So life has been incredibly hectic with end of the year shenanigans, and now I’m on leave, Christmas is over, and I have a game downloading, let me share with you all the interesting things I’ve found over the past few months. I should do these on a more frequent interval, and maybe that’s something that can happen next year. I’m going to categorise these for ease of reading/writing.
At Queerty, “Officer Speaks Candidly About Life And Struggles As A Bisexual Man Inside The Salvation Army“:
“Despite all of this negative information you have received concerning how the Salvation Army treats the LGBT community,” he says. “I enjoy the ministry we have. I love helping people out. I’m not in it for the money. I’m here to serve God by helping others. That being said, if I were to [publicly] go against my superiors, I would be terminated immediately and be left homeless.”
At the Bisexual Community Tumblr, “The difference between monosexism and biphobia“:
Monosexism causes bisexual erasure (from media, literature, art, TV and film, etc.), it causes discrimination when it comes to activist priorities, budgeting, etc. It causes the social isolation that leads many bis to have poor health and mental health, and prevents proper treatment and support that might help alleviate them. It keeps bi people “low” on the “pecking order” and creates all sorts of oppression. I see monosexism as the main factor responsible for all the horrible statistics in the Bisexual Invisibility report, for example.
So, basically, monosexism is the system, the base structure. It is everything which isn’t directly aimed at bi* people but nonetheless has the effect of eradicating our existence or legitimacy.
Emma Sleath writes at the ABC, “I am intersex: Shon Klose’s story“:
“I would like to see a world where no one identifies as either male or female, but that we just acknowledge each other as human beings.”
Milo Todd writes at Everyday Feminism, “5 Ways That Bi Erasure Hurts More Than Just Bisexual People“:
This year, Bisexual Awareness Day/Celebrate Bisexuality Day was on September 23rd.
That same day, the National LGBTQ Task Force thought it’d be a good idea to post an article entitled “Bye Bye Bi, Hello Queer,” in which leadership programs director Evangeline Weiss said “she is ready ‘to say bye bye to the word bisexuality.’
She said it does not describe her sexual orientation, and she encouraged readers to cease using the word as well as she felt it reinforced a binary concept of gender.
Let me drive that home a little more. The National LGBTQ Task Force not only thought it would be a good idea to publish an article insulting, misrepresenting, and forsaking the bisexual letter in their own name, but did so on Celebrate Bisexuality Day.
M.H.Monroe at Aus Thru Time writes, “Eel Farming“:
To exploit this abundant seasonal food source, the Aborigines constructed an elaborate system of traps and even canals that were on a scale that could be considered to be engineering. Among the sites where these structures were built of stone and still remain are Ettrick (Mainsbridge Weir site), Lake Condah, Toolondo and Mt William.
A detailed study of the trap network has been carried out at Lake Condah, the publication they produced is Aboriginal Engineering of the Western Districts of Victoria. The study found many stone races (above ground canals), canals, and stone walls, up 1 m high by 1 m wide made from black volcanic rocks that are common in the area. These walls were often more than 50 m long. Channels had been dug into the basalt bedrock that were up to 1 m deep and extended for up to 300 m.
Philip Oltermann writes at The Guardian, “Forgotten fairytales slay the Cinderella stereotype“:
Once upon a time … the fairytales you thought you knew had endings you wouldn’t recognise. A new collection of German folk stories has Hansel and Gretel getting married after an erotic encounter with a dwarf, an enchanted frog being kissed not by a damsel in distress but by a young man, and Cinderella using her golden slippers to recover her lover from beyond the moon.
The stash of stories compiled by the 19th-century folklorist Franz Xaver von Schönwerth – recently rediscovered in an archive in Regensburg and now to be published in English for the first time this spring – challenges preconceptions about many of the most commonly known fairytales.
Elena Glassman, Neha Narula and Jean Yang write at Wired, “MIT Computer Scientists Demonstrate the Hard Way That Gender Still Matters“:
As computer science PhD students, we were interested in fielding questions about programming, academia, MIT CSAIL, and how we got interested in the subject in the first place. As three of the few women in our department and as supporters of women pursuing STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics], we also wanted to let people know that we were interested in answering questions about what it is like to be women in a male-dominated field. We decided to actively highlight the fact that we were three female computer scientists doing an AMA, to serve as role models in a field that’s less than 20 percent female.
As it turned out, people were extremely interested in our AMA, though some not for the reasons we expected. Within an hour, the thread had rocketed to the Reddit front page, with hundreds of thousands of pageviews and more than 4,700 comments. But to our surprise, the most common questions were about why our gender was relevant at all. Some people wondered why we did not simply present ourselves as “computer scientists.” Others questioned if calling attention to gender perpetuated sexism. Yet others felt that we were taking advantage of the fact that we were women to get more attention for our AMA.
Marguerite Del Giudice writes at National Geographic, “Why It’s Crucial to Get More Women Into Science“:
So what difference does it make when there is a lack of women in science? For one, it means women might not get the quality of health care that men receive.
It’s now widely acknowledged that countless women with heart disease have been misdiagnosed in emergency rooms and sent home, possibly to die from heart attacks, because for decades what we know now wasn’t known: that they can exhibit different symptoms from men for cardiovascular disease. Women also have suffered disproportionately more side effects from various medications, from statins to sleep aids, because the recommended doses were based on clinical trials that focused largely on average-size men.
Nicole Hernandez Froio writes at Words by Nicole Froio, “On misogyny in the gay community“:
Even if I could say which group is worse, that’s not the point (and it will never be the point). Misogyny in the gay community exists and it has to be addressed. The worst way to go about it is to say: “Wah! But straight guys are even worse!” That’s just shifting blame and denying that, even though you are oppressed in one instance, you were still raised in a patriarchal society that teaches hatred of women and femininity.
Imran Siddiquee writes at The Atlantic, “The Topics Dystopian Films Won’t Touch“:
Whenever Hollywood does get an opportunity to talk about race in one of these movies, it minimizes the subject. Characters of color like Beetee, Cinna (Lenny Kravitz), who mentored Katniss, or Christina, Tris’s best friend in Divergent (played by Kravitz’s daughter Zoe), certainly play major roles in these stories, but their race is never at issue. You might say that this is an example of admirably “colorblind” filmmaking—were it not for the fact that the audience’s perspective is always that of a white protagonist.
To an extent, the diversity of characters depends on the source material, but producers typically have some leeway in casting decisions. Suzanne Collins, in her original novel, does not explicitly describe Katniss as Anglo-Saxon (she has “olive skin”), so it’s actually the filmmakers who make the decision to default to white. In fact, Collins intentionally leaves many lead characters in the novels racially ambiguous, creating a more integrated and nuanced world.
Nicholas Kristof at The New York Times writes, “A Shooter, His Victim and Race”:
IAN MANUEL is a black man who has spent most of his life in prison. Yet he still has a most unusual advocate calling for his release: a white woman whom he met when he shot her in the face.
Manuel fired the bullet when he was barely 13, and he fit all too neatly into racial stereotypes, especially that of the black predator who had to be locked away forever. One of the greatest racial disparities in America is in the justice system, and fear of young black criminals like Manuel helped lead to mass incarceration policies that resulted in a sixfold increase in the number of Americans in prison after 1970. Yet, as his one-time victim points out (speaking with a reconstructed jaw), it’s complicated.
Marlene Halser at ynet writes, “German village plays prank on neo-Nazis“:
Instead of taking the neo-Nazis seriously, this time they decided to play a prank on them. Under the slogan “Right against right: (“rechts gegen rechts”), Wunsiedel’s residents gave the neo-Nazis’ march a new purpose.
For each meter the neo-Nazis marched last Saturday throughout the village, local companies donated 10 euro for a project called “Exit”, a NGO that supports neo-Nazis who are ready to leave the milieu.
Simon Leo Brown writes at ABC, “Melbourne street art featured in new photo book, Street Art Now by Dean Sunshine“:
Street Art Now is Dean Sunshine’s second book on Melbourne street art.
“At the end of the day [street art] is all ephemeral, it’s not designed to last,” he told 774 ABC Melbourne’s Libbi Gorr.
“If it did last forever, then you’d have nothing to go back and see, there would be nothing fresh.”
He said the constant turnover helped improve street art, with artists pushing themselves to create better work.
Mallory Ortberg writes the perfect response to hearing both sides of an argument at The Toast, “We Regret To Announce That Your Request Of “Gotta Hear Both Sides” Has Been Denied”
Joe Gelonesi at Radio National writes, “The metaphysics of pregnancy“:
By all accounts, this seems like a question about the structure of reality; the meat and potatoes of metaphysics. So why is there an absence of interest? For Kingma, this hints at an elemental division.
‘I suspect that maybe it hasn’t been very obvious as a topic because the kind of people who have traditionally done analytic philosophy wouldn’t have been very closely involved with pregnancies. They would not have been pregnant themselves or even been close to pregnant partners.’
It does scream of gender inequity in the higher reaches of the hard-headed end of town; men do analytic philosophy in greater numbers and they might be searching elsewhere in the grand structure of the universe for questions and problems. However, Kingma does concede some less cynical reasons.
‘I explained my theory to a friend and she turned to me and said, “No—the real reason is that it’s too difficult. This stuff is difficult enough without getting pregnancy involved”.’
Jessica Mason Pieklo writes at RH Reality Check, “Pregnant Wisconsin Woman Jailed Under State’s ‘Personhood’-Like Law“:
After submitting to a urinalysis, Loerstcher disclosed her past drug use to hospital workers. But instead of caring for Loerstcher, who as it turns out was 14 weeks pregnant, hospital workers had her jailed.
Ben Pobjie writes, “Hyper-Auto-Repellence: A Personal Plea“:
It’s not that I hate Christopher Pyne. I mean, I do, but that’s not the important thing here. The important thing is that every word out of his mouth, every action he takes, every step in his life up to now, has seemed perfectly calculated to force me to hate him. And frankly, though I hate the man, I also worry about him. When a fellow is so desperate to be disliked that he stands in parliament to merrily spit in the face of the old man who just died, there is something quite concerning going on behind his smooth, shiny facade.
Ben Eltham writes for New Matilda, “G20 Summit Was The Icing On Abbott’s Horror Year“:
But hosting a big summit? That really should be a free kick. Mingling with nearly every major figure in global politics is almost the definition of prime ministerial and statesmanlike. A big summit like the G20 also delivers blanket media coverage for the government of the day, sidelining its critics and relegating opposition parties to bit parts. On the television news, which is still where most voters get their political news, images dominate: handshakes and flag-waving, red carpets and koala cuddles.
Needless to say, these should be positive moments for an incumbent. That was certainly the Coalition’s plan: after all, it has made a more assertive foreign policy its leit motif ever since MH17, in large part to distract from Joe Hockey’s unpopular budget.
It takes a special sort of mismanagement, therefore, to stuff up such a golden opportunity. And yet, somehow, that is what has occurred.
Jazz Twemlow writes at Junkee, “Five Things The Government Could Cut Instead Of The ABC“:
#4. School Chaplaincy Program!
Right right. Broken planes, megalomaniacal walking scrotum with eyes, desolate earth. You love all of them. Got it.
But how about school chaplains? In Joe Hockey’s budget, school chaplains were allocated $243 million — almost exactly as much as the ABC’s cuts — yet they remain less appealing than being locked in the back of a meat truck with anyone from the Gamergate hashtag.
Seriously, take the Government’s school chaplaincy program out of context, put it anywhere else, and ask if you’d still like to splash out $243 million. What about a University Warlocks Program? Postgraduate Palm-Readers, anyone?
No Place for Sheep writes, “Abbott uses taxpayer dollars to narrow divide between church and state“:
Under the Abbott government’s proposed education reforms, taxpayers will fund bible studies colleges and the training of priests while support for secular universities will be cut.
Abbott has already flagged that his government will provide $244 million for a new school chaplaincy scheme while removing the option for schools to employ secular welfare workers. The only possible explanation for this is that it’s the government’s intention to impose Christian ideology on students in secular public schools.
Kate Harding writes at Dame Magazine, “Hey, Jian Ghomeshi, I Call B.S.!“:
I do not know for sure whether Ghomeshi is an abuser or the victim of an elaborate revenge campaign. But here’s what I do know for sure: He is asking us to believe that multiple former sex partners have chosen to accuse him of sexual violence—not the fun kind—in solidarity with one particularly bitter ex.
It’s not just that one woman is so angry about being rejected by him that she falsely accused him of criminal behavior. It’s that she rounded up a bunch of other women, who all agreed they would lie to reporters in an effort to smear an innocent man. He has done nothing wrong, nothing non-consensual, yet all of these women hated him enough to conspire to get him fired and publicly humiliate him. They “colluded” to establish a false “pattern of [nonconsensual, potentially life-threatening] behavior.” Because one of them was rilly, rilly mad.
Gamer Gate and online harassment
Stacy W at Who Let The Bees In writes, “Gamergate and Harassment: Learning Lessons Over Time“:
Every couple of days I got another email. Sometimes several in a day. I didn’t tell anyone about it, not friends, not my husband, not anyone. Usually I deleted them without reading. Sometimes I would read them. Most of the time they were filled with “shut your mouth you selfish slut,” or some such things. I thought the harassment was just a part of standing up against Gamergate. I had a fairly neutral tone that was on the side of against Gamergate, though I didn’t dislike anyone actively in Gamergate.But someone had taken a deep, personal dislike in me.
