deathpixie: (go where the road leads you)
Interesting thoughts on asking for things by writer C.E. Murphy. Warning for Amanda Palmer. ;)

For me, asking is always fraught with peril. Because I tend to take "no" as a value judgement of myself - people don't want to help with whatever because they don't like me. And sometimes (perhaps not as often as it feels like), I do ask and am answered with silence, or promises to do something that turn up empty, and I feel like I've put people in a position where they don't want to have to say "no", even though they really wanted to. So yeah, asking is incredibly hard for me.

And yet... for the really important things, the things that matter, I've had more "yes" responses that have been followed through. Something to remind Captain Paranoia of, next time I have to ask for something.

Originally posted by [ profile] mizkit at The worst they can say is no.

I have no idea when my mother first told me, “You can ask. The worst they can say is no,” but it was certainly long enough ago that it’s become an irrevocable part of my attitude toward life: Always let the other guy say no.

You would be *amazed* how much you can achieve by asking.

Which brings me immediately into Amanda Palmer’s TED Talk:

Watch it if you haven’t already, because it’s fairly inspiring, albeit in a “very few people are that brave” way. Amanda Palmer is a master at self-promotion and personal connections, and I’d love to have a tenth of her skill (debate: is it *possible* for a writer to build an audience the way Amanda’s done? Well, I guess so, I mean, giving it away worked for Scalzi and Cory Doctorow, though not quite in the get-out-and-meet-people way that AFP has done…), but for me one of the huge takeaways of her talk is a subtext of always let the other guy say no.

Amanda takes that to an art level (rather literally). She talks a lot about trust in her talk, and I think that’s part of letting the other guy say no. Maybe not even so much trusting *them*, but trusting yourself to ask, and to be able to deliver the goods if the answer is yes.

Because don’t get me wrong: asking is scary. It can be a real ego thing. If you ask and are denied, wow, does that mean they don’t love you? That they’re not interested? That you’re a FAILURE? That you will NEVER SUCCEED on the terms you hope to? Or if you ask and you don’t succeed BEYOND YOUR WILDEST DREAMS, does that mean you’re a failure, etc, etc etc?

Really, most of the time? No, it doesn’t mean that at all. Most of the time it means you’ve asked the wrong question of the wrong person or at the wrong time. Case in point: my own Kickstarter had about 500 backers. I have access to, say, 3000 or so distinct individual readers. I asked all those people to throw into the hat, and about a sixth of them responded. I just went and checked: Amanda Palmer’s got 800K followers on Twitter right now. 25K of them supported *her* Kickstarter. That’s a hell of a lot less than a sixth of them. For the rest, my takeaway is that it was the wrong time, the wrong project, the wrong request. One or many of those. (Know why I supported her Kickstarter? Because the video for it was worth five dollars to me. It was charming, delightful, sweet, and wonderful. I haven’t listened to the album. I probably won’t. But in the end, the manner of asking pleased me so greatly that I was happy to help out a little.)

Publishing works this way too. You query, you revise, you ask again and again. You get a lot of rejections. But if you don’t keep asking, you’ll never get to the one person who’s going to say yes, and so you just have to keep letting the other guy say no.

Life works this way. I really believe that. I don’t know if AFP thinks it in so many words, but I’m guessing it’s part of how she works, too. She is hoping–trusting–that if she asks, people will say yes. That they will find a way to respond positively.

An anecdote: when I was in high school, a friend and I wanted to cut class for some reason, and went to ask the teacher if we could do so. On the way, my friend remembered that we had a substitute that day, and said we were never going to be let out of class. “Oh,” I said airily, “that substitute likes me. She’ll let us out.”

My friend stopped dead and snarled, “Jesus, Catie, you think everybody likes you.”

Nigh unto a quarter century later and I’m still bemused by that. Well. Yes. As a rule, I do think everybody likes me, or that they *will* like me if they get to know me, because why wouldn’t they? *I* like me, after all, and I have to live with me all the time, so surely if you have a shorter window of exposure in which I can potentially annoy you, you’ll probably like me too. I mean, I’m aware there are people who *don’t* like me, and that’s all right too, but by and large? Yes. I assume people will and do like me. I expect the best of asking.

If you expect the world to be a positive place, it is far more likely to be a positive place. So go ahead and ask. The worst they can say is no.

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

deathpixie: (calvin and hobbes)
Originally posted by [ profile] mizkit at Why is it wrong to be happy?

We caught the last 40 minutes or so of “Singing in the Rain” on TV the other night. A couple of things really struck me about Gene Kelly’s performance, his body language, and his actions.

The first bit that caught me was when they’re dubbing the vocals for the film-within-the-film. Debbie Reynolds is singing, and Gene Kelly comes to sit at her feet and gaze up at her adoringly. It’s completely sappy, goopy, delightful, and sweet.

