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January 18 2015

The history of blackness is also a history of erasure. Everybody has told the story of black people in struggle except black people. The black people in the struggle haven’t had the means to tell the story historically. There were a million slaves but you see very few slave narratives. And that is intentional. So what was powerful in the context of Ferguson is that there were many people able to tell their story as the story unfolded.
— DeRay McKesson (x)
What social media has done is that it has exposed the intensity of hatred in America
— DeRay McKesson, Ferguson activist and organizer (x)
It seems to me that if more women are writing YA than men, and your panels and lists are only full of men, then you must be working pretty hard to exclude women—or you aren’t working hard enough to diversify your reading. Of course, no one should tell you what you should read, even though you’re missing out on most of the good stuff, but if you’re informing what children and teens are exposed to, then it actually is your responsibility to read more widely, recommend a broader variety of books, and strive for more gender parity and diversity in your panels and author visits.
— E.C. Myers (ecmyers), Confessions of a Male YA Author (via bluestockingbookworm)
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fuck i only have 151 hours left on this i better charge it quick

do you have a fucking nuclear generator as your battery

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This is Duolingo, a language-learning website/app that deserves some serious recognition. It offers over 10 languages for English speakers, as well as courses for non-English speakers around the world, and they’re in the process of adding more. 

But wait, I don’t want to do any more schoolwork! Not to worry little one, Duolingo is actually more like a game. You can compete with friends, and earn “lingots” (which are basically Duolingo money) to buy power-ups, extra activities, and bonus skills - like Flirting.


I’m already taking a language, what do I need this for? 

It’s not really a secret that most school language courses (in America, anyway) suck and only teach you to speak the language at about a third grader’s level. Which is why Duolingo is so freaking awesome.

Teachers can’t give every student individualized attention, but Duolingo can. If you’re not learning the way you want to or as much as you want to in the classroom, Duolingo is a really great resource. It’s easy, tailored to you, and really effective.


Duolingo tracks your progress and reminds you when you haven’t studied for a while or need a refresher on something. Already semi-fluent in a language? No problem, just take a shortcut to more advanced subjects or test out of the lesson. 

The lessons start with the basics (he, she, hello, thank you, etc) and move up to harder stuff. Duolingo focuses on vocabulary first, so you can learn the language and then the grammar that goes with it - much simpler than the system most schools use. It also tracks the number of words you’ve learned and how well you know them.


And you don’t even have to write out the flashcards!

Duolingo is perfect for reviewing everything you forgot over the summer or giving you the extra help you need. And if you’re trying to learn a language on your own, it’s fantastic - you don’t have to create your own lessons. Whether you’re trying to learn your second, third, or fifth language, I seriously recommend Duolingo.

Okay, what else?

Duolingo also has discussion boards, where you can ask for help with a hard lesson, make new friends, watch for updates, and share your achievements.

Even better is the Immersion feature. It won’t send you to Spain or France, but it’s pretty awesome. Duolingo takes real articles from the internet, which users translate. You can translate articles from your native language into the language you’re learning or vice versa, which gives you more experience and makes the Internet more universal.

You can suggest new languages and track Duolingo’s progress in creating new courses. Bilinguals (older than 13) can help to create these courses. Duolingo has a long list of courses that can be contributed to, like Punjabi, Hebrew, and Vietnamese. Oh, and Dothraki, Klingon, Sindarin, and Esperanto.

And the best part? IT’S COMPLETELY FREE. 

If you love languages or just want to pass French class this year, USE DUOLINGO. Download the app and practice a language while you wait for the bus instead of playing Angry Birds!

Coolest app I’ve ever downloaded.


I watched The Interview with a North Korean defector


By the end of 2014, everybody in the world had said their piece on the controversial James Franco and Seth Rogen film The Interview. Is it offensive? Should it be banned? Is America committing an “act of war" just by making a movie that about assassinating North Korean leader Kim Jong-un? Typically, the only people left out of the conversation were actual North Koreans.

I teach English to North Korean defectors living in New Malden, a suburb of southwest London. Two of them were planning to watch the film anyway, so I asked if I could join them. We meet at the offices of Free NK newspaper, described on its English website as “a newspaper of hope and democracy with the goal of liberating the people of North Korea suffering in distress”. My student Kim Joo-il founded the newspaper after escaping from North Korea in 2005.

