Saturday, November 22, 2014

Rolling Stone: A Rape On Campus: A Brutal Assault And Struggle For Justice At UVA

   This hit the internet like a bomb.
   I was prepared to be outraged... If true, of course, it is horrific almost beyond belief. However, honestly, the account does not sound very plausible to me. That counts for very little, of course, and I don't make much of such initial judgments of plausibility--even my own. There's little doubt in my mind that a UVA frat is the kind of place that has more than the average number of assholes and psychopaths. But the story of seven guys attacking the alleged victim without preamble for hours on end with a party going on downstairs, referring to her as 'it' and so on...it does strain credulity a bit. My credulity, at any rate. That may, of course, be wishful thinking. As terrible as a false accusation of rape is, that's the best-case scenario here. Then there is the strange account of her friends, immediately after the alleged gang rape, attempting to talk her out of calling the police on the grounds that it would harm her social standing. She also claims that she was attacked on the Corner for having spoken out about the incident, and that her alleged assailant threw a bottle at her, breaking it on her face and leaving her bruised and cut. At least these other parts of the story should be verifiable or falsifiable--the friends who came to get her should be able to testify, and one would think that there would be a police report about the bottle incident, or at least some witnesses.
   A fairly quick Googling reveals virtually no skepticism about the account, so perhaps I'm some kind of lunatic outlier.
   Of course innocent until proven guilty is a legal standard, not a moral one, but it seems notable to me that there seems to be a rush to judgment here. Of course it's difficult to hear an account like this without becoming outraged, and it's difficult to believe that someone would make up such a story. I suppose all there is for it is to hope that the truth comes out in some very clear way, and that justice is done, whatever that might come to.

Friday, November 21, 2014

38 Closed Guard BJJ Combinations In 4 Minutes

Some of these are really sneaky.

BENGHAZI BENGHAZI BENGHAZI!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!111

Sooo....will they just keep screeching about Benghazi anyway? Or maybe revert back to Fast and Furious or Solyndra...or Whitewater or Troopergate or...whatever...?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Inequality, Unbelievably, Gets Worse

Well that's just great.

Harvard, Carolina Sued Over Race-Based Admissions

This issue makes me want to go cower in the corner.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Anti-Authoritarian Calisthenics

   aka "anarchist calisthenics."
   Along similar lines, I sometimes tell my students: you need to be prepared to tell people to go to hell when necessary...

   (h/t Armenius Apoplexis)

Monday, November 17, 2014

Nixon Declares State of Emergency, Readies National Guard Ahead of Grand Jury Announcement

After Solyndra Loss, U.S. Energy Loan Program Turning a Profit

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

"Queering Knowledge"

Behold, the kind of stuff that gives bullshit a bad name:
Feminist Critical Analysis
Queering Knowledge: Intimacies, Spaces, Affects
Topic
Following Jack Halberstam’s notion of queer, not as a particular body-centered identity position, but as a relational positionality, this year’s course in Feminist Critical Analysis seeks interdisciplinary approaches that examine the possibility of queer concepts of knowledge and queer paradigms of knowledge production and circulation. In particular, we are interested in discussing the ways in which different normative orders are reflected in the power/knowledge paradigms that produce “queer subjects” with “strange temporalities, imaginative life schedules, and eccentric economics”. We will consider alternative modes of intimacy, alliances, forms of embodiment, and representation and how these can contribute to a new understanding of knowledge production and transmission, with very concrete ethical implications and, more importantly, political potential. Is there such a thing as “queer knowledge” at all? Following Lacan, one of the questions we intend to pose would be - is the true desire for knowledge always paranoid, i.e. a desire not to know, as it necessarily confronts the Real? Can there be power in ignorance, as Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick notes in Epistemology of the Closet?
In 2015, the annual course Feminist Critical Analysis will examine these recent theoretical moves and consider their consequences for feminist scholarship and activism. We encourage active participation and debates that will bring together disciplines from across the humanities, social sciences, art, political theory, cultural studies, philosophy, etc.
(From an e-mail on PHILOS-L)

Monday, November 10, 2014

The N-Word At The Washington Post

   I'm not going to be doing much blogging for awhile for IRL reasons, but I thought this, at the Washington Post, was pretty good. Some interesting stuff has been written on this topic, but this piece is a pretty good, short take on the thing.
   I grew up with an extremely racist father--not, y'know nouveau "racist," like, he used slightly unfashionable terms or said something ambiguous on Twitter once...I mean racist. Like, hated black people (also Asians...but they seemed to be a kind of afterthought...) racist. And my consciousness was formed when the civil rights movement was not exactly ancient history. Anyway, that's a word that's always going to send me into an anger subroutine. I do suspect that the "reclamation" strategy is the best strategy, though it took me a long time to get used to it. I don't think a policing-and-condemnation strategy is going to work, whereas I think a reclamation strategy is likely to. It's kinda hard for me to understand why non-blacks think it's ok to use the term, but that's a conversation I don't really feel a need to be a big part of. Seems to me that it's (a) a desire to use a word perceived to be fashionable vs. (b) flirting with racism. It's hard for me to see how anybody would think that (a) is weighty enough to stack up against (b). But the very fact that it's become a question at all might be an indicator of progress.
   I don't really see that the word in question is a completely special case, actually. My own view is that it's analogous to e.g. 'asshole' and similar insults. When you apply such words to your friends, they're terms of endearment. When you you apply them to non-friends, they're insults. The former fact is basically parasitic on the latter fact. You apply the term 'asshole' to your friends ironically. You apply the term 'asshole' to non-friends straight.