If you read nothing today (and hopefully not any of my hormonal teenage crap), you should certainly read this piece:

Whenever people in the United States ask if I’ve ever been camping, I say “No, but does refugee camping count?” Apparently it’s only Real Camping if you take a shit in the deep woods. It means nothing if you have all the latest gadgets for camping from gearhungry.com. It doesn’t matter if you’re up to date on the latest monocular reviews, if you haven’t used tree leaves to wipe your bum, you haven’t truly camped in the woods. I had to shit in the desert in the wide open, and there was no environmentally friendly self-dissolving toilet paper out there. We used the sand as soap. I still believe it works. I have to.

The year was 1990. Iraq had just invaded Kuwait, and we didn’t know what was going to happen next. I was eight, I never knew anything anyways. I remember my parents trying to hold on to Kuwaiti Dinars, the old money. I remember seeing Iraqi soldiers, who were nice enough in the city to Indian immigrants with little kids. School was closed and I knew it was bad of me to be glad, but I was. We had sleepovers every night with my two best friends Aarti and Aru’s families. We danced, played cards, watched movies, and stayed up late every night.

Seriously. Do it. Then, send it to your friends and family members.

I shouldn’t be the only person to be rendered speechless and unproductive by this wonderful person and writer.

Avatar – Epitome of Apologetic White Guilt



It’s The Last Samurai in a new Avatar.

Ex-Marine from “jar-head clan” finds himself in a lush and rich planet called Pandora, falls in love with an exotic ‘native’ and becomes one with the ‘good indigenous people’ after warding off the evil humans trying to drill the planet for X natural resource. It all sounds eerily familiar.

Jack Sully, the lead antagonizing protagonist, is just like his surname. Hollywood-esque, most of the characters are reduced to mere caricatures. The scientist is the anti-imperialist, anti-corporate liberal do-gooder whereas the military official takes pleasure in blowing up things and the corporate honchos are only worried about PR and profits.

While perceived as anti-colonial, the entire narrative is still colonial, still about doing the right thing for “those people” from our point of view. The movie can be summed down to good white people vs. bad white people. Why the beautiful Na’vi princess, given all the stereotypical traits of human females, would ever choose to mate with the dull and dud white marine officer escapes all logic. The indigenous population is either put on a pedestal or reduced to some helpless aliens who cannot fight back humans without the heroic, liberal white male yearning to belong somewhere, given his own physical and mental incapacity. Whitey not only assimilates; he becomes their leader! It’s the ultimate white fantasy about race relations. The colonialism continues albeit it is neo-colonialism of white guilt in sci-fi terms.

Still, the movie gives us solid, entertainment value after spending some $300 million. I do wonder how the Na’vi would react to this narrative about them, told from the eyes of someone else.

Now we await the second-life video games enabling us to pick our own Avatars, fall in love with an exotic princess, and escape the horrendous conditions that human beings have created in the world around us. Whiteness is the ultimate privilege here, with the power to construct and refine good and bad, the power to choose sides, and the ultimate power to emerge as the victor.

And while we are at it, capitalism is having a good time as well with the cash registers running.

Prop. 8 and Straight White (Male) Politics

What is up with the Keith Olbermann video doing the rounds? You would think someone delivered a sermon or message from Jesus the way people are raving about it on Digg.

Why does it take a straight, white male ally to talk about ‘gay marriage’ in a compassionate way to generate attention? And why on earth is the Courage Campaign so excited that it is still spamming my email with it?

The failure of the No on 8 is directly attributed to these ‘missionary-type’ politics and Frank Schubert (I am no fan of this guy) appropriately labeled it ‘lily white, liberal’ politics. Of course, what he did not expect is the rage and furor from all segments of society that is sparking the current grassroots Repeal H8 campaign. Make no mistake — the backlash against No on 8 has little to do with pale/off/lily ‘white liberal politics’ and everything to do with people angry over the dismantling of civil rights in California.

From Daily News comes an affirmation that we need to put the ‘pride’ back in ‘out and proud’ and assume leadership of our issues:

The movement’s leaders “were very timid. They were too soft,” said Robin Tyler, a lesbian comic who created a series of celebrity public service announcements with the slogan “Stop the Hate, No on 8” that were rejected because they were deemed too negative. “We were lightweights on our side.”

No offense to Keith — Thanks for using your bully pulpit to express your support for the No on 8 movement and condemn those that voted for the ballot measure.

I am sure the friends of the subaltern mean well but let the subaltern speak.

P.S. Did Keith forget that Rachel Maddows is openly gay?

Desi on the Moon – Check the Report Card on Poverty

India is on the Moon. Will this solve the problem of illiteracy, dowry marriages, poverty, floods, communalism and caste tensions?


Probably not. But the country is still proud of its ‘achievement’

And, of course, who can deny there is
always pride and a sense of accomplishment in doing science at the cutting edge? To be just one of a handful of countries who have the technical skills and expertise to launch an indigenously developed space craft that can reach the moon is a tremendous achievement by itself.

When the Indian obsession with going to the moon in order to parallel and join the exclusive space war club enshrined by whiteness is over, do take a look at this video:

This is an adaptation of Gil Scott Heron’s Whitey on the Moon, which is quite apt for the situation:

A rat done bit my behen.
(with Desi on the moon)
Her face and arms began to swell.
(and Desi’s on the moon)
I can’t pay no doctor bill.
(but Desi’s on the moon)
Ten years from now I’ll be payin’ still.
(while Desi’s on the moon)
The man jus’ upped my rent las’ night.
(’cause Desi’s on the moon)
No hot water, no toilets, no lights.
(but Desi’s on the moon)
I wonder why he’s uppi’ me?
(’cause Desi’s on the moon?)
I wuz already payin’ ‘im fifty a week.
(with Desi on the moon)
Taxes takin’ my whole damn check,
Junkies makin’ me a nervous wreck,
The price of food is goin’ up,
An’ as if all that shit wuzn’t enough:
A rat done bit my behen.
(with Desi on the moon)
Her face an’ arm began to swell.
(but Desi’s on the moon)
Was all that money I made las’ year
(for Desi on the moon?)
How come there ain’t no money here?
(Hmm! Desi’s on the moon)
Y’know I jus’ ’bout had my fill
(of Desi on the moon)
I think I’ll sen’ these doctor bills,
Airmail special
(to Desi on the moon)