Smart people saying smart things

Smart people saying smart things February 26, 2012

Jesse Curtis: “A lot of Christians don’t care about poor people

What I hear from evangelicals a lot is that it is the church’s job, not the government’s, to care for the poor. I would dispute the either/or proposition contained in that argument (after all, the laws God gave Israel included government mandated redistribution of wealth) but for our purposes, let’s accept the premise. It is the church’s job, period.

But here’s the thing … many of our evangelical churches don’t like poor people. We look down on them. We assume irresponsible behavior is the cause of their condition. We stand in judgment over them, determining who is and who is not “deserving” of help. We get excited about political candidates who scapegoat poor people (especially dark skinned poor people) as the cause of many of our problems. Worthy poor people live in places like Bangladesh and Mozambique. Here in America we just have lazy people.

We say it is the church’s job to care for the poor, yet attend churches that don’t help people pay their rent or buy groceries. It is the church’s job and yet the pastoral leadership has not told the business owners in our congregation that the hiring of ex-felons should prioritized. It is the church’s job and yet we don’t offer affordable child care during the week so single moms can go earn a living. It is the church’s job but the kids at the poorly performing public school will have to go somewhere else to find tutoring and mentoring. It is the church’s job but you can’t expect us to take care of all the medical bills you can’t afford. It is the church’s job but if you have an addiction you’re on your own, especially since you might be dangerous and steal from us. …

Marco Arment: “Right versus pragmatic (via Squashed)

The signs never worked. Instead, they just annoyed and angered people. Some people even threw more paper towels on the floor because they didn’t like the condescending way they were being instructed.

There was no chance the signs would ever work. The people who threw paper towels on the floor knew that it was “wrong”. Maybe their desire to avoid touching the doorknob was stronger than their desire to do the “right” thing every time. Or maybe they just didn’t give a damn about making the bathroom slightly worse for someone else to make it slightly better for themselves. Either way, a sign’s not going to solve the problem, because the problem isn’t that they didn’t know the right thing to do. They knew what they were doing, and for whatever reason, they didn’t care.

This problem wasn’t solved by the time I left that office. It probably still isn’t.

The pragmatic way to solve the problem would have been to adapt to what these people were going to do anyway: just put another trash can by the door.

Bryce Covert: “Reducing Abortions: It’s the Economy, Stupid

If conservatives are so hell-bent on preventing abortions, one of the best things they can do is support family planning services and access to contraception. Yet the last time we saw an openly pro-family planning Republican was the ’80s, when George H.W. Bush was in office. Meanwhile, all Republican 2012 candidates have signed personhood pledges that endanger many forms of contraception, Santorum himself has said birth control is bad, and I’ve lost track of how many times Republicans have tried to defund Planned Parenthood, which supplies contraception to low-income women.

… There’s another clue that this isn’t about saving the babies. It’s the blind eye conservatives have turned to the economic factors that are leading more women to turn to abortion.

… If Republicans are concerned about reversing the rise in abortion rates, they need to focus on putting people back to work making decent pay. Putting women to work in large part means spending money at the state level to keep them on public payrolls.

… Women choose to terminate pregnancies for all sorts of reasons and should be able to access abortion care when they do. Tight budgets aren’t the only reason to choose not to have a child. But economic factors that prevent families from having children should be high on conservatives’ list. If we ease those families’ financial situations, they may not have to turn to terminating a pregnancy. But instead conservatives are fighting access to contraceptives, cutting off funding for services that would make life easier for women living in poverty, and blocking job creation policies.

Sarah Fister Gale: “Why Rick Santorum would have killed my daughter

Rather than turning to my local politician for prenatal advice, I followed the guidance of my obstetrician, who sent me to a perinatologist, who recommended I have an amniocentesis. Because he had a medical degree and years of experience treating pregnant women, I followed his recommendation.

