Here you go, neighbour!
The weekly roundup.
Sorry, there’s not a lot of light stuff in today’s post. Continue reading “From the world pool: February 10, 2017”
My gosh, what a week. Long list of links to put up.
The flurry of stuff going on after the election got me all twitchy about political reading and posting, but somehow I haven’t managed to post anything now for a while despite collecting links. And you know what? I think it can get overwhelming. So I’m going to trim it back.
…you might not notice, overall. But I really did. Continue reading “From the world pool: January 13, 2017”
If you go looking for the origins of the phrase, it becomes clear that there is no neat history of political correctness. There have only been campaigns againstsomething called “political correctness”. For 25 years, invoking this vague and ever-shifting enemy has been a favourite tactic of the right. Opposition to political correctness has proved itself a highly effective form of crypto-politics. It transforms the political landscape by acting as if it is not political at all. Trump is the deftest practitioner of this strategy yet. …
PC was a useful invention for the Republican right because it helped the movement to drive a wedge between working-class people and the Democrats who claimed to speak for them. “Political correctness” became a term used to drum into the public imagination the idea that there was a deep divide between the “ordinary people” and the “liberal elite”, who sought to control the speech and thoughts of regular folk. Opposition to political correctness also became a way to rebrand racism in ways that were politically acceptable in the post-civil-rights era.
The truth is that social justice and economic justice are not mutually exclusive. Those who would sacrifice one for the other will end up with neither, which is of course what the unscrupulous narcissists manspreading at the gates of power are counting on.
The news media are not built for someone like this.
Trump’s Tweet Wasn’t a Distraction. It Was the Start of a Precision Assault on Voting Rights.
It is tempting to suppose Trump built this phantasmagoria by accident — that it is the byproduct of an erratic, undisciplined, borderline pathological approach to dishonesty. But the president-elect should not be underestimated. His victories in both the Republican primary and the general election were stunning upsets, and he is now set to alter the course of world history. If he does not fully understand what he is doing, his advisers certainly do.
“We did a human audit of Breitbart and determined there were enough articles and headlines that cross that line, using either coded or overt language.”
Breitbart declares war on Kellogg’s after cereal brand pulls advertising from site (And Kellog’s is just the tip of the iceberg.)
Hacks and Recounts
How to Hack an Election in 7 Minutes: With Russia already meddling in 2016, a ragtag group of obsessive tech experts is warning that stealing the ultimate prize—victory on Nov. 8—would be child’s play.
U.S. election recounts halted by lawsuits in Wisconsin, Michigan Well, well, what a surprise. We’ll see if the lawsuits are allowed…
Know your enemy
You cannot confront a power until you know what it is. Our first task in this struggle is to understand what we face. Only then can we work out what to do.
From the hustle that’s typical of presidential transitions to the bustle of near-daily Twitter wars, there’s a lot of noise coming from Trump Tower. In the midst of such chaos, true accountability seems to have gotten lost.
But accountability has never been more important — because for far too many of us, our very livelihoods are at stake.
That’s why GLAAD today unveiled a resource for news makers and concerned citizens alike — the Trump Accountability Project.The project databases false facts, misleading information, and hateful rhetoric purveyed by Trump and those in his circle, using video, audio recordings, and other source material to track and hold the new administration accountable for its hateful words and actions that target LGBTQ people and other minority communities.
Looking back, Gamergate really only made sense in one way: as an exemplar of what Umberto Eco called “eternal fascism”, a form of extremism he believed could flourish at any point in, in any place – a fascism that would extol traditional values, rally against diversity and cultural critics, believe in the value of action above thought and encourage a distrust of intellectuals or experts – a fascism built on frustration and machismo. The requirement of this formless fascism would – above all else – be to remain in an endless state of conflict, a fight against a foe who must always be portrayed as impossibly strong and laughably weak. This was the methodology of Gamergate, and it now forms the basis of the contemporary far-right movement.
I sense a theme here.
- FBI to gain expanded hacking powers as Senate effort to block fails
- The IP Act: UK’s most extreme surveillance law
- Inside the RCMP’s plan for a ‘new public narrative’ on cyber surveillance
The strange case of Tennie White: Did the EPA Prosecute and Jail a Mississippi Lab Owner Because of Her Activism?
North Dakota pipeline protest garners support from U.S. veterans (I guess the CBC finally got a reporter to Standing Rock after Ed Ou was stopped at the US/Canada border.)
“I bled in Iraq and you’re going to threaten to shoot me on a bridge in North Dakota?”
From the Department of You Can’t Make This Shit Up: Looks like the veterans are really ramping the conflict up, as the Morton Police are careful to tell us: Protestors Harass Female Officers.
“We could see them huddling down like Lindsey had said, and um and you could see that they were taking more time to make the snowballs. They, at least two of them identified themselves as veterans and what’s disappointing to me as a law enforcement officer is we have veterans that are going out and doing stuff like that. That they say that they stand for our country and stand for our flag, but yet they are going out here, they are throwing snowballs, they are cursing vulgar things at female officers.”
The video ends with “Restraint in the Face of Protest.” Ah yes; great restraint has been shown by the police with their use of rubber bullets, concussion grenades, fire hoses in sub-zero temps, and mace. Snowballs are, after all, the great equalizer.
Racism and Black Lives Matter
A little history for those who don’t know about it. One person who says “no” can make a difference. Whistleblower Peter Buxtun and the Tuskegee Syphilis Study
My hopelessness is faith in things yet seen and works yet done. Hopelessness is necessary for the hard work of resisting tyranny and fascism. It is the precondition for sustained social movements because history isn’t a straight line. It is a spinning top that eventually moves forward but also always goes round and round as it does. Those erasers applied post-mortem confuse us to this, blind us to the defeats that will come and ill prepare us for the reality that most of what we believe in will not come to pass in our lifetimes. A transactional hope is anathema to social progress.
