Thursday, August 28, 2008

Thursday notes...

1. RIP Del Martin, founder of the Daughters of Bilitis, gay rights advocate, and one half of the first same-sex couple to legally exchange vows in San Francisco.

2. It's that time again! No, no, not the return to classes and being stuck behind yellow buses on your way to work (well, okay, yes, potentially that too), but time to answer the WAM! call for proposals! Sadly, with my starting my first year of grad school, I probably won't be making my own submission (although, you know, if anyone is looking for a someone to present about video games or comics, it wouldn't take a lot to convince me), but you should be thinking about it. On this, the sixth year of the conference, they're bringing in a theme. If you've got something to say- and I think most of us do- you should definitely consider answering the call.

3. For the love of Gromit, can someone tell The Media to stop making asses of themselves? First it was "One Legged Hooker Slain", and now a story about an obese woman accused of murdering a child that ends with the line "So, currently, the lady remains at large."

Now, I get it, apparently any story about a fat person must include some kind of jokes at their expense. Because, HAHA! Fat! But... no, wait. I don't understand that. I actually don't understand why a journalist thinks that it's okay or professional to make fat jokes in an article.

If nothing else, can we show an ounce of journalistic professionalism in the face of the fact that a child is dead, killed by having his head crushed?

Maybe I'm weird, but I don't think that's an appropriate place for jokes.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

English as a necessary skill for golf...

I admit to not knowing all the ins and outs of golf, by virtue of not playing the game myself, but the LPGA's new rule that all players must pass an English proficiency test is bugging me. I mean, correct me if I'm wrong, but this was my understanding of how golf is played:

Whack the hell out of a small ball with a club.
Avoid smacking the ball into sand, water, trees, tall grass, or spectators.
Try to smack the ball into a tiny hole marked by a flag that's kind of far away.

Oversimplified? Perhaps. But, I'm not seeing where "speak English" is particularly important to the game.

But, of course, it's not actually about the game. It's about the sponsors.

Because, gods forbid that the best player on the green not speak English very well or at all.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Not a credible threat?

So, this is news.

I'm curious about several things.

First of all:
However, federal sources have said that the incident may have had more to do with drugs than with a plot to assassinate Mr Obama, despite local police claims.

The federal officials said that the verbal threats against Mr Obama were made during one of the arrests, but were not considered credible. "It could turn out that these were nothing but a bunch of knuckleheads, meth heads," a US government source has claimed.

They're caught with a spotting scope, two high-powered rifles with scopes, walkie talkies, and a bulletproof vest. What, exactly, does it take to be considered a credible threat?

Second of all: Who in the hell jumps out of a sixth story window and thinks that they're getting away from the police that way? For gods' sakes, I don't like to jump from six feet. Six stories? That's just stupid.


At this point, I guess I'm just glad that they're bad drivers and got their dumb asses pulled over before they could put the plan into action.

And that one of them jumped from a sixth floor window to try to get away.

Because it makes me happy when bad people do really really dumb things in the process of getting captured.

Sneak Preview of "Traitor"

Last night I got a chance to check out the new Don Cheadle flick "Traitor" at a limited sneak preview thing. I'm not a professional film reviewer, so let's just get this out of the way right now- I'm very likely going to spoil the hell out of this movie. If you have an interest in seeing it in the theaters and not knowing what is going to happen... stop reading.

Last chance.

Alright, I've been trying to get out of the habit of giving reviews "grades" and such (although I failed miserably last night in describing the movie to Jaclyn). Grades are really arbitrary- if I hated something that you don't care about, what's my grade mean to you? Nothing, that's what. So, instead, let's just talk about the movie.

So, I've glanced at a couple of other reviews of the film, and part of me is thinking "Did we watch the same film?" Because, really, there's nothing remotely unexpected about the plot. I swear to gods, every step of the way, I felt like I knew exactly what was going to happen. The problem here is partly the fault of the advertising. The film wants us to think that our man Don is a terrorist. But... well... he's the lead protagonist, and it's pretty damned clear from the trailers that he's not a terrorist. The first half of the film is set up with the expectation that we not know whether Don is or is not a terrorist. But we already know. He's not.

