Monday, December 03, 2018

The latest Podcast

I really like this image which was painted by Vanessa Bell, sister of Virginia Wolf.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

A soldier of love, that's hard to be

In honor of the 50th anniversary of the release of The White Album, #BeatlesSongsForMillenials is trending. My favorites so far:
  • Magical Microaggression Tour
  • Fair Trade Organic Strawberry Fields Forever
  • We all live in our parents basement 
  • U Up? Jude
  • While my fidget silently spins
I thought of "Bitcoin Lane" but others beat me to it.

While I was looking at a list of Beatles songs for inspiration I saw "Soldier of Love" - I hadn't heard or even thought of that Beatles cover for a long time but I remember I liked it long ago so I found it on Youtube. What a nifty little tune. It seems that they only recorded it once, and it's not a great audio quality unfortunately but still... the war metaphor is especially interesting in view of Lennon's transformation into a hardcore peacenik a few years later.

My favorite Beatles cover of all time is "Words of Love" - I raved about it seven years ago on this blog. But this might be my second favorite, a very close second.

Monday, November 26, 2018

The Tulsa massacre and the "race science" project of erasing American history

The "biosocial criminologists" I have written about on this blog believe that "black" people are innately more criminal than other "races." The most outspoken of the biosocial criminologists, John Paul Wright, explains the belief system in a book called  Biosocial Criminology: New Directions in Theory and Research edited by Kevin M. Beaver and Anthony Walsh:

It is clear that the main driver of "biosocial criminology" is to argue that the economic underachievement and related crime of blacks in the US is due to their inferior genetics. John Paul Wright again:

It's no surprise then that the hereditarian approach to American history is to try to erase it. Because if you erase it, you wipe out the evidence of what happened when blacks managed to prosper: the Tulsa massacre. It's clear that whites in Tulsa targeted blacks not because they were criminals but because they were uppity - they were too successful. And the white majority had the numbers to destroy them.
The predominantly black district of Greenwood in Tulsa had a commercial district so prosperous that it was known as "the Negro Wall Street" (now commonly referred to as "the Black Wall Street").[21] Blacks had created their own businesses and services in this enclave, including several grocers, two newspapers, two movie theaters, nightclubs, and numerous churches. Black professionals, including doctors, dentists, lawyers, and clergy, served their peers. Because of residential segregation in the city, most classes of blacks lived together in Greenwood. They selected their own leaders and raised capital there to support economic growth. In the surrounding areas of northeastern Oklahoma, blacks also enjoyed relative prosperity and participated in the oil boom.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

BlackkKlansman - great movie

The real Ron Stallworth's police ID card
I've been interested in the movie BlackkKlansman, watching several of its trailers many times but never managing to get out to see it in the theater - but now it's available online so I watched it.

Some of the reviews of the movie were mixed but I thought it was great.

It think Spike Lee achieved a perfect synthesis of fact and fiction, art and reality. I will watch it again.

Politifact provides a review of where the movie diverged from the historical record as recounted in Ron Stallworth's book and contemporary news reports.

Fun fact, I know one of the background actors playing a Klansman - the guy is the furthest thing from a Klansman so it was really amusing.

I admit I haven't seen much of Spike Lee's work but I think this one will end up being considered his masterpiece.
Not only did I enjoy the well-plotted, exciting movie (although there were some harrowing moments as when the character portrayed by Harry Belafonte recounts a lynching) I appreciated the mention of the "race science" by David Duke (Topher Grace) of Nobel Prize winner William Shockley and the wording was so similar to the defense of current race-science proponents for their scientific racism, I was amazed. I will definitely discuss that in my planned upcoming podcast Steven Pinker, the Intellectual Dark Web, and Race Science.

And of course, inevitably, the Pioneer Fund supported Shockley's eugenics.

In "The Bell Curve" Murray and Herrstein mention the connection between Herrnstein and Shockley in the public's mind but seem to feel that although they agree substantially about eugenics, Shockley's style was "eccentric" and therefore an unfair comparison.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Our last Thanksgiving at Capsouto Freres

For twelve years - since I moved to the NYC area, I had Thanksgiving  with various combinations of friends and family members at Capsouto Freres, a restaurant in TriBeCa. I blogged about it a few times. This photo is from Thanksgiving 2011. The last Thanksgiving there.

Then Hurricane Sandy came and wiped out the restaurant and they never re-opened.

My daughter-in-law is a chef so my Thanksgivings are great but I miss Capsouto sometimes.

That's Jacques Capsouto in the middle of the photo.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Razib Khan and the race science project to deny history

Although Razib Khan posted this article on Medium on July 4 of this year, I didn't see it until today. It confirms exactly what I have been noticing about proponents of race science - they think that genetics tells us more about human culture than the historical record:
And yet genetics can shed light on historical patterns. Unlike written text genetics is neutral. It does not present a particular narrative or agenda. 
That's his bold emphasis in the original. This is the underlying justification for the erasure of history that allows Khan and Sam Harris and Charles Murray to assume that failure of blacks to thrive in the US has nothing to do with 300 years of slavery, a hundred years of apartheid and fifty years of discrimination but rather their own genetic inferiority.

