I haven’t gotten as much done in the last week as I wanted, mostly because I’ve been trying to finish a freelance project and because my sleep schedule is still wobbling, which leads to naps, which throws off my productivity. But I did post my first few notes on Timothy Pychyl’s procrastination book. This is a practice I hope to continue, releasing my projects as very rough works-in-progress and then growing and refining them over time. That way they’ll at least have some presence in the world in case I have to put them on hold or drop them. They’d still have some potential for helping people, and maybe I’d be more likely to pick them up again.
As for other projects, I’ve pretty much decided how to organize my epistemology notes, and I’m getting there with my math notes. In my math reading I’ve nearly made it to addition! That’ll be this week. I’m having to skip around in my book because it isn’t organized the way my project will be. In the realm of people projects, I’m sprucing up my social media profiles, and last week it was YouTube and Google+. And I’ve been continuing my basic drawing exercises, exploring ways to draw circles.
A couple of social issues have caught my attention in the last couple of weeks. I don’t know if I’ll post to the wiki about them, but I wanted to at least write a few thoughts here.
The first issue was the #YesAllWomen hashtag from a couple of weeks ago. I didn’t read many of the tweets, but I read a few good articles about it (by Rob Fee, Zaron Burnett III, and Phil Plait). I’ve been encouraged over the past couple of years that the issue of sexual assault has been getting more attention, and it’s very important for people to tell their stories so others will know the problems are real. But these days when people (I’ll call them the advocates) speak out about social problems, what draws my attention is the negative reactions of other people, in this case men, and then the advocates’ reactions against those reactions. I think some bridging would help. If the advocates asked what legitimate concerns could be behind their audience’s reactions, such as a fear of rejection, they could nuance their message and maybe broaden it. In this case one helpful direction would be, alongside the stories of harassment, to talk about the men they appreciate and why, and they could take it further by talking about how they’d like to be treated (especially by male strangers). That would make the safer men around them feel better (and maybe more cooperative) and also give the repentant ones new behavior to aim for. Maybe some advocates are already doing this.
The other issue was the problems of YouTube celebrity (Charlie McDonald’s video is a good starting point, and TheThirdPew’s is also good). Several threads weave through the issue, including the theme of sexual abuse, but what I’ve been thinking about most is the false intimacy some fans feel with the YouTubers they follow, a problem fans of Hollywood stars face but which is made worse on YouTube because the video creators are often speaking informally and sharing parts of their lives on camera. I asked myself what motivates viewers to look for this intimacy or to idolize their chosen celebrities and how those motivations could be reshaped or redirected. Maybe they’re looking for more stable or fulfilling or easier relationships or to raise their self-image by associating with someone they see as higher quality. I wondered if it would help for someone to offer guidance on building real life relationships. But chances are these fans already have a few friendships in person, and it could be worthwhile to build their appreciation for those relationships, such as by writing living eulogies. This is an idea I’ve had before, but I didn’t realize it was an established genre until I searched for it this weekend. I may write about it on the wiki sometime.
On Friday I attended my coworker Brooke’s wedding. It was elegant in the sense of accomplishing its purpose with a minimum of excess. The ceremony was held in a small, picturesque chapel surrounded by farmland, and both the wedding and the reception were short and simple. I imagine the cost was modest, but I suspect they’re making up for it on their overseas honeymoon. As someone who has a low tolerance for ceremonies, I appreciated it. I also enjoyed the feeling of nostalgia I got from sitting in the old-fashioned chapel and seeing the kind of art on the walls my grandparents might have owned.