Joo-il joined the army as a teenager. As the famine of the 1990s and 2000s took its toll, soldiers deserted their units to try and escape starvation. Joo-il’s job as captain was to track them down. Most North Koreans are not allowed to travel. This, combined with a lifetime of government propaganda, means that they are unaware of the situation outside their hometowns. While Joo-il was travelling around North Korea in search of deserters, he realised that people were starving everywhere. Every train station had piles of bodies lying around.

He knew something was wrong. But what really triggered his decision to escape was a trip home. To welcome him back, his sister gave him a meal of rice, meaning that her own family had to go without. A few days later, Joo Il’s starving niece stumbled across some raw corn and ate it. It swelled up in her stomach and killed her. She was four years old.

The InterviewDiana Bang with Dave (James Franco) and Aaron (Seth Rogen) in The Interview Sony/Columbia Pictures

In 2005 Joo-il was sent to Hamgyong province, near the Chinese border. He knew this was his one opportunity to escape. He waited for a cloudy night and crept past border guards to swim across the Yalu river, arriving in China four hours later. Joo-il went to Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand before being granted asylum in the UK, and finally settling in New Malden. His family in North Korea are constantly watched by the government.

Joo-il tells me through Seonju, our South Korean translator: “I don’t really want to watch this film. But after all the media attention and the hacking incident, I wondered what the controversy was about.” His friend, another defector who works at the Korean supermarket next door, doesn’t turn up at the last minute.

This was probably a wise decision.

Joo-il, Seonju and I proceed to sit through all 112 minutes of The Interview in awkward silence. As the only Westerner in the room, I am painfully aware of the lazy Asian jokes, stereotypes and cardboard North Korean characters. Constant crude sex jokes, combined with the high-ranking female Korean official’s inexplicable horniness for Seth Rogen made for a distinct “watching Masters of Sex with your grandparents” vibe.

The only laugh comes from Seonju, when Seth Rogen falls out a window. Though that might have been a cough. When Kim Jong-un is finally blown up in a much-discussed helicoptor scene, I look over and see Joo-il yawning. I’m pretty sure that two women and a 41-year-old North Korean defector were not the target audience for this film.

The InterviewJoo Il looked like this throughout most of the film Lucy Edwards

"By making a film about the assassination of Kim Jong Un, I think Sony Pictures deliberately set out to create a media storm," Joo-il says afterwards. "With this subject matter, it could be an effective film, but I’m disappointed. Maybe Sony paid the North Korean government to create a scandal."

Joo-il is also unconcerned by Sony Pictures Entertainment’s decision to cancel the release in cinemas. “Sony Pictures Entertainment is a private company,” he explains. “They can do what they want. Whether they choose to release it or not, it’s OK it’s not an important point.”

So does he see The Interview having any positive impact for the people of North Korea? “It cannot help us to understand North Korean people,” he tells me. “Not in a serious way. And it will not have any impact on spurring western governments or the UN to take action either against the North Korean government or for the North Korean people.”

Thrown in with the smutty one-liners and “Frosty Nixon” (Frost/Nixon, geddit?) gags, there’s a running joke that Kim Jong-un is scared people will think he’s gay because he likes Katy Perry and cocktails. According to Joo-il, nothing about the film would chime with ordinary people in North Korea.

"North Korea is a closed society," Joo-il explains. "Our culture is influenced by Confucian values of reverence and respect. The crude sexual content would get an adverse reaction. Most North Korean people wouldn’t even understand the concept of homosexuality." 

In a recent Good Morning America interview, Seth Rogen said: “In the movie we go to great lengths to separate the regime that rules North Korea with the North Korean people themselves. And they are not bad; they are the victims of a horrible situation. Part of me thinks that they themselves would really enjoy the movie. Maybe. Who knows? I wonder if we’ll ever find out.”

The InterviewA still from The Interview (with Korean subtitles) Lucy Edwards

"I myself am a defector," Joo-ill says. "But when I watched this film, I felt insulted. I understand it’s a comedy, it’s not serious. But even though they are laughing, it demeans North Korean people."

