Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Privilege Check: Tempura

So not just tempura, but any time-intensive food. My partner and I have been trying to eat out less and make more food ourselves (partially due to reading The Omnivore's Dilemma, partially due to our recent decision to stop eating fish, and partially due to the crappy economy). This has led us to baking our own bread and frying our own vegetable tempura last night.

While homebaked french bread is worth the effort, the hours one must tend to the dough (granted, lots of time it's just sitting there rising) is a bit much. I'm sure you could just let the dough rise once, and do it overnight or something, but it's not the easiest thing to make time for.

Additionally, if you don't have a big deep-frying machine, or are willing to keep a pot filled with oil, just cooking the damn tempura takes a while. I think we spent maybe an hour or so just battering and frying the veggies.

So I'm sure maybe we could have been more efficient, but I'm really thankful that we have the privilege to be able to take our time and really cook for ourselves. I'm sure there are tons of other dishes (especially if you eat meat) that take waaaay longer to prepare/simmer/cook/etc. However, when you figure that fast food is cheaper and faster, I'm sure having a homecooked (usually more healthy, although with tempura this is a bit hazy) meal is a luxury unaffordable to many.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Privilege Check: Blogging

In a time and age where self-published media has been touted as being accessible to everyone, I have realized that in fact is not accessible to everyone.

When printed media was king/queen (Priv Check!), we lamented on how the progressives couldn't ever be heard by the masses. We had to find alternative ways to get our message out since the news was filled by conservative viewpoints, etc., etc.

Now, we have heralded in the age of the blogger, the era of free speech via the internet, where anyone can post their own thoughts, feeling, photos, etc., etc. Hell, I'm blogging right now, and I have my own website for my art, other blogs, etc., etc. However, enter the Privilege Check!

I've realized that the privilege of blogging itself is a pretty hefty one. First off, and most obviously, it reeks of economic privilege. In the communities I roll with, in the SF Bay Area, the internet is the lifeblood of many. Most of us (well, you are reading this online after all) would probably set up internet in our new apartments at a greater degree of urgency than say, unpacking the toiletries. I, for one, admit that for the first few days while waiting for the Comcast person to come install my cable internet was excruciatingly painful. "What??? No email? No blogs? OMG WHAT AM I GOING TO DO?!?!?!"

However, not as many people as I might like to think even have access to the internet. While I get pissed off when I can't check my gmail every 10 minutes, the majority of the world is still offline. According to this janky-looking site (which may or may not be the best source), about 25% of America is still offline, and 76% of the world is not connected.

That's a lot of people.

So, with our crumbling economy, who can afford the $55 a month I pay for internet? Not everyone, I assume. Even if you go to the public library, or get dial-up, do people all have the time to blog? Time, unfortunately, does usually equal money, and if you're working two jobs to support a family, do you really have the time to be dicking around on the computer (not to say that blogging is just shits and giggles, but you get my gist).

Blogging (and posting comments) is also rife with male privilege. Now there are tons and tons of amazing women bloggers, but what I'm talking about is the fact that when I blog, I never even worry about whether or not people will listen to me, whether or not I'll even find readership. I don't usually even think twice about posting comments if I feel like posting something (the exception is on blogs/sites where I'm not the intended audience, or if I feel I might be overstepping my bounds).

However, the blogosphere, as a whole, I've found to be an extension of the world as a whole, which is predominantly patriarchal. Thanks to the magic of trolling, even progressive sites have a whole litany of slurs and insults on them (this is not to say that even the content of most progressive blogs, this one included, is free from privileged assumptions). As a feminist, I get offended by all the anti-feminist shit out there, and I can only imagine how much more difficult it must be to be a non-male to take.

Anyway, I thought I had more points to make about this, but I guess that's it. Eh. What a non-eloquent way of ending a post.

Saturday, June 20, 2009


As the first posting of Privilege Check, I guess I should explain what this is all about. My goal in privilege check is yet another attempt to try and categorize my blogging once again. Thanks to the never-truly-disappearing internet, this morning I've realized that over the years (from maybe 2001) I've had a message board, three personal blogs, a poetry blog, a photo blog, three collaborative blogs (one being a World of Warcrack aka WoW guild blog), a short-lived fictional pirate blog, and now this. But I digress.

The goal of this blog is to represent my ramblings as an Asian American feminist male. I identify as an 5th generation American of Japanese Ancestry, a male, and as a feminist. I'm not sure if there are too many others out there who identify as such, and if there are, I'd love to hear from you. But yes, that is where I'm coming from, and that is where this blog will be going.

This is titled "Privilege Check" as I find that I am constantly having to not only check my own privileges (male, tall, educated, English-speaking, American, in a heterosexual relationship, etc.) but I am constantly frustrated with the ignorance of those that don't understand what privilege is and how the way they wield their privilege affects others around them.

I'm not one to completely scan through the entire blogosphere daily to find new content, so this will be mostly my observations on personal things and news that floats through the internet to me.

Comments policy: So I'm a pretty big advocate of free speech and thus encourage lots of comments, but I will delete stuff if it's straight-up offensive. Criticizing with research, statistics, personal experience, etc. is welcome. Name-calling, sexism, homophobia, racism, etc., etc. is not.

Note to all those that think comment moderation is fascist and defeats the purpose of free speech: if you want to say something hateful, go republish my stuff on your own blog and bash it there. Hell, you can even post your own links here. Also, don't do it anonymously. That's the lamest shit in the book. Seriously.

Thanks for reading and I always welcome questions, and your thoughts!