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08 Aug 14:43

Signaling White Supremacy and Provoking Racist Backlash

by Lisa Wade, PhD

Signaling white supremacy.

On the heels of the Republican national convention, the notorious KKK leader David Duke announced his campaign for the Louisiana Senate. On his social media pages, he released a campaign poster featuring a young white woman with blonde hair and blue eyes wearing a gray tank top decorated with American flag imagery. She is beautiful and young, exuding innocence. Atop the image the text reads “fight for Western civilization” and included David Duke’s website and logo. It does not appear that she consented to being on the poster.

When I came upon the image, I was immediately reminded of pro-Nazi propaganda that I had seen in a museum in Germany, especially those depicting “Hitler youth.” Many of those posters featured fresh white faces, looking healthy and clean, in stark contrast to the distorted, darkened, bloated, and snarling faces of the targets of the Nazi regime.

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It’s different era, but the implied message of Duke’s poster is the same — the nationalist message alongside the idealized figure — so it wasn’t difficult to find a Nazi propaganda poster that drew the comparison. I tweeted it out like this:

Given that David Duke is an avowed racist running on a platform to save “Western” civilization, it didn’t seem like that much of a stretch.

Provoking racist backlash.

I hashtagged it with #davidduke and #americafirst, so I can’t say I didn’t invite it, but the backlash was greater than any I have ever received. The day after the tweet, I easily got one tweet per minute, on average.

What I found fascinating was the range of responses. I was told I looked just like her — beautiful, blue-eyed, and white — was asked if I hated myself, accused of being a race traitor, and invited to join the movement against “white genocide.” I was also told that I was just jealous: comparatively hideous thanks to my age and weight. Trolls took shots at sociology, intellectuals, and my own intelligence. I was asked if I was Jewish, accused of being so, and told to put my head in an oven. I was sent false statistics about black crime. I was also, oddly, accused of being a Nazi myself. Others, like Kate Harding, Philip Cohen, and even Leslie Jones, were roped in.

Here is a sampling (super trigger warning for all kinds of hatefulness):

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It’s not news that twitter is full of trolls. It’s not news that there are proud white supremacists and neo-nazis in America. It’s not news that women online get told they’re ugly or fat on the reg. It’s not news that I’m a (proud) cat lady either, for what it’s worth. But I think transparency is our best bet to get people to acknowledge the ongoing racism, antisemitism, sexism, and anti-intellectualism in our society. So, there you have it.

Lisa Wade, PhD is a professor at Occidental College. She is the author of American Hookup, a book about college sexual culture, and a textbook about gender. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

(View original at https://thesocietypages.org/socimages)

30 Jul 18:16

Doing The Double Dutch With Peanut Butter Chocolate Stroopwafel S'mores!

Fergus Noodle

You can buy them at Woolies NQN!

Want a delicious twist on the traditional S'more? Try these Dutch stroopwafels, toasted with marshmallows, a layer of milk or dark chocolate (your choice), a tiny pinch of salt and a lick of peanut butter! It's sweet and salty heaven!
31 Jul 18:16

24 Hours In The Life Of One Of The Best Hotels In The World: Behind the Scenes of The Raffles Singapore!

The other-worldly Raffles hotel is an almost mythical place. Evoking a time long past, the genteel service and exclusive atmosphere is one beloved by guests and visitors alike. Colonial history is rooted in this hotel and today we peel back the curtains on this intriguingly beautiful hotel and see what it takes to run a hotel unlike any other on earth.
28 Jul 19:31

Would You Use This ATM?

by BrianKrebs

One basic tenet of computer security is this: If you can’t vouch for a networked thing’s physical security, you cannot also vouch for its cybersecurity. That’s because in most cases, networked things really aren’t designed to foil a skilled and determined attacker who can physically connect his own devices. So you can imagine my shock and horror seeing a Cisco switch and wireless antenna sitting exposed atop of an ATM out in front of a bustling grocery store in my hometown of Northern Virginia.

I’ve long warned readers to avoid stand-alone ATMs in favor of wall-mounted and/or bank-operated ATMs. In many cases, thieves who can access the networking cables of an ATM are hooking up their own sniffing devices to grab cash machine card data flowing across the ATM network in plain text.

But I’ve never before seen a setup quite this braindead. Take a look:

A not-very-secure ATM in front of a grocery store in Northern Virginia.

An ATM in front of a grocery store in Northern Virginia.

Now let’s have a closer look at the back of this machine to see what we’re dealing with:

groceryatmback

Need to get online in a jiffy? No problem, this ATM has plenty of network jacks for you to plug into. What could go wrong?

Daniel Battisto, the longtime KrebsOnSecurity reader who alerted me to this disaster waiting to happen, summed up my thoughts on it pretty well in an email.

“I’d like to assume, for the sake of sanity, that the admin who created this setup knows that Cisco security is broken relatively simple once physical access is gained,” said Battisto, a physical and IT security professional. “I’d also like to assume that all unused interfaces are shutdown, and port-security has been configured on the interfaces in use. I’d also like to assume that the admin established a good console login.”

While it’s impossible to test the security of this setup without tampering with the devices, “considering that this was left like this in the front vestibule of a grocery store with no cameras around AND the console cable still attached, my above assumptions are likely invalid,” Battisto observed.

“In my experience, IT departments often overlook basic security practices, and double down on the oversight by not implementing proper physical security controls (you’d be surprised, maybe, at the number of server rooms that I’ve been in that had the keys to all of the racks taped to the outside of the doors),” he said.

If something doesn’t look right about an ATM, don’t use it and move on to the next one. It’s not worth the hassle and risk associated with having your checking account emptied of cash. Also, it’s best to favor ATMs that are installed inside of a building or wall as opposed to free-standing machines, which may be more vulnerable to tampering.

If you liked this piece, check out my entire series on skimming devices, All About Skimmers.

27 Jul 18:19

The Charm of Royal Copenhagen

Fergus Noodle

$7 coffee!

I flick the magazine open and the words sprang out at me. Does that ever happen to you? Your eyes just catch a sentence that seems tailor made for you? I was on my way to Copenhagen and the words "Copenhagen was voted the most charming city". Now that's a big claim. Plenty of cities have their own charm. And besides, aren't Danes like most Scandis? A bit reserved?
25 Jul 14:37

Why is Nationalism Dangerous?

by Lisa Wade, PhD
Fergus Noodle

"To be proud and protective of one’s country sounds like something good" not really

In his speech last week accepting the Republican nomination for President, Donald Trump said (my emphasis):

…our plan will put America First. Americanism, not globalism, will be our credo. As long as we are led by politicians who will not put America First, then we can be assured that other nations will not treat America with respect.

Donald Trump’s insistence that we put “America First” hardly sounds harmful or irrational on its face. To be proud and protective of one’s country sounds like something good, even inevitable.  Americans are, after all, Americans. Who else would we put first?

But nationalism — a passionate investment in one’s country over and above others — is neither good nor neutral. Here are some reasons why it’s dangerous:

  • Nationalism is a form of in-group/out-group thinking. It encourages the kind of “us” vs. “them” attitude that drives sports fandom, making people irrationally committed to one team. When the team wins, they feel victorious (even though they just watched), and they feel pleasure in others’ defeat. As George Orwell put it:

A nationalist is one who thinks solely, or mainly, in terms of competitive prestige… his thoughts always turn on victories, defeats, triumphs and humiliations.

  • Committed to winning at all costs, with power-seeking and superiority as the only real goal, nationalists feel justified in hurting the people of other countries. Selfishness and a will to power — instead of morality, mutual benefit, or long-term stability — becomes the driving force of foreign policy. Broken agreements, violence, indifference to suffering, and other harms to countries and their peoples destabilize global politics. As the Washington Post said yesterday in its unprecedented editorial board opinion on Donald Trump, “The consequences to global security could be disastrous.”
  • Nationalism also contributes to internal fragmentation and instability. It requires that we decide who is and isn’t truly part of the nation, encouraging exclusionary, prejudiced attitudes and policies towards anyone within our borders who is identified as part of “them.” Trump has been clearly marking the boundaries of the real America for his entire campaign, excluding Mexican Americans, Muslims, African Americans, immigrants, and possibly even women. As MSNBC’s Chris Hayes tweeted on the night of Trump’s acceptance speech:

  • A nationalist leader will have to lie and distort history in order to maintain the illusion of superiority. A nationalist regime requires a post-truth politics, one that makes facts irrelevant in favor of emotional appeals. As Dr. Ali Mohammed Naqvi explained:

To glorify itself, nationalism generally resorts to suppositions, exaggerations, fallacious reasonings, scorn and inadmissible self-praise, and worst of all, it engages in the distortion of history, model-making and fable-writing. Historical facts are twisted to imaginary myths as it fears historical and social realism.

  • Thoughtful and responsive governance interferes with self-glorification, so all internal reflection and external criticism must be squashed. Nationalist leaders attack and disempower anyone who questions the nationalist program and aim to destroy social movements. After Trump’s acceptance speech, Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullers responded: “He… threaten[ed] the vast majority of this country with imprisonment, deportation and a culture of abject fear.” Anyone who isn’t on board, especially if they are designated as a “them,” must be silenced.

When Americans say “America is the greatest country on earth,” that’s nationalism. When other countries are framed as competitors instead of allies and potential allies, that’s nationalism. When people say “America first,” expressing a willfulness to cause pain and suffering to citizens of other countries if it is good for America, that’s nationalism. And that’s dangerous. It’s committing to one’s country’s preeminence and doing whatever it takes, however immoral, unlawful, or destructive, to further that goal.

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Lisa Wade, PhD is a professor at Occidental College. She is the author of American Hookup, a book about college sexual culture, and a textbook about gender. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

(View original at https://thesocietypages.org/socimages)

25 Jul 18:23

The World of Barzaari, Marrickville

Fergus Noodle

Just down the road but I don't think I want to eat any of this stuff

What happens when an ex Quay chef opens up his own restaurant after studying the business side of the restaurant world and opening up dozens of others restaurants? It's a relatively smooth transition for Barzaari's chef Darryl Martin and business partner and family friend Andrew Jordanou. And it's a path gilded in pretty dishes that will make you want to take out your phone or a camera, even if just to remember them.
17 Jul 15:03

i-Creamy Artisan Gelato, Sydney

by Helen (Grab Your Fork)
Scoops of gelato? Ptooey. Who wants a boring old hemisphere jammed onto a cone when you can have a lovingly shaped gelato flower instead? Sydneysiders can't get enough of these rose-inspired artworks, judging by the crowds each night at i-Creamy. The gelato itself is serious business too. i-Creamy founder Ben Chitmitrechareon learnt the trade from Gelato Messina legend, Nick Palumbo, at
03 Jul 18:16

Meet My Suburb: Concord in Sydney's Inner West!

Concord is a suburb in Sydney's inner west bordered by North Strathfield to the West, Breakfast Point to the North and Five Dock Canada Bay on the east. The main thoroughfare and shopping street is Majors Bay Road. When I wrote about my last food tour of Summer Hill with Belinda, a fellow blogger Bianca from For Food's Sake asked if I would like a food tour of her suburb, Concord. I make it a policy of never refusing an offer like this-it would be foolish, nay crazy to refuse an offer from these guys.
08 Jul 08:08

Canterbury Foodies and Farmers Market, Canterbury

by Helen (Grab Your Fork)
Inner westies have a new farmers market to wake up every Sunday with the Canterbury Foodies and Farmers Markets. This is the third market venue for the Organic Foodies Markets, adding to its current markets at Ramsgate and Peakhurst. I went along in its second week of trade (the markets started on June 26 this year) and was amazed by the number and variety of stalls. Daffodils The market
30 Jun 15:15

Ramadan Food Festival, Lakemba

by Helen (Grab Your Fork)
If there's ever a time to visit Lakemba, it's now. Every evening Ramadan night markets transform the main strip of Haldon Street into a convivial food festival. Families, young kids and teenagers roam the footpaths crowded with charcoal barbecues, juice stands and food stalls. Everywhere you look, there's something happening. The hiss of fat hitting charcoal. Plumes of steam rising from a
29 Jun 14:03

The Most Trustful Societies are Weakly Religious and Diverse

by Evan Stewart

We often think that religion helps to build a strong society, in part because it gives people a shared set of beliefs that fosters trust. When you know what your neighbors think about right and wrong, it is easier to assume they are trustworthy people. The problem is that this logic focuses on trustworthy individuals, while social scientists often think about the relationship between religion and trust in terms of social structure and context.

New research from David Olson and Miao Li (using data from the World Values survey) examines the trust levels of 77,405 individuals from 69 countries collected between 1999 and 2010. The authors’ analysis focuses on a simple survey question about whether respondents felt they could, in general, trust other people. The authors were especially interested in how religiosity at the national level affected this trust, measuring it in two ways: the percentage of the population that regularly attended religious services and the level of religious diversity in the nation.

These two measures of religious strength and diversity in the social context brought out a surprising pattern. Nations with high religious diversity and high religious attendance had respondents who were significantly less likely to say they could generally trust other people. Conversely, nations with high religious diversity, but relatively low levels of participation, had respondents who were more likely to say they could generally trust other people.

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One possible explanation for these two findings is that it is harder to navigate competing claims about truth and moral authority in a society when the stakes are high and everyone cares a lot about the answers, but also much easier to learn to trust others when living in a diverse society where the stakes for that difference are low. The most important lesson from this work, however, may be that the positive effects we usually attribute to cultural systems like religion are not guaranteed; things can turn out quite differently depending on the way religion is embedded in social context.

Evan Stewart is a PhD candidate at the University of Minnesota studying political culture. He is also a member of The Society Pages’ graduate student board. There, he writes for the blog Discoveries, where this post originally appeared. You can follow him on Twitter

(View original at https://thesocietypages.org/socimages)

27 Jun 13:42

In Which We Woke Up This Morning And All The Direwolves Were Gone

by Durga
Fergus Noodle

'so too may some of the Stark children be the product of a similar relationship. The way Ned Stark looked at his sister as she was dying in childbirth was a bit on the creepy side.' I thought this too! This post contains spoilers!

Fully Thronesed

by DICK CHENEY

Game of Thrones
creators David Benioff & D.B. Weiss
HBO

It was a show that barely got a second season order, so constrained by budgetary limitations that in early seasons Jon Snow's direwolf Ghost was portrayed by a toy poodle from Tom's River, New Jersey named Lady Sunstein.

All the direwolves are gone now, and all the Lannister children as well. They were all the product of an ill union between brother and sister - and, it is intimated, so too may some of the Stark children be the product of a similar relationship. The way Ned Stark looked at his sister as she was dying in childbirth was a bit on the creepy side. Maybe we find out later, in the vast books of the Citadel, that Rhaeger was impotent.

There was something a bit trite about these climactic scenes as they finally arrived. The first twenty minutes of this show was brilliant and probably should have been in last week's episode. It was amazing how Cersei sort of gave up on her son and left his bay windows open for a deadly fall. I was so happy that I would never be forced to watch Natalie Dormer or Jonathan Pryce act again that I almost cried.

Grandma Tyrell's indignation at this state of affairs seemed rather forced. I don't really understand why the Golden Girls need to be affliated with Daenerys, since she seems destined to enter into a love relationship with her nephew Jon Snow. On the other hand, the absolute insane amount of people that have been killed off means that the remaining characters are necessarily inhabiting a larger role.

The worst part of the finale was undoubtedly the turgid scene between Daenerys and Tyrion. What kind of woman throws out a perfectly good terrible actor and replaces him with a much shorter terrible actor? Tyrion as a character would have a lot more relevance if he exhibited any emotion at all. Like, what is even the point of this mutual appreciation party? Cersei may not have liked him very much, but didn't he already get his revenge?

The power struggle in the North is a nice wrinkle, but a couple things. The Onion Knight was absolutely fine with Melisandre for like a year, but suddenly he's accusing her of being a murderer? He's been acting like they were best friends the entire season. Also, I'm pretty sure the little girl was going to die from greyscale any day. Melisandre could have plausibly used that in her defense. I guess it's time for her to meet up with the Brotherhood without Banners. She could finally bring Catelyn Stark back from the dead.

So many people were and are still caught up in thinking that Arya Stark never left that little shit room in Braavos, and the Waif is now Arya Stark. I guess it's possible, although why she would go and eat all of Walder Frey's children I truly don't know. I felt like that probably could have used an episode in itself. Arya should have infiltrated the camp and shown all her skills. This way it just seems like she teleported to her destination and the kill has so much less effect.

Cersei Lannister should be a tremendous villain, but I'm sort of failing to see where she went wrong in any of this. Bran saw her fucking Jaime in Winterfell. She took mercy on the boy and never killed him. She returned to Westeros. Her husband was a dangerous alcoholic so she got rid of him, but in the nicest possible way. She did kill Ned Stark, but in her defense, he was very nosy and anyway I doubt she could have stopped it from happening. The Golden Girls killed her daughter and the Tyrells killed Joffrey. So exactly how did she lose the moral high ground in any of this? This entire season she's been nothing but trod upon by a group of religious fanatics who stole her remaining son.

I honestly don't know why he even bothered finishing the series of books. It feels like we are so close to end of things that the rest of Game of Thrones will just approximate the feel of this episode. The finale was just a big epilogue, a Where Are They Now? for a group of people that have already experienced all the tragedy they will ever know. How do you punish the punisher, or torture the tortured? There was a finality to everything, a sense that we could watch these shifting alliances forever, until we decide ourselves to leave well enough alone.

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording. He will return to his reviews when the remake of Lost hits ABC in the year 2026, or when Game of Thrones returns, whichever occurs first I guess.


26 Jun 23:02

A Dessert for Summer and Winter: Pineapple Tarte Tatin!

Ahh tarte tatin. Nothing says "welcome to winter" like a gorgeous baked buttery pastry but with half the planet experiencing summer I decided to make a tarte tatin for both hemispheres. Nothing could be easier than making these buttery gorgeous saucy tarts. For starters pineapples are perfect for an individual serve of tarte tatin. Plus they are even easier than apple tarte tatin as the fruit needs no cooking. Are you ready to impress?
26 Jun 15:38

Mercado, Sydney

by Helen (Grab Your Fork)
Fergus Noodle

4 webber

They're not garlic cloves. The glistening hillocks on our wagyu beef shortrib are melt-in-the-mouth dabs of bone marrow, splashed over with a richly sweet jus poured with ceremony at our table. It's a dish that exemplifies the approach at Mercado - simple and uncomplicated fare that doesn't rely on fancy garnishes or plating. Mercado, which means market in Spanish, is the latest undertaking
22 Jun 16:01

Leaving Work to Care for Family Could Cost You Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars

by Alyssa Peterson
Fergus Noodle

I think I still earn my wage increases when I am on maternity leave. Phew.

A new interactive from the Center for American Progress helps you calculate how much you will lose if you exit the workforce to care for a family member — and the answers are depressing. 

Take me for example: I’m 23 and earn $38,000 a year. If I take off one year of work at the age of 28 to care for a child or an aging parent, the cost of that decision will be $131,000. That’s because, in addition to the wages lost during that period, individuals who take time out of the workforce also miss out on the wage increases they would have earned had they remained, which in turn reduces their retirement savings and social security benefits.

Screen Shot 2016-06-21 at 6.08.06 PM

 

These costs disproportionately fall on women, who often shoulder the bulk of caregiving responsibilities whether they want to or not. Pew Research Center data shows that 39 percent of surveyed mothers have taken a significant amount of time off to care for a family member, as opposed to 29 percent of fathers. This disparity may be linked to societal expectations around caregiving; one Pew survey found that 80 percent of respondents believed that young women with children should work part-time or drop out of the labor force; by contrast, 70 percent of these respondents believed that men with young children should work full-time.

These discriminatory attitudes stand in the way of more egalitarian caregiving arrangements and can discourage men from trying to balance the scale. For example, if I were a man, I would actually lose $30,000 more than a woman, according to the interactive. As the concept of a stay-at-home dad remains heavily stigmatized (only 4 percent of the Pew survey respondents saw it as ideal), men who have gaps in their resume due to caregiving are strongly discriminated against when they try to return to the workforce.

And so, rather than taking an absolute position about what is best for everyone, we should work to reduce the penalties associated with caregiving.

For some people, that will mean making child care more affordable. Right now the Center for American Progress notes that the average cost to have two children in a child care center is nearly $18,000 annually. As a result, many low-and-moderate income families are caught in a bind where they have to either accept that much of their earnings will be eaten up by child care expenses or stop work and take a huge hit to their current/future earnings.

But, we can’t stop at child care or elder care. Focusing solely on labor force participation obscures the very real ways that people contribute essential care work that isn’t compensated for within capitalism. One way of accounting for this in the context of retirement would be through enacting a Social Security caregivers credit. At present, the labor of individuals who exit the workforce to provide uncompensated care for a family member is not valued for Social Security purposes. A caregivers credit would ensure that care work is valued when calculating future Social Security benefits.

A more comprehensive solution to compensating care work would be to enact a Universal Basic Income (UBI), a policy where individuals receive an unconditional sum on a regular basis. As Judith Shulevitz has written in the New York Times, enacting a UBI would be a way to more appropriately account for labor that mothers and other caregivers currently provide for free.

We have all benefited from the care work of others, compensated or not. It’s time that our public policies accord that labor the respect and visibility it deserves.

