Saturday, June 30, 2012

On being smeared by the Mad Gastronomer and Karnythia

If you Google my name, it's quite possible you will see in the search results a couple of thugs with Tumblr accounts who go by the name of The Mad Gastronomer and Karnythia smearing me as something which I am not, as anybody who knows me will tell you, and as my blog posts will attest.

But thanks to the confluence of Tumblr and Google, these thugs can get away with branding me falsely as something that I hate.

Now of course if they ever see this post, they will immediately smear me some more using their Tumblr accounts, because that's what they do. That's all they know how to do.

I took down my original post discussing this issue because some of the scarier followers of the Mad Gastronomer and Karnythia accounts were sending me creepy messages. And so of course since I made the changes the Mad Gastronomer called me a "self-editing racist."

She also thinks that the web site "" which I link to, is racist because it displays bad English translations. Because apparently pointing out that some translations are wrong - sometimes humorously wrong -  is "racist." But I 'll bet that she's never written to to complain. Because she enjoys the politics of personal destruction, not actually confronting real enemies.

So, since these Google/Tumblr smears are not going away, the least I can do is tell the story of what happened and defend myself from the thugs and their mob.

Here's the story:

John Lennon and Yoko Ono co-wrote a song called “Woman is the Nigger of the World” in 1971. They were making a point about the status of women: that no matter how oppressed a group is in the social hierarchy - and the slur “nigger” represents that oppressed group in this context - women are even more oppressed.

You may disagree with their use of an offensive word to make a point, but it is absurd to claim that the use of “nigger” in this context is in itself racist. You’d have to be a Philistine to believe such a thing.

I saw some people saying that John Lennon and Yoko Ono were racists for writing that song and I disagreed on Facebook, where your real name is displayed for anybody to see.

So eventually, when I did a search on my name via Google, I discovered I was being smeared online using my real name, by the "Mad Gastronomer."

I emailed the Mad Gastronomer privately and asked her to take the smear down. Instead she retaliated by smearing me yet again. The effect is intensified when her Tumblr friends posted her comments about me on their Tumblr accounts, which is very easy to do.  

Now, why should you care? Because it could happen to you. Anybody for whatever reason could smear you, whenever they want, in Google results and you can’t do a damn thing about it. It’s perfectly legal.

The term for the technique of smearing someone through Google searches is known as “Google-bombing.” There is an excellent paper on this issue online called Cyber Civil Rights by Danielle Keats Citron, which recounts a 2007 incident of attacks on female students at a law school:
The attackers waged a “Google-bombing” campaign that would ensure the prominence of offensive threads in searches of the female students’ names...

Leaf explained that posts should include the adjective “big-titted” next to the woman’s name. “Big-titted [name of female student]’s name is never to be used in parts – it must always be [name of student] at the least, and ‘big-titted [name of the student]’ ideally” with pictures of her accompanying the thread. This would work because search engine algorithms assign a high rank to a web page if sites linking to that page use consistent anchor text. Posters admitted their desire to intimidate and harm the female students...”
You can’t entirely eliminate the potential for Google-bombing being used to smear you, but you can make it less likely to happen: by shutting the hell up. Keep your opinions to yourself. No more free and open debate, certainly not on Facebook.

I am sure that the people at Tumblr and Google and Facebook did not forsee the confluence of their companies having this effect but nevertheless, it happened: they have provided a means for Google-bombers to quickly and easily shut down public discourse through intimidation.

I'm sure the Mad Gastronomer and Karnythia are proud of themselves.

UPDATE: I said they were nasty extremists - here's what one of them said about me:

good job you stupid white bitch

That's the kind of people who support Rebecca Scott the Mad Gastronomer. Vicious misogynists. It's not a surprise - this whole thing started because they attacked SlutWalk for using the word "slut." They probably hate PussyRiot too, for using the word "pussy."

And if they think that using tumblr to smear me further makes a difference - sorry it doesn't. Rebecca Scott the Mad Gastronomer's lying slur against me already comes up at the top of the Google hits - so use tumblr to try to hurt me all you want  - it's not going to make a damn bit of difference.

