political boundaries

It might at first seem attractive to say things like “Marxism can’t explain everything and although it is useful in its particular domain it’s not enough to explain the experiences of xyz, etc.”—but there’s a few things that people forget or don’t realize when they say that.

First, people mistake Marxism for a specific set of conclusions. When we realize that certain issues like racial or national oppression cannot be strictly analyzed through the lens of some pre-existing categories within the Marxist “canon,” we may be tempted to say that Marxism has reached its limit here. I must insist in contrast that, while i certainly feel many of the conclusions typically associated with Marxism are correct, all of these conclusions could actually be wrong and Marxism would still be “true” in the sense that it is most fundamentally a revolutionary way of approaching problems and enacting social change

Second, what is particularly insidious about the idea that Marxism “doesn’t apply” to this or that is the broader implication—which is quite consistent with postmodern theory in general—that different “domains” of life require us to use different approaches, different methodologies, different systems, etc. Wittgenstein, for example, was one of the people who most rigorously argued this, and he held that different domains of life were playing different “language games” which each had their own logic. One conclusion that follows from this is that no domain of social life is really poised to evaluate the validity of the others or appeal to universal truths. This can seem like a compelling line of reasoning, especially since it aligns with the dominant ideology of late capitalism. But it begins to fall apart when one realizes that, to even be able to distinguish where different domains of social life lie and what separates them requires a “global” logic by which you make the distinctions. Proponents of the notion that there can only be “local” theoretical and political systems tailored to the specific conditions of different “domains” do not at all escape appealing to universals; they simply leave the universal principles upon which they base their conclusion completely unsaid, which i feel is extremely dangerous. At least with the liberal humanists, although they simply assert universality from on-high and base their notion on the most vague of abstractions, you know what their assumptions are.

So the question is, what do you hold to be universal? Because without universality, the notion of specificity literally has no meaning.

What do i think? Well, i think Marxism as a theoretical and political practice does have boundaries, but it is able to evaluate where its own boundaries lie utilizing certain principles which are universal. To be precise materialist dialectics contain statements about the very nature of existence which are of necessity global. The fact that materialist dialectics are the product of a concrete practice—namely, taking the standpoint of proletariat in the realm of theory—does not jeopardize their universal “reach.” In fact, i would say that the proletariat, a force which occurs at the point where the various contradictions of society fuse, is particularly poised to access the universal.

Further, the boundaries of Marxism as assessed under the framework of materialist dialectics are larger than many people assume. Remember that Marx does not simply presuppose social class and then analyze society through that lens. Marxism is ultimately interested in the social formation as a whole and in particular in the transformation of that social whole. Marx arrives at the concept of social class as a result (not as the point of departure!) of the study of the social formation in its entirety (which is also why he really only began to concretely articulate the concept of class near the end of his life). So, Marxism is immediately relevant whenever we are talking about the revolutionary transformation of social life. And i am convinced that it remains the best tool for catalyzing revolutionary change there is. After all, it is not a coincidence that the most successful revolutionary movements around the globe have either been explicitly communist or have at least tried to appropriate certain elements of Marxism to suit their purposes.

Long story short, Marxism as a whole “package” may have limits, but they are broader than most people assume, and within Marxism there are universal principles, without which it is impossible to even distinguish what is specific. 

Am I ever going to stop trying to write a Tam Lin AU for my Bioware OCs and their love interests, or will I just keep throwing myself at this particular challenge until I give up and just reread Pamela Dean’s version forever? 

(For the purpose of this attempt, Gemma is Janet, Jaal is Tam Lin, and Akksul is the Queen of Faerie, which…holy shit, adds some really cool twists to the whole thing.)

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Yuzuru Hanyu - Helsinki 2017, Day 2

This interview was held after his morning practice:

I’ve really been able to be carefree going into this competition, and also I think I’ve been able to go through practice whilst concentrating on my skating.* So in that sense there isn’t any kind of strange pressure and I think probably I can stay calm, be confident and make adjustments (to my program) for the actual event.

*this sentence has been cut. It’s actually “whilst concentrating on my skating - cut - well, I’ve been able to go through practice”. He probably talked too much again :)

A second news clip also quoted him:

(I want to take) the limits of what I can do and, no matter what, just stretch those boundaries to their absolute limit and in that condition make a challenge for the championship - I think that’s the most important thing to do.

The linked second news clips has footage of his practice session, but the interview starts off from the “so in that sense” bit. The new sentence is way at the end.

