Morning Links

Friday, July 15th, 2011
  • Comparing corporate vs. state funding of the arts.
  • I was hoping someone would throw some cold water on The Filter Bubble. My former colleague Jesse Walker does here.
  • In which the Internet answers your important questions, and offers you a dress emblazoned with Steve Buscemi’s face.
  • This seems like a slight overreaction, doesn’t it? I mean, haven’t there been about a thousand beer commercials in which men are portrayed as infantile morons? And (some of) those are funny, too.
  • Hey, the Fourth Amendment is all but dead. Let’s see if we can’t get to work on the Fifth Amendment, too.
  • Smart editorial from a Florida paper cautions against Caylee’s Law. And it’s not just smart because it quotes me. It’s smart because it agrees with me! Here’s another dissent from the mob from a former Bronx prosecutor. (Last link via Mark Draughn.)
  • Speaking of which, I was on the CBC last night to discuss the law. You can watch here. I come on at about the 8:15 mark.
  • The perils of one-size-fits-all regulation: ” . . . so basically I’m responsible for periodically surprising myself with a random drug test.”

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66 Responses to “Morning Links”

  1. #1 |  Maggie McNeill | 

    Okay, I haven’t seen any recognizably-female names or statements in 50 replies, so I’ll reply on behalf of the distaff contingent of Agitatortots.

    The ads are lame. AND, any woman who is offended by them needs to grow up. There are real problems with the way people in power see women (http://maggiemcneill.wordpress.com/2011/07/14/sisters-in-arms/), but reacting like stupid, oversensitive crybabies who can’t take a joke will only amplify those problems rather than solve them.

    Oh, and for the guys who are quoting feminist claptrap about how ads make men reluctant to vote for women or promote them to high positions: I guarantee you that any woman competent to hold such a position hasn’t wasted her life bitching about how women are portrayed in stupid ad campaigns; she’s been out there proving she’s a force to be reckoned with.

  2. #2 |  BSK | 

    “I guarantee you that any woman competent to hold such a position hasn’t wasted her life bitching about how women are portrayed in stupid ad campaigns; she’s been out there proving she’s a force to be reckoned with.”

    Yes, but do men have to prove they are a force to be reckoned with? Or is it assumed? And, if you agree that this is something unique to women (as compared to men), do you not think that such stereotypes are part of the reason for this disparity? I don’t think someone is going to look at these ads and say, “Ya know what, I was going to vote for Hillary but… if she doesn’t get her milk, who knows what could happen!” But they do contribute to and, more importantly, reflect a narrative that exists within our culture about what women are: overly emotional, irrational creatures completely at the whim of their hormones.

  3. #3 |  BSK | 

    FWIW, from another blog on a completely different topic…

    “******* July 15, 2011 at 8:59 pm

    Tom, Tom. I have no problem with women running the planet. Like as not, they’d do as well as any man. There would be no wars. But it would get pretty damned interesting every 28 days or so.”

    This comes from a poster who I don’t know personally but has generally demonstrated himself to be an intelligent, rational actor. He later indicated it was a joke (not under any pressure, just as he and another poster shared similar jokes). It is not an uncommon sentiment, with many men feeling quite sincere about the belief. How exactly does a woman show she is a force to be reckoned with when that is the opposition she is facing? Tube-tying?

  4. #4 |  Maggie McNeill | 

    #54: Never once in my 44 years has anyone ever been stupid enough to say or imply that I couldn’t be trusted because of my hormones. Ever. And you know why? Because I don’t use my femininity as an excuse for being an irrational twit, nor as a trump card to be played when things are going against me. And every woman worthy of being considered as an equal to men is the same way. Though I personally can’t stand Roseanne Barr, one has to admit she’s a successful businesswoman and there’s a quote from her which applies here: “The thing women have got to learn is that nobody gives you power. You just take it.”

    A woman shows she’s a force to be reckoned with by being one; it’s that simple. Real respect is always earned; it cannot be given as a gift or extorted as tribute. And whining about stereotypes and an “unlevel playing field” just reinforces the notion that women are comparable to children, a “protected class” to be coddled and patronized rather than treated like adults.

  5. #5 |  BSK | 

    Maggie-

    I respectfully disagree. Not only do women have to achieve a higher standard to earn that respect, but there is far less of a guarantee that once achieved they will maintain that respect and have it honored as it should be.

  6. #6 |  Leah | 

    I agree that getting all offended is unnecessary and lame. I do think pointing out institutionalized douchery is not necessarily the same thing as being a humorless man-hating harpy. Saying the ads suck because they’re pandering to stereotypes shouldn’t be ridiculous. Campaigning to ban such ads would be. And there’s a lot of space in the middle, too. I don’t think telling people that this crap reinforces internal stereotypes that many people aren’t even aware of is a bad thing. I just don’t think the people who are saying it are the spokespeople who’ll get respect. It just turns the conversation back to mocking the crazy hormonal women who spend all their time being offended.

  7. #7 |  Windy | 

    Leah said it best. I so agree.

  8. #8 |  JOR | 

    As we all know, anecdotes from one admittedly atypical person constitute a good argument when discussing the general conditions faced by most people (or by enough people to have a negative effect on most people, at least). And as we all know, summarily dismissing everyone with different experiences than one’s own as simply immature or weak or stupid or bad or whatever is also a good argument, especially if one manages to conflate moral responsibility and practical responsibility in the process. Hey, it’s kept the drug war respectable and popular for decades. Works wonders for rape apologism too (especially when the victims are either males or low-status females).

