- I feel curiously ambivalent about today's haphazardly observed information blackout protest against the Stop Online Piracy Act. Not about the protest itself, mind you – it's essentially a low-grade civil disobedience project, and I'm cool with much stronger forms of civil disobedience than that – but about the sensation that this fight is in some ways between two sides composed of large and powerful entities. Congress is considerably more powerful than, say, a software company, but I can't help but get a feeling on the back of my neck that this current brouhaha is not necessarily about protecting my personal access to unfettered information. My political voice is being courted by Google, Yahoo, eBay, and other corporate business endeavors that make an awful lot of money, and see themselves on this issue as in opposition to other large moneyed interests like the MPAA, the RIAA, and a host of companies that seek to defend their copyrighted stuff. I can see the validity of both sides' arguments here, although I admit that I instinctively lean toward opposition to the bill as a matter of protecting free speech before protecting intellectual property rights. At the same time, I'm a little put off by the implication of some of the rhetoric of taking down content before the gubmint can do it. And I feel pushed around by both sides. Hmm.
- You know those fights that happen between friends that seem to come out of nowhere, all because something came out of someone's mouth a little oddly and someone else took offense to it? That happened on the internet a few days ago. I resigned myself to not following it closely, because it seemed like everyone involved was getting progressively angrier and more accusatory, and I was afraid I would be sucked further into it as well. I quite like Historiann's blog, as a rule, and feel bad for her that her digital front porch sometimes plays host to flame wars. I was kind of blindsided to see how quickly tempers rose, since almost all of the early commenters, to my knowledge, are at least internet-level friends of Historiann, and the interactions are usually pretty cordial. It upset me a bit, perhaps because it reminds me of analogous scenarios with my family. :(
- I had my second therapy appointment yesterday. After hearing me go off about everything messing with my head for a second time, the therapist seems to be getting a clearer picture of what's eating me, and how zi might help. Hope zi's up to the task. Zi had originally believed, from our first meeting, that my problem was stress. Stress? Really? I survived eight years of grad school, two years of field research, a dissertation, and ongoing job hunt with no end in sight. I'm actually pretty good at managing what some might call stress. Zi eventually got the picture, though, when I spoke for almost an hour about all the horrible emotions that my family brings out in me. Stress = no big deal. Horrible emotions = big deal.
- Why must I keep encountering racists in Ghosttown bars? I felt like I'd crossed into the Twilight Zone last evening when a guy next to me at the bar struck up a conversation, and went from perfectly pleasant chit-chat to advising – in that thinly coded language we pseudologists recognize so well – that black welfare queens were going to destroy this country, and I should get myself a second passport and move to some nice Third World country where there's at least less corruption than the US, and topped it off by outing himself as a birther.
I suspect that I keep attracting this sort of vermin in bars because I look white, and I dress on the conservative end of professorial haberdashery, as pseudologists go. In other words, I think tipsy people mistake me for things that I am not, but which they assume as normal around here: a) a Republican, b) a white supremacist, c) a wealthy person with unsentimental class interests to protect, or d) some combination of the first three.* They're invariably older people, as well: not a one of these characters I've had to talk to at my favorite bar is under sixty. Maybe I need to start politely ignoring tipsy old people?
1 year ago