dieselsandwich: A picture of me with purple hair (Default)
Okay so I play an online massively multiplayer game called Ragnarok Online (RO). It's a mythology clusterfuck, admittedly (blends together Norse, Christianity, some Eastern mythos and all sorts of other stuff) but hey, it's a Korean game with cute little chibi characters and monsters that run the gamut between cute and unbelievably creepy, so not so bad. I do kinda dislike that one of the classes is named after a slur for the Rroma people, so I'll just etch that one out.

Well except for the Hydras (tentacle monsters) that attack with tentacles from the ground up. That's just the ridiculous kind of creepy, but I try to ignore stuff like that.

No, see what twigs me is the silly armor for the girl characters. Yeah, sometimes I play guy characters (the guy knights have this ridiculously cool armor, while the girl knights wear... bikini armor. *facepalm*) just to not deal with the silliness. Except that the guy characters' hair is ugly so meh. The silliness goes far beyond just the fact that the women have the most impractical armor I could ever imagine. It goes way beyond that.

You see... well background first. There are melee classes (thief type, sword type, merchant type, ninja type, martial artist type, etc) and then there are range types like the archer and ranged magic types (mage, healer). These various archetypes have a base class (1st job) that goes on to more advanced jobs (gets other skills, better bonuses, looks different). Each base class can split off into two different jobs. You can't go down more than one path though. Once you're on a path, you get stronger jobs down that path. I'll give you a run down:

1: Thieves can do some magicky poison things, and rogues can go ranged with bows, but for the most part these ones are melee)

Thief
----> Rogue ---> Stalker ----> Shadow Chaser
---> Assassin ----> Assassin Cross ----> Guillotine Cross

2: Swordies (actually swordmen/swordwomen) are all melee, even the paladin's spells are up close and personal

Swordie
-----> Knight -----> Lord/Lady Knight -------> Rune Knight
------> Crusader ------> Paladin -------> Royal Guard

3: Acos are a caster class, but the monks turn to melee, they aren't so bad in this entry, although shura goes off the deep end, it makes sense for the design and the guy and the girl have the same clothing reduction. This one is my favorite for that reason. Also, omg insta kill attack that blows away your mana/sp: Asura Strike. It's wild.

Acolyte
-------> Priest/Priestess -----> High Priest/Priestess ------> Archbishop
-------> Monk ------> Champion ------> Shura

4: Archers are a ranged class and their relative nudity stays the same throughout, with one exception. The bard branch off. x_x And holy wow do the dancers go off the deep end with the impractical armor.

Archer
-------> Hunter ------> Sniper ------> Ranger
girl only--> Dancer ----> G. (slur name for Rroma people) ----> Wanderer
guy only--> Bard -----> Clown ------> Minstrel

5: Merchant is the seller and buyer, they get fairly cool skills and one of the lines (the alchemist line) can do some stuff fairly close to magic. But overall these ones are still melee ish and go the same way as the others in this entry. Also, wtf is with the Whitesmith? And why is it more advanced than the blacksmith? I keep on getting the feeling like there's some sort of racism stupidity going on in there. x_x

Merch
----> Alchemist ------> Creator -------> Genetic
-----> Blacksmith -------> Whitesmith -------> Mechanic

6: Magician is the explodie type. Far away and making things die. I always expect the mages to wear something stupid, especially the girl mages because then you aren't dealing with the cognitive dissonance in trying to wrap sex appeal around a character that fights with swords and likely gets stabbed a lot if she doesn't wear good armor.

Mage
-----> Wizard ------> High Wizard --------> Warlock
------> Sage --------> Professor --------> Sorcerer

There's also a few other classes that don't advance much. The martial artist class can go to a caster called a Soul Linker and a melee class called a star gladiator. All of them wear surprisingly large amounts of clothing and are fairly new. The gunslinger doesn't change at all and the girl is wearing an open jacket and a freaking bra underneath. *facepalm* cuz gunslinging requires not wearing a shirt. And the ninja doesn't get new jobs either and is fairly silly dressed as well. But that's the regular old sexism armor stuff in video games, not the extra silly thing here.

Btw I'm not discussing any of the guy characters here. It's all girls.

