what I’ve been up to lately

I’ve been writing here less because I’ve mostly been doing work on Twitter and What Is GamerGate Currently Ruining for the past few months. I started the #RooshIsARapist hashtag, which quickly turned into calling on Amazon to remove his books from their store (more info on Roosh from WIGGCR). I wrote a Twitter essay yesterday on Roosh, GamerGate, Men’s Rights “Activism”, Pick-Up Artists and the relationships between them, male entitlement, and rape culture.

In bot news, I made @wigglebunch, which comes up with great things to call your pet, for Pet Jam.

I also put together a page on here for all of my projects, so you can view them in one place, and I’m putting some of my essays that I write here on Medium as well.

That Article was horseshit. It was also biphobic, but that’s not the only reason it was horseshit.

So everyone on the Queer Internet– or at least Queer Twitter– has been talking about this awful article in XOJane, and there are a few things I want to say about it.

The first is that this is biphobic as hell. Bi people get our queerness policed all the time. I get that people are mad that we have passing privilege, but the privilege to pretend to be something you aren’t and have a part of your identity unrecognized unless you are constantly reaffirming it isn’t fun. In addition, we’re disproportionately subjected to violence and suffer from higher rates of mental illness and suicide than lesbians. (spidey_j, over on Twitter, did a great round-up of the facts on this.)

I saw responses on Twitter that were attempting to turn this around by saying “well if you’re really bisexual you aren’t who the article is talking about”, sometimes actually including that maybe we’re the biphobic ones by thinking it was.

Here’s the thing: when a bunch of bi people read a thing and say “hey, this contributes to a culture that explicitly marginalizes and excludes us”, you should fucking believe us.

The second thing is that this is yet another thing that is trying to place gayness at the center of what it means to be queer, and that’s fucking bullshit. Queerness is an intentionally big umbrella because there is room for a lot of different people under it. For all that the article drops some stuff about dating non-binary folks, it’s explicitly about women who, for whatever reason, don’t date women, and saying they’re co-opting queerness by claiming that identity.

There’s a ton of women who absolutely have claim to queerness if the want to, even if they don’t date women. Transgender women, asexual and/or aromantic women, women who don’t date or fuck at all for whatever reason, women who aren’t able to publicly out themselves because of danger, and a lot more kinds of women who aren’t– however they present themselves, since many people have been coerced into the closet– cisgender and/or heterosexual.

The third is that this article made me feel less welcome in queer and/or lesbian spaces, and the women who posted agreement with it made me feel less safe, even though I’m doing the “correct” things that the author wants me to do, like outing myself all the time and shoving my queerness in the straights’ faces all the time. This kind of piece gives people permission to play Queer Police, to make us have to make sure we’re Gay Enough to occupy queer spaces, that we’re passing the You Must Be This Gay To Ride test. Knowing that well, I’m not one of those bisexuals doesn’t help, because my queerness isn’t a condition that can be erased just because the “real gays” don’t approve of it.

bot idea list

Bots that I think would be cool, but do not yet have the skillz to make (if you want to make one of these feel free to! just credit me in the bot’s Twitter bio or something):

  • a bot that grabs descriptions of videos on pornhub and replaces all the sex-related words with business buzzwords
  • a bot that grabs parts of two sets of quotes, Headline Smasher/Two Headlines style, and mashes them together, attributing them, incorrectly to a third person
  • a bot that grabs a list of 12 related nouns (such as 12 different vegetables, 12 fictional characters, etc– maybe using Wikipedia categories?), assigns each one to a horoscope sign, and posts them on Tumblr, a la the zodiac meme. This would also work with images. Hell, you could probably just grab a dozen images from giphy and end up with something surprisingly coherent at least half the time.

