On Bechdel’s “Are You My Mother?”

October 19, 2012

I am just now reading Alison Bechdel’s Are You My Mother, which is (at the moment) her latest book. Bechdel is, in my opinion, one of the greatest living American cartoonists, so getting a copy of this is a treat. (I had seen a pre-publication blurb, but no notice that it had actually been published, so it was a surprise to see it in a bookstore.)

I’m having somewhat mixed feelings about the content. Don’t get me wrong; I’m enjoying it — I would rather read a hugely insulting one-page cartoon by Bechdel (or the other cartoonists on my short list) than a hundred pages of material by lesser cartoonists. (Come to think of it, although I am unaware of any cartoons by Bechdel which I find insulting, I have read every book of hers which I have owned more than a day at least twice, while I have never made it all the way through the treasury of New Yorker cartoons my parents gave me as a gift a few years ago.)
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Why Libertarians Are Fools, Part MMCMXVII: Violentacrez and What’s Sauce For The Goose Is Sauce For The Gander

October 17, 2012

For those who haven’t come across the story yet, “Violentacrez” was an anonymous account used on Reddit for all sorts of vile behavior, some of it deliberate trolling (attempts to make people angry and be disruptive) and some of it sincere (if still vile). A journalist/blogger/whatever at Gawker named Adrian Chen discovered, by simple investigation, the real-life identity of Violentacrez (Michael Brutsch of Arlington, Texas) and wrote an article which exposed that identity. (You can read that article at http://gawker.com/5950981/unmasking-reddits-violentacrez-the-biggest-troll-on-the-web, but in summary: Violentacrez spent years trolling and posting borderline-illegal porn; he failed to protect his identity well enough to keep it from anyone who cared to investigate; Reddit decided to grant him authority over shady sections of their site to avoid having to cope with it themselves; Chen managed to dig up his name and published it; Brutsch has been fired from his job at a payday loan and pawnshop holding business; Brutsch is 49 and has a seriously ill wife and a teenaged child, and will lose his health insurance and possibly get in trouble on his mortgage because of his job loss.)

Right now, you will find self-proclaimed Libertarians writhing in frenzy over this state of affairs. Which is utter, utter foolishness, as nobody who has ever had to deal with a Libertarian (meaning the big-“L” political persuasion, not people who are merely civil libertarians, another kettle of fish entirely) will be surprised to hear. Read the rest of this entry »