Links: Tuesday, February 4th

February 4, 2014 Links 3

A grey cat with a white chest and paws lies down with her front legs crossed in front of her. She's wearing dark tinted goggles.Deal with it.

  • Adobe to Require New Epub DRM in July, Expects to Abandon Existing Users – This new Adobe DRM looks like an enormous mistake. I guess I need to find a way to download epub books without using ADE. What a mess.

    The tl;dr version is that Adobe is going to start pushing for ebook vendors to provide support for the new DRM in March, and when July rolls Adobe is going to force the ebook vendors to stop supporting the older DRM. (Hadrien Gardeur, Paul Durrant, and Martyn Daniels concur on this interpretation.)

    This means that any app or device which still uses the older Adobe DRM will be cut off. Luckily for many users, that penalty probably will not affect readers who use Kobo or Google reading apps or devices; to the best of my knowledge neither uses the Adobe DRM internally. And of course Kindle and Apple customers won’t even notice, thanks to those companies’ wise decision to use their own DRM.

    But everyone else just got screwed.

  • Read an anthropologist’s paper about the rituals of 1950s Americans – This post reminded me of that picture book by David Macaulay, Motel of the Mysteries, that describes an ordinary motel room as if it were an ancient archaeological site. Amusing and a good reminder to avoid otherizing.

    I remember a story, perhaps apocryphal, about a woman who asked an anthropologist about the strangest thing he’d ever had to eat. Although I don’t remember the answer verbatim, he replied that his strangest breakfast consisted of the greased and heated remains of an unborn bird, served on a cooked paste made from ground up wheat. It was an egg on toast. The anthropologist was being a tad obnoxious, but he had a point. Everything that’s normal to us seems weird to someone else.

    In 1956, Horace Miner, an anthropologist, noticed that the tone of the academic essays he read seemed to stress that “weirdness,” when it came to other cultures. Scholarly works described the rituals of other nations with a detachment that was meant to objectively present a subject, but in some cases was a barrier to understanding. And so he decided to publish a study of a local tribe – the Nacirema.

  • Resources for Disabled Black Women – Trudy has a quick post on Gradient Lair collecting books and articles that touch on the experiences of disabled Black women.

    I think a lot of Black women’s fiction speak of disabilities that are ignored for us: mental health/neuroatypical status. We view them as “struggles” and “oppressions” which they are, but I feel like we don’t interrogate them and how the ableism involved in the Strong Black Woman stereotype harms us beyond even racism, sexism, misogynoir, anti-Blackness, classism, colourism and White supremacy etc. I alluded to this very thing in a recent essay: On Blackness and Perceptions of Able-Bodied Privilege where I described how ableism against me is ignored because of stereotypes involved in being a Black woman.

  • Woody Allen’s Good Name – This may be the best response I’ve seen to those who want to preserve Woody Allen’s innocence by way of casting doubt on Dylan Farrow’s account of what Allen did to her.

    Because I am not on Woody Allen’s jury, I can be swayed by the fact that sexual violence is incredibly, horrifically common, much more common than it is for women to make up stories about sexual violence in pursuit of their own petty, vindictive need to destroy a great man’s reputation. We are in the midst of an ongoing, quiet epidemic of sexual violence, now as always. We are not in the midst of an epidemic of false rape charges, and that fact is important here.

  • “I have no sympathy.” – Jenny Trout writes a heartfelt post asking us to have some sympathy for those affected by drug addiction.

    The tragic death of Phillip Seymour Hoffman this weekend elicited just such a response. The actor died of a presumed drug overdose. Less than an hour after the news broke, Twitter and Facebook were swamped with comments saying, “I have no sympathy,” and “he did it to himself.” “He knew the risk,” some asserted. Words like “weak” and “selfish” were used to describe and dismiss the man, dehumanizing him as an “addict.” A filthy, immoral less-than who deserved his fate, by virtue of his failings.

    What causes this reaction? Is it an impulse to distance one’s self from mortality? It’s far easier to brush off death if the death in question seems impossible or improbable as a personal threat. Or is it that our societal discomfort with anything that falls outside of the puritanical norm– alcohol, drugs– renders us unable to see addicts as human beings deserving of empathy and understanding?

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An ice hockey fan from north of Boston and the genre's most beloved troll, Ridley enjoys reading contemporary and historical romance, as well as the odd erotica novel. As someone who uses a wheelchair, she takes a particular interest in disability themes.

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3 Responses to “Links: Tuesday, February 4th”

  1. cleo

    Excellent links, as usual. This is the first I heard about Dylan Farrow and Woody Allen – I’m resisting reading more about it because I’m easily triggered by victim blaming esp w/r/t child abuse. But I really liked this article.

    I read the study of the Nacirema in college (the late 80s). I think it was in a comparative religions class – the prof gave it to us to read without comment, and eventually we all figured out it was about America during the discussion. I didn’t know the background of it.

    About Phillip Seymour Hoffman. I think the lack of sympathy for his overdose and death probably comes from the same place most victim blaming comes from – the desire for (the illusion of) control. There’s this hope that if one “follows the rules” we can avoid bad things – so anyone who has bad things happen to them must not have followed the rules well enough – because otherwise, that might imply that some things are beyond our control and that bad things like addiction or abuse etc could happen to anyone, no matter what.

    I don’t like victim blaming, but I understand it. The idea that a brilliant and successful man like PSH could relapse and overdose after 20 some years of sobriety terrifies me – because I have loved ones who’ve been sober for 10, 20, 30 years, and I really want them to be able to stay sober. It’d be easier on me if I could just blame PSH for not being strong enough or whatever.

  2. Ridley

    @cleo: The just-world hypothesis strikes again. It’s hard to accept entropy as the universe’s guiding principle, but here we are.

  3. Meoskop

    I linked a piece on Twitter today that discussed how the presumption of innocence only applies to him, that it’s very foundation is an assumption that she is a liar, or that she has been made to lie. It is not a true presumption at all, but a patriarchal judgement. It was way true.