Free Speech, Censorship and Trump
Reply to: https://theconversation.com/no-twitter-is-not-censoring-donald-trump-free-speech-is-not-guaranteed-if-it-harms-others-153092
I find it remarkable how many conservative figures are right behind the power of the Free Market and the rights of private property holders to do whatever they fancy with their private property... right up to the point where it bites them (or someone they identify with closely, like Mr Trump) in the backside. Mr Trump has not been silenced by having his Twitter account access cut off - or rather, he has only been as silenced as someone who has full access to the White House press office, and to every single major media organisation in the USA, can possibly be.
He also hasn't been censored in the least. Censorship involves government action to block certain types of speech, images, concepts and so forth, from the public view. The various Australian government bans on various types of media (such as certain genres of manga, certain types of pornography and so forth) are censorship. Twitter choosing to ban a person from having an account on their service is not censorship, because no government action is involved. Twitter is a privately owned corporate entity. It is NOT a part of the US public infrastructure. As such, the First Amendment to the US Constitution, which starts with the words "Congress shall make no law ..." (being very clear about which entity it binds) does not actually apply. Twitter, as a corporate body, is allowed to make whatever rules it fancies regarding which speech is appropriate on their service, and which users are allowed and disallowed, and they're allowed to be exactly as arbitrary and petty about it as their user base will tolerate.
As someone on the political left (I think of it as being part of the evidence-and-reality-based caucus), I have heard every single one of the arguments about why Twitter is allowed to kick people off if they choose from conservative speakers, usually defending Twitter's choice to disallow speech from people of colour, transgender people, people with disabilities, women, people who aren't ethnically "white" and so on, simply because someone got under the skin of a bigot. Heck, look at the history of various journalists getting kicked out of their jobs, booted from social media and so on, because they dispute the nature, popular history, or value of ANZAC day, for example, or argue about the whole "Change the Date" thing from the side of Indigenous Australians. It is thoroughly amusing, in a rather jaded and cynical fashion, to watch all these conservative thinkers rushing around clutching their pearls about "censorship" and collapsing on their fainting couches, simply because for once, the boot is on the other leg.
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Five Things Make A Post
1) I've moved house, which is why I've not been visible for the past couple of weeks. The new place is a bit more expensive than the previous one, but it comes with a lot more basic amenities, including things like a roof that doesn't leak, doors which fit their frames, decent insulation, air-conditioning and heating (both of which are relatively essential in an Australian context these days), and a dishwasher in the kitchen. We're currently in the unpackening stage, and probably will be for a few more weeks at least, if not months.
2) Subsequent to 1) above, may I actively dis-recommend iinet as an internet service provider to anyone living in Australia? They have been less than helpful and less than useful in the process of the move, and I suspect I'm going to have to argue things back and forth with them to get some billing issues sorted out (such as them charging me for another month of service at our previous address, even when I gave them two weeks notice of the move occurring during the previous billing period). They have not been helpful, they have not been friendly, they have not been particularly cooperative, and I'm just about done with them. 0 out of 10, would not recommend to anyone, not even my worst enemy.
3) Due to issues related with 2) above, we haven't had working internet for about a week and a half. I'm currently in catch-up mode, and I'll find out what's happened in the rest of the world as I go along. I'm reasonably certain the world hasn't ended (I'm sure I would have noticed if that had happened) but if people want to pass on bits of news to me, I'm not going to turn them down.
4) One of the things I'm attempting to do now we've moved to the new place is build a gardening habit. At the moment, it consists of five minutes work in the garden each day (timed on my phone), which at present is mostly about removing weeds from the front garden area. Which at least means the amount of weeds in the garden is going down slowly. I have Plans for one particular corner of the (minuscule) back garden area, but I'm going to wait until we have the house in vague order first, then hire it done, because these Plans involve a lot of set-up, and I know from extensive past experience I am not good at setting things up, although I am fairly good at maintaining them once I get the required habits built.
