Monthly Archives: November 2012

Weekly Deconstruction Round-Up and Late Board Business

Before we get to the deconstruction roundup, let’s take care of some regular Board Business. Since chris the cynic did it so well last time, I’ll steal his words verbatim:

Regular Business

So, about that weekend post that got mentioned on both the front and back ends of the week, today is reminder day.

Anyone who has submissions for the weekend post should send them in. Some people wonder if they really deserve to be in the post. The answer to that is always the same: You do. So try not to be afraid and do try to send in submissions if you have them.

The sections of the post are as follows:

The Blogaround

Any denizen of the Slacktiverse who has posted an article to their own website since they last submitted to a weekend post is invited, enticed, and cajoled to send a short summary of that article along with its permalink to the group email. That summary and link will be included in the next weekend blogaround. This will help to keep members of our community aware of the many excellent websites hosted by other members.

In Case You Missed This

Readers of The Slacktiverse can send short summaries of, and permalinks to, articles that they feel might be of interest to other readers. These should be sent, as you might expect, to the group email.

Things You Can Do

Anyone who knows of a worthy cause or important petition should send a short description of the petition/cause along with its url to the group email.

Deadlines

Please email all submissions to said group email address (SlacktiverseAuthors at gmail dot com). The deadline this week will be 2000 GMT on Saturday.

Urgent or time-sensitive announcements will be posted immediately rather than being held for the next regular “This Weekend” post. But you’ll have to tell me they’re urgent or time sensitive because it’s liable to go right over my head if you don’t.

Deconstruction Round-Up

Ongoing Deconstructions

I’m only listing deconstructions that had additions since our last Deconstruction Round-Up. I was going to have a section for several new deconstructions that we were going to add this week, specifically all the ones for which we had no contacts last week, but WordPress ate all that data (and seemed to have eaten the entire post for a heart-freezing, rage-inducing moment) after I spent two hours working on it, so if I want this to go up today I’m going to have to skip that. I will try to edit tonight or tomorrow to add those deconstructions.

ETA: Yes, I know these are the exact same links as last week. This post got more messed up than I thought when WordPress glitched on me. I’ll fix it when I regain consciousness.

Ana Mardoll: Ana Mardoll’s Ramblings

Multiple Deconstructions:

Chris the Cynic: Stealing Commas

Multiple Deconstructions:

Fred Clark: Slacktivist

The Left Behind Series: First Post

Latest Post: NRA: Life during wartime

Froborr: My Little Po-Mo

My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: First Post

Latest Post: I’m the monster. (Dragonshy)

Mouse: Mouse’s Musings

Left Behind: The Kids: First Post

Latest Post: I’m Back

Omskivar: Omskivar Reviews

Eragon: First Post

Latest Post: Eragon: Chapters 28 & 29

PersonalFailure: Forever in Hell

Elsie Dinsmore: First Post

Latest Post: Elsie Dinsmore Deconstruction: The Readers Have Spoken!

Philip Sandifer: TARDIS Eruditorum: A Psychochronography in Blue

Doctor Who: First Post

Latest Post: Time Can Be Rewritten 33 (Happy Endings)

Yamikuronue: Raven Wings

This Present Darkness: First Post

Latest Post: TPD pp 250-252: On intentions

Please comment or e-mail us if we’ve forgotten anybody or you have anyone to add.

–Froborr

Scheduling Open Thread

We’ve got nothing on the schedule page for today, and nobody’s touched the forums in weeks, so… let’s talk upcoming articles, roundtables, and so forth.

I’m willing to keep the Schedule page updated, but I need people to tell me what they’re working on and when they can have it. We only really need articles on Mondays and Wednesdays, which isn’t too bad. The dates open in the next month are therefore:

  • Monday 12/3
  • Wednesday 12/5
  • Monday 12/10
  • Wednesday 12/12
  • Monday 12/17
  • Wednesday 12/19
  • Monday 12/24
  • Wednesday 12/26

Anyone have anything they wish to volunteer for one of those dates?

Also, there’s been discussion of a few roundtable possibilities; do we want to try to do one or two of them in December?

ETA: Also, I hereby volunteer to be Keeper of the Schedule, which as I see it would consist of updating the Schedule page daily and possibly sending a reminder e-mail to whoever’s supposed to be posting that day?

