Cat sharing

lp’s remark on last Sunday’s non-Sunday cat – the one about her new kitty – lead me to the realization that it would be great to know about others’ cats, or at least see pictures of them.  So please send me a photo of your cat(s) to be used for one of our Sunday Cat features.  We can do little titles, so yours and the cats’ names can be included.

I’d like them by 6 pm London time on the 12th  of January.  And I’ll see what I can do.  Please don’t send more than 1 for our first try. 

They should go to:

If you feel your dog or other kind of pet  is an honorary cat, we could have a section for them.  Perhaps they could be Tuesday cats.

The Second Great Depression?

Paul Krugman, the recent Nobel Prize winner, has finally said it.  He isn’t predicting a Great Depression; he is warning us all that preventing it will require swift and bold action (Obama’s terms).

The fact is that recent economic numbers have been terrifying, not just in the United States but around the world. Manufacturing, in particular, is plunging everywhere. Banks aren’t lending; businesses and consumers aren’t spending. Let’s not mince words: This looks an awful lot like the beginning of a second Great Depression.

So will we “act swiftly and boldly” enough to stop that from happening? We’ll soon find out.

How’s this our concern?  The APA job market this year was thoroughly alarming; it’s estimated that 10% of the job searches were cancelled and many other universities delayed job searches.  Where will philosophy, and particularly our younger colleagues, be if we do into a depression?  Our profession is, as has been pointed out here very recently (see Thom Brooks’ comment esp), woefully under promoted.  Who will think out departments are worth  preserving fully as universities are cut back.?

 And though some of us feel well protected by tenure, even that is  a limited guarantee, as distinguihsed, tenured PhD  scientists at the University of Texas’ Medical Branch in Galveston have found out recently.  And then, of course, there are our families and friends, our cities and our countries.. 

What can we do?  A strong letter writing campaign that reminds our legislators of  Obama’s popularity might  help to get more people behind him.



Feminism and submissive desires

There’s a really interesting article on Alternet by a very reflective feminist who is sexually submissive. She emphasises the importance of consent and safe words in the BDSM community, which is a very important but familiar move.

A dom/sub dynamic doesn’t appear to promote equality, but for most serious practitioners, the trust and respect that exist in power exchange actually transcend a mainstream “woman as object” or rape mentality. For BDSM to exist safely, it has to be founded on a constant proclamation of enthusiastic consent, which mainstream sexuality has systematically dismantled.

However, she doesn’t stop there. She moves on to worries about what happens as BDSM imagery becomes more prevalent in mainstream culture, where all the emphasis on consent is absent. And she doesn’t shy away from the strongest form of these worries.

Herein lies the problem — with the advent and proliferation of Internet pornography, the fantasy of rape, torture and bondage becomes an issue of access. No longer reserved for an informed, invested viewer who carefully sought it out after a trip to a fetish bookstore, BDSM is represented in every porn portal on the Internet…the average young, male, heterosexual porn audience member begins to believe that forcing women into sex acts is the norm — the imagery’s constant, instant availability makes rape and sex one and the same for the mainstream viewer.

Her solution?

When the mainstream appropriation of BDSM models is successfully critiqued, dismantled and corrected, a woman can then feel safe to desire to be demeaned, bound, gagged and “forced” into sex by her lover. In turn, feminists would feel safe accepting that desire, because it would be clear consensual submission. Because “she was asking for it” would finally be true.

It’s a very good and complex article, although short. However, I’m not sure it’s wholly coherent. She says that feminist opposition to BDSM must be understood as “kinkophobia”. But she also goes on to admit that in the actual world that we have, with lots of sexual violence, BDSM is genuinely problematic for feminists in certain ways. That seems to me at odds with the insistence that those who raise these worries must be considered “kinkophobes”. Anyway, go have a look!