Links of Great Interest: First LoGI of the New Year!

Some reflections on…. DANCE FLOOR POLITICS! :dramatic echo voice:

Someone you know is a criminal… and their rights matter.

This right here? Is the legacy of child abuse. If you are at all moved by this, I recommend finding a local organization that works to stop child sexual abuse. STOPCSA is a national one.

Why Latinas are PISSED about Dirty Girls.

Female game director killed in hit and run.

Men don’t need to remember you said no, teehee.

The Carl Brandon Society is having a fundraiser — every dollar you donate will be matched by SF3!!!

What are your thoughts on “Burqa Woman?”

Cat Rambo has a kick-ass story up at Tor.com.

ENSIGN SUE MUST DIE!

School officials refuse to allow a disabled child to bring his service dog into school.

From the Other Anne:

Read this and cry. Oddly enough, BoingBoing linked to it. Unsurprisingly commenters proceeded to not talk about how terrible rape is and how to get men to stop raping globally, but a weird political argument full of concern trolling and gems like “Haiti didn’t help us with Katrina, why should we help them now?” So don’t go to BoingBoing, I guess I’m saying. It was depressing. Though in a different way from the article.

Also from the Other Anne:

I read this and felt really, really torn. Because, at once, I hate that stupid word. “The ‘N’ Word.” On the other hand, beyond being a book I remember really enjoying, which was a rare event with me and the “classics” I read in school, I have issues with reformatting history, which I feel this is, in a sense. If we edit out the words of
historical novels, especially in this book where race and status is a major theme, does that change the meaning of the book too much? Why not use original versions but teach WHY exactly those words are Not Okay, Not Even A Little instead of sidestepping that (IMO) important lesson?

I’m not entirely sure where I stand on this issue, though. I haven’t really had the time to think it all the way through. But it’s the kind of issue that seems like it needs to be discussed.

Anyway, cheers! Happy new Year!

Whoa. Petticoats were much more hardcore than I thought.

Autism study –> HUGE FAKE.

If you’re unemployed… you’re kind of screwed.

This man hid a bomb in a sex toy.

Comments

  1. Robin says

    The Dirty Girls story makes me sad on several counts. Racial stereotyping is a big part of it, but I’m also disappointed as a woman, avid TV watcher, and BU alumna. The script sounds horrible and, to make it worse, defending the integrity of the story she created has apparently cost Valdes-Rodriguez her literary agent as well (per Jezebel). I hadn’t heard of the book before, but now it’s definitely on my To Read list.

    Denying a kid with a learning disability and frequent seizures the right to bring his service dog to school? Exceptionally not cool. Not to mention that by doing so the school is setting itself up for a lawsuit should he suffer a seizure during the day that the teacher can’t respond to fast enough resulting in injury or death, which sounds like a distinct possibility. A few years ago, a teacher got fired because a student opened a Snickers bar in the same classroom with a peanut-allergic kid while the teacher’s back was turned. The teacher couldn’t respond quickly enough and the allergic student died.

    I really hope that the autism fraud information makes its way to Jenny McCarthy and her ilk. They’ve conflated a correlation into a false causation, and it’s hurting an entire generation of kids, whether it was based on deliberate misrepresentation by Wakefield or not.

    I don’t even know where to start on the bomb-in-a-sex-toy thing. It’s just… Gah!

    • The Other Patrick says

      The Dirty Girls thing is terrible, and I hate that the TV channel is apparently going ahead with a terrible series *and* bad press.

      As for Jenny McCarthy, she has been told the truth about her claims several times, and she ignores it. She is like a climate change denier, she will not change her message. But hopefully the information will reach those who believe her.

      • says

        It certainly is painful. The article sort of implied that Ann Lopez was at fault, or hadn’t “tried”, but all I could think is: quick, name a producer who DOESN’T fight tooth and nail to do anything non-traditional in HW. I mean, it’s quite possible she didn’t try hard enough – I obviously have no idea. But it is very plausible to me that she tried very hard to get it right, but in the end, the only way to make a show that employed several WoC actresses was to cop to some stereotypes. I mean, the casting is fairly revolutionary, and that’s an accomplishment.

        The accomplishment is marred by the stereotyping, for sure, but… what if the alternative was not to make the show, or to make some of the characters white so it would be more “believable”? Those are the sorts of conundrums studios throw at creative people.

