erinptah: A map. (books)
Ben Franklin on taxes: "The Remissness of our People in Paying Taxes is highly blameable; the Unwillingness to pay them is still more so. [...] All the Property that is necessary to a Man, for the Conservation of the Individual and the Propagation of the Species, is his natural Right, which none can justly deprive him of: But all Property superfluous to such purposes is the Property of the Publick, who, by their Laws, have created it, and who may therefore by other Laws dispose of it, whenever the Welfare of the Publick shall demand such Disposition."

"Fincher’s $70,000 farm subsidy haul in 2012 dwarfs the average 2012 SNAP benefit in Tennessee of $1,586.40, and it is nearly double of Tennessee’s median household income. After voting to cut SNAP by more than $20 billion, Fincher joined his colleagues to support a proposal to expand crop insurance subsidies by $9 billion over the next 10 years."

"The IRS actually threatened to revoke the church's tax-emption because Pastor George Regas said: ‘Mr. President, your doctrine of preemptive war is a failed doctrine," on the Sunday before the 2004 election. [...] Conservative churches that actively campaigned for President Bush in 2004 were not audited by the IRS."

"'When he came in and showed me all of the documents, it was just unbelievable,' Henry said. 'Who gets foreclosed on when they've made all payments on time?'"

"Obamacare passed a major milestone in California, which late last week announced lower-than-expected healthcare premiums for its 5.3 million uninsured, less than many small businesses now pay in group plans....In contrast, the refusal by red-state America to create these health exchanges, which would be more local control—a supposed Republican value—and to accept federal funds to expand state-run Medicaid programs for the poor, means that about half the states are turning their backs on their residents, especially millions of the poorest people."

Old Economy Steven. It hurts my heart a little how true some of these are.

At least we can leave all this on a hopeful note:

"The [Consumer Financial Protection Bureau] reviewed my complaint, and sent me an email the very next day saying they had submitted it to Fifth Third Bank. The email directed me to my own account page that would show all the correspondence among the parties. When Fifth Third Bank responded two days later, CFPB notified me immediately by email of the new development. [...] A week later, the bank refunded $280 – all the fees they had charged me."
erinptah: (sailor planet attack)
Some threads on the general experience of fandom, no matter what the series.

A set of nostalgia trips: your first fandom, and how to cope with being "too old" for the whole thing.

On being a BNF and knowing you're overrated - all the discomfort, and the weird interactions, and the things people project on you.

Advice for commenting on fics you like but don't love, without seeming rude.

General advice for comm modding.

Another subthread that I want to print out and frame on the wall:

I guess I've just seen too many people try to do something fun/good/whatever -- hold a fic-fest, start a con, make any kind of group suggestion -- and there's this immediate, suspicious response: Who does she think she is? There's a sense that somebody's trying to glorify themselves, to rise above the rest of us, and how dare she.

Why on earth can't someone, you know, actually care about something like fan fiction, and want to see it prosper? Just because they love it. Why is there always immediate suspicion?
erinptah: (Birds)
Apparently there's no place on the Internet with decent Peter Donnelly lyrics. Which sucks, especially since his CDs include them in full.

Dangerous Games in particular makes my heart hurt, so I pulled out the lyrics booklet and typed it up.

You walk that line, you walk it straight, you walk it proud )
erinptah: (Default)
Fandom polygamist or monogamist? The responses take the theme and roll with it. Most entertainingly-phrased meta ever? Quite possibly.

If you were deliberately designing a canon to create a huge sprawling fandom, what would you include? Responses are surprisingly uncynical.

Anon feels too geek to function; the sympathetic crowd offers helpful advice for How To Do Small Talk.

Two very different communities which are not so different after all. Someone should make a Lifetime movie out of this.

Obligatory sex threads! Differences in porn styles across fandoms: the trends, the clichés, the unexpectedly fun. Wrestling with the definitions of dub-con and non-con, as they intersect with alcohol and drug use. Various opinions on kink memes: etiquette, pet peeves, wishes.

Nifty quotations: the funny, the profound, the both-at-once.

What exactly are the "big ones" in terms of warnings? In spite of a few downright bizarre megatangents, most of the lists are fairly congruent.

Things you'd like to tell your fandom. Some specific, some gleefully panfandom.

First fanfic you ever read? A glorious wash of nostalgia.
erinptah: (waldo-carmen)
So, uh. About [ profile] fail_fandomanon.

It was a collective breath of relief for the first thousand comments or so, at which point people remembered that anonymity also meant the lowest common denominator was wide open, and now it seems to have settled into an equilibrium in terms of the thoughtful-to-wanky ratio. Also, there is some griping directed at people I know -- and quite like -- and who I believe deserve far better. So this is not a blanket endorsement, or anything like that.

However, I would like to frame this comment and hang it on my wall:

If I could change one thing about the way fandom engages with activism, it would be to stop fandom from expanding specific terms beyond all sense of reality and usefulness.

The tone argument: when, in an oppression-related context, someone in a position of privilege makes a statement to the effect that "Maybe people would have listened to you if you had just been nicer about it." Fallacious because: people never listen to being politely told they behaved in a racist manner, and it's a way to move the conversation away from the actually important bad behavior under discussion.

NOT THE TONE ARGUMENT: when anybody criticizes any aspect of the way anybody else made an argument and/or their general approach to social interaction for any reason.

Further links, and extended commentary, under the cut )

On a much less serious note, this thread is purely for nifty multifandom vid recs.

And this comment just plain gives me the warm fuzzies:

All of these participatory fandoms do share a common ancestor. She was lurking in the dark corner of a convention, shuffling through mimeographed fan zines and desperate to hide what she was up to from TPTB. She may have mutated beyond all recognition, but she is our Eve.
erinptah: (Integra)
Thirteen Ways of Looking at Liz Lemon. This isn't a blanket endorsement of everything the essay says, but as a 30 Rock fan who identifies pretty hard with Liz, I did enjoy reading it - along with the comments.

Sexism as experienced by trans professors. Best quote, about an FTM prof post-transition: "Ben Barres gave a great seminar today, but, then, his work is much better than his sister's."

On a brighter note, if you're trans, you no longer need sexual reassignment surgery to have your US passport reflect your gender. Also, men seem to be catching up to women in terms of "acceptance of gay people" - as well as "willingness to identify as 'mostly' straight."

The Smurfette Principle: the Nostalgia Chick gives you a video roundup of Token Girls in kids' animation.

"A Femme And Her 'Mr. Dandy' In Old Japan" - you have got to look at this. Vintage photography of traditional Japanese dress plus genderqueer presentation. So lovely.
erinptah: (Default)
From Lisa Nakamura's Digitizing Race: Visual Cultures of the Internet:

The avatars that these women produce pose a problem for many upper- and intellectual-class viewers in that they are decidedly déclassé in terms of visual style, as is much of popular digital visual culture; they are cartoonish, "cutsey", festooned with animated sparkles, flashing animated GIFs, pastel colors, and sentimental stylings taken from older media franchises like Care Bears, Disney, Hello Kitty, and Friends. ...Yet while these women's autobiographical digital signatures are far from "cutting edge" in terms of difficulty of production or conventional aesthetic qualities, they are revolutionary in terms of the power that they take back from institutions that govern and produce powerful types of visual signification, institutions like the very "biotech and fertility industries" that give rise to so many images of women's bodies, digital images that are accorded power and authority.

Hear that, ladies? Your sparkly animated Care Bear forum signatures are revolutionary! Tacky, yes. But revolutionary!

Seriously, does this rub anybody else the wrong way? "Gosh, these women sure do have horrible taste, but it's okay, because they're fighting the power!" As if you can really respect someone's defiance of The Establishment when in the same breath you're reasserting the rights of The Establishment to judge them - and find them aesthetically bereft and technically inept, no less.

Why do forum signatures have to be judged in relation to anybody else's idea of Proper Aesthetic Taste in the first place? Maybe it's not about The Establishment at all. Sometimes a Care Bear is just a Care Bear.

(For that matter, who says "intellectuals" must be disdainful of pink sparkly things? [She says, a month away from finishing her third degree, while wearing a Hello Kitty band-aid.])

To be fair, there was a lot of interesting stuff in this book. (As the title implies, it's mostly about ways in which the Internet and racial politics intersect. But it veers off-topic pretty frequently, especially in this one chapter, which dealt with the cartoon-doll avatars created by women on pregnancy forums.) Some of it was illuminating. Some of it felt oddly shallow.

And then there were these sort of weird bits. Like the point where, in her analysis of AIM buddy icons, she discussed a site with a category for "nationality". Users-submitted icons to this category featured labels like "Armenian" and "Irish", but also "Capricorn" and "Muslim":

Rather than interpreting this use of the "nationality" category as a sign of an inaccurate understanding of what nation, race, religion, and astrology mean, the particular mode in which these categories overlap indicates a multidimensional conception of what "nationality" means.

...uh-huh. Whatever you say, ma'am.

I'm just going to end this post by inundating ya'll with examples of Amazing Pixel Art. Because I can.

stone restriction by Orkmides (look at that motion!)

Visitors by Viterai (creepy, then lolarious)
commission: xyliaeria by Apomix (lush!)
Transparant by griffsnufff (gorgeous and ethereal)
Kitty Running Round Star by Kiss-the-Iconist (deceptively simple)
White Peacock by Foxbane (look at those feathers!)
+Pixel ID+ GET PINK by Mirai-LD (see, now, this is the cutting edge of avatars.)
erinptah: (Default)
The Day of Silence is tomorrow, which, as usual, means that I stop posting, commenting, emailing, etc. for the duration. So this is the traditional post where I get all my GLBT-related ramblings out beforehand.

I just finished Look Both Ways: Bisexual Politics, by Jennifer Baumgardener, which I read on a rec, and am glad I did. It definitely went places I don't usually explore.

See, here's the thing. For everyone I know who's talked about their bisexuality, the calculation went something like this: "Am I attracted to people from more than one gender? Yes? Hm. I guess I'm bi, then." (Sometimes with later refinement, along the lines of "Come to think of it, I'm mostly attracted to men, so maybe I'm something like 75% bi.")

Whereas Baumgardener's sense of her sexuality is heavily tied up with her involvement in feminist politics of the day. ("Can I truly have an egalitarian heterosexual relationship? Do I have to identify as lesbian rather than bi in order to support women? Did Ani DiFranco betray all her female fans by hooking up with a dude?")

The weirder ideas about sexuality ("liking sex with men is antifeminst!") get pretty thoroughly interrogated. Unfortunately, the book also brushes against some very traditionally-gendered stuff that sometimes doesn't. From the author's thought processes when she started reconsidering whether she would end up with a man:

I want someone who knows how to make a bed and who agrees with me that even though it will just get messed up that night, it makes sense to straighten it anyway.

For the record, here is what my bed (and some of the floor) looked like while I was typing that:

I don't even know what half that stuff is.

Still, there's plenty of nice crunchy writing in the book. One particularly quotable line:

For me, a more appropriate phrase may be that I came in rather than out, as in 'came into my own'.

Bringing this into the present day...

Closeted Politicians and Bi Invisibility is a lovely interrogation of the "he cheated on his wife with a man, therefore he must be gay!" phenomenon. (As if men who are attracted to women never cheat on their wives!)

Favorite line:

Everyone defines these terms — gay, straight, lesbian, bisexual, bi-curious, heteroflexible (that was a new one on me!), questioning, queer, “basically straight but wouldn’t kick Jon Stewart out of bed,” whatever — in subtly different ways.

And I really appreciate how it tries to negotiate a balance between "ideally everyone gets to define their own sexuality" and "...but some folks are patently in denial":

Larry Craig, for instance, is not saying, “According to the standard tropes of sexual identity, most people would identify me as a gay man — but I’m not an essentialist, I’m a constructionist, and I’m constructing a sexual identity that frames me as a culturally heterosexual man who sometimes has sex with other men.” Larry Craig is sticking his fingers in his ears and saying, “La la la la la, I’m not a faggot.”

I love these terms. (I love new terms in general. I like words, is what I'm saying.)

I like the sound of "essentialism", but I think I'm essentially (lol) a utilitarian. Which is to say that my perception of sexuality runs something like this:

I'm a lesbian, butch, dyke-
by *nana-51

Good times.

And, to wrap this up on an even cuter note:

The Love That Dare Not Squawk Its Name. (Lookit the fluffy same-sex-relation-having bunnies! :D)
erinptah: (Default)
"For the first time Harry glimpsed a keen mind: a powerful, dominant personality under that flamboyant exterior."

Either Harry or the author is attempting to rationalize his attraction to the Doctor as Proper Hetero Appreciation For A Fellow Manly Man.

(From the third part of Doctor Who and the Giant Robot, briefly available here. And may I say, hearing this line read in Tom Baker's voice only makes it all the more joyous.)

And this is not even getting into Ms. Winters' amazing dommetasticness. Good grief.
erinptah: (Default)
My secret Mole-Identity is #122: Lady Henrietta Mudbreath, A Patron Of The Arts..
Take Which Mole-Man Are You? today!
Created with Rum and Monkey's Name Generator Generator.

Some personality tests this time around - Myers-Briggs (INTP) and Enneagram (type 5).

Knowledge, understanding, and insight are thus highly valued by Fives, because their identity is built around 'having ideas' and being someone who has something unusual and insightful to say. )

In summary: "The world exists primarily to be understood." Which, come to think of it, could be the tagline for the existence of these quiz posts in the first place.
erinptah: (Integra)
Another year of lackluster Super Bowl commercials, punctuated by a surprising number along the theme of Our Product Will Help You Reclaim Your Manliness From Those Emasculating Women. ("I will hold your lip balm...but I will drive the car I want to drive!")

By way of an antidote, therefore, have some text from Julia Serrano's Whipping Girl.

Hey, girls, did you hear the news? It's just been scientifically proven that barrettes are dangerous! So are bracelets and bric-a-brac. It's a fact. And don't be fooled by thick-necked macho men who pretend that "girl stuff" is boring or frivolous, because that's just an act. Because as soon as you ask that guy to hold your purse for a minute, he will start to squirm, as if your handbag were full of worms, as he holds it as far away from his rugged body as possible. Because "girl stuff" is made with the gender equivalent of Kryptonite!

...So here's the deal: If you want your boyfriend to treat you with respect, then tell him that you won't sleep with him until he starts putting barrettes in his hair. And I'm not talking about secret bedroom kinky shit. Make him wear them to work!

Do go on.

Jan. 31st, 2010 11:29 pm
erinptah: (Default)
"Did men and women both feel interested in the female body, and even (though it sounded ridiculous) in almost the same way?"

No, no, C. S. Lewis, it doesn't sound ridiculous at all. Please, let your female protagonist continue her bicurious narration.

(From That Hideous Strength, which I am about a quarter of the way through, and which as of this point I can best summarize as "He's a space-traveling thinly-disguised stand-in for J.R.R. Tolkien. She's an apparently-bicurious disgruntled housewife who's just found out she's psychic. They fight Merlin!")
erinptah: (Kitten)
Best comment yet on Apple's new creation:

"The interesting thing is that you can use an iPad even if you have a Wii."
erinptah: (Maggie)
From Lanark: A Life In Four Books, by Alasdair Gray.

The novel is split into four parts, in the following order: part 3, part 1, part 2, part 4. The first two parts (numerically, that is) are a completely unrelated story to the last two, and the epilogue, which comes before the last four chapters, involves the author dropping in to explain this to the main character.

The scene (and, yes, it's formatted exactly like this):

With a reckless gesture he handed Lanark a paper from the bed. It was covered with childish handwriting and many words were scored out or inserted with little arrows. Much of it seemed to be dialogue but Lanark's eye was caught by a sentence in italics which said: Much of it seemed to be dialogue but Lanark's eye was caught by a sentence in italics which said:
Lanark gave the paper back asking, "What's that supposed to prove?"
"I am your author."
Lanark stared at him. The author said, “Please don’t feel embarrassed. This isn’t an unprecedented situation. Vonnegut has it in Breakfast of Champions and Jehovah in the books of Job and Jonah.”
erinptah: (Kitten)
"Gay is like Cats ("now and forever"), while heroin is like Twitter (fun at first, sure, but you'll regret it one day)."

Sometimes Dan Savage is a dick, but other times he is awesome.

Gay stuff!

May. 13th, 2009 07:39 pm
erinptah: (Default)
David Ogden Stiers came out not long ago. He's most famous for his role on M*A*S*H, but as far as I'm concerned, the neatest thing about this is that Cogsworth is gay =D

Debunking NOM's talking points re: same-sex marriage. (It's about freedom, people! Don't you understand? Freedom!)

