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Why bullshit fauxpologies are bullshit - (trigger warning for rape and sexual assault discussion) [02 Sep 2015|01:20pm]
DriveThruRPG recently posted this apology. I made it make more sense, yeh?

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At DriveThruRPG, we see a huge variety of content published and sold on our marketplaces. Something not broadly known to visitors on DriveThru is that we entrust most publishers to upload their new releases and activate them for sale without anyone at DriveThru reviewing the title before it goes public. The fact we have no oversight over our website is not a bug, it’s a feature.


Over fourteen years of operations, with tens of thousands of roleplaying titles activated, thousands of RPG creators have demonstrated that this trust-based system works quite well; we’re very big, mmmkay, this totally irrelevant point is very relevant, it doesn’t just boil down to ‘no-one’s ever complained before, it’s really important that you know we’re some kind of mega operation here the vast majority of publishers will not upload things I personally find offensive content and make it public on DriveThruRPG. Ours is a wonderful hobby. For straight, white, cis dudes.

Because this system has worked so well for so long, over a huge volume of products, we have had no need to create a content guideline for what we will not sell on DriveThruRPG due to its offensive nature. We’ve benefited from and really enjoyed the old boys club that is gaming, and safely insulated from the actual consequences of ‘offensive-ness’ by our privilege, we have basically ignored the need to be at all pro-active in weeding out sexism, racism, homophobia, and plain appalling shit.

Further, in the case of roleplaying games, especially new games put out by independent creators or new companies, our marketplaces are a key distribution channel. If we were to ban an RPG product, the de facto I do not really understand what this means, but Latin does make me feel clever and kind of superior result is very much like censorship. Oh wow. We are so important as a website mega publisher thingy that if we were not to sell appalling shit those games would NOT EXIST and all those independent creators would DIE OF STARVATION and gaming art would be ruined forevs oh no! *hand to forehead* That fact causes me grave concern, for if we were to create a content guideline that all publishers on our store must follow, and then ban titles that do not meet those guidelines, then we would be running a responsible website where we understand that giving people a platform to express their views in the form of games is a business choice that we make and not a moral fucking imperative playing dictator with the RPG art form srsly? and that is a role I am acutely uncomfortable playing.

Having grown up in the U.S. Bible Belt, where attempts to ban books from school and public libraries were common, and given my various experiences with distribution channels as a publisher at White Wolf in the early 90s, I have had a lot of firsthand encounters with attempts to ban content. This is all irrelevant bullshit. Books subject to censorship in the bible belt mean that children in schools don’t get to learn about sex, abortion, abuse, evolution and science, (ok also imaginary wizards but hey those are some good stories). Bans are often for books that are written by or contain actual human real portrayals of LGBTQ people, people of colour, women, or anyone that contradicts a dogmatic and inflexible view of the way things should be as presented by a church that is at its heart a socio-political organisation with a vested interest in keeping a population under control. I am taking the actual struggles faced by people to get access to books that are often vital for education, defining themselves, feeling ok about their sexuality, gender etc, and using them in a piss-poor attempt to make myself feel like there are no nuances in this argument at all, and I am basically a worthless piece of human garbage for this.

There is, however, a growing problem we face as a marketplace. A few RPG creators have designed content in the recent past that people have viewed as disturbing, distasteful, or depraved. For example, we recently — and understandably — notice I didn’t say ‘rightly.’ You aren’t meant to notice this, and I am hoping the word ‘understandably’ gives off this vibe whilst still patronising people who were upset, harmed, marginalised by this received a lot of criticism for selling an RPG supplement entitled "Tournament of Rapists."

I'll say a few words about that product and then move on to the broader topic of how we will handle offensive content on DriveThruRPG.

Hearing the title “Tournament of Rapists,” one is naturally repulsed. Not I am naturally repulsed. Because I’m not. Some people might be repulsed. Sometimes the purpose of art is to make us feel revulsion, though, so we shouldn't judge a book by its title alone. Those people are oversensitive to react to a title involving rapists, and also let me once again demonstrate my lofty understanding of the way art is basically anything that produces a reaction. It’s meant to be repulsive and that makes everything fine. Calm down. The proper reaction to that title is to read all the upsetting stuff in more detail, duh. In this case, though, reading the brief cover copy or product description the author entered on DriveThruRPG to explain the contents of the book does nothing but amplify that revulsion and call into question if the subject matter is being treated at all appropriately. Because a. there is an appropriate way to treat rape in rpgs and b. a book called ‘tournament of rapists’ is likely to be treating the subject in said appropriate way. So, naturally, people asked us various versions of the question, "How on earth can you have that for sale on your marketplace for even one minute?"

The answer is this:

1. As I mentioned above, this product was uploaded and activated by the author. No one at DriveThru pre-screened the book. IT’S NOT OUR FAULT WE DON’T LOOK AT WHAT WE’RE SELLING.

2. When we were first alerted to the offensive nature of the book, I used administrator privileges teehee I am an administrator to download and skim through a copy of the book. At its core, the book was an adventure supplement where the goal of characters was to stop demonic entities who were perpetrating sexual violence and murder. The rapists were clearly the villains to be stopped, something that I believe many critics of the book could not have known from the book's title and vague description. Oh, well that’s ok then. As long as we’re making the point that the rapists are bad people. Wait, not people, demons. Because demons rape people. I’m not going to speculate on how you stop them, but I doubt it’s a well-considered programme of societal education and change from the ground up, tackling how demons feel sexually entitled to the people they rape, challenging rape culture among demons, and promoting the idea of healthy demon-human relationships. I mean, it could be, but I doubt it.

Still, other aspects of the book, such as its title and description and some of its content, were written in a way that were not well-considered treatments of the subject of sexual violence YA THINK?. I personally found the book offensive, hahaha, no I didn’t but as I’ve noted, I am not comfortable letting my viewpoint serve as the gate-keeping standard. Except by refusing to actually look at any of the content on my site or take any responsibility for producing it, FOR WHICH I PRESUMABLY GET PAID, I actually am letting my viewpoint serve as the standard, which is that of a straight white cis dude whose privilege nicely insulates him from the fucking consequences of shit like this.

Again, 1) rapists were villains in the book BAD GUYS THEY WERE BAD GUYS because all rapists are demon bad guys who you can’t stop except by killing and they never get to make a choice or think about their actions SO THAT’S ALL OK and 2) I chose to accept offensive content over becoming a de facto censor. I do not understand how censorship works or what it is. In doing so, I made the mistake of not suspending the title from sale immediately, pending further internal review and discussion with the publisher. Basically I am too damn reasonable for my own good.

3. Another factor that weighed on my decision was the fact that, when uploading and activating the title, the author flagged the title as adult content. Books with the adult flag do not show up on our marketplace to visitors. A user must be logged in to a customer account on our site and have changed the default "no" adult filter to "yes" before she can see adult flagged titles anywhere on site. If you want to see grown up things, those things gonna include rape. Watcho gonna do? You’ve basically said it’s fine by ticking that box, and there’s no difference between any kind of adult content. And for the record, "adult" in this context refers to more than just sexual content; like rape, which is definitely about sexual content it means any kind of content with material that requires adult discernment.

My philosophy has been individual choice, not my choice. Except that that is a choice I myself have made. My expectation has been that gamers who choose deliberately to see adult titles have the mental faculties to decide if a title they see is appropriate or not. They do. Which is why a bunch of them pointed out that this shit is not appropriate.

Therefore, I let the title remain active for sale while I reached out to the publisher to discuss the title.

4. The publisher was on vacation, so we did not catch up with one another by phone until near the end of the weekend. We had a professional dialogue about the book, the type of dialogue where people listen to each other and try to understand where each other is coming from and work toward constructive outcomes. Unlike all those crazy feminists, who basically just shout at men, claw their eyes out and cover them in menstrual blood. The publisher then discussed the book with the author, and they decided to withdraw the book from sale. This shit went through THREE PEOPLE to get to my site, and none of them so much as brought up the issue that ‘tournament of rapists’ might be a whole bunch of offensive, harmful appalling wank. In my opinion, having real dialogue and expecting the best, not the worst, in other people leads to better outcomes. Unrelenting anger and the desire to punish divides and polarizes people, as can be seen from some social media discourse on games today. TONE POLICE TONE POLICE PAAAAAAARP.

To the broader issue of the content we will sell on DriveThruRPG going forward, it is time we change the approach we have used for the past fourteen years. This most recent incident has shown me that our previous approach worked only because publishers in the past simply hadn’t uploaded such offensive content. However, that approach carried us too far in the wrong direction.

It's time for us to have a policy on rejecting offensive content. I understand that many feel this is too long in coming, that our prior non-policy of “censorship is unacceptable" I have not so much as LOOKED UP THE MEANING OF THE WORD on Wikipedia, much less examined any kind of nuanced view on whether not mindlessly spouting out everything I touch is or is not censorship was tantamount to shirking our responsibility to help keep ahahahaha. Keep. Ahahahaha. the RPG hobby inclusive. I am solely responsible for the prior policy, not the other staff at OneBookShelf. I accept that criticism and apologize for not being a better steward.

What should our new content policy be?

Some people believe there are bright line rules that, when crossed, make a title something our RPG hobby is better without. As I recently and profoundly failed to explain on Twitter, I do not agree there are such bright line rules, or at least not nearly enough bright line rules to serve as a guide. What follows is going to be really, quite incredibly badly thought through, and is going to piss a lot of people off.

In first drafting this blog post, I made a fuller explanation with examples of why I don’t think bright line rules work for deciding what content is offensive or not. I removed all of that because I don’t want my intentions in doing so to be misinterpreted again. They wouldn’t be, they would be correctly interpreted as me not having a fucking clue what I’m on about, and being unwilling to do anything other than pay lip service to the harm I (and people like me) are causing to others Suffice to say that the U.S. Supreme Court could not create bright line rules for what constituted pornography (leading to the famous statement, "I'll know it when I see it."), and similarly I don’t think we can create such rules for offensive content. I haven’t bothered to look up any case-law following this, even though I think that citing case-law basically makes me clever and win, because if I had I would have noticed that several judgments further refine the rules for considering something pornography with criteria like ‘anything patently offensive, appealing to prurient interest, and of no redeeming social value.’ You know, like this game. The judgment of the court in Miller vs California in nineteen seventy-fucking-three actually does go on to set out ‘bright-line’ rules for legislating what constitutes obscenity, which are still in use under the ‘ Miller test’ today. I am a massive fucking hypocritical bell-end.

I also think the more exacting we make the guidelines, the more fine points we include on content treatment, the more the guideline risks becoming shackles for the rpg art form Because ‘no games about rape’ is pretty tricky, guys. What if someone wants to make, like, a really arty game about rape? and the more bad actors will attempt to game the fine points of the policy.


Amazon's policy on offensive content is incredibly short:

“Offensive Content: What we deem offensive is probably about what you would expect.”

The problem here is that such a statement gives little guidance to publishers and authors, and thus Amazon's rulings on banning books seem rather arbitrary. We’re better than Amazon because we do rape books. Publishers who offer content on our marketplaces will understandably say to us, "We can't invest in creating RPG titles only to have DriveThru arbitrarily ban them, so if you're now banning titles for offensive content, give us guidelines for what titles you will and will not ban." Yes. Yes they will. And this would be a bad thing because?

To which, I have to say, "I hear you, but I don't know any better way." I am not prepared to research any content policies, listen to people affected by said policies, or take any time out of my busy white dude schedule to even consider the fact that people have thought about this before me, so Imma just let this slide – ALL HAIL THE ALMIGHTY ME. A work often has to be considered as a gestalt I do not understand what this word means. And I think I’m too clever to use words like ‘whole’ to make things more accessible to know if it is offensive or not.

So, going forward, our offensive content policy is simply going to be this:

Offensive Content: We'll know pretend not to understand it when we white straight cis dudes see have it pointed out to us it.

I will be the final arbiter of what OneBookShelf deems offensive. You know, like I definitely wasn’t before. I will tend to err toward including content, surprise! even when it challenges readers and deals with sensitive issues like ones what women care about, so long as it does so maturely and not gratuitously. Like how ‘tournament of rapists’ could have if only they used more Latin words.

Any title in which racial violence, rape, torture, or a similar subject is treated as a central feature will naturally be subjected to increased scrutiny. Except that I’m not going to scrutinise anything until someone complains about it so this is essentially meaningless.

Everyone draws their own line on what is offensive differently, and all these topics are just a matter of ‘offense,’ with no real effects in the actual world, because I live in a tiny bubble where the way that people see me doesn’t have to affect my life in any meaningful way so I understand that any judgment OneBookShelf makes will always have someone who disagrees is actually affected by and gets harmed by on a day to day basis with it. But fuck ‘em.

A few final topics:

1. We will continue to be reactive, not proactive, on judging new title releases. Historically, 99.99% of publishers' content has been inoffensive. I understand neither statistics, nor history. Being able to activate their own titles for sale with our marketplace tools gives publishers additional control over their release marketing timing and generally gets RPG products to market more quickly. We will not constrain those 99.99% by introducing a required step where OneBookShelf staff reviews every title before it goes public just so that we can catch the .01%. As I said before, no scrutiny. Literally no change to our policies at all.

Such a review process would also add a large expense to our operations, I would have to hire real thinking people who could actually look at stuff, which I am not prepared to do which translates eventually to higher prices for customers.

What we will do, though, is code more customer-facing options to allow customers to report potentially offensive content to us. We’ll stick in a report button, that should keep you whining bastards happy. That way, customers can help us identify the offensive .01% of titles that much faster. And if no one reports anything, we don’t have to do anything. If a reported title looks questionable, I, in the form of the ultimate white straight cis dude will decide if anything is questionable then we will suspend it from sale while we review its content internally, and we will speak with its publisher to determine the fate of the title on our marketplace. Our default will be to suspend titles rather than our prior default of letting titles stay public.

To be clear, we need to code, test, and deploy this new reporting feature. It is not live now. And we’ll do this, like, whenever. I’m pretty sure that’s hard to do on a website, like set up a form you can email someone through. That’s hard, yeh? Website guys?

2. Once the reporting feature is live, we will review titles already on the marketplace that are reported by customers. There will be no "grandfathering in" of past content. Where we find things I randomly define as offensive content on site, even if we have permitted it in the past under our prior policy, we will remove it. We are no longer a wide-open marketplace, and some publishers may need to find a different place to sell some of their content (or all of it, if they decide to leave DriveThru entirely). I will pretend to think that these publishers include publishers of rape games, instead of publishers with a fucking conscience who don’t want to be associated with our bullshit. (Hey James Wallis, good call btw. Please don’t go back on your decision following this bullshit fauxpology from the website. It is bullshit and means nothing).

3. I doubt the industry will see the “Tournament of Rapists” title again, See, self-regulation totally works! but if the publisher decides to make changes to the product and wishes to sell it on DriveThru again, it will then be subject to this new offensive content policy. We are actually going to let the actual product back on our actual fucking site if they come up with some better blurbs and point out that rape is bad, like that is actually what we are fucking saying. Even I just threw up in my mouth a little bit.


4. We will be reviewing the use of our adult flag, including what content we expect to carry that flag and how we communicate the use of that flag to publishers and customers. I have no real understanding of the difference between reasonable adult content that we restrict because it could be  misinterpreted by people below a certain age (contains sex, swearing, drug use, etc) and products where rape is a regular plot point and background dressing.

I appreciate all of our customers and publishers who were patient while we sorted these issues out but not you bastards who called us out and who gave us the benefit of the doubt as human beings trying to do the best thing. Aren’t we all just humans? Like, I don’t see colour, why does everyone keep trying to tell me I’m a racist? Like everyone, we sometimes make mistakes along the way. And then choose not to listen to anyone’s criticism or change our views appreciably in any way, because you know what? We don’t have to. We’ve got the power here, and we’ll always have the power. Gaming is FOR straight, white cis dudes, and it is my god-given fucking RIGHT to play games about rape as long as they are categorised under the special rape filter.

Steve 'white dude' Wieck
CEO lonely wanker masturbating in his own basement. Actual real member of society, who runs his own business, and will probably do all right pretty much generally for ever because this kind of shit is accepted in society. God, that's depressing.
OneBookShelf / DriveThruRPG
1 comment|post comment

Body Acceptance [16 Aug 2013|02:34pm]
Yo gurls (and selected men FEEL PROUD)

It is starting to get on my wick that my body acceptance is so fucking poor. I feel fat and frumpy a lot, and this is not cool, as both fatness and frumpiness should be considered awesome and also non related to your worth as a person.

I'm not going to go on a massive feminist rant about how patriarchy makes women (me) feel like this, and we need to change society, and etc etc, because you all know that, you all know I know that, and change is always a long time coming. I'm looking for some personal solutions to feel better about MY body.

I've identified the fact that for me, my body is not the problem. The way I feel about my body is the problem. I recently looked at a bunch of pictures of when I was much younger and thinner. I remember feeling pretty miserable about my body then, too.

Diet is Not The Answer. It just focuses me on the shit feelings, and then I hate myself more, and think of the whole thing as a punishment for being so SHIT and flabby as to need to stop eating things I love. Also, I love food. I can't bear the thought of a life where I spend the rest of it restricting what I eat and punishing myself for it. I already eat pretty good in terms of vegetables, Real Food (tm) and vitamins, can cook, love lentils, etc.

Cardio exercise is Not The Answer. I hate it, it is boring, it does not make me thinner and feels again like punishment. It takes time I do not have, and I hate it (This cannot be emphasised enough).

Shit that I think might be The Answer includes:

Doing weightlifting, because then I feel strong and also my muscles ache in this good way that makes me think about them rather than my stomach. And I want more muscles and think I could rock this. I enjoy doing the exercise and it doesn't take long so I don't get bored and pissed off. So I'm doing this. Yay me!

Wearing better clothes:
This one's tricky. I spend my mornings working as a cook, and my afternoons looking after an 18 month old toddler. The clothes I need to wear for this are easy clean, comfortable and stretchy, not too hot or cold, etc. I also feel kind of awkward when I dress up, because I don't do it very much, am insecure and keep pulling at my clothes. The clothes that women my shape wear in awesome blogs and look good in, are very much those 50s style retro dresses, heels, very shaped, qute tight, pin up girl style. Like these: http://www.pinupgirlclothing.com/
http://www.collectif.co.uk/
They are awesome, but I never wear dresses, hate wearing heels, and cannot be bothered to wear a lot of stuff or make-up.
I am pretty sure there's a happy medium between dressing up rockabilly with heels for work, and turning up at work in an ill-fitting toothpaste stained strappy top and pyjama trousers, which is my general 'thing.' Some of it will involve making a fucking effort rather than waking up and putting on whatever is on the floor, I accept this. But I need some help because I feel exposed and kind of weird when I do make an effort. Thoughts? Any good ideas about what kind of clothes to wear, how I should wear my clothes, good blogs, etc? I am also poor POOR so nothing that costs loads of cash ;)

Learning to think a different way about my body:
I have literally no idea how to do this. Any good links, blogs, ideas from my peeps?

Also, I work with a load of women who are always on a diet, always very down about their bodies, and we talk about it a lot, because I am a cook and obviously we end up talking about food, and if they're going to eat lunch with the kids I cook for, etc. I find myself feeling like this is really normal, and something I should do as well. I don't want to 'shut down' conversations but I don't feel like this is a healthy way of having stuff in common with colleagues.

I dunno, anything helpful, guys?
37 comments|post comment

Why you can't have a civil debate about politics [24 Sep 2012|10:28pm]

People recently have expressed disappointment, in some kind of slightly patronising fashion, about my inability to have a civil debate about politics. This is for a given value of ‘civil’, where it seems to mean that I shouldn’t get angry or upset about people expressing opinions that have a very real effect on my life and the lives of thousands of people in this country and the world.

I get it, guys, it’s totally possible for you to sit around in your Oxbridge clubs and academically debate politics. And the reason for this (which will surprise no one who has met me) is PRIVILEGE*

You can sit around and discuss these academic issues because for you it IS academic whether or not people get their benefits cut, lose their right to treatment for free, or don’t get the right to marry in the first place. These issues are never going to affect you, and certainly don’t affect the lives of real people, so there’s no need to be circumspect about shouting out your political discussions, or bother to find out about the statistics or reality of any of the situations you’re so calmly ‘debating.’

Recent changes in our household due to right-wing Tory politics have been:

My husband has been made redundant
My mother has been made redundant
I have been made redundant
The entire sector in which I worked (legal aid for the poorest people in the country) has been effectively made redundant, cutting off any hope of social justice for people who can’t afford to pay for it.
We have lost over £1,000 in benefits
I am unable to do an Open University degree as the tuition fees are now astronomical, and the rebate for being on a low income has been cut.
The teaching course Stu wants to do will cost us over £7,000 more and may not even exist next year.

It’s not exactly fucking academic for me. Not to mention the threats to the NHS which as both me and Stu have long-term, disabling and serious health conditions, makes it less likely that we'll get the treatment we need.

In the wider world, I also care about the war on reproductive rights in America, as it shits all over people who have been born with wombs. I care about the systemic racism which means that it’s easier for me to get a job than a person of colour. I care about the fact that gay people are not allowed to get married and in many countries are still actively legislated against for existing. It’s not academic for any of these people, and I am unable to pretend that it is, and tell any of them to ‘calm down and be nice’ about it. I am not ashamed of this.

If you are able to think of politics, feminism, racism, heteronormativity etc. as an academic subject to debate, you’re making it extremely obvious that not only are you privileged enough for these things not to affect your life, but that you’ve never even thought of them as anything other than unreal debate subjects that don’t affect peoples’ lives, and by extension, certainly if it’s pointed out to you, that you don’t have to listen to the life stories and experiences of people, or friends, who have been affected by them.

The very act of debating these issues affects people who deal with this kind of shit day after day. The constant scape-goating of people with disabilities as benefit scroungers who don’t work means that people get attacked, screamed at, and spat at in the streets for being disabled. It means that when I write things about rape jokes not being ok, or consent not being a complicated subject, I am subjected to anonymous comments from people claiming to be friends, that are creepy, insulting, and downright rapey. From people I don’t know, I have received rape threats, death threats, and general abuse. People reading these posts and comments have undoubtedly formed opinions based on this about what they can get away with and with whom. 

To make it very clear, with this one example, they know who it’s ok to joke about rape with, who doesn’t take rape seriously, and who doesn’t think that, for example, raping a sleeping or drunk woman is actually rape. They know what will happen if they do this, which is nothing. They know how much credence their friends will give the woman in question, even if she is a mutual friend, which is none, and therefore how likely she is to report the rape or do anything about it. This directly enables rapists to go about raping people.

But god forbid I should get angry about any of these academic debates. 

So at what point is it ok to take seriously any of these threats to my safety, my person, or my mental health? And at what point should I expect my friends, who care about me, to care about these? At what point is it reasonable to expect someone who claims to be a friend to care about something that can affect your life in such a dramatic and negative way? And to accept that actually, if they don’t care, despite you telling them again and again, then they have pretty much demonstrated that they don’t give a shit about you, or about marginalised people in other groups?

So next time you’re going to have  a patronising little disappointed sigh about how uncivil and angry I am, consider how insulting it is to be constantly exposed to the fact that your friends don’t give enough of a shit about you to actually listen to how these things affect your life and those of others, and if they do listen, they don’t think it’s important enough to change their beliefs, because how comfortable they feel about themselves is much more important than real, actual consequences for oppressed peoples.

And, specifically, the idea that then saying ‘oh, well I don’t know because I haven’t done any research and won’t do any’ makes it all ok is even more insulting, because the message you get then is pretty much ‘I don’t know anything about this subject you live and have exhaustively researched, but I still think my opinion is worth more than your experiences, information, research, and life. And your life isn’t worth the time it would take me to learn about anything you’re talking about.’

So if you make it clear to me that you don’t care about me, about my life, about the lives of people (gay people, people of colour, trans people, poor people, disabled people) I care deeply about, then I’m sorry.

I’m sorry that I’m going to take that personally, because I’ve considered you a friend. I’ve spent time and effort being with you. I’ve liked hanging out with you, and I guess in a way I probably feel cheated that someone I thought was a mate obviously isn’t, because if they were, they would be willing to examine their privilege, learn about a subject, and try to give a shit about how it affects their friends, at least, if not how it affects people in general.

And I guess in a way I’d like people to make a decision about what’s more ‘disappointing’ to them. To me, it’s appalling political opinions that actively discriminate against people that already have the deck stacked against them, and that actively spread unfair generalisations and promote hate. To you, I guess it might be getting angry about that and swearing at someone.

Fair enough. But don’t expect me to respect you for it.

*Yaaay, Meg’s talking about PRIVILEGE again! Or as we call it in our house, ‘dropping the P bomb.’

10 comments|post comment

Julian Assange and socialist disappointment [23 Jan 2012|01:28pm]
Trigger warnings for discussion of sexual assault.

Guys.

When you pick your heroes, try not to pick a massive rapist. This should surely be a (admittedly quite low-level) baseline in what you admire about people, along with e.g. not actively being in the KKK or Nazi party.

As a lot of you have ignored this advice lately, some even after it has been pointed out, here is what your female friends have learned about you:

If we are raped, or have been raped or assaulted in the past (and the figures are 1 in 4) you are not a safe person to tell. We cannot count on you. Especially if our rapist shares your political beliefs, or if you just happen to think welp, he's a nice guy.

If we have been sexually assaulted, we may not feel safe around you full stop, as someone who does not think rape is a big deal is not safe to be around full stop.

We've learned that actually our justified fears and concerns (1 in 4) are not that important to you. We don't know why, but it's pretty disappointing.

Or we do know why, and it's even more disappointing that it's because of a level of misogyny and privilege that you are unwilling to examine in yourself because it would probably make you feel uncomfortable. Well, you now make us feel very uncomfortable.

And you've taught us that that's one less of our friends to trust. And when it happens again and again, you've taught us that if we want to get involved in political activism, we've got to accept being around a lot of unsafe people who don't think rape is important. You've taught us a lot of those people, including you, don't think women are important. You've taught us that in your awesome, freer, more left wing society, turns out women aren't any freer, because it's still not important if we get raped, and no one believes us. You've taught us that in this very important way, your vision of a new, better society is still built on oppression of one kind or another. And that really, you don't give a shit about that.

And I guess I could go into why this is a Bad Thing for socialist movements, but at the moment, I'd like you to realise that something, or someone, being bad for women is bad enough for it to be important. And that that should mean something to you.

'The revolution does indeed start at home. This phrase should not be interpreted as a depoliticized call to focus on self-development instead of building movements to to dismantle white supremacy, capitalism and imperialism. Rather, this phrase reminds us that for our movements to be successful, they must prefigure the societies we wish to build.'
- The Revolution Starts at Home: Confronting Intimate Violence Within Activist Communities
    Ching-In Chen (Editor), Jai Dulani (Editor), Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha (Editor)

If you are interested in being part of the solution, male allies are busy being awesome on these links:
http://www.whiteribboncampaign.co.uk/
http://www.mencanstoprape.org/
http://www.stopstreetharassment.org/male-allies/
88 comments|post comment

Driving test [29 Jan 2010|01:15pm]
So I could book it for the 9th Feb, or the 9th March.
If I pass it in Feb, that gives me a license before all our big events start, but am I less likely to pass it? On the plus side, I have leave that week beforehand to take more lessons, and I don't think I'd have any more lessons before the March date, so the only thing would be practice (and Stu has just got a new car he is understandably loath to let me anywhere near, haha).

My driving instructor says I should pass first time, as long as our lesson tomorrow doesn't bring up any problems with the parking stuff.
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Vans [21 Jan 2010|09:49am]
I need a van. I am looking at 2nd hand vans. Who knows of this bizarre world, and can nevigate me through it by maybe coming to see vans with me?
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[20 Dec 2009|09:33pm]
Stuart is out watching Avatar tonight, so I am taking the opportunity to watch Legally Blonde 2, dressed in some old tracky bottoms and one of Stuart's oversized t-shirts, stuffing my face with microwaved Indian takeaway leftovers and smoking. I am hot shit. When he gets back he will NEVER HAVE WANTED ME MORE.
9 comments|post comment

Hallowe'en [19 Oct 2009|08:19pm]
Does anyone have a white corset I can borrow? Or white-ish.

I nicked one off Lolli but it is too tiny for my stomach, haha.
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Boat update [16 Oct 2009|01:31pm]
Boat found and keys reclaimed, oh yes.

Man currently sorting out massive mess John has made of the engine room - boat not moved yet as does not go.
Boat safety certificate man coming to inspect on Tuesday, so I can then get insurance and license for BW

Meg keeping good and full records of all cash and equipment owing. Woop woop. Going back down to London next weekend to hopefully move the boat if she moves by then.

Meg
5 comments|post comment

[13 Oct 2009|05:17pm]
I have been renting my boat out through a company called Narrowboat Homes. The man behind this is John Driver, previously known as Eddy Rayner, but has changed his name by deed poll. This is how it was meant to go:

John picks up boat, and promises he will get a boat safety certificate and insure the boat, so I can cancel my insurance.
John pays me the £600 for this month in advance, minus the fee for the safety certificate.
He then pays me £600 per month, regardless of whether the boat is being rented out or not.

When he asks me for a payment break for 3 months, in exchange for doing loads of work on the boat, I say yes, as boat needs some work, apparently. He then starts paying me from the end of September.

During this time, I pay my boat license fee to British Waterways, and he pays me back every month for this. He assures me I do not need a business license (which costs more). He continues to assure me of this when BW say I do, and gives me loads of details about meetings he is having with BW. I am inclined to believe him because every time I phone BW they say something different, and are generally confusing. Also because the man who phones me up from BW is a smug bastard who insinuates I wish to break the law a lot. And does not send me letters even when I give him my new address. Twice.

What has actually happened:

John picks up boat and pays me, minus the fee for boat safety certificate. I later find out (last week) that he has not got a new safety certificate. This is bad.
He pays me for some time, then misses a month before the payment break. I point this out. He does not reply. He has never paid me anything towards the license.
He does not pay me at the end of September. He claims that he has put the money transfer in last Saturday, which I am not holding my breath for.

I search the internet and find some interesting information about him:
'Eddy Rayner who has changed his name by deed poll to John Driver. (that should create suspicion) was in court on July 31st on 6 counts of fraud and deception to do with Narrowboats. He pleaded not guilty and has opted for crown court. His next date in court will be 11th August where the date for crown court will be advised.
If this is a man of integrity and honesty as he says he is, then why would he be in such a position in the 1st place.
I notice his website has been cut down to a minimum, not the signs of a successful business man. I think its only fair that people are warned of this corrupt man so no more people can be sucked in his unethical world and lose their money.
The quote above states that my posts can be put back up when there is proof of allegations. I have stated pure facts and these can all be found out as its public knowledge.
I urge you to re-instate my posts or at least leave this one up as I feel John Driver aka Eddy Rayner has not only monopolised this forum to his best advantage and pulled the wool over many peoples eyes but has gained notoriety of the wrong kind to enhance illegal activities in his so called business.
These comments are not in any way slanderous but true facts and can be found on the public court website.
If anyone desires to wish him well on his next court appearance, he can be found at South Western Courts, Lavender Hill Battersea sw11. See you there!'

Also:

'we engaged ed rayner/john drivers services on two counts. one to convert our boat to a live-aboard and two to act as agent to let it out. we paid a lot of money to him for materials and equipment and upon a surprise visit to our boat, have discovered that very little of what he'd been saying he'd been doing had infact been done. almost everything he told us was untrue, including even going so far as to provide the names of tenants. on the advice of the marina where our boat was moored, we transported the boat away, and upon advice of the police, didn't report this movement to ed/john. he continued to correspond with us as though he were on the boat working, when infact the boat wasn't even there. prior to this, our suspicions were aroused by repeated inconsistencies in his stories, and continual postponement of the promises he made. when we found this blog we realised that he is definitely operating under two identities. he has always been known to us as eddy rayner, and he showed us his passport to support this name. we were making payments into the account of john driver and when we asked him who this was he said john is his silent business partner who supplies the capital. so either the passport or the bank account are definitely illegal. we have reported everything to the police. if you are involved with this man or his company Narrowboat Homes, and are feeling suspicious, contact the police immediately. if you don't intend laying a civil charge, the information you provide can be used in the criminal case they are building against him. '


His website is now down, by the way, and he is advertising under the same number as a 'man with van' hire company.
http://www.manandvanuk.eu/ContactUs.html

If anyone wants to phone him regarding any man with van jobs, I am sure he would be happy to do them. Even if they started from, like, really far away.

Meanwhile, I am trying to apply for a new license from BW, due to needing to do this every year (this is a boat thing). I cannot do this because he will not send me any information I need about the boat safety and the insurance. I phone BW and luckily speak to someone who is lovely and knows all about him, as BW are about to take enforcement action against me because the boat was moored illegally somewhere, and has no license.
I must now:
Go find the boat, which is hopefully where John says it is. But I do not know this, and apparently BW are still looking for some boats he has.
See what kind of condition it is in, as I suspect he has done no work on it. He also says he has left it somewhere I know to be well dodgy, with the keys in the front. Nice.
Drive the boat to a marina about a day away, and moor her there, paying £285 a month for this.
Get some new insurance and a new boat safety certificate, and pay for all the work required to bring her up to standard for this.

This takes my living expenses up to around £200 below my income, not including food, or the loan I must pay back for buying the boat in the first place, as I am now renting a house, because the boat loan was covered by the rent money.

I am annoyed.

I think it would be nice if this showed up in google a lot. And also when I get back from London I will be talking to the police.

Meg

PS Does anyone wish to buy a boat which is PROBABLY still VERY NICE.
18 comments|post comment

[01 Oct 2009|09:41pm]
Ok, I have planned my Hallowe'en costume. You may now vie for the privilege of having me at a party. Woop woop!
5 comments|post comment

[05 Sep 2009|12:52pm]
Who can play the guitar and wants to come do some folk music at my house with me and Dug one weekend this winter? Other instruments also welcome. We reckon we're going to listen to load of music first to kind of work out how to play it and then jam a lot. There might also be actual jam.
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Gathering 2009 [01 Sep 2009|02:55pm]
HOT

- Seeing loads of mates and having a huge faction.
- Tribe - awesome to roleplay with, having ace fun being in a group more. Especially Whispers, with whom I had a great conversation about idiots, and how being curious gets you killed.
- Party in the Albion Jugga club, and finding a reason for the battle on Monday (Harts cheat at Twisty shocker)
- Wah wah wah wah wah embody unliving, wah wah wah, thanks Stesha, you're great.
- Signing pyjamas
- 'Hold my shit; I'm gonna cut her'
- Plot being ALL ABOUT ME. Although mostly seeming to involve death threats. Ah well. I still felt speshul and important.
- Awesome emo rolemaplay around the whole M4 plot. Again, I did no crying.
- Scouts guild cake being amazing success. Got my guild fees paid, counted as my guild service, and got offered free training. Might make them another cake next year to keep up my profile.
- Cake-off. Oh my god, cake-cake. Also people asking for my cake recipe, which I'll post here later.
- Talking to Darren about catering his Heroes and Dragons events. Really looking forward to this.
- Lord Rone getting the crap kicked out of him.
- Stu not getting the crap kicked out of him, phew.
- Finally sorting out what to do with my OSPs. Slightly sad thing to feel pleased about, but I've never understood how they work before. Also it's useful to know from character perspective what is going on.


NOT

- The toilets being well mankier than usual. I had to utilise my boat-learned skills of breathing through my mouth, from when I had to manually empty my toilet every week.
- Don't feel entirely confident doing emo rolemaplay, always feel slightly stupid and like I am taking things too seriously. This is probably a side-effect of the amount of comedy scheming I have been doing over the last few years. Think I'm getting better at it though.
- I think my kit is rubbish, but plans are underway for more and different kit in varying degrees of cheapness. It does not help that I cannot fit into my leather trousers anymore, and someone asked if 'there was a reason for this that meant I shouldn't be drinking that booze and smoking' but plans are also underway for more excermacise and eating of vegetables to counteract this problem. My military jacket is pretty slagged, but I have got at least 6 years wear out of it, so not too bad going.

EDIT: Forgot most hilarious conversation of the event:

'You skipped out on our date 20 minutes in'
'Yes...to SAVE your LIFE.'
'Pfft, whatever.'

Meg
9 comments|post comment

[08 Jun 2009|02:39pm]
Hallo girls

It's that time when I am broke, none of my clothes fit me, and I am throwing loads of them out. Woop! If you find yourselves in the same situation, come round to my house and bring loads of your old clothes that you do not wear any more or the like, and take some of mine. Big fun times! There can also be frothing, customising, and general girl talk. Yay!

We could possibly do it 21st June, the Sunday. Or maybe another day.

EDIT: Definitely another day as that one is Katy's birthday party. Oops! Thought it was the weekend after.
1 comment|post comment

I NEED STUFF [27 May 2009|10:10am]
On what should I spend my OSPs?
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[28 Mar 2009|01:01pm]
Might head into town later to pick up some ingredients, then home for inventive cooking, and maybe a Firefly marathon if anyone's interested? Stu's off at a stag do in Notts, and my other wifey is busy making props for the Viper event.
1 comment|post comment

Tomorrow! [13 Nov 2008|11:18pm]
3 comments|post comment

Dragonfire [18 Jul 2006|10:29pm]
It's bad, but it's no Timelash...
4 comments|post comment

Tonight [19 Jul 2004|04:30pm]
Tonight I will be mostly cleaning and organising my house. Until I get bored, at which point I will welcome visitors.
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