otw_staff: Claudia, OTW Communications Co-Chair (Claudia)
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Red ballpoint pen with OTW logo in white

Who doesn't love swag? The OTW will be opening a merchandise store just for you - tell us what we should stock! http://bit.ly/QF8bRQ
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[personal profile] naraht
I've been meaning to post about this for a while. [personal profile] cereta just made a post which reminded me. Apparently offering trigger warnings in higher education is a trend:

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/mar/05/trigger-warnings-can-be-counterproductive

http://www.metafilter.com/137207/Trigger-warnings-needed-in-classroom

http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2014/03/05/against-trigger-warnings/

http://web.archive.org/web/20131222174936/http:/new.oberlin.edu/office/equity-concerns/sexual-offense-resource-guide/prevention-support-education/support-resources-for-faculty.dot

http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2014/04/14/oberlin-backs-down-trigger-warnings-professors-who-teach-sensitive-material

Now, there are circumstances in which I think trigger warnings would be a basic courtesy: if you are about to show a film with graphic content which students might not be expecting.

But from the standpoint of a historian I think that warnings for any given historical subject would basically approximate the warnings for human existence itself: racism, sexism, colonialism, slavery, religious bigotry, war, disease, child abuse, grinding poverty, exploitation, suffering, death, etc. However innocuous a subject you might be able to imagine - "Jane Austen's world," for instance, which included just about all of the above.

For that reason I found Oberlin's previous - now removed - policy on trigger warnings a little bit chilling:
• Remove triggering material when it does not contribute directly to the course learning goals.
• Sometimes a work is too important to avoid. For example, Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart is a triumph of literature that everyone in the world should read. However, it may trigger readers who have experienced racism, colonialism, religious persecution, violence, suicide, and more. Here are some steps you, as a professor, can take so that your class can examine this source in the most productive and safe manner possible:
• Issue a trigger warning. A trigger warning is a statement that warns people of a potential trigger, so that they can prepare for or choose to avoid the trigger. Issuing a trigger warning will also show students that you care about their safety...
• Tell students why you have chosen to include this material, even though you know it is triggering. For example:
“…We are reading this work in spite of the author’s racist frameworks because his work was foundational to establishing the field of anthropology, and because I think together we can challenge, deconstruct, and learn from his mistakes.”
“…This documentary challenges heterosexism in an important way. It is vital to discuss this issue. I think watching and discussing this documentary will help us become better at challenging heterosexism ourselves.”
• Strongly consider developing a policy to make triggering material optional or offering students an alterative assignment using different materials. When possible, help students avoid having to choose between their academic success and their own wellbeing.

Why is it worth studying history? That's a good question and well worth discussing with undergraduates. But I strongly refuse the idea that one should have to justify to students the reasons for not sweeping (tw: sexism) "man's inhumanity to man" under the carpet.

I wonder whether Oberlin's sweeping policy was a result of concerns about legal liability more than anything else? Or perhaps I'm being ungenerous.

Horses: Babies & Freedom

Apr. 23rd, 2014 08:09
laceblade: Mikage from Silver Spoon anime, on a horse. (Silver Spoon: Mikage)
[personal profile] laceblade
Last night I saw a baby horse!! He was born on Thursday.
His knees are knobbly & he's skittish about everything/everyone. I guess "skittish as a colt" is a phrase for a reason.

The pregnant horse in the stall next to the foal/his mom kept sticking her head over the wall. My instructor said she really likes being a mom, & wants to steal the baby horse since she hasn't given birth to her own yet, lmao.

The baby horse was so soft!! omg.


Last night I saddled up Chief. Since I rode Jake (who was already saddled for me) last week, & was in Florida the week before, I was a little out of practice. My legs were shaking after picking the mud from Chief's hooves, let alone brushing/saddling him! omggggg body. Please get stronger faster!

After saddling up, I rode outside for the first time ever!!! We rode around the pastures of the entire property (or at least the horse-friendly portions). Chief likes to be in the lead - appropriate, yes - & would huff & puff to get ahead of Cheyenne whenever Cheyenne pulled ahead.

