Stuff has been super busy forever. There is some possibility of them getting less busy soon, though, which may result in actually writing The Blogthings. Meantime, this is pretty good:
There have been a lot of conversations lately about communication between people with privilege and people without. This link roundup is going to be largely (though not entirely) centered around those, as I think it’s a very important thing to talk about and a lot of good things have been said. Anyone know other good posts in a similar vein?
The Distress of the Privileged: Maybe the best piece I’ve read about understanding both sides of a power dynamic. Complete with a brilliant analogy from the movie Pleasantville:
“So I think it’s worthwhile to spend a minute or two looking at the world from George Parker’s point of view: He’s a good 1950s TV father. He never set out to be the bad guy. He never meant to stifle his wife’s humanity or enforce a dull conformity on his kids. Nobody ever asked him whether the world should be black-and-white; it just was.
George never demanded a privileged role, he just uncritically accepted the role society assigned him and played it to the best of his ability. And now suddenly that society isn’t working for the people he loves, and they’re blaming him.
It seems so unfair. He doesn’t want anybody to be unhappy. He just wants dinner.
George deserves compassion, but his until-recently-ideal housewife Betty Parker (and the other characters assigned subservient roles) deserves justice. George and Betty’s claims are not equivalent, and if we treat them the same way, we do Betty an injustice.”
Aesop to the Right: Why I Believe Bristol Palin: Cited in the Distress of the Privileged piece, and also containing a brilliant analogy that explains why not including the underprivileged is so hurtful and damaging:
“I don’t think you hate me. I certainly don’t think you’re afraid of me. Neither is Bristol Palin. She probably even has LGBT people she calls friends. She just disagrees with them about whether they should be invited to the party (the party, in this case, being marriage). But here’s the problem: the basis of that disagreement is her belief that her relationships are intrinsically better than ours.”
“Not silencing people is not an option. Not silencing people is a great plan; I am totally okay with everyone being able to speak out. But not silencing anyone is not going to work. If you say “no, you have to stop yelling and insulting people,” you silence some of the people who are angry! about! INJUSTICE! On the other hand, if you let people yell insults whenever they like, you are silencing the people who are afraid that if they speak up they’ll be yelled at. And the second group is not going to loudly spew insults about how they’re being oppressed; they’re just going to be quiet and stop talking and censor themselves and eventually leave the movement altogether.”
“The last generation of social justice warriors, anti-racists, feminists, outspoken atheists and activists of all stripes made the -isms and intolerances so abominable, that everyone has successfully convinced themselves they’re not it. Now, being called those things (racist, sexist, bigoted, etc) is so terrible that we end up arguing only about whether or not the label applies . And that’s a damn shame, because I have a lot of other things I want to talk about.”
Three Tips to Handle 500 Comments Landing in Your Inbox: An excellent piece by The Ferrett on dealing with shitty commenters. Required reading for any blogger.
“Once you get to a sufficient level of popularity, there is literally no avoiding people hating you. Go on, seriously. Name a celebrity. Then Google up some haters. Sure enough, someone fucking abhors them. Why do you think you’re going to avoid this?”
Just Shut Up: A piece about the value of feminist media criticism, with Beauty and the Beast as an example.
“Gaston loses but stabs the Beast anyway before being thrown to his doom, the Beast more or less dies, but Belle loves him, which breaks the spell keeping him trapped as the Beast and saves his life. They, in theory, live happily ever after.
The film ended, and my professor flicked the light on. She passed out a handout we’d already received, a list of warning signs for domestic abusers. This list included things like, “Isolates partner from support systems—tries to keep them from family, friends, outside activities.” It included things like, “Attempts to control what partner wears, does, or sees.”…The Beast meets almost every criterion on the list, and those he doesn’t meet (“Was abused by a parent,” “Grew up in an abusive home,”) are only unmet in the sense that we have no way to know, from the narrative given to us, whether he meets them or not.”
Can Versus Must: a piece on confirmation bias and ways to manipulate your brain. Including the best one-sentence summary of how confirmation bias works I think I’ve ever seen:
“It is, he says, as though we ask ourselves “CAN I believe this?” when we want to believe something and “MUST I believe this?” when we don’t want to believe it.”
How to Make Your Social Spaces Welcoming to Shy People: What it sounds like, a very good list, and something a lot of event organizers could take a lot from.
While I’m working on fitting my life into a workable rhythm again, here’s another link roundup:
- One of my very favorite poems about relationships. Read it. It’s short and good and awesome and special.
- Emily Nagoski post: “Just because your body responds to a particular idea or sight or story or whatever doesn’t mean mean that you necessarily like it or want it. It just means it activated the relevant pathways. Sometimes guys notice their bodies responding to something even when their brains are like, “Woah. That’s not okay.” And they feel conflicted about that, because on the one hand it’s clearly sexual, but on the other hand… it’s not okay.”
