Saturday, September 20, 2008

So, sometimes, I can't resist . . .

Obama Pictures and McCain Pictures

The Problem with "Persepolis," the film

So in an increasing attempt to solidify what this blog talks about, I think it safe to say that anything I want to talk about is what this blog talks about.


Essentially, the frame of this blog is a means for you to understand the writer: where he comes from, what he's thinking, and why, perhaps, he's thinking it. In addition to being morbidly obese and twenty-one years of age, I'm also a proud, gay, gender-queer person who is a staunch feminist. It is from that lens that I'd like to give my two cents on the film adaptation of Marjane Satrapi's "Persepolis."

Having read the novel about a year ago and recently as part of a common reading program put on by my university (which I reported on here for my college's newspaper), I've come to know the book, and the author, very well. In addition to reading Persepolis, I've also read Satrapi's book Embroideries, which was published between the two halves of Persepolis. While I wouldn't call myself an expert on Satrapi, I feel as if I've come to understand her language of storytelling—her interesting cross-section between graphic novel and memoir.

One thing that I love about Satrapi's novels is that they complicate the western view of women in Iran. There's this idea in the western mind (planted there for us by President Bush in his famous speech, naming, among others, Iran as part of an Axis of Evil) that the women of Arabic, middle-eastern countries have, for centuries long, been persecuted under Islamic law. It appeals to our western sense of crusade romanticism that even the intellegencia fall under. One way to rationalize our nation's blatant overstepping of Afghanistani, Iraqi, and dare I say soon-to-be Iranian rights is that we, as a country, will liberate these women from the oppressive, patriarchial hands of their sharia-laden overlords.

Satrapi works against this. She shows that, in Iran, middle to upper-class women had the choice whether or not to veil and that their was great backlash against its imposition upon Iranian women in the early 80s. Satrapi also shows, through her memoir, why women took off the veil, and, I think more importantly, why she might choose to put the veil back on, and what such an action means.

What struck me as odd is the way that the movie side-stepped most of these complications and how that might simplify, or even inhibit, the way a receiver of the memoir perceived the intricacies of the veil.

It's always a problem, adaptation, and good adaptation is almost an art form. For it to go about well, the writers and directors who are adapting the novel need to be experts in the novel and be able to capture the novels spirit—they must be able move past the letters of the page and into the heart of the story. What 'Persepolis' did, however, was go right past the heart of the story's literary complication, and bundle the movie inside of an animated, histrionic ball, that made the subject matter of the book not only more superficially interesting, but also lose insight into the complexities of the gender politics of the novel.

What viewers got was a sense of the hardship Satrapi undertook in her life in order to be a woman, free from the oppression of Iran not the struggle that Satrapi endured in order to be congruent with herself. The book drew an interesting line between what one's actions and words and what one believes and how, despite the simplification of a western eye, the truth of the matter is more complex and deep then ever before imagined. The viewer does a great disservice to themselves by not reading the book because in this adaptation what isn't lost is the heart of the story, it's the heart of the purpose of the story—to show us that we, as westerners, are not only very much like a little girl growing up during the Iranian Revolution, but that, more importantly, we are very much different from a little girl growing up during the Iranian Revolution.

Despite my theoretical impetus for writing this post, I enjoyed the movie. But when reading important and necessary books like "Persepolis," given our shaky political climate, what's more important—that I enjoy the movie? or that I engage in a dialog that makes more difficult my preconceived notions, thus prompting me to probe deeper and understand more?

I'm glad I understand more.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

What's english for beschäftig?

Oh yes. Busy. Beschäftig (buh-chef-tih) means busy. One can verbalize this noun, and say "ich beschäftige mich" or "I busy myself" (it's a reflexive verb).

The point is—last week Friday was the first day all week that I'd been home before sundown. This is the third time in five days that I've gone to bed around 3 and woken up around 8.

