child pornography

Very Nearly Ineffable

"In my five years on Twitter, I've been called 'nigger' so many times that it barely registers as an insult anymore," explains attorney and legal analyst Imani Gandy.  "Let's just say that my 'nigger cunt' cup runneth over."

Catherine Buni and Soraya Chemaly, via The Atlantic, offer one of those mammoth monstrosities of compelling writing about a really ugly subject.

For some, the costs are higher. In 2010, 12-year-old Amanda Todd bared her chest while chatting online with a person who’d assured her that he was a boy, but was in fact a grown man with a history of pedophilia. For the next two years, Amanda and her mother, Carol Todd, were unable to stop anonymous users from posting that image on sexually explicit pages. A Facebook page, labeled “Controversial Humor,” used Amanda’s name and image—and the names and images of other girls—without consent. In October 2012, Amanda committed suicide, posting a YouTube video that explained her harassment and her decision. In April 2014, Dutch officials announced that they had arrested a 35-year-old man suspected to have used the Internet to extort dozens of girls, including Amanda, in Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The suspect now faces charges of child pornography, extortion, criminal harassment, and Internet luring.

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Hildur Lilliendahl Viggósdóttir, decided to draw attention to similar problems by creating a page called “Men who hate women,” where she reposted examples of misogyny she found elsewhere on Facebook. Her page was suspended four times—not because of its offensive content, but because she was reposting images without written permission. Meanwhile, the original postings—graphically depicting rape and glorifying the physical abuse of women—remained on Facebook. As activists had been noting for years, pages like these were allowed by Facebook to remain under the category of “humor.” Other humorous pages live at the time had names like “I kill bitches like you,” “Domestic Violence: Don’t Make Me Tell You Twice,” “I Love the Rape Van,” and “Raping Babies Because You’re Fucking Fearless.”

No, really, we have nothing for this one. Rather, there is plenty to say, but there are enough profane words here already. In small doses, it is possible to muster on the spot such energy as to not only reject such hatred, but also strike back at it ferociously. In such volume, sadly, it is hard to know where to begin, how to organize the response. Meanwhile, Buni and Chemaly’s article is necessary reading. Many of us believe we have at least some idea of how bad things are out there, but every once in a while, the only thing to mind is, “Holy shit!”

Then again, we at This Is can easily get in over our heads. Our “we” is abstract. It is reader and writer and community at large. That is, at This Is, “we” is only “you” and “me”. And there are days I might think I have at least some idea of how bad things are out there, but I am not a woman. I have no idea. My “out there” is someone else’s “right here”. And while it is easy to rage and fume about this atrocity or that, there does come a point where the magnitude of this sickness raging through humanity becomes very nearly ineffable.

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Buni, Catherine and Soraya Chemaly. “The Unsafety Net: How Social Media Turned Against Women”. The Atlantic. 9 October 2014.

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Follow-up … Clean-up … Something-up

The Rachel Maddow Show, 6 October 2014

Rachel Maddow’s nearly giddy segment on msnbc last night noted that when the full effect of yesterday’s Supreme Court rejection of appeals against marriage equality reaches the states, the roster will equal thirty states. And she looked forward to decisions expected from the Sixth and Ninth.

Today, the hammer dropped in the Ninth; Dale Carpenter quips:

I haven’t read the Ninth Circuit opinion yet. I have to teach now, so it would be nice if the courts would stop issuing gay-marriage decisions for an hour or so.

The estimable Lyle Denniston of SCOTUSblog explains what happened in the Ninth:

The Ninth Circuit’s ruling was made up of three parts.

First, all three judges on the panel joined in an opinion by Circuit Judge Stephen Reinhardt finding that the Idaho and Nevada bans violate the constitutional guarantee of same-sex couples to be treated the same legally as opposite-sex couples. Second, Judge Reinhardt issued a separate opinion, for himself only, saying he would also strike down those bans under the Constitution’s Due Process Clause, arguing that the right to marry is a fundamental guarantee and that gays and lesbians have a right to share in that right. Third, Circuit Judge Marsha S. Berzon, in a separate opinion only for herself, said she would have also struck down the bans on the premise that they discriminate on the basis of gender.

The third member, Circuit Judge Ronald M. Gould, joined only the main opinion on the equal protection principle.

This ruling was perhaps the least surprising among four federal courts of appeals decisions striking down state prohibitions on same-sex couples marrying, and already-married couples gaining official state recognition of those unions, performed elsewhere.

(more…)

The State of Modern Journalism

According to one Mark Higgins, Metro Editor for The Seattle Times, you’re only allowed to link to his newspaper’s stories if you are going to praise the newspaper.

If you find one of our stories that doesn’t agree with your obvious and stated bias, plse., don’t link to it.

That, at least, is according to Dominic Holden, of Seattle’s weekly The Stranger.

To the other, it should be noted that the part of the blog post Higgins is complaining about isn’t the part about one of his coworkers getting arrested for posting child pornography via Flickr.

In this case, it’s a more complicated kind of stupidity. See, Higgins is upset because Holden’s editorial outlook happens to differ from that of The Seattle Times, which in turn tries to pass off as news such thinly-veiled propaganda pieces—intended to bolster its own editorial outlook—as Lynn Thompson kindly provided.

In other words, if your editorial outlook disagrees with The Seattle Times, you need to leave that poor, defenseless, emotionally fragile newspaper alone.

(A note for Mr. Higgins: Look, man, everyone has their own editorial outlook. But one way to make people suspicious is for an alleged journalist—i.e., a newspaper’s Metro Editor—to complain about “obvious and stated bias”. After all, The Times has its own obvious and stated editorial bias, and has embarrassed itself before in pursuit of that bias. So, you know, dude, just chill out. Really. What is anyone supposed to think when you tell people who disagree with you to leave you alone?)