Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Things To Read 9/23/14. On The Angry-Black-Woman Meme, What Americans Deem Morally Acceptable, Gaming and Misogyny And Other Topics

This poor post puts together all my little ideas which were not watered enough to become sturdy trees on this here blog.  Also a few smaller items which I found interesting.  Much of this is depressing stuff but not all, partly because several items are about something that wouldn't even have been talked about a generation ago.  Now enough people get enraged and the conversation happens.

1.  The discussion following this article by Alessandra Stanley on Shonda Rhimes.  Here are two takes on it:  Melissa Harris-Perry does a reversal of the "angry black woman" meme and Margaret Sullivan addresses general issues with the review.  The piece also has a response from Stanley.

2.  Some interesting statistical and survey pieces (yes, Virginia, statistics can be delicious and exciting!).  First, this piece on the disappearing US economic middle class is worth reading and thinking about.  I haven't spent enough time figuring out if everything relevant is included but the statistics show that something changed around year 2000.

Second, the responses to this Gallup survey about the ethics and morality of various items is also interesting.  The differences between what Democrats, Independents and Republicans find most revolting is very informative:
Republicans, independents, and Democrats have differing views of the morality of several issues. Democrats are more likely than Republicans to consider issues like divorce, gambling, medical research using embryos, and having a baby outside of wedlock morally acceptable. But Republicans are more likely than Democrats to see wearing fur, the death penalty, and medical testing on animals as morally acceptable. Independents tend to fall in the middle of the two groups.
At least the vast majority of Americans finds birth control morally AOK.  That's worth thinking about in the context of the Hobby Lobby decision and the suggestion (here) that the religious right will not be satisfied until it is their religious right to ban other people from accessing birth control.

Third, the question of the world population growth isn't as clear-cut as earlier rounds of predictions implied.  Because resource availability is linked with potential future wars and climate change and because population growth makes such wars more likely knowing about this altered prediction matters.

3.  The summer of rage in the gaming industry:  If you know nothing about this topic you might wish to begin with this calm article in the Boston Globe. Slightly less calm takes are available in large numbers.  (You might wish to think before you read those last two links.  They are pretty full of generalized misogyny.) 

Though I haven't followed the summer of rage in any great detail (lying on the grass and watching the patterns white clouds make against the blue sky is much better for one's mental health), the way things are going offers an interesting natural experiment on what happens when girls try to enter the extremist type of boys' tree-house.  It's more complicated than that, but the essential aspect of the anger is of the "barbarians are coming" type.

4.  Finally, the way New Zeeland celebrates women's suffrage.