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Infinite hate.

A profile on Fredrick Brennan, the founder of 8chan. This was written in the aftermath of the Christchurch shootings, and the article itself does highlight the whole “do we really need another puff piece on angry white boys?” angle. The thing about Brennan, though—for the, like, one of you who managed to miss his other media appearances recently—is that he both has a serious disability and a childhood in and out of foster care. Creating 8chan—as well as endorsing various far-right pro-eugenics views—was his way of dealing with the rage, frustration, and loneliness engendered by both his condition and his circumstances, and I think it is worth understanding both why he held those views and why he no longer does…

2019-08-07T09:36:36+10:008th December, 2019|Tags: culture|

It’s not “humane” resources…

If employers judged HR departments by their ability to prevent sexual harassment, most would have gotten a failing grade long ago. What HR is actually responsible for—one of the central ways the department “adds value” to a company—is serving as the first line of defense against a sexual-harassment lawsuit. These two goals are clearly aligned, but if the past year has taught us anything, it’s that you can achieve the latter without doing much of anything at all about the former.

Caitlin Flanagan on HR.

My main dealing with HR were in a previous job where I was bullied, in an organization with a known and endemic sexist bullying problem.1 It became pretty clear pretty quickly that the company was more interested in protecting itself than doing anything about my abusers—one of which had been with the company for decades—which is why I left the organization after a mere eight months…

  1. And from which, honestly, I got off lightly; some years later I spoke to another woman who’d left the same company after her bullying got some bad coworkers were showing up to her house at night to harass her. []
2019-08-07T09:12:05+10:007th December, 2019|Tags: culture, cw: harassment, work|

The New Hacker Ethic (and the Spirit of the Centralization Age).

Instead of saying access to computers should be unlimited and total, we should ask Who gets to use what I make? Who am I leaving out? How does what I make facilitate or hinder access?”

Instead of saying all information should be free, we could ask What data am I using? Whose labor produced it and what biases and assumptions are built into it? Why choose this particular phenomenon for digitization or transcription? And what do the data leave out?”

Instead of saying mistrust authority, promote decentralization, we should ask What systems of authority am I enacting through what I make? What systems of support do I rely on? How does what I make support other people?”

And instead of saying hackers should be judged by their hacking, not bogus criteria such as degrees, age, race, or position, we should ask What kind of community am I assuming? What community do I invite through what I make? How are my own personal values reflected in what I make?”

Allison Parrish on the hacker ethic.

This is kind of cheating and taking the conclusion of a much longer and extremely worthwhile talk/essay on programming and, in particular, the hacker ethic. Also, the kind of boom-bust/accepting-questioning cycle she describes is pretty much bang-on my own experiences with things like the Jargon File and hacker/programmer culture in general, so… yeah. Highly recommended.

2019-07-29T14:53:37+10:003rd December, 2019|Tags: culture, tech|

Bait.

So on one hand, I agree that it’s exhausting for creators to constantly have to make pronouncements about What They Meant, and at some point we should be death-of-the-author about it and get on with our own interpretations. On the other hand, it’s much more exhausting to witness creators perpetually burying queerness in subtext and then acting surprised when people inquire what, exactly, the subtext was meant to convey.

Jenny on queerbaiting.

This is about Good Omens, which is topical at the time of posting but will have hopefully died down enough by the time that this de-queues that I can finally let out a huge, relieved (and not too squee-harshing) uuuuurrrrggggghhhh because uuuuurrrrggggghhhh yes, this. All of this.

Gaiman has been doing this faux-woke1 thing with regards to queer rep for decades and it’s just tiring. It’s like Joss Whedon v2.0, in that you’ve got this animate slice of white bread who did a kind-of-maybe woke-ish thing once like in the 90s—Gaiman did include marginally more queer characters in his comics than was standard at the time, which is to say a non-zero amount—and has been riding that wave ever since. But then the world moved on and The Wheman did not.

But, y’know. Please. Give us yet another retread of, say, the whole gender-ambiguousness-as-shorthand-for-moral-corruption trope to try and pass off as “rep”. Because people—I assume so starved for decent representation in mainstream media they’ll clutch at anything—keep falling for it! Ugh.

Thirty years of this shit.

(Also, completely petty complaint about the TV adaptation, but… why oh why would you hire, like, such Extreme Power DILF actors and then make them look like that? Sheen especially. Yikes no.)

  1. … fauke? []
2019-07-23T14:27:11+10:0029th November, 2019|Tags: culture, pop culture, quiltbag|

Beige bland meat stocks.

So one of my favorite fireworks-brain-meme pieces of trivia is that chili was introduced into Asian cooking by Europeans. It had to’ve been, right? It’s native to central America, so the only way it got out of central America—and into cuisines like those of India and Thailand—was via the colonial empires of Europe.

And since this is the case, it poses one big huge honking question. Specifically, why then is so much European food so freakin’ bland—or at least so freakin’ one-note—compared to the other Old World cuisines its traders influenced?

2019-07-23T13:58:07+10:0028th November, 2019|Tags: culture, food|

Blood and cum.

All this is the fruit of sexual repression, of the belief that non-normative sexuality belongs behind closed doors or even lock and key. Any sex worker could have told you the same. Many did. Tumblr’s porn ban, Facebook’s rules about soliciting or offering sex, it all contributes to a world where sexual knowledge and experience exist in a kind of lawless hinterland. And for what? So kids don’t see pictures of the brothers from Supernatural kissing? Children walk in on their parents during sex, endure the constant bombardment of pop culture’s sexual elements, and get their hands on sexual art regardless. The decision culture has isn’t whether or not they learn about sex, but how safe and loved they are while doing so.

Gretchen Felker-Martin on the queer grotesque.

2019-07-17T10:11:59+10:0021st November, 2019|Tags: culture, fandom, pop culture|