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Date Joined: Dec. 13, 2007
Last Login: Sept. 20, 2008

18 Comments by Kabrams

10 most recent / all comments
2 Kabrams 8 years, 4 months ago Context

Whether my opinion is an "anomaly" or not is irrelevant. We're not talking about any other people who liked Hammers and Crayons. Have you ever thought that I might actually think she's a "good" writer? Unlike some, I find no problem with giving someone criticism while maintaining they are good writers. But that's not the issue, so let's not derail from the point.
You wrote, such "anthropological juggernauts" as Leonardo Lopez Lujan, Carmen Pijoan and David Stuart...Are you kiddng me? Pardon me, but I did a quick google search using their names and what do you know? The very first site to come up was an article titled "Evidence May Back Human Sacrifice Claims" Oh, boy. I also love how you throw in the "codices" bit. Tsk, tsk. You get an A+ for google research, but an F- for reading comprehension, Their research addresses the points I made against the use of a "brute" on top of a pyramid bashing people's heads in. If you go back and re-read what I wrote(which I strongly suggest you do) you'll notice I state that 1. Mayan sacrifice was not done routinely on top of pyramids and 2. the sacrificer would be the glory of his nation, the SACRIFICED would. Again, pivoting this image of a brute on top of a pyramid is an easy stereotype to write, because it's been around for ages and ages...and ages. Was the metaphor poorly written? No. Was the imagery stereotypical and annoying? To me, yes.
As a parting note, there is no first amendment issue here. Maybe you should use your google-fu and research what the first amendment does, who it protects and why. I never asked the author to change her work, and NEVER would, but then again, it's probably much easier for you to break out that useful strawman than actually consider the possibility that I have a legitimate concern. Anyway, this is probably my last comment on the subject. Judging from your "terrorist and warlords" comment this conversation is about to take a serious nosedive into Godwin's Law. And I never want to be part of such a stupid conversation. :D

  hidden comment from Kabrams with score of 2
1 Kabrams 8 years, 4 months ago Context

Let me explain it to you like this.

No one really knows what Jesus looked like except for the people who knew him, but throughout Western cinematic history, there has been a tendency for directors to portray Jesus as a white man, often with light colored hair or blue eyes and long-flowing hair. Mel Gibson himself used a white man with brown contacts and long, flowing hair to portray Jesus. Now, are Arabs white? Some say yes. Do some Arabs have blue eyes? Some, yes. Could Jesus have been a white man with blue eyes? Perhaps. The more probable is that Jesus had short hair, tan to dark skin and brown eyes. Yet that image is RARELY used. The dominant, Western image of Jesus has been a white man, and that image continues to be used, despite its improbability. That irritates me--not because the artist uses his or her artistic expression to depict Jesus, but because the artist choses to stay within the boundaries of this twisted, biased version of what Jesus looked like.


Now take foxpamela's depiction of people "in jungles South of here" and then her use of the word "Mayan" to describe a group of people who, in today's world, do not stand on pyramids or bash people's heads in. This is perhaps the most widespread depiction of Maya, which may or may not even be true--and it is probably more false than it is true. Conjuring up this image of a jungle brute Mayan sacrificing people is easy, because this stereotype already exists and has been used and overused. Easy. That's what upset me. The ridiculous overuse of tired stereotypes of groups of people who have traditionally been seen as exotic, brutes and/or animals. For what? A split second depiction of a domestic abuser?


You say you should only be offended if the original author intended to offend. That's like saying women shouldn't be angry at misogynistic portrayals of women in the comics because the male writers don't mean to offend, or that black people shouldn't be offended by Sambo and Mammy caricatures because the artists didn't mean to offend. That's just plain ridiculous, and reminds me of the "blame the victim" mentality. "It wouldn't be a big deal if you didn't make it a big deal..."

  hidden comment from Kabrams with score of 1
1 Kabrams 8 years, 6 months ago Context

I did not misunderstand the metaphor. You said wrote

"At the top of a pyramid in a jungle somewhere south of here, he’d be the glory of his nation."

You're basically saying that, had your husband been in a "jungle South of the suburbs" he would have looked just like all the other people South of here who bashed people's heads in--you know, the people who lived in jungles and stood at the tops of pyramids.

You specified the place as the Mayan Empire, relying on false evidence to say that Mayans stood on pyramids and bashed people's heads in. What evidence did you look up to find this out? You say you're "hard-pressed" to find one? I doubt you even researched it in the first place.

Like I said before, you seem content on making stories about housewives and brutes. Good luck with that. Come back to the table when you actually have constructive things to say about my critiques, instead of the one liners you think suffice as answers.

  hidden comment from Kabrams with score of 1
1 Kabrams 8 years, 6 months ago Context

I completely missed this 4 months ago, but I feel I need to respond to it.

1. Some historians agree that Mayans ritualistically bludgeoned people to death. Many other historians do not agree. The subject is highly debated and there is no one definitive answer one way or the other. Did you even read my comment or do you assume I just come to SM to hate on people? I actually enjoy foxpamela's work, but lines like this without any sort of (factual) interpretation can and often do alienate readers. That's not something you can dispute.

