Monday, July 18, 2011

Things to Read!

Another example of men-as-default, women-as-other.  This time, with deodorant!

Hermione Granger: social justice activist!

Republicans want to "reform" certain labor laws.  Like, you know, the ones that protect workers from making peanuts and working devastatingly long hours.  As a bonus, here's Dennis Kucinich calling out the lying douchebag Republicans, and showing their unwillingness to be decent, honest human beings

Feminists, especially of the atheist variety, are really pissed at Richard Dawkins right now.  I am not really part of that "new atheist" camp, mostly because I think Richard Dawkins' (as well as Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens') strategy of mocking individual people for having spiritual beliefs of any kind is really rather arrogant and pointless, so while I don't really have anything invested in this story, I'm not terribly sad that he's being called out.  Dawkins' particular brand of arrogance is highly infuriating.  I bought his book, The God Delusion, a couple years ago.  I got about a chapter in and haven't touched it since.  Summary: "you're all so pitifully stupid.  Let me explain how stupid you are.  Are you really this stupid?  LOL, you are so infuriatingly stupid all the time!  You're all stupid.  Please stop being so STUPID!"

An older piece on the Coffee Party by Thomas Dufour, who I met at at Netroots last month.  I used to think the Coffee Party was just a mostly superficial, tongue-in-cheek response to the Tea Party, but it's really not.  With its focus on civility and an attempt to dissuade folks from being overly partisan, it can prove to be a good alternative to those of us who are tired of the rhetoric of the two-party system:
For clarification, the Coffee Party is not the antithesis of the Tea Party as many presume it to be; it is in fact an alternative. The Coffee Party exists to change the tone of our national dialogue from hostility to civility.  If you could, imagine for a moment a political party which isn’t based on a common liberal or conservative agenda but a party based on an agenda that is constructed when liberals and conservatives can come together and discuss their hopes, worries, fears and find common solutions to common problems based on reason, facts and common principles.
First of all, the modern G.O.P. fundamentally does not accept the legitimacy of a Democratic presidency — any Democratic presidency. We saw that under Bill Clinton, and we saw it again as soon as Mr. Obama took office.
As a result, Republicans are automatically against anything the president wants, even if they have supported similar proposals in the past. Mitt Romney’s health care plan became a tyrannical assault on American freedom when put in place by that man in the White House. And the same logic applies to the proposed debt deals.
Put it this way: If a Republican president had managed to extract the kind of concessions on Medicare and Social Security that Mr. Obama is offering, it would have been considered a conservative triumph. But when those concessions come attached to minor increases in revenue, and more important, when they come from a Democratic president, the proposals become unacceptable plans to tax the life out of the U.S. economy.
Ann Coulter calls Bill Maher a misogynist on his show and is given a rare cheer from progressives and feminists, although her reason for Maher being a misogynist didn't really make sense.  She says he's a misogynist because he calls Michele Bachmann "crazy."  I know a lot of people who will call Michele Bachmann crazy... it's mostly because she acts like she's probably not rooted in reality.  Like Glenn Beck and Mel Gibson, some other people who are often referred to as "crazy" in the media.  Having something happen to a woman doesn't make it sexist, it makes it a regular ol' insult.  This is an example of that very specific sort of faux-feminism that they play to on the right.  Amanda Marcotte explains the difference here really well:
...[M]ost social justice movements are actually pretty hazy when it comes to defining their core values.  This causes less tension than you'd think on a day-to-day basis, but often leaves a movement with an Achilles' heel.  For instance, "feminism" is defined by some feminists as "promoting the interests of women" and by some (like myself) as "breaking down the gender binary and all its implications".  The latter also tends to link feminism more strongly with other social justice movements.  The vast majority of the time, the tension between these definitions doesn't matter---we're all anti-rape, all pro-equal pay, etc.---but then someone like Sarah Palin comes along and suddenly people firmly in camp #1 reveal that they're willing to overlook a lot in order to get another female face into office.
A good article from the National Catholic Reporter in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage:
If you count the sayings of Jesus in the New Testament, a phrase he uses with some regularity is “Be not afraid.” He says it to the apostles in all four Gospels, and he even tells it to Paul twice in Acts, once in a personal vision, and once in the voice of an angel.
Yet, today, his church finds itself afraid: afraid of movements by state legislatures to define civil law marriage in such a way as to allow same-sex partners to marry civilly. Why are we afraid?
Civil legislatures cannot define for the church what sacramental marriage is, what matrimony is. The First Amendment protects us from that. No legislature can tell the church who to marry or who not to marry.
So if the state wants to say that a man can civilly marry a man, or that a woman can civilly marry a woman, why should the church care?
We need to give it up. This is not defeatism. This is simply following Jesus in the Gospels, who besides telling us not to act on our fears, also told us to render to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s. Civil marriage is Caesar’s. If Caesar wants to say that you can only get married on Tuesdays, wearing a blue suit and a red tie, that is Caesar’s call. The sacrament of matrimony is God’s. It is valid only when invoked between a baptized man and a baptized woman, in the presence of two witnesses and the spouses’ proper ordinary or pastor or his delegate. Caesar has no say in this. 
Half of US social program recipients believe they "have not used a government social program."  Or, said otherwise, "the frequent displays of incredible ignorance by Americans is astoundingly shameful."

Ross Douthat argues against Dan Savage's discussion about non-monogamy.  As usual, he makes claims that show clearly that he has no interest in anything he disagrees with beyond the immediately superficial.  Earlier, he informs gays and lesbians that they are now responsible for the future of marriage, same- and opposite-sex alike.

Renee's weekly Drop It Like It's Hot, filled with even more suggestions for interesting things to read.

What are you reading?!