[sticky entry] Sticky: Introduction & Comment policy

Friday, May 21st, 2010 12:17 am
miss_s_b: (Self: Profile)
Hello! There now follow some handy hints on how to make the most of your Reading My Blog experience:
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Comments Policy:
  • Anonymous commenting is enabled, although anon comments are screened before publication; please, if you comment anonymously, give yourself a name/pseudonym/some form of identifier. If you don't your comment will not be unscreened.
  • I don't censor comments from people I know unless pushed VERY hard. Red lines include racism, misogyny, homophobia, unjoking advocation of violence, and being horrible about (or to) people I love. Anons tend to get a lot less leeway and a lot less benefit of the doubt; sorry. My blog, my rules.
  • If you want to point out cock-ups I have made, please direct them to Pedants' Corner; likewise if you want to ask me something off the topic of the post please go to this entry - this saves readers' scrolling fingers.
miss_s_b: (TG: Arse)
Yesterday I offered a sweepstake: the person who won could ask me to write 500 words on a topic of their choice. As it happens two people said exactly the same answer, so here is entry two of two. Kathleen asked me to write 500 words on “Top Gear lineups - past, actual, potential, ideal”


The news today makes this a little easier; I have struggled to keep it near 500 words as it is.

I’ve always loved Top Gear; I’m reasonably sure I watched it from birth. Angela Rippon is the first TG presenter I really remember, but I as I grew I developed soft spots for Quentin Willson’s eyebrow and the amazing Vicki Butler-Henderson. When it was reborn under the aegis of the brash-but-funny Clarkson in 2002 I mourned that they’d got rid of the large roster of presenters in favour of just three, but figured I’d give it a go. I didn’t like the initial lineup of the Clarkson series - the guy they’d got to fill Quentin Willson’s role as secondhand car expert really didn’t work, and it was all very stilted. You could see they were trying to up the comedy content, but for whatever reason it wasn’t quite working.

For series two, they brought in James May and the magic happened. Clarkson, Hammond and May are the testosterone-laden equivalent of Maiden, Mother and Crone: Young Risk Addict, Geek, and Middle-Aged Boorish Twat. I don’t like everything they did, I didn’t like all the jokes, especially not the racist/sexist ones, but they always made clear you were supposed to laugh AT the Middle-Aged Boorish Twat, that it was a persona, the real Clarkson ramped up to 11 and with all the safeties off… and thus I felt quite comfortable watching TG and even participating in online fandom because it wasn’t real. Every time Clarkson appeared on QI or HIGNFY, or did his occasional forays into WWII on BBC4, he showed that the Middle-Aged Boorish Twat was merely persona, Sun columns nothwithstanding.

Then he assaulted an underling for not getting him the food he wanted. And I felt a lot less comfortable… I think the beeb did the right thing in sacking him, and every pronouncement he has made since they sacked him (especially about transfolk) has only confirmed me in that view. I am sad that the other two decided to go with him, but not really surprised. They do work as a trio.

As for the new lineup? It does rather look like someone has been ticking boxes. Three middle-aged white guys (one ginger), two foreigners, one black guy, one woman… Plus The Stig, who is Schroedinger’s Diversity tickybox - the pose they hold in the photo of the team released today makes it impossible to even guess at gender, never mind race, sexuality, and so on. I’m glad they’ve confirmed Sabine, and am amused that the best actual driver (bar Stiggy) on the new show is going to be Smurfette the woman presenter, but I can’t bear Chris Evans or that tosser from Friends… But then Clarkson’s persona often rubbed me up the wrong way and the show as a whole still worked, albeit with him in the role of pantomime villain in my headcanon. I’m willing to give it a chance.

My ideal lineup?

Vicki Butler-Henderson, Suzi Perry and Sabine treating James May as the Smurfette would suit me.


I've gone slightly over word count at 521 there, but I hope you can forgive me.
miss_s_b: (feminist heroes: Liz 10)
Yesterday I offered a sweepstake: the person who won could ask me to write 500 words on a topic of their choice. As it happens two people said exactly the same answer, so here is entry one of two. Adelle asked me to write 500 words on “why you blog and what you get out of it OR puddings”. Tempting as puddings are, I'm going for the former...

