Links of Great Interest: “Isn’t that class warfare?”

Signal Boosting: A Thank You from Lifting Voices.

Thanks to you, Tatiana can share her story.

One day, our team visited Tatiana and met her grandfather, a big man with a shy face.  He invited us into the living room where he now spends much of his day.  This man earned a doctorate in astrophysics in Argentina.  In America, he took a job as a janitor to provide for his family.  Now, nearing the end of his journey, his walls are covered in posters and paintings of the universe, and his bookshelves sag with books on the stars.  We watched as Tatiana’s little cousin gave her grandpa a big, sloppy hug, and his face broke into a very satisfied smile.


In this home, we helped Tatiana write about her meals, the daily celebrations of her family’s sustaining love.

Thanks to you, the pages of Counter Culture will soon come to life, brimming with the energy of Tatiana and her friends. We’re working with an amazing crew: kids like Tatiana, culinary masters José Andrés, Spike Mendelsohn, and Robert Egger.  And, of course, you.

You helped us raise $5,201, surpassing our goal.  Thank you so much for your contribution, and for sharing the word with your friends.

If you’d like more stories and pictures from our world, please visit our blog, and consider joining us as a volunteer.  We look forward to welcoming you.

From Aerin:

Not sure if you were going to mention this or not. I’m very impressed at Ms. Logan courage and openness about this issue. I’m glad she’s bringing awareness to this issue for women throughout the world.

The NYT reports on the “high costs of low teacher salaries.” NEEDS MORE GENDER ANALYSIS.

And honestly, I think there’s a connection between the censure heaped on women teachers for having lives outside of the classroom and the femininization of the profession.

Well, at least Donald Trump got served.

A Brooklyn maternity store offers discounts to lesbian moms. Annnnnnnnnnnnnnd hate speech GO!


From Vijay Prashad on the killing of Osama bin Laden:

In 1981 Ronald Reagan signed Executive Order 12333, which disallows the US from pursuing targeted assassinations. Likewise, international law forbids this type of action. I’m very disturbed that there is no qualified discussion about the legality of this type of action. People on the liberal to progressive side seem to have lost their bearings and are no longer able to be serious when it comes to the question of utilizing armed force overseas.

Confusingly, peeps are reporting that the Dalai Lama approves.

Remember the little girl who lost a leg saving her sister’s life?

Gossip Girl cosigns domestic violence.

From Gabbie:

You know, the more I read about the effects of free speech in the US, the more I think it does more harm than good. The first link is about the ‘right’ for users to watch porn in public libraries, even in spaces where children can see, and the second is about tea party lobbyists suing for being thrown out of a library for being too aggresive in their leaflet campaign.

This is what a feminist looks like.

Idris Elba talks about racism in fandom.

How is a rape exam not medically necessary?

From Ara:

I just feel like this needs to be brought to Hathor’s attention since they’re trying to make abortion illegal again through roundabout means

From Casey:

I got this link from Shakesville, the cheerleader who refused to cheer for the basketball player who raped her is being charged $45,000 for filing a “frivolous” lawsuit against her school.

Can anyone tell me the deets of a fund or something to help her pay for this? I want to signal boost the crap out of it.


  1. Attackfish says

    About racism in fandom, I write and read fic for Avatar: the Last Airbender, and even when the source material is so freaking fantastic on the race and gender front, I still had to give up reading almost all fic in the most popular pairing, Zuko/Katara, partly because most of them read like bad old fashioned romance novels, with the domineering but suave man and the feisty but lost woman, which is wildly OOC, and the fact that there is so much hatred of Zuko’s canon love interest, because she’s the girl in the way (and apparently she has a “man face” whut.) but also because Katara, whose people are based on Artic tribal groups, and are darker than the other nations is constantly described as an “Exotic Beauty”. Well, as far as she’s concerned, Zuko’s the exotic one! Its worst when the story’s supposed to be from her point of view and she’s an exotic beauty, over and over and over. No no no.