–Froborr

Cute Animal Tuesday #2

(Posted by kisekileia)

I’ve discovered some lovely sources of cute animal photos in the past two weeks, which should provide a sufficient supply of adorable for some time. Today I’m spotlighting a new favourite: The Sarcastic Bunneh Show on Facebook.

Here are a couple of my favourite photos of theirs:

Nobody puts Bunny in a corner!

According to The Sarcastic Bunneh Show, this is what happens when bunny slippers are left unsupervised. I think I need some bunny slippers.

Baby bunny slurps up grass.

Tiny snugglebunnies in their nest.

Beautiful long eyelashes in the midst of soft cottony fluff. No mascara needed!

Okay, I know that was more than a couple of pictures. I just couldn’t resist. So many cute bunnies on that page!

And one last photo, also courtesy of The Sarcastic Bunneh Show:

Have a great week filled with adorable animals!

This week in The Slacktiverse, November 24/25

The Blogaround

Catherine wrote:

On Cate’s Cates, I had a ball at the Farmers’ Market, made strawberries and cream and had a very disappointing High Tea at the Grand Hyatt, the description of which degenerated into a discussion of apoptosis.

Over on my music blog, I noted that my choir was singing about dragons and was delighted by Kristin Chenoweth singing The Girl in 14G – if you listen to one bit of music theatre this week, make it that one, because it’s incredibly clever and very well-sung!

Last week, as she worked to prepare her garden for the winter, Storiteller ran into an odd ethical dilemma.  Raking up leaves in the nearby cemetery seemed like a good public service, but felt very wrong when someone came to visit, as she describes in Gravestones and Garden Prep.  This week, among all of the very many things she has to be grateful for, she focused on just one – her local farmers’ market.  She lists a few of the reasons why in Giving Thanks for Local Agriculture. As part of her (very) inconsistent feature, she highlights the work of one of her favorite charities and how you can donate to them as a gift for others in Fangirl Friday: Oxfam.

Coleslaw wrote:

I listed my Thanksgiving 2012 blessings. For the first time in many years we really did go over the river though not through the woods to eat dinner at Nottaway. And while we are on the theme of thankfulness, I wrote about the one bright spot in a dark time in my life in Thanks a Lot, John Metz.

froborr wrote:

Once again, I have only My Little Po-Mo to report. I’m working on something else, but it’s still in the very early stages. Anyway, last week I posted I’m the monster. (Dragonshy), in which I discussed how MLP implements the Buffy approach to writing villains as a method of exploring the adventure/character binary. Coming up, at midnight EST this link will work: Honey, Rarity thinks everything’s uncouth. (Look Before You Sleep), which is about kyriarchy and the intersection of class and gender.

Francis wrote:
How the Church of England got into the mess on women bishops it’s in. “I come not to praise the Anglican Church

chris the cynic wrote:

After a discussion of funerary music at Slacktivist I asked for help finding out who did a version of “Joe Hill” then found out on my own soon after leaving the post just being a place where there are videos of five versions of the song, and two versions of Portal’s “Still Alive” (original and ASL.)

I was told, both by my sister and the radio, that it isn’t Thanksgiving unless someone plays some version of the song, so I linked to the version I prefer in “How many things in the world are 18 minutes and 20 seconds long?

On the whole Greek Myth NaNoWriMo thing I wrote (not quite in this order) to ask if people weren’t liking it, an invocation to the Muses, the line of Pontos (lots of Hercules killing things there) and, after actual research failed to turn up much on the vast majority of the Nereids besides their names, made up additional information on each of the unstoried ones.

As an aside, the probability of me hitting 50,000 words by the end of the month is just about zero.  Not quite zero, but it doesn’t take a large epsilon to get the two in the same neighborhood.

In case you missed this

Duckbunny writes:

I am to blame for Advent Knowledge, an education Advent calendar project. Contributors post every day on their chosen topic, or add to the eclectic general pool if they only want to make a few posts, and we are always looking for more contributors. Any and all topics are welcome. This year, we have a website! Come to www.advent-knowledge.info for more details and to sign up. And then come back every day in December, to read about (at the least) chemistry, art history, ecology and atmospheric science.

Things You Can Do

Ellie Murasaki writes: https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/require-producers-goods-us-markets-use-same-wage-and-worker-safety-standards-outside-us-inside/54wVDg3V because one Triangle Shirtwaist fire should have been enough.

