Social media resolutions for 2018

More creating, less commenting.

’Nuff said.

Ranting about racism in the media or whatever outrageous thing an outrageous person said is exhausting and it doesn’t change anything and I’d rather just take a nap or whatever. I need to make the stuff I want to see.

More Mastodon, less Twitter.

This is partly because Twitter has become a deluge of terrible news at a scale beyond the human mind’s ability to process healthily, and also on principle. Proprietary platforms funded by ads and venture capital don’t make for good communities. I’ve put my money where my mouth is and joined social.coop, a co-operatively run Mastodon instance. No ads. No algorithms. No Nazis.

This means my coverage will change—less livetweeting, more aimed at people beyond Toronto. What would a German hacker or an Appalachian activist or a Filipin@ K-pop fan want to know about what’s going on at Toronto City Hall? Why should they care?

More iNaturalist and BugGuide, less Instagram.

I’ve been using Instagram for my spider photos, but have been neglecting to upload my photos to iNaturalist and BugGuide. I love the stuff I see on Instagram, but all the ads and the lack of chronological order is extremely annoying. So I’d like to shift my focus and try contributing to different communities.

More PayPal, less Patreon.

In the wake of Patreon’s unpopular and quickly walked-back fee changes, I think a lot of us users recognized the precariousness of depending on a platform we can’t control and whose goals do not necessarily align with ours. I’d like to cut out one of the middlemen and encourage patrons to switch to going directly through PayPal, which also allows for automatic monthly donations.

A platform like Liberapay is more in line with my needs. Right now it’s at a stage where I’d be comfortable asking people to switch to it, but I will be keeping an eye on its development, and on similar open-source platforms.

Less Facebook.

I’m just going to stop trying to “engage” on Facebook. Aside from the ethical and privacy considerations, it’s just plain hard to use. None of my devices have more than 2 GB of RAM! I can’t handle all that! Also, I hate finding out about my neighbours’ terrible opinions.


Adapted from this toot.

Just a Little Sunday Afternoon Rant About Racism In the Media

Because I’m really tired of the clever arguments and coy dancing around double standards, even from my own “side”:

These are the facts as I see them. I am not here to “start a conversation” or provide balance or engage in debate. These are the principles that guide my thinking.

The leading lights of Canadian media are obnoxiously racist. Continue reading Just a Little Sunday Afternoon Rant About Racism In the Media

Actually, It’s About Ethics In Canadian Journalism

David Hains, “Lessons from Rob Ford’s City Hall”:

As much as you’d like to hope that City Hall is too big and important an institution to be filtered through one man, that is not the case. Time and again, our public conversations have been distilled through Rob Ford’s ideology, preferences, and id. Rather than discussing important issues, like the funding crisis at Toronto’s social housing agency, we heard about the chief magistrate’s homophobia, racism, and misogyny. Would he apologize this time? What did he really mean, though? What would he say to Joe Warmington?

Jesse Brown:

I think that there’s a sense in the press that they don’t want to start something. They want to respond to something. I think that’s a misunderstanding of what the world of the press should be. I think the Toronto Star is the exception to the rule I’m about to describe, but I think, generally speaking, the Canadian press has strayed from its basic connection to its audience. We should be running toward things that have not broken yet. News should be what people don’t know about yet. Everybody is just sort of chewing on the same bone. To be in a completely responsive mode is not responsible journalism.

It’s been incredibly vindicating to see Jesse Brown come along and make these criticisms of the industry. Not that we haven’t been yelling our heads off, but there are an awful lot of media people who will only take it seriously if it comes from the the right sort of white guy. (I don’t think they even realize they do this.) If you are one of those media people, go play outside. Everyone else, keep reading: Continue reading Actually, It’s About Ethics In Canadian Journalism

Don’t act so fucking shocked

I’ve seen a few people lamenting that the focus is on Ford smoking crack in that video and not his racist and homophobic remarks, and it’s all just too precious. The hard truth is that for the vast majority of people, using an illegal drug associated with poor black people is more scandalous, more outrageous, more offensive, more disrespectable than looking down on people for being black or gay.

Ford has said racist, homophobic and transphobic things in the past. Ford has been publicly drunk and disorderly in the past. Ford has used drugs in the past. None of this proved enough to stifle his career; none of it attracted demands to step down from such a wide range of people.

The thing is? An awful lot of the people in politics and media who are now going after Ford for smoking crack have been racist and homophobic themselves. Toronto Sun editor Lorrie Goldstein trafficking in racist stereotypes of violent, hypersexual black men, city councillor Mike Del Grande parroting “welfare queen” myths, implying that the groups overrepresented in prison just commit more crimes, etc. Councillor Denzil “Boat People” Minnan-Wong.

It’s not just about conservatives. In the original Star story Doolittle and Donovan repeated “Somali” over and over, apparently oblivious to any repercussions to using the video owners’ ethnicity as shorthand. Members of the community, like Abdi Aidid, forced the paper to revise. (The ethnicity of another key player has escaped comment.) It’s not the first time major papers have previously made a mess of covering and commenting on issues in racialized communities. And it’s not just journalists, either. Today on CP24 I heard one leftist councillor — Paula Fletcher, I think — referring to “gangbangers” as she condemned the company the mayor keeps.

All these people, they smoke pot, they drink, they drop acid, they snort coke, and it’s all right as long as you do it on your own time and don’t come to work fucked up…but stooping to crack cocaine in Rexdale…that’s something else. That’s ghetto. It transgresses the social code of this very white and middle-class sphere.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t go after Rob Ford. He is unfit for office and he’ll never be able to do his job until he tackles his personal demons. But he shields himself with the bodies of young black men and they have been collateral damage in this hunt. (Maybe soon we’ll know if that’s what happened to Anthony Smith.)

I don’t expect much worthwhile discussion of all this in the mainstream media, where the vast hordes of straight white male journalists, even if they are not overtly bigoted, tend to be clueless and deeply uncomfortable talking about things outside their experience. While they occasionally get self-righteous kicks calling out blatant racism or homophobia when it’s not one of their own, the industry of political journalism and punditry is structured in such a way that “minority” issues simply don’t get talked about, and definitely not by marginalized people themselves.

So if you want to hammer the mayor on his racism and homophobia, that’s great, but if you want the masses to care you need to take the right angle. Make it about Ford’s hypocrisy, how he pretended to care about his football team in public and then speaks of them dismissively in private, because the kids are more sympathetic if people don’t have to remember they’re black. Make it about how “fag” is a bad word, so people don’t have to confront their own feelings about male effeminacy. And don’t act so fucking shocked when a heteronormative white industry doesn’t see what the big fucking deal is.