    • Casey says

      Coming from someone who goes to a school where there’s a LOT of people with service dogs, that story is massively douchey (granted, I go to a community college and everyone’s pretty chill here, but…).

      • says

        Seriously. My school district managed to keep straight a set of schools where they had students who were deathly allergic to dogs, and a set of schools where they had students with service dogs. There was a bit of a stink when one of the blind kids tried to transfer to one of the dog free schools (parents of kids with disabilities who don’t believe in the disabilities of other kids piss me off but oh well) but other than that, our medium-sized, rather poor school district managed beautifully. These schools have no excuse. There isn’t even any indication they have kids who are that allergic to dogs in this district.

        Full disclosure, I have a seizure alert dog, who isn’t allowed to come to school with me, because she’s a Chow/Akita mix, and she gets anxious and protective when not at home. Taking her on campus would be a bad, bad idea, something I will rectify when she passes in a few years and I train a new dog. This girl trained herself.

        • Ray says

          Applause for the school system with the service dog/ dog-free schools. That has got to be a hassle to handle, but sounds like they acknowledge and did their best for each need.

          • says

            my school district was really really good about disability. Really really good. My old one, not so much. It was one of the really good things about moving when we did.

            My college, not so much either, but you can’t have everything.

      • Melissa says

        I’m surprised by the service dog article. Obviously people aren’t playing nice with each other, and they need to start working together instead of against each other. But, I wonder about what else is going on to get so much resistance from a school district. When you’re dealing with dogs, even trained dogs, you MUST have a capable handler for the dog or it won’t work. Dogs DO NOT handle themselves, even if they are wonderful dogs. That is the biggest issue when dealing with children and service dogs – the dog needs a handler in order to be useful and do their job, and often, the children aren’t yet able to fill that role.

        Reading between the lines, I sense something is off in that situation – and most likely on BOTH sides of the story.

        Disclosure: I work for a school district, I have a therapy dog who I use at work (speech therapist) and I trained service dogs for seven years before that.

      • says

        You know… I went to school in the 70s and 80s, and if anyone had had service dogs, I think it never would’ve crossed anyone’s mind to worry about a dog biting someone. First of all, back then, humanity still understood that shit happens and it need not be someone’s fault, and lawyers do not always need to be involved. It was neat, and I miss it. So, you know, there’s a dog. You assume yeah, it MIGHT bite someone, and it MIGHT be that kid’s own damn fault for not following instructions about how to approach the dog or stay out of its way or whatever. We were expected to know how to take care of ourselves, and to accept that if we failed at it, well, shit would happen, and we’d been told.

        Then came Gen Y, and it’s all “You can’t tell them how to behave, because it might wreck their self-esteem” (which is pretty much the exact opposite of the truth), but then when they do something stupid because no one gave them any guidance and they end up with a tiny bruise, Some Negligent Monster must be sued. It’s so irrational.

        I mean, this is a trained service dog. Statistically, the kids in the class are more likely to be attacked by another human child than the dog, amirite?

        • Melissa says

          Well, sort of. As I posted above, any dog needs a handler, and even if they are trained, they are unlikely to be useful unless the handler is able to handle them properly. Dogs are pack animals, and work under that mentality. The dog handler is the “leader” of the pack. (Watch “the dog whisperer” if you want to see the difference a good handler can make).

          Service dogs are not magic. They need to be trained, and they need to be used properly. A kind functioning at the level of a kindergartener seems unlikely to be able to handle a dog adequately, but not knowing the dog or the kid it’s impossible for me to say. However, from the article we do know that this student is in “a special ed classroom”, which gives us some clues both about that student, and the other kids in his class. We’re not talking about normally developing kids here, and between both that student and the other kids around him, it’s entirely possible that having a dog (without a handler) in the mix could be un-useful. It might be dangerous, or more likely it might make LEARNING very difficult in that classroom.

          To me, it sounds like a very difficult situation for the school district, where they have to balance the needs of the student with the service dog against the needs of the other kids in the class, and the teacher’s ability to teach in that situation. Without knowing the specifics it’s impossible for me to say more.

