Not the Canadians, too!

They’re so nice. But they still have the same problems with sexual abuse.

Over the past month, a number of disturbing revelations have come to light within the Canadian literary community. I use the term “come to light” deliberately, because many of us were already fully aware of how dangerous it can be to be a woman in this particular culture.

At great risk to herself, Toronto poet Emma Healey penned a thoughtful, candid and scathing condemnation of the sexual and psychological abuse that exists in our own backyard. On the website TheHairpin.com, she detailed a relationship she had at 19 with an unnamed prominent Canadian writer and English professor. He was 34. The alleged ensuing dynamic was inappropriate at best, and entailed sexual assault at worst.

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We may have had skin color differences before, but America invented being smug about them

I would like everyone to read this wonderful twist in perspective on American history — I think this kind of thing ought to be taught in public schools. The United States of America is exceptional: in the ferment of the 18th century, we invented both an inspiring political document, our constitution, and we invented white people. Not the people themselves, but the abstract distinction that set up “whiteness” as a mark of a privileged class. It was brilliant: it was a strategy that immediately divided those lower class rabble rousers who were screaming for equality, and set them to fighting among themselves, and half of them fighting for the wealthy upper class.

As time went on, the labor needs of the land holders continued to grow, and desperate to cultivate the land, they were loathe to let go of their bond servants and the bondsmen and bondswomen’s children (whom they kept in bondage for a legally defined time as well). In the mean time, a growing American peasantry was proving as difficult to govern as the European peasantry back home, periodically rising up in riot and rebellion, light skinned and dark skinned together. The political leaders of the Virginia colony struck upon an answer to all these problems, an answer which plagues us to this day.

The Virginians legislated a new class of people into existence: the whites. They gave the whites certain rights, and took other rights from blacks. White, as a language of race, appears in Virginia around the 1680s, and seems to first appear in Virginia law in 1691. And thus whiteness, and to a degree as well blackness, was born in the mind of America.

This plan worked gorgeously. It broke all efforts of the majority of people, African or European, to fight for civil and political rights in America against a landed class that literally ruled everything. It reduced a portion of the people to the status of the negro slave, and gave the poor but now white people a precious and entitled inch to stand above the permanently enslaved on the social ladder. The next thing the politicians did sealed the deal: they paid poor whites a bounty for runaway slaves, and often made them overseers for slaves, turning every poor white in America into a prison guard against the people who had once been their neighbors and allies.

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Jesus Christ, we have an “Ebola Czar”

All right, this is ridiculous. Obama has appointed an Ebola Czar. By the most pessimistic speculations, we might have “as many as two dozen” infected people by November — right now, it’s a tiny handful. But we need an “Ebola Czar”. We had almost 2000 cases of malaria in 2011, do we have a “Malaria Czar”? We have at least 3000 deaths per year from flu — where is our “Flu Czar”?

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Friday Cephalopod: UNFOLLOW

I just learned that the Blogess has “giant squid phobia”.

squidattack

Several people are aware of my severe giant squid phobia and lovingly (?) sent me this video of a giant squid attacking a Greenpeace submarine, and that’s unsettling enough, but WHY IS THERE ANOTHER SQUID BEHIND IT SPITTING OUT FIRE?  Is that a real thing?  Because I was scared enough without adding: “Oh, and also they can shoot a blinding inferno out of their butts like a tentacled, aquatic bonfire.”  It’s like half giant squid and half underwater maritime flame-thrower, and that’s not natural and is a sign that all giant squid are literally demons from the depths of hell.

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This annoys me

Atheists, be ashamed.

I find it ironic that self-described “atheist” men are far more hateful and awful towards me online than conservative Christians are.

No, I’m not annoyed with Sarkeesian: I’m annoyed that the atheist movement has gotten this bad.


Here’s a lovely representative response:

I’m annoyed that anyone is still asserting the atheist labels implies anything other than a lack of belief in gods.

Right. ‘The dictionary doesn’t say atheists have to be decent human beings, therefore I’m going to be more annoyed that you have this expectation than at the fact that some atheists are hateful numpties.’

Whatever happened to the rational idea that we should look at our failings honestly and strive to correct them? You know, when Francis Bacon set out to tell the world about how science should be done, he didn’t just pull a sentence out of a dictionary and be done with it. “Inductive reasoning is best, rah rah rah!” No — he wrote at length about the pitfalls, and spelled out the preconceptions to which we are prone.

The idols and false notions which have already preoccupied the human understanding, and are deeply rooted in it, not only to beset man’s minds, that they become difficult of access, but, even when access is obtained, will again meet and trouble us in the instauration of the sciences, unless mankind, when forewarned, guard themselves with all possible care against them.

The idols of the tribe are inherent in human nature, and the very tribe or race of man. For man’s sense is falsely asserted to be the standard of things. On the contrary, all the perceptions, both of the senses and the mind, bear reference to man, and not to the universe, and the human mind resembles those uneven mirrors, which impart their own properties to different objects, from which rays are emitted, and distort and disfigure them.

But I guess atheists have moved so far beyond mere scientists that self-awareness and recognition of their own errors of perception no longer matter — “There is no god!” is the great All of their philosophy, and no other consideration need be made.

Well, at least we’re better than the theists in one thing: our dogma is shorter and easier to memorize.

Ken Ham is right about one thing

He tells everyone that if you question anything in the Bible, it puts you on a slippery slope to apostasy — you must believe every word is literally true or doubts will creep in, and then you are damned. He’s right, sort of. I’ll qualify that a bit, though.

Here’s a beautiful example: the story of Sandra Edwards, a serious, dedicated Christian and young earth creationist, so serious that she published a children’s book promoting creationism, who one day find herself thoughtfully reading material on the internet…and next thing you know, GODLESS.

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