I knew this America could elect a President Trump. It is precisely because I always knew it, bone deep, that I worked so hard to stop it.
It’s why the work never stopped.
For some of us it never has.
Time for Liberals to decide if they’re serious about electoral reform I am so angry about this backtracking that I am spitting.
On June 16, 2015, as he announced a broad agenda for political reform, Justin Trudeau declared that his Liberals were “committed to ensuring that the 2015 election will be the last federal election using first-past-the-post.”… A year and a half later, the four Liberal MPs assigned by Trudeau to participate in a study of electoral reform declared it would be a bad idea to keep the prime minister’s promise.
With the approval of the Trans Mountain pipeline and other large oil and gas projects and a carbon tax regime still in its infancy, it appears it will be difficult for Canada to meet its Paris emissions targets. And without an unforseen government intervention to put us back on course, Canada’s Paris climate commitments could go up in smoke.
And just in case you thought Canada was waaayyy different from the US…
“If people choose for their own reasons not to be peaceful, then the government of Canada, through its defence forces, through its police forces, will ensure that people will be kept safe,” he said to applause from the room. “We have a history of peaceful dialogue and dissent in Canada. I’m certainly hopeful that that tradition will continue. If people determine for their own reasons that that’s not the path they want to follow, then we live under the rule of law.”
Of course, there’s always that pesky question of what “peaceful” means when someone’s doing something you don’t like. See “Protestors Harass Female Officers” under #NoDAPL, above.
“Elizabeth May has declared war on common sense and Canadian unity,” said Ric McIver, interim leader of the Alberta PC party, following Carr’s speech. “We can’t let the pipeline get held up by people that will never agree to any standard,” he added. “The law of the jungle cannot prevail.”
Rachel Barney, a professor of classics and philosophy at the University of Toronto (and a dual U.S.-Canadian citizen), this week proposed what she’s calling the Anti-Authoritarian Academic Code of Conduct.
It is amazing that in this day and age and in a supposedly developed country it is even possible for a code of conduct to need to start with this:
- I will not aid in the registering, rounding up or internment of students and colleagues on the basis of their religious beliefs.
5 Ways to be a Silent Trump Protestor The details relate to the US, but the principles apply everywhere.
Though books can’t change the world on their own, Haymarket looked through it’s catalog to find books about systemic racism, hope in tumultuous times, and people who have changed the world. Here are 16 books to understand how Trump got elected, how we got to this point, and how we can organize for the future.
Barbara Kingsolver: Trump changed everything. Now everything counts
As much as it’s important to push back on what’s not true, it’s also important to focus on what is trustworthy and to explain why outlets and reporters who continually do a good job amidst this onslaught are worth trusting. After this disorienting election, I reached out to a wide range of friends from all points on the political spectrum to ask what outlets and which writers they had confidence in and to explain the reasons for that confidence.
You know, I think this is a real good time to evaluate the information we’re getting. So here are some more resources.
- Media Literacy Fundamentals
- Mind Over Media: Analyzing Contemporary Propaganda
- Project Look Sharp
- Separating Fact and Fiction: Examining the Credibility of Information on the Internet
- NPR’s Breaking News Consumer’s Handbooks
- Center for News Literacy Digital Resource Center
- Skills and Strategies | Fake News vs. Real News: Determining the Reliability of Sources
And if you’re not careful about paying attention…
- Washington Post Disgracefully Promotes a McCarthyite Blacklist From a New, Hidden, and Very Shady Group
Art + Design
“We will enter economic instability, likely a recession; we will lose talents because no people with the right mind would want to study and work in this country that is dominated by xenophobic and racist ideologies, and many who are already living here, such as myself and the majority of my team, may choose to leave; we will possibly experience more hate crimes; and let’s not even start the whole terrorism paranoia.
“I don’t know what designers can do to move forward unless we, everyone, figure out what we can do as human beings. David Remnick’s article in the New Yorker captures this sentiment well: ‘Despair is no answer. To combat authoritarianism, to call out lies, to struggle honorably and fiercely in the name of American ideals—that is what is left to do. That is all there is to do.'”
—Natasha Jen, graphic designer and partner, Pentagram
Just for fun
Because we sure need it right now.
There’s nothing like a problematic election to generate an unending list of things to read. Can I just say that I’d really rather have the unproblematic election?
Standing against bigotry
I’m not putting this under US politics, because (a) some of it isn’t and (b) some of it applies wherever you live.But then that applies to quite a bit under the US politics subhead too, so you should read that as well.
Jo Cox in her own words “Our priority now is to try and focus on Jo’s amazing life and not the manner of her death.”
A Time for Treason: A reading list created by a group of Black, Brown, Indigenous, Muslim, and Jewish people who are writers, organizers, teachers, anti-fascists, anti-capitalists, and radicals.
Where we go from here Warrior up! Begin with small actions. We’ll be updating this list of resources, so do check back, and please comment below with your own suggestions.
The flood of “fake news” this election season got support from a sophisticated Russian propaganda campaign that created and spread misleading articles online with the goal of punishing Democrat Hillary Clinton, helping Republican Donald Trump and undermining faith in American democracy, say independent researchers who tracked the operation.
Russia’s increasingly sophisticated propaganda machinery — including thousands of botnets, teams of paid human “trolls,” and networks of websites and social-media accounts — echoed and amplified right-wing sites across the Internet as they portrayed Clinton as a criminal hiding potentially fatal health problems and preparing to hand control of the nation to a shadowy cabal of global financiers. The effort also sought to heighten the appearance of international tensions and promote fear of looming hostilities with nuclear-armed Russia.
Fake News Is Not the Only Problem. Bias, propaganda, and deliberately misleading information are much more prevalent and do more damage.