(I should note: the gardens, both front and back, are largely sand. Either black sand, because this is Perth and black sand is pretty much the default for most of the city, or yellow brickie's sand, because reasonably recent building site, and therefore covered in the stuff. Easy to dig, desperately hungry and thirsty).
5) As a result of extensive hand-washing and use of hand sanitiser, I'm now discovering I need to use hand cream more often. I would welcome recommendations from readers for a brand of hand cream which is a) not too expensive (I'm not paying more than about $10 at most for a 100mL tube, and probably lower than that would be preferable); b) not too heavy - I want something comparatively light and easily absorbed (for comparison - we have some sorbolene cream in the house which I don't use on my hands because it is too heavy, and leaves them feeling greasy; this is a sensory thing for me, so I'm likely to bounce off things good and hard if they're too heavy); and c) reasonably readily available in Australia?
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A general retort to some arguments circulating in fandom at present
Content note: deals with fandom discourse; "You" throughout this screed is very much used in the general plural, rather than the individual specific. This came about as a response to a long thread on Twitter; I'm moving it here because I think Dreamwidth (and blogging in general) is a bit more suited to long-form thought and discussion than Twitter will ever be.
( Essay under the fold )
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On Facebook, Originality, and Billionaires
Inspired by: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/oct/21/mark-zuckerberg-plea-biillionaire-class-anti-democratic
Mr Zuckerberg says without allowing people to become billionaires, we won't see "innovations" and "original products" like Facebook. So, let's have a look at just how "innovative" or "original" his product is, shall we?
The original idea Mr Zuckerberg was exploiting (the "face book") was not his own - his main "innovation", if it can be called that, was transforming it from a print format limited to simply one university campus to an online database version, able to be diversified to many. Facebook (the website) came about because Harvard University created a "face book" for its first year students - a book of photographs of the first year students containing basic information such as names and majors, distributed to the first years, as a way of facilitating making contacts when one first arrived at university (rather than doing this the old-fashioned, plebian way by, for example, asking questions of classmates and dorm mates such as "hi, what's your name?"). Speaking as someone who was there in the 1990s when this was happening to a lot of things, the transformation of something in the real world to an online database was not necessarily an innovative idea - or if it was, it was an "innovation" which occurred to a vast number of different people all at the same time. Basically, a lot of people were figuring out how to use relational databases to create neat web content in the mid to late 1990s - Facebook was just one of the players.
In format, Facebook is largely a web 2.0 version of an old web 1.0 "portal" site - which means it wasn't particularly original or novel even when it first appeared. The main difference between Facebook and the old Netscape Navigator or AOL web portals is Facebook scrapes one heck of a lot more data out of your account, in order to be able to sell you better targeted advertising and make Mr Zuckerberg more money. The site has not added anything either new or particularly innovative to its framework in years. The only real distinguishing feature of the corporate entity's business practices is a tactic of "embrace and extend" ... a tactic which was pioneered by Microsoft in the 1980s.
So yeah, Mr Zuckerberg. Let's have a talk about "innovation", shall we? Starting with what it means, and how your company doesn't actually do any.
(Mark Zuckerberg did the equivalent of winning the lottery, and deep down he knows it. It's why he's so insistent on telling this story, the one where he "deserves" every penny he can get his mitts on. It's why he doesn't want to have to pay more in tax, why he doesn't want the company broken up by a monopolies investigation, why he's willing to conspire with as many people as possible in order to ensure the status quo doesn't alter. He knows he won the lottery, and the odds against him winning it the same way twice are phenomenal. He knows he can't recreate his success if it gets taken away from him, because his success, such as it is, is based on pure, dumb luck.)
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One Tweet Summarises an Election
[Eddy Jokovich; @EddyJokovich: The #Insiders panel asking “what will be the LNP agenda over the next three years”. I shouldn’t have to tell you this but aren’t these questions meant to be asked before the election? #auspol ]
What annoys me about this tweet is twofold.
