And then, one Thursday, nearly two thousand years after one man had been nailed to a tree for saying how great it would be to be nice to people for a change, one girl sitting on her own in a small cafe in Rickmansworth suddenly realized what it was that had been going wrong all this time, and she finally knew how the world could be made a good and happy place. This time it was right, it would work, and no one would have to get nailed to anything.
-Douglas Adams, Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy
A couple weeks ago I read an article from The Mary Sue discussing the fact that cultures of harassment can be changed. The article was a quick reflection on a larger article from Wired magazine about Curbing Online Abuse, and discussing how some of the same ideas can apply to harassment at San Diego Comic Con. I have been wanting to write an article about the findings from the Wired article for a while, but just had not gotten around to it. With the occurrences of Saturday and the #yesallwomen movement, it seemed like a great time to discuss my reactions to this article and what it means for online harassment.
The study mentioned in the Wired article displayed some interesting statistics. Now they did not mention any specifics about the behavior that they considered negative, so it is not necessarily just abuse targeted at women. In some ways this makes sense because we should not just focus on ending abusive behavior towards women, but all abusive behavior. The most important take away is the fact that abusive behavior is not just isolated to a small number of players who are always abusive. The truth is that a large portion of abusive behavior is done by players who normally do not act that way, but something sets them off, which sets someone else off, and so on and so forth. This means it is not just about taking care of those people that are always abusive, but changing the culture of the community as a whole. Continue reading
Posted in Feminism, IRL
Tagged #notallmen, #yesallwomen, abusive behavior, feminism, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, IRL, online harassment, online to real world, Part-Time Monster, The Mary Sue, Wired
Zaphod Beeblebrox. Now that is one hoopy frood. Of Douglas Adams’ crazy creations in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Zaphod works out as one of the more normal and acceptable. He is the self-involved politician, who holds no real power but is just a figurehead. Is he a parody of all politicians? A metaphor? Is he just the perfect politician – able to draw attention away from those with real power?
Who knows, but for some reason, this over-the-top character with two heads and three arms is an acceptable part of the universe. And he puts his position and situation to good use, stealing the Heart of Gold and allowing Adams to do literally whatever he wanted with these stories – thanks to the Infinite Improbability Drive. Ah, the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. If you haven’t read it, I do recommend it, and the second book, in particular. And if you like those, the whole series. But for now, a couple of great parts about Zaphod Beeblebrox!
I initially started writing about Science Fiction as it relates to Religion in terms of aliens – and how the existence of aliens might do a lot to prove or disprove religions. There are a lot more science fiction worlds I could look at and discuss this point, and I may at some point in the future. However, a truly intelligent alien race, that was around well before us, is an entirely different train of thought.
And that leads me to today’s topic: Intelligent Design. A common theme in science fiction, the creation of humanity as the result of alien influence. Seen prominently recently in Prometheus, this thought comes up a lot, and while it doesn’t prove anything – the fiction aspect of the phrase – it does pose some hard scientific questions.
So let’s go with the best example of this: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.
Why have a stuffy intellectual conversation or a self-righteous religious one when we can have a fun conversation? If you haven’t read the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, go do it. If you prefer audio books, Holly loved listening to it with Stephen Fry narrating. It is a good time, a fantastic parody, but with some solid thought that went into it too, which is a lot of its lasting appeal. So let’s take a look at what Douglas Adams did with Religion.