Monthly Archives: May 2014

The Homestuck principle

Andrew Hussie:

When a story begins to get thousands of suggestions, paradoxically, it becomes much harder to call it truly “reader-driven”. This is simply because there is so much available, the author can cherry-pick from what’s there to suit whatever he might have in mind, whether he’s deliberately planning ahead or not. But as it happened, I was planning ahead much more as the story neared its end, and I would tend to A) pick commands that suited what I had in mind, or B) just call a spade a spade and outright MAKE UP a command for an idea I had, which I did most often for many of the later attacks (like the Sleuth Diplomacy variations, Comb Raves, etc).


America produces the most scientific papers per capita.

Too white

They get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.

Our diversity, not only in our Army, but in our country, is a strength. And as horrific as this tragedy was, if our diversity becomes a casualty, I think that’s worse.

Survey Says: Journalists Are Old White Cowards

Today’s typical journalist is an unhappily middle-aged white male who complains he’s losing his freedom while declining to use that freedom to threaten those taking it away. That, at least, is the takeaway from a survey of reporters that found they are older, whiter, and better-educated than they were a decade ago—and more timid than ever before.

What’s left is a gaggle of stodgy old white men Google admits it is too white and too male in rare workforce disclosure The Video Game Industry Is Too White, Straight, and Male for Its Own Good I could write pages on the unbearable too-whiteness of my workshop – I could write folio, octavo and duodecimo on its terrible whiteness – but you get the idea.

I’m Over Critically Acclaimed White Dude Television. I’m tired of watching middle-aged white men Hollywood’s White Dude Problem Old White Dude Nursing Faux Grievances  Oh great, here comes a White dude Unfunny white dude comedian One of the most pitiful sights that exists out here is the Old Racist White Man.

After yet another GOP whitesplaining of black culture and it’s problems from the FoxNewsiverse Chris Hayes stepped in and thoroughly destroyed the utter garbage spewing forth from Bullshit Mountain . . . The real reason Bill O’Reilly peddles this stuff is because it gives a cheap crack like high to the old fearful white audience that watches Bill O’Reilly and gives Fox News it’s power, also known as the GOP base.

“Like the Pilgrims, they fled their homeland yearning for a place where they could be free,” wrote Todd Starnes, a bigot who appears on Fox News, in a recent article on the plight of the Romeikes that gives the unfortunate impression they’re here to spread disease, slaughter the natives, and steal their land. the pasty white Romeikes Conservatives generally prefer their pilgrims as white as freshly bleached linen. “Had this administration been waiting at Plymouth Rock, they would’ve told the pilgrims to go back home,” HSLDA chairman Michael Farris told Fox’s Starnes, a thought that is actually quite lovely. An America where genocidal fundamentalists were told to get the hell out and go back to the horrors of Western Europe? Sign me up for that alternate reality.

though of course the pasty White dudes of America are some of the most overly sensitive balding, pasty white, middle-aged man selling you a five-day seminar on how Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People is the greatest book When I enter the backroom all I had to do was follow the brown snail trails to a pasty white faggot. He tried to talk his way out of it by saying it was somebody else priced out by techies and “creative professionals” creeping in from neighboring white-bread Santa Monica At this point I’m amazed shit like this still comes up; everyone knows that even the most white-bread racists gulp down chicken korma on the the human mayo on white bread sandwich named Tim Pawlenty. As such, most vacation options are as white bread as a Romney/Ryan campaign fundraiser. From Club Med to Carnival cruises, nothing says “WASP cultural But complaining about political correctness is about as fresh as a loaf of white bread from the 90s. And so, according to the National Review, Growing up in the suburbs I was into straight, white bread music so the closest I could get to interesting was, like, Nirvana.

