missroserose: (Psychosomatic)
I don't remember if I blogged about it at the time, but several years ago, I had an odd event involving my vision. I was rubbing my eyes (this was in bed, in the wee hours of the morning), and I felt a small pop in the area above my right eye. Just afterward, it felt like a sort of curtain came down over that eye - I could still see out of it, but everything was a few shades darker than out of my left. It was a little bit scary, but it subsided after a minute or so. I went to an opthamologist that Monday and he couldn't find anything wrong. He suggested that it may have simply been a small blood vessel popping and leaking a bit of blood over my retina, and said not to worry about it unless it happened again. It's not happened again since then, thankfully, but since then I'm just a touch sensitive to imbalances in vision between my eyes.

Today I was walking from the family room into the darkened kitchen, intending to check and see if we had any pot pies in the freezer, when I noticed a similar imbalance between the light perception in my eyes. Lifting my hair out of the way (I just had it cut and styled earlier today, and my current hairstyle tends to cover one eye), I did the whole hand-over-one-eye, then-over-the-other routine, and sure enough, I could see far better out of my left eye than out of my right. It went away after a minute or so, fortunately, so I just kind of stood there trying not to hyperventilate.

(Have I mentioned that I'm really sensitive about my vision? And, really, anything related to my health? I'm well aware exactly what a valuable and potentially-transient gift my generalized good health is, and, as [personal profile] amanda_lodden commented recently, I have a lot of anger issues towards our medical-industrial complex. So while I'm sure all of you have figured out exactly what happened, I was a little too busy being afraid of vision loss/potential doctors' visits to catch what was going on.)

Being my usual "take charge of ALL the things" self, I came back into the family room and started Googling sudden vision changes. The experiences I'd had seemed to most closely resemble amaurosis fugax, basically a fancy Latin term for "sudden transient partial loss of vision". It can be idiopathic, but can also be a sign of an impending stroke, high blood pressure, or all sorts of other potentially-nasty things, and either way it looked like there were a lot of costly and time-consuming and invasive medical tests in my future. As you might imagine, I was getting more and more worked up. (And probably spiking my blood pressure in the process - hello, self-fulfilling prophecy!)

And then I went into the darkened bedroom to grab something or other, and the same thing happened again. ...And it clicked into place.

Did I mention that my current hairstyle tends to cover one eye?

And (as I remember from third grade), your pupils open and close depending on the amount of light that falls on them?

So wouldn't it make sense that I would see better out of the eye that'd been hiding behind a hank of hair when I went into a dark room?

...yeah. I feel pretty silly now.
missroserose: (Gifted & Talented)
It's been an interesting few weeks for gender issues in the gamer subculture. (And I use "interesting" in a vaguely Chinese sense, simultaneously meaning "awful and disheartening" and "making opportunities for change".) I don't really follow gaming news, but these two stories have both filtered in through my social networks, largely because I have awesome friends who care about gender issues as much as I do. As unsettling as they each are individually, however, I thought they proved an interesting counterpoint to each other, in that they demonstrate two very different but equally destructive forms of sexism.

First, and most depressing, is the story of Anita Sarkeesian, a feminist pop culture critic who had started a Kickstarter with the purpose of creating a series of short videos examining various gender-related tropes in video games. Not exactly a radical topic, but something about her plans poked the gamer subculture right in a soft place; she's since been subjected to an unremitting campaign of harassment for her temerity. (Link borderline NSFW, and almost certainly NSFyour faith in humanity.) Fortunately, the situation is not without its upsides; the publicity from this outburst has also led to a huge outpouring of support (and money for her Kickstarter), as well as some very thoughtful and soul-searching pieces on the many problems with such harassment, and why letting it continue is problematic, but trying to stop it even more so.

Obviously, the sexism in that situation is pretty easy to identify. But a friend's reaction to another clash between similar demographics reminded me that sexism takes many subtler forms, too.

In this instance, a Twitter user had addressed a couple of tweets to Felicia Day:

@feliciaday, I keep seeing everywhere. Question: Do you matter at all? Do you even provide anything useful to gaming, besides "personality?"

@feliciaday, could you be considered nothing more than a glorified booth babe? You don't seem to add anything creative to the medium.


Given that Day is one of the few well-known female celebrities in gamer culture, this also prompted quite a few accusations of sexism, many of them knee-jerk and vitriolic in nature. My friend was puzzled; he acknowledged the guy was talking out of his ass but questioned whether or not the comments were sexist, and whether (as he suspected) the furor over their supposed sexism was detracting from the other problems with his comments (their untruth and unkindness, for instance).

