TEDx Sydney is an Australian spin-off of the TED talk series.
Stella Young was an Australian disability activist who did a superb talk about Inspiration Porn at TEDx 2014 I'm Not Your Inspiration Thank You Very Much, that disabled people have been linking to ever since (and before that was available I was linking to the text version on Ramp Up, the disability website she ran for ABC).
I say was because she died late last year, she was 32. I never met her, I don't think I ever even tweeted to her, but friends of mine met her and she was one of those activists who was pretty much universally admired.
Which is why disabled people are horrified that TEDx Sydney have just launched 'Stella's Challenge', urging non-disabled people to go up to disabled people and ask about their disability. It's as if they've taken everything Stella stood for, everything she spoke about in her speech, wrapped it up in a bundle, thrown it away and stuck her name on something that urges non-disabled people to do everything she campaigned against.
Once disabled people reacted in horror TEDx Sydney put up an update saying 'but we talked to disability orgs'. We can only presume that if they did talk to them they weren't listening to a single damned thing that was said.
*Headdesk* *Headdesk* *Headdesk*
Fandom: Once Upon a Time (TV)
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Evil Queen | Regina Mills/Maleficent (Once Upon a Time)
Characters: Evil Queen | Regina Mills, Maleficent (Once Upon a Time)
Additional Tags: Sex Magic, Magic, Femslash, Older Woman/Younger Woman
Summary: For freifraufischer's prompt "Dragon Queen. Maleficent confronts Regina about being a good girl."
- I had a culture column at WIRED. And then I didn’t. Here’s what happened. | monica byrne (May 19): “I’ve talked with other writers who’ve had experiences with Wired. My experience is not unique. So as far as I can tell, they don’t cover the future. They produce a white male fantasy of the future. Which isn’t surprising.”
- The Dehumanizing Myth of the Meritocracy by Coraline Ada Ehmke | Model View Culture (May 19): “We hide behind the motto of “love the art, hate the artist” to justify our preferences despite the faint voice of conscience, persistent in telling us that something is amiss. It seems that ignoring the worst of our heroes is easy, but should the opposite also hold true? Should we ignore the positive, community-oriented contributions of others as quickly as we dismiss some people’s negative attributes? Are the contributions of bad actors really superior to those who bring humane, non-code contributions to our corner of the world?”
- #girlswithtoys: women remind Twitter they are scientists too | Wired UK (May 18): “Female scientists from all over the world have taken to Twitter to post pictures of themselves with tools and equipment from their workplaces alongside the hashtag #girlswithtoys.”
- Furiosa (5) | Be Less Amazing (May 18): “I’ve seen a few internet pundits that they “don’t see the feminist content” of this film. Dudes. It’s about the lone powerful woman in a male-dominated society who helps a group of sex slaves escape under the premise that “[they] are not things.” That’s about as feminist as it gets, and that’s just one of the many amazing equality messages going on this movie. “
- The programming talent myth | LWN.net (April 28): “When we see someone who does not look like one of those three men, we assume they are not a real programmer, he said. Almost all of the women he knows in the industry have a story about someone assuming they aren’t a programmer. He talked to multiple women attending PyCon 2015 who were asked which guy they are there with—the only reason they would come is because their partner, the man, is the programmer. “If you’re a dude, has anyone ever asked you that?” On the other hand, when he got up on stage, he did look like those guys. “So you probably assumed I was a real programmer.” These sorts of assumptions contribute to the attrition of marginalized people in tech, he said.”
- We Will No Longer Be Promoting HBO’s Game of Thrones | The Mary Sue (May 18): “After the episode ended, I was gutted. I felt sick to my stomach. And then I was angry. My next thought was, “I’m going to have to spend part of the next six months explaining why this was a bad move over and over.””
- Reasons Why It’s Hard to Find Senior Women Engineers | Accidentally in Code (May 14): “People ask me about this topic sometimes, especially as I’m no longer close to being a “new grad” but at the point where I look for bigger opportunities. I’m collecting it here for reference – reasons and observations from my own experience, of why it’s so much harder to find senior women engineers.”
