Thursday, January 14, 2010

Odds and Sods - First for 2010 edition!

It's been awhile since I served up the links... and you all have my deepest and sincerest apologies for not sharing.

I've been somewhat overwhelmed lately, and have mostly taken refuge in goofiness like old movies and playing FarmVille, she admitted, embarrassed. Mr Daisy has offered the unsolicited opinion that FarmVille should feature floods and tornadoes and periodically wipe out our crops, just like in real life. He doesn't seem to understand that real life is what we are ESCAPING FROM. Yeesh!

Anyway, fasten your seat belts, sports fans, and get ready for some fun reads!

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Big shocker: Sarah Palin has a gig on Fox News now! As SouthernFemaleLawyer humorously puts it, What a Non-Surprise:


While I obviously am not a Palin fan, I don’t think that anyone can deny that the idea of Palin has become almost metaphysical. And not just to her supporters. “Palin” now represents, in a strange way, the ultimate expression of democracy. The sticking point there being, of course, that we are not a democracy. But the idea that anyone (yes, even YOU) could control the shots, combined with the idea that anyone (yes, even YOU) can override the current party system and define the country, pretty much has resulted in Palin-the-Idea.

However you look at it, it is a pretty empowering concept, which is why I don’t think that there is anything Palin (the person) could do to damage Palin (the idea). And that applies to both a pro-Palin sentiment AND an anti-Palin sentiment. Because what the meta-Palin represents to me is the fact that the conservative use of a social pyramid scheme (‘we the powerful will convince the powerless masses to support us against their better interests by pretending that they could one day be us’) has gone terribly awry. And, given, history, it was only a matter of time.
SouthernFemaleLawyer is one of my new favorite pit-stops in Blogdonia; centered, logical and insightful, don't miss her blog! And her observations about Palin are right on the money.

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Jessamyn Smyth always rocks my Facebook feed with some great stuff. This week, her contributions have been particularly noteworthy:

The Loss of Legibility, Or, Why Do People Still Pile Into Grad School?

Why do people still go to grad school in the liberal arts?

My generation had an excuse; we were told that a great wave of retirements was imminent, after which jobs would spring from the ground like mushrooms. In other words, we were lied to.

But the adjunct trend is so well-established at this point, and the economic irrationality of grad school so screamingly obvious, that it's fair to wonder why many departments are actually experiencing record applications.
Love and Death in Indiana is about the murder of Don Belton, gay assistant professor at Indiana University:

It is easy to speculate about what may have happened. In fact we do not know. But the circumstances track with a familiar pattern -- one common enough to have a name: “the ‘gay panic’ defense.” This rests on the idea that the wave of disgust created in a heterosexual person at exposure to gay sexuality can create a state of temporary psychosis. The panic-stricken victim loses responsibility for his (for some reason, it always turns out to be “his”) actions.

This is an idea that should be retired to the Museum of Deranged Rationalization as soon as possible. But it seems far-fetched to imagine that Griffin and his counsel will get through trial without invoking it. (Despite his confession, Griffin has pleaded not guilty to murder.)

On the other hand, the “panic” defense touches on an issue that was of vital interest to Belton himself. He wrote the introduction to a book edited by the late Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick. Her work on queer theory includes a sustained inquiry into the complicated and damaging way certain institutions have forged intense bonds among men while also obliging them to police one another for the slightest trace of homosexuality. This contradictory demand makes for paranoia and volatility.
An excellent, if very sombering, read.

DEAD AIR sends our deepest and most heartfelt sympathies to Don Belton's family, and novenas are currently ascending to heaven for his immortal soul.

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Pat Robertson has once again opened his big, dumb mouth... this time about the tragedy in Haiti--undoubtedly you have heard this one already.

Robertson's "true story": Haiti "swore a pact to the devil" to get "free from the French" and "ever since, they have been cursed":

PAT ROBERTSON: And, you know, Kristi, something happened a long time ago in Haiti, and people might not want to talk about it. They were under the heel of the French. You know, Napoleon III and whatever. And they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said, "We will serve you if you will get us free from the French." True story. And so, the devil said, "OK, it's a deal."
See, remember back in the Middle Ages, when the Catholic Church wouldn't allow just anybody to freely pontificate (root word: pontiff) about the ways of God?

Well, that is the kinda thing they were worried would happen.

(sigh)

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And speaking of Catholicism (giggle! simply could not resist that segue!), Figleaf offers the amusing post titled "Women's Sex Drives Lowered By Guilt?" Why Would it Cost Us $105,000 to Learn If Research Really Says That?. Research? They really need RESEARCH for that?!? (They could have paid ME $105,000 and I could have told them!)

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I am #10 on the local library's list for the fabulously scandal-mongering GAME CHANGE... I am afraid I may have to break down and actually buy it before all the fuss is over! I promise, sports fans, I will review the book here if I ever get my grubby little hands on it.

Already, my feminist antennae are up, as the women in the narrative (Hillary Clinton, Elizabeth Edwards, Sarah Palin) are getting the Lady Macbeth media-treatment. Those of you who saw 60 Minutes last Sunday know that Sarah Palin remarked that her choice as VP nominee was "God's will"... which is hardly the worst thing I can think of. (Is that supposed to be some big deal? Religious believers of all stripes regularly make this statement.) Much more alarming was the fact (later disputed by Palin, of course) that she didn't know why there was a North and South Korea. OMG.

Hillary is painted as crazy as a bedbug, and apparently, Elizabeth isn't far behind. The men (you know, the guys with the power) seem to fare much better. Hm.

As I said, my feminist antennae are up and I will certainly let you know.

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AND FINALLY: Daisy (the Curly Cat) and Harley are being very, very good kitties and trying hard to find two disabled kitties a home! They must be adopted together because they help each other. Their names are Lenox and Diamond and you can read all about them HERE! They are located in South Florida, so if you can help at all in any way, please contact Your Daily Cute (see second link) or Animal Aid at LeeSparkman (at) aol (dot) com.

9 comments:

Meowser said...

I dunno, that NY Mag excerpt from Game Change about the Edwards campaign didn't exactly make Johnny boy look too good. In fact, I think he came off as the biggest asshole in the whole piece, and it's not like he didn't have competition.

Whether he'll come off as the biggest asshole in the entire book, I don't know, because I've yet to see it. But it wouldn't surprise me, frankly. And it pains me, because I was stupid enough to believe in him.

(Interesting, though, that there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of talk about the Obama sections of the book. You'd think that if they had real dirt on the President, we'd have heard it by now.)

white rabbit said...

Palin's VPnomination was the will of God???

HUH???

Erm ... why would that be???

Daisy said...

Thanks for linking the story about the sweet kitties in need of a new Forever home. I hope they will be adopted soon!

JoJo said...

Great Odds n Sods!!! My god but Sarah Palin and Pat Robertson, and Rush too, are such TOOLS!

So you got sucked into Farmville, eh? I keep getting invites but since I despise yardwork and gardening, I won't play. lol I prefer the egg games. ;p

Have an ab fab weekend Daisy! You off on Mon? I am working half day.

sheila said...

Pat Robertson is a big ol butt-munch.

Big.
Ol.

Dennis the Vizsla said...

I didn't even realize that countries had souls or that they could sign deals with the devil. I guess it's like signing a treaty. Just shows how ignorant I am ...

Sutton said...

@ White Rabbit: I have noticed that Ms. Palin never seems to have a reason for anything. She seems to feel exempt from having to explain her own opinions, behavior. Or from needing to know and understand reasons for things like why there's a N/S Korea, or where Russia is. So why not God?

figleaf said...

"Research? They really need RESEARCH for that?!? (They could have paid ME $105,000 and I could have told them!)"

It's worse than that. The research is done. And locked behind a paywall where my ~3,000 readers would have to pay a combined $105,000.00 (at $35.00 each) if they wanted to confirm newspaper headlines claiming the study is all about women and guilt.

It's not all about women and guilt, by the way, but at $35 per view even skeptics are very, very unlikely to find out. In fact, since I don't have institutional access I'm not going pay $35.00 to find out.

The point of my post being that gated articles benefit neither society nor researchers. The point of the headline was to imply that there's no justification, zero, at all, for charging the public that kind of money to access research.

figleaf

Rachel said...

Sometimes I think people spew shit into the atmosphere wherever they see an opportunity; wherever things are bad, they will do their small part to make them that much worse. I believe that Pat Robertson is one of these people. In other words: I believe that Pat Robertson works for the Devil.

Dennis, this thing about the "nations" puzzles me, too. It seems very popular in contemporary Christianity for Christians to get all confused up about what role nationalism and xenophobia should play in Christian belief. I think there are some things that people think God cares about that god doesn't care about, and I suspect that nation borders is one of them. If God had specifically cared that they be there, they would not need people to invent them.

I think there is a huge amount of racism implicit in what Robertson said. He's essentially saying that it is not necessary for white Christians to feel anything for a country of predominantly black people, because their ancestors "made a pact with the Devil." To get away from a predominantly white country, at that. Then again, I think there's a certain amount of racism and xenophobia present in insisting that manners of worship that are foreign to Christianity are inferior to Christianity, or even "evil." That's essentially what he is doing, just because the people kept some of their pre-Christian beliefs and fused them with Catholicism.