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Women! The Internet Hates You

20 Jan

I’ve been felled with a terrible cold/cough/bird flu. So a couple nights ago, I found myself doped up on NyQuil and totally useless to everyone around me. Naturally, what with Reddit and Wikipedia being offline in protest of SOPA (yes, I wrote to my representatives, don’t lecture) I turned to StumbleUpon for some lowbrow entertainment to take my mind off my lung-threatening illness.

What did I find but yet another user-content driven web site capable of providing hours of entertaining fun! It’s called IdeaSwap. You’re supposed to submit an idea you have but can’t or won’t accomplish. Like, for example, “Build a leaning tower of Portland.” Once you click submit, someone else’s idea pops up. You click that button enough times, something you DO have the resources to commit to is bound to pop up. Like, for example, “Go to sleep.”

Naturally, I typed in my brilliant idea, and what pops up but this:

It reads: “[sic]if you’re a woman, get offline and go to the kitchen,
if you’re a guy, tell a woman to go fetch a beer for ya :D”

Awww, thanks internet! It sure is awesome being a female on you. The internet is a glorious place where it’s nigh impossible to ignore misogyny. In real life, it’s often masked and difficult to uncover. On the internet, though, people aren’t afraid to reveal the true nature of their woman-hatred, ‘cuz they get to be anonymous and add stupid little smileys after their grammatical train wreck sentences.

Being a masochist, I clicked again. What should appear but this:

It reads: “Women should not crack their backs. It’s bad for their
reproductive systems.”

Firstly, this is less of an idea and more of a misguided directive so five demerits there. Secondly, it’s stupid. I’m no doctor. Nor do I have any chiropractic training. But a cursory Google search turns up no evidence for what this sticky note posits. Only a bit of hemming and hawing about joint-cracking in general being possibly linked to arthritis, which has no relation to reproduction whatsoever. A cursory brain search turns up … rage. As per usual, the only type of health women have worth caring about is the reproductive variety. We can certainly feel free to crack our knuckles, knees and even skulls, just so long as we can still serve as incubators for the next generation of male overlords and female incubators.

Clicking again, I got this:

It reads: “sometimes all you need to get by is a girl[sic]“

Sometimes all you need to get by is a steady paycheck and a 5th-floor walkup. Other times, a bowl of soup and a blanket. Today, though, is an object lesson in females as objects. Feeling down? Head over to your local K-Mart and pick up a late-model lady! She’ll get you beer, give you babies, and help you “get by,” apparently. It’s like a sinister version of the peppy Beatles hit:

Exasperated, I clicked again.

It reads: “Let’s do a wife swap every ten years.”

And that’s the topper. Not that there’s anything wrong with swinging, if that’s your bag. There ain’t. But for the luvvagod, people, check with your wives first. Nothing is less sexy than nonconsensual nonmonogamy, except maybe being traded for funsies with strangers on the internet via digital sticky note.

With that, I turned off the computer and went to bed, safe in the knowledge that I am surrounded by insane people who hate me and millions of people like me, because we have ladybits. If they’re not busy hating your ladybits, they’re busy hating your queeritude. If they’re not busy with that, they’re busy hating transpeople, or people of color, or poor people, or… all of the above. And that hatred leads to the taking-away-of-rights. And violence. And rape. And murder. And mutilation [NSFW]. I tells ya, it’s enough to make a misanthrope outta me.

In any case, I’m glad that Wikipedia and Reddit are back, and that SOPA is failing miserably. Now if only we could all rally behind other causes that are just as – if not more – important. Ideas, people? Put ‘em in the comments. No ‘get me a sandwich’ allowed. Lurkers, ummask thyselves!

 And don’t forget to subscribe, or join!

Not funny, Facebook: Sexism and homophobia from your friends and family

7 Nov

What would we do without Facebook? Well, for one, we might never find out which of our “friends” are complete and utter poopheads. And for that, Facebook, I thank you. My news feed has, oddly, found itself somewhat fuller-than-usual with illogical anti-gay or sexist rants of late – go figure. A sampling, presented for your derision:

The above is one of those “link-sharing plus commentary” posts. It points to the heartwarming story of a lesbian couple being named as reigning monarchs of the homecoming court.

Here is the text from the offending (white, male, cisgendered heterosexual) Facebooker:

If this trend continues society will be the biggest loser and women will be the second. If gender does not matter why stop here how about making the Olympics only the best in each event regardless of gender. Honoring the difference between men an (sic) women make (sic) women safer expressing femininity men better men by honoring those differences.

Like most hate speech, the rant makes little to no sense. “[gender roles] make women safer“? Last I checked it was way harder for women to run away from would-be muggers/rapists while wearing heels. Just saying! Additionally, I wonder if the OP noticed that both women in the photo are wearing dresses and full makeup? Looks like some pretty damn well-performed femininity to me. Maybe he’s wearing asshole goggles.

And how about the second part of that “sentence”: “expressing femininity men better men by honoring those differences“? Wait, what? Maybe if I took whatever hallucinogen this dude was on when he typed that and forgot everything I learned in grammar school, that sentence would make sense.

The best response I’ve heard so far is from Rebeca Arellano, the whip-smart teenager crowned Homecoming King at the high school in the news story:

For all the girls who think tradition should be continued: go back to the kitchen, stop having sex before you’re married, get out of school and job system, don’t have an opinion, don’t own any property, give up the right to marry who you love, don’t vote, and allow your husband to do whatever he pleases to you. Think about the meaning of tradition when you use it in your argument against us.

Today’s runner-up post is brought to you by the “girl-on-girl violence” club:

Transcript:

“Yes, I’m a woman. I push doors that clearly say PULL. I laugh harder when I try to explain why I’m laughing. I walk into a room and forget why I was there. I count on my fingers in math. I hide the pain from my loved ones. I say it is a long story when it is really not. I cry a lot more than you think I do. I care about people who don’t care about me. I try to do things before the microwave beeps. I listen to you even when you don’t listen to me. And a hug will always help. Yes, I’m a woman! Re-post if you’re proud to be one, come on ladies..(heart emoticon)”

I can’t decide which is my favorite kooky stereotype. Is it the finger-in-mouth, head tilted “I count on my fingers in math” statement? Because oh ho ho, that is one helluva knee-slapper! I mean, MATH IS HARD, AMIRITE ladies!? Re-post if you’re proud of your inability to count past ten!!

Or is it the nonsensical “I try to do things before the microwave beeps”? Like, what kind of things? Do you set the microwave to five minutes, and then try to run a mile? Or is it something more sinister – an entire life, perhaps, dictated by an evil beeping kitchen appliance – you get up in the morning, and try to put your pants on before your microwave announces “Beep. TOO SLOW, slowpoke. Now suffer the wrath of the EVER-EXPANDING MARSHMALLOW PEEP! Muah ha ha ha!!!”

Got your own jerk Facebook
posts? Email them to me
and I’ll probably post them:
adventuresinmediocrity@gmail.com

Most of them just sound like slightly amusing, somewhat sad things that happen to everyone now and again – who hasn’t pulled or pushed a door the wrong way? What the hell does laughing when trying to explain something funny have to do with your genitals or gender performance? And what the hell is WRONG with these Facebook people?

What’s the worst post you’ve ever seen on The Facebook (or any other social network, for that matter)? I’m sure these two are tame by comparison. Oh and – if you’re into screencapping, take some screenshots and email ‘em to me at adventuresinmediocrity@gmail.com (adventuresinmediocrity (at) gmail (dot) com), or tweet ‘em at me @mediocreventure. Be sure to include how you’d like to be attributed, if at all.

The five people you meet on the internet

19 Sep

I like to sign up for random stuff on the internet. Even better if whatever I sign up for results in me getting stuff in the mail. Who doesn’t like receiving things in the mail? The same people who hate puppies, that’s who! And Nazis. Nazis totally hate mail.

This is pretty much the sole reason why I am an IMPer, and why I had loads of fun with the book “High Weirdness by Mail” as a dorky preteen. It’s also why I recently signed up for a penpalling site. I figured it would be a good way to make new friends in interesting places, who I could then go visit. Specifically, I would like to make new friends in New York City. You see, I visit New York a lot.* And when I am there, I know approximately .75 people.**

Knowing less than one person while in a city of more than 19 million is kind of depressing. I am sure that, out of that 19 million, there are probably at least five or six really rad people that would totally think I was rad, and would eat dinner with me or maybe know of a good bar to go to. And the sort of people who can pull their shit together enough to write a letter, put it in an envelope, and add a stamp? Well, they tend to be the types that are better at follow-through than, say, your average Facebookian. Right? Wrong. Well, at least so far.

Thus far, I have met five types of people on the penpalling site:

  • Sideways hat guy: This guy is really skinny. If he is wearing a shirt, it is a too-big tee shirt with a stretched collar. His cap is on sideways, because he is COOL. He says “Wassup GURL!?” on your profile. He may or may not have a gold tooth. He is sometimes making a gang sign in his photo.
Via
  • Middle aged guy: Hi! Your smile is so bewitching! You may think I am young because of my command of hip slang, but OH NO I AM OLD! HA HA! But oh-so-mature. I will treat you niccceeeee, Clairisssse. And by “nice” I mean I will buy you a bandage dress from Wet Seal and then expect head as payment.
  • Scammer guy: I hope you don’t mind friendship. CLICK ON LINK to win!!!
  • Large-breasted, scantily clad, headless girl: CHk oUT my PICXXXX!! thx! Click here! xoxoxxxoooo
  • Toothless people: I try not to judge based on appearance. I do, I really do. But teeth, they do not reach this state of rot by natural means, OH NO. There is only one way they get that way. And it is by abusing a drug featured in countless public service announcements. Meth heads in real life scare me plenty, thanks.

*Furthermore, I may be moving there a year from now and it would be cool to know people then, too.
**Curious about the math? Well, here is how it adds up to .75:

  • .25 person: The son of one of my mom’s work friends, to whom I was introduced solely because he lives in New York. Had dinner once. May one day have lunch.
  • .25 person: A delightful lady who I know through a work vendor relationship. We could be friends, if she wasn’t always trying to sell me something.
  • .25 person: An old friend from college, who has since acquired a wife who is threatened by my presence, which I’m pretty sure she doesn’t know about anyway. Can you say skeezy?

This week’s unicorn award goes to…

27 Jul

Commenter john_burke100! Here is the illustrious award in all its glittery, resplendent glory:

How did this mystery commenter win this amazing, shiny, and priceless award, you may wonder! Well dear readers, john_burke100, aka rootlesscosmo, was particularly awesome in last weekend’s open comment thread, wherein I said one lucky commenter would win the illustrious award. Weren’t paying attention? That’s OK, you’ll get your chance next week. If I remember. You never know with me, I can be kind of flaky. Anyway, back to extolling this week’s winning commenter’s many virtues!

JB100 took the time, in the comment box, to provide a long list of carefully-selected movie recommendations, which I thought was pretty darn thoughtful. Also? He knew the Medford, Oregon line from Double Indemnity! JB100 also one time put an entire chocolate cake recipe in a comment! I love me some cake, so you can’t go wrong with that.

Honorable mentions go to Lydia, who is doing a really cool series on her blog, and DZDZ, who came to my defense when some crazy person from 4chan or wherever dropped in to spew hate speech. Oh how I love the internets!

Weekend open thread: Google Plus! and other news

15 Jul
Just because Rebecca Black is a fan of Friday doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be, too. Everyone loves a good Friday (even if Friday isn’t your Friday, and you don’t celebrate Good Friday). And in this new tradition of copping out of having to write a real post by opening the floor up to y’all, it’s time for a weekend open thread!
Today’s topic is Google+! Mostly ‘cuz I want you to be my pal on there. It’s boring without interesting people to talk to. You can find me by looking up adventuresinmediocrity@gmail.com. I think. I’m still a little fuzzy on the details. If you need an invitation I’ll give you one. Oh yeah, and here’s a Google Plus-themed picture to replace the usual adorable animal one (adorable animals to return next week):

From someecards.com

ANYway. If you’re stuck for things to talk about, here are some starter questions:
  • Are you a social networking junkie? Why/why not? If you are, feel free to expound about the Google+ thing. If not, you’re probably not going to comment anyway, amiright?
  • Does your online community differ significantly from your real-world community? (my answer is below!) How? Why do you think that is?
  • Why won’t Google+ make it so we can merge accounts? (rhetorical, although feel free to answer if you’re a Google developer)
  • Do you ever worry that Google is going to one day grow spindly little arms with spikes on the ends and then implant itself in your brain, controlling your every move and thought, turning you and millions of others into little Google-borg-bots?
  • Are some social networks more “safe spaces” (by this I mean prejudice/patriarchy/violent threat-free, or at least as much as possible) than others? Which ones?
I know that my online social network differs a whole lot from the real-world one, mainly because I know for a fact that most of you reader-types are feminists and “get” the feminist-y (and sociologicalish) stuff I write about on here (the rest of it is just drek. I mean really.). In the real world, I may not find out a friend’s thoughts on feminism – or any other ism – until the friendship is well-developed – which is fine. Just different. Both realms serve their purposes quite well – without real world interaction I’d go bonkers. But without an online community of whip-smart people like you, I’d probably think the whole world was out to get me and never leave the house.

