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ShifterCat
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Just when I clicked on this post, the song "Dirty Little Mind" came on my music player. FYI, I'm a woman, and though I can't do it myself, I have heard that some women can stimulate themselves hands-free, using Kegel-like exercises. And then there are the stories about "innocent" household items like electric toothbrushes, shower massage heads, washing machines during spin cycle, etc. I'm thinking of sharing your posts, as a group, on my LJ.
@truth is life: here's a mother's interview with her actual seven-year-old daughter over the Starfire thing.
I think we'll always need heroes. As to telling different stories with different characters, I'd argue that 1. An additive, rather than subtractive, approach is best (though I count superheroes "passing the torch" as an additive approach) 2. There are a lot of great minority characters already out there who've been neglected or character-derailed; rectifying that would be a good step and 3. We'll start to see greater sensitivity towards marginalized groups in mainstream comics when the big studios put more effort into encouraging, hiring, and talent-spotting writers and artists who are from those groups. And if I may blogwhore for a bit, I actually wrote a post back in April about the superhero as metaphor: Arkham Asylum, and How To Read a Superhero Comic.
Thank you, mmy. Could I possibly get you to delete the html-less one, also? It doesn't seem necessary now. Done :)
Ok, WTF? I've posted a comment about three times, and it still doesn't show.
@Tonio: my grandmother was kidding. Well, more to the point, she was doing three things at once: talking about racial revulsion in a way a little kid could grasp, making a joke at the racists' expense, and highlighting that racist beliefs are ridiculous.
Toggle Commented Aug 7, 2011 on Cui bono? Cui malo? at The Slacktiverse
histrogeek said: My solution thus far has been to mention different national origins, explain that they are no more important than where different members of our family were born, and that some people say it's more important, but they are "silly" to think that way. This reminds me of an anecdote my mother told me about her mother. My grandmother did a lot of things to support the American civil rights movement, and at one point she had to explain to my mother why they were boycotting a public swimming pool. Mom: But why don't we swim there? Grandma: Because they don't let black people swim there. Mom: Why not? Grandma: Oh, they think that if black people go swimming, their colour will wash off. Mom: ...That's silly. Grandma: Yes, it is.
Toggle Commented Aug 7, 2011 on Cui bono? Cui malo? at The Slacktiverse
@Aravind: Okay. Friends?
Toggle Commented Jul 16, 2011 on Harassment is not negotiable at The Slacktiverse
(TW: discussion of rape and trauma. Also, cussing.) Okay, Aravind? I'm up on Activism 101. I already know the kind of issues you're talking about, with co-opting battles and whatnot. However. While it may be useful to equate racial and gender equality (and the intersections thereof), it is a fact that there are some key differences. So I'm going to leave off talking about civil rights battles for a while and discuss women's rights, since I have the insider's perspective on that one. You know that thing you were saying about not wanting to be one of those guys who tells women, "women's rights, u r doin it rong"? YOU'RE DOING IT ANYWAY. Obviously we want to combat sexism in all its forms, and for most of those forms, it's important to have women doing the bulk of the work. But sexual assault against women and girls* is kind of a unique thing, because simply gaining more worldly privilege does not protect us from it. I'd go into more detail about that, but I don't have the spoons for it right now. Were you paying attention earlier in the thread here, where women were pitching in to say, "This is the stuff I do habitually to try and guard myself against sexual harassment and assault"? Remember how some of them mentioned that the men in their lives thought that these learned habits were an overreaction? Remember how several men here said, "Wow, I just realized how much privilege I have not to have to do that"? See, when I hear some guy saying, "Never mind educating men, you women need to focus on learning to be vigilant and defend yourselves," I want to scream, "We already fucking know that! We understand the importance of these things more deeply than you ever can! But we also understand that none of these methods are fucking foolproof! Not to mention that it's only addressing the symptoms, and it doesn't do shit-all for improving the lousy conviction rate and the treatment of victims by authorities and... aughh, why do I even bother?" On the other hand, you want to know my reaction, as a woman, when I hear about men like Jackson Katz saying that rape ought to be considered a men's issue since men are the vast majority of the perpetrators? My reaction is not "Hey, he's denying us our agency by co-opting this battle," it's "FINALLY! Someone is focusing on the cause rather than the symptom, and fighting it in a way we can't." Because we're already trying to combat the myriad other forms of misogyny, and as Slacktivist's own Kit Whitfield has mentioned before, that's frequently exhausting and frustrating work**. But the battle against intimate violence is an especially exhausting one for various reasons: the constant awareness of threat, the post-traumatic stress from those who've been victimized, the depressing knowledge that it's incredibly difficult to prove