eruthros: Jamie and Adam from Mythbusters, drawn by Tardis80, text: "busted". (Mythbusters!)
Please don't take the fanfiction survey that is going around (the one with the big fancy banner).

Here is the deal: the people who wrote that survey pm'ed me, as one of the mods of [community profile] kink_bingo, while I was out of the country. In their pm, they (unintentionally) made it quite clear that their intent in their project is to talk about human universals -- to use our fannish experience, our erotics and our desires, to reinforce ideas of universal, hard-wired, biological desire.

They are outsiders to fandom. They are outsiders to fanfiction. They are outsiders to slash. And they haven't tried to learn, or to understand, or to think about fannish communities. Instead, they have made assumptions about who we are, about what we read, about what we find hot; they plan to use those to explain what makes women tick, what our brains make us do.

They do not believe that culture mediates our desire at all1; they don't believe that we are shaped by our communities and our experiences; they want to put us into neat, biologically determined boxes. We declined to participate, and figured that was the end of it -- we didn't know that there was going to be a survey, which is why I'm posting publicly. (I'm going to put that pm, and the subsequent conversation [personal profile] thingswithwings and I had with them, under cut-tags at the end of this post if you're interested.)

All of those problems are present in the survey itself. If you read through the comments on their Q&A post, you'll see a number of people challenging the questions, the answers, and the ideas behind the survey. Reasons include heterosexist language, which presumes that anyone not marked as queer must be straight; the language of the questions about participants' sex, gender, and sexual orientation, which presumes that people are either male or female; and the language of their description of slash, which presumes that there is one definition of slash. [personal profile] torachan further explains some of those problems here.

And all of these problems are present in their About This Survey page:
The structure and activity of our subcortical circuits are shaped by neurohormones such as testosterone, estrogen, oxytocin, progesterone, and vasopressin; these circuits function differently in men and women. As cognitive neuroscientists, we draw upon a wide variety of empirical data sources to model these circuits, including brain imaging studies, primate research, cognitive science experiments, machine learning algorithms--and behavioral data. The Internet offers large, unprecedented sources of data on human activity: one of these data sets is fan fiction.

We're deeply interested in broad-based behavioral data that involves romantic or erotic cognition and evinces a clear distinction between men and women. Fan fiction matches this criteria perfectly.
Guys, that is their explanation of their project: that they want to look at how we are hard-wired different.

It's the same old sociobiological bullshit, the same old attempts to universalize and naturalize their ideas of gender roles, the same old approach that makes us nothing but a data set. Please don't take this survey.

If you have already taken this survey, I don't know what to tell you -- I'm sorry that I didn't post this earlier. I don't know what would happen if you demanded to have your answers taken out; I don't know what sort of IRB/human subjects research board preparations they have done.

Their first pm to us )

Our reply )

Their reply, attempting to convince to participate after all )

Read more... )

1Note, for example their answer in their Q&A to someone who brought up these issues: "we are pursuing our own research questions, which are not cultural in nature."

ETA: The survey has been taken down, at least temporarily. The text on the survey site now reads:
We're revamping some of our survey questions based upon the first round of feedback we received! Please check back again soon to take our survey!
There are a number of interesting comments on their post announcing the removal of the survey.
eruthros: Delenn from Babylon 5 with a startled expression and the text "omg!" (BtVS Tara avatar avatar)
1) Most hilarious typo in a pseudo-professional news story: "Only about 6 percent of dog owners and 4 percent of cat owners are bought from pet stores, according to the most recent statistics."

That's from a salon.com article about pet ownership in the recession. (I'm trying to avoid salon.com these days for various political reasons, but I read their magazine for years and I still sometimes accidentally load it in the morning. Changing habits is hard, but I guess this is a nice side benefit. Srsly, dog owners are bought from pet stores?)

2) Most ridiculous higher-education move of the week: Georgia Republicans attempt to ban (graduate) courses in queer theory. They claim that universities are supposed to "educate people in sciences, business, math," apparently taking a stand against all liberal arts ever! They are now claiming that their statements were blow out of proportion, and that when they tried to get rid of all classes with the word "queer" in the title they didn't really mean it, or something.

