See the award-winning feminist filmmaker's new documentary

Friday, January 06, 2017

Run, Frederica!



I'm pleased to read that friends of Hon. Frederica Massiah-Jackson are leaning on her to join the contenders for District Attorney. In addition to already having my sympathy after her coming under unfair right-wing attack in the past is the fact her entering the race would considerably reduce the chances of another contender whose actions I've protested in the past.


Thursday, December 29, 2016

Wimminwursting Strikes Again at NPR

Discussing the role race may have played in the different treatment of sexual misconduct allegations against two Hollywood figures in a story on Weekend Edition Sunday, Ailsa Chang and Anne Helen Petersen couldn't resist bringing gender into the discussion quite illegitimately. I commented:

In comparing the two celebrity rape [sic] allegations, you slipped in a bit of ideological nonsense with the claim that these cases illustrate different attitudes based on gender as well as race -- patently impossible since the celebrities, though of different races, are the same gender and so were those who accused them.

The reality is quite the opposite -- our society more readily acknowledges and acts on sexual violence against women than against men, as documented here for instance: http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2014/male_rape_in_america_a_new_study_reveals_that_men_are_sexually_assaulted.html

This compassion gap is also visible in how the world expressed outrage at Boko Haram's kidnapping of girls -- after the same politicians and celebrities had completely ignored their gruesome murders of boys.

These are both examples of a pervasive assumption, without any regard for evidence or even the need to look for any, that women always get the short end of the stick -- an unexamined faith that men's rights intellectual Alison Tieman has dubbed "the Church of Wimminwursting."
This was a little differently worded when I originally posted it here because I was writing from memory. Subsequently I've received an email acknowledgement from NPR including the text of what I'd sent them, which I've used to correct the text here.

What's Really Un-American About Kerry's Speech

It's remarkable how Secretary of State John Kerry, in the name of "America's values," skillfully excludes from consideration the only real Middle East solution, modeled on America's own example. Here's what I wrote in response to NPR's story:

The most strikingly false note in Kerry's speech -- repeated implicitly thereafter -- is his statement that Israelis can't achieve peace by choosing democratic pluralism over ethno-religious nationalism within a one-state framework. Why on Earth not? That's precisely how we've (more or less) kept the peace here in the States for the past 150 years.

One has to wonder what he has in mind when he says, "We have long known what two states, living side by side in peace and security looks like." Really? That's not how we've done it ourselves, so to what could he be referring?

He similarly misleads by omission when he says, "It is not in U.S. interests to help anyone on either side create a unitary state." This is the fallacy of the excluded middle: what is in the interests of Americans and all humanity is to help people on both sides, working together, to create a unitary state. This is already prefigured in binational Israeli-Palestinian groups working against the occupation and the apartheid wall.

Indeed, there can be no more effective way of "working to change perceptions and build up belief in the possibility of peace" between populations that "no longer see the other side as people, only as threats and enemies," than for unity-minded members of both to work together in a common political movement whose logical endpoint is a common state.

Kerry's speech (rough transcript): http://time.com/4619064/john-kerrys-speech-israel-transcript/

Monday, December 19, 2016

Quote of the Day

How dare anybody contradict that by saying all lives matter because unless black lives matter, all lives don't matter. -- Sarah Yacoviello, conservative Christian and York, PA, Trump voter

www.npr.org/2016/12/15/505658455/york-voter-who-backed-mccain-in-2008-angsted-over-voting-for-trump

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Use Crowd Wisdom, Not Censorship, to Combat Fake News

Linked below is a piece by Cathy Young on Facebook's response to concerns about fake news.
 
I'm pretty leery of an kind of "official" fact-checkers, even if supposedly "balanced." I'd rather rely on collective filtering like they use on Less Wrong, where people can vote something up or down and if it's downvoted enough, it's hidden unless you choose to unhide it on your own feed. Of course opinions about veracity aren't the only reasons for up or down votes, but people can comment at the same time on why they're voting something down, for the viewing of anyone who's interested.
 

