Bronze Bikinis for Beneficence

Well, Labor Day weekend is coming up, and if you live in Atlanta and don’t have room to fart in Midtown with the addition of 40,000 tourists dressed like stormtroopers, you know what that means: DragonCon. And if you’ve ever been one of those 40,000 tourists, pressed tit-to-bare-back with a chick in a bronze bikini top and a big, plastic neck chain, you know what that means: Slave Leia Watch 2011.

It’s always a good time. Unfortunately, Slave Leia Watch 2010 ended without an official tally, as the then-new release of Prince of Persia made it difficult to distinguish Slave Leia from Princess Tamina at a quick glance. (Hint: If she’s accompanied by an embarrassed-looking guy in a leather breastplate and Keith Urban’s castoff hairpiece, it’s Tamina.) But seeing as how this year’s sci-fi hottie of choice wears a black leather glow-in-the-dark bodysuit, 2011 should be an easier time.

And for 2011, it’s going to mean something. This year, the traditional count of the traditional (objectifying, not terribly imaginative) go-to sexy cosplay classic will turn into a donation to a deserving charity. I’m having trouble, though, deciding on a charity–I’m really lousy at that part–so I thought I’d put it to the brilliant crowd at Feministe for advice.

Option 1: Planned Parenthood. Obviously a solid call, and certainly they could use the help as the government decides that men’s health care is health care, but women’s health care is something extra that isn’t worthy of federal support.

Option 2: Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres. I really respect the work they do anyway, but staggering situations like the current one in Somalia make the need for donations that much more urgent.

Option 3: Southern Poverty Law Center. The SPLC is challenging the shameful new “papers, please” immigration law in Alabama. I figure they need all the help they can get.

The pledge: I’ll donate $5US for every woman I see dressed as Slave Leia at this year’s DragonCon, and $10US for every Rebel Leia (or dude Slave Leia), to the charity of your collective choice. Vote for your favorite organization or suggest one of your own in comments, and I’ll provide a final count next Monday night-ish after the dust has settled.


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113 comments for “Bronze Bikinis for Beneficence

  1. Moz
    August 28, 2011 at 10:03 pm

    That’s a hard call. I’m a big fan of MSF, but in the US Planned Parenthood is an essential service that always seems underfunded. And now Shona Laing’s “(Glad I’m) Not a Kennedy” has popped up on random play… that’s it, I vote for PP.

  2. lb
    August 28, 2011 at 10:12 pm

    Im gonna say doctors without borders. but its a tough call. all are worthy and all can always do more service with more funding

  3. August 28, 2011 at 10:18 pm

    Would you be able to split the donations? Say, a Slave Leia charity and a Rebel Leia/Dude Slave Leia charity?

    Which is my roundabout way of saying they’re all worthy, and I can’t decide. If I have to pick one, my default choice tends to be MSF, so I’ll go with that.

  4. stonebiscuit
    August 28, 2011 at 10:30 pm

    I really don’t understand the Slave Leia trend. Sure it’s sexy, but it’s the character at her most vulnerable and objectified–why do fans want to celebrate that? Ugh.

    Incidentally, I’ll be at Dragon*Con. If you’re free Sunday night, we’re having a Jane Austen’s Fight Club meetup at the Time Traveler’s Ball.

  5. Captain Awkward
    August 28, 2011 at 10:41 pm

    @stonebiscuit, “it’s the character at her most vulnerable and objectified” – I think you answered your question there.

    I vote Southern Poverty Law Center. People need to vote.

  6. Kristen J
    August 28, 2011 at 10:52 pm

    SPLC!!! Also, it could be a group effort! I’ll join the cause at 5 & 10 for SPLC.

  7. August 28, 2011 at 11:09 pm

    Kristen J:
    SPLC!!!Also, it could be a group effort!I’ll join the cause at 5 & 10 for SPLC.

    I like the group effort idea! I’ll join the cause no matter the charity, either as a flat donation or on a per-Leia basis… depending on the actual monies involved (and whether my employer’s insurance change functions as it should in terms of continuous prescription coverage).

  8. August 29, 2011 at 12:28 am

    I vote for Planned Parenthood.

  9. glitterary
    August 29, 2011 at 2:17 am

    Er. I think doing the count and donating the money is an awesome idea, but I find the Slave Leia costume hatred comes very close to being… somewhat slut-shamey. Although the cause is noble, this just lies a little close to berating women for their clothing choices to me.

    Yes, there are other costumes, but if you’re a female Star Wars fan who wants to go as a female character, you’ve basically got the choice between Slave Leia and the toga-and-earmuffs combo. Toga-and-earmuffs is fine, but compared to all the costumes men can choose from it’s not really cool.

    Dressing up is at least in part about drawing attention to yourself, so I can understand women doing it in a way they’ve been socially conditioned to. Even the PSA with Kaley Cuoco, tongue-in-cheek though it was, pointed out that lots of women want to go looking sexy–just as I suspect many guys do. It’s just that they a) have far more options to choose from, and b) their sexy outfits don’t tend to be “slave” outfits.

  10. August 29, 2011 at 2:56 am

    I’d say doctors without borders.

  11. FYouMudFlaps
    August 29, 2011 at 4:05 am

    Planned Parenthood; we shall be the crack that breaks the GOP’s back.

  12. MadGastronomer
    August 29, 2011 at 4:45 am

    I vote for Planned Parenthood.

    glitterary:
    Er. I think doing the count and donating the money is an awesome idea, but I find the Slave Leia costume hatred comes very close to being… somewhat slut-shamey. Although the cause is noble, this just lies a little close to berating women for their clothing choices to me.

    Bullshit. The fetishization of slave Leia specifically is about her as a slave, as weak and vulnerable. As opposed to all of the outfits that show her as capable, powerful, and badass. It’s about making a strong woman character look weak. Fuck that. She wears lots of other costumes, and frankly I find most of them a hell of a lot sexier than that one. Especially the combat ones. I think your definition of “sexy” is way too narrow, and I find that problematic from a sex positive position; you’ve slimmed it down to nothing more than what’s held as sexy by the male gaze as it fetishizes the enslavement of women.

    How about this one? How about her looking all sexy during her first kiss with Han? (Rar, when they’ve both been working on the ship.) How about the hotness of her kissing Han on Endor? Hell, how about the sheer beauty of this?

    Narrow, damaging definitions of sexiness are not sex positive.

  13. MadGastronomer
    August 29, 2011 at 4:48 am

    Also, Leia isn’t wearing that shit because she’s a proud slut, she’s wearing it because she is actually enslaved and being forced to wear it. As soon as she got the chance, she killed the bastard who put her in it and changed clothes.

  14. glitterary
    August 29, 2011 at 5:30 am

    @MadGastronomer

    Okay, okay. I’m not a big Star Wars fan, so clearly I missed a couple of costumes there. My bad, I apologise.

    I do agree that the fetishisation of the slave costume is because it’s her specifically as a slave. And I don’t think I expressed myself very well up there. My personal definition of sexy is certainly broader than slave girl costumes, and to me personally the slave girl thing is not very sexy. What I meant was that the sci fi and fantasy genre has a tendency to stick to that one very overt, narrow definition of sexy and cram a lot of its female characters into that. There are exceptions, but it seems to be the norm.

    Regardless of that, if women are choosing to wear something to a con and other women are berating them for it, I don’t think that’s a good thing. It’s one thing to say Hey, Leia looks hot in these other things too and the fetishisation of slavery is actually really horrible, we should encourage women to choose different outfits–but I just don’t think pointing and laughing at women for buying in to an aesthetic they’ve been socially conditioned to accept their whole lives is constructive.

    So in short–yeah, I think there are plenty of reasons women shouldn’t wear the slave girl costume. But I feel like the way it’s expressed here is patronising and supercilious, and looking down on women who do choose to dress in a certain way.

  15. MariaAnn
    August 29, 2011 at 5:41 am

    Slave Leia is mostly baffling to me as a celebration of the character…let’s face it, it’s mostly worn because ooo sexy!.

    Although, it is pretty bad ass of her to manage to kill Jabba with it (the chain). Even dressed as a slave lady she gets the job done – THAT’s how bad ass she is.

  16. SunlessNick
    August 29, 2011 at 5:53 am

    Another vote for Doctors without Borders (if accompanied with a certain regret at by implication voting against the others).

  17. MadGastronomer
    August 29, 2011 at 5:54 am

    glitterary:
    Okay, okay. I’m not a big Star Wars fan, so clearly I missed a couple of costumes there. My bad, I apologise.

    A couple? Go watch the movies, and don’t talk about things you’re clueless about. Leia has a lot of costumes, and there are other women in the movies.

    I do agree that the fetishisation of the slave costume is because it’s her specifically as a slave. And I don’t think I expressed myself very well up there. My personal definition of sexy is certainly broader than slave girl costumes, and to me personally the slave girl thing is not very sexy. What I meant was that the sci fi and fantasy genre has a tendency to stick to that one very overt, narrow definition of sexy and cram a lot of its female characters into that. There are exceptions, but it seems to be the norm.

    Congratulations, you’ve discovered the fucking problem. Or a fucking problem, anyway. Don’t use the problem to excuse one manifestation of it.

    I just don’t think pointing and laughing at women for buying in to an aesthetic they’ve been socially conditioned to accept their whole lives is constructive.

    Did you just try to use patriarchal conditioning as an excuse for continuing internalized misogyny? Not a reason, but an excuse?

    So in short–yeah, I think there are plenty of reasons women shouldn’t wear the slave girl costume. But I feel like the way it’s expressed here is patronising and supercilious, and looking down on women who do choose to dress in a certain way.

    Are you reading the same thread I am? Did you watch the same video I did? No one is pointing and laughing at the individual women who wear this costume. No one has said a damned thing about the women in this thread, much less pointed and laughed. The video is geeky humor, made by geeks and for geeks, and which is very much in the in-group style of geeks, is making fun of the trend, not of the individuals. It’s part of the long tradition of geeks saying, “Don’t wear the same costume as everyone else!”

    Most of the people who point and laugh at women wearing this costume are doing things like practicing body shaming, or displaying overt misogyny in some way. They’re the exact same people who are causing the Slave Leia phenomenon in the first place.

    It is totally valid for us, as feminists, to critique the causes of the practice and trend of wearing the Slave Leia costume. It is not valid to say we are slut shaming for doing it.

  18. August 29, 2011 at 6:12 am

    I gotta vote PP.

  19. glitterary
    August 29, 2011 at 6:30 am

    @MadGastronomer

    MadGastronomer: Congratulations, you’ve discovered the fucking problem. Or a fucking problem, anyway. Don’t use the problem to excuse one manifestation of it.

    I feel you’re being unnecessarily aggressive. I apologise for speaking about films I thought I understood better than I apparently do, fine. But I’m not completely naive. It’s not just suddenly occurred to me that there’s a problem in the way women are represented in sf/f or the media in general.

    MadGastronomer: It is totally valid for us, as feminists, to critique the causes of the practice and trend of wearing the Slave Leia costume. It is not valid to say we are slut shaming for doing it.

    I agree with the first part. What prompted my comment is that I didn’t, on reading the post, get the impression that this was about the causes of the Slave Leia costume. Neither did I get the impression it was full-on ripping into women who did; it was ambiguous. Which is why I raised the point in what I thought was a gentle way that when we do stuff like this we need to be clear about what our reasons for it are.

    MadGastronomer: Did you just try to use patriarchal conditioning as an excuse for continuing internalized misogyny? Not a reason, but an excuse?

    No, not as an excuse for continuing it. As a reason for understanding it, and not mocking* women for having bought into it when it’s everywhere. Also, if you’re going to be sex positive, you have to accept that patriarchally authorised ideas of sexuality can also be sexy independently from that. And I think it is acceptable for women to think about the images they have been presented with and decide for themselves whether it is something they like because they’ve been told to or because they actually like it. For example, I like lingerie because I like how it feels, I like the construction, I enjoy the emphasis it gives to parts of my body I love. I am not going to deny myself that pleasure just because men like it too.

    *this is in regard to my initial understanding of the potentially slut-shaming nature of the discussion; I’m not still insisting it is necessarily slut-shaming now.

    If we’re going to have this discussion I’d appreciate it if you could be less insulting in your responses.

  20. August 29, 2011 at 6:32 am

    Regarding the Southern Poverty Law Center, they have close to $220 million dollars in cash on hand and that doesn’t include the roughly $86,400 a day they take in every day in donations.

    Last year, after the “non-profit” SPLC had paid all its bills, it still had more than $360,000 dollars leftover.

    In short, the SPLC doesn’t need your money. They didn’t even spend all they got last year. Don’t let the “poverty” in the name fool you.

    http://wp.me/sCLYZ-657

    Options 1 and 2 are far more worthy causes, but don’t forget the local charities. Your donor dollars will do a lot more for the shoestring budget of a local food bank, Women’s shelter or free clinic than it will for those charities with multi-million dollar fund-raising departments, like the SPLC.

  21. scrumby
    August 29, 2011 at 6:36 am

    Southern Poverty Law because while the geeks may march in midtown, the klan still marches in a lot of Georgia. I’m only a little disappointed that I cannot pull together a quick slave Leia to add to the cause. I’m down with the slave Leias because seeing that rather simple costume on so many body-types is a great riff on the impossible standards of beauty fandom so often upholds. It’s no Miss Klingon Beauty Pageant but then what is?

  22. MadGastronomer
    August 29, 2011 at 7:03 am

    Glitterary:
    As a geek woman, as a feminist, and as a Star Wars fan, I am sick and tired of being told that I can’t talk about this issue. And that’s what you’re telling me. Your argument is consistently used to silence this discussion in geek circles. And so, no, I will not be less hostile, and I think it’s completely fucking called for.

    No one here is telling anyone not to wear the fucking costume. What we are saying is that the trend of fifty, sixty, a hundred women wearing this particular “sexy” costume at a single event is hugely problematic (do you get that they’re having parades of Slave Leias?), and is part of a larger set of action which is traditionally mocked within geek culture to boot. If there were five or ten women wearing it, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. We’d be having a conversation about self-objectifying by geek women (a conversation which is happening in geek feminist spaces, in which, yes, this comes up), but in a more general way. And we still wouldn’t be talking about the choices of individual women, but about the trend, and its origins, and the problems with it.

    I like lingerie, too. I’ve got the cutest little black leather halter-top minidress, and I just love to wear it at the club. And that is not at all what we are talking about. We are talking about a systemic problem in geek culture, one that not only objectifies the women who wear this costume as a group, but also reduces a powerful geek feminist icon to an image of a sex slave. And you keep trying to make it about exactly what it’s not about, to silence this discussion.

    Also, by the way, you are attempting to use the Tone Argument on me. Don’t. If you don’t want to continue the conversation, don’t do it, but my anger is entirely legitimate, and so is my expression of it. Don’t try to silence that. Don’t try to silence me.

  23. chava
    August 29, 2011 at 7:15 am

    MSF or SPLC.

    Slave Leia annoys me, and I don’t even “do” cosplay. (If I had to go dressed as a SW character, I’d probably go as Solo or Vader, honestly–does that happen?)

  24. glitterary
    August 29, 2011 at 7:21 am

    @MadGastronomer

    I’m sorry and I apologised. I derailed this thread without realising, and we were arguing from different perspectives, and ultimately on different issues. It was never my intention to silence that discussion, though. I recognise that the Tone Argument sucks, and I only felt my comments were appropriate because I didn’t know about the wider context. If I’d seen your last post first–(justified) anger and all–I would have understood sooner. Thank you for that link.

  25. glitterary
    August 29, 2011 at 7:22 am

    *apologise, not apologised. Sorry, I’m doing it now, not suggesting I did so appropriately in an earlier post.

  26. MadGastronomer
    August 29, 2011 at 7:23 am

    Chava: What, cross-gender cosplay? Sure! Sometimes there’s an attempt to translate the costume into the wearer’s gender, and sometimes not.

  27. August 29, 2011 at 7:30 am

    Caperton, this is an awesome thing you’re doing. Thank you! Unfortunately, I’m not sure which charity to vote for so I’ll pass.

    By the way, Geek Feminism has a great post about sexy cosplay:

    “‘Geek girls’ and the problem of self-objectification”

  28. FashionablyEvil
    August 29, 2011 at 8:26 am

    Dragon*con is also promoting their brand new “Comic Book Babes Contest” this year. So creative!

    I am, however, planning to go watch the parade on Saturday morning, so I’ll keep a running tally of Leias spotted there.

  29. Dao
    August 29, 2011 at 8:35 am

    Slave Leia annoys me, and I don’t even “do” cosplay. (If I had to go dressed as a SW character, I’d probably go as Solo or Vader, honestly–does that happen?)

    At CONvergence this past summer, there were two brothers (ages 4-5) dressed as a Stormtrooper and Vader, but their little sister (age 3?) was dressed as Han and had a tiny Chewie plushie. Best thing ever!

    Also, YES! to everything Mad Gastronomer said and…

    I vote for Doctors Without Borders.

  30. Skateaway
    August 29, 2011 at 10:26 am

    I’m throwing in for Planned Parenthood, not because the other causes are unworthy, but because of the recent attacks on their funding.

  31. August 29, 2011 at 11:06 am

    Richard Keefe:

    In short, the SPLC doesn’t need your money. They didn’t even spend all they got last year. Don’t let the “poverty” in the name fool you.

    Ooh, look, an anti-SPLC troll.

    You get upset whenever they put out a report tracking white supremacist or right-wing hate groups, don’t you?

  32. August 29, 2011 at 11:48 am

    Sorry. MadGastronomer beat me to the link.

  33. Hannah
    August 29, 2011 at 11:52 am

    Medecins sans Frontieres

  34. August 29, 2011 at 12:29 pm

    zuzu: Ooh, look, an anti-SPLC troll.

    You get upset whenever they put out a report tracking white supremacist or right-wing hate groups, don’t you?

    The SPLC has $220 million in cash on hand and took in $31 million in donations to cover $1.1 million in legal case costs last year, roughly the same amount they paid to the top 4 executives, btw.

    Meanwhile, they spent over $6 million in fund-raising, meaning that of every donor-dollar sent in, twenty cents is spent to raise the next donor dollar. If you say that’s a good use of the money, I’m not going to change your mind.

    The executive board of the SPLC, composed entirely of white millionaires, (they’ve NEVER hired a person of color to a highly paid position of authority in their entire 40 year history…), handed out 4-, 5- and even 6-digit raises to themselves last year. Recession? What recession?

    http://wp.me/pCLYZ-7m

    I “get upset” when people are under the mistaken impression that the term “poverty” in the organization’s name somehow refers to the white millionaires who run it or the company’s financial situation.

    They took in more than $57 million combined in cash last year. If you think they need your donation more than MSF or a local family shelter, don’t let me stop you.

    Send all you want.

  35. August 29, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    I vote for Planned Parenthood, because I went to the rally here in NYC in February and heard Kathleen Hanna speak there, and I’m sort of in love with her.

  36. Mr. Kristen J.
    August 29, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    Richard Keefe: The SPLC has $220 million in cash on hand and took in $31 million in donations to cover $1.1 million in legal case costs last year, roughly the same amount they paid to the top 4 executives, btw.

    Meanwhile, they spent over $6 million in fund-raising, meaning that of every donor-dollar sent in, twenty cents is spent to raise the next donor dollar. If you say that’s a good use of the money, I’m not going to change your mind.

    The executive board of the SPLC, composed entirely of white millionaires, (they’ve NEVER hired a person of color to a highly paid position of authority in their entire 40 year history…), handed out 4-, 5- and even 6-digit raises to themselves last year. Recession? What recession?

    http://wp.me/pCLYZ-7m

    I “get upset” when people are under the mistaken impression that the term “poverty” in the organization’s name somehow refers to the white millionaires who run it or the company’s financial situation.

    They took in more than $57 million combined in cash last year. If you think they need your donation more than MSF or a local family shelter, don’t let me stop you.

    Send all you want.

    SPLC is building it endowment. Its a think tank. The Heritage Foundation has a similar endowment. The ACLU is building an endowment. The think tank I worked for briefly had an endowment several times larger than the SPLC. This criticism shows a lack of understanding about how nonprofits work.

  37. August 29, 2011 at 1:49 pm

    Mr. Kristen J.: SPLC is building it endowment.Its a think tank.The Heritage Foundation has a similar endowment.The ACLU is building an endowment.The think tank I worked for briefly had an endowment several times larger than the SPLC.This criticism shows a lack of understanding about how nonprofits work.

    Morris Dees established the Endowment Fund in 1974 so that the SPLC could cease all fund-raising solicitations and “live off the interest” of the fund.

    Last year the fund generated over $26 million in interest.

    Last year, operating costs for the SPLC came to $31 million, including $6 million in fund-raising costs that would no longer be necessary if the SPLC “lived off the interest” as promised

    You do the math:

    $31,589,955
    – 6,020,180
    $25,569,775 Total costs for 2010

    $26,563,924 Endowment Fund interest, minus
    -25,569,775 Total costs for 2010
    $994,149

    It sure looks to me like the SPLC could meet all of its expenses from the interest on the Endowment Fund and STILL have “non-profit” of nearly $1,000,000 left over to dump back into that fund.

    The SPLC doesn’t NEED the $31 million in donations they solicited from private donors.

    The SPLC’s Endowment Fund reached critical mass as early as 2002, yet the SPLC has never ceased its fund-raising activities.

    The American Institute of Philanthropy says that it is acceptable for a charity to have funds on hand equal to 1 to 2.5 years in operating costs. The SPLC could run full bore for nearly 10 years without raising another single dime.

    And people think the SPLC is broke?

    You’re right. I don’t understand.

  38. Verity Khat
    August 29, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    Caperton, I think we’re neighbors! (If “neighbors” encompasses a 30-mile radius.) And I love this tally idea. The volume of D*C Slave Leias grows by the year and it’s starting to really piss me off.

    See, I’m a cosplayer, but I usually only resort to sexy if that’s the ONLY outfit of a beloved character (there have been exceptions, sue me). Slave Leia? NEVER. A) Lucas sent a young, already-eating-disordered Carrie Fisher to “fat camp” just so he could stick her in that outfit, which I cannot forgive, B) Leia is so badass that seeing her intentionally humiliated like that wounds my soul, and C) I just plain like her other outfits better!

    I’m actually NOT attending Dragon*Con this year after many years of faithful attendance, because in the last two years objectification of every woman in costume has gotten really bad. (I blame the exploding population of “spectators”–attendees who don’t identify as geeks, but instead come to mock the geeks.) It makes it hard for female-presenting cosplayers to hang out in groups; the creeps won’t leave, so you have to keep moving. It’s gotten so bad that only 4 out of my usual 10 are going to D*C this year, and the other 6 have recruited male friends to hover menacingly nearby while they’re in costume. That’s just sad.

  39. Mr. Kristen J.
    August 29, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    Richard Keefe: You’re right. I don’t understand.

    That much is abundantly clear.

  40. Charity
    August 29, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    Thanks Mr. Keefe for including your site link. It must be very rewarding to spend your time protecting the public from such nefarious things as possible overestimation of the rate of exploitation of undocumented workers (or “illegal aliens” as you call them) at the hands of their employers, and such nefarious misdeeds as having difficulty identifying the precise address of hate groups’ headquarters. Lucky for you that (apparently) things like hate crimes and the need to seek asylum will never be in your realm of experience. Also, I feel compelled to point out that no one on this thread claimed the SPLC was “broke”, nor did anyone suggest that the “poverty” in their name referred to the organization itself (you maybe assumed we weren’t that bright?)

    That all being said, my vote is for planned parenthood although they are ALL worthy organizations.

  41. Rare Vos
    August 29, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    It’s gotten so bad that only 4 out of my usual 10 are going to D*C this year, and the other 6 have recruited male friends to hover menacingly nearby while they’re in costume. That’s just sad.

    Wow. Yes, isn’t America so totally more sophisticated than those BROWN PEOPLE countries. how totally post-sexist we are! america, fuck yeah!

    *puke*

  42. chava
    August 29, 2011 at 3:57 pm

    ….the fact that America still has substantial issues with sexism doesn’t mean that the levels of state-sponsored & cultural sexism in (some) other countries isn’t worse, their “brownness” or lack thereof notwithstanding. I mean, sure, American exceptionalism is annoying, but this has what to do with the OP?

    Rare Vos: Wow.Yes, isn’t America so totally more sophisticated than those BROWN PEOPLE countries.how totally post-sexist we are!america, fuck yeah!

    *puke*

  43. CassandraSays
    August 29, 2011 at 4:09 pm

    @MadGastronomer – Thanks for taking on the “but isn’t this slut shaming?” argument so I don’t have to. I am really, really tired of that argument being used to shut down discussions, especially when it’s being made by outsiders about a group whose social dynamics they are clearly not familiar with.

    I vote for Planned Parenthood, since they’re currently under threat in so many different places. I also vote for as few Slave Leia costumes as possible, because it would be really nice to not have geek space visually marked as the boys’ treehouse all the time.

    I’m a woman who loves sexy clothes and dressing up, but whenever I enter geekspace I do so in jeans and a tshirt. There are multiple reasons for that decision, and none of them have to do with slut shaming.

  44. August 29, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    Mr. Kristen J.: That much is abundantly clear.

    Well said. Concise, and yet completely ignoring the numbers given.

    If you can explain why the SPLC actually needs additional income, I’LL send them a check for $100 bucks tomorrow.

    Here are the links to their Annual Report:

    http://www.splcenter.org/sites/default/files/downloads/resource/SPLC_annual_report_10.pdf

    Their Financial Statement, produced by their own accountants:

    http://www.splcenter.org/sites/default/files/downloads/resource/SPLC_financial1010.pdf

    And their IRS Form 990, as presented to the Internal Revenue Service:

    http://www.splcenter.org/sites/default/files/downloads/resource/SPLC_990_1010.pdf

    All of these links come directly from the SPLC website, not Der Sturmer or the Klan Klarion.

    Just pick the one that shows that the SPLC needs outside donations to remain afloat and my Benjamin will go out in tomorrow’s mail along with yours.

    Take your time…

  45. August 29, 2011 at 4:58 pm

    Richard Keefe: Morris Dees established the Endowment Fund in 1974 so that the SPLC could cease all fund-raising solicitations and “live off the interest” of the fund.

    Last year the fund generated over $26 million in interest.

    Last year, operating costs for the SPLC came to $31 million, including $6 million in fund-raising costs that would no longer be necessary if the SPLC “lived off the interest” as promised

    Right, because et’s just ignore the volatility of the stock market, or the need to build in cushions, or to plan for upcoming capital costs or expansion or anything like that at all. Let’s just pick current expenses as the level at which we stop fundraising. We won’t ever need any more, ever!

    Jackass.

  46. August 29, 2011 at 4:59 pm

    Richard Keefe: It sure looks to me like the SPLC could meet all of its expenses from the interest on the Endowment Fund and STILL have “non-profit” of nearly $1,000,000 left over to dump back into that fund.

    You clearly don’t understand what “not for profit” means, do you? It doesn’t mean penury.

  47. Matt
    August 29, 2011 at 5:08 pm

    Richard Keefe: Well said. Concise, and yet completely ignoring the numbers given.

    If you can explain why the SPLC actually needs additional income, I’LL send them a check for $100 bucks tomorrow.

    Here are the links to their Annual Report:

    http://www.splcenter.org/sites/default/files/downloads/resource/SPLC_annual_report_10.pdf

    Their Financial Statement, produced by their own accountants:

    http://www.splcenter.org/sites/default/files/downloads/resource/SPLC_financial1010.pdf

    And their IRS Form 990, as presented to the Internal Revenue Service:

    http://www.splcenter.org/sites/default/files/downloads/resource/SPLC_990_1010.pdf

    All of these links come directly from the SPLC website, not Der Sturmer or the Klan Klarion.

    Just pick the one that shows that the SPLC needs outside donations to remain afloat and my Benjamin will go out in tomorrow’s mail along with yours.

    Take your time…

    Just FYI dear friend, non-profit means that there are limitations on the pay to employees and that there are no stockholders making money. It has nothing to do with the income and bank accounts of the organization.

  48. Caperton
    August 29, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    Sooo that’s a “no,” then, from Richard. Got it. Point made.

    Unrelated: I don’t know how many of y’all are actually going to be at the con, but let me know if at any point you want to get together, have drinks, and shamefully objectify all the dudes in the super-skimpy anime costumes.

  49. August 29, 2011 at 5:30 pm

    Charity:
    Thanks Mr. Keefe for including your site link. It must be very rewarding to spend your time protecting the public from such nefarious things as possible overestimation of the rate of exploitation of undocumented workers (or “illegal aliens” as you call them) at the hands of their employers, and such nefarious misdeeds as having difficulty identifying the precise address of hate groups’ headquarters.Lucky for you that (apparently) things like hate crimes and the need to seek asylum will never be in your realm of experience.Also, I feel compelled to point out that no one on this thread claimed the SPLC was “broke”, nor did anyone suggest that the “poverty” in their name referred to the organization itself (you maybe assumed we weren’t that bright?)

    That all being said, my vote is for planned parenthood although they are ALL worthy organizations.

    Charity,

    I don’t know if I’d use the term “rewarding” to describe my work, because cognitive dissonance is so deeply ingrained in most of the people I speak with. It’s hard to communicate with bigots.

    For the life of me, I can’t think of where I might have commented on the “possible overestimation of the rate of exploitation of undocumented workers,” unless you mean the SPLC report that stated that “80% of Hispanics working in New Orleans were cheated out of their pay.”

    If you actually READ the report, which of course, no one ever does, you’ll find in the footnotes that what the SPLC meant was that “80% of the Hispanics THEY interviewed, including those they represented, their family and friends, reported that they were cheated out of their wages in NOLA.”

    Now, nobody should ever be cheated out of their wages, but this method of data collection is known to the professionals as “snowball sampling,” which is to say that these people, who are clients of the SPLC were asked to identify others to testify in their cause, namely their friends and relatives.

    Even the the SPLC had to admit the shortfalls of this technique within their own report:

    “Because the targeted population is difficult to identify and contact, we used the snowball sampling method, in which study subjects refer researchers to additional subjects. Because study subjects were not chosen randomly, estimates from the survey may be biased.”

    http://wp.me/pCLYZ-18

    Now, if these methods leave you a little uneasy as to their ultimate accuracy, I’m with you. After all, there’s a huge difference between “80% of Hispanics working in New Orleans,” and “80% of our clients, their friends and family members,” right?

    I’m also sorry if the term “illegal aliens” offends you, but it is the legal terminology of the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. http://www.ice.gov/

    “Alien,” meaning someone who was not born in this country or a naturalized citizen. “Illegal,” meaning someone in violation of the laws of the local, state or national laws.

    If the euphemism “undocumented workers” is more palatable to you, then no doubt you’ll feel better calling crack dealers “undocumented pharmacists.” It’s your call.

    Now, as far as the SPLC “having difficulty identifying the precise address of hate groups’ headquarters,” let’s just be honest and look at their claims.

    The SPLC claims that they have identified 1.002 “hate groups” in the continental US.

    First of all, there is no legal definition of “hate group,” which is why even the FBI doesn’t track “hate groups.” Even the SPLC concedes this point.

    Furthermore, the SPLC uses the deliberately meaningless term “hate group” because it allows them to denigrate those with whom it disagrees without having to accuse them of any actual crimes.

    Of the 1,002 “hate groups” alleged by the SPLC, they can’t seem to locate 262 of them on their “Hate Map” fund-raising tool. Maybe this doesn’t bother you, but that’s 26% of the alleged total right off the top.

    Where are these “groups”? Who are they? How many people are we talking about?

    Well, here’s what the SPLC’s “Intelligence Director” Mark Potok says about them:

    “Potok acknowledged that some of the groups may be small and said it is impossible for outsiders to gauge the membership of most of the groups.” (David Crary, Associated Press Online, March 10, 2008)

    “Potok says inclusion on the list might come from a minor presence, such as a post office box.” (www.sanluisobispo.com, March 25, 2009)

    Well, at least we know the groups listed on the SPLC’s “Hate Map” are engaging in violent, criminal activities, right?

    “…a “hate group” has nothing to do with criminality… [or] potential for violence…” Rather, as Potok put it, “It’s all about ideology.”

    “Hate group activities can include criminal acts, marches, rallies, speeches, meetings, leafleting or publishing.”

    Granted, it has been a few years since I was in a civics class, but aren’t marches, rallies, speeches, meetings, leafleting and publishing still Constitutionally protected rights? Isn’t this how Dr. King made his name? Isn’t this how President Obama got elected??

    (I voted for President Obama, by the way, so if you’ll just point out which pigeon-hole you’d like me to move to I’ll be on my way…)

    Again, these are the words of the SPLC’s $147,000 a year public relations man, Mark Potok, not mine. I apologize again if they offend you, but as the Ghost said to Mr. Scrooge: “I told you these were the shadows of the things that have been. That they are what they are, do not blame me.”

    http://wp.me/pCLYZ-77

    Listen, if you truly feel that the SPLC is above any and all legitimate criticism for their hiring and fund-raising practices, so be it. Nothing I say is going to put a dent in your cognitive dissonance.

    But if you truly believe in diversity and multiculturalism, that has to extend beyond people who may or may not look like you to people who may or may not think like you.

    You can’t have it both ways. I’ve cited my sources. If you think I’m incorrect, just point out the erroneous passages and I’ll gladly reconsider.

  50. August 29, 2011 at 5:35 pm

    Matt: Just FYI dear friend, non-profit means that there are limitations on the pay to employees and that there are no stockholders making money. It has nothing to do with the income and bank accounts of the organization.

    Cool, what are the limitations on the pay to the employees then? The top four officers, all of whom are white millionaires, split the first $1.2 million donor dollars between them.

    In the height, or depths, of the greatest recession in 80 years, the all white millionaires who run the SPLC voted themselves 4-, 5- and even 6-digit raises.

    http://wp.me/pCLYZ-7m

    Tell me again why the SPLC is hurting for money?

    And not to drag my original point back into the discussion, but please elaborate how the white millionaires can make better use on one’s donor-dollars than a local charity? Or even the United Way, Red Cross or SPLC.

    Tell you what… answer the second part first. I’ll wait here.

  51. August 29, 2011 at 5:39 pm

    Caperton:
    Sooo that’s a “no,” then, from Richard. Got it. Point made.

    Sorry, you lost me. What’s a “no” from me? That the SPLC needs outside donations? Agreed.

    Otherwise, Doctors Without Borders and Planned Parenthood are excellent choices, though I still believe that local charities could use the money more.

    Just sayin’

  52. August 29, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    Richard Keefe: Tell me again why the SPLC is hurting for money?

