Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Odds and Sods - Long Brawl edition

Left: Snoid, by R. Crumb.

Some great writing in mighty, mighty Blogdonia this week, and thought I'd spread the love.

Menstrual Poetry writes that John McCain isn't sure if he supports contraception or not. What's that?

Asked if he supported abstinence-only education in Africa, instead of distributing condoms, McCain said:

“Well I think it’s a combination. The guy I really respect on this is Dr. Coburn [R-Oklahoma]. He believes — and I was just reading the thing he wrote — that you should do what you can to encourage abstinence where there is going to be sexual activity. Where that doesn’t succeed, then he thinks that we should employ contraceptives as well. But I agree with him that the first priority is on abstinence. I look to people like Dr. Coburn. I’m not very wise on it.”
Not very wise on it? Is he wise enough to be president, in that case? GOOD LORD, PEOPLE!


Feministe reports on PETA's latest naked girlies, which is somehow supposed to, umm--well what IS it supposed to do, again? Fire us up so that we will clothe the poor naked animals, or what? As usual, Jill sums up in her usual succinct fashion: "If you want to draw attention to the plight of animals by humanizing them, go for it. But you don’t have to de-humanize women in the process."

Why is this so seemingly-impossible for PETA to understand?

strength never power also offered some excellent commentary, as well as the terrific graphic at left!


And finally, here is Thene at Aaru Tuesday, who quoted MOI (((kisses self dramatically, as the late, great Florynce Kennedy used to do))) in her great piece on Anonymous. I've edited out the name of the website in question, but Thene's original piece has it... I just didn't want a bunch of searches of their name ending up here, since they are um, notoriously very picky about how they are represented in print. Thene writes:
From what I recall of internets culture five years ago, ______ was there and Anonymous wasn't. _____'s big point as a community wasn't the anonymity, it was the anarchy. No limits, no mods or rules to speak of; the anonymity was because ____ was intended as an English-language alternative to 2channel, with anonymising architecture to suit. Rather than being a 'one', 'legion' Anonymous, a then-friend who was one described /b/tards as being a deliberate non-community; a group of people who browsed the same place (and shared an already notably intricate internet dialect) but perceived themselves as being unconnected.
And I am wondering if there is any such thing as people who browse the same place staying unconnected? Can that really happen? What makes us so hungry for the hive-mind, even in the name of REJECTING the hive-mind?


In political news, Hillary Clinton has taken the Ohio and Texas primaries, and's piece today is aptly titled DEMS FACE A LONG BRAWL.

Ugh. Ain't it the truth.

Listening to: Pavement - Date With Ikea
via FoxyTunes


thene said...

What makes us so hungry for the hive-mind, even in the name of REJECTING the hive-mind?

Oh, I think Belle pinned that one, with her Asshole Theory; 'Why can't everyone be like ME?' Erasing the distinctions between people - not even just erasing the differences, but removing the identity barrier between one person and another - creates that Everyone Is Like Me situation, which then can (and is) used to bash everyone outside it. "Enemies of Anonymous are those who are not Anonymous".

Deoridhe said...

And I am wondering if there is any such thing as people who browse the same place staying unconnected?

I don't think so. Even Anonynmous and /$/ have identifiers in the form of knowledge and language which set them apart, as well as hangers on who ape that knowledge and language and outliers who take what appeals to them and leave the rest.

Some time ago, I was in a dicussion with a bunch of people (I think you were there, Daisy) about the use up 1337 speak and the Lol-language sweeping the internet, and why people use them, and the more I investigate the usage of slang and language to identify groups, the more I think that these online markers are more of the same and that they exist online because they existed offline first.

My circle of friends have strings of in-jokes which both maintain our connections and exclude outsiders. You know you are "in" when people explain to you the language and jokes (or, in some cases, you figure it out). Ways of doing emotes ([hug] vs. *hug* vs (( hug )), etc...) send information about the communities you are in, and people tend to conform to the groups they are used to.

I remember a while back when a hacker friend was featured in an article and posted on /. using [grins], she was critiqued for not using *grins* because [grins] was lame; while on the one hand this was part and parcel of the misogyny she received at /., it was also an illustration of this insider vs. outsider mentality which is passed on via the externals to the content instead of the content itself.

Even on the internet, how we say something is often as important as what we say. My use of '$' s an indicator of a variable gives people who know where '$' comes from information about who I am, who I know, and where I cut my net-teeth. Adoption of internets vs. interweb vs. intertubes not only send a message about one's political leanings but also about how aware one is of the latest trend to how people refer to the virtual environment all of this is occuring on. The tone-deaf use of "surfing" by ad campaigns also speaks to this insider/outsider status.

One of the interesting things about the net is that it gives us a place where words make up the world, where intent is often much more transparent, where differing levels of earnestness lead to conflicts in how people parse reality, and where different kinds of governments can be tried out simultaniously while not truly constraining anyone.

thene said...

The internets, it is full of shibboleths. Deoridhe, is $ from Usenet? *would throw in some Church Of Mod lingo for Daisy to not understand, except that I can't remember any*

I'd dispute that the different forms of government do not constrain anyone - one thing that's come up time and again in the fandom community is that fandom has a habit of (by finding nice architectures on which to squat) allowing itself to be governed by relative outsiders - see LJ, see ff.n; both sites were created by men, and then came to govern a predominantly female community (not that gender is the whole of the difference by any means). Privilege, in the form of access to skills and access to capital, will always have some effect on who makes the rules wrt social networking. I saw this at play on the first website I ever spent much time on - a videogaming BB which spawned a writing community that became insular and isolated from the rest of the board; it developed a different way of communicating to the rest (different language use, particular standards for commenting and criticising), and this (roughly half female) group was then attacked by an (all male) group of friends of the admin, who wanted heavier moderation for that group even though they weren't at all involved in it.

One thing that this whole exchange did bring to light - judging from your willingness to be quoted re. AA, Daisy, you consider yourself to be an anonymous blogger but I do not. My RL identity is pretty much there on my sleeve. I wonder why we present differently in that regard, and if it's to do with your radical background, or more to do with which internet architectures we've used in the past?

Daisy said...

Thene, I decided to stay 'technically' anonymous since I often write about local law enforcement on my blog. Some of that can get pretty hairy, so decided not to use my real name.

Technically meaning, several people know me IRL and read my blog, and I sent baby presents to Veronica and AntiPrincess under my real name, so THEY know who I am. :) Etc.

In short, I don't consider myself in deep cover, but just taking precautions.