Good ideas, wrong forum

A blogger called David Paxton wrote a very long post as an open letter to Laurie Penny on the subject of a tweet of hers saying she wasn’t Charlie Hebdo because Charlie Hebdo is racist. (I’m not sure I think an open letter is supposed to be hugely long. I think if it’s hugely long it’s not an open letter but some other genre…like for instance a blog post.)

I agree with him overall but the post makes me feel…uneasy. It’s too elephant gun. It’s a long essay and it’s in response to a single tweet – that’s overkill, and in the current climate it’s not really all that cool for a man to use overkill on a woman, especially when she’s one who has been a target of a lot of harassment. But it’s not really all that cool in any case – plus it’s absurd. It’s one tweet. The response should be more proportional. [Read more…]

They’re the Asshole Emperors

An amusing piece by Luke McKinney on the familiar-I-mean-stale things every anti-feminist says whenever feminism [quick make a sign of the cross] is mentioned.

You could list them in your sleep. “Prove there even is sexism.” Disputing every single word for hours on end because they have all the time in the world and they want to waste yours.

# 6 is Saint or GTFO.

This imperfection attack is digging through someone’s Internet history to see if they’ve ever said anything less than perfect. Because the only allowed options are immaculate saint or total asshole, and the antifeminists have the asshole side locked down. They’re the Asshole Emperors, defending their rule by defecating over everything and everyone who’s made the mistake of facing them. [Read more…]

The same ardour as ever in study, and the same gaiety in company

Bah. Oliver Sacks. Running out of road. Multiple metastases in the liver; terminal. He’s taking his inspiration from Hume.

It is up to me now to choose how to live out the months that remain to me. I have to live in the richest, deepest, most productive way I can. In this I am encouraged by the words of one of my favorite philosophers, David Hume, who, upon learning that he was mortally ill at age 65, wrote a short autobiography in a single day in April of 1776. He titled it “My Own Life.”

“I now reckon upon a speedy dissolution,” he wrote. “I have suffered very little pain from my disorder; and what is more strange, have, notwithstanding the great decline of my person, never suffered a moment’s abatement of my spirits. I possess the same ardour as ever in study, and the same gaiety in company.”

[Read more…]

Beware the dreaded Extremist Groups

Here’s a bit of weirdness. Tara McKelvey at the BBC reports on something labeled an “extremism summit” at the White House yesterday…without ever explaining what it was actually about. Well it was about “violent extremism”…but what is meant by that? She never says. You can tell what it’s about if you already know some things, but it’s utterly bizarre that the BBC is so exceedingly coy about it. I’m tempted to convene a summit on Extremist Evasiveness.

A summit at the White House to counter violent extremism has been criticised for being poorly organised and hasty. Will it be able to achieve anything, whether substantial or superficial?

The mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, spoke in halting English at the White House summit on Wednesday – though her message was forthright.

“When we are together, we are most strong,” she told police officers, FBI agents, European mayors and others gathered in a windowless auditorium for a conference on countering violent extremism, a three-day event held this week in Washington.

Oooh, violent extremism, what’s that, a naïve reader might wonder. Well a naïve reader will never find out by reading the article, no matter how closely or repeatedly. It’s just more of the same. [Read more…]

Guest post: The difference between waspish criticism and mean shittery

Originally a comment by thephilosophicalprimate on The demarcation problem.

I think the difference between “waspish” criticism and just being “mean shits” is easier to articulate than you suggest, Ophelia. What you’re talking about is rooted in this commonly recognized tension: Thoughtful people believe and say, for good reasons, that hostility and contempt aimed at PEOPLE is bad. However, some IDEAS are clearly deserving of hostility and contempt, and nothing but. The difficulty arises because it’s difficult, perhaps even impossible, to keep the hostility and contempt for the bad ideas entirely separate from the people, because it’s the people who embrace the contemptible ideas. [Read more…]

No future

The New York Times has a feature by Stephanie Sinclair on child marriage in Guatemala.

In Guatemala, the legal age of marriage is 14 with parental consent, but in Petén, in the northern part of the country, the law seems to be more of a suggestion. Underage brides are everywhere. They parade endlessly through Petén’s hospital in San Benito, seeking medical care. Most have traveled from the villages along the mud-soaked roads that flow out in all directions.

…the physically immature and psychologically unready young mothers were prone to complications during childbirth, which often took place at home. For girls in Petén villages, the journey to competent care could take hours and the consequences dire. According to the International Health Alliance, Petén has the highest rate of maternal mortality in Guatemala at 172 deaths for every 100,000 births. The infant mortality is also high at 40 deaths for every 1,000 births.

There are photos, and a short film. It’s sad, depressing, hopeless. Therefore you should look at the pictures, and read the article, and watch the film.



Controversial but wholly natural

She knows what’s best for the health of her family, and it’s magical thinking. Reductress:

I’m a mom, a wife, a doula, an urban chicken farmer, a life coach, an extended breast-feeder, a weaver, a kombucha brewer, a yogini, and a Therapeutic Healing Touch practitioner. But most importantly, I’m a mom. And as a mom, I know what’s best for the health of my family: magical thinking.

I have a question. What are her shoes made of? I feel that this is decisive. [Read more…]

American women who have been babied for too long

I don’t see the logic.

Raw Story shares a plan to fix the rape problem by MRA Roosh Vörek.

Anything to do with not raping, you ask brightly? No, not at all; don’t be silly.

Here’s the thing. He saw women get drunk and then have sex with someone, and then when sober, go all angsty and get the guy thrown in jail or out of school. It’s that easy; who knew? But he says he saw it, so it must be true. [Read more…]