Bots that I totally could make but haven’t yet that I might make someday and which I could absolutely make if someone wanted to pay me to make them:

  • terrible names for bad guys in RPGs
  • a bot version of Orcwanker
  • a Tumblr aesthetic generator
  • a bot that says nice or encouraging things
  • artisinal beer name generator
  • creepy Lush products generator
  • terrible workout tips
  • travel/vacation ideas
  • a (pseudo) Markov bot that grabs tweets from all of my bots and smashes them together
  • a random horoscope generator (maybe for every sign?)
  • a random tarot reading (with or without interpretation)

I’ll add links if I make any of these. You can support me on Patreon to get me to make ’em a lot faster; once I get to the $250 mark I’ll be doing an extra project a month, and that can be an essay or a bot.

observations on @colormaton

I made yet another bot. This one invents names for colors. I picked the words in its corpus mostly by taking apart existing lists of colors (“yellow”, “eggplant”, “jade”), combined with one list of interesting words that aren’t color-related at all (“goat”, “grace”, “madam”) and one list of words that can be used to modify many different colors (“vivid”, “zany”, “baby”). There are a few different combinations that these can appear in, some drawing multiple entries from the same list.

I observed some interesting things while building the bot and while watching what it comes up with.

  • Most color names that aren’t just for the color (like “yellow”) come from plants (especially food plants) and stones.
  • Because of this, most of the stuff that @colormaton comes up with sounds more like a weird description of a rock and/or food than an actual color.
  • The things it comes up with that ARE plausible colors sound sort of ridiculous, but seem, at least to me, like they wouldn’t be out of place on, say, a dollar store bottle of nail polish.

You can follow @colormaton on Twitter.

New bots, bot making and depression

I made yet another Twitter bot, @luxe_products; it’s my most complex one yet, and I’m really proud of it. I got a lot of help from my best friend, who is wonderful in many ways and consistently willing to get drinks and brainstorm lists of nouns while making fun of the Williams-Sonoma and SkyMall catalogs; she was also incredibly helpful in the creation of @lady_products. I also made @wrongben, which is a really bad joke, but it makes me laugh.

I suffer from chronic depression and have a sleep apnea related condition that isn’t really under control yet, and I’m finding that these bots are the perfect kind of project for me. It’s easy to pick up and put down work on them; there are lots of supportive people who will help if you can’t figure something out, and there are pretty accessible tools for making them.

The big thing with them that makes them work for me, though, is that they’re an investment against future mood slumps and periods of exhaustion, which for me can last from days to, occasionally, weeks. Because they’re on Twitter, they keep pumping out little pieces of art for me even when I’m not capable of doing that. Since I made them largely to amuse myself, they are making jokes that make me smile, and I feel less like an unproductive failure of a human being, because these little bot-babies I made are still out there doing work for me. It’s a good feeling.

Reed’s Law

A long, tedious forum conversation about sexism this week made me invent Reed’s Law: “Any conversation in which a specific type of men’s sexist behavior is discussed will have men come in and perform the sexist behavior that is being discussed.”

It’s a kind of very, very specific application of Lewis’ Law, “Comments on any article about feminism justify feminism.”

Bad Blood is the best action movie of this year, fight me

Okay, I know we’re only at the beginning of the summer and I haven’t even seen Mad Max: Fury Road yet but I’m prepared to say that Taylor Swift’s music video for “Bad Blood” is the best action movie of this year.

Here is everything good about sci-fi action movies. All of these things are in her video:

  • Badass looking but actually incredibly impractical weapons and outfits
  • Ridiculous awesome futuristic makeup that will is already kinda ridiculous but will probably look super dated in like 2 years
  • That thing where someone’s awesome superhero name comes up on the screen after they do something cool
  • Three-point landings
  • Windows shattering in slow motion as people get thrown through them
  • Sci-fi looking lighting schemes that are in those computer-y motherboard-type patterns
  • Boots
  • Shaking hair out after taking off a motorcycle helmet
  • Tron bikes

Here is everything boring about sci-fi action movies. None of these things are in her video:

  • People getting their cool outfits all dirty in ways that doesn’t even look cool and then staying like that for the whole rest of the movie, just to show how “gritty” it is
  • Grittiness in general
  • The male protagonist’s female loved ones getting fridged so he can develop as a character
  • Male protagonists wincing a lot and looking angry/constipated
  • Male protagonist character arcs in general
  • Male protagonists
  • Men in general (Kendrick Lamar excepted)

I would stiletto-saunter over the corpses of a hundred Age of Ultrons for a feature film based on this music video. This is a post-Jupiter Ascending world, people. Give us what we want: 2 hours of Taylor Swift featuring 400 outfits and guest starring literally every woman in the music industry or Hollywood or whoever with each one getting a cool name and an original outfit and weapon.