Monday, February 02, 2015
Thursday, January 08, 2015
This week, French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo was attacked by masked gunmen and 12 people murdered. The gunmen used religious slogans and speech in order to make it obvious that they were Muslim and that they chose to attack Charlie Hebdo’s office because of satirical cartoons criticizing many religions including Islam, the Islamic Prophet Muhammad, Islamic states, and similar geopolitical issues.
Below is my reaction to these murderers and their attempt to silence dissent.
To the terroristic murderers:
You may be Muslims; but not for a moment do I believe you represent all Muslims. You may be French; but you certainly don’t represent all French people. In the same way that you are human beings and do not represent all human beings. And, because you are people like me, the responsibility for this bad act falls on your head and I stand with everyone else in the expectation that you will be found, tried for your crime, and preferably imprisoned for it.
Do not for a moment think that you’ve scared me as a writer into not criticizing what I find problematic in the world—and that does still include Islam, in whole or in part. I am not afraid of you; I am disgusted.
You cannot defend a sacred idea in this era by committing murder.
I do not take seriously your religion because of what you did; instead, I take seriously your acts of murder.
I will remember you as people who committed horrific acts in the name of a religion, and the people you killed as artists who tried to bring the world’s attention to afflictions very similar to what you’ve done.
Thursday, November 20, 2014
Sexism and misogyny is a systemic problem present in multiple cultures throughout the world. Bad behavior that dismisses and extinguishes the accomplishments of women is so prevalent that it’s atmospheric across every strata of Western society from the home, to the street, to the workplace. So when the European Space Agency landed a space probe on a comet (an amazing event in of itself you should read about) and scientist Dr. Matt Taylor wore a shirt covered in pin-up women in provocative poses it wasn’t an act that represented the ‘little stuff.’
The reason why Taylor’s shirt is a problem arises not only because it was grossly inappropriate to wear during a broadcast about a scientific accomplishment, nobody should have been wearing that shirt in a professional environment where women are already commonly treated as objects. That shirt was already the reification of how women’s accomplishments in science are often boiled down to their bodies and appearance.
The shirt was already bad before it appeared on TV. When it appeared on TV it became the perfect example of why it’s unacceptable.
To his credit, Taylor apologized for wearing the shirt. And, while certainly he’s socially accountable for choosing to wear the ambient misogyny of his profession literally on his sleeve, he and the European Space Agency staff have done the best they can do in the aftermath of their insensitivity to a problem they were only making worse.
Social media made the problem obvious
To answer foolish responses and silencing people who were not happy about the shirt: “You misunderstand what ‘little stuff’ is if you think people shouldn’t talk about it.”
The “little stuff” is aggregate. Little stuff is the pebbles moving in the avalanche; little stuff is the droplets of water battering down in the tsunami. When you are buried beneath “little stuff” it’s organized together into “big stuff.”
Every little act that makes me feel like less of a person in any space where I should be welcome as a person adds up to an atmosphere of ill will. That ramps from little stuff such as making jokes about women’s sexuality in the workplace all the way up to dismissing their accomplishments. A group of people who spend their time thinking about, talking about, and treating women like they exist only as abstract “things” have the foundation that makes ignoring their deeds an afterthought.
Don’t do this people
Finally, if you responded to people who had a problem with the shirt with an image that says anything like: “Ask me what I was wearing.” (A thinly veiled wink towards how rape victims are often asked what they were wearing when they were attacked.)
You are a bad person and you should feel bad.
Taylor is not a victim in the reaction his shirt generated. Wearing that shirt demonstrably adds to an environment that is already harmful to women and by wearing that shirt on TV he simply managed to make it obvious there was a problem.
He is most certainly not a rape victim (re: the shirt) and borrowing the language used against rape victims is profoundly contemptible.
Taylor was called-out for his choice of expression because it communicates, reinforces, and buttresses a massive, recognizable problem.
In the end, Taylor is also much more adult than many of the people outraged that he was called-out for the shirt: he acknowledged the problem and apologized. People who use rape-language to comment on the reaction to the shirt belittle Taylor’s own autonomy and dignity by acting as if he is not a moral agent who can make choices.
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
The Benthan Assault Cruiser is a new lock box ship that bears witness. It's a strong cruiser, with a staggering amount of firepower, and I enjoyed my career with the ship. She may become my liberated borg's new vessel for a while.
Friday, October 10, 2014
This caught me by surprise when I saw that Hatsune Miku appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman. She's an idoru, or a virtual pop star, and extremely popular in Japan. Although the technology for virtual pop stars isn't exactly science fiction level yet, the phenomenon has been around for a while for the Japanese.
I've even written about her before, in article about how a programmer used augmented reality to give her a second life (in his virtual reality specs). Western audiences are certainly not used to this sort of show.
According to Polygon, David Letterman wasn't quite ready for it either.
I wonder what it would be like to have Hadaly from Black Hat Magick projected into my living room. I think she'd be amazing company.
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
Right now I am waiting for this book, a sequel to The Byzantium Outcast, to publish. I will have to let everyone know when it goes live.
This Vexations novel has been a long time in the waiting. It’s never been quite ready.
Sunday, September 21, 2014
I’ve finished vol 2 of Black Hat Magick, which means its time for me to get back to work on vol 1 and make sure that it’s up on Amazon.com as an e-book.
I didn’t really like how I ended vol 1—I’m not going to go into that here because the end of the story is entirely a spoiler. I did what I needed to point the readers (and Elaine) in the right direction, but there’s a long laundry-list of things that were just kruft and not really displayed as much.
When I went to vol 2, I had learned a bit more about how to plot the short of story that a BHM story is.
Now I’m thinking bout vol 3 and that might mean League of Legends players, gold sellers from MMORPGs, and potentially a serial thief stealing virtual items. It’s a good time to bring up Bitcoin again—something I expect Elaine to intersect with often—but I don’t think it’ll be about that technology entirely.
I’ll let everyone know when I finish editing vol 1 and vol 2 and have them on Amazon.com.
I do look forward to starting on vol 3.