Trash day is going to be kind of serious today, because I’ve got some stuff on my mind, but I hope it will keep you engaged anyway, and there’s some fun stuff too, including updates on a few older stories here towards the end of this post.
You need to be watching the Middle East right now. First, there was Tunisia. Now, there’s Egypt, which has just shut down all Internet traffic in and out of the country. There are also large protests in Yemen and additional reports of smaller protests in Libya and Lebanon.
The thing about events like these is that they tend happen very, very quickly even if the precipitating conditions are generally long-standing. If protests like this succeed in their immediate goals (i.e., regime change) that also tends happens very quickly. However, you should be careful not mistake the volume of information flying about these things for that happening-very-quickly factor. Journalists struggle with this. Audiences struggle with this, and folks like me who do media and news analysis for fun and profit (seriously, I have professional training and experience this stuff; I’m not just talking about random blogging) struggle with this. Combine that with the disparity between the nature of information flow where the events are happening and where you’re watching from, and it’s hard to know what’s going on, especially now that Egypt is effectively an Internet black-out zone; SMS and mobile service also seems to be out or on its way out, and there are additional reports of land-lines starting to go down. An hour after I first posted this I am now seeing reports of the government cutting water and electricity throughout multiple cities.
Next, LGBT people are still being murdered in Uganda, whether that “Kill the Gays” bill goes through or not. And part of the reason they’re being murdered? US religious activists who, unable to engage their agenda fully in the US, went to Africa to see what they could do there instead. When I wrote about this on my LJ, one of my fandom friends linked me to a fund that supports an LGBT-inclusive church in Uganda that’s run by a Ugandan minister. If you have other suggestions for how people not in Uganda can help address this mess, please leave a comment.
Now that we’ve gotten that stuff out of the way, it’s worth noting that I don’t think of myself as a political or activist blogger, even though I certainly blog about both to varying degrees here and on LJ. But I do think that Sady Doyle has a lot of interesting things to say about the realm of nasty reactions from readers at her Tumblr. I don’t get quite the same types of hate as Doyle does, and I very much suspect I get it from a different audience (although that may have more to do with my origins on LJ, which has a different male/female ratio than some other spaces on the Internet, than anything I actually do or write about), but Doyle nails some trends in nastygrams directed at female-types on the Internet with this:
… I generally think it’s the same for every woman who receives a massive amount of blowback. Either you seem too sure of your own worthiness as a person, or you seem too sure of your opinions; either way, something has gone wrong, because you don’t hate yourself, and we need to fix that for you.
I think anything I have to add to that is probably superfluous today.
Okay, fun things!
It wouldn’t be trash day without linking to something on Kickstarter. This project is already fully funded, but there’s still time to get in on it and get your very own math dice, which I personally think should be a featured element in any sort of Doctor Who table-top role-playing game ever.
And, speaking of Doctor Who, as we do around here: Ride-in Daleks!. Kids only, and alas, I have no kids to put inside Daleks. Maybe the cats though…. would that be wrong?
And we have some updates on some previous stories:
I’m going to get to eat cups! But yet on a more serious, and continuingly relevant, note there was a slight bit of dramarama in comments on that project over on Kickstarter as the deadline neared. Someone showed up to say that the people running the project were bad people, provided no details, and offered an analogy that may or may not have had direct relevance to whatever accusations they were trying to make. I don’t know the Jelloware people, and I don’t know the person speaking out. But I do know if you’re going to say, “Hey, you shouldn’t support these people” you need to say why. And if you don’t? I’m going to refer you back up to the previously quoted remarks from Sady Doyle.
Finally, for those of you following the hawkward situation at the Library of Congress, the bird has been rescued.