I Believe You–It’s Not Your Fault

Lindy West was at Women in Secularism this year. I already knew she was funny, but meeting her confirmed it. Hearing her talk confirmed that she’s perceptive and thoughtful. Her new project, a blog called “I Believe You–It’s Not Your Fault” confirms that she is awesome.

The blog is already booked with stories for the next six months, but submit your story if you have one. She is particularly looking for stories that “nontraditional” abuse victims can recognize themselves in.

The Reading List, 8/6/2014

I share a lot of links on Twitter and Facebook that I don’t blog about because I don’t have much to add. The reading list is a periodic feature where I share those links with my blog audience too. Of course, you’re still welcome to follow me on Twitter.

Around FtB

  • They are afraid–”It can be alarming and overwhelming to have a torrent of criticism dumped on you. Absolutely. But it still doesn’t tie you to a stake and set fire to a bunch of damp wood piled at your feet (damp to make it burn slowly and thus prolong the agony).”
  • Let’s sit down together and discuss that proposition itself–”I don’t think it’s excessively emotional to point out that there’s something blood-chilling about seeing people who are safe talk calmly detachedly and in the abstract about the risks or tragedies faced by people who aren’t like them.”
  • Please donate to support this blog – and help me speak at events–”The media industry has yet to settle on a way for bloggers to be paid – in fact, the increasing expectation that our work will be unpaid is undermining writing as a profession.”
  • Impeachment Talk Backfires on the GOP–”This started with your base and now it’s backfiring on you. Of course the Democrats are going to fundraise off it. But it’s your people who are demanding it.”
  • Hurray, Ugandan Court strikes down the Anti-LGBT Law!–”Although the law was overturned on a procedural technicality glitch and not on the basis that it violates human rights, it is still a big step forward for lgbt Ugandans and other African LGBTS.”

