Friday, August 31, 2012

Vote No on Marriage Restriction...in Crop Art!

From the Minnesota State Fair:




Wanda Jackson was at the Minnesota State Fair! plus more Fair thoughts

We were thinking the quality of the music might've declined at the fair, and then today, we were looking for a seat and something sounded familiar. An old woman was rocking out on the Leinie's stage. And we stared in awe, because it was Wanda Jackson.

Why kids might know her:



But Emma and I know her 'cause she was the queen of rockabilly:





Today was our last day at the fair, and that was a fine show for it.

Food consumed and recommended:

  • Cream puffs.
  • French fries from the Fresh French Fries stand.
  • A "doubles" from Harry Singh's: chickpeas and roti, nom!
  • Leininkugel's lemon shandy
  • Cheese curds from the "original" curds booth, which may have improved, 'cause we thought they were as good as the Mouth Trap's, which was certainly not the case fifteen years ago.
  • Minne-apple pie with cinnamon ice cream. I thought the ice cream was a little too sweet, but Emma liked it. The pie was very good, but not so good that we'll definitely have it next year.
  • Coffee from Farmer's Union.
  • Emma had more all-the-milk-you-can-drink; I had more honey lemonade.

Mostly, it was a very nice, lazy day. But we've done five days at the fair; I think we'll be content with three or four henceforth.

Today's reasons I'm a socialist: links

From One in Four Mississippi Residents Struggle to Afford Food:
In 15 states, at least one in five Americans say they struggled to afford the food they needed at least once during the past 12 months. Nationwide, 18.2% of Americans so far in 2012 say there have been times when they could not afford the food they needed, on par with the 18.6% who had trouble affording food in 2011.
And more evidence that the rich cheat more than the rest of us: from Harvard Investigates "Unprecedented" Academic Dishonesty Case | News | The Harvard Crimson:
Harvard College’s disciplinary board is investigating nearly half of the 279 students who enrolled in Government 1310: “Introduction to Congress” last spring for allegedly plagiarizing answers or inappropriately collaborating on the class’ final take-home exam.

triggered by trigger warnings online? who has honestly been "triggered" online?

My theory: if you need trigger warnings, you need to stay off the internet. Diagnosed PTSD sufferers function in life without trigger warnings; they learn to recognize what might trigger them or what is triggering them, and they react accordingly.

Are there any real sufferers of PTSD who are triggered by text? If so, wouldn't the trigger warning itself be triggering?

ETA: For some context:

When “Trigger Warning” Lost All Its Meaning | The Awl

The Illusion Of Safety/The Safety Of Illusion - The Rumpus.net

Thursday, August 30, 2012

how to write a book, plus a little about the Minnesota State Fair

I tweeted this yesterday;
How to write a book: write a book.
In other news, there is no other news. Well, Emma and I are going to the State Fair a little too often, which I didn't think was possible, so we'll stop doing that soon.

Coolest freebie at the fair is a collapsible water bottle from AARP in the Education Building.

Best food? Um, all of it? Okay, best macaroons Emma has ever eaten—and Emma may be the premiere macaroon judge—are from the Salty Tart, whose regular bakery is about a mile from us. (Yes, two of the best bakeries in the Twin Cities are within bicycling distance. Life is good.)

Ole's Cannolis in Heritage Square are actually great. The lightly battered cauliflower and new potatoes on a stick nearby are also mighty fine.

The salmon wrap at Giggle's is well worth having again.

The $2.50 breakfast burrito at Tejas was ideal for the one time we managed to get to the fair before 11 am.

I liked the Leininkugel's berry shandy, but the lemon shandy is better, and Summit on a Stick—three samper beers in a paddle—is best. Though the Brau Brothers beers at the tasting in the Ag Building were grand.

Seed art is eternally cool.

The art at the art building is, as usual, much better than it needs to be.

The sky glider ride over the fair grounds is mighty fine.

Bonnie Raitt was great, and so was Mavis Staples.

Volunteering for the ACLU booth was heaps of fun.

All the milk you can drink was as wonderful as I remembered. So was the honey lemonade and the honey ice cream at the Ag Building.

I was mighty fond of O'Gara's battered green beans.

I'm sure I'm forgetting something else I really liked. The only thing that was a bit disappointing were the garlic french fries—there was plenty of garlic, but I would've liked a thicker and darker potato with it.

Well, there may be another post about State Fair love within a few days.

ETA: Deep fried cheese curds! How could I forget? We're traditionalists—we always get them in the Food Building, though I know we should check out the competition.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

volunteering at the ACLU booth


Emma and I at the ACLU booth at the Minnesota State Fair, supporting gay marriage and opposing photo ID voting requirements.

I'm hopeful about Minnesotans voting down the marriage bill—though not confident—but worried about the photo ID bill. It'll take $80,000,000 from the state's general fund—meaning it'll hurt public education, most likely—to solve a problem that doesn't exist. Currently, Minnesota is number one in the nation for voter turnout. If this passes, that claim will go to someone else, because the inevitable consequence of increasing ID requirements is decreasing voter turnout, especially from students, the elderly, and renters, who move more often and therefore are more likely to have out of date IDs.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Dear liberals, please stop appropriating Malcolm X

Liberals like Ta-Nehisi Coates are fond of comparing Barack Obama to Malcolm X. At Coates' blog, I outraged many liberals when I noted:
Malcolm X had very harsh things to say about capitalism and good things to say about socialists. Barack Obama, in many ways, continues the neoliberal policies of his predecessor. In Malcolm X's terms, Obama is a house-- Hmm. Do you have a policy on the n-word here?"
Malcolm opposed colonialism, capitalism, and imperialist wars. The idea that he, a Muslim, would support Obama's wars in the Middle East is something only a liberal could believe.

Coates objected, noting, "Malcolm's Ballot Or The Bullet speech is almost wholly premised on capitalism and an engagement with electoral politics."


Which shows a complete misunderstanding of Malcolm and socialism. Malcolm never advocated initiating violence; he said, "Be peaceful, be courteous, obey the law, respect everyone; but if someone puts his hand on you, send him to the cemetery."
 Marx said, "Democracy is the road to socialism."

