sechan19: Photo of me in a Spider-man crop trop. (Default)
If Mario were "Maria" and Peach and Toadstool were pretty little princelings, it would probably look something like this. Genderswaps for the win.

Bruce E. Levine offers persuasive and frightening reasons why young Americans don't fight back. This is a must-read.

Rick Perry, like many conservatives, is impervious to facts. And it makes him look like an idiot. But, sadly, no one is going to mind much.

A bunch of Belgian fans taunted Japanese goalkeeper Kawashima Eiji (who plays for Lierse S.K.) by chanting "Fukushima" at him, proving that Belgians can be unprecedented dicks, too. Or maybe it's just something about football fans? Or sports fans in general? Or people? Anyway, this is pretty up-there on my list of things that I find totally vile. As Kawashima rightly noted: it's not remotely funny.
sechan19: Photo of me in a Spider-man crop trop. (Default)
Michael Kimmel on how the actions of ultra right wing terrorists like Anders Breivik and Timothy McVeigh must be understood not just in terms of the globalization of society, but also in terms of gender. The importance of these men's perceptions of masculinity and of emasculation cannot be overstated here.

Paul Krugman on how centrism is destroying America.

And some follow-up from d r i f t g l a s s:
For 30 years, the staunchest ally of the unhinged Right has been the craven Center: that army of Beltway automatons who profit handsomely from propping up the Right’s every act of depravity with one outrageously false equivalence after another. This is the "But the Democrats" brigade, on well-coiffed display every Sunday at what I I have been calling "The Mouse Circus" for the past six years.

Unchecked this state of affairs will continue for another 30 years or until we as a nation are finally burned to the ground and sold off for scrap by the Right, right under the noses of the Center who will be busy sternly lecturing Left on the need for more Compromise and greater Reasonableness, and compulsively masturbating into the pages of the New York Times about how an awesome new Third Party full of Radically Reasonable Compromisers would solve everything.


Strangely pertinent words from George Orwell's 1984.

...

And finally, Severus Snape wants you to know that it gets better:



I totally love this clip, not just because the gentleman in question does a magnificent impersonation but also because he actually calls the Harry Potter series of books out for being sort of tedious - which they really kind of were.
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NASA's Hubble telescope has discovered that Pluto has a fourth moon. Go on with your bad self, Pluto.

Illustrations from the golden age of artillery.

A traditional Japanese tea ceremony has been held at the memorial site of the USS Arizona for the victims of Pearl Harbor. The ceremony to honor the souls of the dead was a joint effort undertaken in the spirit of peace and reconciliation--something that the recent ugliness surrounding the Women's World Cup demonstrates we are still very much in need of.

Thandie Newton is a beautiful woman, inside and out.

An astonishing story from The New York Times: Nearly ten years ago, Mark Anthony Stroman--acting in response to the events of 9/11--shot three men he believed were Arabs; two of them died. One of them, Rais Bhuiyan, who was partially blinded and disfigured by the attack, is fighting to help Stroman achieve a stay of execution. The article includes statements from both men, which are harrowing at the same time that they are remarkable.

It's tempting, in a situation like this, to lay blame solely at the feet of individuals, without really thinking about the effects of environment upon their actions. But the reality is that we live in a country with a rapidly dumbing population; a population that is fed fear and religious zeal and a sense of entitlement from infancy to acts of adulthood. I'm inspired by Mr. Bhuiyan's attempts here to make a point about the need for greater discourse between people of all classes and creeds; about the need for thought ahead of retributive action. I hope he succeeds.
sechan19: Photo of me in a Spider-man crop trop. (Default)
165 years for us; one year for Neptune. Welcome back, buddy.

Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) has got a debt limit plan. Ezra Klein breaks down how said plan is actually both politically savvy and geared toward ending a major threat to the American economy. A number of could-care-less politicians are, predictably, already against it.

North Dakota isn't actually really a state, but they're going to fix that real soon. Not before the rest of us crack the hell up, though.

A man is killed in Yellowstone after encountering a mama grizzly and her cubs. I realize that bear threats are pretty slim (my father and I encountered a brown bear and cubs once in Yosemite National Park and escaped unscathed), but this is still an excellent illustration of one of the many reasons why I don't particularly care for the great outdoors. Bugs and a lack of running water are the other key reasons. ;)

If Superman was real, this is what we'd do with him.

