My Stupid, Stupid, Heart

Jan. 21st, 2017 08:34 am
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Posted by Dave Hingsburger

Not sure if it's because of the number of times my mother washed my mouth out with it but I developed a taste for soap. Now you won't find me wandering the aisles of fancy toiletries shops sniffing at gently scented find milled bars of soap produced from the milk Yaks who only ate clover. You will however find me in Winners or Marshals along with others who are as unaware as I about the effect of clover diets on a bar of soap. I like a nice soap.

Two days ago, Joe placed a new bar, a nice one made from goats milk just in case you want to know, on the tray in the shower. He set it on the stub left from the other one. That one had been a black soap that produced the nicest lather. I remembered, when I saw the new bar, all nice and plump, sitting there tempting me, about the first time I'd washed with the other soap. How clean it made me feel. I started to feel a bit sorry for it. I mean there was more left, it would last another week or so, it still had much to give.

I reached for it and it dropped from my hand and slid to the drain. It was too far away for me to reach. Again, I felt almost pity for it. I did. Really. But I grabbed the new soap and began my shower routine. When I was done I noticed the old soap, all soggy from being submerged in the flow from the shower, I called to Joe to rescue it and put it back on the tray. It didn't deserve to be treated that way.

A few days later we were out and about and we came upon a old fellow, sitting on cardboard, leaned against the wall of a building, with his cap out, asking for money. He had an old sign beside him, but it was so covered in grime that it was illegible. I carry with me $5.00 gift cards for Tims, a coffee shop that's easy to find pretty much where ever you are. I stopped and gave him one of those cards, he smiled and said that he'd use it to go get a coffee and to get warm when he couldn't take the cold any longer.

He opened a little bag, resting by his side, attached to him by a long strap over the opposite shoulder. He wanted to place the card carefully among the stuff he had in there. We were still chatting and I notice a small stub of soap placed lovingly in his bag.

A stub of soap.

My stupid, stupid, heart.

I realized that I had got all attached and imbued an inanimate object with feelings and humanity, a piece of soap for heaven's sake, and yet, even in this interaction, even with giving him the card, even with our brief chat, I didn't feel those things for him. Not really. Not deeply. I sat there stunned.

Accused by a piece of soap.

My stupid, stupid heart.

I discovered that humanity is something that, in my mind, I have the power to grant to people, to things, to the lonely tree behind my apartment building. And because I have the power to grant it, I also have the power to withhold it. Not anyone's actual humanity, but my willingness to accede to it in how I see them.

I don't want that to be under my power, my wish.

I want the ability to see the humanity of every person I meet hard wired into my brain. I don't want to be able to separate some from the herd.

But I am able.

And I do.

Because of my stupid, stupid heart.
[syndicated profile] omgcheckplease_feed

Eric Bittle’s December 2015 Tweets! (PDF)

The above is a link to a PDF of tweets from @omgcheckplease​ (which is currently on private to avoid spoilers)!

New December Stuff! Yeah! These tweets reference events in the comic that have already been drawn. Since December 2015 has passed in Bitty’s life these tweets aren’t too spoilery! But…yeah there are actually some spoilers in this one! (SPOILERS about the spoilers!) Jack eventually tells Tater about Bitty? Jack and Bitty apparently have meals with Marty and other Falconers? (Well, I told you guys about that.) Consulting???

Hmm. How well do these tweets line up with the comic? Okay, yikes, this batch is all over the place. 

But, still, pretty closely! For the most part.There are moments/events in the tweets (which I did in real-time during my own life) that probably won’t match up chronologically, or that I wish I could go back in revise. Because of the nature of the platform, editing is pretty difficult. (Though I did take out/edit some tweets in the PDF.)

Is the comic caught up to the Twitter yet? Not yet, unfortunately. A lot still has to happen in the comic. Bitty’s tweets were in real time and I cannot draw as fast as he tweets! For more info on Bitty’s Twitter check out the FAQ.

Will you be sharing more tweets! Yup, absolutely. Look out for the January tweets soon.

Not dead Journal

Jan. 21st, 2017 02:43 am
[syndicated profile] ursulav_feed
...but holy moley, this con-crud has some teeth to it. Cough, body ache, fever and fatigue. Then you lay in bed and think "Am I REALLY sick or just lazy with a cough?" Then you get up out of guilt and then you have to sleep for three hours. Fun.

Penric's Mission out Feb 7th on audio

Jan. 20th, 2017 03:33 pm
[syndicated profile] lois_mcmaster_bujold_feed
The Blackstone/Downpour or Audible release of "Penric's Mission", third novella in what is becoming its own little series, is to be released February 7th; again, Grover Gardner narrates.

Ta, L.

posted by Lois McMaster Bujold on January, 20
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Posted by Timmi Duchamp

The 2017 Philip K. Dick Award nominations have been announced, and I'm delighted to find two Aqueduct Press titles among them. Congratulations to all of the nominated authors, which include Eleanor Arnason and Susan diRende!

 Here's the text from the press release:

The judges of the 2017 Philip K. Dick Award and the Philadelphia SF Society, along with the Philip K. Dick Trust, are pleased to announce the six nominated works that comprise the final ballot for the award:

CONSIDER by Kristy Acevedo (Jolly Fish Press)
THE MERCY JOURNALS by Claudia Casper (Arsenal Pulp Press)
GRAFT by Matt Hill (Angry Robot)
UNPRONOUNCEABLE by Susan diRende (Aqueduct Press)
SUPER EXTRA GRANDE by Yoss, translated by David Frye (Restless Books)

First prize and any special citations will be announced on Friday, April 14, 2017 at Norwescon 40 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Seattle Airport, SeaTac, Washington.

The Philip K. Dick Award is presented annually with the support of the Philip K. Dick Trust for distinguished science fiction published in paperback original form in the United States during the previous calendar year.  The award is sponsored by the Philadelphia Science Fiction Society and the Philip K. Dick Trust and the award ceremony is sponsored by the Northwest Science Fiction Society.  Last year’s winner was APEX by Ramez Naam (Angry Robot) with a special citation to ARCHANGEL by Marguerite Reed (Arche Press). The 2016 judges are Michael Armstrong (chair), Brenda Clough, Meg Elison, Lee Konstantinou, and Ben Winters.

For more information, contact the award administration:
                                                                        Pat Lo Brutto (301) 460-3164
                                                                        John Silbersack (212) 333-1513
                                                                        Gordon Van Gelder (201) 876-2551

For more information about the Philadelphia Science Fiction Society: :
                                                                        Contact Gary Feldbaum (215) 665-5752

For more information about Norwescon: :

Judge Not

Jan. 20th, 2017 02:51 pm
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Posted by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

This post comes to you from another airport lounge, as I get ready to fly out for the weekend. Joe’s working out west today, and I’ve got some work to do there Monday, so it made sense for me to join him today and maybe sneak in a little skiing over the weekend. (The skiing has stuck, it would appear. Joe remains more enthusiastic about it than I am, but I’m coming to like it better as the terror fades. Toddlers still ski faster than I do, though.)  I have this whole theory about how travel this much without being crazy or mean, and it’s all about organization, so yesterday I packed everything I wanted to take with me.   I laid it all out, tidy and organized, and wrote myself little lists, and thought carefully about the knitting I wanted to take with me, and I got that into project bags, and lined it up on the table. About two minutes after that, I glanced at the clock, realized I had to be downtown for a meeting in an hour, surveyed everything that I’d pulled together gave myself a nice little pat on the back for having it so together, grabbed my bag and headed for the bus. The bus came, I had to run – you don’t care about that part, the important thing is that as I settled myself on the bus for the short ride to the subway, I reached into my bag to get my knitting, and before my hand was even all the way in there, I knew it. No knitting. None. In my organizational zeal I’d taken it from my regular bag and put in by my travel bag and then instead of doing what I usually do (which is go to the airport with the travel bag) I’d left with my regular bag and … and it’s hard to describe the sense of panic I had. Organization might be how I travel without being crazy and mean, but knitting is how I exist without being crazy or mean and without it I really wasn’t really sure what was going to happen. I thought about it – it was going to be about three hours without knitting.

I reasoned with myself. really, I’d be taking notes part of the time, I’d be eating part of the time, I’d be talking part of the time…I could do three hours without knitting if I was going to be busy, right?

