The Soapboxist: Born This Way?: Santorum, Sexuality, and Choice -
Maybe it should be, “born this way and because I love myself I’ve chosen to be me?” I don’t know, but perhaps we should shy away from the one line mantras when it comes to fighting for our rights.
Last November, GOP Presidential hopeful (and extremely Google-able) Rick Santorum had an interesting exchange with Kristina Lapinski, a lesbian filmmaker, after she asked if he supports a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.
Lapinski: What would you do if I was your daughter?
Here’s a post from one of my new favorite social media bloggers/critiques. In the same vein of, “I’m not a racist but” and “I’m not a sexist but” the blog uses social media to confront the subtle nuances of discriminatory rhetoric in society by addressing the ways it shows up in online communities.
What do you think about it?
witharowapoa asked: Yo, WTF?!
Yo, you know what, at the end of the day I guess it’s hard to say for sure if this means the robot that writes Google results is racist, or is everyone who searches for stuff on Google is on average racist.
In dance training you govern and balance your physical, mental, and spiritual universe. You are presiding over a sometimes rebellious triumvirate. Self mastery is not an easy feat. Great dance training is producing smart thinking, deep feeling people. — Alonzo King
The CFC: Open Letter to our friends @awkwardblkgrl -
Every since Google Plus debuted this summer it seems that Facebook has been experiencing feelings of inadequacy—despite having the largest user base of any website—in order to restore confidence, perhaps Mark Zuckerberg’s more than the actual users, Facebook is now overcompensating by putting in a host of useless features which have clouded the interface and are just generally annoying to users. This has lead us to “smart-lists,” [which aren’t that smart seeing as how it created two groups for my work contacts at one company] another picture interface—someone changed the background from white to black as if it was needed [BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL!], and just for shits and giggles, the “news feed within a news feed”
I heard through the Silicon Valley grapevine—yes, the things that flow from that vine are as rich as any Napa Valley wine—that the day Google Plus debuted Facebook was in panic mode. Zuckerberg called for emergency meetings and all productivity stopped so that everyone could work on ways to compete with the new features Google Plus was bringing to social networking, especially Hangouts and the ability for video chat. However, somewhere within that conversation apparently the 7 year old company started having an identity crisis and, like a prepubescent teen in search of an identity, it started to confuse itself with it’s “competitors”.
*I’m loosely using competitors because I believe that people can, will, and do use more than one social network. All social networks are not created equally but that doesn’t mean that one inherently has more value than another—even though I’m partial to twitter. Twitter is great for entering a public conversation, Facebook was great for seeing what your network of acquaintances was doing, LinkedIn is the place to be professional, and Google Plus is… (I’m kind of still figuring that last one out. How about you get back to me in a week or so?)
The truth of the matter is that smart-lists are Facebook’s paternalistic way of improving upon the circles function in Google Plus, subscriptions are a sad excuse for the functionality of the follow request on twitter, and that news feed within a news feed is just overkill, the social network equivalent of the guy in the gym who’s obviously on steroids because has muscles on top of his muscles.
And that is, what I think, plaguing Facebook. Facebook has become the boyfriend that I used to love, and still do, but I’m slowly losing confidence in because he’s lost confidence in himself now that the new guy has moved in a few doors down. I tell him, “honey, I love you so much. Can we go out tonight?” But instead of him just taking me out, per usual, he decides he wants to go and spend some extra time at the gym instead and “bulk up,” forgetting that it was his individuality that drew me to him. I try and boost his ego by reassuring him of my attachment, but his focus on trying to be the men he thinks are going to “take” me away leads to a self-loathing which pushes me further away.
Facebook users ultimately lose in the equation because instead of Facebook being focused on user-experience it’s focused on competing with Google Plus. It’s fighting for users that were already committed to the network and largely satisfied with it’s performance. It’s taking large does of Viagra to correct problems of erectile dysfunction that aren’t actually there in hopes of improving satisfaction when I was already satisfied.
I have absolutely no intentions of moving over to Google Plus with it’s “real names” policy that stifles individuality and has allows the most irrational social interactions to take place—just last week I was tagged in a photo as a random guy who definitely didn’t look like me, he wasn’t even Black. Google Plus is good for group interactions, especially hangouts, which is why I may incorporate it as a way to connect with my larger audience more intimately, but I was much more comfortable using Facebook for interactions with my friends and acquaintances than I was doing that on Google Plus. I am still an avid-twitter fan, but all of my friends aren’t on that network and a majority of the individuals that follow me do so for my insights on tech and social theory, not because they’re my friend.
