Day: 2014.10.09

Required Laughter

After some absolutely depressing required reading, is it fair to say this is required humor? After all, it’s something of a bitter laugh, but also very important.

Deutsch-20141009-detailFor those not acquainted with the cartoons of Barry Deutsch, now would be an excellent time to acquaint yourself.

Additionally, we might reflect on a certain phenomenon; there really is nothing about Deutsch’s villain in this one that strikes me as unusual. That is to say, for those who attempt to engage these issues, the only difference between the cartoon and all too frequent real occasions is the last panel, when the dude just comes right out and says it.

And, yeah, that part is a bit depressing. But you might as well print a copy to carry in your pocket. After all, if you’re the sort who discusses issues of rape culture, it won’t be long before you have an opportunity—and obligation—to pass it along to someone you know.

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Very Nearly Ineffable

"In my five years on Twitter, I've been called 'nigger' so many times that it barely registers as an insult anymore," explains attorney and legal analyst Imani Gandy.  "Let's just say that my 'nigger cunt' cup runneth over."

Catherine Buni and Soraya Chemaly, via The Atlantic, offer one of those mammoth monstrosities of compelling writing about a really ugly subject.

For some, the costs are higher. In 2010, 12-year-old Amanda Todd bared her chest while chatting online with a person who’d assured her that he was a boy, but was in fact a grown man with a history of pedophilia. For the next two years, Amanda and her mother, Carol Todd, were unable to stop anonymous users from posting that image on sexually explicit pages. A Facebook page, labeled “Controversial Humor,” used Amanda’s name and image—and the names and images of other girls—without consent. In October 2012, Amanda committed suicide, posting a YouTube video that explained her harassment and her decision. In April 2014, Dutch officials announced that they had arrested a 35-year-old man suspected to have used the Internet to extort dozens of girls, including Amanda, in Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The suspect now faces charges of child pornography, extortion, criminal harassment, and Internet luring.

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Hildur Lilliendahl Viggósdóttir, decided to draw attention to similar problems by creating a page called “Men who hate women,” where she reposted examples of misogyny she found elsewhere on Facebook. Her page was suspended four times—not because of its offensive content, but because she was reposting images without written permission. Meanwhile, the original postings—graphically depicting rape and glorifying the physical abuse of women—remained on Facebook. As activists had been noting for years, pages like these were allowed by Facebook to remain under the category of “humor.” Other humorous pages live at the time had names like “I kill bitches like you,” “Domestic Violence: Don’t Make Me Tell You Twice,” “I Love the Rape Van,” and “Raping Babies Because You’re Fucking Fearless.”

No, really, we have nothing for this one. Rather, there is plenty to say, but there are enough profane words here already. In small doses, it is possible to muster on the spot such energy as to not only reject such hatred, but also strike back at it ferociously. In such volume, sadly, it is hard to know where to begin, how to organize the response. Meanwhile, Buni and Chemaly’s article is necessary reading. Many of us believe we have at least some idea of how bad things are out there, but every once in a while, the only thing to mind is, “Holy shit!”

Then again, we at This Is can easily get in over our heads. Our “we” is abstract. It is reader and writer and community at large. That is, at This Is, “we” is only “you” and “me”. And there are days I might think I have at least some idea of how bad things are out there, but I am not a woman. I have no idea. My “out there” is someone else’s “right here”. And while it is easy to rage and fume about this atrocity or that, there does come a point where the magnitude of this sickness raging through humanity becomes very nearly ineffable.

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Buni, Catherine and Soraya Chemaly. “The Unsafety Net: How Social Media Turned Against Women”. The Atlantic. 9 October 2014.

Your War on Drugs: Tennessee Anal Probes

Sure, it’s clickbait, we know. But it’s also a real issue. Radley Balko explains the thing about the Oak Ridge anal probes:

Last year we learned of three incidents in New Mexico in which motorists pulled over for moving violations were subjected to forced anal cavity searches, x-rays and even colonoscopies because police suspected they were hiding drugs in their bodies. I pointed out in January that the practice has also been used in Texas, Illinois, Florida and Kansas.

It looks like Oak Ridge, Tenn., has been doing it, too.

Right. Anyway, Balko continues:

The Watch: 'More drug war anal probes, this time in Oak Ridge ... (Radley Balko/Washington Post)This is actually the second time a forcible anal probe has been challenged in a Tennessee courtroom. In 2011, the same doctor and the same police department performed a similar procedure on a man, also after a traffic stop.

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An Update: GOP Shutdown Fever

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)

Think of it this way: The political party that insists government doesn’t work is also the group constantly threatening to shut down the government as if they’re trying to prove their thesis by forcing it to come true.

That is to say, if the government doesn’t break, Republicans will work tirelessly to correct that failure to fail.

We heard some talk about the Continuing Resolution, but the White House and Congress hammered out an agreement to keep the doors open, the lights on, and the war going … until December 11.

As such, Steve Benen’s summary of emerging shutdown news ought not come as any surprise:

Republican leaders in both chambers agreed months ago that a pre-election government shutdown simply wasn’t an option. There were some on the far right who tried to fan some flames, but it never spread.

Republicans did not, however, rule out a post-election shutdown. Aliyah Frumin reported earlier:

A group of Republican senators – led by Marco Rubio of Florida – sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner and are calling on him to oppose any spending legislation for a program that’s part of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act – a move that could potentially result in a government shutdown. […]

If the House refuses to allow the provision into the spending bill – which would be vehemently opposed by the White House – a stalemate and government shutdown could occur. To avoid a shutdown, lawmakers will have to pass new spending legislation in the lame duck session before Dec. 11, which is when the current continuing budget resolution expires.

The fact that this is happening yet again is obviously tiresome. It was just two months ago that far-right congressional Republicans were making threats about a new shutdown – not to be confused with the previous GOP shutdown – and for Rubio and his allies to start making a new round of threats is unfortunate.

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Palmetto Cruelty, or, Traditional Virtues in South Carolina

Seal of South Carolina (detail)

So, this happened today:

The South Carolina Supreme Court is ordering state probate courts not to issue same-sex marriage licenses until a federal judge decides whether the state constitution’s ban on the unions is legal.

(Jeffrey Collins)

This is actually quite an interesting development. After all, as we learned yesterday:

A South Carolina court has accepted a same-sex couple’s application for a marriage license despite the state’s constitutional ban against the practice and the attorney general’s pledge to defend it.

(Associated Press)

The brief summary: The Supreme Court rejects appeals against marriage equality, with several states having lost their fedral court bids to uphold marriage bans. South Carolina accordingly begins issuing marriage licenses. South Carolina filed a motion in the state Supreme Court five minutes before the close of business, asking the Court to quash the licenses before the twenty-four hour waiting period required of all marriage licenses expired. The state Supreme Court accepted the motion and quashed licenses already issued.

It is true that the decision by the Charleston County Probate Court to begin issuing marriage licenses included the hinge of state Supreme Court approval, but here’s the thing about the court’s rationale: The state Supreme Court wants to wait for a federal ruling in another case, one that was put on hold by the SCOTUS decision to refuse the appeals. That case is an Article IV claim; the marriage ban will be struck.

In the end, this is just a deliberate delaying tactic in South Carolina, a wailing, gnashing effort to fend off the inevitable for the sake of simple human cruelty.

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Collins, Jeffrey. “South Carolina Supreme Court Halts Same-Sex Marriage Licenses”. The Huffington Post. 9 October 2014.

Associated Press. “South Carolina Supreme Court Halts Same-Sex Marriage Licenses”. The Huffington Post. 8 October 2014.

Smith, Bruce. “SC high court asked to halt gay marriage licenses”. The State. 8 October 2014.