  2. oneiriad says

    About Idris Elba and racism in fandom. Speaking as a life-long fan of original Norse myth, I find that at least here it’s easy to spot the racists: if they quote the Edda as a reason against the casting, but does not at the same time bitch about, at the very least, Thor’s haircolour, the absence of goats and the inexplicable genderswitching of Loki’s mother Laufey, well…

  3. Robin says

    Exactly. Heck, the “Norse gods” in Thor are apparently aliens, so they can be any color the filmmakers want to make them. When a similar plot device was used in the Stargate TV series, they decided that the Norse gods were actually the big-eyed “Roswell gray” aliens using fancy holograms. If you take that much liberty with the mythology, you can pretty much cast whoever you want. And as many commenters on that article have pointed out, having a black Aesir is no weirder than having a white, blue-eyed Jesus.

    I haven’t seen much of Elba’s work, but critics and fans of his previous work say he’s good, so I trust that he makes a fine Heimdall.

  4. says

    That article about denying health care to women based on previous assaults makes my blood boil. Healthcare insurance “providers” worshiping the almighty dollar first and the wellbeing of their clients second is bad enough. Utilizing sexism to further those ends, gambling that they won’t be forced to back off, is just, just… I have no words.


    <3. Well said. :)

  5. megs says

    Oh, I do have to disagree with the first amendment stuff. I love the libraries are fighting for the right for people to see whatever they want on their computers. While it may not actually violate free speech for them to have filters in place, you really don’t ever have a right to not see something ever. Parents can try to protect their children from seeing things, but they are going to see it if it’s out there. And I fail to see how internet porn is any different than me going in there and holding up a book on ancient roman porn (with biiiig pretty pictures) so that anyone could see it over my shoulder, which I have done. Not on purpose, but you get into researching and forget there are other people around.

    And I don’t care if it’s the stupid tea party or the nazi party, they can post their posters. Forbidding them just because they’re terrible is even worse.

    I did really like the link to the Idris Elba article. I really agree with him on all points. For me, it doesn’t even bother me even if it weren’t the Marvel version of the Norse gods, because they’re /gods/. They can look however the people behind the project want them to look. They’re never going to be historically accurate. Even the people who believed in them and made up stories about them didn’t have definite picture of how they looked, except perhaps otherwordly, and that certainly has been achieved with special effects. I haven’t made up my mind about historical movies with inaccurate casting choices, but since Hollywood has a long history of casting white people as everything else, I don’t mind if the pendulum swings the other way.

  6. Some guy says

    Don’t know how much this adds to the discussion, or to this site in general, but after reading that article about Gossip Girl, this Dan person is now obligated by the Unwritten Code of Manhood to find Chuck and…settle things. Violence is not required, but certainly on the table.

  7. says


    The freedom of speech in libraries is an interesting debate. I can see both sides of the issue. And while I do have a knee-jerk reaction that whichever side is crying “But think of the children!” is in the wrong, I can see how that leaves a loophole open for sexual harassment, people deliberately looking at pornography and bothering the other patrons with it on purpose. One solution I saw proposed, that I liked best, was having filtered computers out in the open that children could access, and a more private area without filters which children were not permitted to access and which other adults who didn’t want to stumble across anything or see anything on their neighbor’s screen could avoid. It might cause some difficulties in layout, especially for those libraries low on resources, but I think it could made to work in many places.

    Some guy,

    I’d rather Blair settle it herself, or contribute to the settling, than have another man avenge her honor like she can’t do that for herself.

  8. Gabriella says


    I think the Tea Party article was more about a general resriction on posting leaflets to certain area. It sounded more like ‘don’t traipse through the place pushing your political agenda’ to EVERYONE more than ‘we don’t like your party so go sit in the corner’.

    And yeah, having some computers with unresricted acces in more discreet areas is probably the best solution. And I agree that some history boks etc are no less graphic than but it seems like it would be much harder for a child to stumble on another patron accessing it. I guess its just a matter of degree and saying how far do you go between reasonable protecting children and taking away a person’s right to veiw something that is their legal right to access.

