5 Quick Things: August 2020

Welcome to 5 Quick Things that I saw since last month that I thought were interesting enough to share with you. None of them are particularly timely so feel free to just enjoy 🙂

>Number One<

Meme (90s Flavor)

If you spend any time on the internet (especially if you argue semi-professionally on the internet) you may have heard of Godwin’s Law. Like many laws it’s simply an internet saying but a fairly useful one that says: “As a discussion on the Internet grows longer, the likelihood of a comparison of a person’s being compared to Hitler or another Nazi reference, increases.” Godwin coined this phrase as a hope that a meme chiding that type of behavior might curb it. Well, I wish that had worked.

I’ve often expressed my frustration with the Internets collective desire to invoke Nazis at the drop of a hat as it makes pointing out real instances of fascism, genocide, and yes, real Nazis very difficult but reading this article about his reasons for creating this meme nearly 30 years ago and how to create memes that curb or discourage bad behavior is certainly enlightening in the age of memes we find ourselves in. There’s so much “bad behavior” on the internet that deserves to be counter-meme’d but I think we have a lot to learn from the power and drawbacks to a counter meme like “Godwin’s Law” that will help us make better memes in the future and help people come to better conclusions. Or at least, I hope so.

>Number Two<

Design and Disability

I saw a cute little poem earlier this year during one of the worst parts of the pandemic that urged the reader to think of 2020 as a moment of change because we were being forced to disrupt our lives and that could (if we let it) give us space to consider how we wanted the world to be when we returned to it.

One of the things that this pandemic has really pulled back the curtain on is how many things we could be doing in society RIGHT NOW to make everyday lives better for more people from simple adaptions to more availability of curbside pick up and delivery to allowing flexible work from home schedules for a majority of workers. One thing that is also coming to light is how public spaces are not built for safety or even for people in the US and this article goes through some ways we could use this time and this moment to transform those spaces or at least work towards thinking about transforming public spaces.

“If we continue to plan and design our cities as though everyone is 30 years old, active, and non-disabled, the result will continue to be cities that are biased, non-accessible, non-inclusive, and well, just damn dumb.”

>Number Three<

Love Stories

I recently watched Portrait of a Lady on Fire and I recommend that you stop everything you’re doing and go watch it right now if you haven’t. Portrait of a Lady on Fire is one of the most touching and beautiful love stories I’ve seen in the past few years and I found myself wondering why this story, of all the stories I’d seen had really touched me then I saw this Stories of Old video that pondered the same thing. In the video it lays out some of the reasons queer stories have been hitting it home more than others in the past few years. Some of it is just that in a relationship with two straight characters movies usually don’t bother to try and give the characters chemistry or even real flirting, or the characters simply fall into common tropes to show us that they “like” each other producing shallow loves stories. In queer stories characters have to flirt and have proper build up before they disclose their affections which makes us, the viewer, more invested but also feels much truer to my personal lived experience in relationships of all types. The video has tons more to say and the rest of the channel is generally really great so I suggest getting comfortable and watching a few of his videos.

>Number Four<

The Shrinking World of Conspiracy Theories

You may have noticed a sharp uptick in the number of people believing absolutely bonkers information during this global pandemic. Well, you’re not the only one. Except even before this particular moment the amount of conspiracy theories seemed to have multiplied over night from the run of the mill Area 51 all the way to Flat Earth and Anti Vax you might think they have nothing to do with each other except, the biggest indicator of if you will believe a conspiracy theory or not is…if you already believe one. Something like a “conspiracy singularity” feels inevitable especially with “news” being able to spread like wildfire on the internet. I’d be very interested in reading research about this but I assume it’s still being conducted but at least until then we have this pretty good article to hit on some main points.

>Number Five<

Don’t Be an Ecofacist

I’m not sure I can say this any clearer for the people in the back but stop wishing death on other people and that includes if you’re going to couch your thoughts about other people in a thin veneer of “maybe humans are the virus” branded eco-fascism. I’m sure plenty of people seeing the news that pollution went down for a hot second feel justified in those cries but the thing is even if the population were reduced, that does not address any of the issues that cause or will continue to exacerbate on-going climate change.

[The idea of decreasing the population is] a way of avoiding what, in affluent circles, may seem a more destabilizing possibility: that the capitalistic lifestyle, not poorer countries’ population growth, might be what needs to change.

I wish everyone could read this article and really internalize that the way to solve these issues is not to destroy a large part of humanity. This virus is not a punishment or a cleansing from nature, it’s just a part of the world. The world we all live in, the world we all seek to stay in. The world we should work together to fix for all of our sakes.

Alright folks, that’s it for this month, see you next month!

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