Archive for the ‘Poisoning Masculinity’ Category

Freeberg Paradox of Political Tempests

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

Posted to the Hello Kitty of Blogging tonight:

The Freeberg Paradox of Political Tempests: If you possess some superlative personal attributes that enable you to enter one, or be engulfed by one, and emerge as the last man standing, you’re probably not the sort I can personally trust with much of anything.

I’m thinking of a lot of things with that. I’m thinking of the character of Wesley Mouch; I’m thinking of some bosses I’ve had (some real, some pretend assholes who just wanted to be my boss). I’m thinking of that jackass Steny, the political party to which he belongs, and their general attitude right now. Which I would sum up as: Oh dear, we got our butt cheeks handed to us on a plate, those other guys are in charge now, so that must mean it’s oh so important to meet in the middle of the road and compromise. Yeah, right. That’s exactly what they were saying two years ago. Pffffft.

Also, those Pentagon dickheads coming after the Navy Captain for a video he made four years ago. Just wanting to make his guts into window dressing & confetti for the brand new DADT repeal.

Makes me want to barf. And you know why, if you have a brain: In such an organization where you can get sacked for making a video, if much later on down the line there’s some politically-charged change in policy and some scheming opportunists come sniffing around for blood to help highlight it…what sort of official manages to scurry to the top of such a heap? Someone honest? Sensitive? Respectful? A modern George S. Patton? Brilliant commander of logistics? Of tactics? Someone who loves diversity? Someone laboring tirelessly to make a new perfect world in which everybody enjoys mutual respect and tolerance?

Again: Pfffft. I’ll tell you who scurries to the top of such a heap. Lizards. Reptilian, cold-blooded creatures. Scavengers. Create the challenge, provide the vacuum, and the creepy-crawlies will scamper in to fill it.

And the more mature our society becomes, the more we’re providing this challenge. We’re rapidly approaching the point, assuming we haven’t reached it already, where everybody who has some weighty opinion to deliver on anything is some kind of cowardly scavenging reptile. Possessing no useful “superlative personal attribute” whatsoever, save for knowing when to stick the beady-eyed, scaly head out into the light, and when to pull it back in again.

Patton isn’t going to survive something like this. His head would be the first to be affixed to a pike. George Washington would be the next to go. And where does this leave us, in terms of providing a solid, robust, deadly defense for the country? It’s a serious matter.

Thing I Know #106. Making sure no one is offended, virtuous as it is, seems to be antithetical to real achievement.

Perfect Mike

Sunday, August 8th, 2010

Blogger MarkyMark received a note. I’ll just excerpt the entire thing.


I’m writing this to tell you of an old friend of mine, a man I greatly respected and the tale of his life. What makes this man special is the that by all accounts his life, his married life, working life, and family life, was a “success” by the standards laid down by modern society. I’ll call him Michael (not is real name) and he was a true blue worker, very intelligent, and raised to provide by two parents who stayed together and raised their son with strict Baptist values. He wasn’t all that handsome but invested his younger years diligently, pursuing an engineering degree at Duke University back when grade inflation didn’t exist (early 1960’s). The girls he dated, well, he didn’t date much as he was a nerd and being the 60’s the girls with the new freedom used that freedom to ride the cock train of football players and players in general. The new age of sexual emancipation left Mike at the station. Years after college Mike met a girl who had gotten her fill of the bad boys, and they started dating. True she was no virgin while Mike was, she’d had several relationships and relations before but she recognized the value of Mike in that he had a new job with an up and coming career track – computers! Misinterpretation of his prior religious teaching ordered him to forgive this girl’s past and instead focus only on the future. It was his duty after all. He married her and worked, hard. His father worked for the railroad and the company had taken care of him so Mike knew that this was the way to a good life. Work hard, and the company would reward and take care of you. Then the 1970’s hit with the Carter recession and all that loyalty and hard work amounted to nothing. Still he tried again, found another job (that forced him to move frequently) and this one wanted even more hours than the prior job. I remember him saying “It’s Friday do you know what that means? It’s only two more working days until Monday!” and off he’d go. Everyday. For 43 years. He had two children, a boy then a girl, and worked while his wife stayed at home. Later on after the children were out of high school Mikes wife dabbled a little here and there and worked part time occasionally for a convenience store. The extra money was nice but not enough so she pecked Mike continuously to make extra money. It was never enough. “Go tell your boss you need more! You should show him your value! A real man would provide for his children!” and on it went. Mike was getting older now, and had always had diabetes, a life long condition he had to treat with regular insulin injections. The shots were painful but he needed them to think straight. Of course there was the time he was laid off in 1980 with no insurance and the daughter needed braces. A real man knows when to put others first after all. And of course when the mother in law needed a new roof, and he really had promised his wife that new washing machine, and oh she needed to go see her mother for Christmas as well and airfare was so expensive. So the medicine(s) waited, more than once.

His children were boomerang types, his daughter slutted it up with a guy and moved in with him but later on came back home until she was able to snag a younger version of Mike. His son dropped out of college a few times and then came home to be a bum for 2 years after deciding that work was too nerve wracking. Mike would never throw his children out so they stayed for several more years. Several more. Finally when his son hit 28 he found a slut with a child from another guy and got her pregnant. The girl wanted a lavish wedding but his son was only working at a book store and couldn’t afford it – no big wedding so it seemed. Mike’s wife knew better of course, and argued with him for months about paying for the big day. She’d gotten a lavish wedding (thank you Mike) and didn’t Mike know how important a wedding is to his future daughter? Yes this was his vacation money, yes after so many years of hard work he was finally going to get to go do something he always wanted (to see the Northern lights in Alaska). Yes he was going to finally get that Harley Davidson and ride up there after 35 years of no vacations at all. BUT This was going to be his daughter according to his wife and his kids HAD to come first…. So the girl got her wedding. Then his real daughter needed help with a house. Her new husband turned out not to be a copy of Mike after all but a thug with a criminal record who had just lost his job. Why did his daughter lie about this guy to Mike? Her wedding was very expensive too. Oh well it was too late now and his daughter did need a place to live and she just found out she was pregnant! He didn’t have the money but his wife researched it and 2nd mortgages were so easy to get back then. True, his house after so many years of work was almost paid off but his grandchild needed a real home and there was no way his new son in law could afford it and Mike was told he could now work up to 10 hours more overtime if he wanted. 60 hours wasn’t too much of a sacrifice and he’d at least get a leg up on that promotion, maybe.

Another decade passed and after scrimping and saving and even more hard work the mortgages were paid off. In a rare perfect storm both children (now well into there 30’s with kids of their own) didn’t need something. The mother in law didn’t need a new appliance, or home repair, or another new car being long past her driving years. Yes, now, this was the time. Mike now 64, proudly strode into the Harley dealership and filled out a custom order sheet. In 8 weeks a shiny new Harley would arrive and he would get to ride it. He would finally take a vacation, his first real vacation since college. Sure his wife and kids had gone on many many vacations over the years but he always had stayed behind – to work. Something always came up. One time it was that there just wasn’t money or neighbors to take care of – of all things – the dogs! 3 Lassa’s that Mike never wanted yipping and shitting all over the place. Ugh… still at least his wife would get a vacation – she deserved it after all didn’t she? There was even that one time (he hoped it was just the one time) where he found out his wife had hooked up with an old boyfriend when she said she was going to visit her mother. He forgave her of course a divorce would have devastated his kids (he knew they were his – or at least he hoped) and of course he’d have lost everything with the divorce laws – besides wasn’t he a Christian? Shouldn’t he just forgive and forget? What does his pride or even himself matter? He had never cheated on her or even been with another woman – not even once – but that was normal and he knew that she appreciated that didn’t she?

The last big push before new years came at work and Mike was tired. His wife as always spent Christmas and new years with her mother – and he knew this time she really was with her mother – she was too old to cheat on him now wasn’t she? When she got back he would be free of dog sitting and he would take his new Harley on the road for the first time. Shiny and red, he hadn’t even ridden it yet. He read the owner’s manual 100 times and knew everything about it, he couldn’t wait and it was all he talked about at work! It was brand new and kept in the garage but he stripped the engine and cleaned and oiled everything just to make sure! It was polished, waxed, and hospital clean. All was ready. His first ride on his HIS!! brand new Harley to see the Northern lights. It was the culmination of his life’s work and now it was really going to happen. Mike was so excited.

On December 29th his daughter called and left an angry message on the tape machine. She wanted to visit but the snow was blocking the drive-way and she had her daughter and no snow shovel! Why the f**k hadn’t Mike shoveled the driveway? He knew she was coming to visit that lazy good for nothing piece of crap. NOTE: the words she used were in reality more caustic than this – I have lightened them considerably.

On January 3rd his son came to visit and found his father cold and lifeless surrounded by a ring of dog shit. He’d had a massive stroke, likely from the diabetes, and the paramedics said they thought that he didn’t suffer for long – but it was hard to tell. When Mike’s wife returned later on she immediately made plans to sell the house. She raged that Mike hadn’t left her enough life insurance and no instructions on what to do – what a irresponsible man what the hell was he thinking? He should have provided better for her especially since he knew she was too old to work! She was 62!!! Insurance was so expensive for someone in his condition but if he hadn’t squandered *their* money on that stupid bike he could have afforded it. Her old boyfriend George was so much more successful – oh how she regretted not marrying him! The bike was listed on Ebay that week. “Never ridden Harley – brand new! $17,000 or best offer”.

By every PC measure Mike’s life was a success. He worked his whole life for someone else and doubtless made millions for his bosses over the course of his career. He took care of 3 people and two grandchildren that would have been on the dole if not for his efforts, and paid punitive taxes to take care of many more along the way. He never collected a dime of social security or unemployment even when he was laid off – he was just too proud to file. He never took Medicare and he made lots of profit for 2 large banks, 2 colleges, and never once thought of himself. He died cold and alone, surrounded by shit, never once having done anything for himself. His epitaph was a bike on Ebay – his life’s dream – sold to a dealer for $15,500 – the best offer his widow could get several years ago. She took a cruise with the money. America thanks you Mike. You were a real success, and moreover a blueprint for what we expect a modern man to be. R.I.P.

“Narcissistic Men Typically Direct Their Rage at Straight Women”

Sunday, August 8th, 2010

Bloomberg Businessweek:

Ever met a guy who talks only about himself, thinks he’s superior to everyone and who tends to view women as little more than playthings?

That man may very well have narcissistic personality disorder, a condition marked by an inflated sense of self-importance and a profound lack of empathy for others.

And new research suggests the anger, hostility and short fuse that accompany a man’s narcissism tend to be directed toward straight women.

“Heterosexual, narcissistic men become enraged at people who deny them gratification, whether it’s social status, having a trophy partner or sexual gratification,” said lead study author Scott Keiller, a clinical psychologist and assistant professor of psychology at Kent State University Tuscarawas in Ohio.

“The group that could gratify heterosexual men the most is heterosexual women,” Keiller said. “To the extent narcissistic men would get resistance, that would make them enraged.”

Depressed NarcissistFor the study, published online July 23 in the journal Sex Roles, Keiller and his colleagues gave 104 male undergraduates questionnaires designed to measure narcissism. Questions included: “I love to be the center of attention” or “It embarrasses me when I am the center of attention.” The former is associated with narcissism, the latter with modesty and humility.

Another case of a white-coat pocket-protector clipboard-carrying propeller-beanie egghead conducting a study to “discover” what he wanted it to discover.

If you already see the dark side to this one, I know exactly what it is that concerns you. And your fears crystallize into reality right here:

None of the men questioned had diagnosable narcissistic personality disorder, said Keiller. But narcissism is a continuum, and plenty of the young men had a pronounced tendency toward those traits, he said.

Massive eyeball roll…steam coming out of ears…sputter, sputter. Does it even need to be said? Okay, let me lay it out right here:

Everything is a fucking continuum, asshole!

It isn’t that I can’t see some merit in what he’s trying to do. I recall, some twenty years ago…there was a software engineer on a project who started accusing me of stealing source code and taking it home. This was a small company, and he managed to get me put on some kind of “probation” — over nothing. No evidence, no appeal. I never even understood what set the whole thing off…for a few months…and then it became crystal clear. He blackmailed the boss. Something hadn’t gone his way, so he gave an ultimatum over the phone: He had the project at home and he was never going to come in again until some changes were made. He’d been projecting. Accusing others of doing what he, in fact, was doing.

That one had a whole kit bag packed full of emotional issues. But if he were to be given a test, would he be clinically diagnosed with a behavioral disorder? Maybe if you put him in front of one of those quacks that can find a disorder in just about everything…but that’s true of us all. My point is, he should have been found wanting of something — and maybe looking for mental health deficiencies is not the right approach.

Some of these people are just plumb happy with the way they’ve been made, and they think it’s right. Blackmailing the boss with stolen company assets and blaming someone else for it, is clearly unethical; but the other person might say it’s the only logical decision if there’s some larger mission to be fulfilled, and it can be achieved by no other means. Everyone has a justification for just about everything.

Actually, that’s what the word means. At least that’s what I’ve always thought of it to mean: I can justify anything in my own mind, so if I have any kind of ethical taxonomy, I might as well not have it.

I’d be more inclined to look for mental illnesses with regard to the technique of the blackmail. He wasn’t threatening to start his own company and bring the software to market; he was literally stealing the code. Whatthefuck?? We had backups.

But you know, the more I read about this study, the more Scott Keiller reminds me of that guy. Read that one more time:

“I love to be the center of attention” or “It embarrasses me when I am the center of attention.” The former is associated with narcissism, the latter with modesty and humility.

This is not to say that the only worthwhile man is one who will say “It embarrasses me when I am the center of attention.”

But the desire to obliterate others who are not exactly like yourself…is a continuum.

This is where the study really falls apart. Really, when you think about it, it’s delivering on its promise from stem to stern; there are narcissists out there, like my old “pal,” who would never be found to possess a genuine personality disorder and yet certainly should be. Without a study like this, the rational observer is forced to conduct an informal, unwritten study of his own. Heheh, trust me on that last one. If you were in the position in which I was placed two decades ago, you’d be going at it just as hard.

But the conflation between dysfunctional narcissism, and classically masculine traits, and the cognitive bias that is driven by this, is palpable. My one-line conclusion? Scott Keiller, from what I’m seeing here, is what he calls others.

His research deserves to be studied, just like the stuff his research studies deserves to be studied. In fact, his own mindset is probably even more worthy of inspection because Keiller is not the first “researcher” to let fly with it, and it bears great responsibility for putting our civilization where it is now: Males, in order to be worthy, must be weak, meek and mild. They should be inclined, even eager, to accept situations in which things are not done the way they think they should be done; they should be perpetually self-sacrificing. Females get a pass from all this. They mature more quickly and they know how to “nurture.”

It has deteriorated into yet another academic exercise with much detrimental effect and very little beneficial product in its wake. The propeller-beanie eggheads like Keiller want us to get rid of masculinity because they call it “narcissism”; we’ve accommodated them; now we have a society that is constantly pretending to be more certain about what to do, than it really is. It’s constantly confused. Our feminists typify it. They cannot choose a man who will make them happy over the long term. They can’t even make up their minds whether they want Wonder Woman to wear long pants or not.

I'm Captain Kirk!I once saw an old episode of Star Trek in which Captain Kirk was split in half by the transporter beam. Each “half” was physically complete (they sidestepped the question of the doubled mass in the sum-of-the-Kirks), but the personality was separated, as if spun in a centrifuge. One physical incarnation possessed all the feelings of hostility, all the primal urges. Kirk’s Id. The other half had a monopoly on the characteristics that are required of a person when he seeks to become a cooperative and functional part of a society.

The nasty drunken reprobate was the one in control of all of the leadership and decision-making skills. I’ve got a gut feel Keiller would find this to be scientifically invalid; but if you’ve ever been in a position of leadership, and forced to make decisions about things when not all of the requisite information is there, you can recognize there is certainly something to it.

In fact, I’ve found that particular episode to be a chillingly accurate prophecy of exactly what feminism has done to manhood since it came out. After Kirk, Spock, McCoy and the gang were forced to acknowledge the importance and beneficial effect of these supposedly destructive attributes, feminists and quack-doctors spent the decades since then continuing the damage in their blissful ignorance.

The “researcher” knows barely enough to be dangerous. It’s like he’s figured out that gasoline is extremely flammable, can do all kinds of terrible things…and furthermore, on inspecting the commuter car that gets us to work and back again, has made the shocking discovery that it has some in it. Better get him a grant, toot-sweet!

Hat tip to Full of Grace, Seasoned with Salt.

It Helps to Be Rich, Too

Friday, August 6th, 2010

Or, uh…so I’m told anyway.

Hat tip to Grerp.

Now, don’t forget those two most important rules of sexual harassment:

1. The intent of the guilty, er, I mean accused party is immaterial. It is the perception of the paranoid, uh, I mean offended person that decides freakin’ everything. Yep, some stranger with a screw loose and a fatal attraction can ruin your career for good. On a whim. We’ve let lawyers make for us a world in which nobody with a brain would choose to live. But hey, at least they can get crazy rich by chasing the right ambulance.

2. These rules are put in place to make a workplace environment that is comfortable for EVERYONE. Yup, everyone. Yeah, we’re going to say those two things, this bullet & the last one, in the same breath. Without even cracking a grin. That’s how you remember we’re reptiles.

Science: The Belief in the Ignorance of Experts

Friday, July 30th, 2010

Frank J. Tipler writes at Men’s News Daily:

“Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts” is how the great Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman defined science in his article “What is Science?” Feynman emphasized this definition by repeating it in a stand-alone sentence in extra large typeface in his article.

Immediately after his definition of science, Feynman wrote: “When someone says, ‘Science teaches such and such,’ he is using the word incorrectly. Science doesn’t teach anything; experience teaches it. If they say to you, ‘Science has shown such and such,’ you should ask, ‘How does science show it? How did the scientists find out? How? What? Where?’ It should not be ‘science has shown.’ And you have as much right as anyone else, upon hearing about the experiments (but be patient and listen to all the evidence) to judge whether a sensible conclusion has been arrived at.”

And I say, Amen. Notice that “you” is the average person. You have the right to hear the evidence, and you have the right to judge whether the evidence supports the conclusion. We now use the phrase “scientific consensus,” or “peer review,” rather than “science has shown.” By whatever name, the idea is balderdash. Feynman was absolutely correct.

When the attorney general of Virginia sued to force Michael Mann of “hockey stick” fame to provide the raw data he used, and the complete computer program used to analyze the data, so that “you” could decide, the Faculty Senate of the University of Virginia declared this request — Feynman’s request — to be an outrage. You peons, the Faculty Senate decreed, must simply accept the conclusions of any “scientific endeavor that has satisfied peer review standards.” Feynman’s — and the attorney general’s and my own and other scientists’ — request for the raw data, so we can “judge whether a sensible conclusion has been arrived at,” would, according to the Faculty Senate, “send a chilling message to scientists…and indeed scholars in any discipline.”

According the Faculty Senate of the University of Virginia, “science,” and indeed “scholarship” in general, is no longer an attempt to establish truth by replicable experiment, or by looking at evidence that can be checked by anyone. “Truth” is now to be established by the decree of powerful authority, by “peer review.” Wasn’t the whole point of the Enlightenment to avoid exactly this?

We’ve sometimes referred, here, to a logical fallacy we have given the name of “Malcolm Forbes’ Demise.” Back when the balloon-riding mogul assumed room temperature, we happened to have read about it first in some trashy tabloid (reading the cover while waiting to pay for our groceries, of course). Now, 1990 being well before the maturity of the Internet as we know it today, and at the time not really caring about it too much, it was some time before we learned of this from any other source. So pretending for the moment we were forced to rely on a tabloid magazine — if we were to try to arrive at a “scientific” hypothesis about Mr. Forbes’ health, and engage in this “peer review” process done by “science,” the first step would of course be to establish the level of credibility of these trash-tabs. It’s very low, of course. And from that we would then have to conclude, tentatively, that Forbes is alive and well until we hear differently from a more reliable source.

BalloonAccording to the methods we are told are sound, that’s only reasonable!

A man of genuine logic and reason, on the other hand, would ask himself how likely it is that the evidence in hand would arrive, were there no truth behind the statement. Well, a better source would be desirable, for sure. But our exercise, being one of deriving conclusions from facts, rather than of gathering the facts, says we are deprived of that…so in the absence of that, would the rag print up the headline if Malcolm Forbes was not dead? The potential for this is peripheral at best. Would you bet money that Forbes is alive? Or that he’s dead? Use your common sense. He’s probably dead.

It seems a piddling distinction to make. And when you have the luxury of demanding information out of Google on a whim, it does become mostly meaningless. But all human affairs are not scrutinized by the robots of Google. So “consider the source” remains good advice, but that’s all it is. It doesn’t decide the entire question. This is a mistake commonly made by esteemed experts in the scientific community, as well as by us “peons.”

Another way we’ve been putting it: If someone known to you to possess appealing attributes says something that is known to be false, how do you react? How about if someone known to you to possess harmful attributes, says something known to be true? Does it then become untrue? What if the “knowns” are not entirely known, but mostly-known?

I lately made the acquaintance of another blogger. “Made the acquaintance of” means “got into a big ol’ cyber-dustup S.I.W.O.T.I. (Someone Is Wrong On The Innernets) argument with.” Late in the exchange I had noticed our real disagreement wasn’t with regard to the facts, or the conclusions to be reached from them, but rather with the method used for deriving conclusions from facts. You see, he had come off a very intoxicating high, having successfully bullied all sorts of folks to stop looking at something, and I kept looking at it. So he started telling half-truths about the study being recanted, which turned out not to be true; then, all other approaches having been exhausted, he started having an electronic hissy-fit trying to get me to ignore what he wanted me to ignore.

Noting that what the study purported to prove wasn’t even anything outside the realm of agreement between the two sides, I made this observation:

Your blog is fascinated with, and named after, a canard that was started (unintentionally) by H.L. Mencken; mine is fascinated with, and named after, an ancient library administrator who figured out the size of the Earth. So you’re sort of a “Bizarro Eratosthenes” from an anti-matter universe: Instead of encouraging people to look at things, you’re encouraging them to look away. I’m a software engineer, and from your comments it appears you are a (failed?) lawyer.

It’s the “fruit of the poisoned tree” doctrine. Cop illegally enters my apartment and catches me building a bomb, or torturing my kidnapped toddler, or writing a confession in my diary about having murdered somebody — and the law has to pretend it never happened. Yes, I know the doctrine is refined across time and it’s a good deal more complex than this, but the fundamental principle remains: We are to allow our lawyers to decide for us what “truth” is, and they are to instruct us to disregard big chunks of real truth.

There is a skill involved in this, and it is a learned skill passed down through the generations from parent to child. Today it is all but extinct: Isolating a claim from those who make it and argue about it, focusing only on the claim, exerting one’s mental energies toward figuring out if there’s truth to it or not.

Our overly-mature society has lost this. We look to the “experts” to figure it out for us, and trust them implicitly even in situations where we have no idea who they are, let alone what their agenda might be. Much of the erosion has been relatively recent. I trace it to the early 1960’s, to mid 1950’s; the Warren Court had transformed the “Fruit of the Poisoned Tree” doctrine into an iron fisted jurisprudence requiring judicial and enforcement officials of the law to pretend false things were true and true things were false.

The good news is that we always have the potential within us for a revival. It is interwoven into our DNA. If you’re about to crawl under a car, you will automatically become a highly skilled philosopher, dedicated to love of wisdom and love of truth, as you set about the task of figuring out if the jack stand is worthy of your trust. We rekindle this spirit by doing work, and we rekindle it quickly, forcefully, keenly, by doing dangerous work.

We allow it to atrophy when we shirk our responsibilities, when we become comfy, when we allow our existences to whither and shrivel into these little menageries of iPods, iced coffee drinks and video games. That is when we curl up into a fetal position and look for someone else to tell us what truth is. That is when we stop peeking into water wells, imploring our aristocrats, our superiors, our overseers, to form their communities and publish their papers and define their collectives.

You see, “peer review” is actually a misnomer. A peer is a relative term, applied to someone who possesses equal stature. This is a process for declaring communities of demigods, to stand over us and give us orders about what to think, to strip us of our God-given autonomy, independence, masculinity and resolve.

Thing I Know #129. Leaders; votes; clergy; academics; pundits; prevailing sentiment; political expediency. Wherever these decide what is & isn’t true, an empire will surely fall.

Warning Signs Are Not Enough

Sunday, June 27th, 2010

Hat tip to Cassy.

It would be nice if the President were to find something else to defend, with the same level of zeal with which He defends His own mojo.

Like His country’s borders, for example.

You know, directing a warning at the bad guys would be a step up from this. Just to clarify how far down we are on the macho-spectrum, here’s an example from that next-level-up:

It bears repeating:

We are on the next rung down on the ladder from this. Our warning signs are directed at the good guys.

“NPR Men”

Sunday, June 27th, 2010

In the post immediately previous I linked back, for the I-don’t-know-how-many-th time, to Gerard Van der Leun’s excellent American Castrati piece. It is a problem decades in the making that could no longer be ignored: Young males who insist upon inserting “a slight rising question at the end of even simple declarative sentences.”

It is as if, were you to transcribe every single word onto a page, by the time you were done the right column of that page would be filled up with line after line of “…?”

Before I did another thing, I had to make a note of an elegant little piece of literary grandstanding, the sort of single paragraph that I imagine must have been polished and polished until every part of it was just right. I cannot see this being the product of a committee, even a committee of just two. The editor must have wisely kept his silence about it, or else it passed under his radar, or else he was politely told (in a non-Castrati voice) to go shove it.

Page 102 of Harry Stein’s I Can’t Believe I’m Sitting Next to a Republican: A Survival Guide for Conservatives Marooned Among the Angry, Smug, and Terminally Self-Righteous. This is perfection.

Then, too, women with serious conservative politics…so often are especially impatient with “NPR men,” as my wife terms that deeply annoying brand of smug, unnaturally soft-voiced, aggressively non-threatening liberal male. [emphasis mine]

This captures the contradiction. They are proudly non-threatening; but at the same time, inexplicably, they are bullies. Both extremes of this irreconcilable contradiction somehow make it into the auditory foundation — amplitude and frequency manage to manifest both sets of oppositional attributes, the wimpy and the pugnacious.

A contradiction is not a balance.

Anyone who’s gulped down the orange juice after gargling the minty mouthwash knows this. If you don’t understand that metaphor, give it a try sometime. You’ll find it fits the NPR men pretty well.

Changing a Tire

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

German cars are meant to be driven. It seems there is a tradition with German automobiles, that once you’re put in a position where you have to effect some first-stage repair in order to get rolling again, you can start to feel the German engineers fighting you. Sort of a “Devil Take the Hindmost” type of thing.

Blogger friend Mark ran into this on I-90 eastbound:

Dis-assembled in about fifteen parts, most of them plastic, none of which looked like it was capable of lifting a car off the ground, the box also contained a small booklet with instructions on how to assemble and use the jack. Opening the booklet, I noticed with mild disgust that it was printed in German. I don’t speak German. It was starting to rain.

It’s like watching an Inspector Clouseau sketch. It’s what the National Lampoon’s Vacation movies were trying to be. Except it’s real life.

Hmmm…I’ve had the Honda for a couple of years by now. Before I chortle too much about my fellow blogger’s wounded male pride, perhaps I should set up a short pretend-tire-change session, see what they have planned for me. The previous chariot had something similarly feeble, overly-complicated and fragile. I don’t even remember the first time I used that one, but I’m pretty sure if it was a public demonstration of my masculine resourcefulness and wherewithal it was a less than ideal one.

Not quite as bad as Mark’s. But when you’re the household patriarch and you’re put in that Dagwood Bumstead “call the plumber” situation and everyone’s looking at you with that frown that simultaneously pities and dismisses, it’s far too late to go groping around for an excuse. We have to plan ahead.

Or else prepare for our spell in the dungeon of “Ain’t No Way You Look Cool Doin’ That.” We’ve all been there sometime. The knight in shining armor who remembered everything on the list, but bought the wrong kind of salad dressing. The shade-tree mechanic who would know exactly what to do, but is powerless because he just realized all the bolts are metric. The master barbecue chef who, for one reason or another, must hit the speed-dial button for pizza.

It is a shame no one with a verginer will ever know. Er, uh, ah…so I’m told, by those who’ve gone through it.

If You’re a Goof-Off, You Can Afford to Bully People

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

Go back and read that headline again. Think about informal, small-group human politics. Imagine you’re in a group of people, perhaps a work/office environment, and you want to bully everyone else into doing things your way.

If you’re the work-a-holic, it isn’t going to work out. You’ll be seen as what you are, which is a buttinski meanie-cow.

But the goof-offs, as you’ll see in the video below, manage to make this work for them just fine. They get to point their goof-off fingers in the air, make some kind of proclamation, and start waggling that lazy finger in the faces of people who’ve managed to get a whole lot more work done, and tell them what to do.

In fact, how many little kids movies have you seen in which the moral of the parable, realized in the last fifteen minutes of the film, has something to do with not working so hard. How many doofus-dad movies have you seen that are doofus-dad movies because doofus-dad barely manages to figure out “Hey! I spend too many hours at the office! I need to spend more of my life trying to figure out what my (step)kids want, and making sure they get it!”

Watch CBS News Videos Online

Know what I think? I think the desire to boss around total strangers comes first. The desire for more vacation time is simply an outgrowth of that, because you can afford to be a control-freak if you’re for more leisure but you can’t afford to be one if you want more work to get done.

Most of the “revolutions” arriving in our sterilized, pasteurized, overly-mature, overripe, metastasizing society lately adhere to this central theme: Things aren’t cushy enough, and we gots ta have a new law. And the motivation? Very rarely does anyone say now that I see things work a certain way from my experience building something, we’ve got to do x x and x. No, as you can see in the video above, it so often comes from consensus. The “aw gee Ma, everybody else is doing it” argument.

This is the kind of thing that achieves momentum with people, when they’re bored. How is it that we’re so stressed out about our economic situation, and at the same time, we’re bored? That’s the other problem. We don’t see our economic wherewithal, or lack thereof, as a consequence of our actions. Here’s this differential between the way things are and the way we want them to be, and — nobody grabs a hammer & nails. Nobody goes looking for firewood. Nobody talks to anybody else about bartering something, or “Where’s the best place to buy a (fill in the blank).” Our national character has changed; now, the energy is immediately, automatically, channeled into that new law we need to have.

And then everything will really be perfect.

But since only goof-offs can get away with such bullying, the new law never, ever, ever has to do with getting more work done or more business transacted. That won’t happen. And yet this frenzied, chaotic construction of the out-of-control nanny state, will continue.

Hat tip to Boortz.

“The Wussification of the Workplace”

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

Anchoress, hat tip to Gerard:

A man I know began working 20 years ago at a large corporation that he deemed it a pleasure to work for. The CEO and founder was (gasp!) a commoner, an ordinary engineer who had an idea and ran with it. Perhaps because he had worked for a living, and had not simply stepped out of a “good” school with an MBA, he knew how to treat the people who worked for him; compensation was generous; enthusiasm and imagination brought perks, and morale was high. People worked late because they were excited; they wanted to keep working.

Then the CEO sold his enormously successful company to a corporate giant. Out went the upper management that had been honed “from the ranks,” as it were. In came the suits; the “sophisticated” men and women, “from the right schools,” who could talk about what wine went with what entree, or their walking holiday in Burma, but had no understanding of the dreamers (and engineers are dreamers, before they are anything) whose knowledge and imaginations they needed to ensnare and encourage, and whose intelligence and dignity deserved respect.

