Link(s): Sat, Mar 6th, 7am to Tue, Mar 9th, 3pm

[In case it needs to be said: I don’t agree with every word of everything I link to. –L.]

Dear Abby…
So, you would think our Dear Abby would print a retraction of her original response when faced with evidence that women have valid reasons for objecting to this practice. Instead, she practically cheered on the reinforcement of patriarchal standards through harassment, with a few totally contradictory anecdotes! It was almost as if a woman's physical safety, comfort, or bodily integrity is up for debate…

I actually learned something pretty relevant in my corporate diversity training last year: The Platinum Rule. The Platinum Rule decrees that we should treat others as they wish to be treated.

Pop Quiz
Which one of these things doesn't belong? From the Washington Post's On Leadership column…
Quote of the Day
"I'll just tell you this, if this passes and it's five years from now and all that stuff gets implemented — I am leaving the country. I'll go to Costa Rica." — Rush Limbaugh, on his future in the U.S. if health care reform becomes a reality.
I Am A Real American
Now, at no point in the entire history of ever has any court ever held that the government simply knowing about racial identification on a macro scale is unconstitutional. In fact, it would pretty much render the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments unenforceable if the government couldn’t collect data about race. […]

Let’s look at that map of race-blind tolerant America that Krikorian mentioned. If you look at where “American” won out as the majority racial classification, it was, shockingly, the South, which has no history of white people doing goofy, racist shit and then swearing to the Lord above that it had nothing to do with race whatsoever.

Cell phones, Facebook, and the war on loneliness
…Broadbent makes a convincing case that the technological developments blamed for people’s isolation—namely the car and the television set—probably had less impact on their loneliness than an entire culture built around the idea that the worker’s personal life is an imposition on their ability to work. Not to say that the car and the TV set don’t exacerbate the problem of lack of community, but the problem originates with a culture that wants you to forget your family and friends the second you walk in the door at work…

What Broadbent recorded was that the explosion in communications technologies are instead restoring a little bit of what was simply part of life 150 years ago—constant contact with your intimates during your work day. If you’re over 30, you’ve probably marveled at how much the work day has changed because of this, and as Broadbent notes, it’s extremely different from the era when even personal phone calls were not part of life at work. (And still aren’t in many blue collar jobs.) […]

But of course, since the isolation was the product of culture, we can’t expect culture not to strike back. Broadbent notes how people who work in many low status occupations, like bus drivers and factor workers, are facing increasingly punitive monitoring to make sure they don’t check in with family and friends during the day. Broadbent treats this like a human rights violation… If people are getting their work done, monitoring them to make sure they don’t use their downtime to talk to people they love is only going on in order to debase them and suggest that their personal lives don’t count.

Early Beta of Delicious Chrome extension available
…it’s missing a good chunk of the functionality we believe it needs, but we’re getting so many requests for the Chrome extension that we’re going to make this available sooner than we originally planned.
Manage Comments From Your Windows or Linux Desktop
WP Comments Notifier is a open source application written in QT/C++ for Linux and Windows, which will allow you to manage new comments and reply to them from your desktop. In addition to that, it will also allow you to edit, spam or delete the comments.

…will also display comments summary when you hover over the system tray icon and alert you whenever a new comment is posted to your blog. The app also works for WPMU blogs.

Congratulations, Sinjoyla Townsend and Angelisa Young!
What a relief: Catholics for Marriage Equality launches national website
If you thought they’d stop at harassing women having abortions, you were naive
[On one Texas town's Christian Taliban. –L.]
Yep, their plan is for you to work until you keel over
…Republicans have decided to make “starve the unemployed” a talking point. […]

I realize Democrats are smart enough to use this to their political advantage in fund-raising and getting votes, but there’s so much more that you can do with this. After all, here’s your major argument for why they’re against universal health care.

Conservatives wanting it both ways, always
…what’s really interesting to me is that social conservatives want to have it both ways—they argue both that gender is innate and unchangeable, and that it’s learned. When feminists criticize domestic sexism, conservatives are all about how gender roles are natural and fixed—and in complete opposition to each other. That men are naturally boorish pigs and women are naturally nurturing, so women who resent being told to nurture people who can’t even be expected to show gratitude are bucking nature and need to learn to live with our debased roles. But then they turn around and say things like Stanton did, which is basically to admit that femininity (they also believe this about masculinity) is a learned behavior, and not only that, but it’s a long, hard process learning your gender. You’ll hear from conservatives that boys are naturally drawn to trains and girls to dolls, and then they’ll flip around and tell each other that it’s extremely important to steer your children towards the “right” gender roles.

Their homophobia is clashing with their sexism… Focus on the Family has long taught its followers that homosexuality can be warded off with strict teaching of gender roles. In other words, they’ve been forced to make explicit what they’ve always pretended wasn’t true, which is that gender roles are learned and performed.

International Women’s Day: Subverting the Narrative
I think it’s fairly clear that I admire Helen Keller, and resent the way what she did with her life has been reduced to parody, the subject of infantile jokes about people who are Deaf-Blind, and forgotten about. When people bother to tell bits of her story, about her learning words at a well after weeks of patient tutoring from Anne Sullivan, it becomes a form of Inspiration that’s based entirely on pity. Oh, how tragic her life could have been, shrouded in darkness and silence. And then she learned to speak! And all was well!

I’m going to interrupt this post to point you towards a previous one I wrote about Keller: Feminist Icons […]

I think Helen Keller changed the world, or at least did an awful lot of work towards changing it. But, even with focusing on her achievements, on her work, it’s important to put her in context.

Helen Keller was a white middle-class woman from the US. She was young and pretty and very talented. Before she became famous as The Deaf-Blind Girl (because, of course, there can only be one Deaf-Blind Girl, and she is always white), Laura Bridgman was The Deaf-Blind Girl. And Bridgman was not as pretty, not as nice, and not as accomplished as Keller.

I mention Laura Bridgman because, if the whole purpose of the Helen Keller Narrative was Nice Deaf-Blind Girl Does Good (and thus you, gentle reader, should put your life in proper perspective!), then Bridgman fits almost the same bill. She learned to read and write, wrote letters to her fans, was on public display with ribbons to hide her eyes, and was just as famous as Keller. So why is our dominant narrative Keller and not Bridgman?

The Ms. Blog
Has started today. It is a group blog on feminism.
Happy International Women's Day!
Let's start with a piece in USAToday a few days ago about the number of countries which still have laws explicitly discriminating against women…
More Observations On The Failure of the Left posted by Anthony McCarthy
In her very useful essay, The Tyranny of Petty Coercion*, Marilynne Robinson gives some more ways in which liberals are silenced and, especially self-censored, into ineffectiveness. Here is an excerpt…

Not wanting to risk violating copyright I won’t go on to give Robinson’s brilliant observation that Democrats were, and I’d say continue to be cowed, on the basis of their not being in style. It could be a good part of the clear failure of courage we are witnessing in Barack Obama and the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party today.

As I said here last week, there are many other reasons that the left lingers in an ineffective state of impotence, despite the evidence and reason in support of our policies, but the ones given by Robinson in her great essays are among the most important.

Quick hit: a feminist fanvid sampler
Each fanvid is usually around 3 minutes long, and sets footage from film, tv, or other visual media to music to tell a story or evoke some kind of response. While many are streamable, some vids will need to be downloaded to watch; if your computer doesn’t have good video player, try VLC, which will play just about anything.

Women have been making fanvids for at least 35 years, since long before Youtube. For more information on the mostly-female vidding culture, check out Vidding, a documentary available on MIT’s Tech TV channel, or read just about anything from Francesca Coppa’s bibliography.

Common Questions About Design Professionalism
Delusional Collusion – Roy Ashburn’s closet was protected by newspapers, local gays
Singing in Sign