The Wider Web

  • 4 reasons you should never ask a woman why she’s single–”‘Why aren’t you working at an archeological dig in Argentina?’ ‘Why aren’t you eating a pizza right now?’ ‘Why do you have brown hair?’”
  • Sunda pangolin mum with her pangopup–”What an adorable family, walking around looking like two lovely pinecones come to life.”
  • Bad news and good news…–”With contributors from Gaza, it is sadly almost inevitable that the Palestinian poets and artists involved would be hit by the ongoing Israeli bombardment, shelling and invasion which has killed hundreds so far.”
  • Bad, Bad, Bad, Bad Feminist–”I did all of this nonsense, mostly to fit in, mostly due to the need to belong. I spent most of my childhood being rejected, so when I was a young adult, well, I lashed out.”
  • Richard Dawkins and Rape Rape–”Not surprisingly, Dawkins is wrong—very wrong. By and large, the harmfulness of rape is in its violation of women’s consent. That violation is present whether or not a knife or stranger are involved.”
  • Twitter can fix its harassment problem, but why mess with success?–”Which is why the company gives so little attention to the now-routine harassment experienced by so many members of the service: It drives engagement.”
  • 8 Latina Feminists Who Deserve More Recognition–”During the late 1960s and early 1970s, a time when Stonewall riots were making the gay-rights movement mainstream, bisexual trans Latina activist Sylvia Rivera advocated for the queer and transgender people the movement had left out.”
  • The blatant sexism of lists about ‘attractive girls’–”And why does he think women should aspire to meet (only) his consideration of what constitutes attractiveness, instead of what makes them feel good in their own skin. I guess he thinks we’re not doing enough to make women ashamed of their bodies. Onward, brave soldier!”
  • The Guy Behind Confused Cats Against Feminism Is Sick of Mansplaining to Other Men–”‘[C]ats need a place where they can post pictures of themselves holding signs denouncing feminism for assorted weird reasons that don’t seem to have anything to do with what feminism is actually about.’”
  • #ASKCOSTOLO – an epic fail?–”‘and how not to hold or respond to an AMA #harassment #onlineabuse #PRstuntsgonebad #twitterdoesntgiveashitaboutitsuserssafety #needfordiversity #victimblaming’”
  • GeekGirlCon DIY Science Zone Fundraiser–”The zone is a hands-on, weekend-long extravaganza that makes science accessible to everyone, whether or not they have their own lab goggles at home.”
  • Radical reform for male prisoners not politically acceptable says UK expert–”According to the Professor, who is an expert in Law, Gender and Social Policy, the belief that reducing the number of people in prison puts society at risk may be more marked in relation to male prisoners.”
  • How Did the FBI Miss Over 1 Million Rapes?–”Yung’s analysis, which focused on cities with populations of more than 100,000, found that 22 percent of the 210 studied police departments demonstrated ‘substantial statistical irregularities in their rape data.’”
  • An Open Letter to the New York Times: Race and the Reproductive Rights Movement–”The fact that white-led organizations are now taking the credit for moving us away from pro-choice, when that charge has been led by women of color for decades, is just salt on an already long-standing open wound.”
  • Abuse on Twitter: Humans Can’t Always Just “Brush it Off”–”‘Too much abuse? Block, put it out of your mind, and decide not to be affected.’ It simply doesn’t work that way for human beings with feelings and memories and psychological baggage and hearts.”
  • Gambit – Best Worst Costume Ever–”It would seem, however, that Gambit’s creators were working in active conflict with each other. His costume not only fails to compliment his role, it actively opposes it.”
  • Design Diaries – Gambit–”There is a reason that the Gambit that showed up in the Wolverine movie looked nothing like the original. The original costume would look ludicrous on screen.”
  • Love Rocket Raccoon? Please consider donating to writer Bill Mantlo’s ongoing care!–”Tragically, as LifeHealthPro’s Bill Coffin documented in a tremendously moving article a few years ago, Mantlo was struck by a hit-and-run driver in 1992 and suffered traumatic brain injury.”
  • Food is NOT Medicine–”So I’d go on health food kicks where I really tried to nourish my body, get enough sleep, exercise…only to end up sicker than I had been before (at which point I would go back to the bland, simple foods I had been eating, because they were they only foods that didn’t make me feel awful).”

It’s Uncanny!

If you follow me on Twitter, you’re already well aware that my friends Lynne and Michael Thomas are running a Kickstarter to pay for the first year of their new magazine. Uncanny Magazine will pick up where they left off with Apex Magazine, only on a grander scale. A few authors who have pledged to contribute in the first year of the bi-monthly magazine:

  • Neil Gaiman (poetry)
  • Mary Robinette Kowal (fiction)
  • Kameron Hurley (essay)
  • Kat Howard (fiction)
  • Jim Hines (essay)
  • Emily Jiang (poetry)
  • Scott Lynch (fiction)
  • Ken Liu (fiction)
  • Tansy Rayner Roberts (essay)

In addition to that impressive (partial) list, Lynne and Michael have a very good track record of publishing new authors found through their unsolicited submissions (slush). That makes their magazine both somewhere you will be able to read old favorites and somewhere you can discover new ones.

If all that isn’t enough, this Kickstarter offers an array of rewards from the sublime to the silly. Would you like to name a space unicorn? How about just wear the patch of the space unicorn rangers (available at any pledge level)? Get poetry or art or a guided shopping trip through New York’s vintage shops or a writer’s retreat with multiple award-winning editors in residence? Or the Scary Ham Funeral Kit?

If you have just $5 you can spare for fiction, you can help support the writers whose work I link here week after week. Uncanny will pay pro rates for fiction. You’ll still be able to read the stories, though not as early as you would be able to if you could afford a full subscription. And more good writers get paid to produce more good stories.

If you like science fiction and fantasy, particularly of the sort I tend to highlight, check out the Uncanny Magazine Kickstarter. Find your level and chip in to make this happen.

 

Alcoholism and Personality Disorders

And this weekend in the annals of “You feminist women don’t get to organize and maintain spaces of your own”, we have this.

Screen capture of Twitter conversation. Relevant text in the post.

Travis Roy: The people I’m badmouthing and getting banned from meetings because I don’t like them are being mean to me! Out of the @SurlyAmy playbook.

Richard Murray: @Sc00ter @SurlyAmy you and your misogynistic micro aggressions, Travis. No more real jewelry for you.

D. J. Grothe: Maybe cut people some slack. Don’t underestimate the role of alcoholism and personality disorders.

Yes, that’s D. J. Grothe calling Surly Amy an alcoholic with a personality disorder. It’s almost cute that he’s decided this is just a thing people do, except, of course, that he’s just throwing the words at someone who is no longer useful to him. When I talked about the people who have suggested to me that Grothe is a psychopath–though I’m pretty sure I didn’t mention anywhere that a few of them also said they’d never seen him sober, so I don’t know where he picked that up–I was careful not to endorse the label.

Instead, I was specific about the pattern of Grothe’s problematic behavior that was behind the complaints of those people. That is not what Grothe did here. Instead he, entirely in line with the pattern of behavior I documented, flat out lied. [Read more...]

The Reading List, 8/3/2014

I share a lot of links on Twitter and Facebook that I don’t blog about because I don’t have much to add. The reading list is a periodic feature where I share those links with my blog audience too. Of course, you’re still welcome to follow me on Twitter.

Around FtB

The Wider Web

Saturday Storytime: Tommy Flowers and the Glass Bells of Bletchley

I do like stories that send me off to find out more about real people, like this one by Octavia Cade.

When little Tommy Flowers was presented with a baby sister, he was disappointed to find that she was not a Meccano set. Her head lacked the simple geometry of strips and cogs and angle girders, and her fingers were innocent of gears. What was worse was the fact that she cried so—wailed, really, and nothing comprehensible at that. There was nowhere for him to build in peace, and even the construction sets he did have paled when he couldn’t hear their connective clicks for crying.

If he could have used his dad’s bricks to build a wall between himself and the cot he would have. “You wouldn’t be able to hear her if you did that,” said his dad, bringing him a glass of milk and an apple for his supper, and that was the point.

“It’s not like she can talk, is it,” said Tommy. “So I wouldn’t be missing out on much.”

“She’s talking,” said his dad. “In her own way. It don’t sound like much now, but you’ll figure it out.”

Tommy bolted plates together, tightening the nuts carefully, with deliberation, a milk moustache on his face. The empty glass sat beside him, near clear but for the last pale drops slithering to the bottom. He lay on his tummy, cogs around him, and when his sister squawked from her place in her cot, he glanced at her, automatically, through the smeared material of glass.

It was in his way. He couldn’t help it.

What are you doing? said the glass. The milk drops had coalesced, moving upwards, forming wet, sloppy letters on the inside of the glass—letters that soon lost their form and dribbled down into disassembled alphabets.

The glass wasn’t warm, or cold. Tommy snatched it up to his ear, but it didn’t make any sort of sound, and when he put his finger in, gingerly, and then his tongue, the drips of milk remaining didn’t taste any different that they usually did.

His sister squawked again, interrogative.

What are you doing? said the glass. Tommy had cleaned out most of the remaining milk with his tongue, so the letters were much fainter than before. He looked at his sister, and she looked back, her head cocked on one side and fat, gearless fingers gripping the bars of the cot in fascinated earnest.

“I’m building,” he said, feeling stupid. He didn’t say it very loudly, in case he was going crazy, in which case it would be best if dad didn’t hear him, but he said it nonetheless. He reached out with one hand, blind, and felt a girder piece press into one palm. “Look,” he said, waving it at his sister. “You make the pieces fit together. For trains, and cranes, and . . . all sorts.”

His sister gave a little chirrup.

Can I have a train? said his milk glass, and Tommy resigned himself to building to order, and to a baby that stumbled after him through the house, clutching a milk bottle that bubbled What are you doing, Tommy? What are you doing? What are you doing?

Keep reading.

“Atheists in America”, Melanie E. Brewster on Atheists Talk

Dr. Melanie Elyse Brewster is a professor in counseling psychology who studies the mental health effects of marginalization, including marginalizatoin of atheists. In her new book, Atheists in America, Dr. Brewster collects more than two dozen stories from atheists across the country, illuminating both what atheists have in common and how atheism interacts with other aspects of our identities.

From the publisher’s description:

These narratives illuminate the complexities and consequences for nonbelievers in the United States. Stepping away from religious belief can have serious social and existential ramifications, forcing atheists to discover new ways to live meaningfully without a religious community. Yet shedding the constraints of a formal belief system can also be a freeing experience. Ultimately, this volume shows that claiming an atheist identity is anything but an act isolated from the other dimensions of the self. Upending common social, political, and psychological assumptions about atheists, this collection helps carve out a more accepted space for this minority within American society.

Related Links:

Listen to AM 950 KTNF this Sunday at 9 a.m. Central to hear Atheists Talk, produced by Minnesota Atheists. Stream live online. Call in to the studio at 952-946-6205, or send an e-mail to [email protected] during the live show. If you miss the live show, listen to the podcast later.

Follow Atheists Talk on Facebook and Twitter for regular updates. If you like the show, consider supporting us with a one-time or sustaining donation.

Watch Your Mouth

Things are disappearing. Facebook posts calling people “pussies” have vanished! People with the clout to speak to Richard Dawkins and be heard are leaving some of their thoughts unsaid and unwritten for the fear (no exaggeration) that they’ll be arrested and tortured and punished, maybe even by death! Or because they’re not prepared to deal with being criticized. Either way.

Welcome to my world, guys, or at least a pale approximation of it.

It’s no secret that I’m a feminist and use my blog as a platform for activism, particularly on issues surrounding sexual harassment. What some people, particularly guys with jobs that give them some amount of power, don’t seem to understand about this is that I and everything I say are under constant scrutiny. Not only do people hold me accountable for every individual word I write, but they hold me responsible for every half-assed “gotcha” misreading of those words.

Is that fair? Well, it’s not charitable. It’s not diplomatic. It’s frequently anything but civil. It certainly doesn’t happen through private channels. Yet I never see any of the people who are now afraid going after the people who do this to me. [Read more...]

TBT: Summer Fruit

Hmm. We haven’t done this yet this year. Going over your own archives is, as it turns out, a helpful thing. This was originally posted in July 2008.

My husband asked me last night what I wanted for dinner. We’d both just walked home in dark clothes under an insistent sun, and I had no appetite. I looked at him and said, “Ice.”

Then we grinned at each other. He headed for the basement freezer while I checked the juice pitcher in the fridge.

Every year, when the trees bow under their fruit, the melons drip with ripeness, and you start having to fight the wasps for the raspberries, we collect the sweetest, juiciest fruits we can find and take them home. We don’t eat them. Well, we pick at them a bit as we’re chopping them up–you would too–but these are destined for the freezer.

Nectarines and plums with their skins on, honeydew and musk mellon, pears, pineapple, raspberries, grapes–all fresh–plus frozen blueberries and cherries and whatever else looks good. All go into the biggest bowl we have and get tossed together. Then we stash them in the freezer in gallon bags. Some will come back out on the hot days before fall settles in. The rest will wait until the next summer, when the weather is oppressive but nothing is ripe yet.

Then, on those days that are too hot for solid food, we chop off hunks of our frozen fruit, throw it in the blender, and cover it with juice. It takes an amazing amount of juice, because none of the fruit liquifies as it blends down. But the end result is a brain-freezing mix of pure, sweet, icy fruit.

Uh, unless we add rum. Rum is good, too, although it gets harder to claim it’s dinner then. Either way, they’re the best fruit smoothies I’ve ever had. It makes those hot days something to look forward to.