Taking a Stroll Atop Concrete Pipes (open thread)

Post what you want! Self-linking makes me scream with delight.

  1. The Big Picture has a great photo gallery of people at work building things.
  2. Race and the Death Penalty, III: Troy Anthony Davis and the Denial of Justice
  3. The Work of Making Femininity Look Effortless
  4. The free downloadable toybox at Soup Toys kept Sydney and Maddox entertained for hours today. Really fun stuff — pretty entertaining for adults, as well.
  5. And after they were done with Soup Toys (for now), I put on Shelley Duvall’s Faerie Tale Theatre. (The link is to Kottke.org, which is the source of many of the links here today.)
  6. Good news! Arkansas anti-gay adoption ban, passed by voters, found unconstitutional.
  7. Kevin Moore calls me “a PC loser.” :-P
  8. Killing Terrorist Leaders is not just ineffective — it’s counterproductive.
  9. Guess the song! After Amberite has run the lyrics through Bad Translator, that is. Here’s just one example (the one I found easiest to guess): “I’m just a poor boy, you like me (who, from a poor family, who live without this monster is not only children of the poor) is mature and easy to follow, I walk in God’s name! No, we will not give up (oh!)”
  10. “Of all the people in human history who ever reached the age of 65, half are alive now.” Interesting article about the aging of the human species.
  11. Police officers fired a 50,000-volt stun gun charge into a man who had collapsed with a major epileptic seizure.” This is the dark side of non-lethal (or, more accurately, less-frequently-lethal) weapons; the cops feel freer to use them.
  12. Does this photo from 1940 show a hipster time traveler? Well, no.
  13. What if it were Bush? The left would be a lot more pissed off at targeted assassinations. Yes, on this issue, the Bush administration folks were inhuman, evil monsters — they really do deserve to be slowly tortured to death, except that no one should have the authority to do that, either — but Obama is only marginally better if at all. (No wonder he chose to let Dawn Johnson’s nomination die.)
  14. It’s the biggest crop circle ever, and it’s really pretty.
  15. Nancy Schwartzman on Confronting Her Rapist
  16. The interesting, and disturbing, story of Brother Sharp, a homeless man who became an internet fad.
  17. Feathers and Fashion: Native American is in Style
  18. Incredible Shadow Art by Kumi Yamashita. The string art — created with a single, unbroken string — is likewise incredible. Watching the video gives a better idea of how the shadow creations work.
  19. Adam Carolla Apologizes for Being a Racist Asshat
  20. Pomplamoose: Making A Living On YouTube. This model for video artists to make a living could really change everything (or at least, the music and video industries), if it catches on.
  21. Civil Asset Forfeiture continues to be an incredibly bad policy. Bad for freedom, bad for “innocent until proven guilty,” and it rewards cops for behaving badly. But if we got rid of it we might have to marginally raise taxes to make up for the shortfall. Thank goodness anti-tax fanatics are so influential!
  22. The skull motif on t-shirts is overdone, but this is a clever visual pun.
  23. In cases involving a black defendant and white victim, having five white males on the jury doubles the chance that the death penalty will be imposed. Having just one black man on a capital jury cuts the chance of a death sentence in half.”
  24. Amanda Hess’ readers discuss why art students tend to avoid drawing the penis.
  25. ICE Leads Border Raids That Obama Admin Promised to Stop
  26. …it also helps to think of the Civil War as having three factions with three different aims…”
  27. Agatha Christie’s Secret Notebooks. Interesting article about Christie’s surprisingly chaotic working methods. (Contains a spoiler for Endless Night.)
  28. Shopping is labor. And it’s mostly done by women.
  29. Despite the many political problems with it (although it has good parts too), I’m addicted to Glee. And for “Wicked” fans, they’ve had both Kristin Chenowith and Idina Menzel as guest stars. (Indina didn’t sing last week, but the character is clearly going to be returning). As I type this I’m listening to the Glee cast’s cover of my favorite Madonna song, “Like A Prayer.
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17 Responses to Taking a Stroll Atop Concrete Pipes (open thread)

  1. 1
    Deborah Lipp says:

    I want to joyfully announce the return of Basket of Kisses! We’re the awesomest Mad Men blog, also feminist & progressive, looking at our chosen media obsession through that lens (and many others).

