metafilter

ATTENTION FOLKS FROM SAN FRANCISCO

SF resident Lien Fang Wang Kuo has been missing for over 27 hours.

Missing from: Disappeared from home, Richmond District 27th and California
Date missing: June 17th, between 1-2:30 PM
Condition: Alzheimer’s/dementia
Age: 85
Height: 5'1"
Weight: 100-110 lbs
Build: petite
Eyes: brown
Hair: short/gray
Language: Mandarin
Clothing: wearing a light blue quilted Burberry coat OR a black wool full length coat. Pink/black/white scarf. Black pants. Walks with cane.

If you see her/have any information, call 911 or SFPD (415) 553-0123. You can also contact her grandson, Steve Hsu:

stevehsu@gmail.com
(404) 422-7177
Facebook page
Facebook group for the search (also where to keep up to date with the latest info)

You can download the flier above here (JPG) or here (PDF).

Please reblog, and spread the word to your friends in San Francisco!

Medievalpoc in the Media

I’ve been very glad to see that the word’s been getting out about what I’m doing here with my research. What started out as a little project that I assumed would just just one more art blog in the sea of tumblr, turned out to be a much-needed resource in not only online activism and student-oriented academia, but in the larger face of popular culture misconceptions about race, media, representation, and what it means to be “historically accurate”.

After some active threads on popular blog sloggers like Metafilter and features on art-related sites like Hyperallergic and ArtInfo, I noticed that a lot of other sites were using medievalpoc as a source for materials on other topics as well. Clutch Magazine used some of the information I’ve gathered here to respond to Fox News Anchor Megyn Kelly’s assertion of the “historically verifiable” whiteness of Santa Claus, and Feministing.com did a brief writeup on medievalpoc for their news feed. I also did a round table interview with Gene Demby for NPR’s Code Switch blog, along with two art history professors/authors, as well as a current graduate student of art history.

What I do here is an attempt to bridge the gap between popular/social media and the dusty vaults of academia. I want to shine a light on the way in which our culture is shaped by media we consume that claims to show events from history, but declines to reflect the diversity of its audience or that of its own sources.

More than anything, I want to make these concepts accessible and tangible for all people, whether they’re interested in military history, contemporary art, fantasy books and shows, science fiction, intersectional social justice, or just plain like to see beautiful art that features familiar styles with unfamiliar faces. I want to have in-depth discussions with the people affected by the political, social, and financial forces that shape the way we, as Americans, are educated about our history and how that affects our current circumstances.

Something difficult for “pure” historians to understand is that, while the intent of the artists and the historical contexts in which these works were created is relevant, it is not the main goal of this blog to teach or talk about that. It is about bringing these works into our current context, and ask ourselves why they seem anachronistic to so many people. It is about analyzing our responses to these works, and to show whether they adhere to or refute the narratives we are told during our educational journey in the United States.

To see this conversation reaching an ever-increasing audience gives me more hope for our future, as Americans who have been marginalized within our culture, than I have had for a long time. Although some historians believe that this blog is merely reflecting a “trend” in academia, ushered in by exhibits like Revealing the African Presence in Renaissance Europe, and Black is Beautiful: Rubens to Dumas, I believe that a more overarching analysis that includes Critical Race Theory is something that can be the most relevant for young people moving in the belly of the academic beast today.

Social media has ushered in platforms where interdisciplinary research can be liveblogged and read by as many people as are interested in the topic. Anyone can give their opinion (for good or ill), and sometimes, the most valuable starting points are ignited by the misconceptions spawned by popular films, fantasy novels, Renaissance Faires, Disney animated epics, and the question of why we spend so much time thinking about, writing about, and poring over the minutiae of Medieval Europe in the United States.

In many ways, the future of academia in the U.S. is happening on social media. Voices, topics, and people who have gone without or been denied funding, acceptance, or have faced insurmountable institutional or financial barriers have found a place to explore some of the most cutting-edge topics at a high level of integrity. The increased accessibility of academic journals through digitization as well as the pooling of knowledge through communication technology has given birth to an entirely new breed of academics. Although sourcing is often omitted and plagiarism by freelance writers for online magazines is rampant, I believe we are changing the face of public discourse through our very existence.

So, I raise my metaphorical glass to all of you who continue to delight and astound me with your passionate contributions, questions, reflections, and readership.

Here’s to you, readers.

Here is the LINK ROUND-UP about how I walked my dog this week and messed up so badly it made the news:

And if you want more than just news, you might enjoy:

Also there’s a fair chance I’m gonna be on Global TV’s The Morning Show tomorrow morning discussing holes.

UPDATE: here it is!  I appeared on the local morning show as Man Who Got Stuck In Hole.

ask.metafilter.com
Who is the most amazing woman who ever lived.

I am looking for the female equivalent to Tycho Brahe, someone who’s life was full of both achievement and adventure. A woman who has a list of great deeds (such as discovering a supernova) and…

I’m not done reading the list of amazing women people have contributed, but it is such a great - and IMPORTANT - thread that everyone should read.

Historical women! Women scientists! Women leaders! Women of color! Women with disabilities! Women fighting in wars and kicking butts and taking names and saving lives and freeing themselves and others and making music and taking lovers and taking care of children and spearheading revolutions and living to old age or dying for their causes (◡‿◡✿)

And also, keep that link so that every time you stumble upon one of those douchecanoes saying “what have women ever done??”, link them to it and just RUB THEIR FACES IN IT UNTIL THEY BLEED

(◉‿◉✿)

If you can take yourself out of your first world techie social media smart-shoes for a second then imagine this: you’re 53 years old, you’ve been in prison from 20 to 26, you didn’t finish high school, and you have a grandson who you’re now supporting because your daughter is in jail. You’re lucky, you have a job at the local Wendy’s. You have to fill out a renewal form for government assistance which has just been moved online as a cost saving measure (this isn’t hypothetical, more and more municipalities are doing this now). You have a very limited idea of how to use a computer, you don’t have Internet access, and your survival (and the survival of your grandson) is contingent upon this form being filled out correctly.
—  Why we should care about libraries (via A Whole Lotta Nothing)

One sunny autumn day, Steve (he was always Steve) was walking across Apple’s campus with a reporter toward Caffe Macs. I was walking a few feet behind, enough to hear the reporter asking about Steve’s family. As we approached the entrance, Steve stopped and opened the door for an employee carrying trays of food outside. The employee never looked up but said “Thanks.” “Sure,” Steve replied. Just then, at least two dozen people followed the employee out. Because of where the reporter was standing, none of the employees (as far as I could tell) noticed who was holding the door for them. Steve continued holding that door, talking to the reporter, until I came up and offered to take his place as doorman. “Thanks,” he said. “Sure,” I replied. He smiled and invited the reporter inside.

That’s it.

Whatever else you may read about Steve, whatever else happens in his life or to Apple or to the world of computing, know that he opened doors for people.

MetaFilter is the little weblog that could, established in 1999 as one of the first community blogs. Over its fifteen year history it has expanded from a place to discuss interesting things on the web to include Ask MetaFilter as a community question and answer (Q&A) site, along with more subsections for things like music by members, completed projects by membersmeetups among members, and most recently TV and movies.

While MetaFilter is relatively small (only about 62,000 have paid the one-time $5 for an account to date and 12,000-15,000 of those members come back to interact with the site every day), we have a great group of members, and I think we consistently have some of the best discussion on the web, with the sites attracting over 80 million readers last year. Our commenters are literate and thoughtful, and our site is watched around the clock by a staff of moderators. Despite the site’s modest stature its influence makes waves in the larger world (like mentions on popular TV shows: Tremé andMythbusters).

Unfortunately in the last couple years we have seen our Google ranking fall precipitously for unexplained reasons, and the corresponding drop in ad revenue means that the future of the site has come into question.

Matt Haughey’s Medium post about the shaky future of MetaFilter will break your heart and make you question everything you think you know about Google and advertising online. Go read it now.

This Metafilter thread has blown the top of my head clean off. One of the things that kept coming up in it– and which comes up in basically every conversation about interacting with people who have more social capital, privilege, or power than you– is the way that people get SO UPSET when you tell them they have hurt you that you end up spending more time comforting them than addressing your own hurts. Again and again, this happens:

“That thing you said was racist, and hurtful.”

“HOW COULD YOU I am NOT some kind of RACIST MONSTER I am DEVASTATED that you could ACCUSE me of SUCH A THING.”

“It’s hard to be in a relationship with someone who doesn’t think of my needs, especially when I spend a lot of time thinking of yours.”

“I am DISTRAUGHT at the very IDEA that you think I am a BAD BOYFRIEND and I require comfort IMMEDIATELY.”

“Family Member, I’m not your cruise director and I don’t want to have to plan everything to ensure you show up at all.”

“Well FINE if you don’t CARE ABOUT YOUR FAMILY then I guess THANKSGIVING is CANCELED.”

I mean, I’m exaggerating, but not all that much. Over and over, interaction after interaction, the injured party’s injuries are never addressed, because the person who did the damage demands reassurance that they’re not a bad person, comfort for the guilt they’re feeling, attention that the person they have hurt somehow never ends up getting for themselves. And the damage is never repaired, or even properly acknowledged, because the person who caused the damage cares more about being told they’re a good person than figuring out how to actually be one.

How does this get fixed? The people who are actually in a position to fix it won’t, because their reaction to being told they have caused harm is to redirect attention onto themselves, away from the harm. And trying to be gentle enough to avoid that reaction just creates more work for the people on the receiving end of this behavior. Is there a way around these shields, when they pop up at the slightest provocation?

FREE HOUSE SCRIPT
  • CHASE:House, we need to cure this patient. He is very sick.
  • HOUSE:Did you try the medicine drug?
  • CHASE:I did try the medicine drug.
  • HOUSE:Only stupid people try the medicine drug. You are stupid.
  • PATIENT:I would rather not be sick.
  • HOUSE:You are stupid too. Did you take stupid drug?
  • FOREMAN:I gave patient stupid drug.
  • HOUSE:You are a black man.
  • FOREMAN:This vexes me.
  • PATIENT:I have blood from my nose that is dripping.
  • CAMERON:That's bad!
  • PATIENT:Also I was bitten by mice due to my poor hygiene.
  • CUTTY:You need hygiene drug. Also, I have not spoken in awhile.
  • HOUSE:No! Hygiene drug will kill Patient! He needs mouse bites to live!
  • CHASE:[Shocked]
  • CAMERON:[Shocked]
  • FOREMAN:[Vexed]
  • HOUSE:More mouse bites!
  • CUTTY:I forbid this.
  • HOUSE:Don't care.
  • CHASE:[Gets mice]
  • HOUSE:[Makes mouse bite serum]
  • PATIENT:I feel better. No more nose blood! Thank you doctor!
  • HOUSE:I am very smart.
  • WILSON:I, too, am in this episode.
  • FOREMAN:This vexes me.
  • ~FIN~

Thanks so much for the incredible reception to the release of the first chapter of our film. Chapter 2 will be out on Gothamist tomorrow and you can also watched all chapters released-to-date at any point on our site. (As a reminder, new chapters will be released on Gothamist on Tuesdays + Fridays each week). 

We also want to thank our friends, fans and fellow dance-film-music-and-joy lovers for helping us spread the word about this little film of ours including: MetafilterWiredKottkeLaughing SquidSwissmiss, Wall Street Journal, Pitchfork, The Hairpin, The Atlantic, SPIN, Illegal Art and countless other publications, blogs, tweets, facebook posts and more. 

Scott Adams is kind of dumb

Remember how we learned a couple of weeks ago that Scott Adams is a misogynist tool?

Well, he wrote another ridiculous article that (of course) got posted on MetaFilter and (of course) attracted hundreds of comments in which people argued about why exactly it was ridiculous and dissected the many different ways it is ridiculous.

Then along comes a brand-new MetaFilter user “plannedchaos,” who appears to have signed up for the sole purpose of arguing with people who don’t like Scott Adams, and posting elaborate crap about why Scott Adams is actually awesome.

Lots of haters here. I hate Adams for his success too. But some factual clarifications are in order:

4. As far as Adams’ ego goes, maybe you don’t understand what a writer does for a living. No one writes unless he believes that what he writes will be interesting to someone. Everyone on this page is talking about him, researching him, and obsessing about him. His job is to be interesting, not loved. As someone mentioned, he has a certified genius I.Q., and that’s hard to hide.

