(Reblogged from stavvers)

Maybe it’s the kids?

Do you hate us because you think we’re violating your kids?

Because I hear that a lot. Children have to be protected. It’s a battle cry that has been around for a long time. Protect the children from the homosexuals, the racial minorities, the Muslims, the Communists, the pedophiles, the satanists, the forces of evil.

Who are these kids who stumble upon porn accidentally? It must happen a whole lot to want to protect them. And what, exactly, is the fear? Kids will stumble across sex sooner or later (and I don’t need to tell you that you made those kids with sex). Maybe you feel ill-equipped to talk with your kids about sex. Maybe no one ever talked to you about sex, or you have trouble talking with your partner about it. Maybe the whole talking-about-sex thing in general is problematic. That would explain why you hate porn stars: Our whole lives are a discussion of sex.

But actually, let’s really get to the point here, because I have another question.

You might not like it.

See, because I’m stuck on the whole thing about what you’re imagining:

A young child, a little girl or boy sitting alone in a room illuminated by a computer screen. The child is totally innocent (but knows how to use the internet, of course), and suddenly, without any warning, there’s an image so intense that it penetrates his being and ruins his childhood. It traumatically destroys his innocence and nothing is ever the same. That’s the foundation of why you hate us. So let me ask:

Why are you always fantasizing about children being raped?

What makes an apology effective? Here’s a first pass at a few criteria:

1. A performance of vulnerability:

An effective apology is often a performative speech act — an attempt to transform a social reality, rather than simply describe or ruefully acknowledge that reality. In the case of apologies for offenses that reflect an existing power asymmetry, to apologize in a way that reasserts that power is not transformative. In order for an apology to be effective, it must be a performance of vulnerability, not an extended expression of power.

So, for example, Madonna’s botched attempts to issue an apology for using a hashtag with a racial slur were unsuccessful because, even after dropping her attempts to defend the indefensible, the “apology” she offered was an expression of power, an assertion of her imagined role as an inspiration and bearer of messages of tolerance:

“MY job is to inspire and bring people together. My message has always been about tolerance and non-judgment. The last thing I want to do is bring chaos or cause separation in anyway. #revolutionoflove”

An effective apology in this case would have been a process of: acknowledging that a racial slur is an expression of intolerance; attempting to genuinely comprehend why outrage is an appropriate reaction, perhaps via dialogue with the offended or an effort to empathetically imagine the experience of those offended; and publicly admitting ignorance and explaining why the slur is offensive, with credit to those who helped her with the process of understanding. Given the complexities of the often intersectional nature of discrimination, harassment, and violence, dialogue and performative imagination is a particularly important aspect of our attempts to comprehend.

In the case of institutional, official apologies, a performance of vulnerability – as in, say, publicly admitting culpability despite concerns about the possible legal ramifications – is particularly important, given that the relationship is almost always asymmetrical. (And, for what it’s worth, our legal aversion to apology is probably worth questioning. Case law is rife with examples in which apology and remorse have resulted in the mitigation of damages and even punishment.)

2. Both public and private:

Apologies should be both public, provided that the apology is couched in a way that does not violate the privacy of the offended if the offended does not want the facts known, and private.

To issue an apology that is only public is like referring to someone who is in the room using the third person; it is to fail to understand that an apology, as a transaction of power and shame, must occur between the offender and offended. So, for example, in the case of Madonna’s apology above, a “real” apology would have been not just a public broadcast on her Instagram page, but also a personal apology addressed to each individual who expressed disgust in response to her use of a racial slur, and/or a letter of apology to associations representing the offended group.

To issue an apology that is only private, on the other hand, is like issuing a promissory note without any intent to pay. Transactions should have a public or verifiable element in order be a legitimate, enduring, and trustworthy exchange.

3. Affirmation of a shared norm:

An apology should be an affirmation of a norm that the apologizer believes to be appropriate and binding. In order to serve as a basis for reconciliation, it cannot be a mere acknowledgement of a difference in belief or values, with a request for forgiveness based on a provisional acceptance of the difference. To respond to an offense by saying, “I think the restrictions that are being imposed on me are Puritanical, but I understand that my actions have been perceived as offensive and therefore apologize,” is to acknowledge that a transgression has taken place—but in a manner that places the onus for the judgment of unacceptability on an unshared belief or value endorsed by the offended, rather than on a shared belief or value. It therefore blocks reconciliation by calling attention to differences, rather than by recalling and reaffirming the legitimacy of communal codes of behavior or values that have been violated in the offense.