For about as long as anyone can remember, Victorville’s been under the thumbs of a revolving crew of mostly pasty white men who’ve run it like a banana republic on behalf of out-of-town business interests, complete with sham elections, backroom deals, and flat-out plundering of city coffers by a handful of private interests. Angela Valles seems as far away from that world as could possibly be. About a third of Victorville is Hispanic and have experienced exactly the kind of hardships she had overcome. Finally, someone would be looking out for the good of the people.

your kind — mostly older white folks beholden to an absurd, inaccurate, nostalgic fantasy of what America used to be like — are dying. And in the pantheon of American history, conservative old white people have pretty much always been the bad guys, the keepers of the hegemonic and reactionary flame, the folks unwilling to share the category of American with others on equal terms. Fine, keep it up. It doesn’t matter. Because you’re on the endangered list. And unlike, say, the bald eagle or some exotic species of muskrat, you are not worth saving.

We facing the sickness
of terrorists. Been terrorizing all of us
for hundreds of years. When we gonna catch em
and lock `em up! These terrorists. Catch em
and lock `em up! Then we can cure ourselves,
America, of what has always
Ailed us!

Let’s just call this reacting entity, “the Right-Wing Blob,” since it emits its largely predictable messages through various physically distinct, but otherwise indistinguishable, persons. these sick, sick people need to be caged The Right-Wing Blob specializes in two rhetorical moves:  armchair psychology and condescension from below. And so it goes. These people are literally devoid of independent thought, they are just bits of slime that ooze off the Blob when the Blob is poked, and in the process, they do violence to the language, stand reality on its head, and contribute to the continuing degradation of the public culture. the right-wing in America is always wrong Nazism, American style fascist thugs little right-wing robots religiously-inspired Nazis disgusting moral miscreants brain-dead crytpo-fascist Texas Taliban

another step in a long-term goal of mine: the peaceful, nonviolent disappearance of the white race

Noel Ignatiev (born 1940) is a radical academician and former American history professor at the Massachusetts College of Art. He is best known for his work on race and social class and for his call to abolish the white race.

Oh yeah, kill all the white man,
Oh yeah, kill all the white man.

The white man call himself civilized,
Cause he know how to take over,
The white man come to pillage my village,
Now he tell me I have to bend over.

Oh yeah, kill all the white man,
Oh yeah, kill all the white man.

No I do not like the white man up in me,
He rape my people as he rape my country,
Everything I love and cherish, he try to take away,
We will be rid of him, soon come the day.

Oh yeah, kill all the white man,
Oh yeah, kill all the white man.

Kill all the white man. [repeat till fade]

A.P. Tureaud Elementary

“It’s bittersweet, but what are you going to do?” asked Myra Jenkins, 31, as she picked up her 5-year-old twin boys from kindergarten at A.P. Tureaud Elementary, a school encircled in barbed wire. Built in 1939, the building’s art deco features are scarred and shattered. Inside, a handmade sign peeling off a door welcomes visitors but misspells the school’s name. The school received a “D” from Louisiana’s A-to-F grading system in 2013.


Who was A.P. Tureaud?

In 1949, in Bush v. Board of Education, Tureaud initiated legal action that eventually led to the desegregation of New Orleans’ school system.

An introduction to classical music

Below the cut.

Read more of this post

Un point de détail de l’histoire de la Deuxième Guerre

In 1944, Roosevelt assigned his special emissary to the Balkans, Navy Lieutenant Commander George Earle, to produce a report on Katyn.[22] Earle concluded that the massacre was committed by the Soviet Union.[22] Having consulted with Elmer Davis, the director of the Office of War Information, Roosevelt rejected the conclusion (officially), declared that he was convinced of Nazi Germany’s responsibility, and ordered that Earle’s report be suppressed. When Earle formally requested permission to publish his findings, the President issued a written order to desist.[22] Earle was reassigned and spent the rest of the war in American Samoa.[22]

The deep Cathedral?

What is the role of gender in consolidating social identity and subjectivity? How has Conchita Wurst changed our aesthetics and political ethos?

openDemocracy is a website for debate about international politics and culture, offering news and opinion articles from established academics, journalists and policymakers covering current issues in world affairs. openDemocracy was founded in 2000 by Anthony Barnett, David Hayes, Susan Richards and Paul Hilder. Publishing started in May 2001.[1]

In dialogue with feminist, queer and transgender groups, the Challenging Male Supremacy Project works with male activists to raise consciousness and strengthen practices of accountability in order to counter the harms of male violence and privilege, and build broader struggles for transformative justice and collective liberation.

Prominent contributors to the webzine have included Kofi Annan, George Soros, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Shirin Ebadi, Sidney Blumenthal, Peter Hain, Pierre Bourdieu, Manuel Castells, Fred Halliday, and David Blunkett.

We must use our freedom to maintain a radical perspective and build an alternative to austerity and exclusion, says Tom Vickers.

openDemocracy’s mission statement asserts: “openDemocracy is committed to human rights and democracy. We aim to ensure that marginalised views and voices are heard. We believe facilitating argument and understanding across geographical boundaries is vital to preventing injustice”.[2]

Women have played a seminal role in keeping food cultures all over the world alive. Nikandre Kopcke discusses her inspiration for setting up a pop-up restaurant which showcases the culinary talents and diverse cultural heritages of migrant women in London.

openDemocracy is owned and published through a non-profit foundation.[3] It has been funded by a number of philanthropic organisations, including the Ford Foundation, the Atlantic Philanthropies, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, as well as a base of individual donors.[4] High profile individual supporters have included Heidi Bergemann, John Cleese, Carl Djerassi, Pamela Raspe, and Reinhard Hesse.[4]

African feminist filmmakers and theorists reflect on the shifting roles of women working at all levels of the film and media industries on the continent, and the task of making films that challenge the existing fictions that misrepresent and distort women’s realities.

The CIA uses philanthropic foundations as the most effective conduit to channel large sums of money to Agency projects without alerting the recipients to their source. From the early 1950s to the present the CIA’s intrusion into the foundation field was and is huge. A U.S. Congressional investigation in 1976 revealed that nearly 50% of the 700 grants in the field of international activities by the principal foundations were funded by the CIA (Who Paid the Piper? The CIA and the Cultural Cold War, Frances Stonor Saunders, Granta Books, 1999, pp. 134-135). The CIA considers foundations such as Ford “The best and most plausible kind of funding cover” (Ibid, p. 135). The collaboration of respectable and prestigious foundations, according to one former CIA operative, allowed the Agency to fund “a seemingly limitless range of covert action programs affecting youth groups, labor unions, universities, publishing houses and other private institutions” (p. 135). The latter included “human rights” groups beginning in the 1950s to the present. One of the most important “private foundations” collaborating with the CIA over a significant span of time in major projects in the cultural Cold War is the Ford Foundation.

According to Balibar, and I share his view, if we adopt a radically relational perspective, the concrete redefinition of statehood in Europe is already bringing with it the material conditions for a redefinition of a collective subject of history. The crisis of Europe is therefore the problem of a collective subject of history – the people – which is beyond the nation state.

It is important to note that once the CIA had officially been established in 1947, John Whitley and Nelson Rockefeller would both cooperate actively with the Agency, serving either as ‘fronts’ for CIA funding, or using their own money to fund initiatives which were useful assets to the Agency. Whitney, who also served on the Psychological Strategy board (PSB) during the early 1950s, made himself useful to the CIA by furnishing financial backing for new companies and business ventures, which he registered under his own name. As Frances Stonor Saunders has pointed out, the Rockefeller Foundation formed ‘an integral component of America’s Cold War machinery’. Although it may not have been an actual CIA conduit, the Foundation did play an important part in shaping US foreign policy, funding the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, a major Cold War think-tank, as well as research grants and fellowships. Nelson Rockefeller himself had strong ties to the American intelligence community and used his family’s extensive fortune to promote US foreign policy objectives. In addition to his influential position within the Rockefeller Foundation and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, he also served as president of the Museum of Modern Art, which played an important role in the CIA’s cultural Cold War. During the 1950s, Rockefeller received briefings on covert activities from both CIA director Allen Dulles and Tom Braden, director of the CIA’s International Organizations Division. In 1954 Rockefeller was appointed chairman of the Planning Coordinating Group, which controlled all National Security Council decisions and cover t operations. In that same year Rockefeller replaced C. D. Jackson as Eisenhower’s special advisor on psychological warfare.

Theorists of gender and sexuality stress the significance of public performance of gender and the role of repetition in consolidating one’s social identity and subjectivity: we are (exist), as gendered and sexual human beings, in relation to our peers and society; our public presence plays a role in this recognition and our social integrations. But we can also constantly become what we aspire to be by challenging social norms and expectations. Narratives of gender and sexuality meet half way – or so they should in a society respecting individual and sub-group rights. In this respect, collecting 12 points from many European countries – amongst them, several with over-active fascist-populist movements – produces a series of controversial discourses: first, European audiences are beginning to accept the Euro-pop consumption of marginalised social identities (homosexual, transvestite, drag and what is known in gender studies as ‘queer’). Second, the artistic elites (Eurovision judges) appear to promote new tolerance agendas that incorporate art into policies of equality (still not harmonised at European level). Finally, popular venues, such as that of Eurovision, can streamline such agendas into global public consciousness in as imperceptive ways as those employed by harmful propaganda machines of old times (e.g. the Third Reich).

Proselytization the Western way

From a comment by twistedone151:

I also recall a book I once read on religion in Japan made a contrast between proselytization methods by small sects and religions in Japan versus those in the West (such as Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, and so on). The author noted that Western methods begin with Scripture, and with attempts to persuade others of the correctness of the doctrine, and with correct action (orthopraxy) following as a consequence of correct belief (orthodoxy). In contrast, Japanese pamphlets often share specific prayers, meditation techniques, or rituals, with exhortations to try them and see what benefits result; one begins with orthopraxy, and orthodoxy follows. (Note also the Confucian emphasis on proper observance of rites and rituals, which even the materialist philosopher Xunzi emphasized.)

Western methods begin with Scripture, and with attempts to persuade others of the correctness of the doctrine.

Note the present tense.


The first sexual revolution

In the 1931 German film M, Peter Lorre portrayed a former mental patient who stalked innocent school girls, lured them with candy and balloons, and then, offscreen, murdered them in order to satiate his abnormal erotic desires. Two years later, when the film opened in the United States, the New York Times criticized director Fritz Lang for wasting his talents on a crime “too hideous to contemplate.” Despite the reviewer’s distaste for the public discussion of sexual crimes, the American media soon began to cater to a growing popular interest in stories of violent, sexual murders committed by men like “M.” In 1937 the New York Times itself created a new index category, “Sex Crimes,” to encompass the 143 articles it published on the subject that year. Cleveland, Detroit, and Los Angeles newspapers also ran stories about sexual criminals, while national magazines published articles by legal and psychiatric authorities who debated whether a “sex-crime wave” had hit America. …

A close look at the sex crime panics that began in the mid-1930s, declined during World War II, and revived in the postwar decade reveals that those episodes were not necessarily related to any increase in the actual incidence of violent, sexually related crime. … [T]he media, law enforcement agencies, and private citizens’ groups took the lead in demanding state action to prevent sex crimes. In the process, they not only augmented the authority of psychiatrists, but also provoked a redefinition of normal sexual behavior. …

The new image of aggressive male sexual deviance that emerged from the psychiatric and political response to sex crimes provided a focus for a complex redefinition of sexual boundaries in modern America. … [B]y stigmatizing extreme acts of violence, the discourse on the psychopath ultimately helped legitimize nonviolent, but nonprocreative, sexual acts, within marriage or outside it. At the same time, psychiatric and political attention to the psychopath heightened public awareness of sexuality in general, and of sexual abnormality in particular,between 1935 and 1960. …

By the 1920s the Victorian ideal of innate female purity had disintegrated. Stimulated by Freudian ideas, a critique of “civilized morality” infiltrated American culture. Meanwhile, working-class youth, blacks, immigrants, and white bohemians had created visible urban alternatives to the old sexual order. They engaged in a sexually explicit night life, used birth control, or accepted sexuality outside marriage. Even for the middle classes, a recognition of female sexual desire and of the legitimacy of its satisfactionpreferably in marriage but not necessarily for procreationcame to dominate sexual advice literature by the 1920s. As birth control, compassionate marriage, and female sexual desire became more acceptable, female purity lost its symbolic power to regulate sexual behavior. Not surprisingly, by the 1930s calls to wipe out prostitution could no longer mobilize a social movement. Reformers now had to base their arguments more on “social hygiene”the prevention of venereal diseaserather than on the defense of female virtue.

If the Victorian ideal divided women into the pure and the impure, modern ideas about sexuality blurred boundaries in ways that made all women more vulnerable to the risks once experienced primarily by prostitutes. “If woman in fact should be a sexual creature,” Victorian scholar Carol Christ has asked, “what kind of beast should man himself become?” One response to her query was heralded in England during the 1880s by the crimes of Jack the Ripper, whose sexual murders of prostitutes, Judith R. Walkowitz has argued, created a powerful cultural myth associating sex with “violence, male dominance and female passivity.” …

Ultimately, the response to the sexual psychopath helped legitimize less violent, but previously taboo, sexual acts while it stigmatized unmanly, rather than unwomanly, behavior as the most serious threat to sexual order.


The problem of Tangut vowels

The Tangraphic Sea rhyme dictionary for the extinct Tangut language distinguishes 105 different rhymes, disregarding tone. Tangut is generally thought not to have had final consonants, so how is this possible?

First, there’s a difference between counting of rhymes and counting of vowels. Finnish is often said to have eight vowels—ä a e ö o i y u—but it has 34 medials: eight vowels, each with a length contrast, and 16 diphthongs. Estonian, a related language, has nine vowels—ä a e ö õ o i ü u—but 63 medials. (More than that if diphthongs contrast for length.)

Rhymes technically include the medial and the final, as well as any semivowel that may occur before the medial, but if Tangut had no finals, its rhymes can be said to be equal to its medials. Estonian has 63 medials, but 63 is still far from 105.

Tangut may have been a Qiangic language. Southern Qiang has a large inventory of medials, and it may not have had any finals until recently. (Though the set of permissible single initial consonants is not identical to the set of permissible single final consonants, the set of permissible initial clusters is identical to the set of permissible final clusters: hlhieah-bburr ‘loess soil’ and cheahlh ‘sip’, hhsse ‘hot, numb’ and lehhss ‘book’, vshe ‘manure’ and wevsh ‘horse dung’ (from earlier *we-vshe; we is ‘horse’, and final clusters developed through loss of final vowels.)

How many medials does Southern Qiang have? There are eight vowelsae a ea e o i iu u—and all but e contrast for length. Word-initial high vowels may be nasalized, and e appears nasalized in the affirmative reply ẽhẽ, which has pretty much the same pronunciation in English. Then there are fifteen native diphthongs (one of which only appears as a result of person marking) and one native triphthong, and two diphthongs and two triphthongs that only appear in Chinese loanwords. The LaPolla & Huang grammar isn’t clear on whether diphthongs and triphthongs contrast for length, but I don’t see any examples of long triphthongs, so I’ll assume they don’t exist.

There’s also contrastive r-coloring on most vowels; this is reconstructed for Tangut, though the sources in Tangut (preinitial, initial, and coda r) and Southern Qiang (medial and final retroflexes and coda consonants in some Chinese loans) are different.

Seven vowels and seventeen diphthongs that contrast for length, plus one vowel and two triphthongs that don’t: that makes 51. The grammar says that “all vowels can take r-coloring when they are the final vowel of a verb with first person plural marking”, but gives no examples of r-coloring on triphthongs or on diphthongs ending in -i (though ir is one of the four r-colored vowels that can appear in lexical items, along with ear er ar); if we assume that ‘all’ means ‘all’, that means Southern Qiang has 102 medials, not counting the nasal vowels.

Some of the Tangut rhymes were in complementary distribution and did not contrast (many, but not all, Class 3 rhymes only occurred after v-, l-, and alveolopalatals); Marc Miyake reconstructs 95 contrastive vowels.

However, Miyake’s Tangut reconstruction has more monophthongal places of articulation than Southern Qiang: æ a ɛ ʌ ɔ e ə o ɪ ʊ i, and then əu in place of monophthongal /u/. But this is not so different than English, which has /æ ɑ ɛ ʌ ɔ e o ɪ ʊ i u/—though many of these vowels are diphthongized in many dialects. (Mine has a vowel inventory that’s something like [æ~eə a~ʌi ɑ ɛ ɔə ɛi əu~o ɪ ʊ ɪi ɵu~u æɞ oi], leaving out the rhotic diphthongs.)

But twelve places of articulation is pretty much what we see in the Germanic languages, if we leave out the Ingvaeonic languages (English, Dutch, Frisian) and their diphthongization of close-mid vowels. Kensiu has 14; I think that’s the record.

More fnords

A comment on Scott Alexander’s post on fnords:

I don’t think this tool is useful for evaluating arguments. It is generally too easy to reduce an opponent’s argument into gobbledygook fearmongering no matter what that argument is.

So, a test.

Methodology: entirely subjective. There are three fnord-compilations in the comments section of that article; each is very different from the others. But not entirely different.

1. An Amritas post.

I don’t think there are any.

0/1266 = 0%

2. A Wikipedia article.

empire devastating destruction remained controversial important trade route significant achievements in literature, art, music, and architecture, which was characterized as “shining and sparkling” extensive stance among the other empires effective military organizations destroyed formally declared resistance demand intense power submit vassal state attacked many natural disasters partook in their westward conquests supremacy coup d’état installed himself as Emperor beseiged at this point inexperienced threatened swore vengeance invade punish betrayal attacked steady advance exhausting enraged fierce resistance annihilative warfare systematically destroy take care of destruction surrendered without resistance destruction collapsing siege destroyed siege offensives lay beseiged secretly planning to kill the emperor mercilessly pillaged slaughtered plundered completed the effective annihilation destruction near total complete eradication first ever recorded example of attempted genocide ethnocide

122/1927 = 6%

(It’s hard to tell what should be counted and what shouldn’t. If the Mongols destroyed a city and killed everyone in it, there really aren’t too many ways to say that–the connotations inhere in the acts.)

3. A NYT article.

quietly altering the law of the land without public notice Harvard phenomenon Antonin Scalia embarrassing error dissent neither prompt nor publicized secretive led astray scrubbed has made the longstanding problem more pronounced unannounced retreated a major gay rights case scholars exceptional care basically rewriting the law intense pressure announcing the abstract proposition merely painstaking Scalia misstep dissent criticized Worse, mistake quickly altered bland corrected categorical did not go unnoticed deleted from the official record a Texas law making gay sex a crime deliberately make it hard for study Harvard Law Review all justices over the years liberal and conservative seems to have been even more freewheeling in the past considerable number of actually completely at odds with general practices a strange and ‘reverse’ guard against defections exceptions to the general practice of quietly slipping changes into more in keeping with the integrity and rigor

144/1437 = 10%

4. An interview on Western Maryland secession.

secession from the United States secession typically conflate colonies Southern states seceded from the Union seceding from the Union Union not sure about for a long time Really, should should should should a much more representative Senate. You’ve said it well, because I couldn’t agree with you more, and in fact representative government and the consent of the governed We don’t need a big, one-size-fits-all policy here. decades of oppressive and abusive treatment the people sick and tired, and in fact we’re sick and tired of being sick and tired. We can’t… actually you are a region that is state-sized. not unheard of. germane to the national discussion pushed up doing this all the time over every issue, brother against brother, neighbor against neighbor. The way you solve more more choices very far left on the political spectrum very far right more choice, just like competition. Consent of the governed and right to self-determination and self-governance is precisely what this country was founded upon. doesn’t sound all that unreasonable the people The government government government people coming together associating themselves I’m all for that, I think that’s fantastic and exactly what we should be doing conservative liberal conservative conservative it’s up to the people to decideallies allies problem so badly gerrymandered even through the normal election process we can’t fix this problem. Gerrymandering is a huge problem. It would make Eldridge Gerry blush, it’s so bad.

236/768 = 31%

The Baffler article was 398/2885 = 14%, but that’s a low estimate; I think I skipped some of the quotes.