Sunday, September 30, 2012

Does "The Writing Revolution" explain Social Justice Warriors?

Peg Tyre - The Writing Revolution - The Atlantic is about the inability of many US students to write critically.

And the essence of the SJW attitude is an uncritical acceptance of facile notions they've been taught.

I dunno if the New Dorp experiment is valid, but I'll ponder it.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Frank Capra on the rules of art

"There are no rules in filmmaking. Only sins. And the cardinal sin is dullness." —Frank Capra

Frank Capra on the rules of art

"There are no rules in filmmaking. Only sins. And the cardinal sin is dullness." —Frank Capra

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Two incompatible tests of American Indian identity for Elizabeth Warren

Elizabeth Warren has been getting flak from American Indian Democrats over the question of whether she can claim a Cherokee heritage.

One test is racial.  Karen Geronimo, a Mescalero Apache, said, "“Someone needs to make her take a DNA test."

The other test is tribal. Jim La Pointe of the Rosebud Sioux said, “I’d like to hear her speak her native language."


Karen Geronimo's test is meaningless, unless you think race matters. Historically, American Indians didn't care about race. Like the Greeks and Romans, the test that mattered to them was the one Jim La Pointe suggests: when you speak, do your people understand you?


Elizabeth Warren might pass the DNA test. But that would make her a Cherokee in the same way a DNA test would make me a Celt.


Warren has responded as well as she possibly could to the controversy:




She doesn't say this, but her response is based on something that's true: Who you are has more to do with who you think you are than what your genes can say.

Quotes from The Party - For Elizabeth Warren, Bad Blood Over Indian Heritage Claims.

Two incompatible tests of American Indian identity for Elizabeth Warren

Elizabeth Warren has been getting flak from American Indian Democrats over the question of whether she can claim a Cherokee heritage.

One test is racial.  Karen Geronimo, a Mescalero Apache, said, "“Someone needs to make her take a DNA test."

The other test is tribal. Jim La Pointe of the Rosebud Sioux said, “I’d like to hear her speak her native language."


Karen Geronimo's test is meaningless, unless you think race matters. Historically, American Indians didn't care about race. Like the Greeks and Romans, the test that mattered to them was the one Jim La Pointe suggests: when you speak, do your people understand you?


Elizabeth Warren might pass the DNA test. But that would make her a Cherokee in the same way a DNA test would make me a Celt.


Warren has responded as well as she possibly could to the controversy:




She doesn't say this, but her response is based on something that's true: Who you are has more to do with who you think you are than what your genes can say.

Quotes from The Party - For Elizabeth Warren, Bad Blood Over Indian Heritage Claims.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Oscar Wilde on disobedience and socialism

His The Soul of Man under Socialism has this fine observation: "Disobedience, in the eyes of anyone who has read history, is man’s original virtue. It is through disobedience that progress has been made, through disobedience and through rebellion."

Anyone who likes Wilde should read that essay. Or who likes socialism or anarchism. Or who likes good writing.

Oscar Wilde on disobedience and socialism

His The Soul of Man under Socialism has this fine observation: "Disobedience, in the eyes of anyone who has read history, is man’s original virtue. It is through disobedience that progress has been made, through disobedience and through rebellion."

Anyone who likes Wilde should read that essay. Or who likes socialism or anarchism. Or who likes good writing.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Ithiliana and the outing of Michaela Ecks/Laura Hale/Purplepopple/Partly_Bouncy

The Heart of the Maze - Calling out Michaela Ecks/Laura Hale/Purplepopple/Partly_Bouncy. Ithiliana's excuse in the comments is amusing: "I knew that she has been open, but did not take into account that many people would not know as well!" I could've said the exact same thing.

Friday, September 21, 2012

about the shrinking life expectancy of less-educated US whites

Because it's the New York Times, you should expect a failure to analyze the role of class in Life Expectancy for Less Educated Whites in U.S. Is Shrinking, but the data's interesting. They note:
The steepest declines were for white women without a high school diploma, who lost five years of life between 1990 and 2008, said S. Jay Olshansky, a public health professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the lead investigator on the study, published last month in Health Affairs. By 2008, life expectancy for black women without a high school diploma had surpassed that of white women of the same education level, the study found. White men lacking a high school diploma lost three years of life. Life expectancy for both blacks and Hispanics of the same education level rose, the data showed.
Black poverty is more urban, which probably translates to better health care than the rural poor get.

about the shrinking life expectancy of less-educated US whites

Because it's the New York Times, you should expect a failure to analyze the role of class in Life Expectancy for Less Educated Whites in U.S. Is Shrinking, but the data's interesting. They note:
The steepest declines were for white women without a high school diploma, who lost five years of life between 1990 and 2008, said S. Jay Olshansky, a public health professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the lead investigator on the study, published last month in Health Affairs. By 2008, life expectancy for black women without a high school diploma had surpassed that of white women of the same education level, the study found. White men lacking a high school diploma lost three years of life. Life expectancy for both blacks and Hispanics of the same education level rose, the data showed.
Black poverty is more urban, which probably translates to better health care than the rural poor get.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

jackhammer advice (applies to almost everything)

It's better to approach the job as many small sections rather than a few large ones.

Why, yes, I am jackhammering the slab in the back yard, and hope to get to the old sidewalk about the house, too.

jackhammer advice (applies to almost everything)

It's better to approach the job as many small sections rather than a few large ones.

Why, yes, I am jackhammering the slab in the back yard, and hope to get to the old sidewalk about the house, too.

why do sj warriors feminize the people they mock?

In Blatant gender discrimination in who we discriminate against, Ann Somerville calls me "La Shetterly".

???

It makes me think of the SJW anti-feminist obsession with tears and the warriors who characterize departure as "flouncing", a word that evokes women's frilly clothing, and "clutching pearls", another metaphor based on traditional feminine accouterment. Why do they equate femininity with weakness?

Ah, well. Their problem, not mine. The feministsf wiki has my back.

—La Shetterly

ETA: And if anyone's keeping count, add Somerville's attempt to out the StGRB folks to their double standard on outing.

