Archive for interview

if you believe they put a man on the moon…

Posted in humor, science with tags , , , , , , , , on July 21, 2009 by Sunshine Superboy

You know the guy who took this picture?
Moon Landing

If you haven’t seen any interviews with Buzz Aldrin, the second human ever to set foot on the Moon, then let me be the first to assure you that the dude is a total badass. Exhibit A, Buzz punching a moon-landing conspiracist, in the face. IN. THE. FACE:

Exhibit B, kickin’ it with Ali G:

And to top it all of. Buzz was one of a handful of humans who so artfully perfected loneliness.

From the Cape of Good Hope,
Sunshine Superboy


Fear of a Black Planet-Eater

Posted in comics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 19, 2009 by Sunshine Superboy

Atenção: even if this post is too geeked out for you don’t skip off till you’ve heard the DMC interview! I promise its totally accessible and pretty effin rad, okay? deal??

in case I’ve already lost you with the title, a planet eater is this:
galactus Now that I’ve put that up front, I suppose there’s only so far I can fall, in terms of geek factor and such. Cuz I got more to riff on for a second.

While I was galavanting (aka sitting through a riveting board meeting) in Chicago, b-boys and homeboys decended on New York City to form a discreet alliance in the form of New York ComicCon.

I was not there. I cannot report first hand.

However an acquaintance of mine definitely sat on a panel with DMC (of Run DMC), and my cousin ran around taking pictures of everyone decked out as their favorite comic book leagues, legions, brigands, posses, scoobies, and of course avengers

Unfortunately, I can’t embed the two-part interviews with DMC, but you can click here and then here, and have your mind blown.

Now, before I go let you oggle Fwee’s optical comicon bounty, I wanna give a heads up for this local comic conference called Black Age of Comics, which is the 8th annual session devoted exclusively to black writers, artists, characters, panel discussions and the like as they pertain to blackness in the world of comics big and small. Join us in Philly for a b-boy/fanboy jamboree!
ECBACC 2009 8x11-1a

I hope you can appreesh some hallowe’en-style black Nick Fury, care of yr truly. I’m kinda bummed the S.H.I.E.L.D. insignia that I worked so hard to adhere to my shirt is eclipsed by my, ahem, handgun:
black super-agent does NOT equal "pirate"

The not-yet-eaten-planet is yours,
Sunshine Süperfüry




Do Not Pass Go, Do Not Loot for Food

Posted in maps & mapping, politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 17, 2009 by Sunshine Superboy

Yesterday was awful. Lets not really talk about it. On a positive note, some of you devoted fans of blackmaps have begun submitting maps, links, and geeky news items for me to share with the blackmap-o-sphere, and that my friends, is totally awesome!

This one is from my good long-distance-friend,Lydia in NOLA, and it partially inspired the theme of today’s post.

keeping in the spirit of sharing and circulating awesome things that are already out there in the blogosphere, I’m reposting this interview badass radical geographer, Prof Ruth Gilmore about prisons.

Interview by Andalusia Knoll

From Sept. 26th to 28th, nearly 3,500 people from across the U.S. gathered in Oakland California for the CR10 Conference and Strategy Session. Organized by the national Grassroots Prison Abolition group Critical Resistance, conference attendees strategized and shared stories of their work to end societies use of prisons and policing as an answer to social problems. At CR10 Andalusia Knoll along with The Thousand Kites Project interviewed conference attendees and attempted to capture the stories of those organizing against the prison industrial complex.

In the following interview Andalusia Knoll speaks with professor, author and founding member of the Critical Resistance collective Ruth Gilmore.

AK: You have spoken about how the concept of Prison Abolition has become more accepted over the past ten years, since the founding of Critical Resistance. Now that more people have an understanding of what you mean when you speak about abolishing Prisons, how do do you think we should move forward?

RG: One thing that has been happening a lot that is really encouraging to me is that people work on all different kinds of issues that are across the landscape of social justice, economic justice and racial justice and gender justice activism are starting to see that every issue connects in really profound ways and one place that they all connect is around and in the prison industrial complex. ruthgilmoreThe abandonment of schools and the growth of prisons go together; enforced gender normality and the growth of prisons go together, white supremacy and the growth of prisons goes together. So now people are persuaded of the connections; practically speaking how do we craft campaigns that will move us forward? I had the good fortune yesterday to facilitate a workshop of people who worked on three different campaigns to stop jail expansion; one in New Orleans, one in Monroe County, Indiana , where the second Klan was born in the 1920’s and the third in the South Bronx. They talked about their strategies, what worked, their campaigns at different levels of development. It was exciting and inspiring to have people share their best strategies, and figure out their failures. Also, it was really obvious that the kinds of people who are drawn to the work are much more diverse in every imaginable way than people who I encountered ten years ago.

