Saturday, June 11, 2011


Another collection of things that caught my eye.

Random Picture:

I wish I knew where this was from.

Sexualised Girls and Macho Heroes – Gender Depictions in Children’s TV:
This was the largest media study ever conducted about children’s television, tracking some 26,500 main characters in children’s fictional TV from 24 countries. It revealed that of all the main characters on children’s TV, 68 percent are male and only 32 percent are female. In the children’s and family films produced for cinema, the ratio is even worse: here, only 28 percent of all speaking characters are female. But it is not just the quantity which is open to criticism: stereotyped, clichéd depictions of many female characters are still being perpetuated worldwide: the female friend and helper, the consumption-fixated glamour puss, or the beautiful princess awaiting rescue. Thankfully, there are some positive examples of strong and complex female characters as well, such as Bibi Blocksberg, Lilly the Witch, Pippi Longstocking or Kim Possible. However, as these make up just 10 percent of all fictional programming for children, they unfortunately remain the exception. And yet as Leonie’s comment shows, they could play an extremely important role.
Follow the link for more interesting results and adorable pictures drawn by boys and girls showing what they don't like about boy/girl characters.

Color-blind Racial Ideology Linked to Racism, Both Online And Offline:
In a study that examined the associations between responses to racial theme party images on social networking sites and a color-blind racial ideology, Brendesha Tynes, a professor of educational psychology and of African American studies at Illinois, discovered that white students and those who rated highly in color-blind racial attitudes were more likely not to be offended by images from racially themed parties at which attendees dressed and acted as caricatures of racial stereotypes (for example, photos of students dressed in blackface make-up attending a "gangsta party" to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day). [...]

"If you subscribe to a color-blind racial ideology, you don't think that race or racism exists, or that it should exist," Tynes said. "You are more likely to think that people who talk about race and racism are the ones who perpetuate it. You think that racial problems are just isolated incidents and that people need to get over it and move on. You're also not very likely to support affirmative action, and probably have a lower multi-cultural competence."
Interesting but not surprising. I bet these "color-blind" people also believe racism against whites is just as bad as racism against people of color. Sigh.

How Christian Were the Founders? by Russell Shorto:
Or, as Brookhiser rather succinctly summarizes the point: “The founders were not as Christian as those people would like them to be, though they weren’t as secularist as Christopher Hitchens would like them to be.”

...The curious thing is that in trying to bring God into the Constitution, the activists — who say their goal is to follow the original intent of the founders — are ignoring the fact that the founders explicitly avoided religious language in that document.
Another long post that goes into the Texas school board and the fight between Christians and secularists. It's a year old but I really liked it.

California Prisons: Really, Really Inhumane, Says the Supreme Court from Tiger Beat Down:
Big news for California last week, with a decision in Brown v. Plata, an important case for prisoner rights. This case is primarily being reported in the media as a mandate for prisoner release, which to some extent, it is; it affirms a decision to mandate a reduction in California’s prisoner population to address prison overcrowding. To illustrate how severe the overcrowding is, the state must reduce the prisoner population to a mere 137.5% of capacity in the next two years. The media wants you to know that this case means that California is about to be flooded with a horde of violent criminals, and that’s the main takeaway it wants you to have. Nothing else to see here, move along!

...One of the most disturbing things to think about with the upcoming prisoner release isn’t the flood of citizens clutching at their pearls as California’s prison population is reduced, but the fact that people who could not access health care in prison also will not be able to access health care outside of it. California’s budget for social services has been repeatedly slashed, making it extremely difficult to enroll in assistance programs that might cover the costs of health care or managing a disability. Prisoners are less able to find work upon release, which means they are unlikely to be entering the workforce and snapping up jobs with benefits; not with an unemployment rate hovering above 10% they’re not. At least some of the prisoners that may be released under this decision will be released to certain death on the streets.
The fact most people simple don't care about prison conditions is not surprising. we had to talk about the death penalty in my Personal Ethics class and it was ugly. People are too obsessed with revenge and fearful of faceless "criminals" to remember these people are human beings. Maybe it's because both my parents, friends, and other family members have been to prison (in California actually) for me to pretend this issue doesn't matter.

One ‘Man Down’; Rape Culture Still Standing by NewBlackMan:
Rihanna’s music has never been great art (nor should it have to be), but that doesn’t mean that the visual presentation of her music can’t be provocative and meaningful in ways that we nominally assign to art. Additionally, responses to “Man Down” also adhere to the long established practice of rendering all forms of Black expressions as a form of Realism, aided and abetted by a celebrity culture that consistently blurs the lines between the real and the staged.

Ultimately discussions of “Man Down” should pivot on whether the gun shooting that opens the video was a measured and appropriate response to an act of rape. Perhaps in some simplistic context, such violence might seem unnecessary, yet in a culture that consistently diminishes the violence associated with rape, often employing user friendly euphemisms like sexual violence—as was the case in the initial New York Times coverage of a recent Texas gang rape case—rather than call a rape a rape. As an artistic statement, intended to disturb the public square, Rihanna’s deployment of the gun is an appropriate response to the relative silence associated with acts of rape, let alone the residual violence that women accusers are subject to in the denial and dismissal of their victimization with terms like “she deserved it,” or “she was asking for it” because of her style of dress.
I posted my thoughts on the Rihanna video yesterday, but I really liked this post

The Tea Party Jacobins by Mark Lilla:
If either Beck or Blumenthal is right about the new populism, then it’s not worth taking seriously. My own view is that we need to take it even more seriously than they do; we need to see it as a manifestation of deeper social and even psychological changes that the country has undergone in the past half-century. Quite apart from the movement’s effect on the balance of party power, which should be short-lived, it has given us a new political type: the antipolitical Jacobin. The new Jacobins have two classic American traits that have grown much more pronounced in recent decades: blanket distrust of institutions and an astonishing—and unwarranted—confidence in the self. They are apocalyptic pessimists about public life and childlike optimists swaddled in self-esteem when it comes to their own powers.

...But what happens after the class president is sworn in and the homecoming queen is crowned? The committees dissolve and normal private life resumes. And that, I suspect, is what will happen to the Tea Party organizations: after tasting a few symbolic victories they will likely dissolve. This is not only because, being ideologically allergic to hierarchy of any kind, they still have no identifiable leadership. It is because they have no constructive political agenda, though the right wing of the Republican Party would dearly love to attach its own to them. But the movement only exists to express defiance against a phantom threat behind a real economic and political crisis, and to remind those in power that they are there for one thing only: to protect our divine right to do whatever we damn well please. This message will be delivered, and then the messengers will go home. Every man a Cincinnatus.
This post is long but wonderfully refreshing. Lilla talks about the principle of private autonomy from the Sixties vs the principle of economic autonomy from the Eighties. He also claims home schoolers are "the only successful libertarian party in the United States." Very interesting.


Immigrants For Sale:

The prison industrial complex is one of the most disgusting entities in this country.

Not A Virgin:

Is Monogamy a Myth:

God this conversation is so stupid. Who cares what 'human nature' is? This is no better then people who claim rape is human nature. It simply doesn't matter. Do what works for you. I wouldn't cheat, even if I knew I wouldn't get caught, because it would still hurt me to hurt my partner. It just irritates me to no end because the people who think this way are so sanctimonious about how their way is the best way. Guess what? It isn't. [/rant]

Random Quote:
“And let’s put one lie to rest for all time: the lie that men are oppressed, too, by sexism—the lie that there can be such a thing as ‘men’s liberation groups.’ Oppression is something that one group of people commits against another group specifically because of a ‘threatening’ characteristic shared by the latter group—skin color or sex or age, etc. The oppressors are indeed FUCKED UP by being masters (racism hurts whites, sexual stereotypes are harmful to men) but those masters are not OPPRESSED. Any master has the alternative of divesting himself of sexism or racism—the oppressed have no alternative—for they have no power—but to fight. In the long run, Women’s Liberation will of course free men—but in the short run it’s going to COST men a lot of privilege, which no one gives up willingly or easily. Sexism is NOT the fault of women—kill your fathers, not your mothers.”

—Robin Morgan -radical feminist, writer and activist. “Goodbye to All That”, 1970 in Going Too Far: The Personal Chronicle of a Feminist, p 126.


  1. Racism is alive and well (or sick, actually). Really, prejudice, in general, is a very hard foe to fight. These ideas are entrenched into us at very young ages, kind of a cultural indoctrination, if you will. The problems of racism and sexism will not go away if we ignore them. I know, I tried that tactic with Sarah Palin ;-).

    The prison problem in this country is scary ! Why is it that a "free country" has such a large prison system?

    I don't know about monogamy being human nature or not. I think it's true for very few species of animal. But, beyond that question, I like to follow the Golden Rule (which is NOT a christian invention) of treating others as you would like them to treat you. It just makes sense. If I can try to imagine what I would feel like if my S.O. was fooling around, I can have an idea of how it will make her feel if I did it. And, who really wants to hurt someone they love?

    I so like Not A Virgin! I'm stealing it .

  2. I agree with you on the monogamy thing. Monogamy doesn't work for a lot of people and that perfectly fine. No one should feel ostracized because they would rather have multiple partners or whatever. At the same time, monogamy does work for a lot of people and that choice should be respected as well. Saying something is or isn't 'human nature' shouldn't be an excuse for someone to act like an asshole though and a lot of times that's what this conversation feels like.

    I think the whole 'color-blind' attitude is a really big problem when it comes to trying to fight racism or be anti-racist. I thought the article said it perfectly when she said people often blame those complaining about racism as the people who perpetuate it.


What's on your mind?