ysabetwordsmith: Maryam Smith in a tophat (steamsmith)
This poem came out of the May 5, 2015 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] kelkyag and LJ user Marina_bonomi. It also fills the "socialize" square in my 5-2-15 card for the Wellness Toolbox Bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. It belongs to The Steamsmith series.

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... prevents people from becoming parents.  

Something else that caught my eye, however, is that almost 75% of women seeking abortion cite financial hardship as the primary reason.  Thus, if someone wished to reduce the number of abortions that happened, many avenues are open to reach that 75%.  Increase employment opportunities.  Raise wages.  Make health care more affordable, or better yet free at point of delivery; same for child care.  Provide paid leave for parents.  Those would be actions a caring society could take.  A caring individual could simply offer to pay expenses one-on-one, as some adoptive parents offer.  But these are all very rare tactics for organizations which purport to want a decrease in abortions.
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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.
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So GamerGate just shot videogames in the crotch

The academics are being stupid.  You do not ignore a part of history because you think it's pointless and some of the people involved are assholes.  You do not ignore it because it is "too new," it is easier to preserve then and your descendants will curse you for being so fucking slow and stupid as to let it fade away.  Ephemera are valuable precisely because  they usually get lost.  You would think more people would have learned this after thousands of years of history.  Apparently not.

But hey, this is what sexism gets: academic careers blocked, research and preservation not done, games therefore probably lost when they degrade because nobody knew how to save them.  Thanks, assholes, you just turned over the thirteenth card and blew up the universe, now everyone loses.


I am sulking at having to share a planet with these two groups of idiots.  The stupid, it burns like hydrogen.
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Because they were never going to pay you for it anyway.  If they were, and this is a category the author left out, they pay you anyway.  Subcategories include people who use free copies to decide if they want to buy a product, people who are reading the freebie while waiting for a paper copy to come out, and crowdfunding where folks read free stuff but have the option to sponsor more/faster/whatever if they wish.

The author is absolutely right that many people will pay for convenience over free stuff, if they have more money than time/energy or if the EROEI is better when paying.  This is why my year-end collections are now spiralbound at Staples instead of hand-punched at home.  Save us a day's backbreaking work?  TAKE MAH MONEY!

Conversely some people will tolerate extra effort for free stuff because they have more time/energy than money.  That's okay too.

The general rule is, make it easy to do the right thing and hard to do the wrong thing.  Reward good behavior, ignore or discourage bad behavior.

In crowdfunding, I have noticed that giving away things is an excellent way to get more money.  It's a little counterintuitive ... in a cash  economy.  But it is the fundamental premise of a gift  economy.  We say, "The gift must move."  You don't just accept the goodies and pocket them.  You give something to someone else, which can be a share of the first or the same kind of thing or something totally different.  The idea is to keep the energy moving.  A lot of folks in crowdfunding route part of their incoming funds back to other projects crowdfunded by someone else.  I can only afford this sporadically but I still do it.

Another consideration is relationship.  When people like a creative person, they will throw money  without even being asked.  But if they feel their money is going to a big corporation instead of the author, they're less enthusiastic about that.  They get downright huffy if they feel like they're getting screwed, not getting their money's worth -- maybe the prices are jacked up or the product isn't very good.  So that's a big reason why some people pirate.  It's not just an economic issue that people can't afford a product or feel it's overpriced.  It's a relationship breakdown between provider and customer.  Consider how very badly the music, movie, publishing, etc. industries have treated their customers.  Well, now the bottlenecks are coming loose and people have other alternatives.  Newsflash: if people hate you and get a chance to leave or hit back, they will TAKE IT.
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 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.
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This article uses statistics to show that women perform far better in self-publishing where there is no arbitrary glass ceiling, which means that the discrimination against women in traditional publishing is still very high.  Well, duh.  I've been saying a lot of this for years.  I've done the traditional route and I've done crowdfunding.  Traditional is like a sewing machine: great if you can get it to work, but it's finicky and a pain in the ass.  Crowdfunding is like hand-sewing, my actual output is much faster, the quality is better, and people stand around going, "Holy cow, how did you make all this stuff?!"
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This poem came out of the March 3, 2015 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from Shirley Barrette and LJ user My_partner_doug. It has been sponsored by [personal profile] janetmiles.

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This poem came out of the March 3, 2015 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from Shirley Barrette. It has been sponsored by [personal profile] janetmiles.

"The Erasure of Unemployment"

The loss of a job is
also the loss of self --
tossed away, discarded,
abandoned on a shelf.

Nothing is left secure,
and nothing still feels safe --
not home or friends or food --
those losses have to chafe.

It is no small thing when
jobs define who we are --
losing one's the worst thing
that can happen, by far.

