Jamie’s story – two months

This is a further update of the activism being undertaken by friend and fellow skeptic Jamie here in Vancouver. You can read part one here:

Two Months In:

So shortly after I posted about what I had accomplished in the first month (including the inciting incident which prompted someone else to start organizing these demonstrations), I stepped out for my fourth week of protest. Of significance, I was approached for an interview with a youth-focused media co-op organization called Y57. I had changed my sign that week, and that had a strange effect on the outcome of my demonstration — but I wouldn’t know about just how strange until a week later. However, the immediate effect was that the end to slut-shaming and rape-speak we had observed a week earlier was now reversed. Read about week four in this post.

Somehow or other, but most probably the effect of gender dysphoria from week four’s round of Blatant Sexism Fuelled By Being Socially Read As Female, my thoughts went to a very dark place. I began thinking about how many people I have personally lost to aggravated suicide, as well as people I have survived in a very hostile social atmosphere that frequently robs us all of some truly exceptional souls. But I also began thinking about this because of the case of Bei Bei Shuai, who attempted suicide while 30 weeks pregnant, and who is now facing 45 to 65 years in prison on charges of murder and attempted feticide in the state of Indiana. Read more about it if you dare.

And then week five came. It was raining heavily, and with my politically impersonal sign already written out (atypical for me), I stepped out in attire that obscured my shape and gender. And that’s the week that all the weird came out in hostile force. I never before believed that I was actually safer in my underwear than fully covered, but that is a reality I can no longer ignore. Read more about what it’s like to experience sexism from both sides of the same coin while being dumped on by the skies in this post.

Go read the rest. Some pretty gripping (and scary) stuff in there.

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British Columbia flooded with drug money

The great challenge of being politically conscious is to remain critical (one might say ‘skeptical’, although I don’t think that word means the same thing in this context that we usually mean) of propaganda and showy announcements. Whether you think politicians are cravenly trying to pull a fast one on the populace, or if you’re like me and think that politicians simply begin to think in propagandist terms, the sign of a person who is cognitively engaged with politics is the ability to parse both the positives and negatives from political announcements.

To give you an idea of the way in which I wrestle through the political landscape, here’s an example of a recent development that I found particularly interesting: [Read more…]

Kiva project update: July 2012

Hey Cromrades,

I just sent out our 6th Kiva loan. Because of the speed of turnaround of many of the projects listed on the website, crowdsourcing the selection is very cumbersome. I’m sorry to preclude you from the discussion of which loans we select. I don’t see a way around this, but maybe you do. Maybe if I pre-schedule the day of the loan, y’all can submit your input in a flurry?

Anyway, here’s where our money went: [Read more…]

Free thoughts from the hive mind

There is a meme, perhaps more accurately described as a complex of memes, about Freethought Blogs. This complex is made up of at least one of the following statements:

  • FTB is run as essentially an extension of the egos of PZ Myers and Ed Brayton
  • FTB does not tolerate dissent, and enforces its repressive agenda through banning, mockery/ridicule, and flying monkeys (this being a descriptor of regular denizens of the Pharyngula comment threads)
  • FTB is run by (or home to, depending on who you ask) radical feminists
  • FTB is a leftist, ultra-PC, political entity
  • FTB spends too much time talking about things that aren’t material science and/or atheism
  • FTB is a hive mind that promotes a ‘party line’ of thinking that precludes disagreement on anything substantive

Now obviously, since I am part of Freethought Blogs, any and all opinions I have on the subject are irretrievably biased. It is in fact more than likely I am simply repeating instructions given to me from on high (in exchange for which I receive a monthly pittance that I give away anyway). However, given the recent nonsense that precipitated the ejection of one of our bloggers (Greg Laden left as well, but for an entirely different reason), I thought you might be interested to hear an insider’s perspective. You will have to judge for yourself, based on my history, if I can be thought of as a reliable narrator. [Read more…]

Intercepted message from the hive mind

On Sunday morning I had another opportunity to participate in a Google+ hangout with some of my fellow FTBorg:

We talked about, among other things, why these ‘social justice’ issues – feminism, anti-racism, gender and sex equality, etc. – are so prevalent on the Freethought Blogs network. The video is below the fold:

[Read more…]