Isms.

In any case, in today’s usage, the term [transgender] is only properly used as an adjective, e.g., “transgender (or trans) girl”, “transgender man”, “transgender youth”, etc. Transmuting the word into a noun (“transgenderism”) or a verb (“transgendered”) has important implications.

First, and perhaps most importantly, changing the word transgender into something else labels the very people we are talking about with a word they did not choose and specifically object to. This is insulting and entirely unnecessary.

Second, by making being transgender just another “ism” we are encouraged to dismiss it like any other political, social or religious belief: liberalism, conservatism, socialism, communism, Catholicism. In this formulation, transgender becomes a description not of who a person is but what they believe. It’s like telling someone from Japan that they are not actually Japanese (adjective) but their ethnicity is only a belief that they are Japanese, perhaps a mistaken belief. Might we call this “Japanese-ism?”

Curt Buckley on language.

The whole article is about debunking and illustrating the dangers of “trans skeptics”, i.e. the sort of people who like to front up asking “polite” and “reasonable” questions about “transgenderism” and won’t someone just think of the children. So, like, obvious content warning in the article for transphobic attitudes and languages, presented for the purpose of criticism. Buckley’s point is that not only are “trans skeptics” wrong objectively (i.e. their science is bad), but that because they’re good at seeming “reasonable” to cis people, they’re arguably more dangerous than the out-and-out frothing bigots. It behooves cis people, then, to be vigilant not just for the arguments the “skeptics” make, but to also be aware of the facts that counter them.

2018-09-05T13:25:29+00:0016th October, 2018|Tags: culture|0 Comments

Slouching towards dystopia.

It’s one of the things that people who aren’t well-read in dystopian fiction may not realize about dystopias: they don’t necessarily just happen because there’s a zombie virus outbreak or a meteor that wipes out half of humanity, and they don’t happen because an evil dictator suddenly seizes power one day against the will of the people and everyone just goes along with it. They happen because people want them to happen. They happen because many people want to give up a little liberty to get a little safety. They want a president who seems like he’d be fun to have a beer with, or a guy who “tells it like it is.” And they want people to be nice. They want cars to use their turn signals and stop for pedestrians. They want people to take care of their aging parents and to do heroic acts. And if a government policy is making those things happen, they’re less likely to complain about the nasty side effects, like a journalist being inconvenienced. Or, say, journalists being even less likely to say anything critical of the government, or for all people to stop doing any actions the government considers distasteful, like being openly homosexual, or advocating for women’s equality. And slowly but surely, we ease into that dystopia.

Rebecca Watson on the journey.

2018-04-27T10:54:14+00:0014th October, 2018|Tags: culture, politics|0 Comments

An apology for the internet.

Current and former executives from companies including Microsoft, Uber, Facebook, Reddit, Something Awful, and YouTube (among others) talk about what went wrong with the internet. Fascinating and essential reading.

2018-04-20T10:10:59+00:0013th October, 2018|Tags: internet, tech|0 Comments

Hopepunk.

I don’t want to see stories of the future in which humans are treated as slaves, in which millions are murdered to disguise the kidnap of a plot token, in which torture is treated seriously as an intelligence-gathering technique, in which violence against women is used as “character development”, in which the othering of non-white people is considered “world-building”…

I want a socially responsible science fiction, that is self-aware, that knows it is a powerful tool for affecting public opinion – and not just at the behest of corporate paymasters. I want a science fiction that scorns shit right-wing concepts like evo psych and alpha males and eugenics. I want a science fiction that tells good stories and does so responsibly. I want a science fiction that doesn’t abandon its ethics or its artistic integrity in pursuit of the bottom-line. And I want a science fiction readership that accepts partial responsibility for the shit content that is produced, that demands more [responsible] content and rewards it by consuming it in sufficient numbers to make it profitable.

Ian Sales on better futures.

Amen.

2018-04-20T09:00:05+00:0012th October, 2018|Tags: culture, fandom, pop culture, sff|0 Comments

New books, October edition!

New additions to Mt. TBR:

  • Franz Kafka, Metamorphosis and Other Stories. Mostly I liked this book as a physical art object; it has those inside-cover-flap things, as well as deckle edged pages, which I know some people loathe but personally I am 1000% here for.
  • Carmen Maria Machado, Her Body & Other Parties. Oh, hey! I found where the bookstore keeps its short story anthologies!
  • The Prose Edda. I’ve read various bits and pieces of various translations (and not-translations!) of this before, but have never actually owned a physical copy. Well… now I own a physical copy. (Though, minor disappointment that this is only the English text, not a side-by-side with the original.)
  • William S. Burroughs, Naked Lunch. A “classic” I’m probably going to hate but keep meaning to read anyway…
2018-10-10T08:09:47+00:0010th October, 2018|Tags: books|0 Comments

Science fantasy.

You know, I believe that. I believe that the human race belongs in space. It might be silly, it might be naïve, but I know people who believe all sorts of ridiculous things that do a lot more damage. I don’t acknowledge any vengeful God the Father. I don’t believe in a great Rapture to come. I do believe that if we are spared, if we spare one another, we will make it to the stars.

Not you and me personally, of course. By the time the species sorts its shit out enough to think about sending starships full of adventurers to distant planets, we’ll be too old to get on them, but I’ve met some kids recently who might not be.

Laurie Penny on being lost on space.

2018-04-19T11:59:04+00:009th October, 2018|Tags: pop culture, science, sff|0 Comments