Friday, June 21, 2013

Garden Blogging

I used to write a lot about gardening, believe it or not.  I have a piece about a garden for guys (beer can mobiles, lots of arums) and a garden for gals (Venus traps and everything pink).  But for quite  a few years now this blog has been my main garden.

Still, I want to write a tiny warning about the danger of native plants gardening:  If you are like me and want to go native for all sorts of good reasons, don't plant something that seeds like mad and grows eight foot tall and almost as wide.  The neighbors don't care for it in their lawns.  And I have to go and weed it out.

Speed-Blogging, June 21, 2013: On Wisconsin Unemployment, Defending the One Percent and James Taranto's Response

1. Wisconsin isn't doing that hot in job creation.  Governor Scott Walker has tried everything he can think of:  stripping workers' rights, courting corporations, focusing on getting more guns out there and so on.  But, alas and alack, nothing works. 

2.  I wrote about Greg Mankiw defending the 1% (the richest of us all) at Eschaton.  If you like to spend a lovely afternoon wading through economic arguments,  that post has extra links.

3.  James Taranto is very unhappy with the response his "war on men" article seems to have received on Twitter and on some blogs.  "Lynch mob," he calls that reception, and argues that it proves his initial argument about a war on men right.  Except that there could be a "war" on James Taranto, not on all men?  Just pointing that out.  My take on his original piece is here.

4.  I went to the dentist to get my fangs sharpened.  No cavities, because of that healthy diet of chocolate mice.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Catching Women. A Guide For Trappers and Hunters.

The world of pickup-artists is one I don't visit very often.  There's something sad about it all (immature? lonely?  lots of misplaced anger and pain?),  but mostly my lack of frequent visits is because even a short dip in those waters makes me yearn for a brisk massage with barbed iron sponges and a few years in a shower of bleach.

Why that feeling?  Probably because my sex places me in an odd outsider position there.  Imagine a pike reading about how people best fish for pikes, and then you get the idea.

To understand what goes on in that alternate reality, you need to accept several ideas that might sound unfamiliar, even bizarre to you: 

Men can be divided into alpha males and beta males, the former being the leaders, heroes, kings and victors, while the latter are doormats or feminist allies or nice guys who never get pu**y.

Alpha males get all the beautiful women.  But all men are really entitled to those beautiful women, in terms of getting them to give men sex as often as men want.  The PUAs tell all the supposed beta males how to get the beautiful women, in the exact same way that a book about pike fishing would tell fishers how to tire the fish out, where it might be most easily caught, and how to prepare it for eating (fry it in butter and eat it quickly).

All this is about sex as warfare or as a hunt.  The beautiful women are the prey, the object is to get them in bed, and the advice the PUAs give is all about that.  The scoring is based on how many one-night stands a man can get, preferably with women who weren't that much into him in the first place.  And the basic trick is male dominance.  You pretend to be a dominant alpha male, and then you get all the pu**y that rightly belongs to you.

I think where my feelings of sadness come in is in the near-total absence of any fondness for women the PUA world exhibits.  Women are really the enemy, or objects for reaching sexual climax.  When you combine that with the apparent feeling of sexual entitlement that PUAs  possess, you get the hunting, trapping or fishing games.  There's an underlying anger in it all, also revealed in the frequent argument that no woman ever lacks a willing male partner, that somehow women are "withholding" sex that they should be providing to all the men who worry that they might be betas, and so on.

That world is a firmly heterosexual one, by the way.

What brought these thoughts to the surface of my thought bubbles is a book project at Kickstarter.  It's a trapping and hunting guide for guys.  Or a seduction guide.  The author advocates that men should take charge, be the leaders in sex, be modern alpha males:

Man #3: The Modern Alpha Male
He's not "alpha" in the fist-pumping, type-A, bro-type sense. Nor is he "alpha" for picking fights and putting down others. Yet, Women find him irresistible. He has no problem attracting and keeping women. His life is abundant. He has sex often.
In more cases than not, the only difference in the development of these three men is that man #3 learned to physically escalate from a younger age. Because he embraced his sexual side early, he naturally learned how to be successful with women. He benefited from the confidence and abundance mentality this gave him. Everything else auto-corrected.
Learning and practicing physical escalation with women is one of the final keys in your development. Master this one skill and you will be that much closer to becoming the man you want to be.

The author argues that men are notoriously bad at reading women's body language, so always grab her, pull her on your lap, place your joystick in her hand, tell her where to stick it and so on and so on.  He does make a quick nod on taking a REAL no for a no, but given the difficulty men have in understanding women in general, I'm not sure how that message could be clearly differentiated from the types of "nos" that mean you can just plow in!

I get that the traditional dating rules can be tough for men, because of that expectation that they make the approaches.  On the other hand, waiting for someone to approach can be equally tough.  And if you then get a physical escalation approach from a PUA!

