Guest post: Because that’s not what the vanilla partner originally signed up for

Originally a comment by Marcus Ranum on About the boyfriend who wanted to choke them.

I recently was asked to watch “50 shades of gray” by a friend, who is exploring BDSM and wanted to know what I thought of the representation of D/S in the movie. For starters, it was wrong in every possible way and was badly acted and the dialogue was terrible, besides. But there is a thing that it almost kinda sorta gets right* namely that the two protagonists utterly “do not get it” through the entire movie. He is so intensely focused on his desire to be a “dominant”** that he utterly fails to see that there’s another person involved. She’s so, uh, well, she’s such a cardboard cut-out that perhaps he’s right that there really isn’t anothe person involved. But the one little slice of “getting it right” the movie manages to accomplish is at the end, when he finally gets sadistic on her*** and she freaks out and leaves. OK, that was great: utter failure to understand her other than as part of a relentless effort to manipulate coupled with utter failure to understand him as part of being beglamoured by wealth and attractiveness**** [Read more…]

Universities are for men who like to dress down

Damn, yet another one. Howard Jacobson has a nasty, inaccurate, reactionary column in the Independent about Tim Hunt. Defend to the death the right of important men to talk sexist shit to groups of women scientists at conferences!! The world will fall out of orbit if you don’t!!!

Tim Hunt has the air of a man who doesn’t put his appearance first, a man who, whether calculatedly or otherwise, inhabits that sphere of extraterrestrial idiosyncrasy whose uniform is a cream linen jacket bought from one of those shops in Piccadilly where they come pre-battered, a fisherman’s smock (probably picked up in Cornwall), stained owlish spectacles, a cord that goes around the neck to hang them from (else they’d fall into a laboratory bath) and, yes, figurative tufts of nostril hair. [Read more…]

They make free speech an issue

Benjamin Jones, communications officer of the National Secular Society, discusses a worrying set of claims by the Director of LSE.

A paper published by the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education has claimed that atheists can be “militant” on university campuses, while describing religion as a “public good” and the exclusion of religion from the public sphere as “repressive.”

Professor Craig Calhoun, Director of the London School of Economics, has said atheists make “free speech an issue” in efforts to “challenge the faith and beliefs of religious students”. He described “controversies over religious cartoons” as ‘disruptive to “campus harmony” and compared rows over free speech and blasphemy to ‘clashes’ between religions.

[Read more…]

Fellow Food Lion shoppers are worth it

From the Onion: a guy who is refreshingly open about his personal life.

Some people never let you know the “real” them. They keep their deepest thoughts and emotions tucked away from the rest of the world. Why they would want to, I’ll never know. I, for one, am refreshingly open about my personal life.

Would you like to know about the problems I’m having with my wife? No need to ask. If you are vaguely acquainted with me, you doubtless already know about the miscarriage, the affair, the second miscarriage, the man from Oklahoma City, and the fact that Gloria’s allergy-relief medication has a dehydrating effect, which necessitates our use of lubricants during sex. (Chances are pretty good you also know that we prefer WET-brand lubricants over Astroglide.)

[Read more…]

Freedom to blot yourself out

A woman in London has made a short movie called My Freedom, My Right. Go sister! What’s it about – reproductive rights? Freedom to work, freedom to travel, freedom to learn?

No, it’s about wearing that great symbol of freedom…the niqab.

Twenty-two-year-old Joni Clarke, resident of southeast London, has decided to raise awareness of the abuse and discrimination that Muslim women face by making a short film. The film, My Freedom, My Right, features Clarke reciting a poem that recalls comments made to her because of her niqab.

[Read more…]

About the boyfriend who wanted to choke them

Sarah Ditum changed her mind about porn.

[F]our years ago, [Gail] Dines and I took part in a debate titled “Is Porn Hijacking Our Sexuality?” Dines, a veteran anti-porn feminist, argued for yes, and I put the case for no. In the end, I got the impression that we’d both slightly wrong-footed each other: I didn’t use the insinuations of sexlessness and prudery she’d anticipated, and her argument contained all the economic and ethical subtlety I’d foolishly assumed it would lack. The debate dragged out for over a year, then collapsed unsatisfyingly, and I wrote a grumpy blogpost about it which led lots of people (most of them, it has to be said, men) to declare me the winner.

But she didn’t feel like a winner. She suspected she’d fudged parts of the argument, especially around racism and sexism. She started to think it wasn’t all that reassuring to keep pointing out there are no control groups of men who haven’t been steeped in ” the insistent chauvinism of pornography.” [Read more…]

Good-bye Lion

Oh crap, another one. The worst one yet, by some accounts. AFP via the Guardian:

Islamic State jihadis have destroyed a 2,000-year-old statue of a lion outside the museum in the Syrian city of Palmyra, the country’s antiquities director has said.

Maamoun Abdelkarim said the statue, known as the Lion of al-Lat, was an irreplaceable piece. “IS members on Saturday destroyed the Lion of al-Lat, which is a unique piece that is three metres [10ft] tall and weighs 15 tonnes,” Abdelkarim told AFP. “It’s the most serious crime they have committed against Palmyra’s heritage.”

The limestone statue was discovered in 1977 by a Polish archaeological mission at the temple of al-Lat, a pre-Islamic Arabian goddess, and dated back to the 1st century BC.

Abdelkarim said the statue had been covered with a metal plate and sandbags to protect it from fighting, “but we never imagined that IS would come to the town to destroy it.”

lion of al ata

That. It’s gone now. It’s rubble. It was there, a testimony to a human genius for art and sublimity, and now it’s just lumps of stone.

Comparative honorary professorship

I’m consulting some other universities’ policies as stated on their websites.

The one at Cardiff is interesting:

2.16    Honorary Professor

The title is awarded to an individual who is making a substantial commitment of a non-transient kind to the teaching and research activities of the University at a level deemed to be worthy of this title when assessed against the criteria for promotions to personal chairs and following the consideration of two external assessors. [Read more…]


Aseem Trivedi wants us to share his cartoons – and to join him in sharing cartoons if so inclined. He wants us to send suggestions.

What should ‘B&W’ campaign for? Do you know of an issue that should pursued here? ‘B&W’ is about detailed cartooning on topics that matter: human rights violations, corruption, conflicts of interest, broken systems, abuses by institutions and individuals with power, whether that’s government, nonprofits, or the press itself.

Mail your suggestions and ideas to with ‘suggestion’ in the subject line.

If you want to start a campaign through your art, you’re most welcome to join the crusade. You can send your cartoons on any local or international issue to get them published and circulated by ‘B&W’. You can also contributet to any of the cartoon campaign launched by B&W. [Read more…]

Universities are happy to ordain and celebrate the lofty ideals of academic freedom

Bruce Barry, a professor of management and sociology and a board member of the Tennessee ACLU, has an informative take on whether or not academic freedom is a license to provoke without consequences.

The rules are different depending on whether the university is public or private; academic at public universities have more protections.

After having his job offer rescinded, Salaita filed a federal lawsuit claiming that his rights to free speech and due process had been violated; a judge’s ruling on whether Salaita’s lawsuit can go forward is expected any day.

That kind of constitutionally based lawsuit isn’t available to Grundy at Boston University or to Hough at Duke since their appointments are at private institutions.

Although Grundy and Hough cannot claim a constitutional infringement on their rights, they can appeal to the principle of academic freedom.

Which sounds like saying they can make grand rhetorical claims and hope that gets them somewhere, but actually it’s more concrete than that. [Read more…]