Archive for September, 2017

My Twelve Rules of Technology

Saturday, September 30th, 2017

Been making a point of fleshing this out & polishing it, while I’m actually working on stuff, for clarity’s sake. These are things I’ve had to learn the hard way, that they don’t (so far as I know) teach you in class…in fact, some of them are diametrically opposed to what they teach you in class. Well hey, those who can, do, those who can’t, teach…

It’s not just professors. Management has a tendency to “teach” the wrong stuff; they’re supposed to be all about producing positive results, doing more with less, but unfortunately they tend to gravitate toward making the job of managing easier. Which is not the same thing at all. I’ve noticed that the other job, my job, the designing & coding, is a young-man’s game. There aren’t too many people who’ve stuck with it as long as I have, unless they’ve made it a point to avoid principal-engineer & design positions, and just do what they’re told. As long as it works for them, I won’t judge. Some of the young guys who had tech-lead positions over me & a lot of others, back in the day, I see went on to go sell Amway or real estate just a few years later. So the institutional memory is lacking; it’s missing the advantage that masonry had, with journeymen & apprentices, while the cathedrals were being built hundreds of years ago. It isn’t common for someone in the coding business to actually jot down what they learned, unless they’re going into the book-writing business, in which case…yeah, they still quit what they were doing, and start writing books.

Well. This is what’s helped me, in the past, today, and probably will without much change in the foreseeable future. Take it for what it’s worth…the better job I do keeping them in mind, the better the results I see at the end…

1. Any proposed statement not specifically defined and validated to be true, must be presumed false. The only exceptions to this rule involve things that, by being false, would make your efforts easier. These must be presumed true. In short, presume Murphy. Presume everything is aligned against you until your tests prove it isn’t so…then, presume your tests are wrong.

2. Programmers create programs and the purpose of a program is to define behavior. The job, therefore, is to define behavior. Bearing Rule #1 in mind, the mission becomes one of identifying and managing uncertainties. Any aspect of this left undone is failure, even if the shortage is not recognized immediately.

3. Keep the machinery doing what machinery does, keep the people doing what people do. When people have to act like automated processes in order to use your product, you built it wrong. If the automated process makes decisions factoring in arcane, obscure and unpredictable experience & state data, like people do, you built it wrong. Either one of these sins will bring consequences in the form of diminished confidence felt by those who use it. The test is, is there a feeling of dread when the user produces a stimulus, which is a product of the uncertainty about what the response will be. This should not be happening.

4. People listen to speeches and machines run programs. Programs, therefore, are not speeches. It is said that a speech is like a skirt, it should be short enough to hold people’s attention but long enough to cover the subject. The program just has the job of making sure the subject is covered; all other objectives are secondary. Contrary to popular belief, there is no correlation between brevity in a computer program and the ease involved in its maintenance. This presumes sloppiness on the part of those who write long programs and neatness on the part of those who write short programs. This axiom doesn’t hold, at least not with any logical certainty; it is a myth propounded by those who consider themselves above the occasionally onerous task of grappling with details.

5. The product of my experience investigating situations where systems aren’t behaving correctly, is a learned bias that the machines are doing exactly what they should be doing, and the people are the problem. That’s because mistakes have a tendency to originate with lack of definition (see rules 1 and 2). Machines and automated processes work according to complete definitions; people have the ability to work without complete definitions. That is a bug, and not a feature, with the people. The dysfunction in a system tends to start with the people, and with something they left undefined, or defined only inside their own heads and failed to communicate with other involved people.

6. Error messages are unappreciated. A lot of people who might have been solid contributors in the field, decide they’re not right for it and go do something else because they find themselves confused a lot, and they’re confused because they’ve been reading bad error messages. The best-designed processes will treat their session mission as one of correctly reporting on whatever went wrong, so that a successful execution is the exception and not the rule. When fixing a bug that involves a malformed error message in the aftermath of something else that went wrong, always fix the error message FIRST, THEN proceed to the other condition that caused it. The rationale is that the test with the malformed data but repaired error message, is a valuable test, but the test with the repaired data and broken error message is worthless, because it effectively conceals an execution path known to be broken.