As usual with Khan his essay is a combination of no-duh ("Much of the wealth of the kingdom which the planters were building unfortunately consisted of slaves") and ideas he either is unwilling to express clearly, or lacks the literary ability to express clearly:
While Indiana was settled mostly from the South, there were far more Yankees who founded towns in Michigan and Wisconsin. Meanwhile, Ohio and Illinois were both divided between a northern portion settled from New England, and a southern expanse dominated by Scots-Irish “Butternuts.” 
All this seems clear in the genetic results. Now we can quantify the differences. Illinois is tilted a bit to the northern migrants. Ohio somewhat to the southern ones. Historical debates can be resolved through genetic analyses!
Nowhere does he say what "historical debates" he thinks are resolved through genetic analyses. Is that oversight a deliberate dog whistle for other race science proponents? Or is it just the output of a lousy writer who lacked a professional editor?

At the end of the essay, Khan is all enthusiasm for the Triumph of the DNA Test:
Over the next few years tens of millions of more Americans will obtain direct to consumer genetic tests. The database will grow larger and larger. Many demographic questions related to the history of this country will not need to be explored through reconstruction of texts and laborious perusal of letters and court documents. Rather, scientists will simply scan through the pedigrees they construct from human genomes, and synthesize their results with the rich assortment of resources already available from the fields of genealogy and history.
This time the bolded emphasis is mine. To realize the silliness - or the hidden agenda - of that bolded sentence one needs only reflect for a moment: genomes don't tell us that the Emancipation Proclamation was signed in 1863 or how many lynchings were perpetrated. Does it really matter if the lynching party was composed primarily of individuals with a genetic heritage of Scots-Irish with a small expression of German-French?

In spite of Razib Khan's literary inadequacy we can see clearly the tactic favored by proponents of race science: deny the importance of history because only science is pure enough to tell us anything about the world.

Now the nonsense that Khan is spewing is no more incoherent or useless than anything written by Steven Pinker on the topic of history and culture and race - it must really piss Khan off the way Pinker is well-respected and highly-remunerated and beloved by the mainstream media - here they are fawning over Pinker again in this interview at the NYTimes - while saying much of what Khan says and just as badly.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Les français sont si bizarre

This is a French TV show, apparently, in which they pretend to connect kids to a lie detector and then ask them questions. Although sometimes they pull weird stunts - like at one point they told a little girl that the color of carrots is blue. She insisted on orange a few times but there would be a beep each time indicating she was in error according to the "lie detector" so eventually she agreed that carrots are blue. That's some kind of gas-lighting bullshit right there.

On the other hand these are good videos for me to watch because, since they are talking to little kids, they have to make the language simple enough for them to understand - and so I can understand most of what they are saying.

Quillette, the center for white male grievance

Back in January of this year I mentioned that Quillette was not well-known. But now it seems it is getting better known - as a place where white men can gather to express their grievances.

Wonkette has an article about the latest literary atrocity at Quillette, a first-time novelist who believes that he didn't get a contract right away because he's white male. But he did get a deal and now he's milking it for publicity by selling Quillette his tale of woe of life as a white man - the kind of thing that Quillette loves to publish.

Quillette is such a huge joke - I'm glad more and more people are finding out about it. Many amusing comments about it on Twitter.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Monday, November 12, 2018

My shout-out in Politico

I really need to start my podcast about Steven Pinker and Quillette and the "Intellectual Dark Web" - I just got a shout-out from Politico to my Twitter thread about the "race realism"/"race science"/"hereditarianism" - or you can just call it neo-Nazi science position at Quillette.

The link on "clowns" in this screen cap links to the thread which is here.

Brigitte Macron, living the life

Saturday, November 10, 2018

O his prophetic soul - Ken Tucker on Steely Dan's "The Royal Scam"

Ken Tucker's review of Steely Dan's "The Royal Scam" ends with:
In any event, I doubt that Steely Dan will ever become merely precious or insular; through five albums they have consistently circumvented their complexity with passionate snaz-ziness and fluky, cynical wit. If The Royal Scam lacks ready-made Top 40 fodder, it also widens Steely Dan’s already considerable parameters. Their next album, if one can speculate about this lovably perverse bunch, should be a pop killer. In the meantime The Royal Scam is well worth living with, pondering and, what the hell, even dancing to.
The next album was Aja considered Steely Dan's masterpiece and on top of that, was their biggest seller.

Friday, November 09, 2018

Dude loves Bohemian Rhapsody

This guy, who has apparently been living under a rock has never heard Queens "Bohemian Rhapsody" - or many other famous songs before.

He has a Youtube channel in which he listens to well-known song for the first time and reacts to them. He loves Bohemian Rhapsody.

Thursday, November 08, 2018

The ridiculous symbolism of MOSHI

Nietzsche and his huge &
hideously excessive & ugly mustache
I criticized the organization MOSHI about a year ago for its bizarre usage of a mustache - a male secondary sex characteristic -  to represent
philosophical thought and ideas for children.

According to its web site:
MOSHI is a witty mustache which sticks on children’s face to teach them how to philosophize and express their ideas in artistic ways.
Moshi is a mustache full of ideas!
In the US women are sometimes complimented by being told they "have balls" because having testicles - something that only men have - is a symbol of courage. So to have balls is to be like a man, therefore courageous.

Maybe one day we'll see women complimented with: "you have a mustache" meaning they are full of ideas and philosophical thoughts and if so we can thank MOSHI for pioneering that concept.

Well it turns out the use of a disembodied mustache for the organization is even more ill-considered than I had guessed. I recently had an extremely unpleasant exchange of emails with MOSHI founder Caroline Murgue, who threatened to sue me for daring to publicly criticize her organization for sexism on account of its symbolizing thought by a mustache.

WIGGI is a wig full of ideas!
During the exchange she indicated that her organization's goal was aimed at helping children in their "social and emotional learning through MOSHI workshops."

