Friday, October 25, 2013

Maya Angelou on why WisCon should not have censored Elizabeth Moon

I'm hopping in my time machine to take this back to the debate over Moon's GoHness:

"Each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it possibly, without claiming it, she stands up for all women." —Maya Angelou

Moon stood up for all women in much harder circumstances than most, and perhaps, all, of her WisCon critics have ever known.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

a guide to the current draft of my Social Justice Warrior book, Social Mob Justice

For the current version of this post, see My book is done, and so am I—on How To Make A Social Justice Warrior.

We are all slaves of defunct ideologues

I may be becoming a binarian in my old age: I'm more accepting of simple divisions now. One is between purists and pragmatists. I try to stay in the latter camp, but I fail, of course. I stumbled on this John Maynard Keyes' quote a few minutes ago:
The ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed the world is ruled by little else. Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist. Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back. I am sure that the power of vested interests is vastly exaggerated compared with the gradual encroachment of ideas.
And I thought of another old observation that applies to all of us: generals are always ready to fight the last war.

I fear being the unwitting subjects of beautiful theories is part of the human condition. But it explains the fury of internet outrage, when people angrily promote vaguely-understand ideas that are no longer relevant, and may have never been as useful as their first promoters believed.

Monday, October 21, 2013

do SJWs simply trust the wrong "experts"?

Why We Make Bad Decisions - NYTimes.com: "In a 2009 experiment carried out at Emory University, a group of adults was asked to make a decision while contemplating an expert’s claims, in this case, a financial expert. A functional M.R.I. scanner gauged their brain activity as they did so. The results were extraordinary: when confronted with the expert, it was as if the independent decision-making parts of many subjects’ brains pretty much switched off. They simply ceded their power to decide to the expert."

Identitarians cite a number of people to back up their beliefs, but the people they cite tend to have nothing more than belief to back up their own views—the proud embracing of subjectivity means any standards for experts are irrelevant. Hmm. Which is only more argument that identitarians are cultists.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

starting a conversation about catcalling and class

Hannah Price's photos of men who catcalled her are fascinating, partly because she's a fine photographer, partly because the conversation keeps being framed in ways she rejects. It first appeared under the headline My Harassers, but she rejected that simplicity in A Photographer Turns Her Lens On Men Who Catcall. She understands that those men are coming from a culture she doesn't know, and she understands the importance of treating different cultures, even those that seem threatening, with respect.

I'm fascinating by catcalling because the people offended by it seem to conflate at least three different things:

1. Attempts to make someone smile.
2. Attempts to get a date.
3. Attempts to insult someone.

Being the class guy, it's the third that most interests me: are the insulting catcallers trying to hurt women, or are they trying to hurt someone who appears to be of a higher class than theirs, someone who has opportunities that they feel have been denied to them?

But the second question interests me, too. The women who complain are inevitably middle or upper class. Does the attempt to get a date ever work with women of the same class as the catcaller?

And the first makes me sad. I've walked by street people who suggested I smile, or cheer up, or appreciate the beautiful day. Not everything said to a stranger—regardless of their sex—is sexual. Sometimes people who are feeling good simply want others to feel good, too.

ETA: Just noticed that my previous post about catcalling was written a year ago. Is October National Catcalling Month?

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Why it's easier to talk about race and sex than class

If you're white or male, no one will expect you to go as far as John Howard Griffin or Christine Jorgensen. Most people will simply expect you to treat everyone as your social equal. Even among privilege theorists, you needn't do more than periodically acknowledge that you're aware of the privileges you have being white or male—you're not expected to give up those privileges because it's assumed you can't give them up without expensive medical aid.

But if your privilege is economic, everyone knows it's possible to give it away. Jesus, Buddha, and Moses did, and Mohammad chose to live very simply.

Talk about race or sex, and some people will feel guilty for things they can't change. But talk about class, and some people will feel guilty for things they could change.

P.S. Because I hate making people feel guilty, I'll note that while I admire saints, I agree with Marx and Engels: what matters is creating a society in which everyone has the resources for what the Declaration of Independence promised, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Friday, October 11, 2013

What a bunch of twerks!

What a bunch of twerks! | Ellamay Russell | spiked: "But the problem here is not that the one-time Hannah Montana child star has appropriated black culture as a white thing; no, the problem is that black culture is being reduced to a sexually provocative dance. That is what is really offensive about this Cyrus the Siren furore: the degenerate identity politics of feminism has transformed a racial stereotype - the black woman as sex object - into something to be embraced by, er, black women. Contemporary feminism really is a schizophrenic beast. One minute its proponents are ‘slut-shaming’ and the next they’re shouting ‘you go girl, you work that twerk!’."

Thursday, October 10, 2013

"On the Depiction of Women in Games" And books, movies, comics....

"On the Depiction of Women in Games" by Amanda Lange:
The fact is that a lot of times when I see a call to “how women should really be depicted,” it worries me because it feels like there’s a big call for “women should be fully covered up” or “only wear reasonable clothes” and essentially take all the fun and fantasy out. That frankly sucks because even as a woman I like seeing sexy women kicking ass and really want to leave some room for this in my fun-times. 
Here’s my two cents on this. Women should be depicted in a way that’s consistent with the way men are depicted in any one given game. So if a game is supposed to have realistic soldiers in a realistic war environment, it’s silly if the women aren’t also wearing realistic solider uniforms, when the men are. On the other hand, if a game is supposed to have fun fantasy characters I think it’s perfectly OK for women to be depicted in fun fantasy ways. And also men.
Which covers how things should be in every art form: do you treat the women with the same respect—or lack of respect—as the men? If so, any problems in the work come from something other than sexism.

ETA: This is why no cosplayer, female or male, in a chainmail bikini should feel embarrassed by fandom's pulchriphobes.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Study: "females and males had carried out sexual violence at nearly equal levels by the age of 18"

Study: 10 Percent of U.S. Youths Cause Sexual Violence:
Perhaps the most controversial part of the study is that males, traditionally thought of as the perpetrators of sexual violence, are not the only ones responsible for sexual violence—females are too.
"Not long ago, males were asked the perpetrator questions and females were asked the victim questions," Ybarra noted. "We never appreciated the fact that males could be victims and females could be perpetrators.
"[This study] highlights the importance of asking both sexes both questions."
The study found that females and males had carried out sexual violence at nearly equal levels by the age of 18. Of the survey respondents who reported being perpetrators, 48 percent were female and 52 percent were male. Interestingly, females tend to assault older victims, while males are more likely to choose younger victims. Females are also more likely to engage in "gang rape" types of activity and act in groups or teams (1 in 5 females reported this type of activity, compared with 1 in 39 males).
Researchers aren't sure if this pattern is because of differences in developmental trajectories between males and females.

Are "bourgie black person" and "black social justice warrior" two names for the same kind of person?

Based on this, maybe: Quiz: Are You Bourgie? | Clutch Magazine.

ETA: I don't think they are. But the overlap is amusing.

weirdnesses of the day

Our house has an old garage with an old garage door—wooden, with two one windows. The strikethroughs are because someone broke one of the windows in the door last night. Nothing was taken, maybe because that wasn't the point, maybe because the motion sensor light came on and scared them away, maybe because they saw there was nothing worth the hassle.

Other weirdness is that inside the yard—meaning someone threw it over the fence—was a black power hair pick, the cheap plastic sort that has a fist on the end of the handle.

People connect dots, but not always correctly. These things might not be related.

Why a vandal or a thief would throw away a hair pick is an idea for a story that I doubt I could write.

It'll be a handyman day. I already made the trip to Home Depot for plywood.