Open Thread and Link Farm, Fish Hurricane Edition

The amazing photos accompanying this Open Thread are by Andreas Hemb and Christian Vizl.

  1. The three most popular movies at theaters in the United States and Canada in 2017 — “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” “Beauty and the Beast” and “Wonder Woman” — were each driven by female characters, something that has not happened in at least 37 years, as far back as full box office data is available.”
  2. What Research Tells Us About How Women Are Treated at Work
  3. Well-adjusted man with good priorities sues Iliza Shlesinger over women-only comedy show 
    “Shlesinger’s “Girls Night In” is described as “a hybrid stand up show and interactive discussion between Iliza and the women in the audience aimed at giving women a place to vent in a supportive, fun and inclusive environment.”
  4. In the heart of Anti-Trump Country, voters still pine for an America better than its president | Will Bunch
  5. The Partisanship of Feminism – The Atlantic
    “A liberal woman’s emergence as a serious presidential contender in 2008, and then as her party’s nominee eight years later, drove feminists of both genders toward the Democratic Party and anti-feminists of both genders toward the GOP.”
  6. The Elusive Backfire Effect: Mass Attitudes’ Steadfast Factual Adherence by Thomas Wood, Ethan Porter :: SSRN
    A new study finds that citizens are more open to facts that go against their partisan preferences than some other studies have found. One possible reason for the difference, according to the paper: previous studies have used undergraduate samples rather than general population samples.
  7. The past year of research has made it very clear: Trump won because of racial resentment – Vox
  8. Trump’s Pick to Run 2020 Census Has Defended Racial Gerrymandering and Voter Suppression Laws – Mother Jones
  9. Sarah Silverman’s response to a Twitter troll is a master class in compassion – Blog | q | CBC Radio
  10. What Liberals Get Wrong About Identity Politics | New Republic
  11. #NotYourModelMinority: Asian Americans in the affirmative action debate | Urban Institute
  12. Justice Department inquiry renews debate over whether top colleges hold some applicants to an unfair standard — and what the data say about Asian-American applicants.
  13. The Uncomfortable Truth About Affirmative Action and Asian-Americans | The New Yorker
  14. Investigating Whether Affirmative Action Hurts Asians – The Atlantic
  15. What the Trans Moment Has to Offer Radical Feminism – The TransAdvocate
    “For to describe accurately the class of potential and actual victims of rape would necessarily mean including people who are trans, nonbinary, gender nonconforming, intersex, and otherwise not specifically cisgender.”
  16. How a Nearly Successful Slave Revolt Was Intentionally Lost to History | Smart News | Smithsonian
  17. Why dolphins are deep thinkers | Science | The Guardian
    Dolphins make plans and use tools.
  18. No, #MeToo Is Not a Witch Hunt – Pacific Standard
  19. This might be the best map of the 2016 election you ever see – Vox
  20. These are the arguments against net neutrality and why they’re wrong | TechCrunch

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29 Responses to Open Thread and Link Farm, Fish Hurricane Edition

  1. 1
    Petar says:

    Re #16 I wonder what your definition of ‘nearly successful’ is.

    I was unable to find any account of there having been more than 500 men in the uprising. Worse, I have not been able to find anything in support of that number. It seems to have originated with Peter Kolchin, and there is nothing in his ‘American Slavery’ that makes me think that this number is more than a gut feeling. The only contemporary source, by the victors, claims that they valiantly defeated 200 bandits, and makes the nonsensical claim that half of those were mounted. The latter is a shameless boast. This makes me think that the former is unlikely to humbly understate the number of enemy combatants by 60%. The number of killed and executed rebels is less than 100. The number of captured slaves returned to their masters is less than 100. Considering the savagery of the executions, the complete records of the returned slaves, and the high compensation paid for each executed slave, I have serious doubts 300 men slipped through the slave owners’ fingers.

    But lets pretend that 500 is not an unsupported claim.

    Those ‘500’ men were stopped by two companies of militia, 30 regulars, and 40 sailors, totaling less than 300 men. There are account of braggarts claiming that they participated in the suppression, and being subject to ridicule. I think that it is very unlikely that the number of men opposing the rebels was higher the universally accepted 300.

    So, basically, you have at most 500 rebels, who made their way across at most 35km in the course of less than 24 hours, being stopped by at most 300 men, drawn within 6 hours, at night, mostly from the port of New Orleans itself, and the plantations directly across the river. Two white slave owners were executed on their property. None of the suppressing forces fell in combat.

    The free/enslaved population of Louisiana one year earlier was 75,000/36,000.