    And not to drag my original point back into the discussion, but please elaborate how the white millionaires can make better use on one’s donor-dollars than a local charity? Or even the United Way, Red Cross or SPLC.

    Sorry, got all excited. That should have read “SPCA?”

    So many keys, so few fingers…

  53. Matt
    August 29, 2011 at 5:43 pm

    Hmm, I do find snowball sampling problematic as a survey method.

  54. August 29, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    Richard Keefe: I don’t know if I’d use the term “rewarding” to describe my work, because cognitive dissonance is so deeply ingrained in most of the people I speak with. It’s hard to communicate with bigots.

    Ah, yes, you know who the REAL bigots are, don’t you, Richard?

    From Stormfront, are we?

  55. Matt
    August 29, 2011 at 6:11 pm

    zuzu: Ah, yes,you know who the REAL bigots are, don’t you, Richard?

    From Stormfront, are we?

    He has a 2 year old blog covering a whole bunch of “abuses” which may or may not have happened. I wonder how many abuses of the truth would be found on his blog if someone made a “Watching the Watchers of the Watchdogs.”
    We get it, you don’t like the SPLC. But if someone were concerned about the value of an NPO, I don’t think a poster on Feministe with a blog about his hate of the SPLC is what they would use to make a decision. Also, aren’t 15 posts repeating the same thing enough to make your point?

  56. Mr. Kristen J.
    August 29, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    The top four as I understand it are experienced trial lawyers who would easily take home $1.2 each in the private sector. $300,000 is mid-level associate money. SPLC is getting a substantial discount. Have you seen what other think tank CEOs make?

    http://www.thinktankedblog.com/think-tanked/2010/08/salaries-of-top-think-tank-leaders.html

    Perhaps you should do some research.

  57. stonebiscuit
    August 29, 2011 at 6:36 pm

    I forgot to vote! I vote for Planned Parenthood.

  58. Esti
    August 29, 2011 at 6:39 pm

    Richard Keefe: And not to drag my original point back into the discussion, but please elaborate how the white millionaires can make better use on one’s donor-dollars than a local charity? Or even the United Way, Red Cross or SPLC.Tell you what… answer the second part first. I’ll wait here.

    A quick Google search would have told you that the executives at the United Way, Red Cross, and SPCA make as much or more than those at the SPLC.

    http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=search.summary&orgid=4629

    http://www.bbb.org/charity-reviews/national/human-services/american-red-cross-in-washington-dc-679 (note that the $47,000 CEO salary listed is for one month, not one year, due to the timing of the latest hire)

    http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=search.summary&orgid=4058

    http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=search.summary&orgid=4434

    And, as someone mentioned above, lawyers make considerably more in private practice than any of the SPLC’s executives are being paid. If you don’t want to lose every good executive or trial lawyer you have to a law firm, you’re going to have to pay more than you might need to in a non-legal non profit.

  59. August 29, 2011 at 7:06 pm

    zuzu: Ah, yes,you know who the REAL bigots are, don’t you, Richard?

    From Stormfront, are we?

    Yes, Zuzu, you’ve pierced my pointy hood with your laser-like logic.

    I dared to present a legitimate criticism of your the hiring and fund-raising and hiring practices of your beloved charity. Ergo and therefore I could only be a neo-Nazi.

    You’re right, that is SO much simpler than refuting a single fact I’ve presented.

    Zuzu, send money to the SPLC. No, better than that, send TWICE as much money to the SPLC. That’ll teach me a lesson and your local soup kitchen/Women’s shelter/blood bank will be all the stronger for it.

    I admit it. I just can’t compete with that kind of logic. You win.

  60. August 29, 2011 at 7:24 pm

    Matt: He has a 2 year old blog covering a whole bunch of “abuses” which may or may not have happened. I wonder how many abuses of the truth would be found on his blog if someone made a “Watching the Watchers of the Watchdogs.”
    We get it, you don’t like the SPLC. But if someone were concerned about the value of an NPO, I don’t think a poster on Feministe with a blog about his hate of the SPLC is what they would use to make a decision. Also, aren’t 15 posts repeating the same thing enough to make your point?

    Matt,

    You’re right. I don’t like the SPLC. I think they have lost the positive direction they pursued in the 1970s for the cheap fast-buck they could make by designating “hate groups”

    I don’t know why I bother citing the SPLC’s web page, but just out of habit, here’s the link to the SPLC’s case docket:

    http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/case-docket

    Most of the cases in the past ten years involve suing impoverished school districts in Mississippi and suits on behalf of illegal/undocumented workers/immigrants.

    I won’t say that these cases aren’t without merit, I merely question if they are worth the third of a BILLION tax-free dollars the SPLC has generated since 2002? Most of these cases could be filed successfully by first year law students.

    By their own accounting, the SPLC hasn’t taken on a “hate group” since 2007, (and that was a publicity stunt), and they say that they haven’t filed a landmark case in nearly 10 years:

    http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/case-docket?landmark=Yes

    You were willing to agree with me that “snowball sampling” was an inaccurate way to collect data, why is it such a stretch that the SPLC would engage in other questionable activities with tens of millions of dollars at stake?

    I’m not asking anyone to take my word. All I’m asking is that they look at the exact same data, provided by the SPLC, and come to a different conclusion.

    It was Caperton who made the original comment about the SPLC that “I figure they need all the help they can get.” Well, I read that and I had the temerity to say, “Not so much.”

    I know the people on this blog are highly educated and sincerely interested, and yet the best that some can come up with is ad hominem smears and childish name calling.

    I’ve cited my sources, almost all of which are from the SPLC, and if people disagree, just say so and explain why.

    In the old days, when I was a boy, this was known as “civil discourse” and it wasn’t all bad.

  61. August 29, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    Matt: He has a 2 year old blog covering a whole bunch of “abuses” which may or may not have happened.

    I’m not going to go traipsing through his blog, but if all he has to offer is a bunch of whining about rich white people being on the board and therefore how dare they call themselves the Southern Poverty Law Center, then pfft. As for the use of funds, smart donors use Charity Navigator.

    I mean, rich white people? On the board of something? Notify the press!

    As it stands, it looks like the people who make similar complaints are carping about the fact that many of the groups that SPLC has labeled hate groups are conservative in nature. And I see in my Google travels such complaints arising from the likes of Renew America (“Isn’t the SPLC the Real Hate Group?”), Human Events Online (SPLC “officially declared left-wing hate group”) and this person, who starts her column by freaking out about the New Black Panthers.

    And you know how all those articles go? Much like Richard’s comments here: they affect praise for the original mission, but it’s just been so LONG since Morris Dees actually cared about the little guy, he’s just so busy being hateful to white conservatives. Richard’s the first one I’ve seen explicitly bringing in the princely sums paid to the directors, though of course that tact is laughable given what many nonprofits pay their directors. And the whole “ZOMG THEY MAKE MONEY THEY SHOULDN’T BE FUNDRAISING ANYMORE” bit? Why doesn’t he tell that to Focus on the Family?

  62. Matt
    August 29, 2011 at 7:55 pm

    zuzu: I’m not going to go traipsing through his blog, but if all he has to offer is a bunch of whining about rich white people being on the board and therefore how dare they call themselves the Southern Poverty Law Center, then pfft.As for the use of funds, smart donors use Charity Navigator.

    I mean, rich white people?On the board of something?Notify the press!

    As it stands, it looks like the people who make similar complaints are carping about the fact that many of the groups that SPLC has labeled hate groups are conservative in nature.And I see in my Google travels such complaints arising from the likes of Renew America (“Isn’t the SPLC the Real Hate Group?”), Human Events Online (SPLC “officially declared left-wing hate group”) and this person, who starts her column by freaking out about the New Black Panthers.

    And you know how all those articles go?Much like Richard’s comments here: they affect praise for the original mission, but it’s just been so LONG since Morris Dees actually cared about the little guy, he’s just so busy being hateful to white conservatives.Richard’s the first one I’ve seen explicitly bringing in the princely sums paid to the directors, though of course that tact is laughable given what many nonprofits pay their directors.And the whole “ZOMG THEY MAKE MONEY THEY SHOULDN’T BE FUNDRAISING ANYMORE” bit?Why doesn’t he tell that to Focus on the Family?

    I did some checking and I basically agree with you, SLPC is hardly abnormal as an NPO. I think he did prove his point that SLPC doesn’t need all the help it can get as per the post by the author, though.

    To be fair, you actually started the derail by calling him an SPLC hate troll. He made one post and he would have stopped there in this particular case if you didn’t go all adhom on him. Perhaps he could have been more clear that he was responding to the comment about the SPLC needing all the help it can get.

    Of course the slave leia derail taking away from the point of the thread, voting on a charity, was a lot longer than the SPLC derail.

