Atheists: A Repost

Atheists: A Repost

It’s an unfortunate feature of a certain strand of contemporary atheism that it doesn’t treat religious believers as fellow humans with whom we disagree, but as tards who function primarily as objects of ridicule. And ridicule has its place. But sometimes it’s gratuitous. Sure, there are stupid/crazy religious people; there are also stupid/crazy atheists, and black people, and white people, and gays, and straights, and Republicans, and Democrats, and Sixers fans, and Celtics fans, and so on. Focusing on the stupidest among those with whom you disagree is a sign of weakness, not of strength.

It seems to me that the default stance of a proud secular humanist should be to respect other people as human beings, even if we definitively and unambiguously think they are wrong.

Sean Carroll

I would point out the above to some of the folks in this mess but… I need my sanity this weekend.

I don’t have the energy to be erudite, so I’ll just rant some more

I don't have the energy to be erudite, so I'll just rant some more

I thought about writing a long, thoughtful post about this recent flare-up of stupidity on the internet. Something a little more coherent than my last one. But, honestly, it isn’t going to make much of a difference. Will Shetterly never listens to anyone, he just rants, whines, cries, and then complains about how hard it is to be poor all the time. I don’t even know what Cramer’s problem is.

But I can’t stop thinking about this issue and I can’t pin down exactly why. Part of it is because, well, Will Shetterly. His mere name is enough to upset anyone. Also, I am upset that coffeeandink is so affected by this. Basically, because she said things that Shetterly and Cramer didn’t like, they get to use their power to complicate her life? And for what? What does that accomplish? Silencing tactics from people who ought to know better. Disgusting.

Continue reading “I don’t have the energy to be erudite, so I’ll just rant some more”

Dear Google

Dear Google

Despite the fact that everyone seems to be talking about how you’re evil and you don’t support your products properly and other stuff, you and I have generally been cool.  But I have to say that we are going to have a slapfight in a minute if you do not fix the ongoing problem with Google Alerts and Blog Search.

I am spectacularly sick of getting a Google Alert every time I post on my blog because I have my story name in the sidebar of said blog.  There was a day when you knew the difference between a blog post and a sidebar.  It seems that day is no more.

In my WordPress backend and stats there’s a little window that tells me who has linked to me lately.  I’m sorry to say that this little window is now one of the most useless little windows in the history of little windows ever.  There I also get a new notification every time someone who has me in their sidebar posts anything at all ever.  EVER.  And, if it’s not doing that, it’s showing me links from months and months ago when I know damned well that newer links in public blogs exist.  Boo, Google.  Boo.

I want us to stay cool, Google.  I really do.  But I am starting to feel like if you cannot keep this basic function working, I don’t know that I want to entrust you with my entire online cloud.  (I know this is bad in general, but I am a lazy sheep when it comes to these things.)  Make me trust you again, Google.  Fix it fix it fix it!  Or else I am going to have to poke you with sharp, sharp sticks.

No love,

What Real Abuse, Attacks, and Hate Looks Like

What Real Abuse, Attacks, and Hate Looks Like

Hey guys, remember Luke Jackson?  The guy who started the whole Helix thing on accident and recently has been running around these here Internets being super offensive just to gain kudos (and perhaps sweet lovin’) from William Sanders and the people who hang out on his message board.  Well, he’s just taken his crazy act up to a whole other level!  Our boy is growing up so fast.

Previously on As The World Fails, there was a nasty commenter named Igor Sanchez who often left blatant and stupid racist and sexist hate comments on people’s blogs.  As you do in such instances, I and many others banned him.  Life went on.  During the recent RaceFail, Igor made a comeback, just once, with a comment that very, very closely followed one by Luke Jackson in the same post.  Both were moderated by default, and I only took note of them being together because they happened to be in the mod queue.  Something in the back of my mind said that it was related, but I didn’t care all that much.

Yesterday Kynn exposed Luke as Igor Sanchez, which wasn’t surprising but still, WTF people?  Luke upgrades from a Fail Boat to a Fail Ocean Liner — Failiner!

But wait, there’s more!  Upset at the fact that no one cares about or listens to him (including, apprently, Mr. Sanders himself), Luke is determined to do something so awful that people will may SO MUCH attention to him.  So, when attacking Kynn for being trans didn’t drive traffic enough, he decided to try posting Kynn’s home address and phone number.  Not only is that massive fail in and of itself, but even moreso since he got it wrong — that’s not Kynn’s address.

Any intelligent being who reads this blog understands full well the multilayered disgustingness going on here.  And were it not so very deep and wrong, I wouldn’t bother giving Luke the Google Juice.  However, this is not longer about a blog pissing contest, it’s about a mentally unbalanced person hunting down someone’s “real” name, address, and phone number thenn inviting his (non-existent) fans to call and get to the bottom of things.  (things being Kynn’s private parts, which Luke is desperately curious about.)

The bottom line is, Luke Jackson (lawyer in the prestigious firm of Choe, Jackson and Weitz, for all your sexual harassment needs!) is a sad, dangerous troll who is so screamingly frustrated with his own insignificance that he would rather committ borderline illegal acts than be ignored or mocked.  I suggest you all act accordingly.

Drowning in Apathy

Drowning in Apathy

I’ve been trying all weekend to write a post that will express several emotions and truths about this latest explosion of debate, discussion, and fail around cultural appropriation and other related issues. You’re all sick of hearing about it, yadda, yadda. I never could write that post. Because it would be pointless. Because most people just aren’t fucking listening. And those that are don’t need the post.

I love how it’s always those people over there causing the problem. I love how everyone gets to say “Oh, it’s those people who love conflict doing a circle jerk!” I love how people are complaining about the lack of listening to individuals and not reacting in a knee-jerk way while being completely unspecific, waving hands in general directions, and not listing or linking to anything specific or engaging with the ideas of the people you reluctantly admit aren’t necessarily a part of it.

It’s so easy to point to a group of brown people and hurl the label “mob”, isn’t it?

I love how when it’s you or someone you love who is hurt, other people’s hurts don’t matter. Not just the specific hurts involved in arguing in this climate, but the hurts involved in just being a person of color and having your very self dismissed on the basis of bullshit and, yes, racist thinking.

I used to think that it was possible to make a difference in this community when it came to this kind of thinking. Hell, I’ve had people tell me that my writing or my taking part in discussions has helped open their eyes, change their minds, make them see other points of view. But I’m not sure if it’s worth watching yet another of these discussions devolve again.

Once again certain people have made me question my participation in the SF community. Once again, the majority of those people are white folks engaging in racist thinking and activities, unconsciously or not.

A friend of mine recently complained of a lingering feeling of apathy over this whole issue. Recently as in 3 days ago. At the time I cautioned her against giving in to that feeling — it might not pass quickly, but it will pass, I said. Well, after this weekend, I am mired deep in that apathy myself. Though still pretty damn angry, as the several times I have had to stop and take a breath while writing this attests.

I’m not about to do a flounce-off. Mainly because if I do, nothing will ever get resolved. Or, more accurately, I will not be part of the solution, and I do strive to be.   But I am thinking about what I want to do going forward. I need to take some time on this, because my current instinct is to separate everyone into categories of “Worth my time” and “Worthless” and just go from there. In the long run, that’s probably a mistake. So I’ll hold off.

In case you were wondering, here are the posts I have either partially written or thought about writing:

  • I was going to write about how there’s a difference between someone saying you’ve engaged in a racist act or in racist thinking and calling someone a racist.
  • I was going to write about how the side of this argument that is mainly made up of white people using words against the side of the argument made up of POC and allies like “mob” and “horde” “oversensitive” and “attention whores” is extremely problematic, not just from a reasonable debate standpoint, but also from a racial one.
  • I was going to write about how divorcing yourself from the label of ally because of all the horrible people picking on you is not a form of bravery or self-righteousness, but a form of saying “I refuse to be an ally to you on your terms, seeing that you’re the one suffering from the hurt and oppression I’m allying with you against. It’s really more about what I’m comfortable with.”
  • I was going to write about how if you don’t want people react to your involvement in a conversation as if you’re just like the 10,000 people who have come before, then maybe you should shut up and not make the same statements or ask the same pointless questions that aren’t really questions as those other 10,000 people.
  • I was going to write about how this is the same thing I have seen happen in every debate about race and gender in SF and how we never get anywhere.

Dear Writers,

Dear Writers,

A truth that I’ve come across many times over the years and passed on to me by writers much more experienced and intelligent than I and that I feel is apropos in these times:

Just because you wrote a piece of fiction doesn’t mean you own the only true way of reading/interpreting/understanding that piece of fiction.  It is, in fact, one of the most wonderful and frightening things about being a writer that we do not.

We may own the copyright on the words we strung together in that particular way, but we do not own reader reactions to that, be they good or bad.  We may get a real thrill from positive reactions, and we may learn new things from honest criticism, discussion, and dissection of our work.  But we may not privilege those reactions above the ones that hurt us most: the negative, the violently opposed, and the ones that result in OUR hurting someone else.

You cannot distance yourself from the culpability you have in hurting others with your fiction if you are not willing to distance yourself from the good feelings that come with giving joy and understanding.  You can talk about intent all you like — and don’t misunderstand me, intent is important, it is just not primarily important — but in the end your intent is worth nothing if you cannot own all of the results of your efforts.