Go hate on someone else for awhile - maybe find someone who really is a racist - there are plenty out there. You're an idiot to waste your time harassing me if you actually sincerely CARED about racism.

Here are some groups you can help out - go make a real difference instead of jerking off online:

Southern Poverty Law Center


The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights

Or you can make a big difference right now - since the Republican party is trying to prevent non-white people from voting - why don't you sign up to help get out the vote instead of obsessing over a two-month old blog post?

Fla. Republican: We wanted to suppress black votes
In the debate over new laws meant to curb voter fraud in places like Florida, Democrats always charge that Republicans are trying to suppress the vote of liberal voting blocs like blacks and young people, while Republicans just laugh at such ludicrous and offensive accusations. That is, every Republican except for Florida’s former Republican Party chairman Jim Greer, who, scorned by his party and in deep legal trouble, blew the lid off what he claims was a systemic effort to suppress the black vote. In a 630-page deposition recorded over two days in late May, Greer, who is on trial for corruption charges, unloaded a litany of charges against the “whack-a-do, right-wing crazies” in his party, including the effort to suppress the black vote.

more monologues

This is the first of three "summer monologues" for the NYCPlaywrights Play of the Month project.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Lou Reed wanted to play football for the coach

Coney Island Baby, baby.
You know, man, when I was a young man in high school
You believe it or not,  I wanted to play football for the coach
All those older guys, they said he was mean and cruel But you know, I
wanted to play football, for the coach They said I was to little too
light weight to play line-back So I say I'm playing right end. Wanted to
play football for the coach Cause, you know some day, man, you gotta
stand up straight Unless you're gonna fall Then you're gonna die And
the straightest dude I ever knew Was standing right for me, all the
time So I had to play football for the coach And I wanted to play
football for the coach
When you're all alone and lonely in your
midnight hour And you find that your soul, it has been up for sale
And you getting to think about, all the things that you done
And you getting to hate just about everything
But remember the princess who lived on the hill
Who loved you even though she knew you was wrong
And right now she just might come shining through
and the glory of love, glory of love
Glory of love, just might come through
And all your two-bit friends have gone and ripped you off
They're talking behind your back saying, man
you are never going to be no human being
And you start thinking again
About all those things that you've done
And who it was and what it was
And all the different things you made every different scene
Ah, but remember that the city is a funny place
Something like a circus or a sewer
And just remember, different people have peculiar tastes
And the Glory of love, the glory of love
The glory of love, might see you through
Yeah, but now, now
Glory of love, the glory of love
The glory of love, might see you through
Glory of love, ah, huh, huh, the glory of love
Glory of love, glory of love
Glory of love, now, glory of love, now
Glory of love, now, now, now, glory of love
Glory of love, give it to me now, glory of love see you through
Oh, my Coney Island baby, now
(I'm a Coney Island baby, now)
I'd like to send this one out for Lou and Rachel
And the Lord appeared and he has one made of two
Coney Island baby
Man, I swear, I'd give the whole thing up for you
 One of the many great things about this song is that Lou Reed sounds like a regular guy here, singing about wanting to play football in high school and making the scene (well it was the early 70s) and the glory of love. And then he caps it off by dedicating the song to himself and Rachel, his transsexual girlfriend at the time - about whom it is impossible to find much about.

It's taken even New York City fifty years to catch up with Lou Reed.

I hadn't known that Reed was given shock therapy as a teenager because his family was afraid he was gay. He ended up bisexual, but I don't know if his family took credit for that.

He's currently married to Laurie Anderson, who is hardly middle America's idea of a traditional woman. Really, they are kind of perfect for each other.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Evil subway art card

Normally I would pay scant attention to this "art card" as it's called, part of the MTA subway arts program. Under reasonable circumstances I'd glance at it, note its cutesy/quirky style and piss-poor draftsmanship and move on with my life.