3) Most awesome news of the week: [livejournal.com profile] thingswithwings and I finally signed a lease for an apartment for next year and it is awesome. And cheap. And AWESOME. \o/

4) Most baffling javascript bookmarklet tool: Cornify, a bookmarklet that I SWEAR TO GOD covers web pages in unicorns and rainbows. Sparkly unicorns and rainbows. Like, I have a bookmarklet to zap colors to black and white -- this does the exact opposite. I am baffled and amazed.
eruthros: Delenn from Babylon 5 with a startled expression and the text "omg!" (BtVS cheeseman nonsense)
This appears in a critique of a BBC period film set in England circa 1900. Ready? Okay!
"I thought it was completely and utterly absurd. It was so out of its time. For example, all the knowledge about sadists -- sexual sadism and, and, psychopathy. Bearing in mind, Freud had only written The Interpretation of Dreams, I think it was published in 1899."
*laughs hysterically* Oh, man, talk about a non sequitor! APPARENTLY, sadism didn't exist until Freud invented psychoanalysis -- you know, it wasn't named, in, like, 1820 after some guy. No! It took Freud to invent the term and tell people all about it!

And, oh man, as if Psychopathia Sexualis hadn't nicely laid all of that out fifteen years prior? And as if folks hadn't bought it to read it as porn?

I love the way people think about Victorian England sometimes, guys.

You guys!

Jun. 4th, 2008 03:35 pm
eruthros: Delenn from Babylon 5 with a startled expression and the text "omg!" (Default)
This has made me so very verklempt:

George Takei and his parter are getting married in California. With Walter Koenig (Chekov) as best man and Nichelle Nichols as matron of honor.

You GUYS, go read George Takei's statement, because ... whoah. Man. VERKLEMPT.

In short: they are adorable and I want to hug them. The end.
eruthros: Delenn from Babylon 5 with a startled expression and the text "omg!" (Default)
Video of the steps outside the CA Supreme Court as the decision was announced: here.

Video of Mayor Gavin Newsom's press conference here. It's hard to hear, but look at that crowd, look at the reaction, man. (You remember him; he was the one who told the city of San Francisco to issue same-sex marriage licenses in 2004 -- the film crew that was around that day made a video called Pursuit of Equality, trailer available here; it also makes me sniffly.1)

There's a neat slideshow at the San Jose Mercury News here; picture 15 is the SF City Hall, filled with people.

And I dunno if you remember this, but this past winter New York ruled that all out of state marriages must be recognized in New York. Which means, if you're a New York resident, and you get married in Massachusetts or California or Canada, your employer here in NY has to give you benefits.

Dear San Francisco City Attorney, dear Lambda Legal, dear ACLU, dear NCLR, dear Equality California: thanks. You guys are awesome.

***
1. For maximum sniffles: Vienna Teng's City Hall (here), a narrative song about a couple getting married in San Francisco in 2004. And it's topical, because the 2004 marriage in SF led, over the last four years, to this: many of the couples who got married then brought the suit against the state that resulted in this overturn. Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin, the very first couple to be married in San Francisco in 2004 (in the first picture under Thursday here), were part of the suit.

YOU GUYS.

May. 15th, 2008 01:46 pm
eruthros: Delenn from Babylon 5 with a startled expression and the text "omg!" (Default)
CALIFORNIA STATE SUPREME COURT OVERTURNS SAME SEX MARRIAGE BAN

I do not have enough allcaps you guys. It's amazing, because it really was a lot about language -- civil unions in California had a lot of the same rights as marriage, and it's harder to make a legal case out of that, you know?

The ruling is available in pdf here.

There are celebrations all over the state; you can check them out here.
eruthros: Delenn from Babylon 5 with a startled expression and the text "omg!" (Default)
So I was reading a New Yorker article about Krystian Bala, a Polish author accused of murder, and I came across the following paragraph and was just -- boggled. One of these sentences is not like the others, guys:
Bala cast himself as an enfant terrible who sought out what Foucault had called a "limit-experience": he wanted to push the boundaries of language and human existence, to break free of what he deemed to be the hypocritical and oppressive "truths" of Western society, including taboos on sex and drugs. Foucault himself was drawn to homosexual sadomasochism. Bala devoured the work of Georges Bataille, who vowed to "brutally oppose all systems" and who once contemplated carrying out human sacrifices; and William Burroughs, who swore to use language to "rub out the word"; and the Marquis de Sade, who demanded, "O man! Is it for you to say what is good or what is evil?" Bala boasted about his drunken visits to brothels and his submission to temptations of the flesh. He told friends that he hated "conventions" and was "capable of anything," and he insisted, "I will not live long but I will live furiously!"
Now, okay, I'd like to smack the author of this article for other reasons, yes, but the sentence there that begins "Foucault himself?" Dude, what does that have to do with this paragraph, which is about things-Bala-read-that-he-liked? Did he READ about Foucault's sex life? No evidence of same here! What then does Foucault's sex life have to do with Bala reading about limit-experiences? Nothing, except that this is already an article about the ways Bala was influenced by postmodernism to ignore "truth" and "morality" and only do language games and thus kill people, and sadomasochism seems similarly edgey, dubious, and weird.
eruthros: Delenn from Babylon 5 with a startled expression and the text "omg!" (Default)
Oh my god, Time Magazine, who knew that you would be the mass media outlet to run an op-ed about Dumbledore and teh gay that makes me go "hey, yes, you! you get the queer thing and the fanfiction thing and the Celluloid Closet thing!" I am astonished. But in a good way.

