Monday, October 11, 2010

Mitchell Heisman's Wikipedic Deletion

Well.... after a long debate, with plenty of clear reasoning and press articles to establish significance, They deleted my friend Mitchell Heisman's wikipedia page.

The discussion can be found here:

The decision seems to have been made by High priest Wifione

This is some of his/her prodecdural notes and reasons for dimissing all of the 23 "Keep" votes and none of the 11 "Delete" votes. Most notably was the fact that many of the voters were new to wikipedia, so their logic should not even be considered.

Wifione speaks:
  • Of the other keep votes in the AfD, I saw around 15 contributors including a glut of ips (I've not counted precisely, but it's around that) who had only a handful of edits outside of the vote discussion, and in a few cases, only one or two edits. And none (I repeat, none) of the keep votes, including the votes of you both, quoted any policy/guideline or had any logic that would be pertinent to the consensus of the forum. Now go back and see how the delete voters had a massive glut of editors who are established editors, who were quoting policies/guidelines in their deletion vote support, and were not depending upon their personal opinion on this issue. I cannot close an AfD discussion based upon what I think of the article (that is, whether it can be kept or not), I have to go according to consensus, and I have theappropriate view to disregard votes that I consider are illogical, without policy basis and in utter bad faith. All of the keep votes, except two, qualified on either of the reasons of my disregarding the vote. So consensus as a closing admin was for deleting the article.
  • Now, what if you do not agree with the deletion. The process is pretty simple. Apply at WP:Deletion review and bring up the article's issue. In the review, kindly do quote any mistake in policy/procedure that you believe I have made, as also usingpolicies and guidelines to defend your case for undeletion. Write back to me for any help that you believe you might require for this, or in the future. I am sorry that the article got deleted. I cannot help it and would not have gone against my view of consensus. Best wishes. Wifione .......Leave a message 15:17, 3 October 2010 (UTC)

A rebuttal is given:

Even being conservative there's got to be at least six or seven keeps that should have been considered. It seems like a no-consensus, at least. I count 23-11 in favor of keeping, with the most recent 8 being keeps. To be sure, there's some oddball !votes to be ignored, but to ignore all keeps but two (which?) it seems like you're just deciding whether you agree with the argument, rather than gauging consensus. For example you mocked Ancient Infant in your closing rationale, but he or she actually offered a guideline-based reason (WP:PERP) after the statement which you mocked. That !vote should not have been discounted. Very hard to see how the consensus was to delete. Fletcher (talk) 03:12, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
Hi Fletcher, good to see you here. Well, with respect to Ancient, yes, I clearly shouldn't have mocked him at all. Given the fact that I perceived the logic to be very faulty - especially the usage of WP:PERP - the statement flowed freely. My apologies for the indiscretion; I've struck out two words in the close, post your comment here. Ancient Infant, after quoting WP:PERP, commented that he himself didn't think that suicide is a crime; and then added to the statement that it was just an argument to save this article from deletion. For records, WP:PERP does mention that editors should not create an article on an alleged perpetrator until a conviction is secured. Therefore, I found Ancient Infant's referral of/to policy extremely faulty. This is despite the fact that I did not consider it negatively that Ancient Infant had had only 3 edits outside his user space, and only one in the last six months, before voting in this article. I have to reiterate thatconsensus is not determined by counting heads, but by looking at the strength of the argument. I took an appropriate view to disregard votes that contradicted policy, were based on opinion than on fact and were utterly illogical - and Ancient Infant's vote qualified on all these points. Again, if you do believe that you should wish a deletion review, please use the appropriate link I've provided above. I have no issues in the deletion review deciding either way. But for a higher success rate in such reviews, like I mentioned to the two editors above, you should necessarily quote policy/procedural mistakes you believe I have made in closing the discussion. This might sound too altruistic, but I mean it; please do ask for my help in case you need any. My best regards.Wifione ....... Leave a message 10:31, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
I wrote the following directly to citezen Wifione:

Dear Final Judge and Juror,

I find the clarity of your decision very telling, but not enlightening.

