Jul. 14th, 2016 03:37 pm
shiori_makiba: Makiba Shiori in Kanji and Roman Letters (Default)
I was trying to think of a way of describing the experience of dyslexia.

Based on my own personal experience and observations, this is what I have got.

Read more... )
shiori_makiba: Makiba Shiori in Kanji and Roman Letters (Default)
There is some controversy over Scarlet Johansson getting the role of the central protagonist of the American live-action adaptation of the anime series Ghost In the Shell which is currently in filming. A lot of people are saying it is white-washing.

I can't disagree. I like Scarlet Johansson but . . . .

Some people have made the argument that her casting wasn't white-washing, stating that nobody had problem with the idea of Keanu Reeves playing the central protagonist of an American film adaptation of the anime series Cowboy Bebop.

The problem with that argument is that the central protagonist of Cowboy Bebop's name is Spike Spiegel where as the central protagonist of Ghost in the Shell is named Mokoto Kusanagi. I think you could make the argument that Japanese show or not, Spike Spiegel isn't Japanese. You can't say that about a character named Mokoto Kusanagi – and since the role is listed as Kusangi on IMDB, unless they have gotten their information wrong or something, the character is still named Kusanagi and therefore at least still supposed to be least partially Japanese. Which Scarlet Johansson is not.

And don't say it's because the character is a cyborg with an almost completely artificial body.

Also don't cite all of the Hollywood remakes of Asian films where they recast the roles to be played by non-Asians like the adaptation of Akira Kurosawa's Shichinin no Samurai into the 1960 film The Magnificent Seven. Because the Magnificent Seven when it cast a white male actor as in the role of leader of the Seven, they didn't keep his name as Kambei Shimada.

And looking at the cast list, I'm seeing a lot of white actors attached to parts with Japanese names – there are couple of Japanese and other Asian actors but their characters either aren't named in this list yet OR they are supporting cast.

They probably wanted Scarlet Johansson for the role for the same reason they changed the sex and ethnicity of Dr. Strange's mentor – money. Scarlet Johansson is “big name” (through Hollywood has a good chuck of very high-grossing films starring people who weren't big names when the film was made). 18% of the projected movie revenue comes from China who automatically ban films where Tibet is protrayed as anything other than how the Chinese government views Tibet so Dr. Strange's mentor The Ancient One is no longer a Tibetian man but a Celtic woman played by Tilda Swinton.

shiori_makiba: Makiba Shiori in Kanji and Roman Letters (Default)
I have often heard people, both in person and online, use the words justice and law like they mean the same thing. And they don't.

Justice = pertaining to what is just. Just is having a basis in reason or logic, morally right or correct.

Law = a rule of conduct or action established by a custom or laid down and enforced by a governing authority. Also the whole body of such rules.

Notice that law has nothing about those rules being fair or just. That's because they don't have to be. Laws are only as fair or just as the people involved. If the people making the laws are unfair or unjust – or just enough of them to pass a bit of legislature, then laws they make are often unfair and unjust.

But even if the laws are fair and just, you still have to deal with the other people in the chain of a court of law. If one or more people in the chain is corrupt and doesn't obey the rules, then the system does not work. That doesn't mean the system it and of itself is bad. The problem largely lies in people.

Now do I think our (American) system of justice, which is actually a system of law, is perfect? No. Setting aside problems of corruption, poor training, and unfair laws being passed, no system is perfect. They all have their short-comings. They all have their members that disobey the rules because the rules are inconvenient for them and they think they can get away with it.

But let's talk about this in context of fiction. Fictional worlds have the flexibility to be more or less or about equal with the level of corruption in the people in the system, or fairness of the laws being made for particular city, state, country, etc. Most of the fictional crime shows like Bones or CSI or Law & Order claim (more on that in a minute) to be about the same in a largely realistic setting. The world of 1984 or Fahrenheit 451 is what most people would consider more corrupt and/or unjust than local-Earth. Polychrome Heroics is a world where, in general, the corruption and unjust is less than local-Earth.

Mileage, of course, may vary on how corrupt or unjust someone considers the system. There are a lot of people who don't complain about corrupted officials or unjust laws until it directly affects them. Or they think it will – which politicians love to play with. Take the estate tax. It only applies of a very narrow band of people – you have a LOT of money, like Scourge McDuck lot of money, for it to apply to your heirs when you die. But some politicians started calling it the death tax and now people who don't have enough assets for the estate tax to apply are suddenly worried that it will. Or that they will be paying taxes twice on the same money. Except you, assuming you have amassed enough assets, don't pay the estate tax. The people who inherited your big pile of money do. Because it was a gain, they earned wealth that they didn't have before, it is taxed.