I had to think that one over for a couple of days, but I eventually wrote him this email:

I've been giving a lot of thought to the item you posted a bit ago re: Felicia Day and whether the dude was being sexist in his accusations. It *did* strike me as sexist, but I couldn't quite put my finger on why, so I didn't want to respond with nothing but my knee-jerk reaction - because I absolutely agree that the feminist demographic as a whole has a tendency to respond to things with knee-jerk "OMG SEXIST" accusations without properly articulating *why* something is sexist. Which I very much dislike, as it's unproductive and only makes people defensive and angry. But that's beside the point.

So here are my thoughts: Calling Day a "glorified booth babe" and implying that all she contributes to gamer culture is her looks may not be blatantly sexist, the way it would be if the person had said that she *wasn't capable* of contributing anything because her looks were all she was good for. But it's still subtly sexist, largely because there's an unspoken rule in our culture that a woman's looks are her first and best asset, and any other positive qualities she might have are secondary.

A good rule of thumb in determining whether a statement is sexist/racist/homophobic/what have you is to turn it around and ask it of someone of a different sex/race/orientation (viz. those 'questionnaires' floating around with items like "How long have you suspected you were heterosexual?" and "Are you aware that heterosexual experiences can have negative side-effects?" - pointing out how, even though homosexuality is far more accepted in the mainstream now, it's still viewed as a deviation from the norm rather than simply another facet of normal). And I really don't see *anyone* accusing, say, Gabe and Tycho of Penny Arcade, or Wil Wheaton, of being glorified beefcake and contributing nothing to gamer culture but their looks. You could convincingly make the argument that all three examples are more prominent than Day, but in this era of Google, it would have taken him all of five minutes to find out that she has, in fact, made quite a few contributions to gamer community, if he had bothered to look. So yes, the fact that he was perfectly willing to assume that she was famous solely because of her looks was, frankly, sexist.

But, unfortunately, subtlety and nuance tend to be the first casualties in any Internet flame war, and while I'm sure there are other feminists out there who are also articulating the point, I'm sure it's getting lost in the accusations and counter-accusations flying about.

Incidentally, another example of this sort of subtle sexism comes in this email forward, which unfortunately is still making the rounds despite being completely untrue. There's no blatant sexism, exactly, but it's hard to imagine that the portrayal of Giffords as an imbecile is completely unrelated to her relative youth, attractiveness, and gender. It's a sad truth, but attractive women are nearly always assumed to be less intelligent than their less-attractive counterparts; whereas a good-looking man is almost always assumed to be more intelligent. I can't even tell you how many times I've met people (mostly men, but not always) who are obviously startled when I express an opinion and back it up with solid arguments, despite being dressed up and perhaps showing a little cleavage...
missroserose: (Gifted & Talented)
It's been an interesting few weeks for gender issues in the gamer subculture. (And I use "interesting" in a vaguely Chinese sense, simultaneously meaning "awful and disheartening" and "making opportunities for change".) I don't really follow gaming news, but these two stories have both filtered in through my social networks, largely because I have awesome friends who care about gender issues as much as I do. As unsettling as they each are individually, however, I thought they proved an interesting counterpoint to each other, in that they demonstrate two very different but equally destructive forms of sexism.

First, and most depressing, is the story of Anita Sarkeesian, a feminist pop culture critic who had started a Kickstarter with the purpose of creating a series of short videos examining various gender-related tropes in video games. Not exactly a radical topic, but something about her plans poked the gamer subculture right in a soft place; she's since been subjected to an unremitting campaign of harassment for her temerity. (Link borderline NSFW, and almost certainly NSFyour faith in humanity.) Fortunately, the situation is not without its upsides; the publicity from this outburst has also led to a huge outpouring of support (and money for her Kickstarter), as well as some very thoughtful and soul-searching pieces on the many problems with such harassment, and why letting it continue is problematic, but trying to stop it even more so.

Obviously, the sexism in that situation is pretty easy to identify. But a friend's reaction to another clash between similar demographics reminded me that sexism takes many subtler forms, too.

In this instance, a Twitter user had addressed a couple of tweets to Felicia Day:

@feliciaday, I keep seeing everywhere. Question: Do you matter at all? Do you even provide anything useful to gaming, besides "personality?"

@feliciaday, could you be considered nothing more than a glorified booth babe? You don't seem to add anything creative to the medium.


Given that Day is one of the few well-known female celebrities in gamer culture, this also prompted quite a few accusations of sexism, many of them knee-jerk and vitriolic in nature. My friend was puzzled; he acknowledged the guy was talking out of his ass but questioned whether or not the comments were sexist, and whether (as he suspected) the furor over their supposed sexism was detracting from the other problems with his comments (their untruth and unkindness, for instance).