Thomas Jefferson on rich and poor

"Experience demands that man is the only animal which devours his own kind, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." —Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson on rich and poor

"Experience demands that man is the only animal which devours his own kind, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." —Thomas Jefferson

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Ann Somerville, SJW

Ann Somerville kept one of the histories of Racefail 09 that banned commenters who disagreed with her. It seems she has her own history with outing. At Goodreads | Belle’s Status Update - Aug 15, 2012 05:39pm, Kaia says,
If you really want to know, [try googling 'ann somerville tritorella' and 'tritorella fandom wank'. It's old and impressively buried for something on the internet, but it's there. I can't seem to find the list of her sock puppet e-mail addresses again, though.
At fwgreatesthits, Lasha says,
From my understanding, Tritorella, then known as Honi Soit, allegedly e-mailed aukestrel's employer and outed her slash writings to him. There are e-mails and IP traces (I've seen some) that could go to prove Auk's claims of Trit stalking her. 
And at Calysta Rose - Public Service Announcement: CYBERSTALKER ALERT, there's a long list of pseuds that Tritorella may have used.

It's looking like glass houses all the way down.

ETA: Somerville's response: That’s your best shot, Melissa? » Ann Somerville's Blog. That section of fandom is strange. The nice thing about not using pseuds is you don't have to worry about being outed.

Ta-Nehisi Coates is oversimplifying again

In The True Face of 'Voter Fraud', Ta-Nehisi Coates reminds readers about the history of racism behind attempts to limit the vote.

But he's leaving out the bigger picture. From Sharon Smith's 'Race, class, and "whiteness theory"':
When the racist poll tax was passed in the South, imposing property and other requirements designed to shut out Black voters, many poor whites also lost the right to vote. After Mississippi passed its poll tax law, the number of qualified white voters fell from 130,000 to 68,000
So, what's most relevant? Disenfranchising black folks or disenfranchising poor folks? The rich are happiest when the poor can't vote because poor folks of all hues have this annoying notion that wealth should be shared.

If you think you can generalize about white Southern voters, see Paul Krugman's Bubba Isn't Who You Think:
...income levels seem to matter much more for voting in the South. Contrary to what you may have read, the old-fashioned notion that rich people vote Republican, while poorer people vote Democratic, is as true as ever – in fact, more true than it was a generation ago.

Ta-Nehisi Coates is oversimplifying again

In The True Face of 'Voter Fraud', Ta-Nehisi Coates reminds readers about the history of racism behind attempts to limit the vote.

But he's leaving out the bigger picture. From Sharon Smith's 'Race, class, and "whiteness theory"':
When the racist poll tax was passed in the South, imposing property and other requirements designed to shut out Black voters, many poor whites also lost the right to vote. After Mississippi passed its poll tax law, the number of qualified white voters fell from 130,000 to 68,000
So, what's most relevant? Disenfranchising black folks or disenfranchising poor folks? The rich are happiest when the poor can't vote because poor folks of all hues have this annoying notion that wealth should be shared.

If you think you can generalize about white Southern voters, see Paul Krugman's Bubba Isn't Who You Think:
...income levels seem to matter much more for voting in the South. Contrary to what you may have read, the old-fashioned notion that rich people vote Republican, while poorer people vote Democratic, is as true as ever – in fact, more true than it was a generation ago.

Monday, September 17, 2012

the cognitive dissonance of the social justice warrior

"It's racist to write anything about any other culture whatsoever. That is "appropriating". It is also racist to not write anything about any other culture. That is "erasing"." —Julio Siete

Feminists and anti-racists share two principles that sound good:

1. We should treat people who are not part of our identity group with respect.

That's a great principle. It's a shame SJ warriors ignore it—see the problem with social justice fandom's "tone argument".

2. We should give more weight to the opinions of people in an identity group than the opinions of outsiders.

That sounds great, but it has at least three problems:

1. If SJ warriors truly believed that, they would favor the opinions of white people on whiteness and men on maleness. Instead, they look at economic power in the world, see that it's been dominated by white men, and conclude it must be understood in terms of whiteness and maleness. This is like looking at traffic and concluding what matters is the color and size of cars, so white midsize sedans must be the privileged source of everything that's wrong with the automotive industry.

2. The notion that members of a group understand their group best is the argument of devout members of every group.  It's endorsed by people who will earnestly explain to you that the world is run by lizard-people, Satan, Jews, blue-eyed devils, the Illuminati, or thetans who have forgotten their true nature. What cult doesn't think it knows itself best?

Moreover, the moment a woman or a person of color disagree with a warrior, their social identity is revoked—they'll be dismissed as race traitors or pawns of the patriarchy. Group identity only matters to social justice warriors so long as the person of that identity shares the warrior's worldview.

3. While SJ warriors claim they oppose privilege, they fail to see that giving more weight to the views of people in a group is privileging that group. The reasonable way to understand anything is to reject privilege of all forms. Study the evidence of both insiders and outsiders, then draw a conclusion.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

identity politics quotes

"It is easier [for Republicans] to coax one of two ideological tendencies (usually the Christian right) to compromise for the greater good of conservatism than it is to persuade an identity-based group (feminists, gays, African Americans) to make concessions on what is, after all, their identity as they see it.” —Todd Gitlin

“For years, I declined to fill in the form for my Senate press credential that asked me to state my 'race,' unless I was permitted to put 'human.' The form had to be completed under penalty of perjury, so I could not in conscience put 'white,' which is not even a color let alone a 'race,' and I sternly declined to put 'Caucasian,' which is an exploded term from a discredited ethnology. Surely the essential and unarguable core of King's campaign was the insistence that pigmentation was a false measure: a false measure of mankind (yes, mankind) and an inheritance from a time of great ignorance and stupidity and cruelty, when one drop of blood could make you 'black.” ― Christopher Hitchens

“People who think with their epidermis or their genitalia or their clan are the problem to begin with. One does not banish this specter by invoking it. If I would not vote against someone on the grounds of 'race' or 'gender' alone, then by the exact same token I would not cast a vote in his or her favor for the identical reason. Yet see how this obvious question makes fairly intelligent people say the most alarmingly stupid things.” ― Christopher Hitchens

“We must not be anything other than what we are.” ― Maaza MengisteBeneath the Lion's Gaze: A Novel

“...we have to be aware of the power and importance of organizing not just around identity, but the materiality of daily life, which still, in many respects, is racialized for people of color. You build from that, but you have a grander social vision that transcends it and recognizes the strengths and limitations that are drawn from the particularity of identity.” ― Manning Marable

"Identity politics enabled many formerly silenced and displaced groups to emerge from the margins of power and dominant culture to reassert and reclain suppressed identities and experiences; but in doing so, they often substituted one master narrative for another, invoked a politics of separatism, and suppressed differences within their own 'liberatory' narratives." - Henry Giroux, "Living Dangerously: Identity Politics and The New Cultural Racism"

Walter Benn Michaels on anti-racism and diversity

From The Trouble With Diversity:
We would much rather get rid of racism than get rid of poverty. And we would much rather celebrate cultural diversity than seek to establish economic equality. 
Indeed, diversity has become virtually a sacred concept in American life today. No one's really against it; people tend instead to differ only in their degrees of enthusiasm for it and their ingenuity in pursuing it.
From The Trouble With Diversity: How We Learned to Love Identity and Ignore Inequality:
There’s no reason why people with a certain set of genes ought to be reading a certain set of books and thinking of those books as part of their heritage, or why, when they read some other set of books, they should think of them as part of someone else’s heritage. There are just the things we learn and the things we don’t learn, the things we do and the things we don’t do.
From a pay-to-read site, The Chronicle of Higher Education:
The argument is that anti-racism today performs at least one of the same functions that racism used to — it gives us a vision of our society as organized racially instead of economically — while adding another function — it insists that racism is the great enemy to be overcome. But all the anti-racism in the world won't take any money away from the rich and won't give any of it to the poor.
...at a time when class difference in the US is as high as it’s been in the last hundred years, we’re being urged not to talk about what we never talk about (the inequalities produced by capitalism) and to talk lots more about what we always talk about (the inequalities produced by racism). Why?
From What Matters:
In 1969, the top quintile of American wage-earners made 43 per cent of all the money earned in the US; the bottom quintile made 4.1 per cent. In 2007, the top quintile made 49.7 per cent; the bottom quintile 3.4. And while this inequality is both raced and gendered, it’s less so than you might think. White people, for example, make up about 70 per cent of the US population, and 62 per cent of those in the bottom quintile. Progress in fighting racism hasn’t done them any good; it hasn’t even been designed to do them any good. More generally, even if we succeeded completely in eliminating the effects of racism and sexism, we would not thereby have made any progress towards economic equality. A society in which white people were proportionately represented in the bottom quintile (and black people proportionately represented in the top quintile) would not be more equal; it would be exactly as unequal. It would not be more just; it would be proportionately unjust.
The emphasis is mine; that's a statistic I plan to memorize.

From Identity Politics: A Zero-Sum Game:
About three quarters of the job losers in the current recession have been men, which means that the numbers of men and women in the workforce are now roughly equal. So, from the standpoint of gender equity, the recession has actually been a good thing. It's as if, unable to create more jobs for women, we'd hit upon the strategy of eliminating lots of the jobs for men—another victory for feminism and for anti-discrimination since, from the standpoint of anti-discrimination, the question of how many people are unemployed is completely irrelevant. What matters is only that, however many there are, their unemployment is properly proportioned.

This is, in part, a logical point: there's no contradiction between inequality of class and equality of race and gender. It is also, however, a political point.
and
although real progress in the direction of greater economic equality would be more beneficial to poor blacks and Hispanics than would complete economic parity with white people, the goal of economic parity with whites works a lot better for black and Hispanic elites. Indeed it works pretty well for white elites too: which would you rather do—welcome some women and minorities to your board of directors, or not have a board of directors at all?
From Neoliberalism: Diversity and Inequality:
Bobby Seale, the co-founder of the Black Panther movement in 1966, warned his comrades: “Those who want to obscure the struggle with ethnic differences are the ones who are aiding and maintaining the exploitation of the masses of the people: poor whites, poor blacks, browns, red Indians, poor Chinese and Japanese... We do not fight exploitative capitalism with black capitalism. We fight capitalism with basic socialism.” Now, with the rise of Obama, we still don’t fight capitalism with black capitalism, we try to save capitalism with black capitalism.

Not content with pretending that our real problem is cultural difference rather than economic difference, we have even begun to treat economic difference as though it were a form of cultural difference. What is expected of the upper middle class today is that we show ourselves to be more respectful of the poor, and that we stop acting as if things like our superior educations really make us superior.

And once we succeed in convincing ourselves that the poor are people who need our respect more than they need our money, our own attitude towards them becomes the problem to be solved, and not their poverty. We can now devote our reforms not to removing class but to eliminating what we Americans call “classism.” The trick is to analyse inequality as a consequence of our prejudices rather than of our social system, and thus replace the pain of giving up some of our money with the comparative pleasure of giving up (along with our classism) our racism, sexism, and homophobia.
 From Let Them Eat Diversity:
Major social changes have taken place in the past 40 years with remarkable rapidity, but not any in any sense inimical to capitalism.

...as people get more wealthy they tend to become less committed to the redistribution of wealth but there are lots of ways in which they become “more liberal”—with respect to gay rights, antiracism, with respect to all the so-called “social issues,” as long as these social issues are defined in such a way that they have nothing to do with decreasing the increased inequalities brought about by capitalism, which is to say, taking away rich liberals’ money.

...people in the Tea Party movement have a problem that is realer than “White male status anxiety,” ... my point isn’t really to deny the phenomenon of status anxiety, it’s just to point out the extraordinaire eagerness of American liberals to identify racism as the problem, so that anti-racism (rather than anti-capitalism) can be the solution.

...it has been very comforting to discover over the past five or six years that there are plenty of people who have views similar to mine and who are actually better at expressing them.

...Victimization that does not take place through discrimination is invisible and that’s why it’s worth remembering that the vast majority of poor people in the country are White. After all, the country is about 70 percent White and if you look at the bottom quintile of income it’s about 61 percent White, so it’s an absolute majority.

