Monthly Archives: June 2012

Canada Day and Dinosaurs

My partner and I, after being together for nearly a decade, have finally managed to arrange a camping trip together. Granted, said trip involves us spending the weekend in the middle of the Alberta badlands with her (fairly religious) relatives on a sort of family reunion, but who cares? I’m going to be hiking around Dinosaur Provincial Park!  There are dead dinos everywhere, and I’m going to go and find them!

I’ll also be spending time at the absolutely incredible Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller, Alberta because, again, Dinosaurs. So happy Canada Day to you all! Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s time to go find my shovel and spade…

Right Wingers in America oppose plan to combat prison rape.

The title pretty much says it all. In the United States, rape and sexual assaults in prisons occur with disturbing frequency and, like in the broader society, are rarely reported. This sphere of sexual violence has rarely been discussed by society in general, most probably due to the dismissive attitudes many people hold towards prisoners – well, that and a healthy dose of the ‘Just World‘ fallacy. Prison rape isn’t funny. It’s not a joke. Making light of it doesn’t make one ‘edgy’ or cool or worldly; it makes one cruel. Sexual violence, no matter the context, should not be the source of jokes or the tool of justice in revenge fantasies. Just because a person commits a crime, does not mean that they ‘deserve’ to be raped; they deserve to spend time behind bars, bereft of their freedoms, and subject to rehabilitation, if possible.


No not even rapists ‘deserve’ to be raped; that sort of ‘eye-for-an-eye’, Levitican revenge-justice went out of style a long time ago. For those of us in the secularist and skeptical movements, we have even less reason to cling to such primitive and barbaric notions of justice or just-desserts – it’s not like we have a holy book that demands it or anything. Deriving pleasure or satisfaction from the suffering of others isn’t noble or righteous or productive in any way; if the idea of boiling puppies for fun is abhorrent, how can one justify finding pleasure in the sexual torture of a fellow human being?

If, on the other hand, you are a right-winger in the United States, then apparently you are totally fine with a large segment of your society being routinely subjected to brutal and degrading torment at the hands of their peers and their keepers. Apparently, for some conservatives, the decision to combat (READ: stop) prison rapes from occurring is simply too ‘costly’ and, even more bizarre, too ‘heavy handed’. That’s right: attempting to stop wide-spread sexual violence in American prisons is just too expensive. What. The. Fuck.

Dostoevsky apparently said once, “The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons.” If this maxim were true, then what do the United States’ prison say about its civility?

Special thanks to David Futrelle at the Manboobz blog for bringing this issue to my attention!