Sunday, November 30, 2014

Wringing the Last Out of Gamergate

Even Ken White at Popehat had fun with Roosh's new Reaxxian website.

Meanwhile, Mike Cernovich is sore because newsweek did a story this week about Randi Harper and although he is mentioned (unfavorably) the story doesn't link to his websites, but rather to a critical piece by Sam Biddle on the "D List Rightwingers" who hijacked Gamergate and tried to lead them to the Red Pill. This is a big deal to Cernovich because of SEO or something: Newsweek in collusion with Gawker is denying him hits on his blog that are rightfully his.

JuicyFruit is venting his spleen by retweeting photos of his followers' gun collections, whilst complaining (or bragging?) that no SJW had the guts to attend his "meetup" in Chicago, and then making the curious statement that he "has never met an SJW in real life."

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Poetry Corner

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

-- William Butler Yeats, "The Second Coming" (1919)

Written in the aftermath of World War I, this poem had great resonance with a variety of artists in the sixties... and surely is as relevant now as ever.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Cruelty of Seagulls

Seagulls can be awfully cruel.

The Bronies Phenomenon

I'd run across some dismissive references to "Bronies" on the Internet, but had little idea who or what they were until I happened to catch a documentary by Morgan Spurlock on Netstream tonight. "Bronies" are fans of the cartoon program "My Little Pony Friendship is Magic." There are, by conservative estimate, seven million self-identified "Bronies," the majority of whom identify as straight white males. The average age of a Brony is 21, although they range in age from adolescent to middle aged.

Who knew there were more Bronies than manosphereans?  There are Brony conventions that draw thousands from all over the country. And who is buying all that "My Little Pony" merch at Walmart? Truckers, military veterans, motorcycle mechanics.

What draws these men to a program that was originally targeted for little girls? The values of kindness, loyalty, and optimism... a determination to expand the narrow confines of conventional masculinity... and an attraction, I must surmise, to cute pastel animated horses with adorably squeaky voices.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Randi Harper: Coder, Gamer, SJW

For the sake of my own mental health and quest for personal happiness, I have been trying to lay off the "manosphere," but the other night found myself pulled back in. I'd seen a retweet on Chris Kluwe's feed from Randi Lee Harper, a coder and game enthusiast, who has been working on an app that will allow twitter users a means to block gamer-gators from accessing their feeds. I thought that was an interesting idea given that social media platforms like twitter are unable or unwilling to develop anti-harassment policies with any teeth. 

I don't fully understand how Harper's program works, but it is based on an algorithm that identifies block-list candidates primarily by their link to the gamergate hashtag, and those they follow. Undoubtedly, some innocent parties have been swept up in this -- obviously, many who follow the misogynists are doing so in order to keep a wary eye on them -- but there is an appeal process, by which people can be (and in fact are being) removed from the "blacklist".

Harper's project isn't sitting at all well with the gamer-gators misogynists, most of whom appear to live online and who have grown accustomed to unfettered access to their "enemies" -- and they've reacted in predictable ways: by attempting to use the power of SEO to smear Harper's name on Google.

I watched, transfixed by the sheer horror of it, as Mike Cernovich threw up on his twitter feed shot after shot of Ms. Harper's old personal blog (in which she candidly discusses a bad breakup, among other painful experiences) along with a mugshot from a traffic violation ten years ago and other personal pictures. This was not the first time Ms. Harper's online reputation had been violated by disgruntled, anonymous trolls -- this seems to go with the territory of being a young woman in tech or journalism -- so Cernovich dug around in the libelous cesspool that is Encyclopedia Dramatica too, to throw up a post that is a bizarre mash of innuendo, frank speculation, fact, and outright fabrication.

My mouth literally agape, I watched this online attack unfold in real time. Of course, Cernovich deleted the most outrageous tweets immediately (and moved the attack to a post on one of his blogs). I'm sure the tweets have been screen capped and saved. Cernovich appears to fully expect, and even anticipate, being banned from twitter.

As enraging (and needless to say, immensely triggering) as it was to watch this online attack take place, Randi Harper's responses, curiously, made me feel stronger.

If you've been unfairly blocked on Twitter for enforcing ethics in journalism, call the Offices of Butthurt and Whaaa. Operators standing by.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

A Safe Place For Gamers

I for one fully support the new addition to Roosh's media empire, a gaming site for heterosexual men. He saw a need and he stepped in to fill it like the true entrepreneur he is. Glad too to see he has a strong ethics policy which explicitly prohibits doxxing and online harassment. Most of the SJWs and feminists are equally thrilled. As one wag tweeted, "Can we now replace the gate with a wall, put razor wire on top, and keep them all in there?"