No. Clinton did not fund ISIS.
No. She does not have Parkinson’s or some bizarre neurological disorder.
But the web that we’ve built — the social web, search engines, and spaces governed by algorithmic systems attuned to social signals (clicks, shares, likes, comments) — makes it increasingly difficult to locate a definitive response to fabrications like Clinton funding ISIS.
Christiane Amanpour: 2016 Burton Benjamin Memorial Award Acceptance Speech. Transcript here.
Since when were American values elitist values?…And since when did neo-Nazism and anti-semitism stop being a crucial litmus test in the United States?
To demonstrate how reality may differ for different Facebook users, The Wall Street Journal created two feeds, one “blue” and the other “red.” If a source appears in the red feed, a majority of the articles shared from the source were classified as “very conservatively aligned” in a large 2015 Facebook study. For the blue feed, a majority of each source’s articles aligned “very liberal.” These aren’t intended to resemble actual individual news feeds. Instead, they are rare side-by-side looks at real conversations from different perspectives.
In deep-red white America, the white Christian God is king, figuratively and literally. Religious fundamentalism is what has shaped most of their belief systems. Systems built on a fundamentalist framework are not conducive to introspection, questioning, learning, change. When you have a belief system that is built on fundamentalism, it isn’t open to outside criticism, especially by anyone not a member of your tribe and in a position of power. The problem isn’t “coastal elites don’t understand rural Americans.” The problem is rural America doesn’t understand itself and will NEVER listen to anyone outside their bubble. It doesn’t matter how “understanding” you are, how well you listen, what language you use…if you are viewed as an outsider, your views are automatically discounted. I’ve had hundreds of discussions with rural white Americans and whenever I present them any information that contradicts their entrenched beliefs, no matter how sound, how unquestionable, how obvious, they WILL NOT even entertain the possibility it might be true. Their refusal is a result of the nature of their fundamentalist belief system and the fact I’m the enemy because I’m an educated liberal.
I realized that the Trump campaign wasn’t talking to readers; it was delivering content to watchers. This meant Trump had identified an audience for himself different from that of any other candidate. He was the only candidate campaigning exclusively through television. All the other Republicans, despite appearing on television, were campaigning in text. They produced policy statements; they read written remarks. Even Marco Rubio, in delivering his concession speech, read from a text.
Trump appears to have understood that the U.S. is transitioning from a text-based to an oral culture. I don’t mean by this that a commitment to text will disappear, only that it has become a minority practice, once again a mark of membership in a social elite.
Hate and extremism:
- Update on USA Election Monitor
- Update: Incidents of Hateful Harassment Since Election Day Now Number 701
Shattered: Hillary Clinton aimed at the highest glass ceiling. What broke instead was the coalition she thought would pierce it—and faith that it will happen.
We are in a period of tremendous national turmoil. What we are seeing is a backlash not just against Clinton’s candidacy but against the entire eight years of the Obama administration. It’s not just about who gets to be president. It’s about who gets to vote for the president, who gets to stay in America and make their families here and how those families get to be configured. It’s about who controls the culture, who makes the art, who makes the policies, whom those policies benefit and whom they harm.
Calling them alt-right helps us fight them. I’m not sure I entirely agree with this, but it raises some interesting points and has information on the sub-variants.
Attending a demonstration in Ferguson, Mo. Advocating against campus-carry gun laws. Writing about gun violence as a public-health issue.
Those are the types of actions that landed about 200 professors on a watch list started on Monday by Turning Point USA, a nonprofit group that aims to “to identify, educate, train, and organize students to promote the principles of fiscal responsibility, free markets, and limited government.”
The group’s website, meanwhile, intends “to expose and document college professors who discriminate against conservative students, promote anti-American values, and advance leftist propaganda in the classroom.”
The bottom line: I am by no means predicting the collapse of democracy in the United States under a President Donald J. Trump. What I am saying is that it is not impossible, and there are some clear warning signs to watch out for. Now, as always, the price of freedom is eternal vigilance. Or to use a more modern formulation: If you see something, say something.
Trump has a plan for government workers. They’re not going to like it.
“I have to tell you, I am emotionally fucking pissed,” another participant said. “How can this not influence coverage? I am being totally honest with you. Toward the end of the campaign, it got to a point where I thought that the coverage was all about [Trump’s] flaws and problems. And that’s legit. But, I thought, O.K., let’s give them the benefit of the doubt. After the meeting today, though—and I am being human with you here—I think, Fuck him! I know I am being emotional about it. And I know I will get over it in a couple of days after Thanksgiving. But I really am offended. This was unprecedented. Outrageous!”
Kellyanne Conway, who managed Trump’s campaign and who is now his senior adviser, said that the meeting had been “very cordial, candid, and honest.”
Work is a gift our kids can handle. This organization is said to have received thousands of dollars in donations from Betsy DeVos and her family.
Dykes to Watch Out For:
Racism and Black Lives Matter
Then I asked around and professional media people told me that there isn’t a style convention on this matter so much as an informal culture. The general rule, I was told, is to never call anything racist and certainly to never call anyone racist. At best, they might quote someone calling something or someone racist.
The implication is that there is no such thing as objectively racist. Racism, according to many mainstream media producers and gatekeepers, can only be subjective.
For hundreds of generations, the Gwich’in people of Alaska and northern Canada have depended on the caribou that migrate through the Arctic Refuge. With their traditional culture now threatened by oil extraction and climate change, two Gwich’in women are continuing a decades-long fight to protect their land and future.
I watched the livestream video of this about two or three hours after it happened. I watched the hose spray everywhere in the crowd. I watched a fire start where the police had been lobbing things, and protectors rush to put it out; the hose was nowhere to be seen for that fire. And then the next day I read the police statement that said that the fires had been lit by the protestors—exactly what the person making the video said they would say.
