Category Archives: Activism

Consider this a warning.

I want you to know you’re killing me.

You always were. It isn’t news. But assume your postures of defense if you think I’m wrong. Tell me you’re protecting the economically disadvantaged in dire straits, stripped of health care because they can’t afford it, and what could I possibly know about that; and I promise, I promise, I won’t tell you in return how I teach a 4:4 load, tutor four hours a week, do freelance editing, and still have to ration out my doctor visits with a careful hand and weigh the costs of medication against the costs of my next meal. I won’t tell you how before ACA I had to ration physical therapy visits because of lifetime caps per body part and condition, or that I suffered pain like slow implosion for years before accepting a prescription that made life livable, because I couldn’t afford it. I won’t breathe a word about how all the proposed cuts, if I choose to live with them, will leave me with the kind of debt you can’t breathe through, like what ought to take your breath away, but won’t, the knowledge that millions like me or worse are imperiled by you.

Today you’re everywhere with your circle-jerk applause and sound-bite rhetoric you can easily repeat. Some kind of Yes, calm down, you’ll be fine, there are protections in place you know but really, you should know better, you should have taken better care of yourselves, eaten better, exercised more, stayed away from treatments your insurance wouldn’t cover, stopped getting sick, stopped aging, stopped having babies, having sex, moving, breathing, stopped your beating heart, if you knew you couldn’t pay the price.

What’s left that we can afford, but suicide, or murder.

You make it our civic duty to go off our meds and buy guns we’ll gleefully wave at anyone who is or isn’t there. Drown our unwanted in the bathtub like feral kittens. Put our dependents on the streets when they become too expensive. Die at our desks of chronic illness, cancer, heart disease, dementia, stroke, pneumonia, the flu. Decay into our landscapes. Hang ourselves high, where the warlord can see us and count us part of his triumph.

This is what we’re calling the new normal, or at last, a victory. That death is less ruinous than what you propose.

You know who you are. You are the ones who will denounce the above with apoplectic rage, but just tell me how it’s anything else. You know. You aren’t stupid. You exist to be unaccountable. You are the waterproof bandages with which we seal our outcry. You fashion greasy casual nooses and jeer as we walk by, all righteous fury because the world isn’t deepening the divisions you need. White/black. Able/disabled. Rich/poor. Living/not worth keeping alive.

You like it this way.

But we aren’t stupid, either, and we are not resigned. You’ve always been here, knives out and aimed at our guts, but it’s not for nothing that we’ve survived this long. We have learned how to outlast, with all our wits about us, we know that the kingdom you are building to map the heavens is habitable by monsters alone, that the closer you come to this 1:1 reflection the more you reveal that the gods as you spell them are ugly and false. Try to stamp us like cockroaches to primordial ooze, but we’ve always been oarfish, swimming vertically and forever, the messenger you are always killing before we expel even a breath to recount the error of your ways.

There is no heroism in murder.

Wield your signing pen against us like the Reign of Terror’s guillotine, and I promise, I promise, you will breed a nation of dissidents, a pantheon of deities rising from below, where we hail from in all our diversity, too far down the ladder for you to ever grasp.

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#DisabledAndCute Fibromyalgic Reporting In

cuteanddisabled

Here I was yesterday, in my office, feeling cute, feeling my invisible pain acutely. I’m drafting this today, on my phone, on my commute back from physical therapy. Today, I have none of the feeling I did yesterday. Yesterday, I had none of the confidence to contribute to the hashtag #cuteanddisabled, which I saw on Twitter and badly wanted to be a part of. It was a moment of visibility for a community I identify with, but one that is frequently socially determined by visual assessment. According to the eyes of our dominant culture, I pass for able-bodied. I have the privilege of being normatively cute with presumably minimal effort. When pain shatters the illusion, normate society recoils, cute suddenly synonymous with espionage, the cover of a less-than-functional human stealth-walking among you like I belong.

No one has to tell me I don’t, I know by our emphasis on vision that I belong nowhere.

Let me deconstruct.

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Breaking radio silence.

Today, I stand inside my apartment, in front of a closed door, as I have done each morning since Donald Trump became president-elect. The last time I had this much difficulty breathing, I was fresh from an appendectomy that excised the organ but couldn’t repair months’-long internal damage. My anticipated full-recovery date was November 13, my thirty-first birthday. This weekend, I turn 33, what some call the Jesus Year, the year we are meant for greatness. Three days ago, I watched the election results in the throes of a terrible cold that refused to let go, without surprise, with a rising mixture of feelings akin to what I felt during the climax of Sri Lanka’s civil war. I vomited once, and later that night, coughed up bloody phlegm. It felt as real as anything else, meaning it didn’t feel real at all.

