Thursday, August 29, 2013

So Much Depends on a Little Red Plus Sign

Most social networks have a method by which you can show your approval of a post. Whether it is "plussing" on G+, "liking" on Facebook, "favoriting" a post on Twitter, pushing/trusting/liking on Sulia, and pinning and/or heart'ing on Pinterest you have a way of saying "I approve of this." The problem is, there is no way of adding why you approve of a post, and I want to break down why I give things this silent mark of approval:

  • I may like your post because I believe the same thing, word for word. This is the damn for me, although it seems it is the one that folks always assume is meant when you plus.
  • I may favorite your tweet because I am glad you said a thing, whether I agree or not. I may just believe that your thought needs to be out there in the ether. I believe in fostering intelligent dialog when possible.
  • You and I may be friends, so I plus your stuff that makes sense in order to encourage you to express yourself. 
  • I may appreciate the opportunity to see a product or idea. Maybe I did not even know it existed until you posted it.
  • I may pin something just because it is pretty or suits my aesthetics.
  • Maybe you posted something that took skill or bravery to post and I noticed.
  • Sometimes I may actively disagree with a post, but appreciate the way something was said. Maybe it was an innovate way of looking at the issue, or had a personal touch that made the post evocative. Maybe it was just damn good writing. This goes back to fostering intelligent dialog when possible.
  • Maybe you were just damn funny and I lol'ed.
  • Every once in a while, I will fat-finger a post and plus/like/pin something I did not mean to. You know what I mean, you are looking at one thing and press the button you think will favorite your target but instead you ended up "liking" something horrible. Sometimes, it takes someone pointing it out to find out that it even happened. This is the most rare of cases, and I will immediately correct, if possible, when asked about it. Because I am a grown-up and can admit I screwed up.
  • Liking/+1'ing are good ways to keep track of a post as it develops. I may just want to see what happens next...
I bet you experience this problem: someone sees that you put your stamp of approval on one thing a person wrote and now you are responsible for everything that person ever wrote, ever. There are a lot of reasons to stamp someone's post, but people will usually assume that you did it for whatever reason makes them the most angry. I ask first before I assume, and it is my opinion that other folks should ask first too. We should not let assumptive, aggressive anger overrule common sense. 

On most services such as G+, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Sulia you can undo your stamp of approval. Usually you can just click the same button again, the label on the button usually changes to reflect this functionality, but not in every case. If you no longer wish to have approved a post, a group, or a person - you can change your approval status to reflect that, to a degree. I rather like Buzzfeed's method of giving the user several adjectives to choose from to voice an opinion on a piece.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Outing Invisible Disablilities

As you well know, Gentle Reader, not every disability is visible to the untrained, naked eye. You know that most of what contributes to my state of disability is invisible unless I use an aid to help myself get around. I get a lot of hairy eyeballs if I use disability parking or other help from folks that think disability is a state for them to judge themselves, based only on what they see in one moment.

Well, someone in Portland calling themselves "Artemis of the wild" has gone further. Reported by the Oregonian via Gawker, this pusillanimous fuckwit has decided that folks receiving disability and have the audacity to vote should be unveiled publicly. For the sake of your sanity, do not read the comments for either article. 

I could count the ways that this is screwed up, but you and I, Gentle Reader, have things to do and lives to live. Keeping that in mind, let us take a brief tour of a few of the worst bits.

  • People are not one issue voters.
  • You cannot see a whole host of mental and physical disabilities. Just get fucking used to that.
  • Voting is a right and a privilege of US citizenship, even if the far right is trying to take it away. Disability, even if you get those meager benefits, does not in any way strip a person of citizenship or any other status besides "temporarily able bodied" (also: TAB).

You do not get to decide who is disabled and who is faking it. If they have run the disability-approval gauntlet (and it is pretty horrible for some) and did the song and dance to get their status validated by the Social Security Administration to receive aid, or even just their doc's office to get a parking pass then they have already proved to anyone that matters that they qualified. You need to back the hell off. They are already handling enough extra difficulty being disabled and all. 

There are only a few people disabled folk are required to give their status to, and it is not you, Jackass of the suburbs.

Dear "Artemis of the wild,"

I am disabled. I vote. I do not cast my votes solely on the basis of favoritism of disability status (if I did, there is almost no such thing).

I still count.

Fuck you.