–Co-authored by the Slacktiverse Community

Deconstruction Round-Up, November 23, 2012

For our first Deconstruction Round-Up, we’re going to do it a little differently from future posts: For each deconstruction, we’ll have links to the site/blog/whathaveyou that hosts the deconstruction, the first post in the deconstruction, and the most recent post. Posts are in alphabetical order by creator name (in the rare case of a creator with a first and last name, we used first name).

As always, if you know of any deconstructions (ongoing or complete) please let us know in the comments.

Except in cases where deconstructors offered their own sites (which we assumed was an opt-in), all deconstructors were given an opportunity to opt out. We were unable to contact the following deconstructions, and thus did not include them in the links, since we couldn’t give them a chance to opt out:

Amerie (50 Shades of Gray)
Apocalypse Review (Edge of Apocalypse)
Clevernamepending (50 Shades of Gray)
Heathen Critique (multiple)
Justice_Turtle (Readallthenewberys)
Nathaniel (Caves of Steel)
Ross (Captain Power)

If you have contact information for anyone on that list (or are on that list) please contact us at slacktiverseauthors (at) gmail (dot) com.

On to the deconstructions!

Ana Mardoll: Ana Mardoll’s Ramblings

Multiple Deconstructions:

Chris the Cynic: Stealing Commas

Multiple Deconstructions:

Fred Clark: Slacktivist

The Left Behind Series: First Post

Latest Post: NRA: Life during wartime

Froborr: My Little Po-Mo

My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: First Post

Latest Post: I’m the monster. (Dragonshy)

Mouse: Mouse’s Musings

Left Behind: The Kids: First Post

Latest Post: I’m Back

Omskivar: Omskivar Reviews

Eragon: First Post

Latest Post: Eragon: Chapters 28 & 29

PersonalFailure: Forever in Hell

Elsie Dinsmore: First Post

Latest Post: Elsie Dinsmore Deconstruction: The Readers Have Spoken!

Philip Sandifer: TARDIS Eruditorum: A Psychochronography in Blue

Doctor Who: First Post

Latest Post: Time Can Be Rewritten 33 (Happy Endings)

Yamikuronue: Raven Wings

This Present Darkness: First Post

Latest Post: TPD pp 250-252: On intentions

Please comment or e-mail us if we’ve forgotten anybody or you have anyone to add.

–Froborr

Very Late Board Business November 22nd 2012

I (chris the cynic) hope you had a better thanksgiving than I did if you celebrate such, and I better day than I did regardless. If you didn’t, perhaps tomorrow will be better.

Irregular Business

The plan to have this be the first week on the regular schedule didn’t exactly go flawlessly, hopefully next week.  For anyone unclear on what the new schedule is, it’s this:

Sunday: Intentionally left empty because the Weekend post doesn’t go up until late Saturday so Sunday is the day it’s out front.

Monday: Article/Open Thread

Tuesday: Cute Animals because someone wanted them and no one said they didn’t.

Wednesday: Article/Open Thread

Thursday: Board Business

Friday: Deconstruction Roundup.

Saturday: Article/Open Thread posted early in the day, Weekend post hopefully up by the end of the day.

Regular Business

So, about that weekend post that got mentioned on both the front and back ends of the week, today is reminder day.

Anyone who has submissions for the weekend post should send them in.  Some people wonder if they really deserve to be in the post.  The answer to that is always the same: You do.  So try not to be afraid and do try to send in submissions if you have them.

The sections of the post are as follows:

The Blogaround

Any denizen of the Slacktiverse who has posted an article to their own website since they last submitted to a weekend post is invited, enticed, and cajoled to send a short summary of that article along with its permalink to the group email. That summary and link will be included in the next weekend blogaround. This will help to keep members of our community aware of the many excellent websites hosted by other members.

In Case You Missed This

Readers of The Slacktiverse can send short summaries of, and permalinks to, articles that they feel might be of interest to other readers.  These should be sent, as you might expect, to the group email.

Things You Can Do

Anyone who knows of a worthy cause or important petition should send a short description of the petition/cause along with its url to the group email.

Deadlines
Please email all submissions to said group email address (SlacktiverseAuthors at gmail dot com). The deadline this week will be 2000 GMT on Saturday.

Urgent or time-sensitive announcements will be posted immediately rather than being held for the next regular “This Weekend” post.  But you’ll have to tell me they’re urgent or time sensitive because it’s liable to go right over my head if you don’t.

Lastly, feel free to consider this an open thread.  Completely open, no prompt, say whatever you like.

