"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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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Links - 13th July 2016

Yale students want to remake the English Major requirements, but there's no escaping white male poets in the canon. - "Their demands: abolish the major English poets cycle and revise the remaining requirements “to deliberately include literatures relating to gender, race, sexuality, ableism, and ethnicity.” “It is your responsibility as educators to listen to student voices,” the letter concludes. “We have spoken. We are speaking. Pay attention”... Here’s the thing, though. If you want to become well-versed in English literature, you’re going to have to hold your nose and read a lot of white male poets... I want to gently push back, too, against the idea that the major English poets have nothing to say to students who aren’t straight, male, and white. For all the ways in which their particular identities shaped their work, these writers tried to represent the entire human condition, not just their clan. A great artist possesses both empathy and imagination: Many of Shakespeare’s female characters are as complexly nuanced as any in circulation today, Othello takes on racial prejudice directly, and Twelfth Night contains enough gender-bending identity shenanigans to fuel multiple drag shows and occupy legions of queer scholars. The “stay in your lane” mentality that seems to undergird so much progressive discourse—only polyamorous green people really “get” the “polyamorous green experience,” and therefore only polyamorous greens should read and write about polyamorous greens, say—ignores our common humanity"
There is a great parallel to affirmative action here

All scientific papers to be free by 2020 under EU proposals

Why we should close women's prisons and treat their crimes more fairly - "The sentencing system should be reformed radically to deal more fairly with female offending. The starting position is that no female offender should be imprisoned. In relation to most forms of crime, they should be dealt with by way of intermediate sanctions including the greater use of electronic monitoring. In the rare instances that women commit heinous crimes, community protection and the need to impose proportionate penalties requires a prison term but this should be the exception, not the increasing norm. The exception is so rare that the utopia of closing prisons would readily become a reality."
Feminist logic: If <50% of CEOs are women, women are being discriminated against. If women are 8% of prisoners, women are being discriminated against.

The Veiled Virgin - "There are similar marble busts depicting veiled women in Canada, the United States, Ireland and England. None, however, are as meticulously crafted as the Newfoundland Veiled Virgin by Strazza: the facial features and the braids in the hair are clearly visible through the stone veil."

Police Use Pizza, Granola Bar To Lure Robbery Suspect From Lake

BBC Warns Football Fans Dressing as Crusaders 'Offensive' to Muslims

Rose McGowan Calls Out ‘X-Men’ Billboard That Shows Mystique Being Strangled - "As 20th Century Fox’s X-Men: Apocalypse stormed theaters over the long weekend, critics took aim at billboards featuring Oscar Isaac’s Apocalypse choking Jennifer Lawrence’s Mystique. Among them was Rose McGowan, who elaborated on a May 25 Facebook post to THR: "There is a major problem when the men and women at 20th Century Fox think casual violence against women is the way to market a film. There is no context in the ad, just a woman getting strangled. The fact that no one flagged this is offensive and frankly, stupid. The geniuses behind this, and I use that term lightly, need to to take a long hard look at the mirror and see how they are contributing to society. Imagine if it were a black man being strangled by a white man, or a gay male being strangled by a hetero? The outcry would be enormous. So let’s right this wrong. 20th Century Fox, since you can’t manage to put any women directors on your slate for the next two years, how about you at least replace your ad?""
Clearly, the solution is to stop women from featuring as key characters in action movies

UC San Diego Votes to Ban Plastic Water Bottles - "When bottled water isn’t an option in vending machines, they just grab other bottled drinks, which meant the “water bottle ban” was actually followed by an increase in the number of plastic bottles on campus of 6%. As for UC San Diego, they say that instead of offering only drinking fountains as an alternative as UVermont did, they’ll make sure the campus stores stock “boxed water,” an “environmentally friendly” alternative to bottled water. But according to the Bottled Water council (also a real thing), only 0.92% of all plastic used in the US is contained in water bottles, and most of it is recyclable. The real danger to the environment comes in the shipping and production phases — phases that aren’t eliminated when you switch to boxed water. And we’ve been to a few summer music festivals where they serve only boxed water, and it creates a huge heap of trash because people don’t realize, like they do with cans and bottles, that boxed water is recyclable"

Six Reasons Why Barack Obama is a Great President, via Anthony Bourdain - "The reaction among regular people in Hanoi to the fact that the US President chose to eat Bun Cha was beyond all imagining. The effect was unbelievable. People were actually crying the next day, describing to me their shock and their pride, the reactions of their neighbors, to this completely unexpected choice of meal—and the venue.
He was among the very few guests on my show who ever asked the camera crew if they got to eat too. And he made a point of taking a picture with all of them when we were done."

Grandmother, 60, fined RM500 for offering sex to policeman
I guess she should've stuck to money

English T-Shirts In Asia (20+ Pics)

What It Means to Be Trans Species - ""I was never a normal child, per se, Eric explains. "I used to insist I was a dog to my parents when I was younger." This went on until he was around ten, and he realized his friends didn't feel the same way about their bodies as he did. "I was having a casual conversation with a friend about feeling body parts that weren't there," he tells me. "I had no idea that most people didn't feel them. I looked into what could cause things like that and eventually stumbled across the term: otherkin"... The debate between transgenderism and otherkin is one area Miranda would like to see evolve. "It seems that many people of the transgender community think that otherkin is a mock version of transgenderism and are very hateful of it," she says. "This is not the case for us of course, as many of us are in the LGBT+ community"... Riviera says the biggest misconception about the trans species community is that they aren't oppressed. But bullying and harassment are all too common. "The constant barrage of hate mail from the internet, all the time, gets very wearying""
I sexually identify as an attack helicopter

UK will shelter Singapore trans woman who faces compulsory army service as a man back home - "her visa was up in 2012, and she appealed to the British courts to allow her to stay, saying she found it distressing to think about having to return to serve her reservist obligations... She had told the courts of her recurring nightmares about her time in the military, and would find it intolerable to be treated as a man upon her return to Singapore. One of the judges was quoted saying: "I find that the requirement of the appellant to essentially hide her gender and live as a man, even for two weeks a year, would be wholly unreasonable.""
I knew of a transsexual serviceman when I was a slave. This person's complaints are almost certainly groundless

Transgender women 'attacked in the street' by north African teenagers in Germany - "Moroccans and Algerians have almost no chance of being granted asylum in Germany, but there has been a dramatic increase in applicants from the two countries, with thousands arriving in the last six months."

'Call me Caitlyn, or else': the rise of authoritarian transgender politics - "There is a palpable religiosity to the wild hailing of Bruce/Caitlyn as a modern-day saint, a Virgin Mary with testicles. Within four hours, more than a million people were following Bruce/Caitlyn’s new Twitter account, hanging on her words like the expectant horde waiting for Moses at the foot of Mount Sinai. Her every utterance, all banal celeb-speak, was retweeted tens of thousands of times. Celebs and commentators greeted her as a kind of messiah... Just as those who denied the divinity of Christ were once expected to recant their heresy, so those who deny the gender of Caitlyn Jenner are hounded by bots into apologising for their moral error. The American gay-rights group GLAAD is scouring the mainstream media for any use of the word ‘he’ in relation to Caitlyn, like a modern incarnation of the Vatican’s Index Librorum Prohibitorum, which monitored the public sphere for any less-than-gushing commentary on God... The insistence that we not only refer to Bruce/Caitlyn as ‘she’ but also project this backwards – recognising, in the words of the Guardian, that she has ‘always been a woman’ – is borderline Orwellian. It’s a rewriting of history, a memory-holing of old inconvenient facts. Strikingly, the Guardian writer says people like Bruce/Caitlyn have ‘always been women… even when they were “fathering” children’. Notice it’s the ‘fathering’ bit that is in scare quotes, suggesting it wasn’t real, while the description of Bruce as a woman is treated as an incontestable truth. War is peace, freedom is slavery, man is woman. This trans Orwellianism is increasingly finding expression in the law itself. In Ireland last year, a trans woman won the right to have her sex changed to female on her actual birth certificate"

Chris Evans’ Top Gear loses a third of its audience - "Chris Evans’ Top Gear suffered a big drop in its viewing figures for its second episode, drawing what is thought to be its lowest audience for at least a decade... Last night’s overnight audience is lower than the 3.1 million average for the very first Top Gear series featuring Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond broadcast in 2002... Top Gear is BBC2’s biggest show but, more importantly than that, it is the biggest earner for the BBC’s commercial arm, BBC Worldwide, watched in more than 80 countries within 72 hours of its broadcast in the UK. The BBC moved to defend the show after reports that 370 viewers had complained about its new incarnation - perhaps predictable after the departure of its long-running presenting team - but also that it received the lowest audience appreciation scores of any BBC2 show last week."
Luckily the BBC isn't profit driven, or they would be really regretting firing Jeremy Clarkson

Chris Evans 'swore at Top Gear audience' who didn't laugh at his jokes - "Chris Evans reportedly swore at audience members when filming the revamped Top Gear, telling them off for their clothing choices, not being loud enough and not laughing at his jokes."

Jeremy Clarkson: TV obsessed with hiring 'black Muslim lesbians' - "In response to questions about the lack of female presenters on BBC's Top Gear, Clarkson said: "The problem is that television executives have got it into their heads that if one presenter on a show is a blond-haired, blue-eyed heterosexual boy, the other must be a black Muslim lesbian. "Chalk and cheese, they reckon, works. But here we have Top Gear setting new records after six years using cheese and cheese. It confuses them"... Clarkson went on to defend women drivers and ask why there are not more of them in Formula One. He said: "Unlike furious thin-lipped feminists, I tend not to draw distinctions between men and women, apart from in bed where you really do need to spot the differences. "At work, girls are just people. It's the same story at parties and it's especially the same on the road. The worst driver in the world is Top Gear's studio director ... He cannot park without kerbing the wheels and he cannot get into his own drive without crashing into his house. And he has a scrotum.""
The claim that viewership or other audience figures suffer because people want to see people like them onscreen is questionable. Good content is the most important

TV can boost self-esteem of white boys, study says - "Parents of white girls and African-American children, however, might want to limit the amount of time their kids spend in front of the tube. The self-esteem of white girls, black girls and black boys decreases with TV consumption, says the study, published in Communication Research."

Chinese minister vents anger when Canadian reporter asks about human rights - "Senior Chinese officials are accustomed to not having to face tough questions from the press at home, given the state’s chokehold on the media,” she said. “But instead of being better equipped to answer ordinary questions like these when travelling abroad, officials like foreign minister Wang seem to think they can impose those same constraints on journalists abroad – and on that subject they are sorely mistaken.” Richardson said Wang was also wrong to claim only Chinese people were equipped to discuss the country’s human rights situation. “If that’s true, why is his government imprisoning rather than engaging people like [jailed Nobel laureate] Liu Xiaobo and so many others from China who have similar questions?” Wang’s verbal attack on the journalist and Canada’s failure to speak out against it sparked online criticism"

Are Game Show Audiences Trustworthy? - "When the show was introduced in Russia, contestants quickly learned to be wary of asking the audience for help because Russian audiences frequently mislead them, intentionally giving the wrong answer. It doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the players or the questions they ask for help on. In France, audiences seem to fall in the middle. They don’t regularly attempt to trick players, as Russian (and according to my googling, Ukrainian) audiences do. But unlike U.S. audiences, they don’t seem willing to help under any circumstances, either. They appear to intentionally give the wrong answer if the contestant asks for help on a question the audience perceives as too easy. If they think the player ought to know the answer they give the wrong response, apparently thinking the contestant deserves to lose if they’re so stupid. In the video you can hear audience laughter when Henri decides to go with the results of the audience poll. Ori and Rom Brafman suggest this relates to notions of fairness, which have been shown to vary widely by culture. They say that in the U.S., we think it’s fair for people to win large sums of money even if they seem dumb, while in France, there is more concern about whether the individual deserves to win"
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