From the world pool: May 27, 2016

After a bit of a hiatus, I’ve got a lot collected.

Socio-political commentary

Privilege

On a plate: a wonderful explanation of privilege.

On white privilege.

Feminism

In other words, they weren’t waiting to “have it all” – they were waiting to have enough.”

Can we talk about Susan’s fabulous adventures after Narnia?

#WhoWillYouHelp Good on you, Government of Ontario.

Historically authentic sexism in fantasy. Let’s unpack that.

Media screwups:

Captain America is a Nazi, it turns out.

The straw that breaks the camel’s back: within a period of 30 days, four lesbian or bisexual female characters on TV were killed off. And one of them was killed literally two minutes after a long-simmering relationship was finally consummated. Which may be why there’s been a lot of discussion about the narrative laziness and implied homophobia of the dead lesbians trope in the media recently. Ya think?

Odds and ends

What has the European Convention on Human Rights ever done for us?

When “local” isn’t local. At Tampa Bay farm-to-table restaurants, you’re being fed fiction. I have a funny feeling this story applies everywhere. “This is a story we are all being fed. A story about overalls, rich soil and John Deere tractors scattering broods of busy chickens. A story about healthy animals living happy lives, heirloom tomatoes hanging heavy and earnest artisans rolling wheels of cheese into aging caves nearby. More often than not, those things are fairy tales.” (via @UrsulaV)

On the perils of IP mapping (via Tiro) How an internet mapping glitch turned a random Kansas farm into a digital hell (via @TiroTypeworks)

Art + Design

Free art book downloads from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

And more free books are listed in the endnotes and sidebar to this article.

Useful!

When in drought: the California farmers who don’t water their crops. I suspect we on Gabriola could benefit by learning more about this. “Bucklin’s Old Hill Ranch, purchased by his stepfather Otto Teller in 1980, claims to be the oldest-rooted vineyard in the area. Teller fell in love with the vineyard because it was one of the few that still “dry-farmed”. Dry farming is a method that bypasses artificial irrigation, relying instead on seasonal rainfall and working the soil in such a way that it holds on to water for the drier months.”

Resources for the young entrepreneur. (Via Alice MacGillivray)

Just cool

The Insect Portraits of Levon Bliss

Hortum Machina, B (or, plants go walkabout)

Treehouses in houseplants!

Tumblr linguistics

Just for fun

I don’t want nobody… (nsfw)

Designing a really practical font: Sans Bullshit Sans

Scottish trad music genres 

From the World Pool: February 5, 2016

The “just for fun” edition.

For various reasons I haven’t been making “from the world pool” posts, but this week I decided to try to get back into it. And I decided to make it all things that cheered me up, because we all need cheering up sometimes.

Kindness!

Japan Keeps This Train Station Running for Just One Regular Passenger. (Obligatory snark: nice to see some governments take transportation seriously.)

Design!

Book design: Gibbon’s Decline and Fall.

Nature!

Rare Cold Weather Phenomenon Displays Mesmerizing Light Pillars in the Sky. This is something I’ve never heard of, and boy is it cool.

If you ever wondered what happened to the dinosaurs, look no further than baby blue herons.

A wolf named Romeo.

1.5 billion pixel of the Andromeda Galaxy: this is… amazing. Zoom in.

I am in love with Jacanas.  I mean, LOOK AT THE SIZE OF THE FEET.

Swimming with elephants and sharks: the photography of Ali Bin Thalith.

And they say animals have no sense of humour.

Music!

Choir! Choir! Choir! A tribute to David Bowie: singing Space Oddity at the AGO.

I wish I was a lot younger, so I could do this. I might not choose to do it, but I would love to be ABLE to.

Beatbox Siri.

If you like science fiction… Starships! —a fanvid tribute to sf tv and movies. (Bonus points for dancing.)  (R for language, if you’re concerned about it.)

From the World Pool: February 13, 2015

Happy Friday 13th!

