7 things at 11 o’clock (6.24)

1. Goodbye, Mr. Chips (or, in this case, Mr. Boddie). Look at the love and gratitude on display in this middle school and file that image away in your brain. This is what fundamentalist Christians are condemning when they rail against evil public schools, what Randian narcissists are condemning when they sneer at public schools as “government” schools, what anti-public public servants are destroying when they demonize teachers and teachers unions, and what the homeschooling cult is denying its children by choosing total control over community.

2. Related to that, I finally watched that awful “The Thaw” video, in which homeschooled kids from Idaho are coached to repeat the nightmares they have been taught about public school. They love America. They hate the “public.” Both of those things can’t be true.

3. Rick Perlstein on Glenn Greenwald. I think Greenwald is to civil liberties what PETA is to animal rights. I mean that precisely.

4. Sheila O’Malley has a lovely rave review of Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing posted at RogerEbert.com. One quibble: O’Malley repeats a Very Old Mistake that has become part of the conventional wisdom about Shakespeare. She refers, unironically, to “the melancholy Jacques in As You Like It.” Jacques says he is “melancholy” and that his melancholy is unrivaled by anyone else’s. If you think this means that Jacques actually is superlatively melancholy, then you don’t know Jacques.

5. Hemant Mehta relays a terrific story: “Kansas City Atheists Will Battle Local Christians in a Volleyball Game With Proceeds Going to Charity.” This seems like a good example of what Uncle Frank meant when he said, “If we, each doing our own part, if we do good to others, if we meet there, doing good, and we go slowly, gently, little by little, we will make that culture of encounter.” Religion News Service has a nice video story on the big game and the people involved.

(A warning to KC atheists, though: Bible Belt Baptists tend to be pretty good at volleyball, softball and roller skating. If you want an edge, challenge ’em to a pool tournament.)

6. John Fugelsang quotes Billy Wilder: “If you’re gonna tell people the truth, make it funny or they’ll kill you.” The bit from Fugelsang starting at 5:50 in that video is excellent:

You can’t attack down. If you’re in a comedy club and someone makes fun of homeless people, or developmentally disabled people, and calls them “retards.” The audience might laugh for a minute or two. And then it starts to feel dirty. It doesn’t feel good to attack down. No one admires it. And also, if there’s no element of truth in the point you’re making, it won’t be funny. … There’s a reason why, by the end of the play, the only guy King Lear trusts is the fool.

7.Call it what it is — MALE violence against women.”


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  • Space Marine Becka

    And yeah my first interaction with feminism was of the same order.

  • Alix

    I love asking ancient-matriarchy believers for their proof. They usually only have two bits: the “Venus” figures, like V. of Willendorf, and myths that talk about primordial female monsters getting overthrown by male gods.

    The former ignores the fact that we don’t actually have enough context to know what they were, and the existence of those figures doesn’t preclude a belief in male gods as well. The latter ignores the huge variability in cosmogonic myths, and insists on treating a highly changeable genre as somehow recording true facts.

    AFAIK, the earliest certain records of anthropomorphic deities indicate a robust pantheon with gods of several genders. The idea that there was one pantheon of goddesses and a completely separate one of gods that just sort of got imposed is … frankly, it’s absurd.

    I’m actually creating a matriarchy in one of fantasy settings and one of my friends read my notes and was all “what’s with the man hate?”

    Ha! I write weird fantasy, and one of the major cultures is a matriarchal warrior society. They think men are fit for cannon fodder and hard labor, but don’t have the brains to be good leaders. Or do math.

    …playing in that particular sandbox is a great form of stress relief some days, lemme tell ya.

  • Alix

    Those kind of radical feminists scare me. Not least because it means I never know if any given feminist really is my ally or not. :/ Every movement must have their asshole contingent, I suppose.

  • Alix

    Is the Patriarchy like the illuminati?

    That line totally made me laugh.

  • Nice choice of entertainment you’ve went for there: http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/TheAmazingAtheist#What_a_guy

    Content note: Rape, Suicide, Paedophilia.

  • You’re right, unless you were a meteorologist, in which case you might incorrectly warn of severe weather.

  • Can you please explain this irony to me?

  • Alix

    1. People complain you post too many comments.
    2. You decide to post many comments and become a top commenter.

    You don’t see the disconnect?

  • Lee B.

    Fuck that noise. I’ll keep using the word “television”, thank you.

    I’m not trying to defend Yod here (I think “godophilic” is rather clumsy), I just can’t stand this particular bit of prescriptivist nonsense. Once a compound borrowing has become common in English, mixing its components with other roots—regardless of origin—is a perfectly valid manner of coining new words.

    And if it annoys the classicists, so much the better.

  • Alix

    I was picking at our troll here. I actually agree with you.

  • What, was I to stop posting?

  • Alix

    It’s more the fact that you made this a goal that people are reacting to, I think. It implies you care more about an arbitrary volume of posts over their quality.

  • arcseconds

    I don’t know whether or not to take this seriously, EH. What a hilarious suggestion!

    How often does this happen now? And do you really think the courts are currently helpless in such a circumstance?

    [citation needed]!

    Maybe we should get the Government to pre-emptively take positions on all possible specious arguments, because obviously we shouldn’t expect courts to be able to assess any evidence for the claims of a party.

    What if they were to argue that Government Agents broke in and altered all the records? By parity of reasoning, we would have to also insist the government denies its own existence.

    It’s the only way our property could be safe!

  • Someone pointed out that the Venus of Willendorf could have been the primitive equivalent of a centerfold.

    Not that that precludes her being a goddess-figure as well — we just don’t know.

  • Alix

    I’ve heard that. (And then heard a bunch of dipshits claiming that couldn’t possibly be true because the figures are fat. Sigh.) Also, that the Venus figures might be magic charms – which again, doesn’t preclude them from being goddess figures, but also doesn’t require it.

    Or they could just be art! Art’s not necessarily utilitarian, or possessing a clear rationale.

  • How often does this happen now?

    -Not often at all.

    And do you really think the courts are currently helpless in such a circumstance?


    By parity of reasoning, we would have to also insist the government denies its own existence.

    -Not at all. The existence of a government, however, also “has much to do “with upholding contracts and defending property rights””, as it adds some credibility to the “Government Agents broke in and altered all the records” argument. My point in my above comment was not to argue against the existence of gods, it was to point out that “the existence of gods has much to do “with upholding contracts and defending property rights””.

  • Completely irrelevant to the content of the video I “went for”.

  • I’ve heard the term “hard agnosticism” used to describe the “we cannot know” mindset.

  • arcseconds

    Well, I suppose if you say so, that was your aim. But you did that by positing a case which is either extremely rare or non-existent, and which you admit the courts can currently deal with.

    (and I would say deal with quite well. This particular case may never occur, but courts deal with implausible scenarios put forward with little or no proof by one party all the time.)

    Proposing it as a solution to a non-problem doesn’t show that it has anything to do with the matter.

  • My mother is the sort of person who never gets angry or forceful with people other than family (with the result that me and my sister both had fairly fraught relationships with her for years (it got better after we respectively moved out, got married, and made independent lives for ourselves), despite the fact that our respective spouses have no idea why we would ever say anything mean about that nice woman), except for once. They called her down to my elementary school to talk with her about the possibility of kicking me off the school bus, because me getting bullied by the other kids on the bus was causing a disruption, and it just wasn’t practical to kick off the bullies. It’s the only time in my life I remember my mother standing up to someone.

    Anyway, I never did get kicked off the bus. (But this was not my only run-in with the idea of “Let’s isolate the victim, as it’s an easier way to end the disruption than actually solving the problem”)

  • arcseconds

    I didn’t really go for it much either.

    I’m sure male victims of rape will be happy to hear that what they suffered was not fundamentally a horrible assault that happened to them personally, but rather an abstract wrong commited by men against womenkind. One wonders really what they are complaining about: women, as ever, are the real victims here.

    I’m no great fan of Margaret Thatcher, but calling her a ‘broken, token female’ is both ridiculously inaccurate and ludicrously insulting. Any women going up against the boy’s club that Parliament was back in the 70s has to have had a lot of gumption, willpower and personal togetherness, and she has my respect for that. She wasn’t exactly chosen off the street or out of a beauty pageant by the Tories to appeal to the Modern British Woman: she had to fight for everything she got, and there’s nothing ‘token’ about that.

    (I appreciate the point that it’s a somewhat superficial improvement if the only women who can make it in politics if anything instantiate ‘masculine’ qualities more than the men do, especially when they’re largely undesirable ones like aggression and despotism top-down leadership.

    But you can make this point without being loathsomely insulting to actual women, denying their agency, complete with a hardly subtle subtext that they aren’t real women. way to go, gender essentialism.)

  • arcseconds

    I dunno, EH, mandatory yoghurt is the sort of thing that patronizing dictators like, isn’t it? At least, Saparmurat Niyozov, (AKA Türkemenbaşi ‘Father of the Turkmen’) was a fan.

  • arcseconds

    … wait… I’m a top commenter?

    my street cred… in tatters!


  • The_L1985

    And again…..why?

  • Fusina

    Good on your Mom for sticking up for you at least that one time. And I am so, so sorry that you were also one of the bullied people. Apparently there are a lot of us.

    A side note, about a month after I changed the kids’ bus, the bully asked me why they didn’t ride the bus anymore…and the way he asked indicated that he wasn’t actually trying to hurt them, just get them to make friends. It broke my heart, because I realized he was trying to make friends and that was the only way he knew. That is one hellish home life for a little kid.

  • AnonaMiss

    This reminds me of a great troll argument I once read about why polyamory is inherently wrong.

    It was a bait and switch that started off going on about the moral decay of society, and after about a paragraph it dug into the meat of the issue, to wit: mixing Greek and Latin roots is wrong. It should be polyphilia, or multiamory.

  • AnonaMiss

    I’m sorry, it completely slipped my mind. I’ll ask Andriy when he comes in.

  • AnonaMiss

    Oh jeez, I totally misread Thor as Captain America in the post I was replying to, because it’s what my brain was expecting.

    I am actually a huge Tony/Cap shipper.

  • dpolicar

    A friend of mine insists that his mother, upon learning of his poly relationship to his wife, called his sister to say “I don’t really approve of this ‘polyamory’ business… it’s either ‘multiamory’ or ‘polyphilia’, this mixing of Greek and Latin roots has got to stop!”

    I have no idea if the story is true, but I really want it to be.

  • Congratulations. Software created by a company which frequently sacrifices user experience and ignores negative feedback in their ongoing quest to create a program as cheaply and with as little upkeep as possible recognizes your contributions. Sounds perfectly appropriate to me, Klondike Bar.

  • I’m assuming you’re referring to Disqus. Klondike Bar?

  • mattmcirvin

    Sadly, that’s kind of what I figured. I will be keeping an eye out.

  • When I went to my high school reunion a few years ago, afterward, my wife asked me why I never talked about all those fun friends I’d had back in school who all seemed like really nice people and seemed to like me so much. I explained to her that, back in high school, those were the people I thought of as my tormentors.

    Because I’d had a pretty good life, on balance, since high school, I was able to look back and say that yeah, those days weren’t so bad, and I wasn’t universally reviled and hated, I was just treated in a way I didn’t like to be treated by people who were themselves also children and didn’t get how to treat people yet.

    But I can totally get why not everyone would be able to get past it and be okay about it afterward (though I found it strange and offputting that some of my old school friends reacted badly and freaked out at the idea that I might willingly go over and say hi to the former-cool-kids, “After everything they did to us.”)

  • That sounds fantastic. Printing out and tacking to refrigerator door in preparation for cabbage harvesting time.

  • I just had the name “Gabrielle Strumpet” jump into my head. Someone needs to thwack me with a rolled up newspaper.

    But hey, it’s not yet taken on TwoEvils!

    (Hey! My name’s been accepted and added to the registry! DUDE! I feel so official.)

  • arcseconds

    ‘just art’ might be a suitable reaction to a unique work, or even a highly localized fashion.

    But the Venus figurines show similar designs over long distances and phenomenally long time periods by the standards of recorded human history. There’s surely some kind of phenomenon at work here apart from ‘just art’. At the very least, it’s art that has widespread appeal in paleolithic cultures over a long period of time, which demands some kind of explanation as to ‘why’. Were the cultures very similar and static over this extent?

    Of course, our ability to divine what was going on so long ago when we have so little evidence is very limited, and we should definitely not be too sure of ourselves.

    I’m still thinking fertility symbols is the best explanation, although I’m not at all married to the idea.

    I’m a little disturbed by the fact that they lack faces, and often heads, though.

  • Alix

    Well, except artistic styles and trends do happen. That said, I do tend to agree – fertility symbols/charms seem most likely.

    Were the cultures very similar and static over this extent?

    What really bugs me is that the ancient-matriarchy folks essentially argue exactly that – that prehistoric cultures were basically static and the same until patriarchy somehow arrived. Which … doesn’t do much to make matriarchy sound awesome.

    I know there are similarities in culture in terms of where these Venus figures have been found – paleolithic Europe, though some into Russia – but one of the other things that bothers me about the Venus statues is they have a huge range of variations, and people apparently just lump them all together. :/ Those variations argue for at least some cultural differences/evolution, if not for the various kinds of statues being created with various intents, so.

  • Is that really your position? You don’t care what kind of person you are supporting, unless they happen to bring it up?

  • Pretty much.

  • Fusina

    It got my kids eating cabbage.

    Here is another I like. Thai Style Noodles.

    Slice one red cabbage into thin strips. Boil 1 lb spaghetti. While spaghetti is cooking, saute 1 minced hot pepper (jalapeno, habanero, serrano) in oil. Toss in julienned carrots, sliced red onion, sliced red pepper and a mix of half a cup soy sauce, two tsp sugar, 1/2 tsp white pepper and some fish sauce if you like it. Stir, bring the liquid to a boil and add the cabbage. Steam until the pan isn’t heaped full of cabbage. The pasta should be done by then, stir it in and add a little sesame oil.

    Warning, this stuff tends to be Thai style hot. Without the heat it is still good, but not as good, IMO. Remove the hot pepper seeds and cut the white pepper by half if you want it somewhat tamed.

  • Daniel

    Presumably you’re Willowy.
    Or wait- is size 6 big in the states?

  • I actually had to stop reading in the middle of link 7 (at point 5). Not for boredom, which is what normally causes me to stop, but due to a bout of really unusual anger.

    The big problem is indeed male violence against women. It’s pervasive in the United States and around the world, and it is a serious social problem that needs to be addressed on a societal level. We need to recognize it, work to stop it, and *yes* we need to explicitly frame the issue as male violence against women because that is the best way to address issue.

    But _all_ male sexual assault against men isn’t actually male sexual assault against women. Sorry, I completely reject that.

    In prison and certain circumstances male sexual assault can use the framework of gender to shame the raped man, but if we agree (I think we do) that rape is primarily about control, domination and violence, it is not absolutely necessary to frame it as “male violence against women” as the underlying issue.

    Gay men can and have experienced rape and that rape is not based on “contempt for women.” The suggestion that it is . . . is utterly infuriating. I can’t describe to you how upset I am to see this suggested and honestly I thought I didn’t have any general conversation triggers left. I went through this last in college when the women in a writing class told me that men can’t be raped (as the author of the article in no. 7) suggests.

    What an utter dismissal of actual crimes that have occurred.

  • You may reject it, but I’m not convinced. What word is used to refer to a male rape victim? “Bitch.”

  • I would say that the preponderance of that word is associated with prison male on male rape. Not between gay domestic rape situations. Then again, I don’t have a peer reviewed study on the matter and I’m about 95% sure you don’t as well.

  • If I had enough spoons, I’d go digging in my library’s research paper database access thingie, but it’s too ugly a subject for my present state of mind. I do think there’s a near-universal basis for identifying women as the weaker sex and therefore anyone placed in a position of victimhood (any such position) as being/acting “like a girl/woman” though.
    It makes me wonder what it’s like in a matriarchal society. Sad fact: Wikipedia not only has no examples of such a society existing in the present day, but has citations from people claiming that no such society has ever existed, despite having many citations for matriarchies from the Bronze Age onward on the same page.

  • I agree that it’s almost always true that in this kind of abuse, the use of gender is to put down the victim. But not always, and we need to recognize that we may not be able to help male victims by telling them that they were only raped as a show of distain toward women.

    I think the thing that’s disturbed me so much is that it assumes that any kind of penetrative sex must be male on female. That’s not the case for everyone, even though that’s predominantly true for most of humanity. It essentially delegitimizes any kind of gay sex as much as any anti-sodomy law ever has.

  • I don’t think the author intended to make it sound as though male-male rape is only committed to send a hateful message to women. I think it’s a matter of mental identification — in their minds, only women are weak enough to be raped, so someone being raped is as weak as a woman. The author need not believe this to assert that other people commonly do, just like I can point out that it does appear to be a common assumption that all sex involves partners fulfilling a masculine dominant role and a feminine submissive role, and that this dates back thousands of years, to the point that that wonderful law in Leviticus itself does so: “You shall not lay with a man as you do with a woman.”

    This gender essentialist perspective is where we get people like Doug Wilson who say that egalitarian sexual relations are impossible even between men and women. They can’t imagine it being any other way, but that doesn’t mean the rest of us are so bound. It does, however, mean that it’s going to be very difficult to convince them men are capable of having sexual roles that aren’t synonymous with behaving “feminine,” much less that gender rules about femininity and masculinity are a load of nonsense that have done more harm than good.

  • Thanks for this. I appreciate having your opinion to help me understand hers.