    After a catastrophic site outage lasting 3 weeks, I hope you’ll forgive my blogwhoring the good news.

  2. 2
    nobody.really says:

    OH CRAP.

    I was able to keep my composure when I learned that some bureaucrat at the Social Security Administration misplaced a laptop full of people’s personal data. And I maintained equilibrium when I heard that the good folks at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission couldn’t put their fingers on all their computers holding sensitive nuclear info.

    But now I hear that Amp is a PC loser, too? Now much more can Americans endure?

  3. South Park creators threatened by a radical website over its 200th episode which made fun of how Muhammad can’t be depicted.

    http://news.blogs.cnn.com/2010/04/19/security-brief-radical-islamic-web-site-takes-on-south-park/?hpt=T2

  4. 4
    Thene says:

    I should have guessed before I clicked it that the ‘Shopping Is Labour’ link was going to make me want to bang my head against things, but I wrongly thought it would be focusing on the fact that the time burden of household-required purchasing is usually done by women. Which it is. But ffs, looking ‘beautiful’ IS NOT A REAL LIFE REQUIREMENT. It’s very very easy to opt out from the beauty industry entirely, and that article left me assuming that its writer was a middle-class woman who had never really had to stretch her pennies to get by, because when you’re hard-up makeup becomes an obvious thing to go without. There is no reason why I should spend any more time, or money, on clothing, makeup and ‘accessories’ than the guy in my life does, and so I don’t, and I have zero evidence that this has ever harmed me or ever will. The only such evidence offered in the article was ‘but I’m scared that people might judge me for how I look’. Bitch please, I live knowing that people will judge me for my sexual orientation, my religion, and my status as an immigrant. Whether I wear makeup or not is simply not on the same level of relevance. It’s about gender presentation, sure, but it’s not a safety matter in the way that staying in the closet is.

    Then there came this sentence:

    For instance, I try really, really hard to buy mostly shoes that will be flexible with a lot of outfits, but once in awhile, you buy a dress or skirt and nothing goes with it and whoops! It’s time for another trip to the store.

    …I am suffering a literal comprehension failure here. Like…shoes…go with things? Does not compute. If you want to have things that obey some kind of aesthetic law, sure, but so long as you own at least one pair of smart shoes, it’s not important that they ‘go with’ anything any more than it’s important that your kitchen utensils ‘go with’ anything. It is easy to tell that this is true, because most men own not very many pairs of shoes and yet the high ranks of political and corporate structures are full of men.

  5. 5
    Elusis says:

    It’s about gender presentation, sure, but it’s not a safety matter in the way that staying in the closet is.

    Thene – Are you really saying that gender presentation is not a “safety matter”? As a cisgender woman, I disagree, and I would suspect many transgender people would disagree as well.

    Looking a certain way also may not be as relevant or important to your life, but I think it’s unfair of you to say that it’s not relevant or important to anyone’s life. I work in a field that expects a certain “professional presentation,” and while the standards that encompasses can be pretty broad, I cannot show up to work dressed and groomed the same way I might to work in my mother’s yard, shovel a driveway, or hang around the house. Even when I worked in a grocery store after a layoff a few years ago, I had to go shopping for my work clothes, as I needed things that would be easy to clean and sturdy but also gave a neat appearance to the public, and much of my office-wear fit the latter but not the former.

    In many fields the standards for women’s appearance requires more maintenance than men’s. I am given to understand that there are still jobs where women are required to wear pantyhose, just as one tiny example, which are far less durable than men’s socks. There is plenty of research that shows that women are judged more harshly by potential employers, supervisors, and customers based on their appearance than men are. When I separated from my husband a number of years ago and moved out of state for a job, I enumerated a huge list of the costs I had that he did not, many of which were just the “costs of being female” (he could get away with rotating two or three shirts and two or three ties over the same pants throughout the week and getting a $12 haircut every month or two. I could not, to say the very least.)

    Reducing women’s concerns in this arena to “but I’m scared people will judge me” and “bitch, please” doesn’t seem to be taking into account many women’s very real experiences of the economic and social costs of failure to conform to appearance standards.

