update on the cathedral

YLS Clinical Students Represent Immigrant Women and Children Detained in Texas

Yale students debate renaming Calhoun College:

“Even if we could rename every single residential college after radical people of color, racism would still manifest itself on our campus every day.

“Because institutions such as Yale and the federal and state governments are inextricably implicated in the maintenance of racism in this country in ways that will take more to undo than hollow symbolic gestures.

“Don’t get me wrong, symbolism is important. But to fixate on a futile debate about whether or not to change the name of Calhoun College is to miss the more fundamental question of how to shift power relationships on our campus so that they are more racially just.”

The counter-article:

“Yale should do a better job of commemorating. I propose a yearly vigil on Dec. 20, the anniversary of Calhoun’s home state of South Carolina’s secession. We can read aloud the testimonies of the slaves Calhoun thought subhuman, and of the Union soldiers who fought to destroy his evil dream incarnate. In doing so, we will emphasize what Dean Holloway worries is too often ignored: “that African Americans have a humanity that ought to be respected.” It could be, I think, a solemn institutional repentance. Perhaps Calhoun’s victims would appreciate our piety on their behalf.”

I’m not sure what they’re disagreeing over.

From the Harvard Crimson: Delving Deep Inside Amy Schumer The significance of society’s inability to find women funny

That’s… significant?

“As Christopher Hitchens once said, and as Amy Schumer video commenters often echo, maybe women aren’t funny because they’ve never needed to be funny. I mean, it’s just evolution. Throughout the years, as dinosaurs evolved into chickens and as carrier pigeons evolved into iPhones, human males evolved a sense of humor because it got them laid more often. One knock-knock joke, and before he knows it, the lucky man is a father to a litter of funny boys and unfunny girls. Or something like that. Science!”

Wow, I think I have missed the ev psych theories on humor. But I don’t really have much of a sense of humor, so maybe I just haven’t been reading the correct things.

“Sorry to burst your bubble, but while humor is a lot of things, it’s a lot more than just a flirting device used by men to woo women. …

“No, humor is far more powerful than that. Humor—particularly satire—is a tool of social commentary and criticism. It’s a way for people to hold up a mirror in front of society’s face and point out all the pockmarks.

“Women, of all people, know that society is deeply flawed. When we routinely get paid less than our male colleagues, and when the length of our skirts determines whether or not we deserve to live—well, how could we not turn to humor to shine a light on society’s failings?”

Criticizing society is more powerful than evolution?

Sorry, hon. But evolution wins. Every match. Every time.

Also–skirt length determines whether or not we deserve to live? What the hell has happened to Harvard? Did it get taken over by the Taliban sometime last year and no one told me?

Harvard Law would like to note that it practically started the gay marriage bandwagon: The Road to Marriage Equality

“In an essay titled “Recognition, Rights, Regulation, Normalisation: Rhetorics of Justification in the Same-Sex Marriage Debate,” Halley expressed concerns that although limiting marriage to heterosexual couples indeed deprecated the relationships of gay couples who wished to marry, the fight for equality had too readily adopted language emphasizing the normative value of traditional coupling. Instead, Halley argued, the movement should question widespread assumptions about marriage and monogamy, leaving the door open for a broader range of non-traditional relationships.”

Luce Foundation Awards $400k to Harvard Law for the development of SHARIAsource

“SHARIAsource is a new initiative of Harvard Law School’s Islamic Legal Studies Program and Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society that will provide an online portal of resources and analysis on Islamic law, in cooperation with scholars of Islamic law and policy in the United States and around the world.

“SHARIAsource aims to be the go-to site for researchers, journalists, and policymakers, as well as generally interested readers seeking to grasp the basics and the complexities of Islamic law—a frequently recurring topic in news and policy circles. The portal will accomplish this goal by collecting primary sources (court cases, legislation, and fatwas) about Islamic law, and offering scholarly analysis and policy papers about them. The analysis will come from recognized experts in Islamic law and related fields in the United States and abroad.”

Actually, that sounds kind of useful. I once tried to do a project on Gypsy law, but got bogged down when I realized that law is really boring. Also, I couldn’t figure out how to find any Gypsies to talk to in real life in order to figure out if “Gypsy law” actually has any relevance to their lives.

Oh, and from Penn, which I guess is technically still in the IVY League, but really shouldn’t be with shit like this: I Sometimes Don’t Want to Be White Either

Hey, there should be a comma before “either.”

“There was a time in my 20s when everything I learned about the history of racism made me hate myself, my Whiteness, my ancestors… and my descendants. I remember deciding that I couldn’t have biological children because I didn’t want to propagate my privilege biologically. …

“Maybe it felt good to distance [Dolezal] from the overwhelming oppressiveness of Whiteness — her own and that of her country and of her ancestors. But the lesson for me is remembering how deep the pain is, the pain of realizing I’m White, and that I and my ancestors are responsible for the incredible racialized mess we find ourselves in today. The pain of facing that honestly is blinding. It’s not worse than being on the receiving end of that oppression.

“Ali Michael, Ph.D., is the Director of P-12 Consulting and Professional Development at the Center for the Study of Race Equity in Education at the University of Pennsylvania. She is also the author of Raising Race Questions: Whiteness and Inquiry in Education and co-editor of Everyday White People Confront Racial and Social Injustice. For readers interested in how White people can work towards racial justice — and still be White — or how a White person could have a positive racial identity without being a White supremacist, please pick up one of these books!”

Penn wins the WTF of the month award, despite that article about about Ruth Bader Ginsburg being a “Pop culture icon.” WTF.

In other news, Bruce Charleston reflects on, The destruction of the ‘basic instincts’, common sense and human nature – reflections on the mutational meltdown of Man

“We currently believe that general intelligence has declined by approximately two standard deviations (which is approximately 30 IQ points) since 1800 – that is, over about 8 generations. …

“Michael and I immediately recognized that the rate of change in intelligence that we were observing was too fast to be accounted for my natural selection favouring lower intelligence; although this does have a significant role.

“We soon began to recognize that the primary mechanism was likely to be mutation accumulation due to the decline in child mortality rates from more than half to about one percent – child mortality having, through human history, served as the main (but not only) selective ‘sieve’ to remove the spontaneous fitness-reducing mutations which occur with every generation.”

It’s a great post, IMO. I’ve been talking about the effects of the end of high infant mortality for a while (in conversation, not so much here, since this is a new blog and all.) I think the potential for unforseen effects is pretty high.

“In a sense, the reduction of intelligence may be one of the lesser concerns about this world of what looks increasingly like a mutational meltdown. Because mutations will also damage what might be termed the ‘basic instincts’ of the population or species.

“In particular, mutation accumulation will be expected to affect social and sexual instincts of the kind we used to call ‘common sense’ and ‘human nature’.”

To be fair, I am not so keen on endless population growth, myself. I think curbing growth is a sensible reaction to overpopulation, rather than something to be concerned about it. (Though obviously one does not want to get overwhelmed by people who don’t curb their growth.)

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