I’m a total jerk, and don’t check my incoming links nearly often enough. It appears a number of very good sites have me on their blogrolls or have otherwise linked to me, and I haven’t yet reciprocated. This is a small token effort to even those scales, considering these blogs deserve all the attention I can throw their way. And while you’re looking for good blogs, don’t forget the list of blogs on my left-hand sidebar — each of them is excellent in their own right.
A fellow Canuck blogger, @loripop326, writes at Oh Shit, She’s Awake. She’s the only one I knew from Twitter prior to learning I was on her blogroll — mad props, as she’s an excellent writer with an addictive cadence particular to her writings. A sample:
Embrace yourself, just as you are.
I know that seems like something very obvious, but it’s really not.
Most of us hide parts of ourselves away. The parts that we think are too weird for others to see. The parts that maybe we’ve been told are fucked-up or that someone has made us feel ashamed of. Those pieces of ourselves are the ones that we think should never be known.
So we hide them away, hoping that no one ever discovers them.
We bury them in layers of ‘shouldn’t’ and ‘couldn’t’ and ‘can’t’ and ‘won’t’ until even we forget they are there. But they are there. Those are the parts of ourselves that are actually real. The innermost bits that we hide are what makes us who we are.
Paul Baird, the man from the UK who recently
wrestled a grizzly bear to a draw err, forced Sye Ten Bruggencate to admit that there’s “nothing wrong” with circular reasoning, blogs at Patient and Persistant. He regularly takes on religious folks in online and live debate, and blogs also on skeptical and human rights issues, like this one about female genital mutilation, which overlaps all these fields.
Not all traditions are benign, but it seems to be the case that a tradition that has religious overtones is more difficult to overturn regardless of the damage done.
That said, from a relative morality perspective I do not condemn the practice as immoral within the local paradigm – the practitioners are not acting knowing that their actions are wrong. However, viewed from a modern Western liberal democracy the practice is immoral.
This is a newspaper article with an embedded video (warning – contains distressing scenes), and another about women and girls making a stand against the practice.
The underlying point is that no practice, regardless of it’s sincerity or perceived morality or tradition or religious basis, can stand unchallenged in the modern world.
Our friend SBH (while he hasn’t been around in the comments for a while, I have a relatively long memory for things like that), blogs at Rational Rant, and I honestly can’t come up with a superlative adequate to describe his eloquence. Take, for instance, his thoughts on the death of Osama bin Laden:
Like a blind giant the United States started flailing about. An early blow took out one of Osama’s most hated opponents, Saddam Hussein, no doubt to his delight, but the destruction of his hosts in Afghanistan forced him to relocate abruptly. His network in ruins, he was reduced to crouching in the rubble of his dreams and issuing occasional rambling diatribes that the media dutifully carried, and operatives of the world’s intelligence services pored over for clues to his whereabouts. Fortunately friends in neighboring Pakistan took him in, and looked after him—until United States operatives under Bush’s successor, Barack Obama, stormed his hideout and executed him. It was an inglorious end to a futile and wasted life. Nobody is likely to miss him much—certainly not the Indonesians, Egyptians, Kenyans, and others whose family-members he had murdered to fuel his sadistic fantasies. The team that executed him dragged back his corpse as a ghastly souvenir. I suppose it will be returned to his family for burial or something equally civilized. Personally I hope they have his skull hollowed out for use as a visitor’s ashtray at the White House.
And back to the UK, where a Liberal Democrat councillor by the name of Chris Black runs a blog called Moonlight over Essex, and saw fit to link me in his Around the World blogroll. He’s kind enough to keep tabs on the colonies, and has blogged recently about Ruth Ellen Brosseau, the Quebecois NDP candidate swept into office despite never having been in her constituency, and largely being regarded as a “paper candidate” for having been thrown on the ballot when the NDP rep running originally decided to try for a different riding. He incisively tackles political issues from the vantage point of public office himself, including this post where he tackles the Lib Dems’ problem of identity:
On economic policy it was all a lot simpler for us in the ’80s when you had Thatcherism on one side and outright socialism on the other, it was easy for us to offer a middle path. Not so easy now – though I think we are doing a good job inside government holding back the extreme right of the Conservative Party who seem to hate the NHS, BBC , etc. But that’s not being seen by the public.
Also a lot of the “Liberal” battles over the last 40 of 50 years have been won. So what is our raison d’etre now? What do we say in 30 seconds on the doorstep?
If I was going out campaigning today I’d say : We support free enterprise – but the wealth should be shared, the lowest paid shouldn’t pay income tax and big corporations and super-rich shouldn’t get away with paying little. And we believe that that organisations like the NHS, the BBC and the armed forces should be properly funded and supported.
Never before has centrism sounded so good.
Go, read. There’s blog fodder I need attending to, as I have a novel beta to read in my spare time. Expect a few posts on autopilot for a bit while I get my book on.
If you’d like to be added to my blogroll, please let me know. I’ll consider adding any skeptical, atheist, political or Canadian blog you suggest.