That doesn’t mean you need to take it all in to yourself, beat yourself up, or label yourself as bad, bigoted, evil, or wrong.  What it does mean is that you need to ask: How did I fuck up?  Is there some way I could have avoided fucking up?  Will you give me a chance to prove I will not fuck up in exactly this way again, and will do my best to not fuck up in other, related ways?  Will you accept that I am a work in progress even if I do?

If you ask these questions in all sincerity, the answer will probably be: Yes.

More love than you probably understand I’m giving you,

A scenario for you

A scenario for you

If a white person calls me a nigger, that’s pretty racist, right?  I mean, if someone is willing to use that particular word against me, that’s not a mistake, that’s not an oops, that’s not a slip of the tongue.  That’s a pretty clear cut situation.

Okay.  Now let’s say that “Bob” calls me a nigger and I go: “You racist! OMG.”  Would you expect rational people to then say, “But Tempest, Bob is really nice.  In the past, I’ve never heard him call anyone a nigger before.  He didn’t call Jamal a nigger last week.  And he marched on Washington with Martin Luther King!”

No, you wouldn’t expect that, would you?  And even if that did happen, wouldn’t your reaction be, “The dude called her a nigger you idiot.  It doesn’t matter what he did or didn’t do before this moment, that is some fucked up racist shit.”

Maybe Bob doesn’t always have racist tendencies.  Maybe Bob has an unconscious bias.  Maybe Bob was having a bad day, was drunk, just had a fight with his wife, whatever.  That still does not negate the fact that, in that moment, Bob pulled out some racism and hurled it at me.  And we don’t need to see Bob do it 10 more times over the course of several days, weeks, years, etc. to be able to peg that instance as A Bad Thing.

Right?  Right.

So, why is it then that whenever the gender bias thing comes up, people say “Well, you can’t judge on just this one instance” or “Statistically you need more data”?  No.  No, you really don’t.  Because it doesn’t matter what happened before.  If someone does something that smacks of sexism in one point in time, that is a problem at that point in time.  We don’t need statistics to tell us that the one instance was wrong.  More data can show a pattern, sure, and that makes things worse.  But the absence of a pattern does not make things better.  Because the wrong thing was still done.  Plain and simple.

We seem to have gotten to a point in this community where sexism and gender bias is a nebulous, hard to pin down thing that people don’t want to admit exists or require extraordinary evidence before they’ll admit it exists in one place.  Even when it’s as blatant as Bob calling me a nigger.  (As proof, I cite the Harlan Ellison boob grab incident.)  It’s not really a problem, some say.  It’s not a problem until you can prove it over the course of five volumes, others say.  It’s just you people looking to fight about something and then you’ll forget about it later, still others say.

No, people.  You need to stop.  Because, as with many prejudices, it is not okay to ignore the individual instances of wrongness until you can prove some sort of pattern.  Because each time it comes up, some yahoo will always claim it as an individual instance.  Take it from a person who has had to deal with both large scale and individual level prejudices all of her life: You do not win by ignoring the small stuff just as you do not win by only worrying about the small stuff and ignoring the bigger problem.  You win by pointing out and eliminating both.

So the next time you feel the need to say something about how it’s “just one anthology” or “just one year’s worth of a magazine” or “Just” anything, stop and eat a cookie.  Better yet, knit.  It’ll keep your fingers busy.

I Have Not Even Begun To Be Angry

I Have Not Even Begun To Be Angry

I’m at the airport now and can’t make a proper post about the shenannigans on Something Awful surrounding WisCon but this post may help.  I checked out this fucking thread of ignorance and can’t believe some of the bullshit.  On about page 2 or 3 they start pulling images from the WisCon Flickr feed and making fun of the people (mostly women) for being fat, ugly, stupid, and more.  They even make fun of people’s kids.

Oh, fuck that.

I have a lot of words to say and some actions to do, but I want to say this one thing.  I was scrolling through the thread and looking at the pictures and, instead of being ashamed that I associate myself with such people (horrors!), I couldn’t help but think of how beautiful all those images are.  They are pictures of beautiful women of all sizes smiling, having fun, loving where they are and what they’re doing.  These are the poeple I go to WisCon to be around.  And nothing those half-brained monkeys on that forum say can make me feel any different.  You wanna call me out as a fat loser?  You go right ahead.  But it’s plainly evident that I not only have more class than you, I also have a better life and better friends.  All the evidence I need to support that statement is my lack of time spent on the internet trolling for pictures of people I don’t know in order to make fun of them for arbitrary reasons.

Get a life, you losers.  And coming from a Star Trek fan, that’s fucking sad.

(p.s. Rachel Moss just better be glad I am not still in Madison right now.)