Archive for August, 2015

The Firings Will Continue Until Our Inclusive Culture is Achieved

Wednesday, August 26th, 2015

The Verge:

[Mozilla CEO Chris] Beard said the remarks indicated a discomfort with diversity that he would not tolerate…”If that’s not actually hate speech, it’s pretty damn close…We are not going to walk that line as Mozilla. So if and when we identify who this person is, if they are an employee, they will be fired. And regardless, either way, they are not welcome to continue to participate in the Mozilla project. It is not who we are.”

The comment that got under the boss’ skin was

Frankly everyone was glad to see the back of Christie Koehler. She was batshit insane and permanently offended at everything.

When she and the rest of her blue-haired nose-pierced asshole feminists are gone, the tech industry will breathe a sigh of relief.

To which he said,

When I talk about crossing the line from criticism to hate speech, I’m talking about when you start saying “someone’s kind doesn’t belong here, and we’ll all be happy when they’re gone.”

Another Reddit user had some fun, toying with the irony:

He added that such kind of people don’t belong at Mozilla and if they’re an employee he’ll be happy when they’re gone.

I’m so old, I remember when the venerable and respected part of a so-called inclusive culture had something to do with the emulsification of it. Strong leadership, wise leadership, team-building…whatever ya gotta do, to get the pagan goth kids working together with the Promise Keepers, the vegan millennials and the Iraq War vets who go shooting on the weekends…cool kids and nerds…the organization as a whole took a bow, because everyone grew a little bit, and the leadership was thought to have executed a whole series of wise decisions to make it happen.

Something has changed. It’s different now. Seems to be something like “We’re going to ostracize and ostracize, until ‘inclusive’ people are the only ones we have left.” I’m not sure what is the bigger problem: The constant hunt for the next chunk of flesh, just like sharks circling a lifeboat, or the seemingly complete ignorance of the irony.

“The Kids Are Not All Right”

Wednesday, August 26th, 2015

Michael Brendan Dougherty, The Week:

Kristen Soltis Anderson has penned a bright and optimistic book called The Selfie Vote urging Republican leadership to understand millennial voters, of which she is one. A pollster with Echelon Insights, Anderson shows that millennial voters may be socially liberal when it comes to same-sex marriage, but that they are not uniformly progressive, and that their interests occasionally collide with legacy institutions built by the left in the 20th century.
It makes intuitive sense that young people ought to be entrepreneurial, since they are unchastened by failure, and unburdened by immediate and growing families. The young investor should have confidence in the future, particularly the long term. Instead millennials are the most risk-averse investors, many of them having witnessed their parents go through agonies of 401(k) meltdowns and foreclosures at the same time. Their model of investment isn’t managing an aggressive account from their phone — it’s closer to burying cash in a refrigerator, then burying the refrigerator in their parent’s backyard. Indeed they are as worried about their parents’ portfolios as they are of their own.
Some demographic reports predict that once the economy has fully turned around, millennials will reach a tipping point and actually prove to be a more stable generation, with a higher percentage of their own children growing up in two-parent homes than they themselves did. But their marriage rates seem unlikely to ever catch up. As summarized by Time magazine, the Pew Report shows that millennial men aren’t even attaining to what have traditionally been the prerequisites of marriage: a stable job.

Hat tip to Bird Dog at Maggie’s Farm.

E-Mailing Toby Miles

Wednesday, August 26th, 2015

Freebeacon, via Ace:

Ex-IRS official Lois Lerner used a second personal email account under the name of “Toby Miles” to conduct official business during the time of the conservative group targeting scandal.
While it remains unclear who is “Toby Miles”–Lerner is married to a Michael Miles–the IRS said that it has concluded that the address represents “a personal email account used by Lerner.”

“It is simply astonishing that years after this scandal erupted we are learning about an account Lois Lerner used that evidently hadn’t been searched,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said, accusing the IRS of concealing information from Lerner that could inform the targeting controversy.

Hat tip to Neo-Neocon, who adds: “Not all that astounding, actually. But interesting.”

Eliana Johnson, writing at the National Review:

Her use of the mysterious account has prompted speculation into the source of the name. “Toby Miles,” according to a former Lerner colleague, is the name of Lerner’s dog: Toby is the dog’s name, and Miles is the surname of Lerner’s husband, Michael Miles.


The Moral Bankruptcy of PC

Wednesday, August 26th, 2015

Brendan O’Neill, Editor of Spiked:

Being Offended Doesn't Make You RightYou’re judged on how you express yourself, not on what you believe, or what you do. Take Swarmgate, the media fury over British PM David Cameron’s use of the word ‘swarm’ to refer to those few thousand migrants in Calais who long to come to Britain. When Cameron was talking about sending soldiers and barbed wire and dogs to keep these aspirant Brits out of Britain, the self-styled guardians of public decency — the Twitterati, liberal editorialists, Labourites — said little, except perhaps that he should do it more quickly. Yet as soon as he referred to the migrants as a “swarm of people”, these Good People became pained: they banged their fists on tables, spilt their tea, went on the telly.

Ladies and gentlemen, behold the inhumanity of political correctness, which bats not one eyelid when 5,000 human beings are reduced to the level of animals, yet which becomes wide-eyed with anger when their animal-like status is mentioned in polite society. “Treat them like shit, just don’t use shitty language while you do it” — that’s the glorious motto of the PC.

Hat tip to Instapundit.

