Monday, January 31, 2005

English Only

I submitted my blog to a bunch of Blogsites, Blog search engines and so on. I got accepted to most of them, but was rejected from one for particularly unsettling reasons. Apparently its an English only blogsite. Here's an excerpt from the rejection letter I received.

Your blog was declined for the following reason:I noticed that your posts are not all in English. Right now BlogExplosion onlyaccepts sites in English only. If all the posts after are going to be Englishonly then just resubmit and I\"ll approve. Thankyou!

I really appreciate the warm and friendly tone of the rejection letter, and their offer of reconciliation. If you decide to change to English only, if you learn from the error of your ways (you foreigner!) then we will gladly accept you into the multi-cultural fold. Notice how the emphasis is not on what is being written, but so long as it conform to a specific way of relating information, forgetting of course that there are millions of people in the US who are bilingual, and literally millions of blogs which aren't just in English.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Derrida and Yu-Gi-Oh

I've been reading The Work of Mourning which is a collection of eulogies and mourning texts written by the late Jacques Derrida. It contains Derrida's attempts to deal with the deaths of more than a dozen of his contemporaries and friends through writing.

For decades Derrida has written about friendship, and the things which is means and implies, which we rarely ever consider. In every act, even in the act of making a friend, a sadness is always implied, because in that process of coming togther, there exists the trace of the inevitability not just that the friendship will end, but that one must leave it before the other. This collection of Derrida's work shows the tension involved with this process, and how one can continue the conversation of friendship when the other has left. And although we have very general stereotypical ways of talking about this at our disposal, I feel that Derrida, by exploring the work of his friends, and exploring his own relationship not to them, but their absence make some important points about the meaning and value of deep friendships.

In thinking about Derrida's work, I made a strange connection to the cartoon Yu-Gi-Oh. If one watches the episodes from the first and second seasons carefully, a discourse on friendship is far more palpable then winning or competition. It is really interesting to read Derrida, Emmanuel Levinas and Yu-Gi-Oh together. In the same way which Derrida uses friendship and its exploration to shield himself from the abyss which confronts him with the death of a friend, the characters in Yu-Gi-Oh use the power of their friendship in similar ways, to defeat Pegasus, Marik and Bakura (the best example is in a duel with Pegasus, where the cold touch of the Shadow Realm threatens to destroy Yugi, and it is only through the connection he shares with his friends, is he able to be shielded. The visual and literal language which they use to describe this, is suprisingly similar to that which Derrida uses).

The relationship between Joey and Yugi is one which shows well the tension which characterizes Derrida's writing in The Work of Mourning. Or the tension which he is feeling, which he was always already anticipating. In both season one and two of Yu-Gi-Oh, Joey and Yugi are both best friends and duelists. They both join the duels, knowing that only one can win, however at every step of the way helping and supporting each other. Every interaction is always filled with the trace of that death which will take place when one will fall, and only continue on within the one that survives. In season one, Joey and Yugi are the two who must fight to see who will challenge the tournment master, Pegasus (who is the game's Big Other, who created the game and who knows everything which happens in the tournament, by his Millenium Item which gives him psychic powers and a network of all-seeing cameras around his island where the tournament is being held). Yugi wins, and Joey falls out of the tournament, only existing as the voice of support for Yugi through the link of friendship they share (which was inscribed in an earlier episode by Tea with a black marker, forever connecting her, Joey, Yugi and Tristan). In line with Derrida's general belief in the inspiration of friendship, it is the Joey within Yugi which helps Yugi defend off Pegasus' psychic attacks and eventually win the duel.

It is interesting how in the innocence of the cartoon, it can explore and go beyond the ideas of Derrida. I guess since we all claim innocence over something at every moment, strategically situating it and invoking it is of the utmost importance.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Gore Vidal on Democracy Now!

RUSH TRANSCRIPT
This transcript is available free of charge, however donations help us provide closed captioning for the deaf and hard of hearing on our TV broadcast. Thank you for your generous contribution. Donate - $25, $50, $100, more...

AMY GOODMAN: As we continue our discussion of President Bush's inaugural address, let's hear a section of that speech.

PRESIDENT BUSH: America will not impose our own style of government on the unwilling. Our goal, instead, is to help others find their own voice, attain their own freedom, and make their own way. The great objective of ending tyranny is the concentrated work of generations. The difficulty of the task is no excuse for avoiding it. America's influence is not unlimited; but fortunately for the oppressed, America's influence is considerable, and we will use it confidently in freedom's cause.

AMY GOODMAN: President Bush, his second inaugural address. Today we're joined by Gore Vidal, one of America's most respected writers and thinkers. Author of more than twenty novels, five plays. Author most recently of, Dreaming War and Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace. His latest book is, Imperial America: Reflections on the United States of Amnesia. Yesterday we caught up with Gore Vidal and I asked him his reaction to the inaugural address.

