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[links] Link salad's instruction of its kinswoman is interrupted - Lakeshore
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Jay Lake
Date: 2012-12-08 06:51
Subject: [links] Link salad's instruction of its kinswoman is interrupted
Security: Public
Tags:cancer, christianists, climate, culture, gay, gender, guns, health, healthcare, links, nature, personal, politics, process, religion, sports, weird, writing
Historically Authentic Sexism in Fantasy. Let’s Unpack That.

Study debunks ‘chemo brain’ — Any researcher who thinks chemo brain is a myth should try my drug regimen over the past four years. I realize full well that anecdote is not data, but this isn't just stress-induced fatigue, you morons.

Appeals court puts 1st Amendment over public healthAn appellate panel clears a man who pitched a drug for an unapproved use for it, saying he had a free-speech right to promote other uses. It's a blow to the FDA. This story isn't quite as cut-and-dried as the reporter makes it out to be, given the complex realities of off-schedule uses for FDA approved drugs. For example, a major drug which is also important in treating a rare illness may never go through the formal approvals for that use due to purely economic reasons. How else do the doctors and patients know, except for off-schedule discussions? I myself am taking or have taken several drugs for off-schedule purposes as part of my cancer regimen. (Via [info]danjite.)

Sea silk — From the department of textiles you've probably never heard of. (Via Daily Idioms, Annotated.)

Yo-Yo Ma and a wombat meet on a bathroom floor. Seriously — (Via @deirdresm.)

Why I won’t be cheering for old Notre Dame — Athletic privilege much? If Penn State and Joe Paterno taught us anything, it's that big time college sports is a toxic mess of power and money that will go to any lengths to protect itself, punishing any victims whose testimony might threaten the image of coaches and players. At this point in my life, I'm damned proud of never having been a sports fan. And yes, to all you fans, I know: this is an isolated incident, just like all those other isolated incidents. Wave your flags and cheer for the big boys.

Supremes’ ruling on gay marriage important, not critical — W should hope. Given that the Right wing of the Supreme Court has shamefully demonstrated over and over again since Bush v. Gore that their loyalty is to narrow ideology rather than to Constitution or the national interest or even the plain old fashioned rule of law (exactly what conservatives like to denounce "activist judges" when they happen to disagree with the outcomes), the only real shield we have to pure, vile bigotry from the conservative-dominated Roberts court is the apparently dim but dawning awareness on the part of the Chief Justice that he really does have a legacy by which history will judge him that goes beyond the GOP's next election results.

Dick Armey, Jerry Falwell, and the for-profit crisis-lords of the GOPIt isn’t just the Conservative entertainment complex that is driving the GOP to ever more ridiculous and preposterous positions, the Conservative scam-PACs are demanding the same. They don’t want an agreement on extending the tax cuts or raising the debt ceiling because it really isn’t about policy at all. To get eyeballs glued to the screen, and to liberate cash from wallets, Fox News and the GOP PACs need a continuous state of political crisis. Yes, that justly famed principled consistency of modern conservatism, hard at work in in America's interests as always.

Rick Warren Admits What Poll Shows: Churches Have Responsibility For Anti-Gay Hate — Gee. Ya think? And you will know that they are Christians by their love. Got to keep generating those angry white men somehow. Christianist Bible-based hatred keeps the collection plate full and the rubes voting Republican. (Via Slacktivist Fred Clark.)

Trouble in the Water: Acidifying Oceans Hinder Health of Northwest Shellfish — More of those liberal "facts" and "data" from the reality-based community that contradict cherished conservative beliefs, and therefore can be safely ignored. Unless it's your business that's losing money, of course, or your fish market that can't stock oysters. Reality doesn't care what Rush Limbaugh or the Heritage Foundation says. Look, Obamacare!!!

The Seductive Dream Of Standing Your Ground — Ta-Nehisi Coates on the impulse to violence. Not my life experience in the slightest, but still fascinating.

?otD: Have you seen the king?

Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 8.5 hours (solid)
Body movement: 0.5 hours stationary bike ride
Weight: 216.0
Number of FEMA troops on my block dissolving traditional marriages and plastering OBAMA bumperstickers on SUVs: 0
Currently reading: The Hydrogen Sonata by Iain M. Banks

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User: lil_shepherd
Date: 2012-12-08 15:33 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
The comments on the Notre Dame article are quite horrific.
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User: jordan179
Date: 2012-12-08 19:47 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Historically Authentic Sexism in Fantasy. Let’s Unpack That.

Yes, but for real: pretty much every pre-industrial civilization was far more sexist than our own. For that matter, pretty much eveyr other civilization existing today is more sexist than is the modern West. That's reality: the reasons why are interesting and debatable. (I care about them because I believe very strongly in the morality of sexual equality, so the institutional and environmental limitations on such in pre-industrial societies is very important to me).

The author chose Republican Rome as his example because Republican Rome was probably the least sexist major pre-industrial Power (and this probably helped it vs. other pre-industrial Powers). And yet Republican Rome was very sexist by our standards. And it couldn't have been much more sexually egalitarian, given the technological limitations on Roman industry, medicine and warfare.
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Swan Tower: Maleficent
User: swan_tower
Date: 2012-12-09 00:15 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
First of all, if you're going to discuss sexism, you might pause to notice that the author of the article you're responding to is a woman, not a man.

Secondly, your reply misses the point of the article. Roberts could have talked about a society other than Republican Rome and still made the same argument, which is that using "history was like that" as a justification for sexist fantasy is not really a justification at all.

First off, you're writing fantasy -- usually secondary-world fantasy -- which means that you're making a choice to replicate those issues instead of altering them, and that's a thing a writer can and should be held accountable for. Second, even in a sexist society (our own included), women's lives are worth paying attention to. You just have to let go of the assumption that the things men did -- which are the things they wrote about, which are the things that are most easily remembered today -- were automatically the most important and interesting things going on. Women engaged in political action, even if they weren't in the Senate (or other governing body, if we're talking about a society other than Republican Rome). Women influenced the world around them, even if they had to resort to less obvious means for doing it. And yet lots of fantasy treats its female characters as irrelevant to the bigger picture -- which not only is irritating, but betrays a shallow understanding of how historical societies really worked. That, not a defense of history as "not sexist," is the argument Roberts is making.
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Lethran: Books
User: gwyd
Date: 2012-12-09 08:12 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
As someone who originally trained as a social historian of the Medieval Period, I have some things to add in support of the main point. Most people dramatically underestimate the economic importance of Medieval women and their level of agency. Part of the problem here is when modern people think of medieval people they are imagining the upper end of the nobility and not the rest of society.

Your average low end farming family could not survive without women's labour. Yes, there was gender separation of labour. Yes, the men did the bulk of the grain farming, outside of peak times like planting and harvest, but unless you were very well off, you generally didn't live on that. The women had primary responsibility for the chickens, ducks, or geese the family owned, and thus the eggs, feathers, and meat. (Egg money is nothing to sneeze at and was often the main source of protein unless you were very well off). They grew vegetables, and if she was lucky she might sell the excess. Her hands were always busy, and not just with the tasks you expect like cooking, mending, child care, etc.. As she walked, as she rested, as she went about her day, if her hands would have otherwise been free, she was spinning thread with a hand distaff. (You can see them tucked in the belts of peasant women in art of the era). Unless her husband was a weaver, most of that thread was for sale to the folks making clothe as men didn't spin. Depending where she lived and the ages of her children, she might have primary responsibility for the families sheep and thus takes part in sheering and carding. (Sheep were important and there are plenty of court cases of women stealing loose wool or even shearing other people's sheep.) She might gather firewood, nuts, fruit, or rushes, again depending on geography. She might own and harvest fruit trees and thus make things out of that fruit. She might keep bees and sell honey. She might make and sell cheese if they had cows, sheep, or goats. Just as her husband might have part time work as a carpenter or other skilled craft when the fields didn't need him, she might do piece work for a craftsman or be a brewer of ale, cider, or perry (depending on geography). Ale doesn't keep so women in a village took it in turn to brew batches, the water not being potable on it's own, so everyone needed some form of alcohol they could water down to drink. The women's labour and the money she bought in kept the family alive between the pay outs for the men as well as being utterly essential on a day to day survival level.

Something similar goes on in towns and cities. The husband might be a craftsman or merchant, but trust me, so is his wife and she has the right to carry on the trade after his death.

Also, unless there was a lot of money, goods, lands, and/or titles involved, people generally got a say in who they married. No really. Keep in mind that the average age of first marriage for a yeoman was late teens or early twenties (depending when and where), but the average age of first marriage for the working poor was more like 27-29. The average age of death for men in both those categories was 35. with women, if you survived your first few child births you might live to see grandchildren.

Do the math there. Odds are if your father was a small farmer, he's been dead for some time before you gather enough goods to be marrying a man. For sure your mother (and grandmother and/or step father if you have them) likely has opinions, but you can have a valid marriage by having sex after saying yes to a proposal or exchanging vows in the present (I thee wed), unless you live in Italy, where you likely need a notary. You do not need clergy as church weddings don't exist until the Reformation. For sure, it's better if you publish banns three Sundays running in case someone remembers you are too closely related, but it's not a legal requirement. Who exactly can stop you if you are both determined?
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Lethran: Books
User: gwyd
Date: 2012-12-09 08:13 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
So the less money, goods, lands, and power your family has, the more likely you are to be choosing your partner. There is an exception in that unfree folk can be required to remarry, but they are give time and plenty of warning before a partner would be picked for them. It happened a lot less than you'd think. If you were born free and had enough money to hire help as needed whether for farm or shop or other business, there was no requirement of remarriage at all. You could pick a partner or choose to stay single. Do the math again on death rates. It's pretty common to marry more than once. Maybe the first wife died in childbirth. The widower needs the work and income a wife brings in and that's double if the baby survives. Maybe the second wife has wide hips, but he dies from a work related injury when she's still young. She could sure use a man's labour around the farm or shop. Let's say he dies in a fight or drowns in a ditch. She's been doing well. Her children are old enough to help with the farm or shop, she picks a pretty youth for his looks instead of his economic value. You get marriages for love and lust as well as economics just like you get now and May/December cuts both ways.

A lot of our ideas about how people lived in the past tends to get viewed through a Victorian or early Hollywood lens, but that tends to be particularly extreme as far was writing out women's agency and contribution as well as white washing populations in our histories, films, and therefore our minds eyes.

Real life is more complicated than that.

BTW, there are plenty of women at the top end of the scale who showed plenty of agency and who wielded political and economic power. I've seen people argue that the were exceptions, but I think they were part of a whole society that had a tradition of strong women living on just as they always had sermons and homilies admonishing them to be otherwise to the contrary. There's also a whole other thing going on with the Pope trying to centralized power from the thirteenth century on being vigorously resisted by powerful abbesses and other holy women. Yes, they eventually mostly lost, but it took so many centuries because there were such strong traditions of those women having political power.

I am not arguing for some mythical golden age of women, as it didn't exist. I'm just pointing out that Victorian historiography dramatically skewed how we view what is hist
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User: jordan179
Date: 2012-12-08 19:49 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Why is it more moral to pay someone else to stand your ground for you than to do it oneself? Keep in mind that you, I, and Ta-Nehesi Coates only have the luxury of fleeing because the existence of a rule of law -- maintained by armed and uniformed persons willing to shoot to kill if necessary -- means that in most cases the perps don't dare to pursue us too long or too far. And even given that, sometimes you're under deadly threat and there's no cop around.
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January 2014
2012 appearances