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August 26, 2021

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Korean residents of Japan who did not receive citizenship after WWII, and now live in a kind of legal limbo

No doubt it is extremely parochial of me, but I find it hard to grasp the concept of someone being a stateless person from birth. I can sort of see how an adult might reject her previous citizenship without having a new one in immediate prospect. I can see how someone might end up a dual national. But stuck with nothing from day one?

I know, intellectually, that those of Turkish ancestry in Germany, like those of Korean ancestry in Japan, can end up like that. But I just can't see how people can do that to kids.

Is it unusual for Displaced Persons, and hence their children, to be stateless?

Granted, that should be a temporary situation, for some definitions of "temporary."

Is it unusual for Displaced Persons, and hence their children, to be stateless?

You may well be correct about DPs. But their children? Their grandchildren?

If your country's laws say folks who have been there for 3 generations still can't belong, there's something wrong with your laws. If you are that paranoid about racial/national purity, go for prevent6: Don't let anybody in. Including tourists. Or diplomats. Oh yes, and don't let women of childbearing age (or younger) out -- no telling what they might bring home.

i saw absolutely none of the Olympics.

we dropped cable and don't watch over-the-air TV, so it wasn't readily available to us. and i despise NBCs soft-focus make-everything-a-personal-triumph style of coverage, so i really had no desire to spend any effort looking for it.

shame, really. i do like watching the competitions. i just can't stand the Olympics Show.

I watched some of the fencing events on streaming. It was better than the Rio games, but not nearly so good as London. The London games were absolutely as good as it can get for a fencer watching a fencing event.

What do you think of the new Unwillingness to Fight rule in fencing? Notice any difference in approach from before?

Like cleek, I watched not a single Olympic.

I too dislike the soft-focus broadcast approach, but I'm also not much interested in the competitions.

Yes, they are fabulous athletes, etc. but the competitions just don't stir me.

The zainichi situation is really quite involved and anything short of a multi-post series would not do it justice. But have to be content with quick takes.

The process of the surrender negotiations, Korea wanting their independence, the previous history of Korea as a Japanese colony, (only 40 years, from 1905 to 1945), the previous history of Korea-Japan relations, which includes two spearate invasions of Korea that were separated in time only 50 more years than the US is separated from its successful revolution, makes it a minefield. Add to that the fact that most Japanese are totally unaware of any of the pre WWII history and often have a warped perspective on the WWII history while Koreans have a pretty wide ranging knowledge of those facts basically makes it no man's land. Mix in the Korea conflict for flavor, which had Japan as a staging area for the conflict but also having formally renounced the sovereign right of belligerency and top that with the cherry on the top that Japan and Korea are jus sanguinis nations.

Two articles that gives more background
https://apjjf.org/-Yoshiko-Nozaki/2220/article.html

http://yris.yira.org/comments/2873

From the last one
Chongryun and Mindan denigrated naturalization as an act of betrayal to the homeland and the Korean ethnic nation (minzoku). Underlying the Japanese state’s naturalization policy as well as the resident Korean organizations’ betrayal discourse was the discourse of equating nationality and ethnicity.[31] In a word, a Zainichi’s identity was dependent on their choice between their Korean ethnicity and Japanese society.

And while I appreciate wj's shock at this, I don't think it is that surprising. Japan did allow naturalization, but there were subtle strings attached. Western notions of race purity and eugenics were part of the basic discourse and that Japan picked up on that (as well as Korea, a lot of Korean-American males who went back to Korea for a visit found themselves doing their compulsory military service) is one of those things I would kind of expect. When identity is contested, lots of strange things happen.

And given the lengths the Republican party is working to restrict the franchise to native americans and african americans, it's clear that there is a not insignificant group of people who aren't really swayed by how many generations a person may be here.

I had to fish that last comment out of spam, and say two of bobbyp's from 2 days ago and 1 from 6 days ago by GftNC. I'll try and keep an eye on it.

What do you think of the new Unwillingness to Fight rule in fencing? Notice any difference in approach from before?

I think they had to do something at the top level of the sport to keep two counterattack specialists from turning their bout into a one-touch. (And in team events, from two teams deciding it's in both teams interests to simply skip over one of the pairings.) I don't watch enough at that level to have an informed opinion. Much of what I've read seems to think it was an improvement. I'm happy that I'm not on the FIE rules committee when they get into one of the situations where they are trying to force some stylistic changes on participants. In the case of the UtF rule, to force everyone to incorporate some aggression into their game every bout.

We moved and it's now an inconvenient drive (more than an hour each way) to get to any place that has local fencing. It's a college town, population 180,000 now; I remain surprised that there's no organized fencing; I've been tempted to look into starting a club.

Automatic 'you were born in country X, you're a citizen of country X' seems to be a Western Hemisphere thing.

And such a good idea that I have nothing but utter contempt for the other schemes.

The noxious crap of 'blood and soil' seems unwilling to die and just changes it name from time to time.
At least in Europe it is gaining ground again in far too many places.
And that includes Germany. With Merkel gone soon, quite a few guys from her party (and its Texas GOP equivalent sister party from Bavaria) are very likely to unbury the undead monstrosity in the (vain) hope to regain the voters that wandered off to the rightwing AfD party.
Looking at what these guys say about Afghan refugees and the possibility that they would come here, it is not yet Tucker Carlson territory but going into that direction.
I can very well remember the odious 'Kinder statt Inder' campaign [i.e.: sire more German kids instead of inviting highly qualified (East) Indian guest workers].

lj, I appreciate at least some of the nuances. But consider how far our relations with Germany have evolved since WW II. It's common to get hung up on history for a long time. (See the Lost Cause in the American South.) But it's not the only possible way to go.

The noxious crap of 'blood and soil' seems unwilling to die and just changes it name from time to time.
At least in Europe it is gaining ground again in far too many places.
And that includes Germany.

I was actually born - a DP - in Germany, and at one point was surprised to find I was ineligible for German citizenship.

A friend whose last connection was, I think, his grandparents, qualified.

Going back to the Olympics, would the Paralympics get more attention if they were before the Olympics rather than after? Or what if Paralympic events were simply part of the Olympics and were interwoven with what are already Olympic events?

The way it is now, the Olympics are over, the Paralympics start up later, and people seem to react with "Um ... wut?"

My views on that are rather cynical. Those who see the Paralympics as an uplifting event are a minority. If it was an event of mockery, it would draw far more viewers. But seeing 'cripples' as serious contenders and even (in some disciplines) far outmatching the 'normal' athletes violates too many people's views about the natural order of things, so they do not want to know, let alone watch it.
Remember the reactions of certain (US) media personalities towards the successes of the US national female soccer team (while the males are an international laughingstock only slightly above the notoriously incompetent Persian golf teams). Pure unadulterated hatred and a golden opportunity to show how low one could go.
The main audience for sporting events are (afaik) males the majority of which still has all limbs (plus a surplus of adipose tissue). The Paralympics would tank the ratings of any channel dedicating too much (i.e. any) time to them.

