ASK Musings

No matter where you go, there you are.

Monthly Archive: June 2015

Sunday

28

June 2015

0

COMMENTS

What I’m Reading – June 28, 2015

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Elitists

– “‘Just take a drive around the area. You’ll see lakes low, rivers dry and hillsides parched,” Manion said, adding that she is appalled by people who tolerate leaking sprinklers and the resulting cascades of wasted water. “There are people, they aren’t being responsible,” she said. “They’re just thinking of their own lives.”’ Rich Californians balk at limits: ‘We’re not all equal when it comes to water’ (h/t @AllisonKilkenny)

Racism

– “We don’t say enough about how the racism of White women—who often escape scrutiny because the public face of racism is The White Man—harms people of color. We forget how the aggression of police when encountering Black bodies is often tied to the idea that these people present a danger to the fragility of White womanhood and how the word of a White woman will nearly almost always be believed over that of a Black man or Black woman (or a Black child, which is frightening, considering how many White women are teaching Black kids that they don’t necessarily value or believe in.)” The Infallibility of Miss Ann (Or, the Last Rachel Dolezal Thinkpiece Ever) (h/t @AngryBlackLady)

– “In other words, the nature and language of gender identities does not translate into conversations around race; there is no such thing as “transracial” in terms of a person who identifies as a race other than what was assigned at birth. But “transracial” does mean something else, and the people who identify with that word, adoptees raised in a family of a different race, are speaking out.” The Real Meaning Of ‘Transracial’ (via @ThinkProgress)

– “Telling your kid that everyone’s the same, that nobody’s better than anyone else, that everybody’s friends with everybody, accomplishes nothing. You can say that kind of stuff all day and all night — and believe me, white liberal parents do — but if that’s all you do, when a researcher sits your kid down and asks your kid whether black people are as nice or as smart or as pretty or as good as white people, they’re going to get answers that are going to make you cringe. Because there’s bigotry floating around in the air in our society. Not anywhere near as much as there used to be, but a lot. And your kid is going to pick that up. And if that’s all your kid picks up, it’s going to stick.” How to Teach Your White Kids to Fight Racism (via @StudentActivism)

– “U.S. media outlets practice a different policy when covering crimes involving African Americans or Muslims. As suspects, they are quickly characterized as terrorists and thugs (if not always explicitly using the terms), motivated purely by evil intent instead of external injustices. While white suspects are lone wolves — Charleston Mayor Joseph Riley has emphasized that this shooting was an act of just “one hateful person” — violence by black and Muslim people is systemic, demanding response and action from all who share their race or religion. Even black victims are vilified.” Shooters of color are called ‘terrorists’ and ‘thugs.’ Why are white shooters called ‘mentally ill’? (h/t @zerlinamaxwell)

– “In times like this, White people are quick to throw their hands up and dissociate themselves from racism and the person accused of the racist act. But how many of them can say they have actively worked to challenge the racism in the people around them? How many folks have sat quietly as Uncle Jimbo tells the story of the time he put that one nigger in his place at work? How many so-called liberal Obama voters couldn’t be bothered to even google “Black Lives Matter” to see what folks were talking about in August of last year? How many of the women with more Black exes than Rachel Dolezal refuse to say a word when they see a Black child being manhandled by an aggressive White cop—but may later become the mother of Black children themselves?” White Silence Kills 9 in Charleston (via @jamilahlemieux)

– “Thus, for the sake of my own self-care, I make no apologies for the fact that the only public conversation about racial issues I’m willing to have on social media is one that is explicitly anti-racist and rather advanced in terms of the level of knowledge and awareness that I expect from my interlocutors.” 20 Things You Need to Read Before You Talk to Me About Race (h/t @alwaystheself)

– “At what point can we stop denying and debating simple truths? At what point can we start acknowledging that the simplest explanation is probably the correct one? The US, my country, is a racist country. It’s a country built on white supremacy and the lie of freedom and opportunity – a place where white people live measurably safer, freer, more validated and prosperous lives, where the dehumanisation of black people was literally written into the constitution by slave-owners we are expected to worship, yet where even saying the words “white supremacy” is taboo. Why? Why can’t we just speak the truth?” My country is a racist country – built on the lie of freedom and opportunity (via @thelindywest)

Sexism

– “I write this preamble because this is a column about the sexism plaguing Brazilian soccer, but I want to be clear that this is not a South American issue, or an “over there” issue: It’s a global issue. Women’s soccer is not only the story of a sport. It’s the story of a fight for access and opportunity and respect, often against the very people who are supposed to be developing the game.” Soccer’s Enduring Sexism and the Magnificence of Marta (via @EdgeofSports)