A trans woman discusses her legal gay marriage. (She transitioned after marrying a woman while legally male.) The best line, describing the practical effects of our country's patchwork gender-and-sexuality laws on an actual person:

“Taking this situation to its logical conclusion, Mrs. Littleton, while in San Antonio, Tex., is a male and has a void marriage; as she travels to Houston, Tex., and enters federal property, she is female and a widow; upon traveling to Kentucky she is female and a widow; but, upon entering Ohio, she is once again male and prohibited from marriage; entering Connecticut, she is again female and may marry; if her travel takes her north to Vermont, she is male and may marry a female; if instead she travels south to New Jersey, she may marry a male.”

Finally (this is on-topic because Torchwood is the poster child for Everyone Is Bi), an explanation of why Torchwood has so many issues: it's actually a P. G. Wodehouse story gone wrong.
erinptah: (Default)
"We are walking into the light, only to find it's being emitted from a shiny magic wand. There is no heaven and hell, only a great big limbo filled with suspended animations of never-ending pretty transformation sequences tied together with impossibly long ribbons."

Couldn't have said it better myself.

Bishoujo Kishi Sailor Hellsing has begun. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

(Also: added the unguessed ships to that last meme, so if you've been banging your head against the wall over any of them, bang no longer.)
erinptah: (Default)
This is a wonderful book.

The title might just as well be "Fantasy/sci-fi authors geek out about Tolkien." Because that's what it is. It's a collection of people like Terry Prachett and Orson Scott Card talking, in various and sundry ways, about how and why they love the Lord of the Rings.

Card: "I have lived in Middle-earth, and so have you; and it matters to you, or you would not be reading this book, and I would not be writing this essay."

I read The Hobbit in kindergarten, and loved it; my dad read The Lord of the Rings to me in second grade, and it didn't really sink in; I tried to go through LOTR in fifth grade, and didn't quite finish The Return of the King; I went back to LOTR in eighth grade, and something must have clicked in the intervening time, because this time I blew through the books, this time devouring The Return of the King in a single day.

Card again, describing me at that point: "When the story is over, escapists are reluctant to return to the prison of reality--so reluctant that they will even read the appendices in order to remain just a little longer in a world where it matters that Frodo bore the ring too long ever to return to a normal life, that the elves are leaving Middle-earth, and that there is a king in Gondor."

I literally could not sit still as I was reading these essays. I got up and walked in circles while reading. That's how invigorating they were. They spoke to me, in a way I don't think I've ever gotten reading something offline.

(By the way - [ profile] the_mogget, I'm seriously chafing at the bit now to dive into Middle-america.)

(From one of the essays, Robin Hobb: "The most common comments I've heard from readers of my generation who were likewise thunderstruck by Tolkien's Lord of the Rings are that they had never read anything like it, and that they immediately tried to find more books like it. Some even immediately sat down and tried to write books "just like that" in the hopes of satisfying their own hunger for more. So, in a sense, he sent a whole generation of us forth on a quest." See what I mean about this book speaking to me?)


Feb. 5th, 2007 01:33 am
erinptah: (Default)
Dave Barry's take on Prince's attitude in a pre-Super-Bowl press conference:

"I may be tiny and sexually ambiguous, but you will notice that these hot women dancers are writhing against ME, as opposed to YOU, loser media person."

And, while I'm here, my opinion on the Great Boston Lite-Brite Scare (subject of loads of articles; just google the terms if you're out of the loop):

Wheaton gets the Boston Globe, so obviously I've been seeing a lot of reaction to it, and all the opinion columns are unanimously saying that it was a dumb idea on the marketers' part; and the authorities were quite right to treat it as seriously as they did; and the kids who are scoffing at the fuss should stop laughing at the people who took it seriously.

The point that keeps getting forgotten is that the devices were up for three weeks before the uproar.

If you tell me that local authorities are right to treat these little LED-sporting wired boxes as potentially bombs, fine. But that means that potential bombs were sitting around Boston for three weeks before anybody noticed. My initial impression is that they were not a threat, and the reaction was overblown. If I accept the premise that they should be treated as a threat, then the reaction was perfectly on-target, but way way way too late.
erinptah: (Default)
I love The Onion.

Nation's Gays Demand Right to Library Cards.

"No one's preventing gays from using libraries—they're fully welcome to walk into them, browse all they want, and sit down and flip through any book they choose, even in the reference section," said Sen. Jim Bunning (R–KY), one of several conservative legislators who has vowed to draft a constitutional amendment that would define library book-lending as a contract between a library and a heterosexual reader. "But to issue them the same library cards as a regular American citizen would demean what our nation's library cards stand for."

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