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‘It Came From Something Awful’ Suffers From Factual Errors

Posted in Creative Commons, Journalism, and Occupy Wall Street

I don’t write about books often, and usually I stick to good ones, but I feel this needs to be said: “It Came From Something Awful” is a book that, at minimum, needed more fact-checking before publication.

Though the book came out in 2019, author Dale Beran is back in the spotlight because of the January 6, 2021 storming of the U.S. Capitol. Beran is seen as one of the experts on 4chan, and 4chan is seen as a key origin point of What Just Happened ™.

When I dug into the book, I found out this argument represents the first third of it at most, and my problems with the latter chapters make me call the whole thing into question.

Officer-Involved Shootings: How Was The Officer Involved?

Posted in Creative Commons, and Journalism

I found a really stark example this week of how the mainstream media continues to misreport about police killings, or as they too-often call them, “officer-involved shootings.”

I’m not the first one to point out that this is a problem. Experts on journalism discourages the use of vague language like “officer-involved shootings.” So why does the media persist in it?

Again, this happens all the time. I’m only calling out ABC here because it’s so blatant: two contrasting examples from the same 24-hour period. Here’s the first tweet:

Mutual Aid In The Media After The Texas Freeze (Podcast Appearance)

Posted in Audio, Austin, Journalism, and Media

I appeared on a second episode of the It’s Going Down podcast about the Texas Freeze.

The first part of this discussion, published last month, focused on the disaster itself. In the second part the panelists (including myself) discuss how the media, populace and local governments reacted to the mutual aid efforts:

Anyone Can Adopt Any Activist Tactics: A Spencer Sunshine Interview

Posted in Creative Commons, and Journalism

Activists sometimes forget that anyone can use tactics like banner drops, including the fascist far right.

Late in 2020 and in the first days of 2021, I spoke twice to Spencer Sunshine, a researcher of the far right and ways to oppose them. I included “40 Ways To Fight Fascists,” the zine he co-wrote with PopMob, in my Virtual Gonzo Zine Library.

Since Trump’s election, I’ve noticed more American fascists using tactics traditionally associated with leftist activism, like banner drops or wheatpasting. Patriot Front is one of several groups that frequently drops banners, with messages in support of white supremacy, from buildings and overpasses.

Mutual Aid After The Texas Freeze (Podcast Appearance)

Posted in Audio, Austin, and Journalism

I appeared on the It’s Going Down podcast to discuss the climate crisis, mutual aid, and lessons learned from the deadly freeze in Texas during mid-February 2021.

After The Coup Attempt, We’re All ANTIFA Now

Posted in Creative Commons, and Journalism

I keep thinking about the guy at the coup attempt who tried to murder a cop in uniform, because he thought the cop was ANTIFA.

When I think about the fury that the crowd unleashed on that cop, and the ready justification this guy had at hand, it makes me realize that we are all ANTIFA now. When Peter Stager beat Metro cop Michael Fanone with an American flag pole (symbolism, y’all), he wasn’t imagining the cop was “antifa.”

That is, he didn’t consider the police officer to be part of a political tendency loosely organized around opposition to white supremacy, genocide, and dictatorial power. No, he thought the cop was all caps ANTIFA, a much more nebulous, and dangerous category. And every one of us that’s even a little left-of-center can end up in that category, at any time, in 2021.