“When we talk about the soft censorship of taking books out of libraries, off reading lists, out of classrooms, we need to shift the focus of that conversation from “protecting the readers” to empowering them. We need to teach kids to think for themselves. We need to expect them to think for themselves and then we need to be a lot more willing to trust them to think for themselves.”

    — Megan Whalen Turner (via meganwhalenturner)


    you know what trope pisses me off the most? when the protag is pointing a gun at somebody and they’re like “you won’t do it. you’re too good” and the person holding the gun is like oh shit i am and they slowly lower the gun while the other person laughs. WHAT THE FUCK. if i were there, and somebody told me “you won’t do it” i would immediately shoot them dead without hesitating. who are you to tell me what i wont do. musty bitch


    Keep in mind that there is almost always a third option, most especially when the person talking is vague about what, precisely, it is that you “won’t do.”

    If it’s noodles, pour them on your sister instead of on her computer, or if the noodles are quite hot, pour them on her pillow or in a great spattering arc around her room.

    If you have a supervillain at gunpoint and *they* say you’re “too good” and “won’t do it,” shoot them in the leg/foot or the shoulder. The former allows them to think they’re right while you lower the gun only to be confronted with sudden understanding and regret when you blow their metatarsals to kingdom come, while the latter is instant and avoids giving them even a moment’s satisfaction or any time to charge you while you’re lowering the gun to shoot them in the leg.

    Door Number Three usually exists and is often your friend. Endeavor to cultivate awareness thereof.


    Ethical dillemas are rarely reducible down to a clear binary.


    Getting philosophical here


    There are two rules when it comes to making threats:

    1. Always follow through. If you make a threat, then don’t do it, whoever you’re threatening will literally never listen to you again. You won’t get what you want, and you’ll lose pretty much every ounce of respect. Not only that, but you’ll also telegraph to anyone around you that you can be walked over.

    2. Never start at the top. If you’re threatening someone, always have a point to escalate to, in case you need to follow through a second time to get what you want. You can only kill someone once, and if you threaten to do so and then don’t, you’re breaking rule 1. You want to start at a level that matches your desires, and then step up each further threat until you either get it, or they’re dead. Usually you only have to threaten someone twice, because they’ll know from the first time that you’ll do it.

    (For legal reasons, this is writing advice).


    “This time” is also a good option as it suggests that at any moment a noodle attack could occur. 


    “I have sat in philosophy seminars where it was asserted that I should be left to die on a desert island if the choice was between saving me and saving an arbitrary non-disabled person. I have been told it would be wrong for me to have my biological children because of my disability. I have been told that, while it isn’t bad for me to exist, it would’ve been better if my mother could’ve had a non-disabled child instead. I’ve even been told that it would’ve been better, had she known, for my mother to have an abortion and try again in hopes of conceiving a non-disabled child. I have been told that it is obvious that my life is less valuable when compared to the lives of arbitrary non-disabled people. And these things weren’t said as the conclusions of careful, extended argument. They were casual assertions. They were the kind of thing you skip over without pause because it’s the uncontroversial part of your talk. Now, of course, no one has said these things to me specifically. They haven’t said “Hey, Elizabeth Barnes, this is what we think about you!” But they’ve said them about disabled people in general, and I’m a disabled person. Even just thinking about statements like these, as I write this, I feel so much – sadness, rage, and more than a little shame. It’s an odd thing, a hard thing, to try to take these emotions and turn them into interesting philosophy and careful arguments. My first reaction isn’t to sit down and come up with carefully crafted counterexamples for why the views I find so disgusting are false. My first reaction is to want to punch the people that say these things in the face. (Or maybe shut myself in my room and cry. Or maybe both. It depends on the day.) It’s a strange thing – an almost unnatural thing – to construct careful, analytically rigorous arguments for the value of your own life, or for the bare intelligibility of the claims made by an entire civil rights movement.”

    — Elizabeth Barnes, “Confessions of a Bitter Cripple,” Philosop-her (x)

    “When he was a little boy, Sam Vimes had thought that the very rich ate off gold plates and lived in marble houses. He’d learned something new: the very VERY rich could afford to be poor. Sybil Ramkin lived in the kind of poverty that was only available to the very rich, a poverty that was only available to the very rich, a poverty approached from the other side. Women who were merely well-off saved up and bought dresses made of silk edged with lace and pearls, but Lady Ramkin was so rich she could afford to stomp around the place in rubber boots and a tweed skirt that had belonged to her mother. She was so rich she could afford to live on biscuits and cheese sandwiches. She was so rich she lived in three rooms in a thirty-four-roomed mansion; the rest of them were full of very expensive and very old furniture, covered in dust sheets. The reason that the rich were so rich, Vimes reasoned, was because they managed to spend less money. […] The mansion was was full of this big, solid furniture, bought by her ancestors. It never wore out. She had whole boxes full of jewellery which just seemed to have accumulated over the centuries. Vimes had seen a wine cellar that a regiment of speleologists could get so happily drunk in that they wouldn’t mind that they’d got lost without a trace. Lady Sybil Ramkin lived quite comfortably from day to day by spending, Vimes estimated, about half as much as he did.”

    — Terry Pratchett, Men at Arms

    Ever since I found out that earthworms have taste buds all over the delicate pink strings of their bodies, I pause dropping apple peels into the compost bin, imagine the dark, writhing ecstasy, the sweetness of apples permeating their pores. I offer beets and parsley, avocado, and melon, the feathery tops of carrots.

    I’d always thought theirs a menial life, eyeless and hidden, almost vulgar—though now, it seems, they bear a pleasure so sublime, so decadent, I want to contribute however I can, forgetting, a moment, my place on the menu.

