Thursday, March 31, 2011

Final Public Comment Period for New Standards to Address Prisoner Rape Ends Soon

(I'm hoping Cara won't mind me copying her title.)

As the title says your chance to chime in on the new standards to address prison rape and abuse is ending soon.

If you don't know a new set of standards are supposed to be coming into play that are meant to address these issues. However they are sorely lacking. The organization Just Detention International has a site up with some of the talking points that need to be discussed:
The standards must be properly enforced through independent oversight.
No matter how strong the final standards are, they will be meaningless if they don’t require that detention facilities be subjected to independent, external oversight. The Department of Justice proposes allowing corrections agencies to use an internal employee for measuring compliance with the standards. With rampant sexual abuse in prisons and jails across the country, we can no longer rely on corrections facilities to police themselves. Tell the Department to require that independent agencies be responsible for monitoring compliance with the standards.

The national standards must apply to immigration detention facilities.
All people behind bars have basic human rights. No person, no matter the reason for his/her detention, should be subjected to sexual abuse. People in immigration detention are exceptionally vulnerable to rape. In its own report, the Department of Justice writes, “Protection from sexual abuse should not depend on where an individual is incarcerated: it must be universal.” Urge the Department to uphold this value by making the standards binding on immigration detention facilities, as well as prisons and jails.

(You can view the full list at Just Detention International's site.)

Also notice that along with that talking points is a link to a place where you can submit a letter (by the way the submission page seems to have a 2000 character limit) and even has a sample letter that you can use, which of course you are free to modify or replace entirely with your exact words.

Abuse of prisoners is a serious problem in this nation (and bear in mind that the US has one of the largest prison populations in the world). This is a golden opportunity to have your say on the matter.

Polling Sleight of Hand

Its amazing how when used "properly" people can carefully craft a question in order to get the answer they want. Look at this story about a poll that was done by a right wing think tank a week or so ago:
3/25/2011 - A right-wing think tank today released a new poll that uses misleading language to falsely inflate support for Senate Bill 106, the proposed anti-LGBT constitutional amendment. According to the poll by the Civitas Institute, a purported "large majority" of North Carolina voters support holding a vote to rewrite our state constitution and define marriage as only between a man and a woman. However, the poll carefully avoids telling voters that this type of discriminatory revision to our state's most fundamental document would also ban civll union and domestic partnership, recognition which most North Carolina voters clearly support.

The sleight of hand you ask? Look at this very carefully worded question:
“The North Carolina legislature is considering a bill that would allow North Carolina voters to vote on amending the state constitution to say marriage is only between a man and a woman. Do you support or oppose allowing North Carolina voters to vote on this constitutional amendment?”

In short its asking you (the person taking the poll) whether or not you support the idea of North Carolina voters voting on a constitutional amendment to define marriage as one man one woman. Notice how the exact details of this amendment are left out. Missing are things like the fact that such an amendment would deny recognition of other types of relationships that are not opposite sex couples such as civil unions and domestic partnerships, possibly taking away benefits such as insurance (from not just LGBT couples but possibly even unmarried heterosexual couples as well), and simply just defiling a founding document by legalizing bigotry and discrimination.

This goes to show you that if you come across a poll you need to read that shit very carefully or you could end up going against a cause that you actually support. And its a damn shame that people have resorted to such tactic in order to deny people the right to have their union recognized by the law.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I know I'm going too far....

but I just had to laugh when I came up with this one.

In my lovely state of North Carolina the state House passed a bill that would allow for people with concealed carry handgun permits to bring their weapons into places like parks and restaurants, even those that sell alcohol. Mind you there are limitations such it being illegal to be in possession of a concealed weapon while consuming alcohol in a restaurant, even with a permit. And also parks and places that are holding official sporting events are also still off limits.

Yeah it worries me a bit that this is coming up and it really worries me that the fact that other states are already doing this is being offered up as proof that we need to catch up to the others for the sake of conformity.

But really what popped up in my mind was this. Look familiar?:

Was it just for the stereotypes?

First go read this article at Racialicious then come back. Take all the time you want I'll still be here.

Oh back already? Let's continue then.

The post over there is about the whitewashing of the casting prospects for the upcoming live action Akira movie. Namely they are asking why the geek community is so quiet about it. (Frankly I had gotten so sick of hearing hopes, dreams, and rumors about a live action Akira that I stop caring a few years ago and I'm just not as up to snuff on my otakuness as I used to be.) After reading that post I started to think about Asian actors and how far they have penetrated American audiences in the last few decades.

If you look at movies and tv from about 25 years ago and you would not be able to find much beyond Jackie Chan, Jet Li, Samo Hung, Chow Yun Fat, Anita Mui (RIP), and Michelle Yoeh. And even then it was pretty much limited to martial arts movies (with the main exception of George Takei). These days things are better but are they really equal?

If you look for Asian actors today, and I'm talking ones that are household names where if someone chimes off the name you pull multiple things they've been in (or projects they been on for a long time) that weren't the stereotype of martial artist, school/music prodigy, or bad driver, there are certainly more than in the past. Daniel Dae Kim did his thing on Angel, LOST, and is working the new Hawaii 5-0. Grace Park, loved her in Battlestar Galactica and I think she's on the new Hawaii 5-0 too. John Cho was funny as hell in the Harold and Kumar movies and has taken the mantle of Sulu in the recent Star Trek reboot. I don't know if she's stil on the show (I've only watched like 5 episodes of it) but Sandra Oh was doing her thing on Grey's Anatomy. And of course the comedic styling of Margaret Cho (who has done a good bit of comedy on calling out the stereotypes). But I wonder though.

I kinda wish I could pull off some sort of series of street interviews or something about Asian actors and how quickly random people would be able to name one the current starts I mentioned (or perhaps another I don't know about or didn't mention) vs one the older ones (who for the most part are not quite as active as they were 25 or so years ago. But I don't think I could because 1) its hard to do street interviews in a rural backwoods area and 2) as a black person I'm not sure it would be my place to do such a thing on this topic.

Or maybe I'm out of touch.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Oh its only because they are white?

I suppose this goes to show you that there are some feminists that just are not willing to own up to the female parts of white female privilege.

First comment:
Here’s my question:
Why call it “white female privilege?” White men also have a sense of entitlement when they’re saying crazy shit.

