Pizzagate is a debunked conspiracy theory which alleged that emails from John Podesta (Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign chairman), which were leaked by WikiLeaks, tied a number of pizzerias and members of the Democratic Party to a child-sex ring. The theory has been discredited by the District of Columbia Police Department who characterized it as a ‘fictitious conspiracy theory,’ and determined to be fake by multiple organizations including Snopes.com, The New York Times, and Fox News.
Several sites noted that purported evidence cited by the conspiracy theory’s proponents had been fabricated or taken from entirely different sources and photoshopped to appear as if they supported the conspiracy. Images of children of family and friends of the pizzeria’s staff were taken from social media sites such as Instagram and claimed to be photos of purported victims.read more »
The word pussy is a noun, an adjective, and in rare uses a verb in the English language. It has several meanings, including use as slang, as euphemism, and as vulgarity. Common meanings of the noun include ‘cat,’ ‘coward or weakling,’ and ‘the human vulva or vagina.’ Because of its multiple senses including both innocent and vulgar connotations, ‘pussy’ is often the subject of double entendre, including the late-19th-century vaudeville act the Barrison Sisters, who performed the notorious routine ‘Do You Want To See My Pussy?’ in which they raised their skirts to reveal live kittens.
The etymology of the word is not entirely clear. Several different senses of the word have different histories or origins. The feline variant comes from the Modern English word ‘puss,’ a conventional name or term of address for a pet cat in several Germanic languages, including Dutch (‘poes’) and Middle Low German (pūse). The word puss is attested in English as early as 1533. Earlier etymology is uncertain, but similar words exist in other European languages, including Lithuanian (puižė) and Irish (puisín) as traditional calls to attract a cat.read more »
In educational institutions, safe-space (or safer-space or positive space) originally were terms used to indicate that a teacher, educational institution or student body does not tolerate anti-LGBT violence, harassment or hate speech, thereby creating a safe place for all lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students. The term safe space has been extended to refer to a space for individuals who are marginalized to come together to communicate regarding their experiences with marginalization, typically on a university campus. It has been criticized for being contrary to freedom of speech.
In the U.S. the concept originated in the women’s movement, where it ‘implies a certain license to speak and act freely, form collective strength, and generate strategies for resistance…a means rather than an end and not only a physical space but also a space created by the coming together of women searching for community.’ The first safe spaces were gay bars and consciousness raising groups. Positive Space initiatives are prevalent in post-secondary institutions across Canada including McGill University and the University of Toronto.read more »
‘Mattress Performance (Carry That Weight)’ was a work of endurance performance art by Emma Sulkowicz, conducted as her senior thesis during the final year of her visual arts degree at Columbia University in New York City.
Begun in September 2014, the piece involved her carrying a 50-lb mattress – of the kind Columbia uses in its dorms – wherever she went on campus. She said the piece would end when a student she alleges raped her in her dorm room in 2012 was expelled from or otherwise left the university. Sulkowicz carried the mattress until the end of the Spring semester as well as to her graduating ceremony in May 2015.read more »
The ‘Gay Mafia‘ and the ‘Velvet Mafia’ are pejorative terms for the expansion of gay rights groups in politics, media, and everyday life. The terms are typically associated with a perceived ‘elite’ within the fashion and entertainment industries; although they are also used ironically by gay people themselves.
An early use of the term was when English critic Kenneth Tynan proposed an article to ‘Playboy’ editor AC Spectorsky in late 1967 on the ‘Homosexual Mafia’ in the arts. Spectorsky declined, although he admitted that ‘culture hounds were paying homage to ‘faggotismo’ as they have never done before.’ Playboy would run a panel on gay issues in 1971.read more »
Social justice warrior (commonly abbreviated ‘SJW’) is a pejorative term for an individual promoting socially progressive views, including advocacy for women’s rights, identity politics, multiculturalism and civil rights. The motivation for using the term has been described as being an effort to degrade the motivations of the person accused of being an SJW, implying that their motives are ‘for personal validation rather than out of any deep-seated conviction.’
Gamergate is a blanket term for a controversy involving sexism and progressivism in video game culture, stemming from a harassment campaign conducted primarily through the use of the Twitter hashtags #GamerGate and #SJW. ‘Vice’ observed: ‘It’s awfully convenient to have a term at the ready to dismiss women who bring up sexism.’ The magazine assessed the problematic use of the term: ‘The problem is, that’s not a real category of people. It’s simply a way to dismiss anyone who brings up social justice—and often those people are feminists.’read more »
The cheerleader effect, also known as the group attractiveness effect, is the cognitive bias which causes people to think individuals are more attractive when they are in a group. The concept has been backed up by clinical research by psychologists Drew Walker and Edward Vul. The effect occurs because of the brain’s tendency to calculate the average properties of an object when viewing a group.
Walker and Vul proposed that this effect arises due to the interplay of three cognitive phenomena: the human visual system takes ‘ensemble representations’ of faces in a group; perception of individuals is biased towards this average; average faces are more attractive, perhaps due to ‘averaging out of unattractive idiosyncrasies.’read more »
Witzelsucht [vit-sel-zuhkt] (from the German ‘witzeln,’ meaning ‘to joke or wisecrack,’ and ‘sucht,’ meaning ‘addiction or yearning’) is a set of rare neurological symptoms characterized by a tendency to make puns, or tell inappropriate jokes or pointless stories in socially inappropriate situations. A less common symptom is hypersexuality, the tendency to make sexual comments at inappropriate times or situations. Patients do not understand that their behavior is abnormal, therefore are nonresponsive to others’ reactions. This disorder is most commonly seen in patients with frontal lobe damage, particularly right frontal lobe tumors or trauma.
Those with the condition often show no emotional reaction to humor, whether produced by themselves or others. This lack of responsiveness is due to dissociation between their cognitive and affective responses to humorous stimuli. That is, even when a patient understands that a joke is funny (based on quantitative brain activity), they do not respond with laughter, or even a smile. While they have grasped the cognitive basis of humor, they do not affectively respond. This also considered a cognitive component of empathy, affecting ability to take the perspective of others; hence why patients often do not respond to humor produced by other people.read more »
The hedgehog’s dilemma is a metaphor about the challenges of human intimacy. It describes a situation in which a group of hedgehogs all seek to become close to one another in order to share heat during cold weather. They must remain apart, however, as they cannot avoid hurting one another with their sharp spines. Though they all share the intention of a close reciprocal relationship, this may not occur, for reasons they cannot avoid.
German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer and psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud have used this situation to describe what they feel is the state of the individual in relation to others in society. The hedgehog’s dilemma suggests that despite goodwill, human intimacy cannot occur without substantial mutual harm, and what results is cautious behavior and weak relationships. The hedgehog’s dilemma demands moderation in affairs with others both because of self-interest, as well as out of consideration for others, leading to introversion and isolationism.read more »
Mechanophilia [muh-kan-uh-fil-ee-uh] is a paraphilia (atypical sexuality) involving a sexual attraction to machines. It is a crime in some nations, such as the UK, with perpetrators placed on a sex-offender registry. Motorcycles in particular are often portrayed as sexualized fetish objects to those who desire them. Designers such as Francis Picabia and Filippo Tommaso Marinetti have been said to have exploited the sexual attraction of automobiles. In 2008, an American named Edward Smith admitted to ‘having sex’ with 1000 cars.
Biologist Edward O. Wilson is quoted describing mechanophilia, the love of machines, as ‘a special case of ‘biophilia,” the instinctive bond between human beings and other living (or lifelike) systems. Conversely, psychologists such as Erich Fromm would see it as a form of necrophilia.read more »
Battered person syndrome is a physical and psychological condition of a person who has suffered (usually persistent) emotional, physical, or sexual abuse from another person. The condition is the basis for the battered spouse defense that has been used in cases of spouses who have killed their abusers. The condition was first researched extensively by American psychologist Lenore E. Walker, founder of the Domestic Violence Institute, who used psychologist Martin Seligman’s ‘learned helplessness’ theory to explain why abused spouses stayed in destructive relationships.
The syndrome develops in response to a three-stage cycle found in domestic violence situations. First, tension builds in the relationship. Second, the abusive partner releases tension via misconduct while blaming the victim for having caused the event. Third, the abusive partner makes gestures of contrition, but does not find solutions to avoid another phase of tension building and release so the cycle repeats. The repetition of the cycle despite the abuser’s attempts to ‘make nice’ results in the abused partner feeling at fault for not preventing recurrences. However, since the victim is not at fault and the violence is internally driven by the abuser’s need to control, this self-blame results in feelings of helplessness rather than empowerment.read more »
Fan service is a term originating from anime and manga fandom for material in a series which is intentionally added to please the audience (i.e. ‘giving the people what they want’). Fan service usually refers to ‘gratuitous titillation,’ but can also refer to intertextual references to other series and other ‘indulgent’ inclusions.
Long shots of robots in mecha shows, nudity, violent episode-long fight scenes, and emphasis on ‘shipping’ (the desire by fans for two people, either real-life celebrities or fictional characters, to be in a relationship, romantic or otherwise) can all be considered fan service as they are specifically aimed at pleasing the fans of any given show. Meta-references are intended to be seen and understood by the fans, as a way for creators to acknowledge and engage the more knowledgeable members of the fanbase.read more »