Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Patti Smith "Rock n' Roll nigger"



The comments at youtube (when I read them) are surprisingly insightful: Patti Smith "Rock n' Roll nigger". Maybe my favorites:
My friend worked at a hotel kitchen, and was playing this song on the kitchen boom box. The manager told him to turn if off because it sounded racist, so Matt got all the black people in the kitchen together, told them the lyrics and philosophy behind the song, and asked the brothers, "Is this racist?" There was a unanimous, "No."

[They then said, "You want to end racism in the workplace? Why are all the dishwashers black, and all the cooks white?"]
And:
It's unfortunate that the Afro-American movement didn't make "nigger" an honorific as the Gay movement made "queer"--i.e., "Queer Studies," the queer vision.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Monday links

Are Low Taxes Exacerbating the Recession? The answer appears to be surprisingly clear: Yes. (Thanks, DairyStateDad!)

Not guilty. The Israeli captain who emptied his rifle into a Palestinain schoolgirl illustrates a hard truth about the logic of war: The ignorant deserve to die.

wild rice days

When I dreamed of being published, I thought I would use this as my author's photo:
From Will Shetterly - snapshots of life so far
It's a picture my sister took of me about to begin a shift parching wild rice.

But let me tell you first about what comes before parching.

Dad would fly supplies in a little pontoon plane to Ojibwe people in bush camps. (There's a picture of his plane at My Agonizing 30-Hour Struggle to Survive After My Plane Crashed Into a Lake.) During wild rice season, the people gathered wild rice much like the folks at Wild Rice Harvesting 2009. One difference: the younger wild ricers attached scoops of netting to the front of their canoes and used outboard motors to troll through the rice fields.

I would meet Dad's plane at the dock near our store and unload 100-pound bags of wild rice, load boxes of supplies, then haul the rice up to a quonset hut where we had four rice parchers.

Now, at this point, I should admit that I haven't thought about parching wild rice in decades, so any number of the details may be off, beginning with the number of parchers.

For the first part of the ricing season, we stored bags in the quonset hut. Every day or so, we would go out and turn the bags over to prevent the wet rice from molding. When the gathering of rice slowed down, the parching began.

The parchers were big iron drums, each rotating on a central shaft over a log fire for 24 hours a day. We worked in shifts, four-hours on, eight hours off. The work was incredibly hot and smokey, because we were working in a porch at the end of the quonset hut, which trapped the heat and filled with smoke despite a big electric fan.

We used a big aluminum snow shovel to toss damp wild rice into the parchers, unloading and loading a different parcher every fifteen or twenty minutes, I think. During the time inbetween, we tossed logs on the fires to keep them burning at a steady heat, and we rushed the parched wild rice in a wheelbarrow into the quonset hut where it would eventually be winnowed, then ran back into the hot, smokey porch before the next load burned.

Shoveling wild rice into a parcher called for a bit of skill, because the rotating drums had a cross-shaft: If you timed it wrong and your shovel hit the shaft, you would scatter wild rice all over the porch. Parching the wild rice called more for timing than skill: Let it go a little too long, and a drum-load of wild rice would be ruined.

At the end of a shift, you were filthy and exhausted, but the work was oddly satisfying, probably because it needed doing and would be done in a few weeks. It would be simplistic to say the work was macho, because Liz helped out sometimes. It was just hard, and it required competence and concentration, and when you were done, you had something delicious to eat. Few jobs offer that much.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

crashing a plane

From Bob and Joan Shetterly

This was from the National Enquirer, if I remember correctly. Dad didn't write it. He says it's all sensationalized, but the details are mostly accurate.

answering capitalists: on taxing the rich

From Too Much:

Tax Cutting to a Top-Heavy Society
Anthony Atkinson and Andrew Leigh, The Distribution of Top Incomes in Five Anglo-Saxon Countries over the Twentieth Century, Institute for the Study of Labor, Bonn, Discussion Paper No. 4937, May 2010.
Conservatives who oppose any move to raise taxes on the rich inevitably swing back to one central pitch. Taxing the rich, they argue, will always be a futile exercise. So why bother? Arthur Laffer, analyst who inspired the Ronald Reagan tax cuts, made just this point earlier this month in a Wall Street Journal op-ed.
Unlike average taxpayers, Laffer wrote, taxpayers in the top tax brackets can minimize their income come tax time “by hiring lawyers, accountants, deferred income specialists, and the like.” These wealthy taxpayers can routinely “change the location, timing, composition, and volume of income to avoid taxation.”
At one level, Laffer’s observation rings true. The wealthy certainly do use their wealth to create and exploit tax loopholes. But this conniving never stops. The rich connive to avoid taxes when tax rates on high incomes run high. They connive when these tax rates run low.
By lowering tax rates on the rich, a society simply leaves rich people with much more money in their pockets — and a much greater share of the nation's income. But how much greater a share?
That’s a question Oxford economist Anthony Atkinson and the Australian National University’s Andrew Leigh explore in this detailed new analysis of nearly a century of tax-the-rich history in five major English-speaking nations, the United States, Britain, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia.
In all five of these societies, the share of national income rushing into top 1 percent pockets dipped significantly in the mid 20th century and then increased mightily. What explains this changing income share for the top 1 percent?
Above all else, taxes — or rather, the higher tax rates on the rich in effect a half century ago and the much lower rates on the rich in effect over recent years.
These recent reductions, calculate Atkinson and Leigh, “explain between one third and one half of the rise in the income share of the richest 1 percent.”
The United States hasn't taxed top-bracket income at over 39.6 percent since the mid 1980s. Governments that tax top-bracket income at no more than 40 percent, Atkinson and Leigh charge, are kissing away up substantial amounts of the revenue “they could potentially raise from the richest percentile group.”
In fact, the two add, the five nations they studied could raise their top-bracket tax rate to between 63 and 83 percent and still not lose any overall revenue.
“This suggests,” they conclude, “that in all five Anglo-Saxon countries, the tax rate paid by the top percentile group in the early-2000s was well below the revenue-maximizing point.”
This suggests, we ought to conclude, that our rich have seldom had it so good.

from two essays by Kenan Malik

making a difference: culture, race and social policy:
Multiculturalists, like racial theorists, fetishise difference. Both seek to ‘confine individuals to their group of origin’. Both undermine ‘any possibility of natural or cultural community among peoples’. We believe we have discredited the concept of race but, Finkielkraut asks, ‘have we really made any progress?’
born in bradford:
Multiculturalism transformed the character of antiracism. By the mid-1980s the focus of antiracist protest in Bradford had shifted from political issues, such as policing and immigration, to religious and cultural issues: a demand for Muslim schools and for separate education for girls, a campaign for halal meat to be served at school, and, most explosively, the confrontation over the publication of The Satanic Verses. Political struggles unite across ethnic or cultural divisions; cultural struggles inevitably fragment. As different groups began asserting their particular identities ever more fiercely, so the shift from the political to the cultural arena helped to create a more tribal city. Secular Muslims were regarded as betraying their culture (they belonged to the 'white left') while radical Islam became not just more acceptable but, to many, more authentic.

the privilege of Manhattan Anti-Racists

Constance Ash, aka al-zorra, recently said I was "living a life among entirely white friends and in a community made up only of people exactly like himself in the suburbs of Tucson, i.e. only white sfnal people, and who, as far as I can see doesn't work at all, and hasn't had a job of any kind since he was a kid and had to do chores for his family's business -- well, that says it all."

