tim: Tim with short hair, smiling, wearing a black jacket over a white T-shirt (Default)
"The Ridiculous Straight Panic Over Dating a Transgender Person", Samantha Allen for The Daily Beast (2017-11-04). What it says on the tin.

"How to Change Your Life in One Second Flat", Katherine Schafler for Thrive Global (2017-11-07). Some judgy "be in the present moment"-ism here, but I still like the formulation (from Maya Angelou) of the four questions we're all asking each other all the time.

"The Psychological Link Between Trauma And Work Addiction", Drake Baer for Thrive Global (2017-11-09). I don't see how "work addiction" can be anything but metaphorical, but it's a good article nonetheless:

Like any problematic repetitive behavior, being addicted to work, validation, or success is an issue with lots of factors and possible treatments. In Hungry Ghosts, Maté distinguishes between contingent and genuine self esteem. The bigger the void that people feel, the greater the urge to get themselves noticed, and the greater the compulsion to acquire status. Genuine self-esteem, on the other hand, “needs nothing from the outside”—it’s a sense of feeling worthwhile, regardless of your accomplishments.

A thread on the second adolescence of queer adulthood from [twitter.com profile] IamGMJohnson (2017-11-10):
Many of us who are LGBTQ go through a second adolescence because our first (5-18 yo) is about suppressing identity.

So when we do get into our 20's we make A LOT of mistakes that most attribute to younger people because we never got to be younger people in our true identity.

Suffice to say, If you are LGBTQ don't be so hard on yourself if your life doesn't mirror the heterosexual timeline of love, marriage, career, and kids because many of your years were stolen from you. So take time to live them.

"When Your Childhood Gender Transition Is in Google Searches Forever", Katelyn Burns for Splinter (2017-11-15). Also what it says on the tin.

"Hit by 'Trans-Friendly' Fire", gendermom (2017-11-21). Two journalists interviewed a mom of a trans kid, and you won't believe what happened next.
tim: Tim with short hair, smiling, wearing a black jacket over a white T-shirt (Default)
"How to be an ally to women in tech", Sarah Adams (2017-06-24)

"You now understand that this is true of every woman you work with. Every woman you work with is there, at the table, despite being told hundreds of times:

  • you are no good
  • you do not belong
  • get out.

Another thing you need to understand before I tell this story:
After being beaten down so many hundreds of times, I cannot tell the difference between a sexist comment made:

  • with mal intent
  • due to subconscious bias
  • or because the person just misspoke

There is no difference in how it affects me. At this point, it is just one long drone of you are no good.

(Every bit of this is true for me as a trans man, too, and there's not really any place for me to go to talk about it -- but, that will have to be another blog post.)

"The Myth of Psychological Safety", Liz Fong-Jones (2017-11-01). On "If you're used to privilege, equality feels like oppression" and privileged people's self-reporting about psychological safety.

"A Clash of Cultures, by bunnie (2017-11-08):

  • "Any engineer who observes a bias in a system and chooses not to pro-actively correct for it is either a bad engineer or they stand to benefit from the bias.”
  • "When a man harnesses the efforts of a team, they call him a CEO and give him a bonus. But when a woman harnesses the efforts of a team, she gets accused of being a persona and a front.

Twitter thread from [twitter.com profile] jaythenerdkid (2017-11-13)
“the world is full of stem grads who have no idea how to think critically about the world in which they live or the media to which they're exposed, but who somehow consider themselves analytical thinkers because they know how to do calculus”

"Your company's Slack is probably sexist", by Leah Fessler for Quartz (2017-11-14) - there's some eyebrow-raisey casual cissexism (the stuff about "female socialization" and "male socialization") and the conclusions are kind of underwhelming, but there's lots of great content in this article about gendered conversation dynamics and how men use them to hamper women's economic success, not just specific to Slack:

  • “Does gender influence our office’s electronic communications? When I began asking my colleagues, nearly every woman said yes. Overwhelmingly, men said no."
  • '‘Both the men and women she surveyed agreed that the debate was contentious, but they reacted to that contentiousness differently. Men would say things like, “Well, it was kind of aggressive, but as long as the slings and arrows weren’t aimed at me, it was fine,” or “This is just the way online conversation goes.” Some men said it was “kind of fun to go at each other’s throats,” or they brushed it off: “This is nothing; you should see the philosophy list.”

    Nearly all the women, however, showed an aversion to the tenor of the debate. Common responses included things like: “The contentiousness made me not want to participate in discussion,” or “It made me want to drop off list all together.” Some went so far as, “People who speak like this are not good people,” and “This debate made me want to not be linguist.”'
  • “Already as toddlers, the idea that girls should take others’ feelings and desires into consideration before speaking or acting has formed,” says Herring. “And for boys, conflict isn’t just okay, it’s encouraged.” 
  • ‘What’s more, Herring found, men posted messages that were sometimes 20 screens long, never apologizing for consuming others’ time—while women always apologized for long messages.’
  • ‘…language and discourse conventions are created and enforced by men, for men’s advantage; so when women participate in public discourse, it’s almost as if they’re learning or adapting to a foreign language.’
  • ‘Men also tend to dominate public channels, she says, often responding to others’ posts with declarative statements and dropping in links with no context.’
  • ‘With microaggressions, there rarely is a smoking gun. But over time, these aggregate power displays can wear down women and minorities, leading us to question whether it’s worth sharing our thoughts at all.’

  • "The Tech Industry's Gender Discrimination Problem", by Sheelah Kolhatkar for the New Yorker (2017-11-20):

    “It’s the imbalance of pay and power that puts men in a position to harass, that gives them unchecked control over the economic lives of women and, as a result, influence over their physical lives. These subtler forms of discrimination, familiar to almost any woman who has held a job, can in fact be especially insidious, since they are easier for companies, and even victims, to dismiss.”
    tim: Tim with short hair, smiling, wearing a black jacket over a white T-shirt (Default)
    From May: "The Conservative Force Behind Speeches Roiling College Campuses", Stephanie Saul for the New York Times. On manufactured controversy over Nazis speaking on campuses:
    '"It’s part of a larger systematic and extremely well-funded effort to disrupt public universities and create tension among student groups on campus,” said Alexandra Prince, a doctoral student at Buffalo...'

    "Whose Free Speech? Black Lives Matter, the ACLU and Respectability Politics", Ben Passmore for The Nib (2017-10-30) -- a comic about what free speech means.

    "There Is No Leftist Attack On Free Speech", Dan Arel (2017-11-03):

    • "The speakers under attack haven’t lost their right to speak; they’ve sometimes lost a platform; and the government isn’t involved in suppressing their speech. Everyone is entitled to their speech, no one is entitled to a platform in which to give it.”
    • 'So, when talking about the “place of the individual,” don’t we owe this student the right to attend college without fear of being attacked as a sexual predator and having her own existence being questioned? Don’t we owe her a safe place to be educated?'

    "Political correctness isn’t the problem", Sean McElwee for The Outline (2017-11-20):

    • “Despite the widespread panic that their speech will be suppressed, white supremacists, authoritarians, and war criminals continue to have very little trouble finding a platform for their views, especially on college campuses. In fact, the true threats to speech on campus are not idealistic students but the rich, old, and typically white male gatekeepers — the administrators, trustees, and donors.”
    • “Few pundits have criticized these arrangements, revealing their implicit belief that the proper way to influence the national discourse is through the exercise of wealth, rather than protest.”
    • 'What is commonly referred to “political correctness” is in fact an attitude of cultural inclusion that broadens the intellectual experience. And those who dislike political correctness often disguise the extent to which their attitudes are tied to racial animus.’
    • "Opposition to political correctness is rarely rooted in deeply held liberal notions of tolerance and equality, but rather an impulsive reaction to the demands of groups: women, people of color, LGBTQ people and others who have been silenced for decades demanding representation."
    tim: Tim with short hair, smiling, wearing a black jacket over a white T-shirt (Default)
    [CW: sexual assault] When I was nineteen years old, Elie Wiesel grabbed my ass., Jenny Listman (2017-10-19). Kill your heroes.

    The Unbearable Niceness of the Good Whites, by Andrew Ti ("Yo, Is This Racist?") (2017-10-23). On the toxicity of heterosexual white men expecting other people to assume they're always acting in good faith:
    But what’s easy to forget when you’re in a position of power (with straight white guys at the apex of our current geo-political-historical org chart), is that we don’t all share the assumption that you’re a good person – even if you have a public history that places you on the “right” side of issues.

    And that’s because people of color (and anyone vulnerable) don’t have the luxury of that assumption. On some level, conscious or not, we always have to be wary of people’s attacks, even unwitting, to our humanity, because we’ve all been disappointed or stabbed in the back enough times by people we like and trust (or want to like and trust) enough times that you’ll have to forgive us if we can’t always give you the benefit of the doubt. Sure, the dude yelling slurs might be joking, but the consequences for you and us differ greatly if he isn’t. And the fact that you don’t seem to know or care that that’s the case makes you immediately suspect.

