Thursday Link Dump

Clever Manka, · Categories: Thursday Link Dump

Ursula Le Guin October 29, 1929 – January 22, 2018

Her obituary on NPR’s website.

Unlearning how white people ask personal questions.

Maybe stop using black women as a moral compass.

The reality is that the political determinism emblemized by the #trustblackwomen hashtag isn’t so much a compliment as much as it is a gilded cage. Black women aren’t electoral talismans. We don’t have intrinsic moral authority, nor should our votes be taken as an imprimatur of virtue for the Democratic party – a party which fails us more often than not. What the homogeneous nature of the black voting bloc does represent, however, is a deficit of options.

A very long, detailed, and insightful essay on healthcare data and social determinants of health in the U.S. It was impossible to pick a pull quote, so if you’re interested in an analysis of a whole bunch of aspects of our current fucked up healthcare system, check it out.

White people understand exactly how racism works.

For 500 years, across multiple generations, we have let White people bamboozle us into thinking that they don’t understand racism, white privilege, or white supremacy. They know and still keep cashing in on a system that empowers them. Racism is their creation. They planned, designed, constructed and keep evolving it to the current social, economic, political and psychological needs of the moment. They devote their entire lives and the bulk of their resources to maintaining these structures of inequity and injustice against People of Color in general and Black people in particular. What kind of sense does it make to think they don’t understand how it works?

There is not a single thing that White people do not understand about racism and white supremacy except the thing that we are addicted to believing we can somehow magically make them see: Our humanity and the suffering caused by living in a racist society. And if White people can pretend that they “don’t see race” or color, they can also pretend not to see racism. Not to see their own privilege, power, or culpability in maintaining an entire system built upon inequality. This game they play is a form of cognitive dissonance that they use to protect racial privilege and reproduce racism in dialogues about race. By faking ignorance, they don’t have to take responsibility for the things they do. By claiming naïveté, they absolve themselves of racist sins so they can turn around and sin again.

An amazing Longreads piece about how injury changed a dancer’s life that is applicable to so many things that so many of us are going through.

What’s hard to come to terms with when your body has been so indelibly changed — by injury, by illness, even by age — is just that: that it has been indelibly changed. That no matter how completely you may recover, it is never the same. Your body isn’t infallible, it never really was. This is just a lucky illusion some of us can live for a period of time. Some of us live with it through childhood and adolescence, some for a few decades — some not nearly that long. The very lucky ones can go most of their lives this way. Dancers, athletes and daredevils play out this illusion to the extreme, defying every imposed physical limit, pretending the very thing they love and lust after won’t also be their ruin.

Did you know there’s something called the “Likelihood to Sexually Harass Scale?” And it’s been around since the 80s?

Fifteen dollars seems like a lot to spend on an enamel pin (to me), but if you’re Canadian and an avid reader this Read Canadian Books pin might be exactly what you want to sport on your super-warm coat.

The discomfort of placing media in the horror genre.

There’s a long history of movies being too good to be considered horror. Brian De Palma said he never thought of “Carrie,” his movie based on Stephen King’s novel, as horror, and William Friedkin has also rejected that label for “The Exorcist.” In his review of “Jaws,” Roger Ebert called it an “adventure movie,” while The New York Times’s Vincent Canby described it as “science fiction.” When “Rosemary’s Baby,” an inspiration for “Get Out,” premiered, the Los Angeles Times critic Charles Champlin panned it as “sick and obscene,” before adding bluntly in a subsequent essay that it was “too well done” for a horror movie.

When it’s seen as better to be called “science fiction” than “horror,” you know the genre has a bad rap. That said, I agree that Shape of Water is not horror.

Why Unrest, a documentary about chronic fatigue, is important not just for sufferers and their care-givers.

Home-made tinted lip balm recipe!

Oh, academia.

Some academics insist that it’s not their job to write for the general public. They suggest that doing so would mean they’re “abandoning their mission as intellectuals”. They don’t want to feel like they’re “dumbing down” complex thinking and arguments.

The counter argument is that academics can’t operate in isolation from the world’s very real problems.

This essay on why Japanese women largely reject hormonal birth control is a good example of how important it is to remember that nobody’s reality is the same and perspective can change what seems good or bad.

In the west, reproductive choice is considered specifically a women’s issue and its absence is taken to indicate women’s oppression. Therefore, Western women tend to see Japanese women as passive and submissive. However, Japanese women see Western women as submitting to patriarchal standards of contraception being the woman’s responsibility. In a non-Western sense, women command bodily autonomy “free from artificial intervention.” To Japanese women, the preference of condoms is an expression of trust between partners that reproductive control is to be located in the relationship and not just in the body of the female.

You might have already heard of the website Does the Dog Die? which can inform viewers of animal harm (and a growing number of other things) in visual media. Did you know there’s the same thing for sexual violence?