As for Malcolm's take on capitalism, here are his words:
It is impossible for capitalism to survive, primarily because the system of capitalism needs some blood to suck. Capitalism used to be like an eagle, but now it’s more like a vulture…. As the nations of the world free themselves, capitalism has less victims, less to suck, and it becomes weaker and weaker. It’s only a matter of time in my opinion before it will collapse completely.
After I quoted some of Malcolm's thoughts on capitalism, imperialism, and foreign war, Coates said:
I thought about quoting from The Ballot Or The Bullet, and decided against it. People who are legitimately curious should read, and listen, to the speech themselves. I'd urge that, instead of playing this kind of game where we seek out quotes to buttress the particular analysis of Malcolm which we like. I'm writing specifically against that--not just for Malcolm X, but for everyone. 
It is, as I've argued before, necromancy and comes from an unwillingness to accept people with all of their wrinkles and complications. It comes from a desire to make history into a comforter under which we so sweetly slumber in our ideology of choice. It's wrong when the neo-Confederates do it. It's wrong when the anti-capitalists do it. 
Malcolm X does not have to be right. That's the whole point.
But if that's the point, what's left? Why cite Malcolm X at all if you don't care whether he was right? Why call on his imagery and ignore his substance? Isn't that precisely what Coates calls necromancy?

But that's apparently why Coates wrote, "Barack Obama reminds me of Malcolm, in his bearing, in his sense of irony, and in the almost epic quality of narrative. But mostly it's in his curiosity about the world, in his deep belief in intelligence and altering your views as evidence presents itself. The great tragedy of Malcolm X's life is how that curiosity was circumscribed and perverted. The great joy of Barack Obama is seeing that curiosity unbounded and rewarded."

Dignity, irony, narrative, curiosity, intelligence, and flexibility are hardly unique to Malcolm. What was unique was what he learned, something the black bourgeoisie, by definition, is incapable of learning: poverty will be racially disproportionate until the world's wealth is shared.

Because bourgeois folks are especially sensitive to words, they were greatly upset over the suggestion Malcolm would use a word that he used:
If the master's house caught on fire, the house Negro would fight harder to put the blaze out than the master would. If the master got sick, the house Negro would say, "What's the matter, boss, we sick?" We sick! He identified himself with his master, more than his master identified with himself. And if you came to the house Negro and said, "Let's run away, let's escape, let's separate," the house Negro would look at you and say, "Man, you crazy. What you mean, separate? Where is there a better house than this? Where can I wear better clothes than this? Where can I eat better food than this?" That was that house Negro. In those days he was called a "house nigger." And that's what we call them today, because we've still got some house niggers running around here.


Here 
are lightly-edited versions of older posts I've made about him:

1. Malcolm or Malik?

People who are obsessed with race like to talk about "Malcolm," because race was Malcolm X's obsession, too. But Malcolm X became El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz. Identity mattered to him, and his changing names reflect his changing thought: Malcolm Little was not Malcolm X, and Malcolm X was not Malik El-Shabazz. Malcolm X believed that race mattered; Malik El-Shabazz believed that humanity did.

Malcolm X said, "Blacks and whites cannot live together and agitation for integration is suicidal."

Malik El-Shabazz said, "The earth's most expensive and pernicious evil is racism, the inability of God's creatures to live as One."

I respect Malcolm X, but I love Malik El-Shabazz.

2. Malcolm X on Afghanistan, I mean, Vietnam

His thoughts on Vietnam apply perfectly to Afghanistan if you substitute Karzai for Diem and the USSR for France. (Killing Diem doesn't apply, but I'm leaving it in 'cause I like the quote.)

Malcolm X in 1965, speaking about the US in Vietnam:
You put the government on the spot when you even mention Vietnam. They feel embarrassed - you notice that?... It's just a trap that they let themselves get into. ... But they're trapped, they can't get out. You notice I said 'they.' They are trapped, They can't get out. If they pour more men in, they'll get deeper. If they pull the men out, it's a defeat. And they should have known that in the first place. France had about 200,000 Frenchmen over there, and the most highly mechanized modern army sitting on this earth. And those little rice farmers ate them up, and their tanks, and everything else. Yes, they did, and France was deeply entrenched, had been there a hundred or more years. Now, if she couldn't stay there and was entrenched, why, you are out of your mind if you think Sam can get in over there. But we're not supposed to say that. If we say that, we're anti-American, or we're seditious, or we're subversive... They put Diem over there. Diem took all their money, all their war equipment and everything else, and got them trapped. Then they killed him. Yes, they killed him, murdered him in cold blood, him and his brother, Madame Nhu's husband, because they were embarrassed. They found out that they had made him strong and he was turning against them... You know, when the puppet starts talking back to the puppeteer, the puppeteer is in bad shape...
3. when reading The Autobiography of Malcolm X...

As Manning Marable notes in The missing Malcolm:
Malcolm did not have access to the final manuscript. He didn’t see it. And it was published nine months after Malcolm’s death. Betty Shabazz was in no shape to check and recheck facts. So all that says to me is you have to read the autobiography very, very carefully, very suspiciously. It’s a wonderful book. It is a great work of literature. But it is a work of literature. It is not an autobiography. It’s a memoir. And it’s gone through the prism of Haley who was a Republican, integrationist, and a defender of U.S. power. 
4. highly recommended

malcolm x - documents > the pierre berton interview

5. My favorite quotes from Brother Malcolm


on equality

"I believe in recognizing every human being as a human being, neither white, black, brown nor red. When you are dealing with humanity as one family, there's no question of integration or intermarriage. It's just one human being marrying another human being, or one human being living around and with another human being."

"The earth's most expensive and pernicious evil is racism, the inability of God's creatures to live as One."

"I, for one, will join in with anyone—I don’t care what color you are—as long as you want to change this miserable condition that exists on this earth."

"It is a time for martyrs now, and if I am to be one, it will be for the cause of brotherhood. That's the only thing that can save this country."

"We must approach the problem as humans first, and whatever else we are second."

"I wish nothing but freedom, justice and equality, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all people."

on the media

"If you're not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing."

on titles

From an interview:
MALCOLM X: I never accept the term "honorable."

BASS: That's a beautiful title.

MALCOLM X: Well, I'll tell you. Most people I've seen really end up misusing it, and I'd rather just be your Brother Malcolm.
on women

"It's noticeable that in these type of societies where they put the woman in a closet and discourage her from getting a sufficient education and don't give her the incentive by allowing her maximum participation in whatever area of the society where she's qualified, they kill her incentive. And killing her incentive, she kills the incentive in her children. And the man himself has no competition so he doesn't develop to his fullest potential."

on respect

"Be peaceful, be courteous, obey the law, respect everyone; but if someone puts his hand on you, send him to the cemetery."

on socialism, capitalism, and colonialism

"I believe that there will be a clash between those who want freedom, justice and equality for everyone and those who want to continue the systems of exploitation. I believe that there will be that kind of clash, but I don’t think that it will be based upon the color of the skin."

