I love it.
Archive for November, 2008
Oh, man. I have been trying to learn a new keyboard layout called the Dvorak layout, and it has been really difficult. It has taken me like ten minutes to write the last two sentences, no joke. Anyway, here is what it looks like:
I even went as far as popping all of the keys off of my macbook and rearranging them to match. The advantages will supposedly eventually be decreased risk of carpal tunnel and increased typing speed, because, unlike QWERTY, the most commonly used letters of English are on the home row, which already allows you to type 70% of English words.
It has been difficult, but I can already feel it getting faster. We’ll see.
I have been meaning to write about this for a while, but am just now getting around to it.
At my work, I used to have two trash cans. One of them was the big blue one with the triangle of arrows that I am sure you have seen, and it was for recycling, while the other one was just a plain black bin, and it was for all other garbage.
Only after separating my trash faithfully like a good little recycler for three months did I find out that the janitor had been instructed to throw both bins into the garbage.
I was pissed! I mean I was even pulling the staples out of paper to go in that bin! Hell, I even meticulously removed the little plastic windows from of envelopes before tossing them in. Come to find out that all my recycling had been in vain. What a joke.
Anyway, the firm decided at some point that it was going to institute a real recycling policy, and so they made this big huzzah about how we were going to get new bins, and so that offered at least some consolation. Until I saw the bins…
They took away my blue bin (don’t even ask me why I had it in my office in the first place if there was no recycling policy in effect), leaving the black bin, which would be now relegated to recycling, and got us this stupid little hang on bin that is supposed to be for non-recyclable trash:
One problem is that the black can is actually smaller than the original blue bin, and seeing as most of my job consists of pushing paper, it fills up way too fast. Not to mention, the hang on bin is, as you can see, absurdly small.
It basically only holds a grande size Starbucks drink, so if I want to fit anything else in there, I have to crush all my trash. I usually cook my lunch on paper plates, so I have to fold them in half and then arrange all the small bits in the space between them. It ends up looking like a sidways garbage taco. (I would like to recycle the plates, but they refuse to take anything that has even touched food.)
And, finally, if you put anything heavy in it, has a tendency to tip over, which is a huge pain in the ass if there is anything liquid in it.
I really just don’t understand why the janitor can’t cope with two cans.
This whole affair would have been a nice aside in the movie Office Space.
Rich Ford makes the following argument:
…[T]raditional marriage isn’t just analogous to sex discrimination—it is sex discrimination: Only men may marry women, and only women may marry men. Same-sex marriage would transform an institution that currently defines two distinctive sex roles—husband and wife—by replacing those different halves with one sex-neutral role—spouse. Sure, we could call two married men “husbands” and two married women “wives,” but the specific role for each sex that now defines marriage would be lost. Widespread opposition to same-sex marriage might reflect a desire to hang on to these distinctive sex roles rather than vicious anti-gay bigotry.
I doubt that people reach this level of complexity and analysis in their primary reaction to gay marriage. Sure, it is a quandry they are presented with, but this is a feeble attempt at a kind of Freudian explanation that assumes too much subconscious sophistication.
But I can only speak from my experience, and as someone who used to oppose same-sex marriage in favor of civil unions, I can say with certainty that my objection arose from a feeling of being challenged. Not a challenge of having to reformulate my own sexuality as a result of the dissolution of clearly-delineated sex-roles, but a challenge to my morality.
People hate being wrong, and if someone is entitled to rights that I have previously been content to deny them, then I have done wrong.
On the whole, though, I do agree with the majority of Rich’s article, in which he says it’s tempting but erroneous to analogize same-sex marriage to racism. I reason that the process by which the majority came to grant civil rights to blacks is fundamentally different from that by which they will come to grant civil rights to gays.
In the case of blacks, the the driving force for equality was by nature empathetic. However, sex roles are much more entrenched than race roles, and so forging empathy may be more difficult. I think we should make an appeal to respect and the golden rule, while highlighting parellels to which heterosexuals will relate, namely that gays love too.
In so doing, we can assuage their fears of being forced to understand homosexuality, which they will probably never be able to do anyway.
As always, we should sidestep the issue of the bedroom, and we should find some common ground in love and commitment, by which we can reframe the issue.
E.J. Graff, author of What is Marriage For? The Strange Social History of Our Most Intimate Institution, makes a very original and compelling argument in favor of gay marriage.
I have heard a few different same sex marriage proponents reference the way “straight people already redefined marriage,” but I didn’t grasp the significance of that argument until now.
Graff convincingly makes the case that during the industrial revolution, between 1850 and 1950, heterosexuals began to question the tradition of marrying for property, economic status, familial alliance, business partnership etc., and started marrying for love. This shift was the most significant ‘redefinition’ of marriage in it’s millennia old history, and it was carried out by straight people.
She goes on to claim that homosexuals’ desire to take part in this new kind of marriage is a direct result of the spread of this novel concept of marriage.
Therefore, same sex marriage is not the cause of marriage redefinition, it is the result.
Give it to ‘em.
Andrew Sullivan comments on the “hole in our collective memory” that was the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
After we defeated the Japanese, we imposed strict censorship laws on them, and did away with most of the evidence of the horrific act we had perpetrated against them. Resultingly, images of the destruction are hard to come by. However, recently, photographs of the destruction surfaced.
The images are silently terrific, like this one, which depicts the famous “nuclear shadow” of a man standing on a bridge.
His footprints are outlined in chalk, and I am assuming he was vaporized instantly.
Noam Chomsky said that these bombings were likely the greatest acts of terrorism in history (by the definition of terrorism we apply to our current adversaries), but concedes that they were probably necessary. I am inclined to agree with him.
I will begin by disclosing the fact that I do not believe that the bible is worth consultation as a source of moral authority, but as some atheists are wont to do, I am going suspend disbelief just long enough to use it to make an argument to the faithful from their own canon.
We all remember the story of the woman who was to be stoned to death for adultery, and whom Jesus spared from that fate with the famous “let he who is without sin cast the first stone” speech. Most people also know that this story is that it was an attempt by the pharisees to discredit the teachings of Jesus.
Jesus claimed to believe in the old testament, which, barbaric as it often was, called for the woman to be put to death. However, by his own teachings, she should be spared. The pharisees wanted to catch him in this contradiction, and knew that if he agreed she should be executed in concordance with the bible, his teachings would be invalidated, and he could be discredited. But if he said she should be spared, he could be called a heretic for disagreeing with the holy books.
In the end, it is made very clear that Jesus opposes enforcement of any biblical injunction against unholy sexual practice if the accusers are sinful themselves.
It should therefore be apparent to followers of Jesus that we as men shall not deny rights, be they to life or marriage, to those who flaunt the carnal prohibitions of the bible.
I am filled with overwhelming pride tonight, as United States Senator Barack Hussein Obama is named as the winner of the 2008 presidential election. I feel tears well as I marvel at our willingness as a nation, as people, and as humans, to right the wrongs of the past, and to look forward to the future with hope and optimism; willingly taking the steps necessary to attain our dreams, and to challenge the status quo to secure a safe and better future for our children.
I love you America.
Electoral Map, 8:10 PM Pacific, November 4, 2008