Twitter: Fixed it for you

Dear Twitter,

I noticed you’re having a hard time balancing user issues with dealing with harassment and dealing with privacy. I further noticed you had a good idea for a change to a function that solves one class of issues, but that had side-effects that made another class of issues dramatically worse.

I think I have found a reasonable solution for your problem.

Do both.

Oh, and there are some more tweaks I can offer to help fix other outstanding problems, if you’ll listen.

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Rage Blogging and Drama: The Elan Gale Story

It has come to my attention that there are some members of the various internet skeptical and secular communities, not to mention members of the greater internet “blogosphere”, who evidently do not know what “blogging” actually IS. I am obligated, therefore, to explain, because I happen to be a “blogger” on occasion myself. It behooves me that everyone understand exactly what it is I’m doing here.
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Deadpool’s universe contains at least one pro-trans background character

Via Reddit’s r/ainbow on imgur, this image, ripped from a recent Deadpool comic.
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Panel 1: while running, a shapeshifting male morphs into a female cheer-leader, as Deadpool pursues. Bad guy: “PRESTO-CHANGE-O!!!” Deadpool: ” ‘Presto-change-o?’ ”

Panel 2: Deadpool tackles the shapeshifter, saying “You’re mine now!” Shapeshifter says “OOOOFFFF!!!” A burly bald goateed man in the background, wearing a leather biker vest, says “What the hell, dude?”

Panel 3: Burly says, “Run, little girl. I got the creepy bastard.” Deadpool, on a knee, getting up, says “It’s not what you think, that cheerleader is actually a DUDE.”

Panel 4: Burly: “That’s no better! Transgender people are one of the MOST BULLIED people in our society. They deserve our compassion! And before you say anything, I realize the irony of trying to beat some human dignity into you.” Deadpool, as Burly kicks him in the face: “You’re making a mist– OOF!” Shapeshifter, still in cheerleader form, cartwheels away in the distance, saying “Yay! Thanks!”

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Pat Robertson’s take on youth suicide

He starts out unusually level-headed, concerned about something that is actually true and actually a very big problem — kids committing suicide. He correctly identifies pressure as one of the reasons. But then he goes off the rails on a spectacular fashion. Never mind that most of the pressure causing suicide is the stigma that forces them into the closet because they’re different from everyone else in one way, shape or form — no, Pat thinks it’s something else causing their premature self-inflicted deaths.

Is Uncle Pat just a motivated reasoner, trying to avoid any sort of blame for this “pressure” put on kids after all the damnation and hellfire he’s called down on gays (and feminists and atheists and liberals et cetera et cetera), or has a long life steeped in Jesus Juice actually pickled his brain?

Sympathy for the devil

Trigger warning for frank discussion of bullying and PTSD.

When I was young, I was bullied. A lot. Maybe not more than other kids who’ve been bullied, but I was definitely the target of my grade for many years running in my tiny grade school and middle school. It started to let up a bit in high school after I attacked one of my bullies physically. It’s not something I’m particularly proud of, but I had been at my wits’ end that there were exactly zero consequences for harassing me for years on end.

I was wrong to attack that person. And yet, I was able to breathe easier afterward.
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Another girl that committed suicide is posthumously bullied for teh lulz

Another fifteen year old girl named Amanda — this time not Todd, but Cummings — killed herself after bullying, depression and a bad break-up. And people claiming to be from 4chan and 9gag (the most odious among 4chan’s numbers often use them as a scapegoat) are, again, swarming to make her family’s life post-suicide miserable, according to Jezebel.

According to the Staten Island Advance, Amanda was bullied in life as well as in death. Her parents say that her classmates and peers taunted her, and that she’d recently broken up with her boyfriend before she stepped in the path of a city bus. She spent 6 days after that in a hospital before succumbing to her injuries.

From every possible angle you look at it, that story is a rainbow of awful— for the girl who felt driven to suicide, for her family and loved ones, and for a community in general. Hell, I’m sure the driver of the bus feels like shit as well. For 4chan, though, this was the perfect opportunity to unite around the common cause of digitally harassing Amanda’s surviving family.

