Putting other kids at risk

Some US doctors are dropping patients who refuse to get their children vaccinated. Good.

With California gripped by a measles outbreak, Dr. Charles Goodman posted a clear notice in his waiting room and on Facebook: His practice will no longer see children whose parents won’t get them vaccinated.

“Parents who choose not to give measles shots, they’re not just putting their kids at risk, but they’re also putting other kids at risk — especially kids in my waiting room,” the Los Angeles pediatrician said.

[Read more…]

Football as character-builder

While we’re kvetching about football…I wrote a column for the previous-to-current Free Inquiry about my dislike of the sport and its cult. (US football this is, not association football aka soccer.)

What’s so annoying about it is the crackpot assumption that everyone is wildly excited about football when after all sport is only one branch of human activity, and football is only one branch of sport. I, for one, like the other football, a.k.a. soccer, and then there is lacrosse, jai alai, bowls, darts, bocce. . . . There are many sports, and I dislike the assumption that in America we’re all supposed to share the enthusiasm for American football. I dislike the social bullying aspect of it, just as I dislike the social bullying of public religiosity or nationalism or mass mourning when a movie star dies suddenly. [Read more…]

The show is about free speech, language and the media

A Kate Smurthwaite gig tomorrow at Goldsmiths College

Kate Smurthwaite will be performing her stand up show Leftie Cockwomble for all to enjoy! The show is about free speech, language and the media with some very interesting views on the Daily Mail and Frankie Boyle…
Doors 7pm for 8pm start!

The show is FREE for Goldsmiths Comedy Society members and the Feminist Society*

£4 OTD for general public

*This is only valid if you have paid your membership and you will be asked for your student number OTD

Monday 02 February 2015

7pm – 11pm

Oh wait. It’s off. [Read more…]

Anxious love

More celebration of Super Bowl Day by attacking the sacred institution of Murkan Football. Josh Spokes is on a tear on the subject, thanks to people treating football fandom as some sort of marginalized minority identity. Friends are making informative comments on his on-a-tear posts, and I sought and got permission to quote a couple.

Hope Stansfield:

Here’s the thing: I grew up in a rural and impoverished town in the Midwest. Football was a cultural juggernaut. It was a tool the privileged and powerful in that town used to demonstrate and exact their dominance, while also paying lip service to the idea that they weren’t viciously racist and bigoted – after all, if you could play football and not call them out, they’d treat you like a person.
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Fuck the Super Bowl

It’s Super Bowl day. Normally I get to ignore this, which is how I like it, but ignoring it is not possible this year as it was not possible last year, because the team based in the city where I live is in it, as it was last year. In the god damn Super Bowl. The Seattle team is in it, for the second year in a row, and “the fans” won’t let anyone forget it. There are footballteam-patriotism decals EVERYWHERE – literally. You can’t go anywhere on foot or by bus or car without seeing them constantly. They’re hung in windows, on the external walls of buildings, on car antennas; they’re on gigantic flags flown from the Space Needle, downtown buildings, houses. Even the god damn buses have their electronic destination signs programmed to flash the name and logo of the team in between the destination names.

This pisses me off. [Read more…]

“Plain” Colleen McCullough

Plain? Really? I gotta tell you, I don’t see it. Unless the standard is

  1. the most gorgeous woman on earth
  2. all other women

I don’t see how Colleen McCullough qualifies as “plain.”

We already know I don’t consider it necessary to announce in news items about women that they are or are not “plain” in the first place, but even putting that aside for the moment ad arguendo, I still don’t see how Colleen McCullough qualifies as “plain.”

Jezebel shares this photo:


[Read more…]

Plain of feature, and certainly overweight

Colleen McCullough was a best-selling novelist, and more.

Before becoming a full-time author, McCullough was a researcher at Yale medical school. And in between her time in New Haven and her global literary pursuits, she established the neurophysiology department at Syndey’s Royal North Shore hospital. She published her first novel, Tim, in 1974; her last, Bittersweet, in 2013. She was still working on a sequel when she died yesterday, at age 77, in a hospital on Norfolk Island.

But who cares about all that, amirite? Was she hot?? Was she gorgeous, was she thin, did she wear clothes well, did she decorate the place? Or did she fall down on all that? [Read more…]

Guest post: Syntax and form

Originally a comment by Dave Ricks on What does Silicon Valley think of women?

The Newsweek cover works for me as satire, and I’ll explain in terms of syntax or form. By syntax, I mean a claim is equally valid in the active or passive voice. By form, I mean (for example) that jazz musicians call the chord changes to I Got Rhythm “rhythm changes” and (for example) most of the Charlie Parker tunes I know off the top of my head are launching pads to improvise over “rhythm changes” being a 32-bar AABA form.

All of us can instantly parse a single-frame editorial cartoon that shows a bad person behaving badly. My analogy here is to the active voice, to show (for example) a greedy narcissistic Wall Street person gaming the system for personal gain but a net loss to society. That syntax or form says, “This person is behaving badly.” [Read more…]

Islamists do not want to debate

Chris Moos draws up a catalogue of the more wrongheaded responses to the Charlie Hebdo massacre. He counts five of them:

the reflexive smearer, the moral relativist, the condescending bonhomme, the politician-cum-theologian and the winner of the competition, the Islamist abuser.

The reflexive smearer says the CH cartoonists and CH were and are racist.

As David Paxton points out, this usually came with an attempt at “root-causism“, a contextualisation of the murders in “wars against the Muslim world”, and an in-depth investigation of the alleged views, sensitivities and ‘culture’ of the murderers. [Read more…]

It could provoke “uncontrollable, irresponsible incidents”

Another win for the bullies. The Telegraph has the story.

An artwork depicting high-heeled shoes on Islamic prayer mats has been removed from an exhibition after a Muslim group warned of possible violence in the wake of the Paris attacks.

Via Facebook

The French-Algerian artist, Zoulikha Bouabdellah, withdrew the work from an exhibition in a northern Paris suburb with a large Muslim population after an Islamic group told local authorities it could provoke “uncontrollable, irresponsible incidents”. [Read more…]