Archive for October, 2017

The Pinkwashing

Sunday, October 8th, 2017

So, the Z-Man posted this, which bulls-eyes a hitherto-undiscussed rationale behind this whole “take a knee” nonsense…

As our society has become feminized, everything is drenched in politics. You see it with the NFL protest debacle. Men watch sports to enjoy seeing men compete with one another in ritualized combat. Men don’t care about what the combatants think about anything, including the combat. Interviews with coaches are to be focused on the strategy of the game, not the guy’s feelings about life. Player interviews are only interesting because most players are black now, so they say wacky and stupid things.
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In a feminine society like ours, it is just a matter of time before masculine things like sports are either made girlish or relegated to the fringe. Boxing, for example, still exists, but only as a fringe sport done by foreigners. UFC has managed to gain an audience, but again, it is as a renegade activity, done underground and on pay-per-view. White mothers will never be taking their sons to UFC camp. They can tolerate martial arts, just as long as it is white boys in bathrobes, safely pretending to be Jackie Chan.

This is why football is so much trouble. Peak professional football was probably a dozen years ago. It was around then that white mothers, especially divorced middle-class mothers, started turning against youth football. They did not want their little baby being run over by black kids. That’s why the concussion hysteria gained traction. It’s a ready made excuse for pulling the white kids out of football, that lets white women pretend it is not racism driving their decision. After all, they loved Will Smith in the concussion movie!

It’s why the NFL’s decision to let their blacks kneel during the anthem is going to be a disaster for them. The owners signed off on it thinking it added drama and would therefore draw in girls, because girls and girly-men like drama. Instead, those kneeling black players are a stark reminder to white women that the sport of football is for violent black men, not nice suburban white boys. Youth participation in football is collapsing and this will only serve to accelerate it. The NFL has now made football anti-white and un-American.

Let us start here with where I find it more difficult to agree, before proceeding to the other. I do find the pigeonholing to be troublesome. I try to avoid it myself, which I’m sure is an effort that doesn’t show. But, to say “women act this way and men act that way,” while the observation may be true 90% of the time or more, the 90% is on a noticeable decline year after year, precisely because of the forces at work identified here by Z. As the pinking continues, men are acting more like women and, conversely, women are acting more like men.

I would be remiss in failing to mention this in light of recent events. Just this week our ground floor office was invaded by a mouse. Being immersed in porting one change at a time over the last two months from one application to another application, a process that is many times more tedious than the dreaded documentation, I was gradually made aware of the rodent incursion by way of the loudness of the human reactions, over the better part of an hour. From the dudes, I noticed…the manly, manly, green-camo-wearing, boot-camp-surviving, returned-from-deployment, maybe-killed-somebody dudes…they were, as we say in military and military-contractor parlance, fucking loud.

I couldn’t help but notice the chicks in our office were as “manly” as you would care to expect. They just kept eyes down, photocopying their invoices or whatever like it was any other day. The chatter came from the Y-chromosome set. Now it’s true that the greatest portion of this was volume-setting-eleven observations that some other dude, let it be known, is afraid of mice. That, and banging on the locked office cubicle into which the illegal alien ensconced itself to scare it back out again. Perhaps this is in contrast to the noise the females would be making, if they made the noise, but see…there is the sticky wicket. I wouldn’t know. The chicks, contrary to the cartoon stereotype, were quiet about it. People call me sexist sometimes. With justification, they & some others would say. But, I do notice these things, and give credit where it’s due. If the image of the screeching woman perched atop a chair yelling her fool head off was ever based on reality in generations past — something has changed.

So I don’t like using references to male behavior and female behavior. They do exist…but, we’re losing them and at a pretty good clip. The average age in my work setting is roughly half of mine, my boss is younger than I am, and I’m not on safe ground making references to popular culture as recent as…hmmm, the last one to give me trouble. The older Robocop, yeah. See? So part of writing is making sure people understand what you’re talking about, and I succeed at that game roughly half the time if I really try. “Fight like a man,” these days, refers to something like a nerd-slap-fight. I’m thinking Sean Connery throwing a vicious right hook, my audience might very well think, I dunno…get kidnapped so some girl has to rescue you or something.

Writing for humans is like writing an interface for a new code library. Make the function calls easy to understand, hard to misunderstand…

Everybody's Equal But We're In ChargeI did not make this problem. The Z-Man didn’t make it either. We did not make it so that “manly-behavior” and “womanly-behavior” have lost all meaning and can no longer be used to reliably communicate thoughts in writing. Feminism did that, and it did it by design. This is part of its own internal contradiction, the thing that makes it inherently dysfunctional even according to its own rules. Men, you see, are entirely disposable because women are strong, and capable of doing everything men can do…and yet, at the same time, any distinctions between the two are culturally driven, arbitrary, unnatural and therefore invalid. The two sexes are the same in every way, it’s just that one of them is so much better and should be running things.

It can’t work. Ever. Not really. And yet when it fails, it’s all your fault.

To the other part of it: Yes parents, of both sexes I would argue, weenied out of football. I’ll go along with the idea that the moms started this, although I have doubts about the racial angle. From having lived through it at the time, from my vantage point it looked like the whole crushing mob-think initiative of “Everything the baby does must be 100% safe.” The peanut-allergy thing rather mystified me, although I lost no time in linking it to helicopter-mom new-wives-tale fever. Soy! Herbs! Oh heavens no, keep the baby away from that…what’s this? A local girl dropped dead from eating peanut butter? What’s going on? I can get that kids get tender when they’re deprived of a challenge, but that’s evolution, which even on the micro scale takes thousands and thousands of years…what is this? Well it turns out, I wasn’t far off at all. Kids are supposed to eat peanuts and when they grow into teen-hood without them, that’s where the trouble starts. And, well yes, that’s what happened to football. As a childhood sport, it’s something Those Other Kids can play. That’s because trips to the emergency room are things Those Other Parents can do.

So now the team owners are outsmarting themselves, according to Z-Man’s theory. All sexes are the same but the females should be running things, so goes the conventional wisdom…where the female sensibilities go, so goes society. So let’s inject some drama into football and get the girls to watch. I find this delicious, because it’s even more sexually discriminatory than I am — no mean feat, that, heh heh. And it’s roughly akin to a housefly taking a shortcut through a web.

Chicks are watching football already. Or, they were. But when they watch, they’re interested in the same things that interest the guys. Combat. Not drama.

We cannot safely associate this behavior with females anymore now that the guys are doing it too. But, we need to observe it, take note of it. You can’t form a solution to a problem until you define what the problem is. This “pinkwashing” is not confined to the relatively tiny wash-bucket that is football, it’s splashing around and hitting everything inside & outside of the car, in the yard, the garage, the house.

It’s even infecting the “science,” I notice:

The researchers conducted three experiments in which undergraduate students were required to perform tasks. In one, students were asked to search online for a blender and report the lowest price they could find with the possibility of winning a cash prize. The price search task was rigged, however, and a computer would inform all participants that the lowest price was $3.27 less than what they found. All failed to win the $50 cash prize.

Some participants were asked to focus on emotions as they learned the results and others their cognitive response, such as rationalizing factors for why they didn’t succeed. During the next similar task, participants that focused on their emotional response to failing exerted more effort than those who emphasized a cognitive response.

“I do think people will be surprised that allowing themselves to feel bad about a failure can improve performance more than thinking about that failure in some instances,” Nelson said. “The kinds of thoughts — like rationalizing a failure — people tend to come up with are sometimes counterproductive.”

This time, let’s talk first about where I agree.

I can see some merit to this, especially if the computer rigged the game the first go-round. Anger, it is often said, is where people stop being poor and start putting together a plan to manage their household finances more responsibly. Anger is where people stop gaining weight and get motivated to start losing it. It is a form of self-loathing that carries a certain radiant heat not found in the other kind of anger, the anger directed at others. I suppose this kind of passion is just like money, or love; whatever problems you have that result from not having enough of it, more of the stuff will fix just those problems. Just those, no others. But, more of whatever’s missing will fix the problems that came about because it was missing, and missing passion is often the problem with not enough money, too much debt, or a too-quickly expanding waistline.

(Glances at mirror)…uh…so I’ve been told…

Or, sucking at your rigged-then-not-rigged computer blender-shopping game.

