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The Horizon of Desire

The first thing you need to understand about consent is that consent is not, strictly speaking, a thing. Not in the same way that teleportation isn’t a thing. Consent is not a thing because it is not an item, nor a possession. Consent is not an object you can hold in your hand. It is not a gift that can be given and then rudely requisitioned. Consent is a state of being. Giving someone your consent — sexually, politically, socially — is a little like giving them your attention. It’s a continuous process. It’s an interaction between two human creatures. I believe that a great many men and boys don’t understand this. I believe that lack of understanding is causing unspeakable trauma for women, men, and everyone else who is sick of how much human sexuality still hurts.We need to talk about what consent really means, and why it matters more, not less, at a time when women’s fundamental rights to bodily autonomy are under attack across the planet, and the Hog-Emperor of Rape Culture is squatting in the White House making your neighborhood pervert look placid. We still get consent all wrong, and we have to try to get it a bit less wrong, for all our sakes.To explain all this, I’m going to have to tell you some stories. They’re true stories, and some of them are rude stories, and I’m telling you now because the rest of this ride might get uncomfortable and I want you to have something to look forward to.

Source: The Horizon of Desire

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Posted by on October 19, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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‘Me Too’ Just Gave Society a Conscience

Cognitive dissonance is a hell of a drug. It smothers the senses of societies that claim to despise sexual predators and yet keep giving them awards and electing them to office. Right now, all over the world, in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein accusations, women and girls are coming together in stunning numbers to finally name the men who have been hurting and humiliating them for so long. Resistance to rape culture is going viral. And polite society is expressing a certain amount of skepticism.

Can this really have been happening to so many women and girls? If so, why didn’t they speak out before? Aren’t we all overreacting here? We know there are men like Weinstein, but he’s an outlier, a rare breed of human monster — surely! Of course, we’ve all heard rumors. We all know an old-fashioned guy who gets handsy after a few drinks. But surely, we think, he can’t be an abuser. He’s a colleague, a family member, a friend. Can it really be true?

http://time.com/4987390/me-too-shows-pervasive-sexual-abuse/

 
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Posted by on October 19, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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How economics became a religion

Although England has an established church, few of us today pay it much mind. We follow an even more powerful religion, around which we have oriented our lives: economics. Think about it. Economics offers a comprehensive doctrine with a moral code promising adherents salvation in this world; an ideology so compelling that the faithful remake whole societies to conform to its demands. It has its gnostics, mystics and magicians who conjure money out of thin air, using spells such as “derivative” or “structured investment vehicle”. And, like the old religions it has displaced, it has its prophets, reformists, moralists and above all, its high priests who uphold orthodoxy in the face of heresy.

Source: How economics became a religion | John Rapley | News | The Guardian

 
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Posted by on October 19, 2017 in Economy

 

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Myanmar: Marketing a Massacre

Two years ago, in a village just north of the town of Sittwe in western Myanmar, I met a young man who spoke of a friendship with a Muslim boy that was no longer. Over several days in June 2012, that village and others nearby in Rakhine State had served as a wellspring for mobs of Buddhists who, armed with sticks, machetes, and cans of gasoline, laid waste to a predominantly Muslim neighborhood in the center of Sittwe.The young man, in his mid-twenties when we met, had been away when the attack happened. But he knew many of his neighbors had boarded the buses that shuttled the mobs into Sittwe, where they razed Muslim homes and sent thousands of Rohingya Muslims fleeing to displacement camps, and he sympathized with their decision to do so. His onetime friend had long since stopped coming to the village, and he had no wish to rekindle the relationship. I asked why.“His blood is different,” he said of the Rohingya boy, who used to sell rice at the local market, and who would on occasion stay over at the man’s house. “I don’t think he is a bad person, but even though he’s not bad, his ethnicity is bad. The group is bad.”

Source: Myanmar: Marketing a Massacre | by Francis Wade | NYR Daily | The New York Review of Books

 
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Posted by on October 19, 2017 in Asia

 

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Meet Erica, the world’s most human-like autonomous android – video 

With his robot Erica, Hiroshi Ishiguro, the so-called bad boy of Japanese robotics, aims to redefine what it means to be human

Source: Meet Erica, the world’s most human-like autonomous android – video | Technology | The Guardian

 
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Posted by on October 19, 2017 in Asia

 

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Dear White People: Be More Like Gregg Popovich

How white Americans view their country — and their president — appears to be almost split down the middle. In a recent Gallup poll, 49 percent of white Americans said they do not approve of President Donald Trump’s job performance. Anecdotally, the number sounds high, and I suspect it’s because far too many white Americans have a passive, almost silent disapproval of Trump. They might disapprove, but they aren’t saying so out loud; they simply don’t use their voices, their influence, or their privilege to call Trump out the way he truly deserves.Enter Gregg Popovich, head coach of the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs.At a time when black athletes and even black sports reporters are being targeted by Trump, Popovich has spent much of the past year stepping outside of his normally reserved role to use his white privilege in ways perhaps no white man in sports ever has.

Source: Dear White People: Be More Like Gregg Popovich

 
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Posted by on October 19, 2017 in North America

 

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Hurricane Maria and Puerto Rico’s Neo-Colonial Legacy

The view southward from the Asomante hills outside the Puerto Rican town of Aibonito is spectacular, reaching all the way to the Caribbean coast. A pretty little town situated in the island’s southeastern Cayey mountain range, Aibonito has the highest altitude in Puerto Rico—twenty-four hundred feet. It’s known for its cool climate, its bucolic scenery, its flowers, and its chicken farms.In the small valleys around the town, many of the long, low, tin-roofed chicken breederies—polleros—were smashed to smithereens, and their occupants killed, during Hurricane Maria. In the middle of last week, when I visited, the dead chickens had been buried, but there was still wreckage strewn around the blasted polleros. The eye of the storm came right through these hills on September 20th and was especially fierce along the exposed ridgelines. The winds, whipping in at a hundred and fifty-five miles an hour, ripped apart wooden houses; they also turned most of the leaves on the trees in the surrounding forests from green to brown. Along the road leading up to Aibonito from the capital city of San Juan, which is a two-hour drive, there is—as everywhere else on the island—a dismal panorama of ruined houses and businesses, toppled and twisted trees, and downed utility poles.

Source: Hurricane Maria and Puerto Rico’s Neo-Colonial Legacy | The New Yorker

 
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Posted by on October 19, 2017 in North America

 

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I trucchi psicologici che ci imprigionano in rete

“Le nostre menti possono essere sequestrate, dicono i tecnologi che temono una distopia da telefonini”, recita il titolo del Guardian.È un’affermazione piuttosto forte. Ed è un’affermazione a effetto. Decido di prenderla con le pinze per due motivi: il primo è che l’articolo parla di internet e di social network (il posto d’elezione per le frasi a effetto), e potrebbe, ehm, a sua volta risentire dello stile corrente in rete.Il secondo motivo è strettamente anagrafico: avendo cominciato a lavorare con la comunicazione nei primi anni settanta, mi sono trovata in piena bufera da Persuasori occulti.

Source: I trucchi psicologici che ci imprigionano in rete – Annamaria Testa – Internazionale

 
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Posted by on October 19, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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How our smartphones stop us from living in the moment

As a teacher who has long witnessed and worried about the impacts of technology in the classroom, I constantly struggle to devise effective classroom policies for smartphones. I used to make students sing or dance if their phones interrupted class, and although this led to some memorable moments, it also turned inappropriate tech use into a joke. Given the myriad deleterious effects of phones – addiction, decline of face-to-face socialisation, deskilling, and endless distraction, for starters – I want students to think carefully about their phone habits, rather than to mindlessly follow (or not follow) a rule.

https://aeon.co/amp/ideas/how-our-smartphones-stop-us-from-living-in-the-moment

 
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Posted by on October 18, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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End all immigration controls – they’re a sign we value money more than people

When I was a teenager I went to West Berlin with my local youth orchestra to take part in an Anglo-German cultural exchange. It was 1983 and the wall was up. As we toured the city over 10 days, we would keep butting into this grotesque cold war installation blocking our way, and butting up against my 14-year-old’s defence of socialism.At that age I reflexively rejected most dominant narratives about race, class and nation. During a period of sus laws and anti-union legislation, I already understood there had to be another version of freedom out there that included me, and I was busy piecing together the fragments of my own worldview. And yet no amount of rationalisation could shake my conclusion that people whom I disagreed with about pretty much everything else were right about the wall.Clearly, built with the deliberate intention to trap people in a place they might not want to be, the wall was heinous – not just a bad idea, but morally wrong. As such, it was the most obscene symbol of the broader case against the eastern bloc. The fact their governments would not allow residents to travel to the west was prima facie evidence of their lack of freedom: they were understood to be like open prisons.Not long after the wall came down, this entire logic went into reverse. As country after country shed its Stalinist overlords and went into free-market freefall, the case for their peoples’ right to leave was eclipsed by the fear that they might actually come. In the west their “freedom” was welcomed; their presence was not. While they were demolishing the wall, we were building a fortress. Politics kept them in. For more than a decade, before they gained admission to the European Union, economics would keep them out.

Source: End all immigration controls – they’re a sign we value money more than people | Gary Younge | Opinion | The Guardian

 
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Posted by on October 18, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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