This came as a surprise to me since the MOSHI social media sites emphasize thought, not emotion or socialization.

But even more surprising, Murgue informed me that the mustache was inspired by the huge walrus-sized mustache of Frederich Nietzsche, the nineteenth century philosopher who ended his days stark raving mad.

Now the MOSHI web site does not at all make it obvious that the mustache represents Nietzsche - I didn't find any mentions of Nietzsche by name. On its home page there is an image of Nietzsche - sans mustache on his face - but I doubt many of the parents of MOSHI's target audience have any idea what Nietzsche looks like.

And I find it astounding that Murgue considered it a good idea to use Nietzsche and his mustache to represent social and emotional learning for children since Nietzsche was no model of either social or emotional success in his life, even before he went completely bonkers.

POODIE is a poodle
full of ideas!
There are so many gender-neutral options that Murgue could have used to represent philosophy. Schopenhauer, for example, who detested facial hair on men and from whom Nietzsche got all his best ideas, is famous for loving his poodles.

(I know a lot of fun facts about Schopenhauer thanks to all the research I did writing a play that included him as a character.)

A talking poodle would be a much more attractive symbol to convey philosophical ideas to children than a disembodied floating mustache. Not to mention the poodle symbolizes Schopenhauer's love for his pet, which is a better representation of "social and emotional learning" than Nietzsche's ugly woman-repelling facial hair.

Although to be honest Schopenhauer might have been even less successful in his social life than Nietzsche, and his strongest emotional connection seems to have been primarily or even exclusively with his poodles.

If the symbol must be something one can wear, the model philosopher could have been Voltaire and children could have worn powdered wigs to represent becoming full of ideas.

I wonder what Voltaire would have thought of the leader of an organization, claiming to be dedicated to philosophy, threatening a lawsuit in an attempt to censor criticism.

Voltaire had some experience with censorship.
 At this time he published his views on British attitudes toward government, literature, religion and science in a collection of essays in letter form entitled Letters Concerning the English Nation (London, 1733).[50] In 1734, they were published in French as Lettres philosophiques in Rouen.[51][b] Because the publisher released the book without the approval of the royal censor and Voltaire regarded the British constitutional monarchy as more developed and more respectful of human rights (particularly religious tolerance) than its French counterpart, the French publication of Letters caused a huge scandal; the book was publicly burnt and banned, and Voltaire was forced again to flee Paris.[18]

Friday, November 02, 2018

Supernatural Podcast teaser

You can hear:

…our interview about the superstitions surrounding “the Scottish Play” and the John Wilkes Booth connection with noted Shakespearean scholar (and star of a BBC series on Shakespeare) Professor James Shapiro; 
…Orson Welles talk to H. G. Wells (author of the original “War of the World”) about Hitler’s response to the Orson Welles broadcast and the panic it caused; 
…the performance of Michael Jalbert’s LOVERBOY and our discussion with Michael afterwords about how domestic abuse can be more horrifying than the most extreme horror story.

You can listen either on the web site or check it out on iTunes. More info here.

Thursday, November 01, 2018

The one where they went to the wrong fountain

One of the things you are asked when you are working the kiosk in Central Park is "where is the 'Friends' fountain?"

The actual fountain that is featured in the opening credits of the 1990s TV show "Friends" is on a studio lot in Burbank California.

This is the Cherry Hill fountain that they think is the Friends fountain. 

Cherry Hill fountain - no houses nearby

Not only do they not look much alike - aside from a general fountainy-ness but Cherry Hill is in the middle of the Park - there are no houses nearby and in any case not five-story houses that look like the ones behind the real fountain. There's nothing but very tall apartment buildings on the streets along Central Park.

Could they be more mistaken?

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Countdown to Ecstasy at the Beacon Theater

Great time at the Steely Dan concert tonight. Although it was more like a Donald Fagen solo show since Walter Becker died a year ago

Whenever considering going to a Steely Dan show I always worry: "what if they don't play 'My Old School'?"

Tonight that was not a problem - the show was devoted to playing the entire Countdown To Ecstasy album and the Dan did a great job and although the band was loud I could hear people around me singing along during My Old School ('ooooh no, William and Mary won't do now.')

And then after doing that entire album they did "Black Cow" and "Peg" and "Josie" and "Hey Nineteen" and "Rikki Don't Lose That Number" and "Aja" and "Kid Charlemagne."

Actually, in spite of the consistently excellent musicianship (of course, this is Steely Dan) Fagen didn't really warm up until the Countdown set was over and he addressed the audience: "so weird day today, with the ipe-ay ombs-bay" - I'm not sure why he switched to Pig Latin to say "pipe bomb" but the audience cracked up. Until that point he had stayed at his keyboard and barely sang, especially at first - the backup vocalists did almost the entire vocal of "Bodhisatva" although luckily it doesn't have a lot of lyrics (Bodhisatva, won't you take me by the hand, can you show me the shine in your Japan, the sparkle of your China, Boddhisatva, gonna sell my house it town and I'll be there  to shine in your Japan, to sparkle in your China.

(What the kids today don't realize is that the phrase "sparkle of your china" was used in a dishwashing detergent advertisement of the time.)

Anyways, after Fagen addressed the audience in Pig Latin he got much more lively and sang louder and even stood up to play the melodica and danced around a little. He was great. And My Old School was great. And the Beacon is a 15 minute walk from my apartment. What's not to like?

Monday, October 15, 2018

No surprise at all, Steven Pinker defends racist crank Linda Gottfredson

Steven Pinker blocked me months ago on Twitter because, like all members of the "Intellectual Dark Web," he cannot tolerate criticism of any kind. 

