tablesaw: Jennifer Connolly and David Bowie from <cite>Labyrinth</cite> (Labyrinth)
I'm still grappling with gender issues that do not conform to a male/female or masculine/feminine binary. I have a lot of cisgender privilege. No, that's an understatement. For all the reading and thinking I've done on ths subject, when dealing with transgender people in non-virtual situations, I am actively fighting transphobic thoughts. It's easier for me online, but knowing how little practice I have usually makes me doubt my critical thinking when it comes to these issues.

Still, in the wake of transphobia in a fandom-related dustup (link addresses the transphobia issues; if you don't know what the underlying wank is, it's not worth it to find out), I had these things in my mind today when I started watching the new episode of The Closer.

The plot features a retired detective who returns to give testimony after an old case is overturned on an unrelated issue. But upon his return to Los Angeles, it is revealed that although the detective had been known to collegues as a man, she is now living as a woman, to the naked disgust of her former partner.

Now, I know that a lot of people can't watch cringe television, like Arrested Development or The Office, but I can, and I often enjoy it. But even still, the casual abuse heaped onto Georgette from all corners, often ostensibly for humor, really sickened me. I had to turn it off before the end of act 2. There's probably a very valuable lesson at the end, but I doubt it will be worth it.

And then I come back to find some disturbing things about LiveJournal. [personal profile] synecdochic has been reading the upcoming changes to LiveJournal's code. The result of these changes (which, as of writing, are committed to go live the next time LiveJournal updates) is:
  • Gender will be a mandatory field at account creation, and it will be able to appear public on one's profile. (I can't tell if people with existing gender specification will be defaulted to "nobody can see it" or "everybody can see it".) (Subsequent changelog reading indicates that the public specificity has since been removed. It is unknown whether this is to require public specificity in the future or if it will remain private.)
  • >LiveJournal is removing the Unspecified option for the gender field. That's right: you get to be male or female. Period. That's it. (Source.)
(Full post.) If this is something that matters to you, you may want to set your gender to unspecified now. It appears that LJ will preserve current settings as unspecified, but it's not clear whether it'll ever be possible to unselect a gender if you don't do it now. (Source). [personal profile] synecdochic also suggests, "go to and politely register your displeasure."

Update: LJ has rolled back the code, and will not be making the change. Synecdochic's entry has details and a response from LiveJournal's general manager in the United States. The response that the LJ Response Team has sent out int response to inquiries is reproduced in the comments here.
tablesaw: Gaff, from <cite>Blade Runner</cite> (Gaff)
The links keep on coming. For those confused by my recent failk, here's an executive survey of "PervySurveyFail" (so dubbed by someone [ profile] ithiliana can't remember).

Ogi Ogas and Sai Gaddam have landed a lucrative book contract (publishing grapevine says US$250,000); as part of that project, they designed a survey to find out more about slash and fandom. The survey, their handling of it, their interaction with fans and critics has been both stupid and offensive in multiple ways.

There are, essentially, two lines of outrage in this whole thing. There's the political outrage at the horribly sexist, heteronormative, transphobic attitudes of Ogas and Gaddam in their survey and their interactions. And there's the outrage about the horribly bad science—the lack of clear methodology, patently biased questions, an ignorance of previous research in the area, etc.

The political outrage has played out in form much like other BlankFails. Which is not to say, again, that it is unimportant or uninteresting. [ profile] rm has pointed out some very good threads about the harmful assumptions Ogas and Gaddam have been making about transsexuals and people who otherwise fall outside of the male/female sex/gender binary. Earlier today, Ogas and Gaddam (apparently in response to objections to their construction of "transsexual" in their work and the use of the word "tranny" in discussions) "corrected" their FAQ to replace "transsexual" with "shemale."

As [ profile] rm said, "You have not yet begun to see wrath, although the cat macros are now out to play." And in apparent response to the escalation of failout, Ogas has now locked all of the posts that were originally intended for feedback and discussion of the project (thus rendering over a thousand comments invisible).

But because of the ostensibly scientific and academic roots of the survey and the project, many fans who are also academics soon began taking issue with the incredibly shoddy "research" being conducted. Objections were raised that there was no control preventing minors from participating, there did not seem to be adequate safeguards protecting respondents, that questions were being changed while the survey was still continuing. (Sadly, most of these discussions that I know about them are currently unavailable, because they were made in Ogas's journal.)

Eventually, the Institutional Review Board of Boston University was reached. (Ogas identified himself as "a cognitive neuroscientist at Boston University" in his initial approach to [personal profile] eruthros.) The IRB is responsible for maintaining ethical standards when researching human subjects (including when that research involves social, not medical, science). In the words of [ profile] deadlychameleon, they responded that Ogas "is no longer in any way affiliated with Boston University, except as a recent graduate. They have asked him to stop using his official Boston University email address in connection with this project, or his website. He is officially on his own, and this project is NOT IRB APPROVED."

