“We have prisons now filled with guys my age. Sixty-year-old white men in prison who’ve never harmed anybody, would never touch a child. But they got online one night and started surfing around, probably had too much to drink or whatever, and pushed the wrong buttons, went too far and got into child porn.”
Writer John Grisham is fighting the good fight, defending hapless, white, middle-aged drunks who totally accidentally they swear downloaded child porn and found themselves locked up in the clink in an interview with the Telegraph. The issue is a personal one for Grisham, who has a friend who fell victim to the justice system’s crackdown on innocent men jerking it to kiddie porn: Keep reading »
On Saturday (which was National Coming Out Day, making this story even more bleak), a lesbian couple was kicked out of a UK grocery store for sharing a “light kiss.” Ugh. Annabelle Paige, a Sussex University student, stopped by a Sainsbury’s store in Brighton with her girlfriend. A security guard approached the pair and told them they’d have to either stop showing affection or “take it outside” (though the store is still attempting to deny that the couple was actually asked to leave). Paige initially thought the woman was joking, because she’d never experienced such a thing and saw plenty of straight couples in the store being equally as affectionate. The security guard apologetically told Paige that she had received a complaint from a customer who saw Paige give her girlfriend the kiss. The customer said that she was worried for the safety of her child because the couple’s actions were “disgusting.” Keep reading »
Sam Harris and Bill Maher and Richard Dawkins all want really badly for me to criticize Islam. They claim I’m scared to do so because Islamic extremists bully people into silence. They consider it a liberal failing that people like me have deferred to that bullying. They say it’s not “phobic” to criticize Islam, nor is it racist.
Then, of course, they say that we should profile Muslims, and their self-defense starts to fall apart. They fail to recognize that I do not live in a majority Muslim country, and that especially since 2001 but even before that, white Americans have exhibited incredible fear of Muslims (demonstrated by a call to profile them, coincidentally) and committed hate crimes against people who even “look” like they might be Muslim. They fail to see their own criticisms as so sweeping that they amount to a judgment on anyone with brown skin.
I won’t do it. I won’t take the bait of a patronizing call for feminists to set aside their goals in America to address problems in Muslim theocracies, and I won’t take the bait of an anti-intellectual call for atheists to denounce an entire religion simply because a handful of atheist leaders prescribe it. I will exhibit more caution and conservatism in my judgment, and here’s why: Keep reading »
I was completely prepared to laugh at the idea that someone became genuinely addicted to Google Glass, but then I found out that the guy was being treated for alcohol addiction when his doctors found out he was also having symptoms of Google Glass addiction and it didn’t seem quite right to be amused anymore.
Anyway, this is a real thing: When you use technology constantly, your brain gets used to the neurological reward of using that technology and adapts to its availability. If you stop using it, you can go through withdrawal symptoms. This patient kept involuntarily tapping his right temple and became irritable and argumentative after having to surrender his electronics in order to go through treatment for alcohol addiction. He apparently also had dreams in which he saw through the perspective of wearing Google Glass. He’d worn the glasses all day except for sleeping and washing. Keep reading »
In case you are unaware, there is something called “The Whiteness Project.” Per the website, the project, from documentary director Whitney Dow, is “a multiplatform investigation into how Americans who identify as ‘white’ experience their ethnicity.” The first installment, titled “Inside the White Caucasian Box,” was released a few days ago and is an assemblage of interviews of 24 Buffalo, New York, residents who identify as “White.” To further explain the aims of the project, the website provides an “Artistic Statement” that poses some of the poignant questions that are explored in the interviews:
While many media projects have investigated the history, culture, and experiences of various American ethnic minorities, there has been much less examination of how white Americans think about and experience their whiteness and how white culture shapes our society. Most people take for granted that there is a “white” race in America, but rarely is the concept of whiteness itself investigated. What does it mean to be a “white”? Can it be genetically defined? Is it a cultural construct? A state of mind? How does one come to be deemed “white” in America and what privileges does being perceived as white bestow?
Keep reading »