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Posted by Fred Clark

Opposition to the burning of kittens is not what sets the members of the AKBC apart from everyone else. What sets them apart is their strange belief that they are a special, beleaguered minority. What sets them apart is their refusal and/or inability to recognize that opposition to the burning of kittens is a unanimous, universally shared opinion. Apart from the AKBC, most people don’t feel a need to imagine or to pretend that there exists somewhere a vast Pro-Kitten-Burning Coalition that they must denounce as a demonstration of their moral superiority.

Reposted from 2008. For Patrick Lynch and all his fans on Twitter.

Every once in a while, I am sorry to say, some sick bastard sets fire to a kitten. This is something that happens. Like all crimes, it shouldn’t happen, but it does. And like most crimes, it makes the paper. The effects of this appalling cruelty are not far-reaching, but the incidents are reported in the papers because the cruelty is so flagrant and acute that it seems newsworthy.

The response to such reports is horror and indignation, which is both natural and appropriate. But the expression of that horror and indignation also produces something strange.

A few years ago there was a particularly horrifying kitten-burning incident involving a barbecue grill and, astonishingly, a video camera. That sordid episode took place far from the place where I work, yet the paper’s editorial board nonetheless felt compelled to editorialize on the subject. They were, happily, against it. Unambiguously so.

agreed with that stance, of course. Who doesn’t? But despite agreeing with the side they took, I couldn’t help but be amused by the editorial’s inordinately proud pose of courageous truth-telling. The lowest common denominator of minimal morality was being held up as though it were a prophetic example of speaking truth to power.

That same posturing resurfaced in a big way earlier this year when the kitten-burners struck again, much closer to home. A group of disturbed and disturbing children doused a kitten with lighter fluid and set it on fire just a few miles from the paper’s offices.

Pic snurched from knowyourmemes.com.

Pic snurched from knowyourmemes.com.

The paper covered the story, of course, and our readers ate it up.

People loved that story. It thrilled them. It became one of the most-read and most-e-mailed stories on our Web site. Online readers left dozens of comments and we got letters to the editor on the subject for months afterward.

Those letters and comments were, of course, uniformly and universally opposed to kitten-burning. Opinon on that question was unanimous and vehement.

But here was the weird part: Most of the commenters and letter-writers didn’t seem to notice that they were expressing a unanimous and noncontroversial sentiment. Their comments and letters were contentious and sort of aggressively defensive. Or maybe defensively aggressive. They were angry, and that anger didn’t seem to be directed only at the kitten-burners, but also at some larger group of others whom they imagined must condone this sort of thing.

If you jumped into the comments thread and started reading at any random point in the middle, you’d get the impression that the comments immediately preceding must have offered a vigorous defense of kitten-burning. No such comments offering any such defense existed, and yet reader after reader seemed to be responding to or anticipating this phantom kitten-burning advocacy group.

One came away from that comment thread with the unsurprising but reassuring sense that the good people reading the paper’s Web site did not approve of burning kittens alive. Kitten-burning, they all insisted, was just plain wrong.

But one also came away from reading that thread with the sense that people seemed to think this ultra-minimal moral stance made them exceptional and exceptionally righteous. Like the earlier editorial writers, they seemed to think they were exhibiting courage by taking a bold position on a matter of great controversy. Whatever comfort might be gleaned from the reaffirmation that most people were right about this non-issue issue was overshadowed by the discomfiting realization that so many people also seemed to want or need most others to be wrong.

The kitten-burners seem to fulfill some urgent need. They give us someone we can clearly and correctly say we’re better than. Their extravagant cruelty makes us feel better about ourselves because we know that we would never do what they have done. They thus function as signposts of depravity, reassuring the rest of us that we’re Not As Bad As them, and thus letting us tell ourselves that this is the same thing as us being good.

Kitten-burners are particularly useful in this role because their atrocious behavior seems wholly alien and without any discernible motive that we might recognize in ourselves. We’re all at least dimly aware of our own potential capacity for the seven deadlies, so crimes motivated by lust, greed, gluttony, etc. — even when those crimes are particularly extreme — still contain the seed of something recognizable. People like Ken Lay or Hugh Hefner don’t work as signposts of depravity because we’re capable, on some level, of envying them for their greed and their hedonism. But we’re not the least bit jealous of the kitten-burners. Their cruelty seems both arbitrary and unrewarding, allowing us to condemn it without reservation.