So basically, the melee classes above, thief, sword, merchant, technically the Dancer too (because whips are up close, just like the Bard's guitar is.) wear clothing that for the most part makes sense. The merchant is fully clothed (if a little frilly and goofy looking) which makes sense for a respected seller of things, the archer is a little underdressed (midriff, but the shorts make sense at least) and the swordie is wearing a sort of battling dress, which is kinda sexist and old fashioned but it is armored so there's that. The thief is a little nonsensical (although it is the agility dodging sort of class) in what is basically a fashonable bra and low slung hip pants, but she's at least wearing pants.

The acolyte is a weird exception, in that she doesn't change much and is fairly demure. Somehow they got sex appeal into the priesties without stripping them half naked, I suppose that's a start, I guess.

The mages on the other hand are basically wearing bikinis, with a loincloth thing that goes off the bottom of it. Yeah. Not practical.

Onward to the second job class!

The knight is a little bit odd, in that she's wearing an armored skirt that isn't quite long enough, but okay the rest of her is covered and armored well. I can live with that. The crusader looks much like the guy crusader, making a nicely equal warrior with his, with the exception of the lower armor robes looking more like a dress. But oh well. The assassin is wearing a bathing suit with cleavage exposed, and a butt cape. Kind of stupid yes, but she is an agility class. Made for speed. The rogue is practically wearing lingerie and high heels, but she is supposed to be the strumpet of the crew I guess (and the guy is looking particularly fab in an open shirt so it's fairly equal I suppose, with him as the guy strumpet). The merchant gets a little ridiculous. The alchemist girl goes the same way as the knight, except that she's got a cleavage slit, so not too bad. But the blacksmith becomes a country girl on par with a Dukes of Hazzard sex symbol. Clinched white t-shirt showing cleavage and cut off jean shorts. This is a freaking melee character? Wtf, mate? The Monk goes pretty well, she's just got an odd little cleavage hole in the front of her frock, which is kinda odd but nothing unsurprising I guess. The dancer is wearing a lot of flimsy clothing, so apparently she's a stripper or something. *shrug*

The mages go the opposite direction. The sage stays mostly the same, still in a bikini, I bit more loincloth though. The wizard actually gets a one piece bathing suit and cape/robe! She's slightly more clothed now!

So, the third job class is where things get... really really really silly.

The Lord/Lady Knight stays stable with the miniskirt bullshit so that's fine. But the freaking Paladin, the ultimate tank of this game? She's wearing a midriff exposing armor. Yes. That's right, a melee character has an exposed midriff. You know what? If you're gonna expose skin, do it like the warriors of old. Go mostly naked, carry a big giant shield and a spear or sword. Like Spartans or something. This? This is just stupid. And okay, I'm attracted to women and all, but that armor? Not attractive. It's stupid. The G. is about the same as the dancer, and that's the last I'll say on that so I don't have to even write the letter of that slur again. The whitesmith is just... wtf? Now she's a cowgirl Dukes of Hazzard Sex symbol, and the shirt covers less of her top if that's even possible. Buh. The creator starts going the sex appeal/stupidity route too but not very far, just with a shorter skirt and slightly more cleavage exposed. The assassin cross breaks the bounds of reason by increasing the size of her cleavage slit in her shirt to levels in which her top is no longer a shirt and more of, "two strips of cloth that barely cover breasts". Good job, designers, I'm still trying to figure out how the hell she doesn't just pop out of that stupid outfit. The stalker's lingerie doesn't change much, gets a little fuzzier in spots and the guy gets more naked, so that's the only one that's making sense so far. The champion is doing fine. The girl gets a smaller cleavage slit, and most of the changes are just designs and extra clothing added on. Most equal out of all of them if you ask me.

Caster types are doing well now. The High Priest stays demure, maybe gets a higher slit in her dress but beyond that, she's still wearing a good amount of garb. And here's where I get confused. The High Wizard's one piece bathing suit becomes a somewhat high skirted dress with an open bodice and a fur coat drapped over her back. She's gone to more clothing. o.O A caster class. Far away from the enemy and she's wearing more stuff. I'm not complaining, but in comparison to the melee classes getting more and more naked up there, this is nonsensical. And then there's the professor, and she's wearing a full dress, with high leg slits, long sleeves (really long, they drape) and no cleavage. That's right, she's wearing a fox scarf and has no cleavage. Holy crap she's actually dressed like she's not porn.

