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Friday, February 13, 2015

Happy Valentine's Day

Trite, perhaps, but tried'n'true.
It's been recently, and rather forcefully, brought to my attention that I really need to step up my game in the romance department, so tomorrow I will be giving my sweetie a big ($25!) assortment of chocolates in a red satin heart shaped box and an under-cabinet paper towel dispenser. (One of my girlfriends is treating her spouse to a toilet seat that automatically lights up when the user lifts the lid -- presumably to help him navigate the bowl in the wee hours.) But that's not all. I've also promised to take her to an early showing of "Fifty Shades of Grey", then treat her to a candlelit lobster dinner, because that is just how far I will go to demonstrate my everlasting affection.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Polunin

If you haven't already seen this video of Ukranian ballet dancer Sergei Polunin tearing up Hozier's "Take Me to Church," enjoy. This takes my breath away.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Roosh As A Subject of Art

Feminist artist Angela Washko recently did an interview with Roosh that she expects to exhibit, and is now following up by seeking women who have had "exchanges" with him. Assuming such women actually exist, who would want to admit it?  Although I do recall reading a post by a college student who basically threw herself at Tucker Max so that she could write a mocking account of his less-than-adequate sexual performance. Roosh appears to be both flattered and threatened by this attention.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Interview With A Troll

Lindy West interviewed one of her most hateful trolls on This American Life. I found this very moving.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

What Makes the Juice Bro Lawyer Tick?

What motivates a character like "Based Lawyer" Mike Cernovich? Why would someone who at least at one point enjoyed peer recognition as a First Amendment authority choose to fashion himself into a menacing buffoon online? Was it a choice at all, or a tragic manifestation of underlying pathology (and charges of "able-ism" be damned, it doesn't take medical credentials to reasonably assume this guy is bipolar as fuck.)

An interesting post by Manfred Von Karma provides some insight -- and some reassurance that despite his posturing and chest thumping, Cernovich isn't capable of doing much besides intimidating critics with threats of doxxing and grade school taunts.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Ethics of Doxing

When it comes to the ethics of doxing (doxxing?), context matters, according to a post by feminist/atheist blogger Rebecca Watson, "Why I'm Okay With Doxing." Revealing the IRL identity of people who send harassing and threatening messages is ethical; revealing the identity of people who simply disagree with you is not.

But who decides what meets the criteria of "harassment" and "threat?" I believe that the person who doxed me viewed my mockery and attention as "harassing" because he views anyone who criticizes him as "a hater" and a mortal enemy. That's a function of his own pathology. Similarly, I am sure Paul Elam, Mike Cernovich and Chuck C. Johnson can justify their own outrageous violations of women's privacy on the grounds they are engaged in an ideological war. The threat their victims pose is very real to them. "Exposing" their opponents by publicly humiliating them is an intimidating weapon in their arsenal (well, pretty much their only weapon).

Complicating the whole issue is that the word "doxing" (like the word "troll") has come to mean a lot of different things. Is it "doxing" to Google, and then publicize, the address of someone who blogs under their real name? Is it "doxing" to publicize public records or private blogs?

And in an era when it is commonplace for both sides of the cultural divide to tweet vengeful fantasies of murder, rape and mutilation to one another, how credible are these threats? When I was doxed, I received a number of anonymous comments from people urging me to kill myself; as unpleasant as these sentiments were to read, it would be disingenuous for me to claim that I considered these to represent real threats against my person.

I love the anonymity of the internet, but I have never felt it was sacrosanct. Perhaps that's because I'm of a generation that did not grow up with the expectation that I had a "right" to anonymity. I've always recognized that the privacy of the internet is an illusion. I've learned that if anything characterizes the age we live in, it is that all of us are constantly under surveillance. People -- including me -- should be prepared to be held accountable for their words and actions. And perhaps the threat of being doxed is not an entirely bad thing, if it reminds us of that.