Heaven and hell, robots with lasers and car-eating vultures

“Whatever the sticklers say, data isn’t a plural noun like ‘pebbles.’ It’s a mass noun like ‘dust.’

“They must have made some money — they ran the ads for years — but I never personally knew anyone who ordered these things.”

We’ve also got two robot science labs — one wielding a laser — roving around Mars, looking at whether life ever existed on the Red Planet.”

 “They’re not hungry –€” most of the time they don’€™t really even eat the car parts they’ve savaged, just tear them up with their claws for no obvious reason. The going theory is just that they’re bored.”

“Why do I think that when we curb the urge to flatten turtles with our cars, we’ll solve some of our other problems, too?”

A near enemy to compassion is sorrow … that’s me getting wrecked by the picture of the child in the newspaper so that I can’t actually help them.”

“Try doing the opposite of all the networking advice, and talk to the person who probably can’€™t help your work and who doesn’™t have any prestige.”

“When it comes to ‘the church’ i think we have a really jacked up system related to power.”

Where there is no love, put love, and you will find love.”

“This Christianity thing isn’t about escaping hell and this world to go to heaven. It’s about bringing heaven to this world and abolishing hell forever.”

“Hell is in business here all the time … heaven too, or we couldn’t stand it.”

“Brady told the conservative publication Illinois Review that the ‘true conservative position is in favor’ of allowing same sex marriage.”

“It could be that we are beginning to convince evangelical lay people that allowing gay people to marry at the courthouse or at some other church does not threaten their right to believe and live as they choose.”

“Because it was the first time I really cared about gay people and they could tell.”

“What does it mean to be privileged? It means not having to think about any of this, ever.”

It’€™s like being pecked to death by feral potatoes.”

“That’s advice I’ve been giving to others for about the last thirty years but I only recently realized where I got it in the first place. I got it from Richard Chamberlain.”

Church Sign Epic Fails: We Serve Minors

 

 

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  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    “They must have made some money — they ran the ads for years — but I never personally knew anyone who ordered these things.”

    I always wondered if they even worked. When I got older, I realized they probably could get sued if the things contributed to sexual harrassment, so I suspect they never really did.

    “Why do I think that when we curb the urge to flatten turtles with our cars, we’ll solve some of our other problems, too?”

    Who on earth would run over a poor turtle?! :( I’d try to miss it if I couldn’t come to a stop in time. :(

    “This Christianity thing isn’t about escaping hell and this world to go to heaven. It’s about bringing heaven to this world and abolishing hell forever.”

    I remember writing on Slacktivist (here or on Typepad) that doing good works as a Christian ought to be about making heaven on Earth because making life as pleasant as possible for as many people on this planet as possible is a good thing in and of itself.

    Glad to see other people think that way too :)

    “What does it mean to be privileged? It means not having to think about any of this, ever.”

    Interesting anecdote. It’s a sad testament to society in 2012 that people still assume a black person walking around has the label “thief” stuck to them.

    As fished out from the Republican memory hole:

    “If equal opportunity in America were an accomplished fact, then a chronically bad economy would be equally bad for everyone.

    “Instead, it’s worse for African Americans in almost every way. The
    unemployment rate, the duration of unemployment, average income, median
    family wealth are all worse in the black community.

    Also:

    “Now, if someone had told us in the 1950s and the 1960s that a black
    citizen would serve as the 44th President of the United States, we would
    have been proud and many would have been surprised.

    “Picturing that day, we might have assumed that the American
    presidency would be the very last door of opportunity to be opened.
    Before that came to pass, every other barrier on the path of equal
    opportunity would surely have had to come down.

    “Of course, it hasn’t happened quite that way. Many barriers remain.
    Old inequities persist. In some ways, the challenges are even more
    complicated than before.

    Remember folks, Mitt Romney admitted, on television, that the Republican dogma of blacks being lazy shiftless criminals is, in fundamentals, simply not true.

    If Mitt Romney can contradict received social wisdom on what black people do, so too can anyone else.

    And maybe one day people won’t see a black guy with a TV set and think he stole it.

  • http://jamoche.dreamwidth.org/ Jamoche

    Who on earth would run over a poor turtle?!

    Someone well on their way to failing the Voight-Kampff test.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jon.maki Jon Maki

    (Adds Mail-Order Mysteries to “must buy” list.)

  • Foreigner

    I looked up how X-Ray Specs ‘worked’, and it was exactly as disappointing as might imagine.

  • EllieMurasaki

    What do the robots need with car-eating vultures when they’ve already got lasers?

  • Tricksterson

    Obviously the lasers are to defend themselves from the vultures.

  • Carstonio

    I’m not sure how same-sex marriage is compatible with any of the definitions of conservatism that I’ve heard. We’ve already established that “traditional values” is mostly code for hegemony for people of a certain gender and/or religious affiliation.  Even the conservatives who value tradition for its own sake are subscribing to a type of authoritarianism, and that also describes generic conservatism which is opposition to change. I suppose the only conservative value that might square with same-sex marriage is an authoritarian distrust of human nature, where marriage is viewed primarily as a means for regulating sexual appetites and compelling care for any children. But I might be missing something.

  • Münchner Kindl

    I’m not sure how same-sex marriage is compatible with any of the definitions of conservatism that I’ve heard

    That’s what disappointed me about the linked article: they didn’t cite any of the reasons the guy gave (I hope he gave some!)

    My thought was that “Marriage” is a more conservative value than “living together and changing partners often”.

    Or maybe he’s going back to a certain time when government didn’t interfere with people’s sex lives? (Although offhand I’m hard pressed to think what time that could be – laws started out from religion and therefore about sex, and it was enlightment and secularism that put laws on a human right basis without bothering about sex, so earlier periods would have more restrictions on sex).