Freedom, Fairness, and Taxation

What does it mean to be free? Usually, when we talk about freedom, we mostly mean political freedom, but that is far from the only kind. Ultimately, freedom means having the option to do the things you want to do, and there are many potential constraints. These constraints generally fall into a handful of categories:

  • Physical Limits: The thing you want to do may be impossible, either because no one can do it (I cannot levitate myself telekinetically) or because you personally cannot do it (no matter what I do, I will almost certainly never run a four-minute mile).
  • Time Availability: Related to physical constraints, temporal constraints are ones which result from the fact that there are only so many minutes in a day and so many days in a lifetime, and you can only be in one place at a time. I could either have pursued becoming a bassist or a writer, not both, even though either is technically physically possible.
  • Social Restrictions: This is what people mostly mean when they talk about constraints on freedom, the things you can’t do because other people won’t let you. The most obvious social restrictions are laws, but norms and societal pressures can also be a major constraint on freedom. I can’t wear a kilt to work
  • Resources: These are the things you can’t do because you don’t have access to the required resources. I can’t rent out every bar and hotel in Liechtenstein for a party, but somebody much, much wealthier than me probably could.

That last restriction, resources, is the one I want to talk about. See, the thing about any constraint on freedom is that, as you have more of the limiting factor, it becomes less of a constraint. What I mean is, if someone has lots of free time but not a lot of resources, giving them more free time is going to increase their freedom less than giving them more resources. Likewise, if someone is a billionaire with a terminal disease, an extra year of life is going to increase their freedom more than a few million extra dollars.

As your resources increase, you eventually reach a point where resources just stop being a limit on your freedom. When you have a yacht, a jet, an island of your own, and money to spend, there isn’t much that you can’t do, resource-wise. Gaining more resources doesn’t get you any more freedom–and conversely, losing resources (so long as you don’t lose to much) doesn’t cause you to lose any freedom.

What increased resources does get you, once you’re past the point of diminishing returns, is power. When you have a lot of wealth, you can alter the choices of others. You can do this overtly and directly (if you buy voting stock in a company and downsize it, you increase the resource-based restrictions on the freedom of its employees) or subtly (you can alter what goods that company creates and in what quantity, changing the options available to others). You can influence elections with campaign donations, or just enjoy watching people have to work to please you, since you control their salaries.

Or, for that matter, you can donate to charity, help out others, and use that power for good. Either way, the resources you’re expending aren’t changing the options available to you, they’re changing the options available to others. For purposes of this essay, those are the definitions we’ll use: Freedom is the ability to do what you want, power is the ability to change whether others can do what they want.

Which, by a perhaps roundabout road, brings us to taxes, and specifically to income taxes. There are three main competing approaches to income tax. We’re pretty familiar with them, so I’ll just discuss each briefly to highlight the main points I want to talk about:

  • No Income Tax: Usually, proponents of this approach aren’t total anarcho-libertarians; they accept that some form of government is needed, and that it must fund itself through some form of taxation, so they argue for a sales tax of some sort. The argument for this approach is that people are taxed according to what they spend on consumer goods, which is somehow fair while taxing people based on the size of their paychecks or investment returns or what they spend on the stock market is somehow not fair, because wiggly finger motions and look over there while I run away!
  • “Flat” tax: Everyone pays the same percentage of their income. This system is supposed to be fair because, well, everyone pays the same percentage of their income.
  • Progressive taxes: The percentage you pay depends on your income. The simplest form is a flat tax with a floor: If you make less than X dollars, you pay no taxes. If you make X+Y dollars, you pay a fixed percentage of Y. More complex systems have more brackets, but the general principle is that you pay nothing on the first X dollars, a small percentage of the next Y dollars, a slightly larger percentage of the next Z dollars, and so on. This is supposed to be fair because wealthier people get more out of society, so should be expected to pay more in.

So, which is fairer, a flat tax or a progressive tax? As a general rule, libertarians and conservatives argue the former, liberals the latter; I think it’s pretty clear which is correct, however, if we consider it in terms of the definitions of freedom and power we established above.

It is, after all, obviously and inherently unfair for one person to have the ability to control whether and in what forms another person has freedom. The only way in which power can be fair is either if it does not exist, which is impossible (in any system, if no one has the power to stop bullies, then bullies have all the power), or if it is shared as broadly as possible. In other words, it is unfair if one person gets to decide for everyone what freedoms we can and cannot have, but if we all get together and collectively decide that, say, murder is not allowed, that is fair because everyone gets a say.

