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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Weekend web readin'

Female Gaming Characters: Why I Won't Be Playing League of Legends
Money quote:
This only becomes increasingly farcical, with pity being shed on the designers for us pesky feminists wanting to “suppress artists and design content for gender equality”, a seemingly worthless pursuit. Since when was there a suppression here? Implying that your right to see overly-pornified female characters surpasses the needed inclusion of more women in gaming is ridiculous, and suggesting that the designers would be at a loss with their skills if they could not do so is incredibly patronizing and places little faith in their skills, ignoring the intricate and beautiful designs of armour for the ladies in games elsewhere.
Acupuncturist Claims Cervical Cancer is For Prostitutes
Money quote:
Does cervical cancer only happen to certain types of people? 
Cervical cancer only affects people who have cervices, so I suppose that’s a type.
What is implied by the “certain type” comment, however, is the association of cervical cancer with infection by sexually transmitted human papilloma virus (HPV). Some types of HPV can infect the cells of the cervix and can cause the cells to behave oddly, which can send them down the path to becoming dysplastic or even cancerous. Of course, only promiscuous women and prostitutes get HPV, right? 
Well, barring the outrageous slut shaming which I cannot even begin to discuss here, it’s important to note that 70% of all sexually active Canadians will exposed to HPV over a lifetime. 70%! Even condoms are not fully protective since HPV can spread via any skin-to-skin contact. Plus, HPV infection is almost entirely asymptomatic, and there is no general screening test to look for it. In other words, for most people, until you are diagnosed with cervical cancer, you have absolutely no way of knowing if you or your partner are positive for HPV. Only in a world of strict, puritanical monogamy is this a disease for prostitutes and the promiscuous, and given that 70% of women are exposed, I think it’s fair to say that such an expectation is profoundly unrealistic. Either that, or 70% of Canadian women are whores! What a charming sentiment.
Ahlquist in the NYT
Money quote:
They say that the truth always comes after the “but”.  To illustrate that point, here’s a Cranston West senior…
Pat McAssey, a senior who is president of the student council, said the threats were “completely inexcusable”…
But…?
…but added that Jessica had upset some of her classmates by mocking religion online.
“Their frustration kind of came from that,” he said.
Yes, her classmates may have been upset by Jessica mocking religion.  So what?  Pat should have stopped at calling the threats inexcusable.  Frustration is “Awwwwwww, I’m offended.”  It’s not “let’s beat her up!”
The Caging of America
Money quote(s):
For most privileged, professional people, the experience of confinement is a mere brush, encountered after a kid’s arrest, say. For a great many poor people in America, particularly poor black men, prison is a destination that braids through an ordinary life, much as high school and college do for rich white ones. More than half of all black men without a high-school diploma go to prison at some time in their lives. Mass incarceration on a scale almost unexampled in human history is a fundamental fact of our country today—perhaps the fundamental fact, as slavery was the fundamental fact of 1850. In truth, there are more black men in the grip of the criminal-justice system—in prison, on probation, or on parole—than were in slavery then. Over all, there are now more people under “correctional supervision” in America—more than six million—than were in the Gulag Archipelago under Stalin at its height. That city of the confined and the controlled, Lockuptown, is now the second largest in the United States. . .  
The scale and the brutality of our prisons are the moral scandal of American life. Every day, at least fifty thousand men—a full house at Yankee Stadium—wake in solitary confinement, often in “supermax” prisons or prison wings, in which men are locked in small cells, where they see no one, cannot freely read and write, and are allowed out just once a day for an hour’s solo “exercise.” (Lock yourself in your bathroom and then imagine you have to stay there for the next ten years, and you will have some sense of the experience.) Prison rape is so endemic—more than seventy thousand prisoners are raped each year—that it is routinely held out as a threat, part of the punishment to be expected. The subject is standard fodder for comedy, and an unco√∂perative suspect being threatened with rape in prison is now represented, every night on television, as an ordinary and rather lovable bit of policing. The normalization of prison rape—like eighteenth-century japery about watching men struggle as they die on the gallows—will surely strike our descendants as chillingly sadistic, incomprehensible on the part of people who thought themselves civilized. Though we avoid looking directly at prisons, they seep obliquely into our fashions and manners. Wealthy white teen-agers in baggy jeans and laceless shoes and multiple tattoos show, unconsciously, the reality of incarceration that acts as a hidden foundation for the country.

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