  9. firebird says

    Sylvia Sybil,

    The libraries I used the internet at (Missouri and Tennessee) have had filters and usage policies on them. I would be surprised if anyone was able to access a naughty website on one. They do generally have WiF, allowing a person to hook up their own computer to the internet and surf. I don’t know what filters and rules apply then as I’ve never done it. At one library locally I discovered they have a hard block on popup windows, which did not allure me to use the H&R Block website – which would handicap a lot of advertisers. Maybe they have a first amendment claim. /snark

    Honestly, I don’t feel like people need to look at porn on library computers, precisely because it can be sexually harassing to others depending on how it is done. Also, that’s usually a security risk for viruses, which the library may not need. On the other hand, politeness dictates that you don’t try to ser what other people are doing; there are dividers between computers, sound is muted unless you use headphones, and disturbing behavior should be curbed by library personnel. Probably the potential harm does not outweigh the harm of limiting “speech”.

  10. says

    Honestly, I don’t feel like people need to look at porn on library computers, precisely because it can be sexually harassing to others depending on how it is done.

    It can be harassing, but not necessarily. And as has been stated earlier, where do you draw that line? Illustrations of ancient Greek prostitutes falls under historical research; what about someone researching modern culture? There actually is a branch of literary criticism and scholarship focusing on the romance genre. Some of those book covers would make my grandmother blush, and if the person wants to research some of the sexually explicit portions of the book, like specific toys or kinks? I myself google some pretty NSFW images out of pure curiosity. Aren’t libraries for edification? Why should sexuality be a taboo subject there, and where should people go to learn about it if not there?

    I think the behavior of harassing should be punished but I don’t agree that everyone should lose access to a tool because it might be used improperly.

  11. Gabriella says

    Sylvia Sybil,

    I think the need for discretion is the key. I got the impression that the article was about people watching porn for pleasure (in and of itself not an issue) and not caring who might see them do it. I would argue that reading about Ancient Greek mythology requires the same degree of discretion.

  12. says


    I agree. And I think libraries should make it possible for patrons to use discretion by placing some of the computers so that their screens aren’t immediately visible to the rest of the library.

  13. Gabriella says

    Sylvia Sybil,

    I find this discussion interesting because porn is illegal in the Australian states (still accesible, though, and muddled cos its legal in the territories) and we don’t have free speech in our constitution so most libraries censor basically anything that is deemed to be an Aus R (about the equivilsnt of a US NC17, maybe a bit stricter) or unrated. I *think* in university computers and the like you can have this lifted on your account if you can argue that you need it to research a culture of violence, sexuality etc, but having never needed to, I’ve never done more than ask in passing.

    The best example of limiting access to people who are old enough I could think of is the way we limit trailers in movies. The trailer can only be of a same rating or less than the movie its previewing. So an MA mrated movie can only show G-MA trailers, but not R rated. That way only people who are old enough to see the movie they paid for can see trailers of the same rating. (Of course, this fails when underage kids sneak in, or a film hasn’t been rated yet and gets a tentative rating that lower than its eventual rating but you get the idea.) I like the concept but don’t see how it could be done in libraries… except maybe to have a soundproof AO area? (Which Gabbie would like anyway ‘cos her library has a large childrens section and open-area plan so if you go there at the wrong time, it’s bedlam.)

  14. says


    The local laws would probably have a great effect on how different nations’ citizens view the issue. Here in the States, obscenity is illegal, but the definition changes based on area since the legal precedent is “I can’t explain it but I know it when I see it.” Basically, up to the discretion of whoever’s hearing the case. However, art is protected under free speech and pornographers argue that their work is art. So porn is legal. (Unless the actor is underage or other crimes are committed in its production, of course.)

    We also have our trailers rated. At the beginning of every preview a screen flashes up. Usually it is green and says “This preview is suitable for all audiences.” Sometimes it is yellow and says “For some audiences” and sometimes it is red and says “For restricted audiences”. They can play green trailers for any movie, yellow for PG-13 content (perhaps only on the Internet?) and red for R and above. However, it’s almost always a green title card; I’ve only seen a red preview once, late at night in an R movie.

    However, our movie system is different because the ratings system is not run by law enforcement and is theoretically voluntary. In practice, the MPAA has a monopoly on ratings due to their arrangements with the major players. Films are not obligated to be rated before release (though hardly any theater will play an Unrated film), and theaters are not obligated to screen patrons by age. When I was in high school, there were two theaters in town, one that carded and one that didn’t. You can guess which one we patronized. ^_~

    As far as making the Adults Only area soundproof, every library computer I’ve ever used has had no speakers, though some have headphones available. It would probably be easy enough to set them up so their screens face the wall, too, making it unlikely that anyone would pass behind you unless they were headed to another AO computer.

  15. says

    Signed! This is one of the most mind-boggling cases in recent memory. Has anyone come across an article or commentary that dares to defend the Court’s decision, because I’d really like to know WTF anybody could possibly be thinking. Among all the many things that bother me with this case: the fact that the rapist is black makes it almost a sure thing that so is HS. Because if she was white, I think people’s reaction to him would be, oh, a bit different. Fail on so many levels, people. Fucking stupid judges need to have some fucking qualifications before they’re allowed to run for office.

    Re: Thor. Let’s count how many times the movies have cast a white actor to play a role of color from a comic/book/other medium? Wait a second. Let’s make it a real challenge and only count the ones from the past two years! Did everyone run out of fingers? Yeah, me, too. Unless you’ve been complaining about EVERY case of race change to characters, it is totally racist to complain about it the one time a white role goes to a person of color.

  16. says

    I was going to say: obscenity filters tend to be more trouble than they’re worth. And kids…are going to see naked people. It happens.

    Harassment is a different thing, but I think it would happen even if people couldn’t access porn. This seems like an issue that’s best addressed by increasing the supervision in libraries–though that would require giving them some damn funding already, which would probably make the Tea Party’s little heads explode.

    Which isn’t necessarily a downside.

    And Thor–ffft. They’re not only gods, they’re gods with a pretty well-documented history of taking on whatever the hell kind of forms they want.

  17. Cloudtigress says

    Haven’t yet seen Thor (lack of spare $$$$), but some of the comments in the linked-to article make it sound like Hiemdal was cast to defy one stereotype, but played right into another: black guy as doorman to Hotel Asgard. Don’t know if Heimdal does anything in the movie besides guard, but in the comics he does have some decent powers to chase off anyone attempting to enter Asgard without signing in first.

  18. says


    Don’t know if Heimdal does anything in the movie besides guard, but in the comics he does have some decent powers to chase off anyone attempting to enter Asgard without signing in first.

    SPOILERS follow:

    He doesn’t do much else besides guard. They make explicit that he has certain powers, but beyond the ability to see/hear almost anything–including what’s going on other planets like Jotunheim and Earth–the extent of his powers are real vague. The Warriors Three and Sif get summoned by him at one point, and their reaction is “Oh hell, we’re dead now.” I guess he’s supposed to be some powerful badass, but to me that came out of nowhere because all they showed of Heimdall up to that point was him standing around and turning Bifrost on/off (I never read much of the Thor comics, so maybe if I had I’d understand the reaction, but that’s a pretty poor way to craft a movie).

    At one point Loki takes over as King of Asgard when Odin goes into a coma, and eventually he basically fires Heimdall. Heimdall’s response is to say “Good. So now I don’t have to obey you” and attack Loki… at which point he is immediately frozen in a block of ice. (He gets better, and brings Thor back to Asgard so that he can defeat Loki.)

    So, yeah, he doesn’t do a whole lot.

  19. Azzy says



    You know, from what I’ve noticed of the movie, nobody except for Thor is much use in a fight. Sif and the Warriors Three may have served the plot, but in the end, in both their scenes in the beginning and at the climax, their only purpose was to get their asses summarily kicked to set up Thor as the superior fighter. Even Frigga manages to dispatch only one jotun mook while guarding Odin before getting KO’d by Laufey. Heimdall is at least somewhat proactive, defying Loki and sending Thor’s friends to Earth to find him, but that’s not saying much considering how pathetically short his fight with Loki was (though admittedly, he shouldn’t have expected a trickster god to play fair). God forbid any of the supporting characters outshine Our Hero. I seem to remember the “Iron Man” movies being much better in this respect than “Thor”.

  20. says


    Agh, yes. I was annoyed at how little the others got to do. In the fight with the Destroyer, Sif gets off ONE BLOW (okay, an impalement–which does nothing) and then they’re all running around trying not to get killed. And later Thor tells her “You’ve done all you can.” What!? “All she can”? She hit it ONCE! That’s the best she’s allowed to do?

  21. says

    Thanks for this! We’re discussing the woman who wrote erotica and dared to be a teacher at the same time, on our forum. Thanks for the link!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *