Friday, March 5, 2010

Happy Pansy Rollerskate

I think that kooky band names can be really great sometimes: the Flaming Lips, Neutral Milk Hotel, Chumbawumba . . . I'm all for artistic license. But I just got an email from the WGSU server about upcoming shows in the area, and I think that I've found the wrong side of that fine line in the band name Positive Juice Restaurant.

To their credit, I certainly took note of them. Unfortunately, it was to wonder if each member of the group had blindly pointed to a word in the dictionary as a sad last resort in naming themselves. I hope that Positive Juice Restaurant's lyrics come about in a different way, for their sake.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Revisionist history

My latest hang-up has been the Cambodian genocide under the Khmer Rouge in the 1970s--namely, the fact that I'd never known about it before this semester. We've been focusing a lot on Cambodia and the Khmer civilization in my Southeast Asia class, and while the bulk of it has been on the region in ancient times, a lot of the literature mentions the fact that Cambodia was inaccessible to researchers from the Western world for a significant portion of the 1960s and -70s because of the Khmer Rouge. I started researching it, and ended up writing the poem I had due for class last week about it; namely, about the fact that the Khmer Rouge killed people who wore glasses simply because they were stereotypical signs of intellect.

It just makes me feel really uncomfortable that virtually the only genocide ever taught about in public school was the Holocaust, which involved the killing of white Europeans rather than an ethnic group systematically categorized as an "other." While I'm not in any way insinuating that the Holocaust shouldn't be a focus of study, I think that making it the sole focus inevitably leaves out so many other gross crimes against humanity that really need to be addressed. History is subjective, and telling one story necessarily means that there are other, concurrent stories that don't get told. Rationally, I know that this is the unfortunate but necessary reality of telling history--or any story, for that matter--but the English major in me is clamoring for some sort of revisionist history that tackles the phenomenon of genocide in a more broad, comprehensive way.

On a less gloomy note, and to continue in a way with revisionist history, read Eavan Boland's poetry. She's way into historical revisionism from a feminist standpoint, and is just generally cool. She read at the Yeats School this past summer, accompanied by a harpist . . . the reading took place in this old chapel with stained glass windows, and I sat in the front row of the balcony peering over the edge at the top of her head, listening to her wonderful brogue and her wonderful words. Oh, to have a cup of Irish tea right now . . .