Showing posts from September, 2005

Deadwood and Ethics beyond Ethics

I just finished watching the entire first season of the HBO series Deadwood. It was an interesting show, at first I saw it as an annoying exploration into the making of whiteness in America (cowboys, racism against Chinese people, erasing and entraping of Native Americans, manifest destiny), just with new and improved swear words!

After finishing the first season though, and seeing in particular the last episode I understood why people might be attracted to the characters and the story. Other then the nationalist masturbatory potential (oh those scenes of rugged mythical Americaness! So viral! So powerful!), in characters such as Seth Bullock but more so Al Swearengen you see examples of ethics beyond ethics. Ethical stances which don't quite conform to what we perceive to be a possible or desirable act from that character's perspective, yet that we can secretly or discreetly admire because of their commitment to something beyond what we see and note. An ethical commitment beyo…


I'm slogging my way through one of my least favorite books by Michael Foucault, The Archeology of Knowledge. Just came across this quote, which was a spot of blessed clarity, amidst a stormy bathtub full of human misery.

'Discourse is not life: its time is not your time; in it, you will not be reconciled to death; you may have killed God beneath the weight of all that you have said; but don't imagine that, with all that you are saying, you will make a man that will live longer than he.'

Purging the Poor

Yanggen ti este un tungo' este, sesso hu post guini i tinige'-na siha Si Naomi Klein. Dos na rason. Fine'nina: gof malate' este na palao'an. Gaige giya Guahu i des na lepblo-na, ya bai hu sangani hao, gi i FanAkague'yan (Left) pa'go, guiya un takhilo' na maga'haga (hehehe). Mina'dos: Gof mangge na palao'an gui' (mangge na taotao yan mangge na trahi).

Published on Friday, September 23, 2005 by The Nation (From the October 10, 2005 Issue)
Purging the Poor
by Naomi Klein

Outside the 2,000-bed temporary shelter in Baton Rouge's River Center, a Church of Scientology band is performing a version of Bill Withers's classic "Use Me"--a refreshingly honest choice. "If it feels this good getting used," the Scientology singer belts out, "just keep on using me until you use me up."

Ten-year-old Nyler, lying face down on a massage table, has pretty much the same attitude. She is not quite sure why the nice lady in the …

Hurricane Katrina

A letter from my department commenting on Hurican Katrina

Ethnic Studies Department Statement on the Hurricane Katrina Crisis

The recent natural disaster of Hurricane Katrina and the humanitarian crisis that followed have weighed heavily on our hearts. As scholars who study issues of race, class, gender and inequality, we know that the extent of devastation felt by gulf coast communities is linked directly to social and economic structures.

Local, state, and federal governments failed to act to protect the safety and dignity of the tens of thousands of people left stranded in the gulf region.
It is a human tragedy that so many of “the poor, the elderly, the sick, the young, most of them African Americans” were essentially abandoned in places like New Orleans, left to fend for themselves and try their best to survive. We recognize the ways in which racialized groups have historically been criminalized in our society and we are deeply saddened and angered by the media's repeated portray…

Kantan Manmatatnga

Guatu guihi hu li'e Si Nana-hu
Guatu guihi hu li'e Si tata-hu yan todu i mane'lu-hu
Guatu guihi hu fakcha'i i hale' i taotao-hu guihi gi i fanutuhan'an
Ai ma katiyi yu'
Ma agangi yu' sumaonao siha na u fanhami
Gi i gima' i langhet
Nai manla'la' i manmatatnga taifinakpo'


I mentioned more than a week ago the comic that me and i dos na mane'lu-hu are working on. I can't reveal the name just yet, but I'll refer to it her as my little sister does, as B4K.

I just spent the last week up north visiting my family and working on getting the first half of our first story arc (13 issues) done. While I was up there I finished up issue two, and am now almost done with the writing for issue three. Issues 4-7 have already been plotted out in narrative style but the actual panelling (which I detest and suck at) still needs to be done.

Jack is done with the breakdowns for the first issue, and one third of the way done with the real pencils. It was very exciting writing and scripting with him drawing beside me. Every once in a while I would look over at something he had just drawn and it would just inspire me, because if we can pull this thing off, it will be so awesome!

I've gotten some inquiries about what the comic will be like. Will it be intellectual?…

V for Social Voyeurism

After watching a preview for the upcoming film, V for Vendetta I decided to re-read it. I had purchased it almost a decade ago, after enjoying Watchmen and hating almost everything Alan Moore had done since that (lana, gof kalakas Fire from the Heavens).

First of all, I love it when authors and artists can weave things in their stories together throughout the narrative. So for example, in Watchmen, different themes are re-expressed in the dialogue or even the panel layout and image choices (such as the bodies of two people being vaporized by a "alien" blast becoming a blood splatter or a finger marked slash of an ice covered glasss dome.) V for Vendetta does that throughout, whether it be re-inserting "V" in different forms throughout, like the most famous line from Beethoven's Fifth symphony is morse code for the letter "V."