– “Google Search will now accept requests from those looking to have links to their photos removed, although Google cannot remove the actual photos from wherever they’re hosted. But, if Google can cut access to the images, there’s less of a likelihood that the images will be seen. The requests will be similar to Google’s existing form to request the removal of sensitive information.” Google Will Begin Unlinking Revenge Port from the Internet (via @PopSci)

– “Perhaps the grimmest irony among many here is that even in female-dominated fields, often the fastest way to advance is to be a man. A recent study found that male nurses make an average of about $5,100 more than female nurses annually, and men make more than women in other female-dominated fields such as education and social services, too. In a series of interviews with male nurses and librarians, men reported feeling like they had been “fast-tracked” into leadership roles. Men also reported feeling that they were perceived as more competent, that people were more forgiving of their mistakes, and that older women in the field took on motherly roles toward them.” What’s the Best Way to Get Ahead in a Female-Dominated Profession? (h/t @legalvoice)

– “Science is based on observations, which are the same thing as universal proof. Even I know that, and I’m just a woman whose brain is filled to capacity with yoga poses and recipes for gluten-free organic soap. Once, I was lured into a trap in the woods because I followed a trail of Sex and the City DVDs for three miles into a covered pit. Do you really think I could do something as complicated as thinking about science?” I’m a female scientist, and I agree with Tim Hunt (h/t @stavvers)

Terrorism

– “An officer from a large metropolitan area said that “militias, neo-Nazis and sovereign citizens” are the biggest threat we face in regard to extremism. One officer explained that he ranked the right-wing threat higher because “it is an emerging threat that we don’t have as good of a grip on, even with our intelligence unit, as we do with the Al Shabab/Al Qaeda issue, which we have been dealing with for some time.”” The Growing Right-Wing Terror Threat (h/t @AnilDash)

– “While the media may try to construct Roof as some kind of lone anomalous monster or extremist who committed an horrific hate crime in a vacuum, he is not an extremist. He is a terrorist, but he is not an extremist.” Dylann Roof is not an extremist (via @ztsamudsi)

Police Abuse

– “Every state in the US fails to comply with international standards on the lethal use of force by law enforcement officers, according to a report by Amnesty International USA, which also says 13 US states fall beneath even lower legal standards enshrined in US constitutional law and that nine states currently have no laws at all to deal with the issue.” All 50 US states fail to meet global police use of force standards, report finds (h/t @deray)

Media Representation

– “I am 41 years old, and this was the first mainstream movie I’ve ever seen with a single lead (as opposed to, say, The Heat or Tammy, in which Melissa McCarthy shared the leads with Sandra Bullock and Susan Sarandon) who looks and moves like me. I kind of can’t even begin to describe what that feels like. Film Corner: Spy (via @Shakestweetz)

Health

– “Brad was only 7 years old when he was infected with E. coli bacteria, which caused his kidneys to shut down. He needed more than 5 dozen blood transfusions to stay alive — and he got them, thanks to donors. “My son, when he was in the first grade, took 66 units of blood products, and I considered it my personal debt to repay,” said Richard.” 25 years later, dad matches 66 pints of blood given to save son (h/t @BloodworksNW)

Saturday

27

June 2015

0

COMMENTS

What I’m Reading – June 27, 2015

Written by , Posted in What I'm Reading

Playing catch up on this. Watch out for more tomorrow.

Terrorism

– “White people need to be talking to each other about the white supremacist terrorist act in a Charleston last night. We need to be talking to each other about what we, as individuals, are doing to dismantle white supremacy, and we need to be holding each other accountable for the ways in which we uphold white privilege.” Dear White Men (via @Shakestweetz)

Racism

– “According to 19-year-old community member Tatiana, who put together the event to celebrate the end of the school year, several white people at the pool hurled racial slurs at her friends, calling one a “black f-er” and talking about Section 8 public housing. When 14-year-old friend Grace Stone stood up for the group, saying the comments were racist, the man and woman started berating her.” White Woman Used Racial Slurs, Slapped Her, Texas Pool Party Host Says (via @ThinkProgress)

Police Violence

– “All across the United States, as police departments become embroiled in controversy and corruption, the investigations are revealing a disturbing trend. It’s not the new recruits that continue to be implicated, but the highest-ranking officers within the departments.” Let’s stop saying bad police officers are rare. Fact is they’re plentiful from coast to coast. (via @ShaunKing)

– “If you look at every other instance, it ends up unfavorable to the families.” The community leaders said they intended to file their request on Tuesday morning in municipal court. One of them provided The New York Times with copies of six affidavits they planned to file, which outline the crimes they say were committed.” Cleveland Leaders Bypass Prosecutors to Seek Charge in Tamir Rice Case (h/t @LisaBloom)

