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Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 07:39 PM PDT

Ca Dem Convention Meet Up?

by Renee

Hello. Thanks to a certain Kossack who shall remain nameless I am going to the convention this weekend as a delegate. Who else is going to be there? This is new for me, so I'm going to the orientation at noon tomorrow.

If you are going to be around and you want to meet up, message me or let me know in comments.

Discuss

Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 01:15 PM PST

Front Lines

by Renee

This is a big place. There are lots of different kinds of democrats here. There are folks who work to GOTV. There are folks who financially contribute. There are folks who call and write our representatives. There are folks who argue with their conservative relatives and friends and fellow citizens. There are people with the skill to cogently present an argument, and sometimes, also, not so much.

I think everyone is important. Maybe the most important person here is the person who is coming late to the party. They just started paying attention to politics and they don't know squat about being an activist and if they hang around long enough they might figure out how to help the cause.

But some of us here, because of who they are, are on the front lines. I'm thinking of our transfolk members, but there are others who don't have the luxury of being blind to the institutionalized bigotry that many of us have to be taught how to see.

It gets exhausting fighting against the status quo. And it is worse (in my opinion) when you are different enough that who you are has been used for demagoguery. When I'm exhausted I'm not always that gentle or polite. Maybe I'm alone in that tendency, but it feels like a pretty universal response.

I've been around DK for a long time. I remember when that fucking Rick Warren did the invocation and glbt people were hurt and mad and the site reaction was don't be mad or I won't listen. I think that is the typical mainstream response to issues of diversity. I remember being outraged as a kid when my family talked about how blacks were violent. They just sounded deeply angry to me.

I do think there has been positive change here. Of course it's not enough. God. If this is the change from the huge concentration of communication between those of us on this site… just… it feels hopeless sometimes.

So I'm writing to ask people to remember that although we all have deeply held political opinions, we aren't all on the front lines. Maybe we could cut each other some slack.

Discuss

Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 12:50 PM PDT

Open Letter to my President

by Renee

Dear President Obama,

I hope you will forgive a frank and open-hearted letter. I'm writing it to you because I respect you. I believe you care about us, working class Americans.

I respect that you went into office seeking to be the president of all Americans. I could list the things that you did to reach out to Republican voters because some of them stuck in my throat. Secretly I wanted you to be our president acting in opposition to republican demagoguery. But you took the high road and I think it was the right thing to do.

I have lived my life at the margins. I could have stepped up and claimed the privilege of my class or my color. But I have always been aware of the smug middle class judgment that holds folks away from enjoying the fruits of middle class life. It was short sighted and self destructive of me, but the path that my teachers set for me was one that so many people were denied access to, and I refused to legitimize it by participating in the assumptions. Go to school. Get good grades. Get married, buy a house. Thus achieve good standing among your peers. And listen quietly while people point out that others are falling short of that success because they did not follow the rules too.

I homeschooled my children and the most important thing I learned from that experience is that schools are designed for the most compliant part of our population. There are kids who think differently, who will never find their success in academic pursuits. A large number of these sort of people leave their compulsory education with the conviction that they are stupid. Even worse, many students become disempowered. We can hear them in the refrain that there is no point in voting because it won't change anything. It is easy to stay immersed in the cultural path to success and lose the ability to see the ones that path will not be able to help. It is easy to say, as I have heard you say sir, that some folks just won't help themselves. And maybe that is true. But they are born just as surely as you and I to this wide earth and I don't believe they should have a lesser life because we all have lost our ability to see past our cultural bias and remember that our very way of life is only one way to live.

When you retained Timothy Geithner as your Treasury Secretary I was shocked. It seemed so clear to me that we were in a financial crisis caused by the malfeasance of bankers. That choice looked like a slap in the face to working class Americans. But I really believe you care about us, so I thought about it and I listened to you and I read your words. I have come to believe that you acted in deepest concern for us when you made the choices which shored up our banking system, despite the fact that 75% of Americans were against the bank bailouts. I think you were worried about our jobs and our health insurance.

To imagine that we can see the endgame of the banking concerns and that we prefer the immediate hardship of a huge reorganization of our financial system to the slow stripping away of our place in the middle class is a difficult leap. But lots of us feel this way. I think the banks held working class Americans hostage. You cared about lost jobs and lost health insurance and the thought of children going to bed hungry troubled you. I respect your humanity for caring. But your decision to support the system with bailouts and by not calling out the individuals at the very top including Goldman Sachs employees did not address the core problems which we still face.