But, really, the plot is so completely conventional that even if it weren't for the advertising, there'd still be no real question about him. The setup is just too obvious. Once it's finally reveiled that he's not, in fact, a terrorist, but is actually in deeeeeep cover, the tension shifts from "is he/isn't he" to "will he get caught". This is more interesting, but, again, utterly predictable.

I don't even have to tell you what the "twist" is, here, and I bet you can guess. When it's reveiled that Don is in deep cover, we're given three pieces of information. From those three pieces of information, I'd bet a cookie you can tell what is going to happen.
1. He's in deep cover.
2. He has only one contact on the outside.
3. His contact hasn't told anyone about him.

Go ahead. Guess. You won't be wrong.

This kind of utterly predictable plot just keeps pressing through. And the thing is, it's not a bad plot, exactly. It's just... well... it's been done a million times. It's not bad, but it's pretty much completely forgetable.

The good news, however, is that the film treats the problem of terrorism as being a little more nuanced than the typical "Muslims hate us because Islam is full of evil!" that we're usually given. I'm not an expert, though, so I can't say how accurate the presentation is. And saying that it's more nuanced should be taken with a grain of salt. It's like pointing out that a pizza is better than Domino's pizza. It may be better, but that doesn't necessarily make it good, either. Almost anything that treats Muslim characters with more than paper-thin motivations and personalities is going to be better.

There are a number of Muslim characters in the film, of varying levels of devotion. One of the more interesting aspects of the film is that it presents the heads of the terrorist cells as being, essentially, war opportunists. They profit off of the death and destruction while leaving those of faith to accept the consequences and to suffer the casualties.

Don Cheadle and Said Taghmaoui turn in very good performances, but mostly left me wishing that this were a completely different film- maybe one that actually delved more deeply into their lives instead of trying to be all espionage/thriller. The rest of the cast aren't forgetable exactly. They're too cliche and ridiculous to be forgetable. Guy Pearce, in particular, is completely wasted here. His idiotic accent and hackneyed dialogue just completely overpowered every scene he's in. When he started on in his faux Texas accent about his "daddy" being a minister, I just wanted to tape his mouth shut.

Speaking of dialogue: it's bad. It's not just Pearce, either. The rule here is this- if you're a member of the US government, you will talk almost completely in trite jingoistic cliches.

Ultimately, Traitor isn't at all what I went in expecting. That it even attempts to treat terrorism as a complex issue and that it goes to any length to suggest that, you know, maybe not all Muslims fit neatly into a box both go above and beyond what I've come to expect from a film like this. Despite that, the film still feels like it could have been a lot more interesting if they'd focused on those issues more instead. It was more than I expected, but a lot less than it could have been.

I basically agree with this review.

This is a more generous review.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Okay, but I don't want to pay for the war, either...

So, apparently, I lost or never created a new login for the updated Feministing site. Which means no leaving comments there for me for the time being.

Anyway, in the comments of their shout-out to This Is What Women Want, cheezwizard responds:

Universal childcare

This is one area where feel like I can sympathize with those “childfree” folks. Raise your own children, please, and I will raise mine (assuming I decide to have any, that is).

I'm going to sort of vent for a minute. To put it bluntly, I think that's a shortsighted and selfish perspective to have on something like childcare. We're a society. The key point to society is that it's social in nature. There are major benefits to being social creatures, and we reap those benefits all the time. This attitude of "Well, I don't have children so I shouldn't be responsible for contributing to your children's welfare" is almost offensive to me.

First of all, we all contribute to things that we don't gain immediate or direct benefit from. For that matter, we contribute to things that we don't even want to. People who don't drive contribute to roads they'll never even see. People who don't enjoy nature contribute to maintaining parks and rec areas. People who aren't sick contribute to the healthcare of those who are. People who've never had a fire in their house or who've never been the victim of a crime contribute to the expense of keeping a functioning fire and police department. The list goes on and on.

Second of all, we all benefit from these things, whether we directly use the service or not. You may not have a child in school, but you benefit from other people's children being in school. An educated population is important for progress and growth. As people get older and retire or die, you want the younger generations to be able to fill in the empty positions, and it's important that they be properly educated to do so. Ideally, you also want to see social and technological advancements- new and better treatments for sickness, cleaner energy sources, etc. Those things take an educated population.

As far as childcare goes, it's, again, in all of our interests to have accessible childcare. In an age of single parent or two working parent homes, childcare is a big deal. As it stands, childcare can quickly eat up a family's budget, particular with more than one child. At which point the family is forced to chose between job or childcare. Neither one is good for society at large- pushing people down into poverty because they can't afford to pay for childcare puts a drain on society and removes potentially good workers from positions where they contributed. Having children being poorly cared for or free to roam around and get into trouble because their parents can't afford proper childcare contributes to youth crime rates.

Nothing about the "I don't have kids so I shouldn't have to help with yours" is convincing, to me, and I think that it absolutely reeks of selfish entitlement most of the time.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

On violence and the media...

From an interview with Michael Henek:

Cineaste: Funny Games seems to be a contribution to the self-reflexive films about media and violence along the lines of Natural Born Killers or Man Bites Dog.

Haneke: My goal there was a kind of counterprogram to Natural Born Killers. In my view, Oliver Stone's film, and I use it only as example, is the attempt to use a fascist esthetic to achieve an antifascist goal, and this doesn't work. What is accomplished is something the opposite, since what is produced is something like a cult film where the montage style complements the violence represented and presents it largely in a positive light. It might be argued that Natural Born Killers makes the violent image alluring while allowing no space for the viewer. I feel this would be very difficult to argue about Funny Games. Benny's Video and Funny Games are different kinds of obscenity, in the sense that I intended a slap in the face and a provocation.

Full disclosure: I have not watched Funny Games (either version), but I have seen both Natural Born Killers and Man Bites Dog. In fact, when I was invited to present at symposium my last year of undergrad, it was for a paper I wrote about Man Bites Dog. Anyway...

I think that there's something to that criticism of NBK, and it was one of the same criticisms I had of MBD, too- for a film that seems to be suggesting that the media has at least some burden of the blame for excessive violence, these films glorify and entertain through the use of violence, too. Having not seen Funny Games yet, I can't say whether it falls into the same trap, but it's a problem I'm certainly interested in. I can't say how good the rest of that interview is- I stopped reading it because they go on to talk about a number of other films that I'm interested in seeing but haven't yet, and I didn't want them spoiled, so to speak.

I'm a big film fan, and I recognize that a lot of the films I like contain some pretty violent stuff. I'm a big horror fan (with the exception of slasher films- I hate most slasher flicks), which tends to involve some violence. But, one thing that I think is interesting is that I'm really fond of films that push me to places I don't usually go, or that create extremely strong reactions, or that force me to confront uncomfortable feelings or truths.

Take the film Hard Candy, for example. I'm a big BIG fan of Hard Candy. It's not a fun film, though. It's not the sort of thing that I think I'd sit down with a beer, a bowl of popcorn, and some friends and say "Hey, guys, let's throw in Hard Candy and get tipsy!" It's an extremely intense and horrifying film full of extremes. After watching it, I couldn't stop talking about it and discussing the premise of the film with the people around me. It was a film that was essentially a piece of wish fulfillment, but where, I think, many viewers found themselves placed in an uncomfortable position of almost feeling sorry for the antagonist of the film- while we might wish terrible things on people, when we're forced to see those terrible things taking place, the reality can make us profoundly uncomfortable.

