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Showing posts from October, 2005

Descartes Reloaded

In my Social Theory class last year, we were required to write weekly response papers about our readings. Mine were notorious for being scattered, convoluted, full of movie references and often having nothing to do with that week's text. Periodically I post some of my papers here, just to share with everyone out there the mechanics of my madness.

Descartes, Locke Leibnitz

The knowing, knowable, transparent “I.” Ah yes, what circular fun. Because I know this one basic thing, and that fact that I do know it and can know it without contradiction provides basis for the existence of my creator who in creating this certainty, surely would not fool me otherwise.

The initial critique of this is of course the easiest, but what must come after this is the hard part. While Foucault comes up with a decent initial critique of the Cartesian subject and the humanism that developed and gained prominence because of it, Nancy Fraser and Jurgen Habermas seem to be correct in noting that on …

Ten Things I Hate About Lacan

I just came across another great song for thinking through Lacan. I last heard it in the film Ten Things I Hate About You (hence this post's title). Other than the obvious Hegelian connection that "desire is the desire of the other," its Lacanian in that the I who is desiring is put into question because of the eternal exteriority through which its interiority relies upon. The use of "need" to compliment and complicate the "want" shows the lack that both the I and the other share, which doesn't complete them, but merely constitues them and forever connects them.

But the section on crying reveals that love is possible despite this apparent rift. Love happens, we can connect to the other, but not through pre-packaged romance and the realization of social fantasies about the other's magical qualities, but instead when the facade does break down and when the curtain of fantasy is lifted away. When we experience that hysterical moment where the fant…

Matai hit! Mamta' i Militat Ta'lo

Oh no, no, no, mungga fan, put fabot, ai nina'ye yu' ni' kanset siempre put este na news.

My day and possibly weekend has just been ruined by the charming news that the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force currently stationed in Okinawa will be moved to Guam. Wait, ruined temporal units doesn't quite capture my dismay. Its so much worse, and if you read the article below from this morning's PDN then you'd understand why.

First there is the association of this increase with the "liberation" of Guam in 1944. Its so interesting, because in nearly all articles about increases in military presence in Guam, this connection is implicit. We host and we accomodate because we understand that we have this obligation from the US saving us from the Japanese. The fact that this particular military unit is one that helped liberate Guam more then 60 years ago shouldn't be seen as cool, unique or special. It doesn't create any different thinking or statements, it jus…

Calling in the Feds

Being someone who has decided to turn my life into a never-ending critique of life in Guam, I can no longer ask myself, "What the hell is the matter with Guam?!" Even today, while I still want to desperately ask myself that, I have a dozen or so ready explainations as to why Guam is the hell like that.

Today I stumbled across yet another glorious poll on the Guam PDN website (http://www.guampdn.com). These polls always seem to exemplify colonization in frustratingly simple ways. One can only marvel at how they are created. Do they sit before a computer, mouths dripping in anticipation of whatever horrifying construction of reality they can come up with next? Do they begin with more honest polls like "should all public school children on Guam just be flown to California for school rather than waste their time here?" or "should the Federal government be in charge of everything on Guam (except the PDN of course, since that would be unnecessary since we pretty much…

Fun with Footnotes!

I'm about to have my first actual, official, professional article published in an anthology about feminisms and militarisms. The article is titled "The Exceptional Life and Death of a Chamorro Soldier: Tracing the Militarization of Desire in Guam." I'm pretty excited about it, especially because the editor let me keep all the insane footnotes I write.

Several years ago I wrote an interesting poem titled "My Island is One Big American Footnote," since then all my academic papers or texts have been filled to the brim with sprawling footnotes.