Socio-political commentary

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)

I was constantly worried that I’d be found out.I had a black dog, his name was depression. (via @tressiemcphd)

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)

Feminist issues

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)

Stop Telling Women to Smile. (via @jsmooth995) and The Catcalls (via @iSmashFizzle)

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.

The internet is full of men who hate feminism. Here’s what they’re like in person. (via @ChrisBoese)

Civil discourse?

“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)

Geeking Out

“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)

This is a real thing that happened. Oh, this is lovely. Two minutes of your time, you can play in your browser. (via @evilrooster)

Useful!

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

This is the sheep I will ride into battle. (via @KameronHurley)

I… am speechless. Who knew? Zoo Security Drills: When Animals Escape. (via @evilrooster)

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.

From the World Pool: February 7, 2015

I was on the road over the last couple of days, so this is a day late. Whatever!

Socio-political commentary

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.”

Fun statistics for adults! (via @KameronHurley)

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)

Feminist issues

This is absolutely a feminist issue. Trailer: The Mask You Live In.  Also: The Representation Project (via @iSmashFizzle)

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.

Jonathan Mann: You Are Not a Content Creator. Must-watch for people working in creative fields. (via @femfreq)

Related: Taylor Swift and the Myth of the Mean Greedy Artist.  (via @KameronHurley)

Geeking Out

For the players of Dragon Age: Inquisition. Cassandra rocks.

Thought-provoking

“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.

Useful!

Cheap Shot Challenge: Photos Taken with Expensive Gear Recreated On the Cheap.  (via @ChrisBoese)

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)

The Gnome Chomsky Garden Gnome. (via @mchris4duke)

Just cool

What This City Did With An Abandoned Walmart Is Absolutely Brilliant. You’ll Love It.

From the world pool: January 23, 2015

Socio-political commentary

This explains a lot. How the average American perceives the US racial mix vs. what it actually is. (via Chris Bourg @mchris4duke)

Holder limits seized-asset sharing process that split billions with local, state police: “Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. on Friday barred local and state police from using federal law to seize cash, cars and other property without warrants or criminal charges.” The article links to a WSJ investigation of this appalling practice, and there’s also a New Yorker story about it here: Taken. (via @ChrisBoese)

Useful! Stop Googling your health questions. Use these sites instead. (via @ChrisBoese)

This is what The Toronto Star had to say about refusing to publish Charlie Hebdo materials.  (via @UrsulaV)

Help, My Friend Won’t Stop Having Fibromyalgia At Me! (via @makinglight)

Gaming while black: Casual racism to cautious optimism (via Katherine Cross @Quinnae_Moon)

You think you know what teachers do. Right? Wrong.

Deep Lab: “a congress of cyberfeminist researchers, organized by STUDIO Fellow Addie Wagenknecht to examine how the themes of privacy, security, surveillance, anonymity, and large-scale data aggregation are problematized in the arts, culture and society.” (via Alex Payne @al3x)

The invasion boards that set out to ruin lives. “Internet harassment doesn’t just stay on the internet any more. Banned from 4chan, the ‘net’s worst trolls are making life hell for ‘social justice warriors’—and anyone else that takes their fancy.” (via Katherine Cross @Quinnae_Moon)

Crash Override Network: Online Anti-Harassment Task Force  (via Wil Wheaton @wilw)

“Things have happened in the past week”: on doxing, swatting, and 8chan (via Katherine Cross @Quinnae_Moon)

Misantry. (via Liz Bourke @hawkwing_lb)

And finally for this section, Natalie Luhrs has a roundup of links, with a section relating to Shanley Kane and Model View Culture. It provides a good overview of a complex situation, and I agree with Natalie’s position on this: it’s complicated and hard, and harassment and abuse are never okay. I have a feeling I might eventually have some bigger-picture stuff to say about this, but we’ll see; it depends on whether I can pull my thoughts together coherently and actually produce something worth saying.

Art + Design

Two articles talking about the design of living spaces.