It made me laugh, because every part of it is wrong, which really doesn't say much for a woman who is credited with writing nonfiction. Fact-checking isn't hard in the age of Google.

I wrote two posts for her on my main blog: work I've done and I, Romance Model, or The Things We Do To Do The Things We Love. Then I sent her a note in which I asked her about her carbon footprint. I must've struck a nerve, because she wrote:
In any case, going back to salvaging our packing materials rather than generating new, which would then go straight to landfill -- unless C'Town has recycling? I don't yet know that -- it's this sort of scavaging is why the average individual who isn't part of the obscenely wealthy population of NYC has the smallest carbon footprinting generally in the nation. Most of also don't drive cars. We walk or take public transportation. Etc. My own garbage is one small bag a week, which is mostly organic, from meal preparation. The rest is bottles and cans, which are recycled. No microwave, no newspapers, re-usable coffee filters, no tea bags but tea strainers for loose tea, those 'green lightbulbs' that supposedly last forever, no washer, dryer or dishwasher. Until getting a new one this summer, no new computer since 2003 or 04 -- can't recall right now -- but this one is still in use and will be, rather than discarded. No appliances at all, in fact, other than a vacuum cleaner, a environmentally correct refrigerator with freezer (essential for nutritious and cost-effective meals) and same for stove and oven.

This is how NYers mostly live. Thus why city dwellers tend to have far smaller carbon footprints than those in suburbia or even on farms. And I do know first hand about all the carbon output that is agriculture, particularly petroleum based industrial agriculture, which most of it is.
Truth can sound harsh when it's rarely spoken, so I'll say up front that I love me some folks who live in Manhattan. I lived in Manhattan for three years at the deal of the decade, a studio apartment on West 73rd near Broadway that I rented for $125 a month in the late 1970s. I heart NYC as much as anyone could.

But I have no love for Manhattanites who brag about their greenness. The card they palm is that few people can afford Manhattan green. Rent.com has basic info about New York City:
The overall cost of living here is 364% compared to the national average, making it just slightly less than California's Silicon Valley, the most expensive area in the nation. Average apartment rentals go for $1,600 per month, with utilities costing an average of $189 per month.
That average lies about Manhattanites. It's like calculating the average income of people who live near Bill Gates. The truth is at August Average Rental Prices in Manhattan: The cheapest average studio apartment in Manhattan is $1496 in Harlem.

What about folks who buy? The average price of a Manhattan apartment is about $1.43 million.

The costly green creds of Manhattanites plummet if they travel much, especially if they travel by air: "Air travel produces almost as much CO2 emissions per passenger per mile as one passenger driving the same distance alone in a car. The overall effect of air travel may be much worse than a car, though. Besides the CO2 emissions, the planes also emit nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide, soot, and water vapor (contrails) directly into the atmosphere at high altitudes, which may double the overall warming effect on the climate."

Marx and Engels had a term for people like al-zorra: bourgeois socialists.

ETA: This applies to K. Tempest Bradford and a few other folks, too. If I remember correctly, Coffeeandink lives in an expensive neighborhood in one of the other boroughs.

ETA 2: Made a third post for al_zorra about work I've done: wild rice days. If I ever need blogging ideas, I'll go straight to her.

garden pool

http://gardenpool.org/

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Saturday ends my experiment in only having happy links

I guess I'll just have to try to balance the grim and the fun henceforth. Today, we're serious:

Assange: The Amazing Adventures of Captain Neo in Blonde Land... is curious; the first half is self-indulgence that you should skip or skim, but the second, about Julian Assange and the fury of women scorned translated into feminist terms, is fine reading. Then see his accuser's philosophy at The Strangest Blog Thread Yet on the Swedish Charges, uh - Not Charges - Against Julian Assange.

The Ministry of Truth by Barry Eisler: on censorship at NPR.

And if you're wondering whether Karl Marx would think Obama was a socialist (you know you were!), the answer may surprise you: He would've called him a "bourgeois socialist." That isn't a compliment. From the Manifesto of the Communist Party:

2. Conservative or Bourgeois Socialism

A part of the bourgeoisie is desirous of redressing social grievances in order to secure the continued existence of bourgeois society.
To this section belong economists, philanthropists, humanitarians, improvers of the condition of the working class, organisers of charity, members of societies for the prevention of cruelty to animals, temperance fanatics, hole-and-corner reformers of every imaginable kind. This form of socialism has, moreover, been worked out into complete systems.
We may cite Proudhon’s Philosophie de la Misère as an example of this form.
The Socialistic bourgeois want all the advantages of modern social conditions without the struggles and dangers necessarily resulting therefrom. They desire the existing state of society, minus its revolutionary and disintegrating elements. They wish for a bourgeoisie without a proletariat. The bourgeoisie naturally conceives the world in which it is supreme to be the best; and bourgeois Socialism develops this comfortable conception into various more or less complete systems. In requiring the proletariat to carry out such a system, and thereby to march straightway into the social New Jerusalem, it but requires in reality, that the proletariat should remain within the bounds of existing society, but should cast away all its hateful ideas concerning the bourgeoisie.
A second, and more practical, but less systematic, form of this Socialism sought to depreciate every revolutionary movement in the eyes of the working class by showing that no mere political reform, but only a change in the material conditions of existence, in economical relations, could be of any advantage to them. By changes in the material conditions of existence, this form of Socialism, however, by no means understands abolition of the bourgeois relations of production, an abolition that can be affected only by a revolution, but administrative reforms, based on the continued existence of these relations; reforms, therefore, that in no respect affect the relations between capital and labour, but, at the best, lessen the cost, and simplify the administrative work, of bourgeois government.
Bourgeois Socialism attains adequate expression when, and only when, it becomes a mere figure of speech.
Free trade: for the benefit of the working class. Protective duties: for the benefit of the working class. Prison Reform: for the benefit of the working class. This is the last word and the only seriously meant word of bourgeois socialism.
It is summed up in the phrase: the bourgeois is a bourgeois — for the benefit of the working class.
Huh. Just noticed that Marx anticipated the myth of meritocracy: "The bourgeoisie naturally conceives the world in which it is supreme to be the best; and bourgeois Socialism develops this comfortable conception into various more or less complete systems."

