MonthOctober 2014

50 Shades of Bruise

Jian Ghomeshi beats women. He has tried to play this off as consensual BSDM play. This is not BDSM. Nor is it consensual. There are now 8 women who have come forward with accusations. One of them has publicly told her story and the Toronto Star has been looking into allegations against him since May.

Jian Ghomeshi: 8 women accuse former CBC host of violence, sexual abuse or harassment

Before all of this became news, I saw a tweet linking to a post on Facebook written by Jian Ghomeshi explaining he was wrongly fired from the CBC.

He writes:

Today I was fired from the company where I’ve been working for almost 14 years – stripped from my show, barred from the building and separated from my colleagues. I was given the choice to walk away quietly and to publicly suggest that this was my decision. But I am not going to do that. Because that would be untrue. Because I’ve been fired. And because I’ve done nothing wrong.

I’ve been fired from the CBC because of the risk of my private sex life being made public as a result of a campaign of false allegations pursued by a jilted ex girlfriend and a freelance writer.

He goes on to explain the smear campaign perpetrated against him by a jilted lover. He does not explain the other women who have since come forward with their own tales about his abuse and violence.

Six months ago, I would probably not be telling you about this because I would have had no idea who he was. However, since then I have started listening to NPR whenever I get into the car. And I’ve heard him on Q many times. It was, and still is, a good show I enjoy as part of NPR’s lineup.

There are two parts of this story that need to be told. First, this is not BSDM or any other kink. This is violence. Pure and simple. BSDM relationships are built on trust and love. This is pure violence against women.

Ghomeshi’s friend Owen Pallett took to Facebook and wrote some of his thoughts and says this in so many words.

The beauty of BDSM relationships is that the power is always in the hands of the sub. BDSM and choke play is a subversion of male violence.
To hear that anybody has been abusing the BDSM power relationship for the purpose of engaging in non-consensual violence-against-women is horrifying.
That is not the point of BDSM. BDSM is in fact about the exact opposite thing. It is about repurposing acts of violence into creating a power dynamic of fucking EQUALITY.

The author John Scalzi has some similarly harsh words for Ghomeshi.

  1. It was canny of Mr. Ghomeshi to try to frame his assaults in the context of BDSM, but also disingenuous and false. BDSM is not my thing, but I know a lot of people for whom it is. None of them would see what Mr. Ghomeshi did as something relating to their particular kink. Attacking someone without their consent isn’t about sexual gratification, it’s about the assertion of power — the ability to say “I can do this to you and there’s nothing you can do about it.” And sure, maybe Mr. Ghomeshi got a rise out of that, too. But at the end of the day choking a woman who is not consenting to the experience and saying it’s BDSM is akin to stabbing someone in bar and claiming it was a martial arts test match. Again, BDSM isn’t my thing, but it’s a thing I know enough about to know that what Mr. Ghomeshi was doing wasn’t that.

The next part of this story is a sad tale that gets repeated far too many times. The women here are the victim. It does not matter that he was a radio show personality. It does not matter if they came forward immediately. They were beaten by this man.

Here is Ghomeshi’s friend Owen Pallett again:

But let’s be clear. Whether the court decides that predatory men are punished or exonerated does not silence the voices of the victims. It does not make victims liars.
Whether our culture continues to celebrate the works of predatory men is another issue. It does not silence the voices of the victims.

He ends with.

Jian Ghomeshi is my friend, and Jian Ghomeshi beats women. How our friendship will continue remains to be seen.

We’ve heard this story before. A man is having his life ruined by an ex-lover. OK. So that explains one person. What about the other seven people who have come forward with similar allegations?

This is why women don’t come forward. The burden to prove beyond a reasonable doubt they were beaten and attacked is frightening. Then, even if they are able to come forward, they risk not being believed and backlash against them. This is true of someone who is not a media figure with a fan base.

This is true of every woman.

Women should not be afraid to report violence against them.
Women should not have to band together in numbers too large to ignore to report an attack.

One attack is too many.

glitch tales

Watching. Waiting.

Crowdfunding is a lottery

A project can go off the rails and fail even after its funding succeeds for a number of reasons. There can be unforeseen costs, or design problems, or a team member quits or fails to deliver their part of the project. Often, when a project skids to a halt, the final updates are obscured from the public and sent only to backers, which may be part of the reason failures are often not well-publicized. Occasionally, backers who receive them pass them on or post them publicly on forums, which is as good as it gets in terms of letting the outside world know a project did not ultimately pan out.

The ugly afterlife of crowdfunding projects that never ship and never end | Ars Technica

This sums up my views on Kickstarter nicely. I’ve only backed three projects. One failed to be get funded, one involved someone I knew online and trusted, the last one was a fantastic 8-bit Nine Inch Nails album.

None of them were big risks. I spent $40 across both successful projects and would have given $20 to the one that failed.

Overall, my investment of $60 is not outrageous and I knew going into them it was money I could afford to lose. Even if successful, there is no guarantee the thing I’ve helped fund will materialize. There’s no guarantee I will ever see anything for my investment.

And I, as the little fish in the investment pond, have no recourse. If the project’s creator runs out of money, I will not get a refund. I understand that.

Which is why I’m skeptical about crowd-funding much of anything. I’m much happier to buy the thing when it comes out than back its creation.

Read the Docs

My brother has been working on documenting the world through his Read the Docs project. Recently, he presented his project as part of the Portland Incubator Experiment.

His talk is below. It’s worth a watch. And not just because he’s my brother. He’s a smart guy who has done some cool things at cool places.

Better living through technology

As I was returning from my lunch-time walk, I saw a woman walking towards me gesturing strangely at me. I was confused at first as she was far away.

She continued gesturing as she got closer. Still confused, I continued to watch her, and as she drew near, I realized she wasn’t gesturing at me at all.

She was talking to someone on the phone in sign language using video chat.

There it was, the promise of technology, being used to actually make someone’s life better. A deaf person able to hold a conversation over the phone, in her native language.