Open Thread and Link Farm: Shrill Pool Party edition

  1. Why it’s fine to cast POC actors in traditionally white roles, but bad to cast white actors in POC roles, explained with a jar of chocolate covered raisins.
  2. Wilbur Ross broke law, violated Constitution in census decision, judge rules – The Washington Post
    “Ross claimed he was acting at the request of the Justice Department in the interest of enforcing the Voting Rights Act. In reality, the “evidence establishes” that the voting rights explanation was just “a pretext” and that Ross “acted in bad faith” when he claimed otherwise. He pursued the citizenship question after hearing from then-White House adviser Stephen K. Bannon and Kris Kobach, the vice chair of Trump’s now-disbanded voting fraud commission.”
  3. Volunteers Sentenced for Leaving Food and Water for Migrants in the Arizona Desert – Hit & Run : Reason.com
  4. Federal judge shuts down Trump administration’s discrimination against children of same-sex couples.
    “U.S. District Judge John F. Walter of California rejected the State Department’s startling assertion that a married gay couple’s son was born ‘out of wedlock’ and thus is ineligible for citizenship.” Fucking hell, what asshats. They’d go back to putting people in jail for gay sex in a second, if they thought they could get away with it.
  5. Women Do Ask for More Money at Work. They Just Don’t Get It.
    These findings contradict some well-known earlier studies; this study’s different findings could be because it compares men and women in similar jobs. “Previous studies that reached the “women don’t ask” conclusion often failed to account for certain types of jobs (and industries) being dominated by one gender, focusing instead on the overall number of men or women who’d reported salary negotiations, which — given the number of women who work jobs with ‘non-negotiable’ salaries — skewed their findings.” (Alternative link.)
  6. The girl who executed Nazis after seducing them in bars dies aged 92 – NZ Herald
    It’s hard not to wonder what I would have done if I had been around then. I’m certain I would not have been this courageous.
  7. In a first, U.S. calls on German banks to close BDS accounts – BDS – Jerusalem Post
    The ongoing opposition to free speech on this issue is mind-boggling.
  8. “The Tragedy of the Commons” is a terrible and racist paper.
    “…we’ve let a flawed metaphor by a racist ecologist define environmental thinking for a half century.”
  9. It’s time to stop calling climate activists hypocrites | Ricochet
    I sometimes consider doing a cartoon on this subject, except that Matt Bors has already done the perfect cartoon on this subject.
  10. Cultured meat will now be regulated by the FDA and USDA – Vox
    Interestingly, this is regulation that lab-grown meat makers are really happy about. (Because it reassures investors.)
  11. The American Family Act, Democrats’ dramatic plan to cut child poverty, explained – Vox
    It can’t pass while the Republicans hold the Senate and White House, but it’s still good to get this on the Democratic policy agenda. The plan would pay all households (except rich households) $250-$300 per child, every month. “Poverty among children would fall from 14.8 percent to 9.5 percent, meaning 4 million kids would escape poverty. Deep poverty — the share of kids living on half the poverty line or less — would fall almost by half, from 4.6 percent to 2.4 percent.”
  12. The Curious Career of Martin Brest | Dirk Knemeyer
    The director of “Beverly Hills Cop,” “Midnight Run,” “Scent of a Woman,” “Meet Joe Black” and the famously disastrous “Gigli”… and although there are rumors, no one actually seems to know where his is now.
  13. (132) Robocalls: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO) – YouTube
    I thought this one is unusually funny – especially his discussion of why he won’t use snail mail, which begins at about 8:10.
  14. ‘Whores But Organized’: Sex Workers Rally for Reform | by Molly Crabapple | NYR Daily | The New York Review of Books
    There’s nothing new here in terms of policy proposals. But the inroads into getting support from politicians seem new to me. I’m disappointed that NY NOW rallied against the NY decriminalization bill.
  15. Very good twitter thread by Alexandra Erin on the limits of smoking guns.
    “I am convinced that no scene in any superhero movie is less realistic than Batman Returns when Batman plays Penguin saying ‘I played this city like a harp from hell!’ for Gotham and they turn on him, instead of saying ‘You don’t understand his humor.'”
  16. (132) Flight of the Conchords- Albi The Racist Dragon
    Funny parody of stupid fake liberalism. I came to this via Lindsey Ellis’ evisceration of the Beauty and the Beast live-action remake.
  17. Alan Krueger was the rare economist whose work improved the lives of millions.
    Dr. Kruger’s research on the minimum wage has been cited on “Alas” many times over the years. He was crucial to the practice of natural experiments to economics. Kruger, who advised both the Clinton and Obama administrations, was only 58, and his final book, on economics and pop music, is scheduled to be published this summer.
  18. Ramsey Orta filmed the killing of Eric Garner — and police and prison guards have punished him for it -Chloé Cooper Jones
    Content warning for prisoner abuse. A long, depressing read.
  19. Men’s Rights Firm Teases ‘Hot New Girlfriend’ In Ad Somebody Thought Was Cool | Above the Law
  20. A short video by a group of female animators about standing up against a serial harasser in the animation industry.
  21. How the CDC’s opioid prescribing guideline is harming pain patients – STAT
  22. 3 Ways John Wick is Deeper Than You Realized – Kiva Bay – Medium
    Interesting stuff about the use of color, and the symbolism of cars, in the first John Wick film. (I wouldn’t call it deep, but I love that film.)
  23. What Referendum? Florida GOP Set to Exclude Up to 80% of Felons From Voting
    The law requires all court fees and fines – which can be very high (“As the WLRN report detailed, any conviction for drug trafficking—even a low-level, non-violent conviction—carries a mandatory fine of $25,000 to $500,000 per count”) – to be paid before voting rights are restored. Basically, a poll tax.
  24. Voting Rights Roundup: Iowa GOP wants to legally ban many students at public colleges from voting
    Unless the students sign a statement saying they intend to remain in Iowa after graduation. But private college students don’t face this requirement.
  25. This Cohen hearing fight was everything wrong with how America talks about “racism” – Vox
  26. Neoliberalism has conned us into fighting climate change as individuals | Martin Lukacs | Environment | The Guardian
  27. A Rediscovered Portrait of Harriet Tubman Is Unveiled
  28. Mesa Airlines Flight Attendant Held by ICE for two months Has Been Freed – but could still be deported.
    She’s lived in the US since she’s a toddler, married to an American, works and pays taxes – but ICE is still trying to deport her to Peru, and might succeed. There is no logic here, no rationality – just bigotry. But this is what the Republican party wants our country to be; this is the issue, more than any other, that Trump ran on.
  29. Opinion | Getting Rid of the Electoral College Isn’t Just About Trump – The New York Times
    None of the arguments for the electoral college are true. (Alternative link.)
  30. Tell Me I’m Fat – This American Life
    I thought this episode of This American Life was really good. I was especially struck by “act 2,” in which Elna Baker, who lost 110 pounds and kept it off, discusses her experience.
  31. ‘Shrill’: A Fat Girl’s Review of Aidy Bryant Show – Variety
    I think this review is very accurate, including how painful watching the first few episodes can be (despite the funny). I loved the show. (Show trailer.)
  32. Shrill Accused of Plagiarizing Pool Party Scene. But is it a coincidence? | IndieWire
    Yes, it’s a coincidence. One thing I’ve learned from political cartooning is that basic ideas are thought of by different people independently ALL THE TIME. And sometimes those people publicly accuse you of plagiarism. (Also, the pool party scene, in episode 4, is amazing – the best scene of a good series).
  33. How ‘Shrill’ Made Aidy Bryant’s Best Outfits From Scratch
    Because they had to, because they couldn’t find the clothing they wanted in Bryant’s size. (Alternative link.)

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131 Responses to Open Thread and Link Farm: Shrill Pool Party edition

  1. 1
    desipis says:

    #1 – This is a pretty weak attempt to rationalise anti-white prejudice.

    #19 – That article is loaded with anti-male bigotry. The ads are clearly tongue in cheek, and the noted negative connotations are a projection of the article author’s own biases. Mocking a firm that’s trying to reach out and support vulnerable men (albeit with an obvious profit motive) is pretty disgusting.

  2. 2
    J. Squid says:

    I think you’re completely wrong about #19, desipis. In my experience, firms advertising as divorce lawyers for MEN are, without exception, frighteningly misogynist. I remember a radio ad for one around town in the late 90s and I was appalled. And this firm is no different. Tongue in cheek or not (and I think, “Not.”), they are definitely misogynist.

  3. 3
    J. Squid says:

    Wilbur Ross, the people’s champion! One of the finest example of the Best People running the government.

  4. 4
    Joe in Australia says:

    The ongoing opposition to free speech on [BDS] is mind-boggling

    Opposition to BDS is a free-speech issue too, you know.

    I don’t think your opposition to this comes from being a free-speech absolutist (and my apologies if I’m wrong). I think it’s probably because you don’t feel that the opponents of BDS genuinely believe it to be antisemitic. You’ve undoubtedly heard the arguments on both sides, but so have I. It wasn’t BDS’ antecedents or the fact that antisemites were frequently BDS proponents that finally convinced me: it was my increasing recognition that facially-neutral laws are often fronts for discriminatory intent.

    I originally thought that laws governing public behaviour, or sexuality, or drugs, were only incidentally subject to abuse and that their exploitation was an accidental consequence of imperfect legislation. When I became more aware of the scale and context of these laws I understood that I had put the cart before the horse: the legislators and police were really driven by the demands of racists and other bigots. After that realisation I stopped taking activists’ arguments at face value. They weren’t really scared of, e.g., people selling loose cigarettes or using the “wrong” bathroom; these laws were primarily ways of expressing prejudice. That’s how I feel about BDS.

    It is frankly amazing how antisemitic many “pro-Palestinian” forums are. I’m not just talking about equivocal references to money or “lobbies”, although I don’t excuse that either: I’m talking about crazy-pants stuff about Rothschilds and pictures of hook-nosed exploiters gambling with the lives of workers or literally eating the flesh of children. And this stuff is so rarely shut down; mostly the people responsible seem to actually be running the forum. So, I previously felt that BDS was applied in a discriminatory way but I didn’t see it as fundamentally antisemitic. Now, though, I recognise the inherent weakness of facial-neutrality as a defence. It isn’t accidental that BDS singles out Israel and it isn’t because Israel is the first of many potential targets. It’s because BDS, as a movement, serves the interests of antisemites.

  5. 5
    desipis says:

    J. Squid:

    In my experience, firms advertising as divorce lawyers for MEN are, without exception, frighteningly misogynist.

    How many such lawyers have you hired as legal representation, and what did they do that was frighteningly misogynist?

