ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
This poem is spillover from the September 1, 2015 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] alexseanchai, LJ users Ng_moonmoth, and My_partner_doug. It also fills the "lyrical" square in my 8-31-15 card for the Tones Bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by Ng_moonmoth.

Warning: This poem contains combat scenes described in moderate detail.

Note that I have used color-coding to help distinguish the threads as they are braided together, so if you can't see colors this will be harder to grasp. However! This type of poem is meant to be read aloud, and all you need to make the braid pop out in audio version is have three people read it.

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ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Here's an interesting post on convention panels about diversity. Now for some further discussion of particular points ...

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ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Here's another essay about the Hugo Awards and whether science fiction is devolving into social justice stories. 

Devolving?  Really?  The genre that began with Mary Wallstonecraft  Shelley's scathing condemnation of a protagonist who was everything society lauded and also an imbecilic dick?  The genre where Gene Roddenberry cast his bridge crew with all the colors?  The genre that has, basically, made a profession out of screaming "NOT THAT DOOR!" at society and occasionally giving us a Tomorrowland-esque vision of awesome the future could be if humanity would only pull its head out of its ass?

Shut.  The fuck.  Up.
ysabetwordsmith: (gold star)
Today I discovered Raising Dion. It's about a single mother of color, who does not have superpowers, raising a son who does. Gorgeous art, adorable characterization, attentive ethics, really cool power use, positive family values -- all stuff I love. You can download a free PDF of the first issue, or buy a print-on-demand hardcopy here. Regrettably I could not find a plain donation button, but the hardcopy is only $4 so that should fit most budgets. If you want to support them more, you could always buy extras for some friends.

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ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Here's another good post about trigger warnings and why they are valuable.

When you include notes about content, and your policies, that helps people make more informed and mindful decisions about their lives.  When you include tools -- you may ask for an alternate assignment, here is the quiet room, this is a handout of coping skills because this class handles historic atrocities, if you are having lots of trouble please visit in my office so we can discuss it, etc. -- that teaches people how to handle challenges in effective ways that build resilience.  There are rocks, but you can climb over them.  Here is a rope.

When you do not include notes, you deny people the chance to select the classes that are the best fit for them and to cope with materials presented in progress.  There are rocks and people are dropped on their heads.  If you sustain a concussion it is because you are a pussy, not because the rocks are sharp.

When you include notes but not tools, and allow people to dodge material without compensating in any way, that  is coddling.  The rocks are taken out of the way.  Now nobody can learn how to climb rocks in a relatively safe environment.

The complaints about trigger warnings basically say: "It is okay to hurt people.  It is not okay if you want people NOT to hurt you.  Just get used to being hurt, you pussy."  Because really?  If you have triggers, there is no getting away from them.  The world whacks them all the time.  Especially if they are about sex or violence or both.  And pressuring people to remain silent about being hurt just gets more people hurt, which is also not okay.

When you put content notes or trigger warnings on a class, story, or other material it says: "I am choosing to deal with controversial topics.  I want to understand what happens in the world and hopefully that will help make it a better place.  I want to make it as accessible as possible so that more people can deal with these topics in a safe way."  You don't go into shop class and NOT have safety goggles, I hope.  If you're talking about things like rape or mass murder, and especially about some crackpot thinking those are jolly good ideas, then folks need to know that appropriate safety measures are in place.

Seriously, look around: If there are women, about a quarter of them have experienced sexual violence personally and the rest have at least fended off smarmy approaches. Probably at least one or two of the men are survivors too.  If there are Jews, they will be sensitive about the Holocaust and probably Israeli politics.  If there are black people, they will be sensitive about slavery and racism.  If there are poor people, they will probably be touchy about some money issues.  And if the group is a monoculture, that's likely to cause problems on its own and is not an ideal learning environment.  Explaining the parameters for handling challenges is just part of running a smooth class or other activity.  It is not fun for anybody if somebody has a panic attack because they got blindsided.  It is not effective if people blank out because the material is ghastly and no coping methods are available.

Of course, not everyone is equally good at listing triggers, and it does take time.  So if that's expected at college, you have to allow the extra time and make sure there's a backup person for teachers who aren't good at it.  (Inaccurate warnings are worse than useless.)  If you're doing it as a writer, you can just ask your audience to tell you if they think more warnings are advisable.


ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Here is a detailed analysis of some proposed changes to the Hugo Award rules as regards nomination and voting.  The intent is to discourage a repetition of slate voting which the sad/rabid puppies used to tamper with this year's voting.  Looks like there's some potential for improvement.

What annoys me is that a small number of people have caused problems for a large number of people, and disrupted an established award, just to promote their own limited agenda.  Seriously, if you want to bark up some group of writers or works, you should really just launch a new award for that.  This is why we have thematic awards like the Tiptree, Lambda, Chesley, Pegasus, etc.  It's why I looked at early crowdfunding and put up the Rose & Bay Awards because at the time most others banned or were hostile to crowdfunded works and I didn't want to wait around for someone else to start one.  Trying to hijack an existing, general award to promote a narrow theme is not just rude, it's lazy.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
... are in, with commentary on implications. The sad and rabid puppies have been whacked on the nose with a newspaper, and hopefully will not piddle on the carpet again.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
 ... but this time, against a German guy.

This is why we can't have nice things.  Not just because they reject someone for being foreign or coming from somewhere they don't like.  But because he's trying to do cultural outreach to give people a glimpse of another lifestyle, and he gets attacked for it.  Racism persists because the people who try to overcome it get beaten down, run out of town, or occasionally murdered.  It's very disturbing.
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
This poem came out of the August 4, 2015 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired and sponsored by LJ user Ng_moonmoth. It also fills the "dancing" square in my 5-20-15 card for the Wellness Toolbox Bingo fest. This poem belongs to the series Polychrome Heroics.

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ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
... from the Crazy Horse Surrender Ledger

As the article suggests, some of these were probably jokes, while others may have been power names from a sacred clown.  But there's another possibility not mentioned.  In a culture without jails, people need a way to discipline those who misbehave; and when their language uses descriptive names, it's an obvious way.  In many tribes, one horribly foolish, hilariously memorable moment can saddle you with a name that may take decades to get rid of.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
This article succinctly explains why Israel is a danger to itself and others.

Based on this analysis, Avigail Abarbanel believes “Israel cannot be reasoned with”, that it “is a traumatised society and it is therefore very dangerous.” Applying family therapy models, she compares Israel to the abusive husband, the Palestinians to the abused wife and the United States to the enabling neighbor.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Marvel is picking up Red Wolf again.  It's representation, but far from ideal.  I've listed my Native American superheroes here.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
See an animated map of the slave trade.  If you pause the animation, you can click on any ship for details.

Around 2 million Africans died on the slave ships alone, and more before and after that.  Never forget.
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
This poem is from the July 21, 2015 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from Shirley Barrette. It also fills the "primary colors" square in my 6-10-15 card for the [community profile] genprompt_bingo fest, and it fills the "Asked to give public safety lecture -- right after incident" square in my Superhero Bingo Card. This poem has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. It belongs to the series Polychrome Heroics.

WARNING: This poem touches on some sensitive topics. Highlight to read the detailed warnings, some of which are spoilers. It features bullying, vile language, discrimination against assorted groups, willing and unwilling changes in hair color, nonsexual intimacies, navigation through shifting identity, boundary issues, violation of body autonomy, canon-typical violence, emotional stress, and other challenges. On the whole, though, there's more fluff than angst, and it ends on a high note. If this is touchy territory for you, consider your headspace before clicking through.

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