When you can't live without bananas

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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Hello Kitty is not a Cat

Hello Kitty is not a cat, she's a British schoolgirl, says Sanrio

"Hello Kitty is not a cat, says Sanrio.

As preparations are made for the cute white feline character's 40th birthday celebrations, the Japanese company that created the global marketing phenomenon has set the record straight - and caused chaos on the Internet, said the Los Angeles Times.

Hello Kitty is actually a British schoolgirl named Kitty White, said the report. Her origin story includes things such as: She is a Scorpio, she has a twin sister, and their parents are George and Mary White.

Anthropologist Christine R. Yano from the University of Hawaii, who has spent years studying the popularity of Hello Kitty, is the one who brought the misunderstanding to light, said the Times.

She said Sanrio corrected her "very firmly" when she described Hello Kitty as a cat while preparing text for an upcoming Kitty retrospective at the Japanese American National Museum.

"That's one correction Sanrio made for my script for the show," she told the Times. "Hello Kitty is not a cat. She's a cartoon character. She is a little girl. She's never depicted on all fours. She walks and sits like a two-legged creature. She does have a pet cat of her own, however, and it's called Charmmy Kitty."

Hello Kitty - a "perpetual third-grader" who "lives outside of London" - was created in the 1970s, when the Japanese loved the idea of Britain, Yano said. "It represented the quintessential idealised childhood, almost like a white picket fence. So the biography was created exactly for the tastes of that time."

On Twitter, singer Josh Groban was among those who reacted strongly to the story, said the Times. He said on Wednesday: "Hello Kitty is a cat. She has whiskers and a cat nose. Girls don't look like that. Stop this nonsense."

Peanuts Worldwide, the company behind the comic strip, confirmed on Twitter that "Snoopy IS a dog"."

Syrian rebel leader Zahran Alloush delivers speech to Islamist militants with a Hello Kitty notebook

Why they didn't land troops behind the trenches during World War I

Nick Malik's answer to In World War I why didn't countries bypass trenches by landing troops beyond them? - Quora

"The use of ships to transport large invading armies was a "new idea" and militaries are run by old men.

Today, we understand and accept the idea of the Marines, but in 1914, moving whole armies that way was novel.

Traditional military services were segregated and very few "troop transport" ships existed. Remember that many world navies still fought pitched sea battles. Last thing you want, when a ship sinks, is to take both your navy and your army. Armies didn't trust the navy, and vice versa.

with so many structural reasons, it was not an idea that would fly."

Joel Parker's answer to In World War I why didn't countries bypass trenches by landing troops beyond them? - Quora

"There wasn't a lot of open beach to land in Holland & the German North Sea coast. The Rhine estuarine plain has been largely canalized through Belgium and the Netherlands, & German coastal cities were heavily defended with extended fortifications & huge coastal defense guns. Perhaps France could have been invaded but as noted here amphibious assaults on a large scale were unprecedented & considered too high risk for success."

Kyle Murao's answer to In World War I why didn't countries bypass trenches by landing troops beyond them? - Quora

"whereas the Nazis had kind of a wimpy navy, the imperial German navy during WW1 was enormous. If the Allies had attempted an amphibious landing of the scale required to achieve a strategic breakthrough, it might have been necessary not only to bottle it up in port, but to destroy it outright--something the RN had singularly failed to do at Jutland in 1916, where the Germans fought the British to a tactical standstill. German U-boats would also have posed a big threat to slow-moving troop transports crossing the Channel or the North Sea."

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Dividing Line Between Good and Evil

"I credited myself with unselfish dedication. But meanwhile I had been thoroughly prepared to be an executioner. And if I had gotten into an NKVD school under Yezhov, maybe I would have matured just in time for Beria.

So let the reader who expects this book to be a political expose slam its covers shut right now.

If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?

