"Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Sultan of Johor are seen in a blue Proton Saga... "When asked whether there is any tension with the sultan, Dr Mahathir said: “No, I don’t see anything because I went to see him and he drove me to the airport. I don’t want to comment on the sultans because if I say anything that is not good then it’s not nice because he is the sultan”"

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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Links - 16th June 2015

We've gone too far with 'trigger warnings' - "That should concern those of us who love literature, but it should particularly trouble the feminist and anti-racist bookworms among us. Trigger warnings are largely perceived as protecting young women and, to a lesser extent, other marginalized groups – people of color, LGBT people, people with mental illnesses. That the warnings hinge on topics that are more likely to affect the lives of marginalized groups contributes to the general perception of members of those groups as weak, vulnerable and "other". The kinds of suffering typically imaged and experienced in the white western male realm – war, intra-male violence – are standard. Traumas that impact women, people of color, LGBT people, the mentally ill and other groups whose collective lives far outnumber those most often canonized in the American or European classroom are set apart as different, as particularly traumatizing. Trigger warnings imply that our experiences are so unusual the pages detailing our lives can only be turned while wearing kid gloves. There's a hierarchy of trauma there, as well as a dangerous assumption of inherent difference. There's a reinforcement of the toxic messages young women have gotten our entire lives: that we're inherently vulnerable. And there's something lost when students are warned before they read Achebe or Diaz or Woolf, and when they read those writers first through the lens of trauma and fear."

National Estimates of Exposure to Traumatic Events and PTSD Prevalence Using DSM-IV and DSM-5 Criteria - "Traumatic event exposure using DSM-5 criteria was high (89.7%), and exposure to multiple traumatic event types was the norm... Lifetime, past-12-month, and past 6-month PTSD prevalence using the Same Event definition for DSM-5 was 8.3%, 4.7%, and 3.8% respectively"
Summary of the 2 articles (with respect to 'trigger warnings' and 'trauma'): PTSD is the exception in people exposed to trauma. It is also heritable
If everyone is exposed to "traumatic events", perhaps they shouldn't be considered so traumatic after all

Genetic and Environmental Influences on Trauma Exposure and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms: A Twin Study - "Genetic factors can influence the risk of exposure to some forms of trauma, perhaps through individual differences in personality that influence environmental choices. Consistent with symptoms in combat veterans, PTSD symptoms after noncombat trauma are also moderately heritable. Moreover, many of the same genes that influence exposure to assaultive trauma appear to influence susceptibility to PTSD symptoms in their wake."

Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - ""Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo" is a grammatical sentence in American English, used as an example of how homonyms and homophones can be used to create complicated linguistic constructs"

Free Speech on Campus: The 10 Worst Offenders of 2014
Broadly speaking, 5 of them seem to be censoring on liberal grounds, 2 on conservative ones, 1 on possibly conservative ones and 2 on neutral ones

Marx on the freedom of the press - "So, which is the real Karl Marx; the Stalinist censor or the liberal defender of the likes of Murdoch? Unsurprisingly, it's neither"

Disgraced, Failed Female Navy Pilot Pursues Vendetta Against Organization that "Outed" Her - "The Center for Military Readiness is celebrating victory in litigation that President Elaine Donnelly described as "harassment by feminist advocates who misused the Court to threaten my rights of free speech. This victory upholds the right of CMR to question official policies that elevate risks, and to advocate high, uncompromised standards in naval aviation training.""

Asylum seekers and refugees: what are the facts? - "Most asylum seekers and refugees actually remain in their region of origin in the hope that they will be able to return to their home country as soon as possible. This places the burden on neighbouring countries and these are usually developing countries—about 86 per cent of refugees were hosted by developing countries in 2013. Since the vast majority of asylum seekers and refugees are hosted in developing countries, then the burden of assisting the world’s asylum seekers and refugees actually falls to some of the world’s poorest countries. UNHCR’s latest available data shows that Pakistan is host to the largest number of refugees worldwide, followed by Iran, Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey. In 2013 Pakistan also hosted the largest number of refugees relative to its economic base (512 refugees per 1 USD GDP per capita), followed by Ethiopia and Kenya"