Now all that having been said, the question arises — ONCE AGAIN — what kind of “researcher” puts together an experiment such as this? An impartial researcher, adhering dogmatically to the rigors of scientific discipline, who has no idea how the result will materialize, and doesn’t care to form such an idea before the data have been gathered? This is difficult to see. And by “difficult to see” what I really mean is laughable…

The experiment itself is laughable too. We rely on these productive passions to drive some of our efforts, like trimming fat from our household budget and from the ol’ midsection, and we rely on horse sense and cognitive ability for other efforts we plan to try again, after a previous go has resulted in failure. It depends on the task. It’s probably a waste of time for me to even point it out, let alone to come up with a list for examples, for I’m sure we all have our own examples we could produce if we really try. Mine…lessee…I guess it would be when I let the battery die and I needed a jump. I had the cables, but not the experience jumping a car from the era in which we’re living now. Long & short of it was, I learned the hard way, and through my cognitive abilities not by way of my “feelings,” that cars these days have so much plastic and so little metal that the time’s come to ditch the old procedure about clipping the black clamp to the frame. Actually, that’s probably been a stupid piece of advice for awhile now…it was a case of “that’s the way we always done it.” And I’m sure it looks silly no matter the excuse, to someone in this era who doesn’t know about the old Robocop.

Now we’re in our fourth year as homeowners, I have other examples…many others…that’s home. And then there’s work. As application developers, we are victims of our own success, with many people using the systems we’ve built. Oh my, the things we have learned. From the people. About people. Last problem we solved together was…well, it was a matter of weeks ago. More like days, really. The problem had to do with people using our system in a way contrary to what we intended, and no, we would not have made progress by concentrating on how the prior efforts made us feel. In point of fact, as is usually the case, one might say we’d done an adequate job of trying that already.

As always, for the real answer, look at the old people. They do not feel the need to define themselves, and if they did, they wouldn’t do it through any sort of rage, directed at themselves or others. “Ooh this makes me feel so mad!” is a game for the young. If something perplexes and the choice is there to use emotions or cognitive abilities, the old people can be counted on to…well, probably have their grandchildren do it next time they come visiting. Point is, though, along the way they had the chance to jettison the Hulk-mad-smash battle-tactic, and/or the figure-out-cause-and-effect one too. The former gets ditched first. Even when the natural ability to support it was never quite there, the latter one continues to hang around as long as it displays some occasional usefulness. The smashy-smashy one has to go first. The ticker can’t take it for too long, so if they keep losing it around every formidable challenge that arises, into the golden years, typically they don’t make it to the golden years at all. When you look at the old people who are still here, makes sense that you’re seeing what’s been left, what’s managed to survive. The “research” is bogus.

Have Jimmy Kimmel CryIt’s been pinkified. It bears repeating, don’t go blaming it all on the chicks, the dudes are acting pink too and they’re getting pinker.

Nevertheless, the pinkwashing continues, just like a stupid dog that keeps on eating because it can’t comprehend the primitive idea of “I’m not hungry anymore.” I remember The Man Show, Season One Episode One, “Oprahization,” oh would you look at that it’s a real word now…”a dam to hold back the tidal wave of feminization,” the brain behind it belonging to one Jimmy Kimmel. Yes, that Jimmy Kimmel, who in this day & age has become the poster child for crying to get what you want. In undergoing this transformation, and willingly, Kimmel has also become the emblem of the pinkwashing. Things that just a handful of years ago were insulated from the toxic stew of this “feminization,” and in his case in fact even stood as a bulwark against it, have succumbed.

I’m thinking there’s got to be some sort of way for me to make money off this. We have a lot of people heading off in a direction that the conscientious observer knows full well — by way of using his cognitive abilities, which are looked down upon with disdain by the “scientific research” like you see quoted above — leads to a dead end. No, high-drama for its own sake doesn’t make anything better. Anywhere. It is a solvent that dissolves whatever it touches. Rapidly some of the time, very slowly most of the time, but, well there it is.