… If Rick Santorum had his way, I wouldn’t have been able to get that test, and [my daughter] most likely would have died. Because according to him, tests that give parents vital information about the health of their unborn children are morally wrong. Though he has no medical training, and no business commenting on the medical decisions that women and their doctors make, he argues that such tests shouldn’t be provided, or that employers at least should be allowed to opt out of paying for them on “moral grounds.”

Eleven years ago,  my husband and I had two kids and a mortgage, and like most young families we didn’t have $2,000 to pay for a test that my husband’s employer might object to on moral grounds.

So, while Mr. Santorum may think that his blowhard opinions about when and where women should be allowed to have medical tests is righteous, I say it’s ignorance.


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  • Anonymous

    Re Curtis’ comment. My old Jesuit moral-theology professor used to say that the number-one cause of poverty was not having enough money. And the way you alleviated poverty was to give money to people who didn’t have enough of it.

    Any other argument isn’t actually an argument about poverty — it’s about something else.

  • Re right vs pragmatic.

    I’ve often noticed that people take the past of very least resistance to get someplace or do something. If it can possibly be done in an easier way or less strenuous way, people will do the easier way.

    Example: why stores near subway or transit stations are such highly prized locations. If you can do some quick shopping on your way to or from work/school, and the spot is not even 50 feet from the transit stop, you’ll go there instead of a rather annoying 5 minute walk out of the way, even if it might be cheaper or the service friendlier.

    Corporations seem to purposely misunderstand this and exhort their workers to ever more monumental tasks and their customers to ever more ridiculous levels of commitment to get the product.

    Twenty-five years ago almost nobody asked for your phone number just to buy something at a shop, if it wasn’t a big ticket item (even computer shops). So what do people do? They end up just making up phone numbers. I use the work number for a place I no longer have a job at, in my case.

    Yet the doctrine of better customer service mandates that the store “feel closer to the customer”, and so – voila, the phone number phenomenon.

  • Re Curtis’ comment. My old Jesuit moral-theology professor used to say that the number-one cause of poverty was not having enough money. And the way you alleviated poverty was to give money to people who didn’t have enough of it. 

    Indeed. It’s absolutely ridiculous and small-minded that in the wealthiest societies on this planet anyone needs to be put in the position of feeling like they have to constantly be on a treadmill just to keep a roof over one’s head and food in one’s fridge.

  • P J Evans

     I haven’t been asked for a phone number by any store that wasn’t taking my check. I’ve been asked for my postal code, though, presumably so they can see where there might be an underserved area.

  • So wait, Republicans and their anti-women’s-healthcare-coverage stance could lead to unborn babies dying? But isn’t that who they’re trying to save? It’s almost like conservatives don’t think through the consequences of their reactionary positions!

    (Also, they don’t actually care much about unborn babies, except for the unborn babies of well-off white people.)

  • Brandi

    The Curtis comment reminds me of the Stephen Colbert quote:

    “If this is going to be a Christian nation that doesn’t help the poor, either we have to pretend that Jesus was just as selfish as we are, or we’ve got to acknowledge that He commanded us to love the poor and serve the needy without condition and then admit that we just don’t want to do it.”

  • That’s only because you think that their goals are the things they *say* their goals are. THey totally thought through their position, it’s just that “saving unborn babies” isn’t their actual goal. Their actual goal is increasing the concentration of wealth and power. This is served by placating a base of voters, which is accomplished by passing laws that hurt women.

    Republican legislation rarely accomplishes their *stated* goals, because it they came out and *stated* their *actual* goals, no one would vote for them.

    (Or so they thought. Rick Santorum may be on the cusp of disputing that argument, as he surges frothilly through the primaries for saying things like “I pray to god that we always remain a nation with massive wealth disparities” and “The sluts should just keep their knees together*)

    (* Actually said not by santorum, but by his money)

  • It’s very hard to pay by check in Canadian stores – instead of trying to implement shit like Check-Rite, stores just won’t take them, period – unless they’re certified corporate checks or weird things like that.

