Saturday, May 28, 2016

a story about a hoax hate crime, burqas, and an argument for police cameras being on at all time

"Don't confuse truth with falsehood or knowingly conceal the truth." -Qur'an 2:42

This is obviously a story that Islamaphobes exploit, but I'm sharing it for two reasons:

1. It's more evidence that everyone deserves the benefit of the doubt until all the facts are known.

2. If the cop's camera hadn't been on, even if he'd been found innocent, he would've been mobbed by people who "believe the victim".

I disagree with the people who conclude burqas should be banned. As the story notes, even the most conservative muslim scholars say it's appropriate for a woman to show her face to an official to verify her identity.

Emotional thinking and folie à plusieurs: a few links about "political correctness"

Political Correctness Gone Mad | Psychology Today:
Collective, contagious behavior of this sort was first described in some detail by the French many years ago. They called it folie à plusieurs. It is collective behavior, often accompanied by a shared delusional system and reconstruction of reality, culminating in emotional thinking. Historically, it involved a degree of social isolation which favors delusional ideation. It seems these days it involves a response to catastrophic or awfulistic thinking with absolute demands (i.e., anger), short of delusional reconstructions of reality. I suppose this is progress of sorts! What we're dealing with appears to involve other dimensions, other sources of a breakdown of rational thinking giving rise to emotional thinking including the cognitive distortions of black-and-white thinking, overgeneralizations, problems with abstraction, emotional thinking, mind-reading, fortune-telling, labeling, exclusion of positive evidence, favoring negative evidence (because "fear attracts"), favoring moral-relativity while blind to moral-absolutes, and engaging in the even more dangerous factual-relativity often associated with growing ignorance and cynicism concerning science and the scientific method.
ETA: 10 Ridiculous Cases of Political Correctness - Listverse is a rightwing grabbag. I disagree with #5, I'd love to know what solution the writer has in mind for #2, and #1 is about science, not "political correctness", but the other seven are worth noting.

Winston Churchill's cigar airbrushed from picture - Telegraph

UNH In Hot Water Over the Word 'American'

'Political correctness gone mad': Man asked not to wear Union Jack jacket because it’s 'offensive' — RT UK

Controversies about the word "niggardly" - Wikipedia

Maryland Teacher Knocked Out, Bloodied by Black Student Who ‘Misinterpreted’ This Word as ‘Racist’ | Top Right News

Political Correctness Gone Mad - TV Tropes:
In some cases, this might be literally about political correctness taken too far, presented through a Granola Girl or Soapbox Sadie who embodies the negative aspects of the PC movement. It may also involve Moral Guardians attempting to Bowdlerize a work in order to remove anything, no matter how trivial, that might be considered "offensive". However, in other cases, the accusations of political correctness are baseless.

Friday, May 27, 2016

University at Albany expels students indicted in hate crime hoax

University at Albany expels students indicted in hate crime hoax - Washington Times
Inspector Paul Burlingame of the University Police Department, a witness who testified at the hearing, said the real victims of the assault stayed mum during the media storm because they feared for their safety.

“One of the female victims,” Mr. Burlingame said, “withdrew out of concern for her physical safety.”

He said another student withdrew, “having been the target of threats made on social media because of the false reports made by (the women) of his having participated in an alleged hate crime,” the Times Union reported.

How Julian Fellowes' Doctor Thorne spoilers itself; a spoiler-free review that addresses point of view

I have not read Anthony Trollope's Doctor Thorne, so I don't know if the main weakness of Fellowes' adaptation comes from it. I hope so, because if not, Fellowes has done Trollope an enormous disservice.

But before I get to that, a few quick observations:

1. If you like BBC tales of the 19th century, you'll like this. The actors and settings are all fine.

2. The director is barely competent. There are too many cuts and close-ups, perhaps because he was told to shoot for TV rather than the big screen, and some of the group shots are not as effectively composed as tbey might be.

3. The production's not quite historically accurate. Emma thinks they overdid the flowers in women's hair, and there's one scene that must not be from the book in which a gentleman and a lady behave on a public street in a way no one of the time would have.

On to my realization:

The story gives us all the background for what happens in a way that makes the plot seem weak: we know who must die and when they must die for the story to reach the conclusion it promises us, and sure enough, they do.