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

The Right Doesn't Own Cultural Freedom

Over the past couple years, it's been quite dismaying to realize the understanding of the phrase "social justice" has wandered far from its origins -- that to many it now signifies a kind of cultural authoritarianism based on group identities, rather than the old humanist maxim, "From each according to their ability, to each according to their need."


It's equally dismaying to discover that on the other hand, antisocialists are now trying to monopolize the term "cultural libertarian," as one can see from a group they've created on Facebook. They seem quite unaware that classical socialism is very much rooted in humanism and committed to individual liberty, and a society in which "the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all."

Monday, December 05, 2016

On the BBC, a Feminist Yet Again Exploits an Actual Rape Victim to Protect Hoaxers



On this morning's BBC Newshour, the recent revelation that Maria Schneider actually didn't consent to the rape scene in Last Tango in Paris was discussed with someone from a group called Women in Hollywood, who seized this as an opportunity to repeat yet again the feminist article of faith that this is "something that women just don't lie about." I've submitted this comment to the BBC:






  
   The guest you spoke with for your story on the rape scene
   in Last Tango in Paris made a statement of ideological faith,
   not fact, when she said that rape is "something that women
   just don't lie about."





  
   Not only do women lie about rape, it probably happens a
   good deal more often than many people realize. A female
   friend of mine once related three different instances of which
   she had personal knowledge. In two, a woman had what she
   described as "enthusiastically consensual" sex -- long before
   that became a catch phrase -- close enough for her to clearly
   hear, and in one case see, what was going on (this was when
   she was rather heavily involved in the party scene). In each
   case, the following day these women talked to her about they
   had been "raped." In a third case, the boyfriend of one of her
   female classmates related his concern over having learned
   that she'd been raped by a man in the same class as the two
   women -- a man not matching the description of anyone
   actually in the class. My friend believed that in this last case,
   the woman invented the rape to secure the boyfriend's devotion
   via a protective response (which looks similar to the probable
   root of the rape hoax recently at the University of Virginia).
   In the other two, she put it down to some women's being
   "unwilling to take responsibility for their sexuality." It should
   be emphasized my friend wasn't in any way condemning these
   women for being "loose," as she was much like them in that
   respect; she was only criticizing them for refusing to own their
   own choices.





  
   Janet Bloomfield has compiled a list of documented false rapes here:

   12 Women Who Lied About Being Raped And Why They Did It





  
   While this article doesn't directly demonstrate how frequent such
   false claims are, the fact the women involved all evidently thought
   they could get away with it, combined with the observable fact that
   so many people, like your guest, keep perpetuating the assumption
   that women never lie about rape -- an attitude that would, in fact,
   make false claims easy to get away with -- suggests that these
   documented cases are just the tip of a possibly much bigger iceberg.





  
   The flip side of this attitude is the assumption that rape of men by
   women is either impossible or exceedingly rare. Like its counterpart,
   this assumption results in very distorted public perceptions, as the
   best recent research indicates that it's actually pretty common, but
   much more rarely reported:


   Men Are Raped Almost as Often as Women in America. We Need
   to Talk About This.









Sunday, November 27, 2016

The "We-ness" We Need Is Planetary

Although sleeping when this interview aired 11/25, I nonetheless caught much of it thanks to being in the dream state.

One thing Lilla doesn't say is that a chief reason American liberalism has become preoccupied with identity issues is that this has served as a way of running away from class, as the Democratic Party became increasingly beholden to corporate money -- whereas major parties exist in Europe that explicitly define themselves in class terms, none such exists here. And the one kind of "otherness" that FDR very much did talk about was precisely class, saying that "economic royalists" "hate me, and I welcome their hatred." The post-identity "we-ness" we need is planetary, not just American.

http://www.npr.org/2016/11/25/503316461/columbia-professor-says-democrats-need-to-move-beyond-identity-politics