Greetings from 2017, when we’re having Peak Trans. In 5-8 years this will be over. A generation of children currently being treated with hormones and surgery for being “born in the wrong body” will be suing their doctors and parents. People will no longer say that a penis is female if the penis-haver “identifies as a woman”. The current trend of allowing male athletes to compete “as women” as long as they’re taking estrogen will be history (to refresh: male-to-trans runners, weightlifters, volleyball players, etc. are currently thrashing female opponents because women’s sports organizations are unwilling to appear “bigoted.”)
My (former?) friends are sharing memes (will they still call them “memes” 5-8 years in the future?) that compare males’ demands to access female bathrooms to the Civil Rights Movement, and women who say no to them as white racists. Liberals are insisting that sex – biology – is a social construct, that humans aren’t sexually dimorphic because of the existence of intersex people and clownfish. They pass along sciency-sounding science-denial articles that use the same rhetoric as “creation science.” They denounce “creation science” because it is a tool of the Right, and they fear the Right. Their science denial is of the Left, and they deny it’s science denial. Science denial denial.
My (former?) friends support changing the legal definition of sex from biology to “identity.” If a man says they “feel like a woman,” and someone like me asks, “what does that mean? How do you ‘feel like a woman’? Is ‘woman’ a feeling?” they rush to support the male and condemn me.
I have recently come out as one of those witches who refuses to say males are female; who believes females need sex-segregated spaces like women’s shelters and prisons; who believes women are entitled to say “no” to males for any reason. I have been banned from Facebook* twice and my reddit* account has been suspended permanently. Friends have sent me messages saying they can’t associate with me any longer because I’m so “hurtful” and “ignorant.” I just lost a $2,000 speaking gig with no explanation; since women like me are regularly “no-platformed” as “TERF”s, I assume it’s because of my recently exposed politics.
So right now we’re in the midst of a kind of Liberal mass hysteria. There have been crazes like this in the past: actual witch hunts, McCarthyism, the lobotomy fad of the mid-20th century, the “false memories” of the 1980’s. It could be worse; maybe it will still get worse. But like other trendy hysterias, this will pass.
And when it does, what will you, my (former?) friends, be saying about it?
“Oh that, that time was so weird!” you’ll say, perhaps with an eyeroll or giggle.
Or, “I always knew it was wrong.” You’ll think you were the one who stood up for sanity back then. You’ll forget that you were in fact declaring you were on “the right side of history,” virtue-signaling with your civil-rights-appropriating memes, while shunning and condemning women like me. You will forget.
You will forget that you said “sex is a spectrum, we don’t understand biology.” You’ll forget you vehemently argued that “female brains” can be trapped in male bodies, “it’s SCIENCE!!!” You’ll forget you said “assigned male at birth” as if sex is assigned by transphobic doctors and not observed by anyone with eyes and a brain. You’ll forget that every time someone pointed this out you said “intersex and clownfish!!!” as though they disproved reality, because of some creationist-style sciency-science-denial that supported your politics.
You won’t be that dumb in the future. But right now, you are.
You didn’t know, you weren’t paying attention, it wasn’t your thing, you have to pick your battles. While women like me were screaming about the transing of children and the male pattern violence of males, you “didn’t know.” It was convenient not to know. Meanwhile you got head-pats and excitement in the “movement” (what movement? Against Trump? Why does opposing Trump mean you can’t think critically?) for repeating thought-terminating, loaded language like “trans women are women” and “assigned male at birth” and “cis”.
What will you blame, future? You will probably minimize the problem. It was just women, after all, they’re a minority, right? And so many women are white and middle-to-upper class, they did fine, it didn’t hurt them. OK, some kids got transed and regretted it, we went too far there, we meant well, why are you making such a big deal? It wasn’t that many, they were almost all homosexual anyway. It’s history, it’s over, we know better now.
Oh, Future, we’ll be lucky if you can read this. We’ll be lucky if you’re even there to ignore me.
*Facebook and reddit are social media sites. Will there be social media in the future? Will there even be electricity in the future? Since we’re on the brink of ecological and social collapse, I realize you might not even be able to read this. But if society and the planet are still holding together enough that you can: PAY ATTENTION.