  9. #9 |  Barnes | 

    Saying “haven’t there been about a thousand beer commercials in which men are portrayed as infantile morons” seems kind of like complaining about a black comedian being able to get away with a joke about white people when a white guy couldn’t do the same about a black guy. I mean it wasn’t that long ago when women couldn’t vote and for a long time after it was still just generally accepted that they were “inferior.” Men have never had that problem, so who cares if they’re made fun of in beer commercial in the 21st century.

  10. #10 |  Ron | 

    Re: Computer Encryption … Can’t they get past encryption anyway? Aren’t there devices/techniques/programs that can get into the hard drive despite password protection?

  11. #11 |  BSK | 

    Leah-

    “Saying the ads suck because they’re pandering to stereotypes shouldn’t be ridiculous. Campaigning to ban such ads would be. And there’s a lot of space in the middle, too.”

    Very well said. The issue is when people automatically conflate the former with the latter. In the discussion here and in the article, I didn’t see anyone advocating banning the ads… just pointing out the problems with them. Personally, I’m curious how many people actually read the article (it was one long paragraph).

    “I don’t think telling people that this crap reinforces internal stereotypes that many people aren’t even aware of is a bad thing. I just don’t think the people who are saying it are the spokespeople who’ll get respect.”

    I don’t know enough about the writer of the article to determine whether she is the type of person who’d be respected on the issue. Part of the problem is that raising these issues often automatically disqualifies the speaker from getting respect from some people.

    Some people are simply unwilling or unsympathetic to complaints of sexism (or racism or homophobia or ageism, etc, etc, etc). They will dismiss anyone who raises them out of hand as oversensitive, whiney, wanting special treatment, and other such similar criticism that seek to immediately invalidate their position. It is why combating such issues is such an uphill battle. I think your point is a really sound one and gets at the nuance necessary to separate the wheat from the chaff on these issues. The issue is the many, many people who simply think it is all chaff.

  12. #12 |  Leah | 

    I completely agree, BSK, and it’s a really tough thing to even talk about because of that. I mean, there are the people I can’t even share a link with if it comes from, say, feministe or jezebel – they see the site and turn off their willingness to listen (like the liberals who think Reason is one big Koch front). Then there are the people who take everything said by, say, a big-name feminist as gospel. And they’re wrong too, on a regular basis, just like everyone else! I don’t necessarily think there is a good way to pick out a spokesperson, it will be different for each different person. But the hormonal man-hating harpy stereotype is a strong one, and something people should be aware of when trying to publicize their views.

    Getting to societal change on a given issue is a difficult and lengthy process, which is probably why it’s so tempting for people to just campaign for a new law. Obviously that doesn’t make it the right fix, but I can see why it appeals to so many.

  13. #13 |  JimBob | 

    #60 Ron–

    This isn’t a matter of having a protective program that allows or disallows access to data. Simple protection like that can usually be bypassed if you’re able to move the hard drive to another computer or boot the computer into a different operating system.

    Encrypting data with any modern symmetric cipher (such as AES), on the other hand, means that you’re rendering the data incomprehensible to anybody who doesn’t know the key. The data you’re looking for is indistinguishable from random noise unless you decrypt it.

    Now, there’s always the possibility that the DoJ could try to guess at the key, but a 256-bit key (pretty common) means that there are 115792089237316195423570985008687907853269984665640564039457584007913129639936 possible keys to try. Right now, a good supercomputer can knock out a 64-bit key (18446744073709551616 possible keys) in a day or so. That means that the same computer would take something like 17 billion billion billion billion billion billion years to try all the possible 256-bit keys– which is significantly longer than it is anticipated to take before all the stars have burned out and nucleon decay has ravaged all matter.

    Or, for another vivid example– if every atom on the planet were turned into a computer capable of testing 1 billion keys per second, it would take their combined computing power about 40 billion years to check every possible key.

    So, no, they don’t have any sort of magical “override” button or program they can use in this case. Assuming that this woman didn’t pick a passphrase that can be easily guessed (the name of her dog, etc.), then there’s a VERY strong likelihood that they’ll never know what’s encrypted unless she tells them the passphrase.

  14. #14 |  B | 

    Regarding the fifth amendment article:

    Two examples of child porn in one story. The menacing threat of child porn is tearing this nation apart!

  15. #15 |  Maggie McNeill | 

    #58: Surely you aren’t implying that men who become president or get into other powerful positions are not atypical?

  16. #16 |  John Markley | 

    Barnes,

    The analogy between sex and race isn’t very good. There are few, if any, ways or situations in which being black gives you any noteworthy advantage over being white. There are many, some of them quite common and quite grave, where women qua women have been and still are privileged over men. But these tend to be primarily experienced by men who aren’t in the upper echelons of the social or economic hierarchy, and the typical advocate of gender “equality” usually seems only dimly aware that such men even exist, much less have their own experiences that might differ from what feminists tell men men’s lives are like. (To be fair, feminists didn’t invent the attitudes about gender that tend to keep male distress and weakness invisible- they merely benefit from and reinforce them.)