And later I watched the almost complete absence of coverage of this by American media. Shameful.
A Dakota Pipeline’s Last Stand. The historical context of the water protectors’ action.
Their confrontations with police — who have responded with water cannons, pepper spray and rubber bullets — have steered attention to the 1,170-mile-long oil pipeline project and its owner, Energy Transfer Partners. But the real source of Native Americans’ grievance stretches back more than a century, to the original government incursions on their tribal lands. And those earlier disputes over their rights to the land, like the one over the Dakota Access pipeline, pitted the tribes against a persistent force, the Army Corps of Engineers.
If you want to donate to Standing Rock:
Art + Design
Just for fun
Food art. Food cookies? Whatever.
I think it’s time for a cheery set of links. (It’s a short list because I last posted links just a few days ago.)
Local environmental activism
Biologist Single-Handedly Repopulates a Rare Species of Butterfly in His Backyard “The California pipevine swallowtail butterfly was once suffering a fate that so many creatures face—the loss of its habitat in San Francisco was causing their population to decline. But thanks to one man’s DIY efforts, the iridescent blue-winged insect is flourishing again. California Academy of Sciences aquatic biologist Tim Wong single-handedly revived the flailing species by building a home for them in his backyard. Now, over three years later, the stunning butterflies have slowly returned to the Golden Gate city.”
Art + Design
Oh, now this is cool. “Raubdruckerin uses drain covers as a printing module for textiles and paper. By pressing a garment on a drain cover coated with paint, the surface is being transferred as a graphical pattern onto the desired object. After first experiments in 2006 Raubdruckerin is meanwhile printing in streets all over the world.
I’m not sure if this should be categorized as art or geekery. Both, maybe? MIT and Microsoft Research made a ‘smart’ tattoo that remotely controls your phone “The paper presents three key use cases for the tattoo: you could use it to turn your skin into a trackpad, design it to change color based on temperature, or pull data from the tattoo.”
Henry A. Giroux | Flipping the Script: Rethinking Working-Class Resistance (via @ChrisBoese)
Which brings me to this recording by Holly Near and Ronnie Gilbert.
(And let’s not forget… women are missing in Canada.) http://www.missingwomeninquiry.ca/
And of course I was reminded of this because Ronnie Gilbert died this week.
The ACLU unveiled a new mobile app designed to help you record and report abusive cops.
In the news
Good news for once. Conservation groups welcome protection for Strait of Georgia’s unique glass sponge reefs. (via Sheila Malcolmson)
Art + Design
Marko Korosec’s weather photos are amazing, especially some from this set: “I love extreme weather and seen a lot, but this was just above my imagination what I experienced earlier this week. A crazy amount of hard rime after more than a week of strong Bora winds and freezing fog atop of mt. Javornik, Slovenia. It was 100-150cm deep at some most exposed placed.”
Maggie Stiefvater: A novel is a lovely but forbidding natural monument, like an iceberg
Quote of the week
By the way, “full-diaper-angry” is Open For Business as slang for young men who are full of shit and mad at women for not being their mom
Just for fun
Golden retrievers. What can I say?
Janet Mock: Revealing Caitlyn Jenner: My Thoughts on Media, Privilege, Healthcare Access & Glamour. “To make any trans person a symbol for an entire community is an unfair task. No one can speak about the varying, intersecting and layered ways in which trans people experience the world. That is why it’s necessary to create a space for nuance and to amplify the voices of those who often are not heard. What excites me about Jenner’s story as a trans woman who revealed myself as a teenager is my own opportunity to learn about her experience. I find it fascinating, even as a trans woman, to learn about the journey of another trans woman who had taken steps to be her true self only to be pressured back into “the closet” and to step out more famous than ever in her mid-60s — at a time in most women’s lives when they’re deemed invisible.” (via @iSmashFizzle)
“The Theology of Consensus” A look at some of the inherent issues with consensus-based decision making that ties them to its history. As someone who worked for two and a half years in a co-op studio committed to consensus decision making, I found this fascinating. (via @al3x)
Art + Design
Seven Scribes: Letters from the Underground. WE ARE PLEASED to announce the launch of SEVEN SCRIBES, a brand new online publication. We are committed to creating a space where young Black writers and artists can offer commentary and analysis on politics, pop culture, literature, and art. This is a space where writers and artists can experiment with content and be intentional about consumption.
Quote of the week
20 Things That Women Should Stop Wearing After The Age of 30
1-20: The weight of other people’s expectations & judgments
I have learned not to be seduced by the notion of inevitability — whether it’s progress, hope, love, or friendship. It all requires work.
—deray mckesson @deray
“Blanket octopuses literally rip the tentacles right off portuguese men-o-war and use them like little nunchuks.” Six reasons the blanket octopus is my new favorite cephalopod. (I think this was via @UrsulaV)
Well, I missed a whole week of links posts, and then a bit more, so this is an attempt to make up for it. I missed them because I mostly find interesting stuff when I’m surfing on my iPad, and then send myself an email with the links so that they’re in my mailbox when it comes time to write the links post, which I do on my computer. But last week when I went to go through those emails, they weren’t there. Somehow the mail I sent from any number of programs on my iPad wasn’t getting through. I checked the settings and they seemed to be okay, but…
Anyway, I tweaked some things and maybe it’s working now. More getting through, at any rate, though it still seems a bit wonky.
Revelations About Being Brown in a World of White Beauty. “In dentistry speak, the space between two front teeth is called a maxillary midline diastema. It is a genetic trait. It occurs across cultures and in casual observance, appears to have a higher occurrence among black communities. Some research notes black children exhibit more than twice the prevalence of gap teeth as white children. In books and articles I’ve read over the years, a worldview became visible about its value, ranging from ‘normal’ to ‘appalling’ to a ‘deviation from normal adult dentition.’ … A Nigerian acquaintance once told me how much he loved my gap. I learned from him that my gap teeth are valued, and in some instances coveted, by some Nigerian woman. I had never considered that I would posses anyone’s ideal. I live in America, and there are many reinforcements to remind me that small gap-toothed dark girls are the least desired. My gap teeth defined as a beauty mark? That shifted my axis.” (via @iSmashFizzle)
Kansas has found the ultimate way to punish the poor. “The legislature placed a daily cap of $25 on cash withdrawals beginning July 1, which will force beneficiaries to make more frequent trips to the ATM to withdraw money from the debit cards used to pay public assistance benefits. … It’s hard to overstate the significance of this action. Many households without enough money to maintain a minimum balance in a conventional checking account will pay their rent and their utility bills in cash. A single mother with two children seeking to withdraw just $200 in cash could incur $30 or more in fees, which is a big chunk of the roughly $400 such a family would receive under the program in Kansas.” (via @pericat)
Art + Design
Quote(s) of the week
James honed a definition that he finally published in his 2012 book, Assholes: A Theory. Formally stated, “The asshole (1) allows himself to enjoy special advantages and does so systematically; (2) does this out of an entrenched sense of entitlement; and (3) is immunized by his sense of entitlement against the complaints of other people.”
What separates the asshole from the psychopath is that he engages in moral reasoning (he understands that people have rights; his entitlement simply leads him to believe his rights should take precedence). That this reasoning is systematically, and not just occasionally, flawed is what separates him from merely being an ass. (Linguistics backs up the distinction: ass comes from the Latin assinus, for “donkey,” while the hole is in the arras, the Hittite word for “buttocks.”)
—Jerry Useem: Why It Pays to Be a Jerk
After these trivial but bracing exchanges, my pulse rate was normal, my cheeks were not red, I was not trembling. I hadn’t thought direct action would be so much fun. Habits of a lifetime peeled away. The world bristled with opportunities for a woman in her 70s to take a stand. I shouted on planes. I fought for my place in queues. I talked to myself out loud in public. I walked along the street singing a little song under my breath: “Back off. How dare you? Make my day.” I wouldn’t say I was on a hair-trigger. I was just primed for action.
— Helen Garner: The insults of age, A one-woman assault on condescension
Rishi Kaneria videos on Vimeo. These are some amazingly beautiful videos. Watch the Stunt Poetry one, even if you don’t watch the others.
Just for fun
Mad Max posters improved by Daily Mail comments. (Click on the individual images.) I keep reading reviews by feminists about this movie, and now I REALLY want to see it. (There are negative reviews by feminists as well, but so far in my online sources the pro-Mad Maxes are coming out way ahead.)
Can’t. Stop. Laughing: Xenostapler
“That escalated quickly.” (Ignore the warning about “sensitive content” if you get it, it’s worth it to see a sterling example of how one person sees one thing in an image while another might see something quite different.) (via @pericat)
Happy May Day and Happy International Workers’ Day!
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)
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
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.”
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.”
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
5 Mètres 80: An Absurd Animation Depicting a Herd of Giraffes Leaping Off a High Dive by Nicolas Deveaux
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?
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.”
“This, EXACTLY THIS, is why we can’t have nice things.” (via Tressie McMillan Cottom @tressiemcphd)
Art + Design
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 for fun
Follow the money: The Weird, Money-Making World of Parody Twitter Accounts. (via @kyliu99)
The media and what I mean by “reinforcement”. “I’m not arguing that videogames are evil and cause lots of horrible things and we should ban them forever. I’m also not arguing that they’re distinct from other media – I’m arguing that they are one of many influences on people’s views (concious and unconscious) and that they will have a much easier job supporting society-wide views than implanting new unique ones.” Laying out the difference between reinforcement and causality. (via @Quinnae_Moon)
I’m a huge science fiction and fantasy fan, and this week that world exploded. Tl;dr: a group of conservative writers and fans, self-named the Sad Puppies (supported generally by the Rabid Puppies, an overlapping group), who believe that they represent the only real sf/f (and its True Fans) and have been shut out of winning the Hugos they deserve by the conspiracies of SJWs (Social Justice Warriors), gamed the nomination process to get a slate of their people onto the lists of nominees, displacing many worthy candidates.
Natalie Luhrs at Pretty Terrible has a round-up of links that I won’t bother recapping, go check them out; there are also oodles of posts by other sf/f writers and fan writers that you can find with a bit of digging. I will also add a few from mainstream media (which has been picking up on this, interestingly) to her list. All of these articles have lots of links, if you want to drop down a rabbit hole.
- Kameron Hurley in The Atlantic: Hijacking the Hugo Awards Won’t Stifle Diversity in Science Fiction
- Guardian: George RR Martin says rightwing lobby has ‘broken’ Hugo awards (Martin is a Big Deal right now because he is the writer of Game of Thrones.)
- Slate: How Sci-Fi’s Hugo Awards Got Their Own Full-Blown Gamergate
One additional note on this: last night I was reading comments on the post by George RR Martin that Natalie linked to in her links round-up. One of the Sad Puppy supporters complained that, “We’re tired of hateful, double-standard holding bigots attempting to sabotage the careers and reputations of people who don’t toe their lines.”
Martin asked for citations: “You make sweeping angry statements, drag in the odious Social Justice Warriors term, talk about feminists in the 1800s… but where are your FACTS? Whose career has been destroyed by the SJWs? Who are these pariahs? How does any of this relate to the Hugo Awards?”