36 minutes later I was in the door of the yarn shop closest to the meeting, and 4 minutes after that I was back out the door with a ball of red Galway, a pack of DPNs and the knowledge that I can knit a pair of mittens without a pattern, and 6 minutes after that I was at the meeting looking for all the world like a normal (if slightly sweaty and rushed) human being. *

supernormal 2017-01-20

Having started, it only makes sense to finish them I guess, though I had no intention of knitting mittens at all, but emergencies are emergencies.

*PS “normal human being” isn’t exactly how people look at you if you take a picture of your half knit mitten on your hand in the airport lounge, but whatever.


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Posted by Raquelle Bostow

Interview with Eva Stachniak

How did you come across this story?  What inspired you to write about it?

The Chosen Maiden was born out of my fascination with Ballets Russes, a Russian dance company which, in the summer of 1909, took Paris by storm. Bronislava (Bronia) Nijinska –the intended Chosen Maiden from the 1913 production of The Rite of Spring choreographed by her famous brother Vaslav–was my inspiration. A brilliant dancer and a ground-breaking choreographer, herself, Bronia lived a life fuelled by art and made possible by the fierce loyalty of the Nijinsky women who stood by each other through thick and thin. The Chosen Maiden is what I like to call an archival fantasy, a historical novel weaved together from facts and imagination, an intimate portrait of a woman whose art and life helped to define what it means to be modern.

What were your main sources for your research?  How did you organize everything?  (That is, got any tips for fellow writers?)

Bronislava Nijinska died in California in 1972 leaving behind rich personal archives. Her papers–160 boxes of them–found their way to the National Library of Congress. This is where I spent long hours reading diaries, notes, letters, as well as looking at hundreds of personal snapshots Bronia took of her family and friends. To organize this material I turned to my favourite writing tool, Scrivener, which lets me keep all related files in one project and organize them into clearly distinguished and easily accessible categories. When I finally began to write, these notes contained all I needed: descriptions of historical characters and places related to the story, details of dances and performances featured in the novel, as well as images which guided me through the most important moments of the story.

What were the biggest challenges you faced either in the research, the writing, or structuring the plot?

I have to confess that the richness of the archival material was both a blessing and a curse. After all I was not writing a biography of a famous choreographer but a novel. In order to hear the voices of my fictional characters I had to forcibly step away from all the material I have collected, let my own vision emerge. This took time and confidence which I gained by interviewing contemporary dancers and getting to understand the way they see the world. In the end–after several drafts– I struck the right note: true to the recorded facts, but also free to express my own understanding of Bronia’s story and its meaning.

 Every writer has to leave something on the cutting floor.  What’s on yours?

The story of Olga Kokhlova, Picasso’s first wife. Olga was a Ballets Russes dancer, one of Bronia Nijinska’s closest friends from before World War I. The story of that early friendship belonged to the novel, but I soon found myself writing long passages about Olga’s troubled and often tragic relationship with Picasso. It took me quite some time to admit that, however compelling, this relationship was not relevant to Bronia’s own story, and had to go.

Tag you’re it! What historical fiction author do you most admire?  Why?  

 Ami McKay writes historical fiction which blends together fantasy, magic realism and meticulous research. Ami’s inspiration are unconventional women who find their strength in female solidarity. Her latest novel, The Witches of New York, has just been published and I would like to hear her answers to the questions I have just answered.

Now forward these questions to him/her and we’ll share their answers next week! 

Eva Stachniak is the award-winning and internationally bestselling author. She holds a PhD in literature from McGill University. Born and raised in Poland, she moved to Canada in 1981, and lives in Toronto. The Chosen Maiden is her fifth novel.

The post Five for Friday: Eva Stachniak’s THE CHOSEN MAIDEN appeared first on Wonders & Marvels.

Well, He Asked

Jan. 20th, 2017 08:27 am
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Posted by Dave Hingsburger

I'm at that age where I've been around for a long time, not just on this earth, but in the work that I do, that people will come to me to ask questions. The problem, sometimes, for them is that I'm also at the age where I watch my mouth just a little bit less than I did a few years back. I just don't have the strength, or maybe it's desire, to hold back my immediate reaction.

It happened that I ran into someone who recognized me and in the midst of an 'Oh, hi' kind of interaction that the fellow thought that maybe I would have time for a quick question. I did have time and I like quick questions. I like to stay nimble on my mental feet so I told him to go ahead.

He told me that he was working with someone with an intellectual disability. She is being bullied because she has hesitant speech. It takes her a few moments, sometimes between words, for her to gather her thoughts and then get them out. It's not a real problem for her, but it can be irritating to others. One of the women that she meets at Bingo sometimes makes a big deal about not wanting to sit next to her because she talks like a 'r-word' and the fuss that this woman creates is really hurtful to his client. What should he or she do?

"Well, first," I said, "everyone needs to realize that her speech isn't irritating. Her speech is her speech." I wanted to begin there because I so often hear that someone is being bullied and then there is a 'sort of excuse' given to the bully because the person is described as 'a little annoying' or 'can be a bit pushy' or 'really is fat' or 'does dress kind of provocatively.' All that has to stop. It's blaming the victim and excusing or giving a rational to a behaviour that is simply unacceptable under any circumstances. Teasing and bullying are forms of violence. Period. No excuse. No reason. Violence.

Then the fellow jumped in to say, "I should have said that the bully is another person an intellectual disability."



And that should make a difference to my response?

"What difference does that make?" I asked.

"I just thought you should know?" he said.

"Why?" I asked.

"Well, my agency supports both women," he said.

"Do you think that causes a conflict of interest?" I asked.

"Yeah, well, maybe, I'm not sure," he said. I could tell he wished he hadn't asked the question.

"Have you been aware of this for some time?"

"Yes, it's been going on a long time?"

"And what have you done?"

"We've talked to both of them?"

"And what have you said?"

"We told the woman being teased that she should ignore the other woman and we told the other woman that she shouldn't tease others."

"Did it work?"


By then he was out of time and had to go, I gave him my email and asked him to write me so we could finish the discussion, he said he would, and he did, and he's given me permission to write about our first encounter.

I wanted to write about this, however, because I worry that we care about bullying and teasing differently when it's done by a staff, a community member or some other non disabled person than we do when it's done by a person's peer within an organization. Then, it's often just not taken as seriously as it should be or there's a 'well what can we do about it?' attitude. Other times I hear people talk about the bully with compassion - telling their story and how hard they've had it, as if that explains lack of action on the part of the supporting agency.

I don't like that people have had it tough but I don't think that gives them an excuse to harm or perpetrate acts of social or physical violence on another.

Disability is many things but ...

Disability isn't an excuse.

Explaining Trump

Jan. 20th, 2017 01:08 pm
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Posted by Claude S. Fischer PhD

Originally posted at Made in America.

Explaining how such an unfit candidate and such a bizarre candidacy succeeded has become a critical concern for journalists and scholars. Through sites like Monkey Cage, Vox, and 538, as well as academic papers, we can watch political scientists in real time try to answer the question, “What the Hell Happened?” (There are already at least two catalogs of answers, here and here, and a couple of college-level Trump syllabi.) Although a substantial answer will not emerge for years, this post is my own morning-after answer to the “WTHH?” question.

I make three arguments: First, Trump’s electoral college victory was a fluke, a small accident with vast implications, but from a social science perspective not very interesting. Second, the deeper task is to understand who were the distinctive supporters for Trump, in particular to sort out whether their support was rooted mostly in economic or in cultural grievances; the evidence suggests cultural. Third, party polarization converted Trump’s small and unusual personal base of support into 46 percent of the popular vote.

Explaining November 8, 2016

Why did Donald Trump, an historically flawed candidate even to many of those who voted for him, win? With a small margin in three states (about 100,000 votes strategically located), many explanations are all true:

* Statistical fluke: Trump won 2.1 percentage points less of the popular vote than did Clinton, easily the largest negative margin of an incoming president in 140 years. (Bush was only 0.5 points behind Gore in 2000.) Given those numbers, Trump’s electoral college win was like getting two or three snake-eye dice rolls in a row. Similarly, political scientists’ structural models–which assume “generic” Democratic and Republican candidates and predict outcomes based on party incumbency and economic indicators–forecast a close Republican victory. “In 2012, the ‘fundamentals’ predicted a close election and the Democrats won narrowly,” wrote Larry Bartels. “In 2016, the ‘fundamentals’ predicted a close election and the Republicans won narrowly. That’s how coin tosses go.” But, of course, Donald Trump is far from a generic Republican. That’s what energizes the search for a special explanation.

* FBI Director Comey’s email announcement in the closing days of the election appeared to sway the undecided enough to easily make the 100,000 vote difference.

