heresluck: (nashville)
[personal profile] heresluck
I've finished watching Nashville S2 and am working on a post about it (trying to write it before all the details blur together!), but since it's not done yet I am going to go ahead and post this non-spoilery reaction.

Short version: I liked it!

details under a cut to spare the uninterested )

and one brief vague-but-technically-spoilery comment on the end of the season )
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

On Friday, WisCon posted a statement that read in part:

The WisCon committee has completed our harassment review process with regard to Jim Frenkel, who engaged in two reported violations of WisCon’s general and harassment policies at WisCon 37, in 2013 … WisCon will (provisionally) not allow Jim Frenkel to return for a period of four years (until after WisCon 42 in 2018). This is “provisional” because if Jim Frenkel chooses to present substantive, grounded evidence of behavioral and attitude improvement between the end of WisCon 39 in 2015 and the end of the four-year provisional period, WisCon will entertain that evidence. We will also take into account any reports of continued problematic behavior.

Natalie Luhrs has posted a roundup of some reactions. There’s a great deal of anger and frustration over poor communications, procedural failures, and more. I’m still reading, but my initial reaction is that the whole thing has been a mess that went rolling down a hill of mistakes, snowballing into a giant boulder of crap.

I’m still catching up on the conversation, and a lot of people have weighed in more thoughtfully and eloquently than I could. (See Natalie’s roundup for links.) One thing I wanted to talk about, however, was the “provisional” aspect of WisCon’s statement. Because my initial gut-level reaction was that it seemed reasonable to allow for the possibility of growth and change.

A little while back, I responded to an article titled, “The Naive Idiocy of Teaching Rapists Not to Rape.” The thing is, rapists can learn not to rape. People can and do change, especially when they’re confronted with consequences and forced to look at their own actions.

I’ve worked with college students, mostly men, in an early intervention program where we tried to help people recognize and change their own aggressive, boundary-crossing, harassing behaviors. I’ve sat in on batterer’s groups. I’ve spoken with pedophiles after their release from jail. My wife has designed and run domestic violence groups. My father spent much of his life working with juvenile offenders who had committed assault, robbery, rape, and more.

People can change. It’s kind of a no-brainer. Our behavior changes throughout our lifetime. We learn new habits, new values, and new choices. I’ve said and done things in the past that I wouldn’t dream of doing today, because I’ve learned better. We all have.

Does that mean all rapists and harassers will come to see the error of their ways if we only give them another chance? Of course not. Some people go right back to the same pattern of hostile behavior. But others can and do come to recognize the harm they’ve done to others, and find a new path.

I believe very strongly that there should be consequences for our actions. But I also believe in education and rehabilitation.

I don’t know if Jim Frenkel will ever truly accept responsibility for what he’s done, or if he’ll change a pattern of harassing behavior that goes back decades. He seemed genuinely remorseful when he spoke to me about this several years ago, but his behaviors didn’t change.

I hope this time is different. I hope the consequences of his loss of employment and being banned from his local convention force him to confront his choices, and that he comes out a better man.

The problem is when we choose to make his growth and change more important than the safety and security of his victims and potential victims.

When you’ve wronged someone and they throw you out of their life, you don’t get to force your way back in to prove that you’ve changed. You don’t get to violate their boundaries because you want to apologize. If the wronged party chooses to forgive and to allow you back into their lives, that’s one thing. If they choose not to, then you need to accept that loss as a consequence of your actions.

WisCon banned a known serial harasser on a relatively short-term “provisional” basis. While I share the same philosophical hope and belief for change, they’ve taken the choice away from his victims.

WisCon is not a judicial body. They are not a rehabilitation program. In my opinion, they are not qualified to judge the sincerity of serial harassers, many of whom have spent years or decades learning to hide their behavior behind the mask of the “nice guy.” Their job is to investigate complaints, and when those complaints are found to be valid, to take steps to protect their membership.

Protection for Frenkel came in the form of WisCon’s investigation process. I believe every complaint should be investigated and decided based on evidence and testimony. In this case, there have been multiple people reporting incidents, with multiple witnesses backing them up. According to the WisCon Harassment Policy, Frenkel also has the right to appeal the decision. Again, I think that’s reasonable.

But throughout this process, despite what I believe to be the best of intentions in a difficult and ugly situation, WisCon has failed to protect its members.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

the Lioness roars

22/7/14 19:21
synecdochic: torso of a man wearing jeans, hands bound with belt (Default)
[personal profile] synecdochic
I don't know if you've been following the news that's coming out of Wiscon's absolutely horribly handling of reports of sexual harassment and a predator in the community -- if you haven't, the Geek Feminism wiki has a timeline of the incident(s), as usual -- but one of the reports of sexual harassment that is in the process of being so horribly mishandled came from my dear friend Elise Matthesen, aka the Lioness, aka [ profile] elisem.

Elise is one of the most massively talented artists I know; she makes jewelry, although with her talents and her aesthetic, really it should be called "wearable sculpture". She's amazing, and I've been fantastically lucky enough to get a few jewelry-making lessons from her. (Honestly, the lessons were incredibly valuable, but really, the experience of sitting her down in front of our supply bins, handing her things, and saying "here, I want to see what you make out of this one!" was way more awesome.)

She obviously feels it necessary to skip attending and selling at Wiscon for at least a year (and really, who can blame her). Wiscon historically is responsible for about a third of Elise's annual income, through her jewelry sales; up until now it's been her major annual in-person sales event, and although she's investigating other cons to sell at, those cons won't be the ones where she's built up a huge network of friends and fans.

If you'd like to support a fierce, courageous person who is being shat upon by people who should've had her back (why no I don't have strong opinions about this why do you ask), take a few minutes and look over Elise's for-sale list and the (not-yet-included-in-the-master-list) New Shinies (which, omg, SO GORGEOUS), and see if something speaks to you. (She does warn that she will be on a retreat throughout August, so she will not be shipping between July 29 and the beginning of September.)

And if your disposable income has mostly been disposed, I'm positive she would adore it if you look at her ArtLog of Things [She] Has Made, find something that speaks to you, and make some kind of art (fiction, poetry, drawing, painting, etc) that's inspired by it, then show it to her. I know the experience of art in conversation with other art is something she holds dear, and she's sometimes more proud of the fact she can inspire other artists than she is of the things she has made herself.


22/7/14 17:50
synecdochic: torso of a man wearing jeans, hands bound with belt (Default)
[personal profile] synecdochic
As predicted, the first thing I did was scratch like hell, the second thing I did was pop my wrist, and the third thing I did, before I even left the exam room, was wash my hands. Having the drain removed was gross and fascinating (and grossly fascinating) and as usual, the person taking out the stitches couldn't believe they'd only been in for a week. (Usually Ehlers-Danlos means very poor wound healing and very bad scarring; my doc is baffled that I seem to have gotten the super-fast healing instead.)

My hand promptly swelled up to twice its size (I look like I have mittens on), which is expected, and I have to wear a compression sleeve for the next two weeks to keep it from swelling too badly and help keep it bent for better healing, but I can type two handed again (albeit slowly, for limited periods, and with my left hand's fingers not quite obeying me), and between being able to scratch the bits of my arm that have been itching for the past week and being able to wash my hands and apply lotion to the itchy bits, things are much improved.


22/7/14 17:52
cadenzamuse: Cross-legged girl literally drawing the world around her into being (Default)
[personal profile] cadenzamuse
You guys.

T. got his dream job.

We're moving to the Midwest, near my in-laws (and I can unironically say that I really adore my in-laws), to where T. went for college.

I will be able to go to grad school.

We will not starve to death.

We're moving away from my parents (sad).

I am a roiling bubbling mess of emotions (although I still am going to look into all your lovely ideas for jobs).

T. keeps calling people and telling them "I get to shoot things with lasers! I get to do 'real science!'"

I keep calling people and babbling confused things, half wait, all terrified, although happy too.

Sad I'm moving away from my church, and D&D group, and favorite yarn store, and my city which is one of the best foodie cities in the States.

I have no idea what I'm thinking. I want to order ALL THE YARN from my current LYS.

In conclusion: HOLY SHIT.

P.S. Oh wait, I should add that we're totally fucking getting season tickets to Blue Jackets games. (T. does not know this yet, but I totally fucking will.) So, you know, if you're in the area, hit us up.