    Feeding the Worms by Danusha Laméris

    “For all the scattered hubs of gayness and for all the straight world’s belief in the contagion of homosexuality, it is not a behaviour that requires a gay culture to spread. From the individual stories that eventually emerged, we know that throughout America, in every corner of the country and in every level of society and at every time in history, two men or two women would look at each other with silent understanding and, once again, homosexuality was invented.”

    — William Wright (Harvard’s Secret Court)


    “One day there was an anonymous present sitting on my doorstep—Volume One of Capital by Karl Marx, in a brown paper bag. A joke? Serious? And who had sent it? I never found out. Late that night, naked in bed, I leafed through it. The beginning was impenetrable, I couldn’t understand it, but when I came to the part about the lives of the workers—the coal miners, the child laborers—I could feel myself suddenly breathing more slowly. How angry he was. Page after page. Then I turned back to an earlier section, and I came to a phrase that I’d heard before, a strange, upsetting, sort of ugly phrase: this was the section on “commodity fetishism,” “the fetishism of commodities.” I wanted to understand that weird-sounding phrase, but I could tell that, to understand it, your whole life would probably have to change. His explanation was very elusive. He used the example that people say, “Twenty yards of linen are worth two pounds.” People say that about every thing that it has a certain value. This is worth that. This coat, this sweater, this cup of coffee: each thing worth some quantity of money, or some number of other things—one coat, worth three sweaters, or so much money—as if that coat, suddenly appearing on the earth, contained somewhere inside itself an amount of value, like an inner soul, as if the coat were a fetish, a physical object that contains a living spirit. But what really determines the value of a coat? The coat’s price comes from its history, the history of all the people involved in making it and selling it and all the particular relationships they had. And if we buy the coat, we, too, form relationships with all those people, and yet we hide those relationships from our own awareness by pretending we live in a world where coats have no history but just fall down from heaven with prices marked inside. “I like this coat,” we say, “It’s not expensive,” as if that were a fact about the coat and not the end of a story about all the people who made it and sold it, “I like the pictures in this magazine.”A naked woman leans over a fence. A man buys a magazine and stares at her picture. The destinies of these two are linked. The man has paid the woman to take off her clothes, to lean over the fence. The photograph contains its history—the moment the woman unbuttoned her shirt, how she felt, what the photographer said. The price of the magazine is a code that describes the relationships between all these people—the woman, the man, the publisher, the photographer—who commanded, who obeyed. The cup of coffee contains the history of the peasants who picked the beans, how some of them fainted in the heat of the sun, some were beaten, some were kicked.For two days I could see the fetishism of commodities everywhere around me. It was a strange feeling. Then on the third day I lost it, it was gone, I couldn’t see it anymore.”

    Wallace Shawn, The Fever

    (To understand it, your whole life would probably have to change.)


    I saw Wallace Shawn at the end of this quote and thought surely it’s a different Wallace Shawn surely it’s not the fucking dinosaur from Toy Story this can’t be the fucking Sicilian from the Princess Bride but it is. It’s the same fucking guy I just read an explanation of commodity fetishism written by Mr. Incredible’s tiny boss at the insurance company

    “This is what makes Musk’s Mars vision so different than, say, the Apollo missions or the International Space Station. This isn’t really exploration for humanity’s sake — there’s not that much science assumed here, as there was in the Moon missions. Musk wants to build the ultimate luxury package, exclusively for the richest among us. Musk isn’t trying to build something akin to Matt Damon’s spartan research base in “The Martian.” He wants to build Mars-a-Lago. And an economy based on tourism, particularly high-end tourism, needs employees — even if a high degree of automation is assumed. And as I’ve written about before, that means a lot of labor at the lowest cost possible. Imagine signing away years of your life to be a housekeeper in the Mars-a-Lago hotel, with your communications, water, food, energy usage, even oxygen tightly managed by your employer, and no government to file a grievance to if your employer cuts your wages, harasses you, cuts off your oxygen. Where would Mars-a-Lago’s employees turn if their rights were impinged upon? Oh wait, this planet is run privately? You have no rights. Musk’s vision for Mars colonization is inherently authoritarian. The potential for the existence of the employees of the Martian tourism industry to slip into something resembling indentured servitude, even slavery, cannot be underestimated.”

    — Keith A. Spencer, Against Mars-a-Lago: Why SpaceX’s Mars colonization plan should terrify you


    “A former LAPD officer writing about the Rodney King case pointed out that in most of the occasions in which a citizen is severely beaten by police, it turns out that the victim was actually innocent of any crime. “Cops don’t beat up burglars”, he observed. If you want to cause a policeman to be violent, the surest way is to challenge their right to define the situation. This is not something a burglar is likely to do. This of course makes perfect sense if we remember that police are, essentially, bureaucrats with guns. Bureaucratic procedures are all about questions of definition. Or, to be more precise, they are about the imposition of a narrow range of pre-established schema to a social reality that is, usually, infinitely more complex: a crowd can be either orderly or disorderly; a citizen can be white, black, Hispanic, or an Asian/ Pacific Islander; a petitioner is or is not in possession of a valid photo ID. Such simplistic rubrics can only be maintained in the absence of dialogue; hence, the quintessential form of bureaucratic violence is the wielding of the truncheon when somebody “talks back”.”

    — David Graeber, On the Phenomenology of Giant Puppets: Broken windows, imaginary jars of urine, and the cosmological role of the police in American culture
    (via probablyasocialecologist)


    Police brutality is a legally sanctioned power fantasy with no relation to 'maintaining public safety'