Rape of sex workers and “theft of services”

So I’m a bit late to the party but in 2015, the Chicago Sun Times published what is officially the douchiest editorial ever. By Mary Mitchell, it took exception to the rape of a sex worker being characterised as such and prosecuted because it’s “making a mockery of rape victims”. Here are some choice excerpts so you don’t have to read the original charmingly entitled Rape Case Sends Mixed Messages on Prostitution. I don’t have one iota of sympathy for Akins’ [the alleged perp’s] plight. But I’m grateful he isn’t being accused of snatching an innocent woman off the street. […]

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Segregated seating on planes: is a non-bigoted compromise possible?

The behaviour of Chareidi (more commonly known as “Ultra-Orthodox”) flight passengers has hit international news a few times, mostly around them not wanting to sit next to women who have at times been asked to switch seats, something El Al is being sued over. There have been some other stories too, eg. Chareidi men who have smashed a flight screen showing an “immodest” movie or flying in plastic bags (such as the ones pictured) which protect their Kohanic selves from the ritual impurity of flying over a cemetery (more info here). The issue of El Al and segregated seating is […]

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The Rabbits is not that anti-racist after all

Photo credit: Jon Green Earlier this year my partner got us tickets to the opera production of The Rabbits because a lot of people recommended it to her. Now, I live in a massive ivory tower when it comes to children’s literature. Before that I’ve never heard of John Marsden and Shaun Tan’s acclaimed book from the 1990s. My only context was that it was an allegorical opera about colonialism that featured rabbits. The place was packed, being part of the Sydney Festival. At least half in the audience were children, which makes sense given that it described itself as […]

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You are entitled to a job, but not to any particular job

A prior post talked about the genuine cost of the upcoming NSW ban on greyhound racing. This got me thinking about public discussion of what job someone’s “entitled” to. Usually I’ve seen opinions about this fall closely towards one of these 3 (arranged from most to least utopian): You are entitled to the livelihood you want You are entitled to a livelihood You are entitled to the pursuit of livelihood I’m firmly with #2 but to explain why it’s easiest to first look at both ends of the spectrum: You are entitled to the pursuit of livelihood This one’s the […]

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We must acknowledge the social cost of NSW’s greyhound racing ban

Last week there was a rare bit of good news in Australian politics. After a review of the greyhound racing industry, the current (right wing) NSW government unexpectedly banned greyhound racing. Of course the industry will fight this big-time, but within my bubble-of-a-circle-of-friends the reaction was unanimously positive. To me the decision is clearly correct since the industry’s an ethical clusterfuck. But it’s important not to make policy questions too one-sided. I can’t endorse this entire post from Less Wrong (or the website as a whole) but it has an important bit: A policy may legitimately have lopsided costs or […]

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Blackface, Jewface, any-face

Lately I’ve been thinking about how hard it is to take something seriously enough when you’re not the target. How knowing that something is wrong is important but doesn’t get you all the way. The distinction between blackface and Jewface has highlighted this. I’m not black. I’m very much against blackface (whether in Australia, the US, the Netherlands etc). But I know I’m not equipped to treat blackface as seriously as someone who’s the target of the blackface. For example, the last (maybe only?) time I saw blackface in real life was at Camelot, a world music venue in Sydney. […]

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It’s time to ditch politically correct right wing euphemisms

While reading through volumes and volumes on Brexit I checked out the Wikipedia page for UKIP to find out a bit more about them. The intro paragraph described it as a “Euroskeptic” party. What a great euphemism for a party who aren’t far from being actual Nazis, hey? Political correctness is usually an accusation wielded by right wingers against basically trying to be decent. Recently though, there’s been an increased awareness that right wingers engage in plenty of political correctness themselves — in ways that can have much more impact than the standard (urban legend) usage. Euroskeptic is a perfect […]

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Reaction to tragedy is about skin in the game

[CN: All the worst things] It’s been over a week since the shooting at the Pulse. In the first few days I saw a burst of emotions and opinions/thinkpieces; some great some not so great. The event captured the news cycle for what’s considered a long time in 2016 — even for such a mass tragedy. As expected, by now much of the coverage has died down. Most homepages of mainstream US news sites still have 4-40 mentions of the story but much of the focus has shifted to the implications for elections/policy etc. Australian websites also feature it but […]

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How abusers take advantage of the social contract

[CN: abusive behaviour.] Imagine that I don’t have the slightest intention of ever having kids but have a family member who is very concerned that I haven’t had kids. Telling her my decision directly will really upset them so imagine I have this conversation instead: FAMILY MEMBER: So, when are you having kids???ME: Well…not everyone can have kids! What just happened here? Welcome to the world of pragmatics, the study of what gives language meaning other than the literal words we use (ie. socially and culturally-mediated context). The norms implied in the above exchange are probably not universal, but I […]

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Matilda, “Miss” Trunchbull and gender presentation

[CN: child abuse, Matilda spoilers] I recently saw Matilda the Musical. I’m deprived, it was my first musical and it was really well produced and everyone in it super-talented. But the characterisation of Miss Trunchbull spoiled it. Miss Trunchbull is the antagonist in the story of Matilda (and apparently the movie and musical follow the book reasonably closely). She is the headmistress of Matilda’s school who openly hates children and revels in inflicting horrible punishments and abuse on the students. This sets up a nice foil for the audience to root against, especially since she’s not merely “mean”. Roald Dahl […]

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The thinly-veiled identity of lives and rants in Sydney. Views not his own, provided by hivemind. All my original work on this blog is licensed under a CC BY-NC License. Click here for the privacy policy

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