Don’t leave mirrors in the forest at ANY time. Or ANY kind of glass. It might not be a tinderbox when you do, but it will be one in summer. THINK, dammit.
And yes, I took it away.
Don’t leave mirrors in the forest at ANY time. Or ANY kind of glass. It might not be a tinderbox when you do, but it will be one in summer. THINK, dammit.
And yes, I took it away.
As explained in a previous post, this year I ran netting across the entire top of the veggie garden, because the raspberries and blueberries had decided to produce fruit at the same time. A great benefit to me in many ways, because it’s made walking around the plot so much easier.
Evidently others have found certain things easier too. Continue reading “the battle continues”
I started my world pool links post, and it started getting awfully long. So I decided to pull the posts relating into last weekend’s massacre in Orlando, Florida, at Pulse Nightclub, into a separate post. I’m a lesbian, and this had an enormous impact on me. I think it deserves to stand alone.
There’s an enormous amount of media attention toward this event. I’m not going to try to post links to everything.
To begin with, a link to a list of the victims, because they’re important. They are real people with real stories, and they died. I post this link knowing that some of those killed or injured may have been outed by the violence done against them.
Rachel Giese: Orlando shooting: Intolerance and anti-gay rhetoric play a role in violence “What did those determined to deny LGBT people rights and dignity imagine would happen? When you gin up hate and fear towards a particular group of people, when you call them deviant and predatory, when you say their relationships are less worthy of respect and protection, it doesn’t exist in isolation. That hate has an impact. It makes violence towards LGBT people much more likely.”
A shorter version of the same message: You weren’t the gunman, but
Miriam Zoila Pérez: When the One Place That Feels Like Home is Invaded “I’m not sure I can explain just how earth shattering in a small slice of a community that is already small, the death of 49, the wounding of 53 more, and the traumatizing of the other 200 at the club will be. Being queer and Latinx in the U.S. sometimes feels like it can be impossible to find our people. And now tragedy has found us.”
Justin Torres: In praise of Latin Night at the Queer Club “Outside, there’s a world that politicizes every aspect of your identity. There are preachers, of multiple faiths, mostly self-identified Christians, condemning you to hell. Outside, they call you an abomination. Outside, there is a news media that acts as if there are two sides to a debate over trans people using public bathrooms. Outside, there is a presidential candidate who has built a platform on erecting a wall between the United States and Mexico — and not only do people believe that crap is possible, they believe it is necessary. Outside, Puerto Rico is still a colony, being allowed to drown in debt, to suffer, without the right to file for bankruptcy, to protect itself. Outside, there are more than 100 bills targeting you, your choices, your people, pending in various states. But inside, it is loud and sexy and on.”
Malinda Lo: In the Club. “As a lesbian adult, that’s what going to queer bars and clubs meant to me. They were spaces where I spoke the language. I was accepted as family. They were places of joy; they were places of freedom. They were crucibles of emotion — pulsing, music-filled rooms where we were encouraged to feel everything. They were spaces full of drama, rooms ripe with possibility. For many people in the gay community, gay clubs are our living rooms and our sanctuaries; they are the places we meet the people we love, and the spaces where we find ourselves.”
Sometimes people don’t know what to do, what to say, until someone gives them a way to do it. Be sure to read the entire post by Kelly Davis Karas.
The erasure of the LGBTQ experience of this event is important. Too many people prefer to ignore that part of it in favour of furthering a particular political agenda of demonizing Muslims. But that focus erases an important part of the crime. It erases the fact that LGBTQ people were specifically targeted. It erases the inherent racism of a crime in which the victims were primarily non-white: a Latin night with primarily Latinx and black victims. It erases the fact that there are Muslim LGBTQ people.
The killer CHOSE to attack a gay nightclub and to do so on that night. This was not random.
“But this isn’t a moment for identity politics, which could muddle the significance of the carnage.” Maybe not to you, asshole.
A particularly egregious example of erasure happened in a Sky News interview. Owen Jones, a Guardian columnist, had evidently been asked to participate in a discussion about the massacre. Partway through the discussion between himself, host Mark Longhurst, and Julia Hartley-Brewer, he unfastened his mic and walked out.
Why did Jones walk out? Well, he explains that for himself (you can find the video here as well, and here’s a post that transcribed what was said), but the reasons were jaw-droppingly clear to me when I watched the video.
