jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

Content note: Tense family stuff and inequality / sexism / racism.

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Carl Jung once said something about how loneliness has less to do with how many people there are around you, and more to do with whether or not you feel you can say what's important to you.

That's why I complain so much about inequality, sexism, racism, and so on. Every day I'm reminded that I live in a society founded on all of these things, even if it's slightly better (or at least more polite) here than in the States. I can't ignore it, the way the white people I talk to here can. And when they lapse into awkward silences, like when I made the comment about rich people paying for transit or another comment about Canada's treatment of indigenous people, it shows me what parts of their psyches and societies they are not willing to confront.

Conversely, when I meet someone I can talk about these things with I feel so much better about myself. It's like a weight's taken off of my shoulders, and I can approach the work of surviving within this society with a sense of humour rather than fatalism. It's not about nursing a grudge; it's about finding the strength to go on.

So thank you all for reading, listening, and commenting here. It means a lot to me.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

The guy what made Minecraft bought a $70 million mansion in Beverly Hills.

I get that Minecraft has been a lot of fun and helped a lot of people and been a tool and a canvas for self-expression. But as Firefly / Serenity fans know, being awesome doesn't necessarily lead to becoming popular. And as anyone knows who's been inspired by an underpaid teacher, having a profound, positive impact on the lives of numerous people doesn't earn you six (or eight) figures. It might not even pay the bills.

I'm not saying Minecraft doesn't deserve to be popular. But I am saying that if it's worth $70 million USD for what it does, then there are a whole lot of people and creative works that we're undervaluing here. Starting with all the unpaid fanwork that made Minecraft a household name to begin with.

I also think it's obscene that any one person is allowed to have that much money and use it all to buy a house, when even one other person is involuntarily homeless in the same country as the house that he bought.

I'm going to see the pictures of that housewarming party in my head now, every time I see Minecraft merchandise in stores.

jewelfox: A portrait of Rei Ayanami from the Evangelion series as an anthropomorphic albino red fox, in a sleeveless lavender top. (rei)

There are two ways to get someone to contribute to society, for varying definitions of "contribute" and "society."

One is to require it of them, and to deprive them of their wants or even needs if they don't perform as demanded. The other is to give them such abundance that they cannot help but share.

Everything that I've seen suggests that the latter is much more effective, and that nearly everyone uses it whenever possible. They reserve the former method for people they don't like, or that they feel entitled to exploit because they do not see them as people.

Real-world examples

This site is hosted on Dreamwidth, fandom enclave extraordinaire, so let's talk about fandom to start with. "Pirated" shows, lovingly subtitled by their fans, helped turn anime from an art style into a major Japanese export. Fandom could not get enough, and paid generously both through buying official and licensed products (once they became available) and by creating fanwork such as cosplay.

I used to be a professional writer, before things went south for me in that department. My best work, both in "pageviews" and in self-perceived quality, was what I was most passionate about, because I wanted so much to share with people what I'd learned. Whether because I was excited about it, or because I was incensed and wanted to share my moral outrage, or raise awareness of an issue.

Sometimes I needed a deadline to get me to write. But when my work became all about deadlines, and the supervisors who had stood up for me mysteriously went absent, and new rules kept me from writing essays like the ones that had won me awards and made lots of money ... I actually shut down from stress. I couldn't do it anymore, not and deal with my sudden personal / family crises at the same time. It wasn't until I felt secure with my partner's financial support that I could coax myself into writing again, to help my partner with expenses and to reward myself with a few games and toys.

I contributed the most to free and open-source software when I felt the most valued by its community, especially when they paid my living expenses as part of the Outreach Program for Women. I was so grateful to my sponsors and mentor, and even though I was living with untreated major depression I pushed myself to work on GNOME. Not just to give back to my benefactors, but because I believed in GNOME's mission and I wanted underprivileged girls to have a free OS of their own.

When the cheques stopped, the program ended, and community interactions showed me how little the free software world valued both women and "women's work" outside of anomalies like the program, I was surprised to find out there was nothing to keep me devoted to them. And that I liked Windows 8 a lot more than free software OSes, and that Microsoft, even as a for-profit company, was sharing a lot more with people like me than the free software "community" was.

Share the wealth

Now I'm surrounded by toys and games in abundance, and the one thing I most want to do is make something worthy of them, and of the people who gave them to me. I want to use the talents that I seem to have, to make artwork like fanfic and models and RPG books, and share them with those who appreciate them.

I play single-player video games, and trim plastic models, and read books curled up in my den, and it makes me want to give back. Not because of duty or forced gratitude, but because it's a natural expression of how I feel. I have to write things that continue the story. I have to share screenshots and work-in-progress photos, and enthuse about things that excite me, and find people to be excited with.

I feel so inspired, I have to share and create.

I think that's how it is for most people.

I think people who don't, or won't, or can't, at least not in socially acceptable ways, don't deserve to starve or be homeless.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

I don't remember a whole lot about Jon Huntsman except that he's Mormon, he was campaigning for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, and he didn't make it because he's not a climate change denier or young earth creationist.

He also apparently supports same-sex marriage now, and oh, his dad's kind of awesome:

Jon Huntsman Sr. has given away about $1.5 billion to worthy causes – about 80% of his total wealth. He is also spending $200 million building Huntsman Springs, a golf resort and nature reserve in Idaho that will donate all proceeds of real estate sold to his family’s charitable foundation. But neither of these totals include his strict tithing to the Mormon church of 10% of everything he has ever earned.

“My philanthropy is not borne out of my faith,” he says. “They require 10% tithing. I don’t consider that to be philanthropy and I don’t consider it to be part of my philanthropic giving. I consider it as club dues.

“People who put money in the church basket and people who go to church and pay the pastor: that isn’t real philanthropy, that’s just like you belong to a country club. You pay your dues to belong to that church so you pay your tithing or whatever it is. I’ve never added that into my philanthropy in any way because I just think it’s a part of a person’s life.”

This is especially true when you're donating to a "church" corporation that builds shopping malls. >_> But seriously, whatever happened to rich people being philanthropists? Why aren't they all signing on with Warren Buffet and Bill Gates, pledging to give away half of their wealth? It's not like they can use it all or anything.

I mean, I know it's because of Ayn Rand and bad preachers and crap, plus racism here in the States. But still.

Maybe it should surprise me less that a handful of people break out of this mold, and more that nobody holds the others accountable. When effort and reward are as badly decoupled as they are in this society, a high net worth is a bug, not a feature.

About us

~ Fox | Gem | Rei ~

We tell stories, paint minis, collect identity words, and share them all with our readers. If something we write helps you, let us know.

~ She / her ~

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