next_to_normal: Daenerys on yellow background; text: Fire cannot kill a dragon (Daenerys Targaryen)
[personal profile] next_to_normal
When the linkspamming gets out of control. Between the TCA press tour and Comic-Con, there's a TON of TV and movie news and related fun stuff coming out.

Under a cut because it's so damn long )
fanart_recs: a grayscale apple being painted green with a brush (Default)
[personal profile] turlough posting in [community profile] fanart_recs
Fandom: Bandom
Characters/Pairing/Other Subject: Gerard Way & Bert McCracken
Content Notes/Warnings: n/a
Medium: digital art
Artist on DW/LJ: n/a
Artist Website/Gallery: [deviantart.com profile] nezumi-zumi

Why this piece is awesome: I absolutely love this work. It's so bold and bright.

The body language of Bert and Gerard, the sweeping curves of the mic cables, and the way the lyrics are worked into the whole composition, all makes for an incredibly dynamic and intense work. It really showcases why nezumi-zumi is one of the best artists in the fandom at the moment.

Link: Under Pressure

meme

25 July 2014 15:06
likeadeuce: (carrie brownstein)
[personal profile] likeadeuce
I'm going to be be AFK all weekend (probably even AF-smartphone for most of it) but if anybody wants to reply to this meme, I'll answer when I get home. :)

In any case, see you on the flip side!

Pick any paragraph or any passage less than 500 words [or more if you really feel like it] from any fanfic I've written and comment to this post with that selection. I will then give you a DVD commentary on that snippet of what I was thinking when I wrote it, why I wrote it, what's going on in the characters' heads, why I chose certain words, what this moment means in the context of the fic, and anything else you'd expect to find on a DVD commentary track. [Link to AO3 account here]

Godzilla by engelszorn (SFW)

26 July 2014 04:32
fanart_recs: a grayscale apple being painted green with a brush (Default)
[personal profile] mific posting in [community profile] fanart_recs
Fandom: Godzilla
Characters/Pairing/Other Subject: Godzilla!
Content Notes/Warnings: none
Medium: digital painting
Artist on DW/LJ: nope
Artist Website/Gallery: Engelszorn on DA
Why this piece is awesome: This is an especially scary looking Godzilla emerging from the sea - reminds me of "Alien" for some reason. I also like the distant (but not distant enough to be safe!) city lights in the background.
Link: art is here

"Aristeia" by Sonya Taaffe

25 July 2014 09:35
[personal profile] jjhunter posting in [community profile] poetry
J.J. belatedly here for a seventh round of hosting. I'm sharing the fruits of my comfort reading this month — poetry from back issues of Apex Magazine. If you are moved by today's poem, please do leave a comment at the publication post.
—––

ARISTEIA
Sonya Taaffe


Zeus with the migraine that was Athene
smashed his skull open on his stepson’s maul,
split free a tall spear of a girl
as unbreachable as logic and beguiling as a myth
while the lag–footed blacksmith
glanced down at his burnt hands
and faded underground again.
A god who crashes once to earth
buries himself within it, forge–roaring Etna
and the tindery fields of Claudius’ Ostia
hammering out the shape of fires to come,
lyre–lit Rome, the charred olives of Athens
and the armor that saved Achilles
as surely as a poem turns aside a bomb.
Get out of my head, older artificer, )

weird

25 July 2014 14:16
deird1: Azula, with a slightly snarky expression (Azula eyes)
[personal profile] deird1
Try this on for size.

- I used to have bad acne.
- Because of this, I went on the pill.
- The pill works (contraception-wise) by tricking your body into thinking it's pregnant, hence not releasing ova.
- The pill took away my acne issues.

And yet...

- I am now actually pregnant.
- I now have lots of bad acne.


How can fake-pregnancy decrease acne, while actual-pregnancy increases it? Has logic decided not to exist, or something?

We have always been here

25 July 2014 21:01
rydra_wong: Lee Miller photo showing two women wearing metal fire masks in England during WWII. (Default)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
Disabled people: not a modern invention. Not always put out on a hillside.

PLOS ONE: Earliest Cranio-Encephalic Trauma from the Levantine Middle Palaeolithic: 3D Reappraisal of the Qafzeh 11 Skull, Consequences of Pediatric Brain Damage on Individual Life Condition and Social Care

Licescience: 100,000-Year-Old Case of Brain Damage Discovered

So: around 100,000 years ago, a child survived a head injury which would have caused moderate or severe traumatic brain injury. This was "most probably followed by significant neurological and psychological disorders, including troubles in social communication". But they lived a significant number of years after the injury, and were buried in a way that suggest unusual, deliberate ceremony.

(Which could, of course, mean "these deer antlers ward off the evil from this unholy changeling child we finally executed." Many stories are possible.)

Hello, Qafzeh 11. Hello across the millennia.

(Also, hello little Sima de los Huesos Cranium 14, 500,000 years ago, who was not even a modern human but a Middle Pleistocene hominin, possibly a proto-Neanderthal. Hello.)

summergen fic for meeee

24 July 2014 18:19
snickfic: Dean handcuffed 5.04 (Dean 1)
[personal profile] snickfic
the unlit room - Endverse AU: Kevin, Jo, and Cas raid an abandoned hospital for supplies, and find something they don’t expect.

Someone wrote me Kevin and Jo and Castiel in the Endverse. :D Endverse makes everything better, say I. This is very moody and full of atmosphere as they search the abandoned hospital. It's from Kevin's POV, and he spends the occasional moment wondering what the deal is with this Cas guy, anyway.

So it's good, and it's mine, and you should read it.

A Plea From Your Treasurer

24 July 2014 19:52
writercon_uk: default community icon (Default)
[personal profile] curiouswombat posting in [community profile] writercon_uk
This is a plea as the treasurer of the UK WriterCon group!

If you are thinking of coming to meet up in Coventry in September, but haven't quite decided, could you possible let me/us know that you are a possible?

This is because we have to start buying goody-bag stuff - and I need a rough idea of how many of each (new and exciting) thing to buy!

Also we need a rough idea of how many people to organise the sweeties for... It would be terrible if we underestimated and ran out.

So - if you've been meaning to sign up, but not quite got around for it - here is the sign-up post; you don't have to pay right away, either.

And if you just want to say 'I might be coming', leave a comment here, or send me a message or whatever works for you.

And finally; [personal profile] hobbituk says she will be driving up from somewhere in the Greater London area (you'll have to ask her where - I'm a bit vague about it I fear), and will happily give anyone* who contacts her a lift.

*Well - until her car is full, anyway!

comics read: Storm, Saga

23 July 2014 19:11
snickfic: (Saga)
[personal profile] snickfic
Wow, it's been at least a month since I did one of these. I'm hoping to get back up to speed now.

Storm #1 )

Saga #21 )

July 2014 playlist

23 July 2014 21:09
[syndicated profile] thefword_feed

Posted by J Whitehead

Natasha Khan - July 2014 - MEDIUM.jpg

Feeling the heat, feminists? Martha and the Vandella's 'Heatwave' struck me as a glaringly obvious, but entirely appropriate choice, along with Marlena Shaw's 'California Soul' - a song surely made for the sunshine.

The Claude Violante and 10LEC6 tracks were both taken from a compilation called Colette Loves Andrea Crews. A bit of research suggests that Andrea Crews is a fashion-art collective. I don't have a clue who Colette is - answers on a postcard, please. The compilation is well worth a listen and pretty amazing, with the exception of one track which, despite having some good and bouncy bass, gets tired get pretty quickly with its "I got pussy on my mind/all the time/all the time" refrain. Change the record, kids. Claude Violante is one half of Haussmann, who some listeners might be familiar with - read an interview with her here.

You may already be familiar with Beverly, the all-female super-group composed of Frankie Rose, formerly of Vivian Girls, Dum Dum Girls and Crystal Stilts and Drew Citron, formerly of Avan Lava. You can watch Frankie talking about their new album Careers released earlier this year here.

Bat For Lashes' 'Sarah' reminds me of wailing sirens, mermaids and swimming underwater. A dreamy song to cool off to when it gets too warm.

Click here to be re-directed to this month's Spotify playlist. You can also view the track-list here.

Stay cool.

The image is of Natasha Khan from the band Bat For Lashes. The image is an upper-body shot of her wearing a black and white top, with stripes on the arms and blocks of black and white down the front. Her hands are held in front of her chest, touching at the tips, with her palms facing down. She looks towards the sky. Image by Neil Krug, shared under a Creative Commons licence.


fanart_recs: a grayscale apple being painted green with a brush (Default)
[personal profile] endeni posting in [community profile] fanart_recs
Fandom: Thor
Characters/Pairing/Other Subject: Jane Foster, Sif
Content Notes/Warnings: None
Medium: traditional art
Artist on DW/LJ: -
Artist Website/Gallery: [tumblr.com profile] marty-mc
Why this piece is awesome: Such a delightful Jane&Sif fanart! Or, as described by the artist's tags: "I imagined Jane as a Disney princess", "she's so tiny and cute", "and Sif is her knight", "who tries to protect her", "from Thor too". ♥ ♥ ♥
Link: Jane Foster & Sif by marty-mc
fanart_recs: a grayscale apple being painted green with a brush (Default)
[personal profile] dirty_diana posting in [community profile] fanart_recs
Fandom: Arrow
Characters/Pairing/Other Subject: Slade Wilson
Content Notes/Warnings: non-sexual shirtlessness
Medium: digital
Artist on DW/LJ: n/a
Artist Website/Gallery: [deviantart.com profile] anawind
Why this piece is awesome: Rounding out the Team Island theme with Deathstroke. Intriguing composition and colouring skills that capture the power and menace that Manu Bennett brings to the role.

Link: Slade Wilson
fanart_recs: a grayscale apple being painted green with a brush (Default)
[personal profile] dirty_diana posting in [community profile] fanart_recs
Fandom: Arrow
Characters/Pairing/Other Subject: Shado
Content Notes/Warnings: n/a
Medium: digital
Artist on DW/LJ: n/a
Artist Website/Gallery: [deviantart.com profile] MoishPain
Why this piece is awesome: Lovely mood and lovely dimension.

Link: Ghost of You

Birthday!

23 July 2014 09:55
sister_luck: (Default)
[personal profile] sister_luck
Here is a a very pink rose from the yard to wish you a very happy birthday, [livejournal.com profile] frenchani!

brief update

23 July 2014 09:10
deird1: a chibi of Kitty from P&P, with text "what do you keep winking at me for?" (Kitty winking)
[personal profile] deird1
Things in my life right now:

- I have started eating porridge for breakfast*. It is YUMMY.

- We went to a different church this week, which was awesome. Our regular church is quiet, solemn, and rather lifeless - as well as being quite challenging to meet people. This church is friendly, enthusiastic, and SINGS WITH GUSTO, which we've missed a great deal. (Not a comment on worship style, precisely. But when your church service feels more like a funeral, it becomes rather wearying.)

- The internet went down yesterday, taking away half my possible activities. *pines* Thankfully, it has now returned.

- Brought a huge amount of wool to Germany with me, with the intention of making a huge blanket that would
a) keep me warm
b) occupy my crocheting time for several months, in case I couldn't find more wool here.
I am now utterly sick of my half-finished blanket, and am plotting trips to wool shops to buy supplies for making baby things. It would be rather ludicrous to teach myself to crochet and not make my baby crocheted things, after all.

- Have finished Veronica Mars (except the movie). It's rather fun.

- Am getting kicked awake at 3am every morning, and thus missing out on a proper night's sleep. Can't wait until this kid is born, so that it can actually be put down away from my internal organs once in a while.



* My appetite being somewhat increased by pregnancy, it's actually my third breakfast of the day, following yoghurt and cereal.
nanila: YAY (me: abby)
[personal profile] nanila

[The 2014 Alpbach Space Summer School participants. Photo not mine - pinched from Paxi the ESA mascot's home page. I made this picture a bit bigger than I normally do for posted photos. Can you see me?]

I missed a day of posting. This was a tactical mistake, as a day in Alpbach time is more like a week in terms of eventfulness. I'm up super-early on Wednesday morning in order to catch up, as today will be more of the same. The four student teams have until midnight tonight to hand in their final reports and presentations, after which neither can be altered. They go before the jury tomorrow and the winners are announced at Thursday's dinner.

Fished from what now feels like the dark recesses of distant memory, Day 7.

Monday began with the last set of lectures. These were rather thinly attended compared to the previous week, as around half of each team decided to skip them in favour of preparing for the preliminary design review. I found this a bit sad as the lectures were quite good. The first lecture was given by a very prominent French scientist, who, despite his habit of muttering through his beard, gave a rather beautifully structured overview of the last fifty-odd years of space exploration of the terrestrial planets (including the Moon). The slides were so good I've pinched them and asked permission to use some of them for future outreach talks. The penultimate and final lectures were given by a nearly as prominent but very shy German scientist, who talked about the outer planet's moons and the study of exoplanets. I was pleasantly surprised later to learn that the students found these inspiring, since neither of them were helpful in an immediate sense for their mission design for this school.

During the coffee break, our school's photographer took the group photo above, which (I believe) has been sent to the ISS. Alexander Gerst, the German astronaut currently aboard the space station, is an alumnus of the Summer School and headed a team while he was here.

When the last lecture finished, the students dispersed to wolf down their lunches and continue preparing for their Preliminary Design Reviews*, which took place at 1630. I was on a review panel with a fellow roving tutor and the French lecturer from the morning. During the review, the lecturer got out his laptop and started typing. Even I found this slightly unnerving, and I wasn't the presenter. What the students would've found even more unnerving is that he wasn't answering e-mail or even updating his Facebook status. Oh no. He was correcting their orbit calculations. With hindsight, we probably did the review in reverse order. We (said lecturer and I) began by giving them a lot of critical feedback, which was positively phrased, but also probably didn't help their nervousness. This is a fault of mine. I tend to jump straight into problem-solving. The third juror, a quiet and lovely man, didn't speak until we were nearly finished. He praised them both for the strength and originality of their scientific idea and for the quality of their presentation. This was good because it bolstered their confidence, on top of making them realise how much work they still had to do.

We dashed back to the hotel after the review for our tutor meeting at 18:00. The feedback was largely positive apart from one team. Flushed with the success of their requirements review (the one that I had attended on Day 4), they presented only two slides much too quickly and therefore missed a step in preparing for the final presentation, which lasts an hour. All of the team tutors are invested in their teams' success, but the two tutors for this team are so much so that they're practically part of the team and they looked gutted. (If you're finding yourself distressed on their behalf, don't worry; the team and their tutors have since recovered!)

We went to dinner to find a significant proportion of the students missing (mostly from that team), since they'd decided to stay in the Schoolhouse and prepare for their delta review. It transpired that it was the birthday of one of the team tutors. Every night one representative from each team has to stand up and describe briefly the team's progress. The teams are called in random order. His team (the one that featured strongly in my early posts and has gone from having the worst to probably the best team dynamics in five days) decided to break the rules by requesting to go last, and by all standing up together and rapping a poem they'd written in his honour. It was adorable.

We returned to the Schoolhouse after dinner. The tutors finally exited after midnight. Sadly, since it was Monday we couldn't find anywhere to have a beer in honour of the birthday boy. But I wouldn't say he came off too badly, given that he now has his very own song, immortalised forever on the Summer School's Facebook page.

Extracted from the fog of my underslept brain, Day 8.

Although the church bells woke me at 7 AM, I needed to get some work done so I didn't head to the Schoolhouse until nearly 10 AM. I visited each team in turn, but they were all so intent upon their individual tasks that I just sat quietly in the rooms working unless asked a question. Having been chastised by a member of one team who thought I hadn't spent enough time with them (true, but this is because every time I went in and offered to help, no one took me up on it!), I sat in their room with parts of their engineering group for a while in the afternoon prior to the Final Design Review.

I left shortly before the review, as I was part of their review panel, along with the head of the Summer School, who is also the head of the Austrian Space Agency. (I bet that wasn't intimidating for them at all, oh no.) They did pretty well, although for some mysterious reason they still had an abundance of speakers when it's plain that they only need one - the chap whom they appointed their spokesperson on the very first day. He has all the qualities and the complete vision of the mission that a leader needs, and I think their failure to recognise it stems from the relative youth of this team. We gave them plenty of feedback on their presentation. I stressed to them that if they performed a duty cycle calculation a lot of the problems with incorrect budgets and assumptions in their presentation would magically disappear. I also (after some discussion with the team tutors, who were wary of appearing biased), returned later in the evening to suggest to them that they appoint a single spokesperson for their final presentation and hinted strongly at the identity of the person they should consider appointing. They seemed to take it well, but who knows what they will decide in the end - one of the fun things about this process is the unpredictability of the students!

* Just to give you some perspective on how accelerated this timetable is, the JUICE mission was selected in 2012. We had our first requirements review last year. We have two more reviews before PDR, which is still over a year away.
fanart_recs: a grayscale apple being painted green with a brush (Default)
[personal profile] ratcreature posting in [community profile] fanart_recs
It's time for our regular reccer recruiting post, and to look ahead to the next month. So far we have four volunteer reccers who signed up for August with these fandoms:

* Elementary ([personal profile] dirty_diana)
* Pacific Rim ([personal profile] mific)
* Supernatural ([personal profile] omens)
* Yoroiden Samurai Troopers ([personal profile] turlough)



So we already have a few recs too look forward to in August, but it would of course be awesome if we had more recs. There is still plenty of opportunity for you to jump in and volunteer to rec next month (or to convince your friends to do some reccing). And many cheers for all of our members who volunteer to rec, especially if you rec regularly. Your valiant repeat efforts keep the comm alive.

Looking even further ahead so far only ONE reccer has volunteered for September, so that month definitely still needs some love (and recs! *g*) too. So please consider reccing in a fandom of your choice, whether small or huge, and comment on the sign-up post and volunteer for August, September or even further ahead if you are so well organized, that you know your fannish interests and time commitments in advance. It's only four recs as a minimum, and you can rec any genre or rating. Or promote us to your friends or in your favorite communities so others do the work.

Open Rec Posting

The monthly open reccing period for all members starts now and lasts until the end of July. If you are looking for something to inspire you, the prompt for this week is "Nightmares", but that's totally optional for the recs. However they do still have to conform to the usual rec format and follow the rules for what is allowed to be recced here.

(Comments here are disabled, because I want to bundle volunteering in the sign-up post so that nothing gets lost, and you can see the list of claimed slots there too.)
[syndicated profile] thefword_feed

Posted by Isadora Vibes

hanging bloomers.jpg

At a recent party, I got talking to a friend about the relative benefits of going sans knickers, panties, undergarments - whatever you wish to call them. She was, in the main, all for it but did draw attention to certain biological factors that perhaps required the protection of a gusset. And no, I won't go into details on this as I am sure we are all familiar with the practicalities of the female condition. Rather, I am interested in the reasons the majority of us wear knickers every day. Is it for hygiene or is it just learnt behavior? Do we reach for the knicker drawer because it's what we are taught to do when we could be just as comfortable (if not more so) without? And what does it say about us as women if we choose not to wear knickers? Is there a direct correlation then made about our attitudes to sex?

The relationship we have as women to our knickers/underwear has been going on for centuries. And as always, I must point out that I am writing this article only through my known experience as a European woman. Culturally, I am not aware of undergarments other than my own (!). Prior to the French Revolution, women simply wore heavy skirts with petticoats under their dresses. It was only in the Regency era when pantaloons were invented, that a need to cover up and keep warm was instigated. Early forms of underwear were very long and similar in style to ankle-length men's trousers. As time went on and fashions changed, so knickers and underwear developed until by the 1970's 'no leg' knickers were born and have continued to be adapted into smaller and smaller versions ever since.

But what are knickers really for? Yes they keep us warm (thongs excluded) and yes they keep us protected (thongs excluded again!) but do we actually need to wear them everyday? I would argue not. And if many of us actually chose not to wear knickers then would we perhaps feel more comfortable and liberated? The sensation of being without pants is one to be celebrated and of course it saves on washing. I have been choosing to wear knickers less and less as time goes on. In fact some weeks I do not wear them at all. And it feels good! Not just because it is my personal preference but I also feel a sense of empowerment. I am choosing this. I am choosing not to wear a piece of clothing that I think is loaded with meaning. If we knowingly choose to walk around with unclothed genitals does this sexualize us more? Are we judged as sexually promiscuous if our vaginas have one less layer covering them? Of course not! Why would this make us any more open to sex than if we were wearing knickers? Ridiculous.

Going commando - and what that means - is an oft told joke. It is a male centric term from army days which has been stretched to include women. Whenever I hear it being used it is usually with a giggle and a whisper behind closed doors. I also discovered when researching this piece, that the act of not wearing underwear in Chile has been called "andar a lo gringo" (to go gringo-style) for decades. Perhaps the Chileans caught on to the fact that not wearing underwear is incredibly comfortable long before we did. And yes, not wearing underwear can be arousing on occasion. But as women isn't it important to own this arousal without judgment or discrimination? And let's not forget that not wearing underwear is practical in many ways - particularly if you are conscious of lines showing (although why that should matter I don't know). Now I have started this piece I can see what a political minefield knickers can be. The VPL debate could be a whole article on its own!

So - mandatory or meaningless? I guess it all comes down to personal choice. What I would like to remove from the decision is any reference to sexual morality or indeed judgment of hygiene. With thrush infections on the increase perhaps not wearing knickers is a health benefit rather than a hindrance. I think I fall part way in between. Some days I want to, some days I don't. And that is entirely my choice. So let's think again about what underwear really means to us as women. Protection or privilege - it's up to you.

Photo shows three pairs of off white bloomers pegged up onto a washing line. Photo taken by Flikr user compresif, used under a Creative Commons Licence.

SPN anon kink event

21 July 2014 19:57
snickfic: "Since the day I met you I've become steadily more depraved." (Heyer depraved)
[personal profile] snickfic

[profile] spn_masquerade
The Beggar's Banquet: Round Opens August 2nd


AKA Basically Blindfold. I've always been sad I missed [livejournal.com profile] blindfold_spn; I juuust missed it on its way out as I was getting into the kinkier side of the fandom. I don't know that I'll write anything for this, but I will definitely prompt in hopes of inspiring other people.

Click the banner for more info!

An invasion of five

21 July 2014 21:30
[syndicated profile] thefword_feed

Posted by Megan Stodel

westminster bridge.jpgI've heard a lot over the past week about Cameron's cabinet reshuffle. This time, it's all about the women, I've been told. That's what coverage focuses on, whether it's The Guardian saying it's too late, The Express hoping for new role models for girls or Clegg decrying the Daily Mail's sexist coverage.

You'd be forgiven for thinking that, this time around, there were actually rather a lot of women in the cabinet.

You'd be wrong.

There are now five women cabinet ministers. That's out of 22 in total, which comes to a hearty 23%. I can see how that might look smashing after the previous numbers, when only three out of 24 were women: a mere 13%. When 84% of Conservative MPs are men, this could indeed be a brave new world. In fact, in a rather gasp-worthy turn of events, the percentage of women cabinet ministers actually matches the percentage of MPs who are women.

If you add up the women who didn't quite make the ministerial cut but are going to be permitted to attend cabinet meetings, things get even brighter. There are three more hiding in this section, which veritably balloons the proportion of women cramming into the cabinet-related area to, er, 24%.

OK, so it's progress. An area that was very recently catastrophically bad in terms of representing women is now less so. But let's get some perspective. It can have escaped nobody's notice that women still make up a hefty half of the population. Yet to pay attention to the media hubbub, you'd think that it wasn't just the case that a couple of women were added to the cabinet - by the sounds of it, we've practically taken over.

Here's a fun game (and yes, I'm great at parties). Head over to the BBC's visualisation of the new cabinet line-up. Click the tab that says "Women". Click back to "All". Click back to "Women". Now try to wrap your head around the fact that this is what represents a reshuffle that has been called "female-friendly". And then try not to throw whatever device you're reading this on against the wall.

Why is it that a net gain of two women has generated such focused coverage? It's an improvement, but surely if we're totally honest with ourselves, this is still...kind of outrageous? And having five white women (who as far as I'm aware are also straight, cis and not disabled) in one of the most important groups in the country makes a mockery of representation?

But instead, the messages we're getting are that women have arrived. And that upsets me. Not just because it's so obviously not true, but because all this discussion is a distraction. For meaningful change in parliament, there has to be outrage. People have to be able to look at what's happening and say - no, this is not right, no, I do not want this. Whether that's through tweets to MPs, petitions, protests or a cross scratched with fury on a ballot paper, we need the passion to pursue change.

What happens instead when the discourse changes so that it's in the back of most people's minds that there's been some sort of elemental shift in power towards women in parliament? I, for one, doubt that there will be as many retweets or people ready to march in the streets. I imagine that articles debating the merits of gender quotas will be met with more eye-rolling and page-turning. I can just hear the patronising tone of the next person to tell me we don't need feminism in the UK.

The media coverage of the reshuffle has been sexist; it's been demeaning; it's been childish. But it's also been just about as misrepresentative as the cabinet itself.

There are many deeper questions about this specific reshuffle, as well as some of the concerning records and beliefs of the individual women and men who are now part of it.

But on a very basic level, I think we need to keep saying this:

Five is not enough.

The photo is by Lucy Hill and is used under a Creative Commons Licence. It shows the Houses of Parliament on the bank of the Thames and the start of Westminster Bridge, with dark clouds in the sky.