When Jones emphasized that this was not random, but an attack on LGBT people, Longhurst said: “It’s something that’s carried out against human beings, isn’t it, no matter what they—let’s just make this point—on the freedom of all people to try and enjoy themselves [as the Paris attacks were].
Jones: You don’t understand this because you’re not gay, okay, so just listen—
Longhurst: Whether I’m gay or not has no reflection—
Hartley-Brewer: I don’t think that you have ownership of horror of this crime.
And then, a little later in the discussion, Hartley-Brewer said: “It’s a hate crime, this is an act of terrorism, it was an attack on gay people, absolutely, it was horrific. However, [my emphasis] my mind guesses this man probably would be as horrified by me as a gobby woman as he would – genuinely, genuinely – this is the thing. We don’t know right now. We can speculate, but we don’t know how much of this is motivated by just his homophobia.”
I swear, I have never seen such nakedly dismissive handwaving of the implications of the choice of a target, such an erasure of reality in the interests of what I have to assume is a desire to fit a political viewpoint and centre straight white people in the narrative.
This is what erasure looks like in action.
And they clearly cannot understand why this is a problem (or don’t want to). Here’s what Julia Hartley-Brewer had to say about it afterwards. I guess she really didn’t like being called on her bullshit or having someone go off-message. It’s a spectacular snapshot of outraged privilege.
Talk about reframing things to centre herself and make herself look better and someone else look worse. Gawd. I could go through it point by point and explain what’s wrong, but really, I’d be dissecting every line and I’m sure it’s all pretty self-evident to everyone but her, so why bother? But I will add a trigger warning for content that is patronizing, self-centring, insulting, abusive, hyperbolic, and generally vituperative and vile. Compare the video clip to her diatribe if you’ve got the stomach for it.
I live a very privileged, safe life too. But this could have happened to me. These things can happen to any of us who identify as LGBTQ. They have always happened, if not on this scale. They still happen, particularly if you are trans and/or non-white (tw misgendering).
“We all share your sorrow! It could have been any of us, because it’s really about Muslims against those who value freedom!” No, it couldn’t. These LGBTQ people died because someone hated them for what they were. That is relevant.
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.
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.
So the Arts Council tweeted a link to a crafts website this week, and I went to take a look: Citizens of Craft. I started reading through their manifesto, and was within seconds hit with WTF?
Because this is not about crafts.
This is about YOU, you wonderful, wonderful person.
This is a MOVEMENT. One aching for your glorious, sparkly participation.
I figured it was either written by a well-meaning person who had taken a short course on Marketing and a longer one on Basic Motivational Speaking, or, more likely, it was some kind of scam (as my partner said on glancing at it, “Let me hide my wallet.”). So I checked to see who was running it.
Well. It’s a government-backed initiative, according to this article:
The push for the movement came after Craft Ontario, in partnership with Canadian Crafts Federation and all provincial and territorial craft councils in Canada, started to become concerned that the ‘craft’ designation was becoming synonymous with large corporations pushing the idea of handmade.
Okay, so… these organizations think that crafts don’t get enough respect (something I couldn’t agree with more). And their solution?
Let me illustrate. Here’s item #2 from the manifesto.
#2: WE VALUE THE UNIQUE AND ENDURING.
As an authentic human being, you appreciate things that don’t scream assembly line.
Translation: I am an authentic human, unlike all you squalling orangutans out there who are do not have the wit to understand that there is something better than a mass-produced plastic copy of the Eiffel Tower. I understand what should truly be appreciated.
So… the problems with this.
Oh, I could go on. But I won’t.
Look, here’s the thing. Everything in the manifesto applies to me. I do some crafty things. I believe in all the principles listed. Crafts are things that should be valued, as far as I’m concerned. But this… document… as it is written isn’t about crafts, it’s about feeling good about yourself. It’s a long time since I’ve read anything that comes across with such an air of smug self-satisfaction.
It didn’t have to be this way: “We value the unique and enduring” could have been “Crafts give us things that are unique and enduring,” for example. That’s a fine thing to base a call for supporting crafts and crafters on. It’s not as personal, no, but this should NOT BE ABOUT ME.
Crafts have a long history of struggling against pompous fine arts elitism, so to some degree I can see where this is coming from; but surely the answer is not reverse elitism. I see that they’re trying to do something positive, but… wow. If this is how they do it, I want nothing to do with this “movement.”
Dear Good Cause,
Just a friendly note to let you know…
That’s when I start deleting every message without reading them.
