Open Thread: Orange

Only when I was prepping this image for the open thread did I notice that there's one of those things that tells what kind of flower it is in the background.  Anyway, I believe this was at a motel on the walk between my house and the eye doctor.


We have special open threads set aside for discussing various movies, said discussions including plain text spoilers.  These are they:
   ● Avengers: Infinity War
   ● A Wrinkle in Time (2018)
   ● Black Panther


Friday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s ahead of us, so give us something new to explore!

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else!

Storify: 2013-07-09 Texas House Amendments

Storify is shutting down in May and has informed users that we have to migrate our content elsewhere if we wish to save it. This is one of my old threads.

.@scATX Do you have the YouTube link for today?

@Shakestweetz: If you're getting coverage from someone independently reporting, remember they only get paid if we pay them. *cough* @scATX @AnaMardoll

@dreaflynn: Davis asks good question about how drs will would terminate a preg but prioritize saving life of baby?

IIUC, that means using methods that are MORE likely to cause complications for the woman. @dreaflynn

I.e., induced delivery instead of D&C. @dreaflynn

Storify: 2013-07-08 Texas Senate Citizen Testimony

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@becca_aa: Senate Health and Human Services cmte meeting at 10am to discuss #SB1, testimony limited to 2 min

Please represent our side with intersectionality. These bills affect ALL people with uterus, not just women.

.@suddenlyspeakin says "Line to testify wraps down to lower floor of ext bldg- est. 200+"

.@suddenlyspeakin Lots of blue shirts in line.

.@suddenlyspeakin But lots of orange, too!

@AustinGurl: Watch your back! Pro-lifers are walking around putting 'Life' stickers on your back if you're wearing orange!

Holy shit, we're in grade school now. @AustinGurl @aemccarthy

Storify: 2013-06-26 Favorite Filibuster Tweets

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@Froborr: @brandyseago @HelloPoodle @anamardoll There is no polite way to strip someone of their rights or threaten their life.

@andreagrimes: Sen Nichols: "I don't think alternatives to abortion are related to #SB5." And there you have a perf. example of what's wrong with the GOP.

@JillBidenVeep: There's no "Texas" in vagina. #StandWithWendy

@TUSK81: Remember the last time a man had to filibuster for ten hrs in order to keep the gov't out of his genitals? Neither do I. #StandWithWendy

Storify: 2013-06-25 Texas Senate Filibuster

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2013-06-25 Texas Senate Filibuster

@scATX: And I've heard the line is down and wrapped around the rotunda.

The livestream of the Senate is VERY QUIET. I'm understanding the filibuster has not started yet?

@scATX: No. NOTHING has started yet.

Storify: NYT Opinion "My Daughter Isn't Transgender"

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NYT Opinion: "My Daughter Isn't Transgender"

[This is a long thread, so lets get one thing clear up-front: The author-and-mother says her "daughter" has directly told her that he is a boy. That isn't mentioned in her first (and latest) NYT article, but instead comes out lower down in the thread from an older article. So we will start with that fact in mind: this child is a boy because he says so. It is genuinely that simple.]

@LisaSelinDavis: I wrote this piece for all the kick-ass non-girly girls out there: My Daughter Is Not Transgender. She’s a Tomboy.

@sapphixy: You wrote in an article on Parenting Magazine that your child has LITERALLY SAID THAT HE IS A BOY. YOUR CHILD IS A TRANS BOY.

Storify: Margaret Atwood and SFF

Storify is shutting down in May and has informed users that we have to migrate our content elsewhere if we wish to save it. This is one of my old threads.

[Content Note: Sexual Assault]

[redacted username] Is Atwood avoiding the term SF in her career because she's a snob?

No, and I hate when guys do this without recognizing that SFF is rife with sexual assault.

Also: Atwood isn't currently avoiding the SFF term. That's an old take that won't die. She did at one time disclaim the label but has since said she didn't understand the genre well enough to see how it applied to her work.

Storify: Ian McEwan's Nutshell

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This is the book in question.

@sazza_jay: who asked for this

Ana: ....narrated by an unborn fetus.

Open Thread: Metal Bird

I think it's some kind of weather vane.

I generally associate "Giant metal bird on the corner of a building" with:
a) not an eagle, and
b) the other side of the street.

A check of google street view shows that the reason for that (which is to say: the other giant metal bird) is across the street and one building down from this one.  Also, I'm pretty sure the other one is a static emplacement.


We have special open threads set aside for discussing various movies, said discussions including plain text spoilers.  These are they:
   ● Avengers: Infinity War
   ● A Wrinkle in Time (2018)
   ● Black Panther


Friday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s ahead of us, so give us something new to explore!

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else!

Storify: Vulture, KatR, and The Black Witch

Storify is shutting down in May and has informed users that we have to migrate our content elsewhere if we wish to save it. This is one of my old threads.

Vulture, KatR, and The Black Witch: How a personal grudge ended with an NY Magazine outline ginning up harassment against indie and small press authors.

Part 1: Summary for people who don't want to read the long version.

TL;DR: The Vulture piece by @katrosenfield appears to be a grudge piece designed to harass people who objected to her calling WOC a "groupthink mob".

FIVE of the people she hate-links to were people who've criticized her in the past for loaded language against WOC and queer people.

SIX of the people hate-linked in that article are friends-of or friendly-to those five authors who criticized her in public.

In total, ELEVEN of the people Kat hate-linked to were folks she has an axe to grind with, or friends of those folks.

The Vulture article feels like a harassment hit-piece which casts harmed WOC and queer people as the "real bullies" for objecting to harm. An ethical reporter does not write a piece like this and "accidentally" only link to people who've criticized her behavior in the past.

Storify: The Black Witch

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Thread 1: The Review

Y'all. THE BLACK WITCH is BAD. This is important reading. Review: The Black Witch by Laurie Forest

You want some extra nitpicks? Because the GIANT TRASH HEAP wasn't trash heapy enough? I got them.

"Gardnerian", as in the white-coded mages descended from "Kelts" and fae in this book? Gardnerian Wicca is a real religion.

"Wandfasting", as in the magical mage marriage in this book? Handfasting is a religious wiccan ceremony very much like marriage.

The Tragically Chaste Gay Guy in this book is named Trystan, which of course sent me thinking about Tristan and Isolde. Bodes well for him!

There's an Athenaeum without Athens, an Amazon race (Amaz) without Greece, and the warrior woman is named Diana.

Storify: Redeemed Racist Protagonists

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[Content Note: Racism, Rape]

Redeemed Racist Protagonists:
Tweet thread on The Black Witch, on American Heart, and on similar books.

@jules_chronicle: Can we all agree that if your MC's big character arc is deciding that marginalised people are people, that your story needs to go in the [trash emoji]? I am so so appalled by this American Heart announcement. I can't believe anyone, anywhere, thought this was an acceptable book.

A Redeemed Racist protagonist is as harmful and valueless as a Redeemed Rapist protagonist, in my opinion. We are repeatedly asked to identify with oppressors as misunderstood woobies, while very much ignoring their victims. Any redemption arc for them is going to necessarily run up against either forgiveness and acceptance from their victims (gross), or writing victims who DON'T forgive the protagonist, earning the wrath of many readers whether the author intends that or not (even grosser).

Storify: Stim Toys and Fidget Cubes

Storify is shutting down in May and has informed users that we have to migrate our content elsewhere if we wish to save it. This is one of my old threads.

This thread occurred the day after the AHCA vote in the US House of Representatives, hence the references to "yesterday".

"90% of the people playing with them are neurotypical." NOPE.

Oh my god. It's official, I've seen someone explaining that fidget toys are bad because neurotypical people use them to be trendy.

REMINDER: You don't know ANYTHING about another person's health or mental state by looking.

Storify: Food Policing and Food Morality

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I want to talk about Trump ordering his steaks well-done or burnt or whatever. I want to say up-front that I am TOUCHY about this, so... I... maybe please don't @ me if we're friends but you disagree?

I have multiple food allergies. My grandfather, who I gastrointestinally took after, DIED from our allergies. I never met him. I also have lived with disordered eating. I also-also live with a spouse who just... has very different taste buds. We've both worked in food service. I've taken LOTS of professional cooking classes. We know how food is "supposed" to be/do.

So with that in mind I will say this: STOP MORALIZING FOOD CHOICES PLEASE.

Storify: Modern Witches and Social Justice

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After seeing a man compare "Politically Correct culture" to witch trials of the past, I wrote the below series of tweets.

I'm still angry about that asshole's "PC culture is like witch trials" because THIS IS MY PET PEEVE.

The thing about witch trials, TO START WITH, is Salem is not a good example but it's the one Americans all know of. They know of it because it was romanticized during the McCarthy era as a sort of modern parallel that arguably fit poorly.

For the vast majority of witch trials, the victims were people who didn't fit into the community's white patriarchal ideal. And for the vast majority of those trials, the accusers and people running the show were privileged rich white men. So to try to jam "PC culture" into that framework doesn't work. At all. Period. Ever.

You can see hints of this in what ACTUALLY went down in Salem (not the romanticized version). Several of the "young girls" doing the accusing were white women in their late 20s and 30s. One of the reasons the Salem trials snowballed were because the property of the accused was seized by the authorities.

