This Article Wherein I Use The Satire

DC once again alienated female (and many, many male) fans with their silly sexist shenanigans. They decided that these would be good tee shirts to license:

The lack of clever. It burns.

The lack of clever. It burns.

And while lots of folks were quick to call DC out on these designs and DC actually managed to respond without sounding like complete tools, the discourse was the expected level of stupid.

I used this emoticon too much this week – O.o

So, rather than exhaust myself by having 800 conversations, I present a visual reminder of why common derailing techniques and many user comments are, well, stupid.

1. It’s just a tee shirt.



Picture 22

2. It’s entertainment. It can’t hurt anyone.




3. Why do those kind of women have to make a big deal out of everything?



Picture 23

4. All comic books are like that.



5. You should just shut up.









The Sprint to Spritz

Hey Blogosphere,
You’ve not been this excited since Miley decided she wasn’t daddy’s little girl any more.

How fast are you reading this? Pretty fast, right? I mean, you’re reading the words probably somewhere around the pace you’d be hearing them if I were speaking. It’s possible you read faster, and I’m all chipmunk fast, but it’s probably somewhere in the neighbourhood of 200 words a minute.

There is a magical software that promises to boost that. It’s called Spritz and the interface is clever. It works like this:

You see one word at a time.

The center of the word is red.
Like this.

The word is centered in a box.
The red letter is always in the same place.
So your eyes learn to expect it.

As you read each individual word, your speed will jump dramatically. Mine did, almost instantly. It’s a fun brain trick to watch the numbers soar and realize just how quickly you are reading.

But I don’t like it.

Red Reading by Melissa Venable (Click image for artist's page)

Red Reading by Melissa Venable (Click image for artist’s page)

I don’t like it because it so isolates each word that I lose my sense of context. I’m forced to gorge a meal I’d rather savour. I like to read a book languorously. I like to play over phrases. Roll them around in my brain. I like to look back to the top of the page and re-experience a salacious piece of dialogue or a brilliantly descriptive term. I like to repose in bed or on my sofa and hold a book (or even my Kobo) and spend minutes more than necessary on one phrase.

Were I the type who needed to consume large quantities of data for my work, say a lawyer or an engineer – this could change my entire day. Utilitarian reading suits a utilitarian  method. Spritz’ pitch, however, has been to splash across social networking just how fast you could ream through a 1000 page novel (about a day for me, a mere hour or two for a spritzer.)

I could also listen to music on high speed, watch only Vine videos and consume all my food in pureed liquid form.

I want to savour a book. I want to immerse myself in it.

I’m fascinated by where this technology may go. I could see it being useful for LD students, ones for whom conventional reading is problematic. By isolating individual words, the possibility of mixing words is eliminated. If they weighted the font (thinner at the top, thicker at the bottom) so it wasn’t flippable vertically and coloured it to indicate a front to back flow (light to dark) so it wasn’t flippable horizontally, they could change reading for kids and adults who find it challenging. It could be a big help for those with low or limited vision who have a smaller field of usable vision

Who knows, this may be where we are headed. I am not opposed to change. We are machines and our efficiencies are amazing.

Still, if this is where we go (and we might) I think I’ll be glad I was born before it. After all, as a child of the 80s, I lost out on the beauty of a slow cooked meal in favour of the wonder of instant packaged portions and fast food.

I’m glad that I learned to read in the era of slow words. I think they will always suit me best.

A Passion for Vengeance, No Passion for Care (Triggers, My Babes)

Seriously, trigger warning. I’m in a strange brain place and I need to deal with intense stuff, but if that’s not where you are, go somewhere fun and healthy. Like here.


People love to post images that express their anger. Like this one:



I mean, what is that? It’s fear porn. It alerts our most basic fears (being attacked, having our loved ones attacked) and then drop kicks a moral into the middle. The moral being, we should put down pedophiles. Like rabid dogs. And everyone who commented seemed to think this wasn’t punishment enough. The comments are below, but they are hideous. To see them, click to enlarge. But honestly, skip it.

Wow again.

Wow again.

Skip it because it’s exactly what you’d expect. Lots of calling for some right sick sexual retribution (which is really just more sexual assault and debasement, and now it’s justifiable!) I mean, who would it serve to sexually hurt pedophiles? Not the victims. We get no benefit from the sorrows of another. Not the pedophile. It will not make him/her whole or sane or rehabilitated. And whoever chooses to carry out the sentence, how are they any different? Wouldn’t we then have to punish them?

Whenever I see these I’m always struck by how soundly they support the circle of damage and pain. If every person who seethed that they wanted to murder a pedophile actually helped victims and empowered children, I could see the purpose, but as it stands, it seems like violently misplaced rage and if it is not rage, then this is far to glib a way to express dislike.

I was sexually abused as a child. I don’t speak for all people who were, but I speak for me. Here is what I want you to fight for:

Fight for better childcare and children’s services. The person who molested me was molested himself. He was in the system and his life was horrifying. He was deeply damaged and he passed that on to me. So yes, if you want to do something to stop pedophiles, stop making them. There’s a start.

Educate children about their own bodies and give them the vocabulary to describe their own experiences. When I finally told a teacher, most of the way through high school, the best I could manage was “things they weren’t supposed to do.” I had no words.

Oh, and when kids tell you this shit, report it.

If a kid is running away from this, do the scary thing and take them in. They will probably be crazy, depressed, wild, damaged and really hard to deal with. But they need, need, need you.

Support charities that directly support victims. RAINN, Kid’s Help Phone (thank you Kamal, for the all night conversation,) Youthlink and LOFT all specifically helped me. Me, the person. I got actual help.

Don’t waste your energy on vengeance fantasies. The world doesn’t need more pain. It needs more care.

And as for the people hurting children: no, we shouldn’t kill them. I’ve crossed it around in my brain over and over. What is the good, the ethical, the helpful thing to do?

Knowing it would be corrupted and maybe made horrible, I still think isolated work farms are a pretty good idea. Seriously. Make something good in a place where you can’t hurt people.

Or heck, start by bumping those teeny tiny sentences up. I have to wonder if any of the vitriolic folks calling for death considered calling their MP or writing a letter or doing some research into ways to make it better.

Anger is easy.

Change is hard.

And I am tired.

Goodnight, folks.