The answer: “I can’t name many because you never hear about them in the first place.” And then the writer goes on to explain that a “chilling effect created by all of this means up-and-coming authors who have such ‘unpopular’ political views stay quiet. They don’t write works that might offend these peddlers of despair and outrage. They don’t get their careers ruined very often because they’re smart enough to keep their mouths shut. If they aren’t, their careers are shut down before the destruction of said careers would ever be newsworthy.”
Do you see what this is saying?! The fact that examples don’t exist is being used to prove that a conspiracy exists. This is the level of Sad Puppy logic.
Art + Design
Using Wikipedia: a scholar redraws academic lines by including it in his syllabus. What a great approach. (via @mchris4duke)
One does not simply send an email. “We’re not going to get to perfect security overnight, and the people who demand heroic measures aren’t being realistic or even helpful most of the time. I am not a security perfectionist. But there measures we can all start to take that would do a huge amount to reduce many, even most, of the security problems we face on a daily basis.” (via @tressiemcphd)
This is… appalling. Exclusive: Amazon makes even temporary warehouse workers sign 18-month non-competes. “The Amazon contract, obtained by The Verge, requires employees to promise that they will not work at any company where they ‘directly or indirectl’ support any good or service that competes with those they helped support at Amazon, for a year and a half after their brief stints at Amazon end. Of course, the company’s warehouses are the beating heart of Amazon’s online shopping empire, the extraordinary breadth of which has earned it the title of “the Everything Store,” so Amazon appears to be requiring temp workers to foreswear a sizable portion of the global economy in exchange for a several-months-long hourly warehouse gig. …The company has even required its permanent warehouse workers who get laid off to reaffirm their non-compete contracts as a condition of receiving severance pay.” (via @scalzi)
On Community, Fragments, and the Fringe: GamerGate, SJWs, and Everyone Between. “I want to build a community again, but every piece I have is broken, and I don’t know how they can be fit together again, or even if they can. I don’t even know where to begin.”
Author Scott Lynch takes on a reader complaining about one of his characters: “Why shouldn’t middle-aged mothers get a wish-fulfillment character, you sad little bigot?” (It gets even better.) (via @rcloenenruiz)
Why do we mock teenage girls who love One Direction when Top Gear fans are just the same? I had never heard of either One Direction or Top Gear, but the principle discussed is very solid. (via @fozmeadows)
O adjunct! My adjunct! “When I got to graduate school and began investigating post-graduate work, I finally learned what it meant to be an adjunct, and what such positions entailed. When it occurred to me that this was the job Harvey had, I was embarrassed by my naïveté, and angry that the school had never spelled this out for me, had never made it clear that so much of the work that Harvey did for his students was essentially uncompensated.”
Art + Design
Download 422 Free Art Books from The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The article ends with links to other downloads.) (via @Quinnae_Moon)
Quote of the week
The rhetoric of colorblindness is harmful in that it identifies difference (in race, gender, sexuality, ability, class, and more) as the impediment to equity rather than the systems that have registered those differences as inferior.
Just for fun
I was introduced to the antifascist resistance song Bella Ciao by Chumbawamba (this is their rewritten version in English, not a translation of the original lyrics). You can find a collection of original versions and translations here. And this week in my Twitter feed here it is again, led by a priest: Bella Ciao dopo la Santa Messa (via @makinglight)
Mm, this has been a particularly juicy week. Have fun.
…Oh look, a bunch more since I thought I had finished the list. I blame this Continue reading “From the world pool: March 20, 2015”
When letting your kids out of your sight becomes a crime. People have pointed out that the writer is speaking from a position of relative privilege (and presumably therefore safety), and I can see their point. But I also remember my childhood, when a great deal of what my friends and I did was out of our parents’ sight, roaming around the neighbourhood, exploring down by a river and out along backroads (we lived in a bedroom suburb surrounded by farms). Knowing what that freedom was like, I think kids have lost a lot.
A tweet from Tressie McMillan Cottom sent me to an interesting article called Death to the “Public Intellectual”, but one of that story’s links led to the essay I found really interesting: Outside Charlie Hebdo. This essay, written at the time of the Charlie Hebdo massacre, takes that event as the starting point for a discussion of problems with satire. Caroline Small writes: “In what way does [satire] serve a positive end or increase our overall intelligence? Doesn’t satire need to be effective at challenging and destabilizing stupid beliefs if it is intended to have political power? If it only reaches people who don’t hold the belief, isn’t it just mockery? Mockery just ends up creating a group identity among the people who collectively believe the stupid thing is stupid. I think that may be why people react so negatively to this kind of imagery – even if it doesn’t actually qualify as racist (and I will refrain from an opinion on that in this particular context that is not my context), it does alienate and separate, working against solidarity rather than increasing it.” This articulates my discomfort with satire well: I find it funny occasionally, but if I’m honest with myself I find it most funny exactly when it allows me to feel superior to stupid people.
More from Tressie McMillan Cottom: The University and the Company Man. “Some colleges are doubling down on serving the most elite, most well-prepared students. Those students, through a combination of ability and fortune, will end up in high-skilled good jobs. But there aren’t enough of those spots to go around.”
Intersectionality Undone: Saving Intersectionality from Feminist Intersectionality Studies. “This article identifies a set of power relations within contemporary feminist aca-demic debates on intersectionality that work to ‘depoliticizing intersectionality,’ neutralizing the critical potential of intersectionality for social justice-oriented change.” (via @tressiemcphd)
Stop Blaming Women for Holding Themselves Back at Work. “But, as many women already suspected, it turns out that educated, ambitious women are not failing to achieve the corner office because they’re insufficiently tough, savvy, or competitive at work. It’s also not because they are diverted during their 30s and 40s by the demands of breast-feeding and test prep and the like. They are not ‘ratcheting back’ or ‘opting out’ or failing to ‘lean in.’ And now there’s a study to prove it.” (via @scalzi)
Jessie Daniels: The Trouble with ‘Leaning In’ to (White) Corporate Feminism. “As long as ‘race’ is a taboo subject for liberal feminists, then liberal feminism will continue to be consistent with white supremacy.”
A follow-up to a link I posted last week: Mourning Justine Sacco Is Missing the Point. “The basic mistake of writers like Ronson is seeing the racialized contempt for Sacco as separate from the racialized contempt for people of color. They see a new problem where in fact they are merely seeing an atypical iteration of a very old and very common problem.” (via @tressiemcphd)
Art + Design
The Economist: Inside the box. “What workers need from their offices has long been clear. A flexible workspace that encourages movement, combined with mobile technology, could finally liberate them from the cubicle farm—but only if employers pay heed to the evidence, rather than the short-term savings. Even cubicles were Utopian before the accountants took over.”
Wow. Medical tech research is really going in amazing directions these days. Zoom Contact Lens Magnifies Objects at the Wink of an Eye (via @mcahogarth)
Oh my! A New English Dictionary on Historical Principles. “These are the original public domain volumes of the dictionary that was eventually published as the Oxford English Dictionary.”
Quote of the week
It was the verb that did it: today we want to strip fat people of their benefits. How long will it be before some minister of public health suggests we strip them naked and run them through town?
Just for fun
I think it would be an awful lot of fun to play in an orchestra directed by Bobby McFerrin. (And that reminded me of this, and that led to this….)
And on the New Music from Old Stars front, as started last week, have you seen this? Not the Hozier “Take Me to Church”—the other one. Also, about the album. (Love the understatement: “I don’t necessarily fit into the moulds that it seems females are supposed to fit into. I’m kind of irregular.”)
I wish I could have taken this course: David Carr’s syllabus for “Press Play.” I wish my syllabuses were half as clearly and economically written.
Happy Friday 13th!
Race is a Technology (and so is Gender) “After all, what political project doesn’t have its share of fools who can be conveniently held up for mockery by opponents? But shouldn’t we look to those who best articulate the ideas underlying a project to evaluate its worth?” (via @tressiemcphd)
Molly Crabapple: How ‘broken windows’ policing harms people of color (via @iSmashFizzle)
From the “oh for god’s sake” department: Little Free Libraries on the wrong side of the law. “Crime, homelessness and crumbling infrastructure are still a problem in almost every part of America, but two cities have recently cracked down on one of the country’s biggest problems: small community libraries where residents can share books.” (via @ChrisBoese)
Hands, by Kari Sperring. “My body, these days, is for hiding, as is considered proper in our culture for older women. No-one wants to look at *that*. My written words are judged, by some, by my age and appearance. They don’t need to read me to know what I think, for older women are a uniform class. Our bodies, like our words, are not worthy. My hands, though. My hands are always welcome, as long as they serve. As long as they work for others.” (via @jimchines)
Big news in fashion: an image of 48-year-old supermodel Cindy Crawford doing an underwear photo shoot for Marie Claire surfaced on Twitter yesterday. Why is this news? The photo has not been retouched. What’s amazing is that this is amazing.
“I find this offensive”: how “offense” discourse traps us into inaction, by Katherine Cross. “No, you do not have a right to not be offended. Concomitantly, we need to stop using ‘offended’ as a synonym for “structural harm” or “oppression” in everyday political discourse.” An important essay on how the concept of “offense” can be used to derail discussions away from core issues. (via @Quinnae_Moon)
How One Stupid Tweet Blew Up Justine Sacco’s Life. People should be held accountable for their words and actions; but the shaming—the accountability—should be proportional, and too often it isn’t. (But also, as someone commented on this article elsewhere; it’s important to note that pile-ons are not equal opportunity, and the pile-on will be different depending on who you are; in one case mentioned in this article, a tech developer who made a stupid sexist joke in public lost his job; so did the black woman who reported him for it. He got a new job quickly and put it behind him; she is still under attack.) (via @tressiemcphd)
In the news
A man named David Carr, culture reporter and media columnist for the New York Times, died yesterday. I don’t read the NYT unless I’m pointed toward an article and haven’t hit their free-till-you’ve-read-ten-this-month limit, so I didn’t know his work. But quite a few people on my Twitter Feed did, and mentioned this article, which is amazing: Me and My Girls. “When a woman, any woman, has issues with substances, has kids out of wedlock and ends up struggling as a single parent, she is identified by many names: slut, loser, welfare mom, burden on society. Take those same circumstances and array them over a man, and he becomes a crown prince. See him doing that dad thing and, with a flick of the wrist, the mom thing too! Why is it that the same series of overt acts committed by a male becomes somehow ennobled?”
Art + Design
Medium wants you to make your online typography better: Death to typewriters. My attention was caught by their challenge: identify the elements of typographic finesse in the sample they provided. I missed 4 of the 20 items listed completely (hrmph—I challenge YOU to spot the hair spaces); two others I did actually identify, but thought they wouldn’t be what was being counted, so my final score was 14/20.
Even Words Can Kill. I don’t think this Italian ad campaign is completely original—I think I’ve seen something like it before somewhere—but it’s a great example of images speaking louder than words, and particularly apposite given the events this week in Chapel Hill. (via @rcloenenruiz)
Ha. Quality does matter. As photos flood our screens, which ones hold our attention? “When we analyzed the data, we found that each photograph rated highest had been taken by a professional photojournalist. And, professional images were twice as likely to be shared by the participants. …People spent 50 percent more time on the pro photographs, on average.” (via @ChrisBoese)
“Look, a bunny!” This will be mostly meaningless to anyone who doesn’t play this kind of game, but it made me laugh and laugh and laugh… If RPG Video Game Characters Were Honest. “I guess I’ll just drop it… I can’t, it’s too rare! Help!” This is exactly how I play Dragon Age. How embarrassing. (via @Quinnae_Moon)
How to Turn Off Tynt, the Most Annoying Thing on the Internet. Oo, as someone who does a lot of copy/pasting I must look into this. (via @tressiemcphd)
Quote of the week
BCFerrys: Thank you for choosing our complimentary WiFi. Our next connection is at 5 o’clock. Expect delays.
If you don’t travel on BC Ferries regularly and try to use their wireless, you won’t get the joke, but if you do….I laughed myself silly over this.
Just for fun
So on Grammy Awards night my Twitter feed blew up with this duet. Takes me back to the 80s and seeing the Eurythmics perform live… I’d gone to that concert just for the hell of it, not really caring that much about the group, and found myself absolutely transfixed. Oh my, Annie Lennox knows how to put everything into a live performance.
I was on the road over the last couple of days, so this is a day late. Whatever!
The concept of the Overton Window and its relationship to social media is fascinating, and in this application explains so much. Political Correctness Is More Reasonable Than Jonathan Chait. (via @tressiemcphd)
Trauma is the Truth Worth Talking About. If the central political questions of our time are inescapably personal, how can we dismiss arguments for being “too emotional”?
Chris Bourg: Never neutral: Libraries, technology, and inclusion. “I start with the premise that it isn’t just that libraries aren’t perfectly equitable or neutral because we live in a society that still suffers from racism, sexism. ableism, transphobia and other forms of bias and inequity; but libraries also fail to achieve any mythical state of neutrality because we contribute to bias and inequality in scholarship, and publishing, and information access.”
“I’m Autistic, And Believe Me, It’s A Lot Better Than Measles” by Sarah Kurchak. Calling out the anti-vaxxers on bigotry: “I take the decision not to vaccinate personally. I’ve tried to have empathy for the other side, I’ve tried to tell myself that it’s none of my business, but I can’t and it is. Someone who refuses to vaccinate their children because they’re afraid of autism has made the decision that people like me are the worst possible thing that can happen to their family, and they’re putting everyone at risk because of it.”
For Colored Girls Who Are Violently Quoted King When Their Own Words Are Enough. “So, no, I don’t place the words of Martin Luther King, Jr. or Nelson Mandela or any other famous man above my own understanding and experience of the world. I value them in the ways that they speak to me, in the ways that they align with my freedom—now, today— and the freedom of other black women—now, today—and I respectfully reject them when they don’t.” (via @mchris4duke)
Police Reform is Impossible in America. “I imagine, like Coates seems to, that identifying blacks as this country’s criminals helps white Americans dismiss their own criminal activity as incidental (teenage drug use, insider trading, mass shootings, etc). But I think it also must help to organize their fear in an uncertain world.” (via @iSmashFizzle)
Verizon Finally Buckles, Will Allow A Total Opt Out From Sneaky Super Cookies. This week’s coverage was the first I heard of this. Glad to see them change their approach, but I wonder what else we don’t know about? (via @ChrisBoese)
How Tipping Helped Make Sexual Harassment the Norm for Female Servers. I was beyond appalled when I read that the federal minimum wage for “tipped workers” (i.e. restaurant servers) in the US is $2.13/hour. I had no idea. No wonder 37% of Equal Employment Opportunity Commission claims of sexual harassment come from the restaurant industry. (via @tressiemcphd)
Coordinated Online Terrorist Attacks: a very personal statement.
If we liberate men’s sexuality, the war against women can end. “As a dominatrix, men come to me to explore a sexuality that is socially forbidden. While patriarchy endures, they will never be free to express who they are, or treat women as they should be treated.” (via @Quinnae_Moon)
“I’m a guy, and I need feminism. Not ‘men’s rights.’ Feminism. Here is why.”
Art + Design
Why Every Movie Looks Sort of Orange and Blue. I actually had noticed this trend, and wondered if it was motivated by a deliberate attempt to look “retro”—like all those photos from the 50s and 60s that have colour that’s just a bit yellowish. But I guess the answer has more to do with deadlines and what the software enables you to do, proving yet again that the choice of tool defines what the results of your work will look like. “The big change that digitization made was it made it much easier to apply a single color scheme to a bunch of different scenes at once. The more of a movie you can make look good with a single scheme, the less work you have to do.” (via @makinglight)
Lots of fun being had here: 28 Days of Black Cosplay & Superheroes Reimagined.
Related: Taylor Swift and the Myth of the Mean Greedy Artist. (via @KameronHurley)
For the players of Dragon Age: Inquisition. Cassandra rocks.
“Joe Hanson of It’s Okay To Be Smart explains some of our weirdest automatic body functions, including yawns, hiccups, and sun sneezes.” I was delighted to learn that hypnagogic myoclonus is a thing, as I suffer from it.
Quote of the week
This link takes you directly to a comment by Cole on an article by Angus Johnston relating to the current struggle with “political correctness” on the left. I’ve linked directly to the comment, which is much more extensive than the part I quote here—read the whole thing. You should also read the article the comment is on. (via @pnh)
The idea that PC language is inaccessible to working class people needs to die in a fire. I’m poor, but I ain’t stupid and being more doesn’t mean I’m more cruel than the cultured academic. If someone tells me that using a certain word hurts them, I stop. I’m perfectly capable of understanding the ideaology behind various types of language uses- because in case you didn’t realize this, a lot of this ideology came out of working class movements. Academics chiding each other over inaccessible language has to be one of the most patronizing and belittling things I have experienced in my own organizing.
Just for fun
Do not try this at home. I haven’t played Assassin’s Creed, other than a free tester on my Touch, but I’m familiar enough with the game to know how well done this is: Assassin’s Creed Unity Meets Parkour in Real Life – 4K! Only slightly illegal, I’m sure. But jeez, well done parkour is amazing. Also, Behind the Scenes. (via @mcahogarth)