A proposal for jury trials

I used to watch Law and Order. Embarrassing, right? For those who don’t know, it’s a long-running half-cop half-courtroom show focussing on the Manhattan District Attorney’s office. Naturally, the characters’ bias is going to be against defendants. One scene from S04E22 particularly stayed with me. DA Adam Schiff is talking to his Executive Assistant DA Ben Stone about a judge who ruled against them in a Russian mafia case. Ben smirks about her as too liberal. “She thinks we ought to supply defendants with nice clothes so the jury won’t be prejudiced.” Adam smirks back. Now, we as the audience […]

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Fuck you, newspapers preying on the elderly

“Whatever you do, stop drinking tap water!” my grandma told my mum over the phone a few weeks ago. When asked why, she said that she read in the paper about how ‘they’ found that Australian tap water has something carcinogenic in it. I use the term “newspaper” loosely. Grandma reads The Horizon, an Australian-based, Russian-language rag (in my opinion). Mum didn’t put any stock in it but told me. When I visited my grandma a few days later, here’s the article she showed me (my translation below): High level of dangerous substances detected in water. Scientists in Australia warn: […]

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Things I take for granted about food

In 2010, John Scalzi wrote a pretty good post of the things that he doesn’t have to think about every day (that other people do). I wanted to try something similar but make it very detailed about a specific area. Food’s really yummy so why not food? Below is a list of all the things I get to take for granted about food. It’s by no means exhaustive. The whole point is that there are many items I’m too sheltered to even be aware of. Still, it’s sobering to go for a deep dive into what I have. Especially since […]

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An ignored oppression

I’d like to discuss one of the most long-standing and ignored oppressions. It’s had a tremendously destructive influence over the centuries and it may just be one of the last taboos we have to overcome. This hidden killer — because it definitely kills — is when people are accused of racism or sexism. Being accused of racism/sexism is one of the worst things that can happen to you. The scariest thing is that it can strike on a perfectly ordinary day when you’re living a perfectly ordinary life. It strikes without warning because the perpetrators aren’t exactly interested in telegraphing […]

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Consent is not sexy, or “who gets to protest naked?”

Shortly before I took a blogging hiatus, I wrote a post on the rape singularity. To illustrate it, I wanted to find an image from one of the SlutWalk protests. It was meant to illustrate a strong counterpoint to victim blaming in a way that I thought might be a bit forceful to readers who haven’t heard much about this. You know, get people thinking a bit. So I Googled around a bit, and here’s a more reconstruction of the types of images I would have encountered, with the image I chose for the post highlighted. It was a defiant […]

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One day at Istanbul Airport

I went to a modern-Orthodox Zionist high school. You can imagine the kind of stuff they taught there. Highlights included: A school assembly with a debate of students about the validity of the (1990s) peace process. With someone on the side that it’s not worthwhile saying that the idea of the peace process suggests that ‘Arab countries’ can change, then saying without irony “[but] can a leopard change its spots?”. “You’re such an Arab!” being a Category 1 insult in the playground. Our director of Jewish studies saying he respects Arabs for organising buses from Sydney’s western suburbs to go […]

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Fred Phelps’ death and respectability politics

Fred Phelps is in a hospice and close to death [UPDATE: he has now died], having also been excommunicated from his own church, with the believing family not allowed contact with him. If you don’t know who about Phelps, he is the founder of the God Hates Fags church espousing some of the most virulent homophobia among US churches (which is saying a lot). They are famous for picketing the funerals, and celebrating the death of anyone who is gay or a US soldier – since the US is satanic due to being too “gay friendly”. Unlike most similar churches […]

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Do they know it’s International Women’s Day [in Afghanistan]?

Vignette the First A few months ago I was in a conversation where International Women’s Day was brought up. Specifically, the question of whether a particular someone would know what it is. One person (let’s call him Bob) said “Of course they do, it’s celebrated everywhere. Except Afghanistan.” He said this as a way to tell a snarky joke but I wasn’t impressed. Why wouldn’t they have International Women’s Day in Afghanistan? Vignette the Second I was also in a Facebook discussion about a documentary (that I haven’t seen) called I Am A Girl, which follows the challenges that women […]

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It’s time to relax Godwin’s Law

You’ll pry my Hitler comparisons from my cold, dead hands. You’ve probably heard of link] giving students loans [link] people boycotting Chick-fill-a for being homophobic [link] the mere existence of LGBT people in Russia [link] You can find dozens more within five minutes. But by tabooing any (or even most) comparisons, we’re taking away good opportunities to point out just how fucked up some things are. It’s letting wingnuts spoil something valuable. I’ll discuss a few examples where I think the Hitler comparison is not only apt but that the connection must be made in order to see these for […]

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Meat is bad, therefore it tastes bad and will kill you?

You know what’s really fucking annoying? When someone has a list of cognitive biases of fallacies that they love to stick on situations. “You’ve just committed an egreggious case of petitio principii, also known as begging the question for you plebs!” and the like. This is what I’m going to do in this post. The affect heuristic is something we all engage in. It’s when we use our overall feeling about a topic (“the vibe,” for those who have seen The Castle) to inform our opinion about a very specific aspect of the topic that we might not have the […]

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About this blog

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.

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