    By what criteria is the rebellion ‘nearly successful’ and at what? Establishing an independent republic on United States territory? The Smithsonian Magazine (I assume) website is down, so I cannot read the article, and do not know what nonsense it contains.

    For comparison, in the war of 1812, over 500,000 men were involved just on the side of the US. Considering how many sides claim victory in that war, I would not call it ‘nearly successful’ either.

    That same century, there were numerous rebellions by the Christian populations on the Balkans, some ultimately successful, some not. The crumbling Ottoman empire was by no mean as powerful or organized as the US. Some of the failed rebellions resulted in 50,000+ casualties for the Empire, and no one calls them ‘nearly successful’, especially considering how the numbers of those Christian populations dropped by 10-20% afterwards, from executions and enslavement.

  2. 2
    Ampersand says:

    Petar – “Nearly successful” was the Smithsonian Magazine’s headline, not mine, I think. I agree with you that the headline is inaccurate, and I’m sorry I didn’t change it. Nonethless, if you don’t get stuck on the headline, it’s an interesting event, and one I hadn’t known about.

  3. 3
    Petar says:

    I knew about it, because my best friend may have had relatives among the executed, and because the rebellion was surprising well organized, according to some oral accounts. I’m not going to argue those are true, but even if they are not, this in no way diminishes the bravery of the rebels.

    (I dislike the word ‘rebel’ in this context. All other languages I speak have a word that shares a root with ‘rise’, i.e. with uprising. ‘Insurrectionist’, ‘insurgent’, etc. seems wrong for the purpose in English)

  4. 4
    Jake Squid says:

    I was, until now, unaware that 19th century hairstyles was so influenced by Water Buffaloes.

  5. 5
    Kate says:

    An excellent responst to Trump’s most recent racist comments by Adam Sewer at the Atlantic. Some key points from the article:

    It would be useless to point out that African immigrants are, on average, more highly educated and more likely to be gainfully employed than native-born Americans, or that immigrants in general are less likely to commit crimes. Trump’s is not a logic that employs facts, it is one that employs tribe. It is the logic of “us” being better than “them,” with white Scandinavians reflecting a self-definition of “us,” that excludes blacks and latinos regardless of their relationship to this country.

    This is to say nothing of the fact that America’s wealth relative to the poverty of Haiti, El Salvador, and the nations of Africa is directly related to U.S. and European colonialism. It is a convenient trick to rob a person of all they have, even their own body, and then mock them for their poverty, and blame it on their nature.

  6. 7
    Michael says:

    Now this is a creepy story:
    On the one hand, she’s been a victim of death threats herself and seems to have some limits. But on the other hand, I don’t think I’d trust anyone with a list of 200,000 supposed neo-Nazis. And I’m definitely not comfortable with the SPLC telling a university one of their students is “potentially violent”.

  7. 8
    irisclara says:

    Hey, that’s pretty cool! I should send her a thank you card for all her hard work! If you see something, say something. It works for both sides.

    Thanks for the link, Michael.

  8. 9
    Sebastian H says:

    Michael isn’t this just a left wing version of the “Nuremberg Files” database of abortion doctors? Pretty much anything you thought about the wisdom of maintaining a database and circulating it to violence prone activists in one case will apply to the other.

  9. 10
    Michael says:

    Well, the Nuremberg Files definitely went over the line in that it listed people’s home addresses and its’ rhetoric arguably met the legal definition of a “true threat”.
    Her files are more along the lines of the SPLC Hate List and the Professors Watchlist. But those covered relatively small numbers of people. The population of the United States including children is only 323 million and her files contain the names of 200,000 people. The danger of an innocent person that has nothing to do with white supremacists becoming a victim of violence or harassment if her files leaked is great. OTOH, at least she hasn’t made her list public.

  10. 11
    Ben Lehman says:

    I’m not sure it’s a comparable case to the anti-abortion listings, if only because there aren’t decades of left-wing terrorism against white supremacist groups in the same way that anti-abortion groups regularly commit terroristic bombings and murders.


  11. 12
    Sebastian H says:

    Context is important, but comparing even just your Wikipedia link we need to remember that the Nuremberg files was started in 1997 which puts it in the ramp up of abortion violence (if you look at the arsons especially you can see an acceleration in the 1998-2000 zone). I would say that the Nuremberg Files were a big part of a general atmosphere of normalizing violence against abortion providers. Before the Nuremberg Files, it was more plausible to count violence against abortion providers as not particularly connected to the pro-life movement (though that may still have been an incorrect judgment). The Nuremberg Files still weren’t part of the formal movement, but the connections were much clearer, and the organization of that part of the movement was harder to deny. (There is a good parallel with Greenpeace/ELF where eventually it became harder and harder to deny that violent environmentalists were closely allied with the more mainstream ones).