Solve the Problem, but Don’t Make Me Feel Stupid

Wednesday, August 26th, 2015

Had to do a lot of driving yesterday, with no sound or music. Makes you think.

I’m running into an old problem: There are these complex problems being thrown at me that demand answers. This is my livelihood. Lately, however, it has become an implicit part of the job to not make people feel stupid, and my efforts avoiding this have met with mixed results. It’s because of the designs, which are about as complicated as the problems they solve. Here and there, there are opportunities for an exception to this — you can solve a complicated problem with a simple solution, you know, it’s possible. But, it’s important to maintain moderation in this. The most spectacular examples of complex problems being solved with simple solutions, have to do with wrecking things.

The solution should be capable. A contested quote from Einstein about the “perfect formula” says, “simple as possible but not simpler.” Good rule.

After several minutes of introspection, I realized an ugly truth: Repeated admonishments about “Don’t make X feel stupid but solve the problem” stir up impulses in me, due to a marriage long-dead. I guess I spoiled myself with long stretches of time spent staying away from people like that, the “don’t want to see anyone doing anything I can’t do” people. That is not to say I’ve been making a point interacting only with people with an I.Q. of 125 or greater. But, I’ve had my filter working. It’s not a “stupid person” thing, it’s a “people who want to put you in a box” thing. Stay away from the shadow-people. Things work much better, for everyone, with a wedge between us. Like Michael and Fredo, “You see our mother, I want to know a day in advance so I won’t be there.” They come in, I go out. Wasted too much of my one life on them already.

Know what it’s like to be married to a woman who launches into a tirade if you use any “big words” — but you have no idea what makes a word big? Or a woman who wants you clean-shaven, because women can’t grow facial hair? Harrison Bergeron knew. I’m not him, and his world is not for me.

Then again, it’s a difficult complaint to entirely dismiss because sometimes, in some situations, it is legitimate. It’s easy to recognize from the outside. If you’re the third party, watching one person approached with a problem, by another, and you’ve already formed the answer in your mind; when you see the designated problem-solver come up with something two or three times as complicated, it’s aggravating. Yes, I completely get it.

But then again, I can envision how a diesel generator works, a thing of simplicity and beauty. Once it’s actually working, it’s no longer a thing of simplicity — wires, cables, hoses everywhere, and every single one of them has a reason for being. Space shuttle rocket engine, ditto. The design is even simpler, the implementation even more complicated. By the time things are actually implemented, if they’re still functional they’re more complicated. That’s just how it is. It is what’s required. Measurement devices have to be connected, systems have to be cooled. Inlets have to be routed so you can poor the good new oil into them.

The problem is how to distinguish the problem-solver from the guy who really is just out to make headaches. How to make sure you’re not that guy. And I came up with an answer, that works, that really IS simple.

If your challenge to me is one of: “Give me a math equation, whose answer is 4, but don’t make me feel stupid” there are lots of ways to answer that. “Two plus two” is the most obvious; “two times two” works as well. “Two to the power of two” has a certain feeling of useless protest about it, and if my final answer is “What is the cube root of 64,” well then we know I’m just being a dick. Right?

But. If your challenge goes the other way: “Tell me what two plus two is, and don’t make me feel stupid” — it is the asker of the question, not its answerer, who is being the dick. Part of the reason we know that to be true is, there’s only one answer. Oh sure, you can criticize the delivery. That’s always safe. We can argue all day long about whether the answer was delivered in such a way as to make you feel stupid…it’ll probably end in a stalemate, at which time you can take the coward’s way out and “win” with some intonation of “Well, my feelings are what really matter, and I’m the one who gets to say what they are.”

But if we don’t want to live like Bergeron, we have to recognize the Handicapper General. She’s all around us these days, isn’t she?

It has to do with needlessness. The criticism that you are needlessly making the other person feel like an idiot, stands, if the solution you have presented is needlessly complex. But who gets to say that this is the case? Cooling the generator requires a lot of valves, pumps and hoses. Are they needed? Should we ask the guy who hasn’t ever built, fixed, or maintained a generator? The people who never seem to get anything done that helps anybody, certainly do want to be asked. “Burn this bitch down!” and so forth.

When Mrs. Freeberg and I catch ourselves committing little sins of momentary financial incompetence, our favorite way of ‘fessing up is “We know we’ve arrived.” We’ve arrived, because I accidentally left a tee shirt in the wrong bag and paid a king’s ransom to have it professionally cleaned and pressed. And she left a $20 bill in a wad of spare $1 bills, and didn’t miss it. Well…we know our society has “arrived,” because when people do help each other, we think it’s a problem, even bigger than the one that just got solved, that the helper exercised a greater share of influence over the situation — even temporarily — than the person who required the help. It is somehow worthy of our dread and our outrage that the guy who was teetering on the edge of the cliff, was momentarily at the mercy of the guy who reached out and pulled him to safety.

This, somehow, creates a second-crisis, that is worthy of our time. A leading contender for the White House is on record, complaining about too many available choices in the deodorant and sneaker markets.

Diana Moon Glampers, call your office.

The Hook

Saturday, August 22nd, 2015

A movement to outlaw all jobs that pay less than $15 an hour, would never attract enough support to survive. A movement to destroy the work ethic in children by awarding participation trophies, would suffer the same problem; it would eventually wither away and die. A movement to spare women from any and all responsibility, and help them blame men for all their problems in life, grant them legal authority to kill their unborn children no questions asked, ditto. All of these “movements” would need — have needed — a hook. A way to reel in those who care more about moral posturing than about politics, the ones who don’t pay attention, the ones who can be easily deceived.

