martial music, the Harlem Hellfighter Band played the music they loved and could perform best, mostly American ragtime music and early forms of Jazz.  The Harlem Hellfighter Band was directed by Lt. James Reese Europe, a man who was certainly fit for the job as he was the band leader of the Clef Club Orchestra, a band popular in New York for their ragtime and proto-jazz music.

On April 8th, 1918 French soldiers turned their heads in wonder as The Harlem Hellfighters marched toward the front to the tunes of hot ragtime and Jazz beats. 

No one in Europe had ever heard such music, in fact Jazz was barely even heard in the United States outside of a few communities in New Orleans, Chicago, and New York.  The new music became an instant hit among both French and British soldiers, and before long the Harlem Hellfighters Band was being called to perform for French and British units all along the line, as well as villages they passed through. Soon, the Harlem Hellfighters swinging sound took Western Europe by storm, and the band was even invited to perform in Paris at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées. Among the Hellfighters biggest hits was a ragtime tune called “Memphis Blues”.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJPztEjzf6s

Another popular hit was “On Patrol in No Man’s Land”, written by Lt. James Europe himself while recuperating after being wounded in a poison gas attack while on patrol.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wpFCuZ-B4j0

And then of course the biggest crowd pleaser given the location and audience was a jazzed up version of “Le Marseillaise”  

After the war the band would make a grand tour of Europe, then return home and make a grand tour of the United States. Stories of the Harlem Hellfighters unique sound had spread across American and people were demanding more.  During their American tour, the band cut 24 records. Everywhere they went, whether in Europe or the United States, they drew huge cheering crowds, they had become the superstars of their day. 

Unfortunately the story of the Harlem Hellfighters Band did not end well for James Europe. On the night of May 9th, 1919 Europe confronted one of his drummers over poor and unprofessional behavior.  The drummer, known as a hothead among the band members, attacked Europe and stabbed him in the throat with a penknife. Europe bled out and died while in the hospital later that night.

The legacy of the Harlem Hellfighters Band is as grand and all encompassing for music as the Great War itself.  Essentially, the band is credited with spreading the popularity of Jazz throughout Europe and America. Before World War I, Jazz was a niche genre of music, common only among African Americans living in certain areas of New York, New Orleans, and Chicago.  After the exploits of the Harlem Hellfighters Band Jazz would spread across the world, becoming the dominant form of popular music up to the 1950′s and serving as the predecessor to popular music styles today such as rock, hip hop, pop, and soul.

Members of the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion, the first all-African-American, all-female unit to serve overseas in World War II, take part in a parade ceremony in honor of Joan d'Arc at the marketplace where she was burned at the stake. Rouen, France. May 27, 1945.

(US National Archives)

It’s hard to pin down what’s most striking to me about The Misha Files.

At times he has been chubby, depressed, homeless, introverted and sad, a procrastinator and a terrible speller faced with a world of indifference and cruelty and greed, yet somehow also an adventurous, thoughtful, wildly optimistic and full of ideas reckless boy in love with his high school sweetheart. 

He remembers people, and is that not an act of kindness itself? He remembers a woman giving his mother a hundred dollars at Christmastime and he remembers Mr. Haiggis and he remembers Peter Ward and he remembers Aisha, the cutest girl in the world who stood on his deck and “declared, ‘I can’t believe I am on a real deck!’ with such enthusiasm and sincerity, it crushed [him].”

Maybe it’s his self-deprecation, his eccentricity, or his storytelling.

There is this dedication to service, which is not news to any of us yet seeing every phase of his life infused with this core ideal is still…remarkable? How fascinating it is to read through his life as he grapples with how best to serve the world, and boy howdy! does he wander, throwing hundreds of darts at the board. As a four-year-old he remembers wanting to help make things better for his mother, help his father with carpentry. He teams up with Vicki and they start a summer camp for urban youth, travel overseas to shoot documentaries in India, Nepal, and Haiti, start a non-profit. He studies social theory and political science to go into public service and goes on to become an intern at the White House, an intern at NPR. He goes to law school to become a lawyer and seek justice for others via the law - Okay, I’m glad he didn’t go through with this one.

He founds Random Acts and they build an orphanage in Haiti, a high school in Nicaragua, a hotline for mental health support. He starts his own radical, insane international scavenger hunt. He trains as an EMT, and of course he does, because it’s all part of this (very extensive!!!) journey in saving and helping others - in what would come to be simply, and beautifully, ‘acts of kindness.’ He writes poetry letters about how to find happiness and he encourages others to practice mindfulness and he works so hard to inspire millions of people to steadfastly choose kindness even as these days grow ostensibly darker and harder; he does not quit and that might be what I find most striking.

We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?

Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine.

—  Selected parts from Marianne Williamson’s book: A Return to Love

My grandfather always served an extra plate

by reddit user shiloh667

My grandfather died two weeks ago. After the funeral, my family sat around my grandmother’s living room, talking about the nice memories we had with him. All of us grandchildren mentioned how he always spoke in different voices when reading, even if it was just the newspaper. We spoke of the stories he used to tell us about his childhood.

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Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
—  Marianne Williamson