free speech - Free Speech, Sea Lions, Sad Puppies, Comment Moderation and the Modern Day Salon
At workIn the worldSocial justice

I stuck my neck out not too long ago on the Sad Puppy debate, and got some criticism. Some people criticized my use of a psychological frame for what they saw as a social justice debate, others had trouble distinguishing between my identification of common psychological tropes evident in public actions of people involved in the debate with diagnosis of those people. I have addressed these issues privately with those involved, and will probably write a post about the importance of understanding underlying psychological issues to social justice arguments in the future. My website is now set to having comment moderation on at all times, which is new for me. I was unprepared for the influx of people, most of whom created new accounts specifically to comment on my blog, or in some cases to comment on the Sad Puppy issue in general, who, rather than debating in good faith, spent as much time as they could wasting my time, moving goal posts, insisting that their concerns be addressed (in an article that specifically addressed the issue of entitlement, no less) and generally acting like bad guests. Print PDF

Read More
hugo sad puppies rabid puppies
Books and book reviewsIn the worldPolitics and political scienceShared joy & pain

The State of the Puppies Up to Now For those of you not familiar with the current controversy about the Hugo Award in Science Fiction, go here, here, and here to read up on what is happening. I do have skin in the game. I am a Worldcon supporting member, and I have long standing friendships and correspondences with several authors and editors and artists in science fiction. I am also a feminist, an anti-racist ally, an LGBTQ ally, and overall what the Hugo Sad Puppies would call a “SJW” (social justice warrior, meant as a pejorative when they say it). I am not going to try to diagnose anyone involved in this issue, I am only going to discuss some broad psychological principles that apply. I am trained in social work, and hold a license to practice in the state of Missouri. My “day job” is as a psychotherapist in my own practice, and I have specialized over the last ten years on issues of poverty, trauma, and personality disorders, with a lot of depression and anxiety thrown in. I have had a fascination with, and have done a lot of work with, people who abuse. The basic premise

Read More
Before remodeling spring 2015
At homeBudgeting

Okay, so my house has spots and saggy bits, as I’ve said before. It’s remodeling time. Last week a guy came by to measure up the house and give us an estimate on new siding, windows, soffit and fascia, and maybe even insulation in the attic (Ouch! That sticker price was high). This week, Husband and I are heading to the bank for a talk with our friendly local bank (big banks are evil!!!!) about a consolidation/home improvement loan in order to get that done and reduce our credit card debt and bring the payments down. It’s not ideal (we would rather have been able to do it with cash), but it looks like we are finally making steps toward having a house that doesn’t have a breeze through it in the middle of winter. This is exciting stuff, on a par with the year we got a real live furnace (prior to that we were heating the downstairs with a floor furnace that was over 50 years old, and the upstairs with a standing unit that only heated one room. Mostly we hung out in front of the wood stove), and the year we got a new roof and it

Read More
candles for Mason Atagi and Dylan Thompson
Shared joy & pain

I live in Independence MO, which is an unusual town in many respects. It is overshadowed in terms of size by Kansas City to the west, but Independence is the older city, and the county seat. It is the first home of the Latter Day Saints before they moved west, and when they left they left the Community of Christ, an offshoot of the LDS church, to form their own religious center here. Both churches firmly believe that Independence is the literal paradise the Bible promises, which many find ironic due to the severe methamphetamine epidemic that swept through here in the late nineties and still leaves its mark on the town. Independence is also the home of Harry Truman, and the town from which pioneers headed west left in their wagons.  Like our town, the people are a well of contradictions, and this is reflected in these two deaths. And two teenage boys died last week here, Mason Atagi and Dylan Thompson. I didn’t know either of them, but this is a small enough community that I was affected by both of their deaths, and my youngest sons was “friends of friends” with both of them. What I say

Read More
personal is political
Of mind & bodyPoliticsQuestioning

“Questioning” (“Participating”, “Noodling”) is a regular feature of this website asking a question, inviting people to participate in an experience, positing an idea, or in some other way encouraging people to “join the dance”. I’ve done this in the past as well. I highly encourage you to pass this around to your friends and family and get the conversation started. How “the personal is political” applies to me: Unlike most of my extended family, both biological and through marriage, I am an unabashed liberal, feminist, anti-racist, pro marriage equality advocate for poverty elimination and the rule of law. My mother was probably privately pretty liberal. At the very least, she really enjoyed the company of people from diverse backgrounds and was largely accepting of other peoples’ differences. My dad appears to have never given much thought to the matter, and makes casually racist remarks about people close to him that are nothing so much as clueless. Print PDF

Read More
social justice "listen to the voiceless" on a wall
In the worldSocial justice

From Wikipedia: Kyriarchy is a social system or set of connecting social systems built around domination, oppression, and submission. I’ve made a very personal and very uncomfortable decision this year: No matter what the cost, this year I will use my privilege to speak up every single time I hear a statement that is unthinkingly racist, misogynist, homophobic, ableist or otherwise bigoted toward a minority group. There is only one important exception, and some additional caveats. Print PDF

Read More