A few years ago, when I shared this article about Caitlyn Jenner and another one about Rachel Dolezal, many angry liberal friends called me “transphobic,” and told me to “educate myself.” They apparently didn’t know I had spent many years deeply involved in various queer scenes in San Francisco, and had trans friends, and was gender dysphoric myself (it resolved in my mid-20’s, which is not unusual.) Since I couldn’t “educate myself” much more on trans people and queer theory, I considered what I really hadn’t educated myself about: radical feminism. Like everyone else, I had been denouncing “TERF“s without reading anything they’d written. So I started reading, and quickly realized I was a gender-critical radical feminist. (If you’re wondering why, I suggest you “educate yourself” about radical feminism. This video is a good place to start.)
Saying you’re a gender-critical radical feminist in public is like saying, “I’m a witch! Burn me!” So I spent about a year and a half in seething, cowed silence. But finally, on February 25, 2017, I “came out.”
In late February I noticed my liberal friends were sharing this “meme”:
So I posted this on Facebook (which I now call fecebook):
You can try to read all 1000+ comments here, although fecebook organizes them so poorly they’re hard to navigate.
Now it gets rather convoluted. Some of the comments have been documented anonymously here, along with annotation. I am “user J.”
Notice: This has been popular! New orders temporarily suspended while I work on backlog. I’ll offer Hundred Dollar Drawings again soon.
Example of a $100 drawing
$100: Tell Nina what to draw* and she’ll draw it. It could be as vague as a word (“quadruped,” “equinox”) or more specific (“a cat driving a car,” “a sun and moon shaking hands”) or even more specific (“a tabby cat driving a convertible sportscar over a cardboard box,” “a sun and moon shaking hands over planet Earth, sky behind them half night and half day”). Nina will email you a photo of the finished drawing, and post it on her blog and social media.
*Specify drawing in Paypal checkout
+ $25: We’ll ship you the original art. Sizes will vary but it will be on 8.5 x 11″ or smaller paper.
+ $100: I will also make a “Making-of” video of the drawing, such as the above.
Example of cleaned-up, reproduction-ready PNG file
+ $100: Drawing cleaned-up and reproduction-ready for ANY USE YOU WANT!
Q: What if I don’t like my drawing?
A: Too bad, sorry.
Q: Can you submit a sketch and let me comment for revisions?
A: No. If you want revisions, commission another $100 drawing, and a third, fourth, etc. You can get 10 $100 drawings for less than my usual professional rate.
Q: Can I use the drawing as a commercial logo for my business?
Q: Can I use the drawing for advertising or other commercial purposes?
A: Yes, anything you want.
Q: Isn’t that crazy cheap for commercial art?
A: Yes. But some of these drawings are also non-commercial. It’s all less stress for me, and I don’t care what happens to the image after I draw it. (Actually I do care – the more it’s used, the better.)
Q: What about copyright?
A: Like most of my work this is Free Culture. There’s effectively no copyright to license or buy. You can do whatever you want with the art you commission, but it’s non-exclusive. I will be posting it on my blog and social media.
Q: What if I want exclusive rights?
A: Then you’ll have to pay more than $100 – same as most professional commercial art of this caliber. Shoot me an email to discuss.
Q: What if Nina finds my drawing instructions abhorrent?
A: I will refund your money and not do the drawing. Or I’ll keep the money and willfully misinterpret your request. That might be more interesting.
Q: Can you do a caricature if I send you a photo?
A: Not very well, but I’ll try. I am not a caricaturist so likenesses not guaranteed to be recognizable or remotely able to fulfill hopes and dreams.
I noticed some artist and animator friends were posting drawings with the hashtag #inktober. This is the sort of thing I never do. But it had been years since I’d respectfully drawn with ink on paper, and I kind of missed it. So I ordered myself some different brush pens, and the day they arrived I sat down and drew these:
No warm-ups, no practice, just bam, out they came.
It’s been more than a decade since I’ve drawn in this style, with ink on paper. I’ve avoided it due to burn-out from drawing daily comic strips. Advice to you kids: turning something you enjoy into a daily job is a great way to make you hate it. I quit my last daily comic, The Hots, in 2003 (before that I did another mainstream daily, Fluff, and before that was my self-syndicated weekly Nina’s Adventures, the entire archive of which you may download here.) I guess 12 years is enough time to recover from style burn-out, at least a little.
“Inktober” has a list of “daily prompts” and I decided to just follow them:
“Squeeze” processed in GIMP to function as a black and white illustration. This is from the same photo I took with my cel phone. No scanner needed, apparently. Welcome to the future!
“Big.” I’m really liking that Uni Mitsubishi brush pen, more than the nylon hair brush pens I used to use professionally. It’ll wear out fast because it’s a compressed felt tip, but it sure is clean and easy to use.
“Big” cleaned up. in GIMP, sans scanner.
“Little” cleaned up in GIMP, from that same cell phone photo above.
I actually did 2 versions of “Little.” The one I posted before was outlined with the double ended Uni Mitsubishi felt brush pen. This one was with the nylon hair Pentel Pocket brush. I have less patience for messiness now, I guess.
Honestly I’m enjoying this so much right now I’d kind of like to take on an illu$tration gig while I’m still fresh. Too much of that and I might burn out again, but right now it would be fun.
I am blessed with a terrible memory, which allows me to get fresh enjoyment from my own work after enough time passes. So it was especially fun to come across a Facebook post in an unfamiliar language with a gif of my animation from 2004:
By some miracle, the original .fla files were on one of my main disk drives, so I reformatted one for today’s preferred 16:9 aspect ratio, and voila:
Maybe I’ll find some way to use it in a new project, and render it as 4K video. It was originally part of a short I was going to do about depression, because in 2004 I was very depressed. Instead I made Sita Sings the Blues, which was probably more therapeutic. But I sure like this walk cycle.
The original 640 x 480 gif is here, uploaded by some anonymous archivist.
Big ups to my friend Barry Israelewitz, who wrote a shell script for ffmpeg (based on this article shared in this comment by Paul Wise) and taught me how to use Terminal on my mac to make much better animated gifs than Flash exports directly. Currently it’s significantly more work than just exporting .gif from Flash, because I have to instead export a PNG sequence, import the frames to Quicktime 7, and export as a new .mov to use as an input file for making the gif. This may be streamlined a little bit in the future, but for now at least I can make higher quality gifs if I need to.
Below are close-up details of single frames. “Before” is here, “after” is above.
Here’s a smaller-sized (because fewer frames) animated gif for side-by-side before-and-after comparison:
Head on over here between 2 and 4pm EST today, Friday February 27.
UPDATE: Reddit is not allowing me to post. On my own IAMA. Granted, this IAMA was set up by someone else, who said he had duly submitted my handle (Nina_Paley, created a week ago) to the mods. But it didn’t work. I was on the calendar, but I can’t respond to questions. I am not happy about this but mods aren’t responding, so I give up. You can AMA on Twitter instead.
UPDATE 2: after half an hour the problem was corrected, and I went back and answered questions.
On a recent trip to Trivandrum, India, I decided to try learning to touch-type in Dvorak (after decades of hunt-and-peck in QWERTY). Here I share some excerpts of my “Dvorak Diary”.
Tuesday, December Thirtieth, Two thousand fourteen….
I have been kinda ‘offline’ since returning. The last legs of my flights were awful, and I still haven’t recovered, though at this point it’s probably jetlag more than exhaustion that has me failing to connect to ‘my’ world and identity. I haven’t felt connected online, and am concerned about how I let Facebook information just wash over me with no real engagement on my part. It’s a hell of a lot of information to just suck through me like a stream. I surely have more than enough information rattling around in my head already. Maybe it’s time to let it settle, to digest it and let it adjust to the habitat of my mind and maybe make something of itself instead of just washing through like a tsunami. I feel less satisfied being an information node than a full human animal. Jetlag reminds me I am an animal, and no amount of information can heal my exhausted body. I recently read that staring into screens is terrible for sleep – I read that staring into a screen, ha ha – so last night I didn’t check email or read Facebook.
Is Facebook the television of today? It’s not broadcast, and it can be useful sometimes, but I become very passive with it, especially at night when I turn to it in my insomnia.
As for the music, it is Fair Use. This Land Is Mine is a PARODY of “The Exodus Song.” That music was sort of the soundtrack of American zionism in the 1960’s and 70’s. It was supposed to express Jewish entitlement to Israel. By putting the song in the mouth of every warring party, I’m critiquing the original song.
Sigh. No one “owns” Sita Sings the Blues, or any of my Free works, but things like this fraudulent copyright claim keep happening:
false copyright claim
I’ve never had any problem with Next New Networks. I like its founder Fred Siebert. Since I believe the folks at Next New Networks are cool, maybe they could assist with a “teaching moment” and figure out where along the chain of bureaucracy this happened. It would be helpful and enlightening for many to see just how easy it is to make a false copyright claim in YouTube’s hair-trigger content ID system.
Since Sita Sings the Blues is now CC-0 “Public Domain”, I can’t go legal over things like this, nor do I want to. I do wonder what happens with fraudulent claims over other Public Domain material. Do different entities just randomly claim PD works and then duke it out with each other? If PD material can be claimed by big corporations, that will exclude small players from using it because they don’t have the resources to challenge said false claims. But don’t get me started.
Update: Mike Schmitt, who took the screenshot at top, says,
“BTW, the copyright claim flags the 0:34-second mark in the trailer, which is the exact point at which the percussion-heavy song starts. So AFAIK it’s a content claim against the song (since there seems to be some confusion here). The same entity holds a copyright claim against the other Sita trailer on my channel, which starts with a different song. ETA: the video in question is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GI0ehPVUGzs “
Tupi’s strength is its simplicity; it’s great for kids and anyone new to animation. It doesn’t yet have the power I need to produce feature films, but its development is a good thing for all of us. Since it’s FLOSS (Free Libre Open Source), any innovations made in Tupi can be applied to other Free programs, and anyone who wants to customize it can. Oh, and it’s free – you can download and start playing with it right now.
“40 Years in the Desert,” a talk I gave at Copycamp in Warsaw, Poland, on November 26 2012. Audio is a bit messed up until 02:49, so just start there. I talk a bit about Questioncopyright.org and Minute Memes, liberally quote Rick Falkvinge, mention Fair Use and Creative Commons before getting into Intellectual Disobedience. Toward the end I discuss Seder-Masochism’s release plan.
Update: The account is now unblocked, with this message from Facebook:
I’m so sorry for the inconvenience caused, there was a temporary misconfiguration in our photo review systems which caused a very small subset of users to be incorrectly enrolled in one of our checkpoints. There was no issue with your original photo, we have a combination of automated and human-review systems dedicated to keeping people safe, and a bug caused one of these systems to incorrectly enroll a small number of users into checkpoints.
We have since remedied the issue, and remediated all affected accounts. Please let me know if you or others are still experiencing any difficulties.
This morning I posted this adorable photo on Facebook:
Nut the cat hugging my face. Photo by Theodore Gray
Being a cute picture of a cute cat, it got a lot of “likes” and comments. A few hours later I followed up with this photo (accompanying text in the caption):
Another photo of Nut and me. Here you can see in more detail how Nut presses her face as hard as she can into mine. She does this all night, by the way. If I move my face away, she rearranges herself to grip the back of my head as tightly as possible. If I'm face-down on the pillow, she slides her paws under into my eye sockets and mashes her head into my ear. It's very cute but I don't think I could stand it every night.
Shortly thereafter, FB wouldn’t let me view my feed, instead giving me this message:
“We noticed you may be posting photos that violate our Community Standards. Help make Facebook better by cleaning up your photos and removing friends that post nudity or other things that violate our standards.”
Then it took me directly to all my photos and said,
“To keep your account active, please remove any photos that contain nudity or sexually inappropriate content. Check the box next to each photo you need to remove.”
I didn’t have a single dirty photo to check, so I checked none and then clicked the box that said, “I have checked all my photos that violate Facebook’s policies.” For that, I was rewarded with this:
“Because you uploaded photos that violate our policies, you won’t be able to upload photos for 3 days.
“If you have other photos on the site that violate our policies, be sure to remove them immediately or you could be blocked for longer. After this block is lifted, please make sure any photos you upload follow Facebook’s Policies.”
Followed by another checkbox that says,
“I understand Facebook’s policies and I won’t upload any photos that violate these policies.”
But I haven’t checked that box yet, because I really don’t understand Facebook’s policies. At all. Maybe Franz Kafka could explain them to me. Can you?
UPDATE: several hours later, I still can’t see my FB home page/news feed. This is what I continue to get instead: