Saturday, February 25, 2017


Hello again everyone, and thanks for tuning in!

Today I'm going to be responding to a few points from a Huffington Post blog entry.  Is it a blog post if it's a new article op-ed? It is today, because journalism is complex.  I'm calling it a blog post.  You can call it whatever you like.

Also, this is the kind of thing I'm going to discuss with some friends and creators in my livestream hangout.  Every Sunday we're getting together and discussing all the wonderful stuff we've come across.  Skepticism is where it's at, and if you like my style, check this out tomorrow around 7pm EDT.

So, let us commence the articulation of the article's absence of argumentative ability!

At only 13 years old, aspiring astronaut and devoted “Hidden Figures” fan Taylor Richardson is leading quite the philanthropic cause.
That's an interesting word choice, 'Philanthropic.'  Let's see what they're talking about.
Earlier this week, Richardson was deemed GoFundMe’s February “Hero of the Month” after raising $17,000 through the fundraising website for people throughout the nation to go see the hit movie.
Well, I must say, that's quite heroic, raising money so that people can go enjoy a night at the movies.  Certainly that's more philanthropic than something like this.  Please visit that link and help Rorschach if you can.  I know he's not a black engineering lady, but maybe you can find it in your heart to give him a few bucks because his house burned down, he is a single father with a child to support, he is a victim of domestic abuse, and so on.

Anyway.  Even if you can't help, that's fine.  Just keep reading, put it in the back of your head, and remember that people gave $17,000 for other people to go watch a movie. Philanthropy, they call it.
Hidden Figures” is centered around three black women mathematicians who played a pivotal role in sending the first American into space.
I have no problem with this.  The director of software engineering was a woman, after all. 
Pictured is Margaret Hamilton next to a stack of all the fucks she doesn't give about your accusations of the patriarchy being a thing.  You could do well to learn from Margaret.
 “I hope [the movie] inspires them to know they can do anything they put their mind to,” Richardson told The Huffington Post earlier this week. 
You know, maybe you should have raised money for food to combat hunger.  Maybe raise money for a mission to the middle east to combat apostacy laws. Instead, you are paying people to go see a movie that reminds them that, in fact, women had a much larger role in history than Huffington Post's narrative allows.  Wonder if they'll address this point somewhere.  "Sources say no" is what the magic 8 ball tells me.
Thus far, Richardson and her mother have given over 800 people the opportunity to attend a free screening of the movie (with snacks) and ― for a number of them ― receive the Hidden Figures book.
Again, I have no problem with the book or the movie.  I'm sure they're both wonderful, and I do love history.  Speaking of women in science and math, go google 'Feynman Human Computers.'  It is fascinating.  However, let's take a moment to realize that they just spent about $22/person that could easily have been spent on actual philanthropy. Is it really empowering to watch how people overcame racism when we now have affirmative action?  I don't know.  Again, my issue isn't with the gofundme itself, Taylor seems like a nice girl or whatever.  Maybe she'll be an astronaut and be the first person on Mars (though Cody's Lab might give her a run for her money).  My main issues are only around this article and the people who wrote it.  Please don't conflate the two.

“It shows me that women, and especially African-American women, can do anything a guy can do and anything a white male can do,” she said of the movie.
Generally, that's true.  If you want to put out the effort to do these things, you can.  While this child doesn't realize it, though, that's incredibly racist.  It's 3rd wave feminism 101.  No one is holding you down, Taylor.  I want you to be successful.  I want you to train hard and shoot for the stars.  I wish you all the best.  Just quit pretending that I'm superior to you because I'm white, because I'm not.  We are both humans, Taylor.  Don't be like so many of your peers and make excuses for why you can't (because of patriarchy, for example), but rather just go out and do and learn and become what you want to become.
While the two know the movie won’t compel everyone to aspire towards having a career in space, like it has with Richardson, they hope that through the Hidden Figures books, kids will at least be able to develop a heightened interest in literacy, something Richardson has regularly been working towards in her community.
Again, this is commendable, but it still slightly misses the point.  Some people simply aspire to be the opposite of literate.  It is not your duty to force them to want to learn or succeed, though it would be a great outcome.  Some people do not strive to have personal responsibility, and would rather blame white men (or something) for their perceived problems.  Taylor is not one of those people, I think.  It is a noble cause to try to educate those who do not want to be educated.  Sometimes we have to simply accept that some people don't want to be pioneers, but instead just want to be a lowest common denominator.

When she was nine years old, Richardson said she encountered a young boy at a hospital who didn’t have easy access to books. After that, she decided to hold book drives in her hometown in his honor called “Taylor Takes Flight With A Book.”
To date, Richardson has collected and donated over 5,000 books in Jacksonville and read to over 300 children.
She’s also worked on an anti-bullying campaign with the CEOs of Florida First Coast YMCA and Girl Scouts of Gateway Council.
Again, excellent work.  This is a good example of problem-solving skills.  I support this 100%.
But Richardson’s philanthropic trajectory isn’t what’s made her mother most proud: it’s her resilience.
Just a bit of semantics here: You don't get to be proud of someone else's achievements, sorry.  I mean, unless I can also be proud of her achievements.  Sorry, my grammar stickler got in the way.  Moving on.
“I tell people all the time: what makes me most proud of Taylor is not what you hear and all these success stories, but how she handles her failures,” her mother told HuffPost.
But the persevering spirit of Richardson ― who was bullied, held back in the second grade and once struggled with literacy ― can best captured in the way she turned around her ADHD diagnosis.
See, ending on a positive note.  At least Huffpost isn't as cancerous as buzzfeed.  Although they did miss 'be' in 'can best captured.' Come on Huffpost, you have editors, you are professional news site.  Catch this stuff.  I can live with most of the other bits.  This grammatical error really irked me though.

In closing, I say good luck to Taylor. Hopefully next time Huffpost can headline with "This girl is combating illiteracy and bullying" rather than "This girl sent some people to the movies." I'm sure there's a lesson for GoFundMe in there also.

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