Silver Lining: the Skin I'm Not In

    Realizing AR/VR will make this appropriation "problem" mainstream everpresent  explosive inevitable or go away completely. With Second Life 15 years ago you could make your own avatars and virtual worlds, appropriating whatever you wanted to from whomever and whatever. With Augmented and Virtual Reality, you no longer have to build your own worlds an characters - these are just new skins and templates in various libraries and pulled real-time out of real life. I don't even need to see *you* as you want - I can make you into a Tongan warrior princess (Maiello) or an effete Broadway theater goer (Peter) or a pack of feral kidney-craving zombies (all of you). I can change these instantly, or choreograph you lip-syncing to Justin Bieber or baying at the moon or giving a spanking to Donald Trump while watching Shark Tank. You will no longer be in control of your own image - your $100 hairdo can be remodeled in a moment to a depression-era bowl cut. Not into tattoos? You are now, right on the _ _ _ _. Weight problem? I just gave you anorexia (and a skin disease - sorry, got a bit carried away).

    This isn't just me - you will be marketed to, microtargeted, placed on a faraway beach or driving in a new car of your dreams or in the middle of a Venetian costume ball or telemarking down an Alpine trail. Doctors will create models of your intestines and neural pathways; plumbers will guide plumbums thru your pipes. Your teachers will have instant visuals and which synapses are firing (or not) over their boring lessons, while your kids will get feedback of facial markers and body posture as to whether they can stay out late and how to break down your defenses. They can find your gridlines and 3D control points, spin you like a top, dispallay the 360 degree you from all vantages.

    There'll be thorough genetic and social history trails to make sure none of your personality or decisions are registered as mere accidents, but we can build on these moments in time to create the new better fantasy you, one that you'll have trouble disagreeing with (the you you'd want to have a beer with, I suppose).

    Walking into the VR conference I saw a girl in a flower dress - couldn't tell if it was an Asian pattern or not; wasn't even sure if *she* was Asian or not. So I said something insulting to her just to be safe. Thought y'all'd be proud of me - I'm learning, evolving on this. I feels so modern...


    Then one day, it seems, while the Plain-bellied Sneetches 
were moping, just moping alone on the beaches, 
sitting there, wishing their bellies had stars, 
up zipped a stranger in the strangest of cars.

    "My friends," he announced in a voice clear and keen, 
"My name is Sylvester McMonkey McBean. 
I've heard of your troubles; I've heard you're unhappy. 
But I can fix that; I'm the fix-it-up chappie. 
I've come here to help you; I have what you need. 
My prices are low, and I work with great speed, 
and my work is one hundred per cent guaranteed."

    Then quickly, Sylvester McMonkey McBean 
put together a very peculiar machine. 
Then he said, "You want stars like a Star-bellied Sneetch? 
My friends, you can have them...for three dollars each. 
Just hand me your money and climb on aboard."

    They clambered inside and the big machine roared. 
It bonked. It clonked. It jerked. It berked. 
It bopped them around, but the thing really worked. 
When the Plain-bellied Sneetches popped out, they had stars! 
They actually did, they had stars upon thars!

    And the happy ending...

    All the rest of the day on those wild screaming beaches, the Fix-it-up-Chappie was fixing up Sneetches. Off again, on again, in again, out again, through the machine and back round about again, still paying money, still running through, changing their stars every minute or two, until neither the Plain- nor the Star-bellies knew whether this one was that one or that one was this one or which one was what one or what one was who!

    Then, when every last cent of their money was spent, 
the Fix-It-Up-Chappie packed up and he went. 
And he laughed as he drove in his car up the beach, 
"They never will learn; no, you can't teach a Sneetch!"

    But McBean was quite wrong, I'm quite happy to say, 
the Sneetches got quite a bit smarter that day. 
That day, they decided that Sneetches are Sneetches, 
and no kind of Sneetch is the BEST on the beaches. 
That day, all the Sneetches forgot about stars, 
and whether they had one or not upon thars.

    My first day of college my dormroom counsellor read that to us - impressive, though can't remember either whether I got a star or not. Skin rash, yes.

    AA- "Prick a Jew , doth he not bleed?  powerfully redressed the balance in the Merchant of Venice. And Jack Benny  was on Sunday nights. Followed by the usually funnier Fred Allen.

    Thanks, Flav,. Methinks you are going all the way back to radio? Whatever the case, I don't remember a Fred Allen show on TV and see he died in '56. I do remember knowing something about a mock feud between Benny and Allen, perhaps just through references, and that his was more sophisticated humor I know.

    Yeah, radio that new fangled thing. Tell a what

    Now me and my mate were back at the shack
    We had Spike Jones on the box
    She said, "I can't take the way he sings
    But I love to hear him talk"
    Now that just gave my heart a fall
    To the bottom of my feet
    And I swore as I took another pull
    My Bessie can't be beat
    Up on Cripple Creek she sends me
    If I spring a leak she mends me
    I don't have to speak she defends me
    A drunkard's dream if I ever did see one

    back in the trenches of here and now, where taking on new tribal identities still sometimes takes a bit of time, struck me as interesting guerilla activity:

    Genealogist trolls Tomi Lahren over comments on immigrants

    By Avery Anapol @, May 14

    [....] Jennifer Mendelsohn, the creator of the #resistancegeneaolgy campaign, which highlights the backgrounds of people who criticize immigrants, looked up Lahren’s geneology and claimed her ancestors were also people who came to the United States not speaking English.

    “Tomi's 3x great-grandmother had been here for 41 years and still spoke German,” Mendelsohn wrote. “Her 2nd great-grandmother had been here for 10 yrs. Spoke no English. Her great-grandfather's 1895 baptism from MN? Recorded in Norwegian.” [....]

