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Sleep woke.

There seems to be a much deeper affection in these circles for corporate art — for the Marvel cinematic universe and its bland, calculated inoffensiveness, say — than there is for art made by artists. Movies like Wonder Woman and Captain America: Civil War are evaluated with a generosity of spirit that borders on delusion, cults of enthusiastic acclaim forming around actress Gal Gadot’s onscreen thigh jiggle and the “subtle homo-eroticism” of Thor: Ragnarok. 

Corporate art exists to please. It exists to reaffirm the status quo and to build affection for and loyalty to corporations. From the callous Islamophobia of the Iron Man movies to the US Air Force and CIA-approved wokeness of Captain Marvel and Black Panther, the whole enterprise is bent on saying as little as possible while looking as socially conscious as it can. Fandom’s fixation on finding gay themes and subtext in these blockbuster juggernauts was more understandable when independent gay art was harder to find, but today you don’t even have to brave a convention– you can dig it up with a quick search on Etsy or Gumroad. When independent artists release material featuring actual deviant sexuality, though — from gay content to incest — the reaction from these same people is overwhelmingly prudish. There is little to no desire among them to interact with adult work created by adult gay and trans artists. That art — small art, created for personal reasons — is too dangerous to touch, too full of moral imperfections and frightening images.

Gretchen Felker-Martin on extruded woke product.

Long quote, go read the whole thing, and see also this and this.

2019-11-14T08:52:15+11:003rd March, 2020|Tags: culture, fandom, pop culture|

Blame.

In a 2017 study titled Do Women Ask?, researchers were surprised to find that women actually do ask for raises as often as men — we’re just more likely to be turned down. Conducted by faculty at the Cass Business School, the University of Wisconsin, and the University of Warwick and using data collected from over 4,600 Australian workers, the study was expected to confirm long-established theories around women’s reluctance to negotiate. Instead, the analysis showed that men’s and women’s propensity to negotiate is roughly the same.

Otegha Uwagba on asking, not getting.

Shocking news to absolutely no woman, I’m sure…

2019-11-14T08:50:36+11:001st March, 2020|Tags: business, culture|

And I oop (sksksksksksksk).

At the same time, high-level former employees are publicly repenting or expressing remorse for their role in making these companies [Facebook, Twitter, et al.] so powerful. These former founders and designers have taken to apologizing in the pages of Forbes, The Guardian, and the Washington Post (to name just a few venues) in what I like to call the Oopsie Circuit.

Ostensibly, this Oopsie Circuit serves as a check to powerful institutions, from a credible source. But this apology tour serves the rich and remorseful former tech executives first by allowing them to repent and be forgiven for breaking the world, and second by reaffirming Silicon Valley’s all-powerful view of itself. It’s important to note, of course, that each apology tour begins much after the person apologizing has already become rich from the actions they regret.

Ashwin Rodrigues on the anti-whistleblowers of Silicon Valley.

See also: MCU!Iron Man, whose literal whole entire character arc is just propaganda for the real-world Oopsies…

2019-10-30T09:07:07+11:0026th February, 2020|Tags: culture, tech|

Counterpoint.

[A]ny software that is intended to be used by humans is inevitably an expression of its programmers’ understanding of the software’s audience, and therefore the programmers’ beliefs about the nature of those humans’ lives and priorities and the value of their time and experiences. Consequently, larger a program is, the more likely it becomes that you can evaluate its merits purely on the politics of its developers.

mike hoye on context.

2019-10-30T08:52:23+11:0024th February, 2020|Tags: culture, tech|

Switched.

A look at the most “gender switched” names in the US. Somewhat by necessity overly binary—it’s using Social Security data that enforce binary gender choices—but interesting all the same.

2019-10-30T08:49:25+11:0024th February, 2020|Tags: culture|

It’s not you, it’s men.

The world does not deserve [its women]. I thought back to every person who has ever asked me how to “fix” the gender problems in STEM, how to “get more girls” to join STEM programs. I thought about every time that someone has suggested “men are better at spatial thinking” and that “testosterone is linked to better performance in math”.

In my mind I look at all these people, a crowd that is gathered. And in my mind, I stand up and I scream at them. I would put my hands around their shoulders and shake sense into all of them, individually, if I had enough time and enough hands

The problems are so obvious.

There is nothing wrong with women. There is nothing wrong with girls in STEM. There are many women and many girls who, in spite of everything, love STEM-related disciplines. Some of them even go through 4-year bachelors degrees at MIT, maybe even 7 years of a PhD, and then begin questioning whether they should continue in these fields, because they are filled to the brim with so, so many shitty men.

Selam G. on the pipeline.

Content warning for the linked post, which deals with the conduct of various Shitty Men In Tech ranging from shitty comments to harassment to the explicit sex trafficking of minors… and to the other men who enable it all.

This is also, incidentally, the post that went viral and lead to Richard Stallman “resigning” from various positions, because I guess there’s only so many times you can defend pedophilia—and Stallman had a known history of it, to be clear—before consequences catch up.

(That being said, by the time this post gets off the post queue, if Stallman isn’t already on his “wah wah SJWs/cancel cancel culture comeback tour” I will eat my keyboard…)

2019-12-18T09:52:57+11:0017th February, 2020|Tags: culture, tech|

The norm.

[Francis] Galton was into the idea of improving the human race and believed that statistics could help. He loved [Adolphe] Quetelet’s whole “average man” thing but had one minor problem. In the center of Quetelet’s bell curve were the most commonly occurring traits, not the ideal bodies and minds Galton believed everyone should have. To solve this problem, Galton, through a complicated and convoluted mathematical process (the technical definition of statistics), took the bell curve idea, where the most common traits clustered in the middle and the extremes, and created what he called an “ogive” (he had a habit of making up words) which, as Davis explains “is arranged in quartiles with an ascending curve that features the desired trait as “higher” than the undesirable deviation.” He called this the “normal distribution curve,” and it made the most commonly occurring differences that Galton did not value into deficiencies, and the uncommon ideal bodies and minds that he did value… normal.

[…]

The conflation of the “average” man as normal was a significant step in the history of normality. Statistics did not discover the normal, but invented the normal as that which should occur most often. […] This was a big deal, especially to those who would later find themselves on the wrong side of normal. As Alain Desrosières, a renowned historian of statistics wrote, with this power play by statistical thought the diversity inherent in living creatures was reduced to an inessential spread of “errors” and the average was held up as the normal—as a literal, moral, and intellectual ideal.

Jonathan Mooney gives a brief history of “normal”.

2019-10-28T08:48:07+11:0016th February, 2020|Tags: culture|