You’re dragging this misery on

23 09 2013

Slate‘s layout has long been terrible, as in:

  • crowded in appearance
  • a constantly metastasizing number of specialty sections
  • an “older” button which actually required more than one hit to get to the not-on-the-front-page entries (a problem exacerbated by a lousy search function
  • non-obvious archive retrieval system (although, to be honest, I could be misremembering this)

So, finally, they’ve changed it. Yay!

Do I like it? Nay!

One the one hand, you should disregard my dislike, because I dislike any changes made to a design to which I’ve become accustomed. (You thought I was joking about my temperamental conservatism? I was not.) Disqus has changed its style a number of times and each time I’ve hated it.

And then I’ve gotten used to it. I expect to get used to the Slate re-design.

(Then again, I still dislike the re-design of the Atlantic blogs, and that’s been awhile. Still, my own history suggests I’ll come to terms with, and perhaps even like, the New! Improved! Slate layout.)

ON THE OTHER HAND, however, Slate has still not fixed the incredibly fucking annoyingly awful “read more” function which, unlike similar functions at The Daily Dish and The Slog, takes the reader away from the main or index page and to the single post, which in turn requires one go back to that index page before one can go on to the next story.

I know, I know: this is not a problem on the order of an asteroid strike or the extinction of the coffee bean, but given how incredibly fucking annoyingly awful the single-post “read more” function is, and how the solution—an unfolding “read more” function—is a thing which exists in the world, why couldn’t Slate have done the one goddamned thing that I and every other reader of their site would have instantly and unreservedly hailed?

Or is the retention of that incredibly fucking annoyingly awful single-post “read more” function simply a kind of #Slatepitch, wherein they choose to do the one thing that everyone agrees is terrible?

Get offa my cloud

6 12 2008

Getting bogged in the blog.

I have in mind a couple of pieces (about abortion, morality and politics) in which I lay out a comprehensive argument, with arrows running hither and yon, connecting outliers to the center, blah blah, so as to capture as fully as possible the phenomenon under investigation.


Bit by bit, I know. Still, I used to be able to pull my thoughts together for more than a paragraph or two, so my current impatience-slash-laziness (hm, what is the connection between impatience and laziness? I’ll have to blog on that. . . .), both feeds that distraction and increases my sense that I should do. . . something.

Anyway, a coupla’ good pieces on abortion and conscience clauses from Slate:

Dahlia Lithwick notes that so-called conscience clauses only run one way, that is, those who oppose abortion (and anything contra-conceptual) may opt out of their fiduciary responsibilities to their patients any procedures or conversations related to these matters, but those who do provide abortions have to read from scripts with which they disagree and know to be medically misleadling.

And William Saletan has more on the obsfucations surrounding the morning-after pill, involving, unsurprisingly, the substitution of religious for medical definitions. My take? Hey, if you want to make a religious argument about the status of the embryo or fetus, go right ahead. But don’t misrepresent that position as the scientific or medical definition.

Shite. Now I’ll have to blog on the relationships between science, medicine, and morality. And, oh, hell, let’s throw in politics.

Okay, one last thing: the William Ayers op-ed in the New York Times, and Obama’s interactions with Ayers. There’s a lot that’s provocative in this piece, but I want to pull back and consider the larger question of conversations/arguments in the public square.

I gotta go to work, but I want to argue that it is precisely in public that one is able to meet or even consort with those with whom one disagrees, or even finds distasteful. (Remember, I’m an argue-and-eat-pie kinda gal.) I wouldn’t invite a fascist into my home, but I’d certainly talk with her outside of my house.

Shit, this could all get quite complicated quite quickly, and I really do have to go. Would it make sense to say that the public is a more a space of freedom and the home more a place of judgement or discernment?

Nah, I didn’t think so. More on this. Eventually.


Sandra at the beach

5 10 2008

There were some interesting comments about ‘tolerance’ in the Fray at XX Factor (, in response to posts by Abby Collard (Oct 3) and EJ Graff (Oct 4). Neither Collard nor Graff thought tolerance was sufficient; Collard wrote that

Tolerance is widely accepted as an admirable virtue, but it still feels cheap to me. Essentially what Palin is saying is that she puts up with homosexual couples. There’s no approval there, no acceptance, just respectful disregard. The difference between “tolerance” and “acceptance” is like the difference between looking the other way and actively supporting something. Her tolerant speech doesn’t mean she supports, or even approves of, homosexuality. It means she just doesn’t act out against it.

Well, yeah. And maybe that’s all that can be expected from someone who thinks there’s something wrong with homosexuality. A number of Fraysters echoed Collard & Graff’s unhappiness with the tolerance, but Wren W noted that, given all of our differences, tolerance may be the best we can get. Although I disagree with a number of the opinions Wren expresses in her (his?) comment, I think she’s right that those who despair of tolerance do so because they seek something more: approval and acceptance (which is what Collard wrote, above).

So. Those of us who are pro-queer or are queer want those who are not to accept and approve of LGBT folk. This is not unreasonable. But it may be unreasonable to expect those opposed to accept and approve. Yes, we should act to expand acceptance, but that we have to act ought to signal that not everyone does approve of homo-, bi-, and transsexuality. Hell, until very recently it was quite acceptable to denounce gays and lesbians as contemptible perverts. What does Sarah Palin really believe, in her hockey-lovin’ heart? I don’t care—but I sure as hell do care about her behavior, that she not ‘act out against’ gays and lesbians. I prefer politicians who are pro-gay rights, but I’ll take a ‘tolerant’ politician over a hateful one any day.

Now, this is all complicated somewhat by the fact that Palin is an elected official, and a candidate for even higher office. She is in a position of ‘power over’, so a discussion of what she as a politician tolerates is a different matter than what a fellow citizen, who is my equal, tolerates. Still, there are two similarities:

One, I have low expectations of accord amongst a mixed crowd. I see us as working our way ‘up’ to tolerance, rather than falling ‘down’ to it. In other words, I begin from a position of conflict rather than comity.

Two, while I may accept that tolerance is the most I can expect from strangers, I wouldn’t be friends with someone who merely tolerated me. That is, in moving through the world, it is enough for others to tolerate me, to not act against me, but with friends, more is expected.

That, after all, is why they’re friends: Because I can expect more.

Yes, there’s more to be said. But this was worth a quick hit.