Sunday Link Encyclopedia and Self-Promotion

The first week of the new year brought a surge of enthusiasm to the blogging universe. As a result, I have a pretty good crop of posts for your reading pleasure. Enjoy and don’t forget to self-promote!

The magic of literature. This post needs to be printed out and distributed to all students who say they hate reading and don’t understand the point of literary studies.

Another weird explanation of what “causes” autism. I think I need to start collecting them because they are always too hilarious.

A disgusting string of anti-Muslim acts of  vandalism in Montreal. Shame on you, fellow Montrealers! (Please do not read the comments that follow the article I linked to. They will make you want to vomit.)

An absolutely brilliant post on spanking.

It would be great if all Conservatives were this way. However, as often happens with most political movements, a screeching and raging minority of fanatics is a lot more vocal than such reasonable representatives of a movement. As a result, the entire group becomes associated with its most loud members.

A very insightful analysis of how newspapers undermine our society with what they choose to cover.

Want better students? Can the SATs!

If girls in school can wear high heels, why can’t a boy?

How the American Psychiatric Association makes its money. What a disgusting organization. Freud, who was horrified by psychiatry and set out to create an alternative for its barbaric methods, would be shocked to see how people are still enslaved by it.

The psychology of doppelgängers.

A really great cilantro lime mahi mahi recipe. Every word in the recipe’s title makes my mouth water. I’m totally addicted to cilantro.

Even Legos get stereotyped nowadays. What a crazy world.

When you try to analyze what happens in a couple of which you are not a member, the result is always very stupid.

The wave of let’s-dump-on-Schwyzer hysteria continues. Now he is being blamed for referring to a girlfriend of his as a “human being.” He did that twice, too. Just imagine that. Instead of calling her a woman, he calls her a human being. He also – prepare yourselves because this is too heavy – called her a person. The outrage, the horror! This is where feminism might lead you, folks. You might start referring to women as human beings. Beware!

Another obsessive post about Hugo Schwyzer. This blogger should have been told by somebody that first-person writing is still fiction. Do you think he will be able to deal with a revelation that Jane Eyre is a character in a book?

Another ignoramus blabbering on about Ukraine and Byelorussia: “Other scenarios that Brzezinski connects with U.S. “decline” that seem very unlikely include the Russian absorption of Belarus (why would Moscow want the hassle?), and exposing Ukraine to “Russian designs.” What these “designs” might be are never spelled out.” Erm, what else do you need to be spelled out to you, Mr. I’m-clueless-but-talkative? What day of the week it is? How to get your head out of your own ass? How Brzezinski writes for people who know at least some very basic stuff about the region and not for idiots like yourself?

What shamanism isn’t.

For those ignorant folks who still somehow manage not to realize that a fetus is a part of a woman’s body and not a person. Of course, I’m wasting my time here because those few anti-choicers who actually can read will not be able to comprehend the complex two-syllable words in the article.

Did you know that in some European airports there are smoking booths sponsored by tobacco companies? That is very civilized. Why is our continent lagging behind yet again?

He is too delicate who is delighted with his own country only : He is a courageous man whose own country is the world : But he to whom the whole world is a place of banishment is a saint.” Beautiful, eh?

A 26-year-old woman writes a letter to herself aged 12. A very powerful narrative which is also an incredibly useful technique of psychological hygiene. I highly recommend this to everybody. The post is long but extremely inspiring and insightful. And the author is obviously gifted.

An Indiana bill that would fine performers $25 for not meeting state-defined performance standards of the national anthem. Beware that elementary school kid who makes a mistake in the text of the anthem or that performer who tries to offer their own musical rendition of the anthem. Good to know that Indiana has no real problems to address!

Conservatives and pseudo-liberals have one thing in common: their desire to “protect” women (who, as we all remember, are poor, pathetic victims of everything) from pornography. Of course, women are so useless and stupid that we can’t decide on our own how to engage with porn without some guy somewhere wanting to take care of us. Here is an example of this ecstatic Conservative-Liberal union of despising women. Is there a woman who actually sleeps with this blogger? Of her own free will? If so, then I’m sure she only preserves her sanity through regular use of porn.

A great review of Murakami’s 1Q84.

How to become a feisty Leftist political blogger.

How “gender differences” are manufactured by the media because there are still Neanderthals around who can’t accept (or understand) the scientific findings proving that gender differences do not exist.

The approach to the penis-shrinking anxiety highlights the bias that informs psychiatric definitions.

The subway in Russia is a form of art. See these beautiful photos of new subway stations in a provincial Russian city. The post is in Russian, but you can just skip the text and look at the pictures.

Dear Republican candidates: You are campaigning on talking points that do not actually appeal to us. Why are you doing that? Who told you we want these things?

Sexism in the atheist community is just as present as it is everywhere else.

36 thoughts on “Sunday Link Encyclopedia and Self-Promotion”

  1. Thanks Clarissa.

    By the way, the doppelgänger concept was part of my theoretical platform for my thesis. I said that shamanism functions by means of creating doppelgängers in a state of dissociation. The difference between shamanism and pathology would be that the dissociation is intentional and is carefully observed and studied by the other half of the self. It’s a means of acquiring knowledge, but not in the normal sense of western epistemology, where knowledge is supposed to be divorced from experience and emotion. As Nietzsche points out, that kind of objectivity would be useless to human beings and is part of the ascetic ideal — which he was trying to conquer in order to make human life meaningful again. Thus Bataille (Nietzsche’s 20th Century student) avoids the trap of the wrong kind of knowledge seeking by referring to mystical experience as ‘non-knowledge’.


  2. For the record, vandalism occured in Gatineau, on the north shore of the Outaouais river near Ottawa.

    Montreal is still that wonderful open-minded city we all adore:)


  3. The letter by the 26 year old to herself is also interesting in that it is so emotionally literate. Emotional literacy is something I have struggled with until about five years ago. This relates back in part to not being from a very individualistic society. It also pertains to the reality of the war, which I grew up with. It used up all of our emotions, so we didn’t filter much feeling into private concerns. By about the age of 26, I realized that I was thinking and reacting very differently from how many had expected me to respond. I learned a little bit about my personality — that I was most inclined to make intuitive leaps in logic, based on pattern awareness, but that my processes were not very linear. I also realized that I had little idea what my emotions were at any particular point in time. I was out of synch with them. That’s why I began writing — to try to stalk down my emotions. It wasn’t easy; they were very evasive due to years of repression. Also, the change in cultural scenery didn’t help, as my original character had been formed in an entirely different environment, so common explanations, which pertained to the way reality was organised as per Modernity, did not have any meaning for me. Worse than this, they distorted my understanding of myself for a long period. More often than not, other people’s “help” was in the form of a paternalist projection. These projections had much to do with how people perceived my gender and my historical background, which were in terms of inappropriately applied Modernist categories. Also, there was a lot of negativity about “colonialism”, which made it even harder for me to understand myself.

    In the end, I was able to achieve a very high level of emotional literacy only by giving up the project of adapting to Western culture and trying to understand my emotions in its terms.

    Talking to Japanese people finally enabled this development, as they are unaffected by Western history and as a result do not have a negative reflex reaction to my identity as a “colonial”.


  4. Just read that letter to her 12 year old self. Pretty powerful. I’ve been trying to think of how to write a similar letter to my younger self for the last few months.


  5. “Now he is being blamed for referring to a girlfriend of his as a “human being.” He did that twice, too.”

    I don’t think that’s an accurate summary. I read the article and it seems the author’s gripe is that Hugo tried to murder his ex-girlfriend and cover it up. Hugo also sees his women students as weak, vulnerable people who need his protection. Hardly a feminist position.


    1. Yeah I read his article about almost killing his “broken, emaciated” ex. That was hell of fucked up all over the place. Nice job there thinking you’re so full of the good answers you’re just about willing to take the life of someone you claim to care about, Hugo.


    2. ““Now he is being blamed for referring to a girlfriend of his as a “human being.” He did that twice, too.”

      I don’t think that’s an accurate summary. ”

      = This is a direct quote from the post I linked to. There are more in the same vein: “In the post he wrote this morning, though, Schwyzer refers to the woman he tried to kill as “another human being” twice, as “another person” once, as his “ex” six times, but never as his lover, his girlfriend, a woman.


      1. What a weird thing to bring up in the middle of that post. Was the blogger insinuating that, in using this language, Hugo was dehumanizing his almost-homicide victim in some way? I thought he did a much better job of that with “oh look how poor and weak and sad and vulnerable she is just like me welp better knock us both off can’t hope for any better than this.”


      2. That sentence would, of course, make a lot more sense if you’d also quoted the ones that came before it:

        “Because it’s not just the fact that Schwyzer committed an act of violence that’s of such concern, or even the fact that he committed an act of intimate partner violence. It’s that he committed an act of GENDERED violence, the nature of which he still hasn’t come to terms with.”

        Or the one that came after it:

        “In all his writing about this act he has never addressed its implications for his feminism — the feminism he professed when he committed the crime, or the feminism he professes today.”

        I didn’t complain that Schwyzer referred to his girlfriend as a human being. I complained that he refused to apply a feminist analysis to his crime, and noted his insistence on using ungendered and distancing language to describe his victim as one piece of evidence of that.


  6. Schwyzer obviously intends for his work to be read as non-fiction. To say that his writing is not intended to be factual is Colbert-level silliness.


    1. Yeah, prefaces his blog post it by saying that he has talked to his lawyers and they’ve assured him he can’t be arrested or put to trial for this, and then explains in excruciating detail how he tried to murder his girlfriend a decade ago. I think he’s also tried to apologise for it many times in the past. So unless, like you say, it’s some long-running elaborate performance art hoax, I’m gonna take him at face value. And it’s not like the rest of his blog is fictional, too, which would lend more credence to Clarissa’s assertion. He wants to be taken seriously as a leader in the US feminist movement and his writing clearly reflects that.


    2. “Schwyzer obviously intends for his work to be read as non-fiction. To say that his writing is not intended to be factual is Colbert-level silliness.”

      The authorial intention does not matter. Whenever one organizes life’s events into a coherent narrative with a beginning and and end, with an intro and a denouement, edits the facts (because there is no describing reality without editing), the result is always a creative product. Even history textbooks are written this way, and the fictional nature of such writing has been studied by scholars for a very long time. Are we on Oprah or something to discuss writing in the primitive terms of “fiction” or “non-fiction”? What’s next? people will start using the expression “real-life account of true events”?

      It is seriously annoying when people come here to explain to me, a professional literary critic, how the creative process works and what constitutes fiction. Want to know, ask. But this is a subject where you need serious studies and preparation to have an opinion.


      1. I understand what you’re saying. He has, indeed, built a narrative which may or may not be entirely true. I still think that the narrative is built around a few facts, one of which is that he tried to murder his girlfriend. How he dealt with it, the denouement, etc. may be pure fiction.

        Where we disagree on is that you don’t think he tried to murder his girlfriend and I do (correct me if I’m wrong). There’s no way for us to know the absolute truth, so let me put it this way: *If* he did try to murder his girlfriend and covered it up by lying to the police then the criticism for his actions he is currently receiving in feminist circles is justified. Would you agree with that?


        1. “There’s no way for us to know the absolute truth, so let me put it this way: *If* he did try to murder his girlfriend and covered it up by lying to the police then the criticism for his actions he is currently receiving in feminist circles is justified.”

          – It’s like diagnosing cancer through online conversations. Whether a crime has been committed, is up to the police to investigate and the court system to decide. In the actual situation that lurks behind Hugo’s post, the police officers were there, talked to people, observed the scene. They are in a much much better position to make those decisions than anybody who read a 1st person account online. There is nothing more unreliable than 1st person accounts.

          So if the authorities who were actually there have not found him guilty, who are we to be the trial and the jury for this man today based on a blog post?


  7. I love what that blogger had to say about the magic of literature. As an aspiring lit-crit I do sometimes feel like I’m trying to tease out the elusive, hermetic secrets of the alchemy of words.


  8. ” And it’s not like the rest of his blog is fictional, too, which would lend more credence to Clarissa’s assertion. ”

    – When you read in a blogger’s story something like, “”XYZ,” she said. “ABC,” I responded”, do you believe that the conversation described occurred exactly this way and the blogger just somehow retained what was being said verbatim?

    If a few years from then, the same blogger retells the same story on their blog and reproduces the conversation in a different way, would you compare these two accounts for evidence that the blogger is a liar? Because that’s exactly what the post I criticized here did.

    Blogging is not court testimony (which is still highly unreliable, mind you). When a blogger writes, s/he is engaged in a creative act. Posts should not be used as evidence of crimes, or anything like that. It’s ridiculous. If people could abandon their self-righteousness for a while and remember that even reality TV shows are all scripted, it would be easier to have this discussion.


    1. I’m not talking about remembering conversations verbatim. I’m talking about taking someone at face value when they tell you a *fact* about themselves. Hugo said he tried to murder his girlfriend. I chose to believe him. It is not important what words he said to the police to cover his ass. That part is surely fictional because you just can’t remember conversations that happened a day ago, let alone a decade. But the gist remains is that he made up some lie (doesn’t matter what form it took) to get himself out of trouble. I believe that.

      If I don’t believe what any writer/blogger say about themselves, I would have to preface all my replies to this blog with some sort of a disclaimer. ‘*If* you’re not lying about N getting a job, then congratulations to him!” or “If you’re not lying about today being your birthday then happy birthday to you!’. Don’t you think it would get rather tedious?


      1. The post I criticized here was titled something like “Was Hugo’s account embellished?” That’s what bugs me. Everything that a blogger writes can be called “embellished” if one tries. I wrote about the weather being at +21C a few days ago. You could easily accuse me of embellishing because it wasn’t like that all day long.


    2. The problem with his posts, as you know, because you read my post criticizing them, wasn’t merely that he supplied implausibly specific details of insignificant events for literary purposes. It was that he altered crucial elements of his story in ways that raised troubling questions as to his culpability in what even he admits were serious crimes.


      1. The culpability for a crime cannot be decided in the blogosphere. This is the job of the criminal justice system. A story published online differs from court testimony in that it belongs only and exclusively to the author and can be changed in any way the author wishes.


    3. But if Schwyzer is asking us to accept his accounts of certain events as accurate, offering those accounts as evidence of his character — and he is — then it seems completely reasonable to point out where those accounts are inconsistent with previous statements he’s made.


      1. From what I understand, if a witness (or a suspect) offers an account of the same events several times (even shortly after the original account), if the story is true, it is supposed to contain discrepancies and inconsistencies because that is the nature of memory. However, if one always renders the exact same account of events without changing a single detail, that person immediately becomes suspect as a liar.


    4. Fair enough. But when the story changes from “I tried to kill my girlfriend and myself but my neighbors saved us” to “I tried to kill my girlfriend and myself but I saved us at the last minute,” it’s worth at least mentioning the discrepancy, no?


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