          • says

            I imagine the boy’s seizures (up to 20/day) are pretty disruptive to the classroom and the teacher’s ability to teach, too. I’d think anything that speeds his recovery from them would be helpful, and that needs to be considered on balance. So:

            The dog can get to the boy within a handful of seconds of when a seizure begins, give him a treatment and even call 911 from a special phone he wears. The teacher would need 30-45 seconds to get to him, and the special ed nature of the class makes me think the teacher would appreciate the help. Those seconds, the article says, could make a difference in the boy’s chance of survival. Surely that’s worth finding a way to accommodate.

            The article does NOT remotely suggest there had actually been any problems with the dog, and that would seem a very odd omission if there had actually been problems. The school was just enforcing a regulation to the letter, when there are solutions available, and other schools have managed to implement them.

  2. M.C. says

    I can’t decide whether to laugh at Ensign Sue Must Die or be offended because the whole ‘Mary Sue’ thing is pretty misogynic since no one ever complains that Robin Hood/Luke Skywalker/Aragorn/Harry Potter are Mary Sues (which they are by definition, only that they also have dicks).

    • The Other Patrick says

      Yeah, I mean, Percy Jackson is a demigod, as well, but that’s not bad writing. That’s mythical storytelling.

      Still, the ad hoc explanations “I am immune to phasers” and “I am half Russian” are funny, in that I recognize them. It’s like Bella who is immune to all the vampire powers Stephenie Meyer wants her to be immune to. :) Or like Harry Potter who dies but doesn’t because he’s the greatest.

      • Casey says

        Re: Douche

        Well YEAH, but the point is that douches were originally designed as vaginal cleansers that rid ladypartz of “feminine odor” (via Lysol). :|

    • Maria says

      Are they? I think I’d be more likely to have James Bond or Archer are Gary Stus… Potter’s too much of a douche to be a Stu.

      But you’re right — girls’ fiction and girls’ writing (particularly teenage girls) gets a lot of backlash… but at the same time… FISHNETS!

      • M.C. says

        I’d say many heroes have to be Mary Sues by definition because they’re all so super special.

        Robin Hood: the best archer in all the world, who leads a handfull of men to rebel against the evil Normans/Sheriff/Prince. He succeeds against the whole fucking Norman army, restores the rightful king to his throne and then marries the beautiful lady Marian. (Yes, I know that the original ballad of Robin and Marian made her out to be the better fighter, but Hollywood movies like to forget that.)

        Luke Skywalker: whiny farmboy, who is actually the son of the Big Bad, and defeats him with the Power of Love.

        Aragorn: the mysterious woodsman, who happens to be the only decent of a legendary king. He proves his worth by wielding a super special sword, magically brining back people from the brink of death (Éowyn) and marrying an elf princess.

        Harry Potter: a whiny bitch/douche, who can do absolutely nothing, but defeats the Powers of Darkness by sheer luck.

        • Casey says

          Is it really okay for you to call HP a “whiny bitch”? I don’t think gendered/misogynist language is tolerated on here.
          (then again I always wondered why saying douche was allowed, since a douche is something a woman cleanses her vagina with :|)

          • M.C. says

            Aren’t we taking back ‘bitch’? Alot of women are using it in an empowered way.
            I only see it as an insult when you put ‘whiny’ in front. And, well, I meant to insult Potter. lol

            But if I offended anyone here, I’m sorry. Maybe the mods can edit my post?

            • says

              I tossed a line through “bitch” and left another comment in the thread about why it IS actually not an okay usage, but that I do understand what you were trying to put across. :) No worries.

          • Maria says

            I’m open to being corrected for douche — I’ve been using it for a while, and have always been under the impression it was “ok” because of how douches make you itch/sick because of disrupting your PH balance, but haven’t heard that it was misogynistic. I really just need a solid, monosyllabic word for people I don’t like. :P

          • says

            since douche and douchebag generally refers to guys of the arrogant, spoiled, selfish, ignorant-of-their-privilege persuasion, I’d say that douches literal and not are tools of the patriarchy and something no woman should want near their vaginae. Therefore…

            Maybe I’m just putting too much thought into it.

        • Casey says

          Well I figure since you’re using it in a manner that’s profoundly NOT “taking it back”, then it’s misogynist…IDK, we’ll just have to wait for Jennifer to put her two cents in.

          • says

            using a gendered insult like bitch to insult a male character is still misogynistic, as it serves to imply that he is acting in a feminine way, and acting that way is bad. Like saying he throws like a girl.

