Go to JustineSacco.com

This

Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!

— Justine Sacco Tweet (@JustineSacco) December 20, 2013

…led to someone taking time to not send threats to Ms Sacco or merely complain to their friends about how nasty racists are (who would disagree?) and do this: http://justinesacco.com/

Using attention, current focus and intense emotions and funneling it properly. Excellent. Truly excellent. Want to do something about people like Sacco? Go donate to Aids charities, encourage others to, and don’t send that threatening Tweet or yell about more obvious moral standing (“racism is bad!”).

I will write something on this later. For now, it’s a little too fresh.

Watch the video of talks from Free Society Institute’s conference “Thinking Things Through”

Some time back, some of the most thoughtful, eloquent people from South Africa joined forces, in some kind of Avengers move, to discuss and combat “[o]bstacles to a free society [such as] oppressive or irrational legislation, moral confusions, bigotry and prejudice, and misconceptions about science and secularism.” This was the Free Society Institute‘s conference titled Thinking Things Through, which got support from the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU).

You can witness all their smarts on full and delightful display now in a single YouTube channel. Here’s the first, with FSI Chair Jacques Rousseau.

I hope to be watching and writing on each one.

For now, I hope you’ll give them all a watch (and witness that South Africa is not comprised solely of lions, grasslands and combat, but critical thinkers and eloquent speakers of international standing).

I just unpublished an article: Here’s why (UPDATED)

I made what I thought were legitimate criticisms of Holly Baxter’s piece, premised on criticisms with her points in her piece for the Guardian on crowdfunding. I spent a long time writing it and trying to be careful, since I’m aware she is currently facing much unnecessary, unwanted and unwarranted digital hate.

I’ve decided, despite spending a long time on the piece, not to publish it (at least for now). I do not wish to add to the Internet’s hate or criticism of Ms Baxter. No one will die because I didn’t say something, but the least I can do is be sensitive to her position right now. Apologies all round. That was an asshole move on my part.

I will perhaps publish it later, but for now, I’d rather spend time making social media and Internet in general a better place for discussion and not add to Ms Baxter’s unnecessary catalogue of negativity.

No, she doesn’t deserve it. And, no, I don’t agree with her arguments. But right now, what matters more is her sense of safety and I don’t want to do anything – even minor – that might detract from that. I’m no one, of course, but as we all know, we are all public figures.

UPDATE:

After seeing Baxter’s response on Twitter, I’ve chosen not to publish the article at all. Nothing significant will be gained by my publishing.

 

 

Engagement rings are bullshit

Engagement rings are bullshit.

My latest for the Guardian was a lighter piece – that actually ties into more deeper elements of my hatred for most things romance – on this.

The comment section is a pleasant (/sarcasm) space of people questioning the usual, irrelevant details of me:

  • Do I really get paid to write this? (Yes)
  • Have I got nothing better to focus on? (I can do many things at the same time and do)
  • Is this a letter/gripe because I’ve been dumped (No, if it was and the relationship hinged on jewellery then that’s a relationship I’d be glad to be out of)
  • I must be obviously single (Not that it’s anyone’s business but I’m in a happy, long-term relationship with an amazing woman who laughed at the comments)
  • I’m a cheapskate (Well done for proving my thesis that marketers for diamond companies can get their customers to shame men/others into purchases of a tradition the marketers started and for measuring love according to shiny rocks).

etc.

Some people seem fascinated with my ugly mug staring at them. I found that sweet.

So it begins

For some unknown reason, I got an email and now find myself here. It’s like a Twilight Zone episode, so I’m still a bit disorientated and giving one of the worst performances of my life. Seriously, there’s something on the wing!

Oh that’s my name.

In fact, that name on the right isn’t a misspelling or garbled message from beyond the grave: no, that’s mine. And yes there’s a “Q”. And yes there’s an “AU” – which is meaningless, since it phonetically doesn’t even make that goddamn sound when you pronounce it (properly).

In fact, let’s get this out the way: It’s pronounced to rhyme with Warick, garlic, sorry, etc. Not – definitely bloody not – rhyming with squeak, leak, seek, meek, etc. Think stick. Or prick. (Knowing the nature of Internet comments, I’ll probably get some wonderful rhyming words tossed my way soon enough.)

I do want to stress that who I am is actually unimportant. What matters and will matter more to this blog are the ideas, arguments, analysis, etc., that will be written on. I’m really not as fascinating as the topics of infanticide or incest: Do you really care about my favourite make of car (the one with wheels), or do you want to know good and bad reasons for supporting infanticide, euthanasia, drugs, guns, sex work, nonmonogamy, incest and so on? I thought so. Me too. Those are topics that will make this screen as they’ve made others around the Internet.

I write a regular blog at BigThink.com called “Against the New Taboo“, where weekly (at a minimum) I write on topics that have caused people to react with outrage when they think about or encounter them.

But: What doesn‘t elicit outrage, you might ask? People kill each other over computer games, throw children out of school who had lesbian relationships and let women die because abortion is so incredibly wrong of course (/sarcasm). However, I try to encircle ones that most people – including myself – haven’t considered. Suggestions are always welcome, too.

My aim for this blog is for it to be shorter, sharper, more direct: splinters if you will. I’ll write shorter posts, pose questions, make something metaphorically bleed. I’ll try find interesting links, responses. I’ll be shameless and indicate where I’ve written things. I’m sure you’ll tell me about interesting responses to, indicating why I’m wrong.

There’s little else I can consider interesting for a beginning post. Tomorrow I will reblog an old post explaining the name, though given this audience it’s probably not hard to know its origin (hint, hint) and why I chose it. In the mean time, I’ll take my cue from my new friend Ally and open it up to you. I’ll update with answers as they come in (assuming anyone asks or cares). Here’s an about.me page, too.

You can follow me on Twitter, too.

UPDATE: I’ve not decided on a comments policy. However, for this first post, I’m just going to let all comments in. Thank you so far for the kind wishes and congrats.