especially if you had let your guard down for five fucking minutes, the frustrating knowledge that it's hard to get even well-intentioned men to understand where you're coming from, but for a lot of guys you might as well not even bother because you'd get more progress and feel less upset afterwards if you just beat your head against a desk... ...With all of that, it is a profound relief to hear a man say, "We made that mess, I should help clean it up. I'll listen respectfully to any expertise and advice you have about doing so, but I'm willing to take the bulk of the necessary work here." Now, it is true that it's sexism that causes a lot of males to credit a male voice over a female one in the first place, and that is something we still have to keep fighting. But discarding a valuable weapon against sexual violence just because it's not absolutely egalitarian would be making the perfect the enemy of the good. *I know, men and boys get sexually assaulted too. But it is less systemic, and often falls into the category of misogyny anyway, in the "treating him like a woman" sense. **Said exhaustion and frustration is also why I've just given you this both-barrels blasting. I'm not going to apologize for it, but I thought I owed you an explanation.
Toggle Commented Jul 15, 2011 on Harassment is not negotiable at The Slacktiverse
(TW: some discussion of rape) Aravind, you're rebutting a bunch of things nobody said. First of all, nobody said that racism was "solved". Seriously. Go back and read more carefully. "Better than it used to be" does not mean "problem is gone and need not concern us anymore". Second, nobody is denying that changing the attitudes of privileged groups is slow work. Of course it is. That doesn't mean it's not worthwhile. Third, nobody is saying that there's only one way to combat racism and misogyny, nor that we have to abandon one method to focus on others. The problem is that in the last several decades, anti-rape education has focused solely on women, leaving a lot of men and boys blissfully oblivious. (Case in point: Laurie Halse Anderson, author of the young adult novel Speak, reports having many young men ask her why the heroine of that book is so profoundly traumatized by her rape. The boys weren't trying to be obnoxious -- they honestly had no idea.) And fourth, nobody is saying that the privileged should shove the less-privileged aside and take all the credit for fighting the good fight -- we're saying that as many people as possible should chip in to do their bit. The idea is not to march in with your army and take the other army's place, it's to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them so that you both stand a better chance of winning. Also, while we're on the military analogy, any good strategist knows that it's best to have different kinds of troops for different situations. A lot of women are great at educating and supporting other women, but when it comes to homosociality, we got nothin'. That's where you guys have to step up.
Toggle Commented Jul 14, 2011 on Harassment is not negotiable at The Slacktiverse
Excellent link, Robin, though you probably should put a trigger warning on it.
Toggle Commented Jul 13, 2011 on Harassment is not negotiable at The Slacktiverse
TW: rape, domestic violence, brief mention of racism aravind said: Asking people to pour more resources into pleading with the assholes to just stop is never going to get all of them to realize that their circumstances and their actions specifically aren't okay and they really should never do it again. Basically, there will always be some one (and unfortunately in my experience a lot of some ones) who thinks [assorted bad things] are what other people do. Ads like this aren't aimed solely at the assholes -- they're also aimed at the assholes' friends and acquaintances. One of the norms macho culture sets up is the notion that there's a "boys' team" and a "girls' team", and it's perfectly normal for the "boys' team" to push the rules as far as they can get away with, because if they had their way every rule would favour them. And naturally, while members of the "boys' team" may talk very seriously about following the rules where the "girls' team" can hear them, privately they applaud any actions that will make their team "win". The team analogy is discussed in more detail here, and the thing about rapists assuming that the majority of men are secretly on their side is discussed here. You may have heard that racists tend to assume that most whites are on their side, but that they're not saying anything in public because they fear the reactions from people of colour. One of the reasons this belief seems to be less widely-held nowadays is because whites were encouraged to show their disapproval of racist talk even when they were in a whites-only setting. Similarly, it's been suggested that men should show their disapproval of sexist talk, and especially rape culture, when in a males-only setting. (There was an excellent article about this a few years back, but I can't find the link now.) The more young men are educated and encouraged to say things like, "That's not funny, it's sick," "No, I'm not going to let you do that, because that's assault," and "Why would you even want to try that?" the less likely the assholes are to think that intimate violence is just those wimminz making a fuss over nothing, and the less likely they are to believe they can get away with it. I think it was mmy who quoted her father as saying that men will exclude a guy from their poker group if he beats his dog, but not if he beats his wife? That, right there, is the social convention we need to change.