I cannot imagine seeing it in a modern film. I can’t imagine seeing the male lead sitting at his partner’s feet, gazing up at her in what we today would likely see as submissive, feminine regard.

And then there’s the titular dance number, which, holy beans, guys, if you haven’t seen it lately, go watch it again. It’s really just the most extraordinarily open, honest, joyful expression of love imaginable…and again, it’s almost impossible to envision a modern male lead performing it with no hint of self-consciousness. I mean, nevermind the actual skill necessary to do the dance: I can barely fathom a modern movie actor opening himself up and showing that kind of pure *joy*.

Misery, yes. It’s not that actors don’t present vulnerability, but they almost exclusively do it in sorrow, rage, desperation, tragedy. It’s all misery, never joy. And I was just talking about this to Mom, who said, “I don’t think happy is lauded much. We’re very much into being pleased with others’ pain so we can feel better about ourselves. “At least I’m not as badly off as THAT guy.”"

And she’s completely right, of course, and I know it, but seriously, what is wrong with being happy? What’s wrong with working toward being happy, with applauding others’ successes and taking joy in them, in seeing what someone else can do and being inspired by it? What’s wrong with being joyful and open and being willing to show you’re excited or in love or want to dance?

I mean, forgive me for going all John Lennon on you, but imagine if people spent half as much energy on being happy as they do on being miserable. It frustrates the hell out of me that we *don’t*. The world needs joy a lot more than it needs any added misery, so why, for the love of frogs, don’t people focus on that?

(x-posted from the essential kit)

deathpixie: (creature of grace)
Originally posted by [ profile] officialgaiman at A Letter from a Scared Actress.
posted by Neil

A few years ago, a message came in to this website on the FAQ line from a young actress from Georgia (the one from the former USSR, not the State with Atlanta in it) called Anna Gurji. She sent a link to her webpage and to films she had made in Georgia, and told me she was a fan, and if she ever came to the US, she would want to be in something of mine.

She made it to the US, and although she has never been in something of mine, she read the female lead (with Wil Wheaton as the male lead) in the first read-through of Michael Reaves' film BLOOD KISS. I was not there as a writer. I was there because I will actually act in it, playing a Hollywood director with a dark secret. So I've acted with Anna and spent time with her. She's a good sort.

She wrote to me the other day, worried.

She said,

Something very bad happened. I desperately need everyone's help right now.

I don't know how to start writing this letter. It's crazy, the world is.. life.. I'm so shattered right now, I don't know.. I feel very dead inside. 

Last summer I auditioned for an indie low budget feature movie and I landed a supporting role. The movie was about a comet falling into a desert and ancient tribes fighting over it for they thought that the comet had some magical powers.

A year later, the movie was dubbed (without the actors' permission), the lines were changed drastically and the movie was morphed into an Anti-Islam film. Even the names of the characters were changed. And the character I had scenes with GEORGE became MUHAMMAD. 

I really need your advice right now? How can I have my voice shown to the world so that I can tell them the real story.

All these media people that keep calling me are using my real story and then chopping or manipulating the interview the way they want to. 

I don't know what to do. It's very scary, Neil.

I told her to write her story for me, to say what she wanted, and I would put it up here for her, as she wrote it, to get her message to the world. The best weapon against lies is the truth, after all.

So here's what Anna knows about the truth:

Everyone who wishes to find out the truth about the movie now known as the Innocence of Muslims, please read the letter below. I, Anna Gurji, as one of the supporting actresses in the film will share with you what really happened.

A year ago, in the summer of 2011, I submitted my materials to various projects on the Explore Talent web-site. I received a call from the casting director of the movie “Desert Warrior”, and my audition date was scheduled. I auditioned for the role of Hilary. Several days later, I was informed that I got a callback. I did the callback. Several days later, I was informed that I landed the role of Hilary in the movie called “Desert Warrior”.

The filming of the movie was done in August of 2011. We were filming the movie in a studio warehouse with a green screen in Duarte, CA. The project was a low budget, independent feature movie.

The filming of the movie was beginning soon after the day I was told I got a role. The script was not sent to me. When I got to the set, I was merely provided with the scenes my character was in.

I did not consider this to be an unusual thing, seeing as I have had an experience with something like this before. I did a movie once where the script was written in a foreign language and only my parts were translated into English and accordingly, I was provided with my scenes only. Having experienced that, I thought the same thing was happening with “Desert Warrior”. Aware of the fact that the supposed producer and the script-writer of the movie (known as Sam Bassil) was a foreigner (thanks to his accent), I thought that the original script was written in his native tongue and that not all scenes were translated into English. Also, the filming dates of the movie had to be rescheduled last minute to fit my schedule (I had other films to do right after the “Desert Warrior” outside CA). Because of this rushed rearrangements, I thought that the production first forgot and then did not consider it necessary to send me the script, and again - I did not find this unusual, since I knew what role I had, I knew about my character and I knew about the story of the film.

