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Garann Means
Deckhand of Industry
Deckhand of Industry

Garann Means's posts

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Launching our Google+ Page for ConfNotice with +Garann Means and +Chris Williams 

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I'd be interested to hear your opinion on the best way to do a few common things in JavaScript, if you've got a sec:

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Thing I've always suspected, but figured it was just me: dudes who are supporting their SOs are less inclined to take female colleagues seriously, and more inclined to do sexist shit. Yay science I guess who wants to get drunk (h/t @theresaanna)

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This is basically what I hate about internet culture, in a nutshell.

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"After your date, he will drive you home. Maintain your ladylike manners and kindly thank him for a great time. Remember: necking is not what a woman does. If your date does try to kiss you, scream, “GET BENT YOU FUCKER!” and then lolz about it on the internet later that night. It is the only proper thing to do."

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"If you’re from a certain kind of background, you react with some alarm and uncertainty at a high school debate tournament when some Brooks Brothers-clad kid sticks out his hand as though it’s the most natural thing in the world. I mean, really: just like you have to learn to use a fork, at some point someone has to teach you which hand to use. It’s not automatic."

Not new, but I hadn't seen it, and I liked it a lot.

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Maybe cause I've gotten used to this topic in internet "discussions", while I was reading this I kept hearing the voice of some anonymous offended man going, "But why is there no International Men's Day?" This article makes a really interesting answer to that: men have never defined their gender. They've accepted a nonsense, unachievable notion of who they should be, but who decided that? Did they ever get a choice?

Guys seem to revere the men in Mad Men, for example, and women do the same thing. Yet much as we might want to dress up like Joan Holloway, we sure as hell don't want to be raped by our husbands and then lose them to some abstract heroic cause while we're left to raise a kid alone. It makes me assume men only want the dress-up part, too, not the trophy wives they never really speak to or the subtle constant game of chicken with booze and cigarettes. Or maybe they do, I don't know. But reading this made me truly wonder, for the first time, who guys would actually want to be if no one was telling them to be Don Draper or GTFO.
Man, this is so good. So much food for thought here. I want to leave an extended excerpt that stuck with me. There is so much here though, so I encourage you to read the whole thing.


I often tell a story about a conversation I observed in a feminist theory seminar that I participated in about a decade ago. A white woman was explaining to a black woman how their common experience of oppression under patriarchy bound them together as sisters. All women, she explained, had the same experience as women, she said.

The black woman demurred from quick agreement. "When you wake up in the morning and look in the mirror," she asked the white woman, "what do you see?"

"I see a woman," responded the white woman hopefully.

"That's the problem," responded the black woman. "I see a black woman. To me race is visible, because it is how I am not privileged in society. Because you are privileged by race, race is invisible to you. It is a luxury, a privilege not to have to think about race every second of your life."

I groaned, embarrassed. And, as the only man in the room, all eyes turned to me. "When I wake up and look in the mirror," I confessed, "I see a human being. The generic person. As a middle class white man, I have no class, no race and no gender. I'm universally generalizable. I am Everyman."

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This is shameful and insane.

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Damn good point.
I was writing a comment in response to this post by David Flanagan And it turned into this post. I wanted to try and pull out what parts of this post I found "presumptuous and insulting".!/polotek/status/188329891463303169. I apologize in advance because I'm a little incensed still. But I hope it comes across as passion and not aggression.

"Suggestions included "DryConf" and "BouncyCastleConf". These tweets weren't helpful suggestions; they purposefully ignored Ryan's points and were just plain mocking him. By my reading, the first said: "you should go hang out with straightlaced, uncool teetotalers and prohibition advocates". The second said: "if you don't drink then you're a child and should go play children's games". These were just pure social aggression."

This is my primary problem and what really got me steamed. It seems that you and perhaps Ryan chose to totally misread the intention of these suggestions. They are not mocking in the slightest. Instead they seem to show that you still don't get what "The JavaScript Community" is about. The js community is NOT jsconf. It's people. JSConf is perhaps the most famous venue for those people to ge together and meet each other. But it is by no means the only one. txjs is very popular, people meet at SXSW, there are smaller meetups everywhere. ALL of these are part of the community. Not because they asked to be. Not because Chris Williams or some high mucky muck gave them permission. But because those choose to be, and there is no restriction on them doing so.

"Put on your own conference" isn't a blow off. It is an invitation. It is trying to convey the very important idea that anyone can create their own little part of the community that works the way they want. And they will be welcome to do so. Because the community is defined by it's people. The only pre-requisite is javascript. More importantly, I think you will be surprised and delighted that many of the same members of the community will show up. Not because they're trying to placate you, but because they love js and they want to meet anyone else who loves js.

This is the reason why I was disappointed in Ryan's original post, despite the fact it brought up important discussion points. Because the post shouts into the void with a feeling of helplessness. As though there's no way anyone not palling around with the jsconf organizers has any say in what happens there. And that's just false. Chris Williams has made it his full time job to meet js people and create a conference that they will love. It has a lot of elements that he loves, but he is always open to suggestions on what other people would like to see. Even more so than that, he can and does help other people learn how to plan and put on their own conference. Because he recognizes that not everybody's community looks like his particular vision. He wants you to put on your own conference. He'll probably show up, and so will I. Because the javascript community goes wherever the javascript is. But we are bringing our entire selves, not just the part that matches up with everyone else.
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