  • Carstonio

    My thought was that “Marriage” is a more conservative value than “living together and changing partners often”.

    Brady still needs to explain why it’s more conservative. The latter is not the only alternative to the former.

    Although offhand I’m hard pressed to think what time that could be

    I don’t know if laws started from religion, but religions in many societies centuries ago were the de facto governments, at least on a local level.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    I’m not sure how same-sex marriage is compatible with any of the definitions of conservatism that I’ve heard. We’ve already established that “traditional values” is mostly code for hegemony for people of a certain gender and/or religious affiliation.  Even the conservatives who value tradition for its own sake are subscribing to a type of authoritarianism, and that also describes generic conservatism which is opposition to change. I suppose the only conservative value that might square with same-sex marriage is an authoritarian distrust of human nature, where marriage is viewed primarily as a means for regulating sexual appetites and compelling care for any children. But I might be missing something.

    It depends on how firmly the conservative in question stands behind the values that they extol, and how well they can resolve those values if they come into conflict.  

    For example, someone might hold the value that stable and committed families are a social good for the sake of child rearing or more general economic stability (married people are more likely to be home owners and long-term community investors for example.)  This might come into conflict with a few other values though, say a belief that marriage can only be between a man and a woman.  In such a situation, the holder has to ask themselves “What do I value more?  A specific definition of marriage, or stable families?”  

    In the above example, some people will try to resolve the conflict by claiming that any relationship not comprised of one man and one woman cannot be stable and healthy, though that is a path of thought that leads a person to adopt increasingly stupid though patterns as they continue to try to justify it.  However, a person who resolves the conflict by deciding that the nature of the sexes involved in that relationship are not nearly as important as the results of the family being stable are more likely to abandon one of the values in favor of the other, and probably feel a lot better about it and themselves in the long run.  

    I guess the case here is that a conservative who is sufficiently pro-family would also necessarily have to be pro-gay marriage, though such might involve having some flexibility on other issues.  I understand that is a very troubling and stressful position for many people to be put in.  

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    Most conservatives in the U.S. have an idea of marriage that is one man and one woman because the man is supposed to be in charge of the woman, though. A conservative who throws out the idea of this traditional marriage has to discard gender essentialism and misogyny as well. In which case they might be “conservative” by the original definition, but they no longer belong in the conservative group in this country.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Most conservatives in the U.S. have an idea of marriage that is one man and one woman because the man is supposed to be in charge of the woman, though. A conservative who throws out the idea of this traditional marriage has to discard gender essentialism and misogyny as well. In which case they might be “conservative” by the original definition, but they no longer belong in the conservative group in this country.

    Which is why I said that they would “probably feel a lot better about it and themselves in the long run.”  :D

  • Carstonio

    Sounds as if you’re suggesting that there’s no single core value or principle that drives both support for stable families and opposition to same-sex marriage. I would suspect that an irrational bigoted belief that gays and lesbians are incapable of stable relationships would produce the opposition, instead of the belief arising through rationalization such as you suggest. What I want from Brady is his definition of conservatism and his reasoning for why SSM is compatible with that definition. Partly because saying that one supports stable families is like saying one like cute puppies – it’s too safe and convenient and doesn’t reveal anything useful about one’s mindset.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I think the idea is that a stable household in which to raise a child requires one parent of each sex. Complementarianism and all that bullshit.

  • Carstonio

     Very true, at least for many of them. But I’d rather hear that from some who subscribes to the worldview instead from someone who shares my opposition to it. Maybe I simply want to argue them into a corner and then cry out, “Aha! So you DO believe that it’s best for society if women have no rights. Either prove it or just admit that you’re a selfish jerk out only to protect your own power.”

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    It kinds does sound like you want a conservatice to say to you straight “the philosophical core of conservativism is about being a bigoted idiot and generally nasty person, just as the philosophical core of liberalism is about being an enlightened, intelligent, fine individual.”

  • Carstonio

    That comment wasn’t aimed necessarily at conservatives but at anyone who disagrees with gender egalitarianism, which something I don’t see as synonymous with liberalism. I’m saying I know of only two core reasons why anyone would deem gender hierarchy as right or moral – selfishness or authoritarianism. Ideas about “the natural order of things” fall into the latter category. There may be other reasons that don’t stem from those core reasons, but I wouldn’t know what they would be.

  • arcseconds

     I’m sure that what you say will be true of some people, but I doubt many people go through anything like this.

    Maybe I’m overly cynical, but I don’t get the impression that most people carefully weigh up their commitments and consider what following through on them will mean for the future of society, with an option of jettisoning a commitment if they see it as putting other commitments in peril.

    They just want society to magically be transformed into a whitewashed, rosy-tinted vision of life in the 1950s.  Or they’re thoroughly spooked at the prospect of mandatory gay sex for everyone.  Or they’re patting themselves on the back at how values-centered they are, and hoping everyone (especially God) is noticing.

    (Not that I think progressives are necessarily all that fantastic at critical thinking, either, on average, but at least the idealized vision of society is one where I’d usually be happier living)

  • Loquat

    “Gays want to get married, have children, and go to church. Next they’ll be advocating school vouchers, boycotting HBO, and voting Republican.”
     – conservative satirist P. J. O’Rourke

    In other words, you’re missing all the definitions of conservatism that don’t enshrine homophobia as a conservative value. Non-homophobic conservatives have been arguing for years that we should legalize same-sex marriage so as to encourage gays to form monogamous long-term marriages and aspire to exactly the same stable family structure that’s been traditionally held up as the ideal for straights.