"It is impossible for capitalism to survive, primarily because the system of capitalism needs some blood to suck. Capitalism used to be like an eagle, but now it’s more like a vulture…. As the nations of the world free themselves, capitalism has less victims, less to suck, and it becomes weaker and weaker. It’s only a matter of time in my opinion before it will collapse completely."

“Most of the countries that were colonial powers were capitalist countries, and the last bulwark of capitalism today is America. It’s impossible for a white person to believe in capitalism and not believe in racism. You can’t have capitalism without racism. And if you find one and you happen to get that person into conversation and they have a philosophy that makes you sure they don’t have this racism in their outlook, usually they’re socialists or their political philosophy is socialism.”

"Since their own economies, the European economy and the American economy, was based upon their continued influence over the African continent, they had to find some means of staying there. So they used the "friendly" approach. They switched from the old, open colonial, imperialistic approach to the benevolent approach. They came up with some benevolent colonialism, philanthropic colonialism, humanitarianism, or dollarism."

"It is incorrect to classify the revolt of the Negro as simply a racial conflict of black against white, or as a purely American problem. Rather we are today seeing a global rebellion of the oppressed against the oppressor, the exploited against the exploiter."

on racism, regret, and black nationalism
I totally reject Elijah Muhammad's racist philosophy, which he has labeled 'Islam' only to fool and misuse gullible people as he fooled and misused me. But I blame only myself, and no one else for the fool that I was, and the harm that my evangelical foolishness on his behalf has done to others."
And:
I used to define black nationalism as the idea that the black man should control the economy of his community, the politics of his community, and so forth.

But when I was in Africa in May, in Ghana, I was speaking with the Algerian ambassador who is extremely militant and is a revolutionary in the true sense of the word (and has his credentials as such for having carried on a successful revolution against oppression in his country). When I told him that my political, social, and economic philosophy was black nationalism, he asked me very frankly: Well, where did that leave him? Because he was white. He was an African, but he was Algerian, and to all appearances, he was a white man. And he said if I define my objective as the victory of black nationalism, where does that leave him? Where does that leave revolutionaries in Morocco, Egypt, Iraq, Mauritania? So he showed me where I was alienating people who were true revolutionaries dedicated to overturning the system of exploitation that exists on this earth by any means necessary.

So I had to do a lot of thinking and reappraising of my definition of black nationalism. Can we sum up the solution to the problems confronting our people as black nationalism? And if you notice, I haven’t been using the expression for several months. But I still would be hard pressed to give a specific definition of the overall philosophy which I think is necessary for the liberation of the black people in this country....
And:
In the past, yes, I have made sweeping indictments of all white people. I will never be guilty of that again — as I know now that some white people are truly sincere, that some truly are capable of being brotherly toward a black man.

When I speak, I don't speak as a Democrat, or a Republican... I speak as a victim of America's so-called democracy. You and I have never seen democracy; all we've seen is hypocrisy. When we open our eyes today and look around America, we see America not through the eyes of someone who have — who has enjoyed the fruits of Americanism, we see America through the eyes of someone who has been the victim of Americanism. We don't see any American dream; we've experienced only the American nightmare. We haven't benefited from America's democracy; we've only suffered from America's hypocrisy. And the generation that's coming up now can see it and are not afraid to say it.
And, two days before his death, he said:
Leaders like Nasser, Ben Bella, and Nkrumah awakened me to the dangers of racism. I realized racism isn't just a black and white problem. It's brought bloodbaths to about every nation on earth at one time or another.

Brother, remember the time that white college girl came into the restaurant—the one who wanted to help the [Black] Muslims and the whites get together—and I told her there wasn't a ghost of a chance and she went away crying? Well, I've lived to regret that incident. In many parts of the African continent I saw white students helping black people. Something like this kills a lot of argument. I did many things as a [Black] Muslim that I'm sorry for now. I was a zombie then—like all [Black] Muslims—I was hypnotized, pointed in a certain direction and told to march. Well, I guess a man's entitled to make a fool of himself if he's ready to pay the cost. It cost me 12 years.

That was a bad scene, brother. The sickness and madness of those days—I'm glad to be free of them.

Monday, August 27, 2012

What we're doing at the Minnesota State Fair


Emma covers the basics best: Dark Roast - Meet me at the Fair...

We love the State Fair so much.

But we do not love the Republican legislature's ballot measures to restrict voting and marriage rights, so we're doing our little bit to encourage Minnesotans to Vote No 2012.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Saturday, August 25, 2012

how racist am I? on Project Implicit and other tests for racism

For most of my life, I believed the theory that inspired the Avenue Q song, “Everyone’s a little bit racist.”

Then, wondering how racist I was, I took the implicit association test for race at Project Implicit. I was scared. Was I a little racist or a lot? I didn’t think I was extremely racist, but I had been raised “white” in a society that valued whiteness—maybe I was more racist than I suspected.

The result:
Your data suggest a slight automatic preference for African American compared to European American.
That startled me. But when Emma and a white friend from Florida also found they had implicit preferences for African Americans, I realized the notion everyone’s racist is nonsense. Our biases come from our reaction to our culture, not from the culture itself—every culture creates people who want to change it.

Project Implicit debunked the notion that we all favor our own race:
75-80% of self-identified Whites and Asians show an implicit preference for racial White relative to Black.
Saying a majority of whites and Asians have an implicit preference for their race is accurate, but as Project Implicit’s researchers note, an implicit preference may not have a practical effect on the way you treat people. More importantly, people may be less racist than Project Implicit implies. John Tierney’s “In Bias Test, Shades of Gray” notes:
In a series of scathing critiques, some psychologists have argued that this computerized tool, the Implicit Association Test, or I.A.T., has methodological problems and uses arbitrary classifications of bias. If Barack Obama’s victory seemed surprising, these critics say, it’s partly because social scientists helped create the false impression that three-quarters of whites are unconsciously biased against blacks.
Whether Project Implicit or its critics are right, anyone who thinks everyone’s racist has either fallen for an unscientific notion or is projecting on others their recognition of their own racism. Every test of racism that I’ve found rejects the idea that everyone’s racist.