Not just respect, but inclusion.

Morale quickly went down. Working for suits who knew all the “theory” of business, and how to read numbers, but had not the least understanding of what made a “human resource” so resourceful, the engineers and developers and testers and marketers and admins began to rush out the door as soon as the clock struck five. The fun was gone, the energy sapped; enthusiasm was no longer on the radar.
These suited MBA’s can’t seem to get it. Huddled in their enclaves, they have difficulty understanding that a hard-working engineer with excellent problem-solving skills, a positive outlook and a knack for team-building needs more than an official performance review that ends with a condescendingly vague note about his being “a valuable member” of the collective whole.
The men who built the Empire State Building stood on bare planks to work in the sky; paradoxically, they were grounded in reality, not theory. They did not have to concern themselves with tones and timbres; nor did the educated architects who dreamed up skyscrapers. One suspects that if either the man on the beam or the one with the blueprints had been approached by a tanning-booth-bronzed-and-manicured corporate bureaucrat, and asked to enumerate their “goals” as part of their “performance review” they both would have hooted at him in derision. “My goal,” the first would say, “is to not fall. It’s to stay alive so I can pick up my pay, have a beer with the wife, raise the kids and get into heaven a half-hour before the devil knows I’m dead.”

Anchoress the latest to discover the Architect-and-Medicator paradigm. I must say, every year that I see roll on by, instills in me a tiny bit more reluctance to refer to this divide in male-female terms. I keep running into these tough-as-steel Dagny Taggarts, along with their opposite pussy beta males, who upset the trend. It isn’t boy-girl. It is a way of doing one’s daily problem-solving.

Architects think.

Medicators feel.

The Architect yearns to make a difference as an individual.

Medicators long to join a collective.

Architects draw a perimeter around what they do, and enforce the perimeter, as well as the rules inside it.

Medicators seek and destroy. They become aware of something within earshot or line-of-sight that isn’t adhering to protocol, and go all control-freakish all over it.

Architects see the world as a confluence of autonomously-working objects, which come into contact with each other, and in so doing create cause-and-effect relationships with each other. This is how the Architect learns how to do things. He doesn’t see it as “grab your pencil this way, and draw the line.” He sees it as “When you drag the pencil across the paper, it makes a line.” There’s a big difference between those two statements.

The Medicator is unlikely to come up with new ways of doing things, because he learns step-by-step. What he knows how to do is all scripted, and he is therefore doomed to always learn, at most, just a piece of how to do it. Which suits him just fine. Push this button. The light will come on. But what if the light doesn’t come on?

The Architect labors toward a state of things which has not been seen before. If it has been seen before, he can’t wait to get off this project and onto a “real” one.

The Medicator labors toward a state of things that was seen exactly this time last year. He prepares reports. They are not excellent reports; the best they can be is identical to last year’s. The fabric of his very innermost mind is clerical.

The very best outcome the Architect can envision for his work, is something that ends with “er.” Taller. Bigger. Faster. More powerful. Stronger. Farther.

The very best outcome the Medicator can envision for his work, is the word “compliant.”

The world needs both to spin properly. But if both work together and conflict is entirely avoided, the Medicators will get rid of all the Architects because they care more about what everybody else is doing, and it’s in their nature to get rid of whatever doesn’t conform.

And so a civilized society will hang onto its own cajones only when its Architects become Architects with teeth. When the Architects become fearsome-when-cornered. When they are ready, willing, able — and permitted — to utter those all important words, “Begone From Here, You Medicator, And Go Do Your Medicating Someplace Else!” When the project perimeter can be enforced again.

Because every wonder-machine-of-tomorrow, needs a garage in which to get built. With big ol’ heavy wooden doors that can be locked shut.

Jones Doctrine!

Sunday, April 18th, 2010

For dealing with Islamic extremist terrorist assholes, that is.

I like it a whole lot better than the Obama doctrine, what with its Man Caused Disasters, overseas contingency operations and what-not. Just a loud report from a Webley Mark V and you’re done.

We have something of a generational dispute going on in Freeberg Manor. I say, the boy is Shia LaBeouf, I’m Harrison Ford, my Dad is Sean Connery and “Kidzmom” is Marion Ravenwood. The boy says he’s Indiana and I’m Sean Connery (!). That, ultimately, is what Indiana Jones is really all about: The hated male patriarchy, and the boys out here in real-life identifying with the notches in the continuum. Perhaps, just perhaps, the franchise would not have become as big as it did if it were not for the feminist movement. Things cannot become precious before they become rare, and the feminist movement was all about making male achievement rare.

What is masculinity, anyway? It’s using the power of an individual’s intellect to keep the simple simple. Caliber against Excalibur. Whip it out, and bang, problem solved.

Memo For File CVII

Monday, February 15th, 2010

I’ve decided the time has come to honor the advice of The Bastidge, and follow it. There is certainly a valid point to be made that the world, and therefore the populace that inhabits it, straddles a chasmatic divide separating two unacknowledged communities, and that each of these communities in perfect isolation would enjoy a harmony that must elude us as we co-exist with each other as a monolith. The divide has something to do with order versus chaos, clarity versus obfuscation, substance versus packaging, individual rights versus community obligations, opportunity versus security, pulling your weight versus fitting-in, logic versus emotion.

We’re seeing it right now with the health care debate. And it substantiates the point all the more when we observe that much of the controversy and dissention swirls around this ramshackle, oxymoronic thing called a “public option.”

I called this “Yin and Yang” out of a desire to get to the bottom of what causes people to pursue, throughout their entire lives, one way of thinking over another. The Yin work within boundaries; the Yang do not. The concept is centuries old, and dates back to periods in different world cultures in which femininity itself was a concept synonymous with the stewardship of quiet, contemplative female chores. In societies like this, it naturally follows that men think of things the way women do in ours, and women must think of things the way men do in ours. Here’s a litmus test: Friend of a friend buys a new car. Or, gets carjacked. It’s a great story to tell for sure, but who is to spend time talking about it?

In an agricultural setting, what happens to one has at least the likelihood of impacting everybody else. And so it makes good sense for people to get together somewhere and swap stories. But these are “Shut Your Girl Mouth Men Are Talking” societies. To whatever extent checking-this-out evolves to become a necessary household chore, it is a manly chore. A railroad’s coming to town, maybe (how does this change things?). Farmer Brown’s crops got wiped out by the cold weather (are ours next?). Who goes down to the saloon to find out about this stuff. It’s not the Mama; there are meals to be cooked, a floor to be swept.

Now, we have the automobile. The printing press. The Internet. Womens’ Lib. And when the time comes to swap tidbits of useful news, who does that? Here is what a lot of people are missing: This is a perfect reversal. We do not have mead halls where the men go to drink beer out of steins and compare prices of bushels of corn. It would be awesome if we did, for sure. But it’s not happening, because the gender roles in our society have flipped around in a perfect one-eighty. Men retreat into their own little worlds, not unlike the kitchens that enveloped their great-grandmothers. Their “kitchens” may be just about anything: A computer with a stubborn virus on it; a classic car that’s being rebuilt; a ham radio or a model train set down in the basement; but there is always a project, it always has a border around it, and that’s what men do.

This awesome Art of Manliness article offers a chronicling of what happened to our mead halls. It began, irony of ironies, with us guys being decent and kind enough to give the ladies the right to vote. Prohibition followed that, and…

For centuries, a man could visit a bar and be in the exclusive presence of other men. Because drinking was seen as a corrupting influence on the “purity and innocence” of women, bars were completely off limits to ladies (exceptions were made for prostitutes, of course). Out of the presence of women and children, men could open up more and revel in their masculinity over a mug of cold ale. However, the bar as a men’s only hangout would quickly see its demise during the dry years of Prohibition.

By banning alcohol, Prohibition forced drinking underground. Speakeasy owners, desperate to make a buck, accepted all drinkers into their establishments, regardless of gender. Moreover, the economic and political empowerment women experienced during the 1920s and 30s made drinking by women more acceptable. By the time Prohibition was repealed, the female presence at the local watering hole had become a common appearance.

World War II only further eroded the male exclusivity of bars and pubs. As more women entered the workforce, it became acceptable to socialize with their male co-workers in taverns and lounges after work.

Today, there aren’t many bars around that cater only to men (gay bars being an obvious exception). Instead, bars have become a place where the sexes come together to mingle and look for a special someone.

Note the article’s title: “The Decline of Male Space.” Men used to own the world. Now, we don’t. We have relinquished the privilege and obligation of socializing, turned it over to the gals, and toddled off to the basement to go play with our train sets. The women do what we used to do — they hold court and they compare their notes with each other, try to see if there’s some hidden meaning of everyday events that might affect the family.

This is precisely what their great-great-grandfathers did. The very same thing.

And so I grow weary of having to explain this. Yes, “Yin” is traditionally female, although I use it to describe a personality attribute that predominantly is to be found in our males. Yang, likewise, is traditionally male, although it describes things our women usually do and that our men, typically, don’t. The concept didn’t flip around, the gender roles did. And so, I have to concede that The Bastidge is accurate in his critique:

Your theory’s alright, if a bit vague and rambling. But Yin and Yang have a specific meaning, and you’re using them more or less backwards.

Yin is a concept roughly aligned with the female, but the concepts covered in your theory- group consciousness, socializing, consensus, softness, weakness, emotion, passivity, are all associated with it.

Yang is roughly male, but also strong, factual, direct, resolute, hard, aggresiive, etc.

In their crudest, most basic form, yin and yang refer to the female and male sexual organs.

My use of these names was arbitrary anyway, and that was on purpose. For the last five years I have seen these as placeholders for something more descriptive that would, and should, come later. After I’d given it another think. Well, with this morass of a health care “debate” that has been taking place, and will surely flare up again later this year, I’ve been forced to give it another think. Besides of which, I’ve met lots and lots of manly-male guys who do their thinking in a much “Yangy-er” way than a lot of the females…so the genders don’t fit well in any case.

And I think the terms are these:

Architects and Medicators.

The word “Architect” is chosen with care. Way back in our history, when written language was a novel idea, architects were “master builders” (which is the etymology of the term). These things they labored to construct, with every little piece of it not put in place properly, could very likely collapse and wipe out an entire family in a heartbeat. And so laws were passed condemning failed architects to a death by stoning (Code of Hammurabi, Law 229). That’s a little gruesome, but it had the effect of galvanizing their chosen profession into a noble discipline.

In their own little community, a “Climategate” e-mail scandal would not, could not, have been tolerated even for an instant. Things were the way they were — period. An angle was ninety degrees, or it wasn’t — period. Up was up and down was down — period. There was no room for bastardizing the peer review process into some mutation of what it was intended to be, to ostracize and excoriate colleagues who spoke measurable truth. The architect, hundreds of years before Christ, lived in an object-oriented world and thought about that world in an object-oriented way.

Okay, now let’s look at what I’ve set up as the polar opposite.

“Medicator,” similarly, is chosen with deliberate thought and intent. “Physician” doesn’t work because physicians are supposed to adhere to the Hypocratic Oath and First Do No Harm. The verb “medicate” is applied to addictions, primary among those being mind-altering substances. It speaks to a process of adjusting one’s emotional response to reality as a first priority, with recognizing that reality as a distinctly second-place priority. Medicators do not heal. Nor do they seek to do harm. The long-term welfare of the body is simply outside of their concern. It isn’t that they don’t care, it’s that there is an emotional well-being that they prize more highly.

To recognize reality as it really is, and to adjust one’s emotional profile in response to the reality so that it is unconditionally cheery, are two mutually-exclusive goals. It may not seem to be the case when reality happens to be pleasant. But when reality is unpleasant you can choose to wrestle with it to whatever extent is required to fix a problem, or you can choose to ignore it in order to keep your emotions on a high and even keel. The sacrifice of long-term satisfaction in order to achieve a short-term high is, of course, a defining hallmark of medicating.

One Revolution AwayNow, these people trying to shove this fustercluck of a health care bill down our throats: It’s no mystery at all where they come down. They are medicators. It is not a primary goal of theirs to actually treat illnesses, heal the sick, bring “healthcare” or “access to healthcare” to “the uninsured.” Nor are they trying — architect-style — to solve any kind of a problem, President Obama’s unceasing speechifying notwithstanding. Think on it: When is the last time you heard anyone in Washington use those phrases above? Been awhile, hasn’t it? No, lately it’s about “getting this done.” Beating the opposition. Winning. Make things the way they/we want them to be. But wait just a second…we’re half way through an election cycle, one that began with their decisive victory. They already beat the opposition. Their victory is forgotten, however, just like a druggie’s high, and they find themselves incomplete, hungry, after-buzzed, struck with a raging case of Delerium Tremens if they don’t score another victory. And after they get that done, of course, they’ll need another and another and another. They live out their lives on a hairpin turn, just like a druggie. Time loses all meaning for them. Bliss is constantly one hit away.

It’s not about health care, of course. It’s about how we think about the world around us. The medicator lives in a gilded cage, waiting passively for someone to come along and fix the latest problem. He does not solve real problems, he does not support anyone who would solve real problems, he does not live in reality. He considers reality itself to be an inimical force. This, ironically, provides a liberating effect. Of course it’s all about the way one does one’s thinking to perceive the world around him, and with someone else assuming the burden of actually fixing the problem, the thinker enjoys the luxury of thinking about things as a non-architect. In a non-object-oriented way. With every little thing on God’s creation, melted together into a sloppy mess. And this overly-medicated “thinker” does not think, in turn, about the resulting mess; instead, he picks up an emotional vibe from it, and shares it with other self-medicated thinkers. That’s the model of reality as perceived by the medicator: A great big ball of warm, gooey wax that’s all melted together, and is now giving off vibes. Hopefully good ones, but if they’re bad ones then someone else needs to fix something — or it’s time for another “hit” of something via one-more-revolution.

Disciplining a child provides a similar contrast. To the architect, everything is cause and effect: The child engaged in undesirable behavior, therefore something needs to be modified about what the child perceives as proper or improper. The solution is to teach the child a new taboo. This can be done through direct communication if the child shares the desire that his behavior should be proper, or through punishment if he does not. First of all the transgression has to be properly categorized — bad attitude, or simple misunderstanding? Then we assess what the child understands about etiquette and go from there. In the Architect’s world, that’s what we do.

In the Medicator’s world, the exercise really is one of medication! Concentrating on something is not a task that was, for one reason or another, failed in this case; it is an ability that has gone missing because the child’s “brain isn’t wired quite right.” Of course the solution is to put the child on a prescription for some goop that will alter his emotional state, and make the process “easier for him.” (It’s nearly always a him.)

Another acid test is when a complex system of any kind starts producing the wrong output, because some unit within it starts to go all wonky — with all the other units in good order. To the Architect and Medicator alike, this is a no-brainer, but they come up with polar-opposite solutions. The Medicator wants to chuck the whole thing and start from scratch, whereas the Architect sees a puzzle to be solved in separating what’s good from what’s busted. Think of Blondie and Dagwood getting in one of their matrimonial melees about whether to call the plumber.

I commented last month that I had finally expunged the malware from my HP Mini notebook. My victory announcement was premature, it turned out. The beastie lived on, downloading other crap onto my platform. It shames me to say it, but if I were to act purely on logic and reasonable cost-benefit analyses, I would have taken the “scorched earth” approach much, much earlier than I did, and lost a lot less time. It became an Ahab/whale thing; I lost sight of fixing the problem, and concentrated instead on figuring out entirely useless trivia about it. Where’d I pick up this thing? What exactly does it contaminate? How come these packages over here can detect it and fool themselves into thinking they’re cleaning it, when they’re not? How come that package over there seems to have “wounded” it (toward the end, it locked up the netbook instead of popping up an ad, which is what it was clearly trying to do)…but can’t quite get all of it?

