Alarming News: I like Morgan Freeberg. A lot.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: We were following a trackback and thinking "hmmm... this is a bloody excellent post!", and then we realized that it was just part III of, well, three...Damn. I wish I'd written those.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: ...I just remembered that I found a new blog a short while ago, House of Eratosthenes, that I really like. I like his common sense approach and his curiosity when it comes to why people believe what they believe rather than just what they believe.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is an intriguing guy...[he] asks great questions and answers others with style, flair, reason and wit. On the blogroll he goes. Make him a part of your regular blogospheric reading. I certainly will.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is brilliant.
Common Sense Junction: Misha @ Anti-Idiotarian never ceases to amaze me. He keeps finding other good blogs. I went over to A.I. this morning for my daily Misha fix and he had found this guy named Morgan Freeberg in Fair Oaks, California, that has a blog, House of Eratosthenes. Freeberg says its "The Blog That Nobody Reads" but it may now become the blog that everybody reads.
Jaded Haven: Good God, Morgan, you cover a topic from front to back with a screwy thoroughness I find mind boggling. I'm in awe of your thought proccesses, my friend, you're an exceptional talent. You start by throwing in the kitchen sink, tie in someone's syphilitic uncle, bend around a rip tide of brilliance and bring it all home in a neat, diamond dripping package of an exceptionally readable moment of damn fine wordsmithing. I love reading you.
Mein Blogovault: Make "the Blog that No One Reads" one of your daily reads.
Philmon: When Morgan meanders, stick with him - he's got a point and it'll be worth it in the end. He's not a hit-and-run snarky quip kind of guy. The pieces all fall into place like tumblers in a lock and bang! He's opened a cognative door for you.
Rightlinx: Morgan at House of Eratosthenes is one of the best writers out there. I read him nearly every day because he manages to provide an interesting perspective, even though I don't always agree.
Poetic Justice: Cletus! Ah gots a laiv one fer yew...
So my blogger friend Cassy linked from her Facebook page (somewhere) to a Buzzfeed article about 43 things that will make you feel old. The content of the list didn’t impress me that much, and truth be told it was awhile before I clicked it open & actually went through it. Cassy, who’s pretty much a whole generation newer than me, griping about feeling old was good enough to get the job done.
Things make me feel old all the time nowadays. So I didn’t think too much of it. Then I saw an ad for this:
Something terrible has happened here. I haven’t said anything about it because my first instinct with things that are entirely outside my knowledge limits, is to keep my mouth shut. No, quit laughin’, it’s true. Once I learn a little bit about it, I start to sound off with the questions, at least the ones I have a trace suspicion won’t sound entirely idiotic, and that’s most of what you see here. I’m not there yet with the Fast & Furious franchise, but I think I’m there with the overall “sequel” phenomenon.
Its beginning can be legitimately debated. And we should have that debate: A case can be made that it comes from decades and decades before my time, but this starts to deteriorate a bit with some more definition. And as we recognize the problem, which I’ll get to in a bit — this is a rant you’re reading, let’s be clear about that — our sample set starts to shrink. From Russia With Love, sequel to Dr. No, is the earliest big-box-office example that comes to my mind. Yeah yeah, it’s a sequel only in movie land, where the order was reversed from the books with “Russia” coming before “Dr. No,” let’s get that out of the way. But it works as an action/adrenaline-junkie vehicle, at least within its own time.
But there are no numbers in the title until The Godfather: Part II. Apart from the number, here we find a meaningful event in that the significance has shifted: The movie has appeal because the audience wants to find out what happened to all these characters. So why would we not consider this to be the ignition-point of what we’re seeing today. Well, I do have some reservations about that. There is no book, so far as I know, called “the Godfather Part II.” But the literary format of the story continued afterward to flourish, with its own set of plot points that seem to have at least occasionally inspired what happened in the film. So while the producers of the sequel were motivated by profit, the supply-demand equation for story delivery is different; the story is there, waiting to be told. This sets it apart from what I consider to be the actual start of the problem, Jaws II. This would be the beginning of the era of: Huh, that made quite a bit of money, let’s see if we can make some more.
Superman II would arguably fall outside of this…although Superman III does not. So let’s firm up the definition a bit: At the time the decision is made to “green-light” the sequel, the story & plot are not firmed up as well as the recognition of the audience that has already demonstrated its interest. Shortening it somewhat: The decision to go ahead is driven by, or at least made easier by, the reduction in financial risk due to the prior creation of this new franchise. Ramifications: Creating the sequel becomes less of an expression of creativity, than an expedition to go “round up” some dollars that are known to be out there. We did not see this problem in the early days because back then, it was done with flair, quality, class, and a sincere desire to entertain. There was a built-in audience for Rocky II, but given that its predecessor enjoyed any success at all, how could there not be? The producers were simply giving the audience what it wanted.
By this time, we come to an era in which the most profitable and quick way to make a movie, was to make it a date movie, and the best way to make a date movie was to make it about horny and drug-addicted teenagers getting hacked to pieces by crazy people. So the Roman Numeral phenomenon completely exploded with the Big Three: Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the Thirteenth. Revived, lately, in Scream and Saw.
And this is where the dry rot starts to set in. We come now to my complaint:
Like any old geezer looking down his withered old nose with disdain on what the newer generation is doing — I understand, I’m not the first — I am full of worries about something I realize isn’t actually any of my business. I am worried about these roman numerals. I’m fretting over their true purpose. I fear that purpose has been whittled down to nothing more than serialization. As in, without the number there, people might wrongly assume they already saw the film that’s just coming out. This would mean we’re living in this strange resurgence of what I saw in my youth. Not the movies, but the commercials on Saturday morning during the Bugs Bunny Show, in which the narrator would urge us to “collect all of them!” (In my house, that was a complete non-starter, as “collect all of them” was something those rich kids did, across town. But anyway.) I’m worried that is the only point left to these title-numbers, so the audience can make sure they’ve collected/seen all of ‘em.
The installments, from what I can tell, are not immortalized by key plot points like “Apollo Creed dies in Rocky IV,” or “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is the only James Bond movie without a happy ending.”
The installments, in other words, have become fungible. Just like vegetable oil, one gallon being indistinguishable from another.
Or maybe I should say, Mountain Dew. The roman numeral simply says, “Yeah we got more,” and little apart from that. You need Mountain Dew case #6 if you’re done drinking Mountain Dew case #5.
I recall that chubby kid in the photography class I flunked back in ’83, monopolizing the conversation to try to beef up his nascent social skills…I suppose he was a bit further along there than I was…expressing his sense of wonder about a promotional shot of Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader riding an elevator together. “Whoa,” he said…”I’VE GOT TO SEE THAT MOVIE.” So, yes. There’s certainly a shift taking place here. It’s a big one, big enough we should be taking note of it, whether we like it or not. And no, I’m not happy about it, although I suppose there’s no need for me to be.
I don’t know this subject matter very well because I’m not following Fast & Furious. I could be wrong about this “fungible” thing in that context. In fact I know there are some caveats to this, at least. Six is supposed to be “the one with The Rock in it,” right? And I’m sure some of the stunts are new. But that was true of the Expendables sequel as well, and…well ya know, I’m thinking it takes a bit more than that to justify a sequel. At least in my mind.
Take it for what it’s worth. I’m just an old coot who was around at the beginning of it (I think). But I’m a sad old coot. I think, across the decades, I’ve seen something start out as an honest and fine art form, and wither down into something like a grocery delivery of something sweet, sugary, loaded up with caffeine and calories and not much else.
Ezra Klein writes:
On Tuesday, it looked like we had three possible political scandals brewing. Two days later, with much more evidence available, it doesn’t look like any of them will pan out. There’ll be more hearings, and more bad press for the Obama administration, and more demands for documents. But — and this is a key qualification — absent more revelations, the scandals that could reach high don’t seem to include any real wrongdoing, whereas the ones that include real wrongdoing don’t reach high enough.
I think I’d like to nominate that “key qualification, absent more revelations” bit as perhaps the most insincere sentence fragment to appear prominently in print in this calendar year. Although the year is still young.
Klein is known to me to put up this kind of facade, persistently and often: An energetic, driven but impartial and cool-headed force of good honest old-fashioned journalism, always ready to let the information continue to stream on in, following the path wherever it may lead. But in the end, the answer is always more liberalism. Funny, that. What else would you expect from the founder of JournoList?
Later on, in his obituary for the scandals whose vital signs he perceives to have flat-lined, he begins his closing remarks:
I want to emphasize: It’s always possible that evidence could emerge that vaults one of these issues into true scandal territory. But the trend line so far is clear: The more information we get, the less these actually look like scandals.
What a wonderful job he’s doing of pretending to be the opposite of what he really is, doing the opposite of what he’s trying to do. “It’s always possible that the patient may start breathing. Excuse me, you’re standing in the way of my embalming machine.”
This brings to mind something I was writing lately about a personal matter:
Preconceived notions carry great weight in proportion to the weight of evidence that arrives after the preconceived notions have been formed. Again, thinking can be done well or poorly; if it is done well, the evidence enjoys a great likelihood of upsetting or even toppling the preconceptions. And this is what I try to do when I write about what I [think that I] know, and why it is that I think I know it. I look for opportunities to topple my preconceived notions….I think it is a healthy sign when what is learned subsequently carries great weight, and the first impressions carry little — that is a sign of responsible thinking. What I seem to be seeing here is the opposite: The preconceived notions enjoy a great likelihood of remaining standing, even undisturbed entirely. The newer evidence must yield to the older prejudices.
Seems almost “Kleinerrific” prose — we’re both going through the motions of doing the same thing. One might almost ask, who am I to critique him?
The difference is, I’m sincere; and it isn’t a matter of opinion, it’s measurable. Perhaps we’d all be a little bit more mature in our methodology of inspecting this, if we had better words for describing all this, besides racially-charged words like “prejudiced” and “open-minded.”
To do a good job defining this, we have to do a good job defining the situation. The complaint, overall, is the way I described it in this other matter: “Preconceived notions carry great weight in proportion to the weight of evidence that arrives after the preconceived notions have been formed.” The situation in which it becomes “measurable,” is one in which this lately-arriving evidence packs a real wallop. That’s when the sickness becomes testable.
Those afflicted shrug, and say “so what?” Uh, but waitaminnit…this means something.
Of course it isn’t fair to say “Alright, such-and-such happened, now you are obliged to do a hairpin-turn and start agreeing with me.” Grown-ups aren’t obliged to think anything at all; that isn’t how we decide complex issues after we’ve had a chance to mature. On the other hand, it is reasonable to expect some doubts to be raised. In the case of the IRS scandal, the talking point earlier this week was that this was the work of a “few rogue agents” or some such, and by yesterday the Treasury Secretary fired the head of the IRS. Obviously, Klein thinks that’s an empty, “throw a body to the sharks” maneuver that means next to nothing. Alright…that could be correct. It’s possible. And he’s certainly entitled to his opinion. But it’s an incongruity with the earlier talking point that the malfeasance was committed by a few low-level flunkies because, even if you’re looking for a body to throw to the sharks, why go for the head of the IRS if there was any truth at all to the “flunky” argument?
We therefore have a difference of opinion, resulting from Klein’s idea that some kind of critical summit has passed and is now in our rear-view mirror, and if a “real” scandal has not materialized by now then…well, it’s time to get out the toe tag and the embalming kit. Well, from where does he get that? It seems so odd that we should receive confirmation on Wednesday, or at least near-confirmation, that we’d been lied to on Monday or Tuesday, and by Thursday Klein is proclaiming the scandal dead.
The issue is not final opinion, but certainty. Klein seems so certain. If it isn’t a fair point that his mind should be changed, it’s certainly a fair point that he should have doubts he doesn’t have.
Ah, but he did mention that he’s still waiting for more information to come in. Twice! Yet, his march to the desired opinion of “nothing to see here…for now” hasn’t changed course. It hasn’t even slowed down. And there is the focus of my complaint: Contradictory evidence does come in, and the progress toward the desired conclusion is entirely unchanged. It isn’t modified in bearing or in vector. It doesn’t change course. It doesn’t slow down. It doesn’t even skip a beat.
I recall a bit of LAN administration training I attended, in which the time-synchronization among servers in a distributed database was described in great detail. I thought this was absolutely fascinating. And I suppose the analogy is a stretch for anyone who hasn’t worked in the field, but against my better judgment, I’ll proceed: Before the servers communicate with each other about “my information update is newer than yours, for it was made at HH:mm:ss.hh,” they first engage in this bit of dialogue about what time it is. Makes sense when you think about it, right? You have to have a unified understanding of what time it is before you can measure who has the newest update. And so the database system presumes that server times, for whatever reason, get knocked off. The servers therefore conduct negotiations. And in this, they have different “weights” because they are assigned different roles in the overall system. Some servers are “reference” servers, existing for no reason other than to keep time, and they enjoy the benefit of “infinite” weight: All other servers, with different ideas about this what-time-is-it question, must yield, while the reference server’s understanding of the correct time remains unmodified.
And that is my critique. The original, preconceived notion, first impressions formed during the “how do you do” stage of meeting people, or even before — the ideological leanings, if any are in effect. They become “reference servers,” enjoying this infinite weight. A bunch of Ezra-Klein-babbling is spewed about waiting for new & newer evidence to trickle on in, but it’s just a bunch of pablum.
Bottom-lining it: I do not care if such people tend to agree with Klein, or if they tend to agree with me. I am worried when people like this, decide important things. I would rather have imbeciles in charge. I’m dead-flat-ass serious. I would much rather have the important decisions that really matter, placed in the hands of someone with an I.Q. limited to about 85, but capable of forming an honest opinion and then changing it if new information merits — than a child prodigy with a genius-level intellect, who’s so smart that he “knows” what he wants to know before he’s gathered a shred of evidence to support it, and can write all sorts of chiseled prose to justify it later on. That second guy may be the smartest guy I’ve ever met. But he scares me.
I fear people who can fool themselves this way. And I have good reason to: They’re human. Humans are unique, in this way. We’re so smart that we can lie to ourselves. No other animal can do this. A jaguar, getting ready to pounce, can’t lie to herself about when & where she can do do the pouncing for the best effect. She starves to death if she does. All other “dumb” carnivores have this “problem.” But we humans are spoiled rotten; we pay for drinking water and we can have it delivered to our doorsteps. With that much higher standard of living, comes the option of lying to ourselves about things, if we decide that is what we want to do. And I don’t ever want to be that “smart.”
It’s like having a souped-up sports car with an engine that can tear the concrete in half — but no steering wheel. What good does it do you? How does it help you to have a better than average talent for figuring out what new information might mean about what’s going on, if you lack the mental discipline to actually use it? What good is horsepower without an adequate sense of direction? Or perhaps in this situation, we should say — with too much of a sense of direction. When you aren’t really taking the information in, or if you are, you aren’t allowing it to have any influence over the outcome, without allowing yourself to draw the benefit from it; making exactly the same decisions you’d make if you never came across it. That’s exactly the same ultimate result of never running across the information in the first place, isn’t it?
Update 5/18/13: Some trouble for the “scandals that reach high don’t include wrongdoing, the ones that include wrongdoing don’t reach high” line.
Well YEAH in the sense they look one hell of a lot better than you, you disrespectful cretin.
Who are these Umbrella Marines I’ve been hearing about since a few minutes ago?
During a Rose Garden press conference with the prime minister of Turkey this afternoon, it began to rain heavily, at which point President Obama requested the assistance of two nearby umbrella-wielding Marines.
That seems like kind of an awkward request — did Obama make any sort-of-jokes to lighten the mood at all?
Yes, he made about three sort-of-jokes: “Why don’t we get a couple of Marines — they’re gonna look good next to us. Just ‘cuz I — I’ve got a change of suits, but I don’t know about our prime minister. There we go. [Gestures to press, which did not get Umbrella Marines.] You guys I’m sorry about.”
Video here. That jerk-of-the-thumb motion is a nice touch.
This is the mindset that made the Benghazi disaster possible, I’m thinking. And I’ll tell you why I think that: In public at least, President Obama has shown a borderline-obsession of sorts with decisions that, assuming they are indeed coming after some lengthy status quo of doing things the opposite way, you could make a plausible case that what came before is boneheaded moronic pig-iron stupid. If only you could make such an observation, that whoever came before thought it was a great idea to do things the other way. This is a pretty good example, right here. For generations parents have worried about their kids “having the common sense to come in out of the rain.” So this isn’t the first time we’ve seen President Obama investing all this pride in the meaningless, little things. It isn’t even a judgment call, really, it’s just an insult wrapped up in a straw-man argument, against nobody in particular: It would be an idiotic move, wouldn’t it, to have a couple of statesmen in expensive suits standing out there getting soaked to the skin.
I don’t think Obama wanted to stay dry, quite so much as He wanted yet another chance to play the part of the late-coming voice of reason. Hey! Leaders of the free world shouldn’t be getting so wet that they look like they swam laps with their clothes on! Once again — I agree with Him, assuming there was some disagreement about exactly that. But once again, I don’t think there was.
If only our President were so decisive about the bigger things. The tougher things, where both sides of the issue can make some legitimate arguments.
Alright, He does that too. Not with “let’s go help those people in Benghazi.” But, “Planned Parenthood is here to stay.” So that’s a bit more of a delicate and convoluted judgment call. But, that example isn’t a good one, since the lefty ideological position is crystal-clear.
So He can be a late-coming voice of reason just splashing all the rest of us in the face with a cold sprinkling of common sense…so we stop acting all dumb & goofy, since we’ve never seen any other way to be until our new Holy Prophet came along…or, He can be an ideological warrior.
Sure wish He knew how to actually lead. That’s four good Americans who’d still be alive today.
I sense Obama is losing His touch for P.R., as well. Since we’re going to be needing a five dollar coin pretty soon, maybe this is the image that should go on it. Talk about tone-deaf. He really did think this would be a good image, didn’t He? Just amazing.
Maybe I can float that one as an idea, just to see how far it gets. Think they’ll get an artist commissioned before they figure out this might be another backfire in the making?
And…being demo’d, for the benefit of anyone who wants to see it in action…over here.
Here’s your embed…
They must have the final word. Will not tolerate any disagreement. If they have the authority to back that up, it’s a disaster because you can rest assured they’ll make a whole lot out of that.
They know everything, actually, at least while they are in the process of deciding something. Especially when they’re brushing off a question about it. And the things they know, they know for an absolute certainty since the first questions they brush off, are the questions that have to do with lack of likelihood, or inconvenient and contrary evidence.
The “know nothing” moment comes along when it all turns to shit. As reliable as the following sunset. But at least that’s more honest than the previous know-everything event, because what they’ve been doing is the authoritarian-decision-maker version of copying an answer off your classmate’s paper. Some of them are well “educated” in the sense that they’ll be happy to walk you through the steps of the decision-making process, but when you listen to it all awhile you see they’re really just repeating back what they’ve been told. If you raise a dilemma about some contradiction you’ve found, or a rational inquiry about “how did we get from this identified problem, to that other thing as a proposed solution?” — they just start at the beginning and repeat it all. Those are the more intelligent ones. But their intelligence, applied to the problem at hand, amounts to very little more than a capacity for memorizing details and repeating them back.
So, they don’t actually know anything. You often haven’t very long to wait to see some among them bragging about not knowing anything.
They want to decide everything. They’ll accept nothing less.
They are the policymaking equivalent of that asshole who wants to drive in the left lane, and poke along ten to twenty miles under the speed limit.
Two in a row smacking Mister Wonderful upside the head. I don’t relish it, but there’s catch-up work to be done…
In the first months after the Benghazi attack, the most urgent question, and one only rarely asked, was “What were Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton doing during the seven and a half hours between the initial emergency communications from Benghazi and the final American deaths?” A negative answer was provided in February by Leon Panetta: they were not engaging with their subordinates; they were not contacting anyone to discuss options; they were giving no orders for action; they remained entirely uninvolved.
We are left to speculate about the positive answer to that question. Were they sleeping? Curled up by the fire with a good manifesto? Playing poker with Huma and the gang? Practicing jokes for a fundraising speech? Your guess is as good as mine.
And none of these guesses really matter in the end, compared to the looming horror that attends any of thepossibilities, namely this: the president and secretary of state of the most powerful nation on Earth are impervious to shame.
Walking home one evening, you hear men across the street shouting for help, as they are in the process of being overwhelmed by a gang of thugs. You walk away, unconcerned with their cries or the sounds of bats smacking down on their flesh. You do not call the police or volunteer any assistance. You go to bed and sleep well. The next day, and each subsequent day, you carry on with your life of fun, friends, and self-indulgence, never giving a second thought to the men who died because you did not care to help. If a neighborhood reporter asks you about the crime, you put on your gravest voice and say, “Gosh, that’s so sad; I hope they find the creeps who did it.”
That is what Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton did on September 11 and 12, 2012, and what they have continued to do in the months since. God save a nation in the hands of men and women with souls of this nature. For a man without shame or the capacity for the most primal forms of fellow-feeling is a man who has no internal, self-imposed limits on what he might do to achieve his ends. If the suffering of others is absolutely nothing to him; if literal cries for help do not stir in him painful feelings that can only be alleviated by prompt action or, failing that, by interminable days of shame and self-loathing, then there is nothing — apart from pragmatic calculations — to prevent him from doing anything that seems to serve his ends. For it is the awareness of the rightful existence and potential suffering of other men that serves as our internal limit.
Creatures of such failed moral development are currently, unthinkably, the most powerful men and women on the planet. We are sometimes given to wondering, in the face of one or another of the progressives’ assaults on individual freedom, natural rights, and human dignity, how they cannot see what inhuman conditions they are imposing on their fellow men. The problem is worse than that. As Benghazi teaches, these monsters, unlike their hypnotized followers, do see what they are doing, but they are simply incapable of giving a damn.
Pretty polarizing stuff. But…let’s not kill the messenger. The situation is polarizing by its very nature. The author of the article didn’t create the situation, he’s just writing about it. The creating of the situation was done by President Obama and Secretary Clinton. Oh yeah, and the people who attacked…well, let’s not go into that again.
The point is, this is where the Obama defenders are going to say something like “Yeah, but Bush…” This is what I want to inspect up close. This is where the real polarization happen. Everything in the article is true, and reasonable, and makes perfect sense. Obama voters know this, and when they say “But Bush” it sounds like a comparison. The polarization increases and the gap widens, because of course the comparison doesn’t hold — George W. Bush made a move with the military that some people didn’t, and don’t, like. That’s something he’s supposed to have been able to do; presidents do all sorts of things that are disliked by some of the citizens over whom they preside. Sleeping like a baby while others within that citizenry are being violently killed, that’s a completely different thing.
Actually, when you really think about it, they’re opposites. George W. Bush acted, Obama and Clinton did not. Maybe this is yet another one of those deals where we’re not really arguing over the true epicenter of disagreement. I’ve often thought so.
Maybe this is the epiphany that can help heal the divide, though: “But Bush did this other thing” is not a comparison. I don’t think so, anyhow. I think — it’s a loophole. The person mentioning Bush voted for Obama, and you’ve committed this sin of saying something that makes perfect sense and so, therefore, you are accusing them of having elected a psychopath. What they are doing with the “But Bush” thing is merely providing their excuse. They’re not comparing, they’re saying “I’m not a psychopath, even though, as you accurately point out, it looks like I voted for one.” Number 43 did all these awful terrible things, and they just had to replace him with someone.
Perhaps we can all start working toward a peace, and a sort of new getting-along, by acknowledging that people who fit what’s being written about here, can be & often are elected by people who don’t fit. That can certainly work, I think. But there needs to be some conversation about whether the snookering could work a second time. Liberalism is a sales pitch from the apathetic to the ignorant, as I’ve said many times before. So if the divide is to be healed, perhaps that is what has to be discussed: Are they still ignorant? Has the lesson been learned, or not?
It’s a theme that keeps re-emerging over and over again…
Throughout Barack Obama’s tenure as President of the United States and throughout every major scandal during that time period, nobody important has known anything important about anything…important. Every time a new scandal breaks, the White House comment is “we found out about this through news reports,” “we need to wait for all the facts,” and of course, “this was just a few low-level employees in X-state or X-city, nobody in Washington was involved.”
There’s a pretty good list of examples underneath it. Just poking through it and counting the items, I can’t prove it, but I’m inclined to think the list is non-exhaustive. Although what did make the cut, supports the thesis reasonably well.
Goddard found an amusing way to summarize it all:
Things Obama doesn’t know:
He doesn’t know that he was running assault rifles to Mexican drug lords
He doesn’t know that he was using the IRS to attack political opponents
He doesn’t know that he has been wiretapping the press
He doesn’t know that he let Ambassador Stevens die, and then lied about it the families of the victims
He doesn’t know that he has tripled the deficit
He doesn’t know that he is the most divisive president in US history
He doesn’t know that his pastor of 20 years i[s] an America hating racist
Things he does know
All scientists agree that CO2 is going to kill us all
You don’t know whether to laugh or cry…
On impeachment, Rhymes with Cars and Girls notes that across administrations, scandal after scandal, we as a country don’t seem to be mulling things over quite right…
It happens every time. Any time there’s a scandal or misdeed, the first thought of the Incumbent Defenders is ‘oh noes what if the other side says this is impeachable’ and the first thought of the out-of-powers is ‘hey maybe this is impeachable and we can finally get him?’
And so of course in the meantime there is no room for serious discussion let alone actual contemplation of the actual things that these people in our government did: target political enemies for extra tax scrutiny, and lie about the cause of an attack on our country to prevent electoral embarrassment.
The Crimson Reach and I have a slight disagreement on what is the right way to mull it over. Although, I suppose, his view is more realistic and practical than mine.
I am weary of pragmatism being placed before altruism, seemingly, from my perspective if from none other, at lightning speed. Republican or democrat, I’m sure all presidents are going to have political enemies in positions of power, and it’s important to me that politically weak presidents be held to the same standards as strong presidents. Okay, not really — in the sense that I acknowledge this is never going to happen. Politics is political. Weaklings die early on and die hard in political things. It’s in the dictionary definition, I think. People who “shouldn’t” come out on top, do. Is it too much to ask, though, that we can minimize the effect? We certainly demand it out of our representatives that they pretend to debate these cases based on the merits. Seems to me, if we don’t demands substance behind the symbolism, then we’re pretty much demanding that all our representatives have to be liars.
Which, later on, we’re going to want to complain about it. And boy howdy are there are lots of people who like to! But you don’t get to complain about the house being on fire if you’re the one pumping gasoline.
So, a little honesty please. If the point is that impeachment charges should not be brought, let’s hear all about Obama’s innocence. Or, if He’s guilty, how strong the nation is and how capable it is of surviving the stewardship of someone who, we know now, we can’t trust about anything anywhere…who’s never going to know anything about anything that’s going on, if & when it turns to crap. Let’s hear how we’ll get through it all just fine and that’s why we shouldn’t make a big deal out of it. I’d really like to hear those arguments right about now.
But I don’t want to hear about how damaging it would be for Republicans. Or, Obama will politically survive anything and we all have to get used to it.
English language fails me as I try to describe how little I care about either of those. I really couldn’t give a fig. I don’t care of Barack Obama is made of stainless steel and will never be hurt by anything, ever, or if the impeachment process is so damaging to Republicans that it leaves a big smoking crater under ‘em. Neither one of those is even making a blip on my radar. We all like to think we’re smart about how politics works; makes us feel like we’re up-to-speed on things. Maybe we all like to feel like we’re Kevin Spacey’s character in that new cable series, I dunno…but the zero-altruism thing is getting old, folks. Right’s right, wrong’s wrong, and it seems to me we’re reaping the harvest of failing to care about that whole fundamental right/wrong thing, in years past.
And, yeah I know. Biden. I do care about that a bit more. But my comments hold, about giving evil a pass. We all know it’s wrong, I’m tired of it, I don’t think I’m the only one. When there’s no longer an up-side to sticking to the previous course, ya gotta make a change.
…could have spared us from forty or forty-five years of silly stuff like this.
At 3:15 or so it sounds like she says she has “no problem with it” if a white figure is used to represent ignorance. So I guess her objective has more to do with pro-black than anti-offense. Which is alright on some level, I guess, but…at 4:55: “That is a stereotype that you white people have put in peoples’ brains and continue to perpetuate.” At that point it slips off the fry pan of silly into the grease fire of objectionable, offensive, hypocritical, deplorable, and lady-are-you-out-of-your-gourd.
You can’t claim to be fighting some unfair generalizations while making use of other unfair generalizations.
Well I suppose you can. But you go down that road without me…
The six little words that could have stopped all this nonsense are, “That’s one interpretation; there are others.” Because those words were not spoken at the critical time, the demons were let out of Pandora’s box, and years later we find ourselves living in this strange little dystopia of the Could-Be-Construed-As standard. If one found a reason to be offended, then all should be, and there’s something wrong with anyone who isn’t.
The Councilwoman’s feelings are all-important. The feelings of the girl, who it seems ended up crying because of the public humiliation, don’t matter for squat. To be offended is to be right. All others must yield.
I don’t think so. I really don’t.
It’s not the dress code of the Taliban…well, not unless you believe in a “West Taliban.” Which is a belief I’m starting to have.
It is the answer consistently provided by the weak-minded, in response to just about every problem under the sun. In this case, the sexual-assault arrest of the Chief of the Air Force’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response branch, which makes it clear at least to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel that the military needs “cultural change” or something…hmmmm…
Well, when the officer in charge of sexual assault prevention is arrested for sexual assault, yes something is heap-big busted. With all respect to the brave men and women who attend to sexual-assault-prevention for a living, both within & outside of the military, the first thought in my head is — spin it however you want, the job is to pester people about things that may or may not be consequential, now what kind of personality do you think that’s going to attract? In other words, in my view, the haranguing is what leads to the problem. You’ve got people who are there to do whatever the organization exists to do, in this case, military stuff. “Kill people and break things,” as they say. And then you have other people who are there to do something else, namely, to create problems for the people who are there to attend to the primary goal. Okay, let’s say to “monitor and educate” them. To put up some barricades. Hoops for them to jump through. Which is not to say the entire exercise is illegitimate; the point is, the arrest is a tip-off to me that things have gone too far.
Which I guess is why I’m not running the military. Hagel sees what happened, and his answer is to double-down.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has ordered a close-up and comprehensive inspection of all military offices and workplaces worldwide to root out any “materials that create a degrading or offensive work environment.”
The extraordinary searches will be similar to those the Air Force conducted last year and prompted officers to scour troops’ desks and cubicles in search of photos, calendars, magazines, screen-savers, computer files and other items that might be considered degrading toward women.
The inspections will now target soldiers, sailors and Marines. They come amid heightened concern about sexual assault in the military and a new Defense Department report that suggests more than 70 troops every day experience some type of sexual assault.
I find this infuriating in so many ways. I’ll confine my remarks to the most obvious objection: If I’m in the military and using a computer, it’s very unlikely that a picture of my wife in a swimsuit on one of our vacations as my desktop background, is going to inspire me to sexually assault someone. If it does happen, the vacation-picture is probably not what caused it. Real men don’t assault women.
And there’s the rub, you see. Implicit in a message of “bring sexual assaults to a stop by restricting images,” is another message logically derived from the first, that all men must be sexual aggressors, ticking time bombs just waiting to be set off like a bull seeing a red cloth. It’s the old feminist trope about all men being potential rapists.
Make-women-wear-more-clothes, in real life and in images, comic books, cartoons, film — someone should compile statistics on this little plan-from-idiots that keeps bobbling to the surface. It’s tried a whole lot, and it never seems to yield good results. No, that doesn’t mean you can have good results whenever the nice looking women are stripped down to nearly-naked. Although I wouldn’t mind trying that, but in general, there are no shortcuts to good results. That’s why they’re valued. But whether the goal is to bring sexual harassment/assault to a stop, or to get more people to watch a movie, or to make feminists stop complaining (!) — I can’t help but notice whenever the answer is “women wear more clothes,” the achievement always falls short. Naturally, I have to wonder why the solution continues to be proposed, especially when we deal with problems that have nothing to do with it.
But Hagel is SECDEF and I’m not. Going to make those military work environments G-rated. And, the pinups have to come down. This creates issues: What if Rosie the Riveter’s image was still affixed to everything? That’s a pinup. Whether it’s “degrading” seems at first like a no-go, but it’s really a subjective matter of judgment, and those are always hazardous during these all-or-nothing sweeps.
What if the guy making the first round of audits says an image can stay, and the second one says something different? Or vice-versa?
So time will have to be spent on this. And I’m going to go ahead and assume, some tiny, petty questions are going to become sinkholes for rather massive amounts of this time.
Somehow, though, I’m sure it all boils down to my country being safer, in ways I can’t quite understand…
Seriously, I don’t want to make a new rule that all the women have to be running around in skimpy underthings. “All” means “all,” however easy that may be to forget sometimes, and there are some women I just don’t want to see that way. But I’m getting excessively tired of the reverse, the pinhead-solution that “they should all wear more.” Yeah, it does remind me of the Taliban. That’s the thinking. “If men can see her cleavage, earthquakes might happen” and what-not. So that’s annoying, because I think of it as anti-American, and rather twelfth-century. But also, it’s annoying because it seems to be associated rather permanently with failure.
It’s deteriorated into a “red flag,” of sorts, that imbeciles are in charge.
The White House’s response to the Benghazi hearings is the same as it always is, with regard to each of those very few things in the news cycle that aren’t flattering to the White House: You shouldn’t be paying attention to it, and there’s something wrong with you if you do.
The White House said the Benghazi hearing on Capitol Hill Wednesday is covering old ground, and is the result of efforts by some Republicans to politicize the Sept. 11 attack on a U.S. diplomatic post in Libya.
“There are attempts to politicize this,” said White House spokesman Jay Carney.
Carney spoke as the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held a hearing on the attack last September that led to the deaths of four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens.
I say, there’s something wrong with you if you expected any other reaction. It’s always “old ground” when it makes them look bad. These are people accustomed to telling others what is & isn’t worthy of their attention, and getting away with it. These are the kids who told their mommas they were just putting the cookie back in the jar…and, that worked for ‘em. Now they’re all grown up. Completely unprepared for anyone with the temerity to say “Excuse me, but I’ll ask the questions here.”
Right now I’m on news blackout, for the most part, building a wine rack for my wife before we leave town for Utah.
For the foreseeable future — and this may change, very soon, since I understand these hearings are holding a lot of surprises for many — all I have to say about it is wrapped up in Thing I Know #112:
Strong leadership is a dialog: That which is led, states the problem, the leader provides the solution. It’s a weak brand of leadership that addresses a problem by directing people to ignore the problem.
First Lady Michelle Obama apparently wants to tie New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s fat-removal surgery, somehow, to her “Let’s Move” campaign.
First lady Michelle Obama didn’t directly address New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s decision to have weight-loss surgery in an interview that aired Wednesday, but she said his struggle shows why her “Let’s Move” exercise program is so important.
“I think that’s a very personal matter,” Obama, who has made tackling the nation’s obesity crisis one of her priorities, said on NBC’s “Today” when asked about Christie’s lap-band surgery. “It’s something between the governor and his family, and I try not to comment on people’s personal choices. I think Governor Christie is terrific and you know, his family is wonderful, and I wish them the best.”
But Obama did say people’s struggles with weight as they get older is an important reason to tackle childhood obesity.
“There are millions of people like the governor who struggle with adulthood obesity, and that’s one of the reasons why I think ‘Let’s Move’ is so important,” she said. “Because we want to start working with kids when they’re young, so that they don’t have these challenges when they get older.”
Sometimes, when I disagree with the Obamas it’s because I oppose their various agendas. Sometimes it’s because, unlike their target audience, I can see those agendas. This time, what Michelle’s talking about is dumb, stupid, not even sane, doesn’t make sense. Having layers of fat carved off you & sucked into a tube doesn’t have anything to do with moving. You have to hold still for that, last I checked.
Alright, she’s not saying otherwise. So let’s just agree that her tie-in to the Let’s Move campaign is tortured.
Now, I’m actually not opposed to the idea of telling American kids to get off their fat ham-quarters and get moving. I like the message. And while I have libertarian misgivings against First Couples telling America to do things like eating fewer carbs, learning to read, running, moving, et al — can’t find any of this stuff in Article II, ya know — I acknowledge that some of my fellow citizens do look toward the leaders for this soft, parental-style “leadership” and I bow to the reality of it. If they do have this de facto “duty” to tell us how to live our lives, there are worse messages than the one Mrs. Obama has chosen. And, I think it’s good when First Ladies have causes.
Laura Welch Bush’s cause was literacy. She did a lot of book-reading for photo ops. She also, as President George Bush told us time and time again, had been a librarian. I’m inclined to think, although I can’t prove it, that when the photo ops were over and the cameras were all packed up and bussed away, that First Lady Laura Bush kept reading now and then.
Anybody see Michelle O climbing a rock wall or jazzercising lately? Or maybe just sling a hula hoop around on her curvaceous hips?
Again, to repeat: Not saying it’s a bad message.
It’s just a little embarrassing that my First Lady has to find a proxy to get it delivered. I recognize that with my lifestyle over the last year, I lack the proper standing to criticize others for being sedentary. I object to yet one more example of “Do as I say, not as I do,” and posturing, and phoniness. It’s really all getting rather tedious. The tortured segue from Gov. Christie’s surgery is really just another straw on the camel’s back.
It’s about four years old, but I just discovered it…
Suitability for a mixed audience is debatable.
Dangit, I can’t find it. Sometime late this week, Friday evening maybe, I saw an article about girls and women being unfairly burdened with the majority of college degrees that are found to be worthless. For awhile now the girls have been kicking boy-butt in the paper chase overall, but the degrees are losing value. Even worse than that though, if you start looking at which degrees are more likely to actually count for something in the hard sciences — called STEM degrees, for science/technology/engineering/math — the guys are still keeping all those for themselves.
The alarms sounding off about the oncoming college-degree bubble-bursting are by now becoming a constant thing. Some have managed to find, with a little bit of research, a measurable skew to the problem:
I spent the [morning] laughing and being intrigued by a book called Worthless: The Indispensable Guide to Choosing the Right Major by a guy named Aaron Clarey…The book takes aim at “Big Education” and in non-PC terms lets the reader know what is happening inside higher ed. Clarey has a wicked sense of humor and his graphs and charts just add to the fun. There is one that shows the breakdown of what he calls “worthless degrees.” “Nearly 70% of worthless degrees are awarded to women” he states along with a chart showing the breakdown of 68% of women to 32% of males who get these worthless degrees. Worthless degrees include those such as Women’s studies, sociology, philosophy, psychology, education and the liberal arts and humanities. In other words, those majors that avoid math.
It does seem to me at times that colleges are becoming finishing schools for women. I wonder if this is why many men avoid them?
The Clarey book is here. I may snag that.
This guy even goes so far as to say: Stop requiring the degrees.
As a male child-of-the-seventies, I have no problem seeing what’s been happening here at all and I can sum it up in one word: imbalance. Not discrimination, I have to emphasize. Discrimination and imbalance are as different as justice and revenge. You’ve heard the saying that justice, unlike revenge, has to make sense to someone who isn’t involved. Well, discrimination typically only hurts the person who is a victim of it, while imbalance, which can be a long-term result of sustained discrimination, brings harm to the organization practicing.
For fifty years give or take, our organizations and institutions have kept a sharp eye out for any practices, patterns or trends, that might indicate the girls are getting a raw deal in something. Any indicator that the same thing might be happening to boys, just doesn’t seem to interest anyone who’s in any position that matters.
So the girls are finally way ahead of the boys in enrolling in college, and completing degrees. Yay, let’s have a parade with confetti and everything…but…when it’s found the degrees are worthless, it is once again an occasion for hand-wringing and a new round of self-inspection in how we’re victimizing the girls. Again. Ah, but the victimization is real and not imagined. Having a worthless degree hurts, you know. What is to be concluded from this, over the long term, other than that sycophantic thinking is a lousy remedy for helping females, or anybody for that matter?
Meanwhile, the Drug War on Boys continues.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported this week that nearly one-fifth of high school-age boys have been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Doctors eventually medicate two-thirds of them. The diagnoses represent a 41 percent increase over the last decade.
The primary gateway drug for teenagers isn’t marijuana or beer. It’s prescription medication. As the New York Times piece breaking this story points out, feeding a child a daily diet of Ritalin increases the chances of dependency, anxiety, and psychosis. Sports once channeled the energy of testosterone-fueled teens. Now our overprotective culture complains of the dangers of sports as it fills children with chemicals.
“First, do no harm,” a med school lesson so basic that even high school dropouts know it, gets tossed down the memory hole by script-happy doctors. As any street pusher will tell you, it’s all about the Benjamins.
Silly, selfish boys, hogging all those practical and effective degrees. How dare they. They can’t even get through fifth grade without medication.
The medication explosion is both a cause and a symptom of the forced female-friendliness. It is a cause because drugging a boy so that he can pay attention to what he’s being told, is a different thing entirely from drugging a boy so that he will engage the problems and make effective decisions. Our drugs yield passive, not active, participation. This difference has deep meaning. I wonder why more people don’t make something of it.
And it’s a symptom because — again, I speak from personal experience — participating in any class structure that is female-friendly, when you’re a boy, is boring as snot. That, too, is another deeply meaningful point that people don’t talk about as much as they should, if they really want to make the situation better, and I’m left wondering why.
It’s difficult for me to use actual English words to describe the utter lack of respect or sympathy I have for people who claim to have difficulty capturing the attention of boys. Oh, I suppose I can relate to it a little bit. The problem comes about when they conclude that it can’t be done, and it’s time for some little blue pills. Have you ever taken a gaggle of zoned-out boy kids outside, and moved the subject matter around to something they want to learn? It’s quite a striking effect. Think of an old metal three-pound coffee can filled with mice, with a blowtorch put under it. It’s like that — but reversed, approach instead of avoidance — lots of writhing and jostling as everyone struggles to get a look. What we should be studying here, is not what drugs force the boys to concentrate on girl-stuff, but what subject matters bring about this writhing and jostling and sudden interest.
Remote control seems to have a lot to do with it. And not just with the teevee. The male mind seems to be inexplicably drawn to apparatus that allows him to do something, way over here, which produces a direct change in the situation, way over there. It’s somewhere deep in the brain, near the stem; may have something to do with how we produce urine, I dunno. But whether it’s piddling on the leaf floating on the river from a high bridge, or dropping a rock from an even higher bridge, or changing the channel, or target shooting, or hunting, or fishing, or detonating an explosion, or flying a remote control boat, plane or helicopter — or just tossing a nickel into a drinking glass across the room — males like remote stuff. We’re not allowed to notice this in our new, polite society, because we’re not allowed to notice differences in men and women, unless they’re differences that make the women look good.
And we’re not allowed to notice things that make boys bored, and want to zone out. If you’re noticing the opposite, though, something that turns off the chicks, annoys them, frightens them, bores them, repels them in any way, then that’s noble. You’re solving a real problem. And, you should prevail. But if the boys are bored, well who cares. But you know, after a few decades of this micro-evolution, with the classes becoming ever more female-friendly, and further & further cleansed and purged of anything the chicks might not like…to the male mind they get very, very boring. Again, words cannot express. We could use the movies as an example. Men who actually enjoy being around their wives will take them to see Titanic, The Notebook, The English Patient, even the latest Barbra Streisand Farewell Tour. But a Twilight movie crosses the line into “I’ll do anything for love, but I won’t do that.”
Well, when it works for the movie house, it works for school. If the clock and the window are the most interesting things to watch in the classroom, there’s a problem.
During the period discussed, we’ve become quite fond of giving women “equal rights.” We’ve been a bit slower with equal-responsibilities. That, too, may be a source of the problem: It’s easy to stand up and say “I’m for more women going to college” but it isn’t quite so popular to say “When women go to college, they should choose a vocation that will lead to good, strong livelihoods, so they can pull their weight” — even though that’s what we’ve been saying about boys for, literally, hundreds of years.
But our Senior Elder Statesman Vice President says, “If you need more than 10 rounds to hunt…you shouldn’t be hunting. If you can’t get the deer in 3 shots, you shouldn’t be hunting. You are an embarrassment.” That’s become a very popular sentiment among lefties, I notice. Maybe Biden got that one going, or maybe he was merely echoing it. “You shouldn’t need thirty rounds,” “You don’t need more than ten rounds,” “If you can’t bring the deer down in three shots you need to pack it in.”
Conservatives think, liberals feel, and it feels like you’re being competent when you pull these litmus-tests against the other guy’s lack of competence — on the spot, out of your rear end. That’s enough! Five shots, if the deer’s still up then you need admit this game isn’t for you!
Feel. That’s the key. It makes them feel like experts…even if they’ve never even seen a gun up close in their lives.
But when I feel, I try to make sure my thinking takes priority over it. And so — I think it’s scaring the stuffing out of me even hearing these arguments, let alone pondering the implications of those arguments carrying the day. For two reasons. First, as the video makes it clear, when there’s more than one assailant, all of a sudden seven-to-ten shots isn’t that much.
Second…I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a hundred times, because it’s true. There is a certain number of “rounds” a gun has to hold in order to be a deadly weapon capable of ending a human life, or altering it forever. And that number is one. Some gun-rights advocates consider the magazine-capacity limit to be among the most logical and persuasive proposals to be offered by their opposition. I strenuously disagree with this. It doesn’t even begin to make a lick o’ sense. The whole thing is a silly bunny trail. First test of a rational proposal is, can you define its objective — so what’s the objective here? Make a gun that’s safe?
Ladies-and-gentlemen, boys-and-girls, guns aren’t safe. They are life-threatening and deadly. They’re supposed to be.
Guns are like car insurance, in the sense that (in this context) you hope you never, ever have to use them. Those who do their responsible thinking, as opposed to feeling, realize “I hope I never have to use it” is meaningfully different from “I don’t want it to be effective if I ever have to use it.” This is merely paying due respect to Item #8 from the twenty things that are non-partisan, or darn well ought to be. And isn’t that just common sense? Hey, maybe that’s the way to explain it, to people who need to have it explained: Limit the gun to seven rounds, you might as well give your auto insurance agent a call in the morning, and let him know you want your comprehensive limited to seven grand. That way, (somehow) we’ll all be safer.
Really, it’s the exact same idea — this would be paying due respect to Item #9. Neither proposal makes more or less sense than the other. Limit the personal defense sidearm, limit the car insurance policy. Fact is, limits don’t make us safe. They don’t make anybody safe, anywhere. Limits limit. They impose constraints. That is all they do.
People who think like adults argue like adults; therefore, people who want to think like adults, are obliged to argue that way. It can be tough to do sometimes. First thing to keep in mind is that you have to engage the ideas and not the people pushing them. What tends to get you bogged down here is pattern recognition: It is an entirely valid argument to say, for example, “I notice women who push the crappiest and silliest radical-feminist ideas have hyphenated names.” Certainly it is not politically correct, but if you think you’re noticing the trend because the statistics would support it, and not just because instances of the trend make a deep emotional impression on you, then it’s a valid pursuit to call it out & ponder what it might mean. But it’s teetering on a brink because the line between pointing that out, and saying some very silly things, can be fuzzy. “All women with hyphenated names have very silly and crappy radical-feminist ideas” would be an invalid generalization, clearly unfair to hyphenated-name women who happen to have sensible ideas. As well as a disservice to the person thinking it.
The salvation is to simply keep a decent and rugged tethering to the facts. Statements with “all,” “none,” “always” and “never” are to be viewed with deep suspicion, and upon receiving the inspection they deserve, will tend to wither and implode much more quickly than most others. Like Obi-Wan Kenobi said, only a Sith deals in absolutes. Of course, that in itself is an absolute statement, so…hmmmm…let’s move on.
For this reason, I don’t like observations like “liberals are stupid” or “liberals are mean.” It sounds like something a frustrated third-grader might say…and, there is the other matter that it isn’t true. Have I not met some liberals who are pretty darn smart? Of course I have. How about nice liberals? That one is a bit tougher, I’ll admit. Certainly I can round up for you a lot of liberals who like to think & say how nice they are, in short order and without putting much effort into it. But you would be well within your rights to say, Try Again Freeberg, it doesn’t count because the liberal is not as nice as he or she thinks he or she is. This would happen quite a few times, in fact you and I would eventually achieve some proficiency in recognizing this muted-down streak of effeminate-male anger, like Captain Hawkeye Pierce getting ready to explode into some self-righteous monologue about whatever. The “aggressively non-threatening NPR male” rage Harry Stein was writing about.
But, at least among the women, there are some liberals who are genuinely nice. One Aunt by marriage, on my Mother’s side of the family tree, comes to mind. These types do genuinely mean what they say when they indulge these fantasies about a “fair shake” for the latest fashionable minority/victim group. They just don’t understand the wretched ultimate effects of the policies they favor as they indulge these fantasies.
Here’s the thing about generalizations, though: Because generalizations fail so often due to their well-understood intellectual fragility, they are, in fact, extremely valuable. That would not be the case if they could be easily debunked all of the time. But contrary to popular belief, they fail often because they can be easily debunked — pay attention to this part, now, it is critical — almost all of the time. Almost. They are like the canary in the coal mine. Fragile, therefore first to expire, therefore there is meaning to be inferred from any situation in which they’re not expiring.
All too often, you take a large group and apply a generalization to it, which upon encountering reality & the facts, implodes almost instantly. But then you carve the large group into smaller groups, reapply, and after a few rounds of division you find the generalization works. Or, at least, you’re lacking in any facts that will vanquish the same generalization again, and you’ll have to allow it to survive, tentatively. This is possibly the beginning of understanding a cause-and-effect relationship. In our example of the genuinely nice liberal, who never seems to be a male, theory: It is more important to males to achieve cosmetic superiority to other specimens, than it is to females, because of the “peacock” attribute of the male psyche. And, the effort to achieve cosmetic superiority to other specimens is exactly where liberals lose their genuine nice-ness, as well as where their credo ceases to make any sense. I’ve criticized them for this many a time, and I’m not done yet: Making a perfect new world in which we’re all equal-equal-equal, to show how much more worthy you are compared to other people? The contradiction is completely devastating, completely unworkable — and not very nice at all.
All of this is a lead-in to my observation that the easiest generalizations about liberals, which crash and burn instantly when we review our factual encounters with real-life, real-smart, real-nice liberals…suddenly find new life when we divide the arithmetic set of “liberals” just a tiny bit. And my “didja notice” moment here is, the number of times we need to divide this arithmetic set in order to give the generalizations a new leasehold on life is: once, into two sets. A simple, clean bisection. I actually noticed this quite some time ago, and have since reviewed the generalization to see if it’s be knocked into the dirt by reality yet again. With that one bisection, the re-pulverizing has yet to occur. Perhaps it will later, but for now the newer set of generalizations seems to be like a good one, and it’s certainly durable.
From this exercise, I perceive two halves. I value this perception rather highly, for if it continues to hold up, it may lead in to a road-map to liberalism’s eventual defeat, at least within this chapter of American history.
You have the ones like the kindly old Aunt, along with the not-so-nice peacock males and all others who aspire to be like her. Somewhere in their hearts there are these good intentions. This is why I’m throwing truly nice people into the same pot as not-truly-nice people, melting ‘em all together and calling it a day: They all have it in common that they sincerely want other people, strangers who they’ll never meet, to have an easier time in life. Some of them have mixed motives — “I’m going to look like a better person than that other guy, over there, because I said something positive about gay people” — and others don’t. They favor policies that ultimately hurt the people they want to help. But they know not what they do. One of my favorite examples: Raising the minimum wage. I’ve explained it over and over to them, you’d think the idea would manage to get across: This does nothing to actually “raise” a wage, what it does is outlaw jobs that pay anything below a certain amount, which is being increased. Can we agree on that? I’ve been genuinely surprised to find out the answer is, YES, we can agree on that, until such time as we have to form an opinion about an issue, then the typical response is to just keep clutching to the same opinion they had before. Like a baby to a blanket.
Other examples: Affirmative action in contracting and hiring, to soothe and cool whatever residual racial tensions there may be. The predictable effect is toward the opposite. Raising taxes to cover a city’s, state’s or nation’s tax revenue and budget woes. Showing those dirty, rotten companies how ticked off we are that they are “gouging consumers,” but smacking them with a whole new layer of burdensome fees and regulation. All these policies have a predictable effect more-or-less completely opposite from what was intended, and yet these types will line up to support the same policies over and over again, thereby bringing a lot of harm to the people they claim to be helping.
People in this group claim to care, and on some level they do care. They’re just not thinking things out all the way.
Now, the other group exploits the first group. These are vicious cold-hearted bastards who know perfectly well that Barney Frank caused the housing crisis, Fast and Furious would get innocent people killed, that gun control does nothing to make a city any safer, that when it costs companies more money to bring a product to market they just pass it on to the customer. These people know all about all of this. They just don’t care.
These people are usually employed in some capacity, such that they achieve a higher level of compensation, job security, or both when the wretched policies go into effect and innocent people are hurt by them. Hillary Clinton doesn’t really think it makes no “difference” who caused the attack in Benghazi. Joe Biden doesn’t really think you’re a lot safer if you fire your shotgun twice. President Barack Obama doesn’t really think more lives would be saved by His “extra background checks.” These people are just plain liars. They know the truth is very different from what they’re saying, but they don’t give a hang.
Those are your two groups of libs: The ignorant, and the apathetic. Evidence-impervious, and scruples-devoid. No, they’re not trying to be uninformed, or to hurt people; these are not their central motivations. That’s the whole problem. Both groups have bigger fish to fry.
From all I have observed, liberalism over the last few years has been making some great progress in moving, as they say, “forward.” Battle after battle after battle, in the congressional districts as well as in the nation’s capitol, is resolved in their favor, often with the “progress” locked in somehow so that their opponents can never reverse it, even if there’s a sea-change at some future date. The gun control thing was the first notable exception, at least in the last year or two. By & large, since 2007 or so they’re winning every single argument. And if there is one single reason for this progress of theirs, I would say it is this: The division between the ignorant and the apathetic is hard to pick up. We’re living in a time in which it’s become toned-down, and subtle. It’s so hard to see, that even people who watch politics all day every day won’t notice it’s there; instead they’ll insist on calling the whole movement “liberals.” That matters. Advancing liberalism is really all about sales pitches, from the apathetic to the ignorant. And it succeeds when the ignorant agree to the purchase. The feeling right now is that these two groups are one and the same, so the ignorant have no reason to decline.
I further perceive that the winning streak will come to a stop, and reverse, if and when this division is re-emphasized, highlighted so that it is easier to see. We’re all guilty of being ignorant now and then. But who wants to buy something from some shyster who is obviously hoping you remain ignorant? Isn’t that when you hang up on the telemarketer, car salesman, real estate crook or MLM crony? That’s when liberalism stops; when the ignorant-commoners realize they are not peers with the apathetic-elites, and that the two groups do not share common goals. From that, will come the realization that the policies that are being sold to them, are not conducive to the objectives they want to achieve. But it comes only from that epiphany, which may be sudden or slow. A smooth-talking smiley-faced Republican can’t explain it to them. They have to learn, from their own experiences, that they’ve been sold a bill of goods in the years gone by, and the attempted-fleecing is still taking place.
In other words, they have to learn on their own to start taking a sensibly jaundiced view of things. It’s part of growing up.
The problem is: Too many of them think they’re already doing that, by reciting ridiculous and useless homilies about “Oh well, all politicians are crooks,” as if they are magical incantations that can somehow make bad ideas into good ones.
The who the what now?
Late last year, a parent called the police after her daughter walked into a locker room and observed a naked man using the sauna. According to the police report obtained by Campus Reform, the transgendered man in question, a 45-year-old Evergreen State College student named Colleen Francis, was “sitting with her legs open with her male genitalia showing” with girls as young as six years old present.
Police, however, were advised by the local prosecutor’s office that “criminal law is very vague in this area and it would be unlikely they could pursue charges.”
Oh, how quaint those days when such behavior was considered “indecent exposure.”
Evergreen State College spokesman Jason Wettstein told Campus Reform that the school must “follow a non-discrimination policy with the state.”
From Daily Mail UK:
“Little girls should not be exposed to naked men, period,” David Hacker, senior legal counsel with the Alliance Defending Freedom told Fox News.
Th[e] swim coach who called police that day says she did apologize to Ms Francis for questioning her, “bu[t] she also explained there were girls 6 to 18 years of age and they were not use to seeing individuals in situations like this.”
The school has since set up a smaller, isolated section of the locker room for girls to change in, until the matter is resolved.
Unpacified, Mr Hecker has warned the school that should any harm come to the girls affected by this, they will be held accountable.
“Clearly, allowing a person who is biologically a man to undress and expose himself to young girls places those girls at risk for emotional distress and harm,” he wrote to the college.
“Any reasonable person would view this as dangerous to the young girls involved. The fact that this individual was sitting in plain view of young girls changing into their swimsuits puts you and Evergreen on notice of possible future harm.”
The “perfect society that makes everything in life completely safe and free of discrimination, for everybody” runs into a hiccup: If the transgender is protected from discrimination in the way, uh, s/he wants to be, then the little girls are not protected from harm. You let one “guy” into the girls’ changing room, you have to let them all in. And you’ll have to go by the honor system to figure out that they’re really trannies and not just perverts who want to expose their junk to little girls. How else can it be done? You’d have to call their tranny status into question. And if I’m following the rules right, you get to enjoy tranny status the minute you merely suggest you’re part of the protected class, not after you prove you’re in it. So, legal liability. You can’t question the status, because the benefits of the status are enjoyed before the status itself is proven. Honor system. It’s part of the culture that must always win.
But, women who are afraid of the harm/threats/attention/interaction from men, also enjoy infinite special-exclusive-equal-rights status. Especially young girls…as they should! As Mr. Heckler points out, some things are just matters of common sense. Both sides cannot enjoy the privilege of infinite weight. The horse-sense favors one side, political-correctness happens to favor both. So who wins?
My prediction is, one way or another, the school bows out of the business. That’s the typical outcome. You have to change into & out of your suit at home, then drive to the pool. Or, the pool is closed down.
Yea, blogger friend Rick got snookered, but that isn’t the point. The Currant writes very good satire and a lot of people have been snookered the same way…the point is, isn’t this a fun thing to be thinking about?
Hoo-yah. I’d love to see something like this happen. Love it.
As is very often the case, after watching people argue back and forth for awhile, I come to a realization that the real argument is about something else, unexpressed. Let’s see if I can find a way to express it:
“Shouldn’t all the decisions that really matter, even the personal ones, be left up to an enlightened peerage of wise elders who don’t even know us, but must know something, because they ride around in limousines?”
I am one of many who look forward to some kind of a divorce in the near future. People who respond in the affirmative to the question above, should never, ever exist in proximity to those who answer no. And vice-versa.
Run by one of my Facebook pals.
No one single post I can find to pique my interest for linkage. It’s kind of like Lawless in the sense that I can see there’s some quality there, but I’m having a tough time following along because it doesn’t seem like there’s much by way of tits, guns or car explosions.
But you know, variety is the spice of life & all. That’s what they keep telling me.
Well, that was a stupid month. I’m rapidly coming to the conclusion that April is one of my least-favorite months. And I don’t want to go there, because that’s some 8.3% of my existence, crib to crypt. And I like the April weather. It’s perfect, not too hot, but you can get outside and do stuff. But as is the case with all things in life, April is a grab-bag of positives & negatives, and we have to learn to take what we like and leave the rest behind, where we can. This April had the Boston bombings as well as, like all other Aprils, tax day. Our Nation’s First Holy President had His hindquarters handed to Him on a plate after trying to get that insane gun control albatross through the Senate.
None of that has to do with my observation here.
The observation I make here, has to do with the fairer sex. The realization is very, very gradually sinking in, for me, that for some reason or another April seems to be a time for inflammatory gender-role conflict to be pushed, by those who manufacture it, upon those who never asked for it. I don’t know what it is. If it’s seasonal, I suppose the most logical theory I could form would have something to do with swimsuit season. There are women who are unhappy with the progress they made? Perhaps there are some unscrupulous exploiters out there seeking to prey on the insecurities?
The wife and I were invited to a second wedding reception over in New York state, for the benefit of her friends & relatives out there. Wow what a cool deal, the groom gets to get smashed on wine again, but in a different time zone. Anyway, that was the big activity at the beginning of our April. And we were struck by this whole thing with President Wonderful getting in all that trouble when He pointed out Attorney General Kamala Harris is a beautiful woman. It impressed us because I was obliged to defend Obama, noting “[T]here isn’t a thing in the world wrong with what the President said”; it impressed us because, the one time He would have been right to stick to His guns and tell His critics to go stick it, like He usually does — that’s the one time He decided to cave. Amazing! It’s almost as if He’s afraid of facing a stiff fine or prison sentence if He ever makes a sensible decision on something.
It made a deep impression on us that the whole thing blew up the first day we flew in to New York, we stayed just short of a week, and by the time we were getting ready to fly out everyone was still talking about it.
So we have a mod to my power and pulchritude theory, which says there’s a curve-shaped ceiling imposed on how beautiful a woman is allowed to be, as she occupies positions of greater authority. Being a beautiful woman in a position of power might be alright, as long as nobody ever notices. And it must be a partisan thing, since of course Sarah Palin is ticking off all sorts of people whether anybody points out her beauty or not.
Beautiful Republican women are barely tolerable, if they have next to no power whatsoever, like Elisabeth Hasselbeck. If they have no power at all but once did have power, or sought power, like Palin, then they’re intolerable because they’re beautiful, but you’re not allowed to notice they’re being subjected to the hate and the spite because of the beauty; you’re required to pretend it’s all about “Palin’s extreme positions on the issues” — which no one can actually name. The beautiful liberal woman…if you look long and far and wide, eventually you might find one or two, like Attorney General Harris…they can have the power as long as everyone keeps it on the down-low that they’re beautiful. Like it’s a secret or something. Shhhh!
I’m old enough to remember when feminism, or womens-lib as we called it, involved some goal of “having it all.” That meant family and career, specifically. But the appeal was that having-it-all meant bridging a divide, of sorts: The spoils that a woman can bring in from the living of life, by being feminine, along with the other spoils that come about from doing “manly” things, like going to an office and working. The message was that she shouldn’t have to give up one in order to have a shot at the other.
It was a good message. Something has happened to it.
Women can’t have it all. And, bizarrely, it is our feminists who are making it that way. Working very hard at it, from what I can see.
Quoting from my observations about S.T.A.C.I., the five pillars that assure us that in any given new situation, liberal ideas are overwhelmingly likely to fail:
Abundance…[T]he goal must be to make something more highly regarded and highly valued, and the surest way to get there is to make that thing more plentiful, ideally, so that it becomes impossible to ever get away from it. This is a guaranteed fail because no person or thing has ever become more highly prized or cherished as a result of being more frequently seen. Natural laws of economics and human nature dictate that the opposite must be true.
We’re seeing the “A” in S.T.A.C.I. being used to regulate the “commodity” of beauty in women — sweet, strong, genetically gifted femininity. Our positive response to this commodity, wired into us by hundreds of thousands of years of evolution, is undesirable, and we are to be purged of it. And so our field of vision must be all cluttered up with these unfeminine, unappealing, argumentative harpies in their pant suits and bowl cuts, until we learn to like them. We are to be deprived of the sight of a more beautiful woman, day after day, year after year, until it’s been so long since we’ve seen a pleasing, feminine, ravishing woman that we all decide we don’t want to see her anymore.
As I pointed out, human nature simply doesn’t work that way.
But they keep trying. They want to control our preferences, so they try to do that by controlling abundance. Guaranteed fail.
My in-laws have a ritual of watching morning television, which is outside of my own normal routine. Holy moley, talk about breaking down the gender divide. It’s awful. All the women act like men, and all the men act like women. This Rachel Ray lady is a pleasing exception, she’s a real cutie-pie, although her voice is annoying. Some ferret-faced guy was explaining something on what used to be “Regis and Kathy Lee,” or some other show, and I couldn’t believe how hard he was working to act womanly. I had to wince when he knocked his heels together like Dorothy wishing to go home, or something. Dude. Men aren’t supposed to be able to do that.
From the daytime talk shows, we saw it was time once again for everyone to get outraged about “unrealistic body styles.” My mother-in-law, fresh off of congratulating me on my personal growth as I defended President Obama about something, broke from the formation in acknowledging that straight men were probably not the cause of the problem. But, I didn’t see them let off the hook, either.
I didn’t come up with the idea of fake tits. I think they’re bizarre. I’ve met about two men in my life who disagree, but they’re both obese losers who never get laid.
Our testosterone is already airbrushing you into perfection the second you walk into the room. We have virtually no deal-breakers.
Straight men are a great scapegoat because we rarely complain. Virtually every time you hear about a woman getting breast augmentation or a facelift or liposuction, her husband is saying, “I thought she looked just fine, but if it makes her happy, go nuts.” Go ahead and bleach your anus. Have all the labiaplasty you want. Just don’t blame us when normal-looking women feel like freaks. You gals set the standards, not us.
So women feel like freaks. Men are handy scapegoats, for the women feeling like freaks. Why is it seasonal? Again…bikini season. Probably.
After all, the vicious and mean as all holy fuck rant by “Skinny Girl” against Kate Upton, was from about this time last year:
Huge thighs, NO waist, big fat floppy boobs, terrible body definition – she looks like a squishy brick. Is this what American women are “striving” for now? The lazy, lardy look? Have we really gotten so fat in this country that Kate is the best we can aim for? Sorry, but: eww!
Yes, yes, I know that every tobacco-chewing, beer-drinking, shotgun-toting, NASCAR-watching man south of the Mason-Dixon line would love to get into her pants – but most of those guys wouldn’t know a beautiful woman if she jumped out in front of his pickup truck.
Nope. Don’t blame the men. Heck, we’re being singled out for insults and abuse right along with the curvy gals. Same time every year.
In service of this misguided, doomed-to-fail mission of making ugly, spoiled and petulant women more appealing and making beautiful, feminine women less appealing, by crowding us with the former and depriving us of the latter — someone managed to get a costume collection on the front pages of Huffington Post by re-imagining highly recognizable female superheroes in clothes that covered up all the skin. Ya get it? The male superheroes tend to cover everything up, so as we find new ways to erase the gender difference, the women should follow, uh, suit.
This is a perfect confluence of bad ideas.
First and foremost, there are reasons Superman’s got everything covered up and Wonder Woman doesn’t. Superman’s a guy, Wonder Woman is a woman. Nobody wants to see that much of a guy. Also, one’s a strange visitor from another planet who came here in a rocket when he was a baby, as that planet’s last survivor; the other one is an ambassador of goodwill who won the right to journey here in a gladiatorial game. Throughout the years of arguing about Wonder Woman in long pants, I have been completely baffled at how little is known about her, as well as about all other superheroes, by those who seek to deck her out in a pair of slacks or stirrups. It really is shocking. They know nothing.
But don’t take my word for it. The comments from Huffington Post regulars are most unkind. That’s because the costumes are ugly. They don’t get the job done. And here’s what I mean by that: If your car is teetering off the edge of a cliff, and Supergirl comes by to save you in her classic Silver Age minidress with the red go go boots, you’d think — Supergirl! Thank goodness! I’m saved! If she appears in her late 1970′s hot pants with the puffy-sleeve blouse, which looks ridiculous — ditto. If she appears in the modern skateboarding-chick getup with the bare midriff, which looks even sillier — it still works. But it doesn’t work with that ridiculous burqha getup. She doesn’t look ready for action. You would expect her to say “You’re in trouble? Hang on, I’ll call my boyfriend on my iPhone, maybe he can stop you from going over that cliff after he brings me a Starbucks Venti Latte and a McMuffin.”
Yeah. Watching teevee and waiting for your boyfriend to bring you things…but doing it in style. That’s what all those costumes are for. Nevertheless, we just keep going through this again and again. As if there were some shortage going on, of uppity and pushy women in slacks, stirrup pants and ugly pantsuits. Because, the A in S.T.A.C.I. Controlling our tastes and desires by controlling abundances, which is doomed to fail. And it always does.
We come now to an ugly truth: There is more going on here than the superheroines looking sexy as a result of showing breasts, bellies and legs. You can look sexy without doing that, of course, and that’s for just one thing. For another thing, there is more going on here than looking sexy. As my analogy involving Supergirl shows, there is the matter of looking heroic, which is really job #1. And there is also beauty. A beautiful woman looks beautiful for a lot of different reasons. These reasons are all centered around capabilities. Even a “kept woman” from the noir age, who happens to be beautiful, is beautiful because she has the capability of taking care of something.
The battle being waged here has to do with the connections to female beauty. The battle is between “beauty is connected to capability,” versus, “beauty is whatever we tell you it is today.” Costumes that show more skin don’t have a lot to do with this, except that a woman clearly has to take care of more things if her costume bares more things. But they don’t have a lot to do with sex, either. Really, they don’t. Super Friends is for kids. Justice League cartoons are for kids.
This is the line they’re trying to draw, and we should fight back on it — vigorously, for it is pure evil: Beauty is one and the same as sex. This goes part & parcel with the notorious modern-feminist ideal of all men being (potential) rapists. It’s surreal, it’s like we’re getting our own version of the Taliban going, on this side of the world: A woman happens to be physically appealing to men in some way, and we men — entirely beneath any responsibility for our actions and unable to control our lascivious thoughts — immediately start thinking about having sex with her. Of course, she’s unable to give consent in that context, and acting out the deed is indistinguishable from merely thinking about it, so suddenly rape is a-goin’ on everywhere.
Welcome to the world of: No, women can’t have it all. They should be powerful, and in order to do that they need to dress down, so us hormone-driven men will stop mentally raping them.
Reel Girl was wondering about what powerful and strong women were portrayed with brown eyes. I offered the example of Tomb Raider, and got back a curious response:
I’ll look into her. My only real experience of her is the Angelina Jolie movie and the pics of her before that– short shorts and distracting breasts. I just read a post that there is an attempted rape in her new game.
This gets to a criticism I have against RG, which I’ve already explained to her: Catching flies with honey versus vinegar. She, and opinion-writers like her, manage to affect a lot of “change” but that is all they do. It reminds me of the guy who comes through and blows leaves around the parking lot…badly. In both cases, there’s a lot of difficulty involved in figuring out if any progress being made toward anything at all, because there doesn’t seem to be an end goal. Lots of movement, though. But Reel Girl is never happy.
Snarking away at Tomb Raider is particularly silly, in my opinion, because here we’re dealing with a character that has slowly evolved to resemble more and more closely a feminist ideal. That includes shucking feminine appeal, like the husk off an ear of corn. These days, Lara Croft has an emo haircut. She wears long pants. She has diminutive breasts. Her hips are not curvy. She looks like a PVC pipe. Before she ditched the skimpier costume, it was in all other respects a feminist dream: She left these two gelding-guys back at her huge mansion, who spoke to her through her headset. She did all the acrobatics, the flipping around, the firefights with the bad guys, the filling the vicious jaguar full of lead from her 9mm pistols. Then the ferret-faced guys would get all scared from the images that were coming up on the monitor from her camera. If there were Egyptian hieroglyphs carved into the walls of the cave, she’d read them. If you needed to know something about Greek or Norse mythology to figure out where the next clue would lead — yup, she did that too, all from memory. With very few and minor exceptions, the fellas, safe warm and comfy back at home, didn’t do a damn thing. Had the feminists taken the time to check it out, they would have been pleased, but most of them never got that far. Breasts. Legs. That’s all they needed to know. Like Lara Croft is a bucket of KFC or something.
You realize how remarkable it is that the star character can both recite obscure trivia AND kick ass? Guys have never had it this good. Ever. I mean, really, think back: If a guy knows geeky stuff like how to read the hieroglyphics, you had to have some other guy doing the flying scissor kicks and filling the air with lead. And the action-guy would have a monopoly on the sex appeal. Since we all know, any guy who knows anything you don’t already learn by eighth grade, must be living in his mom’s basement with an office chair disappearing between his swollen fleshy buttocks, as the piles of Twinkie wrappers grows ever higher…
Lara Croft is everything, though. Firearms expert, amateur gymnast, Special Forces veteran, martial arts expert, published professor of archeology, world’s greatest detective. But, Reel Girl’s unhappy. You could see Lara Croft’s legs. So they covered those up, fem’d her down, made her look like a little boy, and now Reel Girl is still unhappy.
Contentment is, of course, the enemy of progress…but that just goes to show how tragic the situation is, because chasing this fake phony rainbow of “make the feminists happy” is viewed as a process of continual improvement. The producers of the comic books, teevee shows, books and games won’t ever stop because they have no reason to. Feminists yell “jump,” the institutional response has been defined as “how high?” Likewise, the feminists won’t ever be happy, because again there is no reason for them to be. They get what they “want” when they are unhappy.
What is of particular interest to me, here, is that the gender divide is not consistently presented as trivial, nor is it consistently presented as meaningful. It swivels around, from one to the other and back again, out of convenience. We should be toning down, muting down, getting rid of the gender divide…here. But when we start to think of women as dependent victims, and let’s not kid ourselves that is part of the product being sold here — all of a sudden the gender divide is not only meaningful, but vitally important. Because we have these “rights” that are only supposed to go in one direction.
About the only rhyme or reason I can pick up on it is this: Men are not supposed to see anything in women at all that is particularly special, save for two things. One, it is an inevitability, and desirable, that women should take our jobs away from us because they can and will do them better. And two, in the past present & future, they have some legitimate complaints against us for…(deep breath here)…the way we’ve treated them, what we’ve thought about them, what we’ve said about them, how much money we make compared to what they make, that we don’t do our share of the housework, that we open doors for them, that we smile at them and give them compliments, and finally — and I suspect this is the bone of contention behind it all — that God built us to get them pregnant, and built them to get pregnant.
We are to see them as distinguishably different from us, only as replacements who are destined to send us to the benches, and as victims. Everlasting, perpetual, permanent victims.
Such a mindset ultimately will not heal any gender relations. It will only exacerbate the agitation that exists there already.
And that is what feminism is, as we know it today. It isn’t about equality. It is about aggravating the resentments men and women feel toward one another — while pretending to do the exact opposite.
My answer is a definite no. I don’t want to see women in such simplistic terms. I know too much about them for that; I know they are more complex than this. I don’t want to see them as androgynous interlopers who are poised to displace me in my useful purposes, or file grievances against me, or both. Besides, I happen to like them. Oh and as frosting on the cupcake, I don’t accept the power/pulchritude curve; if she’s drop-dead gorgeous and also appointed or elected to a position that has some real power behind it, I see no wrinkle that has to be smoothed out there, I’m good with it. If she’s fulfilling the challenges, then yes, she should “have it all” as they say. Now here’s the really sad part: In the minds of many today, that’s enough to make you what’s called a “sexist.”
Well, we may not be abusing the women too often lately, but we’re sure doing a great job smacking the language around.
Prof. Sowell again says obvious things that, in spite of being so obvious, once pointed-out will cause you to question much that you might not have previously questioned:
It is always amazing how many serious issues are not discussed seriously, but instead simply generate assertions and counter-assertions. On television talk shows, people on opposite sides often just try to shout each other down.
There is a remarkable range of ways of seeming to argue without actually producing any coherent argument.
…[A] student can go all the way from elementary school to a Ph.D. without encountering any fundamentally different vision of the world from that of the prevailing political correctness.
Moreover, the moral perspective that goes with this prevailing ideological view is all too often that of people who see themselves as being on the side of the angels against the forces of evil — whether the particular issue at hand is gun control, environmentalism, race or whatever.
A moral monopoly is the antithesis of a marketplace of ideas. One sign of this sense of moral monopoly among the left intelligentsia is that the institutions most under their control — the schools, colleges and universities — have far less freedom of speech than the rest of American society.
The failure of our educational system goes beyond what they fail to teach. It includes what they do teach, or rather indoctrinate, and the graduates they send out into the world, incapable of seriously weighing alternatives for themselves or for American society.
As I’ve pointed out before: Thinking is about thought, and a thought is best & most accurately described after it has been categorized — fact, opinion, thing-to-do. The issue Professor Sowell raises has to do with conflicting thoughts, which we might define according to the above taxonomy as: pluralities of facts, some of which must have been assessed inaccurately since they offer different measurements of the same things; pluralities of opinions, some of which must be erroneous because they are mutually exclusive; and, pluralities of desires about what is to be done, some of which would have to yield to others. What do we do about such conflicts? Or more to the point, what is the next generation being taught about what to do with conflicts like these?
For all the reasons he offers, and many others he doesn’t mention, the answer appears to be — not a damn thing. We’ve seen that often enough in these pages, as the comment threads occasionally grow, Jack-and-the-Beanstalk like, twisting and turning and revealing all sorts of stuff.
The fundamental thought-concept of uncertainty seems to have become something of a relic from the past. People know there is global warming, it’s all man’s fault, China has a moral license to take a breather from stricter pollution limits that are to be imposed on the rest of the world…because it’s all about carbon emissions per capita, and the developed nations will have to learn to sacrifice, which they will. Not a scintilla of residual doubt about any of this, it’s discussed as if future events occurred in the past. But most distressingly, if the other side remains unconvinced, the thing to do is start repeating the same things over and over.
It doesn’t end there though, there are all these quirky maneuvers. We see it on television. Sarcasm, for example, which can have a legitimate function every now and then. On The Daily Show, that’s how pretty much all the “thinking” is done, with sarcasm. Nobody really wants to say The Daily Show is their primary source of news, or even that it’s one of many sources of news…but many who refuse to admit this, refuse to admit the opposite as well. They’ll start droning on about how Daily Show viewers are best informed, and Fox News viewers are the least informed. In fact, I’ve often observed that over the last few years we seem to have lost our sense of what a well-informed opinion even looks like: Our bar is so low, now, that about the best you can expect is “I saw Jon Stewart do a segment on that once, it was really good, I liked it a lot.”
Edmund Burke spins in his grave.
I mentioned above about conflicting thoughts, which are contradictions. This is a great example: The Daily Show is a source of news, or else it is not. An argument that maintains both of those to be the case, must fail, for it is encumbered by an unworkable internal contradiction. But many within the younger generation aren’t even slowed down as they press onward with exactly that: I’m more informed because I watch TDS…but that is not anybody’s news source, that is a myth.
So repeating things over and over, is not persuasive. And you can’t assert some fact while simultaneously asserting the opposite. There are other rules in place that nobody should have to write down…but a lot of people don’t seem to know about them…
An argument must fail if it pretends two things are the same, when they are meaningfully different things.
An argument must fail if it pretends two things are divided by some meaningful difference, when this is actually not the case and those things are identical for all intents and purposes.
Blogger friend Phil has made occasional reference to the “I laugh at it, so it becomes untrue” mystical power of modern arguing. Sadly, you haven’t long to wait nowadays to see examples of it in action. Wherever you see someone provide a “rebuttal” by way of this magical hocus-pocus, you are seeing a “thinker” bypassing thought. The tragedy is that he probably thinks he’s doing a wonderful awesome job of thinking about things. Giggle giggle.
An argument must fail, I would say, if it transgresses against any of the twenty things that are non-partisan, or darn well ought to be, that I wrote down.
Not that I claim to be any kind of lawgiver, like Moses, or anything. It shouldn’t be necessary. These are things that should be just self-explanatory. And would be, I think, if we lived in a more rustic society in which people had to solve basic problems on their own just to get to their classes healthy, whole and capable of learning, with fluids and nutrients in their systems. But as our society has become more advanced, the necessity of this basic-problem-solving has been slowly obviated. Which means once the students do arrive at that class, they rely on that class to teach them “how to think and not what to think,” as the saying goes…with a weight and sense of dependence that was not present in the previous generations of students. When they’re not being taught that, there, consequences must ensue. These consequences are felt not only by the student, but by the rest of society.
Well. To answer the Prof’s question, I think the answer is no; thinking is not obsolete, like a five-inch floppy disk or a film development darkroom. But that’s because, as I see it, this stuff goes in cycles. As quality thinking results in an improvement of the standard of living, for the individual as well as for society as a whole — you can take it to the bank that the “quality thinking” has worked itself out of a job, since the higher standard of living will partially result in a new allowance of sloppy, slipshod thinking. And we have enjoyed so much improvement to our standard of living, and as a result our society-wide ability to think things out has deteriorated so much, that we are overdue for a suffering. With the current recession that began around 2007, this is exactly what’s been happening to us. Maybe it’s just about done. Or, maybe it’s the dawn of a new era, and the licks we’ve already been taking are nothing more than a down-payment.
