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Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Links - 2nd December 2014

"There's a hell of a distance between wise-cracking and wit. Wit has truth in it; wise-cracking is simply calisthenics with words." - Dorothy Parker


Girl’s Day: A group of playful tomboys
If these are tomboys, Korean girly girls must be way over the top

Judith Grossman: A Mother, a Feminist, Aghast - WSJ - "I am a feminist. I have marched at the barricades, subscribed to Ms. magazine, and knocked on many a door in support of progressive candidates committed to women's rights. Until a month ago, I would have expressed unqualified support for Title IX and for the Violence Against Women Act. But that was before my son, a senior at a small liberal-arts college in New England, was charged—by an ex-girlfriend—with alleged acts of "nonconsensual sex" that supposedly occurred during the course of their relationship a few years earlier. What followed was a nightmare—a fall through Alice's looking-glass into a world that I could not possibly have believed existed, least of all behind the ivy-covered walls thought to protect an ostensible dedication to enlightenment and intellectual betterment... I fear that in the current climate the goal of "women's rights," with the compliance of politically motivated government policy and the tacit complicity of college administrators, runs the risk of grounding our most cherished institutions in a veritable snake pit of injustice—not unlike the very injustices the movement itself has for so long sought to correct. Unbridled feminist orthodoxy is no more the answer than are attitudes and policies that victimize the victim."

Rules of attraction: Why white men marry Asian women and Asian men don't wed white women | Vesko Cholakov - "I studied abroad at the National University of Singapore for a semester my sophomore year. I couldn’t help but notice a peculiar trend: My white male friends talked with fascination about hitting on Asian girls. The yellow fever hardly rang true for my female friends though... The phenomenon is not even confined to the U.S. In 2013, cognitive psychologist Michael Lewis at the University of Cardiff in Wales in the U.K. asked 20 females and 20 males to rate 600 Facebook pictures of British, sub-Saharan Africans, and East Asians. The participants consistently voted black men and Asian women as the most attractive representatives of each gender; Asian men and black women were seen as the least desirable partners"
Sadly the actual article isn't very good

The internet hates men, and no one's a winner - "Depictions of decent men have now become strikingly absent online. The overall suggestion is that men are guilty until proven innocent; this only reinforces gender stereotyping. Indeed, we have reached a stage where feminist sites like Jezebel run stories like “How to kick men in the balls: an illustrated guide”, confirming the impression that the internet hates men... The more the anti-men trend gains traction, the more women will be deprived of decent male allies in the battle against abuse"
'Stereotyping' is only bad when it's about 'minorities'

Is just a weapon of censorship? - "Ever get that feeling it's “another day, another foam-flecked petition – what do they want us to ban now?” Most days, at present, it seems the liberal Twitterati can’t get by without clamoring for something – or somebody – they don’t like to be metaphorically sent to the gallows... another “misogynist”, bad-taste comedian Dapper Laughs claimed to have had his career “completely ruined” by 68,210 protesters. Despite the fact that his critics were dwarfed by his 1.7 million Facebook fans, their online sabre-rattling was enough to give lefty TV commissioners the collywobbles, and they pulled the plug on his On The Pull ITV2 show and, according to him, “wrecked his life”... the moment the largely liberal, privileged world gets angry about something, they go running to to call for whatever it is they dislike to be banned... when a small, vocal minority of protestors tells the rest of us what we can or can’t laugh at, look at, or pay to listen to, it feels like a sinister, tail-wagging-the-dog liberalism. One that runs contrary to the very cornerstones of freedom of speech – the very virtue claims to represent. Last month, Exhibit B, an art installation that tackled the thorny topic of black slavery, was pulled from the Barbican after a mere 22,998 signatures were gathered, an act that was decried by some as “deplorable censorship”. Not only does it now feel like too much power is being brandished by too few, but if Julien Blanc’s protest is upheld and he is banned from entering the UK, it could also be over-riding the law... Really, is Blanc really the biggest fish the Home Office should be frying when they don’t seem to know where 175,000 illegal immigrants are? Besides, there is little legal precedent for banning people because of what they think, not what they’ve done (Blanc has no criminal record)... These days, liberals seem to spend an inordinate amount of their time waiting to be offended, scanning the static of Twitter, high-street windows and tabloid newspapers looking for nuggets of annoyance. As a consequence, feels like it is riddled with hundreds of decidedly First World protests"

It's time we all stopped pretending to be passionate about our jobs - "Business buzzwords tend to creep up on us. So it’s only when you sit back and think that you realise how odd it is for people to use a word that was long the preserve of torrid love affairs to describe their jobs... In the late 90s, though, we decided that perhaps work could answer these more spiritual needs. And this is where it all started to go weird. The trouble is the whole passion package promises more than most employers can deliver. “From a psychological perspective, to expect work to fulfil all our needs from learning to hedonism is ridiculous,” says Prof Chamorro-Premuzic.“We just don’t have that many jobs which are that great”... the desire to prove you love your work can disrupt all sorts of other parts of your life and lead to burnout. “You can’t sustain your highest level of commitment and effort all the time”... you’re reminded that passion’s Latin root is passionem, which means suffering and enduring"

62p AN HOUR: That's what the women sleeping 16 to a room get make Ed and Harriet's £45 'This Is What A Feminist Looks Like' T-shirts - "At one factory visited by The Mail on Sunday, a female worker told us: ‘How can this T-shirt be a symbol of feminism when we do not see ourselves as feminists? We see ourselves as trapped.’ An official from factory owner Compagnie Mauricienne de Textile (CMT) told us he ‘would not be happy’ if the women left the work camp during the week in case they turned up for work ‘hungover’... ‘It would take a woman working in the factory nearly two weeks just to buy one shirt. What is feminist about that? These women have nothing in this world. They are paid a pittance and any money they do receive they send back home. ‘They work very long hours and have no lives other than their work. They are on four-year contracts that mean they don’t get to see their families in that time. What kind of existence is it when you are sharing your bedroom with 15 other women?"

Is Breakfast Really Your Most Important Meal? - "The reports that challenge the importance of breakfast say most studies linking it to a smaller waistline and improved health have been observational. Observational studies can’t prove cause and effect, though... a study published in June challenged these beliefs. The study was a randomized controlled trial, considered the gold standard of medical research. In this type of study, volunteers don’t get to decide whether they eat breakfast, but are instead randomly assigned to either eat it or not. The study showed that when people skip breakfast, “overall, there’s still a similar intake or a lesser intake (of calories) over the whole day,” says researcher Krista Casazza, PhD, RD. Another small randomized trial published by Cornell University researchers in Physiology & Behavior in 2013 found that college students ate about 145 calories more at lunch when they ate nothing in the morning than they did on a day when they ate breakfast. Considering that their breakfasts averaged about 625 calories, skipping it still resulted in a savings of about 450 calories by day’s end, according to the study."

Seals Caught Having Sex With Penguins - "It seems that the Antarctic may be a hotspot for documenting disturbing animal sex acts. Many years ago, British explorer George Murray Levick caught Adélie penguins engaging in all sorts of debauchery, such as necrophilia, sexual coercion and sexual abuse of chicks. Now, scientists have observed fur seals trying to have sex with penguins... Traumatically for the penguins, some of the seals were thought to have successfully penetrated the victims’ cloacas during the act as blood was observed around the area afterwards. Although seals often catch and consume penguins, in all but one of the acts the seal let the penguin go afterward. After the most recently documented incident, however, the seal killed and ate the penguin."

There are bigger issues at stake than racist taunts - "It is unfair to call Australia a racist country, simply because some racism exists. That would be akin to calling us a rich country because we have some millionaires... Activists and apologists are quick to shout accusations of racism and stereotyping when media stories highlight negative aspects of some Aboriginal communities: high crime rates, child abuse. But they fall into the same trap by calling Australia a racist country just because instances of assumed racism are reported in the media. Interestingly, though common enough in some places, the media rarely reports verbal abuse of non-Aboriginal people by Aboriginal people. Refusing to give an Aboriginal person money or a cigarette can evoke "f . . king white c ... " Racism can run both ways... When faced with racist remarks, one can simply laugh. This is easy to do once people learn to value their opinion of themselves more than they value other people's opinions of them. But learning new responses is made difficult when there are rewards for being the victim of perceived racism, such as being called a hero, or the power to silence or sue others. A response to a racist taunt that communicates "your racist remarks have no effect on me and are more of a reflection on you than they are on me" is easy once the motivation of the racist is better understood. A person who engages in intentional racist acts does so because of a low sense of self-worth. Someone who genuinely feels good about themselves sees others as their equal, and has no need to engage in racist activities. People who are insecure with themselves engage in racist acts as a way of protecting their own weak nature. So why waste your time being offended by the words of an insecure person? It is far better to empower people by teaching them that they have choices in how they respond to racist taunts, than to "protect" them by focusing on prescribing and monitoring what others can and cannot say... To focus on issues like these detracts from more serious issues of physical abuse and neglect, poverty and unemployment, which plague some Aboriginal communities. Proof of such distraction was evident when Aboriginal politician Bess Price gave a speech recently to the Northern Territory parliament on the death toll from violence in Aboriginal communities, starting with her own kin. Her powerful speech barely registered in the media. Let's focus on what matters most."
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