7. A design can’t be good unless it solidly prioritizes its own objectives and then sticks to its knitting. These design objectives compete with each other. Example: A fragment of code can make use of a design pattern so it’s more maintainable across time, even with the introduction of new requirements, by engineers who are nominally familiar with the pattern. But it will be grossly unrecognizable and confusing to a coder who is not familiar with the pattern, even if he is experienced in the programming language. A decision not to use the pattern would result in code more readable to a new programmer, but more difficult to maintain. So there is mutual exclusivity here. Be aware. Choose your battles.

8. A great design takes testing into account, essentially beginning with the end in mind. Simple requirements translated into a complex suite of regression tests, manifest a mediocre design. A simple suite of tests, covering a complex patchwork of requirements, is a sign of a great design — assuming, of course, that the tests do indeed provide this coverage.

9. A good design delegates responsibility to as many layers as there are subjects to be addressed in the definition of behavior, with each layer having a substantial reason for being, but no layer taking on more than one subject within the definition. Each layer should be conceptualized and built with strict adherence to Design by Contract (DbC), Separation of Concerns (SoC), and fulfillment of the dicutum that interfaces should be easy to use correctly and hard to use incorrectly. The design of these layers must apply definition of behavior in response to both success and failure of operations at run-time. The test of good application of SoC is, how much of the implementation has to be changed when a new requirement is introduced, or an existing requirement changes. If this causes a ripple effect throughout the application even though it’s a relatively innocuous change, this may reflect inadequate or ineffective separation. If the necessary change is contained, with the layer boundaries acting as a sort of “breakwater” and as a result the overwhelming majority of prior work escapes unmolested, this is a sign of strong, effective separation.

10. If the most charismatic people are making all the decisions that matter, the project may already be in trouble. Making definitions that have to be made in order for the project to succeed, often is achieved at the expense of being interesting & fun; being interesting & fun often comes at the expense of making these vital definitions. Not always. But often. The litmus test is, at the point these definitions are needed for work to continue, is it a common occurrence that guidance is already available because someone successfully anticipated the need. If this is not the case, refer back to Rule 5 — people are the problem, they tend to spin new definitions out of whole cloth and proceed as if no one else could’ve arrived at a different definition. This is the point of team-dysfunction, where the team starts to produce work inferior to what any one of the members could have produced working in solitude, or fails to address problems that would have easily been solved by any one of them working in solitude. In such a situation, the advantages of charismatic leadership are mostly neutralized.

11. “Technical debt” is a great term. If your project takes on a life of its own and becomes self-sustaining, manage T.D. just like real, corporate debt. Pay what you can against it, when you can, allow it to languish a bit only when you have no other choice, get back to reducing it again just as soon as you can, down to zero if possible. And if you can’t get to it, you’d better get busy finding out why.

12. Programmers are not system administrators. Sys admins are not programmers. The only time it makes sense to have the same people doing both these things, is when the operation is too small to practically divide the roles up into separate personnel, in which case it’s best to think of it as administrator-less. There are many rationales for this. The first is that system admins and programmers labor toward different goals, the former toward continuity, the latter toward progress against time, which translates to invasive, and frequent, change. The second is operational security, which can be compromised if these roles are not separated.

Crazy Man Theory

Saturday, September 30th, 2017

This made me think a bit more about a thought I’ve had fermenting away in the brewery of my head. It’s an exploration into why people on dating sites receive more messages when their pictures are better-looking.

Given the popular wisdom that Hollywood, the Internet, and Photoshop have created unrealistic expectations of how a woman should look, I found the fairness and, well, realism, of this gray arc kind of heartening.

Now let’s superimpose the distribution of actual messages guys have sent:

When it comes down to actually choosing targets, men choose the modelesque. Someone like roomtodance above gets nearly 5 times as many messages as a typical woman and 28 times as many messages as a woman at the low end of our curve. Site-wide, two-thirds of male messages go to the best-looking third of women. So basically, guys are fighting each other 2-for-1 for the absolute best-rated females, while plenty of potentially charming, even cute, girls go unwritten.

The medical term for this is male pattern madness.

Ha! It sounds like male pattern baldness, that makes it fun-ny…

My observation is that a reasonable person, sitting in quiet contemplation of the question “Is this really madness?” without any cajoling from anyone, wouldn’t likely answer in the affirmative. We’re talking about messaging attractive people as opposed to not-attractive people. I’m assuming things haven’t changed since the last time I was on the market, and messaging is the first step; these people don’t know each other, whether they’re pretty or homely. Preferring a good-looking mate just makes sense, so why are we condemning it as madness? It’s alright for women to do that, isn’t it?

The honest answer is: Because it’s men who are doing it, and men are easy targets.

My theory is that, while we have all been sleeping, this has slowly but surely become the accepted way to deal with men: Everything we/they do is silly, or nuts, or crazy, or psycho, or what has become the most-favored of all: insecure. But if you take the time to evaluate what’s being done rationally, you find it’s actually quite sane, or at least, understandable & to be expected of rational people. Who may or may not have lost control of their emotions in some particularly jarring circumstance, which rational people do. It’s become so commonplace, and so normalized, we now have generations of males & females who don’t know anything different.

Men make up a unique demographic group. Our group is caught up in a raging, passionate cultural conflict between oppressors & oppressed, and as the purported oppressors, our bodies are actual weapons. And so the tactic that has emerged is to put a man in a situation in which a rational person is more likely to lose it. Not being able to see his own kids, as if he’s committed some sort of crime, is good…there are others. Designating his workspace as a cubicle next door to some neurotic insecure cat-lady who’s just itching to call H.R. at the slightest little discomfort, thereby putting his livelihood in jeopardy if he doesn’t dance to the right tune. And then leaving it up to an actual crazy-person to decide what that tune is.

Other things are like, asking for his latest tale from the front as the divorce grinds onward, and then at the end of it looking down your nose at him, and letting loose with a dismissive bout of victim-blaming…”Well you know, you basically said this was alright when you married her,” or the time-honored, brain-dead “Not All Women Are Like That.”

Morgan Rule One is, “If I’m going to be accused, I wanna be guilty.” It has the potential to save a man’s sanity; but, most men don’t live according to my Rule One, because most men haven’t been called crazy over & over from childhood until they just give up trying. And so, paradoxically, they keep dancing to the changing tune their whole lives, trying to avoid being called crazy, so they don’t lose their marriages, houses, kids, jobs etc….if they learn to go sunup to sundown without glancing at any pretty girls, and talk in a pitch roughly an octave above what’s natural for them, sometimes the noose stops tightening and they feel like they accomplished something. See? I did it, all the other guys can do it too!

But by that time, they really have gone crazy.

You saw it with that Brooke Baldwin thing, where the insensitive male lout asked the gamma male who was helping to excoriate him something like (2:39) “Don’t you like boobs too?” and the gamma had to homina-homina-homina…visibly wondering what he should & could say in response to that…ultimately refusing to say anything.

Kinda like Principal Skinner. “Just tell me what to say!

So that’s my theory. We keep wondering “WTF happened to men??” and the answer is, we happened. The Big We. We put men in situations in which a non-insane person would lose his cool, and if it happens we see to it the subject is defrocked of his status, occupation, property, family situation, or what-not…so that the point gets across, “you better not do that.” Which it does. As a result, men really are going insane. After all, they’ve tried sanity and it didn’t work for them.

Update: Oh yeah I forgot all about it…great example of what I’m talking about. It’s called by many an “inappropriate” reaction, and it seems he did go on about it to excess, but Ms. Gilligan did look very appealing in her bathing suit. And I’m getting the impression the real mastermind of the off-topic drama was the jealous brunette, with her “inappropriately” behaving male co-anchor playing goof-ball to help her play straight-man…or, straight-scold as the case may be…

So these examples are going to fall primarily into two categories: Appreciating the sight of a beautiful woman, or in some other way behaving like a normal male; and, acting like a threat or wounding has taken place, after being threatened or wounded.

By lowering the boom of “Don’t act like that,” our evolving notions of decency have imposed an expectation on men to stop being what they are. So, a refresher scorecard of sorts:

Visual beauty: The correct response is to look at it and appreciate it. Yes, tastefulness is a factor. No, “She thinks you’re up to par and you’re the guy she wants to attract” is not the metric that decides what’s tasteful vs. what’s a lewd leer. That’s silly.

Sexual harassment rules designed by lawyers to make men into targets: The correct response is to act like you’ve been targeted. And, to resent it.

Your wife wakes up unhappy one morning and initiates a divorce process that’s going to make you poor: The correct response is pretty much the same response a normal woman would show when her husband does the same thing. Lots of stress, apprehension about the future, hurt feelings, and some anger, yes men are supposed to have these reactions too. I know right? Crazy stuff!

Being told “Well you knew she was daffy when you married her so that makes it okay”: A knuckle sandwich.

An authority figure concluding that in their “tender years,” your kids are better off with your ex-wife and you get to see them every other weekend: More resentment, more anger, and some wonderment about how the “justice” system could be so wrong and unjust…because ya know what? It is. And, a thought or two spared for other men and their kids, who are being similarly wronged by the same system. Because ya know what? It’s really happening.

A steady stream of commercials in which the smart wife is using the right product and the dopey husband is using brand X: Resignation, a touch of sadness, quick changing of the channel, and a mental note not to buy the product. No, men are not obliged to maintain a “sense of humor about themselves.” If they were, we would have to grapple next with the troublesome question about whether such commercials are really funny…

The lady jogger in the skimpy shorts indignantly asking what the hell you’re looking at: As the punchline to the old joke says, the correct response is “What you’re showing me.”


Yes, Take-A-Knee is a Problem

Friday, September 29th, 2017

Men of the West:

The real reason this is a problem is because it’s an assault from the political left on our culture as Americans. The SJW’s have invaded yet another space and are demanding that everybody virtue signal for the right causes or else…

Conservatives and Christians have been losing the culture since the 1960’s. Every time there’s a new front that opens, we fall back. Churches lose their tax exempt status if they say something that upsets a politician, and it’s just accepted, and we fall back. Abortion is shoved down our throats, and we fall back. The government taxes us to pay for abortion, and we fall back. Prayer gets thrown out of public schools and we fall back. Christmas becomes a hateful word, and we fall back. The government takes over health care, demands we pay for abortion and abortifacients, and we fall back. Marriage – a sacrament of the Church – is taken from us and perverted in ways that the Church can only consider to be heresy, and we fall back. Lets face it, our backs are to the wall…

…I see “Conservatives” taking shots at Donald Trump when he says something right, but just in a way that they don’t approve of, and that’s why we keep losing these fights.

Conservatism will always be more timid than liberalism, though. It’s a structural difference. Liberals are the little kid who wants to have candy before dinner, and conservatives are the concerned parent asking questions the little kid isn’t asking: How much candy? How long before dinner? Are you going to declare yourself “full” with your plate only a third of the way empty and your vegetables untouched, like last time? And the time before that and the time before that? No? Why am I to doubt it?

The problem is we’ve been told a lie all this time, and accepted the lie, about what conservatism is. It isn’t resistance to change. It’s asking sensible questions. If it were just mindless resistance, as forceful and as unquestioning as “lean-forward” progressivism, there would be no influence differential because it would be equally appealing to those who refuse to discuss things.

The thing to fix is there. People who refuse to discus things. Conservatism will always wither and die, in a setting where it’s cool to think like a kid and act on impulse all of the time. It is an ideology for adults, who eat their vegetables before dessert, and want to know about long term consequences and what things cost.

On Protesting

Wednesday, September 27th, 2017

All protesting is not necessarily free speech.

And, all free speech is not necessarily protesting.

Protesting does have a point to it. If I were to say “protesting is not free speech, stop protecting it, get rid of it” you would no doubt be inclined to say “You’re wrong, Freeberg!” And you’d be right; I’d be wrong. The function protesting provides our society is important, and irreplaceable. It protects us against the charismatic demagogue, as a bulwark against mob rule. It empowers us so we can’t be enslaved to the “Everyone who’s anyone agrees with me!” thing. Sometimes we need to see someone stand up and say “Not everyone. I don’t agree.”

In the last several decades, a trolley has come off the tracks because the protest, itself, has become the platform of “Everyone who’s anyone agrees with me.” Also, for the protest to fulfill the vital function discussed in the paragraph above, it has to be associated with a narrative that is provable, or at least one whose truth can be plausibly suggested and sustained — and is coherent.

The term “peaceful protest” is way overused lately. If you’re blocking me on my way to work or some other errand, your protest is not peaceful because you’re interfering in the activities of other people who have nothing to do with the subject of your protest, people who’ve done nothing to you. There is a myth floating around that this is a necessary ingredient, that the protester’s job is to see to it people are forced to pay attention, deprived of the option to ignore. That’s false. Force is force. Initiating force is not peaceful.