    Now, if it sounds like I’m singling out straight white dudes, in many ways that’s because I am. This behavior, this idea that “everyone agrees I’m a good person” comes directly from being the protagonists of our culture for so very long.

    Nazism: what it is, why we fight it, and how, by Yonatan Zunger (2017-10-24). "These ideas make up Nazism. You don’t need to wear a swastika to believe in them."

    Contingent No More, Maximillian Alvarez for The Baffler (2017-05-03). This is brilliant, and I want to quote it all; some excerpts:

    • 'Our professional aspirations are dominated by romanticized images of the lone, path-breaking researcher, of the superhumanly productive writer, of the attention grabbing and self-promoting (if politically useless) figure of the tenured “public intellectual.” Such images, in turn, mutate into gross and exploitable expectations about how “productive” successful academics need to be on a daily basis, about what their work should look like, about what they should know (or pretend to know), about what comes to them if they work hard enough, about what “success” means in academia, even about their mental health and personal relationships.'

      These myths spread like viruses throughout academic departments, conferences, and social media.'
    • 'By channeling the hopes and desires these myths stir up, contemporary academia has succeeded in creating what Theory A-lister Lauren Berlant calls “a relation of cruel optimism” for the vast majority of academics.'
    • 'Our grand academic myths and professional fictions keep all of us striving for the wrong things, pickling in a brine of cruel optimism about what our individual professional futures might bring while our academic community is splintered by doubt, insecurity, envy, and fatigue. That is, after all, the supreme draw, the sweet poison, of such myths: they prey on the most self-serving and hyper-individualized conceits of an already laissez-faire academic culture that idolizes individual thinkers while equating professional success with genuine intellectual worth.'
    • 'You’d be hard-pressed to find a group of subjects who adhere more faithfully to the myth of meritocracy than academics. Even if our research and personal politics rigorously argue for the opposite, even if study after study reminds us that faculty hiring follows steeply hierarchical, non-meritocratic structures that reproduce profound social inequalities, when it comes to our own careers we adhere to all the oldest clichés. In spite of the cold facts—that “contingent faculty” make up more than 70 percent of the academic labor force, that the gap between doctorates awarded and jobs available is wider than ever, that the overwhelming majority of academic workers live in a state of economic insecurity—we remain individually hypnotized by the poisonous conviction that hard work is all we need, that the “best” people in the best programs produce the best work, etc.'
    • 'We feel like it would diminish our life’s work to admit in public that, actually, the system is rigged, that many of our successes are due more to luck than anything else, that most of the “best work” is not being produced at all because the collective, variable talents of our community of thinkers and teachers and partners are being wasted in the competitive pursuit of individualistic success that our livelihoods depend on.'
    • 'The transformation of colleges and universities may not be the most pressing issue of our day, but if these institutions are the sacred bastions of knowledge and culture we say they are, then how we deal with this crisis will have serious consequences for the future of knowledge and culture themselves.'
    • '...we set the boundaries of academic inquiry via the research of a privileged minority. These select few are granted the desirable option to forget that their privileged position is made possible by the precariat’s exploitation; meanwhile, the rest are told in no uncertain terms to focus all their efforts on joining that small club.'
    • 'One of the most persistent and pernicious myths of the scholarly vocation that those of us who devote our careers to it have done so because we truly love the glorious pursuit and production of knowledge. The neoliberal university does many cruel things to perpetuate its system of neo-feudal labor relations, but perhaps its greatest cruelty is weaponizing this love against us.'

    On Minimization as a Patriarchal Reflex, by Matthew Remski (2017-10-20). I write a lot about gaslighting and dehumanization from the perspective of the person who it's being done to, but it's refreshing to see someone write about it from the perspective of the person doing it. And the truth is, as a white trans man, I occupy both positions. "I don’t have to assault women to participate in the normalization of assault. My learned, default responses are participation enough. Without that participation, could assault really be so prevalent?"

    How to Talk to Women if You Believe Feminism Has Made It Really Hard to Know What Counts as ‘Harassment’, Damon Young for The Root (2017-10-23). The answer will surprise you!

    A Fair Accusation of Sexual Harassment or a Witch Hunt?, Lucy Huber for McSweeney's (2017-10-20). The answers may surprise you!

    Yes, This Is a Witch Hunt. I’m a Witch and I’m Hunting You., Lindy West for the New York Times (2017-10-17). 'When Allen and other men warn of “a witch hunt atmosphere, a Salem atmosphere” what they mean is an atmosphere in which they’re expected to comport themselves with the care, consideration and fear of consequences that the rest of us call basic professionalism and respect for shared humanity. On some level, to some men — and you can call me a hysteric but I am done mincing words on this — there is no injustice quite so unnaturally, viscerally grotesque as a white man being fired.'

    Hidden figures: How Silicon Valley keeps diversity data secret, Will Evans and Sinduja Rangarajan for Reveal (2017-10-19). Lots of quantitative analysis here of the misuse of diversity statistics in the tech industry. I hope to see more investigative reporting like this.

    Gender Quotas and the Crisis of the Mediocre Man, Tim Besley, Olle Folke, Torsten Persson and Johanna Rickne for the London School of Economics and Political Science blog (2017-03-13). '.. in 1993, Sweden’s Social Democratic party voluntarily introduced a strict gender quota for its candidates. In internal discussions of the reform, the party’s Women’s branch observed that some men were more critical than others. The quota became known colloquially as the “Crisis of the Mediocre Man,” since the incompetent men had the most to fear from an influx of women into politics.'

    A Twitter thread from [twitter.com profile] 3liza on gifted kid problems (a reflection on the "we fired our top talent" post).

    'Science says "diversity of thought (not demographics)" is false. Folks pushing it are the intellectual equivalent of climate change deniers.' (a thread from [twitter.com profile] sarahmei)

    Antifa History and Politics, Explained, by Abdullah Shihipar for Teen Vogue (2017-10-25). "The broader anti-fascist or anti-racist tradition has many different perspectives, and so in that sense it's bigger than antifa. So if people want to fight back against the far right, there are a million ways to do that. Whether or not people agree with everything anti-fascists do, one of the greatest lessons from the anti-fascist tradition is to focus on looking for ways people can stand in solidarity with each other across tactical and strategic differences of opinion. I think that we should all have an investment in fighting back against white supremacy and fascism, regardless of what our politics are."

    Twitter QOTD:
    "dudes are you aware how happy women would be if strangers & coworkers never 'flirted' with us again" -- Marian Call (context)
    tim: Tim with short hair, smiling, wearing a black jacket over a white T-shirt (Default)
    I'm not doing regular linkspam posts anymore, but I had a pile of links to file and I thought I'd put them in one place.

    Some advice for survivors and those writing about them, Leigh Honeywell (2017-10-12). Some great advice on talking to journalists that applies to situations where you're exposing any kind of wrong-doing.

    Donald Trump to become first president to speak at anti-LGBT hate group gathering, Benjamin Butterworth for PinkNews (2017-10-11). Remember when people were saying "at least Tr*mp is pro-LGBT"?

    [CW: rape] On predators who won't accept that they are predators, E Price (2017-10-12). "It’s important for men to question whether there are rapists in their midsts. But good men, really feminist men, need to go even further: they need to question whether they have ever been rapists themselves."

    Sister Outsider Headbanger: On Being a Black Feminist Metalhead, Keidra Chaney for Bitch (2000-11-30). Good stuff about being in intersecting outsider identities.

    We fired our top talent. Best decision we ever made, Jonathan Solórzano-Hamilton (2017-10-12). "Rick was a very talented developer. Rick could solve complex business logic problems and create sophisticated architectures to support his lofty designs. Rick could not solve the problem of how to work effectively on a team." (Other people have rightly pointed out that the author doesn't place enough responsibility on the environment "Rick" was in for allowing him to escalate his toxic behaviors, but the fact remains that some people deal with pressure by seeking help and support from others, while others deal with it by harming others in an attempt to preserve themselves.)

    We Warned You About Milo And You’re Still Not Listening, Katherine Cross for The Establishment (2017-10-09). 'The hypersensitivity that reels from “trigger warnings” but thrills to Yiannopoulos’ joyful transphobia, that likens workplace diversity trainings to “gulags,” is what fuels the outrage culture about “outrage culture,” an insatiable rage that can never be sated by giving it what it says it wants. It will merely demand we make ourselves smaller and smaller until nothing of us remains. Reactionary outrage about “PC” is not a philosophy as much as it is a burning sun that demands our compliance as its nuclear fuel, consuming it endlessly until it can feed no more and goes nova.'

    America Loves Plausible Deniability, Lindy West for the New York Times (2017-10-14). "When faced with a choice between an incriminating truth or a flattering lie, America’s ruling class has been choosing the lie for 400 years."

