Shared posts

14 Aug 13:54

A post about language, ableism, and words

Denise

Interesting read. Much "disability awareness" education emphasizes person-first language, but I've always felt kind of weird (even uncomfortable) about it in certain cases. This piece has led me to read more on the difference between identity-first and person-first language, and I think I'll be taking a very nuanced approach to it in the future, and will try to be mindful of how the individual person prefers to be acknowledged, if their difference needs to be acknowledged at all.

[Content warning: some discussion of specific slurs and ableist statements]

I’ve been wanting to talk about this for a while now, but ironically, I haven’t had the words.

I care about language; it would be hard for a writer not to. For instance, I prefer identity-first language to person-first language, largely because I have considered the arguments for it and agree with them. When speaking about myself or about others with disabilities similar to mine, I try very hard to make use of this language.

I also don’t really care that much how other people refer to me.

Language is an act that occurs in context, and I care more about context and intent than I do about language. If I need help and you’re helping me, for example, in some way that involves referring to my neurotype in front of others, then I don’t really care if you call me an “autistic person”, an “Aspie”, a “person who has autism”, even the dreaded “high-functioning” – whatever. As long as it’s what works in the situation we’re in. If you say something really weird, I might gently bring it up with you later. But mostly, I care that you’re helping.

(Though, of course, claiming you’re “helping” does not give you a free pass. I care that you’re helping cluefully, effectively, and with my consent. But that’s another post.)

I’m also a fan of reclaiming slurs, although that’s neither here nor there.

Many people are more upset by person-first language, or by other language-related matters, than I am. That’s fine, and it’s a thing one should take into account when deciding how to talk. But I think on some level most of us are like this. We care how we, and others like us, are treated. Language is one part of that. It can be important but is not always the most important part, and I think very few of us really believe that it is.

Social justice people get accused of being the “PC language police”, but in my experience, the worst offenders when it comes to pointless PC language (more about the term “PC” below) are very privileged people who don’t actually care about any of this.

A friend of mine told me a story once about an American politician who stated publically that people who are “mentally retarded” should be happy to work for only pennies an hour. (Because yes, it is still legal to pay that little to certain classes of disabled people in certain classes of job.)

After public outcry ensued, the politician apologized, and explained that he had misspoken. He had meant to say that “intellectually disabled” people should be happy to work for only pennies an hour.

I don’t think anybody actually found this reassuring.

If you ever hear me use the term “politically correct” non-ironically, then this is likely what I mean. People in power who carefully sanitize their language without actually caring about context, or about the effects of their actions on the people they are talking about.

It’s possible to be very, very dehumanizing and emotionally abusive without ever using the “wrong” words or the “wrong” tone. It’s possible to dress dehumanization up in a nearly-unlimited number of kittens, rainbows, and reassurances. It’s possible to do it with exactly the terminology and speech style of the people you are dehumanizing. It still is what it is, and if we critique only the surface features of language, we’ll never fix it.

However, even though it is not one of the battles I choose for myself, critiquing the surface features of language can be important. I don’t want to shame anybody who does choose this battle, or to suggest that their concerns are not worth hearing.

And, while it’s easy to go on, say, Tumblr and find people who seem to be focusing on language to the exclusion of all else, I’ve come to the conclusion that this is rarely what’s actually going on. Sometimes people choose that battle for themselves because they recognize it as a battle someone has to fight, and one that they have the tools for; that doesn’t mean they believe there are no other worthy battles. Sometimes people are genuinely upset by certain terms or language forms and need to talk about it. Sometimes people talk about language in one place, and other issues in another place. Sometimes people want to make a deeper critique of someone’s attitudes, but have trouble doing so without pointing to specific words and saying “see, that.” All of these things, and others, are valid.

(Though there are some related problems that should be talked about. Such as “punching sideways”, in which a marginalized person tries to talk about their experience and is shouted down by other marginalized people – or, worse, “allies” – because they didn’t use the correct terms. I want to talk about this but I don’t have my thoughts in order about it and can’t right now.)

In the meantime – and I can only say this for myself, personally, never for other autistic people – as long as it’s clear in context that you actually do have my back, and are actually listening when I talk to you, then you can call me whatever seems reasonable to you. And when referring to yourself, you can use whatever language you damn well please. I don’t, and shouldn’t, mind.

That is all.

Originally published at Ada-Hoffmann.com. You can comment here or there.

08 Aug 04:00

August 08, 2014

Denise

Yep. This is DEFINITELY how funding works.


If you're interested in parasites, Kelly did an interview.
08 Aug 04:00

Meteor

Denise

I love geo-nerds (Marcella! You must read the mouse-over!)

