So I didn’t read a lot or consume content outside of pure relaxation or research purposes this month. I have been busy as hell. I keep looking at my emails and guiltily slinking away because I have so much to do and limited time to do it because it’s also birthmonth, the one month where I’m basically absolutely allowed to do nothing at all. (Or so I’m telling myself.) Which means that I basically read fan fiction, watched horror movies with BTS Nieceling… and restarted My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic from the beginning. That’s largely it.
Why Young Thug Is an Icon
Fans had begun to notice him calling his male friends “hubby,” “bae,” and “lover” on Twitter and Instagram, which rang off alarms with swathes of rap’s homophobic fans. Straight men of all ages still use “pause,” so his terms of affection caught a side-eye from many, as did a photo of him and a hospital-bed-bound male friend feeding each other from double cups, as well as a video of him doing a bumbling, twerk-adjace dance to his “Perk” song. A YouTube commenter on the dancing video noted, “For those who say he isn’t gay… explain this, don’t worry, I have time,” capturing the sentiment of many rap listeners at the time.
When asked about his “bae” comments, he clarified, “It’s the language. It’s nothing stupid and fruity going on. It’s the way we talk, it’s the way we live. Those are my baes, those are my lovers, my hubbies, whatever you want to call them.”
First of all, I love the concept of a “Young Thug Week” anywhere.
Second of all, I have spent about a year privately working on a research project about how hip hop worldwide is actually quite queer – while also being super homophobic. This is going in the project bank because it’s such an interesting piece that looks at how Young Thug’s queer-adjacent performance is questioned by “fans” and he’s subject to homophobia for it… but also he’s seen as a pioneer by members of the old guard in hip hop in a way that someone like Lil Nas X isn’t. But they’re visually, largely doing the same thing except… Lil Nas X is actually openly gay and fans know that.
Kung Flu and Roof Koreans: Asian/Americans as the Hated Other and Proxies of Hating in the White Imaginary
Amidst increasing hate crimes toward Asians living in the United States and other western countries (Nakayama 2020), the world bore witness to the continued murders of Black Americans at the hands of the police, afforded by the power of social media. Sparking off worldwide protests, the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was recorded and circulated across social media platforms for the entire world to bear witness to the continued atrocity of police violence against Black Americans. Protests erupted in every major U.S. city and were held in every single state and in various countries across the world (Taylor 2020). During these protests, police often escalated violence, and/or white supremacist infiltrators damaged property and engaged in violent attacks in an attempt to incite a race war (Zadrozny 2020). On social media, responses to the protests varied wildly: some supported, some were against, and others used the protests as opportunities to call for civil war. In response to escalating protests and violence, the “Roof Koreans” meme, which features armed Korean American men on their businesses’ rooftops during the 1992 LA Uprising, re-emerged after previously circulating during the 2014 Ferguson protests against the police murder of Mike Brown (Ong 2020). In these memes, “Roof Koreans” are positioned as the Asian/American model minority that uphold white hegemony by arming themselves against Black protestors, but the fact that the popularity of this meme grew during a time of escalating hate and violence toward Asian/Americans reproduces the binary of Asian/Americans as they exist to serve the interests of maintaining whiteness—juxtaposed as either as the yellow peril or the model minority.
This open-source article (so you should be able to read it no matter where you’re at), looks closely at what are basically two forms of anti-Asian racism used in the furthering of white supremacy as a “racial wedge”. If you’ve seen me talk about something similar – a piece I can’t publish for a while because the backlash will be obnoxious and I do not have time for it now – fandom also does this thing where it simultaneously approaches anti-Asian racism from two fronts.
