When You Call My Name book review

My name
When You Call My Name by Tucker Shaw
368 pages
published May 3rd, 2022

Film fanatic Adam is seventeen and being asked out on his first date–and the guy is cute. Heart racing, Adam accepts, quickly falling in love with Callum like the movies always promised.

Fashion-obsessed Ben is eighteen and has just left his home upstate after his mother discovers his hidden stash of gay magazines. When he comes to New York City, Ben’s sexuality begins to feel less like a secret and more like a badge of honor. 

Then Callum disappears, leaving Adam heartbroken, and Ben finds out his new world is more closed-minded than he thought. When Adam finally tracks Callum down, he learns the guy he loves is very ill. And in a chance meeting near the hospital where Callum is being treated, Ben and Adam meet, forever changing each other’s lives. As both begin to open their eyes to the possibilities of queer love and life, they realize sometimes the only people who can help you are the people who can really see you–in all your messy glory. 

A love letter to New York and the liberating power of queer friendship, When You Call My Name is a hopeful novel about the pivotal moments of our youth that break our hearts and the people who help us put them back together. 

This book is set during the height of the AIDS epidemic and it’s about two gay teenagers (17 and 18, I think), coming of age. It’s technically a romance between these two gay teenagers, but their coming of age is more at the forefront, I think? You kind of know that they’re eventually going to get together, and I didn’t really feel one way or another about it. The pop culture references in this book are also kind of rough, especially because for a lot of them, I Simply Didn’t Get Them, I Am Too Young.

And it’s really sad, and really slow in some places, and I think maybe I’d like to read it slowly, over the course of a summer instead of fairly rapidly for a review. (Honestly I was approved for this in December so that one’s on me.) Four and a half stars, rounded down for NetGalley.

The Queen of Junk Island book review

The queen
The Queen of Junk Island by Alexandra Mae Jones
400 pages exactly
published May 3rd, 2022

From debut author Alexandra Mae Jones comes a compelling, nuanced exploration of bi identity and body image with a ghostly backdrop–perfect for fans of Nina Lacour.

Still reeling from a recent trauma, sixteen-year-old Dell is relieved when her mom suggests a stay at the family cabin. But the much-needed escape quickly turns into a disaster. The lake and woods are awash in trash left by a previous tenant. And worse, Dell’s mom has invited her boyfriend’s daughter to stay with them. Confident, irreverent Ivy presses all of Dell’s buttons–somehow making Dell’s shame and self-consciousness feel even more acute. Yet Dell is drawn to Ivy in a way she doesn’t fully understand. As Dell uncovers secrets in the wreckage of her family’s past–secrets hinted at through troubling dreams and strange apparitions–Ivy leads her toward thrilling, if confusing, revelations about her sexuality and identity.

Set during a humid summer in the mid-2000s, The Queen of Junk Island simmers with the intensity of a teenage girl navigating the suffocating expectations of everyone around her.

This is the book you need for your mom trauma, your identity issues, your coming of age around generational trauma. It’s that Rory Power novel from last year (burn our bodies down) with less horror elements. It’s like reading your own journal written by someone else. It’s incredible, It’s affective (and also effective). It takes place before 2015 probably which is NOT clear anywhere in the marketing but Whatever (some things feel dated or weird). If you like the cover, the description, or my review, you should pick it up.

Bookshop link.

Bite-size reviews: the beginning of May

Hello, and welcome again to another edition of everyone’s least favorite type of post: bite-size reviews! Lotta stressful stuff happening in my life right now, so let’s just get to it!

All of these books were provided to me at no cost by NetGalley. Thanks, NetGalley!

Violet and the Crumbs: A Gluten-Free Adventure by Abigail Rayner and Molly Ruttan
40 pages
published April 19th, 2022

The dynamic duo of I Am a Thief by Abigail Rayner (author) and Molly Ruttan (illustrator) have created a new picture book sure to spark conversations about this timely issue. 