No, only LAVA is called 'magma' while underground. Any other object underground is called 'lava'.
04 Aug 04:00

Thesis Defense

Denise

I suspect my dissertation defense would have played out like this, if I hadn't decided I wanted sanity more than I wanted a PhD.

MY RESULTS ARE A SIGNIFICANT IMPROVEMENT ON THE STATE OF THE AAAAAAAAAAAART
31 Jul 07:00

strip for July / 31 / 2014 - Nature's Anti-Depressant

Denise

BA-THOONK

01 Aug 11:38

T-Shirts & Apparel : Superhero Diaper Covers

Denise

Hmmm, should I order one of these for a certain person who might be having someone to wear this sometime soon?

Your baby's super in our book Instead of worrying about the tights and the tiara and the utility belt, just put on this diaper cover, complete with cape, in your choice of Batman or Superman. $9.99
31 Jul 17:14

I don’t need feminism becuz gots hedgehog. (Feminism haet...



I don’t need feminism becuz gots hedgehog.

(Feminism haet hedgehog.)

Confused Cats Against Feminism is a project of We Hunted the Mammoth

31 Jul 01:42

I don’t need feminism because you do not exist — Confused...



I don’t need feminism because

you do not exist

Confused Cats Against Feminism is a project of We Hunted the Mammoth

31 Jul 01:31

I don’t need Feminism because my life is perfect. Unless...



I don’t need Feminism because my life is perfect. Unless Feminism is this pillow? Then I need it.

-

Confused Cats Against Feminism is a project of We Hunted the Mammoth

24 Jul 11:30

Your cat has a cooler house than I do.

by thebloggess
Denise

WANT

Go home, everybody.  The best cat toy ever has been created and nothing you buy for your cat will ever be impressive again.

star wars catMy cats just looked at this picture from their cardboard box on the floor and then shook their tiny heads at me in disgust and shame.

Frankly, I’m disappointed too.  Why don’t they make these in human size?  It’s like a loft bed without having to have a loft.  Plus, if you just got comfortable but you need a drink you can just drive your bed to the fridge.  If they put a bathroom and a well-stocked bookshelf in there I’d probably never leave again.

PS.  In case you missed it…yesterday a lot of you expressed envy at my horrific 80’s cat sweater, so I found you something even better.  It’s at the bottom of the post.

25 Jul 14:02

16 Shakespearean Insults To Unleash In Everyday Life

Denise

May need to click the link to see - but have some Shakespearean insults with ADDED CAT!

Titus Andronicus.

Henry IV, Part One.

As You Like It.

Measure For Measure.

Henry IV, Part Two.

Henry IV, Part One.

Henry IV, Part One.

King Lear.

The Taming Of The Shrew.

Henry IV, Part One.

The Two Gentlemen Of Verona.

Macbeth.

Henry IV, Part One.

All's Well That Ends Well.

Henry IV, Part One.

King Lear.


All photos via Shutterstock unless otherwise stated.

30 Jun 04:00

Subduction License

'Dude, why can't you just be a normal roommate?' 'Because I'm coming TOWARD you!'
24 Jun 15:00

Five Lessons I Learned From Dealing with Depression

by Eric Ravenscraft
Denise

Yep. Don't agree with everything specific (and she points out that it is specific for her, so no fault) - BUT, like Hyperbole and a Half, her general experience has been the same as mine. Even when I'm not actively in the pit, I'm still fundamentally shaped by my depression. I'm always an impostor. I feel horrible much of the time, for no "good" reason. Even when I'm up, I have to work at convincing myself that my illogical thoughts are not reality, because my reality is that I'm no good even when I "know" I am. It is so very hard to explain to those who have only had episodic or situational depression.

Five Lessons I Learned From Dealing with Depression

Depression is a hard topic to talk about. It's an even harder thing to live through. I've lived with depression for more than two decades. After a while, there were a few things I learned about how to get by without giving up.

Read more...








24 Jun 02:47

Photo



18 Jun 14:00

It's Dangerous to Go Holmes Alone

Denise

I'd take Watson with me, indeed!

It's Dangerous to Go Holmes Alone

Submitted by: Unknown

Tagged: TV , Sherlock , take one
23 Jun 03:15

Dependent and Resplendent

espressoface
01 Jun 20:49

A reader tells us why cats pwn dogs

by whyevolutionistrue
Denise

Sharing mostly for the comic at the end.

A while back I asked readers to give me their opinion of why cats are better than dogs, some crowdsourcing for an exciting event coming up this fall.  There were lots of answers, and lots of ammunition for the “event.”

But one reader went further. Over at his own website, Further Thoughts for the Day, David compiled his thoughts into a very nice post, “Why cats are better than dogs.” Go over and have a look: it’s not long but has some good information and, of  course, some subjectivity. Among David’s points are these (bullet points are direct quotes).