...Today we’re living in a deeply anti-racist society ... officially committed to anti-racism ... which you can tell when Glenn Beck thinks it’s a good idea to couch his criticism of Obama by calling Obama a “racist.” It’s the killing word to say to anyone. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t still racism, it means that there is an important sense in which anti-racism is absolutely the official ideology because no one can imagine themselves to be committed to racism. It’s become a kind of moral imperative rather than a political position, deployed by the Right as well as the Left.

...To be poor in America today, or to be anything but in the top 20 percent in America today, is to be victimized in important ways and in so far as we’re appreciating the characteristic products of victimization, we are not actually dealing with exploitation, but rather enshrining victimization, treating it as if it had value and therefore ought to be preserved. And that’s obviously reactionary.
Interviewer: Like the Richard Geres of the world viewing Tibetan poverty as a commendable stand against materialism.
WBM: Completely.

...You know you live in a world that loves neoliberalism when having some people of color who are rich is supposed to count as good news for all the people of color who are poor. The argument for Obama is he’s there, so I can be there too, but all the white male presidents we’ve had haven’t done much good for poor Whites, and in a country where there’s now declining social mobility (less than in Western Europe), it’s hard to take even the traditional solace in the fact that the empty claim that anyone can grow up to become President now includes Black people. None of this will make any difference unless we start thinking about the politically relevant question, eliminating the gap between the rich and the poor.

predator theory vs rape culture theory: looking for solutions

it's all one thing: predator theory vs rape culture theory: looking for solutions

Friday, September 14, 2012

predator theory vs rape culture theory: looking for solutions

“Rape is part of our culture. It’s normalized to the point where men who are otherwise decent guys will rape and not even think that it’s wrong. And that’s what terrifies me.” —Jessica Valenti, describing the theory of rape culture
"These are clearly not individuals who are simply in need of a little extra education about proper communication with the opposite sex. These are predators." —David Lisak, co-author of Repeat Rape and Multiple Offending Among Undetected Rapists
In Meet The Predators, Thomas tries to merge predator theory with rape culture theory by advising, "We need to revoke the rapists’ social license to operate." But where is this social license? People who are not rapists know that "no means no"—and so do rapists. That's why they lie about their rapes. The ones who get people too drunk to resist don't talk about getting people drunk; they talk about getting drunk and having wild consensual sex.

Let me stress this: There is no social license to rape. I've lived in many parts of the US and have had friends from many social classes. Not one has indicated that they believe in a social license to rape. Statistics strongly suggest that some of the people I've known have raped someone at least once in their lives—but not one has ever suggested they've been involved in nonconsensual sex.

Now, I'm in many ways anomalous, so perhaps I'm anomalous here, too.

But our society's take on rape is clear: No means no.

Valenti, without evidence, says the solution to rape is to change our culture. Lisak, with a great deal of evidence, says the solution is to aggressively prosecute rapists.

I'm with Lisak.

• This post is a followup to seven problems with "rape culture" theory.

ETA: There's been a little discussion about this on G+. To stress a point: Predators know how to act to hide the fact that they're knowingly raping people. Teaching them about "rape culture" would only change their buzz words.

predator theory vs rape culture theory: looking for solutions

“Rape is part of our culture. It’s normalized to the point where men who are otherwise decent guys will rape and not even think that it’s wrong. And that’s what terrifies me.” —Jessica Valenti, describing the theory of rape culture
"These are clearly not individuals who are simply in need of a little extra education about proper communication with the opposite sex. These are predators." —David Lisak, co-author of Repeat Rape and Multiple Offending Among Undetected Rapists
In Meet The Predators, Thomas tries to merge predator theory with rape culture theory by advising, "We need to revoke the rapists’ social license to operate." But where is this social license? People who are not rapists know that "no means no"—and so do rapists. That's why they lie about their rapes. The ones who get people too drunk to resist don't talk about getting people drunk; they talk about getting drunk and having wild consensual sex.

Let me stress this: There is no social license to rape. I've lived in many parts of the US and have had friends from many social classes. Not one has indicated that they believe in a social license to rape. Statistics strongly suggest that some of the people I've known have raped someone at least once in their lives—but not one has ever suggested they've been involved in nonconsensual sex.

Now, I'm in many ways anomalous, so perhaps I'm anomalous here, too.

But our society's take on rape is clear: No means no.

Valenti, without evidence, says the solution to rape is to change our culture. Lisak, with a great deal of evidence, says the solution is to aggressively prosecute rapists.

I'm with Lisak.

• This post is a followup to seven problems with "rape culture" theory.

ETA: There's been a little discussion about this on G+. To stress a point: Predators know how to act to hide the fact that they're knowingly raping people. Teaching them about "rape culture" would only change their buzz words.

seven problems with "rape culture" theory

it's all one thing: seven problems with "rape culture" theory

seven problems with "rape culture" theory

From Rape culture - Wikipedia:
Rape culture is a concept used to describe a culture in which rape and sexual violence are common and in which prevalent attitudesnorms, practices, and media normalize, excuse, tolerate, or even condone sexual violence.
Examples of behaviors commonly associated with rape culture include victim blamingsexual objectification, and trivializing rape. Rape culture has been used to model behaviour within social groups, including prison systems where prison rape is common and conflict areas where war rape is used as psychological warfare. Entire countries have also been alleged to be rape cultures.
Where the theory of "rape culture" comes from has not been resolved. People agree it began in the 1970s. It may have begun with "Rape Culture", a 1975 documentary about prison rape. The basic theory describes the attitude toward rape in prison well: prisoners didn't accuse rapists and blamed the victims for many reasons, including the fears of being known as a snitch or becoming the next target. Only recently have the numbers for prison rape been taken seriously by the Justice Department. When prison rape is included, there appear to be more reported cases in the US of men being raped than women.

While the situation for society is analogous—victims are reluctant to come forward, knowing that some people will doubt their stories and some will blame them—extending the theory of rape culture in an artificial environment like prison to understand society in general creates problems:

1. The theory assumes a community accepts rape. Most societies treat rape as one of the most serious crimes a person can commit. Where rapists are executed or castrated or incarcerated for years, does it make sense to say rape is normalized, excused, tolerated, or condoned?