PS: If we read Dumbledore as gay -- forget JKR's intent -- then I think we should take the ending of that article even further and make him a happy old queen. I want a Dumbledore who listens to Judy! I want somebody to show up at Hogwarts and call him "Alba! Sweetheart!" Also there should be wizarding chaps, all purple sparkly with little wands shooting out stars. (*a-hem*) Fuck this Celluloid Closet shit; give me a Dumbledore who's been Yodaing around at Hogwarts with his hair dyed all rainbowy just because he can.
eruthros: Delenn from Babylon 5 with a startled expression and the text "omg!" (Default)
So, you know, I've been crap at updating LJ. And the thing about not updating for weeks is that then you go "omg! but there is so much to say!" And that sounds like a) work and b) a really long, boring post, so you don't say any of it. ON THAT NOTE: forget the last couple weeks! Probably they were mostly boring, except for Doppelporner. (Dopornganger? Pornelganger? [livejournal.com profile] graycastle and I can't decide which is correct.) And my family was here this weekend. That was cool.

So! Onward, we find ... look, guys, it's Tom Lehrer in his youthful misanthropy! Before his full-blown misanthropy!



Aaand? The guy who uploaded that to youtube? Also uploaded a bunch of other songs from the live performance! Awesomeness!

AND and... apparently Tom Lehrer is on myspace. I have hope that it's entirely an impersonation. Remember: he liked that people thought he was dead! So it had better be an impersonator.

Otherwise, [livejournal.com profile] fiatlouis and I have no excuse for not being on myspace.

***

Other news: I now have a purple, white, and gold striped flag with purple and gold stars hanging in my office. It commemorates the nineteenth amendment in the US (women's right to vote) and comes from the Seneca Falls museum, which I visited on Friday with the family. I am quite happy with the placement above my desk, because it makes me slightly less cranky about articles like the one [livejournal.com profile] apple_pi talks about here.

I'm also cranky, speaking of cranky, about the whole Dumbledore thing. Once again, other folks have said it way better than me: [livejournal.com profile] toft_froggy, here, and [livejournal.com profile] marythefan, here. Suffice it to say that "Celluloid closeting" appeared as a verb when I sputtered at [livejournal.com profile] m_shell about this. I mean. GOD. Hey guys! I've decided that Dumbledore is gay, had a big tragic gay affair that blinded him to Grindelwald's faults, and never loved again, and then died! That's novel and innovative and freeing and will lead to the acceptance of gay people, especially the part where I didn't put it in the book!

In short, I am wearing my crankypants.

***

My family was here this last weekend; we went out to dinner rather too many times, really. And we ran around a lot. And looked at fall color, and went to ABC, and went to the farmer's market, and walked at Taughannock Falls and Buttermilk Falls, and went to Seneca Falls and the Erie Canal and I took [livejournal.com profile] redphotoframe out to the awesome espresso that is Gimme! Coffee. (She was like "okay, so, how can we get their coffee again tomorrow?") Also, my dad and sister took many photos of campus and of downtown and of fall color and waterfalls and things, which I hope they will post so I can continue lazy.

We also discovered, in the process of driving the two extra miles north of Seneca Falls that you need to drive to see the Erie Canal? That there is an amazing wildlife preserve up there! It's called the Montezuma Wildlife Refuge (no, really). It's this amazing, huge wetlands restoration and protection project, through which the NY Thruway and the Erie Canal run (weird!). We saw a ridiculous number of birds, including a pair of extremely well-fed hawks. (They looked kinda kestrely, but it was a long way off.) And apparently in the spring they have ospreys, and bobolinks, and tons of other cool things like muskrats. And they have islands! And canals! I am charmed by marshes, if not by mosquitoes.

Profile

eruthros: Delenn from Babylon 5 with a startled expression and the text "omg!" (Default)
eruthros

May 2017

S M T W T F S
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
2829 3031   

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Jun. 25th, 2017 06:58 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios