Tuesday, April 28, 2015

I Support Alison Tieman, and So Should You!


For anyone who hasn't heard, there was an outrageous incident of political censorship at the Calgary Comics Expo. For no other reason than a politically divergent opinion expressed by artist Alison Tieman, founder of women's creative collective the Honey Badger Brigade, the whole group was thrown out without warning (in violation of the con's own contractual policy) as they were about to set up for the second day. Worse, Tieman herself has been banned for life from this con and all others run by the same organization -- a big deal, as 100,000 attend these things. It's essentially a death sentence on her comics career.

To add insult to injury, after they were expelled and had announced plans for an informal gathering of fans in a nearby park, police were actually sicced on them on totally spurious charges of possible criminal activity. The police themselves concluded there was no cause for action. Here's raw footage of the encounter: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sqv78wABm00&feature=youtu.be. Honey Badger Rachel Edwards reports that the officer said the complaint had come from the CalEx organizers.

I think this incident is particularly telling, because by indulging in this extra bit of gratuitous harassment, CalEx tipped their hand. If they were willing to make a false report to police just to badger the Badgers a little more, why should we believe they didn't manufacture the reports of "harassment of women at the convention" that served as the pretext for expelling them?

To be sure I was getting both sides of the story, I used DuckDuckGo, the search engine that doesn't track you (and therefore won't tailor results to biases indicated by your history) for the terms "Alison Tieman" + "Calgary." I found the great majority of results were pro-HBB, and the few that weren't were based on demonstrably false information and often on an ad hominem level, repeatedly stooping to what I can only call slut-shaming.

Here's Tieman's own heart-rending account of her brutal experience: Banned for not Damselling

The full recording of the panel at which she made the offending remarks on which the spurious charge of "harassment" was based (warning: poor sound quality): http://www.avoiceformen.com/allnews/full-audio-of-alleged-harassing-of-women-at-calgary-comic-expo/

An overview of the whole affair: http://www.examiner.com/article/calgary-expo-censors-the-honey-badger-brigade-s-anti-censorship-message

Video messages are being compiled from Tieman's friends and supporters. Here's the compilation as it currently stands: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eI0h-2pCC3I. (In support of collator SkepTorr's comment on the media misrepresentation of GamerGate, I recommend this compilation of messages from GamerGaters whose existence contradicts the media stereotype: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tzwGIHUCtjU.)

Supporters of free expression are urged to send messages of protest to the organizers at info@calgaryexpo.cominfo@calgaryexpo.com.
"Super sponsors" can be contacted at sponsors@calgaryexpo.comsponsors@calgaryexpo.com (you can also find a complete listing of them at the con website).

The artists don't want other exhibitors to be hurt by any kind of boycott against the con, but encourage pressure on the sponsors.

I've done all of the above. I've also contacted the NPR program On the Media, which has covered issues in geek culture in the past, urging them to do a story on this. The web contact form is http://www.onthemedia.org/emailform/contact-otm/

You can check out Tieman's webcomic Xenospora on her website: http://www.xenospora.comhttp://www.xenospora.com. I plan to order a bound, printed copy of Volume I as soon as my tax refund comes in. Meanwhile, I've made copies of the comic's logo and started putting them up all over downtown Philadelphia.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

My friend Rey will be competing in the Special Olympics Spring Games this Saturday, 18 April, at William Penn Charter School, 3000 West School House Lane. I'm not sure when the games start but athletes have to check in by 8:30am.

Monday, April 06, 2015

Quote for the Day

Build a man a fire and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he'll be warm for the rest of his life. -- Anonymous (via Tessa Norris on Quora.com)

Friday, March 13, 2015

The Amazing Temporally Meandering Coffee Can

Last year I discovered the first concrete evidence of time travel, in the form of the letters "SPQR" etched in a Philly sidewalk. This could only have been the work of temporally dislocated ancient Romans: it stands for Senatus Populusque Romanis ("of the Roman Senate and people") and was etched on official structures of that state. Now I find additional evidence in the latest issue of the Philadelphia Public Record. A cover line reads, "Political Careers Rise And Fall On What's Pulled From This 1968 Coffee Can!" Meanwhile, under one subhead of the "Pols on the Street" column, we see this: "An empty Horn & Hardart coffee can, vintage from the mid-60ies, has made or broken candidate nominees from both major parties for over half a century" -- while the caption for picture story on the same page informs us, "Many political candidates had their futures decided by how they pulled ballot positions from this coffee can, used since back in the early 1960s by Registration Commission." (Boldface added for emphasis.) What technology or fluke of nature allows its world-line's past endpoint to have three different time coordinates? That remains a mystery.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

As if it weren't bad enough trivializing domestic violence in her "Blank Space" video, Taylor Swift is now trying to trademark her lyrics. Forgive me for doubting her creative genius, but I think I'd heard the words "speak now" before. http://www.npr.org/2015/02/22/388187291/taylor-swift-savvytrademark-titan

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Quote of the Day

Oh my god, I am the patriarchy. -- Brene Brown, recounting to Krista Tippett her insight that, by concerning herself only with women's vulnerability issues, she'd been perpetuating men's emotional repression.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

James Hansen's Exit Strategy from Climate Change

His "fee and dividend" proposal is the most politically astute way of getting done what needs doing, while there's still time: http://www.climatelobby.com/fee-and-dividend/