Books

Crash Override by Zoë Quinn

The day I picked up Zoë Quinn’s Crash Override: How GamerGate (Nearly) Destroyed My Life, and How We Can Win the Fight Against Online Hate, something happened on the internet. A professional kick boxer (who I will not name), said some disparaging remarks about depression. It resulted in backlash, but he didn’t back down. Doubling down on his remarks, the man also brought in the transgender community as a comical fuck you to his transgressors. Crash Override

The day I finished the book, the President of the United States (who I will also not name) continues his tweet storm against the NFL players who are taking a knee during The National Anthem. He’s calling for the termination of any athlete who doesn’t stand and respect the flag or our country. And in the back of my mind I’m thinking, “Gee, I wish I had this much free time at my job.”

Maybe these things don’t go hand-in-hand. Maybe they do.

Zoë Quinn thinks that GamerGate and the 2016 election were orchestrated by the same people, and she may be onto something. She makes an interesting argument for it. I’m just not going to say anything, because we’re living in interesting times. And the threat of war looms over our heads like climate change.

I heard of GamerGate before, but never really understood what was happening. From podcasts to random clippings passed along online, I formed the idea that misogynistic male nerds (of which, I’m sad to report, there is an overabundance) were angry with women in the gaming industry. Women calling out the deep-seeded sexism within the industry. I never made comment. Never tried to look into the matter until Law & Order: Special Victims Unit made an episode about it.* And even then, I just glanced at that episode in passing.

Sad to say, it wasn’t until reading Quinn’s book that I realized how ignorant I’d been. A mixture of anger and sorrow filled my heart. But she didn’t write the book for sympathetic brownie points. She wrote it to shine a light on the ugly that is online abuse. How it runs unchecked through various platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. How invested these Internet Inquisitors (as she called them) are to ruining someone’s life. How they tried to ruin hers.† (Upon one of my Good Reads progress updates, which are shared with Twitter, someone suggested to me that I read his book that tells “the other side’s” story of GamerGate. I’m willing to read it, but only if a local library has a copy as I only checked out Zoë Quinn’s book.)

The book also lends pointers to those who want to shield themselves from walking down the same path she was forced along. Tips on how to take care of others as unfortunate as she. She even called out people like myself. People who add to the problem by seeing others as bad guys deserving of their comeuppance. Because the people who attacked her didn’t see themselves as the villain. They saw themselves as fighting a good fight for a good cause. And there is no them vs us in the world. There is only us.

Thus far, Crash Override is one of the best books I’ve read this year. And it is my hope that others will read it. It’s compelling and funny, lending an authentic voice rather than something scholarly. (I imagine that Zoë Quinn is quite the character to know in person; glad I decided to pick up the book, not really knowing what to expect.)

Anyway, until next time. Keep on huntin’.

*Please note the low rating on the episode and some of the reviews written.
†And it continues. The moment I added her book to my Good Reads, I noticed several one-star reviews trying to discredit her so others won’t hear her story.

 

Doldrums

“I’ve got too many answers to find”

I’ve got too many questions in my mind
I’ve got too many answers to find
Can I give up all I’ve imagined?
Am I imagical enough for this to happen?

Because I like you, I like you, I like you
And like can lead to like like and like like can lead to love
As sure as the stars above, I’d really like to kiss (fuck) you.

Exhibit A: Twitter's a culture, right?
Exhibit A: Twitter’s a culture, right?

I got Twitter-married this weekend. Not only did I get Twitter-married, but I got Twitter-married to erotica author and editor, Alison Tyler. Now, I’m probably making a bigger deal out of this than I should, but just let me have this one, okay? Be honest, this is as close as I’m going to get to the real thing. And that’s a thought that is both depressing and…well, it’s just depressing. Because I’m a thirty-year-old whose biggest relationship accomplishment is…what? Obviously, I don’t count a Twitter-marriage (because I’m not mentally sane, but I’m not Catcher-in-the-Rye-toting insane).

Exhibit B: What's more fake than Fifty Shades of Grey?
Exhibit B: What’s more fake than Fifty Shades of Grey?