The take-away? This is yet another in a long list of transformations we have seen, over a relatively short period of time, each of which is enshrouded in a bumptious confidence so tough on the outside and so unrelenting on the inside, as to command error. And yet, no one really wants it. You have to ask, Who is building this new world? Because you have to ask in the same way, Who wants this world? The answer is nobody. Nobody wants to live in a place where our public policy is flipped in an instant, like a pancake, because some late night comedian cries. Where science tells people to stop puzzling things out logically and stew in their emotions, if they want to succeed — so that you have to wonder now how the scientists are putting together their science. Where football has become a protest without an actual message, with the game-play as an afterthought.

Nobody really wants these things. Nobody.

So how did we get here?

We got here because people got too concerned about maneuvering conversations by forcing abrupt topic-shifts, so they could climb atop the din like a pile of junk in a yard, and self-genuflect from the apex about how they, in their individual status, turned out to be right about everything.

Without devoting sufficient concern to what is and is not really true.

Memo For File CCVII

Saturday, October 7th, 2017

Liberals, as Thomas Sowell pointed out twenty years ago, dominate comedy, fiction and drama. Why they don’t dominate something else is obvious. Their required attachment to reality isn’t there. They think gender is a matter of opinion, ObamaCare was awesome, and the Clintons have a wonderful marriage.

The mystery, to me, is why they “dominate” even what they dominate. They think a reference to Chris Christie being overweight is a great punchline.

They don’t even try for drama. Haven’t you noticed? You’d think a one-trick pony would at least know the trick, but liberal drama is heavy on effort and light on achievement. All liberal drama breaks down into “A is a victim because B victimized A. C is completely oblivious to this but D is sufficiently enlightened to notice A’s victim-status, and this makes D a GOOD PERSON. The end.” Go on, think of something liberals put together that falls outside of this. Better yet, think of something they put together that doesn’t…and, somehow, scored Oscar gold. With you being left wondering why, thinking you’re the only one. See how we’ve been rooked? Damn you, Dickens.

Oh sure, the rest of us keep lapping it up and demanding seconds, because, through over-exposure all these years, we’ve lost our sense of perspective. We’re like some weird other-culture, maybe like the future world in Demolition Man, where all the gourmet Mexican restaurants are Taco Bell because no one can remember ever having had anything better.

This was not an overnight thing. No publisher accepted a manuscript from Charles Dickens and decreed “That’s it, from this day forward this is what drama is, burn everything else.” In my lifetime, we had Westerns, tales of good rising up to confront evil. In fact, even the Westerns were rehashes. Pale Rider is the same story as Shane, and so is Steel Dawn. These are all stories about oppressors and victims, but they also had battle-climaxes near the end where the hero would mete out justice against the villains. These days some “action” movies still have battle-climaxes near the end, but you can see this staple is living on borrowed time. The other vital piece, “So-and-so has been victimized, nobody can see it except these sensitive, intelligent, enlightened people over here” is going strong. Well of course it is; it’s still in the prime of life. The “Shane” story-line doesn’t include enshrinement of some noble Olympus-inhabiting class of elite demigods uniquely endowed with the ability to see injustice; the injustice was a matter of fact.

This is why I say, I can’t understand why liberals dominate drama. In real drama, you have to have a meaningful event or two happening. “A is a victim, B is the oppressor, C is the ignoramus and D is uniquely enlightened sage who can see what’s wrong” — if it is true at the end, it will all have to be true at the beginning. Right? If everything that’s true and that matters at the beginning, is still true at the end, there’s no place to put any kind of a story. You can’t have a plot. And, indeed, when I look at this depressing wilderness of movies made by liberals, I see they tend to strain under this problem. There is no plot, because nothing is happening, and nothing is happening because there’s no shift in these roles. The victim is still a victim. The ignoramus is still an ignoramus and the enlightened empathy-authority is still an enlightened empathy-authority. Maybe the oppressor stops oppressing, but that’s all you get.

The teevee shows are even worse. Episode after episode, season after season; the cast-core is D. Oh look how enlightened and sensitive we are…everyone else is a bunch of ignoramuses, but we can see what sort of victimizing took place. Maybe we’ll even do something about it. Maybe. But the important thing is we’re sensitive to it and we acknowledge it. And so-and-so is a victim.

