26 December, 2016

The Digest—Tuesday-Monday, 20-26 December, 2016

[The Digest is a collection of articles, videos, and other media I've viewed and found significant throughout the day. It is a way to divest myself from other social media that is more reliant on likes, click-bait, and peer-approval rather than quality, intelligence, and diversity of opinion, which are the qualities I find important. It is also a way to devote myself to daily contributions to this space...at least in theory.]

-=Summary: Bill O'Reilly's "white establishment," that white establishment in action, romcoms and stalking myths, Trump demanding info on "women's programs," lead exposure and criminality, time management, Trump's nukes, losing democracy in North Carolina, Twitter freaks over interracial ad, counterproductive voting, and the climate denial of Trumpism=-

Yes, I fell behind again, so I'm condensing since I have all these tabs open on my browser and don't remember when I read what and I'm more likely to publish this in one than write 4 more. I blame insomnia combined with homework to ignore my tendency toward procrastination and childish, I don't feel like it! inner demons. And I'm basically writing this to myself since I have 1 whole subscriber (hi there!) which I'm not even sure isn't myself. 



CNN pundit likens O'Reilly's race comments to apartheid rhetoric

Leinz Vales from CNN

I'm not shocked O'Reilly said these things. Example:
"The left wants power taken away from the white establishment," O'Reilly said.
I am surprised that O'Reilly would be so brutally honest on national television. This has been the largely unsaid, though sometimes screamed, subtext of Trump's whole...Trumpiness for a year and a half. 

Bakari Sellers states:
"We have to talk about the simple fact that, African-Americans, we don't want anything from white people. It's not as if we want to take something from white nationalists, or take something from white supremacists."
This makes sense, of course, but what Sellers either does not mention or does not understand is that, to the O'Reilleys and Trumps and Richard Spencers of the world, just claiming equality of opportunity and education and employment is itself a taking-away from these jackknobs. What does it take away? The superiority of vantage, the edge, the privilege they feel entitled to by virtue of white birth. 

So, props to Bill O'Reilly for his honesty. It's despicable and hateful and hideous, but they've been dancing around this for so long, it's a relief to see it laid bare for the world to see.

Mother aggressively arrested on tape after reporting her son was assaulted
Mazin Sidahmed from The Guardian

I know everyone knows about this incident now, but it's connected to the O'Reilly thing above, specifically to the "white establishment." People demand to know what kind of "privilege" white people enjoy that all these brown people whine about. How about the privilege to have a police officer arrest the man who assaulted your son instead of you for reporting it? And your daughter for trying to deescalate the tension? How about the privilege not to be lectured by an officer of the law about your poor parenting skills—your son littered! On the ground!—while your son's assailant stands, unaccosted, nearby. How about the privilege of not being treated as the perpetrator of a crime when you call to report one? 

This cop decided it was a black boy's fault for being assaulted by a white man because he dropped paper on the ground. Because it was the black boy's fault, it was his black mother's fault for her terrible parenting that led her child to commit the offense of dropping paper on the ground. This white citizen was just upholding the city's dignity by attacking a child for the crime of his blackness. 

These are the people Bill O'Reilly doesn't want voting, doesn't want their votes to count as much as his white vote and other white votes. He said as much. Maybe this story will give him comfort, though, that his white establishment is still very much established. 

Study finds romcoms teach female filmgoers to tolerate 'stalking myths'
Ben Child from The Guardian

This is unsurprising, as presenting offensive behavior in non-offensive ways is the best way to normalize those behaviors. Another method is to ignore or gloss over egregious behavior, which signals it is nothing to get upset about, as we've witnessed from Trump and his satellites for 19+ months with years more to come. This is also the point I try to explain when I object to normalized sexual violence around my friends. I don't worry they'll think it's OK to treat women as property or to abuse or rape or confine, but all the other people who don't have the foundation of respect for women can radicalize behavior or accept otherwise unacceptable behavior when that behavior is regarded as funny or badass or whatever else from movies or TV or games or jokes or music or family or friends or community. 

