(The f’ckin hell its two fousand fifteen and we haven’t even had a) Friday Open Thread


Hello strangers

 

You may have noticed I’ve had a blogpost up this week. You might even have noticed that I haven’t had a blogpost up in bloody ages before that.

Was never really planned like that, just found myself a bit busy for a few weeks and when I went to look at the blog I realised I was quite enjoying having a break, and just kind of let it slip.

But yes, I’m back, so happy new year and all of that. 

What’s been rattling your monkey cages at the moment?

 

 

Comments

  1. johngreg says

    Hmm. For some reason, I logged in, but it isn’t showing me as logged in. Odd.

    My cage has been quite shook, rattled, and rolled by Michael Nugent’s ongoing series of posts regarding PZ Myers. You have any comment on that?

  2. Ally Fogg says

    My cage has been quite shook, rattled, and rolled by Michael Nugent’s ongoing series of posts regarding PZ Myers. You have any comment on that?

    I struggle to express the sheer magnitude of my lack of interest.

  3. Archy says

    Robotic workforce and the potential mass unemployment. In previous times we generally had machines that took a job but freed up more jobs that could be done by most of the population, but now we are starting to reach a point where robots may be able to do the work of a large portion of the workforce.

    Physical labour seems to be first to go but out mental capital requires us to be smarter than robots at a particular job however not all humans have a high level of intelligence. There will be a point where robots can do most of the jobs and the jobs that will be left will require greater and greater levels of intelligence to accomplish. Engineers might be safe for a while but fruit pickers, drivers, tradesfolk building houses might have their jobs taken quite quickly.

    In reading a local farming magazine, I saw a processing plant reduce its workforce from 15 to 4 with robotic conveyor belts, imaging and sorting systems. CNC operators can have 1 person handle up to 5 machines taking the jobs of 4 machinists. What are your thoughts on this? Unemployment rates are bad enough in Australia and probably over the first world countries already.

  4. John Morales says

    I can vouch for johngreg being “quite shook, rattled, and rolled”; as he told me over there:

    I hold that because PZ’s blog has the highest traffic within FTB, it generally, though perhaps not specifically, sets the tone for most blogs on FTB, relegating them to a role similar to supporting players

  5. tillGjeanger says

    @Archy 4
    That is an important one with lot of mostly unpleasant consequences. Just to illustrate the scope, even drivers might be replaceable by computers 20 years or so from now.

    The Economist – that well-known bastion of free-market extremism – had special on it last year.

    Their prognosis was that the population would divide into a minority that could work well with intelligent machines, who would be very well paid but would have to be very flexible and study new areas all the time. And a majority who would be in principle replaceable by intelligent machines who would be very badly paid. Very high inequality, in short, and that is without counting those who are so rich they do not have to work at all.

    Their proposals for coping included topping up the salaries of the low-paid from taxes, so that employer-paid salaries were low enough to compete, and international cooperation to cut down on tax off-shoring. Which is not what you would expect from ‘The Economist’.

    Not looking good, anyway.

  6. Ally Fogg says

    Archy, it’s always an interesting question, but not new.

    I don’t know how much you know about the original Luddites, but they’ve had a pretty unfair press and generally I’m something of a fan. Their argument was not that technology was bad, but that it had social and political implications, including putting farmworkers out of jobs, so their idea was that new technology shouldn’t just be imposed upon farming communities by the bosses, but agreed democratically with everyone affected so that everyone could benefit from it, not just landowners.

    Anyway, it is the same argument now.

    The other side is captured by an old joke about some the first bulldozer arriving at a building site and an old navvy saying to the foreman “Do you realise that without that infernal machine, twelve men with shovels could be doing that work?” The foreman replies:

    “Aye, and without those shovels, 200 men with teaspoons could be doing it.”

    So anyway, economies don’t work quite the way you are suggesting. Societies organise themselves to find work for idle hands and people make their own employment. It’s why huge numbers of relatively unskilled now work in call centres, work that simply didn’t exist 20 years ago. There will be something else along in another 20 years,

    The sad fact is that with modern tech being as it is, we should all be working two day-weeks now, but we don’t – primarily because deep down it doesn’t suit people, we want to be busy. Or another way to look at it, unemployed people become a resource to be exploited, and someone will always find a way to make that profitable.

  7. sheaf24 says

    The sad fact is that with modern tech being as it is, we should all be working two day-weeks now, but we don’t – primarily because deep down it doesn’t suit people, we want to be busy. Or another way to look at it, unemployed people become a resource to be exploited, and someone will always find a way to make that profitable.

    Not sure you are correct on this one. Proportionally few people see a away of making horses profitable these day. If people find efficient generalized robots unskilled and maybe almost all manual labor will be out. I am deeply uncomfortable with the prospect and the plausible ecological collapse and I support basic income (and depending on psychological and cultural particulars some way of keeping people buisy) because of it.

  8. says

    we should all be working two day-weeks now, but we don’t

    speak for yourself.

    I’m employed by a local authority.

    I earn a smidgen over half of what I used to private industry but in the words of the great philosophers “its swings n roundabouts, innit”.

  9. H.E. Pennypacker says

    The sad fact is that with modern tech being as it is, we should all be working two day-weeks now, but we don’t – primarily because deep down it doesn’t suit people, we want to be busy.

    I’m surprised you think that the reason people work long hours is because they want to. Historically, in almost every instance where a group of people are incorporated into a wage labour system they work as little as possible – capitalist owners would put up wages, hoping to incentivise employees, only to find that they just started working less hours. A big problem for the upper-echelons after the Black Death was not just that they had to pay more money for labour (because there were less people to do it) but that paying more lead to most people working less and spending time doing fun stuff like having endless numbers of festivals and carnivals.

    If you mean that sitting at home on your own watching Jeremy Kyle all day doesn’t suit most people (who aren’t students*) then you’re probably right. But this is a narrow view of human possibilities – either working for wages or passive, individual consumption mediated by the capitalist machine. It’s only relatively recently that you could divide human activity into productive work that took place outside the home and consumption that took place inside it.

    Working less doesn’t = not being busy. When people retire some people join clubs, start volunteering, take up artistic or musical activities etc. These people generally like retirement. Some people don’t do any of these things – they often feel they’d rather still be at work.

    *probably the main reason students don’t mind it is that they generally do it with a reasonably large group of friends.

  10. johngreg says

    Ally said:

    I struggle to express the sheer magnitude of my lack of interest.

    Well, that’s certainly clear.

  11. Archy says

    Yeah I saw an article of something like half of jobs in the U.S will be gone by 2030 due to automation. I think humans will go towards the more care-giving jobs at first looking after the sick and elderly.

  12. Lucy says

    ” I think humans will go towards the more care-giving jobs at first looking after the sick and elderly.”

    Why do you think that? Humans hate caring for the sick and elderly, that’s why it’s always the lowest caste people in any given society that do it: women, immigrant men, low skilled. And why it’s remunerated either not at all (women), or poorly (immigrant men).

    Men will gravitate to the influencial and talking professions: journalism, publishing, politics, legislation and military strategy mainly. Controlling the AI. In that special ungendered, objective way men have.

    I’m not sure where women will end up given that teaching and porn and prostitution with be handed over to the more readily programmable cyborgs; motherhood will finally have been successfully outlawed; alking in an authoritative and influential manner is simply not one of our interests based on current evidence and commenter opinion; cooking will have been entirely colonised by celebrity robots; analogue retail and cold calling will be a thing of the past. I suppose they’ll always have dystopian communities and rebel movement in disused tube networks to organise, in that special biased gendered way women have.

  13. H.E. Pennypacker says

    How soon can I hope to have my Nigella Lawson celebrity robot prostitute chef?

    The future sounds amazing.

  14. Jacob Schmidt says

    Humans hate caring for the sick and elderly, that’s why it’s always the lowest caste people in any given society that do it: women, immigrant men, low skilled.