Courtesy of yuzu_figure

7

Fascist Architecture 

Fascist architecture is a style of architecture developed by architects of fascist societies in the early 20th century. The style gained popularity in the late 1920s with the rise of modernism along with the nationalism associated with fascist governments in western Europe. The style resembles that of ancient Rome. However, the fascist-era buildings lack ostentatious design, and were constructed with symmetry, simplicity, and a general lack of ornateness. Both Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler utilized the new style of architecture as one of many ways to unify the citizens of their nations and attempt to mark a new era of nationalist culture, and to exhibit the absolute rule of the nation.

Projects identified from the top:

  • Le Palazzo dei Congressi (EUR, Rome) 
  •  Palazzo della Civiltà del Lavoro (EUR, Rome)
  • The Zeppelinfield Arena (Nuremberg)
  • Prora Holiday Resort (Rugen)
  • The New Reich Chancellery (Berlin)
  • Olympic Stadium (Berlin)
  • World Capital Germania

The 14 Points of Fascism

  1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism
    Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.
  2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights
    Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of “need.” The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.
  3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause
    The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial, ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.
  4. Supremacy of the Military
    Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.
  5. Rampant Sexism
    The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Opposition to abortion is high, as is homophobia and anti-gay legislation and national policy.
  6. Controlled Mass Media
    Sometimes the media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.
  7. Obsession with National Security
    Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.
  8. Religion and Government are Intertwined
    Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government’s policies or actions.
  9. Corporate Power is Protected
    The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.
  10. Labor Power is Suppressed
    Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.
  11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts
    Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts is openly attacked, and governments often refuse to fund the arts.
  12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment
    Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.
  13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption
    Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.
  14. Fraudulent Elections
    Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” ~ George Santayana (The Life of Reason, 1905)

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Statement by Huntington President Laura Skandera Trombley on The Huntington’s Values

The Huntington values diversity in all its manifestations and fundamentally rejects discrimination on the basis of national origin, race, orientation, or religion. We welcome nearly 800,000 visitors each year from all walks of life, from the United States and from around the globe, who come to enjoy our gardens and galleries. As an extension of those values, we are a research and educational institution committed to the principles of intellectual pursuit without regard to international borders. We believe that we are strengthened by the contributions made by our international colleagues, in particular the humanities scholars and graduate students who come regularly to explore our collections. We recognize the degree to which our colleagues from abroad enrich this nation —and our own intellectual community—with their scholarship and commitment to the liberal arts. We are, at our core, an institution that supports and promotes research in the humanities—essentially, the study of what makes us human. This pursuit of knowledge is underscored by our commitment to academic freedom broadly defined. Scholarship is a rigorous, fluid, and dynamic process that recognizes no political boundaries and makes no distinctions on the basis of national or other identity. Mr. Huntington declared that this institution exists for the “uplift of humanity.” In carrying out his wishes, we will, without question, continue to welcome the most talented individuals from all over the world to pursue their study at The Huntington.

“I said only that words were my forte, sweet lady. I never said I couldn’t fight. Though I would never claim to be any sort of true warrior. Not after failing to protect the ones I cared for.”

{ favorite unpopular characters meme - a character you love who is often villainized for their relationships }

Coming out again and again (and again) but always for the first time

Today I faced up to the email that’s been sitting in my inbox for over a week, from one of my oldest and dearest friends, my first ever internet friend, my found family brother. I’d mentioned in a previous email that I was in autistic burnout, and in reply, in the nicest possible way, he asked, ‘so, this autism thing, what’s that all about? whenever if ever you’re ready to talk about it, ilu whatever, you know that’.

And I come out to people all the time, about my autism, about my queerness, about the abuse when I was a kid, whatever. But this was hard, because I wanted to write it right, and sequencing my thoughts is really difficult for me when I’m trying to lay out something as complex as my neurotype and its effect on my life.

He’s asking because he wants to understand, and that’s wonderful, but at the same time, terrifying because unlike some random whose opinion doesn’t matter, his opinion does.

As with my queerness, it’s never a case of you come out once, and that’s it. Every day you come out again to someone you’ve just met, to a friend, to a health worker, to a family member. And every time, you’re coming out for the first time. It never gets easy. It gets familiar, but never easy, because each time you do, it’s a risk.

Will this person be receptive? Will they reject what I’m saying? Will they try to cure me with suggestions of diet, yoga or meditation? Will they tell me I’m not as disabled as a 'real’ autistic person they know? Will they ask me if I’ve found god? Will they ask if I’ve tried sex with men? Will they ask about my functioning label, my meltdowns, my stimming or my verbal fluency, or what those things were like when I was a child? Will they think it’s all a bid for attention?