My character Hilary was a young girl who is sold (against her own free will) by her parents to a tribe leader known as GEORGE. She is one of his (most likely, the youngest) brides in the movie.

The film was about a comet falling into a desert and different tribes in ancient Egypt fighting to acquire it for they deemed that the comet possessed some supernatural powers.

The movie that we were doing in Duarte was called “Desert Warrior” and it was a fictional adventure drama. The character GEORGE was a leader of one of those tribes fighting for the comet.

There was no mention EVER by anyone of MUHAMMAD and no mention of religion during the entire time I was on the set. I am hundred percent certain nobody in the cast and nobody in the US artistic side of the crew knew what was really planned for this “Desert Warrior”.

The atmosphere at the set was as friendly as possible. We all knew that we were doing an adventure drama for a very low budget financing. The director Alan Roberts even had plans that with this low budget product he would be able to get some more money to make a good quality version (by shooting it in the real desert and having better product in every category) of the “Desert Warrior”.

I had interactions with the man known as Sam Bassil on the set. He was very amiable, respectful, soft-spoken, always making sure that the filming was running smoothly and everyone was satisfied. He even told me the premiere of the movie was going to happen sometime soon and I would get a good amount of tickets to invite my friends and family.

I have never been informed about the premiere after that (if it ever happened) and have not seen the final product (if there is any, except for the short one that is uploaded online).

People ask what’s my reaction after seeing that.


Two hours after I found out everything that had happened I gave Inside Edition an interview, the duration of which I could not stop crying.

I feel shattered.

People who were tricked into believing that we were making an adventure drama about a comet falling into a desert did nothing but take part in a low budget indie feature film called the “Desert Warrior” that WAS about a comet falling into a desert and tribes in ancient Egypt fighting to acquire it.

It’s painful to see how our faces were used to create something so atrocious without us knowing anything about it at all. It’s painful to see people being offended with the movie that used our faces to deliver lines (it’s obvious the movie was dubbed) that we were never informed of, it is painful to see people getting killed for this same movie, it is painful to hear people blame us when we did nothing but perform our art in the fictional adventure movie that was about a comet falling into a desert and tribes in ancient Egypt fighting to acquire it, it’s painful to be thought to be someone else when you are a completely different person.

Like I explained to Inside Edition, I feel awful.. I did not do anything but I feel awful.

I feel awful that a human being is capable of such evil. I feel awful about the lies, about the injustice, about the cruelty, about the violence, about the death of innocent people, about the pain of offended people, about the false accusations.

I don’t know what else to do but speak the truth. I will not go into hiding (since I have nothing to hide), because if we don’t speak the truth, there is no world worth living for.

I grew up in Georgia Republic (ex-Soviet Union), I have witnessed the strikes, protests, demonstrations, injustice, cruelty, violence in my life. I was there during the war between Russia and Georgia, sleeping in outdoor clothes and packed backpacks waiting to be bombed. And I left my country, knowing that there was no future for a film actress there (seeing as the film industry is still in the process of recovery after the collapse of the Soviet Union).

Why did I want to pursue acting? I had a role in a short film when I was thirteen. There was a scene in the movie, where my beggar character and my character’s blind father were thrown off the bridge by police officers. During the filming of the scene, I was attacked by a huge lump in my throat, witnessing what the police were doing to my blind father. I wanted to cry, but knowing that my blind father would worry about me if he heard me cry, I swallowed the lump and stayed strong and did my best to defend him against the injustice. Experiencing the magic of acting (losing yourself into the character) was what had me fall in love with the craft. After a long journey and fighting to somehow get to the States, I managed to come here with my mother.

It’s so difficult for an actor (especially the one from a foreign country) to begin a career. People think that once you are in the States, you have all the doors opened before you. It’s not so. It’s very difficult to join the union, to get an agent, to lose your accent and to land roles if you don’t have connections. For four years I have been struggling to slowly move ahead and not give up. A year ago, when I got the supporting role in this indie feature film “Desert Warrior”, I was so excited.

I don’t understand why was this happened to me, when all I wanted to do was pursue my acting career.

I have to admit I wanted to pursue my acting career because I loved the process of transformation into a different character – a selfish reason.

A few months ago, I just finished writing a script with my father about world peace, which helped me understand something – forgive and care for your enemy. Then, I understood that there is a bigger reason for acting. When we act, we help people see all different characters that exist. When people see about all these different characters, they start to understand them. When they understand all these different characters, they come close to accepting them. When they come close to accepting them, they come close to being united. And when they come close to being united, they come close to loving and helping each other.