The only thing that scared Chief was a police car that went by when we were next to the road, sirens/lights going. All he did was pull away from the road, though - very easy to control.

Chief needed some constant reminding to slow down - he was so excited to be outside, & in at least one of the fields for the first time this year, that he kept starting to go into a trot, even when we were going up hill.

This was easily my favorite lesson so far, even if my body hates me this morning. I like walking outside in the woods Up North with my dad, but I always get tired & feel gross. Viewing the world from a horse is way better, imo.

We had some pretty views. Chained dogs barked at us, & we heard a peacock from somewhere.

My dismount is still abysmal.

I really liked coming back into the barn with Chief. All the other horses stick their heads out of the stalls to greet him, & I know them well enough by now to know which ones might try to bite him, & which ones might be goofy & stick their heads by mine to ask for cookies. There are rows of fuzzy faces who are at least interested in our return, if not pleased to see us (more likely Chief than me, lol).
[syndicated profile] fanhackers_feed

Posted by fanhackers

[P]arafanfiction…refers to a particular subset of parafictional art that claims to be fanfiction of, or some other record of, an external media object that does not actually exist. The most notable examples of this are the Homestuck Anime and Squiddles, both of which are spinoffs of the actual Homestuck hypercomic. The idea with those projects is to fabricate an entire alternate reality where Homestuck is an anime and the in-comic show Squiddles actually exists. The fans participating in these projects create objects ostensibly taken directly from the shows in question—screencaps, pictures of old VHS tapes, GameBoy Advance cartridges, gif edits, and so on and so forth—in order to sell the idea that these shows actually exist.

Parafanfiction and Oppositional Fandom by

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[syndicated profile] fanhackers_feed

Posted by fanhackers

Generally speaking, media fandom operates on a labor theory of value—not necessarily in the Marxist sense of the phrase, but in the sense that value derives from work. Fandom’s gift economy assigns special worth to “gifts of time and skill” (Hellekson 2009, 115), gifts made by fans for fans. The worth of these gifts lies not simply in the content of the gift, nor in the social gesture of giving, but in the labor that went into their creation. Commercially purchased gifts, such as the virtual cupcakes and balloons that can be purchased in the LiveJournal shop, may be given and appreciated, but will generally be worth less, in the context of fandom, than gifts made by the giver (note 2). This labor theory of value is often invisible or unarticulated until something goes wrong: a site skin doesn’t work as anticipated, a vid is plagiarized, a story in progress—or an entire archive—is abandoned. These events remind us that our experience of fandom depends on the labor of others: “A gift is a thing we do not get by our own efforts. We cannot buy it; we cannot acquire it through an act of will. It is bestowed upon us” (Hyde 1979, xi).

Tisha Turk, Fan work: Labor, worth, and participation in fandom’s gift economy ift.tt/1g9d3Vi

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Caller ID: Utah, 1-385-313-3975

Apr. 22nd, 2014 13:02
snarp: small cute androgynous android crossing arms and looking very serious (Default)
[personal profile] snarp
Me: Hello?

Guy: Hello. This call is in regards to... a computer. Okay?

Me: ...okay, then.

Guy: This is a call about a computer. Am I right in thinking that you are the main person in charge of this computer?

Me: You're going to have to tell me which computer this is.

Guy: The "Windows" computer. The computer that runs the "Windows" operating system.

Me: I'm afraid we've got quite a few of those around here! You'll need to be more specific.

Guy: Well. I am calling to tell you that this "Windows" computer has downloaded a virus, bad software, that is damaging your computer. And that you need to get it off there.

Me: *waiting in silence*

Guy: Ma'am? Ma'am? Can we help you fix your -

Me: I am an IT person, and this is a law office. Please do not try to scam the law office IT person. It's not smart.

Guy: *laughs* Okay, then. Sorry, ma'am.

"Sorry I wasted your time with my con, I'll just call someone else! You have a great day, now."
otw_staff: Claudia, OTW Communications Co-Chair (Claudia)
[personal profile] otw_staff posting in [community profile] otw_news
Banner by Bremo of Pikachu dancing in excitement while a horde of other Pokémon characters look on in annoyance.

Fandom changes content & responds to it in different ways, but some behaviors can persist: http://bit.ly/RIMsJK
snarp: small cute androgynous android crossing arms and looking very serious (Default)
[personal profile] snarp
You know, all the racism and misogyny and homophobia and transphobia and classism and etc etc.

But the worst thing was that it made me think anchovies and liver were gross. They are delicious. What did the children's television networks have against anchovies and liver, what is wrong with those people?

I mean, aside from the, y'know, other stuff I just listed that's wrong with them.
otw_staff: Claudia, OTW Communications Co-Chair (Claudia)
[personal profile] otw_staff posting in [community profile] otw_news
Banner by Diane with the outlines of a man and woman speaking with word bubbles, one of which has the OTW logo and the other which says 'OTW Announcement'

AO3 has some proposed changes to its Terms of Service & FAQ and today opens a 2 week comment period. Find out why they're needed: http://bit.ly/1rfDkXq
otw_staff: Claudia, OTW Communications Co-Chair (Claudia)
[personal profile] otw_staff posting in [community profile] otw_news
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OTW Legal has filed an amicus brief in Garcia v Google because fanwork archives could be under threat - find out why: http://bit.ly/1r4DQJu
oriolegirl: (work)
[personal profile] oriolegirl posting in [community profile] academy_of_words
Headin' out of town for museums & baseball. Have a great week!
oriolegirl: (work)
[personal profile] oriolegirl posting in [community profile] academy_of_words
I'm on the road this week. Have a great writing week!

Never on a Wednesday

Apr. 19th, 2014 18:29
naraht: (Default)
[personal profile] naraht
I've been doing quite a bit of reading recently. I decided about a week ago that I was spending too much time reading endlessly on the internet, seemingly mostly luggage reviews. (I'm not kidding either.) I don't mean "too much" in the moral sense but more in the sense of "got caught in a suboptimal valley where I could have been doing other things that I would have enjoyed more." So I've been trying to close the laptop a little more and pursue other activities, which is why you may not have seen me around very much. Anyway...

Recently finished
Completely randomly, but mostly thanks to Virago Modern Classics, I discovered the work of Molly Keane on a library shelf. She seems like one of those writers who really ought to be better known. Early twentieth century Anglo-Irish country house stories, very psychological, often about hunting, often about controlling mothers.

So far I've read The Rising Tide (extremely good, reminded me of Rebecca, couldn't say exactly why), Young Entry (very amusing), Loving Without Tears (interestingly features a young man named Julian who comes home from the RAF after WWII with a considerably older fiancee, reads more like a play than a novel but not in a bad way), and Full House (didn't quite get on with it, the tone was a bit different than the others and it felt it was trying too hard to be profound). There are plenty more to go!

Also I just finished Martin Pugh's 'We Danced All Night': A Social History of Britain Between the Wars, which seemed a lot more focused and narrative than Juliet Gardiner's comparable volume about the thirties. I collected a lot of useful numbers, like how much it cost to study at Oxford, go through medical school, buy a medical practice or buy a house.

Currently reading
Somewhat between books at the moment. I am reading The Japanese Self in Cultural Logic by Takie Sugiyama Lebra, which I don't feel qualified to assess but I'm certainly finding it interesting!

To read
Lots and lots of books, including some mentioned in the discussion that [personal profile] oursin recently hosted on literature featuring older woman/younger man pairings. I just picked up Elizabeth von Arnim's Love and found myself flipping to the end to see if it had a happy ending. I'm shocked at myself! I often read the last few pages of books out of perverse curiosity, since it doesn't spoil much for me, but since when have I cared about happy endings? As said, utterly shocked.
otw_staff: Claudia, OTW Communications Co-Chair (Claudia)
[personal profile] otw_staff posting in [community profile] otw_news
Banner by Erin of a shield bearing the logos of several digital rights organizations.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership continues to be a concern for fans even as the music industry is discovering there's money in fanworks: http://bit.ly/1i4YiCR
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[personal profile] oriolegirl posting in [community profile] academy_of_words
Who's having a writing weekend?

