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Good question in Search Terms

One of the search terms that led someone to this blog today was:

  • how will sansa treat littlefinger after the rape by ramsay

Interesting question, isn’t it?

TBQH, I don’t think Sansa is all that surprised that Ramsay violated her the way he did. I think she knew it would happen, and accepted it as part of the price of whatever she was hoping to accomplish when she accepted Littlefinger’s plan to put her back at Winterfell.

Episode 6 not only gave us Sansa’s second wedding night, but also Littlefinger’s discussion with Cersei, in which he promises to get the lion flying over Winterfell.

So then the real blow-up waiting to happen between Littlefinger and his Little Bird is what she’ll do when she figures out whatever the fuck it is that he’s trying to accomplish with her castle, and how she fits into his plan.

If someone sent her a raven, after the wedding night, disclosing the conversation that Lord Baelish had with the Queen Mother, I think she’d be ready to fuck his shit up, but of course Littlefinger is not so sloppy as to allow any witnesses to such a sensitive meeting.

The consequences to Littlefinger depend on several factors: a) If and when Sansa finds out what role he’s playing in the fight over Winterfell (I think she’ll find out eventually), b) where she is when he next shows his slimy face in the North, c) whether she’s in charge of her castle or a captive of King Stannis, and d) how many and what quality of people she has on her side. If she accepts the services of Team Sansa by then, for example, and Stannis doesn’t have them all under lock and key, then Littlefinger will want to stay the fuck away from Winterfell, lest he should come down with a nasty case of Oathkeeper through bowels.

The Death Penalty and the Ariel Castro Principle

Holy shit, am I posting about something outside of Game of Thrones? It seems I am!

It shouldn’t be a surprise, though, when PZ Myers dangles a sparkly thing in front of my face. And by “sparkly thing” I mean some guy spouting nonsensical rubbish and acting like it makes him a superior freethinker.

Ron Lindsay, what is this I don’t even?

There’s lots in here to bat around and use as a chew toy, but I think this here is the most…special, of Dr. Lindsay’s supposed counter-counterpoints:

There is little doubt that much of the American justice system is affected by either explicit or implicit racial bias. This bias manifests at all levels, from disproportionate traffic stops and arrests of blacks to disproportionate death sentences for blacks. But ultimately, this argument against the death penalty is no more than a makeweight. Removing the death penalty is not going to end racism in the American justice system. Moreover, if the adverse impact on blacks were the real reason for opposing the death penalty, presumably opponents would be satisfied with a quota system, whereby no death penalty could be imposed on blacks, Hispanics, and so forth until the requisite number of whites were sentenced to death. A quota system would remove the effects of racial bias. I doubt, however, that this would satisfy death penalty opponents.

The racism in the application of the death penalty is one of several reasons why I am opposed. And I would not support a quota system, partly because I also oppose capital punishment for other reasons. But I just want to focus on this one line: “Removing the death penalty is not going to end racism in the American justice system.”

Did he really just say that?

“Removing the death penalty is not going to end racism in the American justice system.”

Yeah, here’s the thing: death penalty abolition, all by itself, will not suddenly make our justice system stop being racist. It would, however, address this one phenomenon of state-sanctioned executions of black people at an unwarranted rate relative to white people who commit the same crimes. I think that’s an end unto itself.

Oh, and I feel the same way about supermax as PZ does: a lifetime of perpetual isolation from other human beings is cruel and it should not be done. I also think that prison is inherently a site of violence, and short of abolishing the prison system altogether, there are a lot of ways that the incarceration process could be made less horrible. People who are kept in prison for the rest of their lives should be allowed to interact with other prisoners, and that shouldn’t be controversial.

This may surprise Dr. Lindsay, but I didn’t always take this position. I used to think the death penalty was moral in a small number of cases. I listened to opposing arguments and eventually changed my mind, but not because it was socially unacceptable to be pro-capital punishment. I changed my mind because I realized the anti-DP arguments made sense.

However, my fellow bleeding hearts might not like this: I also think that there are some cases in which prisoner suicide is the best possible outcome. Ariel Castro was one; Dzhokar Tsarnaev is arguably another. I think it’s wrong for the state to execute people, but I also think the state has no responsibility to keep profoundly cruel and destructive people alive against their will. If Tsarnaev wants to live a long life, he should be kept with the general population in a sufficiently secure prison. If he prefers to kill himself while he’s still young, he should have our permission to die.

What can we learn from what happened to Sansa?

Seriously, though, I still want to talk about that rape scene in Episode 6. I’ll get off my previous attitude of snarking at anyone who objects to the scene, and instead talk about what we can gather from the fact that it happened and the way it was portrayed. Amanda Marcotte says many of the things I’ve already said, and some more. I still think there’s space to criticize the way Game of Thrones handles sexual violence. If some people have just had it up to their eyebrows with seeing women get raped and beaten on TV and don’t want to see any more, then I understand their decision to quit watching Game of Thrones. If you’ve decided not to watch anymore because you’ve had more than enough of this shit, then you’re not the intended audience for this post.

I just want to take a close look at Sansa and ask: what kind of story does this encounter tell us?

(This post has ended up longer than I expected. That’s a thing that tends to happen in my writing. Sorry!)

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ASoIaF vs. GoT: It could’ve been so much worse.

I’m hearing people are pissed off about a thing that happened on last night’s Game of Thrones.

This is one of those times when, in fact, the show has taken something really horrible from the books and made it somewhat less horrible. It’s still bad, but the sadism is brought down to a dull roar.

You can tell I’m talking about Ramsay fucking Bolton, yes?


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ASoIaF vs. GoT, Eleventh: Bath Time at Harrenhal

I told you I was working on a book/show comparison on this scene. Here it is. My obsession marches on.

I wanted to do a video about this. I went so far as to get all dolled up and record myself, and then I realized that I really, really do not like the sound quality on my MacBook. I wouldn’t want to sit through listening to that video, and I wouldn’t ask you to sit through it, so instead I had a little fun in Notegraphy and put this together.

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Addendum: “Don’t you mock me.”

I just thought of something last night, to go along with my latest ASoIaF vs. GoT post. I’m also working on a book/show comparison of the bath scene at Harrenhal, and this could theoretically go in that post, but it doesn’t really fit with any compare/contrast. It’s just one of those little light bulb moments that I want to talk about.

(And the moment that I apologize for being obsessed with Goddamn Brienne of Freaking Tarth is the moment I apologize for my own existence. I’ve had worse obsessions.)

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#704: Planning family trips when there is one difficult traveler who complains about all of the plans.


I read this post, and I read some of the conversations going on in the comment section, and one thought sticks out to me: You have the option of simply refusing to plan any more family vacations.

It’s sort of a Nuclear Option, but ultimately no one can force you to be the Family Vacation Planner. If other family members cannot learn how to Internet, then they can try planning a trip by phone. If they cannot learn the skills involved in planning a trip, then they don’t need to go on trips. If they are adults, they should be able to make their own plans or be comfortable in their boredom.

There are certain ideas at play in the discussion that may or may not lower the overall level of stress for the vacation. You can allow plenty of Do Nothing Time in each day, and that may or may not result in Mom insisting on doing something absurd and then pitching a fit when you point out that the laws of physics do not provide the necessary circumstances. (I still support the inclusion of Do Nothing time. Sometimes, Nothing is the best thing to do.) You can try and appoint a Mom Buffer, and there may or may not be an individual in the family group who is capable of managing your mother’s assholery that way.

Because that’s what I’m getting, if the letter isn’t outright lying: your mother is an asshole. She wants to be in control, but she doesn’t want to do the work. She wants all the fun of spontaneity with all the security of advance planning. Experience should have taught her by now that she can’t have it both ways. You’ve suggested that maybe she can stay home, and she refuses to stay the fuck home. And she wants to hold you responsible when shit doesn’t work out the way she envisions at the very last, impractical minute. She isn’t polite about her frustration, either. Sounds more than old enough to know better, too. Asshole.

Furthermore, the letter sounds like the rest of the family (and just how many grown-ass adults are in this group?) are completely unhelpful in getting between your mother’s personality issues and your insecurities. This can happen. Sometimes an especially strong personality develops power over the family unit for no good reason, and everyone else can just forget about ever pointing out that the strong personality is full of shit. Your mother sounds like that strong personality. You can’t change her, but you can withdraw.

It may help to keep in mind, as some commenters have suggested, that you cannot make everyone happy no matter how diligent a planner you are. That may lower your anxiety level just a bit. But you know your family dynamics better than we do, and you know whether your mother will find a way to punish you for having stopped trying.

This is basically my approach to most family dysfunctions. “You can’t make anyone respect you, but you can pull away!” Sometimes the only power we have over someone is the power to deny them the joy of your presence. Adulthood means we can choose who gets to enjoy our company.

This may be why I spend so much time alone. I have plenty of hobbies, though, so alone is good enough.

Seriously, though, how are there no other adults in this family who know how to Internet? Join the goddamn 21st century or get out of the way of those who have.

Originally posted on Captain Awkward:

Hi Captain!

I’m going to be going on a vacation with my family soon. We are visiting multiple countries in Europe. I have planned every detail of the entire vacation because I plan all the complicated travel that our family does. No one else knows how to internet and I’ve been on a lot of trips by myself and have a lot of experience with them.

The problem is my mom. My mom does not really like to go out, let alone go on expensive trips, but she’s going anyways because of the family culture and I already know she’s going to complain about everything. (She’s done it before, on other trips I planned.) I feel bad for her- we suggested to her that she stay home several times, but she refused- but I also feel very attacked and unhappy when she starts to criticize the things that I spent…

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ASoIaF & GoT, Tenth: “Yes, Pod, he liked men.”

The more I think about it, the more I realize that, yes, I do want to talk about Brienne’s tale of Renly in Season 5 Episode 3. I adore the way she finally opens up to Podrick and stops being so damn hard on him for what his previous masters didn’t teach him. It’s fabulous and amazing. But I’m going to run a little compare & contrast on that story she tells him about how she met Renly, particularly the part where she tells him of course she knew he was into guys.

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