Oh Horrors!

I wrote two posts related to politics and feminism, and another related to philosophy, with a few pictures thrown in. I must now write on technology.

Movable Type 3.1 did release today, right on schedule. Congratulations to the 6A group. When I mentioned doing the export for MT from WP last week, another person emailed me telling me he was already at work on it. And work he did — finishing it up in record time. When he publishes the script I’ll post a link to it. I’ve already tested it with my own weblog, porting from WordPress 1.2 to MT 3.1 and it worked a treat–and I have some odd data elements in my installation of WP.

So now once I get an official copy of Movable Type 3.1 (without signing up for TypeKey being the stubborn lady that I am) I’ll finish that section of the tutorial on tool independence, covering other aspects of moving from WordPress to Movable Type 3.1.

And vice versa. No worries on those wanting to go the other direction. I’ve already started porting three volunteer’s weblogs from Movable Type to WordPress (and other environs), in my space to cover that aspect of the writing. I’m holding on porting their actual sites until WordPress 1.3 releases — I’m using the alpha/beta code for my work, but would prefer using released code for other’s live weblogs. However, I don’t want to wait on the writing until 1.3 releases. I need to be finished quickly.

Oh, and I’ve decided to drop the style switcher, so next time you read this, your favorite style will probably be gone. I think I’ve found the look I can live with and that looks decent in all browsers. It has no rounded corners, and minimal shadowing and it doesn’t look anything like Kubrick — but at least it’s uniquely me. I hope that you can all live with what you see. If not, then I hope you all can lie very effectively. I will take either and be content.

Scott Hanson has posted a link to his WP export script and a write-up at his weblog.

If this gets easy enough, you could eventually switch weblogs weekly, just to keep everyone guessing. Become a true weblogging polygamist.


“Sure, some Movable Type users migrated to other tools. And, of course, it is sad to see them leave. However, we feel strongly that the Movable Type community (and Six Apart as a company) has only become stronger since these changes. And if those who migrated do want to come back, we always have that import button. That freedom is why we have also had export since almost day one.”

Deja vu, all over again. From Mena’s Corner.

Oh, and heads up folks: the dynamic PHP page feature only works with standard MT template tags — no plug-ins. Save yourself hassle and heartache trying to get this one to work.


Do not lose your desire to walk

On the bathroom wall at Shaw Nature Reserve, I saw a sign with these words:

“Above all, do not lose your desire to walk: every day I walk myself into a state of well-being and walk away from every illness; I have walked myself into my best thoughts, and I know of no thought so burdensome that one cannot walk away from it. . .but by sitting still, and the more one sits still, the closer one comes to feeling ill. . . Thus if one just keeps on walking, everything will be alright.”

Søren Kierkegaard, letter to Jette (1847)

One forgets at times how insightful Kierkegaard was, until reading the above. Or the following:

The essence of pleasure does not lie in the thing enjoyed, but in the accompanying consciousness. If I had a humble spirit in my service, who, when I asked for a glass of water, brought me the world’s costliest wines blended in a chalice, I should dismiss him, in order to teach him that pleasure consists not in what I enjoy, but in having my own way.

Or my favorite:

People hardly ever make use of the freedom which they have, for example, freedom of thought; instead they demand freedom of speech as compensation.

“His earliest published essay, for example, was a polemic against women’s liberation.” (Quote from this site.)

Well, even great thinkers screw up from time to time.

Yours in freedom.


Invisible on still water

This week is the RNC, which probably accounts for why we’re subjected to yet another post asking the question, Where are the female political bloggers — a male epiphany that seems to occur with surprising regularity. This particular writing was by Matt Stoller, a prominent liberal weblogger who is responsible for the site, Blogging the President.

I was taken aback from the title of his writing, “The Women Blogging Thing”; it makes me think of liberal males being required to address this topic once a year or so, or lose their metrosexual status. This is somewhat born out by the obligatory, if albeit confused, reference to the feminist movement:

That said, there’s a top-down style to the feminist movement that leaves little room for flat hierarchies that blogging needs to flourish. This is a cultural issue, and can be reflected in a lot of the strategic missteps of these groups.

I wasn’t the only one that went ‘huh’ when reading this. When questioned in comments about this ‘top-down’ style of feminism, Stoller provides further clarification:

What I meant by the feminist movement is the institutions that represent it, not the movement itself. It should not be top-down, but it is.


Still, it was the later writing in the post that did more than raise my eyebrows:

There’s also the fact that the male political blogosphere doesn’t help at all. It’s obviously a boys club (with select girls who act like in specifically stylized ways allowed). For instance, my style of blogging is very male – I feel like I have to conclude everything, which leaves less room for the more deliberative communication patterns I find among women. That’s common, but usually in a more extreme version. Guys don’t really feel comfortable saying ‘I don’t know’ or just going through inconclusive cognitive exercises. Jay Rosen does it very well, but he gets flamed quite frequently just for asking questions. The flame war pissing contest that motivates so many communities is another example of boys raising their hands in class and just generally being more aggressive. So Respectful of Otters gets ignored by the ‘big boys’, even though it’s great. There’s also the fact that it deals with uteruses and other stuff that boys don’t have and don’t think of, like career/family conflicts.

Some, like Ms. Lauren have responded with a great deal of restraint to this paragraph, and in fact the whole writing. I admire their forbearance, but after so many of these conversations and these ‘generalizations’ without any example to back them up, I grow weary of the game. As you’ll see in my comments associated with the post (when comments worked, that is), I basically said this was crap, pure and simple. I could take the time trying to find something in it worthwhile to respond to in a positive manner — but why should I?

Luckily, XX Blog reframed the discussion brilliantly, providing a more effective criticism than my “this is crap” response. (I like what Negro, Please had to say, “Read for the “good intentions,” stay for the presumptions, assumptions, and unintended condescension which I was about to jump all over when I first read them in the satire post…”)

I was angry at Stoller’s words, but more frustrated reading what other women had to say. As happens far too often in these threads, there is one or more women who feel compelled to apologize for the women’s movement, or distance themselves from feminism, as if to assure all those who are reading their words, they’re not that kind of woman. These same women usually feel compelled to assure the guys that they like men, really; or apologize to the men for the unladylike behavior of people like me. Shaula Evans was just such a woman in the thread associated with Stoller’s post, commenting:

Ian / Matt, Wow. I’m floored, I’m just floored by the flames here, the hostility, and the sheer ignorance. I’m offended and deeply embarrassed.

If this is how women behave in the blogosphere, is it a wonder the boys don’t want to let us in their treehouse? Yeesh.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again here: if I was a guy, I’d be gay, rather than put up with this kind of shit.

Let us in their treehouse…

Speaking of swinging from limbs, I think the reason I’ve enjoyed the discussions related to Michelle Malkin is that when I’ve commented in her posts, or about her posts, I never once felt like I was operating under a different constraint than the men. If the men were thoughtful, I could be thoughtful, and neither group was applauded more than the other on how ’sensitive’ they were. If the men were angry, well, so could I be angry — and never once had my words rejected for being anything other than words.

And no person, man or woman, felt compelled to apologize to anyone for anything other than themselves.

Unfortunately, this environment is not pervasive across weblogging–especially among the oh-so popular liberal webloggers. Mouse Words also noticed this, writing about Matt Stoller’s rather cutting comments directed at Trish Wilson, in response to a mild comment she made:

Stoller pulls rank on Trish here and worse he does it while thinking he’s an egalitarian sort. She should be grateful that a man is here to deal with feminism. What does she think, that feminism belongs to women? One would almost think that women’s rights is an issue women worry about; we need to be quiet and let men figure out what they intend to let us have.

…we need to be quiet…

If you’re a woman and you write passionately, chances are at some point you will be called shrill and hysterical. If you’re a woman and you write very conservatively, you’ll most likely be disparaged for your looks and your sex, as much as your words. And if you’re a woman and take a guy like Stoller to task, there’s almost always one woman, one proper woman, one well behaved woman, who apologizes for our sex; feeding the myth that good women don’t talk back.

What’s sad, though, is that time and again, I’ve seen these same women rewarded with treats tossed in response, as rewards for their good behavior; given not so much for their ability or expertise, as the fact that they don’t cause ripples.

invisible on still water


My apolitical self

Kevin Hayden had some nice things to say about yours truly and other webloggers. I was especially thankful for his kind compliments on my photography.

I was taken back, though, when he introduced me as a member of blogs that are, “Good reads, even if apolitical”; especially considering that several of my posts in the last several years have been related in one way or another to the political scene.

I think some of the confusion arises from the fact that I’ve been labeled a ‘technology weblogger’–complimentary by some, less so by others (whatever suits the individual). Perhaps because technology and politics are two of the largest categories of webloggers, I’ll be seen as greedy wanting to be part of both.

Some of the the confusion could arise from the fact that I don’t focus solely on politics. But that’s not surprising because most of my attention outside of the weblog isn’t on politics, either. I am neither a senator nor a candidate for office, where politics is my life. Though the upcoming election is very important to me, as it is others, I also know that very little of what I can say here, one way or another will have much impact on what others d; or how they vote. Frankly, if I do write on politics, it’s usually because someone’s introduced some interesting new twist worth exploring.

I also don’t read that many ‘pure political’ weblogs outside of about half a dozen that manage to introduce some new twist on tired subjects (disagreeably or agreeably, matters not). Or they introduce charming dialog such as this (which I guess goes to show that the best of the ‘pure political’ weblogs aren’t purely political — there’s a clue here in this ).

I wonder how many posts I have to write on politics a week to be seen as a ‘political’ weblogger but without losing my ‘technology’ weblogger status? Since I also consider myself a feminist: how many posts do I have to write on this subject a week to be considered a ‘feminist’ blogger? As many as Ampersand?

After trying to be a technology weblogger who is also a political weblogger who is also a feminist, will I still have time for a photo, and maybe a poem or personal reflection now and again? A note about a hike, or a road trip? An aside about my cat? The task seems daunting; perhaps I’m just being needy, wanting to be seen as more than ‘just a…’

I’m not writing this to pick on Kevin. Well, yes I am, but I have no doubts that Kevin will accept this writing with humor and style. And, as I said earlier, I appreciate the lovely things he wrote about me and my work. Here’s a flower in thanks.