March 19th, 2012


A Gentleman Online

Etiquette guides fascinate me, although I pick and choose manners in a way that few cultures ever approve of. Or use them as boxes of spare parts to build interesting new cultures. In general, I find that guides for gentlemen are far more useful than guides for ladies. So here's one for how to be a gentleman online. Most of the advice is quite good.

Certainly the loss of empathy from interacting as anonymous, disembodied selves is a major factor. But the real root of the problem is how we view our time online; many see it as a break from their “real lives”—a place where they can let it all hang out. In their off-line lives they must be civil and refrain from telling their boss how they really feel about him, yelling at the customer service rep who’s giving them the runaround, and getting out of the car and punching the rude and reckless driver in front of them.

Interestingly, I find it far easier to be polite online than in person, because I don't have people right in my face, and I can just ignore them I feel like they're wasting my time. I can be myself online, in ways that are sometimes feasible in person and sometimes not.

As for being rude -- well, sometimes the most honorable thing to do is call a man a coward to his face when that's how he's acting. Be polite, but don't impersonate a doormat. If your honest opinion is rude, lying about it is hardly any nicer than voicing it.

This is simple: if you’re not proud enough of something to have it associated with your real name, then why are you writing it?

Because there are a great many things that need to be said and done, that could get someone fired for saying even outside their job, which is legal but not acceptable.  Online anonymity is a necessary precaution for many people and topics, so ignore this rule.  Just don't use anonymity as an excuse for acting like a jerk.  You are still responsible to yourself even if nobody else knows who you are.

The thing about being a gentleman is this: It doesn't matter what other people think of you.  It matters whether you live up to your own expectations of being a decent, responsible human being.

Big Brother Is Watching Again

So now ISPs are supposed to identify users who are pirating files and cut off their service.  This is hideous because 1) they will have to look at that information to see what it is before determining whether it is legal or not, 2) which is bad because records of people's reading material have been used for harmful purposes before, and 3) if this starts with illegal "pirated" files, there's nothing to stop it from being applied to other information that somebody doesn't want somebody else to have later.  Like, say, how to avoid pregnancy or STDs, or the fact that gays can live a healthy life, or religions other than Christianity, or that Americans have a constitutional right to overthrow their government if they dislike it.

Monday Update 3-19-12

These are some posts from the later part of last week, in case you missed them:
Read "New World Order" by Ariestess
The Responsibility of the Penis
Being Sex-Positive and Asexual
More About the Tea Shop
Read "Red Glass, Green Glass"
Read "Voices: A Story of Bug Invasion" by Aldersprig
Coming Soon in Star*Line
Torn Tongue: Verbs Beginning with "T"
Another Rape Law
The Business Rusch: Scarcity and Abundance
Recipe: "Sweet Greek Lamb Chops"
In Which Texas Abuses Women
Fragmenting Families
Hard Things
Silenced Songs
Poem: "Nitwits"

The Crowdfunding Creative Jam about "respect" is still open on Dreamwidth and on LiveJournal.  Leave prompts, claim prompts, or just enjoy the cool stuff already being posted.  See my Crowdfunding Creative Jam tally post for a list of things I've written and things written from my prompts.  So far I've done two poems of my own, and catsittingstill has done two poems that could be turned into songs.

There will be a bonus fishbowl on Tuesday, March 20, 2012. Based on an audience poll, the theme will be Path of the Paladins.

Poetry in Microfunding:
"Tunnel Vision" (The Steamsmith) features an argument about civil engineering with Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Arthur Wellesley, a couple of pesky young noblemen, and of course Maryam.  New epics may be opened in any series other than The Steamsmith.

Torn World writing update:
Approved as canon: "Squiggles: Excerpts from Nleimen's Journal," (fiction), "Hide Away," "Bitter Herbs" (poetry).  Back to me for edits: "Seafoam Fashions," (poetry), "Half-Leg," "Northern Game: Bola-Ball," "Dolls in the Empire" (nonfiction). Currently in front of the canon board: "Catch and Release," "Dusting Off the Green Speech," "Doing the Work," "Breaking the Ice," (fiction), "Unlicensed Dreams" "The Hearsay Cafe," "The Colors of the Rainbow," "Something Big Is Coming" "How Skycat Got Her Name" "The Unicorn Surprise" "Nutterjell," (poetry), "Wild Herbivores of the North" "Ghost Bat" (nonfiction).  Drafted: "Cutting Cords and Clasping Hands," "Like Ash Before the Wind," "From Dark to Bright," "Beached Fish," (fiction).  In revision at home: "Water Dance," "When the Wind's Teeth Sing," "The Bones of Need" "Raining Kittens," (fiction), "Fish of the North" (nonfiction).  Currently writing: "Catch of the Day," "Reaching for the Moons" "Winterheart" (fiction).

Today is sunny and breezy.  Crocus are almost done blooming.  Daffodils, hyacinth, and forsythia are in full bloom.  Wild violets are just starting to bloom.  We've been doing lots of yardwork: picking up sticks in areas to be mowed, pulling fieldweed stems, mowed a section of the prairie garden, etc.  Progress.

Stop Internet Spying

The latest "backdoor SOPA" project aims to "stop piracy" by spying on people and cutting off their internet service. Sign a petition against it.

A wider-focus action: boycott big media. Period. Stop giving your money to the mega-corporations that create and fund initiatives to restrict what people can buy, sell, read, view, or use. Fuck 'em. Spend your entertainment dollars on independent entertainers who are not trying to ruin your life. Hollywood, RIAA, etc. are not the government; they cannot just TAKE your money. They have to convince you to GIVE them your money. Don't. It will hurt them badly. The mainstream music industry is already slowly bleeding to death because they've spent decades pissing off musicians and music fans alike. Hit them again. Capitalism only works if the companies that suck are allowed to fail and die, so they can be replaced by something that might actually be worthwhile.  And send a message to at least one of the megacorps so they'll know why you're boycotting them.

Indie Music
CD Baby
Underground Music on MadeLoud
Sellaband -- a crowdfunding hub specializing in music

Indie Film
Film Independent
Make Independent Films
Where to Find Free Full Independent Films and Documentaries

My Crowdfunding Economics page has a listing of hub sites where you can find all kinds of exciting projects to support. Find movies, TV shows, music, fiction, art, cultural events, and all kinds of exciting stuff.

Hardy Kiwi Fruit

I finally got a chance to try hardy kiwi fruit, when we found some in a little carton at the store.  Regular kiwis are fuzzy brown egg-sized fruit with tangy green flesh.  They only grow in tropical or semi-tropical climates.  But hardy kiwis, also called kuwi or kolomikta, are different.  The fruit is about the size of a grape and smooth-skinned.  So you don't have to peel them, which is a big plus.  These tasted different too -- not as sharp, with a mellower note almost like banana that regular kiwis lack.  It's kind of like a cross between a kiwi and a white grape.  They're nice for eating out of hand, and would be great in fruit salad too.  I'll have to keep an eye out for more of these.
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