I just wanted to share some of my most recent footnotes, especially since few people ever seem to actually read them (I encountered a strange thing recently, where an academic actually rooted her radicalism in her choice never to read footnotes.). I'm biased of course, but my take on footnotes is that you should always read them, and in fact more closely than the "main" text. In the book Hegemony, Contingency…

American Brain Disease

Life is regularly horrifying when you are an American who is not quite American. For those born and raised on Guam, you are prepared from a young age, to be an American. You were probably raised up on American cartoons, movies and most savagely American commercials imported directly from California (I'm still shocked at about how much I knew about places such as Millbrae or San Dimas as a child, because commercials from those cities would be beamed directly to Guam as if we lived there). Whether you like it or not, you have an unavoidable intimacy with the United States, whether you've actually been there or not. After all, you were taught to memorize its capitals in schools, even learn the nicknames of its states (sunshine state, show-me state, golden state, blech kalakas!) and instructed in the importance of a number of its dead white men.

But although you live and breath this need to complete your desire, to find a fullness a completion as to why you were taught these things…

The Rasheed Wallace Stage

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Here's a photo of my with the cornrows I got over the summer. I only had them for about two weeks before my hair started escaping from them and returning to its chaotic self.

There are several reasons for getting my hair done like this (such as my little sister wanted to get some done, but not alone, so we got them together). But there was a more fundamental reason, which is actually pretty ridiculous, which is of course why I'm posting about it here.

How many of you reading this have heard of Rasheed Wallace, the NBA player? Well, for several years there has been mild debate in my family over whether or not I look like Rasheed Wallace. It wasn't really that strange of a thing when it first started, since we all have a habit of calling people names based on people that they seem to look like (for example our brother Cyrus is a big movie star, since Jack calls him Mark Wahlberg and I think he's Heath Ledger).

The debate over whether or not I really looked like Rasheed Wall…

Adventures in Barbequing

Today was alot of fun. Two of my friends from Guam, Vince and Doreen, (now living in Seattle) flew in to attend a concert in San Diego and somehow or another they ended up turning today into a fiesta day. Last night after they flew in, Vince was already craving some Chamorro food, and started making a list of all the things he wanted to make today. I was freaking out. It was like 1 in the morning and there we were talking about what kind of tatiyas to make, what kind of steak to buy, and suddenly it was decided that we would barbeque up a typhoon the next day.

One problem is, that as a poorly equipped Chamorro I don't have a tanke' or anything, so we had to find a cheap fanunuyan or barbeque. We went to several different stores, shocked to find that the only barbeques that we're being sold, were either tiny ass camping gas stoves or huge gas barbeque grills. It actually took us several hours to find a decently priced, humble little charcoal grill.

For those who don't kno…

Japanese Characters

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I'm looking for anyone out there in cyberspace who can read Japanese characters.

Here's the reason why.

Last week, I had an amazing night with this one girl. I cooked her dinner, we made bonelos aga' together, and then we painted a painting together. It was the most fun I'd had in a long time.

Before we started painting I asked her if she made any art. She said just caligraphy. I said that I've always admired people who can do that, because I suck the worst in the world at it. We decided to paint a background together, and then she would write Japanese caligraphy on top of it.

We made a beautiful background together, but when it came time to write something on it, this girl wasn't sure what to write. I told her, she could write whatever she wanted, in fact she wouldn't have to tell me what it meant. She agreed and after testing out some drawings in her notebook, she wrote some beautiful characters on our painting.

At first, I was content not to know what the cha…

Pinagat put Pas - Peace Lecture

Here is the text for a lecture that my friend Fanai Castro gave earlier this year at the Forum for Peace, Human Rights and Environment earlier this year in Japan. There have been alot of incredible statements this year, made by Chamorros who are attempting to situate ourselves and what we mean in global conversations about things such as war and human rights.

Recently another friend of mine Julian Aguon testified before the United Nation about the decolonization of Guam and made some similar stirring points. I am very proud to be a part of this generation, who are obviously fighting for Chamorros and Guam (and the Marianas), but do not see this fight as being here alone, but very much connected to a more global struggle.

I'm glad that there are people such as Fanai and Julian and others who are doing that work, because, although I know what needs to be done (at least I'm always told that this is what needs to be done), I'm still far to ethnocentric to be of any use in the fo…

Let's Chat in Chamorro about Hindi Movies Part 4

Miget: Hoi primu, hafa tatamanu hao?

Jofis: Maolek todu che'lu. Ya hagu? Maolek todu lokkue?

