If anyone wants to follow the current stuff about China, here are the mailing list links.
WMCUG Response for recent office actions This also contains a link to a response by a mainland China group “Cast Away Illusions, Prepare For Struggle — WMC’s First Open Letter on the Recent Office Action” , there is also an archived link on the mailing list.
My take on editing from China is summed up by one word. “Don’t”.
When I was in China, some tourists gave me a free VPN that I used to access my email. At that time, Wikipedia was still accessible, as was Google Translate, and the New York Times. I was able to read the Tiananmen Square article from inside China, but could not access Facebook without a proxy — just google “free proxy” and you will find a lot of them. After talking to some people I considered to be highly knowledgeable, I quickly dropped the VPN.
But you can see here, according to BBC News, “More than two million people in China are employed by the government to monitor web activity, state media say, providing a rare glimpse into how the state tries to control the internet.” Two million. And that was in 2013.
And since then, my opinion about editing from inside China has gone downhill.
Since then, Wikipedia is blocked, Google is blocked, the New York Times is blocked. China has taken over Hong Kong, and I no longer communicate with Wikipedians there, I consider it much too dangerous for them. China is now kidnapping people right off the street in Hong Kong and imprisoning them inside China. Google “Hong Kong book sellers kidnap”. Every major world news outlet covered the story.
If anyone is still editing — much less accessing — blocked websites from inside mainland China, it’s probably because the Chinese government wants them to, and it making it very, very easy for them to do so.
A few weeks ago I learned a new word, “glowie“, someone suspected of being a federal law-enforcement agent or informant infiltrating communication channels. The way they don’t fit in is said to be so obvious they glow in the dark.
W-cray may want to shine a light into dark corners, but what is that odd light shining out.
The Genderdesk review, after watching the first season:
Okay, so there is a cute-ish horticulture person, with a quirky smile and tousled hair style reminiscent of Reba, who lapses into a little girl voice every once in a while, and a frumpy ex-wife of a cop with a son who is also a cop, who knows how to get information out of the local constabulary, but her tree pruning technique is a bit—okay I’m overthinking this, it is a whodunit and doesn’t have to be particularly realistic.
The formula is easy to watch, dead bodies appear regularly, there are lots of cute dudes of all ages, the protagonists get to wear boots and jean jackets while everyone else has to wear frumpy sweaters, I suppose that must be because England is cold or not properly heated or something. They withhold vital clues until the very end, so you aren’t expected to solve the mystery along with them, in any case the time limit of the format does not allow that kind of detail, but there is lots of talk about motives and alibis and so forth, and setting traps and surprising key suspects to get more information. They drink a lot of wine in the daytime.
In the second season, the Reba character gets a new poofy hairstyle and emerges from a tent with her hair blow-dried, which kind of spoiled my enjoyment of the scene. Again, the botany part is not particularly convincing, but it is a whodunit, and moves you quickly from scene to scene, with lots of action, and nice views of the gardens, and more wine. That’s about as far as I have gotten so far. So it’s basically fluff, but it does exactly what that kind of fluff is supposed to do, amuse and entertain, without anyone having to think too hard.
On the bat’s back I do fly
After summer merrily.
– Shakespeare, The Tempest
It’s never too early to start getting ready for Halloween.
We’ve already done pumpkins, so this year I have been thinking some about bats, especially since it seems to have been a bat vector that unleashed COVID on the world. Also bats are kinda cute, if you can get past the fleas and rabies thing.
So I have started collecting a few bats, hoping for some coloring. Here are some, but they are already pre-colored, so I suppose less work.
And a little B&W.
The fairies riding bats were a bit confusing until I realized it was Shakespeare’s Ariel from The Tempest.
Of late the sheep had taken to bleating “Four legs good, two legs bad” both in and out of season,
and they often interrupted the Meeting with this. -Orwell, 1984
Last election cycle I was hanging out around the demonstrations at the White House and I saw a couple stop in front of a small sign about “trans” some-thing-or-other. “I didn’t know trans was a Trump issue” said one, “Hmm” said the other, and they moved on.
So when I heard about the Denton Document, I immediately flashed back to those little signs, without context, but always in a prominent place on the fence. Now, as it turns out, there is a systematic, concerted effort to insert trans issues into public institutions. And it is being done secretly, without public debate. There also seems to be a huge amount of secret money behind it.
Oh where have we seen this before? I do believe it was on Wikipediocracy, where the longest thread in the secret forum, before the election, used to be the gamergate thread. Later they all ran off to r/incels and even later to r/thedonald. Were they ever even Wikipedia people at all, or was it all just astroturf. And now they are back…. Will they be able to turn Wikipediocracy into the Grammar Police for Gender Ideology? Heaven knows there are enough eccentric people in the back room, and Fae seems to have sent them a new load of virgins from his secret Telegram lair.
But yes, the Denton document. This has been researched by gendercriticalwoman, @STILLTish, whose son is trans, and who seems to document things very thoroughly, then it was picked up and amplified by Graham Linehan. I will link to both, they both have their coffee cups out, but they both still provide free content.
This is going to be rushed, and somewhat incomplete, but it is a start. If nothing else, go over to the hashtags the Afghan women are risking their lives to retweet and look at the magnificent national costumes.
Dr. Khat Assil Tarvirdianis tweeting the hashtags, saying, “I’m the granddaughter of Merman Rukhshana. She is known for being the 1st woman in Afghanistan to remove her chador & the 1st famous female singer of Afghanistan. A bounty was placed on her by the Taliban….”
Today’s featured article, on Wikipedia’s front page, is about a silent film from India. Where are the Afghan articles? Where are the Afghan women? The Afghan national dress?
Rep. Jackie Speier tweets: “Afghan women heeded America’s call to advance democratic values at great personal risk. Many now have a target on their backs. @RepTedLieu @RepSherrill & 64 Members joined me in urging @POTUS to make every effort to evacuate at-risk Afghan women.” Congress has been busy writing resettlement legislation.
What is Wikipedia doing?
Here is a start on a list of female Afghan singers, taken from YouTube comments.
If you watch enough Marie Kondo-style decluttering videos on YouTube, sooner or later you will run into someone name-dropping a company they consider to be “high end”. The point, of course, is to either recognize one of these products in the wild, in a thrift or vintage store, and get it for a discount, or to DIY it or find a knockoff that looks something like it, so you can have the “look” or the “vibe” for yourself. I have a whole list of these stores, along with links to their online catalogs, somewhere in the back room.
We are overdue for some saints, but I haven’t got one for you today, so instead I will bring you just one of these brands, so you can enjoy the lifestyle vicariously here, without spending the money.
Because as you will also see, just like those Dutch still life paintings with the insects and spoiled fruit in them, once you look a little closer at these brands, you will probably not want them.
But let’s jump into the “inspo”, as they call it, and the “styling”. Yes, in this world, “style” is a verb. So here is the Look.
Kind of soothing, yes?
But if you look closer, you wouldn’t be able to live this way. There are so many pillows on the couch you can’t sit down. You would never keep all your pillows and blankets perched on a ladder. And why would you put a vase in front of your tea pot, so you can’t reach the tea. But this is actually not a vase, it is called a “vessel”, in this special world, and is often expected to have little handles that don’t do anything. And you had better believe it will have a price to match the fancy terminology. But I will tell you what you are looking at, so you can go down to Ikea and get this world for yourself.
I will also mention that these are not this season’s styles, which you can do your own research for, although gray is absolutely huge, and will probably not go away any time soon.
So first the color. These colors are basically opposites on the color wheel, but they are not straight primary colors. The orange is not orange, it is more of a salmon, and the blue is more of an indigo. And where you use a highly saturated tone of one color, you use a lighter version of the other color to complement it.
Next, you are looking at texture. You have got the rough walls in the background, which some designer has probably worked very hard to produce. Then you have got the velvet of the tufted couch, which is repeated in the pillows. Then the stuff that looks like cotton or linen, which you can almost feel next to your skin, with its cooling effect in the summer.
In some of the other color palettes, like the ones taken from the figs, you will see colors that are highly saturated and right next to each other on the color wheel. You will start to notice the prices here, because I have left them in some of the screenshots. One fitted sheet is over $300 and the same for a flat sheet. The duvet cover is over $700, and if you click through to find the material, you will probably not be happy. These brilliant colors are usually not possible in cotton. The tassels are great though, as are the plants on the bedside table in muted versions of the same colors.
Here you see the bed linens “styled with” more stuff, you have breakfast in bed with fruit and wine, perfect colors, plus some other questionable stuff showing how to use metal and wood for “styling”. I believe the tray thing is called a charcuterie board, which is absolutely huge right now, although I do not believe they usually include wine.
You can also see a lot of “tone on tone”, as in “tone on tone cream”. In this case there is a lot of gray.
Finally there is the styling, which you can steal the ideas very easily. They really do use ladders for textiles; if you look at Urban Outfitters or Anthropologie, you will probably see it more in the bathroom for towels. The black weeds in the milk bottle you could do very easily with a little spray paint, and the lighter branches in the vase…er, vessel, … are even less work. You can probably pick all of this up on a walk or when your neighbor trims her yard. And the terra cotta color is timeless, in this case they do not use a rough flower pot, but a more finished tea pot for the required ambience. Yep, you can get all of these elements, at a fraction of the price. And it will probably feel better in person when you can choose cotton or linen, because as you can see when you poke around their website, in spite of the huge expense, when you shop this catalog you will be buying a lot of polyester. In spite of the luxury prices, you are only paying for styling, not quality and comfort of the materials.
So here is the rest of the “inspo”, a little champagne, lace, leather, and whatnot.
But no, you do not need to pay $1200 for a coverlet and $315 for a throw pillow. Did I mention Ikea? Ikea has an “Inner” cushion, white 20×20 inches for $3.00, although I prefer feather, and cushion covers starting at $2, some in velvet, although you will probably not find them with the decadent braided tassels. For that, you would have to go back to the YouTube DIY videos.
And I should mention the books. In this world, books are bought for their color and shape, not for their contents, although I do like the way they are stacked on the little round bedside table — keeps them off the floor.
The books, in a nicely complementary aged parchment color, are being used to sell this $1376.00 “silk velvet” quilted coverlet.