aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Obama McClurkin round-up
Obama’s got a big ex-gay problem. Says he:
I have clearly stated my belief that gays and lesbians are our brothers and sisters and should be provided the respect, dignity, and rights of all other citizens. I have consistently spoken directly to African-American religious leaders about the need to overcome the homophobia that persists in some parts of our community so that we can confront issues like HIV/AIDS and broaden the reach of equal rights in this country.
I strongly believe that African Americans and the LGBT community must stand together in the fight for equal rights. And so I strongly disagree with Reverend McClurkin’s views and will continue to fight for these rights as President of the United States to ensure that America is a country that spreads tolerance instead of division.
Holly’s got every link you could want:
Does Barack Obama want to portray himself as either P.C. or consistent? He appears to have got himself into a situation where he’s damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t.
Let this be a lesson to campaign staffers everywhere: Google is your friend. Before lining up guests to be associated with a campaign, check to see if they’re crazy.
Post Script: Ideally, McClurkin would just do the honorable thing, do Obama a favor, and step aside. If the campaign could push him in that direction, it’d be a good idea.
Let’s let teachers teach and children learn
Two distressing stories caught my attention this morning. One is an AP story from Texas about a teacher who has been placed on leave and is facing possible criminal charges because of a book from a reading list. The book, Child of God, is by Cormac McCarthy and involves a killer who rapes his victims after death. The teacher could be charged with distributing harmful material to a minor. (Because the content of that book is obviously much worse than what you see on tv crime procedurals every day.)
The local story involves East Coweta High School, just outside Atlanta, where the school paper was impounded after two articles ran. The first is satire and titled “Another Modest Proposal”. It’s a spin-off of the original modest proposal except this time instead of eating children, it advocates outlawing charity and getting rid of the portion of the population with the lowest IQ. It’s funny and well-reasoned and the kid does a good job of trying not to sound like a kid.
The second seems to me to be anything but controversial. It’s a scathing critique of an upcoming school pageant which grades girls solely on beauty. No talent competition. No current affairs questions. Just who’s prettiest. And this is a school competition. The author points out all the negative effects of this kind of pageant and that it has no redemptive value.
I have to say, I’m tired of teachers getting in trouble for teaching and students getting in trouble for learning. Makes home school sound tempting, eh?
As it happens I have a liberal colleague here who’s homeschooling for that very reason.
Praise for paper. Still.
I still love that line I’d quoted from Malcolm Gladwell’s The Social Life of Paper. Wraps the central point up with a bow:It is only if paper’s usefulness is in the information written directly on it that it must be stored. If its usefulness lies in the promotion of ongoing creative thinking, then, once that thinking is finished, the paper becomes superfluous. The solution to our paper problem, they write, is not to use less paper but to keep less paper. Why bother filing at all?
And ain’t that really the heart of the matter?
When we rely on a paper document as the final, unique destination for information, we create physical and cognitive limitations that seem crazy once you’ve spent a chunk of your life living on Google. No one disputes that.
But as an intermediary medium between thinking and a final draft, I still just love what you can do with a stack of index cards and a little spare time.
No content types. No taxonomy. No typefaces. Just you and your ideas — in a bunch of little piles that make sense to you.
Chris Bliss Diss
If you think he’s a good juggler, you are wrong. I taped a 5 ball version because...well because my friend Penn asked me to. It is a parody and nothing more.
That’s Jason Garfield and, uh, it sounds more like a rant to me. This whole ruckus was apparently going on in May of 2006. I missed it then (a student brought me up to speed) so here’s the Chris Bliss diss video:
I’m OK that Dumbledore’s gay
Rebecca Traister is among those who wish J.K. Rowling would shut up:
I am a devoted reader and admirer of J.K. Rowling, and it honestly pains me a bit to say this, but from a literary perspective, she’s out of control here. Her abundant generosity with information is surely a response to a vast, insatiable fan base that does not have a high tolerance for never-ending suspense, ambiguity or nuance. [...]
Rowling is a brilliant lady, one of the people whose work and intentions appear nearly pristine. She created a world in which many readers happily dwelt for more than a decade. In fact, perhaps the root of my frustration with her soothsaying is my sadness that she’s running around talking about the books rather than writing us another one! I, like so many others, miss these people, and part of me can’t help but wish that if she had so much more to say about them, she’d put her thoughts in writing. But I also understand that that is one of those wishes probably better left unfulfilled. One of Rowling’s greatest authorial virtues is that she knew when to quit.
If only she would remember that now, because as she herself clearly understands, leaving us mysteries to unravel is such a critical part of the fun.
Me, I don’t mind people telling me about movies before I see them (hell, often I need them too!) so I don’t much care if an author goes on chatting about her characters.
More from the bogosphere: Andrew Sullivan runs a gay-check; Think Progress has a round up of conservative attacks (including the Newsbusters claim that the revelation vindicates Rev. Jerry Falwell); and Boing Boing points to Dumbledore pride tees (over 7,000 already sold).
Emotions Run Amok in Sleep-Deprived Brains
Oh. So that’s what’s fueling the blogospheric vitriol:
Without sleep, the emotional centers of our brains dramatically overreact to bad experiences, research now reveals.
“When we’re sleep deprived, it’s really as if the brain is reverting to more primitive behavior, regressing in terms of the control humans normally have over their emotions,” researcher Matthew Walker, a neuroscientist at the University of California, Berkeley, told LiveScience. [...]
“While we predicted that the emotional centers of the brain would overreact after sleep deprivation, we didn’t predict they’d overreact as much as they did,” Walker said. “They became more than 60 percent more reactive to negative emotional stimuli. That’s a whopping increase—the emotional parts of the brain just seem to run amok.”
The researchers pinpointed this hyperactive response to a shutdown of the prefrontal lobe, a brain region that normally keeps emotions under control. This structure is relatively new in human evolution, “and so it may not yet have adapted ways to cope with certain biological extremes,” Walker speculated. “Human beings are one of the few species that really deprive themselves of sleep. It’s a real oddity in nature.”