  6. 6
    Thene says:

    Elusis:

    Thene – Are you really saying that gender presentation is not a “safety matter”? As a cisgender woman, I disagree, and I would suspect many transgender people would disagree as well.

    …er, no, I didn’t say that? I said that wearing makeup was an aspect of gender presentation, and that wearing makeup was not a safety matter. Being perceived to fit in the gender binary is a safety matter, but I never said it wasn’t. I said that wearing makeup was not a safety matter.

    As for ‘reducing women’s concerns in this arena to “but I’m scared people will judge me”’; that was an echo of a line from the original post; “I’m going to be judged by how I look.” That is what the original post was faffing about.

    I am worried about being judged because I am queer, or because I am an immigrant; I am not worried about being judged because I don’t spend my money on makeup. In a world where people are frequently judged because of aspects of their physicality (race, ethnicity, fatness, trans status, queerness) I do not perceive any genuine threats or prejudices raised at me because I do not wear makeup.

    I have two jobs, both of which have dress codes, one of which demands ‘professional presentation’, neither of which have ever required me to wear makeup. I didn’t wear makeup for either of the interviews, either. And it is literally over a decade since I last spent any money on a haircut, as I wear my hair long and just get someone to trim it for me every now and then. (This gets me more positive comments than most of the women around me seem to get about their hair. I hadn’t even really thought about it til you mentioned it, but I’m fairly sure that regular expensive haircuts would have a negative impact on my perceived presentation, even before I take into account the cost of the haircuts themselves.) And I get my work clothes from thrift stores and/or clearance racks and make them last, so have spent under $25 on work clothes in the last year.

    (This is all entirely down to choice – many women get a lot of pleasure out of getting their hair cut or having lots of different outfits & pairs of shoes. All power to them – I’d just rather spend my money on travel and computer games – but I think that those who say they don’t want to go along with it, but they have to, are largely exaggerating either the benefits of doing so or the penalties for not doing so.)

    So yes, I am saying that spending money on beauty is not a safety matter for me (a young, white, cisgendered queer woman in the southern USA) in the way that staying in the closet is a safety matter. In one of my workplaces I have not come out to anyone, because I am afraid of what would happen if I do. Not wearing makeup? No one at either workplace has ever mentioned it, and the one time I mentioned it myself (to a male coworker) he seemed not to have even noticed that I never wore any.

    Insofar as there are economic costs to not going along with it I have totally failed to encounter them; but there are concrete, measurable economic costs if you do go along with it – as you said, that beauty stuff is expensive – and if I were to go in for it I have no reason to believe I’d make a gain on the investment. More likely not. Many of my female coworkers at my minimum-wage job wear makeup – what are they getting out of it? $7.25 an hour. And for some of them, a little pleasure. That’s all.

  7. 7
    Elusis says:

    Thene -

    I believe everything you say is true.

    I also believe everything I said above is true.

    I believe our contexts clearly differ.

    What I object to is your blanket statements like “looking beautiful is not a real life requirement” and “Itâ��s very very easy to opt out from the beauty industry entirely,” because maybe they’re true for you, but they’re not true for me or for many women I know. I have little hope of looking “beautiful” as I am a fat (smallish fat, but fat) woman (and am well aware that I still am closer to the strike zone than women without my white able-bodied cisgender privilege but that does not mean I am allowed to give up entirely. In fact I feel extra pressure as a fat woman to prove my “worth” by performing some version of female attractiveness just so people won’t write me off completely.

    The reality of your life, which I’m not questioning, is that attempting to live up to female beauty standards wouldn’t make a difference for you (though I question whether that is true for all your female coworkers – even $7.25 an hour retail workers sometimes get promoted to shift supervisors or assistant team leaders or customer service supervisors, and looks may well matter there just as they do in all kinds of women’s advancement opportunities. Your experience may be the exception but discrimination based on women’s looks is still the norm.)