Home Petite Home  (via @evilrooster)

Watery Dwellings

Quote of the week

Life Hacks: “If someone points at your black clothes and asks you whose funeral it is, a look round the room and a casual ‘haven’t decided yet’ is always a good response.”

Just for fun

Maria Popova of Brain Pickings says: “Brilliant-nitpickery-of-the-decade award goes to: All of my Issues With the “Goodnight Moon” Bedroom.”

From the world pool: January 16, 2014

Do I ever do anything but collect links? Naw.

Socio-political commentary

White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo. “I am a white woman. I am standing beside a black woman. We are facing a group of white people who are seated in front of us. We are in their workplace, and have been hired by their employer to lead them in a dialogue about race. The room is filled with tension and charged with hostility. I have just presented a definition of racism that includes the acknowledgment that whites hold social and institutional power over people of color. A white man is pounding his fist on the table. His face is red and he is furious. As he pounds he yells, “White people have been discriminated against for 25 years! A white person can’t get a job anymore!” I look around the room and see 40 employed people, all white. There are no people of color in this workplace. Something is happening here, and it isn’t based in the racial reality of the workplace. I am feeling unnerved by this man’s disconnection with that reality, and his lack of sensitivity to the impact this is having on my cofacilitator, the only person of color in the room. Why is this white man so angry? Why is he being so careless about the impact of his anger? Why are all the other white people either sitting in silent agreement with him or tuning out? We have, after all, only articulated a definition of racism.” (via Tressie McMillan Cottom @tressiemcphd)

Incredibly useful: Jim’s Rule of Buts. “In any charged conversation, find any statements containing the conjunction ‘but’ and reverse the clauses.” (via @makinglight)

The ad Doritos don’t want you to see.  More here.

An Old Fogey’s Analysis of a Teenager’s View on Social Media.  “There’s a reason why researchers and organizations like Pew Research are doing the work that they do — they do so to make sure that we don’t forget about the populations that aren’t already in our networks.” (via @satifice)

Family Outraged After North Miami Beach Police Use Mug Shots as Shooting Targets. “What the soldiers discovered when they entered the range made them angry: mug shots of African American men apparently used as targets by North Miami Beach Police snipers, who had used the range before the guardsmen. Even more startling for Deant, one of the images was her brother.” (via @evilrooster)

Charlie Hebdo

Saladin Ahmed: In an Unequal World, Mocking All Serves the Powerful

We should not kill people for speech. But I am not Charlie Hebdo.  “It is possible to value one’s rights and simultaneously to refuse to support the abuse of those rights. And it is possible to refuse to support the abuse of a right, while simultaneously condemning utterly, entirely and without reservation those who would respond to that abuse with murder. It’s more than possible. If we’re to actually make anything better, it’s essential.

The right-wing domestic terror plot you didn’t hear about this week (via @ChrisBoese)

Roxane Gay: If je ne suis pas Charlie, am I a bad person? Nuance gets lost in groupthink

These World Leaders Are a Worse Threat to Free Press Than Terrorism (via @scalzi)

Misogyny and harassment

How to Interview a Woman Writer: “If she is attractive; tell your readers exactly how attractive, within the first paragraph. Speculate on whether she is attracted to you.”  (@KameronHurley)

Jay Allen (@a_man_in_black) How crowdfunding helps haters profit from harassment. “Here’s the fashionable anti-feminist narrative: any woman who complains about mistreatment is a “professional victim” doing it only to promote herself. Speaking out against harassment, in this view, is evidence of an ulterior motive, as though ending that mistreatment wasn’t enough of a motivation on its own. These women—and it is almost always women—are accused of inciting this mistreatment in order to profit from decrying it. Though these accusations are transparently unfair and untrue, the trolls using them to attack vulnerable people are nothing new. What is new is the cottage industry of professional victimizers, using crowdfunding tools to capitalize on their infamy and devote even more time to harassment.” (via @Quinnae_Moon)

Rape culture

Evidently some guys are unclear on the definition of rape. From a study of college men: “a sizable number of participants indicated that they might use force to obtain intercourse, but would not rape a woman.”  (via @jimchines)

Gamergate

(Whether one is pro- or anti-gamergate—or anything else—doxxers and swatters are scumsuckers.)