* Russian hacks plus Wikileaks.

* The Clinton campaign. Had she visited the Rust Belt more, embraced Black Lives Matter less (or more), or used a slogan that pointed to economics instead of diversity… who knows? Pundits have been mud-wrestling over whether her campaign was too much about identity politics or whether all politics is identity politics. Anyway, surely some tweak here would have made a difference.

* Facebook and Fakenews.

* The weather. It was seasonably mild with only light rain in the upper Midwest on November 8. Storms or snow would probably have depressed rural turnout enough to make Clinton president.

* The Founding Fathers. They meant the electoral college to quiet vox populi (and so it worked in John Q. Adams’s minus 10 point defeat of Andrew Jackson in 1824).

* Add almost anything you can imagine that could have moved less than one percent of the PA/MI/WI votes or of the national vote.

* Oh, and could Bernie would have won? Nah, no way, no how. [1]

Small causes can have enormous consequences: the precise flight of a bullet on November 22, 1963; missed intelligence notes about the suspicious student pilots before the 9/11 attacks; and so on. Donald Trump’s victory could become extremely consequential, second only to Lincoln’s in 1860, argues journalist James Fallows, [2] but the margin that created the victory was very small, effectively an accident. From an historical and social science point of view, there is nothing much interesting in Trump’s electoral college margin.

Trump’s Legions

More interesting is Trump’s energizing and mobilizing so many previously passive voters, notably during the primaries. What was that about?

One popular answer is that Trump’s base is composed of people, particularly members of the white working class (WWC), who are suffering economic dislocation. Because their suffering has not been addressed, they rallied to a jobs champion.

Another answer is that Trump’s core is composed of people, largely but not only WWC, with strong cultural resentments. While often suffering economically and voicing economic complaints, they are mainly distinguished by holding a connected set of racial, gender, anti-immigrant, and class resentments–resentments against those who presumably undermined America’s past “greatness,” resentments which tend to go together with tendencies toward authoritarianism (see this earlier post).

The empirical evidence so far best supports the second account. Indicators of cultural resentment better account for Trump support than do indicators of economic hardship or economic anxiety. [3]

In-depth, in-person reports have appeared that flesh out these resentments in ways that survey questions only roughly capture. They describe feelings of being pushed out of the way by those who are undeserving, by those who are not really Americans; feelings of being neglected and condescended to by over-educated coastal elites; feelings of seeing the America they nostalgically remember falling away. [4]

trump-supportersDefenders of the economic explanation would point to the economic strains and grievances of the WWC. Those difficulties and complaints are true–but they are not new. Less-educated workers have been left behind for decades now; the flat-lining of their incomes started in the 1970s, with a bit of a break in the late 1990s. Moreover, the economy has been in an upswing in the last few years; the unemployment rate was about 8 percent when Obama was re-elected in 2012, but about half of that when Trump was elected. Economic conditions do not explain 2016.

Nor are complaints about economic insecurity new. For example, the percentage of WWC respondents to the General Social Survey who said that they were dissatisfied with their financial situations has varied around 25 percent (+/- 5 points) over the last 30 years. The percentage dissatisfied did hit a high in the early years of the Great Recession (34 percent in 2010), but it dropped afterwards (to 31% in 2012 when Obama was re-elected and 29% in 2014). Economic discontent has been trending down, not up. [5] That only one-fifth of Trump voters supported raising the minimum wage to $15 further undercuts the primacy of economic motives.

To be sure, journalists can find and record the angry voices of economic distress; they do so virtually every election year. (Remember the painful stories about the foreclosure crisis and about lay-offs during the Great Recession?). There was little distinctive about either the economic distress or the economic anxiety of 2016 to explain Trump.

Some have noted, however, what appear to be a significant number of voters who supported Obama in 2008 or in 2012 and seemed to have switched to Trump in 2016 (e.g., here). Do these data not undermine a cultural, specifically a racial, explanation for Trump? No. In 2008, Obama received an unusual number of WWC votes because of the financial collapse, the Iraq fiasco, and Bush’s consequent unpopularity. These immediate factors overrode race for many in the WWC. But WWC votes for Obama dropped in 2012 despite his being the incumbent. Then, last November, the WWC vote for a Democratic candidate reverted back to its pre-Great Recession levels. [6] Put another way, Clinton’s support from the WWC was not especially low, Obama’s was unusually high for temporary reasons.

What was special about 2016 was the candidate: Donald Trump explicitly and loudly voiced the cultural resentments and authoritarian impulses of many in the WWC (and some in the middle class, too) that had been there for years but had had no full-throated champion–not Romney, not McCain, not the Bushes, probably not even Reagan–since perhaps Richard Nixon. What changed was not the terrain for a politics of resentment but the arrival of an unusual tiller of that soil, someone who brought out just enough of these voters to win his party’s nomination and to boost turnout in particular places for the general election. As one analyst wrote, “Trump repeatedly went where prior Republican presidential candidates were unwilling to go: making explicit appeals to racial resentment, religious intolerance, and white identity.”

But this is still less than half the story.

Party Polarization

To really how understand how Trump could get 46 percent of the vote, it takes more than identifying the distinctive sorts of people whom Trump attracted, because they are not that numerous. Trump won only a minority of the primary votes and faced intense opposition within his party. In the end, however, almost all Republicans came home to him–even evangelicals, to whose moral standards Trump is a living insult. The polarization of American politics in recent years was critical. Party ended up mattering more to college-educated, women, and suburban Republicans than whatever distaste they had for Trump the man.

Consider how historically new this development is. In 1964, the Republican nominee, Barry Goldwater, was considered to be at the far right end of the political spectrum. About 20 to 25% of Republicans crossed over and voted for Democrat Lyndon Johnson. (This crossover was mirrored by Democrats in the 1972 election. [7]) In 2016, by contrast, fewer than 10% of Republicans abandoned Trump–a far more problematic candidate than Goldwater–so much has America become polarized by party in the last couple of decades. [8]


Readings of the 2016 election as the product of a profound shift in American society or politics are overblown. In particular, notions that the WWC’s fortunes or views shifted so substantially in recent years as to account for Trump seem wrong.

What about the argument that the Trump phenomenon is part of a general rise across the western world of xenophobia? I don’t see much evidence outside of the Trump case itself for that in the United States. Long-term data suggest a decline–too slowly, for sure–rather than an increase in such attitudes.[9] And let’s not forget: Hillary Clinton won the popular vote.

The best explanation of why Trump got 46% of the ballots: Advantages for the out party in a third-term election + Trump’s unusual cultural appeal to a minority but still notable number of Americans + historically high party polarization. That Trump actually won the electoral college as well is pretty much an accident, albeit a hugely consequential one.



[1] Basically no one, including Trump, said anything bad about Bernie Sanders from the moment it became clear that Sanders would lose the primaries to Clinton. Had he been nominated, that silence would have ended fast and furiously. Moreover as the always astute Kevin Drum pointed out, Sanders is much too far to left to get elected, even way to the left of George McGovern, who got creamed in 1972. Finally, the “Bernie Brothers” who avoided Clinton would have been more than outnumbered by Hillary’s pissed-off sisters if she had been once again displaced by a man.

[2] On the other hand, economist-blogger Tyler Cowen is skeptical: If the doomsayers are right, why aren’t investors dumping equities, shorting the market, or fleeing to safer commodities?

[3] See these sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.

[4] For examples: 1, 2, 34.

[5] My analysis of the GSS through 2014. White working class is defined as whites who have not graduated college.

[6] Again, I used the GSS. In 2000 and 2004, the Democratic candidates, Gore and Kerry, got about 35 percent of the WWC vote, about what Bill Clinton got in his first run in 1992. Obama got substantially more, 48%, in 2008, then somewhat less, 42%, in 2012. Hillary Clinton got, according to a very different sort of survey, the exit polls, 29% of the WWC, but it is hard to compare the two methods. Note that the GSS reports of who people voted for in the previous election tend to skew toward the winners, but the point still stands that Obama’s jump in support from the WWC, especially in 2008, was quite unusual, not Hillary Clinton’s apparent slump in support.

[7] According to Gallup’s last poll before the 1964 election, 20% of Republicans were going to vote for Johnson. According to my analysis of the American National Election Survey, which is retrospective, 26% actually did. In 1972, the Democrats nominated the most left-leaning candidate of postwar era. According to Gallup data, 33% of Democrats crossed over to vote for Nixon. ANES data suggest that about 40 percent did. Whatever the specifics, there was much more cross-over voting 40 to 50 years ago, even under milder provocation.

[8] On the decline of ticket-splitting, see here.

[9] For example, one of the longest-running items in the GSS is the question, “I’d like you to tell me whether you think we’re spending too much money … too little money, or about the right amount … improving the conditions of Blacks.” In the 1970s, 28% of whites said too much; in the 2000s, 19% did. Another question was asked only through 2002: “Do you agree or disagree… (Negroes/blacks/African-Americans) shouldn’t push themselves where they’re not wanted?” In the 1970s, 74% of whites agreed; from 1990 to 2002, 15% did. More striking, in the 1970s, 11% of whites “strongly disagreed”; from 1990 to 2002, 32% did. On immigrants: David Weakliem has graphed responses to a recurrent Gallup Poll question, “Should immigration be kept at its present level, increased or decreased?”. From 1965 to the mid-1990s, the trend was strongly toward “decreased,” but since then the trend has strongly been toward “increased” (although that’s still a minority view).

Claude S. Fischer, PhD is a sociologist at UC Berkeley and is the author of Made in America: A Social History of American Culture and Character. This post originally appeared at his blog, Made in America.

(View original at

[syndicated profile] slacktivist_feed

Posted by Fred Clark

We've all seen bad movies in which the plot doesn't make sense because they haven't provided a valid reason why the heroes don't just go to the police. This is that movie. Except here it's worse because the hero is a policeman and he won't even go to himself.

Friday Links

Jan. 20th, 2017 07:00 am
[syndicated profile] muslimahmedia_feed

Posted by samya

When Brooklynite Linda Sarsour comes to Washington inauguration weekend as the co-chair of the Women’s March on Washington, it will be another landmark moment in her 15 years of public service fighting for Muslim rights.

A controversial Melbourne billboard depicting two Muslim girls celebrating Australia Day that was taken down due to threats from far right groups, is set to be resurrected in every capital city across the country.

An American actress is encouraging women to wear head scarves on Donald Trump’s inauguration day in a show of solidarity with Muslim women who wear the hijab.

A new Magicuts hair salon on Ogilvie Road is offering something many other salons don’t: a private room where women who wear hijab can get their hair done.

The Bulgarian volleyball team YEB Shumen 05 has made history by attracting the first-ever Iranian female player, Maedeh Borhani Esfahani, to play for a team outside Iran.

Manal Rostom, a young Egyptian mountain climber was the first veiled Muslim woman to represent Arab ladies in an advertisement of the sportswear company Nike.

In the conservative kingdom of Saudi Arabia, many forms of cultural expression are illegal. Nevertheless, a vibrant contemporary arts scene has emerged. CNN met with Saudi artist Dana Awartani to talk about her work and the art scene in Saudi Arabia.

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Posted by Fred Clark

David Dark on James Lawson, being awesome. Willie James Jennings on the "tormented deployment" of a deformed idea of "reconciliation." Nikole Hannah-Jones on segregationism in 21st-century America. Kristin Du Mez on "Donald Trump and Militant Evangelical Masculinity."

My Problem

Jan. 19th, 2017 08:27 am
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Posted by Dave Hingsburger

I have a problem.

I think I've had it for quite a while, but I don't think I've really acknowledged it to myself or to anyone else until now. Let me give you a three examples and then I think you'll understand.

We are having a 'see you soon' gathering at my next team meeting for someone going on leave for a few months. I am in the liquor store picking up a couple bottles of wine, not to consume at work of course, but as gifts. I'm pushing myself carefully not wanting to knock over display towers. A passerby makes a comment about using benefit dollars to buy booze and about how he, as a taxpayer, resents my use of my money in that way. I spring to my own defence and say that I am fully employed and that I am, like him, a taxpayer.

Sitting in a food court holding the table for Joe. He eats much more slowly than I do so he gets his food first and then I get mine. I still finish first but there's not as much of a gap. Anyways, I'm waiting. Another anonymous comment comes my way about being fat and lazy and in a wheelchair, about how I let everyone serve me and the burden I've become. Apparently if I rise up and walk, I'll become thin, productive and those around me won't secretly wish I'm dead. I immediately make it clear that I push myself where ever I go and I participate actively in all my relationships.

It always surprises me when I'm out with Joe, Ruby and Sadie that sometimes people see only me and not me in relationship to the people I'm with. We were all, together, in a line up, getting tickets to a movie, and a comment is made about how sad it must be to be alone all the time. I rear up and say, quietly because I don't want the kids to be involved in another scene, that I'm not alone and that I'm with the people I'm with and, for God's sake, shut up.

You see the problem don't you?

In my mind I'm going after ableist and disphobic assumptions about people with disabilities. In my mind I'm educating people about who people with disabilities are and the lives we lead.

But that's not what I'm doing is it?

Every defence that I use, buys into their measuring stick about what it is to be a person of value.

I work. Okay, big whoop-de-do for me. My response says that I agree with how they determine who should spend what on what and that I have the right to spend my money the way I want because I earn it. Well, I don't agree. I don't think it's anyone's business to tell anyone else how they should spend the money they have no matter how it comes their way. So while challenging stereotype I'm reinforcing hierarchy.

I can physically push my chair. Okay, hold a parade in my honour. My response says that there are lazy people with disabilities but that I'm not one of them. I don't belong to THAT CLASS of disabled people. I am physically strong enough and have the dexterity to be able to push myself, at my weight, in my chair. Well, I don't think that 'lazy' is why people are in wheelchairs. I think that's a stupid notion and my response should tackle that, not reinforce it.

I am married and have relationships. Okay, ain't I special? My response says that there's something about me that makes me able to have relationships and that by having relationships, I have more value. Well, shit on that. I know people with disabilities that for a variety of reasons are not in sexual relationships and have little in the way of social relationships. Leaving out a discussion of why that may be, the question is, does that make them less worthy of respect? No. It doesn't.

I don't know why I want the respect of people who are ignorant or mean towards me. I don't know why I feel a need to protect myself by saying 'I'm not one of those kind of disabled people, you know the kind that don't deserve respect and welcome.' My inner disphobic self maybe peeks out at moments like that.

But, and this is not a defence, I don't know how to respond any other way. I don't want a discussion with someone who said something with the purpose of hurting and degrading me. But I also don't want to justify, in my response, their measure of value and of worth and of humanity.

I have a problem.

The same place

Jan. 18th, 2017 09:36 pm
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Posted by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

I was going to post yesterday, but truth be told, I spent most of my blogging time reading comments. You guys really know how to go to town, don’t you? I’ve read all of them now (I think, there are really a lot) and I want to say how much I appreciate that for the very largest part, that there can be respectful disagreement, and that it can be handled decently.  You guys are awesome in the kindness department. While I was reading, it turns out that I didn’t really get off the rainbow train, because another wee thing fell off my needles.  It doesn’t exactly match the bootees, because it was made from the leftover Dream in Color passed on to me by a generous knitting buddy, but it’s darned nice – it’s a little bigger too, not a newborn size, which is a good thing. Impending Grandson arrives at the tail end of April, and as much as it doesn’t feel like it right now, winter will be over. This one should fit him in the fall – when the winter (sigh) comes back.

rainbow sweater2 2017-01-18

Pattern: Tulips (size 6-9m)  Yarn: Dream in Color Classy, and I don’t know the colours because the labels are long ago gone. They’re darling though – and yes, I know this is probably the 6th time I’ve knit this sweater, and no, I’m not even a little sick of it.

rainbow sweater 2017-01-18

I cast on some bright socks too, as antidote for the next thing on my needles, which is a big squishy warm and cozy cowl for me, knit out of my new yarn crush, Får, from Woolfolk. (I actually like it so much that I came a hair’s breadth from ordering a sweaters worth ten minutes after I finished my swatch. It’s freakin’ delicious.)

farfive 2017-01-18

I decided to knit Grus, and I swatched, then merrily cast on for the larger version. 8 (rather long) rounds later, I realized that things weren’t lining up right, thought about tinking back to figure out where it had gone wrong, realized that I’d failed counting to 4 really early on (and more than once) vowed for the 2824745th time in my knitting career not to establish patterns when I wasn’t concentrating (or when I was chatting with Jen and having a glass of wine – rookie move, that)

gruswrong 2017-01-18

and ripped it back –

grusrip 2017-01-18

and started again. This time, free of the distractions of anything fun or charming, it turns out that I can count to four as many times as I would like, as long as nobody interrupts, me.

grusright 2017-01-18

If I am ever the sort of person who has a gagillion dollars, I am going to fund a study to discover what it is about knitting that destroys an otherwise clever person’s ability to count, while still leaving their other skills intact.  Say it with me. 1. 2. 3. 4. Repeat.

And certainly misused

Jan. 18th, 2017 09:24 pm
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Posted by Fred Clark

It's beyond creepy to learn that one of the biggest names in evangelical philanthropy is one tiny step removed from the biggest name in paramilitary profiteering and mercenary massacres. And why is this family of right-wing billionaires so obsessed with shooting bears? Also: The very, very bad inaugural poem that gives Scots one more reason to hate Donald Trump; mercy seasons justice; and a closer look at American Nazis' conflicted views on Israel.
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Posted by Tristan Bridges, PhD

The 2020 Summer Olympics will be held in Japan.  And when the prime minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, made this public at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, he did so in an interesting way.   He was standing atop a giant “warp pipe” dressed as Super Mario.  I’m trying to imagine the U.S. equivalent.  Can you imagine the president of the United States standing atop the golden arches, dressed as Ronald McDonald, telling the world that we’d be hosting some international event?

Prime minister Abe was able to do this because Mario is a cultural icon recognized around the world.  That Italian-American plumber from Brooklyn created in Japan is truly a global citizen. The Economist recently published an essay on how Mario became known around the world.

Mario is a great example of a process sociologists call cultural globalization.  This is a more general social process whereby ideas, meanings, and values are shared on a global level in a way that intensifies social relations.  And Japan’s prime minister knew this.  Shinzo Abe didn’t dress as Mario to simply sell more Nintendo games.  I’m sure it didn’t hurt sales.  In fact, in the past decade alone, Super Mario may account for up to one third of the software sales by Nintendo.  More than 500 million copies of games in which Mario is featured circulate worldwide.  But, Japan selected Mario because he’s an illustration of technological and artistic innovations for which the Japanese economy is internationally known.  And beyond this, Mario is also an identity known around the world because of his simple association with the same human sentiment—joy.  He intensifies our connections to one another.  You can imagine people at the ceremony in Rio de Janeiro laughing along with audience members from different countries who might not speak the same language, but were able to point, smile, and share a moment together during the prime minister’s performance.  A short, pudgy, mustached, working-class, Italian-American character is a small representation of that shared sentiment and pursuit.  This intensification of human connection, however, comes at a cost.

We may be more connected through Mario, but that connection takes place within a global capitalist economy.  In fact, Wisecrack produced a great short animation using Mario to explain Marxism and the inequalities Marx saw as inherent within capitalist economies.  Cultural globalization has more sinister sides as well, as it also has to do with global cultural hegemony.  Local culture is increasingly swallowed up.  We may very well be more internationally connected.  But the objects and ideas that get disseminated are not disseminated on an equal playing field.  And while the smiles we all share when we connect with Mario and his antics are similar, the political and economic benefits associated with those shared smirks are not equally distributed around the world.  Indeed, the character of Mario is partially so well-known because he happened to be created in a nation with a dominant capitalist economy.  Add to that that the character himself hails from another globally dominant nation–the U.S.  The culture in which he emerged made his a story we’d all be much more likely to hear.

Tristan Bridges, PhD is a professor at The College at Brockport, SUNY. He is the co-editor of Exploring Masculinities: Identity, Inequality, Inequality, and Change with C.J. Pascoe and studies gender and sexual identity and inequality. You can follow him on Twitter here. Tristan also blogs regularly at Inequality by (Interior) Design.

(View original at

The Bump and I

Jan. 18th, 2017 07:56 am
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Posted by Dave Hingsburger

Tomorrow my power chair comes back. I am conflicted. Not by the 900 dollar repair bill, which was enough to knock the wind out of me, but by the fact that I'm wondering about how to incorporate it back into my life. This stands in stark contrast as to how I felt when they took it into the shop. Then I almost mourned its loss in my life. Everything suddenly seemed either harder or impossible.

But then, as disabled people do expertly, I adapted. But oddly, I didn't just adapt, I thrived. I pushed longer and longer distances and began to conquer steeper and longer ramps. I began liking the strength in my arms and the delicious sense of tiredness that came from really hard physical work. After a few weeks, I didn't much miss the chair.This was helped by the fact that the weather was really cold out and the WheelTrans buses were warm inside.

So yesterday Joe and I talked about the chair and it's return. I think I might have surprised him when I said that I wanted to use it, but use it less. I picked out some places where we've had to do a lot of organizing with rides and where there 'push potential' is small. Those places, where we go to a lot, I'll use the power chair. But places where the 'push potential' is significant, where we also go a lot, I'd like to stick with the buses and my manual chair.

I realized that I have relied on my power chair more than I needed to. It's easy, it's quick and it's fast, but it also takes away from me my ability to do things for myself and my potential for growth. Just the other day I forgot that I couldn't do something and therefore, I did it. It took me by surprise when I realized what had happened. The only reason that it happened was because, physically, my arms are stronger, my body is more flexible and I have more confidence in trying things previously out of reach.

900$ is a lot of money. I'm still shocked at the cost. But overall, I'm glad this happened. I'm glad that I was forced to adapt and change. What I thought was going to be a catastrophic event was only a bump in the road, a bump I now have the strength to get over.

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Posted by Jack El-Hai

By Jack El-Hai (Regular Contributor)

Art Linkletter had a long career in radio and TV as a show host, comedian, and pitch man. Before his death in 2010, Linkletter and I had a complicated relationship. In 1967 I was a kid featured in the closing minutes of one of his popular and nationally broadcast House Party TV episodes — the part of the show in which Linkletter asked children questions and made them unwittingly say funny — or “the darndest” — things in response.

Art Linkletter in 1957

My encounter with Linkletter disturbed me, and I afterward followed his career. I grew to regard him as a man needy of attention whose family tragedies and conservative opinions carried him along strange paths. (If you’d like to read more about my appearance on his show, I’ve written about it here.)

When I learned that the FBI’s file on Linkletter had been released to the public, I had to take a look. I found that the file included details of two extortion attempts against Linkletter, plus a bit of information on the celebrity’s own minor wrongdoing.

The first extortion attempt

The file opens with documents chronicling an attempt in 1954 to extort money from Linkletter, who was then 41 and already famous for his work in broadcasting. Linkletter received two threatening messages, and like clichéd ransom notes in a movie, both were assembled from letters cut out from newspapers and magazines. The first demanded $1,000 and threatened harm to Linkletter’s daughter. The second, sent after Linkletter did not respond to the first, read, “This is it. Your last chance. Your children are nest [sic]. Rat”

An envelope used in the 1954 extortion attempt

Postmarks showed that both letters were mailed from Jamaica, N.Y., a city on Long Island where Linkletter had no known acquaintances or enemies. The celebrity said he was not frightened, but the FBI sprang into action. Assuming the letters to be the work of a child, the agency spent the next several weeks collecting 4,779 writing samples from junior high and high school students in the Jamaica area. Agents found no matches with the hand printing on the extortion letter envelopes. “Inasmuch as logical investigation has failed to identify the unknown subject and there are no leads outstanding,” an agent wrote in admirable FBI bureaucratese four months after the case began, “this matter is closed.”

The next extortion attempt

Linkletter was again victimized four years later, but this time he was in illustrious company: the extortionist simultaneously sent letters to Linkletter, Vice President Richard Nixon, and Georgia Senator Herman Talmadge. The perpetrator threatened Linkletter’s sons, demanded $700, dropped a .22 caliber bullet into the envelope, and conveniently included his full name and mailing address in Molena, Georgia, along with the admonition, “Don’t fool around.” (He demanded only $200 from Nixon and Talmadge.)

The local sheriff quickly arrested the extortionist, an unemployed, red-haired and freckled 18-year-old, who under questioning by FBI agents admitted to sending the letters. He had spent time as a psychiatric patient at Milledgeville State Hospital. He said he needed the extortion money to go to Florida and find a job. The U.S. Attorney in Los Angeles declined to prosecute him, and the file does not mention his ultimate legal disposition.

A false statement

The final pages of the FBI’s file on Linkletter concern a security questionnaire the entertainer filled out in 1959 when he joined the board of directors of Cohu Electronics, a U.S. military contractor. In that questionnaire, Linkletter was found to have falsely stated that he had never been arrested. In fact, as the FBI discovered, Linkletter had been arrested and convicted in 1942 for making a false affidavit of citizenship. (Born in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, he did not actually become a U.S. citizen until 1947.) Linkletter paid a $500 fine for the 1942 infraction. His penalty for making the false statement in the security questionnaire, if there was any, is unknown.

Further reading:

Federal Bureau of Investigation. File on Art Linkletter.

Linkletter, Art. Hobo on the Way to Heaven: An Autobiography. David Cook, 1980.


Jack El-Hai is the author of The Nazi and the Psychiatrist: Hermann Göring, Dr. Douglas M. Kelley, and a Fatal Meeting of Minds at the End of WW2 (PublicAffairs Books) and Non-Stop: A Turbulent History of Northwest Airlines (University of Minnesota Press). He frequently writes articles on history and the history of medicine for such publications as  DiscoverThe AtlanticAeonScientific American MindLongreads, and The Washington Post Magazine  (among many others), and he has given presentations for the American Psychological Association, the Congress of Neurological Surgeons, the Mayo Clinic, Yale University, the University of Pennsylvania, Tufts University, and other universities and medical schools.

Find Jack on screen-shot-2016-12-13-at-4-54-23-pm

The post When Extortionists Targeted Hollywood’s Art Linkletter appeared first on Wonders & Marvels.

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Inchell’s illustration for the Year Two Kickstarter print set! It gets the award for Most Adorable And Accurate Portrayal of the OMGCP Cast ever. Go check out her stuff!


Reading Romans 8 at a funeral

Jan. 17th, 2017 08:26 pm
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Posted by Fred Clark

Romans 8 contains both a passage of beautiful comfort that should always be read at funerals and a sorely abused passage that has been twisted into a cruelly glib slogan that should never, ever, be read at funerals. Please don't get those two passages confused.

New words for trapping: a 1903 ad

Jan. 17th, 2017 06:48 pm
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Posted by chinookjargon


Chinook Jargon’s connection with the Northwest fur trade is proverbial.  But until now, we’ve had extremely little documentation of how people talked in CJ about the trapping side of that equation.


Trap (credit: Wikipedia)

Today I’m showing you a bilingual 1903 ad from British Columbia.  Interestingly its text, especially the Jargon version, was aimed at Indigenous readers, so it occurs in Chinook Jargon.  This ad sheds new light on how certain ideas important in the fur industry were expressed, and how they came to be put the way they were.

< Chas. V. Smith

     17. Water St.

          Vancouver, B.C. >


     Naika piii ilip ayu chikmin kopa skins, bir,
I pay more money for skins ( = furs), bear, 

bivir, martin pi kanawi skins.
beaver, marten and all kinds of skins.  

Wiht naika sil traps, pi kanawi ikta
I also sell traps, and all kinds of 

lamidsin pus chako kaltash mawich kopa traps.
medicine for the smaller animals to come to the traps ( = bait).  


< Highest prices paid for furs & skins.

     Traps for sale. Also baits for

attracting all kinds of Animals to traps. >


Kamloops Wawa #207 (December 1903), page 128

Like other fur-related Chinook Jargon advertisements in this newspaper, this one teaches us in a couple of sentences what 200 years of heavily-circulated word lists never did.

In those previous ads, we already learned the word martin “marten”, as well as the novel English loans — a strong trend in this dialect — for “bear” and “beaver”, replacing the venerable old CJ tsx̣ut and ína.  Those earlier ads have also shown us that skin(s) was the word for the “furs, pelts” that were traded.

What’s new here is traps, again a typical new borrowing from English.  This word takes the place of the formerly well-established lapiésh (from French la piège).

Why, you must ask yourself at some point, does this keep happening?  Why did perfectly good existing CJ vocabulary keep getting replaced up at Kamloops?

It wasn’t that the people of BC were learning Jargon poorly.  The opposite is true.  It’s in BC that we find by far the gigantic majority of all documented complete sentences in the pidgin.  Here I’m acknowledging that there were dozens — hundreds! — of CJ publications…but almost all of them were mere lists of vocabulary words, not the connected texts that we find spilling out of Kamloops in the Chinuk pipa shorthand.  Now that someone (that’s me) is decoding and researching that shorthand, we’re becoming aware of how very expressive, how fluent, was the CJ spoken around Kamloops.

Instead, I pin it on a kind of “punctuated equilibrium“.  That’s the biological theory that evolutionary change happens in sudden fits and starts.  I’ve observed that as Chinook Jargon spread over an ever greater geographical expanse, repeatedly being brought by existing speakers to areas where it hadn’t been used before, it got stripped down every time.  This is why CJ, as we now find its relics on paper, is rich in words that quickly became antiquated, many of them synonyms of each other.

This makes sense, doesn’t it?  Thought-experiment time: If you were the only speaker of English to have visited some certain tributary of the Amazon or planet of Alpha Centauri, guess how much of the English language you’d have brought with you to share with the locals.  Really, do you have the Oxford English Dictionary complete in your mind, and even if you do, do you really use all of those previously known words of English when you talk?  Nope, you rely on a smallish subset of that potential vocabulary.  And in the absence of anybody for you to have deep conversations with in this language, you’ll find yourself exercising your English muscles quite minimally.

You can see now how such a “founder effect” (another biology metaphor! — we pidgin & creole linguists love us some “ecology“!) would play out for a pidgin contact language like the Jargon.  For one thing, all of its speakers, at least until say the 1860s or 1870s when there were a few adults who had grown up with it, had only recently learned it.

That right there is a bottleneck, isn’t it?  Think about any foreign language whatsoever that you’ve learned.  Unless and until you reach nativelike fluency, it’s certain that you’ve taken in only a restricted subset of existing words and phrases of that language.


Turtles all the way down (credit: Wikipedia)

And CJ kept being funneled through bottleneck upon bottleneck.  (It’s “turtles all the way down“).  Chinook Jargon in mainland British Columbia pretty much owes its existence to having been suddenly imported by white folks who hurried in scouting for gold, from about 1858 onwards.  Few of them were reputed expert speakers (there was such a thing, as we know from the reputations of an astonishingly few people in the frontier era).  And effectively no one who already lived in BC knew this pidgin until the gold rushes.

Put it all together, and you get acceptably fluent, but only partial, transmission of CJ lexicon to new territories.

In some of those territories, the Kamloops region being the finest example of all, CJ wound up taking hold and being used a lot.  People spoke “Chinook” to express ever more concepts and topics.  As the need arose, new solutions were found for communicative issues that in many instances had been solved long ago, but left behind in older CJ-speaking areas.  What resource was the most ubiquitous and the most widely understood in this new territory?  English.

Of course, not all of the newly -discovered terms in Kamloops CJ were recent English loans.  Take kaltash mawich, a purely CJ expression for “fur-bearing animals” concocted to distinguish literally “worthless [non-edible] deer” from game animals (“deer” being also the generic word for “animal”).  And expanding on this phrase, for the “bait” that trappers use, instead of an English borrowing, there’s lamidsin pus chako kaltash mawich kopa traps — literally “medicine so that worthless deer come to the traps”.

There you have a little lesson on the introduction of new CJ words and phrases like those we’re looking at today.

A final brief historical note: Charles V. Smith surely is the merchant who a short time later relocated to Hazelton, BC.  The newspaper record shows that he was active in local politics, and recounts how both the home and entire stock of furs of this “old-time merchant of the Skeena country” went up in flames in 1914.

Flag Football

Jan. 16th, 2017 10:00 pm
[syndicated profile] omgcheckplease_feed
Bitty: [completes TD pass to Jack]
Jack: [slaps his boyfriend's butt]
Jack: Nice play,...

Suckling from Mother Kamloops Wawa

Jan. 17th, 2017 03:45 am
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Posted by chinookjargon


A constant source of sustenance for your curiosity:  The motherlode of Chinook Jargon words that nobody seems to have researched before.  Here’s a new one.  (Warning: offensive language.)

     < 3o. > Iht iht tanas klaska drit ayu
Some babies really 

krai pus liplit mamuk wash klaska: klunas iaka
cry a lot when the priest baptizes them: maybe it’s 

ukuk tanas lili wik klaska tlap tit kopa
those ones that for some while haven’t gotten the breast to 

klaska mamuk. Pus wik saia liplit mamuk
work on.  When the priest is about to 

wash klaska pi klaska mama patlach tit kopa
baptize them and their mother gives a breast to 

klaska, klunas wik klaska ayu krai kakwa.
them, maybe they won’t cry so much.  

