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Fickle [userpic]

You know what makes a great setting for an 80K+ plus fic about two guys getting it on?

Haiti, post-earthquake!

In the author's own words:

When I signed up for Big Bang back in January, I had a completely different story in mind. An SPN gen story, in fact. That idea languished inside my head for a few weeks until I finally gave up trying to force it and moved on. Then the idea of a different J2 AU fic popped into my head, but again, it didn't go anywhere. Then it occurred to me: Why not use current events as the setting? The Haiti earthquake was still in the news and the more I saw about it, the more I wanted to use it until it seemed like the best idea ever. (That, of course, is only my opinion.

Right then. Watching the news unfold exactly how much of a disaster it was, seeing people displaced and orphaned and dead? Oh man, that totally makes me want to write fic about it! That was my first reaction to the tsunami as well! And Chile! There is nothing like watching other people suffer to wake up my fic muses.


I'm Sri Lankan and if someone had decided to use my country for a fic setting, post-tsunami, I would be so furious that this entry would consist of a string of swearwords and a link to the story. I was terrified back then for the safety of my family; I don't think that you'd need to look all that far to find people on livejournal or dreamwidth who would've been in the same situation for Haiti.

Or, to put it differently -- while a fair chunk of fandom threw its weight behind [info]help_haiti, this person was thinking about what a great setting it would make for the epic love of Jensen and Jared of Supernatural.

[info]glossing has kindly extracted a lot of the most troublesome parts of the fic, the SPN Anon Meme has a good rundown of why it's problematic and I love this post for explaining how the magic of intending no harm makes everything better.

In conclusion? This fic was over 80,000 words long. It had betas. It had an artist working on it. There were mods who approved it. And apparently nobody thought that setting it in post-earthquake Haiti would be a racist, classist, paternatlistic act of privilege.


Fickle [userpic]
pay no attention to this

Backstory: Following exchange stems from a comment this post on race and colorblindness. The first comment is the comment I responded to, and then I got a PM that I tried to reply to, only to find that PMs couldn't be sent to her. Ergo, posting my response here for her to read.


Christianity seems to be the best practical system I've seen for drawing disparate peoples together. The desire for revenge is or should be set aside in the name of God. Yes, yes, there are many counter examples, but that's the way it's supposed to play out and that's the way I've seen it play out.

Of course! Christianity, not Islam or Buddhism or Judaism or any of the other religions around!

I mean, Buddhism, which has never had a single war fought in its name and explicitly forbids the sort of crazy-ass conversion where Christians invade other countries and tear down the temples/mosques of those countries is totally not a better choice.

Personally, I'm an atheist. Not a Buddhist. I just find it ridiculous whenever people suggest religion as a panacea for everything.

And then we switch forums. )

Current Mood: predatory predatory
Fickle [userpic]
Take Back The Night (this is MY night)

When I was younger, I used to be scared of the dark.

By younger, I don't mean five or six. I mean thirteen, fifteen -- that sort of younger. I used to be scared of the dark because I have an overactive imagination. What I can't see, I populate with horrors. Zombies, vampires, haunts and ghouls lurked in every corner, ready to snatch up me if I let my guard down.

Then I grew older and a new danger was added: Rapists.

Take Back The Night, the classic edition, usually has a parade/rally at the end, where people march in a long column, carrying candles. The idea is that there's safety in numbers and so the girls carrying the candles can march into the night with no fear, reclaiming it as a space for them and refusing to believe that the night is only safe to walk in if you're a white, cisgendered, heterosexual male.

Today, I did a Take Back The Night march of my own. I didn't mean it to be one when I started out. I just wanted to get some exercise, so I walked 7km to my cousin's house, chatted with her for a little, then refused her offer to give me a lift so that I could get more exercise by walking back. As I walked back, it started to get dark. I'd left my house at 7:47PM. Now it was past 9PM, and I was walking down the same street where my father had been followed by three men and had racist insults thrown at him.

I was walking alone, in the dark, in the same country where my teenage, female cousins were followed home by racist idiots who threw rocks at them while yelling insults. The same country where I'd seen a small East Asian girl get trapped in a corner of the bus by some Austrian man, while right next to him, a soldier in full uniform sat and did nothing. The same country where on the way to my cousin's house, just an hour ago, I had a man yell something at me from the window of a moving van.

I was alone, it was dark, and it was definitely hostile territory.

I had my cellphone on me. I could've called my mother and asked for a lift home. Considering the terrain, my parents would've been glad to oblige. I could've waited at a bus station, taken the bus, and my parents would've been none the wiser. Both of those would've been safe moves to make. Smart moves to make.

Instead, I turned my MP3 player onto repeat 1, kept 'Defying Gravity' from the Wicked soundtrack playing, and walked home defiantly. My parents first moved to Austria when I was 5. I went to a German kindergarten. I speak German. I buy groceries here. My parents pay rent for the house we live in. We contribute to the Austrian economy.

I have just as much right to walk the streets as any Austrian does. I have just as much right to walk the streets unmolested for the color of my skin, my eyes, my hair, the accent in my words or the rainbow band on my wrist. The streets were not built for the exclusive use by men. The concrete has no impressions in it that say 'both genders by day, men only by night'. Why should I have to only walk outside safely alone during daylight hours? The night is mine, and the streets are mine as much as they are yours.

