the internet is not just for porn (but SOPA and PIPA could ruin that, too)

Dear Friends,

January 18th has come and gone, but the threat of SOPA and PIPA remain. I would imagine that anyone reading this blog is already aware of and opposed to SOPA, PIPA, and any other form of internet censorship. However, just for good measure, let me give you this:

I realize that my blog is just a little site that doesn’t get boat loads of traffic, but as a lover of technology and information, I have a vested interest in protecting the internet — and if you’re reading this site, then you do, too.

Look, I don’t advocate for piracy at all. I believe content producers (musicians, artists, writers, photographers, and the people who help make that work happen) deserve to be fairly compensated for their work. But that’s not what SOPA and PIPA are about.

SOPA and PIPA are perfect examples of poorly written legislation (or connivingly written depending on how you look at it) that simply reinforce the idea that in this so-called free country, the people with the money are the people with the power. These bills don’t serve the interests of individual artists. They don’t serve innovators. They don’t support communication or the sharing of ideas.

They are simply bad legislation, the enforcement of which would result in yet another bureaucratic clusterfuck, the likes of which has become all too common in this country and tends to result in the further disenfranchisement of people like you and me.

My fear is that not only artists and bloggers but also journalists and technological innovators could be powerfully impacted by SOPA and PIPA. From the journalism perspective, these bills could make it possible for someone like Rupert Murdoch to claim copyright infringement thereby causing a story he doesn’t like or an entire publication to go dark. From the tech innovator perspective, the brain cycles of those geniuses who bring us amazing tech advances every day would go to waste on trying to make the internet itself comply with the absurd, red-tape-wrapped regulations that these bills propose.

As a writer, as someone from a family of artists, as the wife of one of those people who makes the internet a fucking amazing place to be, and as a friend of geniuses and nerds of all stripes, I am asking you to continue your opposition to internet censorship. The power of the people, a strong journalistic tradition, and a high value on innovation are the things that make this country one worth living in. Let’s make sure it stays that way. Contact your congressional representatives before Jan. 24, and tell them this legislation is wrong wrong wrong.

xoxo –

MissDirt

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Secret Stories

So, my friend E, who only ever refers to people by their initials and strange nicknames, says this in a recent blog post:

Every writer has a secret story, SC says in the developers’ session, a story they’ll often tell you when they’re drunk or know you very well. It’s the story they really want to tell, the story they’re working towards.

It got me thinking: What’s my secret story?

secret

photo by Duquesa Mercedes

And I think I know what the secret story is. Or what I want it to be. I think the secret story is why I keep going back to these old books by old boys, books about growing up and battling with the world, coming to grips with reality, etc. There are quite a few of these spiritual/intellectual coming of age novels all about how a boy becomes a man, but there are so few about the transition a young woman experiences. Why is that?

Is it because so many people just summarize our transition as getting your period and a bra? Well, I have my own theories about that, and I just deleted two long-winded paragraphs about it because I’m going to save those thoughts for another time. But the secret story I want to write is the story of a new generation of women — women who are becoming themselves in a way that women before were never (or rarely) encouraged to do.

In the opening pages of Demian, Herman Hesse writes:

Each man’s life represents a road toward himself, an attempt at such a road, the intimation of a path. No man has ever been entirely and completely himself. Yet each one strives to become that — one in an awkward, the other in a more intelligent way, each as best he can.

The story I want to write is one in which that journey is as much for women as it is for men.

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Monday Night Nonfiction: Iran

Yes, I'm posting a 2nd Monday Night Nonfiction. This one is for everyone who's not my husband.

Dear Iran,
I love you guys. I really do. I don’t know how the world should respond to your situation right now. I don’t know what control we have or what right we have to make demands. I don’t know who is the best leader for Iran or what policies your country should enact or anything.

I believe you are good people. I believe you deserve the right to govern yourselves. I believe you deserve every last right that I have. I am so sorry for the losses you’re facing, and the chaos and frustration.

I want the very best for you all.

Peace,
dirt

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Get a Grip

Some days, like today, it’s best to just recap what’s going on in the world. Lots of people like to do their recapping on Friday, but why wait till Friday when you desperately need to get a grip on Tuesday?

On AIG and bonuses, from Slate.com:

Many top executives have employment contracts that specify a formula for computing their annual bonuses. These formulas usually incorporate some measure of overall company performance (stock price, free cash flow, or net income, for example) or the performance of the unit for which the executive is responsible. At some firms, the bonus formulas are freely determined by the board of directors and left out of any employment contracts—but the board may limit its own right to change the formula. It might, say, promise not to change the formula after a specific date. If the company then failed to pay under the original formula, a disgruntled executive could sue the firm for failing to follow its own rules. Under pressure from shareholders, many corporations are becoming more proactive about reserving the right to change their bonus structures. Some boards even reserve the right to recover bonuses already paid if there is evidence of bad behavior by the recipients.

On condoms, from Blueprint’s blog More Music, Less Bullshit:

I think its funny that most women who actually do have condoms have brands that men would never choose; weird ass colors or patterns, circular packaging, glow in the dark neon joints, etc. Most dudes stay loyal to one or two brands pretty much. Women get way more funky with it.

On condoms and the Pope, from globeandmail.com (link found thanks to @doshdosh):

He had never directly addressed condom use, but has said the Roman Catholic Church is in the forefront of the battle against AIDS. The Vatican encourages sexual abstinence to fight the spread of the disease.

“You can’t resolve it with the distribution of condoms,” the pope told reporters aboard the Alitalia plane on its way to Yaounde, Cameroon, where he has arrived to start his first visit to Africa as pontiff. “On the contrary, it increases the problem.”

On feminism, from StephPancake:

Assumptions bother me. They bother me more coming from other woman than from men, and the ease with which women seem to make assumptions is a large part of why I feel like feminism needs to refocus itself from fighting the patriarchy to fostering relationships between women.

On the return of good times, from Mystic Medusa, quoting Ladies Home Journal 1932:

The return of good times is not wholly a matter of money. There is a prosperity of living which is quite as important as prosperity or the pocketbook. It is not enough to be willing to make the best of things as they are. Resignation will get us nowhere. We must build what amounts to a new country. We must revive the ideals of the founders. We must learn the new values of money. It is a time for pioneering – to create a new security for the home and the family…Where we were specialists in spending, we are becoming specialists in living.

On journalism in the face of dying newspapers, from Cary Tennis:

As to the conventions of story form and lingo that are often taught in journalism school, and as to the many artifacts and customs that make up our lore, we are tradespeople and we are proud of what we know how to do. We like our tools and our lingo. But we must be smart and nimble, and if we remain sentimentally attached to the artifacts of our trade in the face of massive technological change, then we are no better than GM.

What’s on your mind lately, and who is helping you get a grip?

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