I was thinking about something a week ago. We are like cells in the body of Earth. Why won’t we work together and support each other instead of killing and destroying each other. If cells kill each other, eventually the body will die. By always speaking the truth and supporting the world peace, I hope we will be able to save the Earth from dying.. someday. 

Growing up in a family that was extremely open-minded and respectful to all the differences in the world (all the religions) and growing up peacefully with people with so many different religions around me, it is devastating for me to have my face put into something that is completely opposite of what I believe in.

I want to send my condolences to the families and friends of those who lost their lives. Everything happens for a reason, they say. I believe this is a trap of evil to separate us from our humanity. We must stray strong and not forget that violence has not been able to get us anywhere spiritually and has not been able to make the world a better place. Understanding and love will.

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deathpixie: (mallet of logic)
Originally posted by [ profile] bialogue at BiNet USA Wins Over Google in Search Term Dispute
After a campaign by BiNet USA and bisexuals worldwide, Google has removed “bisexual” from its list of banned words.

Los Angeles CA, September 4th 2012 - BiNet USA is pleased to confirm that Google Inc. has unblocked the term bisexual from its search algorithm. Now that “bisexual” is allowed, terms such as bisexual quotes, bisexual rights, and bisexual parenting are automatically suggested to Google users.

Said National Center for Lesbian Rights Executive Director Kate Kendell, 'We thank Google for making the right call here and for acting as a responsive corporate citizen committed to dignity and equality.' )

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Source: BiNet USA, BiMagazine, BiMedia

deathpixie: (the people are watching)
Originally posted by [ profile] suitablyemoname at G20 Fallout: The Cops Screwed Up. Bigtime.
The National Post is carrying a summary of the Office of the Independent Police Review's report on policing at the Toronto G20, and it's a doozy:

Police violated civil rights, detained people illegally, and used excessive force during the G20 summit two years ago, a new report concludes.

The report by Ontario’s independent police watchdog also blasts the temporary detention centre that Toronto police set up for its poor planning, design and operation that saw people detained illegally.


“Some police officers ignored basic rights citizens have under the Charter and overstepped their authority when they stopped and searched people arbitrarily and without legal justification”


Even officers in place thought the situation untenable, with one describing the incident commander as “maniacal,” the report says.

“Where are they going to give them a chance to disperse?” one officer asked.

“They aren’t, that’s the problem,” another replied.

“Well, that’s stupid.”

In regard to the temporary detention centre, the report criticizes senior officers for failing to take adequate steps to address problems.

Among complaints were overcrowding, lack of food and water or access to lawyers, the use of flex cuffs and strip searches. Detainees had to use toilets in full view of others and many were held illegally.

Because of shoddy paperwork, it is impossible to state accurately the number of people who were arrested over the course of the summit weekend, the report says.

Read more... )
deathpixie: (the people are watching)
Originally posted by [ profile] electricdruid at The fiasco continues

ACTA in a Nutshell –

What is ACTA?  ACTA is the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. A new intellectual property enforcement treaty being negotiated by the United States, the European Community, Switzerland, and Japan, with Australia, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Mexico, Jordan, Morocco, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, and Canada recently announcing that they will join in as well.

Why should you care about ACTA? Initial reports indicate that the treaty will have a very broad scope and will involve new tools targeting “Internet distribution and information technology.”

What is the goal of ACTA? Reportedly the goal is to create new legal standards of intellectual property enforcement, as well as increased international cooperation, an example of which would be an increase in information sharing between signatory countries’ law enforcement agencies.

Essential ACTA Resources

  • Read more about ACTA here: ACTA Fact Sheet
  • Read the authentic version of the ACTA text as of 15 April 2011, as finalized by participating countries here: ACTA Finalized Text
  • Follow the history of the treaty’s formation here: ACTA history
  • Read letters from U.S. Senator Ron Wyden wherein he challenges the constitutionality of ACTA: Letter 1 | Letter 2 | Read the Administration’s Response to Wyden’s First Letter here: Response
  • Watch a short informative video on ACTA: ACTA Video
  • Watch a lulzy video on ACTA: Lulzy Video

Say NO to ACTA. It is essential to spread awareness and get the word out on ACTA.

Via Tumblr


Dec. 6th, 2011 11:53 am
deathpixie: (blue black sky)
Appropriate in the current political climate, I think...

Originally posted by [ profile] jeffreyab at Remember:
On December 6th, 1989, at Ecole Polytechnique, these women were killed for being female:

Geneviève Bergeron (b. 1968), civil engineering student.
Hélène Colgan (b. 1966), mechanical engineering student.
Nathalie Croteau (b. 1966), mechanical engineering student.
Barbara Daigneault (b. 1967), mechanical engineering student.
Anne-Marie Edward (b. 1968), chemical engineering student.
Maud Haviernick (b. 1960), materials engineering student.
Maryse Laganière (b. 1964), budget clerk in the École Polytechnique's finance department.
Maryse Leclair (b. 1966), materials engineering student.
Anne-Marie Lemay (b. 1967), mechanical engineering student.
Sonia Pelletier (b. 1961), mechanical engineering student.
Michèle Richard (b. 1968), materials engineering student.
Annie St-Arneault (b. 1966), mechanical engineering student.
Annie Turcotte (b. 1969), materials engineering student.
Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz (b. 1958), nursing student.