- How Social Media is Failing Creative Women | Ink, Bits, & Pixels (May 17): “Real Name policies endanger women. Until these companies understand WHY that is, it’s not possible for the policy to be crafted in a way that reduces the danger.”
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My nonspoilery review: The characters are likeable and I think the show has potential, but the pilot itself felt very rushed - they wanted to pack in not only her entire backstory, but the full set up for the season's arc. As a result, each plot point came and went too quickly, with little time to savor the fun things, be tense over the action, or really feel much emotion about anything. It also left Kara's characterization fairly one-note and a bit inexplicable.
So basically, I'm hoping they'll slow things down in future episodes and not feel like they have to tell half a season's worth of story in 46 minutes.
Skyeward; superhero sidekick AU; part 1/2, 4041 words
Summary: She doesn't think she'll ever see him again. It's New York. It'd surprise her if they ever stood on the same street corner again.
As it turns out, fate has a thing for irony.
the one where skye is everyone's favourite superhero, and ward is the damsel that searches for distress.
you live with ghosts by Overdressedtokill (SkyeStan)
Skyeward sorta; semi-canon compliant s3 fic; 2824
Summary: superhero Skye confronts supervillain Ward. Except maybe he’s not that much of a supervillain, and maybe nothing’s ever black and white. And maybe Skye hates him. And maybe she doesn’t at all.
you and i can make our escape by thequeenofokay
Kara/Ward; post S2 fix it fic/ Castle crossover; 1560 words
Summary: ‘We were given a tipoff that you’re in danger,’ the officer says. He checks his notes. ‘Something about a past that you need to escape from.’
// in which kara palamas gets a new identity and a new job with the nypd.
chasing those lies (you spend it all) by shineyma
biospecialist; The Magical Place tag;2754 words
Summary: Jemma is summoned to the Hub three days into their team’s downtime.
Looks like a oneshot but I'd love to see this developed into a full story.
John Neufeld very cynically wrote a young adult novel in which he did HIS level best to make the teenagers of America scared to death of a basically harmless and insecure Quaker in the White House.
The basically harmless and insecure Quaker being Richard Nixon.
At least it's a more entertaining thing to worry about when my brain hits the Let's Worry About The Nearest Available Thing track.
Also I will eventually write my postapocalyptic-ish novel about the half-wild girl gang up against the weird/capricious AI that lives in the postorbital satellites and has weird plans for humanity, so there's that.
This is the second of a two-part post about feminism and the philosophies and vocabularies of “open stuff” (fandom, open source, etc.). Part I is at Crooked Timber, here, and I suggest you read that first.
Recently I was thinking about abstractions we open source software folks might borrow from fandom, particularly the online world of fan fiction and fanvids. I mean, I am already a rather fannish sort of open sourcer — witness when I started a love meme, a.k.a. an appreciation thread, on the MediaWiki developers’ mailing list. But I hadn’t, until recently, taken a systematic look at what models we might be able to translate into the FLOSS world. And sometimes we can more clearly see our own skeletons, and our muscles and weaknesses, by comparison.
Affirmational and transformational
While arguing in December that the adjectives “fan” and “political” don’t contradict each other, I said:
I think calling them fanwork/fanvids is a reasonable way to honor fandom’s both transformative and affirmational heritage
I got that phrasing (“affirmational/transformational”) from RaceFail, which is a word for many interconnected conversations about racism, cultural appropriation, discourse, and fandom that happened in early 2009. (In “Feminist Point of View: A Geek Feminism Retrospective”, Skud discussed how RaceFail influenced the DNA of Geek Feminism (see slide 15).) RaceFail included several discussions that X-rayed fandom and developed new models for understanding it. (And I do mean “discussions” — in many of the Dreamwidth links I’m about to mention, the bulk of thought happens in the comments.)
obsession_inc, in a RaceFail discussion, articulated the difference between “affirmational” and “transformational” fandom. Do you bask in canon, relaxing in the security of a hierarchy, or do you use it, without a clear answer about Who’s In Charge?
