I’ll take ‘Hodge Podge’ for $800, Alex

Another male college columnist thinks it’s cool and edgy to blame women for getting raped; the EPA takes a stand on a terrible mountaintop removal mine; and why bribes don’t work with children, but praise and attention do.

1. ‘”Date’ Rape is an Incoherent Concept”: Blaming the Victim, American U. Edition, from Jezebel

I don’t exactly know when male college columnists will stop writing about date rape, but another columnist thinks he is really being edgy by saying there is only rape and not-rape (um, so I would think date rape = rape), and he calls for someone to draw a nice, solid line between the two:

“Date rape” is an incoherent concept. There’s rape and there’s not-rape, and we need a line of demarcation. It’s not clear enough to merely speak of consent, because the lines of consent in sex — especially anonymous sex — can become very blurry. If that bothers you, then stick with Pat Robertson and his brigade of anti-sex cavemen! Don’t jump into the sexual arena if you can’t handle the volatility of its practice!

Of course, this wise man doesn’t seem to realize that (1) yes, the lines of consent are blurry, which is precisely why you can’t merely make judgment calls about what is and isn’t rape based on your personal interpretation of someone’s non-verbal consent. And (2) being anti-rape isn’t about being anti-sex — saying not to have sex if you can’t handle the possibility of rape is like saying don’t drive a car if you can’t handle the possibility of getting hit by a drunk driver.

I like that Jezebel writer Anna points out that this type of college column is not uncommon, which is really problematic. Victim-blaming continues, and lots of these male college columnists think they’re being inciteful and original by saying that all this “date-rape” is nonsense. Expect a blog soon about house party atmosphere and how this plays into the victim-blaming.

2. U.S. Proposes to Veto Mountaintop-Removal Coal Mine, from Grist

Now we’re talking! The EPA has proposed to veto to restrict or stop mining at a major MTR site in West Virginia. Why? Because:

In explaining its decision, the EPA said Friday that the Arch Coal Inc. mine would pollute surrounding water, fill over seven miles of stream, cause “unacceptable” harm to wildlife, and “directly impact” some 2,278 acres of forest. 

Even though mountaintop-removing mines in general all pollute waterways, fill streams with toxic sludge, hurt ecosystems, and destroy trees, it’s nice to see the EPA taking a firm stance on this one. Yes, everyone wants cheap coal, but we’ve got to stop and realize if coal is worth filling all the waterways of the Midwest with black coal slurry and toxic chemicals.

3. Why Bribing Your Child Doesn’t Work, from Slate

I don’t know why I’m drawn to articles about parenting and punishment, but I am. Here’s a good analysis of common myths regarding rewards vs. bribes. A lot of parents — my mom included — think that rewarding behavior that should be expected is a bad way to parent. The authors point out that common, consistent rewards are key, especially praise and attention:

A parent’s attention is very rewarding to a child, and praise is even better. Parents are giving attention all the time, and they are giving mild forms of praise, verbal and nonverbal (a smile, a touch, an affectionate or impressed look). Attention and praise are our main rewards, and often they’re sufficient to change behavior on their own, without resorting to tokens, privileges, or prizes.

Children gobble up praise and attention way more than cookies and stickers — they love positive attention just like as an adult, you like getting praise from your boss and recognition for a job well done. Also, the article highlights how rewards differ from bribes.

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