2. The theory assumes a culture is defined by its crimes. The US's most common crime is shoplifting. People joke about it and friends excuse it. Is the US a "shoplifting culture"? Aggravated assault is the US's most common violent crime. Does the US have an "aggravated assault culture"?

3. The theory assumes a culture is defined by the minority of men, women, and children who rape. Meet The Predators uses studies of rapists who have not been caught to conclude, "The vast majority of the offenses are being committed by a relatively small group of men, somewhere between 4% and 8% of the population." David Lisak, author of one of the studies, concluded that repeat rapists commit 90% of all rapes. If 5 to 9% of men are or have been rapists, do they define their culture? 16% of the US population is Hispanic—is the US's culture Hispanic? 25% of the population identifies as Catholic—is the US's culture Catholic?

4. The theory assumes sexual imagery promotes rape. But if, for example, the canonical advertisement of a woman in a bikini standing next to a new car promotes rape, does the image of the car promote theft?


5
. The theory assumes the subjects of its jokes show what a society approves.  Do we have a zombie culture? Does the US approve of pianos falling on people and roadrunners tricking coyotes into standing on the air? Do dead baby jokes promote abortion and indifference to infant mortality rates?

6. The theory assumes teaching people the theory of rape culture will reduce or eliminate rape. But if rapists thought society approved or tolerated rape, why would they hide their identities? Only the most insane rapists don't try to conceal their crimes. Would teaching repeat rapists the theory of rape culture change their behavior?

7. The theory does not include an explanation for rape culture or practical steps toward a solution. We live in a rape culture because people are rapists? Men are rapists? Greedy people are rapists? How do we make things better?  Some feminists want to change the law so that people accused of sexual crimes are presumed guilty, but we know false charges of rape occur.

We need to distinguish between cultural attitudes toward rape and "rape culture". People who study cultural attitudes try to limit their preconceptions. People who study rape culture seek to confirm what they believe, which makes them assume causation in what may be correlation.

A part of rape culture is to accuse people who question it of being "rape apologists", so I'll be as clear as I can: One rape is one rape too many. But questioning someone's approach to a problem is not the same as questioning the problem.

Well, unless your theory assumes it does, which suggests I should add an eighth problem with rape culture theory.

Final thoughts: predator theory vs rape culture theory: looking for solutions.

Older posts on rape culture:


• modern liberal feminism and rape culture (Jan. 11, 2011)

I found two articles from conservatives which may have been refuted somewhere that I haven't noticed, but they're interesting, even if they're flawed:


Researching the "Rape Culture" of America by Dr. Christina Hoff Sommers


The Campus Rape Myth by Heather Mac Donald


Googling them, I came across Hateful Quotes From Feminists. Remembering the folks who claimed Dworkin never said all men are rapists, I was amused to find this:

'Under patriarchy, every woman's son is her potential betrayer and also the inevitable rapist or exploiter of another woman,' Andrea Dworkin, Liberty, p.58.
Treat the quotes there with caution; at least one appears to be wrong: snopes.com: Catherine MacKinnon 'All Sex is Rape' Quote.

I should add that I agree with this quote that was included as "hateful":

"Only with the occasional celebrity crime do we allow ourselves to think the nearly unthinkable: that the family may not be the ideal and perfect living arrangement after all - that it can be a nest of pathology and a cradle of gruesome violence,... Even in the ostensibly "functional," nonviolent family, where no one is killed or maimed, feelings are routinely bruised and often twisted out of shape. There is the slap or the put-down that violates a child's shaky sense of self, the cold, distracted stare that drives a spouse to tears, the little digs and rivalries..." Barbara Ehrenreich in Time
The "traditional family" is a myth, a retcon, like the traditional Christmas. It works for some people, and I'm happy for them, but it can be a prison, too. I figure people should find what works for them, and if it does, it ain't nobody else's business.

• artistic freedom and dickwolves (Feb 3, 2011)


Here's the original cartoon: http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2010/8/11/


The kerfuffle's in many places; search "dickwolves" if you're curious. Here's the writer's response: On The Matter of Dickwolves http://bit.ly/gZ8UGp


I think the idea that rape jokes promote rape culture is as reasonable as the idea that dead baby jokes promote dead baby culture. But this can't be explained to people who don't understand that in art, what's obvious may not be what is meant.


• 
a note for an article about "rape culture" (Feb. 15, 2011)


Pacific Center for Sex and Society's "Pornography, Rape and Sex Crimes in Japan" is fascinating, not just for its information about Japan, but for its summary regarding rape and pornography elsewhere: http://www.hawaii.edu/PCSS/biblio/articles/1961to1999/1999-pornography-rape-sex-crimes-japan.html


Among the things that rape culture theorists don't grasp: Just as there are women and men who fantasize about being raped who hate the idea of anyone being raped, there are men and women who fantasize about being rapists who hate the idea of raping anyone. Human sexuality and human imagination are not as simplistic as moralists believe. We all have fantasies about being powerful or powerless in sexual or nonsexual circumstances. We also know our fantasies are only fantasies.

seven problems with "rape culture" theory

From Rape culture - Wikipedia:
Rape culture is a concept used to describe a culture in which rape and sexual violence are common and in which prevalent attitudesnorms, practices, and media normalize, excuse, tolerate, or even condone sexual violence.
Examples of behaviors commonly associated with rape culture include victim blamingsexual objectification, and trivializing rape. Rape culture has been used to model behaviour within social groups, including prison systems where prison rape is common and conflict areas where war rape is used as psychological warfare. Entire countries have also been alleged to be rape cultures.
Where the theory of "rape culture" comes from has not been resolved. People agree it began in the 1970s. It may have begun with "Rape Culture", a 1975 documentary about prison rape. The basic theory describes the attitude toward rape in prison well: prisoners didn't accuse rapists and blamed the victims for many reasons, including the fears of being known as a snitch or becoming the next target. Only recently have the numbers for prison rape been taken seriously by the Justice Department. When prison rape is included, there appear to be more reported cases in the US of men being raped than women.

