Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Other Questionable Gender-Related Moments in Jurassic World

1) Bryce Dallas Howard's character shockingly killed off when, in middle of climactic foot chase, she pauses to TiVo the following week's episodes of The View.
2) Female dinosaurs portrayed as moody, always complaining about how cold it is
3) Female scientist's lengthy exposition about DNA sequencing found to be "too off-putting," dubbed with enthused reviews of Activa yogurt. 
4) Last third of the film a seemingly out-of-nowhere defense of abortion restrictions 

Friday, June 19, 2015

Clarence Thomas is the Worst, Part 4,327

In a surprising and powerful concurrence to the case Davis v. Ayala, Supreme Court justice Anthony Kennedy railed against solitary confinement. This was a bit of surprise, as the case didn't overtly concern itself with solitary and all the horrific effects it has on human beings. But it wasn't a shock, either; Kennedy has had this particular form of torture on his mind for a while, even testifying about it before Congress.

Justice Clarence Thomas' response was, to invoke one of my favorite philosophers, nasty, brutish and short. He wrote:

[T]he accommodations in which Ayala is housed are a far sight more spacious than those in which his victims, Ernesto Dominguez Mendez, Marcos Antonio Zamora, and Jose Luis Rositas, now rest. And, given that his victims were all 31 years of age or under, Ayala will soon have had as much or more time to enjoy those accommodations as his victims had time to enjoy this Earth.

I was going to write a long screed about Thomas, but I'm not going to, as Slate's Mark Joseph Stern has helpfully done that for me.

I'll just add this: Thomas seems to be arguing here — as he largely has before — that the government can carry out any sanction, no matter how cruel, as long as it's less cruel than the crime the criminal inflicted.  

I want to be give Justice Thomas the benefit of the doubt, but if there are any Eighth Amendment claims he would consider, I have yet to encounter them.

At any rate, I'm on unsteady ground criticizing Thomas' grasp of the law. I feel steady on my feet criticizing his morals. If our government is willing, as it often is, to commit lesser tortures on its citizens, all it will do is create monsters. Lesser monsters, maybe, but monsters all the same.