Thursday, April 24, 2008


I haven't posted anything in a while but I've got the urge again so here it goes.

I've read a lot online about how the mainstream feminist movement has been blind to the needs of "Women of Color" (WoC) and the oppression of other minorities. So it didn't completely surprise me to see that with this curious incident that some feminists completely missed the point along with not seeing the oppression that drove the incident in the first place.

So what is this oppression, and who are the oppressed I'm referring to? They're the socially inept, the geeks, the shy, the ones who lack the charisma and self confidence (arrogance?) needed to act out the normal rituals of socially acceptable sexual initiation. The ones unable to dance the dance that is considered the acceptable way of pursuing romantic or sexual interest. The oppression harms through the denial of human intimacy and companionship, where even though there are two willing participants they are denied interaction because either one is incapable of meeting the dictated standard of appropriate behavior. This is oppression is perpetuated by the fact that the charismatically privileged dominate popular media normalising, the use of their charisma as the acceptable way to express sexual desire, and oppressing those who lack those abilities. This is similar to the way their appearance drives the issue of body image.

The Open-Source Boob Project was an attempt to normalise or standardise the method of communicating sexual desire; to remove the mystical nature and ambiguity that confuses many, particularly those within the geek community, and denies them access to the intimacy they are born to need. In addition (and possibly more importantly) it would have normalised both the acceptance and rejection of the proposition, allowing for clear communication channels for matters of a sexual nature which would in turn reduce miscommunication and misunderstanding that leads to so many problems in the social-sexual realm.

It seems to me that those on feministing would seem to demonise any attempt to communicate sexual desire because such communication might make the woman feel uncomfortable dealing with the man. Firstly they're obviously critical of the active and direct approach; I mean asking a polite question and respecting the answer is just wrong. Secondly they deride the passive and direct approach by critising the badges; clearly not all women will have an interest in such approaches sex but why is it wrong to express your views that such approaches are acceptable to you? Finally using subtlety, such as the way someone dresses, to determine who might be interested is out too because such ambiguity might lead to misinterpretation: Did you catch that? "The ones who'd dressed to impress"? Almost as if they were "asking for it"? That because they were wearing a tight shirt, their breasts were practically public property, anyway?

I guess there's no acceptable way for a guy to initiate a sexually orientated discussion that's acceptable to feminists, even when both parties to the discussion have clearly indicated their desire to be involved. I'm wondering how feminists manage to initiate a sexual interaction when there appears no acceptable way to do so, unless they're suggesting that women shouldn't be free to control their bodies and must follow the puritanical way by tying sex to an emotional relationship.

The Open-Source label isn't about the boobs being free and open to anyone, it's about it being socially acceptable that a woman's views on her boobs are free and open, although I can certainly understand the software movement being uncomfortable with the association to politically incorrect progressive ideas. Like with the software movement, an open and free exchange of information will enable better collaboration between like minded individuals and the sharing of resources to meet a common goal; or the pairing of those with want-to-touch hands and those with want-to-be-touched boobs. Doing so would reduce the oppression of the "geek class" by enabling them to access physical human intimacy, something taken for granted by the charismatically-privileged.

I'm guessing there are several reasons that feminists of Feministing dislike this idea. I'm guessing it's partly because they rank the desire to be free from other's sexual expression to be more important than the ability of others to express their sexuality, but this runs contrary to the views of freedom of expression that exist throughout the west. Which is assuming that the reason isn't that they are blinded by their privilege from seeing the need for a more direct approach to sexual socialisation. It could also be that they're still influenced by the puritanism created by the patriarchy and believe that sex should be taboo and hidden away, particularly when it comes to female anatomy. Further the more cynical part of me would guess that by enabling the open discussion of sexuality would reduce the mysticism surrounding sex and hence reduce its power when used as a weapon against men.

Finally I'd suggest that i might be due to bigotry, like the way sexist bigots sought to exclude women from the workplace because they caused discomfort in some men, social adept women seek to exclude those less adept from the social-sexual environment because they cause discomfort in some women; or possibly like the way homophobic bigots detest the way homosexuals might engage in public displays of affection that makes the bigots uncomfortable, this more formal and clinical approach to sexuality causes these feminist to be uncomfortable; or perhaps worst, like the racist bigot believes black people don't deserve freedom they believe that the social inept don't deserve human intimacy.

One only has to look at the different ways violence and sex are treated in popular media, morality discussion and ratings systems to see the way sex is viewed within much of the English West has been twisted beyond rationalism or sanity. We, as a society, need new ways of looking at sex and given the importance of consent in the way we judge sexual interaction it is counter productive to critise those who query for consent in a clear manner. I think it's great that geeks would use their ingenuity to come up with novel approaches to such social-sexual interaction.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Cercle de lecture

I seem to have given someone an impression or two that I might, oh I don't know... actually read books. Although I'd normally scorn such social obligation, even trivial ones, I was feeling sunburnt, stuffed and sorry-for-myself on Sunday afternoon and decided that I might solicit some sympathy. However, (un?)fortunately a quick search of my room revealed I did not have a single book therein. It appears all the books I own are currently archived at my parents place after failing the I-want-to-read-them-right-now test when I was packing up to move out.

At work however, I do have a book (two actually) within my possession that I've borrowed from a colleague. It's quite probably one of the least invigorating books I've read so hopefully the Swedish Chef will hide that it's a complete humdrum.

Expereeence-a veet preefetiseshun in muny icunumeees, ispeceeelly defelupeeng, is steell leemited. Bork bork bork! In a soorfey recently cerreeed oooot, ooff 37 defelupeeng cuoontreees it ves fuoond thet in ell by tvu, zee noomber ooff interpreeses suld, leesed oor cuntrected oooot vere-a fooer thun 20, und zee egenceees usooelly hed smell esset felooes und impluyment; un iqooeefelent peectoore-a frum defeluped cuoontreees fur zee seme-a pereeud gefe-a fooer thun 30 egenceees preefetised fur ebuoot 35 cuoontreees. Um gesh dee bork, bork! Neferzeeless, ifee sooch leemited ixpereeence-a ooffffers sume-a cleer preefetiseshun lessuns. Um gesh dee bork, bork!

T.W.Berrie - Electricity Economics and Planning
I'm going to skip the tagging step, as my dice are neither at work nor home (nor my parents place) so I am unable to roll a d6 without more effort than I'm willing to spend. I can however bask in the uniqueness that is me, at least as far as wikipedia is concerned.

Since I'm at work, I guess I should actually get back to work and continue being the WiSE guy.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Oh mon dieu ! Il y a une hache dans ma tête!

Because if there was ever a phrase that needed a translation between all known languages...

(Shamelessly borrowed from here.)

Monday, February 11, 2008

Bloc de quatre

It's amazing how many things I've developed a passion for that I've thrown aside. It only takes a small change and they slip out of my routine, vanishing to the dusty corners of my memory. Even a momentary distraction, an infatuation with a flashy novelty can make me forget a true love.

I'm somewhat of a tetris nut. I play it hard, I play it fast. I play so much I get blisters on my fingers. One time when I was away on a trip for work, I got bored in my hotel and programmed tetris using Access on the work laptop I had. And I've just realised that it's been months since I've actually played. I've missed my blocks.

"Fun" isn't the word I'd use to describe the way I play. It's more of an experience where the rational side of my brain becomes completely engrossed in making the blocks fall in the right places that the rest of me gets a break. I can think like me again. With loud tunes pumping through my headphones I can tune right out from the world. It's problems. My problems. I'm free.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Temps à perdre

I've been reading a lot of other different blogs lately, which has chewed up the time I was going to use writing mine. They all seem to end up leading into some sort of philosophical discussion and from there my mind gets drawn into some sort of endless sinkhole of compacted emptiness. It doesn't help that the more I read the more it changes what I think, and therefore what I think about writing. So it's kinda been hard to nail down my thoughts long enough to get them out. So I figured maybe I'd take a break and watch a movie or something.

The movie I decided to watch is called "The Nines". It had some tag line about an actor who's life was falling apart and was mixed in with a game producer or something. Didn't sound overly interesting and I didn't really want a movie I need to think for. It ended up being a bit of a twisted view on perception and reality. Unlike some others I've seen, such as 13th floor, it managed to have the quality characters needed to draw me in while it slipped in past my consciousness only to unleash its mindfuck from within. So much for taking a break.

There's a few web comics I try to keep up with regularly so I think I'm gonna see if I can add them over there -> somewhere. There's quite a few more that I enjoy but only look at irregularly so I might add them sometime too. And may end up looking at them more frequently as well.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Faites ce que je dis, pas ce que je fais.

This rebellious teenager, the one who has reached a legend status of epic proportions, got my attention. He's achieved the dreams of every popularity seeking, party throwing teenager. His party made international news. He then proceeded to stand up to authority and tell them he'd do it again, resulting in the police making fools of themselves with over the top charges as try tried to save face. The part of me that spent years as an oppressed teenager just couldn't help smiling.

It got me thinking, trying to find a reason why we, as a seemly advanced society, have the preoccupation with such baseless popularism. Can we really blame those who get propelled to the top? Should we feel sympathy for them when they fall from grace?

For starters, aside from betraying his parents, we can't attribute any significant wrong to this kid. He's grown up in a society of pop stars, celebrities and idols; one that grants wealth and success to those who become popular. He's grown up in a world that worships democracy; a system where we make choices by ticking a box; no reason, no justification, just choice for the sake of choice. He's doing what he sees our leaders doing, using cheap antics and shock tactics to gain popularity and power. The real question is why do we do it?

I think it's an artifact of the information age. Social values move at a much slower pace than technology has over the last century or so. In the days before instant world wide communication or rapid long distant transport, one had to impress enough locals and garner enough support before one could take their proverbial show on the proverbial road. To get that critical mass one had to have something worth having. This lead to the correlation between substance and popularity, so when people heard someone was popular they assumed they were a person worth knowing about. The relative slow rate at which popularity spread would give time for them to be critically examined, weeding out most of the nobodies.

What I see is a society that places great value in widespread popularity when in fact it is something that is all to easy to obtain. Rather than question the ease with which popularity is gained, I think we need to reevaluate the value we place in it.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Confort matériels

I was greeted with a strange scene this morning, when I stumbled upon my house mate sound asleep in front of a blaring tv, rolled up in a blanket with the AC blasting full ball. It's amazing what people will to do achieve the level of comfort they need to get some sleep. When I was younger I used to sleep with my fan on while I slept under a sheet or blanket. It seems that its not the fact that we are warm, but the act of keeping warm that creates a sense of comfort. I guess it's the same way being inside and dry while it pours down rain outside creates such a cozy atmosphere. Something to do with a (false) sense of security from the elements that we're somewhat programmed to protect ourselves from. The development of behavioral traits to deal with an obsolete genetic adaption probably occurs well before the genetic adaption disappears.

I find that the more effort I spent trying to explain things I see in life, the more questions I find. And the more my brain hurts. The limits of my rather human intellect are quite frustrating, which is probably why I get such a sense of enjoyment out of debating issues with others. Our collective intellect has so much more potential to learn. And I like learning. I'm weird like that.