Iraq

I have nothing to say about the war. Everything Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and company are doing is too revolting and too cynical for words.

I have nothing to say about the war. Everything Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and company are doing is too revolting and too cynical for words.

RFID Tags

Everybody seems to be linking to the story about howBenetton is tagging all its clothes with RFID chips

Everybody seems to be linking to the story about how Benetton is tagging all its clothes with RFID chips, tiny radio transmitters embedded in the clothing that allow the clothing to be tracked from factory to store–and possibly beyond. This is supposed to reduce theft, as well as letting “business managers easily store detailed information about customers’ buying habits that could spur further sales. For example, when a Benetton customer makes a purchase, a sales clerk could pull up that client’s history and say, ‘Last time you were here, you bought a black skirt. We have a sweater that matches that skirt.'” Of course, the potential for the police to track people this way hasn’t been ignored either, though the story says something about deactivating the chips at the cash registers, so that customers can walk out unmarked. Frankly, I’m less worried about being tracked in my everyday motions by RFIDs–since I always assume that this can be done anyway, if the FBI really wants to have me followed–than about how this sort of device could be used by corporations to enforce brand loyalty, for instance (as in, “you’d better not ware our competitor’s shirt with our pants”), or to preserve trademarks and copyrights (no removing the corporate logos from your clothes, the way Cayce Pollard, the heroine of Gibson’s Pattern Recognition, does). I’m sure science ficton writers can come up with some even more creepy uses for this technology… Not to mention the use of guerrilla RFID readers as a counter-measure, as Rick Bradley suggests on nettime. The possibilities are endless.

Interracial Intimacies

Salon has an article by Joan Walsh on “interracial intimacy,” and especially on Randall Kennedy’s new book on that topic. Though Walsh is at least somewhat guarded on the idea that miscegenation will somehow solve America’s racial problems, the main contention in her article is that blacks, rather than whites, are the ones responsible today for opposing interracial sex, marriage and relationships. I’m sorry, but this is yet another example of a sincere white liberal blaming the victims of racism for racism’s perpetuation….

Salon has an article by Joan Walsh on “interracial intimacy,” and especially on Randall Kennedy’s new book on that topic. Though Walsh is at least somewhat guarded on the idea that miscegenation will somehow solve America’s racial problems, the main contention in her article is that blacks, rather than whites, are the ones responsible today for opposing interracial sex, marriage and relationships. I’m sorry, but this is yet another example of a sincere white liberal blaming the victims of racism for racism’s perpetuation….
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The No Electronic Theft Act

If you’ve ever used a peer-to-peer network and swapped copyrighted files, chances are pretty good you’re guilty of a federal felony. While the RIAA and MPAA have been using lawsuits to drive P2P filesharing websites like Napster, Audiogalaxy, and now (they are hoping) KaZaa out of business, a law already on the books, the No Electronic Theft (NET) Act, already provides severe penalties for endusers making use of such services. According to this article by Declan McCullogh, it is only a matter of time before the Feds start actually prosecuting P2P filesharing users under this act…
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Intersex Recognized

Australia has–the first time this has happened anywhere in the world, as far as I know–officially recognized a person as being intersexed. (Via Eszter’s Blog). Alex McFarlane has XXY chromosomes (rather than the male XY or the female XX), and e refuses to consider emself as either male or female (to use the Spivak pronouns, for the first time since my MOOing days).Good for Alex! And good for all of us to remember that our bodies are–our biology is–much more multifarious and flexible than we usually realize. It’s not that, as fatuous conservatives love to say, our culture has to recognize and come to terms with the limits imposed on us by nature; but rather the opposite–that all too often it’s cultural constraints and presuppositions and prejudices that limit and blight our bodily potentialities. (See Anne Fausto-Sterling, whom I already mentioned the other day, for more on intergender issues). Or as Spinoza said, in a line that Gilles Deleuze loved to quote: “We do not yet know what our bodies can do.”