Hoyden about Town http://hoydenabouttown.com HOYDEN (hoid'n): woman of saucy, boisterous or carefree behavior Tue, 29 Jul 2014 11:07:26 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Procedure Fail: WisCon, Feminism and Safe Spaces http://hoydenabouttown.com/20140729.17092/procedure-fail-wiscon-feminism-and-safe-spaces/ http://hoydenabouttown.com/20140729.17092/procedure-fail-wiscon-feminism-and-safe-spaces/#comments Tue, 29 Jul 2014 11:07:26 +0000 http://hoydenabouttown.com/?p=17092 obvious deviants who could never be part of my well-ordered community (when in fact they are commonly those with the well-liked/respected status to be given the benefit of the doubt when/if reports are made against them), it's worth reading about the mistakes of communities with which one isn't familiar so that one can learn about patterns to watch out for and procedural standards which need to be known and practised by decision-makers. ]]> Many SF fans are very disappointed that a serial harasser was allowed to attend WisCon 38 despite reports against him laid during WisCon 37, and that the official response to much criticism during and since the convention has been to provisionally ban him for a few years rather than ban him in perpetuity.

Readers who are already part of SF fandom have probably seen a lot of this WisCon 38 fallout already, and there is a great deal of related/background reading that might seem daunting to those anyone who hasn’t heard about this at all (I certainly haven’t read everything myself), but this situation is worth people outside SFF reading about because one of the major revelations that has come to light about how/why this was mishandled so badly was that decision-makers were not made aware of nor did they factcheck all relevant information before reaching their decision: precedents regarding a similar situation at a different convention in recent years that was mishandled in a way that should have made WisCon more alert to avoidable mistakes,  past accusations/confessions against/from the accused, details of reports from accusers in this situation not conveyed, the accused was given further followup and input into the final decision but the accusers were not, and claims about legal obligations made by the accused have since been revealed to be false. Since this sort of institutional memory-holing of relevant history regarding serial harassers and non-transparency of procedures to the accusers is precisely the sort of social convention that serial harassers rely upon in order to keep getting away with what they do, alongside the fallacy that harassers are obvious deviants who could never be part of my well-ordered community (when in fact they are commonly those with the well-liked/respected status to be given the benefit of the doubt when/if reports are made against them), it’s worth reading about the mistakes of communities with which one isn’t familiar so that one can learn about patterns to watch out for and procedural standards which need to be known and practised by decision-makers.

Geek Melange: Debunking the Fairy Tale of WisCon, Feminism and Safe Spaces

I’d fully intended to have a glowing, gushing and rather fangirlish entry about my WisCon experiences up within a week of returning from the con, but that cold bug decided to fight eviction for nearly a month, things at work got busy and life generally got in the way.

And then the first rumbles of “All was not right in the state of WisCon” started showing up on my radar.

[...]

If there’s one advantage to how technology has changed the way we communicate, it’s that news no longer stays buried until long after the initial furor has died down. In response to public demands for accountability and an explanation of what in the hell the Subcommittee was thinking, the news that’s been coming in a steady and quickening pace from within the ConCom and Subcommittee about how the Frenkel decision was made has been more than a little disturbing. Not only were some of the committee members unaware of the particulars of the ReaderCon/Valentine/Walling situation and how that provided a roadmap to avoid repeating their mistakes (one of the results being the entire board resigning because they had messed things up so badly that nothing they did would be trusted by the community), they were unaware of the sum total of Frenkel’s behavior and history because that information had been cherry-picked by the person who was appointed as the Member Advocate and ostensibly supposed to be advocating for Frenkel’s victims. Further, Jankowski and Matthesen were not followed up with during the process, nor was their input solicited regarding the Subcommittee’s decision before the decision was announced – but guess whose input was solicited instead.

Frenkel asserted during his interview(s) with the Subcommittee that due to a NDA with his previous employer he was not allowed to speak publicly about anything related to his departure from their employment, and that this precluded him from addressing or even apologising for his actions. This factor was apparently crucial in the Subcommittee’s decision to make the ban only provisional and subject to reconsideration upon expiry of this purported NDA, but the Subcommittee reportedly never checked with the employer whether Frenkel’s assertion was true before making their ruling. Surprise – it wasn’t true.

