All entries by this author

Guest post: Better if they had been born in the open pasture and suckled by a wolf

Sep 7th, 2014 3:59 pm | By

It’s Sunday afternoon, so why not have a spot of Walden, courtesy of Henry David Thoreau and Project Gutenberg.

From Chapter One, “Economy.”

I would fain say something, not so much concerning the Chinese and Sandwich Islanders as you who read these pages, who are said to live in New England; something about your condition, especially your outward condition or circumstances in this world, in this town, what it is, whether it is necessary that it be as bad as it is, whether it cannot be improved as well as not. I have travelled a good deal in Concord; and everywhere, in shops, and offices, and fields, the inhabitants have appeared to me to be doing penance in a thousand … Read the rest

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Guest post: Sometimes the incentives ran all the way up to murder

Sep 7th, 2014 12:04 pm | By

Originally a comment by Freedmen’s Patrol on Mr Baptist has not written an objective history of slavery.

Before I get into this, I want to alert readers that I’m going to quote a period description of brutality, including sexualized violence, against a young slave girl. It also includes the use of precisely the racial slur one would expect. If this would traumatize the reader, please skip the comment and continue your day. I don’t want to bring that kind of upset on anybody. I apologize for any distress caused. I don’t really want to write this myself, but I think that what the Economist is denying deserves to be seen.

It’s horrific to think about, but sometimes the incentives ran … Read the rest

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Driven out

Sep 7th, 2014 11:50 am | By

Last Monday Jenn Frank wrote a piece for The Guardian about “a hot trend among a vocal minority of gamers right now: the harassment of women developers and critics.” She summarized what’s been happening to Anita Sarkeesian and Zoe Quinn.

Yes, it’s been quite a banner season for the collective of self-identifying core gamers who gather on forums to muster shared fury. Now they feel they are at war with a group of left-leaning games writers and developers who they refer to as “social justice warriors” – this is effectively anyone who has ever questioned the patriarchal nature of the games industry or the limited, often objectifying depiction of women. Because, you know, games are fine as they are thanks.

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Clerics jumped in

Sep 7th, 2014 9:54 am | By

Another depressing/enraging story out of India – a woman is repeatedly raped by her husband’s father while the husband is working in Dubai, and clerics want to reward the rapist and punish the woman.

The 28-year-old victim alleged that her husband has been working in Dubai for the last two years and her father-in-law has been sexually assaulting her at gun point since 2013.

She remained silent because he used to threaten to kill her. He also video recorded his act and threatened to make it public if she opened her mouth.

When she told her husband about it, he blamed her for making a false allegation against his father.

She told her parents, and they advised her to go … Read the rest

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They read it and thought it a reasonable, cogent piece of commentary

Sep 6th, 2014 6:13 pm | By

The Freedmen’s Patrol on that Economist review.

…the fact remains that the editors published the review. They read it and thought it a reasonable, cogent piece of commentary worth putting forward in one of the more prestigious magazines in the Anglosphere. My honest first inclination is to presume stupidity, but one should not let shock entirely determine one’s response. Likewise it seems improbable that The Economist would assign a reviewer who literally does not know what the word “slavery” means or ignorant of who enslaved whom in Americas to a book about slavery in America.

This leaves us with a far worse scenario: Whoever wrote this review understood the subject, knew the facts, and thought it correct anyway. One

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Necessary conditions

Sep 6th, 2014 4:18 pm | By

Ken White at Popehat takes the Chancellor of Berkeley to task for an email he sent to students faculty & staff on the subject of free speech. You can see what’s coming a mile off, can’t you – the Chance said free speech is very nice but you can’t say anything Offensive.

Well he didn’t, really, although he did say something tending in that general direction – free speech to work properly should be civil and respectful yadda yadda. But Ken thinks he said it With Menaces, so to speak, and I don’t really think he did. Several commenters don’t think so either. (For a piquant detail I’ll add that before I saw this post of Ken’s, I saw a … Read the rest

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Mr Baptist has not written an objective history of slavery

Sep 6th, 2014 12:44 pm | By

Yikes. The Economist published a grotesque review of a history of slavery and capitalism in the US. so grotesque that it ended up apologizing and withdrawing the review, while also keeping it for the record.

Apology: In our review of “The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism” by Edward Baptist, we said: “Mr Baptist has not written an objective history of slavery. Almost all the blacks in his book are victims, almost all the whites villains.” There has been widespread criticism of this, and rightly so.