But I have another Twitter account for NYCPlaywrights so while logged in there I took a peek today at Pinker's Twitter time line and OF COURSE he is defending racist crank Linda Gottfredson, while supporting Quillette, the Kremlin of race science promoters and attacking the Southern Poverty Law Center a venerable anti-bigotry bulwark.

Pinker is bitter because the Southern Poverty Law Center criticizes supporters of race science - evolutionary psychology, "human biodiversity," "biosocial criminology" which includes his friends like Sam Harris, Claire Lehmann and many other members of the "Intellectual Dark Web."

Steven Pinker is a disgusting, racist-supporting individual. But that's been obvious since he started promoting the careers of race science cranks Steve Sailer and Razib Khan.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Quillette defends racist crank Linda Gottfredson

No surprise that Quillette, which promotes "race science" proponents and evo-psycho bros has published an article defending Linda Gottfredson. It seems Gottfredson was disinvited from being a keynote speech at the International Association of Educational and Vocational Guidance meeting in Sweden.
My guess is that the International Association of Educational and Vocational Guidance people finally realized that Linda Gottfredson is a racist crank.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center:
Following a long tradition of scientific racism, Gottfredson argues that racial inequality, especially in employment, is the direct result of genetic racial differences in intelligence. Relying heavily on money obtained from the white nationalist Pioneer Fund, Gottfredson has worked tirelessly to oppose any and all efforts to reduce racial inequality in both in the workplace and in society as a whole. 
In Her Own Words: 
“The bell curve for whites is centered roughly around IQ 100; the bell curve for American blacks roughly around 85; and those for different subgroups of Hispanics roughly midway between those for whites and blacks. The evidence is less definitive for exactly where above IQ 100 the bell curves for Jews and Asians are centered.“
—“Mainstream Science on Intelligence,” The Wall Street Journal, 1994
“The IQs of different groups of African blacks range more around 70.”
—Interview with Stefan Molyneux, 2015
Here is the section of the interview with Molyneux in which they rank "groups."

Friday, October 12, 2018

The wonderful Bruce Schneier on digital security

I've mentioned Bruce Schneier on several occasions on this blog before, but always in reference to how he kicked Dunning-Kruger poster boy Sam Harris's ass on the issue of profiling and airport security.

Now Schneier has a new book out about security focused on "the internet of things" - aka IoT - called Click Here to Kill Everybody.

I'm glad somebody is paying attention because it was clear to me from the outset of IoT that it was incredibly dangerous to leave computerized objects operating in physical space vulnerable to hackers. Scheier talks about it in the video above.

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

So whatever happened to Neil LaBute?

I was surprised to see that the LaBute festival is still happening this year. I just posted their call for submissions at NYCPlaywrights.

Neil LaBute's relationship with MCC Theater was suddenly cut, back in February of this year: 
Neil LaBute, a prominent American playwright and screenwriter known for his portraits of misanthropic and misogynistic men, has been abruptly cut off by one of New York’s leading nonprofit theaters. 
MCC Theater, a prestigious Off Broadway company, announced Thursday that it was canceling an upcoming production of Mr. LaBute’s latest play and terminating his tenure as its playwright-in-residence, effective immediately. 
The theater’s leadership repeatedly declined to explain the reason for its action, but on Friday, Blake West, its executive director, said, “We’re committed to creating and maintaining a respectful and professional work environment for everyone we work with.” 
Mr. LaBute did not respond to a request for comment. 
The action is a startling development in the 15-year relationship between the nonprofit theater and the polarizing playwright: MCC has been a longtime champion of Mr. LaBute’s work, which often raises uncomfortable questions about sex and power and leaves viewers debating whether Mr. LaBute was critiquing or reveling in the bad behavior of some of his protagonists.

Geffin Playhouse also dropped him:
No reason was given by MCC for its split with LaBute, nor did Geffen offer an explanation for its own move in replacing “Fat Pig” with a play by another writer. Sources with knowledge of the Geffen production said that Chrissy Metz, the “This Is Us” star who was announced as the star of “Fat Pig,” had dropped out of the project last month; however, the Geffen, when asked for comment, did not elaborate on its initial announcement.
As this author on Twitter noted:

On the other hand you could argue that if it was for sexual harassment then it was smart of LaBute to cut a non-disclosure deal with MCC, because if nobody is sure he was fired for harassment  there will likely not be outrage when he makes a come-back. 

And less than a year after whatever it is caused such an abrupt break, LaBute is having no trouble at all getting hired or having theater festivals with his name on them.

Sunday, October 07, 2018

The fundamental stupidity of Sam Harris

I was reviewing this exchange between Sam Harris and Ezra Klein recently.

 I have long had a very low opinion of Sam Harris's intelligence and so I shouldn't have been, but I really was amazed at how sharply and clearly Sam Harris's stupidity jumped right off the page (highlighted.)

How is it possible that when Ezra Klein makes a very succinct and clear argument for why Jefferson's generalization of the innate intellectual abilities of blacks as a group was obviously disproved by individuals like James Baldwin and so using the "Jeffersonian politics of difference" that Charles Murray promotes is absurd, Harris completely misses the point and instead leaps to "do you doubt people are different"?

Because Sam Harris is not very bright.

Sam Harris is the recipient of wealth and connections that has allowed him to get to the point where he can play a smart person to gullible groups of young white men. Harris rode to fame on the anti-Islamic bigotry caused by the 9-11 attacks

But when people who actually know what the hell they are talking about talk to Harris, Harris comes out looking like an especially arrogant poster boy for the Dunning-Kruger effect as when an actual security expert, Bruce Schneier, ripped Harris's idiotic ethnic-profiling scheme apart.

And so since Harris isn't actually very bright, he's going to generally come out the worst for it whenever he gets out of the safe spaces of Quillette and "Intellectual Dark Web" echo chambers. And so in order to maintain his own belief in his superior intellect he will have to keep going back to people who believe he's really smart, the people who made him in the first place - the pants-pissing bigots.

And I think that's why he has such a whiny demeanor when communicating with people like Ezra Klein - I think Harris perceives he is being bested, but doesn't want to - or is so blinkered he can't believe it's due to his intellectual failings and so Harris suspects that there's unfair machinations being used against him.

Another thing that really struck me in the Harris-Klein exchange is that Harris, just like the Steven Pinker-promoted duo of alt-right racist Steve Sailer and right-wing operative and too-racist-for-the-NYTimes Razib Khan, wants to discard what we know about the African American experience in the US when discussing blackness and race and nature v nurture. As Khan said:
So I have to take issue when The New York Times posts articles with headlines such as White? Black? A Murky Distinction Grows Still Murkier. What genetics is showing is that in fact white Americans are shockingly European to an incredibly high degree for a population with roots on this continent for 400 years. If we removed all the history that we take for granted we’d be amazed that the indigenous peoples had so little demographic impact, and, that the larger numbers of people of partial African ancestry did not move into the general “white” population. 
The statement is so absurd it took me a while to realize that in this passage Khan means we should disregard history because then we will better understand the purity of the genetic information. It's such a bizarre way to understand humans - unless of course you've already completely bought into the assumption that nature is everything and nurture is nothing.

And Harris is in agreement with this. I suspect the hereditarians think this way in part because history isn't science but genetics is. Here's Harris in the discussion with Klein:
     Ezra Klein 
I doubt that we have, given the experiment we have run in this country, given the centuries of slavery and segregation and oppression, given locking people out of jobs, out of good schools, out of building wealth, out of going into top professions, out of being part of the social networks that help you advance; the amount of violence and terror and trauma that we have inflicted on African Americans in this country, I absolutely doubt — I truly, to the core of my being, doubt — that we are at a place where any of us should have confidence saying that the differences we see in individuals now reflect intrinsic group capacity. I think that at every other point in America history where we have said that — 
     Sam Harris 
But even Murray wouldn’t say that. 
     Ezra Klein 
That is exactly what Murray says. That at every other point in American history. 
     Sam Harris 
Again, there is confusion creeping in here. 
     Ezra Klein 
There is not confusion. 
Sam Harris 
Okay, I’ll try to sort it out in my next volley. 
     Ezra Klein 
You’ll sort it out. Of course. At every point in American history where we have made that argument, we now look back — and, I mean, this is not going way back. Segregation, my mom was alive in segregation. Charles Murray was alive during segregation. We’re talking, I think, it’s within the week of the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s assassination. This is not ancient history, it is recent history. 
I think we look back and say, “Man, they really had it wrong.” You quoted back at me something that I think either I say it, or the Vox authors say it, now I don’t remember, but that, yeah, if you’re having a version of this conversation again, then it is incumbent on you to say why you’re so sure it will be different this time. 
Murray does say he thinks that some combination of genetic and basically immutably environmental characteristics make it so we can’t do much about this and there just are big differences between the groups, and it’s just going to remain that way, and American politics need to rearrange itself around that reality. 
Yeah, I strongly disagree, and I disagree because of American history. That is why my fundamental criticism of that conversation was that you needed to deal more with the history of this conversation and the history of this country. 
     Sam Harris 
Okay, but even in this conversation you are unwilling to differentiate scientific fact and scientific data and reasonable extrapolations based on data, from past injustices in American history, these are totally separate things — 
     Ezra Klein
No, we disagree on what a reasonable extrapolation from the data is.
Harris then goes onto whine about how the Southern Poverty Law Center was a big meanie to him - they were not.

Towards the end the exchange demonstrates Harris's Dunning-Kruger blind spot:
    Sam Harris 
I get that, but not in precisely the ways you think you do. I’m in the, once again, having the bewildering experience of agreeing with virtually everything you said there, and yet it has basically no relevance to what I view as our underlying disagreement. 
    Ezra Klein 
You have that bewildering experience because you don’t realize when you keep saying that everybody else is thinking tribally, but you’re not, that that is our disagreement.
Harris is bewildered because he can't keep up with the intellectual complexity that Klein has been throwing at him, but can't admit - can't understand - that the problem is his own deficiency and so he has a suspicion that something tricksy is going on.

But Harris will continue to be successful because he's telling all those white supremacists and misogynists what they want to hear and telling them that they are the true smart ones, the pure intellects, unlike those identity politics people.

And of course there's always the wingnut welfare from the Kochs or other right-wingers, glad to prop up mediocrities who say what they want them to say. 

Thursday, October 04, 2018

Who said it - Cathy Young or Mark Judge?

Gamergater #1
Sarkeesian’s Tropes vs. Women videos, which feature prominently in the debate about videogames, feminism and sexism, are full of selective and skewed analysis—one that neglects positive female images, ignores examples of male characters getting the same treatment she considers sexist for women, and attacks games for encouraging deadly violence toward female characters when killing those characters is actually the "bad" option that causes player to lose points. (A fairly detailed three-part discussion of the flaws in Sarkeesian’s critique was posted a few weeks ago on; for upfront disclosure, the first part quotes from an old column of mine criticizing radical anti-sex feminist Andrea Dworkin, on whose theories Sarkeesian sometimes relies.) It should go without saying that the biased shoddiness of Sarkeesian’s arguments does not in any way excuse the online harassment toward her, let alone violent threats.  But the harassment should not preclude a critical examination of her critique—instead of the largely unquestioning adulation it has received from the elite gaming media.
Gamergater #2
Yes, some games are violent. Some are misogynistic. And responsible people can have discussions about the effect that too much gaming has on the human soul and psyche—as well as what good games do. Yet Sarkeesian’s arguments are overly broad, deceptive, and full of specific errors. Gamers have pointed this out in great detail, and are still caricatured in the media as unintelligent, pajama-wearing mouth breathers.
One of the sharpest gamers to respond to Sarkeesian is a kid who calls himself Mr. Repzion. Mr. Repzion in a lifelong gamer, and on his YouTube channel he has posted several responses to Sarkeesian that are detailed and well researched. (They also contain occasional bad language.) Repzion was particularly exasperated at the errors Sarkeesian made when she recently attended E3, the Electronic Entertainment Expo.
The first is by Cathy Young. The second is by Brett Kavanaugh's black-out drinking buddy and probable rape-train rapist Mark Judge.

As much as I have been reading Cathy Young's commentary on, and support for the monsters of Gamergate during the past month, I would not have been able to tell the difference between Young's and Judge's words. Mark Judge is Cathy Young's soul mate when it comes to hatred of women who complain about sexism.

Young mentions Judge online but hasn't said that she knew him. They are just two awful human beings, I guess, being independently awful.

Now that Young has found out (probably by now) that Mark Judge was a fellow Gamergater will she decide to admire and defend him as she did Milo Yiannopolous and Eron Gjoni?

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Speaking of right-wing Helen Pluckrose

I find it funny that Helen Pluckrose and other right-wing Quillette clowns believe they've proven something by getting a reworded Mein Kampf into some lame po-mo publication.
To date, their project has been successful: seven papers have passed through peer review and have been published, including a 3000 word excerpt of Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf, rewritten in the language of Intersectionality theory and published in the Gender Studies journal Affilia.

So what do Helen Pluckrose et. al. believe? That it's better to deliberately publish a racist than to inadvertently publish one? Or do they believe it's just worse to be racist against Jews than racist against blacks?

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Jesse Singal's continuing journey to the right

Anti- "identity politics" and yet considers it
necessary to declare her ethnic identity
on her Twitter profile.
I have documented Quillette's opposition to feminism and Quillette founder Claire Lehmann's misogyny on this blog often.

Quillette is a scheme to rebrand right-wing views like those of Lehmann's former (or maybe continuing) employer Rebel Media as "centrist" and so it aligns itself with fake liberals like Helen Pluckrose and Iona Italia.

Italia likes to denounce identity politics, although she proudly proclaims her religio-ethnic identity on her Twitter profile. 

And it was Italia retweeting my tweet to her behind the safety of a block (because like all those who gather round right-wing safe space Quillette, she is a snowflake who cannot tolerate criticism) which got Jesse Singal and Cathy Young to team up to attack me, although I hadn't had anything to do with either of them for months leading up to the attack.

It's no surprise to find Pluckrose and Italia promoting Jesse Singal in their podcast. Singal is rapidly becoming a second-string member of the "Intellectual Dark Web" along with Cathy Young. 

One of the editorial positions of Quillette, in addition to anti-feminist, anti-Muslim, anti-socialist and pro "race science" (which claims to have proven scientifically that black people are intellectually and morally inferior to other races) and a constant trumped-up panic over free speech in American colleges is a hostility to transgenderism. 

It is no anomaly that the movement is hitting its cultural stride in the debate over pronouns. The first step in changing how we think about our bodies and what it means to be human is to change how we speak about these things. Transgender speech codes demand that we renounce our bodies’ basis in biology, and instead consider them constructs of arbitrary (and somehow unjust) societal expectations. We are not to think about ‘mother’ and ‘father’ as reproductive terms, but as culturally specified relationships. This aggressive effort to change and police the use of language, and to redefine terms like ‘male’ and ‘female’ to deny the sexual difference characteristic of all mammals, is designed to uncouple mind from body and humans from evolutionary and reproductive logic. Instead, an ideology of emotion is to be given dominion over biological reality.
Ah yes, the all-important pronoun issue. The thing that brought crackpot Jordan Peterson to everyone's attention. Quillette adores Peterson, of course.

Quillette appears to publish virtually any reactionary screed that matches its editorial positions, even an anti-trans rant by Emmons who has zero expertise, per her Quillette bio: a writer and theatre maker in New York. She is co-founder of the Sticky series & newly formed Puss Collective, & blogs at 

Jesse Singal is now infamous for his hostility to transgenderism, making him a perfect match for Quillette. It's surprising he hasn't published in Quillette yet, especially since he's started publishing in the Koch brothers-supported Reason.

Iona Italia and Helen Pluckrose are either complete idiotic dupes or are fully aware they are playing roles in the belief that pretending to be liberals makes them more effective at attacking feminists and liberals. Either way they are contemptible individuals.

Monday, October 01, 2018

I love these 21st century men

Ils me donnent de l'espoir pour l'avenir!

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Why is Cathy Young still obsessed with Zoe Quinn & Anita Sarkeesian?

