Monthly Archives: February 2009

Bits and pieces

A first for me – linking to some pieces that I think people who come by here from time to time will, ah, enjoy reading.

Satire – ur doing it rong:
Working women almost certainly caused the credit crunch
H/T: The F-word

A giant Godwin:
This isn’t socialism we are heading to, but it may very well be the other 20th century “ism”

Given my recent experience with helplines:
Helpline for books

Friday Feminist – Andrea Dworkin (5)

Cross posted

Feminists know that if women are paid equal wages for equal work, women will gain sexual as well as economic independence. But feminists have refused to face the fact that in a woman-hating social system, women will never be paid equal wages. Men in all their institutions of power are sustained by the sex labour and sexual subordination of women. The sex labour of women must be maintained; and systematic low wages for sex-neutral work effectively forces women to sell sex to survive. The economic system that pays women lower wages than it pays men actually punishes women for working outside marriage or prostitution, since women work hard for low wages and still must sell sex. The economic system that punishes women for working outside the bedroom by paying low wages contributes significantly to women’s perception that the sexual serving of men is a necessary part of any women’s life: or how else could she live? Feminists appear to think that equal pay for equal work is a simple reform, whereas it is no reform at all; it is revolution. Feminists have refused to face the fact that equal pay for equal work is impossible as long as men rule women, and right-wing women have refused to forget it. Devaluation of women’s labour outside the home pushes women back into the home and encourages women to support a system in which, as she sees it, he is paid for both of them – her share of his wage being more than she could earn herself.

Andrea Dworkin, Right Wing Women, 1983

There’s a couple of problems

The vet wrote to our cat today, to remind her that she needs to tell us that she’s due for her booster vaccination, and a general check-up.

There’s just a couple of problems. She can’t read. Nor can she speak. And even if she could do either of these things, I doubt that she would remind us about the annual torture trip.

Do you think I should write back to the vet to let him know?

Mr Strange Land is very clever

Yesterday I was disconnected from the internet.

The help line couldn’t help. But Mr Strange Land was able to talk me through setting up a workaround in about five minutes.

For reasons, he wasn’t able to work on it last night (singing lesson, and then a pressing engagement with me and episodes 3.9 and 3.10 of Babylon 5).

But this evening, he spent some time diagnosing the problem, and reloading and updating software, and clicking various buttons, in that mysterious way that adepts have. And behold, I have internet access again.

He is very clever.

Living the Great New Zealand Internet Blackout

Even though I now live in Australia, much of my heart and my virtual life is based in New Zealand. So I joined the Great New Zealand Internet Blackout, turning my header black, putting a rotating gif about the blackout in the sidebar, setting up a static front page, and turning comments off. Not a complete takedown of this blog – that’s beyond my technical capabilties. Tumeke created this visual record of the blackout: that’s IASL in the bottom row, second from the right.

blackout-top50horiz

But this morning, I experienced the blackout for real. For reasons unknown to me, because they happened somewhere in the box we call ‘computer’, into which I rarely, if ever, pry, we lost our internet connection this morning, for about four hours. I spent about an hour of that time on the phone, trying to sort it out with the help desk (45 minutes!!! waiting time, 10 minutes help) and Mr Strange Land (5 minutes). Being much more technically proficient than me, Mr Strange Land was able to set up a workaround involving moving cables and connecting a laptop, so I am now back on-line, temporarily.

I didn’t like it. At all. I felt disconnected, disoriented, and powerless. The inner workings of computers confuse me, and although I can use software packages with reasonable proficiency (for example, I write this blog in html), the computer itself, and the connections to our ISP, are to me imbued with magic – knowable by adepts, and those who have learned the art of prestidigitation, but inaccessible to ordinary people who just want something that works (or in the case of magic, deludes them).

Like most of us, I use the net for all sorts of things – information gathering, entertainment, learning (I use youtube clips to help me learn the songs that my singing teacher gives me), communication, banking, booking travel, whatever. It is part of my daily life, and when it is taken from me, if I am not bereft (too strong a word), I am at least disconcerted, and inconvenienced, and very annoyed.

Which demonstrates exactly why section 92A is wrong. It proposes that if copyright holders detect a breach of copyright, then they can force an individual’s internet connection to be terminated, without any evidence other than the copyright holder’s accusation. Gone, just like that. You too can experience the disconnection, the disorientation, and the powerlessness of losing your access to the internet, just on the say so of a copyright holder.

It’s bad law, and it should be changed.

Update: Success! The implementation of the law is being delayed a month, while industry players come up with a code of practice that is acceptable to government. If they can’t, then the law will be suspended.

Friday Feminist – Laurie Shrage

Cross posted

Because of this: Government kills pay-equity inquiries, which is discussed at The Hand Mirror: Pay equity for women is just too expensive and Kiwipolitico: Women are paying for bankers excesses and No Right Turn: Women come last under National.

Numerous studies indicate that jobs performed predominantly by persons of color and white women pay significantly less than those primarily occupied by white men, even when the jobs compare favorably in terms of the level of skill, responsibility, experiences, effort, and formal training they demand. Such a pervasive pattern of salary differentials that correlate closely with the race and gender of the traditional job holders reflects the existence of cultural ideologies and principles that devalue the skills and abilities of women and men of color. The adoption of comparable worth standards of pay by employers will serve to reduce the wage inequities that have evolved due to historical and ongoing race and gender prejudice. Instead of setting salaries internally in accordance with the social status of the worker, employers would devise procedures for setting salaries in accordance with some agreed-upon criteria of job worth. Without such procedures, women and men of color are likely to find that their efforts do not really “pay” which serves as a disincentive to compete for desirable positions.

Laurie Shrage, “Equal Opportunity”, in A Companion to Feminist Philosophy, Alison M. Jaggar and Iris Marion Young (eds), 1999

There should be a law!

I don’t know what the law would be, but surely someone should be held accountable for this, somehow.

The house that taste forgot

H/T: Stuart Coates, in comments at Public Address