In “Institutional Discrimination, Individual Racism, and Hurricane Katrina”, Kristin Henkel, John Dovidio, and Samuel Gaertner staged an emergency and found:
When white participants believed that they were the only witness [to an accident] they helped both white and black victims very frequently (over 85 percent of the time) and equivalently. There was no evidence of blatant racism. In contrast, when they thought there were other witnesses, they helped black victims only half as often as white victims (38 percent versus 75 percent).
“The Police Officer’s Dilemma” from Stereotyping & Prejudice Research Laboratory at the University of Chicago takes a hard approach to implicit preference. In a video shooter game, you must distinguish between people of different races. Some are innocent. Some hold guns. If you’re too slow to shoot, you’ll be killed. If you’re too fast, you’ll kill innocent people.

On my first try, I shot one or two more innocent dark people than pale ones—whether that’s statistically insignificant or my encounters with SJ warriors had made me a bit racist, I don’t know. The second time, I shot one or two more innocent pale folks than dark ones. I’m content with the result.

In retrospect, it’s no surprise that Project Implicit puts me among the large minority of white people with “a slight automatic preference for African American compared to European American.” I had a lot of reasons to prefer dark faces:

• As a boy in Florida during the civil rights struggle, my first understanding of race was that white people were wrong and black people were right. The white people around me fell into three categories, a small group that was viciously racist, a large group that was casually racist, and a small group that was working to end what W.E.B. Du Bois called white skin privilege. Those of us in the last group were called race traitors and nigger lovers. The names we were given said we were not properly “white.” The people who tried to make us conform, the adults who threatened to burn down my home and the boys who beat me, were all white.

• As a teenager during the Vietnam War, my understanding that the face of evil was white grew stronger. Martin Luther King called it “a white man’s war, a black man’s fight.” Muhammad Ali said, “I am not going 10,000 miles to help murder, kill, and burn other people to simply help continue the domination of white slavemasters over dark people the world over.” Peace marches were usually racially mixed, but counter-protesters were always white.

• As a long-haired kid in a time when long hair was a political statement, I constantly watched out for white people who might jump me. Once when I was bicycling, someone yelled “hippie!” and a Coke bottle narrowly missed my head. The thrower was white.

• I’ve always preferred multicultural neighborhoods. When I lived in New York in the late ‘70s, I preferred the West Side to the East because it was less white. During those years, I changed planes in Toronto once and was uncomfortable for several hours without understanding why. When a First Nations family boarded the plane, I knew the reason. Until then, everyone I had seen was white.

• My lovers have included African American and American Indian women. For men who use women, that means nothing, but when I call them lovers, I mean that if my life had gone differently, I might still be with them today. I’ve always been attracted to dark-haired and dark-skinned women and indifferent to blondes for reasons I don’t know. The heart and the eye will seek what they seek.

But it’s possible I’m looking for more dramatic reasons than necessary to explain why I prefer people with dark skin. Emma and my Florida friend had less extreme histories with race than I did. Yair Bar-Haim of Tel-Aviv University led a study that found babies raised around a single race commonly develop a preference for faces like the ones they know, but “babies raised with frequent exposure to people of other races don’t develop this early bias.”

What other factors make people prefer other races or have no preference, I don’t know, but they clearly exist: Project Implicit’s people who don’t prefer their own race includes people who grew up in neighborhoods that were mostly people like them.

Perhaps a saying like “everyone’s racist” is only a saying.  Few generalizations about humans explain us all.

Friday, August 24, 2012

was I raped twice?

George Galloway said about the charges against Assange, "Even taken at its worst, if the allegations made by these two women were true, 100 per cent true, and even if a camera in the room captured them, they don't constitute rape. Not everybody needs to be asked prior to each insertion. Some people believe that when you go to bed with somebody, take off your clothes, and have sex with them and then fall asleep, you're already in the sex game with them. It might be really bad manners not to have tapped her on the shoulder and said, "do you mind if I do it again?". It might be really sordid and bad sexual etiquette, but whatever else it is, it is not rape."

Apologies to two groups before I continue:

1. Some of you will consider this Too Much Sharing. I am a private person by nature; I don't think my blog has ever before had anything about my sex life.

2. Some of you will think I am making light of rape when I criticize the way it is handled by a subset of people who look to the law to solve all problems. Saying I'm making light of rape here would be like saying I make light of murder when I criticize the death penalty.

When I was in college, a girlfriend woke me with a blowjob. It was initially more odd than erotic, a bit disorienting, but when I realized what was happening, to paraphrase the transcript of one charge against Assange, I let her continue. By the standards of those who say consent must be obtained before each act of sex, I was raped.

A few years later, I got drunk at a party and had sex with a woman who was hitting on me. I wouldn't have let her have her way with me if I hadn't been too drunk to consider the consequences.

The Center for Disease Control's The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS) claims,
Nearly 1 in 5 women (18.3%) and 1 in 71 men (1.4%) in the United States have been raped at some time in their lives, including completed forced penetration, attempted forced penetration, or alcohol/drug facilitated completed penetration.
Does "alcohol/drug faciliated completed penetration" mean that people who are high cannot consent? Or is it only referring to people who are unable to consent because they're unconscious or unable to indicate consent in a meaningful way?

And is it useful to call an attempted rape a rape? Is an attempted murder a murder? This isn't to say that attempting rape or murder aren't also horrible, but justice systems separate uncompleted murder from murder when compiling murder statistics. For most crimes, degree and intent matter, as categories like manslaughter, battery, and assault indicate.

Perhaps the greatest flaw in the CDC survey is that it excludes prisons. From n+1: Raise the Crime Rate: "prison rape accounted for the majority of all rapes committed in the US in 2008, likely making the United States the first country in the history of the world to count more rapes for men than for women."

But when you read the report with its limitations in mind, it's fascinating. For example:
More than 1 in 3 women (35.6%) and more than 1 in 4 men (28.5%) in the United States have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
Conservatives argue that the CDC's methodology is seriously flawed. See Researching the "Rape Culture" of America by Dr. Christina Hoff Sommers  and Re: Sexual Assault and College - By Robert VerBruggen. They prefer the Bureau of Justice Statistics for Rape And Sexual Assault.

Whatever you think of their politics, remember that conservatives are not arguing for lighter standards or punishment for rape—VerBruggen thinks it should be a capital offense. They're only arguing for accuracy.


Mind you, the inaccuracy is very useful for deflecting the argument from "Should Assange risk being deported to the US?" to "Is Assange a rapist?"

