Something Awful indeed

Aug. 20th, 2017 09:57 am[personal profile] jewelfox
jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

SA has been hitting it out of the park lately, with its Onion-esque takes on current events. Check these out if you need to laugh in order to keep from crying!

(Content note: Refers to, and skewers the subjects of, recent depressing news stories that you may not want to be reminded of.)

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[Art] Hospital Firebird.

Aug. 18th, 2017 04:20 pm[personal profile] moonvoice
moonvoice: (t - will the sheep punch me? maybe)
I started this on Monday, with a Kilometrico ballpoint pen.
I was waiting to see the Radiation Oncologist.
I kept working on it on Tuesday,
in a waiting room,
while waiting to see the ENT Surgeon.
And then I finished it on Wednesday,
in another hospital waiting room,
while waiting to see the base of skull Neurosurgeon.

All ballpoint pen.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

Content note: This week, the notorious sexist, transphobic harassment machine Zak Sabbath got another transgender games writer to drop off the face of the internet and/or social media. This is the third transgender (or otherwise non-cis) victim of his that I know of, who has committed infosuicide or otherwise severely curtailed their online activity because of him.

Frustrated with the tabletop games industry -- especially the regressive, authoritarian part of it called the OSR, or "Old School Renaissance / Revolution," but also people like Mark Diaz Truman who have helped to create a false equivalence in people's minds between abusers and their victims -- I had a public meltdown about it on Google+. This post reproduces that meltdown in its entirety.

For more information on the GamerGate of the tabletop games scene, Zak S, see Ettin's compilation thread and this compilation thread on Google+. Keep in mind that most of the TG scene is okay with this, or is cheering him on, and that Zak S was credited in the latest edition of the Dungeons & Dragons Player's Handbook.

Vent posting follows )

Comic Anthology Submission?

Aug. 14th, 2017 03:06 pm[personal profile] armaina
armaina: (daga)
So I only just learned about this anthology today
https://ftlyallanthology.tumblr.com/

Submissions open tomorrow and close on September 15th and I'm seriously contemplating attempting.

It's about a world with affordable FTL travel and that's literally what's going on in a setting I already have, where FTL travel has become accessible and trivial and a basic part of life leading to extremely vast interplanetary connection. My only thing is I just gotta figure out a start to end story that'll translate to 4-20 pages, so I gotta make a vignette about these yahoos. I know I can do it I just gotta find me a hook.

Like for further context, it's this group
http://toyhou.se/armaina/characters/folder:30651

I'll probably do it traditional to save myself time. I just need to get myself some comic board tho. Hoping I can clear up my cue quick and take some traditional commissions to cover the purchase of paper. Aaah and getting paid for it would be a real boon, plus you know, excitement of published material. Gosh I should probably hammer down my main comic because I could use that publication to drum up interest in the comic(s) I wanna do. I've slowly started to make a breakthrough in my primary one but there are a few hinges I need to put in place to really pick it up. The REAL kicker is that I don't know how to start it.

I guess side note, would anyone be interested in like IDK Server related to the stuff I'm working on? IDK

Nearly alone in the suburbs

Aug. 14th, 2017 12:59 pm[personal profile] jewelfox
jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

Content note: Tense family stuff and inequality / sexism / racism.

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Carl Jung once said something about how loneliness has less to do with how many people there are around you, and more to do with whether or not you feel you can say what's important to you.

That's why I complain so much about inequality, sexism, racism, and so on. Every day I'm reminded that I live in a society founded on all of these things, even if it's slightly better (or at least more polite) here than in the States. I can't ignore it, the way the white people I talk to here can. And when they lapse into awkward silences, like when I made the comment about rich people paying for transit or another comment about Canada's treatment of indigenous people, it shows me what parts of their psyches and societies they are not willing to confront.

Conversely, when I meet someone I can talk about these things with I feel so much better about myself. It's like a weight's taken off of my shoulders, and I can approach the work of surviving within this society with a sense of humour rather than fatalism. It's not about nursing a grudge; it's about finding the strength to go on.