It's my impression that the Paralympics are fairly popular in the UK, and extensive coverage is sponsored and shown by C4. A very funny show called "The Last Leg" (whose 3 presenters "have 4 legs between them") started with the Rio Paralympics, and was so popular that it became a regular weekly show on Friday nights, with special additional coverage during Paralympic Games wherever held. C4's advertising for the Paralympics has always been particularly brilliant: clips of paralympians performing incredible feats with the tagline "Superhumans", and this year, over the incredible feats, (in a subversion of what polite mothers are deemed to say to distract their kids) "Its. Rude. Not. To. Stare." Someone wrote to the newspaper after the London 2012 Paralympics to say that she had had her young daughter with her in the car, and they were waiting at a zebra crossing for someone in a wheelchair to cross, and her daughter said something like "Wow, look, maybe she's an athlete." Baby steps.

For something less anecdotal:

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0267323120909290

Thanks wj, and didn't mean to be telling you anything you didn't already know. Not really sure why your statement rang such a note with me, but Snarki's didn't.

It would have been interesting if they had slipped in a jus solis clause in the Japanese constitution. And just to be clear, it got slipped into the US constitution with the 14th amendment (1868) and wasn't expanded to Native Americans until 1924.

We are going to need some alternative to just attaching citizenship based on what your parents had. After all, where are you if your ancestral nation ceases to exist.

Not just by conquest (or peaceful merger). We're almost certainly going to see a couple of island nations disappear beneath the waves before this century is out.

Can you be a citizen only of a country which hasn't existed in your lifetime?

Interesting point, though I'm not able to parse your last sentence. You mean the situation where you are the child of someone from say the Marshall Islands? Well, as they say, you can never go home...

I have to cynically say, those folks will be little brown folks (or will be easily classified as 'non-white') so I imagine that they will always be treated like outliers. I was working with endangered languages and participated in organizing some conferences in Japan. At one, the main speaker was supposed to be Ofelia Zapeda
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ofelia_Zepeda
a renowed Tohono O'odham linguist and poet,
but she could not get a passport issued to her because she was delivered at home by a midwife on the Tohono O'odham nation.

This was quite perplexing to the Japanese organizers, it wasn't like she was born on Mars. This was also long before 9-11 and current shenanigans with voter id, which has added a whole nother level of bureaucracy.

https://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/woman-92-has-no-birth-certificate-cant-vote/1975790/

https://www.thenation.com/article/archive/a-90-year-old-woman-whos-voted-since-1948-was-disenfranchised-by-wisconsins-voter-id-law/
(I wonder if the picture is of her flipping the bird)

This isn't solely a US problem
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/99-year-old-denied-citizenship-and-healthcare-1.3242077

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/dec/15/britain-deport-young-black-men-justice-osime-brown

And for a country like Tuvalu (pop. 58,000) or Kiribati (pop. 120,000), those kind of numbers are not going to provoke a re-examination of how citizenship [doesn't] work.

I'd suggest that there is something systemic in all this, but wouldn't want to upset anyone with that observation.

she could not get a passport issued to her because she was delivered at home by a midwife

I could see that becoming an increasing problem. Midwives seem to be making a comeback. And given widespread distrust of government, I'd bet filing of the legal paperwork isn't happening in a lot of cases. Imagine we end up with some white, upper class tech mogul (and big political donor) suddenly finding out that he can't get a passport. System upgrades on the fast track!

Or, I suppose, he just pays someone to get a fake one done. Probably quicker and faster at that.

Maybe netizenship will have to become a reality beyond the current weirdos demanding it (either because they dream of leaving meatworld without dying or because it's another scheme to avoid taxes).
Or maybe we should revive the Nansen passport
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nansen_passport

This popped up on youtube, it may be of interest
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dbmjtIsWMSI

Is it just sabre or does this transfer to foil and épée? The wikipedia pages are interesting in their discussion of the electronic sensing equipment and strategy

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sabre_(fencing)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%89p%C3%A9e
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foil_(fencing)

Saber fencing is interesting to me because it's probably the discipline closest related to my eskrima background, but the sport diverged so much from the fundamentals I was taught for practical arnis. In particular I was looking at the commitment required in the footwork, and the lateral nature of the piste and thinking how much of that would change in a circular space, or when having to face more than one opponent. Love the skill of it and marvel at their speed and physical prowess, but at the same time it looks very alien to me, and it also seems like a lot of those points would have come at the cost of being killed in a counter if it were a duel where action did not stop at a hit.

I've been rueing having put my escrima folders on my computer in the trash after I became disgusted with my training group's politics. I had some images from an old Spanish fencing manual in there that had the triangle stepping outlined and the lineage seemed so clear. Now I can't recall the name of the author and can't find the illustrations at any of the usual HEMA sources.

C'est la guerre...

thinking how much of that would change in a circular space, or when having to face more than one opponent. Love the skill of it and marvel at their speed and physical prowess, but at the same time it looks very alien to me, and it also seems like a lot of those points would have come at the cost of being killed in a counter if it were a duel where action did not stop at a hit.

I think the term is "stylized". Repeatedly stylized, in fact. Any resemblance to actual fighting is long gone.

Much as dressage has long ago lost its attachment to its origins in the need to train horses to move in mounted combat. The skill involved is still impressive, but that's all.

A couple of HEMA style matches from Swordfish tournaments, one saber and one rapier and dagger. This is more like what we did in our escrima playing, especially when we were concentrating on larga mano (yes, larga with an a).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oI_zCzDUXZ8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNXOlpzWxeI

I know this conversation threatens to get in the weeds for the non-sword-y types, but I find the comparison interesting in terms of how each competition conceptualizes itself.

I follow a few HEMA related youtube channels, so I have at least an inkling, although no personal practical experience with fencing.
Kendo etc. have not that much to do anymore with actual fighting either, so this is not just a Western phenomenon.
But one could say the same about the Olympics in general. Imagine modern runners with full military gear, javelins with a sling*, jumping with weights etc. If it was up to the IOC and the media companies, most of the classical disciplines would have been dropped (they tried a few years ago with decathlon). Bringing back chariot races could draw some more viewers but they would probaly require to do it (Hollywood) Roman style not the way the old Greeks did it.

*the modern Olympic javelin had to be redesigned to keep the throws within the stadium, so that idea is out.

Winter biathalon is basically Finnish military practice, isn't it?

A Soviet army is marching through a Finnish forest when the general hears a voice from over a hill shout: "One Finnish soldier is better than 10 Soviet soldiers!"

The general promptly sends 10 soldiers to root out the voice, there is gunfire, and then silence.

After a few minutes, the voice shouts defiantly: "One Finnish soldier is better than a hundred Soviet soldiers!!"

The general sends a hundred men to remove the nuisance, there is a racket of gunfire, and then quiet.

The voice cries out loudly once more: "One Finnish soldier is better than a thousand Soviet soldiers!!"

Enraged, the general sends a thousand men charging over the hilltop to shut up that voice once and for all, an epic battle rages, and then quiet. After a few minutes, a gravely wounded Soviet crawls back over the hill and cries:

"It's a trap! There's two of them!!"