Balance. Please?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

"The Call" Logo

With less than 60 days to perhaps the most world-watched, life-changing, decision-making election of my generation, I can't help but share a bit of my graphic designer's perspective on this:

The logo for The Call, self described as a "divinely initiated, multi-racial, multi-generational, and cross-denominational gathering to corporate prayer and fasting." The group is calling for fellow christianists across the United States to fly into San Diego, clog its empty Manchester Hyatt suites, and join each other at Qualcomm Stadium to fast for the nation and appeal to God to end Gay Marriage. Judging by the ultra-swank video they've posted on their website and youtube, they've got some talented people working for them.

Now, I'm not going to say anything about my opinion of their organization or my belief that what they are doing is not only morally reprehensible as they fundamentally seek to enact their own belief systems into law, but just plain nonsensical [Because not eating is going to make they gays straight? (wait . . . there I go again with the editorializing. Damnit.)].

I'm simply going to offer my two cents on their design choices.

:: ahem ::

An arrow pointing up, inside of a circle, for an organization hell-bent on destroying the right for to all Californians to marry who the choose?

In a word: Sub-tle.

I think their designer was thinking "I'll just shove a bit more penis into this vagina by complementing it with a neat-o sans-serif type treatment."

Way to go, right-wing America. Brava.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Everyday a Marathon, addendum

. . . It's not that I don't like the encouragement. It's that sometimes I feel that it trivializes my real pain. The point of the last post was to emphasize the realness of my pain and struggles.


Everyday a Marathon

The school year has begun, which for most means finally cracking open those books after a summer of non-commitment, or perhaps a summer of working that Barista job, but still having time to take a step back and tip-toe through the random-ten-hour-Six-Feet-Under-marathons.

I've had a different summer and thus, a different first day back.

Because of my internship with Student Involvement and Leadership at my university (I was their print and web design intern), in some ways, I never left last year. My summer was filled with plenty of fun, enjoyment, and relaxation, but for the past month or so, I've been going 200 mph, trying to mitigate my various levels of involvement while still doing my respective jobs. This has effectively translated into one tired Fettchen.

I want to say something that I'll most likely say again and again, but perhaps maybe, when I need to talk about this in the future, I'll just do a clever link back to this post. Think of this as our Grundsatz, a basic principle I want you all to understand:

Walking is hard.

Yesterday, the first day of class, was host to our campus' involvement fair, where the first-years come, fresh from convocation, and get a chance to see the array of clubs and organizations offered at PLU, deciding with whom to give their email. I'm a diversity advocate working out of the diversity center, so from about 8:30 until 9:45 I was running around, getting this together for not only my job, but also the organizations I belong to. There was set up. There was take down. And all before noon, I was zonked.

Then it was time for class.

I want the world to understand that despite the specialness that was yesterday, for me, everyday is a marathon. The weight that I carry around makes it so that by the end of the day, I'm completely exhausted, and sometimes even thinking of moving hurts. The support that we give to fat people when they're working hard physically is the kind of response that values the percieved outcome of that pain, rather than the pain. I don't know how many times I've heard others say "Good for you!" or "Proud of you!" as if they feel that this level of activity is taking me somewhere, to that place of being thin like them.

I'm not sure that's the case, really. I take everyday in stride, hoping that this won't be the day I injure myself. Sometimes, I think, how easier my marathon life would be, were it not for the extra me that I carry.

Monday, September 8, 2008

sos . . .

As in, the plural of so, not the distress call save our souls.

Anyway. I've been gobbled by the hole that is the beginning of school for the past three weeks, and for that, dear bloggypoos, I apologize, not to say that it will get better, because it won't—three jobs, three 300+ level classes, and two clubs? Bet your boo we could be heading toward lean times.

But I want this blog to work. I know!

die vier Zielpunkte Fettchens
otherwise known as Fettchen's four goals!
  1. Post at least once a week
  2. Eventually work toward posting three times a week
  3. Acquire before study-abroad video blogging technologies
  4. Get a cat to love and snuggle with
Okay, so the last goal isn't related to this blog. But I wants one.

Thanks for the understanding lovelies. Until then, das Bett.