Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Not-So-Uncanny Valley

For those who haven't lost their souls to the time-sucks that are and TV Tropes, the uncanny valley may be a new term.  Created by roboticist Masahiro Mori in 1970, the uncanny valley describes a sudden, extremely negative reaction people feel when confronted with something that looks or moves in a very human fashion, but is clearly not human.  Generally, people feel comfortable with dolls or robots made to somewhat resemble human beings, such as everyone's favorite droid C3P0.  But imagine C3P0 with realistic, moving lips.  The idea makes him a lot less loveable.

For those who haven't experienced the valley for themselves, check out the following two music videos.  The first, Interpol's "Evil," features a very muppet-y puppet that moves as though he's on strings, but his facial expressions are extremely detailed and realistic.  The second, Daft Punk's "Technologic," displays a robot with very human eyes and teeth in a face that is clearly mechanical.

Now that you're all most likely unsettled, you may be wondering why I decided to interrupt your Sunday morning with not-quite zombies.  It's a question that's been twenty-two years in the making, though it's nothing I consciously realized until a few years ago, when I learned about the testing I'd undergone in elementary school.

I was not what could be described as a normal child.  "Weird," "freaky," "Antichrist," all of those were descriptors I heard more than once applied to myself during my childhood.  I never fit in with my classmates growing up, with me finding them impossible to relate to and a constant sense of sensory overload and with them finding me creepy and annoying.  I eventually learned to hide the "weirder" aspects of myself growing up, figuring I really was just a freak and I'd never be able to express myself the way I really felt outside a very small circle of friends and family.

Then, in high school, my mom informed me that during my elementary school days, when I would be pulled from my usual classroom to talk with the special education staff - what I assumed was a punishment for bad behavior in in class - I was actually being tested for a developmental disorder.  Apparently the staff at my elementary school was only equipped to diagnosis learning disorders, and as I had no cognitive delays, they couldn't tell my parents what was wrong with me, only that they knew something was.  Now, looking back at my life and the observations of my caregivers as I was growing up, I assume what's wrong is either an autism spectrum disorder or a pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified.  Not to self-diagnose, mind you, and I should add that I'm currently taking steps to meet with professionals to see if I lie on the spectrum or not.

So what does this have to do with the uncanny valley?  Well, as I've learned while watching uncanny video after video, in search of high octane nightmare fuel, I don't have a sense of the valley.  Or rather, I do, but it's backward.  Robots, puppets, mannequins, badly animated cartoon characters, none of them frighten me.  In fact, my reaction toward them tends to be overwhelmingly positive.  While Youtube viewers were commenting on the unrealistic facial movements of Japan's latest robotic achievement, the Actroid, for example, I was watching the video with a massive smile spreading across my face every time one appeared on the Actroid.

The exaggerated movements and expressions of these creations, the features that make them so polarizing to a wide portion of their audience, serve to make them extremely appealing to me.  I know when the Actroid is happy, and I know when the puppet from Interpol is sad.  The only citizens of the uncanny valley that actually disturb me are those who have no facial expressions whatsoever, such as Boston Dynamics' Big Dog robot, which lacks a face entirely, and the Little Girl Giant parade puppet, who can only move her mouth.

Actual human beings, in contrast, I find extremely difficult to read.  In my freshman year of college, for research credit in my psychology class,  I took a survey online that involved looking at photographs of faces, selecting what emotion those faces felt, and how intense that emotion was.  The survey was much more difficult than I anticipated, as I not only had a hard time distinguishing between, say, disgust or sorrow, but I also found it near impossible to say how intensely the person was feeling something, especially knowing that these were all fake expressions posed for the survey to begin with.  Exaggerated creations are easy for me.  The subtleties of human interaction are not. I find it difficult even to point out wooden acting in a film, since subtle emotion and expressionless acting seem pretty much the same to me.

I googled "autism spectrum" and "uncanny valley" to see if I was alone in this line of thinking.  While I didn't find anything about the uncanny valley appealing to those with ASD, I did find an interesting discussion of how the autistic may serve as the uncanny valley to neurotypical people.  Traits often associated with autism - monotone, rigid speaking patterns, un-coordination, lack of eye contact, difficulty reading emotions - can be unsettling to others.  I found that especially intriguing, as all too often, "normal" people are the uncanny valley to me.

I'm not sure if any conclusion can be drawn from my musings, but if nothing else, I found those musings interesting enough to share them online.  Once one begins breaking down likes and dislikes in terms of exaggerated expression, everything can be dissected.  Do I like Lady Gaga so much because her costumes and music videos are so over the top?  Am I drawn to comic books because of the extremely visual style and obvious "good guy" and "bad guy" traits?   And most importantly, what can be learned from these sort of revelations?  Hopefully, something that can help "freaky" little kids like me to not feel so alienated while growing up.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Hell Yes, Starling: My Rambling Thoughts about the DC Relaunch

I didn't begin buying comics on a regular basis until college, partly because there wasn't a comic shop in my hometown and I didn't become competent at driving on the Interstate until the three hour route to my campus forced me to become so, and partly because it wasn't until college when I became particularly interested in characters outside of comic films and cartoons.  I attended my first comic convention in my sophomore year of college, and my eyes were opened to a world of events I'd never before seen:  The Scarecrow had superpowers now?  Lois Lane and Clark Kent got married?  There were super-powered house cats reducing enemies to a cinder?

There will never be a time when this will not be awesome.
Prior to the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo, my world of comic reading had been confined to various Batman trade paperbacks, because that's what the library had and that was what interested me.  I'd grown up with Batman and Superman - and later on, Smallville - on TV each day after school, and Christopher Nolan rekindled my love of the Caped Crusader with Batman Begins and The Dark Knight.  I'd only caught a few episodes of Justice League growing up, and it wasn't until 2010 that Linkara's comic reviews and the Green Lantern-based crossover event Blackest Night caught my eye and I really began to think about other heroes and the attraction they may hold for me.

I began to expand my horizons, picking up collections of the Green Lanterns' War of Light, All-Star Superman, and even reading through years of Wonder Woman's Golden Age wacky adventures.  I started to catch up on all the episodes of Justice League and found myself loving J'onn and Wally West. But despite my growing interest in characters that weren't Bruce Wayne and/or fighting Bruce Wayne, I still only picked up a handful of current comic books.

I'm not great at beginning stories in the middle.  I tried jumping into Wonder Woman and Gotham City Sirens, but with Wondie halfway through a battle with a villain I'd never heard of in the middle of a new continuity I wasn't familiar with, and Poison Ivy and Catwoman reaching the end of a fight that I hadn't seen the start of, I found it hard to connect.  I began to wonder if monthly comics just weren't a medium I enjoyed. 

I turned to Internet communities to try and find good points to jump on, but I was afraid to speak up in the majority of those spaces.  Many DC fans I happened upon were similar to Star Wars fans, in that it seemed a major part of the fan experience was based in hating what the company had been putting out for the past several years.  A large amount of ire seemed directed at Blackest Night in particular, the event that had sparked my interest in comics in the first place.  I felt like a poser, and psyched myself out of trying to connect.  These were real fans, after all: they knew the decades of continuity I was sorely lacking on, despite the best education Wikipedia could provide, and they knew far better than I what made a good comic.

It was through these communities that I learned about DC's upcoming relaunch as well, and what I learned was that it would be awful.  They were doing away with decades of character development, removing DC's disabled icon while claiming the new books would be more diverse, and they were utterly failing to attract interest from anyone outside the pre-established community in their marketing.  I cringed along with these sites as each new development was released, and even though I planned to use the relaunch as my jumping on point, I was convinced it was going to be a train wreck, because everyone I saw who actually knew anything about comics was totally disgusted.

August rolled around, and I chose my selections with all the randomness of a person who doesn't know much about comics presented with fifty-two brand new titles.  "Well, I like Batman, so Batman and Detective Comics and Batgirl and Batwoman.  And I like Harley Quinn, so Suicide Squad.  Etrigan was funny in that episode of Justice League, so I'll get Demon Knights, and I want to know how they can make a comic about a group of people who don't speak, so I'll check out Red Lanterns.  And I like Wonder Woman, and I like girls kicking ass, so I'll grab Supergirl because I like her new outfit and Birds of Prey because I like Poison Ivy."  Internally, a part of me cringed at my thought process, realizing how ditzy and clueless I sounded.  What sort of comic fan was I?  How did I expect to walk around a convention dressed as Wondie when I was so clueless about not only Wonder Woman, but current comics in general?

And then DC's new heroine Starling came literally crashing into Birds of Prey, smashing an antique car into a church, guns blazing.

"I mean, where do you even begin to confess a sin like this?"

Holy awesomeness, Starling.  From the tattoo sleeve to dual-wielding pistols, everything about this girl screamed "badass" from her introductory panel on.  A master strategist and fighter, Starling can not only save the day while delivering a top notch one-liner, but she can do the whole thing with a smile on her face.  What wasn't there to love?  She's a brand new character, adding fresh blood and new storytelling potential, and she's a lady who truly loves her line of work.  And, as issue five revealed, either gay or bisexual, making her not only awesome, but a part of DC's promised diversity.

Starling joins Batwoman, the Question, Voodoo, Bunker, Apollo, and Midnighter as one of DC's LGBT characters.
Well, as the Internet communities I'd found would have it, there was a lot not to love about Starling.  Birds of Prey, particularly under the writing of Gail Simone, was a title that many readers viewed as the cream of the crop before the relaunch.  Now the perfect team-up of Black Canary, Oracle, and Huntress had been splintered for a new team, and here DC was pushing yet another new white-skinned, blue-eyed heroine on us.  Not only that, but the praise other characters heaped on Starling and her snarky, kick-ass ways had branded her in the eyes of many as the worst possible type of female character: the black hole of perfection known as a Mary Sue.  Starling was yet another sign that DC Comics had jumped the shark, and we were all better off going exclusively Marvel.

Starling's reception was the final straw that made me realize these communities were far from the end-all, be-all of comics.  Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of legitimate points of contention with the DC relaunch, and even as a casual comics fan, I still had objections: Why did DC's badass overweight Amanda Waller have to be redesigned as a thin, conventionally attractive woman?  Why did they have to do away with Clark and Lois's marriage and child?  Why did Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown disappear from continuity before I could get to know them (and that's without going into the minefield that was the choice to restore Barbara Gordon as Batgirl)?  I certainly don't want to dismiss all who find fault with the relaunch as whiners or downplay all of their concerns.

But with that said, it was the relaunch - and Starling in particular - opened my eyes to the type of comics fan who only wants their preferred characters acting in their preferred story arcs, even if that means rehashing the same developments over and over again.  The type of fan who would scorn any type of change and often use the banners of diversity as their flagship to do so.  And many of the people that I had encountered in those communities were that model of DC fan, the sort who demanded the status quo be upheld and viewed anything else as ruined forever, as if DC was preventing the sale and reading of the pre-relaunch comics.

Picture unrelated.

DC Comics is far from perfect.  Examples of sexism, racism, homophobia, and ableism can still be found in their issues.  But the relaunch has taken steps to introduce more characters of color and those with orientations apart from heterosexual, as well as to introduce new blood and team ups.  I appreciate the steps that they've taken, and more than anything, I appreciate that the relaunch taught me not to let myself be intimidated out of the community by fans who love to hate all new output, and that it gave me awesome people like Starling - seriously, how can you not enjoy someone who refers to Poison Ivy as "Crazy Salad Lady"? - to enjoy while doing so.

Glad to have helped.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

I Want My Hat Back

I'm lazy and can't think of anything in particular to write about today, so have this video I made for my Children's Literature class instead:

Saturday, February 11, 2012

I Can't Ride in Your Little Queer Wagon

Note: I have added a comment policy and a Resources page to this blog.  Please read them if you would like to comment or if you are confused by the references or this or any other post.

I'm through with playing nice.

If you're thinking "Nice?  Your last two posts were condescending rants," then you would be correct.  And they were written as such because I'm no longer going to tiptoe around causing offense in stating my views on my personal blog.  People willing to erase a pop star's sexual identity or willing to invalidate asexuality during prime time are people I find deserving of condescension.

I've seen asexual communities caution their members to be nice.  To cheerfully educate anyone belittling their identity and to provide the bare basics of asexuality over and over again.  That education is something they should feel obligated to provide, rather than telling others to do their own Googling.  That they should view offensive statements about their orientation as a teachable moment.  That the focus should be on education, rather than addressing the invisibility that asexuals face.

And I'm sick of hearing that my community should cater to others.

One of my goals in starting this blog was to discuss the problems that the asexual community faces.  To state my views and to pass them along.  But you'll notice that my first post about asexuality was in February, five months after I set up the blog.   That wasn't because I had nothing to say regarding asexuality, or regarding sexuality as a whole.

I haven't spoken up because I've been afraid.

In December, around the time when I was coming out of a months-long depression and finally feeling emotionally up to the task of posting about the things that mattered to me, I found myself thrown into a debate about whether or not asexuals could consider themselves part of the queer community.

And I was told, in a feminist space, no less, that by considering myself queer, I was a thief.  I was co-opting an identity that wasn't mine to claim, and I was belittling the struggles of the real queers by daring to consider that I could stand under their umbrella.  Asexuals do not face discrimination, and have not been oppressed throughout history.  I was not allowed to define my own identity, because my orientation didn't count.  I was damaging the community through my attempts to take over and forbid real queers from sexually expressing themselves.  Queer communities had nothing to offer asexuals in the first place, because even though they dealt with gay, bi, poly, pan, trans, genderqueer, and gender fluid issues, no one could relate to the asexuals.

I was even told by a poster who didn't agree that asexuals should be barred from the queer label, that I was claiming, by suggesting people unwilling to fornicate and marry may not have had the best time throughout all of history, that asexuals have faced that same oppression and discrimination that the LGBT has.  I was told I could go fuck myself, though later that was thoughtfully changed to "fuck off."

I tried to post my beliefs calmly but firmly.  I tried to keep my end of the debate civil.  But in the end, I had not only failed to change other's opinions, but I was also in tears and too disturbed by the experience to return to the site for a month.  It was only two posters, but as they say, one bad apple spoils the bunch.  I didn't realize at the time that my experience was only a tiny facet of an ongoing debate in Internet communities.  I didn't realize how large the group that wanted to exclude asexuals was.

For those who are not a part of the queer community or who have not heard of this debate, let me summarize.  The queer community is made up of minorities that are not heterosexual, heteronormative (lifestyle norms that hold that people fall into distinct and complementary genders [man and woman] with natural roles in life), or gender-binary.  Those in the queer community fight for rights and understanding for these minority groups.

Asexuals are people who do not experience sexual attraction but may experience romantic attraction.  Asexuals who experience romantic attraction to members of the same sex are considered homoromantic, and asexuals who experience romantic attraction to both men and women are biromantic, for example.

There is little to no debate about homoromantic, biromantic, or panromantic asexuals identifying as queer.  The point of contention is the identity of heteroromantic (romantically attracted to the opposite sex) or aromantic (experiencing no romantic attraction at all) asexuals.

There are queers who contend that, as "queer" is a reclaimed slur used against oppressed groups, chiefly gays, bisexuals, and transgender persons, it does not apply to asexuals.  It is the queer romantic attractions that identify bi/pan/homoromantic asexuals as a part of the queer community.  In this argument, heteroromantic asexuals are straight, and aromantic asexuals, while not straight, are not allowed to identify themselves as queer.  If aromantic and heteroromantic asexuals identify as queer, they are co-opting the identity of oppressed minorities.  They are asserting asexual privilege (chiefly, the ability to "pass" as heterosexual in society) to force their way into a group that does not condone their presence and they are harming the queer community and its members.

Let's ignore the fact that the queer community is not a monolith in which everyone agrees on the exact same criteria and everybody passed the membership test, rather than a blanket term for many small groups, each with their own goals and thoughts on what it means to be queer.  Let's ignore that heteroromantic asexuals are not heterosexual, or even heteronormative, as herteronormativity considers heterosexuality as the "normal" orientation.  Let's ignore that asexuals are judged queer or not based on their romantic attraction, when an aromantic person who feels sexual attraction toward members of the opposite sex would most certainly be judged queer or not by sexual attraction.  Let's ignore the fact that any sexual/gender minority can "pass" as straight, provided they don't speak about or act on their orientation.  Let's ignore that no one has given me a clear answer on how considering myself queer for the past six years has harmed the "true" queers.  Let's even ignore the fact that it is impossible for asexual privilege to exist, as the very definition of privilege tells us that the privileged group must have a systematic advantage over others, which asexuals have never had over sexuals.  Instead, let me cut through the bullshit and make my viewpoint clear:

I do not have to justify my identity to anyone.  No one has a right to judge or erase my identity and tell me that they know better than I do where my aromantic asexual ass belongs.

Plain and simple, these people are bullies.  They want to make the queer community an exclusive tree fort, and they're the ones pulling the ladder up before the kids at the bottom can reach.  They claim to be much more tolerant and accepting than heteronormative society, but that tolerance only extends to those whom they deem worthy.  "I'm tolerant, unless you've got the wrong label."  "I'm tolerant, unless you disagree with my methods."  "I'm tolerant, unless you want to be more than an ally."  "I'm tolerant, unless you feel that your group also has valid issues."  They act as if they speak for the entire community and they act as though harassing an invisible minority out of their clubhouse is a brave and noble act.

And the worst part is, their intimidation often succeeds.  I wanted nothing to do with the queer community after the debacle I experienced in December.  I never wanted to raise my voice about my identity ever again, for fear that I would be met with the same devastating,  vicious response.  I didn't want to be branded as a thief and a liar in the eyes of anyone following my writings.  And I never, ever planned to speak about asexuals in the queer community again.

But then I read dozens of asexual blogs while I was compiling my Resources page.  And I saw asexuals who had not only argued against asexual prejudice, but who had held their ground, rather than washing their hands of the mess as I had.  I read their arguments, read their appeals for recognition, not just in the queer community, but in the world itself.  And I decided - I won't deny that a part of my motivation was pure spite - that I wasn't going to bow to the bullies.  They didn't get to dictate who I was, and they didn't get to shame me out of a community that I supported and believed in.

And most of all, they don't get to tell me I'm required to prove myself.

I am not going to argue, here or ever, about why I am a valid member of the queer community.  I will post links to arguments that have been made on the subject at the end of this post, but those are for my friends and allies who are curious.  They are not to prove myself or any of the asexual community.  I am under no obligation to explain myself to anyone.  My identity is not up for debate.

If you are a reader that believes my self-identifying as queer is blasphemous, fine.  You can think I'm a spoiled, privileged princess.  You can think I'm a thief and that I'm damaging the community for the "real" queers.  You can even comment here to tell me about it, but I'm not going to respond, because I don't owe you shit and I don't require your validation.  I'm sorry that we'll never get along, because I probably believe in many of the same causes that are important to you, and we could probably learn a lot from each other, but if the condition of that relationship is that you get to tell me how to identify, then I'd rather lose an ally.  So to those who want to erase my identity, to stuff me into their individual boxes and tell me where I can and I can't go, I have only one thing to say:

I'm here, I'm queer; go fuck yourself.

Unpacking the Notion of Asexual Privilege: A wonderful argument that deconstructs the notion of asexual privilege, and explains why such a thing is not possible.
We're All In This Together: A eloquent post that gave me the "aromantic but heterosexual" example I used in this post, about why policing identities is pointless.
It's Easy to Pass When You're Invisible: Why invisibility is not a privilege.
...But Not for You: Why does one group get sympathy and understanding, but another doesn't?
Debunking that OTHER Sexual Privilege List: Sexuals claimed that if a list of problems the asexual community faces overlapped with anything other than asexuality, it didn't count.  This post explains why that is stupid.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Lady Gaga is the Devil in A Meat Dress. Only Not.

If you are not aware of the controversy that is Lady Gaga and the gay community, the above pictures may illicit nothing more than a "Huh, that was a little passive-aggressive."  Or, if you really don't care, just a "huh."

Well, thank god that the Internet is here to teach you the error of your ways.  What may seem like two simple pictures taken from an interview are actually yet more proof that Lady Gaga is nothing but a poser who exploits the gay community to make money.  Who declares herself Queen of All the Queers and then refuses to answer any criticism regarding her self-imposed role.  This is the final nail in the coffin which proves Gaga is a cold-hearted megalomaniac who is in it for nothing more than the fame and the money.

And luckily, the Internet will also teach you how to respond to such evil!

lol here's straight white ~champion of the gays~to the rescue again -

Yeah!  That bitch, exploiting queers to market herself and - wait, she's bisexual?  Whatever, she's probably just making that up.

I've said it before and I will say it again. Lady Gaga is a fuckin poser. - thetemperamentalgoat

 She's such a poser!  That's why she started a foundation to help young people!  And why she met with the president to speak about preventing bullying!  Because she's a poser!

fuck you fuck you fuck you oh my god fuck off im gonna shit on you lady gaga -
oh wow what a cunt -

she’s such a twat. she doesn’t give a fuck about the gay community she’s a complete fake. -

I feel those last three speak for themselves.

Still, a few jerks on the Internet don't change the facts.  Gaga had the audacity to declare herself mascot and representative of all gays everywhere, and now that she's facing the inevitable backlash, she's trying to make herself into an unappreciated martyr.

Only when has she ever said that she speaks for everyone in the community?  When has she ever called herself a mascot?

Because judging by my Google searches ("Lady Gaga says she represents all gays," "Lady Gaga claims to represent all gays," "Lady Gaga says she speaks for all gays," "Lady Gaga claims to speak for all gays," "Lady Gaga calls herself gay mascot," and "Lady Gaga claims to be gay mascot") and her Wikipedia page, she hasn't.  I've found a lot of groups that dislike Gaga saying that she calls herself a representative/mascot/etc., but I have yet to find a quote from her that makes any such claims.  I mean, you would think a quote like that would get thrown around a lot among her dissenters.  But I can't seem to find one.  Strange.

Is it calling herself "Mother Monster"?  Because that's a nickname that applies to her fanbase, the Little Monsters, who are not all queer and certainly don't make up the entire LGBTQ community.  Is it the goddess story in the video for Born This Way?  Because if her music video storylines are going to be taken literally, doesn't that mean she's also a nun (Alejandro) who was pushed off a balcony by her boyfriend (Paparazzi) before going on a killing spree (Telephone) and then turning into a mermaid (You and I)?  Is it the Lady GayGay T-shirts?  Because it's the Westboro Baptist Church that came up with that phrase.

In my search, I did manage to find an interview with Gaga in which she stated quite clearly [bolding mine]:

I would say that I am just part of the voice, and it is never wrong to speak up in the defense of love, in the defense of unity, in the defense of togetherness.  And, uh, I have always had gay friends and I have been very, very rooted in the gay community since I was young, and I feel a moral obligation to defend my fanbase and to make the world a better place, and if some people don't want to be defined by me as their mother, that's, that's wonderful.  I don't view it in that way.  I view it as me, as part of the generation.  Not as the leader. - Lady Gaga

That interview, incidentally, was the same one from which the images at the top of the page were created.  In fact, it was that very question:

It's funny, the things you learn when you're not taking quotes out of context.

But wait!  She said she has gay friends!  That is exactly the sort of bullshit straight people use to cover their homophobic asses and - wait, she's still bi?  Oh come on, that's totally made up.  It's fine to erase someone's identity if you disagree!*

Now granted, Lady Gaga does have some dumb fans (What celebrity doesn't?) who scream at anyone who dislikes Lady Gaga or her brand of activism about how ungrateful they are and how much Gaga has done for the community, because apparently it's not okay to dislike things that other people like.  But I've yet to see a quote from Gaga demanding that same recognition.

What I have seen is the woman herself say that she is not the leader of the community, and that if people don't want to identify with her, that's fine.  I've seen her start the Born This Way Foundation to help troubled youth and I've seen her appeal to the president to put an end to bullying.  I've seen her encourage constituents to tell their representatives to vote against Don't Ask, Don't Tell.  I've seen her raise an estimated $500,000 for Haiti's reconstruction relief fund, and I've seen her design Japanese Prayer Bracelets and donate the revenue to Japan after the earthquakes.  I've seen her work with MAC Comestics to make Viva Glam Gaga lipstick, the proceeds of which went to MAC's HIV and AIDS campaign (the total on that was over $202 million).  I've seen her encourage safe sex and say that there's no shame in being celibate or a virgin, which, to my asexual self, is a message I greatly appreciate.  I have seen her make impassioned speeches for LGBTQ rights, and while I've never met her personally, those who have tell me that she's incredibly kind.

With that said, I'm not saying she's perfect.  I don't worship at the altar of Godga.  I think she's said and done some things that were stupid ("I - I'm not a feminist - I hail men, I love men.")** or cringe-worthy (the use of "Oriental" and "chola" in Born This Way).  But I do think it's incredibly unfair to criticize her for being annoyed at being asked what is probably the thousandth question about a role that she never put herself in, much as I think it's unfair to accuse her of lying about her sexuality or to claim that she couldn't care less about the groups she advocates for, simply because of disagreements with the way she advocates or markets herself.  And I find it incredibly idiotic to take one sentence out of context and use it to "prove" that she's a terrible person.

Lady Gaga, at least, promotes a message, albeit sometimes clumsily, of being true to yourself and your beliefs no matter what others say.  The detractors' message* seems to be that if you disagree with someone's method of action, it's all right to to twist their words, accuse them of lying, threaten their lives, or erase their identity.  I know which group I'd rather be in.

*I am aware that not everyone against Gaga disregards her identity/threatens her/etc.  But those that do are the ones I've seen reacting the loudest to "Oh here we go," and that's what my post was in reference to.
**In "Schiesse", Gaga refers to herself as a "blonde high-heeled feminist," so it appears her stance on feminism has changed.