ETA: What Counts As Rape in the CDC's Survey? - Hit & Run : Reason.com: "The relevant question asked: ""When you were drunk, high, drugged, or passed out and unable to consent, how many people ever" "had vaginal sex with you," "made you receive anal sex," or "made you perform oral sex." Eight percent of women reported at least one such incident. Some of these cases—e.g., when a man has sex with a woman who is unconscious—clearly do amount to rape, but others are much more ambiguous. People frequently have sex after drinking or consuming other drugs. Does that automatically mean they are "unable to consent," even when they seem willing? Only sometimes? How do you know when? Can the determination be made at the time of the encounter, or only in restrospect?"

ETA 2: A useful reminder of what happened from Britain’s Socialist Workers Party and Socialist Party back extradition of Assange:
The police statements made by the women make no reference to a stated lack of consent or threat of force and refer to a split condom, rather than a failure to use one. The testimony regarding Miss W (plaintiff two) being asleep is contradicted by her own tweets—referring as they do to being only “half-asleep.” Plaintiff one had thrown a party for Assange after the alleged incident of sexual assault against her and invited Assange to stay in her room afterwards.

The women had initially gone to the police after conferring with one another, but then only to insist that Assange take an HIV test, which, in an extraordinary breach of standard procedure, the police did. The women did not allege rape.

That is why the initial investigation of August 20, 2010 was dropped and an arrest warrant against Assange cancelled the next day by one of Stockholm’s chief prosecutors, Eva Finne, who said in a statement to the press: “I don’t think there is reason to suspect that he has committed rape.”

The reissue of the warrant took place only after the intervention of Swedish Chief Prosecutor Marianne Ny on September 1, 2010.

Under normal circumstances, such flimsy and unsubstantiated allegations would not be considered the basis for criminal charges, especially after the two women were allowed to confer and give evidence together by the police. But these are not normal circumstances.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

on "nigger" and "niggerlover" and "n-word"

This is another grabbag of old posts on a theme, inspired in part by the kerfuffle over Weird Tales and Save the Pearls. The most sensible post about it that I've seen is The World in the Satin Bag: The Weird Tales / Save the Pearls Fiasco: Preliminary Reactions.

• defining "nigger"

“If you define 'niggers' as someone whose lifestyle is defined by others, whose opportunities are defined by others, whose role in society are defined by others, then Good News! You don't have to be black to be a 'nigger' in this society. Most of the people in America are 'niggers'.” —Ron Dellums, co-founder and chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus.

• Henry Louis Gates, Jr. on speech codes

from Presidential Lectures: Henry Louis Gates, Jr.: Commentary: J. Slaughter:
People do bad things, things they know that are bad, for what they feel at the moment were good reasons. One is to institute speech codes. Trample all over the First Amendment, the right of free speech, because we decide that using certain language hurts our fellow human beings--it demeans their humanity. While that might seem like a good idea, the long-term consequences on the right to free expression are far greater than whatever immediate hurt or pain a woman would feel for being called a bitch or a black would feel for being called a nigger. If we're talking about actual physical harm, laws against that exist already. It's not worth it to me to assuage the pain by killing off the First Amendment.
Speech codes are symbolic acts. They let a group of people say, 'This symbolizes that we at the University of Wisconsin are not the sort of community where we would tolerate someone saying the word 'rigger.'' Well, big deal. But there are other symbolic consequences, like what's the effect on freedom of inquiry. I think we're all bigger and more secure than that. I think we have to allow people to say even unpopular things and nasty things in order to protect the right of us to attack our government and say whatever's on our minds.
• "No’m. Killed a nigger."

What happens in a novel does not necessarily represent a writer’s belief.* Some people misread Huckleberry Finn because it uses “nigger” and has this scathing bit of dialogue that demonstrates the thorough racism of the South at the height of US slavery:
“We blowed out a cylinder-head.”
“Good gracious! anybody hurt?”
“No’m. Killed a nigger.”
“Well, it’s lucky; because sometimes people do get hurt.”
Huckleberry Finn is the story of a boy learning that “niggers” are people. Some anti-racists demand that it not be taught in school and call for its removal from libraries because it is “racist.” It is not racist. It is challenging.

* There must be a lit'ry term for this, but it's escaping me at the moment.

• about The Nigger of the Narcissus

At Sea with the N-Word by Mikita Brottman: "I don’t know how The N-Word of the Narcissus is selling, but the radical change of title does seem to be a pointless move. If the book’s original name is considered too offensive to use, then why not simply publish it under the alternative title Conrad chose for it, The Children of the Sea? As a matter of fact, this is how the novel was first issued in the U.S. because the publisher, Dodd, Mead and Company, felt no one would be interested in a book with the word “nigger” in its title. Did the US publishers display a racial sensitivity that was ahead of their time? Hardly. They simply thought that a book about a black man couldn’t possibly sell."

• Louis CK on bad words

Louis C.K - Cunt & Nigger - YouTube

The first two minutes are about "cunt." They're amusing. At two minutes in, he talks about "the n-word." No, not about "nigger." About "the n-word." I agree 100%.

• Boss Nigger, a blaxploitation film written and co-produced by its star, Fred Williamson

Boss Nigger - Wikipedia

Boss Nigger trailer:


• a reluctant defense of Laura Schlessinger

I don't like the woman any more than anyone left of Jerry Falwell does, but let's be clear: She didn't call anyone a "nigger." She merely observed that the word is often used in some places and taboo in others. If she had said, "Turn on HBO and and all you hear is motherfucker, motherfucker, motherfucker..." would there be this much outrage? If anything, progressives would defend her, because the right to speak taboo words was once a free speech issue.

As Lenny Bruce knew too well. Amusingly, the first video I could find of his famous routine is from the movie about his life, so here's Dustin Hoffman:



If anyone has any evidence that making words forbidden improves people's attitudes about race, please let me know. This seems to be another issue of faith by Critical Race Theorists.

• Patti Smith - "Rock and Roll Nigger'



The comments at youtube (when I read them) are surprisingly insightful: Patti Smith "Rock n' Roll nigger". Maybe my favorites:
My friend worked at a hotel kitchen, and was playing this song on the kitchen boom box. The manager told him to turn if off because it sounded racist, so Matt got all the black people in the kitchen together, told them the lyrics and philosophy behind the song, and asked the brothers, "Is this racist?" There was a unanimous, "No."

[They then said, "You want to end racism in the workplace? Why are all the dishwashers black, and all the cooks white?"]
And:
It's unfortunate that the Afro-American movement didn't make "nigger" an honorific as the Gay movement made "queer"--i.e., "Queer Studies," the queer vision.
• "Woman is the Nigger of the World" - John Lennon



This version starts with Dick Cavett interviewing Lennon:



• Chris Rock, classist creep



YouTube - Chris Rock-Niggas Vs. Black People Pt 1

He focuses on poor blacks for most of this, then gets to poor whites at the end. It's fascinating that he saw, in a raw, despise-the-poor way, the class divide that has 40% of black Americans saying there are now two black races.

