Tuesday, August 30, 2016


I found this at Whisper.sh
I'm going to follow the wind today.

It's gone way past ridiculous. LGB turned into LGBT, then LGBTQ, etc. At each attempt to make people feel special, other people feel left out and offended. Then they have to be included explicitly, which offends someone else. So they have to be included. So now it's LGBTQIAPD, which stands for "Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans*, Queer/Questioning, Intersex, Asexual/Aromantic, Pansexual/Polysexual, and Demisexual".

In other words, ABS ("Anything but straight"). Or if you prefer the newer terminology, ABC ("Anything but Cis"). These are shorter and easier to remember... and they still mean exactly what's intended by the longer alphabet soup.

I don't care much about labels. Call yourself a gazebo, and it won't bother me. But if you're picky about your own label, then I do have to remind you that imposing a label on other people is a completely dick move. So if someone tells you that they're Straight -- not Cis -- and you want to correct them, then you're the jackass*. That's your label. Wear it with pride. And because I am a dick, I have no problem saying that or using "ABC".

Of course, to be all-inclusive you have to just drop the labels entirely and treat People as People. But that's not the point for people who collect letters of the alphabet.


This actually came to mind today by way of analogy, from an unrelated conversation, so I'm going to let myself wander back into a completely different interpretation of the ABCs.

Hey, STEM folks... an Artist made this!
Created by Colleen Simon for opensource.com
In education, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), has relatively recently given way to STEAM (the "A" is for "Arts").

It's another case of being "inclusive" so as not to offend, even though in the process you dilute your message. (The "Black Lives Matter" group understand this for their own movement). I joked that this would eventually become STEAM HEAT (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math, History, English, Athletics, and... uhm... "Things" (gotta make it spell stuff). In other words, "school".

It's not that the listed things are objectively more important overall than those things that aren't explicitly listed. Rather, they're subjectively more important to those who focus on them. That's why the focus exists. But really, it's all important, as you learn from the people you exclude the moment you make your focus public. The people who aren't doing STEM are often feeding the people who are. Take them away and see if they're not important.

Personally, I don't think you have to "push" STEM, and I say that as someone who works in a STEM field. We should offer it, but not push. People who are interested in it will seek it out, and those who don't tend not to be very good at it. The people who are pushed into it are often resentful and leave it for something more satisfying. And those who weren't pushed sometimes just fall into it. Surprisingly few of the programmers I work with received computer-related degrees.  I think we are waaay too focused on technical fields as the panacea for all educational problems and a road to The Good Life. Our educators are so focused on their vision of society that they forget that they're neither the boss nor the architect of that society. They get too enraptured by quotas to remember to allow people to choose what they want to do for themselves. As a result people are made to feel bad about becoming skilled workers, and feel like failures for feeding their own families with satisfying, paying work, whatever that might be. If you're going to be offended, be offended at that. It's an outrage perpetrated by people who think they're doing good.

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