First, a definition: as far as I am concerned, blogging does not just mean “writing a blog”. That’s part of it, certainly, but just as vital are reading other people’s blogs, commenting and moderating comments, sharing links to interesting blogs written by other people, etc. If you just write without doing any of the rest of it, you’re Doing It Wrong.

That out of the way, there are several reasons why I blog.

1, Habit.

I’ve been doing it for over 15 years, now. I started before the term “blog” was even a thing (yes, of course, on LiveJournal), and I continue now it’s old hat and out of fashion. Very often I get the thought “I must write something about that”, and almost a quarter of the time I actually get around to doing it.
When I got out of the habit of blogging for a while when my depression was really bad, it made things far worse. I lost some of the web of connections which strengthens my feeble grasp on sanity. This was not a good thing. I am glad I have reaquired the habit, if not quite as prolifically as at some points in the past.


2, Mental Health

It helps me, a lot of the time, to get things down. Sometimes just writing it helps, sometimes posting it publicly helps; often it’s the easiest way to tell loved ones what I am thinking. For example: this morning I have been turning the nightmare I had last night into a fic which may or may not get posted publicly later; the nightmare is now less scary because I’ve pinned it down to the screen and made it squirm.

Additionally, like Andy has, I have found that my friends tell me that my blogging helps them; both in understanding where I am coming from and in clearing their own thoughts, or even just so that they know they are not alone in thinking or feeling X or Y. Every time I think I have overshared, someone will post a comment or send me an email or a twitter DM saying “thank you for posting that, it really helped me to deal with a similar thing”, or words to that effect.


3, Community

If I didn’t blog I wouldn’t have such a strong and diverse friends group full of interesting people. I reckon 90% of the friends that I really value I met through blogging, and a further 5% on top of that are people I met online before ever blogging. My attitude to blogging and it’s component parts is shared by a lot of others, and thus a little overlapping set of communities are formed, and it’s genuinely the biggest, most lifechanging thing I have ever been involved in. I met all my current partners either directly or indirectly as a result of blogging. I joined a political party because of blogging. I can’t overstate the importance of blogging to me, really.


and I think you'll find that's exactly 500 words ;)
miss_s_b: (Fangirling: Books)
I have some ideas for some of the categories, but the problem is I will not nominate anything I am not personally familiar with, and there are some categories I have not read/seen/etc enough things in. So, I have nearly two months till deadline; I am going to ask for recs. What do YOU think ought to win awards in the following categories? Rec me stuff, I shall try to check it out, and then if I like it, it might get a nom from me:
Best Novella (between 17,500 and 40,000 words)

Best Novelette (between 7,500 and 17,500 words)

Best Related Work

Best Graphic Story

Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form)

Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form)

Best Semiprozine

Best Fanzine

Best Fancast

Best Fan Writer

Best Fan Artist

The John W. Campbell Award for new writers (1st published 2014 or 2015)
The categories I have left off are the ones I think I have enough things to nominate in without crowdsourcing stuff I might not have seen, but if there's an novels or short stories you genuinely think I might have missed, do drop those in the comments too. Obvs I might not get chance to check everything out, but I'll do my best.

Over to you lot! :)
miss_s_b: (Default)
... which I suspect they won't publish:
(to the tune of Jerusalem)

And did the Brits
In Ancient time
Pinch all your country's wealth from you?
And did we pinch
Your words as well
To add to England's language true?
We shall pretend the world is ours
By some divine right or something
But really we're the bestest thieves
You see we even nicked this tune
If you want to have a go, you can find the details, such as they are, at the bottom of the page detailing the winners of their last competition.
miss_s_b: (Default)
miss_s_b: (Fangirling: Books)
Minnsy complains, correctly in my view, about the recently released list of books that every child should read before they leave school. Dickens and Austen are great once you're already into reading, but that dense Victorian prose is not going to suck in a reluctant reader - and it's for that reason I'll be leaving all the Brontes, Conan Doyle, Mary Shelley and po' ol' Poe off my list, with the deepest regret. My picks are somewhat different from Minnsy's though:
  1. Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett - the first proper Pratchett, very accessible, hilariously funny, and will suck you in to the Discworld which, if you're like me, you'll never leave.