I’m afraid what’s getting jettisoned here is something bigger than all of this. Like…the concept of time. A future. A situation getting meaningfully improved. People enjoying freedom, at the end of a story, that they didn’t have at the beginning. Moses did something — because, with his people liberated from Egypt, a Jewish state became possible. And then Sampson did something, and then David did something, and then Christ did something. No wonder liberals hate the Bible. It upstages them.

Their drama is boring, because the doing-of-something is decidedly secondary. The primary is “Lookit me, I have empathy and I can see.”

I don’t know why liberals dominate drama. I really don’t.

The Demolition-Man Taco Bell analogy is apt. It’s on the rest of us. We’ve settled because we don’t know any better.

Making Mistakes and Being Wrong

Sunday, October 1st, 2017

I’ve occasionally noticed, when arguing with strangers on the Internet that I figure out are still in college or have only recently graduated (it isn’t tough), I can completely discombobulate them simply by admitting I’ve been wrong about something. Sometimes if I’m in an extra snarky mood I’ll tell them I make ten or more mistakes every day before they even think about getting out of bed, which in many cases is probably true. Trouble is, if this assault is fitting for the target, it’s difficult for the dialogue to proceed because it’s like introducing the concept of days-of-week to a barnyard animal, or depth to some kind of stencil-creature from a two-dimensional universe. Willing to admit you’ve ever been wrong about something? My professor didn’t teach me how to deal with this! What is this strange brew?

What’s really going on here is arrested development. No, that’s not a reference to a man in his fifties getting in Internet arguments with strangers…although that may apply too. No, I’m referring to the fastening of an identity, not so much to the specific assertion being made, but to the lofty goal of being right. Five-to-seven year olds argue this way: I’m smart-n-right, you’re wrong-n-dumb. They grow up, graduate high school, go to college which is supposed to be a proving ground for bold, diverse, innovative new ideas, and then graduate that. Still arguing the same way. I’m right you’re wrong, ALL the time…now what were we arguing about again? I forgot. But I’m still right.

And then…if they’re very unfortunate, they’ll achieve positions of leadership in some government agency. Which has some perks, but this way they might very well reach their coffins without ever understanding the virtues of being wrong about anything and having to admit it. Which is where the real learning begins.

As Thomas Sowell said,

Fiction and opinion are likewise dominated by the political left. If you can tell a good yarn, whether in a book or a motion picture, the only test you face is whether people will buy the book or go see the movie.

On TV talk shows, what matters is whether you can talk the talk that keeps people tuned in. You may scare the daylights out of them about fictitious dangers in apples or beef without a speck of evidence that you know what you are talking about. But, so long as it sounds good, that’s all that matters.

Any engineer, businessmen or athletic coach who knew no more about what he was doing than the talking heads on TV or foundation officials have to know would be heading for disaster in no time. When your bridge collapses or your business goes bankrupt or your team gets beaten again and again, you are history.

Nowhere are half-baked ideas more safe from facts than in government. When the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission assumes that statistical “imbalances” in a company’s work force show discrimination, the only test of that assumption is whether federal judges share it.
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One of the reasons why government absorbs so much money and takes on ever-increasing powers is that it is home to so many people whose beliefs could not withstand the draconian tests of science, the marketplace or a scoreboard. What we the taxpayers are ultimately paying for is their insulation from reality, as they pursue the heady pleasures of power.

As if that were not enough, the left promotes the idea that there is something wiser and nobler about having decisions made by third parties who pay no price for being wrong. That is called “public service” and it will undoubtedly be hyped in college commencement speeches this year — as it is every year — despite scandalous revelations in Washington or decades of economic failure and monumental human tragedies in left-wing governments around the world.

There is that famous quote often linked, erroneously it would seem, to Robert F. Kennedy: “There are those that look at things the way they are, and ask why? I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?” Liberals tend to seize on that specific quote, or at least the sentiment behind it, in their attempts to prop up their own ideology as some sort of wellspring that is responsible for gushing forth all human progress. I myself see it as a scathing indictment. Those of us who are capable of admitting we’ve been wrong about something, understand it is the asking of “why?” that is the real wellspring.