Friday, August 27, 2010

Friday video and links

Perfection in a toilet?

via Don't Just Sit There! How bathroom posture affects your health.


Monty Python - Novel Writing

Bending my rules for linking: The Two Stories of This Terrible Economy, Yet Obama and the Dems Won’t Tell Theirs. It's not at all feel-good, but I'm linking because Reich points at the intersection of politics and art: It's about the story you tell.

I, Romance Model, or The Things We Do To Do The Things We Love

Because lightningrose asked, here are the only pics I have from my brief career modeling for romance magazines. I remember the pay was very cheap by modeling standards ($50? $125?), and they bought all rights, but being paid for an hour to kiss a pretty young woman seemed like a mighty good deal at the time. (Both articles ended with smaller pics of the young couple kissing.)

I might've done a couple more shoots, but I did not pursue this career.

From Will Shetterly - snapshots of life so far

From Will Shetterly - snapshots of life so far

Thursday, August 26, 2010

work I've done

I can't remember not working. Dad, who grew up on a small farm, believed kids should work. We swept and mopped and mowed and raked and washed dishes and did all of the things that need doing in any household. But that's not work. Those are just chores.

This is the work I remember, beginning around the summer of third grade when Dad paid me a quarter an hour at Dog Land:
  • Hosing out dog pens.
  • Using a riding mower to mow an acre or two of ground.
  • Cleaning the grounds: picking up litter, raking, etc.
  • Waiting on people in Dog Land's restaurant.
  • Guiding tourists around the dog pens.
  • Stocking shelves in the gift shop.
  • Installing fiberglass insulation in a hot attic.
Starting around sixth grade:
  • Selling Charles Chips, a door-to-door potato chip business.
  • Selling magazine subscriptions.
  • Mowing other people's lawns.
  • Babysitting.
  • Working in a head shop.
During college:
  • Washing dishes at Howard Johnsons. (Only for a semester. Then I had enough money from my grandparents to finish college without working, so long as I lived very cheaply. That was an easy trade-off.)
In New York, after college:
  • Apartment manager.
  • Editorial assistant at Ace Books.
  • Production aide at John Wiley.
  • Busboy (briefly) at Tavern on the Green. (I quit because I could. In a fair hierarchical world, waiters and busfolk would earn far more than CEOs. But then, who wouldn't?)
  • Actor (off-off-Broadway) and model (for romance magazines).
After New York:
  • Working for my family at a trading post in northern Ontario near an Ojibwe community. The work included hauling 100-pound bags of wild rice and drying wild rice, an astonishingly hot and smokey business that I should describe someday. I also did the family's accounting and helped in the store. (If you think working for my family meant I had it easy, you really need to meet my dad. Dad was never happy unless everyone else was working.)
After Emma and I married:
  • Running a small press.
  • Writing.
  • Editing.
  • Teaching writing.
After our writing no longer supported us, caretaking a place near Tucson, which includes:
  • Bookkeeping.
  • Gardening.
  • Housekeeping.
  • Replacing a toilet.
  • Re-coating the roof.
  • Re-sheathing a wall of a shed whose outer boards had warped in the sun.
  • Painting the eaves.
  • Plumbing. (The worst so far had more to do with digging than plumbing: four feet of Arizona clay is hard going.)
  • Rebuilding the driveway when it washes out during monsoon season. (Usually, a day or two of hard shoveling.)
Okay, if there's a theme, I'm not seeing it. But then, work is just stuff you do because someone has to do it.

racism and me

The feministsf wiki says my work "features strong women characters and people of color". I never did that deliberately; I just write the kind of people I know. The strong women were inspired by my mother and sister. The strong people of color come from the civil rights struggle, which my family joined when I was a kid. Here's a picture of me and my brother at a protest:


We got death threats from anonymous callers in the middle of the night. When word was out that the Ku Klux Klan would burn us down, we couldn't get fire insurance. Compared to many other people, white and black, our part in the civil rights struggle was nothing. But I marched and I was beaten by racists who called me a niggerlover. (For more about that, see my semi-autobiographical novel, Dogland which Ellen Kushner called "A masterwork. A particularly American magic realism that touches the heart of race and childhood in our country.")

My concern with racism shaped my writing career. The main characters in my first two novels were dark-skinned. (Sadly, writers don't have any say in choosing cover art, so the dark-skinned woman didn't appear on the first book, and the second featured a European-looking man instead of one who looked Asian or African.)


Emma and I set the Liavek shared-world anthologies in an Arabian-inspired fantasy setting that was a deliberate reaction to the European-based fantasies of the time.


 Liavek

For the first four decades of my life, I was a liberal who believed racism was the US's greatest problem, but I came to agree with people like the Rev. Thandeka, who wrote in The Whiting of Euro-Americans: A Divide and Conquer Strategy:
...we must not forget that white racism was from the start a vehicle for classism; its primary goal was not to elevate a race but to denigrate a class.
and in Why Anti-Racism Will Fail that antiracists
...make an erroneous assumption about the nature and structure of power in America. 
...80 percent of the wealth in this country is owned by 20 percent of the population. The top 1 percent owns 47% of this wealth. These facts describe an American oligarchy that rules not as a right of race but as a right of class. One historical counterpart to this contemporary story of extreme economic imbalance is found in the fact that at the beginning of the Civil War, seven per cent of the total white population in the South owned almost three quarters (three million) of all the slaves in this country. In other words, in 1860, an oligarchy of 8,000 persons actually ruled the South. This small planter class ruled over the slaves and controlled the five million whites too poor to own slaves. To make sense of this class fact, we must remember that the core motivation for slavery was not race but economics, which is why at its inception, both blacks and whites were enslaved.
I saw how Malcolm X's focus shifted in the last year of his life from racism to socialism:
It’s impossible for a white person to believe in capitalism and not believe in racism. You can’t have capitalism without racism. And if you find one and you happen to get that person into conversation and they have a philosophy that makes you sure they don’t have this racism in their outlook, usually they’re socialists or their political philosophy is socialism.
I had believed that everyone was a little racist, but when I studied tests for racism, I found that none suggest all whites are racist. I took the race test at Project Implicit; to my disappointment, I'm not among the people who have no implicit preferences. Like a large minority of white folks, I have an implicit preference for black folks.

The more I heard about neoliberal anti-racism theory, the more I came to doubt it. Adolph Reed Jr. summed up the theory's problems in his short essay, The limits of anti-racism:
I remain curious why the “debate” over antiracism as a politics takes such indirect and evasive forms—like the analogizing and guilt by association, moralistic bombast in lieu of concrete argument—and why it persists in establishing, even often while denying the move, the terms of debate as race vs. class. I’m increasingly convinced that a likely reason is that the race line is itself a class line, one that is entirely consistent with the neoliberal redefinition of equality and democracy. It reflects the social position of those positioned to benefit from the view that the market is a just, effective, or even acceptable system for rewarding talent and virtue and punishing their opposites and that, therefore, removal of “artificial” impediments to its functioning like race and gender will make it even more efficient and just.
Seeing class as the root problem of racism is not denying racism. It's simply seeing the truth clearly: you cannot end racial injustice unless you're willing to end economic injustice.

