This past week, my Aunt Donna, who had been suffering from vascular dementia for the last couple of years, passed away. She was 72 years old.
Aunt Donna was one of those relatives of mine who helped shape me into the person I am today, in many ways. I loved her very very much. I wish I had been able to be there for her more often, especially in the last few months. They were particularly difficult for her, as her ability to have a conversation and organize her thoughts was eroded away by the ravaging disease acting in conjunction with her other health issues. Before I met Kelly, she was one of the biggest reasons I wanted to move back to Massachusetts, so I could be there for her when she needed me. And in some ways I was, and I am all too glad to have done those things like help her get her house ready for the big hurricanes a few years ago. It was the least I could do. I wish I had done more.
She went with me to my first live Red Sox game, which was such a treat as I had been a fan most of my life but, living far away, was unable to attend any games, even in childhood. Kelly (who was also there) snapped this picture of us, which is my favorite pictures of her and I. It reminds me of how she was always so full of fun, so full of life. She was a truly good person, with an endless supply of empathy and compassion for other people. She donated to all sorts of liberal causes. She befriended so many people from different walks of life. Although she did not have any pets of her own as an adult (at least, of which I am aware), she loved animals, and loved to have our dogs sit with her or on her lap.
Even as a kid, she indulged me with things like books and models and taking me places. She was the one who introduced me to the science fiction of Isaac Asimov. She also got me interested in political writers like Molly Ivins and Robert Reich. She was a huge supporter of President Obama, and we had many great conversations about politics. She always encouraged my intellectual curiosity. And as a lifelong music teacher, she always encouraged passion for music.
I will miss her greatly, possibly more than I am capable of uttering or showing, at least in public. I think the world is lesser without her.
As a general rule, I am not a fan of the term “history buff”. Whenever I see someone referred to as a “history buff”, I tend to become a little irritated. In my mind, history buffs collect the Civil War Chess Set and Stonewall Jackson beer steins. Historians do research and then usually present their findings in one way or another. Just because you read history doesn’t mean you are a historian, just as the fact you can speak English does not mean you could be an English teacher, you know?
So the trailer came out for Season Seven of Game of Thrones, and of course it has already broken records for viewership.
First I checked out my friend Pat’s blog to see what he thought of the trailer and get his input. If you want the opinion of another person who has read all of the books and is a fairly obsessed ASOIAF/GoT fan (like myself, and in a good way) then go check him out.
As I have often done before a new season of Game of Thrones, I thought I would make a few predictions as to what we might see when Season 7 begins this July.
We have already heard a few things, and can guess a few more based on the bits and pieces that we have been shown in the teaser trailers, some clues that have slipped out, and on the logical progression of the story.
This is reblogged from medium.com. I’m not sure I’ve ever read a better description of not only my own experiences with bullies, abuse, and stalkers, but also of just how to not be an ass on the internet. This popped up on Twitter today, probably because in this age of Nazis in the White House, JCCs and Jewish cemeteries being defiled, and children being attacked in Anaheim this kind of actual straight talking is sorely needed. Please read this, Sara is writing from a place of experience and wisdom.
Here’s a primer on how to behave with regard to the human people otherwise known as “women.”
Hi folks. The following is a good guide for how to treat women on the Internet, whether you are a dude, a lady, a genderqueer person, or a unicorn who somehow gained the ability to read English (JK we all know unicorns can read any language they damn well please.) I’ve seen men engage in some of the practices I describe unfavorably, but guess what? I’ve seen gals do it too.
This is not about one instance in my own life but a series of many instances in my own life and in the lives of other folks online. Some of you don’t like what you perceive as “p.c. bullshit.” This ain’t about your notion of political correctness (which is usually code for “being a decent human being,” but whatever, I’m not here to quibble with you on that and I’m a blasphemous broad myself so I get your frustration when you feel you’re being cramped.) But this is about acting like a good person and not a damn fool.
I’m laid up sick with an upper respiratory infection and yet I’m still doing this kind service because stupid behavior on the Internet exhausts me. And I want to be able to just link folks to this where necessary. Feel free to do so as well. Let’s go.
If you get blocked or unfriended, do not ask why. Do not approach. We did it for a reason (probably not drunkenness, although that is possible!) If we want to tell you why, we will. Go be a good person and imagine it’s just because we were having a bad day. Or ask yourself why and really look at why we might’ve decided not to engage with you further. If you want to say to yourself, “What a dumb bitch!” I guess do that? Whatever. Just don’t say it to us. Stay away.
If you DM us on Twitter and we don’t respond, don’t DM us again. This is simple.
If we tell you to take us out of a thread on Twitter or elsewhere, do it.Don’t ask why. Ever. There may be someone in that thread of whom we have grown weary or with whom we stopped engaging a long time ago. It’s quite likely they’ve harassed us and we’ve blocked them, but when you respond to all of us, we still get the tweets clogging our feed. Alternately, we may simply be busy and not have time to keep up.
Just do it.
Imagine we asked if you could move your car so we could back out of the driveway. You’d just do that, right? It’s easy. Okay, just do this.
You know when Eliza in “Hamilton” (c’mon bro, you’ve listened! your bro has!) says, “I remove myself” from the whole story? She’s in a situation that is too painful and sad so Lin-Manuel Miranda, who is a certified genius for real, gives her the out. Later she jumps back in of her own volition. That’s us. Except we don’t have a wonderful dude doing it for us, because we’re writing our own narrative here. Be an ally or just a decent person and respect that choice.
Do not respond to every tweet, every Facebook status update, every post we create anywhere on the web. Being a fan is a fantastic thing. I’m a fangirl myself. Love the fangirls and the fanboys of this world. But this goes beyond fandom. When you give the impression that you seem to think you’re in a constant conversation with us, it feels creepy to us. Often, this is an issue of you having trouble recognizing boundaries, and that’s not always your fault! We are all wired differently and we have gifts and difficulties, sometimes around perception. So if you’re a person with a good heart who may perceive things differently than most, you’re still probably going to respect a boundary once it’s explained to you.
But there are others who are not that way.
There are others to whom I say: why do you have all the time in the world to do that? Go look at other cool stuff too. Art, music, politics, your kids’ homework. Buy a Solange album. Yes, the latest is fantastic but she’s always been great. Never afraid to experiment. Revels in evolution and progression. Did you know? Go listen. (And don’t bother Solange. She deals with enough.)
If we never respond to you, we probably muted you on Twitter or unfollowed you on Facebook but stayed friends with you so as not to enrage you or upset our mothers because you still live in the small town where we grew up and our moms have to deal with you at the grocery store. The muting or unfollowing may be because you’re annoying or you have terrible opinions or horrific taste in furniture and yet you won’t stop posting photographs of your awful furniture.
Don’t ask us if we muted you.
It may be because you seem unstable and we don’t want to further inflame you by blocking you. (Did you know that this is how we have to deal with folks online for our own safety? It’s true. Usually the folks with whom we have to contend in this manner are men. Not always.)
Do not make sexual or flirtatious comments on the social media of a woman you don’t know. If you do know her personally IN A SEXY WAY and you make such a comment and she checks you on it, back off. You’ll know if she wants to fuck you because she’ll fucking fuck you. Until then, exercise some restraint. It’s better for your soul and your dong in the long run. I’m giving you strategy here, dude: if you want to shtup us, shut up and be a good person. We find mystery exciting! (That’s not always true, it just sounded like something that would be in a Maxim article from 1997.)
If we block a person or unfriend someone, do not ask why. Do not say he’s a really great guy and look, he’s really sorry.
HE IS NOT A REALLY GREAT GUY. WE DO NOT BLOCK OR UNFRIEND GUYS WHO’VE BEEN REALLY GREAT TO US.
There are people to whom I will never speak unless absolutely necessary and with whom I will never work unless I have to, and it’s specifically because they thought it was time to play Cupid for creeps. You have no idea what we deal with and what we hear privately. It’s not your business.
Your nice guy friend who is nice to you and is so nice to your daughter and has never raped a woman in front of your face and who maybe says he’s super sorry? Yeah, he may be a serial harasser, a rapist, or a dude who punched us in the face one night in a drunk blackout. You don’t get to know that information unless we want to tell you. You don’t know the shit we know about him and we’re not telling and you and he should be so fucking thankful for that. Is he married? Oh, be a thousand times more thankful. You know a tiny bit of the story, and it’s all filtered through him.
I’m sorry to be the one to tell you this but YOUR BOY IS AN UNRELIABLE FUCKING NARRATOR.
And if he’s pleaded with you to be the intermediary and you actually did it: congrats. You fell for it. He’s an abuser trying desperately to draw his prey back in. He’s using you for that purpose. Stop being stupid.
And get better friends.
If somebody says mean things about us elsewhere, do not tell us unless you genuinely fear for our safety. Then tell us. We can choose whether we wish to alert the authorities. You win zero points with folks you want to love you when you say, “Look at this stranger talking shit! Look at me defending you! I’m such a great person!” Oh really? We see right through that. “Mean Girls” came out a long time ago. This ain’t high school. Go away.
Do not give out our contact information without asking our permission.Some of us have websites and places where that information is readily available, because we’re happy to engage with requests we can honor. Direct them to these places if necessary. And if we don’t respond? Sometimes it’s a safety issue. Sometimes it’s simply an “I’m busy” issue.
Women get endless requests for help and assistance in various ways at various times. Everybody in the world thinks they have the right to our time, our money, our emotional labor, our business contacts, the works. This is true whether you are A Gal Of Note On The TeeVee or A Gal Who Is Awesome And Definitely Of Note With Zero Interest In Having Her Name In the Newspapah. We can field those requests with grace if we wish. Or we can ignore them. That does not make us rude. That does not make us ungenerous. That does not make us bad people.
I gave up nice a long time ago. Nice did me no good as a woman. Niceness is a lie they teach you to keep you sweet and compliant while you’re screaming inside. You know what I picked instead? Kindness. I chose to be kind. Kind means I respect your boundaries and you respect mine.
When we speak about abuse and we don’t use names and we don’t give clues, there is a reason for that. Do not DARE question our choices to tell our stories and to use anonymity and discretion to protect ourselves and the people we love.We do not owe it to you to name names. We do not owe it to you to be the heroine. We are not cartoon characters. We are not fairy tale princesses. We are not imagined fearless, flawless brave warrior women sent from on high to do battle with dragons while you sit from afar and say, “Yeah girl, get it!”
Look, you wanna know why we don’t name names, beyond “discretion” and “etiquette” and “not wanting to get sued for saying something that’s true but that we can’t prove because nobody was in the room when it happened?” Because we don’t want to get hit, slapped, raped, beaten, or killed.
If you do not know how present that is in our lives, even in my own privileged life, this is my invitation to you to listen the next time a lady says, “He…he wasn’t…I mean he tried to be a good person, I really think he’s a good person but…you know…there were issues.” and then looks away uncomfortably. What’s her body language saying? You might consider saying, “I’m here if you need to talk. I don’t expect you to and I’m not pressuring you to. But know that I won’t tell anybody and I won’t judge you.”
And then, for God’s sake, honor that commitment to your friend, your colleague, your sister, your mom, whoever. And if they don’t wanna chat, leave it. Leave. It. Alone.
And by the way? THIS IS HOW YOU SHOULD TREAT EVERYBODY. I drew you in with that “ladies” headline but this is actually about treating human beings with dignity in physical space or online space.
You are part of a collective whole and I am addressing the whole. If you and I have had a personal interaction in which I have expressed displeasure, do not approach me about this. Just do better in future.
If you have had a personal interaction with a woman who is not me and she has told you to go away, stay away. Don’t go back and say, “I’ve changed!” unless you’re working a program that asks you do so, within reason. Your amends should not be her burden. She may not wish to forgive you now or ever, and that is her right.
Good people make mistakes. I know I do, all the time. But we apologize unless it would be stressful or dangerous or offensive to the injured party. We move forward and we do better. Just because you’ve violated certain boundaries of politeness and ideal human behavior does not automatically make you a monster person, okay? So don’t go into some shame spiral.Shame is useless unless it prompts better action. Take this information. Think on it. Do good things in the world.
I’m going back to being physically ill now. Share this with friends and neighbors and the aforementioned magical unicorns who can read everything. Not that unicorns need this information. They’re born compassionate and polite. The rest of us can often use a little help with that.