Still, none of this is about dating*, the way the term is usually construed.  It's about a pu**y hunt, and that explains why the advice is never about how various women actually might feel or what they might be looking for and so on.  Rather, it really is based on how to get that pretty pike swallow your worm.
*There are lots of dating guides for heterosexual women, so I guess these types of books are dating guides for heterosexual men.  Imagine the cultural clashes when the readers of those sex-differentiated guides meet each other!  And yes, there have been guides about how to trap men for women.  They are not much better, though I don't think they objectify the catch quite as clearly.

Phil Gingrey on Gender Roles in Marriage

Here's a fun video for you to watch!  Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA) suggests that gender roles in marriage should be taught to young girls and boys at school.  The roles he would teach them are the traditional ones, apparently based on the view that what fathers do and what mothers do are mutually exclusive tasks:

Gingrey also comes out as a firm defender of traditional marriage.  That means one with traditional gender roles.  Because same-sex marriages would have trouble deciding which of the partners is to play the head of the household and which one the faithful and obedient helper, of course Gingrey opposes those.

What's fun about this video is how it sits within the overall field of those who defend a hierarchical gender system.  The largest part of the field argues that the traditional division of labor between men and women is either biologically decreed or decreed by a divine power.  But if that doesn't seem to work, then we can teach that division of labor! 

When the other political side does that, Gingrey would probably call it an attempt at social engineering...

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Meet James Taranto

He works for the Wall Street Journal and represents the other main stream in anti-feminists thinking.  The first one is based on guy-religions, the second one is based on the more religious type of evolutionary psychology.  Taranto is within the latter camp.

Now he tells us that there is a war against men, specifically against male sexuality.  That he doesn't define that concept makes it hard to say what he means by the whole thing.  It has something to do with the second wave of feminism, in the 1960s and 1970s, which was all a big mistake, as far as our James is concerned.  Probably because of that evolutionary stuff in his religion.

In this video Taranto discusses one sexual abuse case from the military.  It's clever work.  He dissects one case which we are to take as a general example of how such things go*. 

At the end of the video, Taranto blames women's sexual freedom for the war on men.  At least that's how I interpret his statement, and that makes my head hurt.  Is he saying that if women get drunk and enter a car with a man they have only themselves to blame for what happens next?  Would there be no such war on men if we had all women in burqas or locked up in their homes?  But how would that stop the war on male sexuality?  What does he mean by men's sexuality?

I don't intend that fuzzy paragraph as sarcasm, mostly.  I just wish to point out that Taranto's arguments are unclear, that deep beneath the surface there must lurk some sort of a hidden and menacing assumption about violence and sex, entitlement to sex, our immutably biological urges and other similar stuff.

*That's a  common trick in persuasive writing of the kind which doesn't care about averages and statistics and so on.   For instance, you pick either Einstein or Hitler as your specimen guy, and either Mother Theresa or Britney Spears as your specimen gal, and then you let your words fly, to prove something about whole genders.

Note that this is not meant as a statement about the case Taranto discusses.  I haven't read the material to judge his arguments about Lieutenant General Helms as such.  The point is that  one case is not proof of the general tendencies.

On the Skill Gap: Aren't US Workers Good Enough?

The skill gap argument:  That US workers no longer have the skills US firms require,  is an interesting one.   The argument places the blame of labor market mismatches and even unemployment squarely on the shoulders of the workers and the US school systems.  But is that the only theory going?  What evidence do we have of such a general skill gap?

A gap between the skills of job applicants and the demands of the job they apply for no doubt exists in individual cases, even quite often (though it could go both ways when unemployment is high), and there might even be specific jobs for which the whole market shows the same pattern.

But employers have been known to blame the skill gap for their inability to find workers in a form which doesn't make much sense.  To give you an extreme example, if I'm an employer looking for a qualified engineer at ten dollars per hour, I'm going to find a biiiiig skills gap.  That's because the pay rate is not right and people who have student loans to pay from their engineering degree cannot afford to take such a low-paying job.

In short, statements from employers alone shouldn't be regarded as firm evidence that general and large skill gaps exist.  The wages offered in a particular labor market should reflect properly functioning market conditions, not just someone's own desires about how little to pay, and the other variables which might have changed should also be analyzed. 

As an example of the latter, might it not be the case that US firms in the past were willing to train people for a specific job and that this willingness has now declined?  And what is the impact of outsourcing here?  Perhaps it is the wage offers for jobs which have changed  more than the job applicants' qualifications for the same?  The concept of a "skill gap" that is relevant to employers is not quite the same as some absolute deterioration in US worker qualifications.  Indeed, those qualifications could in theory go up while the global wages for their labor would decrease, in real terms.  That would look like a skill gap of a type.

I haven't studied the literature on the general skill gap argument sufficiently to make any overall divine pronouncement about it.  But it certainly makes sense to look at the whole question critically and to keep in mind who benefits from which argument.

More on HR 1797: Ban Abortions After 20 Weeks

What's hilarious about this proposed bill is the political troubles it has, once again, brought the Republican Party:

As introduced, the bill provided for an exception to the ban only in cases of a physical condition that endangers the life of the mother. In the Judiciary Committee last week, Republicans rejected Democratic attempts to include rape, incest and other health problems as grounds for exceptions.
But Franks, during debate on the rape exception, angered Democrats and drew unwanted publicity to the bill when he stated that cases of "rape resulting in pregnancy are very low."
Franks later rephrased his remark, but GOP leaders rushed to impose damage control. A provision was inserted in the bill heading to the House floor including a rape and incest exception, and Franks, who heads the Judiciary subcommittee on the constitution and civil justice, was replaced as floor manager for the bill by Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., who is not a member of the Judiciary Committee.
Democrats had pointed out that every Republican on the Judiciary Committee that approved the anti-abortion bill was a man.
Bolds are mine.  The Republicans are tone-deaf about this issue, utterly so, and the reason is most likely that they truly don't see women as a group of voters they should compete for.

Neither are they ultimately concerned about pregnant women or even children, after they are born.  Indeed,  many powerful  pro-lifers seem to lose all interest in being pro-life once the birth has been forced to take place.  Hence my name for them: forced-birthers.

It's OK To Be Ridiculous About Women's Reproductive Rights

We know that this is the case, given all those Republican politicians who want to do away with the rape exemption to whatever narrowly defined rights to abortion some people might be allowed to have by stating that women really can't get pregnant from rape.  Other forced-birthers, such as Lila Rose, argue that a pregnancy can never kill a woman, either, so there's really no need to allow abortions evah!

Now Rheality Check tells us that Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) knows (just knows) that boy fetuses pleasure themselves as early as at fifteen weeks of age.  Which means that all those medical authorities who believe that fetuses can't feel pain until much later are wrong.

If they can feel pleasure, surely they can feel pain!  Mr. Burgess has watched sonograms!  And he has concluded that the fetal movements are purposeful and of the type he can relate to.

That was mean of me.  But all these people, going on about how women really can't get pregnant from rape and how pregnancies really cannot kill women, ever, they get me where it hurts: Where I see women, human beings, they see fetal aquaria.

This bill is an attempt to challenge Roe v. Wade, naturally, by essentially making all abortions after the twentieth week illegal.  Given that background, it's important to point out that the proposed bill, HR 1797, has no exemptions for the woman's health, only for her life, and mental illness (being suicidal, say) is no excuse at all!  That's because the sluts would use that as a pretense so that they can kill their unborn babies.

But in reality it is later in the pregnancy that severe health complications and other pregnancy risks appear.  And those are the cases in which the forced-birthers want  abortion to become illegal first. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Speed-Blogging, 6/17/2013: On Us Involvement in Syria, Scott Adams, the Pope and The Need for American Teenage Girls to Cover Up

Let me know if you find these annoying.  I'm trying to use up all the baby thoughts I get while scouring the net for things to write about.

First,  this NYT article speculates about what made Obama decide to support the rebels in Syria.  My personal opinion is that nothing good can come from supporting either side in that war,  sadly, because the war is no longer about democracy but about religious differences and because the odds are pretty high that the winners will be either tyrants or extreme Islamists.  I think UN troops to create peace might work, but that's not feasible either.

Second,  this Bloomberg article talks about the ways firms get to swap data with the government.  No comment on that, my NSA readers!

Third,  liberals love pope Francis, we are told.  I'm holding my fervent love at bay to see what he says about us uterine people and about gay and lesbian people and so on.  It's great that he is concerned about poverty.  But poverty interacts with gender in various ways, and to be truly concerned about the lot of poor women would mean that they be allowed to have contraceptives.

Fourth, Scott Adams (remember him?) now thinks he got fired in the 1990s for possessing a scrotum.

Fifth,  this piece talks about the experiences of a fifteen-year-old girl who  tells us that she was told to cover up by a TSA officer at LAX. 

Blog Stuff

Why is blog spam seasonal or fluctuating?  Suddenly I get ten spams a day, usually not more than one a week.  Is there a Spam Central somewhere on the net where people are told which blogs to really hit?  You don't see most of the spam because it doesn't filter through into the comments, but it's boring extra work for me.  Attacks are seasonal like that, too, though they probably depend on what I have recently written.

The spam doesn't really matter.  But it makes comment-threads look cluttered and untidy and not cared for.   That's the smaller sliver of Echidne speaking, the one who is houseproud.