Fibromyalgia means any bout of illness destroys me, physically and mentally, but for once I am grateful for this cough scraping the flesh from my throat, lungs, diaphragm, energy reserves, because it legitimated canceling my classes, it allowed me to stay in bed for days, to let my apartment go to shit, to utterly lose momentum on my dissertation, to wear the same pajamas day and night, through sweaty night terrors and takeout stains, and call all this something other than depression.

I can’t work up the courage to step outside.

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Critical Information Conference 2012

Excerpts from a panel on street art, hacktivism, and subversive inspiration at the Critical Information Conference 2012, held at the School of Visual Arts. The paper I presented, titled “We Do it for the Lulz: Graffiti as a Metaphor for Digital Defacement,” emerged out of research I am conducting regarding the political viability of DDoS actions as hacktivism. As they are so often accompanied by cyber-graffiti, I thought I’d take a shot at addressing their role and significance in hacktivist practice.

Materials from the entire conference can be found here.

Upcoming projects include a conference paper on the convergence of comics, animation, and gaming in the webcomic Homestuck, a conference paper on lurking as a methodology for studying 4chan, an optional random paper on polemology, art, and The Dark Knight Rises, and uploading textfile versions of current and pending publications.

Still waiting with bated breath to receive edits on a piece on the logics of misogyny on 4chan, still thrilled by being included in Black Clock 16, and still keeping busy, as always.

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Reflections on Censorship, Occupy Wall Street, and the 99%

By now I’m sure we’ve all heard about Union Square, Washington Square Park, the Brooklyn Bridge, and other city sites that have been marched on; we’ve all seen the video clips circulating on the Internet, read about the original July call put out by AdBusters, and the supposedly unintentional or accidental censorship of emails and Tweets with the Occupy Wall Street phrase or hashtag.  It does seem ridiculous that with the Occupy movement spreading to Washington D.C., the White House lawn, Los Angeles, Detroit, and banks and other corporate institutions everywhere, Twitter is currently trending #PeopleWhoAreOverrated and #moviebands.

Vibe, on the other hand, is overrrun with messages from Anonymous, the hive mind, bagpiper, and other similarly (un)identified individuals updating each other on Occupy Wall Street and the other Occupy movements springing up around the country and worldwide. Continue reading

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Gay Porn, Literacy Skills, and Julian Assange: the Affinity Spaces of Rule 34 on /y/

Yes, I know: no matter how you spin it, Rule 34 on Julian Assange just sounds wrong.

At any rate, I was sorting my files yesterday and came across a series of screencaps from a December thread on Yaoi – /y/ titled “Julian Assange,” in which OP rather shamefacedly requested Rule 34 on Assange.  Part of the Anon-authored Rules of the Internet, Rule 34 expresses the notion that if something exists, pornography of it also exists, no exceptions.  OP’s request caused other Anon to admit to similar desires, whether long-term or prompted by OP’s request.  What resulted was a three-part thread of epic proportions, in which writefags and drawfags mass-mobilized to create pornographic material and discuss WikiLeaks, Bradley Manning’s imprisonment, Jacob Appelbaum, and the actions of the federal government.  After maxing out 3 threads, Anon formed its own kink meme with most of the written content from the original three threads.  This in and of itself is not a new phenomenon; the Axis Powers Hetalia fandom has long had a kink meme that overlaps with /y/ threads, and participatory culture across 4chan occurs most around requests for and sharing and creation of pornography.  But the types and magnitude of communal authorship and mentoring taking place in these threads caught me off guard.  And so, despite having my childhood raped several times by Rule 34, I began giving it some serious thought. Continue reading

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Operation Cupcake and Lulzy Protest Tactics.

Operation Cupcake, an exercise in hacktivism and lulz, was pulled off by British intelligence agency Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), who hacked al-Qaeda’s first English-language e-zine Inspire Magazine and replaced instructions on how to construct a bomb with images of cupcakes and cupcake recipes courtesy of Ellen DeGeneres:

Bomb Instructions: Bake a Pretty Cake Instead Continue reading

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