Life With Untidy Widgets

gab imageFYI, I’ve added a list of my social media contacts to this site, over there ===> to the right. You’ll notice it doesn’t have pretty icons next to the names. This is because WordPress has (so far) decided to not “support” GAB’s icon in the social media menu. You can list it in the menu, but it’s accompanied only by a generic chain link symbol. I decided instead to manually set up something where the references were displayed equally. And, for anyone who’s wondering, the GAB logo is the nice, happy green frog shown above.

I’m used to finding work-arounds. You’re reading a fat chick here, after all. All my life, everything from gym suits to wedding dresses (I was engaged once for almost a whole month.) had to be ordered special. I’ve had to put up with snide questions and assumptions about my abilities and achievements. I never know when meeting someone new whether they will be one of the one-in-forty people I meet who are instantly enraged — furious! — that a fat person has shown up at the same event they are attending, and even expects to be spoken to like a real human being! Having a body and a life that rarely fits into standard assumptions perhaps has made it easier for me to have ideas that defy peer pressure, too. So, yeah, I’m on GAB.

You may have heard about GAB in the news a few months back. Their Android app was pulled from the Google Play store for “hate speech.” (Search for “fat people falling” on YouTube if you want to see how effective Google is at making the world a warm & fuzzy place. They’re perfectly fine supporting hatred, so long as you’re hating the right people.) GAB, in fact, is fiercely devoted to free speech, not any particular set of politics. I have no doubt there’s some stuff on GAB that I don’t agree with and a fair amount that would piss me off, but the good news is, I don’t have to deal with it. I can block anybody I want, and obscene stuff defaults to “hidden.” In other words, if you want to look at something NSFW, you can, but you have to toggle the switch to see it. Fine with me.

By the way, this makes GAB far more respectful of individual dignity and liberty than, say, Etsy, whose policy defaults to having everything from “soft” porn to violent misogyny visible. (If it promotes violence against women it’s not “hate speech,” it’s “culture.”) There’s no way on Etsy to shut it off or keep it out of search results or even report it for filtering. (I had an image of a naked, probably drunk or drugged woman posing with her legs open show up in a search for “Star Wars.” She was wearing a Stormtrooper helmet, so that made it “pertinent.”) So, now that the pornographers have discovered Etsy, I no longer shop there. End of an era. Yes. I’m saying it. The so-called “alt right hate site” GAB is better for women than cutsey, handmade, crocheted-everything Etsy.

Welcome to the strange new world.

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March 24th, a post script. I’m still signed up on Gab, but I don’t think I’ll be posting there much unless I absolutely need an uncompromised social media host. The service is still saturated with people who are deeply misogynist, racist and anti-semitic. Not everyone, certainly, but continually muting and blocking posters feels like a big game of whack-a-mole. And, blocked phrases and people still show up in search results, which makes searching for any issue or idea impossible — and depressing. There are decent, intelligent people there, but, so far, they’re still a minority. That may change as more people look for an alternative to Facebook.

I feel young, fledgling, but not in a good way. I feel like I’m surrounded by extremists, code words, screening games, relentless condemnation, relentless ill will, war mongering and threats, from everywhere. I’m clinging to creativity, because that’s my primary, tenuous connection with other people, such as it is, and because I can’t think of anything else to do, except perhaps pray.

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