Football players “taking a knee” are not guilty of this. They are interfering with exactly nothing; but, they are taking advantage of a captive audience, spoiling what should be a fun time for people who are not involved in the subject of the protest one way or another. They have the right. And, others have the right not to like it. And to talk about how they don’t like it, effectively creating a protest-against-the-protest. Which seems, to me, more successful than the original knee-taking protest.

What the football players are really guilty of doing, though, is leaving out the coherent narrative. They want what? Do you know? Tell me, because I don’t know. But you can’t because you don’t know either. That’s because the protest has become a mere act, without a unifying message, apart from “look at me I’m part of the protest.”

Not saying it should be banned, but if it is, I’ll not be crying over it. For an infringement upon free speech to occur, there has to be some actual speech being infringed upon. There’s none here.

The coherent message has to be somewhat complete. When I was a young lad there were some local shops, some of which were franchises of large chains, placed on the receiving end of labor strikes because the latest union negotiations were thought, by some, to be unfair. So the “workers” demonstrated. Side note: They were under intense pressure to see to it everyone around them could get past them, and go where they were intending to go, free from any interference whatsoever. Even the “scabs” who were replacing them, and the customers crossing the line. That was a don’t-even-think-about-violating-it rule. And it got dicey, because people got close together.

We were all surrounded by the message that the protesters were in the right, though. The latest negotiations were unfair. But the details were nobody’s business. No one ever explained to me how I was morally obliged to conjure up some well-intentioned passion, and sympathize with these protesters for the unfair terms of work that were being imposed upon them, but at the same time it wasn’t any of my business to know how these terms were unfair.

It’s forty-some years later and I still haven’t been provided with a good answer to that question.

“Restoring Due Process on Campus”

Monday, September 25th, 2017

Fox Nation:

By The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board

The Education Department announced Friday it is formally rescinding its guidance on how colleges and universities should adjudicate sexual assault under Title IX, ending a policy that denied basic due process to accused students and was often used to silence dissenting voices on campus.

Eschewing the rule-making procedures required by the Administrative Procedure Act, the Obama Administration imposed this far-reaching policy through a 2011 “Dear Colleague” guidance letter, providing additional clarification in 2014.

In contrast, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos withdrew the guidance only after she had spent months carefully considering the perspectives of all parties affected by the Title IX regime. Her listening campaign will continue as she solicits public comment on a new draft rule.

On Friday the Education Department also provided schools with a Q&A outlining how they should handle allegations of sexual assault, misconduct and harassment in the interim. It addresses the most minimal fairness issues, which speaks volumes about the Obama-era directives. The agency’s Office for Civil Rights felt the need to explicitly require these provisions for clarification.

For instance, the department now says, Title IX investigators should be free from bias and conflict of interest, and they should consider both incriminating and exculpatory evidence. Imagine that. Accusers shouldn’t be given preferential treatment over the accused during the adjudication process, and training materials and investigative techniques shouldn’t include gender-based stereotypes or generalizations.

I haven’t commented on this much, save for the occasional reference to an on-campus rape hoax. I’ve been trying to educate myself on what “guidance from the Education Department” has to do with due process, or what the institution that is the college has to say about what’s supposed to be a function of the police, and the justice system. I’m still unclear on the basics there.

The motivation behind what’s been happening, however, I think I understand with crystal clarity. Our technologically advanced society, in recent years, has been moving into a posture in which it should not & cannot expect any further significant technological advancement; into the mode of “Everything worth inventing has been invented already,” or to express it with a bit more pinpoint accuracy, “Next thing that gets invented had better be invented by someone female, or else don’t bother us with it.”

This is a diving posture, the posture of a society on a downgrade. “Who exactly is stopping the car from going over the cliff, or trying to get the baby out of the back seat? If it isn’t the right hero, then let her go.”

But this has not been some rash impulse. It’s been planned. We want more chicks to succeed, that means we want fewer dudes. Women have caught up & passed men in college enrollment, in earning degrees, in career advancement, and in a number of other metrics…but there’s no sign of anyone slowing down on, or reconsidering any policies anywhere. Because all this is not some unforeseen side-effect, it is the point. Checking out, sitting down, playing video games their whole lives is exactly what men are supposed to be doing.


Succeeding, building something? That just creates problems. But it’s a whole lot less likely you’ll succeed or build something, if you’re under the microscope all the time for a crime you may or may not even be thinking about doing. If you don’t get to enjoy due process. If you could be convicted, at any time, without having done anything.

