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strangely shaped pieces of meta

Sistemic Violence

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Yes. Well. I’m glad the most I generally have to deal with is whether one may write ‘indigenous’ without capitalisation.


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What a sad day it is when someone high up in the government makes illiberal pronouncements about technology policy without even knowing a hash from a hashtag, provoking jaded sighs from the better informed.

One might have hoped that in 2013 2017 Cameron Rudd would have been better briefed.

Strange Company

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To the fashion for seeking to employ ‘rockstars’ and ‘ninja’ and ‘Jedi’ and so on we can apparently add ‘ethicists’. Riot Games (of League of Legends fame) is advertising for an Executive Assistant (North America). In the ‘you are’ section, right after ‘a communications black belt’, we have the following novel definition:

An expert-level ethicist: you live to deliver first class service to every level of requester and have impeccable judgment when handling sensitive communications, financials and operations documents to keep information safe and secure; you value integrity and accountability in your interactions with stakeholders, team members and players

Brook No Empty Assertions

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Despite our both having links to Durham’s Philosophy Dept. I’ve never met Thom Brooks, who I think came to Durham shortly before I stopped being physically there. Occasionally he makes waves I notice: once some students contacted me hoping I could advise on getting a critical response published to something he’d written (they were into polyamory and his article had criticised its ethics, and been publicly promoted by the University’s media people; I directed them to a colleague with poly-related interests but I think nothing came of it). The current splash in the national press is his ‘Hate Crime Offenders Register’ proposal to the Commons Home Affairs Committee.

Anyone on a Hate Crime Offenders Register could be restricted from working with children and/or working in certain professions. This seems sensible, mirrors current policies in place and would help send a clearer signal of how serious these offences are.

The problems of subjectivity regarding ‘hate crime’ are much discussed and I’ll leave it to others to examine this proposal in light of them. I’m just fascinated by the fact that someone with that much philosophical acumen could blithely assert in lieu of a reason-giving defence that ‘this seems sensible’: the kind of thing that in my teaching days would have had me stabbing at the margins of undergraduate essays. Since it is basically impossible for him not to know what’s wrong with this, I have to assume that it says something about the expectations of a law professor seeking to persuade a parliamentary committee.