Thanx to [ profile] james_nicoll
deathpixie: (drug of the nation)
Originally posted by [ profile] nyxmidnight at Save the Internet. It's kind of a big deal.

PROTECT IP Act Breaks The Internet from Fight for the Future on Vimeo.

BoingBoing.Net -- The MPAA, RIAA, Hollywood knows that they have been flying in CEOs of as many companies as possible, recruiting people to get petition signups at malls in California, and here's the big point-- they know they have gotten their message through to Congress -- the worst bill in Internet history, the one where government and their corporations get unbelievable power to take down sites, threaten payment processors into stopping payment to sites on a blacklist, and throw people in jail for posting ordinary content is about to pass before the end of this year. The only thing that is going to stop Hollywood from owning the Internet and everything we do, is if there is a big surprise Internet backlash starting right now.

PROTECT IP (S. 968)/SOPA (HR. 3261) creates the first system for Internet censorship - this bill has sweeping provisions that give the government and corporations leeway and legal cover for taking down sites "by accident," mistakenly, or for NOT doing "enough" to protect the interests of Hollywood. These bills that are moving very quickly through Congress and can pass before Christmas aim to give the US government and corporations the ability to block sites over infringing links posted by their users and give ISPs the release to take any means to block peoples' sites, including slowing down your connection. That's right, some say this bill is a workaround to net neutrality and is bigger than net neutrality.

This is the worst piece of Internet legislation in history - the lawmakers who have been sponsoring (Leahy, Lamar Smith, Conyers) this bill need to be shamed by the Internet community for wasting taxpayer dollars on a bill that would break the very fabric of the Internet, create an Internet blacklist, kill jobs and great startup companies, huge blogs, and social networks.

How this affects you, personally: -- Let’s make one thing clear from the get-go: despite all the talk about this bill being directed only toward “rogue” foreign sites, there is no question that it targets US companies as well. The bill sets up a system to punish sites allegedly “dedicated to the theft of US property.” How do you get that label? Doesn’t take much: Some portion of your site (even a single page) must
  1. be directed toward the US, and either
  2. allegedly “engage in, enable or facilitate” infringement or
  3. allegedly be taking or have taken steps to “avoid confirming a high probability” of infringement.

If an IP rightsholder (vaguely defined – could be Justin Bieber worried about his publicity rights) thinks you meet the criteria and that it is in some way harmed, it can send a notice claiming as much to the payment processors (Visa, Mastercard, Paypal etc.) and ad services you rely on.

Once they get it, they have 5 days to choke off your financial support. Of course, the payment processors and ad networks won’t be able to fine-tune their response so that only the allegedly infringing portion of your site is affected, which means your whole site will be under assault. And, it makes no difference that no judge has found you guilty of anything or that the DMCA safe harbors would shelter your conduct if the matter ever went to court. Indeed, services that have been specifically found legal, like Rapidshare, could be economically strangled via SOPA. You can file a counter-notice, but you’ve only got 5 days to do it (good luck getting solid legal advice in time) and the payment processors and ad networks have no obligation to respect it in any event. That’s because there are vigilante provisions that grant them immunity for choking off a site if they have a “reasonable belief” that some portion of the site enables infringement.

At a minimum, this means that any service that hosts user generated content is going to be under enormous pressure to actively monitor and filter that content. That’s a huge burden, and worse for services that are just getting started – the YouTubes of tomorrow that are generating jobs today. And no matter what they do, we’re going to see a flurry of notices anyway – as we’ve learned from the DMCA takedown process, content owners are more than happy to send bogus complaints. What happened to Wikileaks via voluntary censorshipStop the Internet Blacklist Legislation will now be systematized and streamlined – as long as someone, somewhere, thinks they’ve got an IP right that’s being harmed.

Stop the Internet Blacklist Legislation

deathpixie: (hand)
So, this article by Scott Adams is doing the rounds of my various online networks. It's fairly short, but in essence, what it's saying, is that society punishes men for being "what they are" when they are sexually offensive, instead of acknowledging that men are apparently "unrestrained horny animals" (Adams' quote, not mine).