          • says

            another odd thought. Usually, when a man is acting like a bitch, he’s weak, whiny, cowardly, passive, or submissive. When a woman is acting like a bitch, she’s pushy, agressive, mean, self centered, non-compliant, and dominant. How strange.

          • M.C. says

            Usually, when a man is acting like a bitch, he’s weak, whiny, cowardly, passive, or submissive. When a woman is acting like a bitch, she’s pushy, agressive, mean, self centered, non-compliant, and dominant.

            You’re absolutely right. I never thought about it that way…
            When a gay man is called ‘bitch’ that also means he’s pushy ect. But I guess that’s just another point to prove that our society thinks gay=/=manly.

          • says

            I totally get the intent to apply the term equally to nasty males and females. In limited settings where everyone shares certain values (i.e., hanging out with your friends or something), that usage can actually be a form of owning the word and changing the concepts behind it, IMO. I think that’s what M.C. intended.

            However, Hathor gets many thousands of visitors every month, and statistically, we can be assured some of them will infer exactly what Attackfish describes. Therefore, we do ban the use of the word. (Our comment policy details this.)

            As for “douche”, I’ve actually been reading up on it lately. I haven’t found any good arguments for why it is misogynistic. I consider douches an attack on femaleness: one more way we’re supposed to feel shamed into trying to “correct” our disgustingly un-male natural state. Therefore, I personally don’t consider it misogynistic, but like Maria, am open to being corrected.

    • says

      Wesley Crusher was reviled on many Star Trek fan fronts for being an outright Mary-Gary Stu. Heck, Gene Roddenbery even gave him his own name as a middle name. Mary Sue herself has her origins as an actual character in a Star Trek fanfic years ago.

    • Ikkin says

      I’m not sure there’s anything inherently misogynistic about Mary Sue, when it’s used for its intended purpose — describing characters, usually author-inserts, whose intrusion into an existing setting destroys the characterization of everyone else. Robin Hood, Luke Skywalker, Aragorn, and Harry Potter aren’t Sues, but it’s got nothing to do with their gender, and everything to do with the fact that they’re not the only interesting characters in their stories (…well, I’m not sure about Robin Hood, but a lot of people prefer Han Solo to Luke, large portions of the Harry Potter fandom focus on characters who aren’t Harry, and Aragorn wasn’t even the protagonist of Lord of the Rings).

      Of course, the current usage tends to be “female character I don’t like,” which is very misogynistic and frustrates me to no end.

    • Jenny Islander says

      The thing about Robin Hood, Luke Skywalker, Aragorn Arathornion (yes I’m a geek), and Harry Potter is that they don’t break the rules of their own setting. Neither do Maid Marian, Princess Leia, Lady Galadriel, or Nurse Pomfrey.

      Mary Sue elicits responses from the existing characters in the story that she should not be able to get. Mary Sue can put on sloppy Muggle clothes with a rude saying on the front, slouch into the compartment on the Hogwarts Express that was claimed by Draco Malfoy’s gang, and sit there whining about her rotten life to a bunch of kids who never saw her before, and they will listen. Mary Sue can live in Grimmauld Place right under the noses of the Order of the Phoenix until she chooses to reveal herself. Molly Weasley can hint as broadly as possible that this girl is Voldemort’s daughter and Harry Potter will still tell her the sad details of his childhood right after they are introduced. Prince Vegeta, Destroyer of Planets, will let her call him Veggie. Piccolo Daimao will want to have sex with her. (His species reproduces by fission, for those who are getting lost.)

      I haven’t read as much Gary Stu, but I get the impression that he gets to have sex with a lot of women who wouldn’t consider him ever and he also gets to lecture a lot of people about bravery and military strategy who know a hell of a lot more about both than he ever will. Oh, and he gets to shoot whatever he likes at whoever he doesn’t like.

      • Mintywolf says

        Exactly *nod nod* Properly used, the term Mary Sue can refer to either gender, and believe me, male Mary Sues pop up from time to time.

        Unfortunately a lot of times the term isn’t properly used and is applied to original character generally in fanfiction, no matter if they fit the definition or not, and tends to be bandied about mostly against female characters it’s true.

        Occasionally it’s applied to cannon characters, but the biggest example I can think of was male, and already mentioned. Westley Crusher.

          • Casey says

            ARGH, I think of that series and all that comes to mind is the “Biggus Dickus” trope. XS

            Isn’t she also TTLY HAWT (by modern human standards) but ugly by cave-people standards?

          • Maria says

            Yes, which is SO TRAGIC, even more so than the constant rapes from Broud. And she maths better than anyone, is a kick ass hunter, memorizes all the roots, learns sewing, learns to put stitches into people for wounds, I think invents weaving, and also is the first to figure out that sex makes babies.

          • SunlessNick says

            She also domesticates animals and invents the slingshot. And, if memory serves, the hand drill method of generating fire, though she’s at least not the only one to do that.

            And I think she’s the blondest and fairest of them all, even after she runs into other Sapiens, because who else but the whitest character could accomplish so much?

            (Oh, and her true love’s name is Jondalar, which totally sounds like a slang name for the penis).

        • Jenny Islander says

          Someone in Harry Potter fandom developed four Suewarts Houses that work pretty well as a classification for Sues and Stus in all fandoms. The names are problematic, however. The houses, and the fantasies they serve, are:

          HOUSE SPARKLIPOO: Universal love and admiration are the Sparklipoo’s reasons for being. Exotically beautiful, gorgeously dressed, super-talented, ultra-compassionate, the best listener, etc, etc. People who say they like Mary Sues, IME, are generally referring to Sparklipoos.

          HOUSE BITCHIWITCH: The polar opposite of Sparklipoo, Bitchiwitches are consumed with sorrow, rage, and/or overwhelming angst and they express them freely. They smart off to authority figures, tell their sad life stories to hot protagonists, and beat up characters the author doesn’t like. Generally annoying even when they don’t dress the part (dark colors and lots of eyeliner, or loudly colored hair and rude T-shirts).

          HOUSE TOOTSITRAMP: All libido, all the time. Dresses how the author would dress if she dared (or could get it past her parents). Has lots and lots and LOTS of sex and completely derails the existing plot. Tootsitramps written by virgins who didn’t do their research can be funny. Tootsitramps can also be extremely creepy. The most infamous fics in a fandom tend to be Tootsitramps.

          HOUSE QANONREIP: For existing characters who are co-opted by fanfic writers. Sometimes they act out the author’s fantasies of what zie would do if zie had the character’s powers/looks/money. Other times they are crutches for people who really want to write romances or school stories or what have you, but don’t want to let go of their favorite fandom.

          Moving the Suewarts Houses to another fandom: If Legolas meets a Sparklipoo, she listens compassionately to his sad story of life with his brutal alcoholic father and then provides healing sex. If he meets a Bitchiwitch, she probably brushes him off with a snotty paragraph about his sheltered life in Mirkwood because she is too busy beating up that kitten-eating villain Boromir. A Tootsitramp probably meets him at a masked ball in Mirkwood and drags him off to the palace gardens for lots of anonymous hot sex. If he stumbles into House Qanonreip, he ends up dressed like a stereotypical damsel in distress so that he can be rescued and introduced to wild pleasures by Aragorn (while Arwen, that harpy, schemes to destroy their love).

    • Sabrina says

      I wouldn’t say that “no one” “ever” complains about male Mary Sues (also known as Gary Stu, Marty Stu and the like). There are plenty of those characters out there and plenty of people complain about characters like Wesley Crusher.

      I would however agree that male Sues are less likely to be called out on their “Sue-ness” than female ones cause male roles are usually embodying tropes that are so common within their genres that the audience doesn’t even notice it. Most action heroes are pretty much God Mode Sues or Macho Sues but instead of calling them Sues they are admired for being badass.

  3. The Other Patrick says

    The Haiti story is awful, and doubly so because apparently Haiti is also suffering from diseases brought in by helpers, which is just fucked up.

    One thing I don’t like is saying “N-word”. You don’t need to say nigger, yourself, but if you refer to the word said by someone, just say it. As for the book changes, I would be upset if every edition of the book from now on would be changed that way. But giving people a choice, that seems a little to me like I book I owned where people had transcribed Shakespeare into modern language so people could read the storys easier. If you want to go that route, buy that, the original is still there.

    Burqas just squick me. They’re much too laden with baggage for me so I can’t possibly react to the video objectively – especially not after just recently the politician was murdered in Pakistan for saying blasphemy laws were wrong. I just kind of fear for the singer, actually.

