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?
I swear this is going to shorten my life.
This morning I spent 4 hours on marking students. I saved periodically as I went. These were just notes, no formatting other than bolding names for clarity and colouring a couple of bits of text I wanted to remember to update.
When I finished writing my marking notes, I saved the file. Then I reorganized them into alphabetical order. Then just to be on the safe side, I did a “save as” with a new file name.
What did Word do?
It took all the text and randomly rearranged it.
It converted approximately a third of the text into Chinese, again, randomly.
It converted another third into the squares that represent characters not available in a font.
It refused to undo.
It refused to allow me to open the original file—it apparently thought that the two files were the same file.
After the instantaneous meltdown that this caused in my brain, I tried to open the file in TextEdit. To my great relief, TextEdit had no problems, all was as it should be—unlike Word, TextEdit is a program that actually works properly.
I rebooted Word and got my files back, as they should be. But I’m not particularly soothed by this recovery, because this encounter with disaster is consistent with my experience with Word for decades. If it was a one-off I’d cut it some slack, but Word’s general level of fuckup (this is a program that can’t cope if I ask it to do tasks too quickly) is higher than that of any software I’ve ever encountered.
I am beyond the usual epithets. Seriously. Have you ever heard of such a pathetic excuse for a program as this?
Focus groups didn’t like that. So the Bank of Canada changed it.
Some believe that it presents a stereotype of Asians excelling in technology and/or the sciences…
Okay, there certainly is a stereotype. The use of an Asian woman in this context and whether it is appropriate can be argued about, but I’m not going to do it here. So let’s move on.
From the consultants report:
Others feel that an Asian should not be the only ethnicity represented on the banknotes. Other ethnicities should also be shown.
Well, gee. There’s a great big picture of Prime Minister Robert Borden repeated all over the note, including right next to the woman. And you know what? It may come as a huge shock, but… He wasn’t Asian!
And then there was this quote from someone from a focus group:
The person on it appears to be of Asian descent, which doesn’t represent Canada.
Funny, I thought Canada was supposed to be multicultural. Guess not when it comes to being a real Canadian—only Caucasians need apply.
Here’s the thing that really got me, though. It’s the Bank of Canada’s approach to the whole thing, which exhibits a jaw-dropping level of cluelessness.
Um… why were they using focus groups? Focus groups are used in advertising and marketing to get consumer responses to products and advertising—focus groups test ideas and compare them. One reason is to ensure that there isn’t any content that might offend people.
(Well, that reasoning worked out well for the Bank of Canada, didn’t it?)
Another reason is to determine the level of effectiveness of advertising, so that the communication materials used are the ones that are best at motivating people to take whatever action the advertiser wants them to take. This makes sense when even small differences in response can translate into substantial differences in financial returns—you want to ensure that you generate and retain as many customers as possible, and avoid losing them to competitors.
So… who exactly is the Bank of Canada’s competition? If people don’t like a picture of an Asian woman on the hundred dollar bill, what—they’re going to refuse to use them? They’re going to go use some other country’s currency?
Why focus groups for bank notes, fergawdsakes?
In an email (to the CBC, I assume) the Bank of Canada explained that its policy is “to avoid depicting any particular ethnic group when including people as representative images of a theme on a bank note,” and so the image was replaced by (quoting the CBC) “what a spokesman called a ‘neutral ethnicity.’”
A Caucasian person, in other words.
Earth to Bank of Canada? “Caucasian” is a racial group. Using an image of someone from a traditionally dominant racial group is NOT being ethnically neutral, just oblivious to reality. Is it possible for someone living in the 21st Century to be this clueless?
This whole focus-group process seems entirely bogus to me in this context. All touchy-feely-involving-everyone-consultation—but only on the surface. No real acknowledgement of diversity.
It astonishes me that the Bank could lack understanding to the level of (a) not noticing that Caucasian = ethnic and (b) not realizing that removing a different ethnic representation could be just as offensive to many people as including it.
Congratulations, Bank, you’ve just made the top levels of The Stoopidz.