A known harasser, someone who has been an industry missing stair for decades, whose questionable work history has led to many who worked with him as their editor to ask each other, “Have you been Frenkeled yet?”, who claimed contrition for similar actions in 2010 but apparently didn’t actually learn anything, who had the arrogance to show up at WisCon 38 to “prove he did nothing wrong,” lied to avoid taking responsibility for his actions. 

I am Jane’s total lack of surprise.

Elise Mattheson has just had a guest post published at several blogs about her perspective on the procedural failures at WisCon since she first submitted her report on Frenkel’s harassment. Unsurprisingly she has lost a lot of trust in the competency of WisCon to responsibly and transparently deal with harassers so that con-goers are adequately safeguarded.

The Geek Feminism Wiki: Jim Frenkel at WisCon 38 has a comprehensive outline of the situation with links to many responses/analyses. Those who wish to learn more about relevant patterns/precedents/procedures regarding other harassment events in a variety of communities can check the GF Wiki’s Incidents page for frequently updated information.

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Media Circus: Hockeynomics edition http://hoydenabouttown.com/20140728.17090/media-circus-hockeynomics-edition/ http://hoydenabouttown.com/20140728.17090/media-circus-hockeynomics-edition/#comments Sun, 27 Jul 2014 22:21:00 +0000 http://hoydenabouttown.com/?p=17090

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Good news everybody! Our esteemed Treasurer Joe Hockey just told the Kiwis that the Australian economy is not in crisis nor even in trouble!

Joe Hockey has told New Zealand that there is no crisis in the Australian economy, nor is it in trouble.

The treasurer also made no mention of the “budget emergency” he and his government referred to when justifying their unpopular budget to Australians.

Instead, Mr Hockey reassured Kiwis that their second biggest trading partner is benefiting from 23 years of consecutive economic growth.

“The Australian economy is not in trouble,” he told New Zealand political current affairs show The Nation on Saturday.

Mr Hockey also denied drastic reforms to Australian healthcare, education and taxes were about ideological change.

Looking forward to him repeating this excellent news on one of our very own political current affairs shows any moment now. A…………ny mo………..ment.


As usual for media circus threads, please share your bouquets and brickbats for particular items in the mass media, or highlight cogent analysis or pointed twitterstorms etc in new media. Discuss any current sociopolitical issue (the theme of each edition is merely for discussion-starter purposes – all current news items are on topic!).

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QOTD: Neutrality is not neutral. Neutrality supports the status quo. http://hoydenabouttown.com/20140726.17075/qotd-neutrality-is-not-neutral-neutrality-supports-the-status-quo/ http://hoydenabouttown.com/20140726.17075/qotd-neutrality-is-not-neutral-neutrality-supports-the-status-quo/#comments Fri, 25 Jul 2014 23:25:03 +0000 http://hoydenabouttown.com/?p=17075 [Content Note: discussion of graphic rape threats and links to posts that quote them] the way you personally feel about rape threats is irrelevant. What’s relevant is how you behave when they happen. When you support and promote the work of someone who makes rape threats, you are tolerating rape threats. ]]> A woman in early twentieth century dress, gazing into a yawning chasm 5000 feet deep, Moran's Point. (c1902-1903) rift[Content Note: discussion of graphic rape threats and links to posts that quote them]

From a post by Greta Christina about the Deep Rifts™ in the atheist community/movement, but it applies to just about every other community/movement too.

I’m sure that you, personally, don’t like rape threats, or approve of them. But the way you personally feel about rape threats is irrelevant. What’s relevant is how you behave when they happen. When you support and promote the work of someone who makes rape threats, you are tolerating rape threats. I agree that with some words and actions, we can agree on some things and disagree on others, and set aside disagreements to work together. Someone who says and does what The Amazing Atheist did does not fall into that category.

I understand that when it comes to the divisions and hostilities in the atheist movement about feminism and sexism, many people want to remain neutral. But there is no way to remain neutral. You cannot welcome people of color into our community, and also welcome racists. You cannot welcome LGBT people, and also welcome homophobes. And you cannot welcome women, and also welcome hateful misogynists who want to rape us.