Consider, then, a flat tax as you climb the economic ladder. For the very poor, a flat tax is a major reduction in freedom, since they already are badly constrained by resource availability and the tax makes it worse. Eventually, however, we reach levels where the tax is barely a reduction in freedom at all–if my income is $200 million a year, my level of freedom is basically the same as someone making $20 million a year, and therefore I can pay a 90% tax and not experience any loss of real freedom.

What I do lose, in that scenario, is power. However, in most places where this article is readable that money ends up in the hands of a democratically elected government. Even given a government as corrupt and distorted as the current U.S. federal government, even given filtering through representatives and the constraints of the two-party system and gerrymandering and voter suppression (if you live somewhere other than the U.S., substitute the imperfections of your country’s government instead), the average person on the street still has far more say in what the government does with its money than they do in what I do with my money. Thus, the government getting to decide how to use that power is fairer than me getting to decide.

Remember that money is, ultimately, imaginary. It is what money represents that matters: resources, which is to say, freedom and power. A flat tax takes freedom from the poor, but not the rich, and does nothing to address the power imbalance between rich and poor; it exacerbates the unfairness that already exists. A well-designed progressive tax, however, takes little to no freedom from anyone, reduces power imbalances, and helps correct the unfairness endemic to capitalism.

The progressive income tax is the fairest approach to taxation we’ve come up with. Anybody trying to tell you otherwise is more interested in protecting the power of the few than anything to do with fairness or freedom.

-Froborr

Disabled “Enough”

Content Note: Description of Rape, Rape Culture, Disability Invisibling

An opinion piece by a disabled person.
~ Ana Mardoll

One of the favorite arguments of rape apologists is that there really isn’t that much rape in our culture.

They justify this statement by pointing at studies that show that some women who have experienced rape will describe the experience without using the word “rape” (in much the same way that some men who have committed rape will describe the experience without using the word “rape”). The rape apologist therefore argues that if women don’t call their experiences “rape”, then it can’t have been rape, and therefore the real problem is with iffy categorization by the powers that be, like when the CDC redefined obesity so that they could say that 35.4 million Americans were suddenly heavier than they’d been the day before.

The flaw in this argument should be obvious to anyone reading along, but I’ll go ahead and spell it out. Certain behaviors are rape, but not everyone is socialized to call those behaviors “rape”. And I know this not just from logic and reasoning, but also from experience: I was one of those women who needed time, distance, and education before I could call a rape that occurred to me “rape”.

I was raised with an incomplete understanding of what rape is. Rape was something that happened between strangers, when a man leaped out of the bushes at night and assaulted a random woman. Or rape was something that serial killers did — the ones who appeared in legal dramas and thriller movies, and who were obviously and irredeemably evil. Or rape was something that happened between adult men and small children, and was the “bad touch” that the adults at school and church sometimes warned us about, usually via the use of hand-puppets.

So when I was raped by a man who was the same age as me, who was not a stranger, and who was not obviously evil, I didn’t really understand that what had happened to me was rape. I knew that he had held me down and I had said no and he had ignored me and done what he did, but I didn’t know that the word “rape” applied to that scenario. I wasn’t stupid or uneducated or incurious, nor was I incapable of looking up the word in the dictionary. My hurdle in calling what was rape “rape” stemmed from the fact that I had years of social conditioning that told me rape was something completely different from what I’d experienced.

Part of rape culture — I would argue a big part — is invisibling rape. Rape culture relies on pretending that rape is a rare and special kind of evil. Rape culture depends on obscuring the fact that something like 1 in 4 women are victims of rape or attempted rape, and that something like 1 in 20 men are rapists or attempted rapists. Rape culture requires the pretense that rape doesn’t happen, that it doesn’t result in pregnancies, that women who are rape victims are lying about their experiences.

And rape culture demands that its supporters constantly police rape victims and insist that they not use that term because they weren’t “raped enough”, that what happened to them wasn’t actually rape. And, indeed, I have known many rape victims — myself included — who have struggled with that concept along the way, the concern that by vocally saying “I am a rape victim”, we might be taking on a mantle that we haven’t somehow “earned”, because doesn’t someone else out there have it worse?

That is bullshit, but it is a very common kind of bullshit that our culture pushes onto us. And it is a bullshit that our culture pushes for more topics than rape. And that is what I want to talk about today.

