Tag Archives: zack furness

Mimi Thi Nguyen: punk and resistance

There are a lot of smart insights in this Bluestockings interview with Mimi Thi Nguyen.  Feministing shared the link and gave me the heads up that there was some discussion of guilt and professional expectations in the essay.  Nguyen seems persuasive to this punk professor when she writes:

The disjuncture then comes when I consider how we are encouraged to carry ourselves in the academy. I feel a lot of pressure to professionalize, and the prescriptions for professionalization often run counter to my way of being in the world. I also struggle with the directive that I am supposed to professionalize my students. I don’t hold with the idea that I should train students to be better workers, because the content of “better” — more obedient, more efficient, whatever — runs counter to what I want to teach. In my feminist theories courses, I say, “Yeah, I just gave you assignments with deadlines! But I also want to say to you, what’s so great about work? Why do we believe work is supposed to be edifying? Should we always have to be productive? Why do we imagine work as something that gives us dignity? What if it’s just wearing us down?” My history in punk totally informs these attempts to practice other ways of being in a classroom, and other ways of being a professor.

via (Un)productivity in the Digital Age — A Conversation with Mimi Thi Nguyen | Bluestockings Magazine.

Like Nguyen I was a reader of Maximum Rock and Roll since my teens.  I was deeply informed by the DIY spirit and raw love of music and counterculture that ran through MRR.  Along with that inspiring freedom were some toxic interview discussions and columns that also were a big part of MRR.  I remember a particularly racist / sexist sex column, perhaps from Mykel Board?  Nguyen as a young punk writes MRR and challenges the columnist for MRR and gets a hateful column in reply.  The scrap with MRR inspires her to create her own zine Race Riot.

The impetus for Race Riot came when a columnist at Maximum Rockandroll wrote about his Asian fetish, suggesting that Asian women’s eyelids look like vulva, and that their vulva might be also horizontal. It is an old imperial joke — there are all kinds of imperial jokes about how racial, colonial women’s bodies are so inhuman that their genitalia might reflect this alien state. I wrote a letter to Maximum, cussing and citing postcolonial feminist theory. He then wrote a lengthy column in response about how though I’m Asian, because I’m an ugly feminist, he wouldn’t want to fuck me anyway. There was a discussion at the magazine about whether or not to publish this column because the magazine had a policy — no racism, no sexism, no homophobia. But the coordinator and founder of the magazine decided that this column qualified as satire, and so it was acceptable.

It was really infuriating for me to be 19 years old, totally invested in punk and politics, to be attacked under the guise of racist cool in the punk magazine. I was like, “Fuck it, I’m quitting punk.” But I figured I should do something, to leave something behind as a practice and as a document, to reach other punks of color who might feel as isolated as I did in the aftermath.

via (Un)productivity in the Digital Age — A Conversation with Mimi Thi Nguyen | Bluestockings Magazine.

I know a lot of punks who saw the academy as a reasonable place to continue thinking about punk praxis.  Or more particularly, many of us go to an academic job and are reasonably punk in that and other parts of our lives.  Many of the punks I knew are still working with intentional collectives, creating media, hosting shows, playing music, creating alternative spaces and doing-it-themselves.  I’ll give a shout out to my friend Zack Furness and his book Punkademics.  I think you can read the whole book at Minor Compositions.

I’ll note my appreciation and agreement with Nguyen’s analysis of internet communications and the need for pauses for reflection.   She argues:

New technologies have produced expectations that we now have more democratic access to more knowledge, and that we must accommodate ourselves to an accelerated sense of time. But I am wary of this internalization of capital’s rhythms for continuous consumption and open-ended production. I hate feeling obliged to produce a post or tweet on a timetable. It makes me anxious. There is value in being about to respond quickly to an object or event, of course, but I also want to hold out for other forms of temporal consciousness, including untimeliness and contemplation of deep structures, sitting with an object over time to consider how it changes you, how the encounter with it changes the nature of your inquiry.

via (Un)productivity in the Digital Age — A Conversation with Mimi Thi Nguyen | Bluestockings Magazine.

Good interview and strong arguments.

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Filed under academics, capitalism, communication, do-it-yourself, feminism, media, music, punk, race, representation, resistance, sexism, technology

Shopping for native american appropriation

Who is buying the cultural hijack this season?  Here are four excerpts from my buddy Zack’s reflection on cheesy selling of Native American identity.

Seeing as how this week is that special time of the year when Americans young and old come together in order to collectively indulge in enough food, mirth, and myth to sanitize the brutal genocide upon which America country was founded, I thought it would be nice to provide some shopping advice for this Friday’s consume-a-thon, and to pay tribute to the corporate tribe that has been gracious enough to supply the world with Eskimo Redneck Ice Chisels and 50 round rifle magazines.

via Cabela’s Hearts Indians | Souciant.

Who calls it colonialism?  I just see some king-of-the-hill type wisdom.

Contrary to the logic of sane people, the British arbitrarily decided that this vast expanse of land was ‘theirs’, since the ancient law of man asserts the right for pigmentally-challenged people to claim anything and everything as their own private property, as long as they arrive at said destination by boat (FACT: Even today, if a white guy can technically sail a boat right up to your house and dismount on your property, then it’s totally his for the taking.)

via Cabela’s Hearts Indians | Souciant.

And of course the real question about shopping is WHAT DOES IT SAY ABOUT ME?

Whether seen as a tools, weapons, or tweapons gifted directly from the Great Spirit to the neoprene’d hands of man, there are three models from which consumers can choose, including the Stone Club (pictured above), which is the ideal choice for (a) those wishing to add masculine nuance to their existing ‘Indians-were-majestic-but-I’m-not-giving-back-this-mountain’ chalet decor, or perhaps (b) the smaller niche market shopper who simply wants to add Blunt Force Trauma to his or her resume.

via Cabela’s Hearts Indians | Souciant.

Selling the certificate-to-justify-genocide along with the offensive weapons — capitalism at the most savvy!

This item is also “100% Navajo-crafted with a certificate of authenticity,” and this means that you’re actually getting a second guarantee for free, which is Cabela’s certificate of assurance that, if necessary, any critique of their gross commodification of Native history can be deflected with the proverbial Navaho human shield whose name appears on the certificate.

via Cabela’s Hearts Indians | Souciant.

Cheers to Souciant!   Add Zack’s new blog “Dudes against ‘dudes’” to your RSS feed.

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Filed under capitalism, colonialism, Native, representation