See, neither Architects or Medicators enjoy a monopoly on always having the right idea. Medicators throw things away in bulk — they are much more inclined to announce “this entire thing is bolluxed!” That is often the right approach, and I have to make a confession…my second one, now…that I’ve often missed out on this advantage when it comes up. Medicators seem to think life has no puzzles in it, none whatsoever. And they probably think this because, in the world they construct around themselves by accepting some responsibilities and simply walking away from some other ones, they’re absolutely right. Choices confront them — choices in which the wrong answer results in some kind of personal suffering — and they become petulant, unpleasant, and then someone else swoops in and solves it for them.

In their world, the question of who gets the “rep” as a problem solver, is completely isolated from the record of who did or didn’t actually solve problems. At no time has this been more evident, than this first year of watching our new President struggle with the demands of His new job. He is a dedicated Medicator. He fixes nothing. The only responsibility He takes is to refine the emotional buzz that comes from this thing or that one…and having failed even at that, He has a ready finger-of-blame to point somewhere else so He can give Himself a good report card. Which He did, actually. That one single act speaks volumes not only to how He thinks about the world and the challenges within it; it is a tip-off to how medicators think as well. You’ll notice this about them if you know some really dedicated ones personally. They enter into conflict with others, because they tend to demand the final word about their own work. It was up to par, the other guy just has a mistaken interpretation of “par.” They followed the instructions they were given, it’s the other guy’s fault for not giving them the right ones.

Running a meeting is yet another good litmus test. Some meeting chairs do it right: Agenda item, question, answer, does anyone have any objections, next agenda item — boom, boom, boom. Others engage in this ludicrous and time-consuming practice of using the forum to adjust the emotional tenor of the participants, as if it’s a high school pep rally. Buying a car: Any salesman will tell you, some people turn their thoughts to the TCO with considerations such as gas mileage, service records, availability of parts. Others worry overly much about how they look when they’re tooling around in the car, what strangers will think of them.

Homeowners’ Association bylaws can be written to accommodate one of these halves of humanity, or the other, or both. This is a rather interesting situation, because the bylaws represent an attempt to “architect” a successful neighborhood, through the “medication” of the emotions of the people who observe it. Here and there, though, we see stories in the news surrounding HOA bylaws that are, to turn a rustic phrase, just plain stupid. They don’t do anything to make people feel good and it seems extravagant and far-fetched to suppose they could have anything to do with preserving the value of the property. Banning the American flag is the one example that springs immediately to mind, since those stories have a way of jumping onto the front page.

The last time we linked one of these, the story in question showcased a persistent trait among the Medicators: proxy offense.

[M]anagement told them the flags could be offensive because they live in a diverse community.

The controlling curmudgeon lays down the curmudgeonly rule, and the curmudgeon is silent on whether he or she personally finds the emblem, the e-mail, the cologne, the pin-up calendar, et al, offensive. It’s much more often proxy: Some third party is offended. Or some third party could be offended. The impossible-to-meet “Could Be Interpreted As” standard of cleanliness. It is conceivably possible, therefore the contraband has to go. The curmudgeon will oversee the removal. But it’s business and not personal, see? Just like something out of The Godfather: “Tell Michael I always liked him, it was business, not personal.” Some nameless faceless anonymous person complained, or could complain.

This dedicated Architect says — Medicators really shouldn’t be running anything. They don’t want to. They don’t want the responsibility. This is why these columns are now coming out, some serious and some satirical, that speculate openly that President Obama is perhaps bored and disenchanted with His own job. I no longer consider it to be commentary outside my sphere of knowledge, to proffer that President Obama had some serious misgivings the first time He made a decision about something that had little-or-nothing to do with winning an election, saw that His decision had a direct bearing upon the outcome, and emotionally recoiled. I have seen this happen too many times, up close. In the months since then, the country has been buried in this “awkward stage” in which He tries to confront each and every single challenge with a vision that, as this-or-that chapter reaches the final page, the emotional buzz of those watching has been fine-tuned and frothed up into a desirable state of bliss. This is, I’m sure, why we’ve seen so many speeches out of Him during His first year, and will doubtless see about that many out of Him during His second.

We live in a society in which our every want and need is met, with resistance or inconvenience that is at best negligible. It may not seem like that to us at the time because we’re spoiled; we tend to mistake a temporary slow-down, or wrong turn, or setback, for a real possibility of failure in acquiring what we’re trying to acquire. Deep down, we all know we’re not really being challenged by much of anything; we will get what we are trying to get, one way or the other, so long as some minimal quantity of our peers are also trying to get the same thing. If all else fails we’ll band together and our populist rage will force someone to give it to us. We’re supposed to be so worried about “the economy” but we have our beer, our coffee, our big teevee screens. The only things that are really in jeopardy are the self-respect and dignity that come from having a job, and the same for our children. All other things are guaranteed, in one way or another. They don’t face any real jeopardy.

This state of hyper-safe hyper-civilization has aggravated the divide between — whate’er you wanna callzem, Yin and Yang, or Architects and Medicators — as I’ve pointed out before. It creates a bigger divide on such fundamental questions as: What is a good speech, anyway? What is a convincing argument? Is it thinky-thinky or feelie-feelie? In other words, do you progress systematically among the first three pillars, basing your opinions/inferences upon available fact and things-to-do upong the opinions/inferences. Or, do you just stir up a whole lot of motivating emotions in your audience, get them all outraged against some straw-man Snidely Whiplash, anti-logical exuberance for your “ideas,” Obama-style?

And the fact is, Architects have a definite idea in mind about the answer to such rudimentary questions.

Another fact is, Medicators have a definite idea about the answer as well. These ideas are not the same. They are opposites.

Another fact is, neither side is willing to budge on such issues. If you have a pulse, and a brain, and you’ve been using your brain to solve problems that confront you here and there…each day you stay alive further enmeshes you in the answer you chose, way back, before you were five years old.

And the least inconvenient fact of all is that if we cannot agree on questions like those, we aren’t going to agree on anything else.

We are engaged in a discourse between people who understand how to make real decisions, and those who do not understand this and do not seek to understand this. They don’t see the need. But since they’ve “won,” for the time being it is their job…even if they continue to find ways to weasel out of it, and blame others when the job goes undone.

My 42 Definitions of a Strong Society

Saturday, January 30th, 2010

Yes, once again it is time to dig into the obsessive-compulsive-list-making “what’s been ripening in the innards of the smartphone” file. And nobody disagrees with me about any of it.

At least, when talking-out-loud most people don’t disagree with much of it. Being a liberal, lately, seems to involve saying something to the effect of “Oh in a perfect world I wish (insert some of what follows here)…BUT…we have all these problems, so therefore we must ‘invest’ in my program.” And being a “moderate” liberal versus an “extreme” liberal, seems more than anything else to have to do with how quickly the liberal gets to that “but.”

Regarding what makes a society free, strong and healthy, there does not appear to be a lot of disagreement. Except for craven disagreement, the disagreement that must cower out of sight, hiding behind red herrings.

Some of these things can be measured, in service of producing an actual number. Where that is possible, and the number is found to be in a decline, that place is coming off the rails. So you can probably form a guess about my thoughts regarding the direction our country has been heading for the last year.

1. Taboo versus Law. There is a vast, yawning gap between laws that are written down, and unenforced cultural taboos that are universally observed as a sign of respect the individual pays to the sensibilities of the community. There is an abundance of little things that are frowned-upon, and because they are frowned-upon they are very seldom done. They carry absolutely no penalty whatsoever. In fact, making any kind of “hard” law against some of these things, is one of the taboos.
2. Stigma is firm but soft. Rule #1 notwithstanding, nobody ever has to profess a false belief, or keep their silence about a genuine belief, to keep from losing their property, their business, their kids, their spouse, their house, their job, their stature in the community, or anything else. Hey let’s face it: If thinking a certain thing is evidence that you’re a wonderful person, and then you get penalized for thinking something else, then thinking that thing is no longer evidence of your wonderfulness, now is it?
3. Men do things. Able-bodied men, of all ages, are knights. They defend women, children, old and handicapped people, from trifling inconvenience as well as danger and bodily harm. They never, ever remain sitting when a lady approaches.
4. Failure. Universally available, and free. No person, enterprise or industry is “Too Big To Fail” — ever. Failure is regarded as something that is always possible, to be avoided at all costs, but never to be ignored or sidestepped once it is earned. Depriving a man of the failure he has justly earned, is rightfully seen as just as deplorable as depriving him of wages he has justly earned.
5. The high wall. Coarse humor and other material are kept away from children, as well as adults who might not prefer it. The girly mags kept behind the clerk, rather than at knee height out front; the blogger who takes the effort to write “not safe work work language in this video”; the curtain in front of that special room in the back, at your video store; South Park scheduled on the cable teevee for 10pm or later. These are fundamental building blocks of any civilized society. The spicy stuff is freely available, but walled off.
6. Promote strength and not weakness. If an individual falls short of a physical or mental challenge, he is encouraged to try again, and discouraged from developing the one-time failure into a lasting disability.
7. Keeping and bearing arms. There really isn’t any telling who does & doesn’t have a gun, but it’s probably not too far from the truth to suppose everyone is carrying something.
8. Egalitarianism. A penalty for a crime is constant, regardless of the class, economic status or birthright of the convict.
9. Take your place. Children wait for grown-ups; grown-ups make sure the women go first; the women see to it that, among them, the elderly and infirm go first.
Nucular10. Say it. At work, rest or play, nobody ever mumbles; misspellings are exceedingly rare; if an idea is worth expressing, it’s worth expressing properly.
11. Earn your pay. The employee sees his employer as a partner in the business — nobody ever does half-ass work, or less work, to avoid making his co-workers look bad. He does what the boss says, not what the union boss says.
12. Non-Discrimination is a taboo and not a law. Opportunities are not awarded to, or withheld from, people because of their religion, race or gender (unless applicable).
13. Getting rich by watching the rich. People don’t pay greater attention to indigents and ask “Who is at fault?” They pay attention to those who are better off, and ask “What wise things did he do that put him in this position?”
14. Independent thinking. It starts early on. Teachers teach and grade children to produce a good outcome, not to follow a certain sequence of steps.
15. Children wait. Children are afraid to interrupt adults. When they play or are otherwise too distracted to move out of the way of someone else, they do their playing in low-traffic areas, where they aren’t likely to obstruct.
16. Faceless kingmakers. There are no anonymous panels of experts artificially creating other experts. When men carry great respect and authority, the people who show them this respect are ready to list the wonderful things those men have done, not the titles, awards and other gimmicks bestowed on them by anonymous commissions or third-parties.
17. Faceless kingmakers, continued. With regard to #16, nobody can earn respect, authority, titles, awards or other gimmicks by talking a certain way; they have to accomplish something, and it has to be something measurable.
18. Rehabilitation and Recidivism. If a man continues to prove himself unable to live safely among others, he is ultimately put to death.
19. Ownership. People ask “Is it my place to pass judgment?” before asking “Would I have done it the way he did it?”
20. Individuality vs. Groupthink. Groups just aren’t very important. The individual is the de facto master of any given task, challenge or situation. Very few things in life are decided by a vote anywhere, or for that matter by passages out of some kind of rulebook. Committees, where they exist, exist only for brief periods of time and decide practically nothing at all.
21. Mind-altering substances. No one ever uses hallucinogenic drugs. They see their fortunes in life as being linked to their ability to think things out capably, so they just don’t want to mess with that.
22. Nobility of labor. People spend time doing their own manual chores; many of them possess an abundance of tools that they have designed and constructed themselves. It is impossible to do any of this when you engage in the sloppy ramshackle thinking I see of late; and, I suppose, it is perhaps not possible to avoid the sloppy ramshackle thinking I see of late, if you haven’t done something like this in awhile.
23. Keeping up with the Joneses. Nobody ever wants to buy something just because someone else they know bought the same thing.
24. Headwear. Men and boys never wear hats indoors. Ever. Headgear above…or a roof…never, ever both. Simply not done.
25. Strong and silent. The more powerful the leader is, the shorter his speeches are, the greater the passage of time before he gives one, and the less likely it is that he’s ever heard to blame his predecessor for anything.
26. Family first. Nobody who lives in a household ever tolerates disparaging comments about anybody else who lives in that household.
27. As the ladies go, so goes civilization. Girls give their attention to boys who are serious about what they’re trying to do, and show some drive when they’re trying to do it; not to whoever “makes me laugh.”
28. School. In school, when one child picks on another child and the other child tolerates it, the officials see to it the weaker child “mans up” and that the stronger child is punished — BOTH of those, not one or the other. The lazy school official who turns a blind eye, or enforces discipline only upon children who’ve shown the intelligence and civility to respond positively to it, and in so doing allows this adolescent boy-coming-of-age juice to pickle, like improperly-fermented homemade beer — he is universally regarded as the lowest and most detestable form of bureaucrat, something toxic to natural human development, inimical toward manhood. And that goes double for erring in the opposite direction…handing down some ill-thought-out “hard rule” (see #1) trying to make bullying into a relic from the past. Not gonna happen. Bullying is not something to be expurgated, it is something to be handled.
29. School, continued. With regard to #28, children who can communicate with other children but not do the work, are seen as needing improvement; children who can do the work but who lack “communication skills,” are seen as successful and worthy of emulation.
30. Husbands. Women and men mate for life; all of her children are biologically his.
31. Charity. When any member of the community is enduring urgent need, nobody is condemned with such disdain as the other member who could help and refuses to — except for whoever else wants to force him to. Nobody seeks to make himself, or anybody else, “better” by passing some obligatory law requiring charity. (Again, refer back to #1.)
32. Charity, continued. With regard to #31, to receive such charity and then gripe about it in quality or quantity, is regarded as one of the lowest possible transgressions.
33. World travel. The most respected community members are the ones who have traveled to other countries. But before they traveled they personally worked to earn the solvency needed for their traveling. Traveling is not used as a bully pulpit to promote some sick vision of hyper-internationalism, or to promote materialism and extravagance as if luxuries should be prioritized as staples of life.
34. Central, unifying language. There is one and only one dominant spoken and written language, and whoever isn’t functional in it, does the best they can to learn that one before any other.
35. Immigrants speak the language of the community. With regard to #34, whoever immigrates to this place, speaks that one dominant language before their mother tongue — even at home.
36. Children speak the language of the community. With regard to #34 and #35, children of immigrants are taught to speak the language of the community before their mother tongue — at home.
37. Parents don’t raise boys and girls, they raise men and women. Parenting is seen as a process of making kids capable first, and “safe” second. A parent who delivers a child to adulthood, happy healthy and whole but not capable, is seen as a failure at parenting (see #4).
38. Taxes pay for things, where they are unavoidable. Taxes are never levied, increased or exempted to reward or punish classes of people. Social experimentation by tax code is an unknown thing. Taxes are collected for the purpose of funding vital government activities, and for no other reason.
39. There is a(n unwritten) Hays Code. The fiction that people enjoy, has heroic characters who do good things, villainous characters who do bad things, and nobody ends up prosperous at the end by avoiding honest work or by breaking the law.
40. People acknowledge each other. The everyday greeting is not only desirable, not only obligatory, but sacred. Men who once fought over a woman, take the time to do it with each other, friendly or not. Very few tasks justify withholding a handshake, eye contact and a decent Hello. And for this reason, people don’t spend much time at all with their “personal tunes.”
41. Weaknesses are not coveted. Nobody ever brags about, or connects an identity to, an inability to do something other people can do. People do not greet new acquaintances with that most odious of self-introductions, “I don’t know anything about computers.” People don’t form relationships around weakness. People don’t say “That’s my friend Carol, she doesn’t know how to cook.” They say “That’s my friend Carol, she’s the best interior designer around.”
42. Armageddon is not breathlessly anticipated. Very rarely does anyone talk about the entire world ending, for any reason.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News.

