surprisingly rage-free thoughts on whitewashing

The internet right now is fair teeming with rage on both sides of the upcoming ScarJo cover of legendary anime Ghost in the Shell.

meme credit: @ValerieComplex

I also recently read an article on food gentrification – a phenomenon I’d often noticed but never put a name to – by Sara Peters over at Knowable.

I’ve sat out of the GitS discussion for the most part, waiting for my Filipina Fire to burn itself out enough that I can contribute with as little acidity as possible.

As a lover of movies and a lover of food, I am a lover of stories. Movies tell a story. Food also tells a story, particularly when someone makes the effort of sharing theirs with you.

And I think the most basic thing about whitewashing – whether with movies or food – is the way it corrupts those stories. It takes and proliferates toxic assumptions to a wide audience, whether the level on which it infects that audience is conscious or not.

These assumptions are as follows:

  1. That white people will only find this story about an [Asian / Black / Latino / etc] protagonist interesting / compelling / relevant if we make that protagonist white.
  2. That white people will only care about the character and make an emotional investment if the character is white.
  3. Assumptions 1 and 2 imply that white people feel the same about real-life stories and real-life people.
  4. That if you’re white, you can’t relate to – and don’t have to care about – those “other” people.
  5. That if you’re not white, then you shouldn’t expect white people to relate to or care about you.
  6. That if you’re not white, you can’t ever expect to be the protagonist of any story – not in your work, your community, or your life.

In other words, guys,
Whitewashing is damaging both to the cultures being denied representation, and to the white people who actually do see non-whites as being equally Human.

Growing up in Smallville taught me that yes, there’s plenty of white people who view non-whites as being somehow “less than”.

But spending my late teens and early adulthood in Downtown Vancouver, Kitsilano, East Van, the West End, the Drive, Burnaby, Richmond, and Toronto have taught me that – at least in places where your next-door neighbour lives less than a ten minute walk away and probably isn’t related to you – people in general care about one another.

If you see someone struggling to push the pedestrian button because they’re carrying loads of groceries, you’ll likely also see a complete stranger approach them and save their day (in a small way) by pushing the button for them.

Sure, that story isn’t as exciting as that of a cyber-enhanced soldier devoted to stopping the world’s most dangerous criminals… but it’s one people care about – enough to do something about, even if it’s just small.

So please, Hollywood. Please, big-city food scene. Stop telling people that they’re bigger assholes than they are. Stop telling them they should be bigger assholes than they are.

Because if they start believing you, no good will come of it.


nerd rush // logan

I watched Logan over the weekend. This isn’t a review of the film itself. Rather, it’s a review of how it made me feel.
I held my copy of Origin close that night (but not the individual issues – those are bagged and boarded – I’m not a monster).

As a 90s kid, the X-Men were a huge part of my childhood. My first comic I ever picked up was an issue of Wolverine — at least on One side. Flip it over and you had Ghost Rider. It was cheap, didn’t have the best writing, and showed Wolvie getting nicknamed carcajou – Wolverine – by his unnamed First Nations wife. It had me completely hooked. Over the years, I’ve collected several boxes’ worth of X-titles, trade paperbacks, even a hardcover or two. I’m by no means hardcore, but I’m considerably deeper in than most people would expect outside of the stereotype.

As an IT professional who happens to be in love with a complete dork who at one point even worked for the circus, I may identify most closely to Batgirl/Oracle these days, but that wasn’t always so. As a kid, I wanted to be Jubilee – playing in the arcade and going on adventures with Wolverine, shooting fireworks out of my hands. I loved fireworks.

Logan used to help me tap into my inner bad-ass when I needed to be brave or strong, or stand up to some bully or other.

I got to watch my favourite mutants evolve (heh) in books, multiple animated series, and film… And I’ll always think I’m lucky for the chance to see them come to life the way they have — even if I’ve had to Highlander II a few hours of their run on-screen. (You know which ones.)

This was Hugh Jackman’s last outing as Wolverine – the end of his reign, as the guy who happened to play my favourite character in the very first movie that would kick off an era I’ve enjoyed since high school. A golden age where geeks everywhere could comfortably de-closet, now that the world was sharing (at least to some extent) in their love for these characters.

The necklace I’m wearing is what happened when my coworkers at the comic shop gave me a keychain that broke shortly thereafter. I MacGyver’d this necklace and have worn it faithfully to most of the X-Men movies I’ve watched at the theatre. It gets a little more shoddy every year.

Kind of like the DCEU.

Logan was a great movie.

Go see it.

welcome to my ego

Whether by some complicated series of randomized clicks, or by recommendation, or by my personal insistence, you have apparently found your way to my blog.

Congratulations. You are among a chosen few who will be subjected to my unbridled ego, which I do my best to keep in check in public spaces.

Here, you will find my musings on a multitude of topics, whether they interest you or not. I’m a rather loud person in some ways (e.g. geek stuff), but there’s a lot that I keep quiet outside of my own circles (e.g. grown up stuff). There’s also stuff I like to adorn my home, my office, and myself with (e.g. things to throw money at, things to throw in your mouth, things worth throwing yourself at).



homemade phone case insert featuring one of my favourite pieces by artist lora zombie. buy her art here: and may the shameless promotion begin!