Thursday, July 20, 2017

Fear That Leads To Delusion

So right now, I'm listening to The Strange Death of Europe. It's written by a gay, British journalist who spent time trying to understand why he's welcome in less and less of Europe, specifically the Muslim parts. He travelled the Continent and did extensive research on the political evolution of multiculturalism with tons of direct quotes and data. It's really an excellent work of journalism.

I heard one particular sentence last night that blew me away. It went something like this: The European elites believe that Muslims can and will be integrated into European society because they need it to be true. Emphasis mine.

In the late 1930s, anyone who read Hitler's blueprint for Nazism, Mein Kampf, listened to his speeches and saw Germany take over Austria and Czechoslovakia had to engage in active self-delusion to see anything other than what was coming - a massive European war. And yet, they still did it. Neville Chamberlain waved his piece of paper and said he had "peace in our time" because he needed it to be true.

Europe had just experienced slaughter on an industrial scale in World War I. It was simply unthinkable that they'd have to go to war with Germany again and lose another million or so. French and British cities had plenty of cripples, widows and orphans already. Maybe there was another interpretation of events and quotes than taking them at face value, one that would show that peace was possible.

Maybe there's another way to interpret "Death to America!"

Maybe there's another way to interpret the polls showing European Muslims' homophobia.

Maybe there's another way to interpret burkas, FGM, honor killings and rape.

Maybe this isn't all that widespread:
Because the alternative is simply to terrifying to contemplate.

The face of fear.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Wizard Needs Food Badly

How can you write a serious blog post when there's something as hilarious as this to be shared? From Five Iron Frenzy, a Christian ska-punk band comes ...

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

How To Defeat Intersectional Feminism

In a word, kindness.

From this piece by Elizabeth Corey over at First Things on the Q&A session at Notre Dame's ghastly conference on Intersectional Feminism:
They detailed their feelings of inadequacy in American universities, confessing that they feel they have no legitimate place, or that they are expected constantly to serve, because this is what has always been expected of black women. A young Hispanic assistant professor explained that United States immigration policy was a systematic attempt “to deny intimacy and family” to immigrants from Mexico. A self-identified “Chicano gender non-conforming queer Latinx” detailed the exclusion she had felt until she discovered a support group of other transgender people in Los Angeles. And the stories continued.

Expressions of hurt and exclusion were inevitably followed by anger at the system—at the patriarchy, racism, unjust institutions, and structural prejudice—and then by exhortations to do something about it. In Voegelin’s terms, they were rebelling against the poor organization of the world, and maintained the hope of salvation through human effort.
If you get a bunch of people together and invite everyone to tell bad stories about group X, in no time at all, the gang will develop a grudge against group X, even if they're something as innocuous as Kansas City Royals fans.

However, if attendees at your ragefest have memories of Kansas City Royals fans being kind towards them, it undermines the whole basis of the rage. "Oh sure," they'll say to themselves, "the dude with the Royals cap did cut in line that one time, but then one of my best buds gave me a Royals souvenir beer cup, so maybe they're not all so bad."

Consistent, sincere kindness won't stop the utterly committed SJWs, but it will significantly limit their ability to evangelize.

If memory serves, there was Someone Else who suggested kindness.
Hmm. It's just crazy enough to work!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Where Do We Go From Here?

My bet would be robots singing, err, love songs. Or songs about love robots. Or songs by girls promising a boy that they will service and program the boy's love robot better than anyone else. Or maybe we just cut to the chase and devolve back into animals. I think bonobos would be best, considering their reputations as players. This whole higher order thought thing was kind of a bust, no?

Dig this blog post wherein a mom decides to listen to Ariana Grande lyrics only to find how utterly degrading they are.

Cute, innocent and made for 10-year-olds! Well, 2 out of 3 isn't bad.
My favorite part is how she's verbally twerking without wrecking her image with the whole dog-in-heat look that the other female pop stars have.

Intersectional feminists were too busy plotting the extermination of white cis-males to have time to comment on this.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Notre Dame Abandons Catholic Grace

An appalling article from Elizabeth Corey at First Things.
I recently attended an academic conference at the University of Notre Dame called “Intersectional Inquiries and Collaborative Action: Gender and Race...”

Intersectionality is a wholly academic invention that plays a large role in this movement. Indeed, it stands in the vanguard of the progressive academy, allied with critical race studies, queer studies, women’s studies, and ethnic studies. Intersectional scholars proudly proclaim their goal: to smash the neoliberal, corporate, heteropatriarchal academy and then to reinvent it in a way that rejects traditional notions about what universities are meant to do. These scholars also want to redefine the family and to abolish the “binary” of man and woman...

At the end there was a question and answer period. I asked whether and how Collins would suggest that intersectionality engage with its adversaries, the ­hated conservatives. Given the polarization of ­America right now, did she see some way for the two camps to communicate or find common ground? The vehemence of her answer was startling. “No,” she said. “You cannot bring these two worlds together. You must be oppositional. You must fight. For me, it’s a line in the sand.” This was at once jarring and clarifying.
Notre Dame was once a Catholic university. I guess they've decided to ditch that frowsty, confining bit of errant nonsense and embrace, err, diversity.

We're all members of groups, some oppressed, some oppressing. The oppressed must band together and fight the oppressors à outrance. That's Notre Dame for you, always seeking knowledge and truth. Not Truth, mind you, that's an outmoded Catholic concept. No, it's truth. My truth, your truth, his truth, zer truth. With everyone defining their own truth, we could end up anywhere, from gas chambers to burkas for women to bayonets and trenches to John Lennon's Imagine. My money's on the bayonets and trenches. That's the way these things usually go.

And the whole Catechism thing with those silly ideas about Grace, forgiveness, love and individual redemption? Ha! What a joke. Nope, we're on this side or that. OK, that's a generalization. Actually, we're on one of any number of ever pixelating sides, but suffice it to say that there's white cis-males and everyone else*. I hope you weren't attached to that Jesus dude talking about loving each person as an individual. As Patricia Hill Collins, giving the rousing call to unrelenting combat action might say, "Come on everyone, over the top!"

Notre Dame, everyone. Let's give them a big hand.

Sigh. Once upon a time, I thought the Church stood for something like this.


I guess not.

* - Once they've dealt with the white cis-males, they'll be back to settle you, you oppressive hegemonist. You can rest assured that you're nowhere near the bottom, err, top of the oppressed pecking order.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Red Yellow Green

I had an epic rant composed in my head, but we've got house guests and I'm always self-conscious about spending time with the laptop when guests are here. Rather rude, I think. Instead, I found a little time after harvesting tomatoes and peppers to take some photos. I like the mix of colors in these. Enjoy!

I thought the size and color variations along with the pear-shapes was intriguing.

I sense homemade salsa fresca in my future.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Donald Jr.

I know, I keep saying I want to cut down on the political posts, but this is just too much fun to stop.

Re: Donald Jr. meeting with the Russkie chick.

Err, what was the transaction taking place here? As I understand it, Jr was going to come away with evidence that Hillary was a crook and the Russians were going to get kicked in the groin with lower oil prices. One side got a product that was a glut on the market to the point of being valueless and the other side was going to get punished.

That's not exactly high stakes, is it? Watching the press and pundits go ape over this is like seeing ESPN hosts lose their minds over a trade between the class-A Fort Wayne Tin Caps and the Great Lakes Loons involving utility infielders.

"Nate Easley for Cristian Santana is a total steal for Fort Wayne!"
"Are you out of your mind? Easley's upside is crazy high!"
That's entertainment!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Sad

Here in Tierrasanta, we live in a coyote danger zone for cats. When our  previous Maximum Leader, Katie, passed away, we wanted to get a fat, old cat who wouldn't roam. Katie was too old to wander by the time we moved here. We thought we had another homebody with Maddi who was chubby and 7 years old. Instead, she turned out to be quite the athlete and could jump to the top of our 6' tall fence in a single leap.

Maddi became the Queen of the Cul-de-Sac. It was her domain and she'd be out there at night to hunt. That was dangerous, but we hadn't seen coyotes on the street, so as time went on, we relaxed about it. My wife told me she was going out the back way as well into the canyon which is High Danger Territory, but I'd never seen that, so I figured it was rare.

In any case, once we had Maddi, it was what it was. If she wanted to run around outside, that was what we let her do. She was quite the hunter and was very, very happy.

We haven't seen her in 3 days and she's not one to miss a meal. I've always said I want my cats to live and die like cats, but when they vanish it really hurts.

Hoping for the best, expecting the worst.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Green

Here's a photo from KT's Dixie Adventure last week. I took it in Mississippi, somewhere south of Collins. It's emblematic of the state. The place is incredibly fertile and everywhere you look, plants are thriving. If you click on the photo and look at the larger version, the color really leaps out at you.


I've got a post about using logic to disprove logic rolling around in my head, but I haven't found the right references yet, so I'm going with this instead. Enjoy!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Racial Pride

... seems silly to me.