Similarly, the language of the apology must name and describe the offense in the way that the offended understands it—in terms that acknowledge that it is in fact an offense and demonstrate that the offender has acquired some level of comprehension of the underlying issues. Attempting to apologize for “non-consensual sex” with a “freshman” is unlikely to be effective, when what happened was the rape of a first-year student.

4. Restitution/reparation:

Restitution is the act of restoring to the rightful owner something that has been taken, lost, or surrendered. Reparation is the act of repairing or making amends for a wrong.

If we use case law as a model, then it is reasonable to think that whether restitution and/or reparation are a required in order for an apology to serve as grounds for reconciliation depends on the degree of the harm experienced by the offended. (Note that I said the degree of the harm experienced, not the degree of the harm inflicted. This is a subjective measure, not an objective measure of the harm, as substantiated by evidence such as the testimony of counselors and other experts, the victim’s narrative as relayed via correspondence at the time of the offense, etc.)

It may also depend on whether the offense takes place in an environment of systemic inequity or power imbalance. When an offense results in the loss of a job, opportunity, or other tangible benefit, an apology, arguably, must be more than words. As Nobel Peace Prize laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu remarks in God Has a Dream:

“If someone steals my pen and then asks me to forgive him, unless he returns my pen the sincerity of his contrition and confession will be considered nil. Confession, forgiveness, and reparation, wherever feasible, form part of a continuum.” (Tutu 2004, 57)

Many believe that when an offense is an example of the kinds of actions that perpetuate a deeply entrenched or systemic form of injustice, an apology that aims to reconcile must include both a commitment to both restitution in the form of working to try to restore the particular loss(es) of the offended, and reparation in the form of a commitment to trying to address the broader problem of the systemic injustice(s).

5. Empathy and affect:

Some victims point to an affective element that must be present for an apology to be a “real” or effective. The offer must be a non-binding and genuine offer to reconcile; the offender must genuinely mean to make an offer, both in the sense that s/he is visibly affected in a personal but non-self-indulgent sense, and in the sense that the offer should be made in a way that permits the offended to gracefully decline. As Elizabeth Spelman explains in Repair: The Impulse to Restore in a Fragile World, for a victim who does not want reconciliation, an apology can be problematic if it is not presented in a manner that provides the offended an opportunity to reject it without further harm:

“My apology is a kind of subpoena, pressing you for an appearance, a response. Given what I have declared, and declared openly, about my deeds and my attitude toward them, shouldn’t you be pleased? Shouldn’t you give up any anger and resentment you have? Don’t you at least owe me some kind of response?… You have lost the moral high ground your anger might have afforded you. But more, it shifts the burden now to you.” (Spelman 2002, 99)

(Thanks to Alice MacLachlan for this insight.)

The affective component of the offer, in order to be sincere, also should not be excessively beseeching—as was the case, for example, with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s early January 2014 press conference, in which he apologized more than two dozen times for the George Washington Bridge incident.

Perhaps even more important than the affect is empathy. As one survivor of an instance of sexual misconduct in philosophy said to me last fall, “I don’t want him [the offender] to suffer; there’s already been enough of that. I just wish I could somehow make him see what I’ve been through.” To see or feel what a victim has been through requires an empathetic and vivid re-imagining of both the offense and the context of offense from the point of view of the offended.

Heidi Howkins Lockwood, On Apology (at Feminist Philosophers)

In war, men are seen as combatants, women as victims — even if the woman was a revolutionary, and the man a military-aged one whose wedding convoy passed beneath a drone. Women are grouped semantically with children, as passive receptacles for pain. Their fellow protesters breath tear gas and run from bullets. They hold up these women as their own, and mourn them among their cause’s dead. They want to show what the state has done.

For online consumers of the resulting images, the women’s suffering is the element of a conflict that those far removed from the conflict can still access. Blue-bra girl. Woman in the red dress. Their anonymity allows our role in the production of tragedy. Their pain can serve the classical, psychological purpose of tragedy — catharsis.

Once viral, their images lose politics, lose geography, lose protest. They continue to resonate for what they gain: our sustained gaze. Like saints before them, protest’s girl martyrs are famous not because of what they did but because of what was done to them.