    That’s actually something of a western thing. One of the arguments against abortion is the practice of gender selection; you see it in traditional Indian (as in people from India) families, where male babies are selected because its the men who take care of their parents (or so the story goes).

    There’s an argument to be made about the devaluation of women’s work, but that would be backwards to what you’re arguing here.

    I’m employed by a local authority.
    I earn a smidgen over half of what I used to private industry but in the words of the great philosophers “its swings n roundabouts, innit”.

    Government work is the best work. Seriously, my experience working for government labs, plus the reports from people I know, has me convinced that government work is, on the whole, very, very cushy. Somehow, despite complaints about funding, a good many people are living, if not luxurious, then at least comfortable lives doing 3/4 the work you could buy privately for the same money.

  15. Archy says

    @14 “Why do you think that?”

    Because there will be a surplus of labour and the higher end positions you speak of won’t need many men.

    ” I suppose they’ll always have dystopian communities and rebel movement in disused tube networks to organise, in that special biased gendered way women have.”

    Will they have horrible hairstyles, be a slave to a lizard only to kill said lizard and lead an alliance to victory with their brother?

  16. mildlymagnificent says

    So anyway, economies don’t work quite the way you are suggesting. Societies organise themselves to find work for idle hands and people make their own employment.

    It’s all down to politics and decision making for the benefit of communities. In places where garbage collection and street sweeping are largely automated, there are now a lot fewer jobs for people to do that outdoor, unskilled work. So why aren’t all those people who prefer outdoor work – and there a lot of them – employed on maintaining and improving the amenity of their communities in other ways. The work of cleaning up creek/river edges and beach surrounds, maintaining informal play spaces and caring for other public spaces in ways other than simply litter picking has always been there. We now have a veritable army of people ready and able to do such work. Some of it is also suitable for people with intellectual disabilities and their work opportunities, street sweeping and the like, have been almost obliterated by this kind of automation. Though I’d think that some of the restoration of appropriate vegetation and stabilising sand dunes and the like in parks or degraded areas might require someone with more capacity to understand the whys and wherefores of the methods used and the plantings chosen.

    But governments worldwide have been destroying these jobs as well as the more common ones rather than taking advantage of the huge numbers of people ready, willing and available for that kind of work.

    It’s down to politics. Which means, at least for the time being, trying to argue for the social value of work – and the wages earned in such activities – when the people you’re trying to convince are all tangled up in some “austerity” or similar ideological chains.

  17. Carnation says

    @ Jacob

    “Government work is the best work.”

    I tend to agree – primarily because, in the majority of cases, it is a job for life and the unions have a degree of strength.

    @ Lucy

    What’s the weather like on your planet?

  18. Marduk says

    Although no longer a regular reader, I note the Graun is much enhanced by recent IT woes that seem to messing up the front page and mixing up pics, at least on my ipad.

    A feature on sex offenders in Miami is captioned with Nigel Farage, whereas the style feature is a rare venture from Suanne Moore into reviewing cycling shorts. In other breaking news, David Cameron apparently masterminded Arsenals victory at the weekend.

    Good go see Graun values trancend text and now include multimedia.

  19. Marduk says

    Forgot my other favourite, Tesco now runs Guantanamo Bay (or possibly even the other way round).

    There is something a bit provocative or even situationist about this front page. It invites flights of fancy and gives otherwise humdrum stories an air of intrigue, possibly by creatively alienating the reader. As an art project I give it full marks.

  20. H.E. Pennypacker says

    @ MM

    I completely agree.

    Incredibly we live in a society where the actual social value of work is inversely correlated with how much value that job is given. People like nurses and rubbish collectors (the sort of people who if they all disappeared tomorrow socety would break down pretty quickly) are extremely poorly paid. People whosejobs are effectively pointless – like corporate lawyers and stock brokers – are generally very well paid. There are some notble exceptions like doctors but overall the degree to which this pattern holds is remarkable. When cuts are made it never seems to be penpushers that lose their jobs.