I have the right to walk the streets at night if I chose and tonight, I chose to exercise that right. I flinched when people went by me on bikes, and my hands curled into fists with no conscious instruction from my mind. When I saw a man walking in front of me and realized I was catching up to him, I chose to keep walking instead of crossing to the other side of the street, even though I could tell by the way his steps slanted that he was drunk. I overtook him and walked on, expecting any moment to feel him throw his cigarette against my back.

He didn't. I kept walking.

And now, I am safely home, tired but exulted by the knowledge that for an hour and a half, the streets of Austria were mine by moonlight, in the night, in the darkness. This is the part of my post where I'd normally be encouraging you to follow my lead. I won't -- not for this. I did something reckless, acting out of a sense of how I wanted the world to be instead of how it is. I can't tell you to do this, to walk out into the night and assert your right to do so with no more fear than a member of the ruling class, because it could get you hurt. It could get you beaten up, insulted, raped, spat at, or killed, depending on where you live and how poorly you fit their idea of power looks like.

If I thought it would change anything to tell you to do what I did, to walk freely in the night time, I'd tell you to do it. But women aren't going to take to the streets en masse to make the point that the streets belong to them as well, and telling you, alone, to go out and reclaim the night would be telling you to be a target. I won't do that.

But I will say that if you do? You will feel powerful. You will have taken for yourself the hours that society insists are reserved for those with power; you will have taken their power and proven that their power is your power, and there is no reason why you should not have that power too.

Fickle [userpic]
Happy Sri Lankan Independence Day!

To celebrate Sri Lankan Independence Day, I'm offering to write people's names for them in Sinhala.

Above image is my name, written in Sinhala. If you want me to write your name in Sinhala, comment! Please spell your name correctly and next to it, in brackets, put how it's pronounced, since Sinhala has more vowels than English.

For example:

Fickle (Fick-el, rhymes with trick-hell)

And then I'll write your name and you can show it off. XD

Fickle [userpic]
Little Brother: READ IT NOW

Whatever you're doing right now, stop. Go read Little Brother instead.

Little Brother is the best book I've read all year. This would have more meaning if it wasn't the start of the year, so let me rephrase that. Little Brother might be the most awesome book that I could possibly read this year.

There's an excellent summary of the book here, so I'm not going to hash over the book. Instead, I'm going to give you bullet points as to WHY you should read it.

  • The author references our culture. Flashmobs, Linux distros, game systems being cheap but the games expensive, livejournal, Flickr, everything. And he gets it right! You've seen what happened when the media tried talking about Anonymous versus Scientology. This guy actually manages to create a believable 17-year-old narrator.
  • It's about Homeland Security and what happens when safety trumps freedom. The title's a homage to 'Big Brother' but unlike 1984, this book is set in our times. Modern times. It's much easier to get sucked into this book because the protagonist is our age and deals with our tech, instead of being an adult with a forbidden love affair.
  • On that note, the book deals with the generation gap and how adults are more likely to buy into the scare tactics of the media. But it doesn't present all adults as rigorously inflexible. There are good guys amongst the grown-ups, and bad guys amongst the kids, and the way that he manages to make moral ambiguity and self-righteousness a major theme of the novel is amazing.
  • Race issues! It's a bit of a throw away in that it's not a major theme of the book, but that's part of what makes the sudden discussion of them so fantastic to me. There's a quick convo between the protag and a friend of his about how the friend will suffer more if they're caught, and the protag acknowledges that yes, brown people have the scales balanced against them. It's a tiny little thing, not a major part of the book, but oh, how fantastic it is to se it acknowledged as a part of real life instead of glossed over or forgotten about.
  • Awesome female chars. There's not just the standard love interest and the best friend chick, but also female chars with authority, female chars who are bad guys, and female chars who rock the geek world. They're depicted as being as much a part of the world as the male protag is, and the author's Net-savvy enough to even have the protag be wary of one girl that IMs him because the protag knows how many guys like pretending to be girls online.
  • Neil Gaiman, Scott Westerfeld, Brian K Vaughn, and I love it. I fully intend on buying copies IRL and making my friends read them. Since most of you are lucky enough to not live near me, I'm instead devoting the entirety of this post to trying to convince you to read it.

You know what else is awesome? The author himself and his thoughts on ebooks and sharing books/music online. His explanation for why he gives his books away for free online is quoted below, because it's just said so well that any attempt on my part to sum it up would pale in comparison to his original words.

I recently saw Neil Gaiman give a talk at which someone asked him how he felt about piracy of his books. He said, "Hands up in the audience if you discovered your favorite writer for free -- because someone loaned you a copy, or because someone gave it to you? Now, hands up if you found your favorite writer by walking into a store and plunking down cash." Overwhelmingly, the audience said that they'd discovered their favorite writers for free, on a loan or as a gift. When it comes to my favorite writers, there's no boundaries: I'll buy every book they publish, just to own it (sometimes I buy two or three, to give away to friends who must read those books). I pay to see them live. I buy t-shirts with their book-covers on them. I'm a customer for life.

Neil went on to say that... )

Love him, read the book, and spread word of the book around as much as you can. This guy is one of us. He talks about our technology, he writes about our world, and he's good at it. He's a geek to the core, and one who doesn't back down from tackling politics head-on. I'd fangirl about it more, but I'm going to see if he's written anything else.

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