Zoe Quinn: August Never Ends. “Keep in mind that I’m also writing this about 3,000 miles from the home it’s no longer safe to be at while we try and figure out how to move on from this meteor hitting us and be people again. I miss sleeping in my own bed, having my own space. I miss my cat.

Gamergate hits new low with attempts to send Swat teams to critics.

It’s ‘100 per cent terrorism’: Burnaby victim decries Internet ‘swatting’ that brought Mounties to her door (via @Quinnae_Moon) 

Speaking while female

How to Get Ahead as a Woman in Tech: Interrupt Men. Some really interesting stats in this, especially when you look at the details of who exactly interrupts whom.  (via @ChrisBoese)

Year ago, while producing the hit TV series “The Shield,” Glen Mazzara noticed that two young female writers were quiet during story meetings. He pulled them aside and encouraged them to speak up more. Watch what happens when we do, they replied.Speaking While Female: Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant on Why Women Stay Quiet at Work  (via @eilatan)

It just seems a little crazy to me how people believe is perfectly OK for women to doubt a compliment they receive, [but] when they actually believe the compliment they receive, they get shamed and branded as ‘vain’ or ‘conceited’.This Is What Happens When Women Actually Accept A Compliment From A Man Online (via @fozmeadows)

In the news

Software updates, installations now require consent. “Starting [January 15th], it’s illegal in Canada for a website to automatically install software on your computer.

Art + Design

The interesting part of this article, to me, is its comparison of two approaches to designing communities. New, privatized African city heralds climate apartheid (via Kameron Hurley @KameronHurley)

Thought-provoking

We’re not good enough to not practice. (via @iSmashFizzle)

The whole idea of fanfiction baffles many people. This is a really interesting analysis of it that covers everything from whether it should be defined in legalistic terms to its exploration of alternative forms of relations to its position in terms of male/female gaze and the politics of gender relationships to…. Wow. Foz Meadows – Thoughts on Fanfiction. “Fanfiction is old and new, smutty and sweet; it is flawed and complex and achingly human, and we will continue to discuss it for as long as we discuss stories – because if narrative borrowing can be reasonably considered an integral part of storytelling, then whatever its faults and professional status; whatever its biases, blind spots and mainstream perception, fanfiction is and will remain a pure, joyful expression of our impulse to tell stories about stories, an endless cycle of narrative interdependence that, for all its complexities, is also fundamentally simple.

My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward. “Psychiatric crises are episodic, but they cut deep into relationships and the lacerations take years to mend.” (via @iSmashFizzle)

Quote(s) of the week

Sarah Kendzior in a 2012 article: “Free speech means not only the right to offend, but the right to defend.”

JK Rowling tweet, on Rupert Murdoch’s statement that even peaceful Muslims must be held responsible for Charlie Hebdo: “I was born Christian. If that makes Rupert Murdoch my responsibility, I’ll auto-excommunicate.

Just for fun

Such absolute joy. Harley the Hyena takes a bath  (via @mcahogarth)

Wiping away tears of laughter… Untimorous beastie: “Milo’s habits are simple and revolting. He is a proper South London dog.

From the world pool: January 9, 2014

All righty… for this week, lots of links and a fair bit of opinion. I’m turning into a mouthy old bat.

Socio-political commentary

Charlie Hebdo

This is awful and it’s still unfolding and the news is full of it. A few thoughts:

The killings are despicable. This is clearly an act designed to intimidate people and oppose free speech, and people must stand together against this kind of terrorism.

Yet at the same time I can’t say “Je suis Charlie,” because I don’t want to be. I’ve looked through their cartoons, and some of them are vilely racist. Those cartoons go far beyond satire—the racism obliterates any strained satirical point—and I don’t want to be in any way associated with them. To clarify, this does NOT mean that I do not support free speech and the right of CH to publish—it means that I do not support the content of some of what they publish.

