The weekly roundup.
A collection of links from the last week or so.
Sorry, there’s not a lot of light stuff in today’s post. Continue reading “From the world pool: February 10, 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.
Well, I suck at updating my blog, don’t I? I haven’t done a world pool collection since October 18th. And as I had a lot of stuff to post two weeks ago—and almost got to it but didn’t quite—I now have an enormously long list of links.
Much of it had to do with the American election. I’m still going to post some of it, if I think it’s relevant to the aftermath, though I must say that the aftermath on its own is generating an ever-growing cascade of things to read.
This is a VERY long blog post, so I’m going to put the actual links under the cut. Continue reading “From the world pool: November 20, 2016”
Today I went to check out Gabriolan.ca, and found this:
I’ve shut down Gabriolan.ca.
It seems that this is necessary in order to maintain my privacy. I’m sad about that, but some people don’t accept or respect the fact that there are good reasons for wanting to be anonymous on the internet.
I’ve enjoyed the chance to share things with you over the last seven years. The articles, photos, and comments you contributed were a gift to me and to everybody who stopped by to read the site.
… Best wishes to all of you. To the kind and respectful readers: thank you for enriching my life.
I am beyond furious about this. This was a great site, I found so much of interest there; it was one of very few blogs I read regularly.
And it’s been shut down because of concerns for privacy. And for me this is a hot-button issue.
Here’s the thing: there are a lot of good reasons to be private on the internet, i.e. keeping your identity and/or personal information private. Here are two (of countless) recent examples of what happens to people who are not anonymous and who annoyed someone on the internet.
- This is what happened to Zoe Quinn: August Never Ends
- And this is what happened to Zoe Quinn’s boyfriend: Risky Business.
And this kind of harassment—let’s call it stalking, because that’s what much of it is—has been going on for MONTHS.
For some people it has been going on for years.
And yes, most of it might “just” be assholes behaving like assholes (and why is that okay anyway? why is it somehow okay to be an aggressive asshole if you are pointing your assholery at someone who is anonymous?). But the point is that the recipient DOESN’T KNOW what’s a creditable threat and what isn’t. (Does the name Elliot Rodger ring a bell?) Consider this: A redditor succinctly breaks down the fear behind “credible threats” with regards to safety precautions/leaving home. This is the reality of the experience of online harassment for many people, and not just people who are prominent and well known.
But here’s my main point: why the hell should someone else get to decide whether your concerns are realistic or not, and make the choice of whether you should be anonymous or not?
My opinion? You don’t get to choose for someone else.
Gabriolan is a private citizen, expressing their views on matters affecting their community and way of life. Private citizens get to remain private if they so wish, for any reason or none at all. No one gets to make the decision of how private we should be for me, for you, for Gabriolan, or for that matter anyone anywhere. They don’t get to decide for any of us what we wear to market, or what locks we do or don’t put on our doors (virtual or otherwise). They don’t get to decide what name I put on my driver’s license, for that matter, much less what name I hang on my website. If they are not comfortable with the names we’ve chosen to use within the spheres in which we move, their (honest and civil) options are limited to ‘sucking it up’ and ‘sucking it up harder’. (They could also grouse and whine, but that’s merely being petty and human, rather than grossly self-centred and reckless.)
“Outing” someone in any way—making public any information about them that they have chosen to keep private—is not “honesty.” It is solely an act of aggression. It is punishment. It is someone admitting they cannot counter another’s views or position using reasoned argument, and therefore they will silence them using whatever underhanded weapons they can bring to bear. It’s flipping the gameboard and setting fire to the pieces because you can’t stand the idea of others disagreeing with you.
There is nothing to stop anyone with engaging with ideas and opinions from an anonymous source. (If someone won’t allow you to do so using their personal platform, there’s nothing to stop you from creating your own platform and arguing from that.) Ideas and opinions require neither identity nor anonymity; they stand on their own. Insisting that people do not have the right to be anonymous is not an argument with the substance of their ideas; it is the opposite. It is in fact detached from the substance of the ideas, and a red herring. It is bullying.
And that claim I have seen so often, that anonymity is the refuge of cowards? Applying it to everyone, without knowledge of individual circumstances or context, is the height of privileged arrogance and entitlement. And given what’s in the news about online harassment these days, I think it would be very, very difficult to make that claim without being disingenuous in the extreme.