- An old, but wonderful post on how there is no wrong way to have a body.
- Captain Awkward advice on saying no.
- The Skepticon discussion on marriage, relationships, mono/poly, etc.
- A post on mind-blowing conversations: The kind of advice that I WISH PUA forums were about. Because seriously: learning social skills: good. Marrying that education with creepy intentions and rape culture bullshit: bad.
- WikiHow article on understanding someone with chronic pain. Quite good.
- Wonderful quote on BruteReason Tumblr about depression.
- I’m going to make an effort to make my link roundups not overlap too terribly with Miriam’s, in spite of how incredibly tempting that is. But sometimes, exceptions must be made: an analogy for brain chemistry and how describing depression as a result of a “chemical imbalance” is an atrocious oversimplification.
- On bigoted standards for fiction writing.
- On how religion is not actually “so much more” than belief in the supernatural in the sense that many people say it is.
- Emily Nagoski’s Free Sex/Relationships Resources: This isn’t new, but I just discovered it myself, and it has a lot of good stuff on it and Emily Nagoski is awesome.
- Polyamory, Cookies, Infinite Love, and Time Management: A wonderful analogy for poly involving an infinite bag of cookies. Read the post and the following comment, both are great. I’m a sucker for good analogies.
- Tim Wise Talk on White Privilege: I just discovered Tim Wise, and this is one of the best talks I’ve ever seen for explaining the realities of racism and white privilege in our society. Watch it all the way through if you’ve got time. Totally worth it.
- Tim Wise Talk: Between Barack and a Hard Place: Similar to the talk I just linked, but a lot of new angles and details, and about an hour of Q&A at the end that I also found very informative.
- Anita Sarkeesian’s TED Talk on Online Harassment: If you didn’t hear about this whole series of events, this is an excellent overview of Anita Sarkeesian’s experiences with online harassment and why it’s important to take this shit seriously.
- Reasons to Be Proud in 2012: Victories and happy realities with respect to LGBT rights and visibility in 2012.
- Miriam’s Social Justice Resources: As the kids are saying these days: READ ALL THE THINGS [on this page and you will be better informed about stuff]!
- Any History of Suicide Attempts: An excellent piece by the always-excellent Ferrett, on having depression and suicidal thoughts.
- Twenty Five Years Ago Today I Killed Myself: An excellent, but more uplifting piece by Ferrett on why he’s glad his suicide attempt failed.
About chronic pain, but also applies pretty well to depression. Just because it’s a brain problem doesn’t mean you can magically think it away:
“Alas, no — pain neurology can’t be manipulated simply by wishing. The brain may powerfully control how we experience potentially threatening stimuli, but I’m sorry to report that you do not control your brain. Consciousness and “mind” are by-products of brain function and physiological state. (Deep, eh?) It’s not your opinion of sensory signals that counts, it’s what your brain thinks of it — and that happens quite independently of consciousness and self-awareness.”
I have strong opinions about the state of our educational system today, and they are more or less that it takes an incredibly inadequate system to make something as inherently wonderful as learning and make it as inherently miserable as it is for so many people in the system.
I’m optimistic, though, because people who truly love and understand good teaching, now, thanks to technology, have easier and wider access to the audiences that so desperately need to have access to them. I think our educational system is fucked, and I think that large swaths of it will soon be obsolete, as it becomes more and more obvious how much better education can be. I truly believe it can be better by orders of magnitude that we can’t even imagine right now, and I’m happy to see that process accelerating Also, frankly, I’m a little schadenfreudically (totally a word) pleased at the idea that some of the institutions that made it so miserable for me probably aren’t going to manage to keep pace.
Anyway, the video:
If I have a Grand Unified Theory Of Everything, it’s this: I believe that people always do things that make sense to them. Hard as it is to believe with all the hurting out there, almost nobody hurts others just to be a jerk. So if you want to change human behavior on a grand scale, you can’t tell people “stop being a jerk.” You have to dissect and then recreate their models of the world until being a jerk doesn’t make sense.
-Cliff at pervocracy.com
I don’t agree that telling someone to stop being a jerk is never the thing to do (sometimes when the elephant is driving, blunt force trauma is the only thing that will stop it), but I do think that this is excellent food for thought.
Quick interesting link on chronic pain here. I haven’t been talking about it much lately, but I saw this and thought it would be good to share. These are the kinds of choices you face as someone dealing with pain problems.
Continuing the analogy fun, here are some analogies that I’ve found particularly enjoyable, insightful, or useful. Like I said, I enjoy collecting them:
On Brain Problems:
And finally, not a link, just a from a comment on a blog I read somewhere a long time ago:
“Trying to understand someone else in terms of your own thoughts and feelings is like trying to get from Boston to Los Angeles using a map of Albania.”
Anyone have other ones they think I might like to add to my collection?