Open Thread and Link Farm, Catch 22 Subparagraph A Edition

Whoops, there are forty links here. I really should have posted this sooner.

  1. Maybe Voting Before Healthcare? | Noah Berlatsky on Patreon
    Noah argues, and I agree, that voting rights should be the top priority of Democrats, not Medicare For All.
  2. Republican House Majority Whip in the South Dakota legislature calls running over protesters ‘a movement we can all support’ – ThinkProgress
    The article includes another example of an elected politician, and also Fox News, promoting the idea that protestors should be run over.
  3. Forced-To-Penetrate Cases: Lived Experiences of Men (pdf link)
    A British survey of men who have been forced to penetrate (the paper’s term) by women. This is very interesting, although we should keep in mind that it’s a self-selected sample; I’d really like to similar questions asked by a large-scale survey using a more representative sample.
  4. Not Sorry Feminism: Dear Millennial Men
    A study finds that male students in college, in biology class, consistently see their female counterparts as less intelligent and accomplished, even in classes where the grade leaders are female. The female students had no corresponding bias. (Thanks, Grace!)
  5. How Black Women Have Impacted Feminism Over Time | Teen Vogue
  6. Neoliberal academia complex shows its ass: Harvard rejects Manning, Jones, unions
    But the only free speech problem on campus comes from the left. (Thanks, Grace!)
  7. Bernie Sanders Is Changing the Democratic Party’s Priorities – Bloomberg
    It doesn’t matter, for now, that his Medicare for All bill has no funding mechanism; the point is to raise the priority of Medicare for All as a core belief among Democrats. Other, wonkier politicians will work out the details if MFA becomes a central Democratic belief.
  8. Comics – Index of Multi-Panel Pans by Decade | THE PERIODIC FABLE
    I love these sorts of panels (where a background continues across multiple panels). I’ve long contemplated trying to do a full-length comic with a single continuous background.
  9. ICE Is Abusing the ACLU’s Clients Because They are Fighting Deportation | American Civil Liberties Union
    ” ICE appears to have ramped up its efforts to make the lives of Iraqis in custody so unbearable that they will “voluntarily” sign away their rights to reopen their immigration cases or pursue asylum. The Iraqis have been singled out and denied food, water, and access to the restroom.”
  10. The well-meaning harm of “the last acceptable discrimination.”
    An essay by a fat writer about a phrase she’d rather not hear.
  11. Single-payer isn’t the only progressive option on health care – Vox
    The goal should be universal coverage, not single payer.
  12. In Sync We Trust: Pop Music’s History of Lip-Syncing (and Lying About It)
  13. Reflections on Abjection and Fatphobia – Kiva Bay – Medium
    “What does it mean to separate a part of your body from your Self? To look in the mirror and tell yourself you are surrounded by some alien Other thing?”
  14. To Understand Rising Inequality, Consider the Janitors at Two Top Companies, Then and Now – The New York Times
    1980s at Kodac versus today at Apple. Alternative link.
  15. The generation game | Inside Story
    Regarding “baby boomers, generation X, and so on”: “I’ve now concluded that generational clichés are the ultimate zombie idea, easy to refute but impossible to kill.”
  16. How I Learned to Love Being a Hairy Lady – by Vreni
    Long-form cartoon, with nice drawings. Mostly autobio, but also some interesting stuff about the history of shaved legs.
  17. A Serf on Google’s Farm – Talking Points Memo
    How Google’s near-monopoly on many aspects of online publishing effects publishing.
  18. Two Circles by Micah Lexier – YouTube.
    “Two Circles” is an attractive but also unimpressive piece of public art, in the photos of it I’ve seen. But this video of the making of it is hypnotic.
  19. Deaf Advocates Call Oklahoma Police Shooting ‘Tragic but Not Surprising’ – NBC News
  20. Antifa Broke My Camera | New Republic
  21. The Resegregation of Jefferson County – The New York Times
  22. Trump supporter tries to get undocumented classmate deported, gets expelled from college
  23. Confessions From The Fattest Person At The Sex Party
    Content warning: Discussion of fax anxiety in an extremely anxiety-producing situation.
  24. Congress prepares to do the bare minimum to stabilize Obamacare – Vox
    And even that level of accomplishment may be a stretch.
  25. (1) The Adorkable Misogyny of The Big Bang Theory – YouTube
    Although honestly, one 20 minute video can barely scratch the surface of the sexism of this show.
  26. How to Distinguish Between Antifa, White Supremacists, and Black Lives Matter
  27. From Prison to Ph.D.: The Redemption and Rejection of Michelle Jones – The New York Times
    Harvard accepts, and then rejects, an applicant who served 20 years in prison for murdering her son – partly out of fear of what Fox News would say. The research Michelle Jones did (in prison!) is really impressive.
  28. David’s Ankles: How Imperfections Could Bring Down the World’s Most Perfect Statue – The New York Times
    A long read, but I liked it. (Although I have to admit I was more interested in the story of David than the parallel story of the author’s personal growth.) Indirect link.
  29. Study: Trump fans are much angrier about housing assistance when they see an image of a black man – Vox
  30. I posted a long thread on Twitter about the anger of anti-SJW comics fans, which to my surprise got a LOT of views and responses.
    ETA: Oh, and now someone has made it into a Storify, which may make for easier reading.
  31. Teacher accused of assaulting student who sat for Pledge | MLive.com
  32. Fuck The Pledge of Allegiance – Intelexual Media
  33. Inside The Federal Bureau Of Way Too Many Guns | GQ
    A federal bureau that is legally forbidden to use computer databases tries to track down guns for murder investigations.
  34. Consentacle: A Card Game of Human-Alien Intimacy by Naomi Clark — Kickstarter
    This looks like it could be a fun game. Thanks to Grace for the link.
  35. DACA’s Five-Year Anniversary: More than 100 Law Professors Support Legality of DACA
  36. How the Courts Have Devastated Organized Labor – Lawyers, Guns & Money
  37. Funnybook Babylon · Archives · Re-Coloring Moebius
    Examples and discussion of the horrendous recoloring of a comics classic. Although actually I think in the third example, it actually looks better in the newer colors; but in the first two examples, the recoloring is a travesty. Also, the choice to switch to a much more typical lettering font sucked.
  38. The problem with how men perceive rape
    “While writing this story, I heard from a number of different women who’d had sexual experiences that weren’t quite rape, but didn’t feel completely consensual either.”
  39. Comic strip: What If We Thought Of Gender Like Ice Cream? It Makes Sense, Here’s Why – Everyday Feminism
  40. The Effects of ‘Ban the Box’ on the Employment of Black Men | Econofact
    Research finds that if employers can’t ask if applicants have ever been convicted of a crime, they respond by increasing discrimination against young Black men. But then others argue that that interpretation of the studies is flawed (pdf link). There’s also a in-depth discussion in this paper from the Urban Institute (pdf link).

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64 Responses to Open Thread and Link Farm, Catch 22 Subparagraph A Edition

  1. 1
    Ortvin Sarapuu says:

    That forced to penetrate study was interesting.

