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Sunday, May 10, 2009

"Advertising may be described as the science of arresting the human intelligence long enough to get money from it." - Stephen Leacock


YouTube - Reactions to female-on-male violence - Description from elsewhere: "If a man hits a woman on the street, the crowd will come to her rescue. But what happens when a woman gets violent towards her partner? You'll be shocked at some of the reactions!"
From the video: "From Moonstruck to Shakespeare in Love to Pirates of the Caribbean, women hitting men may be a Hollywood staple... "It is a big problem in this country. Men create more damage, but women hit more than men do"... 'Good for her. You go girl'. [She] just assumed he had it coming to him... Over and over again, when the victim is a man, so many women perceive him as guilty... 'He probably deserved it'. Linda seems to think our feisty model as a kind of role model... We watch and record for hours and hours as 163 just walk or jog by"
Perhaps a new corollary will help: "If a man hits a woman, he's a violent, psychotic bastard.
If a woman hits a man, it's because he's a violent, psychotic bastard."
Thus saith the god of power dynamics

Turning the Tables - article which is a transcription of this video
Keywords: cheer on, cheered on, our actors, sexism, double standards

Article and open letter to our government by an ex-journalist. Yeo Toon Joo, Peter, 61 - "The harsh treatment of those with dissenting views, and slapping down of those brazen enough to join battle with the PAP and MM Lee at the hustings, quickly scared off those who thought they had something to offer to the country, but not necessarily as part of the PAP political apparatus. Those with divergent, though not necessarily subversive, views were unmercifully smacked down. Others, seduced by the comforts and affluence their talents and training earned them in a prospering society (feed them so well they will never rebel), soon lost their idealism and passion for political sacrifice. It made political engagement not only a perilous pursuit but a wanton risk of losing all they had amassed materially, plus their personal freedom... A yen for scholarship (at government’s expense) alone is a poor prerequisite of leadership. Encouraging scholarship of our bright students through the lure of career and financial success could produce either more scholarship bond breakers or those who will work only for lucre (for those are the values you promote)... You could end up with people paid well enough and sufficiently smart either to not charge with you – or charge blindly even when good sense tells them they should not."

Star Trek: Spock, Kirk and Slash Fiction - "People have been writing fan fiction for almost as long as we've been telling stories. In 1614, when Miguel de Cervantes was slow to produce the second volume of "Don Quixote," an anonymous author wrote his or her own continuation of the saga to much acclaim. People being people, there has probably always been erotic fanfic, too, but it never had a name until the early 1970s, when "Star Trek" fans circulated zines postulating a romantic relationship between Captain Kirk and Spock... "I don't think I have ever belonged to a more diverse group," she says, adding that she's befriended women from around the globe and of all ages (slash's diversity doesn't extend to gender: surveys have found that the majority of K/S writers and consumers are heterosexual women)."

The Bourgeois Revolution: How the global middle class declared war on democracy - "For the first time in decades, democracy activists are beginning to wonder whether building a strong middle class solidifies or threatens freedom's global spread. Yet because the middle-class-equals-democracy theory has become so entrenched, if it is proven wrong, activists, democracy-promotion groups, and world leaders will not know how to replace it. In other words, they won't have a clue about how to actually build democracy... Soon after acquiring democracy, urban middle classes often grasp the frustrating reality that political change costs them power. Outnumbered at the ballot box, the middle class cannot stop populists such as Thaksin or Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. Once the middle class realizes it cannot stop the elected tyrants, it also comes to another, shattering realization: If urban elites can no longer control elections, all of their privileges -- social, economic, cultural -- could be threatened."

Mugged By Our Genes? - "People whose identical twins are alcoholic — whether or not they themselves have any substance abuse problems — are more likely to have been robbed or gotten in trouble with the law than people whose fraternal twin is alcoholic... What connects our genetic inheritance to environmental experiences? Most likely it is personality, which is known to depend on genes... the “genes versus environment” debate is asking the wrong question. It is said that parents of one child believe that upbringing determines personality, but parents with two children believe in genetic tendencies. The evidence points to something more complex: genetic predispositions interact with circumstances to produce unique individuals... The interaction between genetic tendencies and life experiences may explain another puzzling finding: the heritability of many psychological traits — from intelligence to anxiety — increases as people mature... As people get older, they become more able to determine their own circumstances, and they may be able to choose environments that reinforce their natural personality tendencies. Apparently those of us who suspect we are turning into our parents as we get older may have a valid point."

Otto the octopus wrecks havoc - "A octopus has caused havoc in his aquarium by performing juggling tricks using his fellow occupants, smashing rocks against the glass and turning off the power by shortcircuiting a lamp."
Mmm... Tako...

Against Uncritical Pragmatism: Education for Doers Who Can Think and Thinkers Who Can Do; Kenneth Paul Tan - "Few Singaporeans would ever think to question the goal of continuous economic growth as the ultimate goal that makes all others possible. Pragmatism, initially an open-minded attitude, can therefore degenerate easily into an uncritical focus on technical mastery directed solely towards the achievement of a narrow and limited set of human aspirations, obscured and shielded from philosophical reflection, moral reasoning, and critique. Ironically, uncritical pragmatism can become a new dogma. The focus on ‘how to’ without thinking about ‘why’ encourages an ‘anything goes’ attitude that disregards the larger implications of one’s choices and actions."
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