Thursday 23 July 2015

Links 23/7/15


Columbia Journalism Review points out that the complaint that Laura Poitras filed to gain access to the personal data that government agencies collected on her is more about "the worrisome way the federal government handles [Freedom of Information Act] requests", which poses a threat to journalism.

Demos on the undeniable innovation happening in the Nordic countries, as the US right struggles to explain how it fits in with the idea that the American model is better than that of Nordic social democracies. 

An essay dismantles the idea that Western consumers can change the world simply by making ethical shopping decisions, and instead demands that we focus on less sexy models that do work, like complaint mechanisms for workers and formalised labour contracts: 
Listening to consumer advocacy campaigns, you’d think our only influence on the developing world was at the cash register. But our real leverage is with our policies, not our purchases. In the '90s, the U.S. told Cambodia that to sell its clothes here, it had to open up every single garment factory to International Labor Organization inspections. Trade agreements require developing countries to establish huge intellectual-property inspection bodies to raid markets for bootleg Blu-rays. We just need to offer poor workers the same kinds of protection we give pharmaceutical patents. 
The Huffington Post: The Myth of the Ethical Shopper.
The American Prospect on the question of whether the Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage was undemocratic: 
To require that rights claims must be “deeply rooted” in “history and tradition” is hardly politically “neutral.” Rather than providing equal protection, that requirement puts new groups such as gay and lesbian people at a distinct disadvantage. And it gives an undue presumption of legitimacy to forms of ill treatment that are longstanding, such as discrimination against sexual minorities.
As Ely said, “Courts should protect those who can’t protect themselves politically” because “the duty of representation that lies at the core of our system requires more than a voice and a vote. No matter how open the process, those with most of the votes are in a position to vote themselves advantages at the expense of others, or otherwise to refuse to take their interests into account.” The courts can enhance democracy by undertaking “more stringent scrutiny” of legislation that disadvantages minorities long subject to prejudice and discrimination. Ely took specific note of gays and lesbians: “Homosexuals for years have been victims of both ‘first-degree prejudice’ and subtler forms of exaggerated we-they stereotyping.” Why didn’t the Chief Justice cite Ely on this point? 
The American Prospect: But Was the Court's Ruling on Marriage Democratic?, June 29, 2015
Vox on President Obama's second term and especially his foreign policy - focusing on productive diplomacy - after overcoming being defined by the previous administration's wars. 

Pop Culture: 

Rookie Asks A Grown Woman, in this case, Carrie Brownstein and Corin Tucker (and here's S-K playing this year's Pitchfork Music Festival). 

New Republic on relationships between students and professors and how it fits in with the very different world that Millennials grow up in (with a "consumerist model of higher education"): 
What I mean by professionalization—to be distinguished from infantalization (helicopter parenting; an age of consent of 30) or commercialization (students demanding trigger warnings, smoothies, high grades)—is that corporate workplace norms now govern conduct far outside the boardroom. The student-professor working relationship has been integrated into that of the working world generally, where restrictions exist regarding boss-employee romance because of power dynamics, not because employees are children or celibate. Professionalization has meant an end to the student-professor affair because it has recast professors as gatekeepers to future employment. The problem isn’t that an 18-year-old might date a 40-year-old, but that an 18-year-old might think she has to date a particular 40-year-old if she wants to get a job that will allow her to pay back her student loans. In other words, while new understandings of sexism and other forms of bigotry play into professionalization, they don’t fully explain it. The old model of learning for learning’s sake relied on students with manageable tuition payments and optimistic post-college job prospects.  
New Republic: The Hostile Renegotiation of the Professor-Student Relationship, June 6, 2015
An absolutely beautiful essay on having a midlife crisis in your early 30s when the entire idea of midlife crisis is a "masculine enterprise": 
Adolescence centers for Erikson around the question of identity versus role confusion: a person must nose out her authentic self from the midden heap of expectation that surrounds her. A teenager who navigates this successfully, who learns to differentiate “what I want” from “what is wanted of me,” emerges from this stage with the virtue of fidelity: an understanding of who she is, and an unwavering commitment to that self. But the adolescent who is squeezed by others’ needs, who builds herself according to the image she thinks she’s expected to project? She’s doomed to “role confusion,” an uncertainty about her purpose in society, her place in the world.
But we must rush on: whether or not you sort out your identity, you move into young adulthood and the “intimacy versus isolation” crisis. Here, you learn how to love, if you’re able. With a strong sense of identity, it’s possible to build authentic intimacy as well. With continued role confusion … well, how can you get close to someone if you don’t even know who you are or what you’re for? At most, you can build a facsimile of intimacy, something that looks like love from outside—looks enough like love to fool whatever person or group you’re struggling to please. A love-shaped house for isolation to live in.
Hazlitt: A Midlife Crisis, By Any Other Name, July 20, 2015
An interview with sex educator Cory Silverberg on talking about sexuality to children. 

Clea DuVall is going to direct a film starring herself, Cobie Smulders, Melanie Lynskey, Natasha Lyonne and Alia Shawkat. A trailer for Jamie Babbit's Addicted to Fresno, starring Natasha Lyonne and Judy Greer (and also featuring Aubrey Plaza and... Clea DuVall) was released. And Freeheld, with Julianne Moore and Ellen Page, is scheduled to be released in October. 

Just, this, to wrap things up: a Swansong for Watson (substitute fielder!!). 
But in time we will see that this was a career fully lived, filled with volatility but somehow so densely predictable in its non-deviation from a mid-30s batting average. In time we will understand Watto not as a beautiful disaster but as the last and most beguiling of the baggy green brooders, these saturnine loners whose guiding athletic purpose has been to supply the minor mode to Australian cricket’s major scale, to live and play – thriving only some of the time – in the shadows on the other side of the mountain.
Good night, sweet Watto. We thought we loved you, once. 
The Guardian: Don't cry for Shane Watson, one of Australian cricket's great anti-heroes, July 14, 2015

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