Elayne Riggs' Journal (for Leah)

Friday, April 20, 2007


I'm headed off to Mom's dialup-only house tomorrow so this may be my last chance to blog for a few days. All these bookmarked posts are driving me nuts, so it's well past time for a blogaround.

• Via Oliver Willis, the emblem at right and a link to the Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund.

• Pam Spaulding marked Wednesday as the 11th annual Day of Silence begun by the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network to raise awareness of anti-LGBT harassment and other discrimination, particularly in schools. While I see their point, I'm uncomfortable with the "silent treatment" and unsure of its effectiveness. When I was a "fag hag" in college, almost all my many gay friends chose to be as vocal as possible in showing the straights that they were every bit as entitled to lead their lives bully-free as anybody else, the result being that they were much more fun and interesting people than most of my straight friends.

• Over at Shakesville, Brynn tells of a flawed experiment involving a concert violinist superstar and a mostly indifferent rush hour subway crowd. I'm sorry the guy made so little money busking, but the context seems to be lost on the researchers' conclusions. It's not that people don't care about beauty or art or good music (although it could be that not many of them are into classical stuff, I know I couldn't tell my Menuhin from my Yo-Yo Ma), it's that they probably indulge their passions in non-work hours, during their leisure time. Commuting time is qualitatively different from actual leisure time. When I commuted via subway I read or dozed, and now when I commute by car I listen to the radio or CDs, but my concentration is primarily on the road. Time and place, people, time and place.

• Also at Shakesville, Melissa remembers her great granddad, and reminds readers that she gears her blog for her primary audience and has no intention of changing it to suit a few squirming whiners.

• Speaking of words: Bryant Gries believes we should take back the word "elite" and make it into something to be proud of. I don't agree, I think it's an exclusionary word no matter who uses it. But I do think we ought to employ it more often to characterize rich Republicans who don't care a whit for those less fortunate than them (rather than rich Democrats who do, in the tradition of FDR). James Walcott warns us to beware of people who refer to their innocence of racial prejudice using skin colors that don't exist in nature, at least on this planet. Lindsay Beyerstein decries the way people avoid substantive discussion on important issues by crying "politicization!" every time those issues are raised. This is doubtless part of what Lance Mannion defines as "Orc logic," which he notes as "extremely useful to people whose politics and moral code are devoted exclusively to defending their money and their privileges." And John Rogers -- who's quickly becoming one of my favorite bloggers -- explains the idea of words in context to Time Magazine. Also, Teresa Nielsen-Hayden has a comprehensive meta-post about comments moderation, and she and Patrick even created a certificate for bloggers who feel they need an imprimatur to do basic blog maintenance:

I wipe comment spam regularly as soon as I see it, and I'd do the same for trolls if I had any, but Pen-Elayne is a largely comment-free blog. Not by choice, but I just don't seem to get tons of comments.

• Amid all the nonsense about there being no atheists in foxholes or on grieving campuses, atheist PZ Myers' Parable of the Wall bears repeated reading.

• Via Mark at BoingBoing comes Miranda July's wonderful book promotion site idea. you'll never look at your refrigerator and stovetop the same way again!

• "I got guns, they got guns / All God's children got guns," as the Marx Brothers sang. Mark Morford believes that
If all guns were banned outright tomorrow, or even if we took the strict British/Swedish approach and only allowed them for hunting and in highly controlled shooting clubs, well, guns would slowly but surely disappear from the popular culture... I know, it would ruin the all-American fun of shooting. I realize a beloved American hobby would have to be replaced by, well, roughly 10 thousand other options... Hell, we've done it before, with all sorts of other harsh social practices and beliefs that, we finally realized, served the soul of our species not at all and actually caused much deep harm. Slavery. Hangings. The slaughter of Indians. Monarchical rule. Chamber pots. Flamethrowers. Smoking on airplanes. Women's suffrage. Eugenics.
Great point; so what if one stupid, destructive hobby is lost when we have so many other ways to occupy our leisure time (many of which are almost as stupid and destructive)?

• Hey, bingo is still a popular leisure activity, at least with some bloggers. Both Zuzu and Amanda Marcotte pass along a bingo card made by Lauredhel consisting of all the typical anti-feminist responses liable to pop up on blogs. Not to be outdone, Karen Healey runs with the idea and comes up with a version specifically dealing with anti-feminist comics folk.

• Speaking of which, Chris Clarke doles out some excellent advice to "concern troll" anti-feminist guys who still don't get it. Skippy gets it exactly right about the connection between the horror at Virginia Tech and the dangers of dismissing cyber-stalkers and online death threats. And Lindsay has a reminder about Take Back the Blog! Day next Saturday, April 28. (Lindsay also incites us to action in an effort to stop a secretive postal rate hike. Seems some periodicals are more equal than others...) And would you believe Feministing is going to be celebrating their third blogiversary? They're doing so with a party next Friday, April 27. I think I might actually put in an appearance at this one for a change, current job permitting.

• Belledame's hosted the 36th Carnival of Feminists in three parts (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3). I'm sure I'll get to that triptych right after I finish the other one, Rich Watson's 3-part interview with Alex Simmons (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3). Rich also has a very thoughtful piece on the imminent rerelease of Disney's Song of the South. I'm in favor of the release, myself, but I'd like to see a DVD extra by, say, Leonard Maltin explaining the context of the times. Leonard's very good at that, back when he was teaching cartoon classes at the New School I remember he did a terrific contextual intro to Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarves.

• I hope Budgie is getting paid in pounds instead of dollars!

• Happy belated birthday to my neighbor Keith DeCandido!

• Echidne wonders why obsessing over preventing potential life is more important to some people than protecting actual life. (Because the forced-childbirth folks aren't about saving lives to begin with, of course.)

• Lastly, Susie Madrak opines that maybe cell phone use isn't the main culprit killing the bees. Frankly, genetically screwed-around-with corn seems a much likelier suspect to me.

Will try to post again in the morning before I leave for Jay's house to pick up Mom, but no promises...