Link Roundup: January 2020

I’m back from break, and I bring you links.

Christmas With The Kranks Is A Movie About Cults | Jack Saint (video) – Christmas with the Kranks is a Christmas comedy about a couple that decides to take a vacation on Christmas, but then the village gets wind of them and turns against them.  I’m pretty sure the movie is just taking the side of the creepy village, but Jack Saint ignores this interpretation for humorous effect, and explains a different reading.  I was thinking about this when PZ showed a real letter he received citing him for Christmas violations.

Music for Grocery Stores | Tris Mamone – Tris proposes that we should play more ambient music in public spaces.  I enjoyed this because it felt like a synthesis of two things I have written about: the ethical question of music in public spaces, and the appeal of drone music.  I think there’s a case to be made here–ambient music is the one thing in my library that my husband can stand despite having no appreciation for it.  Although, one thing that has developed out of my interest in ambient music is an ability to actively dislike some of the stuff, so even if everyone else shrugged off the mild piano of Music For Airports, I have to say it might offend my own sensibilities!

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Link Roundup: December 2019


Freethoughtblogs has re-opened applications for new bloggers!  Join us!  Applications have technically been open all along, but we had a huge backlog, which we are now clearing out.  The following blogs were just added last week: Andreas Avester, From The Ashes of Faith, Impossible Me.

“An Asexual World”: Asexuality in Death Stranding – I wrote an article about some bad asexual representation in a video game.  Cowritten with Queenie, an expert in Japanese culture.

Blogs & Articles

How Using Tumblr is Undermining Your Community – Oh good, Coyote finally made a list of structural problems with Tumblr.  Tumblr has a reputation (in my view an accurate one) for being a home for many queer and SJ-oriented communities, but that does not mean that Tumblr itself is a force for good.  Tumblr has held our communities back, and people don’t even realize how bad it is because they’re swimming in it.

The good guy/bad guy myth – The article discusses a popular pattern in fiction, where one side represents moral good, and the other evil, and argues that this is a historically recent trend.  Based on the examples, it sounds like there are three parts to this trend: morality as a primary subject matter, characters and sides that embody moral values, and black and white morality.  The article takes a negative view on these trends, but I’m not so sure.  IMO, morality is an excellent subject matter for fiction, and using characters to embody values is a fine technique so long as we realize real people aren’t like that.

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Link roundup: November 2019

A few plugs:

There is a video of me talking about the Ace Community Survey.  Also cat and dog persons.

I wrote about my approach to putting asexuality on my resume.

And now the links:

Why I Can’t Trust You With The Term “Purity Culture” – Coyote explains purity culture, which is the Christian culture surrounding chastity, and virginity before marriage.  And then explains how “purity culture” is now being (mis)used on Tumblr, to refer to… something to do with supposed problems around social justice discourse?  It’s rather confusing, honestly.  Anyway, if you’ve ever talked about Christian purity culture, Coyote has some insightful commentary that really lays out what you’ve been talking about, even if you hadn’t realized it.

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Link Roundup: September 2019

Announcement: I’m taking a blogging break.  I’m doing a thing for the next two months, and I’ll be around but I don’t know how busy I’ll be.  When I return depends on how busy I am.

Plug: The weird world of asexuality Google Alerts.  It’s just an entertaining list of the weirdest articles I’ve found mentioning asexuality.

Men | ContraPoints (video) – Natalie talks about the need for a men’s movement that is actually good.  TBH I’m not keen on the specific content of the video, but it’s at least a decent conversation starter, and the inspiration for a few recent blog posts.  I also created a “male feminism” category to collect my writings on the subject.

The part I’m not keen on is the large emphasis placed on Natalie’s personal experiences.  Yes it’s good to recognize the special insight that trans people have into comparisons between gendered experiences, but I’ve definitely heard trans experiences which were diametrically opposite to hers.  I also have to say that I have never felt that people were scared of me, and I would absolutely hate it if anyone complimented my appearance on the street.  She’s clearly just sharing her personal experiences, but I feel the narrowness detracts from the video.

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Link Roundup: August 2019


I wrote two essays for The Asexual Agenda:

Labels must be allowed to die – It’s about those really obscure orientation labels, some of which are used by more people than you think, and some of which are effectively dead.  I’m not against obscure labels, but I make the case against preserving dead labels.

Lisa Orlando, Author of The Asexual Manifesto (1972) – A historical account of an old essay written in the context of second wave feminism.  We first heard about the essay last year, and we were all wondering what was inside it.  We finally found the essay, and its author, and it’s so exciting.


The Cotton Ceiling: The best argument that TERFs aren’t feminists? – The “cotton ceiling” is about how people are unwilling to date trans women even when they like trans women.  It’s a reference the feminist concept of the “glass ceiling”, but TERFs seem completely ignorant of that fact.  Yeah, so I’ve argued that TERFs are feminists before, but their competency with feminism is pretty bad.  Just the other day, I saw on twitter a leading TERF philosopher claimed that trans lesbians only had the “chutzpah” to self-define into existence in the last 10 years.  She apparently wasn’t familiar with Janice Raymond, who dedicated a whole chapter to complaining about trans lesbians in The Transsexual Empire in 1979.

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Link Roundup: July 2019

It’s time for my monthly link roundup.  Some of these, by the way, are taken directly from Skepchick’s newly returned Quickies feature.  The Skepchick team sure knows how to find the links.

The Unbearable Irrelevance of Contemporary Music (video) – So, I’m one of those extremely rare people with a marginal interest in contemporary classical music despite having no connection to the academic music world.  What can I say, I like avant-garde, drone, and xenharmonic music, and contemporary classical is one of the places you can find such things.  All the same, contemporary classical is the most frustrating genre.  We’re not just talking inaccessibility in terms of the music itself (although there’s that), but also recordings are literally inaccessible, and discovery mechanisms are absent.  Ask me in the comments and I’ll rant further.

In my humble opinion, as a former academic in a different field, this is a failure of the academic organizations.  I don’t really know how music departments operate, but they have clearly never placed enough value on outreach.

The war to free science – Holy shit, I hadn’t realized that the University of California system stopped paying for Elsevier access.  That’s a huge deal, Elsevier owned a large fraction of articles that I accessed in my own academic career.  Elsevier basically has a monopoly on a very inelastic good.  I looked into it and apparently academics can still access most Elsevier articles, they just can’t digitally access articles published in 2019.

Supreme Court Says Constitution Does Not Bar Partisan Gerrymandering (NYT) – Like the title says, The Supreme Court has ruled in favor of all partisan gerrymandering.  This is absurd, disenfranchisement on a massive scale.

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Link Roundup: June 2019

Experiencing neither romance nor spirituality – A good comparison between not experiencing romance and not experiencing spirituality.  I have often thought about this comparison myself.  When I considered myself a new atheist, I was constantly annoyed by how much atheists talk about being spiritual.  It’s fine to be spiritual, but it so overemphasized and exaggerated that it felt like a respectability politics tactic, one that failed to acknowledge or validate people who aren’t spiritual.  And it basically blocked any potential conversation about what it’s like to not experience spirituality, in a world that thinks you must.  Being asexual and aromantic spectrum has made me unapologetic about being nonspiritual.

Why books don’t work – The article argues that we don’t absorb information from nonfiction books very well, discusses why, and possible workarounds.  Nonfiction books (and lectures too) are based on a “transmissionism” model of learning: an idea is described, and you learn the idea.  But a better way to learn an idea is by actively engaging with it.  I am wondering how to apply these ideas to improve my own blogging.  Certainly when I blog about an idea, I learn a lot about it because I need to engage with it, but how do I encourage readers to also learn?

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