John Oliver’s sex ed video is better than anything I watched in school

I grew up in northern New Brunswick, where there’s a heavy French Catholic presence and a bent toward school districts setting their own curricula. I have vague recollections of some sex ed video where the girls got shuffled out of the room to another room to watch another video. I don’t remember the content of it, but I remember some years later being surprised by all the nuance it left out — like that sex wasn’t just about getting married and trying to have kids. And I’m sure it was picked specifically because it was the closest to sex ed that the French Catholics could manage to tolerate being shown, and because there was a requirement for there to be at least SOME component in their curriculum.

Thankfully I don’t recall there being a focus on abstinence, just a general glossing-over of sex as though it’s not particularly important or relevant to the idea of going through puberty. I keenly remember a heavy focus on what it’s like to enter puberty, and how your pits would suddenly start smelling, and some talk about penises that met with nervous giggles from our class, and some brief discussion about girls getting periods that elicited more than giggles, and very little about what might happen if a couple of kids decided to start spelunking the concept of sexual congress on their own.

If I was growing up today, and saw this “sex-ed video” that makes up the back few minutes of John Oliver’s piece, I would have felt a lot less uncomfortable learning that there was more to it than what little my parents and my school were willing to tell me. I would have had to do less searching in libraries and encyclopedias for adequate reading materials that could fill in the gaps, and I would have had a less rough acclimation with social interactions with girls.

Also, HUGE props to Oliver for explaining consent in such simple terms that nobody could ever possibly misconstrue or rules-lawyer against them without looking like a potentially rapey asshole. If anyone argues back against what he’s said about no meaning no, or about only sleeping with people who want to sleep with you, they are fucking creepy.


I added the Recent Posts link to the top menu, and somehow that broke some piece of hard-coding somewhere that was giving that menu the appropriate style. I’m trying to figure out what is going on right now, but clearly there’s some dark magic somewhere in the underpinnings of this site. I’ve also let our web guy know, and am waiting on him to get back to me with a “duh, this is how you do it” message. I blame the theme, right now. I might just add a CSS hack in case things in that menu area are ever improperly classed, and be done with it. Not sure how to proceed yet.

[ETA: Uh, and now it’s working, without having edited any CSS or anything. There’s clearly some odd caching going on that I stumbled across.]

Meanwhile, there’s still the matter of the broken SocialConnect Facebook login. It’s been broken for almost a month. I didn’t touch THAT, I swear.

[ETA: and now I will! Apparently I can fix things just by poking them and lamenting publicly that they didn’t work.]

What alignment are you?

I think this is very proximate to our discussions about gender, given that gender and sex are both social constructs and the problems we’re seeing with having in-depth discussions about these constructs being spectra rather than binary is that it seems those people who can’t answer “trans women are women” think this means we’re creating and reinforcing a binary rather than demanding a spectrum of genders.

Good and evil, order and chaos, are two axes describing spectra of behaviour related to social standing and pro-social behaviour. Dungeons and Dragons has a mechanic wherein you can assign your character Good, Neutral, or Evil, and Lawful, Neutral, or Chaotic, making a 3×3 grid of alignments. It’s certainly more interesting than a binary Good/Evil choice (or, say, Paragon / Renegade, or Light Side / Dark Side), and it means very little outside of the scope of interactions with other human beings. It’s still by necessity an abstraction. Something like the Kinsey Scale for hetero/homosexuality being a 1-9, or Dawkins’ atheist/theist 0-7 scale — neither of those describes the panoply of positions one can stake coherently.

But, still interesting. Take this alignment test to see how you stack up. A number of my friends (including my wife) got Chaotic Good. I got Neutral Good:

A neutral good character does the best that a good person can do. He is devoted to helping others. He works with kings and magistrates but does not feel beholden to them. Neutral good is the best alignment you can be because it means doing what is good without bias for or against order. However, neutral good can be a dangerous alignment because when it advances mediocrity by limiting the actions of the truly capable.

Yeah, that does sound a lot like me. Including the sentence fragment in the last sentence! (I assume the “when” is superfluous.)

Testing a site-wide posts plugin

I’ve got a few testbeds splattered across my site right now for the purposes of testing a plugin that I’d like to pressgang into use network-wide. One major problem we’ve had historically is a lack of visibility from one blog to another. With everyone lamenting that Ed Brayton is leaving, and that that’s the only blog they read (outside Pharyngula), those of us hardscrabble waifs fighting over the crumbs of traffic after the big men get their share, I’d like to make sure that the fact that we’re scrambling for those crumbs is perfectly apparent to everyone.

You eagle-eyed readers have probably noticed that I have three new pages on my blog: Random Network Posts, Last 50 Posts, and Last 2 Posts on Each Blog.

