Friday, December 29, 2017

Today In Review. Or Echidne's End-of-Year Post.

1.  I went to get my hair cut today.  The hairdresser had a bottle of Barbicide on the shelf.  So disappointed to learn that it's not intended for killing Barbies.

2.  It's bone-chilling cold here.  An interesting observation:  Being very very angry, furious and full of spitting rage does keep the body warmer.  It still needs a hat, two pairs of mittens and warm pants.  And swearing at bad drivers who think they can save car cleaning costs by wiping their vehicle with pedestrians isn't conducive to warmer toes and fingers.

3.  Ever since my first day of blogging I have written quite a bit about women's issues, especially the sexism in various types of research.

I began that endeavor all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, full of naive innocence and hope that even if my blog is tiny, it would have some impact. 

Now my writing eyes have dimmed and my writing tail (shutup!) is all draggled.  What's the point, I mutter, angrily kicking at lumps of ice. 

If you press a seesaw at one end it just rises at the other end. If one type of simplistic essentialist* explanation of what's wrong with those dratted girl brainz is disproved, another one just takes its place**.  The history of science shows that to be the case, of course, but as I wrote, I used to be optimistic and naive about the chances of turning the debate to something more realistic.

4.  Trump's New York Times interview reads like a verbal coleslaw.  Well, that's how he sounded during his election campaign, too, which means that millions of voters wanted a verbal coleslaw president to steer this country and to represent it to the rest of the world.  All covered in white mayonnaise.

A furious debate seems to be happening about the rights and duties of the interviewer who let Trump shred his words left, right and center, and who didn't challenge Trump on any of his many lies.  That debate seems to be spreading to the question what the proper role of the media might be.

Given that roughly half of this country believes the mainstream media to be the purveyor of nothing but fake news (Grey Poupon on the coleslaw?), the proper role of the media might be one of those topics where the train has left a station a long time ago.

I am certainly mixing my metaphors today. 

What is the state of Trump's cognitive health?  Both Ezra Klein and Charlie Pierce suggest that he is not a well man.   Pierce believes that Trump is suffering from the onset of dementia.  Who knows?  But if that's the case, well, the signs were no different during the election campaign and that was good enough for millions of American voters. 


*  The kind which allows for no complicated interactions between genes and the environment, for example, or the kind which gives human history a biological explanation,  utterly ignoring the impact of laws, norms and opportunities which varied vastly for men and women. Or the kind which is based on what a divine power has presumably told some nomadic herders a thousand or two thousand years ago. 

As an aside:  I am NOT arguing that there are no biological sex differences or that people are blank slates at birth.

**  And not all those who hold such views are found on the political right, though most of them are.