Jeffrey Lord, Sacked: AKA Correcting Someone’s Spelling Is Genocide

For those who don’t know, CNN has terminated their contract with commentator Jeffrey Lord. CNN itself describes the termination as directly in response to Lord tweeting “Sieg Heil” at a progressive who asked that Lord’s recent American Spectator article mentioning him be revised to spell his name correctly.

Media Matters, not a disinterested party (though neither is CNN) described the run-up to the tweet this way:

On August 10, the American Spectator published an attack piece by Jeffrey Lord against Media Matters. The screed lashed out at what Lord describes as “Media Matters Fascists.” Lord then tweeted the article to Media Matters President Angelo Carusone. When Carusone pointed out that his name was misspelled in the headline of the piece, Lord responded with the Nazi salute “Sieg Heil!”

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Anti-Vaxxers and The Best Popular Science Writing Ever

I suppose I should qualify that by adding “short form category” to the end, but really, this article at New Atlas is among the best I’ve ever seen from any popular magazine or website. It begins by explaining a finding reached over a decade ago by one researcher each from UMich and Georgia State University. Their conference paper took several years to make it into print in the academic journal, Political Behavior. For reasons that will become clear later, I’ve checked the Dartmouth website that houses the original conference paper and the journal Political Behavior. They appear to be on the up-and-up.

Quoting from the first version, the authors Nyhan and Reifler state:

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Every Other Trans Person Is Wrong

I’ve struggled over the last four weeks with a post bashing around inside my skull. It seems unable to escape but also unable to calm down. I’ve wanted to write a rather lengthy post about language and the problems that I see with certain tendencies in trans* advocacy these days around language. But every time I go long-form, there’s so much that I can’t find a place to stop. So then I tried to go short-form, but that didn’t convey the real difficulty of the topic I wanted to engage. So now I’m going in a completely different direction, with a seemingly unrelated introduction and then, probably, a short-form take on the topic itself, allowing you all to take from it what you will, given the context provided by the introduction/preface.

So a good, long time ago, the internationally celebrated center of learning that is UMM ran into a spot of difficulty: apparently some right wing jerks were being right wing jerks. Whodathunkit. Usernames are Smart, a longtime commenter whose work and thoughts I remember as generally respectable and valuable*1, disagreed with PZ Myers suggestion that Morris residents treat as trash any scattered copies of the Young Republican rag “The North Star”. (Yes, they deliberately stole the name from the abolitionist newspaper of Frederick Douglas, which famously included one of the only ads promoting the Seneca Falls “convention to discuss the social, civil, and religious condition and rights of woman” to run outside of the State of New York).

I disagreed with Usernames’ disagreement, and said so. The crux was that while I agree that white people should be accountable to people of color when attempting to address racism in the US, I disagreed that suggesting actions (like trashing any “scattered” copies of The North Star that weren’t in their designated paper-piles) was the same as telling people from other groups what experiences define their groups. I also disagreed that waiting for people of color to plan a response is the right course of action when a white person is confronted with racism in that person’s presence. This doesn’t mean that white folk should be praise for anything they do, just for taking action. No, this is merely the natural consequence of refusing to put people of color on the spot, to make people of color responsible for ending racism.

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On The Corner: Intersectionality and Existence of Privilege

Siggy, over at A Trivial Knot, has a new post up with some interesting things to say about Privilege Theory and its successes and limitations as a lens through which to examine certain social dynamics.

One line in particular resonated with me, not for how I view Privilege Theory, but for how I view Intersectionality. It starts when Siggy asks how to evaluate a theoretical framework like privilege or intersectionality:

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For Your Enjoyment: Nature Is Amazing

I was entirely unfamiliar with Nature Is Amazing (a Twitter channel that bears some small resemblance to WTF, Evolution, though NIA focuses more on behavior than on bodies) until a few minutes ago I was reading a post on the latest in DudeBro culture written by David Futrelle over at WeHuntedTheMammoth. There I learned the important lesson that whether or not dudebro behavior is natural or nurtured, some dudbro behavior isn’t all bad:

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Spam: Game of Thrones Edition

Every so often it amuses and/or shocks me to see the spam left on a particular post. Usually this is because of the horrible incongruity between the content of the post and the content of the spam. About two weeks ago, I wrote a piece about rape on college campuses, including a bit about how rape at religious colleges is often covered in the media as a separate issue from rape at secular private colleges and rape at public universities. Of note, I concluded that studying the cultures of particular educational environments is fine if you want to understand those culture (especially if you want to use that understanding to tailor a message to be more effective at creating positive change around issues including but not limited to institutional responses to rape and sexual assault), but that the biggest institutional barriers to creating safe campuses appear to be shared across the religious/ secular/ state divides. In particular, schools seem to use criminal court systems as a model for determining whether one student is a danger to others, and the criminal court treats each charge as entirely separate, thus schools tend not to allow a history of credible and/or fully established charges against a student to affect how likely it is that a student’s latest denial is credible.

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Lost Days: Wrist/Thumb Edition

So, once again I’ve gone without posting for a few days in a row. This will happen for nearly all writers, of course, but happens a bit more frequently here at Pervert Justice. I have a bone condition that causes chronic pain, this is most noticeable in my knees and lower back where humans carry a great deal of skeletal stress. It doesn’t leave me unable to walk but makes all walking painful. I use a variety of techniques to avoid or minimize that pain, including using assistive devices and personal vehicles (like wheelchairs and scooters) for longer distances, more painful days, and other unusual situations. But in most cases, I still have good contact with the outside world because of the marvels of personal computing.

Alas, despite the bone problems being most noticeable in particular places, they aren’t limited to them, and last week I dramatically aggravated my right wrist & thumb (though how I did it, I don’t know) leading to a complete inability to type without screaming agony. Though I am still having higher pain than normal in that area, I’m back to typing again with regular content resuming later tonight or early tomorrow. Sorry about the gap & thanks for reading.

Not For Your Enjoyment: I perform a PZ Myers imitation

No, you will not see my pseudonymous face or hear my pseudonymous voice on Pervert Justice today. However, my knowledge of biology, greatly enhanced by reading PZ Myers and articles linked by PZ Myers over the last 8ish years, led me to geek-rage on a paragraph in a story that would not have caused any negative reaction in the Crip Dyke of 10 years ago.

The paragraph in question comes from an article on the pop-sci site New Atlas which describes recent evolutionary changes in insular populations of geckos:

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Not a Metaphor: Minneapolis School Explodes

Again with Minneapolis and a dramatic and deadly failure of infrastructure. In this case, a high school suffered an explosion that entirely removed an adjoining section between two wings architecturally engineered to be structurally independent. Those wings are still fully standing in pictures from after the event. Though not much is known, at the moment it appears the explosion was caused by a “gas leak” – one presumes they mean “natural gas” aka methane.

Look to the Star Tribune for ongoing coverage: you can start with this article. Most reports say there is one confirmed death, though other reports say that there is one strongly presumed death that has not yet been confirmed. The ST article is quite clear that emergency services reported one death as “confirmed” but then downgraded that to “unconfirmed” about 15 minutes later, thus the confusion. There are consistent reports that more than one person is still missing or trapped, in some (at least one?) cases an individual has managed to communicate to emergency services despite being currently unrescuable. The number missing, however, is small. As the ST article is continually updated, the latest news I have is that the number is down to two. Crews are working to clear debris to reach these persons and find any missing ones. However, and let me say this strongly: All coverage I’ve read (4 independent sources so far) says that the students are all safe, all located, all evacuated. Injuries are limited to adults.

A number of years ago, there was a school shooting at a high school significant to my own youth. At the time, a friend was working for the school district and had worked at the high school during part of her employment with the district. Though we are important to each other, I hadn’t kept up with her very well and it had been 10 months since we had spoken, so I wasn’t sure where she might be. It didn’t take long to figure out that she wasn’t hurt (or even present) at the shooting, but there were those agonizing hours when even though I knew it was unlikely she was present or injured, I just didn’t know. For any in the community in a similar position, I offer you my sympathy.

However, the occurrence of this tragedy can’t be seen only through a personal lens. When Minneapolis suffered a freeway collapse, there were many individual tragedies for people killed, injured and traumatized as well as for those who lost someone they loved. Nonetheless, we had a very significant (and still unfinished) discussion about aging infrastructure in the USA. This explosion is likely to provoke similar conversations, perhaps even overlapping ones if part of the explosion’s cause is attributed to an aging and/or poorly maintained facility. If you wish to comment on the causes found and any implications you might derive from those identified causes, please feel free to do so, but also write with some awareness that you never know whether or not someone else reading the comments here might be personally affected.

Dogmatism: Empathy and Analytical Thought in Tension

Researchers from Case Western have recently expanded on research that might be interesting to FtB audiences. The university’s write up identifies previous research as finding that brain “circuits” for empathy and for analytical thinking are separate but use overlapping resources and are (perhaps because of this) used alternately more than they are simultaneously:

The researchers say the results of the surveys lend further support to their earlier work showing people have two brain networks—one for empathy and one for analytic thinking – that are in tension with each other. In healthy people, their thought process cycles between the two, choosing the appropriate network for different issues they consider.

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