The natural and expected response, for anyone put in a situation like that, is to hunker down and lumber onward under a cloud of lifelong mediocrity. The nail that sticks out is the one that gets hammered.

That’s the point. Make the boys sit down, so the girls have a chance to do something amazing…in their own time, on their own terms, on an uncrowded field. And if they don’t, well, it’ll be a generation or two without anything significant being done by anybody, well spent. We’ll just lower the standards on what’s “amazing.”

Barack Obama’s Intelligence

Sunday, September 24th, 2017

I could very well be imagining it, but it seems like lately there is an uptick in interest in the magnitude of our 44th President’s intellectual horsepower. Those asking the question are taking great pains to put up an appearance of being non-partisan…which I find to be snort-worthy.

On the question they’re asking, I cannot bring myself to be quite so opinionated one way or the other. I find I’m lacking in three key pieces of information:

Obama Giving a SpeechOne. Evidence establishing a limit. He certainly did look like a dope when He said “We can’t drill our way to lower gas prices” and we ended up more-or-less doing exactly that. But like any other ensuing events that run against His stated expectations, the question arises about whether Obama really is a fool or whether He was merely speaking to fools. It is quite a conundrum, and I believe you’re going to see it arise to confront in any situation in which PrezBO made a losing call. The one obvious exception that comes to mind is Hillary’s election loss last November; we can believe with some measure of confidence Obama truly wanted her to win, and truly thought she would. But, that fooled just about everyone. Myself included. So my verdict on the known-cap against His intelligence, until more information comes along, is that there isn’t one. Obama could very well be smarter than Einstein was on his best day; godlike. We have nothing that definitively establishes otherwise, no rock-solid proof of some judgment call, or logical problem, that He gave an honest effort to solve before coming up short on it.

Two. Evidence establishing a baseline. Do we have proof that He is at least a certain level of smart? His fans, still struggling to keep up their patina of non-partisanship, point to the fact that He was a college professor and His obviously superior speaking ability. Mmmm…I just don’t know. The “professor” title remains controversial, and as for the speaking ability, it actually makes a negative impression on me and not just because of the differences in our politics. From dealing with sales-n-marketing types as a software developer, I’m leery of this. A strong personal favoritism toward the activity of giving speeches, which let’s face it, that’s what Obama’s “speaking ability” is — doesn’t strongly correlate with an ability to recognize reality. And without that, how does one learn? Also, would these fans extend the hero-worship to a pale-white, male, member of Donald Trump’s inner circle who spoke exactly the same way as Obama? All the mispronunciations, “corpsman,” “Pakistan,” “ISIL,” the fifty-seven-states, all the “uhs.” And if we could indulge me in cutting through yet another layer of fossilized fecal material — the last item on that list, is a gimmick. Isn’t it just obvious? Listen to Barack Obama say “uh,” pay attention to what comes afterwards, and seriously ask yourself if, in His shoes, you really need some extra thought to come up with that. Again we have to wonder if Obama’s a fool, or is merely speaking to fools. It’s sure not a sign of intelligence, in any case. Making an “uh” sound? I can do that if you ask if I’m fully awake in the morning, before I get coffee.

Three. Evidence for relevance. Out of the three, this one perplexes me the most. Really. I struggle to come up with a scenario, any one whatsoever within the realm of the possible from this moment forward, under which we should care about whether Barack Obama is a lightworker genius, a drooling idiot, or anything in between. Why ask in 2017? In 2008 I could see it. But now?

Memo For File CCVI

Wednesday, September 20th, 2017

A boy, fourteen or so, young farm-laborer, fell down a well. All of the farmhands gathered around, doing whatever they could to save him. Men brought ropes. They lowered the ropes, lowered baskets on the ropes, even lowered some men on the ropes. Nothing worked.

Day turned into night, night turned into day. The ropes would be lowered, the boy would yell up that he had hold of the rope, the men would pull…and then they’d feel the separation, keep pulling and they’d pull out a tattered end. Over and over they tried. Sometimes things looked hopeful. But, always with the same results.

And then, on the fourth agonizing day…someone took a look at all the failed ropes. And they noticed they were not torn, they were cut…all evidently, and with some more examination provably, with the same blade…

Living in Fear of Their Fussy Wrath

Monday, September 18th, 2017

A funny thing happened when Brooke Baldwin interviewed Clay Travis…

Hmm. Seems we have a cultural conflict of sorts going on there.