Violet used to love birthday parties, but now that she has celiac disease, she’s not allowed to eat pizza, cake, or anything else with gluten. Violet feels alone until she discovers that some animals have dietary restrictions as well. While standing up for her animal friends, she realizes she can do the same for herself. And when it’s time to celebrate Violet’s birthday, there isn’t a single gluten-containing crumb in sight! 

Filled with pluck and humor, this informative story provides a great opportunity to discuss this increasingly common condition with children who have celiac disease and gluten-intolerance as well as those who know people who have it and are seeking to learn more about it. 

This book has been approved by the Celiac Disease Foundation.

This is a really cute book! I love Violet’s raincoat and her polka-dot wellies, and the way she deals with change. Five stars. Bookshop link here.

Be the Boss of Your Stuff: The Kids’ Guide to decluttering and Creating Your Own Space by Allie Casazza
160 pages
published March 8th, 2022

Give your kids the decluttering guide that will encourage their independence and create a more peaceful home for your family. Allie Casazza has created a resource for you to show kids how to create and design their own space, offering practical ideas on organization and productivity, kid-friendly inspiration for mindfulness, and interactive pages for creativity.

Allie has encouraged women to simplify and unburden their lives as the host of The Purpose Show podcast and through her first book Declutter Like a Mother. Now she’s helping you equip your kids and tweens to discover the same joy of decluttering as they

design and create a space that supports their interests and goals,
make more room in their lives for playtime and creativity,
increase productivity and find renewed focus for schoolwork,
learn valuable life skills, and
cut down on cleaning time, reduce stress, and feel more peaceful.

Your kids will start to understand that the less they own, the more time they have for what’s important. Written in Allie’s fun, motivational voice, Be the Boss of Your Stuff is ideal for boys and girls ages 8 to 12, includes photography and interactive activities with space to write, draw, imagine, and plan, shares step-by-step instructions for decluttering,
offers added practical, personalized instruction from Allie’s children, Bella and Leeland,
and is a great gift for coming-of-age celebrations, the first day of spring, New Year’s, Easter, birthdays, back-to-school, or school milestones.

As your kids become more proactive in taking care of their stuff, you’ll find your whole family has more time and space for creativity and fun. After all, less clutter, less stress, and less chaos in your kids’ lives means more peace, more independence, and more opportunity to grow into who they’re meant to be.

Read Allie’s first book, Declutter Like a Mother, to further equip yourself in decluttering while you empower your kids to embrace their space.

This is a great book! I hated being a kid and my mom would tell me to clean my room but would never really explain HOW. This book really gets kids thinking about HOW to clean their room, especially perpetually messy kids who can’t seem to get ahold of themselves. There’s quite a few journaling prompts and exercises of that nature in this book that I didn’t necessarily find useful, but a kid probably would! Four stars.

Bookshop link.

Like A House on Fire by Lauren McBrayer
320 pages
published April 26th, 2022

What would you do if you found the spark that made you feel whole again? 

After twelve years of marriage and two kids, Merit has begun to feel like a stranger in her own life. She loves her husband and sons, but she desperately needs something more than sippy cups and monthly sex. So, she returns to her career at Jager + Brandt, where a brilliant and beautiful Danish architect named Jane decides to overlook the “break” in Merit’s résumé and give her a shot. 

Jane is a supernova–witty and dazzling and unapologetically herself–and as the two work closely together, their relationship becomes a true friendship. In Jane, Merit sees the possibility of what a woman could be. And Jane sees Merit exactly for who she is. Not the wife and mother dutifully performing the roles expected of her, but a whole person. 

Their relationship quickly becomes a cornerstone in Merit’s life. And as Merit starts to open her mind to the idea of more–more of a partner, more of a match, more out of love–she begins to question: What if the love of her life isn’t the man she married. What if it’s Jane?

I really expected this to be a “fucked up woman makes fucked up decisions for 400 pages and then you’re mad about it but also can’t stop thinking about it” book, and it is kind of that but also like, in some new and different ways. I recommend it! It’s also sapphic. Four stars.

Bookshop link.

Can’t Wait Wednesday | May 11th

Can’t Wait Wednesday is a book blogging meme hosted over at Wishful Endings. It’s to discuss and spotlight books that you’re excited about but that you haven’t read yet, to get you more excited about your TBR pile! It’s based on Waiting on Wednesday, which is hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine. I first heard about this meme from Kappa at Kappa Reads!

Brace for Impact by Gabe Montesanti
416 pages
releases May 24th, 2022

A powerful and redemptive story of how the dazzling world of roller derby helped one young woman transform her fear and self-doubt into gutsy, big-hearted, adventurous living 

“A universal story of healing and triumph, made all the more beautiful, wild, and free by Gabe’s fierce love for roller derby and her team, who become her family.”—ABBY WAMBACH, Olympian, activist, and author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Wolfpack

Growing up queer in a conservative Midwestern town, Gabe Montesanti never felt comfortable in her own skin. A competitive swimmer, she turned to perfectionism and self-control to create a sense of safety, only to develop an eating disorder and constantly second-guess her instincts. When she enters graduate school in St. Louis, she is determined to put the baggage of her childhood behind her. With no prior experience, she joins Arch Rival, one of the top-ranked roller derby leagues in the world. Gabe instantly falls in love with the sport’s roughness, intensity, and open embrace of people who are literally and figuratively scarred. She soon finds community and a sense of belonging, reveling in the tattoos, glitter, and campiness. 

But when Gabe suffers a catastrophic injury, she can no longer ignore the parallels between the physicality of roller derby and the unresolved trauma of her upbringing. Rendered inactive, forced to be still, Gabe realizes she needs to heal her emotional wounds as much as her physical ones; she must confront her fear and self-diminishment in order to feel truly alive.

Told with unflinching honesty and a giant dose of wonder, Brace for Impact is a tender, inspiring memoir about the everyday heroism of pursuing a life less ordinary, and the deeply human need to be at peace with who you are.

Booksweet link here.

The Adam Project movie review | Time flies

Adam project
The Adam Project directed by Shawn Levy, starring Ryan Reynolds
released March 11th, 2022
106 minutes, PG-13

After accidentally crash-landing in 2022, time-traveling fighter pilot Adam Reed teams up with his 12-year-old self for a mission to save the future.

Netflix is having a weird hissy fit all over social media and the stock market, so I’m watching as many Netflix originals as I can physically stand. Let’s go babey!

Honestly? This movie is incredible. It’s heartwarming, it’s cute, I haven’t liked Ryan Reynolds’ smug face this much since Detective Pikachu which he wasn’t even really in, Walker Scobell is fantastic and I can’t wait to see him in the Percy Jackson series. The scenery is fantastic, set in the lush PNW, and a good chunk of the story takes place in this weird fantastic split-level house that’s very PNW. The cinematography for fight scenes doesn’t make me feel nauseous! Technobabble that doesn’t make me wanna scream! The weird twin pain of realizing that as a kid, adults should have done right by you but also maybe you should have done right by your adults! The classic eating a picnic on a huge lake in Vancouver and mountains are surrounding you! A heterosexual romance that brings to mind Sappho’s “someone will remember us / even in another time”! Also, people explode into dust when they are killed and it is honestly extremely cool. Zoe Saldana in a cardigan shooting people! 

And it’s also about grief, and how every action we take is for the people we love, and silly fighter jet chase scenes and about sometimes you have to rent a hotel room to hang out in because there’s no third space in late capitalism to safely do time travel secret talks. It’s about being a parent, and about having parents, and the weird trauma that comes along with both of those things. Everyone in this movie should go to therapy.

There’s a couple things in this movie that I would be uncomfy watching with my dad – several swears and some sex jokes, but if you’re not a late-sixties man with a purity complex you should be good. And even given that, maybe we’ll watch this one together! It’s a really great movie, pals. And he likes Mark Ruffalo because he was in the Avengers movies; big fan of Bruce Banner in that house. 