    So in what context does this database arise? From my perspective it comes in the context of a wide ranging discussion of ‘is it ok to punch alleged Nazis’ (with a fairly large contingent of even my friends coming to a “yes” conclusion). It comes in the context a noticeable uptick of physical attacks against conservative speakers on university campuses (even ones that aren’t Nazis). It comes in the context of discussions where routinely I hear “Well we used to kill Nazis…”.

    It also includes over 200,000 people, so I don’t have any confidence that she is being particularly careful about who she includes. (See earlier Alas discussion seed point here

  12. 13
    Ben Lehman says:

    To be clear: All I’m interested in is pointing out that you’ve drawn a false equivalence, because the cultural context is completely different. I have no particular interest in debating whether or not this behavior is moral or ethical.

    You said:
    “Pretty much anything you thought about the wisdom of maintaining a database and circulating it to violence prone activists in one case will apply to the other.”

    This statement is false, on several levels, of which the above is the most basic.

  13. 14
    irisclara says:

    I would rather be mistakenly punched as a Nazi than have people hesitate to punch Nazis. I am a firm believer in the social contract and it is my job to enforce the world I want to live in. I want to live in a world where people who wear swastikas and chant against Jews are afraid to come near me and mine. I’m not talking about calling everyone a Nazi. I’m talking about people who call themselves Nazis and use Nazi iconography and propaganda. That’s a moral decision I feel comfortable making and so does the woman in the article.

    Would you apply the same standards to the 1,877,133 people on the Terrorist Watch List? Is the risk of false positives so high that we simply shouldn’t have such a database? I think most people think we should have some sort of “bad guy” list. Otherwise how can we expect the government to keep “bad guys” out of America?

  14. 15
    Sebastian H says:

    Ben Lehman: “All I’m interested in is pointing out that you’ve drawn a false equivalence, because the cultural context is completely different.”

    Well then, you say so, therefore it must be.

    Parallels are always somewhat different. That is why they are parallels, not identicals. There are probably different names on the lists too! That makes them differently different!!!

    If you don’t like the suitability of the parallels you can dispute them. I fleshed out what I thought the similarities were when asked. Dismissing them as ‘false’ suggests you don’t understand how parallels work. You seem not to want to open up your actual thoughts on the issue at all, instead you want to make vague criticisms–which strikes as a kind of troll behavior. ¯_(ツ)_/¯

    Irisclara, the woman in the article is not only talking about people who call themselves Nazis and use Nazi iconography. She is talking about 400,000 accounts, which she estimates to be about 200,000 people allegedly associated with it. There aren’t 200,000 self described Nazis in the US. I haven’t seen estimates even as high as 100,000 anywhere. The SPLC puts the number of KKK members at less than 10,000 which as some would surely note isn’t identical to Nazis, surely has high crossover. So even doubling or tripling that number and pretending that no KKK member is also a Nazi, and then adding them together as people obviously super scarily racist, doesn’t get you to even 100,000. So she’s definitely talking about people less Nazi-like than what you’re arguing is the definition.

    “Would you apply the same standards to the 1,877,133 people on the Terrorist Watch List?”

    Yes. I pretty much think that the Terrorist Watch List is ridiculous as implemented, that the costs of Muslims unfairly swept up in it are high, and that the utility of the list is low because it sweeps up way too many false positives. It is an interesting parallel that you raise, and I wholly embrace it.

    Do you think that the Terrorist Watch List is appropriate? That the way it treats Muslim ‘associates’ is fair? I guess if you answer yes, I’ll agree that the database isn’t worse than that so I guess you’re consistent.

  15. 16
    Ben Lehman says:

    You were presented with an extensive list of anti-abortion terrorism, done by people who were members of pro-life organizations explicitly in the cause of stopping abortion.

    You handwaved it as “it was more plausible to count violence against abortion providers as not particularly connected to the pro-life movement.”

    I just want you to take a second to think about what you said there, and why. It’s perfectly possible to argue that what this woman is doing is wrong without hand-waving or dismissing the frankly horrific, decades-long campaign of violent terror against doctors, nurses, and clinic staff.

    I see why you wanted to draw the equivalence, but it’s not well-drawn. Stop digging.

  16. 17
    Sebastian H says:

    “I just want you to take a second to think about what you said there, and why. It’s perfectly possible to argue that what this woman is doing is wrong without hand-waving or dismissing the frankly horrific, decades-long campaign of violent terror against doctors, nurses, and clinic staff.”

