Sunday, September 20, 2015

Some advice and the best video ever

Carolyn pretty much took care of most of the absurdity in this letter, but I wanted to add something: there is nothing wrong with the director of a non-profit organization being paid well. Non-profits benefit from excellent management, and that management should be appropriately compensated. To think that people in these positions should sacrifice as a matter of principle--and they are already usually paid much less than they would be for equivalent work at a for-profit--is in line with the other logical fallacies in the letter.

Potlucks are fine as long as everyone agrees that they're potlucks.

I f*ing love Amber Rose's Funny or Die "walk of no shame."

Sunday roundup

It's scary how easy it is to perpetuate internet hoaxes.

This sexbots conspiracy logic is... amazing.
On a quasi-related note: dating is not quite a numbers-game.

Rebecca Traister is a national treasure.
I love the Muppets. I love Kermit. I do not need to imagine his felted member encased by hog flesh. That, after all, is what the non-ABC-affiliated internet is for. (Seriously: Don’t Google Muppet sex.)
Animal ag is bad for poor people and the environment, not to mention the animals (yes, even "human" meat). And for public health.

Take care in how you interpret nutritional news.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Monday roundup

I mean to link to this a while ago, but the Ecuadorian embassy has had enough of one Mr. Assange.
The report continues in quite a critical manner as to Assange’s intrinsic “nature”, independent of his stressful situation, stating that his “evident anger” and “feelings of superiority” could cause stress to those around him — “especially the personnel who work in the embassy, mainly women”. 
I appreciate Dr. Nerdlove's treatise on how not to be an asshole in its own right--and for the choice examples--
But my conundrum is that, the column made me think of how my mom would love to go to McDonald's just to spite me, even when there were better options available. She would insist, because she knew it was unacceptable to me. The conundrum is that I'm trying really, really hard to focus on mom's more endearing side. But I keep getting distracted by memories of her lesser behaviors.

On the topic of children: John Oliver comes through as well:

On the topic of forgiving your parents: "Fuck Feelings" says, 'whatever'.
Stop trying to forgive your bad parents, they advise. Jerks are capable of having as many kids as anyone else—at least until men’s rights conventions come equipped with free vasectomy booths. If you happen to be the child of a jerk, that's just another obstacle to overcome.
In fact, stop trying to free yourself of all anger and hate. In all likelihood you're doing a really awesome job, the Bennetts argue, despite all the shitty things that happen to you.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

On attraction and double standards

I must have missed--I was in either Vietnam or Laos--Arthur Chu's response to MIT Scott's bitter-nerd essay, even as I blogged about some of the other responses. Chu's just came to my attention, and is worth excerpting here:
None of the pain Scott talks about came from things that happened to him. They came from things that happened inside his head. He speaks in generalities about “sexual assault prevention workshops,” or of feeling targeted by feminist literature — himself saying that he was perversely drawn to the most radical and aggressive rhetoric he could find, eschewing more moderate writers for the firebreathing of Dworkin and MacKinnon.
That’s how I feel when I look at Scott’s impassioned argument that the dating scene is set up to grind “shy awkward nerds” into the dirt while letting jockish “Neanderthals” have all the women they want. I could point out plenty of evidence, statistical and anecdotal, that this is not in fact the case, as commenters in that thread in fact do — but what would be the point? You can’t argue with emotions that deeply ingrained.
What’s striking to me is that this comes up because Scott very passionately wants to debate that nerds don’t have “male privilege” and that nerdy guys are the victims, not perpetrators, of sexism. He is arguing this to a commenter posting under the name “Amy,” who argues that shy, nerdy guys are in fact plenty dangerous on the grounds that she has been raped by a shy, nerdy boyfriend, and that in her life experience around shy, nerdy guys she’s seen plenty of shy, nerdy guys commit harassment and assault and use their shy nerdiness as a shield against culpability for it.
This is what Laurie Penny means — or one of the things she means — when she says that the harm the “patriarchy” causes women is “structural.” Not that all women have it worse than all men. Not that anyone gets away without getting at least a little screwed up by the arbitrary, unreasonable demands our culture makes of us. But that it’s women who disproportionately bear the burden of actual harm, of being directly victimized by other people.
Women get spurned, too, but do they go around throwing acid out of entitlement and spite? More often then not, women are told to suck it up and try to like the men who like them first. I know Reductress is satire, but it's eerie how close to home those satirical tips sound.

People are attracted to what they're attracted to. I wouldn't want to be in a relationship where attraction was an ordeal. Though it's true that, while men go on as if all women organize their lives according to their attraction), women are the ones (in heterosexual relationships) more aften asked to get over it, and even told that women aren't visual enough for attraction to matter. As Tracy Moore writes (first link in this paragraph),
The thing is—it is OK to reject people for dumb reasons, or, at least, it’s better to do that than to lie to yourself and that other person about what you want. To begin with: who has the right to tell anyone what their personal criteria for dating can or should be? Moreover, I think that A) men openly reject women for being fat all the time by never dating them in the first place, and B) women are, yes, just as picky, but it’s fine.

Here’s the thing: On some level we are all shallow when it comes to dating, and that’s nothing to apologize for because it’s how it works. We all like what we like. Attraction is sometimes something that forms out of a lifetime of exposure to one thing or another, the familiar or the novel. Sometimes what you like is inexplicable even to you, but it has a pull on you regardless. It’s all so arbitrary, so specific to the situations and relationships that shape us, the images we all see and embrace or reject.
I had conversations about this with two different friends last week. One was debating whether to go on a fourth date with a guy. She wasn't feeling it, but she wasn't completely not feeling it. Among his offenses was that he saw nothing wrong with watching Woody Allen movies. I directed her to the Ethicist's column on the matter, which she herself had checked out after their conversation and agreed with. [Note: perhaps prompted by that conversation, I got "Blue Jasmine" out of the library; I thought it was mediocre in its own right but fascinating as a remake of "A Streetcar Named Desire," which I hadn't realized it was supposed to be until I watched it.] Anyway, I advised my friend, not very helpfully, that she go out with the guy if she felt like it but, at this point, she wasn't going to like him any more that she did presently.

Later, I had dinner with a friend who just got engaged. She pretty much echoed the excerpted sentiments above: it's worth holding out for what you're attracted to, and you know when it's worth overcoming little things that might turn you off at first.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Saturday roundup

Writers on the refugee crisis.

Michelle Knight's story of survival.

The Duggars' story of hypocrisy.

"White Feminism" analogous to Not-All-Meninism.

Breaking up with friends is just as traumatic as ending other kinds of relationships.
Friendship is not a pale imitation of sexual romance. It is a romance unto itself. I have not always loved as well as I could have. I am sometimes selfish in the wrong ways. There are women I still mourn—and I might always. 
How could Ashley Madison users not fall for a bot with a name like "toaster strudel".

Rebecca Traister nails it in her piece on Vanessa Williams.
Miss America... is open, in other words, to women who give the appearance of being imminently touchable, yet untouched, pleasingly sexual, yet pure. It rewards women who are alluring in a way that the culture demands they be alluring (thin, pneumatic, smiling, eager) but voids them — either by not including them at all, or as we know from Williams’s experience, by punishing them — if they have traded on that same allure in any way besides trying to be Miss America.
Never mind that the contest itself trades on them, that the ads playing alongside it on network television use bodies just like the ones competing to sell beer and cars. The rule is that the women themselves must never have used their bodies for their own pleasure or profit, must never have allowed anyone else but Miss America to use them either, must never have had those bodies used against their will.
Christy Turlington and Karlie Kloss give back.

Everyone knows that animals experience emotion.

When you read news about nutritional studies, always read the fine print. The press made it sound like you certain amino acids were only plant or animal proteins, but look at how small a difference it takes to get designated as one or the other:
Total protein intake was 85.1 6 23.4 g/d and protein contributed 16.2% to total energy intake. Of the 7 amino acids investigated, glutamic acid (3.2% energy intake) and leucine (1.3% energy intake) made the greatest contribution to total energy intake. Animal and vegetable sources contributed a similar amount to intake of arginine (52% animal), glutamic acid (51% animal), and glycine (55% animal), whereas intake of histidine (60% animal), tyrosine (62% animal), and leucine (61% animal) was predominantly from animal sources (Figure 1). Conversely, vegetable sources contributed more to cysteine intake (42% animal). Generally, correlations between the amino acids investigated ranged from 0.03 (glutamic acid and leucine) to 0.61 (leucine and tyrosine), although stronger correlations were observed between glycine and leucine (0.70) and arginine and glycine (0.77). 

Dear Abby's advice to this overbearing mother is priceless.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Labor Day roundup

Germany is leading on refugees. Now-establshed Vietnamese refugees in Canada are reaching out, too.

I hate this headline; Maria Gaidar hasn't changed loyalties; she's directed her activism to where it's needed.

The problem isn't social science; it's reductionism in social science.

I don't know if literature "beefs up your brain," but it does influence your personality.

Parenting--and growing up--amid job insecurity has an impact on childrens' attitudes.

The planet has a meat problem--one that we needn't recreate on Mars.

Punctuation has a long, interesting history.

Check out these absurd sanctimommies!

Ironically the graphic somewhat reflects my attitude toward men, but Laurie Penny's piece on the faux viagra does even more.

Dudes are hijacking equality laws to take down women's networking groups.

How to have a life without blowing your budget.