Links of Great Interest: Little bit lighter this week. :D


Here’s some discussion and a fanvid of the role of women and men in SF/F.

5 ways tea can help you defend yourself during the zombie apocalypse.

Homeless killings on the rise

I need a miracle…

Oh, Penny Arcade and your insistence that rape is loltastic.

IraqiGirl is ENGAGED!!!

Virgins/Whores in STI literature

The Help reviewed by a black author.

Nationalism and race in superhero comics

Some thoughts on the “Ground Zero” mosque

If you’re on the East Coast of the US and you got an herb garden? It’s time to DRY. YOUR. HERBS!!!!

An update on Patches the Rescue Cat

Anna talks about the murderer of Tracy Latimer

The difference between La Gaga and LiLo


  1. says

    The videos about women/men are instructive, especially the “women’s work” video. It seems one must be glad that at least some women get to be possessed and then do some evil instead of only being tortured/killed. Also, can’t say I like the “Prowl” video as it reinforces the idea that women watch men’s stories because the men are hot, not because they might be interested in a story which unfortunately means men’s stories (just look at the line-up of the next fall TV schedule, white men abound – there’s a show co-produced by Scorcese that I think sounds interesting, but in all the promotion I read about it they always mention five or so male actors and not one actress).

    I hadn’t heard about Tracy Latimer before, but after reading up on the case, I think it makes an excellent argument about assisted suicide / mercy killing. I don’t think the press should talk about the poor father and couch all this in emotional terms (but it’s the press, so that’s a wish you won’t see fulfilled), but in ethical terms. I don’t think that life is always the better choice, and I don’t think humans are somehow sacred to live. From what I read, a girl who was constantly in pain, could neither talk nor walk… and I would want more than anecdotes to know whether she experienced the world around her in a meaningful way, i.e. a neurologist’s appraisal of her brain or some tests that determined that she recognized people and had some needs and wants that went above food and an end to pain. People are just too quick to interpret random noise as patterns (see facilitated communication).

    • Shaun says

      You know, Patrick, I feel the same way about euthanasia. I think people should have the right to die if they choose to do so. You have to understand, though, that these arguments are used ALL THE TIME by the parents of disabled children to justify the murder of their children because they just can’t be bothered to deal with them. has some details on the case. I found this from a casual google search, you may find others. Nobody but her parents is claiming she was in “constant pain,” and I’m sure you didn’t mean it this way, but claiming verbal speech and the ability to walk as qualifications for the right to exist is really shitty.

      As the article I linked mentions, he’s had 2 trials and all TWENTY-FOUR of those jurors found him guilty of murder, not any lesser crime. Yeah, I know that just because a jury decided it doesn’t make it so, but they had more access to information about the case than either one of us had, and I think it’s more telling that 24 people, in a culture that devalues the lives of disabled people and FREQUENTLY justifies their murder, nonetheless found the man unqualifiably guilty.

      And even if she was in pain, and WANTED her life to end (which I believe less the more I read about this), that in no way justifies the narratives that arise from the media coverage of the case: disabled people are disposable, that caretakers have the right to end life whenever they feel like it, that being a parent of a disabled child is just SO HARD you can’t blame them for murdering their child, or that a disabled person needs to provide PROOF of her right to exist.

      • Maria says

        It’s not assisted suicide if she didn’t want to die. It’s murder. There’s nothing to suggest she wanted to die, besides those same news articles that portray him as a hero.

    • Shaun says

      Not trying to harp on a single comment, but I think it would be good to be specific here. You said you would want evidence to prove she could experience the world around her in a specific way. Not evidence that she couldn’t, not evidence as to what parts of her brain were damaged. Not proof euthanasia was the best thing for her, but proof it WASN’T.

      I’m phrasing it about as non-confrontationally as I can, but I really hope you can see how hurtful and dehumanizing this is.

      • says

        That’s a good point, yes. It should be the other way around. That was extremely shitty phrasing there, and probably because I have/had a skewed opinion there. Thank you for pointing that out.

        I think there are several layers to that case, and as you point out above, the narratives are a big problem as they only focus on one layer. You can empathize with the parents (I) in what they (or the father) did (though less so after reading the link you gave). But just because you can understand how it could happen doesn’t make it either legal (II) or moral (III).

        That the father was convicted of murder, i.e. the legal side, doesn’t mean so much to me without knowing about the state law; obviously he did kill his child, so unless the state has a law for some kind of “mercy killing”, of course he’s guilty of murder, even if second degree.

        What interests me is the ethical dimension. But reading a little more on the case, it actually seems like it’s not as clear-cut as I thought after wikipedia (yeah, surprise). Even though I mostly agree with Peter Singer, my first impression of this situation was severely one-sided. I read “cannot talk, cannot walk, cognitive disability” and my thoughts went pretty much Terry Schiavo. Which this was not. From what I read now, Tracy was cognitively disabled, but aware and able to communicate, and since there’s no indication of her wanting to end her “suffering” (in quotes because it’s not even clear she experienced it as such), I withdraw my earlier comment. I was wrong.

        And once more, sorry for how I thought and wrote about the evidence there.