During the life of any heart this line keeps changing place; sometimes it is squeezed one way by exuberant evil and sometimes it shifts to allow enough space for good to flourish. One and the same human being is, at various ages, under various circumstances, a totally different human being. At times he is close to being a devil, at times to sainthood. But his name doesn't change, and to that name we ascribe the whole lot, good and evil.

Socrates taught us: Know thyself!

Confronted by the pit into which we are about to toss those who have done us harm, we halt, stricken dumb: it is after all only because of the way things worked out that they were the executioners and we weren't.

If Malyuta Skuratov had summoned us, we, too, probably would have done our work well!

From good to evil is one quaver, says the proverb.

And correspondingly, from evil to good."

--- The Gulag Archipelago / Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Links - 26th August 2014

Lizzy Lee - Lizzy Lee's Photos - "This. is the best zheng hu anything I've seen ever. The ghost of Singa past will continue haunting you during 7th month."

Sierra Leone's 365 Ebola deaths traced back to one healer - "It has laid waste to the tribal chiefdoms of Sierra Leone, leaving hundreds dead, but the Ebola crisis began with just one healer's claims to special powers. The outbreak need never have spread from Guinea, health officials revealed to AFP, except for a herbalist in the remote eastern border village of Sokoma. "She was claiming to have powers to heal Ebola. Cases from Guinea were crossing into Sierra Leone for treatment," Mohamed Vandi, the top medical official in the hard-hit district of Kenema, told AFP. "She got infected and died. During her funeral, women around the other towns got infected.""
Cultural Imperialism!

Watch Would-Be Suicide Bomber React To Video Of Failed Bomb Attempt - "the report “shatters the illusion that those who are driven by hate can have their minds changed.” The report included footage of the would-be suicide bomber at the very moment her detonator failed outside of a hospital. After shedding her jacket, the woman can be seen crying and clutching at her neck and chest... the woman told Vittert that she is proud of her actions and hopes to once again “taste and smell paradise.” She maintains that she is still intent on blowing herself up in order to kill Israelis, and urges other young women to do the same."

Is English Literature a conspiracy to keep non-elites poor in Singapore ? - "I always thought that we were deliberately taught badly in a Government school so that we will develop a hatred for the humanities and take up technocratic careers. In Secondary 1, Swiss Cottage had Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. Was Great Expectations strategically chosen to keep us Government kids from living out our potential ?"

Italian Journalist Defies Hamas: 'Out of Gaza Far from Hamas Retaliation: Misfired Rocket Killed Children in Shati' - "Italian journalist Gabriele Barbati said he was able to speak freely about witnessing a Hamas misfire that killed nine children at the Shati camp, confirming the Israel Defense Forces version of events, but only after leaving Gaza, “far from Hamas retaliation”... Barbati said he was unable to speak about the Al Shifa hit, but he was certain that it was a Hamas rocket that hit the Shati camp, and a witness saw militants rushing to clean the debris. Blogger Elder of Ziyon, who praised Barbati for telling the truth in a war where many journalists have been intimidated by Hamas, noted that “When Hamas made the area off limits to reporters, it was cleaning the area from any debris that could show the truth.”"

Foreign press gives mixed accounts of Hamas intimidation in Gaza - "In the text that accompanied the video report on NDTV’s website, Jain wrote that it was published “after our team left the Gaza Strip – Hamas has not taken very kindly to any reporting of its rockets being fired. But just as we reported the devastating consequences of Israel’s offensive on Gaza’s civilians, it is equally important to report on how Hamas places those very civilians at risk by firing rockets deep from the heart of civilian zones. “ Two days later, Jain published an article on NDTV’s website with the story behind his report, explaining that his team waited days before airing the video clip due to “fear of reprisals from Hamas against us and those who worked with us, [and] fear of inviting an Israeli response on the spot”... On Wednesday, the Christian Broadcasting Network aired an interview with Archbishop Alexios, whom reporter George Thomas called “Gaza’s most prominent Christian leader.” CBN estimates there are 1,500 Christians living in Gaza. Alexios said Hamas used his church to fire rockets, but he would not discuss details on camera for security reasons."