— Kamloops Wawa #207 (December 1903), page 121

There’s zero element of surprise in discovering that turn-of-the-century Kamloops Chinook Jargon borrowed the word tit to use instead of the older tutúsh.

And naturally it’s a street English word.  That’s how pidgin languages, an animal that researchers have observed seldom has much to do with writing and reading, roll.  You notice they didn’t borrow the more formal “breast”.

Also, conforming predictably with what I’ve pointed out to you folks countless times, new English loans into KCW usually had meanings that are more specific and narrow than the old Jargon words they bumped out.  In this case, a tit is a tit is a tit.  Whereas ye olde tutúsh, as a lot of you know, replicated the polysemy of the corresponding words in many Pacific NW Indigenous languages — “breast(s); milk” and with modifying adjectives, “cheese” and such.

Maybe less known is the fact that both of these words make prominent appearances in PNW place names.  We know of a number of locales called Tatoosh…as it’s usually spelled…and sources are unanimous that “Tatoosh Wilderness, Tatoosh Buttes, Tattosh Creek, and Tatoosh Hills” and such all derive from the Jargon.  (The important exception is Tatoosh Island, named for a Makah chief.)

Also recorded plainly in our region’s history are places known as Tit(s) this-or-that.  Mark Monmonier’s delightful book “From Squaw Tit to Whorehouse Meadow: How Maps Name, Claim, and Inflame” puts it right there in the title.  In our recent well-intentioned efforts to remove potential sources of offense from the map, some of these are getting rechristened.  Monmonier calls a misguided prude a misguided prude when he shines the spotlight on the land features now called Squaw Butte, Squaw Mountain, and Squaw Tip!

Whatever you feel about all that, I can contribute a shiny new 2-cent piece…well, metaphorically.  To my knowledge, nobody has ever pointed out that some of these Tit names may have originally been Chinook Jargon.  The BC traditional village name Squawtits, as egregiously as it smacks the modern ear, can be seen as a compound of two known CJ words.  It may well have seemed such to the white folks like the McKenna-McBride Commission who recorded this as its official spelling while formalizing Indian Reserve boundaries; they were doing a lot of their business with the Indigenous communities in Jargon.

(You should be made aware that this name, now officially spelled Squatits, is actually  Stó:lo Salish.  Brent Galloway’s awesome 2009 dictionary of that language tells us that it’s Skw’átets, deriving from a verb kw’átem so that it literally means ‘trickling water in the back’, in Stó:lo.  None of which needs to be interpreted as having prevented outsiders to that community from hearing it in Chinook Jargon.)

Rainbow Boy

Jan. 16th, 2017 10:49 pm
[syndicated profile] yarn_harlot_feed

Posted by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

Right now, Luis’ favourite book at our house is The Rainbow Bear. My girls loved it too, and I took it out from the book bin just before Christmas because I though that Lou was ready for the sad story of a bear who just wanted to be  colourful, and lived out the downside of trying to be something you’re not, learning that each of us is supposed to be exactly as we are for things to work right. Maybe that was in my mind, or maybe it’s the winter grey that’s getting to me, but this weekend I sat myself down, and made my impending grandson a pair of bootees. I’d saved the leftovers from a pair of Rainbow socks a while back, with this exactly in mind. (Well, bootees in mind, but not bootees for my grandson. He was a sparkle in his mother’s eye when I saved it.)

startrainbowbootees 2017-01-16

I was totally right about the book. Luis loves it, and I was knitting the bootees on the subway a few days ago, feeling cheerful and happy about the whole thing, when a very nice lady sat down beside me and asked what I was making.  I told her my daughter was expecting a baby, and that I was making bootees.  “Oh, it’s a girl!” she chirped, and I paused for a second, and then said that it was a boy.

morerainbowbootees 2017-01-16

She looked at me for a minute, and I could tell that we were entering a fragile moment, one that we were going to disagree on, and this being Canada we’re good at disagreeing politely in public, and so she said “Goodness. Aren’t those a little… girly, for a boy?”

Now, since we are good at disagreeing in public, I did tell her what I thought, and I was gentle. “No” I said. “I don’t think it matters.” She looked at me for a minute, and she said “You’re right. He’ll be tiny. It won’t matter.” I looked at her for a second, and I said “Oh, I think it’s fine in general” and then she said this. “Of course – though when he’s bigger, you won’t want someone taking him for a girl.”

rainbowbootees 2017-01-16

We didn’t go any further than that, it was the subway, after all. Here’s the thing though – I think what happened there was pretty sexist. Not the overt sort of sexism that’s wound up with women having a significant pay gap, or men still owning most of the property and having most of the money (despite women having most of the education, but that’s a fight for another post.) I mean – and let me be perfectly, absolutely, fantastically clear… I think that if you’re worried about what would happen if a boy is taken for a girl, then you’re sexist. It means that you have a plan – whether you’re aware of it or not. It means that you treat boys one way, and girls another, and that you think you need to know if a baby is a boy or a girl, and that there would be consequences of some kind if you got it wrong.

When someone says “What if they were taken for a girl?” It tells me right that minute that you think that would be a problem. You can say all  you like, lady on the subway, that you think boys and girls are equal, but you’ve just revealed that you don’t think the same systems apply – and I’ll ask you this… What if? What if someone took my grandson for a girl? What if they absolutely took a look at this wee human with his gorgeous rainbow feet, and got his gender wrong, and treated him like a girl? What would happen then? What were you planning on doing differently?

If the answer is nothing, my commuting compatriot, then why do you need to know? I understand that there are problems here. That there are things that we think of as manly, and things that are feminine, and that there’s a whole great big system at work and it’s complicated, and hard to buck against, and I’m not saying that there aren’t families and parents where boys have to wear boy clothes, and girls have to wear girl clothes (and live with the fact that there are no goddamn pockets in the garb of the latter) and I am totally copping to the fact that from time to time, I feel the pressures of all of those things,  but here we speak of bootees. Tiny socks for a tiny person, and wouldn’t it be so nice if we could just begin their time on this earth truly thinking for one little minute that the sort of socks that they wear won’t have a huge impact on what happens, and how people treat them?

rainbowbear 2017-01-16

On the other hand, we live in a world where girls make less money (globally, 60-75% less) hold less power, do a disproportionate amount of caregiving, and have a 1 in 4 chance (and that’s in North America) of being sexually assaulted in their lifetimes, and where someone who is about to be the President of the United States can talk about grabbing women’s privates because he’s powerful – and it will be dismissed by enough people as unimportant (or the way that men talk) that he will still win. So maybe, if I’m being kind… maybe the lady on the subway was just trying to keep our little human safe, because there are very real consequences to being a girl.

I now return you to your regularly scheduled knitting, rather apologetically.


Shifts in the U.S. LGBT Population

Jan. 16th, 2017 01:07 pm
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Posted by Tristan Bridges, PhD

Counting the number of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people is harder than you might think.  I’ve written before on just how important it is to consider, for instance, precisely how we ask questions about sexuality.  One way scholars have gotten around this is to analytically separate the distinct dimensions of sexuality to consider which dimension they are asking about.  For research on sexuality, this is typically done by considering sexual identities as analytically distinct from sexual desires and sexual behaviors.  We like to imagine that sexual identities, acts, and desires all neatly match up, but the truth of the matter is… they don’t.  At least not for everyone.  And while you might think that gender might lend itself to be more easily assessed on surveys, recent research shows that traditional measures of sex and gender erase our ability to see key ways that gender varies in our society.

Gallup just released a new publication authored by Gary J. Gates.  Gates has written extensively on gender and sexual demography and is responsible for many of the population estimates we have for gender and sexual minorities in the U.S.  This recent publication just examines shifts in the past 5 years (between 2012 and 2016).  And many of them may appear to be small.  But changes like this at the level of a population in a population larger than 300,000,000 people are big shifts, involving huge numbers of actual people.  In this post, I’ve graphed a couple of the findings from the report–mostly because I like to chart changes to visually illustrate findings like this to students.  [*Small note: be aware of the truncated y axes on the graphs.  They’re sometimes used to exaggerate findings.  I’m here truncating the y axes to help illustrate each of the shifts discussed below.]


The report focuses only on one specific measure of membership as LGBT–identity.  And this is significant as past work has shown that this is, considered alongside other measures, perhaps the most conservative measure we have.  Yet, even by that measure, the LGBT population is on the move, increasing in numbers at a rapid pace in a relatively short period of time.  As you can see above, between 2012 and 2016, LGBT identifying persons went from 3.5%-4.1% of the U.S. population, which amounts to an estimated shift from 8.3 million people in 2012 to more than 10 million in 2016.


The report also shows that a great deal of that increase can be accounted for by one particular birth cohort–Millennials.  Perhaps not surprisingly, generations have become progressively more likely to identify as LGBT.  But the gap between Millenials and the rest is big and appears to be growing.  But the shifts are not only about cohort effects.  The report also shows that this demographic shift is gendered, racialized, and has more than a little to do with religion as well.

The gender gap between proportion of the population identifying as LGBT in the U.S. is growing.  The proportion of women identifying as LGBT has jumped almost a full percentage point over this period of time.  And while more men (and a larger share of men) are identifying as LGBT than were in 2012, the rate of increase appears to be much slower.  As Gates notes, “These changes mean that the portion of women among LGBT-identified adults rose slightly from 52% to 55%” (here).


The gap between different racial groups identifying as LGBT has also shifted with non-Hispanic Whites still among the smallest proportion of those identifying.  As you can see, the shift has been most pronounced among Asian and Hispanic adults in the U.S.  Because White is the largest racial demographic group here, in actual numbers, they still comprise the largest portion of the LGBT community when broken down by race.  But, the transition over these 5 years are a big deal.  In 2012, 2 of every 3 LGBT adults in the U.S. identified as non-Hispanic White.  By 2016, that proportion dropped to 6 out of every 10. This is big news.  LGBT people (as measured by self-identification) are becoming a more racially diverse group.

They are also diverse in terms of class.  Considering shifts in the proportion of LGBT identifying individuals by income and education tells an interesting story.  As income increases, the proportion of LGBT people decreases.  And you can see that finding by education in 2012 as well–those with less education are more likely to be among those identifying as LGBT (roughly).  But, by 2016, the distinctions between education groups in terms of identifying as LGBT have largely disappeared.  The biggest rise has been among those with a college degree.  That’s big news and could mean that, in future years, the income gap here may decrease as well.

There were also findings in the report to do with religion and religiosity among LGBT identifying people in the U.S.  But I didn’t find those as interesting.  Almost all of the increases in people identifying as LGBT in recent years have been among those who identify as “not religious.”  While those with moderate and high levels of religious commitment haven’t seen any changes in the last five years.  But, among the non-religious, the proportion identifying as LGBT has jumped almost 2 percentage points (from 5.3% in 2012 to 7.0% in 2016).

All of this is big news because it’s a powerful collection of data that illustrate that the gender and sexual demographics of the U.S. are, quite literally, on the move.  We should stand up and pay attention.  And, as Gates notes in the report, “These demographic traits are of interest to a wide range of constituencies.”  Incredible change in an incredibly short period of time.  Let the gender and sexual revolution continue!

Edit (1/17/17): The graph charting shifts by age cohort may exaggerate (or undersell) shifts among Millennials because the data does not exclude Millennials born after 1994.  So, some of those included in the later years here wouldn’t have been included in the earlier years because they weren’t yet 18.  So, it’s more difficult to tell how much of that shift is actually people changing identity for the age cohort as a whole as opposed to change among the youngest Millennials surveyed.

Tristan Bridges, PhD is a professor at The College at Brockport, SUNY. He is the co-editor of Exploring Masculinities: Identity, Inequality, Inequality, and Change with C.J. Pascoe and studies gender and sexual identity and inequality. You can follow him on Twitter here. Tristan also blogs regularly at Inequality by (Interior) Design.

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Looking for the Stranger

Jan. 16th, 2017 01:00 pm
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Posted by Raquelle Bostow

By Alice Kaplan (Guest Contributor)

How did Camus come up with the name for Meursault, the hero of The Stranger ? His is one of the most famous names in modern literature, and one of the most mysterious.

In the late 1930s, Camus drafted a first novel he called A Happy Death.  He revised it many times but was never satisfied, and finally put it away in a drawer. The main character of that novel was a man named Patrice Mersault—Meursault minus the “u.”

It’s worth taking a look at the two names—Mersault and Meursault—and thinking about how Camus might have gotten from one to the other.  When you pronounce “Mersault” without the “u,” it sounds ethnically Spanish, like “Merso.” “Merso” is a name that could have belonged to heavily Spanish ethnic Europeans who lived in Oran, or to a kin of Camus’s mother Catherine Sintès, whose people were from Minorca. But Meursault is different. For any French reader, that name can only signify the delicious and expensive white Burgundy wine.

I was really shocked when I looked at the only surviving manuscript of The Stranger and discovered that Camus writes his character’s name without a “u” throughout. Where did that “u” come from ? Some Camus experts claim he thought of the name change at a dinner party where he was served an especially good bottle of the Burgundy wine. Then there’s the story of the contest.  Every November, a literary prize of 3,000 bottles of Meursault wine was awarded to a book celebrating the glory of the land. An ad for the prize appeared in the French press in November, 1941, as Camus was putting finishing touches on his novel. Although Meursault isn’t a very funny guy, Camus himself had a great sense of humor, and I can imagine him joking to his friends that naming his main character “Meursault” was a sure way to win the prize.

Certainly Camus had other reasons to make the change.  First there is something more expected about the way Meur-sault sounds to a French ear than Mer-sault. Then again, the extra “u”  makes the first syllable of his character’s name signify death meur (death), which serve the purposes of a story in which Meursault commits murder and waits to die at the guillotine.

I have another theory about the name change, but no way to prove it.  In the early spring of 1942, Camus was in Oran, Algeria, deathly sick with tuberculosis. So he asked his publishers to proof read the pages of the novel for him, in Paris.  Is it possible that they took matters into their own hands, or that they checked with the author in a communication that is lost to us, and changed Mersault to Meursault on publisher’s page proofs ?  Some of the greatest moments in world literature are the result of a last minute, last second cross outs.  We’ll never know if this is one of them.

Alice Kaplan is the author of French Lessons: A Memoir, The Collaborator, The InterpreterDreaming in French: The Paris Years of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, Susan Sontag, and Angela Davis, and Looking for The Stranger. She is the translator of OK, Joe, The Difficulty of Being a Dog, A Box of Photographs, and Palace of Books. Her books have been twice finalists for the National Book Critics Circle Awards, once for the National Book Award, and she is a winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. She holds the John M. Musser chair in French literature at Yale. She lives in Guilford, Connecticut.

The post Looking for the Stranger appeared first on Wonders & Marvels.


Jan. 15th, 2017 10:04 am
[syndicated profile] rollingaroundinmyhed_feed

Posted by Dave Hingsburger

Because the word 'invalid' sounds different when it references an argument or a point someone is making than it does when referring to people with disabilities. That little bit of difference makes it sound like it's two different words with two different spellings, it isn't. I'm not going to go off on a rant about the use of the word 'invalid' in language, I practically never hear it used in reference to disability any more, even the dictionary says is archaic and it's offensive. 

What I want to talk about is those moments in life where I feel like I'm simply invalid - using the meaning of 'not valid'. A really small moment happened in a store where Joe and I were making a deposit on our retirement plan and picking up lottery tickets. I had rolled in, I was making the order, Joe was standing in front of me simply watching the ticket seller punch buttons. After buying the 'machine tickets' I also wanted to pick up some scratch tickets, the maybe a vacation this year tickets. But when I said, "I'll get some scratch tickets now," the man completely ignored me, I wasn't there. He totalled the tickets bought thus far and looked to Joe for the money. All this as if I was invalid - as in having no part to play in this transaction.

I spoke up saying, "I'm buying the tickets, not him, please listen to me." His wife, who works in the store with him heard the tone of my voice and rushed over. He was now flustered and was pulling trays of tickets out and shoving them at me. I hadn't yet told him which ticket types we wanted. I had to wait for the flurry of activity to die down, I then told him which tickets I wanted and he put back two trays and held out a third, to Joe, as if I wasn't there. As if I was invalid - as in an argument serving no purpose.

Again I directed him that I was picking the tickets and he shoved them at me, I was upset, so was he, but I picked and paid for the tickets. On the way out I told Joe that we would never purchase there again. Joe simply nodded, he got it.


It's a word that means 'of no consequence' ... 'wrong' ... 'incorrect' ... maybe it's a word that also describes the feeling that we have,sometimes as disabled people.

Maybe that's why, on occasion I have a deep, deep yearning for validation.

Maybe that's what we can all do for each other.

Sunday favorites

Jan. 15th, 2017 11:34 am
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Posted by Fred Clark

"Woe to you, scribes and pastors, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous, and you say, 'If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.'"


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