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Too many tabs open. Many were webcomics that just need to be put in the spreadsheet, but I also have enough generally interesting things for a small linkdump, in no particular order:

"Big Girls, You Are Beautiful," by Mika - dunno who he is, but this song is adorable.

On a related note, it's also up on LaLa, along with another 43 of his songs, but you appear to need a membership to play it there. That prompted me to sign up, as I've been on the fence about doing so anyway. I like the site and am considering it for MP3 purchases, once I have a budget and all.

Fugitivus - I found this blog on a compulsive trawl of feminist blogs (I don't enjoy this, but I keep doing it, either looking for people I can agree with without massive caveats or just a masochistic twist on my self-identification as the compulsive reader). The name refers to her escape from her former slavery to abuse. She's far from unscathed, but she writes about hideous events, in her own past and in the world around her now, with a piercing clarity that's kind of beautiful. There are some sweet stories peppered in there, but it is NOT light reading.

Writing Gay Characters - a Squidoo lens by Megan Rose Gedris, the creator of the webcomics YU+ME: Dream and I Was Kidnapped By Lesbian Pirates From Outer Space!, which has a delightful pulp look and feel. Pretty sure she herself is gay, but her intent is to encourage straight writers to be inclusive:

"I hear a lot from other writers about how they would love to include gay characters in their stories, but they're too afraid of screwing them up, so they don't try. And that's no good. I don't like seeing people discouraged from including entire groups of people in their stories. So let's fix things, eh?"

Coming & Crying: real stories about sex from the other side of the bed - via Warren Ellis:

"We want to produce this book because we want to read it; it's something we've been looking for for a long time and haven't found yet. Compelling writing that doesn't skip over the interesting parts, writing that is willing to go there, to be brave and to dwell in it, the way few published authors have.

"But where we did find this kind of work was online. It seems like everywhere we looked there were people, emboldened maybe by that distance of the computer monitor or the semi-anonymity of a username, drawn out by the encouragement of these little pockets of internet communities, pushing each other to report back from the thick of things, and to do it well."

Objective Ministries - I keep going back and forth on whether this is a genuine religious site or an elaborate and multilayered parody. Either way, it's damn creepy.

Neverending Story: The Lost Music Video - I kept waiting for this to burst into over-the-top parody, but it doesn't quite, though it dances right up to the edge (in very revealing tights). It does not feel right to be contemporary with the movie, but it's as if they were really trying to create a lost relic from it. nekouken agreed with me that it never quite makes it past mildly silly, saying, "It's like it's the Swedish version."

In support of a domestic violence charity, Patrick Stewart recounts his own childhood experiences - it's a subdued account, but that doesn't really make it any better:

"Thanks to Refuge's tireless campaigning, attitudes have changed. Police tactics have improved and most men are no longer able to get away with beating women. Yet the statistics still make for grim reading. More than two thirds of the residents in Refuge's network of refuges are children. I cannot express how sad – and angry – it makes me to think that we still cannot ensure the safety of women and children in their own homes.

"Most people find the idea of violence against women – and sometimes, though rarely, against men - abhorrent, but do nothing to challenge it. More women and children, just like my mother and me, will continue to experience domestic violence unless we all speak out against it. You can do this by supporting Refuge's latest campaign, Four Ways To Speak Out."

"How to Disagree," an essay by Paul Graham - I found this site because I was looking for a 101 level discussion of the "tone argument." This essay is a short list of debate techniques, ranked by validity, in which he gives a very neutral and concise explanation of how it is a fallacious debate tool:

"The next level up we start to see responses to the writing, rather than the writer. The lowest form of these is to disagree with the author's tone. E.g.

I can't believe the author dismisses intelligent design in such a cavalier fashion.

"Though better than attacking the author, this is still a weak form of disagreement. It matters much more whether the author is wrong or right than what his tone is. Especially since tone is so hard to judge. Someone who has a chip on their shoulder about some topic might be offended by a tone that to other readers seemed neutral.

"So if the worst thing you can say about something is to criticize its tone, you're not saying much. Is the author flippant, but correct? Better that than grave and wrong. And if the author is incorrect somewhere, say where."

From there I went on to read some of his other essays. I have found him quite insightful so far. That last one already has tangential relevance to my new job. Interesting indeed.
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