Firstly, there's the whole point that firstly, the press were supposed to be scrutinising the various parties policy offerings (ALL the offerings of ALL the parties, guys, not just the big two) and providing the public with coverage of all of these. They were supposed to be doing this before the election. So clearly the Australian press have fallen down on the job, or they were lazy and didn't do their job, or they weren't trained properly and didn't know this was their job, or they were being actively prevented from doing their job. Any and all of these may apply, and all of them are horrifying to think about.
Secondly, there's the subsidiary point that we AS VOTERS were supposed to be looking into this OURSELVES. We shouldn't be relying on the press to spoon feed us everything in carefully measured sound-bites. We should, instead, be doing things like, oh, going to the various websites of the various political parties and reading their policy statements for ourselves. We should not be wholly reliant on the media to pre-digest these announcements for us. We should, instead, be doing some of our own damn legwork.
That a government was re-elected with absolutely NO policy information given, with every single question on policy matters turned aside as being "part of the Canberra bubble" or "it's all in the budget"; with ministers being missing in actions, with candidates doing their best impersonations of the invisible man or invisible woman; and with their only damn point being "look how terrible the opposition are"... this is a failure on two counts. Firstly, it is a failure of the press, who are supposed to be the public's advocates and watchdogs in such matters. Secondly, it is a failure of the electorate, because we have failed our democratic duty to ourselves.
The second is the more crucial failure, especially in this era of press consolidation and near-monopoly press control by the Murdoch media. We, as citizens in a democracy, have a responsibility to ourselves to be educated voters. To take the time to have a look at the various parties on offer, to learn what they stand for, to figure out whether we agree with this or not. Otherwise, we are failing ourselves, and we make ourselves into easy targets for the sort of exploitative, populist politics which delights in a divided electorate, and which chooses to divide and rule, pitting people one against the other. We owe it to ourselves; we owe it to each other; to create a country where we can all have a fair go. We didn't do this. We failed as citizens.
Now, the poor, the disabled, the sick, the elderly on the pension, the parents, the children who can't yet vote, the rural populations, the indigenous population, the recent migrants, the detainees in foreign lands, and everyone else who isn't earning over $200,000 per annum in this country are going to be paying the price for our failure. They'll be paying the price in reduced services, in more punitive welfare conditions, in increased prices for those services which remain, and in decreasing quality of service as well. They'll be paying the price in discrimination, in stigma, in negative coverage in the press, and in all the various little ways they've already been paying for the past six years.
We failed them. We failed ourselves. Now what are we going to do about it?
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What The Actual Fuck?
We've just embarked on a three year gamble. The Australian public, in their infinite self-centred, short-term-focused wisdom, have re-elected the Liberal-National Coalition government under Scott Morrison. I have no idea why they chose to do this - possibly it's because enough of them are deluded into thinking Australia runs on a presidential system, and they weren't happy about the idea of Bill Shorten as Prime Minister. Possibly it's because enough of them have fallen for the American way of thinking of themselves as not being members of a working class or a middle class precariat, but rather as a group of billionaires who are temporarily short on cash, so they want to do things like preserve franking credits, tax cuts for people earning over $200,000 a year, and negative gearing because one day they might, just might, get some benefit out of it. Possibly it's because they want the vicarious enjoyment of kicking the poor, which is always on the menu in a Liberal government. Possibly it's just because they don't want to think about climate change, an on-coming global recession, and any of the other big problems looming, and they think if they just hide their heads under the covers, it will all go away.
To be honest, I don't know, and I don't really care. This isn't about why the Australian people elected the government they did. It's about what's going to happen next.
