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Hi guys! Sorry for the delay!

Since I’ve been busy the last two weeks with work, editing for another video project for a program I’m applying too, as well as traveling to Colorado last week. I won’t be posting Part 2 to the Love in the Digital Age series till this weekend. Don’t fret, the video should be up as early as this Friday, if not by next Monday

Thanks for watching and supporting!

-B

(Also watch on my Vimeo page: “Love” in the Digital Age: Part 1)

Happy Valentine’s Day! Happy New Year (two months later)! Time to do a drinking game with how many time I say, “You know” in this new video!

This is my first video of me, just talk or vlogging, without really preparing a script this year. I’m kinda just free-styling. Hence all the ‘You knows’. Hope that doesn’t get in the way of the message of the video! In the future, I’ll keep my points more concise.

Anyway, since my original idea for this video was way too long, I decided to break it up into three parts.

The first part is about Pornography in the Digital Age and it’s Impact in Pop Culture, particularly using the film Don Jon and how it brings the conversation about sex and porn to the mainstream. It was a refreshing take on the porn industry and how it affects young men in this generation. Porn has always been around in same fashion, but it’s more readily available now than ever before.

Now I’m not here to dismiss porn or shame people who either watch it or work in the industry, but we have to acknowledge that there are problems within the industry that impacts us all. However as an outsider, I don’t want to infringe.

I hope that comes across here today.

In the video I said I would drop some links, so here I go:

Landmark condom law for porn filming signed by L.A. mayor

Measure B Passes: Condoms In Porn In LA County Will Now Be Mandated On Set (UPDATE)

I also didn’t really talk much about sex worker’s and their rights, and how many marginalized women, trans women, queer identified women, women of color, as well as men have been abused in this industry. Their stories are just important. This isn’t just in the porn industry, but in multiple aspects of the sex work industry. Safety and respect is important. I’m in no means saying that all sex work is abuse or abusive, however. Sex workers are workers and deserve to be treated as such.

I have to say two years ago, I would of been shaming women and men who are sex workers, because I couldn’t understand why anyone would want to go into the profession, especially with how many people are forced into sex work due to circumstance. It has been a learning experience and it has taken years to rewire the thinking I’ve had about sex, porn, and sex workers. Though I have a lot to still work on, I can stay I may not always understand, but I support sex workers and their right to live and work like anyone else.

Here are some links about different point-of-views about sex work:

Talking to Sex Workers About Fighting for Their Rights, Feminism, and More

Why I Stopped Watching Porn: Ran Gavrieli at TEDxJaffa 2013 

Why abolishing pornography isn’t going to help sex workers

Sex workers’ rights are just workers’ rights

Cindy Gallop “Make Love, Not Porn” | TED | 2009 | Short | SD

My Experiences as a Young Trans Woman Engaged in Survival Sex

Porn Stars Can’t Leave the Industry, and Here’s Why

Sex Workers Project

Feel free to send me any more links! I’m always looking to be educated on the porn industry and sex work.

Last Tuesday morning I announced to my Facebook friends that I would be going to see John Mayer in concert and that I was excited. Instead of my friends joining in my excitement, I got reposes like: “You know John Mayer hates black people” and “well his penis does”.

The “killjoy” has arrived.

by Bianca Clendenin

by Bianca Clendenin

These comments and others are just some of the responses I got when I first announced I bought these tickets back in September on Tumblr. All my fierce black revolutionary social justice tumblrs were like, don’t know the terrible things he has said and done?

Of course I do. Of course I’m aware of John Mayer’s problematic comments. For one, I am fan, and two I’m not oblivious to his comments. For anyone who isn’t aware of the comments I’m talking about, his comments on the his racial preference when it comes to the opposite sex.

As a young black woman, I was disgusted. Though these were jokes, there is still this gross underlining racism that is still entangled in people who have “racial preferences” when it comes to dating. Right now these comments are almost 4 years old, and anyone who was following pop culture at the time knew that John Mayer was a PR disaster. Everything out of his mouth was just terrible. His personal life was messy, and as public figure it was for the world to pick and prod. This could lead anyone to have word diarrhea. Unlike you and me, we don’t always get publicly outed and shamed for are comments. Unless your comments go viral, like Justine Sacco racist tweet that took the world by storm almost two weeks ago. Thanks to social media, it’s easier to be dragged out online and for the world to see. You may even lose your job over things you post on the social media. Just ask Justine Sacco.

Now I’m not excusing for his comments or his past behavior. As a fan I’m aware and always conflicted. When our “favs” do something problematic or we supposed to stop supporting them or do we acknowledge that these people are just as flawed as us?