  • I find cats more aesthetically pleasing. Sure, dogs can be cute, or handsome, or beautiful etc, but cats are more so. They look more graceful when they move, they look more elegant when they sleep, and basically are much more pleasing to my eyes. Whilst I’m not sure it’s true that “The dog may be wonderful prose, but only the cat is poetry” is a French proverb (my only source is a fridge magnet I saw), the sentiment certainly is.

I agree. I like to think of cats as “living sculptures.”

  • Also, cats are just the right size, and feel more comfortable curled up on my lap than dogs have done. Dogs can be a bit too big, or a bit too small. Cats are just right.

Indeed! Do you want a German Shepherd cuddling on your lap, for crying out loud? And the real lapdogs, like chihuahuas and papillons, are repugnant.

I know some reader is going to mention bird deaths. A word to the wise: don’t. We’ve done that to death.

Of course you’ll have to divide all the figures for dogs by seven, for as we know, a human dollar is the equivalent of seven dog dollars. However, the cat figures get divided by five, so cats still come out cheaper at the high end. And they live longer, too, reducing their annual financial burden.

This doesn’t even include the lagniappe of the purr, which David extols as well. I won’t mention how wet dogs smell, since David does that, too.

And, to celebrate the wonder that is the felid, I’ll append this cartoon, sent by reader Steve:

10341609_10152492510806255_7412701041821099068_n

 

Now the “butt” thing is really novel!


27 May 03:55

Echos in a Cave

Denise

I believe this is relevant to some of our book group discussions :D

espressoface

Do audiobooks count as reading?

08 May 20:49

“Do you have any feelings, or are you just TOO FUCKING...



“Do you have any feelings, or are you just TOO FUCKING COOL?”

31 May 19:00

Real Life Simpsons

Real Life Simpsons

Submitted by: (via jesszumpepi.com)

28 May 20:43

"The book is basically Dilbert in World War II."



"The book is basically Dilbert in World War II."

23 May 07:00

strip for May / 23 / 2014 - The Finest of Things

Denise

You know, even with all my tech, there is not much better than a stick, a rock, and some imagination.

08 May 03:59

Darwinning at Life

espressoface

Don’t let your cats grow up to be Creationists.

02 May 03:45

Friday I'm in Denial

espressoface

Did you know? Coffee is a Vitamin.

27 Apr 17:19

Be smarter than the...

Denise

I like this bun's thinking!



Be smarter than the obstacles.

m0rethanyoubargainedf0r:

catdad:

If at first you don’t succeed, redefine success.

I reblogged this at like 4am and I’ve spent the whole day thinking about it and randomly laughing

22 Apr 16:50

Please talk to your children. *mild trigger warning*

by thebloggess
Denise

Ugh. I understand how unsettling this is, particularly with those with anxiety. But also, how ULTIMATELY UNLIKELY it actually is - which she kind of acknowledges, but she still goes to the "What if??" place. And WTF about practicing a lock-down drill??? That only causes more unnecessary worry!

Yesterday Hailey came home terrified because of a letter sent home to all the kids in her elementary school.  It was meant for the parents but of course the kids on the bus read it and talked about it and made it more so much scarier, as children do.  And it is scary.

According to what I’ve read, an unnamed elementary school in our district has been threatened with mass violence by anonymous emails from someone who identified themselves as a serial killer.  It’s most likely a hoax (as most of these things are) and the fact that the emailer claims that it will happen on Thursday might indicate that it’s a student wanting area schools to close so they can have a four-day-weekend.  (Fiesta Friday is a traditional school holiday in our area.)

Still, it’s unsettling.  A few weeks ago I had to pick up Hailey at school because she got sick right after a lock-down drill designed to show children how to hide and be silent in the event of a school attack.  In some schools they teach the children how to barricade doors and what they can throw at an attacker that might slow them down.  I’m glad that they have these drills, but I hate that it’s necessary to have them.

This week the FBI and the police department will continue the investigation.  The schools in Hailey’s district will look more closely at any safety issues and will shore up any weak areas of security and make the schools safer.  And hopefully this will all go away.  But this is why I’m writing about this:  Lots of times when schools get bomb threats or threats of violence it ends up being a student who will brag about it to their friends.  Please talk to your kids today.  Tell them how important it is to let you know if they hear something like this.  So many of us don’t think about asking our kids about this stuff because we just assume they’ll tell us, but so often kids laugh stuff like that off as a silly prank without realizing the trauma involved for everyone else.  There’s a tip line that you can call if you’ve heard anything about this recent threat.  (210) 225-TIPS.

As for me, I haven’t decided whether to keep Hailey home on Thursday.  I’ll see what develops, talk it over with her and make a decision then.

I wish I had a better way to end this.  I wish I didn’t have to write this.  I wish you didn’t have to read it.  I wish a lot of things.