GORE VIDAL: Well, I hardly know where to end, much less begin. There's not a word of truth in anything that he said. Our founding fathers did not set us on a course to liberate all the world from tyranny. Jefferson just said, “all men are created equal, and should be,” etc, but it was not the task of the United States to “go abroad to slay dragons,” as John Quincy Adams so wisely put it; because if the United States does go abroad to slay dragons in the name of freedom, liberty, and so on, she could become “dictatress of the world,” but in the process “she would lose her soul.” That is what we -- the lesson we should be learning now, instead of this declaration of war against the entire globe. He doesn't define what tyranny is. I’d say what we have now in the United States is working up a nice tyrannical persona for itself and for us. As we lose liberties he’s, I guess, handing them out to other countries which have not asked for them, particularly; and what he says -- The reaction in Europe-–and I know we mustn’t mention them because they're immoral and they have all those different kinds of cheese–but, simultaneously, they're much better educated than we are, and they're richer. Get that out there: The Europeans per capita are richer than the Americans, per capita. And by the time this administration is finished, there won't be any money left of any kind, starting with poor social security, which will be privatized, so that is the last gold rush for (as they say) men with an eye for opportunity.
No, I would have to parse this thing line by line and have it in front of me. It goes in one ear and out the other as lies often do, particularly rhetorical lies that have been thought up by second-rate advertising men, which are the authors of this speech. It is the most un-American speech I’ve ever heard a chief executive give to the United States; and thanks at least to television, we were given every inaugural from Franklin Roosevelt on (and it's quite interesting to see who said what), and only one was as gruesome and as off-key as this, and that guy is Harry S. Truman, who’s being made into a hero because he fits into the imperial mode. He starts out his inaugural -- we're on top of the world we’re the richest country, the most powerful militarily, and what does he do? Within three lines Harry Truman is starting the Cold War, which the Russians were not starting. They thought they could live in peace because of their agreement at Yalta with his predecessor, Franklin Roosevelt, whose unfortunate death gave us Harry Truman and gave us the Cold War, which is now metastasized into a general war against any nation that this president of ours, if he is -- was elected, wants to commit us to, and we -- preemptive wars. That’s just never existed in our history, that a president – “Well, I think I'm going to take on Costa Rica. There may be some terrorists down there one day. Oh, they aren't there yet, but they're planning for it. And they’ve got bicarbonate of soda. Once you have that, you know, you can build all sorts of biochemical weapons.” This is just blather. Blather.
And that an American audience would sit there beside the capitol or reverently in front of their TV screens and watch this and not see the absurdity of what was being said -- absolute proof of a couple of things that I have felt, and most of us who are at all thoughtful feel: We’ve got the worst educational system of any first world country. We are shameful when we go abroad, because we know nothing. Just to watch the destruction of the archaeologists’ work at Babylon. Babylon is a center of our culture. Nobody knows that. Nobody knows what it is, except it's a wicked city that the lord destroyed. Well, it was the center of our civilization, the center of mathematics, of writing, of everything. And apparently our troops were allowed to go in and smash everything to bits. Why did they do it? Was it because they are mean bad boys and girls? No. They're totally uneducated. And their officers are sometimes mean and bad, and allow them to have a romp, as they also had in the prisons, none of which we heard about in the last election. We were too busy with homosexual marriage and abortion, two really riveting subjects. War and peace, of course, are not worth talking about. And civilization, God forbid that we ever commit ourselves to that.

AMY GOODMAN: We're talking to Gore Vidal. He -- President Bush said in his speech: “Across the generations, we’ve proclaimed the imperative of self-government, because no one's fit to be a master, and no one deserves to be a slave. Advancing these ideals is the mission that created our nation. It's the honorable achievement of our fathers. Now it's the urgent requirement of our national security, and the calling of our time.”

GORE VIDAL: Well, proof of his bad education -- he seems not to know that the principle founders of the United States, from George Washington to Thomas Jefferson to Madison, were all slave holders. So, we started a country with half of the country quite prosperous because of black slaves, African slaves, who were not in the least happy about being slaves, but they had been captured, brought over here and sold back and forth around the country. So, I don't see how the founding fathers could have committed us to the principle that ‘no man should be a slave, and every man should be a master,’ or whatever the silly-Billy said. Well, this is a country based on slavery, is also based upon the dispossession of what we miscall the Indians. They were the native Americans, at least before -- long before our arrival. So, we were not dedicated to any of these principles. We were dedicated to making as much money and stealing as much land as we could and building up a republic, not a democracy. The word democracy was hated by the founding fathers. It does not appear at any point in the constitution, nor does it appear in any pleasant sense in the Federalist Papers. So, we are not a democracy, and here we are exporting it as though it were just something -- well, we just happened to make, a lot of democracy, and cotton and tin and stuff like that. So, let’s --let's do some exports of democracy. We don't have it, and most countries don't have it, and not many countries want it. Democracy was tried only once, and that was in the Fifth Century B.C., at Athens, and finally, they were overcome by an oligarchy from Sparta, and nobody ever tried again to establish a democracy in any country on earth. And if any history had been taught to the cheerleader from Andover -- I'm ashamed that I even went to the brother school Exeter nearby, where at least we were taught enough history not to make gaffs like that in public.

AMY GOODMAN: Gore Vidal, President Bush also said, “All who live in tyranny and hopelessness can know the United States will not ignore your oppression or excuse your oppressors when you stand for your liberty, we will stand with you. Democratic reformers facing repression, prison or exile can know America sees you for who you are-- the future leaders of your few [free] country. The rulers of outlaw regimes can know that we still believe, as Abraham Lincoln did, ‘Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves and under the rule of a just God, cannot long retain it.’”