The Liberal party went into this election with absolutely no new policy. Their entire campaign was "the ALP are big and scary and are going to eat your children". In the past six years of Liberal government, we have heard them, time and again, blame the ALP for every single problem which came up. It didn't matter what it was. If the problem wasn't caused by the ALP under Rudd and Gillard, it was caused by the ALP under Hawke and Keating, or the ALP under Whitlam, or even the ALP under Curtin. So we can expect another three years of hearing the ALP is responsible for whatever difficulties the government is encountering, and we can expect the government to be demanding the ALP do something about it (because of course it's the responsibility of the party in opposition to fix things, not the party in power). So there are problems waiting for this government when they get back in - things like the whole issue with the Murray-Darling scheme, and the water rorts there; things like the Centrelink robodebts and the paltry rate of Newstart; things like the lack of movement on wages in the past six years; things like the massive rip-off that is JobActive; the results of the banking royal commission, and so on. Problems they largely caused, and which they have been extremely reluctant to deal with.
Does anyone actually think they're going to do anything about those problems now?
We have a bunch of social issues which have been simmering away. There's the low movement on wages, which is making the lives of everyone who isn't already retired more difficult. There's the increasing casualisation of the workforce, which means a lot of people don't have the stability to do things like buy housing, make long-term plans, settle down, have families. There's the decay of our social support networks, and the increasingly punitive nature of our social security system. If you're applying for government assistance, you're automatically assumed to be sponging on the public purse for no good reason, and you have to jump through an ever-increasing amount of hoops in order to prove yourself a member of the "deserving poor". We have the rise of public white nationalism, and public anti-Semitism, and public anti-immigrant sentiment, and public anti-black sentiment - often led by members of the government. We have the rise of public anti-indigenous sentiment.
Does anyone think these things are going to go away?
Over it all, we have the looming spectre of global climate instability. The climate is changing. The climate has been changing for the last thirty or forty years now. It's reached the point where we can't pretend otherwise. It's starting to affect us. It's starting to affect every other species on this planet - and that's going to affect us because all life on this planet is linked together in a web. The web is starting to break. We've been told, again and again and again, that in order to deal with the problems facing us on the climate front, we're going to have to take drastic action.
We've just elected a government whose policy on climate change comes down to "if we ignore it, maybe it will go away".
So we've started a three year national gamble. We're gambling that for the next three years, nothing too terrible happens on the global economic front. We're gambling for the next three years, nothing catastrophic happens in terms of drought, floods, cyclones, bush-fires, or any of the other myriad manifestations of climate variability. We're gambling that for the next three years, we don't wind up getting pulled into a war, caught up in a trade dispute, faced with a global epidemic, or any of the other really big political problems which might crop up.
We're gambling this, because we have, with the full foreknowledge of their incompetence, re-elected a shower of MPs who have PROVEN themselves incapable of handling the challenges of government. This mob couldn't run a chook raffle in a country pub with the local CWA doing all the tricky bits for them. Why do we think they're competent to govern?
Seriously, Australia, what the fuck were you thinking yesterday?
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Oh Gods, Schoolkids.
The kids are back in school. I wound up catching the bus back from the city which was apparently the first bus home for a lot of them. Which meant I wound up having to say "excuse me" about twelve times to get from my seat (first row past the wheelchair seating) to the front door of the bus so I could get off the bus.
As a tip to any school-kid in Perth who is wearing a huge private-school-issue backpack on public transport: TAKE YOUR FUCKING BAG OFF YOUR FUCKING BACK WHEN YOU GET ON THE FUCKING BUS, YOU LITTLE SHITS.
Seriously, if you take your bag off your back, and put it on the floor between your feet, you will be a much smaller target for people who have to dodge around you. And that way, if you have to turn in one direction or another, you will NOT be hitting some poor unassuming person who just happens to have to catch public transport home between 3pm and 5pm with your overstuffed schoolbag every single damn time you do it.
(If I wind up having to head home at the same time tomorrow - unlikely, but you never know your luck - I will probably decide to spend an extra hour or so in the city, just so I can miss the schoolies hour. Because while evening peak hour is probably No Fun Whatsoever, it's still mostly going to contain adults, who have at least learned they can put their bags on the floor from time to time. Also, most adults on the bus aren't talking nineteen to the dozen about just about everything)
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Five Things Make A Post 04 OCT 2018
1) ( Potentially distressing content under the fold )
2) In my other class, we're studying Foucault (a quick introduction to Foucault, discourse, and so on), and one of our readings is bringing up examples of current events (current at the time of writing/publication for the reading ... which was published in 2000) in US politics. Things like the Anita Hill case, the Clinton impeachment and so on. I was reading this yesterday and thinking "damn it, Brett Kavanaugh can't stop getting into everything". I'm hoping the rest of my readings this week won't be so... inadvertently synchronisticly appropriate, damn it.
3) One of the things I was asked to listen to for a previous weeks readings for one of my classes was "Four Chord Song" by Axis of Awesome. Which means I'm now hearing the chord structures and bass line of a lot of what I'm listening to these days, and thinking about the ways that various chord patterns are used and re-used to create music. There's the standard four chord song, the twelve-bar blues, the Romanesca (aka "that one in Pachelbel's Canon") and so on. So that gives me a bit of something to think about when I'm busy listening to music to block out the extraneous noise while I'm doing my uni readings.
4) As a side effect of stress, I am currently dealing with a complete lack of spoons for actual sensible cooking stuff. Which means I'm eating a lot of stuff which can be cooked by throwing it into the oven and reheating it. (Yes, I know this isn't healthy in the long term, but unless someone else is volunteering to come and cook for me for free, I suspect I'm going to be sticking with this for a while). One thing I have worked out is that it is cheaper for me to buy a $2.90 box of Coles plain brand frozen chicken nuggets, and re-heat them at home, than it is to get one of those "24 nuggets for $10" deals from KFC or Maccas - for $10 I can get three boxes of Coles nuggets, for a total of 66 of the little bastards, and all I have to supply is the oven to reheat them. Plus I can have my choice of dipping sauces (at present, the winner is Fountain Hot Chilli sauce) rather than being stuck with the options of watered down Sweet Chilli Sauce, or watered down Sweet and Sour Sauce or whatever. So, that can stand in for my reviews of recipes. I'll do more of them when I have the time and spoons to cook again.
5) Latest book up for the Farewell Re-read treatment is "The Ultimate Dracula" - a collection of short stories on a rather predictable theme, edited by Byron Preiss.
 In the words of Neil Innes: "I've suffered for my art; now it's your turn."
PS: I was serious about the Twitter thing. If you see me on Twitter any time before this whole thing has simmered down, remind me to get the fsck off there for the good of my blood pressure.
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Because it's That Time Of The Year (the anniversary of The Day Everything Went Pear-Shaped Back In 2001) and a lot of people, whether they're aware of it or not, are probably feeling niggly, bad-tempered, and finding their brains are finding them a lot of things to get miserable about for some reason, I figure I'll do a short post of Unicorn Chasers - the sorts of things on the internet that can cheer you up.
My current one is the series Under The Wing of A Nibel Dragon by Gothams_Only_Wolf over on AO3. This is a gorgeous series which is set approximately 15 years before the start of standard Final Fantasy VII canon, where an 11 year old Sephiroth gets what is turning out to be the best fix-it in the history of the fandom. It contains a five-year-old Cloud Strife who is as cute as a button, a Vincent Valentine who wakes up fifteen years early, and a lot of other characters, some new, some recognisable.
Waiting for the Great Leap Forward is another thing I've been using to deal with my current case of the crankies. Mostly for the line about "Dr Robert Oppenheimer's optimism fell at the first hurdle" - this is a wonderful song about what it feels like to be down here at the sharp end of life, rather than up at the top where the decisions are made. Billy Bragg gets it, I think.
I will also recommend Scandinavia and the World which is a beautiful comic by Humon, full of mostly kind-hearted humour about the ways that various countries are perceived to behave, both internally and externally. Humon is a Dane, who has lived in England for a while, and a lot of the comics focus on the interplay between Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland, but there's also visits by a lot of other nations as well.
So, what does everyone else use as a unicorn chaser? Share some links in the comments!
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I Could Not Brain This Past Week
I had teh dumb. I could not brain. Brain thinky-things were Too Hard. Even more so than normal, in fact. This has not been a help with uni this past week.
I think I've figured out where the problem lay, however. I finally decided to test out a hypothesis last night, and took an iron supplement, after spending all of yesterday feeling like a wrung-out dishcloth. Lo and behold, this morning I am feeling much better, with a bit more energy and a lot more ability to focus. So, problem was likely to have been low-level anaemia, and I'll keep on taking an iron supplement each night for a few days to get the red cell count up.
Of course, the fun thing about all of this is it's preventable through diet... provided I have enough energy to be cooking regular meals in the first place. Which I didn't have, because I was a bit anaemic, so I didn't cook, which meant I didn't eat a very balanced diet, which meant the anaemia didn't get fixed up, which meant I was tired, which meant I didn't cook, which meant we went through the whole cycle again and again and again.
This week coming up is a non-teaching week (thank gods) so I should technically be able to get caught up on my readings and get the majority of work done on an essay which is due in a couple of weeks. Unfortunately, I've also received notice we're getting a rental inspection in the first week of September, which means my "copious free time" is probably going to need to go toward getting the house back into reasonable condition for that (I've been skiving off on housework for most of the past few weeks, because study commitments).
 It had all the standard student food groups: cheap stuff, stuff which could be reheated in the oven, stuff which could be reheated in the microwave, sugary stuff, and caffeine.
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Update 03 OCT 2017
So I've realised I'm in the middle of a rather nasty anhedonic episode, which means I'm not particularly feeling any motivation to do anything, which means I'm not doing things unless I absolutely have to at present, because they're things I've built so solidly into my daily routines that I feel worse if I don't do them than if I do.
( Teal deer below the fold )
So yeah. Things aren't as good as they could be. But they're better than they would have been twenty years ago, so I suppose that's something...
Now, if you'll all excuse me, I'll go back to neg-stimming on Tumblr, because apparently this is my brain's preferred form of self-immolation this week.
 I have a two hour exclusion period on my medication for my thyroid, which means for two hours after I've taken it (and for two hours before, technically) I'm not allowed to have dairy products, calcium supplements, iron supplements or anything else which might bind to the thyroxine receptors.
 The end of this period is the end of the medication exclusion period, when I can technically fit in breakfast if I'm able to contemplate the idea of food.
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Today's Bit of Schadenfreude
Christensen threatens to leave Coalition amid fears Bernardi may form own party
Not so much the article, rather the comment thread below it - which is so far up to about nineteen pages of the equivalent of "Jump, you bastard! JUMP!" and "Don't let the door hit your arse as you leave".
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How To Get Through This: Tips From A Lifelong Depressive
A lot of people are probably feeling numb, flattened and despairing today in the aftermath of the US election. In other words, you're feeling much the same way I often feel for no reason whatsoever. So in the interest of being able to get through the whole mess, and pull yourselves out the other side, and deal with the rest of the world rather than hiding in a bunker panicking for the next few months, I offer the following tips.
1) Acknowledge what you're feeling is genuine. Don't tell yourself you're "over-reacting" or "being over-dramatic" or "being silly". Especially, don't try to tell yourself that you're "fine" (unless you actually mean, "freaked out, insecure, neurotic and emotional" when you say that). What you're feeling is what you're genuinely feeling, and it's something which deserves to be acknowledged. Don't try to make yourself feel happier or better. Just accept you're feeling bad, and you're allowed to feel bad.