Fourth job class, the newest ones released recently continue the trend of wtf on top of the normal sexism of girl armor vs. guy armor.

Rune knight breaks the trend of not sucking at life for knights and she's now wearing a long jacket with a steel bikini underneath. Okay well that's not fair of me, the bottom of it is more of a boy shorts bathing suit bottom. The top is a bikini top. And giant arm/shoulder armor. Because you know, they'll never stab for the midriff. *facepalm* Oh look, here's the Royal Guard. What was once just an odd exposed midriff is now a complete outright bikini. With a cross. And shoulder armor. *more facepalm* The wanderer is even worse than the rest of the Dancer line, even though her feathery outfit is pretty, it's also completely a bikini now too. Basically feathery underwear. Which sounds weird and chafing and itchy. The Shura breaks the Monk's trend and goes topless. Now, this might be my monk bias speaking, but this actually makes sense. These martial artist types are about the awesomeness of the body and beating things down just by being a badass, no swords, no armor, no shields, no bows. So the girl wearing a strip of fabric over her boobs and the top part pulled down like a jacket tied around her waist (with the old Champion pants on) is fine, mostly because the guy is doing the exact same thing (minus the fabric because guy chests are apparently allowed to be exposed. Bah, sexism). So that one makes sense. But the rest of them are completely stupid. The Guillotine Cross gets ridiculous too. She's wearing a thong now and a super lowcut shirt thingie while the guy is covered from head to toe. The Genetic breaks the trend and goes for exposed midrif and miniskirt as well. (to be fair the guy has exposed midrif too, both with this cool toothy mouth shirt, so I'm not so upset here). The mechanic just gets stupid, going the bikini route (what is with all the bikinis?) and the only one who doesn't go down this path? The Shadow Chaser. She actually gets more clothing, but this doesn't help because the Shadow Chasers get a lot more magical and weird effects, making them less melee and more ranged, befuddlement, and magic users.

For casters, the Archbiship hikes her dress up a bit, but for the most part doesn't expose anything her robe's leg slits didn't expose before. And get this, the wizard goes from miniskirt, bodice and fur coat to.... pants. Yes, she has exposed midriff and a little bit of a lowcut thing over her top but she has sleeves now and PANTS. She's actually wearing significantly more clothing than she was before (also that outfit is so stylish that I honestly think it actually has sex appeal, if they had not made it have exposed midriff? I'd love that outfit, both for wearing and for cuteness). And the Sorceror's dress just gets more fancy. Yes she gets a little bit of cleavage exposure, but the leg slits on the dress get closed off a little and the central part of it widens a lot. Overall, her exposure balances.

If you want to see the outfits yourself, go to this site

So what I'm saying here is that for the most part, the melee classes, the folks that get up close to things and hack at them or whip at them, the ones most likely to get stabbed or jabbed or sliced or beaten, wear less and less armor as they get more advanced (and consequently go up against tougher things that can hurt them more). This in comparison to the far away explodie classes that stay far away and blow things up and therefore can look more fancy and wear less practical things with less problems, who as they advance wear more covering and more armor like clothing. This is silly and stupid.

Of course the whole thing is silly and stupid. Adventurers are not gonna do the sex appeal thing while fighting monsters. They're gonna be armed to the teeth. It doesn't make any sense to fight stuff in a bikini. I mean, come on, I don't even like walking back from the pool in a bikini because cold winds get my stomach and make me go all shiver mode cold brrrr. I'm not going to fight monsters in one. That's just stupid.

Sexism is total ass. Why can't video games be a little less about making nerdy guys more able to masturbate alone in their basements and more about the fun of killing monsters and getting exp/items and getting stronger?

Too bad I'm not going into game design permanently, that it was a one time thing. Cuz I'd work on projects that actually appealed to more than just the horny dude demographic.

Okay, rant over.
dieselsandwich: (pain)
This is unacceptable: http://synecdochic.livejournal.com/361781.html#cutid1

In case you don't like following links, LJ has decided to remove the unspecified option for gender and will require you to fill in either male or female.

