Doctor Who Finale theories

Oct. 31st, 2014 01:13 pm
cedara: (TARDIS-Tours)
[personal profile] cedara
Frankly, I’ve read a lot of them so far. I saw the trailers and the teasers. Plus the filming pix are out there.

I’ve drawn some conclusions…

if you want to remain spoiler-free then do not read this )

beta reader post?

Oct. 31st, 2014 11:56 am
[syndicated profile] yuletide_feed

Posted by kate_nepveu

Over the last several years I've betaed stories for Yuletide and it's always been fantastic. Is someone planning to make a post/spreadsheet for beta offers? If not, I'm happy to do one, but I would not be copying info over from comments, because time: I would set up a Google form that people would enter their offers into and it would automatically update a spreadsheet.

Let me know--don't want to step on anyone's toes.

(no subject)

Oct. 31st, 2014 07:43 am
twistedchick: (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
Suppose you're ordinary people, not cops, not criminologists, and you want to stop rape from happening. You want to interrupt the process. This is a good article on how to cockblock rapists as a moral obligation. Pass it along.

Pride (film review)

Oct. 31st, 2014 10:27 am
selenak: (Carl Denham by Grayrace)
[personal profile] selenak
On the road again, so I won't get to see the new Elementary until this evening, in all likelihood. However, yesterday I did get to make an excursion to the cinema. A film that was released in Britain a while ago has just been released over here as well: Pride, starring a collection of familiar and not so familiar British character actors, set in the 1980s, and revolving around the irresistable union of London based gay activists and striking Welsh miners.

"They're hated by Thatcher, the tabloids and the coppers", argues Mark in the opening sequence about the miners. "Sound familiar? The only problem we've got and they don't is Mary Whitehouse, and that's just a matter of time."

Some of his fellow gays point out they got beaten up by miners and have no intention of supporting them now, but Mark manages to get a small group together, with the unwieldy name of Lesbians And Gays Support The Miners ("it's not a skiffle group!"), after some failed attempts finds a Welsh mining town where there's a union man, Dai, who's actually grateful for the support, and from then the story gets rolling. It's an ensemble tale all around, with both the gay and the Welsh characters (and yes, there are gay Welshmen, too) having their own stories. There's the expected culture clash comedy, but the film never laughs at, only with both sets of characters.

Sidenote: also Dominic West as the oldest of the London based gays, flamboyant Jonathan, has the time of his life winning the Welsh over with a disco dancing number that would make John Travolta pale with envy. Seriously, even someone in the cinema I was in applauded!

Gender-wise, there's balance, too, and also age and look wise, because since this is a British film, the female characters don't have all to be in the 20-40 thin and pretty range - in fact, there's only one major female character who fits that description, Faye Masye as Steph ("I'm the L in Lesbians and Gays Suppert the Miners"). Imelda Staunton rocks as the Welsh matriarch Hefina, Jessica Gunning ditto as Sian (who'll turn out to be inspired by these events to get her degree and go into politics), and a fabulous old actress (I think called Julie Barclay, but I may have read the credits wrong) all get as much screentime as the men. Oh, and while there is no big romance in the film - there a few established couples, some exes and some casual hook-ups, but the relationships given the most narrative weight are the friendships that develop - , there's equal opportunity snogging - m/m, f/f, m/f, all there.

Two actors cast against (recent) type deliver great subtle performances: Bill Nighy as Cliff, shy Welsh schoolmaster (if you've only seen Nighy in flashy extrovert roles, which is the case with me, this is especially striking), and Andrew Scott as bookstore owner Gethin, Jonathan's partner, who is originally from Wales and had no intention of going back at first. Andrew Scott's most prominent role to date being the incredible grating and annoying (to me) Jim Moriarty in Sherlock, it was amazing to see the contrast here, because Gethin is another low key character, and when he talks to Hefina on the phone for the first time and she identifies his accent, there is such a lot Scott does with his facial expression and voice intonation alone.

It's what usually gets referred to as a feel good movie, but not a dishonest one that pretends all goes well; after all, the audience knows going in the miners won't win against Thatcher. There are bigots who don't see the light among the Welsh. And since this is a story set in the mid 80s with mainly LGTB characters, three guesses which fear is hovering around the edges and encroaching more and more around several characters' lives. But friendship and two way solidarity still wins out, and quick googling tells me that the movie is actually pretty fact based, which makes it even better.

Best early 80s gag: "There are no gay artists on this label" says a reception woman when Mark is trying to organize a solidarity concert... and then the camera reveals a poster of label artist Elton John.

