The latest fannish hoo-ha

Just my US$0.02:

I figure anybody who tapes bacon to his cat as a work avoidance tactic and lives to blog about it has fannish nature. Let the Nippon2007 voters decide about the latest manifestation of fanwriting.

Make the harassers own their misbehavior!

I’ve been thinking about the extreme harassment Kathy Sierra has gotten ever since Liz Henry brought it to my attention. It’s been burning up electrons on one of my mailing lists, and it’s made the technology blog of

My response to trolls in the past was honed in the Usenet days; it was best to fail to provide the responses they craved by refusing to engage them. However, things seem to have devolved to new lows. Amanda of Pandagon and Melissa of Shakespeare’s Sister came in for a whole dogpile of vitriol from so-called Christians and they ended up severing their connections with the John Edwards campaign. Bill also gave some more examples of women bloggers who are constantly dodging the dung flung at them; I find the attacks on Ginmar (here’s a recent example) especially disturbing because she’s a combat veteran, and I’d bet that most of her trolls are part of the 101st Fighting Keyboarders safe at home. Now, we’ve got a highly visible woman techblogger having to curtail her activities and call in law enforcement.

This cannot stand. I note that some male bloggers are speaking up about harassment they’ve experienced, but the really virulent attacks reeking of violent misogyny are saved for women who dare to be visible. Refusal to engage these harassers is not enough. They need to be identified and made to own these attacks; anonymity is not our friend. In addition, we need to be mindful of the words we send out; there’s a gradient that leads from snark to this kind of evil dreck.

Additional food for thought churning in my head

1) Teresa Nielsen Hayden’s musings on the root causes of our current economic and political problems. It’s a really good comment in a larger discussion, certainly worthy of exploration in more detail.

2) The current problems in the home lending industry coupled with insanely obscene housing prices in the SF Bay Area. I have no frakkin’ clue how anybody can afford to buy a house here on only one middle-class salary without relying on hitting the Lotto, and if they do manage to do that, without falling prey to the current crop of predatory lending practices. This feeds into the discussion of the opt out BS.

A feminist sf/fantasy reader/fan’s dilemma

I was going through the WisCon 31 programming site a few weeks ago, and didn’t find any panels that made me jump up and down and yell, I *must* be on that panel! I found panels I’d like to attend, but none that called out to me. This is not a slam at the people taking on this job, I think the problem is right here with me.

I am not a fiction writer, so all the useful and necessary programming focused on writing is not useful for me.

I just had a flash earlier this evening (possibly warmer than ambient perimenopausal flash?) that right now my mental energies aren’t focused on other worlds/cultures/fantasies, it’s how I need to find a way to live on this particular planet in this particular time. I’m rapidly approaching nominal Croning age, and even if I’m fortunate enough to live another forty-six years in good mental and physical health, I’ve got this background noise telling me I don’t have unlimited resources available to me and I need to be judicious in where I direct the resources I have at hand.

There’s several things festering in my mind that I’ve read (or re-read) lately that I can see all interconnecting.

1) Suzette Haden Elgin has had a very interesting discussion of “scutwork” going on in her LiveJournal. (who does the cooking/cleaning/caregiving?) The first entry in the discussion is here.

2) Badgerbag’s discussion of “integry” (emotional work)

3) The recent Columbia Journalism Review article about the fictitious opt out dilemma, and all the classist/racist assumptions underlying it.

So here’s a heads up, I’m going to be trying to churn all of this together and welcome comments as I do so.

Ready for the playoffs!

Cynthias-Sharks-Socks.jpg My local yarn pushers, Purlescence Yarns, had Claudia of Claudia Handpainted Yarns custom-dye yarn to match the San Jose Sharks team colors. They borrowed a jersey from a fellow Sharks-obsessed knitter, ran off to the nearest paint store, matched the colors with paint chips, and then sent the paint chips off to Claudia for her to work her magic.

Right before Stitches West, they got lots of Sharks yarn in, and I had to snag four skeins for socks for Bill and I to wear during the playoff run. I just finished both sets of socks, and here they are.

A very happy sock knitter…

My first installment of the 2007 Rockin’ Sock Club came and, as expected, it’s fabulous. The little emergency stash keychain is too damn cute; I’ll put it on my scissors to make them easier to find. I was afraid that my brutal handling of my car keys would be too harsh for the fibery goodness.

Some students at my alma mater need a clue by four upside the head ASAP

Recently, some Santa Clara University students thought it would be fun to have a “South of the Border” themed party. Things rapidly devolved and controversy ensued. I was disgusted to read the story in the San Jose Mercury News a couple of days ago.

Fortunately, it seems like some Santa Clarans aren’t afraid to challenge racism and classism in their own midst.

I hope Father Locatelli and the rest of the University community takes this incident as a wakeup call. It’s hard to see sometimes, but not all Santa Clarans come from upper- or middle-class backgrounds. It wasn’t that way almost thirty years ago when I first got there, and it isn’t that way now, but I am encouraged that they’re not trying to keep this under wraps.

When I read this, I thought of Badger and my other women friends who write

A very nice entry about women dealing with the need to write amidst the demands of daily life.

And, this has resonance for integrating any sort of creative work, not just writing, into our lives. In my case, it would be beading or knitting.

Wingnut pressure on the Edwards campaign

The John Edwards campaign is getting pressure from Bill Donohue of the Catholic League to fire Amanda Marcotte (Pandagon) and Melissa McEwan (Shakespeare’s Sister) due to postings they have made on their weblogs.

I just sent this message to the Edwards folks:

Keep Amanda and Melissa working on your web presence. The people most enraged by them working on your campaign will never be your supporters, and if you cave in due to their pressure, then you send a message to all Democrats and progressives that the right wing are the only people in this country who have the ability to define the terms of political campaigns. We are the ones who have the right to tell our stories to the rest of the country and the planet; if we let the right wing get away with this, our stories would never get heard. What would our beloved Molly Ivins say about this?

Stay strong.

If you like, go make your voice heard over there.

Bill Donohue does not speak for this particular technopagan Buddhist Catholic, but then according to him, I’m already consigned to various forms of eternal torment. Pthpppt.

Molly Ivins is my political muse

A commenter on Pandagon just reminded me of one of my favorite quotes of hers:

So keep fightin’ for freedom and justice, beloveds, but don’t you forget to have fun doin’ it. Lord, let your laughter ring forth. Be outrageous, ridicule the fraidy-cats, rejoice in all the oddities that freedom can produce. And when you get through kickin’ ass and celebratin’ the sheer joy of a good fight, be sure to tell those who come after how much fun it was.

Nothin’ But Good Times Ahead, pp. 254-5

I am trying to cheer myself with envisioning Molly, Ann Richards, and Barbara Jordan having a raucous reunion and then getting back to business on another plane. The $AFTERLIFE will never be the same again.

I’m just sorry I won’t have more of her writing and humor to prod me along in the struggle.

Saint Molly of Austin, pray for us (and kick our butts into gear!).