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Monthly Archives: January 2015

Yay for 4. Diversity. Boo for 5. “Gotcha” Diversity-Shaming

January 30, 2015, 9:30 pm

I keep thinking, what if John Kerry had become president? I mean, yes, Al Gore makes the better counter-factual, considering he won the popular vote by more than 500,000 votes. But the 2004 election was also close. If the news about Abu Ghraib had broken not in April 2004, but six months later, who knows? If Hurricane Katrina had come a year earlier? I think that in 50 years, the Obama presidency will be remembered for five things: 1) sort-of-universal
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The Fix Dar Years

January 28, 2015, 12:11 pm

So, this blog began about a year ago, when Dar was four, and I believe I used perhaps two one-thousand-word entries catching you up with what had happened with Dar prior to the time of the blog. In the year since, I have sometimes asked myself: have I really explained what life was like in the months leading up to, and after, his formal diagnosis? Have I really talked about his third and fourth years, and the constant efforts and
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The Hagio-Warts Metric

January 26, 2015, 1:03 pm

In the last few weeks, the entertainment press (if that’s a thing) has been debating movies that are historical fiction, more specifically the appropriate proportions of “historical” and “fiction.” Lurking behind this debate is another issue: how much does, or should, a biopic glorify its central subjects? If you choose to make a movie about, say, Mark David Chapman, the assassin of John Lennon (as Jared Leto and Lindsey Lohan did), does the basic three-act, protagonist-following structure of filmmaking dictate
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It’s Always Sunni in Saudi Arabia

January 23, 2015, 5:36 pm

After the death of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia at the age of 90, Edward Snowden saw fit to release 20 years of Abdullah’s emails. Some excerpts: 11.04.95 To: abdullah@thekingdom.sa From: admin1415@thekingdom.sa This is it, your first email! What do you think? To: admin1415@thekingdom.sa From: abdullah@thekingdom.sa Looks good. How do I “cc” someone else? To: abdullah@thekingdom.sa, admin1416@thekingdom.sa From: admin1415@thekingdom.sa You simply add their name in the “to” line as I’ve done with another admin. Your address book should already be
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Love my community

January 21, 2015, 2:13 pm

Today I want to write about how much I appreciate my little community of Berkeley Special-Needs Parents (called BSPED on the emails). There will be a bit about Dar’s vision, but that isn’t my, ahem, focus. Recently, we received a letter from the District Nurse that read “This is to notify you that your child’s vision was tested at school. Your child was not able to be tested because of inconsistent responses.” This was alarming for two reasons, neither of
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How Not to Be Martin Luther King

January 19, 2015, 12:54 pm

Perhaps you heard something about this year’s Oscar nominations privileging white people. Certainly that’s the gist of articles like this and this and this and this and this. The critique of Hollywood and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as white-normative is accurate. It’s also lazy, myopic, and nearly context-free. Why would context matter? Well, for the same reason that the better critics of the NYPD, racial profiling, and police brutality tend to include words like “Being a
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Here’s What We Should Give Cops

January 16, 2015, 12:23 pm

If you haven’t been living under a rock, you may have heard something recent about the New York Police Department. To summarize: a video surfaced of one Eric Garner chokeholded to death by police, a grand jury declined to even prosecute the officers responsible, protests erupted, New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio publicly noted that he’s talked with his black son about dangers from police, a deranged lunatic killed two officers and some blamed their deaths on protestors, many officers turned
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Boyhood, Mom, Dar

January 14, 2015, 12:54 pm

  I have been an emotional wreck this week. I sincerely doubt that I ever shed a single tear in decades of watching the Golden Globes, until this week, when Patricia Arquette took the stage to accept her well-deserved award on behalf of her work in Boyhood. Afterward, I bawled like a baby every time the broadcast played that musical refrain that appeared in the film, “So let me go, I don’t want to be your hero…” I believe my
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Oscar Race 2014-15: Flux Capacitor Fluxing, Flummoxing

January 12, 2015, 12:53 pm

Oscar nominations roll out this Thursday morning, marking the end of the period where any picture could be a little hopeful – Guardians of the Galaxy? The Hundred-Foot Journey? Rosewater? who knows? – and the beginning of the These.Are.Oscar.Movies.Who.Will.Win? phase. This year’s second phase is already dreaded because there’s no Gravity or similar box-office juggernaut to get casual fans to care (with the possible exception of Gone Girl). We face the less-than-encouraging possibility of watching Selma, The Imitation Game, and
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The Global Village Has Problems That Can’t Be Solved By Just Chasing a Few People Out of It

January 9, 2015, 11:51 am

Here we are again, after the horrible events in Paris at the offices of Charlie Hebdo, having to distinguish between exposing prejudice to open ridicule on the one hand and, on the other hand, defending free speech. The problem is that many liberals, of which I am one, reflexively defend free speech but condemn all sorts of particular sorts of free speech, including “hate speech,” various disturbing imagery, child pornography, shouting fire in a crowded theatre, et al. This makes
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