I’m not sure the tendency to “forgive”/ignore her views because she’s “hot” is a form of privilege. It seems like the same phenomenon we see when progressive views are “forgiven”/ignored in favor of attention to the speaker’s body.

Notice how the first part of the comment is basically pining about how white men having a sense of entitlement (which feminists have no problem calling out when they can make it about them being white men) supposedly cancels out the sense of entitlement that white women have.

Check out the next section "I'm not sure the to 'forgive'/ignore her views because she's 'hot'" is a form of privilege.

Nice scare quotes there. Okay simply put its a matter of treating a person a certain way because of some characteristic that really has no relation to the topic at hand.

You know I'm really sick of people trying to jump through hoops, side step, explain away, and anything else they can do in order to avoid the existence of female privilege. Its not benevolent sexism. Its not "gender discrimination". Its not some other nonsense. Its a matter of unfair advantages that are bestowed upon women as a group because of the fact that are women.

Auto-trust with children because they are women? Privilege. Yes there is the unfair presumption that women must be good with kids but since such unfair presumptions don't wash out male privilege (like that popular item that men are privilege when it comes to getting into leadership positions, funny how no one thinks about the fact that its presumed to the point of tease and ridicule for not going for leadership positions when shouting about it from the mountain) why should that be the case when talking about women?

Look I'm all for getting rid of all the damaging things that harm the various walks of life but it will never happen as long we have women (or anyone for that matter) that think they are immune to privilege because they are women.

But nevermind my ranting you should go check out Renee. She's has been fired up and she's burning it wild fire style.

Monday, March 28, 2011

A wonderful chain of freedom

Okay first a disclaimer. I'm a bit tipsy so this may not come out the way I want but I think its a good thought.

As you know when it comes to gender related blogging you have different people on different sides. You have MRAs, feminists, people who claim other titles, and people who may claim no title. Also I'm sure you know that when it comes to crossing paths these different walks of life may not have the best time getting along. Wouldn't it be nice if we could all link together in some sort of chain. Hear me out.

I myself am a non feminist and I make no bones about it. Yeah there are good ones out there but I have my reasons for being able to agree with them while at the same time refusing that title. Well what if I got along with a feminist and that feminist bridged me to other feminists. How about if you had a feminist that didn't get along with MRAs so well and used me a bridge to them. Well what if you have a womanist that didn't get along with with MRAs not feminists that well and used myself to bridge with MRAs and that feminist that I bridged with to bridge with feminists. Well then imagine you had a transgender activists that has bad experiences with feminists and MRAs and did the same. See how it could build out into a massive web in which even though we may cross paths with people that we may not get along with we are at least able to relate to them through other people who can.

Hey I warned you that I'm tipsy.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

A pardon for William Holden?

Who was William Holden and why does Rep. Senator Neal Hunt want to pardon him?

In short Holden was a newspaper editor and owner in North Carolina that built up the Republican Party that we know today. In addition to helping to stabilizing the state during the Reconstruction ear Holden was elected to the position of governor of North Carolina in 1868 (he had been appointed governor for a short time in 1865 shortly after the Civil War ended but lost an official election later that year).

One of Holden's major accomplishments was the quelling of racial violence in Caswell and Alamance counties in the last 1860s. After first sending in detectives the governor next sent in state militia to stop the Ku Klux Klan. Holden's efforts did relatively little in the way of putting an end to the Klan's racist activities but his actions led to a political changeup that resulted in the Republican Party losing is control to Democrats in the legislative houses of The Tar Heel state.

In response the Democratic party impeached Holden in 1871. Among the charges were claims that Holden's handling of the situations of in Alamance and Caswell counties resulted in rough treatment and unfair arrests. As a result of the Democratic dominance the vote to convict and remove did not go in Holden's favor, thus making him the second governor in American history to be impeached and the first to be result in conviction and removal.

This past week Hunt proposed a resolution to pardon Holden. You would think that such a thing would not be a bad idea right? Wrong. It would seem that sometime later an anonymous letter appeared that spoke ill of Holden and his actions.

Also hoping to prevent a pardon for Holden is 17 year old Sterling Carter. According to Carter and his research of documents from that era he says that it was not state militia that was sent to those counties but hired soldiers from Tennessee (which would kinda make them mercenaries if true). However one could argue that Carter is biased due to him being from Yanceyville, which is located in Caswell County.

So what do you think? Should Holden be pardoned and remembered as an anti-racist opponent of the KKK or was he a oppressive governor that bullied innocent and thus deserved his current place in the history books?

Saturday, March 26, 2011

You ever read any of H.P. Lovecraft's material?

I haven't. But its a name that I've seen come up a thousand times in conversation about scifi literature. It's one of those I put on the back burner with the intent to read later. Well its later now thanks to Cthulu Chick.

This woman has seen it in her heart to gather all the works of H.P. Lovecraft and put them into a nice ebook format. Its available for the Nook, Kindle, iPad, and several other formats.

Say it with me folks.

Thank you Cthulu Chick!!!!!!

Happy reading.

Weekly Mashup Stage 44

Oh hi. Its the weekend again already? Well link 'em if ya got 'em.

Why I'm Leaving Feminism: "The feminist movement does not believe I am a human being. It dehumanises me. It uses my body and my lived experiences for its own ends and throws me away when it’s done. I am something disposable; I am the sacrificial planking on the hull of the feminist movement. It took me a long time to learn that I was being left out for the sea worms to eat, not actually playing an integral role in the movement, to learn that, fundamentally, many people believed that ‘my issues’ were not feminist."

Thirty Days For Child Rape: Okay I understand that part of the point of a plea deal is to give the offender the chance to not face the maximum penalty. But come the fuck on 30 days in JAIL (not even prison) for giving teens alcohol and then raping one of them? My problem here is that its not like how much of a reduction in punishment the offender gets is chosen by the offender. That means that someone in that legal system thought that 30 days in jail was adequate punishment for a woman who gives teens alcohol and rapes an under aged boy. I wonder if those folks in Oregon would give the same break to a 35 year old man that rapes a 14 year old girl.

Historically Hardcore

Do Men Need to Act Like Women to Succeed as Fathers?: No. Perhaps they need the qualities of a good parent that have been associated with being a women and thought to be entirely non existent in men for so long. (Which is what I think that article is getting at.)

People Are Awesome: This Guy Scuba Dived Into the Tsunami to Rescue His Wife and Mother: This man is The Man.

Woman sentenced after streaming sex abuse of daughter over webcam: That's just disgusting.

NC House To Reconsider Mexican ID Cards: "Currently, the Mexican Consulate issues the card for nationals in North Carolina. Some cities in the state accept the identification card, including Durham. Durham approved allowing their police force to accept the Mexican Consulate's card in November. However, the proposed House Bill 33 would bar local governments from recognizing the identification cards." This might not be such a great idea.

Yes that is Teddy Roosevelt fighting Bigfoot. (Check the gallery there's cool TMNT art in there too.)

What the battle in Wisconsin means for the rest of us: April up in Wisconsin protesting. Like a Boss.

Can We Degenderize Domestic Violence?: Its one thing to believe the people who disagree with parts of feminism are wrong for actual logical reasons. Its quite another to believe that feminism is some infallible entity that is so right that the very act of questioning it or critiquing it is considered a waste of time. Its also not good when think a movement should just get a free pass on its negativity that those who disagree with it are expected to just get over it.

Keep it real.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

So about that life expectancy thing...

Looks like some new numbers are in on the life
expectancy and death rates of people in the US.

It seems that people who were born in 2009 can expect an average life span of 78.2 years, up from the 78 years expected of people born in 2008. And out of the 15 leading causes of death 10 of them actually saw a decrease in the lives they claimed from 2008 to 2009

But ballgame calls me a gender thinker so let's get to the brass tacks.

For white males, 75.7 years.
For white females, 80.6 years.
For black males, 70.9 years.
For black females, 77.4 years.
See the problem? Well other than the fact that we only have numbers for white people and black people (I wonder if the full study covers everyone who isn't black or white) We can see that much like education men are lagging behind women. Yeah you could try to throw up smoke by pointing out the racial difference but considering that black women still outlive white men by an average of two years and white women outlive black men by an average of damn near 10 years I think we can safely say that gender is playing a role here as well.

I've talked about bit about how men's health is lacking and it looks like its still holding true now. Men becoming more aware of the health risks we face. Men gaining the freedom to actually care about our health without it being taken as a sign of not being a real man. Men taking care of themselves.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Weekly Mashup Stage 43

How goes it?

Double Discrimination: "One of my teachers said it right today. She noted that not only do I have to deal with the lack of adequately accessible facilities, but then I also have to deal with investing the time and energy in self-advocacy to get the facilities. It’s “double discrimination”, she said. And she’s exactly right, and that’s what I’ve been struggling to explain, and something just went click inside me, because I realised that was the vocabulary, the image, that I needed." Having to overcome discrimination in order to get to the point where you can work to overcome discrimination.

The One Good Man: "The One Good Man sees all other men as feckless, immoral, weak, beneath him. The One Good Man is good because he knows he is the only good man. He is special. He regales of stories of his goodness, all with the same refrain: I have used my strengths to woman’s service, I have crushed men so that women may walk upon them. And thus he is deserving of the admiration and approval of many woman. He has a Harem. But that is not enough."

Teachers March For Jobs: " More than 1,000 teachers from around the state took to the streets of Raleigh today. They were in town for the North Carolina Association of Educators annual conference. They are protesting, in part, against possible budget cuts in the General Assembly that could lead to tens of thousands of teachers and school personnel being laid off. The Legislature is trying to plug a $2.5 billion dollar budget gap. As Dave DeWitt reports, teachers are feeling pinched not only by the economy and the state budget, but by a national trend that paints “them” as the problem with public education."

Train your man like your dog, books recommend: So what's all this I keep hearing about misandry, hatred of men, and sexism against men not existing? If you want to learn about me try fucking talking to us. It might not get the results you want but I assure its a lot better than treating us like dogs. But I suppose the notion that men are people is still just a bit too radical for people to grasp in this day and age right?

Quick hit: Amanda Marcotte on Men’s Rights Activists: Well what do you know there are some people who had sense enough to realize that Marcotte was being unfair in that garbage she tried to pass off at Good Men Project. Oh you didn't think I was talking about the person at Feministing that posted that did you? Sorry for misleading you no that's just the usual praise for a person that venomous to MRAs in a way that would have them crying foul if it were done to feminists. I'm talking about some of the people in the comment section.

Mom Abused Toddler So Man Could Watch: If I didn't know any better I'd swear they are trying to say its unfair that the woman that abused her own daughter got a larger sentence than the man who made her do it. Okay not so much made her do it but talked her into doing it while he watched. And by watched I mean he did it over web cam. And by over web cam I mean she did it in the US while he watched over web cam in the UK. Yeah.

Does Hollywood Deserve Its Own Patriot Act?: Not no but HELL NO! Trying to depend on outdated business models does not entitle you to special laws. And for the record streaming/downloading a song is not terrorism.

That's all for now peoples. Later!

Working on being a man pt.8

This is one of many parts in the ongoing series of working on being a man. They aren't in any special order I just number them to keep up with them.

If you've been reading this series you know that one of the main points I make about being a man is that a man needs to be a man on his (or her) own terms. You have to make it your own way and not let others define the label for you.

Freedom to take on the hobbies you want be it woodworking or baking.

Freedom to have the sexual orientation of your choice.

Freedom to work whatever job you wish.

Freedom to perform nice acts because you want to be nice and not because you "have" to perform them to validate your manhood.

Freedom to dress in whatever you want from platform heels to steel toe boots to flannel shirts to halter tops.

Freedom to have whatever body configuration you want and not what society tells you it needs to be configured to in order validate your manhood.

Lots of freedom going on there right? Hopefully that freedom will be taking place in all of society one day when a man really will have his pick of those things. But for now the fight rages on.

But things like this (borrowed from Good Men Project) are pretty much the antithesis of what I'm trying to do here.

Being nice is a great thing. Everyone should do it. Its just so, nice.

But on what good and green earth does it make sense to try to force guys into a narrow box and act like that if they are not nice to "ladies" for the simple fact of them being "ladies".

I'm all for encouraging people to be generous and courteous to others but I'm pretty sure we can find better ways than, "a real man would...." to get the point across can't we?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

This dad would have been a big help to Casey Haines

If you recall a few days ago I was talking about the rather serious manner in which Casey Haines dealt with a bully at his school. If you hadn't heard about here I'm sure you've seen it elsewhere by now.

Once I came down from the rush of seeing him handle business (and yes he did handle business) I commented on how the school system and that bully's parents really let Casey down. Frankly speaking while I'm glad he stood up for himself (and forget that "he should have walked away" nonsense) it should have not been necessary for him to have to do that in the first place because that confrontation should not have taken place or at least it should not have escalated to that point. Either the school or the bully's parents should have handled that beforehand. Well here's one dad that's not having it.
AN IRATE Ipswich father has marched his two children to a police station to have them charged with assault after catching them attacking another teen.
Yes this father, who has chosen to remain anonymous, saw his son and daughter beating up another kid and sprung into action. He actually broke up the beating, took the victim home, then dragged his kids to the police station.

A special nod to this dad, especially in this day and age when people seem to only want to talk about dads when there's something bad to be said about them.

I'm willing to bet that Casey would not have had to do what he did if there were more parents like this (and teachers) that would take care of business. Imagine if the kid that bullied Casey had been stopped cold by his own parents after the first encounter. Chances are it would not have led to him eating pavement.

Part of the dad's motivation for his actions was the fact that he himself was bullied as a child. In his days he was teased and harassed for his glasses. Guess what his kids were beating up their 13 year old victim over? That's right, glasses. Dad even drove the point home by showing his kids a past picture of when he wore glasses. It must by pretty eye opening to see that your parents share a common trait with the kid you were bullying I suppose.

And the most awesome part, the dad has said that if the victim's parents decide to press charges he will support their decision.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Recreating an old class divide?

I was reading an article over at Reuters today talking about the rise of electronic books (ebooks). The writer expresses concern about this (relatively) new technology.
The rapid rise of e-books could lead to a "reading divide" as those unable to afford the new technology are left behind, even as U.S. reading and writing skills decline still further.
What Elaine speaks of is not a new phenomenon. (I'm not implying that she thinks it is mind you.) Take medieval Europe for example.

In those times there was usually clear separation between people of the upper/ruling classes who had access to reading material and those of the working/lower classes that did not. I personally think a big part of this divide was due to money.

You see scholars (and doctors, inventor, etc...) of that day needed money in order to perform their research and experiments. How does one get access to money? Buddy up with the people that have it. And along with that money comes fame and reputation. So by the time the smoke clears you have scholars and other learned people spending their efforts trying to rub elbows with the upper/ruling classes and not bothering with the working/lower classes. Guess who gets access to the latest medical techniques? Who has access to an education? And who has access to the latest literature?

Mind you I think it might be a bit premature to say that this is happening already but considering how big and bad this divide was in those times it might be worth keeping in mind.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Rosie the Riveter's Granddaughter?

The upcoming April cover of WIRED Magazine featuring Limor Fried.

Fuck yeah. Why is this a "Fuck Yeah" Moment? Well you see:
Engineer, kit maker, entrepreneur, MAKE advisory board member, open source hardware pioneer Limor “Ladyada” Fried is on April’s WIRED cover. This is the first female engineer to appear WIRED’s cover (as well as the first female engineer to appear on such a high-profile tech publication that I can recall).
That emphasis I just put in there is why its its a "Fuck Yeah" moment.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Okay so maybe I went overboard earlier

( The video I'm gonna post here, and this same video it at places I'm linking to here as well, is pretty serious. Just giving a warning.)

I'll admit it I, like most people, have flaws. And one of my biggest flaws is that I hold grudges. And if given the opportunity I'll bludgeon someone with it I will. (Let's just say I was cheering Maria on in this clip, which is also pretty violent.) Which would explain why I enjoyed this clip just a little too much.

Okay by now I'm sure you're read about or seen the video of young Casey Haines getting attacked by a bully and Casey's retaliation by way of face bomb. When I first came across it at Renee's I was amped up. You see I was amped up because I was in Casey's shoes a long time ago and I retaliated in a similar manner.

I even went on to post it up at April's place while I was still on the rush of seeing it.

But then I came across Ta-Nehisi Coates' post and I realized that maybe I was getting just a bit too happy about this.

I'll admit when I first read this I was heated and would have been the first to say "Fuck him!" (and I think I did). But on the other hand this is a moment where we shouldn't get too wrapped up in how awesome that slam was but instead look at the bigger picture at hand.

On thinking further about it I have to say that the real shame here is that the school administration and parents of that bully really dropped the ball here. As someone says in here young Casey has been bullied before. That kind of pressure builds up over time due to feelings of not being able to run, hide, or get help. If the staff of that school had actually helped Casey in the past more than likely it would not have culminated in this display of violence. You see by not getting help and pretty much being left to take the bullying that kid that came at him in the video pretty much knew he was an easy mark (and firmly believe the person recording was set up ahead of time by the bully in order to get video of him showing off).

Casey's back was to the wall and he finally concluded that he had had enough and decided that if no one was going to help him he just had to help himself. And that's why its a bit hard to not simply cheer him on with no further examination. Its good to see him stand up for himself but frankly it should not have come to that. And that's the bigger picture.

You see school's are supposed to be active in trying to stop bullying. Not only is there the obvious physical risk but there is also the mental risk. No telling if Casey has self esteem issues, confidence problems, or anything else. At the same time his tormentor may very well have some skeletons in his own closet as well (perhaps he is bullied by someone and he's taking it out on Casey?).

Lately people have been making a big deal about cyberbullying. I agree something needs to be done about that I think we need to get old fashioned in school bullying under control too.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Possible breakthrough in Prostate Cancer diagnosis

As you may or may not know he curren PSA test used to check for prostate cancer is not the most accurate. The blood test is prone to producing false positives. Well it looks like the folks at the Prostate Project have come up with a more accurate test.

According to the Prostate Project there is a protein by the name E-N-2 that is only produced by cancerous prostate cancer cells. Scientists have developed a urine test that tests for this protein. So far the test seems to be about 60%-70% accrate, while not perfect it is more accurate than the current PSA test which takes a blood sample and tests for specific antigens that may or may not be a sign of cancer.

This may look promising. If things go well for this UK based organization I really hope it makes its way over here to The States.

And apparently this is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.

Monday, March 14, 2011

5 Things Social Media Tells Us About Men

So I've been reading Good Men Project a lot this week and came across this little gem. I have a bit of hobby of reading lists like this. Sometimes they are worthless. Sometimes they are useful. Sometimes they are just entertaining. Check this one out. Apparently social media has revealed 5 things about men.

1. 120 characters is a lot more comfortable than group therapy.

Men are famous for not reading, not emoting, and being unwilling to talk. But social media has created a comfort zone where men communicate about things they might not otherwise. What that tells us is that men are actually more complex and more feeling than we are given credit for, as the safety of technology and the tweet frees us from our usual caveman-like grunts. Daddy bloggers swap stories about changing diapers, men actually exchange dating advice, and men talk about books—albeit in headline tweet format. Perhaps men are deeper than we let on.
In my relatively small time blogging and participating in discussions on other people's blogs I wonder if social media in and of itself is a form of group therapy. A lot of people tend to be more open when they are in the company of similar people.

Well given that social media by definition is a way for people to connect it makes sense that men would start to get together and share things that they may not (or may not be able to) share with other people. I think men have been complex creatures for a long time. Its just that by connecting through social media we've crossed paths with other men that have felt like we weren't allowed to explore our complexities. so give it up for social media I suppose.

2. The baboon brain is still alive and well.

At our worst, men are thought of as not being very advanced from baboons in our focus on sexual encounters and inability to commit to a single mate. The dirty little secret about social media is that it is driven in large part by—you guessed it—sexual content. The Huffington Post, Gawker, and any number of other supposedly thoughtful information sites drive traffic via veiled and not-so-veiled porn. The appetite for self-pleasure with electronic images is the biggest entertainment industry there is, and the web certainly is our biggest provider. In theory, social media could also lead to actual physical cheating through, the increasingly popular Facebook dating applications like AreYouInterested and WouldYouSleepWithMe, and extramarital hookup sites such as

But most guys just use their baboon brains to fantasize about women other than their wives or girlfriends. To each his own, but to my way of thinking, it’s pretty much the biggest waste of time going. Still, social media has greatly accelerated the addictive elements of sexual fantasy and porn.

Wow. Baboon brains? While I'm all for the theory of evolution I'm just not much of a fan of pulling out the animal name calling. Now I will say that social media has become a major way to use the internet to spread porn and fantasy. But I find it interesting that this only brings up negatives like cheating. No comment on men that may have used social media as a way to explore their sexuality in positive ways? (Side note: The one person on my Twitter feed that talks about sex is a woman)

3. We are OCD to the max

BlackBerries, iPhones, iPads, Kindles, and laptops tether us to yet another repetitive behavior that leads to little if any real benefit, but engages us over and over again nevertheless. How many guys have you seen at the dinner table, the playground—even at their kid’s musical recital—checking their tweets? I am not proud of it, but I plead guilty to waking up in the middle of the night, grabbing my iPhone and taking it into the bathroom to take a leak. Standing at three in the morning at the toilet, maintaining aim and simultaneously checking Twitter, Facebook, email, and The New York Times feeds is something I have perfected. I know I am not alone.

Perhaps the writer here thinks this phenomenon is unique to men or something.

4. It’s all about sports

When we are not looking at porn, we are talking about sports. Sports radio was a great advance in mankind. Online sports betting (first the NCAA tourney pool and then fantasy football) brought action into our man caves. But for the sports fanatics out there, which is pretty much all of us, social media is the engine we’ve been looking for. Blogs, sites like, countless chat rooms, and the granddaddy of them all——feed the male sports soul like nothing before. Sports talk, tweet, and fantasy are what we guys have been looking for to fill the cracks in our day-to-day existence.
The fact that the athletes themselves have their own Twitter streams is just icing on the cake. What would I do without having constant access to @THE_REAL_SHAQ?

Funny. I'm starting to wonder if this writer is just pulling out stereotypes, finding some social media representations of them, and throwing them up. (Side note: I don't have any sports feeds on my Twitter account and I actually have more women talking about sports on my Facebook feed than men.)

5. Men want to connect—we just don’t know how

The most important thing social media tells us about manhood in 2011 is that we desire to connect with each other and with the opposite sex in meaningful ways. The amazing thing about Twitter and Facebook is that they offer the ability to connect with people with common interests all over the world. One of my best friends is a blues philosopher from Reno, Nevada, named Todd Mauldin. I have never met him in the flesh, but through social media, I know about his deepest challenges and successes. We originally met on Facebook. Since that time he has sent me his music and videos, and we’ve exchanged long emails where we have each spilled our guts.

This may sound like Oprah for guys, but it is not. The tone of the discussions between me and Todd—and with the other men I know through social media—is uniquely male. We talk and share our emotions using vocabulary and an approach that is completely different from that of women.

Another close friend I have never met other than electronically is Michael Kamber, one of the most celebrated New York Times war photographers. He shares with me what it is really like to be on the front lines in Iraq, and now in Afghanistan, in real time. I often ask him about something I have read in the papers, and he tells me a story that either refutes or confirms what I have read.

More often than not, when Michael messages me to tell me what it is like to watch men saving a civilian baby or getting their arms blown off or dying in their comrades’ arms, I have tears in my eyes. These are the images in words and pictures that even the Times will not publish but that I have access to because of social media. I am connected to Michael and the men on the ground in a way that wouldn’t have been possible without social media. And I am a better man for it.

Now there's a lot going on here. At first I want to just say "sad but true" but that's not deep enough.

In the second paragraph Tom talks about uniquely male communication and it being different from how women communicate. I get the feeling Tom is talking about how the majority of male communication that is prevalent today just does not resonate with him. And through social media he has managed to find other men like him and a way to communicate with them in a way that actually does resonate with him. But like the third point above I highly doubt that this unique to men. I'd bet there are a lot of women whom Oprah does not resonate with.

In the end I'd say Tom's list is a mixed bag of useful insight and goals and gender essentialism that borders on dismissive misandry. What do you think?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Weekly Mashup Stage 42

Yeah yeah yeah you know what's about to happen.

NFL talks break down; legal battle will threaten start of season: And bear in mind its not the players trying to get more money. Its the owners. You know the ones that don't take anywhere near the risks that the actual player do.

Bath & Bodyworks Goes To Court To Explain To Summit Entertainment That The Word Twilight Existed Before The Movie: Must be terrible when you only have one major movie franchise to your name and you have to go after innocent uses of a word in order to stay afloat.

“Clarissa Explains It All” Coming To A TV Screen Near You: Nice. Give me some Salute Your Shorts and All That and we will be cooking (hard to accept the fact that such shows are nearly 15-20 years old).

From The Atlantic

DADvocate: Came across this while reading that clusterfuck Marcotte tried to pass off as "solutions" to the issues that MRAs bring up. Gonna have to check these folks out.

Arizona Muse x Missy Rayder by Mikael Jansson Pretty pictures. (Possible NSFW because of topless women.)

The Most Beautiful Truck Crash Ever: And probably most expensive too. But most importantly no one was hurt.

Student Humiliated By Mock ‘Slave’ Auction in School: "A history teacher at Chapelfield Elementary School apparently held a mock slave auction as a means of explaining the history of slavery to students. The class was divided into two sections: “Slaves” and “Masters”. There were only two African-American students in the classroom—one was assigned to be a “Master” and the other student, Nikko Burton, was told to be a “Slave”." On the real?

Breaking the Bread Code: How to Get the Freshest Loaf I had seen this a few years ago but lost the link. Glad I found it again. How to tell when the bread in your market was baked.

Blue: Monday
Green: Tuesday
Red: Thursday
White: Friday
Yellow: Saturday

Sailor Lady // Daily Outfit: More pretty pictures.

WhatMenAreMadeOf: This might be worth keeping an eye on...

Appropriating Yoga: "In regards to the video, I can see why some Hindus would be angry. The criticism here is that yoga in America is far removed from Hinduism. In fact, I have a few friends who practice yoga (I’ve even thought about doing it at one point) and it does’t seem they’re interested in the origins of it. Most want to do it for exercise. I suppose there’s nothing wrong with that in of itself, but it wouldn’t hurt to learn about the history and the philosophy behind yoga. Also I feel this is just some sort of trend, many people are taking up yoga simply because it’s popular."

Geek Media Round-Up: February 17, 2011: A bit dated I know but oddly it didn't show up in my Google Reader until this week. Weird. But here's a more recent one.

Meet the Men’s Rights Movement: A good collection of a big interaction between feminists and MRAs this week (venom on both sides, good faith on both sides). A lot of posts to go through.

Catch cool cats next week!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

I may be having a disconnect moment

I've taken too many breaks this year already so I'm gonna try to work through this. And besides I think its time I try to move on. So on with the show.

If you didn't know there has been a bit of action going on this week on different feminist and MRA spaces this week (Check out Pandagon, Good Men Project, Pelle Billing, Toy Soldier, Hugo Schwyzer, manboobz, and a lot of others). Well I was looking at this piece and got to one part that puzzled me a bit.:
So men are indeed architects of their own adversity. This doesn’t mean that each boy is individually responsible for his own suffering.
How can you in one sentence lump all men together for the sake of holding us responsible for what happens to us but then in literally the next line say you aren't holding us responsible for what happens to us?

I know its important for some activists to preemptively absolve women of anything resembling responsibility but goodness.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

If only us other rogues had it so nice...

I was gonna post a critique of a Gloria Steinem piece Clarisse Thorn linked a few weeks ago but that can chill on the back burner for now. When someone asks for your opinion on something it would just be rude to not answer.

Okay so I'm checking Twitter today an come across this post by Renee talking about this post. I respond.

The post at ProBlogger is about five things one needs to be a successful blogger:
1. You need to be focused.
2. You need to be mad.
3. You need to kill the competition.
4. You need to be opinionated.
5. You need to be like a man.
First off go check out what Renee has to say about the first four points its pretty solid. However:
Does anyone see anything wrong with these suggestions? How about we start with a glaring one, which suggest that bloggers need to be "like men"? This trope includes the essentialist suggestion that male bloggers are "dominant, tough, and true to themselves." It reads more like an advertisement for True Grit, than a statement that includes all people -- and by people, I mean women, and people who identify as gender queer. Why even bother to acknowledge that these people exist, when we all know that men are all that count?

Okay show of hands for bloggers who are male and are not "dominant, tough, and true to themselves"? I've never thought of myself as dominant, I'm not as tough as I look, and I'm a work in progress on the true to himself part. But more specifically notice how according to this piece and Renee's response we don't exist as either men or people? But enough about that let's go to the main course.

Which brings me to the whole rogue thing. You see simply being a rogue is not a recipe to success. Even if you were to disregard Renee's responses and somehow jump through all those hoops its still not that easy.

Its not just a matter of being a rogue. Its about being the right type of rogue. I submit myself as an example.

I consider myself a rogue when it comes to blogging on gender. First and foremost I blog about something that a lot of people don't want to talk about, being a man in this world and I do it without hugging onto a label for dear life. Now if you are thinking about cutting me off with some "its a man's world bullshit" nonsense then I believe you aren't paying attention. You see being a man is not the key to the kingdom that people try to make it out to be. (I go into detail in this series of posts.) That makes a lot of people uncomfortable. It challenges what they think they know about being a man. It challenges the "certainties" they've already concluded and are patting themselves on the back for. It challenges their desire to shut out people who know, think, and speak differently. And just as (if not more) importantly it helps guys actually speak up for themselves which is hard (I know I'm still getting my thoughts right).

Problem is that sets you up for not having too much of a niche or shall I say audience. As you see after two and half years of blogging I don't exactly have that big of an audience. Don't get me wrong I love the conversations I have with the folks that drop by, I'm just talking about numbers.

The thing is I'm acting like a man in my own way but its not panning out in terms of visitors. If anything it seems that one has to act like a specific type of man to in order to succeed. So in reality its not "acting like a man" its "acting with a set of traits that are unfairly associated with being a man". Unfair because it sets those traits up as a bar that one is expected to meet in order to be considered a man. Unfair because it unfairly labels those who may or may not have those traits (or wishes to have those traits) as men or trying to be men when they do not identify as men. There's a lot going on there. In fact I may be missing something there, don't be scared to let me know. I won't bite.

In the end there's just too many factors in play to say that you have the one surefire list of what it takes become a successful blogger. Success is measured differently for different people and those different people have different audiences. And to be honest I look at them sometimes. But I wouldn't make one of them my bible for becoming a successful blogger.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Working on being a man pt.7

This is one of many parts in the ongoing series of working on being a man.

I want to talk about sexual desire today.

Take a look at this cartoon by Barry Deutsch real quick.

Then take a look at this comment from Good Men Project:
I think this goes to the larger issue of how society perceives men viewing their own bodies as well. By and large, we RARELY think of men as being insecure over their weight, their skin, the way their asses look in those jeans….these are all body image issues we attribute almost exclusively to women. Men are told to make sure they tell their dates they look nice/smell nice/have nice eyes, but as women, we are rarely told to compliment men in the same way.
I’m almost sure that men have the same worries about their bodies as women do….are/is my boobs/cock big enough? do I smell ok? do those extra 5/10/15 pounds show? will s/he notice that blemish? But, if men express these anxieties, they’re called metro sexual or feminine or queer or insecure or beta. So it’s really not surprising to me that many men remain silent about these particular wants and needs. How many men of been met with incredulity and disdain when they’ve expressed issues with body image?
I wonder how many women routinely tell their lovers how attractive they are? That they have great hair, perfect skin, and an ass that looks amazing in those jeans….hopefully some of us will.
Now I have a question for you.

Do you think that somewhere in between men not being seen as desirable at all and women being desired beyond the point of acceptability and into outright offensiveness the guy in that comic thinks such commentary would make his day is expressing his desire to be desired, just not in the best way?

Hear me out.

You see for the most part when it comes to sexual desire the dynamic is set up so that men do the desiring and women are the desired. So along the way there are no doubt men who feel like they are simply not supposed to feel desired (just as there are women that desire men but are discouraged from expressing it).

So maybe when that guy says that he is overcompensating in expressing his desire to be desired.

The pendulum is definitely out of whack. I'm sure that women who are catcalled don't want the desire from men to drop to zero but would rather have it turned down to acceptable and respectful levels. As a man I can say for sure that I don't want to be desired to the point of being disrespected but I would like to be desired at respectful and acceptable levels.

When it comes to sex, and gender in general, there are definitely forces at work that are playing against men and this is one of them.

So while its real easy to write this guy off as not knowing what its like to be a woman (and he doesn't to be sure, and bear in mind she doesn't know how he feels) and try to leave it at that I think its going to take more than that to fix this pendulum.

The next time....

someone throws their hands up in a pissy fit over why feminists get dismissed just point them over here. No Marcotte doesn't represent all of feminism but in the event someone wants to claim that such hateful and incorrect views are not accepted by any mainstream feminists this shows that they indeed are accepted in such a capacity.

Notice how she clearly dismisses the entire movement as entirely wrong. Not just your attempt at picking out the things that are wrong and working on them "They’re so wrong about everything, they’re wrong even when they’re right."

Shit like this is precisely is why I don't have much patience for feminism.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Weekly Mashup Stage 41

Its the end of the week you know what's up. Take a look at these while I go test drive my new baby.

With Paternity Revision Comes Great Paternity Responsibility -- Good Thing New Male Contraceptives Are Finally On the Horizon:I actually came across this a few weeks ago but lost the link. Its good to know that there are others our there that actually would like to see men have more options when it comes to birth control rather than the redirect into bitching about "but you've got condoms!" I see sometimes.

Open Thread: World Protests: As you can see there is quite a bit going on around the world these days. Maybe its not just a revolution that's coming but THE Revolution. Or perhaps not.

Arizona State Senator Gets immunity In Domestic Violence Case: Its bad enough that innocent people get arrested on trumped up charges but its especially bad when people who do need to get arrested on actual charges can use their political clout as a get out of jail free card. Oh and notice that it wasn't his gender that got him out but it was indeed his political clout.

White Guys Get Their Very Own College Scholarship:My money says that the majority of the people who will complain about this or make fun of the idea will be white guys who don't need the help and/or people who aren't white guys. And expect them to it in the exact same manner that would be considered racist/sexist if done to any other walk of life.

Holder Needs to Retract False DV Statement:Why let things like fact and truth get in the way of making sure people continue to think that DV is something that men do to women?

Big love: What's illicit about loving large women?:My goodness a guy just can't simply be attracted to large women and said large women just can't exist? Fat women aren't some damn abnormality that need to be kept out of the view of the general (ie: "thin") public for fear of sending them into fits of terror over having to see them.

Castle Doctrine Expansion Approved By NC Senate:"The law currently says people don't have to retreat inside their homes to defend themselves, but they may have to persuade a prosecutor a shooting was reasonable." Better watch your back in the NC.

Meet the characters who'll RULE Game of Thrones in new HBO trailer:I have to say that if I had HBO I'd be all up in this series. I haven't read the books because from my looking them up it seems that the author likes to take loooooooong breaks between releases. Maybe I'll get to them some day.

15 of the Most Disturbing Films Ever Made and 27 Amazing Graphic Novels For Readers New To The Genre:A few things to add to the read/watch lists.

A Big Fat Debate:The low-fat trend finally appears to be on its way out. The notion that saturated fats are detrimental to our health is deeply embedded in our Zeitgeist—but shockingly, the opposite just might be true. For over 50 years the medical establishment, public health officials, nutritionists, and dieticians have been telling the American people to eat a low-fat diet, and in particular, to avoid saturated fats. Only recently, have nutrition experts begun to encourage people to eat “healthy fats.”

The Ignored Victims of Wartime Rape:"In short, the international human rights groups do not seem that concerned about male victims of rape. The groups ignore male victims even when their own reports suggest that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of male rape victims in a given area. It is astonishing, not only because these are human rights groups supposedly considered with protecting all people from this kind of harm, but also because as a result of ignoring male rape victims the act of rape gets framed as something that can only happen to females.
It is one of the reasons why there has been little coverage of the mass abuse of boys in Afghanistan. Every now and again it gets mentioned, yet there does not appear to be any human rights groups or organizations trying to bring this issue to light. This stands in contrast to the numerous campaigns over the last few years concerned with stopping violence against women in Dafur and the Congo. The message is unfortunately crystal clear: rape boys and men, no one cares. Rape girls and women, get international support."

'Hiroshima in the Morning’: A mother’s struggle for identity: I'm having a real hard time believing that if this were a dad who had done the same thing it would get propped up as "a father's struggle".

Sound familiar?

Marinate on that til next week.

A rowing team I could see myself joining

For the most part the idea of helping men and boys is either seen as taboo or presumed to be sexism against women and girls (sometimes even by the very people who claim to want to help all people). Well simply put there are areas in life in which boys/men really could use some help and it looks like some folks are really trying to do something about it (via Pelle Billing)

The proposal is for a White House Council on Boys and Men. It lays out five areas in which boys/men are in need of help:

1. The Education of our Sons
2. The Emotional Health of our Sons
3. Children without Dads; Dads without Children
4. The Crisis of Boys' and Men's Physical Health
5. The Future of Work, and of Boys and Men at Work

1. In nearly every metric and in nearly every demographic when it comes to education women/girls are outperforming boys/men. That in and of itself my not be a problem (but bear in mind how people flipped out when it was the other way around, and how they are basically twiddling their thumbs now actin like things are how they are supposed to be now) but if you look at the numbers the stats in and of themselves are serious issue. While I like some of their recommendations (like the "Improved Communication Skills) more than others (I'm a bit iffy on "Single Sex Education") I think this is a good start on addressing the issue with boys/men when it comes to education.

2. When it comes to emotional health we as boys/men just don't have it going on so well (take a look at the "The Invisible Stepping-stones to our Sons' Suicides" part). I think a big part of that is the burden of playing the male role. We're supposed to want sex all the time, out emotional range is supposed to be happy, horny, and angry, and we're supposed to internalize the rest. Problem is these things lead to a are factors that can and often do lead to a critical mass. And for you folks that want to wait until Little Johnny grows up and become abusive with his wife and THEN start pointing fingers you might want to check out the "Violence and Criminality among Young Men" section. Johnny didn't grow up all well adjusted and then suddenly wake up one morning and decided to become abusive.

3. "...I came to understand the importance of fatherhood through its absence—both in my life and in the lives of others. I came to understand
that the hole a man leaves when he abandons his responsibility to his children is one that no government can fill."
President Obama, Fathers' Day, 2009

Wouldn't be nice to think that if Obama were so concerned about men being responsible parents he would not simply dismiss all the dads out there that fight to be in their kids lives that are pushed away by moms and the sexist courts that are more than willing to be their tools in doing so for the right price? (Go look up Fathers and Families for plenty of stories like that.) Our dear president is right in saying that the government can't fill the void left by a missing dad (no matter why he's not there). So why isn't he doing anything about the current system that is so hell bent on not only ignoring that void but in many cases actively creating that void (usually for profit)? People are correct when pointing out the unfair burden that's dropped on moms when it comes to parenting. Well the answer is often right there in front of us in the form of dads that want to be there for their kids. As women are making their way into the external workplace men should be making their way into the internal workplace for they go hand in hand quite nicely. The some people complain about men not being around for parenting is like complaining about being unemployed while turning down job offers left and right.

But of course if it weren't so profitable to demonize men when it comes to parenting then maybe Obama would have oh I don't know actually acknowledge the dads that are treated unfairly rather then sweep them under the rug of nonexistence.

4. Look at the chart at the start of the fourth section "The Crisis of Boys and Men's Physical Health". To think that men die earlier in 9 out of the 10 leading causes of death in America is terrible. However consider this part:
Men's earlier death is not inevitable biologically. In 1920,
American boys and men lived just one year less than women; today, American boys and men live five fewer years. In just ninety years,
the male-female life expectancy gap has grown 400%.
Yet when it comes to health not many people want to talk about men's health. With disparities like that I think its high time someone did. Oh and in case you want to try to turn this into a race issue rather than gender:
Health of Minority Men Not a Minor Problem
The longevity gap is even more severe for minority men. For African-American boys born in 2006, life expectancy at birth is 11 years shorter than for white females. But even the average white man has shorter life expectancy than the average black woman.
Females (White) 80.6
Females (Black) 76.5
Males (White) 75.7
Males (Black) 69.
Much like education even taking race into account men/boys are still at the bottom of the heap. So while it is great to see efforts that focus on race there is no need to pretend that addressing the racial aspect will actually prevent the need to address the gender aspect.

5. Employment. Even though times are changing and more and more people are realizing that a man is more then his job that does not change the fact that men are still expected to work. Now I'm not saying that men shouldn't be expected to work. I'm saying that there are people who still look at men to be "the provider" or the external worker.
Theoretically, some would say it should make no difference whether a woman or man earns the family's money. In reality, though, few women choose husbands reading Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus in the unemployment line. A man with little earning
potential is less likely to find a wife, more likely to find himself divorced, and, once divorced, more likely to feel disconnected from his children. And as mentioned above, unemployed men commit suicide at twice the rate of employed men. An unemployed man is everyone's loss.
As we know the majority of jobs that were lost in the latest economic downturn were held by men. And a lot of those jobs are gone for good. Many of those jobs were in construction and manufacturing, fields that usually vulnerable to economic downtimes. One possible solution to this is to break the notion that such jobs are what define a man. Its perfectly fine for a guy to go outside the realm of "manly" work. Society just needs to accept that.

There's a lot going on in this proposal that I like (and a few things that I don't but nothing is perfect) but I especially like these three paragraphs near the end.
Prior to the women’s movement, girls learned to row the family
boat only from the right side (raise children); boys, only from the left
(raise money). The women’s movement helped girls become women who could row from both sides; but without a parallel force for boys, boys became men who had still learned to row only from the left--to only raise money. The problem? If our daughters try to exercise their
newfound ability to row from the left, and our sons also row only from the left, the boat goes in circles.

A family boat that goes only in circles is more likely to be sunk by the rocks of recessions. In the past, a man was a family's breadwinner
and he might be with one company for life. In the future, advanced technologies make economic change the only constant, increasing the need for a family boat with flexibility--with our sons eventually able to raise children as comfortably as our daughters now raise money.

A White House Council on Boys to Men can provide leadership to help our sons adapt to the next generation's needs for more flexible
family participation and more flexible work participation. To introduce both our sons and daughters to the trade-offs of both a traditional partnership (of each sex specializing in rowing on one side of the boat); and the trade-offs of a relationship in which both sexes feel comfortable rowing on either side of the boat.