Friday, July 22, 2016

Femslash Friday: Orphan Black

Are people watching Orphan Black?

I'm about halfway through Season 4.  I miss Delphine.  Please enjoy this Cosima/Delphine fan video:


Congrats to Tatiana Maslany on the Emmy nomination, as well!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Quote of the Day

Via Jane Mayer's piece about Trump's ghostwriter, Tony Schwartz.  I found this excerpt 100% chilling:
“'Trump has been written about a thousand ways from Sunday, but this fundamental aspect of who he is doesn’t seem to be fully understood,' Schwartz told me. 'It’s implicit in a lot of what people write, but it’s never explicit—or, at least, I haven’t seen it. And that is that it’s impossible to keep him focused on any topic, other than his own self-aggrandizement, for more than a few minutes, and even then . . . ' Schwartz trailed off, shaking his head in amazement. He regards Trump’s inability to concentrate as alarming in a Presidential candidate. 'If he had to be briefed on a crisis in the Situation Room, it’s impossible to imagine him paying attention over a long period of time,' he said."
But, you know, Hillary Clinton made a Pokemon joke the other day, so there's basically no difference between the two.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

How To Be More Helpful Than "Ignore the Trolls"

[Content note: Discussion of online harassment, sexism, racism]

Leslie Jones' recent experience with racist, sexist harassment got me thinking again about Internet civility, and particularly the roles of bystanders to online harassment.

First and foremost, I understand that many consumers of Internet content don't feel safe to participate in hostile conversations, either to directly engage harassers or to publicly offer support to those experiencing abuse. Neither is it realistic, either physically or for our own mental well-being, to think that we can jump into the fray every time we see someone being harassed on Internet.

While explicitly noting that, I want to underscore a tension with that principle. In line with the reality that people who produce online content are also actual human beings, we need to fully appreciate that Internet is, on many platforms, a participatory medium. This participatory nature is both the problem and, perhaps, part of the solution. One reader may not think their comment may have much of an impact, but just as abusive comments can cause actual harm to recipients, supportive comments can help targets feel if not less harmed at least less isolated.

Secondly and related, I want to suggest what I hope are helpful comments people can contribute to situations of Internet harassment when they are up to the engagement. I see a lot of what seems like (mostly) well-intentioned advice rendered on the Internet for targets of abuse to "ignore the trolls" or "don't read the comments."

Yet, ignoring abuse neither addresses the abuse or demands better behavior. It often means resignation to a shitty situation or all-around low expectations for civility. I also find convincing the argument that letting harassing comments stand without counter can implicitly signal validation of harassment.

Internet culture is an ever-shifting, dynamic thing and, I believe, it is something most of us as consumers/content-producers have at least some small (or large) ability to shape into what we want it to be.

Leslie Jones, partly responding to the "ignore the trolls" advice some were offering, instead said:

On this topic, Melissa at Shakesville has written:
"Who I am, who I want to be, depends on my not ignoring that I am despised. Who I am depends on my greeting that hatred head-on, and pushing back on it with all the strength in my strong, tough, fat body. 
I will not behave like a person who isn't full of gumption. I will walk into the world each day with my head held high, and I will react when someone tries to lower my chin and slow my stride."
I agree with both. We can, we must, be louder than those who perpetuate sexist, racist, transphobic, homophobic, other -ist abuse. When various platforms do not adequately police abuse, this pro bono countering abuse is apparently the external cost that decent users perhaps must pay to have a more decent Internet society until companies invest adequate resources into the issue.  Shitty, but true.

Accordingly, I offer the following as helpful responses to situations of harassment that do not include the concept "ignore the trolls":
1) "I'm sorry you are experiencing harassment"
2) "I support you"
3) "What these people are saying/doing is not okay"
4) "Can I help you counter this?"
5) "Stop saying/doing that" (to person being abusive, obvs); 
          6) Communicate to the platform/company that the abuse is happening and that you disagree                    with it;

          7) Like Tweets/posts countering the abuse;

          8) Re-tweet supportive posts if you can't/don't want to write one of your own;

Thoughts? Disagreements/agreements? Additions? Other solutions?

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Important Ghostbusters Update

[Content note: Spoilers-allowed thread; discussion of abuse, racism, sexism]

Okay, consider this post an open Ghostbusters thread!

I saw it over the weekend and loved it!  Where I saw it, the people in the packed theater laughed pretty much non-stop and, broke out into applause twice, once after Holtzman's fight scene (if you've seen it, you know which one probs) and at the end of the movie.

Highlights for me include:
  • In general, I enjoy portrayals of female friendship. Such portrayals in TV and film are relatively rare. Ghostbusters does more than a bare-bones passing of The Bechdel Test, it portrays women as part of team, working together instead of fighting one another for status or male attention;
  • I liked each of the female leads and what they brought to their characters (especially Kate McKinnon, obvs); and
  • It's just a fun movie - gadgets, ghosts, jokes, action - yes please;
I mean, I really don't have anything deep to say, because like the original, it's not a super deep movie. So, imagine all of the people outraged by it, such as the raging nerd man-boys who have all the sads and mads that the movie didn't bomb its opening weekend (it came in at about $46 million, number two, right behind The Secret Life of Pets).

Apparently, but not surprisingly if you follow Internet culture at all, men are tanking the Internet ratings of Ghosbusters, because that's how they're gonna spend their free time apparently.  Via Walt Hickey at 538:
Here are a few stats I collected early Thursday for the new “Ghostbusters” movie: 
IMDb average user rating: 4.1 out of 10, of 12,921 reviewers
IMDb average user rating among men: 3.6 out of 10, of 7,547 reviewers
IMDb average user rating among women: 7.7 out of 10, of 1,564 reviewers 
The movie isn’t even out in theaters as I’m writing this, but over 12,000 people have made their judgment. Male reviewers outnumber female reviewers nearly 5 to 1 and rate “Ghostbusters” 4 points lower, on average.
And, one popular misogynistic garbage fire wrote a bitter, scathing review of the movie, contending (as other MRA-types have) that the movie unfairly portrays men as morons and villains.  To prove how non-villainous men are, a bunch of (primarily) men began sending racially-abusive Tweets to Ghostbusters star Leslie Jones:
If you're up for it, a hashtag in support of Jones was started: #LoveForLeslieJ

No one should have to endure this shit.  But, such is the outrage that women and people of color so often face when white men aren't the center of pop culture.

It's like they can't just let the people who like this movie like it, they have to try to spoil it for everyone.  It's reminiscent to me of the MRAs who do no actual advocacy for men, but who instead just sit back and rail at feminists for not doing enough to solve all of the problems facing men.  Free labor on gender issues is apparently feminist work, while they just constantly throw obstacles and harassment in our path to increase the difficulty setting in our lives.

Got entitlement?

Friday, July 15, 2016

Commencing Ghostbusters Viewing

I am seeing Ghostbusters this weekend and am quite excited about it.  Just to further piss off the MRA crowd, thought I'd also throw in another donation to Hillary Clinton's campaign and do some Title IX advocacy.

Anyway, while I have an appreciation for all of the women in Ghostbusters, Kate McKinnon has held a special place in my heart ever since her days on Logo's Big Gay Sketch Show cracking it up with Julie Goldman.

I will furthermore note that her SNL parody of Justin Bieber, and I'm not going to try to explain this, makes me feel.... things... as in, slightly .... sexually confused.... things.

Judge.  IDGAF.