7 things @ 11 o’clock (7.1)

7 things @ 11 o’clock (7.1) July 1, 2013

1. Funny or Die offers a sneak preview of the first new film from Rick Santorum’s EchoLight Studios. (Not really, but it is a good joke, well-executed.)

2. Joe Hanson shares a wise comment from J.B.S. Haldane: “My own suspicion is that the universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose.”

I think of Haldane as the “inordinately fond of beetles” guy. I’ve noted before that I think that comment — “If one could conclude as to the nature of the Creator from a study of creation, it would appear that God has an inordinate fondness for stars and beetles” — is an excellent piece of theologizing. Same goes for the quote above about the surpassing strangeness of the universe.

The other place I’d encountered Haldane was in C.S. Lewis posthumously published essay, “A Reply to Professor Haldane,” which included Lewis’ condemnation of theocracy (see here). That “reply” was a response to a couple of barbed pieces by Haldane in response to Lewis’ worries about what he called “scientism.” They seem to have been talking past one another a bit in that exchange.

3.I’ll be post-feminist in the post-patriarchy.”

4. Gary Bauer — the diminutive founder of the Family Research Council who later came up short in his bid for president — says that those of us advocating for marriage equality are not actually advocating for marriage equality. We’re just using that as an excuse to imprison anti-gay Christians like Gary Bauer. In a Washington Times column, Bauer writes:

The ultimate goal of homosexual-rights activists is not to legalize same-sex marriage. Rather, it is to silence those who disagree with them and, if necessary, to throw them in jail. … How did we get to the point where homosexual-rights activists would be clamoring to redefine society’s oldest and most reliable institution and people of faith would be worried about being fined or jailed for teaching their faith?

To answer Bauer’s question, if any “people of faith” actually are “worried about being fined or jailed,” my guess is that this fear comes from columnists like Gary Bauer repeatedly telling them that this is something they should be frightened of.

It also comes from these people of (very timid) faith somehow being the only people in America who have never heard of the Rev. Fred Phelps and his notorious Westboro Baptist Church. If they know who Phelps is, then they know that what Bauer is saying is not true. If no one is trying to put Fred Phelps in jail, then it’s ridiculous for cowardly Christians to fear they’re facing prosecution or persecution just because they believe in some less-confrontational and less aggressively abrasive form of “God hates [The Other]” theology.

5. Delaware has a new law protecting manufactured-home owners. As you may have read, the trap for manufactured- or “mobile-” home owners is that they own their house, but not the land it sits on. Most manufactured-home owners pay rent for the lot beneath their not-so-mobile home, and since trying to relocate the home can cost thousands of dollars, there’s no market-based check against landlords imposing predatory increases in rent. Delaware’s new law doesn’t impose rent control, but says that any proposed lot rent increase of more than the CPI has to be justified to and approved by a state commission. It’s not as ideal as helping residents to buy the land under their homes in order to form a resident-owned community, but it’s an enormous improvement over the former status quo, in which these folks had no protections from markets or from government.

6. A reminder: The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act was reintroduced in the U.S. House of Representatives in May. A second reminder: “Pro-lifers” still seem mostly silent and/or hostile toward this bill. That suggests something.

7. Two examples of what the Internet is for: The Skunk River National Park Twitter feed (via Grist) and the Amazon customer reviews for the Mizuno Women’s Wave Rider 16 Running Shoe (the Sen. Wendy Davis model). Well done, folks.


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  • I think we put too much importance on that word as a dividing line. It’s like, if you say it, you’re a racist end-of-story, and if you don’t, you can pretty much be as racist as you like and no one will be allowed to call you on it.

  • John Oliver and Bill Maher both made fat jokes about her in reference to the racism scandal,

  • Lori

    Not cool. I don’t expect anything better from Bill Maher, who is such an asshole I can’t even, but John Oliver should know better. Shame on him.

  • AnonaMiss

    Yeah, the problem was that by just demanding blanket proof, instead of pointing out what part of the statement he doubted, EH inadvertently triggered the NeoConfederate alarm.

    Which is, obviously… very loud.

  • David S.

    But it’s not value-netural. As per http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/fulfillment-any-age/201306/why-women-want-tall-men , tall men have a big advantage (and despite the URL, not just in dating.)

  • Amaryllis

    Echo from fiction: “There ain’t no such thing as a good mistress, on account of a mistress ain’t a good thing to be.”
    – character in Delia Sherman’s The Freedom Maze, dismissing her “Old Missy’s” cherished reputation as a kind slave-owner.

    (Interesting book.)

    And have I mentioned lately how much I hate Disqus? With this format, there’s no following who said what to whom when. Everything seems to be all mixed up.

  • Amaryllis

    Oh, they were all Catholic, it’s just that they didn’t all sign the Declaration. On looking it up, I find that Fitzsimons signed the Constitution, along with Daniel Carroll; I must have been too tired to read straight last night. So Charles regains his solitary status for the Declaration.

    I looked up Fitzsimons, and he was the first vice president of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick– sounds pretty Irish Catholic to me.

  • Amaryllis

    “Button Gwinnett” certainly beats the rather generic “Richard Stockton.” I remembered him as well, probably due to too much time spent on the New Jersey Turnpike. (In New Jersey history, you’re no one if you don’t have a rest stop named after you.)

  • Ah! It’s probably a bad thing that I never knew the documents had separate signers.

  • All of the discussion of slavery on this thread reminded me — this (July 1 through 3) is the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg.

  • Jim Wright of Stonekettle Station did a thing on this that’s good reading. TW: racial slurs, references to lynching, language


  • Arresi

    “but I didn’t read it that way.” Which, it seems to me, is the point. I did, and explained how I had read it, and why *I* didn’t *feel* like Fred was insulting Bauer’s height. I do want to make sure I clarify: I am not defending, nor do I think it is possible to defend as legitimate and fair criticism, the sort of attack Nicole describes in her first paragraph or that he describes in his second and third paragraphs.

    I understand why Nicole (and you) feel that this is the same sort of thing, although it’s nice of you to offer support to Nicole and clarification to me, but I haven’t decided whether I agree yet. I like my interpretation – it’s mine, for one thing, and it’s funny, clever, and doesn’t require me to believe that Fred or multiple commenters have actually been publicly insulting people like me. Whereas, if I end up agreeing with you, I’m just going to be irritated and disappointed at almost everybody in this thread up to the main post.

    I will apologize for using petty in my comment though. A discussion about the appropriateness of size-based puns was the wrong place to use that particular insult. I should have caught that. (Although reading it again in yours did add some unintentional humor.)

  • Arresi

    As I did in my response to Amaryllis, I want to clarify, I am not defending, nor do I think it is possible to defend as legitimate and fair criticism, the sort of attack Nicole describes in
    her first paragraph or that you describe in your second and third paragraphs. I was trying to explain why I don’t read Fred and AnonaMiss’ comments as being that sort of attack.

    Not to go on for too long about a comment which amounted to “this is why someone else might not feel there was a problem, ymmv,” but I actually didn’t think diminutive was an irrelevant adjective. If he hadn’t mentioned height, I would not have connected Bauer the candidate I saw on tv with Bauer the evangelical Fred is talking about. That said, I did think the choice of diminutive was significant – it’s an odd word to describe someone who isn’t really all that short, which is part of why I read it as having a double-meaning.

  • AnonaMiss

    I’m aware of the small advantages tall men have, but I think that’s the result of the kind of subconscious prejudice that benefits from being brought to light through humor. Unlike racial prejudice or gender prejudice, no one’s going to double down on their height prejudice, so I speculate making jokes about it is less likely to reinforce prejudicial behavior.

    (Personally, I find men who are my height or shorter more attractive than those taller than me, and I’m almost never attracted to men with 4″ or more over me. (I’m 5’6″.) Which isn’t to say that prejudice against short folks isn’t a real thing, just mentioning my personal preference since it goes against the grain.)

  • Jamoche

    I’ve never seen the “Space-Confederates” analogy. There’s a civil war, yes, but not The Civil War. The Browncoats weren’t a privileged class trying to hold onto that privilege – the privilege was all on the other side. All I’ve ever seen Whedon claim to have borrowed is one lost-cause battle, and lost-cause battles aren’t exactly rare.

  • Really? Seems like eveyr discussion I’ve ever had about firefly went “This is awesome. Except wait, did he just rewrite the civil war with the confederates as the good guys?”

    Also, neither “the browncoats weren’t a privileged class trying to hold on to that privilege, all the privilege was on the other side” nor “the confederates were a privilege class trying to hold on to that privilege, the privilege was all on their side” are strictly true. In Firefly, we see that the formerly independent outer worlds are places of immense wealth disparity, largely run by a wealthy elite by exploiting the locals. And contrariwise, the actual people doing the fighting in the confederate army weren’t the wealthy slaveowners. They may have been protecting the interest of the wealthy and privileged, but they weren’t protecting their own wealth or privelege, and they weren’t fighting because they wanted to protect that privilege — they were fighting because they weren’t able or weren’t willing to make the kind of sacrifices they’d have needed ot make in order to avoid fighting to serve the privileged. And don’t forget that the north was, in general, wealthier and more priviliged than the south to begin with.

    The narrative of the war in Firefly is “Those wealthy folks from the rich part of the ‘verse decided to roll in and impose their law on us poor folks out here. And sure we ain’t perfect, but the bad stuff here is all just because we’re poor and can’t compete with those yankees, and ain’t we got the right to decide how we’re going to live?” It’s a page torn straight out of the book of “How southerners think about the civil war”.

  • Jenny Islander

    If it was an authentic reproduction of the kind of uninsulated log dog kennel field slaves were expected to endure, and if you got to eat off chips of wood and sleep on corn husks, and if the evening’s “entertainment” was a projection of the people who were born, lived, and died in that house . . . maybe.

    Although I don’t know how truly authentic a person could get in this age of fire ants.

  • I suspect it was a much more romanticized version.

  • LoneWolf343

    Yeah, not fair when it is pulled on you, is it?

  • No, it’s just nonsensical.

  • LoneWolf343


  • There were millions of slaves. There’s only one of me. My requests made sense. Yours doesn’t.

  • LoneWolf343

    You’re not doing much in the “proving yourself not a moron” department.

    It happened. It was a well-documented phenomena. Jefferson fucking did it. Get. over. it.

  • Kagi Soracia

    Wow, nobody caught that? It’s from Captain America, actually. Very funny scene, too.