Society Magazine

Occasional Link Roundup

Posted on the 23 January 2013 by Brute Reason @sondosia

Alright, I’ve been sick AND doing 5,000 7 grad school apps, so some of these links are actually from 2012. Ugh, embarrassing.

Before I get started, a couple things:

1. Promote your own stuff in the comments! Seriously, I want to see what you all write.

2. I’m starting to slowly switch my name from Miriam to Miri, which I vastly prefer. I haven’t changed it here on FtB yet, but if you follow me on Twitter or Facebook you’ve probably noticed. I don’t care what people call me, but this is just so people aren’t all like WHO THE HELL IS MIRI once I change it here.

3. If, very very hypothetically speaking, I started a podcast with a fellow progressive skeptic atheist friend and basically covered the same sorts of stuff I cover on this blog in a casual, conversational style, perhaps once or twice a month, what might be a good hypothetical name for it? (I suck at names.)

Now, on to the links!

1. Cliff explains what’s wrong with how (and what) we teach teenagers about sex:

God we fuck up teenagers’ heads.  We tell them that biological conditions are moral punishments and then we get all shocked when they don’t practice rational risk management of biological conditions.  We teach them “sex is super desirable and all the cool kids do it, and it’s hideously shameful and will destroy your life” and we wonder why they act an eensy bit neurotic about it.  If you tried to design a system for making sexually active kids confused and unsafe, you couldn’t do much better than the American media and school system.

2. Amanda Marcotte (who I just got to see speak here at Northwestern yay!) tackles the myth that rape is an “accident” that happens when there’s alcohol and women wake up and “decide” it wasn’t actually consensual. She suggests an alternate explanation for the prevalence of this myth (TW):

There is a man who really likes raping women. It gets him off, the power and control he has, as well as the fear in her eyes as she realizes yes, this is really going to happen. He enjoys doing this as often as he can….So he attacks drunk women. He may even ply them with alcohol to get them drunker. He does this for two reasons: 1) They are easier to overpower and 2) No one believes them because they were drinking. After the rape, if the victim says she was raped, all you have to do is refer to the Legend of the Accidental Rapist, and everyone will rally to support you while dismissing the victim for being a sloppy drunk and a hysterical bitch who is too hopped up on feminist horseshit to think properly.

3. Sarah at Girls Like Giants wrote about Kristen Stewart cheating on Robert Pattinson and why this particular bit of celeb gossip is important:

Bella would never cheat on Edward, Twilight fans cried, which was exactly the point. Bella is a paper-thin construction of virginal white womanhood, albeit one with frankly sexual impulses, so obviously she would never cheat on her true love. She’s supposed to give everything up for him. But Stewart, whatever her star text, is also a human being with a life of her own. She’s not duty-bound to follow anyone’s plot.

4. Patrick usually writes about bisexuality, but this time he wrote a beautiful and deeply sad piece about losing his home, a reminder that the personal is political.

It’s not home anymore. Now it’s just a house. And I can’t shake the feeling that I’ve been ripped off. That it was stolen because someone looked at a balance sheet and said “We’ll have a better profit next quarter if we sell this one to an investor for cash for a quarter of the amount we’d get over the next 25 years of mortgage payments.”

5. Ozy provides a clear and helpful description of what it’s like to have borderline personality disorder, a diagnosis that is often stigmatized and derided even by psychologists.

Like a lot of borderlines, I’m bad at the concept that people still exist when they’re not in contact with me. I forget people when they’re not around. If I have things that belong to someone, I can remember them, which is why I tend to collect presents that people I love have given me. I’m also bad at the concept that people can be things other than “perfect paragons whose feet I should kiss” and “scum of the earth.” You’re perfect if you love me, and you’re scum if you might leave.

6. Eric responds to that December NYT article about poor college students:

It reeks of an “aw shucks, that’s a shame, things should be different, we should do more to help” attitude, but nobody dares to truly question the broader environment that allowed the story’s events to take place. Nobody questions a system that every decision maker in America came through, but which only works for 20%-40% of the country. Nobody questions a system that’s supposed to be the key American vehicle for social mobility, but which often has a sticker price of $150,000.

7. Ed from The Heresy Club talks about Satoshi Kanazawa (yes, that guy), who now claims that he’s not an atheist because atheists are meanies or something.

It’s little more than the same drivel about equating a person’s beliefs to the person himself. Yes, our beliefs, religious or not, do shape our sense of identity. Yes, we tend to take any challenge of those beliefs as a personal attack. And yes, sometimes people can be outright dicks to other people over challenging those beliefs. But that’s all it ever is, a challenge. Not a stoning, not a prison sentence, not even an inquisition.

8. Marc David Barnhill, a cool-seeming dude I hadn’t heard of until he wrote this piece, explains why he’s attending Women In Secularism 2 this May (which I also hope to attend but moneyz):

A lot has happened in the last year, some of it wonderfully inspiring and much of it dismayingly ugly. One of the things about privilege is that an ally can choose to withdraw from the struggle when burnout or shocked sensibilities request it. Not everyone has this option. It’s an option I was too easily prepared to exercise.

So thank you, guy with the sophomoric, nearly clever parody account. Thanks for a gentle reminder just when I needed it. I’ll make it work. I’m going. Not that I’m needed there, not that I’ll be directly involved or that my presence will in any significant way help anyone or even be noticed.

9. Finally, if you only read one thing from this list, read this. A commenter at Stephanie’s explained the enormous difference she made in his life and in the life of a woman he was involved with. It’s short, so I won’t spoil it. Just read it.

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