(no subject)

Apr. 19th, 2014 08:24
laceblade: Mikage from Silver Spoon anime, on a horse. (Silver Spoon: Mikage)
[personal profile] laceblade
This past week, I didn't ride Chief during my lesson. Instead, I rode a horse named Jake.

Jake's owner had a lesson directly preceding mine, so I think it helps my instructor out from doing parts of our lessons at the same time. It also gave me more riding time, because Jake was already saddled up when I arrived.

However, Jake does English-style, which means that when I ride him, I'm doing English-style.
I really prefer Western style so far. I like being able to hold on to the pommel of the saddle when I want. I like the way one holds the reins Western-style than English-style. I feel much more in control.

Chief and I had been working on turning and stopping, trying to get me better precision.

With Jake, I worked on posting, which involves getting him to trot & then having me try to stand up in the stirrups every time his "outside" front leg hits the ground. So...basically rapid bouncing up & down. I really didn't like this, lol. When Jake is trotting, I feel like I have absolutely no control & I'm about to fall off, because there's nothing to hold on to. I can grasp part of his mane, but that doesn't really make me feel secure.
For whatever reason, I had much better rhythm going clockwise than counter-clockwise.

Later in the lesson, Jake spooked. Unlike Chief's spook, which feels like he just misses a step, Jake pinned his ears down & streaked after another horse who was in the arena. I shouted & almost fell off. Actually, I was positive I was going to fall off, but luckily I didn't!

The other women in the room (my instructor, another student of hers who has much more experience & who owns Jake, & a woman who boards her horses there & was riding them around) were very supportive, praising me for holding on & not falling off, & also bringing Jake to a halt.

STILL, it was pretty scary. I'll be excited to ride Chief again.

Currently, my dream is to someday ride outside. We need to wait for it stay lighter further into the evening before that happens. When I was leaving, a women who boards horses (whose name I can't remember & mentally refer to as "Glory's owner") & my instructor were talking about night rides. Glory's owner said that at the previous place she boarded, the owner-dude took her on a night ride. Glory's owner said she couldn't see her hand in front of her face, so the point is to trust your horse & just let them take you through the woods.

This sounds frightening, but in previous lessons my instructor had been having me take my hands off the reins & close my eyes while letting Chief walk wherever he wanted. This was to help me get a better idea of how Chief moves & to relax in the saddle. I think it'd be scarier to be holding on to the reins, but still unable to see anything, & having the horse be walking on uneven terrain next to branches/etc. ;_;
ANYWAY, this increased my esteem for the other riders, lol.
snarp: small cute androgynous android crossing arms and looking very serious (Default)
[personal profile] snarp
Second Life is still pretty much the only thing like Second Life out there, and it is still a complete fucking mess.

Catching up

Apr. 18th, 2014 15:12
sanet: (Default)
[personal profile] sanet
Another spring, and another term over! When so much time goes by, it becomes impossible to sum up all the individual things that have happened. So instead, here are some general reflections on how I've changed my perspective and opened up my life in the last year.

Because you know what? I feel like I’ve found some sort of secret key for joyful living this year. I thought that yesterday as I walked to a jazz band rehearsal. (I'm in a jazz band now. True story.) I felt like I’d found the secret to happiness. But when I tried to pin it down, it eluded words, or came out too simple. “I just do what makes me happy!” Yes, that’s it! And not it, not entirely. The entire “it” can’t be captured. It’s a feeling of going down the right path, knowing what I do is for the best, living authentically. Just…living.

Secret to Happiness below. Caveat: YMMV )

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Andrea J. Horbinski

April 2014

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