Sunday, May 20, 2012

Weekend web readin'/watchin'

From Pandagon, Rejecting the "self-discipline" framework 
Money quote:
"Self-discipline" can't really be extracted meaningfully in this debate from the concept of sin and punishment. Under the sin framework, gluttony is a sin, and the only proper response to sin is punishment. Therefore, if you accept the "self-discipline" framework, there is no problem here. The overeaters are sinners, and their health problems are punishment for their sin. The system works, let's all go home. Indeed, you see this exact argument being trotted out in comments. 
But if you reject this notion and instead view negative health effects of overeating as a public health problem to be solved, then the question of "self-discipline" becomes silly. Let's just say for the sake of argument that you accept this assumption, that people don't have self-discipline and that's why they overeat. If you're still interested in solving the problem, the response then becomes, "So what?" There's no real way to fix that problem with traditional finger-wagging, as thousands of years of scolding has so far proven ineffective. Leaving it be is also unacceptable, because real people are suffering and our health care systems are overextended. When you're engaging in problem-solving, it's best to start by looking at things you can control, and leave the discourse of sin and redemption to the wayside. 
From the New York Times, Last Ones Left in a Toxic Kansas Town 
Money quote:
This April, officials abandoned their plan to turn Treece into a wildlife preserve. It had been a quixotic hope all along, dependent upon the desire of the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, which had nothing to do with the buyout, to take over the land from the Department of Health and Environment. The Wildlife Department wouldn’t give an official statement, but one employee told me the agency wasn’t interested in the land. “It’s not because that couple stayed,” he said, referring to the Busbys. “Not only because of that, anyway. That land is inadequate for supporting wildlife, or from what I hear, any other kind of life.” 
Instead, another auction will be held this fall. The now-barren plots of land will be sold to buyers who can use the space to hunt deer and rabbits, or to grow crops (at their own risk). The land won’t be cleaned up further except to dismantle the remaining chat towers by hauling the stones away and using them to fill local cave-ins, where the effects of airborne lead are mitigated. This could take years. 
The state recently petitioned to remove the town’s name from maps. The “welcome” sign out on U.S.-69 has been taken down, and a visitor today couldn’t find the place unless she already knew the way. The Busbys will be allowed to stay in the ghost town as long as they like, but once they leave or die, it’s very likely that no human will ever live in Treece again.
From Powell's Books Blog, Writing Across Gender 
Money quote:
I don't think it's terribly controversial to note that women, from a young age, are required to consider the reality of the opposite gender's consciousness in a way that men aren't. This isn't to say that women don't often misunderstand, mistreat, and stereotype men, both in literature and in life. But on a basic level, functioning in society requires that women register that men are fully conscious; it is not really possible for a woman to throw up her hands and write men off as eternally unknowable space aliens — and even if she says she has, she cannot really behave as though she has. Every element of her life — from reading books about boys and men to writing papers about the motivations of male characters to being attentive to her own safety to navigating most any institutional or professional or economic sphere — demands an ironclad familiarity with, and belief in, the idea that men really are fully human entities. And no matter how many men come to the same conclusions about women, the structure of society simply does not demand so strenuously that they do so. If you didn't really deep down believe that women were, in general, exactly as conscious as you, you could probably still get by in life. You could probably still get a book deal. You could probably still get elected to office.
From MSNBC, Rachel Maddow's update on the war on women:
Rage-inspiring video:

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