THIS POEM, written by a third-grade girl who I hope has a supportive family and will Go Places. Transcription with original line breaks:

The true feminine

I am not sugar and
spice and everything nice.
I am music, I am art.
I am a story. I am a
church bell, gonging out wrongs
and rights and normal nights.
I was baby. I am child. I will
be mother. I don’t mind being
considered beautiful, I do not
allow that to be my
definition. I am a rich
pie strong with knowledge. I
will not be eaten.

And music I came across on Tumblr recently:

39 Responses to “Thursday Link Dump”

  1. littleinfinity says:

    I wish the Likelihood to Sexually Harass article had linked to the scale! I know, I can google it… but an article discussing a measure should allow you to view the items on the measure and/or report its reliability stats, I think. Maybe I am just being a crotchety academic 😉 Totally agree with the "academics don't talk to other people" article. That was one of the reasons I decided to go into nonprofit work after grad school – I felt like I could make more of a difference and actually communicate with the public. What I've learned is that (at least in my current situation) it's a little more complicated. We have the public outreach capacity and we have the community ties, but the flip side is that there's less importance placed on gathering data and communicating about research. Priority-wise, it comes second (or third or fourth) to other departments. So I've found it to be a bit of a tradeoff between having the ability to do research in academia, but not the infrastructure or motivation to communicate it widely, versus having a community presence in nonprofit, but being hamstrung by resources or organizational priorities in regard to conducting research.

    • Xolandra says:

      Sooooooooooo I found a version of the quiz, and it's pretty upsetting, imo.


      • littleinfinity says:

        Interesting… those questions are both very general/ vague and very specific, somehow. I'm not surprised it predicts likelihood to harass, the questions are basically “will you harass women”, lol.  Thank you for finding and sharing!

        • Xolandra says:

          Right? I completed the quiz, and it gives you a little more information: "Pryor designed his test so that only the second question from each scenario — the one about coercing sex — counts toward your score."

          I am, I am pleased to have confirmed, at v low risk of so doing. *wipes brow*

        • jenavira says:

          …much like the surveys that show lots more men will rape if you don't call it rape, men just don't think of what they're doing as sexual harassment. (Or won't admit to it. I honestly don't know which it is.)

  2. vladazhael says:

    Eeeeeeexcellent roundup!

    The white people and personal questions articulated a discomfort I've long had myself, even as the sort of middle class white person who would be expected to ask and answer such questions if I weren't such an incorrigible weirdo. Last night there was an event in my way-too-bougie apartment complex with free tacos and I went because I am not bougie enough to pass up free food, and as I was standing in a line of (overwhelmingly white) yuppies I got to listen to them exchange "what do you do?"s and such like some sort of IRL LinkedIn hellscape, and I was just WAITING for one of them to not read the signals (because they do that) and start in on me and throw a "so what brought you to Huntsville?" my way so I could answer "a series of dubious choices". In the end, they ran low enough on food that I did not feel AT ALL bad about immediately retreating to my cave to get cheese for my single taco, and the only creatures I talked to were a dog in the food line and one fellow misanthropic human in the elevator.

    The piece about contraception in Japan was the sort of eye-opener that also feels so incredibly obvious that I should have considered it myself that way a long time ago. Very nourishing food for thought. Also, it reminds me that the anniversary of my tube-tying is next week and I should celebrate.

    I just watched Unrest this past weekend and I wholeheartedly endorse both the movie itself and the article about it.

    And the horror movie one – YES YES FUCK YES THIS. I have not seen Get Out or The Shape of Water yet because life, but I have become a remedial horror fan over the past few years, and I know it was partially this unwarranted lack of respectability that kept me out of it for so long. I don't know if it's still on Netflix, but there's a documentary called Horror in Red White and Blue that digs into the sociopolitical history and implications of American horror and I would highly recommend it even if that's not your genre.

    • Räven says:

      In many countries, asking what you do is really not an acceptable introductory question – France comes to mind – and a lot of that is what this piece alludes to: what you do has a lot to do with your parents' social and economic status, so it's asking a really loaded question. I actually try never to ask about someone's job, and it's fascinating how many people are made really uncomfortable by that, because where I live and in the circles I move in, people are so used to defining themselves up front by their career choices. But the alternative question this fellow uses is a good one.

      • vladazhael says:

        Yeah, I'm going to try to use that alternative should I ever need to. Such conversations also tend to throw me off because I get suspicious of strangers asking me personal questions to build rapport instead of building on some existing chemistry. I hate small talk. I hate "making conversation". And I know I've asked "what do you do?" before in moments of desperate must-say-something-but-nothing-too-personal interaction, but I'm feeling good now about just letting that one slip out of my lexicon entirely.

        • Kazoogrrl says:

          If anyone asks me "What do you do?" and wants to know about my job, they'd better prepare for me vomiting (probably angry and bitter) words at them. I'm ok if, in a conversation, I say something pertaining to my job and am then asked what I do, but not as a conversation starter. I'd rather talk about the weather, and I hate talking about the weather.

