ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Here's an essay on how Muslims could exercise freedom of religion in Indiana.  I think it's great to annoy bigots.

I also think that's all it will accomplish.  People outside mainstream Christianity have repeatedly tried to use religion to justify both positive and negative acts.  They lose.  Privilege is for the dominant group only. Doesn't matter if you're right, only if you have power.  Muslim cabbies have repeatedly tried to get permission to refuse rides to people who are drunk and/or carrying packages of alcohol, because drinking is against their religion.  The answer has always been that cabbies are a public service and must serve everyone equally, so they're only allowed to refuse service if someone is violent or abusive (or broke).
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
When you're trying to a support a group of people that you don't directly belong to, and some organization that purports to support that group is quite unpopular with the people who actually have that trait, then it's helpful to believe them and cut your ties to that organization. If you care why the organization is aggravating the people it claims to help, by all means do some research to find out why. But trust your trait-having friends to know when someone is trying to screw them.

In this case, it's about April as Autism Awareness Month, and the organization Autism Speaks -- which despite its name is not by autistic people but by neurotypical people who work with or are related to people on the spectrum. Really not the same thing at all. Actual neurovariant people have all kinds of beef with AS and a little digging will turn up their explanations of why. Don't pester them about it, lots of them are tired of repeating that conversation.

Read more... )
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Here's an essay about what it's like to be a conservative in F&SF

Yeah so, I have some conservative friends.  Mostly my politics lean liberal, but on some issues, my stance aligns with conservatives (although I rarely hold it for the same reasons as others).  That essay?  Is the kind of thing that contributed to me not going back to WisCon, because I don't like when people pick on my friends.  I want fandom and publishing to be inclusive.  If they're not, then I get pissy and don't want to go to those parties.  I mean if I wanted to do the clique thing I would hang out with mundanes. :/

The instigating topic, awards ... meh.  I haven't been impressed with Hugos and Nebulas.  Rhysling, Lambda, and Tiptree are more likely to have something with higher literary merit in my observation.  But it's easy for people to get into arguments over awards, and I'm just not into the drama llama race.  I would rather read books than pick fights over them.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
This article takes a tongue-in-cheek look at passing privilege and the issue of identifying who may legally be discriminated against.  How do you "tell" if someone is homosexual?  Sometimes the person advertises it, sometimes it may be inferred from clues, but most of the time it is not so obvious.  This of course raises the issue of misconceptions; many cissexual, heterosexual people have been beaten or even murdered because someone mistakenly thought they were queer.  So too, Indiana will quickly discover that legalizing discrimination against homosexuals will also hit some heterosexuals.

And then there are those of us whose warning label should say, "Activist: push to start."  (I actually have that on a red button.)  Sure, there are times when I use passing privilege of various types because it's easy and I don't have an infinite supply of spoons, or when I believe that acting up would be dangerous.  But there are other times when I'll act up even if it is dangerous, and if I judge it safe, I will make a great big hairy scene.  Never get into a blurting contest with an annoyed bard, you will lose.  Because I can handle the kind of heat that bigots give off when someone objects to them being bigots, and not everyone can, and I want them to know that civilized people won't let them act like giant assholes without at least calling them out for it.

You can readily identify a queer person who does something like, "Oh gosh, you have a sign that says you don't serve queer people in here.  I guess I'll leave this big basket of stuff on the counter and take my $96 queer dollars to a store that is not run by giant assholes."

Just because I'm currently wearing a female body and in a permanent relationship with someone in a male body does not make me any less queer.  It's just a little harder to see from this angle, until I open my mouth.  As long as someone mistaking me for a heterosexual woman doesn't cause an issue, meh, I usually don't care.  Random strangers don't need to know my weirdnesses.  But when it IS an issue?  Open mouth, fire full broadside.  

This is why I got beef with people who claim that privilege is inescapable.  It's not.  It really, really  is not.  In fact it's a lot more frangible than people realize.  You can very easily lose your privilege if someone else mistakes you for a member of a disadvantaged group or if you are forcibly attached to it for some reason.  You can also choose to drop your privilege in the crapper and flush it along with all the other shit you don't need, just by voluntarily associating with disadvantaged people or by verbally dispensing with it when people offer you privilege that you don't want to accept.  Bigots will enthusiastically diss you for any or all of that.  

It's not all or nothing, of course.  If your association is not obvious, then you may have the option of picking your battles.  That lets you stay reasonably safe while still making a difference.  You might flush one privilege today and a different one tomorrow.  You might wax and wane your advertisement of hidden traits based on how much energy you have for a given cause or whether it makes you feel bad to hide (or reveal) what you are.  It's your life, your choice.

Just understand that it is a choice, just as bigotry or tolerance are choices.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
 [personal profile] cmcmck is a true historian, noting the value of ephemera in history.  See some beautiful photos of graffiti about Charlie Hebdo.  This is raw cultural material.  It's not elite.  It's not meant to last.  It's a snapshot of the human soul in one moment of emotion.  Like a breath of mist on a cold winter day, it is there and gone in an instant.

Unless someone catches it.  This is what historians are for.  We are timebinders.  We see, so that humanity may know.  We witness, so that humanity may remember.

Every tidbit of information is important, although some are more famous or influential than others.  Watch.  Listen.  Record.  For what is considered important today is not always the same as what will be valued or studied tomorrow.  It is ours to keep, so that others who come after us may explore more of our time than we have left of those before us.  Because we know these things matters.