Reproductive Health

– “The bill, known as the Reproductive Fact Act, would require pregnancy centers to post notices saying that reproductive health services, including abortion, are available to pregnant women in the state. Pregnancy centers also would have to disclose whether they lack a medical license. The bill passed on a party-line vote, with Republicans objecting on the grounds that it would unconstitutionally compel government speech for the state’s 167 centers.” California Assembly Passes Bill Banning Crisis Pregnancy Centers From Misleading Patients (h/t @sistersong_WOC)

– ““It is a classist, sexist, anti-democratic, anti-child, anti-family policy whose premise did not come to fruition,” Mitchell told the Sacramento Bee. “It did not accomplish what it set out to accomplish. So it’s appropriate to take it off the books.” Evidence suggests that family cap laws like the one in California don’t dissuade people from having a child.” California Bill Would Repeal ‘Classist, Sexist’ Public Benefit Rule (via @rhrealitycheck)

Sexism

– “In her book “A Fighting Chance,” Warren wrote about a tense 2013 meeting in which Dimon expressed unhappiness with her ongoing work to strengthen financial regulations. When she eventually told him, “I think you guys are breaking the law,” Warren writes Dimon suddenly got quiet and responded, “So hit me with a fine. We can afford it.”” Jamie Dimon Doubts Elizabeth Warren “Fully Understands” Global Banking (via @MotherJones)

Politics

– “Rhetoric from younger white feminists in recent years hasn’t been any better, only more self-justifying. When Bustle’s Gabrielle Moss recounts patronizing conversations she’s had with men as part of her 2008 election experience in “Hillary Clinton Is Running For President, And I’m Voting For Her Because She’s A Woman,” she forgets that another group of women had those endless conversations with white women like her who assumed they were voting for President Obama because of his race. While there is misogyny in the Democratic party, there is also a “color blind” racism permeating much of the Clinton campaign support. Her success will be a triumph for all women, we are told, ignoring that progress for white women have not translated into material improvements for all women.” I’m Not Ready (h/t @thetrudz)

 

Prison

– “Currently, at Riker’s Island, at least 400 people have been imprisoned for over two years without being convicted. Half a dozen people have actually been waiting for over six years inside of Riker’s without being convicted of a crime. A staggering 1,500 inmates have waited at least a whole year—some imprisoned for crimes that wouldn’t even have sentences for this long if they actually were convicted.” 400 people have been imprisoned at Riker’s Island for at least two years without being convicted (via @ShaunKing)

Labor

– “Wanda Evans-Brewer, who holds a doctorate in education, earned so little last year as an adjunct professor at Concordia University in River Forest — $27,000 — that she qualified for food stamps.” Fight for $15 rallies part-time college professors (via @ChicagoTribune)

– “All employees, including part-time workers, at Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. are set to get a boost in benefits starting July 1, including paid vacation time, sick pay and tuition reimbursement, the company has announced.” Chipotle to Offer Part-Time Workers Paid Vacation, Sick Pay, Tuition Reimbursement (via @ABC)

Bodily Integrity

– “In our patriarchal world of the male gaze and body policing and sexual assault, it’s hugely important to teach girls (as well as everyone else) that it’s never okay to be made to touch another person when you don’t want to. The message doesn’t even have to be in a sexual context. A person’s body is their own body. They can do what they want with it.” Your Child Should Never Be Forced to Hug Anyone (Yes, Including a Relative) – Here Are 7 Reasons Why (h/t @stavvers)

Transphobia

– “Here’s what I suddenly understood in that moment, and what I wish for Burkett, and those applauding her, to understand: Trans people are not magical gender warriors. We may politicize their bodies, but they are not obligated to play along. As with all of us, some may decide to become activists, but most won’t, and either way, none of them will exclusively do the most politically expedient thing every time they’re faced with a choice. Because they’re human. They don’t owe the world a revolution, or even an explanation. And they’re certainly not obligated to live up to the arbitrary standards of one random cis woman.” Who Decides What Makes a Woman? (via @jaclynf)

“Outrage Culture”(i.e., the problem with the Jon Ronson book everyone is loving right now)

– “Ronson was sympathetic to one of the men in Richards’ infamous photo, who was also ultimately fired. But he creates a deeply misleading false equivalence between the two which is best crystalized in the fact that I couldn’t tell you the man’s name if I wanted to. He managed to avoid the permanent infamy that seems to have coalesced around Richards. He quickly put his life back together and got a new job in short order, while Richards is still trying to get past this debacle and find gainful employment in the industry that seemed to turn its back on her.” So You’ve Been Publicly Scapegoated: Why We Must Speak Out On Call-Out Culture (h/t @suey_park)

Monday

22

June 2015

0

COMMENTS

Women’s World Cup

Written by , Posted in Feminism

So far I’ve attended four Women’s World Cup matches in Vancouver, and I have tickets for the final on July 5th. It’s exciting to attend an international sporting event – the only other one I’ve been to was a friendly match between the England and Egypt men’s national soccer teams in London a few years ago. Two things have been very awesome: the packed stadiums for both the USA v NIG match and CAN v SUI match, and the thousands of young girls I’ve seen be SO EXCITED to watch these matches live. I started playing soccer as a 6-year-old girl; I still play keeper on a co-ed team here in Seattle.