Neutrality is not neutral. Neutrality supports the status quo. And the status quo, apparently, is one in which people who publicly make brutal graphic rape threats, and who express joy over the fact that someone was raped, still get to be respected members of the community with thousands hundreds of thousands of followers — because they sometimes say clever things about creationists.

Is that the community standard you want to support?

To relate back to an earlier post, the person who made the rape threats that Greta quotes in her post was TJ Kincaid aka TheAmazingAtheist. That these quotes (and other documentation of deplorable attitudes) are unequivocally Kincaid’s words is why that earlier post still stands.

As Australia’s Chief of Army, Lieutenant General David Morrison, said last year, “the standard you walk by is the standard you accept”.

There are points of disagreement I can have with some people over goals/strategies etc and still work with them or manage to socialise happily with them. There are some people whose social behaviours I find intensely irritating but I can still work with them or manage to socialise civilly with them. There are other people I will not work with and actively avoid socially, because their behaviour has crossed too many lines and I simply don’t trust them to remain within acceptable bounds of behaviour either with me or with other people around me. I am not going to apologise for that, and I’m not going to stop pointing out that some chasms are simply not worth building bridges across.

ETA: Greta paraphrases her post in comments in response to an obtuse interlocutor:

If we are never willing to shun anyone, for any reason, it means we are literally willing to tolerate anything.

Image credit for Deep Rifts™ macro: Dana Hunter

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Otterday! And Open Thread http://hoydenabouttown.com/20140726.17067/otterday-and-open-thread-293/ http://hoydenabouttown.com/20140726.17067/otterday-and-open-thread-293/#comments Fri, 25 Jul 2014 20:00:14 +0000 http://hoydenabouttown.com/?p=17067

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Our Open Thread this weekend is hosted by these three sea otters, courtesy of the Monterey Aquarium.

3 adorable fuzzy sea otters peeking out of a rock cave.

Please feel free to use this thread to natter about anything your heart desires. Is there anything great happening in your life? Anything you want to get off your chest? Reading a good book (or a bad one)? Anything in the news that you’d like to discuss? What have you created lately? Commiserations, felicitations, temptations, contemplations, speculations?

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Friday Hoyden quick hit: Linda Brodsky http://hoydenabouttown.com/20140725.16769/friday-hoyden-quick-hit-linda-brodsky/ http://hoydenabouttown.com/20140725.16769/friday-hoyden-quick-hit-linda-brodsky/#comments Fri, 25 Jul 2014 08:06:22 +0000 http://hoydenabouttown.com/?p=16769

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A piece came across my Twitter feed a few weeks ago about an American doctor who died earlier this year. Rebecca Greenfield wrote “Advice to Jill Abramson from my Mom”, describing the pay discrimination her mother experienced, the retaliation she suffered when she protested, and the enormous personal cost of the years she spent fighting the injustice.

Middle-aged and young woman bent over work at a home table.

Linda and her daughter (via the Linda Brodsky blog)

Dr Linda Brodsky was an American paediatric ear, nose and throat surgeon. In the 90s, having become a tenured professor at SUNY Buffalo, she discovered she was being paid far less than male colleagues, many with less seniority and fewer qualifications. On further investigation she found that the same was true of her pay from her medical employers, and that it applied to other women working in the same institutions. When she attempted to have the disparities addressed she was fired. Dr Brodsky spent years suing her employers, not only on her own behalf, but to help ensure that other women would not be treated the same way. She was aware that the privileges she had put her in the rare position of being able to fight, and thus made it a moral obligation.

Dr Brodsky had her own website with material on both her professional areas of expertise and her fight for equitable pay for women, and here is her obituary in the Buffalo News. The American Medical Women’s Association has set up a memorial fund in her name, to create a scholarship.

Dr Brodsky seated, holding a plaque.

Dr Brodsky with her 2003 NYS Department of Health Quality Award.

