Posts Tagged ‘ FTB ’

Never say never

Apr 28th, 2015 9:13 am | By

Speaking of thought leaders…I was looking for something and happened on this article by Jerry Coyne in The New Republic last October. It’s a riposte to an article by John Gray, also in TNR, trashing Richard Dawkins. I can easily believe Gray’s is a crap article, because John Gray seems to specialize in crap articles. But I read the first paragraph of Coyne’s article, and found a claim that I think is absurd.

It’s not a good time to be Richard Dawkins, for he alone, like the scapegoat of Leviticus, must bear the brunt of everyone’s hatred of atheism. (Sam Harris sometimes serves as a backup goat.) Even though Dawkins has never proclaimed himself as any kind of

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The Cosmic Institute of Disruption

Apr 28th, 2015 8:46 am | By

Geoff Nunberg told us yesterday on Fresh Air about the fad for the word “disruption,” which I didn’t know was a fad. It reminds me of the fad-word in literary “theory” some years ago, “transgressive.” Same basic idea, innit – we’re new, we’re happenin’, we’re Rebels.

HBO’s Silicon Valley is back, with its pitch-perfect renderings of the culture and language of the tech world — like at the opening of the “Disrupt” startup competition run by the Tech Crunch website at the end of last season. “We’re making the world a better place through scalable fault-tolerant distributed databases” — the show’s writers didn’t have to exercise their imagination much to come up with those little arias of geeky self-puffery, or

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Sabeen was always a woman made of different stuff

Apr 27th, 2015 6:30 pm | By

Kamila Shamsie writes about her lifelong friend Sabeen Mahmud.

“Be careful,” I said to my childhood friend Sabeen Mahmud when I saw her in London in 2013, soon after she’d received a death threat – neither the first nor last. “Someone has to fight them,” she replied.

Sabeen was always a woman made of different stuff, thanks in large measure to the two great influences of her life: her mother, Mahnaz (shot twice during the attack), from whom she inherited her socialist tendencies, and her friend and mentor Zaheer Kidvai (Zak) who introduced her to the idea of counterculture, via everything from Abbie Hoffman to revolutionary Urdu poets. While most of us at our elite school in Karachi

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Guest post: We have a long way to go to raze the house that slavery built

Apr 27th, 2015 6:18 pm | By

Originally a comment by freedmenspatrol on Very much a part of many white Southerners’ identity.

For quite some time, white Southerners actually refused to observe the national Memorial Day. In various places they also didn’t celebrate the Fourth of July. Not so many wave the flag or the other totems as have done in past generations, but plenty of white Americans still do. It’s worked deep into how the culture operates, inside and outside the South. The Second Klan controlled Indiana and Oregon for a while. White Northerners could be absolutely vicious even when they had slavery around for contrast, passing laws excluding black Americans from even living in entire states and demanding those present leave.

It’s what we … Read the rest

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“The narrative of white Europeans being killed by Muslim extremists”

Apr 27th, 2015 4:40 pm | By

The CBC talked to Francine Prose about her hostility to Charlie Hebdo today.

Prose tells As It Happens host Carol Off that despite her objections, she supports the magazine’s right to free speech.

“Free speech is indivisible. If you believe in free speech you believe in any sort of free speech — that you can say anything you want. And that’s absolutely what I believe in and I would include in that everything Charlie Hebdo has done.”

But she says that doesn’t mean Charlie Hebdo deserves the award.

No, it doesn’t; she’s right about that much. They are two separate things.

“We defend the right of neo-nazis to march through Skokie, Illinois but that doesn’t mean we give them an

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Very much a part of many white Southerners’ identity

Apr 27th, 2015 4:03 pm | By

There’s such a thing as Confederate Memorial Day. I did not know that. It’s today in Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi. Woohoo. Is there also a Hooray for Slavery Day? A Glorify Racism Day? A Steal Other People’s Labor Day?

Alabama closes its government offices today in observance of Confederate Memorial Day, along with Mississippi and Georgia. On May 10, South Carolina government offices will close in observance of the state holiday.

Of the 11 Southern states that made up the Confederate States of America during the Civil War, few agreed on what date was best for remembrance once the war officially ended in 1865.

I suggest the 32d of December, myself.

State officials still mark Confederate Memorial Day on their

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Satire is, by definition, disrespectful

Apr 27th, 2015 2:23 pm | By

Suzanne Nossel’s reply to Deborah Eisenberg, also in Glenn Greenwald’s collection, is very elucidating.

We believe that honoring Charlie Hebdo affords us an opportunity to inflect global opinion on an issue of longstanding concern to PEN and to free expression advocates worldwide, including many in the Muslim world: namely, efforts to devalue, ban, or punish acts deemed to constitute the defamation of religion. Such assaults come both from governments and from vigilantes, and they are not acceptable in either context.