    One thing that surprised me was how frequently the men described what happened to them as “rape”.

  2. 2
    Ampersand says:

    One thing that surprised me was how frequently the men described what happened to them as “rape”.

    I’m not sure how much stock I’d put in that. It seems plausible that men who describe what happened to them as “rape” are more likely to respond to a self-selected study. (I’m not saying this is true for certain, but I don’t think it’s a possibility we should dismiss.)

    (Of course, just because a man doesn’t describe something done to him as “rape,” doesn’t mean it wasn’t rape.)

  3. 3
    Ben Lehman says:

    I mean, I think, in general usage “forced to have sex with” is rape. That’s an extremely intuitive definition, even if it doesn’t match 1-1 with legal terminology.

    It’s pretty much only study authors who use “forced to penetrate.” It’s not like “forced to the penetrate” is any kind of natural language. But talking about women raping men is enormously threatening to patriarchal values, so academia retreats to formalism.

  4. 4
    Michael says:

    I’m not buying that Jones’s revocation of admission was a free speech issue. People thought she should be denied admission because she committed a violent crime. People can disagree about whether or not she deserves a second chance (and the “what would Fox say if a minority killer was let in” raises racial discrimination issues).
    The visiting fellowship to Manning being revoked is more questionable- as I understand it the idea was that people that had done questionable things on “both sides” were supposed to get visiting fellowships- e.g. Sean Spicer- but they agreed to let her speak, just not as a visiting fellow.
    “Isn’t Marvel currently publishing more titles per week than they have in decades, and maybe ever?”
    I don’t have statistics but there’s no way you’re going to convince me Marvel is publishing more titles per week now than in 1993.

  5. 5
    Ampersand says:

    “Isn’t Marvel currently publishing more titles per week than they have in decades, and maybe ever?”
    I don’t have statistics but there’s no way you’re going to convince me Marvel is publishing more titles per week now than in 1993.

    (The quote is from a tweet I wrote, if anyone’s wondering.)

    You’re right about that, I bet. But I think the “in decades” part might hold up (for this general time period, although not necessarily this year) – both Marvel and DC have been doing a saturate the market strategy this decade. (How many Bat books? How many Spider books?)

    When I was a kid, there were three Spider-Man books a month, and that seemed like a lot.

  6. 6
    Ortvin Sarapuu says:

    “I mean, I think, in general usage “forced to have sex with” is rape. That’s an extremely intuitive definition,”

    Oh yes, I totally agree.

    I mean, I think the men are absolutely correct to describe it this way. I guess I was just pessimistic about male assault survivor’s ability to correctly process what happened to them. Turns out my pessimism was at least partly misplaced.

  7. 7
    Ampersand says:

    Michael – If the US government (in this case, the CIA) puts pressure on a college to revoke an honor or disinvite a speaker – and the end result of this was, Manning did not speak at Harvard – that’s a free speech issue. The issue isn’t if Harvard can change their mind – of course they can – but that it’s not the government’s place to try and strike against dissidents in this way.

  8. 8
    desipis says:

    But talking about women raping men is enormously threatening to patriarchal values, so academia retreats to formalism.

    I think it’s more feminist values, rather than patriarchal ones, that deny that being “forced to penetrate” is rape. The traditional view is that it’s not practically possible. It’s the feminist view that it’s somehow a different category of wrong. It’s a distinction made to preserve a special victim status for women (“rape victim”) to garner sympathy for their cause, and to preserve a special offender category (“rapist”) with which to metaphorically bludgeon all men.

  9. 9
    desipis says:

    And in the left-wing threats to free speech category, there’s this:

    A researcher has been refused permission to study cases of people who have surgery to reverse gender reassignment by a university that said it risked generating controversy on social media sites.

    Mr Caspian also asked if he could post a request on an online forum for people working in this field — the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) — as a means of recruiting participants.

    He was told this would require a new submission to the university’s ethics sub-committee which, after discussion with the dean of the relevant department, rejected this request. On the sub-committee’s rejection form, it said: “Engaging in a potentially ‘politically incorrect’ piece of research carries a risk to the university.

    “Attacks on social media may not be confined to the researcher but may involve the university.”

    Under a section on ethical issues needing further consideration, it added: “The posting of unpleasant material on blogs or social media may be detrimental to the reputation of the university.”

  10. 10
    Ortvin Sarapuu says:

    @desipis: I know you’re not coming from a place of sympathy to feminism, but I’m going to engage anyway.

    It’s true that -some- feminists (and I won’t even claim they are an especially small group of feminists, although they’re not a majority) will try to claim that aggressiveness and willingness to use violence are innately male traits, and that they would argue that men can’t be raped by women, or that when they are it’s not as severe. (Just to clarify I’m not dealing with imaginary feminists, I’m reminded of Roxane Gay’s claim that the plot of Lord of the Flies couldn’t happen if all the characters were women).

    However, it’s worth noting that the people drawing attention to men being raped by women are mostly feminists, or at least not anti-feminists. And none of the headline goals of the feminist movement around rape (easier reporting, more police attention, stronger sentences for rapists) would do anything but make life easier for male rape victims.

    That’s not to say that there might not be some specific things that male victims need that female victims don’t, and these may not be things that the feminist movement as a whole is pushing towards. But it is a long stretch from saying what I just said, to saying feminism as a whole makes life harder for male rape victims.

  11. Desipis wrote:

    I think it’s more feminist values, rather than patriarchal ones, that deny that being “forced to penetrate” is rape. The traditional view is that it’s not practically possible. It’s the feminist view that it’s somehow a different category of wrong. It’s a distinction made to preserve a special victim status for women (“rape victim”) to garner sympathy for their cause, and to preserve a special offender category (“rapist”) with which to metaphorically bludgeon all men.

    Except that, broadly speaking, we owe both the fact that sexual violence against men is recognized as sexual violence in the first place and the fact that there is now an entire field devoted to helping male survivors heal to feminist values.

    It was the women in the feminist movement that first did the work of elevating sexual violence to the level of seriousness with which we now take it. It is a feminist value that we say that men and boys who are violated are not at fault in their own violation; when someone says that–specifically apropos of being “forced to penetrate”–erection does not equal consent, they are expressing a feminist value about the nature of consent. When someone argues that we should not describe as a “sexual relationship”–which is how the media often describe it–say, the sexual violation of a high school junior by the woman who is his biology teacher, they are arguing based on a feminist value about how we should not normalize sexual violence. I could go on and on.

    It is a patriarchal value that men ought to be physically impervious to violation; that the fact of having been violated, especially by a woman, is somehow unmanning; that the fact of having been violated by a man will somehow make you gay; and so on. Those values are at the heart of why sexual violence against men is so under-recognized and why male survivors of such violence still suffer the kind of denial and dismissal that we do–and that is, not incidentally, similar (though not identical) to the kind of denial and dismissal that female victims suffered (far more than they do now) before the women’s movement forced us as a society not to look away.

    This does not mean, of course, that feminisms are not without their blind spots. (I use the plural because feminism is anything but a monolithic political or intellectual/analytical project.) Nor does it mean that individual feminists are not, and loudly so, willfully blind, insensitive, self-centered or just in-good-faith inaccurate or wrong in how they think about the question of sexual violence against men. Nor does it mean that the current feminist political/analytical framework is the best one within which to understand sexual violence against men. But it is feminists themselves who are starting to do the work of figuring that out, not people who express the values that desipis expressed in his comment.

    So, for example, feminists are making essential contributions to the work of getting sexual violence against men in war recognized as sexual violence (which it has not been), both for purposes of prosecuting the perpetrators and for treating and compensating survivors. (Here is one article.) I’ve written a little bit about one of the problems with the approach that article takes here, but that problem does not change the fact that feminists are having, and in large measure driving, this conversation.

    The idea of a female perpetrator–though I would point out that “being made to penetrate” could be applied in cases with a male perpetrator as well–is one of the blind spots within the current feminist political/analytical framework. It is destabilizing of a lot of feminist analysis, both because there is a tendency to romanticize women as being if not incapable of wanting to sexually violate another human being, then certainly far less prone to desire to do so, and because there is no political category into which to put this kind of violation. I mean this: Sexual violence committed by men tends to serve the purpose of, or at least fit within, the systemic and gendered subjugation of the people they violate, whether those people are men or women. As of now, as far as I know, there is no similarly systemic analysis of sexual violence committed by women. This does not mean, however, that such an analysis is not possible within feminism and it certainly does not mean that, as desipis wrote, “it’s more feminist values, rather than patriarchal ones, that deny that being ‘forced to penetrate’ is rape.”

    (And, I just have to add, if you think men who have been violated by women are invisible, dismissed, denied, etc.; imagine what it must be like to be, as someone I know is, a woman who was sexually violated by a woman, in this case, her own mother.)

  12. 12
    Ampersand says:

    AFAIK, the term “made to penetrate” was coined by the CDC in this 2014 report. If the CDC didn’t coin the term, they certainly popularized it. The British study used “forced to penetrate,” but it seems possible the researchers were influenced by the CDC’s report, which I believe is widely known within the field.

    I don’t think the anti-feminist narrative – that the CDC, being made of radical feminists (which isn’t what Desipis said, but I’ve seen MRAs make that claim), chose the term to cover up the fact that some men have been raped by women – holds much water. If that was the CDC’s goal, then why ask questions about “made to penetrate” at all? Why publish the results?

    I’m also not sure about Ben’s narrative. The CDC has been a leader in researching rape and getting rape taken seriously as a public health problem, which I think goes against any certainty that their research is designed to support patriarchal values.

    My guess is that the term, at least in part, reflects not politics, but the government’s internal bureaucratic biases towards caution and trying to avoid controversy.

    I wonder if the CDC researchers weren’t also being extra cautious because of the contradictory nature of their results – in which “made to penetrate” – that is, rape of men by women – was either as prevalent as rape of women, or much less prevalent, depending on whether one looks at “in the last 12 months” or “lifetime” results.

    The British report is fairly clear that it’s using “forced to penetrate” because such assaults are not considered “rape” within current British law; my impression from reading the report is that the authors believe forced to penetrate should be legally called rape.

    That said, it’s clearly true that there are feminists who’d want to reserve the term “rape” for rapes perpetrated by men. Mary Koss has said that, for example. That’s appalling and wrong. In my anecdotal experience, that attitude is more common among radical feminists and older feminists, and I suspect it’s going to fade over time as the influence of both radical feminists and of that generation fades.

  13. 13
    Ampersand says:

    Desipis: Thanks for linking to the story about the refused study by James Caspian. That is appalling.

    ETA:

    Interestingly, it looks like Caspian’s study design was initially accepted. Then, after he couldn’t find enough willing participants in the study, he changed the study design and it was rejected. I wonder why the change? It’s possible that it’s something as simple as different people being on the committee at different points in time.

    It bothers me that we’re only seeing selected outtakes from the rejection form, rather than the entire form. The outtakes we’ve seen are appalling. But unless we can see the entire rejection form, there’s a possibility that there were other, more legitimate ethical concerns regarding Caspian’s study design, that the right-wing Times has left out. However, even if that were the case, the bits that the Times quoted are inexcusable.

  14. 14
    Ben Lehman says:

    It’s funny that people think when I say “patriarchal values” I’m excluding feminism from that. Feminism, as a social movement, exists in the context of a patriarchal society. It’s also an extremely heterogeneous ideological movement. Of course it contains patriarchal values! How could it not?

    Similarly, that the law refuses to classify rape committed by women as rape, and that researchers are more than willing to go along with that definition, is an expression of the patriarchal values of the society making the classification.

    (“Patriarchal values” of course, is also a fairly diverse ideological set. “Men can’t be raped,” “men can’t be raped by women,” “women can do something that’s like rape to men but it isn’t rape,” “men can be raped but they enjoy it (implied: so it’s okay),” and “women are constantly trying to seduce/rape men” are all examples of patriarchal attitudes towards rape, women, and men which I’ve had said to me, personally. It’s a broad ideology.)

    I appreciate this particular researcher’s willingness to both work on a taboo topic and her quite forthright and well-said argument that we should start classifying the rape of men by women as “rape.” It is, frankly, courageous work, and I commend her for it. I imagine that she is doing the best she can in the context of an extremely difficult social situation.

  15. 15
    LTL FTC says:

    Re: #1

    It’s a little dispiriting to see Dems taking swipes along familiar Bernie/Hillary lines for priorities when they win. If they win.

    Berlatsky makes a common mistake: he talks about voting rights like it’s a national issue. In fact, nearly all the policy action is going on at the state level. The feds can pass an updated VRA (good luck), a Democratic DOJ could investigate and sue (and appeal to Gorsuch & Co.), but the people removing polling places and messing with ID requirements are doing so in the statehouses Dems have ignored for years.

    Congress can work on Medicare while state-level Dems can … spring into existence in half the country where they are all but obliterated?

    Berlatsky doesn’t get federalism. He’s displaying this as part of the asinine battle between old enemies over theoretical (and increasingly unlikely) spoils. People pay him money for this. Ugh.

  16. “Forced/made to penetrate” is a useful expression, I think, because it broadens the metaphors through which we understand what violation is. Typically, rape is understood as a penetrative violation, regardless of the gender of the perpetrator or victim; indeed, I would guess that is true for how we understand sexual violence in general: one person (usually a man) willfully and without invitation penetrates the boundaries of another boy/man or girl/woman. The physiological source of this understanding is obvious.

    The idea that being pulled/pushed across that boundary, that being engulfed on the other side of that boundary, is also a violation requires a different metaphorical model, and this is useful and important because it broadens our notion of where power lies and how power can be used to exploit others. I realize that I’m talking at a level of abstraction far removed from actual perpetrators and survivors, so let me state outright that it is far more important to talk about them than about this nascent idea I am trying to express.

    My point in trying to express it, though, was to suggest that if we want the word rape to denote forced sex of any sort, not just the typical man-on-other scenario, then we need a metaphor that will normalize “being made to penetrate” as a violation in the same way that uninvited penetration is intuitively understood to be a violation.

  17. 17
    desipis says:

    I don’t have a huge issue with “made to penetrate”, so long as it’s considered a category within rape, rather than a category separate from it. However, also I don’t think it’s the best phrase to approach the issue. One key issue is that it fails include manual stimulation in the same way rape generally includes digital penetration.

    The focus ought to be on the psychological violation. To keep the “penetration” conception, one could say that it’s the penetration of one’s sexual psyche via the physiology of genitalia or anal nerves. Concepts of “corruption” or “desecration” could apply as well as “penetration”; I think “desecration” works well given the implication that one’s sexual psyche ought to be considered sacred.

    It’s this violation that distinguishes rape from other kinds of penetrative violations; for example being stabbed with a knife. It could be labelled a “pudenal assault/violation”, although that’s something unlikely to spread beyond academic circles. Obviously causing pregnancy or transmission of STDs, or simply the apprehension thereof, would still be significant aggravating factors in particular circumstances (along with any physical injury).

  18. 18
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    I absolutely LOVE this thread’s cover picture. Brilliant.

  19. 19
    Nancy Lebovitz says:

    My impression is that some feminists believe that attention to injuries done to men will take attention and resources away from injuries done to women.

  20. 20
    Mandolin says:

    Nancy – probably? But I would expect this effect to be lessening.

  21. 21
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    Not Sorry Feminism: Dear Millennial Men
    A study finds that male students in college, in biology class, consistently see their female counterparts as less intelligent and accomplished, even in classes where the grade leaders are female. The female students had no corresponding bias.

    No, not at all.

    More accurately:
    1) They ARE NOT more likely to think males are accomplished; they are more likely to think the “most accomplished” students are male. As the authors note, these are often the “celebrity” students. That’s a crucial difference. As noted below, the very top students are not often those who get a lot of nominations.

    2) This DOES NOT happen “even when the grade leaders are female” because that situation did not exist. None of the grade leaders were female; the highest GPAs in each class were held by men.

    3) In any case, what they are referring to as “accomplished” is not, as it turns out, that. People being who they were, it was immensely linked to the quality of being “outspoken,” which is a measure of class participation. Obviously, both participation and the social cues related to being outspoken are really complex. The use of the word “celebrity” serves the authors well. Unfortunately, this measure (which the authors agree is crucial) is a simple yes/no, which is like measuring Mission Impossible actors as “famous” without accounting for any difference between Tom Cruise and Kristin Scott Thomas.

    4) Men do better overall, and much better at the top. Not only are the male “average” GPAs higher as a whole (though not by much), but the top students (not the top 10%, but the top of the top) are mostly male.

    5) For example, look at figure S4, S5, and S6. There is a bunch of students who cluster around the 4.0. The M-F distribution at the top is 4-4; 7-5; and 12-7, for a total difference of 23 men and 16 women. That doesn’t seem all that bad until you remember that the group is 57% women. Very roughly, men are twice as likely to end up in the very top group–even though “membership in the very top group” does not seem to be that tends to lead towards bias.

    5a) I never know: is it fair to use the word ‘bias” when you’re accurate? If you were laying a bet on a random student about “are they accomplished?” you would have much much better odds to bet on a man. If women don’t do that, which group is biased?

    6) It seems that their GPA control may not be done well since they do not appear to account for the non-linear issues w/r/t grades. Which is to say that it’s a lot easier to go from a 3.0 to a 3.2, than it is to go from a 3.8 to a 4.0, as any hyper-motivated gunner will attest. Not to mention that there is a hard limit at the top so highest scores do not reflect actual skill; your measure needs to account for the bound. If anything this affects men more, since they are over-represented at the top; see #4 and 5.

    6) Anyway, the study is mostly probative of the fact that some male students seem to be way more popular in bio class than other students. But as for the reported claims… well, not so much.

  22. 22
    Jeff says:

    I don’t think the anti-feminist narrative – that the CDC, being made of radical feminists (which isn’t what Desipis said, but I’ve seen MRAs make that claim), chose the term to cover up the fact that some men have been raped by women – holds much water. If that was the CDC’s goal, then why ask questions about “made to penetrate” at all? Why publish the results?

    That said, it’s clearly true that there are feminists who’d want to reserve the term “rape” for rapes perpetrated by men. Mary Koss has said that, for example.

    And Mary Koss worked for the CDC at and around the time “forced to penetrate” started to enter their language. I can’t speak for all anti-feminists, but I don’t think that Koss was particularly subtle about wanting to make substantive differences in policy between male and female victims of rape. And my perception of that is that her brand of feminism informed the decisions that effected those actions.

    I don’t believe that the entire CDC was staffed by radical feminists…. I just think there were a couple I could name. And I’m not saying they were trying to cover up male victims of rape, they were just trying to say they weren’t *rape* raped.

  23. 23
    Jeff says:

    And as a slight aside to number 6, It hits me that at the time that decision was made, there wasn’t a good one.

    I think that the average person that thinks it was a good idea to grant Chelsea a fellowship might have a hard time articulating the reason why she should be granted that honor, especially without using the word “trans”. She’s a convicted felon, a traitor, poorly spoken, not especially educated, and even the press releases from Harvard didn’t really sing her praises outside of her being their first trans fellow. I think this is the kind of situation administrations get into when they start to look for token recipients of honors. God knows there are more interesting, educated, better spoken trans people out there than Chelsea Manning. Caitlyn Jenner springs immediately to mind.

    But they did invite her. And so at that point Harvard had to weigh the positive and negative outcomes of continuing to regard Chelsea as a fellow… The negatives being things like the continuing resignations of other fellows, the prospect of angering donors, the continued negative spotlight, ect. And the positives being… I’m at a loss. Diversity?

    The decision to dis-invite was a decision that I think the smart calculus lead to one way or the other, but I think you have a point in bringing up the free speech issue. Even if it was a decision that Harvard would have arrived at naturally, even the appearance of government intervention in the fellowship process is a horrible precedent.

    I’d like to think that were Harvard to decide on it’s own to continue on with Chelsea’s honor, they would have. One of the things I really admire about America is the population at large’s propensity to question and reject authority. When in other nations, the answer to a government demand to jump might be to question “How High?” In America, the timeless answer is “Fuck off.” It’s wonderful. Which is why despite not having a lot of sympathy for Kaepernick, when Trump told NFL players to stand or be fired, I felt it was the proper, American answer to take a knee.

  24. 24
    Ampersand says:

    and even the press releases from Harvard didn’t really sing her praises outside of her being their first trans fellow.

    Link, please?

  25. 25
    Ampersand says:

    As far as I can tell, the only “press release” before they pulled their fellow invite was this one paragraph, part of a larger press release announcing several fellows:

    Chelsea E. Manning is a Washington D.C. based network security expert and former U.S. Army intelligence analyst. She speaks on the social, technological and economic ramifications of Artificial Intelligence through her op-ed columns for The Guardian and The New York Times. As a trans woman, she advocates for queer and transgender rights as @xychelsea on Twitter. Following her court martial conviction in 2013 for releasing confidential military and State Department documents, President Obama commuted her 35-year sentence, citing it as “disproportionate” to the penalties faced by other whistleblowers. She served seven years in prison.

    I don’t see any overwhelming emphasis on her being trans there; it was mentioned in literally one sentence. That does seem to be the only thing you noticed when you read it, though.

    The program seems to exist to give students a chance to connect with either well-known experts or well-known public figures who have in some way interacted with important public issues. Chelsea Manning certainly seems at least as qualified and interesting a figure as, say, Fox News talking heads Mary Katharine Ham and Guy Benson. Or Ed Asner, who is a longtime activist, but there are lots of more important activists who don’t happen to be TV stars. Or Karen Finney (who once had an involvement in politics – she was a Clinton spokesman for a while – but is mainly a TV host).

    All of these people, even the Fox ones, have had access to or participation in important events or institutions. If Harvard thinks that their students might benefit from talking to, or interacting with, these people, that seems like a good enough reason to me.

    That said, that she is a well-known trans activist is a legitimate reason for a political program to be interested in Manning (although not the only reason). Trans issues are being dealt with by legislatures and courts fairly frequently, and it seems likely to become a more prominent issue in the future. In addition, her life experience has given her, I imagine, an interesting perspective on intelligence, on foreign policy, on whisteblowers, on the prison system, and on public notoriety, all of which are interesting and relevant topics.

  26. 26
    Humble Talent says:

    I mean… I said:

    and even the press releases from Harvard didn’t really sing her praises outside of her being their first trans fellow.

    And maybe that was being uncharitable, but I mean, really… What’s in there? She works in tech, is trans, and went to jail? Juxtapose that with any of the fellowship announcements in this release and the shallowness of that resume is stark.

    http://iop.harvard.edu/about/newsletter-press-release/institute-politics-harvard-kennedy-school-announces-additional

    For example,

    Mayor Sylvester “Sly” James, Jr. is serving his second term as Mayor of Kansas City, Missouri after entering the office in 2011. Accomplishments from his six years in office include deploying the nation’s largest SMART City technology, modernizing and expanding public transit including a downtown streetcar system, a 20 percent improvement in third grade reading proficiency, and a 20-year infrastructure repair package. James serves in a leadership capacity on various civic boards, as well as the African American Mayors Association and the National Conference of Democratic Mayors. Following his service in the Marines, James practiced law for nearly 30 years.

  27. 27
    Jameson Quinn says:

    On #1 (“voting rights first”): I absolutely agree. And voting rights include not just the right to cast a vote, but the right to have that vote count equally, without being diluted by gerrymandering. Here’s an article I wrote recently that relates to this issue.

  28. 28
    desipis says:

    I’m looking at the picture and wondering if it’s a full original work, or if someone added eyes and cookies to an existing piece.

  29. 29
    David Simon says:

    @desipis Zooming in, it looks like an edited version of this woodprint. The parts of the wave that aren’t covered by the eyes and cookies match up in the little details.

  30. 30
    Ampersand says:

    Chelsea Manning is neither the most nor the least impressive person that’s ever been invited under this program.

    It seems you’re trying to change the subject. No one is claiming that she’s the most impressive person ever invited. The point is, the CIA put pressure on Harvard to (in effect) fire a well-known whistleblower and political dissident, and Harvard gave in. Anyone who actually cared about free speech – rather than just pretending to care about free speech when it can be used as a partisan cudgel – should see the danger in that.

    Who cares that you don’t think she’s an impressive speaker? That’s completely besides the point. She could be the least impressive speaker in the world – she could literally be a three year old who can barely put sentences together – and I STILL would think it’s wrong for the government to pressure Harvard to fire her.

  31. 31
    Ortvin Sarapuu says:

    Amp is right. However impressive or unimpressive Manning may be, I doubt that the CIA put the pressure on Harvard because the CIA was concerned with Harvard’s academic or pedagogical standards. Saying “it’s OK the CIA forced her out because she’s not that good at being a fellow” is like saying it’s OK to blackmail somebody to resign their job as long as they’re a lazy worker. (Or, to be more precise, they’re not the hardest working person in the company).

  32. 32
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    I STILL would think it’s wrong for the government to pressure Harvard to fire her.

    Where’s the line?

    1) Nobody should be able to pressure Harvard to rescind anything.
    This is silly; I am confident that is not your position.

    2) It’s OK as a general rule if fellows give pressure, but there’s a ban on pressure from any fellows who used to be in the government (for example, an ex-director of the CIA)
    This seems like a stretch and I am pretty confident this is not your position. There are a ton of ex-government folks and they are private individuals; they can do what they want.

    3) It’s OK as a general rule if fellows give pressure, including ex-directors, but there’s a ban on pressure from any Harvard person who is currently associated with the government (a faculty member who is in the Reserves)
    This doesn’t make much sense either. Plenty of Harvard faculty (and students) have some sort of association with some government entity. The government likes to consult smart people, after all. And current military service is a weird bar. It’s one thing if the relationship is secret (which some of them probably are, CIA and all) but if it’s fully disclosed, as here, then everyone can hear or discount their input as they wish.

    4) There’s a ban on pressure from anyone who is currently associated with the government, including people who have no obligation to Harvard at all other than as honorees (a current director of the CIA), because that is akin to “government pressure.”
    Is this your position? Or is it something else entirely?

  33. 33
    Michael says:

    Let’s not romanticize Manning here. Amp is describing her as a “whistleblower and political dissident”. The fact is that the info she leaked to WikiLeaks contained the names of people that aided the American forces. It’s a miracle no one was killed. Plus, Assange seems to be Putin’s best buddy nowadays. How do we know he wasn’t back when she leaked the data?
    Now arguably Spicer and Lewandowski are no better. And government pressure to rescind Manning’s fellowship is inexcusable. But let’s not make a hero out of Manning.

  34. 34
    desipis says:

    gin-and-whiskey: I think the obvious answer is pressure from someone who has sufficient discretionary governmental power to significantly impact Harvard as an institution.

    It seems strange to me you would conflate “pressure from government” with pressure from anyone merely “associated” with government.

  35. 35
    RonF says:

    I thought you all might find this interesting:

    As Tom Cruise gets older, his on-screen love interests stay the same age

    It’s a well-known fact that Hollywood likes to pair older men with younger women. And to be clear, there’s nothing wrong with an age gap between two consenting adults. According to the 2013 US Census, 4.8 percent of heterosexual married couples included a husband 10-15 years his wife’s senior.