I nurse a long-term grudge against Microsoft Word. It’s a program that I’ve loved to hate for a lot of years. Why? Too many reasons to go into, but they mostly come down to it the makers taking a perfectly decent word processing program and turning it into a bloated monstrosity that does almost everything badly and in complex instead of simple ways.
So I’ve refused to upgrade it. Until a week ago, I’ve staggered along with Word 2000. But because the technology has changed a lot over the last 12 years this started to become problematic, so I finally bit the bullet and upgraded to the most recent version of Office.
Today I’ve been editing a document. It’s very simple, nothing but plain text with bold or italic styles and some bullets. And the program has crashed, twice, resulting in me having to redo sections, because I asked it to do the oh-so-complex task of copying and pasting a block of text.
It’s so comforting to know that Word is still a piece of crap.
I’ve never been thin, not once in my whole life. But for many years I was a reasonable size and shape—stocky, some might call it, perhaps pleasantly plump. A size 14, mostly. I did whitewater canoeing seriously for a quite a few years at a solid intermediate level, which built muscles that knocked up my shirt size and kept me strong. For a few years I ran distances, not fast, but steadily, and again, it kept me fit.
Many, many (many!) years ago, so long I forget quite when, I was a high school student, and one of the teachers donated his car to a Paint-In. I think it might have been when I was in Grade 9, which would put it at the very tail end of the 60s. I can’t remember if the Paint-In was just a Happening (Something-Ins were common at the time) or whether this was actually to raise money for grad or a good cause or something.
In any case, the idea was that students would be able to get a can of paint and a brush and paint whatever they liked on the truck. (It was an old beater, we’re not talking shiny new chrome here.) Mr. Cresswell would drive the truck around for the rest of the year. (And he did.)
I asked a friend if she remembered this event (she did) and she commented that she thought Mr. Cresswell was expecting a truck that looked like it had been painted by Peter Max, and I think so too. But that wasn’t what he got. Continue reading “Mr. Cresswell’s truck”
Yesterday I visited a moss meadow that I know well—a wet vegetative blanket over sandstone, an intricate web of moss, flowers, tiny delights—and discovered that someone had driven a truck through the land and done donuts in the meadow, just for fun.
The moss, all the spring wildflowers, are torn up, sheets flung back to reveal the bare rock underneath.
Delicate plants are crushed into black mud.
I don’t know how long it takes a meadow like this to recover from such treatment, but I know that the scars will be there for years, not months.
And all for a few seconds of hooting and hollering. Nature creates glory, but all it takes to destroy is a little human ignorance and self regard—it’s easy. Anyone can do it. Too bad so many seem dedicated to it.
Let me start by saying that I am going to vote in the upcoming federal election. I believe that living in a democracy means that you have a responsibility to vote.
But I won’t be listening to the politicians before I vote. No, I will be turning off the radio, changing the TV station, throwing newspapers pages in the trash and ignoring social media any time a politician speaks. And I mean every politician from every party*. I may be prepared to vote for one of them, but I won’t listen to any of them.
I am sick and tired of politicians. Continue reading “Please god, make them stop”
Just out on ferry fares, David Hahn is upping the ante in the pissing match with the BC Government.
Ferry fares may be heading for a big increase unless the provincial government provides BC Ferries with a bigger subsidy.
Over the next four years, fare increases on major routes will go up 20 per cent and double on smaller routes, according to a plan submitted by the ferry corporation.
(Is anyone else getting tired of watching boys wave their wee appendages around? After the Nanaimo taxi and Greyhound fiascos, and now this, I sure am.)
I have resisted getting a Facebook account for a long time, for a variety of reasons. And every once in a while I think, “Oh, maybe I should reconsider…”
But the trouble is, I find it hard to convince myself to use any company run by someone who thinks that his customers are “dumb fucks” for trusting him. Yeah, the comment was a youthful indiscretion and a stupid mistake, and I’ll just bet he regrets putting those words in a form that can be found and reproduced.
But has anything changed? Facebook keeps putting their foot in it and then instead of wiping, doing a little dance to smear it around. Every time I think about reconsidering, the next thing I hear is a news story that convinces me that nothing’s changed. Facebook, over and over, demonstrates that at heart it’s in it for the megabucks they can make off the things people do and share online, an not much else.
Thanks, but no thanks.