While some questions are specific to my neurotype or my sexuality or the abuse, there’s a striking similarity to many of them, particularly when they come from near strangers. It’s curiosity, yes, but there’s a need to categorise, to feel out my edges and lines and push me into a box they recognise. It’s a hard thing to be on the receiving end of, but it’s also very human. As a person being questioned, you’re torn between being polite and enstating hard boundaries. As a person questioning, you’re often just trying to understand. That doesn’t mean questioning is benign. It can be intrusive, toxic and hostile. It can involve damning snap judgements that can leave the victim reeling for days, 'helpful’ suggestions that can crush fragile self esteem. People don’t always have the best intentions, and even those who do, often don’t understand that their 'help’ is unwelcome or harmful.

The point I’m trying to make is that coming out is HARD. Whether you’re talking to people (as I do) about neurodiversity or sexuality or abuse, or talking about race, religion, political activism, gender… whatever you’re taking the big step to talk about with another human, either in brickspace or on the internet or the phone, it’s one of the hardest things you’ll do over and over for the rest of your life. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. That doesn’t mean you’ll get it right every time, or that it’ll be received well, or that you won’t regret opening your mouth sometimes. That’s how life is. But the fact that you take that step with someone… that’s huge. And you should be proud of yourself for that.

(Reblogs are fine. Go for it.)

anonymous asked:

GOM relationship headcanons?

Kuroko

  • Library dates! Like, he would suggest books, different kinds, but more on what he likes to read and what his partner likes. He would be very considerate about it. But every book he would suggest would have a kind of meaning behind them.
  • Maji Burger dates! He would always buy his partner what they like to eat and would feel bad if they pay every now and then, but would agree because relationship is based on both and not just one.
  • He loves to scare his partner, but wouldn’t take it to extremes.
  • He likes to sit somewhere quiet and alone, no eyes on them, which would make him feel more at ease and less nervous when showing his affection.
  • Surprise kisses (!) on cheeks every time his partner is busy doing something else or if they are in the middle of an argument over something ridiculous and stupid. He liked to see them surprised and flustered.

Keep reading

FYI

A guy who violates boundaries is not “being polite.”

A guy who doesn’t think your basic requirements apply to him is not “being polite.”

A guy who sends you a message wanting to meet up immediately for a hookup when your profile states that you absolutely will not meet up immediately for a hookup is not “being polite.”

Don’t be fooled by the word “sorry.” A guy who tells you “Sorry but I and others are going to disrespect you because [fill in the blank with bullshit reason]” is not “being polite” nor is he apologizing. Slut-shaming is not “being polite.”

A guy who ignores everything you’ve said and does what he wants to you anyway has decided that what he wants is more important than your boundaries. This is not “being polite.”

I’m simply blown away by the people reblogging & adding their shitty commentary to my posts who refuse to comprehend these basic concepts.

sexuality & love headcanons

☆Allura: as first in line for the altean throne, she kept a vow of chastity to please her father but her first crushes were on the female head of security, when she was in her preteens, and various diplomats and scholars. warriors with intelligence were admittedly her favorite eye candy but growing up she realized trivial crushes and relationships were for when the galaxy was at peace; and she was too busy protecting her country. like altean society, her sexuality is fluid and she sees no need to label it.

☆Shiro: forever confused about if he views someone as a role model or a crush, and hence remains extremely respectful and polite; never crossing the boundary. compliments from those figures make him blush, but nothing has ever pushed beyond a crush for him. he’s always been too focused on his talents as an exploration pilot, and also too earnest and sincere to go against the Garrison Academy’s rules (which prohibit dating and fornication). pansexual and realized this very early on. 

☆Keith: gay as the moon shines white and the sun shines yellow, but rarely talks about it. like Shiro, was too focused on becoming a pilot to pursue relationships. he had a few romps with a fellow classmate or too who liked the whole ‘bad boy’ persona they projected on him, but nothing escalated and nor did Keith want it to. growing up as a young teen, Shiro might’ve been the spark that helped him realize he was gay, but hell if he’d tell anyone that.

☆Lance: he’s scored only a few times and lost a ton. flirtation worked him into a couple girls’ pants, and he’s had a couple or so relationships but nothing stuck. usually, surprisingly, he was the one to propose breaking up more often than not. (it might be underlying trust and love issues but he’ll never tell) though he’s as bisexual as anyone will ever get, his experience with men is slim to none. he flaunts his bisexuality like he’s waving the bi flag on a pole wherever he goes. though he flirted with Allura in the beginning, and claims Shiro is the hottest man he’s ever seen, (all before they became certified Space Mom and Space Dad), Keith gives him heart palpitations. 

☆Hunk: never really been one to take the first move, and instead always the one who gets flirted with, Hunk is all about romance with a dwindling interest in what Lance likes to call; “bow-chika-wow-wow”. he’s questioning his sexuality in terms of sexual attraction, but labels escape him so he decides on the asexuality spectrum. girls at the Garrison loved his humble and caring nature, even if he was on a less popular team and a little shy. as far as relationships go, he’s not ready for one

☆Pidge: they’re fourteen, they couldn’t care less about relationships at this time. sexuality is a mystery but so was gender; until Pidge figured that out so they assume figuring out their sexuality will just come out further down the road. for now, it’s advancing technology and saving the world and their family that is on their mind, and they’d like to keep it that way. 

BOTW: The Mismapping of America

Maps, even with the advent of GPS, we still rely on accurate depictions of our environment for directions, trip-planning and even political boundaries. But what would happen if those depictions contain errors? That is precisely the problem that Seymour Schwartz explores in his book The Mismapping of America, where he examines 5 historically significant United States mapping errors, including portrayals of a Northwest Passage and of California as an island. In each of his incredibly well-researched chapters, he not only explains why the errors arose, but how they affected travel, commerce and politics in the US. Whether you have a fantastic sense of direction or are constantly getting lost, you will gain a new appreciation of cartography with this engaging, beautifully illustrated read.

In terms of the size difference, when I write Ganondorf it tends to be from his perspective, so there’s less comments about the size difference from him, because Zelda is not remarkable for being small, to him. Everyone is small to him. And he has been encultured to not believe physical size is an indicator of threat or strength. He grew up with his sisters, and he had to prove himself among them– not the other way around.

But him encountering Hylian politics of space, that’s new to him. He’s a physical person, no matter how much of a genius he is. He learns by doing, he touches, changes, manhandles, pushes against, and takes up a lot of space. this by total coincidence "matches up" with male gender roles and norms but to him this is not a gendered phenomenon. He would be repulsed that it is, actually. He comes from a culture that lives communally and shares space with flexible boundaries rather than has to defend rigid personal space against other people. This is for a variety of reasons, among which that violation of others is instantly punished and there’s no way to game the system like many men do in our familiar patriarchal culture, and also that there’s no or few items of personal property beyond what you yourself wear or hold.

Zelda was raised in a pretty patriarchal-seeming feudal-style kingdom. Women may have a slightly different role than women commonly do in most western cultures, because their Goddess figures are female-coded… but as we can see in India and some other regions female gods don’t always translate to respect for women. That Ganondorf has to take her father out, or a male figure out, to get to Zelda is a pretty big giveaway who has the official, systematic power even if Zelda may have spiritual or other power roles.

Women’s spaces in these cultures, like ours, are constantly invaded and pushed upon by men. Men are seen as large, taking up space, and women are seen as shrinking, conceding space. Which is ridiculous to Gerudo, who see Hylian men as so weak that they assume they are large or powerful when they are not, who may see Hylian women as giving up their space for no reason, with confusion or even pity. 

So Ganondorf, in Zelda’s resistance of him and strong spirit, may see familiarity and kinship along with rivalry.

but when he reaches out to touch her, stands beside her, dwarfs her, and she seems to flow around him, he is shocked, is confused to see resistance evaporate, the passivity of her people– why, what have I done, why is she behaving this way?

And he notices how he looms, how he fills her space, and knows they call him beast and defiler. Just by being he smothers and crowds her out– he must learn to concede and let her fill the space (her space, he must discover) he leaves behind.

Her kingdom cannot be all his, for her to flourish.

8

Underrated Movies You Should Watch | Pinjar (2003)

Thank you anon who requested this and reminded me of such a touching film. I always thought of Urmila as a stellar actress, and she really shines in this one, as does the rest of the cast. Miss seeing her and Sanjay Suri onscreen.

