highlyeccentric: Sheer Geekiness, unfortunately - I just think this stuff is really cool (phd comics) (Sheer Geekiness)
Yay someone on The Conversation did a philosophy-for-dummies piece on tolerance that properly scaffolds the ethical frameworks beyond that one Karl Popper quote!

The most famous of all books written in political philosophy over the century, John Rawls’ A Theory of Justice, drew related conclusions. A society that values freedom should try to tolerate the intolerant, Rawls said. But if the intolerant start to endanger the free society itself, then we do not have to tolerate them.

For both philosophers, the message seems to be that tolerance is good, but perhaps in moderation.

We think the whole idea of tolerance needs to be thought about differently, in a way that distinguishes levels of tolerance.

First, there is tolerance versus intolerance of ordinary or “base-level” behaviours. We call this first-order tolerance. If a person is first-order tolerant or intolerant, this will show in how they behave. If they are intolerant, they might threaten or abuse others.

That creates a new choice about tolerance – do you tolerate those behaviours? If so, this would be second-order tolerance. There can also be third-order and fourth-order tolerance, but most of the time it is the first and second orders that matter.

There is a sort of ladder here, with tolerance (and intolerance) at higher and lower levels. But what is the difference between the “base-level” behaviours and the others? We’ll look at two examples.

First, think about behaviours that are private, such as who you have sex with. You might choose to have heterosexual sex, homosexual sex, sex involving a non-binary individual, or some other kind. (Assume all these behaviours are between consenting adults.)

Liberal democracies have become much more tolerant about sex and other private behaviours over recent decades. Gay male sex was illegal in New South Wales until 1984, for example. Decriminalising gay sex is an example of first-order tolerance.

Many countries and states also now have anti-discrimination laws, aimed at preventing intolerance of homosexuality, among other things. That is second-order intolerance.

Our society is now intolerant of those who are intolerant of homosexuality; they can be legally penalised. Is that a failure of tolerance? Would complete tolerance involve being tolerant of their intolerance? Not really.

There is a sensible goal here – the goal of first-order tolerance – and that is not a compromise. Societies like ours have decided that tolerance of private sexual choices is valuable and important. To protect tolerance of those private behaviours, we have to be second-order intolerant. A combination of first-order tolerance and second-order intolerance makes sense in a case like this.

I have been struggling to articulate this, to myself and to others, of late.
highlyeccentric: French vintage postcard - a woman in feminised army uniform of the period (General de l'avenir)
I have been arguing that constructions of modern Western gay male identity tend to be, not in the first place "essentially gay", but instead (or at least also) in a very intimately responsive and expressive, though always oblique, relation to incoherences implicit in modern male heterosexuality. Much might be said, then, following this clue, about the production and deployment, especially in contemporary US society, of an extraordinarily high level of self-pity in nongay men. Its effects on our national politics, and international ideology and intervention, have been pervasive. (Snapshot, here, of the tear-welling eyes of Oliver North.) In more intimate manifestations this straight male self-pity is often concurrently referred to (though it appears to exceed) the cultural effects of feminism, and is associated with, or appealed to as a justification of, acts of violence, especially against women. For instance, the astonishing proportion of male violence done on separated wives, ex-wives, and ex-girlfriends, women just at the threshold of establishing a separate personal space, seems sanctioned and guided as much as reflected by the flood of books and movies in which such violence seems an expression not of macho personality but of maudlin. (One reason women get nervous when straight men claim to have received from feminism the gift of "permission to cry".) ... This vast national wash of masculine self-pity is essentially never named or discussed as a cultural and political fact; machismo and competitiveness, or a putative gentleness, take its place as subjects of nomination and analysis. Poised between shame and shamelessness, this regime of heterosexual male self-pity has the projective potency of an open secret. It would scarcely be surprising if gay men, like all women, were a main target of its scapegoating projections - viciously sentimental attributions of a vitiated sentimentality.
The sacred tears of the heterosexual man: rare and precious liquor...

From The Epistemology of the Closet
highlyeccentric: Julia Gillard making a Lleyton Hewitt salute (Gillard)
Draco grabbed Pansy's arm and pulled her behind the nearest tapestry. 'We've reached peak flag,' he said. 'It's on!'

It was the matter of moments to explain the situation to Crabbe. Most of them belonged to Malfoy: 'I feel our styles are divergent: you're all classic Death Eater, I'm more complex anti-hero with a possibility of later redemption. It's just not working for me. Also, I've been planning your public downfall since you rolled me four years ago and I can't think of a better time than four days before you meet the criteria for your Prime Ministerial pension supplement.'

Pansy's message was simpler: 'You're dumped, Crabbe. And you're taking Goyle with you.'

Even Rita Skeeter couldn't argue, epsecially when Malfoy fronted the media with his hair glinting perfectly in the afternoon sun and with no phalanx of flags to make his argument for him, but rather words, more than three, constructing an actual argument. Draco looked earnestly into the camera. 'We need advocacy,' he said. 'Not slogans. We need a different style of leadership, one that respects the people's intelligence."

Two hours later, Crabbe replied. 'We're not the Labor Party!' he declared. 'We are not the Labor Party! WE ARE NOT THE LABOR PARTY!

'Alas,' muttered the Australian Voting Public, remembering well that – mad as they may have been, and in all honesty they put cut snakes to shame – the Labor Party under both Harry and Hermione had provided stable government, passing legislation, negotiating intelligently with the opposition and cross benches and rarely embarrassing us on the international stage.

For hours they pretended there was still a decision to be made. Goyle announced: 'We cannot and we must not become a carbon copy of the Australian Labor Party.'

But it was all to no avail. Of the 99 votes, Draco received 54, Vince 44, and Kevin Andrews drew a picture of a penis.

Crabbe was out, having served less time than any Australian Prime Minister since the one who was eaten by a shark*.


The full saga of Vincent Crabbe and the Goblet of Bile can be found at blamebrampton's LJ.
highlyeccentric: Dr Who Season Five - She's Amy, and surrounded by Romans (Amy surrounded by romans)

Tim Hunt is undoubtedly a brilliant man in his field.

Tim Hunt is just one man. We will no doubt lose out if his mind and efforts are lots to science. But how much more are we losing every day, from all of the thousands of women whose jobs are that little bit harder than they need to be.

Tim Hunt didn’t create sexist attitudes. However, sexist attitudes- and the harm that they do- continue because we give them space to exist unquestioned. We tell men that the men above them feel this way- that these are the feelings they can have in private until they become powerful enough to share them in public. We tell women that this is how the people who could have been their role models feel. And we tell women that their presence will always be conditional on their accepting that.

Tim Hunt’s resignation isn’t going to solve the all-encompassing problems of sexism in science- or, of course, of the sexism throughout society from which it springs. But large-scale social problems are composed of countless everyday actions. And so are their solutions.

If Tim Hunt stays resigned, we’ll have lost one man. One smart man. One great man, even. But if we send a message that his views on women will not be tolerated, how many women- how many thousands of women and girls- will feel a little less worn down, a little more backed-up, a little more valued tomorrow?

Consider the Tea Cosy
highlyeccentric: Two women spooning. Their hands, hips and legs are visible. Warm lighting, with a pretty contrast between skin tones (Sex - legs entangled)
I want to live in a world where there isn’t a hierarchy of relationships, where romantic love isn’t assumed to be more important than other kinds, where folks can center any relationships they want whether it be their relationship to their spiritual practice, kids, lovers, friends, etc. and not have some notion that it’s more or less important because of who or what’s in focus. I want to feel like I can develop intimacy with people whether we are sleeping together or not that I will be cared for whether I am romantically involved with someone or not. I want a community that takes interdependency seriously that doesn’t assume that it’s only a familial or romantic relationship responsibility to be there for each other.

Living 'single' at Crunk Feminist Collective
highlyeccentric: French vintage postcard - a woman in feminised army uniform of the period (General de l'avenir)
I'm fed up to the ears with the US election, but it does generate some true things. Even at the HuffPo.

You say it can't happen -- the system is too rotten.

It won't happen if you wallow in the comfort of your cynicism. But it will happen if you and others like you get fired up.

We've done it before.

I remember when progressives joined with African-Americans to get enacted the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts. I remember when progressives stopped the Vietnam War. When women finally got freedom of choice over their own bodies. When the Environmental Protection Act became law.

Relatedly, I am getting extremely sick with older people* telling me how shit the world is these days, how dismal the political prospects, how un-fixable the situation, how inappropriate the methods favoured by the Yoof of Today, and how everything was better and/or more effective in Their Day and by Their Favoured Methods.


* Currently, people over about 30

A poem rec

Sep. 25th, 2012 02:33 pm
highlyeccentric: Sign on Little Queen St - One Way both directions (Default)
Via [personal profile] jjhunter:

The Wingdresser's Kitchen by [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith.

It begins thus:

Sheba tucked her wings close
to duck down the dark alley.
It was this way to the wingdresser's,
slip in the back to the kitchen
and make sure nobody saw you.

That's on account of there were laws,
mostly aimed at keeping white folks happy,
so you couldn't legally work as a wingdresser, unless
you paid thousands of dollars for a cosmetology license,
which didn't anybody have in this 'hood
and the schooling was all aimed at white girls
with their pale pigeon-wings and dove-tails.
highlyeccentric: Book on a shelf, entitled "Oh God: What the Fuck (and other stories)" (Oh god what the fuck (and other tails))
It is well accepted under the act that the sending of sexually explicit material via email or text to a person constitutes sexual harassment. The definition also covers accessing sexually explicit internet sites. Therefore, creating sexually explicit internet sites or posting such sexual material to Facebook pages would easily fall within the definition of sexual harassment.

In her press conference on Thursday, August 23, the Prime Minister identified cartoonist Larry Pickering as someone who publishes ''a vile and sexist website''. She added that ''for many, many months now I have been the subject of a very sexist smear campaign from people for whom I have no respect''.

For many months, Pickering has regularly bombarded not just Gillard but every member of Parliament with emails containing hate-filled commentary about the Prime Minister. Often these commentaries have been accompanied by cartoons, many of which depict Gillard naked and wearing a huge strap-on dildo.

Anne Summers (yes really) is annoyed and rightly so.
highlyeccentric: A woman in a tuxedo, looking determined (tux - dressed and ready)
Presented without comment

It reminds me of the ‘real woman’ nonsense that is trotted out so often. To counter negative body image and poor self esteem, the beauty industry is expected to celebrate diversity in women - to reassure women of all shapes, sizes, colours and levels of conventional attractiveness that they are ALL beautiful, and none of them should be excluded from the privilege of being hailed as such.

But is this really what we should be advocating for? The right for a more diverse selection of women to be positively objectified for their looks?

Clementine Ford
highlyeccentric: Slightly modified sign: all unFUCKed items will be cleared by friday afternoon. FUCK you. (All unfucked items will be discarded. Fu)
K, just now: Mark Willacy just tweeted that South Korea are going to start using 1.5m tall robot guards to patrol prisons. They'll use sensors to detect suicidal behaviours and violence.

... Somewhere, Michel Foucault is jerking off.
highlyeccentric: Anglo-Saxonists decline to do it (Naked Philologist)
[Context: a discussion about manuscripts, with Trojie]

Highly: There are also facsimiles - and some of them are even online! Here: http://image.ox.ac.uk/show?collection=bodleian&manuscript=msjunius11

Go to page three and have a look at the strip-comic style picture. That's God and the angels up top, and Satan being tortured by his own demons down the bottom.

Trojie: If I was Satan, I wouldn't let the demons torture me. That's just silly.

Highly: It's a sign that the satanic realm is upside-down! In heaven, God's thegns (angels, saints) serve God loyally; in hell, Satan's thegns (devils) torture their own lord!

Trojie: ... I see the essential pleasing symmetry of it, but it seems so *inefficient*

Highly: I think that's deliberate. I mean, would you want to serve Satan, when he's clearly inefficient?

Trojie: This is good logic! It's only logical to serve God - he's the most efficient choice!


Dec. 17th, 2010 09:49 pm
highlyeccentric: I've been searching for a sexual identity, and now you've named it for me: I'm a what. (Sexual what)
When we look at what the factors are that make life so miserable for young gays and lesbians, it’s tempting for progressives to point the finger at religious traditions that are hostile to sexual pluralism. But the young men in American high schools who are beating up other boys whom they suspect of being gay are rarely doing so in order to comply with a misunderstood dictate from the Torah or the Pauline epistles. It’s not faith that drives the hate as much as it is an overwhelming desire to establish masculine bona fides. “I torment faggots, therefore I can’t be one; I beat up queers, therefore I’m a man.” That toxic equation may be aided and abetted by conservative religion, but it isn’t rooted in it. Rather, the hateful behavior is rooted in the rigid rules of American masculinity, a masculinity predicated on a contempt for and a paranoia about even the slightest whiff of femininity among the be-penised.

Hugo Schwyzer, Homosociality and Homophobia
highlyeccentric: Sodomy Non Sapiens - what does that mean? - means I'm BUGGERED IF I KNOW (sodomy non sapiens)
Although pumpkin is readily available in many countries, Australia is the only one to consider it seriously as a vegetable.

- The Women's Weekly Cookbook, 1970-something.

We not only consider our pumpkins, we consider them *seriously*. Not like the Americans, who clearly take their pumpkins lightly, appropriating them as a source of festivity and jokes.

And just in case you thought we might consider pumpkins as meat, starch, dessert, or even furniture, let us make it clear: we consider pumpkin seriously as a vegetable. Pumpkins in this country are secure and widely affirmed in their identity as vegetables!

highlyeccentric: text: put on your big girl corset and deal with it (big girl corset)
[profile] jumpthesnark just posted her contribution to that post-a-poem meme that's going around, and hey, no reason I can't do it twice.

My "poetry" tag in my DW memories is far, far bigger than any of the others (granted, that's only two: "knitting" and "queer", go figure). This is because [community profile] poetry has been Educating Me.

by Dorothy Parker

The ladies men admire, I've heard,
Would shudder at a wicked word.
Their candle gives a single light;
They'd rather stay at home at night.
They do not keep awake till three,
Nor read erotic poetry.
They never sanction the impure,
Nor recognize an overture.
They shrink from powders and from paints.
So far, I have had no complaints.


Other poems discovered lately:

For you, my love by Jaques Prevert. It's awesome, and creepy, and loses something in the translation.

Historica Irreverentia, an unpublished poem by the late Elise White, shared by Jon Jarret on his blog.

And one of [livejournal.com profile] ajodasso's pieces: Saints' Lives


Nov. 3rd, 2009 03:15 pm
highlyeccentric: Me (portrait by Scarlet Bennet) (Not impressed)
We went to the shop to buy bourbon.

Says [personal profile] clavicular: What's bourbon made out of?
Says [livejournal.com profile] kitsunejin: Wheat, but it's distilled, so I can't see how the gluten would climb up the distillation pipes.
[personal profile] clavicular: I was going to say "I don't drink alcohol, how would I know how it's made", but then I thought - you don't need to eat babies to know how they're made!

And then we got drunk on pink wine and talked about feminism and porn and lesbianism. And we ate dead pig and we're now going going back to watching Hot Fuzz.
highlyeccentric: I happen to like it here in my shell (My shell)
Thirteen is a difficult bridging age – no longer a boy, not quite a man, often a prat.

Between boyhood and manhood, between instinctively liking things and thinking about what things to like, on the verge of a troubling hormonal nightmare for which boys are rarely prepared. They should be taken aside, aged 11, for a quiet word: “This won’t make a lot of sense but in a year or two you will submerge and not listen to anybody for five years other than your peers, your pop stars and your penis. The dark tunnel you are about to enter will end and it need not be terribly difficult. Some people are on your side. You may not listen to good advice; indeed, you may not receive good advice. You may listen to bad advice; certainly you will receive bad advice. You will be besotted with girls (or you will discover for certain that you are gay), you will want to paint your bedroom black and you will pretend not to like Abba, Terry & June and Multi-Coloured Swap Shop (you will be wrong about the first two but right about Noel Edmonds). You will be at odds with authority as you try to establish yourself.

You will feel powerful and powerless simultaneously. You will behave like a fool and deny it, whilst suspecting you may have behaved like a fool. Older people will roll their eyes and try to ignore you, they may not offer you any encouragement, they may despair of you. This is normal. You are not a bad person because you are a teenager, in fact, you are about to discover the potential within you. Fly, spotty one, soar and be brilliant, follow your dreams, don’t overdo the Oxy10, eat some fruit, please, be who you want to be. Look, there’s Debbie Harry! What more do you want?”

For an idea of how strange it is to be a teenage boy, consider that, to a teenage boy, the behaviour of other teenage boys is in no way odd. They never wonder what on earth they are saying, or why they are doing what they are doing, or will they ever wake up, or will they ever go to bed, or will they ever eat anything, or will they ever stop eating one thing in particular? They don’t notice teenagers’ poor personal hygiene or, alternatively, their obsessive grooming. They understand a capacity to hang around bus shelters for 14 hours and have no fear of a mosh pit.

An excerpt from his new book, My Favourite People And Me, at the end of this Times article/interview which is adorable in so many ways.
highlyeccentric: Arthur (BBC Merlin) - text: "SRSLY" (SRSLY)

Trojie: No, you know everything from your superior wisdom as a university graduate, darling :)
Highly: Oh, right. Because a medieval studies degree teaches me all about human beings.
Teaches you more about humans than my degree does :P At least yours INVOLVED humans.
You know what I learnt from Roger Bacon? You can defeat the Antichrist with a concave mirror! *goes to get mirror*
You know what I've learnt from geology? What goes around comes around, nothing's ever so broken that time can't fix it, and if you're patient you can get anything done :)
CONCAVE MIRRORS. You can make laser beams with them, apparently. And blast away your enemies.
Whee! Laser beams!


Jul. 18th, 2009 01:09 pm
highlyeccentric: Firefley - Kaylee - text: "shiny" (Shiny)
I couldn't write about sex at all until after my mother died. Growing up in the 1970s, the official parental line was that nice girls didn't, you know, do it, let alone write about it - although it was a different story for my brothers. Double standards were the order of the day.

Which meant, in effect, that I was barred from writing fiction. In order to create fully rounded human beings, and describe their relationships with each other, I would have to tackle the subject of sex - along with intimacy, misguided love, death, resentment, friendship, the passion of women for their babies, the problems of marriage and finding the right person, and all the rest of the complicated, messy stuff that humans do. When a parent dies, there is grief, of course, but there is also liberation. You must grow up, and one of the grown-up things I wanted to do was write novels.

Josa Young talks about writing about sex

I like THIS BIT:

One major aspect of sexuality that is much ignored in the modern novel is not doing it. And virginity is another theme of One Apple Tasted - where you hang on to it for so long that it becomes hideously significant and hard to shed. In a time when we are meant to have sex all day, every day, drawing on tips from magazines and newspapers to "spice things up in the bedroom", virginity, chastity and celibacy seem thoroughly controversial life choices. But they are part of people's sexual experience, and just as valid as the more exotic perversions that get a regular airing in the tabloids.


Jul. 14th, 2009 05:37 pm
highlyeccentric: Anglo-Saxonists decline to do it (Naked Philologist)
I dreamt I had a Facebook page. The other night, I dreamt I had a car. I think my subconscious wants me to be more Normal.

I did not have a conversation with the Boy In The Coffee Shop, but I did get smiled at. TWICE. BECAUSE I BOUGHT COFFEE TWICE. *shakes head* Yes, I'm an idiot.

I bought books! Including the letters of Ted Hughes. Observe:

Last night as I was coming down the field I heard a commotion in the hedge, and after a while, out trundled a hedgehog, merry as you like, and obviously out for a good time. I thought he might make a jolly companion for an evening, so I brought him in. Adter a while I noticed he had disappeared and later heard a noise just like the sobbing of a little child, but very faint, and it continued for long enough. I traced it to a pile of boxes, and there was my comrade, with his nose pressed in a corner in a pool of tears, and his face all wet, and snivelling and snuffling his heart out. I could have kissed him for compassion. I don't know why I"m so sympathetic towards hedgehogs. Once when John and I threw one in the pond, it nearly broke my heart to see it swimming to the shore. It must be that they're something my affection can't touch, and as all through my life the things I've loved best have been prickles toward that love, hedgehogs have become a symbol of such unrequited desire, and move me so nostalgically. I carried Harry outside and let him go - he wouldn't even roll up he was so sad

That from a letter to Edna Wholey, the sister of a schoolfriend, written at around 20 while serving in the RAF. Oh, Ted.

Mrs D. got me to read Plath in year twelve, and in so doing I stumbled over Ted Hughes. I... most people seem to like Plath and hate Hughes, maybe blame him a bit (didn't he cheat on her? Divorce her?), but my sympathy has always been with him. Plath's writing is gorgeous, but... I don't *like* her from it. Ted Hughes I liked at once. I like his writing, I like his personality, and my heart aches for him when it comes to Sylvia... You can see from his writing how much he loved her, and how much it messed with his head, being married to her... Did he think, when they started out, that she was something his affection *could* touch?
highlyeccentric: Sign on Little Queen St - One Way both directions (purple)
Co-worker: I'd adopt a policy of not dating a man who uses more product than me, but they'd have to use none...
Me: Exactly. Anyone who spends less time on their appearance than me probably doesn't shower.


highlyeccentric: Sign on Little Queen St - One Way both directions (Default)

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