Shortest instantly recognizable cameo: Russell Tovey as Mark's ex.

Most obvious cliché still put to endearing use: The Welsh breaking into song. ("Breads and Roses". ) Because of course they do. Seriously though, that scene rivals with Jonathan's dance number as "why isn't this a musical already?", in a good way.

In conclusion: go and watch!

Murphy's Law of Yuletide

Oct. 31st, 2014 07:52 am
[syndicated profile] yuletide_feed

Posted by doranwen

So, assignments have gone out, and some are dancing with joy! Others, sadly, are bearsed, because Murphy's Law is no stranger to Yuletide. :( However, recognizing Murphy's Law in effect can be helpful to one's recovery, and help one continue on in stride! (It can also be a cautionary tale to those who are not aware of the intricacies of how requesting and matching actually can work!)

The short summary of Murphy's Law, should anyone not be familiar with it, is (with my own version of the wording): "If something can go wrong, it will go wrong, in the worst possible way at the worst possible time."

Have you had Murphy's Law apply to you? Or have you seen it lurking, waiting to happen?

A few examples that have come to mind:

"You will be matched on the fandom you least want to write."
"If you request any, you will receive fic about your least favorite nominated characters."
"Your computer will die and lose all of your fic just as you finish typing the last word."
"The archive will spit out 503 errors just as you go to post your fic, less than an hour before the deadline."


Feel free to share your examples in comments! Please keep examples general (so we don't ruin someone's Yuletide). If your example will too easily identify your specific situation, please generalize it so it will apply to more Yuletiders. Share a version of the law, not the tale illustrating it. :)
[syndicated profile] yuletide_feed

Posted by care_says

Hey hey hey!

If you live in the LA area and are interested in doing a meet-up, please fill out this form!

A FORM. A VERY HELPFUL FORM.

Please signal boost it if you know other fandom people in LA, not specific to Yuletide even! I'm interested in doing some fannish meet-ups, so if you'd be into that and/or know people who'd be into that, send them to that link!

But, more specifically to Yuletide, it asks a lot of questions about where and when and what's good for you and it's just easier if it's in a spreadsheet, I think. :)

Thank you!

Scanlation: Yasha ch. 24

Oct. 30th, 2014 10:57 pm
torachan: sei and rin from yasha (yasha)
[personal profile] torachan


Title: Yasha
Author: Yoshida Akimi
Publisher: Flower Comics
Genre: Shoujo
Scanlator: Megchan's Scanlations feat. Molly
Status in Japan: 12 volumes, complete
Scanlation Status: Ongoing
More Info: Baka Updates

Summary: Twelve-year-old Sei lives a normal, quiet life on a small island in Okinawa until one day a strange man who seems to know his mother shows up and tries to kidnap him. After that, nothing is normal or quiet in this sci-fi thriller from the author of Banana Fish.

Chapter Summary: Amamiya tries to use Rin to get into Sei's head--literally--but things don't quite go as planned.


Chapter 24

Daily Happiness

Oct. 30th, 2014 10:31 pm
torachan: ryu from kimi ni todoke eating ramen (ramen)
[personal profile] torachan
1. Alexander came over this evening and we watched some Gravity Falls and Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

2. Irene found a therapist with the LA Gender Center and had her first session Tuesday. They offer therapy for all trans people, not just gender-related therapy, and by seeing an intern she was able to get a lower cost.

3. She was really wiped out after work that day, so I took the bus up to the Center with her and just waited while she had her session. It isn't far away but we weren't sure how bad traffic would be so we left really early and ended up getting there early, so we stopped and got tacos from a truck on the way there from the bus stop, and then the Center turned out to be above an awesome little Persian bakery so we got dessert there.

4. And speaking of her job, today was her last day. She worked several days this week as a bagger and really enjoyed working there, but she's just having too many dizzy spells for a job that requires her to be on her feet and moving around all day. The dizziness has been a problem for a while, but has been getting worse recently (though it has gotten better since the really bad days she had with the bronchitis). The good thing is while she was there she made a good impression on her manager and so might be able to go back once the dizziness is taken care of.

5. Covered California is supposed to be opening to new applicants in November, so hopefully we can get Irene on insurance really soon so she can actually go to the doctor and find out what's causing the dizziness and get it taken care of!

Writing season!

Oct. 30th, 2014 10:28 pm
lferion: (Gen_astrolabe)
[personal profile] lferion
I have my Yuletide assignment, and it is going to be both nicely challenging and fun.

