The legacy of Howard Zinn

Whenever I do this, I worry I sound like Christopher Hitchens eulogizing Jerry Falwell. But I can’t help but be surprised when figures with violent or simply crackpot ideas like Mary Daly are given entirely rosy eulogies, even in both mainstream and politicized media.  It’ happening  again with Howard Zinn. And again I feel obliged to provide some balance.

 So, very quickly:

Zinn’s seminal work, A People’s History of the United States was poorly recieved when it was first published, and still draws criticism even from the left for its “myopic” and “Manichean” narrative. He argued that there was no moral difference between arial bombing and suicide bombing. He was contributed laudatory blurbs to two 9/11 conspiracy theory books, The New Pearl Harbor and Debunking 9/11 Debunking.

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Children from households with same-sex parents do just as well as those with heterosexuals

Via Digital Journal:

The study How Does the Gender of Parents Matter? written by sociologist Timothy Biblarz of the USC College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and Judith Stacey of NYU challenges the idea that fatherless children are at a disadvantage or that men’s parenting skills provide a different set of skills than women. Biblarz noted in a press release: “Significant policy decisions have been swayed by the misconception across party lines that children need both a mother and a father. Yet, there is almost no social science research to support this claim. One problem is that proponents of this view routinely ignore research on same-gender parents.” The authors analyzed studies about parenting in various family types including single parent homes, gay male parents and lesbian parents. They found that other than nursing there is no evidence of gender-based parenting abilities. Research shows more in common in children of lesbian and heterosexual parents than differences. On average children with two mothers have parents that play with them more, are less likely to use physical discipline and less likely be raised to have chauvinistic attitudes. There have yet to be enough research to evaluate gay male families. In lesbian families increased stress and conflict are common for new parents, something that is common to two heterosexual parents. Stacey noted: “The family type that is best for children is one that has responsible, committed, stable parenting. Two parents are, on average, better than one, but one really good parent is better than two not-so-good ones. The gender of parents only matters in ways that don’t matter.”

A Cup=child pornography

So say Australian censors. Jen McCreight comments:

Thank you Australia, as if women weren’t insecure enough about their bust size, now a huge group is too creepy to think about sexually because they’re not womanly enough. Awesome.

VA. school system pulls Ann Frank from curriculum after parent complaints

Via the Washington Post:

Culpeper County public school officials have decided to stop assigning a version of Anne Frank’s diary, one of the most enduring symbols of the atrocities of the Nazi regime, after a parent complained that the book includes sexually explicit material and homosexual themes. “The Diary of a Young Girl: the Definitive Edition,” which was published on the 50th anniversary of Frank’s death in a concentration camp, will not be used in the future, said James Allen, director of instruction for the 7,600-student system. The school system did not follow its own policy for handling complaints about instructional materials, Allen said…The decision was made in November and published in the Culpeper Star Exponent on Thursday.Culpeper’s policy on “public complaints about learning resources” calls for complaints to be submitted in writing and for a review committee to research the materials and deliberate, Allen said. In this case, the policy was not followed. Allen said the parent registered the complaint orally, no review committee was created and a decision was made quickly by at least one school administrator. He said he is uncertain about the details because he was out of town.

One of the offending passages:

There are little folds of skin all over the place, you can hardly find it. The little hole underneath is so terribly small that I simply can’t imagine how a man can get in there, let alone how a whole baby can get out!

Heaven forbid girls have their own bodily questions and anxieties read back to them. They might start to get the idea that they’re normal.

Comics author Alan Moore has the definitive statement on the subject:

There is only one group which would ever call for the banning of The Diary of Anne Frank, and I don’t care what they happen to be calling themselves these days.

The “Dollhouse” finale

I’m wading through an ambivalent melancholy after watching the finale of a show that took tragically too long to find its legs. Hopefully, I’ll be posting a response to the last two episodes in the next few days. (Jesus, those were two different episodes.) Right now, I still need to think and feel “Epitaph 2” out. It was undeniably powerful drama. But I’m not sure whether I like it as the resolution to all the arcs it had time to deal with, or as the final word on Dollhouse’s message. Need to think–no. Need to write about it more. But on the off chance that someone wants to start commenting on the last two weeks, by all means feel free to start here.

Zombie Girl

Move over, J.S. Mill. Emily Hagins is my new feminist hero. She’s twelve years old, and she made a feature-length film. (If you’re reading this, you’re probably about twice as old as Hagins. How many have you made?) And she made it in a that has traditionally been dominated by male filmmakers: zombie apocalypse, the queen of genres.

I imagine Hagins’ film, Pathogen, is…well, about as good as you’d expect of the first movie by a 12-year old filmmaker with no budget. But still, one has to appreciate the accomplishment.  I’m not alone in this; her own movie has become the subject of a feature-length documentary itself, Zombie Girl: The Movie. The documentary won a Spirit Award at Slamdance Film Festival and attracted the attention of Variety magazine.

Hagins is a wise girl. She has surrounded herself with sensible, anti-running zombie, pro-slow zombie people (1:23-33).

Another reason to hate the Huffington Post, vol. 1,214

Their Austrailian Open Hotties gallery. Do they have any statististics to go with names to put the competition in context, or even appreciate these women’s considerable athletic accomplishment? No, but there are pictures of Maria Sharapova’s ass.