I’ve also, unfortunately, seen some really disheartening things. For example, and this is a big one: this is called the FIFA Women’s World Cup. But the men’s one is not called the FIFA Men’s World Cup. That gets to just be called the ‘World Cup.’ In fact, if you open the FIFA app, in the main news stream you will see articles on the Women’s tournament, but if you click specifically on the “FIFA World Cup,” all you will get is information on the Men’s tournament. That necessarily just perpetuates the false idea that men in sport is neutral / default, and women in sport is something abnormal. That’s crap.

However, it should be surprising, as we know that FIFA values women in sport much less than they value men in sport. A glaringly obvious example of this is the fact that FIFA allowed these matches to be played on turf. Some places, like Seattle, have many turf fields because there is so much rain. But turf acts differently than grass. And, as evidenced by the ENG v NOR match, it also gets EXTREMELY hot. Like, there can be a 20 degree difference between the temperature in the air and the temperature down on the field when turf is involved. As others have said, in this case women are literally not on an even playing field as compared to the men.

Another thing I’ve noticed is that with this tournament, the commentator who talks the most is often a man. There is usually a woman commentating as well, but there is always ALWAYS a man. But you don’t really ever see this with men’s sports. There might be a woman on the sideline to ask a player or two “how are feeling?”, but you don’t have a woman in the booth commenting on the quarterfinal match in the men’s world cup. This isn’t just with soccer – it seems to exist with every sport that women and men both play. If it’s a women’s match, there’s always a man in the booth. If it’s a men’s match, the closest a woman gets seems to be the sideline.

Finally, when it comes down to something as basic as the FIFA app, things aren’t equal. The women’s world cup stories are in the “all news” section, but if you click on “FIFA World Cup” as a section, all that’s there is the men’s world cup. I actually emailed FIFA about that (via Facebook messenger), and they responded with the fact that the men’s U23 was going on at the same time, so they decided to not post either. Which … what? That makes zero sense. They also said they’ve “discussed this is Zurich” already for 2019. I’m a bit skeptical about this, but I’ll reserve judgement for the moment.

Are these points the end of the world? Probably not. But I think they are really great examples of the many ways that women’s sports are treated like crap pretty much worldwide. It’s the patriarchy, and it is ridiculous.

So, with that in mind, here are a few things I’m going to start doing.
If a sport has a men’s version and a women’s version, I’m going to always use that identifier, regardless of which it is. The 2018 World Cup will be the 2018 Men’s World Cup. The NBA will be the Men’s NBA (since we have the WNBA). They do it in the Olympics – why is it so hard to do with other sports?
If I have the option of watching a women’s competition live, I’m going to do it, and at least as often as I do men’s. Seattle Reign FC? I’m attending at least as many matches in person as I do Seattle Sounders. Seattle Storm? I don’t even like basketball at all, but I’m going to make it a point to attend a game this season.
I’m going to focus on reading more articles about sports by women (Jessica Luther is a FANTASTIC writer – follow her on Twitter @scATX), and books by and about women in sports.
I’m going to sign and boost every petition that comes my way pushing for equal treatment of female athletes, whether that is with prize money, practice space, media coverage,
I’d love it if you’d consider joining me. Language matters. How we view women in sport matters. I’ve got two nieces, and I really want them to know that the contributions they choose to make – whether in sport, or art, or science, or humanities – matter as much as the contributions men make.

Monday

22

June 2015

0

COMMENTS

Body Respect by Linda Bacon and Lucy Aphramor

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Four Stars

So that was pretty good. A little more self help-y than I was expecting even with all that the title might imply.

Drs. Bacon and Aphramor are interested in making sure that we all are aware of the actual science around health as it relates to weight. Not the ridiculous idea that you can tell someone’s health by their weight, but the truth: that health is complex and certainly can’t be reduced to the number on the scale. Plenty of very thin people are extremely unhealthy, but most of society doesn’t care, because they look the way we expect (want?) people to look. And so we project that this visual must also be associated with what we deem to be good – e.g. health.

It’s sort of amazing what we expect from people, and this book is a great reminder of the absurdity involved. We have no comments or scolding of thin people who say ‘I can eat whatever I want and not get fat’ as they bite into a giant burger. Meanwhile, if a fat person eats literally exactly the same diet as the thin person, society judges them as unhealthy. It’s bullshit, and it’s super obnoxious. Personally, I think it relates heavily to the need of some people to feel like they are better than others, and this false idea of what equates with health is a great (and by great, I mean shitty) way to do it.

The book provides a whole lot of great evidence to debunk ideas that the diet industry is built on, such as the concept that calories in = calories out, and that everyone is going to process food the exact same way. Eat fewer calories, lose weight, and keep it off. But research shows that’s just not the case. One study that was especially vivid in showing this involved a bunch of sets of twins who all ate the exact same food. Within twins there was very little variation, but among sets of twins there were wildly different outcomes. So even though these same people were consuming the exact same number of calories and nutrition, some gained weight and some didn’t. And yet this seems SUPER difficult for society as a whole to grasp. People are different, and being fat doesn’t mean someone is unhealthy, or eating too much.

The book doesn’t, however, pretend that what one consumes doesn’t have any affect on one’s weight or health. Instead, the authors choose to focus on how food isn’t just the sum of its nutrients, and that being mindful about it is what will help us be healthiest. I especially appreciated this idea because it a) disparages the shit notion that any food is objectively ‘bad’ or ‘good’ based solely on its nutrition profile and b) recognizes that food actually serves a very valid cultural and social role. Eating a bunch of frozen Jenny Craig dinners might help you lose weight (for a few months before you can it back and then some), but it will also have you missing out on things like sharing some of a beloved family member’s dessert that was baked from a recipe passed down from generations. This idea that we should be automatons who just count calories and types of nutrients to get ‘healthy’ is silly, and it’s nice to see it called out as such.

I think this could be a great book for anyone to read, especially one who is tired of seeing the same shit on TV and online about how anyone can (and should) lose weight if they do x, without questioning WHY we expect these folks to lose weight. It’s not about their health (because we don’t care what thin people eat); it’s about having a group to judge and control. And about making money. And that needs to stop.

Friday

19

June 2015

0

COMMENTS

Hey. White People. Let’s Talk.

Written by , Posted in Politics

I’d like to take just a little bit of your time, fellow white people, to talk about some shit that we need to change.

And let’s be clear – it is WE who need to change. Not black people. Not non-black people of color. White people.

Hopefully you know by now that a white guy with a gun killed nine black people in a church because they were black. Because he hates black people. This should be super basic, but I’ve noticed some white people (namely the ones who get paid a shit ton of money to hold a microphone in front of a camera) are having trouble with this concept. But there it is. It was an act of terrorism.

And I’ve seen some folks post links to articles about the shooting, and pictures of the people the racist shooter murdered, and that’s fantastic. I also, today, saw a lot of people posting the video of Jon Stewart’s monologue. I just watched it, and found it to be very moving. I get why people are praising his comments, and his choice to treat the situation with the gravity it deserves.

But at the same time, I was reminded that nothing he said is new or original. And even my statement is not new or original – black people were pointing that out today online. In fact, black people have been telling us that racism exists for decades. So many white people are quick to look for another explanation – any explanation – for the racism that black people (and non-black people of color) experience on a DAILY basis, while at the same time screaming ‘YES’ at their TV (or computer) screen when a white guy on basic cable makes the same points. I’m NOT trying to imply that any of my friends who posted that video fall into that category, but just in general, it’s an observation.

I see white people twist themselves into pretzels looking for any reason other than racism to explain the shit black people experience on a daily basis. The white woman who moves her purse to the other side when a black man walks by was just switching arms because she was tired. The black kid who was followed around the store just happened to be exactly in the security officer’s path. The black kids at the pool were just being too rowdy (anyone would have been treated the same!).

So here’s my request: when a person of color says what they experienced was based in racism, try believing them. You might think the world is better than that, but that’s a privilege you have because you are white. (You know I couldn’t get out of this post without using that term at least once.) I know I wish that things were better, and the optimist in me wants to believe that things are better. But that just doesn’t seem to be reality.

If you are interested in other things that maybe you haven’t had to think about, consider your office. Is your office only hiring white people, who just happen to be ‘the most qualified’ or ‘fit in with the team’ best? Really think about if either of those statements is true. If you find yourself only hiring white people because ‘they are the most qualified’, is it because your job descriptions favor them? And if you are only hiring people who ‘fit in with the team,’ could it maybe be because you are hiring people who look and experience the world exactly as you do? (These aren’t my ideas; I’ve attended trainings in the past couple of years pointing out how easy it is to unintentionally keep the status quo).

Another thing that has been helping me lately is reassessing where I get my news and analysis. Asking myself: is everything you read on Facebook or Twitter or whatever other media you consume reinforcing my world view? If you’re interested in making a change, maybe consider checking the bylines on the articles you choose to read. Are they written by white people almost exclusively?