I have a list of things I want to write as treats, and those are going to be fun too.

I have my HLH_Shortcuts assignment, and an idea for what to do with it.

So far I have managed to post something to [community profile] fan_flashworks every challenge since the beginning of June. Still need to get something up for the current one, but I have something I can post. I just want to get a little more of it.

[community profile] mini_wrimo is right around the corner, and I have signed up with my usual 100 words a day, and my plan is to write a Yuletide Drabble each day, as a warm up. And if they turn into full-length treats that is lovely, and if they stay drabbles that is lovely too.

Plus - Mini-Wrimo will be posting on Dreamwidth this year, not just LJ! Here is the info/signup post

In celebration of these excellencies, I have made the first batch of Eggnog, currently doing it's alchemical thing in the fridge right now. I decided that what with the notable Durin's Day (a lunar and a solar eclipse!) the festive season should start immediately.

It is finally, finally beginning to cool off. I slept under covers all night last night.
yhlee: Drop Ships from Race for the Galaxy (RTFG)
[personal profile] yhlee
By way of Soren Roberts on Twitter, origami sheep. So cute! I am the world's worst at origami, but I can appreciate it when other people do it!

- recent reading
Michael A. Stackpole. Malicious Intent. Battletech tie-in novel, which I took a ridiculous amount of time to read because I have no attention span. I wasn't at first sure that all the strands would come together--Stackpole's BT novels tend to be aggressively multi-POV--but they did at the end, in a very satisfying manner. I really grew to like Doc a lot. And to my great surprise, I think I have become a Vlad Ward/Katrina Steiner-Davion shipper--they don't have a lot of time on-page together but the chemistry is astonishing.

Reginald Bretnor, ed. The Craft of Science Fiction, ©1976. A collection of essays. I have to confess I've never heard of Bretnor, or if I have encountered him before (possible), I have completely forgotten about him.

Essays: Read more... )

[personal profile] daidoji_gisei, if you can find this through your library, or a used copy, I think you'd enjoy some of the essays. I recommend in particular: Clement, Spinrad, Williamson; but have a look for yourself. (I got this out of the library myself.) Alternately, if you just want a couple of essays, I can photocopy them for you.

And so it begins...

Oct. 30th, 2014 10:50 pm
settiai: (Yuletide -- liviapenn)
[personal profile] settiai
Festivids and Yuletide assignments both went out today, and wow. Neither of my assignments is what I was expecting, but I think they're both going to be a lot of fun.

Decisions, decisions, decisions...
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
Thanks to a donation from Anthony & Shirley Barrette, "What a Precious Privilege" is now complete!  See how Stan and Lawrence work out the rest of their compromises now that Lawrence is feeling better enough to articulate at least some of his needs without giving Stan that stomped-puppy look.

Watch for more about Stan and Lawrence, as the next four poems will be going up over the next several days as I have time to post them.
unfinishedidea: (Default)
[personal profile] unfinishedidea
I am SO excited/nervous for my Yuletide assignment, guys, I only got matched on one fandom (which wasn't surprising, that's happened to me every year), but I LOVE the source material for the fandom I got matched on and :D :D :D. Hopefully I can get ahead on my assignment this year, because I want to be able to write some treats for people too.

Yay, Yuletide!!!
eemilyvr1: (Default)
[personal profile] eemilyvr1
doctorscienceknowsfandom:

AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. MEME: four characters [4/4]
     ↳ Antoine Triplett

The only thing wrong with this gifset is that there’s only one where’s he’s using the full-on SMILE. Admittedly, it’s pretty strong stuff, there might be deaths if it were wielded carelessly.

Posted in full at: http://eemilyvr1.tumblr.com/post/101386164753

*p

Oct. 30th, 2014 06:02 pm
jmtorres: From Lady Gaga's Bad Romance music video; the peach-haired, wide-eyed iteration (Default)
[personal profile] jmtorres
seriously body, seriously?

NaNoWriMo letters of encouragement

Oct. 30th, 2014 06:38 pm
yhlee: wax seal (hxx Deuce of Gears)
[personal profile] yhlee
If you want a snail letter of NaNoWriMo commiseration/encouragement/whatever-would-help-you, complete with wax seal (the one pictured in the icon), leave a comment with your address! All comments are screened.

I'm sort of panicking over the fact that I have a much better idea of who my antagonist is than my protagonist.