That was a favorite Aggie joke in Texas. Two Texas Longhorns** on the other side of the hill. Only got up to 16 Aggies*.

*Texas A&M
** University of Texas

Pretty much any of these kinds of jokes was turned into an Aggie joke.


Most of the Polock I ever heard got turned into Aggie jokes. I haven't heard an Aggie in decades. Are they still a thing?

I have no idea, I'll ask my grandson.

But, did you know why Texas doesn't fall into the Gulf of Mexico?

Oklahoma sucks.

An elderly epee coach once told me that the sport changed drastically once electric scoring was widespread. Previously, there was a benefit to fencing with the intent of touching your opponent without being touched yourself. With electric scoring in epee, it's touch your opponent without being touched yourself for the next 25 milliseconds.

The Olympics first used electric epee scoring in the 1936 Games, but it did not become widespread until long after that. The detailed technical spec for epee electric scoring is almost unchanged since then. It's still possible to build a conforming scoring box for epee using 1930s technology. Foil and saber scoring boxes are considerably more difficult.

I found a few collections of Aggie jokes from fairly recently.

The were three aggies huddled around each other at a local bar. All of a sudden, they jumped up and yelled, "Yeah, 45! 45!" The bartender goes down to them and asks, "45? What are you guys so excited about?" One of the aggies speaks up: "We just finished a jigsaw puzzle. The box said 2 to 3 years, and we did it in 45 days!"

So, Aggie jokes seem sort of like South African van der Merwe (pronounced Fundamairva) jokes.

Sample: van der Merwe's friends want to take him hunting, but he's never been before, so they tell him "there's nothing to it, if you see some game, you shoot it". When they go to meet him at the camp, he tells them that they're just too late to see the naked woman who ran through the camp. "Dammit, van der Merwe" they say, "what did you do?" "Well I asked her if she was game, and when she said yes, I shot her".

These were jokes that "English" descended South Africans told about Afrikaners. It looks like many, many cultures have similar put-down jokes about the out-group, names changed for the appropriate ridiculees.

There's two of them!!"

I first came across this one in 1967. Then, it was Israelis and Arabs, but the story was the same.

Compare / contrast...

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2021/08/texas-abortion-supreme-court-roe-wade.html

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2021/10/new-puritans-mob-justice-canceled/619818/

That's a very interesting Atlantic piece, Nigel. Thinking about McKinney and his continual castigation of woke cancel culture, I particularly liked this:

Although some have tried to link this social transformation to President Joe Biden or House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, anyone who tries to shoehorn these stories into a right-left political framework has to explain why so few of the victims of this shift can be described as “right wing” or conservative. According to one recent poll, 62 percent of Americans, including a majority of self-described moderates and liberals, are afraid to speak their mind about politics. All of those I spoke with are centrist or center-left liberals. Some have unconventional political views, but some have no strong views at all.

But of course, leaving the left/right/McKinney aspect aside, the problem is that Applebaum is right about what self-censorship does to a society. She says that anybody "unfairly" accused of racism should stand up for themselves and say "I am not a racist", but we have seen right here the problems that ensue when somebody reacts badly to thinking they are being called racist, yet denies (implicitly or explicitly) the concept or reality of systemic racism.

Ah, nuance. So desirable, and so very difficult.

And as for the issue of Texas and abortion, and everything legal or otherwise around it, I have no words.

Note this about the abortion situation in Texas. Each Federal Circuit is assigned to a Supreme Court justice. Emergency requests, like this one, go to that justice. He can grant or deny the request for emergency action, refer it the the whole Court, or ask the other party for a response before the request moves forward (typically giving them a week or 3 to do so). The later, obviously, provides a way to decline the request for speed without explicitly doing so.

The Justice responsible for Texas is . . . Mr. Justice Alito. No prizes for guessing which course he will take.

The state has until 5 p.m. today to respond.

Applebaum's usual course of action in every one of these pieces is to engage in a strategy of thorough flattening. We hear a lot about the effect of paranoia and self-censorship and we get lots of allusions to Salem and puritans. That's because she is mostly writing fables in the vein of Hawthorne.

I really wish she had access to a few other lenses or could place her camera in a few other locations to get some middle distance and reverse angle shots. Her cuts from closeup on the plucky protagonist-victim to fully zoomed out moral high ground get annoying.

I read this:

A journalist told me that after he was summarily fired, his acquaintances sorted themselves into three groups. First, the “heroes,” very small in number, who “insist on due process before damaging another person’s life and who stick by their friends.” Second, the “villains,” who think you should “immediately lose your livelihood as soon as the allegation is made.” Some old friends, or people he thought were old friends, even joined the public attack. But the majority were in a third category: “good but useless. They don’t necessarily think the worst of you, and they would like you to get due process, but, you know, they haven’t looked into it. They have reasons to think charitably of you, maybe, but they’re too busy to help. Or they have too much to lose.” One friend told him that she would happily write a defense of him, but she had a book proposal in the works. “I said, ‘Thank you for your candor.’ ”

...and I think of every one of these situations that I have run across or been caught up in, and I think that these categories of heroes/good, but useless/villains come from someone who believes himself the victim of an injustice. Every person who has ever been a privileged and difficult person in power in an institution believes themself to be the victim of injustice when someone finally lodges a complaint that sticks.

I read those comments from the "good, but useless" and I think, yes, this could be cowardice or self-centeredness, but it could also be (and this seems more likely to me in most cases) someone who has looked into the situation, decided that the person in question has been a problem, and has decided to let the situation play out without burning any personal bridges.

I've also seen many of the "heroes" being talked about here in action. Most of them are people in positions of institutional privilege who are using it on behalf of their personal friends. In almost every case I have seen, that person has been both on the wrong side of the deeper issue, and has been acting contrary to their own personal standards in support of their friend. The "victim" sees a hero, but the "good, but useless" see a powerful person with feet of clay.

There are certainly cases where the person who has been cast out is, indeed, in the right. There are cases where I would be a hero even if it meant risking my own livelihood. I've done that more than a few times. None of those cases would draw any attention from Applebaum because the people involved were too small. She only gets interested when she can rail against an institution for an individual of some stature.

----------

Do I self-censor when engaging in a classroom? Absolutely. Does that harm the class' ability to engage on difficult topics? No. It means that I pick my battles more carefully and think harder about how to frame the battles. I think about which battles are worth causing offense, and I make those situations transparent. "Self-censoring" is often just part of a deeper critical engagement that pauses to question which confrontations are necessary and timely, and which are not.

Applebaum seems uninterested in trying to understand. She engages as a moral fabulist.

I know her type. I work with some. Most of them are politically active on the left and have good motives and genuinely believe that what they are doing and how they are doing it is fine. And when they get in trouble for behavior that the rest of us have already moved away from, I always tell them that I'm happy to write them a letter in support, but I am very busy.

Mmm. That's certainly one way of viewing it. And certainly one commonly held by people with impeccably compassionate, well-meaning intentions.