The problem is not with the plot. Dickens and Wilkie would've taken the same story and revealed the important truth at the end. The details of the story would not have to change a bit: Doctor Thorne's niece learns the important things exactly when we, the audience, should learn them. But because the story's point of view is generally with Doctor Thorne instead of Mary Thorne, we learn the facts much too soon for any dramatic effect. The result's like watching a story that's been spoilered—we know what will happen, so the only pleasure left is in watching how things happen, a pleasure that should be left for the second viewing.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Captain America is not a Hydra agent, and Superman didn't blow up Krypton

Yes, I think the idea of retconning Captain America as a Hydra agent is high on the list of stupidest ideas comic book people have had. But I'm not upset, because it's just a stupid comic book, and a smart writer will easily retcon it in turn. If I was in charge, it would be explained as a bad dream that a Marvel editor had.

Captain America being a Hydra agent makes as much sense as:

1. Kal-El blew up Krypton.

2. Wonder Woman was Hitler's lover.

3. Bruce Wayne's parents faked their death to escape being prosecuted for tax evasion.

4. Tony Stark pretended he had heart problems to make women feel sorry for him.

5. Peter Parker's Uncle Ben was a child molester who was not killed by a burglar, but by one of his victims.

6. Reed Richards went into space to prove the Earth is flat.

Okay, maybe #5 would make a decent story, but the original version is still better.

Please note that I'm not opposed to retconning. Alan Moore's retcon of Swamp Thing was brilliant. But Captain America's story is beautifully simple: an idealistic kid gets the chance to become the hero he wants to be. To change it is to deny that there are idealistic kids who manage to become good adults.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Today's example of identitarian hypocrisy: a comment on Sady Doyle and the Matt Breunig affair

Just shared this on social media:
The only amusing thing about the Matt Bruenig firing is watching folk who reject "tone policing" say he deserved to be fired for incivility.
Sady Doyle is not the only identitarian who inspired that, but she did her very best to get Bruenig fired, so it's especially funny in her case. She recently said in Sady Doyle (Patterns):
I’m tired of explaining the central thesis of my argument, which is that Bruenig is a ringleader for harassment. I get it: The idea that someone could get fired for insensitive or flippant things they say on Twitter is concerning. It concerns me – I post rude things all the time. But the question I’m most often being asked, or the point I’m being made to prove, is that Bruenig “bears responsibility for his followers.”
There would be some justice in her being fired for the same offense, and after her harassment of Michael Moore with #MooreAndMe, she's in no position to complain about anyone else's followers. But I want a world where Doyle and Bruenig are both free to speak their minds without being fired, so I hope she never has to suffer what she so blithely seeks for others.

ETA: The Bruenig Firing: 'Civility' As A Tool To Control Dissent:
As Rania Khalek argued in an interview with The Benjamin Dixon Show, there’s a growing trend of painting any and all political disagreement as forms of harassment, and “prominent Clinton supporters are using the language of rape, assault and misogyny to smear people” with no concrete evidence. This effectively protects even the most “privileged” among us from criticism.

Sady Doyle and the Hillary Clinton Pass on "Believe the Victim"

If Sady Doyle has written about the rape charges against Bill Clinton,  my quick googling hasn't found it. She seems to have realized there's no way for her to address the issue without seeming like a hypocrite, because she has a problem: "believe the victim" makes her believe Julian Assange is guilty, but the rape allegations against Clinton are stronger than those against Assange: Clinton is accused of violent rape, and he has many accusers. Some offer less evidence than others, but to anyone who "believes the victim", this should not be an issue. Some have very strong evidence. From The rape allegation against Bill Clinton, explained - Vox:
Several friends of Broaddrick's backed up the story. Norma Rogers, who was the director of nursing at Broaddrick's nursing home at the time, told reporters that she entered the hotel room shortly after the assault allegedly took place and "found Mrs. Broaddrick crying and in 'a state of shock.' Her upper lip was puffed out and blue, and appeared to have been hit." Kelsey elaborated to the New York Times, "She told me he forced himself on her, forced her to have intercourse."
The problem for Doyle isn't whether Bill Clinton raped anyone; it's that her heroine, Hillary Clinton, clearly does not "believe the victim" when it comes to her husband's accusers. From ’90s Scandals Threaten to Erode Hillary Clinton’s Strength With Women - The New York Times:
Over the years, the Clinton effort to cast doubt on the women included using words like “floozy,” “bimbo” and “stalker,” and raising questions about their motives. James Carville, a longtime strategist for Mr. Clinton, was especially cutting in attacking Ms. Flowers. “If you drag a hundred-dollar bill through a trailer park, you never know what you’ll find,” Mr. Carville said of Ms. Flowers.
And from Hillary Clinton's 'Feminist' Campaign Is Fraudulent | National Review:
When allegations of sexual misconduct emerged during Bill’s 1992 presidential run, she’s reported to have said “Who is going to find out? These women are trash. Nobody’s going to believe them.” Multiple people also report that she called the women “sluts” and “whores” — you know, for daring to be raped. A private investigator named Ivan Duda claims that, after Bill lost his second governor’s race, Hillary told him: “I want you to get rid of all these b****** he’s seeing . . . I want you to give me the names and addresses and phone numbers, and we can get them under control.” 
Clinton's attempts to deal with this expose the double-standard of "believe the victim" From the New York Times article: 
...a young woman asked Mrs. Clinton about several women who alleged her husband sexually assaulted them. “You say that all rape victims should be believed,” the woman said. “Should we believe them as well?” Mrs. Clinton replied, “Well, I would say that everybody should be believed at first until they are disbelieved based on evidence.” 
But there is no evidence that Mrs. Broaddrick lied. By "believe the victim" logic, the benefit of the doubt goes to the accuser, not the accused, and anyone who supports Hillary Clinton is supporting a textbook example of a "rape enabler".

Monday, May 23, 2016

"Believe the Victim" — a cartoon


Lynchings: By State and Race, 1882-1968

The National Registry of Exonerations has recorded 1,792 cases since 1989 of people who were convicted, then found to be innocent. Some of them were in prison for decades. Some were not exonerated until after they died in prison.

fake hate crimes: a database of hate crime hoaxes in the usa

False rape accusations: Why must we pretend they never happen?

Earlier: The Necktie Party, a short comic

The difference between private and personal property, or Personal property is not social property

The Communist Manifesto calls for the "Abolition of private property." It also says, "When, therefore, capital is converted into common property, into the property of all members of society, personal property is not thereby transformed into social property."

Even under capitalism, we have some examples of social property—parks, police departments, libraries, and government buildings that are owned by the people and controlled by what Lincoln called a "government of the people, by the people, for the people."

Personal property consists of things everyone should be able to have: clothes, toys, books, tools, etc. It's what you personally use and your home is probably filled with. Private property consists of things capitalists own and exploit commercially: land, factories, corporations, etc. Private property falls under the category of "the means of production", and what private property produces is capital for its owner. Socialists want to turn private property into social property so we will all be owners of the means of production and everyone will benefit equally.

Recommended: End Private Property, Not Kenny Loggins | Jacobin

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Dividing my blogs yet again

I want to make my main blog a place for art, but I can't ignore politics, so I'm dividing my blogging once again. It's All One Thing will only be political when the politics are part of art—see my previous post for an example. From now on, explicitly political posts will be found at Another Thing Is Still the Same Thing.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Sady Doyle does the identitarian dance around Adolph Reed's Catch-22

I noticed Sady Doyle a few years back when she told her Tumblr followers to mob Michael Moore until he apologized for saying something she didn't like. I've noticed her again this week thanks to her entry in Liberal Think Tank Fires Matt Bruenig for Rude Tweets. In the comments at The Great Matt Bruenig-Neera Tanden Kerfuffle Sort of Explained, I responded,
Oh, god, Sady Doyle, queen of the identitarian neoliberals who has taken to heart the principle that when you can't answer people, you accuse them of racism or sexism or both. The simple fact is neoliberals hate talking about class, and Bruenig excels at it, so writers like Doyle cannot engage with him on the merits of the argument and have to rely on ad hominem.
After leaving that, I realized that it's not fair to accuse people without offering evidence, so while there's plenty online, here's enough, I hope:

1. She assumes men are guilty because of their gender.

A post at  My Own Private Guantanamo discusses what she wrote publicly about Julian Assange in 2010 and appears to have deleted:
...Doyle herself is no agnostic on Assange’s guilt. Last Thursday, she wrote:
“I really, really, do tend to believe that he raped those girls.”
“he (Assange) — in my opinion, probably, allegedly — happened to be a repeat rapist…”
Identitarians do not care that the law presumes innocence for a reason: the victim of every lynching died because the mob "believed the victim" instead of letting the law take its course.

2. She campaigns for women because of their gender.

She wrote in "Some Other Woman" for President 2016 - The Baffler:
...Hillary Clinton is the only viable Democratic candidate we’ve got—and the only viable female candidate we’ve ever had. She is not perfect; she’s not an evil wizard or the reincarnation of Margaret Thatcher, either. (Another tip: Before you compare Hillary Clinton to Margaret Thatcher, ask yourself: Am I about to compare Hillary Clinton to Margaret Thatcher? One was a hyper-conservative Tory who supported apartheid and whose talking points included the phrase “I hate feminism”; the other is a moderate Democrat whose economic policy hews too close to the center for some liberals’ tastes. It makes about as much sense as comparing Reagan to Obama because both of them served two terms.)