While the situation for society is analogous—victims are reluctant to come forward, knowing that some people will doubt their stories and some will blame them—extending the theory of rape culture in an artificial environment like prison to understand society in general creates problems:

1. The theory assumes a community accepts rape. Most societies treat rape as one of the most serious crimes a person can commit. Where rapists are executed or castrated or incarcerated for years, does it make sense to say rape is normalized, excused, tolerated, or condoned?

2. The theory assumes a culture is defined by its crimes. The US's most common crime is shoplifting. People joke about it and friends excuse it. Is the US a "shoplifting culture"? Aggravated assault is the US's most common violent crime. Does the US have an "aggravated assault culture"?

3. The theory assumes a culture is defined by the minority of men, women, and children who rape. Meet The Predators uses studies of rapists who have not been caught to conclude, "The vast majority of the offenses are being committed by a relatively small group of men, somewhere between 4% and 8% of the population." David Lisak, author of one of the studies, concluded that repeat rapists commit 90% of all rapes. If 5 to 9% of men are or have been rapists, do they define their culture? 16% of the US population is Hispanic—is the US's culture Hispanic? 25% of the population identifies as Catholic—is the US's culture Catholic?

4. The theory assumes sexual imagery promotes rape. But if, for example, the canonical advertisement of a woman in a bikini standing next to a new car promotes rape, does the image of the car promote theft?


5
. The theory assumes the subjects of its jokes show what a society approves.  Do we have a zombie culture? Does the US approve of pianos falling on people and roadrunners tricking coyotes into standing on the air? Do dead baby jokes promote abortion and indifference to infant mortality rates?

6. The theory assumes teaching people the theory of rape culture will reduce or eliminate rape. But if rapists thought society approved or tolerated rape, why would they hide their identities? Only the most insane rapists don't try to conceal their crimes. Would teaching repeat rapists the theory of rape culture change their behavior?

7. The theory does not include an explanation for rape culture or practical steps toward a solution. We live in a rape culture because people are rapists? Men are rapists? Greedy people are rapists? How do we make things better?  Some feminists want to change the law so that people accused of sexual crimes are presumed guilty, but we know false charges of rape occur.

We need to distinguish between cultural attitudes toward rape and "rape culture". People who study cultural attitudes try to limit their preconceptions. People who study rape culture seek to confirm what they believe, which makes them assume causation in what may be correlation.

A part of rape culture is to accuse people who question it of being "rape apologists", so I'll be as clear as I can: One rape is one rape too many. But questioning someone's approach to a problem is not the same as questioning the problem.

Well, unless your theory assumes it does, which suggests I should add an eighth problem with rape culture theory.

Final thoughts: predator theory vs rape culture theory: looking for solutions.

Older posts on rape culture:


Thursday, September 13, 2012

creating a cultist is all about timing

Kim ("BB") of the "Den of the Biting Beaver" said:
I suppose it all came together for me when I bought my first Andrea Dworkin book, Pornography: Men Possessing Women, right about the time I kicked my ex-husband out. In it I found names for the infrastructures I had already recognized in my mental meanderings. Andrea Dworkin gave me a center from which to work, and I connected with her words on a very basic level. From there I read everything I could get, and sometime around then I also began blogging about the threads I was so excited to be seeing.
If a book by a Scientologist or a Jehovah's Witness had arrived at the same time, if Kim had bought Bell Hooks or Ayn Rand instead of Dworkin, she might've found different "names for the infrastructures". There are times when we're sure something's wrong with the world and we need a model to make sense of it. Then we accept the first model that seems to work, and because it came to us first, we believe it's best.

FAQ #2 How does slavery explain racist attitudes toward Asians?

Chinese and Japanese workers in the US were the victims of both racism and nativism because they were seen as both members of another race and another culture. Nativism was the same obstacle that the Irish and the Italians and every other immigrant faced, but racism could not have existed without the model of race that developed to rationalize the African slave trade in the 17th century. While extreme nativists believed only northern and western Europeans had the cultural background to become good Americans, most people knew the children of "white" immigrants would be no different than other Americans.

But the racial model meant non-European immigrants were seen as fundamentally different, and therefore inferior. Racial prejudice and nativist prejudice worked together: racists said the Chinese could not fit in; nativists said the Chinese should stay in their own country.

FAQ #1. Why does it matter if a prejudice is tribal or racial?

A. When prejudice is tribal, humans are different but equal; when prejudice is racial, humans are different and unequal. The practical consequence is most obvious with slavery. Where slavery was tribal, as it was with the Romans and Native Americans, the children of slaves were usually free, and sometimes could rise to positions of great power. Where slavery was racial, as with the North Americans, the children of slaves were assumed to be slaves.

This understanding of tribe and race changed tragically with the Cherokee, who once saw the world in tribal terms, but have now expelled from their tribes the descendants of slaves, even when a descendant was more ethnically Cherokee than some of the tribe's racially Cherokee members.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Chinua Achebe and Joseph Conrad, artists of their time

It's been too many years since I read Achebe's Things Fall Apart and Conrad's Heart of Darkness—I think I'll try to read them back-to-back soon. For now, I'm relying on old memories and recent readings about Achebe's denunciation of Conrad.

Achebe is interviewed in The case against Conrad. He says Conrad "is obsessed with the physicality of the negro" and misses the fact that Conrad was obsessed with physicality in general. Achebe conflates Conrad with Marlow and makes an odd assumption: Why does he think Marlow has a "pure" soul? Heart of Darkness is about imperialists whose souls are not pure at all—Kurtz looks within himself and famously sees "the horror!" the horror!"

In the interview, Achebe says something that's mostly true and very revealing:
This identification with the other is what a great writer brings to the art of story-making. We should welcome the rendering of our stories by others, because a visitor can sometimes see what the owner of the house has ignored. But they must visit with respect and not be concerned with the colour of skin, or the shape of nose, or the condition of the technology in the house."
When the point of view character is supposed to be a typical man of his time and place, a white visitor to Africa who exploits it without wanting to understand it, would it be realistic for Marlow to write "with respect" of Africans, ignoring their physical traits and technology? The story's power would be lost if the viewpoint character was an academic who calmly observed what happened and placed everything in perspective.

I might agree with Achebe if he was talking about essayists. But a storyteller's job isn't to be respectful—it's to be honest in a way that the essayist may try to explain, but can never duplicate. The essayist seeks answers. The storyteller seeks questions that linger when the essayist's work is done.

PS. This post was supposed to be about how Conrad and Achebe can't be divorced from the time when they worked, and Achebe's criticism of Conrad says more about people of Achebe's time than it says about Conrad. Art is always about its time, and criticism is always about its time, so in great criticism, you find interesting ideas in conflict, but in most criticism, you find the platitudes of the present being applied to the art of the past.

Maybe I'll return to this subject, but I suspect I'm done with it now.

Recommended:

Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and Chinua Achebe

Rights of Passage

Chinua Achebe and Joseph Conrad, artists of their time

It's been too many years since I read Achebe's Things Fall Apart and Conrad's Heart of Darkness—I think I'll try to read them back-to-back soon. For now, I'm relying on old memories and recent readings about Achebe's denunciation of Conrad.

Achebe is interviewed in The case against Conrad. He says Conrad "is obsessed with the physicality of the negro" and misses the fact that Conrad was obsessed with physicality in general. Achebe conflates Conrad with Marlow and makes an odd assumption: Why does he think Marlow has a "pure" soul? Heart of Darkness is about imperialists whose souls are not pure at all—Kurtz looks within himself and famously sees "the horror!" the horror!"

In the interview, Achebe says something that's mostly true and very revealing:
This identification with the other is what a great writer brings to the art of story-making. We should welcome the rendering of our stories by others, because a visitor can sometimes see what the owner of the house has ignored. But they must visit with respect and not be concerned with the colour of skin, or the shape of nose, or the condition of the technology in the house."
When the point of view character is supposed to be a typical man of his time and place, a white visitor to Africa who exploits it without wanting to understand it, would it be realistic for Marlow to write "with respect" of Africans, ignoring their physical traits and technology? The story's power would be lost if the viewpoint character was an academic who calmly observed what happened and placed everything in perspective.

I might agree with Achebe if he was talking about essayists. But a storyteller's job isn't to be respectful—it's to be honest in a way that the essayist may try to explain, but can never duplicate. The essayist seeks answers. The storyteller seeks questions that linger when the essayist's work is done.

PS. This post was supposed to be about how Conrad and Achebe can't be divorced from the time when they worked, and Achebe's criticism of Conrad says more about people of Achebe's time than it says about Conrad. Art is always about its time, and criticism is always about its time, so in great criticism, you find interesting ideas in conflict, but in most criticism, you find the platitudes of the present being applied to the art of the past.

Maybe I'll return to this subject, but I suspect I'm done with it now.

Recommended:

Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and Chinua Achebe

Rights of Passage

"Spoon Theory"

Let’s talk about spoons - Morning Chorus: "If you use this expression and are not disabled, you are appropriating a term meant specifically for people who suffer from chronic fatigue and pain. You’re ignoring the true spirit of the analogy and are being an ableist fuckhead for reducing our daily struggle to get by with something that just upsets you."

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Kinks - Sunny Afternoon

The Kinks - Sunny Afternoon - YouTube:

The Kinks - Sunny Afternoon

The Kinks - Sunny Afternoon - YouTube:

my new theme song?

The Indelicates - "Class" - YouTube:

my new theme song?

The Indelicates - "Class" - YouTube:

a statistic for SJ Warriors

A Third of Americans Now Say They Are in the Lower Classes | Pew Social & Demographic Trends: "a virtually identical share of blacks (33%) and whites (31%) now say they are in the lower class."

Basic Income worked in Canada's Mincome test

Mincome - Wikipedia:
Mincome is the name of an experimental Canadian Basic income project that was held in Dauphin, Manitoba during the 1970s. The project, funded jointly by the Manitoba provincial government and the Canadian federal government, began with a news release on February 22, 1974, and was closed down in 1979. The purpose of this experiment was to determine whether a guaranteed, unconditional annual income actually caused disincentive to work for the recipients, and how great such a disincentive would be. A final report was never issued, but Dr. Evelyn Forget [for-ZHAY] has conducted analysis of the research. She found that only new mothers and teenagers worked less. Mothers with newborns stopped working because they wanted to stay at home longer with their babies, and teenagers worked less because they weren't under as much pressure to support their families, which resulted in more teenagers graduating. In addition, those who continued to work were given more opportunities to choose what type of work they did. In addition, Forget finds that in the period that Mincome was administered, hospital visits dropped 8.5 per cent, with fewer incidences of work-related injuries, and fewer emergency room visits from car accidents and domestic abuse.[1] 
External links 

Basic Income worked in Canada's Mincome test

Mincome - Wikipedia:
Mincome is the name of an experimental Canadian Basic income project that was held in Dauphin, Manitoba during the 1970s. The project, funded jointly by the Manitoba provincial government and the Canadian federal government, began with a news release on February 22, 1974, and was closed down in 1979. The purpose of this experiment was to determine whether a guaranteed, unconditional annual income actually caused disincentive to work for the recipients, and how great such a disincentive would be. A final report was never issued, but Dr. Evelyn Forget [for-ZHAY] has conducted analysis of the research. She found that only new mothers and teenagers worked less. Mothers with newborns stopped working because they wanted to stay at home longer with their babies, and teenagers worked less because they weren't under as much pressure to support their families, which resulted in more teenagers graduating. In addition, those who continued to work were given more opportunities to choose what type of work they did. In addition, Forget finds that in the period that Mincome was administered, hospital visits dropped 8.5 per cent, with fewer incidences of work-related injuries, and fewer emergency room visits from car accidents and domestic abuse.[1] 
External links 

Monday, September 10, 2012

the simplest way to end poverty


"How much would it take to bring all the officially poor up to the poverty line? Surprisingly little: about 1% of GDP, or not quite 10% of the Census Bureau's estimate of the income of the richest 5%. It's about half the increase in the military budget since 2000. . . . the solution to ending poverty is pretty simple: you give poor people money, preferably taken from rich people."
—Doug Henwood, Left Business Observer #134, 2/17/12

Anyone who inherited anything has no right to complain about giving money to people.

the simplest way to end poverty


"How much would it take to bring all the officially poor up to the poverty line? Surprisingly little: about 1% of GDP, or not quite 10% of the Census Bureau's estimate of the income of the richest 5%. It's about half the increase in the military budget since 2000. . . . the solution to ending poverty is pretty simple: you give poor people money, preferably taken from rich people."
—Doug Henwood, Left Business Observer #134, 2/17/12

Anyone who inherited anything has no right to complain about giving money to people.

dirty words are reminders of the class war

"Dirty words" were said by the people who worked in the dirt.