  • Carstonio

     But in principle, everyone sorta kinda agrees that monogamous long-term marriages are a social good. It’s the social equivalent of politicians wrapping themselves in the flag. Rare is the conservative who rants about such marriages without pushing the straw man of liberals allegedly favoring irresponsible promiscuity and single motherhood. Feminists have been pushing back for decades against that libelous charge.

  • Loquat

    Rare is the conservative who rants about [monogamous long-term] marriages without pushing the straw man of liberals allegedly favoring irresponsible promiscuity and single motherhood.

    But, see, if a conservative accepts the argument that sexual orientation is inborn and can’t be changed (and there’s been enough scientific research on the subject that an old-fashioned science-loving conservative could certainly accept this) then banning same-sex marriage forces gays to choose between (a) sham opposite-sex marriages, which would likely have a high rate of adultery and painful divorce, or (b) sex and possibly child-rearing without marriage, which our hypothetical conservative considers irresponsible and immoral. Or a lifetime of total sexual abstinence, which is highly unlikely. So H. C., being a reasonable conservative who prides himself on being realistic about human nature, therefore reaches the logical conclusion that allowing gays to marry will likely result in more stable families, less nonmarital sex, and fewer unmarried parents.

    I’m not sure why you keep insisting that all possible definitions of conservatism must necessarily oppose same-sex marriage. But apparently you also think there isn’t any difference between conservative and liberal attitudes towards promiscuity and single motherhood, which is, shall we say, an interesting theory.

  • Carstonio

    I’m not sure why you keep insisting that all possible definitions of conservatism must necessarily oppose same-sex marriage.

    No, it’s possible that they exist and I’m not aware of them. And I’m not talking solely about opposition to SSM itself, but opposition to changing the laws for it, a preservation of the status quo.

    Belief in the value of stable families is more universal than either conservatism or liberalism, and I imagine that very few non-conservatives would disagree with your reasoning.

    Liberals generally don’t deem single parenthood as a good thing in and of itself. Instead, they object to the very long practice of shaming single mothers as either “slutty” or selfish. Of all the reasons for single parenthood, too many conservatives focus on the instances where the woman chooses this from the outset. That selective focus doesn’t make sense unless the basis is a belief in gender roles. Similarly, feminism is about social and legal equality of the genders, yet feminists have been constantly attacked by conservatives as allegedly hostile to marriage, family and motherhood.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    No, it’s possible that they exist and I’m not aware of them. And I’m not talking solely about opposition to SSM itself, but opposition to changing the laws for it, a preservation of the status quo.

    The specific example I could cite here would be one of my roommates.  He was a lifelong conservative, and considered himself a Republican up until the last few years (he has since distanced himself from the political party considering the crap it has gotten up to lately.)  

    As part of his background, he grew up in a military family, the son of a doctor (his father in fact served as the crew doctor on Air Force One for a period.)  So from a very pro-military family, raised by a stay-at-home-mother who was always there to support her husband and children (the military is kind of bad at supporting households where both partners have careers due to a variety of practical concerns,) raised in an environment where there was never any big concern about lack of money and his own intelligence made college and work in the software industry come easy to him and reward him well.  

    You can see where that kind of upbringing would give him a lot of conservative values.  He was raised in an environment where his kind of privilege seemed a given for everyone, so he assumed that if you did not have the same kind of success as him you were just not trying hard enough, and a single income should be enough to support an entire family.  However, he is also an atheist, from a family of atheists, and as much as he likes the nuclear family ideal, he has little common ground with the religious conservatives about family structure.  Of course he supports gay marriage.  Heck, his direct boss only recently got married (because Washington state only recently legalized gay marriage) and my roommate could not be happier for him.  

    Incidentally, his views on family structure in general have softened in the last several years since his marriage.  Having a spouse who is an intelligent polyamourous liberal feminist can have that effect on some people.  

  • Loquat

    No, it’s possible that they exist and I’m not aware of them. And I’m not talking solely about opposition to SSM itself, but opposition to changing the laws for it, a preservation of the status quo.

    Well then, allow me to expand your horizons:

    The Conservative Case for Gay Marriage, published in Newsweek in 2010 and written by Ted Olson, who served as Solicitor General under George W. Bush and later joined a lawsuit trying to overturn Prop. 8. It was kind of a big deal at the time. Key quote:

    …same-sex unions promote the values conservatives prize. Marriage is one of the basic building blocks of our neighborhoods and our nation. At its best, it is a stable bond between two individuals who work to create a loving household and a social and economic partnership. We encourage couples to marry because the commitments they make to one another provide benefits not only to themselves but also to their families and communities. Marriage requires thinking beyond one’s own needs. It transforms two individuals into a union based on shared aspirations, and in doing so establishes a formal investment in the well-being of society. The fact that individuals who happen to be gay want to share in this vital social institution is evidence that conservative ideals enjoy widespread acceptance.

    The conservative case for gay marriage: GOP is not the party of intolerance, an editorial published in the New York Daily News during the lead-up to the state legislature’s vote (which did indeed result in legalization) in 2011. Key quote:

    In New York State, it is Republicans rather than Democrats who have freedom built into our political DNA.
    [short list of historic New York Republican abolitionists and suffragists]
    Same-sex marriage is consistent with the party’s legacy of individual freedom and limited government. It is a profoundly conservative virtue. Conservatives are right to value marriage as the world’s most powerful social institution. The marital bond provides a nongovernmental social safety net, whereby individuals care for one another and anchor civil society in self-sufficiency.

