ljlee: Lee Yo-weon during a break in the filming (deokman)
I had a good long laugh with the Google Translate Sings series [personal profile] chordatesrock  inroduced to me, and particularly loved I'll Make a Man Out of You. On a whim I decided to try the same with Skyfall. Here's a result of five or six layers of Google Translate:

I dropped from the sky... )

Dropping from the sky decoding? It sure knows what a Bond movie is about.
ljlee: (muzi_pat)
Here are some remaining thoughts from the three-post saga about my arguments with atheists over on We Hunted the Mammoth. Specifically, I'd like to address points raised by commenter Lea about parents instilling the fear of hell in their children and missionaries using fear and need to proselytize. I have direct experience with the former situation and am living in a heavily Christianized non-European society, so I wanted to talk about these issues in more length than I had previously. This post will deal with the part about religious education, while the next will deal with missionaries.

My experience, plus objections to blanket characterizations )

In sum, I agree religious instruction of children can be cruel and manipulative. We as a society need to talk about the issue, prevent cruelty and manipulation, and help victims. On the other hand, calling religious instruction universally cruel and misguided takes both an overbroad view of religion--by attributing everything bad believers do to religion--and an overly narrow view, by treating fundamentalism as representative of all religion.

These blanket characterizations of religion on the one hand, and the erasure of liberal and moderate religionists on the other, not only present a distorted view of the variety that exists in religious experience; they don't even help those children who are legitimately hurt by religious education. Such help is unlikely to come from those who refuse to face the phenomena of religion, religious education, and upbringing in religious families in all their variety.
ljlee: why not? (conch)
In the past two posts I detailed how I got into a spat with an anti-theist about his seeming proposal to ban the religious education of children, with a detour into how I was a raging asshole to another commenter. I was curious whether movement atheists had discussed the issue of forbidding the religious instruction of children by their parents and guardians outside of public school. EJ, the commenter I'd had the main argument with, had presented his position as common among anti-theists and I wondered if that was the case.

Disturbing, coercive, horrifying, dangerous, appalling, noxious, totalitarian... So I take it that's a 'no?' )

When Richard Dawkins, PZ Meyer, Ed Brayton, and Nick Matzke, plus a host of intelligent and thoughtful readers think banning religious instruction in the private sphere is a terrible, awful, nasty, no-good idea even in the hypothetical, I think we can safely say it's very far from being a mainstream atheist or even anti-theist position. Those who advocate such a prohibition are in the distant fringe of anti-theist thought. I am at ease, content that most atheists--including the anti-theist variety--are in fact reasonable people who are firm in their convictions of liberty.

P.S.: Religious instruction and Obama )
ljlee: (sisko facepalm)
As previously discussed, a commenter on a site I frequented at the time, EJ, seemed to be advocating a horrific curtailment of religious liberty. Partly due to the conversation but mostly because of other real-life stuff, I made two mistakes: First, instead of staying away from the internet in my impaired state I grabbed my phone to check on new comments on the thread. Second, I had a serious case of reading comprehension fail and identity confusion.

Read on for epic fail )

EJ's seeming stance on this issue got me wondering, though, if the prohibition on religious education was in fact a mainstream anti-theist position. If that were true then there would be a large cause for concern, so I went researching this issue. What did major anti-theist voices have to say about parents' religious instruction of children?
ljlee: bam bam (headdesk)
What a week. I traveled to China on Monday for a conference, made a presentation Tuesday, got back Wednesday night, went to work on Thursday, and went to school on Friday for a seminar and another presentation. After the travel-and-academics whirlwind it'll be a relief to settle into a boring workweek, but I am resolved to slack off this weekend and just enjoy myself. Which means, among other things, blogging!

Unfortunately this particular entry isn't all squee and fun, in fact it's sort of unpleasant but I decided to jot it down to put it to rest in my mind. I figure if it's been bothering me for over a week it deserves a full treatment.

A squabble between atheists (mostly) )

At this point I was upset and confused for this and other reasons. It was late and I should have been in bed hours before. I lay down and tried to sleep, but I couldn't. I was dealing badly with unrelated real-life stuff (including the aforementioned presentations), my heart was doing a painful thump-drag, thump-drag in one of my occasional bouts of arrhythmia, and my panicked mind kept running circles around the discussion. Conditions were ripe for a bad decision and giant brain-fart, both of which would happen in due course.
ljlee: (reading)
Book cover with Klan hood photoshopped over Little Tree's FaceTo left: A more honest cover, brought to you by terrible photoshopping.

I remember leafing through a copy of The Education of Little Tree at a friend's home many years ago. The book had been published in Korea under the title 내 영혼이 따뜻했던 날들 (The Days when My Soul Was Warm), and was a bestseller here as it was in the U.S. I read through a bit where the protagonist's grandfather taught him that predators hunt the old, weak and sick leaving the strong ones to breed. So evidently natural selection was a part of Cherokees spirituality? How nice. I put the book back and didn't give it much thought.

I was reminded of this brief exposure when I read The Real Education of Little Tree, about the life and career of author Asa "Ace" Carter. Carter worked as a speechwriter for George Wallace, who would go on to become the infamous segregationist governor of Alabama. A staunch segregationist himself, Carter formed a white citizens council (these were widely seen as respectable segregationist alternatives to the Klan) and his signature appears on the articles of incorporation of the Original Ku Klux Klan of the Confederacy, though he denied Klan membership. Even fellow segregationists considered him too radical and sinister in his open calls for violence, however. Wallace never hired him directly but instead paid him through intermediaries, and the white citizens council eventually drove him out. Yes, Carter was too virulently racist for George Wallace.

It only gets better from there )

Asa Carter's views are not irrelevant or incidental to Little Tree. Rather, his violent racism is central to the entire work. Carter might have been a con man and a bastard, but he was one smart con man and bastard: He knew what was required to hold up the system of white supremacy, and he knew its logic. He knew that mainstream white society would not seek out or listen to the actual Cherokees who would realize in an instant that the book was bunk.

Above all, like any successful author (or con man) Carter knew what his audience wanted to hear, and that a book that condescends to and erases American Indians to score cheap emotional points was exactly right for the public's palate. He got that right, so much so that people still defend and celebrate this book decades after the hoax was revealed. Is it any wonder, when the book reflects so much of what America is?
ljlee: (peach_smug)
Last week GQ ran an article about the MRA conference that took place last summer. The responses in the comments section were predictably hilarious, with MRAs turning out en masse to cry about how unfairly they were portrayed as creeps and cranks.

And you'd think, since they're out to defend themselves in a public forum, that they'd actually succeed in making themselves look better than the article did, right? Yet somehow they managed to make themselves look even worse.

But then again this is the "movement" whose flagship site has Janet Bloomfield as their communications director: Janet "JudgyBitch" Bloomfield, the woman who managed to get herself booted off Twitter. I repeat: Their communications director cannot hold onto a Twitter account. That should give you an idea of how good MRAs are at presenting themselves as good and reasonable people.

Amid this stewing mess, one comment caught my eye because it was purportedly about facts. It was by Alison Tieman, a "Honey Badger" (woman who supports MRAs) mentioned in the main article. She was citing a bunch of rape statistics to argue that rape was not a gendered phenomenon and that men are raped at the same if not higher rates as women.

It just goes downhill from there )

Remember, that was just one set of statistics. This is just a tiny look into the contortions MRAs use to bolster their vision of reality. And when you point out the ways they're wrong, they throw out wild speculation as fact and/or engage in distraction and bullying tactics. Or they accuse you of rape because, well, why not? After all the point for them is not the facts but maintaining their worldview at all costs. I feel almost sorry for them, that they have to resort to these tactics to have any peace of mind.
ljlee: (sisko facepalm)
Stories about Sarah Palin often bring out misogyny in the political left, but the comments on this Jezebel article were fine for the most part: The readership focused on Palin's laughable antics and opinions, where there's more than enough fodder for criticism, instead of directing gendered slurs at her.

And then I came upon this comment, which was given in response to another user's riff off Palin's speech:


The frightening part: This comment got 23 stars )

MRAs' straw woman to the contrary, feminism does not stand for the proposition that all women are good and can do no wrong. In fact, placing women on a pedestal is a different kind of sexism. I know firsthand that women, including feminists, are imperfect human beings. Being a feminist, however, means upholding a certain integrity of beliefs and actions when it comes to gender equality. I do my own small part in upholding that standard when I can.
ljlee: (shrug)
They say the third time's the charm, or in my case, the SUPERPOWER. Behold, mortals!

Or maybe I'm just a blowhard who doesn't know when to shut up )
ljlee: (muzi_drool)
A couple of days ago I got an anonymous comment on an old post about sucky historical fiction. It's certainly not the first negative comment I've received--I have received some, especially on the Zutara posts--but it is the first, as far as I remember, that takes me to task for having a "typical feminist vibe." How dare I, for instance, say a book was ill-written just because it has a racist character? (I didn't.) Why did I think it was necessary to make an ethical and feminist criticism of a rape scene written for erotic enjoyment? (...Seriously?) And the greatest sin of all: How could I unfairly expect historical accuracy of comics, and be dumb enough to think comics are a source for historical research? (LOLWHUT NO THIS is my research, bitch.)

It was a busy two days watching Legend of Korra and working, so today I finally got around to dishing out the verbal whumping that the comment so richly deserved. I don't know how the anon found that particular post, since I have reviewed much more prominent works that some fraction of English speakers are actually likely to consume, but better not look a gift horse in the mouth.

Most of all, I wonder if this means that MRAs and assorted anti-feminists have discovered my journal and I can expect our anon to bring along friends to yell at the mean feminist. I already directed the anon to my feminism tag so they can get properly outraged. I feel like I've been preparing for this my whole life, there's so much MRA bait here. How about a book review using the dread feminist construct, rape culture? The one where I pillory a romantically-minded white knight who is no doubt a Nice Guy(TM) all around? Or the one where I criticize the rhetorical tactics of the leading MRA outlet A Voice for Men?

Could I have I finally hit the big time, at least with disgruntled sexists? One can only hope--MRAs are always so hilarious to spar with.

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L.J. Lee

June 2016

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