Topic of the week
What's your favourite holiday? (Been thinking about this because of a thing I'll put in a comment.)
What I've been up to
A short work week, and a quiet one, and trying to line up ducks for various other projects (including a "Wow, my June is busy.")
( Reminders and tips for making this post flow better )
( House rules )
"Jesus, who began praying this psalm [psalm 22] from the cross, must have suffered the ultimate abandonment: doubt that his Father--who had always been a source of joy and strength--loved him. Fully human, not just play-acting, he descended to the depths of human exile. Yet the psalms have a remarkable way of pirouetting from one emotion to another, often from depth to peak.
"Kathy McGovern presents a positive interpretation in her blog 'The Story and You.' After Jesus, in agony, calls out the beginning verse: 'My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?,' some women 'standing at a distance' respond, 'in synagogue style to his introduction by reciting the rest of it, all 31 verses, including the triumphant end, when the suffering one proclaims that 'all will proclaim the Lord to generations still to come, his righteousness to a people yet unborn.'"
-- Kathy Coffey, "A Reflection on Good Friday", 2017-04-11
[A blessed Good Friday to everyone celebrating Easter weekend, and chag sameach to everyone about to start celebrating Passover tonight!]
This is where we are in the current fannish drama about "underage characters":
"aging up a character and continuing to say/commission/draw/write nsfw with them in it isn't okay, because you still looked at a MINOR, an ACTUAL CHILD, and found them attractive, and made them an adult to try and justify your attraction to them..."
(It continues. Gets worse. Is followed by comments from other people, with screencaps of other... fascinating perspectives on relationships between characters of different ages.)
Family Feud by codenamed-queenie, Batfamily, short and hilarious. Gen, no warnings.
How scantron tests are made
How To Track Anonymous Asks on Tumblr, using "view selection source" and "view page source" to find out who sent them.
Writing Tips (also tabletop RPG tips)
Estimating walking travel time (In good circumstances, "an adult can do about 30 miles (approximately 48km) in a day.")
Nightstand. Top drawer is open showing medications and a wrist brace. The top of the stand has a blue lamp, a bottle of lotion, a glass of water, a folded handkerchief, and some meds. My iPod sits on the edge; I use this for an alarm clock when needed, and for listening to "rain sounds" on youtube to help me fall asleep.
Day stand. Contains: My phone, a box of tissues, Icy Hot cream, Lidocaine cream, a glass of lemonade, and 3 little microfiber rags that I use to clean my glasses. Also a pencil. Stuff accumluates on this table and I have to clear it off regularly.
Katherine discusses writing for NCIS: New Orleans.
Pillofort immediately started looking for a new domain extension. They found one, and have begun the process of shifting over. The site's been cloned; logins work; posting doesn't. They'll keep the .io addresses for at least a year (unless the NIC.IO staffers happen to notice them and cancel it in the meantime), but the whole site will be officially moving soon, like this month sometime.
I'm going to edit my previous PF posts to use the .social domain for the links, so they'll still work in the long run.
... On the one hand, glad they're doing something about this. On the other, how am I supposed to trust they can manage user conflicts and TOS edge cases and the business hassles of running a social platform, when they didn't bother to look at their domain host's content rules.
They come out to 3 pages when pasted into Word. It's less than a thousand words long. And it says, "No .IO domain may be used, directly or indirectly, for any purpose that is sexual or pornographic or that is against the statutory laws of any Nation."
Now, there's some possible quibbling there - I really, REALLY don't want to have to restrict all my content to comply with every nation's blasphemy laws. And maybe "no sexual purposes" means "no hookup sites and no sex toy shops." But it sure looks like it means "no explicit videos." And Pillowfort's staff just... didn't notice, when they were picking a domain for their new social media platform, that this one bans the stuff that Tumblr refugees are interested in hosting.
