Don’t Envy The Victim’s Shoes

I’m a person. I also just so happen to be a woman.

While I believe in my own equality, I also believe I shouldn’t have to fight for it. I shouldn’t have to hold myself up under the pressure of perfect example.

Among other things, I’m a gamer. I don’t want to be the woman gamer that represents the other women gamers. We’re all just as similar to men gamers, and just as different to other women gamers. I am a gamer. I am a woman. I am a person. These are all separate things about myself. I don’t want to be ‘the woman’ anything. I don’t want woman to be the over arching word defines me, but since I am passionate about certain things that women are still a rarity in, it seems like it has to.

I am a person. I want to be treated like a person. I don’t even know what being treated like a woman exactly means to you, but I know I don’t want it, especially if you get to define it.

I don’t want to be an example, but I will be either way, because I just so happen to be a woman. I’m a minority, a rarity, a weird thing. In a world where over half the people are women, it’s so weird to so often be the rarity.

Rarity means special, extra value, worth more in economic terms. It doesn’t translate to people who are different.

But you know that men also can be the minority in communities based around certain activities. In my own experiences I’ve seen it in community theater and my current ceramics studio. Now that they’re the weird thing, wouldn’t you expect harassment or violence inside those groups towards men? Instead, it usually comes from the outside of those groups. It often comes in the form of accusing the men of being feminine, as if this is a bad thing. Beat up the theater fag. Shouldn’t Johnny be playing hockey instead? It’s not about these community groups that share interests, but symptoms a larger social problem. It’s not just about women, it’s about all people.

We need to make it clear that it’s not about blaming gamers or men when we see issues in the gaming community or with what some men do. I am a gamer after all. I also love men.

I also recognize that men face harassment as well as part of sexism. Patriarchy hurts everyone. This isn’t simply about men vs women. Women spout bigotry that holds themselves and men back. Men get beat to a bloody pulp for not being ‘man enough’. People are hurtful and being hurt, and gender itself or those that belong to a particular gender are not to blame.

When I read about victims who don’t report inequality, especially harassment or violence, I do feel sad that they didn’t push forward to help all of us have a safer world. I also realize that it’s not fair of me, or anyone, to expect or ask that any of these individuals put themselves on the line inviting additional violence, pain, or even death upon themselves. It’s easy for people to blame a victim for not stepping up, because we feel like our voices are needed to eventually make the world safer and make us equals.

It’s also easy to blame the victim who steps up for not being the perfect example, for what they were wearing, their sexual history, for not reporting it immediately, for using imperfect language, their tone, or for not having a perfect past. We want super heroes, but instead we just have people.

There are some people that just so happen to also be women. We expect too much of them when they’re down, and we expect not enough of them when they have all the potential to be more.

When the world fails us, we do the best we can, and try not to fail the world or ourselves.

I am a person. I want to be treated like a person. I don’t want to be a victim, but I also don’t want to stand in those shoes, be the example, and fight for what should already be.

Handmade

Working in a ceramic community again, I’m lucky to be working among a bunch of really supportive people. In general, people who work in clay are pretty awesome and accepting, but in the larger community there are still those that stick their noses in the air with really strong opinions about what is is acceptable as a ceramic artist.

I’ve seen the same thing in the art community at large, people with these specific and narrow definitions of ‘what is art’, looking down their noses at things that challenge their preconceptions. It’s one thing to say you don’t like something, and quite another to completely disregard its validity as the work of an artist.

In general, I usually just avoid these kinds of discussions all together. It’s like when you hear people talking religion and politics. I may be passionate about how I feel, but after I hear what they’re saying, I realize nothing I can say is even remotely likely to change their point of view.

Still I’d like to share this with people. I have heard some people who throw get down on people who hand build. People who throw use the potters wheel to make things out of clay, while those who hand build use other means to make things out of clay.

Specifically I read about a well known potter who throws get down on artists who use molds in their work. Hand builders often use molds, but first off, what is a mold?

It can be a lot of things.

A mold can be something that someone else made that you stick clay in to get a replica. Done!

This kind of mold usage is not you’re going to see artists doing. Instead someone might:

  • make their own molds and use them as components for their work
  • use commercial pre-made molds, but then change what they’ve made with that mold so much that it’s not just a replica
  • use found objects as molds as part of their process

Most hand building automatically includes some kind of mold usage. Instead of using a mold to make a replica, these molds are often just re purposed things you use to help give something it’s basic shape. Hump molds and slump molds are used this way. A hump mold is where you drape clay over something to get a shape. A slump mold is where you drape clay into something to give it a shape. You might use something as simple as the cardboard paper towel roll to help you get a cylinder shape to make something.

To some potters who throw, it’s as if this is cheating. You didn’t pull the clay up with your hands. Instead you used a rolling pin to make a flat slab of clay and then stood it up with a cardboard tube. Cheater! In some artist’s minds this somehow translates into it not being a hand made object.

I propose that using a tool to help build something doesn’t make it not hand made. By their own logic, it would be like saying that a cup isn’t hand made because you made it on the pottery wheel instead of only with your hands.

The punchline is that this same potter who was looking down her nose at mold usage extensively uses press molds. Apparently, in her mind, the stamps and sprigs she’d made didn’t count as molds in her mind. She throws her basic shapes and uses these molds for finishing the surfaces.

As someone who carves surfaces and doesn’t use molds for these designs, I can’t help but laugh.

I sometimes throw on the wheel, but I sometimes use hump and slump molds to get a basic shape. Then I add tripod feet and carve unique designs.

I say a resounding, “Your stamps are molds too! And no, you’re not cheating! Your pots are still hand made.”

I have my own reasons for carving, and she has her own reason for using stamps. They’re different tools, but I don’t think either are more or less valid.

Also, how easy a tool makes a job appear is not a measure of validity. Throwing is difficult to learn, but once it’s learned, you can make hundreds of cups in a couple of hours. That’s why it’s done, not because it’s somehow harder or purer than using a cardboard paper towel roll. Once you’re skilled, it’s actually quicker and easier to throw a cup than to roll out a slab and use a paper towel roll to form a cup.

I’d also propose that using that paper towel roll to make something that doesn’t look like a crappy slab of clay shaped with a paper towel roll is a skill of its own, just like throwing is.

So, no matter what tools you use to make your hand made pottery, sculpture, tiles, etc., I propose that the part that makes it hand made is not the tools. The hand made part has to do with the direct involvement of you, the maker, in creating something.

Jiu-Jitsu = Live Action Katamari Damacy

In my last post I mentioned that I was taking Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. I also stated that I had an epiphany about Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and its striking similarity to something else that is wicked fun.

I realized that Jiu-jitsu is really, essentially, live action Katamari Damacy. Sure, just like anything else that is a live action version of something, it is not exactly the same.


We cannot be a katamari though we wish we were. Katamaris are too great, powerful, and magic. However, we aspire to be more like the katamari. Jiu-jitsu can help with this.

Let me help you understand the things that lie at the core of both Katamari Damacy and Jiu-Jitsu with four main points.

1. You roll.

If you roll with someone in jiu-jitsu, it means you’re sparring with them. It essentially ends up looking like a human katamari is coming at you. There is no kicking, no punching, no eye poking, just grabbing on and rolling the other person up. This is exactly how it works in Katamari Damacy as well. Sure, in Katamari Damacy you roll up other things, but other humans and other katamaris are part of that.

2. The goal is to not be rolled up, but rather to roll up.

In Jiu-jitsu, the goal is not to get passed, swept, or essentially, rolled up by your opponent while trying to do as much to them. If you end up in a position where they are still rolling around but you can’t move, this is bad. It doesn’t mean things are over- you can break free and try to roll the other guy up, but it means that you’ve already lost some points.

…just like in Katamari Damacy.

3. You’ll lose if things don’t stick to you.

When we watch a katamari, it so effortlessly picks up the things around it. It rolls, things stick to it, struggling and there to stay unless thrown off. If you roll a person up and they come off, it means you got to go roll them up again. This is true both in jiu-jitsu and Katamari Damacy.

The effort of rolling up is greater in jiu-jitsu. The best comparison to Katamari Damacy is two player competitive mode. An important difference is that size, speed, and skill in Katamari Damacy means the difference between rolling up and being rolled up. In jiu-jitsu, skill and endurance are even greater factors.

4. There is a time limit and a point system.

In Katamari Damacy, points and winning are based on how much you roll up before time runs out.


Jiu-jitsu is not so different, however points are based more on how well you roll the person up within a time limit. One of the biggest divides here is a question of quantity versus quality. A katamari can roll all willy nilly over the earth while in jiu-jitsu, form is very important. Being the dominant roller is key, as you get points for moving into these dominant positions.

Also different is that you can use submissions to make the other person quit (tap out) in jiu-jitsu. That is illegal in Katamari Damacy and might get you arrested. Sure, a controller cord choke is kind of like a gi choke, but it is not acceptable in the gaming community. In jiu-jitsu, not only is it accepted, it is expected.

Comment System Update


We have gone back in time my friends.

While it was a good idea to have forum-like comment posting with replies, avatars, and comment RSS feeds all done by the lovely Disqus- – –

Their servers are down. What is this, a Twitter imitation?

What a better way to build community than to break the ability to post comments randomly?

FAIL.

Quantity VS Quality

This is somewhat in response to the Twitter spam ‘discussion’ between Scoble and Badera.

There’s a lot of cliches that begin with the phrase ‘there are two types of people’. Though the world is not simple enough to classify everything as one or the other, there are dichotomies in this world and people especially.

When I look back on why certain relationships with people have failed, I think it has to do with a fundamental difference in values. I’m not talking about religion, I’m talking about people who are about more about quality and people who care about quantity.

A quality person is someone who values the intangible essence of something over the actual amount. They would rather have one moment of true revelation that a million okays. They actually believe that the thought is what counts. They are someone who’d rather hang out with a few people and have in depth discussions. Quantity people can deal with being wrong, losing a game, or considering other viewpoints, because they aren’t keeping score.

Quantity people are all about keeping score. They are worried about numbers of instances over the content of the instances themselves. They’d think the better gift is money rather than a well thought event planned by the giver.They’d go to a party at someone’s house advertised on a flier and try to say hi to as many people there as possible without really getting to know anyone. People like this are about life as a competition and being right.

There’s nothing wrong with that type of person, it’s just not me, not how I view the world and go about things. I think the unquantifiable things are what make life worth living. One real connection means so much more than a hundred passing hellos.

That’s as much true on the internet as it is anywhere else. I’m prefer my little online community any day of the week than a bunch of faceless, passing, generic comments.