    Actually, I would hazard a guess that most people consider a fairly large proportion of what their job entails to be pretty pointless. That seems prety sychologically damaging to me.

  21. Holms says

    Why do you think that? Humans hate caring for the sick and elderly, that’s why it’s always the lowest caste people in any given society that do it: women, immigrant men, low skilled. And why it’s remunerated either not at all (women), or poorly (immigrant men).

    Strange, my own mum happens to be a retired aged and disabled care worker, and she most certainly got a salary. In fact, it is common knowledge that carer jobs such as hers are dominated by women, so I’m not certain I know what you are talking about.

  22. Archy says

    In Australia we have the “green army” where school leavers will be/might be expected to do those types of creek cleanups. Work for the dole will also put them into the green army but getting paid half the minimum wage to do extremely physical, extremely hot work with a good chance of skin cancer isn’t good. I love the outdoors but I’d never do that job for less than above average wage.

  23. Ally Fogg says

    You wouldn’t put it past them, especially after they invaded Denmark.

    Oh god I love that sketch, thanks for reminding me.

    Time Tunnel was one of the most ubder-rated comedy shows of the last 10 or 20 years. I loved it and everyone else seemed to miss it altogether.

  24. Marduk says

    A journalistic observation.

    1. Be award-winning autobiographical writer
    2. Write stuff down about latest life experience
    3. Write lengthy feature piece containing entire story as staging post for future book
    4. Strike deal with publisher of lengthy feature to contribute serialised version of future book under a pseudonym because otherwise everyone will just read the feature piece
    5. Go onto social media and pretend events described are occurring in real time tracking column. This elicits emotional response from readership who offer concern/support.

    Just a theory of course.
    Assuming this is the case, what are the journalistic ethics around point 5?

  25. Marduk says

    When are “feminist” (as opposed to feminists, who I have no argument with) columnists and commentators going to stop making themselves hostages to fortune?

    This is a recurring trope at this point, a terrible tactical mistake and you can pretty much call it in advance each and every time.

    Whether its “Jackie”, Page 3 or now the casting of Ghostbusters, whether serious or fluffy these things are turned into standard bearers and referendums. In the case of Page 3 these tactics caused a full reversal by The Sun against what it actually wanted to do and everyone else wanted them to do. They were happy to lose naked women out of their newspaper, what they weren’t prepared to do was become part of a culture war narrative that their own readers disapprove of.

    And now even the casting of a film. Already this is hyped to the point where it will be a disaster for the future representation of women in film if its not very good, which is an unwise position to take on a single artistic venture and an insane gamble to stake on a potboiling Hollywood retread. Before the comment pieces revved up, it was what it was, a film. Now it genuinely will have an influence, if it doesn’t earn well and you want to cast four women in something that isn’t a Romcom, you can forget about getting it financed for another decade. I don’t fancy the odds. I don’t know much about the art of film casting but I do know none of the names mentioned are even remotely capable of opening a film outside the United States. The announcement should have been cause for a slow backing off, not a revving of the engine.

    Its just so dumb and needless and I’m calling this disaster now!

  26. StillGjenganger says

    @Marduk 29
    Spot on analysis – even if I do no share your concern for the tactical success of feminism.

    Its seems a hard mistake to avoid, though. If Social Justice was mostly about changing reality, it would be easy to avoid going overboard on symbolic cases. But actually the main thrust of the project seems to be pretty much about controlling language and symbols, hoping that if you force everyone to talk progressive you can have world dominated by your ideas – without the messy bother of arguing and trying to convince people first. Live by symbolism and die symbolism, no?

  27. Marduk says

    Well, when we think about how to do social justice (as opposed to Social Justice Warrioring), look at the people who actually got things done against overwhelming odds and learn from them. It is certainly possible to utilise symbolic cases, the Civil Rights movement did that repeatedly. But they picked winners and — if necessary — created winners. Rosa Parks was hand picked and tagged in by NAACP for that reason (which makes her more brave, not less, in my opinion). The same is true of the gay rights movement and it was true of the Suffrage movement as well now I think about it.

