Link roundup: January 2019

My Atheist (etc) Reaction to “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret?” – This is a book by Judy Blume, and published in 1970.  Although I had not heard of the book, this review was interesting to me, as a window into secular family life in the past and present.  It reminds me of my husband’s story–his family didn’t go to church, which led the neighbor’s kid to tell him he was going to hell.  Hearing my husband’s concerns, his parents ended up joining the UU church.  He later left the church, although his parents are still active.

Did the Sokal affair “destroy postmodernism”? (video) – This youtuber, Cuck Philosophy, says much the same stuff that I say about Sokal–that he was rigorous and humble in his conclusions, but overshadowed by his hoax and public perception thereof.  If one of the biggest failings of “postmodernism” (insofar as it is an intelligible category) is that it got coopted by rightwingers to deny reality, we have to admit that anti-postmodernism attitudes have been coopted for the same purpose.  On a related note, I was very disappointed to hear that Sokal is among Boghossian’s defenders.

What we get wrong about affirmative action (video) – This video provides background on why affirmative action is in such a precarious position in the US.  It’s because previous rulings have already limited affirmative action to a very narrow purpose (it can only be used to promote diversity, and not to offset a history of discrimination).  The courts have also taken the nonsensical position where admissions must have “concrete goals” but can’t create a quota or assign any particular points value to race.  This seems weirdly anti-math to me.

Yes it is super insulting that Harvard gives lower “personality” scores to Asian applicants.  But those are the consequences of a set of rules which only allow race to be considered “holistically” in the context of some other score that’s nominally unrelated to race.

Bad Media Criticism (video) – This video talks about the rise of YouTube media criticism, and the video essay in particular.  It also criticizes some of the most popular youtube channels (such as CinemaSins) for having low quality criticism.  Yeah… personally I can’t stand the low quality stuff.  Although I have a more “so what” attitude about it.  I feel that if people engage in bad media criticism, it’s mostly their own problem.

Why Ancient Greek Sculptures Have Small Penises – Owlmirror suggested this article in response to my post about penises.  Since I was willing to seriously consider the possibility that even modern cultures have different attitudes towards penis size, it does not surprise me at all to hear that an ancient civilization took a different attitude.

Coin of another realm: Gaming’s Queer Economy – It’s an academic game studies / queer studies article, and I’m not really recommending it.  It’s just that I see “gaming’s queer economy” in the title so I’m personally all over it.  I was also excited because the introductory paragraph refers to a 2013 conference talk, and I attended that talk!

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