So the question then becomes, how will I interact with my friends online now? Email and video chatting are good but they won’t help me stay up to date in the way Facebook used to (I say used to because with the removal of the “top news feed” those most important to me are lost in the noise of everyone else.) I think I’m going to revert to the good old iPhone, so if you need me call me or text me—especially if I missed something on Facebook because, for now, I’m logging off.
This doesn’t have anything to do with technology or social theory specifically; I just always thought that Prince’s androgyny was the most admirable quality about him.
this month is dedicated to my idol and his sexy.
I woke up this morning quite ready to skip the gym and go after work (which usually never happens btw.) However, as I was doing my usual perusing of the tech sites I came across this awesome article (and as soon as I read number two I felt guilty, changed my clothes, put my headphones in, and headed for a run across campus.) I’m happy to say that I think I may already be addicted; I wish I had found this bit of motivation a year ago.
[Flashback] A year ago was all about the first love of my adult life. I was absolutely enamored with him; tall and handsome, [I would have said dark but, just in case you haven’t noticed my skin, most Caucasian men aren’t more tan than myself so I don’t quite understand why people complimented him that way,] creative and a critical thinker—he was all the things on my man-list. Long story short, halfway through the relationship a host of issues caused me to make a difficult decision—grudgingly—I broke up with him for my own personal health an wellness. And although I’ve matured greatly in the past year, I kind of fell off the habit of dieting and exercise during my recovery period as I inhaled comfort food—Ben & Jerry became my new man. I faced the realities of the relationship, of love [or lackthereof] head on, but ran away from the real me and the commitments he had to loving himself.
Over the course of this summer, I’ve slowly gotten back in touch with my physical, mental, and spiritual health by reading books like The China Study, reincorporating Yoga and Meditation into my life, and—in the past month—walking from the Caltrain instead of catching the bus along with learning how to swim and (as of today) running.
I downloaded the C25kapp and made a playlist and started off on my run to the tune of Beyonce’s Diva. About 10 minutes later I felt like I would die, but I kept running until I heard the “you’re halfway there” alert from the app in my head. And it was at that moment that I fell (and it hurt like hell, I swear my leg was broke,) but I got up, walked for a few minutes, then started back running.
And perhaps this is a lesson for me to carry into the work world as I prepare to start my own business, “when you push yourself farther than you ever though you could go, you might cry, you may fall, and you may find yourself having to slow down and reassess, but when you reach the end goal, you’ll find yourself pleasantly surprised as you say, ‘I can’t wait to do that again.” Plus, how could I ever assume I’m ready to manage a healthy company when I have yet to manage a healthy life?
If you have any more fitness apps that you would like to share with me, tweet me @MemoirsOfAGAYsh so that I can try those out as well.
Why I refuse to play The Sims Social on Facebook -
I love Facebook games. For someone who spends inordinate amounts of time online for professional purposes and needs an occasional break from living in the matrix, a Facebook game is a break from the usual inundation of Facebook status updates, twitter @mentions, LinkedIn connection requests, and technological things of that nature.
Because of this, I was absolutely ecstatic at the announcement that The Sims would be on Facebook. As a young boy, I would play the video game all the time. It was a world in which, at the time, I could create a character that could live outside the social constraints of the society I lived in. My Sim neither had to worry about living in the closet or about the effects that subconscious racism would have on his job prospects. He could adopt children with his mate without being legally constrained by his states laws. He could go to work day in and day out without being stopped by an invisible glass ceiling. It wasn’t a perfect world—I think he was abducted by aliens more than once—but it was one which allowed for subversion and escape from the constraints of normal life.
When I opened the app for Facebook’s Sims Social, I was disappointed to find out that I couldn’t put my avatar in skinny jeans, decide to have a traditional African hairstyle—like kinky twists, braids or an afro, or put on a little bit of make-up. Some individuals may say that I’m nitpicking at small details on what essentially is a good game, but I am of the perspective that what separates a good product from a great product is it’s ability to foresee the needs of all its potential users. Perhaps, there are individuals of various minority or non-normative populations who have no issue with acquiescing their individuality, their difference, because they specifically want to take on another persona in the virtual world. Nevertheless, one should choose to do such rather than be forced to because one’s real world difference is non-existent in this virtual realm. Moreover, if virtual spaces give us the possibility to simulate our lives in another’s shoes; shouldn’t people be equally free to test out my Black, Queer shoes just as I would be able to take on the online image of, for example, a white male?
It’s been many years since I last played the Sims. I’ve graduate high school, held my first job, moved across the US to attend Stanford, and evolved into my being—becoming much more comfortable with being “the other” (racially, sexually, etc.) I could be asking too much by pushing the creators of The Sims to think more critically about diversity and representation in their game rather than reifying the current social inequities in society, but I think it’s imperative that we redefine innovation so that it includes socially conscious product design; it seems like an essential element to any interface that seeks to be user-friendly.