    And, because everything’s better in threes, a recent essay from Commentary magazine’s website, GOP Can’t Be the Party of Old White Men, which attributes Mitt Romney’s loss in part to Republican opposition to gay marriage. Key quote:

    Marriage and churches are among the “mediating institutions” that conservatism most warmly affirms, because they stand between the individual and the encroachments of the state. To defend them is to defend freedom. (Calling the GOP the party of married churchgoers is just another way of calling it the party of freedom). […] And if the GOP really is the party of marriage, shouldn’t it be in favor of extending the goods of marriage to as many as possible? If marriage is everything we conservatives say it is, why should we want to deny its moral benefits to gays? The point is to stand for marriage, for an institution that promotes human freedom, and not to barricade ourselves behind the status quo ante. That’s how the party of freedom becomes the party of reaction.

    You can declare the universality of support for stable families (and freedom, for that matter) all you want; that’s not going to change the fact that loads of conservatives believe that supporting stable families (and freedom) is one of the pillars of conservatism.

  • Carstonio

    As much as I appreciate Olson’s work on behalf of equality, he doesn’t drop the other shoe where marriage is concerned. Not about conservatism specifically but about the institution’s history. Until very recent decades, marriage was about male headship, about treating women’s wombs as property. When anyone of any political persuasion talks about marriage as the building block of society, this implies that single people are being selfish. And in practice, that has been said over and over about single women, and it’s not right to single them out that way.

    The missing component from Commentary’s point about individual freedom is that social norms can encroach on it even more than government. Neither society nor government should be in the business of telling individuals how to live their private lives. The writers you quoted seem to presume to know what’s best for people, and that’s the ugly spin they put on the social benefits of marriage. Too many of the SSM opponents take the same paternalistic attitude arguing that homosexuality is bad for participants. That’s a big reason for my confusion about conservatives who support SSM – both they and their colleagues seem to be arguing from paternalism.

  • Loquat

    Well then, it’s a good thing I’m not asking you to adopt conservative arguments in favor of same-sex marriage as your own, isn’t it? What I’m asking you to do is acknowledge that they bloody well exist, and that conservatives aren’t just a giant blob of homophobia and hatred of change. Seeing as how, you know, your very first post in this thread was

    I’m not sure how same-sex marriage is compatible with any of the definitions of conservatism that I’ve heard.

    It’s kind of hilarious watching you move the goalposts to try and prove all conservatives are evil misogynist bastards, though. All I have to do is scroll up to see you posting things like:

    saying that one supports stable families is like saying one like cute puppies – it’s too safe and convenient and doesn’t reveal anything useful about one’s mindset.

    in principle, everyone sorta kinda agrees that monogamous long-term marriages are a social good.

    Belief in the value of stable families is more universal than either conservatism or liberalism

    And now you say marriage is tainted by its history as an institution, anyone who talks up monogamous long-term marriage as a social good is bashing single people by implication, and social norms that encourage the formation of stable families are unacceptably paternalistic!

    And what the hell is [Olson] doesn’t drop the other shoe where marriage is concerned supposed to mean, anyway?

  • Carstonio

    It’s kind of hilarious watching you move the goalposts to try and prove all conservatives are evil misogynist bastards, though.

    No, I’m saying that all the core philosophical definitions I’ve heard of conservatism involve either authoritarianism or opposition to change, or both. The quotes you offered about marriage involve some degree of authoritarianism.Anyone who argues that there shouldn’t be a social norm that excludes homosexuality is implicitly arguing against authoritarianism.

    And now you say marriage is tainted by its history as an institution

    No, it’s marriage advocacy that is tainted by its history of sexism. The social norms I’m criticizing aren’t the formation of stable families, but the bashing of women who don’t go along with those norms. That’s what I meant by “the other shoe.” For most of the last century, politicians and commentators of various political stripes who have talked about the importance of stable families have generally (but not always) put an anti-feminist spin on it. The implied or overt idea that there would be more stable families if women dropped their careers and accepted a husband’s natural authority.  So when anyone starts talking about that importance, it’s reasonable to anticipate that spin if he or she doesn’t explicitly say that marriage should be a partnership between equals.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Anyone who argues that there shouldn’t be a social norm that excludes homosexuality is implicitly arguing against authoritarianism.

    That’s an unsupported leap of logic. Plenty of gay or gay-friendly people are OK with forms of authoritarianism that benefit (or at least don’t hurt) them.

  • Carstonio

    Plenty of gay or gay-friendly people are OK with forms of authoritarianism that benefit (or at least don’t hurt) them.

    No disagreement there. The argument itself is still anti-authoritarian.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     

    The argument itself is still anti-authoritarian.

    Let me echo that back to you and make sure I understood. You agree that there exist gay folks who support authoritarianism but oppose social norms that exclude homosexuality. Your claim is that those people are arguing against authoritarianism whether they mean to be or not, and whether they know it or not.

    Yes?

    So, just to pick an absurdly extreme example, suppose I say (in the US) “It’s wrong that society excludes homosexuals. What it ought to do is exclude heterosexuals. Of course, because heterosexuals are the majority and will always vote for their heterosexual interests, in order to achieve this we can’t rely on majority rule. I therefore support appointing a government overseer whose mandate is to eliminate the existing heteronormative social structures and replace them with analogous homonormative structures, and who is empowered to unilaterally revise any instruments of government in order to do so… revise the Constitution, pass and repeal laws, override Presidential vetoes, etc.”

    Are you saying that this is implicitly an anti-authoritarian position?
    Or merely that nobody can coherently articulate a position like this?

  • Carstonio

    Opposition to social norms that exclude a sexual orientation is anti-authoritarian, because this implies that society should be indifferent to an individual’s orientation. In the absurd example you posted, all that changes is the type of orientation being excluded from the norm. Your point would apply if the person explicitly says that some sexual orientations should be excluded by social norms and other orientations should be included.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    Ah! So when you say “there shouldn’t be a social norm that excludes
    homosexuality” in the original comment, you mean something more like
    “there shouldn’t be a social norm that excludes some sexual orientations
    but not others”?

    OK, that I can understand: if I oppose social norms paying attention to orientation at all, I implicitly presume a constraint on the legitimate scope of social authority, which is at least arguably an anti-authoritarian position.

  • Carstonio

    implicitly presume a constraint on the legitimate scope of social
    authority, which is at least arguably an anti-authoritarian position.

    That’s part of it. An authoritarian position on social norms is that these have inherent merit, or that they should be observed for their own sake.

    My own position on social norms, which I more or less categorize as anti-authoritarian, is that these should be questioned. Not blindly rejected but not blindly accepted either. The question to ask is how a particular social norm benefits not just society but the individuals in it. I detect no such benefit from the social norm that proscribed homosexuality. Defenses of such proscribing tend to be authoritarian, sometimes with rules that are alleged to have been dictated by deities, and sometimes treating “nature” or reproduction as a deity.

    I have relatives who point out that when they were growing up, dating someone from a different ethnic group was “something you just didn’t do.”

  • Lunch Meat

    I feel like you’re assuming a clear line between “authoritarian” and “anti-authoritarian,” and assuming all conservatives are completely authoritarian. A lot of conservatives–especially those who aren’t in leadership–are just more authoritarian than not. One can believe that social norms have inherent merit and are there for a reason, and still believe that if they come under question and can’t be defended, they should be abandoned.

  • Carstonio

     Valid point. I would say that a given argument in favor of an ethical concept can be authoritarian or anti-authoritarian, or even non-authoritarian. Where people are concerned, yes, it’s  a matter of degree. A person could have an authoritarian mindset but still hold some positions that aren’t driven by that mindset.

    One can believe that social norms have inherent merit and are there for a reason

    That in itself is not authoritarian, unless one simply assumes that the reason exists and that it’s valid. There many be some social norms that grew out of some perceived need far back in human history, and changing circumstanced rendered these unnecessary yet they persisted. Reading about some societies in modern India, I suspect that their patriarchal norms generally grew from attempts by men centuries ago to preserve their power – it doesn’t benefit women when all the options available to them involve being dominated by men.

  • Loquat

    Let me see if I understand your arguments here… You believe that most everyone supports stable families, and agrees that monogamous long-term marriages are a social good, but that anyone who actually says society should encourage these good things is by default anti-feminist and bashing single women, unless they explicitly say otherwise? (Sort of like how people who argued against the Iraq war back in the day often felt compelled to preface their arguments with “Saddam is a totally evil tyrant” so they wouldn’t be accused of coddling tyranny?)

    And if conservatism must always be authoritarian and/or opposed to all change, why does that New York Daily News article I linked earlier proudly list historic New York Republicans who worked for the abolition of slavery and for women’s suffrage? Those were both massive social changes, and by your definition both were anti-authoritarian. Might it be that all that conservative talk about “freedom” is something more than empty rhetoric?

    Face it – you just can’t stand the idea that a conservative might support the right side of a social justice issue, so you’re grasping at straws to convince yourself that they technically don’t, and they’re doing it for the wrong reasons anyway.

  • Carstonio

     

    You believe that most everyone supports stable families, and agrees that
    monogamous long-term marriages are a social good

    Yes.

    but that anyone who
    actually says society should encourage these good things is by default
    anti-feminist and bashing single women, unless they explicitly say
    otherwise?

    Not at all. I’m saying that after many, many experiences of demagogues using the first as the basis for the second, it’s reasonable for one’s antennae to go up whenever the subject is mentioned. The same is true with the issue of public assistance, because of the decades of Southern Strategy euphemisms.

    We don’t live in a just world, and instability where families are concerned has far more to do with lack of economic opportunities. Marriage is partly an emotional investment in the future, and I suspect that many couples don’t see the point of such an investment when they have little to invest economically.  Simply holding up marriage as some sort of ideal is not only ridiculous inadequate, it wrongly implies that selfishness is the chief motive for remaining single. That has the same lack of pragmatism as abstinence-only sex education. The best way for society to encourage marriage is to increase economic opportunities.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    But in principle, everyone sorta kinda agrees that monogamous long-term marriages are a social good. It’s the social equivalent of politicians wrapping themselves in the flag. Rare is the conservative who rants about such marriages without pushing the straw man of liberals allegedly favoring irresponsible promiscuity and single motherhood. Feminists have been pushing back for decades against that libelous charge.

    True, and most everyone does express support for that.  The devil is in the details though.  A person might say that they support such things, and might indeed believe very sincerely in those things.  But one has to examine the actual efforts they go through in regards to that issue.  For example, do they support stable families, but at the same time undermine efforts to see birth control widely adopted, support strong oversight for domestic savings and loan banks, and seek to ensure that living wages are widely paid?  

    What I seem to run into often is where the nuclear family is held up more as an ideal to aspire to and make gestures in support of it as an abstract concept, compared to seeing it less as some high idea and more as something to pragmatically strengthen without any particular valuation of it.  You will find a lot of anti-gay supporters in the former category, and a lot of labor supporters in the later category.

  • banancat

     Um, I don’t agree that monogamy and long-term marriages are a social good or are automatically better than non-monogamy and single parenthood.  I guess I’m not part of “everyone”?

  • EllieMurasaki

    If you distinguish between consensual polyamory and cheating and you consider the latter bad, you have no objection to monoamory, and you think a kid’s best off when the people raising zir are the same people (however many of them there are) for as much as possible of zir childhood, then I think you are part of ‘everyone’.

  • banancat

     Carstonio said:

    everyone sorta kinda agrees that monogamous long-term marriages are a social good.

    I don’t agree with that.

  • christopher_y

    I’m not sure how same-sex marriage is compatible with any of the definitions of conservatism that I’ve heard.

    There is a well established definition of conservatism which was articulated by the Duke of Cambridge (the grandson of George III, not the present whippersnapper) thus:  “There is a time for everything, and the time for change is when you can no longer help it.”

    I like to think that increasing numbers of same-sex marriage opponents are realising that they can no longer help it.

  • Vermic

    When I was a tyke I ordered one of those “print your own money” plastic presses from the back of a comic.

    (They are, of course, a trick.  By twisting the knobs you can feed a bill into and out of a secret compartment in one of the rollers.  Thus, you can only ever get out of the press what you put into it, which is a great metaphor, but its main purpose is to dazzle your friends by putting in a $1 bill, or a blank slip of paper, and “printing” a $5 bill you loaded earlier.)

    The issue where my younger self found the ad was several years old, so before ordering I wrote the company a letter to make sure they were still in business.  “Is the printing press still for sale?  Please check yes or no.”  I think that’s why my parents let me go through with the whole thing: because it was just that damn adorable.

    I recall being vaguely disappointed that it was all a trick, but also excited that I had just learned a new trick.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jon.maki Jon Maki

    I had the experience of sending away for something in a comic book ad, though not one of the types of ads featured in Mail-Order Mysteries, only to be disappointed a few weeks later when I got my money back in the mail and a letter telling me that the product no longer existed.

    One other time I ordered something – I forget what – that also no longer existed – though given that I ordered it from a current comic, I had no reason to suspect that would be the case –  but instead of returning my money, the company sent me something else of equal (or, more likely, lesser) value.

  • Joykins

    My brother ordered “Sea Monkeys” from a comic book ad once.  They arrived and they are brine shrimp; basically we had a tiny aquarium of plankton which grew to some critical mass and then died.

  • ReverendRef

     My best friend in high school, and his sisters, ordered the Sea Monkeys as well (with mom’s permission, of course).  He said the same thing.

    AFAIK, that’s the only time anyone I knew of ordered something from a comic book.  However, I did order a set of racing stickers from some cereal in order to make my bike look cool.  Those didn’t work either.

  • Carstonio

    Some point in the late 1980s or early 1990s, the advertising in comics changed to movies and video games, from advertisers with much deeper pockets. The only prominent national advertiser that I remember from the earlier era was Hostess, and these were the full-page superhero stores penned by Bob Rozakis. My guess is that the X-ray specs and Charles Atlas ads didn’t make much money but didn’t have to – sales were higher and printing costs were lower.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jon.maki Jon Maki

    There also used to be a lot of ads for Grit Magazine, and similar “sell our products, earn credits to buy prizes” ads.

    These days it’s a lot of ads for movies, TV shows, big warehouse-style comic book retailers, and Web sites.

  • Foreigner

    So that’s what ‘Grit’ was! As a young boy I had visions, from the other side of the Atlantic to Metropolis and Gotham City, of American teenagers toting great heavy bags of actual grit from door to door, and wondering who in hell would buy the stuff, and what for.

  • Magic_Cracker

    In fifth grade, a classmate of mine actually ordered X-Ray specs and he and another classmate spent two recesses wearing them, loudly identifying which girls (supposedly) had pubes and which didn’t.

    Of course, they refused to let anyone else use them; of course, we were all super jealous of and angry with them for not letting us use them; and of course, they were only doing it to make up for the crushing disappointment that came from the fact that they don’t work as advertised.

    Also, Charles Atlas Ltd. is still in operation. I actually have a soft spot for the paisan himself.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    In other words, they did lead to sexual harassment. As if 10-year old boys need any help in that regard. Wonderful. Where were the teachers? 

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    In my memory those “X-ray glasses” things tended to be popular in the 1970s and 1980s, and unfortunately back then it would have been dismissed as “boys being boys”, I suspect.

  • Magic_Cracker

    There’s that (it was the 80s), but I don’t think there were ever more than 3 or 4 adults out on the playground at any given time, and as I recall, they were focused mostly on policing the kids playing basketball, dodgeball, football, etc. to make sure the games weren’t getting too rough.

  • Tricksterson

    Such an effort
    He if he only knew of my plan
    In just seven days
    I can make you  maaan

  • Münchner Kindl

    Why do I think that when we curb the urge to flatten turtles with our cars, we’ll solve some of our other problems, too?”

    Wow. I’m utterly surprised that people try to flatten turtles on purpose. Not swerving I can understand, because police and courts alike tell motorists that sudden wide swerves to save a small animal while endangering other motorists (esp. on country lanes which are small so a swerve puts you into the opposite lane) is risky behaviour and thus forbidden. (Swerving to avoid a deer or similar heavy animal is allowed because a collision with 600 pounds of deer has bad consequences for the car, too).

    But to remember all the yards and yards of frog fences nature groups have built here and which are patrolled every spring so that frogs looking for a small lake (and some sex) don’t accidentally get flattened (and go extinct) – and trying to compare that with intentionally flattening turtles… wow.

    (Waiting for accusations of nationalism chauvinism and similar for daring to mention the fact that things are done differently in countries outside the USA in 3 …2 …1…)

  • JustoneK

    Don’t get ahead of folks.

    But I don’t understand flattening anything on purpose.  It boggles me.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    But I don’t understand flattening anything on purpose. It boggles me.

    Going out of your way to kill cane toads is common, and approved, in Queensland. The things are vermin killing the native creatures, so they get so sympathy.

  • Tricksterson

    In contrast I remember being on my way to a Ren Faire when the driver, the manager of said Faire, saw a turtle on the road, stopped, picked it up and put it in a nearby pond.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I have been specifically instructed NOT to swerve to avoid deer. If I swerve and consequently hit another car or a tree, it’s my fault, insurance won’t pay up. If I don’t swerve and consequently hit the deer, it’s the deer’s fault, insurance will pay up.

    I’m not sure my car’s sturdy enough to ensure I survive hitting a deer, mind, and if I don’t, what the fuck do I care if the car insurance pays to replace my car? (2001 Toyota Camry. Real small. ‘Course my point of comparison is Dad has always driven a bigass pickup and Mom has mostly driven an SUV.)

  • Münchner Kindl

    I’m not sure my car’s sturdy enough to ensure I survive hitting a deer, mind, and if I don’t, what the fuck do I care if the car insurance pays to replace my car?

    That’s the reasoning why courts and police allow swerving for big deer: the impact of 600 pounds or more will affect every car – Toyota or Mercedes, doesn’t matter because of physics – and the aftereffects of this collision can throw the car off-lane anyway, so better try and avoid the collision.

    Also, when you see a big dark something coming at you, it’s a natural human reaction to twitch/ flinch/ and try to get away; from a squirrel or dove, not so much.

    That’s why the courts and insurances don’t punish drivers who swerve for deer.

    I remember the mythbusters doing an Alaska special where they tested whether speeding up when hitting a moose was better than breaking – and to everybody’s surprise, I think there was a specific speed where you could hit the moose and flip it over the car instead of it crushing the hood. But a big part of this is that moose are built differently, with longer legs and thus higher center of gravity than deer, from what I recall.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charity-Brighton/100002974813787 Charity Brighton

    The insurance company, of course, will recover the money from the deer or its estate! 

  • ReverendRef

    I think the reason people “Brake for Turtles” is because if you hit one of them that shell might damage your alignment.  They’re slow enough you should be able to go right over the top of them without damaging the car or the turtle.

    Of course, braking for turtles could just be a generic way of saying, “I value life.”

    EllieMuraski also pointed this out, but you do NOT swerve for deer.  Not only are there liability issues if you hit another car or tree, but there’s a real chance of losing control of your vehicle and injuring/killing yourself.  And yes, spending 6+ years in Montana gave me enough actual evidence to that effect.

    Short deer story:  When I was in MT, I was on the volunteer fire department.  We responded to a call early one morning and I was driving the engine.  As we went down a two-lane country road, there was a herd of deer in our path.  My partner said something about swerving and I said, “Not with 5000 gallons of water behind me,” and I drove into the herd.  As he told it, they parted like Moses parting the Red Sea.  He had me drive on all future calls together.

  • Müncher Kindl

    As we went down a two-lane country road, there was a herd of deer in our path. My partner said something about swerving and I said, “Not with 5000 gallons of water behind me,” and I drove into the herd. As he told it, they parted like Moses parting the Red Sea. He had me drive on all future calls together.

    “Deer” seems to mean a different kind of animal in that case – we don’t have herds of them on rural roads. The danger is mostly autumn when they are in heat and thus cross the roads without looking, whereas at other times they are shy and stay away from cars and open places. (Plus the earlier darkness than the long summers).

    A deer suddenly darting out of a wooded area is different than one standing in the road. The recommendation is to remember deer and drive slowly and watch out for them.

  • Carstonio

    I had a near-encounter with a deer a few weeks ago, and I still slow down considerably when driving on that same section of road at night. Later I had a ridiculous fantasy of avoiding a collision through a roof-mounted missile launcher, with enough explosive to liquify a deer in the road.

  • Münchner Kindl

    Later I had a ridiculous fantasy of avoiding a collision through a roof-mounted missile launcher, with enough explosive to liquify a deer in the road.

    You mean the “Nuke from orbit (it’s the only way to be sure)” option?

  • Münchner Kindl

    I think the reason people “Brake for Turtles” is because if you hit one of them that shell might damage your alignment. They’re slow enough you should be able to go right over the top of them without damaging the car or the turtle.

    Braking suddenly is a bad idea if there is traffic behind you!

    If you drive over the top of them – that is, wheels on either side, turtle in the middle – your car needs enough clearance to not harm them, though. (Depending on the area, sufficient clearance is necessary to get over fallen branches or speed bumps anyway, though…)

    Otherwise, a small swerve to the side – because turtles are small – is enough. It’s sudden wild swerves from panicked people that make the car go out of control.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    Sometimes you DO swerve for deer. Namely, if the deer is a buck with large horns. Otherwise those horns could end up impaling you.

    (Not my personal experience, but the experience of a friend. Luckily, the horns went through his shoulder, not his chest.)

  • ReverendRef

     Sometimes you DO swerve for deer. Namely, if the deer is a buck with large horns.

    Yeah, okay.  It’s been my experience, though, that only does are suicidal and jump out into the road.

    I will say that deer behave differently in different parts of the country.  The deer where I lived in Montana were suicidal and would actively look for opportunities to run into cars.  The deer that I’ve seen here in Oregon are rather polite and not interested at all in running into you.

    So, I guess like people, it depends on all kinds of circumstances.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    Bucks in northern Michigan in the late ’90s decided to war against cars, as far as I can tell. I can’t blame them, but of course they weren’t very smart about it.

  • P J Evans

     There are people who go out of their way to flatten snakes and turtles. (I don’t know why they feel it’s something they should do.)

  • Andrea

    In my head, I’m hearing “robots with lasers and car-eating vultures” to the tune of “My Favorite Things.” You can thank me later.

  • JustoneK

    Robots with lasers and car-eating vultures

    Swerving round turtles and merican cultures

    Lovely gay couples just now marrying

    These are a few of my favorite things!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ann-Unemori/100001112760232 Ann Unemori

    I wanna see a picture of all these together.