  6. 6
    BuddingDL says:

    J. Squid:

    I am licensed as an attorney and patent attorney, and I have only worked in the field of intellectual property up to this point. I have heard some stories regarding men in divorce court that would curl your hair. Even if you are an avowed Woman Firster. Even if you simultaneously think that women should be treated equally in society but, on the other hand, women have a right to maintain their full lifestyle after divorce at the expense of the man – for life in states like Florida – and do not have any reciprocal duty to help out, like getting a job themselves. At some point, empathy has to take over.

    So I pursued some of these anecdotal reports by requesting or calling up the relevant court documents. I am now at the point – the money is no longer a problem – that I want to switch over to family law and defend men. Please look into what is going on before you just sneeringly dismiss all of this as misogyny.

  7. 7
    Ampersand says:

    …women have a right to maintain their full lifestyle after divorce at the expense of the man – for life in states like Florida

    Would you mind citing, and preferably linking, the specific text of the law you’re referring to?

  8. 8
    Ampersand says:

    Opposition to BDS is a free-speech issue too, you know.

    Did you read the link? There’s no first amendment right for the government to pressure banks for ideological purposes.

    I don’t think your opposition to this comes from being a free-speech absolutist (and my apologies if I’m wrong).

    I’m not sure any real free-speech absolutists exist. Any time I talk to self-proclaimed free-speech absolutists, it turns out they’re not really very absolute (for instance, most of them don’t favor drastically narrowing copyright laws, even though copyright laws often infringe on people’s speech).

    I’m not a free-speech absolutist, either. But I do have a broader conception of free speech than most people I’ve met. (See: copyright laws.)

    That said, my opposition in this case does come from free-speech principles. So I accept your apology.

    Your argument, insofar as it relates to my comment at all, would have to be that BDS is antisemitic, therefore it’s okay for the US to attempt to pressure banks to not work with legal BDS organizations (which includes orgs like Amnesty International) because the US government disagrees with the views those organizations express.

    But even if I were to accept your premise that BDS is antisemitic, I wouldn’t agree with that conclusion. Antisemites have free speech rights, too.

    I suspect you weren’t actually commenting on my link, though; its sounds like you were sort of using my link and comment as an occasion to bring up your not-especially-related opinion that BDS is antisemitic. My apologies if I’m wrong.

    But if that is the case, that’s fine: This is an open thread, after all.

    I think there are a lot of antisemitic people in BDS. I also think there are a lot of anti-Palestinian, racist people in the pro-Israel camp. In neither case, however, are all of the people involved bigots.

    And, frankly, it’s the nature of this conflict that there are going to be anti-semites and racists involved in any large-scale general movement, because the bitterness and prejudice runs both deep and wide. If no pro-Palestinian movement is acceptable unless it’s 100% free of antisemites, then no pro-Palestinian movement is acceptable.

    It isn’t accidental that BDS singles out Israel and it isn’t because Israel is the first of many potential targets. It’s because BDS, as a movement, serves the interests of antisemites.

    And being anti-BDS serves the interests of racists. So by your standards, is being anti-BDS also unacceptable?

    Many of the people I’ve met who are super-involved with BDS are either Palestinian or Jewish. Both Palestinians and Jews have legitimate reasons to be more concerned with the Israel-Palestine conflict than with other conflicts. I’d argue that Americans do, as well, due to the significant US support for Israel.

    The people I’ve met who are pro-BDS but not super-involved with it (like myself), are also concerned about many other international issues.

    But aside from that, I don’t believe that anyone is obliged to take on every issue in the world in order to demonstrate that they’re not motivated by bigotry regarding the issues they’re concentrating on.

  9. 9
    Ampersand says:

    I do think the men’s rights lawyers meant their ads to be humorous. And the ads are misogynistic, as well. The two things are not mutually exclusive.

    #1 – This is a pretty weak attempt to rationalise anti-white prejudice.

    How so?

  10. 10
    J. Squid says:

    I am not saying firms that specialize in representing men in divorce are misogynist, just that the ads by the firm at the link and the radio ads I heard 20+ years ago are dreadfully so.

  11. 11
    Joe in Australia says:

    But even if I were to accept your premise that BDS is antisemitic, I wouldn’t agree with that conclusion. Antisemites have free speech rights, too.

    Well, that’s where we disagree, then. I don’t think hate speech is a human right. I’m surprised you hold a position that seems so inconsistent with the sentiments generally expressed on this blog, but I’m glad we could figure it out without wasting time.

  12. 12
    BuddingDL says:

    Would you mind citing, and preferably linking, the specific text of the law you’re referring to?

    Florida is one of the states that still allows “permanent alimony” to be awarded (see 61.08 (8)):

    http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0000-0099/0061/Sections/0061.08.html

    Permanent alimony may be awarded to provide for the needs and necessities of life as they were established during the marriage of the parties for a party who lacks the financial ability to meet his or her needs and necessities of life following a dissolution of marriage. […] An award of permanent alimony terminates upon the death of either party or upon the remarriage of the party receiving alimony. […]

    Nearly every year now, various groups try to get rid of permanent alimony, and their attempts are shot down. Here is the latest attempt:

    http://myfloridalaw5-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/sb1596.pdf

    Courts can award different types of alimony, or no alimony at all, but the practice and anecdotal cases show the problems with having permanent alimony. Let’s say a man and woman got married at age 20, and the man worked and supported the woman while she watched “The View” and “The Price is Right” during the day. Now they are age 45, so there has been a long-term marriage, and the wife has no job skills and no intention of acquiring any. Permanent alimony could be awarded in this situation, meaning that the man may be ordered to pay her $4000 or $5000 a month for the rest of her life. Year in, year out. I guess he can quit paying if he commits suicide.

    There is also, by the way, the concept of “imputed income”, so if the man quits his job as a doctor, lawyer or Indian Chief (or even a middle manager) and decides to get a job working the counter at Arby’s Roast Beef, the judge can say (and they DO say), that’s nice, but we are imputing your old income, because you could still earn that old income, and you better keep up the old alimony payments or you will be in and out of jail until you get caught up. Yes, really.

    Now what’s really misgynistic is viewing women as kind of stupid children who are not able to make any effort to work or pull their weight in life when the circumstances require it. And what’s really nasty is making the ex-husband financially realize that view of women (ultimately at the point of a gun from police officers), giving her a free ride for the rest of her life. And it could well be that the woman caused the marriage dissolution.

    This is, by the way, just one issue among many that are problematic in family courts.

    Edited because I forgot to add the link to the Florida law.

  13. 13
    Jeffrey Gandee says:

    I love the photo at the top of the post.

  14. 14
    Ampersand says:

    BuddingDL,

    When you said “…women have a right to maintain their full lifestyle after divorce at the expense of the man – for life in states like Florida,” that sounded like 1) something that all women have a “right” to, rather than something a small minority of women might be awarded, and 2) something that was by law available only to women, never to men.

    According to a 2016 article in Divorce Magazine (? !), alimony is awarded in

    about one in 10 divorces today.

    Three percent of men in divorce cases receive spousal support, a figure that is up 0.5 percent since 2000, according to the 2010 census. The census found that about 12,000 men receive spousal support, and 380,000 women receive it.

    So if that’s accurate, then ninety percent of the time, there’s no alimony awarded at all. And of the 10% of divorces which do end up with alimony, I’d suspect that only a minority of those are “maintain[ing] their full lifestyle… for life.”

    (The article writer thinks that many more men would be awarded alimony, if they asked for it.)

  15. 15
    Ampersand says:

    I love the photo at the top of the post.

    Me too!

  16. 16
    Ampersand says:

    I don’t think hate speech is a human right. I’m surprised you hold a position that seems so inconsistent with the sentiments generally expressed on this blog, but I’m glad we could figure it out without wasting time.

    I don’t see it as inconsistent.

    It’s interesting to me that you apparently define being pro-BDS as “hate speech,” since earlier you wrote:

    Now, though, I recognise the inherent weakness of facial-neutrality as a defence.

    So if I understand you, you’re saying that facially-neutral speech can be hate speech, based on your appraisal of the motives of the people making the speech. Is that correct?

    I find it worrisome, that the concept of “hate speech” is being used to argue for outlawing a form of peaceful political activism against an oppressive regime.

  17. 17
    desipis says:

    Ampersand@9 & J. Squid@10: Can you explain why you find the ads misogynistic? To me the two ads linked in the article are just appealing to the common experiences of:

    1) being stuck in a marriage with someone who is making you miserable and that you don’t find attractive;
    2) of being stuck in an abusive relationship.

    Neither of these things are misogynistic simply because they are putting women in a negative light.

  18. 18
    desipis says:

    #1 – This is a pretty weak attempt to rationalise anti-white prejudice.

    How so?

    It reduces the issue to being one dimensional. It misrepresents people complaining about cross-racial casting as being simply concerned about maintaining the quantity of representation rather than being concerned about many other elements of culture, art, authorship and identity that are impacted by recasting a role as a different race. The fact that the author chose the one dimension that can be framed in a way to justify unidirectional discrimination against white people while ignoring all the others is telling.

    It’s also a bad analogy. The contention largely revolves around media that is consumed by both groups. The raisins analogy only has the POC actor media consumed by the POC girl and the white actor media consumed by the white girl. If this was simply about a different culture adapting something for it’s own internal consumption then there wouldn’t be a concern. No one is getting upset about Bollywood or Hong Kong filmmakers adapting western films for their audience and recasting the roles in the process. A more apt analogy would need to involve the white girl being pressured to consume something simply because the POC girl wanted it.

  19. 19
    desipis says:

    There’s an interesting twitter thread by Ally Fogg on how female MPs who admit to perpetrating domestic violence are being celebrated as “brave”, “courageous” and “inspirational” by the left.

  20. 20
    LimitsOfLanguage says:

    #8) The twitter guy (Matto) seems to severely misread the Tragedy of the Commons paper and (also) sees racism where it is not.

    The argument of the paper by Hardin is that people differ in how many children they want (not racist and obviously true) and that this preference is hereditary (debatable, but not racist, since he doesn’t argue that this is linked to race). The argument then goes that in the absence of restrictions, future generations will mostly be descendants of those who have most children, who in turn want most children. Hardin argues that the end result of this is that the population will grow until all resources are used to sustain people, leaving no resources for other things (art, science, political cartoons, etc). Hardin actually assumes a society with equality of access to resources when making that claim.

    Then he argues that this is a bad outcome that must be prevented by restricting reproduction. Here he argues for “mutually agreed upon, mutual coercion” which implies democratic decision making and the law being applied equally to all.

    There are many opportunities for actual racism that were not argued by Hardin. For example, he could have argued that non-whites are more likely to have children beyond their means. Yet he did not. He could have argued for stricter laws for non-whites. Yet he did not. He could have argued that only white people should make the law. Yet he did not. In fact, nowhere in the paper is a distinction made by race.