This is bigoted. This is wrong. There are people out there who are not male or female. Genderqueer people, androgyne people, neutrois, etcetera. And there are even binary transgender people who may prefer to use unspecified to prevent outing or other issues. Removing this option is destructive, it is transphobic and it is wrong. I can even think of a few reasons why cisgender people would want to unspecify gender on their journal. I am joining in this protest by changing my own gender on my profile to unspecified and by adding to this post the copy of the letter in the post I linked as well as sending it to LJ feedback (with edits to represent my own writing style). Get all the details from synecdochic on any other relevant stuff to this.

My feedback sent to LJ staff:

Dear LJ staff

I, like many others, have recently read
http://community.livejournal.com/changelog/7932846.html and related posts, particularly the part where gender is now a) a required field and b) a binary option. This is not an acceptable way of doing things because gender is not a binary. There are people who do not identity as male or female and such an adjustment of LJ's system will exclude and hurt these people.

Your previous policy on the gender field had been fairly good, not requiring gender specified and not requiring a binary choice meant that you were at least slightly more inclusive to transgender people (genderqueer or otherwise) who did not wish to disclose their gender. You haven't really gone far enough in that you lack an Other option (or even options that cover at least some of the diversity in genderqueer, neutral, mixed and other identities in the transgender community that are not strictly male or female). This has been brought up before and you can read the early history of the "gender_petition" community for details. (
http://community.livejournal.com/gender_petition/38651.html and earlier entries). This change now is even worse of a backward step and is made especially troublesome in the face of repeated assurrances from LJ under both Danga and Six Apart that a). the Gender field would never be a mandatory field to fill out, and b). if it became so, the options would be expanded to include "Other". (http://community.livejournal.com/feedback/9967.html)

A simple interest search on "transgender" or "genderqueer" will illustrate how many people are aware of this issue, and you can review suggestions going back to 2001 (
http://community.livejournal.com/suggestions/36453.html) about it.

Those of the transgender community who do not fit the binary experience discrimination every day when they are forced to identify themselves with the gender binary when it doesn't apply to them. Those of the binary transgender community who for whatever reason cannot afford to go by their preferred pronouns are also often forced to go by their old pronouns, instead of avoiding specification altogether, causing further harm. Please do not contribute to this oppression even more.

Please keep the "Unspecified" option for gender, and add an "Other" option, if you are making the gender field mandatory. Please do not contribute to the suffering of the transgender people who would be affected by this. While I recognize that having a user's gender makes advertisers happier, collecting revenue at the expense of human suffering is not the action of a company I want to do business with.

Sincerely,
Sophia Lafergola


Please protest this. Raise your voices. This will hurt a lot of people who use LJ as a way to discuss with the world what they're going through. Allowing this to happen is not acceptable.
dieselsandwich: (pain)
As many of my friends know, I'm somewhat active (or used to be) on an online forum. The forum deals mostly with anime and video games but it has places for discussions of any topic and has a pretty hefty membership.

In a particular thread about magic use and witchcraft, I had only remained there because of one particular friend. All of my other friends in that thread had either left it, taken left the website or were so inactive that it wasn't worth bothering.

To give some background on this, I'm a member of a reasonably new (maybe 5 years old at most) religion called Etherism (which makes me an Etherist). It's sort of an arbitrary name for it but the basic idea is that the universe is a sort of folded mirror of energy which overall is called The Ether. One side of this fold is the physical or Material Ether. The other side is the metaphysical or Spiritual Ether. They reflect one another mostly without fail, but due to Dual Reflectivism (the concept that two mirrored things reflect each other equally) neither one is simply a reflection, both are real in their own right.

So this means that stuff can get severed from one reflection or another and float about until it realigns with something complex enough to match it. I guess a good way to tie it to something everyone else is familiar with is that realignment is a lot like reincarnation (except that everything can do it, not just us), getting severed ("breaking the mirror") is like death (except that it's based on a reflection undergoing a change too rapid for its dual reflection to catch up, which includes biological death) and realignment is based on energy affinities or resonance.

