Link Roundup: May 2021

Pie That’ll Kill Ya: The Problem with Fandom Statistics | Franzeska Dickson (video, 5 min) – On the subject of fandoms, a lot of our intuition is informed by the AO3 community, which features a great deal of slash, and m/m slash in particular.  Franzeska argues that this is not representative of fanfiction in general.  AO3’s detailed tagging system for pairings tends to draw more people who are interested in m/m slash, go figure.

An “Ex-Detransitioner” Disavows the Anti-Trans Movement She Helped Spark | Slate – This article highlights stories from a few people who detransitioned but also reject the way that detransition narratives are used to attack trans people.  Detransitioners are a fairly small group with very complicated and personal journeys, and their stories get amplified and simplified in the name of attacking trans people.  I don’t want to amplify these narratives beyond reason, but I think it’s important to establish a route by which people can detransition without being transphobic–in the same way that we’ve established that individuals can stop identifying as bisexual without having to believe that everyone‘s bisexuality is just a phase.

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Reblogging, the root of evil

A straw on the camel’s back

“Cancel culture” is a bad and incoherent concept, run into the ground by conservatives who use it to attack any sort of cultural criticism from the left, while excusing any analogous criticism from the right. At the same time, I do see people on the left also use “cancel culture” as a way to discuss legitimately worrying problems, such as Twitter pileons. Such leftists do not necessarily accept the “cancel culture” framing uncritically, but you can’t not talk about it. You can’t talk about Twitter pileons without talking about cancel culture, because it’s burrowed into all our brains, and we’ll recognize it even if you don’t say it. And I don’t know what to do about that.

I have wondered if it might help if we just rename the problem. We’ve changed the name before; we used to call it callout culture, and now we call it cancel culture for some reason.  Although, that didn’t seem to help things at all.

Another approach is to shatter the “cancel culture” framework to pieces, and talk about the pieces individually. So, in the spirit of being the change I want to see, I will discuss just one piece: the reblog. Not really the root of evil–the title is hyperbole–but nonetheless an important structural element of the social media platforms that have it the worst.

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Origami: Doxie pair

Two attached dashchunds

Dachshund, designed by Yara Yagi

I made these dachshunds as part of the local origami club, and I love them.  I made two, and they immediately reminded me of the two dachshunds that my aunt owned, one light-haired the other dark-haired.  Those dogs always seemed attached at the hip, and were rather codependent.  So, I decided to attach these two at the hip.  I don’t remember how I did it, something to do with pulling out excess paper hidden inside the models.

My mother has owned dachshunds all her life, so I gave these to her as a gift.  Happy Mother’s Day this month!

(For those who didn’t know, “dachshund” is the spelling, but it’s pronounced like “doxin”.  They may also be called doxies or just weiner dogs.  I grew up with these dogs but it took me forever to learn how to spell their name.)