Happy Earth Day. (“Black Marble” image courtesy NASA)
I didn’t post last week, so the world pool is extra deep today. Continue reading “From the world pool: April 14, 2017”
It’s world pool post. Go snuggle someone.
Another busy week!
Here you go, neighbour!
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”
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”
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.
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”
Feminism AND GENDER ISSUES
This Vote Is Legally Binding. Did you read that awful advice thing from the Men’s Rights Activist called How to Talk to a Woman Wearing Headphones? (Trigger Warning: extraordinary levels of privilege and creepiness.) It spawned quite the internet memes, but this is one particularly brilliant response, from the wonderful Ursula Vernon.
The Disappearing Act. How women in science and academia get erased. “Take one 11th century Italian physician named Trotula who gained both fame and respect in her own lifetime for treating women’s ailments. By the next century, a historian assumed someone so accomplished couldn’t be a woman and changed her pronoun and name to the masculine form. (via @KameronHurley)
Equal Means Equal: A Wake-Up Call to Women WRITER-DIRECTOR-ACTRESS Kamala Lopez is an outspoken proponent of the Equal Rights Amendment. She believes that, more than any other legislation on behalf of women, the ERA could turn the tide on the systemic sexism and biases against women — including the gender pay gap, sexual assault and rape, pregnancy discrimination, domestic violence, female poverty and homelessness, health care and reproductive rights — by its assertion that “civil rights may not be denied on the basis of one’s sex.” Her film Equal Means Equal takes on these weighty issues in a sobering 94-minute wake-up call to American women on the vast inequities they face in the United States, while providing a compelling argument for the urgency of ratifying this constitutional amendment, which was first introduced in 1923 and passed by Congress and sent to the states for ratification in 1972.
It’s hard to believe that it’s never passed, isn’t it? Or maybe not so hard to believe.
Watch Helen Mirren shut down the patriarchy in this incredibly sexist 1975 interview. This cheered me up a bit.
The ignorance aimed at Caster Semenya flies in the face of the Olympic spirit. “If this were a simple case of sour grapes it would fade with few caring. But the stakes are far higher. The IAAF is going back to Cas to defend a policy that it accepts discriminates against women. A policy whose explicit aim is to make women slower. That benefits no one.”
The Court That Rules the World This is scary stuff. “A parallel legal universe, open only to corporations and largely invisible to everyone else, helps executives convicted of crimes escape punishment.”
Diversity and Racism
The Legacy of Lynching, on Death Row. “Lynchings, which took the form of hangings, shootings, beatings, and other acts of murder, were often public events, urged on by thousands, but by the nineteen-thirties the behavior of the crowds had begun to draw criticism in the North. ‘The only reason lynchings stopped in the American South was that the spectacle of the crowds cheering these murders was becoming problematic,’ Stevenson told me. ‘Local law enforcement was powerless to stop the mob, even if it wanted to. So people in the North started to say that the federal government needed to send in federal troops to protect black people from these acts of terror. No one in power in the South wanted that—so they moved the lynchings indoors, in the form of executions. They guaranteed swift, sure, certain death after the trial, rather than before the trial.'” (via @eilatan)
Why Do We Judge Parents For Putting Kids At Perceived — But Unreal — Risk? “Additional analyses suggested that it was indeed participants’ judgment of the parent’s immorality that drove up their assessments of risk. The authors sum up their findings like this: ‘People don’t only think that leaving children alone is dangerous and therefore immoral. They also think it is immoral and therefore dangerous.'”
White Nonsense Roundup: on Facebook and on Twitter. “White Nonsense Roundup (WNR) was created by white people to address our inherently racist society in our own communities. We believe it is our responsibility to call out white friends, relatives, contacts, speakers, and authors who are contributing to structural racism and harming our friends of color. We are a resource for anti-racist images, links, videos, artwork, essays, and voices. These can be used by anyone for a DIY white nonsense roundup, or by the WNR team to support people of color upon their request.”
How To Talk About Privilege To Someone Who Doesn’t Know What That Is. “The actual privileges we inherit because of our identity don’t define our character, but what does is whether we choose to act to change the system of oppression that affords us those privileges.” (via @nowhitenonesense)
Think Before You Appropriate: The Intellectual Property Issues in Cultural Heritage (IPinCH) project is a seven-year international research initiative based at Simon Fraser University, in British Columbia, Canada. The researchers there have created a resource titled: “THINK BEFORE YOU APPROPRIATE” and CARFAC is urging all artists to give it a read.
Think Before You Appropriate provides advice to designers and marketers on why and how to avoid misappropriation, and underlines the mutual benefits of responsible collaborations with Indigenous artists and communities. This is an important tool for all peoples in Canada as we move towards reconciliation and respect for Indigenous cultures and peoples.