That example that you gave is definitely an inspiring one, of people who organize against the construction of new jails. That fits into the prison abolition framework, but what about many people who are more engaged in more reformist activities. In Pennsylvania there is a group called Fight for Lifers; comprised of prisoners serving life without parole and their loved ones who together are fighting for people to be able to be sentenced to life with parole, as opposed to life without parole. What advice do you have for people doing this work that is clearly necessary and how they can incorporate an overarching abolitionist thought into their work?

One of the simple rules of thumb, for me is to ask does the work that I or anybody else is doing in any way extend the scope or the life of the prison industrial complex. If people are fighting on behalf of people who are lifers to get the possibility of parole for them, what they are doing is shortening the life and scope of the prison industrial complex, by trying to figure out how, even if it is one person at a time, they can get them out. That is what abolition work is, even if it doesn’t feel like abolition work and that’s what abolition work its that kind of detail, painstaking, troubling work and that’s different than saying: That’s different from saying “We are against the death penalty. Let’s have life without parole.” That’s not abolition work even though abolishing the death penalty is a good thing.

Today after I presented a workshop about the Prison Poster Project this woman came up to me and asked “Okay I get it you don’t want people to be in prison.” But what do we want? What are these alternatives? I told her personally that I was opposed to the capitalist system at large, but to me abolition work includes a whole restructuring of society. Do you believe that prison abolition has to include this kind of restructuring and if so and how so?

The two biggest reasons that people are in prison are issues around income and issues around illness. That’s the reason most people in prison are in prison. These are things we can address without putting people in cages and employing other people to watch the people in cages. So yes, we are talking about a wholesale restructuring of society. Now some people say to me, and I’m getting old I’m in my late 50’s, “this will take forever.” That may be true, but anyone who has been paying the least attention to the news in the U.S. in the last week and a half, sees that things that take forever can happen overnight. The U.S. nationalized two major mortgage banks and the biggest insurance company in the world and in some way shape or form put up 700 billion dollars to bail out investment banks and Wall Street. If that can be done overnight, then a lot of things that we are talking about can also happen overnight if we had the political will. It takes clout

Andy Smith, (a founding member of INCITE! Women Of Color Against Violence) during her open plenary said there is some way in which we start to get a little worried that we cant get everything we want, so instead, we say lets make what is just a little bit better: better prisons, cleaner prisons, more spacious prisons, better education in prisons.. That’s not it. Political will is what we need to change things overnight There are more of us than there are them. All this money they have been talking about [with the bailout] is actually us. Abolition is taking control of all that social income for ourselves. Its kind of straightforward, we made it, it’s ours.

I’ve seen CR shirts that say something like “One day there was a world without prisons, that day will come again.” Can you speak to that, I think its become so much a part of the American mindset, that there are prisons and they have always existed.

Well a lot of people think “gosh, there have always been prisons.” But really what they are imagining are dungeons. Prisons and dungeons while they seem similar are not the same thing. Large scale individualized but impersonal cage systems are very modern. They are about the same age as the United States of America, they weren’t invented here but they were launched large scale in the early nineteenth century here and perfected here. They are currently being exported to a lot of the world. Before that, what happened? All kinds of things happened, some good, some not so good, but a lot of the sorts of problems of today that are dealt with conviction, criminalization, punishment and imprisonment are things that once upon a time were not crimes or were dealt with in sort of customary ways. Through making restitution or whatever it would take to make both the person who did the harming and the person who was harmed whole, which is to say able to get on with their lives. The intervention of cages has completely disrupted that, and it gets worse and worse and worse, as prisons become a normal part of everyday life.

Here we are at cr10, how do you envision the next 10 years?

I feel very strongly and have written about this some, what’s important in social movements is to keep the movements going, and sometimes the organizations don’t last. It doesn’t make that much difference, even though organizations are necessary to make movements happen, I imagine [Critical Resistance] will be around for ten years, if not it’s not a bad thing because other things will come into play. What my hope is, is that the kinds of things that we have learned over the past ten years and the connections we have made will make us a whole lot more successful than we were in the past ten years. The fact is that there are a million more people in prison in the U.S. than there were ten years ago, during the first conference. Some people say: “Well then ya’ll failed, didn’t you?” Well maybe, but maybe there would be 2 million more if we hadn’t been doing what we had been doing. Knowing that our small, medium and every so often large successes are I actually think there would be way more people in prison. But there are also way too many people. My hope is we are going to start seeing reduction and see this group more and more, and I hope people [reading] will make the connection between the 700 billion bailout, offered to Wall Street and the U.S. Congress and the fact that 1 out of every 100 adults eligible to go to prison based on age is in prison.

