Archive for June, 2010


A picture of me dancing in my living room.

Today I finished a decent draft of my dissertation about a relational view of respect. I still have some things to smooth out, but it is now a coherent idea. I feel elated. Perhaps there will be more posts from me in the near future.


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So by now I am sure most have seen the Portal 2 trailer from yesterday’s E3 conference. If not, here it is.

I have to admit, I am excited. It looks pretty and the first game is one of my favorite games. But there are some things that make me uneasy. The first game was great because it was simple, it was funny, and it was unexpected. Oh yeah, and it was feminist.

(For the simplicity, see the Zero Punctuation review beginning at 3:30. I find Ben “Yahtzee” Corshaw distasteful, but I think this review is pretty spot on. For the feminism, see Kris at the Hathor Legacy, Brinstar at Acid for Blood, Jenn Frank at Infinite Lives, Joe McNeilly at GamesRadar, or go to the Iris Network forums and search either ‘Portal’ or ‘Chell’).

This version obviously is quite anticipated, and so never had a chance at being unexpected (although it might still have many surprises). It seems like it will still be funny. GlaDOS has a great personality (e.g. “Didn’t we have some fun, though…” my favorite line from the first Portal game, which is kind of a spoiler if you have not played Portal). But it does not seem simple. There is a lot going on in the trailer. Also, I am not sure whether it will still be feminist. I find myself thinking, “Trust Valve… it will be good… I’m sure it will…”


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Today I have been reading this report, Experiments in Torture: Evidence of Human Subject Research and Experimentation in the “Enhanced” Interrogation Program,  about medical experimentations that occurred during the “enhanced” interrogation of detainees during the Bush administration. Of course, there are rules, laws, and codes against doing research on persons without consent, as this New York Times Article points out:

The report is the first analysis of the C.I.A.’s interrogation program to argue that one of the unintended consequences of the Bush administration’s efforts to provide legal cover for officials involved in the program was to place medical professionals in legal and ethical jeopardy. There are both international and national limits on human research and experimentation, including those based on the post-World War II Nuremberg Code and the so-called American Common Rule, both of which ban human experimentation without informed consent.

But rules, codes, and laws about what you cannot do to persons seem ineffective when you do not see the human in front of you as human.

I want to say something more about the report, but for the moment I am at a loss for words.

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I promised a post about why I do not think crying makes one weak in all cases (see the discussion here), and I said I would write this post before the end of May. Of course that deadline has now passed, but I was having a hard time remembering what I thought about crying because I was feeling unusually happy for a stretch. But now my work-related productivity has slowed a little and I remember the other kinds of feelings that are not related to happiness.

To begin with I want to be clear that I think there are several varieties of crying, and some of these might indeed be an expression of weakness. I do not think this means that all kinds of crying are weak, however. Nor does it mean that forms of crying that do express weakness are only expressing weakness; emotions can express more than one thing at a time, I believe. I have cried out of weakness, and this happens when I am crying out of frustration, because I feel helpless, overwhelmed, or sometimes for no reason that I can discern. But even in those moments there is sometimes some strength in crying because through tears I can ask for help and you have to be brave to ask for help. You have to be willing to make yourself vulnerable to someone else, and that takes a lot of courage. There are also many other times when I have cried and it has not been from weakness, and has not involved an admixture of weakness at all.


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