So thank you all for reading, listening, and commenting here. It means a lot to me.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

Partly because pretty much all of the people I've been close to lately have been one or more of the above, including the Q, the I, and the A.

And partly because the kind of people who are pissed off about adding letters to the acronym deserve to be pissed.

The people I care and have cared about are here, and deserve to be recognized. Anything that makes them feel included is good.

Art Fight Draws

Aug. 11th, 2017 06:02 pm[personal profile] armaina
armaina: seriously dudes, not stock art. (Default)
You know there's been entirely too much griping and not enough production.
My tablet has been on the fritz but I did some traditional art for ArtFight that I'll share.

6 marker colored arts in here )

Catch-up time.

Aug. 11th, 2017 03:26 pm[personal profile] redsixwing
redsixwing: Red-winged angel staring at a distant star. (Default)
I had surgery on the 2nd, and it went largely well. Fast, no complications.

I've been accordingly ignoring everything and anything, so I've missed about the last two weeks of DW. I'm calling amnesty on it; if you have something you're proud of and want a cheer for, please drop a link here!

Naming the problem

Aug. 10th, 2017 12:22 pm[personal profile] tim
tim: text: "I'm not offended, I'm defiant" (defiant)
This is a follow-up to my article "Refusing to Empathize with Elliot Rodger: Taking Male Entitlement Seriously".

As I mentioned initially, Lundy Bancroft lists a number of tactics abusive men use in conversations. In Why Does He Do That?, he notes that when one of the abusers he works with attempts to use one of these tactics on him or another group participant, and Bancroft calmly names which tactic it is instead of reacting, the abuser usually gets even angrier. So in that spirit, I thought I would compile a list of responses to my article and classify them according to the abuse tactics they use.

Here is a subset of Bancroft's list of conversational abuse tactics in p. 145-146 (n.b. all page-number references are to Why Does He Do That?)

  1. Sarcasm
  2. Ridicule
  3. Distorting what you say (this was one of the most common responses I saw, in which the interlocutor would make up a caricature of what I wrote and then attack that, instead of engaging with the actual ideas).
  4. Accusing you of doing what he does, or thinking the way he thinks (AKA projection, as discussed on p. 142)
  5. Using a tone of absolute certainty and final authority -- "defining reality":
    When Mr. Right decides to take control of a conversation, he switches into his Voice of Truth, giving the definitive pronouncement on what is the correct answer or the proper outlook. Abuse counselors call this tactic defining reality. Over time, his tone of authority can cause his partner to doubt her own judgment and come to see herself as not very bright. (p. 82)
  6. Not listening, refusing to respond -- I've rephrased this as "dismissal", since the original list was concerned with in-person conversations where one person can literally ignore the other. Online, the equivalent of this is not ignoring, but replying in a way that doesn't at all engage with the content, rather labeling it in ways that create negative sentiment without actually trying to refute ideas. Dismissal is not ignoring (it's great when people ignore things they don't like or don't care about!) -- the effort that the abuser puts in to communicate "I didn't read this, I didn't think it was worth reading, but I'm still going to attack it" shows that it is important to them that the person being abused not be heard. (Compare Kathy Sierra's "Trouble at the Kool-Aid Point" and my own previous discussion of false dismissal.)
  7. Changing the subject to his grievances
  8. Provoking guilt
  9. Playing the victim
  10. Name-calling, insults, put-downs. I'm calling out "insulting intelligence" as its own subcategory:
    The abuser tends to see his partner as less intelligent, less competent, less logical, and even less sensitive than he is.... He often has difficulty conceiving of her as a human being. (p. 63)
    One of the primary rhetorical weapons used against underrepresented people in tech is that we're not intelligent, and indeed, that was a large part of what made the original manifesto abusive.
  11. Threatening to harm you
There are others, but I listed the ones that are most relevant to online conversations. And I would add two more:
  • Demanding explanation, where the interlocutor asks for more justification either in ways that make it clear they didn't read the entire piece, or didn't read it carefully, or don't actually want to debate and are just asking in order to steal attention. Sort of like a human denial-of-service attack. The person demanding explanation is like the type of abuser Bancroft describes as "Mr. Right":
    "Mr. Right tries to sanitize his bullying by telling me, 'I have strong opinions' or 'I like debating ideas.' This is like a bank robber saying, 'I'm interested in financial issues.' Mr. Right isn't interested in debating ideas; he wants to impose his own." (p. 83)
    "It is frustrating, and ultimately pointless, to argue with someone who is certain beyond the shadow of a doubt that his perspective is accurate and complete and that yours is wrong and stupid. Where can the conversation possibly go?" (p. 144)
    Demanding explanation is abusive because it's deceptive: the abuser who demands an explanation holds out the promise that he is reasonable, he can be persuaded, and the conversation can go somewhere positive if you just explain more. In reality, he is not open to being changed by what he hears, and is just trying to waste your time and/or entrap you for more abuse. Demanding a 1-on-1 conversation also reflects entitlement to the time and attention of the writer, who has already provided plenty of explanation. It is pretty obvious to me when someone is asking questions out of genuine openness to change, and when they're doing it in a rude and entitled way.
  • Gaslighting; Bancroft discusses discrediting extensively (p. 125, p. 146) but doesn't call it out in the above list. "You're too sensitive", "You're overreacting", and -- when not justified, other than by the purported oversensitivity of the writer -- "You can't make that comparison, it's ridiculous" are all forms of gaslighting. They attempt to make the listener doubt their own perceptions and judgment. I included gaslighting comments under "ridicule", but it's worth pointing out that this is a common and insidious form of ridicule, since it seems superficially reasonable (of course we all think that nobody should be too sensitive, or react too much, though the boundary for how sensitive it's acceptable to be is rarely discussed).

