Convention Harassment Materials

Concerned about potential harassment at a convention you’re helping to run? Want to advocate for better anti-harassment procedures at a conference you’ll be attending? My friends Jeremy and Alex put these materials together (with a little input from yours truly) for Sun Dragon  last year. They got lost in Sun Dragon’s recent website redesign, so I’m posting them here in PDF format:

CON Handling Harassment Complaint – Suggested guidelines for convention staff or volunteers when they are approached by someone who has been harassed.

CON Safety Team Incident Reporting – Suggested procedures for formal reporting of an incident by designated staff.

CON Witnessing an Incident – Advice and suggestions for those who witness harassment–includes common attributes/examples of harassment, What you can say/do to interrupt an active situation, and how to report.

Happy Holidays!

mcsweeneys_imageI have a new column up at McSweeney’s about my family’s annual tree-decorating traditions:

My father designed our family home in Texas with a 12-foot cathedral ceiling in the living room, for the sole purpose of accommodating extra-large Christmas trees. This may sound terribly jolly of him but in fact, the ritual of putting up the Christmas tree at our house did not involve a lot of merriment. It was more a demonstration of faith, consisting of 10% piety and 90% brute force—rather like building Stonehenge or re-taking the Holy Land.

For everyone suffering through some more or less beloved holiday traditions at this time of year, remember that any lessons you learned in childhood can be helpful to you in adulthood–even the lesson was to form new traditions, and let go of the old.

Happy holidays!

Groin Shot Explainer at Jezebel

cqkdhtp7bbi0lj2qv67uI had a piece over at Jezebel recently–something I never really expected to happen given that when my very first McSweeney’s column ran, waaaaaay back in 2009 (!), they didn’t like it much. But Emma Carmichael and Jia Tolentino were a delight to work with, and the finished piece is lushly illustrated with clips from various MMA fights, demonstrating the effects of groin shots on some unlucky fighters.

These days, only Muay Thai fighters strike to the groin—and they only do it in Thailand, where they wear groin protection made from fucking steel. But even armor plating isn’t enough for western sportsmen; in addition to groin protection devices, they shield their balls with every rule, regulation, law, and covenant they can think of. The Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts, for example, list 31 official fouls, with myriad subtle variations on things like kidney strikes (only a foul if you kick with your heel) and elbows (disallowed if striking downward; OK in other directions). And then there’s Item vii: “Groin attacks of any kind.”

 

New(ish) McSweeney’s Column

mcsweeneys_imageI’ve been working on my next McSweeney’s column and realized I forgot to post the last one. Here it is: Control Freaks.

If, in discussing “appropriate” use of force, we reduce every violent police encounter to the moment the first blow is struck, we willfully ignore all the other what-if moments leading up to it, all of which offer much better opportunities for intervention and safe resolution. Shooting bad guys may sound more fun and exciting, but I don’t see why people should die just because our collective attention spans are too short to think about the problem in larger terms.

For the Eye Sees Not Itself

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I have a new post up over at McSweeney’s, wherein I share a little bit of what I’ve learned this summer in my EMT classes:

I’ve spent some happy evenings this summer learning about the zygomatic and sphenoid bones and the maxilla of the face, comparing their most common fracture patterns to the places where my own face has been forcibly reconfigured, and thinking about how I might adjust my own punching technique to increase or decrease damage. EMT training has given me a new way to think about my martial arts and self-defense skills. I feel like a humble Florentine statue cleaner who has finally taken an art appreciation class.