I don’t even understand how this is funny. Sure, maybe losing yourself into a mob mentality is fun — I don’t know, I’ve never tried it, though I’ve certainly seen a lot of self-righteousness amongst the folks who witch-hunt and swarm FtBloggers just for being FtBloggers, never mind for actually holding people to account for their actions. But how much reprogramming do you have to endure before you consider it fun, noble, laudable, and hilarious, to hurt someone’s family? How much reprogramming before empathy for grieving relatives is completely subsumed by the pursuit for your personal lulz? Why can’t you do something productive, like making fun of the real monsters who gain political power to ruin your lives, or people who bully children until they kill themselves?

I know some among you within the loose-knit group Anonymous have done exactly this, attacking oppressive political regimes, hunting down people who abuse small animals, even trying to find Amanda Todd’s bullies and “dox” them. So I know you’re not a uniform collective of shitheels. But it boggles me that there are so many shitheels among you. How — and WHY — did intentionally breaking your sense of empathy, the only thing that makes us truly human, become so commonplace? And why is it so uniformly young kids with every privilege for whom this intentional empathy-dectomy is such sport?

Cyber-bullying kills again

Amanda Todd, a thirteen-year-old girl in Maple Ridge, BC, was flattered and cajoled and coerced into flashing someone while playing around with friends on webcam. Someone took a screenshot — apparently they didn’t vet who was on that webcam chat very well. But they were young, and stupid, and there’s a damn good reason the age of consent is as high as it is in most places — because children don’t always have the maturity or intellect to provide informed consent.

A year later, Amanda received a message from someone on Facebook that she didn’t know, who demanded a private show or they’d send the picture to everyone she knew. They knew a good deal about her life — her parents’ names, her friends, her school. She ignored or rebuffed the blackmail demand. That Christmas, police came to her house at 4am to inform them that the picture existed and was spread around to a large number of people — very likely everyone at her school. Someone among the recipients must have had a conscience and reported the incident to the police.

Amanda became depressed and developed anxiety problems. All her friends started treating her horribly; she was left with nobody to lean on. She started self-harming. She moved to another city to escape the embarassment, and dabbled in drugs and alcohol. She became involved with a boy; the boy turns out to have had a girlfriend, who threw her to the ground and punched her repeatedly while other kids filmed it. They posted the video on Facebook, and declared that nobody liked Amanda and they hoped she saw their taunting and committed suicide.
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The one way we lost in the battle for the SCA

We pointed out Justin Vacula’s feet of clay, and nearly a thousand signatures were collected on the petition demanding that SCA either address his misdeeds by forcing him out or stand by those misdeeds. Vacula has stepped down from his position after this controversy didn’t go away.

Which naturally means “the terrorists” and “bullies” have won. (According to the real bullies, the anti-feminist and anti-woman contingents of our movement.)
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Dad wears skirt to make dress-loving son more comfortable

Via Gawker, apparently people can come to the conclusion that traditional gender roles are inherently harmful completely unbidden.

“I didn’t want to talk my son into not wearing dresses and skirts,” Pickert tells the German feminist magazine EMMA. “He didn’t make friends in doing that in Berlin already and after a lot of contemplation I had only one option left: To broaden my shoulders for my little buddy and dress in a skirt myself.”

At first, Pickert’s son was reluctant to wear a dress in public, fearing he would be laughed at, particularly by other kids at his preschool. But that all changed one “skirt and dress day” when he and his dad made a resident of the town stare so hard she slammed into street light face first.

“My son was roaring with laughter,” says Pickert. “And the next day he fished out a dress from the depth of his wardrobe. At first only for the weekend. Later also for nursery-school.”

This is a really nice story. Dad wants his little guy to feel more comfortable doing things that he likes doing, so he decides to do those things too. That inspires the confidence in his son to challenge those gender roles himself and wear dresses to preschool, defying the bullies and telling them that THEIR dads aren’t brave enough to wear dresses like HIS dad.

It’s like “my dad can beat up your dad”, only more like “my dad sticks up for me and the things I enjoy; yours attacks you and enforces conformity.”

The picture at the original article is very much a “d’awwwww”-inducing shot.