Monthly Archive: November 2016


“Evolutionary biology is ableist and speciesist”

This article introduces the concept of ‘able-bodied belonging,’ and pays particular attention to the cultural mechanisms in which ableism intertwines with the forms of belonging. Taking a cultural studies viewpoint, the article focuses on present evolutionary biological accounts, and explores the ableist and speciesist assumptions that frame evolutionary biology. The article investigates how these accounts invoke a feeling of belonging to the animal world in ways which reinforce the idea that only a particular kind of body is species-typical of humans. First, the article explores how the cultural stories that emphasize the connection between human beings and non-human species eventually distance particular bodies from humanity. Second, the article shows how humans’ connection to the animal world could emerge in a way that contests the exceptionality of able-bodied humanity.



Opposition rejects Park’s offer, sets next Friday as final date for impeachment


Heads of South Korea’s three opposition parties on Wednesday officially rejected President Park Geun-hye’s offer to cut her term short, demanding she resign immediately and unconditionally.

The parties also reconfirmed their commitment to impeaching the conservative president as early as this Friday, which requires at least 28 votes from Park’s former allies in the ruling Saenuri Party.

“Passing the motion on Dec. 2 might be a long shot,” Rep. Park Jie-won of the People’s Party told reporters after a close-door meeting with Reps. Choo Mi-ae of the main opposition Democratic Party of Korea and Sim Sang-jung of the Justice Party.

Reps. Park and Choo were said to have clashed during the meeting over the voting schedule. While Choo insisted that the opposition stick to Friday, Park countered that Dec. 9 is a more viable date to gather enough votes from Saenuri Party lawmakers.

Earlier in the day, Saenuri lawmakers critical of the president — who hold the key to the required number of votes needed for the motion’s passage — said they would vote for Park’s removal, but wanted to delay the ballot till Dec. 9 to give rival parties time to discuss the president’s suggestion.

Opposition parties and independents combined have 172 votes as of Monday, 28 shy of the required 200 in the 300-member National Assembly. In a survey conducted by a local daily Wednesday, only 19 lawmakers of the ruling Saenuri Party said they would approve the motion, if the vote took place this Friday.

In a surprise move Tuesday, Park said she was leaving everything to the National Assembly, including her own presidency, and asked the legislative body to decide the time frame and legal process of her early departure from office. Her term finishes in February 2018.

The opposition coalition wants to pass the motion as soon as possible, because a delay could affect its chances of clearing the threshold at the nine-member Constitutional Court. By law, at least six judges must approve to impeach Park.

“One week is quite a long time. We don’t know what Park will plot to do during this time,” said Rep. Keum Tae-sup of the Democratic Party, a former prosecutor in charge of drafting the impeachment motion.

Keum also warned that if the lawmakers pass the motion next week, the legal process at the Constitutional Court will be delayed. He noted that if the Court fails to offer their ruling before their chief justice ends his term next January, it will be forced to wait until the new justice takes office.

A day earlier, opposition parties came up with the final draft of their impeachment motion, which was scheduled to be submitted to the floor no later than Thursday. More than 150 lawmakers are needed to propose the measure.

The document contained allegations that the president violated the democratic values of the Constitution, abused her power as a public official and leaked classified presidential documents to her longtime friend Choi, who did not have security clearance

Some contentious charges were also added, even though they had been left out in the prosecution document in which Park was named a suspect. Among them was her involvement in a graft charge tied to Choi and her aides, as well as her mishandling of the 2012 Sewol ferry incident which left over 300 people dead.

Earlier in the day, a group of Saenuri lawmakers advocating impeachment demanded the opposition reduce the scope of charges to make the case for impeachment. Opposition parties said that they would incorporate Saenuri’s suggestion, if needed.

The conservative party’s lawmakers are concerned that including too many charges in the motion would undermine the prospects of getting the Constitutional Court to impeach Park. The impeachment motion will be a major point of reference for the Court in reviewing the case.

“As a lawyer and a member of Saenuri Party, I can’t bring such a motion to the Constitutional Court,” said Rep. Kweon Seong-dong, chairman of the Legislation and Judiciary Committee who will represent the legislative body in a trial at the Constitutional Court.

The allegations surrounding Park’s dealings during the Sewol disaster are not compelling enough to convince both the court’s judges and Saenuri lawmakers that the president committed a “grave violation” of the Constitution, the former prosecutor added.

President Park Geun-hye on Wednesday appointed former chief of the Seoul High Prosecutors’ Office Park Young-soo as the independent counsel to probe into her alleged involvement in the influence-peddling of her confidante Choi Soon-sil.

The independent counsel, which is to substitute the ongoing prosecutorial investigation, is to go through preparatory procedures for the next 20 days, after which it will carry out an in-depth probe for 70 days, or 100 days upon the president’s approval for an extension.

“The president has appointed Park among the two candidates recommended earlier by opposition parties,” said Cheong Wa Dae spokesperson Jung Youn-kuk in a press briefing.

The main opposition Democratic Party of Korea, runner-up People’s Party and progressive minority Justice Party on Tuesday recommended Park and Cho Seung-sik, another former senior prosecutor, as plausible figures to lead the independent counsel.

Of the two, Park is said to be the pick of the People’s Party, especially its interim chief and senior lawmaker Rep. Park Jie-won.

The newly appointed counsel, currently working as partner in a local law firm, formerly served as secretary for the late liberal President Kim Dae-jung, senior official at the Supreme Prosecutors’ office and chief of the Seoul High Prosecutors’ Office.

“The president hopes that the independent counsel probe will be carried out in a speedy and thorough manner,” the spokesman also said.

The president had up to three days to make her pick on the probe chief, but made the announcement in just a day, reflecting her earlier stance that she would face a “politically neutral” independent probe rather than the prosecution’s questioning.

The choice also came in the wake of her third address to the nation, in which she said that she would let the National Assembly decide the fate of her presidency.

The speech, despite its conceding tone, was largely interpreted as Park’s refusal to immediately resign, as well as an attempt to win time by pushing for a constitutional revision, a measure necessary to reduce her five-year term to four years.

Leftist Fascism: Takedown? ‘Fixer Upper’ Stars Face Media Scrutiny for Pastor’s Traditional Marriage Stance

Here comes the leftist lgtbq inquisition.



Chip and Joanna Gaines are hot right now… but they’re also in the hot seat. The entrepreneurial couple’s HGTV show Fixer Upper has captivated the hearts of a diverse set of viewers, garnering them much media recognition. But after an article unearthed the pro-traditional marriage position of the Gaines’ pastor, fans are calling for the couple to reveal their own stance on the issue.


While running Magnolia, their home goods and construction business, Chip and Joanna Gaines were contacted by HGTV about the possibility of creating a home transformation show. In 2013, that dream became a reality with Fixer Upper.

The show’s popularity results from the couple’s sweetness and charisma, and is only augmented by their complementary blend of design and construction finesse. Yet, on November 29, Buzzfeed reporter Kate Arthur published an article about the Gaines’ pastor Jimmy Seibert, seeming to intimate that if the couple shared his pro-traditional marriage beliefs, their sweetheart status would be sullied.

“So are the Gaineses against same-sex marriage? And would they ever feature a same-sex couple on the show…?” questioned Arthur. “Emails to Brock Murphy, the public relations director at their company, Magnolia, were not returned. Nor were emails and calls to HGTV’s PR department.”


Research Finds Sexual Victimization Perpetrated by Women More Common than Previously Known

Research Finds Sexual Victimization Perpetrated by Women More Common than Previously Known


Key findings include:

-Using data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the report finds that women and men reported a nearly equal prevalence of nonconsensual sex in a 12-month period. Females were vastly more likely to have been abused by men. However, the majority of male victims report female perpetrators. The form of nonconsensual sex that men are much more likely to experience than women (namely, being “made to penetrate” someone else)  is frequently perpetrated by women: 79.2 percent of victimized men reported female perpetrators.

-Heterosexual male victims were much more likely to report non-rape sexual victimization by a female perpetrator in their lifetime (71.4 percent) than were bisexual men (34.2 percent) or gay men (21.4 percent). In contrast, heterosexual women victims were less likely to report such abuse by a female perpetrator in their lifetime (5.3 percent) than were lesbian (14.8 percent) or bisexual (12.5 percent) women victims.

-Using pooled data collected by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, researchers found that incidents of rape/assault involving at least one female perpetrator were reported in 34.7 percent of incidents involving male victims. Among people reporting rape/sexual assault by a female perpetrator, 57.6 percent of male victims and 41.4 percent of female victims reported that the incident involved an attack whereby the offender hit, knocked down, or otherwise attacked the victim.

-Among adult prisoners reporting staff sexual victimization, 80.0 percent reported only female perpetrators. Gay and bisexual men and lesbian and bisexual women in prison were 2-3 times more likely to report prison staff sexual victimization than their heterosexual counterparts. Among juveniles reporting staff sexual victimization, 89.3 percent reported only female perpetrators.


The Decline and Fall of Higher Education

Nearly everyone outside academia knows that America’s colleges and universities are doing a poor job of preparing their charges for adult life.  Undergraduate education, nonetheless, continues to enjoy tremendous prestige. Few upper middle class parents would prefer a gainfully employed child to one attending university; indeed, for most affluent parents, the former would be a source of embarrassment. Higher education’s social esteem makes it hard to fully assimilate its well-known failings but it also completely hides the worst. For, you see, the biggest problem isn’t the facts and skills students don’t learn, it’s the bad habits they do.

I was a philosophy professor for 13 years and, at the beginning, I noticed that my colleagues weren’t requiring much from students and the deleterious effect of this on the latter’s work habits. So, I tried making my students work to get good grades. But, regardless of the penalties I imposed, it was impossible to get all but a tiny minority to seriously apply themselves. The most active response I got from students was extreme resentment. Most students stared at me incredulously when I explained that they’d have to work hard to get a decent grade. A few times I heard a shocked student complain – without intending or even noticing any irony – “But this is harder than high school!”

I tried telling my classes that some work was required even though I wouldn’t be checking it and, literally, almost no one could comprehend what this meant. They immediately heard “won’t be checked” as “isn’t required” because almost all of them prioritized entertainment and socializing far above learning. Indeed, the overwhelming majority of students who major in the humanities do so precisely because they have no reason for being in college besides avoiding work and because humanities classes require far less of it than the sciences. But, even outside the humanities, the typical student views the person in front of the classroom, not as a teacher, but merely as an obstacle to getting a B or better.

Of course, students couldn’t stay in college with no desire to learn if their professors weren’t cooperating. And here we come to the second reason that college is such a crippling experience for so many: virtually no professors at an even minimally distinguished college or university regard their real job as teaching. Indeed, if you work at a prestigious college or university, you do so little teaching that it would be almost impossible to do so. I was an assistant professor in UCLA’s philosophy department from 1996-2004. Philosophy faculty taught four ten‑week courses a year, each meeting four hours a week. Salaries, however, by no means reflected our minimal teaching duties. Upon leaving, my annual salary – one of the lowest in the department – was $65,000 plus about $4,000 a year in (untaxed) “research” money for travel; the most senior department members had six figure salaries plus five figure travel budgets. Teaching loads and salaries at Princeton, where I earned my PhD, and Temple, where I worked next, and similar institutions are comparable. For a successful academic, teaching is just a cover story – it’s what you say you do to justify your generous pay. What you really do – what gives you self-respect, pride of accomplishment and takes up most of your time – is produce “research.”

Academic research calls to mind beneficial technological advancements. But, even most scientific research has no practical value. It’s mostly, at best, the accumulation of tiny facts that will never affect anyone outside a handful of aficionados. Even in the sciences academic research is mostly academic. But research in the humanities is entirely academic. That’s not to say that the great humanist texts have no value; the humanities’ canon does have very important things to say about how to live a good, productive, and happy life. But these practical lessons don’t generate the kind of papers required for success in academia. The writing of a successful professor must be couched in the most abstract terms – it must be completely inaccessible to all but a few like-minded colleagues. Accessibility and practical import are the hug and kiss of professional death; they mark your work as unsophisticated and you as not very clever.

After a few years as a philosophy professor, I began to wonder how anyone could find a life fulfilling, devoted to topics so abstract, specialized, and lacking in practical value. I also became alarmed as I saw students accumulating huge debts while graduating with a diminished capacity for real world work; and dismayed when, upon relating my concerns to colleagues, they neither disagreed nor cared. It took me a while to see that my wonder, alarm, and dismay were related. The overwhelming majority of university professors are people who were very good at school but not much else. Almost none of my colleagues had ever had a job outside of school; almost to a person, an academic career was a way of staying in school and avoiding the difficulties of having to work with others to achieve real world results. In school, we excelled at writing papers that served no purpose besides being testaments to our cleverness. Eventually, I began to see that academic research is largely just a continuation of these meaningless scholastic exercises for those who lack the wherewithal to do anything else.

Now, I don’t think much of anything that I’ve said should really surprise anyone. After all, films about college life concern themselves almost exclusively with partying – the image of a student puking in a toilet is much more likely to appear in their ads than a book. We all know that most students are more concerned with having a four-year holiday than learning anything. And, though you may have been surprised at how little teaching successful professors do, I think everyone knows that administrators and professors view their main job as producing research – the slogan, after all, is “publish or perish”, not “pedagogy or perish.”

And we all think we know one result of the misplaced values found at every level of higher education – namely, that a large proportion of students don’t learn anything. However, this isn’t the worst result and, indeed, my point is that it’s not even true! A person can’t spend four years in an environment without learning anything and all the focus on what college doesn’t teach obscures the more serious problem of what it does. Any students who enter college lacking self-motivation and a precise knowledge of what they’re trying to accomplish – and in my experience, that includes virtually all humanities majors – learns a lot of negative lessons. Here’s a far from complete list.

1. They learn to work only for rewards, do the absolute minimum required for the reward sought, and that doing the very best you can has no intrinsic value.

2. They learn that it’s okay to show up to daily responsibilities unprepared, unkempt, exhausted, and late.

3. They learn to never admit their errors and to complain and invent excuses when things don’t go the way they want.

4. They learn that skipping out on one’s daily responsibilities a tenth of the time counts as outstanding attendance to them.

5. They learn that doing a bad job has no negative consequences so long as the average of all the jobs you do isn’t too much worse than mediocre.

The above lessons obviously won’t lead anyone to success. All but the most committed undergraduates acquire habits that weaken them and, hence, must be unlearned if they’re to have any chance of a good life. But that’s to be expected when students enter college to avoid work and faculty don’t regard teaching as their real jobs and, in any event, themselves lack the dispositions of thought and action necessary for functioning in the non-scholastic world and, hence, couldn’t teach anyone to do so even if they wished. And nothing will change until it’s more embarrassing to affluent parents to have a child spend four lackluster years at university than it is to have one gainfully employed.