Header image by Kainaz Amaria via NPR

23 Jun 14:05

In Which We Have More Hair Than We Know What To Do With

by Durga

Dream People

by ETHAN PETERSON

Cleverman
creators Ryan Griffen, Michael Miller & Jon Bell
SundanceTV

Watching Cleverman on SundanceTV this week I was reminded of how completely America has erased its indigenous people from contemporary culture. In Australia, a different state of affairs exists. Aboriginal people are always at the edge of Australian culture, but their mature concepts and themes have a deep influence on how Australians define themselves as the people.

Koen West (Hunter Page-Lochard) has integrated himself completely into this people. He runs a bar with a friend and fucks the guy's girlfriend in the back between serving pints. On the side he makes money relocating Hairies (a native species divergent from humans with immense strength and speed) to secret housing and then reporting their whereabouts to the government, who persecute them out of fear.

Every single character in Cleverman has this potential for evil, and while it would be farfetched to say this is an Australian characteristic, it reflects a basic guilt for the essential crimes against the aboriginal people that the United States pretends to have resolved through casinos and lenient tax situations.

Koen becomes a cleverman in the show's pilot, which among other things gives him the power to see individual's futures through touch, as well as almost unlimited healing. This gift from his uncle alters the fabric of who he is, and gives him a new perspective on his shitty, drug and sex-fueled life.

His primary antagonists on Cleverman carry most of the action, and they are what make the show so much fun to watch. The first is Jarrod Slade (Iain Glen), a media executive much closer than Ser Jorah Mormont to Glen's natural strengths of steely resolve and an unclear sense of what is moral in the world. His wife Charlotte (Frances O'Connor) looks to have barely aged in the nearly two decades since she starred as Fanny Price in Mansfield Park.

The casting of the two as a couple with vague sympathies towards aboriginal people and Hairies makes the de facto Australian point of view. Cleverman features a somewhat light commentary on how we view the various problems of immigration and cultural minorities with different beliefs. Cleary and Slade's waterfront home is a metaphor for how their literal positioning of privilege keeps them apart from the realities of such debates, and the protection of their wealth seems a tad bit convenient for this fractured milieu.

The other antagonist is Koen's brother, the wonderfully certain and slightly demonic Waruu (Rob Collins, in a breakout role). Collins has a young daughter and a wife he cheats on with a white woman. Besides his infidelity, his only crime is that he is not the cleverman he expected to become when his uncle died. The concept of a character who is ruined by being denied one thing - when he has everything else - is kind of Oedipal. In any case, it is somewhat unusual in serial television.

The weakest part of Cleverman is the plight of a family of Hairies who Koen betrayed. Their incarceration by a bunch of vindictive and malevolent prison guards is the only part of the show without shades of grey. It seems too grim an indictment on the Australian people that they would allow torture and murder of any species. Observing these creatures of transparently applied makeup is hard enough without seeing them shocked and bled.

While British shows have found an easier time appealing to American audiences, a more difficult accent, lower production values and a less similar environment have slowed the inroads of the up-and-coming Australian film and television industry. Cleverman hurdles these difficulties through impressive production values, a variety of gorgeous locations and Ser Jorah Mormont and his wife. Initially the political messages seem a little abstruse, but that can be solved over time. 

Despite small missteps, Cleverman's blend of horror and near-future science fiction gives the series an exciting base. The show is noticeably short on action so far, but that energy seems to have gone into showing us all the angles of its conflicted, embattled characters. Cleverman is the only show of recent note that gives me the feeling that actual life conveys at moments – of a difficult slog dotted by brief moments of incandescent beauty and love.

Ethan Peterson is the senior contributor to This Recording.

23 Jun 15:17

Marrickville Food Tour: Open Marrickville and Community Kouzina

by Helen (Grab Your Fork)
Fifteen kitchens in Marrickville. Fifteen kitchens in Kos, a small island in Greece. Eleni Christou came up with the idea of Community Kouzina Project, a means of insight into what, how and why different people cook the way they do. Eleni, who has a Masters in Applied Anthropology, visited the homes of friends and strangers in Marrickville and Kos, backed by a grant from Marrickville Council to
21 Jun 18:15

5 Foods That The Japanese Have Perfected!

Fergus Noodle

She weirdly talks about using a proper knife to eat her french toast. Also the best thing in Japan is the drinks der.

Confession time: I am an avid Japanophile. Japan is a country that invents a lot but it is also a country that and refines and perfects concepts. Think electronics, cars and food. And on our recent trip we discovered that they had indeed perfected already popular items like French toast, soft serve, fruit, pastry and beef but with their very own twist. White strawberry or olive beef anyone?
17 Jun 18:34

Choose Your Own Adventure At Crumble Top, Newtown

Fergus Noodle

Ooh I wanna go here

Well we've got two months to go of Winter and what better to do than make the most of the best winter food on offer? And there isn't a dessert much more Winter friendly than a fruit and pudding crumble. But what if you could get your crumble customised using a range of nine filling and nine crumble toppings? And that's not even counting the sauces and ice creams that come with it.
16 Jun 16:25

In Which We Search Desperately For The Real Villains

by Durga

Comfortable Men

by ALEX CARNEVALE

The Nice Guys
dir. Shane Black
119 minutes
 

I started to ask myself: who would I be if I didn't live in a world that hated women? I've been unable to come up with a satisfactory answer, but I did realize I've long been mourning this version of myself that never existed. - Jessica Valenti

Earlier this year an employee was fired at Nintendo of America after a group of misogynist messageboard posters targeted her as a perpetrator in the heady crime of making changes to an American release of a Japanese game. (She wasn't responsible for those alterations, not that it matters.) They started "researching" her past and decided to shame her for various opinions she held in her dissertation about the prosecution of sex crimes. Nintendo responded by digging further into the woman's life, uncovering a job she performed in order to supplement the measly income and health insurance she made working for the company. They fired her for this moonlighting, even though it was explicitly allowed in her contract. It was nothing more than an excuse to side with trolls over a talented member of their own company.

The women-haters who brought this all about seem like the real villains of this story. But there are worse ones: men (and sometimes women) who buy into harassment and support the atmosphere it generates. These good-intentioned people — how often we hear them say they love women — have a distinct point where they completely capitulate to pressure of any kind. They are comfortable with the concept of women as long as the women in question are simultaneously making them comfortable. Enter the nice guys.

It is perhaps natural that fathers today want to protect their daughters more than ever. Star of The Nice Guys Holland March (Ryan Gosling) does not particularly subscribe to this point of view. After the death of his wife, he is raising his daughter Holly (Australian actress Angourie Rice) on the wages of a private eye. During her summer off from school, Holly tries to aid her helpless pop on a case where he attempts to determine the whereabouts of a pornographic actress named Amelia (Margaret Qualley).

Holly is almost shot, murdered with a knife, run over by a car and abducted throughout Shane Black's The Nice Guys. At the end of it you would be hard pressed to say that Holland is any kind of a good parent, but you have to give him credit for allowing his daughter to be her own person, albeit a miniaturized version of himself. "I hate you," she tells her dad during one particularly feisty moment, but the rest of the time she is simply upset whenever she is not included in the excitement of his job. 

The rest of the women in The Nice Guys are either evil beasts doing the bidding of men, or whores. Judith Kutner (Kim Basinger) appears halfway through the film as a cold-blooded concerned mother. In The Nice Guys, Basinger portrays the head of the Justice Department, a lawyer working for the car manufacturers in order to ensure they are not penalized for defying environmental regulations. She hires the nice guys to find her daughter; instead her daughter is murdered and she does not even get a refund.

The joke Black is making is that there are no nice guys. Exhibit A: the closest Black has ever come to writing an effective woman character is a thirteen-year-old virtually identical to Nancy Drew. Still, you have to give him points for effort. Unlike the producers of the new Ghostbusters, he knows his own limitations.

A particularly wretched article appeared in The New York Times recently, announcing that anyone who thought Paul Feig was less than a complete genius (for his patronizing character of a ghettoized black woman?) is a person who clearly hates women.

Paul Feig is another "nice guy," only he isn't very nice and he can't write women for shit either. I guess some credit goes to him for making an action film with an all-woman cast. The fact that is a cynical cash-in on fan nostalgia and the movie looks completely tone-deaf and unfunny, not to mention borderline racist, is besides the point. This particular beacon of feminism is a man drawing a huge paycheck for making a group of talented women the focal point for a hate campaign while he lurks in the shadows.

Feig's last movie was quite financially successful as well. It spent a solid two hours making fat jokes about Melissa McCarthy — but hey, since she was the star, it was a progressive piece of revolutionary feminism. Actually, Spy was mean-spirited and awful, and anyone involved in its production should be pretty ashamed of the Chuck Lorre-esque bigotry the movie espoused. It may have somehow escaped the notice of those determined to justify everything that this nice guy does, but women have — gasp! — been starring as the lead draws in feature films long before Paul Feig was born.

Maybe it is as Jessica Valenti says in her new memoir, and the whole world hates women. This does not mean, prima facie, that this was always so. Women did rule nations, empires. They accomplished a lot before The Nice Guys ever came onto the scene. Given the title Shane Black gives to his movie, you would have thought there was some larger point at work here about men's relationship to women. Instead The Nice Guys becomes turgidly boring after an entertaining first hour, subsisting mostly on Black's back-and-forth banter. The basic overall message of the film is how difficult it is being a good person.

Russell Crowe has no chemistry with Gosling for some reason, which is how The Nice Guys falls apart. The two men have very little in common besides their occupation and their status as bachelors. Despite the insanely long running time of The Nice Guys, neither ever even meets or approaches a woman in a sexual way. It is as if Black believes that treating a woman as a romantic equal is ultimately too much like objectifying her as a sexual object. Except for very young girls who might be their daughters, Gosling and Crowe's characters are deeply uncomfortable with the idea of adult women.

One scene near the end of the film is particularly disturbing in that regard. Gosling and Crowe wait in the lobby of a courthouse after testifying in front of a grand jury about the machinations of Kim Basinger's corrupt lawyer. She goes over to sit by them and explain her actions and sadness at her daughter Amelia's death. Strangely, the two men cannot even bring themselves to look at her face, that of a grieving mother. Instead Gosling speaks in German, comparing this powerful fallen, woman to Adolf Hitler.

Whether or not there is an active misogyny behind this filmmaking, I don't really know or care. It used to be that Hollywood was where society took steps forward; now film is purely a reactionary medium. Even contrived, white savior stories like Mississippi Burning and Schindler's List did the important work of showing why human beings deserved to be treated as equals. The Nice Guys barely believes that women exist as anything other than children. This horrendous state of affairs really stands out when a B-tier remake of a soulless franchise that was never really much to begin with, directed by a man, becomes a rallying cry. Women actually do make films — it's not just the nice guys.

Alex Carnevale is the editor of This Recording.


20 Jun 18:16

Vanessa, The Mysterious Black Sesame Chiffon Sponge Cake

This dark goddess that I've named Vanessa after the name I always wanted as a teenager, is a real beauty. She is a chiffon sponge with a dark grey exterior and a mysterious black sesame flavour base. The rest is a beautiful lightness where she is lifted to the heavens with whisked egg whites and sugar. Last but not least, her decoration is a jewellery box selection of the prettiest, brightest berries, cut to glisten on top. Approach Vanessa with nothing but adoration!
16 Jun 00:00

Wishing Upon a Michelin Star in Macau

Fergus Noodle

hedgehog bun! this looks like a crazy good holiday to get for free!

The view of Macau from the boat is hazy, the sun casting a golden, radiating glow but the glass is so weather worn and in need of a clean that it's impossible to get a clear view of our destination, Macau. It is a 70 minute Turbo Jet ferry ride from Hong Kong to arrive at the sub tropical peninsula south west of Hong Kong. We get a clearer view of Macau from the pier to our hotel. There are certainly the futuristic city scapes that Asia is known for but there are also quirky Disney-esque buildings that look like they have been transported from the set of a child's fantasy play date. And there is also the glitz and glamour and bright lights that remind us of Las Vegas. And plenty of stars-Michelin stars that is.
12 Jun 18:33

How To Make Your Own Amazingly Delicious Turkish Pide!

Wow. Just wow. The moment I pulled these Turkish pide out of the oven I knew that they would be good. But I wasn't quite prepared for how really amazing they would be. Turkish pide are breads that have a centre of filling-be it beef, cheese or vegetarian. Pide is usually shaped in an oval or "boat" or round shape and is commonly described as a Turkish pizza.
12 Jun 18:25

36 Hours, Four Violent Men, and One American Ideology

by Lisa Wade, PhD

America woke up this weekend to the news of the deadliest civilian mass shooting in the nation’s history. The senseless tragedy will undoubtedly evoke anger, sadness and helplessness.

In the meantime, many will forget to think and talk about Stanford swimmer Brock Turner’s crime and his “summer vacation” jail sentence: three months for the vile sexual assault of an unconscious woman.

As a sociologist, I was struck not by the abrupt shift to a new moral crisis, but by the continuity. Sociologists look for the bigger picture, and in my mind, Mateen’s crime didn’t displace Turner’s. Yet the media simply replaced one outrage with another, moving our attention away from Stanford and toward Orlando, as if these two crimes were unrelated. They’re not.

Status, masculinity and sexual assault

Brock Turner was an all-American boy: a white, Division I swimmer at one of the nation’s top universities. What he did to his victim was arguably all-American, too, confirmed by decades of research tying rape to a sense of male superiority and entitlement.

I study sex on campus, where sexual violence is perpetrated disproportionately by “high-status” men – fraternity men and certain male athletes in particular. These men are more likely than other men to endorse the sexual double standard, believing that they are justified in praising sexually active men, while condemning and even abusing women who are less sexually active.

They are also more likely to promote homophobia, hypermasculinity and male dominance; tolerate violent and sexist jokes; endorse misogynistic attitudes and behaviors; and endorse false beliefs about rape. Accordingly, athletes are responsible for an outsized number of sexual assaults on campus, and women who attend fraternity parties are significantly more likely to be assaulted than those who attend other parties with alcohol and those who don’t go to parties at all.

Status, masculinity and violent homophobia

Omar Mateen’s crime is related to this strand of masculinity. Mateen’s father told the media that his son had previously been angered by the sight of two men kissing, and reports claim that he was a “regular” at the Pulse nightclub and was known to use a gay hookup app.

Anti-gay hate crimes, like violence against women (Mateen also reportedly beat his ex-wife), are tied closely to rigid and hierarchical ideas about masculinity that depend on differentiating “real” men from women as well as gay and bisexual men. Men who experience homoerotic feelings themselves sometimes erupt into especially aggressive homophobia.

As the sociologist Michael Kimmel has argued, while we talk ad infinitum about guns, mental illness and, in this case, Islamic identity, we miss the strongest unifying factor: these mass murderers are men, almost to the last one. In his book Guyland,” Kimmel argues that as many boys grow into men, “they learn that they are entitled to feel like a real man, and that they have the right to annihilate anyone who challenges that sense of entitlement.”

He means “annihilate” literally.

We now know that many boys who descend on their schools with guns are motivated by fears that they are perceived as homosexual and that attacking suspected or known homosexuals is a way for boys to demonstrate heterosexuality to their peers.

It makes sense to me, as a woman, that men would fear gay men because such men threaten to put other men under the same sexually objectifying, predatory, always potentially threatening gaze that most women learn to live with as a matter of course. Being looked at by a gay man threatens to turn any man into a figurative woman: subordinate, weak, penetrable. That can be threatening enough to a man invested in masculinity, but discovering that he enjoys being the object of other men’s desires – being put in the position of a woman – could stoke both internalized and externalized homophobia even further.

Meanwhile, gay men, by their very existence, challenge male dominance by undermining the link between maleness and the sexual domination of women. It’s possible that Mateen, enraged by his inability to stop men from kissing in public and struggling with self-hatred, took it upon himself to annihilate the people who dared pierce the illusion that manhood and the righteous sexual domination of women naturally go hand-in-hand.

The common denominator

Mass shootings, frighteningly, appear to have become a part of our American cultural vernacular, a shared way for certain men to protest threats to their entitlement and defend the hierarchy their identities depend on. As the sociologists Tristan Bridges and Tara Leigh Tober wrote last year for the website Feminist Reflections:

This type of rampage violence happens more in the United States of America than anywhere else… Gun control is a significant part of the problem. But, gun control is only a partial explanation for mass shootings in the United States. Mass shootings are also almost universally committed by men. So, this is not just an American problem; it’s a problem related to American masculinity and to the ways American men use guns.

Some members of the media and candidates for higher office will focus exclusively on Mateen’s Afghan parents. But he – just like Brock Turner – was born, raised and made a man right here in America. While it appears that he had (possibly aspirational) links to ISIS, it in no way undermines his American-ness. This was terrorism, yes, but it was domestic terrorism: of, by and aimed at Americans.

I don’t want to force us all to keep Turner in the news (though I imagine that he and his father are breathing a perverse sigh of relief right now). I want to remind us to keep the generalities in mind even as we mourn the particulars.

Sociologists are pattern seekers. This problem is bigger than Brock Turner and Omar Mateen. It’s Kevin James Loibl, who sought out and killed the singer Christina Grimmie the night before the massacre at Pulse. It’s James Wesley Howell, who was caught with explosives on his way to the Los Angeles Pride Parade later that morning. It’s the grotesque list of men who used guns to defend their sense of superiority that I collected and documented last summer.

The problem is men’s investment in masculinity itself. It offers rewards only because at least some people agree that it makes a person better than someone else. That sense of superiority is, arguably, why men like Turner feel entitled to violating an unconscious woman’s body and why ones like Mateen will defend it with murderous rampages, even if it means destroying themselves in the process. And unless something changes, there will be another sickening crisis to turn to, and another sinking sense of familiarity.

Cross-posted at The Conversation, New Republic, Special Broadcasting Company (SBS)United Press InternationalNewsweek Japan (in Japanese), and Femidea (in Korean).

Lisa Wade, PhD is a professor at Occidental College. She is the author of American Hookup, a book about college sexual culture, and Gender, a textbook. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

(View original at https://thesocietypages.org/socimages)

04 Jun 03:33

A slow week and a house auction.

by noreply@blogger.com (Merlesworld)
Fergus Noodle

This house is so ugly

Quiet week last week one and a half days I was very ill, throwing up on Wednesday night and Thursday not to good at all, have no idea why.
One of those 24 hour things but mine went a bit longer, ok now but still off my food, well that won't hurt too much I have reservers.
Kicked Leeroy out of the bedroom so she moved into the guest room between the warm quilts just check out the look I'm getting, will leave her in peace.

Made a blanket for my grandchildren.
Took a picture of this wonderful tree on the way home from Bingo on Monday.
On Saturday the house on the corner was Auctioned so of course we went to have a look.
 Everything is brand new not as flashy as I thought but this is the most buttons I have ever seen on a shower, 3 bathrooms all with these controls.
 I have never seen so many perfumes on a dressing table before not sure why they left the deodorant and vaseline in view
 The light in the stairs was truly different as were all the curtains.
 Only one wardrobe storage would be a problem, the beer fairy was surprised they had fitted 5 bedrooms, it was 2 story but the block is very small .
 But these washbasins were very different, two of the bathrooms had these.
 This was the top of the shower.
The other gold bowl.
The Auction didn't go well they wanted to start at $950,000 but only got one offer at $850,000 so it was passed in, will let you know how much when I hear through the grapevine.
Lots of rain here at the moment but the rain held off for the auction so they were lucky there.
06 Jun 18:11

Penelope, the Passionfruit Raspberry Layer Cake!

When I was little my favourite ever ice cream was a simple ice cream in a cup. It was called a Twister and it was vanilla ice cream swirled with raspberry sauce and passionfruit. Except nobody really knows what I'm talking about because apparently I was the only customer of the Twister and when I talk to my friends about it they talk about other ice blocks. The Twister has since been replaced by a much fancier version that is nothing like the original. But because I have the food memory of an elephant, I still love the original Twister mainly for the combination of flavours. I think it was the tartish passionfruit and raspberry and the creamy vanilla that I adored so much. So I decided to make it into a cake, of course!
05 Jun 18:13

Ladies & Gentlemen, An Afternoon Tea for Both Genders!

Fergus Noodle

FINALLY high tea for men!

There's a new 5 star hotel in town and with it is a new place for afternoon tea. There are three afternoon offerings at the Art Deco Primus Hotel and if you think it's more a past time for women then you might be wrong because there's also a gentleman's version. And don't bypass the cocktails too - they come out with a flourish!
05 Jun 17:15

Jasmin, 21

“It's all second hand; the shoes are Jeffrey Campbell and the dress I found in Korea. I go with what I feel and let the emotions kind of do the picking. I don't want to copy, and I hate to look like everyone else, so the inspiration has to come from somewhere else than mass media. I love dresses. Unique, for sure, but also comfortable, and nowadays I also love wearing clothes that are as ethical as possible.”

25 May 2016, Erottaja

04 Jun 06:10

Tsunami evacuation map for New South Wales

by Saving Our Trees
Fergus Noodle

Phew, we are safe

Yesterday the NSW State Emergency Service released a tsunami evacuation map for New South Wales.  The map shows all the areas that lie – under 10-metres above sea level, are 1 km or less inland & are 10 km up an estuary. This includes Marrickville, Dulwich Hill, Tempe, Sydenham, St Peters & Lewisham.  Other suburbs […]