The ceiling fan over my head wobbles a bit. I thought there was a problem with the blades, mostly because this would be the cheapest thing to fix. Well, after removing the blades I discovered I was wrong and now I’m going to have to shell out a bit more money. If I were a liberal, I’d have no problem with the shelling-out-money part, of course; but, it would be blades blades blades, all the time, because they ask why-not instead of why. I was wrong earlier this week when I had to get up early, and set up my cell phone with an alarm clock, anticipating this would wake me & not my wife. Well, I got up a little after three without the benefit of the cell phone, and it’s a good thing I did. There was nothing wrong with how I set the alarm. I tested the sound for volume, made a prediction about whether I’d be able to hear it…and I was wrong. A lot of “why?” led me to that realization, which I’ll be using later. I’m just glad we both slept through it.

The point is, when conservatives and liberals have arguments, often they’re really arguing about the very concept of being wrong. Liberals, having stopped maturing at age five in a lot of ways, fasten their identities to just-being-right, nevermind what the subject of the disagreement is. The goal is to reach the coffin, without ever having admitted to being wrong about anything. Oh sure, you can make a policy that turns out to be wrong, and Those Other People will suffer for it, that’s quite alright…just don’t ever admit it.

This final paragraph in Sowell’s essay is particularly interesting to me, the one that begins “…the left promotes the idea that there is something wiser and nobler about having decision made by third parties who pay no price for being wrong.” I’m reminded of the several-months-long tempest in a teapot that occurred on these pages, about “George Washington never said ‘government is like fire, a dangerous servant and a fearful master.'” It turns out, maybe he didn’t, but the leftward-leaners bringing it to our attention wanted to raise the solidity of the debunking to the “We shall rightfully mock you if you dare disagree” status…and, try as they might, they weren’t able to substantiate it to that level. It landed over the imprimatur of “the experts.” What experts are those? You know…experts. The experts of the Mt. Vernon society. Who are they? It mattered because much of the debunking rested on an assertion that this didn’t seem to be “something Washington would have said,” something one of these experts wrote down without any explanation of what was meant by that. This conjecture, the subsequent back and forth revealed, was reproduced across the Internet to all sorts of places where the Washington quote was debunked…interestingly, today, I can’t find a single instance of it. There never was an explanation of what the expert meant by this: Writing style? Opinion about government? Neither? Both? Anyway…

Two things here. First, on Planet Liberal, the lack of identity actually enhances the credibility of the experts. Look around awhile, you’ll find many examples that reveal this is a love-of-big-government thing. “President Smith said” or “Senator Jones said” such-and-such a thing…lovers of big government will go, who? What? Even if Smith & Jones are their guys, still it’s just the word of a mere mortal. But — “The blue-ribbon commission issued a finding,” that’s wisdom from heaven. Who are you to disagree with the experts?? There is a psychology involved in this, one so well-established that our politicians started long ago to pander to it. And so you’ll notice everything’s a board, or a committee, or a panel, or a commission. It’s that “pay no price for being wrong” thing. Anonymity is a way to enhance the immunity, and as an additional benefit, in a perverse upside-down way of dealing with opinions, we the unwashed masses have shown we’re more likely to accept an opinion without a name attached.

Second thing: A conservative is going to wonder if the quote is genuine, and more importantly than that, what would Washington have thought of this warning. And more importantly than those two, what should the rest of us think about it. Whereas a liberal is going to scratch & claw for an opportunity to call someone else a big dopey doo-doo head who don’t know nuthin’…like a five-year-old. This doesn’t actually solve problems or make life better for anyone, whereas the realization that government can’t fix everything and isn’t motivated or positioned to fix anything, if given proper respect, just might do that. It’s said that a conservative is a liberal who got mugged, well, it might be more accurate to say a conservative is a liberal who put in his time waiting in line at the DMV. A lot of conservatives who are opposed to state-run health care used to have faith in government providing services and solving problems, before experience forced them to change their minds. You’ll notice liberals who insist they’re liberals because of their prior experiences, if you listen to those experiences, you’ll find they’re make-believe. It’s usually “If it were not for that government program, we would have starved to death.” They don’t actually know that. Here is the tragedy: They think they’ve been learning new things from their prior experiences, but they didn’t, they just kept on believing what they wanted to believe in the first place.