This is something that has fascinated me for awhile. But, looking back over the years, it seems to me sometimes like I haven’t been fascinated with it nearly enough. Our whole cultural trajectory, if you want to call it that, has been determined over terms of time both long & short, by the squeamishness of political figures and news commentators who claim to be listening to what’s going on from sea to shining sea; paradoxically, when these figures run into something outside their milieu of comfort it’s “Omigaw” time and they turn into the Wicked Witch of the West after the water treatment. And, they’re essentially advertising the notion that what they’ve seen is well outside of anything they’ve ever encountered before. Reporters like Baldwin don’t seem to understand how this compromises their suitability for the rest of what they’re trying to do.

Really? You’re supposed to be bringing me news? And that pantsuit wonder and that alto gelding over there want to represent my state in Washington…yet your worlds are so tiny?

I’m particularly fond of the gentleman on the left. At 2:37 “I also love women as well…” but “boobs” throws him into a tailspin. I’d like to see where a five-minute conversation about this, not on his terms, would end up going. Oh yes, everything good about women I notice right away, except that! And those! And other things. I only notice the good things about women that are just as good about men! But I loves me some women! In, uh, certain ways. Not those, or anything else that would make women different. In any way at all.

Reminds me of one of my favorite recently-discovered cartoons:

Kurt Schlichter made some insightful observations about it…

What was A-OK yesterday is now forbidden, and what was forbidden yesterday is now mandatory. Their goal is to keep our heads spinning and paralyze us with fear, like nearsighted corporals caught in a minefield and terrified that if we take one wrong step we will detonate a concealed wrongthink booby-trap. They want us living in fear of their fussy wrath, and that is precisely why it is so important for us to keep abreast of pseudo-scandals like this so we can nip these libfascists’ schemes in the bud and deny them the ability to rack up yet another victory in the culture war.
Are women the strong, powerful equals of men, or fragile flowers who wilt at the mere mention of lady parts? It depends on which one is the most useful to the liberal narrative right then and there. Can you talk about lady parts? Apparently the new rule is that you can’t, at least in the normal context of heterosexual men citing the parts that they like. But if you want to wear a gynecological sombrero on your pointy head, apparently that’s muy bueno.

Part of the strategy behind the new rules is to not actually have any firm rules, to make you so uncertain and timid that you’re unwilling to take any action because anything you do, at any time, can be a violation of a rule that didn’t exist 30 seconds before. If you do talk about female body parts, you’re wrong because you’re insulting womyn, and if you don’t talk about female body parts, you’re wrong because you are invisibling womyn. Basically, if you don’t have any female body parts, you’re just wrong all of the time. Unless you have fake female body parts and betrayed your country; then you are America’s greatest hero and a martyr to Harvard’s infamous legacy of transphobia. Or something.

Schlichter, true to his first paragraph, spends much of the column advocating some sort of push-back, a resistance or counter-attack. Well, he’s a warrior. I think he may be over-complicating it. I could be wrong, but I believe most people look at this the way I look at it…what an adorable level of ignorance, the “news” airhead can’t comprehend that men like boobs.

That’s what forty or so years of “You have a swimsuit calendar visible on your desk, you’re OMG so so fired” gets you.

But what about decency? What about what you’d say in front of your own mother? My mother would’ve seen the humor. “Boobs”? Where I work…ah, depends on who’s in earshot. People do say much worse where I work. We don’t really have to worry about females melting down into the floorboards, wailing away about “But I’m a woman! What if he’s talking about me??” That would be silly, since they wear ugly green camo uniforms and no one can see enough of their boobs to even speculate. They’re also made of much tougher stuff than Brooke Baldwin.

Who lives, along with others like her, in a tiny, tiny world. That’s the point. It’s a case of the tiny “kingdom” banishing people to the outer side of its village gates, and realizing belatedly it’s been banishing itself.

Feminism is what pushed us down the wrong road here. It’s this business of “If you notice good things about women that actually make them different from men, you must not be capable of seeing anything they do that men could also do.” This false mutual exclusivity, the one-or-the-other thing. Somehow, that became legislated, without anyone actually voting on it, as the only way to go here. That was wrong.