2) Start treating your emotional self the way you'd treat a six-year-old who was feeling the same way. If you need cuddles or hugs, try and get those from friends and family members. If you need to huddle in a blanket with a stuffed animal, do that. If you want to eat chocolate, eat chocolate. Soothe your inner child, in tangible, physical ways. Physical comfort builds mental comfort. Our minds are linked to our bodies. If our minds are in turmoil, comforting the body can help ease this. So eat comfort food (the best comfort food is hot, milky and sweet, because that taps back into our first memories of being comforted and soothed as babies), wear comfortable clothes and favourite colours, and keep at a comfortable temperature for the environment (cool if it's warm out, warm if it's cold out).
3) Acknowledge that emotions require energy. If you're feeling a lot of things, you're going to be more tired, and you're going to need more sleep. So, see whether you can re-arrange your sleep schedule such that you're going to bed earlier, and sleeping a bit longer. Try to avoid pushing yourself intellectually in your time off - now would be a good time for things like colouring in, or playing solitaire or listening to music, or other recreations which don't require you to be doing much thinking. Re-read favourite books (the ones which are sort of like chewing gum for the mind - the ones where you can just sit back and let the story flow over you and not have to think for a bit).
4) If you're feeling constantly anxious, panicking over things, start asking yourself these questions:
- What am I actually worried about? Write down a list, if you feel the need - often one of the underlying "anxiety" processes is a worry that you've forgotten something important that you were worrying about. Writing a list of worries helps defuse that one. Writing a list also helps pin down what you're worried about
- Are these things I'm worried about things which are certain to happen (for example, "the sun is certain to rise tomorrow"), things which are probably going to happen ("the sun will rise in the east"), or is something which is technically possible, but not necessarily feasible ("the sun will rise in the north")? Put more energy into dealing with the things which are certain, or probable. Things which are only possible aren't worth worrying about until they ascend the ladder of probability.
- What can I do about this problem right now, right this minute? It is likely the answer will be "nothing". If you are unable to do something about the problem, then worrying about it isn't going to help anyone. Least of all yourself. Start intervening actively in your worry loops, and diverting your thoughts elsewhere.
Intervening in worry loops is a skill - which means it can be learned, and it will improve over time. What it involves is three things: recognising you're stuck in a loop, stopping the loop, and changing the mental subject. Recognising you're stuck in a loop starts by recognising you're anxious in the first place - and again, the questions above can help there: start at "what am I worried about?". Does the same subject come up repeatedly? In that case, you're stuck in a loop. Stopping the loop involves catching yourself in the worry, and quite literally choosing not to pursue it - and the easiest way to do this is by changing the mental subject. I've found things like multiplication tables useful for me when I'm trying to do this - start at 1x1 and work up to 20x20, and if I make a mistake, I have to go back to 1x1 again and start over. Or play "FizzBuzz" with yourself (count from 1 to as high as you go, replacing every number divisible by 5 with "fizz" and every number divisible by 7 with "buzz" - again, make a mistake and you have to start over).
Oh, and while you're anxious, accept you're not going to be 100% on the intellectual side
. You have the anxiety sitting there occupying mental cycles, and this is going to affect your mental processing speed in the same way having an anti-virus program performing a scan affects the performance of a computer. Things are going to be slowed down, and take a bit longer to run. Be kind to yourself while this is happening - brains are much harder to reboot than computers.
5) If you find you're really sunk into a negative frame of mind, unable to see any positives in life, I offer the following tip which has worked for me. Get a notebook. Into that notebook, each day, write three things which went right. Note the phrasing there: it's "things which went right" as opposed to "things which went wrong". At present, you're probably going to have problems with things like "positive" or "good" or "happy" - it's impossible to spot those things when the emotions are right off the radar. But when you're feeling like this, trust me, you can spot everything which is going wrong in your life - and that makes it easier, in turn, to spot the things which aren't. Doesn't have to be a big thing - a hot drink on a cold day, or even the thought of not having to be outside in rotten weather is enough. But you have to find three things each day which went right, and write them down in the notebook.