But invariably I find myself, during my daily commute in a jam-packed rush-hour train with my arms pinned too tightly to even reach for my book or newspaper, staring at this god-forsaken monstrosity.

At first it seems innocuous enough. Only those who are forced to look at it for 30 minutes every day can comprehend the Tiny Alice horror of it all.

It begins when you notice the freakishly elongated forearm of the tourist dad in the red baseball cap on the left. But OK, careless anatomy is standard for cartoons. But then there's the two men in the plaid suits who appear to be melded together. The way it's drawn, they are both occupying the same space for 20% of each of their bodies. It is utterly hideous, but even more so, you start to get a sinking feeling about it... there seems to be a deliberate attempt to draw attention to the space-sharing issue by lining up the horizontal plaid stripes...

Your eye draws downward to the bouncing ball trail. It has no beginning and there are balls on both ends. As you ponder why someone would break the traditional rules of cartoon motion trails to no purpose it suddenly hits you - oh dear eight pound six ounce newborn baby Jesus, the artist thinks this is fucking clever!

Don't believe me? The art card includes an image of the art card within the art card. That's the oldest "clever" artist trick in the book. I didn't attend the University of the Arts and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts to miss that black hole of originality.

The cleverness does not end there. For behold the man with what I can only assume is a prairie dog in his jacket and the man with the bucket of fish. Look, there's a fish tail sticking out of the sleeping beehive's pocketbook. How quirky! And the man with the handlebar mustache is reading a book with a whale on it - that's so witty!

And look, the woman with the plants also has a bag of fish and there's a dead goldfish on the floor underneath the insane man in a bear costume - because if he was an actual professional performer Actors' Equity would have ensured that he had a dressing room he could use to change out of that thing.

And look, there's a box under one of the subway seats, all wrapped up with a bow.

If you see something, say something!!!

Yes, keep your eye on that unattended suspicious-looking package because then you won't notice that the boy on the right has a dog's tail sticking out of his backside. Is that a vestigial tail, like a birth defect his mother was too poor to have removed? And so she is forced to cut a hole in every pair of the kid's pants so it can stick out? Or is that just a fun fake tail attached to the kid's pants? Oh the kooky possibilities are endless.

But even that is not the crowning achievement of this wonder of the subterranean world.

I have been forced to look at this thing forever, and even I did not notice the true master stroke, the final straw, until today. And I will suffer in silence no more.

Even now I can't believe my own eyes:

It's the grouping on the far left. If I had not been staring at the rest of this thing for the past two lifetimes I would naturally assume the grotesquerie was pure but honest incompetence.

But since I already knew about the plaid-clad space-sharing arrangement I was forced to conclude that what I was staring at, aghast, was an artistic fuck-you, a big flip-off to every Renaissance artist who ever cared about perspective or had striven for, you know, beauty. It's as if they never lived

I don't know which part is supposed to be the most adorably quirky - the fact that there are five faces, but only three pairs of legs and one random left-over leg? Or the girl who appears to have a head attached to the top of her rib cage. But the winner of quirk must surely be the face, the second face from the left, which has no earthly reason for existing except as the conjoined chest-twin of the skateboarder.

The little boy in the tourist grouping to the right looks on in forlorn empathy, as he appears to have only a stub flipper for a left arm.

And I have to look at this every day. Where's subway graffiti when you really need it?

Now I guarantee you, if the perp, identified as Sophie Blackall, or one of her supporters, ever finds this blog post they will claim that my strong adverse reaction to this art card is proof positive of its greatness.

No, Sophie Blackall and/or her supporters. Not everything that gets a strong reaction is therefore great art. I had an equally strong reaction when I entered the mysteriously empty subway car this morning only to smack into a wall of stench that I assume was emanating from a homeless person - I didn't wait long enough to find out, really, I just executed an immediate 180 degree spin and ran for the next car.

I hope that guy gets into your car the next time you're in the subway, Sophie Blackall. It would serve you right.