    A guide to modern Nazi dogwhistles from [twitter.com profile] secretgamergrrl:
    "Modern nazi dog whistles- Accusing people of "calling everyone a nazi." Specifically, doing this in contexts where it makes no sense. i.e. shouting "you call everyone a nazi!" when someone is talking about nazi book burnings in the 40s, or "everyone you don't like is a nazi!" in response to a statement like "this is a profoundly homophobic statement from this organization." The hope is that someone listening who has, in a more appropriate context, been at some point likened to a nazi will give some subtle gesture of approval, outing themselves as someone ripe for recruitment. A common variation is shouting "why do you hate Trump!?" when people discuss bigotry in contexts with no tie to Trump."

    Cyrus Vance and the Myth of the Progressive Prosecutor, Josie Duffy Rice for the New York Times: "The progressive bombast is meaningless if prosecutors continue to promote the same harsh practices behind the scenes. Instead, voters must look closely at their policies and hold them to high and specific standards. We should ask: Are prosecutors opposing new mandatory minimum sentences during legislative debates? Have they declined to request cash bail in a vast majority of cases? Are they keeping children out of adult court and refusing to seek life-without-parole sentences for them?"

    "Fun sexual assault fact: you only hear the stories we can bear to tell." -- [twitter.com profile] sarahhartshorne
    tim: A bright orange fish. (fish)
    Weekly linkspams are currently fitting into my schedule poorly. I'm going to stop doing them for now. Pretty much everything I bookmark on Pinboard is public and you can see the current-events-related links at https://pinboard.in/u:mappings/t:fascism/ (you can also read my overall Pinboard feed, though that's hard to navigate since I have it set up to bookmark every link in a tweet that I favorite.)
    tim: "System Status: Degraded" (degraded)
    I wanted to pull out so many quotes from The Hidden Author of Putinism
    How Vladislav Surkov invented the new Russia
    , by Peter Pomerantsev for the Atlantic (from 2014) that I thought this deserved its own post:

    The brilliance of this new type of authoritarianism is that instead of simply oppressing opposition, as had been the case with 20th-century strains, it climbs inside all ideologies and movements, exploiting and rendering them absurd.

    [describing a novel apparently written by Surkov] 'Egor is described as a “vulgar Hamlet” who can see through the superficiality of his age but is unable to have genuine feelings for anyone or anything'

    Like liberals working for Fox News, the new Russian authoritarians use compartmentalization and cognitive dissonance in order to live with their own complicity:

    When I asked how they married their professional and personal lives, they looked at me as if I were a fool and answered: “Over the last 20 years we’ve lived through a communism we never believed in, democracy and defaults and mafia state and oligarchy, and we’ve realized they are illusions, that everything is PR.”'

    "Everything is PR" is similar to the phrase "virtual signalling" as used by white supremacist: the propaganda that no one holds sincere beliefs and anyone who appears to do so is just performing or trying to make you think they have beliefs:

    '“Everything is PR” has become the favorite phrase of the new Russia; my Moscow peers were filled with a sense that they were both cynical and enlightened. When I asked them about Soviet-era dissidents, like my parents, who fought against communism, they dismissed them as naive dreamers and my own Western attachment to such vague notions as “human rights” and “freedom” as a blunder."

    Who does the next paragrah remind you of? If his first name rhymes with "Kylo" and his last name rhymes with "Viannopoulous", you might be right.

    'Surkov himself is the ultimate expression of this psychology. As I watched him give his speech to the students and journalists in London, he seemed to change and transform like mercury, from cherubic smile to demonic stare, from a woolly liberal preaching “modernization” to a finger-wagging nationalist, spitting out willfully contradictory ideas: “managed democracy,” “conservative modernization.”'

    If this sounds like 4chan or rationalism, then you're right too:

    "Surkov’s genius has been to tear those associations apart, to marry authoritarianism and modern art, to use the language of rights and representation to validate tyranny, to recut and paste democratic capitalism until it means the reverse of its original purpose."

    I think the antidotes to the destruction of meaning and morality are science, math, engineering, emotional self-awareness, genuine art, earnestness, sincerity, vulnerability, relationships, and queer sex (and as a friend said, all good sex is queer to some extent). There is no divide between science and art, only a division between intellectual fields that suffer under toxic masculinity and ones that have a little more individual and group balance in terms of gender.

    And that part about the description of Surkov's novel jumps out at me. Hipsterist detachment and irony as a direct path to inhumanity; 4chan's in charge now, not because they're fascists but because of their use of irony to evade the imperative to take moral stances. Shitposting is not a good system of government.
    tim: Solid black square (black)

    "Everything in my life that I love
    Could be swept away without warning
    Yet the birds still sing and the church bells ring
    And the sun came up this morning"
    -- Billy Bragg, "Rumours of War"

    • Michigan Supreme Court Slams The Door On Jill Stein’s Recount Case, by Daniel Marans for the Huffington Post (2016-12-10).
      "Only five of the Michigan Supreme Court’s seven justices considered whether to hear the appeal. Chief Justice Robert Young and Justice Joan Larsen recused themselves after Stein questioned whether they could decide the case independently, since President-elect Trump had put them on a list of preferred candidates for the U.S. Supreme Court."

    • Trump proposes stripping citizenship from political protesters by Ian Millhiser for Think Progress (2016-11-29): "But once a person’s voting rights can be made contingent upon their beliefs, or their silence, then elections become increasingly meaningless."

    • The biopolitics of desire and neo-nazi fashion icons, by Flavia Dzodan (2016-12-06). On the connections between media coverage of "dapper Nazis" and eugenics.

    • The Electoral College is Great for Whiter States, Lousy for Cities, by Emily Dreyfuss for Wired (2016-12-08).
      "In the sweep of American history, this is Alexander Hamilton versus Thomas Jefferson flipped on its head. The Framers designed the Electoral College to make sure that smaller states were not ruled by the tyranny of the majority. Today, rural voters wield disproportionate Electoral College power compared with population centers, while cities preach decentralization as a way of keeping a check on the executive branch....

      At the forum, critics proposed two different ways to sink the Electoral College: abolition by constitutional amendment or an agreement among states that their electors will side with the candidate who wins the national popular vote. But the chances of either happening are slim to none, since the party that has now benefitted twice from the Electoral College system in the past 16 years controls both Congress and the White House (not to mention a majority of state governments)...

      "For eight years, Republicans accused the Obama administration of executive overreach. Now its Democrats warning of too much power in the hands of one president—a president that this time around most voters didn’t even choose."

    • Love Deez Nutz, or Why Van Jones Is Wrong and Maybe Even a Bit of a Bullshitting Magical Negro, or Happy Friday from My Corner of Trump’s America–Whatever You Like–I’m Tired, by Michelle R. Smith (2016-12-08).
      "I can work with white people without exploding my antipathy for the worst among them all over the rest of them. I can teach white people without exploding my antipathy for the worst among them all over the rest of them. I can share public space, transact business, cooperate with, and socialize with white people without exploding my antipathy for the worse among them all over the rest of them.

      And so can millions of other black people. So do we all. Because if we ever did explode–whenever we do explode–we get eviscerated or incarcerated or fucking eradicated.

      And since we do it, and white people rank themselves as better than us–they make all these adamant claims to superior intellect, morality, discipline, and wisdom–they should be able to do it, too. They should be able to interact with us without exploding their supremacist bullshit all over any of us, even if they fantasize about doing it the entire time."

    • Donald Trump Is Gaslighting America, by Lauren Duca for Teen Vogue. I couldn't pick a quote to pull from this -- it's all so good.

    • Diving deeper into Russia's role in the US election (clearer news has come out since these stories were published):

    • A post about coming out as queer in mid-life, by Molly Wizenberg (2016-11-30), the co-host of my favorite podcast, Spilled Milk, and from what I can see, an all-around awesome person.

    • A couple links about systemic racism and why Trump's surrogates don't have worse opinions than him, they represent him:

      • Steve Bannon’s disturbing views on ‘genetic superiority’ are shared by Trump, by Laurel Raymond for Think Progress (2016-11-28)
      • Trump's Proving that Those who Called Clinton 'The Lesser of Two Evils' Didn't Know What Evil Looked Like", by Damon Young for VSB (2016-11-18)
      • Why So Many Liberal White Guys Just Can't Admit the Election Was about Race, Explained, by Damon Young for VSB (2016-11-29):
        "Where can you find them? Trader Joe’s parking lots. Inner-city bike lanes. Jason Derulo listening parties. Giving TED Talks about couscous. Writing for Slate. Producing feminist porn....

        Liberal White people, however? You’d think someone told them their favorite gluten-free bakery has been using wheat.

        ...their steadfast refusal to acknowledge the role race played in the election makes it seem as if they’re playing some sort of devolved, pre-racial game of Taboo. Of course, there was Mark Lilla’s “The End of Identity Liberalism” which I assumed would be the pinnacle of this train of thought — the fuckshit thinkpiece to end all fuckshit thinkpieces. But a few days later, Mother Jones (perhaps the crunchiest major platform on the Internet) published Kevin Drum’s plea for us to be “careful with the White supremacy label.” Here, Drum defines and limits White supremacy to “people believing non-White people are inferior“; ultimately failing to realize that whether they believe we’re inferior doesn’t matter as much as the effort to ensure White dominance. Which is why the White Supremacy label fits. (It also must be said that Drum’s piece was a defense of Crunchy Jesus himself, Bernie Sanders, who also attempted to minimize the value of identity politics.)"