        • Shaun says

          I’ve gotten some skewed information from reading wikipedia before (like someone in the LJ link mentioned, it’s fucked up that the abled murderer has an entry but not the disabled person herself), and I appreciate you backing down and apologizing. You (and the people on this site in general) seem cool and I didn’t think it was a malicious thing at all.

          The difference between this and Terri Schiavo (and please, someone correct ME if I’m wrong about her) was that Schiavo was being KEPT alive. Nobody helped her “euthanize” herself, they just let her die.

          Latimer was thrown into the back of a truck and gassed to death. She asphyxiated. Care wasn’t withheld from her, her life was violently ended. Two totally different animals, and that’s just the first clue something was really wrong here. Seriously, if some blonde abled white woman were found gassed to death in the back of her dad’s truck, I cannot imagine the media’s first recourse being “well it must have been an assisted suicide, her father said she was in constant pain!” A disabled person deserves the same consideration for the value of their stolen life.

    • says

      Regardless of how one feels about Tracy Latimer’s murder, what really makes me angry in discussions about Tracy’s murder is that we then get to read lots and lots and lots of news articles and opinion pieces that can be summed up as “killing children with disabilities is okay.”

      Of all the parents doing time for having murdered their children with disabilities, the only one who gets this attention, and these constant cries of “oh, the poor man! punished by the law for murdering his child in a way that we made illegal to kill dogs!” is Tracy Latimer’s murderer – a white man who is always specifically mentioned as “a Saskatchewan farmer”. (I guess calling him “the convicted murderer” would be too inflammatory.)

      When women murder their disabled children, they don’t get this sort of huge waves of support in the news media, and I’ve not seen a single article in support of the Vietnamese-Canadian woman who murdered her autistic son around the same time that Tracy was murdered by her father.

      There is so much going on in the discussions about Tracy Latimer’s murder. And I cannot stand that the news is going to be full of this shit again. I hate Tracy Latimer’s murderer in a very strong part because his every move in this case leads to another media-run referendum on whether or not people with disabilities are actually human in the first place – let alone on whether human life is “sacred”.

      Arg, I’m not angry at you – I’m just angry.

      • Shaun says

        Actually that’s not true. Women get PLENTY of support when they murder their autistic children. I refer you to Charles-Antoine Blais. He was murdered by his mother in 1996 at the age of 6. Danielle Blais, his mother, was showered in media and public support, and the Montreal Autism Society, which, as I understand, is a chapter of the federal Autism Society Canada and hence has official status, organized for her and provided legal defense.

        She didn’t go to prison. She served a YEAR’S community service, and after this was HIRED by ASC’s Montreal branch to WORK WITH PARENTS OF AUTISTIC CHILDREN. Because she was totally the victim here.

        I’m not saying that as a white man Latimer didn’t receive more support than a man of color would have. I’m not saying women who murder autistics don’t receive less support then men who do so (though Blais received far more than Latimer, and she is not the only one), but able women, like able men, DO in fact murder autistic children and are frequently COMMENDED for it.

        More information on the Blais case here, there are other autistic murders to be found elsewhere:

        • says

          You’re right, although Charles-Antoine’s murderer isn’t in the mainstream media to the extent that Tracy’s murderer is (As much as one can measure such things – is there more coverage in Quebec?).

          (I did know Charles-Antoine’s murderer worked with Autistic organizations in Quebec, though, because WTF indeed.

          And this connection between “Autistic” organizations (that are really for parents) and the murderers of autistic children… Well, I’m assuming I don’t need to tell you, Shaun, but it keeps happening and happening, including a case of a woman in the US who made a video explaining how she wanted to kill her autistic daughter, and then did.

          And those are just the cases that we know about, and every time, each and every one becomes a referendum on the humanity of people with disabilities, and how difficult it is for the non-disabled to live with them.

          • Shaun says

            To be honest I’m not really sure about the media saturation in Quebec beyond the English-language articles ABOUT it. Every time I try to find more information on it it’s all in French and I can’t understand ANY of it. I was also 12 when it happened and at the time I didn’t know any autism organizations existed except those run by and for parents (my parents belonged to an email list that specifically prohibited autistics from writing).

            That’s pretty much why I reacted the way I did. Every time, EVERY FUCKING TIME anything about autism comes up, it’s always how horrible and life-wrecking the “disease” is (life-wrecking for the parents, not the autistic), and how it’s perfectly understandable that some of these parents want to kill their children to get away from it and ~end their pain,~ and how it’s so much better for the kids involved. Then there’s always parents commenting that THEY would never kill their child, oh no, but they TOTALLY UNDERSTAND that feeling.

            I’m preaching to the choir here, but it’s like this story never gets old. It comes up a couple times a year, and it seems like there’s NEVER any damn progress on the issue.

          • Shaun says

            I should be a little more general there. I’m used to talking about autism, specifically, but OBVIOUSLY this happens to disabled people, in general, all the time. There’s like 20 really depressing links on the front page of Feminists With Disabilities right now, most of them not about autism.

  2. Emma says

    Okay, I looked up that Tracy Latimer case, and Christ on a cracker, WTF. My sister’s disabled and personally, I think her life kind of sucks, and damn, that shook me up.

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