Friday News: The Over-Reach Edition
DoJ’s Gag Order On Reason Has Been Lifted — But The Real Story Is More Outrageous Than We Thought – You may be familiar with the frightening and bizarre federal grand jury subpoena and gag order served on Reason, the first to get the identities of several inflammatory commenters, and the second to keep Reason from speaking about the situation. Popehat has been following the situation, and now that the gag order has been lifted (and the gag order was incomprehensible enough), is reporting that the government had no specific reason to demand the identities of the commenters, which makes the whole thing really troubling:
First, the subpoena. Some have argued that the Department of Justice must have had information spurring them to use the grand jury to pierce the anonymity of people engaged in protected political speech. Not so. As Reason’s report shows, Assistant U.S. Attorney Niketh Velamoor never articulated any specific basis to fear the bluster of these commenters — any more than he did when I spoke to him.
Saturday I interviewed Mike Alissi, publisher of Reason, who confirmed that Velamoor never suggested that he had any basis to view these as true threats. In fact, he seemed uninterested in the distinction between protected speech and true threats, and refused to narrow the subpoena to carve out the patently non-threatening “special place in hell” commenter. There is no secret ticking time bomb, no wizard with a woodchipper, no classified justification. –Popehat
Apple Bans Games And Apps Featuring The Confederate Flag [Update: Some Games Being Restored] – Although Apple’s intentions in banning apps that use the Confederate flag in a hateful or threatening way were good, the sweeping elimination of apps and games from the store raised quite a few concerns, especially since some historical resources got caught up in the purge. Games like Ultimate General: Gettysburg, which developers state is used by teachers to teach the Civil War, were pulled, presenting a real dilemma around differentiating between historical and educational uses of the flag and those that are inflammatory and degrading.
UPDATE #2 – 6/25, 5 PM ET: We’ve spoken to Apple more extensively about the removals now. The company says it’s working with developers to quickly get their games reinstated to the App Store.
It seems like the removals were not a blanket ban on use of the Confederate flag imagery in App Store apps. And there may have been titles that shouldn’t have been pulled because the use of the flag could be considered “historical” or “educational,” as per Apple’s comment above. Apple’s intention is not to lose games from the App Store, but rather remove those titles that could offend. That means there will be some apps that are not likely to be reinstated, such as the banned Confederate flag wallpaper app, for example. –Tech Crunch
Leaked Video Appears to Show Vine Star Pressuring Underage Girl Into Sex – And we have another sexual harassment problem with these adult male video stars and underage girls. In this case, it’s Carter Reynolds and his ex-girlfriend (she’s 16, he’s 19), and it’s just another demonstration of how troubling the mix of teen girls and adult men in this video celebrity culture phenomenon is. And it got me thinking again that when John Green went ballistic at the possibility that young women might see adult men as ‘creepy,’ he abandoned a valuable opportunity to be a hero to so many teenage girls by encouraging them to speak out and letting them know that they should never be made to feel uncomfortable around older men. Especially since he and his brother are so connected to this video culture.
A brief video surfaced earlier today that purports to show 19-year-old Vine “celeb” Carter Reynolds attempting to push 16-year-old ex-girlfriend (and social media starlet) Maggie Lindemann into oral sex. . . .
“This makes me so uncomfortable,” Lindemann says, “I’m really uncomfortable.” The man chants “Do it!” and says Lindemann should “pretend nothing’s there.” Lindemann replies “I don’t know if I can…I don’t think I can” while the man masturbates and repeats “oh my gosh, Maggie.” The video ends there. –Gawker
Some 19th-Century Physicians Thought Music Could Infect the Brain – So it’s not just Romance novels that compromise the moral fiber and physical integrity of women! Good to know…
Women, of course, were continually linked to the dangers of music. In the 17th and 18th centuries, physicians thought the fairer sex had weak nerves and were prone to fainting. They warned that excessive keyboard playing could aggravate such issues. Gynecologists thought music might be too sexy for women or that it could lead to heavy menstrual cycles. On the flop side, others linked it to infertility and reproductive problems. And women weren’t the only marginalized group targeted, Baggeley reports. Victorian researchers thought that musical talent might be more prevalent among homosexuals.
Musical pathology continued into the twentieth century. Political parties — the Third Reich in Germany and the Soviets in Russia, specifically — capitalized on the negative undertones put forth by medicine and targeted specific genres to bolster their causes. In the U.S., listening to too much jazz came with social and moral symptoms. Even today, psychologists have linked music to addition and mused on how it might affect the psyche, Baggaley notes. –Smithsonian Magazine