    • Political correctness: how the right invented a phantom enemy, by Moira Weigel for the Guardian (2016-11-30). Long, but has so much in it:

      Every time Trump said something “outrageous” commentators suggested he had finally crossed a line and that his campaign was now doomed. But time and again, Trump supporters made it clear that they liked him because he wasn’t afraid to say what he thought. Fans praised the way Trump talked much more often than they mentioned his policy proposals. He tells it like it is, they said. He speaks his mind. He is not politically correct....

      Trump and his followers never defined “political correctness”, or specified who was enforcing it. They did not have to. The phrase conjured powerful forces determined to suppress inconvenient truths by policing language....

      There is an obvious contradiction involved in complaining at length, to an audience of hundreds of millions of people, that you are being silenced. But this idea – that there is a set of powerful, unnamed actors, who are trying to control everything you do, right down to the words you use – is trending globally right now....

      If you search ProQuest, a digital database of US magazines and newspapers, you find that the phrase “politically correct” rarely appeared before 1990. That year, it turned up more than 700 times. In 1991, there are more than 2,500 instances. In 1992, it appeared more than 2,800 times. Like Indiana Jones movies, these pieces called up enemies from a melange of old wars: they compared the “thought police” spreading terror on university campuses to fascists, Stalinists, McCarthyites, “Hitler Youth”, Christian fundamentalists, Maoists and Marxists.

      Many of these articles recycled the same stories of campus controversies from a handful of elite universities, often exaggerated or stripped of context. The New York magazine cover story opened with an account of a Harvard history professor, Stephan Thernstrom, being attacked by overzealous students who felt he had been racially insensitive: “Whenever he walked through the campus that spring, down Harvard’s brick paths, under the arched gates, past the fluttering elms, he found it hard not to imagine the pointing fingers, the whispers. Racist. There goes the racist. It was hellish, this persecution.”

      In an interview that appeared soon afterwards in The Nation, Thernstrom said the harassment described in the New York article had never happened....

      But soon enough, the term was rebranded by the right, who turned its meaning inside out. All of a sudden, instead of being a phrase that leftists used to check dogmatic tendencies within their movement, “political correctness” became a talking point for neoconservatives. They said that PC constituted a leftwing political programme that was seizing control of American universities and cultural institutions – and they were determined to stop it.

      The right had been waging a campaign against liberal academics for more than a decade. Starting in the mid-1970s, a handful of conservative donors had funded the creation of dozens of new thinktanks and “training institutes” offering programmes in everything from “leadership” to broadcast journalism to direct-mail fundraising. They had endowed fellowships for conservative graduate students, postdoctoral positions and professorships at prestigious universities. Their stated goal was to challenge what they saw as the dominance of liberalism and attack left-leaning tendencies within the academy.

      Starting in the late 1980s, this well-funded conservative movement entered the mainstream with a series of improbable bestsellers that took aim at American higher education. The first, by the University of Chicago philosophy professor Allan Bloom, came out in 1987.
      "The responses that the conservative bestsellers offered to the changes they described were disproportionate and often misleading. For instance, Bloom complained at length about the “militancy” of African American students at Cornell University, where he had taught in the 1960s. He never mentioned what students demanding the creation of African American studies were responding to: the biggest protest at Cornell took place in 1969 after a cross burning on campus, an open KKK threat."
      By making fun of professors who spoke in language that most people considered incomprehensible (“The Lesbian Phallus”), wealthy Ivy League graduates could pose as anti-elite. [ed.: Emphasis added. Sounds familiar? Trump = posing as "anti-elite."]

      ....As Black Lives Matter and movements against sexual violence gained strength, a spate of thinkpieces attacked the participants in these movements, criticising and trivialising them by saying that they were obsessed with policing speech. Once again, the conversation initially focused on universities, but the buzzwords were new. Rather than “difference” and “multiculturalism”, Americans in 2012 and 2013 started hearing about “trigger warnings”, “safe spaces”, “microaggressions”, “privilege” and “cultural appropriation”. [Emphasis added]

      ...As evidence of the “hegemonic” influence enjoyed by unnamed actors on the left, Chait cited two female journalists saying that they had been criticised by leftists on Twitter.

      ....The anti-PC liberals were so focused on leftists on Twitter that for months they gravely underestimated the seriousness of the real threat to liberal discourse. It was not coming from women, people of colour, or queer people organising for their civil rights, on campus or elsewhere. It was coming from @realdonaldtrump, neo-Nazis, and far-right websites such as Breitbart...

      First, by talking incessantly about political correctness, Trump established the myth that he had dishonest and powerful enemies who wanted to prevent him from taking on the difficult challenges facing the nation. By claiming that he was being silenced, he created a drama in which he could play the hero.

      Second, Trump did not simply criticise the idea of political correctness – he actually said and did the kind of outrageous things that PC culture supposedly prohibited.

      'We should not underestimate how many Trump supporters held views that were sexist, racist, xenophobic and Islamophobic, and were thrilled to feel that he had given them permission to say so. It’s an old trick: the powerful encourage the less powerful to vent their rage against those who might have been their allies, and to delude themselves into thinking that they have been liberated. It costs the powerful nothing; it pays frightful dividends....

      Trump drew upon a classic element of anti-political-correctness by implying that while his opponents were operating according to a political agenda, he simply wanted to do what was sensible. [Emphasis added]

      That last part? Basically the fascist playbook: people talking about how much they hate politics and they don't have an ideology are usually trying to subvert the political process in the service of fascist ideologies.

    • 6 Ways Spiritual Thinking Can Reinforce Oppression and Racism, by Virginia Rosenberg for Decolonizing Yoga (2016-11-26). Not explicitly about fascism, yet highly relevant to the strategy of using words to denote the opposite of their actual meaning (a tool in the fascist toolkit):

      Discussing events as “an illusion of the material world” keeps you in an unhealthy illusion that you don’t need to be an agent of change. Retreating to your safe personal cave of “inner peace” can too easily be used as a method of hiding....

      Visualizing world peace is great. What’s even better taking concrete steps toward building that vision in real time.

      I feel that way when white liberals invoke MLK, Jr.'s "arc of justice" line without mentioning the amount of blood that was and continues to be shed trying to bend that arc.

    • Why We Must Protest, by Masha Gessen for Literary Hub (2016-11-21):

      Posting guard is a reasonable and measured response to a clear threat. When a neighbor threatens to poison your dog, you secure the fence. When an aggressive power threatens to invade, a state arms and fortifies its borders. And when an autocrat-elect threatens your liberties, you post guard around them. As constitutional-law scholar Garrett Epps has written, “there is hardly a provision of the Bill of Rights or later amendments [Trump] did not explicitly promise to override, from First Amendment freedom of the press and of religion to Fourth Amendment freedom from ‘unreasonable searches and seizures’ to Sixth Amendment right to counsel to Fourteenth Amendment birthright citizenship and Equal Protection and Fifteenth Amendment voting rights.” He has not only promised to begin his work of undoing democratic institutions on his first day in the Oval Office—he has already begun, by insulting the protesters and by denying access to media. Waiting to post guard would be foolish and irresponsible....

      The number of people in the streets is very close to being our only hedge against Trump’s power....

      Finally, protest is a powerful antidote to helplessness and confusion. Autocracies work by plunging citizens into a state of low-level dread. Most of the powers commandeered by the autocrat are ceded without a fight, and the power of imagination, the claim to a past and a future are the first to go. A person in a state of dread lives in a miserable forever present. A person in a state of dread is imminently controllable. The choice to protest, on the other hand, is the choice to take control of one’s body, one’s time, and one’s words, and in doing so to reclaim the ability to see a future.

      I really like the idea of protest as trauma recovery.

    tim: text: "I'm not offended, I'm defiant" (defiant)
    Bruce Cockburn, "The Trouble with Normal"


    • Trump’s lies have a purpose. They are an assault on democracy., by Ned Resnikoff for ThinkProgress (2016-11-27).
      "If Bush and Rove constructed a fantasy world with a clear internal logic, Trump has built something more like an endless bad dream. In his political universe, facts are unstable and ephemeral; events follow one after the other with no clear causal linkage; and danger is everywhere, although its source seems to change at random."

      "Bannon is a skilled practitioner of the “darkness” strategy, but he is not its inventor. The real Master of the Dark Arts is another Karl Rove equivalent: Vladislav Surkov, a top adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin."

      "... Surkov then let it be known that this was what he was doing, which meant that no one was sure what was real or fake. As one journalist put it: “It is a strategy of power that keeps any opposition constantly confused."

      “Trump gaslighted me,” Fields later told Terris for an article about the incident. “I worry now that he’s gaslighting the country.”

