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Clarissa's Blog

An academic's opinions on feminism, politics, literature, philosophy, teaching, academia, and a lot more.

Sunday Link Encyclopedia and Self-Promotion

Really beautiful saris. Will it be stupid if I buy a sari and wear it at home? They are so lovely. . .

Nothing proves that Cold War fears have been allayed better than the depreciation of a house built as a result of Cold War hysteria.

This is usually a very insightful blogger but his post comparing protests in Moscow and #OWS is supremely stupid. People, please, make a huge effort not to blabber about the realities of other countries if you are too lazy to do the tiniest bit of research about them. Comparing the kids who are paid and manipulated into supporting the ruling party in Russia with American hedge fund managers is a bit of idiocy of scary proportions.

If you are a Boomer itching to relive your youth, go light some patchouli incense and listen to Jimi Hendrix for awhile. And then get over the past and ask yourself what you can do TODAY for the working people being screwed by the system TODAY. The 1960s are OVER, people.”

Learning disorder psychosprawl.”

Was Pablo Neruda another Pinochet victim?

Very short but absolutely hilarious. “There should be something like Netflix for books!

It is very comforting to know (in a weird kind of way) that my students are not the only ones who write this badly. The only difference between me and the academic who quoted the essay is that I give a zero for this kind of writing.

Face veils (niqabs) are dangerous. Adult men can hide their identities in them as well as women who will never be integrated into society. If these people want to live in Western countries per se , they need to realize that covering their face in public areas is as unacceptable to us, as a western citizen walking into Mecca in a Bikini would be for muslims.”

A really weird person finds reasons to hate. . . Mother Teresa, of all people: “Mother Teresa’s was NO ONE’S mother. This supposedly celibate nun’s name was Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, an Albanian native who lived most of her life without speaking to her own family and proselytizing her religion under the disguise of charity. There is absolutely nothing normal or “saintly” about this.” Not a mother and an Albanian to boot? She must have been a total monster.

The reasons to boycott Chick-Fil-A (apart from how horrible and unhealthy the food is).

A great post on some of the reasons to dislike Ron Paul, the hypocrite. Remember, people, Ron Paul is not a Libertarian. He is a fundamentalist religious fanatic.

A great post on the hysteria that surrounds the Plan B contraceptives. A hysteria, may I remind you, that President Obama encourages as much as possible.

This rampant diagnostic labeling puts an end to all other human considerations and concerns. This labeling does far more than imposing a pseudo-medical diagnosis on you, it defines you as a person. “I’m bipolar.” Not “I’m full of life” or “I have trouble managing all these marvelous passions” or “I need to find a way to direct my creative energies” or “I’ll have to find the courage and make the effort to make my dreams come true in the real world.” No, never mind about all of that, “I’m bipolar.” Your diagnosis becomes your personal final solution to your most vital challenges in life. Patients ask me, “Should I join a bipolar support group?” If I were flippant, which I never am with patients, I could respond, “Only if you want support in believing you’re bipolar and need to take psychiatric drugs.” ” The rest of the article on the horrifying encroachment of psychiatry into our lives is also absolutely brilliant. I need to read this man’s book.

PowerPoints and Shakespeare.

A very enlightening post about boys who engage in prostitution. Why is it that whenever they hear the word “prostitution” most people immediately think only and exclusively about female prostitutes and male clients? I know the answer. Do you?

The purpose of a university education is to elevate people, to give them perspective, to challenge them with difficult texts and ideas.  Concern for “relevance” leads to the erosion of standards.  As I used to say to my students: I am not going to make philosophy relevant to you; I am going to make you relevant to philosophy.”

Manuel Noriega returns to Panama.

This is a very long story but I’m linking to it because it offers an extremely important lesson: even if life sends you the perfect partner and a beautiful romantic relationship, you will destroy it utterly and completely if you make no efforts to solve your own psychological issues. Our romantic partners cannot be expected to serve as our punching bags, therapists or nurses. In this powerful post, you can see a painstaking description of a person who doesn’t even move half an inch in the direction of solving her issues and dumps them on her partner instead with predictable results.

Virgin Mary gets a pregnancy test – a hilarious ad campaign.

A recipe of hot chocolate from India.

Canada finally steps in to defend the rights of women: “Muslim women who wear the niqab and other face-covering garments will now have to lift or remove their veils while they take the oath of Canadian citizenship in front of a room full of people. “This is not simply a practical measure. It is a matter of deep principle that goes to the heart of our identity and our values of openness and equality,” Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said Monday as he announced the changes in Montreal.” Yes! Today, I’m proud to be Canadian.

Do you want to see my city in Ukraine? Here are some pics.

Is a protester really the person of the year? A very insightful post by a blogger I just discovered.

Suppressed histories of conflicts in South Asia.

I love Echidne but this is a major fail on her part: “Are you familiar with the Good Men Project? I wasn’t until one particular post on the website got some publicity. Its title is “Being A Dude Is A Good Thing.” That made my hair crawl a bit because its obvious corollary would be “Being A Non-Dude Is Not A Good Thing.“” Huh? I say to myself “Oh, it’s good to be me” on a regular basis. This in no way implies that it’s bad to be everybody else. Since when only one good way of being is possible? Since when believing that it rocks to be a Hispanist implies that it must necessarily suck to be a doctor, a chef, or a construction worker? The article Echidne criticizes is complete an utter garbage (see my recent post). But the important points she is making would make a greater impact if her own post didn’t start with this bit of silliness.

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27 thoughts on “Sunday Link Encyclopedia and Self-Promotion

  1. I read Dr. Breggin’s HuffPo article and I have only this to say:

    While I completely agree that medication isn’t the complete answer to most psychological problems, I am sick and tired of all this bullshit about how we need to stop “labeling” people as “depressed” or “bipolar” or “ADHD.” You know what? Before I was “labeled” as depressed, I was labeled as “overdramatic,” “bitchy,” “selfish,” “overemotional,” “attention whore,” “immature,” “crazy,” “fucked up,” and a whole lot of other things that should make you cringe, especially at the thought of your own close friends and family referring to you that way. Which mine certainly did.

    So yeah, I prefer “depressed” by a long shot.

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  2. Go ahead and wear a sari to work. They are lovely, and Indian women should not have all the advantages. Oh, wait. Maybe after you have tenure.

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  3. Thanks again for the link, Clarissa.

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  4. I’ll believe that the Canadian government cares about women when they stop trying to muzzle international relief organizations from providing abortion and contraceptive services, and apologize for scrubbing all references to “equality” from the Mandate on the Status of Women in Canada, then put it back in again to show just how stupid that was.

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  5. My most current teacher fun. 😀

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  6. There’s one small part of your description of my post which makes me feel a little uncomfortable. When you say that “if you make no efforts to solve your own psychological issues. Our romantic partners cannot be expected to serve as our punching bags, therapists or nurses. In this powerful post, you can see a painstaking description of a person who doesn’t even move half an inch in the direction of solving her issues and dumps them on her partner instead with predictable results”, you discount the counselling sessions I made myself go to, and the efforts I went to to stop self-harming and eating in a strange way. While I agree with your view (I wouldn’t have written it if I’d have wanted everyone to pretend I was the heroine in the relationship, I’m not that daft), it does make me feel a little unhappy that those efforts seem to mean nothing. It was a big deal for me. In fairness, I left a lot out about O’s behaviour, which I should really try to write about instead of just writing down my own mistakes. I suppose it’s not entirely fair to speak on somebody else’s behalf.

    Saying that though, you’re entirely right. It’s strange how you can act in a totally inappropriate way in the past, then look back with hindsight and realise just how destructive you were. It’s amazing how rational thought can sometimes fly way out of the window.