GORE VIDAL: Oh, what bull. I notice all the help that we gave Mandela before he himself extricated his people from the white rule of the Boers and the English in South Africa. We went to great lengths to see that he was silenced, that he was not helped at any time. And we were -- Is that how we stood up for other countries trying to liberate themselves? We’ve never done that. We went into the first two world wars for self-aggrandizement. We did very well out of it. We’ve gone into Latin America, and every time that there's been a democratically elected government, from Arbenz in Guatemala in 1953 to Allende in Chile, we have played a vicious game. Sometimes we assassinate the president, sometimes we overthrow him. Sometimes -- all the time, eventually, we establish a military dictatorship. We’ve been doing that for 200 years. But, for a people that knows no history, does not want to know history, with a corrupt media that will not tell you the truth about anything going on in the world, what else could we have, but a dumb, cheerleader president?

AMY GOODMAN: But if it was Franklin Delano Roosevelt who said, “democratic reformers facing repression, prison, or exile can know, America sees you for who you are, the future leaders of your free country,” would you object?

FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT: I can only tell you that I feel your pain, and I know that you will be rulers one day. But meanwhile, I'm staying here in Washington, and you must look to your own future, and your own freedom.

AMY GOODMAN: Yes.

GORE VIDAL: That's Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The fact he said that meant that he was on the side of that; but we never did anything about it. Roosevelt never made a move, even when it came to the time of great tyranny, when his state department–I must say he didn't like it–but his state department turned away the infamous ship in which the Jews trying to escape Europe and Hitler were sent back. That's how we helped out.

AMY GOODMAN: What is your hope for the future, as President Bush inaugurated his second term with this speech?

GORE VIDAL: I don't see much future for the United States, and I put it on economic grounds. Forget moral grounds. We're far beyond any known morality, and we are embarked upon a kind of war against the rest of the world. I think that the thing that will save us, and it will probably come pretty fast, when they start monkeying around with Social Security, that will cause unrest. Meanwhile, the costs of the wars the cost of rebuilding the cities immediately after we knock them down, if we didn't knock them down, we wouldn't have to put them back up again, but that would mean that there was no work for Bechtel and for Halliburton. We are going to go broke. The dollar loses value every day. I live part of the year in Europe, which is always held against me. What a vicious thing to do, to have a house in Italy; but I also have one in Southern California. We are a declining power economically in the world, and the future now clearly belongs to China, Japan, and India. They have the population, they have the educational systems. They have the will. And they will win. And we will -- we only survive now by borrowing money from them in the form of treasury bonds which very soon we won't have enough revenue to redeem, much less service. So, I put it down to economic collapse may save the United States from its rulers.

AMY GOODMAN: President Bush in this inaugural address, and in his second term, can you make comparisons to Richard Nixon, and won by a landslide, much more than Bush, in terms of how he beat his opponent, and yet ultimately is forced to resign?

GORE VIDAL: Well, let us hope history repeats itself, and there's a possibility that the American people will get fed up with endless war, and endless deaths coming out -- American deaths. That's all we care about. We don't care about foreigners dying. But that is getting on people's nerves. I think that he thinks, and many of the American people appear to think, that we're in a movie. Lousy movie, but it's just a movie. And, once the final credits run, all those dead people, who were just extras anyway, will stand up and come home, or go back to the old actors’ home. It isn't a movie we're in. It's real life. And these are real dead people. And there are more and more of them, and the world won't tolerate it. So, he might very well end up like Mr. Nixon. Nixon at least when he ran again, curiously enough, was rated among the most liberal and progressive of our presidents in the 20th century. Not that he really was; it's just that he felt domestic affairs were best left alone. Let labor unions and capital worry about that while the president prosecuted foreign wars. He loved foreign affairs because it was fun. You got to make a lot of trips and see people in fancy uniforms and hear “Hail to the Chief” in various tunes. That was Nixon's take. And then, of course, once he got in -- into war, he couldn't get out. Didn't try very hard to get out. He wanted to be victorious. Well, he wasn't victorious. Then he lied and cheated. This one lies and cheats, too. So far he’s not had his Watergate. Let us hope that there is one looming.

AMY GOODMAN: Do you take heart from the opposition, from the resistance on the ground, from the grassroots protests?

GORE VIDAL: Well, you know, I spent three years in the second world war in the Pacific, and I was born at West Point, and I have some affinity for the army; and what I am hearing, the tom-toms that are coming not only from those who have returned to the United States, particularly reservists, but what I also hear from overseas, is that there’s great distress and dislike of this government, and certainly of this war, which is idly done. And everybody is at risk with insufficient armature -- arms, and no motivation at all except the vanity of a -- of the lowest grade of politicians that we’ve ever had in the White House. They are disturbed, and I can see that there may be suddenly something coming from them once they get back home, if they can get back home. They may turn things around.

AMY GOODMAN: And, in general, young people in this country protesting the inauguration, for example. More than 10,000 people out in the streets, almost -- although there was almost no coverage except for Pacifica and independent media of those voices. People -- hosts on CNN saying they didn't want to ‘over-exaggerate’ the images that would be so easy to go to, so they just didn't.

GORE VIDAL: Or be honest about them. The famous February, a year ago, when everybody demonstrated. I spoke to 100,000 people in Hollywood Boulevard. And the L.A. Times, which is better than most of the establishment papers, said there's just hardly anybody there. However, they were undone by the photograph taken of -- when I was up on the platform at very end of Hollywood Boulevard with La Brea in back of me and way up ahead Vine Street, you saw 100,000 people. You saw what they looked like, unlike New York where they got everybody into side streets so you couldn't see them at all in a photograph, because they just didn't show up. So, out here, a makeup man at the Times helped the cause.

AMY GOODMAN: As the Democratic Party chooses a new leader, do you have words of advice for the direction?

GORE VIDAL: Remember that the United States -- the people of the country have always been isolationists, a word which has been demonized, thrown out, an isolationist is somebody who believes in a flat earth and is racist and so forth and so on. Well, none of that is true. Isolationists -- Most of the left in the second world war, from Norman Thomas on to Burton K. Wheeler, were progressive Americans, the very best liberal Americans were anti-war. We have never been for imperial foreign wars. We have to be dragged screaming into them, as we were after Pearl Harbor and there was a lot of machinations going on to make sure that that happened. And it goes on all the time. Events are made so horrible people like Saddam and so on are demonized, and we all have to immediately begin by saying how awful he is for 25 minutes before we can get down to the fact that he was no threat to the United States, no threat at all. He was not involved with al Qaeda. He was not involved with 9/11. He was not. He was not. You can say it a million times, but there you have a president with the help of the most corrupt media in my lifetime bouying his words across the land and telling lies about the – ‘We're 45 minutes away from being blown up by the weapons of mass destruction that this master of evil has in his hands.’ To which the answer is: Why? Why would he do that? There must be some motivation. You see, they are now beyond motivation, and that is insanity. So, an insane government is not one that you can look to with any confidence.

AMY GOODMAN: Gore Vidal, speaking to us from California. His latest book, Imperial America: Reflections on the United States of Amnesia.

To purchase an audio or video copy of this entire program, click here for our new online ordering or call 1 (800) 881-2359.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Decolonization Now!

A letter to the editor of the Pacific Daily News, published two years ago...just felt like I should post it. Decolonization is very much still on my mind, achokka' para i meggaina giya Guahan, esta taibali gui', ai na'ma'ase....

In response to the many letters that are going around the island, arguing against the decolonizing of Guam. I thought I’d write one of my own.

Decolonization is a cause mostly taken up by Chamorro activists because for them the injustice of colonization is very personal and real. The harshness of colonialism hits Chamorros the hardest and this is why their voices are the loudest in support of decolonization. And those who scream the loudest are usually the ones who want the least to do with the United States, and therefore their cries are for less dependence on the US and more independence for Guam. But decolonization doesn’t mean independence, and it is not just for Chamorros, it just means ending colonialism, and this everyone must support. There are truly only two sides here: you can either support the decolonization of Guam, or support the colonization of Guam. Statehood, Free Association, Independence, all of this are possible, only after decolonization. Writing letters complaining about the decolonization commission does little more then make sure we stay a colony forever.

Speaking of the letters, the puzzlement of the letter writers over the constant delay of the Chamorro only vote, really should be contrasted with the ridiculous amounts of time it took white Americans to give African-Americans and Women the right to vote. By the slow-social-responding standards of “our” founding fathers and their descendants, the few years that our plebiscite has been in limbo are nothing. If you think GovGuam is slow on the uptake, you should really re-read history and see how long the US took to give others the right to vote!
Or what about the Constitution? Answer me this: Where is the justice when you argue using a document which supposedly defends everyone’s right to vote, while not giving anyone on Guam the right to vote for president, a vote in Congress? Why does the US get to turn the constitution on and off when they make policy? Why is it wrong to deny non-Chamorros one vote, but it is right for the United States to deny everyone on Guam the right to any vote? Why is it just to discriminate based on geography, but unjust to discriminate based on ethnicity? People should really figure out their self-determination arguments before they start writing letters.

Besides America, doesn’t seem to have any problems supporting Israeli self-determination. American support for Israel is yet another incidence of conditional constitutionality. In Israel, millions of Palestinians are denied the right to vote, and sometimes the right to live. On a day to day basis America funds this regime based on race and racism, with diplomatic, military and monetary support, which far exceeds anything it has given Guam. Anyone who wants to argue against a plebiscite or a Chamorro only-vote, must first explain to me why the United States is willing to spend billions and billions of dollars each year to support Israeli self-determination, but can’t spare $150,000 for Chamorro self-determination?

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Pinagat I Maga'lahi Hurao

Speech given by Maga'lahi Hurao, 1671 while rallying Chamorros to battle against the Spanish...

The Spaniards would have done better to remain in their own country. We have no need of their help to live happily. Satisfied with what our islands furnish us, we desire nothing. The knowledge which they have given us has only increased our needs and stimulated our desires. They find it evil that we do not dress. If that were necessary, nature would have provided us with clothes. They treat us as gross people and regard us as barbarians. But do we have to believe them? Under the excuse of instructing us, they are corrupting us. They take away from us the primitive simplicity in which we live.

They dare to take away our liberty, which should be dearer to us than life itself. They try to persuade us that we will be happier, and some of us had been blinded into believing their words. But can we have such sentiments if we reflect that we have been covered with misery and illness ever since those foreigners have come to disturb our peace?

Before they arrived on the island, we did not know insects. Did we know rats, flies, mosquitoes, and all the other little animals which constantly torment us? These are the beautiful presents they have made us. And what have their floating machines brought us? Formerly, we do not have rheumatism and inflammations. If we had sickness, we had remedies for them. But they have brought us their diseases and do not teach us the remedies. Is it necessary that our desires make us want iron and other trifles which only render us unhappy?

The Spaniards reproach us because of our poverty, ignorance and lack of industry. But if we are poor, as they tell us, then what do they search for? If they didn't have need of us, they would not expose themselves to so many perils and make such efforts to establish themselves in our midst. For what purpose do they teach us except to make us adopt their customs, to subject us to their laws, and to remove the precious liberty left to us by our ancestors? In a word, they try to make us unhappy in the hope of an ephemeral happiness which can be enjoyed only after death.

They treat our history as fable and fiction. Haven't we the same right concerning that which they teach us as incontestable truths? They exploit our simplicity and good faith. All their skill is directed towards tricking us; all their knowledge tends only to make us unhappy. If we are ignorant and blind, as they would have us believe, it is because we have learned their evil plans too late and have allowed them to settle here. Let us not lose courage in the presence of our misfortunes. They are only a handful. We can easily defeat them. Even though we don't have their deadly weapons which spread destruction all over, we can overcome them by our large numbers. We are stronger than we think! We can quickly free ourselves from these foreigners! We must regain our former freedom!

Let's Chat in Chamorro about Hindi movies (chinagi dos!)

Miget: Hafa ga'chong, kao mamaolek ha' todu?

Nicole: Ahe', ahe'.

Miget: Hey, diablo lai, sa' hafa guaha baba giya Hagu?

Nicole: Manegga' yu' mubi gi painge' yan ti ya-hu gui'!

Miget: Sa' hafa? Hafa na'an-na este?

Nicole: Na'an-na Hum Tum.

Miget: Hafa kumekeilek-na enao gi fino' Chamorro?

Nicole: Kumekeilek-na "Guahu, Hagu."

Miget: Oh! Guaha hiningok-hu put ayu! Dipotsi mangge i kanta-na siha no?

Nicole: Guaha, lao dipotsi lokkue este "mubin feminist." Lao ti mismo.

Miget: Hafa kumekeilek-mu?

Nicole: Dipotsi nai este put i lalalahi yan i famalao'an yan na debi di u achaigua i "sexes." Ya mana'annok este gi i estorian Si Karan yan Si Rhea. Gi i tinituhun i mibi, gof baba na taotao Si Karan. Gagu, luhuriosu, pikaru, ya todu i tiempo, hinassosso gui' put manchika. Ma fa'na'an Si Rhea, "modern" na palao'an, pues gof ti ya-na Si Karan, yan sesso ha lalatde gui' sa' taya' respetu-na nu i famalao'an. Ha hasso ha' put i chugo' beben, ya eyu ha'!

Miget: Kalang na'chalek na kachido no?

Nicole: Hunggan, lao grabu lokkue.

Miget: Grabu? Taimanu?

To be continued....

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Some Movies with Guam mentions

Good Morning Vietnam
Matilda
Dudley Do Right
Rat Race
Austin Powers
Dodgeball
No Man is an Island
High Noon
Max Havoc
Hardboiled
Psych
Kim Possible
Wedding Crashers
Yours Mine Ours
Family Guy
Monk

Monday, January 24, 2005

Guam Poets Online

An interesting site to check out. With some very interesting poems, including one by me, that I wrote two years ago. Most are in English, and most come from the perspective of an "average America" as opposed to your average person from Guam. Some would argue that they are one and the same, but if you were to think about it for more than a few moments you would realize that they aren't. And this has nothing to do with Guam's distance or inadequacies, but are merely part of the nature of its colonial relationship to the United States.

Regardless, check out the site.

http://www.geocities.com/guampoetsonline/

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Bollywood gazed

I just finished watching an ABC News report about Bollywood, "the biggest thing you've never heard of." This anonymity was the most prevelant theme through the twenty minute segment. The biggest stars that no one has ever heard of.

It was painful to watch seriously. Anyone who thinks that Orientalism is dead mustn't watch much TV. This news report was the perfect example. The describing but equally deflating discourse on Bollywood's hugeness as well as unknowness was particularly salient. Bollywood is huge, raw statistics show that, it makes more movies, has more than a billion viewers more than Hollywood. So how can they obvious awesomeness be contained so as not to threaten Hollywood, or American/Western superiority? You do so by inscribing it in specific ways, referencing the undeniable, but in a way which will assure the Western viewer universal authority, hence, Bollywood, is the "biggest thing you've never heard of," speaking to the "average American viewer," assuring them that their position as the most important people in the world is not being threatened.

There were other painful aspects as well. For example, Bollywood was constantly referenced as being in the process of translating itself into American terms, whether in Hollywood or Broadway. The main guide through this foreign and exotic world was Richard Corliss, a white film guy, who pronounced the names of things in uncomfortably correct ways. (Meaning, he made sure to pronounce every letter and syllable in the names of things). Ultimately, Bollywood while created to be this exotic extravganza, was simultaneously created to be this aspiring American adventure. Rather than showing how Hollywood is working to appropriate its power, passion, energy and color (hahaha, terribly correct choice of words), it instead made it seem like Bollywood was working its ass off to become this American phenomenon.

In relation to Guam, the use of the banal sentence that something important is something you've never heard of is something used often to describe Guam. Guam is constantly referred to as a very patriotic place, America has never heard of. A very American place that American don't know exists. There is alot of violence and assumptions of existence in that statement, and when its used, its impotant to identify what you are about to be convinced about, and hopefully resist it.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Translation

Something occurred to me last week, which everyone knows, but few people seem to understand...

I was talking to one of my classmates about India, Hindi stuff. He had been married in an Hindi ceremony in UP to a Buddhist girl, and I watch alot of Hindi movies and was in love with a Sindhi girl for six years (sina na mangguaguaiya ha'). Somehow we ended up talking about Hindi, the language after he asked me the word for "soul."

I guessed it was "atma," and then ran through a list of other words which I know, (which is actually several hundred). After incorrectly saying that "Ishq" was the word for ocean, instead of love, I realized something. The sentence structure which I was using to translate between the language, to bridge them together, was this, "_____" is the word in Hindi for "____." I wasn't saying, "this means," I was saying "the word," which means alot more than most people would probably notice. It means that I am structuring the languages I am talking about in a certain way, making assumptions about 1 to 1 translation ability, which does a disservice to both languages by giving one, whichever controls the decision to chose words, or the decision to make it a very concrete translation or transitition. In this instance, English was prevailing, because I was using it as the superior language, to chose which words in Hindi get to be said, as being "the" translation.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Very distasteful question...

When politicians from Washington come through Guam to check out the fertility of military possibilities, there are many questions which we just don't ask.

Who arranges for prostitutes for the politicians? Is that done through the delegate's office? Perhaps through a special envony from the Governor's camp? Or maybe the Chamber of Commerce lets them use from their private stash? Or is a memo sent our prior to their leaving Washington that the Department of the Defense considers the island and everyone on it as a very willing to be patriotically dominated in anyway the military desires...

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Hassuyi

"If our gods and hopes are nothing but scientific phenomena, then our loves must be as well."

Yanggen sigi ha' ta apu gi i fina'tinas saientifik, pues ti apmam siempre na taya' hit fuera di makina siha gi halom makina siha.

Yanggen magahet este, esta hit taiguihi, lao ti apmam taya' mas sina ta puni ayu...

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Fegga' gi i Inai

Tinige' Si Peter Santos (Chamoruboy) http://www.chamoruboy.com


FEGGE' GI INAI
Un puengi man guifi yu.
Hu guifi na mamomokkat yu gi
kanton tasi gi echongñan i Asaina.

Annok gi mapagahes i
sinisedeku siha gi it lina'la'hu.
Gi kada susedimento hu li'e
dos na fegge' gi inai: iyon i Asaina, yan iyoku.

Gi annai annok i kilu na
susedimentoku hu atan i fegge' gi inai.

Hu li'e na meggai na biahi gi chalan
it lina'la'hu na unu ha' na fegge' guaha.
Hu li'e lokkue na ayu ha' na taguenao
gi annai chumatsaga yan puminiti yu.

Mampos yu enkebukao
nu ini ya hu faisen i Asaina:
Yu'us, ilekmu na gigon hu tattiyi hao,
un dalak yu gi lina'la'hu.
Lao hu li'e na gi annai matto
gi chinatsagaku unu ha' na
fegge' guaha gi inai.
Ti hu tunngo' haftaimanu na gi annai
hu gof nisisita hao na un dingo yu.

Ineppe yu as Yu'us:

"Lahihu, guinaiyaku na patgon-hu,
hu sen guaiya hao ya ni ngai'an na hu dingo hao.
Gi chinatsagaga-mu yan pinititi-mu
annai unu ha' annok na fegge',
yuhi annai hu hohoggue hao.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Minagof

Earlier today, someone in my cohort (group of people who enter a program together) asked me if I was happy in our Ph.D. program. I responded that happiness isn't really isn't a very total experience, at least not in the way I see it, experience it or conceptualize it. Like most things, its ephemeral moments which pass and die quickly, but can be easily found again. Happiness over periods of time doesn't really exist, the smile on someones face when they open a gift, quickly, often quielty slips away, not into unhappiness, but into an awareness of happiness. A cognizance of socially what a smile is supposed to signify leads someone to think, "I am happy."

Awareness of happiness is its own killjoy, its own deflective reflective. Which is why I only think of it as minutes or stretched moments. Because a referential statement, which always comes into being when things move from being ephemeral to ephocal, is often times a eulogy. If you've seen the film Anchorman, Will Ferrel's character really exemplifies this point. When him and the guys are laughing having a good time, Ferrel will constantly remark "We are having a good time," thus effectively killing the mood, and the happiness.

So I don't even strive to be happy, because that is a temporal remark which can probably never happen, but I always know that I will find happiness, in moments such as this, typing in my blog a thought which flashed before me like lighting, the serendipities whether they are interactual, sensual, or intellectual.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Betsu put guinaya yan i tasi

taina'an...

Annok na un guaiya yu’
Lao sigi ha’ na un puni
Sa’ hafa ti un admite

Ai sigi ha’ un kolat
Hun I tano’ yan I tasi
Umunu hit lokkue lao ti un li’e

Sa’ hafa ti un tungo’
Hafa gaige giya Hagu
I amot yan I na’malangu

Mungga yu’ machonnek
Toktok yu’ lao choffe’
Risaki yu’ ya u ma amte’

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Ni' unu dime mas!

Not One Damn Dime Day - Jan 20, 2005

Since our religious leaders will not speak out against the war in Iraq, since our political leaders don't have the moral courage to oppose it, since Bush is wasting 40 MILLION dollars on his inauguration party...while the soldiers are too few and have inadequate armor to "create or maintain" peace in Iraq... Inauguration Day, Thursday, January 20th, 2005 is "Not One Damn Dime Day" in America. On "Not One Damn Dime Day" those who oppose what is happening in our name in Iraq can speak up with a 24-hour national boycott of all forms of consumer spending. During "Not One! Damn Dime Day" please don't spend money. Not one damn dime for gasoline. Not one damn dime for necessities or for impulse purchases. Not one damn dime for nothing for 24 hours. On "Not One Damn Dime Day," please boycott Wal-Mart, Kmart, Target... Please don't go to the mall or the local convenience store. Please don't buy any fast food (or any groceries at all for that matter). For 24 hours, please do what you can to shut the retail economy down. The object is simple. Remind the people in power that the war in Iraq is immoral and illegal; that they are responsible for starting it and that it is their responsibility to stop it. "Not One Damn Dime Day" is to remind them, too, that they work for the people of the United States of America, not for the international corporations and Wall Street lobbyists who represent the corporations and funnel cash into American politics. "Not One Damn Dime Day" is about supporting the troops. The politicians put the troops in harm's way. Now 1,200 brave young Americans and (some estimate) 100,000 Iraqis have died. The politicians owe our troops a plan - a way to come home. There's no rally to attend. No marching to do. No left or right wing agenda to rant about.

On "Not One Damn Dime Day" you take action by doing nothing. You open your mouth by keeping your wallet closed. For 24 hours, nothing gets spent, not one damn dime, to remind our religious leaders and our politicians of their moral responsibility to end the war in Iraq and give America back to the people. Please share this email with as many people as possible.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Taya' Nukes giya i Pasifik Umbre!

Anyone interested in making sure the Pacific isn't destroyed through nuclear testing, nuclear accidents or anything else which is rarely discussed about the militarization in the region, please get in touch with Fanai Castro. I've posted her release below.

Dear Friends:1 March, 2005 will mark the 51st anniversary of the day the nuclear bomb“Bravo” was detonated on Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands.Internationally acknowledged by human rights groups throughout the world,1 March has become a day to remember those who have suffered and died as aresult of nuclear experimentation, uranium mining, nuclear weapons testingand nuclear waste dumping. It is also a day celebrating the strength andendurance of Pacific peoples who have maintained and continue to protectour languages, lands and cultural practices, ensuring that the ways ofliving and being handed down from our ancestors are passed on to futuregenerations."Guahan Artists’ Collective" will be sponsoring a project to acknowledgethe historical significance of March 1, resounding the cry here in Oceaniafor a Nuclear-Free and Independent Pacific dedicated to global solidaritythrough peaceful means and committed to the high value of interdependence,love and respect for all forms of life. We believe in a group consciencethat recognizes the importance of cultural and tradition-minded solutions,which have already ensured Pacific peoples’ survival for thousands ofyears. We aim to create an atmosphere that will nurture and develop avoice among our community, to generate a greater sense of awareness on ouridentity as Pacific Islanders through the promotion of indigenous culturesin the arts and humanities.During the month of March, we wish to show support for this historic eventof nuclear fallout and contamination that took place in the MarshallIslands and the subsequent downwind exposure to neighboring islands bypromoting dialogue on our shared histories and experiences. We hope togenerate a greater sense of awareness among Pacific Islanders, to promoteunity among the peoples of Oceania, and to celebrate the global cause forpeace and solidarity throughout our islands.“Nuclear-Free and Interdependent Pacific: Artist Reflections from anIndigenous Perspective” will utilize art, music, and poetry to encouragethought-provoking analyses within our island community. Artists, musiciansand poets will display their contemporary cultural expressions foraudience members to reflect and act on current island issues, which mayincorporate themes such as resource overdevelopment, environmentalpollution, and cultural preservation.We are looking for interested college students, village residents,academics, teachers, government officials, and all outer islanders—becauseit is ultimately our communities, as a collective, that wield the power toaffect change in our Pacific and throughout the world. If you would liketo become involved or know anyone who may be interested, please contact usat nukefreepacifik@riseup.net.

Hasso!
ma'ase
si Fanai Castro"Guahan Artists' Collective"

Similarly, people with yellow ribbons don't know shit about patriotism

Late breaking Guam News from Guantanamo...

One of my friends on the base visiting her parents. She's been freaking out there because although the place is full of military, few of them seem to know what Guam is or where it is.

One soldier in particular was pretty funny. He asked my friend where Guam was exactly. She looked down at a tatto on the guys leg, and thought to herself, what the hell, you should know. The guy had a globe tattooed on his leg.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Let's Chat in Chamorro about Hindi Movies

In the spirit of coalition building and opening up new forums and types of dialogue, I dedicate the following to building an important bridge between Hindi movies and the Chamorro language...

Jofis: Lana Miget, gi painge' hu egga' Swades, ya gof ya-hu!

Miget: Guana? Pine'lo-ku na esta ma na'ma'pos ayu. Magof-hu na ya-mu, lao nu Guahu, ti ya-hu.

Jofis: Ki sa' hafa umbree na ti ya-mu? Ti ya-mu ni' kanta-na siha?

Miget: Well, guaha na ya-hu, ya guaha na ti ya-hu lokkue. Lao ti put enao na guaha chinatli'e-hu nu Guiya.