So the vision of Salem as a hapless community terrorized by young girls and helpless (due to their religion) to stop, is... no. Greedy, selfish, PRIVILEGED adult men and women used the system to kill and steal from the weaker members of their community. Which places modern people married to the use of their racial slurs on the side of the abusers, as usual. Not the victims.

When I say witch trials historically weeded out members of the community who weren't a white patriarchal ideal, btw, I mean it. Women who couldn't reproduce were regularly targeted. Infertile, elderly, very probably trans women, disabled women. People of color and people of different religions were targeted very often. Wealthy women who weren't attached to a man and family (widows, especially) were common targets to seize their property. Very likely queer people of all stripes were targeted as well. People who didn't fit a cis, hetero, allo, Christian, white mold.

This is important, both because those "PC POLICE!!" parallels piss me off, but also as why modern pagans BETTER NOT be bigots. We don't get to claim spiritual kinship with our forewitches only to turn around and perpetuate the same hatred. And this goes ditto for feminists who like to call back to our witchy mothers: you can't pick only the white cis allo ones.

If you won't support women of color, ace and aro women, trans women, disabled women, DON'T INVOKE WITCHES. So if you're carrying a "we are the daughters of the witches you failed to burn" signs, you BETTER be intersectional. Because we CURRENT witches who've failed to burn are subtle and quick to anger. (Props to JRR Tolkien.)

(as a side note!)

Every time I do Wiccan / Witch threads, I get sweet children in my mentions asking if Love spells exist. My dear hearts: There is no spell that can make someone love you, and even if there were it would not be ethical to use it.

There ARE spells to make you noticeable to others, the same way you might change your hair or clothes or scent or style. Those might be worth a look. Or you could experiment with your hair or clothes or scent or style. Or you could use your words. Telling someone "hey, I LIKE-like you" seems hard, but it is easier and more direct than most spells, I promise.

Above all else, be aware that "thanks, but no thanks" is a valid option for your love interest and respect that. Always.

Open Thread: Eight Pointed Star

Purple flowers.  Not much else to say.


We have special open threads set aside for discussing various movies, said discussions including plain text spoilers.  These are they:
   ● Avengers: Infinity War
   ● A Wrinkle in Time (2018)
   ● Black Panther


Friday Saturday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s ahead of us here, so give us something new to explore!

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else!

Storify: Disney, Queer Rep, and Beauty and the Beast

Storify is shutting down in May and has informed users that we have to migrate our content elsewhere if we wish to save it. This is one of my old threads.

[Content Note: Ableism, Sexual Assault]

Disney, Queer Rep, and Beauty and the Beast:

Why LeFou isn't new, unusual, helpful, or anything more than a punch to the gut for me.

I am REALLY UPSET about the "surprise-gay" Beauty and the Beast character being Le Fou. LeFou isn't just a grasping, foolish, aggrandizing, simpering minion to a bigger villain. He's one of the most evil people in the play. LeFou actively plots to imprison a man to abet the rape of his daughter. The "Maisson de Lunes" song from the Broadway version is chilling.

Storify: Disney Kisses

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To people saying "I'm not okay with same sex kisses in a children's movie because I don't want sexual content shoved at kids" okay hang on a second.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)

Storify: Anatar

Storify is shutting down in May and has informed users that we have to migrate our content elsewhere if we wish to save it. This is one of my old threads.

After managing NOT to watch Avatar The Last Airbender for YEARS (I don't have tiiiiime!) @elibyronbaldrsn talked me into watching. I am a RESPONSIBLE ADULT so naturally I stayed up until 4 am getting to halfway through season 1. This is WHY I'm not allowed to watch tv shows, btw. I'm chugging coffee and clearing my schedule for today, lol.

Anyway, @elibyronbaldrsn told me about Toph and I accidentally saw a clip mix of her and I was lost to all reason. NO SPOILERS PLEASE, but yeah somehow I missed there is a disabled main character. I woke spouse up this morning with the words "you have to watch Avatar TLA but not in a way that slows me down at all". LOL.

Okay, I'm not live-tweeting the thing, but I'll send highlights from my texts to @elibyronbaldrsn last night, who puts up with me.

Storify: The Last of Us (Again)

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This has been previously posted, but as a Storify widget which will soon be defunct.

SPOILER: The Fireflies were the villains.

tfw you're reading an interesting article on zombies in gaming and then they utterly misunderstand The Last Of Us. I try very hard to have as few as possible petty pet peeves, but People Who Misunderstand THE LAST OF US is one of them. I have straight up blocked people for creepily insisting that a pre-teen girl should be ritualistically murdered as a meaningless sacrifice.

Everything People Are Wrong About re: THE LAST OF US (spoilers below)

Storify: Xanth, a Romance Series

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*sits bolt upright* my god, Xanth is a romance series to me. My whole childhood just snapped into place with an audible crack. I have a lot of strong feelings about Xanth, as made evident on my blog, but it was hugely formative for me as a child.

I'm now going to list the things that I liked about Xanth and which I care about as influences on my own work. *stares into navel* I really liked the choice to (with a few exceptions) have a new protagonist for every book and therefore a new romance.

I really loved the huge sprawling world and epic cast, where even people you didn't see for much of the novel clearly had LIVES going on. Which was arguably part of the reason WHY there was a plethora of new protagonists waiting in the wings: because of the huge cast.

I do call Xanth a Romance series because most - maybe ALL - of the books are about a romantic relationship arc that ends in a HEA. But, gods, I can't imagine it would ever have been labeled as such or marketed as such when I was younger. Or really even now. Imagine the boy nerds clutching their dice in horror and retiring to the fainting couch.

I always tell people my first and most formative books were fantasy, but this calls EVERYTHING INTO QUESTION.


I'm at pain level 8 tonight and the meds aren't helping, so I'm going to talk about something that brings me happiness: fantasy romance.

I realized this morning that Xanth is, by my personal definition, a romance series. Many of them follow a very a very pleasing (to me) pattern of "person has problem, goes on journey to solve problem, finds love". (I'm not going to get into here the many many problems with Piers Anthony's writing; you can find more on that here.)

Let's break it down.

Book #1, A Spell for Chameleon. Romance arc between Bink and Chameleon.

Book #2, The Source of Magic. Romance arc between Bink and Jewel Nymph. A fast one is pulled to match Jewel with Crombie at the end (so as not to undo the previous Bink/Chameleon HEA).

Book #3, Castle Roogna. Romance between Dor and Millie, with Jonathan swapping out at the end and Irene set up as Dor's future wife.

Book #4, Centaur Aisle. Romance between Dor and Irene. Dor is given a rival, but Irene can't bear to leave Xanth.

Book #5, Ogre, Orge. Tandy + Smash. Here, their romance is LITERALLY the answer to Tandy's question taken to the Good Magician.

Book #6, Night Mare. Mare Imbrium + the Day Stallion. (Later replaced with another, non-evil Day Stallion.)

Book #7, Dragon on a Pedestal. Arguable. Hugo is setup as a future romance for young Ivy (though that arc is later abandoned) and Irene has a "romance" arc that... isn't. Really, the less said about Dragon on a Pedestal, the better.

Book #8, Crewel Lye. The romantic epic saga of Jordan and Threnody.

Book #9, Golem in the Gears. A romance between Grundy the Golem and Rapunzel--the only woman in Xanth his size.

Book #10, Vale of the Vole. Eskil and Bria Brassie. Not a romance that particularly thrilled my soul, but it's there and it's a major arc.

Book #11, Heaven Cent. A love triangle between Dolph, Nada Naga, and Electra. In 1988. No, Twilight didn't invent love triangles.

Book #12, Man from Mundania. Gray + Ivy.

Book #13, Isle of View. This book resolves the Dolph / Nada / Electra triangle that seemed to go on way longer than it actually did.

Book #14, Question Quest. This is a polyam romance--or a series of monogamous romances that end in a polyam marriage--for Humphrey.

Book #15, The Color of Her Panties. One of the weakest in the series, tying up loose ends no one cared about. Mela Merwoman finds a mate.

Book #16, Demons Don't Dream. This book was awful so I barely remember it. I think Dug the Mundane falls for the other mundane girl player?

Book #17, Harpy Thyme. Much better and has the prettiest of the Xanth covers. Gloha Goblin-Harpy asks Humphrey where she can find love.

A girl with angel wings in a pretty pink dress converses with a flying mer-horse. I think.

Look at that cover! A girl protagonist whose motivation is to find a lover. Tell me that's not Romance. But an Important Man authored it, so we were all told it was Fantasy and not Romance.

Book #18, Geis of the Gargoyle. Gary Gargoyle searches for his freedom and in the process finds Gayle.

Book #19, Roc and a Hard Place. This one might not be a romance depending on your POV, but much is made of Demon Metria and her new husband falling deeper in love after their hasty arranged marriage.

Book #20, Yon Ill Wind. This is a romance between Chlorine and the Demon Xanth, although she doesn't realize who he is or what's happening to her.

Book #21, Faun and Games has a lot of love triangle flirting between Forrest Faun and Dawn and Eve. Then it disappears up its own butt. Like, seriously, the franchise was stagnating hard then and you could tell.

I think I read some of Books #23 to #41, but they were not memorable to me. I'm pretty sure a lot of them are romances, though!

I actually felt tangible peace this morning when I realized Xanth is a romance series. Because it was so formative for me as a writer, I've felt "weird" for gravitating to romance as a genre when you'd have thought I would write fantasy or scifi, my earliest readings! So realizing that capital-R Romance was with me all along, from the very beginning? That was so hugely affirming to me.

I'm a proud writer of romance. I'm a Romance writer. I've read Romance since I was a little kid. They just didn't tell me it was Romance. I'm frustrated, I won't lie, that Piers wasn't hit with the R-label in the same way that I suspect a woman writer would have been.

"Tell me the plot."

"Well, a special one-of-a-kind girl with angel wings goes on a quest to find her perfect mate--"

So never let yourself feel that you're an imposter in the romance world just because guys told you those romance books weren't romance. You are a romance VETERAN. You cared so much about fantasy romances that you slogged through 10+ books in that series. ;)

You got this. Put 'er there. *fistbump*

Storify: Appropriation of Religious Tools

Storify is shutting down in May and has informed users that we have to migrate our content elsewhere if we wish to save it. This is one of my old threads.

Appropriation of Religious Tools: Harry Potter, Wands, and Stop Mis-Using the Concept of Karma

Headline: Witchcraft shop refuses to serve Harry Potter fans because it sells 'spiritual tools' not toys for young Muggles

As a witch, I totally support this store owner and omg the IN-ARTICLE comments are shit. LIKE? Zak, a 20 year old man, is baffled to have something denied to him. Is that legal? Mariella, who is 21, says wands aren't toys GOSH they're actually more like Happy Meals WITH toys. ARGH.

Religious witches have been hurt the LEAST of all the groups Rowling has appropriated from, and she had the most justification for it, like, this is in NO WAY on par to the racism in the series. At all. Full stop. But still, I support him refusing service to Potterkids.

@alexandraerin: No different than a Catholic religious store not selling crucifixes to people who want to vampire LARP.

YES. Religion institutions are allowed to not facilitate the desecration of their tools. No one owes you communion wafers either! These are HANDMADE wands that he has a limited supply of and wants in the hands of actual witches. C'mon.

"He'd sell thousands of wands if he served us"--THEY'RE NOT MASS PRODUCED.

@kingdomofwench: And also, this shop owner is awesome and those entitled whiny Potter fans need to stfu forever and find a diff wand ffs. It isn't hard. They just want these because they can't have them.

YES. That's the thing--there are a zillion wands they can buy, but they're angry to be denied THESE wands. And they want the religious experience of the books: homemade wands that pick you and then you have a bonding ritual. So, YEAH, they pretty much DO want to use this man's religion as a toy or game or roleplay and I pity them not at all. And this is the thing that gets me. We're supposed to ENJOY being a "ren faire booth", as you so aptly put it. (said to @Postnuc_mama)

@punningpundit: I have seen lots of high quality wands sold at Ren Faire to potter fans. I think actual pagans are selling them.

I'm totally okay with selling "real" wands to non-practitioners IF THE MAKER WANTS TO. Consent. ("Real" in scare quotes because to me, all wands can be REAL. It depends on the user, not the maker.)

I am VERY disappointed in @BookRiot's take on this. These are hand-crafted, limited-supply religious tools. By demanding he sell them as toys, you're denying access to real witches.

He also engages in a religious ritual AS PART OF THE SELLING EXPERIENCE, and they want to roleplay that. It's disrespectful. That's like demanding that a pastor baptize and serve the host to someone wanting to roleplay a vampire hunter.

Can we talk about the appropriation in your post, @BookRiot? "If you give joy to a Potterhead, you’re going to get a major karmic kickback." Karma is a key concept in Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, and Taoism. Are you a practitioner of those? Karma is NOT in Wicca. (We have similar concepts but do not appropriate that word.) Why do you exhort a Wiccan to earn karma?

REALLY tired of white people appropriating every religion they can get their hands on but it's okay because they're excitable fans. KARMA IS NOT YOUR WORD TO FLING AROUND WHEN YOU WANT TO THROW A HISSY-FIT.

"Maybe you’ll learn they have some questions you can help them with." I cannot deal with the level of entitlement in this post. REALLY?

"a good way to combat [stigma] is by educating people." GET OUT.

"How do you expect to do that when you are turning away people who might be somewhat ignorant about the details of your faith?" GOOD LORD.

"You’re effectively preaching to the choir by only serving people who already think the same way as you do." JESUS TAKE THE WHEEL.

Privileged people just refuse to accept that the world does not exist to cater to their every desire. Sit the bloody hell down. Wiccans and Pagans often aren't interested in proselytizing and converting others.

@butterflyzan: Why are they assuming we are out to convert anyone??

Because if you're a Weirdo Crayzee Religion you MUST want to spend every day explaining it to people!

@butterflyzan: Yeah, no. I just want to practice in peace, not be fired and/or burned alive for it. Oy.

@NathanOfOz: Christian supremacy is so ingrained that some ppl have a hard time imagining non-evangelical religions.

Things that Harry Potter fans could do instead of buying religions implements from a creator who doesn't want to sell to them: Make their own!

@kingdomofwench: YUUUUUP. If they want to rp it, they could *do it for themselves*. But noooooooo. seriously though they could buy other wands, or make some with hot glue and paint like that Pinterest tutorial I keep seeing, and set up their own little choosing ritual rp for themselves. Instead of stealing and stomping on our religion.

But then who will roleplay the expert who gives them their wand JUST LIKE HARRY.

Storify: Trigger Warnings

Storify is shutting down in May and has informed users that we have to migrate our content elsewhere if we wish to save it. This is one of my old threads.

These panels are from Captain America: Sam Wilson #17.

Several people have asked me about this, so we need a thread on Trigger Warnings. Trigger Warnings serve many people for many reasons, but this heavily includes people with PTSD, who are trauma survivors. Trauma is built into the name there: post-TRAUMAtic stress disorder. When I say trigger warnings are for trauma survivors, that's a fact.

Trigger Warnings are also "for" many other people, but trauma survivors figure prominently in the demographic being served. For a person with PTSD, a "trigger" is something that can take them (often unwillingly) back to a place of trauma and distress. Trigger Warnings serve to WARN readers about upcoming TRIGGERS (hence the name) so they can prepare themselves if they wish to read. Sometimes the "preparation" is simply knowing the material is coming. Sometimes it's waiting to read in a safe space where they can cry.

Trigger Warnings do not mean that the material is bad, or problematic, or that trauma survivors shouldn't read it. You have seen Content Notes--an umbrella term which includes Trigger Warnings--all your life on movies and movie previews.

"Rated R for graphic sex, violence, nudity, and language" is a content note.

"The material we are about to air on the news may not be suitable for young viewers" is a content note.

"This is a Ginny/Harry fic, not Hermione/Harry" is a content note.

"This is a capital-R Romance novel with a proper Happily Ever After" is a content note.

In short: You have very likely been exposed to content notes and trigger warnings your entire life.

A "safe space" may avoid certain topics entirely, but most simply enforce warnings for content. They don't set content off-limits. Indeed, your average Safe Space probably deals with heavier topics than most spaces. But they deal with them CAREFULLY.

Final note: I want to be clear that "trigger" is a multi-use term, not JUST used by people with PTSD. There are other trauma survivors who don't have PTSD and people with mental illness who use the word "trigger" in slightly different ways. That usage is valid, so I do ask people not to police them. But, yes, anyone saying "LOL TRIGGURED" is using it wrong.

I leave this note because some folks have been like "if you don't have PTSD you can't use the word!" and I don't agree with that. Mental illness and health are complicated and there's some overlap re: "exposure to thing that hurts me in mental health-related ways". ANYWAY, that is what trigger warning is and why mocking trigger warnings = mocking trauma survivors (among others).

UPDATE: I really want to stress that this thread is about MOCKING trigger warnings, not about POLICING the use of the word "trigger". A lot of people who have triggers don't have a full mental health work-up saying so. A trigger can sometimes send me into a full panic attack or can other times just make me really emotional or other times nothing. It varies.

Most of the people using the word "trigger" are using it in good faith, in my experience. I'm uncomfortable with policing the word use. I policed my own self for years, fretting over whether I was triggered "enough" to use the word. That was unhealthy and unhelpful for me. This thread is about why it's cruel to mock trigger warnings (with a freaking comic-weapon that looks like a grenade, ffs), it is not a thread policing usage and adoption of a useful and valuable term for discussing mental health. Thank you.

Storify: DDOS Attacks and Social Media Callouts

Storify is shutting down in May and has informed users that we have to migrate our content elsewhere if we wish to save it. This is one of my old threads.

Good morning, loves. Today I'm going to talk about harassment on social media using the metaphor of network hacking. Pull up a chair.

There was a lot in the media this week about the DDOS attack that indirectly hit Twitter. I saw a lot of "what's a DDOS again?" "DOS" (we'll start without the extra D first) is a denial of service attack. The goal is to disrupt a service from its intended users.

In ye olden days, you could DOS attack a network by flooding it with messages. Ping-ping-ping-ping-ping until the network can't deal. Network designers got smarter from that and created networks that would selectively ignore a spamming signal. That was a good thing! If one computer was malicious or broken, it couldn't take down the network. The network just muted it.

So then the DDOS was born: a distributed denial of service attack. Hackers gather a LOT of computers (usually through trojan viruses) and they count down to spam a network together as a unified whole. This is massively effective because the attack is distributed across multiple attackers. The network can't just mute one and be done.

Networks can't function when hundreds or thousands of signals are screaming at it over the valid traffic. But... we expect humans to.

I keep seeing this cycle play out, where a target is inundated with traffic they're not expecting. Maybe in good faith, maybe not so much. Eventually--maybe a few days, maybe a few hours--they're snippish or make a mistake or lash out. This becomes the impetus for new interactions. People who didn't witness the first mistake get tagged in, often without context. They add to the signal.

A network CAN'T function normally or healthily under these conditions. It's NOT a matter of trying really really hard. The only way to restore normalcy is to take the network offline entirely (delete account, make new one, go private) or block the signals. And, hey, maybe some folks are okay with that for some people. I don't want Actual Satan on Twitter either, I guess.

But I think it's important to understand that this is a pattern of ATTACK. There's no "Distributed Denial of Service Constructive Criticism". It's not an 'attack' because hackers are mean. DDOS attacks can happen by accident! It's an 'attack' because the system CAN'T HANDLE IT.

I'm against harassment because it's violence. But I'm also against most (most! not all!) large-scale callouts because they don't work. Unless, again, the goal IS to drive the victim away. In which case they work very well, but I wish people would be honest about their goal.

I've seen a lot this year about how [target] blocked [multiple people] during a well-intentioned DDOS attack. Well... yeah?? I don't care who it is nor who they blocked; that's the only way to restore normalcy when pings are coming in. Even if the pings are good, correct, helpful traffic (DDOS messages can be!), the network can't function in a flood.

Open Thread: Goslings

A pair of geese with three goslings went into the water so of course we were at the water's edge to look at them.  Not long after, I happened to look away from the water and saw an entire gaggle of goslings, with some adults mixed in, headed for where we were standing at the water's edge.  We politely stepped back to allow them passage, everything seemed fine, then --a moment later-- all was chaos.

I don't think I realized what was happening until the medium sized dog the geese were suddenly fleeing went into the water after them.

By the time they'd calmed down (after the dog had given up) they were all quite spread out and so any picture that captured any of them in detail (like the picture above) necessarily left out a bunch more.  A quick (and thus possibly inaccurate) count of a wider shot says this group contained twenty eight goslings and eight adults in total.


We have special open threads set aside for discussing various movies, said discussions including plain text spoilers.  These are they:
   ● Avengers: Infinity War
   ● A Wrinkle in Time (2018)
   ● Black Panther


Friday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s ahead of us, so give us something new to explore!

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else!

Transcending Flesh: What Do We Mean By Body Modification

Note: This was previously published on my Patreon.

a pink and blue sky with a radio tower

Transcending Flesh in Fiction and Fantasy:
Essays on Gender and Body Modification in Futuristic and Fantastical Settings

Essay #3: What Do We Mean By Body Modification?

I've made references in the previous two essays to "BodyMod" technology and magic, and joked about "Gender Potions" and "the BodyTron5000". Let's now talk explicitly what I mean by these concepts and we'll move from there into things to watch out for when crafting your science fiction and fantasy settings.

Writings: Cold Creditors (Accidental Hero)

Note: This was previously published on my Patreon.

[TW: Misgendering, Sexual Harassment]

Chapter 1, Accidental Hero
Chapter 2, Sister's Sword
Chapter 3, Metal Malice

Story so far: Harken is an adventurer who has done what no one else has: raided one of the shrines which were sealed during the great cataclysm. He'd intended only to loot the place for coin and machinery parts to sell, and was shocked to find himself blessed by a dessicated monk whose body blew away after granting Harken a piece of his power. Plagued with doubts as to what he should do next, he has returned home seeking his sister, only to find the local merchant's son has been harassing her in Harken's absence.

June Newsletter (2018)

Heyyyyyy, oh my gosh it's JUNE. How? How did this happen? I rebuke time.

May passed in a blur for me. First my mother-in-law came to town (which was nice, she's nice, I just don't get much writing done when houseguests are here) and then I went to the E.R. on 5/6 while my mother-in-law was here which feels like an egregious violation of proper southern manners but here we are. The emergency room visit spiraled into multiple visits with a local OBGYN and the information that I need to have a cyst removed from my ovary and possible the ovary itself. FUN. That's been scheduled for late June, but it ate all of May.

Soooo I didn't get a lot of writing done. I felt badly about that, until I read an amazing thread by Courtney Milan about how she was subtly training herself to hate writing. Reading that was like the sky opening and a loving but stern angelic hand pointing at me like "U DO THIS" and wow it made a big difference. I've written more in the last two days than I wrote in the rest of the month of May because it was like oh writing can be fun again omg omg wheeeee!! So I'm giddy and happy about that.



♡ $2+ Character Concept: Keelan Hews and Oona Walsh! Even Ahhhh, I have so many feels about this one!! Keelan is 100% the reason I realized I'm autistic so she is super important to me and the entire thing turned into a post about loving my autistic brain.

♡ $5+ Fire Mage Chapter 5, the next chapter in my Fire Mage wip!

♡ $15+ Early Access: No Man of Woman Born Audiobook! It's finally here for download! You are going to love this one, it is so good.

♡ $25+ (July: Upcoming!) Early Access: No Man of Woman Born Paperbacks! CreateSpace is supposed to be mailing me the final proof right now as we speak, and if it's good I can bulk order everyone's copy for signing and mailing out. I'm a little nervous about the timing, but I think we're going to make it.


TRANS PROPHECY PROJECT: In case you missed it: The book is finished! I'm so excited I could pop! eBooks exist and are going out to you today, and have been put up for pre-order at Amazon and elsewhere. There is a GoodReads page! There is a cover reveal at LGBTQ Reads which is a life-long goal of mine!! This month has been amazing.

You can help by spreading the word! Positive reviews help so much! Amazon doesn't allow reviews before release but GoodReads does, if you feel inclined to drop a few words in the word bucket. And, of course, I'll be marketing aggressively on my Twitter and blog. Thank you for your support and patience. ♥ ♥ ♥

EARTHSIDE #3 PARANORMAL ROMANCE: This is coming along! I finished another chapter and am halfway through the next one! I'm feeling really good about this project and it helped that I had a chance to sit on it for awhile and collect my feelings.

OTHER PROJECTS: No updates on my other projects because the updates would be "turns out it's hard to write when your hand is still stiff from surgery and your ovary is trying to kill you" but I haven't forgotten them and they are in my heart and mind and will be continued.

DON'T FORGET: Stay safe and take care. Try not to grow cysts on your ovaries, I GUESS! ♥

Narnia: Names and Reader Research

[Narnia Content Note: Racism]

The Horse and His Boy

Remember when we had book deconstructions around here and not just Ana scrambling to save old Twitter threads in the wake of Storify shutting down? I do! (The storifys will continue through June, sorry, there were a lot of them.)

I thought we were done with The Horse and His Boy but I remembered I wanted to do a post gathering together all the amazing work Gehayi has done researching the probable roots of the names within this book. I don't have anything to add except a grateful thank-you for doing this work and giving me permission to gather it all up into a big post. Thank you!

I've probably missed a few name comments, so feel free to drop links in the comments if you locate the older ones. Thank you!

Protagonist Names

Shasta by Gehayi:
I decided to look up the origins of the names in this section...and wow, was I surprised.

Let's start with Shasta. I went to a site about Mount Shasta, figuring that they might have some folklore about the origin of the mountain's name. Apparently there are four common reasons given for the name:

1) Our mountain is named after a very famous local Indian.

2) It's named after a local Indian tribe.

3) It comes from the Indian word Tsasdi, meaning `three' and refers to our triple-peaked mountain.

4) The Russians who settled at Bodega could see it from the Coast Range. They called it Tchastal or "the white and pure mountain."

But that has to be a coincidence, right? Well, then I found an article written in 1954 that scorned that theory--but that said this: According to Stephen Powers the tribal name of the Indians living in the Mt. Shasta region was Shasts-ti-ka, and their name for snowy mountains, and for Shasta in particular, was Wai-ri-ka, or, more correctly, Wai-i-ka. I kept looking, and most places kept saying that "Shasta" was the Native American word for "snowy" or "white mountain." In fact, that seems to be the translation of the the Karuk word Úytaahkoo, which is what the mountain used to be called.

Over and over, the same meanings in association with Shasta: "white," "snowy mountain," and--most damning--the Russian word carries a connotation of "pure or clean." Yeaaaah.

Aravis by Gehayi:
In the meantime, though, since Aravis introduced herself and her lineage in this chapter, I want to mention that I found the source of Aravis's name, or at least a word that looks an awful lot like it: arabisti.

Lewis didn't invent a name for his female protagonist, though most sites will tell you that he did. He didn't give her an Arabian or Farsi name, or even a name based on an Arabian or Farsi word. He mangled a Greek word about her quasi-nationality and quasi-language and called it good.

You see, "arabisti" is Classical Greek for "of Arabic." That is, of the Arabic language, not a person from Arabia.

Basically, Lewis took a Greek word, chopped off the suffix "-ti" and changed "b" to "v" so that it would be less obvious that he named his heroine "of Arabic." One of those who speaks the Arabic language. One of the Arabs.

So we have Shasta, whose name tracks back to several words for whiteness, cleanness and purity, and Aravis, who's fundamentally named "of Arabic." I like the way her name sounds, but the meaning behind it makes me flinch. Bein' real subtle there with your racism, Lewis.

P.S. There are a couple of similar words for "(male) Arab"--arabikos and arabios--but arabisti seems closer to "Aravis" to me.

Aravis (update) by Steve Morrison:
[quoting Gehayi] Lewis took a Greek word, chopped off the suffix "-ti" and changed "b" to "v"[/quote]

Not only that; the Greek language itself changed b to v. The letter beta was pronounced like our b in Classical Greek, but is pronounced like v in Modern Greek.

Aravis' Ancestry by Gehayi:
Ilsombreh Tisroc

If you remove the "h", you can see that this is really two French words--"il sombre." "Sombre" is an adjective meaning "dark," whether literally or figuratively. So the name literally means "the dark." And of course "sombre" is also the British spelling of "somber." Ilsombreh Tisroc is the dark, somber Tisroc--the one dark of skin, or the one dark of thought, or perhaps the one who kept his people unenlightened...metaphorically in the dark.

Ardeeb Tisroc

"Ardib" is part of a New Persian word--Ardibehesht or, alternately, Ordibehesht. It's the name of the Zoroastrian divinity Asha, which is the embodiment of truth and righteousness--a statement/concept/being so true and so real as to embrace all of existence. Ardibehesht means "truth of paradise" or "blessed truth." "Behesht" means "paradise".

Lewis just chopped off most of "behesht" and spelled the word the way it probably would have been spelled in Victorian times. Mideastern words that had an I pronounced as EE were often rendered phonetically. So "Ardib" is "truth"--but it's an imperfect truth, because the blessedness, the touch of paradise has been removed.

Rishti Tarkaan

Rishti Vaiga is the Persian name of the king Westerners call Cyrus the Great.. It translates to "spear swinger." Lewis just used the first word, Rishti, "spear."

Kidrash Tarkaan

I can't really be sure about this one, but I have found a couple of words that echo it in structure: "kadosh" and "midrash." "Kadosh" is a Hebrew word meaning "holy"; it shows up later in the prayer Shema Yisroel in the word "kid'shanu"--which some take to mean "sanctified" and some interpret as "separated," as in separated from sinners. Midrash is a means of interpreting deeper meanings in the Torah and the Talmud.

I am not sure if Lewis would have known about the differing interpretations of "kid'shanu"--but he was a theologian. I'm pretty sure he was familiar with midrash. In either case, Kidrash seems to be a portmanteau word--not holy, not sanctified, not scholarly commentary, just a broken mixture of both.

Supporting Cast & Narnian / Archenland Names

Lune by Gehayi:
Regarding King Lune--most locations define "lune" as "the moon" or "a month." But Norwegian Bokmål and Norwegian Nynorsk define it thus:

1) cosy, snug, sh eltered (house, room, valley etc.)
2) comfortable, genial, warm (person, room, weather)
3) good-natured, pleasant, quiet (person)

All of which strike me as how we're supposed to see King Lune.

Ram the Great by Gehayi:
I think that Lewis picked some etymology up from Tolkien. Tolkien created the RAMdal Hills ("ramdal" meaning "Wall's End"), which lay at the eastern end of the Long Wall or "AndRAM." Wiktionary lists Romansch, Norwegian Bokmål and Swedish as defining "ram" as "a frame ." The Swedish definition explains it best:

1) frame (e.g. around a painting)
2) frame, boundaries (the set of options for actions given)
3) frame (a context for understanding)
4) paw (of a bear)

So I think Lewis was picturing Ram the Great as someone who was a wall against outside threats; the one who knew what boundaries, physical and spiritual, to set and not go past; the one who, through setting those boundaries, led his people to a greater understanding of Aslan. He just didn't include any context for this, so all we have is guesswork.

Thornbut by Gehayi:
I would just like to note that "thornbut" is an actual word; it dates back at least as far as 1879, and it means "turbot." Basically, the Dwarf's name is "Flounder."

Antagonist & Calormen Names

Ahoshta by Gehayi:
I was curious about Ahoshta's name. It's not Arabic. In fact, it bears a strong resemblance to the Persian word "ahesta" and the Urdu "ahista," both of which mean the same thing: "slowly," or in a figurative sense, "graciously" or "gently." In fact, "Ahesta Boro" ("Walk Slowly" or "Walk Graciously") is a wedding song in Afghanistan and numerous other "-stan" countries.

I think that this, combined with his other alleged flaws, tells us what the problem with Ahoshta is supposed to be. He is described as greedy, flattering, servile. His name proclaims him to be slow, gracious, gentle, and associated with weddings. He is, fundamentally, one of Lewis's female characters; he has every quality Lewis most despises in women. (Even gentleness is not treated well elsewhere in the text; Susan is deemed an ordinary grown woman who is of little use in war, while Lucy is praised for her military valor and skills.)

I strongly suspect that we're supposed to see Ahoshta as weak and unmanly, a male quasi-Arab version of the allegedly shallow woman from "The Shoddy Lands"--the very opposite of the belligerent Narnians and Archenlanders, some of whom are more than willing to fight a war against an empire. In fact, he doesn't embody Lewis's masculine ideal at all; Ahoshta is intent on getting along with both the Tisroc and Rabadash, and on retaining his position with both. He loves his own country and has no desire for it to imitate Narnia. He likes wealth and stability. He doesn't want to change. Contrast him with Shasta, who is reckless and chaotic,who rides into battle despite not knowing anything about how to fight with swords on horseback, who basically tells a lion to scat, and who ends up being the crown prince of Narnia Lite. Clearly we're supposed to see Shasta as the nobler of the two, while Ahoshta is everything Shasta is not. (This becomes difficult when you realize that the only thing Shasta is is bland.)

Ahoshta (update) by Gehayi:
"Ahoshta" seems to have a name made up of two Persian words--"hosh", meaning "understanding," and "ta" appears to be a conjunction along the lines of "in order to" or "so that." I suspect that the A in this case is the Greek prefix "a-", meaning "not." So his whole name would mean "in order to not understand" or "not having understanding."

Anradin by Gehayi:
ANRADIN: Probably from the Persian "aŋra", meaning "destruction" or "destructive," and the Arabic "-adin", meaning "of faith" or "of religion."

Destruction of religion. Destructive of faith. I'm sorry, but I can't believe that Lewis came up with this name by accident.

Arsheesh and Tarkaan by Gehayi:
Most sites said that Arsheesh was a name made up by Lewis, and that seems to be true. Tarshish, on the other hand--which I can easily see being pronounced "Tarsheesh"--is a name of a Biblical city associated with boats and wealth. Gee, what a strange coincidence that this name should be given to a fisherman so obsessed with wealth that he's eager to sell the child he's raised.

And then we've got the Tarkaan. Or, to use our world's version, the Tarkhan. Lewis didn't make up the Tarkaan class or title. They existed for several centuries.

From Gog and Magog in Early Eastern Christian and Islamic Sources: Sallam's Quest:

The tarkhan, probably of pre-Turkic Altaic origin, was a title rather than a proper name, used for subaltern and local emirs in the Khazar administration.

The Khazars were a Turkic people, originally semi-nomadic, who dominated an area that we would now think of as Russia and who pretty much owned the Western Silk Road for a time.

So we have a white protagonist who is effectively named Snow White, a greedy fisherman who spouts proverbs named after a place of ships and wealth that shows up in ancient proverbs, and a man with a fantasy title that turns out to be a real title. Lewis is looking less original all the time.

Azrooh by Gehayi:
AZROOH: "Az" seems to be from the Old Turkic prefix "az," meaning "little, few," or "a bit," while "rooh" appears to come from the Turkish (and Old Arabic) "rūḥ," or "soul." A man who only has a bit of soul. Lovely.

Chlamash by Gehayi:
CHLAMASH: He seems to have gotten his name from a Greek word, "khlanis", which refers to a cloak or mantle, especially one of royal or military use. This word came into English as "chlamys," meaning "a short cloak caught up on the shoulder, worn by hunters, soldiers, and horsemen in Ancient Greece."

Chlamash by John D.:
The first thing I thought of was "Chumash!" Who I thought was a Canaanite (anti-Israelite) god. Turns out that name really was Chemosh; I'd misremembered. But it does seem that Lewis gave the Calormene names not just an Arabic flavor (medieval "baddies"), but also some non-Israelite Canaanite flavor (Old Testament "baddies").

Corradin of Castle Tormunt by Gehayi:
CORRADIN: "Coradyn" or "Coradin" shows up in The Chronicle of Pierre de Langtoft: In French Verse, from the Earliest Period to the Death of Edward II, Volume 2. Thomas Wright's 2012 translation describes Coradin as a member of Saladin's second squadron, "Lord of Damascus and son of Saffadin; a more courteous soldan never tasted wine."

The "adin" ending of Corradin comes from "ad-Dīn" in Arabic, which means "of faith" or "of religion." No clue what "Corr" or "Cor" meant to Langtoft--possibly he was taking the Latin or the French for "heart" and pasting an Arabic ending on the word. So "heart of faith" or "heart of religion."

This wouldn't sound bad, but Lewis decided that a man named for the heart of the Calormene faith had to come from "Castle Tormunt." Which is how John Milton and Robert Burns spelled the word "torment." Great.

Ilgamuth of the twisted lip by Gehayi:
ILGAMUTH: The last syllable of his name appears to have come fromMot or Muth, an ancient Canaanite god of death. I am not certain where the "ga" comes from; it might come from an Arabicverb meaning "to drop dung" (applying to animals) or from another such verb meaning "to make, place or lay". I have no idea what "il" is supposed to mean--"he/it", maybe?

"He/it shits the god of death. He/it creates the god of death." I have no way of knowing if this is what Lewis had in mind, but if it was, he was being exceedingly rude.

Ilgamuth of the twisted lip by Ymfon:
In Ilgamuth's case, I wonder if there's an even simpler explanation, given that he's the only one of that list to get a physical description. I wouldn't put it past Lewis to include a villain with a twisted lip and literally name him Ill-mouth.

Lasaraleen by Gehayi:
As for Lasaraleen...from what I can tell, her name isn't even vaguely Arabic or Persian (or, like Aravis', modified Greek). Her name seems to be Scottish Gaelic--"lasair"--which literally means "flame" or "flash" but figuratively refers to "a flashy person or thing." The "een/leen" ending (as in Kathleen, Maureen, Colleen, etc.) is a diminuitive and means "little."

So Lasaraleen is "a flashy little person" ...someone who shines brightly but doesn't have much substance. I suspect that's what Lewis was going for. However, there's another word in Scottish Gaelic that strongly resembles "Lasaraleen".


Which means "spearwort", a pretty yellow flower in the buttercup family. And it's poisonous.

I don't know if Lewis knew the word "lasair-lèana" or if he knew that spearworts were poisonous. It's entirely possible that he didn't know either. But if he did (and "Lasaraleen" does look like an Anglicized version of "Lasair-lèana"), he might have been commenting on Lasaraleen's interest in looks, fancy clothing, and the attractiveness of her lifestyle as seemingly pretty and innocent, but fundamentally toxic--something that Aravis would be well away from. This also fits with Lewis' perception of feminine qualities as evil.

Either way, Lasaraleen's name is very definitely not a compliment.

Rabadash and Tash by Gehayi:
I think that I've found where Rabadash's name comes from. I found two words in a Spanish dictionary, rabada and rabadán. The first refers to the rump of a slaughtered animal. The second means "chief shepherd," and is derived from the Arabic rabb addan, "owner of sheep."

The name of the god Tash (which almost certainly forms the "-dash" part of Rabadash's name) is Turkish for "stone", but in compounds, "-tāsh" or "-dāsh" means "companion."

So the prince is literally an arse (of a slaughtered animal that belongs to Tash or stone) and, if we use the definition of the Arabic origin of the second word (because "shepherd" generally has positive connotations in the West), Rabadash is not an owner of sheep but an owner of his companions. Whom, presumably, he herds as if they were sheep.

Rabadash (update) by Gehayi:
I'm late to the party, but I think I've got something for Rabadash's name. And it says something about how Lewis wants us to see him--with utter and unmitigated contempt.

There are two Arabic words that look very similar in transliteration--"rahba" and "rahhaba." The first means "marketplace of grain"; the second means "to frighten." A third word, adaş, is Turkish and means "a person with the same name as another; namesake." If you were writing the words out, they would be Rahba-adaş or Rahhaba-adaş.

But, I hear someone asking, why would Lewis be remotely interested in naming his villain after a market? That has to be wrong, doesn't it?

You know, the scene that's coming is one time when Lewis unashamedly pulls out all the stops and lets Aslan be openly harsh to someone. But Aslan is Lion Jesus...and even Jesus had his moments. Like when he became outraged at the merchants and moneychangers in the temple. He resented the fact that they had turned a house of worship into a marketplace. In fact, this arose in response to the many kinds of sacrifice demanded by the Jewish God and the need to have such sacrifices readily available to any Jewish person from anywhere in the known world...but most people don't think about that part. They just associate the merchants and moneychangers with greed.

And I think that's what Lewis is going for. Rabadash IS the marketplace's namesake--that is, he is the embodiment of worldly greed and blasphemy. (I know, I know, that's NOT what was going on, but I believe that's how Lewis would have seen it.) As such, he doesn't deserve mercy from Lion Jesus, only punishment. And because of this divine punishment, Rabadash is only able to "frighten his namesakes"...that is, to inspire fear from people spiritually like himself.

Lewis is telling us with Rabadash's very name that we are not to respect or identify with him.

Tisroc by Gehayi:
"Tisroc", it seems, was almost certainly stolen from E. Nesbit, who referred to a god known as "Nisroch" in her Psammead series. Nisroch was an Assyrian god of agriculture; Nesbit, however, made him Babylonian. So Lewis took the historical name of a god and turned it into the title of a man.


Calormen Landmarks by Gehayi:
Azim Balda: As Aravis mentioned, it's four days ride' northeast in (or from) the province of Calavar, stands at the intersection of multiple crossroads, and it's a base for royal (and noble) postal messengers. Four days' ride--assuming that Hwin is pushing herself to her utmost and is in perfect shape--would be, at most, about thirty miles per day. So it's no more than 120 miles northeast of Aravis's home in Calavar.

An organized postal system implies shipping packages (by land and, possibly, river), which brings in trade. Azim Balda is probably a large trading center and a stop for merchant caravans heading west, south, and northeast to Tashbaan. This is supported by the name: "Azim" is Arabic for "great" and "baldah" means "town." (Both New York and London are both sometimes referred to as "the Big City," so I don't think that a city being called "Great Town" reflects badly on the Calormenes.)

Calavar: The province of which Aravis's father Kidrash is lord. It seems to be derived from "calavera," the Spanish word for "skull." Apparently "calavera" and "calaveras" are most commonly associated with the Day of the Dead (which I thought was Mexican, but I'm guessing that Lewis didn't make any distinction between Mexican and Spanish). I'm interpreting this as a possibility that maybe some of the people who founded Calormen came through a portal in Mexico, while others came from countries where Arabic was spoken.

Desert Oasis: About one day's march (or thirty miles) north of Tashbaan in the center of the Great Desert. Since there is nothing north of the oasis save impassable mountains, presumably caravans head east to sell their goods or ship them to the Seven Isles, Doorn, Felinth, Terabintha, Galma, the Lone Islands, and points south. (There may be other oases, but this one is called "the great oasis," at least by one Talking Animal from Narnia.

Flaming Mountain of Lagour: A gour is a fire worshipper--it's another word for a Gabar, Gheber or Gueber, one of an Iranian sect practicing Zoroastrianism. I'm going to conclude, therefore, that the Flaming Mountain is considered holy by the descendents of Farsis. Also, apparently, you can follow faiths other than the worship of Tash, Azaroth and Zardeenah. Who knew?

I would guess that the Flaming Mountain is far to the northwest of Calormen, since the one Calormene who mentions it comes from the far west and the only place known to have mountains is the north, beyond the Great Desert.

Great Desert: Basically, a huge swath of desert extending north-south from the border of Archenland to Tashbaan, and east-west...well pretty much as far as the eye can see. It can be crossed in a night and a day, according to one Narnian Animal, and Hwin and Bree certainly manage to do so, but that suggests that Narnian Talking Horses are sturdier than regular ones, since a normal horse would probably drop dead before it could ride sixty miles without a night's rest.

Ilkeen: The location of one of Ahoshta Tarkaan's three palaces. The palace at Ilkeen is particularly beautiful and is located on a lake. "Ilkeen" is probably derived from the Persian "il-khan" or "subordinate khan," which did not exist as a title until after 1260.

Mezreel: A lake in Calormen, as well as a town of the same name. Noted locations nearby are gardens and the Valley of a Thousand Perfumes, which may be a valley used to grow flowers to create scents such as attar of roses. Lasaraleen Tarkheena lived in Mezreel for at least some of her growing-up years. The name is probably a garbled version of "Jezreel," a large fertile plain in a valley in Israel. "Jezreel" means "God sows" in Hebrew. Should we conclude that some of the people in Calormen are also Jewish?

The closest I can come to making sense of "Mezreel" is to mash together "mazer" and "el," which would basically mean "the drinking bowl of God."

Pugrahan Salt-Pits: No idea what the name means, but "grahan" is Hindi for "eclipse" or "shadowing." The miners seem to be slaves and prisoners. Many salt mines are in large mountain basins or are underground; I'm tending toward far to the south, even beyond where Shasta and Arsheesh lived, because we don't know much about what's there.

Tashbaan; "City of Tash"; capital of Calormen; a port city on an island, surrounded by numerous rivers.

Teebeth: A city taken by the Calormene army, probably after a rebellion. Bree says that he fought there, as did Aravis's cousin Alimash, who was the captain of the chariots. "Teebeth" is probably derived from "tebeth", the tenth month of the Jewish calendar, usually spanning the end of December and most of January in the Gregorian calendar. (The hints that there are Jews in Calormen are growing.)

Tehishbaan: City in the far west of Calormen, after the Great Desert ends. No idea what it means, but "hisham" is Arabic for "the generous." So it's possible that it means something along the lines of "city of the generous one/ones."

Tombs of the Ancient Kings: Bree describes them as looking like stone beehives, which would have made them tholos tombs in the Mediterranean and in West Asia. In the Mideast, similar structures were used as houses and as storage facilities. I can see the "tombs" being an emergency storage facility for caravans, and the legends about ghouls being put about to discourage potential thieves. (This in no way means that ghouls don't exist in this world.)

Winding Arrow: A swift river filled with rapids that forms the border between Archenland and Calormen. It's shallow enough to ford at one point.

Zulindreh/Zalindreh: Aravis pronounces it Zulindreh while Bree pronounces it Zalindreh. I'd like to think that it's this world's version of "shibboleth"--a word that foreigners just can't seem to pronounce. Zulindreh was the site of a battle which, presumably, the Calormene army won. Like the Battle of Teebeth, it may have been part of the Calormene military's attempt to quash a rebellion. Bree and Aravis's cousin Alimash fought here.

The closest I can come to a translation for it is "zahlen dreh," "zahlen" being German for "figures" or "numbers" and "dreh" the German for "twist" or "trick." Maybe Zulindreh is a center of science, mathematics and education. Maybe there's a university or two there.

Storify: Subtweeting People Who Aren't Doing Enough

Storify is shutting down in May and has informed users that we have to migrate our content elsewhere if we wish to save it. This is one of my old threads.

Hot Take: I no longer see value in subtweeting People Who Aren't Doing Enough, in part because you are also that person.

Oh, you are probably Doing Enough on the subject you're subtweeting on, but You Weren't There for Fight #24,765. I looked. You weren't. If you weren't there for the 24,764 fights BEFORE that, maybe you're a bad ally, maybe your plate is forever Too Full. Iunno. If it bothers me that much, I'll unfollow you. Subtweeting at you and hoping you'll notice seems like an effort in unsatisfying rancor.

Not everyone can come in for every fight. Feminism stuff, trans stuff, disability stuff, fat acceptance stuff, mental illness stuff, rape stuff. Sometimes people gotta walk away for a month or a year or longer. And they shouldn't have to leave twitter to do that. They can fluff, imo. Twitter is a social networking tool. Sometimes people activist Over There and just need to Fluff Social here. That's okay.

Storify: Marginalized Groups Do Not Agree On Everything

Storify is shutting down in May and has informed users that we have to migrate our content elsewhere if we wish to save it. This is one of my old threads.

Daily reminder that marginalized groups will never agree on broader terms FOR said group, and we try to navigate respectfully around that.

Some people in fat activism are truly, legitimately, validly triggered by being called "fat". I've heard from physically challenged people who are deeply, fairly, validly triggered by "disability" hashtags. There are valid in-group fights about the reclamation of slurs. People who can't visit sites with b*tch, c*nt, or tr***y in the name. I've known LBGT+ people who were truly, deeply, fairly upset at having the umbrella term "queer" applied to people in those groups.

In an individual case, always-always-always ask first. ("What words would you like me to use?") In group cases... I honestly don't know if there's a way around this problem. It's a bigger problem than just me. Because literally every word in every language hurts SOMEONE. Validly, legitimately, fairly. I don't know, you guys. It's a problem.

And here's where people are gonna get mad at me, but *deep breath* If you don't like a term being accepted widely, by all means talk about that. Change minds on your timeline. If you don't like a term being used on/about you, by all means speak up. People better respect that, or they're being jerks. But coming into my mentions to argue widely-accepted in-group terminology that I haven't applied to you? High spoons, low reward.

I am not on the in-group terminology board for any of this. Not for fat, nor queer, nor gay, nor trans, nor disabled, nor crip, none of it. Movements change over time. People speak out. Language evolves. Words come in and out of vogue. Participate in that, yes. Absolutely. BUT.

Example: I'll add something with regard to how I use Assigned Gender At Birth, with the caveat that not everyone does (or should!) agree with me. To me, Assigned Gender At Birth is a historical statement abt what people did. It has no bearing on my body. It does not reference genitals. While I was a baby and unable to express my preferences, certain people assigned a gender to me. They were wrong.

But "AFAB" doesn't read to me as "born with a vagina". I don't know (or care) what criteria people used to assign a gender. A gender was assigned. They could have drawn lots for all I care. They made a pick, and that pick was either right or wrong. Now, other people may validly find that term harmful, which is why you should ask before you use it. Always ask!

That's about it. EVERY group has disagreements on terminology. It is literally impossible for everyone to agree, ever. All we can do is our best to listen and help each other. But sometimes you still disagree and that's just how it is. *sad shrug* But if you're coming at me over a term and you don't have an alternative term to suggest I use, I don't know what to tell you. My activism for trans rights -- which includes self-activism! -- requires that I be able to communicate. Words are necessary for communication.

Another day, another reminder: Regular reminder that members of oppressed in-groups do not agree on everything. A privileged person's job is to listen to those multiple voices and learn. Their job is NOT to pick a side and start clobbering.

Example 1: there are a LOT of rape survivors in the world, and we have many varied opinions on "rape fantasies" in erotica, porn, etc.

Example 2: there are a LOT of trans folk who were appalled by the sharing of that recent medium post re: transitioning as Our Narrative.

Example 3: disability activists are going to disagree on a LOT of stuff, like assisted suicide and language and everything else, tbh.

So try not to get so excited at learning a thing that you share it as the ONLY way. I know it's easy to do!!

Another day, more reminders: I am not going to give up nouns as a concept.

I was just informed that we shouldn't use the noun "ally" because "it makes things about you". That is how nouns work, yes. I have to put a NAME to a GROUP of people with SHARED CHARACTERISTICS in order to tell them NOT to do a harmful thing. Making something "about you" is integral to telling you to stop causing harm. Centering is not, in itself, a harmful thing to avoid.

For the record, I tend to use ally as a verb because I view it as a process and not a state of being that you achieve, but nouns have value. Learn why parts of speech exist. I am a professional writer with an actual shiny university degree in this subject. Taking activism thoughtlessly up to eleven like this ("don't use nouns! they're centering!") is rampant foolishness posing as expertise.

Storify: On Childhood as a Privilege

Storify is shutting down in May and has informed users that we have to migrate our content elsewhere if we wish to save it. This is one of my old threads.

[TW: Child Abuse]

In the gentlest possible way, I want to talk a little about childhood and abuse here.

Childhood as a concept is not some absolute that spans all cultures and times. Many societies have treated children differently. But it is important to understand that treating a child IDENTICALLY to an adult can be itself a form of child abuse.

That does not mean that you can't treat a child with respect, etc. I use the word "IDENTICALLY" up there for a reason. There are extremely valuable conversations to be had about children and rights and responsibilities in our society.

But it's important to understand that WITH rights come accompanying responsibilities in many cases. And there are valid, non-stigmatizing reasons to not want to load children up with the same responsibilities as adults in all cases. "Identical treatment" is not somehow fair or desirable in all cases for all situations for all groups. Nor is it stigma or prejudice to note that some groups need accommodations or have different challenges than others.

We talk about "centering" a lot in social justice, and privilege, and invisible defaults. It is important, when we talk about oppression, not to center against an invisible default as though that's the Only Way. Very young children can make profoundly unsafe decisions. Adults have a responsibility to prevent permanent harm or death. An adult who allows a child to make deadly decisions without intervention is neglectful.

So again there are valid conversations to be had about oppression and children, but I want to avoid centering adultness as the One Way. There is also a race intersection that white activists need to be aware of: children of color are often unfairly perceived as adults. Children of color are legally tried as adults, shot by police as adults, and sexualized as adults as a form of racist oppression. Please be aware of these intersectional concerns as you pursue activism!

It is not okay to hurt other marginalized groups in an enthusiastic rush to help the one you're advocating for. Coming back to this, that is also why I'm a little uncomfortable with the term "adultism". Reminder that *isms require system-wide oppression. So while I am very much onboard with discussing the real marginalization of children in our society, please let's be intersectional.

I also-also want to note that nothing of what I am saying above is new or novel. There have LONG been ethical concerns with how to market to children, for example, and over education vs. propaganda. Not to mention MAJOR concerns over how our legal system should intersect with children, and guardianship, and criminal records. I don't like to see those snarls swept simplistically aside, which I realize is easy to do in a 140-character medium. :)

So I urge people to be careful with terms like "adultism" when childhood itself is a privilege denied to many. And when "adulthood" is sill wielded as a weapon against children from marginalized groups. Be aware of that, please. Thank you!

@alketrolyat: [re: voting] it's not FAIR to make young kids make decisions that might affect them for yrs when they don't understand them. And then there are votes for more complex issues, like bonds and funding, at local levels.

YES, I think possibly some people forget that "voting" isn't just a once-every-4-years presidential thing. And those things (growth, learning, play) are a privilege denied to SO MANY. The presence of a childhood has historically been a GOOD INDICATOR of oppressed class status. School. Television. Marketing. Commercial. Candy cigarettes. These are COMPLEX issues!

PS, this was not a thread specifically about suffrage for children, but since people are talking about it, I have this to add: Please spend at least 10 minutes on voting disenfranchisement of disabled and POC adult voters for every 1 minute you spend on white children. We're disenfranchising people of color in Texas right now and I see very little talk about that, either in news articles or on the twitters.

I expect a lot of white activists feel like the situation is obvious and feel helpless to help, but we still need to make noise about it! And coming up to November, we need to organize to make sure that people have options to get to the polls and won't be turned away. That's hard work and it's not sexy, but it's GOT to be done. Please help do it, if you can.

Storify: Apologies (Giving and Getting)

Storify is shutting down in May and has informed users that we have to migrate our content elsewhere if we wish to save it. This is one of my old threads.

Sometimes I wonder if we need lessons on how to apologize. EVERYTHING is easier with practice, and apologies doubly so I think. Sometimes people mess up in public on twitter and ask me what they should do. Here's my advice.

A good apology, imo, is short and direct. Not a long rambling explanation, just a clean break so the other person can escape if wanted. If you apologize right, most people will ASSUME you meant well / had good reasons, so belaboring that actually hurts your case, ime.

Some 1-tweet examples of apologies that I think are good.

"I'm sorry. I didn't know that. Thank you for explaining to me; I will do better in the future. I apologize for hurting you."

"You know what? You're right. I screwed up, I wasn't thinking right. I'm really sorry and I apologize for hurting you."

"I still feel like maybe there was a misunderstanding, but I'm very sorry for my part in it. I can see I hurt you and I apologize."

"I don't know that I agree, but I will take what you said on-board and try to do better. I apologize for hurting you and I am so sorry."

@lainasparetime: I like the format that goes around - here's what I did wrong, here's why it was wrong, and here's what I'll do in the future

I've seen this one before, but I don't personally care for it. Ymmv, but in a 140-character tweet, to someone who is hurting and angry, "here's what I did wrong" will often lack nuance and make things worse.

I also really reject the idea that an apology MUST be a learning experience for someone. Sometimes we need time to process! Sometimes we'll process and we won't agree! It's okay to be sorry for harm caused but still decide you don't agree with the other person. I've been yelled at in the past by friends who felt like my apologies didn't illustrate that I'd "learned my lesson". I won't do that, tbh.

I come back to the fact that in-groups won't always agree on everything. And sometimes that causes harm. Something I've had to say "I'm sorry that I hurt you, but I'm still going to use that term. My feed is probably unsafe for you."

Sometimes SJ groups are sensitive to the concept of "non-pologies" but (imo) can start wielding that as a weapon. A failure to agree with your point is NOT a non-pology. You can be apologetic for harm caused but still not agree. And sometimes the disagreement is fundamental enough that the relationship has to end. That's sad, but it doesn't mean they were insincere.

It's important to understand that Being Hurt doesn't equal Being Right. We sometimes forget that in social justice aware groups. And it's even MORE important to remember that apologizing for the harm you caused doesn't equal Being Wrong on the topic in question. There are people who are genuinely, legitimately harmed when I talk about assigned gender at birth in the context of bathroom access. Their hurt is real and valid, but that doesn't mean the topic and verbiage is a simplistic Right/Wrong binary. Triggers can be anything.

When we teach that Being Hurt = Being Right, then people apologize LESS because they don't want to be (and perhaps aren't!) Wrong. And we create a situation where Harm is questioned with hostility because the presence of Harm includes a moral victory. Harm is real and shouldn't be questioned and sleuthed. If someone says you harmed them, take that as real and apologize. That apology means you validate their harm and you're sorry for causing it. It doesn't mean you have to readjust all your beliefs to theirs.

So maybe I should have said: We need lessons in giving *and* getting apologies.

You don't have to accept an apology, btw! You can decide "no, I'm done" and not interact with that person again (or for a time). But--and here's the sticky part where some people may get mad at me--you are STILL responsible for your own actions. Just as Being Hurt doesn't equal Being Right, it's also not a free pass to respond however you want.

I've asked people to leave my mentions before but because they had been hurt, they felt justified in hurting me. That's not okay. Barring very rare situations, you are always responsible for your own actions. Being harmed isn't a free card to commit more harm, imo.

So here is my wrap-up advice.

1. If someone says you've hurt them, believe them. Don't tell them they shouldn't be hurt. Hurt doesn't have to be logical. Hurt is hurt.

2. Understand that you can apologize for the hurt without ceding the argument or having to chuck your worldview in favor of theirs.

3. Apologize briefly and sincerely for the hurt and withdraw to give space for healing away from you.

4a. I recommend NOT doing a 10-tweet thread recapping what you did, and why, and why it was wrong, and how to do better.

4b. I've honestly NEVER seen that help de-escalate a situation, and it can come off VERY badly by centering your Learning over their Hurt.

4c. Others' mileage may vary, but when I'm hurt I don't want to hear what YOU learned today. I want you to apologize and leave me alone.

4d. Rarely do I want you to leave me alone FOREVER. Just for, like, a few hours until I've calmed down.

5. Speaking of, remember that an apology doesn't mean your friendship is OVER FOREVER because HARM and WRONGNESS.

5b. You're not perfect and neither am I. We're going to need to apologize to each other from time to time. That's NORMAL.

5c. Which is another reason not to belabor the apology, in my experience.

5d. Since apologies are inevitable, anticipating the next tortured apology can make the relationship so much more strained.

5e. And long tortured apologies can make people hesitant to point out harm because they don't want to suffer the apology.

5f. I feel most relaxed with people to whom I can say "oh, that kinda hurt?" and they'll be like "oh! sorry, I didn't think" and move on.

6. If you're on the receiving end of an apology, you can choose whether to accept it or not, but don't be an abusive asshole.

7. Know that you WILL fuck up in life and that doesn't make you Bad. It makes you an imperfect person just like everyone else.

7b. If you can excise your feelings that Hurt = Bad, then it will be easier for you to apologize without exacerbating harm.

7c. That's a big "if". I know anxiety disorders won't cooperate. Goddess knows @elibyronbaldrsn has suffered through my LONG apologies.

7d. But it might help to practice on your cats. (Oh, I see I hurt you, Fluffykins! I am sorry. *and stops there*) Or journaling.

7e. And remember that the apology isn't about you. It's about the other person. You canNOT undo harm. You can minimize further harm.

@civilwarbore: yep. Your choices in that situation as the hurt party are p much accept the apology or walk (or a combo).

8. This.

Here are some apology RESPONSE examples.

"What you said really hurt me, but I appreciate your apology. I need some time to de-stress but I'll see you around."

"Thank you for the apology. I need some space for awhile on this topic. I encourage you to read up on it, and good luck."

"I see your apology, but I can't accept it at this time. Please don't contact me anymore; I know where to find you if I want to talk again."

"Okay. My request that you not @ me anymore still stands."

And obviously there are warmer ways to accept apologies. :) My point here is there are non-abusive ways to maintain space and boundaries.

Lastly, try to give people time to grow. Social justice is about growth, but it doesn't happen overnight. I've seen "she still doesn't know what she did wrong!" so many times. It may be true! But has she had time to process? If not... let her? If someone has stopped actively causing harm (a big first step!), let them process rather than demanding a perfect recounting RIGHT NOW.

I think it's okay to apologize in stages. The initial "I see I hurt people, I'm sorry, I'm going to stop right here and have a quiet think", and the later follow-up on "here's how I'm not going to cause that harm again." That may take time to process. Growth often does.

You don't owe them a read of their follow-up. You don't owe forgiveness or association or friendship, to be clear. You own them nothing. But I've never seen value in demanding instant on-the-spot learning and growth, because I don't (personally) think that's possible. Ymmv.

@LouisatheLast: It's really hard to reflect and take time and grow when your back is to the wall with a mob howling for an apology

Pretty much this. And that doesn't mean they're insincere. Humans respond badly when confused and alarmed. For me, the goals are:

1. Active harm needs to stop.
2. An immediate apology for harm caused.
3. A thoughtful follow-up as needed.*

#3 being appropriate in the cases of enormous public fuck-ups. Not necessarily for close personal interactions, but maybe sometimes!

Extra-lastly (ha, I'm sorry for the length of this thread), it's important for me to focus on MY own actions in the face of an apology. If I feel like an apology is insincere, I can just walk away. "Okay." and mute/block the person. That's empowering to me.

Anyway, that's the end of the thread. I hope this was helpful to folks.