Please note: this isn't going to perform an instant transformation on your mood. It isn't supposed to perform an instant transformation on your mood. What it is intended to do is perform a gradual transformation and build the habit of not looking on the dark side all the time.
In conclusion, I will leave you with this truth: believe me, you CAN get through this bad spell of mental weather.
What you're experiencing now, in the aftermath of a terrible shock in world events, is what a lot of mentally ill people live with on a constant basis. Yes, the real world events are terrible. But you cannot let these real world events rule you to the extent that you give up living, give up hoping, give up working toward change. What I've offered here is a collection of coping tips which worked for me to allow me to do this. I'm hoping they'll work for other people as well.This entry was originally posted at http://megpie71.dreamwidth.org/68573.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
In Response to the Furore re: Clementine Ford
What happened in the Clementine Ford case was this: a bloke said something abusive about her on the internet, in such a way that it could be linked back to his employer. Namely, he had his employer details on his Facebook profile, and Ms Ford brought his online behaviour to his employer's attention. He got sacked as a result of his actions, because his employers didn't want to deal with the negative publicity involved.
Or in other words, this bloke did the online equivalent of yelling abuse at her on public transport while wearing his workplace uniform, getting snapped while doing so, and reported to his employers.
Now, we'd all agree that if someone did something like the second example above, should they get sacked, it was their own silly fault, and they should have behaved civilly in a public setting. We'd agree if a guy yelled abuse at a woman in a public hotel, or a shopping mall while wearing anything with their employer's logo (such as a uniform shirt or similar), the woman they yelled at would be within her rights to report it to their employer, and the employer would be within their rights to sack the damn fool for being too daft to work there any more. We'd agree that if a guy launched into a tirade of abuse at a woman for talking to her friends in the pub, he'd be due at the very least to be barred from being served any more alcohol, and more likely, kicked out by the management.
We readily agree that unprovoked personal abuse in a public context is unacceptable when it's in a face-to-face context, and that if someone does it while being able to be clearly linked to an employer, a professional organisation, a particular religion, or family or so on, then they should bear the social consequences of their actions being reported to those groups. We agree that doing such things while being able to be linked to employers, professional organisations, religions, disapproving family members or similar is something which is likely to fall under the parameters of the Being Bloody Stupid Act - not only do you wear the consequences, but it's expected you're going to wear them politely, suck it up and bloody well deal!
Yet somehow, the apparent expectation is that this bloke (and the many others who do similar things, such as sending abusive and/or harassing emails from their work email accounts), who has done something Bloody Stupid (and Bloody Rude, while we're at it) should be allowed to not only get away with his actions, but that it's positively unfair of Ms Ford to have pointed them out to his employer. That this was somehow an over-reaction, and a vindictive act. That he should not have been forced to deal with the consequences of his behaviour (a behaviour he chose to carry out of his own free will, and which he wasn't, to the best of anyone's knowledge, coerced into by any other person) in an adult fashion.
To be honest, I'm with Ms Ford on this. He brought his problems on himself, and my sympathy is strictly limited.
(PS: Guys, women across the world have already learned this: on the internet, you have precisely as much privacy and anonymity as you can be bothered to carve out. If you can't be arsed to keep your online life strictly segregated from your offline life, then the only damn solution is to ensure your online behaviour is either beyond reproach, or something you would feel positive about defending to your employers, your spouse, your mates, your girlfriend, your mother, your grandmother, your kids, your work colleagues, and anyone else in your offline life who asks about it. Because otherwise, sure as eggs are eggs, your online sins will find you out, eventually).
 Strangely enough, not many women feel it's appropriate to have such details publicly available online. The main reason why not starts with "bl" and rhymes with "folks".
 Ankh-Morpork legal code.
This entry was originally posted at http://megpie71.dreamwidth.org/61199.html. Please comment there using OpenID.