But I’m sure as the challenges get stiffer, people will adapt, as they are forced to, and we will eventually “rotate” our way out of the mess we’ve created for ourselves. In my exuberant optimism, I fantasize that we will not only have recovered these critical thinking skills that we left lying in the dirt in years past, like a spoiled child leaving his cherished new bicycle lying in the street waiting to be lifted — but will have produced a new wisdom from having gone through the experience.
And we’ll remember it all for generations.
Yeah…it is that last note of reckless optimism, in which I place the least confidence. That’s regrettable, because that’s the most important one. Critical thinking isn’t worth much if it doesn’t have wisdom to go with it, and wisdom doesn’t provide much of an assist over the long haul if you can’t hang on to it. But, I remain hopeful. What else can one do?
What a neat idea. Some images from the video arguably not safe for work or a mixed audience…
Dr. Mercury thought this was “exceptionally cool,” and I agree.
Brick Wall Person (n.):
A person with an opinion, in which he or she invests great weight and importance. However — the opinion is the product of no decision-making process whatsoever, save for the selection of a simple preference of one option out of a plurality available, such as, “Brussels sprouts over Broccoli.” There is absolutely no foundation or framework for the argument. No inductive reasoning, no deductive reasoning, no arriving at logical inferences of any kind, not even any rational speculation.
Normal people have thoughts like these…like…aw, I don’t wanna get out of bed yet. But normal people yield on them, and often, since normal people save their “Hill I Wanna Die On” positions for the issues that involve objective truth, and therefore, some measure of certainty and confidence. Brick-wall-people M-U-S-T have the last word, and yield to no one, even though the means by which they know they are “right” are limited to their pointing to the opinions of others, and/or simply repeating things over and over.
They are responsible for generating much conflict. Which, more often than not, they can then successfully blame on others.
They don’t think things out any better than a brick wall does. And, like a brick wall, they aren’t very much responsible for putting anything in motion, although they’re great at stopping things that already were.
Over at Rotten Chestnuts, our collaborative blog, one of our co-conspirators has launched a blog-post category called QUILTS — an acronym for “Questions I’d Like To See [Asked].” With the opening of the George W. Bush library, the air is suddenly thick with talk about the legacy of our 43rd president…which was supposed to be a toxic chapter of our country’s history we would never, ever, ever want to recall again. But the time has come to give that another re-think.
The man of the hour predicted this himself, and the day might be here. Gas costs half of what it is now? Businesses looking to expand, doing real work for real people who really want the work done? Triple-A credit rating? Who wouldn’t want to go back?
Our liberals, that’s who. Well, they’ll never admit it, anyway…
We have two problems here. One, there are people who agree with me, that if it’s possible for me to buy a gallon of milk for $3 instead of $4, then I should be able to. If government has a role in that, then its role should be to make sure I can buy milk for the lower price; at the very least, it shouldn’t be trying to make it harder for me to get hold of the milk…or the refrigerator in which I’ll be putting it…or the linoleum for the floor upon which it sits. Or the house with the floor. But — those people would support the liberals in saying, no, let’s keep going “Forward” because they don’t want a guy like Bush in charge. They’re repeating what they’ve been told to think, you see, and what they’ve been told is that George Bush is something of a “douche.” They’re neck-deep in personality politics, and the policies, and their effect, can’t achieve relevance. A little bit of name-calling and these folks suddenly have answers to all the questions. Although, we’re still waiting for things to get better…
Problem Two is simpler: We have people who don’t agree with me. We have people who want high prices. A lot of them aren’t shy about saying this should be government’s job. They’ll never say “make it harder to get hold of” the gas or the milk or the refrigerator or the linoleum or the house or the labor that went into it all…they may never admit to being “in favor of higher prices.” But they’re opposed to the prices being lower.
So. Question I’d Like To See Asked:
Should goods and services be made accessible to the consumers who want to buy them?
Notice I said “accessible,” which might affect the outcome of a poll. It’s not escaped my notice that when people talk about nationalizing health care, they use the focus-group-tested word “access” a lot, which seems to enjoy positive appeal. I’m under the impression we have two Americas right now, an America that seeks to pay for the things it uses up for its own benefit, and another America that doesn’t want to pay for anything. Whoever advocates for a certain policy change, and advocates smartly, will seek to heal that divide but only heal it in service of the goal they’re trying to achieve. “Access to health care” is language carefully crafted for consumption by people who want to get some health care, but not have to pay for it. You’ll notice, in my question, the effect is the opposite: consumers who want to buy them. My meaning is, pay for them.
President Obama, by and large, has been consistent in making all sorts of things more accessible. But only for the people who don’t want to pay for them. For the rest of us, life’s been getting tougher and leaner.
Gas costs double, and it’s much tougher to get a job.
A lot of that is by design. He said He would fundamentally transform America. Say what you will about the rest of His promises, but there’s one He’s managed to keep. We are “fundamentally transforming” America from a country in which people pay for the things they consume, into a country in which they don’t.
And a lot of people like it.
So: QUILTS. Question I’d Like To See Asked. Should prices be lower? Should it be easier for people to buy things? It’s certainly a fair question; I keep hearing a lot of people say they want “the economy” to get better, stronger, more robust, resilient, whatever. Well, in my world that would mean more selling & buying. My idea of an “economy” thrives on consumer confidence; when I’m a consumer, my “confidence” comes from an understanding that replenishment of supplies is affordable, and so is the acquisition of equipment, risk is manageable, payoff is bigger & better. That the opportunity is out there. They seem to have a different idea of what an “economy” is.
Some folks say the media is in the pocket of the democrat party. Other people say that’s bull-squeeze. It would be much easier for me to doubt it, if I were to ever see my question asked in a major media channel that actually counts for something. As it is, we have to leave it to the wild-eyed silly right-wing blogs, like mine. Which I find interesting.
Suck it, Trebek.
Emperor Misha I at the Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler pens an essay on what exactly passes for thought on The Left. This is excellent.
I was, once, of the left. Not just “flirting with the ideas” or “curiously studying their customs and quaint habits”, but “red scarf wearing true believer.”
Yes, I hang my head in shame over my youthful ignorance, but I got better. And I try to atone for it by passing on what I’ve learned to those who weren’t as dumb as I and therefore have not the first fucking clue as to what they think they’re up against. Without much success, as the past five years have shown, most of the time — when I get a response at all — it’s along the lines of “lalalala I can’t hear you” or “sure, but our lefties are diff’runt.”
They’re not. That’s the whole point of the left. On the left, nobody’s diff’runt or they’re not on the left anymore. Utter one, even a slight little minor one, heresy against the leftist catechism and we will make you a non-person. Just ask Bob Woodward who, we believe, was once quite the left’s hero for bringing down that horrible man, Richard Nixon. One act of heresy against the Dogma of the Cult of Obama, and he was a doddering old retarded fool and sellout, ready for the glue factory.
And that was not an aberration. That is how it works…
By ostracism. Like a pencil being sharpened, lefty thought achieves an ever more durable structure to it, by constantly whittling away what it figures doesn’t belong.
…[P]arty ideology is always right, and therefore any idea that opposes it must, naturally, be wrong no matter how it’s worded. This is never questioned. Never. Because it’s a fundamental truth to a true leftist believer. 1) The party is always right. 2) If not, see 1). Why the party is right is irrelevant because, seriously, IT IS RIGHT. Seriously, were you not paying attention?
That is why attempting to engage leftists on ideas is an exercise in futility. Most won’t even take part, but those who pretend to be doing so aren’t actually listening. Because they know they’re already right. They were told so. And the party is always right. Again: I say this because I KNOW. Putting my old red cap on again, why would I question what the party said? All of its ideas had been passed down to me from people much smarter and more learned than I…
And the next point, another one ignored by our “pragmatists” and “civility champions” on the right because of their utter ignorance of what they’re dealing with is this: We on the left (again I put my old cap on) do not “disagree” with you. We despise you. The more spirited among us even hate you. Those can mostly be found among the lowest echelons of the movement, the ones who were just given their party badge and feel that they have something to prove so they can move up in the system. Higher up, it’s mostly just contempt.
Hat tip to Gerard. Great stuff.
Hat tip to blogger friend Rick.
A minor quibble: The part at the beginning doesn’t describe the thesis accurately. If we’re going to get super precise about it, it’s accurate to say faith and reason are opposites, since reason states “I must see evidence in order to conclude something” whereas faith, by its definition, doesn’t need to see that. If the conclusion was reached but there was evidence presented supporting it, the person concluding might have some faith, but it wasn’t tested in the exercise because the evidence was conducive to a reasoning process, which might have been used in lieu of faith. If the process is repeated, the evidence withheld, the same conclusion reached, then we might say that person has faith.
So if we’re talking about the process, the statement is true: “Many people think that faith and reason are opposites.” What the clip argues is not that there is overlap between the two, or that that they are synonymous. Instead, it argues that belief in this powerful intelligence creating the universe, is bigger than this thing we call faith; reason, also, supports a belief in God.
Then, in addition to cleaning up its act a bit over this quibble, it finishes strong: It is atheism that requires the faith.
Consider coming up with a rebuttal to that one. We would need to come up with a rational explanation for the universe that would support atheism. There are those who believe, incorrectly, that the Big Bang Theory does exactly this. At about 0:45, through around 3:00, the clip shreds that one up rather nicely.
Some helpful advice for Joe Biden’s wife, in case bad guys start breaking into the house…
The notion of “brick wall people” was explored by me in the post immediately previous.
The hardcore cases are confined, in their vocabulary of forensic maneuvering, to presenting nothing possessing any persuasive weight save for their own intransigence. Their operating credo seems to be one of, “You might as well come around to my way of thinking, for I shall never, ever, ever come around to yours.” If you were to take a large sheet of butcher paper and plot out a flow chart showing what it is they think they know, in little bubbles connected by lines to how they think they know it — there’d be nothing to plot. One bubble, no lines, and you’d be done. In these discussions that catch their fancy, they impose themselves into the role of a brick wall. Immovable and impassable. It decides nothing, does nothing to make anything go, but certainly does something to make things stop.
Captain Capitalism (via Small Dead Animals) explores the phenomenon of the Zombie Feminist. He warns that this has more to do with psychology than with lefty-politics…which makes my connection valid, since my observation about “brick wall people” isn’t dedicated to ideological positioning either.
I truly believe that after K-Grad school education, the human brain is so indoctrinated and steeped in leftist thought they are mentally impaired and incapable [of:]
admitting being wrong or in error
He compares the female-zombie (naughty language warning):
…to the zombies in that mediocre Will Smith movie:
It isn’t just lefties. It isn’t just feminists, either.
Assuming we have the same definition in mind — and I think, in general, we do — the shortest and crispest litmus test I would have for this stunted thinking is this: Absolutely no use to be made of the logical concept of “therefore.” As a consequence of this, every single deliberation, every single discussion, every single so-called “debate” is nothing more than, and can never be anything more than, a contest of some sort. To see who can have the last word, have it the loudest, make the most lasting impression on bystanders. But there’s no “therefore.” The thinking is too simple to make use of the simple language-less concept of “I think such-and-such a thing, because such-and-such other thing has been validated to my satisfaction, and from that I speculate, or infer, this new thing I think.”
They support some things. They oppose other things. But, like brick walls, they don’t actually make decisions. About anything.