All entries by this author

Guest post: Reading Whipping Girl 4

May 14th, 2017 12:17 pm | By

Guest post by Lady Mondegreen.

Welcome back to another edition of me reading Whipping Girl and shouting at Julia Serano, and sharing my shouts with you.

In my last post, I pointed out that, for Serano, sexism is about “ensuring that those who are masculine have power over those who are feminine, and that only those born male will be seen as authentically masculine.” Feminism has historically been about power relations between men and women, but Serano insists that it should also be about power relations between “those who are masculine” and “those who are feminine.” (The extra step—“only those born male will be seen as authentically masculine”—reads to me like a bone tossed to old-timey feminists who concern themselves … Read the rest

See the pretty torches burn

May 14th, 2017 9:38 am | By

Last night in Charlottesville, Virginia:

Self-proclaimed white nationalist Richard Spencer led a large group carrying torches and chanting “You will not replace us” Saturday in Charlottesville, protesting plans to remove a Confederate monument that has played an outsize role in this year’s race for Virginia governor.

“What brings us together is that we are white, we are a people, we will not be replaced,” Spencer said at the first of two rallies he led in the college town where he once attended the University of Virginia.

At the second rally, dozens of torch-bearing protesters gathered in a city park in the evening and chanted “You will not replace us” and “Russia is our friend,” local television footage shows.

Shaun Read the rest

Even Republicans would never stand for that

May 14th, 2017 9:23 am | By

Nicholas Kristof asks if Don of That Outer Borough is obstructing justice.

For months, as I’ve reported on the multiple investigations into Trump-Russia connections, I’ve heard that the F.B.I. investigation is by far the most important one, incomparably ahead of the congressional inquiries. I then usually asked: So will Trump fire Comey? And the response would be: Hard to imagine. The uproar would be staggering. Even Republicans would never stand for that.

Oh ha no, Republicans will stand for anything. Trump could eat an infant on camera and they would tell us to move on.

Alas, my contacts underestimated the myopic partisanship of too many Republicans. Senator Charles Grassley, an Iowa Republican, spoke for many of his colleagues when

Read the rest

Architect this

May 13th, 2017 5:57 pm | By

The reviews for Princess Ivanka’s “book” are rolling in and they’re not what you’d call raves. Some samples:

Take The New York Times, which called it “a strawberry milkshake of inspirational quotes” and “witlessly derivative, endlessly recapitulating the wisdom of other, canonical self-help and business books — by Stephen Covey, Simon Sinek, Shawn Achor, Adam Grant. (Profiting handsomely off the hard work of others appears to be a signature Trumpian trait.)”

Or the Washington Postwhose reviewer Ruth Marcus wrote, “If there is an original thought in the book, it is well-hidden among new-agey platitudes (“writing a personal mission statement is an incredibly valuable way to begin”) and repackaged wisdom: Nelson Mandela, Sheryl Sandberg, Jane Goodall, more

Read the rest

What is this “harm” of which you speak?

May 13th, 2017 5:00 pm | By

A piece by José Luis Bermúdez in Inside Higher Ed a week ago asked a necessary question about the open letter attacking Rebecca Tuvel and the apology by the Associate Editors: what are they talking about when they talk about “harm”?

This is not the place to discuss the merits or otherwise of Tuvel’s article, which I would encourage you to read (it is clearly written, and pleasantly free of jargon) before reading the open letter and the statement. There is a persuasive analysis of the weakness of the complaints made in the open letter in this article by Jesse Singal in New York magazine. At a minimum, Tuvel appears to have been significantly misrepresented.

I want to explore a

Read the rest


May 13th, 2017 12:03 pm | By

James Fallows was a novice journalist during Watergate.

So I’ve been thinking about comparisons between Watergate and the murky, fast-changing Comey-Russia-Flynn-Trump affair. As with anything involving Donald Trump, we have no idea where this will lead, what is “true,” and when the next bombshell will go off.

But based simply on what is known so far, this scandal looks worse than Watergate. Worse for and about the president. Worse for the overall national interest. Worse in what it suggests about the American democratic system’s ability to defend itself.

He goes on to give some reasons for this view.

Watergate was comparatively parochial.

