Saturday, October 30, 2010

Reality show got too real

I'm sharing my secret sin. At least one of them. I'm one of those people who watch tv and read for one thing -- entertainment. If I happen to pick up a book or sit in front of the tv for something informative, I will become engrossed, but if the channel changer were in my hand, I'm looking for a mindless reality show. So today I am blogging to say my last word on my former addiction, Project Runway.

And I am assuming that some of you know what I am talking about when I say GRETCHEN?????!? ARE YOU FRIGGING KIDDING ME?!!!!!

First I'll start out with the dead silence of our living room when Gretchen from Portland was chosen over the talented, bold Mondo. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
It descended like a blob of marshmallow. All the fun of watching something just fo pure entertainment and escape disappeared under it's goo. BLEAH! Racism is in my house. This reality show just got too real. I guess I got my Thursday nights back because I'm outta' here.

The words were popping out of their mouths all night and I should have known. Michael Kors said you couldn't tell if it was Chinese or Mexican . . . . WHAAAA? and Nina Garcia Columbian gatekeeper and sidekick did say to Andy that he had "over orientalized" his collection but still, . .GRETCHAN? REALLY? Hippy fashion, culture vulture, sage and beige Gretchen? Kors turned orange with passion arguing to keep the borders closed to the fashion elite domain calling Gretchen forward thinking, her finger on the pulse of fashion. Heidi and Jessica Simpson gawked at him. I imagine this idea was scary to them. Hide the body? Wear straw hats? And those panty shorts? Me?!!! This guy is telling women that they want to wear flowey, form hiding, burnt sienna hippy clothes which is meant to have a "tribal vibe"?

Looking back from here, I bet Michael Kors must have itched where he can't scratch when he saw the final lineup and sacrificed Michael C to retain Gretchan. Three BROWN gay men and HORRORS! they had already sent all the white people home! What to do?! So Gretchen got to stay. This explains it for me because before I was wondering, they sent Michael C., Mr. Effortless Chic, home and chose hippy dippy culture vulture clothes? They chose sage and beige? hopsacking over silk? but lined up on the stage like that, Michael, Mondo and Andy must have made Mr. Swimsuit design squeal inside like a little pig who sees the shadow of the ax.

But the last straw . . . when Mondo and Andy came back from their two weeks home with their lines, worst nightmare. Both announce they were inspired by their heritage, that each of their lines came from their heart and soul. Beautiful clothes. Exciting fabric, design. As Mondo said, he touched every piece -- the head gear, the bags, the outrageous WOW factor clothes. Andy's structural work, his fabric choice was flowey with an edge. One never knows how Andy sewed mere fabric to do what it does under his fingers. To me he is like Rumpunzel without the magical help, creating unimaginable beautiful garments. The judge's reaction? "orientalize" "Mexican/Chinese" as if we're indiscernible from each other, as if it were a bad thing? Doesn't it sound like Kors has "border issues"?

So Gretchen whom I referred to as culture vulture leaves with the $100,000 which is appropriate in its own way. Mondo and Andy already said their designs came from their heart. And they left with their hearts intact. Gretchen I am convinced came for the cash and the title, looking to the left and right to snatch a bit of this and that and finally with the help of Kors and Garcia, was finally able to snatch the title. She called her line "Walking through Thunder" (GAD! New Agey culture vulture to the max) and looked to her idea of tribal designs, deserted her original style which worked in the beginning, the clean simple lines and voila! She wins. Winning was her one goal, so I guess it had its own symmetry, dissatisfying as the evening turned out to be.

Kors argued until his blood vessel popped out of his head that Gretchen was the future. But the blog reaction that next day certainly says differently. She may be "in" last night but it seems the woman may already be out.


Kors and Garcia, you may have protected the borders of the fashion elite Thursday Night.

But Mondo, Andy and Michael C. had already stormed the walls and they have already secured a place inside. Your time has passed!

My evil twin is finally finished ranting about this tv show. I will find other guilty pastimes and go back to keeping them my secret.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Second Step: WRITE

It's been days since I began to balance my Facebook use and return to blogging. I a staying away from Facebook until I have blogged to my heart's content.

This is October 29, just a few days away from Election Day. In Oregon, we mail in our votes. Today is the last day to mail in because postmarks do not count. This is the first year that I'm going to election center. As a volunteer for Basic Rights of Oregon, we did phone banks for Governor Kitzhauber I like him. He's the governor known to have actively pushed the salmon plan before leaving office. I talked with my friend Bob Tom the other day. I didn't realize how the governor designed his plan. First step, he brought together the tribes and other stakeholders. That is the group who worked together to design the plan.

Governor Kitzhauber runs against Chris DUDley, one of the "nouveau Republican crazy people." No shame. No boundaries. I suppose on a national level they are called the Tea Party, with three second bytes which may sound populist -- "the education candidate," "for the working people" but they stand for the extreme opposite -- anti-government, profit based, wild reactionary unchecked self-interest and greed.

Then we have the usual measures, one by Oregon's Kevin Mannix trying to sneak his agenda in -- profit for the prison industry at the expense of schools.

It's good to be back!

And in California where our Winnemem family live they are voting on a very important race. Congressman Herger (25 year incumbent) is finally being challenged by a candidate within Shasta Lake (Herger's town) a lawyer named John (?) Reed. If he defeats Herger, he defeats THE block keeping the Winnemem from restoration of their tribal status. The State Legislature have already passed the joint resolution agreeing that the tribe should be restored. All that needs to happen is for the Congressman of their area to champion them. My opinion is that Herger must hate the Winnemem. He not only refuses to carry the bill onto the floor but he threatens that he will stop any movement by Boxer or Feinstein should they be moved to sponsor the bill in the Senate.

Tonight was Colin's ballot party at our house. Colin is the new Eugene staff of APANO, an Asian Pacific Network for social justice. Not many people came. But there is an idea that those who are supposed to come are who show up. Tonight made a believer out of me.

One of the people who came was Rita, Colin's mother. She is Chamorro of the Marianas Islands, one of the peoples whom Magellan encountered. You remember the Mariana Islands. I think that was his last trip. They call the area she her ancestors are from Guam, the last US territory. We talked about everything. She is concerned about immigration, about invisibility of Asian Pacific Island peoples in this country. She is very concerned with the political climate. Somewhere in our conversation Rita mentioned she's going to New Zealand, two thumbs up and excited. She's going with her friend who is Maori, living here in the States. That led to our telling her about our trip to New Zealand and since there was some time before others came, showed her the film Will made of the Winnemem trip to New Zealand

She and Colin were quite moved by the story. By the end of the evening, Rita and Colin are now part of Winnemem Support Group of Oregon and maybe going to ceremony. The Pacific Island people are the most recently colonized. The ancestral memories are still fresh. The spirit still burns bright in the parent's and the youth, three and four generations since conquest.

I am sorry that more people did not come to the ballot party, but as for the beginning of a new friendship, I feel this is a very special day. Rita is the first person I've met in the API community who I can talk without editing myself, and more than that, can listen to to get more insights on this system we live within but do not belong to.
"from Outside the Belly" was also known as "TBAsian" from 2008-2010. Thank you for reading.

from Outside the Monster's Belly

from Outside the Monster's Belly
. . . following Earth instead (Rakaia River, site of Salmon Ceremony, photo credit Ruth Koenig)


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Eugene, Oregon
I am a citizen of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe. I am a Nikkei descendant sansei (third generation);retired teacher, involved in the Winnemem tribal responsibility to Water, Salmon, and our belief that the Sacred is our Teacher. Working locally for human rights and supporting youth leadership.