      "It is tempting to take solace in the belief that, if Trump cannot be taken literally, his extreme rhetoric might conceal a secret moderate streak. But that hope would be misplaced. Non-linear warfare is intrinsically authoritarian. The president-elect is speaking the language of dictators."

      “Surkov’s philosophy is that there is no real freedom in the world, and that all democracies are managed democracies, so the key to success is to influence people, to give them the illusion that they are free, whereas in fact they are managed,” writes Sakwa. “In his view, the only freedom is ‘artistic freedom.’”

      "First, social media companies need to be held accountable for facilitating the spread of misinformation. Men like Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, through their greed and stupidity, have shepherded authoritarianism to power in the United States. By embracing a facile definition of “openness,” they’ve sought to reap the traffic benefits of right-wing propaganda while ignoring its disastrous social consequences....

      Second, journalists need to understand what Trump is doing and refuse to play by his rules. He is going to use the respect and deference typically accorded to the presidency as an instrument for spreading more lies.... That is the choice every news outlet faces for the next four years: Subservience and complicity, or open hostility. There is no middle ground."

      "For the next four years, Donald Trump will seek to shred any institution that threatens his ability to unilaterally determine what is real." [emphasis added]

      The politics of "do it for the lulz". It's like 4Chan collectively got itself elected president.
    • Why I don't like the term "AI", by Chris Martens (2016-12-05). 'But ultimately, it's not the first word in "AI" that bothers me, that makes me hesitant to adopt it as a field I identify with -- it's the second one, intelligence. My issue is not just that "intelligence" is poorly defined and hard to measure, but actually that it highlights everything I find culturally wrong with computer science as a field: a false dichotomy and prioritization of the "smart" over the "dumb", the "rational" over the "emotional", and a supposition that these qualities are immutable and acontextual.' (Full disclosure: I'm quoted in this blog post.)
    • Frightened by Donald Trump? You don’t know the half of it, by George Monbiot for the Guardian (2016-11-30). "As usual, the left and centre (myself included) are beating ourselves up about where we went wrong. There are plenty of answers, but one of them is that we have simply been outspent. Not by a little, but by orders of magnitude. A few billion dollars spent on persuasion buys you all the politics you want. Genuine campaigners, working in their free time, simply cannot match a professional network staffed by thousands of well-paid, unscrupulous people." (n.b. I think any analysis that only considers the role of money in politics without considering the role of racism in politics is incomplete.)
    • ‘Don’t play identity politics!’ The primal scream of the straight white male, by Hadley Freeman for the Guardian (2016-12-02). "It boggles my brain that this even needs pointing out: political elections have always played identity politics. The difference is that the game was heretofore entirely weighted towards the white straight male, which I guess is why it comes as such a shock to that demographic when they are not at the absolute forefront of every single political discussion now."

    Political science

    • [CW: neo-Nazi propaganda quoted in a critical context] "Fascism is not to be debated, it is to be smashed", by [tumblr.com profile] smarmygryffindor (2016-12-05) "this is why i say not to argue with fascists, at least, not seriously. if you do, argue with them calmly at first and post sources and all that shit to prove that you’ve got facts and reasoning on your side for the sake of others who will read it, and under no circumstances let them piss you off or upset you. then, once you’ve made your point well enough, just start fucking with them back. don’t make the mistake of thinking arguing with fascists is a debate; it’s all for show, all about who can make the other one look worse. so it’s vital that you point out how fucking inane their talking points are, yes, but it’s also vital that you let them (and everyone else) know that you Are Not Taking Them Seriously. Because you shouldn’t, no one should. You don’t have to prove that human beings deserve rights and racism is wrong."
    • [CW: domestic violence, graphic violence against women, anti-Black slurs, queer eliminationism] Trump's Cabinet, by [tumblr.com profile] quantum-displacement (2016-11-19). The juxtaposition of the list of necessary content warnings and the title says it all, doesn't it?
    • Trump, Cabinet could avoid millions in taxes thanks to this little-known law, by Drew Harwell for the Washington Post (2016-12-02). It's important to maintain our sense of outrage at Trump's unprecedented level of corruption -- that will be key to surviving kleptocracy.
    • Potential Conflicts Around the Globe for Trump, the Businessman President, by Richard C. Paddock, Eric Lipton, Ellen Barry, Rod Nordland, Danny Hakim and Simon Romero for the New York Times (2016-11-26). Likewise.
    • Shy Person’s Guide to Calling Representatives, by [tumblr.com profile] actionfriday (2016-11-18).
    • What is the social purpose of David Brooks?, by grapesmoker (2016-12-03). "His sociology is risible, and his lack of self-awareness is legendary; this is, after all, the man who unironically taught a class at Yale on the subject of humility and assigned them his own columns."


    • Men Dump Their Anger Into Women, by Emma Lindsay (2016-11-29):
      "So many men I know are unable to live a happy life when they don’t have a woman who stops them from feeling the negative feelings that accompany their poor life decisions. It’s notable that they often do not stop making these poor life decisions."

      "Why do angry men deserve sex and I don’t? Why do angry men get women devoted to their emotional caretaking?"

      "...we raise men to be angry by default."

      "I’ve noticed that when I am forced to endure male culture too long (say, working as a programmer) I also start having trouble identifying my own emotions."

      "The only men I know who go to therapy are either gay or in a very bad place. Straight men don’t go to therapy for a tune up, like I do, or many of my female friends do. "

      "Most men in my social circle manage their emotions with alcohol, drugs, work, women, or some combination of the above."

      (I'd add only that Lindsay's comments about how men are raised do not apply only to men who were assigned male at birth, and only apply to men.)
    • Lawyers: New court software is so awful it’s getting people wrongly arrested, by Cyrus Farivar for Ars Technica (2016-12-02). Another one about software, license agreements, economic incentives, and moral responsibility. "All lives matter, especially those who are being wrongfully put behind bars due to computer problems."

      The article asks: "How do you blame software?" I don't think this is actually a complicated question. How do you blame a bridge? You blame the people who make it (and -- maybe more so -- the people who profit from the labor of those who make it.) It's time for everyone to hold the software industry liable for professional negligence.

    tim: Solid black square (black)
    Again, no nice formatting due to the high number of links I was sifting through.








    [Syllabus for white people to educate themselves -- I haven't read all these links yet, but I plan to] https://docs.google.com/document/d/1By9bUjJ78snEeZuLXNGBdlVMJgEQWMEjR-Gfx8ER7Iw/mobilebasic#heading=h.bi12zdslqy3z





    [also re: safety pins] https://www.facebook.com/amadi.lovelace/posts/416858352035561




    And one non-election-related link, because we need it:

    tim: Solid black square (black)
    Sorry, poorly formatted list because I'm a hurry to get all these included. May go back and edit later.

    Actions I have taken to prepare for the Trump administration, by Valerie Aurora (2016-11-13). I like the emphasis here on mutual aid, and I agree with the level of seriousness.

    These Babson College frat bros messed with the wrong Wellesley women of color – because we fought back, by Jalena Keane-Lee for the Tempest (2016-11-11). This happened at my alma mater.

    a time to heal, by Kris Straub / chainsawsuit (2016-11-10). A comic.

    "funny how folks grousing on working harder to understand plight of folks with rural background they never mean my queer ass from Briggs, Tex" -- [twitter.com profile] destroyed4com4t on Twitter

    Documented Instances of Harassment, and a Request to Trump Supporters, by Jim C. Hines (2016-11-12).

    Doing Liberation Theology In A Reactionary Time, by Rev. Dr. Susan Brooks Thisthlethwaite for the Huffington Post (2016-11-12). 'Christofascism, according to Sölle, is a Christianity that individualizes and sentimentalizes Jesus, severs his connection to the Hebrew prophets, and makes a mockery of his ministry and mission to the poor and the marginalized. Christofascists have a “God without justice, a Jesus without a cross, an Easter without a cross — what remains is a metaphysical Easter Bunny in front of the beautiful blue light of the television screen, a betrayal of the disappointed, a miracle weapon in service of the mighty."'

    How Do You Talk To Your Kids?, by Saladin Ahmed (2016-11-12). A poem.

    "If you're a Trump voter who is tired of being called a bigot, if you say you voted for him based on gun rights or economic issues, or because you think Hillary really was that awful, and in spite of his rhetoric, rather than because of it, I believe you. If you're in my life, I clearly don't think you're a vile hateful person. But if you're now watching protests across the country and you don't understand why, or think they are just being sore losers, let me break something down for you. These people aren't just angry or sad that someone they didn't support won the election, they're scared...", by Michael Rex (quoted by Sydne Sullivan) (2016-11-11).

    I've heard enough of the white male rage narrative, by Hadley Freeman for the Guardian (2016-11-10). "Trump’s supporters, like Brexit supporters before them, will say that these are merely the bleatings of the sore losers – the Remoaners, the Grimtons, or whatever portmanteau is conceived next. This objection always misses the obvious point that these people aren’t mourning for themselves. Whereas those who voted for Trump and Brexit did so to turn time back for their personal benefit, those who voted for remain or Hillary Clinton did so because they know time only moves forward, and this benefits society. To try to force it back hurts everyone."

    A graphic on what "it's going to be ok" really means, by Geri Weitzman (2016-11-11).

    I’m a disabled American. Trump’s policies will be a disaster for people like me., by Ari Ne’eman for Vox (2016-11-09).


















    tim: A bright orange fish. (fish)


    • Exit Strategy, by EricaJoy (2016-11-03). "Staying is not a desirable option. Staying leaves me in a country run by a person who can start a war and would probably start one because someone slighted him."
    • [CW: sex; sexually explicit images (porn covers)] The Erin Brockovich of Porn, by Jeremy Lybarger for Esquire (2016-11-04). "We almost made it through lunch without mentioning the turkey basters full of cum, which would have been a shame."
    • Goodbye to all that: I’m done with Election 2016, by Sady Doyle for Global Comment (2016-11-03).
      I’m tired. I’m tired of debating whether gender plays a role in the election of the potential first female President, whether sexism is affecting media coverage or public sentiment, whether Hillary Clinton’s female supporters are selfish for caring about gender when There Are So Many Other Problems In The World After All, whether sexism itself even qualifies as a problem. I am tired of the lingering hangover of the Democratic primary, tired of what this conversation has shown me about the seemingly well-meaning, “progressive” men in my life. I am tired of seeing the damage that even the mildest, wimpiest, plaid-shirt-clad beardy-bro can do when he’s been given license to stop taking sexism seriously, and therefore stopped worrying that he might get somebody hurt.
    • is donald trump a ‘man of peace’?, by leftytgirl (2016-11-03). 'Why do some on the left seem to believe Trump is a ‘man of peace’? What personal traits of his is this based on?'
    • What Hillary Clinton's Fans Love About Her, by Chimamanda Adichie (2016-11-03).
      A conservative writer labeled her a congenital liar when she was first lady, and the label stuck because it was repeated over and over—and it was a convenient label to harness misogyny. If she was a liar, then the hostility she engendered could not possibly be because she was a first lady who refused to be still and silent. “Liar’ has re-emerged during this election even though Politifact, a respected source of information about politicians, has certified that she is more honest than most politicians—and certainly more honest than her opponent.

      Because she is already considered guilty in a vague and hazy way, there is a longing for her to be demonstrably guilty of something. Other words have been repeated over and over, with no context, until they have begun to breathe and thrum with life. Especially “emails.” The press coverage of “emails” has become an unclear morass where “emails” must mean something terrible, if only because of how often it is invoked.

    • When Truth Falls Apart, by Maria Bustillos for The Awl (2016-11-02). So good:
      "Dismediation is looking to make you never really trust or believe a news story, ever again....

      It’s not that we can’t agree on what the facts are. It’s that we cannot agree on what counts as fact.

      (There's something to be said here about the relationship between what Bustillos calls dismediation -- the propagation of epistemological nihilism -- and the denial of marginalized people's lived experiences that is the substance of gaslighting.)

    • His message was that America is fine, by Aaron Bady (2010-11-01). Yes, this article is six years old, but so much of it still rings true: '...by condemning both ideological “sides” equally for the crime of being ideological, he implies or explicitly claims that the truth is to be found in a “Real” that is outside those ideological filters.'

    Everything else

    tim: A bright orange fish. (fish)
    A post about whether you would go back in time and kill baby Hitler, by Jim Henley (2016-10-28). I just want to quote this entire post because it's so good. "You never. Need. To murder. A baby!" (I want to think more about the extent to which violence permeates the culture we live in so that this is a thing that needs to be said.)

    Why would Facebook fire Peter Thiel?, by Paul Biggar (2016-10-26). This needs to be said, and maybe because it's a white man saying it, some of the people who need to listen will listen: 'Look at the words they use — “scared for the lives”, “hate and violence”, “his attacks”, “existential threat” — and contrast them to Altman’s and Zuckerberg’s: “because they support Trump”, “support of a political candidate”. Altman and Zuckerberg are talking about mere political support. The others are talking about fearing for their lives.' (I disagree with Biggar about one thing: the idea that people who aren't like him deserve to be safe is political; for most of us, whether we deserve to be safe is a highly politicized question. Nonetheless, the distinction between being unsafe and being disagreed with is important.)

    Why I'm Done Talking About Diversity Or, Why We Should Try an All-White Diversity Panel, by Marlon James (2016-10-20). So many good points here. I think this relates to what I wrote about in "Opinions Are Abundant and Low-Value, too, in that we can only be fooled into thinking "diversity of opinion" is a useful goal if we think of diversity as a goal rather than an incidental outcome.
    "Well for one, saying these isms are dividing us is implying that we are equally to blame for the division. What is happening is one group using social, economic and political policies to separate themselves from others, not always deliberately. It’s not for the black person to be more open-minded. It’s for the white person to be less racist."

    "Diversity can’t accomplish anything because diversity shouldn’t have been a goal in the first place."

    "The point I will raise at a diversity panel this year, will be the same point I raised ten years ago, which again reinforces the question of what purpose these panels serve."
    Developer hiring and the market for lemons, by Dan Luu. So many good points here -- Luu examines and eviscerates, in detail, why the belief that engineering managers accurately assess talent -- and therefore, the belief that "all good developers already have jobs" -- is completely wrong. It follows pretty easily from the points Luu makes that prejudice against people who change jobs frequently is illogical unless you blame people for having been in a bad working environment.

    Some things that might help you make better software, by David R. MacIver (2016-10-27). This is not just a random bag of ideas -- I think that the points about testing and documentation are deeply related to the points about culture, working from home, and working hours. I'm working on a blog post in which I elaborate just that, but in the meantime, this is a really great list of things you should know about doing software right, written from a holistic standpoint.

    Academia, Love Me Back, by Tiffany Martinez (2016-10-27). 'On the second page the professor circled the word “hence” and wrote in between the typed lines “This is not your word.” The word “not” was underlined. Twice. My professor assumed someone like me would never use language like that. As I stood in the front of the class while a professor challenged my intelligence I could just imagine them reading my paper in their home thinking could someone like her write something like this?'

    [CW: white men with guns; description of murder] I Went Undercover With a Border Militia. Here's What I Saw, by Shane Bauer for Mother Jones (2016-10). There's a lot here. An incidental point that jumped out at me was: "there is an added concern among law enforcement that going after a group simply for training 'could backfire and make them feel persecuted or victimized.'" So much for the war on terror... oh wait, we only care about terrorists feeling persecuted or victimized if those terrorists happen to be white.

    The pyramid at the end of the world, by Elmo Keep for Fusion (2016-10-28). What a weird, beautiful article about a weird, beautiful monument to how close we continue to come to nuclear annihilation. I don't know if it was written specifically about this place, but the song "Nightshift Watchman" by David Wilcox came to mind. "If I do my job, my job is over..."

    Debunking Patient Zero, by Azeen Ghorayshi for Buzzfeed (2016-10-26). As several of my friends pointed out this is not news, but it should still be disseminated. '“There was so much anxiety and fear about HIV and origins of HIV that it led to blame — blame along people’s beliefs, blame along people’s prejudices,” Richard Elion, an HIV researcher at George Washington University, told BuzzFeed News. “People want to believe that bad things in the world happen because of bad people. But biology doesn’t work that way.”'

    The Racist and Sexist History of Keeping Birth Control Side Effects Secret, by Bethy Squires for Vice (2016-10-17).

    When tech firms judge on skills alone, women land more job interviews, by Erin Carson for Cnet (2016-08-27). Not news either, but it's always good to have more evidence.

    The Accidental City, by Helena Fitzgerald (2016-10-27). If you're at all sentimental about New York City, subways, or the New York subway system, you'll enjoy this.
    tim: text: "I'm not offended, I'm defiant" (defiant)
    I noticed a theme emerging as I assembled today's links: emotionally manipulative lies you may have been told lately. Gaslighting seems more prevalent than ever: people who want you to include abusers in your social circle, disengage from the political process, or blame yourself for your place in an oppressive socioeconomic order have a lot of tricks up their sleeves. I hope these links will shine light into those corners of your mind where you might be inclined to believe the voices saying you're "just too late and just no good."

    Lie: "Isn't calling people out for their abusive behavior just as bad as abusing people?"

    • When is naming abuse itself abusive?, by Valerie Aurora (2016-10-24). This is so good and I want to print out many copies and nail them to various walls:
      "Naming and accurately describing abusive behavior is necessary and powerful at the same time that it makes many people feel uncomfortable.... Being uncomfortable is not in and of itself a sign that you are doing something wrong. I encourage people to think about what makes you uncomfortable about naming and describing abusive behavior, or seeing other people do it. Is it compassion for the person engaging in abusive behavior? Then I ask you to apply that compassion to the targets of abuse. Is it fear of further abuse by the person being called out? Then I urge you to support people taking action to end that abuse. Is it desire for a lack of overt conflict – a “negative peace“? Then I suggest you raise your sights and aim for a positive peace that includes justice and consideration for all. Is it fear that the wrong person will be accidentally targeted? Then I invite you to reflect on the enormous risk and backlash faced by people do this kind of naming and describing. And then I invite you to worry more about the people who are remaining silent when speaking up would benefit us all."
    Lie: "You need to tolerate people who think you shouldn't exist -- not just tolerate them, but collaborate with them. Diversity of opinion is sacred."
    • Peter Thiel, YC, and hard decisions, by Ellen Pao (2016-10-17). "Giving more power to someone whose ascension and behavior strike fear into so many people is unacceptable. His attacks on Black, Mexican, Asian, Muslim, and Jewish people, on women, and on others are more than just political speech; fueled by hate and encouraging violence, they make each of us feel unsafe."
    • Part-Time Power, by Leigh Honeywell (2016-10-19). 'We all get to make a choice as to what constitutes “intolerable intolerance”. YC has made it clear that Thiel’s actions and words are tolerable enough to them to continue to give him power over people in their organization, and I find this unconscionable.'
    • When the Genius Men of Silicon Valley Suddenly Don't Seem So Smart, by Sam Biddle for The Intercept (2016-10-19).
    • The hypocrisy of Facebook's silence on Peter Thiel's support for Donald Trump, by Julia Carrie Wong for the Guardian (2016-10-18). "Money talks, and in Silicon Valley, it seems, money can say whatever it wants as long as one’s public statements (be they convention speeches or Washington Post op-eds) obfuscate the bigotry that lies beneath."
    • “Emotions are Running High…” by Arlan Hamilton (2016-10-21). "This week, another entity was set to make a very generous investment in my company. This was a deal a few weeks in the making, and at approx $500k would have made a huge impact on what we’re building at Backstage. Because this entity has close business ties to Thiel, I was faced with the decision to be a hypocrite and take the cash, or not be a hypocrite and respectfully decline it. I chose the latter."
    • Twitter Fires Its VR Project Manager After Homeless Rant Resurfaces, by William Turton for Gizmodo (2016-10-19). Sometimes there's justice in the world.
    Lie: "Sure, maybe he's a serial abuser, but he does such good work and that's the important thing."
    • [CW: sexual harassment; universities; but I repeat myself.] From Texas to the Smithsonian, following a trail of sexual misconduct, by Michael Balter for The Verge (2016-10-24). Systemic sexual harassment and professors' and administrators' insistence on making sure it keeps happening. So familiar.
    • Why I won’t be attending Systems We Love, by Valerie Aurora (2016-10-22). "Even if Bryan doesn’t attack me, people who like the current unpleasant culture of systems programming will. I thought long and hard about the friendships, business opportunities, and social capital I would lose over this blog post. I thought about getting harassed and threatened on social media. I thought about a week of cringing whenever I check my email. Then I thought about the people who might attend Systems We Love: young folks, new developers, a trans woman at her first computing event since coming out – people who are looking for a friendly and supportive place to talk about systems at the beginning of their careers. I thought about them being deeply hurt and possibly discouraged for life from a field that gave me so much joy."
    Lie: "You're not allowed to be glad that Hillary Clinton will be the next president -- just look at all the awful things she's done."
    • [CW: abuse] Hillary: My President, my Patronus, by Tierney Wisniewski (2016-10-21). I really related to this article about finding vindication as a child of a narcissist from watching Clinton succeed by exposing Trump for who he is: "I’m an only child. I had no witnesses inside the family. It was my word against that of two unreliable adults. Now, watching one more very unreliable adult, I have millions of witnesses to corroborate my perceptions of what is happening, and the documentation to back up our perceptions. And that part feels awesome."
    • The Leftist Case for Clinton, by Milo Beckman (2016-10-19). "Clinton has consistently been as far to the left as a public figure could be in America without being dismissed as a lunatic."
    Lie: "Real conservatives aren't like that. He's just bananas."
    • Trumpworld, by Michelle García for Guernica (2016-10-21) "...For much of the campaign season, the press and commentators have branded Trump as an aberration, his rhetoric seemingly a deviation from the political norm, his vision for the country a frightening possibility of the future. In reality, much of Trumpworld already exists." García shows how Trump's white supremacy and anti-immigrant racism are nothing new. Nor are they unique to the right wing: "Partisan differences offer little or no immunity from the violent border paradigm, even among those seemingly supportive of immigrants."
    Lie: "Well, anyone could win against Donald Trump."
    • Hillary Clinton’s 3 debate performances left the Trump campaign in ruins, by Ezra Klein for Vox (2016-10-19). While Trump's opinions aren't unusual among conservatives, his strategy (or lack thereof) is, and Clinton has exploited it skillfully: "The dominant narrative of this election goes something like this. Hillary Clinton is a weak candidate who is winning because she is facing a yet weaker candidate. Her unfavorables are high, her vulnerabilities are obvious, and if she were running against a Marco Rubio or a Paul Ryan, she would be getting crushed. Lucky for her, she’s running against a hot orange mess with higher unfavorables, clearer vulnerabilities, and a tape where he brags about grabbing women "by the pussy.""
    Lie: "If you're not doing well economically, you're lazy. Just work harder."
    • The myth of personal life under capitalism, by Susan Rosenthal (2015-01). "Transforming inquisitive children into obedient, producing and reproducing machines requires a persistent shaming process that compels us to reject every part of ourselves that might rebel: our curiosity, our need to be heard and valued, and our need to actively shape our lives and our world. As a result, we cannot be complete human beings. When we believe that parts of ourselves are unworthy, we are ashamed to show ourselves, and our relationships remain superficial and insecure."
    • The Gaslighting of the Millennial Generation, by Caitlin Herron (2016-10-17) "The negative opinions directed at millennials are a perfect example, on an enormous societal scale, of cultural gaslighting."
    • Millennials Who Are Thriving Financially Have One Thing in Common… Rich parents, by Gillian B. White for the Atlantic (2015-07-15).
      The study calls this a 'funnel of privilege': Young adults with rich parents soon become rich themselves.

      "Haves are turning their riches or their wealth into bigger wealth because they are investing in the housing market by simply living in a house," says Gudell. This advantage is one that these Millennials will carry forward as they earn more than their degree-less peers, and save more than those who were forced to throw away tens of thousands of dollars on rent due to their inability to buy. In the future, they’ll have wealth to pass down to their own kids, continuing the cycle.

    tim: A bright orange fish. (fish)
    The white flight of Derek Black, by Eli Saslow for the Washington Post (2016-10-15). I am not sure how much credit former white supremacists deserve for coming to their senses, but nonetheless, this is a pretty gripping story about the son of one of the founders of Stormfront disowning his previous involvement with white supremacist groups. Education can and does change people sometimes, even though doing the work of educating isn't any specific marginalized person's responsibility.

    Discerning Emotional Abuse in Relationships, by Xan West (2016-10-14).

    D&D For Young DMs and Players 3: The X-Card, by Rory Bristol (2016-10-03). Interesting example of content warnings in practice (in the context of roleplaying games.) h/t [personal profile] joxn

    [CW: rape, rape culture] When Men Brag About Sexual Assault, by [livejournal.com profile] siderea (2016-10-10). I also recommend its predecessor piece, Trump's Sexual Inkblot. This is about much more than just Trump:
    The "locker-room banter" excuse says to women (and others), "you don't get to make the same natural surmises that men get to make about the very same speech acts applied to other crimes". It's a double standard: when the crime being boasted about is sexual in nature, women (and others) are supposed to give it a pass. "He's just saying that. It doesn't mean he does it."

    When it comes to sexual crimes and torts, women (and others) are told they are supposed to suspend operation of their common sense. What men say when bragging about sexual misconduct is to be held in a little epistemological bubble, where none of it means, signifies, or counts in any way outside the bubble. Within the bubble – the rhetorical "locker-room" – those speech acts are to be understood and evaluated only by a special set of rules, which insist such utterances are not of relevance to the (presumed female) parties spoken of, only to the (presumed male) parties spoken to. Those utterances are not to be taken outside of the bubble; they are not to be exposed to reasoned contemplation in the light of anything outside the bubble whatsoever. We are to pretend under all circumstances not to have heard that which we have heard that men arrogate to the bubble; we are to pretend not to know anything the knowing of which men arrogate to the bubble. It is, Orwellianly, knowledge that, if we know it, we are forbidden to know.

    [CW: suicide, discussion of mental illness hospitalization] Suicide Didn’t Kill Me, But Capitalism Might, by Beck Levy (2016-09-09). 'The bottom line is that in this ongoing crisis, “awareness” and “ending stigma” are toothless if depoliticized. All the awareness in the world won’t dismantle for-profit healthcare. Applying free-market principles to human needs wreaks havoc on our bodies.'

