Open Thread and Link Farm, Half Amused Edition

  1. Strawmanny Questions About Genital Preference, Part One | Thing of Things
    “I recently stumbled across this set of questions for trans people about sexual orientation and genital preferences. Since there is nothing I enjoy more than answering strawmanny questions, I decided to help…”
  2. A Picture of Change for a World in Constant Motion – The New York Times
    This is a really enjoyable article about a 1830 woodblock print by Katsushika Hokusai: “Ejiri in Suruga Province.” But what’s really amazing about it, for me, is the format; as you scroll down the article, the view of the print changes, zooming in on details the article is highlighting. An impressive use of web design to improve content.
  3. The Attack on Voting in the 2020 Elections – The New York Times (And an alternate link.)
    “As we approach an election in which the threat of voter fraud is being used as a justification for unprecedented legal and political interventions in our democratic process, it is important to understand what this claim actually represents: It is nothing short of a decades-long disinformation campaign…”
  4. A man’s journey from dismissing to getting sick and spreading coronavirus – The Washington PostHow a conservative’s covid denial destroyed his family.
  5. The Supreme Court will hear a case that could destroy what remains of the Voting Rights Act – Vox
  6. Trump’s New Supreme Court Is Coming for the Next Elections
  7. “Lovers make the easiest marks”: Profile of a romance scammer
  8. Does Call of Duty Believe in Anything? – YouTube
    A 25-minute video about how ridiculous it is to insist, as the creators do, that this hugely successful video game series is “not political.”
  9. US democracy is broken: How to fix voting rights, elections, the Senate, and the Electoral College – Vox
    Humanitarian Camp Raided by Border Patrol and BORTAC, 30+ People Arrested – UNICORN RIOT
    Because God forbid that any unauthorized migrant fail to suffer an incredibly awful death. These people would have 100% been on the concentration camp side during the Holocaust, while making similar excuses.
  10. Inside eBay’s Cockroach Cult: The Ghastly Story of a Stalking Scandal – The New York Times (Alternate link.)
    Who knew Ebay had what was, in effect, a dirty ops team? And an incompetent one, at that.
  11. Meet the Customer Service Reps for Disney and Airbnb Who Have to Pay to Talk to You — ProPublica
  12. The Monkeys You Ordered: New Yorker cartoons with literal captions.
  13. The Mythical Taboo on Race and Intelligence – John P. Jackson, Andrew S. Winston, 2020
    “There are two rival explanations for why hereditarian research is not widely accepted outside their small circle of researchers. The first is the banal explanation is that they are not, in fact, producing reliable and empirically robust, scientifically meaningful conclusions; an explanation clearly unacceptable to hereditarians. Thus, they offer their rival explanation: there is an unacceptable political dogma preventing discussing the scientific truth of racial differences.”

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18 Responses to Open Thread and Link Farm, Half Amused Edition

  1. 1
    Nancy Lebovitz says:

    As far as I can tell, Ebay didn’t choose to have a dirty ops team, and I wonder how big companies can keep that sort of thing from happening when mid-level employees take the initiative to make abuse happen. I *think* the solution is to have a robust anonymous complaint system.

  2. 2
    Petar says:

    Hannibal Barca (probably the most well known Phoenician military leader)
    Scipio Africanus (one of the greatest Rome generals)
    Cleopatra (the last Ptolemaic ruler of Egypt)
    Alexander Pushkin (the greatest Russian poet)
    Alexandre Dumas (the most widely read French writer)

    What do they have in common?

  3. 3
    Corso says:

    @2

    They’re Goats.

  4. 4
    Görkem says:

    @Petar: They all have some connection to Africa. For Barca and Cleopatra it is obvious, Scipio Africanus won his most notable victories in Africa (hence the name) and both Dumas and Pushkin were of partly African descent.

  5. 5
    Petar says:

    Yes, Görkem, that’s an indisputable connection between them. But there are two more things that are less common and that they all share among themselves, but not with the one billion living and a few billions dead humans who are connected to Africa.

  6. 6
    Petar says:

    Görkem that’s an undisputable connection between them. But there are two more things that are less common and that they all share among themselves, but not with the one billion living and a few billions dead humans who are connected to Africa.

    I’ll throw in a hint. The only reason that King Cole isn’t in the group above is that he is not a real historical character.

  7. 7
    nobody.really says:

    What do they have in common?

    * * *

    The only reason that King Cole isn’t in the group above is that he is not a real historical character.

    Well, that nixes my idea; I was going to say “polysyllabic names.”

    So, they all … have pipes? Bowls? Three fiddlers? Are old and merry?

  8. 8
    nobody.really says:

    In 2013, Amp and Rachel Swirsky published their second cartoon. This one depicted Shakespeare being arrested for (arguably) violating copyright laws.

    To forestall the possibility of that occurring today, our contemporary Shakespeare had crafted a solution–but only with respect to lyrics. Solution for music coming soon.

    (Oh–I see this is already noted in Amp’s Twitter feed!)

  9. 9
    Mookie says:

    they all … have pipes? Bowls? Three fiddlers? Are old and merry?

