This is why we can’t have nice things.

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Well.

Today I went to check out Gabriolan.ca, and found this:

I’ve shut down Gabriolan.ca.

It seems that this is necessary in order to maintain my privacy. I’m sad about that, but some people don’t accept or respect the fact that there are good reasons for wanting to be anonymous on the internet.

I’ve enjoyed the chance to share things with you over the last seven years. The articles, photos, and comments you contributed were a gift to me and to everybody who stopped by to read the site.

… Best wishes to all of you. To the kind and respectful readers: thank you for enriching my life.

-Gabriolan

I am beyond furious about this. This was a great site, I found so much of interest there; it was one of very few blogs I read regularly.

And it’s been shut down because of concerns for privacy. And for me this is a hot-button issue.

Here’s the thing: there are a lot of good reasons to be private on the internet, i.e. keeping your identity and/or personal information private. Here are two (of countless) recent examples of what happens to people who are not anonymous and who annoyed someone on the internet.

And this kind of harassment—let’s call it stalking, because that’s what much of it is—has been going on for MONTHS.

For some people it has been going on for years.

And yes, most of it might “just” be assholes behaving like assholes (and why is that okay anyway? why is it somehow okay to be an aggressive asshole if you are pointing your assholery at someone who is anonymous?). But the point is that the recipient DOESN’T KNOW what’s a creditable threat and what isn’t. (Does the name Elliot Rodger ring a bell?) Consider this: A redditor succinctly breaks down the fear behind “credible threats” with regards to safety precautions/leaving home. This is the reality of the experience of online harassment for many people, and not just people who are prominent and well known.

But here’s my main point: why the hell should someone else get to decide whether your concerns are realistic or not, and make the choice of whether you should be anonymous or not?

My opinion? You don’t get to choose for someone else.

Gabriolan is a private citizen, expressing their views on matters affecting their community and way of life. Private citizens get to remain private if they so wish, for any reason or none at all. No one gets to make the decision of how private we should be for me, for you, for Gabriolan, or for that matter anyone anywhere. They don’t get to decide for any of us what we wear to market, or what locks we do or don’t put on our doors (virtual or otherwise). They don’t get to decide what name I put on my driver’s license, for that matter, much less what name I hang on my website. If they are not comfortable with the names we’ve chosen to use within the spheres in which we move, their (honest and civil) options are limited to ‘sucking it up’ and ‘sucking it up harder’. (They could also grouse and whine, but that’s merely being petty and human, rather than grossly self-centred and reckless.)

“Outing” someone in any way—making public any information about them that they have chosen to keep private—is not “honesty.” It is solely an act of aggression. It is punishment. It is someone admitting they cannot counter another’s views or position using reasoned argument, and therefore they will silence them using whatever underhanded weapons they can bring to bear. It’s flipping the gameboard and setting fire to the pieces because you can’t stand the idea of others disagreeing with you.

There is nothing to stop anyone with engaging with ideas and opinions from an anonymous source. (If someone won’t allow you to do so using their personal platform, there’s nothing to stop you from creating your own platform and arguing from that.) Ideas and opinions require neither identity nor anonymity; they stand on their own. Insisting that people do not have the right to be anonymous is not an argument with the substance of their ideas; it is the opposite. It is in fact detached from the substance of the ideas, and a red herring. It is bullying.

And that claim I have seen so often, that anonymity is the refuge of cowards? Applying it to everyone, without knowledge of individual circumstances or context, is the height of privileged arrogance and entitlement. And given what’s in the news about online harassment these days, I think it would be very, very difficult to make that claim without being disingenuous in the extreme.

From the world Pool: May 15, 2015

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Very short this week.

Quote of the week

Twitter is for ruining relationships with people you don’t know, and Facebook is for ruining relationships with people you do know

Elizabeth S. Bruenig (via Kameron Hurley @KameronHurley)

Just for fun

A Twitter post by @rcloenenruiz) sent me to a video of the duo Ibeyi, French-Cuban twin sisters who are the daughters of Angá Diaz of the Buena Vista Social Club. First I found the vid Mama Says (you can find notes on the lyrics here), and then I discovered Oya. All I can say about either is… wow.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why I’ll always love @Twitter”  (via @mcahogarth)

When you sneeze in front of your pet and they look at you like you’ve just offended their great ancestors.

From the world pool: May 8, 2015

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A bit short as this week another part of my back decided to self-destruct, so sitting at a computer is iffy.

Socio-political commentary

Amy K. Nelson tweet: “One female gang member I profiled for @ReadMatter left me vm crying saying 1st time they’ve been treated as humans.” “We Ain’t Choosing No Sides; We Just Choosing Our Side” The gangs of Baltimore believe they can do a better job policing their community than the police. (via @iSmashFizzle)

You’re still nothing until you’re a mom: Why does pop culture hate the child-free? “There are pressures for men and women, but it’s still particularly bad for females. As Marisa Tomei said: “I don’t know why women need to have children to be seen as complete human beings.” That’s the part that really gets to me. And that’s what rubs me the wrong way with Baumbach’s movie. The idea that we’re all (but especially females) just frivolous people who are wasting our lives away until we add to the world’s population isn’t just wrong—it’s offensive.”(via @iSmashFizzle)

Geeking Out

The geekery of slang: Why Is It That You “Can’t Even” But You Never Find That You “Can Even”? (via @mcahogarth)

Just cool

About time! Empathy Cards For Serious Illness.  (via Kameron Hurley @KameronHurley)

The Best of Laurie Anderson (on Youtube). Now must go play all my albums…
(via @curiousoctopus)

Just for fun

There’s an advertising campaign called Are You Beach Body Ready? from a weight loss company that has been attracting a lot of flak recently for body shaming, and generated parody ads as well under the #beachbodyready hashtag. This is one of the funniest responses I’ve seen.  (via @UrsulaV)

So there’s a tv show I’ve never watched, called Supernatural, that after 10 years has a very engaged and vibrant fandom; someone I follow on Twitter is part of that fandom, which is how I found out that a lot of fans are upset by this week’s episode. [SPOILER ALERT! in the unlikely case that someone who cares hasn’t already heard] The reason: one of the recurring characters, a queer woman played by Felicia Day, was fridged in the service of man-angst. Even outside the fans who love the character, not everyone thinks this was a good move. One of the stars of the show actually said: “… there’s an episode towards the end of the season when we make a sacrifice that i was thinking, ‘how are our characters okay with this? This is terrible, what we’re doing. This is disgusting’ we’re making some serious compromises in order to rescue dean.

Fridging. Sigh. I hope they bring her back somehow.

But… and this is why I’ve put this under the Just For Fun section, and not Socio-political, where it also could fit… my reading up on this pointed me to a lovely short clip from an earlier ep, showing Felicia Day as Charlie. If this doesn’t cheer you up I don’t know what would. Go full screen and turn up the volume.

From the world pool: May 1, 2015

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Happy May Day and Happy International Workers’ Day!

Socio-political commentary

Feminism

In this case the caption CANNOT UNSEE is a happy one. (via @evilrooster)

Randi Harper: “It’s just the internet.”  (via @scalzi)

Game of Fear: “What if a stalker had an army? Zoe Quinn’s ex-boyfriend was obsessed with destroying her reputation—and thousands of online strangers were eager to help.” (via @scalzi)

Racism

When ambiguity works either way: “Teachers/profs, here’s your next real-world classroom example of the importance of pronoun-antecedent clarity.”  (via @mchris4duke)

Rebecca Solnit: “Dear other white people, this is about Baltimore. When you demand that a person of color explain or justify the situation to you, you are asking them to work for you for free. …The work of explaining has already been done. It’s our job to engage with it, not theirs to keep doing over again.”  (via @Quinnae_Moon)

Christine Slocum: White People Do Not Understand Racism. “…racism is not simply the result of prejudice. It is an enduring institution that separates society through a centrifuge of differential access to opportunities. Racism exists beyond individual prejudices; it exists in the foundation of everything we consider acceptable and laudable.”  (via @tressiemcphd)

Just… wow. David Simon on Baltimore’s Anguish: Freddy Gray, the drug war, and the decline of “real policing.”  (via @evilrooster)

And…

Shut up and take my money! A tale of a poor gamer. The classism of definitions of “gamer.” “Of course I realize it was escapism from the harsh reality of my world, but is that really so bad, escaping that for a little while? When people realized I was homeless and had a laptop, they would sneer at me. $60 they would then turn around and pay for a game with a fee-structure attached to it. And I was a horrible person for keeping my laptop.” (via @Quinnae_Moon)

Art + Design

After Three Decades of Obscurity, Helvetica’s Successor Reemerges (via @curiousoctopus)

Advice from a Badass: How to make users awesome. “In her book, Sierra establishes why helping users become awesome can directly lead to the success of a product or service and and then builds a model with the reader to achieve this. I think it’s an exceptional book that wisely advises how to address the emotional and behavioural setbacks to learning new things without having to resort to bribery or gamification, neither of which work after the novelty wears off. The language of the book is informal but the research behind the words is formidable.”

Thought-provoking

David Whyte: “All friendships of any length are based on a continued, mutual forgiveness.” Looks like an interesting book. (via @brainpicker)

The Cost of Paying Attention. “Attention is a resource; a person has only so much of it. And yet we’ve auctioned off more and more of our public space to private commercial interests, with their constant demands on us to look at the products on display or simply absorb some bit of corporate messaging. Lately, our self-appointed disrupters have opened up a new frontier of capitalism, complete with its own frontier ethic: to boldly dig up and monetize every bit of private head space by appropriating our collective attention. In the process, we’ve sacrificed silence — the condition of not being addressed. And just as clean air makes it possible to breathe, silence makes it possible to think.”  (via @KameronHurley)

Quote of the week

“The gold in you does not rust.”

Mahmoud Darwish (via @dynamicsymmetry)

Just cool

This Couple Moved Off The Grid And Built A Self-Sustaining Floating Island (and not so far away from us, either)  (via @mcahogarth)

Just for fun

Oh. My. God. Last F**kable Day. *Falling over laughing* Definitely NOT Safe For Work. (via @ChrisBoese)

5 Mètres 80: An Absurd Animation Depicting a Herd of Giraffes Leaping Off a High Dive by Nicolas Deveaux

When you sneeze in front of your pet and they look at you like you’ve just offended their great ancestors.

Ribbet

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treefrog

In our yard we have one of those insta-garage/shed structures that are essentially tarps formed to fit over a metal frame*; we store our bicycles in it, along with other sundries such as half a bale of hay. This little friend appears to be living there and was sunning itself in the entrance yesterday.

*It has a roll-up door that we mostly keep rolled up and tied out of the way; in frog season unrolling it can produce interesting consequences.

From the world pool: April 24, 2015

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It’s not a long list today, as I posted the last one just a few days ago.

Also, I realize I’ve been posting lists and not much else; not sure what that is. Certainly I’ve been taking photos. Memo to self: put the damn things online, okay?

Socio-political commentary

Words for cutting: why we need to stop abusing “the tone argument”. “Outrage has a valuable place; it is the natural reaction to injustice, to a severe moral breach that must offend every nerve ending of one’s sensibilities. To look at our world at present there’s much to be angry about, and there’s some wisdom to the idea that outrage is better than a placid acceptance of our present condition, better than becoming desensitized to the cavalcade of moral crimes that litter the daily newspapers. But like any emotion or tool, there are right and wrong ways to deploy it, and when we uncritically suggest that all rage is valid so long as it is expressed by activists we thereby foreclose all strategic discussion of the utility of rage.”

WFT? Some days I hate humanity. Quebec girl told to stop reading book by school bus driver. “Sarah Auger, 8, enjoyed reading to and from school, until the bus driver said it was dangerous.”

Diversity matters: Being mixed race.

Who cares about the vulnerable when there’s a fight to manufacture?

This, EXACTLY THIS, is why we can’t have nice things.”  (via Tressie McMillan Cottom @tressiemcphd)

Kameron Hurley: Hijacking the Hugo Awards Won’t Stifle Diversity in Science Fiction

Art + Design

Safety banana! (via Natalie Luhrs @eilatan)

Geeking Out

Losing Count: “Eeny, meeny, miny, mo” and the ambiguous history of counting-out rhymes. (via @KameronHurley)

On Writing

We Were Always Here: Exploring one hundred years of women in science fiction and fantasy literature.  (via @rcloenenruiz)

Authors Alliance: Keeping Your Books Available. “(A) guide that arms authors with the information and strategies they need to revive their books.”

Quote of the week

You guys know about vampires? … You know, vampires have no reflections in a mirror? There’s this idea that monsters don’t have reflections in a mirror. And what I’ve always thought isn’t that monsters don’t have reflections in a mirror. It’s that if you want to make a human being into a monster, deny them, at the cultural level, any reflection of themselves. And growing up, I felt like a monster in some ways. I didn’t see myself reflected at all. I was like, “Yo, is something wrong with me? That the whole society seems to think that people like me don’t exist?” And part of what inspired me, was this deep desire that before I died, I would make a couple of mirrors. That I would make some mirrors so that kids like me might see themselves reflected back and might not feel so monstrous for it.

—Junot Diaz, via the “Diversity Matters” article cited above

Just cool

Historic photo: Restaurant de la Réserve, Nice, France, c. 1900. / (via @mcahogarth)

View from the ISS at night. (via @Quinnae_Moon

Just for fun

Introducing the Waterstones Watch.

Performance of Bach’s Prelude No. 1 Using Only Boomwhackers. (via @evilrooster)

Without doubt, the greatest chew toy ever invented.”

This bird keeps itself in the air by sheer force of anger alone.” (via @mcahogarth)

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