Shitty things this movie did not need: There’s a super minor subplot about this guy named Christos who has a scarred face (he is also part of the evil squad) and they call him ugly about it. He actually looks quite nice (Hollywood etc) and also can we not do “scarred facial deformities make a person evil” or “evil people have facial deformities” like?? Get a fucking grip. It’s such a boring and uninteresting shortcut to take in a movie that is otherwise very good and very interesting.

Five stars. It’s exclusively on Netflix.

Christmas Icetastrophe, a movie review

Christmas Icetastrophe, directed by Jonathan Winfrey

Think about your favorite movie. In your opinion, what makes it a great movie? Is it the acting? The storyline? The impression  it left on you? A good movie will have three things: a good story, an overarching theme, and the ability to make you care about its characters. An okay movie has two of these things. A bad movie, such as the movie we will be reviewing today, Christmas Icetastrophe, has one or fewer of these things.

Christmas Icetastrophe, released in 2014 exclusively for the Syfy channel, takes place in the tiny mountain town of Lennox, located somewhere in northern Washington. It is Christmastime, and during the Christmas parade, a meteor hits the town and freezes everything it touches. Santa Claus tries to help somebody and unfortunately flash-freezes to death. It truly is an icetastrophe. Grad student Alex Novak, played by Jennifer Spence, goes to investigate the meteor, but is stopped on her way into town by car trouble. Fortunately, main character Charlie Ratchet, played by Victor Webster, is here to save her, which he does by inviting her into his car and they proceed to try and outrun the flash freeze heading towards them. When they run out of land, they get into a motorboat and race the freeze across a lake. As the movie goes on, Charlie and Alex team up to try and investigate why exactly a meteor is turning the town of Lennox into a second Ice Age. Meanwhile, on the teenager side of things, Charlie’s son, Tim (played by Richard Harmon) and his forbidden love, daughter of the town’s resident robber baron, Marley Crooge (played by Tiera Skovbiye), get lost in the storm and attempt to seek shelter. Subverting classical tropes of cozy Christmas movies, in Christmas Icetastrophe, almost everyone dies. Both Team Adult and Team Teenager have many obstacles in their quest for safety; at one stressful point in the movie, helicopters are sent to rescue both parties, but they are destroyed by sudden spikes of ice rising from the ground. At long last, Alex and Charlie discover that the meteor broke into two parts when it entered the atmosphere and the only way to stop the cataclysmic weather spreading all over the globe is to join the two parts together again. How they came to this conclusion is unclear, because that’s certainly not real science. Tim and Marley’s story is not wrapped up in any satisfying way: there is no conclusion to how their families react to their forbidden love, just that they are alive at the end of the icetastrophe. Has this summary made you care about this movie any more? There are too many plotholes to track and none of this story is believable at all.

Sometimes, a movie with a bad story can be saved by excellent acting. Perhaps that is why the writers collected some of the finest Vancouver has to offer. Richard Harmon is now known for his work on The 100, but he at the time he was probably best known for his role on Continuum as a teenage mass-murderer. In Icetastrophe, he plays a very normal teenager with no depth whatsoever, though he tries his best with what he’s given. His most memorable and convincing line is to his girlfriend, Marley, as they hike down a snow-covered mountain. “If we get there,” he tells her. “It’s hot cocoa for real. I promise.” His girlfriend, played by Tira Skovbiye gives her best as well, screaming and flailing as the script must call for, which is ultimately ineffective against the encroaching ice and the viewer must wonder what on earth she thinks she’s doing, but later Skovbiye will go on to star as the haunting Polly on the CW’s Riverdale, so she really does have talent. Victor Webster and Jennifer Spence are both alumni of Continuum as well, with Spence playing a spy for time travellers and Webster playing one of Vancouver’s two police officers. Spence is exceptional in Continuum and more recently, she does well in the Netflix science fiction drama Travellers, but in Christmas Icetastrophe she talks very fast and her attempt at a reaction to a growing icepocalypse is to look very puzzled and annoyed. Webster plays the same Strong Man cookie cutter character in everything he’s ever been in, including Continuum, with varying degrees of facial hair. It is important to remember that acting often relies as much on directing and a script as much as an actor’s talent; talent alone cannot save a film.

There is nothing to be gained from watching Christmas Icetastrophe besides the passing of two hours and six minutes. There is no moral to be gained that could be applied to your everyday life. It does not show the value of teamwork,  nor does it emphasize the importance of relying on yourself. It starts the metaphor of the Christmas Story by naming some of its characters the same (Marley for Jacob Marley, Tim Rachet for Tiny Time, the Crooges as shoo-ins for the Scrooges, Alex Novak as a ‘new’ character because ‘Novak’ means ‘new’), but fails to go anywhere with this metaphor. Perhaps it could have made a statement about how even forbidden love prevails over giant ice disasters, but Marley and Tim never even kiss on-screen or seem to be anything other than be very good friends. Nor do they ever mention their friends and family who died along the way, nor do they seem affected by it at all. Thus, there is no overarching theme, which would not have saved this terrible movie from being a terrible movie, but would have given me something interesting to write about at least.

In conclusion, Icetastrophe is one of the worst movies ever made. There are no redeeming qualities, unless you like the actors’ other work and an to see them in something incredibly dumb, or if you’re a collector of weather-related disaster movies. It is my favorite movie ever. There’s just no accounting for taste.

the desert

You swim from the afternoon to the evening. It’s not a city known for its beaches, but there is a harbor, and you can get out the beach towels, the sun hats, the big dark glasses. You can sit on the dock and you can watch the water.

You’re better at swimming this time around, and the water is in your ears, and your hair, and you taste salt and seawater. Vildas is here, and you can understand him, abyssal words filtered through to understanding in your pointy ears. You talk about beginnings; when you were growing up in the desert, in the temple. There are no insects in the desert; here in the city, gnats and flies are everywhere, clustering where people are, to leach from them, a closed ecosystem. In the city, it’s short grasses and flies and people, all sorts of people, and an occasional horse. There are rocks, but they’re all hewn and made into something; there are no ancient things here.

At home, there are cave systems — you explain the differences between stalactites and stalagmites, and it’s a little hard navigating between Common and Abyssal here, especially while you’re trying to concentrate on swimming. Rocks all have a story to tell, and you only have to pick one up to learn it. 

Anyone who isn’t looking might think the desert is barren and empty, but you know all of the desert’s rumors. Shifting sands reveal different plants; be careful where you step because you might be smashing a burrow, full of a fennec fox or scorpions. Fifty-fifty, really.  

When the fog passes over the mountains, the nets above the temple take the moisture in, and condense into water that you used to grow your crops, to drink from, to take showers with. A luxury! Cities form around water, around rivers, but in the desert there is only the moon, and the fog over the mountains, and the sand. Cacti are more hydrated than the soil they grow in, and that’s how you learned to live.

Vildas listens to your beginnings, your environment, and tells you, a little haltingly, of his: my city has no name. My beginnings have no name and it takes you a little to realize that it means that — they don’t exist anymore, that they have — died? Disappeared? You don’t know, and it’s not something you want to ask. He talks about an underwater city, of how he got the scar on his face, raised and — You wouldn’t call it ugly. Just — It is a painful memory. But it is not even that anymore — sometimes you take trauma, and you try to sort it out in your mind, turning it over and over again in your head that the edges become worn, until it is less painful. Not that it hurt any less, but that it doesn’t hurt any more. My father has no name: I have my family still. My beginnings have no name: I look toward the future. 

The moon is the same in all the skies. Lights up the desert and the ocean the same. In your temple, there is a — sacred sentence for this, a proverb. “The future is bright, and it is shining, and it is for everyone.” A year ago, you could hardly believe that there were things beyond the desert. Today, you have gotten used to the green, and you yearn for the yellow of the desert. Not everyone is the same, not everything is the same. But there is a kernel of likeness in all of us: all things strive to go forward.

In the desert, storms can be dry; no rain, just lightning and thunder. You see the lightning first; sparks up the sky. And then you wait, measuring your breath, nice and easy. To see how far away the storm is; you can always feel the electricity on your skin, goosebumps sparking to life. In the ocean, the lightning strikes more powerfully: more amperes per strike, more dangerous if you’re on the surface. In the desert, it starts wildfires. But it lights up the sky the same. The moon is the same in every sky. 

Ann Arbor District Library Essay

Have you been to your local library lately? Maybe you don’t think it has very much to offer you. Maybe you’re weighed down by the memory of long-overdue books and library fines. Or you never even got a library card! All you need to get a library card or to erase your library fines is to walk into any of the Ann Arbor District Library’s five branches and talk to a librarian. For those who don’t think there’s much for them at the library, let this essay convince you otherwise.

Our library offers a myriad of events for the public. Just in the next week, there’s Drawing for Adults on Sunday, an ongoing event series where you can try out different styles of art. It’s at the Downtown Library in the Secret Lab from 3pm to 5pm, and the topic is watercolors. Or, if you’re not quite in that age range, you can head over to the Westgate Branch for Preschool Storytime for stories and songs fro 11am to 11:30am, as long as you’re two to five years old and accompanied by an adult. If you or someone you know is learning English as a second language, there’s a conversation group to help you out on Monday, meeting at the Pittsfield branch from 1pm to 2:30pm. Or maybe you’d like to do a craft on Monday — check out Polymer Clay Gnomes at Traverwood. It’s a craft best suited for elementary school students, says its event page, and it’s from 2pm to 3pm. Or there’s Frostings, Icings, Fillings and Glazes with Keegan Rodgers, a hands-on workshop from 7pm to 8:30pm at the downtown library — it’s a craft that you can eat! You can always find a calendar of upcoming events at whatever local library is closest to you, or you can check the constantly-updating aadl.org/events! On the website, events are searchable by location, age range, and type of event. There’s also series of events, such as the Emerging Writer’s Workshop that meets every other Monday at the Westgate branch from 7pm to 9pm, that has been going on for years. There’s computer classes and author events and contests — and the best part is, they’re all free, with supplies provided! 

Everyone knows that you can check out books from the library, but there’s so much more that you can check out at the Ann Arbor District Library. There’s a collection of 3657 free music downloads you can get at the library, for example! The library also has audiobooks — 13358 of them, to be exact, perfect for reading in the car on a long road trip or for when your hands need to do other things than hold a book, or for blind or dyslexic patrons, or people who learn better when they listen. You can also check out art prints from the library — they’re already framed up and ready to go, all you have to provide is the wall to put them on. Choose from 662 different art prints, and if you can’t pick just one, put another on hold. Looking for a little less variety? The library also has 18 different board games available to check out, including giant Jenga, giant  chess and checkers, and a miniature ping-pong table. Do you need a specialized tool to measure something but hate spending money on something you only need to use once? Check out the library’s collection of 276 tools to see if they have it first. They’ve got a thermal leak detector, an energy meter, and an indoor air quality meter to start you off with. AADL’s tools are divided into four categories: art, home, music, and science. Lastly, if you just don’t have space for real books right now, or if you keep losing them and racking up huge library fines, you can check out ebooks and e-audiobooks from the Midwest Collaborative for Library Services — just sign into the website with your library card number and start checking out whatever you like. You can even download books for your Kindle! Or, if you prefer to read on your phone, which is terrible for your eyes but very convenient, you can also download the app Libby for reading — via your ears or your eyes! — on the go. 

Lastly, the library itself provides free study spaces and meeting rooms for people who need to get out of the house or don’t have a quiet place available to them. There’s meeting rooms for study groups at the Downtown and Westgate libraries, and there’s study spaces available at all branches – whether in the main library itself or as sectioned-off spaces in the library. At the Pittsfield branch, there is a big science exhibit in the center of the library explaining how the Bernoulli effect works. There are vending machines at all library branches, and the Westgate library even has Sweetwaters cafe there. There’s computers available for anyone to use at all libraries, all you need is a library card or a guest pass. Or if you’ve got your own device, the Ann Arbor District Library has the fastest internet in town due to its fiber-optic connection, and it’s free! A librarian can help you with a research paper, a job application, or they can just teach you how to use the library.

In conclusion, there’s so many different things that the Ann Arbor District Library can offer you. For some you need a library card, which is free, but for most, you can just show up. There are many different sorts of events for all sorts of people. There are so many different things to check out at the library, so that you are no longer limited to merely books. Additionally, there are many services that the library and your local librarian offers. I hope that this essay has opened your eyes to the many different ways you can use your library!

Trolling Online Thoughts

Why have trolls emerged?  What does their existence say about our culture as we watch, follow and “retweet”?

Trolls have emerged because online, social sanctions that humanity has relied on and developed for centuries, exist less. On the internet, there is a screen of anonymity, as well as less immediately visible consequences for your actions. Trolls themselves might not be the worst, but the way they present themselves online is. Their existence says that we feel freer to take on a persona online, to temporarily step into someone else, because there are no consequences ‘in the real world’. Additionally, trolls invoke ‘shock value’, and occasionally become popular because of their trolling. Which seems like a pretty negative part of our culture.

Milo Yiannopoulous, who was recently banned from Twitter after trolling SNL’s Leslie Jones, made the following statement about the role of trolls on the internet. “The space we’re making for others to be bolder in their speech is some of the most important work being done today.  The trolls are the only people telling the truth.”   Do you agree or disagree?   Use one of the examples from the article in your answer for support.

I think that the space we are making for people to be bolder in their speech is some very important work. The most radical of ideas can only come when people can speak. However, there is a difference between a rape/death threat and saying something like, “Trans people also deserve rights”. It is the responsibility of the moderators of a service to police and sieve out which bold speeches are valid and which should be banned. Saying a that Leslie Jones is a “black dude” and telling your fans to go harass her, is certainly a bold type of speech, that can only be done in a space such as Twitter. But should that space be protected? No.

With freedom of speech being one of the bedrocks of our democratic republic, how do we a nation reconcile and police the borderline hate speech rants of some trolls with one’s right to freedom of speech?  Use one of the examples from the article in your answer for support.

Free speech is the right to express any opinions without censorship from the government. First of all, hate speech is not protected under free speech, and the inability to use and access an internet service such as Twitter or YouTube is not a violation of this amendment, because Twitter and YouTube are not the government. I’m really glad that the article repeatedly refers to Twitter as a ‘service’ rather than a platform. 

What is one of the counter-trolling strategies suggested in the article?  Do you believe it is or can be affective?

One of the strategies as outlined in this article suggests sending messages of kindness to people who are being subjected to trolling. I don’t think that this is very efficient, because the human brain always picks out the things that went wrong or were bad about an experience (in order to avoid making those same ‘mistakes’ in the future). Another counter-trolling measure proposed by Emily May with her service Hollaback!, posts photos of men who harass women on the street in order to name and shame them, is a more effective strategy. I think that people who attend Nazi rallies should be photographed and the internet should publish their names, so that they can be avoided. 

thoughts on Supreme Court judges

The best advantage for supreme court judges is that they are uniquely positioned to defend the constitutions and help overcome the tyranny of the majority. Because they are not elected, just appointed by the Senate, they cannot make decisions based on the wishes of the public; as the right decision is sometimes neither easy nor popular. Federal judges also don’t have to worry about raising campaign money to fund their re-election and to keep their jobs, due to their appointments.

Some disadvantages for supreme court judges being appointed rather than elected is that judges are selected ‘behind closed doors with no accountability’, or so it can feel like to the public. The news following our most recent appointment of judges happened very publicly, although with not much accountability. Life appointments mean that a judge, once elected, decide when their job ends, not anybody else. If a judge is appointed to the Supreme Court, the only way to get rid of them is to impeach them because of those lifetime appointments. Lastly, a disadvantage of having lifetime appointments for Supreme Court judges is that the world changes, and the judges do not change with it.