    North Carolina Governor: My wife and I are being shunned by friends over anti-trans law, by Nick Duffy for PinkNews (2016-10-13). The lack of self-awareness here is breathtaking.

    Men, You Can Survive Without Us—Please Try, by Ijeoma Oluo for The Establishment (2016-10-14). "All of this fear that you cannot survive without us is leaving so many of us dead."

    The Ada Initiative’s legacy, one year on, by the Ada Initiative, 2016-10-17. Includes a list of ways you can continue supporting women in open technology and culture!

    How False Narratives of Margaret Sanger Are Being Used to Shame Black Women, by Imani Gandy for Rewire (2016-08-20). On how Margaret Sanger's views on race have been grossly misrepresented by the pro-forced-pregnancy movement.

    on #notallmen, derailing, and the fury it causes, by Jay (2015-08-01). Because this can never be said enough times:
    Let’s talk about metonymy.

    thefreedictionary.com defines the kind of metonymy I’m talking about as “a figure of speech in which the name of one object or concept is used for that of another to which it is related, as “scepter” for “sovereignty,” or “the bottle” for “strong drink”. So, if we extrapolate, we see how saying “I hate men” could stand in for “I hate the kind of man that rapes, kills, refuses to listen to me, voids my agency, trivializes my experiences, speaks over me, and makes jokes at my expense.”

    You can see how the one is quicker and easier than the other.

    White Nonsense: Alt-right trolls are arguing over genetic tests they think “prove” their whiteness, by Elspeth Reeve for Vice (2016-10-09). White supremacists got their 23andMe results and you won't believe what happened next! (Truly delightful.)

    Election Update: Women Are Defeating Donald Trump, by Nate Silver for FiveThirtyEight (2016-10-11). Good.
    tim: A bright orange fish. (fish)
    Every Body Goes Haywire by Anna Altman for n+1 (2016-10-06). Long, beautiful article about the experience of chronic illness.

    [CW: discussion of disordered eating] I Wasn't Addicted To Food. I Was Addicted to Dieting, by Virgie Tovar for Ravishly (2016-10-06). "...I do have a tendency to use experiences the way addicts use substances, because I learned addictive behavioral frameworks growing up." How when food gets used in a way that resembles an addiction, it's actually dieting that people use to distance themselves from their own feelings and reactions, not eating -- the "impulse to create emergencies and drama."

    Trans Girl Periods. Yes, that’s right. No, I’m being serious. Just read the damn article, by Alaina Kailyn (2016-10-06). Bodies are so fascinating! I hadn't known that for many trans women, taking the same dosage of exogenous hormones every day still causes hormones to fluctuate, producing the same emotional ups and downs many cis women experience as part of the menstrual cycle, as the body adjusts its own production of hormones in response to the external feedback.

    Fuck Portlandia, by In Other Words staff (2016-09-30). "...the last time the show filmed in our space, the production crew asked to us to remove the Black Lives Matter sign on our window."

    Elon Musk Follows Zero Women on Twitter, by Sarah Jeong (2016-10-04). "Of course, Musk often retweets articles about Tesla Motors or SpaceX, which means he’s probably retweeted articles written by women. After all, about half the planet is occupied by people who aren’t men, and it would take a lot of effort to manage to completely erase them."

    Idiocracy Is a Cruel Movie and You Should Be Ashamed For Liking It, by Matt Novak for Gizmodo (2014-07-29). I've never seen this movie and always thought there was something deeply anti-human about it, and Novak explains exactly what it is.

    Trump and the Truth, by David Remnick, Eyal Press, Adam Davidson, and Adam Gopnik for the New Yorker (2016-09). This was written before That Video was released; it's still good to see a small number of Trump's lies systematically exposed.

    More Evidence That Open Offices Make People Less Social, by Drake Baer for New York magazine (2016-09-16). Not that facts are going to persuade managers to reject open offices, since open offices were never instituted based on facts, but it's still nice to have facts. "...people who work in open-office plans had worse co-worker friendships than people who had private or shared offices" is something that resonates with my experience, since the sensory overload of an open office is such a drain on my resources that it makes me want to spend as little time in my office -- and by extension, with coworkers -- as possible.

    Artificial Intelligence’s White Guy Problem, by Kate Crawford for the New York Times (2016-06-25). "Currently the loudest voices debating the potential dangers of superintelligence are affluent white men, and, perhaps for them, the biggest threat is the rise of an artificially intelligent apex predator.

    But for those who already face marginalization or bias, the threats are here."

    Your ‘Political Beliefs’ Don’t Justify Racism, by Andrew Wang for the Huffington Post (2016-09-21). I've been waiting for somebody to connect the dots as to how "political diversity" is how fascists sneak their ideology through the back door. This isn't quite that, but it approaches that. (I tried to write about it in "Opinions Are Abundant and Low-Value", too, but since then it's gotten clearer and clearer how transparent "political diversity" is as a veneer over white supremacy and fascism.)

    "Political diversity is valuable. But a definition of political diversity that does not emphasize the reality of identity politics is amorphous, and overlooks how these discussions are often the first issues to be unwelcome and disrespected in the political arena. What then forms is a guise under which racist views must be tolerated. And when such a tolerance is made explicit by an educational institution, that institution becomes an enabler of racist rhetoric."

    I especially appreciated this insight into how paradoxically limiting it is to use American two-party politics as the metric for "diversity of opinion": "...it becomes almost impossible to move beyond a partisan realm of discourse when traditional politics have been selected by institutions as the starting and ending point of debate."

    [CW: discussion of fatphobia and bullying] Emotional Implications of Weight Stigma Across Middle School: The Role of Weight-Based Peer Discrimination, by Jaana Juvonen, Leah M. Lessard, Hannah L. Schacter, and Luisana Suchilt in the Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology. I read the abstract and another article summarizing this one, about how it's weight stigma, not being fat, that harms the mental health of fat middle school students. (Chorus of "well, duh" from every fat person in the room.)

    This Transgender Boy Gave A Powerful Speech To Counter Fear At His School, by David Mack for Buzzfeed (2016-09-14). In a better world, adults would come for other adults who terrorize 12-year-olds because of their amorphous fears -- in this world, 12-year-olds have to stand up for themselves against those adults, and Ari Bowman, a 12-year-old trans boy, did that; you can watch a video of his speech to school board officials.
    tim: A bright orange fish. (fish)
    A bit late, because I've been on vacation. But linkspam doesn't take a vacation!

    The Psychology of Victim-Blaming by Kayleigh Roberts for the Atlantic (2016-10-05). Good outline of how the just-world fallacy causes people to blame victims.

    Protect Your Irritated Nervous System by [personal profile] sonia (2016-10). Good stuff about understanding chronic stress.

    The Importance of Paying Attention in Building Community Trust, by [personal profile] mjg59 (2016-10-03). If your community doesn't handle the little things, no one will trust you to get big things right.

    It’s Not About Race!, by John Metta (2016-09-18). 'When a white person says “It’s not about race,” they are pretty much always saying it when a Black person, or a Latino person, or a Muslim person is not acting the way a white European would act or wants them to act.' (I probably would have cited this in "The Filter of Unemotionality" had I read it sooner.)

    Language in Emergency Medicine: A Verbal Self-Defense Handbook, by Suzette Haden Elgin (1999). I am thinking about this approach to communication and would like to read and think more about it. "In order to understand what another person is saying, you must assume that it is true, and try to imagine what it could be true of" isn't advice I follow all the time, or even most of the time, and I especially don't want to assume that what somebody is saying is true when what they're saying is that I don't deserve to live. However, there might be more times when it's useful than I've accounted for.

    A Health Benefit of Roller Coasters, by James Hamblin for the Atlantic (2016-09-26). Now this is the kind of science I love: "So I used real urine … to avoid criticism."

    The Sexist Response to a Science Book Prize, by Thomas Levenson for the Atlantic (2016-09-30).

    Some links about weight and fatphobia. CWs apply to all of them, but particularly the two articles by Gina Kolata, which are quite wrong-headed and pathologizing (having a body size and shape that some people find sexually unattractive isn't a "disease", folks), but still contain some useful information.

    The Mythology Of Trump’s ‘Working Class’ Support, by Nate Silver for FiveThirtyEight (2016-05-03).

    A Pox On Your Box: The Problem of LELO Hex, by Lorax of Sex (2016-09-25) -- about a supposedly-revolutionary new condom design that's anything but.

    Life-Hacks of the Poor and Aimless, by Laurie Penny for The Baffler (2016-07-08):

    'Can all this positive thinking be actively harmful? Carl Cederström and André Spicer, authors of The Wellness Syndrome, certainly think so, arguing that obsessive ritualization of self-care comes at the expense of collective engagement, collapsing every social problem into a personal quest for the good life. “Wellness,” they declare, “has become an ideology.”
    When Penny writes, "There is an obvious political dimension to the claim that wellbeing, with the right attitude, can be produced spontaneously," it reminds me of the blog post I want to write about the political uses of cognitive-behavioral therapy.


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