But back to law and system of justice. I took some classes in criminal justice and now have difficulty watching any of the crime drama shows. Because while they claim to be a realistic setting, where the laws are same unless otherwise noted – either that is fib or everyone of those fictional worlds has a lot of ignored corruption. Because they violate the laws of criminal procedure and other laws related to death investigations ALL THE TIME.

Don't believe me? I'll explain.

How many times have you seen the investigators on CSI or Law & Order or in bit of police procedural mystery book, move the body? Did you know they aren't supposed to do that? Until the medical examiner or coroner (depending on which system your area has) or their representative says it is okay to move the body, you cannot move the body. The ME has custody of the remains until it is released to the family. The ME is one who determines the manner of death – is it homicide, suicide, accident, natural, or other? Now whether that homicide was a murder is a matter for the court to decide. Oh yeah, murder is a legal term. It is an illegal homicide. Homicide just means that person died as the results of the actions of another. So all murders are homicides but not all homicides are murders.

Here's an example for an actual series. Last night my Mom was watching an episode of Bones. In the episode, the team suspects that the 40ish man who died did not die of his heart condition but was murdered. To prove this, they smuggled the body out of the funeral home, did some science*, found out they were right, and went on to make the killer confess at the funeral. The killer died soon after because she had used her medicine to poison her son and therefore her life-threatening medical condition wasn't being treated properly.

What's the problem? The problem is that, even if the killer hadn't died, they never be able to convict in a properly working US court.

Once the autopsy is complete, the manner of death determined, and the death certificate signed by the ME or coroner, the body is released to the family. Legally, it belongs to them. That's why, you own all of dead relatives remains. That's why if you want to exhume a body you have to either (A) get the family's permission – written permission – or (B) get a court order signed by a judge. Judges, in general, aren't keen on digging up bodies without the family's permission so if you are going to do so, you better have a good argument and evidence for why it is necessary for that judge.

According to my mom, they tried to get a court order but it was rejected. So what did they do? Violate the law. Taking the body out of the funeral home like that is theft, and doing science on it in many districts would be considered desecration of a corpse, and might be considered down the road evidence tampering.

Because they found out the death was homicide and the identity of their killer by illegal means, just how much that evidence they can use in court? NONE! The judge would deem it inadmissible because it was illegally obtained. And because what someone does once, they could have done other times, every case anyone involved in this mess has worked on would be granted an automatic appeal or re-trial with the evidence they touched inadmissible because the court cannot guarantee that it was not illegally obtained or tampered with. Since this kind of BS is messing with data, the scientists would place in academic no-man's land – they aren't going to get grants and no reputable institute would hire them. Assuming they weren't in prison for evidence tampering and obstruction of justice. They all, scientists, FBI agent, any one else involved, and their employers be sued.

That is the result of what the courts like to “Fruit of the Poisonous Tree Doctrine.”

Side note – because the victim was Dead on Arrival (DOA) at the hospital and unconscious the entire time the paramedics were with him, no ME worth their salt would just agree that was a natural death unless the person had documented hospices-level illness. Which I didn't get the impression that he was. Even then, if there is monkey business suspected, the ME can still perform an autopsy before determining the cause and the manner of death. Legally and procedurally speaking, their victim died without the attendance of a physician and his death should have been treated as a potential homicide until it is proven otherwise. Even if you die in the presence of a doctor and have known health problems, if your physicians suspects that your death isn't normal, they are obligated to tell the ME and request an autopsy be performed.

*On the science note, the body was embalmed – which destroys or makes detection of poisons or toxins very difficult. In cases where they have proved someone was poisoned after they were embalmed, most of the time the toxicologist was working with samples obtained at the hospital or their autopsy BEFORE they were embalmed. Let's not go into (for the moment) that it usually takes at least six weeks to get a toxic report back and why.
shiori_makiba: Makiba Shiori in Kanji and Roman Letters (Default)
In no particular order, based purely on my own experience of wearing glasses and observations of people wearing glasses in media. Others experiences and observations may vary.

{1} Glasses are not a fashion accessory. Yes, people who wear glasses generally do pick the frames that they think will look good on them. But people who need them often need to perform tasks like reading or driving. If you need them to drive, they are not just something you can take off and leave behind whenever it is inconvenient.