    The same sorta "but what about yours?" digging is being done all over the place, including recently with John Kelly.  It's tiresome because it's universal, and because it makes no difference at all.  The resonance of having had an immigrant family heritage impact your present life doesn't ring as loudly as it used to; if it does at all in this growing, diverse world.  Yet isn't that what we liberals want?  Don't we yearn for genealogies to be so intermingled that we don't even think of them as singularly important anymore?  We can't expect the above while still holding people to task for their forgetfulness regarding their own.

    I think I agree with you, but am not sure.

    Skin color remains the rate-limiting step in defining genealogy. 

    70 years of inappropriation behavior - Grace Jones retrospective... she was always outré before it was in or entree, so maybe should be called outragepropriation.

    I saw her whole shtick up close and personal when she did a show at a big disco managed by the S.O. of my youth. I don't know about now, but back then she was the eptimony of a prima donna, very difficult, my way or the highway, I am genius, hear/here me roar....

    Sure, famous for being famous. Even now I can't place any if her tunes, and I have an amazing ear/memory for tunes. Is she the old woman in Great Expectations? That could be it. All of us are Pip. But anyway, that's  appropriation entertainment.

    Pull up to the bumper was the only that I can remember

    Comes to mind, rather than Miz Grace, this is the one-hit wonder from the same period that earned eternal acclaim and fandom in gay club world, nothing artsy fartsy, just pure joy, still rings my bell, too:

    Hard to believe you'd go in for the blatant objectification of men (including their little "showers" I suppose).

    Remember sitting on a Camden curb listening to that song ringing out of somewhere - American Werewolf in London of sorts. Springsteen/Dancing In the Dark and Stop Making Sense also followed me around.

    Meghan Markle and the Bicultural Blackness of the Royal Wedding

    Op-ed by Salamishah Tillet @, May 20

    “Who are your people?” is the question that repeatedly came to me as I watched Doria Ragland, Meghan Markle’s mother, sitting a few feet away from her daughter at Saturday’s royal wedding. A common expression among southern African-Americans when greeting a stranger, it is never simply a matter of bloodline or individual biography. Rather, responses like “I’m the daughter of so and so” or “My family comes from here by way of there” serves the greater purpose of attesting to one’s place in history and potential bonds of kinship [...]

    Edit to add The Times' note on op-ed writer:

    Salamishah Tillet (@salamishah) is an associate professor of English and Africana studies at the University of Pennsylvania and a co-founder of A Long Walk Home, a nonprofit group that uses art to empower young people and end violence against girls and women.

    Apart from Tillet's interesting opinion: This cynic tuned in to see the dress and move on and got stuck watching the whole damn show and was mightily impressed with each and every part. Who knows why I was so cynical, I should have learned by now, that this church entity after 4 or 5 decades of being "with it", the Anglican/Episcopal church is filled with people who have the pulse of the progressive zeitgeist, and are deep into it, and masters of speaking to it and dealing with it, whatever it might be at the time. And I should also have learned by now that the Brit royal family knows how to do spectacle, turned up or toned down as need might be. Was a thoroughly 21st-century cultural event and dare I say it, I also think: one for the history books, a milestone marking a major point of culture change.

    Bouncing around twitter shortly thereafter, I easily found that I was not alone as a cynic who got hooked and impressed. Including many of the "black twitter" tribe.

    We'll have your cantankerous badge back for this, just as soon as I file the paperwork. You used to not be such a pushover...

    Did Brexit show for the pageant? Must be sad - used to be a girlfriend of all the elite, quite the looker just 2 years ago, and now left watching the gala with little room at the table for an outlook and wardrobe that's suddenly gone quite out of style.

    Also rather shocking is the demise of the trophy wife or young lass in waiting. Here Harry married a 37-year-old older woman, besting William's 36-year bride (but a fair bit younger at 29 when tied the knot to sire the next generation of royalty, and a far sight older than then 20-year-old Lady Di). #MeToo? Try #ImStillHere. Mature women are in, at least in London, unlike Trump's choice of 26, 29 and then gasp 35 as he aged ungracefully.

    BTW, it was a hauntingly beautiful rendition of "Stand by Me", definitely worth a watch if you haven't seen it:



    It is an especially interesting point that they are a British black gospel group. One might at first see this as cross-cultural par excellence. But think again: while the origins of gospel are rightly mostly assigned to black slave culture, there is quite a bit of Scots-Irish Appalachian old time religion in it, too (i.e. Amazing Grace et. al.) So while far from "Church of England" traditional Brit imperial conqueror culture, it's not so foreign as some are making it.

    I cannot resist adding to this thread because this is a new cross-cultural one on me, the new generation of curators just keep coming up with newbies!

    Circles and Circuits is an apt title for this two-part exhibition tour addressing the art of the Chinese Caribbean diaspora....

    and I would like to point out the sponsoring institutions, hah:

    Exhibition schedule: Circles and Circuits I: California African American Museum, Los Angeles, September 15, 2017–February 25, 2018; Circles and Circuits II: Chinese American Museum, Los Angeles, September 15, 2017–March 11, 2018

    Hope the girl with the cheong-sam prom dress got to see it! 

    Oops,I just gotta edit to add the twin exhibition review i missed, talk about global, geeeeeez:

    Transpacific Borderlands: The Art of Japanese Diaspora in Lima, Los Angeles, Mexico City, and São Paulo

    Transpacific Borderlands: The Art of Japanese Diaspora in Lima, Los Angeles, Mexico City, and São Paulo

    Curated by: Clement Hanami, Exhibition Curator, with Miho Hagino, Kris Kuramitsu, Michiko Okano, Jaime Higa, and Claudia Sobral

    Exhibition schedule: Japanese American National Museum (JANM), Los Angeles, September 17, 2017–February 25, 2018

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