Molly Crabapple, Riot Square Sanctificare”

Dialogue Between User and DBA: an Archetype

User: “Our HR reports are running slow.”
DBA: “That’s because Payroll are running their year-end and it’s putting a heavy load on the database.”
User: [Sits down, looks expectant] “So what it is, is everyone’s reports are taking a really long time to finish.”
DBA: “That’s because the year-end is running.”
User: “Much longer than they usually take.”
DBA: “That’s because the year-end is running.”
User: “It’s slow for people in the other office, too.”
DBA: “Yes. Payroll are running their year-end process so the database is slow.”
User: “So they’re running a lot of reports now?”
DBA: “No. It’s the year-end. They add up everyone’s pay and prepare the P60s, or something like that.”
User: “Oh.”
User: [Remains seated and expectant.]
DBA: “So the database will be slow until the year-end process is done.”
User: “I think when they find their report’s taking a long time they ask someone else to kick off another copy.”
DBA: “That definitely won’t help.”
User: “So I should tell them to run their reports later?”
DBA: “Yes, when the year-end process is done.”
User: [Remains seated and expectant.]
DBA: “So there really isn’t anything I can do. There’s a heavy load on the database that’s making it slow.”
User: “So there isn’t anything you can do?”
DBA: “No. If I had a magic button to make the database faster then I’d be using it already.”
User: “So they should just run their reports later?”
DBA: “Yes.”
User: “Oh.” [Wanders off]

We do horrible things to each other, not because children are horrible but because we live in a horrible society where we copy adult behaviors and they teach us to hurt other children.
Porpentine

(Source: aliendovecote.com)

My old Informationweek editor once discovered some young girls holding a gossipy chat in the comments section of an old blog post of his; when he asked them what they were doing there, they told him that their school blocked all social media, so every day they picked a random blog-post somewhere on the Internet and used it as a discussion board for the day.
Cory Doctorow

(Source: Boing Boing)

"Full of something without a name, the good wife goes home to prepare her husband’s table."

Intentionality gets erased when marginal people do something. Flappy Bird is obviously popular, but it couldn’t possibly be good on purpose. It has to be ironically, disbelievingly enjoyed. White men do things knowingly, with a wink. Anyone else was obviously the vessel for a hilarious accident.

Experts had to be enlisted to test whether or not it was a “good” game, in the way you’d have a scientist conduct experiments on a mysterious glowing rock from outer space. Everything by outsiders, in this case a man from Vietnam, must be hyper-scrutinized, without ever truly engaging with the original subject. Threaten, laugh at, analyze, apologize over like you’d shout over someone. It happened because the system is designed for spectacle and it doesn’t care what that spectacle is or how it affects the people involved. Nervous mob response swells and dies, waiting for the next person to transform into cultural object.

Porpentine

(Selections from Porpentine’s “MY WITCH ANCESTORS DIED FOR MY RIGHT TO FUCK SATAN”)

Normally we don’t give our girl detectives submachine guns but this is a special mission

Mood knife that changes color based on what the person you’re stabbing is experiencing at the time

she heals every bone in your hand so she can break them again, by accident, always by accident

How are trans women like evil AIs?
1) People are afraid of their “artificial” femininity
2) Killing them is legal
3) When they try to modify their own programming, they are attacked in various ways
4) They control all security droids on Deck 6

This electronic device scans a nearby person and says if they’re in the same hell as you or a totally separate hell

Humans. Their bones and muscle and lobes are not the final product, they are the mold. The blueprint.
Melted down, reforged, rewired, flooded with goddess juice, these bipedal insects are so versatile when they get some metalplasticrubber in them.
And then kiss them with the spirit.

Fantasy RPGs where you dress up in brown leather armor, boring and flat and joyless…digital sackcloth. Don’t wear anything exciting or you might start rubbing yourself
Embrace accessorizing on its own terms, as fashion, as glamor, not purely in service to violence or math. Give me dolls

Library of Alexandria tragedy would never have happened if books were made out of fire

The Ice Lake will break if you wear the Heavy Soul Boots. Only Feather Boots can cross the Ice Lake, where you will die. Don’t worry, XP carries over to New Game+. Now you can reach the Ice Lake much faster, where you will die. Don’t worry, XP carries over to New Game++. Now you can reach the

20 Questions is a therapeutic method designed to explore the 3 possible responses to incredible pain
an animal, rabid and feared, lost in terror and rage and pain
a vegetable, brain-damaged and shut down
a mineral, slowly forming hard, permanent structures, delicate lattices of encoded pain

Link travels through Hyrule being exposed to a series of competent older women, but in contrast to the convention that heterosexual leads must artificially collide with great force, he can never fully penetrate their lives, they remain opaque to each other, in the way a child might experience women, awestruck.

Maybe I never wanted to go to the water temple.

Grant Morrison’s run on Doom Patrol is the best thing he ever did.

Grant Morrison’s run on Doom Patrol is the best thing he ever did.

Posthuman

Morrigan Lugus tells it like it is.

(Reblogged from notexactlysober)