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Cellar Door Internets

December 17, 2011

An excellent post on the Tyranny of Structurelessness

structurelessness is impossible: “Any group of people… coming together for any length of time, for any purpose, will inevitably structure itself in some fashion.” Second, structurelessness can also be oppressive: “the idea becomes a smokescreen for the strong or the lucky to establish unquestioned hegemony over others.”

In a way, structureless power is even more dangerous than structured power because there is no official and public system of allocating power. Power still exists and is exercised, but informally and in the shadows, where it is more difficult to define, monitor, and challenge: “structurelessness becomes a way of masking power.”

The prison industry in the United States: big business or a new form of slavery?

Human rights organizations, as well as political and social ones, are condemning what they are calling a new form of inhumane exploitation in the United States, where they say a prison population of up to 2 million – mostly Black and Hispanic – are working for various industries for a pittance. For the tycoons who have invested in the prison industry, it has been like finding a pot of gold. They don’t have to worry about strikes or paying unemployment insurance, vacations or comp time. All of their workers are full-time, and never arrive late or are absent because of family problems; moreover, if they don’t like the pay of 25 cents an hour and refuse to work, they are locked up in isolation cells.

Republicans are such douche-bags.

Republicans Restore Ban on Needle Exchange Funding
Ta-nehisi Coates responds in his own extraordinary way to that one Forbes article that I can’t be bothered to link to.

This basic extension of empathy is one of the great barriers in understanding race in this country. I do not mean a soft, flattering, hand-holding empathy. I mean a muscular empathy rooted in curiosity. If you really want to understand slaves, slave masters, poor black kids, poor white kids, rich people of colors, whoever, it is essential that you first come to grips with the disturbing facts of your own mediocrity. The first rule is this–You are not extraordinary. It’s all fine and good to declare that you would have freed your slaves. But it’s much more interesting to assume that you wouldn’t and then ask “Why?”

It takes a respectable amount of skill and balls to write a mean article about someone who just died. But there you go.

Hitchens’ style—ironically, given his hatred for tyranny and love of free expression—brooked no dissent. There was little room for good-faith disagreement or loyal opposition. His enemies were not just wrong, they were stupid or mean or small-minded or liars or cheats or children or cowards. It was thrilling and gratifying to see that articulate viciousness deployed against the Clinton cartel, or Mother Teresa, or Henry Kissinger—against power and pretense. To see it deployed in favor of war, on behalf of a dullard and scion, against the hysterical mother of a dead son was nauseating.

Watch a woman repeatedly hit a solider from the Indian army for molesting her. Good for her.


A documentary by Amudhan R. P. about the plight of the environment and ex-workers affected by mercury pollution from Hindustan Unilever’s thermometer factory in Kodaikanal. More than 30 workers have died till date, and several tons of mercury have been discharged in and around the factory. But the company refuses to take responsibility.

A useful video on HIV, the law and its effects on sex workers and transgender people. A bit too conference-y — it helps to be a public health nerd to appreciate it, but still worth watching.


Wonder Woman and She-Hulk give themselves breast exams in Mozambique. Awesome.
Muslim woman’s body found in hospital morgue covered with bacon

Underground Hip-hop in China

Zora Neale Hurston. One of her political correspondence. Even when I disagree with her, she makes me get on her side.

I almost uniformly hate (or claim to hate) ‘kids said this and it’s cute’ things. They asked kids, “what is love?”. Vomit-ory, am I right? But this got my little heart.

When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You just know your name is safe in their mouth
— Billy, age 4

If by ‘age 4’, they mean 40 yr old, Iowa city Writer’s Workshop graduate.

I love Gael Garcia Bernal a little more now.

Deaf Muslim Punks. Enough said.

It’s been bad news for genitalia this week. All of these stories will make you wanna pat your genitals to reassure them that nothing will be coming their way via needles, injections or teeth.

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