Context, bare breasts, porn, and other assumptions

Edinburgh Eye has a post about society’s attitudes to porn, breastfeeding, and objectification, with particular reference to the soft porn published on page 3 of The Sun since 1970.

I’m just giving telling you the subjects it covers. I’m not going to attempt to summarise it, beyond saying that I agree with it. Go and read it.


How stalkable are you?

My online presence is barely distinguishable from my offline presence. I post online under my real name, or under a nickname trivially derived therefrom. And that’s a function of the privilege I have: no one’s going to kill me because of my opinions, nor have I yet acquired any obsessed and potentially violent stalkers. But I still take some care. For one thing: I don’t advertise an empty house: I’ll generally post about holidays, if at all, after I come back from them, not while I’m on them. But there are certainly more precautions I could be taking. Cracked has a quick summary of a few tips and tricks you might want to take a look at to protect your privacy.


What is “ceremonial deism”?

The USA has official separation of church and state. The constitution of the country requires that the state not endorse any religion. And yet references to God are frequent. How does that work? Well, the idea is that this is “ceremonial deism” some sort of abstraction which doesn’t really describe the God religious people actually worship. There are very many problems with that idea.

The first is that, in actual practice, this supposedly non-religious “deism” tends to take explicitly Christian form. The second is that even if people try their best to be inclusive, those attempts are doomed to failure. Or, as Literata put it, The opposite of sectarian isn’t “nonsectarian,” it’s secular. The third is that, most of the time, people don’t even bother trying to be inclusive, beyond, for example, a half-hearted pretense that the Lord’s Prayer is actually generic and universal. And thus does religion sneak into a supposedly secular government.

Of course, in Ireland, the Constitution opens with the words In the name of the Most Holy Trinity. The document makes no pretense at being a religiously neutral: Catholicism is woven through it.


Quick analysis of an advertising scam

“We asked over 3000 doctors to review 5-hr energy and what they said is amazing. Over 73% who reviewed 5-hr energy said they would recommend a low-calorie energy supplement to their healthy patients who use energy supplements.”

Wow, that’s a lot of caveats. The doctors would recommend “a low-calorie energy supplement”, not this supplement specifically; they would recommend a supplement to their healthy patients; specifically, they would recommend a supplement to their healthy patients who use supplements.

And there’s another little trick there too.  How many doctors said this? I have no idea. Three thousand doctors were asked. Over 73% who reviewed 5-hr energy gave the above responses. My guess would be that the vast majority of the doctors asked refused to answer the question at all.

My guess would also be that those doctors who did answer it were goaded into giving a fairly non-committal shrug of an answer. Bryan Allain explains how this would work. Simple, and devious.


Cracked on the arguments against Same-Sex Marriage

Well, to call them arguments is to accord them considerably more dignity than they deserve, to be honest.

Brendan McGinley takes on a few of the “arguments” against marriage equality, and shoots them down with the irreverent humour typical of Cracked. To be honest, I’m linking to this one mainly for the funny pictures. I like them.


Spelling and Grammar

When you send e-mails full of misspellings and errant apostrophes, people judge you. And by people, I mean me.

It’s better than fashionable: it’s useful.

Wildly original and excessively heterodox language could land you in the soup.

You slip into a suit for an interview, and you dress your language up too. You can wear what you like linguistically or sartorially when you’re at home or with friends, but most people accept the need to smarten up under some circumstances. It’s only considerate. … There’s no right language or wrong language any more than there are right or wrong clothes. Context, convention, and circumstance are all.

(More on Stephen Fry.)


Tom Lehrer: The Masochism Tango

It’s the facial expressions that make this one.

Yes, it’s a song about BDSM. And it’s certainly not of the safe and sane variety, though it may be consensual. As usual, Tom Lehrer turns it up well past breaking point (literally, in this case).

Related: Adam Lambert: For Your Entertainment

I’m going to hurt you real good, baby.

Take the pain; take the pleasure: I’m the master of both.

And, because this wouldn’t be TRiG’s blog if I didn’t include this,

Tim Minchin: If You Really Loved Me

This is a … em … love song.