dmp: Taking a stroll in my finery (Default)
Note: Read Part 1 of this essay here.


Cartoon from The Wasp. Image courtesy of Berkeley University. Click for link.

Historical and cultural trends fed into the development during the 19th century of the Yellow Peril in the United States and Europe. The first Asian immigrants to the United States were the Chinese who took part in the Gold Rush in California in the late 1840s. They were the first free nonwhites to arrive in the United States in large numbers, and the racial, religious, cultural, and linguistic differences between white Americans and the Chinese immigrants, as well as the perception that the Chinese were taking jobs away from white Americans, led to hostility and racism directed at the newcomers. Among the manifestations of this hostility was a new set of anti-Chinese stereotypes. (The lack of Japanese immigrants in America as well as the perception in America that Japan was an ally of the West kept stereotypes about the Japanese to a minimum until the aftermath of the Russo-Japanese War in 1905).

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“If I walk, I hope my footsteps won’t be erased just like that… I want many other footsteps to follow mine!” - Anne Avantie"

Anne Avantie's signature kebaya designs are growing in popularity as Asian fashion enters the global scene. Born to Chinese parents in Solo, Indonesia, Anne never had any formal training in fashion design, but always had an interest in the fashion world. Her love for fashion design started young, when she created and sold hair ornaments to her friends in elementary school. As she grew older, Avantie began doing costume design for her school events and other local events in Solo, and in 1989, she started her own company with only a rented house and two sewing machines. Her business soon boomed, however, with her specialization in her elaborately beaded costume wear and wedding gowns.



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International Women's Day logoDuring the aftermath of the Industrial Revolution, causes for gender equality were being raised by men and women throughout the world. In 1909, under the helm of the Socialist Party of America, the first National Women's Day was celebrated in the United States on February 28th. In 1910, at the International Conference of Working Women in Copenhagen, influential German socialist politician Clara Zetkin proposed that a day be set aside in every country where women can organize and advocate for their demands for social equality. The following year, Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland celebrated International Women's Day on March 19th, 1911. About 1 million men and women attended rallies in those countries and others to advocate for equal rights and pay.

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The Almirante Latorre (Chilean Navy), as the HMS Canada by the time this photo was taken. This was one of Chile's first modern battleships, built in the early 1900s. Click for source.

“A Question of Reciprocity” was a serial written by Robert Duncan Milne and appeared in San Francisco Examiner, November 15-22, 1891. Milne (1844-1899) was a San Franciscan journalist and writer whose alcoholism first destroyed his substantial talent and then killed him. During his lifetime Milne was the best of the surprisingly large number of science fiction writers of end-of-the-century San Francisco.

The new Chilean government, brought to power by a revolution, refuses to pay for a huge new battleship that the previous government had ordered. The battleship is instead purchased by a group of Chilean business magnates. They are embittered with the United States because of America’s economic and political policies with Chile, and they have decided to use the battleship to recoup some of their financial losses by holding part of the United States for ransom.

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dmp: (Ay-leen the Peacemaker)
---they give President Obama the Nobel Peace Prize nine months into his presidency for giving the "a more constructive role in meeting the great climatic challenges the world is confronting."

Wow. Just wow.

I'm feeling impressed and wondering whether this sets the bar a wee too high for the remaining three years.

After all, Woodrow Wilson got the prize while in office too, and look what happened to all his international diplomacy hopes...
dmp: Taking a stroll in my finery (Default)
Steampunk Magazine’s Professor Calamity Arrested

People have talked about the intersection of steampunk and politics, but does this marks another evolution to the steampunk subgenre? Go to the article above and already you get a debate in the comments about the relevancy of associating steampunk with political protests.

Personally, I don't know whether I agree with Professor Calamity's politics, but his arrest bring up a couple of issues for me, steam and non-steam related:

1) It really opens my eyes to how the mainstream can view steampunk culture. While we have cosplayers and tinkerers fiddling with gears and scrap metal, junk parts, and power tools, those same items used for creativity can be seen as markers of dissent. As noted in this news article of the arrest, items taken from the raid included gas masks, corked glass vials, beakers and test tubes -- relevant items that fall under "potential terrorist" but also items that anyone SP who identifies as a mad scientist would have. We already know the SP obsession with fantastic weaponry; what would happen is an officer mistook a modded toy gun or a Ray Blunderbuss for an actual working weapon? Ridiculous, certainly, but in the heat of a police raid where they think you're a potential Unibomber? It can happen.

2) There's also the whole debate on the extent of politics in steampunk. Steampunk Magazine is firmly political, but I understand how others want to remain as apolitical as possible. An incident like this can be seen as one steampunk faction co-opting the use term steampunk to rally people to their cause, or it can be seen as the evolution of what has been a mostly aesthetic trend into an active subculture with serious political and social aspirations.

3) In a non-steampunk sense, I find this incident fascinating in relation to the idea that Twitter helped the Iran revolution. In this case, social media was used for protests on American soil; while people have praised its use against oppressive regimes, it's interesting how quickly our own government jumps in retaliation against this latest example of social media and politics. I personally get a creepy Big Brother sense of it; the more people put themselves out there on the Internet, the easier it is for others--including the government--to monitor us.

December 2012

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