Notes and Comment Blog

Coercive misogyny

Jun 19th, 2019 3:20 pm | By

Daughters are not slaves.

Muslim father faces jail for psychologically abusing his daughters in the first case of its kind.

Salamat Khan, 63, exerted such domineering control over his household that his children felt like they were “living in a prison”.

His daughters felt as if they were living in a prison, not his children. His son joined in the psychological abuse of the daughters. Is there some sort of pattern here? To do with what kind of people abuse and what kind are the abusers? I have a feeling there is but I can’t quite pin it down.

The father-of-nine had already married off three of his daughters to selected husbands, but “cast out” two of his daughters, when they married men that he did not “approve of”.

As a result, Khan claimed the sisters were “dead to the family” and tried to stop two other unmarried daughters leading a Westernised lifestyle.

Khan was found guilty and will be sentenced next week.

Three of Khan’s daughters wed in Pakistan in arranged marriages, but two others married Muslim men who were not “arranged” for them.

Khan then refused to let his other two daughters – Madina, 21, and Maryha, 24 – go out in the evenings, or meet their friends, and forced them to cook and clean for him in their “traditional” Islamic household.

In other words he imprisoned and enslaved them.

Giving evidence to the court, Madina Khan said that her role was “staying at home, cooking and cleaning”, that she was forbidden from socialising with friends outside of college and that she was “scared” of her father.

She claimed that her “aggressive” brother had threatened to kill her more than once and on the night the police were called “this time I thought he was going to do something”. She added: “He was enraged. It’s been like living in a prison”.

Her mother added that Salamat Khan and her son “make the decisions” and she was encouraged not to contact her rebel daughters.

It’s almost as if religion tells men it’s ok to hate women.


Jun 19th, 2019 12:48 pm | By

Another strange thing to think.

Universities & colleges should be sanctuaries, not spaces where staff & students are exposed to oppressive attitudes from those charged to teach them.

Really? Universities and colleges should be sanctuaries? What about being places where people on the edge of adulthood learn things they didn’t know before, and learn how to learn new things, and learn to question things they thought they knew, and to ponder why they thought they knew them?

In short, no, universities and colleges should not be sanctuaries. They should of course be places where people are treated decently, and where the older professionals in charge don’t use their status to bully or abuse students or other underlings…but sanctuaries, no. Education isn’t always soothing; it doesn’t always even feel “safe” in the sense of cozy and reassuring. New ideas and new ways of thinking can seem threatening, but they’re worth the discomfort.

Also, I suspect Grady’s claim rests on the pervasive trope that trans people, mostly meaning trans women, are especially “vulnerable” and fragile and in need of protection…which is odd when you remember that trans women are not literal women. Yes, boys and men can be bullied and abused for not being Manly enough, but male bodies are still not fragile as cobwebs.

Several people share my skepticism of the idea that universities should be sanctuaries.


Jun 19th, 2019 11:56 am | By

Trump loves to say US air quality is getting cleaner and cleaner thanks to him. Is he right?

Pfffffffff. Of course not.

Over the last two years the nation had more polluted air days than just a few years earlier, federal data shows. While it remains unclear whether this is the beginning of a trend, health experts say it’s troubling to see air quality progress stagnate.

There were 15% more days with unhealthy air in America both last year and the year before than there were on average from 2013 through 2016, the four years when America had its fewest number of those days since at least 1980.

Some of that has to be because of the summer wildfires problem, I would think.

Air quality is affected by a complex mix of factors, both natural and man-made. Federal regulations that limit the emissions of certain chemicals and soot from factories, cars and trucks have helped dramatically improve air quality over recent decades. In any given year, however, air quality can be affected by natural variations. That may be what’s behind the stalled progress, scientists say.

Scientists say that it is too early to see the effects of changes in environmental policy of the Trump administration, which took office in January 2017.

But they say looser restrictions and lax enforcement would almost certainly reverse the gains that have been made in recent decades, potentially turning what has so far been a modest, two-year backslide into a dangerous trend.

In an email, the EPA told The Associated Press the increase in unhealthy air days in 2017 “is largely associated with wildfires” in the west and it is studying 2018 before officially announcing its annual air trend data.