The analysis

I read:
  • All of my mentions that were replies to tweets (from me or other people) linking to "Refusing to Empathize with Elliot Rodger, or that linked to the essay without replying to me.
  • Two comments on my Dreamwidth post that were screened and that I deleted.
(I excluded a lot of mentions that could also have gone on this list, but were replies to tweets unrelated to the essay. My favorite one of those, though, was a response to a picture I posted of a display of boxes of LaCroix sparkling water, which said something like "looking for something to drink so you can get fatter?")

The following table lists all but one of the responses, along with the abusive tactics each one employs.

There was one response that didn't use any of the abusive tactics above. It was illogical (blaming Marc Lépine's actions on Islam because Lépine's father was Algerian), but may have been written in good faith, even if it was ignorant.

So in short:

  • 27 critical/negative replies
  • 26 out of 27 use at least one abuse tactic identified by Bancroft; most several
  • The remaining one is illogical / primarily based on religious stereotyping.
  • No substantive criticisms. At all.
I am often wrong, and many times, people have had critical things to say about my writing. Sometimes they were right. Often, they were non-abusive. But something about this essay drew out many abusive responses, while no one had a genuine intellectual criticism. When you call out and name abuse, a way that you can tell that you were right is that the abusers get more abusive. I'm sure there are places where this essay falls short, logically, or could be better expressed. But no one has pointed them out.

CW: verbally abusive comments; slurs )

Conclusion

The dominance of abuse in the negative responses to my piece doesn't prove I'm right, of course. It doesn't prove there's no good argument against my core theses, and it doesn't prove I didn't make any mistakes. But given that a lot of people were so eager to debunk my article, if there was a good argument, don't you think one of them might have found one?

I think giving names to abusive conversational patterns is extremely powerful and I think it's important to distinguish between criticism and abuse, and notice when the only thing people can seem to muster up in response to anti-abuse discourse is more abuse.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

Let's talk about Linux and open-source stuff for a minute.