When Cathy Young blocked me on Twitter she complained that "She's obsessed w/critics of progressive ideology & follows them around, smears them as "alt-right" 

Now given how much Cathy Young is obsessed with smearing women via Gamergate it's odd that she would point at others who are "obsessed" but really it's not so odd when you consider that Young, who makes a living as a public intellectual, is a thin-skinned hypocrite. 

And of course by "follows them around" she means I occasionally look at their Twitter feeds and make critical comments. This kind of activity is probably 30% of all Twitter activity and engaged in, of course, shamelessly & hypocritically by Young herself.

Young clashes with left-wing Noah Berlatsky frequently. Their recent exchange demonstrates I'm not the only one who thinks Cathy Young is alt-right as well as demonstrating Young's ongoing dislike of Anita Sarkeesian.

The alt-right, or alternative right, is a loosely-connected and somewhat ill-defined[1] grouping of white supremacists/white nationalists, neo-Nazis, neo-fascists, neo-Confederates, Holocaust deniers, and other far-right[2][3][4] fringe hate groups.[5][6]
Alt-right beliefs have been described as isolationist, protectionist, antisemitic and white supremacist,[7][8][9] frequently overlapping with neo-Nazism,[10][11][12][13] identitarianism,[14] nativism and Islamophobia,[15][16][17][18][19] antifeminism, misogyny and homophobia,[10][20][21][22][13] right-wing populism[23][24] and the neoreactionary movement.[7][25]
So opinions vary on what exactly counts as the alt-right. Apparently Cathy Young is of the opinion that she is the final arbiter of who is and isn't alt-right.

In an interesting twist, Cathy Young herself is cited in the same Wiki article on the alt-right:
The alt-right has been said to include elements of white nationalism,[10][11][23] white supremacism,[8][9][66] antisemitism,[10][11][12] right-wing populism,[23] nativism[15] and the neoreactionary movement.[25] Andrew Marantz includes "neo-monarchists, masculinists, conspiracists, belligerent nihilists".[28] Newsday columnist Cathy Young noted the alt-right's strong opposition to both legal and illegal immigration and its hard-line stance on the European migrant crisis.[67] 
Now I haven't looked into Cathy Young's position on immigration, but it's absolutely clear that she is a masculinist, anti-feminist and misogynist. The Wikipedia entry on her notes:
Young has defended the social media campaign Women Against Feminism.[6]
frequently agreeing with men's rights activists
The entry doesn't discuss her personal involvement in Gamergate but rather quotes her opinion of it.
Describing the Gamergate controversy in relation to feminism, Young has stated that she believes that Gamergate is a backlash against feminism, but "it's a backlash against a particular kind of feminism, one that has a tendency to look obsessively for offences, read ideology into everything, and demonize male sexuality under the pretext of stamping out 'the objectification of women'."[7]
It isn't clear how many of the beliefs ascribed to the alt-right one must have in order to be alt-right - nobody knows. But given how ferociously Cathy Young hates feminism, I'd say that qualifies her.

It isn't clear who Young means when she claims I smear "them" - I've previously discussed how Young falsely claimed I've called Steven Pinker a white supremacist. It's possible that yet again she is claiming something false about me, perhaps suggesting I've called Steven Pinker a member of the alt-right. I haven't done any such thing, although I have pointed out that he has connections that would fairly, by most definitions, be called alt-right. And of course there was Pinker's infamous remarks about the alt-right, defended by Cathy Young's buddy Jesse Singal. The remarks were given as part of a Spiked Magazine Unsafe Space series - Spiked Magazine is, like Cathy Young and Steven Pinker, relentlessly anti-feminist. Although Pinker and Young like to try to brand Young's anti-feminism as "equity feminism" - a favorite term of Koch brothers hacks.

Now whether I'm right or not about Cathy Young being alt-right or Steven Pinker having alt-right connections, the fact remains that Cathy Young supported a mob-rule phenomenon, Gamergate, which put women's lives in danger and she still attacks the very same women who were the targets.

The worst that Cathy Young has to endure from me is the possibility of being mislabeled alt-right when she's simply a far-right Koch brothers hack libertarian.

Neither Zoe Quinn nor Anita Sarkeesian have done anything to justify Cathy Young's bitter hatred and obsession with them - Quinn was the target of an unhinged ex-boyfriend, and Sarkeesian has made videos criticizing the sexist attitudes in video games.

 But far from admitting she was wrong about her support of Gamergate in which women's lives were threatened Young is doubling down on her support right up to the present time.

Here's Cathy Young, just a few days ago, once again defending Eron Gjoni and smearing Zoe Quinn.

Why does Cathy Young hate these women so much? Why can't Cathy Young admit that Eron Gjoni is a horrible person who committed a calculated violation of another person's privacy for the purpose of throwing her to a misogynist mob?

Why can't Cathy Young let Gamergate go, even though her support of Gamergate reflects so badly on her?

Shameless, thin-skinned hypocrite Cathy Young attacking Zoe Quinn yet again.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

When evil worlds collide: Daphne Merkin & Quillette

I've been criticizing Daphne Merkin for her awfulness for thirteen years on this blog. 

Separately I've been criticizing the right-wing disguised as centrist rag Quillette for almost a year.

And now they've found each other. Quillette has an interview with the dread Daphne Merkin.

Although to be honest even I didn't think Daphne Merkin would sink so low as to team up with Quillette.

Daphne Merkin's awfulness still has the power to surprise. 

