Tabclosing: Let’s Pretend Things Never Changed

I’m sort of locked in to using the tabclosing tag for these entries now, but the name has become a pleasant fiction. These days when I want to save something for later reading, I just send it to my Pocket queue. I’ve neglected actually looking at that queue the last couple of months, though, and so my Pocket is stuffed to bursting. Let’s change that a bit. (And pretend we didn’t.)

  • A Brief History of Romantic Friendship – Maria Popova writes about an era when homosocial romance was considered innocuous or laudable, and how growing “sophistication” about sex in the 20th century curtailed the practice.
  • This Is What Gentrification Really Is – Annalee Newitz offers a nuanced, historical view of gentrification as a form of immigration, and examines how (as with other forms of immigration) opinions of it are largely shaped by narrative.
  • ‘Human Props’ stay in luxury homes but live like ghosts – an article that is, more than anything, about companies monetizing the desire to pretend nothing has changed.
  • “Why Did You Shoot Me, I Was Reading A Book?” – Article in Salon by Radley Balko from last year about the militarization of America’s police forces. This has been linked a lot since all the horribleness in Ferguson started.
  • The San Antonio Spurs hired Stars star Becky Hammon to be the first woman employed full-time as an assistant NBA coach. This is historic, but, in typical Spurs fashion, they never mentioned it. In their press release about the signing, they talked exclusively about Hammon’s qualifications and didn’t refer to her gender once. Which, in a Finkbeiner test sense, is exactly what they should do. Here are a bunch of articles about it: from the New York Times, from Esquire, from Rolling Stone, from Pounding The Rock.
  • And finally, “Happy Fun Room,” a science fiction short film by Greg Pak, about a woman who’s gone through a change so severe, she’s blind to things changing again:

The 21st Century Lynch Mob, Brought To You by GoFundMe

Officer Darren Wilson, the man who shot and killed unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown while he was trying to flee (based on multiple eyewitness reports and, now, the Ferguson PD), has not been charged with any crime. He has not lost his job, or any associated income. He has, however,  attracted a distributed group of enthusiasts donating money to him for so-called “legal defense.” As there is no pending litigation, this amounts to a reward or bounty for killing a black man. The campaigns are being run through GoFundMe, first here and now here. The folks running these “fundraisers” have rebranded themselves as “Shield of Hope charity,” so that donations will be tax deductible.

The donation page quickly filled up with racist commentary. Soon, 4chan trolls piled on (more here). In response to the controversy, GoFundMe decided to delete the offensive comments. Of course, they still kept the money, as evidenced by the number of donators going down while the amount raised went up. At the time of this writing, the two campaigns have raised almost a quarter million dollars, for a profit to GoFundMe of $12,064.

Shaun King has called for a boycott of GoFundMe. Somewhat ironically, there is also a GoFundMe campaign in support of the family of Mike Brown, which will suffer under a boycott. But there are many ways to support the cause of justice that don’t involve giving a 5% cut to a company that is functionally doing PR work for racists by deleting their hateful commentary but keeping the money that came with it. Kickstarter learned that there are some activities that don’t belong on their site.  It’s time for GoFundMe to learn the same lesson. Barring the closing of the racist Darren Wilson support funds and an apology from GoFundMe, I will not donate to any future GoFundMe campaigns.

UPDATE: And looks like the fundraisers may be run by the Ferguson PD itself.

My Desk

(UPDATE: the configuration below ended up changing. Image of final state here.)

I’m still getting my new apartment in Austin put together, but the office is starting to take shape, so I thought I’d share a little of what’s been keeping me away from the internet for so long. Here’s my new desk setup.


The desk itself is a steel juggernaut, six feet wide with three file drawers, two box drawers, and an item tray. Above, on the wall, a cluster of personally meaningful things. On the far left is a National Merit Scholarship certificate. Next to that, a column with a plaque of my high school diploma bearing the NESA seal. Below that a photo of my NESA creative writing class, and below that my Clarion class. On the far right is a sketch by Tom Siddell, author of my favorite webcomic. To the left of that there’s my Bachelor’s of Science degree from Trinity University, and a photo of me with my parents on the day I got it. The middle column has my Masters of Fine Arts diploma from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and in the center a print I inherited from my maternal grandparents, of Gerrit Dou’s “Der Schreibmeister – The Writing Master.”



I’m moving into a new apartment and don’t have internet access right now save for via the cellular network, but I spent all night on my phone scrolling through Twitter and marveling at each fresh outrage. If you aren’t following the #Ferguson hashtag right now, you are blind to the current state of American civil liberties. In brief: a police officer in Ferguson, MO murdered an unarmed Black teenager in front of witnesses, the department hid the shooter’s identity, the citizens gathered for protests and vigils, and the police declared a no-fly zone, brought out armored vehicles and snipers and tear gas, began arresting reporters and destroying cameras, and basically instituting martial law with no meaningful oversight. I’ll update this post with links and more information once I’m at a computer.

Update: And actually, by the time I’ve gotten to a computer, it turns out the situation has evolved so much and so rapidly that providing a full roundup would now be too big an undertaking. Fortunately, media outlets have also finally started following the story, so you no longer have to be on Twitter to see it.

Update 2: Nope, Twitter is still, a few days later, by far the best place for information. Follow the #Ferguson hashtag. And for a reasonable roundup, here’s John Oliver.