That pulls a little against some of the other things she says, which are on the “speech all speech no matter what the content” side. This is saying that it’s not just a matter of all speech no matter … Read the rest

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Guest post: The Mancunian Way

Apr 27th, 2015 12:52 pm | By

Guest post by Al Lee.

The long and fascinating history of Manchester is punctuated by moments of important scientific, technological and industrial advance, as well as radical socialist thought and revolutionary action. Engels wrote about the “grim future of capitalism and the industrial age” when viewing the dark slums and working class conditions in the city. But without those bleak and hard days of the textile-driven, inchoate Industrial Revolution, we would not have the vibrant and independent city that we know today. The grim, mill-strewn, industrial landscapes of the city’s environs were depicted by L. S. Lowry and later mirrored in the sparse, hard-edged music of Manchester band Joy Division, and the Northern sardonic wit and desolate ordinariness of the … Read the rest

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Say no to the assassin’s veto

Apr 27th, 2015 12:09 pm | By

From PEN: Rejecting the Assassin’s Veto.

The “assassin’s veto” over speech has become a global phenomenon in recent years and, even more vividly, in recent months, when we’ve seen killings not just in Paris but also in Copenhagen and Bangladesh. Reflecting the intensification of violent intolerance for speech considered offensive by some, former PEN American Center President Salman Rushdie has commented that while he would write The Satanic Verses again today, he does not believe that he would survive the reprisals in this era.

Charlie Hebdo has positioned itself in the firing line of this battle, refusing to accept the curtailment of lawful speech by those who meet it with violence. It is undoubtedly true that in addition to

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Joyce Carol Oates joins the pissing contest

Apr 27th, 2015 11:57 am | By

Joyce Carol Oates is another useful idiot. That doesn’t perturb me as much as for instance Prose, because I have never liked Oates’s writing, to put it mildly.

The useful idiocy:

Deborah Solomon ‏@deborahsolo 16 hours ago
Thank you, @PENAmerican, for honoring #CharlieHebdo & not bowing to the pressures of literary correctness.

Joyce Carol Oates ‏@JoyceCarolOates 4 hours ago
@deborahsolo @PENamerican It is a very delicate issue to honor “freedom of expression” without seeming to endorse seeming “hate speech.”

I wonder what the scare quotes are for. If Oates doesn’t think it is hate speech, then what is she talking about?

Joyce Carol Oates‏@JoyceCarolOates
@deborahsolo @PENamerican Have you actually seen these “satirical” images? If they were of

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Deborah Eisenberg gets Charlie Hebdo all wrong

Apr 27th, 2015 10:41 am | By

Glenn Greenwald is collecting

the key documents giving rise to the controversy that has erupted inside PEN America over the award the group is bestowing on Charlie Hebdo.

He starts with an email from Deborah Eisenberg to PEN’s Executive Director Suzanne Nossel on March 26.

What a wonderful thing to give an award to some person or institution that courageously exemplifies freedom of expression – and how entirely in keeping with the objectives of PEN. But as a member, up until now anyhow, of PEN, I would like to express myself freely on PEN’s decision to confer the PEN/Toni and James C. Goodale Freedom of Expression Courage Award on the magazine Charlie Hebdo.

It is clear and inarguable that the

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Six writers in search of a clue

Apr 27th, 2015 9:12 am | By

You have got to be kidding.

The New York Times reports:

The decision by PEN American Center to give its annual Freedom of Expression Courage award to the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo has prompted six writers to withdraw as literary hosts at the group’s annual gala on May 5, adding a new twist to the continuing debate over the publication’s status as a martyr for free speech.

It’s one of those cases where there wouldn’t be a “debate” if so many people weren’t industriously getting everything wrong.

The novelists Peter Carey, Michael Ondaatje, Francine Prose, Teju Cole, Rachel Kushner and Taiye Selasi have withdrawn from the gala, at the American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan. Gerard Biard,

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Guest post: It’s the invisible hand of the market slapping them

Apr 26th, 2015 5:28 pm | By

Originally a comment by Marcus Ranum on Don’t change a god damn thing.

Nobody is immune to critique.

Ultimately, if they don’t respond to critique, the “invisible hand of the market” may correct them, anyway. Don’t anyone break it to the gamer geeks but half the gamers in the world are women, now. Sure, there is a smaller market for ‘hard core’ (i.e.: guy) gamers but it risks being marginalized out of the mainstream, which will mean that those games won’t be very well-funded or good. Sort of like how cis porn split off from the Hollywood mainstream and maintained its ‘independence’ in return for acquiring an unenviable cachet.

I thought these guys liked the “invisible hand of the … Read the rest

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The next day

Apr 26th, 2015 5:10 pm | By

More social media reporting from Kathmandu.

Siobhan Heanue again:

Siobhan Heanue @siobhanheanue · 18h
Painstakingly slow cleanup in KTM. Rescue efforts by hand only, watched bodies being pulled out of rubble all day.

The aftershocks are almost as big as the quake – they’re having repeated big earthquakes.

Heard in London:

HeardinLondon @HeardinLondon · Apr 25
It’s so hard to believe what I’m seeing in Nepal. This has become this (1st pic @CircusKathmandu, 2nd @siobhanheanue)


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A space dominated by privileged reactionary jerks

Apr 26th, 2015 4:30 pm | By

Arthur Chu has a brilliant piece at Salon about why the Internet is so susceptible to throngs of obsessive bullies who won’t ever ever ever go away.

The “vote” doesn’t end up being among everyone but among the tiny subset of people who really care about that question, which isn’t necessarily correlated with being right about that question–often, in fact, it’s the opposite.

The people who pay the most attention to these questions are the people who have some deep emotional investment in the issue at hand combined with a great deal of time and emotional energy to burn making their “voices heard” about it. That can happen on any end of the political spectrum, but in practice? It

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A centenary

Apr 26th, 2015 3:07 pm | By

The Armenian genocide. A century ago. At least humans have outgrown genocide since then.

Oh wait…

Widely accepted historical accounts say that between 1 million and 1.5 million Armenians lost their lives at the hands of Ottoman forces in what was then eastern Turkey.

Between 1915 and 1922 the Teskilat e-Mahsus (special organisation) carried out a campaign of mass murder, deportation, pillage and rape against the minority Christian Armenians.

What does that sound like? Oh…Yazidi, Ahmadiyya, Uyghur, Jews, Christians, Muslims, immigrants, foreigners, natives, aboriginals…

The Guardian received more than 500 responses to a callout for first-hand experiences of persecution. Some are based on transcripts and audio recordings, others are stories recited through the generations.

While it is impossible to

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Don’t change a god damn thing

Apr 26th, 2015 12:38 pm | By

David Futrelle pays attention to Vox Day so that the rest of us don’t have to. That’s a service. He finds him admitting something about GamerGate.

[T]he interview also featured a few striking moments of candor. One of these came when Day — a sometime gave developer as well as the biggest asshole in Sci Fi — offered his answer to the question: “What is Gamergate really about?”

Suggesting that the issue of “corruption in game journalism” was little more than “the spark that set the whole thing off,” Day declared that

what Gamergate is fundamentally about is the right of people to design, develop and play games that they want to design, develop and play without being

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What in the world are these people applauding themselves for?

Apr 26th, 2015 11:05 am | By

Rosie DiManno at the Star is repulsed by the rejoicing over the “clarification” by Justice Edward. She is rude enough to point out that it’s a good outcome for JJ but not for her predecessor.

It is nothing less than a tragedy that a second family lost their own similarly afflicted 11-year-old daughter, Makayla Sault, after chemotherapy was spurned.

The two cases are linked because, in both instances, Brant Children and Family Services refused to intervene and compel chemo by taking the girls into agency care.

In the J.J. matter, Justice Gethin Edward ruled last November that the child was not in need of removal from the bosom of her loving family and, further — shockingly — that the

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The child’s well-being has to be balanced against rights to traditional medicine

Apr 26th, 2015 10:30 am | By

Remember? The ruling by Justice Gethin Edward of the Ontario Court of Justice that it was ok for parents to take their child off chemotherapy for leukemia because they’re First Nations people  and

Maybe First Nations culture doesn’t require every child to be treated with chemotherapy and to survive for that culture to have value.

Well now he’s “clarified” that ruling.

The clarification of a controversial court ruling that allowed the mother of an 11-year-old First Nations girl to pull her out of chemotherapy says the best interests of the child are “paramount,” but traditional medicine must be respected.

It is a “significant qualification” of Ontario court Judge Gethin Edward’s November 2014 ruling, according to one legal expert, which

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Guest post: David Cameron’s Handshake with African Homophobic and Witch hunting Pastor

Apr 26th, 2015 9:45 am | By

Guest post by Leo Igwe.

The photos of UK Prime Minister David Cameron shaking hands with the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Rev Enoch Adeboye at the Festival of Life program holding in London must disgust anyone who knows about the teachings and positions of Adeboye and his church, particularly on issues of homosexuality and witchcraft. Rev Adeboye was one of the pastors who openly canvassed support for the anti gay marriage bill stating that homosexuality would wipe out humanity.

He said:

Same-sex marriage is an anathema to the will of God for human beings to be fruitful, replenish and multiply on earth. Anything contrary to that is evil.

How can a man who marries

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