Note the venue. The only poor folks in there were either showing the people who could afford those tickets to their seats or waiting to clean up after the audience had left. Now, Rock is funny. But his humor here is all about class rage.

I was reminded of his routine by David Mills: The 'Nigger' Top 10.

• on Leadbelly's "Bourgeois Blues" and the Bowdlers of the world

From Wikipedia: "In all but the earliest recording of the song, the original line "Some white folk in Washington / they know just how, call a colored man a nigger just to see him bow" was altered to "give a colored man a nickel just to see him bow", presumably to avoid causing offense." In another place, Leadbelly says he heard a white man saying he didn't want a "Negro" around.



In Ry Cooder's version, Cooder uses "nigger" in both places on the grounds that's how Leadbelly wrote it.



A modern Reverend Bowdler would say the word's too racist to repeat, especially by a white guy, and should be changed to something nicer. After all, didn't Leadbelly change it?

Yes. Leadbelly changed it for middle-class folks who value words more than reality. My biggest complaint with the Bowdlers of the world  is they don't respect art. Some things are supposed to shock.  Words have power—that's why the Bowdlers want to control them. Cooder, singing the original words, hits the audience harder than Leadbelly does when he pulls his punches.

Mind you, I'm not criticizing Leadbelly. A black recording artist in the 1930s had hard, hard choices.

• You can call me Niggerlover

A social justice warrior once asked me not to call her "Dude," and then called me "William", which no one has ever done. I said I preferred "Will" or "Shetterly" or "Your Awesomeness." But I forgot to add that "Niggerlover" is fine, too. That's what racists called me when they beat me back during the civil rights struggle, so I earned it with blood. And after taking the race test at Project Implicit, I found I'm in the surprisingly large minority of white people who have an implicit preference for black folks, so it's very accurate.

Hmm. Which makes it a little surprising that I ended up with a white woman. There is a black woman in my romantic history who I often wished I could see again.

But then, there was a black guy who never knew Emma had a crush on him. Maybe her crush and mine are very happy together now, but once in a while, they think wistfully of us....

Let's end with some James Brown:



"Said the long hair hippies and the afro blacks
They all get together across the tracks
And they party..."

I started this post wanting to write something profound about insults and love, because I've always thought "niggerlover" was a bizarre insult in an ostensibly Christian culture. But I just wasn't in the mood for serious.

Monday, August 20, 2012

this is the method of the enemy

The title's another popular search string for this blog, so:



WWII-era poster via Vagabond Scholar: Torture Versus Freedom

It's funny (not) how liberals have stopped talking about torture since Obama took over. But if you think it's gone away because he changed the regulations, here're a few of the results of a very quick googling:

At Guantanamo tribunals, don't mention the 'T' word - US news - NBCNews.com

Obama Administration Outsources Torture: Can U.S. Ever End Human Rights Abuses?

Obama sued over indefinite detention and torture of Americans act — RT

Chomsky: Bush kidnapped and tortured, Obama murders | The Raw Story

you want some Gahan Wilson?

Gahan Wilson searchers come to my blog. I've been a fan of his work most of my life, but so far as I know, there are only two reasons Google connects him to me: he did a sweet review of Dogland (alas, not on the web), and I once shared a cartoon that I found at Chris McLaren: Bachelors, Playboy, Cartoons.

Be sure to visit the Gahan Wilson Virtual Museum.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

quotes for writers

"A writer is a person for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people." —Thomas Mann

“The faster I write the better my output. If I’m going slow I’m in trouble. It means I’m pushing the words instead of being pulled by them.” — Raymond Chandler

"Beauty is the purgation of superfluities." —Michelangelo Buonarroti

"Throw your heart into the picture and then jump in after it." —Howard Pyle

'A movie, I think, is really only four or five moments between two people; the rest of it exists to give those moments their impact and resonance. The script exists for that. Everything does.' — Robert Towne

"Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way." —E.L. Doctorow

"Planning to write is not writing. Outlining, researching, talking to people about what you're doing, none of that is writing. Writing is writing." —E.L. Doctorow

"You know you've achieved perfection in design, not when you have nothing more to add, but when you have nothing more to take away." —Antoine de Saint-Exupery

"People who lean on logic and philosophy and rational exposition end by starving the best part of the mind." —William Butler Yeats

"Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self." —Cyril Connolly

"Creativity has much to do with experience, observation, and imagination, and if any one of those elements is missing, it doesn't work… Lest we forget, while you're writing, you're not living. What do they call it? Splendid isolation? I don't find it that splendid." —Bob Dylan

"When I am writing a novel I must actually live the lives of my characters. If, for instance, my hero is a gambler on the French Riviera, I make myself pack up and go to Cannes or Nice, willy nilly, and there throw myself into the gay life of the gambling set until I really feel that I am Paul De Lacroix, Ed Whelan, or whatever my hero’s name is. Of course this runs into money, and I am quite likely to have to change my ideas about my hero entirely and make him a bum on a tramp steamer working his way back to America, or a young college boy out of funds who lives by his wits until his friends at home send him a hundred and ten dollars. . . This actually living the lives of my characters takes up quite a lot of time and makes it a little difficult to write anything. It was not until I decided to tell stories about old men who just sit in their rooms and shell walnuts that I ever got around to doing any work." —Robert Benchley

about rape in fantasy and fact

I've never written a rape scene and never expect to. Here's why:

1. In fantastic literature, metaphors are literal. Magic is both a plot device and a symbol of power or mystery. Benevolent supernatural elements are inherently a comment on what it means to try to be our best selves; magical opposing forces are always about the struggle we face in our everyday lives, which we must overcome or endure.

So fantasy, whether set in an imaginary land or in a world like ours with monsters or super-humans, suffers from a failure of imagination when a story has a rape scene. Fantasists have so many other ways to write about violence and domination that choosing rape simply seems lazy.

Mind you, this point is exclusively about my preferred genre, fantastic literature. If a story is supposed to be realistic—which includes science fiction, because most science fiction pretends to be realistic—or some form of erotica, different concerns apply.

And, yes, this is especially tricky if you're trying to write realistic fantasy. Art is always ultimately subjective, so if things that seem gratuitous and simple-minded to me—like the rape of Sue Dibney and Red Sonja getting her power after being raped—work for you, well, I don't like ketchup, and I'll tell you why, but I won't think less of you for your preference, so long as you're not trying to force it on anyone else.

2. The best stories are about characters, about motives and consequences. Rape is fundamentally about dominance, but a rape scene is also a sex scene, and sex scenes rarely serve a story because the plot rarely changes during a sex scene. If I ever have an idea that calls for a rape scene, I would probably write about the lead-up and the result, but not the rape itself.

I'm not arguing for prudishness here. I approve of sex scenes that serve the story—cunnilingus in my novel Chimera is a plot point.

3. Rape is on the short list of worst things humans can do. Like killing children or pets, it offends many people, which does not mean it should never be the subject of a story, but does mean that if you care about writing well, you must be able to explain why a story requires a rape scene.


*

Some of my older posts about rape:

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Over 100 Black Female Superheroes!

(Yes, I'm once again pandering to popular search items for this blog. People want black female superheroes, so I'm delighted to deliver.)

It's not my best work, but I'll always be proud of writing Captain Confederacy, the first black female superhero to have her own series* from a major publisher, Marvel's Epic division:


I forget how I came across the following fanvids, but discovering that Captain Confederacy is included makes me feel right chuffed.







Here's an interview about my comics: SHETTERLY CAPTAIN CONFEDERACY & CHARITY


It probably will never happen, but I'd love to do more with those revamped public domain characters someday.

And here's an interview with Vince Stone (‘Captain Confederacy’ artist) | staplegenius.com(ics): "Lessons learned from Star Trek? Be open to different experiences, be tolerant of others and if that doesn’t work – launch photon torpedoes!"

* Marvel's Monica Rambeau, their second Captain Marvel, was the first black female superhero who had her own comic from a major publisher, but it was a one-shot special issue released to secure Marvel's trademark on the name:


Still, she should've been in the Avengers movie. Just sayin'.

ETA: Strange factoid: two of the first black female superheroes were sound-alikes, Bufferfly and Bumblebee.

Tony Babino - L'Internationale

YouTube - Tony Babino - L'Internationale:

socialist bible verse: Ezekiel 18:16-17

He does not oppress anyone
or require a pledge for a loan.
He does not commit robbery
but gives his food to the hungry
and provides clothing for the naked.
He withholds his hand from sin
and takes no usury or excessive interest.
He keeps my laws and follows my decrees.
He will not die for his father’s sin; he will surely live.

—Ezekiel 18:16-17 (NIV)

Brother Will says: Ezekiel 18 explicitly states that children aren't responsible for their parents' sins. Here's line 20: "The son will not share the guilt of the father, nor will the father share the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous man will be credited to him, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against him."

But I'm focusing on 16 and 17, 'cause it's stressing that socialist kids aren't responsible for what their capitalist parents did.

my Julian Assange FAQ

Britain’s Assange overreach at Salon.com, the best short summary of the Julian Assange drama I've seen, inspired me to assemble my links and thoughts about Assange:

Reporters Without Borders or Without Scruples?

I always thought Reporters Without Borders was a wonderful thing, because, you know, free speech! free press! Then I did some research. From Reporters Without Borders - SourceWatch:
Robert Menard, the Secretary General of RSF, was forced to confess that RSF's budget was primarily provided by "US organizations strictly linked with US foreign policy" (Thibodeau, La Presse).
Doctors Without Borders has a wonderful name; they came up with it in 1971. Flashforward to 1985 when the unrelated group, Reporters Without Borders, was formed to— Well, the official story is to fight censorship, but if you follow the principle of "follow the money," the answer is different. Their paymasters were the National Endowment for Democracy, the darling of neoconservatives everywhere.

National Endowment for Democracy: should be "for Dollars" or "versus Democracy"

"A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA." —Allen Weinstein, first acting president of the NED (from a 1991 Washington Post interview)

Anyone writing honestly about the National Endowment for Democracy, aka the NED, has to invoke Orwell, because the NED has promoted democracy by funding coups against democratically-elected governments around the world. They've been denounced by conservatives—see Loose Cannon: The National Endowment for Democracy by Barbara Conry at the Cato Institute and Ron Paul's National Endowment for Democracy: Paying to Make Enemies of America—and leftists who note the NED and one of its associated agencies, USAID:

  • Funded and sponsored Venezuelan NGOs that participated in the 2002 attempted Coup d'√©tat against Venezuela's democratically elected President Hugo Chavez;
  • Funded, convened, and founded the organizations behind the coup against the democratically-elected government of Aristide in Haiti;
  • Funded political parties, acted to buy elections and financed the over-throw of democratically-elected governments in Nicaragua, El Salvador, Bulgaria, and numerous other countries around the world;
  • In 2004, the NED doubled its operating budget to finance projects aimed at maintaining the occupation of Iraq.

Just Detention International: end prison rape of adults and children

Just Detention International should especially be supported by Americans, because the US imprisons more of its citizens than any other nation. "Every year well over 200,000 adults and children in U.S. detention are sexually abused. In most cases, the perpetrators are corrections staff -- officials whose very job it is to keep inmates safe."

Their mission: "Just Detention International (JDI) is a human rights organization that seeks to end sexual abuse in all forms of detention. JDI is concerned about the safety and well-being of all detainees, including those held in adult prisons and jails, juvenile facilities, immigration detention centers, and police lock-ups, whether run by government agencies or by private corporations on behalf of the government. JDI has three core goals for its work: to ensure government accountability for prisoner rape; to transform ill-informed public attitudes about sexual violence in detention; and to promote access to resources for those who have survived this form of abuse."

Charity Navigator Rating gives Just Detention International a 4-star rating.

Related:

Right Wing Group: Protections To Prevent Prison Rape Are Too 'Costly' And 'Heavy-Handed' | ThinkProgress

Is the US the only country where more men are raped than women? | Jill Filipovic | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk

Friday, August 17, 2012

how to convince people to support gay marriage

Minnesotans will be voting this fall on whether to amend the constitution to define marriage as "between a man and a woman". To do our bit to defeat that, Emma and I are volunteering at the ACLU  booth at the Minnesota State Fair. We just attended a training session where they made an important point: most of the arguments that are convincing to the supporters of gay marriage are not convincing to swing voters.

Nerds and wonks like me get obsessed with facts and principles, but if you don't already think this is an equal rights issue, being told that it is one won't sway you.

What sways people is making it personal. Don't focus on the legal aspects. Focus on the human side of marriage. If you're gay, talk about wanting to be able to make a public commitment to someone you love. If you're not gay, talk about gay friends or relatives who have married or who want to marry. Ask the other person if they know openly gay people—most Americans do—and ask if they've talked with them about whether they would like to be able to marry the person they love.

If you're on the left and you're talking to someone on the right, don't assume they're opposed to gay marriage. Neither of the major parties has taken a position on gay marriage, and its supporters include the Log Cabin Republicans. Politics are irrelevant in this issue. Love is what matters.

One way to support the right to marry is to support the ACLU. They have a four-star rating at Charity Navigator Rating: American Civil Liberties Union Foundation.

See also: Debunking marriage myths :: ACLU of Minnesota

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Dear Social Justice Warriors who cite Ruby Payne

Social Justice Warriors: Do Not Engage: Dear Social Justice Warriors who cite Ruby Payne

socialist bible verse of the day: Ecclesiastes 3:13

"And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God." —Ecclesiastes 3:13(KJV)

Brother Will sez: That ain't saying your boss should enjoy the good of your labor. There's no room there for anyone to profit off your work.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

social justice vs. socialism, or diversity vs. division

I have two questions about "social justice":

1. Why qualify "justice"?

2. Who benefits when justice is qualified?

Those questions rose when I saw four things:

1. "Social justice" is used by children of privilege, graduates of the US's most expensive private schools.

2. Social justice activists talk in quasi-religious terms about making a better world, but when you ask for their solutions, they only offer bourgeoisie oblige, the notion that the powerful should be generous toward people who are not white, male, heterosexual, Christian, able-bodied, upper-class, etc.

3. Social justice activists see infinitely divisible identity groups in conflict—people of color vs. white people, women vs. men, straight folks vs. gay folks, the transgendered vs. the cisgendered, the disabled vs. the physically or mentally able, etc. Socialists see sisters and brothers in the human family.

4. Social justice activists have a racial model for group identity: if you don't share a fundamental identity, you may be an ally, but you will always be an outsider. Socialists have a tribal model: what matters is your allegiance, not your class identity—a fact that baffles many capitalists, who shriek as though it matters that Marx and Engels were middle-class, as if people's social class matters more than their work.

The divisive nature of social justice struck me forcefully when I saw this entry in Group dynamics - Intergroup conflict reduction:
...A number of these models utilize a superordinate identity to reduce prejudice. That is, a more broadly defined, ‘umbrella’ group/identity that includes the groups that are in conflict. By emphasizing this superordinate identity, individuals in both subgroups can share a common social identity.[33] For example, if there is conflict between White, Black, and Latino students in a high school, one might try to emphasize the ‘high school’ group/identity that students share to reduce conflict between the groups. Models utilizing superordinate identities include the common ingroup identity model, the ingroup projection model, the mutual intergroup differentiation model, and the ingroup identity model.[33]
Stressing what unites us is a classic model for resolving conflict, but it's a model that's rejected by social justice activists—and by every hierarchist who practices divide et imperia, divide and conquer.

When I went looking for the origin of "social justice", my first surprise was not that it's primarily a religious concept—its rhetoric prepared me for that—but that it began with Luigi Taparelli and Antonio Rosmini-Serbati, Catholics who wanted to thwart the socialist upheavals of the 1840s. Seeking an answer to social unrest, the first social justice activists looked to the past. In place of capitalism, they offered theism; in place of socialism, they offered charity.

What began as a Catholic response to poverty was adopted by liberal capitalists of many beliefs, including atheists, who will happily give up any "privilege" other than wealth. While you can find articles on the web by Jews, Muslims, and atheists who stress that social justice is not socialism, I was struck by two by Catholics:

Is social justice the same as socialism? | USCatholic.org: "Social justice isn't an economic or political theory, but an outlook that seeks to strengthen the identity of the individual because it sees that human dignity derives its meaning from being made in God's image (Gen. 1:26)."

Social Justice = Socialism? » Catholic Sistas: "Socialism is conscription, a disallowal of free will. By legislating and forcing the “distribution of wealth”, much of the good of helping our less fortunate brethren is lost. "

The first article is a reasonable explanation of the difference from a Catholic perspective, but the second is more revealing because the Catholic Sista's biases are blatant. Socialists believe in democracy, yet many social justice activists describe socialism as though it were Stalinism. The Sista's second sentence is especially damning from a socialist perspective: She believes it's better for the poor to starve than for the rich to have restrictions on their free will.

Incompatible concepts of freedom are the heart of the divide between socialism and social justice. To socialists, everyone should be free to vote to share the wealth. To social justice activists, the rich should be free to be charitable when they please.

Oscar Wilde answered the champions of philanthropy: "It is immoral to use private property in order to alleviate the horrible evils that result from the institution of private property." A Jewish proverb, ignored by Jewish supporters of social justice, puts it more subtly and more simply: "Charity looks at the need and not at the cause."

ETA: A quote that's liked by fans of social justice and despised by fans of socialism: "Let Catholic writers take care, when defending the cause of the proletariat and the poor, not to use language calculated to inspire among the people aversion to the upper classes of society." —Pope Pius X, Apostolic Letter to the Bishops of Italy on Catholic Church Action, 1903

Sunday, August 12, 2012

writerly factoid: killing with knives

Long ago, I read that no one has ever been documented as having been killed with a thrown knife. I don't know if it's true, but I also can't think of anyone who was killed by a knife-thrower. So if someone is killed with a thrown knife in your story, at least one reader will slow down there.

I'm looking at you, Dashiell Hammet. I'm halfway through Red Harvest, and I was loving it right up to the thrown knife. But that was just a bump; I'll keep on reading.

ETA: Karen Conlan provided this link: Myth: Deadly Throwing Knives : Escape Pod

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Emma update #3, with bonus glowing finger!




Emma wrote her own update at Dark Roast - I'm back! Yay!

Next Emma update next Wednesday, most likely, when test results are known.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Emma update #2

Emma is in a room. She's tired, and her throat is sore so she doesn't want to talk much, but she's otherwise fine. She'll see the doctor in the morning and should be coming home then. I'll post update #3 tomorrow when I know more.

Her fingertip glows like ET's, 'cause they have an oxygen monitor on it,

Emma update #1

I haven't seen her since she went in at 7:30, but they say it all went well and she's sleeping. She's in the recovery area, waiting for a room to open up, and I figure sleep is best.

The Story Board Ep. 1 "Urban Fantasy: Threat or Menace?"

The Storyboard Episode 1- "Urban Fantasy: Threat or Menace?"

Host: Patrick Rothfuss

Featuring: Emma Bull, Diana Rowland, & Jim Butcher