Monday, September 1, 2014

My thoughts on comment policies

Being the author of a personal blog whose output is lazy, at best, I generally don't have to worry about comment policies. My primary "don't be an asshole" rule can be loosely interpreted, but I don't tolerate bigotry, slurs of any kind, name-calling and trolling. Most reasonable adults won't have a problem with any of these restrictions. I welcome dissent as part of healthy discussion, and I acknowledge that not everyone "evolves" at the same pace, which means someone might "get it wrong" now and then. Sometimes that person is me.

It's a little thing called "good faith." I don't expect the worst in people, so I'm not on edge and not willing to raise the ban hammer so quickly. Years ago, when I was a mod at a forum, and when I wrote for a site that had a good amount of traffic, I didn't feel that everyone was out to get me or their fellow commenters, so I modded with a light hand. I came of age with Usenet and primitive forums that required you to write your own code if you wanted to include a link. I'm painfully old school, but this is why I've been pulling away from the feminist/activist blog world at large: everyone looks like a troll until proven otherwise.

I hate the word "PC." I don't hate the action, I just hate the word because it inspires so much animus. "Don't tell me how to think!" Political correctness is about behavior, not thought processes; those can only be changed through reflection and educating oneself. This is a good thing. Forcing your commenters to comb through every word for every nuance of offense isn't.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Vintage Fran Lebowitz

And other classic LGBT icons in W Magazine

Saturday, August 30, 2014

"We Are Better Than That"

Hillary Clinton broke her silence on the protest in Ferguson after Rev. Al Sharpton called out Clinton and other possible 2016 presidential candidates, Chris Christie and Jeb Bush, in a speech last week at Mike Brown's funeral. Clinton's comments were ultimately "safe," but it's exceedingly rare for a white politician to speak extemporaneously -- and smartly -- about race.

Some of the pundits I follow on Twitter had mixed feelings about her comments, or whether she should be obligated to say anything at all, but for a probable presidential candidate who has pretty large share of African-American supporters, particularly those in poor and working-class areas, I agree with Sharpton. Overdue.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Links & Bits: 8/29/14

Flavorwire has a great article about the Daily Show's skewering of conservative media during the Ferguson protests.

Is Taylor Swift's new video racist?

More reaction to the "no angel" article and being the "perfect victim"

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Henry Rollins apologizes for suicide rant

I wanted to get to this sooner, but I was a little preoccupied the past two weeks with my fellow citizens getting hit with tear gas and rubber bullets by a curiously militarized police force and a local media clueless when it comes to issue of race, so I think I can be forgiven for not writing even a few short sentences about Robin Williams's suicide and the treatment of mental illness, both in and out of the media. Henry Rollins did, insensitively, in his post for the LA Weekly, "Fuck Suicide." He apologized Monday in what should be a model for celebrity apologia:
I cannot defend the views I expressed. I think that would be taking an easy out. I put them out there plainly and must suffer the slings and arrows — fair enough. I won’t attempt to dodge them. However, that doesn’t mean that I can’t be taught a thing or two. I have no love for a fixed position on most things. I am always eager to learn something. I promise that I will dig in and educate myself on this and do my best to evolve. Again, thank you.
I think it's important to note that he writes as a person who's also struggled with depression:
In the short amount of space afforded here, hear me out. Like a lot of people, I have battled depression all my life. It’s nothing special, in that it’s too common to be considered unique. This state has made me have to do things in a certain way to remain operational. There have been some truly awful stretches, as I am sure there have been for anyone who deals with depression, that have at times rendered me almost paralytic. Hours pass and I slow-cook on a cold spit. I have likened it to being a peach in a can of syrup yet fully conscious. In an attempt to keep moving along, I must stay in the immediate present tense, acutely aware of everything happening, like driving a car on a highway. If I conclude that I am not citizen grade, I do my best to avoid people so I do not act unpleasantly. No one deserves it. This has kept me in hotel rooms, my kitchen and the corners of gyms. When I have a show that night, it’s minute-to-minute.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Quoted: James Baldwin on words

I really don't like words like "artist" or "integrity" or "courage" or "nobility." I have a kind of distrust of all those words because I don't really know what they mean any more than I really know what such words as "democracy" or "peace" or "peace-loving" or "warlike" or "integration" mean. And yet no one is compelled to recognize that all these imprecise words are attempts made by all of us to get to something which is real and which lives behind the words. -- from The Cross of Redemption: Uncollected Writings
I had planned on writing about something I overheard yesterday, something so far beyond insensitive on a day when a father just asked to bury his son in peace. I planned on "anger blogging," justifiably, but instead I think I'll leave you with this quote from James Baldwin, who could express righteous anger with heart and compassion and piercing intellect more than I can ever dream of.