On justice vs. ‘righteousness’

Jul. 29th, 2014 09:25 pm
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Posted by Fred Clark

Quaerite autem primum regnum et iustitiam eius et omnia haec adicientur vobis.
– Matthew 6:33, Vulgate

Nicholas Wolsterstorff, in Justice: Rights and Wrongs (pp. 110-113)

Those who approach the New Testament solely through English translations face a serious linguistic obstacle to apprehending what these writings say about justice. In most English translations, the word “justice” occurs relatively infrequently. It is no surprise, then, that most English-speaking people think the New Testament does not say much about justice; the Bibles they read do not say much about justice. English translations are in this way different from translations into Latin, French, Spanish, German, Dutch — and for all I know, most languages.

WoltersThe basic issue is well known among translators and commentators. Plato’s Republic, as we all know, is about justice. The Greek noun in Plato’s text that is standardly translated as “justice” is “dikaiosune;” the adjective standardly translated as “just” is “dikaios.” This same dik-stem occurs around three hundred times in the New Testament, in a wide variety of grammatical variants.

To the person who comes to English translations of the New Testament fresh from reading and translating classical Greek, it comes as a surprise to discover that though some of those occurrences are translated with grammatical variants on our word “just,” the great bulk of dik-stem words are translated with grammatical variants on our word “right.” The noun, for example, is usually translated as “righteousness,” not as “justice.” In English, we have the word “just” and its grammatical variants coming from the Latin iustitia, and the word “right” and its grammatical variants coming from the Old English recht. Almost all our translators have decided to translate the great bulk of dik-stem words in the New Testament with grammatical variants on the latter — just the opposite of the decision made by most translators of classical Greek.

I will give just two examples of the point. The fourth of the beatitudes of Jesus, as recorded in the fifth chapter of Matthew, reads, in the New Revised Standard Version, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” The word translated as “righteousness” is “dikaiosune.” And the eighth beatitude, in the same translation, reads “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” The Greek word translated as “righteousness” is “dikaiosune.” Apparently, the translators were not struck by the oddity of someone being persecuted because he is righteous. My own reading of human affairs is that righteous people are either admired or ignored, not persecuted; people who pursue justice are the ones who get in trouble.

It goes almost without saying that the meaning and connotations of “righteousness” are very different in present-day idiomatic English from those of “justice.” “Righteousness” names primarily if not exclusively a certain trait of personal character. … The word in present-day idiomatic English carries a negative connotation. In everyday speech one seldom any more describes someone as righteous; if one does, the suggestion is that he is self-righteous. “Justice,” by contrast, refers to an interpersonal situation; justice is present when persons are related to each other in a certain way.

… When one takes in hand a list of all the occurrences of dik-stem words in the Greek New Testament, and then opens up almost any English translation of the New Testament and reads in one sitting all the translations of these words, a certain pattern emerges: unless the notion of legal judgment is so prominent in the context as virtually to force a translation in terms of justice, the translators will prefer to speak of righteousness.

Why are they so reluctant to have the New Testament writers speak of primary justice? Why do they prefer that the gospel of Jesus Christ be the good news of the righteousness of God rather than the good news of the justice of God? Why do they prefer that Jesus call his followers to righteousness rather than to justice? I do not know; I will have to leave it to others to answer that question.

Here’s Wolterstorff discussing the same subject during a post-lecture Q&A (responding to an audience member who was, apparently, sitting between him and the spotlight):

Click here to view the embedded video.


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Posted by spam-spam

  • Dr who? Campaign to boost digital profile of Australia’s female scientists | The Age (July 29): “According to web information company Alexa, Wikipedia is the sixth-most popular website globally. Yet even Wikipedia admits to a systematic bias when it comes to women in science, describing the subject as ‘’woefully under-represented’’. Next month, the Australian Academy of Science plans to change that, hosting a Women of Science ‘’Wikibomb’’ event inspired by a similar call to arms by the Royal Society, London.”
  • This Is What Tech’s Ugly Gender Problem Really Looks Like | WIRED (July 28): “Shortly after Kathryn Tucker started RedRover, an app that showcases local events for kids, she pitched the idea to an angel investor at a New York tech event. But it didn’t go over well. When she finished her pitch, the investor said he didn’t invest in women.”
  • Checking Your Privilege: A How-To for Hard Things | Leslie Hawthorn at OSCON 2014 | Youtube (July 23): “The reason that systemic problems are so difficult and so insidious, is because when you are a participant in a system, when you are a user of a system and all of the defaults are configured to work for you out of the box, it never occurs to you that those defaults even exist.”
  • When Does a Woman Owe You Sex? Check This Chart | Identities.Mic (July 22): “Microsoft Excel took a turn for the explicit this week when the Internet learned the once-innocuous office tool was being used in a dispiriting new bro-trend: tracking the number of times their partners refuse sex. Yes, #sexspreadsheets are a thing, presumably because some men still believe that owning a penis entitles them to unlimited sexy times. [...] The many falsehoods propagated at every turn have driven us to put together a helpful chart that may help clear up any uncertainties regarding when women owe it to anyone to have sex”
  • “Females” in Open Source, by Amber Wu | Model View Culture (July 21): “Sexism is so deeply ingrained in tech’s unbalanced demographics that making a point of not being a misogynist is practically countercultural. Unseating those biases to the point where codes of conduct are normal and our spaces are widely safer will take huge forces of change. “
  • How can tech companies diversify their workforces? | Marketplace.org (July 24): “Twitter is the latest tech company to disclose statistics on the race and gender of its workforce, following Facebook, Yahoo, Google and LinkedIn. Like those companies, Twitter is falling short on diversity.”
  • Getting hired without getting burned: Sniffing for culture smells | Liz Abinante (July 24): “It is incredibly difficult to find a good place to work. With companies that fire women after they announce that they’re pregnant, intimidate women into leaving, hire people who think it’s ok to compare women to programming tools, and have abysmally low diversity numbers (although at 10% women in tech, I am no longer surprised by Twitter’s terrible block policy), it’s surprisingly easy to end up working in a toxic environment.”
  • The Mary Sue Exclusive Interview: Mike Mearls and Jeremy Crawford on Acknowledging Sexuality and Gender Diversity in D&D | The Mary Sue (July 24): “Mike Mearls and Jeremy Crawford, lead designers of the latest edition of Dungeons & Dragons, out in a staggered release all this summer and fall, talk about the mechanics of inclusive gaming, Gen Con diversity panels, realistic artwork, and the decision to “look at the wonderfully diverse group of people who play the game and say, ‘There’s a place for each of you at the game table’” with the system’s new suggestions for roleplaying gender and sexuality.”
  • Virginia E. Johnson, Scientist: Beyond “Masters of Sex” | The Toast (July 23): “The 2013 Showtime television show Masters of Sex introduced viewers to William H. Masters (1915–2001) and Virginia E. Johnson (1925–2013), two of the best-known American sex researchers of the twentieth century. [...] But the television show fails to address why and how she has become the person that she became, and why she chose to devote her life and career to sex research with a difficult and demanding man.”
  • Women and Minority Leaders Are Penalized For Fostering Diversity, Study Finds | Mashable (July 18): “Women and minorities don’t shy away from hiring their peers out of fear of the competitive threat they may pose, but rather out of fear of the retribution they may incur, new research suggests. The reason they are so reluctant to hire other women and ethnic minorities is because they are often penalized by their bosses for doing so, according to a study to be presented at next month’s annual meeting of the Academy of Management.”
  • Women in the Sciences Report Harassment and Assault | Julienne Rutherford at Huffington Post (July 24): “We, like many other scientists, had heard the stories, shared via email, on blogs, whispered in the corners of hotel conference rooms. Harrowing stories of sexual harassment and assault during one of the most important stages of professionalization in the sciences: fieldwork. [...] We set out to explore more deeply the pervasiveness of these experiences and the results we published in PLOS ONE on July 16, 2014 are a sobering wake-up call.”
  • Comic-Con’s dark side: Harassment amid the fantasy | The Washington Post (July 27): “Geeks for CONsent, founded by three women from Philadelphia, gathered nearly 2,600 signatures on an online petition supporting a formal anti-harassment policy at Comic-Con.”

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Jul. 29th, 2014 03:15 pm
[syndicated profile] ursulav_feed
I hate when you have bad dreams and they stick to you when you wake up. I took a shower and it's still sort of stuck to my legs, like shreds of grey plastic.

Running prints is not a high brain-power gig, but it keeps me from thinking too much, and that's something.
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Posted by Lisa Wade, PhD

Lotion is socially constructed as feminine and so some men, attempting to avoid the prevailing insults of our time – gay, fag, bitch, pussy, douche, girl, and woman – are disinclined to use it.

Eeeew, lotion!

You know who you are, guys.

Sunscreen is a category of lotion and so putting on sunscreen is equivalent to admitting you’re the sun’s bitch.  Men are supposed to let the sun bake their face into a tough, craggy masculinity that says “yeah, I go outdoors and, when I do, I don’t give a shit.”

Because caring about one’s health is for pussies, some scholars argue that being male is the single strongest predictor of whether a person will take health risks.  In fact, thanks in part to the stupid idea that lotion carries girl cooties, men are two to three times more likely to be diagnosed with skin cancer.

So, fine dudes, here’s some sunscreen for men.  For christ’s sake.


Thanks to @r0setayl0r and @ryesilverman for sending along the product!  Check it out on our truly humorous pointlessly gendered products Pinterest board.

Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College and the co-author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

(View original at http://thesocietypages.org/socimages)


Jul. 29th, 2014 08:22 am
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Posted by Dave Hingsburger

"Alone??" he said, and then to clarify, "All alone?"

I had been making my way north on Church Street, headed towards the pub. I ran into an acquaintance who, actually, we see most often at the pub. After a brief hello, he commented on my state of being 'alone' on the street at that moment. I told him that I was indeed alone and before I could continue to say that I was meeting Joe at the pub, he said, "Are you allowed to be alone?"



This guy has seen me in a pub, chatting with people. This guy knows from conversation that I go to work every day. This guy knows all that and he asks me if I'm allowed to be alone. I said, "Of course I'm allowed to be alone!" I'd answered before I realized that I didn't need to answer - I don't have to check in with him or explain to anyone who I am or what I'm doing or why I'm freaking alone. He didn't drop it, "Where's Joe right now?" he asked.

"Listen," I said, "this is silly, you see that right?"

"I just want to make sure that you are OK being all by yourself."

This guy KNOWS me.

"Fuck man, give me a break here," I said, "just because you walk and I roll doesn't automatically make you responsible for me, you are not my minder."

"Well, if you're going to be like that, go head, get run over," and off he stalked.

For those of you who are worried, I didn't get run over.

I recognize that many people who know us casually pretty much always see Joe and I together. But that's because we do stuff together, we go places together, we live with each other and we like each other's company. I assumed that people had that figured, now after two or tree variants of this 'alone' conversation, I wondered if they think we are together all the time because I need care taken of me all the time. (I don't.)

So, at the bar, which, inspirationally, I arrived on my own, I asked Joe if people ever comment on him being alone when I'm not with him. He thought for a second and said, "People will say, 'Where's Dave?' or 'Where's the big guy?' but they don't often make a comment about him being alone.

The strength of a stereotype: disabled people as constantly needy and as constantly requiring care - can be measured I think in situations like this. Even though this man knows me as a working adult, who does adult things like hang around in pubs, the disability shouts while familiarity whispers. Stereotypes can be, I discover, stronger than actual interpersonal experiences.


That makes this work so much harder.

But at least I'm not in it alone.
[syndicated profile] slacktivist_feed

Posted by Fred Clark

David Simon on theodicy and the Yankees; Dahlia Lithwick on execution by torture; Nick Hanauer on why plutocrats should support a new New Deal; Bethany Stolle on being marked in ministry; and “The Seven Types of Modern American Bigots.”

David Simon, “A quantum of Oriole”

Well, for one thing, there is no God. There is only science. If there were a God, he would be — as evidenced by all of modern baseball history — a devoted fan of the Yankees. And God, at least the Judeo-Christian version of Him rather than the Aristotelian unmoved mover, is said to be good. Ergo, there is no God.

Dahlia Lithwick, “Arizona’s Botched Execution”

On Wednesday afternoon, in a ritual that has become increasingly — indeed almost numbingly — familiar, the state of Arizona administered a secret drug protocol that took almost two hours to kill a man. Joseph R. Wood III was sentenced to death in 1991 for shooting and killing his ex-girlfriend Debra Dietz and her father, Eugene. The murder was gruesome, and Wood was guilty. He shot his victims in the chest at close range. The only question that remains, as yet another state botches yet another execution, is whether the two hours of gasping and snorting by the accused before he finally died is excessive, or whether it sounds about right to us.

Nick Hanauer, “The Pitchforks Are Coming … For Us Plutocrats”

The most ironic thing about rising inequality is how completely unnecessary and self-defeating it is. If we do something about it, if we adjust our policies in the way that, say, Franklin D. Roosevelt did during the Great Depression —so that we help the 99 percent and preempt the revolutionaries and crazies, the ones with the pitchforks — that will be the best thing possible for us rich folks, too. It’s not just that we’ll escape with our lives; it’s that we’ll most certainly get even richer.

Bethany Stolle, “Yellow”

I’ll be speaking to ministry types. And I wonder … do my male colleagues spend this much time getting dressed? Debating how their shoes will impact their credibility? How their appearance will affect others’ attention? Why is there no way to be an “unmarked” woman? Especially in ministry, where being a woman alone sets me apart.