Zoe Quinn writes, “Let’s Talk About Ethics In Games Journalism!“:
Putting the toxicity and hatred that has predominated GamerGate aside for a minute, the other defining trait of it is its blatant, transparent hypocrisy and doublespeak.
At We Hunted the Mammoth, David Futrelle writes, “Meme of the week: Is “Actually, it’s about ethics in games journalism” the new “Not all men?””
At srhongamergate, “Collection of #gamergate Misconceptions & Lies”
Clickhole wrote a brilliant tongue in cheek article, “A Summary Of The Gamergate Movement That We Will Immediately Change If Any Of Its Members Find Any Details Objectionable”
At We Hunted the Mammoth, David Futrelle writes, “Presented with evidence of one of their own sexually harassing a woman, GamerGaters deny and deflect and offer excuses”
Soraya Chemaly at Huffington Post writes, “12 Examples: Pew’s Online Harassment Survey Highlights Digital Gender Safety“:
Many people are inclined to argue in somewhat unhelpful and binary fashion that “men are harassed online more than women,” and leave it at that, but the details matter. Women are much more likely to experiencing stalking, sexual harassment and sustained harassment online. Men are more frequently called “offensive names,” or be “purposefully embarrassed,” and, while men indicate that they are marginally more likely to experience physical threats, stalking and physical threats overlap. “Young women,” researchers concluded, “experience particularly severe forms of online harassment.”
Gamergate, the most recent example of what misogyny looks like online, illustrates several of the findings of the Pew Report, particularly in the way that it illustrates the seamlessness of online and offline violence and demonstrates the problems social media companies face when they promise to keep users safe.
Max Read at Gawker writes, “How We Got Rolled by the Dishonest Fascists of Gamergate“:
Unable to run Alexander out of game writing, as they had with the writer Jenn Frank, or force her from her home, as they did to the developer Brianna Wu, or threaten her from public engagements, as they did the following week to the critic and activist Anita Sarkeesian, Gamergate went after her publisher. And, in an unbelievable and embarrassing act of ignorance and cowardice, Intel capitulated. The company’s laughable “apology,” released late on that Friday afternoon, didn’t cover up the fact of Gamergate’s victory: Intel was not replacing its ads.
Failing to adequately cover this act of spinelessness was the first big fuck-up we at Gawker committed. Intel surrendered to the worst kind of dishonesty, and we allowed it to do so without ever calling it out. So let’s say it now: Intel is run by craven idiots. It employs pusillanimous morons. It lacks integrity. It folded to misogynists and bigots who objected to a woman who had done nothing more than write a piece claiming a place in the world of video games. And even when confronted with its own thoughtlessness and irresponsibility, it could not properly right its wrongs.
Yonatan Zunger, Chief Architect at Google wrote on Google +:
It’s come to my attention that I haven’t yet made a public statement specifically about #GamerGate. But as it’s come up in a few threads, at this point, I think it’s about time that I made my position on this matter absolutely clear.
“GamerGate” is a lie from beginning to end. It has exactly three parts to it: it has its core, which is and has been from the very first day about allowing and preserving a “gamer culture” which is actively hostile to women (among others), and preserving it by means of threats, harassment, and violence towards anyone who ever suggests that it should be otherwise.
Chris Plante writes at The Verge, “Gamergate is dead“:
Gamergate died ironically from what it most wanted: mainstream exposure.
The threats aimed at women made by many of its most radical members received attention through mainstream online news outlets, the front page of The New York Times, and yesterday evening, the satirical television program, The Colbert Report. Interviewing Anita Sarkeesian, who has received numerous death threats for her feminist critique of video games, the conservative television host character “Stephen Colbert” became a feminist. When a fictional ideal of repressive rhetoric thinks your movement is too much, then it’s time to reconsider.
Dan Golding writes, “Some things I should’ve said“:
- Pretty much all the ‘gamers are dead’ articles (not to mention a huge amount of mainstream press subsequent to gamergate’s eruption) cite either Leigh Alexander or I, who posted similar articles within the space of a few hours. Most of them cite us both. But Alexander has been a target of harassment, and with a few pitiful exceptions, I haven’t. Wonder why that might be?
- What harassment has stemmed from my post, however, has been those people choosing to pursue Adrienne Shaw, a woman whose research I referred to in my article. There are YouTube videos and imageboard threads trying to pick apart Shaw and her research, to establish a conspiracy that would mean that I had an ulterior reason for quoting her. Shaw seems to have dealt with this attention with a lot more aplomb than I would’ve—she’s a very impressive person.