Can you imagine a world in which we had instead used the TARP funds to feed the people hardest hit by the banking system's malfeasance instead of turning funds over to them in the belief that they would use those funds to continue small loans to keep the economy moving along? That choice would have been no more a huge departure from our norms to that date than the one to shore up the banking system. Can you see how different our current situation would be now?

I hope that you will have 4 more years. I hope we will be able to give you back a democratic congress. And I hope you will consider my words and the possibility that working class folks would be better off with short term instability as we work to rebuild an equitable and just structure that benefits the vast majority of Americans. Though our individual stories are not written on the larger stage, we are no less important to this country.

Discuss

Tue May 22, 2012 at 10:23 AM PDT

Hope Can Be an 80,000 Word Novel

by Renee

I have a new friend I really like. She charmed me with a story of how her family was financially struggling and she thought to herself, "I'm going to lift us out of poverty by writing a novel."

I'm sure my jaw must have dropped when I heard this. Of all the naive and silly sentences I have casually uttered, this seemed like the height of unrealism. To think of writing, a career which my family goaded me into ditching because of it's extreme instability as the thing that will lift you out of poverty… I was gobsmacked.

Well, she ruthlessly put an outline together by performing an autopsy on a commercially successful book. She spent 12 weeks and wrote the first draft, then found an agent with only enough research that she said to me, "my story is about jewish culture so I need a jewish agent." She got the agent. She has sold 4 books to a major publisher in 11 months. Her first one comes out in a few months.

This story has realigned my concept of what is possible. That, along with a firm commitment to DOING are the tools I am using to dig myself out of where I'm currently stuck.

I will describe the place where I'm am currently stuck in case in your travels you happen along. It's a perfectly reasonable spot in the road. The land is flat, you can see for miles. I couldn't tell that at first, because I broke down in a terrible storm the likes of which I hope I never see again. There is a tree here which provides some shade during the intensity of the afternoon sun. What has busted me down is a divorce and a fairly typical reassessment of my life which I got as a package deal with the divorce. I have a pretty standard life in a lot of ways, kids and a house. Ok, it's a falling down on us hippie sort of house, but still it has possibility. I drove us all here with my intellect, and by looking around to see how everyone else was raising their families. I didn't want to raise my kids so far outside the mainstream that they wouldn't be able to fit in. I am not sure what I meant by that now.

Even six months ago if you had asked me to describe where I was I would have told you I was stuck in the crossroads. You know, the place the devil haunts looking for souls. I would have described what it is like there for you. It doesn't feel like I have moved, but the scenery keeps changing on me. It's getting more hospitable.

What I have discovered in hanging out beneath this shade tree broken down at the side of the road is that I don't want a standard life. I want an artistic life filled with possibility and creation. A life I was raised to believe is the worst kind of flakiness and also the path to eternal damnation.

But here is this charmingly flaky writer I have discovered. She has her head down, and she is writing her family out of poverty. I fully expect her to get movie deals. And there are other people I am starting to notice too. They are making it work in ways that don't look at all standard or even respectable. I'm starting to suspect that the walls I kept hitting in my life were related to the fact that I was building a life I didn't really want to live. Maybe the most realistic plan is the one you have the passion to pursue.

Discuss

Thu Apr 26, 2012 at 12:35 PM PDT

Finding my Place

by Renee

I woke up this morning at 8am to write. I did some actual prep work before I got out of bed, and then I set about doing everything in my day that wasn’t writing. What I seem to deny in many of my actions is that I am no longer a person of leisure who can do things at her own pace. Rather, I must do things to earn money and learn to do them first in the face of slower and more fiddly things that do not advance my income.

Thus, I write. But first, let me stop for over an hour to execute an inspection of my backyard beehive. I really need to know how they are doing, and to see if the swarm I captured from my next door neighbor’s yard is actually my bees absconding for lack of space.

It turns out that it isn’t. As I am sitting under my tree waiting for the bees to go back to their hive I notice the blue of the sky contrasted against the white clouds which are so rare in southern California. Sometimes that blue is so startling I can’t even call it a color. The intensity of it sneaks past the usual destination of colors in my brain, which is a place of relative order. It leaves me wondering at the generousity of the free universe. The bees are buzzing around me, reminding me of the music of the spheres.

I come back in and try to settle down, but my dog got a batch of bratwursts that upset her, and she has thrown up. Obviously that is an immediate need, and the writing gets shoved back again.