But the administrators who carry out these investigations and disciplinary procedures, whether they work at universities or in the HR departments of magazines, are not doing so because they fear the Gulag. Many pursue them because they believe they are making their institutions better—they are creating a more harmonious workplace, advancing the causes of racial or sexual equality, keeping students safe.

But others of us think (or have come to think, it's a long process taking in Salman Rushdie's fatwah, the old feminist position that porn was so harmful it should be banned etc) that free speech, and due process, are foundational necessities for a free society. And to be very suspicious when opinions or issues become undiscussable, even if there is no law against them. The connection between self-censorship and the censorship imposed by various kinds of dictatorships is very recognisable to many with experience of both.

I find myself mystified by the hysteria (which is what it is) about cancel culture. I have been in environments where pretty much everybody who cared about politics was way to my left -- UC Berkeley in the late 1960s. (Some of them, frankly, made nous seem like a raging conservative. Really.) So I generally avoided talking politics unless I had a block of time to fritter away on it.

Still, the folks I knew were well aware of my opinions. That happens when you show up to classes occasionally in an Air Force uniform (ROTC). But nobody ever threatened me, or even felt impelled to denounce me when we weren't talking politics.

On the other hand, we have today. I'm working California's election in a couple weeks. And I find myself thinking thru contingency plans (which I don't expect to need, but still). What do I do if someone shows up and refuses to wear a mask inside the polling place? We have provisions to allow them to vote while remaining outside, but after some of the stories I've seen, I wonder if that will be acceptable.

And I even feel like I need to think about What do I do if some rwnj is worked up enough to return with weapon in hand? As I say, I think the prospect of that happening is vanishingly small. But not zero. Never worried about that sort of thing with the far lefties I was around.

Well, you get no argument from me about the dangers posed by RWNJs! Or "the right" in general...

Leftists are more likely to use stink bombs than actual ones these days (and even that has become a rarity).

But others of us think (or have come to think, it's a long process taking in Salman Rushdie's fatwah, the old feminist position that porn was so harmful it should be banned etc) that free speech, and due process, are foundational necessities for a free society. And to be very suspicious when opinions or issues become undiscussable, even if there is no law against them. The connection between self-censorship and the censorship imposed by various kinds of dictatorships is very recognisable to many with experience of both.

There are two distinct issues at work in these situations - often entangled, and not always in equal proportions. (There may be more than two, but these are the two I am seeing most clearly.) Some of the situations Applebaum is discussing involve PR decisions from institutions that are intent upon protecting the institution from damage to its prestige (always entangled with concern for the budget.) These sorts of situations where someone is fired in response to negative media attention *can* be problematic and chilling, especially when they become propaganda tools used by outside groups to attempt to put political pressure on an institution that they wish to disempower.

But other of her examples here where she is railing against due process have absolutely gone through due process and been discussed extensively. The Kipnis situation is one of those. I'm sure she feels that she is the victim of a witch hunt - she's certainly written at length about that - but what I see is due process at work in a system of asymmetrical power and privilege. Kipnis' complaint, viewed from the other side, is that a student who believes herself the victim of an abuse of power has been fighting with the same righteous anger that Kipnis feels for her own justice.

I'm not taking a side in this (being good, but useless). I've been the victim of bad evals from aggrieved students and know the danger in that. I've seen those things weaponized against colleagues. But I've also seen how professors have hidden behind the protections afforded them in the system when they have sexually harassed students (especially grad students) for years, and I know that the institutional deck is stacked against the grad students, and I think that Kipnis' concerns in this matter are...not unwarranted, but mis-situated. Her concerns, if upheld, stand in the way of what I think are necessary reforms.

A tweet I saw on a friends feed the other day captures a lot of what I feel about this:

Dystopian fiction is when you take things that happen in real life to marginalized populations and apply them to people with privilege.

These situations always contain some level of injustice for either side and are hard. The thing that predicates this, though, is that the institution always acts in the way that it believes will remove it from the worst of the harms faced by either of the involved parties.

I'd love to pull this all together in an elegant metaphor, but the context is too big and complex for that. Inflection points are hard on all involved.

Dystopian fiction is when you take things that happen in real life to marginalized populations and apply them to people with privilege.

i like it.

the more marginalized the 'source' population, the better the story, too.

(Note that when I talk about due process in academic context, I am speaking from the perspective of someone who has experience with the process. I have testified in Title IX investigations, written letters in support of people bringing complaints against superiors, and filed grievances and issued cease and desist letters to try to stop colleagues from being dismissed without due process. So when I look at a lot of these academic situations, I don't see a lack of due process, I see someone mad that after all the due process, they still lost when they believe that they should have been protected.

I always stand for due process. I've put in countless unpaid hours as a steward to ensure this.

And in cases where the institution lets someone go without due process, the problem is not with the accusers, it's with an institution that can afford to violate the rules and a victim that doesn't have the resources to enforce their rights. That's a problem with the institution, not with the accusers that precipitated the institution's actions.)

I don't disagree with a lot of what you say, nous, particularly your first para @03.09.

But I've also seen how professors have hidden behind the protections afforded them in the system when they have sexually harassed students (especially grad students) for years, and I know that the institutional deck is stacked against the grad students

I've seen this too (not always from a great distance), and fully believe in the necessary protections. I'm not very familiar with the Kipnis case, and don't currently have time to dive down, but if it involved proper due process, and was investigated by fair-minded people, so be it.

the institution always acts in the way that it believes will remove it from the worst of the harms faced by either of the involved parties.

I agree with this too.

And in cases where the institution lets someone go without due process, the problem is not with the accusers, it's with an institution that can afford to violate the rules and a victim that doesn't have the resources to enforce their rights. That's a problem with the institution, not with the accusers that precipitated the institution's actions.

Don't entirely agree with this, for the reason that sometimes the problem might be with the accusers as well. Some accusations are mischievous, or made for ulterior motives, and possibly in the knowledge that the institution is more likely to take the path of least resistance. And in a hypothetical case like that, the institution and the accusers might both be the problem.

Otherwise, I don't disagree with much of what you say.

The difficulty comes, of course, in the definition of what is unacceptable behaviour. Some definitions are absolutely non-controversial, but as we know that is not always the case, and perhaps it is in the case of the less clear-cut categories that the problem (for many reasonable people) really arises. I'm thinking, for example, of a hypothetical professor (with absolutely no history of racism, the contrary in fact) who quotes something containing the n-word when used in a racist context to contrast it with lyrics used by black rappers, to illustrate a difference. This hypothetical professor could say "the n-word", but I'm not sure that this should be necessary. To me, it would be similar to someone saying "Larry Summers said women were no good at science because their brains were different" and going on to make a point (of non-agreement) about that.

And, as we have discussed in the past, use of the word "niggardly" might, for example be another example. If due process would automatically exonerate someone who used this word correctly, and appropriately, then fair enough. If not, we find ourselves in problematic territory, of the kind that leads to fearful self-censorship.

Any professor who says "niggardly" in class (when not reading from a text that features the word) needs to think more about who they are speaking with. It's entirely unnecessary, given the more easily understood alternatives readily available.