Jofis: Pues sa' hafa?

Miget: Ai atan i hinasso-na Si Mohan, i petsona-na Si Shah Rukh Khan. Taimamahlao ayu! Hunggan, dinanche gui' lokkue, lao gos tairespetu, sa' hinasso-na na i tinakhilo' ha' i kesteumbren Amerikanu.

Jofis: Hu hasso, hu hasso. Nai mandana gi i miteng despues di ma subi i nuebu na famagu'on. Ma fatta i Indians siha na maolekna siha kinu i Amerikanu siha put i ketturan-niha! Ya Si Shah Rukh ha lalatde siha, ilek-na na komo un sigi ha' fatta put este, ti un ripara i bila na problema giya Hamyo, ya i kettura ti ha hulat muna'homlo'!

Miget: Hunggan.

Jofis: Dinanche' Si Shah Rukh, hafa i problema-mu?

Miget: Gof impottante i kettura lokkue, ya dinanche i taotao i sengsong na guaha giya Siha ni' maolekna kinu i Amerikanu siha. Kao guaha un egga' i kachido, "Biko?"

Jofis: Ahe'.

Miget: Gi ayu, guaha scene nai umakuentusi un haole yan un taotao South Africa. Ilek-na i South African nu i haole, un chule' magi bula na kosas inadelanto, annok na masgaiprogress hamyo kinu Guiya, pi'ot gi fanience'an. Lao guaha lokkue gi un banda, ni' ti un danche. Put hemplo, ilek-na este na taotao, i familia.

Jofis: Pues?

Miget: Ti bai hu sangan na perfekto i taotao Indian, ya parehua ha' nu i Chamorro. Lao an un atan hafa ilekilek-na i kettura-ta put i familia, put taimanu debi di ta trata i taotao (fa'taotao, ti fa'trastes), mas gaibali i ketturan Chamorro ya sina lokkue i ketturan Indian kinu i Amerikanu.

Jofis: Okay, okay, dinanche hao nu este, lao put enao ha' ti ya-mu i mibi?

Miget: Ahe' umbre, ilek-hu na ya-hu yan ti ya-hu lokkue. Kalang todu gi lina'la' eh?

Thinking outside the boxes that confine us

I've been wondering lately. Are we socialized to just accept the things before our eyes? Meaning is that the most significant trait that we get from our parents, our education, our interactions with others. Or is it just part of the way humans function or are supposed to be.

When something is before us, or presented to us, we often accept it, usually in and of itself, or because some forum has been fabricated or some authority generated. This is especially true when we deal with the ways things ought to be. Whatever exists and has impressive labels attached to it, we tend to cling to as being the way, or the only way.

Democracy is an excellent example of this. In that American form of democracy is accepted by nearly everyone in America as being THE way to govern (meaning the ideal, the best). In Britian they tend to feel the same way about their form of democracy. What these superlative forms obscure, is that other things are possible, and it might be beneficial just to pursue them, think about them, or even just admit to their existence.

These things which exist outside of the boxes that confine us are everywhere, although we tend not to see them, or dismiss them when they don't gell or conform to existing frameworks of knowing.

I'm writing this because over the weekend I saw an interesting, yet small example which contested mine and nearly everyone else's notions of America about how people should be organized and categorized. I've become accustomed to thinking about children in terms of age, and when a certain age is reached, another level of existence is reached and the status is changed and what can be done to the body, and what this body can do also change.

In movie theaters, we usually see that children are of a lower price, when under the age of 10 or 12, or some other number. While going to a "multicultural" movie theatre yesterday in Long Beach, called Naz8, which shows films from India, Korea, the Philippines and other places in Asia, their prices were as follows, $10 for adults, $5 for children under 50 inches.

It was an odd experience to see this alternative form of categorization and to most people it might seem ridiculous to even spend a paragraph ruminating on it, but for me it definitely traced the lines over home I am confined in my own ways of knowing the world and human life.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Tsunami

For a while I wasn't really sure how to respond to the tsunami. People would ask me about it, and I would just kind of mimick their statements, which usually amount to thin or empty statements which can appear to be very deep.

According to Slavoj Zizek, the homo sacer for this century are those who can only receive humanitarian aid. Those who can only be acted upon but can never act. Isn't this the way in which we ALWAYS tend to look at people in the "third world?" For example, in Afghanistan, when it was on the verge of being bombed and invaded did anyone think that maybe the type of assistance that the country should receive, should not be humanitarian handouts, but reparations which admit to the US and Soviet roles in destroying the country, as well as provide ways in which the country could help itself. The focus instead was on how Afghan women need our help, or that we need to help these people survive.

In these contexts, it is interesting how to survive and to live aren't the same thing. Those starving masses can survive, but so long as they remain their, they are not allowed to live.

How does one relate to this tragedy in Asia? Is it possible to relate to it in an ethical or original way, which doesn't just orientalize/ exoticize or repeat too often repeated platitudes? The ways in which the poorer regions of Asia, Africa and even South America have been represented limits me in how I can respond to this event.

Maybe I'm just reacted against the pressure to form a packaged response. Maybe it is because people want bit-sized, easily digested bytes of speech, that forming a reponse is so difficult.

Si Yu'us ha' tumungo' todu, ya put i ti Yu'us yu', ti hu tungo'...

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails