With no blogging last week, there are a couple of The Humanist Hour shows you can catch up on. I spent a little time with Amanda Marcotte at CONvergence talking feminism and politics:
Any year in which we have the first female major party presumptive nominee for president is going to be a busy one in feminist politics. Beyond Hillary Clinton, however, there’s still plenty going on in current political discourse that’s of interest to feminists. From the misogyny of Donald Trump to the recent Supreme Court decision on abortion, we have a lot to talk about.
To cover these topics—as well as Clinton’s rise to nominee—Stephanie Zvan talks this week with Amanda Marcotte, a political writer for Salon with more than a decade of experience covering these kinds of topics. Listen and catch up on the presidential campaigns, online discourse, and the state of abortion rights.
Oh, man. 2016. Fuck this year. It can’t end soon enough.
Or was that 2015? I distinctly remember people saying that about 2015. Maybe 2014 too. Huh.
Yes, 2016 has its unique challenges. Presidential elections don’t happen every year, much less close nomination races. Major parties imploding under the weight of their own racism, sexism, and fascism happens rather less frequently than that. The rock stars who sustained us as teenagers frequently fade away instead of becoming institutions before they die.
Many of this year’s stresses, however, happen all the time. Refugee crises brought on by sectarian violence and climate change have been a regular part of my decades on this Earth. I’ve watched too many national governments fall apart to count. Violent pushback to civil rights gains has been a constant, alongside the erosion of those rights. Sexism, racism, homophobia, and other forms of bigotry–they’ve all been a constant drumbeat.
These people–mostly men, mostly white–claiming that we’re destroying the world by shutting down debate? These people claiming that blocking someone instead of hashing out their issues (personal or political) is damaging public discourse? These people claiming that telling them to “get bent” is abridging their freedom of speech?
Yeah, that’s as far as they really want things to go. Complaining bolsters their reputations, at least among the people who don’t think things through. It generates easy content. It garners cheap outrage. It requires neither work nor accountability. Smears and insinuations are much, much simpler.
That’s a big reason there aren’t many of these debates. Sure, plenty of people aren’t willing to directly debate racism and sexism any more than they’re willing to share a stage or their spotlight with creationists. Some people refuse to be harassed into a debate. Some people know debate is bad both for getting at the truth and because framing every disagreement as a debate is bad for communication. But when the smear merchants come up against someone who is willing to engage them directly, they tend to get a bit scarce.
Take, for example, “The Amazing Atheist” (aka a number of names, but we’ll call him “Kirk” here, since that’s the last name he’s currently using publicly) deciding not to debate Martin Hughes. Continue reading “No Debate”→
When you have a classic story, why would you need a lead who can act or sets that don’t look like sound stages or fight choreography? Sword of the Valiant is one of those movies where you’ll recognize nearly everyone on screen. Out of politeness, however, you’ll pretend you don’t.
This story from Ian McHugh is light and fluffy and exactly what I was looking for as a chance.
‘Look to your defences, monster!’ he cried, in what he hoped was an authoritative tone.
‘That’s really quite hurtful,’ she said, but declined to lift her club again. Which, he had to admit, was probably for the best. The ogress had sprung to her feet with alarming speed when he entered the dell, and her pocked hide looked as if a siege engine wouldn’t dent it.
There were a couple of shields propped next to the cave mouth. Juan tried not to imagine what had become of their owners.
‘What do you mean “I’m holding them wrong”?’
‘Your weapons,’ she said. ‘You hit me holding your sword like that, you’ll just jar your elbow. And your shield’s too low. It’ll trip you if you have to back up.’
Happy Canada Day! For the U.S. folks in the crowd, no, this is not the equivalent of our July 4. It’s the anniversary of Confederation, where the Canadian colonial provinces, including the province of Canada, came together to form Canada. It’s one of those weird little holidays you could only get from this weird bit of colonial history.
Anyone who knows me knows I love odd, local, and oddly local tourist museums. There’s the ball of twine, the Scotch Whisky Heritage Center, Woodleigh Miniatures, the Kensington Runestone Museum. (And I clearly need to write up some of these trips that I haven’t before.) If someone tells me PEI’s Potato Museum has closed, I’ll be heartbroken.
Founders Hall was very local, focusing much of its museum space on the role Charlottetown played in Confederation. It also focused outward, on the entrance of the other provinces, and forward in time to include particularly First Nations perspectives that weren’t well represented in all the decisions that built Canada.
However, Founders Hall wasn’t terribly odd, unless you find Canadian patriotism a bit odd in itself. You might. I’ve now written more posts about Canada’s founding than most Canadians. It displayed typical Canadian conservatism in talking about itself through most of museum. Mannequins in historical garb. Informational plaques. Video and audio available for depth.