Reader challenge: Make an argument for banning topless women in public

Can someone offer a good, justified argument for why men can be topless in more public places than women?

For example, all can be topless at home, on nude beaches; women may be “topless” in public when breast-feeding (kind of), and so on. But I’m looking to see if there’s not a double-standard that allows men to be topless but not women in more places. If so, what are good reasons for creating laws around women being topless but not men.

I’ll offer some thoughts after, but I’d really like either links or original arguments. I can’t find any that are satisfactory (or perhaps my Googling abilities are not as high as yours).

Remember: I’m not looking for descriptive reasons (it exists because people will be offended). I’m looking for justified arguments that will make me and anyone else agree (it exists because topless women give people heart attacks).

Misconceptions about gaming by non-gaming people

IGN Africa recently launched and I contributed a thinkery piece about misconceptions about games.

I examine common claims like it’s only for kids, it’s not art, etc. The claims are, of course, largely – if not totally – wrong.

It annoys me to no end that because a work is a video game it’s assumed to be unable to, for example, tell an incredible story, have amazing performances, or allow for moments of the numinous that are essential to all forms of creativity.

Mandela and atheist deathbed conversions

I’m still recovering from (minor) surgery, but I saw some mention of Mandela and atheism being floated around (my limited access to Internet is an additional hindrance to accessing information, along with my limited consciousness). However, thankfully, Jacques Rousseau has done a great job in tackling this subject.

In asserting that Mr Mandela’s “atheism” is another reason to celebrate his life, The Freethinker magazine (and, presumably, those who, like Richard Dawkins, retweeted the story in question) seem to be exploiting… “borrowed interest”, but which you might know better as simple opportunistic exploitation of largely irrelevant details about someone’s life.

I say largely irrelevant, because Mandela’s role involved highlighting what we have in common, rather than our differences and antagonisms. If any of the labels we use to describe religion and related issues could fit, the one that would have the best chance would be humanism, because his relationship to the citizens of the world seemed to transcend the quite limited boundaries offered by religion and its explicit opponent, atheism. The focus in religion vs. atheism is on difference, rather than commonality, and hardly seems either a good fit or a fitting thing to bring up while people are still mourning Mandela’s death. It’s crass, and opportunistic.

Furthermore, it also seems largely a fabrication, or at least a fantasy, that he was an atheist at all. The “evidence” offered in The Freethinker consists solely of a birthday wish to Mandela from a South African atheist, urging Mandela to “come out” as an atheist. In another piece, it’s asserted that “the other [after Andrei Sakharov] great moral atheist leader of the 20th century was Nelson Mandela”, but we’re given no reason to believe this assertion to be true.

Jacques’ final paragraph in the post is also important, concerning double-standards when it comes to nonbelievers claiming great people as “their own”.

Guys in dark alleys shouldn’t get upset if women fear them

I wouldn’t blame a strange woman if she was unnerved by me, a lone guy, if she and I were the only ones walking in a dark alley. I call this the Creepy Default.

This has happened twice, but I was the one unnerved due to doing everything I could not to be creepy (my cane doesn’t help, I suppose). Neither time did the woman walk faster or even appear to notice, but I was flustered.

When I told my friend this, she got upset. She said I wouldn’t hurt anyone and that women have no reason to fear me, alone in an alley.

However, the problem is twofold. [Read more…]

On that fake Paris Hilton Tweet

I scold Twitter. Again. Because apparently me and social media are like mortal enemies – or rather online conduct is.

Over at Big Think, I convey why it’s troublesome – both in terms of our conduct online and another area that is related: how we treat celebrities. I dislike the victim-blaming language of “they asked for it” by virtue of being celebrities, in terms of receiving flak and animosity and stalking and whatnot.

I really, really dislike being nasty to innocent, harmless people – even if they are famous.

I can’t say it, but Nehru can

Friends and Comrades,

The light has gone out of our lives and there is darkness everywhere. I do not know what to tell you and how to say it. Our beloved leader… the Father of the Nation, is no more. Perhaps I am wrong to say that. Nevertheless, we will never see him again as we have seen him for these many years. We will not run to him for advice and seek solace from him, and that is a terrible blow, not to me only, but to millions and millions in this country. And it is a little difficult to soften the blow by any other advice that I or anyone else can give you.

The light has gone out, I said, and yet I was wrong. For the light that shone in this country was no ordinary light. The light that has illumined this country for these many years will illumine this country for many more years, and a thousand years later, that light will be seen in this country and the world will see it and it will give solace to innumerable hearts. For that light represented something more than the immediate past, it represented the living, the eternal truths, reminding us of the right path, drawing us from error, taking this ancient country to freedom.

All this has happened when there was so much more for him to do. We could never think that he was unnecessary or that he had done his task. But now, particularly, when we are faced with so many difficulties, his not being with us is a blow most terrible to bear.

…There has been enough of poison spread in this country during the past years and months, and this poison has had an effect on people’s minds. We must face this poison, we must root out this poison, and we must face all the perils that encompass us, and face them not madly or badly, but rather in the way that our beloved teacher taught us to face them. (source)

Vale Nelson Mandela.

Support STASIS: A 2D, Sci-Fi Horror Adventure game

If, like me, you love classic adventure games – King’s Quest, Day of the Tentacle, Grim Fandango and so forth – then this looks perfect. STASIS, boasting stunning art design, Ridley Scott-esque environmental creepiness, and engaging story, is being developed by local creator(s); it’s nearly reached its Kickstarter goal.

I love that it’s made by fellow South Africans, since it shows we’re capable of “world-class” in our creations.

I hope you’ll support it with me. Help me achieve my evil plans of showing the world what my country can do, beyond making biltong, getting upset at lady hunters, and laughable leadership.