Palestinian journalists decry intimidation - Features - Al Jazeera English - "From a total of 180 countries, Israel landed the 96th spot for worst violators of press freedoms, according to Reporters Without Borders' 2014 Press Freedom Index, an annual publication that ranks governments' treatment of journalists. The occupied Palestinian territories - including the PA-controlled West Bank and the Hamas-administered Gaza Strip - earned the 138th ranking."

A little video gaming 'linked to well-adjusted children' - "Scientists found young people who spent less than an hour a day engaged in video games were better adjusted than those who did not play at all. But children who used consoles for more than three hours reported lower satisfaction with their lives overall... Dr Iroise Dumontheil, of Birkbeck, University of London, who was not involved in the research, said: "Other studies have shown that playing first-person shooter games, but not other types, can lead to increased visuospatial processing and memory abilities."

Reddit Users Were Asked To Sum Up Their First Sexual Experience With A GIF. The Responses Were Magnificent (SFW) - Imgur

Lord of the Rings: A theory about the eagle 'plot hole'. (Very long, it even has maps) : FanTheories - "I think everyone knows the eagle 'plot hole' in The Lord of the Rings. Why didn't they get the eagles to fly the ring to Mount Doom? My theory is that Gandalf had planned on doing exactly that."

Anya Deason's answer to Why does Hamas hide weaponry in hospitals and schools? - Quora - "In America and Europe, there is knee-deep hypocrisy on this issue. If poor people from a neighboring city decided to shoot rockets into affluent, American or European neighborhoods, none of the American or European peace activists would be willing to sacrifice their children, their nice homes or themselves, so poor people could express their dissatisfaction with the unfairness of life via ballistics. Kid yourselves not: there's plenty of economic injustice in America and Europe, but in democratic societies, the rule of law is observed despite blatant inequities... since there have been times in history when armed resistance was necessary, terrorists like to equate their violent actions with those exceptional times. When your alleged oppressor supplies you with electricity and treats your casualties in their hospitals, it's not one of those times in history. When your alleged oppressor provides warnings before shooting into civilians areas, it's not one of those times in history. When your alleged oppressor puts its citizens in jail for life for committing crimes against your people, it's not one of those times in history. When your alleged oppressor is a tiny country that is open to a two state solution, assuming you recognize their right to exist, it's not one of those times in history. Years ago on C-SPAN, I listened to speeches by teenagers at Seeds of Peace, and almost all the Israeli kids said they wanted peace and friendship, reflecting what their parents taught them. None of the Palestinian kids took that approach, and since they were just kids, their beliefs reflect the beliefs of the adults in their lives. It's a shame, because violent movements rarely achieve the intended results. If Martin Luther King Jr. or Mahatmas Gandhi had instructed their followers to commit terrorist acts, like bombing buses or shooting rockets at civilians, they would not have been successful in liberating their people. It really comes down to this: do you want a better future for yourselves and your children, or do you want to fight? Most groups who use terrorism as a tactic do not want peace. When peace activists don't suffer from a daily threat of rocket fire and bus bombings, it's easy to say they would never block terrorists from entering their country with bombs strapped to their chests."

Matt Wasserman's answer to Restaurant Business: Are the drinks and beverages normally the highest profit margin items on the menu for restaurants and fast-food restaurants? - Quora - "Over 60% profit, which is crazy high for the restaurant biz. And bigger chains get even better prices on syrup... The legend that soda has even higher margins than that stems from free refill policies seen at many restaurants. If refills are free, soda must be nearly so. The reality is this is an accounting hack - it's impossible to inventory open containers of syrup, so restaurants (and convenience stores) inventory the cups instead (where applicable) and write the syrup off as an expense."

