Monday, December 7, 2009

Monday Reading List

The Company We Keep:
We rely on gay-rights groups to battle it out alone for marriage rights in Maine. We expect feminists to secure abortion rights in health-care reform legislation. We look to the NAACP to effectively respond to racist statements about Obama. And yes, those groups will work hard for those goals. But when they fall short, they are not the only ones to blame. It's fair to look at the entire progressive coalition and ask the hard questions about our movement: What's the use of having a community, a coalition, if you aren't going to fight for each other?
As Veronica Arreola said on her Twitter, while the media insists on calling this a “sexting-related suicide,” it’s much more accurately referred to as a “slut-shaming suicide.” Because the photograph she sent is not what drove this poor girl to kill herself — the non-consensual spreading of the photograph, and the subsequent reaction that her classmates and all adults in positions of authority had to it seems to absolutely have been what drove her to despair. And that is a truly vital distinction to make if we actually care about the fact that a 13-year-old girl is dead, and why.
The Real Obesity Crisis:
...even though we tend to believe that children this young are living in their own little fantasy universe in which the actions of adults are only momentarily relevant, this study makes clear that children live in the adult world as well, where diet-talk, body-bashing, and constant, constant hand-wringing about what we look like affects them, and quite deeply, too.
Romance and Sexuality in Harry Potter:
Harry Potter is a bit of a sore spot for me. How much I loathe books can be expressed by the formula L = TP, or Loathing equals Terrible (how terrible it is), times Past (how much effort I put into it when I used to like it). So for that reason, Twilight, whose P is zero, also has an L value of zero–doesn’t matter how bad it is, I don’t happen to give a shit. As it happens, Harry Potter is no slacker in the T department and has the highest P of any book series in existence. You do the math.

So without further ado, I present “Things that come to mind as examples of the twisted sexuality in Harry Potter.“
Yes, I Will Always Play Zoey:
An article on Forbes.com cites research firm Electronic Entertainment Design and Research’s numbers on the subject: of the games on current generation consoles, female characters star in only 3% of games, versus 46% with male protagonists (the remaining are games with a customizable lead character or none). In action games specifically, it’s 3% female, 51% male, and if you venture into shooters, it drops to an abysmal 1%-73%.
Should We Remember Mike Penner or Christine Daniels?:
Penner never spoke publicly about his motives for transitioning back to Mike. But when Penner chose to “detransition”—when he stopped identifying outwardly as Christine Daniels—several experts weighed in on the latest development in Penner’s public persona. According to psychologists, most transgender people who choose to “detransition” do so as a result of external pressures resulting from their public gender transition, and not because they no longer internally identify as transgender.
And, instead of a comic, Twilight's New Moon in Lolcats. A taste, and then just follow the link:

4 comments:

mikhailbakunin said...

I disagree with Ann Friedman.

The reason we have issue-specific political interest groups is that even people who label themselves "liberal" often disagree on the particulars.

I know lots of folks who consider themselves "liberal," but oppose gay marriage or believe in placing strong restrictions on abortion.

Telling people that liberals must necessarily take a particular stance each issue is the wrong approach. This is what's destroying conservatism -- the idea that the conservative "movement" only tolerates certain viewpoints.

It's important to recognize that people with similar ideological roots can still disagree passionately on specific issues. If you want to win elections and mobilize voting coalitions, you need a "big tent" liberalism.

petpluto said...

I know lots of folks who consider themselves "liberal," but oppose gay marriage or believe in placing strong restrictions on abortion.

Sure; I'm not particularly sure about how liberal those people can be - the people who oppose gay marriage or believe in strong restrictions on abortion are usually "moderates" - but there are always going to be groups within parties that either don't feel strongly about an issue or disagree with the party's prevailing stance on an issue.

What I think Friedman is saying is that among the progressive groups, truly progressive groups, we need to stand up for those who have our same or similar beliefs. If you're for gay marriage but you most strongly identify as a feminist, you still should write letters and work within the progressive coalition to further that cause, even if it isn't your number one. And if, within the Democratic Party as a whole, progressives expect to have their issues heard and their voices to be powerful, then they do have to be more aligned as a liberal group within the Big Tent and less individually focused and yet also expecting everyone to rally around their specific issue when they aren't willing to put the time and energy into other issues either.

But I do disagree with you about this:
If you want to win elections and mobilize voting coalitions, you need a "big tent" liberalism.
I used to be more of this mindset, until Dems controlled both the House and Senate. The problem with having a big tent philosophy is that you will ostensibly have more Dems or Republicans, but those people are not necessarily part of a voting coalition of Dems or Republicans. So, you get more Dems in name only, and certain already vulnerable groups get their interests thrown under the wagon for the benefit of the Party as a whole - which really translates into the benefit of the people who are most likely to hold power anyway, generally. I still believe in Big Tents, but I don't believe in Big Tents as a means to an end. I believe in Big Tents because we're a big country, and a Connecticut Republican is still a Republican, even if s/he is more like a Louisiana Democrat. Parties should be able to encompass different regional realities, but that doesn't guarantee that when the Big Issues come up, having a Big Tent helps as much as one imagines.

The difference between Friedman and the Tea Partiers is that Friedman is saying, "If you're progressive within the Democratic Party, you should think about doing this" and not "If you are not progressive, you should get your ass out of the Democratic Party." The Tea Partiers are of the "if you're not conservative enough, get the hell out of our party". That doesn't work. That is idiotic.

mikhailbakunin said...

The difference between Friedman and the Tea Partiers is that Friedman is saying, "If you're progressive within the Democratic Party, you should think about doing this" and not "If you are not progressive, you should get your ass out of the Democratic Party."

Yeah, you're right. I think I misconstrude her argument.

robinchollaway said...
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