When I finally stop. sit down and stare at the screen I am besieged by all the ways to write badly. There are so many. What divides me from writing simple and well, as I so deeply want to?

Ego. It must be. I want to write with the genius and passion and invention that will show my greatness. A smaller hope could not be recorded. It closes me off from the huge and insignificant pulse of life. For me at least, the desire to be distinguished seals with certainty my inability to achieve it.

I must start again. My aims must be humble. I am not the person who works in huge and dramatic materials, but the person who assembles broken shards, who combs the wreckage, who treasures little bits and puts them together into something like the Watts Towers that people marvel at, and feel on par with.

I must be one of many in order to create.

Discuss

As you might imagine, our prevention strategy for keeping kids safe is pretty complicated by the fact that we don’t want to talk about this topic. First of all, lots of us are survivors of childhood sexual abuse. We blame ourselves and we certainly don't want to discuss childhood sexual abuse because it triggers all sorts of discomfort. Second, we are confused by the fact that sexual abuse perpetrators lie about their actions. We don't want to falsely accuse anyone, and so we are timid when it comes to addressing this issue. Third, we don't trust kids to tell us the truth. And fourth, we don't want to talk to our kids about this at all because we want to preserve their innocence.

But even if we get past these blocks to good communication, our prevention strategy has some significant gaps. One big strategy is don’t talk to strangers (!). You might have heard of this. The trouble with it is that most sexual predators are known to their victims. By most I mean over 75%. So they aren’t strangers at all. They are known to their victims because they spend time currying favor with the parents to get access to the kids.

The first thing I would do to change our strategy of prevention is that I would empower kids to throw fits if they feel threatened. Lots of adults feel kids should never throw fits. Consequently kids throw fits for a short period of time and then even if they are in a situation where a fit might save their lives they don’t do it.  This is a mistake. If predators think a kid is going to draw attention to them, they pick another child.

The second thing I would do is let kids know there are bad adults out there. Teach them what dangerous adults act like.

Predators act friendly at first. Their ability to access kids depends on their skill in charming the parents. They use tricks to lure the kids away from the group. They offer to babysit.  They might engage in tickling or roughhousing around the adults. They are helpful. They might buy expensive presents for the kid.

This is tricky, because people who are not predators might do some of these behaviors. The best way to tell is that the child the predator is targeting will feel yucky at some point around this person. It is vital that we empower our kids to decide whom they trust. If our kids don’t want to hug someone or be alone with them, those requests must be honored. Our kids need to understand that they have the right to say no to any touch that is uncomfortable and to any association that feels unsafe.

Will the kids test these boundaries? Of course they will. Maybe sometimes they will even say they don't want to be around an adult and it won't be because that adult is untrustworthy. In the long run though, these kids will have a sense of their boundaries which will give them the ability to keep themselves safer than if we teach them to be nice to all the adults.

We need to change our understanding of how to care for children too. If we insist on babysitting teams and don't leave a child alone with a babysitter the predators can't use that method to abuse kids. If we learn to trust our kids and to let them set their own boundaries they will not feel that they have to accept sexual abuse if it happens to them.

This method of prevention is culture changing. It has to be, because we have a culture in which far too many children are being sexually abused.

Discuss

For those who don't know, radKIDS is a program which empowers kids to trust their instincts in a variety of self defense scenarios, including stranger abduction and childhood sexual abuse. We train kids to strategize, physically defend themselves, and then get to safety.

When I wrote the diary about radKIDS last week, a few people said they were going to put in a good word for radKIDS in their local school districts. Erin Runnion, who runs The Joyful Child Foundation, is successfully getting radKIDS into OCUSD, and she gave me a few pointers today on how she has done it.

Her first suggestion is to speak to Stephen Daley who is the creator and Executive Director of radKIDS. You can contact him through the website. If you haven't seen a radKIDS class in action, you can use their program locator and find a local class to observe.

This clip from the Early Show a few years ago gives a good intro into the program of radKIDS.

The next thing to do is give a presentation to the PTA and/or the teaching staff at a school. Erin says that she usually hears it is better to go through the PTA first. This presentation is a short, typically 15 minute presentation that introduces radKIDS to people who have not heard of it before. The radKIDS curriculum is already being taught in school districts around the country during regular PE classes. It is a very active program so that is the place it fits into regular school hours the easiest.

