Hoyden about Town http://hoydenabouttown.com HOYDEN (hoid'n): woman of saucy, boisterous or carefree behavior Tue, 19 Aug 2014 23:07:55 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Media Circus: No Snappy Title edition http://hoydenabouttown.com/20140820.17141/media-circus-no-snappy-title-edition/ http://hoydenabouttown.com/20140820.17141/media-circus-no-snappy-title-edition/#comments Tue, 19 Aug 2014 23:07:55 +0000 http://hoydenabouttown.com/?p=17141

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I have been mostly speechless/typingless at the latest goings in local/federal politics, taking refuge in offline activities. Elsewhere the police brutality in Ferguson MO and egregious overreaction to peaceful protests, and the continuing atrocities perpetrated by the expanding Islamic State essentially makes me want to vomit rather than write. And there are stilling missing girls in Nigeria, and other horrors happening all over. But I should still put up a post for the rest of you to vent/rant or even ideally substantively discuss these issues, because disengagement is never going to be a solution, even if it’s sometimes temporarily necessary for some self-care. Go for it.

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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Otterday! And Open Thread http://hoydenabouttown.com/20140816.17133/otterday-and-open-thread-296/ http://hoydenabouttown.com/20140816.17133/otterday-and-open-thread-296/#comments Fri, 15 Aug 2014 20:00:19 +0000 http://hoydenabouttown.com/?p=17133

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Our Open Thread this weekend is hosted by these two gorgeous otters, snapped at the Exmoor Zoo by Mark Ferbert.

two adorable mid-brown river otters lazing about in autumnal leaves

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: Emma Goldman http://hoydenabouttown.com/20140815.17111/friday-hoyden-emma-goldman/ http://hoydenabouttown.com/20140815.17111/friday-hoyden-emma-goldman/#comments Fri, 15 Aug 2014 02:22:33 +0000 http://hoydenabouttown.com/?p=17111

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At a time when the Australian government is doing its best to behave like a blend of Dickensian villains and French aristocrats, without the compensatory good taste in cravats of either, we are more than due for a genuine revolutionary for a Friday Hoyden. Emma Goldman was a Russian (or technically Russian Empire, from an area now in Lithuania) Jewish immigrant to the USA, who spent her life being persecuted for her work campaigning for the rights of workers and marginalised groups of all kinds.

Goldman classified herself as an anarchist. Throughout her life her campaigns were always against state control of people’s lives and people’s voices, and against the exploitation of the vulnerabilities people incur through being poor, ethnically marginalised or female. She was one of the earliest campaigners for women’s reproductive rights. An idealist who never let that cloud her judgement, she immediately reversed her hopeful stance on the Bolshevik state in Russia when she saw that it involved curtailing people’s right to freedom of speech, ostensibly for the good of greater, long-term goals. She was absolutely strict in her belief that you could not win ultimate freedom by denying any person along the way their individual humanity. She never denounced violence as a tactic, which was used by critics as a reason to dismiss her philosophies and deny the value of her influence. She was jailed numerous times, including for giving public lessons on the use on contraceptives, and would come out and get right back on with the work.

B&W of elderly woman standing at a dest speaking into a microphone, surrounded by people.

Speaking in Barcelona, 1936. I love how active and determined she looks.

Reading her autobiography, I was reminded (this is going to sound absurd, but bear with me) of the impression given of Jesus, if you read the bible with the mysticism stripped away. That is, she doesn’t just preach goodwill to all, she sees herself as in no way above being the person to wash someone’s feet, if that is what the situation requires. Nurse the sick, shelter the outcast, no judgement offered except of the powerful and the decadent. She was just as likely to give a prostitute a bed in her home while she treated her for venereal disease, as to go out and address a rally of thousands from a podium. Unlike many other leaders of movements for social change who have avoided getting their hands dirty, Goldman could be the patron saint of those who walk the walk.

Here is a more detailed biography, with mentions of her many published works, but I recommend her autobiography Living My Life, which is an an engaging and insightful read.

B&W police profile & full face of woman in Victorian blouse and glasses.

Goldman in her New York mug shot.

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Life at 9: discussion thread http://hoydenabouttown.com/20140812.17117/life-at-9-discussion-thread/ http://hoydenabouttown.com/20140812.17117/life-at-9-discussion-thread/#comments Tue, 12 Aug 2014 03:58:47 +0000 http://hoydenabouttown.com/?p=17117

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Here we are at Life at Nine already. How quickly they grow up!

The ABC’s documentary series tracking the growth and development of a sample cross-section of Australian children only appears every two years. The two episodes of this edition are designated ‘Independence’ and ‘Creativity’. Both episodes are still available to watch online and on ABC iView.

