ericr [at] ericrosenfield [dot] com

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It goes like this: Tumblr was conceived of as a “microblogging” site, a la Twitter. It’s less intended for creating content than sharing content, and they never really intended for people to write long pieces of text or have conversations back and forth on them. 

You can see this in how quick Tumblr has always been to truncate conversations and change them from “reblog as text” to “reblog as links”. What’s really telling is the fact that they didn’t include any such truncation feature for picture posts, only for text posts. Now, the site’s architecture doesn’t really accommodate truncating picture posts (since truncation changes the post type to link, which would hide the picture), but that’s not the reason picture posts don’t truncate. If they had thought it important to include truncation for picture posts, they would have created a post type that accommodated it.

No, they just didn’t plain didn’t count on the idea that people would be having conversations below picture posts. The space below pictures is for captions, not conversations.

They expect social interaction to happen. They count on it. But serious discourse? Long conversations? This is both counter to their expectations and their perceived interest. 

I mean, in the first place, the same three or four people talking back and forth on a post doesn’t produce the same value from their point of view as one person creating something that catches fire and circulates on its own, collecting a string of one-line notes or reblogs without comment. 

But more importantly, Tumblr doesn’t want to be responsible for keeping peace in an atmosphere where people are using Tumblr to discuss politics or vent about their personal struggles instead of posting song lyrics and pictures of cats and superheroes. The presence of what some call social justice discourse on Tumblr and the ad hoc communities that have sprung up around marginalized identies is something that the corporate masters can only see as a headache. To put it simply: the want product, not progress. 

So this is why we get update after update designed to make the site less useful to the serious user while appearing slicker to the more casual or newer user. This is why updates tend to make conversation harder. And most of all, this is why the staff doesn’t give a rodent’s hindquarters about protecting communities or policing hate… because the sooner people stop junking up their cat meme sharing service with serious discussion, the happier the suits will be.

Tumblr: support artists!!!! commission their work, don't discredit them, and support smaller artists who are just starting out! they need it uwu

Banksy: *commissions and hires lesser known artists*

Banksy: *charges three pounds for entry into an entire art exhibit so he can pay said artists*

Banksy: *brings biggest economic boost of tourism to Weston since the actual theme park closed down because tourists would sooner flock to Disneyland Europe locations*

Tumblr: *ignores other commissioned artists* pretentious white bullshit!!! I can't believe Banksy is making millions off of this pretentious work!!!!


It really does happen.


deathchrist2000 asked  Phil Sandifer or Delicious Pie.

“A guy named Adolf Hitler won an election in 1932.
He won an election, and 50 million people died as a result of that election in World War II, including 6 million Jews.
So what I learned as a little kid is that politics is, in fact, very important.”


Bernie Sanders
(via theliberaltony)

Bernie Sanders’ parents are Holocaust survivors by the way. 

(via theautisticagender)



There were two elections in that year.  The Nazis didn’t actually win either.

In July, they were the largest single party but didn’t get a majority (they were 75 seats short) and thus couldn’t form a government.  Von Papen’s government (national conservative) continued in power.  July turned out to be the Nazis electoral peak.  It’s worth pointing out that, even in July, the rest of the parliament was dominated by left-wing parties implacably opposed to the Nazis… though divided amongst themselves, largely because the KPD (the Communists) were following the Stalinist policy of refusing to make deals with reformists against fascists. 

By the election in November 1932 the Nazi vote had dropped dramatically.  It never recovered in free elections. 

The Nazis took power because Hitler was appointed Chancellor by Hindenburg as a result of the scheming of Von Papen to outmaneuvre the left.  It was deemed that a Nazi government would be preferable to a left-wing one, and that Hitler would repress the left.  The conservatives and reactionaries in power thought they could control Hitler, who was more their type than the communists anyway.

Sorry to be pedantic, but I get annoyed when people say the Nazis got voted in.  It’s a myth.

(via shabogangraffiti)


Deconstructing Masculinity & Manhood with Michael Kimmel @ Dartmouth College


Happy birthday Sylvester McCoy, Sophie Aldred and the late Anthony Ainley (A.K.A. respectively The Doctor, Ace and The Master) all three born on August 20th. All three were together in the final episode of the Classic Doctor Who story Survival aired between 22 November 1989 and 6 December 1989.





Trial open for suspect in Kansas Jewish center shooting:

Hey, remember the time when a white supremacists opened fire on a JCC and Jewish retirement home and nobody but Jewish people cared? 

Tumblr’s deafening silence over these attacks was what led me to become involved in tumblr’s social justice sphere. I don’t expect to hear much about this now that he’s on trial.

i don’t know if it fucking could? it’s a very comic book comic (and an overrated one, but that’s another discussion). that said, the most egregious problems with snyder’s adaptation isn’t plot changes so much as it is consistently, constantly, getting the fucking tone wrong, despite being pretty much a shot for shot adaptation of the comic. super kung fu nite owl. the fucking “hallelujah” song. and, this is a big one, this is the one everyone fucks up on, because he’s a huge goddamn blind spot to every dude who loves a “badass” - he made rorschach seem cool to the audiences.

i don’t think alan moore really anticipated people actually looking up to rorschach, and i think he fundamentally underestimated what the effect of being a “badass” will do to how people interpret a character, how they’ll react to them, and rorschach, being effectively violent and “cool” for it, becomes idolized by the audience this way. with that knowledge in mind, coming at a watchman adaptation years later, the first thing you should think to change isn’t the ending, but, “how can i make sure audiences think rorschach is a pretty shitty motherfucker”. if you fuck that up, or worse, aren’t interested in addressing it at all, your adaptation probably isn’t gonna be any good.

It’s incredibly clear when you watch the first couple seasons of Doctor Who that the first Doctor is a human from the future who invented the TARDIS, which was then named by his granddaughter.

Acknowledging that pretending Doctor Who has continuity is silly, is there a generally accepted fannon explanation for why the nature of the Doctor changed during the Second Doctor’s run? Like maybe Ben and Polly slipped into an alternate universe at the end of the 10th planet caused by Mondas’ destruction or something?





A couple weeks ago The Mary Sue announced they weren’t going to cover “Game of Thrones” any more after yet another female character being brutally raped. The thread is still being invaded by trolls periodically, and there are more than 12,000 comments on the article, which is a site record and probably an internet record. (12K comments because a single website said “We’re not going to recap or promote this show any more.” Baffling.)

Tons of trolls have thrown out the “but THINGS WERE JUST LIKE THAT BACK THEN!” argument ad nauseum. Which is total bullshit, of course. Now with the season finale of “Outlander” (which, spoiler, also included rape) the trolls are coming back.

I just want to ask, why is it whenever producers/directors/writers want to demonstrate “gritty historic realism” it’s ALWAYS RAPE? It’s always sexual violence toward women/girls.

You know what would be gritty historic realism? Dysentery. GoT has battles and armies marching all over the place. You want to show “what things were like back then”? Why aren’t we seeing 500 guys by the side of a road puking and shitting their guts out from drinking contaminated water while the rest of the army straggles along trying to keep going? Or a village getting wiped out by cholera? Or typhus, polio or plague epidemics? 

You want to show what it was like back then for women? Show a woman dying of sepsis from an infection she caught while giving birth. Show a woman coping with ruptured ovarian cysts with nobody know what it is. Breast cancer that the audience will recognize immediately but the characters think is some mark of the devil or some shit.

But no, it’s always rape. And we all know why that is. Because these douchecanoes that do this, though they’ll deny it, think rape is sexy. Because they can’t make a modern set story where women get raped in every god damned episode without being called monsters. So they use “but but historical realism!” to cover their sexism (see “Mad Men”) and misogyny. Then they tell us “That’s just how it was back then!” with the clear implication “Shut the fuck up bitch, because that could be you  and you should be thanking me that it’s not.”

Can we propose a rule for “realistic” historical fiction/fantasy? Twelve graphic cases of dysentery for every one graphic rape?

There it fucking is

It’s worth pointing out that dysentery is a major plot point in the books…

It’s true though that representations of medieval or quasi-medieval times, especially in television and film, don’t have nearly enough dysentery, diptheria, smallpox, typhoid, cholera, etc etc.

The past was really horrible.


My favorite description of the Meyers-Briggs is that it’s a horoscope for people who think they’re too smart for horoscopes

There seems to be a certain segment of my Tumblr circle who are really into A Dirty Pair. I’ve never seen the show/read the manga but a cursory look at the character’s costumes looks… super sexist. Can someone explain this to me? Why are people so into this show?

Denmark Vesey, Forgotten Hero:



In the wake of tonight’s tragic shooting incident at the church Denmark Vesey founded via slave revolt in Charleston, South Carolina, here’s some facts to know about Vesey.

Widespread recognition for Denmark Vesey has been a long time coming. In 1822, in Charleston, South Carolina, Vesey masterminded what would have been the largest slave revolt in American history. When an informer revealed the plans at the last minute and the revolt was nipped in the bud, Charleston authorities downplayed the story, claiming that they had “allowed” the plot to progress so as to ensure the capture of its leaders. Fearing future attempts at insurrection, Charleston slaveowners had Vesey and many of his co-conspirators put to death, and hid written records of the Vesey episode from their slaves. Vesey’s legacy was, for all intents and purposes, buried and forgotten.

Now, one hundred and seventy-seven years later, we are witnessing a surge of interest in this forgotten American hero. Three books on Vesey and his plot have appeared in 1999—He Shall Go Out Free, by Douglas R. Egerton, Designs Against Charleston: The Trial Record of the Denmark Slave Conspiracy of 1822, edited by Edward A. Pearson, and Denmark Vesey, by David Robertson—and there is talk of television specials and a feature film in the works. Unknown to most people, however, is the fact that Vesey’s story has been recounted for posterity before—in the pages of The Atlantic Monthly.

In the June, 1861, issue there appeared a detailed account of Vesey’s planned revolt and its suppression, titled “Denmark Vesey.” Its author, a frequent Atlantic contributor named Thomas Wentworth Higginson, was a Cambridge, Massachusetts, minister and a committed abolitionist. (In other issues of the magazine Higginson documented the stories of revolts by Toussaint L'Overture and Nat Turner. In 1862 he served as colonel of the first black regiment in the Civil War, the First South Carolina Volunteers.)

In his Atlantic account Higginson described Vesey’s plan (which was developed in collaboration with a slave named Peter Poyas) as “the most elaborate insurrectionary project ever formed by American slaves…. In boldness of conception and thoroughness of organization there has been nothing to compare it with.” Higginson went on:

That a conspiracy on so large a scale should have existed in embryo during four years, and in an active form for several months, and yet have been so well managed … shows extraordinary ability in the leaders, and a talent for concerted action on the part of the slaves generally with which they have hardly been credited.

Vesey was no longer a slave at the time he planned the revolt—he had purchased his own freedom several years before, so his motives were not self-serving—and Charleston’s official report of the episode, as quoted by Higginson, made note of Vesey’s pride and the strength of his convictions. “Even whilst walking through the streets in company with another,” the report stated, “he was not idle; for if his companion bowed to a white person, he would rebuke him, and observe that all men were born equal.” At the trial, the sentencing judge was plainly astonished in the face of the stoic heroism displayed by Vesey throughout his ordeal. Higginson quoted the judge addressing Vesey:

“It is difficult to imagine, what infatuation could have prompted you to attempt an enterprise so wild and visionary. You were a free man, comely, wealthy, and enjoyed every comfort compatible with your situation. You had, therefore, much to risk and little to gain.”

As though responding to the judge four decades after the fact, Higginson posed a rhetorical question: “Is slavery, then, a thing so intrinsically detestable, that a man thus favored will engage in a plan this desperate merely to rescue his children from it?”

Higginson’s goal was the preservation of Vesey’s story for future generations. “South Carolinians,” he wrote in conclusion,

[now have] a distaste for the memory of the tale; and the official reports which told what slaves had once planned and dared have now come to be among the rarest of American historical documents…. This is why, to the readers of American history, Denmark Vesey and Peter Poyas have been heretofore but the shadows of names.

h/t: The Atlantic

Some historical context on the church whose members were attacked and murdered in Charleston, SC.


A completely normal page of Mr. Miracle.

This big piece on Ed Champion has a number of quotes from me:

Though I’m now embarrassed by some tortured locution and at least one mixed metaphor. Lesson: Always proofread your emails to journalists carefully.


Regardless of the “actual legitimacy” of Rachel Dolezal’s racial identity…

We are talking about the head of the fucking Spokane NAACP. This is not a major position of power in the world. It is not a position with a ton of importance outside the roughly 12.5k African American people in the greater Spokane metro area. Certainly she wasn’t important enough to have had a Wikipedia article before today. And now, because her estranged biological parents decided to give an interview entirely to undermine her, she’s international news.

Whatever you think of her, there is no way in which the ideologies that got this particular bit of local Spokane news to the main page of the Guardian can be described as anything other than Fucked the Fuck Up.

Dear Assemblyman Lentol,
I was surprised to receive your “News from the Neighborhood” newsletter, considering that I did not elect to subscribe to it, and it seems was automatically subscribed by virtue of filling out this very contact form. However, I see no notification on the form that tells me that by filling out said form, I am subscribing to anything. This makes your newsletter junk mail and illegal.

Fortunately for you, I will not elect to press charges.

Meanwhile, I looked at the Move NY questionnaire in your latest newsletter. I wanted to fill out the form, but the google forms link provided does not work (results in 404).

Also the questionnaire contains the question “Do you support or oppose the plan?” with the options “Yes” or “No”. These, you may observe, are not valid answers the question.

Sloppiness of this kind does not engender confidence in your office or its ability to represent my interests in Albany.

Sincerely, your constituent,

PS. I’m in favor of the Move NY plan and any plan that raises tolls in NY. I don’t own a car and want drivers to pay as much as possible to keep them off our roads.




Criticism, Etc.