Reading George Fox

Expanding the trope?

I wonder if the people calling out Congresswoman Omar would be as upset if she said that Sheldon Adelson massive donations to Trump played a large part in his decision to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem? Because I don’t remember an uproar about the New York Times leading an article about the move with: Ten days before Donald J. Trump took office, Sheldon G. Adelson went to Trump Tower for a private meeting. Afterward, Mr. Adelson, the casino billionaire and Republican donor, called an old friend, Morton A. Klein, to report that Mr. Trump told him that moving the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem would be a major priority. While the article also acknowledges the influence of evangelicals, it doesn’t mention them until the fifth paragraph and it clearly stresses Adelson’s money (and AIPAC) as the leading motivation. The anti-Jewish trope is about shadowy Jewish Financiers secretly controlling politics. There’s nothing secret about AIPAC sponsoring congressional trips to Israel or major politicians from both parties making a pilgrimage to speak at their annual conference. Calling criticism of AIPAC anti-Jewish is expanding the trope to any Jewish use of money in politics.

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“All About The Benjamins”

Here’s the chorus from Puffy’s 1997 hit, It’s All About The Benjamins: It’s all about the Benjamins baby Now, what y’all wanna do? It’s all about the Benjamins baby Wanna be ballers, shot-callers It’s all about the Benjamins baby Brawlers — who be dippin in the Benz wit the spoilers It’s all about the Benjamins baby On the low from the Jake in the Taurus Anyone see any anti-Jewish tropes1 in there? ‘Cause I don’t. Yes, there is one reference to Jews: “You should do what we do, stack chips like *Hebrews*.” But there are way more references to Italian Mob films. The song is about enjoying the life of the wealthy, not using money for power. ↩

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Of Filibusters & Magical Thinking

After listening to Dahlia Lithwick on 2038 today, I had to write her a note. It’s hard to believe someone so smart and incisive can be so blind to political reality. Dahlia, I was just listening to you on the new 2038 podcast. Your support of the Democrats reinstating the judicial filibuster is simply magical thinking ignoring the current reality of the Republican Party. The Democrats simply cannot shame them into re-establishing norms. They already tried to do it once. The Republicans got rid of Blue Slips during the Bush years; Democrats brought them back during Obama’s term; and the Republicans immediately dropped them after Trump was elected. The only thing the Blue Slips did was help McConnell keep spots empty for Trump to appoint more judges. I have no doubt if the filibuster is brought back, the Republicans will get rid of it again when they control the White House and the Senate. Their behavior over the past two decades has not given any reason to believe otherwise. The Democrats are stuck in a prisoner’s dilemma and continually compromising doesn’t work when the Republicans refuse to reciprocate. It’s tantamount to conceding defeat. The correct strategy for the current situation…

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Moral Monsters & Non-Hollywood Endings 🎥

Spoilers Ahead Moral Monsters After sleeping on my thoughts about A Star Is Born, I’m still struggling with my reaction. I truly enjoyed the film, but it also sits really uneasy with me, terrifyingly so. And I think that clench in my stomach stems from Rez’s actions at the end. I have struggled with my own suicidality and the dark thoughts that all I do is hurt the people I love. Those thoughts are disconnected from reality—even as they spiral in my head I know that they are fundamentally irrational. But that knowledge does nothing to lessen their power or shake my belief in them. If, in my worst moments, someone close to a loved one told me that I was hurting them, that my loved one would never tell me, but they would be better off without me…I’m not sure what I would do. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t self harm, but I’d probably need to go to an inpatient psych ward to be safe. Watching Rez do that to Jack—a man who had just begun to face his trauma—shredded me. At that moment, Rez became a moral monster: he is so ruthlessly selfish that he’s willing to emotionally…

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“A Star Is Born” is Too Easy 🎥

Spoilers Ahead. I really enjoyed A Star Is Born; the music is fabulous, Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga kill it, and the ending crushed me. But the main dilemma, Ally’s choice between a famous pop career or a smaller1 indie career, is too easy. There’s really not much to recommend the more famous path: Ally’s producer is a mercenary and disregards anything she wants, she doesn’t seem happier performing on pop stages, and it keeps her away from Jack, whom she dearly loves. Her troubles with Jack stem from his alcoholism and drug abuse, not any desire on her part to pursue the kind of independent career she does. I could easier she her being happier if she signed with whomever produced Jack. After all, Jack was the one who helped her get comfortable in the recording studio. If she had taken a more indie path, I could easily see him continuing to support her in recording sessions and otherwise. Moreover, by the end. Jack seems to have come to terms with Ally’s career. He kills himself after Rez convinces him that he’s holding her back. In doing so, Rez moves himself beyond any sort of sympathy: to him Ally’s…

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Lively Porn vs. Deadly Meditation

Or I’d Rather Be ‘Dick Drunk’ Than Be Masturbated Like Clockwork Content Warning: Explicit description of sex. I picked up Emily Witt’s Future Sex after a friend reviewed it. I haven’t finished yet, but I couldn’t help but notice the discomforting comparison of the chapter on Kink.com (obviously very, very NSFW) and the one on Orgasmic Meditation. Perhaps contrary to our cultural expectations the porn shoot is much more connected, alive, and joyous than the “well-lit room” of a female-led San Franciscan blend of orgasms and transcendentalism. In the chapter on Orgasmic Mediatation, Witt visits OneTouch, a program1 founded by Nicole Daedone that teaches a very particular form of partnered masturbation: “So if her clitoris were a clock” (the room found this hilarious) “it would be in the one o’clock position. And you’re just going to stroke there, up, down, up, down, up, down, up, down.” (Kindle Location 733)2 This clitorial time keeping lasts for exactly 15 minutes—the stroker sets a alarm on their iPhone. To me, this sounds like the most deadly and boring sex imaginable.3 Daedone claims to want to free women from the male-centric concept of sex, but drains all the life out of the act in…

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Life Affirming Politics

This is a continuation of a response to @marmanold on Micro.blog. While being pro choice, Democratic priorities would do a lot to reduce the number of abortions: Better and ideally free access to healthcare, especially prenatal and postnatal. Whatever our options are on the status of fetuses, we can all agree that taking care of mother’s during pregnancy and their children after birth is life affirming. A more equal distribution of wealth, free daycare, etc. A significant number of women who get abortions already have children and cite financial reasons about not being able to afford to raise more. Regulation of industries and pollution controls. Environmental factors have clearly been shown to affect the health of children both pre and post birth. One of the most effective methods of reducing abortions is comprehensive sex end and free widely available contraception. Pro-life groups almost always oppose these as well. Abstinence education only delays sexual activity by about 6 months, but when the teens do have sex, they are much more likely to not use contraception. Here’s a really great post from a woman who was strongly pro-life in her teens and was disillusioned with the movement when she learned more in…

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Initial Thoughts About “religious myths recycled as ersatz social science”

@ayjay wrote a strong piece challenging tensions within contemporary liberalism. I need to spend more time digesting it and the piece by John Gray that he links to. Here are some initial reactions though: Gray claims that liberal elites have run the West for the past 30 years. Yet, from the 80s onwards the US has been on a rightward march from the economic liberalism of the New Deal through the Great Society. Conservative thinkers and Republicans seem to have been setting the terms of the debate. The austerity in response to Great Recession had much more to do with conservative Austrian Economics than liberal Keynesian solutions. How much have the resulting economic shocks fueled the extreme left and right? Also, the Chicago School’s 90s shock therapy for Russia may have quite a bit to do with their illiberal turn. I guess the upshot of the above is a question about the relationship between economic beliefs and social beliefs. Has the move back towards conservative economics and greater income inequality affected the place of liberalism within society? Are conservative social beliefs connected to the conservative economic approach? And, if so, how does that relationship affect the liberal response to the…

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Such Disrespect!

I wrote this mostly as a parody of certain men raging at women making minor geek culture mistakes. There is a slight bit of actual annoyance at Ebony attributing a cinematographer’s contribution to a director.1 More importantly the episode is an incisive discussion of Blindspotting. Oh, oh, Ebony messed up big time today on Feminist Fequency Radio #37. She talks about film directors who know how to light brown skin. Talk about disrespecting cinematographers! Yes, some directors are involved with lighting, but even they collaborate with their cinematographers: the latter are the ones specifically trained in lighting and capturing light on film! As a theatrical lighting designer, I’m sorta sensitive to this, as I’m the one doing the equivalent in live performance. And, as a aside, POC are such a pleasure to light as there’s so much more color to bring out than in pasty white people. For those of you who haven’t seen it recently, check out Purple Rain again. The lighting throughout the film is so good. There’s one scene in the basement with acid yellow lighting making Prince’s father so much more threatening. And it would have turned a white person into a lemon. There is a…

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Kevin Drum Bets Hard On Genetics

A few days back, Kevin Drum wrote a post about the future influence of genetic engineering on social policy. I’m going to leave aside the moral argument that everyone deserves a decent standard of living and focus on two of his assumptions. How much does parental upbringing affect any of this? I’m going to put my money on “not much,” but it’s hardly worth making guesses anymore. In a decade or two we’ll know. How much effect does the entire environment outside the womb have starting with the day a baby is delivered? I’m going to put my money on “some,” but that’s as far as I’ll go. I strongly question his assertation that genetics and epigentics will be found to be overwhelming determinative of talent and skill.1 How will that square with studies that show children of wealthier and/or highly educated parents do better academically? Or that teachers grade girls’ math tests more harshly than boys’ when names are included, but the opposite when names are redacted?2 For a specific example3, Ta-Nehisi Coates attributes much of his success as a writer to his family having a ton of books around and his father’s philosophy that he should learn about…

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