    Computer stores are the most infamous for the phone number thing, incidentally.

  • That’s only because you think that their goals are the things they *say* their goals are.

    In the future, please read my entire comment before responding to it.

  • Another point I was trying to make is that the level of intrusiveness companies feel is acceptable into the personal lives of their employees and customers has increased over the last few years. It’s now considered acceptable to insist that employees are “on the clock” just because they have cell phones and computers, and that customers should provide the kind of information they used to only have to provide a government. Some companies even wrongly ask for Social Security (Social Insurance, in Canada) Numbers when they should not.

    EDIT: This idea that intrusiveness is acceptable is also, I feel, the driving force behind why companies in the digital media realm seem to feel it acceptable to try and adopt technologies that purposely make it harder to do reasonable things with a product that ~might possibly maybe sort of~ promote piracy. (>_<)

  • So effin’ true. One wage job I worked, our head staff person whatever would call us if she needed us to come in early, and by early she meant RIGHT NOW, and if you tried to explain that you were in the middle of something, she would get pissy and act like she genuinely couldn’t understand that you might have important things going on in your life outside of the workplace.

    Some countries require overtime pay not just for hours worked over 40 (or whatever fulltime is in the given country), but for any hours worked that weren’t scheduled for that employee. We should do that in the US.

  • Michael Pullmann

     Carlin said it 15-odd years ago: “They’re not pro-life, they’re anti-woman.”

  • Anonymous

    In regards to Rick Santorum:

    Here, Rick, let me get you your fainting couch and clutching pearls…

    What’s most galling (not to mention elitist) about Santorum’s statements is that the guy is — you guessed it — a *college graduate!* (

    To tell someone *not* to get an education because they will be “indoctrinated” while having been educated yourself (and apparently been indoctrinated yourself, although into another ideology) strikes me as the WORST. POSSIBLE. FORM. OF. SNOBBERY!

  • Lori

    If Rick Santorum had his way, I wouldn’t have been able to get that
    test, and [my daughter] most likely would have died. Because according to him, tests that give parents vital information about the health of their unborn children are morally wrong. Though he has no medical training, and no business commenting on the medical decisions that women and their doctors make, he argues that such tests shouldn’t be provided, or that employers at least should be allowed to opt out of paying for them on “moral grounds.” 

    I can’t tell if Santorum’s douchebagery on the issue of pre-natal testing is hypocritical, ironic or just a case of guilt run wild, but considering his history he really needs to STFU about this issue.

    Of course, that’s not actually going to happen. He is apparently going to keep piling on the religion until we choke on it or he gets elected Jr Pope of America. After all, separation of church & state makes him physically ill.

    Given that the Pope has now said that fertility treatments are a sin I can only assume that Rick’s stump speech will soon include some lovely talk about banning them too.

    I’ll give the hateful bastards a little bit of credit, their position is now at least consistent. Stupid and vile, but consistent. You will have babies when and only when God says that you will. Any attempt at agency on your part is Just Not On. Don’t like it? Tough.

  • Dmoore970

    OK, someone explain this to me.  Evangelicals often say that churches, not government, should provide for the poor.  They also boast about how generous they are in charitable contributions, much more generous than liberals.

    So far as I can tell, there is a great deal to this.  Certainly, when I went to New Orleans to help clean up after Hurricane Katrina, Samaritan’s Purse and Campus Crusade for Christ were major participants and food was supplied, both for volunteers and for local residents, by a Southern Baptist organization that travels around the world offering disaster relief. 

    Yet their basic arguments against government aid to the poor do sound just barely below the surface like arguments that show a deep contempt for the poor, not the sort of thing that would encourage a charitable attitude.

    So any of you ex-RTC’s out there, how does this work?

  • Evangelicals are likelier to give money to poor people who a) are far away, and b) are in situations that don’t draw a bunch of conservative victim-blaming. Since they’re likely to agree with that victim-blaming, after all. So, y’know, disaster victims* and poor people in generally impoverished nations and such are a popular target for church aid.
    *Although the level of victim-blaming conservatives managed to bring to bear in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and the Haiti earthquake was pretty awe-inspiring and certainly represented a new low.

  • Brandi

    Calling Obama “a snob” was really just trying– and succeeding, alas– in finding a new way to call him “uppity” without being called out on the obvious intent.

  • Everytime Fred shares a blurb I really like, I check out more from the author linked to. I really liked what Curtis had to say, and was thinking after reading a couple more posts on his Walk On blog I would become a regular reader of his – but then there was this gem:

    Ugh. I guess it just shows we all got our weaknesses.

  • Matri

    (Also, they don’t actually care much about unborn babies, except for the unborn babies of well-off white people.)

    No no, they ALSO CARE about the unborn babies of not-so-well-off white and not-white people.

    Until they’re born, at which point they think those should die because they’re not babies of well-off white people.

    Pro-life, folks.

  • Anonymous

    Additionally, if you say “sorry, I’ve got something else scheduled” then you are told that you’re not a team player (which has the strong undercurrent of “we’re going to get rid of you as soon as we can”).  Thus, they manipulate people into doing the extra work or allowing their lives to be completely at the mercy of their employer–which was probably the goal all along.

    As for the idea of “being on the clock” just because one has a cell phone or computer?  F— that.  If they’re not paying me for it then I’m not doing it. 

  • We Must Dissent

    I disagree with Tony Campolo on a lot of things, but I think he summed up Evangelicals and poverty pretty well:

    “I have three things I’d like to
    say today. First, while you were sleeping last night, 30,000 kids died
    of starvation or diseases related to malnutrition. Second, most of you
    don’t give a shit. What’s worse is that you’re more upset with the fact
    that I said shit than the fact that 30,000 kids died last night.”

  • friendly reader

    I’m sorry, but in regards to Mr. Arment’s post, anyone who refers to that comic by Oatmeal as “awesome!” and then says that the industry just needs to “meet the demand” isn’t a smart person saying smart things. He may be a smart person, but what he is saying is stupid – or at least tremendously naive and ignorant.

    Maybe my experience of pirating is different because I come from the anime fandom, where many fans are in their teens, but if I could summarize what the “demand” is that the anime and manga industry would have to meet, it would be, “Give it to me immediately, free, in high-def, without annoying advertising, and translated exactly the way I want, or else I will go to fansubs.”

    The level of entitlement and rationalization involved in my fandom is such that, to meet their “demand,” anime and manga distributors would go bankrupt.

    I’m not saying there isn’t progress to be made, primarily overseas. Thanks to region laws, many North American distributors can’t stream anime in other English-speaking countries, but also don’t want fansubbers to be releasing series in English on the internet where the “gimme free!” crowd can pick it up. Regions are, I’m convinced, obsolete and do more harm than good, but getting rid of them will take time, and that’s not what most gimme fans are advocating for: they just want it free. And they’ve gotten so used to getting it free online, that paying seems anathema. They will come up with any excuse

    And then there are the websites that post fansubs and scanlations and have advertising and make money off of this….

    Don’t get me wrong, I think there’s a place for fansubs and scanlations… working on unreleased, obscure, quirky stuff that might otherwise never get noticed. There are perfectly awesome groups out there doing just that, and I don’t want them getting caught up as the industry goes after sites that are still posting rips of DVD releases, scans of licensed releases, and series that are released within a month of coming out in Japan.

    What’s more, I’m saying all of this as someone who worked in a fansubbing team for about a year, translating unreleased, quirky stuff. But that also meant I met other teams, and yeah, that lowered my opinion of my fandom quite a bit. People simply do not understand the amount of work that goes into making a quality release, and do not grasp that this is what you are paying for: someone’s effort. Instead, they argue that because it’s an idea and not a concrete thing they shouldn’t have to pay for it. Because apparently all entertainment should be done by amateurs…. who you get to harass for not releasing things immediately and translated exactly the way they want.

