Open Thread and Link Farm, Smells Like Good Art Edition


  1. Donald Trump’s supporters are LESS likely to be affected by trade and immigration, not more – Vox
  2. New Study Shows Reading Harry Potter Lowers Americans’ Opinions of Donald Trump | Annenberg School for Communication
    “Even when controlling for party identification, gender, education level, age, evangelical self-identification, and social dominance orientation — all factors known to predict Americans’ attitudes toward Donald Trump — the Harry Potter effect remained.”
  3. 30 U.S. Soldiers Told to Ignore Sexual Abuse of Boys by Afghan Allies – The New York Times
    Indirect link.
  4. Ali-Liston 50th anniversary: The true story behind Neil Leifer’s perfect photo.
    The surprisingly interesting stories behind a photo of a knocked out boxer.
  5. How the first liberal Supreme Court in a generation could reshape America – Vox
    I hadn’t realized that (even without another liberal justice) the Court is likely to restrain the use of solitary confinement by prisons sometime in the next few years. Nonetheless, nothing about a Clinton presidency excites me more than changing the direction of the Supreme Court.
  6. Speaking of private prisons: Ramen is displacing tobacco as most popular US prison currency, study finds | The Guardian
    “Cost-cutting measures by private facilities have led to subpar food quality and fewer meals, making noodles a commodity that trades well above its value.”
  7. Helping Rape Victims After the Brock Turner Case –
    “…inflexible mandatory minimum sentences, like the kind the California legislators want, are not the answer to our anger.” (Indirect link.)
  8. Stop Killing Coyotes – The New York Times
    What I find interesting about this is the notion that our attempt to eradicate the coyote has only had the effect of spreading coyotes into more and more territory. I thought the argument about how photos of beefy middle-aged men tarnish middle America’s image was incredibly stupid, though. (Indirect link).
  9. How To Be A Thin Ally On A Plane | Dances With Fat
  10. What I learned as a hired consultant to autodidact physicists | Aeon Ideas
  11. Galactic Tick Day – Celebrate Existence
    “The first Galactic Tick Day was one Galactic Tick (1.7361 years) after Hans Lippershey filed the patent for the first telescope on October 2nd, 160.” But do Federal workers get the day off?
  12. ECHIDNE OF THE SNAKES: Fun With Economics: The Politics of The Gender Gap in Wages and also the followup post: The Challenge: Prove That Discrimination in Labor Markets Exists
  13. Alex Powell – “You know in Toy Story 3 when Mr Potato Head puts his face bits on a tortilla and escapes? Really bothers me. Where is Mr Potato Head’s consciousness located? Is he an assortment of bits? A swarm?” (More at the link.)
  14. Hillary Clinton has eased one of the biggest doubts about her capacity to be a good president – Vox
    One of my biggest doubts about Clinton was that her campaign organization in 2008 was notably poorly run. But she seems to have learned from that experience.
  15. Brewer Says Calling Clinton A ‘Lying Killer’ Was A ‘Stumble Of The Tongue’
    Not the Onion!
  16. UCB comedy club banned comedian Aaron Glaser for alleged rape | Revelist
  17. Breitbart Editor Milo Yiannopoulos Takes $100,000 for Charity, Gives $0 – The Daily Beast
    I suspect some combination of incompetence and not-giving-a-shit-ness, rather than a deliberate scam.
  18. The gender wage gap isn’t about women’s choices. It’s about how we value their work. – Vox
  19. A Hit Man Came to Kill Susan Kuhnhausen. She Survived. He Didn’t. – Willamette Week
  20. Donald Trump Adviser Al Baldasaro Calls for the Execution of Hillary Clinton – The Atlantic
  21. People are saying Amy Schumer “failed women” because she’s blocking critics on Twitter. That’s silly.
  22. God’s stealing the credit again
    Interesting stats on Alcoholics Anonymous not working.
  23. Trump Encourages His Supporters to Patrol Polling Places, Says He Will Lose Pa. Only If There is Cheating | Election Law Blog
    This is the sort of rhetoric that makes violence after Trump loses more likely to happen.
  24. The Five Worst Roberts Court Rulings
  25. The Cost to States of Not Expanding Medicaid – Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
  26. Etiquette About Accidentally Misgendering Trans People | Thing of Things
  27. Larry Wilmore on Alton Sterling: the punishment for being a black man shouldn’t be death – Vox
    It’s disappointing that Wilmore’s show has been cancelled.
  28. You can vote for Hillary Clinton and not be too thrilled about it – Lawyers, Guns & Money : Lawyers, Guns & Money
  29. Textbooks and the Civil Rights Movement – Lawyers, Guns & Money : Lawyers, Guns & Money
  30. Box Turtle Bulletin » Today In History, 1948: “Homosexual Ring Broken Up” At Mizzou
  31. New ‘Green Giant’ Mural by Blu on the Streets of Naples | Colossal