Ruth Gilmore is an Associate Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity and Geography at the University of Southern California. She is a member of the founding collective of Critical Resistance and author of Golden Gulag: Prisons, Surplus, Crisis, and Opposition in Globalizing California

Andalusia Knoll is a Station Organizer with the Prometheus Radio Project in Philadelphia and a reporter for Free Speech Radio News. She is also a member of the Prison Poster Project collective working to create a visual education tool that will challenge current reliance on prisons as a solution to social problems.

Gender in the Vacuum of Space

Posted in politics, sci-fi with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 23, 2009 by Sunshine Superboy


Warning: there is a serious BSG spoiler toward the end of this post. If you care, don’t scroll down till you watch the new episode that aired Fri, Jan 16th, 2009.

The continuation continues tonight. Just cuz I’m feeling a little vapid for my Battlestar Galactica post, I’m revisiting the issue, but like for real this time. Part of what fans like myself find compelling about BSG is that it actually IS that deep sometimes, and also offers, through the magic of television, a visualization (as sci-fi is wont to do) of a radically different world. With BSG, for example, we get to see on screen, in the flesh, women in real positions of power (not sidekicks or tokens), which, at a more fundamental level, can be a glimpse into our own world, where that power already exists all around us- after all, what is science fiction but the projection of our own cosmology just a few steps beyond the present moment? Here we are in 2009 and almost everything that Philip K. Dick, (or even Kurt Vonnegut for that matter) wrote about (aka “foretold”) has come to pass.

.not my homeboy.

.not my homeboy.

So about a year ago, I was in New Orleans visiting a friend and had all this gender stuff punch through in an interesting way. I was playing catch-up somewhere around the end of Season 2 or the beginning of Season 3 on her roommate’s BSG dvds, when out of nowhere my befuddled friend, who was in the kitchen, heard me shouting from the living room “Holyfuck this is SO intense!”

I was so overwhelmed that I had to pause the dvd and physically get up and walk to the kitchen just to release some nerves. It was right at a moment where Admiral Cain (a woman, and awesome butch lesbian at that!) had shown up outta the blue, immediately out-ranking Bill Adama who had worked more than a season to gain the trust of President Laura Roslin. Gender and power. It got crazier. Adama had just deployed Kara Thrace aka “Starbuck”, as his best fighter and most trusted maverick, to assassinate the cutthroat Admiral Cain (for the good of the fleet and all surviving humanity).

The tension on screen between the two heavy hitting women (Cain and Starbuck) was palpable, complex, and extremely fraught. But for the audience, seeing two women dominate the screen time, and the power plays of the plot was a whole other mind trip. It was good fun.

the black lady never botched the oath the way Justice Roberts did.

the black lady never botched the oath the way Justice Roberts did.

And this was wholly apart from the chief executive power of the fucking awesome female president, Laura Roslin (seen here being sworn in).

I guess you have to see the show to appreciate the depth of how gender is playing out in the post-apocalyptic vacuum of space. But it really does keep unfolding in brave and complex ways. Can I reveal one more spoiler? Caprica Pegasus Six? Gay (well, queer or at least bi or something). Admiral Cain? Hella Gay. n49517262446_1887And now Lieutenant Felix Gaeta? He’s the gay too! (Not that we didn’t see that coming since fracking season 1). So much gender and sexuality to muse about… let alone, questions of how to gender a cylon….

Here’s an excerpt from a 45-minute long Brown University interview with Mary McDonnell (who plays Laura Roslin). Its an opening reflection on gender in the fleet on the show.

Stephanie Nicora noted that Battlestar Galactica is superficially feminist, with women in charge — but this seems to be true more of the Cylons than of humanity. In fact, Rousseau’s notion of separate spheres seems to be entrenched in the show: Roslin is President, but she can’t do anything much without the support of Galactica — headed by Commander Bill Adama, a man. When Admiral Helena Cain arrives, a female military leader, both Roslin and Adama agree that she’s a dire threat. Roslin doesn’t even have control over her own body — no one asks her whether or not she wants the cure from Hera’s blood — and by extension she is forced to adopt a pro-life stance and ban abortion. Her question: as a feminist, what’s your interpretation of these narratives?

Post comments or just go head and vote on my first Black Maps poll.

So Say We All?
~Sunshine Superboy

ooooooh, and just for kicks and cylon invasion preparedness, check this fracking thing out: