Sleeping Cyborg

Jonathan David Page talks about whatever he happens to be thinking about. Sometimes other people join in.

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The value of talking, or, why you're missing the point

by on 26 May 2014
in , , ,
with some comments, maybe.

You’ve probably heard about the UCSB shootings already. Short version: a guy with mental issues and a history of disturbing rhetoric and behavior, which was apparently ignored by those around him, snapped and went on a killing spree, murdering his roommates Cheng Yuan Hong, George Chen, and Weihan Wang by stabbing them. He then went to a sorority house and attempted to enter it, with the intent—based on his manifesto—of murdering all of the occupants. Failing to get in, he instead killed two sorority members who were outside at the time, Veronika Weiss and Katherine Cooper, before leaving and shooting Christopher Michaels-Martinez, and finally, himself.1 All six victims were UCSB students. All six of them had lives and futures and dreams and friends and family.

The feminist community erupted with rage, like everyone else, at the murders. But soon, the rage was also directed at the reaction to them. It’s clear that the murderer—Elliot Rodger—had absorbed a lot of society’s endemic sexism. Hell, you want a citation for that? Take a look at the middle of page 11 of his manifesto:

Because of my father’s acquisition of a new girlfriend, my little mind got the impression that my father was a man that women found attractive, as he was able to find a new girlfriend in such a short period of time from divorcing my mother. I subconsciously held him in higher regard because of this. It is very interesting how this phenomenon works… that males who can easily find female mates garner more respect from their fellow men, even children.

Now, the disturbing part? Go back to the beginning. Read some of it. It’s the story of a perfectly normal little boy. This is how we raise perfectly normal little boys. This is the attitude that’s embedded in the media we consume, and the interactions we observe. And that’s why we need to talk about this.

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Tool Values Followup

by on 19 February 2014
in , ,
with some comments, maybe.

Before I continue, I’d like to credit the inestimable Ishan Raval as the “Mr. Salviati” from my previous post. During further discussion via email directly afterwards he asked:

If you think tools indeed aren’t value-neutral, then how can you justify that the loop could be broken on our end? Implicit in your making that claim is that people, through sheer will, can alter or disentangle themselves from the inherent value of a tool. Or that though tools aren’t value-neutral, the value isn’t inherent to the tool. Where do you stand?

My response at the time was:

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Tool Values

by on 24 November 2013
in , , , ,
with some comments, maybe.

Simplicio: The problem is not the tool, it's the monkey.

Salviati: No, the problem is the tool too. Tools are never value-neutral.

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