Watching the different responses of a range of children to classic cognitive development experiments is always fascinating, but it’s also great to have a couple of broader issues about raising children highlighted. I do find the questions asked are often exactly the ones I puzzle over. How much independence is the right amount? And how much responsibility? And how much structure? I noticed that the childhood experts seemed almost shocked to find that none of the nine year olds were walking to school unaccompanied, and concerned that they were all being supervised too closely to be healthy. And yet this is exactly the age of the little girl in the USA whose mother was actually jailed for letting her play in a nearby park on her own. So, some cultural variables worth discussing, there.

The documentaries started showing eleven children, but one (LouLou) had stopped participating by Life at 7, and this time two more (Haleema and Jara’na) were not present. No mention was made of whether it was a permanent decision by the families to leave the project. Unfortunately, this means that there are now only three girls shown. Also, as Jara’na was the only child identifying as Aboriginal and I think Haleema may have been the only Muslim, we are seeing less diversity among the participants.

One thing that struck me was how very tiny, and rather endearing, acts of rebellion are at this age. Declan taking himself off to drumming lessons, for example. I adored the moment when free-thinker Shine put a yellow dot in the bottom corner of her painting, despite being told to only use black and brown. The other children were scandalised! From little things big things grow.

So who has seen it, and what did you think? How does what was discussed intersect with your own parenting.

The general discussion thread on Life at 1, 3 and 5 is HERE.

The Life at 7 discussion thread, HERE, is especially interesting because of the contribution from one of the parents participating in the study, Michelle, who generously shared some fascinating insights into the process.

The British equivalent began in 2000, and is called Child of Our Time. There are some clips and snippets of information HERE.

8 children around a long table. Text: Life at 9

 

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Otterday! And Open Thread http://hoydenabouttown.com/20140809.17112/otterday-and-open-thread-295/ http://hoydenabouttown.com/20140809.17112/otterday-and-open-thread-295/#comments Fri, 08 Aug 2014 20:00:30 +0000 http://hoydenabouttown.com/?p=17112

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Our Open Thread this weekend is hosted by this very cool otter.

otter standing up and leaning against a tree, a la James Dean

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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The 75th Down Under Feminists Carnival is up! http://hoydenabouttown.com/20140805.17105/the-75th-down-under-feminists-carnival-is-up/ http://hoydenabouttown.com/20140805.17105/the-75th-down-under-feminists-carnival-is-up/#comments Mon, 04 Aug 2014 23:30:11 +0000 http://hoydenabouttown.com/?p=17105

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the logo for the Down Under Feminists Carnival - the international symbol for 'female' with the Southern Cross in the centre

The industrious Rebecca of Opinions @ bluebec.com presents us with DUFC #75! Go have a read.

The next edition of the Down Under Feminists Carnival is planned for 5 August, 2014 and will be hosted by Scarlett Harris at The Scarlett Woman. Submissions to scarlett.harris [at] y7mail [dot] com for those who can’t access the blogcarnival submissions form.

Submissions must be of posts of feminist interest by writers from Australia and New Zealand that were published in August. Submissions are due on 2 September at the latest, but it’ll be easier on Scarlett if you submit sooner rather than later. So submit early and often, please, and spread the word!

Leave a comment if you’d like to host a carnival yourself. We are in great need of hosts.

Check out the Down Under Feminists Carnival homepage for more information.

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Otterday! And Open Thread http://hoydenabouttown.com/20140802.17098/otterday-and-open-thread-294/ http://hoydenabouttown.com/20140802.17098/otterday-and-open-thread-294/#comments Fri, 01 Aug 2014 20:00:22 +0000 http://hoydenabouttown.com/?p=17098

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Our Open Thread this weekend is hosted by a 1920 Berkshire otter, from a book called “In Berkshire Fields” by Walter Prichard Eaton. Courtesy of internetarchivebookimages on Flickr.

Black and white painting of a snowy riverbank with birch trees overhanging. The water is still and reflects the treetrunks. An otter stands on the nearby bank.

Some of the accompanying text reads:

Sometimes you will encounter the slides on the steep river-bank where the otters play. Like seals,they are extremely frisky and sportive, and will climb a bank to slide down into the water by the hour, like small boys on a sawdust pile, or two of them will pull at a stick like a couple of puppies. In the water they are marvelous swimmers, and can catch any fish they set out for.

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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Whimsy http://hoydenabouttown.com/20140801.17100/whimsy-2/ http://hoydenabouttown.com/20140801.17100/whimsy-2/#comments Fri, 01 Aug 2014 07:00:47 +0000 http://hoydenabouttown.com/?p=17100

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It’s cold outside, so spend time inside looking at these things instead. Or at least it is cold here.

This comic inserts Men’s Rights comments into Jane Austen scenes and it’s perfect.

11 dogs who learned the hard way not to eat bees.

I hope this makes it to Australia ‘Galavant’

I’m not sure what the put in the water in the UK, but following in the footsteps of Rebecca Ferguson, Duffy and Amy Winehouse (well hopefully not too closely in the case of the last one) is Paloma Faith. This is my new fav earworm.

Note: video may not be SFW.

Please share any bits and pieces you have come across recently that have surprised, delighted, intrigued or otherwise positively engaged you.

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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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