  • JustoneK

    Would be a helluva wedding theme.

    Data and datum and mass nouns like dust is
    Privileged white people don’t see uppercrustness
    Spirited dialogs on just what that means
    These are a few of my favorite things!

  • Rugosa

     And I’m thinking, “Don’t park under the buzzard tree with anyone else but me, anyone else but me . . . “

  • http://www.nicolejleboeuf.com/index.php Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

    And I’m thinking, “Don’t park under the buzzard tree with anyone else but me, anyone else but me . . . “

    OMG I’M NOT THE ONLY ONE

  • Münchner Kindl

    Ordering meant getting one’s hands on the means to send money through the mail, which usually meant parents would be involved, which usually meant the idea would be nixed because the things being offered were junk or a rip-off.

    This has me baffled. (I read a lot of franco-belgian comics, but not US comics, as child, and lived abroad, so I never saw those ads).

    Why would you need the means to send money through mail – I thought you either put dollar bills or stamps into the envelope with the order, so all you needed was enough pocket money?

    Is it forbidden to send dollar bills through the mail because of the anti-postal-fraud-law, or is it simply “If you send cash money and it gets lost, you’re out of luck, but we won’t prosecute you for sending?”

    Or did they expect kids to pay the money into a bank and send a checqe or similar?

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Cash in the mail is illegal? Snopes.

  • http://www.nicolejleboeuf.com/index.php Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

    From the “feral potatoes” link (emphasis mine):

    What that really means is that the surgical and medical oncology
    departments meet jointly to review difficult or questionable cases.
    Given the scan ambiguity around Ashcroft, my fourth tumor, they’re going to seek some groupthink. I should hear back from my medical oncologist Thursday afternoon or Friday with any updates that come out of that
    meeting.

    “Ashcroft”. Jay Lake names his tumors. After unpleasant political figures.

    This is me, making the little “heart!” hand gesture (how can you not *heart* a person with that kind of sense of humor in the face of medical disaster?) and weeping a little.  (And also thinking up names for my cat’s tumor, because laughing about this stuff helps.)

  • http://deird1.dreamwidth.org Deird

    Last year, I went to the Geelong car museum, and they had a bit on crash-test dummies. Which is where I found out that they don’t just have crash-test humans inside the car, they also have crash-test kangaroos that they hurl at the car to see what happens. (Crash-test kangaroos! With little ears! They were so fun!)

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Just when I think Australia can’t get any more cool. XD

  • john

    http://wh.gov/mlco help my father be pardoned for being wrongfully prosecuted

    Edit
    Reply

  • GDwarf

     See, I’ve always been taught that slamming on the brakes is usually the wrong reaction to a sudden crisis on the road: If your brakes are on then you can’t control your car (and if you try to turn you’re going to lose control) and given how the roads up here are icy for half the year (which means brakes should be used with caution), trying to slam to a stop is a very dangerous habit to get into.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    There is this. Even in rainy weather it is possible to lose control of your car. I almost got into an accident a while back because I was misjudging the speed of cars ahead of me on a downhill incline. I only managed to come to a stop by virtue of remembering that without ABS you must pump your brakes to try and keep from sliding.

    As it is, I came to a stop one foot away from the car in front. Whew!

  • Münchner Kindl

     

    and given how the roads up here are icy for half the year (which means brakes should be used with caution),

    Surely you don’t have deer and icy roads at the same time, though? Aren’t deers hidden in quiet during the winter (to conserve calories), instead of out and running around?

    As for sudden braking: even without ice, that’s dangerous. The ADAC (biggest motorists club) recently had an article that a lot of the crashes on country roads by younger drivers were not (only) because they had been to the disco, drunk a lot and driven home; but also because the roads are badly maintained (no shoulder, no white border stripes) and the young drivers inexperienced, so a sudden twitch from shock turns into a swerve and they don’t know how to get the car back under control. The ADAC offers (against a fee) courses for drivers where people train several days just sliding on different surfaces – wet, simulated ice, simulated snow, sudden swerves, emergency braking – and advocates for the drivers permit license (people get a permit at 17 and drive for one year with an experienced driver on the passenger seat).

    Do you have the possibility of such additional training (even when it costs a fee)?

  • Don Gisselbeck

    Here in Montana the (seriously suicidal) deer are most definitely running around on icy roads. I have close calls several times a week. I once had one run from behind my right rear fender to cross in front of me.

  • SisterCoyote

    I’m sure I’ll look back up at the comments and see this has been hashed and wtfed at already, but… uh.

    http://wp.patheos.com.s3.amazonaws.com/blogs/christianpiatt/files/2013/01/AlcoholicsAnonymous-300×234.jpg

    Really? Fucking seriously? Not, like, a sign on the door that says “Please smoke outside and get rid of the cigarette butts, thanks,” but a basic “You People aren’t welcome here anymore, your habits make our church look/smell dirty, and we’re uncomfortable with that.

    Isn’t there a bit Fred usually posts around Christmas that deals with someone’s experience with an AA meeting that’s rather harder than this?

    God. Christians. What the hell. Christians. Ow.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    I suspect that it isn’t simply “People like to hurt turtles.” It’s more like a kind of Turtle Madness, where a person in  a car who sees a turtle is suddenly and inexplicably overcome with a desperate need to know whether or not a turtle’s shell will protect it from being run over by a car.

  • Tricksterson

    Never had a deadly deer encounter but when I LARPed the camp where we did it was in a rural area and we had some close encounter with wild turkeys, pheasants and, in one case a cow on the lam.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Iain-King/514746942 Iain King

    “Whatever the sticklers say, data isn’t a plural noun like ‘pebbles.’ It’s a mass noun like ‘dust.’”

    So is Lego, but good luck getting that through to people.


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