Partly in response to social and political pressure, the notion of masochistic character has disappeared from the manual altogether, even though the behavior is a source of considerable suffering and a legitimate target for treatment.
I have, for some time, been referring to a particularly irritating brand of privileged semi-feminism as “Liz Lemonism.” I associate this brand of feminism with a certain variety of white, coastal-city dwelling, fairly well-to-do heterosexual cisgendered woman, a woman with a comfortable white-collar job that is so very comfortable and so very white-collar that she is free to spend her spare time yearning for, and semi-believing that she could attain, something with more “meaning.” This woman doesn’t do Blogspot, but she does do Tumblr; she doesn’t do posts about sex workers’ rights, but she does do complaining about “raunch culture”; she doesn’t do anti-racism, disability activism, or trans ally work to any huge extent, but she does do “body image” (and oh, does she ever do body image, without taking much note of the fact that as a white, abled, cis person she conforms to the “beauty standard,” and benefits from conforming to it, in more ways than she will ever let on);…
Via ampersandean*. Quite wonderful and brutally cringe-worthy.
Google’s synonym system understood that a dog was similar to a puppy and that boiling water was hot. But it also concluded that a hot dog was the same as a boiling puppy. The problem was fixed in late 2002 by a breakthrough based on philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein’s theories about how words are defined by context.
Being reasonably acquainted with Wittgenstein, I found myself wondering which of his ideas came so integrally into play in solving this problem.
I will add one thing about finance and gender. Wall Street is the world’s capital of the overcompensating male. Far from the hunter-gathering, trading demands that your brain hunts, but physically you’re only gathering. There’s a huge disconnect and as a result, Wall Streeters are excessively aggressive and obnoxious.
This has little to do with the post’s substance. But now I’m thoroughly enjoying the budding-proverb implications of “all hunt and no gather”.
“It’s pretty spectacular, as far as rugs go. The design is apparently based on some early bubbly murals from the 1920s. The wall-to-curved-wall shape is so odd, you’d be tempted to leave it as is, floating in your even larger space. But actually, what you’d really be tempted to do is to cut it down to something more “manageable” that “works” in your [obviously architecturally inferior] space. At which point you’d better hope the Cult of Wright doesn’t have fatwahs or voodoo dolls or anything, because they would be even more pissed than they already are.”—Dinosaurs and Robots: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Son’s House’s Carpet
Take, for instance, King Leopold of Belgium, who claimed the entire Congo as his own personal fiefdom during the 19th century and along with his successors plundered it remorselessly for rubber and helped condemn both it and its neighbors to a century of misery and whose name has become a byword for European colonial rapaciousness. It turns out (from John Reader’s “Africa: Biography of a Continent”) that before settling on the Congo, Leopold had been shopping all over the globe for a territory to provide some breathing room for his small and densely populated European state. Along the way he negotiated with Turkey to buy Crete and with Spain to buy Cuba, with Denmark over the Faeroe Islands and the French over Vietnam. All fell through. But the deal that perhaps came closest was an offer by the fledgling Republic of Texas to sell two tracts of land to Belgium in return for a $7 million loan. Alas, the United States government worked itself up into a Monroe Doctrine frenzy and protested, and Leopold was told the U.S. planned to annex Texas soon anyway. Thus he turned his attention to the Congo, essentially setting in motion the scramble for Africa among the major European powers.
Just picture, for a moment, if the Texas deal had gone through. For one thing, it might well have turned out — it could hardly have turned out worse. True, it is hard to imagine a scenario in which the European powers don’t eventually end up fighting over and dividing up Africa anyway, and perhaps they would have failed just as miserably as they did in actuality. Still, it was certainly Leopold’s ambitions in the Congo that set things off, and the behavior of the Belgians and their monarchs there in the century that followed was by all accounts, against strong competition, in its own category of horror (See Conrad, Joseph). Consider also how central a role the Congo played in the miseries of many of its now neighbors (notably what is now Rwanda, currently a relative success story, but where the Belgians had the fateful idea to divide the population into the then-barely extant categories of Hutu and Tutsi in order to more effectively control them). Considering those factors, it’s hard to escape the conclusion Africa’s chances would have been marginally better if Leopold had carved out an annex for himself in the Lone Star State and let it go at that.
That prospect, of course, is the more amusing counterfactual to imagine: an enclave of Belgium in the middle of Texas (Reader’s book doesn’t mention where in Texas the tracts were or how big they were, but I’d certainly be curious). It’s not inconceivable the United States would have been forced to honor the agreement when it later absorbed Texas. More far-fetched, perhaps, that enclave could have survived in some form until the present, as a colony or a Quebec-like state (Texas, you may recall, still maintains the right to divide itself into up to five states if it ever so chooses. That will probably never happen for reasons including the negative effect on the University of Texas football team’s recruiting prospects. But if it ever did happen it would certainly be highly propitious for the Republican party’s prospects of retaking the Senate). Or perhaps “Belgian Texas” might even persist, Lesotho-like, as an independent state within the U.S. Imagine a stretch of open country populated by proud immigrant Belgians speaking some form of Flemish-Spanish with a Texan twang, wearing cowbody hats, munching on BBQ and chocolate, and living in towns named after Belgian counterparts but now pronounced with hard consonants (“Bruges“ rhymes with “Tortugas“; “Ypres” rhymes with “diapers”). One constant would be you’d still find a Waffle House at every highway interchange — only the waffles would be much fluffier.
And yet, is this the Shakespeare play most emblematic of the 2000s? A tragic protagonist, eager for war, sure of the propriety of his ideals and the might of his military, unwilling (or unable?) to examine his own motives, scornful of a populace he’s forced to grovel to if he wants to gain power; a populace, in turn, which gives us very little cause to doubt the protagonist’s assessment of them as a dangerous, disinterested, gullible rabble; a bunch of middle-managing representatives of people and moneyed interests, less interested in the good of the republic than the power to be grabbed and clung to at all costs. No one to root for, really. No one rising above their own desires. Ugly, yes. Irrelevant, no. (Just for fun, and so as not to end on such a down beat, my votes for other representative plays of the last 50 years: 1960s, A Midsummer Night’s Dream; 1970s, Troilus and Cressida; 1980s, The Tempest; 1990s, Romeo and Juliet.)
My review of “Coriolanus”, circa 1994:
We were supposed to read that for tomorrow’s quiz? Anyone got a movie or cliff’s notes? I promise to read it later.
When you start looking through the time line you can see there is a more general positive trend towards women in the technology industry, however despite role models being identified in national and international news papers as well as lots of groups and organizations trying to make a difference there are still comments about the declining numbers entering the profession in 2008. There are many yearly awards given out to those in top senior management slots who are women in the technology industry, however this too doesn’t lead to additional people. Many are arguing that these sort of awards are hindering rather than helping the industry.
Meanwhile there are efforts by large corporates to invest money in their own centres for women in technology which to date haven’t seen any hard and fast results. In the meantime groups like Girl Geek Dinners, Women in Technology and Girls in Tech have been built up by the technology community for the community as a result of members of the community feeling a need for it.
OK, when I was watching Community last night, and a commercial for the upcoming show Who Do You Think You Are? came on, I almost fell off the couch. No, it wasn’t because learning more about other people’s genealogy is one of the most boring things in the world so WHY would you make a show of it…
Adrenaline! | The Roots ft. Dice Raw & Beanie Sigel
My senior year of college I was deep into my thesis, angry with myself and ready to get the hell out of school and Massachusetts. The net effect was endless, solitary hours in the foundry, wearing a welding helmet I modified so nodding along with The Roots wouldn’t slam the visor down on my nose.
Mid-way though the year I drove up to Holyoke to see The Roots live. The opening act was Run DMC. It snowed enough the drive up and back was isolating, like my foundry and work. I felt detached in a way I hadn’t before. I couldn’t shake the feeling.
After the show I stuck around to pay my respects. Prerequisite awkwardness overcome, Dice Raw, Scratch and ?uesto told me about playing laser tag with the just-finished master of “Things Fall Apart” blasting over the speakers of the venue they rented. They shared how the synth chords in “Adrenaline” sounded ominous in that setting. I shared the story about my foundry, discman and tinny little speakers. DMC and Jam Master Jay joined the conversation just as the laser tag story started up. They all said my foundry sounded cool. I went back feeling for the first time like it was.