UPDATED:  The police and FBI  haven’t been able to identify who sent the death threats so I talked to Hailey and she said she’d rather stay home on Thursday, which is a bit of a relief because I’d rather she was home too.  As one of my amazing readers pointed out, Thursday also happens to be Take Your Daughter To Work Day and so I’m going to spend the day showing her what it’s like being a real writer, but with less booze.  This means we’ll rewrite the same paragraph all morning, then eventually scream “I CAN’T DO THIS.  NO ONE CAN DO THIS.”  Then we’ll give up and watch Doctor Who and take pictures of the cats to distract us from a looming sense of failure.  Later we’ll wake up at 2am with the perfect idea of how to finish that chapter we’ve been struggling over and will feverishly write until it’s all out of our head and then we’ll fall asleep at our desk and wonder the next day why we’re always so exhausted.  And it will be awesome.  And terrible.  Just like work should be.

22 Apr 06:18

orangemango says FML

by SleeplessinMaui
Denise

This happens ALL THE TIME. It really really sucks - when I lived in Hawaii, a friend had the same number except 808 instead of 800 as Home Depot.

Today, my 808 area code phone number has yet again been mistaken for a 1-800 number. I've been getting phone calls at three in the morning from people on the east coast who are trying to return their shoes. They want to speak to my supervisor because I "don't sound professional enough." FML

23 Apr 20:00

I'll Show You a Roar!

I'll Show You a Roar!

Submitted by: (via nyka-huldra)

Tagged: Cats , dinosaurs , funny , roar
17 Apr 03:19

The Interrobang: What It Is (Awesome) and How to Get It On Your iPhone (Also Awesome)

by Elan Morgan
Denise

What do you mean you don't know the interrrobang‽ Sarah and I will disown you.

What is an interrobang?

See that punctuation mark to the left there? That, my friends, is an interrobang, and an interrobang is "…a nonstandard punctuation mark used in various written languages and intended to combine the functions of the question mark… and the exclamation mark…" (Wikipedia) It was invented in 1962, achieving minor popularity into the 1970s, but it never became a regular feature of the typewriter keyboard, and so we are left nearly bereft of interrobangs today. So true, so sad.

The interrobang is still the gorgeous baby of the ? and !, though, and it is perfect for saying things like:

  • What the hell
  • You're pregnant with whose baby
  • I'm supposed to do what with this chicken

I mean, one can hardly hammer out WTF‽ properly on Twitter without it.


How to Get the Interrobang On Your iPhone

ONE: If you are reading this on your iPhone, copy the following interrobang: 

TWO: Go to Settings » General » Keyboard » Shortcuts.

THREE:  Click the little "+" symbol in the upper right corner.

FOUR: Paste "‽" next to Phrase, and type "?!" next to Shortcut. Save.

FIVE: Test it out! From now on, every time you type "?!" it will default to "‽".

Is that cool or what‽

photo1 (1).jpg

The Interrobang On Your Desktop

There are ways to type the interrobang on computer keyboards, but the methods vary depending on your operating system and what version you have, so I just copy and paste interrobangs when I am using my desktop.


Now you know what an interrobang is, how to use one, how to create one, and you can clearly see that is an awesome piece of punctuation which has been unjustly ignored.

Go out and spread the interrobang like a social disease! Amaze your friends! What are you waiting for‽

       
11 Apr 15:20

[ARE THOSE PASTEL CHEVRON TIGHTS WITH SOME SORT OF CLUNKY...



[ARE THOSE PASTEL CHEVRON TIGHTS WITH SOME SORT OF CLUNKY ORTHOPEDIC SHOE?]

{MORE IMPORTANTLY, HAS SHE EVER HEARD OF SHAMPOO?}

[THAT WHOLE OUTFIT IS AN ABOMINATION. IT LOOKS LIKE SOMEONE TRIED TO SMOTHER A FIRE MADE OF CLASHING PATTERNS WITH A BLANKET MADE OF NORTH FACE.]

{THE GREASE FROM HER HAIR APPEARS TO BE MAKING A WATERPROOF COATING ON THAT JACKET. LIKE WAXING COTTON, ONLY HORRIBLE.}

[I SWEAR THERE’S SOME SORT OF HEMP SHAWL IN THERE TOO.]

{ARE YOU SURE IT’S NOT JUST MORE MATTED HAIR?}

[IF WE WEREN’T LIMITED TO TELEPATHIC COMMUNICATION I’D CALL SOMEONE TO COME AND PUT A STOP TO THIS.]

{IT’S LIKE SHE CAN’T EVEN FEEL HER OWN HAIR. HOW CAN YOU NOT FEEL TENTACLES? THICK WEIRD TENTACLES.}