It took me two years to call my rape a “rape”, even though that is what it was. This despite the fact that I knew I’d said no, I knew I’d struggled to get away, and I knew that I’d cried through the whole thing. I knew these things, but still I’d internalized that rape was something that happened to other people, and something much worse than what had happened to me.

But it took me the better part of twenty years to call my disability a “disability”, even though that is what it is. This despite the fact that I’d had major surgery, handicap parking, and hundreds of designed-for-disability tools and devices just in order to live my daily life. I spent fifteen-plus years in constant day-to-day pain without realizing that the word “disability” applied to my condition, not because I was stupid or uneducated or incurious but because I’d internalized that disabilities were things that other people had, and were much worse than what I had to deal with. As long as I wasn’t in a wheelchair, I couldn’t call myself disabled… right?

I don’t think I’ve heard the term “able culture”, but I do think there needs to be a word for the way able-bodied is normalized so heavily in our society. I can’t remember the last time I saw a movie with a disabled character — maybe Avatar, where the plot is resolved by the protagonist leaving his disabled body and climbing permanently into a new able one. Nor can I remember the last time I read a book with a disabled character whose disability is handled with respect and awareness, rather than just a cutesy character quirk dialed up to eleven.

We live in a society where we generally don’t talk about disabilities, and where people with disabilities are frequently discouraged from talking about their experiences in public. We also live in a society that conflates “disability” with “obvious physical disability”, and tends to shove over mental disabilities and invisible disabilities into a bucket of Does Not Exist. (And this doesn’t even get into the slippery issue of how precisely a “mental” disability isn’t also “physical” for at least some definition of that term.)

Depression is rarely taken seriously as a disability, and disabilities like fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome are still adamantly denied by some members of the medical community. Things that have their own names — like “infertility” and “food intolerances” — are just as likely to be shoved into the “not-a-disability” category, as well, because after all, it’s not a disability to struggle to find food you can safely digest, or if you have a condition preventing pregnancy, right? You can still walk, right? So stop belly-aching.

Feminism has made great strides in helping people to understand what rape culture is, how to identify rape, and how absolutely damaging it is to police the language of rape victims. The average safe-space on the internet understands that if someone stands up and says they are a rape victim, it is not an appropriate response for the other commenters to immediately demand details and proof to “make sure” that the rape victim really is a legitimate rape victim and isn’t someone appropriating the language of rape culture.

But we’ve not yet reached that place with disability acceptance. I can’t count how many times this year I’ve seen someone self-identify as a person with a disability either explicitly or implicitly by using disability language, only to have someone immediately pop up and demand that the disability in question be revealed and justified to everyone’s satisfaction before the commenter be allowed to continue because otherwise they will be assumed to be an able-bodied appropriative dissembler.

*sigh*

I cannot — I really genuinely cannot — express how deeply saddened I am whenever this happens. Because, yes, appropriation does happen online. (I’m Captain Obvious, I know.) But you know what is way-way-way worse than the occasional appropriation that is going to happen anyway? I will tell you: it is worse to actively contribute to a culture that says it is Good and Honorable and Appropriate to constantly police disabled people in order to make sure that they are disabled “enough” to use a term that they’ve already been culturally conditioned to not apply to themselves.

Because that is what people are doing, every time they post yet another comment about how I Do Not Recall You Mentioning That You Have A Disability That Allows You To Use The Word ‘Spoon‘: they are creating and reinforcing a culture where disabled people can’t just exist as people who also have a disability. Instead, we have to wear our disabilities on our sleeves, constantly trotting them out for examination. Infertility and food intolerance? Hmm, well, I’m not sure those are really disabilities. Depression? That one only comes and goes on occasion, right? Scoliosis? That depends: did you get the surgery or not? Daily pain? Well, I guess that’s alright. OK, welcome to the club; here’s your Disability Card that gets you a 20% discount at the store downstairs.

We don’t do that to people who claim different marginalizations, and rightfully so. When someone politely contributes to a discussion about rape or gender or race, we don’t demand that they haul out pictures and genealogies and court transcripts to prove that their contributions are valid. We don’t do that partly because it’s ultimately self-defeating (no one can ever really verify that online people are telling the truth about themselves), but we also don’t do that because it’s wrong. Forcing marginalized people to continually justify and re-justify their marginalization to the satisfaction of the community does not make it a safe-space for them. It doesn’t make it a safe-space for anyone.