It’s got to be about raising workers’ wages, building childrens’ self-esteem, empowering womens’ choices and demanding equal pay. Those “hooks” sell. Sure they are dishonest as expressions of the ultimate objective, but they’re being expressed to people who don’t have time or inclination to assess their sincerity, or lack thereof. So they have their hooking power. The clumsy-moderate sees the advertising, believes it if only on a tentative basis, starts to make an ego investment in it. That’s the hook. Once the ego is invested, good luck talking them out of it.

The HookIt’s the same with “protecting the environment.” Haven’t you noticed, things that get in the way of our work, make it harder for us to start businesses, build products and services to help each other, are never bad for the environment. Higher taxes are not harmful to the environment; never called out as such by those who busy themselves with defending this environment, anyhow. But in a sane world we should be hearing that, and a lot. The beef is supposed to be that “human activity” is a detriment to the environment, and if higher taxes mean anything at all, they mean that you have to engage more of whatever work you’re doing. You have to do that in order to reach the same status you’d be able to reach with lower taxes, and less of this activity. So if increased activity is to be avoided, logic should tell us that higher taxes also are to be avoided.

I don’t mean for that to be come as some big, earth-shattering epiphany. It isn’t one. It’s simply common sense, what ought to be at the very front of our minds as we discuss issues like this. The problem is, it doesn’t even rate afterthought-status. A lot of people don’t think of themselves as “liberals” but they make the same decisions liberals make, and they make them the same way, by thinking too much about rhetoric and self-appearance. Not enough about cause-and-effect, or consequences.

Another thing fitting this pattern: Taking money, power and speech away from “corporations.” People forget that corporations are simply government-recognized organizations. The attack that is being mobilized, is against business, and people who do the business of making products and services other people need. Again, the rhetoric is making use of perceptions and ideas that are antiquated, have lost whatever fastening to reality they might have once had, or never had any such fastening in the first place. “Corporations” versus “workers” is the paradigm, but that doesn’t fit anymore. A “corporation” could be a diner your parents have been running to supplement their retirement income, changing status to attract more investors. A “worker” very often is someone who works at trying to find a job, who hasn’t managed to find one in over a year. Or, an illegal alien who isn’t even supposed to be here, who’s been trucked in, equipped and protected by a left-wing political effort to depress the wages of the unskilled, to make people more desperate and more likely to vote for democrats. None of that has anything to do with “work,” except, once again, to make it harder for people to do.

Some people buy into this because they think “corporation” has something to do with a business’ size. They aren’t backing what they think they’re backing. They appreciate capitalism and all it does for us, but they long for the days of yesteryear when people had ideas, built stuff, attracted investers, and presto now you have another business. They live in fear of a future in which AT&T, Sony, Apple and Time-Warner make everything. I have that fear too, actually. They’re doing the wrong thing about it. Their bedfellows do not appreciate free markets the way they do; their bedfellows seek to destroy capitalism, replace it with collectivism. But again, good luck explaining that. Because they’re “hooked.”

How about gun control? My experience with arguing the issue with those on the other side, tells me not quite. They’re not just clumsily slipping past the salient point that, if you take guns away from people who follow the law, outlaws are the only ones who will have any guns. They’re actively doubting this. From all I’ve found out about them, they really do think if we have more stringent gun laws, we’ll eventually get to that utopia where no one has any guns and the violence will stop. So it works as an additional example in which you have deceivers, who want one thing, and the deceived, who want something entirely different. Because with gun control, the deceivers want a disarmed, helpless and desperate populace; for those deceived, this is but a means to an end, which is the cessation of gun violence. With the other examples, these are alliances that shouldn’t even exist because what the deceivers want and what the deceived want are entirely opposite things.

Throughout it all though — if you were to plot it all out on a chart, two columns wide, row by row — the deceivers who actually come up with these plans, and come up with these “hooks” to get them sold to decent, albeit overly-ego-invested people, want the same thing. It is a plan of destruction, and in all the examples you’ll notice they have targeted the same thing. And that’s human capability. Working at a job that doesn’t demand any skill, until the day the so-called “worker” has come up with a skill he can use to land a better job. Leaving the playing-field without a trophy in hand fake or real, time after time after time, until the practicing is done and the player has what’s needed to earn a real trophy. A woman making her own choices, and in so doing, learning from her mistakes and getting better at making wise decisions (and, everybody else being allowed to talk freely about whatever room she has for improvement). You see the common theme? People make mistakes in Year N, or fall short somehow, but learn; demonstrate the real value of the human species by way of self-improvement, trying harder, keeping past lessons in mind, and making failure into success in Year N+1.

The Left cannot tolerate that. They are at war with humanity, because they crave stasis. No living thing, human or not, can give it to them. Humans get better all the time. That’s what we’re built to do, what we’re supposed to do.

Why does The Left lie so much? Part of it is, if they were more honest, they’d never be able to sell what they want to sell. They have to have their hooks. Another part of it is, when people value what The Left values, those people tend to have a much easier time lying about even entirely inconsequential things.