Don’t Pick on the Girl

Saturday, January 23rd, 2010

Item: Daphne is digging into the root cause of what’s really wrong in Haiti. Besides/before the quake. Because nobody, anywhere, is saying before the quake hit, Haiti was some kind of Garden of Eden. They can’t say that because you’d immediately know they’re full of it. So howkumthatiz?

I pulled up a headline a little while ago that began “The scarcest commodity in Haiti…” and fully expected the answer to be fathers. Serendipity has been flashing her soft skirts at me today, pressing an incessant peak of firm, high thigh well before the sun rose and the flirt hasn’t let up yet. An incessant weave mentioning good fathers, or the clear lack of them, has been a steady theme turning up in every corner of my world today.

My ridiculous expectation wasn’t nearly as absurd as the reporter’s answer…
Communities that function with reasonable success under normal circumstances are full of solid men shouldering broad responsibilities for their children’s welfare. These widespread corners of low crime, good schools and dynamic business revenue thrive on the responsible backs of hardworking men who willingly respond to meet the everyday needs of their personal responsibilities and community infrastructure. When their neighborhoods are afflicted by catastrophic events, natural or man-made, they react with decisiveness and ingenuity to save lives, alleviate suffering and quickly rebuild. They’ve made plans for future contingencies because they have their children’s long-term welfare in mind. It’s really that simple.

And now for another item, brought to our attention by John Hawkins, something completely, or mostly, unrelated. Daphne has explored what we fellas are doing right, now let’s take a look at what the chickees are doing wrong.

15 Annoying Things Girlfriends Do (That You Have to Put Up With)

1. Random Item Relocation
2. Unwanted “Organization” of Your Stuff
3. Constant Overdressing
4. She’s Late for Everything
15. Deeming All Things Technical to be Unimportant

And what have these two things in common with each other? One points out that men do things right — or, let us be more precise, that it is important that the men do things right. The other points out that women do things wrong. One has to do with keeping a civilization going…a matter of life and death. The other has to do with the minor irritant of not being able to find your Super-Suit, and when you unleash a plaintive wail about where the damn thing might be, you’re asked why you need it.

What’ve they got in common with each other?

They are disallowed. Men important…women flawed. Neither one of those can get a fair hearing in our culture. We’ve blocked them both out. No one will ever say “women are perfect” and very few people will say “men don’t matter.” But with the black magic of the pliable, Gumby-like code of unwritten taboos, we can say those things without saying them — by stigmatizing their opposites. So you aren’t allowed to mention that men might play a pivotal role, or that some women do some tiresome, tedious things.

Check out the comments under the “15 Annoying Things” article. It really is astonishing. They pretty much fall into two categories: “You’re a pussy for even taking the time to notice/jot down this stuff,” and “If you’re dating any women at all, which I doubt, they’re not the right kind.” Read that last one as the “Yeah But All Women Aren’t Like That” stanza.

That’s the same as saying no woman ever does this? Huh. How do you explain that live-in of mine from a few years ago…during which time I had my “survival kit” packed in the trunk of my car, of the vital items she couldn’t “Randomly Relocate”? The batteries, the bandages, the tampons, the cat food. Why was that necessary if this isn’t a real problem?

Criticizing women is a funny thing. “Not All Women Are Like That” — is the same, somehow, as — “There Are No Women Like That,” which logically is a completely different thing to say. Read those comments again. What you’re seeing here is Thing I Know #58:

To insult a man says nothing about other men, but for some reason, anything said against one woman is perceived to be said against everything female who ever lived.

What we have condemned with such severity — without having the balls to out-and-out condemn it — is inter-generational transfer of knowledge. Bar Mitzvahs, taming the wild mare, the institution of marriage itself, Ten Commandments, Pan Far…these are traditions that got started for a reason. And the reason is that some requirements, some customs, some prohibitions that are needed for a society to continue to thrive, are absolutely essential. Among those are essential, even if you’re a real smart ticket it’ll take you a long time to figure out they’re helpful. Like, to age fifty or so. Well, we don’t have time for everyone to reach age fifty and figure it out. And so traditions are handed down from mother to daughter and from father to son. Rules are recorded in books, and then they’re followed. Old people are going to have to tell young people what to do, and then the young people are going to have to do it without asking questions about everything.

Our new taboos have torn these to shreds as well. Men don’t count, and nobody should ever demand anything out of them (except money); women never annoy anybody, or else it’s the other person’s fault for being annoyed.

The eventual result? Men in their twenties who don’t do a damn thing that’s constructive, fun as they may be to watch. Old men who are alone and purposeless, wishing like the dickens that they did something constructive when they were young. Women leapfrogging from one marriage to the next, annoying the shit out of every single husband they get, wondering why it’s taking them so long to find “love.” Children who can’t pay attention to a goddamn thing besides the latest text message that popped up on their “Hello Kitty” flipfone.

It isn’t our lack of ability to do things well, or to fix things when we aren’t doing well. It’s our lack of ability to figure out what we’re not doing well — and that’s a lack of willingness, not ability, when you get down to it. We’ve identified just a few occasional flaws that we are not ever, ever, ever willing to acknowledge should we ever run across them.

Which, in reality, actually do happen from time to time. And that is where we start to slip off the rails and become all dysfunctional. Things go gunnybags.

Memo For File CV

Saturday, December 5th, 2009

One of the very first things covered by President Obama during His inaugural speech was the “fact,” if you call it that, that forty-four Americans have now taken the Presidential oath of office. He got that one wrong, but the fact-checkers didn’t catch it because they were too busy screening Saturday Night Live skits. But His observation does raise an interesting point: We’ve had quite a few Presidents. Some have been good, some have been bad, and with a whole lot of them it depends on who you ask.

When we argue about the people who may or may not become President in the near future, that’s when we really go at it, and this makes sense too. One arrives rather quickly at the realization that we don’t seem to disagree too much about what qualities the candidates do & do not have; our disagreement seems to be about what is important to the office. This part, it seems to me, doesn’t make that much sense. We haven’t had forty-four men take the oath of office quite yet, but we have had something very close to that. Wouldn’t it be wise to look back and see what history has taught us?

When I look back on what history has taught us, I see — once again — the prevailing sentiment has things about 180 degrees off course, more-or-less.

The prevailing sentiment smiles, first and foremost, on boldness, daring, “trying something new.” Creativity, vision, hope, change…perhaps Robert Kennedy, not one of the 44 guys, said it best. “There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why; I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?” Inspiration. New ideas. Thinking outside of that ol’ box!

History is pretty clear about this. It’s led to multi-generational new social entitlement program bullshit, and the feeling of dependency and crushing debt that go along with those. Not much else.

Next up is jut-jawed determination, grit, resolve, integrity. This is not an ability or willingness to make good decisions; this is the quality of sticking to them once they are made. We have good reason to insist on this. If you’re President, and you make a decision I kinda don’t like but it doesn’t completely offend the hell out of me…let’s say there are other options I would have preferred, but there are others I detest much more, so I could learn to live with it. It’s important that as you meet all these other power-players that a President meets, I know you’re going to stick to your guns.

I would have to say in my lifetime, the one President who had more of this than any other was our 43rd, George W. Bush. Well, frankly that didn’t work out too well for him. He left office on a steep downslide in his approval ratings…but with no one willing to step forward and say he was missing even so much of a smidgen of this quality. And I would infer it was this quality that was instrumental in bringing those approval ratings down. His predecessor was much more popular, and I would say that predecessor had less of this than any other President in our lifetime. Bill Clinton would say something on Monday, and by Tuesday…who knows what would happen. So this is something we say we like. But I think it’s a fair assessment to comment the public is demanding this quality in its Presidents, but it isn’t willing to show much of it itself. It sees an annoyingly broad latitude in changing its mind about it.

The next quality is unnamed. Barack Obama has oodles and oodles of this, but nobody is quite sure what it is. You heard this much discussed throughout the 2008 campaign, especially when He was locked in a fierce battle with Hillary Clinton for the nomination. “There’s just something about Him!” Some people call it leadership because when He says something, like “grab a mop” for example, there arises within you this primal instinct to get it done. The marrow of your bones seem to just want to start mopping. Authority, confidence, blah blah blah. He never stutters or stammers…says “uh” quite a lot, but always with dignity and flair.

What’s this done for us over the course of the previous 43 administrations?

Well, it’s helped to sell us a lot of crap. Salesmen learn how to do this; if it is their trade to deal with bad product. Hey let’s face it, if your product is compatible with the interests of the buyer, your “charisma” isn’t going to help the sale a whole lot. An average-Joe can get just as much sold. You need excellent salesmen if you’re trying to move a shitty product. So this “I don’t know why I want to do what he says, it’s just the way I feel!” thing is a distinguishing characteristic of flim-flam men and liars. And indeed, our history is seasoned with quite a few Presidents who were superior in all kinds of ways, whose voices were awkward, squeaky, meandering…interestingly, most of them existed in the days before it was possible to make any kind of audible document. We have to read the written word of their contemporaries, to get a feel for what their voices sounded like. But there doesn’t seem to be a lot of hopey-changey charisma-or-whatever back there.

Believing in peace? That’s been an enormous bust, probably the biggest one. If I have to come up with a list to illustrate the point, you’re never going to get the point. The Presidents who believed in war have done a lot more good for our nation. Note that I didn’t say “who loved war”; I said believe in war. I can think, right off the top of my head, of four Presidents who believed in war but properly despised it as any decent human being must. Perhaps the quote attributed to Reagan, supposedly uttered during the PATCO strike, sums up the vision and the sentiment of an effective U.S. President: “If there’s going to be a bloodbath, let’s get it over with.” I know of no phrase in the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Federalist Papers or any correspondence among they who founded the nation, that contradicts this. Our nation’s Chief Executive is a ripper-offer of band-aids. Get it over with.

Honesty? That goes without saying.

Loyalty? That goes without saying as well. But of course loyalty is a tricky thing. You have to prioritize it. If it was possible to be loyal to everyone all the time, it would be an easy, simple job to be President. And of course it isn’t.

Does wisdom play a role? That, too, goes without saying. The President must be able to look down the road, consider the effects of his decisions over the short term as well as the longer one. How good of a job do we do on insisting on this? The argument that George W. Bush failed to consider the more distant implications of his decisions, seems to hold water at first. But when one thinks back to the events of early 2003 and recalls them with honesty, one sees this is a crock. The matter was deliberated over and over and over again; the pro-peace people were granted one fair hearing after another, after another, and then they took to the streets all over the world to riot just to make sure the point got across. It got across. But the problem was, we were dealing with an asshole who needed to be taken down. France, later revealed to be on-the-take via the Oil For Food program, used their veto power on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and that’s when George Bush went around the process. The debacles that came afterward made this seem unwise. But real wisdom is recognizing all the available options, and when each and every single one of those options suck, maintaining an ability to select the least-sucky out of all of them.

So I would say our prevailing viewpoint is that wisdom is important, and the prevailing viewpoint is correct about this.

Reviewing the events of the past decade, I would further observe the prevailing viewpoint measures wisdom as the ability to “conjure up” a non-sucky option that does not necessarily exist. And I would comment that the prevailing viewpoing is wrong about that.

Once an option is chosen, wisdom stands behind the notion that it was the best one. It does not stand behind the notion that it was a good option. You have to play the cards you’re dealt.

How about a willingness to go out and seek the wisdom? Does a good President have the patience and courage to listen to the wisdom of our children?

Nope. Children don’t have wisdom. They’re too young. Next question.

How about knowing where the bodies are buried, like Lyndon Baines Johnson did? Does that make for an effective President? What does history say about that?

History says this is a useful thing for getting things passed the President wants passed; especially when the President is trying to overcome stiff opposition to get it passed. And can improve his odds in this effort, by sidestepping logical, rational debate. And legitimate criticism. So if the President is trying to sell a crock of bullshit, knowing where the bodies are buried can be very helpful…to him. It tends to be injurious to everybody else. You can’t depend on such men to have a decent internal working understanding of what’s right and what’s wrong. Probably won’t happen. After all, this guy knows where bodies are buried! How does he know?

President Johnson’s legacy is about as tattered as anybody else’s, Nixon included. Johnson was an asshole, perhaps a sociopath, and may not even have been sane. He conducted conferences in the shitter, while he was defecating. All in all, I’m gonna have to go with no. Were it possible to have some kind of Constitutional amendment that says “No citizen shall serve as President if he knows where the bodies are buried,” I’d favor passage of that. History, it seems, would favor passage of this as well. This hasn’t helped our country one bit.

Belief in freedom? That goes on the “Yes” side. Actually, that’s the first thing we’re supposed to be trying to find. Our Presidents haven’t failed us here. We have been failing our country, by failing to support this and vote for it.

Telling us what you’re going to do, before you’re elected to get it done? Again — huge “yes.” It’s the Presidents who keep this a closely-guarded secret who have been the big fails. That includes our current one. He’s making history with the speed of erosion of His approval ratings, and there’s a reason for it: His election was less concerned with policy decisions, compared to any other Presidential election in my lifetime, easily. We didn’t talk about what He’d do, we just talked about how wonderful He is. That’s our fault. But then He saw that as an easy road to victory, and He made the most of it. That’s His fault. Now He’s reaping the whirlwind. Mega-fail.

Looking like you have it all together when you get interviewed? I hope that’s not very important. If it is, that means our teevee reporters are kingmakers, and frankly I don’t trust them. As for how big of a factor it is, it’s up to Sarah Palin to decide if we’re going to conduct an experiment on that…since I don’t think anyone’s flubbed it worse than she has. But on the other hand: The second-place prize goes to President Obama, for his “President Gigglepuss” interview in which Steve Kroft had to ask Him if He was “punch drunk.” That was an enormous bomb, but it didn’t hurt the President’s ability to preside, not in the least. So those who say this hurt Palin, need to find a way to explain why it’s damaging to her and not to Him. Perhaps they’re still correct…public reaction can be a fickle, nonsensical thing. But overall, does it have much to do with presidential qualifications, after I chew on it for awhile I don’t think so.

Knowing who the Minister of (fill in the blank) is for the country of (fill in the blank), and knowing how to pronounce the name. We place a lot of importance on this, and this is an awful mistake. It means debate moderators and interviewers — who I don’t trust — can all-but-eject promising candidates from the running, simply by coming up with challenging questions. And you’ll notice they never ask the same question of all the candidates, or even many of the candidates. It’s targeted. They don’t deserve to wield this kind of power, nor are they worthy of wielding it. And being the President of the United States is not the same thing as playing a game of Trivial Pursuit. This is bone-headed stupid and we have to stop it.

Knowing how to field dress a moose. No.

Knowing how to use a Blackberry. No.

Knowing how to type. No.

Knowing some dance moves. No.

Looking good shirtless. No.

Looking good on the cover of Runner’s World in short shorts. No.

Being a beltway insider. No.

Being a newcomer to the beltway. No.

Having five kids. No.

Planting a vegetable garden. No.

Knowing how to fire a gun. No.

Believing in the right to have a gun: HELL yes!

Having a law degree. I wonder how the country would look after fifty years of Presidents who do NOT have law degrees. A whole lot better, I’ll bet. Inch by inch, as lawyers get more things they want, our nation has become the poorer for it. So no.

Being sensitive, contemplative, mulling over a decision, changing it thoughtfully with the arrival of new evidence: Absolutely not. Overall, people make much better decisions when they say to themselves “In thirty seconds, or ten, or five, I’m going to have this thing decided and there’ll be no looking back.” When they use the latitude to mull it over endlessly, their sense of judgment gets shot to hell, and as a consequence of this, their ultimate decision ends up being not that good. We just saw it with Obama’s decision on Afghanistan; is there anyone, anywhere, who says this was a good show of decision-making? Even among those who somehow agree with it? No, and there’s a lesson there. Besides, when you’re negotiating with an antagonistic force, and you take the Jean-Luc Picard approach of “I’m open to anything and my decision-making process is an endless and timeless Hoover-vac type of activity that sucks in and makes use of all kinds of of information” — this makes new strategies available to your enemy. The other extreme at the opposite end of the spectrum, would be a tornado. Nobody tries to win concessions out of a tornado. You either get the hell out of the way or you’re dead. We don’t elect our President to be a Captain Picard. We elect our President to be a tornado. At least, we should.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News.

Why is Blogging Such a Boys’ Club?

Saturday, October 31st, 2009

Pie chartsSo I’m reading this sob story that included the pie charts you see to the right; as you might expect, the sob story was sobbing away wondering why the sobbingly sad sisters of bloggerdom were outnumbered by us cruel heartless blogger men.

They then go to their panel of three experts. All in all, it was more reasonable than you might have expected. The feminist of the group concedes,

I’d like to decry some barrier or hurdle that’s kept women from having a larger share of voice in the blogosphere. But, honestly, I’m just surprised.

Surely male voices dominate the A-list blogs (if we even call them that anymore). But if you had asked me to guess, I would have said women make up the vast majority of total bloggers. Women are more likely to share their lives and be emotionally rewarded by sharing recommendations.

I do wonder if they’ve simply migrated more quickly to Facebook and microblogging. I read in Harper’s a few months ago that 94% of blogs haven’t been updated in at least four months. Are men more likely to blog or simply more likely to still be blogging?

Mild denial. She thinks it’s an evolutionary process, and as usual us men have taken up the rear…still working on gettin’ rid of our gills.

Well if you think that’s delusional, the next one will curl your hair:

I’ll say something a little controversial here: Men have time to blog. Most women don’t. As a working mom of two, something becomes clear the deeper you get into mom-hood. For most of us, the majority of the parenting is mom’s job, even if both parents are working, so who has time to blog?

Never let the facts get in the way of complaining about how good men have things.

The argument spewing forth from this “Cathy” panelist, to me, is a sterling example of something that has some truth to it…and yet, in the final analysis is utterly nonsensical. Yes, there’s some stuff to back it up. My girlfriend can do four loads of laundry in the time it takes me to separate whites from colors for the first one. And she has damn little spare time. B-u-u-u-t…Cathy, did you happen to see those four pie charts? Facebook, MySpace, Twitter…chickies have time for ’em. The lady of my house is hip-deep into Mafia Wars, and that thing with the farm too. She finds the time for those. She’s got her priorities set just like lots of other females. Women, time considerations notwithstanding, do what they want and don’t do what they don’t wanna do. The choice they’ve made here is clear. Your argument. Window. Sailing. Whoosh.

Keep on selling it, though. Don’t be intimidated by the fact that it makes people like you, and to a lesser extent all women, look like complete morons who lack the ability to a pie chart and see what it says.

Nope, something is at work here. All of the panelists concede in some form or fashion, that women are more concerned with emotional connections than men. A majority amongst them further concedes that “putting yourself out there” to face ridicule is off-putting to the female consciousness. Or, as (viciously outnumbered) blogsister Cassy said when she linked to this dirge

Women tend to start blogging and then realize that it is a tough, tough world out here. You say something someone doesn’t like, and they don’t dispute your point calmly and politely with rational, well thought-out replies. They attack you, personally. They call you fat, ugly, stupid. They’ll call you a whore or a bitch or a slut. And these are the mild insults. A lot of women have no clue what they’re getting into when they start blogging. And when they see how rough it is, they quickly get out, because to them it’s not worth it.

Every conservative female blogger I know gets this kind of abuse, and it’s often sexualized. We all get it. It’s a fact of life when it comes to blogging. Michelle Malkin had to move because her family was threatened by a blogger who published her personal information — address, phone number, everything. There is nothing that is off-limits when it comes to blogging, and anything can be held against you. Anything can be used as leverage against you to make you quit, to make you give up. And frankly, there are not many women who are as tough as Michelle is, who would be able to keep going. For many women, it wouldn’t be worth it.

Exactly. When you’re building up your social network, if the experience of interacting is what’s really important to you and you don’t care that much quite yet about who’s in the network interacting with you, the MySpace/Twitter/Facebook triumvirate offers more promise than hazard. The blogging thing offers the reverse. Much opportunity to be defrocked of your social stature, with the opportunity for making new friends something of an afterthought.

We’re being reminded yet again that men and women are different. In certain situations, it becomes unavoidable; there are no alternatives to simply facing the truth and admitting it. This is a jarring experience to some, and so they self-medicate on the spot by cooking up some new thing caustic and trite, that they can work into a cliche over time — something that can take whatever form it wants, as long as it is in some way derogatory towards men. That is the single vital ingredient. It is how they cope.

They live in a world in which, yeah, men and women are occasionally different…is long as that’s because the women are always better. Then that kind of thinking is allowed. Otherwise, no. They haven’t matured past that afternoon on the playground in fourth grade, when the boys and girls were making fun of each other.

Why Does Fatherhood Make Men More Conservative?

Monday, September 14th, 2009

If you’re like me, you hear that question and a whole bunch of ideas start bubbling up in your cranium and you’re all ready to volunteer them.

And then you see what the author has to say about it, the background to his question, what he thinks about it, what holes are left in the arrangement that he’d like someone to fill in…and then you decide, based on that, this is not productive. It’s just a whole lot of liberal bitching and belly-aching about the usual targeted and deplored demographics, the hated straight-white-men, I’m just going to watch until right before the part where I start vomiting, then go off to another part of the party and start participating in some other conversation. Hey! What do you call this wine? White Zinfandel? It is tasty, yessiree!

This guy would never, ever agree to my Ten Commandments For Liberals Who Want To Argue About Politics; he isn’t nearly as curious about things as he pretends to be. Just let him stew in his juices. It is what he wants to do.

…we learn that “Parenthood makes moms more liberal, dads more conservative.”
The mom part is obvious. Since even in these supposedly progressive times, moms end up doing m[o]st of the child-rearing, they have an instant, intuitive grasp of the necessity of a strong welfare state. They naturally appreciate the advantages provided by state-funded day care and education, because without government, they’d be doing all of it…They also know that leaving kids alone to organize their own anarcho-syndicalist communes where they can do whatever they want is a recipe for smashed crockery and peanut butter stains on the Persian carpets…

But dads? Why do dads get more conservative?

This is something of a puzzler. But I have a couple of theories.

* Parenthood forces men to stop being children. They resent this, and project their resentment onto anything or anyone that tells them what to do. Therefore, they resent activist government.
* Since, as noted earlier, moms still do most of the child-rearing, dads don’t understand why government needs to step in to help people who can’t take care of themselves. Don’t those people have their own moms?
* Dads learn pretty quickly that kids often don’t do what you tell them to. Therefore they feel justified in adopting that same attitude of truculence towards the overbearing state.

What else?

I think the most damning part of Andrew Leonard’s screed is that it typifies all the reasons why I cast a jaundiced eye toward Salon lately. It isn’t just the obnoxious pop-up ads, although yes they have a lot to do with it. It’s the New-York-Times-ish-ness of the whole thing. It’s as if nobody in the marketing arm of Salon has bothered to crack open a Salon article in a very long time. Time comes for Salon to say what Salon is all about, and you get all this fantasy stuff about educating yourself on what’s going on in the world, making yourself more well-rounded, appreciating things, and enjoying the benefits of an elucidated, richer life.

And then you actually read the contents and it’s all just a shitload of anger, resentment and bile, coated with a paper-thin veneer of pretending to be curious about something.

Kind of like a lot of colleges.

This is not to say I dislike Mr. Leonard’s candor, though. I appreciate it very, very much. I think it would be much healthier to run the next couple of elections on what he has to say, as opposed to a couple of buzzwords and “John McCain is uncool because he can’t type.”

So get the word out.

Liberals think people have absolutely no potential, and governing them is all about cleaning up after their messes and bringing them things. And if you happen to be a male, they have absolutely nothing whatsoever to say about you that’s good.

It’s the message Andrew Leonard, himself, wants to get out. Look at all the effort he’s putting in to pretending to be curious about something, just so he can talk about it.

Update: On the other hand, if Mr. Leonard really wants to know, he might want to take a glimmer at a post put up by The Western Chauvinist, about a week prior to his own. Strongly recommended to you, Mr. Leonard, if you plan to have sons later on but don’t have them yet.

If you do already have them though, boy do I ever feel sorry for them. I’m hoping you learn a whole lot, and learn it quick.

They’re White, They’re Men, They’re Angry

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

Inspired by the latest Michael Crowley column, Neo-Neocon figures out what’s really happening…

Obama’s race is the gift that keeps on giving. It will continue to do so until we see the unlikely spectacle of hordes of Angry Black Men rising up against him. That’s the only thing that will get those poor Angry White Men off the hook—and maybe not even that.

The fact that the opponents of health care reform speaking up at the town hall meetings are clearly motivated by extremely substantive issues other than racial hatred of Obama is irrelevant to Michael Crowley. In fact, many of them are also at least as furious at Congress and the person of one White Woman Nancy Pelosi, as well as a number of Very White CongressMen.

But repeat after me: they are White. They are Men. They are Angry at Obama. They are Angry White Men.

And don’t let the fact that some of them are women confuse you, either. Those women (for example, Sarah Palin) are Angry White Men too, albeit honorary ones. After all, there is no Angry White Man more racist than an Angry White Woman.

And the fact that there are even a few Angry Black Men speaking out at the town halls against Obama’s health care reform plan is irrelevant. For example, although Kenneth Gladney—who may or may not have been physically attacked and beaten at a town hall meeting by a black Obama supporter and SEIU member—is unquestionably a black man, and unquestionably a vocal opponent of the President’s health care reform, for the purposes of our discussion we will consider him an Angry White Man too.

After all, since Obama’s approval rating among black Americans remains steady at 95% (the only group in which it hasn’t declined), that most definitely makes Gladney an outlier. He’s been branded a liar as well by the Left. What could be Angrier and Whiter and Manner than than an outlieing liar?

But Michael Crowley, although white and a man, and rather angry at the Angry White Men who are angry at Obama, is not an Angry White Man. That’s because he’s on the Left and an Obama supporter, so that makes him immune to the charge.

Crowley’s not to blame for fanning the flames of racism, either. Anyone who cries “racism” against Obama opponents, even if he writes an entire column emphasizing their white race, can’t be a racist himself because he supports Obama, who in case you haven’t noticed (and Obama and Crowley and the Left will make sure you notice, every step of the way) is black.

Of course, if we wanted to get really technical, we might say that Obama is half white and half black. And he’s a man. So, when he gets angry, does that make him an Angry Half-White Man?

Don’t be silly. Obama never gets angry.

Stupidly Drinking Beer

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

Pure self-inflicted political damage, from The One who is supposed to be the nation’s premier political genius.

Much discussion about a sit-down taking place. Not a single word about what was supposed to be said, what in fact was said, what came of it, who feels all warm and fuzzy about it who didn’t feel warm & fuzzy before. All symbolism. No substance whatsoever. I’ve kibitzed before about this strange, strange, strange preoccupation our modern liberals have with the act of “sitting down to discuss our differences.” I’ve listened to decades of this bullshit, and I’ve yet to hear a syllable about what this — let us call it what it really is — ceremony is actually supposed to do.

Yet another “teachable moment” with no actual learning taking place.

The one person who did everything right from beginning to end was not invited, apparently because she’s just a chick. This is a day for healing racial division, not gender division.

Biden, who has nothing to do with anything, got a seat at the table…he’s got such a steady track record of saying the right thing, dontcha know.

Sgt. Crowley deserved exoneration, and through this event, he lost every shred of dignity he had.

Prof. Gates needed people to take him more seriously, and ended up looking sillier than before.

President Obama desperately needed to save face from this public relations setback He suffered — probably for the very first time in His life! — and made an ass out of Himself.

The one single word that was used so unwisely, to blow this thing way out of proportion? It’s an adverb. “Stupidly.”

And what an able word for this attempted closure. Stupidly. Four men stupidly partaking in a photo op, which is failed even before it begins.

FacepalmIf you were to have jotted these events down in manuscript form before they actually occurred, no publisher of fiction would accept it. It’s all too surreal, too absurd, too astonishing, too preposterous. It would never happen in real life. This is a new low nadir. This takes the cake. It descends beneath “[illegal aliens] are doing the work Americans won’t do.” It descends beneath Howard Dean yelling “YEEEEAAAARRRGGGHHHH!!!!” It descends beneath John McCain suspending his campaign to fix the mortgage crisis. It descends beneath John Edwards screwing around on his cancer-stricken wife, and Gov. Sanford hiking in the Appalachians.

Our national Absurdity Engine has burst a gasket and thrown a rod. Too much gas, too many revs, and that premium grade of bullshit fuel burned way too fast.

If this is a typical “teaching” moment, kindly leave me un-taught thankyewverymuch. Just lend me a Sharpy so I can make a new hash mark on the door jamb, and hopefully we have to wait awhile before this newest record of extraordinary depth is broken yet again.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News.

What a Real Man Looks Like

Thursday, July 2nd, 2009

What looks bad when your life is goin’ good, but looks better than anything you’ve ever seen when you’re completely fucked?

A man, built by the Good Lord from stem to stern to stop bad situations from getting worse, endowed by Him with the muscle and brains to make that happen.

The link behind the picture goes to Gerard, who editorializes:

In a land where neuters, unicorn riders, and moonwalking molesters are deified and canonized, we can forget that there are real men still walking the American earth. Here’s one. Do you think she was glad to see him?

“A construction worker, suspended from a crane, rescued a woman who fell into the Des Moines River in downtown Des Moines Tuesday. A man who also fell into the water died.” — Photo Journal

And then, for the man reaching out his hand, Jason Oglesbee, and the others involved in the rescue, it was back to work on Wednesday, “We have a bridge to build here,” the supervisor said as his men went about their business. — Des Moines Register

Step back in the “real” world, of Gerard’s moonwalking perverts, airhead girls with their dogs-in-purses, banks that are too big to fail, overpriced iced mocha drinks, iPods, iPhones, iPresidents, “climate change,” Appalachian hiking…and smelly Jason is just in the way. He is the priceless coin that is artificially devalued when life goes on just a little bit too long being a little bit too sanitized. We forget how much men like him mean to us. We forget there is no other human denomination with quite the same value.

If we make a real commitment to that ignorant mindset, we are completely screwed. We deal a sustained assault on our own abilities to cope. With life itself. If we don’t, then maybe we’re not screwed.

Time will tell.

Thing I Know #130. The noble savage gives us life. Then we outlaw his very existence. We call this process “civilization.” I don’t know why.

Manliness in Heads of State

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

We have different thoughts about Francis W. Porretto (hat tip again to Gerard) versus Dr. Helen Smith. But they, in turn, are having similar thoughts about manliness and how it is needed when a responsible hand guides the tiller of a ship of state.

A Sunday Rumination at Eternity Road:

Manliness is an indispensable attribute in a captain of State.

Henry VIII of England was tormented by his repeated failures to produce a son. He feared that it was God’s judgment upon him, which he strove to avert by flitting from wife to wife, divorcing the Church in England from the Papacy in the process. He did manage to beget a son, Edward, upon Jane Seymour, but Edward was weak both physically and mentally his entire short life. His “reign” was that of a regency council; he never held nor wielded power before dying of tuberculosis at age sixteen. It was Henry’s second daughter, Elizabeth, born of Anne Boleyn, in whom the strength of the Tudor line was conserved. However, to get from Henry VIII to Elizabeth required England to endure a decade of fratricidal war.

The United States has had several demonstrably unmanly men for chief executives in recent years: Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Barack Hussein Obama. Note that all three of these “men:”

* Are whiners;
* Are prone to making excuses;
* Try to shift the blame for their failures and sins to others;
* Admit to error or wrongdoing only when they have no alternative;
* Despite their demonstrable failings, are relentless in criticizing better, more accomplished, more moral men;
* Are implacably hostile to individual freedom.