Fact: I had nothing at all to do with Shakespeare or his wonderful plays.

You see, William Shakespeare was born before I was. Heck, he even died before I was born. A few hours of hard work will result in iron-clad proofs of my non-involvement*. To my mind, pride ought to result from your accomplishments, not accomplishments completely unrelated to you. Or, for that matter, basic, bodily functions like which sex you prefer. Holding a parade for yourselves because you like this instead of that is like holding a parade because you sneezed without decapitating yourself. But I digress.

I figure I can have pride in myself and my descendants, to the extent that I can show some cause and effect relationship with their achievements. If I take pride in something I didn't do, I'm just a leech. William Shakespeare was a genius, but I don't see why I ought to be proud of him or anyone else of his race who isn't somehow connected to me.


I think Fats Waller was a genius, too and I don't have pride in him, either.

* - These proofs will involve logic, which as we all know, is cis-normative, patriarchal and oppressive. Sadly, I don't think there's much to be done about this.

Sunday, July 09, 2017

Which Superhero Do You Want To Be?

When I was little, we lived for a time on an airbase in Oklahoma. There were lots of kids in the neighborhood and this being before video games or even low-priced calculators, we all ran around in a pack outside.

One of our favorite games was to pretend to be superheroes. My best friend was Flash and I was, God help me, Aquaman. In Oklahoma. (Great choice, genius. You can talk to fish in a state with no natural lakes, much less any access to the sea.) I loved the ocean even when I was nowhere near it. I never read comic books, so the subtler aspects of the game, such as they were, were lost on me. Oh well.

The selection of superhero identities is what I thought of when I saw a tweet by Christina Hoff Sommers about an upcoming conference whose registration included the questionnaire below.


You might need to click on the image to read it.

It's not too surprising that they would include this questionnaire, given their self-description.
VIDA is a non-profit feminist organization committed to creating transparency around the lack of gender parity in the literary landscape and to amplifying historically-marginalized voices, including people of color; writers with disabilities; and queer, trans and gender nonconforming individuals.
Really, it's right in their wheelhouse. To an outsider like myself, it comes across as utterly juvenile.  To claim you're a "Coercively assigned female at birth" sounds like the sort of thing a mentally disturbed, angry, precocious, little girl would say. It's a collection of words they heard at one time or another and strung together to invent an oppressed group to which they can claim membership. As children, while the other little girls were discussing shoes, making ever-shifting social alliances and gossiping, the future members of VIDA were reading pop psychology tracts and finding all kinds of pathologies to claim as their own.

Instead of choosing superhero identities, they were selecting gender identities.

I think I got the better end of that deal.

Here, Aquaman has knocked over a fire hydrant and stands bathed in the rushing waters. It was the only way he could activate his mighty powers while living in Oklahoma.

Saturday, July 08, 2017

Trump Will Bankrupt Russian Oligarchs

Three charts tell the story.

Trump's pro-oil policies are causing a surge in US exports that will continue for the foreseeable future.

This is causing oil prices to go down. They are down 20% since the start of the year.

Russia gets its money from oil and derivatives. Plenty of Russian fatcats are going to get crushed in the next four years.
Meanwhile, some in the news media and plenty of pundits and celebrities are still shrieking about Trump collaborating with the Russians. It's completely insane. In order to believe that, you'd have to believe that the Russians hate money.

Friday, July 07, 2017

On Dog Whistles

A dog whistle, as I understand it, means an unspoken concept interpreted from words or phrases. As far as I can tell, there is no definitive lexicon for these, but their list is constantly growing.

For example, when Scott Brown was running for the Senate in Massachusetts, Howard Fineman found a dog whistle in Scott's truck.
Howard Fineman, the increasingly loopy editor of the increasingly doomed Newsweek, took it a step further. The truck wasn’t just any old prop but a very particular kind: “In some places, there are codes, there are images,” he told MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann. “You know, there are pickup trucks, you could say there was a racial aspect to it one way or another.”
With long time Internet and occasionally in person amigo WC Varones, I engaged in a conversation with a progressive on this topic today. I think I finally hit upon a way of discussing it that was disarming. I put myself in the position of the person hearing the dog whistle and the other guy as the one whose speech was being deconstructed beyond recognition.

The crucial questions:

  • Why should you have to live in fear of me assigning intentions, thoughts or attitudes towards you that aren't in what you spoke? 
  • If I am allowed to come up with my own, personal dictionary of dog whistles, how self-important do I have to be to think that you should learn my dictionary and you should care about it?
  • Why are you responsible for my emotional stability?
Maybe that's good enough to make the point without accusing or demeaning the other person.

Thursday, July 06, 2017

President Trump Is Nietzsche's Superman

... and that's an indictment of both Trump and Nietzsche.

From Encyclopedia Britannica:
This superior man would not be a product of long evolution; rather, he would emerge when any man with superior potential completely masters himself and strikes off conventional Christian “herd morality” to create his own values, which are completely rooted in life on this earth.
Bingo. More on Das Übermensch from the age-of-the-sage blog (which is of unknown quality, but I like this quote and Google led me there):
The context in which the Overman or Superman is to be judged to be such is implied by Neitzsche's previous works. He maintained that all human behavior is motivated by the will to power. In its positive sense, the will to power is not simply power over others, but the power over oneself that is necessary for creativity. Supermen are those who have overcome man - i.e. the individual self - and subliminated the will to power into a momentous creativity.

Supermen are creators of a "master morality" that reflects the strength and independence of one who is liberated from all values, except those that he deems valid. Such power is manifested in independence, creativity, and originality.
It's not a perfect fit, but I feel like it's close enough.

For those who want Trump to be presidential, ha! He has created his own morality because he wills it. Your puny conventional values cannot restrain him. And woe to those who killed God and thought they could determine the form of future morality. Trump picks up where you left off with your avant-garde performance art, spattering menstrual blood on your audiences and dunking crucifixes in urine. He takes your postmodern rejection of objective morality to a whole new level.

Trump has gone beyond good and evil and has created his own cultural norms. Of course, those involve ridiculous gifs of him body-slamming CNN logos and tweets about plastic surgeries gone wrong, but what made you think that Das Übermensch was going to be something admirable or even serious?

Therein lies the fundamental flaw in Nietzsche. His superman was to be a glorious leap forward for Mankind, ruling with an iron will bent to dramatic improvements in the world. Instead, his superman is a nincompoop.

Way to go, genius.

Update: And then he goes and makes a speech like he did in Poland today. Sigh. What to make of this guy?

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Don't Blame The Social Workers

... they're doing the best they can.

As a preliminary, among my Cursillo* friends is a married couple who have taken in foster children. Some of them have worked out and some of the children have been so badly damaged that nothing the couple did could bring normalcy to the child. It's a horror show, make no mistake, even for foster-parent couples that are doing everything they can.

Into this come reports from Oregon of abuses in their system. Pressed for time here, I won't quote them, you can read them at the link. The stories are right, but the narrative is wrong.

The problem isn't that the system allows abuses, it's that the system is overwhelmed. You can't have a 40% illegitimacy rate across the population and not expect to see this. Almost all foster children come from non-traditional homes. The more non-traditional homes you have, the more shattered foster children you'll have. At some point, you run out of places to put them and you end up sending wrecked kids into horrible situations because it's all you've got.

When we decided that the traditional, married, biological family was no better than any other and indulged ourselves in whatever we felt like at the moment, we created the conditions for what we're seeing now - a foster care system completely drowning in desperately hurting children.

Did we think we could go down this road without consequences?
* - Cursillo is a movement within the Catholic Church which helps us try to be better Christians.

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Happy Fourth Of July!

On this day, when we celebrate the founding of the greatest nation the world has ever known, let us thank those that created it: Christian, white men.

:-)


Hope you have a safe and happy holiday.

Monday, July 03, 2017

Rural Mississippi At 175 MPH

Mississippi is green. And by that, I mean GREEN. I swear, if you stood still for a while, the plants would grow right up your legs. It's fertile like Maui is fertile - a positive jungle when left to its own devices. Hot and humid, conditions are perfect for accelerated plant growth.

I took a short backroads tour of Mississippi around Hattiesburg with my GoPro Hero3 in its dashcam mount. Below is the video. I'm unimpressed with the quality and I never got the aiming thing down right. This is a crop of the original which included plenty of dashboard. The GoPro's fisheye lens captures a lot, but the lack of a screen on the back means you're shooting blind, pointing by guesswork. Oh well. Enjoy!

Sunday, July 02, 2017

Bayou La Batre

I've fallen in love with Alabama. Bayou La Batre is one reason why. The waterfalls of northeastern Alabama, like the one I posted yesterday, are another.

Shrimp boats on the bayou.

Saturday, July 01, 2017

An Oasis Of Calm Amidst Wild Turmoil

... was this rock with trees growing on it in the middle of the Little River Falls in northeastern Alabama. I left the shot fairly large, so I think it's worth a click. Enjoy!