Monday, October 10, 2011

Should age be a factor in sending people to die?

War favors the young. Children and teens are regularly sent to kill and be killed. But recently, in Japan, a group of retirees offered to sacrifice themselves by working to repair the dangerously irradited Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant. They are explicit that they want to go in the place of younger people with more of a future.

Click here for an article from NPR, including an audio and text version of it.

The question before us, is whether it is moral to take age into account like this. Clearly, the people are volunteers, but suppose they weren't. Would it be wrong then? Isn't there a case to be made that relying on the elderly in cases like this limits the collective damage? On the other had, don't all people, regardless of age have equal moral worth? I'm wondering what your thoughts are.

Thanks long time reader, Elizabeth, for sending me the article and the idea for the blog entry! If you have ideas for the blog, send them to

How do you identify sexism?

From the comic "Dykes to Watch Out For" (c) Allison Bechdel.
Just to get the blog back on track, I'm going back to posting some short subjects to get our (read:my) brains going again. Some of these will be older and have been screaming at me (in my head) to post them for ages. Here is the first one: the famed Bechdel test.

Cartoonist Allison Bechdel points out that most American movies do not have significant female presence. To see if they do, she wants us to ask three simple questions: 
 (1) Are there two or more women who have names?
(2) Do they talk to each other?
(3) Do they talk to each other about anything other than men?

Here is a video that lists just a few of movies that fail the test:

Do you think that this is indeed a systemic problem as the video and cartoon suggests? And, do you think movies that fail the test are indeed sexist? Are there other simple ways like this to identify sexism that would help those who can't easily identify it?