Thursday, May 26, 2016

Gif of the Day

That dog never had a chance.

Recommended Reading

Read this. READ IT.

Seattle’s vanishing black community.

The district, which spans roughly from the back side of Capitol Hill toward Lake Washington and from East Madison Street down toward the Interstate 90 Lid, was more than 70 percent black in the 1960s and early ’70s when Wright moved in. 
Today, less than one-fifth of the population is black, with whites moving in in such huge numbers that in the space of a couple of decades, they’ve become the majority for the first time since the Eisenhower Administration, when there was a sizable Jewish presence in the area. 
“This was a deliberate attempt to get us out of here because the area is so central and convenient to downtown,” Wright says, echoing a sentiment held by many who fear that blacks are being pushed away to make the district more desirable for whites with higher incomes.

Gentrification everywhere! God damnit.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Gif of the Day

U.S. Anti-Black Racism Update

Welp. One of Freddie Gray's murderers was acquitted. If you can't remember which case this is, because there are SO FUCKING MANY, Freddie Gray was the one who had his spine severed after being driven around in a police van on the scenic route in a way that was violent enough to severe his fucking spine. How anyone could actually believe that a person could severe their own spine by being "uncooperative" while shackled in a van is, of course, entirely beyond me.

But whatever, probably no one really thinks that. They got away with murder because they're cops. The end.

But that's not all!

Now these shit cops are suing the city prosecutor for defamation and invasion of privacy for doing her fucking job. Apparently, you can't even try to prosecute killer cops because they'll sue you for it. Fuck off.

Luckily, it sounds like it's very unlikely for such a lawsuit to hold up in court. Finally, the courts working against the police for once!

These cops, though:

Through Mosby's statements, they claim their "character and reputation ... were harmed, their standing and reputation in the Baltimore City Police Department and the community at large — locally, nationally, and internationally — were impaired, [and] they continue to suffer mental pain and anguish, and humiliation." 
The officers note that they were placed on administrative leave without pay by the police department, and "have suffered, and continue to suffer, monetary damages in the form of lost income, lost raises in salary, and lost promotions."

Waaaahhhhhh we murdered an unconvicted kid in a van and now everybody hates us waaaahhhhhhhhhhhh.

The cop tears.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Gif of the Day

He tried.


With traditional birth control, a woman takes a hormone pill for 21 days to stop her cycle. Then she takes a sugar pill for a week, so she can have what looks like a period. 
But Micks says, physiologically this isn't a real period at all. And it isn't necessary. "There's absolutely no medical need to have a period when you're on contraception," she says. 
So why have women been having all these "fake" periods for decades? "It's actually a historical thing," she says. 
One of the doctors who helped invent the pill was Catholic. He thought the pope might accept the pill if it looked like women were having periods. 
But the Catholic church never came around to the pill. And when doctors actually asked women if they wanted to have these fake periods, many said they didn't.

All this time I've been told it's unhealthy to use birth control pill to skip periods and it was all a lie? The reason I still have a fake period every month is because some dude actually thought this would convince the Pope to okay the pill?


Bye Bye Bill


Bill Cosby officially admitted to drugging and raping teen girls and will stand trial on four counts of felony assault. Apparently, a modeling agency "provided" him with these teens. And for all this rape, he faces up to 10 years in prison.

For the billionth time, "What rape culture?"

His lawyers still say there's no evidence against him despite his confessions. People will continue to somehow say that drugging and fucking underage girls isn't rape. They'll continue to say that 50 women coming forward doesn't matter because surely they're all liars. The world will continue to be terrible. But at least a rapist will stand trial.

Morning Announcements

Whoops I forgot to post a gif of the day yesterday! I was out for most of the day visiting a dear friend. Now I'm back.

Content is probably going to be light this week because I need to bust ass to get all my paying freelance work done by Thursday. I'm going on a trip over the long weekend starting this Friday so there will be no blogging this Friday or the following Monday.

Gonna be spending my time at a beach house with friends. First trip of any kind I've taken in a great while. I'm very excited. Whee!

Monday, May 23, 2016

What People Think About the Mentally Ill


You may have heard about the outrage surrounding an article published on xoJane about the personal feelings of a woman following the death of a former friend with fairly serious mental health issues. When I first started seeing Tumblr posts and response article titles about it, I though it was going to be a piece about a real friend of the deceased who, upon watching a loved one deteriorate for years, couldn't help but feel a sense of relief upon her passing. As horrible as that kind of feeling might seem, it is a feeling, and one I understand. I watched my grandmother deteriorate from dementia, and though that's not the same as untreated mental illness, I felt relief when she finally died. It's normal to feel a sense of relief, among other feelings when a person is freed of intense suffering.

That's not what this article was about.

The article, which has been removed and replaced with an inadequate apology, was called "My Former Friend's Death Was a Blessing." It's been archived, so you can still read it here and not give any traffic to xoJane.

The best word I have to describe this article is cold. The reasons the author has for cutting her friend off are petty and betray a callous lack of understanding and lack to attempt to understand mental illness. By the end, she no longer knows anything about this mentally ill person other than what she sees on her Facebook page. Yet she declares that this person never could have lived a happy or productive life.

She would have either been institutionalized or a major burden on her family. There was just no way she would have survived on her own. Drowning to death was relatively painless compared to what she had to endure in life.

That's cold.

I honestly don't know how this article slipped through xoJane's editors. I've used enough content management systems to know how difficult it is to accidentally post something before it's ready. And how easy it is to revert something back to a draft. There's even a pretty glaring typo in the article, and it's not very well organized. xoJane's short apology doesn't explain how this poorly edited mess ended up being published and left up for long enough to piss off a lot of people (I'm not sure how long but it seems like it had to have been days), only that they're going to work on their vetting process.

Plenty of counter articles have already explained all about what's fucked up in this piece. But what I want people to take away from it is an idea of how many, maybe most people think about the mentally ill. Especially when it comes to those with more severe illnesses than standard depression or anxiety.

The "former friend" of the author was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder. This is a high-tier mental illness that shares symptoms with schizophrenia and mood disorders like bipolar disorder. Common primary symptoms include hallucinations, delusions, disorganized thinking, depression, and mania. A mental illness like that is difficult for most people to imagine and sympathize with. Schizophrenia is particularly demonized, having been associated with violent behavior. It's often thought that people with this illness can't lead "normal" lives and need to be institutionalized. This is not true.

The author of this piece is a classic case of expecting neurodiverse people to act like neurotypical people. Because this mentally ill person didn't act as she expected, the author decided she was a burden, toxic, miserable, and better off dead. And yes, emotional support and medication are things that mentally ill people need access to and deserve access to. But the same is true for just about everyone. A lack of access to these basic needs does not mean that someone is better off dead.

The real failure here is the author's failure to attempt to understand mental illness. The author complains that her former friend "wasn't quite right," citing clothes on the floor and general mess in her living space as a failure to mature. If you did a little research into simple depression, you'd find that "messiness" is a classic symptom. It has nothing to do with a failure to "evolve" as a person. But even if this person stopped maturing psychologically at some point, this wouldn't have been her fault. No one chooses not to mature. When someone doesn't it's because they have some kind of illness, disability, or are told they don't need to or shouldn't (as is the case for many privileged white dudes).

No one is obligated to support or be friends with someone with a mental illness if they feel like they need to take care of themselves first and can't do that while being friends with a mentally ill person. There are plenty of healthy ways to be friends with an ill person and still prioritize and take care of yourself, but if you aren't strong enough to set the necessary boundaries, then by all means, do what you need to do.

What's not okay is to publicly post a piece of writing about mental illness when you clearly have no knowledge about that illness. It's not okay to promote that kind of ignorance and those kinds of harmful attitudes about mentally ill people. It's not okay to say that the untimely death of a mentally ill person that may have been a suicide was a blessing, for her or for you.

But this is how a lot of people who don't have a mental illness (or more likely don't know they have one) think about people will mental illnesses, especially the severe ones like schizoaffective disorder. They assume that they're beyond help and better off dead, yet at the same time they blame people like this "former friend" for what they view as personal failures like not keeping their rooms clean or quitting a job.

I can only assume this article was the result of guilt and defense mechanisms meant to push that guilt away. This author doesn't need to feel guilty for the death of a former friend she had almost no contact with at the time, but when people do feel guilt, it's very common for them to look for reasons that whatever happened wasn't their fault. The victim being so hopelessly fucked up and miserable that they're better off dead is a thorough reason not to feel guilty, gross as it may be.

This doesn't excuse the author for writing this mess, and xoJane has no excuse for publishing it. My advice to the author is to sit with her own psychological issues and educate herself thoroughly on mental illness before writing anything again, no matter what the topic. Only this will ensure you refrain from doing further harm. Maybe one day you can make amends for hurting mentally ill people and spreading toxic ideas about them.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Gif of the Day

This is the best ever.

Headline of the Month

I'm no grammar fascist, but it can be useful if you're a political party trying to avoid getting made fun of by everybody on the entire Internet.

How The Wrong Verb Meant The Texas GOP Called Most Texans Gay

Click to Enlarge
As Texas Monthly rightly points out, the sentence actually says that homosexual behavior "has been ordained by God in the Bible, recognized by our nations founders, and shared by the majority of Texans." 
That's probably not what Texas Republicans meant. 
The august magazine blames that Oxford comma there at the end for the confusion, but we asked our aforementioned (and heroic) copy editors where the real problem was and they zeroed in on the verb "has." It's singular, so the rest of the sentence ends up referring to the noun "behavior" instead of "truths."

Prepare for the gif dump.