Short essays, current affairs, hot takes:
- Catherine Hickley (The Art Newspaper), Bonn library recovers 600 books missing since the second world war
- Karen Middleton (The Saturday Paper), CSIRO steps back on Adani approval. TL;DR, environment minister is over-stating the claim that CSIRO approved the groundwater plan. In fact they answered a very specific set of questions, and gave qualified responses.
Subset: On Cathedrals and Cultural Heritage
In case you live under a rock, Notre Dame cathedral caught fire on Monday evening and burned throughout the night.
- Here is one of many twitter videos of the crowd on the banks of the Seine singing Ave Maria as the cathedral burns. I still can't watch without crying.
Ave Maria pic.twitter.com/lb6Y5XV05a— Ignacio Gil (@Inaki_Gil) April 15, 2019
- You may have heard by now that the main structure survived (the roof beams burned, and took with them the lead roof, and the 19th c grotesques, but the stone nave vaulting survived). Here is Matt Gabrielle on medieval architecture and fire. TL,DR that's no accident, a significant motivation for rib vaulting is it survives fire better than barrel vaulting. (NB Gabrielle is now tweeting this with the caveat that his statements on rebuilding need to be qualified with a call to reckon with the structure's history, including the nasty parts.)
- Damian Fleming has a good thread about the craft of roofing, and how we should feel for the unfortunate restoration worker(s) who accidentally lit a spark in the attic:
son of a roofer medievalist checking in with a wee thought: All I could think yesterday was about the workers involved in the restoration work; fire can possibly be pinpointed to a single mistake made by one worker. I'm sure there are dozens of workers associated with cathedral+— Damian #1cf, for lent Fleming (@FW_Medieval) April 16, 2019
- Luke Gabrielle (ThinkProgress), Decoding the far right's language about Notre Dame and 'Western Civilisation'
- Nayuka Gorrie (Guardian AU), The government wants to bulldoze my inheritance: 800-year old sacred trees. Same age, give or take, as Notre Dame. One's a globally mourned accident; the other collatoral damage to a road expansion.
- Related to which: Protest camp site, including donation page. I don't like using gofundme, but... money where my mouth is, and all that. Sent through what I think of as my Hot Take Fee today, and intend to make a more substantive contribution next payday.
I had a lot of feels all over twitter about the destructions we DON'T mourn, but here, here's a fabulously timed piece from the previous Friday:
Also I heard from Facebook that the last Yangtze Softshell Turtle died on the same day as Notre Dame burned.
Longreads - essay, memoir, natural history, other
- Lane Sainty (Buzzfeed Aus), How The Geoffrey Rush #MeToo Defamation Case Went Disastrously Wrong For His Accuser. Starting with the fact that she had to discuss it in court in the first place, which she never wanted.
- Kevin Sieff and Carolyn Van Houten (Washington Post), Her ancestors fled to Mexico to escape slavery 170 years ago. She still sings in English to this day.. Photo-essay focusing on the matriarch of the Mascogos tribe, descendents of African slaves who fled America. The tribe now speak Spanish, and seek work across the border in the US, but matriach Lucia Vazquez Valdez retains a trove of hymns in English, passed down through generations. There's audio. It's gorgeous.
- S. Bear Bergman (Ask Bear), How do I know when to stop trying to fix myself and everything else.
Some people are just do-it-make-it-fix-it oriented, and others have other skills and talents. That’s okay. The world needs its capable stewards as much as its disruptors. Some people are making glorious impassioned quotable speeches on the steps of a venerable monument and some people are bookkeeping for the revolution. All of these people are valuable to the work of justice and liberation. Let’s make sure we are valuing people for what they’re good at and their choices to lend some of that time and talent, whatever it looks like, toward the goal of a better world instead of always valorizing the person doing the face work. The one who spends their Sunday coding and categorizing a list of doors to knock on for the local municipal election doesn’t get much recognition, but without them the entire enterprise crumbles. Let’s be sure we have a clear sense who the entire iceberg, is what I’m saying. For everyone who is at the protest or action with a cheeky sign there’s someone who spent the entire previous day meticulously serving as an expert witness about sexual harassment taking a needed break with whiskey and comic books.