Man accidentally kills himself taking gun-toting selfie

Chris Everett's answer to Should lobbying be made illegal in the USA? - Quora - "This, right here, is what the first amendment is all about. It's about ensuring that we can talk about our political leaders, without risk of being fined or jailed for such. Money in politics is an unfortunate thing, but it's better than the alternative. Money, in the end, is purely democratic. Your dollar counts the same as one of Bill Gate's dollars. Sure, he has more of them, but if your dollar can't be used, Bill Gates still has access... You don't. Taking a few hundred dollars to the print shop can produce you a fair number of handbills to give out or slide under doors. Make those acts illegal, and you've destroyed competitive democracy."
Addendum: Keywords - free speech, political, corporations, Citizens United, censoring corporations

Dutch paedophile club to fight their ban at the European Court of Human Rights - "The Dutch paedophile society Vereniging MARTIJN is planning to appeal their case at the European Court of Human Rights after being banned by the Supreme Court of The Netherlands last April. The club’s lawyer has announced that the case will be put to the European judges no later than October this year. Vereniging MARTIJN has been advocating legal and social acceptance of sexual relations between adults and children in the Netherlands since 1982, actively seeking a platform for their ideas through engaging the press and initiating political discourse on the topic. Last April, the Supreme Court of The Netherlands ruledVereniging MARTIJN 's existence a threat to public order. Emphasising that forbidding a club should only be considered under extreme circumstances under democratic law, the Supreme Court argued that an exception needed to be made in order to protect children."
100 years ago, campaigning for homosexuality to be legal could've been banned to protect children

Moshe Feiglin and the 'liberation' of Gaza - " Elected as a member of the Knesset only in January 2013, today he already serves as deputy speaker of the Knesset. In May, a poll listed him has the fourth most popular member of Likud... Attack the entire ‘target bank’ throughout Gaza with the IDF’s maximum force (and not a tiny fraction of it) with all the conventional means at its disposal. All the military and infrastructural targets will be attacked with no consideration for ‘human shields’ or ‘environmental damage’. It is enough that we are hitting exact targets and that we gave them advance warning... According to polls, most of the Arabs in Gaza wish to leave. Those who were not involved in anti-Israel activity will be offered a generous international emigration package. Those who choose to remain will receive permanent resident status. After a number of years of living in Israel and becoming accustomed to it, contingent on appropriate legislation in the Knesset and the authorization of the Minister of Interior, those who personally accept upon themselves Israel’s rule, substance and way of life of the Jewish State in its Land, will be offered Israeli citizenship."

Bob Anderson's answer to Dating and Relationships: Why don't good guys get girls? - Quora - "I'm a 67M now but when I was in my 20s I was a weekend warrior and I hung around with a motorcycle gang. We'd go to the park on weekends and girls would come walking in from all over to get a motorcycle ride. Nice-looking girls, too. 15-18 years old most of'em (they'd all swear they were at least 18). Anyway, I had a friend that had this gf named Ann. Ann & I became good friends so one day I asked her - you're a good-looking girl and I'm certain you wouldn't have any trouble attracting a more "suitable" bf than one of these guys. What is it that keeps you here, hanging out with motorcycle-types ?. She looked me full in the face and said "it isn't boring". Maybe that's why. It isn't boring or it's thrilling in some way (it doesn't take long to get knee-deep in drama when you hang around bikers). If she had to put up with a "bad boy" that's the breaks. Like having to break eggs to make an omelet."

Top 9 Facts The Media Wouldn't Tell You About Hamas - "Hamas Restricts Media Access and Threatens Journalists.
Hamas’ Military Headquarters Are Located Underneath a Hospital.
Hamas Shoots Peace Protesters.
Hamas Falsifies Casualty Numbers... “The authorities in Gaza generally count every young man who did not wear a uniform as a civilian — even if he was involved in terrorist activity and was therefore considered by the IDF a legitimate target, military sources said”... in 2008-2009, Israel’s military operation in Gaza ended with 1,166 dead Palestinians. The Palestinians attempted to claim that two thirds of those dead were civilians. Later, they themselves admitted that two thirds were terrorists.
Hamas Built Its Terror Tunnels Thanks to Dual-Purpose Aid... "Israel had banned construction goods because Hamas used them to build an underground network of weapons depots, bunkers and rocket-launching pads.” Hamas utilized at least 600,000 tons of cement to build the tunnels, which cost an estimated $100 million.
Hamas Killed Children in Building The Terror Tunnels. According to a 2012 paper in the Journal of Palestine Studies titled, “Gaza’s Tunnel Phenomenon: The Unintended Dynamics of Israel’s Siege,” children were used to dig Gaza’s tunnels. In fact, 160 children were killed. The author, Nicolas Pelham, wrote, “nothing was done to impede the use of children in the tunnels, where, much as in Victorian coal mines, they are prized for their nimble bodies.”
Hamas Uses Women, Children, and the Mentally Ill as Human Shields...
As John Nolte points out, CNN treats Hamas terrorists better than it treats Tea Partiers."

Dan Kim's answer to Is Hamas more ethical than the Israeli army? - Quora - "illing Palestinian civilian "spy" and dragging him through the street... beating civilians who are trying to escape from areas where Israel warned that they would be bombing. You see, Hamas has killed plenty of civilians in this conflict... of their own side."

Social Media Arguments: Can’t-Win Propositions - NYTimes.com - "I know, how could I be so stupid? To think that I could have a constructive conversation about something on social media. Luckily, my part in the Twitter fight didn’t last long. A friend saw my tweets and instantly sent me the text message: “ABORT! ABORT! ABORT!”... I quickly called my friend and pleaded, “How do I make it stop?” “You can’t make it stop,” he proclaimed while admonishing me. “What were you thinking? You know you can’t win a Twitter fight. You can never win an argument with someone on social media.” Sadly, he was right. Trying to discuss an even remotely contentious topic with someone on social media is a fool’s errand... If you haven’t experienced this wrath (I’d be shocked if most people have not), try this simple experiment: Go to a social website and offer even the slightest morsel of opinion on something. You can pick from Gaza, Israel, Justin Bieber, Orlando Bloom, Jay Z and Beyoncé, the N.S.A., President Obama or any other esoteric topic. Then watch what happens. One person says one thing and then the digital mob is upon you... I asked a number of journalists whose job it is to be attacked by people online, and they said they simply don’t respond. An editor at The New Yorker said, “The rule about engaging is that you should never engage.” A former Gawker employee said a mantra at the company is to, “Never complain, never explain.” A co-worker at The New York Times told me, “Don’t feed the trolls.” And another said that angry tweets are simply “spitballs on a battleship”... Take the short sentence, “Yeah, you’re right.” In the middle of an argument on Twitter that could easily read as sarcasm, even if the person is being sincere. As the Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw said, “The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” Nowhere is that more true than with digital conversations. Surprisingly, the conflict and dispute experts I spoke with said that you should actually engage with your detractors, allowing your emotions to cool first, and in a really heated instance, take the discussion elsewhere. “On Facebook and Twitter people are not responding to the person who posted the message, they’re playing to the crowd""

Hamas’ phony statistics on civilian deaths - "Data published by the New York Times strongly suggests that a very large number— perhaps a majority—of those killed are closer to the combatant end of the continuum than to the civilian end. First of all, the vast majority of those killed have been male rather than female. In an Islamic society, males are far more likely to be combatants than females. Second, most of those killed are within the age range (15-40) that are likely to be combatants. The vast majority of these are male as well. The number of people over 60 who have been killed is infinitesimal. The number of children below the age of 15 is also relatively small, although their pictures have been shown more frequently than others. In other words, the genders and ages of those killed are not representative of the general population of Gaza. It is far more representative of the genders and ages of combatants. These data strongly suggest that a very large percentage of Palestinians killed are on the combatant side of the continuum. They also prove, as if any proof were necessary to unbiased eyes, that Israel did not target civilians randomly. If it had, the dead would be representative of the Gaza population in general, rather than of the subgroups most closely identified with combatants."

Civilian or Not? New Fight in Tallying the Dead From the Gaza Conflict - NYTimes.com - "It seems unlikely that there will ever be a definitive breakdown both sides accept: Israel contends that some of the casualties were caused by errant Hamas rockets or mortars. Human rights groups acknowledge that people killed by Hamas as collaborators and people who died naturally, or perhaps through domestic violence, are most likely counted as well... The Times analysis, looking at 1,431 names, shows that the population most likely to be militants, men ages 20 to 29, is also the most overrepresented in the death toll: They are 9 percent of Gaza’s 1.7 million residents, but 34 percent of those killed whose ages were provided. At the same time, women and children under 15, the least likely to be legitimate targets, were the most underrepresented, making up 71 percent of the population and 33 percent of the known-age casualties... Surviving children might deny that their father was a fighter, but a medical worker might say he arrived at the emergency room with a weapon in hand."

Grady Judd's sex stings under microscope with officers breaking rules - "n the decade since Chris Hansen and "To Catch a Predator" popularized Internet sex stings, more than 1,200 men in Florida alone have been arrested, accused of preying on underage teens and children for sex. But as the stings put more and more men behind bars, detectives are working harder and harder to keep up their arrest numbers. And the tactics they're using to put alleged sexual offenders in jail are sweeping up large numbers of law-abiding men, too. A yearlong investigation by 10 Investigates reveals many of the men whose mugshots have been paraded out by local sheriffs in made-for-TV press conferences were not seeking to meet children online. Instead, they were minding their own business, looking for other adults, when detectives started to groom and convince them to break the law."

90-Year-Old Sex Columnist Shatters Taboos in India - NYTimes.com - "When the women’s magazine Femina introduced a sex column, an outraged reader filed an obscenity complaint with the police, claiming that the magazine’s editors were fabricating outrageous letters to increase readership. Sathya Saran, then the editor, responded by delivering a sack of unopened letters to the judge. “He read them over the lunch hour and dismissed the case,” she said. Dr. Watsa said yes when Meenal Baghel, the editor of The Mumbai Mirror, approached with the idea for Ask the Sexpert. It was the first time such questions appeared in a daily newspaper in India, rather than the specialized venue of a men’s or women’s magazine, and it remains — even nine years later — a daily shock to Indian sensibilities. Commuters in Mumbai can be spotted folding over their newspaper before reading it on the train, and subscribers have been known to snip the column out with scissors before sharing the newspaper with their children. One Mumbai journalist said she liked to read the column aloud to her mother as a form of torture, routinely forcing her to run from the room"

Too much sex in sex education book, Fremont parents say - "Teri Topham, whose daughter is going into ninth grade in Fremont and who teaches high school at a Fremont charter school, said she would throw the book out. "I flipped through it and saw sections that mentioned bondage with ropes and handcuffs," Topham said. "Not only does it have material that is too explicit and inappropriate, it doesn't meet their need for their ages. I am astounded the health teachers and school board said, 'yes, this is the best book we could find.'"
So much for "age appropriate"

The Next Frontier: Microaggressions

Don't Sweat the Microaggressions - The Atlantic

"The study that might have put to rest much of the recent agitation about microaggressions has unfortunately never been published. Microaggressions, for those who are not up on the recent twists and turns of American public discourse, are the subtle prejudices found even in the most liberal parts of our polity. They are revealed when a lecturer cites mainly male sources and no gay ones, when we use terms such as “mankind,” or when we discuss what Michelle Obama wore when she visited pandas in China, something we would not note about a man...

[She] asked members of 80 groups in New York City what they felt about other such groups. She avoided broad strokes and asked not about divisions between black and white, but what African Americans felt about Africans from Nigeria and blacks from the West Indies. She asked Hispanics about Dominicans, Haitians, Mexicans, and Cubans, and so on.

What Carolyn found was that there was little love lost between any two groups. Members of all the 80 groups she studied attached all kind of unflattering labels to members of other groups, even if they were of the same race or ethnic group. When she interviewed members of subgroups, they were unsparing about each other. German Jews felt that Jews of Polish origin were very uncouth (and surely would not want their daughter to marry one or to share a synagogue with them). The Polish Jews, in turn, felt that those of German background were stuck up and “assimilated,” and hence one was best off crossing to the other side of the street if they neared. Iraqis from Basra considered those from Baghdad to be too modern, and those from Baghdad considered their brothers and sisters from Basra as provincial—and so on and so on. Today they would all be called at least microaggressive.

None of this is surprising to sociologists, who have long held that one major way community cohesion is promoted is by defining it against out-groups—and that there is a strong psychological tendency to attribute positive adjectives to an in-group and negatives on to the outsiders. In short, it’s part—not a pretty part—of human nature, or at least social nature. Choose any group and you will find its members griping about all the others.

I hence urge those who are troubled by the ways others talk about them to use Carolyn’s findings as a baseline. That is, not to ignore slurs and insults, and most certainly not racial, ethnic, or any other kind of prejudices, but merely to “deduct” from them what seems to be standard noise, the normal sounds of human rambling. We may wish for a world in which people say only kind things about each other, but until we get there, we should not take umbrage at every negative note or adjective that is employed. For now, that is something most of us do—yes, I suspect even those who rail against microaggression...

What we are seeing is a return to the peak of political correctness. While sensitivity is warranted, that movement had gone too far by the time a major newspaper's list of prohibited words numbered 5,000, including “going Dutch” and “welshing” on one’s commitments. The current vogue for microaggressions is not more sensible.

A leading authority on microaggression, Professor Derald Sue of Columbia University’s Psychology Department, suggests that we leave it to the victims of microaggression to tell us whether a turn of phrase is or is not an act of aggression. They will let us know that when we slip up and talk about “him” instead of “him or her,” we engage in gender microaggression, and that when we use the term “father and mother” we reveal our homophobic tendencies. When you cannot tell if you are aggressive before the other person responds, and anybody can declare he or she has been abused by anything we say, communion between members of different groups becomes even more difficult. What we need is more contact and fewer grounds for mutual accusations and sense of being victimized.

Instead, let’s focus on acts of aggression that are far from micro. Where? See tomorrow’s headlines. People are killing each other because they belong to the “wrong” confessional group, race, or country—in many parts of the world. At home the rich get richer and the poor stay poor, which should insult us more than poor word choice. And people shoot good people, children included, because (among other things) a lobby prevents the Congress from passing legislation that is supported by 90 percent of the public. Such behavior should trouble us more than anything anybody could possibly say."

Monday, August 25, 2014

Booker T. Washington on the Grievance Industry

"There is another class of coloured people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs, and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Having learned that they are able to make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs -- partly because they want sympathy and partly because it pays. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do do not want to lose their jobs...

I am afraid that there is a certain class of race-problem solvers who don't want the patient to get well, because as long as the disease holds out they have not only an easy means of making a living, but also an easy medium through which to make themselves prominent before the public...

For them there was nothing to do but insist on the application of the abstract principles of protest. Indignation meetings in Faneuil Hall, Boston, became at one time so frequent as to be a nuisance. It would not have been so bad if the meetings had been confined to the subjects for which they were proposed; but when "The Intellectuals" found that the Southern people rarely, if ever, heard of their protests and, if they did hear of them, paid no attention to them, they began to attack the persons nearer home. They began to attack the people of Boston because they said that the people of Boston had lost interest in the cause of the Negro. After attacking the friends of the Negro elsewhere, particularly all those who happened to disagree with them as to the exact method of aiding the Negro, they made me a frequent and favourite object of attack -- not merely for the reasons which I have already stated, but because they felt that if they attacked me in some particularly violent way it would surprise people and attract attention. There is no satisfaction in holding meetings and formulating protests unless you can get them into the newspapers"

--- The Intellectuals and the Boston Mob in My Larger Education, Being Chapters from My Experience
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