links for 2010-10-04

  • "The Social Network lampoons Asian women, in particular. We first meet Brenda Song’s character, Harvard co-ed Christy, when she throws her cleavage at newly successful (and, ohmigod, final club member!) Eduardo Saverin. A few minutes later, she’s giving him oral sex in a public restroom. Afterward, Christy and her friend sit uselessly on a couch while the men plot the expansion of Facebook. This isn’t the only time in the movie when two girls are drunk and irrelevant on a peripheral sofa.

    "Then, inexplicably and suddenly, Christy becomes mad with jealousy. Near the climax of the film, Christy lights a scarf on fire in Eduardo’s apartment, then turns and asks, doe-eyed, if he’s leaving her. What this scene contributes to the film’s development is beyond me—unless Sorkin is trying to explain why Harvard’s all-male final clubs won’t let women become members: We might all be vindictive pyromaniacs."

  • "More broadly, the segregation of suburbia from farming has always seemed to me like one of the tragic cultural missteps of the 20th century. You periodically hear about Italian immigrant families that continued raising chickens or growing grapes in their backyards in Connecticut up through the 1940s. They should have kept it up! My 98-year-old grandmother used to tell stories of moving to the Bronx when there were sheep grazing on the opposite side of the boulevard. Those sheep are gone because that activity was no longer economically viable in the Bronx; but if it were, who would object to a few more sheep in the Bronx? It's sad enough when urban sprawl drives out farming because land values rise, and you lose that rich interspersal of potato farms and beach houses on Long Island or cornfields and neighbourhoods in Maryland. But there seems no reason at all to exacerbate the scarcity of small-scale vegetable farms in near-urban areas by actively outlawing them."
  • "They came by their holdings as a birthright, through a program created by the federal government four decades ago to settle native land claims in Alaska. Over time and through special privileges granted by Congress, the corporations have partaken in one of the great contracting booms in American history. But Alaska natives are still among the nation’s poorest citizens.

    "Where did all the money go?"

  • "The Organization for Minorities of India will ask for the removal of a bronze statue of Gandhi that has sat in a plaza behind the prominent San Francisco Ferry Building since 1988. And the group — which seeks to publicize the oppression of Christians, Buddhists, Dalits, Muslims, Sikhs, and other Indian minorities — claimed Gandhi was a racist with violent urges, the paper said.

    "'The popular image of Gandhi as an egalitarian pacifist is a myth,' Bhajan Singh, one of the organizers, reportedly said in a statement. 'We plan to challenge that myth by disseminating Gandhi's own words to expose his racism and sham nonviolence.'"