(Crossposted at my Tumblr)
I’m arguing with this guy on facebook. And then this happened.
Fun fact: the day prior he interviewed me for his comparative religion class. I have a feeling I won’t be presented fairly.
The Joplin Freethinkers are accepting donations for books for those who have lost their belongings in the tornado.
Please donate any of your new or good condition books to:
Aaron Mayfield c/o Stouffer Communications
1027 S Main Street
Joplin, MO 64801
This comic lay unfinished in my basement for two years. I thought it was somewhat topical, so I dug it out and did a rush ink job. It’s super sloppy and still has pencil marks and doesn’t have much of a punchline and may be interpreted as a threat, but eh.
THIS COMIC HAS NAUGHTY WORDS. ENJOY! (it’s below the jump)
You probably can guess, as a certified Bill Hicks quotedropper and Mohammed doodler, where I fall on the Wikileaks controversy. I’m on the side of AIIIGHT.
However, being a certified user of the word “woo”, I am also on the side of “laypeople can be trusted to interpret technical language from an unfamiliar field like faith healers can be trusted with not killing and maiming their kids.”
This is the lesson we learned from a previous Wikileak incident dubbed Climategate. Climate scientists used jargon specific to data presentation in private emails with other climate scientists, the emails were leaked to non- climate scientists, and the jargon was swiftly misinterpretated by frothing stupids.
Before anyone makes any conclusions from these leaks, be sure you know exactly what context the leaks should be interpreted!
Unless it clearly depicts soldiers murdering known civilian reporters. There’s not much context that’s OK in. Go nuts in that case.
One of the neat features of WordPress is the Blog Stats tab, which gives you the search terms that people were using that brought them to your blog.
Here are some of my more interesting ones.
“violence captain planet”
The absolute best one was “megaloceros zombie deer”. This person needs to be a contributing writer.
The most worrisome of all, was “naked children movie” Eww. Well, Mr. or Ms. Pedophile, I hope that my homespun amusements temporarily swayed you from your predatory, sociopathic behavior for at least a little while.
This letter made me laugh at first, but now I find it sad. Let’s break it down.
Square? Another of the good old words has gone the way of love, modesty, and patriotism. Something to be snickered over, or outright laughed at. I remember it used to be that there was no higher compliment you could pay a man than to call him a “square shooter.”
We’re not laughing at “square” because we find squares laughable. Well, we do, but that’s not the main reason. We laugh at “square” because absolutely no one uses it anymore. I mean, I had a post were I was grasping for synonyms for boring old coots, and I never even thought of using “square.” If you use a word like “square” to describe yourself, you are probably beyond “square” and need either professional help or a time portal to the 1940′s.
Also, there’s two usages of “square” here. “Square” as in “square shooter” means “fair”, and is still in use. But that’s not the usage of “square” he’s writing about, he’s talking about the archaic slang for “conventional person”. Actually, that’s not true either. Judging by the next two paragraphs, Lytlle’s “square” is a teabagger under the delusion that he and his are the only moral people in the nation. They’re also really boring, which has been established as a moral value.
Best part–he criticizes government spending, and then sings praises for libraries three sentences later.
A square is a guy who lives within his means, whether the Joneses do or not, and thinks his “Uncle Sam” should do it, too. He doesn’t want to “fly now and pay later.” A square is likely to save some of his own money for a rainy day, rather than count on using yours. A square gets his books out of the library instead of the drugstore.
“So are you a completely unremarkable, unthinking person with obnoxious politics that allows more people to walk over you than the carpet at PayLess? Don’t do anything to improve your situation–you should be proud!” That’s what I find sad. This is just one beat in the constant patterning of drums in Southwest Missouri. “Join us…conform….don’t think…don’t strive…don’t complain or question…be proud…don’t rock the boat…,” etc. Luckily for us, Lyttle’s definition of “square” is strict enough that most of us don’t apply. I live within my means and love my parents, but I don’t suck up to Sky Santa. Hopefully that’s enough to bar me out of square status. What if you’re a hard-working, God-fearing family man who actually knows how a library is funded? Sorry, dude. Maybe you can achieve dead hoofer status, but that’s it.
You know what I what to see? A letter praising people’s individuality and ability to buck the status quo. Maybe I’m just the rug-cutter to do it.
EDIT: For some reason this letter has disappeared. Maybe it was supposed to run tomorrow.
EDIT AGAIN: According to Scott, it turns out the letter was remove because it was plagiarized. Squares are thieves? Who knew?
In today’s paper Scott Meeker recounted the difference between the Globe’s commenting system, which is completely anonymous, and that of Facebook, which is completely not. It boils down to this. (Link NSFW)
However, I disagree with Scott in that I think anonymity on the internet is a feature, not a bug. I don’t think we should have our birth names, faces and contact info attached to our opinions in order to validate them, like on Facebook. Is someone cowardly because they want to conceal their political or religious convictions from, say, potential or current employers, or whoever? You only need to know a commenter’s real identity if they’re doing something illegal; that’s what IP addresses are for. Otherwise, whatever else besides the person’s username is up to them to vomit onto the keyboard.
If it’s a decrease in sock puppetry the Globe is after, it’d be best to have some sort of registration system in place for Globe comments that’s a happy medium between Facebook and their current system. I’m less concerned with knowing who a commenter is, and more concerned with telling one commenter from another. You can’t tell who is who if you’re free to change your name with every comment. A simple username and a password would do wonders in deterring such things.
However, here’s one neat thing about the current comment system: the ability to effortlessly conduct quasi-scientific experiments in gender discrimination.
