Thursday Link Dump

Clever Manka, · Categories: Thursday Link Dump

May doll, Gay Liberation parade, Hollywood, 1972. (Anthony Friedkin)

Anthony Friedkin’s photos of gay culture immediately post-Stonewall.

Just, everything about this article on empathy, so so hard.

What I did not love—what made me genuinely uncomfortable—were the hundreds of crotch-punches, big falls on the dance floor, faceplants on a bike or skateboard, and the like. I did not, even as a child, really get the idea of laughing at other people’s pain, especially when we really didn’t know, based on the footage, whether that person was hurt. It made me squirm. And even when Bob Saget would talk to the family who submitted the video, and get assurances that everyone was fine, I still didn’t love laughing at what I’d seen.

Related, taking it one person at a time, one person can make the world a better place.

Being forced to shut up can help one learn to listen.

Yes, the internet might be changing our brains, but why is that necessarily a bad thing? It’s certainly not a new concern.

With its streaming services and Wikipedia articles, the internet has lowered the stakes on remembering the culture we consume even further. But it’s hardly as if we remembered it all before.

Plato was a famous early curmudgeon when it came to the dangers of externalizing memory. In the dialogue Plato wrote between Socrates and the aristocrat Phaedrus, Socrates tells a story about the god Theuth discovering “the use of letters.” The Egyptian king Thamus says to Theuth: “This discovery of yours will create forgetfulness in the learners’ souls, because they will not use their memories; they will trust to the external written characters and not remember of themselves.”

(Of course, Plato’s ideas are only accessible to us today because he wrote them down.)

“[In the dialogue] Socrates hates writing because he thinks it’s going to kill memory,” Horvath says. “And he’s right. Writing absolutely killed memory. But think of all the incredible things we got because of writing. I wouldn’t trade writing for a better recall memory, ever.” Perhaps the internet offers a similar tradeoff: You can access and consume as much information and entertainment as you want, but you won’t retain most of it.

Louise Bourgeois‘s suggestions for artists.

Am I pleased or furious (or both) that there is now a writing prize for thrillers that avoid sexual violence against women?

There is never too much advice for good apologies.

According to Lerner’s many decades of research on the subject of apologies, failure to create effective apologies comes from a lot of places. It may be cultural (in some cultures, a core assumption for intimate relationships is that apologies are implicit, so never offered explicitly) or a learned behaviour from within our families of origin or other high-impact social herds, like church communities. For many people, acknowledging we have done harm implies “we are/I am Bad People”, and that is a massive shame trigger for a lot of us.

Where the process truly falls apart, however, is in a staunch belief that INTENT trumps IMPACT when it comes to determining what merits apology and what (in our minds) does not.

Art Rangers: A group of creators using art to protect the U.S. National Park Foundation.

Good vs. Evil’s existence in pop culture and its effect on culture in general.

Novelists and filmmakers who base their work on folklore also seem to focus on commonalities. George Lucas very explicitly based Star Wars on Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero with a Thousand Faces (1949), which describes the journey of a figure such as Luke Skywalker as a human universal. J R R Tolkien used his scholarship of Old English epics to recast the stories in an alternative, timeless landscape; and many comic books explicitly or implicitly recycle the ancient myths and legends, keeping alive story threads shared by stories new and old, or that old stories from different societies around the world share with each other.

Less discussed is the historic shift that altered the nature of so many of our modern retellings of folklore, to wit: the idea that people on opposite sides of conflicts have different moral qualities, and fight over their values. That shift lies in the good guy/bad guy dichotomy, where people no longer fight over who gets dinner, or who gets Helen of Troy, but over who gets to change or improve society’s values. Good guys stand up for what they believe in, and are willing to die for a cause. This trope is so omnipresent in our modern stories, movies, books, even our political metaphors, that it is sometimes difficult to see how new it is, or how bizarre it looks, considered in light of either ethics or storytelling.

This is a creature that exists. On this earth. Right now.

