03 November 2008


Links of interest (2008-11-03):

Fabulous Weather, Eh?
  • “[Obama] said he likes to go out trick-or-treating, but he can’t anymore. [...] He said he guessed he could have worn a Barack Obama mask.”

  • America contains a strange dichotomy about teenage sex: "Social liberals in the country's 'blue states' tend to support sex education and are not particularly troubled by the idea that many teen-agers have sex before marriage, but would regard a teen-age daughter's pregnancy as devastating news. And the social conservatives in 'red states' generally advocate abstinence-only education and denounce sex before marriage, but are relatively unruffled if a teen-ager becomes pregnant, as long as she doesn't choose to have an abortion."

  • From the same post at The Slog, back in 1970 Aretha Franklin sang and played piano in a lesson in soul that today's diva singers could still learn a thing or two (or twenty) from. In particular, her melisma (one syllable, many notes) is hardly noticeable, because she uses it sparingly and for (perhaps instinctive) emotional emphasis, rather than as a special effect. Maya Rudolph nailed it in this SNL satire in 2006 (sorry for the lousy audio, but you'll get it).

  • Darren, who never adds salt or pepper to a prepared meal, wonders why so many of us do, even before we taste it. Shouldn't food, he asks, be properly seasoned before it arrives?

  • Lisa has some good tips for photography on rainy days (also at TWIP)—especially useful right now in Vancouver.

  • It's inevitable that an article (via Pharyngula) about an estranged son of the despicable Fred Phelps and his Westboro Baptist Church provokes a nasty flame war in the comments, but to have Phelps's equally vitriolic daughter Shirley (who obviously keeps up regular ego-surfing) be the first to comment brings it to a new level. Nice work by The Ubyssey, by the way—their journalism and copy editing seem to have improved since my days at UBC a couple of decades ago.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,


I'd be more devastated by news that my son's girlfriend was pregnant than by news that my daughter was. In the case of the son, the power is out of his hands, but the financial and moral commitment is there, if she proceeds. And I'm unlikely to have any influence over my son's girlfriend!
I love to watch Aretha sing in the day. So smooth and genuine. Very soulful.
Derek, I am one of your American readers. It seems you have fallen for the bait the media puts out by defining arguments in extreme left and right terms. Most Americans are in the center. Unfortunately, the loudest voices are the extremes. Do you really believe that those of us who vote on the left would necessarily want our child to have an abortion over giving birth? That is the problem with how debates are framed, there is never any real people positions there. Also, the right is not entirely Fundamentalist Christians.
I don't think that the extremes in the teen pregnancy link represent everyone in the U.S. -- I've spent enough time there to have a sense of that. (In my other link, Fred Phelps certainly doesn't represent anyone but himself and his close associates, thankfully.)

I also don't think that anyone considers abortions are good. But how we approach that issue differs: there is a significant proportion of the population (here in Canada too, and not a majority in either country) that is morally opposed not only to abortion, but also to premarital sex, sex education, and contraception.

That link shows a surprising acceptance, in that socially conservative cohort, of the premarital and teen pregnancy that inevitably results from those views. I don't think that the two poles that the study discusses represent everyone, but it's an interesting comparison.