The first shows a completely random post from every single blog that is both public and not rated Mature (as Taslima and Maryam’s blogs are — by necessity, to keep Google from freaking out about their frequently posting things like pictures of acid attack victims, etc). The second shows a sort of feed-like view, with the last 50 posts across the network (and three more pages of 50 if you want to drill backward). The third is something approximating the old homepage, with the last two posts from every single blog — sadly, with no visual break between the blogs, and unfortunately, with the two posts reversed time-wise.

Also, my widget does something unique — it shows the latest post from the last ten blogs that have written a post, rather than displaying the last ten blog posts in toto. This still advantages frequent-posters like Pharyngula, in that it’ll probably always be in that top ten, but it doesn’t spam out the rest of us.

The visuals are absolutely shit, right now, though. It’s not suitable as a front page in its current form. But with some CSS massaging, and maybe hacking the plugin a bit to suit our needs, it could be pressganged to provide some serious and much-needed cross-site visibility.

What do you folks think? How could it be improved? What sorts of sorting schemes would you like to see? How useful do you think these are?


I’ve been doing a lot of mental calculations lately, trying to triangulate on my courses of action that result in maximal good for all the people who deserve it the most. I have a lot of competing and mutually exclusive variables in my head, though. I figure if I lay these variables all out, publicly, putting all my cards on the table, someone can help me figure out which ones I can discard and redraw, and maybe point out where I might have a better hand than I think.

I’m going to pay a number of costs for writing this post, but I’m writing it because some people I love and trust have privately told me they think I’ve fucked up. I’m going to do my damnedest to repair that perception, and the only way to do it is publicly, because other avenues have been cut off to me.

Much of this is old business, and I’ve been bottling this up for a bit. Bear with me. Once that’s through, you’ll get to new info.

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“Please don’t make the super suit green. OR ANIMATED!”

My gods. I might actually have faith that they’re about to get Deadpool right.

But here’s the thing. This is not for kids, it is super violent, and it is probably going to be problematic as all hell. I know I’m still going to love it though. (It’s okay to enjoy problematic things as long as you recognize them as such.)

So, below the fold the video goes. Along with the trailer’s trailer.
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GGC 2015 #DIYSciZone: Mock the Movie Overtime: Glitter transcript

Glob help me, but I watched this movie. I watched it beginning to end. Alone.

So alone.

The things I do for science.

Please go give money to Geek Girl Con’s DIY Science Zone, because when we reach $3500, I reach my next goal of public self-flagellation: I will live-stream Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link beginning to end. Probably over two weekends. All of this so I can go teach kids about displacement and buoyancy!

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Pause for station identification

I have the Mock The Movie transcripts still to finish — CA7746 is sending me subtitle files galore, and I have yet to upload them because they’re always a bit of a pain to attach within WordPress and link appropriately. (The fact that I have to upload them as .txt instead of .srt is not the least problem.)

After that, as promised, I’ll be doing short reviews of my cornucopia of Steam games, starting with, oh, let’s say Mercenary Kings. And don’t worry, they’ll be reviews from my Evil SJW Perspective.

In the meantime, let me remind you where you are.

Welcome to Lousy Canuck.

I like turtles.

Constructing an understanding of social constructs

Throughout the discussions on gender that have been sweeping through our circles of late, there’s been one particularly maddening dichotomy in thought that’s been thrown into sharp relief for me — that people having this conversation evidently have competing ideas of what a “social construct” actually is. Will has a great post on the gender discussions proper over at Skepchick, which has a passage that I think highlights exactly why people are getting it wrong in our communities:

It is no coincidence that many people within the atheoskeptosphere tend toward essentialism. After all, most people in these communities tend to highly value the natural sciences and think of science as a culture-free objective enterprise. Thus, the “soft” social sciences (and the non-scientific humanities) are often viewed as being wishy-washy and far less objective than the natural sciences, and so any theories developed in these disciplines are subject to increased, if not hyper, skepticism.

I cannot think of a more accurate statement to summarize why people in these communities are having such a hard time with these conversations.

Content note for topics that involve violence against certain genders or identities, assault on personal autonomy, and might trigger dysphoria amongst people prone to such. I’m trying to be sensitive herein, but we’re talking about gender-prescriptivists and the nexus of sex and gender.

Full disclosure, I’m a heteronormative heterosexual cis white middle-class male — pretty well the privilege royal flush in our society. But I have a particular interest in society and the so-called “soft sciences” of sociology; of human interactions, gender, and social justice. So, I’m bending my thoughts to the fights I’ve witnessed over many many years of blogging and other internet conversations. Correct me if I get anything wrong herein, please. I’d strongly prefer you voice your concerns and I alter part of this argument, than that I cause anyone (especially those already under scrutiny or oppression) any undue pain.

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