    The problem, rather, is that Hollywood doesn’t really care about showcasing the stories of that 4.8 percent so much as normalizing the expectation that women are only romance material when they’re in their mid-20s/early-30s, whereas men are free to age and remain conceivably f—able.

    OTOH:

    American Made premieres this week, bringing two reunions with it: Tom Cruise and Edge of Tomorrow director Doug Liman, and Tom Cruise and his ever-growing age gap with his female co-stars. Sarah Wright (who plays Cruise’s wife in the film) was born in 1983 just a couple months after the premiere of Risky Business, making her 22 years Cruise’s junior. Which is somewhat uncomfortable.

    Maybe uncomfortable to you. Doesn’t mean it’s uncomfortable to the people that would potentially be buying the tickets. Which will not include me, so I don’t have a dog in this hunt.

  36. 36
    RonF says:

    Michael:

    The fact is that the info she leaked to WikiLeaks contained the names of people that aided the American forces. It’s a miracle no one was killed.

    How do you know nobody was killed?

    And to be even more precise, Manning is a convicted felon, convicted of violating the Espionage Act, stealing government property, violating of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and of multiple counts of disobeying orders. Manning’s sentence was commuted; there was no pardon, so the conviction stands.

    Whistleblower? I do confess I forget. Did the released information show that government officials had broken the law?

  37. 37
    RonF says:

    Re: #22 – in reading through the links all that can be confirmed is that the Trump-supporting student in question is no longer enrolled at the university. Despite the headline there is no way to confirm that he was expelled.

  38. 38
    nobody.really says:

    On autism and gender:

    • A study of 3D facial maps shows that pre-pubescent kids on the autism spectrum tend to have more masculine features (mostly related to the position of the nose and upper lip), and kids with the greatest social and communication difficulties have the most pronounced masculine features. (Memo to Young Sheldon….)

    • A brain imaging study showed that autistic females tend to have resting connectivity patterns more characteristic of neurotypical males—but autistic males tend to have resting connectivity patterns more characteristic of neurotypical females. The authors concluded that this finding lent “support to the notion that [autism] may constitute a disorder of sexual differentiation or androgeny rather than a disorder characterized by masculinization in both genders.” (Memo to Big Bang Theory….)

    • Perhaps coincidentally, kids with autism are 7.59 times more likely to “express gender variance.” See also the hashtag #AutisticTransPride.

  39. 39
    Chris says:

    Did the released information show that government officials had broken the law?

    Yes.

    https://www.counterpunch.org/2013/08/21/what-bradley-manning-revealed/

  40. 40
    Jeff says:

    It seems you’re trying to change the subject. No one is claiming that she’s the most impressive person ever invited. The point is, the CIA put pressure on Harvard to (in effect) fire a well-known whistleblower and political dissident, and Harvard gave in. Anyone who actually cared about free speech – rather than just pretending to care about free speech when it can be used as a partisan cudgel – should see the danger in that.

    I think you’re redefining what “government” is. Is the CIA the sum of it’s employees? Do employees that work for the CIA forfeit their freedom of speech? How about their freedom of association? When you first broached the subject, I had assumed that the CIA had actually put out a statement, which I would agree to be inappropriate, but all too common, especially in this era where Trump opens his big fat dumb mouth on damn near everything he shouldn’t… But apparently that assumption was bad, and you’re merely talking about Michael Pompeo cancelling an event.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but if I’m not, that’s awful logic. While freedom of speech is important, the mere invocation of the term cannot be wielded as a cudgel to force specific performance from individuals, even ones that work as heads of government departments. As progressives are so fond of saying: Freedom of Speech is not Freedom from Consequences, and while the withholding of one’s performance might be seen as consequential, and might even be seen as chilling speech, the fact of the matter is that failure to perform has never been seen as a free speech issue. Obama was not required by the tenets of free speech to speak at Heritage Foundation events, on pain of violating the first amendment, because the withholding of his time was a punishment for their exercise of free speech.

    This seems like, and again, correct me if I’m wrong… But this seems like the kind of assertion someone might make when they aren’t particularly familiar with the enumerated rights, but thought that the plain reading of them aligned with their goals, and used them while it was convenient.

  41. 41
    Jeff says:

    Whistleblower? I do confess I forget. Did the released information show that government officials had broken the law?

    I admit, I’m foggy on the release details, but I’m almost certain they did.

    The level at which people care on this issue changes from person to person… Some people care no further than that government documents were leaked (Oh how the pendulum swings!), some people think it hinges on whether or not the leaked documents showed illegal activity, some people think it hinges on the risks to the lives of soldiers and support staff.

    I admit, my sympathies lie more with the last. The difference between Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden is stark, and mostly in that Snowden actually followed what would have approximated the normal process for whistleblowing had rules for whistleblowing actually exists for their classification of information. He wasn’t perfect… leaking to a domestic news organisation would have been superior to the Guardian, but alas. Under no circumstances would leaking information to wikileaks, an entity with relationships to entities contrary to American interests (Like Russia! Oh how the pendulum swings!) normally be considered leaking.

    The difference might have been in experience. It’s possible that (I’ve never been clear on how to refer to trans people in the parts of history before they transitioned, should I have used Bradley or Chelsea here? Regardless!) Manning simply did not know the proper procedure, but it was a difference that had every possibility of deadly harm, and I don’t think that can be discounted.

  42. 42
    Ampersand says:

    But apparently that assumption was bad, and you’re merely talking about Michael Pompeo cancelling an event.

    If he had merely cancelled his appearance, without commenting on Manning, that would be something else entirely. If here were merely an “employee,” rather than the director of the CIA, that could make a difference.

    But neither of these suppositions are true. He is the director of the CIA. And he did speak up publicly against Harvard choosing Manning as a fellow. That’s not something the director of the CIA should do.

  43. 43
    Jeff says:

    But neither of these suppositions are true. He is the director of the CIA. And he did speak up publicly against Harvard choosing Manning as a fellow. That’s not something the director of the CIA should do.

    I think we agree on what happened, but disagree on interpretation. Even Trump’s bluster about the NFL players, which I desperately wish he’d shut his dumb yap about, is almost certainly protected by the first amendment, even if it’s grossly inappropriate for him to be doing so (and it is.).

    In this case, yes, Pompeo is the director of the CIA, but announcing his withdrawal and reasoning can’t possibly be a free speech issue, even if you think that as CIA director it’s inappropriate for him to do so (a position, I admit, I’m pondering. I might agree).

  44. 44
    Ampersand says:

    Jeff, “free speech” and “the first amendment” are overlapping issues, but they are not interchangeable terms. I agree that Pompeo’s statements – and, for that matter, Trump calling for people to be fired for making political statement he disagrees with – are protected by the first amendment.* But that doesn’t mean that it isn’t a free speech issue.

    (*I’m not a lawyer; It’s possible a lawyer could come up with exceptions to this. But I think this is generally true.)

  45. 45
    Sebastian H says:

    Manning was definitely a whistleblower. She revealed all sorts of illegal military acts, especially regarding the targeting of civilians in Afghanistan. I tend to think that she should have been protected as a whistleblower, not prosecuted as a leaker.

    That said, I want to correct the record a bit. She wasn’t disinvited from her talk. She had the designation ‘fellow’ removed. It is a bullshit upper class title thing so I have no real insight on who deserves it and who doesn’t, but we should be clear that she was not disinvited.

    Jeff, I’m not sure if I’m understanding you properly, but it seems like you are approaching the idea that speech can’t be a threat to free speech (because free speech is permitted?). But it can.

    If George argues that Marty should not be allowed to speak about racial issues because they are too dangerous, George is freely speaking a way that tends to attack free speech. And if enough people listen to him it could become a threat to free speech.

    If I argue that George is wrong, but I am willing to let him make his case publicly, I am not a threat to free speech even though I am strongly disagreeing with someone and wish that most people wouldn’t agree with him.

    If I argue that George is wrong, and should not be allowed to make his views public because they are dangerous to free speech, I am now attacking free speech.

    If I argue that George is wrong and point a gun at him (threatening him with death or bodily injury) while saying mild sounding things like “I wish he wouldn’t talk about silencing Marty”, I am now attacking free speech because of the implicit threat.

    The question is how much of an implicit threat is too much? I’m not sure about the CIA director, though it kind of seems like a big deal. I’m pretty sure that I don’t like it when a POTUS does it because he has a lot of implicit threats at his disposal ESPECIALLY when he has already shown a willingness to go around institutional safeguards for political purposes.

  46. 46
    Jeff says:

    Amp @44

    I’m aware of the distinction, and I admit I phrased my comment poorly… touche.

    I think I changed from “First amendment” to “free speech” between Trump and Pompeo because I view Trump’s comments as a free speech issue, but not Pompeo’s. And the difference, at least in my mind, which I’m working out, is that Trump actually called for action (“fire the sons of bitches”), where Pompeo just explained himself and walked away.

    Government officials, especially on controversial decisions, will by the nature of their position signal displeasure in certain ways that could be seen as chilling free speech…. And maybe they should endeavor to walk quietly with their big sticks…. But they’re still entitled to their speech.

    Sebastian @45

    I didn’t mean to infer that speech is never a threat to free speech, there are obvious situations where it is, and you lined a couple of them out. I’m saying that in this case, I don’t think Pompeo’s comments and withdrawal constitute a real threat to free speech. People need to be cognizant of the weight that they have to throw around, but it’s important that we still recognize the right of even the most important of individuals to speak freely, because if we say they aren’t allowed to, then THAT is also a freedom of speech problem.

  47. 47
    Ampersand says:

    but it’s important that we still recognize the right of even the most important of individuals to speak freely, because if we say they aren’t allowed to, then THAT is also a freedom of speech problem.

    I literally cannot think of a less pressing free speech issue than worrying about if the powerful will retain their ability to speak out if they want to.

  48. 48
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    There is no option I like.

    1) Pompeo canceling and talking about it seems odd.
    2) Pompeo cancelling and being forbidden (in an ethical sense, not a legal one) from talking about why, also seems odd.
    3) Pompeo feeling obligated to keep the arrangement even though he strongly opposes it and does not want to speak seems odd.

    Unlike Amp I slightly lean towards allowing Pompeo to do what he wants, though I’m not at all convinced of the superiority of my position.

    Mostly I feel like the real discussion is different: If we’re concerned about government pressure then we shouldn’t allow current government appointees to be Harvard fellows in the first place. But I’m willing to bet that Harvard would not like that arrangement. And if the folks that run Harvard (who are very capable of making decisions) are comfortable with the tradeoff, I am not sure I think we should override it.

  49. 49
    Jeff says:

    Oh, I’m not going to pretend it’s even close to being in the ballpark of a pressing free speech issue, but it is an issue related to free speech, and you don’t generally find situations where you forward the goals of liberty by, even impotently, suggesting the curtailing of rights of others.

  50. 50
    Ampersand says:

    Jeff:

    …even impotently, suggesting the curtailing of rights of others.

    G&W:

    Unlike Amp I slightly lean towards allowing Pompeo to do what he wants,

    Both of these statements are dishonest. I have neither suggested that Pompeo’s rights be curtailed, nor that he shouldn’t be allowed to do what he wants.

  51. 51
    Fibi says:

    I literally cannot think of a less pressing free speech issue than worrying about if the powerful will retain their ability to speak out if they want to

    I actually think this is very wrong. When we inhibit the ability of officials to speak freely we establish a new norm, and it’s not a good one. How often do officials hide behind “we don’t comment on open investigations” to avoid being accountable? Do we really want to establish a norm that high government officials should not be able to express agreement or disagreement with a group? I worry this would just make it easier for politicians to avoid being held accountable. Don’t we want Republican congressmen to feel accountable to the voters when they speak to far right groups? Shouldn’t we be able to challenge that? Do we want a world where everyone is safe giving a Spartan response of “I can’t comment on the views held by that group.”

    A large part of the right to free speech is the right to listen. Limiting the right of government officials to speak limits our right to hear their views, and to challenge them.

    I recognize the comment I am replying to was in context. And I am somewhat troubled by the public actions of the CIA Director here. This is a tough case, but when it comes to public officials it’s less that they have a right to free speech and more that we all have a right to put them on the spot.

  52. 52
    Harlequin says:

    As a note, it is very normal for some government employees to be restricted from certain kinds of speech, particularly political speech, when acting in their capacity as government employees. And that can be as little as mentioning where they work: a document went around within my field expressing support for victims of sexual harassment, and all the signatories I knew at national labs listed their affiliation as “private citizen.”

    The rules may be more relaxed for senior officials, and they obviously are and should be for elected officials (though they have their own rules). But it is already a normal and accepted and long-standing practice that government employees have restricted speech while acting, or appearing to act, in an official capacity, and this doesn’t seem to have affected our general free speech overmuch. As Pompeo’s current role was, I’m sure, at least partially responsible for the initial interest and invitation, and as he explicitly mentioned the CIA in his cancellation, I’m entirely comfortable saying he should have a different standard of acceptable speech surrounding his public statements about the invitation than he would if he was not the head of the CIA.

  53. 53
    Harlequin says:

    (To be clear–I mean my last sentence as an ethical, not legal, standard.)

  54. 54
    Jeff says:

    I have neither suggested that Pompeo’s rights be curtailed, nor that he shouldn’t be allowed to do what he wants.

    It’s possible that listening to the last five years of censorious liberal academics has warped something in my ear canal so that I hear censorship where it does not exist.

    It does hit me that the argument could be made that as opposed to arguing that Pompeo’s rights be curtailed, you might have merely been voicing displeasure at his words, and voicing displeasure does not hamper the rights of others. And that’s a wonderful argument! It’s so wonderful, in fact, that I’ve been making it: The communication of displeasure by Pompeo is not a free speech issue, it is a free speech exercise.