    Sorry, this turned into a rant, but that really hit my berserk button. I know that specific case, “The Game of Thrones,” might not match my experience, but good god, the number of “fans” I have met who have never spent a penny on anime or manga…

  • I blogged about a politician going up and sticking her finger right in Obama’s face. If that doesn’t have racial overtones all over it…

  • Every time I hear someone going on and on and on about the haaaaard work (software developers, anime developers) it just sounds like one of those tug at your heartstrings sob story guilt trip and if there’s one thing I know about human beings is that when they even think they’re being manipulated into doing something they don’t want to do it just pisses them off even more.

    It’s especially egregious when some Microcrap software developer who makes $100k a year and was probably a stock-option millionaire trots this out to justify charging like $300 for Microsoft Office.

    I wanna recognize the hard work, sure – I’ll go get the student price version from my local uni’s computer store which is legit ’cause I have a student card or I’ll buy the Digital River Student Windows 7 deal but I don’t need to be cajoled or manipulated into it.

    Same deal for some TV shows I like. I’m saving up to buy the Blu-Ray for Battlestar Galactica because holy awesomesauce. It’s like $200, but you think I’m gonna begrudge that?

  • We stand in judgment over them, determining who is and who is not “deserving” of help.

    That’s the only reason I can see for why they want the job.

    There aren’t too many churches that have the resources to take care of more than a handful of poor people. 

  • friendly reader

    I’m not trying to “manipulate” anyone, and I don’t think telling these gimme fans how much work it takes is going to do a damn thing. Maybe making them actually do some of the work might help, but I doubt it. This was entirely a rant, me getting some things off my chest. There’s no sob story or guilt trip here, just pent-up frustration and anger.

    Oh, and nobody in the anime industry is doing as well as you seem to think they are. Maybe the heads over here in Japan, but in America? Companies are dropping like flies, and most people in the industry do it because they love it.

    And good for you that you support what you love. None  of my comments were about you. I’m saying there are a lot of people who don’t, and never will, because they want it free, and they don’t give a damn about anything you say or do to try to help. “Meet the demand” only works when the demand is even remotely reasonable.

    If you have some suggestion as to how to get these teenagers to actually support the industry and not turn to piracy that haven’t been tried already, please, go ahead. In the meantime, let me be angry that that stupid webcomic tried to manipulate and cajole me into believing that all pirates are just well-meaning people being crushed by a bad-old system.

    Also, I think I need to leave this thread, because my blood pressure is spiking just having to deal with this crap.

  • Lori

    I blogged about a politician going up and sticking her finger right in Obama’s face. If that doesn’t have racial overtones all over it… 

    She walked up and pointed her finger in his face, he become somewhat visably annoyed about the whole, incredibly inappropriate, display and then she went out and told her Tea Party supporters that she had been afraid of him. W.T.F?

    A white woman telling an audience of mostly cracker white men that a black man scared her. That’s not racist at all. Of course not.

  • In the meantime, let me be angry that that stupid webcomic tried to manipulate and cajole me into believing that all pirates are just well-meaning people being crushed by a bad-old system.

    Not all of them. But some of them?

    There are an awful lot of very selfish people out there who expect instant delivery of exactly what they’re after, and will whine when their demands aren’t catered to.
    There are also a lot of people who would happily pay to watch our shows – if, in fact, ridiculous piracy-prevention hadn’t made it impossible for us to get hold of them in a legal manner.

    Catering to the first group might be ridiculous; catering to the second is good business.

  • Katie

     And she’s not going to the state governor’s meeting in D.C. because she has ‘other things to do’.  Jan Brewer is an idiot, and once again piling shame on Arizona. 

  • Jesse Curtis

    Mr. Clark, thanks for the link!

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    He translates this slightly in Australia. We get “most of you don’t give a fuck”. Because Tony might be an old man, but he knows that Australians don’t tend to give a shit about someone saying shit.


