Tuesday, June 9, 2015

A Random Assortment

~ Above: tautologies in The Wire. (Via Ilana.)

 ~ Questions raised by deinstitutionalization:
It seemed pretty simple: community good, institutions bad. But these two terms have proven extraordinarily difficult to pin down. Is the difference merely one of size? In 2011, the National Council on Disability defined “institutional settings as housing situations in which more than four people with I/DD” live in a single home. Some autistic people and their families have embraced this definition: The four-person size limit was included in “Keeping the Promise: Self-Advocates Defining the Meaning of Community Living,” a 2011 paper jointly issued by three self-advocacy organizations.
~ Francisco and I were just talking about how no one is worried about overpopulation anymore. (This after a Catholic tried to tell me that a Catholic concern for the environment means that it could be unethical to have children.)
“Rising consumption today far outstrips the rising head count as a threat to the planet” 
This is what I try to pound into my students' heads--their conspicuous consumption is part of the problem of climate change. They refuse to countenance this idea--according to them, the problem of climate change is solely about the policies that governments make. (It seems to me that, on so many issues, people have separated politics from personal morality. This is my biggest complaint these days.)

(P.S. as Francisco pointed out, the commenters on that article are obviously still way worried about overpopulation.)

~ Angry NYTimes opinion piece on the clash between feminism (which eschews essentialism) and transgenderism (which sort of appeals to it):

People who haven’t lived their whole lives as women, whether Ms. Jenner or Mr. Summers, shouldn’t get to define us. That’s something men have been doing for much too long. And as much as I recognize and endorse the right of men to throw off the mantle of maleness, they cannot stake their claim to dignity as transgender people by trampling on mine as a woman.
Their truth is not my truth. Their female identities are not my female identity. They haven’t traveled through the world as women and been shaped by all that this entails. They haven’t suffered through business meetings with men talking to their breasts or woken up after sex terrified they’d forgotten to take their birth control pills the day before. They haven’t had to cope with the onset of their periods in the middle of a crowded subway, the humiliation of discovering that their male work partners’ checks were far larger than theirs, or the fear of being too weak to ward off rapists.
For me and many women, feminist and otherwise, one of the difficult parts of witnessing and wanting to rally behind the movement for transgender rights is the language that a growing number of trans individuals insist on, the notions of femininity that they’re articulating, and their disregard for the fact that being a woman means having accrued certain experiences, endured certain indignities and relished certain courtesies in a culture that reacted to you as one.
The “I was born in the wrong body” rhetoric favored by other trans people doesn’t work any better and is just as offensive, reducing us to our collective breasts and vaginas. Imagine the reaction if a young white man suddenly declared that he was trapped in the wrong body and, after using chemicals to change his skin pigmentation and crocheting his hair into twists, expected to be embraced by the black community.
Even the word “woman” has come under assault by some of the very people who claim the right to be considered women. The hashtags #StandWithTexasWomen, popularized after Wendy Davis, then a state senator, attempted to filibuster the Texas Legislature to prevent passage of a draconian anti-abortion law, and #WeTrustWomen, are also under attack since they, too, are exclusionary.
Yet Ms. Jenner and Ms. Manning, to mention just two, expect to be called women even as the abortion providers are being told that using that term is discriminatory. So are those who have transitioned from men the only “legitimate” women left?

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