“Violence against women” vs. “Men’s violence against women”

April 21, 2014 § Leave a comment

Harrowing article out of the Guardian today, which challenges the “monster rapist” narrative in which only the most aberrational, violent, and outright psychotic men commit acts of sexual violence against women. Sometimes this is true, author Tom Meagher writes; sometimes men who do bad things to women are in fact psychotic. But much more frequently, they aren’t. Much more frequently, these men are average dudes, the problem being that average dudeness is often predicated on and actively normalizes violent sexism.

Some quotes, though you (particularly if you are male) should go read the whole thing immediately:

While the vast majority of men abhor violence against women, those dissenting male voices are rarely heard in our public discourse outside of the “monster-rapist” narrative. Indeed, the agency of male perpetrators disappears from the discussion, discouraging male involvement and even knowledge of the prevalence and diversity of male violence against women. Even the term “violence against women” sounds like a standalone force of nature, with no subject, whereas “men’s violence against women” is used far less frequently.

While not attempting to broad-brush or essentialise the all too abstracted notion of “masculinity”, male invisibility in our discourse can be compounded by masculine posturing, various “bro-codes” of silence, and a belief, through the monster myth, in the intrinsic otherness of violent men.

The idea of the lurking monster is no doubt a useful myth, one we can use to defuse any fear of the women we love being hurt, without the need to examine ourselves or our male-dominated society. It is also an excuse to implement a set of rules on women on “how not to get raped”, which is a strange cocktail of naiveté and cynicism. It is naive because it views rapists as a monolithic group of thigh-rubbing predators with a checklist rather than the bloke you just passed in the office, pub or gym, and cynical because these rules allow us to classify victims. If the victim was wearing X or drinking Y, well then of course the monster is going to attack – didn’t she read the rules?

It’s an upsetting read, but I could not recommend this article highly enough.

It Gives Me Perverse Joy

April 19, 2014 § Leave a comment

formatting fun 1

To maintain and dispatch these sorts of lists. The formatting itself is not fun; it’s tedious and rote and takes me all damn day (after day, after day). But the directives are straightforward (except when they’re not; see below ever-expanding list of questions), and every time I finish something I can cross it off The List, which is the scientific definition of progress.

formatting fun 2

At this pace I’ll beat my own already sped-up deadline, which is WONDERFUL. “This isn’t normal it’s Saturday,” Chris just said, which we’ll see how abnormal he thinks I am come May 30th (manuscript is due June 1) and I’m not panicking my everloving balls off, cuz already DUNZO.

did not read christmas

Chris Responds to the Previous Post

April 18, 2014 § Leave a comment

Re: my statement that combining my dissertation chapters into one document was an intimidating “final step,” Chris had some words. “A final step?” he asked. “A final step. That is laughable. That was years ago. There was nothing final about any of that.”

And then he wistfully looked out the window, because this book has been as much a labor of his love as it has been of mine.

On Formatting Books

April 18, 2014 § Leave a comment

Do I HAVE to, though?

Do I HAVE to, though?

For the longest time, I was afraid to combine my dissertation chapters into a single document. There was something overwhelming and do-not-want about that final step, and I only got there maybe a month before I deposited. Despite my reservations, One Single Editable Document quickly established itself as the new standard; in all subsequent revisions I’ve worked with/in that same file. In fact, come to think of it, it’s been the same –that same– .doc for nearly two years, possibly longer if I used, say, my prospectus .doc as the base of copying and pasting operations (given my resistance to certain kinds of change, this is likely but I can’t confirm). It’s had different names, and there’s been a hell of a lot of turnover word-wise, but as long as my dissertation-later-book was a proper manuscript, that’s been the document it’s been. Or however you’d say that.

And I’ve liked working in one document, I now prefer it, it’s comfortable. But per MIT’s author guidelines (there are…let’s say a lot of them), I have to chop my beautiful, intact .doc into nine disarticulated limbs, and I am finding this step much more anxiety-inducing than I expected. I appreciate that my manuscript is (well, was, I’m midway through the turkey-carving) ONE, an easy transfer on a thumbdrive, even if it then takes one million sections to fully load in Word.

Maybe it feels so weird because this formatting and last round of revisions is essentially like taking my firstborn clothes shopping before shipping her off to college. Soon enough she/it will be out of my hands, and that is both a relief and utterly terrifying, which is not a metaphor that has occurred to me until this very moment but is apt I tell you APT.

Oculus Rift, Presence, and Virtual Adventures (but not games, YUCK)

April 12, 2014 § 5 Comments

There’s been a whole lot of talk of late about Facebook’s recent 800 quadrillion dollar (estimate) acquisition of Oculus Rift, the first viable (well the first in a series of viable, Sony isn’t far behind with its Project Morpheus) Virtual Reality headset. Chris has been beside himself for weeks; boy have we watched a lot of YouTube videos about the forthcoming Dev Kit 2 (pre-release prototype of the Rift hardware packaged for developers), various virtual environments, and most importantly of all, the concept of “presence,” essentially the process by which one’s brain, at least the lizard part of one’s brain, is tricked into thinking it’s actually where it is not.

At first I was preemptively disinterested in that just-shy-of-charming knee-jerky way of mine due to Facebook’s involvement (“What!? Facebook!? Then it’s bullshit!”). I was also resistant because, drumroll, I don’t like playing games. Not that I don’t appreciate games, video and computer particularly, or deny that the best of these kinds of games easily qualify as art. Nor do I think that people who love (video/computer) games are weird (people who love playing board games, however, are). It’s just that personally, games (particularly video) make me anxious (and non-video games just make me angry). I don’t like the concept of winning and dying and I don’t like having to kill/fight not to die, regardless of how cartoonish my enemies might be. I don’t quite know why; let’s call it a personality trait and move on. Consequently, my world wasn’t exactly rocked when presented with this AWESOME NEW GAMING PLATFORM (now owned by Facebook).