There's chaotic entropic affinity (matches the Void Aspect) and there's order inducing complexity boosting affinity (matches the "Evolution/Order" Aspect, there isn't a good name for it yet). Those are the most relevant to us and are often put into a positive/negative or good/evil duality. (Should be easy to figure out which is which.)

Etherism's philosophy orientates itself almost entirely around growing as a being, becoming greater but greater in your own right. Being absorbed into another being or working as a group towards elevating just the group doesn't really count towards this and is actually deeply morally abhorrent to Etherism. This includes worship, which is also regarded very negatively by Etherism's philosophy. This includes allowing others (through your own willful inaction) or encouraging others to worship you.

It also orientates itself around Wisdom and Power as well and generally is a very self empowering, self elevating religion. To folks in Christianity, for example, it would be seen as very contrary to their views.

There's a method of magic use called Etheristic Channeling (E.C.), that draws energy from the Ether through you and allows you to intersperse it with your own energies, which in turn allows you to control it as though it were your own energy (this allows you to achieve more than you can do with your energy alone). It often operates based on drawing the energy of beings called Aspects (either through barter, personal deals, friendship, partnership or simply from a nonsentient or inactive source). The Aspects aren't worshiped (and some of the sentient ones actually react pretty violently to being worshiped) and one can also use less powerful and major spirits called Essences. There's usually one Aspect per thing type, force type or energy type. So all Stars would relate to the Star/Radiance Aspect. But there are lots of star and light Essences of varying form and type.

And here is where the problem arises. E. C. is not witchcraft. This being because witchcraft is a collection of traditions that have their roots and heritage in the Western European folk magic practices of older days (don't remember the exact time frame). And a former friend of mine decided that decontextualizing, homogenizing and generally stomping on other cultures is just fine, just as long as a word she uses (improperly) for all magic can be used for all magic in every culture.

It led to a big nasty argument and I decided afterwards to leave the thread permanently and take a break from the site overall.

It just disgusts me how people can be so entitled and so culturocentric as to dismiss every other culture's word for magic use as irrelevant and impose the European and American primary word on them.

Just because it's her word, no joke. She cited her reasons as they understand English and she doesn't understand their languages, so they should use her word. How fucking disgustingly entitled and self centered do you have to be to 1: assume everyone knows your fucking language when English being a trade language does not mean its taught to everyone in a given foreign country and 2: assume that a word that does not properly or appropriately describe the concepts contained within a given magic or religious practice should be used for that practice just because it's easier for you?

There's a reason why I say former friend. I don't stay friends with people that pull this shit. On anything. Religion, personal practices, language, sexuality, race, anything. I won't be friends with an entitled piece of shit that doesn't care about homogenizing and delegitimizing cultures and people.

It's fucked up and people shouldn't do it. Is it so fucking hard to open your eyes and make the effort to research? I don't believe it is.

...o_O

Feb. 18th, 2009 09:08 pm
dieselsandwich: A picture of me with purple hair (Default)
I can't seem to stop shaking. It isn't a bad shaking, although it makes it hard to walk straight, but it isn't terribly pleasant either. I dunno if it's the massage chair being on too long, or anxiety from this awful nasty rough week or too much caffeine or something

But whatever the hell is causing me to shake so much, I'd appreciate it stopping now. Thanks.
dieselsandwich: A picture of me with purple hair (Default)
One of my housemates has been seriously hostile lately. Everything I do is wrong somehow or subject to snarky asinine comment these days. I get why it is. He doesn't like change and things are changing a little. We're not necessarily as close as we used to be and my attention isn't all on him like it was when all of us moved in at first and only had each other.

This is sort of the natural effect of having a partner move in, but his response hasn't been to try to set up more things for us to do. It's to be a hostile ass with me. The worst part is, we even fucking talked about this and he brought up his concerns and worries. I made huge compromises, telling him stuff about me that very few people know so he could know why I'd been so withdrawn and hurting lately.

But still I get the snark. Still I get the insults. Still he's being hostile when I just want to get to fucking school or get through the day. I don't need that shit in my fucking home. This is where I live. It's supposed to be a safe place, not a place where I'm constantly getting verbally attacked because he thinks its funny or is pissed off with me.

I've told him about this shit. I've told him I don't appreciate it and I'm tired of it. I've told him that I didn't like it when we were in the dorms and I don't like it now.