A method for the meatlessness

10 Jun

Let’s begin with a tale of two movies. Actually, not two movies, just two very valiant (and ultimately successful) attempts to watch the same movie. I first tried to watch “Earthlings” after reading about it in some glossy’s interview with Ellen Degeneres, wherein she spoke of her veganism (which was news to me), and recommended the film. I added it to my queue and forgot about it.

Shortly thereafter, my sweet kitty Annabelle (pictured) died unexpectedly, which weirdly coincided with the arrival of the documentary in the mail. I made it through about five minutes before my uncontrollable sobs got so loud that my then-SO marched in from the other room, turned it off, and immediately deposited the DVD in the outgoing mailbox.

I finally made it all the way through the film a few months ago. I powered through it, and an entire box of tissues, because I felt I needed to — my strict vegetarianism had faltered over years of being worn down by the usual crap a vegetarian has to take, ranging from innocent curiosity (being asked to exhaustively explain your reasons for not eating meat gets about as old as being asked to exhaustively explain your sex life), to outright animosity: “But you need meat, c’mon eat meat, what are you sumkindahippiefreak growin’ armpit hair and eatin’ tofu and bein’ all uppity *head shake tongue wag tsk tsk*?”

In middle and high school, my friends would constantly try to get me to eat meat. Their more bald-faced tactics included shoving cold cuts in my face and chanting “eat it!” In rural Southern Oregon, I was the only vegetarian I knew of (turns out there was another one at my school, a couple years ahead of me, who now has a very worthwhile blog on just this topic!) We had to drive a long way to get to a conventional grocery store, and an even longer way to get to a hippie grocery store that sold Mysterious Things like tofu and organic spinach.

Various SOs have also served to derail my goal of eating compassionately. One insisted that the lifetime of pain and suffering animals raised for food endure was all “worth it” so long as meat was cheap; another’s steak cravings overpowered reason. ANYWAY, long story short: I had devolved into eating lots of bacon, which is delicious, but dag nab it, piglets are the cutest little things, and I needed to connect the two, viscerally, again. Get back to my hippie roots.

So I watched Earthlings. And you should too. I want you to watch this so much that, if you leave me a comment or send me an email or something telling me what you think of the movie after watching it, I will promise to send you something neat or funny or random in the mail (provided I am able to procure your mailing address in some safe manner, say, DMing me on Twitter, or e-mailing me. You also kind of deserve a cookie anyway for reading to the end of this long post and not just skipping to the video or skimming the topic sentences, which would be a fairly inefficient method here, as topic sentences are for chumps.

How do you find this movie? Well, you can watch it for free on the internets. You can also add it to your Netflix queue if you have one. Your favorite local independent video rental store probably has it, too. A word of warning: You probably shouldn’t show it to small children, unless you don’t want them to ever sleep again.

Feminist jokes: Meta, or just hipster bloviation?

10 Apr
I’d like to introduce you to one my favorite photo-strip-comic-blog-things, A Softer World:
 

The two strips above are one of a few recent strips poking fun at (or with?) feminism, and I’m not too sure how to take it. I’ve been one of many anonymous fans of A Softer World for quite some time now due to the quirky, poignant or true (or all three) things I find there, like this:

The mouse-over text for the strip above reads “I contain a factory for producing my own prison,” which is why I am oh-so-ready to take the first two strips as a joke and not a trivialization of feminism.

That said, I’m still conflicted about them, in that I’m not sure how much feminism-based humor is OK. In the end, it really depends on its origin and the motivation of the joker. For example, a slutty bisexual joke out of the mouth of a gay or straight person would sound different to my ears than a joke about their own orientation. But perhaps I’m wrong — hate speech is hate speech, after all.

Who knows whether Emily Horne and Joey Comeau are feminists making meta jokes, or hipsters disguising their disdain with irony. Certainly I will continue to enjoy their lovely art no matter their motivations. But what do you think, dear intelligent readers? Post your interpretations in the comments!

Gay nerds unite! XBox hates you a little less

6 Mar

Or maybe they hate you more? From their PR, it’s kind of hard to tell, but the gist of the news is this: Gamers can now use the word “gay” in their username if they so choose. Gay, yay! In a press release, Xbox Live General Manager Marc Whitten tells gamers:

“The Xbox LIVE Terms of Use and Code of Conduct are designed to create a place where people can safely enjoy all of the ways to interact on our service … without fear of discrimination or harassment…

[We've] update[d] the Xbox LIVE Terms of Use and Code of Conduct which will allow our members to more freely express their race, nationality, religion and sexual orientation in Gamertags and profiles. Under our previous policy, some of these expressions of self identification were not allowed in Gamertags or profiles to prevent the use of these terms as insults or slurs. … it inadvertently excluded a part of our Xbox LIVE community.”

Typically most corporate PR is horribly executed, but the above manages to paint the company in a positive light after what could’ve been a PR disaster. It manages to make me feel warm and fuzzy feelings for XBox when my first reaction was set to stun.

They’ve made an important distinction in admitting that gamers often use the word “gay” (and all its hatefully misspelled derivations) as an insult, and positioning themselves as simply trying to protect that demographic. Whether it’s true or not we’ll never know, but I kind of want to shake the hand of whatever PR flak actually wrote that letter, because we all know it wasn’t Marc Whitten.

To put this whole thing in context, here’s a PSA from Wanda Sykes waaaaaaay back in 2008:

What do you think, fellow nerds? Was it just an oversight on XBox’s part? Were they really trying to protect their gay players’ feelers? Or were they just being what most companies are: Juggernauts of social mores, laser-focused on the bottom line, and way behind the times?

*Photo from the wonderful Consumerist blog.

Boys of Facebook

1 Mar

My favorite thing about Facebook is the fact that I get to see pictures of the girls who were mean to me in high school who are now hideously fat. Or burdened with five crackbabies and a meth-dealing ex-husband. Or live in trailer parks. Or, preferably, all three. My least favorite thing about Facebook (other than seeing pictures of the girls who were mean to me in high school who are now fabulously wealthy, accomplished and even more beautiful than they were in adolescence) is receiving messages from boys who were mean to me in high school.

The boys have, without exception, seen the error of their ways, and are hoping to get back in touch. And by “error of their ways,” I mean “my boobies,” and by “getting back in touch,” they mean “with my boobies.” It’s amazing what losing 10 pounds, gaining two cup sizes, getting contacts and learning to love tequila shots will do for a girl’s popularity.

I went from this:

To this*:

And now all the boys love me! There’s nothing like going from a chubby bespectacled über-nerd to a slender full-bosomed über-nerd to reinforce one’s complete and utter lack of faith in humanity. It’s like a real-life “She’s All That,” except instead of Freddie Prinze there’s just cynicism.

That’s not to say I haven’t enjoyed the attention from time to time. My favorite message came from a boy I don’t remember who honestly confessed to having had a crush on me back in the day, when I was ugly and wore stretch pants. Whether ‘twas a cover story or not, it surely gave me the warm fuzzies. My least favorite message came not from Facebook, but in person during one of those “ let’s reconnect over drinks but this isn’t a date OK?” things:

Him: “You’re hot now!”
Me: “Um, thanks.”
Him: “I mean, you used to be all, Sarah with the glasses. And now you’re all… Sarah with the hotness!”
Me: “OK then. I think I’ll go home and wash my hair.”
Him: “But I want to get you drunk!”
Me: “Sure you do, honey.”

What’s a girl to make of all this? Are there any lessons to be taken away other than “humans are hopelessly, incurably shallow and narcissistic”? Should I take advantage of the few years of attractiveness I have left before age sets in to turn the tables on these would-be suitors and be terribly cruel to them? Would they get the message? Or would they just mutter “bitch” under their breath and find some other girl to torment? Either way I doubt it’d make me feel any better.

*Please note: I am neither Lindsay Weir nor Lindsay Lohan, just in case you were confused. I didn’t feel like digging up pictures of me IRL. Plus, I’m not really that hot. But I assure you I was very very nerdy in high school. Please confirm in the comments, fellow members of the Nerd Herd.

Related Posts: MySpace Sucks, I’ve Figured it Out!

I’ve figured it out!

17 Jan

Imported from MySpace blog

At last, I’ve put my finger on the inexplicable pull of Teh MySpace and Teh Facebook. It’s voyeurism, straight up. It gives us creepily intimate looks into the lives of others, be they friends, acquaintances or total strangers.

Pictures, likes and dislikes, employment and educational history, and entire personal conversations between friends can be viewed remotely at the click of a mouse. You can read about someone’s vacation, see pictures of the insides of their houses, find out what they did last weekend, where they like to shop and whether or not they believe in God. For people we’re not particularly close to, this information would likely never present itself unless we became creepy stalkers. It’s absolutley terrifying and undeniably wonderful.

And then there’s always the wonderful possibility of discovering the (preferably) awful fates of meanie-heads from the past, and the fun of daydreaming of what it would be like to be someone else for a day.

It’s addictive and it feels kind of dirty and wrong, so of course I love love love it.

Currently reading :
White Teeth: A Novel

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