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Friday, August 23, 2013

Polishing stones into gems

Gabriel Cheng | LinkedIn:

"Started working full-time at the young age of 16, Gabriel rise and fall in a way that people of the same age have yet or will never experience.

To date, Gabriel trained over thousands of people from varies age range and demographic.

Gabriel greatest goal he sees himself as, is someone who picks up the stone rejected by the world today, but will be a refined gem of tomorrow."


Revert - NYTimes.com

"Lynne Geyser writes: "My son and I are in disagreement concerning the use of the word revert. The only usage I find acceptable is 'to return to a previous state.' He uses it (and claims that his Bahamian/English friends use it) to mean 'to get back to someone.' That is, instead of saying, 'I will get back to you with that information or with respect to that issue,' they say, 'I will revert to you.' Can you shed some light on this?"

Revert, as the major American and British dictionaries have it, does indeed primarily refer to a return to a former condition, belief or practice. For instance, George Vecsey, a sports columnist for The New York Times, recently wrote of the woeful New Jersey Nets, "Jason Kidd, Kenyon Martin and Richard Jefferson reached the finals in 2002 and 2003, but the Nets have since reverted to their haunted roots."

Secondary senses of the verb include the legal one, denoting the return of something to its previous owner, as in the contractual boilerplate, "All rights revert to the author after publishing." In evolutionary biology, it can signal an atavistic throwback to an ancestral type. To someone familiar with only these traditional meanings of the word, "I will revert to you" might sound like a bizarrely personal take on either property law or genetics.

It turns out that unbeknownst to most dictionaries, revert has been leading another life in several varieties of world English, notably the kind spoken on the Indian subcontinent. The usage has finally garnered the attention of the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary, which amended the definition of revert for its newly published eighth edition to include the meaning "to reply." Marked in the OALD as "Indian English," the use of the word is exemplified by the sentences: "Excellent openings - kindly revert with your updated CV," and "We request you to kindly revert back if you have any further requirements."

(Sticklers who are not already up in arms about this change in meaning will surely bristle at the redundancy of the second sentence: why revert back when you can simply revert? The same criticism can be leveled at reply back, with the superfluous addition of back resulting in "pleonasm," or the use of more words than is strictly necessary.)

As Alison Waters, a lexicographer at Oxford University Press, told The Indian Express, revert in the sense of "reply" is one of eight contributions from Indian English included in the latest batch of OALD additions. It has spread beyond India, however, cropping up in the English of Singapore, MalaysiaHong Kong and elsewhere. In these countries, the usage has occasionally been deemed improper by language authorities. Singapore's Speak Good English Movement, for example, labels it "a mistake" that should be avoided in official correspondence.

Given the established use of revert in several Anglophone countries, often appearing in formal letter writing, it would be unfair to treat the "reply" meaning as simply erroneous. Paul Brians, an emeritus professor of English at Washington State University, previously catalogued revert in his online compendium of "Common Errors in English Usage." Alerted to its prevalence in South Asia, Brians recently revised the entry, while still recommending that "it is best to stick with 'reply' when dealing with non-South Asian correspondents." This is sound advice for now, but if Geyser's son and his friends are any indication, revert may be in the midst of a global shift from which there is no turning back."

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A Cult of Ignorance

A Cult of Ignorance
Newsweek, 21 January 1980

"It’s hard to quarrel with that ancient justification of the free press: “America’s right to know.” It seems almost cruel to ask, ingenuously, ”America’s right to know what, please? Science? Mathematics? Economics? Foreign languages?”

None of those things, of course. In fact, one might well suppose that the popular feeling is that Americans are a lot better off without any of that tripe.

There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."

Politicians have routinely striven to speak the language of Shakespeare and Milton as ungrammatically as possible in order to avoid offending their audiences by appearing to have gone to school. Thus, Adlai Stevenson, who incautiously allowed intelligence and learning and wit to peep out of his speeches, found the American people flocking to a Presidential candidate who invented a version of the English language that was all his own and that has been the despair of satirists ever since.

George Wallace, in his speeches, had, as one of his prime targets, the “pointy-headed professor,” and with what a roar of approval that phrase was always greeted by his pointy-headed audience.

BUZZWORDS: Now we have a new slogan on the part of the obscurantists: “Don’t trust the experts!” Ten years ago, it was “Don’t trust anyone over 30.” 8ut the shouters of that slogan found that the inevitable alchemy of the calendar converted them to the untrustworthiness of the over-30, and, apparently, they determined nevr to make that mistake again. “Don’t trust the experts!” is absolutely safe. Nothing, neither the passing of time nor exposure to information, will convert these shouters to experts in any subject that might conceivably be useful.

We have a new buzzword, too, fór anyone who admires competence, knowledge, learning and skill, and who wishes to spread it around. People like that are called “elitists." That’s the funniest buzzword ever invented because people who are not members of the intellectual elite don’t know what an “elitist” is, or how to pronounce the word. As soon as someone shouts “elitist” it becomes clear that he or she is a closet elitist who is feeling guilty about having gone to school.

All right, then, forget my ingenuous question. America’s right to know does not include knowledge of elitist subjects. America’s right to know involves something we might express vaguely as "what’s going on.” America has the right to know “what’s going on” in the courts, in Congress, in the White House, in industrial councils, in the regulatory agencies, in labor unions—in the seats of the mighty, generally.

Very good, I’m for that, too. But how are you going to let people know all that?

Grant us a free press. and a corps of independent and fearless investigative reporters, comes the cry, and we can be sure that the people will know.

Yes, provided they can read!

As it happens, reading is one of those elitist subjects I have been talking about, and the American public, by and large, in their distrust of experts and in their contempt for pointy-headed professors, can’t read and don’t read.

To be sure, the average American can sign his name more or less legibly, and can make out the sports headlines—--but how many nonelitist Americans can, without undue difficulty, read as many as a thousand consecutive words of small print, some of which may be trisyllahic?

Moreover, the situation is growing worse. Reading scores in the schools dedine steadily. The highway signs, which used to represent elementary misreading lessons (“Go Slo.” “Xroad”) arc steadily bring replaced by little pictures to make them internationally legible and incidentally to help those who know how to drive a car but, not being pointy-headed professors, can’t read.

Again, in television commercials, there are frequent printed messages. Well, keep your eyes on them and you’ll find out that no advertiser ever believes that anyone but an occasional elitist can read that print. To ensure that more than this mandarin minority gets the message, every word of it is spoken out loud by the announcer.

HONEST EFFORT: If that is so, then how have Americans got the right to know? Grant that (here are certain publications that make an honest effort to tell the public what they should know, but ask yourselves how many actually read them.

There are 200 million Americans who have inhabited schoolrooms at some time in their lives and who will admit that they know how to read (provided you promise not to use their names and shame them before their neighbors), but most decent periodicals believe they are doing amazingly well if they have circulations of half million. It may be that only 1 per cent—or less—of Americans make a stab at exercising their right to know. And if they try to do anything on that basis they are quite likely to be accused of being elitists.

I contend that the slogan “America’s right to know” is a meaningless one when we have an ignorant population, and that the function of a free press is virtually zero when hardly anyone can read.

What shall we do about it?

We might begin by asking ourselves whether ignorance is so wonderful after all, and whether it makes sense to denounce “elitism.”

I believe that every human being with a physically normal brain can learn a great deal and can be surprisingly intellectual. I believe that what we badly need is social approval of learning and social rewards for learning.

We can all be members of the intellectual elite and then, and only then, will a phrase like “America’s right to know” and, indeed, any true concept of democracy, have any meaning."

--- Isaac Asimov

u r wt u wr - 21st August 2013

u r wt u wr:
- 'Catch me' (She was a prime candidate for catch & release)
- 'I'm a crazy fool for ♥'
- 'sick' (She looked quite guai)
- 'hug for haters'
- 'this mummy is single' (Not sure if she was British...)
- 'je suis une fille really chic' (if you're chic you won't wear that. But she was like 7)
- 'only for your eyes' (No one else would want to look)
- 'emo' (She was a teen so yes)
- 'You had me at your immaculate spelling and your flawless use of grammar'
- 'Hot girl. Celebrity'
- 'Never
- 'Dork' (this was a welcome change from all the 'Geek' tees)
- 'love doesn't learn'
- 'Cute & Sweet' (Maybe the latter)
- 'trophy girlfriend' (She was more like a punishment)
- 'pretty women'
- 'I'm always in love'
- 'si freak si chic' (Possibly the first definitely not the latter)
- 'kiss me I'm wearing A&F'
- 'my friend likes you but I'm his favourite'
- 'fu-Chanel logo-k you' (this had a bloody font)
- '*animal sniffing the butt of another* I love you'
- 'kiss me' (I wouldn't want to)

- 'Please turn me on *light switch*'
- 'Of course
I'm in
love with

u r wt u wr (Europe CNY 2012):
- 'What a pair!' (on the gloves of a little black boy. Hmm...)

u r wt u wr (BKK 2012) (note the number I got in just 3 days):
- 'I'm sorry. I wanna have party'
- 'I'm not a monkey but I love bananas'
- [Man] 'I fuck on the first date' (he was followed by a woman and children)
- [Billboard] 'Young and sexy *woman with 2 big watermelons in front of her*'
- 'Romance and pretty girl' (she was okay)
- 'falling love'
- 'so shy shy'
- [Guy] 'I know you want me. Kmutt'
- '*pictures of elephant* jolie femme *something*'
- 'Don't telling mum' (this was in an awful green-yellow highlighter colour)
- 'Don't try to like me'

Links - 21st August 2013

Kosher lube puts oral sex on the menu for Orthodox Jews - "kosher certification is only relevant to Jews who swallow a product. Really, it's only necessary for the God-fearing who intentionally swallow it – but some strict observers go further and buy kosher products if there is a risk of accidentally swallowing them."

Not Jewish but Jew-ish - "I explain that I like being a Jew, but apart from looking as if I'm playing a character role as an accountant, being unable to stop using words such as schlep and plutz and loving chopped liver, I'm so un-Jewish that I've only once in 20 years been to my local synagogue... what I really want to write about is being Jew-ish. This is a term that I wish I'd invented rather than the veteran doctor-slash-theatre-producer, Jonathan Miller, years ago. He also referred to being "an amphibious Jew – half in and half out of the water". We are those cop-out, fair-weather Jews that "real" Jews despise more than they do antisemites: the secular, cultural Jews, the amoral majority, the ones who want to have their bagel and eat it. The ones who, with their marrying out, their going to the pub on Yom Kippur and to the football on Saturdays, and – God forbid – with their ambivalent view of the Middle East, are doing Hitler's work for him and conspiring in the erosion of the already disappearing UK Jewish community – currently about 250,000 and counting, downwards."

Snake in toilet bit man's penis

Human statue punches heckler in face

Moving Around Without Losing Your Roots - ""The trouble with moving around and falling in love with new places," a colleague once shared, "is that you leave a piece of your heart in each of them." That resonated with my experience. In Italy, professionals working abroad are described as "runaway brains." My brain, however, never ran away. My heart just took it elsewhere. This is why I worry when senior executives tell aspiring leaders that membership in global elites requires sacrificing an existence grounded in one place. Framing the struggle for home as a private reckoning with loss is simplistic and dangerous. It makes global elites more isolated and disconnected, less intelligible and trustworthy. It puts them in no position to lead. "

In Taipei, Taiwan, Life in the Slow Lane - WSJ.com - "Welcome to the new Taipei. Other Asian cities might compete on building the flashiest skyscrapers or glitziest shopping center. But the Taiwanese capital, once a typical '80s Asian Tiger boomtown, is forging a different path. Since the late 1990s, the municipal government has focused on improving the quality of life in this city of 2.6 million"

In researching his new book, The East, the West, and Sex, author Richard Bernstein found that the Orientalist illusion continues to influence. "Historically, Asia provided certain sexual opportunities that would be much more difficult for Western men to have at home. But it remains a happy hunting ground for them today"... I suspect there's something else about the East that's seducing business bigwigs at this very moment: globalization. Consider that, stateside, Mandarin classes have spiked 200 percent over the past five years... It's as though these Western men are hungry for a piece of that mystical Eastern formula. As such, Asians (in addition to African orphans) are hot commodities right about now — status symbols as prized as a private Gulfstream jet or a museum wing bearing your name (neither of which goes so well with a frumpy, aging first wife)... Maybe these outsized, world-class moguls are stand-ins for emotionally repressed Asian dads (one cliché that is predominantly true). Or...are these women just glorified opportunists? What's so perverse is that while Asians have always revered their elders, sleeping with a guy old enough to be your grandfather is just creepy — in any culture."

Awkward Stock Photos

Japanese Women Short On Cash Use Smartphone Games to Lure Men Into Paying for Their Food Expenses

French bus drivers to strike over tight trousers

Where Do the Words “Mom” and “Dad” Come From? - "it’s plausible that da originated as baby babble and entered adult vocabulary from there as "dad," but it's not a sure thing."

Xbox players better in bed than Playstation and Wii rivals, study finds - "Of the respondents, 21 per cent wanted ‘more sex, less gaming’ from their partner, whereas an intriguing 11 per cent wanted ‘less sex, more gaming’."

Florida woman arrested for violently yanking ex-boyfriend’s penis

Litter fines 'cash cow' for London councils - ""Perversely, when butts become such a lucrative source of revenue, councils lose interest in persuading people not to drop them in the first place. "Few councils provide cigarette disposal bins, and smokers believe they shouldn't put their butt in an ordinary bin because it would risk fire." In Bromley the BBC twice witnessed XFor litter wardens standing out of sight before issuing fines to smokers. Neither was given a warning."

Woman Grabs Lost iPad, Takes Silly Selfies Which Then Autoload to Owner’s iPhone

Poll: Most women believe they should not be forced into combat - "Seventy-seven percent of female voters indicated that they favor the combat policy change, the poll showed. When asked about the reinstatement of the draft, only 28 percent of American voters were in support. Despite widespread favor toward women in combat, only 48 percent of females supported women being drafted, while 59 percent of men supported the idea."
This is called "male privilege"

Car bombs kill scores across Iraq - Middle East - Al Jazeera English - "At least 91 people have been killed and hundreds injured in a series of car bombs that rocked Baghdad and other Iraqi cities amid Eid al-Fitr celebrations, an interior ministry official said. The attacks were the latest in spiralling violence which authorities have failed to stem, with the worst bloodshed in five years raising worries of a return to the all-out Sunni-Shia sectarian conflict that killed tens of thousands in past years. The latest violence comes just weeks after brazen assaults, claimed by an al-Qaeda front group, on prisons near Baghdad that freed hundreds of fighters and which analysts warn could boost armed groups... The Interior Ministry has said the country faces an "open war" fuelled by Iraq's sectarian divisions and has attempted to boost security in Baghdad, closing roads and sending out frequent helicopter patrols. Our correspondent said the withdrawal of American combat troops from Iraq 18 months ago has hit security efforts and emboldened Sunni fighters to step up attacks. "People in the Iraqi security services will tell you ... that the Iraqi army is now on its own. They do not have the intelligence from the Americans that they had before. That has caused Sunni groups to go on the offensive. "Then you have Shia groups taking revenge against them, in a classic tit-for-tat situation.""
Al Jazeera must be in the pay of the US for them to make such an outrageous claim, that the withdrawal of US troops was bad for security!

Why the U.S. should get out of Iraq - "our occupation is worsening the situation in Iraq. The CIA acknowledges that our presence in Iraq is the major cause of increasing violence... The mere acknowledgement of eventual withdrawal would allow the over 40 groups of insurgents to engage with the Iraqi government and be included in building the new government Research done by Israel and Saudi Arabia has shown clearly that the occupation is fueling the insurgency. If Israel and Saudi Arabia can agree, isn't it time for us to agree as well!"

5 Reasons to Kill Christian Music - "1. Writing a “Christian” song reduces Christianity to a modifying adjective.
2. Music is already Christian.
3. “If you label me you negate me.”
4. As a label, Christianity becomes an excuse for mediocrity.
5. “Christian” music isn’t Christian."

Flippy Doodle • Agnostic Atheist, But Not Interested In White Supremacist Atheism - "women of colour don’t need arrogant and ahistorical White male spokespersons, ones who ignore their own misogyny and the impact of White male misogyny globally... The White men who claim to be our “heroes” are ALSO oppressors in this case. Most of all, it is hypocritical when these White men with abysmal misogyny towards White women claim to be “less” misogynist than men of colour. Whether they were burning witches in the past, engaging in scientific and medical exploration via racist, sexist, abusive and unethical practices and dehumanization of brown bodies, or responsible for the majority of rapes of women in the U.S. today... Men are NOT in the position to determine what is “worse” misogyny, misogynoir or transmisogyny. Only the women who experience it can discuss it in this context and even then must do so without xenophobia, racism and cultural imperialism shaping that conversation... I want to add one more thing: an assumption that privileged, white, male atheists make is that Women of Colour are powerless and brainwashed theists"
We need to send these feminists to Saudi Arabia. The misogyny there is "the same" as in the West, but at least they're not hypocrites about it there
If men cannot say anything about misogyny, female feminists cannot say anything about misandry
It is unproblematic to assume that non-feminist women are powerless and brainwashed

Open letter to South Africa from foreign media | Daily Maverick - "We very much like the idea that your ex-president was “one of a kind”, and that despite his best efforts, the current batch of idiots prove that he was an exceptional presence, sui generis, and we don’t have to worry about someone else like him coming along in Africa ever again. We enjoy your leaders’ bumbling ways, their daft non-sequiturs, the glint of their Beijing-bought Breitlings. That “Vote ANC” truck parked outside the hospital? If that doesn’t speak to moral degeneration of the first order, what does? In other words, this story would lack a tragic arc without Jacob Zuma. May he keep on keeping on... Indeed, you need to brace yourselves. We’re about to engage in the single greatest orgy of industrial-grade mourning porn the world has ever known. Your little country will forever be honoured as the site that made the Princess Diana thing look like a restrained wake for a loathed spinster who perished alone on a desert island. Oh man, this is going to be big."
"Reading [this] was like my mom walking in on me having sex - funny but uncomfortable"
"I live in South-Africa, ad I'm right in the middle of this "orgy of industrial-grade mourning porn" every day of my life. And as someone with many years ground level experience in this country all I can say to Mr. Poplak is: you have no idea how right you are LoL. They do say good comedy is usually pointing out the truth in a humorist manner, needless to say I found the article funny, yet with no contest from me at all. I'll be watching you watching the mourning porn. Carry on .. LOL"

Monday, August 19, 2013

Me eating

Here is me eating bak chor mee:

 photo Me-bcm-75_zpsb1b5a535.gif

And here is me eating snake in 2007 (in the Pearl of the Orient):

Google Home View

heute show 12.03.10: Sonneborn - google home view :

(the video is in German with French subtitles, but you get the gist without them)

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Links - 18th August 2013

Urine-cooked eggs a delicacy in China city: ‘Virgin boy eggs’ are spring tradition in Dongyang - "Vendors collect buckets of boy's urine from from local schools and homes in order to make the unusual broth... “It’s so delicious that I can eat 10 eggs a day,” a woman surnamed Liu told Shanghai Daily. “I am addicted." Wu Yunhua at Dongyang Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine told the Daily that the urine “diminishes the internal heat of the human body.”"

Police: Kidnapped MoveOn.org Staffer's "Please Help" Emails Went Completely Ignored - "Over months in captivity, kidnapping victim Kat Barr sent hundreds of emails to her MoveOn mailing list only to have them immediately deleted by the recipients without being read."

Why Did So Many Muslims Seem to Celebrate 9/11? - "some of those same voices of [Islamic] moderation had occasionally expressed their approval of Islamic groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah that engage in terrorism. In the years since 9/11, scholars and experts have done little to resolve the contradictions. Often, they have merely taken them to a higher level... Bewildering as all this has been, Americans might have found it easier to negotiate if they had paid as much attention to the Arab side of the terrorists' identity as they did to the Muslim side... Kepel argues that September 11 was a last-ditch effort on the part of Islamist extremists to revive their waning movement. "In spite of what many hasty commentators concluded in its aftermath," Kepel writes, "the attack on the United States was a desperate symbol of the isolation, fragmentation, and decline of the Islamist movement, not a sign of its strength and irrepressible might." Perhaps. But even if true, Kepel's analysis offers little comfort to the victims of this desperate insurgency within Islam. And even if extremist Islamists are only a minority within Islam, no one should forget the lesson of the Russian Bolsheviks: Determined minorities sometimes win."

Should Petain Road be renamed? - "In the light of these historical facts, we must agree with the French community that it is inappropriate to continue to honour Petain by naming a road after him. The question is whether there is a precedent for changing the road's name. I think I have found a good precedent. Chulia Street was originally named Kling Street"

Gen Y more gracious than Gen X: Survey

Woman wastes 98 tons of water flushing toilet|China Scene|chinadaily.com.cn - "A 68-year-old rural woman who went to the city for the first time in her life wasted 98 tons of water over two months by flushing the toilet in her son's home... The lady, surnamed Song, flushed the toilet almost every five minutes because she found it interesting, the paper said. Song told the paper that she thought flushing the toilet was different from running water, and didn't cost any money.""

Mustache transplants on the rise in Middle East - "In 2008 the Jerusalem Post reported that Gaza militants shaved the mustache off a Fatah rival they had abducted"

Need a Mustache Transplant? Visit Turkey - WSJ.com - "Despite Turkey's emergence as a hub for facial hair transplants, the number of Turkish men wearing mustaches has declined rapidly, according to pollsters. A study by Istanbul's TNS Market Research Company found that while 77% of Turkish men had mustaches in 1993, the figure fell to 34% in 2011 and is still sliding. The number wearing beards, by contrast, has risen to 24% from 18% over the same period, a sign for some that the country has become more religious under the decadelong leadership of the Islamist-rooted Justice and Development Party... "Personally, I'd be suspicious of a Turk who couldn't grow a mustache""

Groucho Marx voted America’s favorite facial hair icon - "the results were particularly noteworthy since Marx's mustache was a fake for most of his career. Marx's trademark mustache was actually made of greasepaint, though he chose to grow a real mustache in later years rather than applying the makeup for performances... Of course, you might want to stay away from the mustache, and any other facial hair for that matter, if you plan on running for public office. Thomas Dewey was the last major party candidate for president of the United States to sport facial hair, losing the 1948 election to clean-shaven Harry S. Truman. A 1986 Boston Globe article even went so far as to argue that Dewey's mustache worked against him in the race."

Do Short Skirts Really Mean Better Times? - " "Fashion used to be much more of an indicator of economic trends," says Marshal Cohen, president of NPDFashionworld, a market research firm based in Port Washington, N.Y. Cohen says over the past few years, the casual look that's become so popular in U.S. workplaces has diminished fashion's importance in indicating trends."

"Printer concept trades your bulky inkjet for a Stack of paper | The Verge - "he's trading the bulk of conventional units for a compact device that sits atop a pile of paper and "eats" its way down"

How One Perfect Shot Saved Pinball From Being Illegal - "Roger had been selected for this particular task not only for his knowledge and expertise, but for his legendary hand-eye coordination. He was there to prove that this was a game of skill, not chance. He was there to overturn the ban. He was there to save the game of pinball."

China's Barking Mad Dog-Lion Zoo to Reopen with 'Correct Signs’ - "Visitors said that the lion at the zoo was actually a dog, which was made clear when it started barking. It also had two rats in the snake display area and foxes purporting to be leopards. A pet dog was also seen in the wolf enclosure. According to the Beijing Times, zoo officials issued a public apology for tricking paying customers - the zoo charged adults 14 yuan (£1.50) for a ticket."