 

 

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Every Australian Novel Ever! http://hoydenabouttown.com/20140724.17055/every-australian-novel-ever/ http://hoydenabouttown.com/20140724.17055/every-australian-novel-ever/#comments Wed, 23 Jul 2014 21:58:49 +0000 http://hoydenabouttown.com/?p=17055 Guest Hoyden Bio: Our Guest Hoyden today is Adelaide writer, critic and editor Kerryn Goldsworthy, reproduced with permission from a post she made on Facebook. ]]> Guest Hoyden Bio: Our Guest Hoyden today is Adelaide writer, critic and editor Kerryn Goldsworthy, reproduced with permission from a post she made on Facebook.

bear in mind I am just riffing off the Canadian one — the first one I saw — which linked to the Irish, Russian, French and English ones. I did think we needed a List Of Our Own. Fellow Aust Lit nerds might also recognise something I have subconsciously borrowed from Professor Ken Stewart, the undisputed king of ASAL Parody Night.


Every Australian Novel Ever!

1) Four Characters from All Over the World Meet in the Bush and have Cryptic Conversational Exchanges, Often About Ants

2) Jesus My Friends are Horrible

3) Bruce was My One True Mate

4) I am an Old Woman Now and Cannot be Expected to Remember Things in Chronological Order

5) Shagging Several Different People, Some of Whom are on Drugs, Because Counterculture

6) Then There Was a Barbecue and All Hell Broke Loose

7) Finally I Found my Soulmate, who was Immediately Killed in the War

8) Surfing, Vols 1–17

9) Arabella, how Boldly and Divinely you Sit Astride your Horse with your Golden Curls Shining in the Hot Sun, and I Bet you can Kill and Gut a Sheep As Well and Cut it Up Into Chops

10) I Just Had to Get Out of Australia

11) A Man Travels from the Northern to the Southern Hemisphere and Then Back to the Northern and Then Back to the Southern and his Bank Balance Goes Up and Down, and Then He Dies

12) An Explorer Travels Inland, and Then He Dies

13) A Jewish Scholar Makes it Out of Germany Just In Time and Travels to Australia, and Then He Dies

14) A Wild Girl Bravely Saves Her Little Brother, and Then She Dies

15) It was the War/Depression/First War/Pioneering Days/Convict Days, We Had to Do All Sorts of Appalling Things

16) Their Ancestors Had a Terrible Secret

17) The Frickin’ Landscape

18) The Divine and Mystic Landscape

19) The Landscape

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Dressmaking for the Obsessive http://hoydenabouttown.com/20140723.17035/dressmaking-for-the-obsessive/ http://hoydenabouttown.com/20140723.17035/dressmaking-for-the-obsessive/#comments Wed, 23 Jul 2014 02:47:34 +0000 http://hoydenabouttown.com/?p=17035

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Sorting family possessions, unless you come from a particularly orderly family, is full of highs and lows. Icky, cockroach poop-filled lows of drawers that haven’t been opened since grandma died, but the highs of items unexpectedly saved. Things you never knew were kept, or never imagined were brought on the journeys that brought your people to the places you are now cleaning out.

There have been a number of remarkable finds in a recent packing up of a house that was my grandparents’, probably the largest my generation will have to do, and I want to share one of the most extraordinary with an audience that will gasp as I did. I found an 1895 book of dress patterns. In Russian. This is the title page:

Russian text, with embellishments, date 1895.

Around forty pages, it is clearly meant as a comprehensive covering of all the basics, including a riding habit, aprons, travelling cloaks, and outfits for a little boy and girl.

Did you ever wonder how to fit a blouse over a corset?

Dress patterns showing blouse, sleeve and corset treatments.

Or what the pattern would look like to cut a leg o’ mutton sleeve?

Dress patterns showing sailor-suit dress and sleeve treatments.

Or how to adjust a high collar pattern to a décolletage suitable for evening?

Dress pattern showing evening gown treatment.

This book may have travelled with my great-grandmother from Harbin, or may have been passed around among members of the sizeable Russian community that existed on the outskirts of Sydney in the early twentieth century. My costumier friends are going to love me forever.

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Part Two of ‘You can’t make this sh*t up…’ http://hoydenabouttown.com/20140722.17041/part-two-of-you-cant-make-this-sht-up/ http://hoydenabouttown.com/20140722.17041/part-two-of-you-cant-make-this-sht-up/#comments Tue, 22 Jul 2014 03:16:51 +0000 http://hoydenabouttown.com/?p=17041

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In a move that should be extraordinarily embarrassing to white people everywhere, a US man has claimed part of Sudan as a kingdom for himself so that his daughter can be a Princess. No I’m not joking.

Heaton was journeying through the desolate southern stretches of Egypt and into an unclaimed 2000-square-kilometre patch of arid desert. There, on June 16 – Emily’s seventh birthday – he planted a blue flag with four stars and a crown on a rocky hill. The area, a sandy expanse sitting along the Sudanese border, morphed from what locals call Bir Tawil into what Mr Heaton and his family call the “Kingdom of North Sudan”.
There, Mr Heaton is the self-proclaimed king and Emily is his princess.

Mr Heaton, who ran for Congress out of Virginia’s 9th District in 2012 and lost, plans to reach out to the African Union for assistance in formally establishing the Kingdom of North Sudan and said that he is confident they will welcome him. Representatives from the Egyptian and Sudanese embassies in Washington did not respond to requests for comment.
Mr Heaton says his claim over Bir Tawil is legitimate. He argues that planting the flag – which his children designed – is exactly how several other countries, including what became the United States, were historically claimed. The key difference, Mr Heaton said, is that those historical cases of imperialism were acts of war while his was an act of love.
“I founded the nation in love for my daughter,” Heaton said.

I can’t even. I hope this one really is a hoax.

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Today in ‘You can’t make this sh*t up’ because no one would believe you’ http://hoydenabouttown.com/20140722.17030/today-in-you-cant-make-this-sht-up-because-no-one-would-believe-you/ http://hoydenabouttown.com/20140722.17030/today-in-you-cant-make-this-sht-up-because-no-one-would-believe-you/#comments Tue, 22 Jul 2014 00:34:59 +0000 http://hoydenabouttown.com/?p=17030

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A nurse-midwife whose religious beliefs prevent her from recommending contraception, except in the case of a patient needing the medication for non-contraceptive purposes, has sued after not being hired by a family planning organisation who is funded to provide contraception. Also here and here from the group defending the nurse-midwife. I don’t know much about the US legal system but this is the legal doc they have posted.

Sara Hellwege, a nurse in Tampa, Fla., applied for a job at Tampa Family Health Centers in May 2014. The organization receives federal Title X family planning funds, which means that it must provide women contraception and other family planning services. But Hellwege is a member of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and told health center staff that she would not be willing to prescribe birth control if she were hired for the job.

“Due to religious guidelines, I am able to counsel women regarding all forms of contraception,” Hellwege wrote in an email to the health center’s direct of human relations , “however, cannot [prescribe] it unless pathology exists.”

This is not The Onion. It should be.

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TheAmazingAtheist purportedly wrote these words, looked at them, and chose to publish them http://hoydenabouttown.com/20140721.17014/theamazingatheist-wrote-these-words-looked-at-them-and-chose-to-publish-them/ http://hoydenabouttown.com/20140721.17014/theamazingatheist-wrote-these-words-looked-at-them-and-chose-to-publish-them/#comments Mon, 21 Jul 2014 07:03:38 +0000 http://hoydenabouttown.com/?p=17014 UPDATE: It has been shown that there is no evidence that TheAmazingAtheist actually wrote these words, and Kincaid has responded to these allegations. The tumblr from which this quote was sourced has been deleted. Please see below. Count yourself lucky if you've never heard of somewhat popular video-blogger TheAmazingAtheist aka TJ Kincaid. He's one of the subset of atheists who want certain other atheists to "stop being divisive" via pointing out the injustices of the kyriarchal status quo ongoing within the atheist "movement". He has ever so many rational and deeply intellectual opinions about life, the universe and everything. ]]> UPDATE: It has been shown that there is no evidence that TheAmazingAtheist actually wrote these words, and Kincaid has responded to these allegations. The tumblr from which this quote was sourced has been deleted. Please see below.

Count yourself lucky if you’ve never heard of somewhat popular video-blogger TheAmazingAtheist aka TJ Kincaid. He’s one of the subset of atheists who want certain other atheists to “stop being divisive” via pointing out the injustices of the kyriarchal status quo ongoing within the atheist “movement”. He has ever so many rational and deeply intellectual opinions about life, the universe and everything. I just saw a link on Manboobz to a tumblr quoting directlyattributing this quote to Amazeman’s (self-published) e-book Scumbag: Musings of a Subhuman (2007);

[NOTE: Image macro showing TAA with disputed quote has been removed since this appears to be a manufactured quote, and the tumblr where it was posted has now been deleted. I'm leaving the quote itself to lend context to the rest of the post and comments.]

Nature already has an age of consent. That age is approximately 12-13, otherwise known as the onset of puberty. We don’t need Christian morals to set an arbitrary age on when a sexually mature human female can mate legally. We already have clear parameters on sexually [sic] maturity as established by the law of evolution, and acting within those parameters does not under any reasonable definition constitute “rape”. Moreover, because this irrational moral imperialism is almostly solely applied against males who pursue relationships with younger females, I do believe the change of age-of-consent laws should be a critical area of focus for Men’s Rights Activists.

So sure, 2007 is ancient stuff in internet years, but it’s the first time I’ve seen it, and Kincaid is back on the atheosphere’s radar due to other stuff going on which is not directly relevant to this quote, so I’m choosing to highlight this particular example of his scumbaggery because he doesn’t seem to have changed these opinions since 2007 because it’s not an uncommon argument and deserves to be scorned.

I’m struggling to get past histhese misconceptions about puberty and physical sexual maturity to count the other errors in that paragraph. The *onset* of puberty is the *beginning* of the bodily changes associated with physical sexual maturity rather than the sign of the *completion* of the bodily changes associated with physical sexual maturity. Women need more physiological changes to occur than just having begun the menstrual cycle for their bodies to be ready to safely complete a pregnancy, so even if we were to accept his argument that “Nature already has an age of consent” he’s looking at the wrong age.

Heit’s also losing me on the idea that the current legal age of sexual consent has anything to do with Christian morals in particular. Simply on a pragmatic social stability level society has an interest in attempting to minimise the number of babies born to girls who are have not yet acquired the life skills necessary to either control their fertility reliably or be financially secure parents (thus aiming for fewer households with children requiring state aid), entirely aside from the many, many other ethical considerations that don’t need “Christian morals” for their foundation which I’m sure you all can think of.

Don’t get me started on the “law of evolution” crap.


UPDATE: PZ Myers also posted on this macro over at Pharyngula, and the Horde has been unable to find a verified cite. I’ve also woken up to  find a handful of drive-by comments here informing me that they can’t find it either.  As the rationalwiki entry on Kincaid notes though,

Kincaid made a post on a Marilyn Manson fanforum in his pre-Youtube days in which he advocated a lowering of the age of consent to “12 or 13″ and admitted to having had “extreme pedophilic fantasies.”[6] In fact, he has admitted to having “dated” a 14 year old girl when he was 23.[7]

The exact words in the macro above, in particular the errors of fact, cannot be shown at this time to belong to Kincaid. The attitude towards sex with pubescent children though is consistent with his words expressed in the past.


FURTHER UPDATE: Kincaid has addressed this allegation on his tumblr:

Somebody said that you think that age of consent should be 13 and tau you were in a intimate relationship with a 14 year old when you were 23

Asked by Anonymous

Wow. The rumor mill just keeps on churning.

The age of consent thing is based on a post I made on an internet forum when I was like 20. And it was actually a pretty popular sentiment on the boards at that time. Hell, it was a popular sentiment on the internet in general at that time. It was also, I’m sad to say, an opinion that my father held.

After experiencing another decade on planet earth, I realize how horribly misguided that opinion was and is. I think that maybe it’s not so horrible for kids that age to begin sexual exploration with one another, but it’s definitely wrong for an adult to engage is sex with someone that young and inexperienced.

As for this nonsense about me dating a 14-year-old when I was 23, I was actually mocking a friend of mine who was over 30 and was macking on some 16-year-old girl. The sad fact is that when I was 23, I was single and pussyless. And I was too timid and frightened to even approach a girl sexually, let alone one who could wind me up in prison.

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