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  7. I’ve been trying to come up with something to say to these posts because, well, it is before breakfast time, and I’m trying to get the juices flowing in this free moment.

    Somebody asked in another thread how one gets rid of any internal build up of aggression. I learned a lot about human character structure from Nietzsche. That’s how I understand that, unbeknownst to myself, my character structure had become masochistic. I accepted everything without getting angry. I was very angry about having to emigrate from Zimbabwe, but I had no idea. I never expressed any negative emotion about anything. I was perfectly controlled. Nietzsche uses such terms as “physiologically inhibited” and mocks those who do not understand that life is not lived on the basis of unconditional compliance to social norms. Rather, “Digressions, objections, delight in mockery, carefree mistrust are signs of health; everything unconditional belongs in pathology.” Anyway, this extreme level of self control seems almost the opposite to what most people are struggling with today, so it makes it very difficult to comment on some of the posts or to offer any advice. I do advise reading Nietzsche, though, if you want to try to figure out psychology.

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  8. And this ratio, from one of the linked blogger’s sites, supports (but does not confirm) my suspicion about a link between traditional femininity (expressed as a martyrdom complex in the extreme form) and chronic physiological affliction: “Fibromyalgia is estimated to affect 2–4% of the population, with a female to male incidence ratio of approximately 9:1.”

    http://halfwaybetweenthegutter.wordpress.com/fibromyalgia/

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    • I confess to not being a feminist, so I’m wary of stepping out of line here. I’d be interested in hearing about your suspicion Jennifer, and what you consider traditional femininity to be (genuine question; it’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately).

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  9. “Why is it that whenever they hear the word “prostitution” most people immediately think only and exclusively about female prostitutes and male clients? I know the answer. Do you?”

    They haven’t seen My Own Private Idaho?

    “I really weird person fins reasons to hate. . . Mother Teresa, of all people”

    Presumably this person was a fan of Christopher Hitchens (God rest his soul).

    “Remember, people, Ron Paul is not a Libertarian. He is a fundamentalist religious fanatic.”

    He can’t help it. He’s the Counterculture-Wannabe White Dude Messiah.

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    • “Mother Teresa’s was NO ONE’S mother. […] There is absolutely nothing normal or “saintly” about this.”

      Because carrying half your head around (Saint Denis), crazy visions that lead France to victory (Saint Jeanne d’Arc), and New Orleans having a fucking amazing season (New Orleans Saints, 11-3) are all “normal”.

      “The rest of the article on the horrifying encroachment of psychiatry into our lives is also absolutely brilliant. I need to read this man’s book.”

      Years ago I hung out with an arty crowd where the unspoken rule was if you weren’t crazy as all hell you weren’t money (not that anyone had any). Bipolar disorder and schizo-affective disorder were favorites, I guess because they’re like a free pass for acting like an asshole. Really the biggest problem was serious drug addiction. It made me feel bad for the one guy I knew who actually had schizophrenia. One time he broke into my house because he was having a paranoic episode and I had to talk to him about a power company conspiracy until his girlfriend could come get him. I think I should feel privileged he thought of me as safe?

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      • “Years ago I hung out with an arty crowd where the unspoken rule was if you weren’t crazy as all hell you weren’t money (not that anyone had any). Bipolar disorder and schizo-affective disorder were favorites, I guess because they’re like a free pass for acting like an asshole. Really the biggest problem was serious drug addiction.”

        – I’ve known such a crowd, too! 🙂

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  10. The reason why people do not talk about prostitution by boys much is, I suspect, that boys are not as highly valued by our culture (and, indeed, most cultures) as are girls. For most of history, after all, most of the people sacrificed in wars to prop up rulers have been expendable males, not females.

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    • I’m pretty sure it’s demonstrable throughout all time and space that boys are valued in most cultures much more highly than girls, precisely for the reason that they fight and die in armies, among other things. In fact this looks to me like the reason why boy prostitution gets effaced so often, because it challenges prevailing ideas of males as strong dominant penetrators with sword, bullet, and/or penis. On the other hand women are fucksacks so obvs they’d be hookers, didn’t you know. 😛

      For sake of fairness, Jeanne d’Arc was an exception (double Joan reference today!), but she was immensely transgressive and the English basically burned her because she refused to stop wearing men’s clothes.

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    • “The reason why people do not talk about prostitution by boys much is, I suspect, that boys are not as highly valued by our culture (and, indeed, most cultures) as are girls. For most of history, after all, most of the people sacrificed in wars to prop up rulers have been expendable males, not females.”

      – Exactly. And the reason why people can’t picture women as clients of prostitutes is that women are not supposed to want or need sex. We are supposed to want emotions and relationships.

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  11. I think that that is false, Helena Seuss. People are always more horrified by violence against women that against men. I have read articles describing how terrible the violence against women is in Guatamala, for example, ignoring the fact that far more men than women are killed in Guatamala. (If I recall correctly, Guatamala has the second highest murder rate in Central America, after Columbia. The vast majority of the victims are male. But few people notice this.)

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    • I’m not disputing such things, and I’m sorry if I’ve started a which-gender-gets-more-shaft back-and-forth here, and I won’t pursue it except to say that, historically and ideologically, “men” have been valued higher than “women” in most cultures, leaving out other powerful markers like race and class. In this particular instance re: prostitution, I happen to be of what I think is the sound opinion that boy prostitutes receive less attention than girl because their presence challenges the time-honored, often invisible belief (which I am not claiming that you personally possess) that male = strong / aggressor / dominator / penetrator.

      Patrick: I agree that people often place less value on life than things like wealth and political power. This is why men are often sent to die for their “country,” or rather the interests of those in power, who are demonstrably typically men.

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      • ““men” have been valued higher than “women” in most cultures”

        Or more precisely, “men” are typically valued for different things than “women,” and these things typically include better opportunities for autonomy and agency outside of a familial context. That said, race, class, nationality, etc. are always huge factors in how maleness v. femaleness actually plays out, so I don’t think it worth going too deep into which gender gets it worse unless we take into account other sociological factors. Depending on race, class, etc., things can suck horribly for anyone regardless of gender.

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    • “People are always more horrified by violence against women that against men. ”

      – I think I mentioned an article by Elizabeth George a while ago where she explains why victims of murder in mystery novels are almost always women. Nobody will be interested in a novel where a man is killed, she said.

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  12. Patrick on said:

    I think your both missing that point that people in general don’t value life.

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  13. I don’t know if you’ve read this article published in the Atlantic Monthly about the view of a university professor about life in a small mid-western town but you might find it interesting.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2011/12/observations-from-20-years-of-iowa-life/249401/?single_page=true

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  14. Pingback: LOL of the Day: Paulites « A Bookish Beemer

  15. halfwaybetweenthegutter :
    I confess to not being a feminist, so I’m wary of stepping out of line here. I’d be interested in hearing about your suspicion Jennifer, and what you consider traditional femininity to be (genuine question; it’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately).

    See Clarissa’s posts on repressing anger. That is what I mean.

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  16. Isabel on said:

    Not a blog, just a charming holiday treat- hope that is okay! An artist friend just posted this to Fb and I enjoyed seeing it again:

    “The Insect’s Christmas” made in 1913 by Russian filmmaker Vladislav Starevich*, who was the best stop-motion animator **ever** (if you are curious, see the Devil’s Ball for something a bit darker).

    *sorry if I spelled the name wrong-everybody spells it differently. Okay according to Wikipedia it’s Władysław Starewicz, though I haven’t seen that spelling on film credits. I’ve even seen his first name spelled “Ladislas”…

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  17. Evelina Anville on said:

    Wow. I thought that film was beautiful. Thanks for sharing it Isabel!!! 🙂

    Like

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