It’s only a joke

Helen Blackman: “I’ve noticed increasing resemblances between those who want to shut women up by threatening violence and those who think that running cyclists over is funny. “

Helen Blackman

I get a little confused with my Twitter timeline sometimes. I catch the edge of a debate and someone somewhere is saying ‘I was only joking’ or ‘but it’s my account, I can say what I like’ (although usually at least one word is spelled incorrectly). Given who I follow, this is probably one of two arguments. It’s either an “outspoken” woman who has been threatened with violence, rape or murder, whose respondent has returned the ‘only joking’ defence, or it’s a cyclist pulling someone up on making random threats to cyclists, whose respondent likewise has claimed it was a bit of a joke, honest.

Over the last few days I’ve noticed increasing resemblances between those who want to shut women up by threatening violence and those who think that running cyclists over is funny. Don’t get me wrong. I realise there are substantial differences between what women are threatened…

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In the River

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Hopped in a kayak to take a spin around the rivers. Paddled down the Allegheny into the Ohio. Turned around and saw Pittsburgh from a new perspective. Usually I am beside the river; riding, walking, sitting, drinking, contemplating. From the center of the river, from above the point (Point State Park straight ahead) where the Monongahela and the Allegheny meet, I can see the northside, downtown, Heinz Field, PNC Park, see the cable cars traverse the incline to Mt. Washington, the barges congregating at the river’s edge, mile-long trains coming in and going out simultaneously. Days and weeks have passed punctuated by the river, in the moonlight, in the bright sun, in spite of the storms and on starless evenings. Together, alone, but always beside. In the river, there are bridges ahead and behind, the critical connectors joining the fractured cityscape. Perspective shifts from within the river. It is not the bridges that connect, it is the river itself.

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