Me and Lee had left out some dishes by accident and we didn't realize they were ours. He showed us that they were and we apologized and handled them. Then he decided to say, "yeah, we aren't your cleanup crew" and I was like, "I'm aware of that, I never asked you to be."

He says he said the comment to explain why he didn't put away our dishes, which is a "what the fuck" moment in and of itself as it's been abundantly fucking clear in this house that people put their own dishes into the sink. I even have a persistent reminder in my calendar program from a previous fucking conversation with him about the dish issue.

And even if that was the way he meant it? It still came off as a hostile verbal poke, after we had fucking apologized and after Lee had cleared the dishes already. It wasn't fucking necessary to further rub our faces in it and that is exactly how I (and I assume Lee, based on the short talk we had before I left for school) saw it.

I ask him why he felt it necessary to fucking poke us after we had apologized and he pulls out this explanation bullshit and proceeds to bitch me out for having a problem with it. It finally ends with him realized that I felt like he was being hostile and a jerk and him pointing out that he doesn't give a shit how I felt about it.

So I basically told him, "fine, you don't give a shit that I think you were a hostile ass for no good reason and you don't give a shit about how I feel. We'll leave it the fuck at that." and I stormed off when he parked the car. I have a class with him in a half hour and I'm still upset.

I dunno. I'm starting to regret moving in with someone like him. I thought he'd be less of an asshole in a living space or that he'd calmed down a little after leaving the dorms. But it seems like his only way to deal with situations he doesn't like is to be a complete douchebag to everyone around him.

I'm fucking tired of it and I'm really wondering sometimes if this is a good place for me to live in.
dieselsandwich: A picture of me with purple hair (Default)
My dreams just keep getting weirder and weirder.

Over the course of the dream I was living in this giant house with an array of strange characters.

A secret agent man who had definitely lost his mind, speaking in gibberish but maintaining that James Bond flair to his manner and his voice (I found him hilariously tragic in dream state o_O). He proceeded to chase down Evil Men with Heart Conditions (EMHC? It is apparently an evil corporation dedicated to destroying the world before stress and poor cardiac health destroys them)

The EMHC man he chased down attempted to fire bullets out of a pen at him and promptly keeled over from a heart attack. He (the gibberish agent) may have had a volkswagon beetle version of Nightrider to chase the EMHCers in too. Must have been embarrassing for poor Nightrider. o_O Yes it was black and yes it had the red computer sweepy thingie. I believe its voice was more high pitched and annoying. o_O

An accident prone young lady with the strangest hat. I believe it changed shape and size as the dream progressed. She possibly may have leant her hat to a terminator unit. Yes. A terminator unit. From the Terminator Movies. No human skin either. Just robot skeleton. He? She? Ze? They? was thrilled to have a wonderful hat. I believe there was robotic dancing. Creepy robotic dancing... o_O

And the best characters of all.

A bunch of friendly and old fashioned little old ladies.

Who rode... multicolored... goats (or sheep, or yaks, it seemed to fluctuate o_O)

When I say multicolored, I mean bright almost prismatic, ridiculously fingerpaint esk colors. Usually blendings of colors close to each other on the color wheel, with one or two complimentary ones thrown in. I can't even remember the exact colors but they may have shifted to. The goats tends to run over the poor accident prone girl with the shifting hat. I always felt dreadfully sorry for her.

The little old ladies were the nicest people though. They were always giving people candy and complimenting me on my maid's outfit.

...yes. I was wearing a maid's outfit. French I believe. Frills and head thingie and everything. People kept asking me where my feather duster was. I sometimes had a broom. I almost want to say that people were calling me Alice, but that would just be absolutely fucking weird, so I won't say that. Even though it may have happened.

My brain is the strangest place I have ever visited. Well no, okay, maybe Lee's brain. >.>

One final O_o for the road:

O_o

dieselsandwich: A picture of me with purple hair (Default)
Oh fuck no.

Not only are they trying to take away the job of my most favorite and best professor, they're also trying to slander her to the academic community at large. This was the woman who gave me my passion to write and the skills to pull it off.

These fuckers try to slander her and fire her. All because she wouldn't play their little bullshit in departmental politics games. Fuck them. It's time to write angry letters.