Meanwhile, I have my Yuletide assignment and am mostly through source review. Am going to attempt to start writing tomorrow despite PANICKING. Wish me luck! And good luck to fellow Yuletiders.

(no subject)

Oct. 30th, 2014 07:21 pm
ide_cyan: Dalbello peering into a screen (Default)
[personal profile] ide_cyan
Updated my YT placeholder with actual content. Oh hell, I wish i could write more prompts for The Bletchley Circle, especially, but I don't have the time to rewatch for quotes/details. (It's Shonda Thursday.)

The Shadow is the one fandom I really felt I had to nominate and request for Yuletide because eeeeee, The Shadow! Alec Baldwin when he was hotter (and before I'd heard of his making unfortunate remarks)! John Lone in gorgeous frocks (...and regrettable fake facial hair)!

If I'm not matched on it, or if the writer's not into slash, at least I'll have put something about it out there to make people think of it.

***

From what I was watching while I typed the above:

"It's a bit like being President. You're always the Doctor." David Tennant to David Letterman, who clearly knows nothing about the show. "I'm 10, but my father-in-law was number 5, so when we're out together that does confuse people."

And talking about having to perform for candy when trick-or-treating in Scotland.

requisite yuletide assignment post

Oct. 30th, 2014 06:56 pm
thedeadparrot: (obvious place)
[personal profile] thedeadparrot
Excited, not super super nervous. It's in my wheelhouse, though I want to see if I can kick it up a notch from that, find something deeper and bigger as a frame outside the narrow slice that's been asked for.

The best thing about it is the chance to revisit the source material. I've been meaning to go back to it for a while, but haven't had the impetus. Now there is!

sigh

Oct. 30th, 2014 02:56 pm
blueraccoon: (finish damnit)
[personal profile] blueraccoon
Today is being a very frustrating day in some ways, although the issues I was having this morning finally worked out. So that's something at least.

some writing stuff )

Speaking of writing, if you're tackling Nanowrimo in its 50,000 word glory or if you just want to take November to tackle something, [livejournal.com profile] ushobwri is here for you! We will be starting daily postings on Saturday (11/1), for our MiFuNoSo (Miserable Fucks November Social). (If you're wondering, us Shoobies spun out of wrisomifu, which was "Write Something, You Miserable Fuck" - a November-only community for those of us who didn't want to tackle 50k but at least wanted to tackle something. I think the wrisomifu goal was ten minutes a day.)

MiFuNoSo should have some good themes and discussions throughout the month (why yes, I do know what they are and no, I'm not going to tell you, neener) and we'll be doing daily check-ins, along with our usual Inspiration Mondays and Workshop Fridays.

And now, back to the actualfax writing.

*facepalm*

Oct. 30th, 2014 05:06 pm
bluemeridian: (C&H :: Hobbes :: *Confuzzled*)
[personal profile] bluemeridian
I have been so confused by the @omgcheckplease account for at least a week - maybe two? Mostly I couldn't understand a) how I'd never seen the name Eric Bittle fannishly and b) why I'd never heard of a Samwell hockey team. I just figured out that it's the Twitter account for an online, Tumblr based comic named Check, Please! The name of main character is, you guessed it, Eric Bittle.

In my defense, I'm not in hockey fandom, so what I do know is by fannish osmosis, and this information wasn't matching up with any of it.

Eric Bittle seemed like quite a personable guy! ...I might be somewhat disappointed he isn't real. I mean, I was assuming he was a web personality/journalist in reality and that just was coyly omitted from the brief Twitter tagline bio* (that I obviously didn't read all of, in hindsight, or at least didn't actually click on the website link) and that the Samwell hockey team was a local community team or some such, but yeah.

The Twitter bio does actually contain a link to the Tumblr, which I would have realized if I'd been paying attention, and it turns out I was a WEE BIT OFF.

* "Baker, former figure skater, and the shortest member of the Samwell hockey team!"

Read "Part of Your New Life"

Oct. 30th, 2014 02:40 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
"Outnumbered and Outclassed" is up on LJ, the next poem in the Damask thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.

Wednesday Reading on Thursday

Oct. 30th, 2014 12:15 pm
torachan: a cartoon owl with the text "everyone is fond of owls" (everyone is fond of owls)
[personal profile] torachan
Kind of forgot it was Wednesday yesterday because I had work...

What are you currently reading?
Currently reading Kimi ni Todoke 21. It's cute, as usual. I'm wondering if the series is going to end with graduation or if it will continue after high school. The former seems more likely, though I hope if that happens there's at least an epilogue or something set in the future.

What did you recently finish reading?
I finished reading the first three volumes of Shingeki no Kyojin: Before the Fall and was disappointed to realise it was not a three-volume series! D: Somehow I had thought it was complete, but apparently not. So now I have to wait for the next volume! It's nowhere near as good as the main series, but I definitely liked it a lot more than the Levi backstory.

I also read the most recent issues of Lumberjanes and Ms Marvel, both of which continue to be excellent, and the first issue of the Sleepy Hollow tie-in comic, which was okay. Really I need to get caught up with this season of Sleepy Hollow to get back in the mood, I think.

What do you think you'll read next?
No idea. Right now I'm trying to get stuff read that's already on my phone, because something I loaded on there is really HQ and taking up a ton of space, so I need to get stuff off there.

What's my counter mission?

Oct. 30th, 2014 08:04 pm
selenak: (SydSloane - Perfectday)
[personal profile] selenak
...as Sydney Bristow used to ask during the one and a half first seasons of Alias. The Yuletide assignment were sent, and I'm pleased with mine; mind you, something that happened to me last year with a completely different fandom and a completely different recipient also happened this year, which cracks me up (it's nothing bad). But I already have ideas for the fandom and request in question, so I'm pretty sure I can do something decent with it.

Meanwhile, I'm eyeing at least one treat, unless rl collapses on me.

Hi!

Oct. 30th, 2014 08:02 pm
goodbyebird: The Good Wife: Cary is high on schrooms. Also fondling Alicia's scarf, though I maintain he was going for boobage ;) (TGW so soft)
[personal profile] goodbyebird
If I followed you recently it's because I read your festivids letter and decided you were quality people/discovered that oooh you're on Dreamwidth. =)

Yuletide Assignment

Oct. 30th, 2014 01:47 pm
calliopes_pen: (inthegiggleloop Victoria Winters revival)
[personal profile] calliopes_pen
I have my Yuletide assignment now, after a two hour delay of being unable to check due to internet connection issues in the area. This is one I'm pleased to get, as I absolutely love the source material. I was planning to rewatch it for Halloween, and I think I can do this one. It’s a scenario that I wanted to see happen myself.

I’ll get started on the rewatch tomorrow, and take notes on the scene in question that is specified in their Dear Yuletide letter.
[personal profile] lightreads
Death by SilverDeath by Silver by Melissa Scott

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Alternate magical London, where old school friends the detective and the magician team up to solve a rather obvious murder, and resolve their mutual pining along the way.

Enjoyable, though lacking that special something. This made me think about genre. Which, believe me, is unusual – I have zero interest in the whole "but what does genre mean? Is it real?" thing. But here you have a blend of alternate history/fantasy with M/M romance. I started the summary above by writing "M/M" and then deleting it, because this is M/M in the literal sense, but not in the genre sense. Let me put this bluntly: there isn't enough erotica here for me to shelve it as M/M in the sense that I conceive of it in 2014.

What I mean is, this book reminds me of those times an author writes a book with a twist of fantasy or scifi, but because of which publishing house bought it and who the literary agent is, it gets packaged as "literature" and sold as "genre-bending" or what the fuck ever. All with the subliminal notion that yes, okay, this is using fantasy or scifi tropes, but it's not actually a fantasy novel, okay, it's better than that, it's actual literature. This book reminded me of that, except M/M is the thing it's not actually doing. By which I mean it dances up to the edges of the racier genre conventions, and then turns decorously away.

Not really fair, and I think what I'm seeing is the result of built in genre/marketing constraints rather than, say, authorial self-censorship. It's just funny, and a little uncomfortable, the way combining genres can make a work less effective or rich or nuanced, rather than more so.

Audio note: This production is by far the shoddiest I have ever encountered in commercial audio. I'm willing to bet they didn't bother with the final editing pass at all. There are skips, dropped words and sentences, repeats, background noise, you name it. Terrible.




View all my reviews
[syndicated profile] yesmeansyes_feed

Posted by Thomas

Folks who have Canadians in their social circle are likely awash in it, and folks for whom Canadian media is not on the radar screen may have mostly or entirely missed it:  CBC fired one of its biggest radio personalities, musician and interviewer Jian Ghomeshi.  Ghomeshi ran to Facebook to put out an account where he was fired for his consensual kinks; the Toronto Star put out there account, which was quite different — their four informants collectively allege nonconsensual beating and workplace sexual harassment.  Ghomeshi filed a lawsuit which, according to some experts, is a stone-cold loser, but a clever way for him to smear the accusers while shielding himself from defamation liability, since what he says in his pleadings is exempt from defamation laws.

First Things First: The Presumption of Innocence and its Limits

It states the obvious to say that we don’t “know all the facts.”  Actually, nobody ever does.  Each survivor knows only her own experience.  Ghomeshi knows his own actions and what he saw, but, for example, he can only know what survivors said or did outside his presence second-hand.  Judges and juries know only what the documents say and witnesses testify to, which is limited by the parties’ legal strategies; and the jury may be shielded from things that under the rules of evidence they are not supposed to consider, even if you or I think it might be very important as part of the total universe of information.  Of course we don’t know all the facts; nobody does, nobody ever will.  Judges, juries, prosecutors, employers, friends, sponsors, fans and complete strangers, always, in every case, make decisions as best they can, with incomplete data.  That’s life.  If you’re hoping for metaphysical certainty for all your decisions, move to a different universe.  If you’re hoping for metaphysical certainly just in the case where a person is accused of rape, you should ask yourself why you need better information to make up your mind about that than you did to make up your mind about the last high-profile murder change in the media, and the one before that, where you gleefully declared your near-certainty having heard less than all of the media reports of less than all of the evidence presented to the jury.

Don’t bullshit me, yes you did.

The “presumption of innocence” is a rule of criminal jurisprudence.  In the US, it isn’t explicit in the Constitution, but has been interpreted (take that, constitutional literalists!) as inherent in the protections of the Bill of Rights, particularly the 5th and 6th Amendments, and has been established in Supreme Court cases since the 1800s as a right of people charged with crimes.  Canadians actually have it right in their Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Wikipedia has a handy list of where the right to be held innocent until proven guilty is set forth in various countries’ laws).  The Charter of Rights and Freedoms says:  “Any person charged with an offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty according to law in a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal.”  Emphasis mine.  See that?  The right applies to people whom the government is trying to convict of a crime.  We, in the US, Canada, the UK, much of the West, have written protections into our governing documents that apply just to the State, because the State has a particular power to throw out asses in jail or stick us with a criminal record, and so we create hoops that the State has to jump through to do that.  With great power comes great responsibility.

But even the criminal justice system only “presumes” innocence for some purposes and not others.  You’re presumed innocent when you’re accused for purposes of the prosecution having to allege conduct that makes out the crime, and then prove every element.  But the police take the accused into custody — they don’t arrest based on trial evidence.  They arrest based on probable cause in the US.  They don’t say, “we have to presume you’re innocent until trial, you’re free to go!”  Judges get search warrant applications and they don’t say, “hey, we have to presume innocence, we can’t search just because someone may be guilty!”  They apply a probable cause standard, and issue warrants to get evidence.  They determine bail on other things entirely, depending on the jurisdiction, like flight risk and danger to the community.

With lesser power comes lesser responsibility.  What is the legal standard you must meet to decide you don’t want to hang out with someone anymore?  Beyond  a reasonable doubt?  Probably cause?  Reasonable suspicion?  Why, none at all!  Nobody gives a shit about your tiny little power to not be friends with someone, and so you can use it for any reason, or no reason, or an unfair reason; arbitrarily and capriciously, as you see fit, the the only recourse the rest of us have is to call you names.  You don’t have to be sure what Jian Ghomeshi did to stop liking him.

The Missing Stair

Cliff Pervocracy’s phrasing is brilliant and in many circles this is a must-read, though too many people have  never heard of it.  The “missing stair” is a rapist in a community that lots of people know can’t be trusted, but instead of excluding the rapist, they attempt to work around his social presence by quietly warning people, so that “everyone knows” to babysit the rapist and keep him from being alone with a potential victim.

There’s a view of rape that some well-meaning people and some not well-meaning people perpetuate, that it’s mostly not-bad people who rape, mostly because they get messed up or confusing messages and don’t know better.  Much of my work on this blog has been about debunking that notion, based on research, particularly Lisak and those who have replicated his results.  The “missing stair” only makes sense in the context of the kind of repeat offender that the Predator Theory describes as the cause of most rapes, and makes no sense in the context of the “accidental rapist” that some others argue for.  Rape isn’t the sort of problem where someone could do it by accident, over and over, until the people around them start to plot and plan to work around it.  Anyway, the “accidental rapist” thinking leans heavily on the idea that “miscommunications” happen by accident, that rapists don’t understand when they are being told “no.”  It turns out that there’s a completely separate body of research that undermines that notion; specifically in the context of sexual consent, people understand soft refusals; the issue is that they challenge or reject soft refusals, not that they don’t understand them.

To very quickly summarize, what I’ve named the Predator Theory holds that while some rapists are one-timers, the majority are repeat rapists, that the distribution is uneven — loosely what’s often called a Pareto Distribution — and that the repeat rapists account for a whole lot of the rapes, so that each rape is, on the whole, much more likely to have been done by one of the repeat rapists, a really bad person who knows exactly what they are doing, than someone who just made a mistake or had a terrible lapse in empathy and human decency one time.

(A note about Pareto Distribution — it’s what people reference with the very rough shorthand “80/20 rule.”  Describing it with language rather than mathematics, it’s a distribution that is highly skewed with a long tail — though I understand the mathematics to impose more constraints on a true Pareto distribution than is implied in the way people use the term.  It was originally a rule about wealth distribution, but it turns out to describe a lot of things, where a few actors or sources produce a disproportionate share of the outcomes or observations.  The most important major claim of Predator Theory is that rape is very unevenly distributed, that a small proportion of the population account for a large proportion of the rapes.  Describing the characteristics of these rapists is a problem that flows from first having concluded that it is important to do so because they are a distinct and critical subset, such that knowing who they are and how they operate is the key step in formulating a policy to reduce rape.)

If this is right, we’d expect a relatively few rapists to have lots and lots of victims.  Here’s where Ghomeshi comes in.

When we first heard about this, he was telling the public that CBC had canned him for his consensual sex life, which he called a mild version of Fifty Shades of Grey.

We now know that he was suspended because the Toronto Star told CBC they were going to run with a story, and we now know what they had.  They had three women who said that Ghomeshi beat them nonconsensually.  These accounts included punching with a closed fist to the head.  They also had one woman who was a Ghomeshi coworker, to whom he said and did wildly workplace-inappropriate things.

If he was a “missing stair,” as Cliff Pervocracy used the term, we would expect that there was more.  We would expect people other than the survivors to have knows.  In fact, in the aftermath of the initial reports, comment threads are full of people claiming that whole vast swaths of the Toronto music scene knew he was shitty, sketchy on consent, shouldn’t be trusted, etc.  So that’s consistent.

I don’t think we can predict how many victims a particular person has, either.  But we now know that Ghomeshi stands accused of nonconsensual sexual contact or violence by not three or four women, but eight, and that now at least one has been willing to use her name.  Another, while not using her name, has literally added her voice.

We also now know that one woman earlier reported behavior that is consistent with what the Mythcommunication research tells us about rejecting or challenging soft refusals; she used her name.  We know that she was targeted for abuse and harassment by his fans, which explains the decision of many others not to come forward until now.

Kink, Cover And The Social License To Operate

The stories about Ghomeshi together paint a distinct picture: he liked to grab and pull women’s hair, choke them, slap or hit them in the head and face very hard, and force them to their knees … and that he did this without warning, without prior discussion, without knowing if they were into BDSM or rough sex and without making any effort to find out.

Ghomeshi has characterized this as BDSM.  As a community, therefore, I say that we stand accused.  He says that what he does is what we do.  As a media reality, as a marginalized and misunderstood group, we can either stand up and define ourselves, or others will do it for us. Too often, it’s the latter.  Authors like Anne Rice and E.L. James write about us, while saying publicly that they are not kinksters.  (In Rice’s case I’m skeptical, but with James, I’m happy to accept her admission that she has not the first idea what she’s talking about.)

We’ve had incidents in the past where people who are engaged in abuse say, “hey, I’m just kinky,” claim consent and expect support.  In response to the terribly Bagley case in Missouri (which produced guilty pleas from every defendant, and long jail terms for most of them) I wrote what I think is an ethical bottom line for us as a community.  That was in the context of a man who claimed that he entered into a permanent master-slave relationship with a  teenager, where she thereafter consented to even the most painful and physically dangerous activities prospectively whether she liked them or not.  But actually, compared to what Ghomeshi has been accused of, that’s a more complex case!  Ghomeshi isn’t accused just of having kinky sex that crossed the boundaries of his partners.  He’s accused to assaulting women with no prior discussion.