When reading it on this occassion, I paid careful attention to the footnotes, the intro, the postcript to the collection. I'…

Bai hu tinane' na'ya

Just letting everyone know that I'll be a little busy for the next week or so preparing for school and trying to get the first two issues of me and my brothers' comic book off the ground. I'll be sure to back post things though so it doesn't seem like I didn't post anything at all.

Malago yu' sumangani hamyo si yu'us ma'ase yanggen sesso na matto hao guini. Desde mana'tungo' yu' na guaha ni' tumaitaitai i tinige'-hu siha, gof magof-hu yan massa' yu' didide' sa' pine'lo-ku na Guahu ha' na maisa guini. Lao ga'na'-ku na guaha manggaiinteres nu hafa sinangan-hu, sa' impottante i kesas ni' hu chachagi sumangan, ya hu diseseha na en kempreprende.

Resisting Indigenous Expectations

Here's my abstract for the paper I've been mentioning over the past few months about Terminator and Whale Rider. I submitted it to a conference in Hawai'i next year, hopefully it'll get accepted, because the issues I'll try to raise are important ones, dealing with how we imagine ourselves and what we imagine our futures can be and supposed to be.

The Whale Rider vs. The Terminator: Resisting Indigenous Expectations in the Pacific
Michael Lujan Bevacqua,
University of California, San Diego, Department of Ethnic Studies

With the international success of Pacific Islander films such as Whale Rider and Once Were Warriors there has been a resurgence of indigenous identity discussions revolving around the cultural imagery and metaphors these films propose. Whale Rider in particular has been seen as a centerpiece for emerging dialogues over Pacific Islander resistance and survival. While obviously an uplifting film, with its emphasis on cultural hope an…

Atan umbe, guaha minagge gi hilo' tano'

Some great news for those truly interested in the future of Guam. This is a huge step, although most people will interpret it to be stubborn local blindness (protection of government), in actuality these sorts of acts are absolutely necessary to fixing the island, because they counter the oppressive perceptions of America (and America in Guam) which continue to colonize the island. An act like this attempts to refocus our thinking and planning on Guam, not on the US, not on what we are supposed to be because we want to be part of the US, not on our desires to be some fuller part of it. This act is an attempt at a local critique and a local solution.

The message is from that light of hope in Chamorro lives, Sabina Perez who with Hanom Para Todo is working to protect Guam's water rights.

Great news!

The Democratic Party of Guam unanimously supported/passed a resolution opposingprivatization of Guam Waterwork's Authority (GWA) as of September 14, 2005. Thisis a great win for the act…

Corrupting Colonizing Dreams

Corruption discourse on Guam is so prevelant that anyone who sees it as having any other use or value then to keep everything exactly the same is an idiot.

There are two basic ways that this discourse is invoked, neither much more useful than the other. The first says that Chamorros are pathologically corrupt, that these sorts of abuses, incompetence, cronyism, finaboresi para i mamparientes, etc. are parts of their culture that have to be changed, or more accurately have to be grown out of. The silent but nonetheless powerful colonizing emphasis, being that they must grow into Americaness, grow into matching America's idealness in terms of government awesomeness. These people are useless because they take great enjoyment in recolonizing the island, by relegating Chamorro culture and Chamorroness to social scum. By sometimes loudly other times quietly protecting America (American ideas, images, imaginings) in Guam, by cruelly debasing and defining what is Chamorro based on what abs…

Social Distortion

As I've posted before, a few months ago I diagnosed myself as a dating hysteric. Hardly a charming thing to be, it basically boils down to my having difficulty interpretting attraction to me and impossible to communicate attraction to someone else.

But in my process of discussing and writing about this, I've definitely understood better Lacan's concept of "surplus enjoyment." When articulating a loss or a failing a surplus of enjoyment is often created around the articulation of the loss. Zizek describes this by using a familiar example. When someone is dumped by their partner they often query their friends about why they were dumped, why did this person leave them, stop loving them, etc, etc. What happens is that this action of dealing with the loss soon becomes fetishized as its own end, its own form of enjoyment. Thus usually people are horrified when you actually answer their questions and give them concrete reasons as to why their partner left, not because of…

Chamorro Student Conference

A few months ago I mentioned in the Minagahet that me and a few of my relatives and friends were thinking about trying to put together a Chamorro conference for sometime next spring. Well we're still in the planning stages but it does look like its a go. I'll be posting more specifics as time goes on. Otro fino'-ta, if you have any suggestions, would like to know more, or would like to help, please feel free to email me or leave a message as a comment.

When I first mentioned this to people, their responses and assumptions about for what purpose this conference would be, also made it clear to me that a meeting such as this would be vitally necessary. Most people assumed that a conference like this would be helping making Chamorro students, pushing them through high school and them getting them to go to college. This is important of course, but it is hardly enough. What's been made clear to me over the past few years, talking to every Chamorro I could get my hands on, is …

Battle for K_________

Big milestone alert gi lina'la'-hu.