* * *


Unemployment shuts people out of society and ravages their sense of self-worth.  There are tips for maintaining self-esteem during unemployment.

ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
I was pleased to see some articles about diversity today.  This one discusses skin-toned fashions such as hosiery and shoes being expanded to cover more shades of nude.  This one presents a department store that's planning to offer gender-neutral clothing and organization, instead of men's/women's; alas, a temporary showing, but it's a step in the right direction.
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 Broadband internet access has been declared a utility.  I am pleased, and a little surprised that they actually got something right.
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The Speculative Literature Foundation is offering a grant for working-class and impoverished writers.

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This article argues that the target market of superhero flix is actually women.  How many times have we seen Ollie climb that salmon ladder now?  Yeah that shoulder pr0n never gets old.  I am amused that this show caters to the assumed female gaze as well as the assumed male gaze.  :D  So maybe the producers of superhero entertainment altogether should consider catering more to women's interests.
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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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Recently some of my fans asked me how to reach various k-fan perk levels. My k-fans are folks who spend $100+ in a year on poetry. (There are lower perks too, and you see some of the public ones in the active fishbowls.) This is based on the "1000 True Fans" model. I didn't like calling only the biggest donors 'true' fans, hence k-fan referring to the 1000 target.

These are the current k-fan perks:

$100 -- collection of a single poetic series (includes written but unpublished poems)
$300 -- half-year collection (your choice of Jan-June or July-Dec)
$500 -- full-year collection (everything published in the Poetry Fishbowl)

I start counting in January and then I tally the numbers after the Holiday Poetry Sale, so now is a good time to look at your budget for the upcoming year if you want to budget for poetry. Based on that schedule, it's easier for most people to hit a donation goal if they start in January than if they come in later. Here are some ways this could break down from a yearly to a monthly level ...

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[personal profile] haikujaguar has written a couple of posts on artistic business, "The Serpent's Whisper" and "I Am an Indie Midlister (and That's Okay)." These look at some ups and downs of alternative publishing and personal goals.
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Here's an article about music and crowdfunding.  There's a very difficult balance between creativity and survival.  Too much idealism and you starve.  Too much commercialism and you produce dreck.  So too are there two poles of audience interaction: too low a price tag and the artist can't afford to keep working, too high a price tag and the audience either can't afford to buy or won't because they feel it's a ripoff.

Culture is an exchange.  In order to continue, a society must meet the survival and social needs of its citizens.  They need ways of supporting themselves, interacting, and expressing ideas.  What people value tends to continue.  What they do not value will be hidden or lost.  So if you don't support art, then you wind up with very little art, of poorer quality.  If you don't make sure people have enough to live on, then not only do they suffer, but they can't afford to buy stuff and your economy tanks.  Not everything has to be a cash exchange, that's a relatively recent phenomenon historically speaking.  But there must be an exchange of value and people must get their needs met.

This is a time of great challenge and great potential.  A lot of people are getting into creative work because that's all they CAN do -- they aren't permitted a day job by the people who control the businesses.  They still need to survive, so they scrabble for what they can do that DOESN'T require someone else's permission to have a job.  That's often art, music, writing, things that are less controlled than businesses you need an expensive license even to attempt.   There are business models now that help connect creators directly to the audience in ways that cut out middlemen and route more money to the people making stuff.  But the audience can be a stingy bastard sometimes.  That's especially true if people don't have enough to live on, or if they've had their pockets picked so much they FEEL like that don't have enough even after they've managed to scrape up more.  The pervasive sense of threat, that failure and starvation are just a day's bad luck and a few weeks of unemployment away, erodes the cohesion of society as a whole.

What can you do?  Think mindfully about what it costs you to make things and how much your talent is worth.  Think mindfully about how much other people's work is worth to you, and whether you can afford that.  If money is tight, which it often is when a few people are hogging so damn much of it, then look for alternatives.  You might not have cash to pay for what you want, but you may have something the other person wants that you could trade.  Money is only valuable when there's enough to get the job done.  If there isn't, it's useless as a medium of exchange.  But you always have your skills.  You have resources.  Other people have different ones.  So trade.

And value each other's hard work, because somebody has to, and it's painfully clear that the people at the top of the heap care fuckall about you, art, or the sustainability of society.

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This is a gorgeous piece of activist animation, complete with Haida language and culture, reminding people to protect the waters so that our descendants can live.
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... have this problem where they can only sell stories that white people like.

Fuck that noise.  I like my literature with diversity.  I grew up reading books that got me kicked out of class.  We need small press and crowdfunding and other alternative options so that writers can write in their own voice and culture without being stifled.  Tell ALL the stories!


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