For those of us who love our anti-GOOP reads. Set aside some time for this one, it’s long. I would like to add, the person who suggested it said something very true: “In reading this I actually see how the patriarchy makes this appealing. When you consider that doctors don’t listen to their patients and the medical profession is dominated by men and research is largely centered around male experience of illness or atypical neurological states, of course it can translate to a lack of faith in science based medicine.”

Some good news for the Williams Lake Indian Band in British Columbia.

What the world would look like if we taught girls to rage.

We teach girls to capitulate, ostensibly for their own good, but drumming the concept of subservience into their heads comes with its own high price: Girls are twice as likely to experience depression by the age of 16, more likely to enter into marriage when they’re children, and HIV rates for women are higher than for men.

And as a result, we leave girls wholly unprepared for the crisis to come as they grow up. What is particularly cruel is that, especially in the West, society increasingly feeds girls “you can do anything” lies while the patriarchy remains intact. They can’t. And they have to know why.

Anthony Oliveira’s amazing response to the lack of the Toronto police’s interest in pursuing a serial killer that targeted gay men. The whole thing is chilling and distressing, but this paragraph is wrenching and gives you an idea of what you’re in for, so if you’re not in the emotional space for it, give this one a miss.

It seems now secondary that there are still gay bodies to be exhumed. That there was blood—gay blood—in the trunk of his car. Gay blood when it is donated is thrown out, and when it is spilt it is easy to forget, running unnoticed in the gutters.

Yami Kawaii, a subset of kawaii culture, fights Japan’s usual silencing of depression, self-harm, and suicide.

So as not to end on two major downer notes, the Burgomaster posted about Tuesday’s launch of a mission to Mars!


97 Responses to “Thursday Link Dump”

  1. meat_lord says:

    Ooh, this roundup looks great. Can't wait to read (but will probably have to wait).

  2. RoseCamelia says:

    "One person can take away months of angst in an instant."
    From the Am I Invisible piece.
    '“Come join us,” you’ll say with a smile.

    And the recipient will sigh with relief … angst gone instantly … a world of pain cut in half.

    One person can do that.'

  3. vladazhael says:

    There is so much good stuff to read here that I hesitate to comment too soon because I haven't read nearly enough of it yet, but that creature that lives on our planet makes me very happy.

  4. Doc_Paradise says:

    Elon Musk threw a car at Mars.
    Elon Musk threw a fucking CAR at MARS.

    • Absotively says:

      Ok, but he missed, so Mars probably won't be too mad at us, right?

      • Doc_Paradise says:

        That is SUPERVILLAIN SHIT right there… I'm not worried about Mars being mad… I'm JEALOUS.

        • Absotively says:

          Sure, but it's supervillain shit that didn't quite work!

          Though now that I think about it, that is pretty standard for supervillain shit. Equipment misfiring isn't as common as some goody-goody interfering, but it's certainly not unheard of.

          On the bright side, so far as I know Elon Musk doesn't have a space laser yet.

          • Doc_Paradise says:

            It is only a matter of time.

            Honestly, I think we need more supervillains like this. Imagine if the filters allowed people other than just privileged rich white dudes to make their ideas happen.

          • Absotively says:

            I would not be opposed to more Musk-style supervillains, probably.
            It's too bad supervilliany is so expensive.

          • Doc_Paradise says:

            Yeah. Too bad supervilliany is expensive.

            Elon Musk himself isn't special, IMO.

            I think there are MANY potential Elon Musks out there, but the filter to get through and become someone who can launch cars into space is very small. This isn't because it requires a special person to get through them. I think the barriers have little to do with individuals. They are systematic and wider spread than that. (And the pervasive idea that special individuals are specially necessary is part of the problem.)

            AND, from what I read, Elon Musk seems like more than a little bit of an arsehole of a human being.

            Imagine if we got the filters fixed enough that someone who can launch cars into space AND be a kind and humanistic person could get through them.

            At this point, I *can't* be a supervillian that launches cars into space… but I am hoping that I might become a person that can enable others to be awesome. Sort of like the mentor part in the Hero's journey. Motivate, provide an essential tool, then launch potential protagonists into the unknown to see what they can do. That would be awesome.

    • vladazhael says:

      And they're supposed to stay in that orbit roughly forever. I really want someone out there to find that whole setup in the distant future and be terribly confused.

    • Lynn says:

      The live feed is mesmerizing. Boyfriend and I just sat there staring at it for an hour on Tuesday.

  5. littleinfinity says:

    From the "what if we taught girls to rage" piece – which was great all on its own – I also found the text of Ursula K. LeGuin's commencement address at Bryn Mawr, which is lovely and feels very timely/ timeless.

  6. Lynn says:

    Heh, whoever submitted the anti-GOOP article that is MUCH the same thing I said to my boyfriend the other day when explaining why I can see how anti-vaxxers and GOOPers lose their faith in the medical establishment and get to their positions, but I will never understand flat earthers no matter how hard I try.

  7. Flitworth says:

    We are not here to comfort the patriarchy.

    That belongs on a shirt.

  8. Chris McKitterick says:

    I sent "Louise Bourgeois‘s suggestions for artists" to my SF Workshop alum mailing list. Good piece!

    Such an insightful piece about empathy – and l love the video.


  9. vladazhael says:

    I'm in the middle of reading the GOOP article and I'm going to take a break to go eat lunch and I'm going to aim for something full of toxins.

  10. Kazoogrrl says:

    The empathy article is me. My compassion? Still catching up.

    Without checking the gay culture link (yet), I'm recommending the documentary about The Cockettes. I discovered them because of the cross pollination with John Waters' Dreamlanders.

  11. jenavira says:

    Oh my GOD, apologies for the off-topic post but I have had an upsetting interaction and I must rant

    So my new psychiatrist is an asshole, she asked me what changed in 2017 that I had such a terrible time, and I said, "Well, politics," and she asked me what that meant and I tried to explain that I feel like my future has been cancelled and also the level of, like, generalized hate I have to deal with has gone up, and she tried to explain to me that transphobia and sexism don't really happen it's mostly made up by the media to sell stories (WHAT) and then asked if this really affected me or anyone I knew, and friends, was I at that point going to answer that question honestly with "I, a fragile genderqueer egg, feel like I am constantly hiding behind a mask of White Woman Privilege that is actively damaging to other people"? Of fucking course not. So I shut down and let her explain at me for twenty minutes and then went home and screamed until I had to come to work. Oh, and she was forty minutes late for my appointment, so I didn't have time to either eat lunch or get something together to bring to work for dinner, so I'm living off McDonald's and ponczki today, so much for eating better and saving money for my vacation.

    tl;dr my psychiatrist is fired and doesn't know it yet

  12. dirtymagpie says:

    I about bawled all through that "just one" piece.
    And oh crap, I actually said "silver lining" to someone online today, as part of a joke about racists as cockroaches. I know that she didn't relay an incident happening to her with her post, and I hope that by echoing her anger, and assuring anyone on the thread that I will stand up with them, I attached some sort of empathy, even if I really can't ever experience what she was talking about. I need to listen first and watch what I say. That's a great blog post.

  13. Lee Thomson says:

    That piece about talking to Dads with loud voices and many thoughts is something that hits very very close to home.

    • Xolandra says:

      Me too. Except I am dad in most of my social situations (and sitting with that rn), and so hanging out with a pile of men who can LEGIT talk over me is weird.

      Good thing my unimpressed face can stop grown men in their tracks, mwahahahahahahahaha

    • Doc_Paradise says:

      Is that something that is happened with your dad?


      • Lee Thomson says:

        It is less that my dad talked over everyone, and more that he has completely lost his confidence in any memory he might have. That I am telling him his own stories feels unexpectedly poignant. That I am the only source of them just wrecks me. His wife, my step-mother, has a lot, and my mother helps me remember things as well. But a lot of our interactions are me telling him what he told me long ago.

    • jenavira says:

      Same. I've noticed that since my mom got sick enough that she had to quit working, my dad (who is her primary caregiver, when she can be convinced that she is not fully self-sufficient) does way less domineering of conversations.

  14. jenavira says:

    That Good vs. Evil piece is revelatory. How did I never notice that ancient stories never have Bad Guys? (Cuchulainn versus Ferdia has been on my mind, even.)

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