Friday, July 21, 2017

Important Lesbian Sports News

Via ESPN, pro basketball player Sue Bird has revealed that she's been dating pro soccer player Megan Rapinoe.

I think the lede is buried, however:
"Bird might be in the fourth quarter of her basketball career -- at 36, she is the oldest player in the WNBA and is in her 15th season with the Seattle Storm -- but she is expertly managing the clock. She has never been in better shape and isn't talking about retirement anytime soon."
That is kind of amazing.

But seriously, congratulations, ladies.


Thursday, July 20, 2017

Twitter Response to Abuse Slow and Inconsistent

Earlier this week, Buzzfeed ran an article on Twitter's response to abuse that occurs on its platform.

For those unfamiliar with the process for reporting abuse on Twitter, the platform does allow users to report other users and tweets for abusive content. Once a report is filed and before Twitter makes a determination about the abuse report, Twitter suggests tips for making "your Twitter experience safer," including not further engaging with the abusive user, using the block function, using the mute function, and contacting law enforcement.

These are all tips that most users, particularly those who receive heavy amounts of abuse, are already aware of. Indeed, I would think that most people who file abuse reports do so because these tips are actually not helpful in resolving the types of abuse they might be experiencing on Twitter, particularly because people continually devise ways to game the few tools Twitter does give people to help deal with abuse.

For instance, many abusers create alternate accounts on Twitter specifically so they can view, screenshot, and re-tweet content posted by other users who have blocked them. In that way, the block function is rendered less effective, as a blocked user can still direct harassment and abuse to other users.

The Buzzfeed article, linked above, highlights an example in which a woman, named Maggie, blocked someone on Twitter and yet that person had, ostensibly by logging in with a different account, taken a screenshot of her Twitter profile picture and photoshopped her face into the crosshairs of a gunsight. This image was then retweeted by another user who found her on Facebook and tweeted her location. Twitter did not deem this behavior to be a violation of its rules.

However, Twitter then later suspended the offending account, after having been contacted by Buzzfeed:
"Though the suspension ultimately granted Maggie some peace of mind, her process of getting justice is one of many examples that show a frustrating pattern for victims — one in which Twitter is slow or unresponsive to harassment reports until they’re picked up by the media."
So, I have two bigger-picture points to make.

One, Twitter was extremely quick to monetize and grow its platform. It's been much slower to put adequate resources into helping its users deal with abuse perpetuated on the platform. Anecdotally, in speaking with other Twitter users, the response to reports is pretty inconsistent - with the same type of behavior sometimes being found abusive, and other times not, seemingly dependent upon who reviews the report.

Two, as Twitter does roll out new tools to help users deal with abuse, it's clear that abusers will likewise adapt to these tools. Twitter, and the people hired to handle abuse reports, need to have a nuanced and evolving understanding of the ways people use its platform to inflict abuse on others.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Recap: Supergirl 2.16 "Star-Crossed"

There's trouble in rom-com paradise for the Scooby gang.

First, some aliens have come to Earth under the belief that Mon-El is being held captive, and they're demanding his release. It's odd, because Mon-El isn't being held captive and, supposedly, he's the last survivor from his home planet Daxam.

Supergirl is confused. But, when they beam her and Mon-El up to their ship, she finds out that, whoops, Mon-El was not actually a palace guard on his home planet, as he had claimed. He was the prince. And, the aliens who have arrived are his parents.


They all have dinner together and it's tense. For one, Mon-El had lied about his past. Two, Mon-El's parents are pro-slavery. And three, the only reason he survived his home planet's explosion was because of his privileged status as prince. As people were dying around him, he was ushered to an escape pod. Supergirl leaves the dinner, disgusted with all of them.

Then, Lyra convinces Winn to break into a museum so they can supposedly have "hot museum sex." Okay.

The next day, Winn is in a good mood because he got laid or whatever and is proceeding to be the most annoying co-worker imaginable. The DEO, it seems, has an open floor plan and he's loudly singing "Celebrate good times, come on." His co-workers do a bemused eye-roll instead of telling him to STFU. Then, when his cell phone rings, he takes a personal call and has a loud cellphone convo.