    OT: acute political crisis over; long-term political crisis continues.

  • Dmoore970

    Interesting.  Because when you hear conservative politicians giving speeches, you get the distinct impression they think anyone who isn’t an American, Brit or Israeli has no moral worth.

  • FangsFirst

     The anime community in particular tends to be awful, because it gets not
    only the baseline “I don’t care, it’s free now” people, it also gets
    fed by those who insist on subtitles (less an issue now, and I freely
    admit to being one of them), series that are never released here, the
    extremely small base of buyers, the cost of licensing and then the
    inevitable (increased) cost of product.

    “These prices are exorbitant!”

    “It will never be released here anyway.”

    “No subtitles=no purchase.”

    All legitimate problems, but that easily teeter into the “screw it, I’ll
    pirate it,” ground. And have enough people who might’ve bought it, but
    it takes too long to come out (or never does) or costs too much or they
    had to drop the music or whatever—so they pirate it, watch it once,
    and move on.

    It’s a very, very peculiar area, and one that, of course, does not then
    easily translate into the rest of the world, as these things do not
    occur as much with anything else.

    It’s a niche market, so to justify licensing costs, separate volumes are
    often exorbitantly priced in an attempt to make up the difference (plus
    profit) in how few copies will be sold, and it’s volume-based so it
    doesn’t function like single movies or such things–though there’s some
    comparison in, for instance, pricing of BBC shows–when licensed for R1,
    they are often bizarrely high in pricing. the MSRP for Doctor
    started around $99.99US and hasn’t dropped much, even as
    domestic US television has cut $10 here and there on releases. HBO
    dropped to WB-level MSRP some years ago ($59.99) but BBC hasn’t budged
    much at all. Some shows remain $99.99, others have drifted down

    But, in the end: anime is not like everything else. It has the
    translation issue, it has a rabid but small fan-base, and it has high
    licensing costs, low volume sales, wide, wide range of titles (and
    quality, and markets, and themes…) that split up an already small
    market, and so on and so forth.

    It’s a big headache all around, really, and doesn’t work quite the same
    as music or movies or anything else. Though the music industry in Japan
    is also pretty weird and causes problems

    But friendly reader is right–anime companies HAVE been dropping like
    flies, and a lot of the people in them ARE devoted lovers of the stuff.
    Basically being chopped down to the “sure fire sellers” for US release

    ¹I notice patterns in pricing, as I used to be a major DVD deal hunter,
    for my own personal collection of about 3,000 DVDs. Obviously, this
    generally means I don’t know tons about exported US vs. domestic pricing
    for other countries, because I have no experience of them (and no
    particular reason to compare them).

  • Ursula L

    There are also a lot of people who would happily pay to watch our shows – if, in fact, ridiculous piracy-prevention hadn’t made it impossible for us to get hold of them in a legal manner.

    Or else there are policies that make it pretty much impossible to actually pay and have the money go to support the art you want.

    I don’t watch a lot of TV.  Most of what I do watch is PBS, which I can pick up with an antenna.  

    I wouldn’t mind getting BBC America as well.  I’d happily pay for it.  It would be useful just for keeping up with Fred’s “Doctor Who” references here.  And I’ve generally enjoyed the BBC productions that are shown on PBS, so having access to more of that type of programming would be nice.

    But to get it, I’d have to get the third or fourth level of service from my local cable network.  Over $80 a month.  Possibly over $100, it has been a while since I looked.

    Is BBC America worth $80 a month?  I can’t say.  

    But if I pay for it, I’m not actually giving the BBC, which I’d happily support, $80 a month.  I’m buying a package with over a hundred channels I’ll never, ever watch.  And the vast majority of those $80 will go to those other channels, particularly the sports networks.  

    Is it reasonable to pay $80 a month so that $0.10 goes to support the network  I’m interested in watching and supporting, one that is, like PBS, facing funding cuts and in need of public support?

    And what about the rest of what I’m paying?  Some of it goes to Fox News – which I really, really don’t want to support, at least until they can figure out basic fact checking.  A lot more goes to the sports networks, and to the professional sports organizations.  A system which is profoundly sexist, with systematic gender segregation, with the money and attention going almost entirely to the male sports rather than to women.  I have no interest in watching sports at all, but I have a profound distaste for having my money go to support a system where women are systematically excluded and ignored.  When the coverage is 50/50 between men’s and women’s sports both in time and respect, and when salaries for men and women athletes are equal, then maybe I wouldn’t mind so much having to have some of what I pay go to support the system that is organized sports.  

    (Although I’d probably also want to see major reform of amateur sports, particularly for children, teens, and young adults, to eliminate the ways in which organized sports are behind the shaming and bullying of children and teens who are not athletically inclined.  Organized sports can be profoundly destructive, and the glorification of professional sports encourages the abuses in amateur sports.)  

    “You can’t buy what you want – unless you  first give a lot of money to the thugs over there who are doing things that harm you” is extortion.   Progressivism and good public policy are actively harmed by Fox News.  Many children, including myself as a child, are actively harmed by the glorification of sports.  

    I’d happily pay a reasonable price for BBC, including a reasonable fee to my local cable company for providing it.

    But that isn’t an option.  My only legal option is to pay a lot of money for the benefit of institutions that cause real harm to actual human beings in the world, in order to have a few pennies go to a worthy institution doing good work. 

  • I learned how to “pirate” when copy protection on a computer game I bought made it unplayable. The “pirated” copy worked, the one I bought did not. Now, I download games all the time, to test them out and make sure they work on my computer. I buy them if I intend to keep playing them. But I usually don’t play off the copy I bought, because copy protections on computer games very often not only make it harder to play the game, they often *harm computers*. 

    Computer game companies who use copy protection — i.e. nearly all of them –actually punish people who buy their games. It’s corporate dumbassery at its finest.

  • hf

     Seems to me if you give fans the illusion of a relationship, you can get us to do anything you want.

    For a while there I actually paid small amounts of money to rent anime from Comcast On Demand’s Funimation section, even though I could get subtitle on-line for free. I did this for two reasons:

    1. Comcast made it easy.

    2. They let me watch many series for free, like a friendly fellow fan might.

    But if you depend on customers thinking this way, you can’t ever pull a series from the free section before people finish watching, or you’ll break the illusion. To quote Neal Stephenson talking about something else, “Disney doesn’t issue press releases saying that Mickey Mouse is a guy in a suit.” When your customers don’t need actually need you to get what they want, you can’t ever let them ask the question, ‘why am I giving these people money?’ It probably also helps to have a brand like Adult Swim, one that does more to create the illusion of community. Remember, the kludge we call the human brain did not evolve to make your business profitable. It evolved to seek status in a tribal community. Doesn’t matter how much you say you need money if giving you money maps to ‘low status’.

    Your mention of teenagers reminds me of another important point. If your business requires support from people who have no money, then perhaps your business was not meant to be.

  • Anonymous

    Leaving in groups to take care of the needs of out groups makes no sense on the face of it. The world has been around for quite some time and governments would not have needed to develop social safety nets if the Churches were satisfying the demands of charity placed on them by the young, old, weak, sick, hungry and poor. Government safety nets are nothing less than enforced charities. This entire governments attack on religious freedoms controversy the Catholic Church is having with Obama is nothing more than the government demanding the Catholic Church comply with federal guidelines in order to receive federal grants and subsidies. Yes it is true. The Catholic Church is trying to dictate the terms it will accept a government welfare check. Money it is syphoning off of existing safety net programs so it can pretend it is still relevant. Religion has become the degenerate drunk who makes a fool of himself putting on airs of respectability by preaching sobriety at the local pub for free drinks.