As a child, I dreamed about adulthood. A romantic out of the womb, a socially awkward kid who grew into a socially awkward adult who uses phrase like “out of womb.” Chuck Klosterman said it best in his book, Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: “I want fake love.” I want the sort of love that we’re conditioned to believe in through RomComs and Sitcoms. And not only fake love, but I want a fake life. I want the sort of life you get when you flip on the TV and see how easy it is to move from high school to college to career. Fuck it, let’s thrown in the entire Americana imaginary life–give me a house with a perfect lawn and a white picket fence with the perfect couple smiling and waving as their perfect kids go off to school so they can go back into the house and break out the BDSM gear. Is it too much to ask for the sexy librarian with the whips and rope?

When I was younger, I used to state that I’d have little life crisis to prevent a mid-life crisis in the future. I surpass them all, as well as, my quarter-life crisis which was pretty anticlimactic as I can’t recall what happen.

Truth is, even though I say I want the girl-the-next-door, or the sexy librarian, or MayKay, or English professor, or the philosopher, or the kinky erotica writer, or the Catholic, or the one I fought for and lost on several occasions, what I want is just someone to love me. And to love someone because they love me and because it’s right and because it doesn’t matter how many times I stumble. Because if I have to fight for a person to love me on a year-to-year, month-to-month, day-to-day basis, is it really worth it? No one’s ever had to fight for me. I either loved them or I didn’t. Simple as that.

Doldrums

“A man had a son who was an anvil.”

Meet Shaun Damien

Let me tell you something about my mother. She has intuition. She successfully predicted the sex of all three of her kids – all boys. She successfully predicted the sex of all six of her grandchildren – we’re still on the fence whether she really predicted the first. So when I announced that Jyg was pregnant and she said – without missing a beat, it’s a girl.

Leave it to my son to prove her wrong.

Wait?! You’re Pregnant?

After of months of secrecy, we dropped the bomb on the social network. Previously, I was censored from saying anything on Facebook and Twitter. I took to Tumblr with the news because – let’s face it – no one really reads Tumblr. I dropped the not-so-subtle hints here, as well, finally coming out with the news when I posted my about me page, which I’m sure several of you rushed out to read.

I can’t explain Jyg’s need for keeping it under the table for so long, but I’m glad we finally came out with it. We’re having a baby. It’s probably the most greatest accomplishment to date (should’ve mentioned that in the interview yesterday).

What’s in a Name?

I don’t know where Shaun came from really, just that I knew I didn’t much care for the spelling S-H-A-W-N. The name always sounded hick-ish to me. And I’ve been one who wanted to push for more cultural names. But when you’ve known a dozen Joses, Marios, Reys, Miguels, Franciscos, etc. you realize that maybe you want something a little different, at least in the area.

I always assumed the fall back name was Michael. Shaun Michael. Apparently, I was wrong. It was William. Shaun William sounded too much like paint.

Damien because it’s my late cousin’s name. Only problem, when we did the name selecting game, we were far from getting pregnant. That allowed enough time for my sister-in-law to birth a son whose middle name is Damien. Jaycob Damien. Nice one.

But cousins can have the same middle name. There’s no rule in that, is there?

Departure from Emma Leigh

Let’s face it. Somewhere deep down I was really looking forward to having a daughter, if only to make Jyg happy. I still love my son just the same. But all those daydreams and images of me holding my first-born are in the process of being edited in my imagination. Still, this is only part of the adventure. Besides. It’s not written that Shaun will be the only one. There’s time yet.

Letters to Shaun

I originally took two urls on WordPress just for safe keeping. One was Letters to Emma and one was Letters to Shaun. Now that I know the sex of the my child, we may commence the show.

The title comes from “The Changeling” by Russell Edson.

Doldrums

“A Brand New Scent for Modern Men Invented by Cartoons”

"These are dark and evil days," the mouse told me as he nibbled my ear.

Charles Simic wrote about the absurdities of society in The World Doesn’t End. I wonder what he would think about the world now. When one of the greatest powers in human history has decided that pizza is now a vegetable. In which we help the rich and tax the poor. In which we ship our industries over seas. Where freedom of speech and the right to assemble is being snub out of existence.

Occupy Wall Street

It’s been – what? – two months now, hasn’t it? And while some trust fund babies haven’t aided the cause, only made it look seedy, the true believers – the real 99% – are continuing on. It’s becoming a trend, almost. It’s scary and exciting to see how far this will all go. I’ll keep my bags packed if the empire falls. Because all empires fall. And for such a young country, the power bestowed upon us – or rather self-proclaimed – has been abused for too long.