Anywho, this is one of the few Partition stories which has come out of Bollywood and steered clear of partiality and jingoism. It recognizes that political boundaries are superficial, they cannot be drawn such that on one side of them there is all light and on the other there is all darkness. There are no loud proclamations in favor of either country, and you see good and evil present not only on both sides but within the same person. It’s just a heartbreaking, honest portayal of how lives were destroyed, hypocrisy made them worse, women bore the brunt of it, and how one in particular drew upon her own inner strength and managed to rebuild. With resilience and repentance as its central themes, the movie ends up being surprisingly uplifting incredibly poignant. Watch it

4

This is now the third time they’ve pointed it out–the “Miss me?” message only appeared on screens in the UK.

When they keep saying something over and over, it may be a bit of a hint that it’s important.

So why would a computer hack stop at political boundaries? Because politics is what enabled it.

Week Thirteen: Social Practice/Street Art

This week was exciting and challenging. Social Practice and street art seems to be very specific in that it has to have an impact socially and/or politically, yet have few boundaries as to how it can be done. It can be anything from Tania Bruguera opening her her dance and fitness studio for immigrants with the hope of turning it over to them and letting it flourish without her, to Rikrit Tiravanija cooking and serving pad thai for his audience.

I really liked Tatlin’s whisper #5. I think when we see images on television of protest, we distance ourselves from the human experiences of the protesters and the police because it’s on television. We may agree or disagree, but I don’t think we really put ourselves in the place of what it must feel like to the crowd to be controlled by police in riot gear or mounted police, herding them around like a flock of wayward sheep. The officer in the video was cheerful and polite but still authoritative shuffling the audience around, and I bet even knowing what you are there for it probably makes your heart beat a little more quickly to be ordered around.

This genre of art is probably one of the least likely to be identified on sight as art. The “art” is in the social experience of the pieces. Bruguera was creating a social safe space for immigrants where she could connect them through movement and experience together. Tiravanija brings his audience together in the intimate experience of preparing, serving, and sharing a meal together.

The featured artist I chose this week is Haha, a street artist. He looks at popular culture and the way it affects people. I think his work is sometimes humorous, sometimes provocative. Though he is featured in galleries now, the thing I love about street art is that it confronts you in your everyday routine. There is something about the idea of being struck with a message while you are going about your everyday business that I find intriguing. I don’t deny that I feel bad for people who have to deal with the nuisance of property damage or people who feel confronted by the message, but that is a part of the overall message that I think you lose when you put these pieces in a gallery, It is avant garde where people cannot always avoid hearing what the artist has to say.

In regards to the whole asking Mads about fanfic thing during the q&as (which admittedly sparked my own curiosity and prompted me to ask him personally about Hugh reccing him fics) has just proven how chill the Hannibal cast are in that respect. I admit, I don’t like the idea of asking actors about fics. Idk, there’s something taboo and personal about it I guess. I don’t make a habit of asking about it myself but with Mads and indeed the majority of the Hannibal cast, the whole subject seems entirely open and accessible. I wouldn’t have asked Mads about it myself if I thought it would make him uncomfortable. The fandom has exploded in regards to Mads pushing Hugh under the fic bus but the thing is, he wasn’t the only one who was asked about fanfiction. Scott, Aaron, Kacey and Lara were all asked as well and they all responded as positively as Mads. This goes to show how relaxed members of the Hannibal cast are and beyond that, it proves that they do actually care about us. We are a fucking lucky fanbase to be blessed with idols who not only tolerate fanfic, but answer questions about it without any hint of condescension or malice. As long as we are sensitive, polite, respect their boundaries and don’t be creepy or invasive this amazing dynamic we have should last a long time. I am honestly so grateful to be part of this fanbase.

So, you've decided to talk to an artist
I don’t consider myself an artist, but most of my friends are, and I’m married to one. Over the years, I’ve seen a lot of behavior that ranges from awkward to outright unacceptable. Here are some dos and don'ts to ensure that your experience with an artist is a good one for both parties. This is based on things I’ve seen myself, and from stories told to me by artists. Don't tell an artist, “SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!” or “I would totally buy that!” if you’re not ready and/or willing to back it up with an actual purchase. Artists love that you love the piece, but often produce pieces/quantities based on apparent interest and potential customers. Gauges of potential buyers and gauges of general interest are both very important, but they are very different. Do tell an artist that you love the piece. Just be honest about it. It’s OK if it’s out of your price range. It’s OK if you have no practical use or place for a piece. Most artists get the warm fuzzies just from honest compliments even if you’re not going to be a paying customer. Don’t assume that every message to an artist is going to get a response. Most artists read every message they get, but don’t always have time to respond to everything.