Miget: Hunggan che'lu. Matto yu' ginnen umegga' i kachido Salaam Namaste. Kao gauha un egga'?

Jofis: Hunggan lai, esta, gi i ma'pos na simana. Humami yan i nobia-hu.

Miget: Ya kao ya-mu?

Jofis: Hmmm, bei fa'anboku'i hao, ti siguru yu'.

Miget: Sa' hafa?

Jofis: Sa' ti sesso taiguihi nai i kachidon Hindi.

Miget: Hafa kumekeilek-mu?

Jofis: Umbre, esta un tungo' debi di. Lana. Hunggan mana'halom i binaila yan i kinanta, lao follow i estoria nai. Desde naihon na ma fa'estoria este na klasin estoria?

Miget: Kumekuentos hao put i minapotge' sanhiyong inakkamo' yan nai ma na'hongge hit na Preity pau pokka' i patgon-na.

Jofis: Enague lai. Gof grabu este na kachido achokka' gaige lokkue i binaila yan i kinanta.

Miget: Lana, hu komprende todu este siha, lao ti hu kompreprende sa' hafa un laisen i finaisen-hu. Kao ya-mu i kachido?

Jofis: He…

taimamahlao na promotion alert

For those who don't already know, B4K is the working title of a comic book that me and my two brothers, Jack and kuri (Jeremy) are working on. The artwork for issue one is almost complete, thanks to Jack's diligence and discipline. The words for the first three issues have already been written, thanks to my inability to pay attention to the professor or discussion in class, and preference to work on my own things instead.

So now, begins the period of shameless free promotion. I post about the comic on my blog and already about half a dozen people have given me their emails and expressed interest in learning more about it and purchasing it. One guy emailed me, excited about it, asking if I could tell him stores in his area where he could find it.

Patience. As we're still in the early stages, our production cycle is ridiculous (months upon months). Plus since we have no publisher except for ourselves (as yet), we make our own deadlines, which is a frightening thought, since I …

Flightplan

Ever since I began writing B4K with me and my brothers, I've been paying more and more attention to how stories are told and the conventions that dictate their readability.

Because of the nature of the world that B4K takes place in, I'm trying as much as possible to avoid the traditional ways comics are structured, stories told and even how worlds operate. Its difficult however, as too often when you are creating a narrative, you'll find yourself adding in certain things, or altering things to match some expectations of how a story is told.

For example, too often in Hindi movies one gets the feeling that one or two songs are "extra" that they were added in, not to ehance the plot, but merely to fill the space in order to meet the "conventional" number of songs in a Hindi movie. But then, in some directors films, such as Nasin Hussain's, the style dictates certain elements in certain places, such as an outrageous over the top fight scene right before t…

Inakkamo'

Gi i kachidon Hindi na'na-na Masti, ilek-na un taotao,

"gof mangge' inakkamo', sa' ti sina put minagof ha' lina'la'."

Hinasso-ku put este, sa' sinangani yu' as ga'chong-hu na esta umasagua Si Zizek. Lao nai ma akonfotme i des (dos) na u sumiha asta i finakpo' i langhet, ma sangan lokkue na "gof baba este na kosa, inakkamo'. Taya' gi lina'la' ni' mas baba yan mala kinu este."

Hmmm, kumekeilek-na bula put todu i lina'la'-ta siha esta na dos na sinangan.

Calling all Zizeks

I'm currently in my second year of my Ph.D. program in Ethnic Studies at University of California, San Diego. Its a very good program in my opinion, but for some reason or another over the past year, we've had a mad rush of faculty out of the program. This year we've got two searches for new faculty positions, one being a critical gender studies hire, the other being a social theory hire.

There have been discussions throughout the department about what kind of person they'd like to bring in, what kind of work, etc. One of my friends in the program emailed me "ask Zizek to apply here."

I of course cracked up at the thought of that, and more so because I was actually considering it.

For those of you who don't know, Slavoj Zizek is my patron saint of annoying scholarship. His work is what I use most in my own work. Sometimes to make really really important points, but other times, just to piss people off. Some people call his work dense and detached, but I see…

Angels carrying savage weapons

Returning to my last post, this verse (which I got from the film The Prophecy) is one of the strangest from the Bible.

