In the fall of 2004, my freshman students and I analyzed a speech of John Kerry’s and found it confused, contradictory, inchoate, and weak. Six weeks later I went out and voted for John Kerry. What I was doing in class was subjecting Kerry’s arguments to an academic interrogation. Do they hang together? Are they coherent? Do they respond to the issues? Are they likely to be persuasive? He flunked. But when I stepped into the ballot box, I was asking another set of questions: Does Kerry represent or speak for interests close to mine? Whom would he bring into his administration? What are likely to be his foreign policy initiatives? How does he stand on the environment? The answers I gave to the first set of academic questions had no relationship whatsoever to the answers I gave to the second set of political questions. Whether it is a person or a policy, it makes perfect sense to approve it in one venue and disapprove it in another, and vice versa. You could decide that despite the lack of skill with which a policy was defended (an academic conclusion), it was nevertheless the right policy for the country (a political decision). In the classroom, you can probe the policy’s history; you can explore its philosophical lineage; you can examine its implications and likely consequences, but you can’t urge it on your students. Everything depends on keeping these two judgments, and the activities that generate them, separate.
- Stanley Fish (via quotecatalog)
The Pros and Cons of Gay Marriage

image

Pros:

  • People who love each other can get married!
  • Won’t be embarrassed to tell your grand kids which side of the issue you were on
  • Probably good for the economy
  • Gay people get the same rights I have!
  • Might make your gay spin instructor cry from happiness
  • When this issue is settled the government can probably spend their time on like, fixing the economy

Cons:

  • Gays might get gay divorces and our legislators might have to earn their paychecks by making new laws to account for them
  • You might have to hear about lifestyles that are different than your own
  • You might have to show people your traditional christian marriage is cool by actually being happy and loving rather than just having a title
  • Have to buy more wedding presents 
Could We Ever Have a Vegan President?

Is it weird to say we’ll never have a vegan president because of patriarchy?


Meat eating has been always been culturally associated with manliness. It’s weird, but this is actually a really powerful belief. For instance the expression “vegetable” when someone is in a coma is used because vegetables are passive (female) verses active/masculine.


I was struck by how this attitude is so ingrained in our culture when I was reading an Anne Hathaway vs. Jennifer Lawrence trend piece on The Cut. While discussing why Jennifer Lawrence is more likeable than Hathaway there’s a paragraph halfway down the article that is a single sentence, “Hathaway is a vegan.”


Despite the fact that collectively we think most people become vegans for ethical reasons, which is to be commended, we hate them. In addition to this whole weak/feminine stereotype that goes with being a herbivore, people hate picky eaters. The Cut article contrasts how J-Law gets down with the 99% at McDonald’s, she’s uncomplicated- you can bro down with her. You’d probably feel like a slob in Hathaway’s presence.
It’s just funny that we can derive such strong opinions about people based on what they eat, something that really doesn’t effect us at all. And this is just Hollywood actresses.


Dennis Kucinich was a vegetarian presidential candidate in 2004, he was never really considered someone that was going to go the distance. Bill Clinton became a vegan for health reasons *after* serving his terms. Cory Booker is a vegetarian, I’m really interested to see how that plays out because it seems like he’s gonna get bigger.
 
 
Why is it that we as a culture malign others for their ostensibly moral choices? Do we feel guilty and implicitly judged by their social presence? What do you think?

thetangentialruinsminneapolis:

I thought maybe we could write a satirical list of answers to this question…but we decided that this is just too fucked up to be funny. Dan Hall is a state senator representing District 56 (Burnsville, Lakeville, and Savage). When several people responded to this tweet, he gave them all the same response: “Everyone seems touchy when I give them my observation. U read into it what U want, but no one is calling anyone unpatriotic.” No, Senator Hall, just cravenly implying it. - Jay

thetangentialruinsminneapolis:

I thought maybe we could write a satirical list of answers to this question…but we decided that this is just too fucked up to be funny. Dan Hall is a state senator representing District 56 (Burnsville, Lakeville, and Savage). When several people responded to this tweet, he gave them all the same response: “Everyone seems touchy when I give them my observation. U read into it what U want, but no one is calling anyone unpatriotic.” No, Senator Hall, just cravenly implying it. - Jay

Feel Unsure About:

The Future

 Macaroni & Cheese Pizza 

Lazer Hair Removal

Mormonism

Facial Yoga

Youtube Celebrities

'off the cuff literature'

A Stabler-less SVU 

The Suburbs

Cock Rings

Boys with Long Hair

Boys Who Say They Aren’t Good Enough For You (what?)

Three Dimensional iPhone Cases

Progressive Evangelicals

Twenty Something Republicans

Teenage Angst in the Internet Age 

Suit Bros 

OWS

The Future of Miam  (Miley Cyrus +Liam Hemsworth)

Michael Stagliano’s Impending Absence From My TV

Fun Places to Go in Chicago

Babies with Faux Hawks

Parents with Babies with Faux Hawks

Ironic Pinterest Boards

The Return of Body Glitter

Drug Use Past College

The Efficacy of Politics

Growing Up 

Stop Trying to Make _______ Happen, It’s Never Going to Happen!

Naming your baby Sophia

Pinterest

Setting every movie/TV show in New York City

Mitt Romney

Ann Romney

Labradoodles

Fashion Star

Your baby’s acting career

Madonna’s comeback while she still hasn’t addressed her Golem arms

Alec Baldwin’s engagement

Blendr

The NYT paywall

Cody Simpson

Jennifer Love Hewitt’s relationships

How Not To Make The World A Better Place

Raise awareness. Lots of it. Create a viral meme that points to an outrageous but oversimplified issue. Ask people to RT you and tell their friends. Don’t have a specific call to action. Continue to do this with a new cause each week until every person in your life zones when they see your name on their feeds.

Criticize. Spend your time reading about people trying to address causes important to you. Write about how they aren’t 100% respectful or ethical or inclusive. Propose only solutions that are completely unrealistic or no solutions at all.

Discourage people from asking questions. There’s a group of feminists that don’t want you to ask questions about feminism. For real though. If you want to know about feminism you should pick up a fucking book and stop wasting their precious time because it’s not their job to educate you. I don’t get this even a little bit. Write books and websites and lobby for change all you want to but the number one way to get someone on your side is to have a relationship with them. If you could explain to your friends and acquaintances why equality is so important to you, they’ll be swayed a lot sooner than staring at some edgy t-shirt you printed. Maybe you think they’re boneheads for not already understanding what you’re telling them, that’s okay. But people have to start somewhere. You did.

Splinter. You found a niche cause like solving cancer, cool! Start your own charity and name it after yourself. Make yourself executive director and put it on Facebook. Start a fundraising campaign to fund your new charity so that you can cover all your start up costs instead of asking people to donate to an established non-profit already in place, working, and with a lower operating cost. I’m sure you know better though!

Be as unlikeable as possible. Get a blog and twitter account you use mainly to shame people for being less knowledgeable than you. Be a generally negative bitch who plays into the worst kinds of stereotypes people have about “progressives” and scare a lot of people away.

Photo Credit

Getting Offended: IDGI

I don’t really understand getting offended about someone’s opinion.

It happens. I get offended by things like when a guy treats me disrespectfully or when I overhear a conversation and I can tell the people having it have really archaic, harmful notions about the inherent worth of different types of people. In both of these situations I have a visceral reaction and think less of the person but shouldn’t I just channel my feelings into moving as far away from the offending parties as possible? What else am I going to do? Solve deep rooted beliefs with a single conversation? Change the over-arching esteem someone holds me in by nagging them? I don’t really care, just get away from me.

Don’t get me wrong, I think engaging with people is important, that’s a big reason this website exists. I want to write about things that I think and people can yell at me about them or tell me why they think differently and, you know, iron sharpens iron and stuff. But when these things happen in passing, it just turns into a philosophic pissing contest. Who knows bigger words? Who can be quicker to tear the other’s argument to shreds without first considering their perspective? Whose dick is bigger?

In the end, it is very difficult for people to change their beliefs. In all honesty, it’s just not going to happen. But people who feel strongly about religion or politics (and therefore are the most likely to become offended) love to talk about these things. Awesome. Have interesting conversations, that’s great. But don’t bring it up if you’re going to get mad at it. Why do you need me to agree with you? Who the fuck am I? I write for a hot pink website that talks about binge drinking and crying over dudes. Don’t you believe that whatever you’re saying is going to be true whether or not some girl agrees with you?

Once I wrote about how I didn’t like a particular style of writing and a bunch of people were like, really worried that I was going to offend people who wrote in that style. It’s a matter of preference. I don’t think it’s cool, obviously you do because you keep doing it. I guess maybe I’m going way out on a philosophy-degree-having limb by assuming people have reasons for thinking what they are doing is worthwhile. If your worldview comes crashing down because I’m like “oh that seems way boring to me because I prefer X” then I don’t know what to tell you. You should surround yourself exclusively with like-minded people I guess. Stop reading the internet maybe, it’s not really helping with your repression.

Full Disclosure: I am from Minnesota so I don’t understand most kinds of conflict except hockey fights.

50 Things Real Adults Do That I Don’t Do

1. Make their bed
2. Own a pet or a child
3. Have a stress-free conversation with the mechanic
4. Have more than one set of sheets
5. sAvInGs aCcOuNt
6. Wear jewelry
7. Decorate their homes for holidays
8. Remember birthdays
9. Know what they are going to eat for a meal more than 5 minutes out
10. Pack lunches
11. Stay in hotels on vacation instead of your friend’s cool floor
12. Watch TV news
13. Networking
14. Have a landline
15. Care about their friend’s babies
16. Drive to bars
17. Live in the suburbs
18. Avoid taking public transportation
19. Get enough sleep
20. Go to church > ~1x/year
21. Get their cars detailed
22. Mow a lawn
23. Use coupons
24. Bake things for people at work
25. Make conversation with adult strangers
26. Haven’t convinced their 11 year old cousin they personally know Justin Bieber
27. Shower before work + blow dry hair
28. Natural look make-up
29. Paint their nails with neutral colors
30. Wear sandals that aren’t metallic flip-flops
31. Matching place settings
32. Own “place settings”
33. Ask their dads for a favor without using a baby voice
34. Wash clothes after each wear
35. Use wash clothes
36. Use shapewear
37. Invest
38. Refer to things as “investments”
39. Feel ambivalent about getting something for free
40. Subscribe to magazines they read regularly instead of buying them each month at the newsstand price
41. Return library books
42. Scrapbook
43. Feel a genuine curiosity about the different types of wine
44. Correct grammar
45. Send faxes
46. Keep important documents in a file cabinet/not throw them away in a feng shui attack
47. Grow plants recreationally
48. Vote for Republicans
49. Watch network television shows
50. Dream about retirement

Photo Credit

I Won’t Vote for Mitt Romney Cause He Was Mean to His Dog

Did you know that Mitt Romney’s lil doggie Seamus got sick once when the Romney family was on vacay? That’s rough. It sucks to get sick when you have a 12 hour car ride home. You would hope, in this situation that your family would make you feel comfortable not, say, strap you in a crate to the roof of your car. For 12 hours. When they got home poor Seamus ran away to Canada. Shocking.

Is it dumb that this is a deal breaker for me?

Full disclosure: I wasn’t going to vote for him anyways. But, this is black and white cruelty, isn’t it? I think it says something about the kind of person you are if you think this is an okay thing to do. You don’t err on the side of empathy or dignity. You make decisions about dealing with things that are hard to deal with by keeping them out of sight and out of mind.

Cruelty just seems so weak to me. You aren’t dealing with the issue in front of you, you’re avoiding it with anger and keeping it at a distance. I want someone that’s going to do things that are difficult if they are a better solution.

Oh, and here’s a pic of Obama and his dog:

Photo via David Axelrod’s Twitter