Monthly Archives: February 2013

Board Business, February 28th

(posted by chris the cynic)

Irregular Business

The official New England Slacktivite meetup is on the 9th or 12th of the month that starts tomorrow, so if anyone is interested in it now would be a good time to say so.

Also, I’ve been kind of out of it for the last… I’ve lost track of how long, and I take responsibility for any irregularities that happened around here in that undefined time.

Regular Business

Tomorrow is Deconstruction Friday

Submission deadline for the weekend post is 20:00 EST Saturday. (Article submissions can be sent in any time.)

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.

Remember, this is since you last submitted to a weekend post, not since the last weekend post. For example, if the last time you submitted was a month ago, everything you wrote since then is fair game.

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 is 20:00 EST.

Urgent or time-sensitive announcements will be posted immediately rather than being held for the next regular 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.

As usual this can be considered a completely open thread if you feel the need for one.

Cute Animal Tuesday #12: Bunnies

(Posted by kisekileia.)

One of my favourite sources of cute animal pictures, the Facebook page The Sarcastic Bunneh Show, was deleted due to troll attacks last night. I’d like to memorialize it by posting some of my favourite pics from there. (I downloaded a bunch before they could be deleted.) Here’s what should have happened last night:

“Peace!” pleads one bunny:
Bunny with peace necklace

“RAWR!! Trolls begone!” says another:
Bunny roar

These bunnies just want to rest:
Tired bunnies

And this bunny suggests an alternative activity for the trolls:
Bunny says %22Snuggle!%22

This bunny creates a distraction:
Fashion bunny is big deal

These bunnies respond: “YOU’RE a big deal? But look at our massive floof!”
Bunnies with massive floof

Everyone’s attention is again diverted when a wayward bunny gets into the dandelions:
Bunny gets into dandelions

 

And then, this bunny shows up in a sombrero:Bunny in sombrero

And everything devolves into a giant dance party.

Open Thread: Birthdays

(hosted by Storiteller)

Birthdays and other holidays can be a time for great joy or for emotional pain. I’ve had my share of birthday ups and downs myself, although far more ups than downs in the last few years. What are your best or worst birthday experiences?

This week in the Slacktiverse, February 23rd

(posted by chris the cynic)

The Blogaround

Catherine wrote:

On Cate Sings, I celebrated Chinese New Year by finding out a bit more about Chinese operatic traditions and music generally, with different versions of Madame White Snake. And then I observed Lent with some suitably Lenten music by Brahms, noting that my taste for (apparently) really obscure Lenten music makes too much of this Lenten stuff a challenge. On the silly side, I discovered that someone has actually staged and recorded a gorgeously sung and utterly bawdy version of Henry Purcell’s Faerie Queen. I have to get my hands on the whole thing, but I started by listening to a version of When I Have Often Heard Young Maids Complaining, which suddenly breaks out in bonking bunnies at the end. The mind boggles, though I suspect Purcell would have thoroughly approved. Not safe for work, I think. And following on from my post about Tosca a few weeks ago, I couldn’t resist posting the Lego version. Wouldn’t you?

On Cate’s Cates, I bought tiny eggplants at the Farmers’ Market, was overwhelmed by work for a week and did absolutely nothing, and then finally wrote my Vegetarian Lunchbox Challenge recipe, Inside-out salad. The Lunchbox Challenge runs until the end of this week, by the way, so don’t forget to join in! I also made a lovely roasted zucchini and tomato pasta, and went on two outings, one to The Langham for High Tea, and one to a cake decorating class, where I learned how to make adorable shiny gold buttons to put on cakes.

And that’s quite enough for me. I’m off to plot a recipe for the Ovarian Cancer fundraiser Morning Tea(l), which means blue curaçao in *everything*.

Coleslaw wrote:

The special election for the Louisiana House seat is getting closer, and I am still Undecided. After Computing the cost of a new laptop versus a new desktop computer, I made my decision. I have a harder time making decisions about what to do with old files on my own computer, not to mention Small Green WIdgets. Finally It’s [Not Really] a Miracle when Tim Tebow cancels a speaking engagement. (Content warning regarding anti-gay lesbian views expressed in the sixth quote and the links in the paragraph following.)

TRiG wrote:

This week on my links blog I linked to the perl poem Black Perl (yes, poetry in programming languages is a thing); I linked to something I’ve seen mentioned a few times in the Slacktivist/Slacktiverse comment threads: The Advanced Bonewit’s Cult Danger Evaluation Frame (I’ve found myself referencing this a few times recently, so I thought I may as well add it to my blog); I linked to a lovely h2g2 article about Anne Bonny and Mary Read, pirates and all-round fascinating characters; and, finally, I offer a free domain name to anyone who’s interested in writing about feminism.

