Thursday, December 28, 2006

Peyton Place in the Pleistocene

Excellent spoof of evolutionary psychology from Eye of a Cat - with the obligatory objections of fans of EP.

ANCESTRAL WOMAN: Y'know, I don't think primatology a million years from now is really going to support that simplistic a conclusion about relationships between the sexes. Chimp societies definitely don't work that way, and as for the bonobos -

ANCESTRAL MAN: Again, you're not exactly being constructive.

ANCESTRAL WOMAN: I'm fed up with getting all the shortest lines.

ANCESTRAL MAN: But you can't argue with my conclusions. Human behaviour is governed by programs created for the society we live in now: nuclear families, strongly-marked hierarchies, rich and poor individuals, men who provide and women who nurture. And this explains why, in a million years, men will get paid more and women will be gold-digging whores. It's genetic. And anyone who thinks that people's lives and expectations might be significantly shaped by their societies in the future is just kidding themselves. We should run our societies based on the way they already are, since that's obviously basic human nature, and entirely unchangeable.

ANCESTRAL WOMAN: Is that, um, perhaps getting a bit too close to the is/ought fallacy?

ANCESTRAL MAN: [Sighs] More like taking the is/ought fallacy home and introducing it to your parents.

[Long silence. They stare at the mammoth slowly cooking on the fire in front of them.]

ANCESTRAL WOMAN: You know, I'd like to live in one of those real hunter-gatherer societies. The ones where people live in small communities rather than nuclear families, so nobody has to worry about getting a specific partner to provide them with specific things. The ones where labour's divided up between the sexes, and there's no real hierarchy or concepts of wealth. I don't know why, I just...

ANCESTRAL MAN: Get the impression that they'd cope far better in the Pleistocene savannah than we do?


[Another long silence.]

ANCESTRAL MAN: It wouldn't work, you know.

ANCESTRAL WOMAN: Because the conclusions drawn by large portions of evolutionary psychology tend to be based on naive, poorly-researched ideas of prehistoric society that rarely specify anything more than 'during evolution', entirely ignore the role played by nurture, pay little attention to the idea of adaptability being one thing that's always going to be useful for human brains, reduce all human behaviour to the level of genetic reproduction even when the connection's clearly tenuous, and come up with some pretty iffy and often misogynistic conclusions that seem to be based far more in justifying contemporary society and the speaker's own place within it than explaining the limitations and capabilities of human behaviour?

ANCESTRAL MAN: Well... you could say that. But, see, you're a woman. You're more emotional. That's why you're letting your idealistic, head-in-the-clouds nonsense about hunter-gatherer societies cloud your perception of the Harsh Truth.


ANCESTRAL MAN: That that the default setting for humanity is the gender roles and domestic arrangements of the worst stereotypes of 1950s suburbia.

ANCESTRAL WOMAN: White picket fences and all.

"lingerie Stockholm syndrome"

...a striking phrase from today's NYTimes article on strapless bras.

For those who don't know what Stockholm syndrome is,
according to
People suffering from Stockholm syndrome come to identify with and even care for their captors in a desperate, usually unconscious act of self-preservation. It occurs in the most psychologically traumatic situations, often hostage situations or kidnappings, and its effects usually do not end when the crisis ends. In the most classic cases, victims continue to defend and care about their captors even after they escape captivity. Symptoms of Stockholm syndrome have also been identified in the slave/master relationship, in battered-spouse cases and in members of destructive cults.

I would say that the entire fashion industry for women is a kind of Stockholm syndrome.

There's a reason that men don't wear strapless stuff - it's cold, it's silly, and it makes you look vulnerable. But of course 95% of women's fashion is about looking vulnerable, whether it's stick high heels or short short skirts or long fingernails or corsets or foot-binding. Strapless clothing is just one more variation on the theme.

Interesting to note that virtually all bridal dresses these days are strapless. As if to say, "don't worry honey - I earn my own money, do weight-training, can divorce you if I want, but I'm still just a helpless vulnerable lil woman!"

That's why I'm all for gay marriage. But heterosexual marriage, with its history of women-owning and women abuse is just a bad bad idea.

The very quintessence of helplessness is on display by the writer of the Times article in this section:
But Danny Koch, the owner of Town Shop, a Manhattan lingerie boutique that fits women with cup sizes A to G, said there is no reason for that.

“There is a definite stigma attached to strapless bras that no one will ever find one that works or fits,” he said. “But it’s just not true.”

Spoken by someone who does not have to wear one

Guess what Stephanie Rosenbloom? YOU AIN'T GOT TO WEAR ONE EITHER!

How sick is it that Stephanie Rosenbloom recognizes the symptoms of Stockholms syndrome, yet blithely wallows in it?

But so many female writers push that helpless girly-girl bit at the Times, from Maureen Dowd to Judith (my husband would rather watch TV than talk to me) Warner to the dread Daphne Merkin, I'm starting to think of it as the NYTimes syndrome.

And then they whine about girls wanting to be princesses without any acknowledgement of the role the NYTimes plays in pushing traditional gender concepts. Duh.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Jesus hanging on the cross - my horrible misdeeds as a child...

When I was four years old my mother taught me to recite this while staring at a small sculptural representation of a man dying an agonizing death...

Jesus, hanging on the Cross,
Tell me, was it I?
There are great big teardrops, Lord.
Did I make You cry?
I have been the best person that I can be,
So won't you, dear Lord Jesus,
Please pardon me.

If only I hadn't swiped that chocolate-chip cookie!

For years I thought my mother made the prayer up, but found on the Internet (where everything is) that she probably didn't since it's also here.

Christianity is a sick sick religion. But then any religion that teaches that a loving deity sends people to hell to be tortured for eternity is based on perfect cruelty.

Friday, December 15, 2006

News flash: Razib (Newamul K. Khan) is a right-wing asshole

I don't know what's wrong with these science bloggers. Haven't they heard of Google? You can find out all kinds of stuff about right-wing Razib of Gene Expression by using it. I blogged about him back in August but I guess Janet D. Stemwedel doesn't read my blog, or she wouldn't think it was such a big deal that Razib thinks attractive women don't read science fiction. That's exactly the stupid, ev-psych-based generalization that Razib would make. And then back pedal and try to play it off as a joke. Classic sexist ploy - antagonize feminists with some stupid, non-humourous-by-any-human-standard comment, and then say you're joking, and why don't feminists have a sense of humor. Razib is not only sexist and racist - he's a pusillanimous sexist/racist.

Although you'd at least think that Razib including hard-core racist Steve Sailer in his blog roll would give these science types a clue. Maybe they should get their heads out of their test tubes and pay more attention to where some of these "science" bloggers are coming from.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Now THAT's funny!

As a Google maps addict, I had to love this picture:

Via Ann Bartow at Sivacracy