Slavery was an evil system, in which the great majority of victims were blacks, and the great majority of whites involved in slavery were willing participants

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They made all the rules

Sep 6th, 2014 11:43 am | By

NPR did this story on the “Men’s Rights” movement the other day, starting from that conference in Detroit organized by A Voice for Men.

Leaders in the movement say they want to bring more attention to the problems of men and boys. Critics worry, however, that these sites are a breeding ground for misogyny.

For his part, Farrell actually tries to avoid the phrase “men’s rights.”

“It’s like somebody saying we’re in favor of the king’s rights,” he says. “The average person thinks that men are already at the top of the political structure. They have all the rights, they made all the rules, [and] if anything is going wrong with men, it’s their fault, because after all, it’s just

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Elizabeth Eckford

Sep 6th, 2014 11:02 am | By

Via a public post at A Mighty Girl on Facebook:

Elizabeth Eckford, September 4, 1957

On this day in 1957, 15-year-old Elizabeth Eckford encountered an angry mob when she attempted to enter Little Rock Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. Eckford was one of nine teenagers, known as the Little Rock Nine, who became the first African American students to attend the previously all-white Little Rock Central High School after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled school segregation unconstitutional in its famous Brown v. Board of Education decision.

While the nine students had planned to enter the school together, the meeting place was changed the night before and Eckford, whose family did not have a telephone, did not

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Mother of three

Sep 5th, 2014 6:25 pm | By

Via @EverydaySexism September 1

Remember the last time you saw the headline “Father of three poised to lead the BBC”? No, neither do I.… Read the rest

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Con-sent? What’s that?

Sep 5th, 2014 5:25 pm | By

Talk about chutzpah

A Los Angeles artist is planning to display uncensored nude photos of Jennifer Lawrence, Scarlett Johansson and other celebrities whose intimate images were recently stolen and then posted online.

The exhibition by the artist known as XVALA will start Oct. 30 at the Cory Allen Contemporary Art “Showroom” in St. Petersburg, Florida, the gallery announced this week.

Excuse me? You can’t “display” stolen photographs. They’re stolen.

It’s like buying a fenced Rembrandt stolen from the Rijksmuseum and then announcing plans to display it in an exhibition in a few weeks. The cops will be the first in line on opening day.

The show could test the boundaries between art and privacy, freedom of speech and

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Don’t forget Article 5

Sep 5th, 2014 3:31 pm | By

Well naturally.

I’m doing a little research preparatory to writing a letter to the Saudi Ambassador to the US calling on his government to release Raif Badawi from prison and the other penalties, so I needed to find out if it has signed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. (Why? Because I wanted to point out Article 19 and Article 5, but only if SA had in fact signed, because if it hadn’t, there wouldn’t be any point in underlining the gaps between Articles 5 and 19 and the grotesque sentence passed on Raif Badawi.)

Never mind signing it, Saudi didn’t even agree to adopting it.

On 10 December 1948, the Universal Declaration was adopted by the General Assembly by

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Swelp us all

Sep 5th, 2014 12:12 pm | By

How is this even possible? From the Washington Post:

An airman stationed at Creech Air Force Base in Indian Springs, Nev., was denied reenlistment because he omitted the part of a required oath that states “so help me God,” according to a letter from the American Humanist Association. The letter was sent on Tuesday to the Air Force’s Office of the Inspector General on behalf of an unnamed airman.

How can a branch of the government require anyone to say “so help me God” as a condition of employment? How is that not a glaring violation of the Establishment Clause?

inquiries into the oath uncovered a change to Air Force rules last year that previously went unnoticed, as 

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Installments of 50

Sep 5th, 2014 10:56 am | By

Michael DeDora updates us on the situation of Raif Badawi, which is more horrendous than ever. The last appeals court has upheld his appalling sentence, so the first installment of the

ONE THOUSAND LASHES

he was sentenced to by Jeddah’s Criminal Court in May will happen in a few weeks.

ONE THOUSAND LASHES

for setting up a liberal website urging Saudi Arabia to respect freedom of religion, belief, and expression, and women’s rights.

According to the final decision, Badawi will receive 50 lashes per session, with a break of no less than a week between sessions. The lashings will be carried out in public after Friday prayers in front of al-Jafali mosque in Jeddah.

That final sentence is so disgusting … Read the rest

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Orange vests do not police power make

Sep 5th, 2014 10:25 am | By

Imagine living in Wuppertal and encountering this:

Bild reports that these guys are “patrolling” in central Wuppertal. The chief of police, Birgitta Radermacher, on the other hand says no they’re not, because policing is for the state, not roving bands of intimidators. (Ok I made up that last clause, but she implied it.) Some of the “Sharia police” were arrested Wednesday evening.… Read the rest

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Not in its founding tablets

Sep 4th, 2014 6:00 pm | By

The really odd thing about Sommers is that she can be more reasonable. It’s puzzling that she finds it worthwhile or fun to be so belligerent and sneery on Twitter. Ordinarily feminists who disagree with each other disagree with each other as opposed to pissing all over feminism as such. Sommers keeps pissing all over feminism itself.

She tweeted a link to a January article of hers in Reason, so I read it. I don’t agree with it, but it’s not vulgarly insulting the way her Twitter output is.

She’s explaining her book Freedom Feminism in response to a review she says misrepresented it.

Freedom feminism stands for the moral, social, and legal equality of the sexes—and the freedom

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An emerging generation of human rights activists in Britain

Sep 4th, 2014 4:37 pm | By

A letter in the Independent today tomorrow from an outstanding group of people who allowed me to join them:

Professor Alexis Jay’s report on child sexual exploitation in Rotherham has been met with an array of trite responses. Some commentators have placed undue emphasis on the fact that child sexual exploitation happens in all communities, obfuscating the fact that offenders of Pakistani origin are over-represented in this specific form of child sexual exploitation (on-street grooming).

The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre’s 2011 report, Out of Sight, Out of Mind, researched 2,379 potential offenders caught grooming girls since 2008. Of 940 suspects whose race could be identified, 26 per cent were Asian (almost all of Pakistani origin), 38 per cent

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She has one thing to say

Sep 4th, 2014 1:34 pm | By

More Sommers. She’s ratcheting up the trashy malevolence by the hour, in a way that’s honestly kind of strange. She’s coming across as more like a bottom-feeding political operative than even an agenda-driven hack at a far-right think tank.

Retweeted by Christina H. Sommers
Astrokid @AstrokidNJ · 1h
#FTBullies PZMyers NEVER felt embarassed for womens hate, violence & death threats at men though
https://storify.com/AstrokidNJ/women-s-hate-violence-and-death-threats-at-tuthmos … @CHSommers

The very bottom of the swamp.

Christina H. Sommers @CHSommers · 3h
Must-read now! “Men are Harassed More Than Women Online” by
awesome freedom fighter & truth-teller @CathyYoung63

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/09/04/men-are-harassed-more-than-women-online.html

You can be against hardline feminism, but pro-equality. @CathyYoung63 suggests an “equality without anger ” movement. http://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2014/09/01/women-against-feminism-some-women-want-equality-without-anger/rqFNSIJp22YWQy6jGPvhPJ/story.html …

Gamers, libertarians, atheists, techies–constantly hectored by gender

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Guest post: The collection of stories we tell about ourselves

Sep 4th, 2014 1:08 pm | By

Originally a comment by A Masked Avenger on Sommers thinks she is liberal-minded.

aliam, #18:

If you call our ENTIRE CULTURE a RAPE CULTURE then you are saying that MEN have culturally been indoctrinated into being potential rapists in the waiting.

Brian Pansky is right: you’re doing “why are there still monkeys?” You’re trying to interpret a criticism of culture as a criticism of all members of the culture in general, and each one in particular, so that you can conclude, “If ‘rape culture’ is real, then you’re saying I am a rapist!” No such thing.

TW: rape culture, references to rape.

The culture is basically the collection of stories we tell about ourselves. It’s a set of shared … Read the rest

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It is their attitude to women that defines them

Sep 4th, 2014 12:23 pm | By

I had somehow overlooked the fact that Nazir Afzal is not just a regional CCP but also the Crown Prosecution Service’s lead on child sexual abuse and violence against women and girls. Amelia Gentleman in the Guardian points out what this means:

His role means he has oversight of all child sex abuse cases in England and Wales. “So I know that the vast majority of offenders are British white male,” he says, setting the number at somewhere between 80 and 90%. “We have come across cases all over the country and the ethnicity of the perpetrators varies depending on where you are … It is not the abusers’ race that defines them. It is their attitude to women that

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