Maher: 'Liberals Hate Bullying,' 'But They're Not Opposed to Using It' - "“last week Mr. Donohue wrote that it was too bad that Charlie Hebdo’s publisher ‘didn’t understand the role he played in his tragic death,’ which is like saying the rape victim didn’t understand that her clothes were too provocative”... “Glenn Greenwald says anti-Muslim speech, like the cartoons in Charlie, are ‘a vital driver’ in bombing and occupying Muslim countries and killing the innocent. Really? Newspaper cartoons did all that? Wait till they get to the horoscopes and the crossword. It reminds me of one of the protest signs I saw up at Berkeley last month, it said ‘Islamophobia kills.’ Does it? The phobia kills? Or maybe more it’s the AK-47s, and the beheadings, and the planes into buildings.” Maher concluded, “I thought we hated bullying now. When it happens in high school these days, people go nuts. When I was a kid, adults just shrugged and went, ‘eh, kids are a**holes, what are you going to do?’ Yeah, liberals hate bullying all right, but they’re not opposed to using it. When they casually throw out words like ‘bigot’ and ‘racist,’ it does cow people into avoiding this debate. And if you’re doing that, you don’t get to wear the ‘Je Suis Charlie’ button, the button you should wear says, ‘Je Suis Part of the Problem.’ And that goes for everybody. This may surprise you, but I am not a big fan of Rush Limbaugh. However, if you’re one of the people with a website devoted to making him go away, you are part of the problem. And ironically, you’re not even a proper liberal, because you don’t get free speech, you’re just a baby who can’t stand to live in a world where you hear things that upset you.”"

Maher: 'Hollywood Liberals Are Such Hypocrites' - "Maher asked whether there was real problem with the lack of diversity among the [Oscar] nominees, to which Bigelow said “I think it’s very real. I think it’s a real tragedy.” Maher then interjected “so, Hollywood liberals are such hypocrites then. Because they’re the most liberal people in the world and yet they don’t vote for black people.”"

Liberal Bias in Social Psychology: Personal Experience III - "1. I never get this type of bizarre hostility when I give talks on other topics, so it is not me. Indeed, I do not take any of this personally. A new and terrific review paper just came out showing that the conventional scholarly wisdom that conservatives are more "intolerant" than liberals is simply wrong -- liberals are just as intolerant. It is just that conservatives are intolerant of liberal groups and liberals are intolerant of conservative groups (Brandt et al, in press), something that went long undiscovered because most social scientists are liberals and it never occurred to many of them to even study prejudice against conservative groups.
Why is this important? It helps explain the extraordinary hostility my talks evoke on topics that contest liberal superiority and narratives of oppression.
2. I have learned over the years, mostly from viewing other people's talks, that when an audience member reacts with this sort of visceral defensive hostility, the speaker is usually right, or, at least on to something. This does not mean my claims are necessarily correct and I recognize that pointing this out is a bit self-serving. I am certainly not right because the audience gets hostile. But, usually, such hostility has, in the past with other speakers, meant the other speaker was pretty much on target."

The Ideological-Conflict Hypothesis - "Decades of research in social and political psychology have demonstrated that political conservatives appear more intolerant toward a variety of groups than do political liberals. Recent work from our three independent labs has challenged this conventional wisdom by suggesting that some of the psychological underpinnings of intolerance are not exclusive to people on either end of the political spectrum. These studies have demonstrated that liberals and conservatives express similar levels of intolerance toward ideologically dissimilar and threatening groups"

Game Of Thrones Is Relentlessly Sexist... But Not Against Women - "In virtually every episode, a character, usually a bloke, is brutally murdered, tortured or mutilated. Limbs are hewn from bodies, heads are severed from necks, and skin is flayed from living flesh... No-one has accused the show’s creators of being “bad people” for staying true to the brutal world of the books. Until now, that is – because, for once, the victim of on-screen violence is a woman... If any other group were caught making tweets like this, they would probably be labelled a hate group. But that can’t happen to feminists, so publications like Vox instead blamed the show’s creators for “provoking the ire of the internet”. It’s hardly surprising, of course. These are the same people who had nothing to say about #killallmen... violence against female characters seems so shocking: it’s because on-screen violence against men is so common that it doesn’t surprise us, and that in turn makes on-screen violence against women stand out... it isn’t just their intolerance for “triggering” plot devices that makes social justice warriors so tedious. It’s their perfectly transparent hypocrisy. On the one hand, they demand more “strong female characters” like Imperator Furiosa. Yet they throw their toys of of the pram whenever female characters are subjected to the same level of brutality as men. As well as exposing modern feminism’s fixation on “trivial bullshit” (to use the words of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, one of the last serious feminists), incidents like this also expose… well, what can we call it, besides sexism? These people will sit through hours of male characters – and even babies – being maimed and mutilated without even noticing, yet fly into a frenzy of moral outrage at the mere suggestion of a rape scene. Is it any wonder that no-one pays attention to feminists any more?"

Yes, Game of Thrones Is a Show About Rape. I Still Hated That Scene. - "Many of the people who are up in arms about Sansa’s rapes were silent (or at least quieter) for the myriad scenes of graphic violence throughout the previous 45 episodes of Game of Thrones, but because rape is a politicized subject, it calls to arms certain combatants in the culture wars (not unlike bannermen in Game of Thrones). I find this implication—that rape is bad, and therefore, should not be depicted—troubling, to say the least. Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin created a rich fantasy world partly based upon our own history—a history brimming with sexual violence. It’s far better to educate ourselves by participating in art that enlightens us. Should we eschew World War II movies because Nazism is evil, or boycott Civil War-era novels to show symbolic support for the position that slavery is evil?"

The Problem With the Backlash to the Game of Thrones Rape Scene - "This is the latest in a series of controversies over the treatment of female characters onscreen. Television and film director Joss Whedon recently left Twitter after a furious backlash against the portrayal of action heroine Natasha “The Black Widow” Romanoff in the latest Avengers movie (while Whedon denied that his departure was related to the attacks, its timing seemed more than coincidence). Gender issues in popular culture are a valid topic of discussion, and feminist discourse can be a corrective to sexist cultural clichés; but when such discourse becomes one-sided and driven by knee-jerk outrage, it can turn into an ideological diktat that is bad for art and bad for gender fairness... The contrast between the outrage on behalf of female victims and the blasé attitude toward violence (even sexual violence) toward males ironically replicates a quintessentially patriarchal trope: the assumption that women are fragile creatures who deserve special protection and greater sympathy if they are mistreated... it seems that female characters’ storylines are a no-win proposition. The Mad Men finale was assailed as a “betrayal” of one of the show’s main female characters, Peggy Olson—who rises from humble secretary to successful copywriter and advertising industry rising star—because, after a series of romantic failures, she unexpectedly finds love with co-worker Stan Rizzo. “She shouldn’tneed a man to make her feel whole,” carped one critic. Of course, had Peggy been single at the end of the series, someone would have criticized the Mad Men crew for sending the message that the price of career success for a woman is ending up alone."

‘Game of Thrones’ has always been a show about rape - "as a critic, I think it’s important to preserve the distinction between saying that something simply isn’t for me and drawing a more definitive conclusion that something is a poor artistic choice. You can assert the former, but you have to argue the latter, using the text and the language of the artistic form at hand... If reading this litany has been exhausting, it’s testament to just how well “Game of Thrones” has done at leavening this grimness with humor, tenderness and moments of real human connection. But it also ought to suggest how odd it is to accuse the showrunners of adding a sexual assault to somehow up the stakes when, dragons aside, intimate violence is already at the core of so many of the series’ storylines. There’s no requirement that anyone like any of these storylines or that anyone who feels exhausted from spending his or her days in a world marked by sexual violence retreat to a worse one for pleasure. But that’s not the same thing as proof that “Game of Thrones” is generally careless in its depiction of sexual assault or that rape doesn’t serve a purpose on the show. Sansa Stark isn’t ruined, as a character or as a person, because she was raped. She lives, and her story continues, even if you’re not tuning in to watch it."
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