I'm a little confused about how Bergman drew the conclusion the LW was primarily concerned about social justice inaction - that's really not the implication I drew from LW's frustration with people who were inactively happy with where they are and what they're doing. But hey, it's good advice anyway.
- Joshua Mostafa (Overland), Mistaking symptoms for causes: the link between moralism and anti-semitism.
A sensible place to begin thinking about the problem is to consider the nature of contemporary antisemitism and the ways it differs from other types of racism and xenophobia, as well as from older forms of antisemitism – and therefore might not be adequately addressed by generic condemnations of ‘all forms of racism’.
Racist ideologies provided an intellectual cover for the depredations of European colonialism and the slave trade; as such, they presented the racialised Other as inferior, subhuman, irrational, irresponsible, incorrigibly violent and therefore in need of subjugation and oppression. Antisemitism, on the other hand imagines ‘the Jews’ not as inferior ( but as a global cabal of master manipulators )
I have two qualms here: one, not particularly serious, but it baffles me that an Australian publication would run an article opening with an analysis of 'The Labour Party' without insisting on a specification of which labour party where. Yes, someone paying close attention can tell that the U means it's not the Australian Labor Party, but there are other countries than the UK with Labour-with-a-U parties! NZ, for one!
Second qualm: I saw some Australian-twitter mutterings this week about it being a mistake to theorise contemporary anti-semitism separate from islamophobia, and I wonder if they were subtweeting this article. Even if not, I would be interested in seeing this article dissected by someone who holds that opinion.
- Peter Greste (SMH, speaking as director of the Alliance for Journalists' Freedom), Julian Assange is no journalist; don't confuse his arrest with press freedom.
Instead of sorting through the hundreds of thousands of files to seek out the most important or relevant and protect the innocent, he dumped them all onto his website, free for anybody to go through, regardless of their contents or the impact they might have had. Some exposed the names of Afghans who had been giving information on the Taliban to US forces.
Journalism demands more than simply acquiring confidential information and releasing it unfiltered onto the internet for punters to sort through. It comes with responsibility.
To effectively fulfil the role of journalism in a democracy, there is an obligation to seek out what is genuinely in the public interest and a responsibility to remove anything that may compromise the privacy of individuals not directly involved in a story or that might put them at risk.
Useful links (for varying definitions of 'useful')
- Neli at Delicious Meets Healthy, How to make perfect hard boiled eggs. Hard boiled eggs, like mashed potato, are one of those things I know how to do in theory, but there are so many variations I have never memorised a good one, and often end up picking a Terrible One. The hard boiled egg recipe in The Commonsense Cookery Book is particularly bad. But this one is not bad! I have bookmarked it and now I have eggs for workdays!
- The Thesaurus Linguae Latinae is now available open-access. Let the angelic chorus rejoice.
Comments policy: As per this post. With the added note that, if you have a lot of Feels in the vein of 'stop policing grief! value all sacred sites equally', take them somewhere bloody else until you've learned how cultural hegemony works. I spent yesterday talking down a white guy on Twitter from the claim that 'people' (read: non-white commentators, and those white twittizens who like myself had *complicated feelings*) were 'creating enmity' or... some fucking thing. I have no spare energy to rehearse that, there's plenty of actual opinion pieces out there today (and if you can't find one, refer to the ones from #weareallparis in 2015, it's the same basic principle except with heritage instead of terrorism).
In 2018 only about one in four books I reviewed were by white dudes. On the other hand, that's still about sixty books by white dudes, which is more books by white dudes than got reviewed by any one
of Analog, IO9, Asimov's, Interzone, F&SF, Vector, SFS, NYRSF, Foundation, Lightspeed or Cascadia Subduction Zone in the most year for which I have stats.