Tag: Language

Amy Cooper Put Out A Hit

There’s little doubt that Amy Cooper attempted to weaponize her whiteness and Christian Cooper’s blackness against him, and as some city officials call for action I realized that perhaps one way to frame this to make people understand is that in effect she was putting out a hit. Any prosecutor who cares about the moral crime of weaponizing race would at the very least charge her with criminal solicitation and a bias crime.


  1. I’d imagine that the reason First Deputy Commissioner Benjamin Tucker says the police “have bigger fish to fry” and “the DA would never prosecute that” is because doing so would be tacit admission that the police have a racial violence problem.

Writing for the Star Tribune about toxic positivity Kevyn Burger (via Ryan Boren) offers an important caution from graduate student Bridget Siljander — “We act like if they just try harder they can be happy. That ignores science. It ignores diversity. It ignores trauma.” — but I was mostly struck by therapist Sherry Merriam.

“It’s as if this turned up the gravity on the planet. For those people, whatever they were trying to do feels harder and heavier now,” she said. “Now we see the pressure to make something positive out of this situation — get that sourdough started, read those books. It’s wonderful for those who can use those things as coping mechanisms, but a lot of people can’t and they feel like a failure. That’s what makes it toxic.”

It struck me because I’ve used the gravity metaphor a lot. It doesn’t feel metaphorical when it hits; your body physically responds as if everything is heavier and slower. It shouldn’t surprise me that the metaphor exists, you know, outside of my own head.

I know that I shouldn’t read too much into any particular aspect of a set of interviews of just twelve people, but nonetheless I find it interesting that the three people “strongly opposed” to the loss of the term Asperger’s in diagnostic manuals were late-diagnosed men. There’s a thread of autistic opinion out there which rightfully gets labelled Aspie Supremacy (typically it seemed to be people with desperate need to establish that they aren’t like those other autistic people), and almost every time I’ve encountered it directly it’s been late-diagnosed men. Which is not to say that only men identify as Aspies; just that I’d actually love to know if there’s any research on use of the term broken down by gender, as well as the degree of vehemency.


  1. What I mean here is that in my mind, men are more likely than women to be strongly opposed to a loss of status, whether real or perceived, and “Aspie” frequently seems used not so much in the framework of disability identity theory as in the framework of a higher status of autistic.

‪This autism podcast just made a brief big deal about how a question was asked but for the life of me I can’t see what was wrong in how it was asked. I think I’ve honesty at this point determined that I frequently am more frustrated by autistic‬ people talking about autism than I am by allistic people talking about autism. It happens at about 11:18 in this edition of 1800 Seconds on Autism if anyone wants to explain how I’m crazy.


  1. Then someone went off about how they like to listen to the same newscasters before bed even when they are in Japan or New Zealand. I haven’t even left Portland in like a decade. I can never find autistic people talking about being autistic with a failed life like mine.

“Social network” and “social media” are not two different terms describing the same thing.

I’m going to dismiss David Sims on the latest edition of Social Distance constantly referring to “drive-thrus” instead of “drive-ins” as a case of pandemic brain. (Do we have a term for that yet, by the way?)

Link Log Roundup for May 8, 2020

In this edition: public opinion, Stanislaw Lem, more spreading, porn, Dutch cursing, being foreign, restaurant restrictions, appeasing the enemy, and architects.

Writing for Atlas Obscura, Dan Nosowitz deep-dives Dutch profanity, which turns out to be laden with wishing upon others one disease or another — “Get the corona!” having already entered the local lexicon. That said, I really do need to just sort of pass along one paragraph without comment.

“The Dutch people are very straightforward and blunt, we have a reputation of this, and that’s also in the cursing,” says Sanders. But for those who aren’t Dutch, some of this can seem wildly inappropriate. “You’re talking about a culture that celebrates Santa with slaves,” says Hines. “So there’s a certain level of what might seem like outright racism or homophobia or a lack of general graciousness to people who are not like you.” The Netherlands is more than three-quarters Dutch, and the Dutch are, like people in most European countries, grappling with how to speak to people who don’t look or act like them, but who are now part of their nation.

Link Log Roundup for May 7, 2020

In this edition: getting outside, race and climate, herpes, lines and strains, conflicts of interest, autistic social distancing, screen time, coronavirus parties, universal basic income, tracking infection, reopening Oregon, worker petitions, public space, language, paying for transit, and Pedalpalooza.

Link Log Roundup for May 5, 2020

In this edition: language, the safety net, clinical trials, raw onions, Pushkin, mutation, genetic superiority, soap-box racing, zip codes, music venues, density, public space, the New Deal, and Amazon.

I admit that I do not understand what Alan is after with this; it seems to me like a surrender, when community and, yes, even the common good are good and arguably necessary terms to fight for the definition of, rather than consigning them to some sort of linguistic oh-well shrug pile. What am I missing?

So, the joint Biden/Sanders livestream was interesting, if a bit awkward. They structured it as a sort of Q&A, each getting to ask the other how to address a given issue. But the thing that struck me most is that Biden now is talking about institutional and structural change, and how the coronavirus crisis is revealing to more eyes our pre-existing institutional and structural problems — and is offering an opportunity to address them the way previous crises in American history have offered such an opportunity. (He literally later specifically cited Roosevelt, and seeking to be the most progressive administration since his.) Biden is saying these things now. Biden. The interesting way he put it, though, is how the people we institutionally and structurally ignore are the very people who right now are keeping the country alive, which is what they do every day even without the crisis. If he can keep up that framing — that the coronavirus crisis (like Trump himself) is revealing existing institutional and structural faultlines, and that we can treat the crisis as a wake-up call — that’s nothing but good for Democrats.