I’m not writing this because I think my friends are running around shouting the n-word. I’m writing it because I know I’ve been unintentionally contributing to a world where people like the racist shooter think that they should hate black people, and maybe I’ve got friends are looking for things they can do, too.

So with that, I’m letting you know that I’m going to start being consistent in ways I should have been much sooner. Please know that from now on:

• If you start a statement with “not to be racist, but” – I’m going to stop you. I’m not interest in your observation that you know is clearly racist, but you still want to say because you think it’s true and don’t want to recognize that this means you’re acting in a racist way. If you don’t stop, I’m walking away. And man, if I do that in front of you, please call me out.
• If you tell a racist joke, I’m calling you out on it. As recently as probably a month ago a friend (I do not recall who) made a joke about Asian drivers. What the fuck? That isn’t funny, and by not speaking up (even if I’m trying to avoid confrontation, or avoid being labeled as “humorless” or “too PC” [god forbid I care about treating others with respect, amiright?]) I might be giving you the impression that what you said is okay. That ends now. And if you think I say something that could come across as racist, please tell me. I won’t get defensive. I want to know!
• If a person of color tells me that they experienced racism, I’m going to believe them. Yes, it’s possible that on occasion what they experienced won’t have been racism, but that seems so unlikely that I’m okay with being wrong on occasion.

I’m not perfect. And frankly, as a white person, I’m not the one anyone needs to listen to about racism, because I don’t experience it. Ever. But like I said up front, I’m part of the problem. So are you, probably. Let’s work on that. Okay? Okay. Cool.

Sunday

7

June 2015

0

COMMENTS

What I’m Reading – June 7, 2015

Written by , Posted in What I'm Reading

Abuse of Children

– “The lessons learned from birth in homes like the Duggar’s strip children of their voice and agency. Starting with blanket training babies and toddlers understand quickly that disappointing a parent leads to swift and painful consequences. As they grow, it becomes clear that simply doing what is expected is not enough. It must be done instantly and cheerfully. Children are even forbidden to seek out the logic behind the request, as kids are prone to do, because that is seen a making excuses or delaying obedience.” Here’s how the Duggars’ patriarchal homeschool world teaches kids to shame sex abuse victims (h/t @AllisonKilenny)

– “The interview was exactly as horrendous as you’d imagine, its entire purpose to minimize Josh’s crimes, to defend Jim Bob’s and Michelle’s reprehensible shielding of Josh as parenting choices made in deference to god, and to try to redirect the conversation by suggesting the records were improperly released (which is manifestly false).” On the Duggars’ Fox News Interview (via @shakestweets)

Drought

– “On Friday, the state’s Water Board approved a deal with farmers in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta in which some farmers will voluntarily reduce water use by 25 percent in exchange for assurances that they won’t suffer reductions later in the growing season.” California Farmers Have Agreed to Water Cuts. What Exactly Does That Mean? (via @MotherJones)

Misogyny

– “A 17-year-old League of Legends player from British Columbia, Canada was arrested for several crimes including harassing phone calls, publishing of personal information and credit card data, and sending SWAT teams to the homes of (mostly) female gamers who wouldn’t accept his friend requests and their families—adding up to 23 offenses in total.” Teen Gamer Pleads Guilty to “Swatting” Female Gamers Who Turned Down His Advances (h/t @Chickowits)

– “Hours after the incident she then drove to the closest emergency room at Swedish Medical Center in Ballard. “The staff at Swedish Ballard told me they do not provide rape kits, that they did not find my injury and sent me away,” the victim told King 5”  Victim speaks out about lack of local access to rape kits (via @MyBallard)

– “This video, which spread like wildfire across social media last week, was just the latest example of the way organizations continuously downplay the impact of domestic violence and rape culture. In turn, this betrays how little we as a society care for, or even think of, victims of interpersonal violence.” The Cleveland Cavaliers’ Video of Domestic Violence Wasn’t a ‘Mistake’ (via @scATX)

– “Nearly 75,000 people in Canada signed onto a petition demanding the repeal of the tampon tax. The petition’s author, Jill Piebiak, pointed out that it’s offensive for the Canadian government to designate menstrual hygiene products as a “nonessential item” or a “luxury good” — especially because plenty of other products, like cake decorations and contact lenses, are already exempt from the GST.” After Years Of Backlash, Canada Ditches The ‘Tampon Tax’ (via @ThinkProgress)

– “Josie — a media-savvy writer, who once “updogged” writer Cathy Young — was pissed. She didn’t know how I got her name or email address, and she said she felt “betrayed.” She was mad at the Jezebel writer she thought might have given it to me. She was mad at me for the “weird” request, which should have gone through Jezebel — not her directly. The only thing is: I didn’t email her.” Someone Impersonated Me To Trick A Sexual Assault Victim (h/t @RosieGray)

