Sexists, Skeptics, Symbols, and Sepsis

Posts Tagged ‘Introduction

Firstly, my apologies for taking so long to post again without warning. I suppose one of the privileges of having a relatively new blog, and one that is relatively invisible, is that not many people miss me.

Something that is probably important to say upfront is that this blog is more than just a place for me to vent political spleen or discuss things that interest me, however important they may be in the larger scheme. This blog is an exercise in self-discipline. I have ADHD, you see, and I have just graduated from college, leaving me with a gaping void where I so recently had structure, and I have to keep writing if I am going to maintain any semblance of discipline in my life.

One of the things you learn to live with when you have ADHD is the looming spectre of chaos. I mean, I suppose you would have to learn to live with this when half of your brain is a two-year-old that divides its time between finding shiny things very interesting and throwing fits punctuated by screams of “NONONONONONONO!” You learn what things in your life you need to take care of and which ones can wait for a while, and sometimes the latter end up waiting for a very long while. You learn that disappointment is inevitable; even if you appear to be very competent in some areas, you will be utterly without the ability to even consider others, and it will hurt and will disappoint people you care about. This is a very, very difficult lesson.

I’ve learned most of my lessons about speaking without thinking, and part of why the rhetorical training I’ve had in college is so important to me is that it has taught me to carefully measure my words. To be sure, they are still often too hasty, and sometimes I substitute an intense awareness of individual words’ connotations for a careful consideration of what a lot of words mean when they are thrown together. Still, it’s something. I’ve also stopped accruing speeding tickets (a common feature of driving records for those of us with this particular form of alphabet soup), stopped accruing unpaid bills, stopped feeling as though my life has to be defined by mistakes that have a lineage in this kind of disability (for the most part, although the feelings of worthlessness that come from a solid track record of failure are difficult to defeat). I’m a Person With A Degree, which I never thought would happen when I became a Homeless Single Mother at 23. (Never you mind the anxiety that comes from feeling as though that degree misrepresents my actual talents and abilities.)

But I’m still ADHD, and it still eats up a chunk of my time and spoons in a way that doesn’t happen with a lot of people. Because of this, sometimes, despite my best intentions, the blog is going to sit fallow for a bit. Right now is one of those times, both because of literal housekeeping (you remember the part where I said that some things get sidelined? Yeah…) and because of internal housekeeping. I need to set up a relatively stable schedule of what I will post and when, and I’m not sure what exactly the schedule will be yet. I think that the vagaries of keeping stuff up will be a topic that I’ll hit on sometimes, and it’ll be personal because my experience with this is personal and can’t be otherwise.

All of this to say, thank you for being patient, and I’ll be replying to comments soon. (Thank you, commenters! ::waves frantically::)

I’ll see you again on Monday if all goes well.

I want this blog to be a space where readers at all levels of knowledge about feminist theory and social issues can feel safe asking questions, but accomplishing this without inviting in the trolls is a tricky enterprise, so I’m going to mark posts according to whether they are 101 (beginner) or more advanced. If a post is 101 then anyone can ask any question (so long as the asker has read the entire post) and I will attempt to answer or, if I cannot, defer to any patient commenters who may be able to provide a better answer than I can. There is no shame in not knowing something basic so long as you are willing to admit this when you come in. Ask away! I like educating people and I will be courteous; because of the nature of these spaces, I will require that any commenters who are already knowledgeable be courteous as well.

That being said, the provision of 101 posts means that I will expect commenters not to encroach on advanced discussions with 1o1-level questions. Hopefully I will remember to provide links to any relevant 101 (either written by me or by someone I trust) at the beginning of advanced posts but, if I don’t, I will simply link any commenters with questions to the relevant 101. I expect that, since I am kind enough to do this, the questioner will read the content that I provide. Further comments that demonstrate a failure to do so will result in banning. I don’t have the time or energy to deal with people are not willing to comply with basic requests.

Speaking of basic requests: I do not tolerate the use of slurs in my comments.  Aside from the obvious slurs–referring to racial and sexual minorities–I will not tolerate words that refer to women as dogs, women as sexual objects, or the pernicious use of the word “tranny.” Nope.  If you want to bitch-cunt-tranny it up, go somewhere else. You have the whole internet. Quoting someone else is good, but you will end up in moderation if your comments use any of these words or their various censored permutations, so consider yourself warned. In addition, as I said in my first post, misgendering and refusal to abide by requested pronouns for nonbinary and trans* folk (both in the threads and about whom i post) will result in swift and uncompromising bannination.

Considering that, although this blog will be relatively clean of profanity (as opposed to my everyday speech, which is fairly laden with it), I am profoundly comfortable with profanity, understand that it is a huge deal for me to consider a word off-limits in any context. Comments are a curse-friendly space, provided you refrain from ad hominem attacks on other commenters.

Although I am not easy to trigger in general, I will (hopefully) not be the only person on this blog. Because of this, I would request that commenters who are describing physical or sexual assault or who may potentially risk triggering those with eating disorders (fat is a topic that I will be posting about) provide a trigger warning with a brief, nonthreatening description of why. “Trigger warning: eating disorders” or “Trigger warning: rape” should be sufficient. This is a courtesy to readers who may find themselves deeply upset and panicked at descriptions of scenarios that resemble ways in which they have been hurt. I will extend the same courtesy when titling my posts. (Since this is off-the-cuff, I am sure that I will extend the trigger warnings to other things, although this space will not be as picky as some.)

In the skeptical community there was a huge deal recently over Dan Fincke’s civility pledge. Since the title gives away that skepticism is of interest to me, let me assure you now: I do not take the Camels With Hammers Civility Pledge. I understand where Dan Fincke is coming from, but I am disinterested in civility because it a construct that is created and mediated by those with privilege in order to police the speech of marginalized bodies. I am interested in kindness and courtesy; however, sometimes the kindest thing you can do to a person is to jerk a knot in their ass when they need it, and sometimes the most courteous thing to do is to tell someone to shut the hell up before they do further damage to people who already have to live with enough “civil” discussion of their basic humanity. I take no issue with people who have taken the pledge, but I find it contradictory to my personal values and, as such, will run my space according to my own ideas of kindness and courtesy.

Another practice that will get you banned despite its veneer of civility is called JAQing off. Unfortunately, my definition will be rather like the Supreme Court in reference to porn: I know it when I see it. I’ll try to be on the kind side, but JAQing about the basic humanity of marginalized people is going to get you nowhere fast. This space is for education, not for you to “just ask questions” about whether x group REALLY deserves y right. Go ask the rest of the internet.

I ask that basic courtesy be extended on the first comment to anyone who does not flagrantly violate the rules about slurs or JAQing; however, I will lean towards banning as opposed to either eviscerating trolls myself or asking others to do it. Being rather short on time and hoping to find gainful employment soon, I will not have a lot of time to be a patient blogmistress.

If you have a problem with my comment policy, let me assure you that it does not violate your free speech since this blog is a place for me to speak freely, not for you to say whatever you like. Let me direct you towards WordPress, who is kindly providing me with this space, if you have an issue with how I run my blog, and you may speak freely all you like, just as I am.


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