To whomever it may concern,

           

The first class that I had with Rebecca Housel was Creative Writing: Prose Fiction (0502-452-02 during Spring quarter of 2006). I hadn’t written in a while and had mostly given up on it as something that I could really work with. I took the class because I needed an elective to fill out my quarter not because I expected to gain much.

           

The class, however, was beyond what I had ever expected. Not only did Professor Housel re-invigorate my interest (and later passion) for writing but she also did an amazing job in helping me build the skills I needed to ever have a future in writing. I went on from that class to take Creative: Nonfiction (0502-459-01 during the winter quarter of 2007) with her and learned even more of the necessary skills to write confidently, capably and to get across my ideas in ways people would not only understand but be receptive to. She helped me develop my skills so much that I felt confident in changing my liberal arts concentration from psychology to writing studies. Because I took several literature courses after that and Advanced Creative Writing with Stephen Huff (an excellent teacher in his own right) I now have all the courses I need to obtain a Creative Writing Minor. None of that would be possible without Rebecca Housel.

 

Her class structure builds critical skill and writing skill at the same time. We read over several varied types of literature within the prose fiction category (and within the nonfiction category for the nonfiction class) and wrote a small analysis piece on each of them. This built up my critical skill, allowing me to understand how good writing is done and allowing me to analyze descriptive language, settings, tone, story structure, visualization, dialogue and a host of other important aspects of writing. This capacity in turn helped me to analyze and improve my own writing. Of course one learns the best through practical experience and that was something else we received in great amounts in those classes. We worked on several small projects or one large writing project; building the experience we need from writing ourselves. We even did class critique workshops on each other’s work, further developing critical skill, while seeing analysis and critique of our own work firsthand. This was a necessity in building the skills I needed to be a good writer and a confident one at that.

 

She gave us theory lectures on writing, English and literature and even went in depth on the publishing process and how one goes about getting published. Things like this hadn’t even been touched on in previous writing classes I had experienced or known of and I would have been lost without them as I go on to attempt to publish some of my works now.

 

Professor Housel also gave an encouraging and fertile environment to formulate our own ideas and style, and especially in the nonfiction class, a tolerant and safe environment to write about things that were truly difficult to write about. I was able to open up about one of the most difficult things I have ever dealt with (and still deal with) in my life through writing because of that class. Without that I never would have gained the confidence to be able to write from within and from my own experiences in anything, much less nonfiction. She was available and constantly helpful. We knew we could always go to her with questions, concerns or to ask for some advice and critique on our work. I still trust her as a source on my works even now that I’m writing on my own, outside of classes. She was far more available and helpful than most teachers I had, throughout the entirety of my career as a student.

 

She is a professor that cares about whether her students not only do well in class, but come away from that class having learned something truly beneficial and having gained real skills they need to succeed as writers. When I heard that the English Department of Rochester Institute of Technology was attempting to oust her I was disgusted with them. They could only be so lucky to have even one professor as good as her. They could only be so fortunate to have even one professor that actually cared about her students as much as she did and gave them the skills, experience and knowledge that is so important for not just writing but doing it well. They could only be so lucky to have Rebecca Housel.

 

It is not their loss if they attempt to get rid of her. It is the loss of the students who will lack her knowledge, her experience and her willingness to go the extra one thousand miles to make sure her students gain the confidence, knowledge and experience they need to be writers. I may not be able to change the flimsy and foolish case that her department makes against her using less than ten poor student reviews (knowing full well that they likely had to scrape and search to even find that number) but I will not stand idly by while these English department bureaucrats (who seem to care more for politics than for teaching) attempt to slander her reputation outside of RIT as well.

 

Without Rebecca Housel I would not be a writer at all, much less a good one. Without her I would not have taken those other classes within that same department that seeks to drag her name through the mud. Without her I would not be filling out the paperwork for the Creative Writing Minor with all the requirements already filled by fortunate accident. She is, and I do not exaggerate, the single best professor I have ever had. Better than any of the professors for even my major.

 

Sincerely,

Sophia Lafergola


There may be some editing before I send it. For grammar and whatnot.

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Sophia Lafergola

October 2010

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