Note also that none of the three has fathered a son. Whether that was because of a quirk of biology or by Divine intervention, we may be grateful, for none of the three would be more capable of rearing a son to actual manhood than was Henry VIII.
A manly father will raise his son to an appreciation of personal independence and the obligations it confers. He’ll insist, at every stage of development and under all circumstances, that his son bear the full responsibility for the consequences of his decisions and actions. He protects his son only by limiting his autonomy until the boy has grown old enough and strong enough to bear what it might cost him; apart from that, the enduring theme of the manly father’s lessons to his son is to “take it, whatever it might be, like a man.” For he knows that he won’t be around forever; in due time, his son will have to “take it” whether he chooses to or not.

Dr. Helen would like to engage in some quality thinking about what “success” really is, and whether our flashy politicians raised in fatherless homes have defined it properly before dedicating a lifetime to chasing it down…

Father’s Day is here and it is a time to reflect on how important dads are to us as I do here in a PJTV show on why dads matter.

However, there are people who feel differently. These people think that fathers are not only unimportant but that they might even impede one’s success in life. At least this is what I got out of an article at The Daily Beast entitled “Washington’s Fatherless Elite” in which author Lisa Carver explores why so many successful politicians (such as Obama) and others are from father-free homes:

I was recently helping a graduating senior put together his college applications, and it about killed me. Whenever I began to fret that the forms weren’t filled out absolutely perfectly, he’d just smile roguishly. He wasn’t prompt, he didn’t worry. He knew everything would work out just fine.

“No it won’t!” I wanted to yell. “We have to take into consideration every possible complication! Life is a series of disasters to be narrowly averted!”

The difference between us? One big one is that he grew up with a loving dad to comfort, help, and support him, and I did not. My dad was in and out (more out than in), instilling in me a persisting sense that no help is coming, that life is mine to tackle alone, that finding a solution is completely up to six-, or 16-, or 36-year-old me. And it may be that running a country, a state, or a courtroom in today’s world benefits from exactly this type of survivalist, crisis-oriented personality.

Carver goes on to talk with a politician who grew up without a dad:

I was a man amongst men in the State House of Representatives and was a member of the good ol’ boys club. It fostered a feeling of belonging in the male world. I love my mother dearly, but there are times when a father’s guidance would have served me better. I poured my entire sense of self into becoming a politician on the upswing. I passed over a few opportunities to have made a family. I skipped past moments of simply enjoying my life and obsessively devoted every waking hour with thoughts of how I’d advance to the next level.

I came to understand that I’d substituted a father’s involvement in my life with one deeply entrenched with my political peers.

I see the differential being chased down here, both by Porretto and by Smith, has to do with existing in the world in which one has been hatched — whether that is in the capacity of a spiritual/temporal leader, or of a commoner. The ability present in those raised by strong father figures, and commonly absent in those lacking the same advantage, has to do with duality. Recognizing that certain things “ought” to be a certain way, and yet at the same time, retaining the ability to function in an environment in which the various codes and patterns may not have been upheld.

Manly ManYou see it in the elections here in the United States. Eight and a half years ago we got a President elected who was viscerally disliked by those who resented manhood — many of whom probably never understood a father’s proper role in the family. They shrieked. Now we’ve got a President who offends the rest of us. We don’t shriek…we groan. Both sides have strong feelings about Presidents disliked, but have dramatically different ways of showing this dislike.

The biggest difference lies in the ability, or the lack thereof, to speak thoughtfully of what is to take place if things are done the undesirable way. Their side, with their hostility toward manliness, has become classically European. Words like “must” and “ought” and “should” roll so easily off their effeminate lips. They show a consistent weakness in weighing cost/benefit. The most luminous example of this weakness is the invasion of Iraq, which shouldn’t have happened, of course. “Sovereign nation!” “We invaded a nation that had nothing to do with 9/11!” “Thousands of troops killed!” Yes…and…if we didn’t invade, then what? Cost-benefit. You aren’t supposed to be asking about that, you see. The show’s over. They obligatorily bulged their eyes out of their skulls, they obligatorily flung their spittle around the room, they obligatorily manifested their rage…let the horror commence. Why are you asking questions?

It goes to the fundamental ability to decide things logically. Here’s another example that separates the shemales from the men: Gun control. Good guys and bad guys have guns…versus…just the bad guys have guns. Here’s another one: Minimum wage. Jobs are available that pay five dollars, eight dollars, ten dollars an hour…versus…only the jobs that pay ten dollars are available. The others have been outlawed. Need more? North Korea. We don’t “talk” to The Gargoyle, and he proceeds to build his missiles and other weapons…versus…we ply him with food and oil so that he doesn’t build his missiles and weapons — then he builds his missiles and weapons anyway.

This hostility to maleness consistently and inexorably leads to an inability to see even simple issues from multiple sides. The manliness-deprived just see one side. We don’t invade Iraq so there’s no tough dangerous work for anyone to do…we make guns go away…jobs pay more…Gargoyle becomes a peacenik…what a bunch of wonderful miracles! Too bad they’ve never actually happened, regardless of how many times they’ve been tried.

Their mass personality is well-defined by now. These are the cowardly school principals who, staring across their desks at the chronic bully and the good-kid who finally fought back, resignedly send the bully home and reserve the “real” punishment for the kid who’s supposed to be above the schoolyard fighting. These are the well-intentioned but spineless who demand the harshest justice upon the head of whoever threw the last punch, so that the guy who threw the first one can get away.

Bad fathering, or absent fathering, does that to people. The vacuum left by the absent masculinity, always seems to be filled by the same junk: A surreal Utopian vision of a universe that has never known, and never will know, force. They seek to banish force in all its forms, be it malicious or protective, because they do not understand it. And generation after generation, they become what they hate because they always need more rules to get this Utopian vision going — and no form of force short of the police power of a state, shall suffice for that purpose.

Update: It’s an exercise in great minds thinking alike; blogger friend Rick and I did not coordinate this, you’ll just have to take my word for that.

Compare and contrast.

Update 6/24/09: Welcome, again, Conservative Grapevine readers.

Dueling Douchebags

Thursday, June 18th, 2009

Hooray…for President Barry-O. Fearless fly killer.

During an interview for CNBC at the White House on Tuesday, a fly intruded on Obama’s conversation with correspondent John Harwood.

“Get out of here,” the president told the pesky insect. When it didn’t, he waited for the fly to settle, put his hand up and then smacked it dead.

“Now, where were we?” Obama asked Harwood. Then he added: “That was pretty impressive, wasn’t it? I got the sucker.”

Yes Barack, that was a real good thing you did there. The joke going around is that PETA is going to have a problem with it.

Well…in times like these, it’s awfully tough to make a joke that manages to stay out ahead of this stuff. No?

The group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals wants the flyswatter in chief to try taking a more humane attitude the next time he’s bedeviled by a fly in the White House.

PETA is sending President Barack Obama a Katcha Bug Humane Bug Catcher, a device that allows users to trap a house fly and then release it outside.

“We support compassion even for the most curious, smallest and least sympathetic animals,” PETA spokesman Bruce Friedrich said Wednesday. “We believe that people, where they can be compassionate, should be, for all animals.”

One wonders if this was what Gomorrah was like before the fire came down. It seems everyone who has anything to say about anything…is convinced it’s always all about them. Raised from toddler-hood that way. Man swats fly. Dog bites man. But how did it make you feel?

And bloggers are supposed to be egotistical because we write up things we think, and put those things in places others can read them. I can see how an atrophied mind might form such a thought as a first impression. But hey. I’m not typing in something like “That was pretty impressive the way I just lampooned President Obama and PETA, wasn’t it? I got the suckers.”

Bashing Manhood, Bashing Reality

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

Jaye has thoughts about Man Day, thoughts that’ll get ya thinkin’:

What we’ve got going in the present is insane. It is the present that worries me.

Absolutely, men have been systematically attacked. Every institution supports the pc mentality. Women have readily conformed. Men were more dangerous, perhaps, and so more viciously targeted. The attack on masculinity was one of the things that woke me to how sick our society had become.

The nature of men and women was attacked because it is so fundamental to how we are human together and in relationship to reality. What is being attacked is the very idea that things have an intrinsic reality. If something so fundamental is malleable, can be unanchored from reality, so can everything else. Words can mean anything, gender, sexuality, morality, society, history, same.

We deny nature, say it is not true. So nothing else we know was true, just a social construct, we will make a new one to fit. We are absolutely miserable, but we keep telling the lie until lies become the dominant mode in society not just personal relationships. We will believe that we can spend our way out of debt, that wrong is right and to be celebrated, that we can talk madmen with nukes into liking us. PC is going to kill us.

I don’t want men who do things exactly the way we are supposed to do them. I desperately want men who will do the adult version of jumping off the roof just because it’s there; who get things done, who make the world a better place just for being there, who drive the barbarians from the gates, who write music that leaves you breathless or build things that will leave you awestruck a thousand years from now or get us to the stars. All that is real.

It brings to mind something Vin Suprynowicz said about illegal aliens lately (hat tip to Gerard):

Here in America, citizens and other legal residents have every right to stage rallies, protests and demonstrations on any topic that tickles their fancy.

But they ought to say what they mean. It’s reached the point where some of these characters use so many misleading code words that you need some kind of politically correct secret decoder ring.

And I wonder if the folks who cover such events for our newspapers shouldn’t provide us with a little of that cryptanalysis.

“A coalition of labor, business, faith and immigrant rights leaders gathered in downtown Las Vegas on Monday to launch the local leg of a national campaign pushing reform of America’s immigration laws,” the Review-Journal reported June 2.

“All of us have seen the disastrous effects of this broken (immigration) system, which has enforcement only as its approach,” said Peter Ashman, chairman of Nevada’s chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. “The immigration system must be overhauled to create and accommodate a balanced and sensible approach to immigration, one that takes into account our need for secure and orderly borders and protects our integrity as a nation of immigrants.”

By which Mr. Ashman actually meant to say that he now demands we “finish the job of making our borders the least secure in the world, inviting every poor person in the hemisphere to swarm here illegally, thus bankrupting legal immigrants and native-born Americana alike, and if you object I’m going to call you a racist and pretend your forebears broke just as many laws getting here as my clients break every day.”
Calling these people “undocumented” is meant to create the impression their “documents merely failed to show up in the mail,” a situation easily remedied by filling out a couple pesky forms. That’s like calling a rapist an “insensitive lover” or a bank robber a “customer who makes withdrawals without presenting proper withdrawal slips.”

Reality is scary and unpleasant sometimes. A lot of folks simply are not up to the challenge. Some of them, nevertheless, lust after the kind of power that is involved in running everything. They thirst for the “You’ll Never Work in This Town Again” power. Even though they possess a childlike weakness in dealing with things as they are. And they know it.

A quote often misattributed to Robert Kennedy is “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?” Supposedly this captures the liberal progressive spirit of daring to begin labors on what is known to be impossible, and ultimately achieving the impossible. That’s supposed to be the prize; that is bait for the trap. It seems what has been implemented is to dream of things as they never have been, and insist on seeing them that way even when reality continues to counsel that things aren’t really that way.

So many of these impossible things our politically-correct progressive-minded types want to undertake, have very little to do with building things and much more to do with re-defining things. Ballot after ballot after ballot asks us if we want to re-define marriage as something other than a union between a man and a woman, and when we keep saying “no” our courts threaten to step in and re-define it for us. Illegal aliens are re-defined into a class that is somehow supposed to be here. Tea party protesters are re-defined as mindless drones marching in lockstep to an unreasonable set of rules, rather than good-hearted people who are taking time out of their busy lives to speak out against unreasonable rules. President Obama’s decidedly hostile feelings toward the country He’s supposed to be leading, have been re-defined into something called “love.” He’s taking over one industry after another after another, and His solutions are supposed to be “market-based.”

The same people who have some personal beef against manliness, are the people who show a personal beef against reality. Those who spend as much energy re-defining things into something those things aren’t, as what, generations ago, manly men spent on building tunnels, bridges, skyscrapers and dams.

Jaye is on to something here. There is a connection between those who bash reality and those who bash manhood. They do seem to be the same people.

Political Wives

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

Melissa Clouthier’s latest Pajamas Media column is up, and it is about the bizarre and “unenviable” position of political wife. God bless Blogsister Melissa — she really makes you think.

Can you think of a worse job? Married to type A personalities with more than a little bit of a narcissistic streak, these women — often educated and accomplished in their own right — must present a subservient demeanor and a sunny picture of their spouses or risk their spouses’ success. In addition, they often play a big part in their husbands’ careers by campaigning or crafting strategy. It is a rare politician whose wife operates outside the inner political circle.
Many political wives aren’t just known for their contributions to the political sphere. Many endured having their private lives made public. Hillary Clinton isn’t only known for her politics and ambition. She is also known as the woman who stood by her husband’s side despite his infidelity and abuse of power. A staunch feminist, she demonized the women who were victims of her husband’s advances and infamously decried “the vast right-wing conspiracy.”

Those of us who aren’t women should sit up and take note of what’s going on here. It is ironic, surreal, topsy-turvy. This is about the men we elect to lead us — ostensibly, the best out of all of us men. Now listen up, fellas. What is it, exactly, that causes us to look down with such disdain and contempt, upon those among our brethren who are poorly endowed? I shall not dwell upon my meaning here, for I’m pressing the envelope of vulgarity already. But think on it awhile. What makes a man with half a package, half a man? What makes him unworthy of standing side-by-side with the rest of us…let alone leading us?

It seems a petty, juvenile question. But there is some grown-up tradition here, and once you think on that, you realize things are changing and not for the better.

We have, traditionally, thought of ourselves as fit to be led by men who are chosen from the best among us. And that means men who can please their women. As in, make women happy. Happy…as in…not looking like Ms. Spitzer during that horrible press conference.

How will America survive if good people don’t run for office? When decent people forgo politics because they see how public servants are personally destroyed, there seems little incentive to jump into the shark-infested waters. Conservatives, especially, must worry about this. Over the last decade the press has shed any objective pretense and made it its mission to destroy conservative politicians, especially those who are most outspoken and idealistic. It gives rational people pause.

And so the political world may end up being inhabited by guys like Arlen Specter and Bill Clinton, self-serving miscreants who abuse their calling. They are bought and paid for by interests and are far removed from those who vote them into office. And behind these men stand women who facilitate their journey.

Only three possibilities are in effect here.

One: Electing the very finest among us to the most potent occupations, has become passe. We have become burdened by a thirst for mediocrity. Mediocrity and oiliness.

Two: Excellence has somehow become disconnected from the time-honored art form of making a woman feel cherished, fulfilled, important and worthy.

Three, and I think this factor has had the greatest effect: We have become unmoored from the truth. We have fallen in love with electing the opposite of whatever it is we say-out-loud we are electing. Ted Kennedy was “The Conscience of the Senate,” Jimmy Carter was “a good man,” Bill Clinton was “honest,” Barack Obama is “thoughtful.” In all cases there is an irony present, which the dull, vague concept of “everyone” refuses to admit is there. We pretend everything is consistent with everything else. We pretend that the content is the same as the appearance. Deep down, though, nobody who studies the situation to an extent beyond the most casual, thinks of Present Obama as a thoughtful man.

Now look what’s going on here.

We all still like to chuckle at the fella with a tiny pecker.

But we elect to our very loftiest positions, the so-called “men” who’ve shown a proclivity for making their life-mates profoundly unhappy. I mean, miserable to such an extent that most of us will never truly understand it. The so-called “man” who can’t, won’t, or doesn’t know how, to make a woman happy…and doesn’t care to learn how. That’s today’s definition of manhood. It shows up in what kind of men we choose to lead us. Time and time and time again.

Trouble ahead? Gee, you tell me. When’s the last time we twisted the concept of manhood itself all around like this, and things worked out just swell for us. And how far are we twisting it? For how long has the idea of male potential…male goodness…male worthiness…been inextricably intertwined with the idea of men making women happy? Answer: It has been synonymous, for untold centuries. Since King Arthur’s Knights of the Round Table, female fulfillment has been the reason we are here at all, let alone leading anybody.

In a sane world, an unhappy wife would almost be grounds for impeachment. In ours, it has become a pre-qualification criteria for the candidacy in the first place.

IT Guys and Marriage

Saturday, May 30th, 2009

Dr. Helen has found something that gets her thinking, and me too.

Eleven men and one woman were asked about what they wished their spouse knew about their job. This is what the men said:

Most of the 11 other respondents’ answers to my question expressed some frustration with their jobs or with their marriages, or both. (The one woman who responded to my question wrote about the guilt-trips her kids lay on her for having to work long hours.) Their responses boiled down to the following five themes:

1. I don’t want to discuss the details of my workday when I get home.

2. Don’t call me at work unless it’s an emergency.

3. If I don’t return your phone call, it’s not because I’m mad at you/don’t love you. It’s because I’m busy.

4. IT management is not a 9-to-5 job. It’s complicated, demanding and stressful.

5. I’m not a tech support person, and I can’t fix all of the family’s home technology problems, especially when I’m at work. I spend my time on strategic issues and networking with other C-level executives.

The men in the article are seen as the “bad guys,” that is, they are seen as uncommunicative and insensitive to their wives–and blamed for their shortcomings. The summary of the piece makes this clear: “your answers spoke more about your communication mistakes at home than they did about your spouse’s shortcomings. Read on for advice on how to fix this before a nasty crash.”

Perhaps these IT men are a bit uncommunicative or perhaps they do have stressful jobs. But can you imagine if the same author interviewed women who were raising five kids and having a stressful time of it? Say the husband was calling home for some spousal care on the phone in the middle of three of the kids having a temper tantrum. Do you think anyone would be sympathetic to his plight and blame the wife for her communication mistakes? I rather doubt it.

I’ve spent very little of my lifetime being a married IT guy…which is a little odd, since I’ve spent all of it being a married-or-not IT guy. Marriage wasn’t happy in my case. I can’t clue you in on very many of the details, because I don’t have memories of them. Going back to anytime before my marriage was officially dissolved, some seventeen or eighteen years ago, it’s mostly just a big blur. A nugget or two from childhood, maybe. But anything before November of 1991, even though it’s my life, recalling something from it is like reading from a blackboard with several thick sheets of dirty plastic stretched across it. Some form of PTSD, I guess.

One thing I do remember: I had some depressed feelings about the yawning chasm between my wife’s interest in my paychecks, and in what I had been doing to earn them. She had such insatiable curiosity about one of those things, and little-to-none about the other. It’s a sad, sad thing, when you pledge your life to somebody and wake up one day to realize they aren’t smart enough to feed the goose that lays the golden eggs.

Back to what Dr. Helen is talking about: It is, of course, an assault upon masculinity; but it’s a rather complex one. What’s happened is that masculinity has been re-defined. A man’s ability to chop wood is worthless, his ability to defend the home from an intruder is worthless, his ability to open pickle jars and kill spiders is worthless. Worthless, as in, a lady who genuinely appreciates these skills, is going to be stigmatized and ostracized by other “ladies.” And on Planet Female, social ostracism has a profound effect that men can’t quite fully appreciate. Instead, women are to value men for: Communication. That’s it, and that’s all. Spending time with the family, being expressive, listening, listening and more listening. Empathy. Chatter. Agreement-over-clarity. Observing, over such a sustained timeframe and to such an intense level, that the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle is actuated, and it becomes unclear who is doing the observing and who is being observed. What Robert Heinlein called “grokking.”

This is not to say that men are valued for their ability to grok. That would call for the fashion-set to show some positive feelings for men, here and there. That cannot be the case. No, the ability to grok, is simply dangled in front of the gentlemen, as a carrot before a donkey. As a prize not to be won yet. As in “I wish you would do X more.” You don’t notice a man who does it well, except in the capacity of someone/something you cannot have. Wives who desire to be accepted by other wives, audibly inform their husbands “I wish you could be more like him.”

The IT guy, by his chosen life-work, routinely commits what today is the great sin: He places his attention on something that is not his woman, and sweats the details — over there. There is no penance for this sin. Off the clock, he may worship the ground upon which his lady walks, but hours before he demonstrated his readiness, willingness and ability to pay attention to something that is not her. This is a stain that cannot be washed away.

And so, in our modern society, after all this “progress” we have been making…the male who actually comes up with something someone can use someday, has to go through life apologizing for the way he lives it. This does a disservice and measurable damage to a lot more people than just him.

Two Dozen Coffee Mugs

Sunday, May 24th, 2009

It’s not about pissing off that one guy, actually; it’s about elaborating on that “Humans Matter” point on which I was ruminating two weekends ago. It occurred to me that, if this was undergo a metamorphosis into an effective campaign to revitalize the Republican party, or at least give new life to someone who would oppose the nihilists who are in charge right now…perhaps this could be most effectively communicated as a limited number of specs on that “Humans Matter” point. In other words, maybe it would be beneficial to make the next few campaigns about mattering.

It seems to me this is the catalyst of what all the shouting is about lately. Is it appropriate for humans, for Americans, to do things that actually make a difference? Without apologizing for it? By that I mean, as individual efforts…rather than these things we should “all come together” to do?

Perhaps it is easy to envision ourselves as not-doing-things, and tearing down anybody else who would think of really-doing-things, simply because we are only casually acquainted with the everyday, real-life benefits of doing things. Or the liabilities involved in not doing them.

So my vision is a set of coffee mugs — sold six or twelve at a time, with twenty-four unique designs. Their designs have it in common that the phrase —

Dare To…

…is right up there at the top.

And then the smaller lettering halfway down says one of the following…

1. Decide Where Your Money Goes
2. Drive Your Car
3. Discipline Your Child
4. Breathe
5. Be an American
6. Support the Troops
7. Clean Up Iraq
8. Support Israel
9. Be, or Appreciate, a Wise Strong Resourceful Manly Dude
10. Be, or Appreciate, a Smart Powerful Gorgeous Woman
11. Support Capital Punishment
12. Organize a Tea Party
13. Defend the Unborn
14. Speak Your Mind
15. Own a Gun
16. Eat Meat
17. Drink Beer
18. Want Terrorists Dead
19. Be What You Are
20. Hang on to What You Have
21. Build Things People Use
22. Watch FOX
23. Vote Against Obama
24. Raise a Boy into a Man

These are all things that have been stigmatized over the last forty years. Or twenty, or seven, or two-to-four.

Not a single one of them should be stigmatized, and deep down, I think everyone knows that.

Let’s un-stigmatize them. Nevermind whether it’s possible, in the years ahead, to get someone elected on that or not. Just forget all about that. Un-stigmatize regardless.

Memo For File LXXXVI

Sunday, May 17th, 2009

The untoughening of our society — typically accomplished by lowering the pain threshold of our children, through an ever-expanding glut of useless, redundant, pain-in-the-ass regulations — is gratifying to some, reprehensible to others. Whoever comes by to read The Blog That Nobody Reads, and has been for awhile, likely knows full well what my feelings are about it. I do not wish to carp about it any further here, but I do intend to carp about how rare it is for it to be decided by those who ought to be in charge of it: The people who live in the state and therefore contribute to its culture, or lack thereof. Not serve in its legislature. Just live inside the borders, work, pay taxes, vote. The “Big We” do not get to decide what bloated, easily bruised pussies our kids become. We delegate that authority to our betters.

You know — maybe it’s time that one had a serious re-think. Maybe we’re past the point of no return, and I’d just get outvoted again. But let’s find out.

Total BlissI Had yet another “I’ve Lived Too Long” moment when it was called to my attention that my son may very well be forced to take the bus when he attends middle school next year. Over a certain distance, bike-riding is not an option. Google Maps reports the one-way trip to my own middle school, all those years ago, to be 3.35 mi. I’m sure others my age rode further and over more challenging terrain. Never once, up to now, have I heard of some nanny-state law bursting forward intoning “Aw, da poor li’l boo boo” forcing kids onto the bus so that their greatest challenges in life can be putting up with bullies and getting off at the right stop. So that they can confront second-grade problems right up to their first year of high school. No, I still have vivid memories of that afternoon when I figured out my headgear was inadequate. The temperature was thirty-something, the winds rolling in off Bellingham Bay were turning my ears into ice and there wasn’t a damn thing I could do about it but pedal faster.

I wouldn’t want to subject a child to the same thing. But I wouldn’t want to deprive him of the experience either, because there is something else that concerns me about this. Someone, somewhere, is making decisions about this — I know not who — and they are not similarly concerned.

I’ve realized something about the Golden State, and I think it means something in other states too. California has more than its fair share of laws on the books that confuse “Kids Shall Not Be Forced” with “Kids Shall Not Be Allowed To.” Our children have to wear helmets, elbow pads and knee pads on their rollerblades. On their bicycles. Skateboards. Razor scooters. Swing sets. When walking up stairs. On a windy day. All right, some of this I’m exaggerating, but it is a tenderizing elixir from which we have been imbibing deeply. It seems to me…and I doubt I’m the only one…to be a good idea carried way too far, constrained by absolutely no mechanism whatsoever to ensure it won’t be carried still further.

Meanwhile, I’ve lived here for over sixteen years now. I vote whenever I can. Seven o’clock in the morning on election day, in the springtime and in the fall, I’m always there. I do believe I have seen every single ballot.

On which questions am I allowed to exercise my sacred right and obligation to participate in a democratic republic? A whole fistful o’ crap. Things that ought properly be decided by an executive who’s in charge of, or involved in, the process. Is two billion dollars over ten years too much to spend on a levee project? Should we issue this water bond? Medicinal marijuana. Gay marriage. Every now and then they’ll toss us a bone involving mandatory sentencing. It has the taste and feel of some real meat; but I’ve got a feeling it’s just bone.

In sixteen years I have never been presented with an opportunity to decide whether it should be legal for a fourteen-year-old to work four hours a day, or anything like that. A couple years ago we just did it again, to the grown-ups: Between your fourth and fifth hour at work, you’re required to clock out for lunch. Or your employer is required to force you to. Or something. We’ve got some bizarre overtime law that says overtime-exempt employees aren’t really overtime-exempt, and their employers can be sued for thousands of dollars retroactively — clearly functioning as, and I think intended as, a “gotcha” to punish those who had the audacity to risk their life-savings providing employment for others. And we wonder why we’re in financial trouble. Laws against making work too hard…legislated by those who’ve never known “hard work” a day in their lives. By the way, if you work in a high tech field, nobody really knows how this law impacts the agreements between you and your employer. It’s very much like the nation’s tax code: Vague by design.

Containing BabySo while we keep our kids carefully encased in sterilized and disinfected styrofoam mummy suits for their tee ball games, and clock out for our state-mandated lunch breaks, I’m given cause to wonder. How come my referendum-crazy state never seems to bring the untoughening laws to the referendum process? How come nobody knows what “The People” of California, whose word is supposed to be sanctimoniously final on so many other issues on which they/we don’t really know what they/we are doing…would say about this suffocating, hydroponic bubble in which our little ones are spending their childhoods? That seems strange, to me. I’m told I was born too late. I’m told I’d be outvoted. But I don’t really know that and neither does anyone else.

Instead I’m left to constantly ask the question every time I’m told about yet another thing California kids can’t do: Who decides this stuff? Where is this star chamber of pussies making rules for everyone else? Is it our legislature? I would think, if these rules are thought to make such a positive difference in who lives to see adulthood and who doesn’t, then someone would be popping up somewhere, more prominently than they are, to claim credit. “Yeah, I wrote that.”

Perhaps they are. But if so, it’s only within a select audience somehow screened to make sure all those in attendance have some appreciation for this systematic removal of toughness. They don’t want to shout it from too high of a mountaintop.

The untoughening laws have to realize universal effect. They have to impact all of us. This is by design. And yet, to make sure they are actually passed, only some of us are allowed to know about them when they are in the process of being ratified. After the laws are in effect, only a few of us are allowed to know who thought it was a great idea to get ’em written. Only those among us who would approve.

I think, on any other topic, it would be generally understood that this is not a way to pass good laws. On the ongoing pussification of our society, somehow, we tend to be blind to this. We tend to continue allowing this star-chamber of soccer moms, whoever they are, keep on keepin’-on — the commoners decide what bond issues might result in a lowered credit rating for the state, and then the nameless faceless busybody elites decide what our evolving mores of decency have to say about kids losing their training wheels at too young an age. We’ve got it all a hundred and eighty degrees backwards.

An Ass Whose Approval is Gold to a Smaller Ass

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

The prophecy:

A political emergency brings out the corn-pone opinion in fine force in its two chief varieties–the pocketbook variety, which has its origin in self-interest, and the bigger variety, the sentimental variety–the one which can’t bear to be outside the pale; can’t bear to be in disfavor; can’t endure the averted face and the cold shoulder; wants to stand well with his friends, wants to be smiled upon, wants to be welcome, wants to hear the precious words, “He’s on the right track!” Uttered, perhaps by an ass, but still an ass of high degree, an ass whose approval is gold and diamonds to a smaller ass, and confers glory and honor and happiness, and membership in the herd. For these gauds many a man will dump his lifelong principles into the street, and his conscience along with them. We have seen it happen. In some millions of instances….

Rap WannabeMr. Clemens was really hardly going out on a limb when he wrote “Corn-Pone Opinions,” an essay not published until well after his demise. But it is a ballsy prophecy nevertheless. You can extend your gratitude to our blogger friend Gerard for the history lesson (he has ours).

Back to the subject at hand: fulfillment of the prophecy. Say hello to the smaller ass.

Meet Steven Gilmore. The wannabe rapper tried to rob a Florida convenience store Friday night and shot an employee in the head with a BB gun in a bid to establish “street cred” for his nascent hip-hop career. The 21-year-old Gilmore…admitted his harebrained scheme after he was arrested Saturday night, according to Gainesville police. Gilmore, who also copped to a stickup of the Hungry Howie’s restaurant, told police that he thought the robberies would provide him the kind of reputation he apparently believes is required in the rap world. According to a Gainesville Police Department report, Gilmore, wearing a bandanna over his face and carrying a BB gun, fled empty-handed from the Super Store convenience outlet after struggling with a store clerk over the weapon. During the encounter, the clerk, Dharmedra Patel, was shot in the temple and suffered a laceration and bleeding. The Hungry Howie’s heist netted Gilmore about $900, records show, and he departed the crime scene on a moped driven by a 16-year-old accomplice. The aspiring rap performer’s career is now on hold as he faces attempted armed robbery and aggravated assault charges.

Prophecy and reality enjoy an overlap that is so perfect, that on reflecting on the two of them, I realize not a single pertinent word has been left unsaid. OUT.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News.

Protest Fail

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

One ringleader babbling away about “command hierarchy” and “consensus”…but it doesn’t seem to me anyone else believes in such things. And that includes the people on his side of the conflict. He’s herdin’ cats.

Just like the “real leaders” with such strangely simplistic notions of consensus-building. In many ways. Like, end results, how well it’s thought-out, how well it’s coordinated…how funny it looks (when there’s nothing really important at stake).

Well — I’m off to get myself a glass of Corporate Water and get ready for bed. Night, all.

Attention Faithless Men

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

Let’s see, Hillary Clinton, Silda Spitzer, Elizabeth Edwards… if you want to be an adulterer, marry a Democratic lawyer. No self-esteem whatsoever.

Don Surber, whose scorecard today was tweeted by Gerard.

Someday I should really put together a list of democrat documents that don’t mean anything. The “I’m not going to invade Poland” pacts, the “Our nuclear research is strictly for power” statements, the marriage licenses, the “You’ll never see your taxes go up by a single dime” promises, the “I’m a practicing Catholic” statements, the quotes about “All the scientists agree about climate change”…

It’s like they aren’t strictly lying, per se. More like they have bifurcated brains that can embrace two different and separate planes of reality at the same time.