- Lots of great stuff on Ms. Musings (so what else is new?). Start with this post, collecting many good quotes and links about the politics of first ladies. There’s even a good piece from Andrew Sullivan, of all people.
- Also on Ms. Musings, Sepp Blatter (what a name!) has recieved much well-deserved derision for his suggestion that professional women soccer players try to increase their league’s popularity by wearing skimpier uniforms. The sad thing is, this idiot is actually the president of the international soccer federation.
- And again via Ms.Musings, three new (to me) blogs that seem interesting. Bloggers for Choice is pretty much what it sounds like. Rebel Dad is a blog by, and focusing on, stay-at-home fathers. And Respectful of Otters is a very well-reasoned political blog about “politics, HIV, health care, psychology, baseball, feminism, et cetera.”
- In the Village Voice, Richard Goldstein discusses the election, Kerry’s cultivation of macho, and why people made such a big deal of Dean’s “scream” (which to me, watching the clip, seemed like nothing at all).
Why was Dean’s performance so unsettling? The most common explanation’that it wasn’t presidential’doesn’t get at the gut-level distress even many of his supporters felt. No self-deprecating shtick can overcome this blunder. Dean still has the fans and the funds to be a player, but no matter how well he does in New Hampshire, he’ll be haunted by that manic moment for the rest of his political life.
Dubya couldn’t remember the names of foreign leaders, but that didn’t ground him. No one ever lost macho points for being stupid. Male hysteria is another story. Most women recoil from it, and most men show contempt, which is why late-night comics (all of them guys) rushed to piss on Dean. In a more relaxed time, his performance might have been regarded as passionate and roguish. But in this anxious age, it tapped into one of the worst nightmares for many men: losing your grip in a clinch. For a wannabe dude-in-chief, that’s not just a sign of instability; it’s a violation of gender expectations.
Via The Mahablog.
- While I’m quoting Goldstein, this article on male opposition to gay marriage is good. (According to polls, men are more against gay marriage than women – even though women are more likely to be religious than men.)
Submissive women and downcast gays were once living proof of straight-male supremacy. Now, both groups refuse to accept subordination, and it’s macho that stands to be stigmatized. Straight men still hold the lion’s share of wealth and power, but their prestige has definitely eroded. No wonder they have such strong feelings about gay marriage. It’s not a question of faith or preservation of the family. The real issue here is the “acceptance” of homosexuals, which, for many straight guys, represents yet another blow to their already fragile status.
- Echidne is all over a Washington Post editorial praising the jobless recovery. (Gotta love that liberal media!)
- Quote of the day, from my housemate Phil.
You know the best part of owning a bubble machine? Setting it up in some not-too-visible place in the living room and then not turning it on until everyone is doing acid. Then, everyone would be like, “Where are all these bubbles coming from? They can’t be coming from the sky, we have a ceiling.” You know what would be even better than a bubble machine? A lizard machine.
- Colorado University is using sex parties to recruit athletes. “They told us, you know, ‘This is what you get when you come to Colorado.” There have been at least two complaints of rape, but the University is going to continue the practice because they don’t want to lose their recruiting edge, according to a local DA. Via Frogblog.
- Matthew Yglesias at (oddly enough) Crescat Sententia and Andrew Sullivan at (not so oddly) AndrewSullivan.com attack the latest anti-gay-marriage meme: that same-sex marriage has somehow caused a decline in straight marriage in Scandinavian countries. One big problem with this theory: They don’t have same-sex marriage in those countries. Whoops!
Update: Gabriel Rosenberg has written an excellent response, too.
- Arthur Silber correctly points out that the decision to invade Iraq – and to spin intelligence to make Saddam sound as dangerous as possible – were both policy decisions, and shouldn’t be fobbed off on “bad intelligence.” as he points out, the Clintonites had the exact same “bad intelligence” Bush did, yet they didn’t decide to invade Iraq.
- The news from hell on earth - pardon me, I mean Florida:
Prosecutors in Seminole County say they might ask a veteran judge to be removed from a rape case because of comments the judge made about the victim.
Court records indicate Circuit Judge Gene Stephenson made the comment earlier this week while looking at a photograph of the victim. The record quotes the judge as saying, “Why would he want to rape her? She doesn’t look like a day at the beach.”
They might ask him to be removed? Might? Jesus. I’d ask for him to be mauled by bears. Via Trish Wilson.
- “The illiteracy level of our children are appalling.” — George W. Bush. Attacking folks for gaffes like this is pretty unsubstantive, I admit, but he really asks for it, doesn’t he? Via Trish Wilson, whose new woodgrain blog design looks nice.
- Common sense was deported long ago.
Suarez, now 43, legally entered the United States from Mexico at the age of 16, only to be raped and beaten as the teenage sex slave of a man 55 years her elder. She was convicted of killing the monster, despite her claims of innocence, and finally won her parole last month after battling for years.
Now she sits in another prison, awaiting a deportation hearing scheduled for today. Suarez is a permanent legal resident, but not a U.S. citizen, and immigration law says that, with an aggravated felony on her record, she is to be deported.
“Justice,” Suarez said, “is so hard to understand.”
The lady has a gift for understatement. Via TalkLeft.
- New Scientist has an interview with Alexandra Aikhenvald, a linguist who specializes in documenting dying languages.
Why is it important to preserve these languages?
First, to learn about how people communicate and how the human mind works. What are the categories that are important enough for people to express them in their languages?
If these so-called “exotic” languages die, we’ll be left with just one world view. This won’t be very interesting, and we’ll have lost a vast amount of information about human nature and how people perceive the world.
I wish the interview were longer and more detailed, but what little there is, is interesting. Via Boing Boing.