No one can really answer this question. I think of this Tumblr blog called, Your Fave is Problematic. A blog that calls out celebrities and lists everything wrong they’ve ever done (or at least what they’ve had done in the public eye). Blogs like this are educational because one, people can learn that the celebrities they look up are not God and that they are flawed just like you and me. And it makes you think twice about the people you idolize.

However one my biggest problems with blogs like this, is that now that you know everything wrong “you fave” has done. Now what? Your Fave tries to answer this question(s):

Screen Shot 2013-12-29 at 10.36.25 AM

So according to this, I can still like John Mayer, but I can’t come up with excuses for his behavior and as real fan I need to educate other fans on his behavior. Check, plus check.

Here is list of celebrities created by Your Fave is Problematic.

My second question however is, when does it become unforgiving to like something or someone?

I think of two major celebrities that have been in the news or blogosphere lately. R.Kelly’s alleged exploits of being a sexual predator on teenager girls, was all over the news again. At first it was a bit weird that people were surprised of all the allegations he had against him. This is the same man who was married to singer Aaliyah when she was only 15. It’s interesting how casually folks still bring this tad bit of information up, but people rarely question that this was a predatory move.

The general public tends to have a short term memory when it comes to our celebrities, especially when it comes to the abuse of women. For the first time in years R. Kelly is getting mainstream success, thanks for his collaboration with pop start Lady Gaga and his buzzworthy new album ‘Black Panties’. He’s hot right now. Now we can’t deny that talent of R. Kelly, but is his alleged abuse of young black teenage girls enough to ignore because he is talented? Do we give him a pass and still support his music?

I ask the same about Ani Difranco. A popular singer songwriter whose music is seen as bible for many young queer feminists. In high school I was obsessed with her music, especially when I went through my acoustic guitar phase. Difranco and her fans are in hot water, after she announced on her Facebook page that she will be hosting her Righteous Retreat Song Camp next year at the Nottoway Plantation in Louisiana. Considered a feminist songwriting retreat, it frustrating to see another blatant example of “white feminism” excluding the intersectionally of what true feminism is about.

Yesterday, the controversy took to Facebook, as fans debated over the location of the event. Even one alleged fan defending the location. There’s even allegations of a fan creating a fake account and posing as a black woman who agrees with the supporters of the location. From what I’ve read so far, there are a lot of messy allegations, but at the root of it all are that many people are upset with the choice of the venue. It has also bought to light the contemporary history of plantations being used as hotels and whether this is racially insensitive.

Ani Difranco has yet to issue statement, but it makes me wonder what will be her excuse that she or her organizers thought it was ok to have this suppose feminist gathering at a former slave plantation?

Here is another person I liked and at one point looked up too, and here they are doing something that I definitely don’t agree with.

But as a fan, we acknowledge that the entertainers we like can and will be problematic. No one you truly like, love, or stan for will be perfect. Even Beyoncé has her slip ups. If we stopped liking every problematic thing, there would be nothing to like.

Like many people, I consider myself a big Law & Order fan. I will sit there and watch a Marathon on USA all day even if I’ve already seen the episode a million times already.

I can recite the opening dialogue perfectly.

I like to guess the plot twists early on.

And I feel like I’m one of the only people that was happy that Olivia and Elliot never got together. I cherish their platonic relationship. It meant that men and women can coexist together and love one another without jumping into bed.

I’m also one of many people who were upset to see Elliot leave.

However I’ve been happy with the new faces in the last couple of seasons. Amanda and Nick have been good editions to the show. And so has the new ADA.

Law & Order was actually really good tonight. One of the stronger episodes I’ve seen in awhile with tonight’s “October Surprise”.

It was also pretty diverse. It mostly focused on the ADA Rafael Barba (played by Raul Esparza) and his former childhood friend who is also running for NYC mayor (and in this fictional world would be the 1st Hispanic mayor). They grew up together, and both wanted to leave their low income areas to become successes. Barba becoming a lawyer and now the ADA and his friend running for Mayor.

There was a lot of spanish being spoken and a lot of brown faces. To me, this was great. To see more people of color on television is always a great thing, especially if it’s a show I love.

I know NBC Universal bought a major Spanish speaking network and are trying to diversified their Network (especially in the Latino department). 

Tonight’s episode dealt with race, class, culture, ethnically, and ‘passing’ (i.e passing for white). The storyline similar to the Anthony Weiner situation seemed like just a backdrop. But the political scandal of it all ties in all of these topics quite nicely.

So I give my applause to them. I was expecting a corny ripoff of Weiner, when in reality I got a fleshed out episode about friendship and loyalty, with race and class used as a tension filled backdrop.

Lately there has been this craze for everything nostalgic. Kids born in the 90s are clamoring to prove that their decade “did it better”. However most children born in the 90s can only really remember from ‘96-‘99, nearly half a decade is lost from us. A true 90s kid was born in the 80s, but this is an argument for another time.