When [President] Obama told us that his grandfather liberated Auschwitz, that was a gratuitous fabrication — he could have honestly stated that his grandfather was part of the army that helped liberate concentration camps in western Germany…when Mrs. William Jefferson Clinton told America that she was named “Hillary” in honor of Sir Edmond Hillary climbing Mt. Everest, even though that happened years after Mrs. Clinton was born, that also was an effortless deception…

We see in leftism this casual prevarication over and over again. Lois Lerner tells us – and expects us to believe – that her emails were erased with no intent to cover up wrongdoing, just as Mrs. Clinton tells us that the vast number of government records (State Department emails) were destroyed because all the records destroyed had to do with personal matters…

Perhaps, when leftist politiicans engage these deceptions that don’t even benefit them in any definable way, they’re making a statement about who’s in charge, much like a dog pissing on the living room rug to mark his territory. Perhaps it is their way of saying to the hoi polloi: You think you’re in charge, but you’re really not. Who cares what you think? What does it matter what we tell you, what anyone tells you? Silly, dumb voters.

Raising the minimum wage means one thing: If you don’t have the skills you need to land a more demanding job this year, you shouldn’t have those skills next year or the year after. And, you shouldn’t even be able to sell your time until then. Just sit on that bench, use society’s safety-net as a hammock, vote democrat. Stay uncomfortable, stay incapable, and most of all, stay desperate.

The real tragedy is that the deceived-people, many of whom aren’t even in the targeted class, actually think this stuff is “empowering.” Well, it is; the problem is with which groups of people it empowers. It’s not the people who have been identified as needing this sort of help. It’s the deceivers who are selling it all. The human-vultures. Parasites. Destroyers. For the rest of us, it’s the opposite that is the truth. We are being de-fanged, deprived of the tools we need to make it in a world that offers even the simplest challenges — just like a wild animal, if you were to de-fang him, and then release him back into the wild.

On Enlistment, Citizenship, Marriage and Other Burdens

Thursday, August 20th, 2015

How’s that for an inflammatory headline? I can hear it now, “ZOMG! And this guy’s married?? His poor wife, she has a husband who thinks marriage is a burden!” Well, I was going to go even further and say “On Enlistment, Citizenship, Marriage and Other Pains-in-the-Ass,” but that looks wrong. Looks like it should be “pain-in-the-asses.” Let’s settle the tiny things first, irrelevant though they may be: “Pains-in-the-ass” is more correct. But I rejected both of those, not just one. It’s a writing thing. If the reader is distracted, the damage is already done.

So these are to be described as burdens. Although yes, they are pains-in-the-ass too.

Proceeding to the things that actually matter: You’ll notice I never said, “don’t enlist,” “don’t get married” or “don’t become a citizen.” There are quite a few people running around out there, not the quiet type by any means, who will lunge toward the idea that this is my point. And in truth, they are the point. They illustrate the damage. A burden means a heavy load. Our society has become infantilized, because we’ve got this idea meandering throughout that “this is heavy” is somehow equivalent to “don’t lift it.” Wasn’t so long ago, before our pasta got overcooked and the crisp became formless and soggy, that “this is heavy” meant — was axiomatically presumed to mean — “every pound I carry is a pound someone else is spared.” Isn’t that refreshing?

Pain in the AssNotice the quaint idea: Someone has to do this. What primitives we had back then! Where did they get such an idea? As is often the case, the simplest answer is the correct one: This used to make sense. Enlisting in the armed forces to fight Hitler and the Axis Powers, you see, was not a “lifestyle choice.” It was something that simply had to be done.

Remember that? Remember things that had to be done?

The cogs in my noggin finally got enmeshed when I was reading Ann Coulter’s comments about citizenship, the Fourteenth Amendment, how Justice William Brennan’s “crayon scratchings on the Constitution” perverted the whole idea, and Fox News’ many mistakes about it. Although that, by itself, didn’t get the job done. I work in a military environment, although I’m not military myself, and some of the uniformed guys & us soft-bellied contractors were having a bit of a discussion about the Ashley Madison thing. There were anecdotes. Heartbreaking ones, like about some guy taking a whole day or more to hop from plane to plane to get back to his own house, to find some guy living in it.

Suddenly, it’s sort of hit me sudden-like, like a bag of fishing lures swinging by the natural centrifugal force, into the right temple: The burden is gone, and from everything. This is not a good thing. All of our positions of responsibility, have morphed into privilege. No — not just privilege. Status.

Becoming a wife doesn’t mean “When he signs stuff, that becomes my headache” or “I’m never going to sleep with anybody else for the rest of my life.” It means you get to, like some little kid playing a game, wear certain things. Citizenship, likewise, doesn’t mean duty. It means you’re entitled to some stuff. Back when the Fourteenth Amendment was written, that was something of an afterthought. It doesn’t seem so now, when you read what they were writing back then, because they were obsessed with slavery. But not the same way we are now. They had reason to be obsessed with it: Just a handful of years, or months, or weeks previous, slavery was a thing. That is not true of us. Our situation is that we’re punch-drunk on “I get to do this and no one can stop me,” and we are distant strangers to the concept of “I must do this” or “I cannot do that.” We’re heap-big on entitlement, not so good on responsibility.