Occupy Hollywood

Censor the Internet, they scream! Censor it all! Remove the file sharing sites. Remove the torrents. Remove the copyrighted clips that float throughout the web and shut down the sites that host them. WordPress. Blogger. YouTube. Twitter. Tumblr. Facebook. Etc. Censor them all because we have the money and we can buy congress. We can buy the government. We can force the under-paid, blue-collar citizens to watch our movies, buy our albums, and watch our networks because we have the power. We have the money. But we want more.

Occupy the World

Tuition raises. Jobless society. Useless degrees. An unfavorable world we live in when education isn’t granted to anyone but the privileged. We work hard for the grades. We strive with student loans and hope for financial aid. We write on pieces of paper declaring we’re the 99%. We save enough money to buy that iPad. That iPhone. That technology while putting more money in the very pockets we’re trying to cut off. Life’s funny that way.

Occupy Yourselves

Take a breath. Close your eyes and breathe. The hammer in one hand and the chain with the other. The choice, of course, is yours.

Doldrums

And Then There Was A New Toy

 

Your opinion is irrelevant.

Someone on the Internet doesn’t like me. This wouldn’t be the first time someone on the Internet doesn’t like me. I’m not the most likable person on this planet, but I always thought my charisma bought me some points. The rest of my “charm” is on charisma credit, which I’ll have to pay at the end of the month, every month. Thing is, I never thought of myself important enough to have my very own troll.

Over at Twitter – and a number of other places, while we’re on the subject – I use the “handle” EnnuiPrayer. This past Saturday, I received a handful of tweets from someone called BoredomAppeal that were mildly spiteful, but not interesting enough for me to actually pay any attention. It wasn’t until I visited this person’s page that I realized that I had my very own troll, raising my status from a blip on the radar to whatever’s higher than a blip on the radar. This person not only chose a similar “handle” as me, but a pseudonym, as well. Because I’m not inclined to ever mention my full name on any blog/social network site, I used my Blogger moniker, Observant Reader. BoredomAppeal’s moniker? Watchful Bibliophile.

Rather than playing into the game of cat and mouse – wit and dumbass – I opted to take the higher road by simply blocking the annoyance. I’ve also reverted my Twitter account into private mode, which I despise as I usually like it when strangers read my tweets (which they don’t) and like it when people retweet them (which is rare, but it happens). It’ll only be temporary until the troll tires and runs off to play with someone else.

Of course, if said troll knows about my Twitter, chances are, he knows about this blog, the Tumblr and the book blog. Not that it matters. I usually don’t read my book blog comments, Tumblr comments are only open to users – who are easily blocked – and this one needs approval before posting. In short, it’s no bother. However, I gotta admit, paranoia aside, I do find it flattering someone actually hates me enough to troll me. This only proves I’m doing something right.

 

 

Doldrums

“I hear they drown their young in bathtubs.”

 

Damnit, I forgot my cigarettes

 

First dream: I don’t know if I’m a reporter or a detective, but I’m working a case, investigating a missing children boom. I think  it stemmed from my Twitter rants about the Westboro Baptists protesting that nine-year-old girl’s funeral. It was grainy, my dreams usually are – which only proves I watch way too many movies. My partner/photographer and I were poring over stacks of information and documentation that we’d picked up over the investigation. Questions were asked and photographs were taken. I could feel that we were closing in on whatever it we were looking for. And then the photographer/partner just perks up, “I hear they drown their young in bathtubs.” And that was the end of the dream.

Second dream: This is the one I woke up to. I received the phone call that I’d have to repeat the eighth grade. Only, I’m 27-years-old and I’m not a big fan of  Adam Sandler movies. I agree to do it. An old teacher/mentor of mine who teaches the eighth grade – only at an opposing school – agrees to help me out and get me started. Along with Jyg’s younger brother, Ruben – who is in college at the moment, but was in the eighth grade in my dreamworld – I return to school to complete whatever it is I have to do.

Mentor friend: Do you really have to do this?
Me: Yes. If I don’t, they’re gonna void my diploma.
Ruben: But you have a degree.
Me: They’ll void that, too.

Dreams rarely make any sense to me. Until next time, keep on truckin’.