Skepchick Quickies 10.31

Happy Halloween! This is my favorite holiday of the year, but unfortunately I can’t participate tonight because I’ll be in class instead. Those of you who are dressing up, please tell me all about your awesome costumes! (Last year, my husband was Norman Bates’ mom and I was the shower scene from Psycho.)


Mary Brock works as an Immunology scientist by day and takes care of a pink-loving princess child by night. She likes cloudy days, crafting, cooking, and Fall weather in New England.

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    1. We built a shower rod that circled around my head and attached to my waist, so I was covered by a shower curtain. I wore tight, beige clothing that we sprayed with blood. So I would grip the shower curtain and screm while my husband stabbed at me with this huge knife. It was fun! We won best costume at an event.

  1. Regarding the “Responding too quickly to disaster” bit, it’s another example of a trend I (as a European) has noticed in the American political system: The Republicans keep trying to deflect every criticism back, even if they didn’t understand why they were criticised.

    Bush was criticised for taking too many vacations (running off to dress up as a cowboy shortly after his country was attacked), so they say: “Obama’s left the country on vacation TWICE in his three years! That’s too much!”

    Bush created a giant deficit, so they say: “Obama turned our $1.05 trillion deficit into a $1.1 trillion deficit. That’s unacceptable!”

    Bush took almost a week to do anything about Katrina (even Castro offered to help before Bush was willing to), so they critize Obama for acting too quickly. As if there was such a thing as “helping disaster victims too soon.”

    They don’t understand the arguments, but they still try to use them. It’s quite frightening to watch.

    1. That’s the best evalution I’ve seen thus far regarding the criticism by the republican’s comments.

    2. The modern trend that drives me nuts started when the democrats criticized Pres Bush for not visiting New Orleans after Katrina. Now every president has to either visit or send a high level delegation to every disaster for fear of criticism. Uses up tons of resources and personel that should be helping people out. Even the celebrities have to get in on it for photo opps (Oprah, Sean Penn).

      Stay the hell away, send aid, and let the profesionals work.

      1. I think, perhaps, that the Democrats weren’t critiszising Prsident Bush for “not visiting” New Orleans; but rather, for not responding at all.

        1. Yes, I seem to recall it was more for the complete lack of fucks given about the situation than the visit part.

          1. Yes there was alot of FEMA mismanagement, but the New Orleans situation was mis-handled by the local and state governments, who turned down offers of federal assitance before hand.

  2. What sort of insanity does it take to critize for responding to a disaster of this scale too quickly?
    I hope there’s a backlash against that guy’s comment.

    Loved the Twitter responses posted there.
    It’s a good sign, I think. We need more people like them.

  3. When my daughter was around ten she had really long hair that was well below her waist. I built a cardboard castle tower with an arched window that was worn like a helmet. The tower was painted to look like it was made of stone with an old mossy slate roof, and we wound plastic ivy around it. My daughter put it on and we had her hair running out the window with a Ken doll wearing medieval prince garb climbing up her hair. Fond and off topic memories.

    1. Obviously, they’re looking for the best hurricane response strategy. You can’t go wrong asking Michael Brown. Just write down whatever he tells you, then do the exact opposite.

    2. Brown-ie? Is that pronounced brown – eye?

      Makes a mockery of republiturds everywhere for the whole world to see.

      Keep right on digging there, buddy.

      Scribe, glad to see you’re OK! Unscathed, I hope?

      1. Yeah, I live up in the Palisades cliffs, mostly sheltered, though we did get high winds. No flooding up here. I’ve kept power, and there wasn’t any damage on my property. There are parts of the town without power, and the gas lines around here remind me of those pics from the 1973 Oil Embargo. A lot of the nearby towns weren’t so lucky.

  4. The Seanan McGuire post — THIS. A thousand times. The notion that any female character who puts herself into a vulnerable situation eventually needs to get punished in order for it to be ‘realistic’ isn’t just repulsive, it’s bullshit. Rape in fiction is all-too-commonly thrown in as a shallow trope in place of genuine female character development. It’s not about realism. It’s about an expectation fostered by lazy authors who continually invoke it.

