What I’m Reading, September 28, 2015

What it’s like to live on $2 a day in the United States, Chico Harlan, Washington Post, September 11, 2015

It’s worth pondering for a moment just how difficult it is to survive on $2 per day. That’s a single gallon of gasoline. Or half a gallon of milk. If you took a D.C. bus this morning, you have 25 cents left for dinner. Among this group in extreme poverty, some get a boost from housing subsidies. Many collect food stamps — an essential part of survival. But so complete is their destitution, they have little means to climb out. (The book described one woman who scored a job interview, couldn’t afford transportation, walked 20 blocks to get there, and showed up looking haggard and drenched in sweat. She didn’t get hired.)

Edin is a professor specializing in poverty at Johns Hopkins University. Shaefer is an associate professor of social work and public policy at the University of Michigan. In several years of research that led to this book, they set up field offices both urban and rural — in Chicago, in Cleveland, in Johnson City, Tenn., in the Mississippi Delta — and tried to document this jarring form of American poverty.

Batman: Arkham Knight Has a Serious Problem With Women, Denny Connolly, Game Rant, June 2015 Continue reading


Batman is a River in Turkey


The Batman River is a major tributary of the Tigris, joining it near the source of Tigris called Dicle River in southeast Turkey. It originates in the Anti-Taurus Mountains (at the Sason and Genç mountains) and flows approximately from north to south, passing near the city of Batman and forming a natural border between the Batman Province and Diyarbakır Province.

It’s also a city and a province.

Just thought you should know. I seriously doubt that the town has anything related to Bruce Wayne, so if you’re going to attempt “Batman tourism,” please don’t be a douche about it.

Photo credit: ‘Batman, Turkey’ by Bryce Edwards [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons.


Batman, Fascism, and Absurd Occupy Wall Street Caricatures

586px-Batman_(truck)I just saw The Dark Knight Rises (as in the start time of the movie was just over three four hours ago) and many thoughts are bouncing through my head. I reserve the right to augment/amend my commentary at a later date. Two warnings before I start:

1. There will be spoilers. Stop reading right now if you haven’t seen the movie and don’t want it spoiled.

2. If you are the sort of person who prefers not to think about movies too much, or is the sort of person to respond to any negative criticism with something like “Jeez, it’s just a movie!!!” you should stop reading now, too, because you’ll only waste your time. I recommend that you instead check out the blog “Indifferent Cats in Amateur Porn” (NSFW, obviously.)

If you are still reading, I will assume that you have read the above disclaimers, and that you not only are interested in what I have to say, but find it more interesting, somehow, than pictures of cats next to ordinary people’s non-airbrushed junk. So here goes:

Dear sweet Flying Spaghetti Monster, is this movie pro-fascist or what?

I should explain, lest my use of the word “fascist” send you into a tizzy. Certain words have been largely stripped of all meaning by modern political discourse. For example, “socialism” has some very specific economic and political meanings, but tends to mean “stuff that Obama does” to many people. People who lack an understanding of both history and irony claim that he is both socialist and fascist. The Dark Knight Rises, viewed at least one way, is just plain fascist, and I use the meaning of the term applied by Noah Brand in his article The Dark Knight Rises is a Pro-Fascist Movie”: Continue reading