About

A compendium of links to articles worth reading. Click the title to visit the article. Best read via RSS. Got a comment? Tell me on Twitter.

Monday
Aug202012

The Theological Roots of Akin's "Legitimate Rape" Comment

Akin has a Masters in Divinity from the PCA's seminary, and proudly claims he took a political rather than a pastoral path after seminary. His denomination has not only opposed abortion in all cases, including rape, but has suggested that the number of pregnancies by rape is overstated, and even questioned the veracity of rape claims. And Akin, who in a few months could be a United States Senator, wants his religion to dictate our laws.

One more reason why religion has no place in government.

(via Scott Madin)

Monday
Aug202012

Why Akin’s “Legitimate Rape” Comment Is Smarter Than It Seems

What Akin has rather effectively done is say something which is difficult to argue against concisely without giving way on one of these two points. One can throw around statistics about just how many pregnancies are the result of rape, or one can argue that there’s no such thing as a “non-legitimate” rape, but it’s very difficult to do both at once.

This is how Republicans change the frame of discussion.

(via Kate S)

Sunday
Aug192012

Catch The Wave

Jen McCreight:

It’s time for a new wave of atheism, just like there were different waves of feminism. […] A wave that isn’t just a bunch of “middle-class, white, cisgender, heterosexual, able-bodied men” patting themselves on the back for debunking homeopathy for the 983258th time or thinking up yet another great zinger to use against Young Earth Creationists. It’s time for a wave that cares about how religion affects everyone and that applies skepticism to everything, including social issues like sexism, racism, politics, poverty, and crime. We can criticize religion and irrational thinking just as unabashedly and just as publicly, but we need to stop exempting ourselves from that criticism.

I'm in.

Friday
Aug172012

Stop Using The Cup of Coffee vs. $0.99 App Analogy

Josh Lehman makes a good case. As a fan of great software I still wish people were more willing to try new apps, but I can't say I blame them for being hesitant.

(via David Chartier)

Friday
Aug172012

You Can’t Start the Revolution from the Country Club

It’s easy to say “we’ll fix that later”. And that makes sense for any of the bugs that fall into the first two categories of the social web’s radical agenda. You can fix the tech or the user experience after you ship.

But you can’t fix a broken culture once it’s been set on its way. You can’t take the power of privilege away from those who are gifted with it as a network is born. All you can do is try to distribute that power as broadly as possible early on, while your network is still forming, in order to allow for the serendipity and inclusiveness that will let a piece of technology reach its highest potential.

Anil Dash articulates my concerns (and links to two other great pieces) about app.net and the tendency for geeky projects to be exclusionary rather than inclusive.

Tuesday
Aug142012

On Political Correctness

Disdain for "political correctness" is often positioned as a concern that some important truth is not being spoken for fear of offending someone. But that concern is nothing but smoke and mirrors. To invoke "political correctness" is really to be concerned about loss of power and privilege. It is about disappointment that some "ism" that was ingrained in our society, so much that citizens of privilege could express the bias through word and deed without fear of reprisal, has been shaken loose. Charging "political correctness" generally means this: "I am comfortable with my privilege. I don't want to have to question it. I don't want to have to think before I speak or act. I certainly don't wish to inconvenience myself for the comfort of lesser people (whoever those people may be--women, people of color, people with disabilities, etc.)"

(via Leala Turkey)

Tuesday
Aug142012

One Of The Most Important Things I've Ever Learned

Learn to listen. This is especially difficult for members of dominant groups. If someone confronts you with your own behavior that supports privilege, step off the path of least resistance that encourages you to defend and deny. Don’t tell them they’re too sensitive or need a better sense of humor, and don’t try to explain away what you did as something else than what they’re telling you it was. Don’t say you didn’t mean it or that you were only kidding. Don’t tell them what a champion of justice you are or how hurt you feel because of what they’re telling you. Don’t make jokes or try to be cute or charming, since only privilege can lead someone to believe these are acceptable responses to something as serious as privilege and oppression. Listen to what’s being said. Take it seriously. Assume for the time being that it’s true, because given the power of paths of least resistance, it probably is. And then take responsibility to do something about it.

— Allan G. Johnson, The Gender Knot

(via Elizabeth DeLoria)

Sunday
Aug122012

The Rationality of Conservatism

What if…we looked at stated conservative ideology as a part of a more or less consistent strategy?

The rationales for each of these spheres is different and provides tons of fodder for sarcastic tweets, but if we view it in terms of strategy, they all make perfect sense. Taken together, they serve to blame the victims, assert that the powerful are powerful for moral reasons, and then claim that the role of government is to endorse and reinforce the morally-discovered power structure rather than futilely try to disrupt it. The arguments might clash on a superficial level, but their effects are perfectly coherent and rational once the goal is granted.

I am diametrically opposed to many stated conservative ideals, which is why I both fear and respect the effectiveness of their tactics.

Sunday
Aug122012

Why I Believe Bristol Palin

Supremacy turns to hate when the feeling of innate superiority is openly challenged.

That outraged feeling you have of being oppressed or silenced just because pop culture doesn’t like you, and Rahm Emmanuel threatened to keep Chick-Fil-A out of Chicago? That’s the feeling a supremacist gets when her cultural superiority is being eroded.

Supremacy is why you and Bristol Palin have more outrage at your own inconvenience than at the legitimate oppression of others.

Supremacy is what causes you to believe that whatever status or privilege you enjoy is the will of God, so that the very act of fighting you politically is an ungodly act.

Supremacy is what allows you to think it only natural that your mere belief should be favored over my clear argument, or that your firmly-held opinion should be favored over my impassioned plea.

Like many habits, supremacy can be unconscious. Sometimes you don’t know you’re doing it until someone points it out.

And, when someone finally does point it out, it can be very tempting to hurl them out a window.

But don’t do that. You’d be hurling the wrong thing.

Fantastic follow-up by the author of this post. (via Glenn Fleishman)

Saturday
Aug112012

Reality

A lesson I’ve learned, time and time again, is that reality is generally more complicated than you think. Reality is fractal. Zoom out or in, and there’s always some new level of detail, some new perspective, some new complication, that you haven’t accounted for. It’s part of why a scientific understanding of the universe is so full of wonder. Anti-science types will criticize science for its “reductionist” stance, “reducing” everything to mere aggregations of particles. But that’s not it at all, because those aggregations of particles are anything but “mere.” At every level of magnification there is something new and amazing to be fascinated by, something grand and beautiful to admire. Whether examining the patterns of cells in a tissue sample or the patterns of whorls in a fingerprint or the pattern of mineral deposits on a continent or the pattern of stars in a galaxy, there is fascination to be had and wonder to be felt and beauty to be seen.