  63. August 29, 2011 at 8:05 pm

    Richard Keefe: In the old days, when I was a boy, this was known as “civil discourse” and it wasn’t all bad.

    Oh, you’re a Tone Troll, too. You’re just providing perspective! You’re all too close-minded and don’t want to hear the TROOOOOOOTH!

    Tell you what. Why don’t you stop dancing around with all this stuff you clearly don’t understand, like revenues and board members’ salaries and your complete fail on what a not-for-profit organization is all about, and instead tell us what it is about the work that SPLC does that so offends you. Because that’s what it’s about, isn’t it? No one maintains a blog for two years claiming to Watch the Watchers without having some idea why they think the watchers are falling down on the job (hint: it’s got nothing to do with how many black people are on the board or whether they should keep fundraising if they’re covering their expenses, but that makes a convenient cover). Charity Navigator covers the financial aspects far better than you, Random Guy on the Internet, could hope to, so why should anyone listen to you?

    Besides, you give the game away when you accuse SPLC of bigotry.

  64. MadGastronomer
    August 29, 2011 at 8:51 pm

    slave leia: 8 posts, including glitterary’s last corection
    slpc: 28 and counting

    To be fair, you actually started the derail by calling him an SPLC hate troll.

    Randomly turning up on a blog to down on an organization that does good work? Pretty hate-trolly. And no, the person responding did not start the derail. Richard was off-topic first. That’s what started the derail. Also, that’s not what an ad hominem attack is.

    Of course the slave leia derail taking away from the point of the thread, voting on a charity, was a lot longer than the SPLC derail.

    I count nearly twice as many posts on the SPLC discussion as the Slave Leia discussion, which I have to disagree with you about whether or not it’s a derail. Yeah, we were asked to vote. But talking about exactly what the post covers, while also voting, is not a fucking derail. And now you are trying to silence the discussions.

  65. August 29, 2011 at 8:57 pm

    Matt: To be fair, you actually started the derail by calling him an SPLC hate troll. He made one post and he would have stopped there in this particular case if you didn’t go all adhom on him.

    Thank you, Thread Monitor. I will give your comments precisely the consideration they deserve.

  66. August 29, 2011 at 8:59 pm

    Matt: I think he did prove his point that SLPC doesn’t need all the help it can get as per the post by the author, though.

    Actually, he didn’t. He did prove that he doesn’t know how endowments work, though.

  67. Charity
    August 29, 2011 at 9:02 pm

    If you’re all about the data Richard, why haven’t you responded to the data that’s been posted wrt other NPO’s budgets, rather than harping on and on about our tones?

  68. Rare Vos
    August 29, 2011 at 9:08 pm

    In the old days, when I was a boy, this was known as “civil discourse” and it wasn’t all bad.

    LOL. Uh-oh the uppity bitches aren’t agreeing with you! Bust out the sexist tone-trolling, Richard the White (Power)! Before they start making fun of your misuse of logical fallacies too!

  69. Matt
    August 29, 2011 at 9:08 pm

    zuzu: Thank you, Thread Monitor. I will give your comments precisely the consideration they deserve.

    Pointing out off base ad hom attacks against a non confrontational post which isn’t totally off base does not make me a “thread monitor.”

  70. Matt
    August 29, 2011 at 9:10 pm

    zuzu: Actually, he didn’t.He did prove that he doesn’t know how endowments work, though.

    His post was that the SPLC had plenty of money to do its job, since it was running a profit on its endowment vs expenditures, which means it doesn’t need all the “financial help” it gets.

  71. Diz
    August 29, 2011 at 9:12 pm

    Christ, between here and Tiger Beatdown, what’s with all the tone trolling and mansplaining?

  72. Rare Vos
    August 29, 2011 at 9:16 pm

    Pointing out off base ad hom attacks against a non confrontational post which isn’t totally off base does not make me a “thread monitor.”

    LOL * facepalm* Do you have the world’s shortest short term memory or are you seriously this NOT self-aware?

    __

    Christ, between here and Tiger Beatdown, what’s with all the tone trolling and mansplaining?

    A better question is: why are so many feminist blogs just putting up with it?

  73. August 29, 2011 at 9:24 pm

    Matt: His post was that the SPLC had plenty of money to do its job, since it was running a profit on its endowment vs expenditures, which means it doesn’t need all the “financial help” it gets.

    And yet if you look at revenues vs. expenditures, it still does need financial help. Which was kind of the point Mr. Kristen J made above: they’re building an endowment so they can be more self-sustaining. That doesn’t mean they don’t have more immediate needs.

    Also, you’d be far better off looking at sources other than our friend’s blog for your information. You’re just accepting his version of events. What does Charity Navigator or another of the sites which do this without bias say?

  74. Kristen J.
    August 29, 2011 at 9:24 pm

    On the original topic. Mr. K votes for PP and has found some extra cash in his monthly budget as well.

  75. Matt
    August 29, 2011 at 9:24 pm

    12 posts about the slave leia derail prior to the start of the SPLC derail, at comment 31. 22 posts on the SLPC derail if i consider every post even mentioning keefe and his posts, up until I made my comment. I think before I wasn’t counting posts on the original topic with a short mention of keefe or his posts. My bad.
    As for the derail with glitter and gastro, I guess we have different opinions of what constitutes a derail.
    I consider long strings of posts not involving a vote for a charity, the goal of the thread, a derail.
    I haven’t silenced any discussion, seeing as I’m not that opposed to somewhat related derails. I never even commented on the Slave Leia discussion except in passing talking about derails.

    Ad Hominem means: to the man.
    Commenting that Richard is opposed to the SPLC, and name calling, in this case hate troll, clearly constitutes an attack on
    Richard, the man, and not his point, that the SPLC isn’t desperately in need of donations.

  76. Matt
    August 29, 2011 at 9:30 pm

    zuzu: And yet if you look at revenues vs. expenditures, it still does need financial help.Which was kind of the point Mr. Kristen J made above: they’re building an endowment so they can be more self-sustaining.That doesn’t mean they don’t have more immediate needs.

    Also, you’d be far better off looking at sources other than our friend’s blog for your information.You’re just accepting his version of events.What does Charity Navigator or another of the sites which do this without bias say?

    I did look at charity navigator. it game the SPLC 2/4 stars, and showed about 65% of funds went into projects, and about 17-18% into overhead and fund raising.
    I was under the impression that Richard was arguing that the SPLC didn’t need “all the help they could get.” Which I don’t believe to be true, I’m sure more money wouldn’t hurt them.
    Richard’s overriding obsession with the SPLC isn’t really the concern of my posts, nor does it relate to the contention of his initial post.

  77. Matt
    August 29, 2011 at 9:32 pm

    Rare Vos: LOL * facepalm*Do you have the world’s shortest short term memory or are you seriously this NOT self-aware?

    __

    A better question is:why are so many feminist blogs just putting up with it?

    Are you referring to comments on another article? Instead of just asking a question, copy/paste a post where I was thread monitoring, which shouldn’t be that difficult.

  78. Matt
    August 29, 2011 at 9:33 pm

    Kristen J.:
    On the original topic.Mr. K votes for PP and has found some extra cash in his monthly budget as well.

    I’d vote for PP as well, given the right wing assault on it and other women’s health care funding recently.

  79. August 29, 2011 at 9:36 pm

    Matt: Pointing out off base ad hom attacks against a non confrontational post which isn’t totally off base does not make me a “thread monitor.”

    Oh, I’m sorry, did you get your fee-fees hurt when I called the guy who’s been running a specifically anti-SPLC blog for two years an “anti-SPLC troll”?

    Do you understand what an ad hom actually is?

    I mean, did you just fall off the turnip truck or something? How is dropping out of nowhere into a thread where various charities are being discussed for the work they do and throwing out all kinds of numbers to “prove” malfeasance on the part of SPLC “non confrontational”? Especially when the commenter’s only support for such allegations is his own blog, dedicated to trashing the SPLC?

    You don’t start a blog trashing an organization unless you don’t like that organization. And yet the best argument he can come up with after two years at it is that they have white people on the board and an endowment. Hoo-boy, that’s convincing!

    As I said, though, the racially-coded “reverse racism” language gives him away as someone who doesn’t like what the SPLC does, not as someone who respects what they do but just doesn’t like the way the money is administered.

  80. Caperton
    August 29, 2011 at 9:47 pm

    Richard: You’ve presented a good bit of data, which is great. Now your basic argument has devolved to, “Refute my data! No, refute my data! I dare you to refute my data!” Ask yourself if you’re really contributing.

    zuzu: Less feeding. Ask yourself if you’re really contributing.

    Matt: I’m not going to say that you’re personally the cause of all lengthy derails, but I will say that mysteriously you’re always in them. You’re not contributing now and haven’t today. Slow your roll, or it will be slowed for you.

    I will turn this comment thread right around.

  81. MadGastronomer
    August 29, 2011 at 9:47 pm

    Pointing out off base ad hom attacks against a non confrontational post which isn’t totally off base does not make me a “thread monitor.”

    Once again, not ad hominem. Ad hominem attacks are attacks which attempt to discredit someone’s argument on the basis of something personal about them, like the people who said the decision of the judge on the Prop H8 case was automatically invalid because he’s gay. That’s ad hominem. Drawing the conclusion that someone has a quality based on their behavior is not ad hominem. Go read Wikipedia, you derailing, mansplaining twit. And stop trying to silence women on a feminist blog.

    There, now you can go tweet to your friends about how misunderstood you are, and if only the wimminz would listen to you, we’d be so much better off.

  82. MadGastronomer
    August 29, 2011 at 9:49 pm

    …Preemptively: Sorry, Caperton. I’ll stop now, too.

  83. August 29, 2011 at 9:52 pm

    Caperton:
    zuzu: Less feeding. Ask yourself if you’re really contributing.

    TONE!

  84. Caperton
    August 29, 2011 at 9:54 pm

    zuzu: TONE!

    CONTENT!

  85. Caperton
    August 29, 2011 at 10:02 pm

    On a more topical note: You want cosplay?

    Woman in sumo wrestler suit assaulted her ex-girlfriend in gay pub after she waved at man dressed as a Snickers bar

    I will donate $20 to each of the above charities if I see that at the con.

  86. PrettyAmiable
    August 29, 2011 at 10:04 pm

    Richard, if you could give me an idea of what your stock portfolio looks like, I’d love a quick hit list of companies to short.

    @caperton, if I can suggest an alternative? I’m a big fan of v-day. Specifically this fund: https://secure3.convio.net/vday/site/Donation2?df_id=1331&1331.donation=form1 .

  87. PrettyAmiable
    August 29, 2011 at 11:16 pm

    Richard Keefe: Meanwhile, they spent over $6 million in fund-raising, meaning that of every donor-dollar sent in, twenty cents is spent to raise the next donor dollar. If you say that’s a good use of the money, I’m not going to change your mind.

    Well, what’s the return? I assume this is something you considered, right? But let’s say that I put in $5. $1 goes to fundraising. How much does that $1 raise? If we assume last year had a similar investment of $6 mill and they used that $6 mill to raise $28 mill this year, that’s a one year return of 367%. I happen to think that if they manage to turn my $1 into $4.67, that’s pretty good.

    Richard Keefe: The SPLC has $220 million in cash on hand

    No, they don’t. I assume you’re referring to their endowment here. Of the $216 mill in the endowment, about $2.5 is in what they call “cash funds” – the rest is tied up in bonds, mutual funds, and hedge funds. Maybe you should actually take a look at the balance sheet you linked for the rest of us. And to be honest? “Cash funds”? Probably not actual cash sitting in a bank, ready to be withdrawn. More likely than not, it’s in a CD or money market fund.

    So let’s take a quick look at it, yeah? You pointed out that they could almost cover their expenses with the income off their endowment fund, right? But not quite. Meaning they’d have to liquidate some of their positions, and reduce interest income for next year. No big, right? Maybe this year was extraordinarily high in terms of expenses, or this year will be a great year for the market and they’ll make up for it in capital gains. (Pro-tip: No.) So how can we check this? By looking at annual reports from previous years. Looking at last year’s report, we can see that expenses only went up by $2 mill in 2010. But you know what went up by $30 mill? That endowment fund. Meaning that there was an additional $30 million gaining interest over the course of 2010 than there was in 2009 that wouldn’t have been available without those donations you’re decrying. Roll it back to 2008, and you find that 08 expenses were actually higher than 09 expenses, and the endowment was another $30 mill smaller – meaning that, compared to Oct 2010, SPLC was earning $60mill*(their rate of return) less in 2008 – precisely because it didn’t have donations earned in 09 and 10 on their books. They couldn’t reinvest endowment funds from ’09 and ’10 if they were using them for expenses instead.

    But for the purposes of a reality check, let’s try this. Let’s say expenses are constant at 2010’s $31 mill. They have $216 mill invested. Without any adjustment for inflation, SPLC would need to make over 14% on their investments to fund themselves with their endowment alone. How the fuck do you think ANYONE can make 14% a year in this market? Seriously, how?

    All said, you’re pretty much pissing and moaning because SPLC is almost able to self-fund… but it doesn’t have the resources quite yet to do so. And PS, they won’t be done until their interest income is enough to not only cover their expenses, but also to continue reinvesting so that they don’t get dicked by inflation.

    Anyway, caperton, if you won’t invest in v-day, definitely do SPLC. Did you know for every Slave Leia you see, they’ll get an additional $3.67 in donations a year from now? And they’re investment strategy is such that they’re almost able to fund their own operations strictly off their endowment! DO IT.

  88. August 29, 2011 at 11:22 pm

    Caperton: CONTENT!

    Telling someone to Go Sit In The Corner And Think About What They’ve Done is not a content argument. It’s a tone argument.

    You’re perfectly free to tell me to stop feeding the troll, but scolding me and telling me to ask myself if I’m really contributing? Just really fucking insulting. Especially when I’m trying to counter anti-SPLC propaganda.

  89. Caperton
    August 30, 2011 at 12:04 am

    zuzu: Telling someone to Go Sit In The Corner And Think About What They’ve Done is not a content argument. It’s a tone argument.

    Not “go sit in your corner.” More “return to your corners.”

  90. August 30, 2011 at 1:09 am

    Feministing linked to a great post this week by geekfeminism.com – basically, it isn’t as simple as just hating on the Slave Leias…(obviously)

    Anyway, my vote is for Planned Parenthood, but I still think we should all recognize how complex of an issue this [sexism in cosplay, in geek culture, in culture at large] is.

  91. Marksman2010
    August 30, 2011 at 4:39 am

    There’s a documentary on Hulu.com–I think it’s called Dungeon Masters–and one of the girls dresses up like a female Drow elf. It looks awesome, like ultra-authentic.

    You should watch it.

  92. samanthab
    August 30, 2011 at 5:44 am

    I’m not going to defend this particular costume, by any means, but I will say I take issue with the idea of “self-objectification.” You can’t render yourself an object unless you’ve got a fucking magic wand. Someone else has to do that for you; you can’t erase your own subjectivity on your own.

    Seriously, re-read your copies of “Beauty Myth.” It’s incredibly insidious, the need to feel attractive. There aren’t a lot of people out there totally disinterested in being considered attractive. Sure, some of us feel comfortable in being considered attractive by unconventional standards, but that doesn’t make the need to feel attractive any less powerful. It’s a human inevitability. Let’s attack those that are promoting impossible norms for attractiveness, and let’s not attack women for “self-objectification” because they have the gall to want to meet those norms.

    Again, I’m not defending this particular costume, and I do, on a personal level, myself do find the whole “sexy costume” thing irritating in general. But I try not to let that irritation override my empathy for women that don’t have the confidence to fuck with established norms. And really, anyone promoting the notion of “self-objectification” is themselves denying emotional complexity to these women. The term doesn’t make any goddamn sense, and the impulse behind its logical inconsistency needs to be examined. In other words, what are people getting out of judging these women?

  93. MadGastronomer
    August 30, 2011 at 6:44 am

    Bullshit. Women (or anybody) can absolutely be complicit with and participate in their own objectification, which does make it self-objectification, which would be making oneself an object in the eyes of others.

  94. MadGastronomer
    August 30, 2011 at 7:28 am

    Not to mention the fact that it’s not an uncommon psychological response to abuse to learn to deny one’s own agency and even, in extreme cases, personhood. Now there’s self-objectification by the definition you’re trying to force on it.

  95. Vail
    August 30, 2011 at 8:30 am

    I vote for PP.

    My daughter is going as Princess Leia in the white bun outfit this year again. I got the costume for her last year after she announced she wanted to go as a “princess.” Since most of the princess costumes she either didn’t like or I nixed due to skimpiness.* I had a brilliant idea and showed her the Princess Leia costume; after I stated that this Princess kicked butt she was sold on the idea. I then made an off-hand comment to my husband, destroying my geek cred by saying we should get her a light saber. We ended up getting her a Star Wars gun that was white with blue and orange accents. My husband (the purist) wanted to paint it black but I had to remind him that we live in a neighborhood filled with State Police and it wouldn’t be such a good idea.

    *The amount of skimpy sexy little girl costumes is just amazing/sickening. And come on people we live in Wisconsin, it’s cold here in October!

  96. Verity Khat
    August 30, 2011 at 8:49 am

    Rare Vos, where did the Oppression Olympics come from? My comment had nothing to do with the relative safety of other countries or cultures. I was pointing out that we, as female-identifying cosplayers, have generally felt safe wearing whatever we damn well please at Dragon*Con, and now we don’t. As in, it has been MY SAFE SPACE, and now it is NOT. I think I’m allowed to bitch a bit about that development without being scolded for being frivolous. That’s like telling anyone who takes a dude down the street with them to avoid street harassment that they should suck it up because (insert country of choice here). That’s bullshit. I will not put up with or not talk about rape culture behaviors at my cons.

