My name is Catherine Ann Fitzpatrick. I also have a pen name, my avatar name for blogging, Prokofy Neva, who is my avatar in Second Life. These two identities are kept separate to have different channels of communication and conversation, but there is nothing secret about their linkage (so note to those thinking they are somehow harassing me by "outing" this connection: #fail).
I find that my views on Internet policy, protection of intellectual property, the open source software cults, technocommunism, etc. often spark people to begin Google witch-hunting me to see if they can "get something" on me -- perhaps find that I am a member of the Tea Party or some right-wing faction or blog, or that I work for the government, or worse, some intelligence agency, or I'm flaking for some giant media company or the RIAA or that I'm some 1-percenter who is fabulously wealthy. Others who find their way to Encyclopedia Dramatica or my vandalized Wikipedia entry imagine that I might be a crazy cat lady or unemployed or pushing a shopping cart around -- when I'm not busy planning on how to devour my kids.
I'm a registered member of the Democratic Party and voted for Barack Obama in the last election. I might feel as if I have to vote for him again, given the choices on the right so far and the absence of any more centrist Democratic candidate.
Without any sense of whining, I'll simply state frankly that I'm poor -- I'm a single mom of two living in what was once Mitchell Lama housing in New York City, I work as a freelance writer, I have no health insurance or pension or savings. I work hard at a number of jobs and have worked since I first began babysitting at the age of 12. I never got a student loan because I went to school in Canada where the education is subsidized, got a scholarship for high grades, and worked several jobs while going to university. Thanks, Canada! I continue to pay taxes on a bit of Canadian property I have jointly.
My brother and I lost my mother's house to foreclosure because we couldn't afford the mortgage after she died. My mother taught in the inner city school districts for 25 years and was a member of the teacher's union and worked hard for her house.
I don't have any credit cards, having cut them up years ago, and paid off the debts one by one -- I'm still paying installments on several. These credit cards were not filled with fur coats or vacations in France -- they were filled with medical and grocery bills.
I've been unemployed but never fired from jobs -- I have worked nonprofit and city or federally-supported jobs that simply lost their funding -- and had to sell an IRA and then pay whopping taxes on that necessity -- I couldn't collect unemployment as an independent contractor.
While I could write a weepy story on a carboard box flap like any of the sad sacks on wearethe99percent.tumblr.com -- I'm not in any "99 percent" because I don't believe in this silly and even sinister class warfare, as I recognize that the one percent pay 40 percent of the taxes, and leaders like Steve Jobs are in that one percent, and that's ok.
I've marched against nuclear missles and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and Bosnia; against Big Pharma with Bad Karma; against the ayatollas in Iran and the tyrants in Uzbekistan so I don't have a problem with fighting injustice at home or abroad -- I just don't think The Man is responsible for every harm, and that learned helplessness and hysteria about The System is counterproductive.
I like that quote from JFK, "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country."
I'm not in the Tea Party; I don't care for Sarah Palin or Glenn Beck at all -- they are shrill, ideologically hidebound and hateful -- like a lot of people I see on the left, too, like their opposite numbers, Jon Stewart and Glenn Greenwald on Salon.
Nat Hentoff of the Village Voice was someone I often agreed with -- it's too bad there aren't more people like him.
As I've noted, my political grandparents include C.S. Lewis, E.P. Thompson, Andrei Sakharov, Ludmila Alexeyeva, Dorothy Day, Kathleen Norris -- I've also been very much influenced by Aryeh Neier, Victor Navasky and many more. My favourite political magazine is The New Republic.
I'm liberal, but not progressive. I find progressives often to be loathsome in their rigidity and hatred of other perspectives. I want debate; I want pluralism; I want protection of dissent and minority viewpoints -- and I find that often involves protecting dissent against a mainstream liberal status quo that believes itself to be in a minority it really is not in, given its great influence. Fox TV viewers amount to...two million people. I don't watch Fox TV. I don't even have a television.
I don't believe in express trains for liberals and leftists to take power over executive agencies -- pushing concepts like "net neutrality" by fiat through federal communication agencies in defiance of the courts. I believe in checks and balances and separation of powers.
I don't think there is any sort of facile thing going on that "Wall Street" has bought out "our politicians". The Sunlight Foundation and the lefty open source crew and Soros and Katrina vanden Heuvel have as much purchasing power as the Koch brothers in Washington; I don't disapprove of the lobbying system. It's a great thing!