    Now I’m picturing an entire continent (and anyone ever having traveled there) deprived of ever growing old. Atlantis, okay, but I’m almost positive Africans sometimes achieve senescence before death. 99 percent sure, IANAL.

  10. 10
    RonF says:

    Open thread, so I can ask something completely irrelevant to any posted topics:

    Amp, you re-tweeted something from one Ketan Joshi that showed one person of Indian ancestry dressed in what looks to my unpracticed eye like something reasonably traditional (although quite simplistic) and a whole bunch of blindingly Caucasian people dressed the same way dancing in a mock Bollywood routine. From the context of the tweet I presume that the white folks are the “Wiggles”. The tweet also refers to “desi folk”. My question is, who are “desi folk”? I am not at all familiar with the term. From context I presume it refers to people of Indian sub-continent heritage, but is it more specific than that? Is this a term that is commonly accepted for general use by people of non-Indian subcontinent ancestry?

  11. 11
    Ampersand says:

    LOL at “blindingly Caucasian!”

    Here’s the tweet Ron is referencing.

    I’ll just quote Wikipedia:

    Desi [d̪eːsi] are the people, cultures, and products of the Indian subcontinent and their diaspora, derived from Ancient Sanskrit देश (deśá), meaning Land or Country. Although “desi” is sometimes viewed as a loose term, and countries that are considered “desi” are subjective, it is accepted that the desi trace their origin specifically to the countries of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

    Desi isn’t a slur, and I believe anyone can use the word.

  12. 12
    RonF says:

    LOL at “blindingly Caucasian!”

    I thought you’d like that!

  13. 13
    Görkem says:

    Uhhhh no offense Amp but I am not sure you are a source of truth re: the offensiveness or not of the term “Desi”, what with you being a non-Desi person yourself.

    Petar if you really want to know more about this term and its implications I suggest asking somebody from this community who is comfortable talking to you about this, not random white people on the internet.

  14. 14
    Ampersand says:

    Görkem, that’s a fair point. FWIW, I’m just repeating what I’ve heard and read desi people say.

    Googling around now, the answers I’m finding from desi people who have addressed this question vary from (paraphrased, see links below to read desi people in their own words) “not at all, it’s what we call ourselves” to “it’s okay for white people to call us desi, but the term is actually complicated and means different things in different contexts” to “white people always mispronounce it.” I didn’t find anyone desi saying it’s offensive for white people to use the word, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t desi folks who say that.

    Anil Dash, a blogger I read on and off, wrote:

    A primer on South Asians and Desis: Sometimes I describe our people, including people in the South Asian diaspora as “desi”. This is essentially an in-group term meaning “a person of South Asian descent”. It’s not offensive if other people use it, though it may sound a bit affected. Do note, though, that some people don’t like using “desi” as a demonym, as it elides the history of marginalized cultures in the subcontinent, and perhaps perpetuates casteism in the diaspora. I didn’t grow up using the word, and don’t speak Hindi, so I’m still learning about this connotation!

    A couple more links:

    Is it offensive for a white American to use the term 'desi' to describe someone from the subcontinent? – Quora

    ABCDesis: This is kind of interesting. In a reddit forum for Desis, there seems to be agreement that it’s not an offensive term in the U.S., but in India it can be an insult, basically meaning “hick.”

    (The term ABCD stands for “American-Born Confused Desi“).

  15. 15
    Petar says:

    Petar if you really want to know more about this term and its implications I suggest asking somebody from this community who is comfortable talking to you about this, not random white people on the internet.

    How did I get mixed up with the ‘Desi’ discussion?

    By the way, it’s a term I avoid, because it means different things to different people, and I tend to avoid those unless there is no alternative.

  16. 16
    Görkem says:

    Sorry Petar, I mixed you up with RonF. Don’t know how I managed that, my bad.

  17. 17
    Petar says:

    I just took the Magnificent One’s advice, and asked one of my neighbors about ‘Desi’. He’s married to a Serbian, and told me that the word is incredibly close to the Serb/Bulgarian/Russian ‘земљак/земляк’. They all share the root land.

    (The rest of the post is me paraphrasing him, i.e. I cannot vouch for it.)

    They can be used to indicate that someone comes from the same land as you. They can both be taken the wrong way, if you are suspected of claiming a relationship to which you are not entitled. And they both can be taken to mean that you think someone is a uncouth peasant.

    Definitely a word that can get you in trouble in some situations, but also very useful if you wish to insult while maintaining deniability. Almost no one will take offense, and even those who do may be made to feel bad about it. On the upside, you could pretend to be offended by people using it to describe themselves, as it can mean pure, and can be deliberately misunderstood as pretentious and exclusive.

    In my experience, it would be better to figure out whether you are dealing with an Indian, Pakistani or Bangladeshi, and use the appropriate appellation.

  18. 18
    nobody.really says:

    Blah, blah, desi, blah….

    So what do Hannibal Barca, Scipio Africanus, Cleopatra, Alexander Pushkin, and Alexandre Dumas have in common, dammit?

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