Hugos: novellas

22/7/14 19:36
liv: Bookshelf labelled: Caution. Hungry bookworm (bookies)
[personal profile] liv
I think maybe starting from the shortest categories and working upwards was a mistake, but anyway. Thoughts:

brief reviews and voting intentions )
19_crows: (Default)
[personal profile] 19_crows
The Fault In Our Stars, John Green.

I can't say how well this book portrays teenagers with cancer because I'm not one, but a friend whose niece did have cancer really liked it and said he got it right. It really felt like he did - the guilt that Hazel, the 17 year old narrator, feels about that pain her death is going to cause her parents; her parents' smothering and hovering; her wise-beyond-her-years cynical attitude.

I liked it; both Hazel and Augustus are utterly charming and dear (and yet feel realistic because Augustus reminds me of my godson) and it's a sweet story. I was glad it was more than that, too, with some twists and turns and suspense.

The one thing I didn't like, ironically, was Augustus' feelings for Hazel. To instantly fall into a crush and after what, three or four get-togethers, want to do a life-changing thing for her - it's certainly romantic, but for me that's not love. They don't even know each other well enough to really be in love. It was almost like Twilight though not as creepy because at least Hazel is smart and interesting in ways Bella can only dream of. But at this point in the story, Augustus doesn't even know her well enough to know how smart, etc., she is.

I think you have to know somebody for a while and see them at their worst - these two don't even have any fights, for god's sake. Maybe this is a YA convention I'm not used to. Hazel's doubts and slow realization of her feelings felt more right. So the ending wasn't the glorious climax for me that I suppose it was for other people. That's okay, I found plenty to like. But I don't think I'll bother re-reading this and a friend's son wants it, so that works out fine.

Now I'm reading 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus by Charles C. Mann, and I'm really enjoying it. Been a while since I read a history book.

50 Day Meme: Day Five

22/7/14 10:21
wendelah1: (Classic Scully Eyeroll)
[personal profile] wendelah1
DAY FIVE: a letter to your crush

Such is the power of the meme that I feel almost guilty for saying this: I am not currently experiencing any "crushes." So I'm not able to write a letter.

Was the person who wrote this meme a twelve-year-old?
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll

Science fiction has a long, colourful tradition of books about people with very special powers, abilities focused in specific privileged lineages through extended eugenics programs. See, for example, Doc Smith's Lensmen series, Heinlein's Howard Family stories and Larry Niven's Known Space. Generally being a participant in these programs isn't a bad thing, even though it constrains one's choice of mates somewhat, and I cannot help but feel the fact most of the authors who come to mind are white and middle or even upper class – not the groups usually subjected to such programs, upper class inbreeding aside – plays a role in how the whole affair is portrayed.

I think it is safe to say Octavia Butler, one of the very very few African American science fiction writers active in the 1970s, had an entirely different model in the back of her mind as to how the whole directed breeding program would work out in real life. Until about 1865 [1] the US had a distinct population whose activities were overtly closely monitored and closely controlled; a pattern that just leaps out at anyone who isn't a mouth-breathing libertarian or worse is that despite whatever the propaganda of the day said, the program was not being run for the benefit of its subjects. Read more... )

an interview!

22/7/14 08:16
mmegaera: (Much Ado in Montana)
[personal profile] mmegaera

I’ve just been interviewed over at the Historical Fiction Book Club on Facebook.  I hope you enjoy what I had to say!

Mirrored from Repeating History.

A heap of links

22/7/14 12:24
umadoshi: (walking in water)
[personal profile] umadoshi
This got just a bit too long for me to feel comfortable about not cutting the list, so there are a wide variety of roughly-categorized links under here )

(no subject)

22/7/14 10:42
snarp: small cute androgynous android crossing arms and looking very serious (Default)
[personal profile] snarp
There in the dim light of the candles, he was settled atop the stairway banister, hunched in on himself, his eyes bright and fevered. She remembered, unwillingly, disbelievingly, what Prasit - Prasit, the were-betta, the ancient enemy of Egberd's clan, had told her:

"Beware the midnight screeching," he had said.

"It's super annoying."

- my were-budgie book, to be the first installment in my hit The Alphas of PetSmart series, which a person has inspired me to write. That person will regret this.

(no subject)

22/7/14 10:02
twistedchick: (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
10 ways men can help to combat male overentitlement in public. I mean, really, nobody needs to take up that much space on a bus or subway seat, and that's just for starters.


22/7/14 14:53
kaberett: A series of phrases commonly used in academic papers, accompanied by humourous "translations". (science!)
[personal profile] kaberett
That mantle sulphides doc I wrote up based on having gone "no, you know what, this stuff is important and we should think about it"? My supervisor agrees to the extent that she's intending to use it as the basis for a grant application and setting up some more potentially exciting collaborations for me. And while the writing deffo stands to be improved, I actually got "good" scrawled on the thing at a couple of points.

This really massively feels like a major milestone in terms of The Self As Researcher: it is the first time in my PhD that I have properly gone "nobody has done this before and I think we need to look at it", and -- I was right. I was right and I'm taking ownership of my project and setting direction. I was right and my supervisor is going to write a grant proposal based on my document, and let me see how the thing is done.
kerrypolka: Contemporary Lois Lane with cellphone (Default)
[personal profile] kerrypolka
1. I'm thinking of going to Cardboard Citizens' The Big Tramp overnight walk in September, but I'm worried that it's actually poverty tourism and it would be better for me to just donate £30 to Cardboard Citizens instead. Part of that is because I don't want to walk around in the cold all night, but also that I'm not sure what me walking around in the cold all night will accomplish, other than a vague sense of bourgeois "oh yes, now I understand what it is like to be Out All Night On The Streets" when clearly I don't and never will unless I do become homeless which is unlikely.

2. Generally I try to give 50p or a pound to anyone on the street who asks me for money for any reason, or no reason (this practice is based on a conversation several years ago mostly involving [ profile] atreic, [personal profile] liv, [personal profile] lavendersparkle, [ profile] the_alchemist, [personal profile] wildeabandon and other smart kind people I'm forgetting). Last night Ewan and his mother and I were going home from a birthday dinner for her and ran into a beggar outside South Tottenham station. He asked for a pound, and I gave him a pound, then he said "What about two pounds? What about a fiver? Can I have a fiver?" and followed us up to the platform, grabbing my arm, trying to stop Ewan's mother from walking up the steps, insisting that I had a fiver and he'd seen it (I didn't) and standing on the platform insistently asking us for more, grabbing our hands and shoulders and following us when we moved away. It was frustrating that I don't think he would have done that if I hadn't given him the pound in the first place, but oh well.

3. It is annual review time at work, and I am finding it time-consuming and annoying to figure out all of the ways I'm supposed to say "I'm great, give me a giant bonus and a raise". I think detailed evidence-based appraisals are good because it means there's less space for racism and sexism, but man are they faffy. I know that I'm good at my job but I find it stressful to have to spend a lot of time putting it in writing, and worrying that I'm missing out on some code words that means I will be marked down.

4. The new Foyle's is pretty great and I'm very cross/sad I don't have time to read all the books in it.

5. I'm very conscious of the psychological effects of consuming media about traumatic incidents, and how my job requires spending a lot of time researching and writing about the details of horrible things that are happening in the world. A few years ago I wondered whether there were really 'bad patches' in global events, or it just seemed that way and actually there are always lots of terrible things happening, but now that I've been doing this for a while I can say that there definitely are up times and down times and at the moment it's a very down time. I'm actively trying to avoid hearing and talking about current events when I'm off shift, but that's difficult to do on most social media; I downloaded a filter extension for Facebook but it's not working. It's probably never a bad idea to be spending a bit less time on Facebook and Twitter, but I'm annoyed that I can't control what parts of the internet I see when I feel I should be able to.
theferrett: (Meazel)
[personal profile] theferrett

Being chronically ill is like having a part-time job you hate but can’t quit. It’s a constant suck on your resources that healthy folks don’t understand – overseeing the never-ending battle between your insurance and the pharmacy and the doctor who forgot to call in your fucking scrip again, finding a physician who actually listens when you tell her there’s something wrong, a rocky employment record because on any given day you might collapse.

Dating while being chronically ill? Even harder.

It takes a special kind of partner who’s going to be okay when you’re too sick to go to that fun party, to drive you to the doctor’s office six times a month because the medications make it dangerous for you to take the wheel, to deal with the fact that sometimes you’d like want to do the kinky-kinky but dammit your legs just aren’t up to that today.

So a lot of sick and/or handicapped people are also terribly lonely. You have to find a partner who fits the craggy edge of this life you didn’t choose, and hunting down someone that generous is difficult at best.

If you’re dating someone who is sick like that, and are sticking by their side when the “in sickness” part consistently outweighs the “health,” let me offer you a personal word of thanks: you’re on the side of the angels, here. Your empathy is an inspiration.

Make sure to take care of yourself, too.

See, the reason I say this is because sick people can be jerks, too. It’s not like the doctor comes along and says, “You’ve contracted a case of lupus and also, sainthood.”

Sick people are, well, people. And some folks who get sick were abusers before they got ill.

And in the very rare circumstances when a chronically ill person is an abuser, they can do a lot of damage. The guilt-hammers they can drop are devastating, because yes, they’re dependent, and yes, they’re often needing other people to help them along…

…but most chronically ill people don’t use that as a way to shape your life to their convenience.

I say this because I’ve watched some friends who stayed with someone ill, a person who was actively corroding their self-esteem and taking advantage of them – and yet didn’t feel right about leaving this clearly toxic environment because “S/he needs me.”

So they stayed while their partner cheated on them, and spent their money, and dispensed their affection in carefully-calculated slot-machine doses of “neglect today, insult tomorrow, but maybe a sweet word this weekend.”

But they couldn’t leave, because that would make them a bad person.

So let’s be clear here: There’s no reason to endure constant abuse. Ever. You’re not a bad person for leaving someone who treats you badly. Even very sick people don’t get a “get out of responsibility free” card which enables them to treat you like shit all the time.

…which is not to say that the chronically ill won’t snap at you, from time to time. I think of my Uncle Tommy, a hemophiliac with such terrible arthritis that if you listened to his shoulder you could hear the bones rubbing against each other like stale crackers – and while I loved him dearly, he was not always a ball of fun. He had really angry days. He had surly days. He had withdrawn days.

The difference was, he didn’t justify his angry and surly and withdrawn days by telling me they were my fault. He had them, but never blamed me for them or used them as an excuse to take out his frustrations on a nearby target. He apologized, when he was in a better place – and sometimes when he wasn’t. And even towards the end of his life when he was in constant pain, he still devoted what limited resources he could towards worrying about my well-being, making sure I took care of myself, squeezing my hand to let me know that he loved me.

My Uncle Tommy, in the middle of all that pain, wanted me to be happy.

Sometimes, someone’s just depressed or chronically ill or handicapped, and yes, they need your support. They don’t mean to be a pain in the butt – and they’re doing their best to be functional human beings despite some soft spots.

So you should not be too eager to pull that switch. Sick people need love, too, often much more of it.

Yet some sick people chew up love and spit it out, always expecting more and not caring how they get it. (Or, more accurately, some people do this, and some of those people happen to be sick.) Some segment of the depressed and the chronically ill and the handicapped will callously treat you as though you were a medicine-and-money-and-support-dispensing machine, filleting your self-esteem to do as they please.

And when you hit your limit, they’ll jam hard on the “But what will happen to me if you go?” guilt button.

Yet again: It’s not wrong to leave someone who abuses your kindness. Even caretakers get to set proper boundaries. And if someone keeps violating your trust in ways that hurt you, then they’ve sent you a clear message: I don’t care about you.

In which case – sadly, tragically, and hopefully avoidably – you are not required to care for them. It’s kind if you do, of course. (And slightly different if you’re dealing in terms of end-of-life care, of course, which is brutal but at least has an end date baked into it somewhere.)

Yet if you’re consuming your own mental health in order to take care of someone who doesn’t give a crap about how you feel, then remember that your kindness is a gift. You deserve to give that kindness to someone who genuinely appreciates it on whatever limited level they can.

There’s one person you must be kind to above all others, in the long run – and that’s you.

Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.


azurelunatic: Azz and best friend grabbing each other's noses.  (Default)
Azure Jane Lunatic (Azz - bolt of blue - infovore)

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