Air pollution experts agree wildfires likely have had a role, along with random variation, a stronger economy which leads to more consumption of fuels, and a changing climate. Higher temperatures increase the chances for fires and smog.

But moves to deregulate industries that pollute do not make the air cleaner.

She FEELS she has executive privilege

Jun 19th, 2019 11:16 am | By

Hope Hicks is refusing to answer questions. They think they’re gods, don’t they.

Former White House communications director Hope Hicks is not responding to any questions about her time at the White House in a closed-door congressional interview Wednesday, angering Democrats who say they expect to go to court to force her to answer their questions.

White House attorneys are objecting to all questions related to the White House, Democrats say, all the way down to where Hicks sat in the West Wing. But Hicks is answering questions about her time on the Trump campaign, which is not covered by executive privilege.

None of it is covered by “executive privilege.”

The White House is not asserting executive privilege, but arguing that Hicks has absolute immunity from testifying as a senior adviser to President Donald Trump. Democrats called that legal claim “ridiculous” and “absurd” as they signaled they will likely challenge it in court.

“There is no such thing as absolute immunity that prevents someone from answering questions about any subject related to their work in an administration. It just doesn’t exist,” said Rep. David Cicilline, a Rhode Island Democrat. “This is an ongoing effort by the president of the United States to obstruct, to prevent Congress from finding the facts and behaving as if he’s above the law.”

Well he feels like someone who is above the law. Don’t we have to respect that?

The White House’s objections to Democrats’ questions were expected, as White House Counsel Pat Cipollone sent the House panel a letter Tuesday evening arguing that Hicks was immune from testifying about her time at the White House as one of the President’s senior advisers, citing executive privilege protections.

“Because of this constitutional immunity, and in order to protect the prerogatives of the Office of President, the President has directed Ms. Hicks not to answer questions before the Committee relating to the time of her services as a senior adviser to the President,” Cipollone wrote.

Because of this constitutional immunity that doesn’t exist.

Three little words.


Jun 19th, 2019 10:24 am | By

Alice Roberts, Professor of Public Engagement in Science at the University of Birmingham and President of Humanists UK, has been Twitter-arguing with people who found the Natural History Museum’s tweets about queer giraffes and non-binary gorillas absurd.

This one is particularly interesting to me:

It’s her reply that interests me, but I’ll just note about the quoted passage from her book…I wonder if she would write that now. I wonder if now she would stop, and think, and frown, and then censor herself. I wonder if she would stop to think about it and then decide that it would be “transphobic” to allow that sentence to appear.

That’s a hypothetical though. Her actual reply today says “If someone who looks like a man and has XY chromosomes tells me he feels female – I cannot tell her she is ‘wrong’. Would you?” That’s what interests me.

Of course, first of all, it depends what she means. (I asked her but don’t know if she’ll reply.) Maybe she just means it’s not comfortable or polite and usually probably not even ethical to tell strangers they’re wrong about what they “feel” about themselves. But if she means it more generally and abstractly, that we can never think people are wrong about what they “feel” about themselves – that’s nonsense, and it’s antithetical to a scientific outlook. Why? Because people can be wrong about themselves, even if it’s an inner feeling, even if they feel the inner feeling strongly. Treating self-feelings as absolutely true and immune to rebuttal is sheer dogmatism.

That is, naturally, all the more germane when people are making factual claims that contradict what shows on the surface. Trump “feels” he is a stable genius, but there is much external evidence that points to a different conclusion.

Roberts’s hypothetical someone who looks like a man and has XY chromosomes may not be wrong about what he feels, but he’s probably wrong that what he feels=what he is. What we “feel” we are doesn’t necessarily determine what we actually are. It’s not that easy.

Come on where?

Jun 18th, 2019 5:41 pm | By

A woman expresses passionate eagerness to erase the very category of women and girls.

So after all these years of trying and trying and TRYING to get marketers to stop dividing humans into strong bold brilliant boys and weak pretty stupid girls were a big mistake? So we actually shouldn’t be trying to tell girls they can be strong and bold and brilliant? We should actually stop doing that because her “trans son” wants to rise above the muck of being a female person? Well fuck that for a game of soldiers.


Jun 18th, 2019 5:22 pm | By

The Smithsonian Magazine notes that concentration camps started long before Hitler took power.

Spain was having trouble persuading the Cuban people to stop rebelling, so they decided to round up the peasants who were supporting the rebels.

Civilians were forced, on penalty of death, to move into these encampments, and within a year the island held tens of thousands of dead or dying reconcentrados, who were lionized as martyrs in U.S. newspapers. No mass executions were necessary; horrific living conditions and lack of food eventually took the lives of some 150,000 people.

These camps did not rise out of nowhere. Forced labor had existed for centuries around the world, and the parallel institutions of Native American reservations and Spanish missions set the stage for relocating vulnerable residents away from their homes and forcing them to stay elsewhere. But it was not until the technology of barbed wire and automatic weapons that a small guard force could impose mass detention. With that shift, a new institution came into being, and the phrase “concentration camps” entered the world.

You’ll never guess who resorted to them next.

After defeating Spain in Cuba in a matter of months, the United States took possession of several Spanish colonies, including the Philippines, where another rebellion was underway. By the end of 1901, U.S. generals fighting in the most recalcitrant regions of the islands had likewise turned to concentration camps. The military recorded this turn officially as an orderly application of measured tactics, but that did not reflect the view on the ground. Upon seeing one camp, an Army officer wrote, “It seems way out of the world without a sight of the sea,—in fact, more like some suburb of hell.”

The US “liberated” Cuba and the Philippines and promptly unliberated them by taking over the colonial rule. Just kidding about the anti-imperialism thing!

The Boer War, Namibia, and on it went. The Nazis drew on a long and much-used tradition. Trump is reviving it, because that’s the kind of evil sack of shit he is.

If you don’t want Auschwitz, don’t stand by while they build Dachau

Jun 18th, 2019 4:53 pm | By

Many people have reacted to Liz Cheney’s “internment camps for migrants are not the Holocaust, learn some history” tweet.

And in the “massively missing the point” category, step up Dinesh D’Souza.

Nazi concentration camps weren’t for “illegal immigrants” because oddly enough Germany wasn’t a hugely popular destination for immigrants during the Third Reich. They were for despised people the Nazi regime wanted to control and, with any luck, destroy. Putting migrants and asylum seekers in camps is not radically different from putting dissidents and Jews…and gays and gypsies and the disabled in camps. The whole idea fits in the category Putting Despised People in Camps. It’s not a good look. We did it with the Japanese internments, we’re pretty much doing it now with mass incarceration, and putting migrants and asylum seekers in camps will be the same bad look and the same horrendous disgraceful brutal way of carrying on. Don’t bother trying to defend it.

We’ll leave it at that

Jun 18th, 2019 4:13 pm | By

“Dreyfuss était coupable!”

Trump says “You have people on both sides of that” when asked if he has any plans to apologize for trying to get the Central Park 5 executed.

H/t Acolyte of Sagan


Jun 18th, 2019 12:17 pm | By

Speaking of climate and emergency – Chennai (formerly Madras) has run out of water. That’s 11 million people.

The southern Indian city of Chennai (formerly Madras) is in crisis after its four main water reservoirs ran completely dry.

The acute water shortage has forced the city to scramble for urgent solutions, including drilling new boreholes.

Residents have had to stand in line for hours to get water from government tanks, and restaurants have closed due to the lack of water.

In the Arctic the permafrost is melting, and in southern India the water supply is drying up.

The water crisis has also meant that most of the city has to depend solely on Chennai’s water department, which has been distributing water through government trucks across neighbourhoods.

“The destruction has just begun,” an official said. “If the rain fails us this year too, we are totally destroyed.”

A city of 11 million people.

Camps are an early step

Jun 18th, 2019 12:04 pm | By

Liz Cheney, R-Wyoming, thought she had a gotcha on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

It’s Cheney who needs to learn some history. The Nazis didn’t go from zero to Auschwitz in 30 seconds; it took them years to get to Auschwitz. It was a process, with stages. Herding people into camps was an early stage. Trump is putting us at that stage. There is no magic mechanism guaranteeing that we won’t go on to further stages. That’s AOC’s point, and it’s dishonest and malevolent of Cheney to pretend not to get it.

Look at all the thermokarst

Jun 18th, 2019 11:53 am | By

Turns out permafrost isn’t perma.

Permafrost at outposts in the Canadian Arctic is thawing 70 years earlier than predicted, an expedition has discovered, in the latest sign that the global climate crisis is accelerating even faster than scientists had feared.

A team from the University of Alaska Fairbanks said they were astounded by how quickly a succession of unusually hot summers had destabilised the upper layers of giant subterranean ice blocks that had been frozen solid for millennia.

They flew an old prop plane to extremely remote areas up there.

Diving through a lucky break in the clouds, Romanovsky and his colleagues said they were confronted with a landscape that was unrecognisable from the pristine Arctic terrain they had encountered during initial visits a decade or so earlier.

The vista had dissolved into an undulating sea of hummocks – waist-high depressions and ponds known as thermokarst. Vegetation, once sparse, had begun to flourish in the shelter provided from the constant wind.

People in the Trump administration are no doubt composing a press release saying hooray more land for farming plus shipping in the Arctic at last hooray hooray.

Scientists are concerned about the stability of permafrost because of the risk that rapid thawing could release vast quantities of heat-trapping gases, unleashing a feedback loop that would in turn fuel even faster temperature rises.

It’s already going much faster than predicted.

Even if current commitments to cut emissions under the 2015 Paris agreement are implemented, the world is still far from averting the risk that these kinds of feedback loops will trigger runaway warming, according to models used by the UN-backed Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

With scientists warning that sharply higher temperatures would devastate the global south and threaten the viability of industrial civilisation in the northern hemisphere, campaigners said the new paper reinforced the imperative to cut emissions.

“Thawing permafrost is one of the tipping points for climate breakdown and it’s happening before our very eyes,” said Jennifer Morgan, executive director of Greenpeace International. “This premature thawing is another clear signal that we must decarbonise our economies, and immediately.”

And we’re not going to.

That domestic violence was PRIVATE

Jun 18th, 2019 11:29 am | By

It’s strange how men who assault women, or defend other men who assault women, keep turning up in Trump’s administration. The acting secretary of defense just resigned.

The Washington Post pressed the button to launch this story at 12.58PM ET today, one minute ahead of the time logged when Donald Trump announced Shanahan’s withdrawal from the process to find his forever home at the Pentagon.

It’s pretty raw, beginning:

In the months that he has served as President Trump’s acting secretary of defense, Patrick Shanahan has worked to keep domestic violence incidents within his family private. His wife was arrested after punching him in the face, and his son was arrested after a separate incident in which he hit his mother with a baseball bat. Public disclosure of the nearly decade-old episodes would re-traumatize his young adult children, Shanahan said.

The son hit his mother in the head with a baseball bat, and fractured her skull. Shanahan defended the son.

Welcome to Club Trump.

Map of what is not up for debate

Jun 18th, 2019 10:21 am | By

A philosopher sent Brian Leiter a guide to Philosophical Discussion of Trans Identity.

Members of the profession have doubtless seen the recent letter from MAP, objecting to the participation of Kathleen Stock at a recent meeting of the Aristotelian Society. As the letter writers thoughtfully advised: “scepticism about the rights of marginalised groups and individuals, where issues of life and death are at stake, are not up for debate. The existence and validity of transgender and non-binary people, and the right of trans and non-binary people to identify their own genders and sexualities, fall within the range of such indisputable topics”.

Junior members of the profession may be wondering what sorts ideas may be discussed and debated by philosophers, and which may not. Which may be subject to skeptical inquiry and which may not.  Which may be discussed at the Aristotelian Society and which may not. Following is a helpful guide.

You MAY question whether race exists and whether gender exists, you may question whether social kinds exist.  For that matter, you may question whether any kinds at all exist, and for the measure, whether abstract objects or even whether the external world exists.  You may NOT, however question whether people can identify their own genders.

You MAY question whether other minds exist, or whether anything at all exists except for yourself.  You may even question whether time exists and space exists.  You may ask whether all change is illusion.  You may NOT, however, question whether people can identify their own genders.

You MAY also question whether you yourself exist or are a social construct.  You may question the existence of the Cartesian ego and you may even wonder if there are such things as Cartesian egos.  You may reject them or endorse them.  However, you may NOT question whether people can identify their own genders.

The same for God, God and evil, mathematics…

You MAY feel free to argue that everything is made of water or air or apeiron or numbers or soul stuff or mind or matter or whatever.  You may ask whether cats are robots from mars, whether there are zombies, whether everyone you know is a zombie, whether you might be a swamp man and if so whether you have any thoughts at all, but you may NOT question whether people can identify their own genders.

You get the idea. You can argue about the ontology of anything and everything…except gender.

But you can argue about how we know that? Yes?


I hope you agree with me that you ought not question whether people can identify their own genders.  It is, after all, just an indisputable fact and not up for debate!  But you might think it is an apt philosophical exercise to ask how we how we came to have this knowledge that people can identify their own genders.  This would be an error.  You may not query the source of this knowledge.

You may ask how we know we are not brains in vats, or how we know there isn’t an evil deceiver or how we know we are not in the Matrix with Neo and Morpheus.  You may ask if we are in Plato’s cave, not really seeing things as they are.  You may ask how we know that we don’t live in a land of fake barns and how we know that the zebras in our zoos are really zebras.  You may NOT ask, however, how we came to know that people can identify their own genders.

You can argue about the epistemology of anything and everything…except gender.

Hopefully you agree that one should not question whether people can identify their own genders.  It is just an indisputable fact after all.  And hopefully you are also thinking that it is wrong to question how we came to KNOW that people can identify their own genders.  But perhaps you are thinking it is your job as a pedagogue to teach material that considers these obviously harmful questions.  Well, wrong again.

There are many much more worthy doctrines to teach.  For example, you should feel free to teach Aristotle, who said that women are “more mischievous, less simple, more impulsive … more compassionate … more easily moved to tears … more jealous, more querulous, more apt to scold and to strike … more prone to despondency and less hopeful … more void of shame or self-respect, more false of speech, more deceptive.”  You may write papers about this idea and you may teach the passage to your students.  You may name your prestigious societies after Aristotle.  You may NOT, however, teach Kathleen Stock on the subject of whether people can identify their own genders.  You may not invite her to conferences. Especially not to meetings of The Aristotelian society.  Professor Stock is to be deplatformed.

For that matter, please do not informally question the source of our knowledge that people can identify their own genders. If a philosophy blog should raise these issues it is to be shunned.  Do not link to such a blog.  It must go dark. It is a fact that people can identify their own genders, and it is not to be interrogated, or discussed, and the source of such knowledge is not to be queried, challenged, or in any way shape or form investigated or discussed as an act of pedagogy or as a matter of curiosity amongst philosophical peers.  Doing so would constitute an act of violence against trans people.  I’m sure it is clear why.

I trust that this has been helpful.

Can we discuss the meta question of why there is this one exception?

Don’t be silly.

Never being able to get flat enough

Jun 18th, 2019 9:51 am | By

The NY Times is still normalizing breast-mutilation.

A recent Times article on chest binding prompted a discussion among readers about the practice, which some transgender and gender-nonconforming people use to compress their breasts and treat body dysphoria, as well as how we covered it.

I bet it did.

So the Times asked readers to report on their adventures in binding. They got more than 200 responses, mostly from very young people (of course – this wasn’t a fashion ten years ago).

I am 31 and have been wearing constrictive sports bras since I developed breasts in high school. I didn’t know about binders until well into my 20s. I wish I had. Without the availability of binders, many people like me spent years wearing Ace bandages around our chests. This practice was harmful and made it difficult to breathe. Now that binders are more widely available, I wear one most days.

I’m currently training to run the New York marathon for the second year in a row, and I’m starting graduate school at Columbia University in the fall. These are things that I would not have been able to do without a binder.

 R.J. Russell, 31

Eh? I wonder why Russell would not have been able to start grad school at Columbia without a binder.

I first had a desire to bind toward the end of middle school, when I came out as non-binary. Because of online articles that said binders would mutilate your body, my mother firmly decided against getting me one. It was only when I had my doctor and therapist assure her binding was safe that I was able to get my first binder, which drastically improved my self-image and mental health without any sacrifices to my physical health.

Binders tend to be used as a temporary solution to the problem of having breasts and cannot be worn at all times. During exercise they can restrict breathing, and back and chest pain can come from wearing them for more than about eight hours at a time. You should also never sleep with a binder on.

Erin Hurst, 17

So, binders are safe, but they cannot be worn at all times, during exercise they can restrict breathing, and back and chest pain can come from wearing them for more than about eight hours or to sleep in. How are we defining “safe” here?

I have been binding for four years, starting at age 16. I discovered binding through the internet as I began following more transgender individuals and navigating my own gender identity.

When I slipped on my first binder, well, it didn’t slip on. Despite my small frame, I could not fit into a medium. I ended up returning it and ordering a size up. Even that was still extremely difficult to put on. You get used to it, though. The tightness is a double-edged sword — sometimes you feel like you’re being suffocated, but at other times a binder feels like a close hug.

The longer I used binding, the more I could feel my body deteriorating. The physical pain got worse but so did the emotional. Slowly I began living a life where I couldn’t not bind. The initial euphoria of flatness turned into never being able to get flat enough. My body aches every day, I no longer have the lung capacity I once had, and my ribs have inverted. I fear breaking one when I sneeze. I am getting surgery this year and it can’t come soon enough.

— Caleb B. Sanders, 20

This must all be the fault of TERFs, right?

Our support for policies and practices which are inclusive and supportive

Jun 17th, 2019 4:58 pm | By

There’s a counter-letter to yesterday’s letter to the Times. Of course there is.

The title is “University support for LGBTQIA+ people”…as if the letter to the Times were about refusing to support people.

The letter is bad. It’s bad the way these things are always bad – it’s all buzzwords and rote phrases that are abstract and not defined. Academics shouldn’t be writing bad letters of that kind.

As academics and other colleagues working in higher education, we are writing to register our support for policies and practices which are inclusive and supportive of our trans colleagues and students.

What does that mean? Inclusive in what sense? Supportive how?

There is reasonable inclusion, which means not excluding people from events, institutions, lectures, classes, and the like that are meant for everyone. Then there’s unreasonable inclusion, which means not excluding people from events and institutions and the like that are intended for a specific category of people, not in order to “exclude” or “discriminate against” people not in that category, but for an array of other reasons, which can include an opportunity to talk freely without having to struggle to be heard. The powerless sometimes need to gather away from the powerful in order to organize and discuss. Women are a powerless group, and they sometimes need to organize with other women, and they may not want to “include” trans women in that category, and no one should force them to.

Workers don’t have to be “inclusive” of bosses when organizing. The Sioux don’t have to be “inclusive” of oil company executives when they’re organizing against a pipeline on tribal land. Atheists don’t have to be “inclusive” of Catholic bishops when organizing against the bishops’ efforts to force women to continue pregnancies they don’t want to continue. Universal blanket no-exceptions “inclusion” is not an ideal, and the damn fools who wrote this stupid letter should understand that.

Criticism and critique of policies and programmes that promote inclusiveness, such as Stonewall Diversity Champions, is not in and of itself unwelcome.

See above. See it as many times as it takes to get the point.

Such things are products of dialogue and discussion, and they evolve over the course of this dialogue. However, the primary concern must be with the wellbeing of the people subject to those policies. The vulnerability of the LGBTQIA+ community, especially young people and those who are transgender or gender-diverse, is well documented.

Is it? Is it well documented in any sense other than the sense that letters like this keep repeating it? And even if it is, does it follow that other “communities” are not vulnerable? No it does not. The “LGBTQIA+ community” does not have a monopoly on vulnerability.

As educators, we have a duty of care to our students and colleagues. Respect for their gender identity and/or sexuality is an integral aspect of that duty of care.

Why? How? In what sense? Meaning what? Why that rather than anything else? Is respect for their taste in music an integral aspect of that duty of care? Why should we buy into this notion of the special sacred status of a fictional gender identity? Why do we have to pay any attention to it at all?

It is inconceivable that this duty should be considered antithetical to “academic freedom”. Rather, ignoring or denying it precludes our fellow academics and colleagues — be they undergraduate students, postgraduate candidates, early career researchers, lecturers, professional-services staff or innumerable others — from experiencing a secure and supportive environment safely to pursue their own freedom.

Blah blah blah wuff wuff wuff – it’s all just tedious boilerplate, that doesn’t mean anything but sounds like what the commissars want them to say.

I say it’s spinach and I say the hell with it.

Applying the social pressure

Jun 17th, 2019 4:05 pm | By

Ok ok yes I know I can’t force people to believe ridiculous things…but I sure as hell can bully them into pretending to believe them!

Useful, in a way, to see one of them admit it. “Come here, bitch, I need to apply some social pressure to you.”

Well, by claiming that sex/gender is an identity, trans dogmatists are intellectually and politically harming feminists. Impasse? How about we call it based on which claim is more fucking ludicrous.

He’s a philosophy grad student, by the way, which seems kind of sad.

Meet the queer gorilla

Jun 17th, 2019 11:00 am | By

The Natural History Museum – the one in South Kensington, next to the V&A –  has lost its mind.

The opening shot was June 1.

A rebellious member of the public asked what they were talking about.

So “we” have suddenly stopped being the Natural History Museum and become a branch of Pink News instead?

Gorillas don’t know from “queer.”

The Red Beryl sums it up.

Bollocks. “Queer” is a political term, and it’s increasingly seen as one that’s antagonistic to women.

The museum shop has fabulous natural history postcards though.


Jun 17th, 2019 10:16 am | By

The BBC pulls out a few items from Trump’s 30 hours of talking.

Mr Trump argued that no president has ever been as mistreated as himself, including Abe Lincoln, who was shot dead.

“If you can believe it, Abraham Lincoln was treated supposedly very badly,” he said. “But nobody’s been treated badly like me.”

Mr Trump, who calls himself a student of history, has previously drawn comparisons with the 16th president. During a rally last September in Montana, Mr Trump said Lincoln’s legendary Gettysburg Address “was excoriated by the fake news”.

And during his first election campaign, Mr Trump claimed: “With the exception of the late, great Abraham Lincoln, I can be more presidential than any president that’s ever held this office.”

He’s heard of Lincoln…and that’s about it.

The transcript shows how it came up. It was all about the tweets.

STEPHANOPOULOS: The other thing we’re hearing from these– again, these are voters who support you, still say they’re proud of you. They wish you’d cut back on the tweets.

TRUMP: You know, I have it both ways. I have a very unfair press. It’s a fake news. It’s a corrupt news. I have people that are so dishonest. I mean, I had a case of it recently with the New York Times where they’re writing things knowing it was wrong. Knowing. If I don’t put it out– I don’t call it tweets. I call it social media. If I don’t use social media, I do not get the word out. I have some people that do say that, but I have far more that say– just today in the– in the speech I had a woman, “Please don’t stop tweeting. Please. That’s the only way you’re getting the message out.” I have so many people that would go– that would be very unhappy if I ever stopped. And it’s not tweet. It’s social media. I put it out, and then it goes onto your platform. It goes onto ABC. It goes onto the networks. It goes onto all over cable. It’s an incredible–

A long clump like that is helpful for focusing on just how impoverished and empty his speech and his mind are. Watching and hearing him is also helpful for that, but when it’s in front of your eyes in one clump you can see how few words are in play, how much pointless repetition there is.

So that’s how they got to Lincoln – how Trump got to Lincoln.

TRUMP: Well, it’s– it– how can I communicate like that? I put one out this morning. And as soon as I pressed the button, they said, “We have breaking news.” Every network, every station. “We have breaking news.” They read my tweet. Why is that bad? And when I’m treated badly by the press– and nobody’s ever been treated badly like me. When I’m treated so badly–

STEPHANOPOULOS: You know that every president says that.

TRUMP: I– I disagree. Look, it’s been acknowledged. Although they do say Abraham Lincoln was treated really badly. I must say that’s the one. If you can believe it, Abraham Lincoln was treated supposedly very badly. But nobody’s been treated badly like me. And this way I can fight the dishonest media, the corrupt media, the fake news.



Jun 17th, 2019 9:52 am | By

This is great. Mere human dares to cough while Trump is talking.