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

A Wall of SJW Champions

Following the manosphere can really fill an old broad like me with despair. And it's been a particularly horrible year for many women on the Internet, thanks to the misogynistic shit goblins and grifters who broke out of the confines of the manosphere to invade gaming. What gives me hope is seeing so many successful men come forth and stand up as self-identified feminists in the wake of a twitter-driven witch hunt -- a veritable orgy of doxxing, threats, and harassment -- that was ostensibly about "ethics in journalism," but was never, ever about anything but angry white, mostly anonymous guys having meltdowns over their perceived "loss" of privilege. 

Today my students are writing about whether celebrities and professional athletes should be role models, so this is on my mind today:  

To anyone who uses his position of power, his louder voice, to champion those who have relatively little power, I salute you. I want to throw you a ticker tape parade, bury you in flowers, buy you drinks, kiss your hand. You make a difference. You give others hope and strength.

I have so many masculine heroes right now, I can't name them all: Aziz Ansari, Louis CK, Stephen Colbert, Chris Kluwe, Arthur Chu... Help me out, who am I missing here?

Monday, November 3, 2014

A Trip to the Middle East

OK, so this video has been making the rounds. And it's been criticized for perhaps being racially biased (i.e., they edited out the white guys).

And here is a typical manospherian response:

Matt Forney retweeted
Being called a slut is a compliment. American feminists need to take a trip to the Middle East to see how bad women really have it.

OK, Mr. KirillWasHere, I am an American woman who spent ten fucking years in the Middle East (Afghanistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen), and guess what? It was pretty much the same damn thing.

One day I was strolling down the streets of Teheran with a male colleague. All along the route, we heard the hiss of "coos... coos... coos..." (= cunt... cunt... cunt...)

"My gawd, Cinzia," my colleague said. "Is it like this every time you walk down the street?"

Well, yup, it was, which is why I took to wearing a chador when I went out. If I could have managed to pass as a man (as another British teacher did with her anorak and slim hips) I would have done that instead, but presenting myself as a pious Muslim woman was the best I could do. Disguising myself in a swath of black nylon didn't eliminate the harassment entirely, but it kept it down to a dull, manageable roar.

Now that I'm identifiably post-menopausal, I am no longer the victim of this kind of walking nightmare forced to walk a gauntlet every time I venture forth in public. And no, I don't "miss" being cat-called in the street. Being ignored in public is one of the few consolations of becoming a crone ( = invisible to the Masculine Gaze). Having one's sexuality acknowledged by John Q. Public is not a compliment, it's simply harassment. 

This iconic photo from the fifties speaks as powerfully as last week's video, doesn't it?
Embedded image permalink
Nothing new here. And no, I don't think she's enjoying that attention one bit.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

He's The Boss

I've been trying to rent one of my duplex units for two months. We've tried various means of marketing it, including hiring a rental manager who appears to have done nothing more than post an obscure sign for his company on the lawn. Part of the problem is that we're putting it on the market at a time of year when relatively few people move. With the holidays fast approaching, we started to get impatient. We finally decided to post our own sign, and finally started getting a few calls.

This weekend a likely prospect showed up. A young woman (I'll call her Emily) took a look at the place, and was very enthusiastic. "It's so clean and spacious! I haven't seen anything this nice!" Since moving to the area a month ago, she, her husband, their three small children AND a large dog have been sharing one room in a budget motel while they look for a house to buy.

"I can't take being cooped up in there one more day," Emily said. "I can't even put the baby on that filthy floor."

We offered the couple a three month rental agreement. That would tide us over the holidays, when the rental market was likely to pick up, and would be a great mitzvah for this pleasant family in need. The rent they would be paying us would be less than what they were paying for the motel; it would take them at least two months to find and close on a house; they would be able to spread out and relax in comfort. They even had a fenced yard for the dog.

It seemed like a win:win for both parties, and we expected them to sign the agreement and move in today. 

We were surprised to get a tense call from Emily this morning. "Dale doesn't want to move out of the motel," she said. "I'm still talking to him about it."

As the day wore on, my partner and I wondered how Emily's conversation with Dale was going, There was not one doubt in our minds that Emily would quickly prevail. After all, as the old adage goes, If mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.

At three the phone finally rang. Emily was sobbing. "Dale won't let us leave the motel," she said. "He says it won't kill me and the kids to stay here another few weeks."

That didn't make sense to us, and we couldn't help expressing our surprise.

"I know it doesn't make sense," Emily said, "but he's the boss."

I felt a frisson of fear at these words. Were Emily and her children (and their large loveable dog) safe?

My partner said, "He's gonna pay for this later."

I thought about some of the men of the manosphere who brag about their ability to exert dominance over their wives, and the other men who complain bitterly about women who "frivorce" them. I thought how Dale may have won this particular "battle" but is likely to wind up losing everything. I thought about how people fall out of love, so often, because over time their needs and desires have been dismissed by the partner with more power.