The 90s seem like it was a long time ago, but in really it’s only been 14 years since the end of the decade.

So another essay on the importance of a popular 90s TV show seems redundant. However I’m here to say, this isn’t about how ground breaking this show was, but how many important life lessons this show taught.

Unlike most of the animated shows in the 90s, Hey Arnold was able to teach important life lessons without being completely cheesy. Anyone remembers the Sailor Says segment at the end of every Sailor Moon episode that aired in the early 90s?

Yeah that kind of cheese.

Children shows in the 90s felt the need to have an educational component to their shows, for better or worse. As an adult who still occasionally watches animated shows I find myself missing that cheesy life lessons portion of the show. Adventure Time may have many great life lessons tied into their psychedelic show, but there’s nothing like Hey Arnold on television right now.

Two years ago I remember discovering Hey Arnold on Netflix. This was before the whole The 90s Are All That aired on Teen Nick. Hey Arnold hadn’t been in syndication for a few years now and it was cool to reminisce on a childhood favorite. As I sat there binge watching an “old” Nick classic with my then boyfriend, remembering how hip Arnold was by listening to Jazz music and having the coolest bedroom for a 4th grader, how Stoop Kid finally left his Stoop but he clearly wasn’t a kid but more of a high school dropout who had a serious mental condition that wouldn’t let him leave his Stoop, to how hopelessly romantic, but also how derange Helga was. She was very poetic for someone her age.

Re-watching as an adult made me realize how serious this show would get. There was a reason why my mother would watch the show with my brother and me when we were kids. It hits you somewhere that many other children shows just didn’t.

Comparing the show to others that were on the air at the time, some would have said it was too low key. In reality it was a show that was always consistent and was kids and adults could relate too. Hey Arnold has been a mainstay for The 90s Are All That block for the last two years. Occasionally I find myself watching the reruns late at night.

There are three episodes of Hey Arnold that were and still are extremely important to me:

Arnold’s Christmas: The Episode where Mr.Hyunh reunites with his long-lost daughter.

Synopsis: The boarders decide to have a secret Santa for Christmas. Arnold ends up having Mr. Hyunh as his secret Santa and isn’t sure what to get him. Mr. Hyunh is little down, since the holidays remind him of his lost long daughter, Mai. He goes on to tell Arnold about how he was separated from his daughter during the Vietnam War. And all he wants for Christmas is to see her again. So Arnold goes on this crazy adventure to find her in the city’s records.

Now holiday specials are always good episodes, but this one was one of the more memorable ones.

We all know that Arnold was a special kid. He’s supposed to be the voice of reason amongst all the characters on the show. There is a reason why people go to him for advice. He seems to always know the right thing to say. He is also willing to go above and beyond for the people he cares for.

So his not so little quest to find Mr. Hyunh’s daughter was one that only Arnold could do. To locate her he ends up striking a deal with the city’s archivist that if he gets all of the items on his Christmas List, he would help locate Mr. Hyunh’s daughter. Arnold and Gerald end up on this crazy adventure on https://i2.wp.com/images3.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20090212151929/heyarnold/images/a/a3/Arnold%27s_Christmas.jpgChristmas Eve to complete this man’s shopping list. However they can’t find these very popular boots that are sold out all over the city. At the same time Helga is looking to find the perfect gift for Arnold. She just received the boots Arnold is looking for from her parents for Christmas. When she see’s how much

he wanted to make Mr. Hyunh’s wish come true, she secretly gives up her shoes so she can locate Mai. Both Arnold and Mr. Hyunh are surprised when they see Mai at the door for Christmas.

Now anyone with a soul had to shed some tears from this episode. The reason why I list this episode as important is because of a few reasons. For one it was able to depict a historical moment, talking about the Vietnam War for instance. Culture is referenced in Hey Arnold, but race was never talked about however.

We also see how innocent and pure children can be. Even though Helga can be mean-spirited and selfish at times, she still cares for others. In this case she loves Arnold. Her love for Arnold affects other people because Arnold at his core loves to help others. If it weren’t for Helga’s love for him, he wouldn’t have been able to bring happiness to Mr. Hyunh. In the end it was seen as Christmas Miracle, but in reality it was all about the goodness of others. These are simple morals we are all taught as children, to help out our fellow-man. It’s the simple lessons like this that hold strong sentiments in life. Adults should be required to watch this episode so they can be reminded that there’s more to life than material items.

Ms. Perfect: The episode where you found out Lila is poor.

Synopsis: Lila is the newest student to the school. Helga and the girls decide to bring her into their group as their little “pet project”. They end up finding out that Lila is a little “Ms. Perfect” and starts to excel at all of the girl’s special talents. She also gains the interests of Arnold, which angers Helga. The girls decide to pull a number of pranks that all go ire. Finally they pull the perfect prank against Lila, which forces her to stay home the next day. When the girls go over to her house to drop off her homework they realize that Lila comes from a poverty-stricken home. Her home is in shambles, they barely have enough food to eat, her father is jobless, and it’s never mentioned if her mother is in the picture. https://i2.wp.com/images4.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20110202142808/heyarnold/images/f/f9/Ms._Perfect.jpg

Having a show that is placed in urban landscape means poverty has to be talked about. Rather than sugarcoat poverty on a children’s show, Hey Arnold was able to bring this to light. In the U.S, we have the 2nd highest rate for child poverty out of the 35 richest countries. Almost 22% of children live in poverty in this country.  More than one and five children in the U.S face hunger.

We also see that her father was jobless. Currently are national unemployment rate is 8.7% according to Gallup.com.

Just to give you more of an idea of what our economy is currently looking like: From 24/7 Wall St, “The Labor Department released its weekly jobless claims at 323,000 in the past week, versus a consensus estimate of 330,000 from Bloomberg. The prior week’s report was revised to 332,000 from 331,000.”

Of course the majority of the episode is about being the new girl, the interactions between girls and how we’re conditioned to believe we’re in constant competition with one another, and the cliché never judge a book by it’s cover. On the outside Lilia seemed like she had it all together. Like many students in this situation, they feel the need to put on a front that their home situation is better than it really is. Focusing on other things helps them cope with the reality. Sometimes it’s getting good grades and sometimes it’s dating a new boy. These “distractions” come in all shapes and sizes.

Poverty, unemployment, and hunger were and still is a major issue in our country, to see a popular children’s show showcase this allowed other children living in similar situations to relate. It also allowed children not living in these similar situations understand that not everyone lives the same life as them.

Pigeon Man

Synopsis: Arnold’s carrier pigeon, Chester, is sick and he decides to go the Pigeon Man to see if he could help. He is a legend in the neighborhood, but no one actually talks to him. Arnold discovers that Pigeon Man, also named Vincent, lives this life because he finds a home with his birds while humans constantly disappoint him. Which they prove at the end of the episode.

This was an episode that was personal to me. In my old childhood neighborhood we had our own pigeon man. He would sit by the bus stop and feed the pigeons all day. My brother was a friendly child and would always stop and say hello to him. I, on the other hand, seldom said anything to the man. He scared me. He smelled and looked like he wore the same thing all the time. Growing up, I was an extremely introverted child and was scared of everyone and everything. To some people I appeared to be a rude child. Our Pigeon Man believed this to be true and would say mean things to me. In retrospect he was probably teasing, but as child and not fully understanding sarcasm it only made me scared of him more.

https://i0.wp.com/images2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20090212154911/heyarnold/images/c/c6/Pigeon_Man%2C_episode.jpg

So what does this have to do with Arnold’s Pigeon Man? Everything! It wasn’t until I re-watch the series that I realized both Pigeon Men have a lot in common. In Hey Arnold he looked for peace and humanity in these birds that he couldn’t find in normal society. He was shunned because he found a family amongst those birds. He took care of them, like they took care of him.

Arnold was able to reach out to this man when no one else would. He showed him that not all people were terrible. However, when some of Arnold’s friends go up to the roof to where Pigeon Man lives and ruins his bird coops, he is completely angered and disgusted by what happened.

“Of course they’ll come back: They’re birds. I trust them. I understand them. It’s people I don’t understand…You see, Arnold, it’s time for me to leave here. Some people are meant to be with people, and others, like me, are just different.”

As an adult you realize how terrible this world can be. We make fun of people who lose themselves in a fantasy world. We make fun of people who rather live outside of the cultural norms. But here is a man who was happy living with birds, who was happy taking care of birds. Through the lens of a child, you feel a sense of sadness for the Pigeon Man. He was happy, even though he was living with birds. Through the lens of an adult; you feel a sense of pity. All you can think of is that this man needs help. A child can feel for this man, an adult can only think. That’s the scary part about growing up. You lose the ability to relate to others. Children can relate to talking lions, superheroes, and pigeon man because no matter how bizarre their get up is, they’re all still people (even the talking lions) with feelings.

There are countless episodes that could be mentioned. This show was able to weave together many issues children in the inner cities went through. It captured a voice that many children shows failed to create.

From poverty, class, privilege, gender roles, death and lost, alcohol abuse (if we used Helga’s mom as example), mental instability, and so much more, this show made this all easily digestible for young children through the use of colorful and memorable characters. It instilled good morals, while also being entertaining.

Hey Arnold was not a perfect show; sometimes I wished it tackled race or maybe sexuality. But it did teach you how to be a better person.