2016 Goals (This time, she means it)

1 Jan

Aaaand I reread the last blog post, “2015 Wrapup, 2016 Goals”, which delivers on the wrapup but nosedived on the goals. Let’s address this, shall we?

Kickstarter

The original purpose of the Kickstarter was to get two audiobooks recorded, but the physical add-on and bonus Backer items have been sitting around my house for about 18 months. Starting mid-January, I’m going to send out all of these items. The exception is the thumb drive: I haven’t decided how to manage this yet, since the drive should come preloaded with audio copies of both Digital Divide and Maker Space. As Maker Space is in limbo, I have a bunch of options for this drive but none of them are what I promised, so bleh I’m weighing these options.

Conventions

I briefly mentioned these in the last post. Arisia 2016 (Boston) is a firm yes, for Jan 15-16. I’ve been speaking with some great people at MidAmericon2 (Kansas City), but this is still unconfirmed for August 17-21. There’s a third convention that hasn’t opened its replies yet, and if this one falls through, I’ll find another.

DisasterHouse

I received a fairly…astonishing gift from a reader over the holidays, and I’ll be starting the DisasterHouse blog up again in thanks. As this is a recent event, I haven’t yet determined how/when updates will fit into my schedule, but the blog will resume in Q1 2016.

Clutter

Most of the little items are gone, and 2016 will be focused on clearing out the big stuff. We have a Jeep Wrangler that needs to go, plus my aquarium gear (*sigh*). I’ve never sold a car before, especially one with the frame nearly rusted out, so this should be an Event.

I don’t want to see the aquarium gear go, but I’m still of the mind that it’s not yet possible to have a 100% captive-raised marine coral reef tank. As soon as I can get everything captive-sourced, I’ll start up another big saltwater tank. (*sigh again*) One day.

Outrage

Absolutely definitely going to try and do better at this in 2016, where:

IF an event occurs that makes me want to rage against existing societal/cultural/economic/racial/gender (etc) issues, THEN I will not shoot off my opinion in social media, and will INSTEAD donate a sum of money to an organization invested in addressing the issues that have contributed to that event.

Let me clarify one point here, in that I don’t think that staying silent is a good thing in and of itself. I strongly believe we each need to raise our voices and stand against problems that actively cause harm. But-and here’s the bitch of the thing-we live in a society. A society can’t exist without communication and compromise. One of the major themes in AGAHF (comic and novels) is that political polarization doesn’t help the general public. Everyone’s opinion is not valid, but that’s the magic of consensus, as the views of the majority are made valid by transforming them into law.

Easy? Nope. Democracies may not be rocket science, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t impossibly hard.

I feel (and, obviously, your mileage may vary) that social media contributes to polarization. It’s too easy to shout out your opinions and then step into a nice, comfortable echo chamber in which others who share your opinions happily repeat them back to you.

Well, I feel that this isn’t helpful. Democracy isn’t a sporting event with winners and losers; it should be a reflection of a common consensus. It can change and grow over time to reflect similar changes within society, but no complex social issue can or will ever be resolved by one-shot solutions. You have to communicate to find consensus, and me shouting: FUCK ALL YOU FUCKING FUCKERS! WHAT YOU WANT IS SO EVIL IT MIGHT AS WELL BE TWIRLING ITS HANDLEBAR MUSTACHE! on Twitter helps no one.

So, instead of contributing to the shuttering of our national dialogue, I’m literally putting my money where my mouth is. If I still feel angry, I’ll write an article, or even a book.

And hey, maybe this’ll be good for me. Maybe next year I’ll work on trying not to Force-choke people I disagree with over the Internet.

6 Responses to “2016 Goals (This time, she means it)”

  1. peakcrew January 2, 2016 at 12:00 pm #

    Happy New Year, K.B. and other readers. Great goals for the year, even though some will clearly be hard for you. The only thing I disagree with is your comment that “…that’s the magic of consensus, as the views of the majority are made valid by transforming them into law.” Western governments are bringing in a lot of laws that do not reflect the majority view – for instance, laws on endless surveillance (which forms the basis of the AGAHF universe). Sometimes we need to stand up and make a noise about these issues to make sure the legislators are aware that they are acting against consensus – donating money to a cause means that someone *has* stood up to make a noise, otherwise there would be no cause to support! I do tend to agree that the way it is done matters, but sometimes getting angry and defaulting to profanity has its uses, too!

    • KBSpangler January 2, 2016 at 1:22 pm #

      I absolutely agree with you regarding laws, and that’s a topic for a *much* longer discussion. My point is that I have stood up and ranted: what’s changed, other than me feeling slightly better? There are undeniably positive outcomes of outrage culture, but promoting polarization is a negative one, and it’s one that has a chilling effect on the dialogue we must have if we’re ever going to find a middle ground.

      I’m not saying I’ll always be silent on social media; I’m saying I’m trying a different strategy to see if it helps more than hurts, because what I was doing before wasn’t really helping anyone other than myself (and maybe those who already agreed with me).

      • Anonymous January 2, 2016 at 3:36 pm #

        Ah, that’s clearer now! Thanks for responding so quickly. I’m still quite new to your stories and blog, and didn’t know that you have some … history … that led you to the resolution 🙂 If you manage to channel your dissatisfaction into more great stories, I’ll be quite satisfied.

        • peakcrew January 2, 2016 at 4:21 pm #

          Gahh – I don’t know what’s happening with the replies – I just noticed that the reply was posted as anonymous! Anyway, I’d returned to say that, as a legal academic (in the UK, not USA), I’d be delighted to discuss more about the law whenever you find the time.

  2. I_overdosed_on_eggnog January 2, 2016 at 7:26 pm #

    First off, happy New Year. As for laws etc al – yes, long discussion and no bandwidth (my choice is between arguing here or work on completing a book that will unhinge an industry that mainly exists through misrepresentation, and the book wins).

    Just an observation: I found that it helps to encourage digital world people to re-discover the analogue concept of many stages between on and off, between black and white. You just can’t call it shades of grey anymore :). A bit more nuanced thinking goes a long way…

  3. Jules January 3, 2016 at 10:38 pm #

    I’m so happy to read this pair of new-year’s posts. It sounds like things are really picking up for you, and that makes me very happy.
    Your comic and the ever-expanding universe around it bring me much joy in my life, and I’m glad that good karma is doing it’s job!

    I salute your efforts to de-polarise the world, we need more people like that!

    And finally:
    May your best day of 2015 be the norm in 2016!

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