Unfortunately, wikipedia like all bureaucratic organizations seeks to bring out the best in man's logic but brings out the worst in man's isolated and rationalized reason. You decision to delete Mitchell's page like your decisions to keep pages on many seemingly meaningless slices of popular culture long forgotten, is a mystery. I does not hold up by any standard and you used certain impassioned pleas as examples to silence many logical and valid ones.

I will, given time, learn more about the politics of Wikipedia. This has been a good lesson to me. I once saw this site as a source of useful information, but the people who oversee it's digital workings are truly just like Mitch, lost the discursive details of their rules. Rules that frankly, seem to treasure popularity over significance. This is not a brain bank of just and honest adults trying to establish a library of common knowledge, its a forum of hooded bureaucrats warming themselves by their own cold and contextually bankrupt logic.

This makes me very sad, but I am glad that I have be set straight on the matter.

Thank you for my lesson,
I will be in touch in a more formal means, and more fitting to wikipedia's policies.
My best to you,

The G-word

Just reading the CNN today and I found this interesting bit about word usage that many find tame, but others are offended by:

A clip showing Vince Vaughn jokingly using the term "gay" is being removed from the trailer for his upcoming film, "The Dilemma."

On Friday, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) announced that Universal Pictures would be pulling the trailer's scene, in which Vaughn says "Electric cars are gay."

"Universal Pictures decided to open the trailer for their new Ron Howard-directed feature 'The Dilemma' with the phrase, 'Electric cars are gay' in an attempt at humor, but it’s hardly a joke for LGBT audiences growing increasingly frustrated by use of the word 'gay' as a pejorative," GLAAD said.

"GLAAD expressed these concerns directly to Universal Pictures prior to the trailer’s release, who have now assured us that the offensive joke will be removed from TV and Media campaigns promoting the film from this point forward, including the trailer currently playing in movie theaters," the organization said.

The decision came after both GLAAD and CNN anchor Anderson Coopercomplained that using the word was insensitive and harmful.

“The use of the word ‘gay’ in this trailer as a slur is unnecessary and does nothing more than send a message of intolerance about our community to viewers,” said GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios.

The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) has a "Think B4 You Speak" campaign aimed at combating the use of such language.

The truth? Calling something "gay," while abstracted from actual homosexuality, is still wrong. The use may have changed, from meaning homosexuality to lameness, but does that really excuse it?

It's like saying
"when I say something is 'Italian' I don't mean 'from Italy,' I mean it smells bad."

I call things gay and I shouldn't. I'm completely at comfort with gay people and yet I do say it.
Why? Because it is something I learned from childhood, it's natural and hard to quit.

I'm trying, I understand that it should be treated like the N word. But I think mainstream America is going to have a hard time giving it up.

Sometimes things become fashion and become abstracted from the original context, but it doesn't mean the original context isn't still some how involved.

If we used "Gay" to mean awesome instead of lame, I'm sure no one would mind!

"Wow is that a new sports car!! That is soo gay!!"

Unless it looks like this.... or well... maybe that's ok then.. Pretty gay car, but awesome too!

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Reconsider Columbus Day?

I just saw this on FB.

I agree with the sentiment and the idea of the new holiday, but I have a problem with the moralization of human history. Columbus was significant in the history of this country. I think we should tell the whole truth about him, but it doesn't take away from his historical significance. It does provide a more accurate story.

The entire modern history of this continent (and the world itself) shows oppression, especially to Indigenous Peoples and through slave labor. The history of pre-Eurpean Colonization of the Americas is also filled with much oppression slavery and genocide.

Europeans weren't more evil. Humans everywhere killed and enslaved. The Aztecs, the English, India, China, The USA.. everyone.

So we need to tell a complete story. Indeed. I don't celebrate Columbus day and I actually don't have the day off. It is a vestigial holiday that my Italian relations celebrate as a cultural moment of pride. They don't want to know the truth, they don't want their heroes tarnished.

But isn't that what these things are about? A holiday is a way to celebrate pride. Not one of our holidays isn't stained with compromise and blood. No people is without blood.

Miles Davis beat his wife. I cannot abide by that. But I can't stop listening to Sketches of Spain.

Jack Kerouac spent his later life involved with the KKK. Yet we celebrate him.

The human condition is not a moral one. We need to know the truth, but it doesn't mean we throw out anything.

What I fear is the idea of replacing one thing with another. I grew up on Zinn, I agree that morality (I prefer ethics) is important in judging and learning from history. History is pretty barbaric.

The reason I fear morality (but not ethics), is that it is a changing animal. 300 years ago compassion was considered weakness, a moral lapse by many. Morality is not something that I trust, since it seems to flip from side to side and embolden itself with entrenchment. No matter who holds it, it becomes powerful and dangerous and blind.

So on an ethical level, I think, were I to decide, Columbus day would become a day of remembrance of what happened. The truth. The whole story of his reasons, his goals, his worldview, his mindset, the historic beginning of oppression he released on a quarter of the world, the economic, political gears he put into play.

Columbus day would become a celebration of the complexity of our motives, what kind of humans we were, what we are capable of. How perhaps we have improved a bit, perhaps we take this day to embrace the evil we can commit and the rationalization which makes us blind to it. A realization that this country was created by exploitation and oppression, coated in righteous justified superiority and rationalization.

I think that is the more important lesson. Learn from Columbus day. To end it, is to sweep it under the rug. To push it so far away from us that we don't see our own actions in comparison. To me, the campaign to remove Columbus day is a feel good band aid that in the end, only helps mask humanities faults with a smile and redirection. We need to be reminded each year.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The (secret) Grand Internal Wiki-Trial

Wikipedia is having a bizarre discussion on whether or not Mitch deserves to have a Wikipedia page.

The great tribunal is speaking, here's a sample:

Sad story. Otherwise unknown 35 year old shoots himself on the Harvard campus. He happens to leave a 1900 page suicide note. But Wikipedia is not a news organization so this article does not belong here. Pichpich (talk) 01:58, 25 September 2010 (UTC)

  • Delete as Wikipedia is not the news or a memorial site (only notable for her death]]. Armbrust Talk Contribs 02:46, 25 September 2010 (UTC)
  • Delete non notable death—Chris!c/t 04:26, 25 September 2010 (UTC)
  • Delete. While it made blogs, Wikipedia is not governed by such gossip. It made news for two peculiarities, the length of the suicide note (or book, given its length) and for occurring at Harvard, but hardly encyclopedic. [tk] XANDERLIPTAK 07:29, 25 September 2010 (UTC)
  • Delete on the basis of the non-notability of one who is known for a single event of non-historic importance. In addition, it would be a terrible precedent to allow a Wikipedia memorial article to stand for someone who just killed themselves this month. We're not here to give the Wikipedia seal of approval to creative or stylish suicides. Dude wasn't notable and leaving the world's longest suicide note might get him into the Guinness Book of World Records (although I doubt they'd want to encourage that behavior either), but it most certainly should not get him in Wikipedia. —Carrite, Sept. 25, 2010.
Wikipedia article coverage is limited to topics that are notable, not topics that receive a seal of approval. Disapproval is not a valid reason for deleting an article. Kragen Javier Sitaker (talk) 17:24, 25 September 2010 (UTC)
  • Keep If it's notable enough for the New York Post and Huffington Post, it's notable enough for wikipedia. (talk) 17:05, 25 September 2010 (UTC)
In general that is not the case — the Huffington Post reports frequently on daily trivia that are not notable in the long term, and the New York Post even more so — but it does represent some kind of evidence in that direction, because the event is clearly more notable than the vast majority of suicides. Kragen Javier Sitaker (talk) 17:24, 25 September 2010 (UTC)
Horrible car crashes in the New York area are typically reported on in each of the major NY papers. It's called daily news and it belongs at WikiNews. Pichpich (talk) 17:47, 25 September 2010 (UTC)
  • Delete per WP:NOTNEWS. Might deserve a footnote in the suicide note article for its exceptional length (that's how WP:ONEEVENT works).-- (talk) 17:57, 25 September 2010 (UTC)
  • Delete. The individual is not notable. His suicide is temporarily newsworthy but not notable. Jimmy Pitt talk 19:36, 25 September 2010 (UTC)
  • Keep It appears to be notable enough not to warrant deletion. As a student of philosophy, I suggest that it be reviewed to determine the exact nature of the suicide note so that it can be expanded upon in the article. The note is 1905 pages in length and over 500,000 words. (talk) 01:24, 26 September 2010 (UTC)
I of course, put my two cents in. I'm an ass.

I am amazed and truly entertained by the policies and procedures of this forum. I wonder if this cold calculating process isn't in some way similar to Mitch's process itself. Cold calculation, like that of a panicked bureaucrat, that brought him to his death.

He was my friend, and I am one of three primary sources for most of the articles sited, but I'm not here for that reason. I'm here to say that whether or not you do delete it doesn't matter. If Wikipedia was truly striving to present accurate information on unique events, I think this articles inclusion is a "no brainer." However, Wikipedia's purpose is to provide information on things that the public has interest in, with any controversy either expunged or in constant conflict.

Wikipedia is a positive force, I use it all the time and I thank you for your service. However it is limited by these factors. Why not unburden yourselves from this discussion and delete the article. Like your forefather, the Nelson television rating system, you can always reinstate the article at a future date when the real determining factor of popularity is more settled. After all, you do have a page for the Jonas Brothers don't you? Was that determined by merit or sheer popularity? I'm sure I wouldn't know.

You can commence with my expulsion now.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Passing of a Gentle Man.

My friend Mitch died last Saturday. He killed himself in Harvard yard. After a week, the press has finally connected him to his internet published almost 2000 page book titled "Suicide Note." Now, he is on Huffington Post, and numerous news blogs and discussion boards. People are reading his book and calling him a nut or a genius. I just saw a Wikipedia page put up for him.

This is all so surreal and truly sad. I don't think anyone who knew Mitch knows how to process this. I can only say that the difference between reality and public judgment or perception has never been more clearly defined to me. He may end up a mythic hero or an exaggerated freak.

I can't tell you what was in his head. That is, I guess, best read within the pages of his document. I can only deal with the ghost, the gentle and pleasant man who I shared conversations with and who was very supportive to me in my venue of creative expression. I miss that guy, and even if it was only a facade, I hope some of it is absorbed into the myth that is now being created.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Fellini meets Apocalypse Now, meets X-men

God Bless Patton Oswalt.
David Hayter, Roger Ebert, I especially like Margaret Pomeranz (an Australian TV reviewer who hadn't read the book"

The problem is our lack of reference and our dulling numbness to anything but intense stimulus. This movie will do better outside the US. Surprise, we are idiots and arrogant snobs, mixed like a stripe soft serve cone.

I think this movie has taught me why Sci-Fi deserves to live in mediocrity.

TV shows like Battlestar Gallactica and movies like Watchmen are made because someone who cares and is a fan has gained a little power, when they fail, that voice is extinguished and replaced by another idiot Hollywood douche. I can find fault with this film in comparison with the masterpiece the book is, but not in comparison with other films.

Then again, I'm not obsessed or bothered by minor moments of blue nudity or soundtrack choices, two things that went beyond me, but are mentioned in almost every negative review.

In its imperfection it is Fellini meets Apocalypse Now, meets X-men. An entirely new movie, like we have never seen and I can't wait to view the director's cut.

We will never see Hollywood even try this again because its not mainstream enough for popcorn movie fans and "Arthouse Film" lovers are too snobby to watch a "supehero movie."

It is a hybrid and an original vision, no matter how much it owes to the book, it is flawed but brilliant and all the people who vehemently hate it will forget their arrogance as it follows "Blade Runner" and other "under appreciated in their own time" milestones into historical beloved status.

Those who call it "pseudo intellectual" are snobs in decline.

Those who tell you it's a comic and should not be made into a film, forget that it is indeed still a comic, and that 90% of all film, from the beginning of time is inspired from literature.

Those who take their children and then get angry that its an R rated movie, well...grow's an R rated movie.

So I'm walking out after Watchmen. I peer out into the world seeing little connection to my peers. Like Silvia Plath during the Rosenberg trials, I have no idea who to relate to and where I'll find my bearings. A world so obviously lost to its own context. If I were to design a context to all the views and voices that have lashed out with arrogance and populism, it would be like this:

We live in a cultural mix of sophisticated infancy. On one hand, those striving to be considered as well thought and tasteful vacillate between two poles.

The scornful erudites; those who truly get the profundity of culture, art, science, craft and all refined achievements while often missing many of the shifting paradigms that break from their precious cannon of formerly rebellious and now commonly held conventions. Paradigms that often re-ignite the very lust to create that birthed the things they find precious in life.

The hollow but sly trend watchers, who possess uncanny but limited vision into the heart of practical one-upsmanship. Not spectacularly concerned or able to cope with profound and deeply unmanageable "big picture" bits of philosophical, theological or sociological systems, these bureaucratic chameleons study the guise and traits of the positions they find most fulfilling or personally aspiring and make their nest there, happy and content in the bitter, but structurally protective institutions of "after the risk" and "before the fall."

Neither are prepared or inspired to take chances. They have not witnessed the burden of those who do, but they have great appreciation for the calamity, the spectacle and the risk it will incur their nests and utopias.

On the other hand, somewhere off in a more definable realm, people want shit to do. They want to throw off their jobs and responsibilities, relax with a fucking beer, talk some shit with friends, fuck their chick or dude and make the time between 9 and 5 go as far away as it possibly can.

They don't connect with big brained bullshit, they don't question shit that makes them upset or gives them a fucking panic attack.

They don't aspire to luxury in the form of the profundity of the collective accomplishments of humanity.

They share the perspective of the social construct.

They know only short escapes.

They are bored with all but the most intoxicating thrills and numbing agents.

They are for the most part, unaware or excited by the heights of their visual sophistication and numb to modern communication methods that would keep their forefathers in their closets, bible in hand, wishing away hellspawn.

None of them, the snob, the hack nor the laymen appreciate the goods that have been put in front of them.

Many have written essays on why they won't be watching Watchmen. Alan Moore, the book's author complains that in hindsight Watchmen, meant to be a watershed book to birth a new force in groundbreaking comics, became instead intellectual license to gratuitously realize higher levels of violence and sexual content.

Moore is right, instead of inspiring us to break convention the film's impact is reflected through pompous bloggers, film critics and others who hug convention and use critique to soapbox their self oreinted "look at me" anger. For the most part the "Watchmen reaction" in its explosive nature and volume, is proof of it's impact.

I'm a bit sick with the loss of true film critique. The snobs deem it unworthy by genre, the simple ones think it's boring because it doesn't cater to their need for fast paced thrills, the fans deem it not the book... as if it could be.

The people who seem the most clear are the folks who never read the book, who, when they love it, recognize it as something entirely new to film.

Their honesty holds the keys to the kingdom.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Monday, May 05, 2008

The (Final) Dave Sim Gambit

How do you free yourself from the label of Misogyny? Apparently, you gather supporters.. with ransom!

First, turning over a new leaf or at least trying:

Intellectually, I hate using "ist" terms of absolute definition like racist or sexist or misogynist. Although I have used them in the past, they only serve to further alienate and polarize. If we want to create a more complex conversation and actually reach across the isle at all, I think we need to separate actions from total character assassination. So Geraldine Ferraro isn't a racist, but she has made what I would call racist statements.

On to the show...

Dave Sim is a comic book creator who has written the comic book 'Cerebus' since 1977. 'Cerebus' is the story of a medieval aardvark who starts out as a Conan the Barbarian satire and becomes sophisticated, of sorts, achieves the position of Pope and I guess at the end of the series dies.

In between is, from what I've read of it, a large and evolving social satire of great wit and cruelty.

I liked what I read and I have always wanted to read more.
However, whenever I mention Sim in most comic circles invariably I hear the term "misogynist" cascade through the conversation, mostly without real explanation or details. (It may be helpful to note that most comic circles are themselves 90% male populated. These are men who have super model in chain mail fantasies, and who would disagree with my post on the misogyny of 'Y The Last Man' conveniently available for free HERE!)

For proof of Sim's misogynism, the story arc called "Jaka's Story" is usually mentioned..... I haven't read anywhere near that far yet.

Douglas Wolk has, and he writes on Cerebus here:

Cerebus, the 6,000-plus-page comic-book epic............ an absolute masterpiece—one of the most ambitious and fully realized narratives of the past century. And its flaws are plentiful, wide, and maddening, and penetrate straight to its core.

...Oh right. About two-thirds of the way into Cerebus, something in its tone abruptly cracks, and the misogynist pus that bubbles up never fully abates after that. (Sim has insisted that he’s not a misogynist, just “not a feminist,” but he’s become rather a single-issue candidate about it; he also claims, for instance, that using s’s rather than s’ for the possessive form of names that end in s is a Marxist-feminist plot. If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.) It becomes rather tough-going if you like your art to be compatible with your politics, unless you’re one of the eighty-five people on the planet whose gender politics are as far right as Sim’s.

This is why I haven't read more of it, I loved what I read, which mostly was the earlier, sillier stuff, although I loved how the series grows up with the writer and gets deeper and more satirical.

I also read some random issues further on, mostly a brutal rant on the surface of the moon, delivered to Pope Cerebus by a man in a suit with a mustache that I believe is supposed to be God. It's wonderful and demystifying. No real misogyny to mention here, but it is a conversation between a man with a mustache, who may be God and an aardvark who has ascended to Pope.

If you want to find proof of misogyny, you can look at Sim's own writing. It's obvious that this guy does not like 'feminism' and seems to look at it the way angry white men look at affirmative action.. a single-minded cohesive, philosophical institution that's primary purpose is the emasculation of
all men and aardvark-centric comic creators.

From Sim's article labeled "Tangent" here:

In the arena of intellectual opinion, when it comes to these hard questions, asking Dave Sim, “Why do you hate women so much?” is irrelevant when my subject is feminism's lack of sound intellectual footing. It is irrelevant whether I hate women. It is irrelevant whether I love women. It is irrelevant whether I consider women in any emotional context whatsoever, just as – when my question is directed toward feminism's lack of sound intellectual footing – it is irrelevant whether I hate ice cream, whether I love ice cream or whether I consider ice cream in any emotional context whatsoever. All That Is Relevant, when the issue at hand is my contention that feminism lacks a sound intellectual foundation, All That Is Relevant, Germane and/or Pertinent is the intellectual foundation – or lack of same – upon which feminism rests.

This article really should be read. Although one could argue that it seems obvious, my first thought isn't really about misogyny. My first thought is that this man is in tremendous pain and in his mind, feminism is one of the causes of that pain.

In his mind, 'feminism' is probably on the periodic table of the chemical elements as a constant, dominant, subversive lie, that is assembled to destroy and falsify true human rights and roles, constructed and unchanging on the molecular level.

Unfortunately, that is how our minds calcify our hurt, defensiveness and entrenchment; in hollow, pompous, rhetorical judgments. If only we had the power to step out of ourselves and practice some humble self judgment, I have to think that an Ebinezer Scrooge moment might crumble away all but the original thoughts which could be the basis of a constructive discussion.

I wouldn't define myself as a feminist, but I would say that 'feminism' has had an influence on me. I think one could argue that feminism is less one ideology and more a collection of many (sometimes apposing) ideas that come from many different perspectives. I would also argue that feminist influences are a part of a larger cannon of philosophy and ethical theories and that they constantly evolve, adapt and inform that canon.

Boxing against a static definable opponent is easy. Easier still, is filtering your correspondence to protect yourself from opposing arguments. When it gets really weird though, is when the same act is used to garner support and build a defense through insincere coercion.

It is obvious, that Mr. Sim is trapped. This label of misogyny must travel with him everywhere he goes. It must make him very angry and jaded. I know it affects his sales as I have most definitely not purchased his books solely out of fear of ruining the enjoyment I gathered from his earlier work. What is he to do?

Apparently, Dave Sim has taken an unusual action to combat his tarnished image. Several blogs (like this one and this one) reported that Mr. Sim has been sending the following form letter in response to any and possibly all inquiries and correspondences, with instructions that responses will only be given to folks who feel like signing their names to a petition of sorts, which states that they do not believe him to be a misogynist.

(click letter to read)
This is weird, bordering on scary. I think Mr. Sim is about to pull a J. D. Salinger and disappear from Google Earth.

Mr. Sim, i
t's very hard to make it back from where you tread.

Bring a flashlight... you hit the darkside.