A "Glitch" Made All the Doors in a Max. Security Prison Open at Once - "Even the guards admit that the circumstances surrounding the incident are "suspicious." Perhaps the most suspicious part is that fact that this was the second time in as many months that these doors opened without warning, leading some to suspect that the first incident was a test to see how long it would take guards to react"

New Study Questions Myth Of Left-Brained And Right-Brained Personality Traits - "no evidence exists within brain imaging that pinpoints a difference in the way humans use their brains. "

Elizabeth Loftus: Falsifying memories | Mo Costandi | Science | theguardian.com - "It is therefore perfectly plausible that memories of childhood sexual abuse could be buried for years and then recalled, and that motivated forgetting, dissociative amnesia, or some other mechanism could account for some of the allegations in cases that Loftus has testified in... Some feminists are also concerned that Loftus' involvement in these cases has altered the way in which the mass media and general public view women who make such claims. They argue that the debate has shifted the focus away from viewing those who make the claims as victims, and onto the doubts over recovered memories. The ultimate effect, they say, is to undermine the credibility of all women who make such allegations"

Dying To Get A Free Education: Indian Policeman Fakes Death To Enable Daughter To Enter Medical College

Bill O'Reilly Defends Himself, Says He Donated $25,000 To Al Sharpton's Charity - "O'Reilly made the revelation after Sharpton criticized a segment he did about food stamps. O'Reilly had said that the program was rife with abuses, and allowed some people to be "parasites" — which prompted Sharpton to accuse him of "attacking the poor"... "And here's the crusher on Sharpton," the Fox News host said, defending himself. "He's been portraying me as a racist and a brutalizer of the poor. A few years ago Sharpton told me that his charity in Harlem, New York, was out of money and that it could not provide Christmas presents and Christmas dinners to hundreds of poor people in Harlem. So I gave Sharpton a $25,000 donation to provide the gifts and the food." "I never mentioned it, because it wasn’t necessary to mention it," O'Reilly continued. "But now it is. To prove exactly what kind of person Sharpton is." Sharpton responded to Politico on Friday, saying that O'Reilly should explain why he donated to an organization run by someone who he has accused of being part of the "grievance industry.""
Apparently altruism is questionable when it's by Bill O'Reilly

Rent-a-boyfriend dispatch service: Because Japanese women get lonely too

Wife kills abusive husband in self-defense only to discover 'he' was actually a woman wearing prosthetic penis - "Throughout their seven-month relationship, Angela had never been 'bare' in the light with Elizabeth, and always insisted on having sex in the dark, according to a police report. Angelo, born Angela, actually told his wife that a previous girlfriend had gotten angry and burned his genitals."

'Creepy Cameraman' pushes limits of public surveillance — a glimpse of the future? - "an unidentified man takes a camera around Seattle and other parts of Washington state, walking up to people and recording them for no apparent reason other than to make a point: How is what he’s doing different than those stationary surveillance cameras tucked away in buildings and public places?"

Walk A Mile Toronto - "“You can’t really understand another person’s experience until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.” That’s why we’re asking you to put on a pair of high heels and join the White Ribbon Campaign to Walk A Mile in Her Shoes®"

Prudhomme's Lost Cajun Kitchen Must Offer Atheists Its Church-Goer Discount, State Rules - "A Pennsylvania restaurant owner must offer her church-goer discount to diners of all denominations, even atheists"
I thought private organisations could do as they pleased

Disability history month: Was Tamerlane disabled? - "Rarely can any man, let alone an aspiring world conqueror, have overcome physical disability with such terrifying ease, as hundreds of thousands of Asians, brutally slaughtered and decapitated, discovered to their cost."
Hurrah for overturning able-ist stereotypes!

The French Don't Drink Wine Anymore, World Is Officially Over

Ludicrous sex tips that will ruin your sex life

The sex worker stigma: How the law perpetuates our hatred (and fear) of prostitutes

"The only thing that makes life possible is permanent, intolerable uncertainty; not knowing what comes next." - Ursula K. LeGuin


The sex worker stigma: How the law perpetuates our hatred (and fear) of prostitutes

"Twenty years ago I first asked two questions that continue to unsettle me today. The first is answerable: What does a woman who sells sex accomplish that leads to her being treated as fallen, beyond the pale, incapable of speaking for herself, discountable if she does speak, invisible as a member of society? The answer is she carries a stigma. The second question is a corollary: Why do most public conversations focus on laws and regulations aimed at controlling these stigmatized women rather than recognizing their agency? To that the answer is not so straightforward.

I am moved to make this assessment after the murder of someone I knew, Eva-Maree Kullander Smith, known as Jasmine. Killed in Sweden by an enraged ex-partner, Eva-Maree was also a victim of the social death that befalls sex workers under any name you choose to call them. Immediately after the murder, rights activists cursed the Swedish prostitution law that is promoted everywhere as best for women. My own reaction was a terrible sinking feeling as I realized how the notion of a Rescue Industry, coined during my research into the “saving” of women who sell sex, was more apt than even I had thought...

In the late 1990s I wondered why a migrant group that often appeared in media reports and was well-known to me personally was absent from scholarly migration literature. I came to understand that migrant women who sell sex were disqualified as subjects of migration, in some perhaps unconscious process on the part of scholars and journal editors. Was the stigma attached to selling sex so serious that it was better not to mention these migrants at all? Or did people think that the selling of sex must transport anything written about it to another realm, such as feminism? When I submitted an article to a migration journal addressing this disqualification, “The Disappearing of a Migration Category: Women Who Sell Sex,” two and a half years passed before its publication, probably because the editor could locate no peer reviewers willing to deal with my ideas.

Of the many books on prostitution I read back then, most dismissed the possibility that women who sell sex can be rational, ordinary, pragmatic and autonomous. The excuses followed a pattern: The women didn’t understand what they were doing because they were uneducated. They suffered from false consciousness, the failure to recognize their own oppression. They were addicted to drugs that fogged their brains. They had been seduced by pimps. They were manipulated by families. They were psychologically damaged, so their judgements were faulty. If they were migrants they belonged to unenlightened cultures that gave them no choices. They were coerced and/or forced by bad people to travel, so they weren’t real migrants, and their experiences didn’t count. Because they were brainwashed by their exploiters, nothing they said could be relied on. This series of disqualifications led to large lacunae in social-scientific literature and mainstream media, showing the power of a stigma that has its very own name – whore stigma. Given these women’s spoiled identities, others feel called to speak for them.

The person in a helping profession or campaign is said to embody the good in humanity – benevolence, compassion, selflessness. But helpers assume positive identities far removed from those spoiled by stigma, and benefits accrue to them: prestige and influence for all and employment and security for many. Many believe that helpers always know how to help, even when they have no personal experience of the culture or political economy they intervene in. What I noted was how, despite the large number of people dedicated to saving prostitutes, the situation for women who sell sex never improves. The Construction of Benevolent Identities by Helping Women Who Sell Sex was the key that unlocked my understanding of the Rescue Industry.

Abolitionists talk continuously about prostitution as violence against women, set up projects to rescue sex workers and ignore the dysfunctionality of much that is conceived as “rehabilitation.” Contemporary abolitionism focuses largely on the rescue of women said to be victims of trafficking, targeting the mobile and migrant women I mentioned earlier, who are now completely disappeared in a narrative of female victimhood. Although much of this goes on under a feminist banner, colonialist maternalism describes it better.

In classic abolitionism, whore stigma is considered a consequence of patriarchy, a system in which men subjugate women and divide them into the good, who are marriageable, and the bad, who are promiscuous or sell sex. If prostitution were abolished, whore stigma would disappear, it is claimed. But contemporary movements against slut-shaming, victim-blaming and rape culture clearly show how whore stigma is applied to women who do not sell sex at all, so the claim is feeble. Instead, abolitionism’s aversion to prostitution probably strengthens the stigma, despite the prostitute’s demotion to the status of victim rather than the transgressor she once was...

Prostitution law generalizes from worst-case scenarios, which leads directly to police abuse against the majority of cases, which are not so dire.

In theory, under prohibitionism prostitutes are arrested, fined, jailed. Under abolitionism, which permits the selling of sex, a farrago of laws, by-laws and regulations give police a myriad of pretexts for harrying sex workers. Regulationism, which wants to assuage social conflict by legalizing some sex-work forms, constructs non-regulated forms as illegal (and rarely grants labor rights to workers)... in recent years a hybrid law has arisen that makes paying for sex illegal while selling is permitted. Yes, it’s illogical. But the contradiction is not pointless; it is there because the goal of the law is to make prostitution disappear by debilitating the market through absurd ignorance of how sex businesses work.

Discussion of prostitution law occurs in national contexts where rhetoric often harks back to essentialist notions of morality, as though in this highly-travelled, hybrid-culture world it were still possible to talk about authentic national character, or as though “founding father” values must define a country for all time. One intervenor at the recent Canadian Supreme Court hearing on prostitution law argued that decriminalization would defy founding values of “the Canadian community”: “that women required protection from immoral sexual activity generally and prostitution specifically” and “strong moral disapproval of prostitution itself, with a view to promoting gender equality.” The national focus clashes with anti-trafficking campaigns that not only claim to use international law but sponsor imperialist interventions by western NGOs into other countries, notably in Asia, with the United States assuming a familiar meddling role vis-à-vis Rest-of-World.

Gender Equality is now routinely accepted as a worthy principle, but the term is so broad and abstract that a host of varying, contradictory and even authoritarian ideas hide behind it. Gender Equality as a social goal derives from a bourgeois feminist tradition of values about what to strive for and how to behave, particularly regarding sex and family. In this tradition, loving committed couples living with their children in nuclear families are society’s ideal citizens, who should also go into debt to buy houses and get university educations, undertake lifetime “careers” and submit to elected governments. Although many of these values coincide with long-standing governmental measures to control women’s sexuality and reproduction, to question them is viewed with hostility. The assumption is that national governmental status quos would be acceptable if women only had equal power within them...

[Northern European] countries manifest some degree of State Feminism: the existence of government posts with a remit to promote Gender Equality. I do not know if it is inevitable, but it is certainly universal that policy promoted from such posts ends up being intolerant of diverse feminisms. State Feminists simplify complex issues through pronouncements represented as the final and correct feminist way to understand whatever matter is at hand. Although those appointed to such posts must demonstrate experience and education, they must also be known to influential social networks. Unsurprisingly, many appointed to such posts come from generations for whom feminism meant the belief that all women everywhere share an essential identity and worldview. Sometimes this manifests as extremist, fundamentalist or authoritarian feminism. Sweden is an example...

After the demise of most class distinctions, inequality based on gender was targeted (racial/ethnic differences were a minor issue until recent migration increases). Prostitution became a topic of research and government publications from the 1970s onwards. By the 1990s, eradicating prostitution came to be seen as a necessary condition for the achievement of male-female equality and feasible in a small homogeneous society. The solution envisioned was to prohibit the purchase of sex, conceptualized as a male crime, while allowing the sale of sex (because women, as victims, must not be penalized). The main vehicle was not to consist of arrests and incarcerations but a simple message: In Sweden we don’t want prostitution. If you are involved in buying or selling sex, abandon this harmful behavior and come join us in an equitable society.

Since the idea that prostitution is harmful has infused political life for decades, to refuse to accept such an invitation can appear misguided and perverse. To end prostitution is not seen as a fiat of feminist dictators but, like the goal to end rape, an obvious necessity. To many, prostitution also seems incomprehensibly unnecessary in a state where poverty is so little known.

These are the everyday attitudes that social workers coming into contact with Eva-Maree probably shared. We do not know the details of the custody battle she had been locked in for several years with her ex-partner. We do not know how competent either was as a parent. She recounted that social workers told her she did not understand she was harming herself by selling sex. There are no written guidelines decreeing that prostitutes may not have custody of their children, but all parents undergo evaluations, and the whore stigma could not fail to affect their judgements. For the social workers, Eva-Maree’s identity was spoiled; she was discredited as a mother on psycho-social grounds...

In a 2010 report evaluating the law criminalizing sex-purchase, stigma is mentioned in reference to feedback they received from some sex workers:

The people who are exploited in prostitution report that criminalization has reinforced the stigma of selling sex. They explain that they have chosen to prostitute themselves and feel they are not being involuntarily exposed to anything. Although it is not illegal to sell sex they perceive themselves to be hunted by the police. They perceive themselves to be disempowered in that their actions are tolerated but their will and choice are not respected.

The report concludes that these negative effects “must be viewed as positive from the perspective that the purpose of the law is indeed to combat prostitution.” To those haunted by the death of Eva-Maree, the words sound cruel, but they were written for a document attempting to evaluate the law’s effects. Evaluators had been unable to produce reliable evidence of any kind of effect; an increase in stigma was at least a consequence...

Sweden’s law can be said to have given whore stigma a new rationality for social workers and judges, the stamp of government approval for age-old prejudice...

Some say her murder is simply another clear act of male violence and entitlement by a man who wanted her to be disqualified from seeing their children. According to that view, the law is deemed progressive because it combats male hegemony and promotes Gender Equality. This is what most infuriates advocates of sex workers’ rights: that the “Swedish model” is held up as virtuous solution to all of the old problems of prostitution, in the absence of any evidence. But for those who embrace anti-prostitution ideology, the presence or absence of evidence is unimportant."

"Why are all the nice guys gay?"

"Why are all the nice guys gay?"
"You mean why are the only guys you find non-threatening the ones with no possible ulterior motives to sleep with you? Yeah, the mind boggles"

(Nothing Nice to Say - punk comics)

Disagreeing with Liberals vs Disagreeing with Conservatives

"The left has always styled itself the side of the heart, leaving the right with the liver, that bile- producing organ. Conservatives and those on the right are usually willing to settle for thinking themselves correct on political issues; those on the left have always needed to feel not so much that they are correct but that they are also good. Disagree with someone on the right and he is likely to think you obtuse, wrong, sentimental, foolish, a dope; disagree with someone one the left and he is more likely to think you selfish, cold-hearted, a sellout, evil-in league with the devil, he might say, if he didn't think religious terminology too coarse for our secular age. To this day one will hear of people who fell for Communism in a big way let off the hook because they were sincere; if one's heart is in the right place, nothing else matters, even if one's naive opinions made it easier for tyrants to murder millions."

--- Snobbery: the American version / Joseph Epstein
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