Monday, November 19, 2018

Very Very Short Posts, Monday, 11/19/2018

1.  I eagerly look forward to all the stories in the New York Times and the Washington Post about people who voted for the Democrats in the midterms as a protest against Trump.  You know, the sort of stories we have been fed for the last two years about Trump voters: what makes them tick and what they like to cook for dinner.  Now I'd like the same for the other side.  Or better still, perhaps the right-wing press should cover a few lefties with empathy and understanding?

2.  Dear Concerned (from my mailbag):  No, I don't really believe that I am a Greek goddess of snakes.  My blog handle has to do with the story about Eve and the snake (which has been used to justify women's subjugation), the ancient belief that snakes were the messengers of the divines, the slipperiness of snakes (good for getting rid of problems by slithering away),  and their fangs.  They have nice fangs.

I'm still going to hell, most likely, as you warned. 

3.  The Finnish social media is now full of funny stories about Finns raking the forests, clipping evergreens with nail scissors and so on (my favorite is the woman who is out there vacuuming the forest floor)*.

This is a response to Our Dear Leader's theories about how one might care for forests so that they don't burn down. Raking is an important part of his theory. 

Beside being hilarious to contemplate, Trump's comments reveal that he has never held a rake in his hand.  But should he wish to try it, he should know that the wide end goes downward.

And no, being a rake is not the same thing.

4.  The New York Times has a story about an African-American female composer, Florence Price, whose work is now being re-discovered.  She wrote in 1943:

“Unfortunately the work of a woman composer is preconceived by many to be light, froth, lacking in depth, logic and virility,” she wrote. “Add to that the incident of race — I have Colored blood in my veins — and you will understand some of the difficulties that confront one in such a position.”

She was intersectional and disliked gender stereotypes.  I look forward to hearing her music.


Here is one example which uses an old Finnish painting to show Trump among raking Finns in the woods.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Short Posts for Friday, 11/16/2018: Thongs in Ireland, On Opposition To Nancy Pelosi and Gathering Spruce Cones

1.  In Ireland the defense in rape cases can still use various forms of "what was she wearing" to defend the accused.  Here is one example*:

The accused maintained that the sexual contact between him and the girl, which took place in a laneway in Cork, had been consensual.
Details of the closing argument presented by his senior counsel Elizabeth O'Connell, however, attracted widespread attention and prompted a series of online protest movements.
"Does the evidence out-rule the possibility that she was attracted to the defendant and was open to meeting someone and being with someone?" she asked, according to the Examiner's report.
"You have to look at the way she was dressed. She was wearing a thong with a lace front."
So now you know.  Better wear really old and gray and torn underwear when you go out.  Otherwise someone might think that you are open to "meeting someone and being with someone."  — This rule is the reverse of the old rule that you must always wear clean underwear in case you get hit by a car and decapitated, because strangers will then see your underwear.

This whole thing is stupid, even within the backward Irish system.  The girl in this case was seventeen.  Seventeen-year old girls choose their clothing on the basis of peer pressure and the female idols of their social sub-group.  I used to wear orange eye-shadow at that age and it was not an attempt to attract male honey bees or anything of that sort.

2.  When Alexandra Petri is funny she is very very funny.  Her latest column is about the opposition to Nancy Pelosi becoming the majority leader in the House.  The arguments against her vary, but I have seen these used:  She is too old, she is too centrist, she is too bipartisan, and she has not mentored younger people so that they can now be ready to strip the tiara off her head.

And all those argument may or may not be correct, depending on the context.  The proper context, if we wish to analyze the possibility of sexism here, is to ask if a man with the same flaws and the same skills (she does get the Democrats working together) would be criticized in exactly the same way.  I am especially interested in knowing how good older male politicians have been at mentoring younger politicians, and if we even know, for certain, that Pelosi hasn't done that.

3.  One of my neighbors has a giant spruce tree on his lot.  It's a handsome tree and I love it, but it drops an enormous amount of those long spruce cones everywhere.

The other day my neighbor was lovingly gathering them one by one and gently placing them in a basket.  Up to the point when he accidentally picked up a dog turd.

I laughed.  I am now going to hell.


*  The accused won the case, and it's not clear from the stories I have read if he would have won even if the thong had not been waved in the court.  But that's not the point of the story.  Rather, it's the fact that in Ireland the "what was she wearing" trick is still legal to use.

Monday, November 12, 2018

On the Tallahassee Killings

The murders of two women, Nancy van Vessem and Maura Binkley,  and the wounding of five other individuals at a yoga studio in Tallahassee, Florida, was hardly a blip in the news cycle, buried in the larger numbers of hate crimes during the week preceding the midterm elections.

But this hate crime also deserves closer scrutiny.  The killer chose a yoga studio, because yoga practitioners are more likely to be female than male, and he was looking for women to kill.  The police is still searching for some other connection between the butcher and that yoga studio, but I doubt such a connection exists.  The place was picked because it offered accessible prey for a misogynistic hunter.

And a misogynist the killer was.  He had posted YouTube videos about his grudge against women in general and against certain women in particular:

Beierle’s YouTube and SoundCloud history is rife with violent sexism. In one video, he says of a woman who canceled dates with him, “I could have ripped her head off,” according to BuzzFeed. In a song called “Locked in My Basement,” he describes holding a woman prisoner and raping her.

He mentions Rodger in a video called “Plight of the Adolescent Male,” saying, “I’d like to send a message now to the adolescent males ... that are in the position, the situation, the disposition of Elliot Rodger, of not getting any, no love, no nothing. This endless wasteland that breeds this longing and this frustration. That was me, certainly, as an adolescent.”

Beierle had also been arrested in 2012 and 2016 for grabbing women’s buttocks without their consent, according to the Tallahassee Democrat.
The Vox article which gave me that quote asks us to take online hate seriously.

Thinking about that made me search for any evidence that the Tallahassee butcher might have frequented manosphere sites such as the incel sites, where the hatred of women, as a class,  is validated and strengthened (1), but if the police have any evidence against or for that possibility they have not yet shared it.

Thinking about those hatred-of-women-is-the-correct-response sites, in turn,  made me think of something else, and that else is the way the misogynistic sites create an alternative world theory (2) for some men in great pain:

That "theory" explains that women, indeed, are all callow, shallow gold-diggers and lookists who will voluntarily only fuck a small number of rich and handsome alpha males on top of social hierarchies and who won't even consider any other man until Father Time gives the women themselves wrinkles and layers of belly fat.

Then those poor beta men will be accepted, but only as hard-working slaves to be exploited while the perfidious women scheme and plot to take their devout beta husbands to the cleaners in some future divorce.  Should any richer and more handsome man come along, that is.

If that (slightly exaggerated) summary sounds familiar to you, well, it might be because you have read my criticisms of some of the wackier evolutionary psychology musings, the kinds which initially argued that women mate for money and power, men for youth and beauty, and all that is hardwired in human beings.

That, my friends, is where the pseudo-scientific underpinnings of the incel Theory Of The World can be found: in the cocktail-party type musings about genetic determinism.

And that, my friends, is, perhaps,  the real reason why I have written so many criticisms of those weird evo-psycho musings. (3)  Just look at the kinds of places where essentialist theories about men and women and about sex are eagerly adopted and adapted, and you see the damage they cause.

Once I focused on that particular connection, I began seeing it in many anti-woman places.  Jordan Peterson, for one example,  mines evolutionary psychology for his arguments that it's natural for mostly men to be found on top of social hierarchies and so on.

Whether the Tallahassee killer visited misogyny sites or not, he certainly thought that his anger deserved a public hearing on YouTube, and  at least some on one incel site regarded his "solution" to his dilemma as not an invalid one: 

One commentator on a new incel site argues that

" you will NEVER EVER stop sexually frustrated men from seeing blackpill content online, learning the truth about human sexuality and life, and, finally (for some of them) getting pushed over the edge and going ER." (4)

Note that this commentator (why not commenter?) believes he knows the truth about human sexuality and life, on the basis of reading online and, in particular, on the incel sites.  This "truth" is what I mean by the world theory incel sites offer their readers.  And that theory is a toxic one.


(1)  As I have written before, those sites remind me of the anorexia sites I once visited where the anorexics support and congratulate each other for not eating.  They are not sites which make the visitors well.

(2) This is in a manner similar to the theory anti-Semitists have about Jews as running the whole world and also similar to the way the nutty race science is used to support racism.  People visiting the misogyny sites are given a seemingly science-smelling explanation for why women are awful:  They are "hard-wired" that way by evolution, and cannot change themselves.

That "explanation" is derived from the earliest and crudest versions of the worst kinds of speculations in evolutionary psychology, and the specific form of it varies between, say, pickup artist and incel sites.  But once it's accepted as a worldview, any real-world solutions to, say,  the problems of loneliness and the desire to find a female mate on the incel sites are excluded by the warped essentialist logic.

(3)  There are even articles which propose that increasing the odds of getting raped might be an evolutionary adaptation in women who are not deemed sufficiently attractive otherwise.  After all, they can get progeny by having someone rape them, so the adaptation is to act in ways which would increase the probability of rape.  Just imagine what some of the incel sites could make out of that!

(4) The black pill refers to the argument that hopelessness is the correct emotion to feel if you are a man who cannot have the heterosexual sex he wants, because the fault lies in his genes and women's hardwired shallowness.  Going ER means mass murdering people along the lines of Elliot Rodger


Friday, November 09, 2018

Trump's Presser, Translated

I watched Trump's recent press conference in its entirety, because I was bored and felt a little masochistic.  Then I took notes, to filter everything out of what Our Dear Leader said, except the emotional contents.  And this is what remained:


Trump reads from prepared notes. 
Reads more, haltingly, sounding bored. 
Gives a few ex tempore quips and explains them to six-year olds.  Mumblemumblemumble.

Trump praises Pelosi but warns the Democrats not to investigate him because he will investigate back and he is better at that game.

Trump reads that "now is the time to set partisanship aside (!)" and continue working for the great economy and how all the visiting foreign dignitaries compliment him on his economy and look how well steel industry is doing, how well the military is doing, how well law enforcement and how well mining is doing.*

After the monologue, Trump asks for questions from the journalists (roughly 37 or so get to talk).  The fifth questioner (Jim Acosta of CNN) causes him to erupt:

Acosta's first question is about the migrant caravan and the way Trump called it an invasion.  Trump answers that fairly calmly, but then there's chatter and then he says, angrily, "That is enough" several times.

Acosta's second question is about the Russian investigation, and Trump explodes:  CNN should be ashamed to employ you, he says to Acosta, you are a rude, terrible person**, the way you treat Sarah Huckabee is horrible.  And so on.

We all know the consequences of that little spat. Acosta lost his White House access.***

And Trump did not regain his calm for a while.  Around the seventh questioner he tells one journalist "sit down I didn't call you" and says that the CNN polls are voter suppression and calls the media hostile, so sad,  and tells one woman that she rudely interrupted some other journalist.

Later he was asked what lessons he learned from the midterm election results. His lessons were that people like him and the job he has done, and those he campaigned for won but those he didn't campaign for didn't win.  Lots more about how wonderful he is and how Bill Nelson lost because Trump campaigned for his opponent even though celebrities campaigned for Nelson in Florida.

When asked about forced-birth policies he is pursuing he says that he has a secret solution to the division in the country around that, a solution nobody else has.

He calls this White House the hot White House and says that everyone wants to work there.

On North Korea he says that he has made more progress in five months than his predecessors managed to make in seventy years.  And nobody could have done what he has done.

When he is asked about the increase in antisemitism and other type of hate movements he turns the answer to Israel and says that no prior president has done as much for Israel as he has done.  He moved the US embassy to Jerusalem and built it with very little money.  Nobody has done more for Israel than Donald Trump.

When again asked about the divide in this country he goes on about China, saying that China has come down tremendously and would have superseded the US in two years (if Obama's policies had continued) but now they are not even close.

Trump says he is a great moral leader and loves this country.

A question about working together with Democrats even if they investigate him   causes another eruption:

He says he comes here (to the press conference) a nice person wanting to answer questions and look at journalists jumping out of their seats with not nice questions.

A question about Trump's nationalism and if that means white nationalism caused him to call the question a racist one, several times.   When another journalist continued on the topic of Trump's alleged racist statements, he stated that it's people like that  (journalist) who create division in this country.

In later questions he tells us that he has lowered the price of oil in the last three months because he doesn't like OPEC.

Finally, when asked about the flight of suburban women from Trump, he responds by telling that he was very well received by this country, that the US military will now be the strongest ever, that the vets are doing great now, and that people are very happy with the job he has done.  People want security at home and at the border and women of this country (great people!) want physical security and financial security and ICE is wonderful, because it has taken out thousands of criminal gang members.****

He believes peace and unity must start with the media. It isn't good what the media is doing and he has the right to fight back and he is not doing it for himself but for the American people.


 That was ninety minutes I will never get back.  Still, it's clear that we have a narcissist steering the country and that he is very thin-skinned.  He kept mentioning Obama's administration and its policies whenever he wanted to promote his own policies.  This even included asserting that Obama allowed the Ukraine to be taken by Putin, and when the journalist asking the question noted that it was Putin who invaded, Trump stated that it happened during Obama's watch, nothing to do with himself.

Clearly, Obama is the festering splinter in his finger.

*  All overwhelmingly male-dominated industries.  This was common in Trump's pre-election rallies, too, and probably is equally common in his post-election rallies.  It's a way of signaling which groups he aims to help first.

**  Hilarious, coming from a very rude person.  For example, he told several journalists to shut up.  A polite person would have said something like "please, wait for your turn."

*** This article argues that the video of the events was altered to exaggerate Acosta's reactions, so that his suspension would seem fairer.

**** Who, presumably, would have preyed on suburban women?
Note how he cannot even quite figure out what women might want, so he talks about the military instead. 

Thursday, November 08, 2018

Fourteen Years. Or the Blog Anniversary.

You write fourteen years
and what do you get?
A whole lot older
and deeper in debt.
St. Peter don't you call me
coz I can't go
I owe my soul
to the online show.

With apologies to the original.

In other words, this blog is fourteen years old.  It has teenage hormones and acne and weird, wild dreams.  Or would, if it were human.  In reality it's very very tired and wonders about the meaning of life, eternity and the number 42.

Thank you all.  Have some chocolate orgasm cake to celebrate.  The nice thing about cyber-cake is that it has no calories.  Sadly, much of the online writing is the same.

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

All I Wanted For Christmas Was The House. My Election Reactions.

All I wanted for Christmas was the House.  That's all.  And I believe that parcel is under the tree.

I didn't write about the elections much because a) I have been very depressed and b) because of the "surprise, surprise!" element in 2016 (imagine a monster with bleeding eyeballs popping out of the gift box) which left me with PTSD,  but the overall results today are quite good.  Had the Republicans maintained control on both the House and the Senate the extra damage they would have caused might not have been repairable until three or four generations down the line.

Women ran in record numbers this year and women also did quite well:

Female candidates performed particularly well in an election cycle that had been billed as the Year of the Woman.
Two 29-year-old Democrats, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Abby Finkenauer - are due to be the youngest women ever to win House seats.
Ilhan OImar and Rashida Tlaib are the first Muslim women and Sharice Davids and Debra Haaland the first Native American women to be elected to Congress. All are Democrats.
The total number of women in the House will increase, but it will not be anywhere near the half it should be on the basis of demography.

All in all, the results are satisfactory, though to achieve those results required enormous amounts of labor.  Thanks to all who worked to get people to vote.

Also keep in mind that most of the open Senate seats were in very Republican areas, that a good economy (inherited from Obama, though) usually makes the voters stick with the incumbents and that Republican gerrymandering has made many districts almost unwinnable for Democrats.  Because of all this, I am happy with the outcome.

And so is Our Dear Leader, who manages to turn it into praise for Himself:

Now that will learn you my friends.  But first let's roll on the floor laughing our heads off.

Saturday, November 03, 2018

Recent News About Women's Issues. Or From Google Via Nobels To Ethiopia And Back

1.  Thousands of Google employees walked out on Thursday, to protest sexual harassment which the protesters said the leadership has not taken seriously.

The impetus for the protests was this:

Protestors were galvanized by a recent New York Times report that chronicled three top company executives who have received massive payouts over the past decade despite being credibly accused of sexual misconduct.

Google denies the claim that one of those executives received $90 million as an exit package.

The protesters' demands include an end to forced arbitration in cases of harassment and discrimination.  Microsoft ended forced arbitration in 2017, but most tech firms use it.  Why is it bad? Because of this:

Arbitration is a private, quasi-legal procedure originally designed to expedite disputes between corporations. But over time, it has evolved into a system where individuals are compelled for a variety of reasons to agree to arbitration decisions versus seeking a court decision. The net result is that disputes that normally would have been adjudicated via the public court process are often processed via private arbitration, which generally favors corporations over individuals.
Worse still, in the world of arbitration, there is no possibility of class-action claims. Arbitration proceedings are additionally often shrouded from public view, meaning it is traditionally difficult to find out about sexual harassment or misconduct claims at corporations.