Well, this is depressing.
“Our living dinosaurs:” There are far fewer African elephants than we thought, study shows. “The current rate of species decline is 8%, meaning that elephant numbers could halve to 160,000 in nine years if nothing changes, according to the survey — and localized extinction is almost certain.” (via @ChrisBoese)
Art + Design
Artist Turns Old Farm Equipment Into Incredible Animal Sculptures You’ll Ever See. I kind of want one for my yard.
Just for fun
Natalie Luhrs has a comprehensive set of links up, but I want to add a few more. First of all, this Foz Meadows post from Tumblr. I am white and I identify as a feminist, and I agree with everything said by feministbatwoman and Foz: not in my name. The whole idea of justifying the murder of black people by saying it is to protect white female purity is abhorrent bullshit. White women do not need to be protected from black men. Every white feminist, every white woman, should reinforce this message.
Also: mental health issues may cause someone to be violent, but it is the existence of systemic, institutionalized oppressions such as racism that tell them where to point the gun. The Charleston shootings were clearly racist, and it appals me that they might be considered anything else.
“Empathy does not preclude accountability”: Jay Smooth on Rachel Dolezal.
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
I missed posting on Friday, because migraine plus back spasm, and that lasted through the weekend. So here’s the catch-up.
Let Them Eat Privilege. “By substituting class relations for an arbitrary list of “privileges,” Vox is attempting to paint a picture of an immiserated America with no villain. It’s an America without a ruling class that directly and materially benefits from everyone else’s hard times. And this omission isn’t just incorrect — it robs us of any meaningful oppositional politics that could change it all.” (via @al3x)
Gwyneth’s SNAP Challenge bombed, of course: Living in poverty takes skills she didn’t bother to learn. “So here’s what’s galling anyway about her “poverty tourism” — and what gives me just a touch of white hot fury. It’s that rich person arrogance of assuming that privilege equals ability. …Actually, guys, it’s hard for you to be poor. Lots of us are great at it. Lots of us do it every goddamn day.” (via @KameronHurley)
What you don’t know about Internet algorithms is hurting you. (And you probably don’t know very much!) “Unfortunately, personalization isn’t always everything it’s cracked up to be. Because personalization algorithms try to predict content you will like, they tend to surface only things that agree with your established preferences; over time, and through lots of clicks, you gradually work your way into an online world where all news articles are fiercely liberal, or all recipes contain Brussels sprouts.” (via @mchris4duke)
Thousands dead, few prosecuted. “Among the thousands of fatal shootings at the hands of police since 2005, only 54 officers have been charged, a Post analysis found. Most were cleared or acquitted in the cases that have been resolved.” (via @tressiemcphd)
Racism and diversity
Vanessa Mártir: Color in AW(hite)Place. “I could tell you about so much but my mind goes to that black body on the floor just outside the men’s bathroom, one sneaker just inches from his face.” (via @rgay)
Toni Bell on the language of racism: “So when someone says, ‘Oh, they did that to you because you’re black,’ I quickly correct them with, ‘No, they did that because they are bigots.’” (via @tressiemcphd)
Now THIS is a rant. Programming Sucks. “Every programmer starts out writing some perfect little snowflake like this. Then they’re told on Friday they need to have six hundred snowflakes written by Tuesday, so they cheat a bit here and there and maybe copy a few snowflakes and try to stick them together or they have to ask a coworker to work on one who melts it and then all the programmers’ snowflakes get dumped together in some inscrutable shape and somebody leans a Picasso on it because nobody wants to see the cat urine soaking into all your broken snowflakes melting in the light of day. Next week, everybody shovels more snow on it to keep the Picasso from falling over.” (via @pericat)
I Was Sexually Assaulted At UVA. I Don’t Accept the Reporter’s Apology. “When a someone agrees to tell his or her story, you must tell them you’re going to ask questions they don’t like. Let them walk away from the story if they aren’t prepared for how ugly and thorough the reporting can be. They need to know that you can’t shield them from the painful necessity of verification on account of the living hell they’ve walked through. It doesn’t feel good to cast aspersion on a trauma victim, but it’s not the survivor’s job to be able to craft a perfect, linear plot—it’s yours. As a journalist, you are not their friend, and you are not their advocate. That is someone else’s job, and you can’t lose sight of that for a minute.” (via @iSmashFizzle)
Rewriting the Future. “For all of our ability to analyze and critique, the left has become rooted in what is. We often forget to envision what could be. We forget to mine the past for solutions that show us how we can exist in other forms in the future. That is why I believe our justice movements desperately need science fiction.”