September 17, 2007

Read (or watch) ’ems

Posted in Civil rights, Gender issues, Racial issues, Television at 10:05 pm by The Lizard Queen

Excerpts from posts I think my readers would be interested in.  If the paragraphs I’ve posted here catch your attention, then please go read the rest (and you might even tell them who sent you).

On or related to the Jena 6:

There was a note about the local nightspots. Namely, that there were none. Save for the juke joint down the road a piece across from the “Fish Shack”, and of course, the few spots some 35 minutes away in Wilmington. But one of the note’s points of interest got some of the young people going. It stated, that after 8:00 P.M., NO ONE WAS TO GO DOWN ACROSS THE RAILROAD TRACKS, PAST THE GREEN HOUSE (an actual green-colored house), AS THAT WAS THE DEMARCATION LINE BETWEEN FREE-GOING COUNTRY, AND KLAN TERRITORY.

Doing so was, according to the note, “tempting fate” and “taking your life into your own hands”.

Many of the assembled—particularly the younger ones, were agog at this special note, thinking it was a.) a joke, b.) a silly wive’s tale, and worst of all, c.) an open provocation to their God-given right to flex their northern-bred muscle and “rights”. After much clamor, older relatives prevailed upon the upset youngers, and implored them to please observe the warning. It was not a frivolous one.

On a related note, Blue Gal’s vlog for the week tackles the racism inherent in certain white attitudes, not to mention the phrase “the suspect was an African-American male.”

On the sexism front, Echidne of the Snakes tackles a speech to the APA entitled “Is There Anything Good About Men?”  I encountered this speech a few weeks ago and reacted, emotionally speaking, similarly to EotS, but had a harder time articulating what bothered me about it (aside from, “Women improvise less when playing jazz?  Really?  Erm, how about Ella Fitzgerald?”).  Luckily, EotS is articulate enough for the both of us (and then some, I’d say):

That men are both better and worse than women, according to Baumeister, is because men are more likely to be found in the tails of various test distributions, even if the average scores are the same for men and women. This means that there are more men in the upper tail, and it is those men who run everything and build the boats they then take out to make discoveries and to amass treasure which they then take back home and get to mate with most of the women. The guys in the lower end are the ones who commit murders and such and never get to mate at all. But almost all women get to mate, you see?

Ok. Let’s do that again: HISTORICALLY speaking, the men in the upper tails of various distributions were more likely to build the boat and bring back the treasure and mate with all those women. That’s why today’s men should be ON AVERAGE better than today’s women if Baumeister’s argument made sense. But it doesn’t have to make sense, so men and women are still equal on average in various abilities but men are more likely to be really bad or really good. The only way all this would make sense is if men started a lot less able than women and only slowly, over centuries, managed to crawl up the frequency distributions. OOPS. We don’t want that.

So let’s tell the same story about motivations! Yes, that’s the ticket, because there is no way of properly measuring motivations or their environmental component, so discussing the evolutionary inheritance of motivations by gender will work! Never mind about the genetic explanation for such an inheritance. We’ll worry about that later.

In entertainment news, Liss watched the Emmys so I didn’t have to.  Normally I like the glitter and spectacle of award shows, but I just couldn’t be arsed about the Emmys.  Sounds like I didn’t miss much outside of the Holy Trinity of the Church of the Fucktologists.

Happy reading!

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