Quickies

Quickies: Microaggressions, the History of Autism, and the Golden Girls

  • ‘Cosmonauts’ Exhibition Offers Rare Look at Soviet Space Artifacts in London – “The capsule that launched the first woman into space, the most complete Soviet lunar lander still in existence and the 80-year-old original drawings of a Russian rocket pioneer are among the more than 150 rare Soviet-era space relics now on display in London.” From Amy.
  • Microaggressions Matter – “The turn towards political correctness in academia, to which the concept of microaggressions belongs, is sometimes mischaracterized as an obsession with the creation of victims or shoehorning radically liberal ideas into college students. Others have argued that political correctness evangelizes a new kind of moral righteousness that over-privileges identity politics and silences conservative viewpoints. What these critics miss is that the striving for ‘PC culture’ on college campuses is actually rooted in empathy.”
  • I’m a Golden Girls Superfan, and You Should Be, Too – I just have too many favorite episodes to write a good description here.
  • A new book recounts the forgotten history of autism – “In a new book, science writer Steve Silberman chronicles the mostly unknown history of how the diagnosis and treatment of autism was stymied by the Nazi invasion of Austria and subsequently hijacked by an American clinician with a limited understanding of the disorder.”
  • The Bolivian women who knit parts for hearts – These medical devices are usually commercially made, but the ones for children need to be smaller and thus are harder to be produced by machines. That’s where the expertise of the knitters comes into play. Neat!
  • If you like Return Of The Jedi but hate the Ewoks, you understand feminist criticism – “Feminist criticism isn’t about ripping something to shreds or making others feel guilty for liking it. It’s simply about pointing out a specific creative weakness and then taking that a step further to explain the real-world social ramifications of that weakness, all in the hopes of dissuading future filmmakers from making the same mistake.”

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Mary

Mary

Mary Brock is a scientist who works on drugs you've hopefully never heard of. She enjoys cooking to Blue Grass music, messing with her cats, and hosting the Boston Skeptics' Book Club. She was born in the South but loves living in New England (despite the lack of chocolate chip pizza). Mary does not use Twitter and don't even try to follow her, because she is always looking over her shoulder.

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10 Comments

  1. September 21, 2015 at 9:59 am —

    I didn’t really like the “microagressions matter” article for a couple reasons. First, I think the bit essentially saying “I’m talking about real microaggressions, not like those oversensitive trivial folks on the internet who blow stuff up all the time” kind of undercuts the message. Second, my personal experience isn’t that critics miss that PC culture is about empathy; They do not understand what empathy actually involves.

    • September 21, 2015 at 7:08 pm —

      TBH, PC culture is about focusing on language rather than actions. Which is why I have no use for it.

      (Of course, since linguistic determinism is always presented as “Eskimos have 9001 words for snow.”, I could argue that PC is itself a microaggression.)

      • September 22, 2015 at 10:53 am —

        All the people I know who worry about “PC” stuff consider it to be about treating people with respect which in all my experience involves both the language we choose to use and our actions.

        This isn’t an either/or situation.

        • September 22, 2015 at 11:59 am —

          But it is an either/or situation. There’s this one guy, Zoltan Grossman, who, about six months ago, wrote an article claiming ISIS was an indigenous rights movement.

          That is what we’re dealing with here.

          Also, PC began as a joke by leftists making fun of self-important English majors.

          • September 22, 2015 at 4:50 pm

            Well I think the correct answer to that is to evaluate the claim, not to claim that all attempts at treating people with respect are stupid.

          • September 23, 2015 at 11:12 am

            Except language arguments are just another variant of tone policing.

          • September 23, 2015 at 1:05 pm

            I think tone policing is a pretty specific practice of someone arguing what you are saying is invalid because of how you said it.
            Asking someone to use more specific terms to avoid splash damage isn’t tone policing unless you do the bit above.

          • September 24, 2015 at 12:43 pm

            Language arguments still strike me as a variant of “I don’t like your tone.”, though. Nothing more, nothing less. I mean, white people do some variant of “They prefer Native American.” I’ve never heard anyone who wasn’t white use that term though. So again, PC isn’t about empathy because PC types are defined by their total lack of empathy.

            And again, are you forgetting about how a bunch of PC types, last year, did that whole online harassment campaign against Indians because Stephen Colbert told a joke that took >140 chars? Seriously?

            Forget microaggressions, the PC crowd is guilty of plain old aggression.

    • September 23, 2015 at 9:20 am —

      I wasn’t a big fan of how the article, specifically how the position was argued. The writer seems self-contradictory at times, like when talking about the experience of having someone point out that their dog had the same name as the author.

      In one paragraph, the author speaks of the impact of that event, “I wasn’t particularly offended by the dog comparison. I found it amusing at best and tone deaf at worst.”

      Then a couple paragraphs later, speaking of the same event, “The impact of her words and actions mattered more than her intent.”

      Didn’t the author already make it clear that there was no real impact other than finding it “amusing at best and tone deaf at worst”? If the author had been offended, or hurt, or felt they had been demeaned, I could understand the event having an impact and staying with them, but they said earlier that wasn’t the case.

  2. September 21, 2015 at 7:51 pm —

    Mary,

    So there’s a woman in Bolivia that knits together hearts for Children? What a unique job. I’ll bet the kids are very thankful for her saving their lives.

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