Posted in Link farms | 3 Comments  

2016 Hugo Awards – Former “Alas” Blogger N.K. Jemisin Wins Best Novel Hugo! Also, Rabid Puppies Nominees Tank, and E Pluribus Hugo passes

Congratulations to N.K. Jemisin for her well-deserved Hugo Award for her novel The Fifth Season.

“Alas” readers with long memories may recall that we were lucky enough to see some of N.K.’s posts here (under the name “Nojojojo”). They were being reposted from the Angry Black Woman blog, so maybe calling her a former Alas blogger is a stretch, but I’m very proud for this blog to have even a very tiny association with Jemisin.

The full list of nominees and winners can be seen here (my favorite TV show of the year, Jessica Jones, won best dramatic presentation short form). And stats junkies can look for the complete Hugo vote stats here (pdf link). But, basically, the rabid puppies lost big; their nominees either wound up below No Award, or were obvious “human shield” picks like Neil Gaiman.

(Speaking of Gaiman, he had harsh words for Puppies in his acceptance speech.)

Chaos Horizon, a Hugo stats blog whose author is sympathetic to the Puppy cause, writes:

So what happened? The Rabid Puppy vote collapsed from the Nomination to the Final Voting stage. This most likely happened because you can nominated in 2016 for free (provided you paid in 2015), but to vote in the final stage in 2016, you had to pay again.

In the comments, regarding an estimate that about 165 dedicated Rabid Puppies voted in the final Hugo round (and would be able to nominate next year without buying new memberships), the blogger wrote “165 core Rabid Puppies would get you 1-2 picks in lesser categories like Best Related Work (EPH would cut that down to 1), and nothing in the big categories like Best Novel.”

So it’s at least plausible that we’ll see much, much less Puppy control of the Hugo nominees next year. That would be pretty wonderful.

I’m pleased to see that the short story that was written to harass Mandolin got creamed. I’m not sure anything did worse this year. I mean, not even the 165 or so Rabids liked it:


Looking at the long lists, it seems likely that without Puppy nonsense, the “graphic story” category nominees would have been:

Bitch Planet
Ms Marvel
Squirrel Girl

Although maybe Sandman would have beaten out Squirrel Girl; hard to say. Regardless, that’s a much stronger list of comics than the group nominated by the Rabid Puppies. (Bitch Planet and Nimona were both on my list of favorites for the year.)

UPDATE: E Pluribus Hugo has passed!

UPDATE 2: Estimating Rabid Puppy Numbers | Camestros Felapton “I think, looking at all these figures, the ones with stronger Rabid connections come out around 160 to 180 votes. I think that is probably the right estimate for people voting along strict Rabid lines – with maybe 50 to 60 more voting along semi-Rabid lines, plus some residual Sad Puppies and others.”

Posted in Comics other than Hereville!, Hugo Awards | 2 Comments  

Stop Touching Her Hair, White People!



Panel 1
There are two women in this panel, a white woman and a black woman. Both are smiling.

White woman: Your hair is so beautiful! Can I touch it?
Black woman: Thanks, but no.

Panel 2
This panel shows a different white woman, and the same black woman. The white woman is smiling, but the Black woman’s expression is now a little wary, and her arms are crossed.

White woman 2: How do you wash your hair? Does it smell? Can I touch it?
Black woman: I’d rather you didn’t.

Panel 3
A white man now appears, along with the same Black woman. He is smiling and reaching for her head; she is jerking back, holding up her hands protectively.

White man: What does that stuff feel like?
Black woman: Hey! Hands off, please.

