Why I Think “Ghost in the Shell” Is Racist As F*ck, But I’m Still Planning To See It

ScarJo in Ghost in the Shell

Since I heard about the extremely controversial casting of Scarlett Johansson in “Ghost in the Shell,” I’ve been about as enraged by it as anyone. At first, I resolved not to see the film in protest. As a woman, I understand how meaningful it can be to see yourself represented in mainstream media. It makes you feel seen and accepted by your society, your people. It makes you feel like an equal and someone who matters. And as a lover of women in general, I don’t want to see any kind of woman shut out of our culture’s media. Every kind of woman, no matter what she looks like or how old she is or where she comes from or who she’s attracted to or what she believes in, deserves recognition and acceptance.

The film is nauseatingly racist. In addition to the blatant racism of casting a white woman in an originally Asian female role, it reportedly attempted to yellow face some of its extras, and possibly even Johansson herself.

I had a friend once who was half Chinese and half Scottish. She was outgoing, excitable, charming, feminine, and beautiful. We took ballroom dance classes together, and that was where I first realized how marginalized Asian women are. The men looked at her like she was a sex toy – old, often married men and this 14 year old girl. They flirted with her and ogled her. She was their favorite dance partner, and it had nothing to do with her dancing ability. Her personality had quite a bit to do with it, but I’m also quite certain that her race made them feel much more confident in treating her like she existed purely for their pleasure.

I often get ads for Asian women from dating sites. I get those more than any other dating site ad. I’ve seen statistics that Asian women are the most fetishized women in America. What comes with that fetishization? Viewing them as non-human.

Which is why it was so deeply offensive for this film’s producers to take an iconic, inspiring female character like Major Motoko Kusanagi and make her the default woman that we always see on our screens, rather than an underrepresented minority who deserve to see themselves as these inspiring people.

But despite feeling so strongly about that, I also couldn’t ignore that it was a female lead, who is meant to carry the film. Now, I don’t mean to say that it is REMOTELY okay that they whitewashed this character. But I kept thinking, how often do we have a female lead in a big-budget, mainstream cyberpunk film? A woman starring in an action film is unusual enough, but what’s even more unusual is a story that focuses on the humanity, or lack thereof, of a female cyborg. The cyborg trope and the question of whether cyborgs and human-like robots should be treated as equal humans has been so deeply explored within the science fiction genre that I’m sick of contemplating those questions. (I’m a sci fi baby.) It’s a very unique way to explore the human condition, and relevant to our modern world.

Continue reading

Advertisements

iPhones And the High Cost of Healthcare

This week, Utah Republican Jason Chaffetz made a statement on CNN defending the new Trumpcare bill. He said:

“Well we’re getting rid of the individual mandate. We’re getting rid of those things that people said they don’t want. And you know what? Americans have choices. And they’ve got to make a choice. And so, maybe rather than getting that new iPhone that they just love and they want to go spend hundreds of dollars on that, maybe they should invest it in their own health care. They’ve got to make those decisions for themselves.”

Hmmm, Chaffetz doesn’t seem to have paid for his own health care in a while. The cost of an iPhone would pay for six weeks of metamaiden’s insulin. Even with insurance, if we skipped the iPhone, the amount we’d save would only cover the copay for about six months of insulin. That doesn’t include the supplies that it takes to run the pump that delivers the insulin into her blood stream, or the test strips and needles for her blood glucose meter. She also uses a continuous glucose monitor. She happens to have a lifelong chronic illness which costs thousands of dollars a year to treat. Her Type 1 diabetes is an auto-immune disease, not something caused by lifestyle choices. She was diagnosed at ten years old and is currently an honor student in college. Is Chaffetz going to stand there and tell me that she doesn’t deserve decent health care? We, her parents, have always had good insurance and enough money to afford her care, but we have nightmares worrying about what will happen when she goes off our insurance in a few years. No unpaid internships for her, no gaps in insurance, no self-employment, no working for a small business with crappy or no insurance. Not if the Republicans get their way. They say they are keeping some parts of Obamacare care, but they also still have to make compromises to convince the more conservative members of Congress to vote for their version.

Continue reading

Latest Late Night Political Humor [VIDEO]

 

The man who lives in the White House just discovered that healthcare is a complicated subject, that our bridges, roads, and the rest of the infrastructure needs to be replaced, and he thinks that his relationship with the press is a business transaction that he can opt out of as easily as he can refuse to buy Girl Scout cookies. Sometimes all you can do is laugh. Then figure out how to protect your rights.

Here’s a little help with the laughter.

*Kudos to Buzzfeed, you’ve really arrived when you’re bannable.   *Jon, the spider’s name is Charlotte, of course.

Continue reading

The ACLU’s Next Endeavor: Organizing the People’s Power to Resist

aclupeoplepower

On March 11, the ACLU is holding a Resistance Training. This event will launch People Power, the ACLU’s new effort to engage grassroots volunteers across the country and take the fight against Donald Trump’s policies not just into the courts, but into the streets. We’re organizing grassroots events in communities across the country to watch the livestream together. Please join us!