For those who know me yan i dos na che'-lu-hu Si Jack yan Si Kuri (Jeremy) we have been trying to get together on some sort of creative project for years. Last week we finally took the first real step in making that happen. We've been brainstorming for months on a comic book title which will combine our creative skills, my writing, Jack's drawing skills and Kuri's, uh, hmmm, excellent advice. (He does more than that, he's really good to bounce ideas off of). In June we finally made a decision and we've been working on the first story arc and character designs ever since. Two weeks ago I had the writing for the first issue, dialogues breakdowns and all done and sent it off to Jack. He's been penciling ever since.

At present me and Kuri have split the second issue writing, me doing half and him the other half.

If all goes well we're shooting for at least these two issues done and published by the Alternative Press…

Si Bush yan Si FDR?

Published on Sunday, September 4, 2005 by the San Francisco Chronicle
Bush's New Reasons for the Iraq War
by Helen Thomas

President Bush , apparently running out of rationales for the U.S. war in Iraq, has resorted to putting that ill-planned invasion in the same category as World War II.
Bush tried to wrap himself in the aura of Franklin D. Roosevelt last week when he commemorated the 60th anniversary of V-J Day. With public opinion polls showing more and more Americans critical of the Iraq war, Bush used the anniversary ceremonies at the naval air station in San Diego to express concern that Americans might return to a "pre-mindset of isolation and retreat, " indicating that it was the same as the isolationism that Franklin D. Roosevelt encountered before the Pearl Harbor attack.
Making his third speech in a week to rally public support for the war, Bush compared his resolve to FDR's during World War II. He said the U.S. mission in Iraq is to turn that country into a d…

Memo to the Media

Published on Tuesday, September 6, 2005 by The Huffington Post
Memo to the Media: Stop Enabling the White House Blame Game
by Arianna Huffington

When it comes to managing political crises (as opposed to national ones), the Bush White House has earned a reputation as masters of damage control. And rightly so -- let’s see you get reelected after Abu Ghraib, the “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US” memo, no WMD, no bin Laden (dead or alive), and “Mission (Most Definitely Not) Accomplished”.

Well, according to the New York Times, Rove, Bartlett and the damage control boys are at it again, rolling out a plan to hang the post-Katrina debacle around the necks of Louisiana state and local officials… and, in the process, erase the image of a crassly incompetent administration too busy vacationing to worry about the dying in New Orleans.

Hence, today’s Presidential Visit, Take Two. Can’t you just see Rove yelling “Cut!”, hopping out of his director’s chair, pulling Bush aside, and whispering in hi…

More haole wisdom

Yanggen ti esta un tungo' gof kinenne' yu' ni' ebay. Fihu lumiliko' yu' guihi, manespipiha kosas Chamorro yan Guahan. Guaha nai hu fakcha'i gos likidu na kosas (pot hemplo lepblo yan bihu na litratu), lao guaha lokkue nai hu sodda' nina'taklalu.

Put hemplo, este na tinige' ginnen un haole ni' bumende un lepblon Guahan. Yanggen gaige este na lepblo giya Hagu, siempre esta un komprende sa' hafa gof brodie este na haole.

Este i colonizer-ta? Este na brinede? Lana, ti hu komprende sa' hafa guaguaha ha' ni' sumangan na maolek ha' i status quo. Este na estao nao'ao yan invisible? Lana dei.

'A Pictorial of GUAM U.S.A. Bert Chipinger

From the Message from Bert Unpingco, Managing Director of Guam Visitors Bureau: "May I present to you this lovely pictorial of the island 'where America's day begins' - Guam, U.S.A. I am very proud to have been associated with the preparation of this beautiful and comprehensive r…

Fakpo' i bakasion-na Si Bush

Friday, September 2nd, 2005
Dear Mr. Bush:

Any idea where all our helicopters are? It's Day 5 of Hurricane Katrina and thousands remain stranded in New Orleans and need to be airlifted. Where on earth could you have misplaced all our military choppers? Do you need help finding them? I once lost my car in a Sears parking lot. Man, was that a drag.

Also, any idea where all our national guard soldiers are? We could really use them right now for the type of thing they signed up to do like helping with national disasters. How come they weren't there to begin with?

Last Thursday I was in south Florida and sat outside while the eye of Hurricane Katrina passed over my head. It was only a Category 1 then but it was pretty nasty. Eleven people died and, as of today, there were still homes without power. That night the weatherman said this storm was on its way to New Orleans. That was Thursday! Did anybody tell you? I know you didn't want to interrupt your vacation and I know how you don…

chacha' Chamorro

I just had a really really great laugh, and you'll never guess why.

Someone actually said that I'm chacha' or picky about Chamorro language. hahahahahaha.

It was so ridiculously stupid that I'm actually having trouble typing right now.

But I guess that given what he said and others have said, it would probably be a good idea for me to clarify my ideas on language. And to start, chinacha' is probably worst term to use.

The only thing I am picky about in language is that people be open to different forms.

Opposed to what most people think, where language fluency has to do with learning a particular grammar really really well, I think of fluency as being able to move between different registers or types of a single language. So fluency for me isn't that you know the "proper" way of speaking Chamorro as best as you can, but more so that when different types of Chamorro come along, you have no trouble speaking or understanding them as well. For the most part Ch…