Panel 4
A third white woman is in this panel, along with the same Black woman. The white woman is reaching out for the Black woman; the Black woman is yelling in frustration.

White woman 3: May I touch your-
Black woman: NOT A PETTING ZOO!

Panel 5
The Black woman has stormed off, leaving white woman 3 alone in the panel. She looks surprised, looking in the direction that the Black woman left.

Panel 6
White woman 3 now looks annoyed.

White woman 3 (thought): Why are black people so touchy?

Posted in Cartooning & comics, Race, Race, racism and related issues, Racism | 4 Comments  

Participation Trophies Defeated The Great Depression and Won World War Two



Hat tip to Ben Lehman!

Posted in Mind-blowing Miscellania and other Neat Stuff | 6 Comments  

Friday Read! “Shard of Glass” by Alaya Dawn Johnson

Shard of Glass” by Alaya Dawn Johnson:

Shard of Glass

That day, my mother picked me up from school, wearing the yellow sundress and shawl I remembered from our trip with Father the year before. She looked just like she did most days back then—a glamour queen, a movie star (“Just like Lena Horne,” my friend Chloe had once said, “only darker—oh, sorry, Leah!”), but today her beauty somehow had a harder, more defiant edge to it. I could smell the expensive Dior perfume as soon as I opened the door, which surprised me, because my mom was usually fastidious about not getting perfume on her clothes. She was wearing her bug glasses—huge dark things with lenses that bulged out like fly eyes and reflected my face like a fun-house mirror. She had tied a yellow silk scarf around her hair and was taking deep pulls on a cigarette held between two immaculately manicured fingers. Only I knew about the nicotine stains she carefully covered with her special order “forest sable” cream each morning.

Tiffany, a stupid but vicious senator’s daughter who I had the misfortune of sharing a classroom with, suddenly dashed from inside the school, her face flushed.

“Hello, Mrs. Wilson,” she called. Before my mother could respond, she giggled and ran back to three of her friends waiting beyond the door. I could hear them laughing, but I was glad I couldn’t understand their words. They were all fascinated with my mother—the black housekeeper who dressed like Katharine Hepburn and drove a Cadillac, whose daughter’s “light toffee” skin indicated that she might just like her coffee with a lot of cream.

Sometimes I hated those girls.

“Get in the car, Leah,” my mother said. Her already husky voice was pitched low, as though she’d been crying. That made me nervous. Why was she here?

“Ma, Chloe was going to show me her dad’s new camera. Can’t I go home on the bus?”

My mom pulled on the cigarette until it burned the filter, and then ground it into the car ashtray—already filled with forty or so butts. She always emptied out the ashtray each evening.

“Get in the car, Leah.” My mom’s voice was even huskier as she lit another cigarette and tossed the match out of the window.

I sat down and shut the door.

We rode in silence for a while. Despite her shaking hands and the rapidly dwindling box of cigarettes, she drove meticulously, even coming to a full stop at the stop signs. She never stopped at stop signs.

“Ma . . . is something wrong?” I asked hesitantly.

Her fingers tightened on the wheel until her knuckles looked even paler than my skin. “We’re going on a trip, Leah,” she said finally, jamming on the brakes at a stop sign.

Read here.

Posted in Recommended Reading | 3 Comments  

Train to Busan and other movies

I saw the Korean zombie movie Train to Busan last night – SO good! This movie has been breaking records since it opened three weeks ago, and I can understand why – it’s unpretentious genre excitement, but exceptionally well done. At least twice as exciting as any American genre film I’ve seen this year.

Train to Busan isn’t very gory, as zombie films go – but there’s a lot of violence and death, as you’d expect. Mainly, there’s a lot of grip-the-armrest tension. Once the movie gets going, the pacing and tension are almost relentless.

I liked that the typical action movie hero – the big, strong guy, great in combat, effortlessly brave, and always does the right thing – is a secondary character in this movie. The main character, in contrast, is kind of a jerk, and certainly not as capable. But he does want to do right by his 7 year old daughter.

Not the right movie if you’re looking for a story of tough women characters kicking ass, alas – there are several female characters who get real screen time and character development, but their main purpose in the plot is to require rescue. The actress who played the main character’s daughter was really good.