I very much believe in taxes and paying taxes. Boy, do we pay high taxes in New York state, where one in seven in New York City are getting foodstamps. I've never gotten food stamps. I work.
I believe every liberal democratic government has to have a social welfare plan to take care of the needy, the disabled, the elderly. And I think the numbers of immigrants we still get in this country are testimony to just how well that system works, in fact.
I support liberal immigration policy; my children's father was an immigrant and my grandfather was an immigrant.
I don't like Paul Krugman. I view him as inciting hatred of the rich and the establishment while slyly introducing socialist dogma that he pretends not to be inserting into the conversation by nominally advocating for capitalism.
I'm Catholic and I go to church. In my entire lifetime, of going to dozens of churches in various countries, I've only encountered one priest who broke his vow of celibacy with a young adult man. The overwhelming majority of priests, including my professors at college, were wonderful, selfless and hard-working people. I remain daily grateful for the gift of faith given me by my ancestors.
I give to charities like Doctors without Borders.
I criticize communism, because it killed more people than any other ideology in the 19th and 20th centuries -- bar none.
Criticizing communism and condemning mass crimes against humanity isn't "McCarthyism". McCarthy wanted people to be fired from their jobs for their pro-communist sympathies. I don't advocate firing people from their jobs over their beliefs or harming people with different beliefs. I do believe in strenuously debating beliefs that harm other people.
I *do* question why communists or extremists of any kind would get to take over government and education with their ideology representing mass murder and not expect any pushback or pluralism.
I'm very concerned that the only American history textbook my daughter is reading in 11th grade is by avowed Marxist revisionist Eric Foner.
I have a seven different blogs on all different topics here on Typepad, and I like the idea of having different channels on different topics, of being able to put up different Twitter feeds and Amazon favourites and such:
Second Thoughts -- on the virtual world of Second Life and similar worlds like Blue Mars and MMORPGs; on the phenonmenon of technocommunism, new and old media issues, public issues through the lens of social media policies
Wired State -- on governance on the Internet and social media policies; on Gov 2.0 and CivSoc 2.0; on Twitter, Facebook and related platforms; on technology and human rights; on resistance to technocommunism, transhumanism, the Singularity;
Minding Russia -- musings on Russian politics, especially around human rights
OSCE Unbound -- on the 56-member multilateral organization called the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe
United Nations -- mainly on NGOs at the UN; the Durban World Conference and its aftermath; some country issues.
NGO Accountability -- on issues of ethics and morals in the international human rights movement
The Park Bench -- on my neighbourhood in New York City and the NYC school system, which is a morass.
Picnic at the North Pole -- on my favourite author, the 19th-century writer Kathleen Norris.
I always enjoy making a new blog and thinking about the topic, but naturally the velocity of posts starts to die down sooner or later -- and I realize that's an argument for not having one's writing splintered. Even so, I still like the idea of different channels and keeping the topics in separate files. It doesn't matter to me if that harms traffic because I'm here to think, and it's the thinking that comes from writing a blog that is the most important part of blogging to me.
I also don't worry if my posts are long and tl;dr and are wall-o-texts. It's ok. This is the transcript of interior thinking -- again, thinking out loud, and that's how it looks. Sometimes I try to make things shorter as an experiment, but I'm not here to be gawker.com, I write as I please, by the light of my conscience. I don't notice you complaining about Glenn Greenwald's 3,000 word posts.
So far, I've found the Internet with its lateral linking to be unsatisfactory. I think 3D virtual worlds, even a simple one like the Sims Online with it's 2D graphic interface to be compelling and interesting because they provide for deeper immersion in communication and collaboration. I don't view them as escapes from real life, but as an asset to use to communicate deeply and collaborate and interact creatively.
Second Life offers even more of that creativity with its user-generated content that came to TSO only late in its development (it's now closed). I used to have weekly discussions there and have a Council of Virtual Relations which I hope to develop. Lately with my regular jobs of translating and writing, I haven't had the time for these blogs and for Second Life meeting organizing, but it is there to be developed any time. I have a small rentals and content business in SL if you are interested in renting a virtual home or shop (i.e. server space).
When I started this idea of "3dblogger," I actually thought I'd have the time and energy to develop even a community of people to share this with who would enjoy also holding meetings and producing content in 3-D in SL. With the many difficulties and obstacles in SL's development, I haven't gotten there yet; it remains as a possibility.
So I hope to turn 2-D blogging on the Internet to 3-D blogging in interactive immersive discussions groups in the virtual world of Second Life; you read along, and then click and drop down into the virtual world to meet others "on the same page".