Monday, June 24, 2013

Of David Quinn and Demonising the Opponents of X Legislation

Large pink demon from one of the later levels in Doom II. Or possibly Doom. I'd need to check.
Media's view of the pro life lobby?
I do not particularly recommend my book reviews. In it you'll find overlong and overworked reviews of books in which you have little interest, or, worse, overlong and relentlessly critical reviews of books you quite enjoyed. They're mostly about Christian apologetics. For what it's worth, attempting to step into the world view of another gives one a unique viewpoint of one's own. Do wander to unfamiliar sections of the book shop.

This interest in opposing viewpoints may be part of what drew me to David Quinn's latest, "Those opposed to abortion law being branded fanatics". It's been my experience that people change. While I always supported legislation on X, I was two or three blog posts in to the abortion debate before I considered myself pro choice and in that time I was not once referred to as a fanatic. My daily commute found itself unmarked by low flying fruit or vegetation. Indeed, all interactions with pro choicers before I joined their number were positive and engaging. Had I instead been demonised or painted as extremist I would likely have been less inclined to give pro choice arguments fair hearing. If those who oppose X legislation are being unfairly characterised they're unlikely to change their position - misrepresentation helps none of us.

That said, what examples of media bias does Quinn offer?

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Everyday Sexism Book Cover Contest

You may know @EverydaySexism from their #FBRape campaign. By targeting advertisers, they were able to bring considerable pressure to bear on Facebook and were successful in forcing a change in policy on images that glorified violence against women. If this news greets you for the first time I recommend the founder's Independent article, The day the Everyday Sexism project won and Facebook changed its image. I also strongly recommend following @EverydaySexism on Twitter - especially if, like me, you thought sexism is no longer a problem.

They're releasing a book and the publisher is accepting submissions for the jacket design. The brief caught my eye:
"We're looking for a design that represents the thousands of women who are #shoutingback and we want you to help us create the perfect jacket to represent this movement and this exciting new extension of the project."
 I'm a literal minded sort of chap so I downloaded pictures of everyone (all genders) that follows @EverydaySexism and rearranged them so they resembled Laura Bates, the founder of the project. It's a large image. There are, after all, 52,000 profile pictures in it. Here's a zoomed in shot of Bates's left eye. Note the constituent profile pictures:

And here's the full image:

Monday, June 10, 2013

Of Blood Donors and the Right to Choose

Picture of my right arm mid blood donation. Image chosen to annoy Aisling, who has a needle phobia.
Most chairs in the Irish Blood Transfusion Service's D'Olier Street office are designed to serve from the crook of the left elbow but reformed southpaws like me can ask to donate from their right arm. It's useful - one's elbow can be a little stiff immediately after donating and I do tend to rely on my left.

The view is spectacular, their canteen's location three stories above O'Connell Bridge affords an uninterrupted view of our nation's main thoroughfare at an angle that minimises the fast food restaurants and highlights architecture not visible from tourist buses. I tried several times to capture it by photograph but the window-reflected canteen interior always ruins the shot. I hope the absence of a photo whets your curiosity - you really should go see it for yourself.

I've donated blood, to the best of my memory, some sixteen times to date and I look forward to my next appointment. It takes but an hour of my time, has some health benefits and costs me nothing.

I'll admit to a little pride in these small efforts. As a universal donor my blood (unlike my blog) is palatable to all my fellow humans and my type O negative can be delivered in crisis situations without the time-consuming necessity of checking the patient's type. When I do take my seat and hold a chewy dog treat as pictured I am connected to not one bag but six, the load spread over a half dozen smaller containers designed for use in neonatal care.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

A Raised Eyebrow to

Those unduly curious as to the views of 'cool gal[s] from Oregon' who also consider themselves 'proud Roman Catholic conservative[s]' can do worse than to take to Twitter, where they will likely come across the below caps lock enthusiast who describes herself as one of many "AMERICANS FOR AN ABORTION-FREE IRELAND!"

Original tweet here, assuming not deleted. Her enthusiasm for confining Irish abortions to home abortion kits or England is expressed by her promotion of Youth Defence's Youth Defence describes this site as representative of "80,000 voters [sic] who will never vote Fine Gael again". Yet I could find no evidence that this Oregon based conservative has been a member of said party, nor was I able to find a townland called Oregon in any traditional Fine Gael voting county.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

This Is What An Irish Woman Looks Like

As a relatively young, straight, white, cis male I'm somewhat immune to street harassment, and from this position I found myself blithely unaware of its occurrence in Ireland.

I thought we were doing fairly well. I recall a conversation with a substitute teacher who'd broken up a fight between a Cork born child of Nigerian parents and some classmates from his new Dublin school. It seems it had kicked off when they referred to him as 'a bogger'. I don't encourage playground fights, of course, but we both thought it a positive that it hadn't occurred to them to insult him based on the colour of his skin - they just hadn't seen it as a distinction.

I lost my naiveté when I read Úna-Minh Caomhánach's account of being spat on and racially abused. Thankfully the online response was overwhelmingly supportive, but sadly it did include those who said she should go back to her own country, or write about something important.

To those I say this is her own country, and the only acceptable number of people being publicly spat on is zero.

Perhaps the image below will help clarify. It's a picture of Úna, made up of the profile pictures of her thousands of followers who recognise her nationality. First, here's a zoomed in shot of her eye:

And this is the full picture:

Click it for a larger, zoomable version. If you're having trouble zooming try this link. Naturally, Úna is welcome to republish the image. Image prepared using, and some scripts I used to download Twitter profile pics. Great app!