And what is alleged this time? Nothing less than attacks by an authoritarian foreign government on the

Read the rest

What he faces as a political outsider

May 13th, 2017 11:12 am | By

Trump, absurdly, today gave a commencement address at a “university.” The fact that it’s not a real university makes it a little less absurd, but the fact that it’s a theocratic pseudo-university makes it more sinister and repellent. The Post has details:

In his first commencement address as president, Donald Trump on Saturday drew a parallel between what he faces as a political outsider in Washington and what he said the Christian graduates of Liberty University can expect to encounter in a secular world.

Aw yeah – he’s a christian martyr and so are they.

Of course being an “outsider” is one thing and being an ignorant reckless narcissistic bully is another.

“Be totally unafraid to challenge entrenched interests

Read the rest

The joys of working for Donnie from Queens

May 13th, 2017 9:13 am | By

Trump demands loyalty to Him from others, but heeds no corresponding obligation to others. It’s a very godlike way of viewing the world…which is to say it’s pathologically narcissistic.

After the “Access Hollywood” scandal, Mr. Trump raged at Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former mayor of New York, for going on TV to defend him, arguing that he wanted to attack Hillary Clinton, not play defense. Corey Lewandowski, Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign manager until he fired him, repeatedly groused to friends that he was forced to absorb all of the criticism for the campaign’s practice of confining reporters at rallies in small pens. Mr. Trump, he told two people close to him, had ordered him to do it —

Read the rest

Witness intimidation

May 12th, 2017 6:07 pm | By

The past few hours in Trump. The Times starts with the Twitter threat at Comey.

Mr. Trump chose not to clarify when asked later in the day by Fox News if there were tapes of conversations. “That I can’t talk about. I won’t talk about it,” he said. “All I want is for Comey to be honest.”

He lies every time he opens his mouth, and he’s telling other people to be honest.

Democrats were incredulous. “For a president who baselessly accused his predecessor of illegally wiretapping him, that Mr. Trump would suggest that he, himself, may have engaged in such conduct is staggering,” said Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.


Read the rest

Why someone is okay with your kids eating crap

May 12th, 2017 5:49 pm | By

Michelle Obama is resisting.

A fiery Michelle Obama vigorously defended the healthy eating initiative that was her biggest legacy as First Lady on Friday, telling a public health summit in Washington D.C. that something was “wrong” with an administration that did not want to give consumers nutrition information or teach children to eat healthily.

“We gotta make sure we don’t let anybody take us back,” Obama said. “This is where you really have to look at motives, you know. You have to stop and think, why don’t you want our kids to have good food at school? What is wrong with you? And why is that a partisan issue? Why would that be political? What is going on?”

I’ll … Read the rest

Guest post: Reading Whipping Girl 3

May 12th, 2017 5:29 pm | By

Guest post by Lady Mondegreen

Still on Julia Serano’s Trans Woman Manifesto from her book Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity. Last time, you may remember, we looked at Serano’s demand that “[N]o qualifications should be placed on the term “trans woman”, and her definition of cissexism. Now let’s take a look at a neologism she seems to have invented: oppositional sexism, which she contrasts with traditional sexism.

While often different in practice, cissexism, transphobia, and homophobia are all rooted in oppositional sexism, which is the belief that female and male are rigid, mutually exclusive categories, each possessing a unique and nonoverlapping set of attributes, aptitudes, abilities, and

Read the rest


May 12th, 2017 11:33 am | By

I was hoping the dogpile had ended, but it hasn’t.

Brian Leiter has a brief post about the role of Lisa Guenther.

Lisa Guenther is the Vanderbilt philosophy professor and former member of Rebecca Tuvel’s dissertation [committee?] who not only was an early signatory of the defamatory “Open Letter” but also offered several public facebook explanations for her conduct.

So I decided to look up her several Facebook explanations.

Depressing shit.

April 30:

Robin James on the deep reckoning and accountability demanded of those of us who do work in philosophy — especially white feminist philosophers like myself, because we should know better than to keep using the master’s tools over and over and over again —


Read the rest

Two fireworks emojis

May 12th, 2017 9:47 am | By

The Post on Trump’s tantrum and what followed from it.

Rosenstein threatened to resign after the narrative emerging from the White House on Tuesday evening cast him as a prime mover of the decision to fire Comey and that the president acted only on his recommendation, said the person close to the White House, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.

Now he doesn’t have to, because Trump said it was his decision – leaving all his press people looking like liars, but whatevs.

“He wasn’t doing a good job,” Trump told reporters Wednesday. “Very simple. He wasn’t doing a good job.”

But the private accounts of more than 30 officials at the

Read the rest

This Russia thing with Trump and Russia

May 12th, 2017 9:05 am | By

The Post explains how Trump pulled the rug out from all the people who had been saying he fired Comey because the Deputy AG sent him this overwhelming memo and he leaped up and said “Fire him right now!” It never sounded very plausible, and the part about Clinton’s emails sounded even less plausible, but they stuck to it – until Trump stuck his lips out at Lester Holt and told a completely different story.

President Trump threatened Friday morning to end White House press briefings, arguing that “it is not possible” for his staff to speak with “perfect accuracy” to the American public.

Trump’s comments come after his description of his decision to fire FBI Director James B. Comey

Read the rest

James Comey better hope

May 12th, 2017 8:45 am | By

Trump has been erupting on Twitter again. He’s still descending. Bottom not yet in sight.

The last item yesterday was this clownish exclamation:

That guy next to him is the enforcer. He has the piss-the-bed tapes strapped to his leg.

Today is all Comey-Russia-press jabber.

“Again,” he says, as if repetition=truth.

Read the rest

Trump begged Comey to cuddle him

May 12th, 2017 5:39 am | By

So Trump invited Comey over for dinner this one time. Comey didn’t want to go but didn’t think he could say no, so he went. It was a week after the inauguration.

As they ate, the president and Mr. Comey made small talk about the election and the crowd sizes at Mr. Trump’s rallies. The president then turned the conversation to whether Mr. Comey would pledge his loyalty to him.

Sly. That wasn’t the two of them making small talk. It was Trump boring on about his Crowd Size and Comey swallowing the urge to tell him to grow up.

Then Trump made a wholly inappropriate demand for “loyalty,” as if Comey were his personal assistant.

Mr. Comey declined to

Read the rest

The broad, well-established, interdisciplinary scholarly fields

May 11th, 2017 4:58 pm | By

But wait, there’s more. One of the people who signed the letter attacking Rebecca Tuvel – one of the “colleagues” who signed it – wrote a piece for the CHE saying why the signers were right to sign it.

As one of the many scholars involved in writing the open letter calling on Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy to retract the essay “In Defense of Transracialism,” by Rebecca Tuvel, I am compelled to come forward and attempt to reclaim a narrative spinning increasingly out of control.

Five words in the bullying starts – she has to make clear that it was many scholars. (I’m not sure they are all genuine scholars; I think some are adherents rather than … Read the rest

Rat shan’t visit party

May 11th, 2017 4:18 pm | By

So all last weekend Donald was fuming about Comey’s “mild nausea” at the possibility that his blather about Clinton’s emails might have affected the election – yet today, always resilient, always willing to think the whole world adores him, he was planning to visit the FBI to give them a nice morale boost…until he found out that they don’t love him all that much. He’s not a quick study, is he.

The White House has abandoned the idea of President Trump visiting FBI headquarters after being told he would not be greeted warmly, administration officials told NBC News.

Amid the continuing fallout over his decision to fire FBI Director James Comey, Trump was considering an appearance at the

Read the rest

Donald doesn’t know what he doesn’t know

May 11th, 2017 3:34 pm | By

Today in an interview with Lester Holt of NBC News Trump called Comey a showboat.

Yes that’s right. Trump called Comey a showboat.

Trump called Comey a showboat.

He also said he asked Comey whether he was under investigation.

“Sir, sir, please sir, am I under investigation?”

He says Comey told him he wasn’t. Yeah right. He also said Obama spied on him in his jammies at Schlump Tower, so what he says happened isn’t worth a dog’s fart.

“I actually asked him” if I were under investigation, Trump said, noting that he spoke with Comey once over dinner and twice by phone.

“I said, if it’s possible would you let me know, ‘Am I under investigation?’ He said,

Read the rest

Oh, are they Russian?

May 11th, 2017 11:29 am | By

Yesterday the traitorous lying thief in the White House held a meeting with his Russian buddies and kept the press out. He kept the press out. He really does think he’s a dictator and can do any damn thing he wants to, and that we are his peons.

When President Trump met with top Russian officials in the Oval Office on Wednesday, White House officials barred reporters from witnessing the moment. They apparently preferred to block coverage of the awkwardly timed visit as questions swirled about whether the president had dismissed his F.B.I. director in part to squelch the investigation into possible ties between his campaign and Moscow.

They prefer lots of things that are in their interest … Read the rest