Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Welcome to Diverging Analysis

Hello internet,

Welcome to Diverging Analysis, a cultural analysis site run by two girls with a penchant for overthinking. Our goal is to create an open and welcoming community for readers with diverse perspectives who are looking to have a lively, civil discussion.

So who are we? Well, we're called Cat and Gab for starters. I'm Cat. I'm a recent college graduate living in NYC and I guess I'd characterize myself as a creative academic. While I attended college, I double majored in both Biology and English and I've always been a bit of a split personality. Gemini, you know? Perhaps that's why I resist easy responses to media and social issues. I always seem to be looking for alternate readings and trying to look at things from a different perspective. My perspective is that of a woman of Chinese descent. I've lived in more and less affluent communities with differing ethnic makeups so I'm pretty good at identifying privilege, though it isn't always the perspective I take on an issue. Aside from my academic background, I also have a bit of experience as a film, theater, and book critic and recapper.

We won't be confining ourselves to current pop culture on this blog (I might slip in a Victorian novel once in a while) but I do have my preferences when it comes to the media I consume. I guess you could characterize my interests as more traditionally feminine. I like art and fashion and dabble in watercolor, portraiture, and fashion design. I maintain a beauty and fashion blog when I'm not here. I've always loved writing fiction and one of my dreams is to one day be a published author. My reading tastes are pretty closely allied with my own writing. I like historical fiction, romance, fairytale/fantasy, and young adult. I tend to seek out anything critically acclaimed or with a certain level of cult popularity (it must be popular for a reason, right?) but when left to my own devices, I'll usually look for properties that are similar to the ones I've already described. I like romantic comedies, period pieces, anything inspired by fairytales, and fantasy. Oh, and musicals. Definitely musicals. I grew up participating in a lot of choirs and musical theater productions. I have a fondness for classic Hollywood movies and anything with elaborate costumes. Whether it's books, television or film, I usually prefer stories with a female protagonist (which can make things very difficult, but that's another article). As for music, my tastes are pretty varied. I like Top 40, indie pop, country, classical, and singer-songwriter as a start. I'm drawn to vocal-driven music but I do have more than a few terrible pop songs on my iPod.

I'm Gab, and I'm an activist at heart, so most of my posts will probably have some progressive agenda going on in there somewhere- or the motivation will at least come from that, even if the presentation seems pretty neutral. I don't hate the wealthy or successful, the educated or prosperous- I just hate it when they act like people unlike them are undeserving or Bad, and when they refuse to give any assistance to those in less comfortable circumstances. Lack of empathy is something I absolutely cannot stand, and usually my fire about an issue can be traced to that characteristic in someone. I grew up in Southern California for a bit, then spent the most of my youth  in Las Vegas (it's not as snazzy as you'd think). I went to a small, private, liberal arts college in the southeast corner of Washington and earned a BA in politics (not political science- big difference) with a minor in (ancient) history- I wrote a thesis comparing modern democratic theory and politicians to Stoicism, Utilitarianism, Marcus Aurelius, and John Stewart Mill. While there, I volunteered in a special ed. K-5 room, and got a job full-time in there once I graduated. So I spent the next two years working and living in Washington, falling in love with the state. I'm in Indiana now, working on a Ph.D. in political science from a Big 10 University (I got the M.A. in May 2012). While I'm pretty familiar with critical race and feminist theory, as well as lots of various democratic and American political theory (especially social policy and general policymaking), I'm focusing on disability and identity politics, hoping to become a disability studies scholar- if I finish and stay in academia. Washington keeps calling me back, so who knows...? Key to the perspective I bring to the table: I grew up under lots of axes of marginalization- low-income, first-generation  college student, Native American, siblings with disabilities, and female. That's probably why I'm such an activist in my core- I grew up experiencing lots of discrimination and oppression, so whenever I get a whiff of it elsewhere, I perk up like a hunting dog and address it as best I can.

As for pop culture, well, I dip my toes into lots of stuff. I play video and tabletop games, read comics, watch lots of movies and TV (anything from sci-fi to documentary to horror to crime scene procedural), listen to pretty much any and every kind of music (even Country- GASP!). I play Dungeons and Dragons and Magic: The Gathering, but I'm not into PC gaming- shucks, right? The only reason my roommie and I have cable is to watch The Walking Dead, but I've never seen an episode of Mad Men. Go figure? I love watching, listening to, absorbing pop culture and sifting out the ways it perpetuates or challenge-s current societal discourses, assumptions, practices, etc. I try not to be too jargony (something that gets me in trouble in grad school) so anyone I'm communicating with can understand- otherwise, what's the point?

Cat and I met a couple years ago through this wonderful mechanism enabling you to read this little endeavor of ours- the Internet. We're both fans and followers of a pop culture website called, since it does what we do for fun- overanalyzes pop culture.
But recently we've been feeling like the site doesn't satisfy our analytical needs. There are just certain perspectives and issues that they just don't or won't cover. And so for that reason and others, we decided to strike out on our own and creating a diverging blog. This is a place for the perspectives that diverge from the path. We're diverging from OTI, our academic backgrounds, and our own personal blogs to create something new. We want Diverging Analysis to be a safe space for discussion that we share with you, our readers. We'll bring our perspectives and the benefit of our experiences and academic backgrounds but we're not trying to lecture you. We want to know what you think. Right. Cat and I have already seen how our backgrounds compliment each other, leading to insights that each of us wouldn't have arrived at on our own. My perspective adds to hers until we arrive at a unified thesis that is supported by both of our respective opinions and deductions. And that's what we hope you'll bring as well. Our goal is to reach other people that enjoy popular culture, but who also don't always take it at face value- or who like to recognize the implications of taking pop culture at face value. So, come have a conversation with us. Contemplate. Converse. Overanalyze. Debate. Discuss. We're here to talk and to listen. This blog will have a little bit of everything: movies, television, music, news, games, art, fashion, politics... and likely more. As we've said, we're not interested in limiting ourselves. We're diverging off into a great unknown full of possibilities and we'd be thrilled if you'd join us.

You can email us at and follow us on twitter @DivergeAnalysts