07 January 2010

Somebody is Really Missing the Point (maybe it's me)

OK, so Letterman said this:

And then HRC (and others as well), said this:
You may not be aware that the punch line in your skit has been used as a defense in nearly every hate crime perpetrated against transgender people that has come to trial. For example, the "trans panic" defense was infamously used by Allen Ray Andrade, who was convicted in 2009 of beating 19-year-old Angie Zapata to death with a fire extinguisher after learning of her gender history. According to media reports, it has also been the main defense employed by Juan A. Martinez for the killing of Jorge Steven López Mercado, 19, in Puerto Rico last November.

Your skit affirmed and encouraged a prejudice against transgender Americans that keeps many from finding jobs, housing, and enjoying freedoms you and your writers take for granted every day. We ask that you apologize publicly

Just to remove all traces of doubt: the so-called "gay panic" defense is wrong, loathsome, and vile in all respects, and I've published stuff on it in these terms (thought not put quite so starkly) in the past. But the thing one has to understand about the defense is that it depends quite heavily on heteronormativity. Whereas, it seems to me that this joke, if it is to be funny, is making fun of heteronormativity. Let me say that again, in different terms:

  • The panic defense only works as a defense if the audience (the jury) finds it logically compelling that a person would respond to any deviation from heteronormativity by assaulting or murdering the individual who so deviates.
  • The joke only works as a joke if the audience (Dave's viewers) rejects the idea that deviation from heteronormativity is obviously revolting.

Aren't the viewers supposed to be laughing AT the announcer who runs from the room, and not at Amanda Simpson? And if so, why the immediate rush to condemn the joke by HRC, GLAAD, and others?

So, who is missing the point, me or them?

06 January 2010

What I want for my Birthday

The rumors have now multiplied to the point that they no longer seem like rumors, and it thus seems highly likely that at the end of the month Apple will announce some sort of Tablet-like computing device. Right now the rumors have reached rough consensus that the date for that announcement will be my birthday!

Over a month ago, before there were any dates being tossed out or even any surety at all about an announcement, I made my first move toward the new paradigm: I swapped out my notebook for a desktop, going without a portable for the first time in 10 years. I did so for a number of reasons.
  • because I have found over the years, having tried it a number of times, that I can't really be productive in a two CPU paradigm. I need all my data on my computer and I need it on one computer.
  • because life with the iPhone has shown me that 98% of the time, I don't really need a notebook computer.
  • because today's new huge screens are glorious, and I'd like to be looking at the 16x9 1080p 22" LED display on the iMac (on which I'm typing this) than the 13" or 15" screen on a notebook.

Thus, my hope was that Apple would release a tablet, and that it would have the right specs so that my new paradigm can be iMac + iSlate (or whatever). And so now that we know IT, that is, something, is coming, here's what I'd like to hear Steve tell me I'll be getting for my birthday:

Screen Size: doesn't matter all that much to me, but 10-11" sounds about right.
Memory: probably 16GB as a minimum.
Connectivity: I'm sure it will have wifi and cellular connections, but I would like the cellular to be optional (don't force me to pay for unlimited cellular data). I also need it to have a display port so I can hook it up to a big external monitor and so I can use it in class for presentations.
Keyboard: here is my one real MUST HAVE. It must be able to pair with a bluetooth keyboard. Sometimes I have to be able to write a 1000 words quickly, and I can't do that on a virtual keyboard, period.
Software: I would really really love it if it could run (versions of) iWork. This would mean I could deliver Keynote presentations and work on Pages documents (I've been writing in Pages for about 4 years now).

If it has the capacity to use an external keyboard, I'll buy it. If it has iWork capabilities, I'll be thrilled about doing so. If it doesn't have the keyboard, I'll stick with the iPhone until I know more.