Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sunday Roundup - Boycotts: NFL, GoFundMe, University of Illinois


Get it? It's a roundup! 
Today is Sunday. I am not watching the NFL. 

For me, being a football fan was a major part of my identity, one that intensified with the advent of Fantasy Football. As the concussion scandal intensified, I began to scale back my engagement with the game. First quitting fantasy, then we moved the TV upstairs in a (failed) attempt at less screen time for the kids, so I just didn't have the games on all Sunday.

You can say, as someone did on my Facebook wall, that my moral compass is lacking because I didn't stop watching football earlier, but it's hard to shed pieces of your identity. I was a fan. 

The domestic violence issue - not just Rice, but the people who beat women NOT on video tape who happily are playing today, followed by the Adrian Peterson story of beating his child with a stick, has made me finally turn off the NFL. I cannot promise I won't turn it on again, but not today.

My feeling is that the NFL enables a culture of violence, through its embrace of pain and fear as motivations, it teaches that pain and fear of pain is how you solve problems: With kids. With spouses. With each other. The NFL glorifies violence and it shouldn't surprise anyone that the violence extends outside the stadium. I have no idea what they can do about it, either, so I'm not watching.

Not watching is different than demanding a boycott. I think it would be good if everyone in America turned off the NFL for an hour on Sunday. I have no expectations that will, or can, happen. I'm not saying what ethical decision you make if you turn on football today, but I hope more people think hard about it.

Other boycotts have a better chance of effect.

I will not contribute to any GoFundMe campaigns started after 9/9/14 until they treat abortion the same way they treat all other personal medical procedures. 
Now this pledge I think you SHOULD make. I'll write more about it this week and try to drum up more awareness about the problem.

I also wrote three posts about Steven Salaita and the boycott of UIUC: Reactions to his press conference, which I attended. Thoughts on duality of the position of Israel as a superpower and the Jews as an oppressed minority, which I think lies at the hearts of our debates about whether Salaita is punching up or down.

Finally, I am crowdsourcing information on how the final rubber-stamp approvals work at universities with which many of my readers are associated. I said:
I am shifting my attention to an issue on which I think we can all agree: Final approval for a job cannot take place weeks after a professor has started his or her classes.
Can you please, in a comment, in an email, on my public facebook thread, or even on twitter tell me the timing of your final reviews for new hires at your school? I need to get a sense of how common this kind of delayed rubber stamp is.
I think this is really important and now is a moment we can focus on these practices and, at least in some case, change them.

Finally, I had a brief Q&A with John Scalzi on his newest book, last Monday. Feels like a long time ago before all my writing descended into this fairly grim place. Yay interesting speculative fiction. Reading fun stuff - Now that's a good way to spend a Sunday.

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