June 29th, 2007

breaking bad

Enthusiasm for conflict

There's a minor novel by Ursula Le Guin from the early eighties called 'The Eye of the Heron'

The planet Victoria... was a prison colony, and all the people on it are descendants of either the prisoners or the wardens. The 'townsfolk' are peaceful, and committed to non-violence. The 'City people' are more brutal. The central theme of the story is the conflict between the Shantytowners and the City people, and the problem of staying true to a non-violent way of life in the face of oppression.


It's a little bit like Salt by Adam Roberts, but that novel is a lot more nuanced in presenting the two 'sides'.

The two men could hardly be more different, and the misunderstandings and errors mount as each tells his story in alternating chapters. Barlei (authoritarian) is completely sure of his own decisions, and rejects even the thought that he may have made a mistake. Petja (anarchist), in contrast, is ever aware that, in organizing and leading others to fight back, he is violating the basic principles of his society, becoming what his fellow anarchists refer to as a "ridgidist." Yet he believes that he is doing what must be done. Regardless of which character we might perceive as the most sympathetic, Roberts takes us far enough inside each for us to understand why they act as they do.


(links above are to reviews, from which the quotes were taken)
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breaking bad

Talking 'bout my g..g...generation

Good news: Egypt has made female genital mutilation illegal. The practice is still widespread in many countries.

Amanda at Pandagon reports this news, and wonders how quickly the thread will change from talking about FGM to discussion of male circumcision. It takes about forty comments before the thread is almost completely taken over by discussion of penises (largely by men, plus one woman).

It's not as if there are no places to talk about penises, why is it that every discussion of FGM has to be annexed in this way?

I say 'every', but to be fair, lj doesn't always go that way (pace my previous post)

ETA disabling anonymous comments on this thread because of spam