But, as is often the case, I am an idiot. And over the last week or so have changed my mind.

« Read the rest of this entry »

George Bush’s Performance Art Instillation

April 4, 2014 § Leave a comment

i dunno lol

Earlier this week I was contacted by a reporter at the Houston Chronicle PANICKING about a deadline for a story (which she never ended up publishing, possibly because of unhelpful sources) about “How Ted Cruz Got Trolled,” her primary question being “So just how trolled did Ted Cruz get.” To which I could only look around and make the above face. Because I dunno, lol.

While I was reluctant to ascribe trolling–or anything! I don’t read minds– to the Ted Cruz story, I am so very tempted to declare George Boosh’s performance art instillation “Here Are Some World Leaders LOL” one of the strangest acts of trollery in Presidential history, this week anyway. I just have so many feels about this, how could it NOT be trolling. Don’t get me wrong, it definitely isn’t. However, I feel trolled by 43, and at 6:45 in the morning, isn’t that enough?

“But until then — accept that your umbrellas will turn themselves inside out.”

March 23, 2014 § 4 Comments

A normal stroll through the UES. And that smell you smell? Hot blood mostly, you'll get used to it.

A normal stroll through the Upper East Side. And that smell you smell? Hot blood mostly, you’ll get used to it.

The first few sentences of this article about why New York City doesn’t love you are frustrating, annoying even. Very TOUGH GUY NO WHINERS, which from my current vantage point (happy dog, nice husband, gorgeous backyard garden, green and flowers and spring sweetness everywhere) just doesn’t interest me. I do however recognize this sentiment; it was me, down to the very last sentence and ellipses and expletive, for the entire 11-month period Chris and I lived in New York City. Living in New York (although “living” is more like it) just DOES that to a person — makes them angry, rushed, and desperate to get back home, whatever that might mean. For me, coming home meant coming here, where I presently sit in Arcata, California. It meant walking away from the academic job market. It meant reassessing all the choices I thought I had figured out.

I owe New York everything, in other words. Had I not been thrown against that particular wall, I wouldn’t have had the impetus to ask myself the hard questions about what I valued most. Say if we’d stayed in Eugene post-graduation, where life is not terrible — without the daily, constant reminder of what happens when you end up living in the wrong place, I doubt I would have thought to fret about what might happen if I ended up living in the wrong place. As it was, I couldn’t help but fret. And having fretted, it was clear what needed to happen.

So thanks New York. You ARE like a cat that would eat your face after you collapsed in the kitchen from a heart attack. And for that I will be forever grateful.

“Hey But That’s Cheating” -Dog

March 23, 2014 § Leave a comment

Part of me clapped and grinned whilst watching this video (yeah yeah it’s from yesterday but I HAD OTHER THINGS TO DO OK?) because dogs are some of my favorite people — all they want is to do right by the humans they love, and they just try so hard no matter what! But another part of me thought the basic premise –haw haw let’s see what happens when we disappear some dog treats– was a little mean, an idea echoed by this article discussing the moral lives of dogs. Dogs have rules, you know, the most important of which is DON’T LIE. Here are some highlights:

Play bows [when dogs crouch down to indicate they're just playing] are honest signals, a sign of trust. Research shows that animals who violate that trust are often ostracized, suggesting that violation of the rules of play is maladaptive and can disrupt the efficient functioning of the group. For example, among dogs, coyotes, and wolves, individuals who don’t play fairly find that their invitations to play are ignored or that they’re simply avoided by other group members. Marc’s long-term field research on coyotes living in the Grand Teton National Park, near Jackson, Wyo., shows that coyotes who don’t play fairly often leave their pack because they don’t form strong social bonds. Such loners suffer higher mortality than those who remain with others.

Play can sometimes get out of hand for animals, just as it does for human beings. When play gets too rough, canids keep things under control by using bows to apologize. For example, a bow might communicate something like, “Sorry I bit you so hard—I didn’t mean it, so let’s continue playing.” For play to continue, it’s important for individuals to forgive the animal who violated the rules. Once again there are species differences among young canids. Highly aggressive young coyotes bow significantly more frequently than dogs or wolves before and after delivering bites that could be misinterpreted.

The social dynamics of play require that players agree to play and not to eat one another or fight or try to mate. When there’s a violation of those expectations, others react to the lack of fairness. For example, young coyotes and wolves react negatively to unfair play by ending the encounter or avoiding those who ask them to play and then don’t follow the rules. Cheaters have a harder time finding play partners.


And that’s what the above video is doing, very cutely, but still, that cookie is a LIE! Not cool man. Not cool.

I Have Never Published a More Jumbled-Ass Blog Post

March 22, 2014 § Leave a comment

Than the one I did yesterday. Funny story, I had to write it in an email to myself because of reasons, then posted once I got home. BUT THEN I copy and pasted out of order (Whitney WHY), and WordPress was being glitchy and gobbling up my hyperlinks plus NOT DOING SPELLCHECK. Some of these mistakes I caught but some of them I didn’t, resulting in just a mess. Whatever; so I can’t spell “piece.”

In conclusion, the stupid thing is fixed now.

Robert DeLong’s “Global Concepts” ——- Or, Yes

March 13, 2014 § Leave a comment

Yes to every single thing about this — DeLong himself who looks exactly like the first boy I ever loved, and who broke my heart into a million pieces (aw, fuck you Solomon), the weird-ass contraptions all those sounds are actually coming out of, that spider web of fluorescent lights (there should never be any other kind of spider web), and that SYNTH line, nope, go home everybody.

That’s all, I’m just enjoying the hell out of this.

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