Appropriation and thoughtlessness and unchecked privilege will always be with us. That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t talk about them. By all means, people should absolutely write blog posts about what it means to be disabled, and about what it means to feel marginalized when known able-bodied people in their life-space conflate actual disability with non-disability. (Here are some example topics: the mother who conflates infertility with childless-by-choice. The co-worker who compares depression with “being a little sad”. The husband who thinks that staying home from work because of a disability is just like a vacation day. Sharpen your pencils; you have one hour. Go!)

But what we should not be doing is contributing to a toxic culture that invisibles people with actual disabilities because they don’t meet a social standard of disabled “enough” just because they retain some measure of mobility. That’s an unreasonable and unfair standard, and it comes from the same place as the insistence that anything that isn’t stranger-leaping-from-the-bushes is therefore not a legitimate rape. It comes from a place that thrives on, and indeed requires, the suppression of the actually marginalized in order to support a culture that disproportionately favors the privileged.

And we can start dismantling that toxic culture by accepting online community members at their word when they say they are disabled. And we can also remember that disabled means so much more than the narrow meanings that society has encouraged us to internalize.

Speaking as a disabled person, I’d appreciate it. Because I am seriously running out of spoons.

(Updated) This Week in the Slacktiverse November 17/18

Apologies to Catherine, yours should have been first but the post originally went out without your contribution.  Sorry, I (chris the cynic) was tired and I have no other excuse.

The Blogaround

Catherine wrote:

On my singing blog, I wrote about Remembrance Day and a couple of anthems that are possibly appropriate. I got frustrated with the sexism of Mozart’s Magic Flute (which is both infuriating and bizarre, since he gives the Queen of the Night far and away the best music in the opera); I found some classical music flash mobs, and some really gorgeous recordings of parts of Handel’s Messiah, including one that features interpretative dance…

On my food blog, I was fairly quiet, actually, because I’ve been too busy singing and working to cook!  But I wrote about World Vegan Day and gardening and insecurity and reviewed a confectionery cookbook.  And I finished sorting out the horrible mess made of all my internal links and indexes when I changed service providers recently, but that is probably exciting to nobody but me…

Coleslaw wrote:

This week I gave four examples of how My Family is So Much Nicer Than Me as they respond to Superstorm Sandy. As I reflect on the surprise some Republicans felt at the outcome of the election, I realized That Could Have Been Me. And at an event introducing this year’s LSU women’s gymnastic team to their fans, I find out where they get some of their Inspiration.

chris the cynic wrote:

In keeping with my general plan put forward last week, but moving at the slowest pace imaginable, I wrote The line of Nyx which follows the family of Nyx from the primordial Chaos up until Eris throws a golden apple into a wedding setting into motion what will one day be the Trojan War.  Look for a completely different perspective on Pandora’s Jar (which was not a box), an attempt to describe the embodiment of Day facepalming without using the term “facepalm” and, you know, stuff.

The next thing was to be the line of Pontos but I got hung up in the Nerieds (a list of fifty names and their meanings is boring as all hell) and that’s still in draft.  But I did add two more Nyx scenes, one was Nyx explaining to Zeus why he should back off, which you may have read an early version of here on Friday, the other was two of her daughters (Day and Strife) observing that Rome and Carthage could have been allies had not Aphrodite and Hera messed everything up.  That was based on a scene from the Aeneid, book four.

And finally I used my position as “something and overlord” to command people to cheer me up, because that totally works, right?

Ana Mardoll wrote:

Health: Depression Diaries and Hanging In There
(Content Note: Depression, Self-Harm, Shitty Doctors, Fat Phobia)
Enough people have written me about the depression posts that I felt it was necessary to have a follow-up post on depression in general. So let’s talk about depression.

Twilight: Removal of Agency
(Content Note: Agency Loss, Buffy Spoilers)
In which Bella will exercise this new-found agency only long enough to take Edward’s agency away.

Narnia: Prince Caspian, BBC-ilicious
So we’re finished with Prince Caspian the book, and we’re two posts away from starting up Dawn Treader. ARE YOU EXCITED?

froborr wrote:

In case you missed this

–Co-authored by the Slacktiverse Community

Open Thread: The Board in General

Ok, so I (chris the cynic) completely forgot about this post, and the day is half over here, but this is the end of the future of the board week.  Not that you can’t say your thoughts in the future, but we’ll be returning to a regular schedule with the coming weekend post (don’t forget to send in any submissions for that.)

So last open thread of the week, anything you want to say about the new place, anything at all, this is the place to do it.