Free Software is NOT about Accessibility or equality. I see evidence for that claim since more then 15 years now. It is about coolness, self-staging, scratch-your-own-itchness and things like that. When Debian released Jessie [a version of the Debian OS], I was told that something like Accessibility is not important enough to delay the release. If GNOME just broke all the help system by switching to not-yet-accessible webkit, that is just bad luck, I was told. But it is outside of the abilities of package maintainers to ensure that what we ship is accessible.

I hereby officially give up. And I admit my own stupidity. Sorry for claiming Free Software would be a good thing for the world. It is definitely not for my kin. If Free Software ever takes over, the blind will be unable to use their computers.

-- Mario Lang, If your software should be cross platform and accessible, forget about Qt

This mirrors my experience with the Free Software / open-source world. If it's not something an abled cismale hacker cares about, it usually doesn't get done.

Accessibility isn't just about blind or deaf people. It also means people with learning disabilities trying to understand what's going on, mentally ill people trying to accomplish a task while stressed to the breaking point, or arthritic people trying to click a small target. It means minorities being able to participate without being subject to harassment or insulting stereotypes. It means having a culture that encourages patience and empathy, instead of attacking people who display those traits.

I participated in GNOME's outreach efforts as a paid intern, in 2012, because I thought they were a group that cared about these things too. Some of them, I think, still do, and maybe it's even improving. But mostly the experience taught me how little women, and "women's work" (anything that isn't coding), are valued in this subculture. A subculture which has disproportionate power, over the lives and livelihoods of a lot of people very different from them.

I'm sorry for evangelizing it. I honestly thought it was for the best.

PS. Dreamwidth is actually pretty great about this stuff. It's also one of the very few Free Software projects where women are a majority.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

Meet Kethra.

A photo of a small plastic miniature on Jewel fox's desk, next to her laptop. The miniature is of a female spell caster in a green dress, with a grey cloak over the top and a set of leather pouches and accessories hanging off of her waist. She is carrying her spell book in one hand, and using the other to summon ethereal flames from its pages.

She's a rebellious notary public, from a snowy part of the Forgotten Realms.

One winter, her local lord barred anyone without notarized identity papers from accessing shelter or grain. Kethra responded by notarizing any and all papers that crossed her desk while there was snow on the ground.

A cat is now lord of that land. The cat has impeccable documentation.

... oh yeah, her hobby is studying magic. That's what she's doing in this picture. Magic, not studying it.

Detailed profile )

tim: "System Status: Degraded" (degraded)
[Content warnings: Discussion of domestic violence, suicide, and verbal abuse, including specific misogynist slurs and more general sexist gaslighting strategies.]

In 1989, Marc Lépine murdered fourteen women in Montreal for being women and being engineering students. He proceeded to kill himself, having written in his suicide note:

"Would you note that if I commit suicide today 89-12-06 it is not for economic reasons (for I have waited until I exhausted all my financial means, even refusing jobs) but for political reasons. Because I have decided to send the feminists, who have always ruined my life, to their Maker.... Being rather backward-looking by nature (except for science), the feminists have always enraged me. They want to keep the advantages of women (e.g. cheaper insurance, extended maternity leave preceded by a preventative leave, etc.) while seizing for themselves those of men." (quoted by Wikipedia)

More recently, in 2014, Elliot Rodger murdered six people near the UC Santa Barbara campus. Rodger also killed himself, citing his feelings of social rejection by women as the reason for his crime:

"I'm 22 years old and I'm still a virgin. I've never even kissed a girl. I've been through college for two and a half years, more than that actually, and I'm still a virgin. It has been very torturous. College is the time when everyone experiences those things such as sex and fun and pleasure. Within those years, I've had to rot in loneliness. It's not fair. You girls have never been attracted to me. I don't know why you girls aren't attracted to me, but I will punish you all for it. It's an injustice, a crime.... I don't know what you don't see in me. I'm the perfect guy and yet you throw yourselves at these obnoxious men instead of me, the supreme gentleman.... How could an inferior, ugly black boy be able to get a white girl and not me?" -- (Rodger's manifesto, quoted by Wikipedia)

Did Lépine and Rodger have some good points? Did they have valid grievances regardless of the regrettable way in which they both chose to express those grievances (mass murder)? I hope you won't have to think too hard before saying "no". Neither Lépine's sense of entitlement to social privileges, nor Rodger's sense of entitlement to sex and racial status, are reasonable.

In Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men, Lundy Bancroft (a counselor who co-founded the first program for abusive men in the US and has worked with abusive men for many years) shows that domestic abusers don't abuse because of their feelings, because they're out-of-control or angry, or because they are mentally ill or influenced by substances. They abuse because of their thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes, which create a coherent justification for abuse -- largely through beliefs that they are entitled to something from a woman, and are morally justified in punishing her if she doesn't provide it.

"...an abuser's core problem is that he has a distorted sense of right and wrong." (Bancroft, p. 35)

Likewise, Lépine believed that he had a right to a job and that women were oppressing him by being better job candidates than him. Rodger believed that he had a right to sex and that women were oppressing him by not sleeping with him. By killing women, they hoped to send a message to all women that interfering with men's wishes was dangerous. They killed in cold blood, uninfluenced by mental illness or uncontrollable rage. Both crimes were premeditated; both killers had moral theories that justified their actions. We know about those moral theories because both men wrote about them. The positions that men have a right to jobs and women do not, and that men have a right to sex and women have a moral obligation to provide it to men who want it, are political opinions. I hope it's obvious to you that these political opinions are wrong.

Last week, a manifesto written by a Google engineer surfaced; the manifesto resembles those of Rodger's and Lépine's, and you can [CW: explicit sexism, racism, and various other *isms, as well as gaslighting and manipulation] read it for yourself. The manifesto tells a subset of people who work at Google, "Your presence here is illegitimate and you don't belong." I know that's the message because I'm one of those people: I'm a trans man and thus, according to the document, am biologically worse at engineering than cis men like its author (although it's not exactly clear whether the author thinks that cis women's uteruses make them worse at coding -- in which case my skills would come into question -- or whether their hormones do -- in which case I'd be in the clear, phew!)

The manifesto expresses thoughts, beliefs and attitudes that are common to its author, Lépine, Rodger, and the domestic abusers Bancroft describes. It is written from a place of entitlement: like Lépine and Rodger but unlike some of the domestic abusers, the entitlement is not to just one specific woman's attention and service, but rather, to special privileges as white men and to submission and deference from all women, and all people of color, and everybody else occupying a lower position in the social hierarchy. Like Lépine, he's concerned that they're taking our jobs.

In response, Google's VP of Diversity, Integrity, and Governance -- in an email to all Google employees with the subject line "Affirming our commitment to diversity and inclusion—and healthy debate" -- said, "Part of building an open, inclusive environment means fostering a culture in which those with alternative views, including different political views, feel safe sharing their opinions. But that discourse needs to work alongside the principles of equal employment found in our Code of Conduct, policies, and anti-discrimination laws." Other executives expressed disagreement with the message in the manifesto while agreeing that the author had a good point about the "psychologically unsafe environment" for people with political beliefs like his. Some managers reiterated that it was important to be able to share different points of view at Google. In other words: he was wrong to say these things, but you can't help but sympathize with the poor guy -- he felt persecuted for his political views.

When you say that the manifesto writer had a point, you are saying that Rodger and Lépine had a point.

"...the abuser's problem lies above all in his belief that controlling or abusing his female partner is justifiable." (Bancroft, p. 35)
In the rest of this essay, I'm addressing you if you think the views in the manifesto are wrong but that the author has some valid points, or that the manifesto is a valuable contribution to healthy debate. I want to show you that these views need to be shut down, not debated with or sympathized with. I am not addressing people who substantially agree with the content of the manifesto. If that's you, then you might as well stop reading right here.

Read more... )