This is what we're here for.

And Je suis Charlie?  It doesn't mean we're all at equal  risk of being murdered for our beliefs right now.  It acknowledges that today they're coming for someone else, but tomorrow they could come for us, if we don't stand up and stop them.  Je suis Charlie,  unless we make a world in which it's not okay to murder people for annoying you.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
One of the best presentations I have ever seen

I will add one caveat: becoming (or making someone) pregnant CAN have permanent, life-changing, psychological effects for some people along all possible paths.  You can be happy, sad, or have mixed feelings about abortion, adoption, or parenting.  It just hits people differently.  Even a pregnancy scare  that doesn't turn out to be true can have a big impact.  It's a life event.  As the post suggests, a supportive environment helps make this a learning experience and not a trauma.

Also, want to be a hero?  Support a friend anywhere along any of these life paths.  Sometimes you might be the only help they have.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Here's an essay about hidden disabilities in speculative fiction and real life. It makes some interesting points about people's assumptions and different levels of ability.

Read more... )
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
 My partner Doug tipped me to a link about the backlash to the anti-gay backlash to marriage equality.  I am pleased to see some resistance kicking up before we wind up with a resegregated and completely dysfunctional economy.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Here is an illustrated discussion about racism in comics. First, it's an example of the peskiness that people of color deal with all the time. Second, it's a sharp reminder to build clear character sheets if you are working on a team, and what can go wrong if you're careless about that or change things over time. Whitewashing tends to annoy people a lot.

Read more... )
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Let's talk about karma tribbles. Karma is a kind of mystical balance that tracks positive and negative energy based on the good or bad things a person does. Think of it like a relationship bank account with the Universe. Tribbles were originally introduced as tiny alien critters on Star Trek, and the term has since broadened to small fuzzy things in general. Now put the two together...

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Mar. 17th, 2015 05:08 am
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
A very catchy t-shirt design.  

Yes, I know, some people hate any hint of superpowers/disability.  This is not the project for you.

Some other people are into superpowers/disability, or disability/activism, or "even after all the weird stuff I've survived I never developed powers, so fuck it, I'll just become a superhero anyway."  If that's you, check it out.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
 ... even if they have to learn a new language to do it.  Aww!

Yeah this would totally happen in Terramagne.  It may be that T-Turkey is looking at the likes of Iran, Iraq, Israel, etc. and wanting not to be That Guy.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Grand Prairie Friends is trying to raise money to buy 91 acres of forested property in Coles County, Illinois.  It's adjacent to two other large parcels already owned by the same organization, making it useful for protecting species vulnerable to habitat fragmentation.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
So there's a petition to set up the new MCU Spiderman as Miles Morales.  It's a longshot, but I am so rooting for this.  I haven't even bothered to watch the latest Spiderman movies, the trailers looked so awful; I prefer the earlier ones.  But if we could have Miles?  TAKE MAH MONEY!

I will never cease to be impressed by the fact that Miles came out of someone at Marvel saying, "I wonder what the demographics of New York are like today," looking up some actual facts, and then responding to the huge mixed race population by giving Miles an African/Hispanic heritage.  :D  
ysabetwordsmith: Sheba with parrot wings (fledgling grace)
This poem is from the February 3, 2015 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] chanter_greenie. It also fills the "wingfic" square in my 1-3-15 card for the [community profile] trope_bingo fest and the "You give me wings to fly" square in my 1-31-15 card for the Valentine's Day Bingo Fest. Based on an audience poll, this poem has been sponsored out of the general fund. It belongs to the series Fledgling Grace.

Read more... )
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
The Speculative Literature Foundation is offering a grant for working-class and impoverished writers.

Read more... )
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
This poem is from the January 6, 2015 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] stardreamer and [personal profile] siliconshaman. It also fills the "accepting responsibility" square in my 12-30-14 card for the Rites of Passage fest. This poem has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. It belongs to the series Polychrome Heroics, and is a direct sequel to "In Dublin's Fair City."

Read more... )
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
In your own space, talk about what you bring to fandom. It can be something tangible, or not. Leave a comment in this post saying you did it. Include a link to your post if you feel comfortable doing so.

I'm a writer.  I write original and fannish things.  I also make whole new worlds.  Some of those, like Schrodinger's Heroes, are explicitly intended for other people to play in.

I'm an editor.  I give feedback on friends' work.  I enjoy helping folks improve their writing.

I'm a reviewer.  I recommend cool things so more people can appreciate them.

I'm a scholar.  This helps me spot patterns, some of which are very useful, like describing the developmental arc of identity literature.  Also it's gotten me into putting reference links after my writing, so if I bring up a difficult topic, you're not left holding the bag, there are resources for dealing with it.

I'm an activist.  I use literature to show people what is possible.  Pretty much anything that is an idea or practice rather than an object or power can feasibly be transported from one universe to another.  So I look for things that can make the world a better place and bring them here.  Other times I point out the flaws in what people are doing here.  I fill in gaps where some people are not represented, or are portrayed negatively.

I am a bard by talent, vocation, and profession.  This is what I am; this is what I do.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Community Supported Agriculture is a way of eating local, independently produced food -- mainly vegetables but some CSAs also offer fruit, herbs, even animal products such as dairy, meat, honey, or wool.  Usually the signup season is winter or early spring, so now is the time to look if you are interested; here's one example of a price list based on time and share size.  Consider the pros and cons, and how to choose a CSA.  Search for a CSA in your area.


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