Well, on the call, Winn finds out that someone stole Van Gogh's "Starry Night" from the museum the previous night, and the security footage shows him there, but not Lyra. Maggie interviews him at the police station and is convinced that Lyra framed him. She gives the Scoobies some time to track down Lyra.

Also, Lyra is the type of alien who apparently doesn't appear in photographs or videos, which is why only Winn showed up in the security video. Hmm, now that you mention it, Lyra does bear a resemblance to Buffy-verse vampires:
 

Winn, Alex, and The Guardian then track down Lyra and she confesses to Winn that she duped him. It's sort of sad because Winn seemed really happy in a relationship for once.

The DEO ends up capturing her, but Winn helps her escape so she can sell the painting to the art dealer. There's a story she concocts about having a brother who is being held hostage or something, which is why she had to steal the painting. Winn, The Guardian, and the DEO help get the brother back, and it turns out she was at least honest about that. Winn forgives her.

Later, Mon-El's mom has a talk with Kara. She implies that Kryptonians are sort of snobby and judgemental toward Daxamites. I guess because Kryptonians disapprove of slavery? It also seems odd that a literal member of a royal family would call someone snobby, but hey, we live in weird times my friends.

Mon-El and Kara then talk. Mon-El gives a monologue about how he used to be a rich, spoiled brat but that changed when Kara made him a better man or whatever. Kara says she can't trust Mon-El anymore, however, and breaks up with him. He then tells his parents that Kara broke up with him, but that he's going to stay on Earth anyway.

To end, there is then some weird crossover shit with the Flash series, which I haven't seen. There are so many DC-verse shows on right now that it's impossible to keep up BYE.
  

Deep Thought of the Week: I worry about James. I like that he questions Mon-El's heroism, because that's on point, but what are they doing with him this season, really? Like, what is the larger story arc for The Guardian? At some point is he just going to get hurt really bad, confirming Kara's belief that he shouldn't try to be a hero? Does he have a love life? What happened to Lucy Lane?

Friday, July 14, 2017

It's Happening! L Word Reboot.

The L Word is coming back. Supposedly. I'll believe it when I see it (And I hope I do):
"Based on the original series, the reboot of 'The L Word' would center around a new ensemble of women, following their lives, loves and tribulations. However, if the project is greenlit, stars Jennifer Beals, Kate Moennig and Leisha Hailey are expected to serve as executive producers and appear in the series with their characters as a point of connection from the prior series to the new one. Other characters from the original series may also appear in the new version."
I know queer women are already making wish lists with respect to the reboot. So, here's mine: more ensemble scenes and more sportzball playing.

Never forget the scene that best captures each character's unique persona: The Basketball Game.

There's Shane not giving a fuck; Jenny drinking coffee, smoking a cig, and screaming when a ball comes her way; Bette being ultra-competitive; Papi dunking (LOL sure); Tina whining that Bette's "fouling" her; Alice being a spaz when she gets the ball; Dana being.... oh wait not there because she was killed off and I'm still not over it thankyouverymuch.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Donald Trump: Christian Culture Warrior

I have a piece up today at Shakesville regarding the massive support Donald Trump has among white Evangelical Christians:

"Hey everyone, there's sure a lot going on! Don't forget that 81% of white Evangelical Christian voters chose Trump in the 2016 election.

Now, to imagine Donald as a religious being is to conceive of an absurdity. Not because bad people can't be religious, in fact they often are, but rather because by many accounts he simply is not a contemplative person and doesn't read. Well, I guess there's one topic he reads about:

"Trump’s desk is piled high with magazines, nearly all of them with himself on their covers, and each morning, he reviews a pile of printouts of news articles about himself that his secretary delivers to his desk."
Yet, during presidential campaign rallies, he began claiming that the Bible was his favorite book. In an interview, when pressed, he had the following to say in response to a question about his favorite verse:
"'I wouldn't want to get into it. Because to me, that's very personal,' Trump said in the Wednesday sit-down.

'The Bible means a lot to me, but I don't want to get into specifics,' he said.

When asked whether he prefers the Old Testament or the New Testament, Trump said, 'probably equal.'

'I think it's just … incredible, the whole Bible…' he said."
I'll bet."

Read the whole thing!