    1. Agreed 100%.

      I have to wonder what the people that ask for it to be included for the sake of “realism” are thinking?
      Makes me think they are shallow.

      There’s plenty of good fiction out there with female characters that avoid rape. Even ones that aren’t in the sci-fi/fantasy genra.
      Perhaps those commenters ought to be reminded of that.

    2. What a wonderful thing for an author to do! I can go pick up any book by this author knowing I don’t have to read a rape scene. Brilliant!

      Seriously, I had given up on fantasy books with female protagonists for a while in disgust. I just really don’t need to read that. And in contrast to the commenter who thought that writers who avoid rape aren’t serious authors, I often find that when I come to a rape (or even threatened rape) scene in a fantasy/sci-fi book that I am disappointed in the author for falling back on a far too-common plot element. I like fantasy & sci-fi to be more imaginative. Crazy, I know.

      Wouldn’t it be great if there was a list of rape-free books/authors?

      Can anyone think of a plot element that is as expected (almost required) specifically for male protagonists as rape is for female protagonists?

      1. Lokicleo,

        Also if the story is not intended for adults, its not even appropriate for it to even deal with such a mature subject.

        1. …because teenagers don’t get raped?

          I really dislike this idea that certain subjects aren’t “appropriate” for teens (or even children).

          I read Misery, by Stephen King, when I was 10. I’m fine.

          1. TO CLARIFY, this subject can and should be broached if an auther feels that they can do it justice; and many have. I just have a problem with this idea that certain subjects are too “taboo” for “non-adults” (which generally means teens).

          2. Marilove, I see what you mean. At age 9 I read “The Naked Island” and “End of a Hate” by Russell Braddon.

            Both very graphic books about his experiences as a POW with torture and murder, but more importantly, his later coming to terms with his hatred of the Japanese and reintegration into civilian life.

            A powerful book, sophisticated stuff, formative to me.

            So yes, a good author who can deal with a painful subject properly is doing a service to humanity.

            I think the others are talking about the subject being dealt with in a gratuitous or voyeuristic way, which trvialises the problem and does a disservice to humanity.

          3. I think the others are talking about the subject being dealt with in a gratuitous or voyeuristic way, which trvialises the problem and does a disservice to humanity.

            The original article was talking about this, yes; I actually read it several weeks ago and thought it was awesome.

            But criticaldragon1177 was being far more general: ” its not even appropriate for it to even deal with such a mature subject.”

            Subject referring to rape.

            I just really, really dislike when people claim that something that is a REALITY for many teens is considered “inapprorpiate” or “taboo”.

            It’s not. :)

          4. You are right. My parents initially thought the first book was completely inappropriate. But they found that I was not traumatised and so I had no trouble reading the second without interference.

            The harsh reality in 1961, only 15 years after WWII, was all around us. “Why can’t that man talk?” “Because the Japanese cut his tongue out”.

            Furthermore, to get closer to the topic at hand, it was only months later that I encountered my first serious and determined pedophile. It was touch and go but all ended well (for me if not for him)!

    3. Quarksparrow,

      Personally I don’t even want to read about a character getting raped, especially the protagonist. Also if you really care about a someone, why would you want them to be raped?

  5. Having seen the trauma rape can cause, I NEVER want to read a description of it, and in particular I don’t want to encounter it in fiction; it’s bad enough being exposed to it in news items. When rape is used in fiction it is usually trivialized–there’s nothing trivial about the harm to the victim. Even if there’s little physical injury the emotional injury can cripple the victim permanently. I admit that I’m an old softy, and suffering of anyone disturbs me.
    On a lighter note, where I work staff were allowed to dress up on 10/31, as far as I know for the first time EVER, so I decided to be Darth Vader for the day. I work for the Municipal Court, and the most amazing thing to me was the number of people who could see Darth Vader stride down the hall and never bat an eye.

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