People did not think, just decades ago, about pains-in-the-ass, even though ass-pain was a situation that literally surrounded them. In fact, relatively speaking, we today don’t know anything about it. But it just wasn’t on their minds. They thought about contributing. We think about enjoying. That’s what I mean by the word “infantilized,” it is exactly what has happened. And I cannot go on record as stating a belief that destroying a civilization was the primary intent. But I can say, if I were ever somehow tasked to accomplish such a thing, this would be one of my preferred methods, on a short list, if not the single most-favored method. To destroy a society utterly, infantilize its populace; get that one thing done, on a cultural level, the rest is just a matter of time. And not too much time.

Pasta that has been cooked? I approve of the analogy more and more, every time I think on it. It’s perfect. The ingredients have not changed, even in the slightest, all that is different is the heat, humidity and pressure. And the resulting form is entirely different. A cooked noodle cannot break, but it cannot push, cannot impose any sort of will or force on anything; other than being consumed, it is entirely useless. And that is what we have become. For the time being.

Once upon a time, a few months ago, I defined conservatism in this way:

What exactly does conservatism seek to conserve? Civilization, the blessings that come from having it, and the definitions that make civilization possible. From what does liberalism seek to liberate us? Those things — starting with the definitions.

And this is as good an example as any other. “Civilization” can withstand a lot of things. But it cannot withstand a populace that has failed, en masse, to reach maturity; an entire generation sitting on its laurels, like second-graders sitting “Indian style” in a huge auditorium (can I still say that?), waiting for something to gratify them, with their heads crammed full of expectation for entertainment, all notions of responsibility or duty crowded out of the limited space in the cranium.

One of our nation’s prior presidents had this to say about it:

[A]sk not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.

Immediate gratification versus delayed gratification. Your problem is in there, somewhere. Everything — everything — that used to entail some acceptance of new responsibility…marriage, job promotion, citizenship, election, appointment…nowadays, you see, has a lot more to do with “get to.” I get to do this. I get to park in this spot. I get to wear a tiara. All privilege, no burden. You’ll notice most of the problems we have today that we find truly vexing, can be traced back to that. They are not unsolvable. We can depart from the juvenile mindset any time we put our minds to it, as long as we’re sincere about it. Anytime we’re ready to act and think like adults, the nightmare is over.

Update: To be filed under “How To Say the Same Thing, in a Lot Fewer Words.” It’s like this:

Modify this one slightly to: “Every position of responsibility, including marriage, elected office, being the parent of a ‘learning-disabled’ child, and all the rest of it, involves a pain-in-the-ass. And if you don’t know what I’m talking about, it’s probably almost certainly you.”

Poached Egg Chivalry

Friday, August 14th, 2015

An exchange, which I’m afraid lately has become the cement that binds all of the building blocks of our so-called “civilization” together…

Somewhat Untamed/Uncouth/Uncultured Male: Something.

Matronly Female (indignantly): WHAT?!?

Male: …Nothing…(slinks out of sight, wishes the world would swallow him where he stands)

Slightly more complicated exchange, which has lately taken the place of the above…

Uncouth Male: Something.

Matronly Perpetually-Offended Female: WHAT?!?

Uncouth Male: Chill bitch, there’s nothing wrong with that.

Couth Male: How DARE you!!

Uncouth Male: Alright, I can see I’m not gonna win at this…(slinks off, exit stage left)

Couth Male, to Perpetually-Offended Female: Looks like you owe me some sex!! (smile)

Perpetually Offended Female: Okay. Go fuck yourself.

We have, as a “civilization,” unfortunately become rather hooked on this. And by “rather” what I mean is “completely.” The perceived front-runner of next year’s presidential election, offers repeats of exactly this exchange as an incentive for people to vote for her. Hasn’t anybody else noticed? She offers nothing else. Nothing. Just repeat after repeat of “WHAT?!?” followed by a scurrilous feral-creature male backing down from some previous position. She’s offered the electorate no reason whatsoever to put her in any position of actual authority, or trust — nowhere except prison.

And that’s just the beginning. Teevee sitcoms. Teevee commercials. Movies. Trailers for movies. Presidential debates. The hubbub after presidential debates.

Females refusing to do this, refusing to stop doing that, being offended, being aggravated; spineless males acquiescing, and helping to scold others who don’t get with the program. It’s an invasion. This used to be an annoying incursion into the national discussion. Somewhere along the line, I nodded off and now I wake up and see this is the national discussion, all of it, and about everything. I’m afraid the time has come to ask seriously: Do we stand for anything else anymore? Do we know any other way of arguing, counter-arguing, inspecting, proving, refuting — interacting? Selling? Buying? It all seems to come back to that, the power of female approval/disapproval. Like moths to a flame. Or like flies back to a turd.

I was notified, at work, that this weird phenomenon of human interaction I was noticing was called White Knight Syndrome. Ah, yes. I have heard of this before. I have been afflicted with it. Most guys my age have.

But, I’m not that worried about White Knight. White Knight only afflicts stupid, “nice” guys. Guys with tin ears, guy who are out-of-step and lack the street-smarts to get with it & figure out what’s really going on, without the benefit of a great deal of experience that is still ahead of them. Stupid men. Guys like me, some 20 to 25 years ago. It is a large, and perhaps swelling, demographic. But it is by no means universal.

Poached EggWhat is universal, or shows signs of being universal, or at least on the way, is a more complicated strain of the germ. It doesn’t afflict stupid young men in their mid-twenties; that would be relatively harmless. It afflicts just about everybody. It lies dormant until things get a little bit heated, like last week during this Trump/Kelly conflict. And then it turns normally sane, normally clear-thinking grownups into these idiot-gelding “white knights.”

