Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Short Posts, 5/2/18: Blaming Women, What-People-Say Scandals and The Truthiness of Untruths

1.  Did you know what really made the Golden State killer Joe DeAngelo into a serial killer and a serial rapist?  Try to guess.

If you guessed it must have been some woman's fault, you would agree with the Radar site:

Charged Golden State Killer Joe DeAngelo‘s killing spree was triggered by rejection from his former fiancée Bonnie Ueltzen.
The pair was engaged in the early 1970’s but she broke it off sending him into a tailspin.

DeAngelo is believed to be responsible for at least 12 murders and more than 50 rapes in California between 1975 and 1986.


Ironically, after splitting with DeAngelo, she became a successful travel blogger who married an accountant.

Now, however, after living a crime free and happy life she has gone into hiding after being linked with the infamous killer.
It's hard not to interpret this quote as anything but an argument that the rapes and the murders DeAngelo carried out were caused by the woman who dared reject him. 

The author of that piece would fit nicely into the online incel communities where everything is the fault of women.

And the lesson we are supposed to learn from that?  Is it that no woman should ever say no to any man, in case he then decides to turn into a serial killer and rapist?

2.  The Twitter has been abuzz with various what-people-said scandals, ranging from what Joy Reid might have once written, via the inane comments of Kanye West to the stand-up performance of Michelle Wolf at the White House Correspondents' Dinner.

It's not that I am opposed to studying words and sentences and the messages they convey, and I know that our power to name what is happening to us is of central importance, yet that power varies greatly between different population groups. 

I can also see how the right is misusing the left's own ethical arguments  in ways which try to make a leftie giving someone the finger equivalent to a rightie beating a person senseless.  Finally, I'm not belittling the importance of analyzing what people say or write or have said or written, as an aid to understanding what their beliefs are or were.

Still, I grow impatient with this overwhelmingly popular trend in the social media.  What ultimately matters are Trump's policies, the way he is slowly destroying many parts of the government by the nonstop appointments of foxes to guard the chicken coops, and the normalization of our possible slide into fascism or at least into a dictatorship with the stench of white nationalism.

Those topics tend not to trend in the social media the way they should.  They are not even trending in the mainstream media in terms of proper analysis of what the Trump administration might be doing.

Ask yourself which of these various topics might matter more in, say, 2030.  At the very least, it's more important to analyze what powerful politicians say than what political pundits, celebrities and comedians say.  It's the former group which rules over us.

Yeah, I know.  Echidne is no fun. 

3.  This opinion piece in the New York Times, about intelligence (think of spies) is thought-provoking, whether or not you agree with the writer:

What do you do with someone who does not distinguish between truth and untruth?

What do you do if the president of the country doesn't understand what lying is, but has his own definitions of truths and lies:  If a tale benefits him, it's true, but if it hurts him it's a lie.

And what do you do if increasing numbers of voters decide on the truthiness of something by using their gut instincts or their tribal identities?

How will democracy work if the intersection of the sets "what Republicans accept as facts" and "what Democrats accept as facts" is slowly becoming an empty set?