Wait But Why: “The Seven Types of Modern American Bigots”

Go read about the universe. Nothing makes bigotry seem more ridiculous than internalizing for a minute how vast time and space are — doing so makes you want to turn to anyone who will listen and hug them and say, “We both exist! On the same tiny planet at the same exact time! Hi!”



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Posted by Fred Clark


“You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows,” Bob Dylan said. And we also shouldn’t need moral theologians with formal training to tell us that the leadership of our churches should consist of “individuals who are neither perpetrators nor enablers of abuse.”

But apparently we do.

Bill Lindsey directs us to that bit of advice from the theological faculty at the University of St. Thomas in Dylan’s home state of Minnesota. “St. Thomas faculty join refrain for Twin Cities leadership change,” Brian Roewe reports for National Catholic Reporter:

Five female professors at the University of St. Thomas, in St. Paul, Minn., say it’s time for new leadership in the St. Paul-Minneapolis archdiocese, the latest to repeat a refrain already echoed by priests, donors, news publications and Catholics in the pews.

“For genuine healing to occur, we believe it is necessary to have new leadership at the archdiocesan level, leadership that includes individuals who are neither perpetrators nor enablers of abuse,” they said in a letter shared with several media outlets, including NCR.

The tenured theology professors — Cara Anthony, Corrine Carvalho, Sherry Jordon, Sue Myers and Kimberly Vrudny — did not name specific persons, such as Archbishop John Nienstedt, in the letter, but said they see a need to restore trust in the archdiocese following the near year-long abuse scandal that has hovered over the region.

“Because we believe in a God of justice and of mercy, restoration of community requires that abusers acknowledge wrongdoing and undergo the long, hard, arduous task of reconciliation. This entails sincere contrition, public truth telling, and adequate restitution,” they said.

The group, speaking their own views, said they could not keep quiet after learning more of the abuse scandal from a recent Minnesota Public Radio documentary and from the affidavit of Jennifer Haselberger, the former chancellor for canonical affairs who has disclosed much of the documents that has fueled near-constant reports since September.

The professors are certainly correct that no archdiocese, congregation, parish or denomination should not be led by people who are “perpetrators and enablers of abuse.” And they’re simply doing their job as moral theologians to say so.

But it really shouldn’t require a bunch of Ph.Ds to help the church come to that conclusion.

No “perpetrators or enablers of abuse” is the sort of bare-minimum standard that seems like it ought to go without saying. That such standards no longer can go without saying is a clear indication that something has gone very, very wrong.

We should note that this letter from five distinguished theologians doesn’t actually have any official significance. Theologians are not part of the church hierarchy and thus, like most laypeople, they are outranked by clergy, bishops and archbishops (or, in the more market-based ecclesiastical structures of American evangelicalism, they are outranked by clergy, mega-clergy, radio hosts, and the president/founder/CEOs of various parachurch “ministries”).

A wise and decent bishop/radio host will listen when theologians weigh in, but no bishop has to. And since this particular letter addresses the problem of an archbishop who has been demonstrably unwise and indecent, I’m not hopeful it will have much effect.

Archbishop John Nienstedt seems less likely to consider the wisdom of the St. Thomas letter than he is to respond with the same indignant defensiveness he has shown all along. The sad truth is that he’s less likely to apologize and step aside than he is to strike back at these uppity women who would dare to criticize his throne.


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Posted by Fred Clark

“One Million Moms” — the media watchdog arm of the right-wing Christianist American Family Association, whose name is inaccurate by several orders of magnitude — is upset with the latest ad from Guinness because it features the great old hymn “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms”:

Guinness & Co. is currently airing a commercial for its beer with a popular gospel hymn as background music. The song “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms” is played during the entire ad and even though there are no lyrics it is unmistakably the beloved hymn Christians know and love. The cherished “Everlasting Arms” hymn has no place in a beer commercial. Christian music should not be associated with an advertisement promoting drinking. The choice of including this hymn in the ad disrespects the Christian faith. Take Action: Please send an email letter strongly encouraging Guinness & Co. to change the background music in their “Empty Chair” commercial. Ask that they no longer use a hymn out of respect for Christians.

Makes me wish Martin Luther were still around to offer his customary vigorous defense of the relationship between Christian hymns and beer drinking. (And I wonder what One Million Moms would make of the customary singing of “Abide With Me” at the FA Cup Final — an event at which one guesses a bit of Guinness is likely consumed.)

I don’t wholly disagree with OMM about this Guinness ad, but the problem isn’t that it associates a Christian hymn with (good) beer. The problem is that the use of this particular hymn turns an otherwise lovely little story into a form of idolatry. Here’s the ad:

Click here to view the embedded video.

Watch that with the sound off and it’s quite touching. But the use of “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms” invokes a troubling bit of wordplay. If you’re unfamiliar with the song, here are Elisha Hoffman’s lyrics:

What a fellowship, what a joy divine,
MitchumLeaning on the everlasting arms;
What a blessedness, what a peace is mine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms

Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms,
Leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms.

What have I to dread, what have I to fear,
Leaning on the everlasting arms?
I have blessed peace with my Lord so near,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.

Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms,
Leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms.

This is a song about relying on the faithfulness of God as our source of safety and security. The Guinness ad plays on the word “arms” there, re-enlisting the hymn as a reference to the faithful service of the military as that which keeps us safe and secure from all alarms. This is militarism as civil religion, a form of blasphemy.

This reminds me of the language from the old Iconoclastic Controversy in the church, which distinguished between “veneration” and “worship.” Religious symbols and icons, the church eventually concluded, might be due veneration — that is to say, appropriate respect and honor — but such veneration must never be worship, that which is due only to God.

The faithful soldier in the Guinness ad — representative of all soldiers and the entire military — is due the honor and gratitude shown him by the members of the community. By all means, let’s lift a pint to him and preserve a seat of honor for him in our midst. But if we exaggerate such veneration into worship, we undermine that honor by overstating it. Undue honor undoes the honor.

(And here I’m making only the theological objection to this idolatrous praise. One could also point out the simple inaccuracy of it, objectively. The military is not the primary or the exclusive thing keeping free people safe. Nor is keeping people safe the only function of the military. So buy the soldier a beer and thank him for his service, but don’t give the Pentagon the benefit of the doubt.)

In any case, this wordplay on the double-meaning of “arms” was done first, and done better, by Charles Laughton, Robert Mitchum and Lillian Gish in the delightfully creepy rendition of this hymn in The Night of the Hunter:

Click here to view the embedded video.



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Posted by Fred Clark

I do not know much of anything about “the evolution and ecology of microbes and genomes,” or much of anything about Dr. Jonathan Eisen, who specializes in that field. But Eisen seems to be a mensch.

The UC Davis professor was recently invited to give a prestigious endowed lecture series and, as Upworthy would say, What He Did Next Will Surprise You.

I do not think I have ever given a named lecture before. Then I made one fateful decision — I decided to look up who had spoken at the lecture series previously. And, well, it was not what I wanted to see. And another lecture series from the same institute had the same problem. Bad gender ratio of speakers.

So he responded to the invitation with a polite No, Thank You, explaining why, and urging the organizers of the lecture series to instead take the opportunity to correct that ratio:

Thank you so much for the invitation and the respect it shows to me that I would be considered for this. However, when I looked into past lectures in this series I saw something that was disappointing. From the site XXXX where past lectures are listed I see that the ratio of male to female speakers is 14:3. I note — the XXXX lecture series — also from XXXX — also has a skewed ratio (11:2). As someone who is working actively on multiple issues relating to gender bias in science, I find this very disappointing. I realize there are many issues that contribute to who comes to give a talk in a meeting or seminar series or such. But I simply cannot personally contribute to a series which has such an imbalance and I would suggest that you consider whether anything in your process is biased in some way.

The organizers’ reply to Eisen offered a bit of the usual defensiveness — explaining that they’d tried to invite more women to speak, etc. — but to their credit, they eventually arrived at something a bit more constructive, asking Eisen to: “recommend female researchers in this area who are dynamic speakers that would be able to give a very publicly accessible talks (TED talk level) on the topic, and ideally are also doing great research too.”

Dr. Eisen leapt at the opening — recommending a bunch of women in his field with great enthusiasm.

What I appreciate most about Eisen’s account of this process is where he says that he made “one fateful decision.” By that he didn’t mean his later ensuing decision to decline the invitation — he doesn’t seem to consider that a decision at all. The only decision he made was the initial one — “I decided to look up who had spoken at the lecture series previously.” He decided to look, and once he had looked, and seen, everything that followed after that was simply the necessary consequence of having looked. Once you look and see, the ensuing decisions are no longer really optional.

The honor of being invited to give a prestigious lecture, Eisen writes, “would be really nice.” But the niceness of that honor loses its appeal once he realizes that it would involve him becoming complicit in perpetuating a disappointing pattern — turning that 14:3 ratio into an appalling 5:1.

For us white guys in the American church, it can be really nice to be invited to speak at conferences, to sit on panels, boards, and drafting committees. Such invitations are an honor — one that may even come with honoraria (which is also, you know, really nice). But that honor begins to seem much less honorable once we make the fateful decision to look.

And once we look, we’re obliged to follow Eisen’s example — to say “No, thank you” and to be prepared to wholeheartedly recommend others in our stead.

Go thou and do likewise.



[syndicated profile] slacktivist_feed

Posted by Fred Clark

• That’ll preach: Gordon S. Wood marvels at the way Danielle Allen approaches the Declaration of Independence. Wood praises Allen’s Our Declaration for its insight, accessibility, careful reading of the text and personal intimacy. He seems astonished by her reverential and revelatory engagement with the text, but there’s a word for the expository process he describes. It’s a sermon.

Sounds like Allen’s book may be useful not just for students of history, but for students of homiletics as well.

Amaaryah Shaye on the “reasonable violence” of “Third Way” ideology:

What’s mainly missing from third way positions, though, and why I find them disingenuous, is their failure to take power into serious consideration. …

… Issues of power asymmetry frequently go ignored, unthought, or underthought by third wayers. Thus, I think it is this way of positioning one’s self as the bearer of the best way while ignoring issues of power and violence. …

Or, in other words, it’s a form of self-congratulation based on pretending there’s no moral difference between punching down and punching up, no difference between the raised fist and the lowered boot.


Power asymmetry matters.

• Richard Land, how can we miss you if you won’t go away? The former chief “ethics” spokesperson for the Southern Baptist Convention is downright delusional when it comes to history and reality: “We ended slavery, we didn’t bring slavery to North America. Slavery was there.”

As always for Richard Land, “we” means white people. And only white people.

This history lesson comes from a lifelong member of the Southern Baptist Convention — a group which split itself off from Northern Baptists in 1845 due to the claim they said their anti-slavery brethren had  “failed to prove — That slavery is, in all circumstances, sinful.” The SBC was founded by those who insisted it was not sinful. Not at all.

But now, Land says, “We ended slavery.” And he thinks it’s unfair that “we” don’t get credit for that.

• Funny or Die’s “Mary Poppins Quits”  is a well executed, funny, effective comment on the disgraceful disrespect that America labor law and practice has for caregivers. And casting Kristin Bell to play Mary Poppins is so perfect that now I want to revisit Season 1 of Veronica Mars with that in mind.

• This is fun, but it needed a schwarma joke at the end: The Avengers — 8-Bit Cinema.

• This song from Wussy is called “Beautiful.” Truth in advertising.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Sunday favorites

Jul. 27th, 2014 10:06 am
[syndicated profile] slacktivist_feed

Posted by Fred Clark

Luke 8:1-3

Soon afterwards he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. The twelve were with him, as well as some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their resources.

[syndicated profile] slacktivist_feed

Posted by Fred Clark

• Today in poorly worded job application questions: “Did you ever just think of taking any money from a place where you worked without actually doing it?”

I believe they want applicants to say No. They don’t seem to realize that can mean two very different things.

• RIP James Garner. I’m too young to remember Maverick, but I always liked The Rockford Files (I clicked on the video Erik Loomis posted just to hear the theme song, then got sucked in and watched the full episode). Nobody was better than Garner at playing that kind of reluctant hero — the guy who steps up in spite of himself and in spite of clearly wishing he was doing something else.

Oh, and those Polaroid commercials were pretty fun too.

Monsters. We believe in them because then we’re allowed to lie about them.



• “How do you respond to N.T. Wright?” Brian McLaren is asked.

McLaren replies that, like me, he has a great deal of respect and gratitude for Wright’s writing and scholarship. But, he says, “I’ve not paid a lot of attention to his writings or statements on LGBT issues.”

That’s OK, Brian. N.T. Wright hasn’t paid a lot of attention to those writings and statements either.

• The standard kitchen trash can/garbage bag is 13 gallons. The standard outdoor trash can is 32 gallons.

32 ÷ 13 = 2.46. That’s annoying, Rubbermaid. (The moral of this story is to get the 40-gallon trashcans for outdoors.)

• “So I was like, ‘Well, hey guys, what about the river?‘” Lauren Arrington’s scientific findings have troubling implications for the battle to defend local ecosystems against an invasive predator. But the fact that Arrington made those findings in the sixth grade is pretty impressive.

• Just saying “refugee” is a lot easier than saying “unaccompanied minor migrants fleeing violence.” It’s also more accurate — far more accurate than calling refugees “illegal immigrants,” which they are not.

Click here to view the embedded video.

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Posted by Karen Abbott

Are you as obsessed with spies as we are? As we admitted on Sunday, here at W&M we can’t get enough intrigue. To satisfy our curiosity, we’ve teamed up with regular contributor Karen Abbott to access the world of Civil War espionage through the lives of the four female characters in her upcoming book Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy. Today, Abbott opens the dossiers on women of the Union, and at the end, we’re opening up a Giveaway. Read on…


Union Operative: Elizabeth Van Lew

Union Operative: Elizabeth Van Lew

NAME: Elizabeth Van Lew

ALIAS: “My Dear Aunt” or “My Dear Niece” (in espionage correspondence); “Crazy Bet”

BORN: October 15, 1818,Richmond, Virginia

AFFILIATION: Union spymaster

MARITAL STATUS: Single; fiancé died during the yellow fever epidemic in 1841. Known “spinster” who lives with her mother, brother, and Confederate-sympathizing sister-in-law in Church Hill.


A wealthy Southerner with Yankee roots,she grew up under an abolitionist governess. After the death of her father, a businessman and slave owner, she began “hiring out,” a practice in which slaves could keep a percentage of their wages to purchase their freedom. Elizabeth also spent some of her inheritance buying slaves to free them. “From what I have seen of the management of the Negroes of the place,” one neighbor reports, “the family of Van Lews are, I am satisfied, genuine abolitionists.”


• Operative uses a pin to “prick” letters in books, forming questions that communicate to and are answered similarly by Union prisoners. She also hides correspondence and money in an antique plate warmer.

• Operative is rumored to aid in the escape of Union prisoners, hiding them in a secret room in her mansion until she can arrange to get them to Union lines.

• It is believed that Union General Benjamin “Beast” Butler formally recruited her and  gave her a cipher and invisible ink, called “S.S. Fluid,” which becomes visible with the application of milk or tannic acid.


• Operative is invariably described as “nervous” and “birdlike,” and, according to one contemporary, “never as pretty as her portrait shows.”

• She sometimes dresses in disguise, wearing a homespun dress, coarse cotton bonnet, and cotton in her cheeks.

Union Operative:  Emma Edmonds

Union Operative:
Emma Edmonds

NAME: Sarah “Emma” Edmonds

ALIAS: Private Franklin “Frank” Thompson

BORN: December 1841,New Brunswick, Canada

AFFILIATION: Union army, Company F, 2nd Michigan Infantry

MARITAL STATUS: Single. Suspected paramours include Private Jerome Robbins, 2nd Michigan Infantry, and Lieutenant James Reid, Seventy-ninth New York Highlanders—the only men who know her true identity.


In 1859, this Union operative fled her family farm in Canada to avoid an arranged marriage. Exchanging her crinoline and bonnet for trousers and a shirt, she became a Bible salesman, migrating to the U.S. A devout Christian, she could not abide slavery and decided to fight for the Union.


• Operative, who believes she has a “magnetic power” to “soothe the delirium,” initially worked solely as an army nurse.

• Operative is known to excel at subterfuge and disguises including a male slave, an Irish peddler woman, a female slave, and a male Confederate civilian. At the behest of Union General George McClellan, she often infiltrates rebel territory, noting troop numbers and sketching fortifications.


• Operative was interviewed and examined by Union generals in the spring of 1862, and found to have the head of a man, with “largely developed” organs of secretiveness and combativeness.

• Operative contracted malaria during the Peninsula Campaign and is at risk of a relapse. It is believed she would avoid medical treatment rather than risk being discovered.


Titillated? Certainly we are. And we’d love for you to join in discussion about these women’s exploits.

To kick things off, Abbott and W&M are hosting a limited Giveaway of a Civil War Token and 2 Sets of Civil War Playing Cards open to newsletter subscribers. To enter, sign up below for the Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy newsletter. Entry period ends August 5 at 11:00pm EST.

LTSS Subscribers will have access to a fan favorite poll and another exciting giveaway. 

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What Matters

Jul. 28th, 2014 11:23 am
[syndicated profile] rollingaroundinmyhed_feed

Posted by Dave Hingsburger

Usually, I try.


When I'm in a situation where a staff offers me special assistance, like going to the front of the line, or having things carried for me, or any other kind of 'kindness' offered to me specifically because of my disability, I decline. Always politely. I figure that if I can do it, I should do it. Even if it takes a bit of extra effort. I'm never really sure who I'm doing this for ~ is it for those watching, do I want them to see an independent disabled person doing it like everyone else (even though I know I'm not). Or is it for me, proving to myself that I can still do what I need to do without much in the way of extra help. Maybe it's a bit of both.

But Sunday.

At church.

My chair fits into the accessible seating area with a little bit of manoeuvring. Getting out, equally, takes know how. It's not just a simple turn. Even so, when communion is offered, and when I decide to take communion - which isn't all the time, I swing my chair out and then back and forth and back and forth and back and forth until my foot pad clears the pew in front. It takes a few minutes, but I figure God's got time. Others in the row may choose to take communion in their place from the person who is assigned that week to take communion to those of us who may find it difficult to get up front. But me, I go up front.

But Sunday.

This Sunday.

I was tired. I wanted communion but the thought of back and forth and back and forth and back and forth was just beyond me. So, when asked, I signalled that I'd like to have communion where I sat. It was brought to me, I took it, was prayed over and it was done. Nice and easy.

Odd thing was it didn't matter to me. It didn't seem to matter to anyone else. Not sure why I worried that it might.
[syndicated profile] sociological_images_feed

Posted by Lisa Wade, PhD

Don’t you want to pinch it and squeeze it and bite its little face off!?


You’re not alone.

Rebecca Dyer and Oriana Aragon, graduate students in psychology, brought subjects into a lab, handed them a fresh sheet of bubble wrap, and exposed them to cute, funny, and neutral pictures of animals.  Those who saw the cute ones popped significantly more bubbles than the others.

Cute things make us aggressive!  It’s why we say things like: “I just wanna eat you up!” and why we have to restrain ourselves from giving our pets an uncomfortably tight hug.

Which one do you want to hurt the most!?


An aggressive response to cuteness, it appears, it “completely normal.”

The authors suggest that humans non-consciously balance extreme emotions with one from the other side of the spectrum to try to maintain some control and balance.  This, Aragon explains at her website, may be why we cry when we’re really happy and laugh at funerals.

In the meantime, if this makes you want to inflict some serious squishing, know that you’re in good company.


All pictures from Cute Overload.

Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College and the co-author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

(View original at http://thesocietypages.org/socimages)

How Gandhi Became Gandhi

Jul. 28th, 2014 01:22 pm
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Posted by PamelaToler

Gandhi in South Africa

By Pamela Toler (Regular Contributor)

The first volume of what may well be the definitive biography of Mohandas Gandhi, Ramachandra Guha’s Gandhi Before India covers the years from Gandhi’s birth in 1869 through his departure from South Africa in July, 1914.

Biographers have often treated Gandhi’s earlier life– especially his two decades working in South Africa–as a warm-up for leading the struggle for Indian independence. Guha gives this period serious and detailed attention, arguing that such attention is necessary if we are to understand both “how the Mahatma was made” and Gandhi’s critical role in South African history.

Even a reader who is familiar with Gandhi’s history will find new insights in Gandhi Before India. Guha not only draws on Gandhi’s own writings from and about this period, but also uses a wide range of contemporary sources, from Gandhi’s childhood school reports to secret files kept by South African officials. By focusing on contemporary records rather than retrospective accounts, he overturns some accepted “truths” and introduces new elements to a familiar story. Perhaps the most interesting parts of the book are the side excursions that illuminate elements of Gandhi’s life: the British ranking Indian rulers, the history of vegetarianism in England, Johannesburg as a cultural and intellectual melting pot.

Gandhi Before India is a step-by-step account of how an uninspiring member of a Gujurati merchant caste transcended the conventions of his caste, class, religious and ethnic backgrounds to become one of the most important–and controversial–figures of the twentieth century.

This review previously appeared in Shelf Awareness for Readers.

Photograph courtesy of http://www.resurgence.org. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Quick Hit: #LikeDustIRise

Jul. 27th, 2014 07:13 pm
[syndicated profile] geekfeminism_feed

Posted by Annalee

Over on Twitter, the great and talented @Gildedspine, creator of #YesAllWomen, is hosting a discussion about online activism, the power of community, and speaking up even in the face of harassment and abuse.

She’s got a powerful conversation going. I encourage you to check it out: #LikeDustIRise.


Jul. 27th, 2014 06:56 am
[syndicated profile] rollingaroundinmyhed_feed

Posted by Dave Hingsburger

Today I am audience.

At The Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto, this morning, Joe will be making his first appearance in the choir. During the summer, with the regular choir taking holidays, they ask for congregation members to step up, step in and sing. Joe has a lovely voice and he sang in a choir for nearly 10 years when we lived in Quebec, so he volunteered. He's been to the practise and he's ready to go. He'll be singing in both the 9 and 11 o'clock services. The 11 can be watched live on their website and I think it's available for a few days afterwards too - for those of you who want to see his shining face set ablaze with song.

For me, this is great. Joe's always in the audience at my lectures, I now get to return the favour. We had a rough time getting WheelTrans booked for this, as it ends up they can get us there but can't get us back. So we decided that we'd make our way to the nearest accessible subway stop, which is a long walk, but I so didn't want to miss this experience.

During the whole time we were attempting to get a ride there was never a thought of 'oh well, I can just watch it on line.' We've learned as a couple, that if we want to do what we want to do, we have to consider my disability and then figure out how to work things out. It's never really the disability that's the issue, it's thinking of a creative solution as to how to make our life work the way we want it to work. It helps that Joe hasn't grown tired of the constant nature of  'disability deductive thinking' - he, like me, remains determined to make things happen the best way we can.

This doesn't mean that we're 100 percent successful or that we don't run into issues that we just can't figure through - but it means that haven't let those times influence the NEXT time. We haven't learned to just 'give up' yet.

I fear that.

Because it's tempting.

But, for today, we've got it figured, and I get to go and ...

be audience.

Books We Love

Jul. 27th, 2014 09:15 am
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Posted by Miranda Nesler

Screen Shot 2014-07-26 at 12.16.46 PM

Archival Detectives

Archives play a major role for all of us at Wonders & Marvels. Whether we’re sitting in the hushed reading rooms at the Wellcome Library  or wandering the gardens and museums at the Huntington, physical repositories are magical places. There we can play detective, hunting hard and in the right places to find historical figures, find details that help them breathe again, and locate flashes of what life was like before our own times. (For example, the archives show us that Samuel Pepys wrote his diary in code to keep privacy – see left.)

Digital archives are pretty exciting too! By this we don’t only mean tools like the Folger Library’s LUNA or  Early English Books Online. We also mean collections like the one hosted right here. The closer W&M gets to its 1000th post (this is post 942 in case you were wondering), the more we’re looking back into the archives to understand this community’s past and future. Why does “What the Romans Used for Toilet Paper” keep drawing you back  even after five years? And will “On Faking Virginity” soon be taking the mantle as the new “Most Viewed” piece?


The W&M archives also hold up a mirror to our obsessions. One trend is certainly clear: Spies abound! While Kristie Macrakis recently uncovered a Nazi spy who hid secret ink in his teeth, Dara Horn examined the complex identity politics surrounding a Jewish spy living in the Confederate South. With an eye to the East, Pamela Toler educated us about the secrets surrounding Chinese silk worms (and exposed the methods by which spies and smugglers committed industrial espionage).  We’ve even hosted the work of young scholars such as Marco Tiburcio, whose coursework on cryptography led to a piece on decoding Pigpen Cipher.

The fact that these posts only scratch the surface of the collection is telling. W&M‘s staff and writers are fascinated by spies. And, apparently, so are our readers.

This self-awareness makes it even more logical that our first Books We Love feature is all about female espionage. There are clearly reasons that we’ve fallen in love with the four women of Karen Abbott’s Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy, and why we’ll even admit to trying out some of the techniques they used to write secret messages or smuggle important dispatches.

For all the reasons listed above, we’re willing to bet you want in on the secrets too (obviously we have a lot in common!).  We’re only too happy to oblige by giving you the password that opens the door.

Books We Love: Dossier Features

On July 29 and August 5, W&M will be hosting Karen Abbott as she shares a two-part feature: “Private & Confidential: The Female Spies of Screen Shot 2014-06-29 at 7.51.47 PMLTSS.” Read along to learn more about the personal lives and professional risks these real-life women took for their causes, leave comments for us about your favorite characters–and sign up for her weekly newsletter to get even more information on giveaways and prizes.

We hope you’ll join in!

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Thank you

Jul. 26th, 2014 10:19 pm
[syndicated profile] yarn_harlot_feed

Posted by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

Here I am. In less than 12 hours I’ll be awake, and getting ready to ride my bike down to Allen Gardens (That’s where our departure is from) and meeting up with a couple hundred other cyclists, and then at 9am, that’s it. At 9am we get on our bikes, and with a whoop and cry that sounds like fear and excitement all together, off we go.  More than a hundred kilometres later, we stop, put up our tents and camp for the first night.  We’ll be strangers, mostly, that first night. Jen and I have tried to get to know our team ahead of time, but there’s many people we’ll really get to know tomorrow, and by the end of the week, we’ll be a little travelling family.  It always happens, and it’s one of the greatest rewards the rally has to offer.

It’s excellent that the rally has rewards like that,  because it offers up plenty of challenges. I’m sure many of you have imagined what it might be like to do something like this.  It’s staggering.  The sweat, the tears, the exhaustion – camping in the rain, riding 660km, bathing in the lake… it is all  balanced in the end with love, and generosity, and kindness.

In these hours before we leave, it’s that love, and generosity and kindness that I want to write about.  I know I’ve said it before, and I really mean this: Riding your bike to Montreal does nothing to help sick people. Nothing.  You could do it a hundred times, and without the support of people like all of you who donated, it wouldn’t change one little thing about the world, or the way it can be for people who are suffering.  It is what all of you have done  – your generosity, that turns the action we’re all undertaking into real change. Real kindness. Real love.  So here’s what we’d all like to say to you.

stephthanks2 2014-07-26

samthanks 2014-07-26

kenthanksblog 2014-07-26

amandathanksblog 2014-07-26

patothanksblog 2014-07-26

Jenthanksblog 2014-07-26

A little note about Sam, before we ride off into this adventure. We’re all heartbroken, and none of us more so than Sam, that she won’t be with us when we leave tomorrow. She’s been ill, and we were hoping that what ails her would clear up in time for her to join us, but in the last 24 hours we’ve realized it’s just not going to happen, and there’s just no way that you can do this if you’re not healthy. A sadder girl cannot be found, and we’ll miss her desperately. She’s very grateful to everyone who pledged to her, and please know the money still goes right to the people who need it. We’ve all told her that she tried, and that’s what counts. I know you’ll agree.

I guess this is it. My yarn containment system is strapped to the bike, more knitting got packed today into the bins we’ll meet up with every night, and I’ll do my best to stay in touch as we go along. I don’t know if I’ll be able to post here, but you can always follow me on Instagram, and Twitter – and it’s fast and easy to post there, as long as my batteries last!

We’re all happy, and scared… and ready.  We’ll see you soon. You can keep making donations as much as it suits you – and I’ve got a boatload of gifts to give away when I get back.  You can give to anyone on our team here, and I hope we inspire you. (I’m still aiming to meet last years goal of $50 000, and a few people down at the bottom haven’t made their minimum of $2500,  I don’t think they know many knitters.)

Thanks for everything. You’re all fantastic, and you never, ever cease to amaze me.

I think I love you.

PS, I totally finished the socks.

socksdone 2014-07-26

[syndicated profile] sociological_images_feed

Posted by Martin Hart-Landsberg, PhD

According to the Stockholm International Peace Institute, the United States remains the world’s top military spender. In fact, U.S. military spending equals the combined military spending of the next ten countries.  And most of those are U.S. allies.

1 (2) - Copy

Although declining in real terms, the U.S. military budget remains substantial and a huge drain on our public resources.  As the following chart shows, military spending absorbs 57% of our federal discretionary budget.

1 (2)

 Notice that many so-called non-military discretionary budget categories also include military related spending. For example: Veteran’s Benefits, International Affairs, Energy and the Environment, and Science.   We certainly seem focused on a certain kind of security.

Martin Hart-Landsberg is a professor of economics at Lewis and Clark College. You can follow him at Reports from the Economic Front.

(View original at http://thesocietypages.org/socimages)

Tea Pee

Jul. 26th, 2014 06:10 am
[syndicated profile] rollingaroundinmyhed_feed

Posted by Dave Hingsburger

The last thing, the very last thing, I do before I travel is pee. Even if I don't have to, even if I have to wring the bladder out, even if I haven't had a tea in a couple of hours, I go pee. I'm over sixty, I'm a wheelchair user who travels strapped to the floor of a van. I go pee. When we left Harrisburg to make the drive home, I did the deed, because it's ritual but also because I'd just done a lecture and I'd had a cup of tea, taken in quick sips, as I talked.

We got to the van, got me in, strapped me down, loaded the van with luggage and bags and bags of stuff from shopping. About three hours in to the trip I began to suspect that I wasn't going to make the full seven hours home without stopping at a 'rest stop' which is just a nice way of saying 'pee palace.' Our route took us through a lot of countryside so I just had to focus on something else.

I decided to read. I read. And I read. And I read. Until my book had this wonderfully descriptive passage about the main character taking a shower. I could hear the water ... I put the book down. It wasn't helping.

I now announce to Joe that we'd best be thinking of a place to fill up the tank of the car and drain the tank of the passenger. We stopped at three places and did neither. The stations weren't accessible. I'm harsh on these, if I can't pee at your gas station, you can't put your hose in my car. I'm still OK, still in control, but getting a bit worried. I begin to sweat. I wonder if that will help.

We find a place, it's accessible, we're good, I'm dry, Joe pulls up beside a sidewalk so we can put the ramp down and I can exit. But hold on. First he has to unload all sorts of stuff before he can unlatch my chair from the floor, before I can transfer to the power chair, before I can move the power chair which is presently surrounded by stuff. The power chair is slowly released from captivity. This takes longer than you imagine. I wonder, briefly, if crying would help.

Have you ever noticed that when you are in the car and you have to pee that you're OK until you've parked and then, WHAM, you've suddenly really, desperately have to go. It's like your bladder can sense the presence of the toilet. I'm being calm. Inside I'm thinking, hurry up, hurry up, hurry up, hurry up. I see other drivers park and rush into the building. Great, there's going to be a line up. Great, great, great, and why did I drink that FREAKING tea? Finally I'm out. My chair rears up and bursts into a quick trot to the building.

There's no freaking door opener. Someone rushes by me, also over sixty, also looking like they've got water on their minds. I grab the door, I get in. I hear Joe cursing as he's trying to get everything back in the van. I look over to him, I can see the Pacific Ocean in the blue of his eyes. It's a multi stall bathroom with a row of three urinals. All the stalls are taken but the accessible one. I head to it at the same time as a young teen boy does.

I point to him saying, "new plumbing," and then to myself, "old plumbing." He lets me go first.

Blessed relief.

From strapped down to zipped up didn't take that long but it felt like eternity.

Back to the car, unload everything, get the power chair in, get the manual chair in, get strapped down, get the stuff back in. Get back on the road. Back in Canada, we figure we've got it made, we're close to home, so we stop for a Tim's Tea.

That, my friends, was a mistake.

Cabinet of Curiosities, vol. viii

Jul. 26th, 2014 08:56 am
[syndicated profile] wonders_and_marvels_feed

Posted by Miranda Nesler

Screen Shot 2014-07-22 at 2.07.33 PMWar and Peace were the major preoccupations filling our Cabinet of Curiosities this week.

Our very own Karen Abbott joined the Travel Channel’s Monumental Mysteries to talk about Belle Boyd — a female Confederate spy who initiated her career by shooting a Union soldier who entered her home.

Abbott wasn’t alone in examining historical women at war. Matthew Ward shared amazing pictures of female lab workers testing chemicals in WWI – images that remind us of the drastically shifting gender dynamics that can result from international conflict.

This week in history also marked the anniversary of the Treaty of the Union, which brought England and Scotland together as Great Britain (1706-08)–a relationship fraught with complexity.

Over at Archeology, scholars discussed the early hunting, gathering, and domestic economic conditions of 25,000 years ago. Their information is drawn from flint tools discovered in the Spanish Ametzigaina site.

How did Renaissance readers experience and interpret history? A new web project invites you to find out, revealing the marginalia that Gabriel Harvey left behind in his library’s historical and political texts.


Join us next week for more on our fascinations — and be sure to share your own here in the Comments or out on Twitter!

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[syndicated profile] geekfeminism_feed

Posted by spam-spam

  • Why Captain America Should Stay Black Forever | E.Knight at Boxing With God (July 19): “Comic book fans born today should grow up knowing this is Captain America. There should be no doubt.  The idea that a black man could represent the ultimate patriot is only ironic if our society continues to insist that White is America’s default race.”
  • New Thor Will be a Woman! Five Other Heroines Who Have Taken Up a Man’s Title | Mey at Autostraddle (July 22): “Although there’s absolutely nothing wrong with feminizing a name, there is a lot of clout that comes with the name Thor. By not adding “She-,” “Lady” or “Ms.” to the name, they are saying that this character isn’t a sidekick or partner to Thor, they’re saying that she isn’t “inspired by” Thor, they’re saying she simply is Thor. [...] While Thor is the most high-profile example of this, it’s not the first. Here are some of my favorite examples of this happening before.”
  • How Big of a Problem is Harassment at Comic Conventions? Very Big. | Janelle Asselin at bitchmedia (July 22)[warning for discussion of harassment] “It’s not difficult to see why conventions can be rife with harassment. People in my survey report being harassed by fans, journalists, publishing employees, and comics creators, so there are issues at every level of the industry. Conventions involve cramming a lot of people into one space where ideally everyone gets to move around. This means there are a lot of brush-by maneuvers, awkward running into people, and a lot of general closeness. [...] This is the first time ever that SDCC has made a specific anti-harassment policy so prominent and offered a clear course of action for fans who are harassed.”
  • Killing the Messenger at Mozilla | Tim Chevalier at Model View Culture (July 21) (disclosure: Tim Chevalier contributes to geekfeminism.org): “In 2012, it was nearly taboo at Mozilla to question the individualist narrative: the story that says that Eich, like any other employee, could spend his paycheck in whatever manner he chose. In 2014, Mozillans had no choice but to engage with a more structural narrative: that it’s impossible to lead a diverse organization when you have openly and obdurately expressed animus towards members of a protected class. [...] If we take [the Mozilla leaders] at face value, they did not understand why anyone would think that queer people’s rights were relevant to an open-source software project — surely they must have been aware that LGBTQ people worked for them.”
  • WisCon…This is How You Fail | The Angry Black Woman (July 20): “Race, gender, and class have all been issues at various points for me at WisCon. Most incidents fall into microaggression territory, and as a personal philosophy I tend not to let those dissuade me from things I want to do. That is an eminently personal choice, and should not be construed as telling anyone else what to do or how to feel. If my friends stop going, then so will I.”
  • The Pay-for-Performance Myth | Eric Chemi and Ariana Giorgi at Bllomberg Business Week (July 22): “An analysis of compensation data publicly released by Equilar shows little correlation between CEO pay and company performance. Equilar ranked the salaries of 200 highly paid CEOs. When compared to metrics such as revenue, profitability, and stock return, the scattering of data looks pretty random, as though performance doesn’t matter. The comparison makes it look as if there is zero relationship between pay and performance.”
  • Coder livetweets sexist remarks allegedly made by IBM executives | Aja Romano at The Daily Dot (July 22): “Note to IBM executives: If you’re going to openly discuss why you think young women make bad hires in the tech industry, you might want to make sure you’re not having lunch next to a young mom who’s also a coder. [...] According to [Lyndsay] Kirkham, the executives listed off a number of women who are currently employed at IBM, all of whom apparently have kids, and listed the amount of time the women were expected to take off in the next few years for anticipated pregnancies.”
  • #iamdoingprogramming made me feel more alienated from the tech community | Christina Truong at Medium (July 21): “In the eight years that I’ve been in the tech industry, I’ve worked with one Black person that was in a tech role and a handful in non-tech roles (project managers) and that’s a damn shame. [...] Diversity doesn’t mean pushing those that are already there out of the group. It simply means making space for different kinds of people, different opinions and opening up the culture instead of spotlighting and finding the same kind of person over and over again. It’s about showing people that there are different ways to be successful in this industry. It’s about telling everyone’s story.”
  • Numbers are not enough: Why I will only attend conferences with explicitly enforceable Codes of Conduct and a commitment to accessibility | Jennie Rose Halperin (July 22): “I recently had a bad experience at a programming workshop where I was the only woman in attendance and eventually had to leave early out of concern for my safety. [...] What happened could have been prevented: each participant signed a “Code of Conduct” that was buried in the payment for the workshop, but there was no method of enforcement and nowhere to turn when issues arose.”

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[syndicated profile] sexisnottheenemy_feed


"It’s really important to give an alternative view of transsexuality. Of trans women’s sexuality that usually isn’t shown in mainstream porn. And thats why I both do that and queer porn because I would like to change some misconceptions." - Chelsea Poe, CrashPad Behind the Scenes

[syndicated profile] pervocracy_feed
The trailer for the FSoG movie is out, and here's my mini-review.  (And one more thought on it.)  I have a weird mix of glee and sorrow that they're making a movie out of this.  I am looking forward to it being so-bad-it's-good, a Showgirls for our time--but I'm also terrified that it's going to give millions of people the idea that BDSM is "abuse but they're perverts so it's okay."  I don't want that.

Based on the trailer, it seems like it will be very faithful to the book, which might work in my favor.  The audience consensus might end up being "wow, when you see this stuff actually acted out it's miserable," and then the whole thing will sink beneath the murky waves from which it arose.  I can hope.

Anyway, we still have four chapters left in this book.  Let's get slogging.  As a reminder, when we left off, THE EMAIL WAS COMING FROM INSIDE THE BAR!!!

Content warnings for this chapter:  Emotional abuse, do I even have to say it?  Stalking, bigtime. Weirdness around drinking.  Child molestation, molestation apologism, and implied (?) physical child abuse.  Period sex.

Also, this is another long-ass entry.
I glance nervously around the bar but cannot see him. “Ana, what is it? You look like you’ve seen a ghost.” “It’s Christian, he’s here.” “What? Really?” She glances around the bar too. I have neglected to mention Christian’s stalker tendencies to my mom.
"There are certain things about our relationship that sound like abuse, so I can't ever tell other people because they might think it was abuse, which it's not, but it's important I watch my words because if he thought I was calling him an abuser he might really do something awful."  That's one of your classic warning signs.

(If I sound sardonic, it's only because I've lived it.  Hell hath no fury like an abuser who trusted you with their little secret.)
His bright gray eyes are shining with – anger? Tension? His mouth is set in a grim line, jaw tense. Oh holy shit… no.
"Hooray, my lover's come to surprise me while I'm on vacation!  Look at his smile!  He's coming in for a big hug!  Oh, I'm so happy we can vacation together, we'll have so much fun!"--a purely hypothetical book I would much rather be reading.
He turns to greet my mom. “Mrs. Adams, I am delighted to meet you.” How does he know her name? He gives her the heart-stopping, Christian Grey patented, full-blown-no-prisoners-taken smile. She doesn’t have a hope. My mother’s lower jaw practically hits the table. Jeez, get a grip Mom. She takes his proffered hand and they shake. My mother hasn’t replied. Oh, complete dumbfounded speechlessness is genetic – I had no idea. “Christian,” she manages finally, breathlessly. He smiles knowingly at her, his gray eyes twinkling.
What the hell?  She saw him rage-glaring at her daughter like five seconds ago.

Although maybe she missed that, which makes this even creepier.
Crap – Is he mad? Maybe the Mrs. Robinson comments? Or the fact that I am on my third, soon to be fourth Cosmo?
Every time I think Gorp RaisinNut can't get any more controlling... he gets angry that his girlfriend might have had one too many drinks while she was 3000 miles away from him.

This is one of those "not actually a dominant" things, too.  Like, correct me if I'm wrong, but he never gave her any kind of order about how much she was allowed to drink.  (And when they're together he's usually pouring wine down her throat as fast as he can.)  He just gets all glarey when she breaks the imaginary rule in his head that he never told her about.  She can't win.

There's nothing wrong with playing that way if it's consensual, but I'd classify it more as "emotional sadism", "mindfuck," or "humiliation" than as dominance as I usually understand it.
He reaches over, takes my hand, and squeezes it gently, running his thumb across my knuckles to and fro… and I feel the familiar pull. The electric charge zapping beneath my skin under the gentle pressure from his thumb, firing into my blood stream and pulsing around my body, heating everything in its path.
I glance quickly at Mom who is staring at Christian… yes staring! Stop it Mom. As if he’s some exotic creature, never seen before. I mean, I know I’ve never had a boyfriend, and Christian only qualifies as such for ease of reference – but is it so unbelievable that I could attract a man? This man? Yes, frankly – look at him – my subconscious snaps. Oh, shut up! Who invited you to the party? I scowl at my mom – but she doesn’t seem to notice.
Ana, I'm pretty sure your mom is staring at him because he flew from Seattle to Georgia unannounced to glare and paw possessively at her daughter.

Also, wow--that grammar--sentence structure--was there an editor?--wow.
“I don’t want to interrupt the time you have with your mother. I’ll have a quick drink and then retire. I have work to do,” he states earnestly.
Even if this weren't a milk-spittingly outrageous lie, "earnestly" still wouldn't be the right word.
The waiter arrives with our drinks. “Hendricks, sir,” he says with a triumphant flourish.
"Et voila!  It is... a moderately priced gin!  TA-DAAA!"
“Anastasia, your mother will be back shortly. I’m not comfortable talking about this ["Mrs. Robinson"] now. Later maybe. If you don’t want me here, I have a plane on stand-by at Hilton Head. I can go.” He’s angry with me… no.
"I flew across the country to see you, but hey, no pressure."

It would be so great if she told him to go, though.  Really so great.  Taking people at their word is a powerful tool against passive-aggression, and there's a great satisfaction to be found in resisting the pressure to say "oh, no, please don't go" and instead saying "Wonderful!  I'm so glad you gave me this choice. Call your plane."

(It's on standby?  Like the crew are actually in it poised to leave at any moment?  Being on Dash BlitzDance's air crew must be exasperating. Especially since Hilton Head is a good long way from Savannah.)

Ace Rimmer then gets into a long conversation about "Mrs. Robinson"--which I'm not going to quote much of because it's in that trademark "lots of pained, snippy questions and answers" conversational style I love so much--where he basically says that they're still friends and business partners, and she's not a child molester because he says so.
“I think of her as a child molester, Christian.” I hold my breath waiting for his reaction. Christian blanches. “That’s very judgmental. It wasn’t like that,” he whispers, shocked.
So.  On the one hand, survivors react differently.  It is not immoral or Failing At Feminism or anything else for a survivor to decide how to feel about what was done to them.  If an adult doesn't interpret their experience as molestation, I am very uncomfortable running in and telling them that they're wrong about their own life.

However, Ructabunde Quisquilian is not a real person.  He's a character and the author is the one who decided he should forgive his abuser, and that's not such a simple situation.  In a book with more subtle characterizations, this might be an illustration of "survivors don't always stick to the script."  In this one, I'm worried it really is "hey, sometimes kids don't mind being molested."

...You know, this erotic romance novel really didn't need a child molestation side plot. We could've avoided all of this and been much happier.
Christian sips his drink, watching me closely, his expression guarded. What is he thinking? Did he love her? I think if he did, I will lose it, big time. “Well ladies, I shall leave you to your evening.” No… no… he can’t leave me hanging like this.
Well, what did you expect?  It's not like Mr. Fancy RichPants is going to go home with you and sleep on the futon in the guest bedroom.  So he goes to a hotel room for the night.  You'll live.

I don't like being too harsh on Ana, but she does a whole lot of complaining in this chapter about how they've been apart for two whole days and she's dying for lack of his touch and oh my gosh Ana, you're not a stalker but you might have some minor cling issues of your own.
“Well strike me down with a feather, Ana. He’s a catch. I don’t know what’s going on between you two though. I think you need to talk to each other. Phew – the UST in here, it’s unbearable.” She fans herself theatrically.
Whoa.  Ana's mom ships them.  Whoa.  Weird.

Ana's mom gives Ana a long speech about how obviously she (Ana) is super in love with Christian Bale and all they need to do is talk their problems out, and more or less demands her daughter go up to his hotel room and maybe stay the night.

Holy shit, Ana's mom, way to sell your daughter out when she's very visibly uncomfortable and also this guy just stalked her for 3000 miles.
He’s in a suite, like the one at the Heathman. The furnishings here are ultra modern, very now. All muted dark purples and golds with bronze starbursts on the walls. Christian walks over to dark wood unit and pulls open a door to reveal a mini-bar. He indicates that I should help myself, then wanders into the bedroom.
Either it's "ultra modern, very now" or it's purple and gold and bronze starbursts.  It's not both.  (The Savannah hotel isn't named, but the Heathman is a real place and its suites are mostly cream and gray.)

For someone who was growling at her for her drinking earlier, he sure was quick to go right back to encouraging her to get drunk as soon as it serves his purposes.
“You were so mad at me,” he breathes. “Yes.” “I don’t remember anyone but my family ever being mad at me. I like it.”
The only proper response to "you're so cute when you're angry" is "then right now I'm fucking adorable."
He runs the tips of fingers down my cheek. Oh my, his proximity, his delicious Christian smell. We’re supposed to be talking, but my heart is pounding, my blood singing as it courses through my body, desire, pooling, unfurling… everywhere.
This is concerning.  Maybe you should lay down for a little bit until your heart rate stabilizes and we've dealt with those pools of singing blood.
“Are you bleeding?” He continues to kiss me. Holy Fuck. Does nothing slip by him? “Yes,” I whisper, embarrassed. “Do you have cramps?” “No.” I flush . Jeez… He stops and looks down at me. “Did you take your pill?” “Yes.” How mortifying is this?
Very mortifying.  Not because she has her period--that's just nature--but because of how incredibly weird he's being about it.  Like, my partner will ask me if I have cramps, but that's because he'll give me Advil if I am.  Men O'Rrhagia here seems to just be asking lots of questions because he wants to make her cringe.
He takes my hand and leads me into the bedroom. It’s dominated by a super-king size bed with elaborate drapes. But we don’t stop there. He takes me into the bathroom which is two rooms, all aquamarines and white limestone. It’s huge – In the second room a sunken bath, big enough for four people with stone steps that lead into it, is slowly filling with water. Steam rises gently above the foam, and I notice a stone seat all the way round.
Summary of this passage:

He squeezes my nipples between our thumbs, pulling gently so that they elongate further. I watch in fascination at the wanton creature writhing in front of me.
I once had a contest with Rowdy to see who could get further in reading a FSoG sex scene while hooked up to a speech jammer.  I highly recommend this as a form of "it's 3 AM and nothing seems like a bad idea anymore" entertainment.
He guides my hands down the sides of my body, past my waist to my hips, and across to my pubic hair. He slides his leg in between mine, pushing my feet further apart, widening my stance, and runs my hands over my sex, one hand at a time in turn, setting up a rhythm. It is so erotic. Truly I am a marionette and he is the master puppeteer.
Oh God it's just so beautiful.
He reaches between my legs and pulls on the blue string… what! And… a gently pulls my tampon out and tosses it into the nearby toilet. Holy fuck. Sweet mother of all… Jeez.
They should've sent a poet.
He uncurls from around me, placing me on the floor as he makes to stand. As he does, I notice again the small, round, white scars on his chest. They are not chicken pox, I muse absentmindedly. Grace said he was hardly affected. Holy shit… they must be burns. Burns from what? I blanch at the realization, shock and revulsion coursing through me. From cigarettes? Mrs. Robinson, his birth mother, who? Who did this to him? Maybe there’s a reasonable explanation, and I’m over-reacting – wild hope blossoms in my chest – hope that I am wrong.
In the real world, some spotty burn scars could mean anything from "grease explosion in the kitchen" to "really bad medication reaction."  But in this ultra-simplified world where all things are plot relevant at all times, of course it'll turn out to be from all the horrible trauma that made him into a kinkster.  (I'm guessing birth mother, because she's a cartoon evil woman, whereas Mrs. Robinson is being played unnervingly close to "society just doesn't understand.")

Man, E.L. James really had fun with this guy's history.  "Trust fund baby or tragic deprived past?  Let's do both!"
“I would probably have gone the way of my birth mother, had it not been for Mrs. Robinson.” Oh! I blink at him. Crack addict or whore? Possibly both?
Wow, real sensitive reaction there, Ana.
“She loved me in a way I found… acceptable,” he adds with a shrug. What the hell does that mean? “Acceptable?” I whisper. “Yes.” He stares intently at me. “She distracted me from the destructive path I found myself following. It’s very hard to grow up in a perfect family when you’re not perfect.”
You know what?  I can kind of buy this.  For all the Cullens are nice and rich and... rich and nice, I can see them not being well equipped to care for an adopted son with trauma and abandonment issues and disgracefully unrefined table manners.  And I can see him feeling pretty alienated in his adolescence if people at the country club are getting all "the poor dear is from a disadvantaged background, you know" on him.

It doesn't excuse Mrs. Robinson's behavior and it doesn't excuse how he goes on to treat Ana.  But it does give a pretty relatable explanation for why it might've been easy for someone outside the family to seduce him with a "I'm the only one who really understands you" story.

Anyway, then they have about twelve more rounds of Ana asking variations on "do you like her more than me?" and E. Edward Grey saying stuff that works out to "no, but you should still feel jealous."  They go back and forth for a while before settling back into their usual groove: pressuring Ana to do BDSM.
“You can always safe-word, Anastasia. Don’t forget that. And, as long as you follow the rules, which fulfill a deep need in me for control and to keep you safe, then perhaps we can find a way forward.”
This is one of those paragraphs that's great if you just imagine that it has anything to do with the rest of the book.

Just use your safeword and follow the rules and it'll go great for you!  What do you mean, nobody ever actually gave you a safeword or a workable set of rules?  Pointing that out is topping from the bottom and I won't have any of it.
“Why do you need to control me?” “Because it satisfies a need in me that wasn’t met in my formative years.” “So it’s a form of therapy?” “I’ve not thought of it like that, but yes, I suppose it is.” This I can understand. This will help.
Ergh.  No.  BDSM is not an illness nor is it a therapy.  (And it sure as hell isn't both, because how would that even work.)  BDSM can be therapeutic in some ways, but that isn't more important than the need to play safely and consensually, and it isn't ethical to use people for therapy without their knowledge.

Anyway, this seems to imply that the need that wasn't met in his formative years was to get everything he wanted whenever he demanded it.  So, um, poor dear.

They fuck some more in the bathtub and it's pretty standard.  He calls her "baby" a lot.  Not much to say about this except that it's pleasant and consensual (as consensual as things can be when we all know how it would go if Ana said no to him).  Which just makes me worry when the next shoe is going to drop.
And I come, my orgasm ripping through me, a turbulent, passionate, apogee that devours me whole.
If you're playing the home game, that's five metaphors in sixteen words!  Ms. James may have just set a regional record!
“What do you want to do?” he asks. 
He smiles. 
“About what?” 
“What stuff?” 
“What about me?”
This is why I don't copy most of their conversations.  They're so guarded and tight-lipped with each other, even their pillow talk reminds me of those scary notices on Armed Forces Radio about how if you're captured you should only give your name, rank, and serial number.

Whenever they talk, you get the whole page but you only need the left three inches.
“All submissives in training, when I was training. There are places in and around Seattle that one can go and practice. Learn to do what I do,” he says.
HEY!  NO!  PARTY FOUL!  You do not get to mention the CSPC in this book!

The CSPC ("The Wet Spot") is the Seattle playspace where I began my kink career.  (Which is very different from "being in training."  I mean, they provided a space, safety guidelines, and occasional classes.  They weren't, like, putting me through organized Submission Exercises until I earned my black hankie.)  It's a very nice space and resource for the community and I don't want it even being mentioned in this book, much less reduced to some sort of weird Sub Training Facility.

Ah well.  Odds are E.L. James didn't actually mean the CSPC, because:
Doylist - That would've required research.  Easier to handwave and just say "there's places."
Watsonian - The CSPC has standards of behavior and would've kicked out a creeper like Kidney BoneThrust five minutes into his first party.
What? “Oh.” I blink at him. “Yep, I’ve paid for sex, Anastasia.”
Okay, they'd better not mean the CSPC, because I am absolutely certain the CSPC does not provide rent-a-sub services.

Not a lot of places do, really.  Professional subs exist, but as far as I know, they're a lot less common than pro-doms, and very unlikely to have sex with their clients.  (EDIT: Some pro-subs do have sex with their clients.)

Sex and sex work do happen in a lot of BDSM spaces, but the main purpose of the spaces is for kinky people to mingle and play.  They're not like... whatever E.L. James thinks they're like.  They're not places you can drop in and book the next available sub you want to practice angry sex on.
“You didn’t wear your panties to meet my parents.” “Did that shock you?” “Yes.”
She didn't wear her panties because you'd stolen them and wouldn't give them back, dick.  Way to get all "whoa, that sure was wild of you" about something you forced her to do.

The rest of this chapter isn't half bad, though.  (It's all bad! OHOHOHO!)  Ana and Yeasty PottleDeep have something resembling emotional intimacy--he coughs up some actual details about his life and emotions, and she says she enjoys some of the BDSM stuff they do, and asks for more.

It's all a lot of E.L. James going "Ana had some character development where she became more open to BDSM.  She did.  Right back there.  You must've missed it."  But at least it means a break in the overt abuse, and I'll take that however I can get it.

Happy Birthday, Sociological Images!

Jul. 24th, 2014 09:48 pm
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Posted by Lisa Wade, PhD

We’re 7 years old today!  To celebrate, here’s a picture of seven capybaras.

1 (2) - Copy

Thanks to everyone who has visited over the last seven years!  This is our 5,226th post and I can hardly believe it.  Ready to charge on for another!

Here are some highlights from the last year. The blog never ceases to surprise!

Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College and the co-author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

(View original at http://thesocietypages.org/socimages)

We’re having some work done

Jul. 24th, 2014 07:30 pm
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Posted by Fred Clark

Hey, so, Patheos is upgrading our WordPress and some tech stuff to improve load times, etc. That starts today at 4 p.m. EST and should be (fingers crossed) done by tomorrow at 11 a.m.

In the meantime, I can’t post, schedule posts or log in to WordPress lest I derail and delay the process.

Basically, this kind of situation:

Click here to view the embedded video.

Disqus will still work though (for usual Disqus-equivalent meanings of the word “work”), so feel free to continue visiting and talking amongst yourselves.

Regular/irregular posting will resume here tomorrow afternoon.


A good joke can change the world

Jul. 24th, 2014 07:12 pm
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Posted by Fred Clark

Click here to view the embedded video.

I have always believed that a good joke can change the world.

Now we have proof that it’s true: Office Space helped rid the world of ‘flair.’”

“About four years after Office Space came out, T.G.I. Fridays got rid of all that [button] flair, because people would come in and make cracks about it,” [Mike] Judge recently told Deadline. “One of my ADs asked once at the restaurant why their flair was missing and they said they removed it because of that movie Office Space. So, maybe I made the world a better place.” Indeed, now a chastened, more mature T.G.I Fridays no longer forces its waiters to talk about their flair, instead allowing them — and their grateful patrons — a side order of dignity to go with their bacon mac ‘n’ cheese bites.

Granted, in the grand scheme of things, the fact that waitstaff at chain restaurants were required to don “flair” in an aggressive display of mandatory cheer and (literally) uniform individuality was not one of the gravest injustices besetting humanity.

Still, though, the end of such demeaning work requirements does, as Judge says, help make “the world a better place.” Thousands of people stuck in lousy dead-end jobs now have slightly less-lousy dead-end jobs.


But let’s not get lost in the particulars of this case, what’s important here is the confirmation of the general principle: A good joke really can change the world.

We have other examples that this is true but we don’t always notice them because the effect of good jokes usually tends to be defensive. The craftspeople at some of our finest joke workshops (the guilds of Stewart, Colbert, Onion, Toast, Silverman, etc.) expend a lot of energy playing a kind of whack-a-mole game in which prophylactic jokes prevent the world from getting worse. That’s a harder thing to identify or measure, but the effect is real.

Consider, for example, that in 2009, the possibility of President Sarah Palin did not seem wholly preposterous the way it does today. That was the work of thousands of jokes — some perfectly crafted, some kind of sloppy and off-target. The cumulative effect of all those jokes helped to make the world a better place — or to prevent it from getting worse in one particular way, which amounts to something like the same thing.

The relatively modest achievement of Judge’s Office Space joke is a reminder that this isn’t easy. Judge crafted a precise and devastating joke and then was able to deliver that joke through an expensive, high-profile platform. Alas, most of us do not have access to such platforms, and we can’t hire someone as skilled and popular as Jennifer Aniston to ensure that our jokes are so perfectly delivered.

But pay attention to Judge’s description of the process that unfolded over time. It took several years from the release of Office Space before the last buttons were removed and partial dignity was restored to these workers. And it wasn’t solely because of Judge and Aniston — it was due to thousands of people all over the country repeating and embellishing and riffing on the original joke.

It takes a village. The good news is that we now have powerful new technology  and new tools for disseminating the best jokes — Twitter and other social media. Our best jokes can now be spread, amplified, applied and reapplied with great cumulative power.

Even so, could even the best jokes ever manage to eliminate something more serious than the indignity of “flair”? Could even a perfect joke ever hope to make a difference when it comes to serious, pervasive, enduring structural injustices like patriarchy, plutocracy or racism?

We’ll never know unless we try.

Here’s John Oliver, doing his part, attacking the obscene injustice of American mass incarceration with what might really be one of the most potentially powerful weapons we have — a bunch of good jokes:

Click here to view the embedded video.

Randomly on a Thursday

Jul. 24th, 2014 05:20 pm
[syndicated profile] yarn_harlot_feed

Posted by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

1. No word yet on the sock. It could be that this story will end sadly, but not for lack of effort in the knitting community, and I don’t know about you, but that makes me feel great about us.

2. The bike rally leaves Sunday. I have just spent a few minutes quietly at my desk trying to work out if what I feel is excitement or terror.  It might be both.  The weather forecast for next week looks really dodgy. So far it’s calling for rain every day, and while I might be able to get my head around riding in the rain (not really – it sucks) I can’t tell you how opposed I am to camping in the rain, and actually, it’s the idea of doing both of those things for days on end that really makes me take a deep breath.

3. I am trying to change the forecast with my mind.

4. I might be making it worse.

5. I totally think I can finish these socks before I go.  I’m so totally in love with them that I have forgiven the toe all its transgressions.

starrycomingalong 2014-07-24

I ended up just changing the rate of decrease in them, and I think it’s actually pretty good.

6. I still have to plan my rally knitting. There isn’t much time to knit while we’re riding, but it makes me feel better to have it with me, and if it’s going to rain as much as they’re predicting, Jen and I could be spending our evenings huddled in our tent, knitting like mad.

7. Want some presents? Sure you do.

Gwen, over at Petitchoufleur Knits, has a digital and print copy of her clever (and versatile) patterns Oliver and Olivia going out to Abigail N.

olivia 2014-07-24 oliver 2014-07-24

It’s going to be a nice day for Sara N! She’s the lucky recipient of a gift from Helen, who has this beautiful yarn for her.

helensblues 2014-07-24

It’s two skeins of Terrra – Woad Light, and a co-coordinating skein of Knitpicks Stroll fingering – to use doubled with the Terra for a beautiful scarf.

Heather at Wolowik Ranch has an amazing roving that’s looking for a new home.

wolowikranch 2014-07-24

It’s 4oz of hand-dyed merino, and guess who’s going to love it? Mya MG!

Kim C is going to be delighted.  She’s the lucky winner of a gift from Janelle at the Eclectic Closet.

janellecowlhat 2014-07-24

It’s a beautiful kit for her Fossetta Hat and Cowl set. She’s including both patterns, and 4 skeins of Lang Yak Yarn.  Lucky Kim!

Three cheers for Jeffi at Shantiknits, (right here in Ontario) she’s got this gorgeous skein of hand-dyed sock yarn to give away.

shantiknits 2014-07-24

It’s right up my alley, but I’m thrilled to see it go to Margaret W.

A few last gifts (for today – there’s so much more coming) and these come from our good friend Lucy Neatby. Lucy’s offering up three digital copies of her book,   A Little Book of BIG Holes for Hand-knitters  (I LOVE this book.)

bigholebooks 2014-07-24

I hope it makes Nancy S, Charlotte D and Tara G very happy.

Lucy’s also giving away one more amazing prize.  A virtual library of ALL SIXTEEN of her DVDs. 

knittinggems 2014-07-24

I’m lucky enough to own almost all of them, and I swear that no matter how accomplished a knitter Donna W is, they’re going to learn a ton.

Finally, I want to tell you about an email that I got.  An incredibly generous knitter who would like to remain anonymous, has made an offer that just about broke my heart with its loveliness. Beginning tonight, at 7pm EST, she will match the first 10 donations made to my pledge page. (If you’ve lost track of where that is, it’s here.)

This would be a generous and staggering gift at any amount, but get this. She’s willing to match up to a total of (take a deep breath) $5000.

If you, or anyone you know was considering a donation, tonight at 7pm would be an amazing time to do it. Thanks so much for all that you do, and for all your donations, of any size.  I’m overwhelmed with the amazingness of all of this, and it will give me a reason to take heart while I ride in the rain.  It’s totally worth it. Thank you.

One Knock for Yes, Two for No

Jul. 24th, 2014 12:00 pm
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Posted by Holly Tucker

By Saundra Mitchell (Guest Contributor)

Mrs. Fish and the Misses Fox: the original mediums of the mysterious noises at Rochester Western, N.Y.

Mrs. Fish and the Misses Fox: the original mediums of the mysterious noises at Rochester Western, N.Y.

It’s too simple to say that Spiritualism was popular in the 19th century because it was an excuse to behave badly, but it was certainly born from bad behavior.

It was 1848, in Hydesville, New York when the Fox Sisters started “hearing” strange rappings at night. Their house had a reputation for being haunted, and teens Kate and Margaret went along – asking spirits questions, which were answered by knocks and pops. Furniture moved, and the girls had fits they attributed to Mr. Splithoof, the devil.

This could have been a new Salem – Ann Putnam Jr. and Mercy Lewis’ accusations started out much the same way in 1692. But America had changed in the intervening century and a half. Puritanism had been replaced with Evangelicalism – and this time, it wasn’t unopposed.

In 1692, the initial, fervent explanation for the girls’ behavior was witchcraft. But in 1848, medicine understood that typhus was a disease, not a wasting due to too much night air. Messages could be carried spectrally, but scientifically, across telegraph wires. Science crashed against religion, and people wanted to reconcile both.

So when ghosts started knocking in Hydesville, and religion alone couldn’t answer, scientific method stepped in. What was the weight of a soul? You could put the dying on a scale, or you could ask the spirits themselves.

Thus began a movement that swept the western world from the 1840s to the 1920s – sparked by a moment of youthful rebellion. Kate and Margaret Fox were bouncing an apple on the floor when they were supposed to be in bed.

When caught, they told their mother the sound must have been spirits…and she believed.

Saundra Mitchell is the author of The Vespertine, a young adult novel set in Baltimore, 1889 at the height of the Spiritualism craze. She is an Edgar and Pushcart nominee, and a big fan of girls behaving badly.


This post first appeared at Wonders & Marvels on 1 September 2011.

The Vespertine

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30 Days of Kink: Days 18 & 19!

Jul. 24th, 2014 02:49 am
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Day 18: Any kinky/BDSM pet peeves?  If so, what are they?
Most of the things I dislike about kink rise above the level of "pet peeves," like the fact that we as a community still lack a workable consensus action plan for what we do when we find out that one of our buddies might have committed physical and/or sexual assault.  That's not really an "aw man, this has anchovies on it"-level complaint.

But for a pettier peeve--you know what, I'm going to say the color black.  Like, there's nothing wrong with black clothing or black toys or black dungeon walls or black website backgrounds.  But goodness there are a lot of them.  It gets monotonous, and sometimes has a really cheesy "kink is spooky like Halloween, boo!" feeling to it.  I own green and blue rope, a gray flogger, and wear various colors to parties, because sometimes I'm not Halloween, dammit.

(I also own a shit-ton of black stuff, for reasons ranging from "that was the only color I could get it in" to "I'm not actually that much of a brave iconoclast and sometimes I kind of like being Halloween.")

Day 19: Any unexpected ways kink has improved your life?  If so, what are they?
It's inspired me to do a lot of writing which has, in turn, vastly improved my life. I also met Rowdy at a kink event, and knowing him has improved my life tremendously, because he's a wonderful partner and I completely love him and he has cute freckles.

But honestly, the main way kink has improved my life is... that I get to do kink.  I enjoy it so much more than I first thought I would, and in so many different ways.  It's an integral part of my romantic and sexual life. Which makes this question a little like asking "how has chocolate cake improved your life?"  Oh, I can think of stuff like "it looks nice on my table, I hear it has antioxidants or something" if I have to, but the real answer is because it's chocolate cake.

Maybe the biggest unexpected way kink has improved my life is that I've learned different and much better ways of looking at consent.  Because while kink definitely isn't a magical consent haven, the kink community has popularized some pretty cool concepts around negotiation, safewords, limits, the idea that agreeing to one thing is not agreeing to everything, and the idea that who you are does not imply what you're willing to do.  Even when I'm not doing kink, these are useful.  It's helped me to structure my statements about what I want based on what I want, not on what I think I'm allowed to ask for.  It's helped me put trust in my own limits.

I have not purchased an extended warranty since I started doing kink.
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Posted by Fred Clark

Roger Ebert’s movie glossary defines an Idiot Plot as “Any plot containing problems that would be solved instantly if all of the characters were not idiots.” Hemant Mehta eyes the trailer for Christian-brand comedy The Virgins and doubts that an Idiot Plot can be redeemed simply by attributing the characters’ idiocy to religious devotion.

Click here to view the embedded video.

“I grow restless,” Ebert said, when the misunderstandings driving a plot “could be ended by words that the screenplay refuses to allow [the characters] to utter.”

This was less of a pitfall in Shakespeare’s day, and even up through Victorian times, when convoluted and capricious mores and manners were understood to prevent those characters from uttering those words. The characters in Pride and Prejudice were constrained by social norms that no longer hold sway. So for that same plot to work in Bridget Jones’ Diary, the characters have to be constrained by something else — some limitations within themselves. Thus Elizabeth Bennett comes across as a smart, capable person who is prevented from being fully honest — to others or to herself — by the stifling rules, roles and expectations of class, gender and manners that shaped her life and her time. Bridget Jones, facing fewer such external rules, just comes across as neurotic and indecisive.

The essence of a romantic comedy is pretty simple: Introduce two characters who belong together, then contrive to keep them apart for about 90 minutes. Again, this is trickier now than it was in Austen’s or Shakespeare’s time. A lot of contemporary romantic comedies are annoying because the only obstacle they can imagine to keep their heroes apart is a kind of mutual immaturity. That serves the need of the plot, but it makes the couple less likable, which means we don’t care as much when they finally get together in the end.

One solution is to find a contemporary setting that still involves something like the kind of stifling social constraints in a Jane Austen novel. That’s what Ang Lee did with The Wedding Banquetwhich, like The Virgins, is more of a farce than a romantic comedy. The complications and misunderstandings that drive the plot in Lee’s story could all be cleared up with just a few honest words from the protagonists. But they can’t say those words — not because an arbitrary “Idiot Plot” screenplay prevents them, but because the story involves a closeted gay man in New York and a visit from his ultra-traditional Taiwanese parents.

Matthew Wilson may be trying something similar with The Virgins. Wilson is a white evangelical, a graduate of Biola University, so he’s intimately familiar with the mores, rules and expectations that govern white evangelical purity culture. That purity culture provides more than enough constraints and complications to construct a satisfying romantic comedy or romantic farce. The rules and expectations of purity culture are exactly the sort of thing that can prevent characters from uttering the words that would otherwise clear up all the misunderstandings driving the plot, thus ending the movie in the first act.

But that only works when — as in Austen — the characters are also critical of those cultural rules and expectations. If they’re not critical of them, but just blindly accept them, then, well, they look like idiots and we’re back to an Idiot Plot. This is where Much Ado About Nothing goes wrong. The Claudio/Hero subplot is driven by something very similar to white evangelical purity culture. Claudio accepts that purity culture uncritically, which makes him seem as villainous as Don John and makes it difficult for the audience to be happy for him in the end (or to be happy for Hero, who surely deserved better than that judgmental idiot Claudio).

I haven’t seen The Virgins, so I don’t know if it falls into that same trap — utilizing the constraints of purity culture to drive the plot without ever critiquing that culture, and thereby falling back into Idiot Plot territory. But the trailer leads me to suspect that is the case. (As Hemant wrote, “Maybe they should stop trying to make everything perfect and just jump each other on the porch of that locked house.”)

There’s another aspect of white evangelical culture that makes it hostile territory for this kind of farce. “Maybe we’re not supposed to stay here tonight,” the virgin wife says at one point in the trailer for The Virgins. She’s referring to divine intent — to an abiding assumption of God’s micromanagerial providence. This is related to the way evangelicals pray for a good parking space, or sometimes interpret the consequences of our own actions as divine will. That religious outlook doesn’t seem compatible with the kind of farce involving “wild adventures” on “one crazy night.”

“Why are you doing this?” the virgin groom says later in the trailer for, directing that question upwards, to God. I was reminded of a similar cry to the heavens, from Griffin Dunne in Martin Scorsese’s wild-night farce After Hours.

“What do you want from me? What have I done?” Dunne cries out, kneeling as though in prayer.

That works in After Hours because Dunne’s prayer isn’t directed toward the providential God of white evangelicalism. It is directed, instead, toward New York City itself. New York is the kind of cruel, capricious and unresponsive god you need if you’re writing a farce. The benevolent, attentive God of white evangelical piety shouldn’t be allowing such a farce to play out. Trying to write a farce with that kind of God in it is like trying to write a thriller in which everyone has cellphones with reliable connections and the police are always responsive, cooperative and competent.

The trailer for The Virgins makes it clear that Matthew Wilson has a good eye for capturing the nuances of white evangelical culture. Whether or not he’s also able to critique the assumptions of that culture will mean the difference between this being a workable story or an Idiot Plot.

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Posted by Fred Clark

Amy @ Watch Keep highlights a rare story of a local church responding appropriately to finding an abuser on its payroll.

John Sluder was an associate pastor at Believers Church in Auburn, Alabama:

His arrest in May got him kicked out of the church where he had been for 30 years.  Lee County Sheriff’s detectives say the two adult victims came forward in April to report they were abused in the early 1990′s.

… [Attorney Ben] Hand represents Believers Church where his father is the pastor. Hand says the church was stunned, then angry, when Sluder was arrested by Lee County, after two adult victims revealed Sluder had molested them on several occasions in the early 1990′s when they were 8 and 9 years old.

“Every child, including my own daughter that has had contact with him has been questioned to make sure there are no other potential victims out there,” said Hand.

… ”He was told if he came on church property, he would be arrested from trespassing and was forbidden from every returning to Believers Church. His bond was lowered from $100,000 to $25,000 and that is a nominal bond, and we have recommended that nobody make that bond. He needs to be there,” said Hand.

… ”The full extent of the law needs to be handed down. And we have to do everything we can to protect these kids ant they need to know they are safe and that society will come to their defense,” said Hand.

Amy contrasts this response by Believers Church with the image-control, stonewalling and circling of the wagons she more often encounters in her work with SNAP (the Survivor’s Network of those Abused by Priests):

Tears for the victims. Anger at the perpetrator. This is a refreshing response from a church who gets it. It’s not about them. It’s about the kids harmed by one of their own. But they don’t protect their own image and shun and silence these kids, now adults, who though it took a long time, bravely came forward to report the harm done to them. Kids will be safer now, and other possible victims of Sluder will know they are not alone and perhaps have the courage to come forward as well, begin to heal and protect others.

Those first two sentences cut to the heart of the matter: “Tears for the victims. Anger at the perpetrator.” That provides the basis for a very simple test for whether we’re opposing evil or abetting it. Who are we angry at? Who are we crying for?

That, I think, captures what’s so horrifyingly upside-down about the story Madeleine Baran documents in her four-part investigative report for Minnesota Public Radio, “Betrayed by Silence: How three archbishops hid the truth.”

This a remarkable example of the craft of journalism — Baran and her team did their homework, and she writes beautifully even when the subject matter is deeply disturbing. It’s a long read, and it’s depressing, enraging and unsettling, but you should read it all anyway.

Chapter One: It all began in Lafayette

Chapter Two: The church protects its own

Chapter Three: Archbishop makes vow, breaks it

Chapter Four: Cover-up unravels from the inside

The two-sentence summary of all that Baran documents is simply the opposite of what Amy wrote at Watch Keep: Tears for the perpetrators. Anger at the victims.

Time after time, the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis failed that test, abetting evil instead of opposing it, directing their tears, and their anger, at the wrong people.

Basilica of St. Mary, Minneapolis. Photo by Jennifer Simonson, Minnesota Public Radio.


The Knit Signal

Jul. 23rd, 2014 03:23 pm
[syndicated profile] yarn_harlot_feed

Posted by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

This morning, at approximately 9:56 am, an email was received by this reporter from Ron Miskin. Although this informant is involved with The Buffalo Wool Co, this email didn’t concern bison in the slightest, which was odd and slightly disappointing, but he’s a nice man, so I read on.  Ron was writing to relate a tragic story, and pleading (Ok fine,  he was just asking) me to consider making public a sock crisis out of Oklahoma.

Approximately 21 hours ago, a very nice knitter named Britt was travelling through Oklahoma City airport when she spotted a single hand knit, self striping sock on the floor. Recognising its worth instantly, Britt retrieved the sock and somehow managed to convince the airport to make an announcement.  As we can all imagine, trying to explain why this sock was worth more than a regular sock would have been accomplished at great risk to Britt’s reputation, and she has my profound respect for pressing on though what must have been a period of time in which she was regarded as absolutely nuttier than a home made granola bar.

reinactment 2014-07-23

(This photo is from a dramatic reenactment of the airport sock crisis. This is not the actual sock, and that’s my kitchen floor, rather than an airport. The real sock is probably different. This is just one that I had handy and any resemblance to any really lost sock is purely coincidental.)

Unfortunately for the knitter who’s dropped the sock, nobody responded to the announcement, and Britt (again, at great peril to her reputation) somehow convinced the airport that a single sock was an object of great value, and must go into the lost and found. (I will pause here to allow you once again, to imagine this conversation and feel respect for Britt grow in your heart.

This single completed sock now resides in the lost and found box at the Oklahoma City airport, alone, unloved and likely, deeply misunderstood. Somewhere, a knitter is opening his or her knitting bag, pulling out the nearly completed second sock, and is staring, shocked into the empty knitting bag, and thinking “Are you *&^!ing kidding me?” while wondering where in their travels the sock was lost to them.  Our task? To reach that knitter, and tell them to take heart. Their sock has been found, and it is waiting for them, because out of the thousands of people who wandered through the Oklahoma City airport that day, their sock was lucky enough to encounter someone who knew what it was, knew what it would mean to lose it, and rescued it. Cheers Britt. You’re a good egg.

In case that sock is your sock,  the link to Britt’s original Ravelry post is here.

[syndicated profile] sociological_images_feed

Posted by Lisa Wade, PhD

Conspicuous consumption refers to the practice of ostentatiously displaying of high status objects.  Think very expensive purses and watches.  In the last few decades, as concern for the environment has become increasingly en vogue, it has become a marker of status to care for the earth.  Accordingly, people now engage in conspicuous conservation, the ostentatious display of objects that mark a person as eco-friendly.

Driving a Prius and putting solar panels on visible roof lines, even if they aren’t the sunniest, are two well-documented examples.  Those “litter removal sponsored by” signs on freeways are an example we’ve featured, as are these shoes that make it appear that the wearer helped clean up the oil spill in the gulf, even though they didn’t.

Well, welcome to the opposite: conspicuous pollution.


Elizabeth Kulze, writing at Vocativ, explains:

In small towns across America, manly men are customizing their jacked-up diesel trucks to intentionally emit giant plumes of toxic smoke every time they rev their engines. They call it “rollin’ coal”…

It’s a thing. Google it!


This is not just a handful of guys.  Kulze links to “an entire subculture” on Facebook, Tumblr, and Instagram. “It’s just fun,” one coal roller says. “Just driving and blowing smoke and having a good time.”

It isn’t just fun, though. It’s a way for these men — mostly white, working class, rural men — to send an intrusive and nasty message to people they don’t like. According to this video, that includes Prius drivers, cops, women, tailgaters, and people in vulnerable positions. “City boys” and “liberals” are also targeted:

Kulze reports that it costs anywhere between $1,000 and $5,000 to modify a pickup to do this, which is why the phenomenon resonates with conspicuous consumption and conservation.  It’s an expensive and public way to claim an identity that the owner wants to project.

Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College and the co-author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

(View original at http://thesocietypages.org/socimages)

Really I'm Fine

Jul. 23rd, 2014 07:16 am
[syndicated profile] rollingaroundinmyhed_feed

Posted by Dave Hingsburger

" For a few seconds, or maybe a minute, I hated being me and I hated being disabled and I hated needing what I needed."

This line, written a few days ago, expressed a keenly felt moment because of a situation out of my control. I've received little reaction in the comment section of my blog to what was written but have, since then, been receiving emails, at least twice a day. The emails break down into two categories: some are worried about me; others are worried by disappointed in me - feeling my 'disability pride' stance is a sham. Both types of emails come from people who I don't actually know and who, even at a distance, care for me.

This morning, I thought it was time to address that sentiment.

I don't think having moments of self loathing (which I stated earlier in the same article) or having moments where a certain aspect of one's body, one's ability, one's personality is hated says anything about a person except that they are human.

It was a moment.

I've had moments like that before and I will again.

Just like someone who might live happy and well as an extremely tall person can have moments when they just hate the constant jokes or inconveniences. It's a moment. It happens.

And it happens over everything ... I hate it when I get so loud at a party; I hate it when I can't work up the courage to talk to someone at a party; I hate it when I get nervous and fumble my words; I hate it when I speak too quickly.

I don't think that non-disabled people get to have moments of like that and we don't. I don't think it's fair that their statements mean what the mean and ours are laden with extra meaning as those who hear slather prejudice on our words like thick marmalade on toast.

I said it.

I meant it.

It's over now.

Still disabled, still proud, still going strong.

|Moments are just moment.


I'm OK.

Mending the Scars of World War I

Jul. 23rd, 2014 05:01 am
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Posted by Jack El-Hai

by Jack El-Hai (Wonders & Marvels contributor)

With copper, foil, and paint, a little-known American sculptor saved scores of World War I soldiers from a faceless future.

A facially mutilated French soldier without his mask...

A facially mutilated French soldier without his mask…

…and with it.

…and with it.

In the final months of 1917, groups of wounded soldiers began arriving at an artist’s studio on Rue Notre-Dame-des-Champs in the Latin Quarter of Paris. Moving haltingly and sometimes guided by helpers, they entered a courtyard filled with statues, climbed five flights, and found themselves in a large room illuminated by tall windows and banks of skylights. Their host was an imposing American with high cheekbones and pinned-back hair, a 39-year-old Bostonian named Anna Coleman Ladd.

As the men laughed and smoked, Ladd examined them. She studied their shot-off jaws, missing noses, and scarred and empty eye sockets. Doctors could not restore these soldiers to handsomeness, or even to ordinariness. But as a sculptor, Ladd could apply talents that the doctors lacked. She could make new faces—masks—for the men, beautifully crafting them of copper, metallic foil, and paint. And wearing their prosthetic masks, the soldiers could return to the families, fiancées, and friends they had been afraid to allow in their unsightly presence.

The volunteer work of this intrepid artist has vanished from our memory of World War I. During the year and a half she spent directing the work of the Red Cross Studio for Portrait Masks—a division of the French Bureau for Reeducation of the Mutilated—Ladd saved nearly 100 French soldiers, as well as several of other nationalities and civilians, from the deep isolation of disfigurement.

Conceiving the prosthetic mask

Some months earlier, Francis Derwent Wood, an artist initially assigned to wash dishes in a London hospital, noticed the distress of facially mutilated British soldiers and decided to do something about it. He developed a technique of packing facial wounds with cotton wool, creating a plaster mask that fit the soldier’s skin, and then building a clay model of a healed face. Wood took a cast of the clay model and, using an electrotyping process, deposited on it a thin layer of silver. In the end, he had a lightweight and well-fitting metal mask that, when skillfully painted and attached with a ribbon or spectacles earpieces, hid the ugly wounds of battle and offered a more presentable face.

Not long after, Ladd made the Atlantic crossing herself. By November 1917 she had patrolled the front line hospitals for suitable patients and opened her own portrait mask studio in Paris. She intended to improve on Wood’s technique. Using photographs of the soldier taken before his injury, or working from verbal descriptions if no photo was available, she sculpted a close duplication of the man’s undamaged features on a plaster cast. From that, she produced a mask of gutta-percha, a natural latex collected from evergreen trees. Hanging this mask in a copper bath infused with electric current resulted in the creation of a thin, light, metallic mask that she painted with an enamel concoction of her own invention to match the soldier’s skin tone. “If the wounded man was blind, the mask would be equipped with artificial eyes,” Ladd told a reporter years later. “Eyelashes, eyebrows, and even mustaches were affixed in the masks. They were light and durable. The masks will last a lifetime.”

Masks restored hope

In 1932 the French government belatedly paid tribute to her war work by making her a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor—an award she received only because a French diplomat admired one of her sculptures on exhibit in Italy and decided to research her career. None of her masks seems to have survived to the present day; some may have been buried with their owners, and Ladd apparently destroyed others. Her modesty about her war work probably contributed to the quickness with which her accomplishments disappeared from memory. When she died in 1939 in Montecito, Calif., the public knew her as a minor sculptor if they knew her at all, but a handful of French soldiers realized that they owed her their happiness.

Further reading: 

Alexander, Caroline. “Faces of War.” Smithsonian, February 2007.

Biernoff, Suzannah. “The Rhetoric of Disfigurement in First World War Britain.” Social History of Medicine, November 25, 2011.

Romm, Sharon and Judith Zacher. “Anna Coleman Ladd: Maker of Masks for the Facially Mutilated.” Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery 70, July 1982.

(This post was previously published in different form in The History Channel Magazine.)

[syndicated profile] geekfeminism_feed

Posted by spam-spam

  •  how to recruit a diverse team | the evolving ultrasaurus: “There is no quick fix to diversity hiring. The easiest way to hire for diversity is to start with diversity — to start when you add the second person on your team — but if you reading this post, you likely have an imbalanced or homogeneous team. I’ve primarily written this for all-white or all-male teams in tech.”
  • The Problem With Science| Shakesville: “This doesn’t speak well of one of the industry’s leading publications. It also doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence (which, as I’ve already explained, I’m short on) that the folks making or breaking careers by deciding which papers are “sexy” enough to publish are going to have the professionalism to ground their decisions in something other than a creepy desire to excite their presumed readership of straight white cis guys.”
  • A handy template for online trolls: “It has come to my attention that you are [a person of color/woman/ LGBTQ/differently abled/immigrant] and you have posted an online essay suggesting that your situation in life is somehow challenging because of a circumstance relating to people who are not in your condition. As an Internet commenter, it is my mouse-driven duty to anonymously respond to your post. I’m not sure what would happen if I failed to do so, but I saw what happened when they stopped pushing the button in LOST so I will not take any chances.”
  • No More “Put A Skirt On It” | molly.is/saying: “Good news: the next time you draw a person or create a user avatar, you have an opportunity to fight the sexist patriarchal bullshit! Like many instances of patriarchy-smashing, it’s not actually that hard once you get the principles down. Here are 2 simple rules to keep you on track.”
  • Ninja Pizza Girl and The Thorny Tangle of Girlhood | Apple Cider Mage: “The crux of it is Jason Stark, the head of Disparity Games, relating precisely how and why Ninja Pizza Girl came to be. He talks about how the concept came straight from his childrens’ mouths but more importantly he  also describes the stumbles in his own assumptions about not only game design but also about his daughters’ growing vulnerability as they move into teen-hood and beyond. It was a bit of insight that I found intriguing, not so much as a gamer, but rather as a woman.”
  • Opinion: Selena Deckelmann on Portland tech’s gender divide | Portland Business Journal: “I was surprised and horrified to discover every woman in tech I knew had similar, and, disturbingly, far worse stories than mine. Many of these women, successful in tech and making good money, supported families and could not just quit and find another job in the small job market in Portland. Sure, they could move to another city — but with kids, spouses with jobs or in school, these decisions are rarely simple.”
  • Feminism and (Un)Hacking | Journal of Peer Production: CFP for articles on feminism and hacker/makerspaces: “With this special issue of the Journal of Peer Production, we hope to delve more deeply into these critiques to imagine new forms of feminist technical praxis that redefine these practices and/or open up new ones. How can we problematize hacking, tinkering, geeking and making through feminist theories and epistemologies? How do these practices, in fact, change when we begin to consider them through a feminist prism? Can we envision new horizons of practice and possibility through a feminist critique?”
  • San Fran tech types: what you need to know to move to Oakland | Live Work Oakland: “I’d like these young dudes coming to my town to actually see ALL the people coming up in tech in Oakland around me–the many Black, Latino, queer, female, and trans folks who, like all of us, show up in so many different ages, styles, and sizes, but who have a place, just like the white bros do. And  if these new folks coming into Oakland can’t see the folks who are already here, can’t change, I’d like them to just get the F* out of the way and take one of those corporate buses right back to where they came from .”
  • Meanwhile, in an alternate universe… | Infotropism: Read Skud’s take on what google+’s announcement re: pseudonyms SHOULD have been.
  • Canceling TRUCEConf | TRUCEConf: Trust, Respect, Unity, Compassion, and Equality: “I would say that it’s with a heavy heart that I am canceling this conference, if it weren’t for the sense of relief that comes with this announcement. I have struggled with this for long enough. The time has come to let it go.” (We covered TRUCEConf back in November 2013.)
  • “Pay a heavy price for it” | rosefox: “That’s the Frenkel story. He’s supposed to pay a price for getting what he wanted–the opportunity to harass a couple of women–but all he loses is four years of Wiscon. However, anyone who doesn’t want to be around harassers loses Wiscon forever.” (See also: the Chair of the Harassment Policy Committee responds to feedback about this decision, and more general thoughts on harassment at conferences from Publishers Weekly’s Genreville: What Conventions Are and Aren’t.)
  • Free Online Game Simulates Coming Out Experience | GLBT News: “The game is based on Case’s own coming out process, and it allows the player to choose a variety of conversational choices throughout the storyline. Characters remember what you have said, and they constantly refer back to choices that were made previously in the game. The games tagline is “a half-true game about half-truths.” The game has three endings, but like it promises at the very beginning, there are no easy or clean results. Everything is messy…just like the coming out process itself.”
  • Black Girls Hunger for Heroes, Too: A Black Feminist Conversation on Fantasy Fiction for Teens | Bitch Media: “What happens when two great black women fiction writers get together to talk about race in young adult literature? That’s exactly what happens in the conversation below, where  Zetta Elliott, a black feminist writer of poetry, plays, essays, novels, and stories for children, and award-winning Haitian-American speculative fiction writer Ibi Aanu Zoboi decided to discuss current young adult sci-fi. “

We link to a variety of sources, some of which are personal blogs.  If you visit other sites linked herein, we ask that you respect the commenting policy and individual culture of those sites.

You can suggest links for future linkspams in comments here, or by using the “geekfeminism” tag on Pinboard, Delicious or Diigo; or the “#geekfeminism” tag on Twitter. Please note that we tend to stick to publishing recent links (from the last month or so).

Thanks to everyone who suggested links.

Quickly, and standing up

Jul. 22nd, 2014 08:31 pm
[syndicated profile] yarn_harlot_feed

Posted by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

Hi guys, this is a driveby blogging, since I spent the day riding and hunting up the bits and pieces that I need to camp for the nights ahead of me. (Have I ever mentioned the camping? It’s not my favourite part of the rally.) Now I’ve got a little time left over in my day, and our good man Pato is coming over to help me adjust my new bike seat. (It’s not good people, not good. Hopefully Pato can fix it. He’s handy like that.)  If I hustle through that, I’ll have a nice evening ahead of me, with some knitting in it, and I can’t sacrifice that, or I’ll be screaming in the street.  (The pressure might be getting to me a little.)

Still, seemed like a good time for more presents, and behold!

From Caroline over at Wool For Brains, we have this lovely handwoven project bag.

Carolinebag 2014-07-22

I know, handwoven! I know that Mother Seraphima will love it. (Not that a nuns Karma was ever in doubt, but how lovely to see her name come up!)

Last year Christina won a pretty skein of yarn, and so this year she’s paying it forward, a lovely skein of merino/rayon/nylon handdyed (by her two little hands) sock yarn

christineyarn 2014-07-22

and she’ll be sending that along to Sue P.

Deb Moran, designer of the fab pattern for these socks Roadtrip to Rhinebeck

roadtripRB 2014-07-22

would like to make five knitters days a little nicer, so she’ll be sending digital copies to Bethany A, Jen K, Edie S, Sarah G and Allison R.

Next up, well  just hold onto your socks. (On the needles, or otherwise.)  Liz S has taken full leave of her senses, and in an incredible display of love and generosity, is offering up the most amazing chunk of her stash.  Three cheers for Liz!

Cascade 220 Superwash -  4 skeins, going out to Suzanne T.
cascade220super 2014-07-22
Cascade Pima Silk -  13 skeins going out to Chris M.

cascadepima 2014-07-22

Debbie Bliss Eco Aran – 5 skeins, going off to the email that starts with Redvan.

debbiblissecoaran 2014-07-22

Debbie Bliss Eco – 5 skeins headed straight to Michelle F.

debbieblisseco 2014-07-22

Queensland Super Aussie -  8 skeins, going out to Allison C.

queensland 2014-07-22

100% Wool (hot pink yarn)  4 skeins for Michelle E.
bulkywoolpink  2014-07-22
Berroco Linsey 8 skeins for Michelle B.

linsey 2014-07-22

Cascade 128 Superwash 2 skeins for Vicki K.

cascade128 2014-07-22

Rowan Truesilk 3 skeins for Nancy R.

rowantruesilk  2014-07-22
Valley Yarns Southwick, 13 skeins for Katie D!

valleysouthwick 2014-07-22

Once again, thanks so much to everyone who’s participating.  It’s an amazing thing, what’s happening.  Everyone on our little family team is a top fundraiser, and they’re getting there one little bit at a time, and we are all so grateful. In case you’ve somehow missed what we’re doing, we’re riding Toronto to Montreal (leaving Sunday, yikes) in support of the People with Aids Foundation.  If you make a donation to anyone on our little team:







and then send an email to me at Stephanie@yarnharlot.ca with “Enter me” as the subject line, and give me your address, and whether or not you’d like to be in it for spinning gifts, or just knitting, then you’re in for the draws, and there’s a lot (and I mean, a lot) left to give away!

See you tomorrow. I’m off to knit and ice my arse.


commodorified: My hair, flying in the wind, and my right arm, in sunlight (Default)

May 2014

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