    The other accusations also seem weak, as they conflate opposition to “multiethnic society” and opposition with specific cultures with racism. Note that ethnicity doesn’t refer to race, but a shared culture, history, language, etc. Many on the left seem unable to distinguish racism from critiques of specific cultures or the mixing of cultures, which means that they cannot actually understand the beliefs of quite a few people.

    With regard to #19, the article does use the classic othering technique of blaming all people with a trait for the actions of a few people with that trait:

    It’s the execution of this marketing ploy that makes me feel like all men should maybe be quarantined on some kind of ice flow and only accessed to extract the bare minimum genetic material necessary for the survival of the species.

    The combination of the extreme oversensitivity that is visible in #8, with the extreme lack of sensitivity that can be seen in #19 shows a troubling amount of bias, IMO.

  21. 21
    LTL FTC says:

    Re: 7. Proving the ACLU was right in Skokie again. We all gave three cheers when payments systems stopped working with neonazis last summer, but that just opened up another avenue for elite restrictions on unpopular speech. As the world goes cashless, this could get much more dire for BDS and any number of others.

    Feds AND states regulate banks. In a couple of years, Planned Parenthood won’t be able to open a business checking account in half the country.

  22. 22
    RonF says:

    Joe in Australia @ 11:

    I don’t think hate speech is a human right.

    Here in America the operating premise is that no person or group of people have the right to decide for anyone – whether it is the rest of the country, a limited area of the country or even any one person – what is and what is not “hate speech”.

    In America it works like this:

    1) Someone speaks.
    2) Listeners decide for themselves what is and is not “hate speech”. They may take into account someone else’s opinion on whether what the original speaker’s said was “hate speech” or not, but that someone else’s opinion has no legal force. Thus, they may also completely ignore someone else’s opinion.
    3) The listeners then take whatever actions within the law they feel appropriate. Choices include exercising their own right of free speech individually, banding together with like-minded people and exercising their own rights to free speech collectively, or ignoring the whole thing. There are other choices. But none of those choices include using the force of law either to erase the original speaker’s speech or forbid them the right to speak further. They also do not include using governmental funds or other resources to spread their speech and privilege it over the original speaker’s speech. And they do not include the ability to require anyone to listen to them.

    While I haven’t read any kind of study on the legal systems of other countries in the world with regards to free speech, I have the impression that most other countries have a different opinion on the matter. Hell, plenty of people (and institutions, such as at many colleges and universities) in the U.S. have a different opinion on the matter. In my opinion, they’re wrong. While I certainly defend their right to publicize their opinion, I strongly oppose any attempts to enforce their opinion. It’s worth noting that the U.S. courts have consistently ruled in favor of my opinion.

    I think that enabling any one person or any group of people – even if that group is the majority of the population – with the power to define what is and is not “hate speech” and the power to ban it is a big step towards totalitarianism.

    Joe, I would like to know who you think is qualified to define what “hate speech” is. I’d also like to know why you think that person or group of people is qualified to make that definition, what that definition would be, what authority they would have to act on it and what actions you think they should have the authority to take.

  23. 23
    Chris says:

    desipis:

    No one is getting upset about Bollywood or Hong Kong filmmakers adapting western films for their audience and recasting the roles in the process.

    If I lived in India or China, presuming I held the same values I hold now, I would expect the media made in those places to represent the demographics of those places.

    I would not be surprised if neither of them do that, but then, from what I know about those countries, I don’t think Americans should uphold either country as a model of diversity and racial integration.

    I also don’t know if “no one” in those countries is upset that those industries don’t represent the demographics of their societies, and I doubt you do either. Most of the conversations I have about diversity in the media is with Westerners talking about Western media. Does your experience differ?

    A more apt analogy would need to involve the white girl being pressured to consume something simply because the POC girl wanted it.

    Sure, let’s go with that, except let’s extend the analogy fairly so that we acknowledge that for most of their relationship, it’s been the POC girl pressured by tons of other white girls to consume something because they wanted her to. For the white girls to listen to the POC girl for a change would be a sign of a healthy friendship based on mutual compromise.

  24. 24
    desipis says:

    Chris:

    I would expect the media made in those places to represent the demographics of those places.

    I would expect the demographics of the media to represent the market segment that the producers were targeting.

    Recasting a role as a different race because a different demographic wants representation is simply targeting a different market segment. It’s just important to acknowledge that the media is going to appeal less to original market segment for the same reason it appeals more the to new one.

    For the white girls to listen to the POC girl for a change would be a sign of a healthy friendship based on mutual compromise.

    A healthy relationship would have each girl consuming what they want. Reversing the direction of abuse in an unhealthy relationship doesn’t make it a healthy one.

  25. 25
    Chris says:

    I would expect the demographics of the media to represent the market segment that the producers were targeting.

    And the market segment targeted by producers is often influenced by racism and sexism.

    Recasting a role as a different race because a different demographic wants representation is simply targeting a different market segment.

    Yes. In the case of recasting a white character as a POC, the market segment would be POC as well as POC allies who want more representation. (This happens to be, in 2019, a smart business move.) In the case of recasting a POC character as a white character, you’re targeting a market segment that already has far, far more competing options.

    It’s just important to acknowledge that the media is going to appeal less to original market segment for the same reason it appeals more the to new one.

    I don’t see why media that recasts a white character as a POC would appeal less to a white audience, unless that audience is racist.

    A healthy relationship would have each girl consuming what they want. Reversing the direction of abuse in an unhealthy relationship doesn’t make it a healthy one.

    Recasting a character as a different race is “abuse.” K. Super rational position.

  26. 26
    desipis says:

    I don’t see why media that recasts a white character as a POC would appeal less to a white audience, unless that audience is racist.

    If POC audiences are entitled to prefer POC actors, then white audiences are entitled to prefer white actors. Anything else is a racist double standard.

    There’s plenty of room between POC “ally” and “racist”. In fact that’s where most people exist.

    Recasting a character as a different race is “abuse.”

    No, but calling people “racist” for no wanting their favourite characters recast is abusive.

  27. 27
    Ampersand says:

    There’s a huge difference between “wanting to see myself represented more than rarely, as if people like me are ordinary members of the human species” versus “I only want to see fat actors, ever” (or black actors, or disabled actors, or trans actors, etc).

    There’s a huge difference between “I’m hungry to see people like me in decent roles, because that rarely happens and it’s made me feel like I’m not fully included in my own culture” versus “I’m hungry to see see even more white people taking the decent roles, because a majority of prime roles going to white actors isn’t enough for me.”

    It’s not a “racist double standard” to want to see one’s own group represented in decent ways, as a matter of course, while finding it ridiculous for white people (who are already EXTREMELY represented in virtually every kind of role) for to make similar complaints.

    You’re like someone who think’s it’s a racist double standard that black people but not white people can use the “N” word. Yes, it IS a double standard; but it’s a FAIR one, not an unjust one. Context matters.

    Recasting characters is part of theater, TV, movies, and comics, and always has been. There are legitimate reasons to not want scarce parts for trans actors given to cis actors, but that has to do with not wanting to perpetuate inequality, not with the idea that the character as originally performed/written is somehow holy and must never be changed.

  28. 28
    desipis says:

    There’s a huge difference between “I’m hungry to see people like me in decent roles, because that rarely happens and it’s made me feel like I’m not fully included in my own culture”

    I don’t think the difference it that huge at all. Underpinning the whole “diversity in casting ” argument is that POC audiences relate differently to POC actors than they do to white actors (if they don’t then there’s no reason to care about diversity in the first place). If we’re going to indulge POC audiences preferences for POC actors then it’s only fair to do the same for white people.

    Yes, it IS a double standard; but it’s a FAIR one,

    It’s not fair at all. It’s unfair, it’s divisive and it’s racist.

  29. 29
    LimitsOfLanguage says:

    Ampersand,

    It is cultural appropriation when formerly white roles are recast as black roles, male roles as female or when the form of storytelling for an established cultural tradition is (partially) changed.

    I know that SJ people often have rationalizations why things that they see as being harmful to one race, gender, etc, are not harmful or are deservedly harmful to another race, gender, etc, but then you shouldn’t be surprised that people who don’t share your ideology and thus don’t buy your rationalizations are going to call your actions and beliefs racist and sexist.

    The holistic view that I often see in SJ often feels quite dehumanizing. For example, when the (cultural) appropriation of some specific thing is justified by a general claim that I’m well-represented in the grand scheme of things. This ignores that you may be changing/destroying a specific thing that I like. I’m not a racist or sexist troglodyte for whom Sherlock Holmes is indistinguishable to Captain America because they are both white men. These are not interchangeable.

    When there is a high level of intolerance for things that an ideology deems problematic, it can lead to attempts to raze entire subcultures, leaving people with things that we are supposed to like. Christianity once did this and it was shit for those who weren’t the ones in power who liked that monoculture. Now SJ often does the same, although much more hypocritically, because the monoculture is often advocated under the banner of diversity. Yet ‘diversity’ is defined in such a way that doesn’t allow for the kinds of diversity that many people want.

  30. In the overwhelming majority of cases, it seems to me, characters written for/as POC are also written, both implicitly and explicitly, to represent the specific culture of that character; and, when that character is a member of a minority in a majority culture, to represent their experience as a minority. To cast a white actor to play such a character is, inevitably, to erase all of that cultural specificity.

    In both desipis’ and LOL’s responses, I think I hear the at-least-implicit assertion that there is such a thing as “white culture” that is somehow rendered invisible when a POC is cast to play a white character. If I’m wrong, okay; but, if I am right, I am wondering what they each think this “white culture” is.

  31. 31
    desipis says:

    RJN, there isn’t some sort universal “white culture”. But then there isn’t some sort of universal “black culture” or “asian culture” or “latino culture” either. I find your implication that white people don’t have culture as preposterous as it is offensive.

    There are plenty of cultures that are predominantly white or predominately black (or asian, or latino, etc), and of course there will be those dominated by narrower ethnicities than those typically noted as a “race”. None of those cultures are more (or less) valuable simply because they are predominately a non-white race or ethnicity.

    A second issue with your comment is this part:

    “white culture” that is somehow rendered invisible

    The inference that the harm is to the “culture”. The harm I am concerned about is harm to people. Perhaps rather than interpreting my concerns as being concerned with “white culture”, you should interpret them as being about “white people’s relationship with culture”. And more specifically, given I’m focused on individuals rather than groups, my concern would be about “individual white people’s relationships with the specific element of their culture that is important to them”.

    “White people” aren’t some homogeneous monolith that is equally inclined to consume one part of “white culture” as any other.