Spoiler alert: plannedchaos is Scott Adams. You see, in order to join MetaFilter, you have to pay $5, which means the MeFi mods have access to a certain amount of real life data about you that most members don’t. And because Scott Adams was pretending in the thread that he wasn’t Scott Adams and was just in fact some random dude who really likes Scott Adams, he got outed by cortex, one of the mods.

And just to be clear that this isn’t some weird joke, yes, he is.

Scott, if you wanted to sign up for Metafilter to defend your writing, that would have been fine. If you wanted to sign up for Metafilter and be incognito as just another user, that’d be fine too. Doing both simultaneously isn’t; pretending to be a third party and high-fiving yourself by proxy is a pretty sketchy move and a serious violation of general community expectations about identity management around here.

Hilarity ensues. You should really read the thread, it’s great entertainment. And if this isn’t funny enough, it turns out he uses a sockpuppet account on reddit, too.

Some relationships are about learning. We do bad things in these relationships and hurt ourselves and others. If you’ve turned the corner on that type of behavior, you don’t need to rehash it. You get to move. Feel good about yourself again. Part of learning from our mistakes is knowing when to let go of them entirely because we will never ever do that thing again.

Well, okay. There are legitimate reasons to be wary of a move by large, wealthy entities to offer a service like this.

Fan fiction is a discourse; it is one of many ways the meta-community of fandom talks about stuff. It is an ongoing conversation fueled on an economy of attention. The introduction of an economy of actual dollars could, if very successful, disrupt fandom in a way that is bad for people who like the way it currently functions.

Not every—indeed, not even most—fan writers have ambitions of being paid. Those that do can participate in a long and glorious tradition of graduation to the ranks of original authors who were once fan writers, by retooling their fan works or simply employing the experience they’ve gained as a fan writer to create original books. This path has the virtue of being functionally no different from any other path to authorhood—you write a book, a publisher buys it and publishes it. There’s no separate caste of “fan writer” where they get to offer you bad terms and less money. You’re a professional writer, or you aren’t.

The creation of a special sanctioned class of official fanfic could potentially disrupt and homogenize the almost unbelievably vibrant discourse that fan culture currently enjoys—but I don’t think that’s going to happen, because why would anyone eat preprocessed, rules-complient pabulum when Ferran Adria’s making deconstructed masterpieces around the corner and giving them away for free. So there’s that.

However, it could potentially exert a downward pressure on authors who make some or all of their living doing work-for-hire, which is a shitty enough business as it is. Kindle Worlds seems to basically be work-for-hire, minus the cash up front, with really terrible terms. It’s damned near spec work. And spec work is evil.

Finally, it creates a class of sanctioned fanfiction, which seems to imply a class of unsanction fanfiction. And while the OTW is well-equipped to defend the rights of fanfiction writers to keep writing, if it turns out there’s real money to be made here, it’s not hard to imagine a scenario where Disney, say, decides you have to write Avengers fic their way or not at all, and decides to lobby for copyright reform to back this assertion up. I mean, that’s admittedly a pretty dystopic projection, but still.

— 

posted by Sokka shot first at 9:39 on May 22

The metafilter post on the Kindle Worlds nonsense is really good, not that I expected anything less.

Parrots are awesome!

Lots of people are aware parrots are pretty smart animals, but it is really neat to hear a first hand account of parrot ownership. Metafilter’s Nattie shares some of her experience:

My Congo African Grey picks up stuff REALLY fast. Sometimes he’ll piece together stuff that’s hilarious.

Yesterday I was sitting next to him reading, and he was preening quietly so I told him he was being really good – giving them attention when they’re not screaming gives them the option of not screaming when they want attention, so I try to do this a lot. 

His response? He said in a friendly tone, “You’re a really good Nattie. Haha. I love you, bitch.” My husband and I use obscenities as casual endearments.

Then sometimes he’ll throw stuff together in Engrish-y ways that almost make sense. The other day we were moving, so I put Bongo (the African Grey) and our cockatiel in their travel cages so I could take their huge cages apart to stick in the truck. Bongo didn’t like this, so he decided to lift up his water bowl, which lifts the food cup door, and throw it on the floor. Shocked, I said, “You douche!” Bongo yeowled, this hilarious gibberishy cat-like sound. My husband came in and asked what happened, and Bongo said, “Yes, that became water now.” I want to put that on a shirt with like, a picture of an anthropocentrized flower or something.

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