– ““Excuse me,” I said, using my bony ass to crush his thigh. Outside of a horror movie, I have never seen anyone react so quickly to get away from another human being. There was terror, then disgust, then anger. I took out my book and turned to him. “Thank you,” I said, and then smiled like Kathleen Turner in Serial Mom. It would have been rude otherwise.” I Have Been Sitting on Manspreaders For the Last Month and I Have Never Felt More Free (h/t @jowrotethis)

Bigotry

– “This survey, and its wider implications of state-sponsored violence and Islamophobia, are disturbing for a number of reasons, however, I want to first focus on what it means to categorise Muslim children as potential ‘extremists’. To categorise children in such a way is a form of preconceived criminalisation. By categorising Muslim children as potential ‘extremists’, the government can justify violence enacted through laws that essentially treat them as criminals without having to provide any tangible evidence for doing so.” Schools in the UK Are Now Asking Muslim Children to Fill Out “Counter-Extremism” Tests (via @WritersofColour)

– “I asked people around me if they witnessed this discriminatory and disgusting behavior and the man sitting in an aisle across from me yelled out to me, ‘you Moslem, you need to shut the F** up.’ I said, ‘what?!’ He then leaned over from his seat, looked me straight in the eyes and said, ‘yes you know you would use it as a WEAPON so shut the f**k up.’” Muslim cleric denied unopened soda on United flight because she could ‘use it as a weapon on the plane’ (h/t @iJesseWilliams)

State Sanctioned Killing

– “Nebraska’s action to repeal the death penalty is unusual because of its traditionally conservative leanings. Maryland was the last state to end capital punishment, in 2013. Three other moderate-to-liberal states have done so in recent years: New Mexico in 2009, Illinois in 2011 and Connecticut in 2012.” Nebraska abolishes death penalty in landmark override vote (via @AP)

Diversity

– “In my opinion, if ALL your characters are White in a movie that takes place in Hawaii; if nobody properly pronounces Hawaiian words; and cultural references to Native Hawaiians are not 100% factual (you have Google now, so there’s no excuse for you making stuff up anymore!), then no, I’d have to say you were NOT and are NOT respectful of Hawaii’s people and culture.” “Aloha” and The Continued Legacy of Hollywood’s Backwards, Whitewashed Hawaii (h/t @jaythenerdkid)

Labor

– “Let’s be honest with ourselves: Compensation is one of the first things all of us scan for when looking at a posting. The expectation for candidates to not bring up the salary until the end is naïve and irresponsible. We need to live and support our families on these salaries; our payment is not a pleasant bonus we get for saving the world. As a colleague of mine says, “When you don’t give a salary range, you’re saying that you’re only going to hire people who are married to people with professional salaries, young folks still supported by well-off parents, and the independently wealthy.” When you don’t disclose salary range on a job posting, a unicorn loses its wings

Whistleblowers

– “After being transferred back to the US, I was confined at the now-closed military brig at the Marine Corps base in Quantico, Virginia. This time was the most difficult for me overall, and felt like the longest. I was not allowed to have any items in my cell – no toothbrushes, soap, toilet paper, books, paper and on a few occasions even my glasses – unless I was given permission to use them under close supervision. When I was finished, I had to return these items. At night, I had to surrender my clothing and, despite recommendations by several psychiatrists that I was not deemed suicidal), wear a “suicide prevention” smock – a single-piece, padded, tear-proof garment.” The years since I was jailed for releasing the ‘war diaries’ have been a rollercoaster (h/t @jeremyscahill)

Police Brutality

– “A federal wrongful death lawsuit filed May 11 accused the Broward Sheriff’s Office of tampering with evidence and obstructing justice. The suit alleges that the deputy who shot Mr. McBean perjured himself and that the department covered it up by giving him a bravery award shortly after the killing, while the shooting was still under investigation.” A Florida Police Killing Like Many, Disputed and Little Noticed (h/t @markfollman)

Sunday

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June 2015

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COMMENTS

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

Written by , Posted in Reviews

Four Stars

dark-places

Damn. This was a well-written book that I enjoyed reading. I mean, it’s all kinds of messed up, but it’s interesting, and I don’t think the outcome is at all obvious. It all makes sense, when you think about it.

Libby Day is the sole surviving daughter of the Day family, three members of which were murdered in early January 1985. Her brother was convicted of the crime based partly on her testimony; she (a seven-year-old) testified that she saw him do it. As essentially an orphan (her dad faded in and out of her life) being raised by her aunt, she came into money at 18, thanks to people who had donated to a fund on her behalf when her story was in the news.

The catalyst for the story in this book is that Libby is out of money now, and has to figure out how to get some. She’s never really worked, and doesn’t want to. She comes across a letter from one of those true crime groups to see if she’d be willing to talk to them, with the understanding that they would pay her. Seeing a way to make some money, she agrees, and the story goes from there.

Like I said, this was a book that I enjoyed reading. It was a book that made me choose the elliptical over a run (because I can read on a machine), and the bus over a ride from a friend because that meant 30 uninterrupted minutes with the book. I also read and enjoyed Gone Girl, and I appreciate that Ms. Flynn creates characters that aren’t awesome, and that are sort of (really) flawed. It’s interesting.

Saturday

6

June 2015

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COMMENTS

Three Wishes by Liane Moriarty

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Four Stars

three wishes

This time, I actually sort of did see the twist coming. Well, one of them. And frankly, not as quickly as I probably should have. But still. I’m getting better.

I believe this was one of Ms. Moriarty’s first novels, although it doesn’t feel like it. It employs the same convention as many of her other ones – the point of view of three different characters. In this case, the characters are sisters. Triplets actually (a set of identical twins and one fraternal twin). They are interesting, leading fairly ordinary lives (although none of them have money troubles, which doesn’t actually seem that ordinary). But they have challenges, and their relationships with each other, their divorced parents, and their partners are all a bit complicated.

There isn’t a ton to say about this book, other than I enjoyed reading it, and it’s kind of perfect for right now, when I have a lot going on at work and home but still want to read something on the bus that isn’t going to overly tax my brain. However, one area that rubbed me the wrong way was that one of the characters drives drunk. She only does it once, and actually gets caught and there is a repercussion of sorts. But it was treated so … lightly? I mean, I think it was meant to show us how the character was feeling, that this person would do this, but still. This person could have killed someone, and it was just weird to have it be some sort of character-building moment as opposed to a really serious thing.

I’d recommend the book if you’re heading out on vacation and want something that isn’t entirely a pile of fluff but that is still very fun and easy to read.

Wednesday

3

June 2015

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COMMENTS

Women in Black

Written by , Posted in Politics

On Wednesdays when I head out to pick up lunch I often walk by City Hall. Walking through the city, a lot of people try to hand me things. It’s not as bad as, say, 14th Avenue in NYC, or the strip in Vegas, but I’ve gotten to the point where I generally ignore flyers. But I always take ones from the Women in Black.

The Vision of Women in Black

For 12 years, beginning in May 2000, WHEEL (a homeless women’s organizing effort) and the Church of Mary Magdalene (an ecumenical day ministry to low-income women) has held Women in Black silent witnessing vigils honoring the lives of homeless individuals who have died while living on the streets of Seattle. Their efforts to draw visibility to this issue have focused the attention of local media, city government and the general public.

In 2003, our Women in Black began working to create a place where everyone may gather to remember those who have passed under these most unfortunate circumstances. It is our intent that such a place will provide comfort, greater understanding and a sense of ‘home’ for both the homeless and housed communities.

Ultimately, we hope the creation of this place will signify a moment in history when we collectively recognize the need and develop the will to bring an end to some of the many causes of homelessness.

I really appreciate that there is a group in this city reminding people of the needs of the homeless. I don’t know what to do about it, but I know what we’ve been doing isn’t working. As long as people are dying on the street, society is doing something wrong.

Monday

1

June 2015

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The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty

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Four Stars

Yeah, this is another Liane Moriarty book review. Third in a row. And in a few days, you’ll probably have the fourth in a row. Because I am sucking these books down like they are water and I’m a hiker lost in the desert.

I didn’t enjoy it as much as Big Little Lies, but that’s okay. As with Big Little Lies, we follow three main characters who are clearly going to end up connected in some way. There is something hanging over everyone’s head. It’s sort of a mystery, but not necessary a mystery we (the readers) need to be concerned about solving, because much of what is interesting is how the characters react to the mystery, and how actions have unintended consequences. Do I care about the secret (or secrets)? Absolutely. But I care more about how the characters are handling it. I think Ms. Moriarty creates interesting characters, ones that I become invested in over the course of these novels.

Now that I’ve read three, however, I am a bit concerned. Is everyone in Australia straight? Because that seems … unlikely. Considering all of these books are set with a focus on parents of young children, you’d think there would be at least a couple of families with two mothers, or two fathers. And I’m not so sure about the ethnic diversity of her characters. I recall a few described as blond, or redheaded with light skin and freckles.

If these three books I’ve read are an indication, Ms. Moriarity has a bit of a formula. We get to know characters, and there is a THING hanging over them, and some might know, and some might not, but we the readers definitely don’t. Or at least, I don’t. For the most part. Perhaps it should be more obvious? I don’t know. All of the twists have pretty much caught me off guard. Maybe I’m just behind on my novel reading, and it will become more obvious later. Whatever, don’t care. I’m enjoying the hell out of these books, and this one was no different.