  2. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie - Christie's easy conversational style is a joy to read, and this book has one of her most famous twists.

  3. Matilda by Roald Dahl - I'm a firm believer in books about the magic of reading, and that's why this one.

  4. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke - for the same reason as Matilda.

  5. The Ghost Stories of MR James by MR James - I think it does a child good to have the crap scared out of them every so often, and James can even make bedsheets terrifying. Also, I genuinely think it's important for kids to learn that short stories can be excellent, and you do not need a 600-page tome to tell a good tale. And he's not technically Victorian.

  6. Oranges are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson - another book to prick at the emotions, with some genuine laugh out loud moments. Also important for the queer kids (you are not alone) and the het kids (queer kids are normal). And once you've read it you can buy this poster.

  7. The Magician's Nephew by CS Lewis. Yes, that's right, not The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. The prequel. Not quite so heavy handed with the Christian allegory, but just as full of imaginative detail. I always liked Polly better than any of the Pevensie children, too.

  8. The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K Le Guin - does what all the best scifi does: poses a "what if?" and runs away with it.

  9. Fated by Benedict Jacka - because fantasy can be modern and set in a world we recognise, and populated by people we run into every day.

  10. Feminism is for Everybody by bell hooks - because it is, and everybody should read this book. You can get the .pdf of it here
miss_s_b: (Mood: Not London)
... Anyone got space for a little one Friday the 19th and Saturday the 20th of this month? I'll bring my own toothpaste...

The nearer to Westminster the better, FYI. Got a lib demmy thing to go to.

(may be a while answering comments as work is concentratey this morning, but don't worry, I will get there)

ETA: now have offer, thanks folks :)
miss_s_b: (Default)
miss_s_b: (Default)
miss_s_b: DCI Gill Murray looking disapprovingly at her phone (feminist heroes: DCI Gill Murray)
Look, I've gone over this lots of times before. The post from 2013 I link there lists seven pretty strong reasons to be against AWS; both principle (they're objectively wrong) and practical (they make the situation they purport to cure worse) reasons. If the party adopts AWS, I will be leaving.

Yes, something must be done about sexism. Yes, it's embarrassing that all our MPs are white men. That's because we've only got 8 of them. We had lots of women in "winnable" seats; the electorate didn't vote for them. We're really good at selecting women (or BAME or LGBT - we had one of each of those in Calderdale) candidates. Not so good at getting folk to vote for them. Also, we're really crap with the ableism - but working on it. AWS will do nothing to even pretend to address ableism, of course.

Just because "something must be done" DOESN'T MEAN THIS IS IT.

Apart from anything else, increasing the number of rich white heterosexual upper-middle class women at the top of our party will only salve bruised egos and make us have lady faces to put on the news, it will not increase diversity of thought or deed in any meaningful sense, and I am BLISTERINGLY angry that this hasn't got into thick heads yet. Have you people not been WATCHING the Labour party since they adopted this? The siloing of women into AWS seats so that the boys can have a free run. The promotion of women against LGBT and BAME candidates because once you've got one "minority" (and women are actually a majority) you HAVE diversity and don't need to worry. The tickbox culture.

And don't even get me STARTED on what this does to nonbinary folks - and Willie Rennie's clumsily worded "oh, we'll treat them like women" does NOT make me any happier on this.

I'm a feminist. I want to see an end to sexism. That is why I am against all women shortlists - papering over the cracks with a superficial non-solution doesn't solve sexism, it perpetuates it. Fuck that.

About This Blog

picture of Jennie Rigg

Hello! I'm Jennie (known to many as SB, due to my handle, or The Yorksher Gob because of my old blog's name). This blog is my public face; click here for a list of all the other places you can find me on t'interwebs.






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