{2} Glasses need to handled with a certain amount of care so you don't break them. That's why your glasses-wearing compatriots usually set down their glasses rather than just toss them down somewhere.

{3} Certain amount of care includes careful cleaning of the lens so they don't get broken or get scratched. Little scratches on the lens strain the eyes of the person wearing the glasses, which cause stuff like headaches and might worsen their eyesight further.

{4} You can clean eyeglasses with a paper towel or napkin but they can scratch the lens or damage the coatings the lens were treated with so a soft cloth is better. A lot of people for a quick wipe to clear away fog, steam, or other moisture, use their shirt.

{5} Mostly someone needs to clean the lens of their glasses to remove either moisture or fingerprints. It seems that no matter how carefully you handle your glasses, you get your fingers and thus your prints on the lens. And since yours hand are have oils, this makes smudges that get hard to see through.

{6} Most people try to keep at least one pair of back-up glasses in case the ones they are wearing get broken. If you are poor, your back-up pair is usually your last pair of glasses that aren't broken.

{7} The back-up is generally worn until the broken pair can be replaced, particularly if the back-up is an old pair of glasses with an out-of-date prescription.

{8} Corrective eyeglasses have a prescription. This prescription tells them how to shape the lens to correct the person's vision.

{9} Everyone's prescription is a little bit different. My brother and I are both near-sighted. He cannot wear my glasses in a pinch, primarily because my eyesight is much worse than his and the lens are too strong and wearing them for any length of time would hurt.

{10} People who wear glasses, assuming they can afford it, generally get their eyes checked every one to two years. Some people might be more frequent. People who cannot afford it will likely put off getting their eyes checked or new glasses until it becomes absolutely necessary.

{11} Glasses aren't exactly cheap. The price you see in the vision center is the price of the FRAMES. Adding the prescription lens, not including coatings like glare-resistant, is a minimum (at the store I go to) of 50 US dollars. Each. With that bare minimum, with the cheapest frames which might be between $7 and $9, you are looking at between $107 and $109 for a new pair of glasses. Not including the eye exam* which, at the place I go, is currently $59. $166-168 (at bare minimum) might not sound like a lot but it is lot when you don't have very much money. And remember that is a minimum. They can and do cost more than that. My last pair, for example, was $186 not including the exam. The frames were $9.

*which if your prescription is over two years old, you are not allowed to skip the exam. They will not sell you new glasses with your old prescription if that prescription is over two years old. At least, no place I've ever been will.

{12} The lens will fog up. If you go outside when it is cold. Or inside when it is hot if that inside is air-conditioned. Steam from your coffee/tea/hot soup will that do that. It doesn't usually last very long but since you can't see out of it, you have to pause and wait for it to clear. Or take off your glasses and wipe them off.

{13} Rainwater on eyeglasses is like rainwater dropping onto your car's windscreen. Enough of it and you can't see through it without wiping away the water.

That's it from off the top of my head. Anyone who has anything else to add from your own experiences or observations, please contribute.
shiori_makiba: Makiba Shiori in Kanji and Roman Letters (Default)
 Like many writers, I have a legion (for they are many) of characters who part-live in my head. The rest of the time they occupy another world that I have been getting interesting glimpses of.  Some of these glimpses did not seem to belong to the same place but everyone insisted that they did. Apparently none of them realized until today that no one had informed me that while everyone was from the same WORLD, they were NOT from the same TIME period. >.< 

*head desk grumble why didn't you say so earlier?! mumble*

For any who might be curious, that world is known as Yamato. It is very inspired by my interest / love in various anime, manga, super sentai series, including the prevalence of people with hair and eyes (and skin) in every color known to crayons. It is also inspired by my growing annoyance / irritation toward the things that bug me about above (the Law of Chromatic Superiority in Super Sentai for example) and others - like the increasing lack of agency and/or ethical behavior in our "heroes." I want heroes who do the right thing because it is the right thing to do. Solutions other than hitting things to problems. That even villains should have boundaries, lines that they will not cross and view those who do so extremely poorly. Women Being Awesome. Families of Choice. Non-heterosexuals with happy, fulfilling lives. People falling in love with people who aren't abusive jerks. That the dude in the wheelchair and/or the neutral variant lady are totally capable of saving the world if they want to.

I'm still building the bridge. Hopefully once it is complete, other people will be willing to visit Yamato with me.


shiori_makiba: Makiba Shiori in Kanji and Roman Letters (Default)

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