Erin has put together several talks which introduce radKIDS and which seek to bring the discussion of child sexual abuse out into the open where we can finally break the secrecy which allows the abuse to continue. One of her talks is entitled Recognizing Predatory Behavior. It is designed to help people realize that a predator often is well-liked by the community and there is no visual way to tell if someone is a predator or not. There is however, recognizable predatory behavior which we can all learn to spot. She hopes to have these talks available through her website by September, so keep checking back. If you live in southern California I'm authorized to give these talks for free.

Once you have the interest of your local school district, you need to train teachers to present the material to students. This entails fundraising, or grant writing. In southern California, it costs $1000 for a 4 person team to be trained to do radKIDS. This includes 2 instructors and 2 ambassadors to spread the word to parents and the community at large. I'm told the equipment to run a class runs around $5000. This includes gear for students for the last day of class which is simulation and a red man suit for the instructor who will simulate with the students. This equipment will last at least 5 years. All the local radKIDS instructors in my area have been trained by The Joyful Child Foundation and we all use the same simulation equipment and rotate it from class to class.

In Erin's case she has spent several years first training a small group of teachers in one school in the district and then documenting the results of the classes. She next brought the program to the unified school district in an after school program. They have continued to document results and they are moving towards instituting the program district-wide.

I know that Stephen Daley has been part of implementing radKIDS in many districts, so he is an excellent resource.

As I wrote in the other diary, the thing I love about radKIDS is that it isn't fear based for the students. It is activity based, and it gives the kids a sense of their own ability to keep themselves safe. With 79 documented saves where radKIDS successfully resisted abduction, it is clear that kids do in fact have the ability to defend themselves and get away. In addition, when the kids actually practice self defense instead of just talking about it, it trains them to respond in an emergency situation instead of freezing.

I am a huge fan of radKIDS. As a child I was sexually abused by my grandfather. If I had gone through this training, I would have had the words to tell teachers what was happening to me. I would have had permission to tell. I want to fully disclose that I make money from teaching kids this class, and the radKIDS organization makes money certifying teachers. I do not make money from writing about radKIDS. I do that because I want to be the change I want to see in this world. Because I know that there will be those of you out there who want to help spread radKIDS into your community I hope this diary will be useful. I'll be glad to answer any questions you might have if I can.

Discuss

Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 07:37 PM PDT

Empowering Kids to Defend Themselves

by Renee

My favorite radKIDS drill is this:

Ok kids. School is done for the day and you are waiting for a ride home. When the ride gets there, it is a friend of your parents that feels icky to you. Do you have to ride home with that person?

This brings a resounding NO! from the kids, who have repeatedly been given permission to have their own feelings about the adults in their lives.

But the person is on your approved list of possible people who can pick you up after school!

We don't have to!

Ok then. The school principal is walking past you right now. We are going to have you tell the principal you have a problem. But the principal checks and says the person is on your list and you have to go with them. If you feel unsafe who is the most important person right then?

They know they are, because we have told them that if they have an emergency then nothing is more important. And they love knowing this. It empowers them to get their needs met. So then we teach them the super glue drill. They tell the principal that they can't go with that person and they sit down and wrap their arms around the principal's legs and refuse to let go until they are assured they don't have to go with that person.

The kids love this drill. They beg to do it again. And yet I have not heard of any kid using that technique just to be funny or disruptive when they didn't need it.

I cried the first time I saw the drill when my son was taking the class. This is what it looks like when you empower kids to feel safe. You give them an understanding of how to navigate the adult world of "stop making a fuss over nothing." You give them permission to be a pain in the ass.

radKIDS was put together by a police officer who was tired of showing up to a crime scene and finding kids who had been abused. He started with an idea that is the antidote to child sexual abuse: you don't get to. We all tell the kids this. Nobody gets to hurt you. Nobody gets to trick you. You don't get to hurt anyone one else UNLESS they are trying to hurt you and then YOU CAN STOP THEM. And we teach them how to stop them. We give them strikes which counter the typical grabs that predators use on kids. They practice them for 10 hours and at the end they get to practice them on an instructor dressed up in a red man suit.

You might think the class is scary for kids. We ask them questions like "what is your radKIDS plan if someone puts you in a car?" We send them home with homework to develop two routes out of their bedroom in case of fire. We show them how household chemicals often look exactly like tasty beverages. We let them practice what to do if they come across a gun. We give them language like "good touch" "bad touch" and "uncomfortable touch". We ask them "what if you tell someone and they don't help you?"

In one of my classes we were talking about radKID plans. A boy who had been a little too funny and distracting raised his hand and seriously told me that he sometimes has dreams where something bad is happening and he can't speak or move. It's sometimes like that. The ones who goof around have the big questions. It was like everyone stopped breathing waiting to see how I was going to answer him.

I told him I have those dreams sometimes too. "But what if that happened if someone was really trying to hurt me?"

The reason we spend 10 hours having the kids practice dialing 911 and crawling under a blanket of smoke to safety and running from the tricks that we use on them to give them the experience of saying no to manipulation is to let their bodies have an understanding of what to do instead of freezing. This is what I told him. All the kids in the class understood that and they were possibly the best trained group of radKIDS I have seen yet. They were so excited to do the simulation. They were really engaged in cheering for the other students. They want to know when they can come back.

I think kids worry about this stuff without us talking to them. We don't help that at all when we talk about staying away from strangers. Complete strangers are very rarely the perpetrator of sexual violence against children. When you give kids the permission to talk about the scary stuff and you give them the tools to make their own plans you give them the ability to feel empowered. When you tell them if their safety is at stake they can make as big a scene as they need to make, you take away much of the ability of predators to work in secrecy. When you give them the language to discuss how a sexual predator makes them feel they have the words to tell you if someone is hurting them.

You do something else too. You begin to undermine the idea that kids are at the bottom of a hierarchy. We know how much we value our kids, but they often have no idea that they are encouraged to make a scene if they are scared. We know that if they get into a dangerous situation we don't care if they ditch their backpack, but they are weighted down with the worry that if they ditch it their parents will be mad at them.

Even though no one wants to talk to kids about a subject like this, our silence empowers the predators. radKIDS gives the power to the kids. radKIDS training is available to kids from pre-school age through 12. I encourage you to tell all the parents of children you care about about the program.

Discuss

Fri Mar 16, 2012 at 01:23 PM PDT

Why I Open Source the News

by Renee

For me, this story starts out back during the 2002 coup attempt on Hugo Chavez. I was driving and I turned on the radio. I heard the former US Ambassador to Venezuela who had been appointed by Bush Senior saying, "and Chavez is a bad guy and really I know the current administration must be glad about this because the US wasn't involved in this coup at all." Immediately a gasp escaped me as I thought, "Oh good lord, we are involved in this."

Call it intellectual arrogance, but I wanted to know the truth. I wanted to know if Chavez really was a bad guy. I had heard that all the common people in Venezuela carried a copy of the constitution on their persons and that they all debated what it meant. It sounded like they were engaged and empowered and I loved that. I heard all the statespeople talking about what a tyrant Chavez was and it sounded like ruling class protectionism to me. But I wanted to know.

That desire took me on a months long journey through so many different news sources that I couldn't possibly recreate the paths I took. I never did get a solid understanding of Chavez. But I learned two things. First, my suspicions that we were involved were probably correct. And two, you can learn a lot about what is really going on if you have way too much time on your hands and solid intellectual curiosity. By the time W. started the disinformation campaign to get us into the Iraq war, I felt very confident in  my ability to parse out the lies from the truth. It was shocking to discover that my fellow citizens did not care about whether they were being lied to or not, but that is a different story than I am telling now. Open source intelligence gathering is hardly a secret, but I guess what I'm saying is that lots of people don't have the time to develop an understanding of it's value.

The latest thing I gleaned from the news was in an NPR Morning Edition piece a few days ago about the large bust of gang members in New York state. Here's the quote that I can't stop thinking about:

DISTRICT ATTORNEY FRANK PHILLIPS: These aren't the drug-addicted street urchins that are being swept up there for statistical purposes. These are the real movers and shakers behind the level of violence that's being committed upon our citizens throughout the county.
Do you see that? It's an admission by an elected official that there are announced criminal raids that are used as window dressing. Please tell me that upsets you as much as it upsets me.

When I talk to "conservatives"*, the number one thing I hear from them is that they don't trust our government. What I think when I hear that is that they have listened to the propaganda that Gingrich and his ilk have been flooding us with for the past 30 years. But there is a solution to that distrust and it is to pay attention to what you hear in the news and then triangulate the hell out of it. Go ahead and listen to Fox News but then if you really feel as smart as your arrogant attitude indicates, hit 12 other sources and see if they were lying or not. It doesn't take that long before you don't have to depend on trust any more. You start to learn what fits into what you already know, and what doesn't.

I wish I knew a way to make this sexy for our populace. This would be a better place to live if we were better informed and it isn't that difficult to learn how to inform yourself, even in the current environment.

*Sorry about the scare quotes. But it's difficult for me to see the intellectual integrity in these people which would allow me to write that word without them.

Discuss

Yesterday Arun Thampi who is a developer in Singapore, discovered that the iPhone app Path had uploaded his address book to it's servers without his permission. You can read about his discovery here. Path has apologized and they released a new version which asks for your permission before they upload your contacts.

Path uses contact information to facilitate connections between Path users. Lots of people would not object to that use of their information, but they do object to the secrecy. Dustin Curtis wrote about this topic today.

I did a quick survey of 15 developers of popular iOS apps, and 13 of them told me they have a contacts database with millons of records. One company's database has Mark Zuckerberg's cell phone number, Larry Ellison's home phone number and Bill Gates' cell phone number. This data is not meant to be public, and people have an expectation of privacy with respect to their contacts.
He puts the blame squarely on the shoulders of Apple for allowing IOS apps to access a user's entire contact list without requesting permission. The Android requires user permission.

I don't want to start a panic situation. But I agree with others that this is a conversation Apple users need to be having with Apple. Apparently this came up last year with a chat application called Kik. Kik never changed the terms of service in that dispute, and in the article I linked, they state that harvesting the contact information was "probably against Apple's Terms of Service". Now we see that it isn't, and since Dustin Curtis points out that the developers are keeping secret about this situation, I think we need to shed light on it.

This is Apple's product feedback page. In order to keep the light shining though, it might be useful to ask the questions in a public forum like Twitter (@apple) or Facebook.

Discuss

Mon Jan 30, 2012 at 02:01 PM PST

Using Social Contacts to Effect Change

by Renee

Since the Occupy Movement got underway I have been talking to people. I've been trying to expose people to my point of view. This is new for me. For lots of years I felt pretty hopeless and out of touch with mainstream America. I was raised without the ability to be my authentic self, so I feel weird about persuading others.

But I've come to believe that if we wait for people to wake up on their own there is going to be too much suffering in the meantime. I spent time at my local Occupy sites, and all the people there get it. They are out in the streets because they understand the urgency. But there are lots of my friends who are pretty soft on the particulars of our economy and the concerted effort that got us here.

I'm writing this diary in the hope that if you aren't talking to your friends about politics you might be persuaded to do so. I work pretty hard to share my authentic beliefs without being abrasive.

Here's a video that just came through that is perfect for this kind of work.

The person filming was not part of the protest, but he is cranky that he was stopped by the police for walking on the sidewalk near his home. He is laughing with the craziness of what he is describing. It's 8 minutes of excellent propaganda for (and by) the 99%.

I posted it to facebook along with this opinion:

I hope people are beginning to ask themselves what democracy means to them. Does it mean forcing people into a closed arena, ordering them to disperse when you are blocking their ability to comply and then using weapons on them?

How much are we willing to take from the authorities before we begin to realize that they have gone too far? Either we are a living democracy or we aren't. Kabuki is a dangerous choice because it allows power to be consolidated further.

I have had people come up to me IRL and thank me for giving them food for thought. I'm not where I want to be yet, which is seeing my social media contacts mobilize into action. But I really believe I'm doing important work because perhaps the people reading me will think twice before they swallow the lies the mainstream media are going to increasingly publish comparing OWS protesters to DFH. And if we can create that sort of dissonance the movement will gain momentum.

Discuss

Thu Jan 12, 2012 at 05:18 PM PST

#TruthVigilante

by Renee

I can't shut up about this one, and with any luck it will be an internet meme by this time tomorrow.

Here's a question:

Should the NYTimes use in the title of an editorial a phrase which is pejorative? Is there an editorial responsibility to ensure that fact checking be treated as a worthwhile journalistic pursuit especially when the news source in question is cravenly asking their readership if they want them to engage in it?

Or, as @Renderwonk tweeted, should firefighters be fire-extinguishing vigilantes? #truthvigilante

It's not that I care about the glbt rights, I'm just an anti-Christian vigilante! Or… something.

Look. If this is the state of things now… if the freaking New York Times is going to publish this sort of absurdist crap, We the People need to see it for what it is. We need to see it very clearly. Because journalism, real journalism which I guess is only old school journalism or something now, is important. Without an informed populace thugs could take over! Greedy thugs!!!*

So let's all get out there and mock the hell out of the journalistic institution which wants to be seen as serious and thought it could perpetrate #truthvigilante without mighty mighty blowback.

*WHAT??!!! They've already taken over??? Well this just proves my point then!

Discuss
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