Pragmatism 101 for activists

21 July 2014 20:08
[syndicated profile] thefword_feed

Posted by Milena Popova

helpinghand.jpg

So many times as an activist I have run into the conflict between pragmatism and idealism. One of the more useful people on the doomed Yes to Fairer Votes campaign for instance was Nigel Farage - a man whom otherwise I find thoroughly despicable. Another example is my work on QUILTBAG+ issues in the workplace. It's easy, when confronted with a corporate environment, to tackle the "low-hanging fruit" of lesbian and gay issues first and save what a friend of mine calls "the gold-plated conversation" for a "later" that somehow never comes.

I've been guilty of this myself. Last year I very nearly stood up in front of an LGB conference to talk about bisexual issues and played the respectability card of "Well, I am the good monogamous kind of bisexual." I was saved from myself at the last minute by another friend.

The urge to simplify issues, as well as to present ourselves in the "best" possible light to the powers that be, is understandable. If said powers can see that we (no matter who that "we" is in any particular context) are not that different, that we too are human and that our issues are reasonably straight-forward and easily solved without a lot of effort on their part, some success can be achieved.

The problem with this approach is that the line between pragmatism (focusing on finding quick and practical solutions to specific issues) and respectability politics (making ourselves look "respectable" in the eyes of those with power, often by disavowing the more marginalised members of our own community) is in places very thin indeed. I have learned over the years that pragmatism which isn't built on a solid foundation of principles and ideals generally yields the wrong solutions and that there is a fine art to practising pragmatism without engaging in respectability politics.

The second(!) step is to err on the side of inclusion rather than exclusion. Not sure if a particular group should be part of your community? Invite them in, open the dialogue and work it out together. One of the tricks I learned from the above conference incident is how to use language to open up spaces even when trying to present a united front to those in power. If your language firmly presents the "respectable" side of your community only, then chances are you are throwing people under the bus and the oppressors will rightly conclude that they have divided and conquered you. If your language, however subtly, leaves an open space for the diversity within your community, then your community will be stronger and you will open minds.

Another step is to realise that while pragmatism demands a certain amount of focus on particular issues, it can never be a question of either/or. When we campaign for better representation of women in leadership positions, we cannot stop campaigning for equal pay and better conditions for the millions of women in low-paid jobs. When we campaign against and provide services for those experiencing domestic abuse or sexual violence, we cannot ignore the simple facts that trans women of colour are by far at the greatest risk of such violence, or that in some cases the perpetrators of domestic abuse are women too. When we campaign against trafficking and sexual exploitation, we cannot deny the agency and jeopardise the safety of sex workers who are in the industry voluntarily.

And the very first step when trying to practise pragmatism without the respectability politics? Simple: be an idealist. Take the time to work out what your ideals and principles are, what you are trying to achieve, why and for whom. Talk them through with others in and outside your group, take feedback, listen, rework them if necessary; and when you're happy, write them down and put them up for everyone to see. That way, whenever you have to make a pragmatic choice, you can look at your principles and ideals and ask one simple question: Given those, what is the right thing to do? Once you know that, you'll work out how to do it.

Not doing harm to parts of our community is never a gold-plated conversation. Sometimes we need to make pragmatic choices, to simplify in order to engage, but there is always a way to do that without throwing people under the bus. Our diversity is not a weakness that we must eradicate in order or present a united front - it is a strength that we must build on in everything we do.

The photo is by JerodW and is used under a Creative Commons Licence. It shows two silhouetted hands reaching for each other.

YOU GUYS

21 July 2014 12:49
snickfic: [X-Men] Psylocke (art Olivier Coipel) (x-men)
[personal profile] snickfic
I have expressed reservations in the past about the new Storm solo, based mostly on the ho-hum cover art. However, the combination of interior art and writing in this lettered preview of #1 has TOTALLY won me over. Like, so totally that I might drive all the way to comics shop on Wednesday to get me a hard copy.
fanart_recs: a grayscale apple being painted green with a brush (Default)
[personal profile] turlough posting in [community profile] fanart_recs
Fandom: Bandom
Characters/Pairing/Other Subject: Mikey Way
Content Notes/Warnings: n/a
Medium: coloured pencil
Artist on DW/LJ: n/a
Artist Website/Gallery: [deviantart.com profile] rachaelbriner / Rachael Briner

Why this piece is awesome: I love the lighting and colour in this work. It gives it an almost otherwordly look. Something his expression of almost preternatural calm enhances.

Link: A Very Blue Mikey

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quinara: Sheep on a hillside with a smiley face. (Default)
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June 2014

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