Deadly Chameleon continues:
The problem with this is threefold:

1. The researcher has no expertise in the area he is researching, nor has he recruited anyone to give him guidance.

2. The researcher has substantial profit motivation to produce work in this area (book contract with Penguin) which may lead to unethical conduct/a tendency to misrepresent his results.

3. The research is in no way overseen by any external body which can examine it for potential unethical conduct.

In addition to all of these, the researchers have now alienated their participant population, who are now very likely to become unreliable participants.
This explains much. Many people, myself included, wondered how two scientists or academics could behave so unprofessionally. Our error was in assuming that "scientist" or "academic" was their actual profession. It is clear that they are not. But if their profession is "hucksters peddling junk science for profit," it really would be unprofessional of them not to act the way they have.

Finally, this has been a surprisingly creative -fail. In addition to my own offering, there have been macros, parody surveys, Ogi Ogas/Sai Gaddam slash fic.

Other key posts:
tablesaw: Weremerican! (Weremerican)
An explanation of 'Full Inventory' )
This is a short inventory, but it's remarkable for being the first episode where the show got more right historically than it got wrong, including striking a researched blow against heteronormativity in the popular concept of history.

Spoilers for 'Claudia' )
tablesaw: A tablesaw in action. The blade disappears when it comes in contact with a hot dog. (Virtually Unscathed!)
There seem to be lots of people concerned that allowing two people of the same sex to marry each other will lead to people trying to marry dogs. But I don't think this is likely to be an issue. I mean, as I understand it, it's easier to adopt a child if you're a man living with a dog than if you're a man living with another man.

And a note to myself, re puzzles: Don't be afraid to be straightforward. Actually, that can be a note to anyone designing puzzles, although hopefully it's a lesson most have learned already (usually the hard way, at some point).


Feb. 18th, 2004 07:48 am
tablesaw: -- (Default)
As you may know, I am a proofreader at a law firm.

Proof that I deserve a raise. [Linked changed 4/3/11. Original link was]
tablesaw: -- (Default)
So, a post from [ profile] swisscheesed led me to a post from [ profile] tamnonlinear asking for a new version of the ballad of Tam Lin as a response to Marriage Protection Week (The latest hit from the man who brought you the Month of Prayer to End Abortion.) For some strange reason, I responded, and the result is now available on the front page of Go. Check it out.

I'm not quite finished with it. I think it needs another verse, but I'm a bit lost on forging it. Anyway, I do like what I've done, and I'm glad it's up there.

Now, I'm going to go make a peanut-butter-and-honey sandwich.
tablesaw: "The Accurate Tablesaw" (Accurate)
Wow. It was just pointed out by [ profile] tahnan on the NPL mailing list that the definition of marriage has changed in the new edition of Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary. Since I don't expect the readers of this journal to have two copies on hand for comparison (as the readers of that list likely do), here are the relevant texts:

From Merriam-Webster's Tenth Edition [link removed, 10th ed. is no longer online, 10/26/10]:
mar riage 1 a : the state of being married b : the mutual relation of husband and wife : WEDLOCK c : the institution whereby men and women are joined in a special kind of social and legal dependence for the purpose of founding and maintaining a family
And the Eleventh Edition [link changed, 10/26/10]:
mar riage 1 a (1) : the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law (2) : the state of being united to a person of the same sex in a relationship like that of a traditional marriage {same-sex marriage} b : the mutual relation of married persons : WEDLOCK c : the institution whereby individuals are joined in a marriage
And everyone wonders why I tell them to have an up-to-date dictionary.

Puzz Pimp.

Jul. 25th, 2003 06:21 am
tablesaw: "The Accurate Tablesaw" (Accurate)
"Love me! I'm a homo! We're real popular right now!"

Today's LA Times Syndicated crossword puzzle was written [ profile] canadianpuzzler. I am amused that this Canadian puzzler managed to work a famous Canadian into the clue for the central down entry. Solve it now! My time was seven minutes.

FriNYTX: 15.
tablesaw: -- (Default)
I'm going to go to bed, wake up early, watch The Sound of Music, pop open my lone bottle of wine from Rwth, and toast the bestest ever teacher I ever had while reading her book, A Problem Like Maria: Gender and Sexuality in the American Musical.

Ah life. Why are the good ones always gay?
tablesaw: -- (Default)
Of course, how could I forget. I don't have to worry about right-wing politics and liberal-bashing; I have to listen to my grandfather talk about all of the homosexuals destroying the Holy Roman Church. I bring fresh bagels to my grandmother, and this is how I am repaid.
Blaming homosexuals is becoming the anti-Semitism of the Catholic Church.
--Eugene Kennedy; professor emeritus of psychology, Loyola University

I haven't used LiveJournal to talk about my views on the molestation scandals in the Church, although I have considered it. Mostly, I am becoming tired of being forced to explain the workings of the Church, its hierarchy and its teachings to non-Catholics, all of whom have their opinions on what the "real" problem is. And yet none of that can compare to the disgusting view that is held by many very vocal members of that same Church hierarchy that the culpability for this crisis lies at the feet of those ordained men and women who are or may be homosexual.
More Catholic Stuff... )


tablesaw: -- (Default)
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