Toggle Commented Jul 13, 2011 on Harassment is not negotiable at The Slacktiverse
@Lampdevil: There was a student who had set up a system for tracking Ottawa's buses... only to get it pulled, likely because OC Transpo wanted to find a way to make a buck off it. I've sent the url for NextBus to the OCT site, but I don't know that it'll do much good. Possible good news: Ottawa's mayor has, grudgingly, admitted that building a subway system for downtown is actually feasible. There's no guarantee this will materialize into actual plans, but the possibility is at least on the table.
Toggle Commented Jul 11, 2011 on No one rides the bus at The Slacktiverse
Madhabmatics: may I just say that I love the phrase "modern day, bad-decision powered alchemists". Also, I had to Google "green catholic lion".
Toggle Commented Jul 11, 2011 on Harassment is not negotiable at The Slacktiverse
I'd just like to mention something else that drives me nuts: "X must be lying, because Y is my good buddy and would never do that!" It's kind of a variation of "That thing I said can't have been racist/sexist/whatever because I'm a Good Person", except in this case it's "Anyone who would do that is a Bad Person, and if I'm friends with them, that makes me a Bad Person as well." The kicker is that both Y and Y's defender are typically straight males, and therefore Y's defender has never been on the receiving end of Y's attentions.
Toggle Commented Jul 9, 2011 on Harassment is not negotiable at The Slacktiverse
On the subject of Video Nasties: The B-Masters Cabal did a Roundtable of those a while ago. As well as some entertaining and incisive commentary on the movies themselves, the reviewers also had some interesting things to say about the Video Nasty panic itself.
More thanks to MaryKaye for writing such an interesting post. As a tabletop gamer I'm always glad to read pieces which explain the appeal of our hobby to non-gamers. And of course, it's also neat (if a bit saddening) to see the differences between regular RPGs and a "Christian brand" one. I'd heard that there was a game which determined success through memorization of Bible passages, but not having heard much else about it, my first thought had been that the designers failed to understand why most RPGs have random number generators. A lot of people who aren't familiar with tabletop roleplaying are unclear on this, so here's a bit of an explanation I wrote up previously: Many in-game situations can be resolved simply by talking them through. But for others, this method isn't enough. And if it's a high-stakes kind of situation, there could be sour feelings if someone doesn't find the method of judging what happens to be fair and even-handed. Even if there's a referee, the referee usually needs some set of rules to fall back on to help show that they're being impartial, and that the two player-characters (or the player-character and the character run by the referee) are on the same playing field, if not necessarily the same power level. Character skills and attributes determine part of this, but success or failure can't just be determined by what's on someone's character sheet. Sometimes two characters are evenly matched. Sometimes the more skilled or powerful character could slip up, or a weaker or less skilled character push themselves beyond their limits. That's why we also need an impartial call -- a roll of the dice. The addition of a random element also helps to minimize bias, because no referee can be perfectly impartial. When I'm running a scene, I usually (though not always) want the PCs to win. I know that I have this bias, and that it might colour any calls I make. So, to make sure that I don't make something either too easy or too hard for my players, I'll leave that call to chance. From the sound of it, DragonRaid has replaced a lot of these impartial random-number calls with a demand for players to recite scripture. Not only does this put yet more power into the hands of the GM (how many different passages does the player have to recite to determine what kind of success? How long do the passages have to be? Do they get extra successes based on obscurity or situational relevance?), but it violates one of the unspoken rules of TTRPGs: make every player feel useful. Any player who wasn't told ahead of time that the game would require having things memorized beforehand, or who just isn't that good at learning by rote, is likely to end up feeling like a fifth wheel. On the other hand, while a newbie to regular games may require a lot of help with the system, they could still come up with some innovative solution, or roll an awesome success, or just do a great bit of roleplaying, and have something to feel good about. On the subject of anti-fantasy hysteria, Spellcasting 101. The author tries his hand at spells from Harry Potter and D&D, such as Body-Bind and Feather Fall, with hilarious results.
@Mike Timonin: Well... OC Transpo is mostly workable. I understand that in some places the public transportation is mostly unworkable. Still, there's plenty of room for improvement. The subways would, ideally, be something which would adjoin the above-ground buses, not replace them. They keep saying that we need to reduce traffic in the downtown core, but the streets are quite narrow, and every other solution I can think of -- bike-only lanes, light rail -- would only serve to narrow them further. Widening the streets wouldn't really be feasible either, especially considering the number of historic buildings in the downtown area. The best solution is to build underground.
@Will Wildman: ah, Ottawa. Our municipal government's motto seems to be, "Quick, look busy!" The reason for the O-Train's route is that the City of Ottawa listened to people suggesting subways and light rail, and wanted to look like they were doing something, but didn't want to spend a lot of money putting in rail routes where people actually go. Instead they said, "Hey, we've got these old train tracks which were built back when that area was a major artery. Let's just use those!" This is something the Ottawa municipal government does a lot: they want to look like they're listening to the voters and being productive, but they also want to appear fiscally responsible and avoid accusations of funding a giant boondoggle, so they do a half-assed version of whatever people are asking for. This half-assed thing often doesn't work and either limps along or gets retired. And of course, all these half-measures end up costing a lot more than any one giant project would. A current example is the Bixi bikes. They want to decrease traffic in the downtown core, which is laudable, but... downtown Ottawa is really not practical for biking. I have yet to hear of anyone finding the rentable bikes very useful, but I've heard complaints from small businesses about the bike lanes making it more difficult for customers to access their stores. The moral of this story: use your whole ass. What we really need is a subway system. Of course, that's a big expensive labour-intensive project, so I don't expect to see one any time soon. I'm sure that instead we'll continue seeing more small projects, whose cumulative cost will be more than that of a subway, but earn the city less money.
DS said: The Ankh pendant I wouldn't worry about, because the ancient Egyptians are extinct. Even if we called it 'cultural appropriation,' there's nobody left who could use it without appropriating it. Well, there are the Kemetic Pagans. In their case, I'd use the term "adoption" rather than "appropriation"... Hm. It just occurred to me that I do have another piece of could-be-construed-as-religious jewelry: a pendant with a tiny representation of Athena on it. It belonged to my grandmother, who was a very wise lady, and I've always liked Athena. Ancient Greece has a radically different history in regards to the modern West than either Egypt or China, though, so I'm not really concerned here. (If our resident Hellenistic Pagan is around, of course, I'd always welcome her input.) Long story short, if you like the idea of yin-and-yang in the universe, wear it. The only serious argument to be rationalized against it is someone saying 'my ancestors believed in this and yours didn't,' and that's not an argument that a modern person should give any credence to. That's pretty much why I started wearing it -- I really liked the idea that the universe isn't about good vs. evil so much as different forces which sometimes get out of balance. I'm not a formal Daoist and I don't pretend to be, but I find a lot of the concepts interesting. hapax said: I very much avoid wearing symbols of ANY religion, PARTICULARLY mine, when I'm at work... Well, as I mentioned, I'm agnostic. If I were to join a religion purely on the basis of their philosophy, it would likely be some form of neo-paganism, but I know there's more to being religious than philosophical agreement, and I've never felt called by any divine presence. So technically, all faiths count as "religion I'm not part of".