  32. 32
    Petar says:

    There is no White culture, in the same sense that there is no Black culture. There is, indeed, African American culture, but you’d be ignorant to assume that it is accepted as Black culture by people from other countries. The most negative opinions I’ve heard about African-American culture have come from black friends of mine, from France, Cameroon and Morocco.

    On the other hand, there is Russian culture, and when you portray Pushkin as a literally black skinned sub-Saharan man, you may be non be endearing yourself to Russians. There is such a thing as Macedonian culture, and when you portray Cleopatra as a sub-Saharan woman, you may be offending some people. There is such a thing as an Italian culture, and when you portray Scipio Africanus as Black… you get the point. I have also seen (in animation) Leo the Fifth, Rangabe, Hannibal, etc. be pictured as Black.

    And this is only about historical characters who were absolutely uncontroversially not black skinned – Slavic, Semitic, etc. The slightest excuse is enough to make them Black – a drop of African blood, a vaguely African name, a nickname, etc.

    For example, Pushkin did have a Cameroon grand father. He did acknowledge and even celebrate his African heritage – I can think of three places where he did, and I am not even Russian or particularly fond of anything but his poems. But to my knowledge he never used the word Black to describe himself. Even his detractors, of which he had many, did not attack him for the color of his skin. Probably because “Black Ass” was already reserved for a Russian minority which happened to be quite darker skinned than Pushkin. And of course, he lived relatively recently, and we have dozens of surviving painting and sketches in which he appears. Goes without saying, his skin color is not black… unless you count the paintings of his great grand father General Gannibal, which get misrepresented as paintings of Pushkin.

    But as I said, this is just for historical characters. It is much worse for fictional characters, especially recently. Lets leave aside the fact that Slavic people are the default violent villains in American media, and that Armenians have been passed the greasy, greedy, sniveling torch. Lets just look at what is happening to characters from Polish, Czech, etc. works when they get adapted by Hollywood. Just from Netflix projects in the last two years, I can give examples of:
    1) A half-Slavic character explicitly rejecting his Slavic heritage, on screen, out of nowhere, without any hint of this in the original materials (rather the opposite)
    2) Slavic characters who were good or at worse neutral toward the protagonists becoming full blown villains who betray the protagonists. (Actually those were historical characters, but as the story is fictional, I think it still belongs here)
    3) Good characters who were Slavic in the original being portrayed by Black and Indian actors, while at the same their evil siblings remain White.
    4) The whole crew of a space ship being changed to Africans, while hilariously retaining some Russian habits and idiosyncrasies.

    So, are you saying that Slavs should be OK with Slavic characters being erased, vilified, etc. and take comfort that there are still plenty of White characters left in media (Leaving aside that it seems that the only thing as which White males are allowed to excel is capacity for violence?)

  33. 33
    Ampersand says:

    It is cultural appropriation when formerly white roles are recast as black roles, male roles as female or when the form of storytelling for an established cultural tradition is (partially) changed.

    Since the main way “cultural appropriation” is mentioned by me on this blog, is when I include links to critiques of the concept of c.a., or criticisms of how it’s applied too broadly, I don’t find your attempt to use the concept to be a very persuasive argument.

    The rest of your post is nothing but IDW boilerplate, without any logic or even an attempt to address my arguments.

    You’re like someone claiming that it’s a “rationalization” to have more sympathy with a poor person complaining about their lack of money than a rich person complaining about their lack of money. It’s not a rationalization; it’s pretty straightforward logic. Complaints about lacking something are more legitimate coming from people who are actually lacking.

  34. 34
    Ampersand says:

    I don’t think the difference it that huge at all.

    Why not? When a poor person complains they’re broke, do you not see that as different from a rich person complaining they’re broke?

    Underpinning the whole “diversity in casting ” argument is that POC audiences relate differently to POC actors than they do to white actors (if they don’t then there’s no reason to care about diversity in the first place). If we’re going to indulge POC audiences preferences for POC actors then it’s only fair to do the same for white people.

    But we’re already indulging white people’s need to see themselves well represented on screen.

    Let me ask you something. It seems possible that the MCU movies will eventually have a character other than Steve Rogers become Captain American – that is, pick up the shield and costume and use the name. (Chris Evans, who has been playing Steve Rogers, has hinted he’s not going to renew his contract.)

    Suppose that character is Sam Wilson – Sam decides to take on the Captain American mantle. Is that offensive to you? Why?

    Or how about Miles Morales being the new Spider-Man? Is that offensive? Why?

  35. 35
    Chris says:

    If POC audiences are entitled to prefer POC actors, then white audiences are entitled to prefer white actors. Anything else is a racist double standard.

    It would be racist, in my opinion, for POC to expect POC actors to vastly outnumber white actors in a way that bears no connection to their actual demographics in a given society.

    Just as it is racist for white people to expect white actors to vastly outnumber POC actors in a way that bears no connection to their actual demographics in a given society.

    So there is no double standard. Only one of these is an actual problem that is occurring in the United States today. You are arguing that we should do nothing to address that problem because it would be racist if the other problem existed. Amp’s class analogy is perfect, and should be persuasive to you, since you seem to care a lot about class issues if I’m not mistaken. It is not a “double standard” for the government to provide food stamps to the poor but not to the rich.

    There’s plenty of room between POC “ally” and “racist”. In fact that’s where most people exist.

    Sure. And those are the people that probably wouldn’t fight for more POC representation, but wouldn’t object to it either.

    No, but calling people “racist” for no wanting their favourite characters recast is abusive.

    No, it isn’t.

  36. 36
    J. Squid says:

    There are times that I’m called upon to explain my jokes. And so…

    Well, in the summer of aught and 17, the lump I’ve had in my left breast for thirty some years got real big and panicked my doctor. So I went to see a surgeon where it was determined that it was either benign or else it was stage 4 cancer.

    After a bunch of imaging – of which the radiologist said, and I quote, “It’s not a usual shape for a breast cancer. But breast cancer in men doesn’t have a usual shape, ” – and a biopsy, it turns out it was a benign cavernous hemangioma.

    But there went my left breast and, along with it, one of my 5 favorite nipples.

  37. 37
    desipis says:

    Ampersand:

    Why not? When a poor person complains they’re broke, do you not see that as different from a rich person complaining they’re broke?

    I’m not objecting to the poor person getting money. Or movies being created with POC actors in leading roles. I’m not objecting to movies such as Black Panther or BlacKkKlansman or Green Book, being made. I’m not objecting to a proportionate amount of such movies being made.

    I’m objecting to existing movies or franchises with characters being recast as a different race. There’s no reason POC representation needs to come from “existing white character recast as POC character”. Taking it back to your analogy, it’s the equivalent of the poor person taking the rich person’s treasured family heirloom with the argument of “they have heaps of stuff anyway”. Looking at the issue and only considering mere quantity is missing the point.

    Suppose that character is Sam Wilson – Sam decides to take on the Captain American mantle. Is that offensive to you?

    The white character is “Steve Rodgers” who takes on the character of “Captain America” within the context of the fiction. Given existing Marvel lore, it’s possible for other characters to take up the super hero label and style, I don’t find it objectionable. However, I think it reasonable to observe that the “original” / “true” / etc Captain America is Steve Rodgers.

    Along those lines, I’ve been a consistent fan of the existing MCU since the original Iron Man. However, I suspect I’ll be much less interested after End Game given the significant number of actors who are rumoured to be dropping out.

  38. Desipis:

    RJN, there isn’t some sort universal “white culture”.

    Ok.

    But then there isn’t some sort of universal “black culture” or “asian culture” or “latino culture” either.

    I never said there was, nor was the assumption that there is even remotely the basis for what I wrote.

    I find your implication that white people don’t have culture as preposterous as it is offensive.

    This is such a willful misreading of what I wrote, that I don’t see the point in responding further

  39. 39
    Ampersand says:

    Taking it back to your analogy, it’s the equivalent of the poor person taking the rich person’s treasured family heirloom with the argument of “they have heaps of stuff anyway”. Looking at the issue and only considering mere quantity is missing the point.

    But it’s not like that at all, because you still have the heirloom.

    Jimmy Olsen on Supergirl is Black. But casting Mehcad Brooks as Jimmy didn’t magically wipe out decades of comic books; they’re still there, available to read whenever you want. Jack Larson’s portrayal on the old Superman TV show is still available to watch. Or if you prefer, Michael Landes’ version is available. And Justin Whalin’s, and I’m pretty sure there are at least ten other white actors who have played Jimmy at one time or another. Casting Brooks as Jimmy didn’t wipe any of that out. You still have them.

    So what’s really going on is that your family heirloom – which is famous and widely reproduced, not something only your family knows about – has been an influence on the creation of a new heirloom, one that is based on yours, but not identical. You still have the heirloom, and can do whatever it is you do with it anytime you like. And you can also either enjoy the new heirloom, or ignore it.

    It’s hard to see how you’ve lost anything, in this scenario.

  40. 40
    desipis says:

    Ampersand:

    So what’s really going on is that your family heirloom – which is famous and widely reproduced, not something only your family knows about – has been an influence on the creation of a new heirloom, one that is based on yours, but not identical. You still have the heirloom, and can do whatever it is you do with it anytime you like.

    However, to keep the metaphor on track, the knockoff heirloom still bares the family name and is still being marketed as “genuine” rather than “inspired by”. Does the family (analogous to the fan base of the original material) have a legitimate grievance?

    Jimmy Olsen on Supergirl is Black

    It’s hard to talk about a specific case that you’ve picked, because I’m not saying all cases of switching a white character with a black one are all equivalently problematic.

    Still, there might be someone our there who strongly identified with the white Jimmy Olsen in the comics, that was less able to identify with the black one in the TV show, and was disappointed in the show as a result. It’s also possible that the opposite occurred, that someone who strongly identified with black Jimmy Olsen on the TV show went to read the comic books and was disappointed by the difference.

    Obviously, it’s not just race that can cause these issues. Imagine casting someone like Danny Devito as Superman. The juxtaposition of Devito’s body type against the idea of super-human strength would be so strong as to break most people’s suspension of disbelief. Even something as subtle as casting Tom Hiddleston as Superman but kept him with his naturally blonde curly hair could have negative impacts.

  41. 41
    Ampersand says:

    Desipis, the real-life examples I’ve seen of white comic book fans grousing because a character was “made black” have mostly been “new character taking on the mantle” storylines, like Riri Williams becoming Iron Man[*] or (in an example of “made female”) Jane Foster becoming Thor. And you’ve already said you don’t see a problem with that happening (if I understood).

    It’s hard to talk about a specific case that you’ve picked, because I’m not saying all cases of switching a white character with a black one are all equivalently problematic.

    What are specific examples you do find problematic?

    However, to keep the metaphor on track, the knockoff heirloom still bares the family name and is still being marketed as “genuine” rather than “inspired by”. Does the family (analogous to the fan base of the original material) have a legitimate grievance?

    I think this is a case where the metaphor is now obscuring more than it’s revealing.

    Because – sticking with Jimmy Olsen as an example – there are really only a couple of ways the “genuine” angle makes logical sense.

    One, we could argue that Jimmy Olsen is only genuine when made by Jerry Siegel, Joel Shuster, and/or George Putnam Ludlam, the three people who arguably created the character. In that case, the only “genuine” Jimmy Olsen is the comic book character when it was written/drawn by Siegel and Shuster, or the radio serial when it was written by Ludlam. No other iteration of the character is “genuine,” regardless of if he’s portrayed as white or not. So complaining about a Black Jimmy not being “genuine” makes no sense, unless you’re also going to complain about all the non-genuine Jimmys who are white.

    Or, two, we could argue that Jimmy is the legal creation of Warner Brothers (via their subsidiary DC Comics), and so a genuine Jimmy is whatever WB says is Jimmy. In which case, the Supergirl version of Jimmy Olsen – owned and “created” by Warner Brothers – is genuine.

    So talking about the “genuine” characters doesn’t justify objecting to a Black Jimmy Olsen. (I acknowledge you don’t necessarily object to Jimmy being Black yourself, but I find it easier to discuss this if I can use a specific character as an example).

    (Ah-hah, you might say. But if that’s the case, then how can Black fans say that the “genuine” Falcon has to be played by a Black actor?

    To which I’d say: The objections to a hypothetical white Falcon, in the jellybean argument I linked to, weren’t about being “genuine.” They were about providing equitable chances for non-white actors to play roles, and for non-white audiences to see non-white actors on screen in good parts.)

    [*] Actually she became “Ironheart,” but she was the main character of the comic book named “Iron Man” for a while.

  42. 42
    desipis says:

    Jane Foster becoming Thor

    To me this one doesn’t make sense. Thor isn’t a costume the character wears, Thor is the character. Not just that, but it’s a character based on Norse mythology. Jane Foster (or whomever) might be able to be “Hammer Girl” by playing with the worthiness gimmick, but I don’t think it’d make sense to have anyone else be “Thor”.

    But then, that’s just my two cents. Which leads me into my response to this:

    Because – sticking with Jimmy Olsen as an example – there are really only a couple of ways the “genuine” angle makes logical sense.

    I’m not thinking of genuine in any objective or logical sense (and the word “genuine” might not be the best choice here). I’m thinking of something that’s more subjective, and related to the concept of suspension of disbelief I mentioned earlier. The key question is ‘does the audience intuitively accept the new version of the character as a continuation of the existing one’? Significant changes (race or otherwise), especially if they appear politically motivated, make this less likely.

  43. 43
    Michael says:

    @desipis#42- Yeah, Thor is his NAME. That wasn’t like Jim Rhodes becoming Iron Man or Dick Grayson becoming Batman- that would be like if Jim Rhodes became Tony Stark or Dick Grayson became Bruce Wayne.
    (And yes, I know Eric Masterson became Thor for a couple of years in the 90s but he was hiding the fact that he wasn’t the original Thor from the general public.)

  44. 44
    Ampersand says:

    Desipis and Michael:

    …but I don’t think it’d make sense to have anyone else be “Thor”.

    You’ve never heard of two people having the same name?

    It’s not like the male Thor disappeared. He remained a character in the comic.

    Given that the Jane Foster Thor sold well for a Thor comic, not all fans had the same trouble accepting the storyline as you two did.

    Furthermore, having Jane become Thor because she was worthy and held the hammer – in essence, treating being “Thor” as a title that could pass on to another person, rather than as only a person’s name – was a return to Kirby’s original conception of the comic, before the various retcons. Remember, in the first Thor story, Donald Blake didn’t become Thor until he picked up the hammer:

    So the possibility of someone else taking on the mantle of “Thor” was baked into the comic from the start. It’s just that no one had done it before – which is part of what made the Jane Foster Thor plotline interesting.

    To me, your argument seems to be that nothing should be done that radically rethinks how the comic is done, because that might mess with some readers’ suspension of disbelief. But many of the best corporate-character comics have been radical rethinks. Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing is an obvious example, but also many of the best titles of recent years (Tom King’s Vision, and Immortal Hulk, for example).

    And yet, although some readers groused about those changes, the grousing was a lot more muted. “Jane Foster becomes Thor for a while” is a much LESS radical rethinking than “Alex Holland was never Swamp Thing at all; the Swamp Thing is 100% plant, and always has been.” But somehow the idea of a woman taking on the Thor mantle was what made some fans furious. I don’t think that’s a neutral reaction to the suspension of disbelief being stretched; I think it’s a political objection to new takes on the big titles that make women or POC central characters.

  45. 45
    Michael says:

    @Ampersand#44- I agree- much of the opposition was due to sexism. And we’d seen other people possess the power of Thor before- Beta Ray Bill. I’m just saying that calling Jane Thor and Thor calling himself Odinson was … weird.

  46. 47
    Ampersand says:

    Nobody, thanks, that’s interesting. The first argument – that there was no need to put a pro-slavery into the design of the electoral college, because it was already pre-baked in – isn’t one I’ve thought about before, but it makes sense. As does the rest of the piece, although I’d like to see if any other historians respond to disagree.

  47. 48
    nobody.really says:

    The first argument – that there was no need to put a pro-slavery into the design of the electoral college, because it was already pre-baked in – isn’t one I’ve thought about before, but it makes sense. As does the rest of the piece, although I’d like to see if any other historians respond to disagree.

    Funny you should say that…. (Although the author of this editorial, Akhil Reed Amar, works as Yale Law prof, not a professor of history.)

    I don’t find the editorial very persuasive–or, perhaps, very clear. He writes that during the Constitutional Convention, “having members of Congress elect the president emerged as a possible alternative [to a popular vote], but this idea, too, would have been pro-slavery for the same reason: Thanks to the three-fifths clause, slave states got extra votes in the House, just as in the Electoral College system that was finally adopted.

    When George Washington left the political stage in the mid-1790s, America witnessed its first two contested presidential elections. Twice, most Southerners backed a Southerner (Thomas Jefferson) and most Northerners backed a Northerner (John Adams). Without the extra electoral votes generated by its enormous slave population, the South would have lost the election of 1800, which Jefferson won.

    Would have lost relative to what alternative system? Relative to a system of direct democracy–but not relative to a system in which Congress picked the president. A system where Congress picks the president would maximize the power of slave states. The electoral college diluted this power, because it combines a state’s power based on its number of Congressmen (which reflected the 3/5th clause) with the power based on its number of Senators (which did not).

    In short, your judgment about the consequences of the Electoral College turn largely on what system you think would have been adopted instead. If your objective were to maximize the power of slave states, you would have supported having Congress pick the president. The fact that the Convention adopted something as elaborate as the Electoral College suggests to me that their objectives were something different.

  48. 49
    Ampersand says:

    Thanks also for this new link, Nobody.

    In short, your judgment about the consequences of the Electoral College turn largely on what system you think would have been adopted instead. If your objective were to maximize the power of slave states, you would have supported having Congress pick the president. The fact that the Convention adopted something as elaborate as the Electoral College suggests to me that their objectives were something different.

    I disagree.

    Without any doubt, one consequence of the electoral college was to increase the voting power of the slaveowning states, when compared to direct election.

    To answer this, you say that the electoral college is not the most pro-slavery option that could have been chosen. That is true, but it’s still a pro-slavery option.

    If we go out for dinner and I refuse to go anyplace that doesn’t serve meat entrees, we might end up at a restaurant with a variety of both meat and vegetarian dishes. (A nice Chinese place, say). Now, it’s true that we didn’t go to the most meat-only place we could have; we didn’t go to the steakhouse that has only one vegetarian entree and that’s a salad, for example. We could have been more biased towards meat. But that doesn’t change the fact that I biased our restaurant choice in a pro-meat direction.

    My point is, even if a system isn’t the most biased it could have imaginably been, that doesn’t mean the system isn’t biased.

    Slavery wasn’t the one and only reason direction election of the President was off the table. But it was clearly one reason direct elections were off the table.

    From the first op-ed you linked:

    Above all, the Virginia slaveholder James Madison — the most influential delegate at the convention — insisted that while direct popular election of the president was the “fittest” system, it would hurt the South, whose population included nonvoting slaves. The slaveholding states, he said, “could have no influence in the election on the score of the Negroes.” Instead, the framers, led by Madison, concocted the Electoral College to give extra power to the slaveholders.

    The author goes on to say that we shouldn’t stop there, and should consider other things. That’s fair. But he seems to instead go to entirely ignoring what Madison said, as if it shouldn’t be considered at all, and that doesn’t seem justifiable.

  49. 50
    hf says:

    Wait, does someone say the Electoral College was anything other than a compromise? Why did you think the ‘free’ states would agree to maximize the power of slave states?

  50. 51
    nobody.really says:

    Without any doubt, one consequence of the electoral college was to increase the voting power of the slaveowning states, when compared to direct election.

    To answer this, you say that the electoral college is not the most pro-slavery option that could have been chosen.

    Forgive me; I failed to make my point clearly.

    To answer this, rather, I meant to emphasize that there is an obvious, simpler, and more effective way to achieve the pro-slavery objective: election by Congress. Until I have a theory for why the Framers did not pick that option, I don’t find Amp’s argument very persuasive.

    Wait, does someone say the Electoral College was anything other than a compromise? Why did you think the ‘free’ states would agree to maximize the power of slave states?

    I know of no one alleging that the free states agreed to maximize the power of slave states. Maximizing the power of slave states might have included granting voting rights solely to slave states. No one agreed to such a policy, to my knowledge.

    But moreover, the Electoral College quite explicitly did NOT maximize the power of slave states. Presidential election by Congress would have granted greater power to the slave states, but that policy was not adopted. This is the dynamic we’re discussing.

  51. 52
    Harlequin says:

    An interesting article on the effectiveness of gun control laws. The short version is that regulating who can own guns is much more effective at reducing the homicide rate than regulating what kinds of guns they can own. This is based on observational studies, so there may of course be confounding variables that explain some of those correlations, although the results make intuitive sense to me.

  52. 53
    Ampersand says:

    Nobody, according to a professor of government writing today in the Washington Post, some framers – including Madison, who I’d argue was clearly operating from a pro-slavery perspective – did want the congress to directly choose whoever they wanted to be President. But others were against that, because they felt that would leave the system too open to corruption. Also, many expected that the result of having an electoral college would be that congress would usually choose the president from nominees chosen by the electoral college.