I had to think that one over for a couple of days, but I eventually wrote him this email:

I've been giving a lot of thought to the item you posted a bit ago re: Felicia Day and whether the dude was being sexist in his accusations. It *did* strike me as sexist, but I couldn't quite put my finger on why, so I didn't want to respond with nothing but my knee-jerk reaction - because I absolutely agree that the feminist demographic as a whole has a tendency to respond to things with knee-jerk "OMG SEXIST" accusations without properly articulating *why* something is sexist. Which I very much dislike, as it's unproductive and only makes people defensive and angry. But that's beside the point.

So here are my thoughts: Calling Day a "glorified booth babe" and implying that all she contributes to gamer culture is her looks may not be blatantly sexist, the way it would be if the person had said that she *wasn't capable* of contributing anything because her looks were all she was good for. But it's still subtly sexist, largely because there's an unspoken rule in our culture that a woman's looks are her first and best asset, and any other positive qualities she might have are secondary.

A good rule of thumb in determining whether a statement is sexist/racist/homophobic/what have you is to turn it around and ask it of someone of a different sex/race/orientation (viz. those 'questionnaires' floating around with items like "How long have you suspected you were heterosexual?" and "Are you aware that heterosexual experiences can have negative side-effects?" - pointing out how, even though homosexuality is far more accepted in the mainstream now, it's still viewed as a deviation from the norm rather than simply another facet of normal). And I really don't see *anyone* accusing, say, Gabe and Tycho of Penny Arcade, or Wil Wheaton, of being glorified beefcake and contributing nothing to gamer culture but their looks. You could convincingly make the argument that all three examples are more prominent than Day, but in this era of Google, it would have taken him all of five minutes to find out that she has, in fact, made quite a few contributions to gamer community, if he had bothered to look. So yes, the fact that he was perfectly willing to assume that she was famous solely because of her looks was, frankly, sexist.

But, unfortunately, subtlety and nuance tend to be the first casualties in any Internet flame war, and while I'm sure there are other feminists out there who are also articulating the point, I'm sure it's getting lost in the accusations and counter-accusations flying about.

Incidentally, another example of this sort of subtle sexism comes in this email forward, which unfortunately is still making the rounds despite being completely untrue. There's no blatant sexism, exactly, but it's hard to imagine that the portrayal of Giffords as an imbecile is completely unrelated to her relative youth, attractiveness, and gender. It's a sad truth, but attractive women are nearly always assumed to be less intelligent than their less-attractive counterparts; whereas a good-looking man is almost always assumed to be more intelligent. I can't even tell you how many times I've met people (mostly men, but not always) who are obviously startled when I express an opinion and back it up with solid arguments, despite being dressed up and perhaps showing a little cleavage...
missroserose: (Not Amused)
Last year, some of you might have noticed your local Banana Republic asking "Are you Don?" or "Are you Betty?"  This struck me as some of the more tone-deaf tie-in advertising I'd seen; yes, the clothing in Mad Men is period-accurate, nicely detailed and certainly good-looking, but one of the central themes of the show is the clash between the characters' polished, perfect exterior appearance and their tumultuous, conflicted (and frankly dysfunctional) lives.  So while I can totally see a luxury clothing store holding up the wardrobe of the show as a thing of desire, holding up the characters themselves as something to aspire to seemed a bit...off.

Today, however, I've officially found a product tie-in with even more mind-bogglingly problematic implications:



Now, I don't know how many people on my friends list are familiar with The Hunger Games or its sequels, but here's a bit of a recap - the Capitol, a centralized city-state where the wealthiest and most powerful people live, is surrounded by twelve districts.  The Capitol produces nothing itself, merely consumes the goods produced by the twelve surrounding districts (up to and including two of their children each year for The Games, produced solely for their entertainment).  The denizens of the Capitol are almost universally portrayed as airheaded and fluffy, concerned with nothing other than their luxurious lifestyles and following the latest ever-more-extreme fashion trends (skin dyeing, for instance).  Needless to say, it's a pretty negative depiction, as well as being a thinly-veiled satire on modern American culture.

The unkind part of me wants to note that there's really nothing wrong with the ad, since the people they're trying to sell nail polish to are those who would see nothing wrong with emulating the lifestyle of the Capitol's citizens.  But surely there's at least a decent portion of their consumer base who'd rather not be associated with such a meaningless and suppressive lifestyle? 

On the other hand, somehow I doubt that many of the people who see this ad will think about the implications enough to be insulted by them.  Certainly not enough to counteract the "Ooo, I loved The Hunger Games!  I should buy this nail polish!" factor.  The fact is, people are more likely to buy something if it has a name on it they recognize; therefore, there's no reason for them not to piggyback on a huge advertising campaign, even if the implications of said piggybacking only serve to prove the point the original story was making.

