Friday, September 21, 2007

Comment policy

Hi all,

I recently changed the comments to disallow anonymous comments. This was not meant to discourage discussion or opinions, but I simply do not want posters who have no identity at all. I encourage people to use aliases if they'd like. I value the ability for us to be somewhat anonymous online, but do not believe in commenters being a blind face with an opinion. Logistically, it is also hard to keep track of which person said what when everyone is anon.

Thanks. Happy commenting.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Boys Will Be Boys

A post over at my friends' blog, Below the Belt, about a Christian men's group that attempts to address "masculine" issues prompted me to post today.

The men's group was, on some level, criticizing women for repressing them. They were using a variation of the argument I can't stand, Boys Will Be Boys. I'm sure there is tons written up about this particular subject, but I'd like to know what you, readers, think as well.

I think a lot of how boys and girls/men and women behave is due to socialization, but in my gender studies, I have seen enough to concede that there are some sex differences in behavior between boys and girls. However, this "bwbb" argument oversimplifies it. It is often used to justify violent or sexist behavior, defining those behaviors or preferences as "masculine." Not only is this dangerous, it is often just untrue.


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Why do hate crimes at home shock us so?

This sounds like something out of a movie from the 1950's. How awful.

BIG CREEK, W.Va. - Inside a shed on a remote hillside of this coalfield community, authorities say a young black woman was tortured for days, sexually assaulted, beaten and forced to eat rat droppings.

Her captors, all of them white, choked her with a cable cord, poured hot water over her and stabbed her in the leg while calling her a racial slur, according to criminal complaints. It wasn't until an anonymous tip led Logan County Sheriff's deputies to the property on Saturday that her ordeal ended and she was able to limp to safety, arms outstretched as she cried "help me!

Others in the article, including the mother of the 20-year-old victim, kept saying things to the likes of, "I can't believe people like this exist."
"I don't understand a human being doing another human being the way they did my daughter," Carmen Williams said Tuesday from her daughter's hospital room. "I didn't know there were people like that out here."

Which makes me wonder, are we naive to think that our fellow citizens aren't capable of such horrific acts? Has history taught us nothing? Is it awful and defeatist for us to presume that people will continue to perpetuate hate crimes and human rights violations? It happens routinely in many, many parts of the world, so why are we surprised? Certainly this is an inexcusable, terrible occurrence, but if similar things are happening everywhere else in the world, why are we shocked when it happens here? Is that ethnocentric of us, in the same vein as "It could never happen here" or "Not in my backyard" ?

Friday, September 07, 2007

Immigration reform put simply

For lack of a secular word, AMEN to this:
Immigrants' Labors Lost
The New York Times
(emphasis mine)

IMAGINE we wanted to create a huge Latino underclass in this country. We would induce more than 500,000 illegal immigrants to enter annually. We would see Latinos account for half of America’s population growth. We would turn a hardened eye toward all 44 million Latinos, because 12 million jumped our borders to meet our labor demand.

We would know that if we paid them, they would come, but we would offer no legitimate employment. We would adopt a let’s-pretend labor policy in our fields, yards, factories and restaurants, and for child care, construction and cleaning, with a wage fakery worthy of the Soviet Union. There, the joke was “we pretend to work, and they pretend to pay us.” Here they would work, hard — and we would pay them, sort of, but pretend not to, denying ourselves the future tax revenue needed to pay for services we faulted them for needing.

Rather than fencing aspiring contributors out, comprehensive reform means Congress getting serious about entry-level job training and midcareer education programs for all workers. They deliver better economic returns than border patrols do.

The guy with the leaf-blower not only can learn English, he — like the unemployed steelworker — should have a chance to learn auto repair or programming. He’ll start with the jobs “ordinary Americans” won’t do. But we impair our economic future if we leave him there, imagining that’s all he or his children will ever do.

Saturday, September 01, 2007


Hi, I'm back. Sorry for the very long absence. I've had some life turmoil and have not felt like discussing the big issues when the small ones were so pressing.

I've got new ideas though and look forward to writing again.

But first, readers, tell me, what's your definition of postmodernism? Now I know you can go to the Internets and look up a definition, but I want to know what you personally consider the definition to be. I've never been able to deduce a coherent, concrete definition. I also think that's a fault of the theory. I know it best to be an architectural definition--a push back against the idea that modernism was too cold, impersonal. Adding more details, instead of having just clean lines, taking note and including the surrounding environment when designing urban buildings, and more of a reference to historical decorative forms.

Much as I hate that everyone uses Wikipedia as if it's an academic source, I was referred to their page about postmod here and think it has quite a lot of information.