Katherine Cross puts this position across very well in Je ne suis Charlie: On the Charlie Hebdo massacre and duelling extremisms. “I support the sentiment, the empathy, the compassion that the slogan represents at its best (even if many are using it as a cover to spread Islamophobia as a misguided form of protest against Islamic extremism). But the simple fact is, I am not Charlie. I couldn’t be. Rather, I’m the sort of person who’d only ever get to be an ugly, rude caricature in their pages — a trans woman, a Latina, Puerto Rican but in the same community of Latinos scapegoated for various and sundry evils in the US, much as Muslims are in France. I’d never be the one wielding the pen, merely the lewd, pornographic subject and nothing more. I’d be fit for only the consumption of a privileged community, their joke, an unwilling jester. No, je ne suis pas Charlie.

As a counterpoint, “I am not Charlie, I am Ahmed the dead cop. Charlie ridiculed my faith and culture and I died defending his right to do so. #JesuisAhmed” (not sure of original source, retweeted by @sarahkendzior)

I also read a BBC op-ed article that said, “Unlike Charlie Hebdo, I had not set out to give offence. I am no satirist, and I do not usually enjoy hurting people’s feelings. Nevertheless, I too feel that some rights are worthy of being defended – and among them is the freedom of historians to question the origin myths of religions. That was why, when I heard the news from Paris yesterday, I chose to do something I would never otherwise have done, and tweet a Charlie Hebdo cartoon of Muhammad. …While under normal circumstances I am perfectly happy not to mock beliefs that other people hold dear, these are far from normal circumstances. As I tweeted yesterday, the right to draw Muhammad without being shot is quite as precious to many of us in the West as Islam presumably is to the Charlie Hebdo killers.”

Something about this bothered me, and it took me a little while to work out what it was. Here’s the thing: many individuals have republished CH cartoons from exactly these motivations of standing up for free speech. Organizations that normally would never dream of publishing the kind of racist content that CH produced, and would in fact critique it, are now republishing it. The point is to show that we won’t be silenced, and that’s important. But… the side effect of doing it in this way means offending many people who are not terrorists. Republishing the cartoons directly attacks not just the terrorists but all the multitudes of Muslims and minorities who are horrified by the attacks and condemn them without reservations*. How is that somehow now okay when it wasn’t before? It is possible to stand up for free speech and against terrorism without inflicting collateral damage—they are not mutually exclusive positions—but it doesn’t look like many are bothering to do so.

*Which of course raises the question: why are Muslims as a whole being asked to apologize for the actions of extremists?

Related:

Katherine Cross’s thoughts on “being polite” in discourse make a LOT of sense to me. (The first tweet is linked here; I don’t think anyone has storified them but this should help you find the original tweets if you want to.)

“See that’s exactly the problem with your column. You think being polite and respectful is the most important part of discourse” ~ a critic.

This is why I’m not a fan of the way the notion of the “tone argument” is structured, because it’s easily abused in precisely that way.

i.e. privileging caustic and aggressive speech as somehow more pure than reasoned discourse, which is as much of a fallacy as the reverse.

No, I don’t think politeness is the most important part of discourse; respect is far more important but still doesn’t come out on top.

No, if we must resort to ranking these things, I’d put “judgement” in the top slot. The ability to judge & discern different kinds of speech

Not all speech is equally valid or empirically accurate or just; learning to tell the differences is a vital skill.

If your response to that sort of thing is to throw your hands up and say “who gets to decide?” then I’d suggest you’re not into free speech.

Civic discourse is not just about the spewing of empty words (contrary to many a stereotype). It’s about resolutions and decisionmaking.

Speech has an outcome, an effect on the world. You don’t speak purely for its own sake, but for the sake of *doing something*.

So much free speech absolutism fetishises speech in the abstract, as if we say things simply for the hell of it.

That means avoiding absolute rules. Not all rude speech is awful and not all polite speech is virtuous. You must judge case by case.

So opposing racist caricatures, for instance, is not really about crudity per se, and disrespect only minimally. It’s about impact.

Other forms of rude, crude speech do *not* have the same deleterious impact (see: most Monty Python sketches).

Some forms of polite speech can be *deeply* harmful, e.g. Sarah Ditum’s call to suppress Leelah Alcorn’s suicide note.

The key to finding our way through this moral maze of speech is to learn how to judge, and judge fairly.

file under: appalling

Russia says drivers must not have ‘sex disorders’: “Russia has listed transsexual and transgender people among those who will no longer qualify for driving licences. Fetishism, exhibitionism and voyeurism are also included as “mental disorders” now barring people from driving.”

Anti-terror plan to spy on toddlers ‘is heavy-handed.’ “Nursery staff and childminders are given ‘duty’ to report toddlers they suspect of being at risk of becoming terrorists under new Home Office measures.”

Misogyny

Not a surprise. Men (on the Internet) don’t believe sexism is a problem in science, even when they see evidence.

Katherine Cross: “We will force gaming to be free.” On gamergate & the licence to inflict suffering.  “A careful examination of GamerGate reveals an anarchic social movement that is now fully given over to paranoid purge logic, purist orthodoxy, deep suspicion of outsiders and institutions, and, above all, a willingness to believe that the ends will justify the means. This conviction all but ensures that the movement will continually violate its own stated principles in order to achieve them, layering terrible irony atop terrible irony.

A Man in Black: How imageboard culture shaped Gamergate. “That tell-tale wedding of relentless hostility and ethical affectation is a peculiar youth subculture spilling out into the open web. Get ready for more of it.

Thoughts on shy nerd guy pain:

  • Compassion, Men and Me. “But do you want me to sympathize with you, or do you want me to drop what I was carrying to hold your feelings instead? That I will not do.” (via Chris Bourg @mchris4duke)

In the news

This makes me really angry. I live in a place that has a lot of trails used by hikers, mountain bikers, and horse riders…. And I’ve heard stories of mountain bike trail sabotage locally. The irony is that many of the trails that I use as a hiker were actually created by mountain bikers. Yes, there are issues with aggressive or discourteous behaviour by ALL trail using groups. Yes, there are battles between user groups. There are real issues with some kinds of trail use damaging trails; bikes and horses can do serious damage to them, but then, so can overuse by hikers, which is the group I’m primarily part of.

But the there are also solutions to these problems; you educate people as to how to share trails courteously, and you work on physical solutions that provide access while protecting the environment. You do NOT set traps that can hurt or kill someone.

Art + Design

Kickstarter and similar online crowd-sourcing venues now provide ways for people to fund projects that would otherwise be impossible to do. But evidently if you “do it wrong” there will be blowback. MCA Hogarth talks about how the reaction to the specifics of a request for funding relate to perceptions of risk-taking; Natalie Luhrs talks about the problems with too narrowly defining what is acceptable when asking for money.

Chaos at the Museum. “Beauty and craftsmanship are the standards by which their collections are traditionally built, but a number of design museums and galleries are widening their scope to include the ugly, dangerous and throwaway.” (via Paola Antonelli @curiousoctopus)

Intelligent design: The Empowerment Plan. “We are a humanitarian organization based in the city of Detroit. The plan centers around construction of a coat that transforms into a sleeping bag at night, and a bag when not in use. The coat is made by our team of mostly homeless single parents who have been paid to learn and to produce the coats for those living on the streets.”  (via Paola Antonelli @curiousoctopus)

Fascinating. A Practical Introduction to Muqarnas (via Tiro Typeworks @TiroTypeworks)

Thought-provoking

7 cultural concepts we don’t have in the U.S. I’m in favour of Friluftsliv, myself.  (via @ChrisBoese)

What’s Lost as Handwriting Fades. “New evidence suggests that the links between handwriting and broader educational development run deep.” (via @MaryRobinette)

What we’re giving up on in 2015 “Giving up is easier, but it’s not just the lazy way out. It’s only when you throw out your ideal vision that you start living functionally with yourself the way you are.” (via Tressie McMillan Cottom @tressiemcphd) One item on the list that resonates with me: “… I have paid $2-$20 each for a plethora of online solutions to help manage my to do list and “life hack” my ADHD away: Evernote. Do It Tomorrow. Remember The Milk. The to-do list function in Google Calendar. HabitRPG. Those are just the ones I started and then immediately abandoned in 2014. With each abandonment or failure, I would beat myself up for two months about how terrible and lazy and disorganized I am before shelling out for the next thing that would fix my life. …This year? Fuck it. Fuck it so hard. I have one system that mostly works and that thing is physically writing down lists on paper.”

Just for fun

File under: Clueless.

Local politician Kirby Delauter threatened a journalist with a lawsuit for reporting his name in a newspaper. This immediately and predictably and hilariously resulted in the Streisand effect. In particular, the offending newspaper’s response was a masterpiece (note the initial letter of each paragraph). He has since publically apologized, so I guess his attorney clued him in.  (originally via @ChrisBoese before it all exploded)

William Geraldi wrote a supremely self-satisfied article on his experience of paternity leave, called “This Brat’s For You.” The gist: his wife did all the work, and he drank a lot. Mallory Ortberg riffed on it brilliantly: I’d Love To Help My Wife Do The Dishes, But I’m Trapped Under Something Heavy.

From the world pool: January 2, 2015

Lots has been happening, so although I’d intended to skip posting this week because I already posted on Wednesday, there’s plenty to put up. Also: I’ve been posting these lists on Saturdays, but I think Friday may work better, so here we go.

Socio-political commentary

Laurie Penny: On Nerd Entitlement. White male nerds need to recognise that other people had traumatic upbringings, too – and that’s different from structural oppression.

The Viagra vote? Campaign research pushes the bounds of privacy.  “Data mining has become so sophisticated that campaigns can now target voters by mashing together public records with much more personal information from Facebook feeds and consumer reports that offer such nuggets as who has sterling credit ratings but hasn’t purchased a car in seven or more years. One company even wants to get into the political market by selling campaigns data that identifies which voters sought information on Viagra and other erectile-dysfunction drugs.” (via Tressie McMillan Cottom @tressiemcphd)

Why sealioning is bad. Make sure you look at the referenced cartoon.  (via Katherine Cross @Quinnae_Moon)

In my last World Pool post I linked to the suicide note of trans teenager Leelah Alcorn. The New Statesman published an article calling on people not to publicize her death, all in the interests of trans people at risk; here are two articles taking issue with that position and ripping the NS writer a new one.

UPDATE: Leelah Alcorn’s Tumblr site and suicide message have been purged from the net, presumably at the request of her family, but can still be found online: The Toast reproduces the suicide note here, and the first two comments on this blog post include links to archives of it.

Evidently the NYPD’s protest action of reducing policing is working so well that people have noticed that policing has actually gotten better.

Art + Design

wang ruilin unites man and myth for surreal animal sculpture series  (via MCA Hogarth @mcahogarth)

Useful key to the symbols used on car dashboards. My favourite is the last one. If you don’t get the reference, google the phrase. (via MCA Hogarth @mcahogarth)

Just for fun

A little late, but… The Scientific Cure for Hangovers (via Maria Popova @brainpicker)

A Linguist Explains the Grammar of Doge. Wow.

Hope

In some ways I found this complex story of genocide and its aftermath a hopeful one to start the year with, as it shows that at least some individuals can turn aside from what history defines for them: A Century of Silence. “These days, if a stranger, a shopkeeper, a person offering directions learns that you are Armenian and of Diyarbakir ancestry, you will be ushered into a home, welcomed with tea, treated like a long-lost relative deserving honor. You will behemşerim: a person of this place.” (via Sunny Moraine @dynamicsymmetry)

And finally… Mary Lambert: Secrets. A delightful, cheerful song celebrating diversity and calling for an end to hiding who we are.

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