    The child abuse story is just so, so sad.

    I feel that criminal rights are one of the most important qualities a society can possess – it’s so easy for public opinion to just lock these people away and don’t care about them, if you have a good system of rehabilitation and treatment and education going on, then your society is probably open-minded, liberal and successful in other parts, too.

    • The Other Anne says

      “One thing I don’t like is saying “N-word”. You don’t need to say nigger, yourself, but if you refer to the word said by someone, just say it.”

      While I really really agree with you, I just don’t feel comfortable using it. Sometimes I will, sometimes I wont (obviously only when I’m writing/repeating what others have said), but I’m a white girl. I’ve never had the word directed at me. I don’t like using it.

      • Casey says

        I went through a massive “wanna-be internet tough guy” phase where I’d call someone nigger on the internet all the time(more often than not it would be a white person because “that’s funny”[/ugh]), but nowadays? I can’t even say “nigga” ironically…I just CAN’T.

      • says

        I don’t use it because I have been told by a number of black friends that just coming across the word in any context is fairly triggering for them. Therefore, fuck the sanctity of citations: there are other ways to have the conversations without causing unnecessary pain to human beings. Some flash literary concept just cannot be more important than the feelings of a disenfranchised group of people.

        This just triggered another high school memory: we had to read portions of the book allowed. One of the girls (white) who got a section in which that word appears refused to say it. The teacher explained all these nice ivory tower reasons why she should read it, and the girl got pretty agitated about it. But in the end, she said something like, “I have never said that word in my life, and I don’t intend to ever, for any reason.” The teacher finally just let her skip the damn word.

        Should a black kid be expected to read that word aloud or say it when discussing the novel in class? It is not just a nasty word for black people. It’s a word for people some cops feel they can conveniently frame when they want to close a case or shield the important person who really committed it. It’s a word for someone a mob could LYNCH without repercussion in the United States until the 1960s. It’s a word for a type of woman considered especially fair/easy game by rapists. It’s not ancient history. It’s not equivalent to most other racial slurs. The word very much invokes the long-term dehumanization of an entire people based on skin color.

  4. Casey says

    That programmer guy committing suicide is depressing as hell, but thankfully most of the commenters are sympathetic and civil, unlike the commenters on Kotaku regarding Bridgitte Burdine being killed in a hit-and-run, the first poster said something along the lines of “she’s just some woman who didn’t even DESIGN any games, so who cares?” UGH.

    Also, in regards to the comment on that Tumblr that basically says men are too stupid to remember NOT to rape someone by asking for consent/what their partners want: I DON’T WANT TO LIVE ON THIS PLANET ANYMORE

    • Finbarr Ryan says

      Ugh, that Tumblr comment made me so furious. How friggin difficult is the concept of a person existing in a default state of ‘no’?

      I DON’T WANT TO LIVE ON THIS PLANET ANYMORE

      Word. :(

  5. says

    I feel conflicted about the programmer who committed suicide. It’s nothing to do with him, I feel for him. It’s just that, overwhelmingly, girls and women are victims of rape, far more than boys and men. I don’t point this out to minimize any boy’s pain; it’s heinous no matter what the gender.
    But where’s all the sympathy for the girls this happens to? Why are girls’ sexual abuses ignored, minimized, rationalized (“she seduced him!”). Why are teenage “sex slaves” reported with titillation in the news; why is the rape of 7 year old girls refered to as “having sex”? Why are girls more often than not slut shamed?
    Ugh, I dunno, it’s midnight and I guess I’m feeling pretty cynical.

    Anyway, another blaming-the-patriarchy moment: the programmer absolutely did not ever want to talk about the rape, not even with therapists, which IMO hindered him from getting help he so desperately needed. I blame the masculinity code that says men can’t ever admit they are in pain, need help or, dog forbid, were raped by a man. And that’s why male suicide is higher. These guys will not seek help, because that’s weak and “gay” and not masculine. And that’s really sad.

    That’s why I believe in feminism. No more rape, no more emotional crippling, and all the other 937959 things wrong with our culture under patriarchy.

    • says

      To clarify, it was the comments on the article that made me conflicted. It’s great they were so supportive of Bill, but I have to wonder what they’d look like if the programmer was Jill, and not Bill.
      I think I’ve been reading too many horrible, sexist comment threads lately, they’ve got me jaded.