For that reason, I call it: Poached Egg White Knight Syndrome. Yes, things are left clear and fluid and in their natural state, until there is heat. Then everyone has to turn white-knight. The only way the analogy fails is: A cooked, floppy white poached egg, actually has a purpose. These “White Knights From Heat,” on the other hand, are like tits on fish. As far as brain capacity, the analogy works. Poached Egg White Knights, have about the same useful I.Q. as an actual poached egg. As far as the brainwave activity that can be channeled into action that can make some situation better, they’re about on par with an actual poached egg.

And they turn white under heat, like a real poached egg.

It is not honest. We know this. The poached-egg-white-knight might make a good show out of coolly, methodically evaluating whether “bleeding out of her wherever” is a direct reference to a journalist’s menstrual cycle, but it’s obvious he doesn’t really give a shit. It’s just the Gamma Male’s way of getting laid.

It is not sane. We know this, because it often doesn’t work, and when it doesn’t work they keep doing it. They don’t even get a lot of that coveted female approval, either, but they continue to go after that, like a blind baby animal continuing to suckle away at a teat that has run dry.

It is not sane on the other side either. Chicks get as addicted to the intoxicating elixir of this tedious play-script as anybody else — they withhold approval, and by withholding approval they gain male deference. Sometimes that, too, doesn’t work. And when that happens they just double down on on the play-script. They end up making this big show out of withholding female approval from someone who has already shown, repeatedly, that he doesn’t need it and doesn’t even want it.

It is like watching an unskilled, poorly equipped artisan struggling to complete a slightly involved task, with only a single tool in his bag. I guess that’s the situation. You have to actually do some arguing to win arguments, and we have a few too many people walking around among us who want to skip forward, past all that business with present, prove, refute, question stuff. Want to skip ahead, to the fun part. Where they win.

It is a sexual drive, a sort of mating dance, among those who have no need for such a thing. Those whom the forces of evolution are about to select out of the gene pool, Darwin’s detritus. If we could line up all of the sex acts according to what might have some useful purpose, masturbation would take a front seat to this. Because this is just annoying, in addition to which it is a fountainhead of bad ideas, pursued with great confidence by those who wouldn’t know an idea from a hole in the ground. Ideas that ultimately hurt people.

Voids Surrounded by Sphincter Muscles

Wednesday, August 12th, 2015

I’ve been thinking lately about assholes. Not a lot, but more than I’d like. Partly it’s because of stuff like this:

What a bunch of assholes, right? But then again, the guy who finally broke the blockade had a little bit of asshole in him, too. That’s right too, isn’t it? You can produce a favorable outcome and still be an asshole. Last I checked. I suppose that means being an asshole can have positive aspects to it.

Certainly, there have been people who’ve done positive things, who left others in their wake, calling them assholes. And meaning it. Well you know what Churchill said. But I can’t use dirty words in my headlines; that would be discourteous to my readers. So I rely on this euphemism cooked up originally by, I think, Neal Boortz. Although it could have been George Washington.

If you think this is going toward a defense of Donald Trump, you’re wrong. Although, actually, that got me thinking too…I’ve long had this rule about assholes, that being an asshole might be a subjective thing, left up to the opinions of others, immeasurable, right up until someone works at being an asshole. At that point, the debating has to stop. That would make Donald Trump an asshole, no doubt, because he certainly does work at it.

AssholesI mean, think on it. How many people do you know who’ve worked hard at being assholes, and failed?

So that certainly works. But the definition is too narrow. We don’t even have to break a sweat before we can find quite a few specimens outside of it, who certainly should qualify as assholes. Wikipedia says what we’re talking about is “people who are viewed as stupid, incompetent, unpleasant, or detestable.” That certainly does work better. But, as one who has heard and used the word more than occasionally, I have the viewpoint that the idea-hat being hung on the word-peg, has more substance to it. There is an effort, consistently upheld throughout all these usages, to communicate something that goes beyond.

Assholes generally fall into two categories: Those who are dismissed far more easily than they might have thought they could be dismissed (“I booted that little asshole out of my office and he won’t be back”), and those who build up a desire to dismiss them, because of a lingering inability to do so (“One of these days I’d like to tell that asshole to take this job and shove it”). That is the super-simple Dewey Decimal System of assholes, the ones who don’t expect you to dismiss them, and the ones you’d like to dismiss but can’t. The pervasive theme is dismissal. That’s where the “stupid, incompetent, unpleasant or detestable” part of it comes in. The reason it’s important to point out the dismissal aspect, is it does a better job of capturing the true meaning. Some people have really stupid dogs that they’d like to keep around forever, if only they could. Stupid creatures are assholes only if you want them out of your sight, so stupid is not the litmus test. The desire to dismiss is the litmus test.

These two overly-broad categories of asshole — the ones you can dismiss and the ones you can’t — can be thought-of as the ones who are beneath your level of authority, and the ones who are above it. Subordinate and superior assholes.

The takeaway from all this? Not sure there is one. But, given how many times per week we call each other assholes, or are at least tempted to do so, it might be good to keep in mind why the impulse beckons. Once the question is opened, it shouldn’t take too much soul-searching to resolve it.