    The difference is that in all those cases they weren’t looking for a career in advocacy or commentary, the wanted to win. There are feminists like this and good luck to them, but for a lot of SJW types they practice this ‘cargo cult’ version with little real commitment and that can’t but blow up in their faces.

  28. Anton Mates says

    Marduk @29,

    Already this is hyped to the point where it will be a disaster for the future representation of women in film if its not very good

    It is? Got a link? I’ve just seen people hyping it for fairly standardish moviewatcher reasons: they like Ghostbusters, they like the idea of taking the franchise in a new direction, they like having more action movies/comedies/whatever with female leads. Haven’t seen anyone claiming it’s gonna be the next Citizen Kane or a world-shaking blow for feminism or anything.

    Granted, feminists are now busy making fun of the chauvinists on Twitter who were all “PUTTING WOMEN IN GHOSTBUSTERS DESECRATES MY CHILDHOOD,” but as far as I can tell it wasn’t the feminists that started that particular kerfluffle.

    As for it being a disaster for women in film, that doesn’t seem terribly likely to me. It’s not like men stopped getting cast as action leads just because The 13th Warrior bombed. The new Ghostbusters could be an unusually good silly movie or a typically bad silly movie; either way it probably won’t make producers less leery of casting female leads than they already are. IMO.

  29. Marduk says

    The Ditum piece in the New Statesman?

    Anyhow, speaking of films that should be remade, here, right here, is the elusive demonstration of what is wrong with the SJWisation of media.

    http://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/jan/30/frank-herbert-dune-at-50-sci-fi-masterpiece

    “Dune is a boy’s own adventure, wrapped in an adolescent coming of age story, spliced with a Bildungsroman, in which boys become men by taming a giant worm and women only appear as princesses, priestesses or temptresses. It’s a book that boys and young men of a certain temperament – intelligent, introverted, angry – often obsess over. Dune is a potent wish-fulfilment fantasy, allowing its readers to play out the status and power they lack in the real world.”

    No doubt thumbs up from all in the editorial office, all the boxes ticked there for a cutting-edge 2015 piece of criticism, the problem is that whether you think Dune is a sci-fi milestone or vapid trash, what is written there simply isn’t true. Its not true in terms of the words on the page, it certainly isn’t true in terms of the explicit authorial intent which he helpfully wrote out at length and you can find in the back of certain editions of it. Its kind of strange to me that as a result of movements within literary criticism, nobody knows how to read anymore.

    This is of course even worse: https://weekdayblues.wordpress.com/2010/10/23/frank-herberts-dune/

    People read books, pick up on the things the author sign posts in gleaming neon letters (and miss half of it anyway) and claim these are ‘insights’ and ‘analysis’ worthy of publication. The missing piece here is that the author meant the average reader buying their books from a drug store rack to while away a train ride to notice this stuff as a matter of course and then go on to think about exactly why these things were made so obvious and what they were saying about them.

    I’ll paraphrase what the author was saying: colonialism is horrible, supposed heroes are all monsters, don’t trust leaders, messiahs, religions or political structures, they are all just self-serving lies created by people to confer false legitimacy. Exoticism is just a question of perspective + power, you’d be the same in the same situation so how can it be alien to you really? Meet the new boss, same as the old boss, its just lots of horrible stuff had to happen along the way. Ecology is important because you are a product of your environment in many ways.

    Yup, exactly what the people claiming the author doesn’t understand these things also believe.

    We’ve degenerated to the point where the would-be intellectual is batting below the level previously assumed of the average reader (even in genre fiction) and worse still, thinks the average reader (so far below them) and even more chillingly, the average writer, are even dumber than they are. Bizarrely, through force of will, they’ve made themselves illiterate.

    Its not the politics, which in other situations I agree with, its how stupid it is.

  30. Anton Mates says

    Marduk,

    The Ditum piece in the New Statesman?

    OK, what about it? Far as I can see, it’s main points are:
    1) it’s hard for girls to identify with any of the original leads, since all the people doing the actual heroic ghost-busting stuff are men;
    2) the new female cast are individually well-chosen to match their predecessors;
    3) the guy who played Winston doesn’t like it being all-female and hopes that the women will “at least” be funny, and if not funny, sexy;
    4) the author hopes that it will actually be prety much like the original films, except with women in it;
    5) opinions like the Winston guy’s are not unusual inside and outside the media;
    6) women can in fact be funny; and
    7) this movie might convince a lot of people who are dubious of that, which would be good.

    So, er…what’s wrong with any of that? There’s no suggestion that the movie’s success or failure should be some kind of referendum on feminism. Nor was the author responsible for raising the issue that some people dislike seeing women in this kind of role; the Winston guy and the folks yelling on Twitter and various comment threads did that quite effectively first.

    Anyhow, speaking of films that should be remade, here, right here, is the elusive demonstration of what is wrong with the SJWisation of media.
    http://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/jan/30/frank-herbert-dune-at-50-sci-fi-masterpiece

    I’m sorry, but how on earth does that review have anything to do with SJWing? The author obviously loves Dune. He talks over and over about how it’s a masterpiece, and Herbert’s an amazing writer, and it will be powerful and relevant for decades to come, etc. Do you object because he says it’s got phallic symbolism, and a narrow spectrum of female characters, and smart angry young men identify with it? Because, right or wrong–and AFAIK he’s right–these are hardly feminist-only opinions. (Freud was no feminist!)

    More importantly, he clearly has no problem with the book having these features. He’s proud to say he’s a fan and he thinks it should have more exposure. So if he thinks the book is misogynistic (which I doubt), he approves of that.

    Its not true in terms of the words on the page, it certainly isn’t true in terms of the explicit authorial intent which he helpfully wrote out at length and you can find in the back of certain editions of it.

    I’m not half the devotee of Herbert you are, so I’ll defer to your superior knowledge. But the problem is, almost none of the quoted commentary has to do with authorial intent, and most of it isn’t about the words on the page either; it’s about about its effect on the audience. So your objection seems misaimed to me. And again–Damien Walter approves of the book. He thinks of it as a meditation on masculinity, aimed at boys and young men, and he likes that. Even if you disagree, you can’t reasonably blame him on feminism.

    This is of course even worse: https://weekdayblues.wordpress.com/2010/10/23/frank-herberts-dune/

    It’s certainly less carefully written, I’ll give you that. But who cares? It’s a post by two pseudonymous amateur critics, on a WordPress blog that lasted about a year. Which is not a diss on them or the value of their writing–but right or wrong, they hardly represent “the media.”

    I’ll paraphrase what the author was saying:

    I don’t detect much of any disagreement between your paraphrase and Damien Walter’s review. The other pair of reviewers do disagree with you, but this seems like a pretty bog-standard disagreement where the people who don’t like a book say “it sucks because X” and the people who do like a book say “Of couse it’s X, it was meant to be X, the author was making a commentary.” That happens.

    I don’t mean to trivialize sci-fi or lit-crit–if you think people like or dislike a book for stupid reasons, you’ve every right to point that out. But when you claim all this as evidence that feminism is dumbing down the media, it seems like you’re constructing more referendums and connections to the culture war than feminists are!

    Its not the politics, which in other situations I agree with, its how stupid it is.

    If it’s not the politics, then why blame feminists or SJWs for any of this? Some people like Dune, some people don’t like Dune, and in your opinion both sides include some crappy writers and critics. Isn’t this pretty much the entire history of popular art and literature?

  31. Ally Fogg says

    Good post Anton.

    I’d add about the Ghostbusters thing… as I see it, it has become political not because feminists promoted it to an issue of global cultural and political significance, but because so many men exploded in such a hilariously pathetic outburst of misogyny when the announcement was made.

    It was that which got feminists rallying to the film, not the announcement itself.

  32. Marduk says

    I was trying to pick an example of a phenomenon where there isn’t much heat so we could look at it, nobody cares about a bit of genre fiction that much. I really don’t care whether he liked it or not either.

    The SJW thing is a phenomenon of scale, individual examples don’t mean much alone so whatever, its hard to discuss it really. I find it fascinating but I don’t claim to understand it. There is some sort of strange syncretic politics that is neither socialist or liberal allied to some overly powerful tools that weren’t supposed to be used like this, there is something emerging from the sheer scale of it (like the analogy with egging a house and online harassment; one egg is a lark, a thousand eggs is a thousand larks but it isn’t funny). I could bang on but I feel like the recent Chait piece has encapsulated a lot of my concerns now (and like Chait, I say this from the left in case of doubt).

    This is about SJWs specifically and not feminists btw. I’m using the term as accurately as I can, its not meant to be a slur. Feminists, if anything, are suffering the most at the hands of the SJWs. Its irritating to me, but it seems to be becoming an existential threat to the movement for some of them:
    http://www.thenation.com/article/178140/feminisms-toxic-twitter-wars?page=0,0

  33. Anton Mates says

    Eh, I’ll just say that I think Chait likes to believe he’s speaking from the left, but that’s because he tends to ignore anyone speaking leftwards of him. Which is a problem for a lot of “liberal” pundits.

    That said, yeah, there’s a ton of unproductive online feuding between SJWs. There’s also a ton of unproductive online feuding between…whatever you want to call the conservative equivalent of SJWs…as well, though. Just look at the stupid scandal over Holly Hobby Lobby’s infidelity, which was kicked off by fellow Tea Partier Chuck C. Johnson.

    And now I will make a proper whataboutthemenz comment: It is driving me crazy that so many American liberals believe the right wing is fine with Viagra and penis pumps, but not with female contraception, and infer that that conservatives think men should be in control of their own sexuality but women shouldn’t. That isn’t remotely true; the right wing hates Viagra, at least in public. Conservative lawmakers are the reason Medicare doesn’t cover any ED drugs–and frankly, I think they would have gone after penis pumps too if they’d known they were widely used. And many conservative Christians are opposed to vasectomies (although Hobby Lobby, famously, isn’t.)

    The right wing isn’t trying to take control of female sexuality; it’s trying to take control of everyone’s sexuality. Like Ally always says, patriarchy hurts both women and men, because it defines strict gender roles and punishes anyone who deviates.

  34. Marduk says

    I don’t actually thinks its in-fighting at all.

    Goldberg talks about a specific misreading of “intersectionality”, Chait talks about PC, but this isn’t really recognisable as having much to do with the PC of the 1980s. I think they are both talking about this rather confusing new phenomenon that we seem to struggle to even name. It seems to be post-modern theory + identity politics in the absence (and if anything, opposition to) liberalism and socialism, I think you call odd cut-and-shut philosophies like this syncretic. Its the attitudes without the values if that makes any sense. The problem is that the tools of post-modernism are some serious atomic-level shit that no act of speech or text can survive, not even the texts upon which it is based. The problem with po-mo in the academy wasn’t that it lacked efficacy, its actually that if works on everything and leaves nothing behind, whats the point. This is all good clean fun if its Middlemarch you’re pouring bleach over, but SJWs wielding appropriation theory are at this point basically arguing for separate but equal and can’t see what the problem is. This is because they have the practice but not the values.

    I think of the tea party as being a sort of allergic reaction to the Neocons really who were a seriously alien incursion in right-wing politics from Trotskyism. They are at this point completely harmless though and didn’t (as I recall) have any influence on the mid-terms. It is interesting to speculate about the degree to which the shit would hit the fan if they ever realised what the Koch brothers had done to them but of course, they won’t. The left would be better off contemplating the obscenity that your healthcare should have anything to do with your employer, not quibbling about the whims of a boardroom. I actually have trouble figuring out a solid basis for making Hobby Lobby pay for anything they don’t feel like, its a kind of losing position to start from. I understand the health insurance situation is a historical accident from a period of a tight labour market but its insane. At this point leaving it to turn to shit completely might be the most effective route to reform.

  35. StillGjenganger says

    Hi Ally,
    Looks like I have been put on moderation (I got that ‘your comments are awaiting moderation’ message twice). No objection – it is your site – but if I have transgressed could you let me know and I shall try to avoid it in the future?

    Or, if I am still inside your own rules, could you maybe let me know what is happening and why?

  36. Ally Fogg says

    Hi Gjenganger, no, of course you haven’t transgressed!

    There is nothing in my moderation queue, and can’t see anything in my spam folder from you, so I’m completely flummoxed by that.

    Did it specifically say it was awaiting moderation?

  37. StillGjenganger says

    There was one post on the FGM thread and one post on the positive consent thread. Slow to load when posted, and there for maybe 10 minutes after that when I went to the thread with a line above saying ‘this post is awaiting moderation’, and not present in the left margin. They have both been uploaded now, so I guess the problem has solved itself. Again, no objection, I just did not even know that there was a pre-mod system on ‘heteronormative patriarchy’ – and I would hope that the site is small enough that people can complain to my face if there is anything. But anyway it is over now.

  38. StillGjenganger says

    Immediately after posting, my post 42 on this thread looked like this:

    StillGjenganger says

    February 10, 2015 at 11:27 am

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Ah Ally – thanks for answering so quickly.

    So, maybe not quite solved

  39. Ally Fogg says

    Apparently we have numerous problems with our back end today (oo err missus) so apologies to anyone struggling to get comments through. Our resident tech chipmunks are on the case.

  40. Carnation says

    Ally, gonnaue gies us a recent Open Thread?

    The Independent has run a story quoting the Mankind Initiative: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/male-domestic-violence-victim-i-never-imagined-something-like-this-would-happen-to-me-10105586.html

    Interestingly, it was msn.com that alerted me to it, featuring the article on their own homepage. A quick check has shown that the story has been picked by by a few outlets, including the anti-feminist DM and Telegraph.

    Just wondering what people make of its inclusion and the fact that it’s got a spread of coverage?

    I hope the perpetrator is given a significant sentence. A truly revolting crime. A lot of respect is due to Ken Gregory.

  41. Carnation says

    @ Ally Fogg

    “I’d add about the Ghostbusters thing… as I see it, it has become political not because feminists promoted it to an issue of global cultural and political significance, but because so many men exploded in such a hilariously pathetic outburst of misogyny when the announcement was made.
    It was that which got feminists rallying to the film, not the announcement itself.”

    Just as it’s the “men’s rights movement” that has gotten to many women rallying to feminism, and feminists rallying amongst themselves. A living, breathing, (static) movement to rail against, complete with actual misogynists.

    The MRM is a gift to feminists, online and in real life. It’s a gift that keeps on giving.

  42. Archy says

    Anecdotal evidence of course but I’d say after reading comment sections in a wide variety of websites, far more are leaving feminism due to sillyfems (snarky ones with dodgy stats and damn near trollish) than MRA’s creating new feminists. I’d say most people are hesitant to be identified with either side. 2014 especially seemed to be a big year for some reason where a lot of female commenters I noticed spoke out against feminism. MRA’s have been trashed everywhere but I dunno if they’re actually increasing the number of feminists. Usually the feminists who do speak out against MRA’s on comment sections tend to be Jezebel type snarky, young ones and the snark-free ones tend to just not even mention them I find.

    Reminds me of a highschool drama to be honest, almost like Jezebellians vs AVFMer’s in a very public comment war whilst a bunch of egalitarian-minded people (from what I see they are usually the majority) and some feminists n mra’s just get on with trying to fix up society. But I guess comment sections may attract controversial debates more than everyone commenting with agreement? YMMV.

    I think what creates more feminists is probably some of the conservatives, like the republican party in the U.S, or Abbott n Co in Australia. Abbott especially has this magical ability to generate hatred and I am actually quite impressed with his ability to stir the pot. For someone who is meant to be pretty damn smart, he sure puts his foot in his mouth a lot and has some weird views.

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