Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Why this headline bothers me

This headline bothers me (warning, it’s a link to the Mail, don’t go there by mistake if you don’t want to).

It reads:

Jealous boyfriend who stabbed ex-girlfriend 83 times after wrongly accusing her of having an affair is jailed for life

Why is the part in there about wrongly accusing her of having an affair?  Doesn’t it imply – admittedly obliquely – that it would have been perfectly understandable if she had been having an affair?

Sunday, December 22, 2013

The war on Peter Hitchens

Peter, addiction is not a moral failing. It’s not something you can just walk off like a cramp. It’s a compulsion that can dominate every part of your life, whether you continue to abuse substances or not.  You can stop abusing substances but you can’t stop being an addict. It’s a misery you’ll face every single day, for the rest of your life. Imagine what it’s like to crave a feeling you tell yourself you can only achieve by doing something that hurts you and the people you love. 

I don’t understand why I have to explain this.  For all the anecdotes about people quitting heroin with no difficulty, there are countless more about people ruining their lives, countless more about people who struggle for decades, countless, countless more stories about potential wasted, loves lost, abilities unfulfilled.

This is a matter of profound sadness and something to be compassionate about. What it’s not about is the ego of a whelp. Peter, you lost the argument because you decided in advance what your position was, based on what popularity you could scrape from your horrible Daily Mail readers.  And now you’re retconnig because you have a column. It would have been a lot less shit if you’d invited Perry – or any other addict – a platform to reply.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Rage monster

I have turned into the HULK.  My head hurts and I ripped a sock. This is why:


A college deployed an anonymous sexual assault reporting system. It was swamped with fake reports at the same time Brave Heroes on r/MensRights happened to be discussing doing exactly that.

Clap….brave heroes….clap.  Clap yourselves on the back. High five each other in the knowledge of a fabulous job well done.

An associate professor at that college, Lisa Wade, said a brilliant thing:

The men targeting Occidental's anonymous report form are mad that women are being listened to, that men's voices are no longer given so much power that they can effectively drown out the voices of women. They're mad because they're not the only ones that matter anymore. I get it. To them, it really does feel unfair. Something really is changing. They ARE being demoted — from a superior to an equal — and it feels wrong to them because they're so used to being privileged, to being the most specialest girl in the whole world.

But in the meantime, real reports of sexual abuse are being drowned, real people are being discouraged from reporting sexual assault and real, hateful, fucktangles are convincing each other that this kind of behaviour is perfectly alright. It’s the norm. It’s the default. 

No more. We all know that this will slide under the radar unless we make sure it doesn’t. I’ll do my tiny little bit. Do yours.


(Thanks(!) to Dan J for getting me riled.)

Friday, December 13, 2013

My privacy hurts

I’m not going to give this too much analysis. I don’t have time.  Twitter has fundamentally changed what blocking means.  It’s bad for several reasons.  Here are two:
  1. Certain Twitter users relentlessly RT people they disagree with, all the better to enable their own followers to ridicule those people and – especially – all the better to intimidate them into silence. This is abuse. It would be nice if victims could prevent their abusers doing it. Let’s be clear: the issue is not that retweets are possible. I know that public tweets can be retweeted anonymously or pseudonymously. The objection is to hostile people retweeting as them, to their equally hostile friends. Think about bullying at school. The worst part wasn’t what individual people said or did.  The worst part was the shared contempt the victim felt everyone had for them.  There was nowhere for the victims to turn and that’s how bullying works  In my case, bullies targeted my previously best friend so that he turned against me in order to get them off his back.  This is the sort of behaviour we need to discourage, but exactly the sort of behaviour Twitter has just made easier. Global conglomerate empires, don’t do that.
  2. It shouldn’t be Twitter deciding (and indiscriminately changing) what blocking means.  It should be users. Why can’t users decide the semantics of a particular block? Some people I just don’t want to hear from again. Some people I don’t want following or retweeting me because they are bullies.  Why isn’t that my decision? 
Twitter needs to understand that people need better control over what it does with people’s stuff. We can still have a great social network. We can still have such things as freedom of speech.  And we can also make it harder for people to easily and relentlessly bully others, if we want.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


Update: I don't have the slightest doubt that bullying behaviour on social media can be the cause of ailments like PTSD as well as triggers. If you bully people on Twitter or defend people who do, then fucking shame on you. You are a terrible person. If you bully people on Twitter because they've been hurt on Twitter, then you are not even anything resembling a person. If your position is really that a person can't be traumatised by systematic bullying then I really don't think you count as a person, so you won't be posting here.

Oh I don’t know much about triggers. I don’t have much terrible in my background.  But let me tell you a thing.  I had a friend once who was… well, she was a force of nature.
My favourite story about her is this: she took me to a pub in the Yorkshire Dales. We got blocked in by the various cars and lorries of a film crew. They were filming Hearbeat. She was quite nervous because as it turned out she was off her fucking tits on LSD and also she had stolen the car we’d turned up in.

I was, what, only just about 17, but I had to tell all these fancy TV people that we needed to manoeuvre this (stolen) car from out between their wagons and trailers while she was, as it turned out, tripping fairly badly. It took a good half hour.

I didn’t say she wasn’t a liability, but I’ve never met anyone like her.

So here’s the thing. She died. Of AIDS. Well, of complications arising. It was pneumonia or something like it that she died of.  I was with her when she died.
And I will tell you this: I thought the shock of so much life leaving the world would never leave me, but it did, eventually.  Years passed and I started to remember the good (and frankly insane) times.
But there are triggers. Things that make me cry, from time to time. Colours, smells, textures, foods, stupid, blithering fucking acts. These remind me of someone who was more human than anyone else I’ve ever met.

My point is that almost anything can be a trigger. My cat rolling around because she has nothing in the world to care about. My wife reaching toward me because she thinks I might be sad about something.  These things can make me cry uncontrollably.
The new things trigger the old things. 

People contract PTSD for all sorts of reasons. Shitty fucking things happen to people;  And PTSD can be triggered by anything: things that have nothing to do with the original trauma.
Let me say that again: the trauma could be rape, violence or other horribleness.  But the trigger could be anything at all.

People being horrible on Twitter could certainly be a trigger.  Why would anyone say it;s not?