Inspired by THE POWER OF DIRTY WORDS | Norman Spinrad At Large: "In French-conquered England, the three classes spoke three different languages.  The language of the conquering power was French, the language of religious power and high-toned intellectual discourse was Latin, and the language of the conquered natives who became the lowest class serfs had already been  a proto-English “Anglo-Saxon.”"

dirty words are reminders of the class war

"Dirty words" were said by the people who worked in the dirt.

Inspired by THE POWER OF DIRTY WORDS | Norman Spinrad At Large: "In French-conquered England, the three classes spoke three different languages.  The language of the conquering power was French, the language of religious power and high-toned intellectual discourse was Latin, and the language of the conquered natives who became the lowest class serfs had already been  a proto-English “Anglo-Saxon.”"

the racist assumptions of anti-racism, or yes, social justice warriors are racist

Several people came to this blog seeking "social justice warriors are racist."

This post's for you.

Social justice warriors love to say "race is a social construct" as if that's a new concept. It's actually ancient. Even in the 19th century, when most English-speaking people thought race was a valid concept, the opponents of racism knew, from a scientific view and a theological one, that humanity is one family.

Social justice warriors say "race is a social construct" in the same way that conventional racists say "I'm not racist, but...." It's a rhetorical device that, in their cases, means nothing. If social justice warriors truly believe race is a social construct, why do they make statements about all white people or all people of color?

Because they're racists.

Social justice warriors get their understanding of race from Critical Race Theory, which does not reject the idea of race. It endorses race, then tries to reject the idea of racism by dividing people racially. For Critical Race Theorists, the "social construct" is based on appearance, not culture. That's the only way that they can divide humanity into "people of color" and "white allies" and, by implication, "white enemies." Since all white people are racist in their view, the white allies are still racist, but they become allies because they accept the terms of CRT.

Critical Race Theorists see power in racial terms, as though only poor dark-skinned people and rich white people are relevant to understanding the US today. But power is not that simple.

For more about the assumptions of Critical Race Theorists:

The Man Who Changed Middle-Class Feminism, or Derrick Bell and Critical Race Theory, Where Racism and Anti-Racism Intersect.

Racism equals prejudice plus power, so only whites can be racist?

the social justice workers that I love

it's all one thing: the social justice workers that I love

the social justice workers that I love


I've long been a fan of liberation theologists who risked their lives and their standing in the Catholic church by speaking out for sharing the wealth. I love Dom Hélder Câmara for saying, "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why they are poor, they call me a communist."

"Why are the people poor?" is the most dangerous question anyone can ask a capitalist. The answer's obvious: in this world that has enough for everyone, the only reason anyone is poor is because the rich don't share.

Speaking for "social justice" makes sense in countries where socialists are marginalized, imprisoned, or killed, but social justice is a movement that cannot exist without the tolerance of hierarchs who will squash it if it goes too far. That's what happened to the liberation theologists; Wikipedia notes, "The influence of liberation theology diminished after proponents were accused of using "Marxist concepts" leading to admonishment by the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) in 1984 and 1986. The Vatican criticized certain strains of liberation theology for focusing on institutionalized or systemic sin, apparently to the exclusion of individual offenders/offences; and for allegedly misidentifying Catholic Church hierarchy in South America as members of the same privileged class that had long been oppressing indigenous populations since the arrival of Pizarro."

In Martin Luther King's time, socialists were excluded from political discourse in the US. To be effective, he had to talk about social justice instead. In a 1963 WMU Speech, he said, "I think with all of these challenges being met and with all of the work, and determination going on, we will be able to go this additional distance and achieve the ideal, the goal of the new age, the age of social justice."

But his concept of social justice was very different than that of identitarians who appropriated the term. That became clear as his focus expanded from race to poverty and peace, when King was willing to directly confront capitalism directly with statements like “Call it democracy, or call it democratic socialism, but there must be a better distribution of wealth within this country for all of God’s children.”

the social justice workers that I love


I've long been a fan of liberation theologists who risked their lives and their standing in the Catholic church by speaking out for sharing the wealth. I love Dom Hélder Câmara for saying, "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why they are poor, they call me a communist."

"Why are the people poor?" is the most dangerous question anyone can ask a capitalist. The answer's obvious: in this world that has enough for everyone, the only reason anyone is poor is because the rich don't share.

Speaking for "social justice" makes sense in countries where socialists are marginalized, imprisoned, or killed, but social justice is a movement that cannot exist without the tolerance of hierarchs who will squash it if it goes too far. That's what happened to the liberation theologists; Wikipedia notes, "The influence of liberation theology diminished after proponents were accused of using "Marxist concepts" leading to admonishment by the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) in 1984 and 1986. The Vatican criticized certain strains of liberation theology for focusing on institutionalized or systemic sin, apparently to the exclusion of individual offenders/offences; and for allegedly misidentifying Catholic Church hierarchy in South America as members of the same privileged class that had long been oppressing indigenous populations since the arrival of Pizarro."

In Martin Luther King's time, socialists were excluded from political discourse in the US. To be effective, he had to talk about social justice instead. In a 1963 WMU Speech, he said, "I think with all of these challenges being met and with all of the work, and determination going on, we will be able to go this additional distance and achieve the ideal, the goal of the new age, the age of social justice."

But his concept of social justice was very different than that of identitarians who appropriated the term. That became clear as his focus expanded from race to poverty and peace, when King was willing to directly confront capitalism directly with statements like “Call it democracy, or call it democratic socialism, but there must be a better distribution of wealth within this country for all of God’s children.”