There's plenty being said about the male privilege of it all, but something that struck me, and which strikes me about the justification for encouraging women to dress like nuns when they're out in public, is the assumption that men can't control their sexually-urged behaviour. And I don't know about you, but for the men who read my journal, isn't that hugely insulting? Rather than being considered a rational being in charge of your own actions, this excuse basically says men are no better than animals - I know some radical feminists would possibly agree with that, but seriously, folks, this is just boggling.

It's also really insidious. I remember, back when I was a teenager, being told not to get a boy too overexcited, since it wasn't fair on them. Fair, how? Are teenaged boys so completely driven by their penises that they can't be expected to control themselves? I know there's plenty of jokes to that effect, but honestly, would you really hold someone to that? Would you say to your teenaged daughter "it's okay to hatchet your brother to death because when you have your period, you can't control yourself". Or to a pregnant woman, "we're going to fire you, because pregnant women are just a stew of hormones and it's established that they can't possibly think with all that going on." Of course not. So why the hell is "men are full of testosterone" being used as justification for them not being able to restrain themselves? And why do we encourage this myth?

I remember reading something the other day, related to the Jezebel article on being harrassed on the street and that cartoon that was going around about women being told to smile by men on the street (I can't find the link atm), where someone was saying something along the lines of "all women are in some degree of fear when in the company of men." I have to admit, and it won't make me popular, I find that statement profoundly insulting and disturbing. Insulting because I have always had male friends and I have never been afraid in their company, and the implication that I should have been is just so wrong to me on so many levels. Disturbing because there's an increasing perception of men as uncontrolled sexual animals, who can't possibly restrain themselves under any circumstances and thus women should always be on their guard. I don't deny that in rape statistics, men are the predominant offenders, I'm not saying that some men aren't potentially dangerous or that you shouldn't be cautious in certain situations. But I am saying that by treating all men as potential offenders basically relegates all women into the role of potential victims, and how the hell are we supposed to function as a society? How are we ever supposed to trust anyone?

It all comes down to personal responsibility. We can control ourselves - we are, after all, not just animals rutting in heat.

deathpixie: (drug of the nation)
So, there's a couple of links on my friendslist this morning regarding this article by Gina Bellafante in the New York Times Arts Beat section, in defence of her 'review' of the HBO series based on George R. R. Martin's book A Game of Thrones. Ms. Bellafante apparently received a lot of negative feedback to her article, spurred by her perception/assumption/declaration that fantasy novels are "for boys". Her second post continues to push that assumption, with the following quote:

As I wrote in the review, I realize that there are women who love fantasy, but I don’t know any and that is the truth: I don’t know any. At the same time, I am sure that there are fantasy fans out there who may not know a single person who worships at the altar of quietly hewn domestic novels or celebrates the films of Nicole Holofcener or is engrossed by reruns of “House.”

Ms. Bellafante doesn't like the Fantasy genre - fair enough. But where she went wrong was in assigning gender preferences to particular genres and declaring that never the twain shall meet. You're either a Nerd and enjoy sci-fi and fantasy (probably from your mother's basement and in lieu of personal hygiene, the implication is) or you're Popular and like Sex in the City and romance novels (easy to read during spa treatments or when you're waiting to get your nails done). She categorises people are one or the other and refuses to countenance that there's a possibility of any kind of cross-over. In two articles, she manages to not only insult women by insisting they only like "girly" genres but also geeks of all stripes with the assumption we're all escapists from reality.

Back in high school, I discovered Stephen Donaldson and the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant. Heavy stuff, especially at fifteen in a country town, with its themes on personal morality, punishment and the means as a way to the end. I loved it, since it gave my ever-hungry mind something to chew over. On the school bus one day, one of my friends saw what I was reading and said, kind of disparagingly, that fantasy was all "escapism", that it wasn't "real". I pointedly looked at the book in her hands, a typical romance novel and asked her if her type of fantasy - romantic fantasy - was any different. She kind of turned red and mumbled something and we went back to our books.

And I wonder why I didn't have a lot of friends in high school. *wry*

Any way, the point is, fictional works, by virtue of being fictional are all fantasies. They're the product of people's imaginations, creating a plot, characters, dialogue, interactions. The plot of a romance novel is no more likely to happen than the plot of a science fiction novel; an episode of House, with its complete disregard for how hospital protocols actually work is no more real than an episode of Buffy. Writers twist the world to fit their creations and to assign value to any genre as being more "real" than another is kind of naive. CSI, Law and Order, Sex In The City, Jersey Shore... they are all just as unrealistic as the worlds created by Tolkein, Lucas or Gaiman. DNA testing takes at least ten working days to be done. Murders can take months, sometimes years to get from crime to sentencing. People first thing in the morning look dishevelled and untidy and have morning breath and smudged make up and finding "the one" doesn't mean happily ever after (oh, don't get me started on that one!). And while there may be people like the inhabitants of teh Jersey Shore house, they're almost certainly being encouraged to play up their 'roles' to the hilt in order to provide more drama. Even my beloved The West Wing is fantasy - real government just doesn't work that way, as much as we want it to.