If you’re in Portland, Train to Busan is playing tonight and tomorrow at Century Eastport, and as far as I can tell, that’s your only chance to see it in Portland. See it if you can. And buy tickets in advance – both evening shows last night sold out.

Other new-ish movies I’ve recently seen (I made a new years resolution to see more movies this year):

The Fits was wonderful, slow-paced and thoughtful and ambiguous, with an amazing performance by Royalty Hightower as the eleven-year-old protagonist. By far the most original and ambitious film I’ve seen lately, this isn’t one that made me leave the theater feeling full of joy and energy, but I kept returning to it in my thoughts after I’d seen it.

The Secret Life of Pets was exactly what I expected from the trailer – some city housepets go on an adventure, a certain amount of learning and growing takes place, everything is heteronormative, and it all ends happily. But it was a funnier and more entertaining version of exactly what I was expecting than I was expecting, so that was a nice surprise. Not as great as Zootopia, but definitely better than the average high-budget animated fare.

Ghostbusters was fluffy fun, but not memorable. I enjoyed it – and my nieces, who I saw it with, were thrilled. They made really obvious missteps with Leslie Jones’ character. On the other hand, those who say that this is one of the worse films ever, or a radical man-hating screed, are clearly coming from an alternate reality. (Maybe one in which “Batman Vs Superman” was good.)

Star Trek: Beyond was the Platonic ideal of mediocre. There were bits I enjoyed, but damn if I can even remember what they were a week later. Just a really bland action movie with Star Trek trappings. Still better than the previous two Star Trek movies. (Which brings up the question, why do I keep seeing these?)

I also saw, on video, Tiptoes and Batman V Superman, both of which were trainwrecks.

Peter Dinklege and Patricia Arquette in Tiptoes were lots of fun together – Dinklege seems to be able to make any material fun to watch. He should have been the lead actor. Instead, they cast Gary Oldman as a drawf, which would be weird in any case, but especially in a movie which wants so much to be all “yay little people rights!” And wow, wow, wow, was that trailer bad. Anyone who can hear “when the going gets tough, what matters is the size of your heart” and not cringe is made of sterner material than I.

There’s nothing further to be said the grim, tedious mess that was Batman v Superman. I’m still holding onto hope that the Wonder Woman spin-off movie will be fun, though.

Oh, and I saw the German heist thriller Victoria, which wasn’t deep but was extremely fun. The all-shot-in-one-long-take gimmic definitely added to the enjoyment, and the way they timed it – so that the end of the movie took place at dawn – was really neat.

So what have you all seen lately? Anything good? What are you looking forward to?

Posted in Popular (and unpopular) culture | 8 Comments  

Open Thread and Link Farm, Groomed by Gorilla Edition

  1. Critics See Efforts by Counties and Towns to Purge Minority Voters From Rolls – The New York Times
    The logic of the Supreme Court’s Shelby County decision was that we no longer needed the preclearance mandate in this day and age. But Republicans have been proving the Supreme Court wrong all over the country by trying to keep minority voters from voting. They haven’t changed at all since the 1960s. (Indirect link.)
  2. Everyday Feminism Is Bad At Feminist Theory Again | Thing of Things
    “But this article adopts entirely the wrong approach. I want men to become less sexist because I think it will help other people, yes. But I also want them to become less sexist because I think it will help them.”
  3. Hillary, Bernie, and the DNC: Dirty tricks?
    Cathy Young examines the arguments that Hillary stole the election from Bernie, and finds them underwhelming.
  4. Wild Gorillas Groom U.S. Tourist in Uganda
    “Local rangers were also stumped, telling King that, while baby gorillas sometimes interact with humans, the rangers had never known adult animals to take such an interest.”
  5. Pirate Printers: Shirts and Totes Printed Directly on Urban Utility Covers
  6. Hitting people is not “soft”: Reporting and police tactics « Now Face North
  7. To Diet Or Not Diet: Science Weighs In
    I’d heard of this study before, but I didn’t know about Judith Stern’s role in it before. Reassuring if true.
  8. The Sitcom Trope About Fat People That’s Way More F*cked Up Than You Might Think — Everyday Feminism
    The trope in question is having a former fat character played by a thin person (the most famous example being Monica from Friends). I thought the author’s point about how this reinforces a “your life begins after you get thin” thought process was very interesting.
  9. The strange case of Marina Joyce and internet hysteria | Technology | The Guardian
    A popular Youtube makeup blogger’s fans decided that she was being held hostage and forced to make videos selling dresses.
  10. Humpback whales around the globe are mysteriously rescuing animals from orcas | MNN – Mother Nature Network
    A much more scientific discussion of this here.
  11. The Secret To KFC’s “Eleven Secret Herbs and Spices” Is That There Are Only Four Not-So-Secret Ingredients | JONATHAN TURLEY
  12. Sargon of Akkad launches petition to save free speech by censoring SJW professors :: We Hunted The Mammoth
    Over 80,000 people signed the petition, which says something about how strong anti-free-speech sentiment among anti-SJWs can be. Admittedly, this petition is too inept to be dangerous.
  13. Trump’s Indecent Proposal — Crooked Timber
    What can McCarthy and “have you no sense of decency” tell us about Trump and this moment?
  14. What Happens if Trump Drops Out?
  15. Report: GOP Strategists Hoping to Distance Trump From Downticket
  16. Texas to execute man for sitting in a truck while his friend unexpectedly murdered someone in a store.
    Also, yet more evidence that the death penalty has no deterrent effect.
  17. Social justice, shipping, and ideology: when fandom becomes a crusade, things get ugly – Vox
  18. Obamacare Appears to Be Making People Healthier – The New York Times
    Interesting study treating Texas’ refusal to expand Medicaid as a “natural experiment.” (Indirect link).
  19. Mercy in the Age of Mandatory Minimums | Cato Institute
  20. Mercedes-Benz Reportedly Working On Line Of Electric Vehicles To Take On Tesla – Consumerist
  21. Minnesota Carpet Cleaning Business Sues US Olympic Committee Over Its Ridiculous Social Media Rules | Techdirt
  22. “I wasn’t expecting to burst into tears:” the surprisingly emotional experience of Clinton’s nomination – Vox
  23. Your kid is way more likely to be poisoned by crayons than by marijuana – The Washington Post
  24. Language Policing: Intersectionality | Thing of Things
  25. Only 20 Percent Of Voters Are ‘Real Americans‘ | FiveThirtyEight
  26. Innovation and Its Enemies
    “People almost never reject technological progress out of sheer ignorance. Rather, they fight to protect their own interests and livelihoods, whether that be operating a dairy farm or running a government.”
  27. Study: Top Bank Execs Saw the Crisis Coming and Sold Their Company’s Shares | naked capitalism
  28. Senator Tim Scott’s Speech on Race and Policing – The Atlantic
  29. Box Turtle Bulletin » Today In History: 1962: New York’s WBAI Radio Broadcasts Talk Show Featuring Eight Gay Men
  30. Consent and Altsex Cultures | Thing of Things
  31. Climate scientists are under attack from frivolous lawsuits | Lauren Kurtz | Environment | The Guardian
  32. End Needless Interactions With Police Officers During Traffic Stops – The Atlantic
  33. Giving up on the “American Dream”? – Open City
    Interesting article featuring brief interviews with Asian immigrant street merchants.
  34. Future of Film I: Why Summer 2013 was Destined for Losses – Liam Boluk | Ivey Business Review
    This longform 2014 article, about the economics behind the increasing dominance of ultra-expensive “tentpole” films in movie offerings (even though many of them are expensive flops), is really interesting and still applicable.
  35. Ethics Hero: Angela Martin, As St. Paul Strangers Prevent A Suicide | Ethics Alarms
  36. Is Watching Gymnastics Worse Than being an NFL Fan?
    Includes some stunning photographs of elite female gymnasts by Andres Kudacki, including the photo of Madison Kocian seen below.
  37. At the 2016 Rio Olympics, What to Make of the Bedazzled Femininity and Ferocious Athleticism That Defines Women’s Gymnastics? – The Atlantic
Madison Kocian competes on the balance beamr during the U.S. women's gymnastics championships, Friday, June 24, 2016, in St. Louis. (Photo/Andres Kudacki)

Madison Kocian competes on the balance beamr during the U.S. women’s gymnastics championships, Friday, June 24, 2016, in St. Louis. (Photo/Andres Kudacki)


Posted in Link farms | 11 Comments  

“What About The Lady Macbeth Comparison?”: Decades of sexist questions asked of Hillary Clinton

You could argue about if this or that individual question would be asked of a male candidate; but the overall pattern is clear.