Friday, September 28, 2018

Dar Williams is having none of Brett Kavanaugh's shit

Dar Williams the goddess posted this to her FB today:
In the early 80's, a pumped up group of athletes, in the middle of a winning season, stood before our packed high school gym. When the applause died down, the captain said, "We'd like to thank you all for your moral support and [full name of girl] for her oral support." Shocked double takes all around. Could we have heard incorrectly? No.
So. Now we hear of Brett Kavanaugh's "Renate Alumnius" reference, and supposedly there's a picture of nine football players stating to be "alumni" of a girl from another school. It's in writing. For that alone, no nomination.
Those athletes at my high school, those vainglorious shits, took their shining moment to willfully degrade a fellow student, to lampoon her sexuality to the thousand plus students in attendance. I am so happy the girl didn't commit suicide (she has thrived despite them). What they did was not sexist. It was misogynist. 
Brett Kavanaugh, you are a misogynist. Hundreds of boys in my high school would NEVER have used a public moment to verbally assault a fellow student, or to have allowed it to happen. HUNDREDS. Boys knew the difference, even then, between their own insecure, unsure, fumbling steps to becoming men and MISOGYNY. 
Today was an important day. Tears, shock, and confusion on my part and many others'. I believe every accusation, because, Brett Kavanaugh, you called yourself an "alumnius". You are a misogynist, just like those misogynists from my high school. You took your moment of glory to humiliate a girl, as if that were the proof of your true power. That is a hatred of women. That is misogyny.

I can't believe this song is 22 years old now. It's still perfect.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

O Canada! The third episode of the NYCPlaywrights Podcast

I have finally completed the third episode of the NYCPlaywrights Podcast. It took forever because I interviewed six people and all those interviews had to be edited and engineered. It's actually a miracle I got it out before October. The next podcast is going to be easier, I need a break.

You can find the podcast on the web site. Soon it will be on iTunes and other podcast distributors.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Cathy Young and the he-man woman-haters club

Cathy Young is apparently followed almost exclusively by men on Twitter. No surprise there.

Cathy Young blocked me on Twitter today because I pointed out what an awful, misogynist human being she is. But of course she couldn't block me without making a big announcement on her Twitter feed so that the mob of misogynists who follow her would get a chance to offer Young their support by making nasty, idiotic and false statements about me.

I suspect this is the kind of thing Cathy Young lives for.

My guess is that Young is hoping they'll go after me much like the mob who went after women like Anita Sarkeesian and Zoe Quinn during GamerGate. Cathy Young supported and encouraged the vicious misogynist mob during GamerGate.

Sorry Cathy, so far the only thing your mob has done is hide behind your blocked thread, in Twitter's safest space for misogynists this side of Quillette.

Reading the comments from Cathy Young's followers gives you a good sense of the idiotic level of discourse you get from misogynist cowards. 

And it's no surprise at all that Young supports the contemptible plutocrat mediocrity Daphne Merkin.

You can enjoy Cathy Young and her mob & their misogynist awfulness after the cut.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Apple tree

I've lived in this apartment on the UWS for two and a half years now but did not realize there was an apple tree growing right next door until recently when I looked up and saw apples. 

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Happy Autumn Equinox 2018

I'm so happy that another ghastly NYC summer has come to an end and the lovely, reasonable weather of autumn is here.

Friday, September 21, 2018

The Quillette sausage party

I was reviewing my blog post All aboard the wingnut welfare gravy train with alt-right Claire Lehmann & white supremacist Jared Taylor because a pseudonymous person online referenced it by my name over a month ago.

"slphil"  starts by quibbling about whether or not Claire Lehmann is alt-right, as if there are official rules for who qualifies as alt-right. I don't see much difference between the alt-right and the far-right so it's not worth the effort to get into the issue.

I stand by what I said on the post except for one thing:
And it's mostly men, the ratio of men to women writing for Quillette is at best 10:1. This is no doubt partly due to Claire Lehmann's raging, obsessive, unhinged hatred of feminism.
The average ratio for the past month is 7:1.

However, this week's ratio is an astounding 22:1.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Bad choice for a good cause: Robin DiAngelo's contempt for white progressives

The refusal of some in the US to acknowledge that the Confederacy stood for treason for the cause of slavery is a continuing disgrace to the US. 

Star Peterson, a Charlottesville activist who suffered severe injuries in the car attack following the Aug. 12, 2017, Unite the Right rally, read aloud a portion of a book called “White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard For White People to Talk About Racism.” 
Written by sociologist Robin DiAngelo, the book examines why it can be difficult for white people to talk about race and steps they can take to acknowledge that. At a Charlottesville City Council meeting last month, copies of the book were given to the councilors. 
After reading the excerpt, Peterson said she hopes School Board members will seek out the book and learn from it.
What the School Board members will learn from Robin DiAngelo is that the very people who oppose Confederacy fetishism, like Peterson, are considered by Robin DiAngelo to be doing the most harm to black people.

"I believe that white progressives cause the most daily damage to people of color." 
Maybe Star Peterson should actually read DiAngelo's book. She might learn that far from helping people of color, DiAngelo believes that Peterson is part of the group of people hurting black people the most.

Monday, September 17, 2018

"OTTAWA" by Adam Scotti

by Adam Scotti

I follow Adam Scotti on Twitter and so often see wonderful photos of Justin Trudeau. Scotti is the official photographer for Trudeau. It must be nice to be a photographer when your main subject is not only a world leader but an attractive man. 

I also follow Soazig de la Moissonnière on Twitter. She is Macron's official photographer.  She also provides wonderful photos.

De la Moissonnière and Scotti follow each other on Twitter and often retweet each others' work - they have professional mutual admiration society.

by Soazig de la Moissonnière