Oh, and professional wrestling is totally scripted. Sorry, [ profile] mike_smith. ;)

The end point of all this is, besides the fact that Ms. Bellafante is a lazy critic and obviously didn't actually watch the show she was supposed to review, is that the line between 'realism' and 'fantasy' is a lot less distinct than the stereotypes assume. And Ms. Bellafante's stereotypes and assumptions, like all stereotypes and assumptions, fail to reflect the shades of grey that is the true human experience in an effort to delineate an "Us" vs. "Them", in order to make the debate as simplistic as possible. To have a right and a wrong. The problem is, the world doesn't work that way, and Ms. Dellafante's worldview winds up looking as based on fantasy as the genre she's criticising.

Fiction is entertainment and to that end, fiction must also be unrealistic. Otherwise no-one would be entertained, would they?


Finally, to her credit, Ms. Bellafante did post some links to rebuttals to her review which are pretty good. Therefore, I share:

Ilana Teitelbaum's response in the Huffington Post

Salon's Mark Soller Zietz's response (apologies, I can't actually open this one from work, so it may suck. I'll have to check it at home after work)

Regina Thorne of the Heroes and Heartbreakers site (another one I can't open, sorry!)

deathpixie: (drug of the nation)
Grabbed from [Bad username or site: @]

synecdochic: LiveJournal’s DDoS and Russian Politics

This is an excellent round up of the problems that have plagued LJ of late, which are, in turn an interesting insight into the implications of running something that truly is a global service. The short version: if you are an English language user who is tempted to complain about LJ's recent down time, you should probably shut the fuck up before you embarrass the rest of us. And if you are an English language user who isn't actually *paying* for the service, and you're tempted to complain, please make do so a long, long way away from me, because I'd hate to have to beat you with something heavy.

As annoying as the downtime has been, it has served to bring to light the "other half" of LJ's user base in Russia, and to explain the importance of the journal platform to freedom of speech in that country. Enough so there are those who would see that platform go down. It really makes you think about the difference perspective makes. For us, LJ is a place we keep up with our friends, do memes, roleplay, write. For Russia, it's the place where people get a chance to know the truth of what's going on in the country and for ordinary people to have a voice.

Certainly something to think about, any way.

deathpixie: (drug of the nation)
Originally posted by [ profile] clari_clyde at post

I’ve been wondering what’s up with all the DDoS attacks LJ has been receiving lately. Signal boosting [info]ingridmatthews:

Just in case anyone thinks LJ's downtime is just TPTB being incompetant, read this:

LiveJournal, Russia's blogging platform of choice, is sustaining biggest cyberattack attack in its history. Bloggers say the Kremlin wants to crack down on political discussion.

"LiveJournal, Russia’s most popular blogging platform, has been under a massive DDoS attack for the past few days. The attack has effectively wiped out Russia’s main refuge for unbridled political discussion, a hugely lively and extensive domain frequented by politicians, opposition activists and social commentators alike...

“The reason for attack is more than clear in this case — someone wants LiveJournal to disappear as a platform,” Ilya Dronov, development director at SUP, wrote in a post on his LiveJournal blog earlier this week. He said the hackers were hoping to push bloggers from LJ to social networks where “it's easier to fight individual users.”"

deathpixie: (flying free)
Be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some
kind of battle.
deathpixie: (storms ahead)
Some links for those wanting to keep up with what's going on in Northern Queensland right now:

Twitter feed.

ABC news website, with a heap of information.

Live updates from the Australian website.

Australian Bureau of Meterology.

Size matters - comparisons of TC Yasi superimposed over various countries. Forget half the size of Queensland, the whole storm is as big as the continential United States.

Tumblr link to information sources I can't open this one on the work computer, but hopefully it's useful!


Feb. 1st, 2011 08:00 pm
deathpixie: (storms ahead)
I have really good news and no-one to squee with. *mock pout* Oh, wait I have LJ!

So, as I was leaving (late) tonight, Sonia asks if I have a minute. Sure I do. It turns out that at my performance appraisal last October, I was recommended for a merit. In public servant terms, it's a small increase in my standing. Nothing big, I thought at the time - most of my performance reviews have included something like that, but nothing in the way of an actual monetary element.

Any way, Sonia told me tonight my merit had finally processed, which apparently means a small pay raise. Backdated to October, 2010. It comes through either this pay coming up (this Thursday) of the next pay (in two weeks). It's very good timing and should be a nice relief.

In other, not so good news, Australia's taking another weather beating, this time from Tropical Storm Yasi. It's a category 5, half the size of Queensland itself and has winds of 300 km per hour (that's 186 mph for the non-metric). It is, to put it frankly, terrifying. And coming down on the area that just had major flooding not more than a month ago. It really makes you wonder about this whole climate change thing being a myth, y'know? /sarcasm

Stay safe, people of northern Queensland.
deathpixie: (dance my puppets!)
...or is the whole Sarah Palin 'blood libel' thing starting to sound like a typical online fandom kerfuffle? I almost expect to see it on fandom_walk. ;) Or for poor beleagured Sarah to declare she's LEAVING THE INTRAWEBS FOREVA!!!!11!@!!
deathpixie: (climbing)
[Bad username or site: @] linked to [Bad username or site: @]'s New Year's wish and reminded me why I adore the man:

May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you're wonderful, and don't forget to make some art — write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can.

May your coming year be a wonderful thing, in which you dream both dangerously and outrageously. I hope you'll make something that didn't exist before you made it, that you will be loved and you will be liked, and you will have people to love and to like in return. And most importantly — because I think there should be more kindness and more wisdom in the world right now — I hope that you will, when you need to be, be wise, and that you will always be kind. And I hope, that somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.

It's an admirable goal, to be kind.
deathpixie: (frustrated)
Taken from [Bad username or site: @] here:

Stephen Neary and the Court of Protection

This one's doing the rounds today – the story of an autistic child who has been removed from his father's care, for seemingly, no sensible reason other than bureaucratic procedure. It it is as presented (and I've seen a lot of people prefix retweeting it with that, I suspect because like me people simply don't want to believe that this *can* be true) than this is deeply saddening, and Something Ought To Be Done. I cannot fathom how this could be allowed to happen – it would seemingly require *far* too many people who are allegedly "carers" to be Orwellian bureaucratic jobsworths with a shred of human decency or willingness to stop and think. So: a link that deserves to do the rounds, in the hope of Something Getting Done.

There's a link to an online petition on the original article for you to sign, and spread the word as much as you can to as many places as possible. Considering many of us internet geeks at least know of someone in their circle in the autism spectrum, this is something that particularly strikes close to home. Besides, you know, the whole awful situation where two people who are happy living together are separated for no real apparent reason than bureaucracy gone mad.

And I thought the idea with the health system these days was to get people out of institutions, not put them in.

deathpixie: (grr)

So, I saw the above ad in the bus stop on the corner of where I work, as I was heading out for lunch. I can't even begin to describe the levels of FAIL encapsulated here:

1) The slogan: "It sucks to be alone". Why, yes, thank you for alienating and demoralising those of us without a significant other in our lives. We hadn't noticed that being alone when you don't want to be is a crappy feeling to have. Wow, I must go out and ignore my emotional health for the sake of being IN A RELATIONSHIP RIGHT NOW!

2) Love=material goods. Buy her love with a tacky piece of jewellery! Better yet, blackmail her into staying with you by buying her a ring. She has to stay with you now you've gotten her the bling! And girls, don't forget to demand the most expensive one so he proves his love for you!

3) The message that any relationship, even a crappy one, is better than being alone. Possibly I'm projecting here, but there's a good reason why I've been single for so long - I didn't trust myself not to get into another bad relationship at first and now I'm not wanting to fall headlong into another until I'm sure I can love me first - relationships aren't crutches and it's not fair to the other person to use them that way. So I don't appreciate being told that doing the right thing for me is something sucky. It's hard enough dealing with society's general assumption that if you're not in a relationship at my age a) there's something wrong with you and b) I'm 'running out of time' and will end up dying alone and unmourned, without bus ads rubbing it in my face.

To sum up? Bite me, Spence Diamonds. I'll be looking for some kind of contact email for you and telling you so directly.
deathpixie: (holding on)
[Bad username or site: @] has posted his photos of the trip to Africa he took with [Bad username or site: @]. They include an adorable one of a lemur on Amanda's head. :)

Also, while you're there, support Phil's Movember fundraising by making a donation towards prostate cancer awareness and teh beyondblue campaign, which is aimed at providing assistance to the depressed.

Today's a donation day for me. I've done my United Way contribution and the OPS is currently holding a toy drive for Christmas gifts for underprivileged kids, so I offloaded some bits and pieces I've accumulated via stocking fillers (if anyone has any decent condition, clean, unwrapped toys or games they'd like to contribute, we have boxes in the foyers of our building at Bay and Wellesley). I also have my Remembrance Day poppy for tomorrow.

I have tomorrow off, since I'm a government worker. I was going to do some pre-emptive Christmas shopping, but the pay cheque is a tad stretched already, so I'll settle for a new pair of winter shoes and a haircut. Considering I haven't had my hair trimmed since August, it's sorely needed.

I'm also about to be alone in the office for a bit - B's father passed away evening before last and so people are going to the funeral. I'm not good with the funeral thing, so I offered to stay and man the phones so others could go.

February 2016

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