Sunday, August 27, 2017

Sunday roundup

Words matter; translation matters.

On slave-owning Founding Fathers.

Women needn't apologize for taking up space.
At its root, the very notion of politeness is so gendered in our unequal society that it can simply translate into an overwhelming pressure for women to self-censor or self-flagellate. Often what we euphemistically describe as “politeness” ends up sounding like an apology for taking up space, for asking anything of others, for even existing at all.
I complain about Metro (and rightly so), but it's not the only system that sucks (in photos).

I know the aging-parents'-stuff issue well. And the Soviet-parents'-relationship-with-stuff issue.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Quick Wednesday Roundup

Good for the New York Times for this headline, this lede. See also The Cipher Brief.

There is such a thing as the extreme left, but it's tiny and there's no moral equivalency with the far-right.

Not every woman is in a position to do what Taylor Swift did, but people are paying attention.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Saturday roundup

Here are some good reads on North Korea, or rather, strategic stabilitymissile defense, and what they actually haveThere's a lot of disagreement about this one (about the missiles themselves), but you might want to give it a skim to get a sense of the parameters in question.

This thread on what's happening in Charlottesville.

Regardless of what we think of Taylor Swift, she's spot-on in refusing to let her assailant change the subject.

I've critiqued Gopnik's language in the past but I appreciate his turn-of-phrase here:

We may or may not be able to Americanize our Buddhism, but we can certainly ecumenicize our analgesics.
Another excellent response to the infamous Google-bro memo.

A beautiful story about Barbara Cook's passing.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Wednesday roundup

Read this interview with a journalist who just returned from assignment in Venezuela, and who said the experience taught her that things can just keep on getting worse.

In all the hysteria around North Korea, listen to Sig Hecker.

Dead zones in the Gulf of Mexico because people eat meat.

Brittney Cooper takes the Sanders left to task. On a related note: don't fall for policy ideas that end up hurting the people they purport to help. See also this thread:

The extreme right and new-age left have moved away from the idea of an objective reality.

Each of us is on a spectrum somewhere between the poles of rational and irrational. We all have hunches we can’t prove and superstitions that make no sense. Some of my best friends are very religious, and others believe in dubious conspiracy theories. What’s problematic is going overboard—letting the subjective entirely override the objective; thinking and acting as if opinions and feelings are just as true as facts.
I'm not a defender of the wedding industrial complex, but I see the point that the bridezilla smear only perpetuates it.
Just as a competent, civil presidential candidate was called a “nasty woman” and little girls who show leadership skills are scolded for being “bossy,” “bridezilla” is specifically designed to condemn a woman who puts any energy and authority toward trying to achieve entirely reasonable goals. It’s efficient shorthand to remind her, “Hey, the world actually likes you a lot better without opinions.” You might ask: But how is she supposed to communicate, let alone meet ever-loftier wedding day expectations, without expressing those opinions? It’s impossible.
I've not planned a wedding but I've planned trips, and I've managed projects. And as I've told you before, bitches do get stuff done.

Pregnant women are not entitled to other people's dinner reservations.

This piece on roommate relationships applies to all relationships: communication is key, feedback is essential (and all parties need to make it safe), and it's good to be open about how you respond to stress so (among other things) people don't take your response personally.

I used to say--in response to getting hit on by myriad men who'd never exercised in their lives--that I wished straight men would take up a smidge of the body conscientiousness that preoccupies many gay men. I wasn't baselessly stereotyping. 
Going to a gay beach is crazy intimidating,” he continued. “It’s always in my face. One of the best things in the world for a gay man is to go to a straight beach. I would much rather stay at a gay beach, because I like what I am looking at, but to be at a nongay beach, I feel like the hottest dude on the planet.”

Friday, August 4, 2017

Friday ramble with pictures

Last night I saw a show, and tonight a movie, about Berlin. In between, I saw a piece the Berlin wall.

"Cabaret" was interesting, because it was good in spite of being technically mediocre--maybe even good, but not that good. By which I mean, the music was pretty good but nothing special; same with the dialogue and the dancing. The structure was imperfect; you wouldn't have seen the tight plotting and symmetry of Stephen Sondheim, nor the twists. The plot was somewhat predictable. But it was a powerful, enjoyable show (the music, choreography, and dancing were good enough; the mediocre dialogue nonetheless got the predictable plot across). The power of the story carried the show. The symbolism amplified the story.

That was Berlin in 1929. Earlier tonight I saw 1989 Berlin in "Atomic Blonde," which I very much enjoyed. It was perfectly choreographed (I do love my 80s music, but still) and beautifully staged. It is not profound or symbolic (it may pretend to be, but its nod to history and substance is thin, transparent), but it's fun to watch. As fun as any James Bond movie, but don't dismiss it as a 'female' Bond flick.

In between shows, I went on a tour of the Capitol, which was awesome. And evidently by my own example, something very easy to not do even as you've been in DC for 15 years. And as you traverse the main hall just above the crypt, you'll pass a bust of Ronald Reagan, and between the bust and the pedestal it's on, there's a layer of concrete from the Berlin Wall.

Here are some pictures from the tour.

Bullet hole on the statue of Calhoun
There's meaning in the pattern
There are only six or so statues of foreigners in the Capitol; Havel is one.

The lid of the box with the Magna Carts

Anyone remember the name of these doors?

Justice has no blindfold here; she has to be able to read the Constitution

Friday roundup

What the world's most powerful nation says, matters.

The progressive left needs to put its ideas into implementable policies; it doesn't need to play dominance games. Please read every word of that last piece by Melissa McEwan, particularly the excerpt from Ginger McKnight-Chaver. See also, this.

What do we keep saying about meat?
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is expected to announce the largest recorded “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico, where low oxygen levels cause marine life to suffocate and die. The culprit is believed to be toxins from manure and fertilizer from the meat industry flowing into waterways, The Guardian reports, based on a new report by environmental group Mighty.

The pollutants from meat production flowing into the water causes algae overgrowth, which then decomposes and depletes the oxygen. 
“This problem is worsening and worsening and regulation isn’t reducing the scope of this pollution,” Lucia von Reusner, campaign director at Mighty told The Guardian. “These companies’ practices need to be far more sustainable. And a reduction in meat consumption is absolutely necessary to reduce the environmental burden.” The report identifies Tyson Foods as a “'dominant' influence in the pollution, due to its market strength in chicken, beef and pork.”
I keep hearing about globalists.

So by now you've seen the transcripts (and if you haven't, you must). These two excerpts,
He told the New York Times this month of his speech in Poland: “Enemies of mine are saying it was the greatest speech ever made on foreign soil by a president.” 
He told the Associated Press in April of his speech to a joint session of Congress in January: “Some people said it was the single best speech ever made in that chamber.”
remind me of my WMF, or I should say my WMFF--well-meaning former friend. After the election, I officially couldn't deal with her anymore. But while we were friends, she'd said a couple of things that struck me as odd and unnatural. I gave her the benefit of the doubt at the time and later realized that they were absolute BS. She told me,

"People [in her position] have said, you're so smart, you should be [in a higher position]."
I later learned that the people in her position complain about how useless and incompetent she is in her existing position. She also once said to me that I'd be so pretty if I'd wear make up. She even told me that a now-mutual friend (who's also sick of her shit) said that to her, about me. It was questionable at the time, but recently, the friend assured me it would never remotely occur to her to say anything like that. So why does this woman--unsurprisingly a 45 supporter--do this? Why does she feel the need to just make things up about what other people say?

Please stop whining about the sacrifices of parenthood.

So much to say (though I've already said much of it--see below) about feminism and weight.

I really feel for both people, this is such a heartbreaking story. I've written before and linked to pieces about feminism and weight (and written about associated complexities).