When we use these terms we’re talking about different modes: different approaches to source texts, to communities, to the Web, to the mass media industries, and to each other. It’s not just about whether you’re into pages of words or audio/video, and it’s not necessarily generational either:
So when I see the assertion that as a group, print-oriented old time fans don’t know how to deal with extensive cross-linked multi-threaded fast-paced discussion, all I can do is cough and mutter “bullshit”.
We have a long-standing heritage of transformational fandom — sometimes it surprises fans to know just how long we’ve been making fanvids, for instance. (What other heritages do I have that I don’t know enough about?)
And I’m mulling over what bits of FLOSS culture feel affirmational to me (e.g., deference to celebrities like Linus Torvalds) or transformational (e.g., the Open Source Bridge session selection process, where everyone can see each other’s proposals and favstar what they like). I’d love to hear more thoughts in the comments.
Expectations around socializing and bug reports
I reread the post and the hundreds of comments at oliviacirce’s “Admitting Impediments: Post-WisCon Posts, Part I, or, That Post I Never Made About RaceFail ’09”, where people talked about questions of power and discourse and expectations. For instance, one assessment of a particular sector of fandom: “non-critical, isolated, and valuing individual competition over hypertext fluency and social interaction.” This struck me as a truth about a divide within open source communities, and between different open source projects.
Jumping off of that came dysprositos’s question, “what expectations do we … have of each other that are not related to fandom but that are not expectations we would have for humanity at large?” (“Inessential weirdness” might be a useful bit of vocabulary here.) In this conversation, vehemently distinguishes between fans who possess “the willingness to be much more openly confrontational of a fannish object’s social defects” vs. those who tend to be “resigned or ironic in their observations of same. I don’t think that’s a difference in analysis, however, but a difference in audiencing, tactics, and intent among the analyzers.” When I saw this I thought of the longtime whisper network among women in open source, women warning each other of sexual abusers, and of the newer willingness to publicly name names. And I thought of how we learn, through explicit teaching and through the models we see in our environment, how to write, read, and respond to bug reports. Are you writing to help someone else understand what needs fixing so they can fix it, or are you primarily concerned with warning other users so they don’t get hurt? Do you care about the author’s feelings when you write a report that she’ll probably read?
Optimizing versus plurality
In fanfic and fanvids, we want more. There is no one true best fic or vid and we celebrate a diverse subjectivity and an ever-growing body of art for everyone to enjoy. We keep making and sharing stuff, delighting in making intricate gifts for each other. In the tech world I have praised !!Con for a similar ethos:
In the best fannish traditions, we see the Other as someone whose fandom we don’t know yet but may soon join. We would rather encourage vulnerability, enthusiasm and play than disrespect anyone; we take very seriously the sin of harshing someone else’s squee.
Sometimes we make new vocabulary to solve problems (“Dead Dove: Do Not Eat”) but sometimes we say it’s okay if the answer to a problem is to have quite a lot of person-to-person conversations. It’s okay if we solve things without focusing first on optimizing, on scaling. And I think the FLOSS world could learn from that. As I said in “Good And Bad Signs For Community Change, And Some Leadership Styles”, in the face of a problem, some people reflexively reach more for “make a process that scales” and some for “have a conversation with ____”. We need both, of course – scale and empathy.
Many of us are in open stuff (fanfic, FLOSS, and all the other nooks and crannies) because we like to make each other happy. And not just in an abstract altrustic way, but because sometimes we get to see someone accomplish something they couldn’t have before, or we get comments full of happy squee when we make a vid that makes someone feel understood. It feels really good when someone notices that I’ve entered a room, remembers that they value me and what I’ve contributed, and greets me with genuine enthusiasm. We could do a lot better in FLOSS if we recognized the value of social grooming and praise — in our practices and in time-consuming conversations, not just in new technical features like a friction-free Thanks button. A Yuletide Treasure gift exchange for code review, testing, and other contributions to underappreciated software projects would succeed best if it went beyond the mere “here’s a site” level, and grew a joyous community of practice around the festival.
I’m only familiar with my corners of fandom and FLOSS, and I would love to hear your thoughts on what models, values, practices, and intellectual frameworks we in open source ought to borrow from fandom. I’m particularly interested in places where pragmatism trumps ideology, in bits of etiquette, and in negotiating the balance between desires for privacy and for publicity.