    The obvious response would be to highlight the difference between an author/artist and the director of the CIA. There are power dynamics in play! But are there really? Does the director of the CIA really have any authority over Harvard’s administration? I can’t think of a reason why he would. Does that mean that the power dynamic is a matter of relative celebrity? Celebrities speaking on issues is not a free speech issue. Mark Ruffalo waxing poetic about environmental issues does little to stymie the groups denying climate science. Kaepernick’s kneeling, and the players joining him, have not silenced their opposition.

  55. 55
    Elusis says:

    I’m sorry that I can’t find the comment in which this story was brought up, but 10 minutes of searching has failed to find it.

    The story, and the commenter who posted it, alleged that a university had forbidden a student to do a dissertation studying transgender desistance because “engaging in a potentially politically incorrect piece of research carries a risk to the university.”

    Of course when one digs a little deeper, one finds that “The university said it couldn’t comment until after an internal investigation.” Meaning, all comments on the university’s decision are coming via the researcher himself. Or as the author I linked to noted,

    The issue with the press coverage of this event is that it is, by design, one sided. Because the matter is under investigation by the university, they are not allowed to comment on specifics. Instead, the press has decided that whatever Mr. Caspian said happened is the truth and now trans people are yet again painted as deniers of free speech by the UK’s largest newspapers.

    She goes on to connect this kind of media coverage to the online and in-person abuse she and other out trans women receive.

    Her article is a hard and painful read if you’re trans or an ally, so be warned. References abound to doxxing, misgendering, the murder and suicide of trans women, and all kinds of hateful comments made toward the author and other trans people, including children.

    On a personal note, I have to say that it felt really gross to read the original comment on this issue, because it felt so triumphant – “Ha, so much for the tolerant left!” Research on vulnerable populations is particularly important to handle with care; that’s been the point of Institutional Review Boards since they were invented.

    But you know what university definitely, verifiably did make a policy decision based on “optics” and how they would play with progressives conservatives? Harvard.

    “Frankly, we knew that anyone could just punch her crime into Google, and Fox News would probably say that P.C. liberal Harvard gave 200 grand of funding to a child murderer, who also happened to be a minority. I mean, c’mon.

    No, this is not about Chelsea Manning, but Michelle Jones.

    Any college or university has to be cognizant of what students’ parents think. But Stauffer’s reference to Fox News and what the Times called Harvard’s concern about “conservative news outlets” is precisely the kind of tendentious bullying that universities are supposed to resist.

    I mean, Harvard did it in Manning’s case too, but twice “starts to look like carelessness,” as Oscar Wilde almost certainly didn’t say.

  56. 56
    Fibi says:

    @Harlequin – very much a fair point. I was trying to distinguish “Government” from other speakers with power, such as the rich. But I was thinking of political appointees and elected officials rather than SES and GS. Also a fair point that elected and appointed may have slightly different lines as well.

  57. 57
    nobody.really says:

    The perennial query for the illustrators among us: What’s up with Good Night Moon? For example:

    “2. The Little Toy House.

    This is not that little of a toy house. Not only could the rabbit easily fit inside the “little toy house,” the little toy house also has working electricity. Why are these rabbits so civilized? Is this some f**ked up Watership Down sequel???”

  58. 58
    Ampersand says:

    The little toy house link cracked me up.

  59. 59
    Ampersand says:

    Thanks, Elusis – that was a great (albeit not a happy) article.

  60. 60
    Jake Squid says:

    Sometimes it’s satisfying to deliver karmic news to people. We’ve got a driver who is as far right as anybody I know and annoying as hell, to boot. He believes things like 401(k) plans are a government conspiracy to steal your money. Ha! Everybody knows 401(k) plans are a way for Wall Street to steal your money.

    Anyway. He was diagnosed with cancer a year or two ago. He got treatment and is now cancer free. However he is left with a chronic condition that will require treatment for the rest of his life. This morning he came to me with his concern that he might not be covered if we changed insurance at our renewal this winter. I was able to happily let him know that as long as the ACA is in place, he’ll be covered but that if the GOP kills it off, he’s fucked.

    It was a good few minutes in an otherwise lousy Sunday at work.

    I’m not nearly as good a person as I aspire to be.

  61. 61
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    Hey y’all,

    Barry has asked me to not post on Alas any more–I asked him to permit this last one, since it seems a bit odd to drift anonymously into the ether after quite a few years.

    Anyway: Goodbye, and thanks for all the intriguing discussions! I have greatly appreciated the many fascinating conversations here–yes, including the more heated ones. The posters and commenters on Alas have changed my perspective multiple times (on some major issues, too) and the level of discourse here has been outstanding.

    Anyway, thanks to Barry most of all, but also to everyone else. Enjoy your fall.

    G&W

    (If someone wants to reach me, you can try g. and. wh!skey at gmail–removing the spaces and replacing the “!” with a “i”. I almost never check it, though I will do so this week.)

  62. 62
    Pret says:

    You are a class act, Barry.

  63. 63
    nobody.really says:

    Q: What do the following three quotes have in common?

    1. “[W]hat drove the Puritans to come to the New World? Not a drive for freedom; they were free to practice their faith in Holland. Rather, it was a drive for control: They observed that they and their children could not avoid being influenced by their Dutch surroundings. In short, the Puritans were social engineers–understanding that we are all products of our environment, and to influence the man we need to influence the environment in which he lives.”

    2. “Thanks to mcasey6 for sharing his(?) thoughts; I expect many others also share this perspective.

    mcasey6 objects that a diversity awareness exercise would be designed to demonstrate that a poor white male from Oklahoma was privileged, while a rich Puerto Rican with professional parents was not, where such a conclusion “couldn’t be more wrong.”

    The irony is that the exercise is designed to demonstrate precisely the point he was making: that people have a variety of advantages and disadvantages—including advantages and disadvantages related to wealth and social class—and that we shouldn’t make assumptions base on our ignorance. In rejecting the exercise, mcasey6 would perpetuate the very ignorance he seems to oppose.

    In his original post [the author] provides a link to the entire instruction for this exercise…. And yes, some of the questions focus on race. But roughly half focus on wealth and social class, such as [examples].

    So here’s the real question: How can we talk about differences when merely raising the topic causes people to close their ears?”

    3. “’Ah, nobody.really, my old gay arch-nemesis.

    HEY! Who says I’m old?

    Or gay?

    Or arch? (Ok, you have me there….)”

    A: They were among my last posts on First Things before I was banned. In short: Hey, it happens.

    Farewell, gin-and-whiskey, and godspeed. And thanks to Amp for the farewell message; you are more gracious than other moderators I have known.

  64. 64
    Sebastian H says:

    This link from SlateStarCodex has interesting implications for all sorts of things we talk about around here. For example, the good thing about noticing micro agressions is that it makes privileged people more aware of how things can wear people down. However because we also train ourselves to respond to our environments, the current method of talking about it tends to train people to read truly ambiguous moments as oppression. Which is probably a harmful way to treat ambiguity in lots of situations.

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