Had I come across this out of context, I would have assumed it to be a parody of advertising tie-ins (sadly, it's not; I pulled it from a Sally Beauty Supply flyer).  But once more, the line for satire has been pushed back, as people seem absolutely hell-bent on living up to the most ridiculous exaggerations of their worst characteristics.
missroserose: (Not Amused)
Last year, some of you might have noticed your local Banana Republic asking "Are you Don?" or "Are you Betty?"  This struck me as some of the more tone-deaf tie-in advertising I'd seen; yes, the clothing in Mad Men is period-accurate, nicely detailed and certainly good-looking, but one of the central themes of the show is the clash between the characters' polished, perfect exterior appearance and their tumultuous, conflicted (and frankly dysfunctional) lives.  So while I can totally see a luxury clothing store holding up the wardrobe of the show as a thing of desire, holding up the characters themselves as something to aspire to seemed a bit...off.

Today, however, I've officially found a product tie-in with even more mind-bogglingly problematic implications:



Now, I don't know how many people on my friends list are familiar with The Hunger Games or its sequels, but here's a bit of a recap - the Capitol, a centralized city-state where the wealthiest and most powerful people live, is surrounded by twelve districts.  The Capitol produces nothing itself, merely consumes the goods produced by the twelve surrounding districts (up to and including two of their children each year for The Games, produced solely for their entertainment).  The denizens of the Capitol are almost universally portrayed as airheaded and fluffy, concerned with nothing other than their luxurious lifestyles and following the latest ever-more-extreme fashion trends (skin dyeing, for instance).  Needless to say, it's a pretty negative depiction, as well as being a thinly-veiled satire on modern American culture.

The unkind part of me wants to note that there's really nothing wrong with the ad, since the people they're trying to sell nail polish to are those who would see nothing wrong with emulating the lifestyle of the Capitol's citizens.  But surely there's at least a decent portion of their consumer base who'd rather not be associated with such a meaningless and suppressive lifestyle? 

On the other hand, somehow I doubt that many of the people who see this ad will think about the implications enough to be insulted by them.  Certainly not enough to counteract the "Ooo, I loved The Hunger Games!  I should buy this nail polish!" factor.  The fact is, people are more likely to buy something if it has a name on it they recognize; therefore, there's no reason for them not to piggyback on a huge advertising campaign, even if the implications of said piggybacking only serve to prove the point the original story was making.

Had I come across this out of context, I would have assumed it to be a parody of advertising tie-ins (sadly, it's not; I pulled it from a Sally Beauty Supply flyer).  But once more, the line for satire has been pushed back, as people seem absolutely hell-bent on living up to the most ridiculous exaggerations of their worst characteristics.
missroserose: (Not Amused)
For those of you who've not been following along at home, the Virginia state legislature recently passed a bill requiring all women seeking abortions to submit to an ultrasound. The mandatory requiring of a medically unnecessary (and expensive!) procedure in order to obtain a perfectly legal service was bad enough, but the implications were even worse. To quote Dahlia Lithwick, one Slate's writer on the courts and the law:

Because the great majority of abortions occur during the first 12 weeks, that means most women will be forced to have a transvaginal procedure, in which a probe is inserted into the vagina, and then moved around until an ultrasound image is produced. [...] [T]he law provides that women seeking an abortion in Virginia will be forcibly penetrated for no medical reason. I am not the first person to note that under any other set of facts, that would constitute rape under the federal definition.

As several other bloggers have pointed out, what happens when a rape victim goes to obtain an abortion? The government rapes them again? How the hell does that fit in to the "keep the government out of our lives" mentality so many Americans cherish?

And just to put the sexist cherry on this misogynistic sundae:

What’s more, a provision of the law that has received almost no media attention would ensure that a certification by the doctor that the patient either did or didn’t “avail herself of the opportunity” to view the ultrasound or listen to the fetal heartbeat will go into the woman’s medical record. [...] I guess they were all out of scarlet letters in Richmond.

Fortunately, the widespread (and deserved) outcry that resulted from this bill seems to have gotten the attention of its sponsors and supporters. Many of them, including Governor Bob McDonnell, have retracted said support in the wake of the onrush of vitriol from the blogosphere (and, hopefully, outside of it as well). But this particular bit caught my eye:

Officials who met with McDonnell say that the bill's supporters didn't understand how invasive the transvaginal ultrasound truly is, and now that they know, they're changing their tune.

Now, I'm not naive about how sausage is made. My godmother is a lobbyist for the American Cancer Society; just from her stories alone, I have at least an idea of how much time your average legislator spends worrying about favors given and favors owed and their constituents' support and raising money for their re-election campaign versus how much time they spend actually thinking about the ramifications of the bills they pass. And even cutting human nature out of the equation, there's the sheer practicality question to consider - bills often run in the hundreds of pages, and there just aren't enough hours in the day for them to read, let alone consider, everything they're voting on. So it gets reduced to a few buzzwords by their aides and they decide how to vote based on who else is voting for it, what they think it'll do for their popularity at home, who they can curry favor with, etc. etc.

Then there's the fact that, not to put too fine a point on it, most legislators are men. They just plain don't have the background to connect the dots when it comes to procedures involving female biology. Speculum? Pap smear? Nothing more than vaguely-uncomfortable concepts, if they mean anything at all other than silly words. So it really is perfectly possible that they never connected the phrase "transvaginal ultrasound" with "forcible penetration". (Or, if you want to be less charitable, it's possible some of them did connect the dots but figured penetration couldn't be so bad - if she opened her legs once why should she have a problem doing it again? But for the sake of my faith in humanity, I'm hoping these were in the minority.)

All that said...I'm still utterly disappointed in these lawmakers. I understand the realities of their situation, and I understand how human nature works. But when it's ostensibly your job to make laws that uphold the American ideals of life and liberty (not to mention basic human dignity), it seems that there's something fundamentally wrong when you (however unintentionally) vote for bills that go completely against everything you were elected to uphold. The real frustration for me is that I can't think of any way to fix the problem. I know there's always the classic of "clear the assholes out in the next election", but this particular flaw fits so neatly into the various blind spots of human nature, something similar will likely happen even with a completely different crop of assholes.

The more I watch government in action, the more I begin to think my mother's philosophy is right: "Our system of government isn't inefficient because something's wrong with it. It's supposed to be inefficient, because that protects the people it governs." Amen.
missroserose: (Not Amused)
For those of you who've not been following along at home, the Virginia state legislature recently passed a bill requiring all women seeking abortions to submit to an ultrasound. The mandatory requiring of a medically unnecessary (and expensive!) procedure in order to obtain a perfectly legal service was bad enough, but the implications were even worse. To quote Dahlia Lithwick, one Slate's writer on the courts and the law:

Because the great majority of abortions occur during the first 12 weeks, that means most women will be forced to have a transvaginal procedure, in which a probe is inserted into the vagina, and then moved around until an ultrasound image is produced. [...] [T]he law provides that women seeking an abortion in Virginia will be forcibly penetrated for no medical reason. I am not the first person to note that under any other set of facts, that would constitute rape under the federal definition.

As several other bloggers have pointed out, what happens when a rape victim goes to obtain an abortion? The government rapes them again? How the hell does that fit in to the "keep the government out of our lives" mentality so many Americans cherish?

And just to put the sexist cherry on this misogynistic sundae:

What’s more, a provision of the law that has received almost no media attention would ensure that a certification by the doctor that the patient either did or didn’t “avail herself of the opportunity” to view the ultrasound or listen to the fetal heartbeat will go into the woman’s medical record. [...] I guess they were all out of scarlet letters in Richmond.

Fortunately, the widespread (and deserved) outcry that resulted from this bill seems to have gotten the attention of its sponsors and supporters. Many of them, including Governor Bob McDonnell, have retracted said support in the wake of the onrush of vitriol from the blogosphere (and, hopefully, outside of it as well). But this particular bit caught my eye:

Officials who met with McDonnell say that the bill's supporters didn't understand how invasive the transvaginal ultrasound truly is, and now that they know, they're changing their tune.

Now, I'm not naive about how sausage is made. My godmother is a lobbyist for the American Cancer Society; just from her stories alone, I have at least an idea of how much time your average legislator spends worrying about favors given and favors owed and their constituents' support and raising money for their re-election campaign versus how much time they spend actually thinking about the ramifications of the bills they pass. And even cutting human nature out of the equation, there's the sheer practicality question to consider - bills often run in the hundreds of pages, and there just aren't enough hours in the day for them to read, let alone consider, everything they're voting on. So it gets reduced to a few buzzwords by their aides and they decide how to vote based on who else is voting for it, what they think it'll do for their popularity at home, who they can curry favor with, etc. etc.

Then there's the fact that, not to put too fine a point on it, most legislators are men. They just plain don't have the background to connect the dots when it comes to procedures involving female biology. Speculum? Pap smear? Nothing more than vaguely-uncomfortable concepts, if they mean anything at all other than silly words. So it really is perfectly possible that they never connected the phrase "transvaginal ultrasound" with "forcible penetration". (Or, if you want to be less charitable, it's possible some of them did connect the dots but figured penetration couldn't be so bad - if she opened her legs once why should she have a problem doing it again? But for the sake of my faith in humanity, I'm hoping these were in the minority.)

All that said...I'm still utterly disappointed in these lawmakers. I understand the realities of their situation, and I understand how human nature works. But when it's ostensibly your job to make laws that uphold the American ideals of life and liberty (not to mention basic human dignity), it seems that there's something fundamentally wrong when you (however unintentionally) vote for bills that go completely against everything you were elected to uphold. The real frustration for me is that I can't think of any way to fix the problem. I know there's always the classic of "clear the assholes out in the next election", but this particular flaw fits so neatly into the various blind spots of human nature, something similar will likely happen even with a completely different crop of assholes.

The more I watch government in action, the more I begin to think my mother's philosophy is right: "Our system of government isn't inefficient because something's wrong with it. It's supposed to be inefficient, because that protects the people it governs." Amen.
missroserose: (Psychosomatic)
A couple of times now, I've noticed Facebook ads for a gift company. As near as I can tell, they're along the lines of Spencer's Gifts - the ads tout themselves as the Best Design Gifts Under $100, but are universally ridiculous things like a hipster-moustache ring or colored toilet paper. So that's kind of a FAIL right there.

What really pushes it over the top, however, is what happens when you click the ad (or go to the website) - it immediately fades out the actual page and demands that you "request membership" from them (by entering your personal information, of course) before you're allowed to see their products or buy anything from them.

...I'm going to go out on a limb and assume these folks are on the level, so that said, I'd like to address a note to them. Look guys, I get the whole "cashing in on cachet" thing, but you're breaking the fundamental rule of sales - namely, you are making it more difficult for me to give you money. Not that I would have bought any of the products you were advertising, but I would have linked to them in this post, and who knows? Maybe someone reading this would've thought that'd be a perfect gift, and bought it. But I can't link to them, because I'm not going to fill in my email address and God knows what else to request membership to a gag-gift store when there are roughly 100,000 competitors online.
missroserose: (Psychosomatic)
A couple of times now, I've noticed Facebook ads for a gift company. As near as I can tell, they're along the lines of Spencer's Gifts - the ads tout themselves as the Best Design Gifts Under $100, but are universally ridiculous things like a hipster-moustache ring or colored toilet paper. So that's kind of a FAIL right there.

What really pushes it over the top, however, is what happens when you click the ad (or go to the website) - it immediately fades out the actual page and demands that you "request membership" from them (by entering your personal information, of course) before you're allowed to see their products or buy anything from them.

...I'm going to go out on a limb and assume these folks are on the level, so that said, I'd like to address a note to them. Look guys, I get the whole "cashing in on cachet" thing, but you're breaking the fundamental rule of sales - namely, you are making it more difficult for me to give you money. Not that I would have bought any of the products you were advertising, but I would have linked to them in this post, and who knows? Maybe someone reading this would've thought that'd be a perfect gift, and bought it. But I can't link to them, because I'm not going to fill in my email address and God knows what else to request membership to a gag-gift store when there are roughly 100,000 competitors online.
missroserose: (Raawr!)
Fox now most-trusted news network in America.

That's right, Fox News. The most relentlessly spin-doctoring right-wing news source in America. Home of vitriol-spewing, conflict-capitalizing hate mongers like Glenn Beck and Bill O'Reilly. The network that's given Sarah Palin a free pass to spread her repugnant beliefs among an apparently voracious populace. The network that's consistently turned a blind eye to its anchors' very public issues with racism, sexual harassment, and outright lies, because its audience doesn't care.

Critical thinking really is dead, isn't it?
missroserose: (Raawr!)
Fox now most-trusted news network in America.

That's right, Fox News. The most relentlessly spin-doctoring right-wing news source in America. Home of vitriol-spewing, conflict-capitalizing hate mongers like Glenn Beck and Bill O'Reilly. The network that's given Sarah Palin a free pass to spread her repugnant beliefs among an apparently voracious populace. The network that's consistently turned a blind eye to its anchors' very public issues with racism, sexual harassment, and outright lies, because its audience doesn't care.

Critical thinking really is dead, isn't it?

...

Jan. 26th, 2010 11:42 am
missroserose: (Psychosomatic)
Please God let this be a satirical piece that got picked up by the major news wires.

Please.

ETA: Further Googling turned up another article with more detailed information that doesn't trip as many of the "satire" alarms. What this says about American culture, though, I'm somewhat less pleased to ponder.

...

Jan. 26th, 2010 11:42 am
missroserose: (Psychosomatic)
Please God let this be a satirical piece that got picked up by the major news wires.

Please.

ETA: Further Googling turned up another article with more detailed information that doesn't trip as many of the "satire" alarms. What this says about American culture, though, I'm somewhat less pleased to ponder.
missroserose: (Psychosomatic)
I'd heard in the past, in much the same way one hears urban legends regarding missing kidneys and ice baths, that Ticketmaster charges completely unreasonable fees for their services in helping you procure a ticket to the live event of your choice.  The tales, while good for the occasional sleepover scare, never left me with more than a vague chill at the base of my spine - after all, large-scale live events were a rarity in Juneau, and those requiring Ticketmaster's services completely unknown. 

Suddenly, however, I find myself in a situation where I might actually wish to purchase tickets to a live event!  Hesitantly, I type in Ticketmaster's address, and navigate through the surprisingly easy-to-use interface, and select the seats I wish to purchase.

Then we get to the checkout page.

$41.50 x 2 tickets, base price.  (This was expected, obviously.)
$2.00 x 2 tickets, "facility charge".  (All right, the venue wants a cut, fine.)
$8.40 x 2 tickets, "convenience fee".  (WTF?!)

$103.80 for two tickets that were *supposed* to be $83.  Note the more-than-20%-markup.

But they're not done.  Oh, no.

Scrolling down to the "shipping" options, I see (placed first and highlighted) their "Most convenient delivery option:  Print your tickets whenever you want!".  For an additional $2.50.  Following that are various physical shipment options, all involving UPS and none less than $10 (for a couple of slips of paper?!), and then finally, at the very bottom, "Will call" (which requires the original purchaser holding the credit card used for the purchase and a government-issued ID) for no extra charge.

It gets better.

Scroll down further, and they offer the "opportunity" to make a donation to St. Jude's Children's Hospital, conveniently packaged with your Ticketmaster purchase.  Because Ticketmaster is such a generous institution, that they even offer a "Yes! Please send the more-than-one-fifth-of-my-ticket-price-that's-not-paying-for-the-actual-ticket to help those poor bald children in the cancer ward!"  No, wait, they don't, because that would actually require some sacrifice on their part.  As it is, they can claim altruistic intentions (prominently advertised is the claim that "100% of your donation goes directly to their program!"  That's, like, your whole donation!  And it all goes to the place you're supposedly donating to!) without putting forward one whit of effort.

Thank you, Ticketmaster.  You've made a believer of me.  I'll be doubly thankful the next time I'm traveling on business and someone offers to buy me a drink.
missroserose: (Psychosomatic)
I'd heard in the past, in much the same way one hears urban legends regarding missing kidneys and ice baths, that Ticketmaster charges completely unreasonable fees for their services in helping you procure a ticket to the live event of your choice.  The tales, while good for the occasional sleepover scare, never left me with more than a vague chill at the base of my spine - after all, large-scale live events were a rarity in Juneau, and those requiring Ticketmaster's services completely unknown. 

Suddenly, however, I find myself in a situation where I might actually wish to purchase tickets to a live event!  Hesitantly, I type in Ticketmaster's address, and navigate through the surprisingly easy-to-use interface, and select the seats I wish to purchase.

Then we get to the checkout page.

$41.50 x 2 tickets, base price.  (This was expected, obviously.)
$2.00 x 2 tickets, "facility charge".  (All right, the venue wants a cut, fine.)
$8.40 x 2 tickets, "convenience fee".  (WTF?!)

$103.80 for two tickets that were *supposed* to be $83.  Note the more-than-20%-markup.

But they're not done.  Oh, no.

Scrolling down to the "shipping" options, I see (placed first and highlighted) their "Most convenient delivery option:  Print your tickets whenever you want!".  For an additional $2.50.  Following that are various physical shipment options, all involving UPS and none less than $10 (for a couple of slips of paper?!), and then finally, at the very bottom, "Will call" (which requires the original purchaser holding the credit card used for the purchase and a government-issued ID) for no extra charge.

It gets better.

Scroll down further, and they offer the "opportunity" to make a donation to St. Jude's Children's Hospital, conveniently packaged with your Ticketmaster purchase.  Because Ticketmaster is such a generous institution, that they even offer a "Yes! Please send the more-than-one-fifth-of-my-ticket-price-that's-not-paying-for-the-actual-ticket to help those poor bald children in the cancer ward!"  No, wait, they don't, because that would actually require some sacrifice on their part.  As it is, they can claim altruistic intentions (prominently advertised is the claim that "100% of your donation goes directly to their program!"  That's, like, your whole donation!  And it all goes to the place you're supposedly donating to!) without putting forward one whit of effort.

Thank you, Ticketmaster.  You've made a believer of me.  I'll be doubly thankful the next time I'm traveling on business and someone offers to buy me a drink.
missroserose: (Default)
The good, or at least less-sucky: Between getting married and Brian turning 25 over the last year, our auto insurance has gone down almost $250 per six-month premium. So that's nice, even if it's still a mandatory large expenditure. Sigh.

The wince-inducingly awful: Word is the health insurance industry as a whole is rejoicing - not only is it looking like healthcare reform as a whole is going to bring them millions of new customers (including government subsidized lower-income people), but the one bargaining chip the government had planned in order to keep them from taking complete and total advantage of their customers (the creation of a public option to compete with the private sector) is losing support, and there's talk of only requiring them to cover 65% of costs on cheaper plans. Jesus H. Christ on a cracker. I didn't honestly think things could be any worse than they are, but pass this "reform" and the poorer folk are going to be even more screwed - not to mention the taxpayers who'll be subsidizing their worthless "plans". But the insurance industry gets richer, so everybody who matters wins!

As a sidenote - I particularly love this bit: "In the first half of 2009, the health service and HMO sector spent nearly $35 million lobbying Congress, the White House and federal healthcare offices, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics." And how much of that $35 million came from/is going to be offset by denying paying customers' claims for bullshit reasons, thus sticking them with even more bills?

I dunno about you guys, but I'm headed straight to the city of Headdesk in the great, time-honored land of Political Demoralization. Anyone else want to come along?
missroserose: (Default)
The good, or at least less-sucky: Between getting married and Brian turning 25 over the last year, our auto insurance has gone down almost $250 per six-month premium. So that's nice, even if it's still a mandatory large expenditure. Sigh.

The wince-inducingly awful: Word is the health insurance industry as a whole is rejoicing - not only is it looking like healthcare reform as a whole is going to bring them millions of new customers (including government subsidized lower-income people), but the one bargaining chip the government had planned in order to keep them from taking complete and total advantage of their customers (the creation of a public option to compete with the private sector) is losing support, and there's talk of only requiring them to cover 65% of costs on cheaper plans. Jesus H. Christ on a cracker. I didn't honestly think things could be any worse than they are, but pass this "reform" and the poorer folk are going to be even more screwed - not to mention the taxpayers who'll be subsidizing their worthless "plans". But the insurance industry gets richer, so everybody who matters wins!

As a sidenote - I particularly love this bit: "In the first half of 2009, the health service and HMO sector spent nearly $35 million lobbying Congress, the White House and federal healthcare offices, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics." And how much of that $35 million came from/is going to be offset by denying paying customers' claims for bullshit reasons, thus sticking them with even more bills?

I dunno about you guys, but I'm headed straight to the city of Headdesk in the great, time-honored land of Political Demoralization. Anyone else want to come along?
missroserose: (BookLove)
While he's taking pictures of breaching humpbacks out at Douglas Harbor, I'm off by the pier waiting for our friend David (who's been out fishing on his friend's boat) to come in. Thinking I'll check out the time, I pull Brian's iPhone out of my back pocket.

And drop it into the harbor. In murky, cloudy, silty Alaska water.

I reach in to try to find it, then borrow a net and try to dredge it up, but I have only a vague idea of where it is, and I have no luck finding it. Eventually I give up, only to catch sight of the edge reflecting light underneath the surface, and I reach out and grab it. But it's been in there a few minutes already, so it's pretty much dead.

Brian shows up shortly after I do so, and asks what's going on. Everyone on the pier, including David, suddenly finds their feet very fascinating.

I say in a very small voice, "I dropped your phone into the harbor."

There is a very long silence, which includes a Look.

Then he says, "It's okay. I still love you." And hugs me.

David: "I now pronounce you man and wife."
missroserose: (BookLove)
While he's taking pictures of breaching humpbacks out at Douglas Harbor, I'm off by the pier waiting for our friend David (who's been out fishing on his friend's boat) to come in. Thinking I'll check out the time, I pull Brian's iPhone out of my back pocket.

And drop it into the harbor. In murky, cloudy, silty Alaska water.

I reach in to try to find it, then borrow a net and try to dredge it up, but I have only a vague idea of where it is, and I have no luck finding it. Eventually I give up, only to catch sight of the edge reflecting light underneath the surface, and I reach out and grab it. But it's been in there a few minutes already, so it's pretty much dead.

Brian shows up shortly after I do so, and asks what's going on. Everyone on the pier, including David, suddenly finds their feet very fascinating.

I say in a very small voice, "I dropped your phone into the harbor."

There is a very long silence, which includes a Look.

Then he says, "It's okay. I still love you." And hugs me.

David: "I now pronounce you man and wife."

Profile

missroserose: (Default)
Rose

July 2017

S M T W T F S
      1
234 5678
91011 12 131415
16 17 18 19202122
232425 26272829
3031     

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Jul. 28th, 2017 04:48 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios