Friday, January 30, 2015

Weekend Reading: The Focus on the Writing Worth Reading Edition

So, you probably all heard about Jonathan Chait's article decrying the rise of "identity politics" or some such thing.

I didn't read it, and I don't intend to read it. As I said on Twitter:

So I did read Matt Yglesias' excellent piece about how all politics is identity politics and Jessica Valenti's explanation about how we're free to be offended.

And perhaps Chait and other like him should stop and think about what it is like when someone really tries to stop you from expressing your opinions. (As an aside... note that this piece includes a section that demonstrates online threats can be taken seriously, when they're directed against the right people. I would love to see an explanation as to why online posts that threaten police warrant investigation and arrest, whereas online posts that threaten women writers and women game developers are considered no big deal. Or maybe I wouldn't, because it would probably make me want to scream.)

Here is an excellent series of tweets questioning why bystanders are shrugging and saying that death and rape threats are just part of gaming culture.

This is the very definition of lolsob . So is this.

Back in December, Anil Dash wrote an excellent post about having his identity erased- literally.

I really loved this post looking back five years after leaving academia.

What Disney princesses would look like if they had realistic hair. Or realistic waistlines. A lot of people wave away the problem of unrealistic representations of women and say that girls (and women) are smart enough to know what is fantasy and what is real. And yes, we are... but I've recently realized that I have a skewed image in my head of "healthy weight." In fact, I don't really know what a healthy weight looks like. That makes me sad.

Finally, I've been busy setting up a website for my children's books. Check it out! I sort of enjoy setting up websites, so this was a fun task. Except for the bit where I couldn't figure out why my blog carousel wasn't displaying. That's resolved now, and all is good. I'll be posting about the books my kids and I have read and liked. I'll probably post once a month or so, and I've also set up a newsletter so you can subscribe if you want to get my monthly pick in your inbox. (And don't forget- if you'd like my recommendations for short ebooks in your inbox once a week, you can subscribe to the Tungsten Hippo Weekly Digest- once I got the PO box so that I can safely send email newsletters, I saw no reason to restrain myself!)

That's it for now. Happy weekend everyone!


  1. Anonymous8:05 AM

    Re: your twitter conv. with Anil Dash on what makes vaccine deniers change their minds... Definitely that small core that pretends to be anti-vax experts is never going to change their mind because if they do, their identity as experts will disappear.

    BUT, for the easily-led undecided folks, one thing I've seen work on mommy forums that is the most bizarre thing...

    Say you've got women who don't vaccinate their children because they've heard there's mercury in the MMR vaccine. What works is to tell them to be sure to ask their doctor for the "Thermisol-free vaccine." What doesn't work is to tell them that MMR has never had thermisol in it in the US. What especially doesn't work is to say that vaccines with thermisol have so little mercury it doesn't matter. What does work is to say that NOW there's a version that doesn't have thermisol in it that they can request specifically from their doctor. (Ditto formaldehyde and all the other "toxins" that were never and have never been in the MMR vaccine in the US.)

    I really do not understand human psychology.

    Also, another thing that works for this group of women en masse is when Oprah makes a big deal out of something. She's got a lot of people's trust.

  2. It just occurs to me, re: N&M's solution for the swayable antivaxxers, is perhaps given an out where they don't have to openly admit they're wrong (& ahem, ignorant/ idiots) about the vaccines then they may go so far as to get them even if the means are transparently silly. Just so long as they don't have to grow up and admit being wrong. I've known people like that, though not in a long while, so had forgotten that angle.

  3. I had some very limited luck with wavering people back in the days when I was active on parenting blogs. I put it down to the fact that they knew me and my parenting style and saw me as one of their "tribe" so to speak, so were willing to listen to me on vaccines. It only worked if I talked about it from a point of view of having done research, though. Appeals to authorities like the CDC were useless. It is an interesting phenomenon. I may write a full post about it at some point.

  4. On "healthy weight," I think part (okay, one tiny part) of the problem is that our view of what the ideal version could be is way too narrow. Have you seen these graphics of Olympic athletes? So much variation!

    And, I mean, obviously you don't have to be Olympic level to be healthy, so healthy weight should encompass even more variety. Much more.


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