    I did nothing remotely close to that. I noted that the TIMELINE suggests that the Nuremberg Files came into existence AT THE TIME that violence against abortion providers was ramping up. So when you speak of the “decades-long campaign of violent terror” (speaking from the present) I’m noting that The Nuremberg Files came at a time when that was ramping up (speaking from 1997). You’re adding an extra 20 years, which 20 years included WAY more violence and much more intense bouts of violence.

    You can clearly see that because I wrote “I would say that the Nuremberg Files were a big part of a general atmosphere of normalizing violence against abortion providers.

    I don’t know how you transform “normalizing violence” into a good thing, but as written there is no indication that you should interpret it as a good thing (especially since doing so literally inverts argument).

    It’s perfectly possible to disagree with me without being so uncharitable to my words that you decide to literally invert the meaning of them.

  17. 18
    Michael says:

    @irisclara#14- if you would rather be punched as a Nazi by mistake then tolerate Nazis, then that’s your choice. You don’t have the right to make it for someone else.
    Communists of the 1930s through 1950s also violated the social contract. Do you support anti-Communist methods the government took?

  18. 19
    Ben Lehman says:

    The timeline suggests nothing of the sort. The first clinic arson was in Oregon in 1976. According to you, the Nuremburg Files were 1997. There’s 21 years (decades) of terroristic violence that you’re casually dismissing. Stop doing that.

    If you want to make the point that her cooperation with antifa is mistaken, or immoral, or unethical, or has untoward effects, you can make that point without false equivalence to a horrifying, ongoing campaign of domestic terrorism (as you have been doing, with your other arguments.)

  19. 20
    Petar says:

    My wife is 5’3″, Jewish, and her first name is Alison. She was matched by the ‘Terrorist List’, because she used Allie as a nickname in college, and that is supposedly close enough to some Ali [Her middle Initial] [Her last name]. I assume the Ali in question is male, but we will still held, with our one year old daughter, for hours in a sequestration (read detention) area in Toronto.

    To put 200,000 people on the “Nazi List”, the net must have been cast pretty wide. With 200,000 people on it, I would not be surprised if millions are ‘close enough’. And I know that it would be trivial to arrange for someone I do not like to end up on that list.

    Kids playing games. One day they will graduate to having spouses seduced to compromise inconvenient speakers, targets crushed in accidents arranged by accomplices, and fools driven into fights that will leave them crippled.

    Not that I object to violence as the prescription for dealing for people ready to follow the tenets of Varna Vyavastha, Sharia, The Great Chain of Being, La dottrina del fascismo, Mein Kampf, Generalplan Ost, etc. preach (in chronological order, not order of vileness). Anyone who can with a straight face says that some ethnicities must be cleansed, that my son should be enslaved because my religion makes me unsuitable to fight for the State, that my best friend is governed by caprice, etc. should be ready to face anything with which I can get away AND anything for which I am prepared to take responsibility. Which admittedly is not much, not since my daughter’s birth, but there must be young fools who feel the way I did in the 70s and 80s.


    I feel that really should point out that I understand that there was a time where “An eye for an eye”, the caste system, the hierarchy of races, organized slavery, etc were actually social progress, as opposed to the what came before, i.e. to what they were trying to replace.

    Strict rules as to who should be killed outright, and who should instead be raped and enslaved may have been fine when that specific Holy Book was given to us by the Almighty… I still think that teaching and following those today is in poor taste.

  20. 21
    Sebastian H says:

    Ben, I think you’re having some sort of trouble with “ramping up” but I’m not sure I know how to better explain something that is so obvious to me. Identifying “the first” instance of a campaign of terror doesn’t do what you’re trying to do unless it is all by the same person (say the Unabomber) or an actually discrete group (like the Shining Path). But with a bunch of separate, non-coordinating actors you’re trying to identify a sociological trend of a sort. You’re trying to do what lots of people on the right try to do when they talk about ELF and say “environmentalists are violent” (only moreso because at least ELF was a specific organized group while there is very little evidence that most of the early abortion provider violence was coordinated in any way).

    In those instances an important question is how the much larger society/environment of people under that particular umbrella react to the violence done ‘in their name’. Toward the beginning it may not even be obvious that certain acts were ‘in their name’ unless the specific criminals/terrorists make that clear.

    “Campaign of terror” in those circumstances isn’t the same thing as saying “the IRA conducted a campaign of terror in support of independence”. It is more like saying “people with sympathetic goals became more permissive of violence in their speech and conduct which led to people on the fringes to become more coordinated and violent”. The period 1976-1997 had violence against abortion providers. I’m not erasing anything by noticing that the period 1993 to about 2012 showed a huge upsurge in violence against abortion providers—an increase in both frequency and intensity.

    My argument is that the collection and publication of databases like the Nuremberg Files (which he collected and distributed less formally before the public internet publications in 1997) along with their reception by the relevant pro-life community (for the most part semi convincing ritual denunciations against violence with some people actively saying that violence is warranted) represented an inflection point where things changed from “people doing bad things in the name of causes I agree with” to “my cause is permissive of violence”.

    Now you can think I’m wrong. You can assert that the pro-life movement was always as permissive of violence as it was in the 1993-2012 period (period is rough). But I don’t think so. I think that, exactly like the environmentalist movement, there was varying levels of permissiveness for violence in the movement that started off pretty low, waxed to pretty ugly heights, and hopefully is waning and will continue to wane. I don’t know if the Nuremberg Files is a reflection of an increasingly permissive environment or a cause (or both).

    So the parallel is that we are clearly in a time of waxing permissiveness of violence against people labeled Nazis (and with 200,000 people on the database almost certainly people mislabeled Nazis). I would tend to suggest that we are in a waxing period regarding the permissiveness of non defensive violence on the left broadly after a long wane since the disasters of the 1950s and 1960s. This database strikes me as very similar to the Nuremberg Files, and in some ways worse. It reflects and/or contributes to a permissive political ecology that I don’t want to support. And the sorting label it uses is a lot less clear even than “abortion provider”. Which means even for the people willing to resort to assertive violence for their causes, the chances of “the wrong” people getting attacked are higher.

    None of that is dismissive of people attacked BEFORE the big ramp up in violence. Their lives were hurt or ended and that is awful. I’m trying to situate the collecting and distribution of huge enemies databases in how movements operate. The discussion and reception of both databases in their relative communities suggests an increased tolerance for violence in a way that isn’t nearly as defensive as the more militant members of the community want to pretend.

  21. 22
    RonF says:

    I have never checked the politics of an author before I’ve read their (non-political) work. I never read much Urusla K. LeGuin – I haven’t read much science fiction at all for many years. But I did, long ago, read The Left Hand of Darkness. It was both entertaining and thought-provoking. I’m sad she’s gone.

  22. 23
    Grace Annam says:


    You might also try The Dispossessed, which many have found profoundly thought-provoking. It’s cropping up regularly in online testimonials of her impact on people.

    And, of course, her short story, “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas”, one of the best short stories in existence.


  23. 24
    Harlequin says:

    I love The Dispossessed so much I haven’t managed a reread in about 10 years–too emotionally fraught. Maybe this is my cue.

    (The Hainish books/stories are the source of the concept of an ansible, which you now see throughout SF. I find that pretty interesting bc it’s a hard SF concept even though Le Guin is most famous for her use of the social sciences.)

    One thing I liked about The Left Hand of Darkness is that, at least fort me with the reading skills of a teenager, it was 3 different books the first 3 times I read it. First it was a story about exploring this new world; then it was the story of Genly and how he sees himself and his work; and then, finally, it settled into its final form (for me, so far), the story of… well, another character, who I’ll leave nameless in case somebody here hasn’t read it yet. :)

    Her writing about writing is also not to be missed if you have an interest–The Wave in the Mind especially (I haven’t read the new one yet).

  24. 25
    Ben Lehman says:

    Le Guin’s version of the Tao Te Ching is the only popular translation I’ve seen academics lining up to defend. It’s genuine, heartfelt, and really good.

  25. 26
    nobody.really says:

    Congrats Barry (and Amulet Books) for the Oregon Book Award nomination for Hereville: How Mirka Caught a Fish!

    (How Mirka Met a Meteorite landed the Oregon Book Award back in 2014. And How Mirka Got Her Sword was nominated way back when, tho I don’t recall how that one turned out. Still no love for How Mirka Got Her Funky Groove Thang On, but I keep my fingers crossed….)

  26. 27
    RonF says:

    Thanks for the recommendation Grace. I’ll check it out. There’s a used book store near me that I bet I can find a copy in.

    Amp, congratulations and well done!

  27. 28
    Ampersand says:

    Thanks to Nobody!

    (Actually, “Sword” wasn’t nominated for an Oregon Book Award. I honestly can’t remember if we submitted it for the award or not – it’s possible it wasn’t on our radar yet. Or maybe we did, and it just didn’t make the cut that year. :-) )

  28. 29
    Ampersand says:

    Amp, congratulations and well done!

    Thanks, Ron! :-)