There’s been quite a bit of online discussion this week about PC-ness. In particular an article by Jonathan Chait has generated a lot of critical analysis. See Amanda Marcotte: P.C. Policeman Jonathan Chait Can Dish It Out, But He Can’t Take It and Alex Pareene: Punch-Drunk Jonathan Chait Takes On the Entire Internet (via google search after seeing quite a few tweets referencing it). And Sady Doyle points out the cynicism of Chait’s article as clickbait marketing technique in If You Tweet This, Jonathan Chait Wins. (via @ Quinnae_Moon)
And here a well-timed article that suggests that if one is going to be contrarian, one should be prepared for the consequences: Rules for Contrarians: 1. Don’t whine. That is all. (via @tressiemcphd)
Added to my list of movies to see: She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry. “SHE’S BEAUTIFUL WHEN SHE’S ANGRY resurrects the buried history of the outrageous, often brilliant women who founded the modern women’s movement from 1966 to 1971. SHE’S BEAUTIFUL takes us from the founding of NOW, with ladies in hats and gloves, to the emergence of more radical factions of women’s liberation; from intellectuals like Kate Millett to the street theatrics of W.I.T.C.H. (Women’s International Conspiracy from Hell!). Artfully combining dramatizations, performance and archival imagery, the film recounts the stories of women who fought for their own equality, and in the process created a world-wide revolution.”
Deb Chachra: Why I Am Not a Maker. “Making is not a rebel movement, scrappy individuals going up against the system. While the shift might be from the corporate to the individual (supported, mind, by a different set of companies selling a different set of things), it mostly re-inscribes familiar values, in slightly different form: that artifacts are important, and people are not.” I found this article interesting because Chachra points out how the use of the word “maker” can be used to distinguish and privilege some kinds of work over others—but a friend of mine used to apply the work “make” to songwriting (and I assume still does) in order to demonstrate that songwriters are cultural workers, not special snowflakes. An interesting contradiction in their views of the implications of the word; I suspect that its use has been co-opted since he and I last talked about this. (via @mchris4duke)
One week’s worth of harassment on Twitter. I can’t emphasize how much trigger warnings apply here.
And… what happens when you report online harassment? The Cops Don’t Care About Violent Online Threats. What Do We Do Now?
Trolls just want to have fun: the original study. “Both studies revealed similar patterns of relations between trolling and the Dark Tetrad of personality: trolling correlated positively with sadism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism, using both enjoyment ratings and identity scores. Of all personality measures, sadism showed the most robust associations with trolling and, importantly, the relationship was specific to trolling behavior.” (via @tressiemcphd)
Wikipedia, being a dick. Wikipedia votes to ban some editors from gender-related articles.
In the news
Toronto Star editorial: Why haven’t any Harper-friendly charities been scrutinized: Keenan. “It turns out charities in Canada — at least the ones the government doesn’t like — are forbidden from “exercising moral pressure.” As if that isn’t the entire point of charitable enterprises. The absence of the profit motive and of self-interest in those involved in such an organization virtually defines a charity. Without those two things, what’s left is the pressure of morality compelling people to do the right thing. But that’s illegal for a charity, it turns out.”
I’m late in posting this, but wanted to point people to it anyway, because I have enjoyed her work for so many years, and continue to reread it. Obituary: PD James: Murder most intricate.
Art + Design
Coding is not the new literacy. “Despite the good intentions behind the movement to get people to code, both the basic premise and approach are flawed. The movement sits on the idea that ‘coding is the new literacy,’ but that takes a narrow view of what literacy really is.” Interesting article: essentially what the author sees as important is what graphic/communication designers call design process, an iterative process of modeling, testing and thinking critically. (via @satifice)
It’s all in knowing the audience you are designing for. Canadian’s lucky iron fish saves lives in Cambodia. (via @mcahogarth)
Between the Lines: the History and Revival of Inuit Facial Tattoos. “Inuit facial tattoos have been forbidden for a century and are virtually forgotten. One hundred years ago, the ancient Inuit tradition was ubiquitous and almost all Inuit women proudly displayed their facial tattoos as a part of their identity. Writer and journalist, Ashleigh Gaul, explores what happened to the cultural practice and its controversial revival in Northern Canada.” (via @mcahogarth)
Take the Red Pill: The Truth Behind the Biology of Sex. I found this article about intersex people and the biological variations of sex that are possible—and far more common than most people think—fascinating and informative. As the author points out, there’s a lot sex-ed doesn’t cover. (via @fozmeadows)
Being Sane in Insane Places, by D.L. Rosenhan. I remember learning about this 1973 study when I was a student, but I’d never read all the details. It’s still chilling many years later. Tl;dr: the experiment found that medical staff never noticed that “pseudopatients” admitted to psych wards were sane, because everything they said and did was interpreted in the context of reinforcing the “diagnosis” under which they were admitted. “We now know that we cannot distinguish insanity from sanity. It is depressing to consider how that information will be used. Not merely depressing, but frightening. How many people, one wonders, are sane but not recognized as such in our psychiatric institutions?” (via @satifice)
Interview: Laura Simms on purpose, legacy, & why “passion-driven” is best saved for hot affairs. This has some resonance with me recently. We’re always told that we should follow our passions when looking for a career, but one can fall out of love with a passion, and then what? (via @iSmashFizzle)
Never trust a corporation to do a library’s job. The starting point of this article notes that Google has quietly discarding its mission of preserving archives of our digital past, but what’s really cool is the list of useful Internet Archive links. I knew about the Wayback Machine, but hadn’t a clue about the rest.
Understanding Mental Illness. Lots of useful resources from the Canadian Mental Health Association.
Okay, if you read this blog you know I’m playing Dragon Age: Inquisition. Or, more accurately, trying not to play it, because rotator cuff injury. But I’ve played enough to say that my current level of enthusiasm is at BESTEST GAME EVAR. Two articles that talk about some of the things I love about it:
- Geek Envy: If you think diversity is unrealistic, kindly shut up.
- Liz Bourke, Sleeps With Monsters: Competence is Important in Dragon Age: Inquisition.
Quote of the week
Just for fun
This is extremely cool in more than one sense of the word. Here’s What Happens When a Super-Clear Lake Freezes Over. Be sure to scroll to the bottom: there’s a video of a percussion group from Irkutsk playing the ice in the pressure ridges. (via @mcahogarth)