fidesquaerens (marta_bee) wrote,

weekly round-up time

Originally published at Faith Seeking Understanding. You can comment here or there.

Here you go. :-)

Things I’ve Read

1. Good overview of the German electoral system. I think America’d do well with something similar but I’m biased. What the Germans Did, and How, by Henrik Hertzberg [New Yorker]

2. JohnCorvino’s response to the whole Providence College debacle. Good thoughts on academicfreedom + Catholicism. Response to Providnce College “Rescheduling of My Event.

3. Why current Republicans misread Friedman on morality and the free market. Interesting read. Why Conservatives Should Reread Milton Friedman, by Gary Gutting. [NY Times]

4. Review of the new “Masters of Sex” show, from #Slate – interesting stuff. The Joy of Watching Sex.” by Willa Paskin [Slate]

5. Interesting take on the reality of gender differences, by a trans woman + scientist. Gender as Non-Fiction,” an interview with Julia Serano. [The Atlantic]

6. If Sherlock was a dad… Imagine Sherlock as a Father…

Things I’ve Said

… here …

1. in which I continue being sher’locked (on the Great Game, and great vs good vs nice) [spoilers for Sherlock series 1]

what really interested me on this watching was John’s earlier question, the thing that disappointed him: not that Sherlock could move past the fact that real people’s lives were at stake – that they were sffering and he risked them suffering more – but that he could do it so easily. It seems inhuman to John that anyone could be so great that they could just move past that as effortlessly as Sherlock seems to; the only real possibility was that they weren’t sufficiently bothered by it. Sherlock’s greatness is never really in question, but his goodness, his success as a human being, definitely seems to be. Actually, it’s more than whether he succeeds at being a human; a failure to feel this connection with our fellows, even with strangers, is a failure to be human at all, in a very real sense.

2. The Blind Banker: on Sherlock + Friendship [spoilers for Sherlock series 1]

So when he introduces John not as his colleague or buddy, but as his friend, when he clues John in to how he knew about Sebastian’s two trips when he wouldn’t share that information with Sebastian, when he refuses to take the check but either is clueless that John accepted it (right…) or more likely looks the other way – these things just make me smile. Because Sherlock truly is the absolute worst friend in terms of basic frustrations and complete lack of social niceties. But he really and truly does get friendship, true friendship, at a deeper level.

3. Nothing New Under the Sun, Birth Control Version

All of that said: there are some ways that FABM is better than artificial birth control. It’s natural, for one thing: it doesn’t mess with a woman’s hormone levels so you wouldn’t have the problems with side effects. It’s certainly cheaper, once you get through the initial cost of training and equipment to measure hormonal levels. And for some women, not treating their bodys’s natural process like something that must be regulated and commodified may be reason enough to take a long hard look at FABM. Natural is in these days, at least in certain circles. I’ve got no objection to women who choose to use FABM (as long as they’re not being pressured or taking on the blame for fertility on themselves – which is a real concern), and I certainly think it’s better to do this more scientific version than the old-school method of counting days since your last period.

But from a moral perspective, I’m not sure it should be that much better than traditional, artificial birth control. FABM is just as likely to lead to promiscuity. It’s only better on the whole “sex should be for baby-making” count if you think there’s a difference between having sex when you know latex or artificial hormones makes you infertile, and when you know your naturally-occuring hormonal cycle makes you infertile. And on the abortion score… well, there’s just not much proof at all that traditional birth control does this to begin with.

4. political m-type thing

I consider myself a virtue ethicist, which means that at the level of a community we should be responsible for helping each other develop virtue. By the time we get to the national or even the state level, though, you’re not dealing with that kind of moral community. At that level I think what we really need is a way to give communities the tools they need to thrive, including those that have historically or economically gotten the short end of the stick. I believe that I, as a middle-class white person, have a duty to support minority communities here at home and poor communities around the world, so far as I’m able. Because I love the people living there as fellow humans, even if I’m not in a position to love them as neighbors. In practical terms, I think John Rawls-style liberalism (which is very different from American political liberalism) is the best way to run things at that level.

… and at FB …


Yesterday, I was reading an article in I think Time, about Google’s plan to fund medical advances that would do away with death altogether. What struck me most about this plan wasn’t that it would work or not, or even that it was moral or not to try, but that the problems Google is conquering (glasses that impose the web on the world you see! driverless calls! life everlasting!) seem like such First World problems. Don’t get me wrong, those ideas are truly *cool*. But I find myself wondering whether we’re not indulging ourselves a little?

To me, it is the height of privilege and immorality to try to fight off death for people already living to 100 when so many of their poorer fellow citizens don’t make it to sixty for lack of decent medical access. The thing is that there is very little money to be made on these problems. This, IMO, is the real problem with a market-based approach to all of our problems: some people have more money than others to reward the people who solve their problem, so some people’s suffering is addressed with more gusto than others’.

This doesn’t have to mean government is the solution to all problems. Government can be bulky and arthritic, particularly at the national level. But saying that if enough people need some problem fixed the market will come up with a solution to address it – that only works if you assume everyone with problems that need addressing have something to offer in exchange for that help. These days, that just doesn’t seem to be the case in a lot of instances.


In the “my life may be many things, but it is never boring,” there’s apparently a Marta Layton in Brooklyn who’s acquired five stoplight-camera tickets in as many months, one of them with a half-drunk bottle of beer visible on the passenger seat. Had to go in to the DMV and sign a petition saying that wasn’t me – they had sent me a letter threatening to charge me with a misdemeanor if I didn’t arrange to take driving-safety courses.

The truly bizarre thing is I don’t drive. Don’t even have a license – just a NY photo ID. Also, I don’t have platinum-blonde hair with purple streaks in it, as she does, and I had bank statements sent to an address in a different borough. So I’m obviously not her, but paperwork did need to be handled. C’est la vie…

LOLs I’ve Spread

Fannish Funnies

1. Pretty much all of these describe me. But in what sense are they problems?

Spoilers for Sherlock S02, so click through








Spoilers for Sherlock S02 – click




12. Clearly, someone has spent a little too much time hanging out with dwarves.


Sherlock S02 spoilers, so click.






Random Funnies</p>




Gender-Based Funnies

1. Text clearer at Pintrest.


Somebody’s $1m idea





1. The real Christopher Robin and his bear:





Deep Thoughts




Academic Humor


2. (Text clearer here.)



Political Funnies



Religious Funnies


2. Clearly, setting up a sukkah is a Jewish tradition that has endured across time. Wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey time.


Viggo’s Artwork</p>



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