I was originally going to compile an end-of-year wrap-up post for 2013 like I’ve done every year since this blog’s inception, but let’s face it dudes: I basically fell off the K-pop radar this year, and the last entry on this blog — posted two months ago — consisted of no more than three lines of text waxing poetic on an American popera singer whose fanbase is largely made up of white, middle-aged housewives between the ages of 35 and 60. Needless to say, I think I’ve become a little out of touch with my readership.
So it seemed a little disingenuous to go all-out with a huge, year-end K-pop recap complete with sparkly custom-made graphics when I’ve been so AWOL from fandom this year. Still, I couldn’t let this year go by without a final shout-out to this year’s releases…so here’s a playlist of some of my favorite tracks from 2013 — just some mood music as you read the rest of this post, ha.
Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the relationship between social justice and Christianity.
The strange thing about this is that if you asked a Christian if Christianity and social justice were compatible, they would probably give you a funny look for asking such a silly question because of course Christianity and social justice are compatible…you know, since we’re supposed to be following Jesus and looking after orphans and widows and all that. But if you were to ask your typical, secular social justice activist if Christianity had any place in their activism, they would also probably give you a funny look because their answer seems equally as obvious. Christianity, the oppressor of all oppressors, the colonizer of all colonizers, the pedestal of privilege that gives the White man his unwavering arrogance and sense of superiority? Christianity, the religion that kills people of color and oppresses women and hates gays? That Christianity?
Well, that Christianity — the largest, whitest, and most privileged religion on this planet — has no place amongst activists working for the rights of marginalized peoples. And as for Christians? Well, some of them might be nice people, but not much more than that.
It’s been a while since I first came across this interview that Lin-Manuel Miranda (In the Heights, West Side Story, House) did with THNKR. I rewatched it recently and it really got me thinking about the intersection of race and theatre.
There’s probably no one I respect and admire more in the musical theatre world than Lin-Manuel Miranda¹, but I take serious issue with what he’s saying in this interview. In the opening clip, Lin claims that:
It’s a thorny issue, but I think that race and gender should be considered the same way height and age are. They’re a factor.
He goes on to explain that while there are roles in musicals that demand race- or gender-specific casting, the race/gender requirements should be suspended for high school productions. He continues by recounting his experiences playing traditionally white roles while in high school, despite being of Puerto-Rican descent. Later, Lin concludes the interview by stating that even in the professional theatre world, “[casting] is about getting the best person for the part first, and then the other things are factors that may tip them one way or the other.”
I finally got my driver’s license two weeks ago at the ripe old age of 20. Connecticut’s public transportation system is virtually nonexistent and the area where I live is fairly unwalkable, so it’s kind of unusual for me to be getting my driver’s license so late in the game. Most of my classmates passed their license tests shortly after turning 16, and my little brother got his license last year right after his 17th birthday.
So obviously it can be a bit embarrassing to be a fully-grown adult without a driver’s license around these parts. Prior to getting my license, I mostly tried to excuse my lack-of-license through the fact that I was a year younger than everyone else in my year. Which is a perfectly legitimate excuse, I think — I didn’t get my permit until the summer after my junior year of high school (exactly four months after I had just turned 16), leaving me a little less than a year to get my license before being whisked away to college. And a very busy year, at that: college apps, AP classes, musical rehearsals…you know, as busy as a 17-year old high schooler can get.
Still, it took me nearly four years to get my license, and it can be difficult to overcome the stigma of that when you’re living in a place where kids are expected to get one in four months. I’m not an awesome driver, but I don’t think I’m inherently awful at driving to the point where it would seriously require four years of practice before I could even think about taking my license test.
I wasn’t bad at driving as much as I was terrified of it: panic attacks, shortness of breath, sobbing behind the wheel, the works. And because I was so scared of driving, I hated it. In my mind, it made perfect sense to be scared of operating a two-ton killing machine, but it didn’t make sense for driving to be such a run-of-the-mill thing that no one else seemed to be afraid of. Everyone else seemed to see driving as this giant fun-filled joyfest, and that only served to make my fear feel all the more illegitimate. And it made me feel incredibly small.