There is no spot on the ballot that allows you to vote for “some other woman.”
By championing Clinton, Doyle steps into what I'm currently calling the Adolph Reed Identitarian Catch-22. Discusing Sanders and race, Reed said,
You can go down Sanders’s platform issue by issue and ask, “so how is this not a black issue?” How is a $15 minimum wage not a black issue. How is massive public works employment not a black issue. How is free public college higher education not a black issue. The criminal justice stuff and all the rest of it.
Reed's observation about race applies to gender. You can go down Sanders' platform issue by issue and ask, "So how is this not a feminist issue?" Everyone who is concerned for the working class is disproportionately concerned for women and people of color because the working class is disproportionately female and dark-skinned. 

Doyle does see the catch, which is why in her article she adds disingenuously:
If you prefer a different, male candidate to Hillary, say so. Wear your “SANDERS 2016” T-shirt with pride. There’s no harm, and no sexism, in advocating for the person you believe is best for the job—unless it’s some imaginary far-future lady president who will deliver the State of the Union address via hologram from her private spaceship.
Even while she assures the majority of millennial women who support Sanders that she's not calling them sexist, she can't keep herself from mentioning that "imaginary far-future lady president". Doyle wants her "lady president" now, and therefore doesn't care that Clinton's economic policies will hurt more women than Sanders' would. Doyle mentions Thatcher and doesn't notice the things Clinton has done that remind us of Thatcher: supporting Israel's treatment of Palestinians, supporting the rightwing coup in Honduras, supporting the creation of chaos in Libya that has only strengthened Daesh... In all those places, women suffer, yet identitarians like Doyle look away because their only concern is for the symbol of a female president.

ETA: Lawrence Person notes in the comments that Doye is wrong about Thatcher, as this 1984 article shows: Apartheid 'Unacceptable,' Thatcher Tells Botha.

All lives matter: Danielle Maudsley

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

How One Tweet Can Ruin Your Life | Jon Ronson | TED Talks

ETA: If you want to understand how the targets of Racefail 09 felt, start at 11:20.The person I felt most sorry for was Jay Lake, who was dealing with his cancer when Racefail exploded after his post.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Why "progressive" has become meaningless

Watching the Clinton camp fight over the idea that she's progressive, I realized the word has lost its meaning. My impression, which I have not bothered to research, is that as conservatives made "liberal" and "leftist" into bad words several decades ago, Democrats switched over to being "progressives".

But because the rebranding was vague, progressives never bothered to define what they were progressing toward. They left that for the voters. Are you a Blue Dog Democrat who wants progress toward the center-right? You're a progressive! Are you a democratic socialist who wants progress toward an economically egalitarian society? You're a progressive!

The word is less meaningful than liberal, neoliberal, or socialist because it's been claimed by people in each of those camps. It's less meaningful than leftist because it includes neoliberals who are only leftists if viewed from the furthest right. It's as meaningless as "cool"—it's something many people want to be perceived as because it's believed to be a desirable trait, but if you try to grasp what's there, you're left holding air.

I've stopped using it. I'm a democratic socialist. One of the things I love about Sanders is he's made it easy for most people to understand what that means: I want to progress toward socialism using the democratic process at every step. Capitalists think socialism is not progressive. Why should I waste time arguing with them? There are words I will fight for, but "progressive" is not one. Everyone wants to progress toward something. If you don't ask about the destination, you will be led to a place you'ill regret.

ETA: An interesting attempt to define "progressive": Yet Another Political Compass | Where Worlds Collide

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Yes, Amanda Marcotte, Captain America is a libertarian—a left-libertarian

Nothing is as clickbaity as an article that's infuriating for one audience and choir-preaching for another. Amanda Marcotte has once again done both in Captain America’s a douchey libertarian now: Why did Marvel have to ruin Steve Rogers? Here's what I said in a Facebook discussion about whether the movie has an idiot plot:
I suspect I bought the emotional conflict because the fundamental argument is important to me: do we submit to authoritarianism when it's well-intended? A great many people on the left and right say yes. Amanda Marcotte wrote a stupid piece saying this movie made Captain America a libertarian and was upset because she thinks the only libertarians are right-libertarians, but Cap, given when and where he grew up, is at least a Roosevelt Democrat and may be a red—he's very much a left-libertarian. Whether Tony Stark is a neoliberal or a Republican doesn't matter—they're going to clash when the government says to jump.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Shadow Unit #6 ebook has a major update! Liavek #4 ebook is back at its original price.

A Shadow Unit reader (who I thank beyond measure!) noticed that the sixth ebook was missing an entire scene, the first scene of the second act of Elizabeth Bear's "Wind-up Boogeyman". It has been fixed; you should be able to download the revised ebook from whoever sold the one you own. If not, let me know.

And I'd accidentally raised the price of Liavek 4: The Players of Luck. It's back at $2.99.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Why meritocrats care about racism and sexism and don't give a damn about the white working class

Posted this on my Facebook before realizing something:
Sometimes I think I should deal with things in race reductionist ways because rich people don't give a damn if you point out that they're rich while so many are poor, but they hate being called racist.

Larry Wilmore undoubtedly knew his audience was not in that room. One small part of his audience was in front of my computer.
(Four minute cut of Larry Wilmore's White House speech here.)

Then I saw the reason some rich people care about racism and sexism even though they're indifferent to or dismissive of the working class in general: racism and sexism destroy the beautiful illusion of meritocracy. It's easy for humans to think they are better than people who look like them because those people who look like them must have failed somehow. But only racists and sexists can say an entire race or gender deserves to be kept down because another race or gender is better.

Monday, May 2, 2016

I'm a Zionist Shegetz?

I suppose I know as much about Zionism and Yiddish as most literate goys who've lived in Manhattan and had a Jewish fiancee, which is to say, more than most people who aren't Jewish and more than some Jews, but hardly enough to think I'm especially knowledgable about either Zionism or Yiddish. Today I learned two things.

1. In the eyes of at least one identitarian Jew, I'm a shegetz, a Yiddish word "from the Hebrew sheketz ("detestable," "abomination", "loathed", "blemish")." It "literally translates as "rascal", "scoundrel" or "varmint", its pejorative connotations range from negligible to severe, depending on the context." It's the male version of shiksa. I'd never run into it before, but I'm glad to add a new word to my vocabulary, and being called a shegetz inspired me to post this on Facebook:
I was just called a shegetz, which amused me, and more importantly, helped me see something that's obvious when written out: the first trait of racists is the use of insults that were created for the people they consider "other".

The second trait, of course, is the use of coded language to allude to their insults. So I was pleased that this person avoided code and went straight for shegetz.
2. I had not thought I was a Zionist, because although I know the meaning has always depended on the user and there were both conservative religious Zionists and socialist atheist Zionists in the early days of the movement, I'd thought the only modern sense was that used by rightwing Israeli and Christian Zionists who support dispossessing Palestinians as they pursue their dream of Greater Israel. But before I was called a shegetz, I was told I'm a Zionist because I'm in the first of three categories: Zionists believe Israel has a right to exist, neo-Zionists support the settlers and Israel's appropriation of land the UN never gave it, and post-Zionists believe "that Zionism has fulfilled its ideological mission with the creation of the modern State of Israel in 1948, and that Zionist ideology should therefore be considered at an end...used by right-wing Jews to refer to the left wing of Israeli politics in light of the Oslo Accords."

I'm still hesitant to call myself a Zionist. Using the definitions above, I think I'm an anti-neo-Zionist. My take on Israel is that it was a well-intentioned project based on a flawed assumption. Religious states are a bad idea. Since Israel exists, the pragmatic solution is for the US to stop giving it billions of dollars every year until the one-state or the two-state solution has been realized and everyone within the land Israel currently controls has full citizenship in a viable nation.


Israel could reduce anti-Semitic violence by not calling itself the Jewish state, Finkelstein says – Mondoweiss

Finkelstein Breaks His Silence. Tells Holocaust-Mongers, "It is time to crawl back into your sewer!"

Noam Chomsky on BDS and How the Israeli Occupation is "Much Worse Than Apartheid" | Democracy Now!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Liavek 4: The Players of Luck is now available! Stories by Robin Hobb, Gregory Frost, Steven Brust, John M. Ford, and Emma Bull!


"Pot Luck" by Megan Lindholm (Robin Hobb)
"Show of Faith" by Gregory Frost
"An Act of Trust" by Steven Brust
"A Cup of Worrynot Tea" by John M. Ford
"The Well-Made Plan" by Emma Bull Liavek 4

Barnes & NobleLiavek 4

Smashwords – Liavek 4

These stories were originally included in Liavek: The Players of Luck, which has been out of print for many years.

Identitarian classism: Oxford student refuses to tip waitress because she is white

Oxford student behind Rhodes Must Fall campaign says he refused to tip waitress because she is white | Daily Mail Online

ETA: If you wonder whether Ntokozo Qwabe is a privileged Oxford student, the Obz Cafe doesn't look cheap. There's something especially obnoxious about rich kids not tipping the servants.

ETA 2: Tip the "Ntokozo Qwabe" Waitress by Ernst Shea-Kruger - GoFundMe Worth visiting just to read the privileged kid's version of the story.