The Last Few Weeks in WTF, June 2015

Since I got behind on my regular series here, consider this make-up work.

– Behold my steed: Old-school tech meets 21st-century bicycles with Trotify, a wooden device that makes your bicycle sound like a galloping horse (h/t Danielle).

Yes, this totally sounds like something someone thought of while high, but then actually got around to building while sober. Kudos for that, I suppose.

– Was there also show & tell?: You might not expect parents to be asked to attend a parent-teacher conference at their adult children’s places of work, but you’d be wrong if your kid works at one particular startup in New York City (h/t Jen). Continue reading


What I’m Reading, February 13, 2015

The Angry Black Dude Post No. 1, The Difference Between Cockroaches and Butterflies, January 27, 2015

I don’t like being the Angry Black Dude. I really don’t. There are enough of them (and with good reason). Being an ABD is social suicide: Anyone (white or non-white) with rudimentary knowledge of past and present and a conscience knows you have the right to be angry, yet your indignation still annoys them. Then there are the folks who either do or do not know (more like refuse to acknowledge) the history of race relations and have no conscience whatsoever, and your righteous anger undoubtedly pisses them off. ABDs, like feminists, cannot win. It’s a lose-lose situation, socially speaking.

I remember once I was outside of a bar in the Lower East Side around the time of the Ferguson protests. I became drunkenly acquainted with a group of people (Millennial non-whites) who started talking about what was going on in Missouri, and one of them said something like, “But c’mon, dude, not all cops are bad.” Which instinctively roused the ABD within me from dormancy. I was tactful, though: I implied (calmly) that the protesting — or rioting, depending on your viewpoint — was in response to a larger, endemic malady. These are the rhetorical hoops an ABD must go through so that he can be listened to and not simply heard.

My significant other has been asked lately (by Millennial non-whites), “Why a black guy? You’re such a pretty girl so why him?” Which of course makes me feel like shit. I’m reminded of Iago’s warning to Brabanito: “Even now, now, very now, an old black ram is tupping your white ewe.”

What Does Feminist Porn Look Like? Russell O’Connor, Everyday Feminism, September 7, 2013

Most porn has a predominantly male perspective. The directors are usually men, and most porn is made for men. As a result, the camera often embodies the “male gaze“: It looks where a man (a stereotypical straight man, that is) would look.

As a result, women are presented exclusively as objects of desire and never as subjects of pleasure.

This is why men are so strangely absent from much straight porn, except as disembodied penises.

This can easily appear, as J. Bryan Lowder once said on Slate, as a strange form of reverse objectification.

But, as Lowder notes, there’s a simple reason for this: Most porn made for men is shot in such a way as to allow the male viewer to project himself into the scene. The woman is thus presented as available to any man who wishes to use her.

A penis needs to be present, but the man to whom it is attached had better not be too present, lest he threaten to become the focus and the male viewer be threatened with homo-eroticism.

Only the woman is to be seen, and she is there for the pleasure of the male viewer. [Emphasis in original.]