    The reality of my life is that there is nothing “easy” about either complying with or kicking against expectations for female dress and grooming. The reality of my life is that there would be consequences if I did not try. I strongly suspect that those realities may be even more stark for many women of color, transgender women, women in low status/high public contact jobs like bank teller or hotel desk worker or cocktail waitress, and so on. And I would prefer it if you didn’t chalk my reality, or theirs, up to “exaggerating either the benefits of doing so or the penalties for not doing so.”

    But I guess if you want to just say “bitch, please,” that’s your perogative.

  8. 8
    Jake Squid says:

    This is why a single-payer system would make things worse and dealing with government bureaucrat blah, blah, blah….

  9. 9
    Elusis says:

    The anti-gay-marriage supporters’ allergy to being held accountable for their position continues, with Prop 8 supporters in California requesting that evidence submitted at trial be removed from the record and Referendum 71 supporters in Washington seriously arguing that they should be able to sign a petition for a ballot measure but have their names kept secret.

    “We, the undersigned, John Does 1-7986, stand firmly behind our belief that gays must not be given the same rights as other people.” Very convincing.

    I guess it’s some kind of progress that it used to be gays and lesbians who felt they needed to wear paper bags over their heads to do things like march in Pride parades or advocate for removal of homosexuality from the DSM, and now it’s the other side. But seriously, if Harvey Milk could put himself on the line for what he believed, why can’t these cowards?

  10. 10
    Mandolin says:

    I have little hope of looking “beautiful” as I am a fat (smallish fat, but fat) woman (and am well aware that I still am closer to the strike zone than women without my white able-bodied cisgender privilege but that does not mean I am allowed to give up entirely. In fact I feel extra pressure as a fat woman to prove my “worth” by performing some version of female attractiveness just so people won’t write me off completely.

    I am a fat woman. A fatty fat fat fat woman. Fat. Not “smallish fat but fat.” Fat.

    There have been studies here indicating that fat women can to some extent mitigate negative treatment directed towards them by dressing “professionally.”

    If a thin person goes out in sweats and a t-shirt to do something casual? They are a thin person. A fat person doing similarly may be perceived as a slob, although you know, expectations differ.

    I am likely to be perceived as messy or slobby because fat is considered messy or slobby.

    So I get to counteract that.

    I get to counteract it by wearing shiny clothes all the time, and yes, by wearing makeup. To prove my feminine worth. I may be a messy fat person, but I am wearing something on my face that’s worth neatness points. And I may be an outspoken, fat woman, but I can’t be _that_ threatening, cuz I wear makeup and dresses.

  11. 11
    Elusis says:

    Mandolin – exactly.

  12. 12
    nobody.really says:

    Quote du jour:

    “Obama is not a brown-skinned anti-war socialist who gives away free healthcare. You’re thinking of Jesus.”
    John Fugelsang

  13. 13
    Charles S says:

    Mozilla has a universal subtitles project starting up, which struck me as pretty cool.

  14. 14
    Simple Truth says:

    I am so unhappy with this: Christian Right’s New Racial Playbook

    I can’t begin to even address the misogyny present in the quotes in this article. The only bright lining I can come up with is that if Republicans actually begin to try and recruit PoCs, they will be changed for the better by the diversity.

  15. 15
    RonF says:

    “Obama is not a brown-skinned anti-war socialist who gives away free healthcare. You’re thinking of Jesus.”

    True. Jesus gave away free healthcare through the power of the Lord. President Obama has no such power, so he can’t do that. He has to pay for it, and does so by taking money from unwilling people by force.

  16. 16
    RonF says:

    Without fanfare, the United Nations this week elected Iran to its Commission on the Status of Women, handing a four-year seat on the influential human rights body to a theocratic state in which stoning is enshrined in law and lashings are required for women judged “immodest.”

  17. 17
    RonF says:

    Other news from Iran:

    Women with suntans are violating Islamic law and will be arrested in Iran, the capital city’s police chief was reported by The Daily Telegraph as saying Wednesday.

    “The public expects us to act firmly and swiftly if we see any social misbehavior by women, and men, who defy our Islamic values,” Brigadier Hossien Sajedinia said.

    “In some areas of north Tehran we can see many suntanned women and young girls who look like walking mannequins,” he continued. “We are not going to tolerate this situation and will first warn those found in this manner and then arrest and imprison them.”