PatientC smoking a clove cig against a fiery background.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

"Solidarity Is For White Women"

This post assumes that you have a least seen some mention of #SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen and skips some 101 ideas. I am not much of an online presence, but I want to do something useful, something purposeful,  contribute something good. I will talk a little about my own opinions, but that is not my focus. What follows are pointers to some really good work you may not have seen: work by folks involved, works by women of color, works that give background. 

If you have found or produced something I should link here, please let me know below. My spoons are limited, and there is a lot of stuff out there about this. If you are here, reading me, then you probably already know that it can be rough for women on the internet.

The key person you should know about in all of this is brownfemipower. This was not her first rodeo, as it were, and her fortitude and class is amazing. Flavia Tamara is another writer I have admired from afar, when she was writing (wrote? Not sure what is up at TB) for Tiger Beatdown. BlackAmazon is on Twitter and so is Jamilah Lemieux, writers I have seen and respected but was not following 'til recently.

Speaking of terrific women, go to this great article from the Guardian, written by Mikki Kendal, that sums up a lot of what was going on around this hashtag. #SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen is her doing, and I congratulate her for it and thank her for the hard work of dealing with the fallout. You can also see her in this interview, where she mentions the erasure of intersectional activists that are disabled, "lower" class/poor, non-Western... you get the idea.

Jamie Nesbitt Gordon wrote about this for Salon. This Week In Blackness talks about it here. Angry Black Lady had already rightfully and righteously gone to town on the sexist. This is another good piece (I have met and like the authoress). Also left out were feminist disability folks, feminist QUILTBAG folks, poor feminists... you get the picture. Gradient Lair has a terrific piece up that highlights the voices of of the people harmed in all of this. 

Student Activism has a whole lot on Schwyzer, but I will just point out one article  It has enough links that also have links to give you a good rundown on the man's career of upsetting folks. AJ's The Stream has a solid piece up.

The HG meltdown is captured on a "Men's Rights" page, but you can Google the pdf if you want to do so. I make it a general policy to not link to MRA sites. No, I have no idea why MRAs would even care, except maybe to celebrate the pain of women, particularly feminists. These guys are the mustache-twirling villains of the equal rights set. 

Feministing attempted to apologize and explain their position here and in a less triggery way here. Both of those links have long comment sections, (and in this rare case on the Internet) I believe you should read the comments. The efforts met with mixed results. There is some doubt as to whether this was motivated by honesty or capitalism. In the places I have linked, you will see opinions vary. I am giving credibility the women that were right about everything in the first place. 

If we are going to take feminism and make sure that it is for everyone, then we are going to have to look at white power in feminism. Yes, I include me in that we. That societal power is given to every white, yes - that is undeniable. HG could not have gotten away with any of this had he not been male, straight, and most of all: white. During his career numerous women of color called out his bad behavior only to be ignored and or discredited and further marginalized. They were right, but they were silenced.

One of the best things I have read about intersectionality in real life: My Feminism Will Be Intersectional or It Will Be Bullshit

Note: not every link is an endorsement. Some may contain good information, but be otherwise problematic. Be careful out there.

EDIT: spelling fix at post.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Keeping On

As I am working on some new content, I wanted to let you know, Gentle Reader, what is going on in this crip(pled) life. 

The eCig smoking reduction/cessation thing is going well. I am down to 12 cloves or less a day, from an initial 30-36 at my peak smoking. This weekend we took a road trip, which usually means a huge amount of smoking on my part, and I only smoked about 8 cigs! I am feeling good about it in general, even though some days are really frustrating.

The Minions (my daughters) are back in school. Hurrah! They are old enough that we can see their adulthood rapidly approaching. I feel like we have not done nearly enough to prepare them for life on their own. 

I am unhappy with my weight and am doing what I can to get that back under control. Well, what is under my control. Last year I wasted to an alarming weight and this year I have done the opposite.

Studying Shambhala Buddhism is a deep learning experience. I have found that I give much more room for learning, for forgiveness, kindness, and gentleness to others than I have for myself over the course of my lifetime. I am facing what disability means to me personally and socially as it interacts with meditation and sometimes causes me to not participate as I would wish. Every time I feel myself close to living in the moment, I feel as if I am putting down an impossible burden of my own design. The one retreat we attended leaves me wanting to attend more but unfortunately there is no longer a regular sitting held in my city.