Now, of course, this is manufactured. The film is designed in such a way on purpose. Would we feel as uncomfortable if the protagonist were someone else? Would we feel more comfortable if the action were presented in a different way? The ways that violence is used in a film can completely alter our perception of the film.

For me, violence in film can be many things. It can be entertaining, it can be gratuitous and exploitative, it can be interesting and informative, it can be educational, it can be an important tool for forcing the viewer to question something, etc. It all depends on the context.

I could (and still might) write at great length about this, but I'm interested to know how other people perceive violence in film- do you avoid violent films? Only certain types of violence? Do you think that films can use violence to teach a point or a raise important questions? Is it possible for a film to use violence to implicate the viewer (as Funny Games supposedly does), and if it does so, does it also implicate itself (as, I think, Man Bites Dog does)?

Monday, August 18, 2008

What Women Want...

Just a little shout-out to This Is What Women Want (not, thank gods, to be confused with this).

To kick off the project, they're hosting an event in Boston. Check out the CNW site for more details.

Or, read the press release below:

This Is What Women WantBoston kickoff!
Thursday, August 21 @ 7:00PM
Cambridge YMCA Theater, 820 Mass. Ave, Cambridge

For more info, call 617-876-5310 or visit our website

Tired of being talked about this election season? Done with being represented by skewed polls and stereotypes?

This Is What Women Want is your chance to cut through the spin and tell the media, the candidates and the world exactly what you want this election season.

We're embarking on a This Is What Women Want Tour of speakouts across the country, starting in Boston on Thursday, 8/21 and then taking place in each debate city the night before the debate. At each location, local and national media will sit up and listen to women - from the very famous to the not-yet-known. It could be your voice at that mic!

The Boston event will feature speakouts from Cynthia Enloe, Kety Esquivel, and numerous other national and community leaders, plus a wide-open mic and… you! Come tell us exactly what you want from the candidates, the media and the next President.

However you participate, we’ll be sending the best speakouts to the media and the candidates every week.

From sexism, racism, and other bias in the media’s coverage of the campaign, to immigration, war, poverty, health care, reproductive justice, sexual freedom, worker’s rights, violence, education, environmental concerns and more, this is an unprecedented chance to set the agenda for the country. Whether you’ve got a criticism of the status quo or a visionary idea that no one has yet considered, we want to hear from you.

Our goal is simple: to ensure that the real and varied concerns of women are a force to be reckoned with this election season.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Because I love nothing more than to argue during my lunch hour...

Over in a feministing thread about China and the little girl who sang versus the little girl who "looked cute" on tv, Jackal1994 (I know, it's a jackal! Is it a jackal?) threw up a comment that sie apparently tried to put up on a post that was eight pages back already. While I'm not sure why you'd bother responding to a post that's eight pages back, I ended up reading the comment. And now I'm going to talk about it. It's pretty long, but I've definitely seen some of the arugments pop up before, and I feel like responding. I do wish I had a "below the fold" option, though.

Oh well. Onward!

...A) Puckalish, I will accept that there is work-place discrimination against women. You had a possible(?) move to shift and meet somewhere in the middle, retreating from the 26% figure (albeit with outright attacks upon me for having the nerve to disagree and being able to articulately state my opinion). Is it wide-spread, systematic, and around 26%?
I highly doubt it. And I will tell you why. The business mantra is: money. Morality and ethics go out the window as we saw in the 70’s when Lee Iaccoca (then in ford top brass) along with others decided to NOT recall the pinto (prone to exploding when struck in the rear even at low speeds) because some pencil pushers figured out that the lawsuits from the dead and injured would cost less than a recall.

How does this apply to women’s pay discrimination? Well, didn’t Merril Lynch just pay $2million dollars for a discrimination lawsuit? Going by the business mantra (money) it’s plain lunacy to presume that all companies everywhere are discriminating against women.

This would open these companies up to such a huge liability that businesses would be going under left and right.