  • Over here in Europe there is a strong sense of media companies don’t want our money due to our ability to buy digital stuff being constantly blocked.

    I’m an indie girl all the way so running into a thing I can’t legally obtain is rare but one of my US expat friends rants about this a lot – because it’s about to get worse. She can’t buy a lot of the music she wants in digital form, so currently she orders CDs to be shipped to her at great expense. Record labels are planning to phase out CDs and it doesn’t look like they’re planning to make international access to digital formats any easier when they do.

    If she pirates it at that point then its hardly a sale they would have had if she hadn’t – they’ve already constructively informed her they do not wish her money. Yes, it’s a lost sale, but they already lost it even if she just chooses to do without it.


  • Tricksterson

    Okay so Santorum supports forcing women and their doctors to undergo/give unnecasary ultrasounds in the name of saving the unborn yet opposes useful prenatal testing because (I’m guessing here) it might uncover deformitiess bad enough to convince the mother/her SO/her doctor that the pregnancy should be aborted, even though it could also save the babies life?

    I was going to call this insane troll logic but then I reflected that I am</b? an insane troll and even I think this is fucked.

  • Tricksterson

    whoops, the last part didn’t get printed.  Goes: an insane troll and even I think this is fucked up

  • Lori

    Yes. In Santorum-world ultrasounds make pregnant woman fall in love with fetuses, and so reduce abortion, but all other prenatal tests result in more abortions. According to him, most amnios lead to abortion.

    I have no idea where Santorum-world is, but I really wish he’d stop trying to punch through to our reality. 

  • Anonymous

    The pragmatic approach can be somewhat effective, but only if you get someone who is actually opposed to abortion.   They’re easy enough to find- they’re the ones who believe its wrong no matter what the situation (usually “saving the mothers life” is the only sort of exception they’ll allow.)

    And I know some people like that. I didn’t manage to persuade them to be pro choice, but I pointed out that for the moment, legal abortion is here to stay. and that when abortion is illegal, abortion rates go up, and more women die. Therefore it makes more sense to support these programs that are shown to dramatically cut the abortion rate. It’s gotten my grandmother to change her tune at least somewhat about nationalized healthcare, so it can at least move people in the right direction. 

  • Anonymous

    This, this, all of this. And, damn. I work at a hospital where a *ton* of prenatal testing goes on, and what’s always amazing to me is how many of these parents go on to not terminate, even pregnancies with severe abnormalities. If there’s even a slight chance of a decent outcome, so many of them want to take it.

    And the extensive testing does some great good there, too — with an accurate diagnosis, the parents and doctors have time to research best practices, get second opinions, get plans rolling for surgeries, therapies, needed parental leave time after the baby is born, support from family, friends and various social services.

    A lot of parents look at the road ahead and the likelihood of terrible suffering for the baby and opt to abort, but a surprising number don’t. And that foreknowledge vastly improves the outcomes for their children — instead of parents and doctors being blindsided by the diagnosis, everyone is medically, socially, emotionally prepared, and all of that has a huge positive effect on the child’s long-term prospects.

    I just… whatever he thinks prenatal testing does is so utterly divorced from reality, I don’t even know where to begin.

  • Anyone who believes Rick Santorum actually cares about fetuses is giving him waaaay too much credit. What he cares about is forcing women to be punished by being pregnant, as he believes God intends. Santorum will oppose anything that could possibly interfere with women being punished for being born.

  • Tricksterson

    The only thing i can figure is that he thinks that amniocentesis might reveal deformities that would lead the parent(s) and/or doctor to reccomend an abortion.  But…wouldn’t an ultrasound have the same potential?  His logic is not like our earth logic.

  • There are some legitimate small risks in amniocentesis (which would reveal genetic disorders not immediately obvious to ultrasound); as I understand it, the process can in a small number of cases accidentally cause problems with the pregnancy.

    Weighed against a likely expression of birth defects I’d say the process has definite advantages, especially if, for example, Huntington’s is known to run in the family.