    Nevertheless, the idea of the legislature electing a president disturbed the convention delegates, who were focused on establishing separation of powers and averting foreign interference. Having Congress elect the president would result in “corruption and cabals,” according to Pennsylvania’s Gouverneur Morris (who is credited with actually hand-writing the Constitution). Alexander Hamilton, who first proposed the electoral college, focused on the potential dangers of foreign corruption. Having the selection spread among the states rather than in the compact Congress would help ward off the dangers of “foreign powers” gaining “an improper ascendant in our councils.”

    The electoral college was adopted to serve as an alternative to Congress in the presidential election process, spread out among the states and with no members of Congress allowed to serve in the body. To win election, a candidate would have to win a majority of electoral votes, and if that failed to occur, Congress would ultimately decide who among the candidates receiving votes would become president.

    In fact, most delegates thought the latter scenario would be the norm, with the electoral college “nominating” the five most worthy candidates so that Congress could select a president from that group. One delegate, George Mason, predicted that Congress would be deciding the president “nineteen times out of twenty.” Antifederalist Paper No. 72 claimed that the electoral college settling on a president was “not likely to happen twice in the same century.”

  53. 54
    nobody.really says:

    Hm. Well, I asked for a rationale–and Amp has delivered. Kinda.

    To summarize, there were various reasons that delegates opposed direct election of the president, one of which was to defend the interests of slave states. There were also various reasons to oppose direct election by Congress, related to fears of corruption. But “most” delegates seems to regard the Electoral College as a fig leaf that would barely conceal the fact that Congress would almost always elect the president anyway. These delegates failed to anticipate the rise of political parties that would prompt electors to consolidate their votes.

    So, what conclusions can we draw about the relationship between the Electoral College and slavery? Yes, slavery influenced the structure of the Constitution overall, most specifically in the 3/5th clause. But I’m not persuaded that the Electoral College was either promoted by slave states, nor functioned to promote the interests of slave states (relative to the expectations of the delegates), nor was even DESIGNED to promote the interest of the slave states—with one proviso. We might understand the Electoral College as a marketing gimmick designed to promote the Constitution by concealing Congress’s (expected) role in picking the president. In this sense, the Electoral College may be regarded as tainted by any malevolent intentions of the Federalists—some of whom also defended slavery.

    It’s a tenuous connection—all the more attenuated by the fact that the Electoral College didn’t function the way most delegates thought it would, and actually deprived Congress of almost any role in electing the president. If the Electoral College succeeded in fooling people into supporting the Constitution, the people who were deceived were the Federalists.

  54. 55
    Ampersand says:

    I think that the need to protect slavery was one reason that direct elections (which were not unheard of at the time) could never have been seriously considered for electing the President.

    Once that was off the table, every other option they might have chosen had a pro-slavery bias already baked into the mix.

    Did the founders, when designing the electoral college, sit around rubbing their hands and going “Hah-hah! My fiendish plot to preserve slavery is coming to fruition!”? No, of course not (although James Madison came close). But pro-slavery bias was already baked into the mix, both in the government they had already designed, and as one of multiple factors that made direct election unacceptable. It wasn’t the only purpose of the EC, but it was an influence in how the EC turned out.

    Saying “the EC only existed to protect slavery!” is wrong. (And if I’ve ever said that in the past, I was mistaken). But it’s still closer to the truth than saying “the EC only exists to protect small states!”

  55. 56
    nobody.really says:

    On it face, Amp’s argument sounds plausible–if you’re willing to completely ignore the obvious fact that —

    Oh, wait, there’s a new SuperButch page. Later.

  56. 57
    Ampersand says:

    On it face, Amp’s argument sounds plausible–if you’re willing to completely ignore the obvious fact that —

    Oh, wait, there’s a new SuperButch page. Later.

    Now that’s what I like to hear!

  57. 58
    J. Squid says:

    A friend invited me to see “Silence of the Lambs” on the big screen. I had never seen the movie – I know. Unpossible! – though I’d read the book forever and a half ago. As such, I really had no memory of the story. I’d never seen as much as a scene from the movie, though I am – unavoidably – familiar with the references. A nice chianti and so on.

    My fear going in was that I was going to be disappointed. Not only because everybody lurves that movie and it won Oscars and I have never heard a bad word about it but also because horror, as a genre, is deeply rooted in its own time. In its contemporary cultural fear. They rarely age well because of that. And since it’s been 28 years since its release, time and what society fears has changed. So I was afraid that it wouldn’t be scary or thrilling or suspenseful in the least. I was also afraid – based on the pop culture references – that it was going to be proto-torture porn. Lastly, I was worried that, because I’m watching it for the first time in 2019, I would laugh at things that its audience would not find funny.

    So away to the Hollywood Theatre’s Queer Horror Night I went. The only time I’ve ever felt as at home in a crowd was at the Amanda Palmer show Charles took me to several years ago. Queer Horror fans are, apparently, my people. Before the movie, there was a pre-show starring Carla Rossi – Portland’s premier drag clown. It was a satire of the movie we were about to see. Ask me about Juggalo Jill some time. That, alone, was worth the price of admission. It was so good. At the end of the preshow Carla gave a short talk about how the film is problematic from a queer perspective, and we should acknowledge that. But it’s still a film we love.

    And then the movie started. It was beautifully shot. It used that sloooow pacing that I so love. There are stand out performances by Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins. There are a few incredible scenes between Starling and Lecter.

    But, folks, that movie sucks. With a capital S-U. There’s no real story there. The Buffalo Bill thing feels like they thought they needed a narrative story but couldn’t be bothered to actually do more than a framework. They never fleshed out the characters of either Starling or Lecter, though they came closer with Starling. Dr. Chilton was a poorly done caricature represented by what must have been THE 7th rate performance of its year. The cops were soooooo dumb that I felt like Lecter was only a genius relative to the incredible stupidity of nearly everyone else in the story. Clarice finds Buffalo Bill with basically no effort or expense of time. Somebody needs to explain to me now Buffalo Bill’s house isn’t some sort of tartus and where that (day?) light comes from after the door or wall is broken through. How the hell does that fit under the exterior of the house we’re shown? And who has a half done (in both the digging part and the wall part) in their sub-sub-sub basement?

    Whew! That’s a lot of things wrong.

    It also doesn’t work in 2019 because transfolk are not the boogeyman, beyond the pale, taboo perverts they used to be. “Not only is Buffalo Bill a serial killer, he’s also TRANS!!!!!” just doesn’t have the same effect today as it did in 1991.

    The best moment – outside of the Starling/Lecter scenes – was when the cops burst into the 5th floor and, as a group, did the Charlie’s Angels pose. That was great in a way that it wasn’t meant to be.

    Alas! I didn’t get to see it at the time. Being immersed in that zeitgeist allows you to overlook otherwise obvious shortcomings because it works at an emotional level. And if you watched it in its time or saw it when you were young, those emotions will still resonate with you and you’ll still love the film. So I missed out on a pretty big pop cultural thing because I saw it 25 years too late.

    On the plus side for me… The pre-show was great. Have I mentioned that? It was smarter and better than the original. In large part because it was rooted in today. And this wasn’t nearly as disappointing as when everybody talked about “Buckaroo Banzai” as the greatest movie ever. Not only wasn’t it great, it was pretty awful. I was so let down! With “Silence of the Lambs” I just feel kinda left out. But now I both get a lot of references that previously went over my head and can clearly see the things people remember as being much bigger, more important parts of the movie than they really are. I guess that it’s almost like an anthropological study – I got to see it as an outsider and make some sense of it within its fandom. And it’s been consuming my thoughts for most of the day, so I clearly got something out of it.

    I feel as if I could write 50,000 words on the subject, but I’ll limit myself, for now, to what I’ve written here.

    Oh! One more thing. I was so happy that it wasn’t proto-torture porn.

  58. 59
    Mandolin says:

    I’m surprised queer theatre night showed a movie that transphobic? But sometimes depiction is depiction.

  59. 60
    J. Squid says:

    They show beloved horror & horror adjacent movies. The next one will be “Resident Evil” aka “The Night of a Thousand Milla Jovovich’s”. Some (I’m gonna guess many) of the older ones will inevitably be problematic. So they want to have a queer and feminist friendly space & night to watch horror movies that a lot of people love. I’m going to guess that they talk about those issues before each show as a way to acknowledge both that we love movie X and that movie X has problems.

    I actually appreciated that a lot. There’s tons of stuff (particularly older stuff) that I absolutely love that is also very problematic. It’s a way of acknowledging that we can like/enjoy/love art that is problematic in any number of ways.

  60. 61
    J. Squid says:

    Also, Carla thought it was a very queer film outside of the anti-trans stuff. She says that Clarice is obviously a queer woman and felt that there were other queer characters as well. She also dug the feminism inherent in Clarice’s strength in taking on not only a male dominated field but also the objectification of the male gaze. So. Both very queer and feminist while problematically anti-trans. Which, it seems to me, was very cutting edge for the mainstream at the time.

  61. 62
    Mandolin says:

    That’s a really good explanation, J. Thanks.

  62. 63
    Gracchus says:

    I’m curious – what made Carla think Clarice was queer?

    I’m not necessarily arguing, I’m just a bit surprised.

  63. 64
    J. Squid says:

    Gracchus,

    I don’t recall her stating the reason. It seemed to just be taken as a given. I have my own guesses, but they’re just that.

  64. 65
    dreadfullyawry says:

    I remember in both the book and the film (but even moreso the book) it is explicitly pointed out that Buffalo Bill is not a trans woman, but a mentally ill and delusional cis queer man who believes he is a trans woman.

  65. 66
    J. Squid says:

    I remember in both the book and the film (but even moreso the book) it is explicitly pointed out that Buffalo Bill is not a trans woman…

    It’s been too many decades for me to remember the book, but in the movie Lecter’s opinion/analysis/diagnosis is that Buffalo Bill’s not trans. But that is so easily overlooked given both the denseness of the dialogue in the Starling/Lecter scenes and the scenes on which most viewers seem to place importance.

    In my viewing, I remembered what Lecter said about that but it was overwhelmed by the depiction of Buffalo Bill in the last act. The subtext of that depiction hits all of the cliches & bigotries about what trans is and that, for me, made clear the attitude of the film towards trans.

  66. 67
    Grace Annam says:

    J. Squid:

    In my viewing, I remembered what Lecter said about that but it was overwhelmed by the depiction of Buffalo Bill in the last act. The subtext of that depiction hits all of the cliches & bigotries about what trans is and that, for me, made clear the attitude of the film towards trans.

    Yes. It is a different act to play with fire when the culture you are playing in likes to spray gasoline around.

    I don’t know what the film makers said about it; when this topic comes up I usually turn my reading elsewhere. But if they plead something like, “Oh, no, but we said Buffalo Bill wasn’t trans,” they’re being a little too precious, in my opinion. It’s a bit like directing the male baddie to act effeminate and then saying, “But we had no idea that people would interpret him as gay!” Okay. Whatever.