And in my h2g2 journal, I mentioned that I was househunting (again).

Storiteller this week attended the biggest climate rally in U.S. history, last weekend in Washington D.C.  In Forward on Climate! she describes how the culturally diverse speakers and the stories of the audience themselves combined into an event that illustrated the power and depth of the movement on climate change. Unlike a lot of other rallies she’d attended, these elements made being present worthwhile, despite the cold and bitter wind.

chris the cynic wrote:

I spent a week without posting anything, and then made a post talking about how I spent a week without posting anything. Probably not the most interesting week ever.

Last week Trig wrote:

I posted about the new Canadian banknotes, which are less demonstrative of diversity than they may have been. Some ideas were rejected for reasons which make no sense to me at all.

Trigger warning: Violent crime (murder); miscarriage of justice.
I also posted about the Maamtrasna muders. This was a shockingly brutal crime in the west of Ireland 130 years ago. Myles Joyce, who was hung for the murder, was almost certainly innocent. He was a small farmer in rural County Galway, and spoke no English. He was defended in a court in Dublin by a solicitor and barristers who spoke no Irish.

Thing You Can Do

To reiterate, after it was called for years ago by a feminist blogger, TRiG registered the domain whoaskedmen.com and is perfectly willing to give it away for free if someone here wants to actually use said domain for the feminist purposes presumably envisioned by the blogger who called for such a site.

In Case You Missed This

TRiG wrote:

here’s a competition in which you can vote for the year’s oddest book title. A bit of harmless fun.

–Co-authored by the Slacktiverse Community

Deconstruction Round Up, February 22nd, 2013

(by the Slacktiverse; collected by chris the cynic)

I was going to make the changeover to just showing things updated in the last week this post, but I’m kind of in a hurry so no major changes today.

Amarie: Amarie’s Dreamjournal

50 Shades of Gray (No index page, category, or tag)

Nothing new since last time.

Ana Mardoll: Ana Mardoll’s Ramblings

Multiple Deconstructions:

Apocalypse Review: Apocalypsereview’s Blog

Multiple Deconstructions:

Chris the Cynic: Stealing Commas

Multiple Deconstructions:

Clevernamepending: Something Short and Snappy

50 Shades of Grey: First Post

Since last time: 50 Shades Darker Chapter 7 Part 2

Fred Clark: Slacktivist

The Left Behind Series: First Post

Since last time:

Froborr: My Little Po-Mo

My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: First Post

Since last time: P.S. Obviously Spike did not have to learn a lesson, because he is the best, most awesome friend a pony could ask for. (Green Isn’t Your Color)

RubyTea: Heathen Critique

Multiple Deconstructions:

InsertAuthorHere: Um… InsertAuthorHere

My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:

Season 1 (complete)

Season 2 (complete)

Season 3 (ongoing)

Thoughts on Ponies (ongoing)

Justice_Turtle: ReadAllTheNewberys

Newbery winners / Honor Book: First post

Since last time: Newbery Medal: Gay-Neck, The Story of a Pigeon (Dhan Gopal Mukerji)

Mouse: Mouse’s Musings

Left Behind: The Kids: First Post

Since last time: Christian Writers=Best Creators of Ho Yay around

 

Nathaniel: Politics, Prose and Other Things

Caves of Steel: First Post

Nothing new since last time.

Omskivar: Omskivar Reviews

Eragon: First Post
Since last time: Eragon: Chapters 35 & 36

Philip Sandifer: TARDIS Eruditorum: A Psychochronography in Blue

Doctor Who: First Post

Since last time:
I Move So Fast, I Don’t Exist Any More (Storm Warning)
A Journey to the Edge of Space (The Sword of Orion)

I Can Swim (The Stones of Venice)

Ross: A Mind Occasionally Voyaging

Captain Power: First Post

Nothing new since last time.

Yamikuronue: Raven Wings

Multiple Deconstructions:

Please comment or e-mail us if we’ve forgotten anybody or you have anyone to add. Or if any links are broken, or if the gods wish to provide us with one of twelve magical swords for their entertainment, or for more or less any reason really.

Board Business, February 21st

(posted by chris the cynic)

Irregular Business

The unofficial New England Slacktivite get together happened.  Unfortunately with one fewer Slacktivite than expected but there were whales in space so I’d say it went well.  The official one on the 9th or 12th of next month is still on, so far as I know, so if anyone else is interested in it now would be a good time to say so as next month is coming up pretty soon.

Regular Business

Tomorrow is Deconstruction Friday

Submission deadline for the weekend post is 20:00 EST Saturday. (Article submissions can be sent in any time.)

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.

Remember, this is since you last submitted to a weekend post, not since the last weekend post. For example, if the last time you submitted was a month ago, everything you wrote since then is fair game.