Posted in Elections and politics, Feminism, sexism, etc, Government | Leave a comment  

Cartoon: The Wage Gap and How Much Women Work


This cartoon is by Barry Deutsch and Becky Hawkins.

There was some interesting discussion of this cartoon on Tumblr, regarding if this cartoon stereotypes husbands.

Remember, if you like my political cartoons, please consider supporting my patreon!

Transcript of the cartoon:

Panel 1
In the foreground, a middle-aged man types on his laptop. Behind him, a yelling child is calling to the man, while the child’s mother, holding an infant, shushes him. A caption shows us what the man is typing.
JUNIOR: Dad! Dad! DAD!
MOTHER: Junior, let your father work.
CAPTION: “The ‘wage gap’…”

Panel 2
Same scene. The boy has calmed down, and the mother is bringing him along by the shoulder as she exits. The mother looks exhausted, and the baby is pulling on her hair.
MOTHER: I’m going out – I have to meet with Junior’s teacher and do groceries and pick up your dry cleaning and…
CAPTION: “…mostly disappears….”

Panel 3
The mom has departed, but the man, still typing, turns his head to call out after her.
MAN: Oh, the nursing home left a message about my mother… Would you take care of that?
CAPTION: “…when you control for the fact…”

Panel 4
The man turns back to typing.
MAN (thought balloon): Hope she makes stew for dinner tonight.
CAPTION: “…that women work far fewer hours than men.”

Posted in Cartooning & comics, Feminism, sexism, etc, Gender and the Economy | 25 Comments  

On being fat and liking creators who have done anti-fat material


I love some of Tina Fey’s work. But she tells fat jokes, including a sketch where she appeared in a fat suit.

I love The Simpsons, but soooo many fat jokes.

By far my favorite MCU work is Jessica Jones, which had a nasty fat joke in the first episode.

I love some of the Austin Powers movies, but the fat jokes (and the fat suit) – ugh. The worst of the worst.

Bill Murray apparently makes more fat jokes on screen than any other actor, but I will love Groundhog Day until I die and then i hope they bury me with a video player playing Groundhog Day on infinite loop.

I love Evan Dorkin’s “Eltingville Club” – it’s brilliant cartooning, and a great satire of the darkest side of fandom – but it’s a trashfire of cruel fat jokes, and in the early installments, at least, it doesn’t read like Dorkin sees a problem with that.

In the TV show Maya and Marty, Martin Short wears a fat suit for a sketch full of “fat people are gross” jokes at least once per episode. That won’t stop a liberal site like Vox from loving it – they won’t even find that worth noting.

I love love love the show Grace and Frankie, created by Marta Kaufman, who also created the fat-joke-filled sitcom Friends. (To tell you the truth, I like Friends, too, although it did so much so wrong.)

I’m a big Joss Whedon fan, especially of Buffy. Hey, remember this travesty of a fat suit from Buffy? It’s nearly the only time any fat character has appeared in a Whedon production.

I could go on, and on, and on, and on. Honestly, comedy is so saturated with anti-fat ideology that you can pretty much safely assume that everyone in comedy has done it. And entertainment as a whole is only a little better.

So do I think we should all stop watching works by these creators and more? No.

I’m not willing to harm myself by refusing to watch entertainment by people who have made or participated in anti-fat jokes. If other people want to cut these folks and a zillion others out of their entertainment menu, that’s fine, but I’m not going to do that. Nor do I think others should do it; nor do I think that thin people are bad allies if they enjoy works by creators who have made anti-fat jokes.

I don’t think Tina Fey and Joss Whedon and all these other folks are bad people. Or that they hate fat people. I think they come from a society in which anti-fat beliefs are the norm, and that’s reflected in their work.

I’m all for criticizing the anti-fat ideology in their work. But I’m not going to call them bad as people, and I’m not going to call anyone else bad as people for enjoying their work, and I’m not going to call myself a bad person for enjoying their work.

Posted in Fat, fat and more fat, Popular (and unpopular) culture | 8 Comments