PeoplePower.org

Under the cut, a message from ACLU National Political Director Faiz Shakir, explaining more about PeoplePower.org and the livestream Resistance Training on March 11, 2017 at 5:00 PM ET.

 

Continue reading

Stephen Colbert Takes on Donald Trump: Updated [Video]

Stephen Colbert, host of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on CBS, and former host of The Colbert Report, has been on fire lately. He’s holding Donald Trump and his administration accountable for their illegal actions in a way that our current Republican Congress and Senate never will. As a founding member of the Colbert Nation, it’s my duty to share some of his latest monologues and cold openings with you. 😇  Melissa McCarthy’s Sean Spicer press conferences from SNL and Seth Meyers’ A Closer Look are at the bottom of the page, just for a little extra fun, or whatever we’re calling it.

Check out The Late Show’s YouTube channel for more.

Continue reading

Stephen Colbert Takes on Donald Trump [Video]

Stephen Colbert, host of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on CBS, and former host of The Colbert Report, has been on fire lately. He’s holding Donald Trump and his administration accountable for their illegal actions in a way that our current Republican Congress and Senate never will. As a founding member of the Colbert Nation, it’s my duty to share some of his latest monologues and cold openings with you. 😇  Melissa McCarthy’s Sean Spicer press conferences from SNL and Seth Meyers’ A Closer Look are at the bottom of the page, just for a little extra fun, or whatever we’re calling it.

Continue reading

P*ssy Grabs Back: Metamaiden’s Story of the Women’s March on Washington (Well, Albuquerque)

dogs-against-pussy-grabbers-2

Today (Saturday, January 21,2017), I (Metamaiden) joined millions of others around the world in marching for women’s rights. Though it was freezing for Albuquerque, it was a super fun, inspiring day, and I’m glad I got up a little earlier than I prefer (heheh) to be a part of it.

We arrived at exactly 11 AM, just as the march, which was really more like a rally, was starting. As we were crossing the street to the plaza where the march was being held, an announcer was giving guidelines for how to handle aggressors. Then, as we were starting to make our way into the crowd, the speaker said, “There are some people who don’t think there are this many people in the whole state of New Mexico!” 😏😋👏

Continue reading

It Can’t Happen Here: Unless It’s Aliens or Has Orange Hair (Audio)

itcanthappenheregraphic

On October 24, 2016, 2 weeks before Election Day, we both attended a local staged reading of the play It Can’t Happen Here, based on the 1936 novel by Sinclair Lewis. The novel, and the play, describe the rise and rule of a charismatic, dogmatic, conservative politician who is eventually elected president. He promises a return to traditional values, but reneges on his promises soon after he takes office, turning the country into a totalitarian regime within a period of a few months. Anyone who doesn’t offer complete, unquestioning loyalty to the new regime is imprisoned or executed.

This may sound like a drastic scenario, something that “can’t happen here,” but Lewis wrote the novel originally because he was watching this very thing happen in Nazi Germany at the time. The original stage adaptation was created the following year. The original 1983 TV miniseries about an alien invasion,V, was also based on It Can’t Happen Here (and the later reboot series). V’s creator, Kenneth Johnson, was inspired by Lewis’ work, but the network executives at NBC thought the story would be more interesting if the American fascists from the book were turned into aliens for TV.

Continue reading

CNN Commentator Receives Trump-Style Pat Down by TSA

She’s Not the First, She Won’t Be the Last.

Metamaiden:

I wouldn’t be surprised if this happens to me at some point. TSA sometimes decides it’s “policy” to pat me down and search all my stuff because I ask them to hand check my external electronic medical devices, so they don’t get ruined by the x-rays. I still walk through the metal detector, and the rest of my stuff goes through the x-rays. They don’t consistently pat me down, it depends on the airport and who’s working that day. Sometimes they argue with me about whether the devices need to be hand checked at all, instead, which is my right according to their own policies.* They’ve spent 10-15 minutes trying to force me out of an inspection that takes them 2 minutes. TSA basically likes to go on power trips, as far as I can tell. This is a perfect example of that. This poor woman.

Continue reading

George Takei’s Allegiance: Post-Screening Thoughts

broadway_opening_allegiance

 

I went to the Fathom Events screening of George Takei’s Allegiance at my local theater this evening. This actually wasn’t the first time I’d seen Allegiance, but I hadn’t seen the show since it was in previews. It’s been tightened up and improved a lot since then. I’m so grateful to Fathom and the Allegiance creators for giving us all a chance to see the Broadway version of this show with the original Broadway cast, and with the best seats in the house.

The cast were all amazing. Lea Salonga was no surprise, of course. George Takei was both moving and funny in his Broadway debut. Katie Rose Clarke  was charming as Nurse Hannah. Christopheren Nomura was especially powerful as the demanding, unforgiving father in the Kimura family, Tatsuo. Michael K Lee and Greg Watanabe also gave strong performances.

Continue reading