Chart of the day

Wonkblog nails it, so I’ll borrow their headline as well as their chart:

Why your Internet is so slow and your commute is so miserable — in one chart

You get the picture. Conversely, so many of the things we absolutely hate about modern life — traffic, slow internet, train delays, etc — exist largely because we don’t want to fork over the money it would take to make them go away. Want better roads? Raise the gas tax. Want a less terrible commute? Pay more for commuter rail. Want better internet service? Demand your telecom companies step up their game.

But none of this is likely to happen with political leadership from the top, at a national level. And we all know how that’s going.

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More on rape and Game of Thrones

Okay, given my limited blogging of late, this is probably not where I should be spending my energy, but this whole “controversy” is just too much.  It even made the Times:

A rape scene in Sunday’s episode of “Game of Thrones” has brought renewed criticism to this popular HBO fantasy series, which has previously drawn fire for what some viewers believe is its frequent and callous depiction of sexual violence.

The audience members who have expressed their disapproval since Sunday’s broadcast include United States Senator Claire McCaskill, Democrat of Missouri, who said in a Twitter post on Tuesday that she was “done” with the show.

This episode of “Game of Thrones,” which is adapted from a series of novels written by George R. R. Martin, concluded on Sunday with a wedding between the characters Ramsay Bolton (Iwan Rheon) and Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner). In a scene that follows, Ramsay sexually assaults Sansa while he forces a third character, Theon (Alfie Allen) to watch. The rape is primarily portrayed through sound and through Theon’s pained reactions.

Please!  The society portrayed in GOT is full of horrible violence.  Most of it non-sexual, some of it sexual.  It is a brutal, rough society.  It would be one thing if rape were being portrayed in some form of positive or exploitative fashion.  Heck, in the one that set off the latest firestorm, it is literally the show’s most odious character who commits the act of sexual violence (one that is clearly not rape in their society).  Our sympathy is 100% with the victim– and the scene is filmed in an entirely non-sexual way– who suffers from so many forces beyond her control that lead to this.  And this is what sets off the fuss?  Meanwhile, the series has had a number of scenes in brothels which can hardly be described as anything other than gratuitous female nudity.  Anyway, violence is horrible, sexual violence is horrible, but somehow pretending that this particular depiction of sexual violence in any way would encourage rape or the degradation of women is patently wrong.

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