Sotomayor

All this whining about how being a Latina — and saying outright that she draws on that experience — prevents her from being properly objective is driving me bonkers.

I’m sure that white people and male people are so perfect that they never draw on their white and male experiences in order to understand the world and ethics and law. Being white and male means you’re objective, of course.

That was sarcasm. IT IS NOT TRUE, PEOPLE. Treating white and male as the default mode of being and all deviations from that as… well, deviations, is factually incorrect. The white male experience is no more default and no more inherently objective than any other human experience. And thinking critically about how your experience as a white man is affected by living in a society that favors certain groups over others would not be particularly less objective than ignoring those social effects and pretending they don’t exist while still experiencing them. Likewise, thinking critically about how your experience as a person of color and as a woman are affected by living in a society that favors certain groups over others is not less “objective” than ignoring those effects. The assumption actually seems to be that paying attention to those things is “subjective” entirely because it makes the favored group uncomfortable. Seriously? No one is required to make sure you are comfortable. I see that you don’t want to have to think about those favors you are receiving — I mean, it’s not like you asked for them, so you aren’t bad people!!! Dudes, someone else having it unfairly hard is not about you. For a second, I know it’s tough, but something is not about you. Shut up.

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w00t

My fabulous friend, an other volcanista, has alerted me to this exciting news: Dr. Marcia McNutt has been nominated by President Obama as Director of the USGS!

The Department of Interior press release and her website both report many details about Dr. McNutt’s career, but I want to repeat some of them here. McNutt got her PhD in geophysics from Scripps, worked at the University of Minnesota and the USGS (on earthquake prediction), and then held a faculty appointment at MIT, where she was the Director of the MIT-WHOI Joint Program. She served as President of AGU (the ginormous geoscience society with its annual December Geoscientists-Take-Over-Frisco meeting) from 2000-2002. She did lots of other prestigious things along the way that you can go read about, and lately has been the president of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute.

McNutt is the first woman ever nominated to run the USGS. Finally. And she is also fucking awesome.

Paleoclimate students arrested

Kim at All of my Faults is passing on the news that U.S. and Brazilian students conducting paleoclimate research have been arrested in Brazil, presumably for not having all the correct paperwork, and could be held there for months to years pending trial. There is an open letter here, and you can email to co-sign the letter to Brazilian authorities. Please pass on the information.

This week

I have not yet posted anything on the subject of the assassination of Dr. Tiller, though I have been very upset about it. I encourage you to read the many great posts about it around the internet. I can’t come up with a whole lot more to say than has been said in posts like these. It was a terrorist act, an infuriating piece of violence, and it’s exactly the kind of thing people have been warning that inflammatory rhetoric by the right is encouraging.

I also want to point everyone in the direction of the Silence is the Enemy project. There are already quite a few great posts up about this initiative to actively draw attention to the systematic rape occurring on a truly massive scale in Liberia and elsewhere around the world. It’s a crushingly devastating thing to think about, and it’s hard to know what to do to help. But talking about openly so people can’t pretend it isn’t happening might do a little bit.

May 18, 29 years ago

Erik Klemetti at Eruptions reminds us that today is the 29th anniversary of Mount St. Helens erupting. There are some great pictures up at Wired, and this video of the newscast following the eruption:

Why indeed

(That’s sarcasm, btw.)

White guys

It’s true, when I look at that graphic, I think, good god, could these damn liberals limit the bench to exclude white guys any more than they are already doing? It’s discrimination!!!!!11111!!!

OFFS

[image removed]

This piece of garbage cartoon came to me via Shakesville, Womanist Musings, and Pandagon. I kind of like (= hate) how it encapsulates all the stupid racist bullshit that has come up in this latest health hysteria whipped up by the media. But seriously, people, get OVER yourselves. That’s about all I have the energy to say about this today.

ETA: Donna Barstow has contacted me (see comments on this post) with a takedown request, with which I’m happy to oblige. The cartoon can, however, still be seen on her site at Slate. And my criticism that it is deeply and unthinkingly racist firmly stands.