Archive for the ‘sociology’ Category

Sizism and Harrassment in an Online World

12 Dec

This weekend, I started playing a new Free To Play video game, All Points Bulletin (APB) Reloaded. I’m more than content to list it here, because all in all it is a fabulous game as far as Free To Play is concerned. That’s not what I’m here to talk about, though. I’m here to talk about the prevalence of sizism and harassment as they related to my gameplay over the weekend.

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Death Becomes Us

09 Feb

So. A new post. Unusual that it happens when I’m on the road, but that can’t be helped. The subject I was pondering was actually prompted by walking past a cemetery in a borough of Philadelphia, where the wind-buffeted American flags clung feebly to the stone monuments to which they were attached or planted in front of. I amusingly thought of a Canadian ceremony, and the lack of such Canadian flags in its midst. Something about either not having military graves, or perhaps not having as much pride in the flag as our southern cousins.

That said, I started to think about the monuments themselves. The acts of putting flowers at gravestones of our mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, and other relatives. At what point does the act of celebrating the life of someone fade into repetitive tasks of maintenance, and then followed by a process of the selfsame monuments crumbling to dust? I’d be surprised if any of us visit the graves of our great grandparents. Or our great great grandparents for that matter. A mere hundred years before these investments become essentially monuments to a forgotten person?

Ironically, both religious and non-religious sects put very little importance on the body after death. The soul, the spirit, rebirth, all of these things are completely separate from the physical form. Why, then, do we put so much importance on laying that form to rest? Whether interned in a simple casket or placed in a small box in a mausoleum, we put so much money and time into ensuring that we leave some impact on the world, if even for a few decades before we become remnants of a forgotten past.

I made a decision, recently. I decided that I would donate my body and organs to either needy people or science, as the case may be, in hopes that someone would gain a better understanding of the human body and how to care from it from the simple vessel that I currently inhabit. Whether this is everything I will ever be, or if there is truly some deeper consciousness residing in it temporarily, after I’m gone I’ll have no use for it again. Besides, if we’re doomed to a zombie uprising, I’d rather be burned and/or in many many pieces so that I won’t contribute to the masses the survivors are faced with. ;)

In all seriousness, though, I question whether these old practices are really valid anymore. In a world where the one thing that is endless, it appears, is the availability of data, why do we not commemorate our loved ones in representations of life with more meaning? Pictures, memories, certificates, representations of our life and accomplishments in a digital medium, linked to our ancestors and descendants for easy access. If I had access to such information, I would definitely search for hours, getting to know those who have been forgotten by simple human memory. There are attempts to start such a practice, but not for the purpose of replacing the endless amount of space that we take up storing the dead. We likely use hundreds of thousands of acres of space in the middle of industrialized areas to do exactly that, and unfortunately due to the belief that these spaces are sacred, will have difficulty doing anything with it until we manage to make some kind of paradigm shift in the way burial is viewed.

A macabre topic? Perhaps. This is the stuff I think about, though.

Until next time.


Chronicles of the Misunderstood – Furry – Part 1: Definocentric Society

31 Oct

In an effort to make the process of building this book easier, and perhaps turning it into a digital book as opposed to a physical book as I’d originally intended, I’ll be documenting each portion of my effort here directly. I’ll be expanding on my views and beliefs, covering the points that I’d like to make, and looking for your input as I do so. Enjoy!

The first baseline to establish, and the reason why most people fail to accurately define the furry fandom, or truthfully any fandom, is due to the sheer variety and breadth of scope of a group of fans. In order to define something like this we need to focus on the commonalities, inasmuch as we can, and acknowledge the fact that such a definition fails to cover all individuals or circumstances. In this admittance of the incapability to fully and completely define something, we can begin to set a framework upon which to build a personal definition, which is fundamentally what any abstract concept depends on.

Those of us who hope to establish a definition that can be effectively ‘copied and pasted’ to all instances has fallen prey to the definocentric world view that is so common in our world currently. Our society has grown on linguistic definition. We focus on writing extensive dictionary and encyclopedia entries that fully and completely define all connotations and denotations of words. This works fine for objects, and arguably people and places. What we’re finding now is that definitions are required for more inexact items. Love. Science fiction. Buddhists. Any term that represents such an expansive list of perspectives and individual beliefs that it becomes nigh on impossible to capture everything in one selection of individual words.

The realization that we cannot hope to define such things in an all-encompassing way does not sit well with traditionalists. They want a means to put a label on the practice or group, but have no way to establish such a label so as to satisfy everyone impacted or part of the item they are trying to define. Not everyone who loves will love in the same way. Not everyone who is a fan of science fiction will like the same things. Not everyone who considers themselves a Buddhist will follow the teachings of Buddha in the same way, if at all. In order to satisfy the desires of definocentric society, we need to be careful what we assign in our definition, and firmly establish the flexibility and failings of such a definition to completely outline what we’re trying to define.

So with that note, we begin. Not to define, or to capture every element of the furry fandom, but rather to explore it. Give a series of perspectives, commonalities, and elements of the fandom that will help each person understand in their own way exactly what it is. Definitions of this scope and size will be a journey, not a process of simply looking something up. As we move into more abstract concepts with more open-minded understanding, such will be necessary. These writings will be a journey, and I welcome each and every one of you to pursuing this journey with me. We will all learn something, and my hope is that we will not realize what we know, but rather what we don’t. This is how we learn.


My Jet Set Life and Social Definitions

13 Oct

Well, it’s been an interesting 30 days. In the past month, I’ve flown to NYC and stayed in a (rather crummy) hotel not far from Times Square. Following that, I flew down to Washington, DC (quite by accident on the part of the travel agent), drove across three state lines (Virginia / Maryland, Maryland / Delaware, and Delaware / Pennsylvania) to get to King of Prussia in order to spend a little under a week there. All of this for training, with some fantastic students, and I’m beginning to get used to the idea of spending some time away from home. It definitely makes me miss those people most important to me all the more, but it gives me the chance to experience different regions of the world, even if I start with the continent I call home.

Moving on, I had the (mis)fortune today of being caught off guard by an acronym I saw scrolling past on my Twitter feed. Puzzled, I inquired towards its meaning. A new three-letter acronym had been commandeered to identify an Online Community on Twitter (and beyond), which struck me as odd. I suppose this comes partly from my bias towards the particular subject and the communities that revolve around it, but also from my bias towards communities in general. Communities as a whole don’t need to be organized, structured, or restricted. I find it only makes it more difficult for the members of such a community to feel like they belong, and be more likely to feel entitled compared to people outside of the community.

Belonging, naturally, is a positive. Entitlement, more along the lines of a negative. Being part of a community entitles you to nothing more than access to a group of like-minded individuals at most, and to a group of people aware of a common interest at worst. Adding acronyms to this only adds to the miasma of confusion around social networking to begin with, as opposed to making people aware of your cause and feel inclined to join. Is this because it’s a “friends only” group, or because those who want to join should know what such an acronym means? Growth is focused around ideals and beliefs, not acronyms and definitions. I think that’s part of what does not endear me to such groups. I have enough responsibility in life to begin with, and serving a group with a specific purpose is not an added responsibility that I require.

So where does this put me? Confused, primarily. Somewhat offended, even though I have no justification to feel such. I’ve been invited to hundreds of thousands of communities in my lifetime, and I ignore most of them to begin with just because I don’t understand or relate to their ideals or beliefs. Why would I spend any time on figuring out what an unexplained acronym means to figure out what your ideals or beliefs are? Do I want to have that acronym assigned to me, and need to explain it to others, or would I be better off just sharing your belief from a distance?

These are the thoughts that go through my head. What are yours? If you were invited to a group that refers to themselves as an WOC, would you spend the time looking into what that meant? Is the savings in number of letters worth the alienation of the masses?

~ Aiden

PS. My hypothetical example could be “Women’s Online Community”, or even “Wombat Online Community”. Assume for the example that you don’t know, and it’s not obvious, what the acronym stands for.


Twitter Means – Branching Out!

13 Oct

Now that I’ve amassed a healthy retinue of friends, and friends networks, I feel I can take full advantage of the feature of Twitter I’ve been lacking.

Stalking random people.

I kid (mostly), but what it comes down to is we all have these complex and (slightly) convoluted friend networks that stretch a small distance, either geographically or through connections. Once we put that network out there for others to see, people from the far reaches of our network can intermingle, or possibly reach out to shared networks and build new relationships and networks.

I find this a fascinating practice, and based on my recent additions and inclusions of people that I find somewhat interesting, it’s actually constructive. I’m allowed to take my time analyzing a person, judging them on what they say and believe, and then add them if my opinion of their statements or their presentation fits with the kind of people I want to know. Automatically, I’ve just increased the potential for interaction with this person many times higher than a random social event, even if we have a single thing in common.

Now that I find myself with these new people to converse with, to share notes with, and chuckle about how closely we’re linked even without knowing each other, I wonder where this all is going to take us. Not too many years ago, Facebook was an unknown. The links we had to school friends from a few or dozens of years ago were forever broken, except maybe for some unique websites like that would advertise their unique capability of connecting you with the students from your class that actually cared to get connected. Even more recently than that, Twitter was a nebulous concept in someone’s mind, and the 140 character limit of psychology and belief was something we just couldn’t imagine. Now that we’re here… what’s next?

One of the things I ponder is many of the attempts to unify communication methods. Whether online profiles to contain all your contact info or interaction of several different social networking sites to provide a consolidated record of contact information, I believe that somewhere along the line, we’re going to end up with a personal record of everything us. I know many people use many different systems to do exactly that, myself included. For the moment, at least, most of my contact information is in my head, but one of these days I’m going to finally break off all the old accounts, all the old emails, and reduce myself to a few primary ones, based upon my interests. All of a sudden, my multifaceted personality is subject to a limited number of access points, linked to the social networks that are best suited to them.

Are you ready for what might happen next? Are you prepared to see social networking take another step in the connectivity realm, bringing everyone even closer together? Is privacy something you still cherish and wish to keep a morsel of it to yourself? It’s a digital age, and the clothes we wear have become less important than the guises we adopt on the Internet. Business, personal life, and privacy are all bundled up in a complicated and technologically changing network of people, places, and businesses. It’s a scary world out there, but we’re learning more and more about it in the process.

~ Aiden


The World and Money

28 May

What happened if money just disappeared? I don’t mean what if everybody was suddenly poor, but I mean what if money all of a sudden lost every importance it had originally. How would we manage? What would change?

Hypothetical situation. Let’s say a benevolent researcher develops an invention that is able to deconstitute inorganic mass and turn it into something else. It basically collects all of the independent molecules, tears them apart, and puts them together again into something new. Not only that, but because of this, they can be made cheaply and distributed to everyone across the world. All of a sudden, we can go back to all those garbage dumps and raze them to the ground. Slums, old and broken highways, decrepit buildings, everything destroyed and replaced in a matter of moments. Ignoring for the fact the science behind such an invention, what would happen to the world? Read the rest of this entry »


Resolutions (of a sort)…

01 May

So you know how we all make those New Year’s resolutions, and then promptly forget all about them within a week? I know for a fact that I never make them to start with, just to save myself the disappointment (and, I like to think, because I’m happy with everything as it is).

I think I owe a few resolutions, one of which is to get this on again / off again blog back on its feet. :) I have an excellent site setup, an excellent identity, and loads to get off my chest that can’t be satisfied by the 140 character limit of my new Twitter addiction…

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12 Feb

Well, I suppose that’s simply titled enough. Ah well, suffice it to say it sums up this post pretty well.

Yes, I know I haven’t been keeping up to any regular pattern of updates, but mayhaps I will have a reason to update now. I’ll get to that in a minute.

First interesting bit of news, I grabbed a copy of the Windows 7 beta before the release window expired (basically, today). I am currently running a dual-boot of Windows XP and Windows 7 on my home desktop (not stupid enough to single boot on a beta OS), and I must say I am extremely impressed. Windows 7 gives us the same pretty look and most of the new navigation of Vista and adds a stable core to the system. For some strange reason, both me and my boyfriend have looked at the new OS, and after a brief period of tooling around with it, we are both confident in saying “I like this!”, despite there being very little physical or interactive difference for the system, and the both of us being firmly against Vista. Whatever Windows has done, they’ve done it right, and this is only just the Beta. I look forward to further advancements, and I’m actually looking forward to purchasing a copy of Windows’ new OS and actually feel happy to do so.

Now, on to the meat of things. When I first came up with the web domain and the title “Curved Perspective”, I did so for different reasons (and because I was just randomly coming up with stuff), but the base reason was because I felt that I did have a perspective that wasn’t as straightlined as others. I see different angles of things, different perspectives, and have an innate understanding of things that not everyone is able to tap into. While I’m not perfect by any means, this has still served me in a number of ways to experience and learn about life and culture. It’s part of the reason I want to go back to school for sociology or psychology, to give myself some further awareness beyond this unusual way of looking at things.

But now I realize that there are more than just a few people who have this kind of a perspective, even if they don’t realize it. I had realized this previously and at some point wanted to turn this website into a community of individuals who see things differently. I find alternative communities are huge for this, and given that I am part of a series of communities, this provides me an in for accessing all sorts of people to start the system off. I will be working on establishing this concept further, but I fully expect to build up a forum for this purpose and beginning to send out the invites right, left, and center. I can only hope this can succeed to the point of having a well-established community that can actually make an impression on the world at large, and while I have no specific goals for this entity, I am most definitely confident that it can do only good.

I invite everyone to take part and become involved in this if you feel that you match the requirements of being open-minded and having a curved perspective of your own. We’ll see where this goes.

~Aiden Wrenne


Pre-Built Boxes

16 Dec

Ah, the box mentality.

Society has spent years manufacturing boxes to put people in. We’ve done it for personalities, for interests, for cultures, and for stereotypes. I like to think that I’m not so distracted a person to unnecessarily box people in without getting the time to know them. I know plenty of beautiful and amazing people that couldn’t fit into a box if they tried, but is that really a bad thing?

Give me any box and I can give you an exception that doesn’t fit inside of it. If you even attempt to claim that your series of boxes encompasses the world and any of your boxes holds more than one person, I will undoubtedly disagree.

Also, our boxes are getting old and rotten. The ones that have been around for hundreds of years are starting to look well and tattered, especially in modern society. Toss them aside and instead use aspects of self to identify the complex individuals that we are.

Kind of makes me wonder what kinds of aspects would make up a list?

~ Aiden Wrenne