    (On the book itself, I have no opinion; I have not read it and don’t intend to.)

    Grace

  67. 68
    Mandolin says:

    ……..I’m not sure “cis man who thinks he’s a trans woman” is a coherent thing?

    It’s suggestive of the concept of autogynephilia, I guess, but… I’m not sure autogynephilia is a coherent thing either? And it requires that historical misdiagnosis, I think, to make any sense.

    Unless he’s having a psychotic breakdown and thinks he’s someone else, and the someone else is a trans woman, and I guess… mrh? That seems… weird.

  68. 69
    Ampersand says:

    In the novel, there’s a lot more effort spent distinguishing Bill from a trans woman, across multiple scenes, including a mini-lecture on the subject from a doctor the FBI agents in the book interview. The author was clearly aware of the problem, and trying to dodge it.

    (IIRC. I haven’t read it in years, but that was something that struck me at the time.)

    In 1988, when the novel came out, that seemed like enough to me. But it doesn’t now.

    What’s changed? Probably mostly my own awareness. In 1990 (which is when I’d guess I read this for the first time), I didn’t yet have any trans friends who had come out to me as trans.

    But also, it’s what Grace put so well: “It is a different act to play with fire when the culture you are playing in likes to spray gasoline around.” You can’t avoid bringing up horrible tropes by literally bringing up those tropes but telling your readers “don’t interpret this trope in the horrible way that clearly people will be inclined to interpret this, that’s not how I intend it.”

    And maybe we have higher expectations of authors now than we did in the 80s. (If so, good.)

  69. 70
    Ben Lehman says:

    It seems to me that all the effort to distinguish Bill from a trans woman just makes it worse?

    Like, all it means that she’s a trans woman who has been rejected by medical gatekeepers. Who are often the most vulnerable class of trans women. And then paints them as murderous, misogynistic psychopaths.

    There’s a direct line between that and the modern form of transphobia. Silence of the Lambs didn’t invent it, but it sure as hell helped spread it around.

    It’s not just playing with fire in a culture that sprays gasoline everywhere. It’s spraying gasoline all over your house, dropping a match, and shouting “not my fault!” before it hits the ground.

  70. 71
    Mandolin says:

    Like, all it means that she’s a trans woman who has been rejected by medical gatekeepers.

    …that.

    Transness may have biological components for some people that make it “real.” But much transness is in the thinking.

  71. 72
    dreadfullyawry says:

    Yeah, even in the book it is not explicitly explained what is the difference between Bill and a trans woman, and in the movie it is a total throwaway.

    So it seems the author wanted to convince people they weren’t being transphobic. Maybe they were also trying to convince themselves. But it doesn’t make it better.

    It’s not even really that necessary to the story. It’s not like it’s not easy to write a story about a cis man murdering vulnerable women.

    I think the difference is that in the 80s transgender people were still seen, even to those who were sympathetic, through a medical lens.

    Now we know that medical gatekeeping is pointless and the role of medical personel is to assist transition, not to determine whether or not transition is allowed to take place.

  72. 73
    Mandolin says:

    IIRC the real serial killer the dude was based on was trans or a cross-dresser or something. I think the attempt to preserve that detail is rough.

  73. 74
    J. Squid says:

    I thought Buffalo Bill was clearly an amalgam of known serial killers. Most prominently, to me, Ed Gein. Thus the skin suit. I am not aware of any American serial killers who were trans. Tons of trans victims, but trans serial killers? I haven’t heard of any.

  74. 75
    J. Squid says:

    I think the difference is that in the 80s transgender people were still seen, even to those who were sympathetic, through a medical lens.

    Maybe to those who were sympathetic. To those who weren’t? No. Those people simply thought transfolk were either unspeakably perverted or mentally ill. Or both. At least in my experience. Those who were sympathetic didn’t really know how or have a way to talk about trans.

  75. 76
    Mandolin says:

    –deleted–

    Sorry, I don’t think getting into the weeds about this is actually helpful, so I deleted the comment.

  76. 77
    J. Squid says:

    In the end, I really don’t think this movie could have succeeded with Buffalo Bill as a transwoman if it were released this year. But I’ve been surprised by our enduring bigotries before.

  77. 78
    Mandolin says:

    But I’ve been surprised by our enduring bigotries before.

    :(

    I saw a television episode of a detective show with a (badly done*) serial killer trans woman several years ago, and it upset me sufficiently that I am hoping I don’t have to again for sheer personal health reasons.

    *Can it be well done? I hate to say anything *can’t*…….. but also………

  78. 79
    Gracchus says:

    Ed Gein did collect women’s skins and body parts, like Buffalo Bill, but he wasn’t trans.

    In theory a trans woman could be a serial killer, but I don’t really trust Hollywood to portray that in a way that isn’t transphobic.

    As a parallel, there have been queer serial killers, but Hollywood always gets it wrong – I have never seen a depiction of Jeffrey Dahmer on TV or in movies, or even in comic books, that wasn’t homophobic.

  79. 80
    J. Squid says:

    Yeah, the skins and masks is where I see Gein as a major part of the amalgam.

  80. 81
    RonF says:

    Re: #24:

    The headline is somewhat misleading. The proposed act would not prevent Iowa students from voting. It would prevent them from voting in Iowa. They would still be free to vote in their home State and municipality. I managed to do it when I was going to college and the requirements were a lot more stringent then than they are now.

    And, in fact, regardless of the act they are free to legally vote in their home State and municipality. They could also very likely get away with (illegally) voting in both places.

  81. 82
    Mandolin says:

    What utter bullshit. Iowa can then exempt them from paying taxes as well, at minimum.

  82. 83
    Mandolin says:

    I imagine the excuse is something along the lines of “we don’t want people voting here who aren’t really part of our state.” Well, they are part of your state. Part of your state is that you have great universities. Don’t want to have to acknowledge the people there? Then please, feel free to give up all the advantages of their cultural efforts, starting with the damn Hawkeye games.

  83. 84
    Ampersand says:

    Ron, as soon as I got into college in Ohio, my parents in Connecticut sold their house and moved to New York. (They were just in CT because they thought it would be a better place to raise me and my older sister).

    So I couldn’t have voted in Connecticut, because I had no legal address there.

    I guess I could have tried to vote in New York, using my parent’s address – an address I had never lived in, and possibly had never been to as of the first election day of my Freshman year. But that seems a little sketchy to me.

    In any case, someone who lives in Iowa for most of the year, for years on end, should be legally allowed to vote in Iowa if they want. There’s no non-partisan reason to exclude U.S. citizens who live in a state from voting rights in that state – and there are obvious pro-democracy reasons to want citizens to be able to vote where they live. As Mandolin pointed out, most or all students in Iowa are paying Iowa taxes, one way or another; do you really think that’s fair if they aren’t allowed to vote in Iowa?

    * * *

    By the way, voting in two states might not be illegal in Iowa. You can’t legally vote for President twice in Iowa and another state. But you could, for example, vote for President and local offices in Iowa, and also vote for local offices (but not national offices) in your hometown in Alabama, and probably that’s not against the law.

    But it depends on how you define “the same election” – is voting for President in Iowa and for Town Auditor in Alabama voting twice in “the same election” or not?

  84. 85
    Mandolin says:

    It is a constant marvel to me how chill conservatives are with taxation without representation.

    For instance, if you really want a Californian’s vote to count for less than a voter from Wyoming’s, then the voter in California should have a commensurately lower tax burden.

    Oh, but it’s the liberal states that don’t get a fucking equal say which fund the conservative leech states, isn’t it? And we’re fine with that because we’d like everyone in the country to have a humane standard of life. But “we get all the votes and all your money, too!” is a bad look.

    Now I need to not look at this site for as long as possible because I am a knot of growl.

  85. 87
    Gracchus says:

    I’m really not comfortable describing conservative states as “leech states”. Leech implies that the resources being transferred are those they’re not entitled to. But most of the conservative states that are net recipients of money (Arkansas, Mississippi, etc etc) are also of lower average income than the national average, so from my POV, it’s totally legitimate that they receive these funds, since transfer of money from the relatively well off to the relatively poorly off makes sense.

    Of course it’s ironic that the people in power in these states push an anti-redistribution ideology while accepting and benefiting from redistribution, but the flaw is in their ideology, not in the fact of redistribution. Talking about “leech states” doesn’t really seem to depict that, at least not to me.

  86. Thank you, nobody. That was thought-provoking.

  87. 89
    LimitsOfLanguage says:

    nobody.really,

    I have a problem with the assertion in the article that power is being wielded against those with beliefs like the author & that they are at an disadvantage, without the author recognizing that she and people with similar opinions can and do wield power against others & put them at a disadvantage.

    The author makes this statement:

    Without wishing to exploit my position within the power/knowledge nexus animating American academia, I have taught […]

    Either she doesn’t understand Foucault or she is hypocritical. The claim by Foucault is that power is (also) unconsciously used to define what is knowledge and how knowledge is made. So the author’s claims that she doesn’t wish to exploit her power is an implicit, but unearned claim of impartiality. She will exploit her position, because she has a point of view that she can’t shed while teaching.

    Such claims of impartial correctness are of course a necessity for those who wish to censor others, or they cannot claim to save people from themselves, but merely to force their subjective form of knowledge upon others.

    When she author states that she is exhausted at having the students she taught be “re-educated by poorly-read journalists,” this reveals again how she puts her own beliefs on a pedestal. There is no acknowledgement that she herself may be poorly-read for some or many of her beliefs or that certain ideas may be beyond her understanding.

    PS. Note that Foucault seems to have realized that the revolutionaries wield power themselves, as he left the Communist party due to anger over their prejudice against Jews and gays & eventually adopted classical liberalism.

  88. 90
    RonF says:

    It is a constant marvel to me how chill conservatives are with taxation without representation.

    Liberals are pretty down with it too.

    Here in Illinois there is a massive pension funding crisis. For decades the City of Chicago, the Chicago Public Schools and Cook County have, during contract negotiations, been granting more and more generous pension benefits to their employees. Meanwhile they have through various means decreased actual payments to the pension funds both by the public entities and by the people benefiting from those funds.

    Time marches on. Math doesn’t change. The workforce is aging and the pensions are coming due. Because of the above factors the pension funds are grossly underfunded and will relatively soon be unable to pay off the pensions without stripping funding from the very services the people who will be benefiting from those pensions used to provide (e.g., education, healthcare, elder care, welfare). Even now the State is a horrible entity to do business with; it’s always 6 months or more behind in all it’s bills and more than that for some of them. Illinois is functionally bankrupt.