    Samanthab, you’re right. The need to feel attractive is insidious. In cosplay, you work ridiculously hard on a costume for months at a time, and at least part of the payoff is getting attention at the con. When pretty girls in tiny costumes ALWAYS get more attention, no matter how fantastic your work, the impulse to join them gets really strong. Hell, I’ve done it! Quite a few times! It’s incredibly gratifying for people to finally appreciate your work and compliment your skills, both in real life and online. (And, frankly, the smaller the costume, the more challenging the engineering necessary to keep it on.) But, for me at least, it’s also kind of depressing to know that the only reason anyone noticed to your grueling attention to detail is because they couldn’t not notice what the costume exposes. (“Come for the tits, stay for the screen-accurate embossing!”)

  97. Rare Vos
    August 30, 2011 at 9:14 am

    where did the Oppression Olympics come from? My comment had nothing to do with the relative safety of other countries or cultures. I was pointing out that we, as female-identifying cosplayers, have generally felt safe wearing whatever we damn well please at Dragon*Con, and now we don’t. As in, it has been MY SAFE SPACE, and now it is NOT. I think I’m allowed to bitch a bit about that development without being scolded for being frivolous.

    And my agreeing with you is . . .. oppression olympics . . . .? Uh, okay then. Clearly, using the phrase “post-sexist” wasn’t clear.

    Let me try again: Since I’m a big old sci-fi nerd myself, this upsets me. This same thing is happening with atheist/skeptic cons, so it seems like the problem is increasing. And its not given any sort of serious attention by con-creators. When, even in America – which fancies itself so post-sexist – women need male guardians to go out in public, perhaps its a far bigger problem then generally assumed and deserves as much attention as possible.

    I genuninely don’t understand how the hell you and Chava got Oppression olympics or any other of those nonsense accusations from since I thought I made it pretty clear I was mocking the attitude that this can’t be happening here cuz we’re totally post-sexist! but, I’m sure it’s my fault forgetting the 10-page disclaimer required for this blog at the front of all snarky comments.

  98. chava
    August 30, 2011 at 9:24 am

    I didn’t get Opression Olympics from your comment. I thought it was kind of OT and, well, factually inaccurate, snark notwithstanding. I guess I hear the “America has sexism too!” meme a little too often for it to be anything but irritating. I mean, yeah. We do.

    OTOH, I do get how outside the feminist progressive community, we’re still fighting for any recognition that the US has a problem, so.

    Rare Vos: And my agreeing with you is . . .. oppression olympics . . ..?Uh, okay then. Clearly, using the phrase “post-sexist” wasn’t clear.

    Let me try again:Since I’m a big old sci-fi nerd myself, this upsets me.This same thing is happening with atheist/skeptic cons, so it seems like the problem is increasing. And its not given any sort of serious attention by con-creators. When, even in America – which fancies itself so post-sexist– women need male guardians to go out in public, perhaps its a far bigger problem then generally assumed and deserves as much attention as possible.

    I genuninely don’t understand how the hell you and Chava got Oppression olympics or any other of those nonsense accusations from since I thought I made it pretty clear I was mocking the attitude that this can’t be happening here cuz we’re totally post-sexist! but, I’m sure it’s my fault forgetting the 10-page disclaimer required for this blog at the front of all snarky comments.

  99. scrumby
    August 30, 2011 at 10:10 am

    Unrelated: I don’t know how many of y’all are actually going to be at the con, but let me know if at any point you want to get together, have drinks, and shamefully objectify all the dudes in the super-skimpy anime costumes.

    I’ll be there with a fake mustache on! All this charity talk has inspired me. Since I will be doing my annual Dragon*con scavenger hunt and keeping count anyway, I’ll run my own charity contest. If I see more Spartans it’s $30 to Planned Parenthood in honor of affordable birth control. But if I see more men in spandex with no cups it’s $30 to SPLC in honor of personal freedom. This year is going to be awesome!

  100. Caperton
    August 30, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    Yeesh. Zuzu, I have to apologize for coming after you like that earlier. It was the end of a long day, I was stressed, and I hit you with friendly fire. Not okay. I’m sorry.

  101. Verity Khat
    August 30, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    Rare Vos, I am so sorry. The sarcasm intended went winging WAY over my head! Too many punches from the crowd this week to see the mocking in that one. >_< Now that I'm reading properly, it's nice to know I'm not the only one who's noticed objectification shifting from "occasionally annoying" to "continually stifling."

    Scrumby, I approve of your scavenger hunt! I think some friends of mine are doing a similar hunt with traditional tartan vs. utilikilts.

    Caperton, have a drink (or 10, this is D*C after all) for me. And keep an eye out for Her Highness Carrie Fisher! I wonder what SHE thinks about the Slave Leia phenom…

  102. Charity
    August 30, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    One last note – Richard, I see you were not concerned about any nonrepresentative “sampling” that may have occurred when Live Action did their undercover “study” of 5 Planned Parenthood clinics back in January. Please don’t be fooled by Richard, he is not a defender of appropriate and rigorous methodology, he is a defender of his own politics.

    I respectfully submit that to keep this a safe space, the commentariat needs to expose posters like Richard for what they are – it is not a derail, it is appropriate housekeeping.

  103. Charity
    August 30, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    One last note – Richard, I see you were not concerned about any nonrepresentative “sampling” that may have occurred when Live Action did their undercover “study” of 5 Planned Parenthood clinics back in January. Please don’t be fooled by Richard, he is not a defender of appropriate and rigorous methodology, he is a defender of his own politics.

    I respectfully submit that to keep this a safe space, the commentariat needs to expose posters like Richard for what they are – it is not a derail, it is appropriate housekeeping.

  104. Charity
    August 30, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    Action did their undercover “study” of 5 Planned Parenthood clinics back in January. Please don’t be fooled by Richard, he is not a defender of appropriate and rigorous methodology, he is a defender of his own politics.

    I respectfully submit that to try and foster a safe space, the commentariat needs to expose posters like Richard for what they are – it is not a derail, it is appropriate housekeeping.

  105. August 30, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    Caperton:
    Yeesh. Zuzu, I have to apologize for coming after you like that earlier. It was the end of a long day, I was stressed, and I hit you with friendly fire. Not okay. I’m sorry.

    Thanks. I appreciate it.

  106. Charity
    August 30, 2011 at 1:25 pm

    whoops, sorry for the multiple postings, that’s my connection being messed up. please feel free to delete.

  107. Kris
    August 30, 2011 at 3:44 pm

    Another point regarding SPLC, that I didn’t see mentioned is that best practice for endowment funds is to use a draw of about 5% of your rolling 12 quarter average for operating expenses and reinvest the rest. So even if SPLC is getting a 14% return on their endowment, if they’re following best practices they’re not drawing that whole amount. And, we’re just now hitting the time period when the average endowment loss of 30% in 2008 is going to start effecting organizations’ endowment draws. If the value of your endowment has dropped by 30% sometime in the last 12 quarters, you’re not going to get a lot from your endowment draw.

    /endowment derail

  108. stonebiscuit
    August 30, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    Vail: I then made an off-hand comment to my husband, destroying my geek cred by saying we should get her a light saber.

    If you go by the Extended Universe, you’re more correct than you know. Leia is just as much Anakin’s child as Luke, and undertakes Force training later. She never devotes her life to it, being as she’s highly involved in the creation and governing of the New Republic, but she did train. And I believe she got a lightsaber. :} /geek

  109. Rare Vos
    August 30, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    Leia is just as much Anakin’s child as Luke

    (Obi-Wan) “That boy is our last hope.”
    (Yoda) “No, there is another

    which, to a little girl who never saw big girls in sci-fi movies doing anything but being rescued, was like WHOA!!!

  110. Rare Vos
    August 30, 2011 at 4:01 pm

    Leia is just as much Anakin’s child as Luke

    [edit] Not just the extended universe!

    (Obi-Wan) “That boy is our last hope.”
    (Yoda) “No, there is another

    which, to a little girl who never saw big girls in sci-fi movies doing anything but being rescued, was like WHOA!!!

  111. Jackie
    August 30, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    Encouraging the objectification of women for a good cause? I thought that PETA had that cornered.

  112. Lisa A.
    August 31, 2011 at 3:26 am

    This is a tough choice because they’re all good organizations, but I’m going to put in a late vote for Planned Parenthood because of all the attacks on funding they’ve been dealing with lately.

  113. Gabrielle
    September 1, 2011 at 10:53 pm

    Southern Poverty Law Center gets my vote.

Comments are closed.