For more about what shaped my work, see my curious life in the American class system.

Thursday links

The Ground Zero Synagogue—Lebanon Becoming More American than America

How to feel full without pigging out

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Desert Pete, plus link


Desert Pete

What You Don’t Know Makes You Nervous

update: post-depression

One sign that I'm no longer suffering from depression: Set-backs aren't as frustrating as they were. I've been getting things done lately, and more importantly, I haven't had to force myself to do them. I've got my get-'er-done back.

Now I'm wondering if I was suffering from more than a B12 deficiency. If that was the whole reason for my depression, wouldn't I have become myself again more quickly? Or had I been suffering from the deficiency so long that it's taking me time to learn how to be myself again? Or rather, to learn how to be whoever I am now?

Hmm. This seems like a rather cryptic and personal post, but I'll make it public anyway.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tuesday linkage, emphasis on housing

State apologizes for mistreatment of Italian residents during WWII
In 1942, his mother was declared an "enemy alien," along with 600,000 other Italians and half a million Germans and Japanese who weren't U.S. citizens. More than once, men in suits searched the Maiorana house for guns, flashlights, cameras, shortwave radios — anything that could be used to signal the enemy.

Like 10,000 others up and down the California coast, the family was suddenly forced to uproot. At their new place in Salinas, they had to be home by 8 p.m. or face arrest. And when the government seized fishing boats for the war effort, Maiorana's dad, a naturalized U.S. citizen, saw his livelihood go down the drain.
Want: New Isetta to Solve Our Transportation Woes

Cannabis electric car to be made in Canada

Tiny apartment shows the value of a good fit


DIY home for less than $3500 (more at A Reclaimed, Recycled, Passive solar, Tiny house on wheels)

The Housing Question

Crowds Chase Scarce Housing Vouchers

How to make a Critical Race Theorist's head explode

GOPer West Blasts 'Gestapo-Type' Tracker (Whose Grandparents Survived Holocaust)

On the one hand, Critical Race Theorists say no one's allowed to use metaphors based on historical incidents of racism or bigotry.

On the other hand, the GOPer in question is black.

The irony is in the context: "I know here today we have a representative from the Florida Democratic party and he is here to film me and his whole purpose of filming me is to take what I say and allow other people to distort it so they can misrepresent me. You know if we allow those Gestapo-type intimidation tactics to prevail in the United States of America what happens to our liberties, what happens to our freedoms?"

They're taking his words out of context to misrepresent the man.* That was on the list of Gestapo dirty tricks...and every other political organization that thinks winning is more important than truth.

Hmm. Which may be just about every political organization.

* If the GOPer had been a Critical Race Theorist, they would express that as "...to misrepresent the black man" to imply he was misrepresented because of his race. But misrepresenting black folks is okay so long as they don't believe in CRT.

ETA: Though I'm a wild-eyed socialist, I have enormous sympathy for middle and upper-class black conservatives who get called race traitors when they're only being true to their class.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Saturday bonus video

Little North Korean Girl Playing Guitar 北朝鮮少女のギター演奏


P.S. Jingoists are hating this video, and I have no clue what went into her training, but it's pretty obvious from her smiles toward the end of the song that she's having a great time.

our RV is for sale, plus Saturday video

1983 Toyota "Toy House" Motor Home

The Beers Family - The Connaughtman's Rambles

a reluctant defense of Laura Schlessinger

I don't like the woman any more than anyone left of Jerry Falwell does, but let's be clear: She didn't call anyone a "nigger." She merely observed that the word is often used in some places and taboo in others. If she had said, "Turn on HBO and and all you hear is motherfucker, motherfucker, motherfucker..." would there be this much outrage? If anything, progressives would defend her, because the right to speak taboo words was once a free speech issue.

As Lenny Bruce knew too well. Amusingly, the first video I could find of his famous routine is from the movie about his life, so here's Dustin Hoffman:



If anyone has any evidence that making words forbidden improves people's attitudes about race, please let me know. This seems to be another issue of faith by anti-racism theorists.

See also: In Defense of Dr. Laura

Friday, August 20, 2010

Friday links

Because you can't swear in too many languages: When foreign people swear!

More proof, as if anyone except rich people needed it: The rich have more money but the poor are rich in heart:
...lower-income people give more of their hard-earned money to charity than the wealthy.
At a time when the richest one percent of Americans own more than the bottom 90 percent combined, Piff and his colleagues' findings are more than a little timely.
Homeowners’ Rebellion: Could 62 Million Homes Be Foreclosure-Proof?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

depression update, plus Zeb and Haniya playing "Chup"

I'm glad to say I'm writing fiction again after stopping in June, but the habits of—two? five?—years of depression are still with me. Which sucks. If, as I think, the problem caused by insufficient B12 is now fixed, I still need to work on the symptoms.

This applies to more than putting off writing. I need more charity for anti-racism theorists who try to convince me it's better to focus on race than class, or that I should stop pointing out the flaws in their philosophy. Emma noted that I'm kind and patient with Jehovah's Witnesses. I think I'll just start telling AR theorists, "No thanks, I'm a red. Have a nice day!"

Totally unrelated, I heard this on the radio today and quite liked it:


Chup

Zeb is the singer. Haniya, the woman with the cutaway acoustic guitar, is her cousin. They're upper-class "urban middle class" Pakistanis who went to Mount Holyoke.

ETA: More about the band here.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

the curious class logic of a race maximalist, Tim Wise

At first, I was tempted to ignore Tim Wise's With Friends Like These, Who Needs Glenn Beck? Racism and White Privilege on the Liberal-Left because it's mostly talking-point arguments interrupted by pauses to pimp his books. But his points about class are so bizarre that I'll address a few:

He says, "...the biggest reason why there is so little working class consciousness and unity in the Untied States (and thus, why class-based programs to uplift all in need are so much weaker here than in the rest of the industrialized world), is precisely because of racism and the way that white racism has been deliberately inculcated among white working folks. Only by confronting that directly (rather than sidestepping it as class reductionists seek to do) can we ever hope to build cross-racial, class based coalitions. In other words, for the policies favored by the class reductionist to work — be they social democrats or Marxists — or even to come into being, racism and white supremacy must be challenged directly."

What he seems to want is for the white working class to indulge in mea culpas for the culture created by the ruling class. What he misses is that "white supremacy" is actually "upper class supremacy."

His label of "class reductionist" will undoubtedly appear again. What it fails to acknowledge is that no socialist thinks "racism is over." But to a race maximalist, anything that doesn't emphasize the importance of race must diminish it.

He says, "...in refusing to openly engage racism, progressive activists forfeited the opportunity to build coalitions across lines of race and class: coalitions that may have proven empowering in years to come."

That's his attempt to sidestep the failure of identity politics in the last decades. He clings to an old concept and insists the failure was because too few people joined the crusade.

He says, "...lower income whites are more likely to own their own home than middle class blacks." I don't doubt that's true. What he doesn't point out is that lower income whites tend to be rural, so the homes they've inherited or bought are cheap. Middle class blacks tend to be urban, so they do what other urban middle class folks tend to do—they rent.

Most of the rest of his list of things he thinks are purely racial come from a failure to understand the history of race and class. Just as he misses the difference between rural and urban poverty, he misses the most basic fact of all: Historically, racism is the reason the US class system is racially disproportionate, but it's not the reason the class system continues to be racially disproportionate. It continues to be racially disproportionate because there's little class mobility here. The only way to create a racially proportionate distribution of wealth in the US is to end capitalism and redistribute wealth.

But Wise has no interest in a classless society.

He says, "In other words, unless all of our organizing becomes antiracist in terms of outreach, messaging, strategizing, and implementation, whatever work we’re doing, around whatever important issue, will be for naught."

Or, in other words, buy his books.

What he misses is that decades of antiracism theory have been for naught. Progressive organizing should focus on the shared goals of people of all hues: better work, housing, education, and health care.

He says, "The other side has proven itself ready and willing to use racism to divide us. In response, we must commit to using antiracism as a force to unite."

But antiracism theory isn't about uniting. It's about validating and perpetuating racial division while capitalists keep their eyes on the prize: controlling the wealth of the world.

--

Bonus content: Leslie Ambedian sent me a link to YouTube - William-Shatners-Common-People-lego-animation.mov



At the risk of being too serious about a song being performed by Bill Shatner: My first adult romance was with a woman who was remarkably like the subject of this song. She wanted to understand how the other 99% lived, but she always had someone to fall back on. There are things you just can't understand unless you've lost them or never had them.

ETA: Possibly of interest: Anti-racism Theory: No facts needed if you have faith.

testing for racism

The most striking thing about anti-racism theory is there's nothing to support it. It's classic circular reasoning: All white people are racist because they grew up in a society that is racist because all white people are racist because they grew up in....

But if it's true that all white people are racist, there should be a way to test it. Fortunately, there are tests designed to bypass people's ability to consciously or subconsciously lie:

Project Implicit's race test concludes, "75-80% of self-identified Whites and Asians show an implicit preference for racial White relative to Black." I've found academic papers and news articles that suggest Project Implicit over-estimates the amount and importance of implicit preference. I haven't found any that say it under-estimates.

Color Blind or Just Plain Blind? tells of researchers who "created a situation in the laboratory in which white participants witnessed a staged emergency involving a black or white victim" and found, "When white participants believed that they were the only witness [to an accident] they helped both white and black victims very frequently (over 85 percent of the time) and equivalently. There was no evidence of blatant racism. In contrast, when they thought there were other witnesses, they helped black victims only half as often as white victims (38 percent versus 75 percent)."

Project Implicit's results imply that 20-25% of whites and Asians are not at all racist or are racist against whites. The second test suggests 38% of whites are not at all racist.

The Police Officer's Dilemma, from Stereotyping & Prejudice Research Laboratory at the University of Chicago, takes a very practical approach to implicit preference. Its shooter test is here.

My result at Project Implicit: "Your data suggest a slight automatic preference for African American compared to European American."

In my first time through the shooter test, I shot slightly more innocent dark people than pale ones. That reversed itself the second time through, when I learned to look at people's hands rather than their faces.

Criticism of Project Implicit

In a series of scathing critiques, some psychologists have argued that this computerized tool, the Implicit Association Test, or I.A.T., has methodological problems and uses arbitrary classifications of bias. If Barack Obama’s victory seemed surprising, these critics say, it’s partly because social scientists helped create the false impression that three-quarters of whites are unconsciously biased against blacks.
This has been one part of an ongoing debate that has suggested that the IAT is not all it's cracked up to be, while the originators of the test have fired back with the heavyweight review [pdf] of over 100 studies, defending their position and the IAT's credentials.

The debate is important because the IAT has become one of psychology's central tools for separating conscious and unconscious associations and has been applied to pretty much everything from racism to diagnosing psychopaths.
So Project Implicit may be right, or their critics may be right, but either way, the Critical Race Theorists and Whiteness Students are mistaken in their belief that everyone's racist.

(Thanks, serialbabbler, for pointing me to the Mind Hacks link!)


ETA: This post was inspired by by a discussion that Trinker began with me at Lakeshore - [cancer] Class privilege and chemotherapy.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The hardest time of my life, and an apology

Two nights ago, I sent this to three people who were owed it or something better:
I'm sorry about my depressed and obsessive behavior of the last couple of years. It turns out that I've been suffering from an extreme B12 deficiency. The most likely explanation seems to be that my quasi-vegan diet was insufficiently quasi. I've recently gone through a series of B12 shots, begun taking daily vitamins, and adopted a pescetarian diet. Now the world seems, well, every bit as fucked up if not more, but less daunting. It's like stepping from a dark tunnel into a wasteland, but there are many spots of beauty and promise in that wasteland. With work, it could become a garden, and the work appears hard, but possible.

Brain chemistry. I wish it was less interesting.

Anyway, you each received too much railing from me, and I'm sorry for that.
Teresa Nielsen Hayden wrote back:
It's not like I'm not going to understand this one. It's why I have a soft spot for the brain-damaged and the neurochemically deranged: it could happen to any of us. I've seen the shift in facial muscles appear on an old friend, and it's as chilling as any dark mass that's ever turned up in an x-ray.

I knew that wasn't what was happening to you, but I could tell something was going wrong. It was like you'd lost your way, or were being ridden by some uncongenial dybbuk, or no longer had a clear field of vision. Something. I know from experience that almost no one talks about it, but I really did notice, and was worried.

I know what a relief it is to figure out what's been happening, and find it's treatable. Congratulations, and may you have much joy. I also know how bitter it is to realize how much time and credibility, how many plans and opportunities, have been lost to such a small thing.

Hey, you escaped. Many people never do.

May I make a suggestion? Write about this in public. Blog about it. Writing about the rough patches isn't making excuses for yourself; at minimum, it's testifying that this is something that can happen to people.

You never know the full list of who has and hasn't noticed, who's been worrying, who'd be glad and grateful to know what was really going on, and wants to hear that you're feeling better. What you absolutely cannot know is how many people have built you into their worldview, and will have drawn conclusions about life, the world, and everything that were informed by what they've watched happening to you. We really do have a secondary life in the people around us. When our lives go dark, that patch goes dark for them too. Turn the lights back on.
What Teresa said is better than anything I can add, but I’ll try, starting with some simple facts in case they’re useful for anyone else:

I became a vegetarian in 1995, I think. I knew vegans need to be concerned about B vitamins, but I ate a couple of eggs or a bit of cheese once or twice a week, so I didn’t worry about it. Maybe a couple of years ago, my doctor noticed my homocysteine levels were running a little high, so he prescribed folic acid. A few months ago, I finally figured out that I was suffering from depression, and I began googling.

What I learned:

Vitamin B-12 and depression are related.

"Vegetarians who do not supplement their diet with vitamin B12 tend to have elevated homocysteine levels." “Keeping homocysteine at levels associated with lower rates of disease requires both adequate B12 and folate (also known as folic acid) status.”

And most significantly for me: "The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) [of folic acid] has been kept low (currently 200 mcg) because of a remote risk of folic acid masking some signs of B12 deficiency."

I told the doc about this, and he ordered a B-12 test. As soon as he got the results, he put me on a series of shots, one every two weeks. Some people apparently feel better immediately after getting their shots. I didn’t, but I felt like I was regaining some perspective on life.

Now, here’s why I never noticed that I was becoming seriously depressed. If you had asked me what the hardest time in my life was, I would have considered three possibilities:

1. When my family was involved with civil rights in Florida in the ‘60s, we were threatened and ostracized for being “niggerlovers.”

2. When I tried to make an indie film, I failed and went deeply into debt because I was insufficiently prepared.

3. When Emma broke both of her elbows, we had no health insurance.

But those were only tough times. In every case, I was ready to keep working. I believed the only requirement for success was the willingness to fail over and over until you got things right.

My hardest time began a few years ago. I thought I was depressed for good reasons: my sister died, my career seemed to be over, and all around me, capitalism was hurting everyone who wasn’t rich. I couldn’t bear to try doing anything because I knew anything I tried would fail.

I’m an agnostic on whether people have souls—that just doesn’t seem terribly relevant in this life—but if we do, our souls are affected by our brains, and when our brains do not have all they need, our essential self, whether you call it mind or soul, suffers.

I got myself back when I got my B12 levels back. Now I’m looking forward to failing again, in bigger ways, with greater frequency. It’s a great feeling. I forgot that being able to fail at what you love is the greatest privilege any of us can have. Most of us don’t even get the opportunity to try.

I owe apologies to more people than I know. I am sorry for every time that I did not disengage sooner from a disagreement. If you think I owe you an apology, ask, and I’ll almost certainly give it.

Honesty requires that I add this: I’ll stay obsessive. Everyone who pursues truth through art or science has to be obsessive. But I’ll smile more, and I’ll be more understanding of those who disagree with me.

I am so old, or No, *this* would make the best final post for my blog

YouTube - Fuck Me, Ray Bradbury

vis Neil Gaiman

Saturday, August 14, 2010

links for the day after Friday the Thirteenth

del Squid - It's a car, it's a squid. Yes, I already sent it to Bruce Schneier.

Want: Arcimoto | A new way to drive (via Emma, from Nathan Fillion's tweets)

Regarding Acton's famous quote about power: Steve Brust posted Truisms rot brains; absolute truisms rot brains absolutely and asked, "why is this unscientific idea so attractive to certain layers, and what social role does it play?" Then serialbabbler sent me How power corrupts: Mind Hacks, which comments on and links to Weekend Essay by Jonah Lehrer: How Power Affects Us - WSJ.com: "Contrary to the Machiavellian cliché, nice people are more likely to rise to power. Then something strange happens: Authority atrophies the very talents that got them there."

Friday, August 13, 2010

Happy Triskaidekaphobia Day!

I so wish I had thirteen links for you. But I do have this: Portable Housing, Made in Montana - NYTimes.com

Habihut

Jon Stewart on tax cuts and the deficit

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Deductible Me
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party
Jon Stewart: Deductible me.

Robert N. Lee on the frenzy of failfans

This comment from Robert N. Lee got buried in blogger's spam filter:
The thing I've noticed about the vast majority white FAIL Baggers (my own favorite new term) is that if you read their blog posts long enough, you'll find an enthusiastic post about how they never met any black people or whatever until last week.

And personally, I think the best evaluation of the entire thing came from LJ's St. Rev a few years ago: it's not a legit movement of any kind, really, but it's not so much a real lynch mob or witch hunt, either.

What it's almost exactly like is Zombie Tag, if you ever played that as a kid, or simple computer zombie simulations. A meme like "ELIZABETH BEAR FARTED AND THIS IS RACIST" is the infection, and the idea is to spread the infection, turn everybody into red dots, and kill any stubborn dots that stay green.

If you accept the meme and pass it on enthusiastically, you're good and you get to join the reds. If you don't and hide, you're fine. If you don't and object in public, you get swarmed.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Jay Lake on class and chemotherapy

Lakeshore - [cancer] Class privilege and chemotherapy

(Oh. This doesn't exactly fit my four principles for blog posts, so I need to add one more:

5. Is it about class?

'Cause I'll always be the Class Guy.

Dan Sickles had an interesting notion

I'm reading American Scoundrel, The Life of the Notorious Civil War General Dan Sickles by Thomas Keneally, where I came across this:
Asked to speak, Dan expressed his contempt for the Copperheads, who would countenance a divided nation. "Rather than see the Republic so degraded, let the last citizen perish; lay waste the continent; recall the red man from his long exile, and give back to the proud lords of the forest and plain the heritage we took from their fathers."

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

boosting the signal: Doc Webster needs help, plus a video

docwebster: Doc needs help (that would be me and mine, folks). I don't know Doc; I got email about this from _twilight_, who included a link to a garden in riotous bloom - "All you do is give", who says he's one of the good guys.

At Doc Webster's LJ, I found this: YouTube - Legacy of Genghis Khan (Dschinghis Khan).



But if you don't think it's bizarrely awesome, don't hold it against him.

hypocrisy parade: lanning and ithiliana

At in which Gemma Files defends Elizabeth Bear from the Orc hordes, Lanning says: "And then, of course, she disables comments. Because God only knows what teh ebil failers might say to her. I mean, she might be assaulted by someone calling her on her bullshit. And we can't have that."

The palmed card: Bear disabled comments, but she did not delete them. If you go to her post, you'll find every comment there that were from people "calling her on her bullshit."

The funny? Lanning bans people from her LJ for fear of them calling her on "her bullshit."

[ETA: After rereading Lanning's post, I realize it's about Files' turning off comments, not about Bear freezing the thread. I could point to many failfans who freeze threads and turn off comments (Coffeeandink being a fine example), but I'll simply note this: Gemma Files made her statement in public and signed her name with all the courage of John Hancock. She knew the failfans could comment at their own sites if they pleased.]

In the comments, ithiliana says, "That's proactive censorship of a style Orwell would be mighty proud to own."

Ithiliana's way with words isn't the clearest: Does she really think Orwell liked to censor? I suspect she was trying to say that freezing comments on a post is "Orwellian," which is to say, reminiscent of the government in 1984.

The funny? Ithiliana also bans people who call her on her bullshit.

[ETA: See the comments. I misunderstood ithiliana's comment because her quoting style sucks. Which doesn't alter my point about pseudonymous people who shut out others, then mock those who shut them out.]

Is anything funnier than cowards damning others from their hiding place?

Why, yes. There's another element of cowardice in lanning and ithiliana's tactics: Elizabeth Bear and Gemma Files do not hide their names when they say what they think.

ETA: This reminds me why I respect Tempest, for all that she attacks people who disagree with her neoliberal faith, resists educating herself about her class privilege, and bans people so she can speak in an echo chamber: At least she's brave enough to own her words.

ETA 2: To be clear, I don't think any of these people should be despised as individuals. They're products of their environment. They think they're doing good when they attack those who don't think as they do. They're no different than the Pharisees and Sadducees that Jesus called hypocrites: they have a faith that explains the world to them, so they fail to see their hypocrisy. Someday, their understanding may grow.

ETA 3: I have trouble parsing lanning's prose as well as ithiliana's. See ETA's above.

ETA 4: Ditto.

ETA 5: Why does Lanning include "white women's tears" as a tag on her post? There's nothing in Gemma Files' original post about wanting to cry or even about being sad. Heck, "fuck it" seems like the antithesis of "white women's tears" to me. I realize people read too quickly on the web (look at how I misunderstood bits of what lanning and ithiliana said), but "white women's tears" had to come straight from Lanning's belief that everything is about race, 'cause reality offered nothing to inspire it.

ETA 6: Ithiliana strikes again. At ithiliana | A free hour noodling around the internet, she says, "So I was backtracking to read new comments on KTempest's blog entry about 'deathmarch,' and see Will Shetterly somehow equating..." She's referring to Tempest's blog post, When Writers Fail To Understand How Words Work | K. Tempest Bradford. Problem is that Tempest has banned me. Whoever that Will in the comments is, he or she isn't me. For one thing, I use "folks" all the time.

ETA 7: After I pointed out she was wrong, Ithiliana updated her post. She excuses her leaping to assumptions by claiming someone who doesn't sound like me sounds like me, though a google of my blog will reveal that I use "folks" beaucoup.

Here's the funny bit: She says, "Will posted from another open ID to correct us, but I've banned that as well because I am a well known evil censoring pagan queer commie bitch who hates white men." I suspect all censors giggle self-righteously about those who question their fondness for censorship.

ETA 8: hypocrisy parade 2: lanning, ithiliana, and friends, or This time, it's all about me!


When Coffeeandink posted a false claim about me, James Nicoll made a post titled "Will Shetterly has no class," or something similar that I, a socialist, quite appreciated. Anyone who's sensitive to metaphor, as so many anti-racism theorists claim to be, should know the upper class has committed uncountable atrocities on working folks.

When James learned Coffeeandink's post was groundless, he didn't apologize (which I would expect someone who is concerned with classy behavior to do), but he retitled it and said he would no longer discuss people he had banned from responding.

Ithiliana and Lanning play by different rules. Ithiliana posted "In Which I Disagree with Will Shetterly about Censorship, Pseuds, and Harassment" at LiveJournal and Dreamwidth, and Lanning posted I IZ FAYMUS!.

Where to begin in citing the funny?

Let's start with Lanning's post. She says I objected to her "use of the word wench." I didn't; that was a comment from Robert N. Lee. Reading on the web is clearly harder than I thought.

In the comments there, Ithiliana complains about other people's reading skills, then shows that she still hasn't figured out that thousands of white Americans also suffered during the Bataan Death March. Or perhaps she thinks the white victims simply don't count, or since they were white men, they deserved their fate.

In the comments are claims I'm a "cyberstalker". I'm old school; what they call cyberstalking, I call "surfing the web." People who are honestly afraid of "cyberstalking" use friend filters when posting about people they don't want as readers.

On to Ithiliana's post:

She starts with an indirect link to my blog because racefailers, like Scientologists, are afraid of giving Google juice to their critics.

Though she shields herself from criticism on her blog by banning people, she continues to think it's not hypocritical to mock Gemma Files for shielding herself from criticism on her blog by turning off comments. (Stress added to help hypocrites, though by definition, hypocrites can't see the logs in their eyes.)

She talks about privileged white people as if she isn't one.

She claims I've said I'm being censored. Where did I ever say that? Is that another bingo-card square that needs no basis in reality?

She expresses bafflement about my position on pseudonyms. All she has to do is ask me to clarify that, which, I realize, isn't as much fun as making stuff up. If she'd asked, I would've said:

I've always thought pseudonyms are okay. But if you use a pseudonym, don't attack people who use their real names and expect your identity will stay shielded. There is no right to pseudonymity. If you want to be pseudonymous, protect your pseudonymity. If anyone who can use Google can learn in a few clicks who you are, your pseudonymity is your delusion.

She says, "I AM saying that his behaviors in outing women, failing to recognize boundaries (i.e. trying to get around bans of specific accounts), and sending multiple and ongoing emails after a recipient requests that he stop, are behaviors are are key identifiers for cyperstalkers and harassers."

1. Regarding the claim that I've outed women, see the pseudo-pseudonymity of Coffeeandink. Then Google for the evidence that she has been outed. Today, thanks to my help, Coffeeandink is far more pseudonymous than she was before Racefail.

2. Regarding the claim that I've failed to recognize boundaries,  I will send emails to people who say things about me that are not true. Coffeeandink took weeks to correct her accusation. If you don't want emails from me, disagree all you wish with me, but don't charge me with doing things I have not. If anyone thinks I've sent a stalkerish email, produce it.

Addressing the comments at Ithiliana's Dreamwidth post:

sqbr, if you want to know why I mention neoliberalism, see The limits of anti-racism by Adolph Reed Jr.

ithiliana, you really thought "who watches the watchers" was from Alan Moore? I wouldn't think that was funny if you'd simply been ignorant, but it's always funny watching someone fall from a high horse.

al_zorra says, "OTOH, this man, for whom 'working for justice is what I do,' living a life among entirely white friends and in a community made up only of people exactly like himself in the suburbs of Tucson, i.e. only white sfnal people, and who, as far as I can see doesn't work at all, and hasn't had a job of any kind since he was a kid and had to do chores for his family's business -- well, that says it all. Besides, I have to get back to work. I'm not joking. Alas."

Well, not among entirely white friends, not in a community made up only of people exactly like myself, not in a suburb, and I've had many jobs since I was a kid. I would happily tell you more, but since you're having so much fun with the speculation, keep playing.

al_zorra then says, "They were going bankrupt, according ws, not that long ago. But there was no mention of looking for honest work, rather handouts from friends."

When have I asked for or taken a handout from a friend? I accepted money from the SFWA medical fund when Emma broke both her elbows, but we paid that back and then some.

redbird says, "It's also possible that he's okay with pseudonyms if he knows who's behind them. cakmpls and huladavid, at least, are long-time Minneapolis fans, who I assume Shetterly knows."

Actually, there are people on my blogs who have commented pseudonymously for years, and not only do I not know who they are, I can't even guess their gender or race, but I consider them friends.

And now, the comments at LiveJournal:

yeloson, I graduated from Western High School, a Washington DC public school that was about 70% black at the time and had a large Hispanic and Asian population.

al_zorra, whenever you talk about whiteness or privilege, I smile. Incidentally, I've not been banned from Making Light, and I don't remember ever having posts deleted, though that's possible.

ETA: I think I just figured out why they thought I was calling them censors. I was comparing them to censors in citing their smug pleasure in keeping dissent far away. You actually can compare apples and oranges; their skins are toward the reddish end of the spectrum, they're fairly spherical, they weigh about the same, humans eat them, they're fruit....

ETA 2: I noticed Lanning when the failfans began abusing Jay Lake for his comment about this year's WisCon. I googled "Jay Lake Racefail" and this post by Lanning came up: oh sweet zombie jesus protect teh white menz from teh mean cullud gals. I can't remember why I noticed Ithiliana. I suspect she used to comment on my LJ.

hypocrisy parade: lanning and ithiliana

At in which Gemma Files defends Elizabeth Bear from the Orc hordes, Lanning says: "And then, of course, she disables comments. Because God only knows what teh ebil failers might say to her. I mean, she might be assaulted by someone calling her on her bullshit. And we can't have that."

The palmed card: Bear disabled comments, but she did not delete them. If you go to her post, you'll find every comment there that were from people "calling her on her bullshit."

The funny? Lanning bans people from her LJ for fear of them calling her on "her bullshit."

[ETA: After rereading Lanning's post, I realize it's about Files' turning off comments, not about Bear freezing the thread. I could point to many failfans who freeze threads and turn off comments (Coffeeandink being a fine example), but I'll simply note this: Gemma Files made her statement in public and signed her name with all the courage of John Hancock. She knew the failfans could comment at their own sites if they pleased.]

In the comments, ithiliana says, "That's proactive censorship of a style Orwell would be mighty proud to own."

Ithiliana's way with words isn't the clearest: Does she really think Orwell liked to censor? I suspect she was trying to say that freezing comments on a post is "Orwellian," which is to say, reminiscent of the government in 1984.

The funny? Ithiliana also bans people who call her on her bullshit.

[ETA: See the comments. I misunderstood ithiliana's comment because her quoting style sucks. Which doesn't alter my point about pseudonymous people who shut out others, then mock those who shut them out.]

Is anything funnier than cowards damning others from their hiding place?

Why, yes. There's another element of cowardice in lanning and ithiliana's tactics: Elizabeth Bear and Gemma Files do not hide their names when they say what they think.

ETA: This reminds me why I respect Tempest, for all that she attacks people who disagree with her neoliberal faith, resists educating herself about her class privilege, and bans people so she can speak in an echo chamber: At least she's brave enough to own her words.

ETA 2: To be clear, I don't think any of these people should be despised as individuals. They're products of their environment. They think they're doing good when they attack those who don't think as they do. They're no different than the Pharisees and Sadducees that Jesus called hypocrites: they have a faith that explains the world to them, so they fail to see their hypocrisy. Someday, their understanding may grow.

ETA 3: I have trouble parsing lanning's prose as well as ithiliana's. See ETA's above.

ETA 4: Ditto.

ETA 5: Why does Lanning include "white women's tears" as a tag on her post? There's nothing in Gemma Files' original post about wanting to cry or even about being sad. Heck, "fuck it" seems like the antithesis of "white women's tears" to me. I realize people read too quickly on the web (look at how I misunderstood bits of what lanning and ithiliana said), but "white women's tears" had to come straight from Lanning's belief that everything is about race, 'cause reality offered nothing to inspire it.

ETA 6: Ithiliana strikes again. At ithiliana | A free hour noodling around the internet, she says, "So I was backtracking to read new comments on KTempest's blog entry about 'deathmarch,' and see Will Shetterly somehow equating..." She's referring to Tempest's blog post, When Writers Fail To Understand How Words Work | K. Tempest Bradford. Problem is that Tempest has banned me. Whoever that Will in the comments is, he or she isn't me. For one thing, I use "folks" all the time.

ETA 7: After I pointed out she was wrong, Ithiliana updated her post. She excuses her leaping to assumptions by claiming someone who doesn't sound like me sounds like me, though a google of my blog will reveal that I use "folks" beaucoup.

Here's the funny bit: She says, "Will posted from another open ID to correct us, but I've banned that as well because I am a well known evil censoring pagan queer commie bitch who hates white men." I suspect all censors giggle self-righteously about those who question their fondness for censorship.

ETA 8: See hypocrisy parade 2: lanning, ithiliana, and friends, or This time, it's all about me!

Strange Fruit by Kenan Malik

From on strange fruit, an essay by Kenan Malik:
For 20 years I have been exploring the idea of race as a biologist, a historian and an antiracist activist. But two development over the past decade made me realise that I needed to rethink my attitudes to human differences. 
...Liberal antiracism has not only helped resurrect racial thinking. It has also become increasingly hostile to traditional notions of science, knowledge and freedom of thought - as the Watson row revealed. And this is perhaps the most paradoxical aspect of the new race debate - that in challenging the irrationality of racial science, liberal antiracists have become so irrational themselves.
Malik has also written a book titled Strange Fruit that I should read, based on the review here.

Wednesday stuff and my latest blogging principles

1. Does it help you stick it to the man?

2. Does it leave you feeling good?

3. Is it free or cheap?

4. Will Emma like it?

If the answer to any of these questions is sure to be no, I won't blog it.



Late Night with Jimmy Fallon - Jet Blue Song - The Ballad of Steven Slater (8/10/10) - Video - NBC.com

YouTube - The quick brown fox ...

Skip the Ads on YouTube by Refreshing the Page

News: deviantART Muro: It's Time to Draw!



More on Cattle Kate and Frederic Wertham at Pappy's Golden Age Comics Blogzine.

Want: Osprey Eco-Cottage from Nationwide Homes at 2010 Builders' Show