Pick your enemies

Lots of people seem to think Patricia Arquette basically said gay people and people of color should stop fighting for their rights and instead fight for the rights of rich white women.

I don’t think she said that.

Soraya Nadia McDonald at the Washington Post tells the story:

…while the language in Arquette’s acceptance speech may have set off some silent alarms, her follow-up comments backstage proved more incendiary to some. [Read more…]

This is not Akram’s house

This won’t end well. The BBC reports that IS has grabbed up a bunch of Christians in Syria.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that at least 90 men, women and children were seized in a series of dawn raids near the town of Tal Tamr.

Some Assyrians managed to escape and made their way east to the largely Kurdish-controlled city of Hassakeh.

The militants have reportedly taken the male captives to nearby Abdul Aziz mountain, while the women are being held in the village of Tal Shamran, where activists say most of those captured came from.

The men will be killed and the women will be enslaved. That’s the purpose of separating them.

Islamic State’s online radio station, al-Bayan, reported on Tuesday that its members had seized “tens of Crusaders”.

Osama Edward of the Sweden-based Assyrian Human Rights Network, who has relatives in the area, told the BBC that his wife’s elderly aunt and her cousin were among the hostages.

“My wife tried to call her cousin’s house and there was somebody who picked up the phone and said: ‘This is not Akram’s house. This is the Islamic State’s house’.”

Allahu akbar.


“The GamerGate thing is absolutely horrible”

The CEO and president of Sony Computer Entertainment Europe says Gamergate sucks.

In an in-depth and reliably entertaining interview with Metro’s David Jenkins, Ryan labelled the online movement “absolutely horrible”.

Asked for his thoughts on the matter Ryan said: “Well, more females are playing games now than ever before. I think the GamerGate thing is absolutely horrible. I agree, I read what you wrote about it, again your language was intemperate – as befits your views on an issue…”

Referencing Jenkins’ passionate views on the hate group – which last year gave rise to a sustained campaign of abuse targeting female game developers and vocal critic Anita Sarkeesian, leading to one of the gaming industry’s most depressing periods – Ryan said he shared the same opinion.

Shocking about the intemperate language though. I can’t bear that kind of thing myself.


Whither philosophy?

There was a debate at the British Academy last week about whether or not philosophy is dead, apparently inspired by Stephen Hawking’s related claim that scientists rather than philosophers “have become the bearers of the torch of discovery in our quest for knowledge.” (That really is a different claim. Discovery isn’t all there is, and not doing it isn’t the same as being dead.) The Times Higher tells us things about the debate.

According to Tim Crane, Knightsbridge professor of philosophy at the University of Cambridge, Professor Hawking himself proved that philosophy is unavoidable, since he put forward a lot of philosophical views. Unfortunately, these amounted to “bad philosophy, because he is unaware of it as a discipline and a practice with a history,” Professor Crane said.

[Read more…]

“A man should not be questioned why he hit his wife”

Universities and student unions don’t generally invite Nazis to give talks, do they? Free inquiry is good, open discussion is good, but that isn’t necessarily taken to mean that it’s good to have proponents of genocide give talks to university students, is it?

I’m wondering why Islamist preachers with fascist leanings get invited to give talks at universities.

A controversial preacher who described homosexuality as a “scourge” has been invited to speak at a London university the day before a national gay pride event takes place there.

More than 500 people have signed a petition against allowing Haitham al-Haddad to speak at the University of Westminster’s Islamic Society event on Thursday.

Dr al-Haddad has called homosexuality a “criminal act”, as well as saying there is a “proper” way of performing FGM. He has also argued that the authorities should not become involved in domestic disputes, saying: “A man should not be questioned why he hit his wife, because this is something between them.” [Read more…]

Sentenced to beheading

Life proceeds in a normal way in Saudi Arabia, as another court sentences someone to death for “abusing Islam.” Emirates 24/7 reports, complete with mandatory groveling to the prophet.

A Saudi court sentenced a local man to death after he was found guilty of insulting Islam and its Prophet (PBUH), a newspaper reported on Monday.

The unidentified man, in his 20s, was also charged with ripping a copy of the Holy Koran, filming the act and publishing it on social networks, ‘Sharq’ said.

“The court sentenced the man to beheaded after finding him guilty in those charges,” the paper said in a report from the northeastern town of Hafr Albatin.

That’s some of that “violent extremism” we hear so much about, I guess.