"Even now in Heaven there were angels carrying savage weapons."

Hafa kumekeilek-na este? Kao kumekeilek-na Si Santo Paul na debi di manluhan hit nu i Si Yu'us yan i tentago'-na siha? Sa' achokka' guaha un bandan guinaiya gi as Yu'us, guaha lokkue un bandan ni' savage, yan tinaklalu?

The interesting part of course (as one poster kindly pointed out to me) is that its probably not actually in the Bible. But in response to the questions (would you really want to meet an Angel?) opened up by the movie, one might almost expect (along the lines of my last post) that it would be there. Precisely because it would lead us down the road of thinking out these things which remain unthought. Regardless of whether or not it is really in the Bible, it still plays a descriptive role in fleshing out those unthought, but very much felt questions about fait…

The Cruel Angel's Thesis

I'm planning on writing some more on Evangelion, so just to start off I thought I'd post the lyrics to its main title song.

Part of the reason why I'm posting this is because I've just finished watching the film, The Prophecy. A very interesting concept. Definitely explores the underside of Christian mythology (and not underside like, The Da Vinci Code style) which I will not read completely until AFTER I've seen the movie). The appeal of its concept is similar no doubt to the appeal of Preacher comics. It either stains something which is supposedly be unstainable ("wait! I thought Gabriel was the light of the lord's sky who watches over me while I pray at night! [sniff] [sniff]) or it in a way completes something which demands to be completed.

Dore's plates for The Divine Comedy kind of hint at this. While the Paradiso sections are glorious and beautiful to look at, the bodies themselves demand something more. Do these bodies sit there, waiting for the …

Acts of Decolonization

Since I came to the states a few years ago to start my graduate program and a career as an "academic" I've often experienced a big disconnect when it comes to dealing with academics from the United States. This isn't to say that the disconnect is total or absolute, a sheer and insurmountable abyss, but its given me mixed feelings about the work I do here. When I try to discuss Guam's status and how it cannot be accounted for within the nation (at least not in any neat or clean way), people nonetheless find ways of recycling it back into it.

For example, most recently in one of my seminars, when I was discussing decolonization in Guam, one of my classmates decided to use South Korea to discuss her problems with my ideas of decolonization and colonization. Comparing places is fine, but South Korea and Guam have not just completely different historical and contemporary relationships with the United States, but very different statuses today. Using that example, or any…

The Militaristic Knot

Came across this today. The issue of military service is one of the most vital yet impossible points which those seeking decolonization must attack or at least irritate. Military service provides a crucial role in naturalizing certain statements, ideas, relationships and beliefs in Guam, whether it be Guam's dependency on the United States (similar to the NYT article a few months ago), Guam's love for the United States (as evidenced concretely through the higest recruitment statistics in the country!) and Guam's central value as anything in this world, as a bsae for the military operations and fantasies of the United States (we are doing our part! ("our part" always seems to be providing a base for military operations and fantasies))

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Guam has high recruit rate
by Ryota Dei
Pacific Daily News
October 9, 2005

Jaelin Sanchez said joining the U.S. Navy is "the way to go" after graduating from Guam International Christian Academy in May.
&quo…

Pinagat Si Al Gore

Published on Thursday, October 6, 2005 by CommonDreams.org
American Democracy in TroubleIt is no longer possible to ignore the strangeness of our public discourse
Keynote Speech by Al Gore
We Media Conference in New York, NY
October 5, 2005

I came here today because I believe that American democracy is in grave danger. It is no longer possible to ignore the strangeness of our public discourse. I know that I am not the only one who feels that something has gone basically and badly wrong in the way America's fabled "marketplace of ideas" now functions.

How many of you, I wonder, have heard a friend or a family member in the last few years remark that it's almost as if America has entered "an alternate universe"?
I thought maybe it was an aberration when three-quarters of Americans said they believed that Saddam Hussein was responsible for attacking us on September 11, 2001. But more than four years later, between a third and a half still believe Saddam was personall…