Because there are differences between using new media technologies to connect people and using them to bombard them.
Because when there’s this many URGENT MESSAGES, the deluge becomes indistinguishable from spam.
Because while these issues are important, there’s more to working for social justice than signing online petitions, and your automated letter and petition signing system seems to me to mostly be a way of making myself feel good about how wonderful I am for caring while providing an excuse for not doing anything more substantive.
Not at all fondly,
A former subscriber
Let me let you in on a secret, Amy. You are not my friend. In fact, I don’t want to know you. Ever. Yet you keep stalking me—calls every day or two. Friendly calls. You just want to be nice to me, right? To give me things? And you’re such a lovely person, really, you must be, you have such a friendly voice.
I don’t want the free cruise to the Bahamas I’ll get if I just “press 1 now.” Just like I didn’t want what you offered me when you said you were working for Telus. Or WestJet. Can’t keep a steady job, I see.
At least the guys telling me my Windows computer (the one I don’t own) is being hacked (and I please need to give them control of it so they can fix the problem) provide me with the opportunity to ask them how their mothers feel about them being a scum-sucking scamming crook, and lay incidental curses on their manhood. But no, you don’t have the courtesy to actually be anything but a recording.
But I can assure you, I will never press 1. Or 9, to be removed from your contact list, for that matter.
Fuck you, Amy.
(There, I feel better now.)
Watching stuff unfold on Twitter and the net over the past couple of weeks has me thinking about boundaries, and how often they are crossed. And how objecting publicly to having your boundaries crossed is seen by so many as crossing a boundary in itself—and a much worse one.
A young writer wrote an article detailing sexual abuse from an editor (she used a pseudonym for him, but a friend responding to her original post named names). Two librarians named a library “rockstar” as a known harasser that women warned each other to be careful of at conventions (now he’s suing for defamation). And a woman named and criticized the person she blames for turning her hotel room at a convention into a party room without her knowledge or permission.
In each of these cases, someone has called out someone else for behaving badly. The type of bad behaviour is wildly variable, and reactions to it (of people not directly involved) also vary, from seeing the behaviour as potentially criminal to seeing it as relatively innocuous (if tacky). But they also have two things in common: the original actions of the person being called out cross someone’s boundaries and a significant negative reaction has followed the calling out.
Negative responses vary in their approach and details, but many share a common thread: it’s unfair and unjust to name the accused. The reasons given for this position vary, but that’s the bottom line.
There are many other important issues at play here, but that’s one thing that struck me about all this: the commonality of this belief. It’s universal. Even when there seems to be no real issue of protecting the accused against having their life ruined by (for example) losing their job and becoming a complete social pariah (which is certainly possible for some kinds of issues), there seems to be this belief that people accused of bad behaviour should never be publicly named.
Why is naming names regarded by so many people as a worse offence than the behaviour of the person being named? Why is crossing someone’s boundaries seen as a lesser offence than calling out a boundary-crosser, no matter whether the offence is criminal or social? Why is this true for such a wide range of behaviours?
Why is this reaction so goddamned reflexive?
Yesterday someone I follow on Twitter retweeted a link to a Cosmopolitan article. A young journalist had sent a photo of herself, with no makeup, to a bunch of Photoshoppers and asked them to “make me look beautiful.” If they weren’t sure what she meant, she said that they should “make her look like “a woman in one of their country’s fashion magazines.” (I could challenge the assumptions that fashion = beauty and requires makeup, but never mind, it was given as a reference point for the project and such a challenge is a whole ‘nother post.)
This article collects the initial results of her project.
And those results are quite interesting. As the article points out, most included light skin and blue or green eyes, showing “how euro-centric beauty ideals are around the world.” But apart from that, there are some interesting variations and flavours in regional ideas of beauty. Germany seems very avant-garde, for example. Images from some countries look more “natural” than others.
Most Photoshoppers focused on applying digital makeup and removing perceived imperfections (what is seen as an imperfection is interesting in itself). But the ones that stood out to me were the ones from the Philippines and the US, which went further than that. Okay, changing the hair is something that could go along with using makeup. But in the left-hand image from the US, the artist even changed the facial proportions. The result is that she is completely unrecognizable and looks like she’s about fourteen instead of twenty-four.
Make me look beautiful, she said. This may look like someone in a fashion magazine, but it’s no longer her. What does that say about ideals of beauty?