2. Pivoting savagery, jungle images and a false interpretation of what Mayan rituals actually mean is irresponsible as a writer.

3. I've never considered myself bitter or myopic, but, like the rating system here at StoryMash, that's all open to interpretation.

  hidden comment from Kabrams with score of 1
1 Kabrams 8 years, 6 months ago Context

I sometimes feel like I don't fit into these "contests" because I don't quite understand how the critiquing process works. I also don't feel "part" of this community.
Some suggestions for SM:

1. Create a standardized system, where voters know what they are actually voting on.

Look at the large gaps between persephonie and the other two judges. She gives a 1 to three chapters that received 3's or higher from the other two judges. She gives a 2 to a chapter that both other judges rated higher than 4.5.

She said before that she voted on the "entertainment" factor and "how well" she likes the work. Instead of writing a good chapter, some writers might be more inclined to write toward what persephonie wants, or what she has liked in the past, instead of writing a chapter that is not catered to any specific judge.

2. Deny access to reading other peoples' comments on a chapter until AFTER a poster has given his or her rating to that particular chapter. I know some members have complained of retaliation, or feel like this is a first page popularity contest.

3. Allow rating only if the poster gives a specific comment about the chapter and about the rating. This means that there could be no retaliation ratings.

4. Disallow anonymous ratings. Members should be prepared to stand by and discuss their ratings.

5. Have a system where rating is actively encouraged. Before you can upload a new story, you need to have read and rated at least 4 other randomly assigned stories. Before continuing a story, you have to rate the previous chapter. I think this would encourage more people to rate instead of just post story after story, and would get more people talking about specific stories.

6. Make a forum where posters can introduce themselves, their stories or chapters, and garner reader interest either through posting a synopsis in a "post your synopsis" thread/section or by talking about their ideas for future chapters/stories. People could request stories, work together in teams, etc.

7. Have diversity in the contests. Mix it up a bit. Throw in words or phrases that have to be included in the story. Ask for specific genres or locations.
I will definitely be entering this contest, regardless. I don't agree with some of the things SM does, I definitely agree with the spirit behind it. Oh yeah, congrats to Nash. :)

  hidden comment from Kabrams with score of 1
3 Kabrams 8 years, 9 months ago Context

I think one of the biggest things storymash is missing is a "community" outside of each individual story or storyline. Many stories get lost in the shuffle of things, and I never feel like I latch on to any one genre or group.

Why doesn't storymash have forums? Authors could gain exposure, collaborate better, talk about upcoming projects, market, talk about the craft of writing outside a particular story or storyline, etc.

I also think commenting before voting should be mandatory. I had a vote that was way out of left field, with no explanation or anything of what went wrong for that particular reader. It was frustrating, because as a writer, you want and need to connect with any reader who crosses your path.

Just a few suggestions. Keep it up.

  hidden comment from Kabrams with score of 3
1 Kabrams 8 years, 11 months ago Context

If you still don't get why painting all people "south of you" as "brutes" is a broad stereotype, there doesn't seem to be much hope for you.

The Maya civilization does not exist today---so what nation are you talking about when you say "south of here"? Any Latin nation will do, eh?

And categorizing the Maya civilization as one where Maya simply "bashed peoples' heads in on tops of pyramids" is irresponsible. Archaeological and historical studies have been done on this very subject, and to suggest that you somehow know more than these professionals is laughable.

Even if it's true that the Maya routinely used human sacrifice (which even the historians who specialize in Maya civilization and culture highly doubt) the sacrificer wouldn't be the glory of his nation--the sacrificed would.

But why would I expect you to take this seriously? It seems to me like you're content making stories about housewives in fruitless and loveless marriages.

Good luck with that.

  hidden comment from Kabrams with score of 1
1 Kabrams 8 years, 11 months ago Context

As a side note:

I didn't want to spell it out for you, but I actually liked your writing. If you look back in your profile, you'll see I left a very nice comment on your piece "Befores and Afters". But you ruined that sentiment by relying on stereotypes to convey a message that would be more powerful without them.

That's what I mean by "alienating" your readership.

  hidden comment from Kabrams with score of 1
1 Kabrams 8 years, 11 months ago Context

I'm not implying that you've alienated me, I'm saying it. And, as a so-called writer, you should have no problem understanding how written stereotypes often have a negative impact on your readership.

"And brutal. Like the bludgeoning hammer used at sacrificial events. At the top of a pyramid in a jungle somewhere south of here, he’d be the glory of his nation." Really? It doesn't take a genius to pivot savagery with "Southern Jungles".

Hopefully I won't get any grudge wank from this post, but I think I already did.

Cheers, and here's to your next one. Who knows? I might just write it.

  hidden comment from Kabrams with score of 1
1 Kabrams 8 years, 11 months ago Context

Woah, someone gave me a huge thumbs down. 4.1 to 2.8 with the last vote, eh?

I'm not mad--I just wish it was mandatory for people to comment AND vote at the same time, so we could know what they didn't like or did like... :D

  hidden comment from Kabrams with score of 1

5 Chapters by Kabrams