He adds that he has read reports that defectors in South Korea have sent copies of the movies to their relatives in North Korea via instant messaging – but after seeing the movie himself, Joo-il believes these reports are untrue. “I heard Americans know little about North Korea,” he says. “North Koreans are always portrayed as obedient robots. So with all the vulgar words, it’s like there is a subtext which demeans Korean people. In this movie it looks like we are too stupid to realise our government is bad.”

As for those plans to airdrop copies of the film over North Korea? ”This idea would just be for show, there would be no positive effect.” And no, cultural differences aren’t what’s stopping Joo-il from enjoying The Interview. ”Actually,” he says, “I have seen many American movies but this is the first time I’ve seen this kind of shit.”

Joo-il specifically singles out the moment where Franco’s character tells his new puppy, “We’re going to America, where they don’t eat dogs”. Here there is a moment of confusion as Seonju, our interpretor, had fallen asleep and missed this obviously riveting part of the movie. But were she awake, she tells me, she would also find this offensive. (She loves dogs.)

Punchlines about dog-eating Koreans isn’t satire – and it’s definitely not the kind of comedy that disarms a feared dictator. I ask Joo-il if North Korea could flip the tables on Sony and make a comedy about assassinating Obama could work in North Korea. He muses: “In North Korea all visual media; art, theatre and cinema comes from the central government. There is no cultural code whereby people could enjoy the assassination of Obama in the form of comedy. Maybe there could be a serious film, designed to arouse North Korean people’s rage.”

But maybe this won’t be necessary. As Joo-il puts it: “If they spread The Interview in North Korea, it will make people hate America much much more.”

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(Photo Description: Members of Oakland’s clergy stage die-in after Selma screening and near Lake Merrit)

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This is why the world needs to start caring about Boko Haram

As the world watched in horror while two gunmen slaughtered 12 people at the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris last week, a massacre of a different kind was happening halfway across the world.

In the Nigerian town of Baga, Boko Haram insurgents carried out one of the bloodiest attacks in the group’s history, killing an estimated 2,000 people. Most of the victims were women, children and elderly people who couldn’t escape after fighters drove into the town firing rocket-propelled grenades and other weapons at local residents.

"The worsening conflict in northern Nigeria already has suffered more casualties this year than the world’s most publicized contemporary wars."




What’s the worst thing about Dalton Hayes and Cheyenne Philips aka the “modern day Bonnie and Clyde?”


  • That the news is treating this like a cute but dangerous adventure between a couple?
  • That he is 18 and she is 13 and the news keeps romanticizing their crimes and calling them sweethearts?
  • That the mother of Dalton Hayes tried to use the “he didn’t know she was 13,” excuse then turned around and said by the time her son realized she was a mere 13, “he was already done in love with her.”
  • That Fox News is saying they are probably not dangerous even though they are carrying a 45-caliber handgun, a .38 special handgun, and ammunition. (Like can you imagine if they were black or brown?)

Seriously, look at this headline:





not recognizing abusive behavior as abuse until you’re out of that situation is not at all unusual and does not mean your experiences are less real, less valid, that the abuse didn’t happen, or that you deserved it



white ppl can pronounce schwarzenegger, shia labeouf, mcconaughey, ralph fiennes, scorsese, joaquin phoenix, gyllenhaal, but flub quvenzhané


Rest In Peace to the 2,000 Nigerians who died from a terrorist attack by Boko Haram.


News? News!



I’d be very happy if someone could send me a source? :)

Anyway, you DO know what to do now don’t you? Talk to Netflix! For example, in that way:


The link

inthefleshedits‘ twitter account

Petition to netflix to give ITF a new home



anything that stays still for too long at the MoMA becomes art. if you drop a nickel on the ground its value increases 8000% within a day. my brother fell asleep on a bench in there and now he’s a permanent exhibition. i miss him



do u guys ever look back at a piece of half-done writing and think ‘this could be brilliant. this could be my mona lisa. my starry night. my idris elba’ but you have absolutely no drive to finish it despite an unfaltering desire to see it finished



*at school*

me: here’s the homework

teacher: ohh i’m not collecting it



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I was gonna be mad but this pretty close.

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Kimya Dawson is the fucking best jfc

I love her

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