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 is 20:00 EST.

Urgent or time-sensitive announcements will be posted immediately rather than being held for the next regular 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.

As usual this can be considered a completely open thread if you feel the need for one.

Words Are Hard

(By: Silver Adept)

—–

Words are hard. Really hard. And that’s not taking into account the studies, starting with Albert Mehrabian’s studies that suggest a large part of discerning meaning is on reading body language and other cues. The act of reading or listening to words and gathering the intended meaning of the speaker or writer is a very difficult task to do.

It would remain so if there were just one meaning to every word, but in every language, words and phrases evolve additional meanings based on their context. Picking the right context for a word is really hard.

For example: the word “theory”. To an anti-science activist, “theory” means “a hypothesis, regardless of amount of experimentation, on par with any other hypothesis.” Thus, you can have anti-science activists dismissing science with “It’s only a theory.”

In more casual conversation, “theory” usually means “a hypothesis with some amount of experimental evidence (scientific rigor and quality unknown) that suggests that the hypothesis may be true.”

To a scientist, “theory” generally means “a hypothesis with several rigorous experiments’ worth of evidence that suggests that it is true, within certain defined boundaries.”

Knowing that, finding the correct interpretation of the sentence “It’s a theory.” requires figuring out the right definition to use.

When in places like deconstructions, saying something like “Well, it’s understandable that [X] would think that/write that/act that way” can be used as a way of glossing over the still-true part that it’s problematic. It may be understandable that someone raised as a noblewoman and then further raised to the office of queen wouldn’t understand why the peasantry having no bread is a big problem, but that doesn’t absolve her of the punishment she will receive at the hands of the peasantry for that lack of understanding.

Further compounding the issue: in text, one is devoid of intonation to indicate context. I thought, as part of the American Football Championship game’s half-time entertainment, the following: “Oh, Beyonce is holding a reunion of Destiny’s Child as part of the halftime show. How cute.”

So, did I mean “How nice of Beyonce to include the group that she became famous with before launching her career as a solo act.”?

Or did I mean “Considering how much I think Beyonce’s lyrics and costuming have become much less female-empowering since she became a solo artist*, her inclusion of the group she launched her career from at the tail end of her program is a mockery of the better work she was doing with them.”?

It depends in how well you know me. If my blog is filed with admiration for Beyonce as an artist and I generally review her work positively, the first meaning is probable. If, however, I tend to review her work primarily on whether or not it breaks stereotypes about women and has costuming that isn’t Stripperiffic, the second interpretation is the more likely one.

What about if you don’t know me at all, and there’s nothing in my published work that gives a clue as to how I’m thinking?

Well, what makes more sense? Commenting on the performance, whether you liked it or not, or writing a comment about how the use of cute objectifies women and transforms them from being evaluated on their merits to being evaluated on their looks, and how horrible a person I must be for using such a demeaning word?

If you have suspicions that I might be using cute in a mocking or demeaning way, then which makes more sense: the angry post, or a question asking what sense I meant the word in, with an explanation of how you see things?**

Things like “assume good faith” don’t mean you have to coddle trolls, or educate everybody all the time, or even let a derailment happen without moderation. Assuming good faith lets you take the path of least energy expended for any given situation and avoids the possibility of disproportionate response. It also terms to put the onus back on the original commenter to explain themselves and provide clarity rather than requiring you to guess at their meaning and respond accordingly.

Words are really hard. Arguments are really draining. Why engage in more of them than strictly necessary?

* That statement is based solely on the lyrical content, as I heard it, of songs performed during the halftime show – most of the solo Beyonce songs appeared to be about finding a good man and marriage, while the Destiny’s Child song “Independent Woman” enumerates all the status items that the singer has achieved through her own effort. The statement does not generalize at all (“Bootylicious”, for example, is also a Destiny’s Child song and seems a bit orthogonal to “Independent Woman”).

** Both of these scenarios have happened to me. By far the more pleasant one was when someone asked what my intent was (where I made a statement that was supposed to be mocking of people who put themselves at the top of a hierarchy because they have all the cool toys, but came across as possibly denigrating an entire group based on their practices), than the one where bad faith was assumed, including calling me a troll (when I failed to signal a change between descriptive and proscriptive text, and thus accidentally suggested that the government should engage in sending humans on one-way trips to Mars and Luna with the intent for them to build as much or a colony environment as possible in anticipation of population pressure). I still post regularly where good faith was assumed, and haven’t gone back to where it was not. Assuming good faith sometimes is the difference between someone sticking around and going to find somewhere else to be.

When not periodically commenting around the web, Silver Adept posts lots of links on lots of topics at his blog home on Dreamwidth. Stop by and leave a comment!