I can say from (observed) experience that a department in the university would likely find that the faculty member (who received an official complaint for using the word) did not violate any policies and would not be subject to dismissal, but the department could still mandate some sort of pedagogical training aimed at heading off these sorts of misunderstandings in the future in the name of better pedagogy.

Repeated complaints don't make one a racist, but they do mark a lack of adaptation in the face of repeated misunderstandings.

I'm busy holding my institution to due process requirements on something similar to this right now.

Interesting. What about the Larry Summers quote, nous? If quoted clearly not approvingly, would the very act of quoting what he said be problematic do you think?

If quoted clearly not approvingly, would the very act of quoting what he said be problematic do you think?

There pretty well has to be an exception for quoting (as opposed to saying) something that is unacceptable. Otherwise, how can you make the point?

Consider this. We use the locution "the n-word", knowing that readers will know exactly what word starting with N we are referring to. But at some point a teacher will have to actually say the word, just so the students are clear on what it is.

I think bringing up Larry Summers and speaking about the subject is fraught, depending on the context and the nature of the class involved.

I think most instructors could introduce such a quote in that way with little problem. I certainly wouldn't worry about it. But that also assumes that the topic was relevant to the class and to the moment. The farther such a thing strays from that context, the greater the danger of misunderstandings.

I think that an instructor who has a pedagogy that relies on provocation might have more difficulty because they are already pre-positioned as a gadfly. This is where I think we start getting into the need for give-and-take, and sensitivity to the level of outrage we are asking our students to take on (and for what purpose). I've had professors I have loved who played the gadfly productively. I've also been in a seminar with one of those professors where his insensitivity to his audience led to the single most dysfunctional classroom situation I have ever been a part of.

I've also seen students who were very attuned to calling out things they found problematic, even when they weren't. Most experienced instructors I know would try to engage with such a student early on to establish some trust and communication and work out a mutual understanding. If that is not working, then that's a situation where I'd try to find help from someone in the department to make sure that the situation was well documented for my own protection, with the understanding that they might suggest ways in which I approach things differently.

And then there's jerks and bullies on either side of the power dynamic. CYA. Make sure that there are lots of people who are aware of the situation. Observers are your friend.

So my answer is a very Clausewitzian "it depends."

Consider this. We use the locution "the n-word", knowing that readers will know exactly what word starting with N we are referring to. But at some point a teacher will have to actually say the word, just so the students are clear on what it is.

In my music writing class, I have included a module concerned with Kendrick Lamar's good kid, m.A.A.d city album. We inevitably have to have a conversation not about Kendrick's liberal use of "N****a" in his lyrics (which the students get), but with how a class full of mixed backgrounds can talk about Kendrick's use of the word. I used to quote his lyrics verbatim, along with a clear explanation ahead of time that I was only doing it to give him voice, not to use the word in my own voice.

Since then, though, I've learned more about the culture of rap shows. Rappers will often bring fans up on stage to take a verse with them. If the fan is part of the same group as the rapper then there is no problem. If the fan is not part of that in-group, then the tacit expectation is that the leave out any problematic or offensive word that the in-group can use and leave the artist or the crowd to fill in that word for them. Knowing this, I now use that as my classroom standard and share this with the class before we start discussing or writing about the album. If it doesn't belong to you, then use n****a in place in writing to show that you understand where this practice comes from and respect the dynamic.

One of the reviewers we read in the class violates this rule. It makes for a good discussion when a student catches this and brings it up.

What did Summers say that was so objectionable?

Your approach seems sensitive and sensible to me, nous.

But that also assumes that the topic was relevant to the class and to the moment.

Yeah, that's what I meant exactly. In other words, if a prof took every irrelevant (or only semi-relevant) opportunity to quote people who were dissing women's intellectual capacities, and was relying on the fact that he was "quoting" people to exonerate him, it would become fairly obvious after the first couple of examples what he was doing. But you'd have to show a bit of a pattern.

Make sure that there are lots of people who are aware of the situation. Observers are your friend.

Yes.

You could of course have googled it, CharlesWT.

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2005/jan/18/educationsgendergap.genderissues

Interesting stuff.

One thing the Applebaum article fails to note: The US has always been a Puritan culture. Look at prohibition. The war on drugs. Anything to do with sex. And even when things loosen up, there is a puritannical aspect to that loosening up as in 'if you don't think about it the same way I do, you are wrong'. It's not left culture she's decrying, it's American culture.

That this puritan culture is now playing out in Twitter and Facebook should not be a surprise. That people are using it for self-aggrandizment should not be a shock.

The only solution I see is that you cite, you quote, you acknowledge. Anything less falls short of fixing the problem. And if the platform does not allow you to do that, don't use it.

I've gotten the impression that many people would rather harangue Summers than offering counterarguments to his remarks.

Not every disparity between groups is due to discrimination. Or, at least, not entirely.

Steven Pinker weighs in.

"Summers did not, of course, say that women are "natively inferior," that "they just can't cut it," that they suffer "an inherent cognitive deficit in the sciences," or that men have "a monopoly on basic math ability," as many academics and journalists assumed. Only a madman could believe such things. Summers's analysis of why there might be fewer women in mathematics and science is commonplace among economists who study gender disparities in employment, though it is rarely mentioned in the press or in academia when it comes to discussions of the gender gap in science and engineering. The fact that women make up only 20 percent of the workforce in science, engineering, and technology development has at least three possible (and not mutually exclusive) explanations. One is the persistence of discrimination, discouragement, and other barriers. In popular discussions of gender imbalances in the workforce, this is the explanation most mentioned. Although no one can deny that women in science still face these injustices, there are reasons to doubt they are the only explanation. A second possibility is that gender disparities can arise in the absence of discrimination as long as men and women differ, on average, in their mixture of talents, temperaments, and interests—whether this difference is the result of biology, socialization, or an interaction of the two. A third explanation is that child-rearing, still disproportionately shouldered by women, does not easily co-exist with professions that demand Herculean commitments of time. These considerations speak against the reflex of attributing every gender disparity to gender discrimination and call for research aimed at evaluating the explanations."
Sex Ed: The science of difference.

I'm not going to offer counterarguments because that ground has been covered extensively already ahead of Summers' remarks. Everyone at that conference has already worked through it.

Summers' came in to the venue with the intent to provoke with Freeman's encouragement. The were being "cheeky."

Pinker knows this and has chosen to ignore the rhetorical choice in order to try limit the ground he has to defend. His summary of Summers' position is a defense of particular comments and ignores Summers' downplaying of tenure line hiring declines for women as being a problem with "the size of the pool." Utter crap, that, and they both should know it.

Truth was that Summers came in hoping to stir things up and was expecting to get away with it. Freeman, when he got caught up in it, blamed it all on women being too easily offended, and then Pinker (an Applebaumian hero, not a good, but useless friend) tries to blame the whole thing on *assumptions,* not on a bunch of people looking at the situation as what it was - a provocative stunt from two people who thought their positions would insulate them from the backlash they were courting.

I welcome their coming retirement to emeritus status, and pursuit of more fly fishing time. It cannot come soon enough.

Pinker is one of those guys who should have said he would write a letter but he was busy...

https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2019/07/17/steven-pinkers-aid-jeffrey-epsteins-legal-defense-renews-criticism-increasingly

Comparing Pinker to University of Toronto psychologist and quasi-guru Jordan Peterson, Christensen said Pinker “courts public attention and controversy after years of creating and publicizing work that is interdisciplinary and outward focused.” Over the past few years especially, he said, Pinker has joined “a cadre of older, mostly white male academics who espouse a purist view of free speech and debate" that "ignores significant scholarship from women and scholars of color about how free speech and academic freedom as traditionally construed overweight and privilege already privileged voices” -- meaning mostly white, older men.

And this one might be interesting because it mentions the Donut Economy recently referenced here

https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/transformation/steven-pinker-s-ideas-are-fatally-flawed-these-eight-graphs-show-why/

So, Roe is dead, not officially but in effect.
As expected SCOTUS did not block the Texas law even temporarily and now the bounty hunting can start.
The personal urge I feel about what to do in reaction would get me banned instantly for violating the posting rules (at the mimimum), so I won't spell it out.
Let's say, hell is still too good for some of the guys behind this.

Let's say, hell is still too good for some of the guys behind this.

Agreed.

I've gotten the impression that many people would rather harangue Summers than offering counterarguments to his remarks.

Your impression is confirmed by the reactions to it. No one actually addresses Summers' comment head-on. Rather, they mind read and recast others' mind-readings into a consensus of disapproval, void of substantive engagement.

"Summers did not, of course, say that women are "natively inferior," that "they just can't cut it," that they suffer "an inherent cognitive deficit in the sciences," or that men have "a monopoly on basic math ability," as many academics and journalists assumed.


can you imagine if he did! that would be crazy. people would rightly excoriate him for being such a ...

A second possibility is that gender disparities can arise in the absence of discrimination as long as men and women differ, on average, in their mixture of talents, temperaments, and interests—whether this difference is the result of biology, socialization, or an interaction of the two.

oh. nevermind.

So, Roe is dead, not officially but in effect.
As expected SCOTUS did not block the Texas law even temporarily and now the bounty hunting can start.

As noted on the other thread, no need to limit this to its actual targets. You can bring charges for "aiding and abetting" against, for example, the Texas legislators who voted for the bill. Even if you're just a private citizen. Even if you aren't a Texan. Even if you've never eve been to Texas.

And if a jury decides to convict (who cares if there is no evidence, just the accusation), you might even get paid for doing so. Fun times!

A second possibility is that gender disparities can arise in the absence of discrimination as long as men and women differ, on average, in their mixture of talents, temperaments, and interests—whether this difference is the result of biology, socialization, or an interaction of the two.

In what way is this controversial?

for one thing, the [asserted] fact that men and women differ on average is a lot less important than the argument wants it to be because the average woman isn't trying to become a scientist, just as the average man isn't trying to become a scientist. on average, people don't become scientists.

and in some sciences (ex. biology), women are in the majority of graduates. and women and men are currently about equal in receiving medical degrees. i don't think anyone would argue that becoming a doctor in the US doesn't require "Herculean commitments of time", so that blows a big hole in his third point [about women not being able to commit to such careers because of child-rearing].

but really, the whole thing has a strong "Bell Curve" vibe to it.

Steven Pinker vs. Elizabeth Spelke on the question:

https://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/debate05/debate05_index.html

Of the two, I think Spelke asks the better critical questions and suggests more productive avenues of inquiry.

This was easy to find, which is why I don't particularly feel the need to rehash these debates or address the substance. It's already been done by people more qualified in the field. Twenty minutes of searching turned up a lot more like this.

It's not a question of data, it's a question of what we decide to do with the data. Research agendas matter. That's why I was pleased to see Dr. Spelke's concluding remarks:

As we both agree, the kinds of careers people pursue now, the kinds of choices they make, are radically different from anything that anybody faced back in the Pleistocene. It is anything but clear how motives that evolved then translate into a modern context. Let me just give one example of this. You've suggested, as a hypothesis, that because of sexual selection and also parental investment issues, men are selected to be more competitive, and women are selected to be more nurturant. Suppose that hypothesis is true. If we want to use it to make predictions about desires for careers in math and science, we're going to have to answer a question that I think is wide open right now. What makes for better motives in a scientist?

The question is not "are there fewer women in some STEM fields because those fields demand more commitment to work over family?" The question is "is the work-family balance currently favored in academia the correct one for producing better conditions for living?"

Steven Pinker vs. Elizabeth Spelke

damn. i thought she kindof flattens Pinker.

too much good stuff to quote.

Yes, that's a great debate, nous. Thanks.

men and women differ, on average, in their mixture of talents, temperaments, and interests—whether this difference is the result of biology, socialization, or an interaction of the two.

I think the above is the complete sentence. I'm still trying to finding something in the actual words employed that is controversial.

Pinker v Spelke

I look at Pinker's Slide 51 and compare it to the paucity of comparable evidence in Spelke's apparently corresponding slides 20-25 as one example of Pinker bringing much more actual, on-point scholarly research to bear both as to quantity and weight of authority. Nor do I find his conclusions particularly alarming plus I don't find any of his conclusions to have any kind of agenda other than making an effort to identify and interpret valid data. Although I am not a linguist or a trained rhetorician, I make my living in large part because I can review and absorb fair amounts of academic/medical/technical data and cross examine "experts". I would like to depose Prof. Spelke. I think she stretches her data to fit her hypothesis rather than letting the data serve or not the validity of they hypothesis. I obviously can't prove this point because that happy event will never occur.

As it happens, I'm working with a high end neurologist and a high end neuropsychologist on several cases involving alleged minor traumatic brain injury (the new whiplash). Both are female and both are very clear that there are fundamental differences between the male and female brains on EEG and MRI and on neuropsych testing. In the latter regard, the testing is done against a normative group (age and sex). You get different results if you compare same age male to the female normative group and vice versa. This is also true for MRI and EEG. There are actual, documented differences between the male and female brain, allowing for wider variances or less variance at either end of the bell curve.

and in some sciences (ex. biology), women are in the majority of graduates. and women and men are currently about equal in receiving medical degrees. i don't think anyone would argue that becoming a doctor in the US doesn't require "Herculean commitments of time", so that blows a big hole in his third point [about women not being able to commit to such careers because of child-rearing].

Missed this. Pinker's "under-represented" STEM categories did not include biology. My wife is a microbiologist and has a significant affinity for chemistry, physics, higher math, IT, languages, art and design.

Completing med school is not the same thing as a full time career as a doctor. Within medicine, males predominate as surgeons and females fall squarely within Pinker's writings. Here's your link: https://www.aamc.org/data-reports/workforce/interactive-data/active-physicians-sex-and-specialty-2019

Keep in mind that medical specialties represent the individual's ranked choices controlled by availability of slots. So, if you want to see how affinity/sex line up with the full range of medical specialties, it's pretty hard to square it with Spelke's thesis.

McKinney, if you are actually interested in this, did you read all the data she reported (not slides) from studies about the effect of (parental and other) perceptions of sex in a) babies and b) job candidates? I would have thought that was a rather good example of "actual, on-point scholarly research", if one was at all motivated to find some.

Within medicine, males predominate as surgeons and females fall squarely within Pinker's writings

note that the body of "active" physicians will include generations of older doctors where there were very few women. this is no longer the case.

Here's your link:

and here's yours:
https://www.aafp.org/news/blogs/leadervoices/entry/20200228lv-diversity.html

In 2017, for the first time, the class of students entering U.S. medical schools was more than 50% female.

It wasn't a fluke.

In 2018 and 2019, women matriculants outnumbered men. Now, for the first time, women make up the majority of students in U.S. medical schools. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges' 2019 Fall Applicant, Matriculant and Enrollment Data Tables, women accounted for 52.4% of medical school matriculants this academic year.

There are actual, documented differences between the male and female brain,

sure. but you now have to prove the differences are not only relevant but determinative when it comes to potential careers in STEM.

if you are actually interested in this, did you read all the data she reported (not slides) from studies about the effect of (parental and other) perceptions of sex in a) babies and b) job candidates?

I did and I think the studies are of limited use since they focus on babies. Look at Pinker's Slide 51 for comparison.

sure. but you now have to prove the differences are not only relevant but determinative when it comes to potential careers in STEM.

No, I don't have to prove anything of the sort because I don't believe the differences matter. Prof. Spelke says there are no differences. She is wrong.

I think whatever differences there are speak more to affinity than ability and they are "on average", not across-the-board. All up, I don't think sex, or plumbing, matter in any material respect except physical strength when it comes to job qualifications. There are behavioral differences, e.g. testosterone poisoning, that have a biological component. A number of recognized psychological disorders preponderate on one side of the sex spectrum or the other, but that's like saying more women get breast cancer and more men get prostate cancer. Some things have a biological component. Prof. Spelke disagrees. I think Pinker is closer to right than she is. I also think the only reason to have this discussion is to prevent the politicization of sex, science and medicine by declaring the Spelke view to be the one-true-thing. Because it isn't.

I'm actually laughing because that is exactly the response that I thought McKinney would have to the debate, and his instinct to side with Pinker over Spelke also squares with his skepticism of systemic arguments.

I think Pinker's explanations account for many of the differences, but I don't think that explaining the difference in a system justifies that the system *should* run that way.

Pinker uses the "appeal to nature" fallacy a lot. X seems to be a natural distribution that happens when Y and Z [both human choices] are present, so there is, therefore, nothing to be done about X.

But if neither Y nor Z are constrained to be the way that they are, then the distribution we see in X is not natural, but is a product of human organizational choices, and different choices on Y and Z may lead to both a closer distribution across X and also produce good results for the system.

I note that McKinney has now decided that Spelke thinks there are no differences between male and female aptitudes and has gone all manichean again with black and white pronouncements. Spelke talks explicitly about differences in her presentation, she just points out how assessment decisions based on those differences may not be useful or correct.

So the big defense here is "it works and we can't be blamed for this uneven distribution because it's not due to our motives." Which is not the same as asking if we can get good results and closer distribution with a few alterations to things we CAN change.

Prof. Spelke says there are no differences.

lol

really, go read her words, not just the slides.

I think the studies are of limited use since they focus on babies

Babies submit curricula vitae for tenure track jobs?

Nuance, it's really tough. Like showing up for a talk at the "National Bureau of Economic Research Conference on Diversifying the Science & Engineering Workforce" and making this speech.

https://www.thecrimson.com/article/2005/2/18/full-transcript-president-summers-remarks-at/

Also check out the questions at the end. I love this exchange

[DENICE D. DENTON, chancellor, University of California-Santa Cruz]: You know, in the spirit of speaking truth to power, I’m not an expert in this area but a lot of people in the room are, and they’ve written a lot of papers in here that address...

LHS: I’ve read a lot of them.

[DENTON]: And, you know, a lot of us would disagree with your hypotheses and your premises...

LHS: Fair enough.

[DENTON]: So it’s not so clear.

LHS: It’s not clear at all. I think I said it wasn’t clear. [ed: no, he didn't] I was giving you my best guess but I hope we could argue on the basis of as much evidence as we can marshal.

[DENTON]: It’s here.

LHS: No, no, no. Let me say. I have actually read that and I’m not saying there aren’t rooms to debate this in, but if somebody, but with the greatest respect-I think there’s an enormous amount one can learn from the papers in this conference and from those two books—but if somebody thinks that there is proof in these two books, that these phenomenon are caused by something else, I guess I would very respectfully have to disagree very very strongly with that. I don’t presume to have proved any view that I expressed here, but if you think there is proof for an alternative theory, I’d want you to be hesitant about that.


Of course, Summers apologized and said he was wrong,
https://www.thecrimson.com/article/2005/1/20/summers-i-was-wrong-facing-mounting/
but actually, it is 'clear' that he was right and he was forced to take back his claims, so he's a wuss and a real man would never admit that he was wrong.

In his letter last night, Summers wrote that he “had learned a great deal from all that I have heard in the last few days.”

“The many compelling e-mails and calls that I have received have made vivid the very real barriers faced by women in pursuing scientific and other academic careers,” Summers wrote. “They have also powerfully underscored the imperative of providing strong and unequivocal encouragement to girls and young women interested in science.”

Of course, Summers apologized and said he was wrong,

Just proof [to some] that he was bullied into his reply by all those women who were "too easily offended" and decided to try to get him canceled rather than face the truth that the problem they were there to discuss isn't a problem at all, but just a natural outcome of their biological limitations coupled with their biological inclination to want babies.

McKinney:

You may have noticed that there are differing opinions here about whether engaging with you is worthwhile. As I have often said, I think it is. And I have always been prepared to believe that your drive-bys are prompted by your intermittently having to get back to very demanding cases.

But here's an example of why people think I'm a sap. You dismissed the studies that Professor Spelke quoted as being of limited use "since they focus on babies". In fact, that study was about parental biases, not their babies, but much more to the point, another study she quoted was about the biases of college professors when presented with curricula vitae purporting to come from men or women applying for tenure-track jobs.

I have to assume that when you prepare for trials, depositions etc you examine your material more carefully. And you're not being paid to argue with us here, of course. But doing us the courtesy of more than skimming, commenting and then disappearing would be very welcome. This is hardly the first time you have disappeared as soon as something inconvenient about your argument was presented to you.

Commenters on a blog don't have the right to demand, or even really to ask for considerate behaviour as long as people observe the posting rules. And I'm very aware that you consider certain of us much more deserving of responses than others.

If, as you say, you find it fun to comment here, and look forward to doing so more when you retire (or semi-retire), I would urge you to think about this. You have said more than once that you are thick-skinned, and that it doesn't bother you when people speak harshly about you. I never have (I don't think), which is presumably why you recently called me a congenial amiga, but my point is this: why would you think it is worth arguing with you when you conveniently disappear as soon as contrary evidence is produced? Being 100% right does rather depend on properly taking on opposing opinions, and the evidence adduced to support them.

Yours in hope,
Girl from the North Country

And now for something completely different! Everybody interested in Japanese art, behold this from the British Museum someone has just sent me (lj you may have known about this before, but it had completely passed me by). The drawings are fantastic.

In 2020, the British Museum acquired 103 drawings by Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai (1760–1849) titled The Great Picture Book of Everything.

https://www.britishmuseum.org/exhibitions/hokusai-great-picture-book-everything/rediscovery-hokusai-drawings-everything

GFTNC, I plan to respond. I had other matters to deal with and am out at the moment and will be for most of the day. Tomorrow is busy also. But, I do intend to respond. This is from my iPhone.

I look forward to it, McKinney, thank you.

GftNC, thanks for the Hokusai link, I hadn't heard about that. The first picture is striking and my seminar this year (for various reasons) is having students write about topics related to Marvel comic books is going to see that picture because it looks so much like something you might see in a superhero comic.

To me, the astonishing thing about ukiyo-e in general and Hokusai in particular is that the prints were not considered valuable and were just used to provide stuffing for Japanese objects shipped to the west. Van Gogh saw a print of Hokusai that had provided packing, sold everything he could to buy it and then bought a number of others. It always draws me up short to think that things like this, which are now considered transcendent art, were basically a form of stuffing or excelsior.

It always makes me wonder how many other things we can miss.

I'm sorry I've not been around either, since I appear somewhat to have derailed the thread with the couple of links I posted.

In Applebaum's defence, while I take nous' well made points, I think the issue for her is the curtailment of free speech, and she has expressed similar support for those who wish to argue critical race theory without being ostracised (and indeed condemnation of the current Polish and Hungarian regimes).

Anyway, another link...
https://www.propublica.org/article/heeding-steve-bannons-call-election-deniers-organize-to-seize-control-of-the-gop-and-reshape-americas-elections

I do not think the Republican party is salvageable. I hope the same is not true of US democracy.

"Gender equality has different understandings, definitions, and priorities all over the globe. At the most general level, gender equality refers to equal rights and opportunities for both women and men across different dimensions. It can be discussed as something abstract – like distribution of power and influence as well as something specific like working conditions and domestic work."
Gender equality worldwide - statistics & facts

It always draws me up short to think that things like this, which are now considered transcendent art, were basically a form of stuffing or excelsior.

for one (huge) example, when Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries and convents, thousands upon thousands of old English books were destroyed. much fewer than 1% survived. most were either burned outright or used for fish wrap, keg lining, or toilet paper.

I do not think the Republican party is salvageable.

i don't either.

they're in an outrage spiral; the way to stardom within the party is to be the most outrageous, the most bellicose, and the most alarmist. from Congress to talk radio, the only thing that counts is how much outrage you can stimulate among the GOP base.

they're going to have to cross some bright lines before enough people start thinking things have got out of hand. and since 1/6 wasn't enough, whatever they end up doing is going to be very very bad.

Given all this, and most particularly the Texas abortion situation, do any of you think that the latter will have a noticeable, or even (please God) dramatic, effect for the better on Dem chances in the midterms? I'm hoping, of course, but given everything that's happened in the last few years, my hope may be absurdly optimistic.

Given all this, and most particularly the Texas abortion situation, do any of you think that the latter will have a noticeable, or even (please God) dramatic, effect for the better on Dem chances in the midterms?

People have a tendency to look at bad things in prospect and say "It can't happen here." Well, for the folks in Texas who thought that abortion idiocy was just posturing which couldn't impact them, that's no longer reality. The Texas legislature GOP may manage to gerrymander a way to retain a majority. But then again, this may be the straw which breaks the camel's back -- even with everything they can do to prevent it.

If the GOP loses Texas, they've lost the nation for the foreseeable future. And they know it.

Meanwhile, De(LackOf)Sanity in Florida may manage to upset enough parents with his anti-mask for schools idiocy that Crist (for example) may boot hum out of office there. Different proximate cause, same result.

Cleek may be right that things, at least in parts of the nation, will keep getting worse for a while. But the Republicans are right about one thing: they're on the slippery slope to irrelevance. It's just a question of how long they can manage to delay the inevitable.

I think the midterms are going to be turbulent and unpredictable. There's just too many big inputs and too much disruptive energy for me to even begin to guess what will happen.

I mean, I expect there will be an election, and I think the odds are that there will be election results, but I don't know if those results will be legitimate, and, if legitimate, whether they will be upheld.

Two years ago, I would have called this a melodramatic assessment, but now...

I mean, I expect there will be an election, and I think the odds are that there will be election results, but I don't know if those results will be legitimate, and, if legitimate, whether they will be upheld.

But on balance, better to get it sorted out next year than in 2024. Still bad. Just less bad.

Two years ago, I would have called this a melodramatic assessment, but now...

Understood. Sigh.

"before enough people start thinking things have got out of hand."

Way late in the day, 40 years late, to start.

Paul Weyrich's, Rush Limbaugh's, and Robert Welch's (Richard Viguerie still lives to murder) rotting corpses burp up a ghoulish bubble of gaseous right-wing stench every time a liberal or anyone else scratches his or her head and wonders whether things might be getting just a little ripely out of hand.

Finish it and finish them.

What the entire abortion debacle in Texas (Florida will join Texas forthwith) is about, and what the entire birth control debacle to follow is about is that conservative males, especially Christians, as a point of honor, prefer fellatio to completion performed on their persons by women (well, except on hunting trips with the fellas) as a surefire birth control and abortion prevention method, but also certainly in place of sexual intercourse or any other act that might conceivably provide a spark of pleasure for the female.

This is why if you walk through the parking lots at the Texas statehouse at sunset, or at any right-wing church while Sunday School is still in session, no matter the denomination, why, it's a veritable Woodstock of car after car of solitary republican men, married or not, with heads bobbing in their laps.

I mean, Bill Clinton can only be in one place at a time. He was triangulating the opposition's behavior, as only he could do.

I could be wrong, of course.

"Given all this, and most particularly the Texas abortion situation, do any of you think that the latter will have a noticeable, or even (please God) dramatic, effect for the better on Dem chances in the midterms?"

No.

Because the Republican Party is setting in place the theft, precinct by precinct, state by state, countrywide of every local, state, and national election in perpetuity.

As with every issue, they tell you what they are going to do, and then they do it.

And we still don't believe the scum, sincere truth-telling non-hypocrites, like all fascist scum, that they are.

Take them at their word. Because they are armed and ready to kill us when we wake up.


There was a little meme a number of years ago about the right wing desiring to quarter troops in women's vaginas.

Turns out it is merely citizen militias in Texas who are getting all up in there, so it's even more fucking originalist American than originally thought.

I caution Texas females against using the dewormer Ivermectin to rid them of this latest invasion in their bodies.

And the fact that it is conservative snakes who have set up shop alongside your eggs does not warrant the use of a shotgun down there either.

If you place ten thousand dollars on a dish in front of you, they will writhe out of there and go elsewhere, traveling like petty extortionists from vagina to vagina.

Probably not.

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