Mark Serrels at Kotaku Australia writes, “For A Culture At War, PAX Australia Was The Perfect Antidote“:
Eventually the question came. And it was framed exactly as written above: “what about ethics in video game journalism?”
It was asked by a stern looking young man who had had his hand up for quite some time. The question at the time felt vague, ill-formed and very non-specific. I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it. ‘What about ethics in game journalism?’ What about them? How do I feel about them? Sure, they should exist. All journalists should be bound to a certain code of ethics. Do I think game journalism has issues in that area? Absolutely – we can always improve and we should always be looking to improve. But that wasn’t the question really. The question was a loaded gun aimed directly at the panel. That question was: how do you feel about #gamergate? Hashtag ‘Gamergate’.
The other panelists spoke. They said things. Not patronising things, confronting things certainly, but not patronising. Daniel Wilks of Hyper stated unequivocally that if you are going to accuse someone of behaving unethically you had better name names and you had better back up your accusations with hard evidence – absolutely correct. Tim Colwill of games.on.net was, as always, articulate about his views. He insisted he has never himself seen any breaches of ethics during his time as a games journalist.
Then something strange happened.
As I began to address the question, looking the man directly in the eye as I spoke, he calmly decided to stand up out of his chair, turn his back on me and walk out of the theatre. He actually turned his back on me and walked out on the panel as I was speaking directly to him.
Damion Schubert at Zen of Design writes, “Gamergate’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Week“:
Yes, this is the week that #GamerGate was too crazy for Breitbart.com. there were scandals a-plenty in the Land of Ethical Journalism and they were, as you might imagine, all extremely ethical. This time, though, the bad ethics were coming from INSIDE THE HOUSE! Let’s just take a quick jaunt through the characters with starring roles this week.
Sharon Smith writes at PC Mag, “PAX in the age of Gamer Gate“:
Only once did I witness an audience member reference GamerGate, or more accurately “ethics in journalism” whilst attending a panel filled with games writers and editors. It did not play out as he would have liked. Every member of the panel deflected the question with eloquent responses and refused to mention the hashtag or enter into anything that could become a debate. After being shut down, the questioner decided to leave his front row seat and walk out of the room – to the sarcastic applause of hundreds of people. What was that I could read between the lines? We don’t want that crap here.
As a female member of the press I did not feel any kind of hostility. Developers were keen to talk to me, presenters went out of their way to answer my questions and I was generally treated like, well a normal person. And the crowd? I love those people. Random conversations in queues and shared tables, apologies for the slightest bumps in passing, invitations to join in on demos and games – PAX was the friendliest weekend I can recall ever having.
Anna Merlan writes at Jezebel, “Woman Gets Death Threats for Tweeting About Disliking A Dude’s Shirt“:
The Philae probe touched down on the comet yesterday, making a bumpy landing, but still successfully sending back the first images we’ve ever seen of a comet’s surface. One of the scientists involved, Matt Taylor of the European Space Agency’s Rosetta Project, decided to give an interview about the probe while wearing a polo shirt festooned with colorful images of scantily-clad cartoon ladies.
Yes, it’s just a shirt, whatever. But it’s also not the smartest choice to show that the STEM fields are a super welcoming place for women. And that’s what Rose Eveleth pointed out, a science and tech writer and producer for TheAtlantic and a bunch of other places. She tweeted the above rebuke, a pretty mild one, and was promptly met with all of this mess…
@shanley on who gets protected in white male free speech-land AKA Twitter
Randi Harper writes about her experiences with harassment in the Tech community with, “Still Here, Part 1: A Memoir” and “Still Here, Part 2: Call to Arms“
Keith Stuart writes at The Guardian, “Zoe Quinn: ‘All Gamergate has done is ruin people’s lives’“:
The undercurrent, however, has always been darkly misogynistic. The victims of Gamergate’s ire have mostly been female developers, academics and writers. It was an alleged relationship between Zoe Quinn and a prominent games journalist that kickstarted the whole furore this summer. Quinn and several other women have since had to flee their homes after death and rape threats – mostly for pointing out that the games industry has a problem with representing women.
When I speak to her, Quinn has been in the UK for four days. She doesn’t know where she’s going next. She’s been staying on friends’ couches, at hotels. There is no destination.
“How could I go back to my home?” she asks. “I have people online bragging about putting dead animals through my mailbox. I’ve got some asshole in California who I’ve never talked to hiring a private investigator to stalk me. What am I going to do – go home and just wait until someone makes good on their threats? I’m scared that what it’s going to take to stop this is the death of one of the women who’s been targeted.”