Annnd, time out!
Sie goes on some more about this. At length. But, I want to interject for a moment. See, the argument is essentially "Businesses want to make money. Discrimination opens them up to lawsuits. Lawsuits are expensive when you lose. They'd lose more money in a lawsuit than they gain by discriminating. Therefore, they don't discriminate." Which sort of seems like it makes sense if you just think about it casually. But, if we look at reality, we know that's not how it really works.

First of all, this argument assumes that the discrimination is both intentional and planned out. That is, that the people who are doing the hiring and determining pay are sitting there thinking "Oh, this is a man, therefore, we will pay him more. This is a woman, we will pay her less." Maybe I'm being dumb, but I just don't think that's what most people believe is happening, nor do I think it's how most wage discrimination is occuring. I think it happens, but I think that a more subtle discrimination is at work a lot of times. I think that men are given preference because they're seen as being go-getters, etc. The person doing the hiring or determining raises isn't thinking "that's a guy, so he deserves more" he's thinking "Oh, this guy has x, y, and z qualities, so he deserves more". It's just as bad, but it's not as simple as Jackal is describing, either.

Second of all, there's a cost benefit that you have to take into account. Discrimination cases are notoriously difficult to prove, so there's actually no reason to believe that businesses would be folding left and right if there was discrimination happening. Particularly when a lot of discrimination is happening under the guise of other factors- a woman doesn't get a position because there are concerns that she might take too much time off, for example. It's not as simple as "She's a woman, so we're not going to hire her.

Okay, Jackal, sorry about the interuption, please continue.

Now are there some industries companies that are still discriminating? I would presume so, but these industries would have to be A) dominated by jackasses, and B) have enough clout/money to figure they can do this and get away with it, or don’t care about a (potential) out-of-court settlement of thousands. There aren’t many companies with both of these things. Grocers are out (they make pennies on the dollar in profit), as are department stores, and a lot of other companies except maybe things like IT, Pharmacueticals, stock brokerage houses MAY have a culture conducive to discrimination and the means to pay lawsuits without blinking.

As you can, we're still functioning under the misapprehension that discrimination is always very blatant and easily proven. Given that only the most blatant and offensive examples of discrimination ever make it to trial, I just don't think we can assume that only the most jackassed and wealthy of businesses can "afford" to discriminate.

While some women may have pay disparity (even after variables) of 20% or 30% I would be surprised if even companies in this group with possible discrimination cultures routinely discriminate (as an aggregate total to all female employees) more than 8%. Why? The business mantra: money. The liability is just too great. Each discriminated-against woman may be saving the company $800 per year. That’s worth a potential liability of hundreds of thousands? No. Businesses may be unethical and cruel, but they love money.

Okay, now I'm not a math major, but I'm pretty sure that math is flawed. Let's take a mid-level analyst at my last job. You're looking at a position that's worth about 60k a year. Now, let's assume that a woman in the same position is making 8% less than her male colleage. 8% of 60k is 4,800. So, she's making 55,200 to his 60k. That's a savings of 4,800, not 800. Over time, that can add up, but that's not the point, anyway. Again, I just don't think that discrimination is about saving money. I don't think that a manager is thinking "if I pay her less than a guy, I can save some scratch!"

While businesses are primarily concerned with making money, they're also run by people, and people have biases. The business is about making money, but all it takes is one manager who is doing hiring or determining pay who is sexist, and you've now introduced bias into the equation. And it may be subtle- honestly, 55,200 to 60k? Not a huge difference. Is it enough to raise eyebrows or stand up in court? Or is it possibly something that might be chaulked up to differences in negotiation skills or different quality reviews?

I'm going to pass over the B point because: 1. I'm not familiar enough with the conversation to respond yet. 2. I think that some of the premises of the B section are really suspect.

C) Petpluto (I believe) mentioned that feminists are fighting against the types of oppression that men face in the “provider” role model. I will give a couple of examples of why I (anyway) don’t believe this to be true.

Let’s look at divorce.

In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s divorce was unheard of. I think this is because marriage was more an act for survival instead of fulfillment.
By the 1960’s technology in leisure devices and increased standard of living (thanks in large part to Unions—I believe) meant men and women sought fulfillment instead of survival. During the 70’s no-fault divorce swept the land and was passed as law in 49 states. The leading argument was that women shouldn’t have to be in stagnant unfulfilling marriages, or violent ones either.

As I wasn't particularly aware of politics when no-fault divorce laws were being drafted, I can't say whether the "leading argument" he's claiming was actually such, but even if it was, I think it's worth noting that men shouldn't and don't have to stay in bad relationships, either. Carry on...

The argument also was that this enabled women to break from the accepted and safe “housewife” role.
Now, here is my point. A huge tsunami of divorce enabled women to “shatter” their gender roles. But what did divorce do to men? Why were so many women unfulfilled with their husbands in the first place?

In what way did divorce allow women to shatter gender roles? What does that even mean in the context of the conversation?

I put forward this supposition (and try not to think about men, but how YOU WOULD FEEL working 8-10hrs a day with a newborn or toddler at home). When a man (or anybody) has to work long hours and miss his/her baby’s first crawl, first words, first steps, first day at school that person has to accept that he/she is doing something necessary for the family (providing an income) but must disconnect himself/herself from their emotions or be swept up in sadness.

To which I want to point out that someone working as a stay-at-home parent is making just as many sacrifices as someone who goes to work. How would you feel, Jackal, if you busted your ass keeping up a home and caring for a child for 12-18 hours a day? If you had to work long hours taking care of a family and home missing out on getting out of the house, of being involved in a carreer you love, of being intellectually challanged at school or work, etc. How would you feel if you lived your life depending on someone else to bring home all of the money so that you didn't lose your house and so you could put food in the belly of your baby?

Being part of a family is hard, and I have no doubt that if one parent is working full time while the other cares for the child that there's some frustration about missing out on some aspects of the child's growth, but this one-sided representation of what family life is like- that it's all the "breadwinner" giving up and sacrificing and turning off emotions lest sie be "sept up in sadness"? It's bullshit. Both parties are making sacrifices and giving things up, and have reasons to be happy and sad for their respective roles.

...So greater freedom in roles for women meant an INTENSIFYING and STRICTER gender roles for men! So, freeing gender roles for women is NOT “fighting for men too.” In most cases it makes things worse for men. Women are NOT fighting to enter into:
Logging, mining, commercial fishing, roofing, sewage, or construction. How do I know? Because I haven’t heard about one single sex discrimination lawsuit in those fields (and I read the paper & internet news all the time).

And clearly, because Jackal hasn't heard of a single sex discrimination case in those fields, women must not be getting into them. I mean, sure, it only took me ten seconds of online searching to find articles about women having a hard time getting into construction work, or about how more women are trying to get into the field. In 1993 about 600,000 women were in construction. By 1999, that number had grown to almost 900,000. That's still only a fraction of the industry, but it's growth.

And, honestly, most men don't particularly want those jobs, either. Some do, for sure, but they're not the sort of jobs that most men dream about doing.

So women are using their greater gender role freedom to fight to become: doctors, lawyers, pilots, IT professionals, CEO’s, judges, etc… NOT the death professions.

And this is surprising... because?
Is it weird that people tend not to be attracted to jobs that are highly dangerous but, instead, to safe jobs that carry social respect and high wages?

With more men unable to acquire these white collar jobs, and fewer men attaining an education that means more men will turn to the death professions for employment. This means more workers chasing fewer jobs = wage reduction.

First of all, this pretends that every time a woman gets a white colar job, some guy is forced to turn to a death profession for work. That's just not true. If we're going to pretend that there is exactly a set number of jobs and that every time a woman goes into a job that would have otherwise gone to a man, he necessarily must take some other job, why are we assuming that he's going to turn to highly dangerous "death" work? What, exactly, is stopping him from getting into whatever job that woman would otherwise have had? If she would have been a nurse but is now a doctor, why isn't he going for the nursing position? Why are we tossing him onto a fishing boat?

Second of all, the claim that "fewer men" are attaining an education is patently untrue. In fact, men and women are both going to higher education in higher rates than ever before- women are attending in higher numbers than men, but it's not at a loss to men. That would be like my handing Jackal five dollars and some other person ten dollars only to have Jackal claim that he was somehow losing money. You still gained, you just didn't gain as much as the other person.

So you see when feminists “fight” for ONLY **FEMALE** role expansion it doesn’t help men at all, in fact it puts men from the frying pan into the burner!

Again, to go back to my earlier point, it does this only if men refuse to free ourselves from gendered thinking. If we refuse to see how women breaking out of their traditional gender roles creates opportunities for us to break out of ours, then, yeah, it can mean problems. If you think that your only options are and should be typically "male" fields, you're going to find competition increasing. Feminists are primarily concerned with the jobs that women have because women are currently underrepresented and making less money, but their work is definitely opening doors for men- men can now be a stay-at-home parent without getting as much flack or as many raised eyebrows. Men can work in jobs that have typically been women's jobs but that some men might find fulfilling or interesting- working in fashion, hair, nursing, education, etc.

When is the last time you have seen a feminist leader or webpage moderator talk about the most unconstitutional anti-male law ever made: selective service.

If an 18y/o man doesn’t sign up for selective service he can be imprisoned for up to 7 years.

Why? Because he was too sensitive to kill. This forced (upon pain of prison) societal coercion of men into the male role of killer IS NOT AND NEVER WILL be addressed by feminists.

Why? Because if you’re going to make the argument that men are your class enemy (and oppressor), you can’t admit that women are also oppressing men.

Again, bullshit.
1. Selective Service isn't "women also oppressing men" at all. Women didn't start or create the draft, nor did they decide that women should be excluded. That would be, wait for it... other men who did that. Look at Rostker v. Goldberg for more information, but essentially, the thing that prevents women from being drafted is the fact that the draft's purpose is to get combat troops. Since women aren't allowed to be a part of many combat roles, they can't be drafted. The whole point of a draft is to get combat ready troops quickly. If women aren't allowed in combat positions, what would be the point of drafting them?
2. Feminists do talk about the draft. They have for decades, in fact. The general consensus seems to be "the draft sucks, and nobody should be drafted" from what I've seen. And, as you can see, NOW went to far as to say "If there has to be draft, men and women should face it as equals". Which is to say, if you're going to claim that feminists don't oppose the draft, you should do the ten seconds of research it took to find that information out. Also, if you're a guy, and you feel strongly about the draft being a problem, there's nothing stopping you from trying to get it abolished, and asking for feminists to back you up/give your movement support.
3. A person who is too sensitive to kill won't be thrown in jail- they can register as a Conscientious Objector, and placed in a non-combat position.

Wait... you mean belching *detracts* from your "hot" factor?

Oh, wait, no.
It only matters if you're a woman, I forgot.

I know I shouldn't be surprised about an article like this. I mean, it's on What can you really expect there?

And there's so much obviously wrong with the article. I mean, really?
It would be one thing if these female Shreks were cut from the same cloth as Roseanne Barr or Rosie O'Donnell. But the trouble is they're all smoking hot. It's their job to primp and preen and push stuff up to look sexy—what's the point of putting in all that effort if you're only going to undermine the whole operation with gruesome behavior?


Weirdly enough, I think that some of us have come to the bizarre conclusion- and bear with me, because I know that this is really advanced thinking here- that women have roles, desires, and purposes that extend beyond and sometimes don't even include "being hot for men".

Woooaah. Hold on, I think I'm getting dizzy. It's such radical thought, my mind might be blown.

I'm just tired of seeing the same old "women's purpose in life is get all hotified for men. Unless you're fat or ugly. Then it's okay for you to be vulgar."

And it's such a blatant double-standard. It's cool for men to be vulgar and obnoxious because it's funny. But women? No, no, no. They've got to be prim and proper and sexed up.

I have to say, I'm also tired of total dolts like this guy being seen as the voice of Manhood. I know that I'm not the only one who feels this way, either. How many times do we need some idiot half-brain telling us what we should and shouldn't find hot? How many times do we need some magazine puppet telling us that we should only find women like Model X attractive, and that women like Model Y? Well, there's clearly something wrong with you if you find that hot.

If you think that you're ever going to find a partner who never burps or farts, I think you're really in for a rude awakening at some point. But thanks, John, for reminding me (as if I needed it) some of the things I really dislike about typical "men's" magazines.

The only really good thing about the page is the comments section. As of right now, there are 17 comments, and it looks like most of them are actually calling the guy on his stupid article. Maybe there's some hope.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

I'm not really a sports fan...

But I was really hoping this match would go the other way.

Because, like... this?

Not so much awesome.

Maybe I'm just weird, but I learned that particular gesture wasn't very nice when I was, like, five.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Mirror's Edge...

via: Twenty Sided

My total interest in E3 this year was... well, not very high. I asked my friend who works in the industry about it, so I guess I had some interest, but his "Meh" was enough to make me think that I probably didn't miss much. I mean, really, it's not like that much happens at E3 anymore, anyway. Most of the things they show there have already been making buzz on the magical intertubes for months, at least, by the time E3 arrives.

But, Mirror's Edge almost makes me wish I'd paid more attention to E3 coverage. Almost.

Mirror's Edge sounds pretty interesting, and I've been enjoying the information coming out, for the most part. First person game that looks like it's going to break away from some of the more traditional aspects of the genre and put emphasis on exploration and movement instead of on weapon collection and shooting stuff? Interesting. Level design that requires the player to think vertically as well as horizontally when planning movement? I am intrigued. Sci-fi story that involves a dystopian future disguised beneath a highly polished finish? Fascinating. All those little touches like the head movement while you run, the ability to see your own feet in a first person game, the sounds of your breathing and grunts as you exert yourself, the shouldering open doors as you run into them? *insert synonym for "interesting"*

I could go on and on about how great some aspects look. Okay, maybe I will just a minute longer. I *love* the look of the city as presented in the videos. My impression is that the game takes place at some point in the relatively near future. There's something about the city design that gives the impression of "future" without going full-on Blade Runner or 5th Element on us. No flying cars or anything like that. Just a highly polished cityscape (beneath which, apparently, hides DYSTOPIA! OMGS!). I'm a total sucker for the whole "things are not as clean and orderly as they seem" sorts of sci-fi stories.

So, yeah, color me interested. There's a lot there to be intrigued by. Watching the character discard weapons as soon as a fight is over? What kind of first person game does that?! And I don't see any onscreen info about the character, either- no health bar, no inventory, etc.

I even mostly like the main character- Faith. The eye tattoo is a little... whatever. I mean, it just feels like, at this point, creating a character with a tattoo or mark over their eye is ridiculously cliche', but I can overlook that, I guess. Other than the mark on her eye, she seems like a decent design- she seems to be fairly appropriately dressed for what she's doing. She's looks athletic, and is wearing exactly the sort of outfit I see messengers running around in. So, kudos to that? She's doesn't really seem to be hypersexualized that I noticed, which is also good. The only area that bugs a little bit is that she's sort of the Asian martial arts master cliche'. Obviously, we'll know more about that as the release approaches- November, I think?

Anyway, check it out, let me know what you think. Between this, Spore, Rock Band, and Left For Dead, EA is really turning things around. When did EA start caring about making good games again?