A Linkspam To The Past

Since I disappeared from the internet for a while, the first few links here are going to be ancient history. Things which are multiple weeks old. Several decades, in internet time.

I still think they’re worth sharing. And want to do so before everything in this post becomes truly paleolithic, so it’s going up today instead of on schedule, next Wednesday. Because it’s my blog, and I can.


Geekery and the Humanities: A defense of the humanities, of subjectivity, and why they’re as much a part of geek culture as the STEM fields. Also, why Sheldon is a dick.

I’m not anti-logic or anti-science; I do think these things are valuable, but they can only be convincing and powerful when they take into account emotion and the humanities (for lack of a better term). None of these things work best on their own. Which brings me to my real argument: the idea that the humanities are less important than STEM is an idea that geeks need to drop, because the humanities are constitutive to geek culture, just as much as science, technology, and math are.

Why Does She Stay With That Jerk? TW for domestic violence. Holly Pervocracy looks at reasons why people she met through her work in the ER stayed in abusive relationships. I’m not going to quote anything specifically, so I can keep the TW at the other side of the link. It’s essential reading, though, if you’ve ever wondered why people stick out relationship abuse. On a similar note is autumn whitefield-madrano’s post over on Feministe,  “I Can Handle It”: On Relationship Violence, Independence, and Capability. This post is a lot more personal- it was a lot more difficult for me to read, because of this. It’s her story of what it felt like for her, from the inside of an abusive relationship.

Cisgender News is the best. If you’ve ever facepalmed at how trans people are discussed in the media, you’ll love it. If you haven’t, then you should probably read it anyway to get a snarky, snarky feel for how messed-up it is. Then you too can facepalm!

Rebekah Wade – a cisgender woman who has now quit as News International chief executive – not only conquered the macho cis world of tabloid journalism to become its queen but did so with astonishing speed. What was behind her rise to power?

Rebekah Brooks – as she started to call herself following a second marriage – courted power but avoided publicity.  She started receiving female hormones via her ovaries during her first puberty, and intends to continue with them.

And now for something a little more current.

I’m an atheist. Is that a problem? Kate Hilpern writes about being an atheist godparent. What does being a godparent really mean? Is it as much a purely religious role as the church would have you believe? Is it okay for atheists to participate in religious baptisms?

some will say I have no integrity. As its name suggests, a spokesperson from the Church of England points out, at the heart of the role is a commitment to support someone in the journey of faith. An atheist can be a wonderful influence in a child’s life, but being a godparent is to be a representative of the religious community and an example of godly living (which is why they should be baptised and preferably confirmed), in addition to supporting them socially.

I’m an atheist. I’m a godparent as well. When I was asked to be a godparent I was still technically a member of the Catholic Church, not having yet registered my apostasy, but was a nonbeliever. The reasons why I happily went into a church, crossed my fingers behind my back and took part in that ceremony? Because I was incredibly honoured to be asked. Because my own relationship with my godparents has always been about love, not doctrine. Because there are very few people who I’ll engage in Catholic ceremonies for- and my godkid’s dad is one of them. Am I entirely happy with that decision? I have no idea.

Finally, today’s Awesome Person Of The Week is Sally. Who has a thing or two to say about being described as a precious pearl. Or a lollipop. And also a few things to say about preventing sexual assault. (Hint: not assaulting people is a good start).


A Linkspam To The Past

6 thoughts on “A Linkspam To The Past

  1. 2

    It’s funny, I’ve never really thought of godparents as a religious role, I can’t even remember seriously noticing/thinking about the word ‘god’ in the name. My friend asked me to be godfather to his daughter and I felt incredibly honoured to be asked. To me, the role of a godparent is to be there for the child when the parents are unable to, ensuring the child always gets the best possible care. My goddaughter is a little hellraiser, only 2 and half now, but she’s already smart as a button (I’m sure all godparents say that) I can’t wait till she’s old enough that we can discuss and discover all the amazing things that this universe has to offer.

    1. 2.1

      This could be one of those not-infrequent occasions where us nonreligious types overthink religious rites far more than our religious counterparts.
      I’ve never seen the role of godparent as particularly religious. I can’t remember any particularly religious overtones to my relationship with either of my godparents growing up. They were just (?) the people who spoiled me that little extra bit, and who I knew would mind me if anything happened to my parents. I also love the fact that the role of godparent really does institutionalise the notion of chosen families. It’s one of the few times where we really can recognise and honour the bonds we have with friends and non-blood-related loved ones.
      As an ex-Catholic atheist, though, I do have difficulties taking part in Catholic rites. I have some specific issues with the RCC both in general and in my country. Also, having officially left the RCC and specifically given up any entitlement to RCC services/sacraments/etc, I’m not comfortable taking part in them. If I was asked to be a godparent again, I’d probably have to pass on the baptism bit because of this. Which is… difficult, particularly because I’ve no desire to disrupt rites which are very important to people.
      Gah, it’s complicated. But what isn’t?

  2. 3

    Thanks for the link to “Geekery and the humanities”! It put a lot of my grumblings over the past years into very effective words!

    And, having been raised in a very liberal community in an American city, I’ve been so exposed to completely nonreligious people with completely nonreligious “godparents” that I’ve never considered it strange to disassociate the practice from religion. But you’re right that it gets complicated when it involves rites like that which are very important to others.

  3. 4

    Thank you so much for including my Feministe post over here–I feel like the more we as feminists examine this honestly, the closer we can come to eradicating abuse as a community.

    As far as atheist godparents, what an interesting question! I have two sets of godparents, one Christian, the other atheist. And both of them did a good job of “guiding” me spiritually, but since they and my parents were all of the ’70s flower-child realm, that guidance took more the form of asking questions and sending along the occasional vaguely spiritual but really just excellent book, about how the spirit is in all of us, and of course said spirit could be interpeted as being the Holy Ghost or whatever, or just as being the bond that unites humankind.

  4. 5

    “the idea that the humanities are less important than STEM is an idea that geeks need to drop, because the humanities are constitutive to geek culture, just as much as science, technology, and math are.”

    call me when the humanities manage anything on a par with wiping out smallpox or developing penicillin.

    Saying that the humanities aren’t important at all would be wrong but saying that one field is *less* important than another is perfectly rational.

    The world would be a poorer place without the humanities but it would be an eternally pestilent, poverty stricken backwater without the STEM fields.

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