Toggle Commented Jul 4, 2011 on Faith and Hope, 20% off! at The Slacktiverse
Speaking of knick-knacks and cultural appropriation, I'd like to pick the Slackti-brain for a moment. I've generally done my best to avoid wearing symbols of religions I'm not part of*. But I do have a yin-yang pendant and an ankh pendant**. I was led to understand that both of those symbols could be interpreted in a philosophical rather than religious or cultural way, but it occurs to me that this might have been my privileged-white-girl assumption. This post discusses a similar issue, that of cultural stereotyping in Halloween costumes. What's the line between, say, putting together a detailed Queen Sondok costume, or just dressing as "a ninja", and wearing yellowface? The consensus seems to be that research and respect go a long way, but... it's complicated. So... am I doing cultural appropriation with my choice of jewelry? *I also have a pentacle bracelet, but 1. it was given by a neo-pagan friend and 2. I sometimes describe myself as "pagan-leaning agnostic" anyway, and 3. most forms of neo-paganism are based on old European beliefs, so it seems less like co-opting the beliefs of someone else's ancestors. **The two pendants I describe are getting rather worn, and I have oodles of jewelry, so phasing them out of my wardrobe wouldn't be a problem.
Toggle Commented Jul 4, 2011 on Faith and Hope, 20% off! at The Slacktiverse
Punk the Mustard Seed Books would probably want to sell some of these mints. Actually, there are a lot of items from the Unemployed Philosophers Guild that'd be good for such a store -- the Saint Sebastian Pincushion and What Would Jesus Wear? magnet set spring to mind. On a different note, this was made in all seriousness. How many people had to approve that design before it was made, and not one noticed that it looks as though Jesus loves the little children inappropriately?
Toggle Commented Jul 3, 2011 on Faith and Hope, 20% off! at The Slacktiverse
Asha: I can't really add anything more to what others have already said, but you have my sympathies.
Toggle Commented Jun 7, 2011 on Baptizing Dead Quakers at The Slacktiverse
I mentioned this conversation to Mr. ShifterCat, and since he'd read up on Shinto for the RPG he wrote, he mentioned one of their practices that has some similarities. You can write your name on this little hanging plaque and submit it at a Shinto shrine, and the priest will perform a prayer asking the kami for a blessing on your behalf. A side effect of this is that the kami would officially recognize you, and therefore give you the option of becoming an ancestor kami* after you're dead -- so, in essence, having a Shinto prayer said in your name opens the door to the Japanese afterlife for you. As far as he knows (and neither of us are experts, though he's read every English-language thing he could get his hands on about it), you can submit someone else's name asking for prayers on their behalf, and that person's consent is not required. So... there is the possibility of an unwanted prayer, and the resulting offense. There are several key differences, though. First and foremost, the intent is quite different: the person submitting the prayer plaque is primarily asking for a bit of good luck from the gods; the "foot in the door to the afterlife" is just a fringe benefit. And since Shintoism is heavy on tradition and nationalism but unconcerned with gaining converts, believers are not encouraged to submit new names; neither are those names used to pad the statistics for how many Shintoists there are. And lastly, since it's not a faith that denies the existence of other gods, it seems less likely to provoke a conflict in the afterlife if the beneficiary of the prayer happened to be of a different faith. The difference in motive and potential use of my name makes me far more comfortable with the idea of my name being submitted at a Shinto shrine -- even if, somehow, it happened without my knowledge -- than I am with the idea of someone baptizing me without my consent. But then, being an agnostic, I'm neither tied to any traditions of faith nor to any rule of avoiding nominal inclusion in any religious ritual. I'd be interested to hear what other people think. *A foreign kami, if you're gaijin.
Toggle Commented Jun 7, 2011 on Baptizing Dead Quakers at The Slacktiverse
I haven't been able to be on here as often lately, but: ShifterCat here. I'm on LiveJournal and DeviantArt under that name, and on Facebook as Catherine Prickett. 1. I heard about Slacktivist during a party. I think I was telling people about the graphic novel Therefore Repent! and someone recommended I check out the deconstructions of Left Behind here. This was 2008 or 2009. 2. Well, I've always loved intelligent and perceptive snark. So, "here's why this thing sucks" told in an insightful and funny way, with variants of "here's why this thing rocks". 3. Happily married agnostic bisexual gamer geek, mythology buff, sex-positive feminist, uppity liberal with a head full of fancy book-larnin', and lover of eclectic art and media; four cats, no kids.
Toggle Commented Jun 1, 2011 on Monday Meet and Greet at The Slacktiverse