Do give the artist some time to respond. Some artists get a lot of messages and have to balance their time responding with their workload and still make time to be a person and have a life outside of art.

Don’t comment on a piece telling the artist how much it reminds you of some other artist’s work or other character (unless you’re calling them out on a blatant copyright violation). In your mind, you may see it as a compliment. You loved the art style in some movie, and this seems similar to you - you’re complimenting this artist, right?! The artist may have been influenced by that same work, but most are consciously aiming to evolve from that influence. Just as it’s dangerous to tell someone that you notice that they look good after losing some weight (“What, I didn’t look good before?!” or “No, I haven’t. Do I normally look fat?!”), not everyone sees this as a compliment.

Do be specific about compliments. “I really like the pose” or “This really captures the movement well.” Don't tell an artist what they should do next. “This is awesome! You should do this other character next!” The only people artists need to take instructions from are themselves and paying customers.  Do politely tell the artist what subjects you might like to see. There’s a big difference in tone between, “Do my favorite character next!” and “I would love to see more art along these lines, possibly of this character.” Don't tell artists how to use their tools or materials better. You don’t know what they’ve tried or what they do. They may have tried it and it didn’t work. Lots of ideas sound good in our heads or on paper, and don’t work out as well in reality. Do ask artists how they use their tools or materials. Ask if they’ve tried it your way. Offer informed insight. This boils down to attitude and tone. Bad: “Do this instead.” Good: After a conversation leading to it, “have you tried doing this instead?” Don’t assume or expect artists to share their tricks, techniques, sources of materials or services with you. Some are open; some are guarded. There is no right, and no wrong. They don’t owe you anything. Most sources of materials or services are near the top of the page if you do a simple web search. Do be gracious and actually respond if they answer your question about tricks, techniques, sources, or services. If they took the time to answer your question about something, a minimum of “Thank you.” is in order Don’t ask for freebies, or free/spec work. For many artists, art isn’t a hobby - it’s their living. They don’t have time to make you free art. We’re all very sure that your new game/book/comic/restaurant/store really is going to be the next big thing. Part of building a business the right way is properly valuing your talent and assets - that includes the artists you hire - “hire” being the operative word. Exposure is great. Food on the table is even better. Do contact artists with well thought out opportunities that acknowledge and value their time, skill, and effort. Just understand that they may not be as passionate about your project as you are.  Don’t be a creeper or be inappropriate. Just because you’ve gotten a response to an email or comment, or because you’ve purchased something from an artist, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re BFF’s now. Being friendly is not the same as being friends. Until you’re friends, a general rule would be to not say anything that would be inappropriate to say to any random person on the street. Do be conscious of boundaries. Be polite, complete your transactions or interactions, and move along.  Don't come across like a five year-old (unless you are one). No one is expecting your message to read like a Pulitzer winning story, but thoughts should be mature and cohesive. Proper grammar and punctuation go a long way. Do proofread your messages before you hit post/send. If you’re dealing with an artist in person, pause for a moment and think about what you’re about to say - and don’t ever be a creeper or inappropriate. Don’t ask if you can ask a question. This tip is brought you by the Department of Redundancy Department. Do check the artist’s FAQ and relevant descriptions if applicable. If your question has not already been answered, just ask it.  Don't automatically assume that the artist knows as much about your favorite fandom as you do. Artists often know just enough about a subject to complete a piece.  Do express your love for your favorite character or fandom, just remember that you may be the only one who shares the love. Don’t ask why a piece of art “costs that much”. A piece of art is not the end product of just the time and materials to create a piece. It is a result and sum total of the artist’s career as an artist as they learn and hone their skills,  as well as the materials and time spent creating that particular piece. Do ask how much an available piece costs (assuming that the price isn’t already listed. You looked right?) Don’t tell an artist you “wish [you] could afford this.” Most artists see this as a passive-aggressive complaint about their prices, which are usually underpriced to begin with. If you can’t afford a piece, that’s on you, not the artist.  Do begin saving up for a piece if you’re honestly interested in it, or contact the artist about getting a custom piece done in the future. Don’t ask how much another customer paid for a custom piece of art.  The price charged to the previous customer was the agreed upon price at the time. It is possible, and even likely, that the price will be different. Artists learn something new with almost every piece they do. What took 10 hours the first time may only take 8 hours the next. But an artist’s hourly rate may have gone up. Prices of materials may have changed. The cost to produce a piece varies constantly. Plus, it’s just a little gauche. Do ask if prints are available (after checking the description, of course).