Again, I whole-heartedly agree that kitten-burning is really, really bad. But the leap from “that’s bad” to “I’m not that bad” is dangerous and corrosive. I like to call this Thornton Melon morality. Melon was the character played by Rodney Dangerfield in the movie Back to School, the wealthy owner of a chain of “Tall & Fat” clothing stores whose motto was “If you want to look thin, you hang out with fat people.” That approach — finding people we can compare-down to — might make us feel a little better about ourselves, but it doesn’t change who or what we really are. The Thornton Melon approach might make us look thin, but it won’t help us become so. Melon morality is never anything more than an optical illusion.

This comparing-down is ultimately corrosive because it bases our sense of morality in pride rather than in love — in the cardinal vice instead of the cardinal virtue. And to fuel that pride, we end up looking for ever-more extreme and exotically awful people to compare ourselves favorably against, people whose freakish cruelty makes our own mediocrity show more goodly and attract more eyes than that which hath no foil to set it off. …

Quite Taken.

Dec. 21st, 2014 02:49 pm
[syndicated profile] edenland_feed

Posted by eden riley

 "Are we in America yet? Wait - is this Perth? MUM WE FORGOT OUR PASSPORTS!"


Rocco: "You've already had some of that it's my turn AND you ate my sushi." Me: (Cat-strangled voice) "Do. You. Want. Gelato. Afterwards. Or. Not."

The gigantic REAL gingerbread house in the lobby. God I want to smash it with a clawhammer and call it art.

Megan did you really Instagram this at 2.05am? Shocker! Hey let's just agree to stop kissing at this point. We both clearly don't enjoy it.

MUM TAKE A PHOTO OF MY HANDSTAND! (Dude, you're gonna need to improve on your technique.)

Actually, he doesn't need to improve on a goddamn thing. When he was little he told me that when he was with me "his heart was warm." Which to this day is the best description of love I have ever heard.

Ok so notice my glasses in the above picture? THEY ARE BRAND NEW FRAMES POSTED TO ME BY A BEAUTIFUL WOMAN CALLED NICOLE WHO GOT HER HANDS ON MY EXACT DISCONTINUED MODEL. Nicole, you saved me - wait until I show you the DISGUSTING new ones I chose in a rush last week before you contacted me. So bad. I cannot thank you enough, I am so so grateful. These are my favourite, and now they're all new. Freaked out a bit because those were the last glasses Cam ever saw me in - but, they're the same lenses.

They're the same lenses. And even further than that - they're the same eyes. My actual eyes saw Cam. I don't need glasses to remind me of that. I can close my eyes and picture my brother any time I need. Nobody can take that away from me.

This is what Nicole saved me from: a lost glasses arm and lost hope.

This is how I still feel, actually. I'm pretty down. A lot of my relationships have been destroyed this year, some still in the process. Death does that. Death blows everything wide open. I guess so does life.


This is the coffee you get when you order one by the pool. Sometimes they give it to you in take-away cups but I specifically ask for the board with the ceramic cup and sugar cubes now. "They just make me feel special." The bartender nods, understands.

We are off to some themes parks in the next few days. I need to go to the chemist for some emergency Nair - waxing is the devils work by the way does anyone know of a business that employs people to take your kids to theme parks? Even though this was ALL my idea I'm like, what have you promised, Eden!!!

I'm desperately trying to get my hands on Lion King tickets - it's playing just up the road. Sometimes there's cancellations but you have to snap them up really quickly. Am using the QPAC website but have even resorted to eBay and gumtree. I'd love the boys to see. I'm determined they'll see it.

Brisbane! Max finishes high school just as Rocco starts high school so maybe I can do the move then? I'm taken by you - you have quite taken me and I have needed to be taken, desperately. Thank you.

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[personal profile] alschroeder3 posting in [community profile] scans_daily
Confession time: my favorite hero of all---when he's done RIGHT, which is rarely---is the most primal one of all: Superman.

And no one's captured what made Superman worth all the attention than Grant Morrison (aided by spectacular art) in this paen to seventy-five years of a hero who's essence is...


Read more... )

Seed by Robyn Sarah

Dec. 20th, 2014 06:50 pm
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[personal profile] taiga13 posting in [community profile] poetry
And the seed bunches hung in the summer trees
on branches that swung in the wind, 
it was the summer when everywhere you went 
you heard the cries of newborn babies
out of open windows, or from behind fences
around private gardens, everywhere you went
there was a mother on the other
side of the wall

And the seed bunches tossed in the wind... )

The Bee Carol by Carol Anne Duffy

Dec. 21st, 2014 12:24 am
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[personal profile] glinda posting in [community profile] poetry
I was looking for another poem by this poet, something from her collection The Bees which I read and enjoyed so much at the start of the year. I couldn't find the one I was looking for but I found another one altogether, though it is about bees and is seasonably appropriate to boot.

The Bee Carol

Silently on Christmas Eve,
the turn of midnight’s key;
all the garden locked in ice -
a silver frieze -
except the winter cluster of the bees.

Flightless now and shivering,
around their Queen they cling;
every bee a gift of heat;
she will not freeze
within the winter cluster of the bees.

Bring me for my Christmas gift
a single golden jar;
let me taste the sweetness there,
but honey leave
to feed the winter cluster of the bees.

Come with me on Christmas Eve
to see the silent hive -
trembling stars cloistered above -
and then believe,
bless the winter cluster of the bees.

Carol Anne Duffy
[personal profile] lego_joker posting in [community profile] scans_daily
Let the disagreements pour forth, but to this day, Frank Miller's Batman: Year One remains quite possibly the most well-told Batman story I have ever read. I'm tempted to say that it's proof of what Miller alone was capable of at the top of his game, but some sources have it that David Mazzucchelli was holding back all of his excesses, which isn't exactly unbelievable.

Really, Mazzucchelli's art and layouts make half the story, with a beautifully minimalist-yet-gritty aesthetic that can make even the hokiest scenes work (so naturally, the DTV adaptation glossed over all that with its typical wannabe-anime art. Feh). It's a shame that today he's gone into the Too-Good-For-Mainstream-Superheroes-Camp, but if anyone's earned that spot, it's him. I'm also of the opinion that this is one of those comics that absolutely must be read with the shitty, grainy coloring of the late 1980s to get the full effect, but since most of them TPBs today have that high-falutin' shiny digital coloring, this might be a bit hard.

The actual content of the story, I go back and forth on: I love what it did to Gordon's and Alfred's character voices, it's probably the sole reason that pre-scarring Harvey Dent has any traction in the modern era, and the corruption of the GCPD is practically gospel today, but I'm largely apathetic to any take on Catwoman's origin, and I've never sat too well with the third-act revelation of Jim Gordon's adultery. Still, when it's good, it's absolutely kick-ass

Come. Let us gaze on some of its finest moments...

I know comics. I know comics. Sometimes, I share them. With someone like you. )

Black Widow #13

Dec. 20th, 2014 11:01 pm

December Daily: active fannishness

Dec. 20th, 2014 03:31 pm
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[personal profile] resonant
[personal profile] cesperanza asks: what are the things that get you to write, fannishly? Have you been able to articulate the circumstances that get you from passive to active fannishness about a particular source?

I really love this question, because when I began giving it some thought, the answer was not at all what I expected it to be.

Read more... )

Elektra #9

Dec. 20th, 2014 10:10 pm
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[personal profile] icon_uk posting in [community profile] scans_daily
Slightly later posting due to it being the weekend and a LOT of soul searching going on for this one.

Again, this is a VERY tough one for me because I'm such an old fart and read quite so many comics during the process of becoming an old fart..

and that is a LOT of comics... )

December 19th, 2014

Dec. 20th, 2014 08:56 am
[syndicated profile] widdershins_feed

Posted by Kate


I had to think for a moment there whether I was going to tag Voss as being in this one, since he sort of isn’t. Ah well, I guess he’s present, at least.


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