Some among us might make the unpleasant discovery that they want to call others assholes, because they’ve been outperformed, outclassed, outmaneuvered, out-earned, outgunned. They might make the discovery that it’s nothing more than raw jealousy. Which might not mean a lot…but if they’re conscious of that, and still cave in to the temptation of thinking of their betters as assholes, and announcing it to all within earshot…

Well, that would make them assholes. The very worst kind, in fact. Am I right?

I Don’t Owe Megyn Kelly a Single Thing

Saturday, August 8th, 2015

…and neither do you. So by now you’ve seen this, I’m sure:

And this bit at the end, where Trump gets his little digs in on Ms. Kelly, has exploded. The primer detonation was after the whole exchange, by which time the watchers and those interested were firmly divided into a pro-Trump and pro-Kelly camp. It was the second half of this Trump formula, where you poke the critic, or asker of unwelcome question, in the nose in a playful way first to sort of let ’em know what’s coming. Then you go off somewhere else where they can’t defend themselves and say something like

“@timjcam: @megynkelly @FrankLuntz @realDonaldTrump Fox viewers give low marks to bimbo @MegynKelly will consider other programs!”


I knew it was going to be a big crowd because I get big crowds. I get ratings…So she gets out and starts asking me all types of ridiculous questions, and you know, you could see there was blood coming out of her eyes — blood coming out of her, wherever.

My opinion? Well, let’s review what is really going on here. It’s a “good” disagreement, in the sense that their boxcars are both on the same track. Megyn Kelly’s point, and it is certainly not a bad one by any means, is that we could very well end up with a Trump-vs.-Clinton contest here…

Memo to people who feel like they sort of nodded off a few years ago, and woke up suddenly in these times and are scrambling to adjust. That means, people like me. “Clinton,” in the here & now, refers to a chick. Her Hillary-ness. Cankles. The mean angry middle-age woman whose appeal is, inexplicably, that she’s a mean angry middle-age woman. Yeah, I know right?

The point behind Kelly’s question is that Trump’s well known penchant for coloring outside the lines, could make him a liability in such a contest. I don’t agree with The Donald that this was an unfair question. The problem with it, is that it — like Trump’s many responses — bases its worthiness on the anticipation of what total strangers think, and/or will be thinking.

And as distasteful as I find that to be, it too is not a problem. The problem is 1) Trump is doing the same thing, and 2) from all we can see, from the audience’s reactions, he’s right and Megyn Kelly is wrong. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, then you didn’t watch the clip. Her question was not a reflection on the public’s delicate sensibilities and/or offense, it was an attempt to manufacture these. I really like Megyn Kelly, but here, she wasted everybody’s time. It was not a good question. It wasn’t an unfair question, but it was a bad one. She ended up with egg on her face and that’s what should have happened.

Now things get crazy. With the open forum ended, Megyn Kelly’s sympathizers want a “rematch,” of sorts. They want to see how their own tweets play out, what their own Facebook posts can get launched. One of my blogger friends from way back, speaks for a great many when he says,

No SympathyI’m not a woman… but I’m married to one, I have sisters, I have nieces, I have a mother and I know plenty of women who would rightly take umbrage with Trump over his treatment of women. As a man who cares deeply about these women, I stand with them.

To which I reply,

Why do you conflate your sisters/mother/nieces with this woman who asked an inappropriate question? …since she was bullying a bully on live television, let us agree it was a foolish question. A question undeserving of respect.

I know lots of women who wouldn’t do that. Why should I see an insult against one, as an insult against all of them, just because they’re women?

And here, we confront our mass delusions that stretch backward in time by a great many years, that have set us down this errant path. And they’ve paved the way for a Trump candidacy in the first place. These misguided notions about classifications of people; that some of them are so incredibly weak, that if ever there is a dispute in a public forum that involves an instance of those classes the rest of us are ALL honor-bound to come out of the woodwork and lower the beatdown on their opponent.

For our sisters! Or something.

I remember something about this. I recall making a disparaging remark on the social media, during a rather frustrating bout of Christmas shopping, about the un-wisdom of burying children entirely under big piles of video games, specifically children with highly questionable learning disabilities. My point was, when the electronic-game-playing habit slips way out of control and you just feed it during birthdays and holidays buying the varmint a bunch of electronic gadgets and games and won’t even consider anything else, you can’t turn around and say “He doesn’t listen to me and has trouble with schoolwork, it must be LD.”

Up comes the husband of one of my exes, with some comment — in writing, it came off as exactly the same demeanor as Megyn Kelly’s question, this “offended yard duty teacher” posturing — “We both know who you’re talking about.” I ignored this completely, because that’s one of the first things a manly man does. One of the last things a manly man does, and this is my point, is to wade into social media fighting his wife’s fights for her.

A couple of my female friends, with varying levels of knowledge about the prior personal events, made that point to him. Fighting your wife’s Facebook fights for her, doesn’t make you look manly. It makes you look the opposite. That’s a good point.

It applies here. Megyn Kelly went up against Donald Trump and tried to win a judgment in the court of public opinion. She lost, end of case. That should be the end of it, but we’ve been conditioned to think in these things we somehow owe it to women to dehumanize them, to make sure we don’t see them as individuals, that we’re supposed to see them as part of this big, tender, highly sensitized class. An offense against one is an offense against all!

That’s bullshit. The big problem with women in this situation, as is the case in most other situations, is 1) it turns out they’re human and 2) humans make mistakes. That is all this is. I don’t owe Megyn Kelly a single thing and neither do you. She asked a foolish question and ended up looking foolish…something that happens to males in her industry, hundreds of times a year.

And, to be “fair and balanced” about it, I don’t owe Donald Trump anything either. But this is not about politeness versus rudeness as opposed to political correctness. It still IS about political correctness. And this is not anybody else’s fight. Megyn Kelly tried to stir something up, she failed — end of story. Oh and as further icing on the cake, Ms. Kelly is fully aware of this. She is an established player in her industry. It has hazards. I’d love to live in a house as big as her swimming pool, and you would too.

If we’re truly concerned about it, the solution to the problem is, as always, to do a better job defining things that have been left undefined. Or to restore a definition that someone dismantled. In this case, it would be: The proper role of a moderator in a presidential debate. We need to spend some time repairing that particular fence on our ranch. Seriously. There’s some heap big wreckage there.

I Like My Way of Grilling Better

Saturday, August 8th, 2015

The Gamma‘s, or maybe we’re talking about the Epsilon’s, way of doing it:

1. Light the grill
2. Assume the position, tongs in hand
3. Immediately feel guilty; recoil in horror from the machismo
4. Wallow in your feelings of guilt, since that’s what makes you a good person and stuff
5. Write an article for Slate or sometthing
6. Reach up and flip your bangs to one side of your head, again
7. Somewhere along the line, do something that has to do with getting the meat cooked
8. Or, don’t, instead just go wherever your wife sends you, to get a pizza
9. Clean up your mess exactly the way she tells you to, and be quick about it
10. Stay out of the way

My way of doing it:

1. Grill that fucker, with dry rub, sauce, or just by itself
2. Eat it

I like my way better. Way better. It has to do with grilling tasty meat, whereas the gelding’s whiny treatise gets all bogged down in “less inclusive eras” and such. I like my way better because it has nothing to do with eras. It’s era-neutral. Come to think of it, a lot of other people besides me find appeal in that, it isn’t just era-neutrality, it’s million-years-neutrality. Make meat edible and tasty by putting heat underneath it; mankind could’ve done — did do — that anytime.

CavallariMiss C.J. lowers the beatdown on snowflake:

You mean an era when men took responsibility and women let them take on their God-given roles as protectors and providers because studies show that when guys have responsibilities and commitments to others, they actually excel and achieve and actually DO something with their lives? Those same roles that liberal feminism has selfishly taken away from men because of some made-up crap about oppression and victimization that they STILL won’t shut up about?

This just bulls-eyes the problem. Rather than doing something with your life, go all “activist”-y — get exactly what you and your movement want, and still not shut up about it. Isn’t it completely obvious what’s happening here?

I’ll go ahead and say it: Men like the grill, because like the characters in The Godfather, it reflects real life. In real life, you can maintain and gather your tools, expose yourself to flame and danger, and get something done…which will have an immediate reward involved, for yourself and for others. Or, you can just talk about it all day. Pretend that you’re all ready for the challenge, when it’s really the furthest thing away from your enfeebled hipster mind, and that the only hitch in the giddy-up is that the challenge isn’t ready for you. Or, it’s not quite right in some way. Emits too much carbon. Isn’t gluten free. One way or another, you’re not getting anythig done, but you’ve got this fantastic excuse.

And I find this most telling:

Paging through photographs of my years in grad school recently, I came across one in which two colleagues and I stand in a semicircle around a kettle grill. Though my eyes are downcast in the image, I’m not sad. Instead, I’m studying the burgers in front of me, and I’m happy…This picture captures so much of what delights me about grilling and so much of what embarrasses me about that delight…Gathered around the coals with beers slung low, we’re all but enacting a myth of the American man, telling a story in postures and poses. No longer mere Ph.D. students, we have become bros…It’s not that I think we’re doing anything consciously sexist. Friends who were there that day remind me that we were actively making light of cookout customs even as we were participating in them. I suspect that everyone in the photograph identifies as a feminist. Yet the three of us look suspiciously like characters in a commercial, one where masculinity itself seems to be for sale.

He calls it a “myth,” yet friends remind him “that we were actively making light of cookout customs even as we were participating in them.”

This is when you know you’ve been educated beyond your hat size. When you start to use mockery to reject the reality nature has made available to you, and replace it with your own.

Men are men, women are women. Flame is hot, and meat is tasty. And as part of a trend that endures and will continue, until we’re all gone and long afterward: Work is done better, more efficiently, more decisively — more often — by those who operate within reality, accept it for what it is, define it, recognize it.

And those who play these games of pretend, tend to get that done but not a whole lot else.

The ones that do have jobs, usually have jobs that don’t produce anything. The exceptions to this, produce things that other people don’t actually need or want, at least not enough to willingly spend their own money to get it. These are very rudimentary tests to apply; it was only a short time ago, that just about everybody passed them, made products and services other people would willingly give up their hard-earned money to buy. But you can’t operate in that circle without recognizing an improperly supported girder as improperly supported, or an incorrectly tied knot as an incorrectly tied knot. Or, a man as a man, a woman as a woman, cooked meat as cooked meat.

Creampuff doesn’t seem to get it. “Grilling makes me feel like a real man, and that makes me uncomfortable” comes across as a bug, and not a feature. That’s what it is, a bug. And not exactly an accidental one. This is the sort of bug that is “coded” by a “developer” who, in the moment, is feeling pretty smug and smart about making the bug. This is not a rarity. Among the newbies, it’s a common mistake to make bugs this way.