I don't think media causes violence. I think media can normalize behaviors for people receptive to normalizing influence. I also don't support censorship of media in any form, just awareness, education, and care. What's troubling about this study in particular (here's a link to the study itself) is that women are culturally trained to think of themselves as histrionic over-reactors to supposedly benign behavior. If a woman has an emotional reaction to an event or specific behavior it's her reaction that is inappropriate. I'm generalizing, of course, but as someone who's been accused of being "over-emotional" for most of my life, I can attest to the impact on my self-confidence and self-esteem. 

When I had a stalker at 15, my friends told me I should be flattered. I was being over-dramatic; his questioning everyone who knew me to find out my address, calling nonstop, neverending messages, notes left on the door and the gate and garage—that was considered "cute." At worst, I had led him on. The one time I met him and said "hello." This is the kind of shifting of blame that still goes on, so I understand how women and, especially, girls who see movies that present stalking and other acts of sexual aggression as expressions of romance can come to doubt themselves, their friends, and women in general.

Trump Transition Wants Info on State Department Women’s Programs. What Could Go Wrong?
Jeremy Stahl from Slate

I can only presume it is the transition team's intent to unnerve and upset every group they target by failing to provide any clarifications or explanations, refusing any and all press conferences, with only the ominous demands left standing to hint at potential consequences.

Lead: America's Real Criminal Element
Kevin Drum from Mother Jones

The scientific evidence pointing to lead exposure as the cause for the major crime increases and subsequent drops in crime in the 60s-80s then 90s. It's the kind of compelling but complex, deep-ish time explanation not sexy enough to people to accept, and too many Rudy Guiliani's depend on the inherent evil of humanity to otherwise invest. So it is even sadder to read the author's final plea:
So this is the choice before us: We can either attack crime at its root by getting rid of the remaining lead in our environment, or we can continue our current policy of waiting 20 years and then locking up all the lead-poisoned kids who have turned into criminals. There's always an excuse not to spend more money on a policy as tedious-sounding as lead abatement—budgets are tight, and research on a problem as complex as crime will never be definitive—but the association between lead and crime has, in recent years, become pretty overwhelming. If you gave me the choice, right now, of spending $20 billion less on prisons and cops and spending $20 billion more on getting rid of lead, I'd take the deal in a heartbeat. Not only would solving our lead problem do more than any prison to reduce our crime problem, it would produce smarter, better-adjusted kids in the bargain. There's nothing partisan about this, nothing that should appeal more to one group than another. It's just common sense.
It is common sense, if you have a distinct capacity for big-picture thinking and rational thought. But there is too much money to be made off of prisons, in politics, in "law & order rah rah rah!" and, as is pointed out in the piece, a medical explanation is just too boring for many to accept. That doesn't even mention the class/racial issues into play, which are whole other levels of complication or rather reasons for inaction, but that's another story. Sort of.

Why time management is ruining our lives
Oliver Burkeman from The Guardian

I'm mostly enchanted by this Nietzsche quote:
“How we labour at our daily work more ardently and thoughtlessly than is necessary to sustain our life because it is even more necessary not to have leisure to stop and think,” wrote Friedrich Nietzsche, in what reads like a foreshadowing of our present circumstances. “Haste is universal because everyone is in flight from himself.”
Nuke Experts to Trump: WTF?
Betsy Woodruff from The Daily Beast

I would ask the same question, but it's not actually surprising. 

North Carolina is no longer a functioning democracy, according to global elections expert

Tana Ganeva from The Raw Story

One down.

‘Anti-white filth will get you shut down’: Twitter racists melt down over interracial couple engagement ad

Tom Boggioni from The Raw Story

It's hilarious to watch these people foam at the mouth over something so ridiculous.

Why People Vote for Counterproductive Policies
Andrew McGill from The Atlantic

This is helpful to understand, but no less confounding.

Donald Trump and the Triumph of Climate-Change Denial
Clare Foran from The Atlantic 

Just what we need. More denial. Where will the blame fall when Trump tower is flooding?

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