      • says

        I agree that it’s (what I call) the cult of masculinity that keeps men from getting emotional help they need. It educates them that any problem can be solved by being a man, so they try to simply overcome it by some brute force of the mind. When that fails, what other manly solution exists? Violence.

  6. says

    The problem with Huck Finn is that schools are too fucking inept to teach it properly. I mean, for god’s sake, I went to high school 20 minutes from where the KKK formed, right? I heard that word regularly, and I was a white girl – I cannot imagine what the very, very few black kids at my school went through. It was the most overtly racist place I’ve ever lived.

    So how does my white teacher approach the term to her class of mostly white kids with 2-3 kids of color? AS IF THAT WORD IS ANCIENT HISTORY AND ISN’T IT LOVELY BLACK KIDS TODAY DON’T HAVE TO LIVE WITH THAT. (I think they were conflating slavery with racism, to be honest. Not very bright.)

    I was so appalled. Several of us white kids tried to introduce reality by explaining that WE heard the word sometimes, so yes, thank goodness no one has to be a slave anymore, but what gives that word its hateful power is still with us. Teacher wouldn’t hear it. Like Marcia Clark, she thought things was all fixed and stuff now.

    The whole thing was fairly sickening FOR ME, and I didn’t have the added onus of being personally on the wrong end of that stick. I was just someone who found racism very upsetting because it meant sidelining valuable people and promoting dipshits, all based on some random genetic trait that had nothing to do with one’s intelligent, capability or willingness to serve society or at least not leech off it.

    I read a beautiful response on LJ about this from a black woman who considers the edit to be “consideration” rather than censorship. I agree. Censorship is when you erase a concept to serve the agenda of those in power. When you erase something so that the disempowered need not be further alienated by it, that’s consideration.

    I don’t know if editing the book does anyone any good. I think it just shouldn’t be taught in school, period. There’s loads of good literature we don’t teach in schools. It’s not going to kill anybody, leaving this one off.

    • SunlessNick says

      Predictably, most of the comments are against making the change, a lot of them screaming “censorship” (which it isn’t, since unchanged editions are freely available).

      Personally, I have a lot of antipathy to the idea of changing words, but then I’m never going to have a word like that used against me.

      Then I read one comment:

      The term “nigger” was not meant to be detrimental to the Negro race in the ‘old days’. It was used in the South and that was simply their way of speaking back then.

      … and if that’s really the case (I wouldn’t know), then surely replacing it with a word that hasn’t inherited the same harmful power is more akin to translation than censorship. After all, plenty of people claim to have read and understood Tolstoy without knowing a single word of Russian, and I’ve not seen rendering the Canterbury Tales in modern rather than middle English decried as censoring Chaucer.

      • SunlessNick says

        Where I said “changing words,” I meant changing them in a literary text as is being discussed here. With of course the subsequent caveats.

      • says

        I’ve heard that argument, and it MAY be true, but I don’t thing it’s something you can substantiate either way. But yeah, like you say, then that would REALLY make changing the word no biggie.

        The fact is, there is NO REASON this book is considered essential to high school reading lists. If we drop it, the problem goes away. It’s not the greatest book ever. It’s not the only example of any particular thing. It’s no loss at all.

        What we have here is white people thinking it’s a good way to teach white kids about how white folks used to be racist but are ALL BETTER NOW, when in fact, that racism still totally absolutely exists, so this is all a big stinking pile of horseshit.

      • SunlessNick says

        On the other hand, a href=http://www.womanist-musings.com/2011/01/removing-nigger-from-huckelberry-finn.html>this is what Renee of Womansist Musings says about it.

  7. TheEclipse says

    This isn’t to do with anything you’ve posted but it’s something you might be interested in.
    There was a thread on a mainly teen filled forum I’m on, and it was about a transgender person cutting off her testicles. Everyone was saying general things that showed a lack of understanding. One of the comments asked why didn’t she cut her penis off too, and I said maybe she was hoping that the nerves could be used on a new clitoris.

    When I clicked post, I noticed that the word clitoris was asterisked out. Testicles and penis were fine. When I commented saying that I feel insulted that it’s considered a dirty word (and I put gaps in so that they could see the word I was talking about), I got a warning PM because I ‘got around the filter’. *sigh*.

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