    The solution? Why, raise taxes statewide – taxing people who had NO VOTE in selecting the Chicago aldermen, Cook County Commissioners and Chicago Public School Board members who negotiated those contracts – and funnel the money to those entities. Guess which political party dominates the Chicago City Council, the Cook County Board, the Illinois General Assembly and the Governor’s mansion? It’s not the GOP. So don’t think that this is a phenomena limited to conservatives.

  89. 91
    J. Squid says:

    Meh. Those people almost certainly had a vote for the state pols who approved the tax hike. Hardly taxation without representation any more than any taxes that go to paying off debts incurred before ones birth. I believe you have a miastaken understanding of the term.

  90. 92
    RonF says:

    Mandolin:

    Iowa can then exempt them from paying taxes as well, at minimum.

    What taxes would those be? Sales taxes? You pay those no matter where you are. Nobody gets to vote on that basis. Income tax? You don’t pay State income taxes on income you earned in another State. Unless you figure that on that basis you should get to vote in every State you earn income in.

    If you live in multiple States you pay taxes in multiple States. But you only get to vote in one of them. How to decide, then, where you should be eligible to vote? Normally that’s pretty clear – where do you live? Because where you live defines your commitment to a given area and the level to which you are going to have to live with the consequences of your vote. But in the case of out-of-State students it is clear that the vast majority of them are transients. Let’s face it – most out-of-State kids going to a college in Iowa will not stay in Iowa post-graduation. They will be gone in 4 years and will not be living with the consequences of their vote. Their “home” is not their dorm in school but where their parents live.

    Now, if they live in the State year-round and file their Federal and State income tax returns using the State the school is in as their primary residence then I can see that they should vote in that State. But if either 1) they list their parents’ (out-of-State) home as their primary address for taxing purposes or 2) their parents claim them as dependents, then that State and municipality is where they should vote.

  91. 93
    RonF says:

    Meh. Those people almost certainly had a vote for the state pols who approved the tax hike.

    The tax hikes haven’t been approved yet. Attempts to do so have affected local politics quite a bit. The two black women who faced off against each other for Mayor of Chicago included the President of the Cook County Board. In an effort to get more money out of the Cook County taxpayers, she got the board to pass a soda tax – 1 cent/ounce on all bottled and canned drinks sold in Cook County. It was claimed that this was a public health measure because so many kids are obese and drink highly sugared drinks. Of course, the tax actually taxed drinks whether they contained sugar or not.

    It passed. It was imposed. It was spectacularly unpopular. You have never seen a popular uprising against something like you saw against the Cook County beverage tax. Cook County board members were inundated by phone calls, e-mails, faxes, tweets, etc. And nobody organized it, it just happened. It got to the point that the board actually repealed the tax! So when she ran for Mayor of Chicago it was a major factor during the campaign and helped in her defeat.

    Now comes the Governor of Illinois. Illinois has a flat income tax. How much did you make (based on your Fed AGI)? No matter how much or how little it is, send 4.95% of it to Springfield. Gov. Pritzger wants to change that. He wants to institute a graduated income tax and increase the tax rate on “rich” people (those making > $250,000/year). But in order to do that he needs to get the Illinois State Constitution amended, which has to be approved not just by the General Assembly but by the voters. The objectors note that right now everyone in the State has a stake in taxes, but if you change to a graduated tax the definition of “rich” can be readily changed by the General Assembly and you’ll end up with people who have no stake in the tax rate voting to raise taxes on other people.

    So – nobody’s voted on raising taxes across the State yet. But you can readily guess which party is in favor of it and which isn’t. We’ll see.

  92. 94
    Ben Lehman says:

    People should be able to vote where they live. Obviously.

    Objections to that are absurd and anti-democratic.

  93. 95
    Ben Lehman says:

    Note that framing wealth transfers from “rich states” to “poor states” only really makes sense if you see states as people, which you shouldn’t. There are a large number of very poor Californians — moreso than any state other than Florida or Louisiana. “Large wealth transfers to Wyoming” is not actually “large wealth transfers to poor people” it’s large wealth transfers to Wyoming, the state.

    Similarly, if “rural representation” is important you should really be demanding that rural Californians get 18 senators, because there are nine times as many rural people living in California as in Wyoming, and the people in Wyoming get two senators.

  94. 96
    RonF says:

    Amp:

    Ron, as soon as I got into college in Ohio, my parents in Connecticut sold their house and moved to New York.

    You have to admit that’s an outlier.

    As Mandolin pointed out, most or all students in Iowa are paying Iowa taxes, one way or another; do you really think that’s fair if they aren’t allowed to vote in Iowa?

    And if they go home to their parents during the summer they’re paying taxes there as well.

    Students are transients. Generally, they don’t live in any one place in a given year. So determining where they should vote is non-trivial, and it’s legitimate to consider multiple factors in determining where they should vote. I figure that unless they are self-supporting the fact that they spend most of their time at schools should not be the determining factor.

  95. 97
    Mandolin says:

    I wrote poorly. The framing of leech states is my way of expressing how generally pissed off I am at the way many conservatives talk about people aside from themselves who receive tax benefits. I don’t accept the framing of leeching off the state, but I do think it’s a place where pointing out the linguistic attempts to slither around refusing to acknowledge their own debts to their fellow citizens and the country. Anyway, phrasing it differently could have made my sarcasm clearer. I was pretty pissed off.

    I voted in California when I was in Iowa. Mike voted locally. He no longer had a California address. (Of course, he also was there with me as a spouse not a student, so maybe that’s okay, because the clear, ridiculous partisan goal is fueled by anti intellectualism as well as the general anti Democratic desire to make sure conservatives win elections by stripping away votes from people who are likely to disagree with them.)

  96. 98
    Mandolin says:

    Limits of Language –
    Simply so you don’t waste any time attempting to converse with me (which I don’t actually know if you did, but I see you were posting in the thread), please be aware that I do not read your comments and will not reply. Your user name is contemptuous, and I don’t see why I should bother acting as if you aren’t approaching the conversations with that contempt.

    (Also, I’m fairly sure you confirmed you are a previously banned commenter. I do not understand the obsession it must take to spend time forcing your way into a space you’ve been asked to leave, and have no desire to fuel that obsession.)

  97. 99
    nobody.really says:

    I have a problem with the assertion in the article that power is being wielded against those with beliefs like the author & that they are at an disadvantage, without the author recognizing that she and people with similar opinions can and do wield power against others & put them at a disadvantage….

    I had a similar reaction. The author said,

    Foucault helps us, with a helpful and unbelabored explanation: History has selectively concealed the experience of reality felt by people without power.

    Without wishing to exploit my position within the power/knowledge nexus animating American academia, I have taught this idea to many 18-year-olds, who have never failed to understand it. The exhaustion that comes of teaching something over and over again, only to witness people re-educated by poorly-read journalists, is profound. Exhaustion makes a person angry. Anger makes a person seem like a hyperzealot. You cannot believe that somebody is asking you to go around the same block—the very same block!—yet another time.

    This reminded me of Amp’s cartoon depicting a black woman as Sisyphus, daily laboring to explain her circumstances to white men, only to have to restart the same task the following day. The cartoon clearly conveys the maddening nature of this work.

    This provokes two thoughts. First, perhaps every viewpoint has the feature of illuminating some things while concealing others. When discussing privilege, I like to point to films such as Big and Educating Rita: In each case, the protagonist feels the need to conform to the norms of a new (and higher) social class, yet is chastised by an uncomprehending member of his or her prior social class for failing to conform to that class’s norms. My ignorance of your circumstances will enable me to project my own circumstances onto to, and to judge you on that basis, regardless of our respective social classes. Mere knowledge of the dynamics of privilege does not inoculate a person from those dynamics.

    Second: Yes, the pursuit of rationality is imperfect—but what better strategies do we have? Yes, that pursuit is distorted by power dynamics. But prior to the rise of the scientific method, for example, did powerful people experience greater constraints in their exercise of power? I kinda doubt it. Thus, I conclude that the pursuit of knowledge (via rational inquiry and discourse) produces SOME clear benefits, while generating harms that do not obviously greater than the harms people experienced in a world of greater ignorance.

    This would be a fairly academic discussion were it not for the rise of Trump, anti-vaxxers, etc.—people who seem entirely willing to reject rationality when it does not support their preferred viewpoints. If we reject rationality for being tainted by power dynamics, what are we left with other than “received wisdom,” wishful thinking, and conspiracy theories?

    (In the latest episode of Madam Secretary, (spoiler, spoiler) white nationalists killed off the UN Security Council to stop an international treaty from being signed. The Russian secretary of state then privately betrayed his country by hinting to the Americans that Russia was funding the campaign of a Trump-like candidate for the US presidency who is somewhat aligned with the white nationalists. The Russian apparently concluded that the threat posed to Russia if the US is run by nihilists—even with the benefit of back channel influence—would be greater than the threat of the US run by a rational, even if oppositional, administration.)

    In conclusion, I suspect there are few alternatives to explaining, and re-explaining, and re-re-explaining, the problem with people’s intellectual frameworks. Yes, people can also attempt to exploit their power to shame and browbeat others into conformity—but obviously that is a tool that operates without regard to the idea people are striving to promote.

    In the long run, intellectual arguments probably do little to change people’s minds anyway, other than to lay the ground. I sense people tend to be motivated by things such as hope and fear, compassion and tribalism. I theorize that we observe less gratuitous cruelty today—fewer gladiator battles, bear pits, bull fights—because people are generally better off, and can afford to extend more compassion to others. If this pattern continues, I suspect that dynamic to continue, too. As Scott Alexander opined, conservatism is a philosophy for coping with scarcity; liberalism a philosophy for coping with plenty. And to every thing there is a season….

  98. 100
    Harlequin says:

    Let’s face it – most out-of-State kids going to a college in Iowa will not stay in Iowa post-graduation.

    That’s also true of many in-state Iowa kids going to a public university in Iowa. (I was one of them–grew up in Iowa, went to a public state university, left for grad school and never came back. I’m not sure that any of my friends from college still live there, in fact, and most of us were in-state students.) It’s additionally true of many young people who don’t attend college at all. Brain drain in particular, and young people leaving in general, has been a big problem in the state for a long time. It is definitely a good idea to make them feel less welcome and less connected to the place they live, if you’d like to encourage them to stay so you can reap the benefits of the investment you made to educate them.

    The United States has really high rates of internal migration for an advanced economy. Young people are gonna move–whether they’re students or not. Singling out students is, very clearly, nothing but an attempt to suppress Democratic vote share. It’s an outcome looking for a justification. (For example–if we are worried about people thinking long-term when voting, then shouldn’t we also prevent people from voting when actuarial tables say they will die within 4 years with the same likelihood that public university students will leave the state?)

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