One front is that it weaponizes Asians across their vast diasporas and a fear of “mean” or “violent” Black people attacking them to promote white supremacy. You see this often in the “racebending anime characters is anti Asian” and “Black Americans talking about cultural appropriation from idols is anti Korean or anti Japanese” discourses in anime or idol fandoms. (These are helped along by people in these diasporas who are antiblack in and of themselves, POC TOO who think that Black people speaking about things that affect them are somehow being racist to asian people… Somehow…)
Then, the other way is by reverting to straight up anti Asian racism in fandom. Sinophobia like spreading conspiracy theories about COVID or racist comments about like… politics in any Asian country, racism towards South East Asian fans… these are things that happen across fandoms. In different fandoms for Asian media, it’s apparently deemed “okay” to be racist to Asian fans, about Asian characters, and dump recklessly on Asian countries because you don’t like the way some things are going. It’s deeply disturbing.
We’ve covered that fandom has the same problems that offline life has and this sort of paper is kind of super useful for founding a formation to understand a bit better how that works – especially with the references to memes… things people in fandom use to be racist on both of the fronts I’ve mentioned.
Monster Mashin’: Monster & Horror Romances
This is just a list of largely queer and/or women focused monster smashing erotica and romance. Largely, I love it. I do think that Roberts’ spider monster smashing novellas have unfortunate covers that call back to the racialized elements of monsters like King Kong and The Creature from the Black Lagoon, bit it’s not a complete dump for me? I have her books on my kindle now. I think it’s interesting how, even when your characters are a monster that doesn’t even remotely look human and a white woman… racialized elements can still come into play? I’ll report on Twitter about my thoughts on her spider monster mashing novella once I’m done with them.
[BANGTAN BOMB] Meeting with Megan Thee Stallion – BTS (방탄소년단)
As you all know, I love both Megan Thee Stallion and BTS. This Bangtan Bomb hot on the heels of the release of Megan’s remix of their “Butter” single is everything. They’re all so damn cute and I love Megan basically getting to live her best Y/N experience with BTS. Oh and don’t think I missed Namjoon getting all deep-voiced and dimply around Megan… Of course I didn’t miss it. How could I? It was everything. Anyway, if you haven’t checked out the visualizer for the remix, do so now. And please get on the Megtan train with me and millions of other people!
True Crime Is Rotting Our Brains
A study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania found that fear of crime and violence on television have both increased over time, despite crime rates declining, and that women reported more fear of crime on surveys than men. True crime runs on heightened emotion and fear, convincing people, and especially women, that every stranger is a possible murderer. I see women on Twitter questioning whether it’s safe to let a plumber into their house, or instructing others to rip out strands of hair to leave in cabs for DNA evidence in case the driver murders you. These are not sensible reactions, they are the thoughts of someone who has been deeply traumatized. So many true crime shows advise women to trust their instincts, but how can we trust instincts that have been hijacked by induced anxiety?
I actually did a thread after reading this article and I’m pasting it in here since it’s literally my reaction:
One of the disturbing things about true crime media and its fandom is how it’s become yet another “let women like things” form of fandom where if you say “I think this thing is actively harmful, here’s why” tons of people will descend on you to violently defend their empowerment
But of course, their empowering entertainment comes in the form of amateur sleuths turning murder and assault into bite sized chunks of audio and video. It comes in the form of strangely pro-police (Because cops… don’t actually save the day in most of these cases.) media.
There are people with serial killers’ bite patterns tattooed on their bodies, people who gush over how handsome a serial rapist is, and people who think that if they were in the position of the latest high profile missing white woman they wouldn’t BE missing.
Darkness in humanity is interesting. But people who make true crime/actual murder their fandom and live in podcasts like Serial or the ID channel here with all the murders… Take it to a level that can only exist because they decide they’re Sherlock and we’re all sheep.
And the thing is, by the way, is that we know and can see the ways that true crime fandom has changed us for the poorer. How it helps people feel comfortable with turning tragedy into trash entertainment. How serial killers become Tumblr soft boys/sexymen (remember the [flower crowns]?). How it pushes specific pro police, pro surveillance state narratives on frightened people. The racism, y’all … There’s a whole thing about the racism of the true crime genre and fandom. The victim blaming, invading survivors’ privacy.
This shit is bad, y’all.
Okay so now it’s up to y’all to provide some links so I can catch up with cool stuff that have captivated you! Please feel free to drop links to things you’ve had your eye on in October! I always appreciate it when you do!