I could start the next sentence with “if we as kinksters can’t all agree …”  But I know that we as kinksters can’t all agree.  On anything.  Even basic ethical principles.  Every kinky community has some hardcore misogynists and abusers, and some of them learn to talk in a way that normal people find more palatable and some of them don’t.  But unanimity is an impossible goal.  For more on the problems we see in kinky communities, see the There’s A War On series, which ran seven posts and about 21,000 words.

The best thing I’ve read by a kinkster on Ghomeshi is what BDSM activist and educator Andrea Zanin, also a Canadian, said:

A danger inherent in this kind of media-message success is that the “don’t hate me for being kinky” defence will be used by people who perpetrate non-consensual violence, and that we, as a community, will stand by uncritically – or worse, cry out in support – as victims of violence are once again silenced. I don’t wish to be complicit in someone’s misappropriation of BDSM terminology and codes as a shield for rape and assault.

The mainstream is watching.  If we throw out arms around Ghomeshi and say, “even if he did that, he should be defended,” we will have to live with that.  At The Cut, Kat Stoeffel wrote:

If Ghomeshi had done something nonconsensual, he wondered, “why was the place to address this the media?” In other words: A man’s shitty treatment of women is a private matter until it’s a felony. This kind of ethical flattening gives a man total social immunity in the spectrum of predatory sexual behavior that can’t be prosecuted as rape and paints anyone who criticizes him as attention-seeking and vindictive.

It’s especially frustrating considering the ethical pretensions of the BDSM scene. This is a community committed to protecting its right to play-abuse one another, insisting that play-abuse, when properly executed, is an expression of kink sexuality and a human right. One would think BDSMers would be falling over themselves to protect play-rape “victims” from actual rapists lurking in their midst, threatening the entire community’s claims to safety and play. I’m not saying Ghomeshi is such a person. (Although if three women came away from their dates unpleasantly shocked, he may have been doing rough sex wrong.) Yet when BDSM advocates retreat to a legal definition of rape in the face of mishandled play-rape, they weaken the entire premise of safe, above-board BDSM. The BDSM scene becomes just like the rest of the world: The abused are shamed into silence, so the abusers walk free.

Questioning a person’s sexual proclivities runs the risk of sounding like sex negativity or slut-shaming — this is the progressive mentality Ghomeshi’s lurid mea culpa appeals to. But sex-positive open-mindedness doesn’t excuse misconduct. If anything, it creates a greater responsibility. You ought to be empowered to do whatever you need to do to get off. If that means beating up a woman, and she’s into it, that’s fine. Pretty unimaginative, given the state of the world, but fine. It doesn’t seem like too much to ask that you are, then, extra careful not to abuse the very obvious power dynamic at play.  [Internal link removed.]

What Zanin and Stoeffel are both talking about is a kind of what I call “social license to operate,” the specific ways in which, if a rapist or abuser adopts a particular way of operating, he will be supported, defended and protected. Ghomeshi used celebrity and position for a long time, and now that this has failed to keep the survivors silent, he is trying to throw the mantle of consensual kink over himself as a defense.  In a community with no unity, whether this works is a scrum, and more of us have to push harder.  The marketplace of ideas is just as imperfect as other markets, and good ideas can be shouted down.  So if we care to be heard, we have to stand up and shout that what what we have heard is not acceptable, and we don’t defend it.


Filed under: media matters, Uncategorized Tagged: media, rape, sexual assault
[syndicated profile] nasa_liotd_feed
This Chandra X-ray Observatory image of the Hydra A galaxy cluster was taken on Oct. 30, 1999, with the Advanced CCD Imaging Spectrometer (ACIS) in an observation that lasted about six hours. Hydra A is a galaxy cluster that is 840 million light years from Earth. The cluster gets its name from the strong radio source, Hydra A, that originates in a galaxy near the center of the cluster. Optical observations show a few hundred galaxies in the cluster. Chandra X-ray observations reveal a large cloud of hot gas that extends throughout the cluster. The gas cloud is several million light years across and has a temperature of about 40 million degrees in the outer parts decreasing to about 35 million degrees in the inner region.

NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory was launched into space fifteen years ago aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia. Since its deployment on July 23, 1999, Chandra has helped revolutionize our understanding of the universe through its unrivaled X-ray vision. Chandra, one of NASA's current "Great Observatories," along with the Hubble Space Telescope and Spitzer Space Telescope, is specially designed to detect X-ray emission from hot and energetic regions of the universe.

Image Credit: NASA/CXC/SAO

My Yuletide Letter is not here.

Oct. 30th, 2014 12:17 pm
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[personal profile] tazlet
My apologizes - it will be unlocked over the weekend.

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