Discover more from Sree's Sunday Note
The trans community and right-wing hate
When "othering" becomes a political strategy
Thanks for all your support, especially to our friends at Armory Square Ventures! Sree’s newsletter is produced with Zach Peterson (@zachprague), with a tech tip from Robert S. Anthony (@newyorkbob). Cartoon by John Cole.
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TRANS PEOPLE ARE BEING ATTACKED FROM ALL ANGLES. There is a strong pull towards “othering” that galvanizes modern right-wing politics like little else. It’s so strange, so awful, and so ugly that I actually fail to comprehend it.
I simply can’t imagine having the time to care about something so personal to someone I’ll never meet. And yet, Republican-led state legislatures across the country are taking their cues from their media brethren and introducing laws that run the gamut of targeted hate. The worst part? Almost every law, proposed, passed, and otherwise, directly affects children.
The only winners in all of this are power-hungry zealots bent on exercising full control over anyone they can and that’s it. The effects are disastrous — 40% of trans and gender-nonconforming people attempt suicide (the number is around 5% for the rest of the population).
Watch Jon Stewart get to the heart of the issue in this interview:
There’s no excuse for this — it’s pandering for the sake of political power and that’s it.
Emily St. James (@emilyvdw) covers the issue so well for Vox. This piece from May raises the alarm, noting that even some Republicans in conservative states are balking at the extremity of new laws passing legislatures.
From the piece:
These proposed measures aren’t just needlessly invasive, inserting government interference into private medical care decisions made by families. They’re dangerous, creating conditions that make trans children much more likely to die by suicide.
Even Spencer Cox, the Republican governor of Utah, in vetoing that state’s bill banning trans kids from participating in high school sports, pointed to alarming statistics on high reported rates of suicidal behavior as a reason not to sign the bill. “I don’t understand what they are going through or why they feel the way they do,” he wrote of trans children, in a letter to the state legislature. “But I want them to live.”
For the “pro-life” party, it’s nice to see at least one person in power actually do something to confirm that view, but the bill still made it to the governor’s desk, and that should be worrisome enough. Right now, Republicans hold a majority in 62 of 98 state legislatures, and there is little reason to believe that things will change for the better for transgender people in the near term.
So, vote for Democrats. Sure, not every Democrat running for office is perfect, but the ballot box is one place where we can begin to fix things, and we need to do it. There is a major political movement in this country that is systematically eroding rights and killing people, and it is squarely aligned with the Republican party.
Comedian James Acaster absolutely nails it in this stand-up bit from 2021. In his case, he’s taking on the new (old) edgelord comedians who are being “cancelled” and “can no longer say anything” — but, this applies across the board.
Take a minute and say it out loud to yourself — “Trans people need to check their privilege.” It’s so completely absurd that you probably can’t say it without audibly scoffing.
Support LGBTQ+ rights, it’s very easy.
A word from Armory Square Ventures
Happy Fall to Sree's readers and to the devout Digimentors team.
Welcome back to the office, however you choose to work. Here we have some news. Late last July, we launched a groundbreaking prize to recognize literature from Asia produced in translation. The Armory Square Prize for South Asian Literature in Translation aims to cultivate a new generation of literary translators working with South Asian languages. It is an effort to remedy the disparities in literary translation worldwide by supporting compelling storytellers from the Indian Subcontinent.
The new prize will be open to translators of literature written by a South Asian author in a language other than English. Any book-length work of narrative prose, fiction, or nonfiction, by a South Asian author (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Maldives or the diaspora) will be eligible.
The jury for the prize brings together award-winning specialists in South Asian and non-South Asian literary translation. It will first and foremost consider the quality of the translation, paying particular attention to the creative and artful solutions that the translator has used to address the translation challenges posed by the work. The jury will also consider the significance of the original work and its author, and the extent to which the language and author are underrepresented in English.
The deadline for applications is December 31, 2022. See our website for eligibility guidelines, FAQs and to learn how to apply.
- The ASV team
Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II: Bring on the Noise, Enjoy the Silence
By Robert S. Anthony
Each week, veteran tech journalist Bob Anthony shares a tech tip you don’t want to miss. Follow him @newyorkbob.
Few things cause a journalist’s eyes to roll quicker than when a company claims its new tech product is the “best ever.” But that’s exactly what Bose representatives said at a recent New York press event as they introduced the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II as providing “the best noise cancellation of any headphone.”
Of course, after a bold statement like that, the members of the media in the room expected proof. And much to my surprise, we got it.
During a demonstration, we were fitted with the lightweight Bluetooth wireless earbuds, shown how to turn on the noise-cancelling “quiet mode” and how to cue up music from a connected smartphone. The music sounded terrific, with sharp high notes and smooth bass, but we also felt something strange: A steady, constant thumping in our chests.
When a Bose representative gave the signal for us to turn off the quiet mode, the reason for the thumping became clear: The room was being blasted with loud, thunderous amplified noises recorded New York’s subways.
The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II had completely erased the subway noise, leaving only the music behind in our ears and the thumping bass from nearby speakers in our bodies. It's tough to impress jaded tech journalists, but the Bose demonstration worked.
In addition to coming with an assortment of ear tips so users can get the proper fit, the earbuds feature CustomTune technology, which personalizes the noise-cancelling feature for each user, according to Bose. Each time the earbuds are removed from their charging case and inserted in an ear they play a musical tone which tests the acoustic response of each ear and adjusts the noise-cancelling algorithm accordingly.
The $299 Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II have four microphones—three outside to track voice and extraneous noises and one inside the ear. The Bose mobile app allows users to create new listening modes in addition to the quiet mode and an “aware” mode which lets the user hear ambient noises as if the earbuds weren’t in the ears.
The earbuds, available in black or a light “soapstone” shade, offer touch-sensitive controls and are rated to last six hours on a charge. The charging case battery can provide the earbuds with three more full charges before it needs a charge itself.
So, bring on the noise. This unit seems ready for it.
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