Archive for Improving Society

Some notes on exoticizing real-world cultures in sf

I have some thoughts that I feel like are connected to each other, but they’re not quite cohering into an essay. So here are some not-quite-cohering thoughts. (Content warning for descriptions of various forms of exoticizing/Othering.) Mary Anne wrote an interesting post recently about (among other things) whether non–Sri Lankans are reading the Sri Lankan […]

Carrying the mic

Two years ago, the first time I attended an all-group meeting for the Cloud Documentation group at my day job, I noticed that people in the audience were asking questions that were largely inaudible to much of the rest of the audience, including me. (And completely inaudible to people who were attending the meeting remotely, […]

Of his time

When I criticize someone in the past for having done something that I consider bad by my own modern standards, I often get pushback from friends who say things like: “He was just a man of his time. [Alternative phrasing: a product of his time.] You can’t/shouldn’t judge him by modern standards!” (I’m using he […]

Swarthmore fraternities

Short version of this post: At my alma mater, Swarthmore College, documents have recently been revealed that describe a lot of awful behavior by members of the two fraternities on campus. Eventually, both fraternities decided to disband. Much longer version follows. Background Swarthmore is a small liberal-arts college in Pennsylvania. For decades, it’s been home […]

How to search for missing items

A friend just posted a comic about the difficulty of getting kids to look for things that they’re missing (like their shoes). It suddenly occurred to me that my experience with asking kids to look for things is that the kids go off to look but seem kind of at a loss as to how […]

Improving society

Good tweet from KTO: ...we can either find reasons to improve inclusion, or we can make excuses for continuing past exclusion.— Kat Tanaka Okopnik (@KTOkopnik) August 23, 2018 Which reminds me of a recent thing I was thinking about. During the discussion about this year’s Worldcon programming, I had the following series of reactions (in […]

Le Guin on writing about men

From Le Guin’s “Introduction to Planet of Exile” (intro written in 1977 or 1978; can now be found in The Language of the Night). Worth reading the whole piece, but here’s a bit of it: […] Planet of Exile was written in 1963–1964[…]. The book exhibits my early, “natural” (i.e., happily acculturated), unawakened, un-consciousness-raised way […]

March for Our Lives

Some assorted notes about today’s March for Our Lives rally in San José: Followup on my previous post: I was glad that the march started at 11:00 a.m. That gave me time to have a leisurely start to my day and still arrive before the march started. When I first arrived, the crowd nearby was […]

Marching

What I want to do today: Laze around the house, reading and watching TV and labeling photos and maybe doing laundry. What I’m going to do today: Go to the March for Our Lives in San José. I’m generally oddly reluctant to attend marches and rallies and such. They involve a lot of people, and […]

Lois Beckett on effective gun control measures

I found this gun-control segment on The Takeaway yesterday useful. Lois Beckett, senior reporter for The Guardian US covering guns and gun violence, discusses a number of different gun control proposals, their viability, what they could accomplish, and how much they may actually address America's problem with gun violence. If I understood right, she said […]