The recall process in Wisconsin is ongoing, and Republicans there are naturally doing their utmost to swing things in their favor. But so far it doesn't seem to be working. Maybe there's some hope for this place yet.

But, then again, maybe not. The recent freak-out over Michelle Obama having a calorie-heavy meal argues for the continued dominance of the histrionic elements of American culture.

Buster Keaton: Bangable Dude in History. Me-ow!

And finally, here's a cool review of the film I went to see in New York this past weekend: Yakuza Weapon.
sechan19: Photo of me in a Spider-man crop trop. (Default)
Caryn Rivadeneira over at ThinkChristian talks about things that Christians can appreciate about the Slutwalk trend. She suggests that violence against women can occur no matter what a woman wears (and not as a result of it) and that ending said violence is a moral imperative that all Christians should advocate for. That's my kind of believer.

At the same time, John McWhorter over at The Root thinks people should stop using the Bible to justify homophobia. After all, he notes, it used to be used to justify racism, and we've managed to move on from that. (For the most part, in my opinion. At the very least, it's harder to get away with using the Bible in such a way in public. Privately, I think a lot of that kind of nonsense still goes on.)

After fifteen-plus years in production, Pixar is finally putting out a film with a female as the main protagonist. And about darn time, too. (Note: don't bother throwing Elastigirl, or Jessie, or Dory at me. I said "main" protagonist.)

The Art Newspaper explores the question of whether or not the release of Ai Weiwei means that the Chinese government is easing up on its policy against dissent. And the answer is no.

Wanna learn the history of English in ten minutes? It's a lot of fun. (Watch out for that guy with the axe!)

Linda Holmes breaks down the recent furor over the Oxford University PR department's decision to do away with the Oxford comma. Holmes does a really good job of explaining why the Oxford comma makes sentences so much cleaner and clearer by its presence, and also of embodying the silly attachment that all of us language nerds have to peculiar pieces of grammar while pointing out just how not silly attachment to Oxford commas is. I'm an Oxford comma girl, myself, you know. In fact, they can have my Oxford commas when they pry them from my cold, dead fingers. 'Nuff said.

Ezra Klein on Amazon's bad sales tax behavior. I imagine a lot of the fuss could be solved if states just got around to passing laws that imposed sales tax for products being purchases by people in their state. Let's see Amazon decide never to sell anything to California because they don't want to pay sales tax.

Evolutionary biologist Mark Chengizi thinks that the wrinkles that develop on wet hands are our body's natural attempt to increase grip capabilities in inclement weather.

Only in Japan will you see a tv commercial wherein businessman sing about the woes of summertime itchy-crotch syndrome.

Linkland.

Jun. 29th, 2011 02:10 pm
sechan19: Photo of me in a Spider-man crop trop. (Default)
Master film composer Bernard Herrmann, particularly noted for his Hitchcock scores, would have turned 100 today. NPR has an awesome tribute to his lasting genius.

The Mona Lisa will not be leaving the building. The Louvre has apparently rejected a proposal by Italy to borrow the work for a 2013 exhibition. Apparently, the work hasn't left France since 1974. If you ask my mother, the real Mona Lisa hasn't been on display for years, but is instead kept in storage somewhere while an obvious (to her) copy now hangs on the wall--the bulletproof glass that shields it also serving to make it difficult for the casual observer to realize the substitution. If this is the case, then I suppose the museum has a vested interest in never loaning it out to anyone ever again.

Good news: Björk is releasing a new album soon. Bad news: It's inextricably linked with apple products. Sigh.

Feministing has a good opinion piece up about Bristol Palin and rape culture. In her new memoir, Palin-the-younger describes her first sexual encounter with Levi Johnston, and it sounds a whole hell of a lot like a date rape. But she won't acknowledge it as such; perhaps she can't. The tendency when dealing with the Palins is to dismiss them and anything that happens to them as part and parcel of their own petard, and to some extent that's true. But I can't help feeling that Bristol Palin is just a big walking victim, with no awareness whatsoever of her own victimhood. She makes me incredibly sad.

D r i f t g l a s s takes on the recent furor over whether or not people should go to college, and he ladles the reality on nice and thick. This is a fantastic and thought-provoking read about not just college, but about the facts of life in working America. It even has a nod to new high school models that are looking more toward skills training than college training. Check it!

Linkland.

Jun. 19th, 2011 02:08 pm
sechan19: Photo of me in a Spider-man crop trop. (Default)
Julie Klausner deplores the latest trend of women-as-little-girl and laments its pervasiveness throughout all areas of pop culture.

In connection with the above, Tami associates said trend with Zooey Deschanel and wonders if this trend is race/class specific. Is there a black Deschanel or a latina Deschanel? she wonders. Or is the girly-kitten movement irrevocably tied to middle-class whiteness?

(In a related note, I just bought a romper the other day and I look adorable in it. But I would never claim to like "rainbows, Girl Scout cookies, and laughing a lot" on an online dating site. I'm more of an "ice cold beer, splatter-gore comedies, and mismatched socks" kind of gal. Oh, and I love quantum physics, though I do admit that math is hard for me. Man, identity is hard.)

All Things Considers takes a look at how the college horror story is back. Apparently, worries over whether or not college is worth it have circulated ever since the first major post-college recession of the 1970s. Also apparently, college is, in fact, totally worth it.

Clarence Clemons, saxophone player extraordinaire, has died. RIP Big Man.
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The socio-political implications of the "Gay Girl in Damascus" hoax, both for the real Syrian LGBT movement and for the stuck-up, self-satisfied, orientalist pricks in the West.

Judge Vaughn Walker's ruling in the matter of Prop 8's legality has been upheld. A US District Court judge has found that Walker showed no signs of prejudice in making his ruling, setting an important and powerful precedent about the fact that the impartiality of LGBT members of the American justice system should not be in question merely on the basis of the fact that they are LGBT.

Feministing presents a concise breakdown on why Michele Bachmann must never become president. (Hint: It's because she's a radical bigot.)

Looking for the perfect summertime food? You'd better eat your beans, boys.

A snapshot of how feminists go to the movies. And for all of you out there who think we don't sneak alcohol into films for the purposes of giggling, gossiping, and generally calling that anti-feminist romantic bullshit out for what it is, I invite you to join [livejournal.com profile] foxxydancr, [livejournal.com profile] derrangedferret, and I for the opening of Breaking Dawn: Part One. It will change your whole perspective on shit.

Daily Kos on the tendency of Conservatives to lose track of who poor people actually are. This is an interesting article, but I have one major problem with it. The author of this post notes that most Conservatives are out of touch with reality and therefore not cognizant of the fact that most poor people are children. The implication seems to be that their behavior might therefore be okay if the majority of poor were black or illegal immigrants from Mexico and Central America rather than children. And that's kind of fucked up.

How American film production companies are slowly working their way into the Chinese film market.
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Need another reason to dislike Rick Santorum? Here's one: he's a damn, dirty hypocrite.

A new study finds that American students know less about their own history than any other subject. All in all, only "20 percent of fourth graders, 17 percent of eighth graders and 12 percent of high school seniors demonstrated proficiency on the exam" that was recently administered nationwide. So not only are Americans particularly bad at knowing their own history, but that knowledge declines as they get closer and closer to the voting age. Explains a lot, don't you think?

An oldie, but a goodie: Ms Magazine interviews Feminist Hulk. Do you guys follow Feminist Hulk on twitter? Because if you don't, you damn well should.

Jay Smooth calls LeBron James out for drawing our attention to the fact that, at the end of the day, sports really don't matter.

Artist Anish Kapoor has rejected plans to exhibit in China. His decision stems from his disapproval of the Chinese government's detention of artist Ai Weiwei, and--frankly--I wish more people in the art world would follow his cue. We have no business doing anything that supports China's arts program right now; doing so (through exhibition exchanges, art auctions, and what-have-you) is completely farcical.

Artist Shea Hembrey discusses how he staged an international art show of 100 artists who were all himself.

Stanley Fish explores the new field of Geo Humanities and suggests that the development of new intertextual discourse between (socially) theoretical and scientific fields demonstrates the power and influence of the humanities long after many people suggested that it was a dead field.
sechan19: (lin fengmian)
The problem of revisionist history has been much on the minds of opinionators of late. In the Washington Post, Alexandra Petri weighs in on the Sarah Palin-Paul Revere scandal that has resulted in a flurry of insults, protestations, scoffing, and—most astonishingly—attempts to rewrite the Paul Revere entry on Wikipedia in order to make it correspond to Palin’s somewhat embellished account. In the New York Times, the brilliant Ta-Nehisi Coates examines how the new X-Men film has managed to efface the hot-button racial issues of 1962 that the X-Men—ironically—were largely based on.

In her post, Petri notes that the Palin-Revere situation is but a small piece of the overall tendency of Americans to a) overwhelmingly fudge their history and b) subsequently refuse to face up to the fact that they’ve fudged their history. No one likes to own up to the fact that they don’t know something, and even less people like owning up to the fact that they made a mistake. And this is especially noticeable in the Tea Party era, where a recreated conceptualization of American history has democracy-loving founding fathers running rampant through the streets of old America with a gun in one hand and a copy of the bill of rights in the other.

Of course, we can’t blame it all on the Tea Partiers (no matter how much we want to). Studies have recently shown that the human brain makes decisions about issues within fractions of seconds—and those decisions once made are almost completely impervious to the introduction of dissenting information. The irrationality of the rational processes of the mind are clearly visible in such things as the Birther movement, the belief that abortion leads to breast cancer, the notion that the country can be treated like an individual when it comes to debt management, the idea that women who wear mini-skirts ask for it, the insistence that indie bands can’t make good records once they go major, and the myth of a post-racial society.

This particularly irksome myth of the post-racial society is taken up in Coates’ post. He notes how this subtle denial of historical reality allows people of both dubious and considerable social advancement to claim a superiority that they do not really possess. Racism remains lamentably ingrained in the very fabric and one needs look no farther than Hollywood—the so-called bastion of the liberal-media bias—to see how institutionalized racism continues to permeate us each and every one.

In the first decade of the twenty-first century such films as The Last Airbender and The Prince of Persia (which I fully admit that I enjoyed) have shown us how very far we have yet to go, and these in extremely obvious ways. It would seem that X-Men First Class is showing us something similar, albeit in a far more subtle and insidious way.

And yet, I have to think there is hope. True the mind plays tricks on us all, but perhaps being aware of how the mind works, of how it takes shortcuts that don't suit the society we are now evolving into, can help one to circumvent the system by assessing and changing the process as it happens. If I know that I make snap decisions, in spite of myself, then I'll be better equipped to recognize when I make a snap decision and to back up and try it again. If I know that racism is still so interwoven into my culture that even a story meant to act as a metaphor for racism still reflects and utilizes the inequality that inspired it, then I can call it out and know that we are not there yet and that hard work must still be done.
sechan19: (morisot)
Dana Goldstein, subbing for Ezra Klein, has a great piece on the missteps of US education reform. There's been a lot of talk in recent years on the pointlessness of standardized testing and of tying the results of said testing to evaluations of teaching capability, but this post does a really good job of not just railing at the obvious but getting at the heart of what US education reform has become and how the policies that shape it have also shaped the initial training of American teachers. It compares these processes (the so-called Teach for America model) with the processes of highly successful educational training systems in Finland, China, and Canada.

The nod to Canada puts me in mind of an education commentary in the L.M. Montgomery novel Anne of the Island. Fed-up with life as a country schoolmarm, Stella Maynard writes to her friends that she's going back to school to get out of the teaching grind. She states:
I'm tired of teaching in a back country school. Some day I'm going to write a treatise on 'The Trials of a Country Schoolmarm.' It will be a harrowing bit of realism. It seems to be the prevailing impression that we live in clover, and have nothing to do but draw our quarter's salary. My treatise shall tell the truth about us. Why, if a week should pass without some one telling me that I am doing easy work for big pay I would conclude that I might as well order my ascension robe 'immediately and to onct.' 'Well, you get your money easy,' some rate-payer will tell me, condescendingly. 'All you have to do is to sit there and hear lessons.' I used to argue the matter at first, but I'm wiser now. Facts are stubborn things, but as some one has wisely said, not half so stubborn as fallacies. So I only smile loftily now in eloquent silence. Why, I have nine grades in my school and I have to teach a little of everything, from investigating the interiors of earthworms to the study of the solar system. My youngest pupil is four—his mother sends him to school to 'get him out of the way'—and my oldest twenty—it 'suddenly struck him' that it would be easier to go to school and get an education than follow the plough any longer. In the wild effort to cram all sorts of research into six hours a day I don't wonder if the children feel like the little boy who was taken to see the biograph. 'I have to look for what's coming next before I know what went last,' he complained. I feel like that myself.

"And the letters I get! Tommy's mother writes me that Tommy is not coming on in arithmetic as fast as she would like. He is only in simple reduction yet, and Johnny Johnson is in fractions, and Johnny isn't half as smart as her Tommy, and she can't understand it. And Susy's father wants to know why Susy can't write a letter without misspelling half the words, and Dick's aunt wants me to change his seat, because that bad Brown boy he is sitting with is teaching him to say naughty words.

"As to the financial part—but I'll not begin on that. Those whom the gods wish to destroy they first make country schoolmarms!


On the one hand, it makes me think that the more things change the more they stay the same. On the other hand, it makes me think that this was late-nineteenth-century Canada not twenty-first-century United States--and then I despair for my country. Again.
sechan19: (tormenta)
Actor Jeff Conaway, best known for his roles in Grease and in the TV shows Taxi and Babylon 5 died last week from an apparent overdose. He was only sixty years old. I always liked Conaway. He was an underrated character actor who brought a little extra something to all of his many varied roles. His death was a great shame.

In memoriam:

Linkland.

May. 11th, 2011 11:49 am
sechan19: Photo of me in a Spider-man crop trop. (Default)
Liberals in Arizona have started a petition to have Pima County secede from Arizona as a new state. It's unlikely that they'll be successful, although you never know, but at least they're sending the message that Arizona isn't a total wash. I applaud their efforts to get some distance from the crazies.

Ezra Klein on how President Obama, in his recent speech on immigration reform, has approached the problem of immigration as an economic issue.

Jon Steward and the Daily Show find every last bit of footage they can that shows Bush-era politicians arguing that Bush should get the credit for the OBL kill. I've said it before, I'll say it again: if Bush wants credit for OBL he also gets credit for the economic clusterfuck (and he has to admit that said clusterfuck came on the heels of being handed a great economy by President Clinton). Can we get Seal Team Six to take out Karl Rove?

In an effort to save $21 billion, senate democrats are pushing for an end to tax breaks for oil companies. So you can expect gas prices to soar again. The oil companies have figured out how stupid and reactionary Americans are, after all. The rise in gas prices after Obama's unveiling of plans to put together a panel that would investigate fraud amongst energy companies, and the predictable whiny outcry of Americans (with no evidence that they had connected A and B together) in the aftermath, was ample proof of that.

The coming forward of Peace Corps volunteers who have been raped has led to one of the most hypocritical statements I've ever heard. Take it away representative Ted Poe (R-Texas):
"These women are alone in many cases, and they’re in rough parts of the world. We want the United States to rush in and treat them as a victim of crime like they would be treated here at home."
Seriously? I guess Representative Poe has missed all the times when we've treated rape victims like criminals, with shame or censure or further abuse, instead of like the victims they are. (Alaskan rape kits, anyone? Roman FUCKING Polanski petitions?) It's precisely because our society is so deeply permeated by the global rape culture that organizations like Slutwalk Toronto have been started: to deal with the issue of slut-shaming and victim-blaming that is part and parcel of society. Sure, we don't use rape as an instrument of war (against our own people anyway), but we're not a great bastion of fairness and equality, either.

The Chronicle of Higher Education looks at adjuncting as a form of emotional abuse. They compare working for the university system as an adjunct to being in an abusive marriage. Awesome.

Stephen Colbert and his wife have established a grant program for fine arts majors at the University of Virginia. I love Stephen Colbert a little bit more every day.
sechan19: (morisot)
In an amusing case of synchronicity, both NPR and the Washington Post ran articles today on creatures that are the last of their kind. NPR brings us the story of the loneliest plant in the world: encephalartos woodii, commonly known as the cycad, a South African plant whose one remaining specimen resides in the Kew Gardens of London. The Washington Post, by contrast, relates the situation of Lonesome George, the last remaining giant tortoise on the Galapagos Islands.

Both articles concern the issues surrounding mating--impossible for both species without the presence of a female--and propagation of the species, and while WP points out that it's difficult to know if George is really lonely, NPR goes so far as to draw parallels between the cycad and the ents from Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy.

This tendency to anthropomorphize these creatures--living certainly, but not actually possessed of the same kind of emotional parameters as human beings are--is interesting. I think it says a lot about human anxieties regarding not just death in the specific sense, but in the abstract or general senses as well. It's no secret that we all agonize, either seriously or casually, over the great unknowable that is death. What these stories show, however, is that we also worry about the death of our species as a whole as well, and more tellingly about the idea of what it would be like to be the last of our kind.

Popular culture reflects this fear as well: just sit down and watch Alfonso Cuarón's Children of Men or any episode of the new series of Doctor Who and you'll see. Indeed, the Doctor Who example is quite pertinent here. In the old series he was estranged from his people, yes, but not cut off from them. In the new series, the pain and loneliness of being the last of one's kind is a dominant and recurring theme of the show.

Perhaps, then, our greatest fear is not death, but rather the prospect of outliving everything that we love.
sechan19: (tormenta)
Listening to the eleven o'clock news in the heart of Tea Party Land is bound to raise the blood pressure. Tonight's offensive news piece concerned Clermont County, where voters recently rejected levies that would have generated revenue for district schools. Said voters then went to the school boards to complain about the impending cuts that this voter rejection has resulted in. They apparently wanted to know how the district got so far behind in its finances.

Hearing that statement come out of the television, I suddenly found myself gripped by a horrible, pit-black rage. Then I was sputtering at the television: "Oh, I'm sorry, but the district didn't fall behind, you assholes! You voted against funding them! You just want teachers to teach your snot-nosed brats for free; that's what this is all about, isn't it?! Whiny FUCKING maggots!"

And then my mother was explaining to me in a soothing voice that I really couldn't expect much more from these people--they're Tea Partiers. And my blood pressure slowly began to inch its way back to normal.

This is why I don't watch TV.
sechan19: (kusama)
The last couple of weeks I've been hearing little flashes of news about Alexandra Wallace and her racist rant about Asian students in the UCLA library. And for the most part, I've ignored it because it didn't strike me as all that interesting or unusual an occurrence. Member of the privileged class becomes annoyed about something, demonstrates lack of cultural sensitivity by making racist comments, everyone gets offended. Rinse. Repeat.

In the aftermath some people made worthwhile responses to the situation, and some people devolved into equal levels of repugnance. And some people flat-out crossed the line. Ultimately, Wallace left UCLA citing death threats as her motive for giving up the ghost at school.

And the fact that she received death threats just really pisses me off. It pisses me off as much as her original youtube posting pissed me off. Because you can say anything you want about any other person you want (provided you're not slandering them or otherwise messing with their life). You shouldn't do that, of course, but you can. What you can't do is threaten to harm another person--no matter how angry they've made you. One of them is free speech; one of them is not. And for all of Alexandra Wallace's failings (of which her original youtube video demonstrates there are quite a few), crossing that vital line wasn't one of them.

However, there were interesting debates that sprung up around the issue of how people responded to her discriminative tirade. In particular, the debate on how to respond to such a rant revealed as much about our society as the rant itself did. There were penetrating looks at the problem of attempting to fight racism with sexism and the inappropriateness of making death threats in response to something like this that were really intriguing and thought-provoking. And I hope we can all learn something from this.

And at the end of the day, I'm not particularly sorry for Alexandra Wallace. In fact, I'm not sorry for her at all. I'm glad that she's feeling the consequences of her actions. Too often in this country people say racist or bigoted things and then complain that the backlash they receive violates their freedom of speech, which is hypocritical bullshit. And maybe Alexandra Wallace would have gotten away with it on those grounds if her rant had been against Muslims instead of Asians. (Just sayin'.) Then again, maybe not.

But I do wish that more people had responded to this with appropriate anger and counters--not sexism and threats of physical violence.

And in honor of that, here's someone who did respond fairly well to the situation (if you ignore that crack about makeup, that is... nobody's perfect):

sechan19: (tormenta)
I just can't stand to watch anymore. As a historian, I know that all civilizations fall. But as a person, I never thought I'd be living through the opening stages of such a fall. The first domino has fallen. We now stand on a path that leads to back to serfdom and squalor.

The political discourse is dominated by anti-intellectuals and bigots. And while they spew their bile and hatred under the banner of free speech, to state the plain truth about them is to risk a loss of everything.

This country has become an ugly place.

There's no other way to describe it.

And I can't watch anymore.
sechan19: (tormenta)
Lately, there's been a significant flurry of anti-woman initiatives in the new political climate of rabid right-wing-ism.

Perhaps most high profile was the recent inclusion of language that redefines what constitutes rape in an already deplorable house bill to restrict insurance funding for abortions. Most rational people were suitably aghast at the idea of legislatively defining rape as a solely "forcible" act--thereby omitting instances of coercion, drugging, and psychological attack. Hopefully, most rational people will continue to be upset that said "forcible rape" language is still in the goddamn law (which is so incredibly inappropriate anyway that the drafters of it ought to be strung up by their balls).

But today comes news of an equally disgusting and even more revealing move: Republicans in South Dakota are trying to push a personhood law through the backdoor by means of classifying it as a self defense law. This law would allow people to term murder of an abortion provider as "justifiable homicide" on the grounds that they were acting to protect the life of a fetus. (And they can do so even if it is their wife, daughter, sister, or mother who is getting the abortion of her own free will.)

If this doesn't elucidate the incredible over-the-line wrongness of the Christian Right (and before your knee jerk smacks you in the face, let me make it plain that I do not consider the Christian Right to be Christian) then I don't know what does. These people don't care about anything but power and control. They don't care about life. They don't care about freedom. They don't care about civil liberty or human dignity. They only care about their ability to control and punish those people who don't do exactly what they say when they say it. And they hide behind a doctrine that they neither believe in nor follow like a pack of belly-crawling cowardly hypocrites.

On the one hand, this climate makes me feel like I will never have children so long as I remain in this country--because I refuse to hand my political and social autonomy over to parasite. On the other hand, it makes me feel like I ought to get with the birthing. Because these crazy motherfuckers outnumber us, and they are breeding like goddamn rabbits.

[sigh]

South Dakota Moves to Legalize Killing Abortion Providers (Mother Jones).
sechan19: (lin fengmian)
The early gangster film supposedly wanted to demonstrate that a lack of virtue led to ignominious death. But in many of the films, it's actually a surfeit of virtue that does the villain in.

Rico, Rocky, Tom Powers, Duke Mantee. They all of them pass up chances to escape their doom solely for the sake of friendship with an often, though not always, sanctimonious figure.

It makes you wonder if people of the thirties really took away the lessons that the Legion of Decency wanted them to.

I'd like to think they didn't.

Not so much because I applaud a lack of virtue, but because I really despise condescension.
sechan19: (kusama)
I recently came across an impressively disturbing clip, entitled We Need a Christian Dictator.

In the clip, the lecturer explains that the problem with democracy is that in a democracy everyone gets to vote--both the informed and the uninformed, both the moral and the amoral--and that, consequently, the only way to maintain society is to install a dictator (with the correct sense of principles, of course) to guide everyone through the landmine-infested quagmire of modern civilization.

Now, what's interesting about this argument is that it does have some foundational merits. The problem with democracy (and it's a problem that I have occasionally lamented) is that everyone gets to vote, and some of those everyones aren't exactly the sharpest pencils in the box. But, see, when you raise that issue, you necessarily encounter a very sticky question:

Who decides?

Who decides the group that leads and the group that follows? Who decides what is best for the multiple souls--souls that each have different cultural perspectives, different life experiences, different beliefs, and different needs--that inhabit the world?

If it's you doing the deciding, you'd be understandably happy. But if it's not you, well... not so much, eh?

Democracy is an undoubtedly flawed system, but the political alternatives are too inappropriate and too dangerous--for all of us--to ever be countenanced. And guys like the yahoo in the above clip would do well to remember that.

Via.

May 2014

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