September 24, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Yesterday our internet was down, and other than needing to check my phone to see how much the 30 Rock seasons 1-7 box set would cost (if it would be possible to be best friends with a show, 30 Rock would be mine — sorry X-Files), I hardly noticed. Chris and I took the dog to the beach, got some very good news about a Special Project we’ve been noodling through, and went on an evening walk that culminated in the above photograph, which again was taken just up the trail from our house.
Thanks in part to all this walking around outside, I’ve had a chance to think, like really think, about my professional path(s), plural because for academics (and for everyone else, I’d imagine, but manifested in very specific ways within the academy) “professional path” often implies some unholy combination of “the path you’d like to take” and “the path you feel you SHOULD take, because that’s how things are done/because so many people have invested so much energy in your intellectual development and you wouldn’t want to disappoint them now would you/because of a deep sense of inferiority placated only, and only in part, by the achievement of specific benchmarks.” My path(s) have been in the process of diverging for several months, but my feelings about those paths –about which I will write in more detail soon– have been slower to catch up. But I’m getting there.
And now, some puppies frolicking around in a pumpkin patch.
July 5, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Easily the best local news graphic ever Photoshopped.
Via Dlisted like 800 days ago but whatever, gold is golden any time of the year
June 18, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Boy oh boy there is a lot going on right now! THINGS ARE HAPPENING with the book, and also with job stuff, but I’m not going to talk about any of that till the dust has settled a bit. For now, please enjoy this positive affirmation and dance song, because the majority of you are probably very nice people.
June 6, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Melodrama at its finest! (via Gawker)
June 5, 2013 § Leave a Comment
The above video, in which an Israeli lawmaker nearly loses it during a legislative session due to a bad case of the hahas, is pretty great on its own. Uncontrollable, inappropriate, infectious laughter is pretty much the best. But coupled with the possibility that Israeli education minister Rabbi Shai Piron was laughing because he saw the word “penetration” in his speech and suddenly reverted to a 12 year-old boy/me? Now that is priceless. Even if that account is false (Gawker’s Neetzan Zimmerman reports that Piron’s people insist he was just really sleepy), I choose to believe it was a juvenile sex joke, the end.
May 31, 2013 § Leave a Comment
For the past few days I’ve been working on an article for the Daily Dot in which I argue against the use of the term “don’t feed the trolls,” which is problematic for all kinds of reasons, most significantly because it is steeped in gross victim-blaming logic. The article will be out soon enough, so more on that later. For now, please enjoy the above –in its own way, related– video, in which Patrick Stewart discusses the problem of victim-blaming in the context of domestic violence and confirms once and for all that he is pretty much perfect.
May 29, 2013 § Leave a Comment
…that Facebook has publicly admitted that their moderation practices –which are grossly slanted against women– are woefully lacking. I’m also glad that feminist groups have found a way to force the issue. I’m not glad, however, that the only reason Facebook ended up budging is because advertisers started pulling out. Not because that sort of content is disgusting, not because people shouldn’t have to see that sort of thing (unsurprisingly Buzzfeed has a whole listicle of the worst and most disturbing images posted to Facebook; head over there if you want to ruin your day, but I won’t be linking out because ugh), but because, well, money.
Not that their position is all that surprising; Facebook’s moderation practices have always been pretty weird. While I was in high research mode for my Facebook memorial page trolling project, for example, I was struck by the fact that although Facebook took a hard line against trolls and troll content (which was pretty easy to sniff out via algorithm), they seemed to have little to no interest in addressing non-trollish hate speech (I don’t want to say “real” hate speech, because that gets into motivations which is too hard a nut to crack in a three-parahraph blog post). I couldn’t figure out why a troll saying the N-word was a bannable offense while a Klansman saying the N-word was a-ok until I realized that, as fake throwaway profiles, trolls had absolutely no monetary value to Facebook. They were, from an advertising perspective, worthless, and/so the pushback was swift. But “real” racists (again, I’m not interested in having a conversation about intentions here) were real (persistent; connected) profiles and therefore could be commodified, so apparently were tolerable. Facebook may have found a way to defang the trolls, but their reasons for doing so seemed inconsistent at best and disingenuous at worst.
The question is, does doing the right thing for the wrong (or at least for cynical corporate) reasons negate a positive outcome? In the case of pro-rape and misogyny pages, I would argue that no, it doesn’t — these feminist groups hit Facebook in the only place that matters (to Facebook and its shareholders), the violently sexist content was taken down, and Facebook was forced to acknowledge their considerable failures. That’s good; that sends a message. But it does not mean that Facebook can suddenly be placed in the feminist camp. It means that in this case, Facebook’s bottom line lined up with progressive politics. I’ll happily take that win, but not without shooting Facebook some serious side-eyes first.
May 20, 2013 § 1 Comment
New article on trolling on definitions! The setup: These days apparently everything on the internet that is lame/upsetting is “trolling.” This framing isn’t doing us any favors! From the article:
[I concede that language shifts over time; I'm not mad, bro] But describing all problematic online behaviors as trolling and all online aggressors as trolls is a bad idea. Not because there is only one “correct” way to troll, as some trolls might insist, but because using the term as a stand-in for everything terrible online is imprecise, unhelpful, and—most importantly—tends to obscure the underlying problem of offline bigotry and aggression.
For the thrilling conclusion, go here.
May 9, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Specifically, Chris’ thoughts, which you can read here. The tl;dr version being, just stop it you guys.
May 8, 2013 § 3 Comments
White people on the internet who think that a black guy automatically = comedy gold, close your Facebooks and go watch a rerun of How I Met Your Mother.
“Perhaps it’s time for the world’s meme artists to stop assuming that any black dude getting interviewed on local news about a crime he helped to foil can be reduced to some catch phrase or in-joke” Miles Klee writes over at Blackbook. “It’s just baffling that we’re trying to find a way to laugh about what is, in itself, a harrowing turn of events,” Klee adds.