          • Räven says:

            haha, yeah, there's also the fact that in an artists group it can lead to a litany of 'oh I'm a painter' 'oh wow is that how you support yourself?' 'okay no [you f*cking twit] I'm a temp, now do you feel better?' and etc. Overall in a gig economy it can just lead to a really tedious enumeration of income sources, which – is that really what people want to know? There are so many better questions to ask a stranger than 'how do you pay your rent and do you find that fulfilling'.

          • vladazhael says:

            It's the sort of question where my mood dictates whether I'm honest enough to make them uncomfortable or end up giving them the banal answer they're seeking just to get through the interaction.

          • Flitworth says:


      • Xolandra says:

        I stopped asking about pepole's jobs ages ago, because a) it never got me any info that I wanted (i really don't care how you survive capitalism) and b) i live where the federal government is housed, so, like, really good odds that you're either a civil servant or civil service adjacent or service industry (which depends on the… civil service).

        I like to ask "what do you do for fun" instead. If people have kids, they're all "nothing, i have kids" and then we get to talk about kids. Otherwise, people talk about their passions, and that IS something that I am interested in.

        I had never thought about the class (and let's be real, race) aspects before, but those are really, really great points too.

    • Flitworth says:

      I lived in DC for a few years (grad school) and that is the only question and it is a stand in for finding out if the other person is in a position to get you somewhere/worth networking with. I hated it, largely because I was un/under-employed for those years.

      Also, I used to run into people I went to HS with who I never spoke to but who post-graduation acted as though we had something to talk about and just as I had gotten to the point of creating the exact story and consider getting business cards*, I stopped running into people.

      *Curator, National Sex Toy Museum, Washington, DC

      • Xolandra says:

        Um. Were you actually the curator of the national sex toy museum? Because that is AMAZING.

        I still want to get business cards. They will read:

        Shenanigans Liaison Officer
        Parties Brought • Good Times Had • Loitering Done, Suspiciously

        Please reply me soonly

        With, like, maybe a unicorn and stars or some shit.

        • Flitworth says:

          Oh gosh no. I just figured saying that would end the conversation for the type of people I didn't want to talk to.

          You should do that. I used to have some that said "Freelance Banterer" .

          • Xolandra says:

            Ha, one of my Great Life Regrets is missing visiting the porn museum in Berlin. Honestly, i was mostly shocked that the USA had a national sex toy museum. It probably doesn't, does it?

          • Flitworth says:

            It seems that technically noone does….

            Maybe we start one as a sort of multi-track diplomacy between our great nations. The Smithsonian Institute clearly needs to fill this gap.

          • vladazhael says:

            Heh. Fill the gap.

          • Xolandra says:

            hur hur hur

          • Lynn says:

            There is a Museum of Sex in NYC (I don't know about their sex toy collection though). I always enjoy their subway advertisements because they have to walk the line between getting across what their exhibit is about without showing anything that will get them in trouble.

            They had a recent photography exhibit titled "The Female Gaze" that I really should have looked into.

        • littleinfinity says:

          PLEASE get these. "loitering done, suspiciously" … hahahahaha

        • RoseCamelia says:

          I like you. I want to be more like you.

      • Kazoogrrl says:

        This is why my FB page says: "Hostess, Life Coach, Chef at Head Full of Hannibal" .

      • vladazhael says:

        My LiveJournal caption was Drinking Wine and Giving Medical Advice since 2001. I should turn that into business cards with some added skillsets.

    • Heathered says:

      I dug around and found Nightmares in Red White & Blue on YouTube, thank you for this tip! I really want to hear a bunch of women talk about horror movies for an hour and a half now, but it was still a nice way for me to be scare-adjacent without committing.

  3. Räven says:

    Okay their name is Hanggai and you can find more with that search
    or 杭盖乐队


  4. Rillquiet says:

    At 88, Ursula Le Guin had lived a long and wonderful life, but it still stings that she's gone. Tor has a great roundup of the SFF community's tributes, including a link to Mary Robinette Kowal's reaction to learning the news, a piece that ends perfectly: "I find myself unable to speak of her in the past tense. This was the problem when I recorded the [NPR] interview for her obituary. Ursula Le Guin was alive when I did that. Today, I have been told that she is dead. There is a low wall between us, but not enough, I think to keep her from shaping my life or yours."

    Sidenote on "Shape of Water": I was really disappointed in GdT for one element, and that was the genuinely awful Russian. If your actors do not speak a language, give them one line in it and then switch to accented first language! The audience will get it! If you have to choose between language and story, PICK STORY.

  5. CleverManka says:

    Okay so hey I just posted about this on Tumblr, too, but:

    Pink's video of the title track on her new album co-starring Channing Tatum came out on NOVEMBER SEVENTEEN of 2017, people. I just now found out about it from YouTube and I feel Pretty Damn Betrayed by my pop music peeps and Tumblr in general.

  6. Xolandra says:

    More music? I maybe already posted this? But I was just reminded of it and still think it's great:

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