You may have noticed by now that my name is not really Johnny Kaje. I have several reasons for using this name, but the main one is that I love messing with people’s gender assumptions. When you use a gender neutral username*, or a masculine name(or a feminine name if you’re a dude), you will notice that people treat you differently. How differently? It depends on the audience.
Discussion on Globe comment sections is anything but civil, and we like it that way. Sometimes I would bounce between my pseudonym and my real name just to see if there was any difference based on gender**. If they assumed I was male, conservative combatants attacked on the lines of “stupid” or “smart-alec.” When I used my real name, tactics changed. I’m no longer “stupid,” but “crazy.” “Smart alec” is swapped with “brazen”. Several told me I should never breed, which never happened when I posted while I was “Kaje”. Apparently men do not reproduce? And on and on. It’s very subtle, but the general theme is Girl Me gets treatment that is simultaneously more infantilizing and more vicious than the treatment Boy Me gets.
It could have been worse, though. The blogosphere is full of horror stories of women who foolishly forgot to hang up their girls parts in the closet before they logged onto Blogger. Just look at what happened to Kathy Sierra. Call me cowardly, or a threat to feminist solidarity, but the truth is I simply didn’t want to see rape threats in my inbox, or a doctored photo of me with a noose around my neck. I just used a traditionally male name and let people assume as they wished***.
I remain Johnny Kaje, because I’m too attached to the name. Even after I revealed my true identity to the editors of the Globe, they still call me Kaje whenever I go upstairs. What started out as an experiment/shield against threats has become a full blown alter ego, and an excuse to wear my Dilophosaurus mask. If you’re a Batman fan, you know how alter egos can take on a life on their own. Paul Dini once said that Bruce Wayne doesn’t wear a Batman costume; it’s Batman that wears a Bruce Wayne costume.
Anonymity and pen names aren’t always “cowardice” or “uncivil”. There are a lot of reasons why someone may name themselves after a They Might Be Giants song, or wear a bat costume and roam the streets, or use a name that’s traditionally reserved for someone different from them. Maybe they’re exploring different facets of themselves. Maybe it’s for their safety. Maybe they want to see how the other half lives.
Maybe it’s just for fun.
* I can’t count how many times I got to know someone while using a gender neutral username, then to have that person be absolutely floored when they find out I’m not a guy. If my username is gender neutral, almost everyone assumes I’m a guy. Is it because the default is male, or is it just me?
** I know this is hypocritical. Sue me. If it means anything, I no longer commit sockpuppetry, and I’m sorry.
***I went out of my way to avoid referring to myself as either male or female on my old blog. There’s one very awkward post that I wrote entirely in the third person; hard to do when you can’t use gendered pronouns.
Meet Karen Crockett. She’s a cable contractor, with a husband and four beautiful children. She’s also the most important person in the country.
Karen and her husband are independently wealthy and have obviously had the good luck of not having any drawn-out illnesses, crippling accidents or anything else that would bankrupt them. Good for them. Surely she realizes that not everyone has had her good fortune and gumption, and that they need medical care too? I mean, even in an ideal society where everyone is a gung-ho Randian ubercapitalist, someone has to be at the bottom, right? What does Mrs. Crockett propose regarding the poor and downtrodden?
Judging from the rest of the letter, apparently Not-Karens can take a long walk on a short pier.
We did not expect anyone to pay them for us — it was our choice to have a family and our responsibility to take care of them.* Many times we did without to make ends meet. No one gave us a handout. Part of being an adult is acting like one.
We are in our 60s. We have maintained health insurance for our employees and us for 25 years. We are currently covered by Anthem Blue Cross. We are satisfied with our health care, doctors, hospitals and the ability to choose. I do not expect insurance to pay for my sniffles, cold or minor health problems. That is not their job. I do not expect government or anyone else to care for me from cradle to the grave. This is America. We can choose to live wisely and responsibly — do not expect me to pay for stupid or out-of-control lifestyles.
[...the post office sucks, blah blah blah…]
As my representative, I expect you to do just that. Represent “me.” I expect you to voice my opinion, not yours. The vote of the “people” put you in office. You are not in a position to dictate what is best for me and my family — that is my God-given right guaranteed by the Constitution of this great nation. Listen to the American people. Our freedom depends on you upholding the Constitution. The founders wanted freedom from tyranny and taxation without representation — as of today we are still free. Will you keep us that way?
Good Lord, how stuck up can you get? “Hey Mr. Obama, forget that 75% of the entire freaking nation. You need to listen to me. I’m a cable contractor. My vote is worth, like, 10 times that of some dumb trailer trash that chooses to get a brain tumor- pardon me, the sniffles.”
Karen, listen. You are not the American people. You are an American person. Singular, not plural. You get one vote like everyone else. I know it’s frustrating, not being able to buy any more to differentiate you from the unwashed. You just have to put on your big girl pants and deal with it like an adult.
I’ll tell you what the majority American people do want. They want insurance companies to stop exploiting them and draining them dry so that they, too, can pursue their goals in life like you have. They want a health care system that can compete with the rest of the first world. They’ve experienced your oh-so maverick-y “I’ve got mine, who cares about you” ethos, for more than eight years they’ve experienced it, and you know what? They are sick of it. They rejected it en masse.
* Speaking of choice, who’s willing to bet that Karen is a hard-right anti-choice sexophobe like most of the 25 percenters? I imagine her idea of “choice” is “conform to the suffocating 1950’s sexual paradigm we hold everyone up to, or flake off and die.”
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