UPDATE: more of my thoughts on the art of Sophie Blackall

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

New Yorker Parity Report - July 2, 2012

As I was saying yesterday, the New Yorker was only 2 - 3 writer gender-flips from parity in last week's issue. As if the New Yorker suddenly woke up and realized it was on the very edge of gender parity, it veered off in the exact opposite direction - two more male writers and two fewer female writers this week, to "achieve" a parity reduction of 5%. That was a close call, New Yorker!

The New Yorker Parity Report

A regular report on the gender parity - or lack thereof - of the current issue of The New Yorker based on table of contents by-lines
Includes fiction, non-fiction, poems. Does not include illustrations.

A score of 50% means that half of all writers in the issue are female.
A score of greater than 50% would mean more female than male writers. This never happens.

Parity change from previous week: -5%

July 2, 2012

Total writers: 21
male: 15
female: 6
gender parity score: 33%

Last week
Total writers: 21
male: 13
female: 8
gender parity score: 38%

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

New Yorker Parity Report - June 25, 2012

I completely forgot to do the New Yorker Parity Report last week. I'll have to do last week's now and this week's tomorrow. And the parity rate was in the almost-party range again - two or three female writers more and two or three male writers fewer and we'd be there. But that's really too much to hope for in my lifetime.

The New Yorker Parity Report

A regular report on the gender parity - or lack thereof - of the current issue of The New Yorker based on table of contents by-lines
Includes fiction, non-fiction, poems. Does not include illustrations.

A score of 50% means that half of all writers in the issue are female.
A score of greater than 50% would mean more female than male writers. This never happens.

Parity change from previous week: +7%

June 25, 2012

Total writers: 21
male: 13
female: 8
gender parity score: 38%

Last week
Total writers: 19
male: 13
female: 6
gender parity score: 31%

Monday, June 25, 2012

Actors Against Acting Athletes with Gary Oldman

I think the first time I took note of Gary Oldman was when I saw him in the film Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead because, it must be said, I thought he was cute.

But the first time I noticed Gary Oldman as an actor was in the movie JFK. There's just something about the way he played Oswald that I thought was completely riveting.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

more Iceland

I guess with the weather being so hot these days I naturally think more of Iceland. I really must go there some day. I confess I love that the country is named after a state of one of the basic elements. It's like having a Vaporland or a Waterland.

Here is the Pippi Longstocking of Iceland again. This time she's at an Icelandic party - god those people are animals!

And here's an ancient silent movie about Iceland of all places. It's fascinating just because of the concept that there were people in Iceland in the 1920s. Albeit as the movie points out, only 21,000 of them.

But Dear Odin I am so morbid. Every time I see an old movie I always think "wow, most of those people are dead and even the little children are old people now."

And I mean every time. God that's tiresome.

At the end of the movie is Icelandic wrestling. I'll think you'll agree that it's no surprise it never caught on.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

song for Viviana Tulli

NJ Governor Chris Christie loves Bruce Springsteen - who, understandably, doesn't return his affection.

Springsteen should write a song about the murder of Viviana Tulli and dedicate it to Christie.

I didn't pick up on the NYTimes investigative article about the "Halfway Hell Houses" until Krugman pointed it out. One more reason I am glad to be done with New Jersey.

Friday, June 22, 2012

BITCHES IS CRAZY OR Why I despise and loathe the Pulitzer Prize-winning play TALLEY'S FOLLY

In which I explain why I have a problem with a play that presents a stalker who forces a woman to remain in a boathouse until she submits as a hero.

I've blogged a few times about how much I despise Lanford Wilson's TALLEY'S FOLLY, and I decided to finally bring all the pieces together into one cohesive essay, which I will post here soon.

I just find it astounding that critics are still calling this misogynist swill "romantic" - it's hard to believe it was considered romantic in 1979, much less 2012. Even this review, which is the very first time outside of my own blog that anybody has even questioned the ethics of presenting a stalker as a romantic hero calls the play "achingly beautiful." I'll give him the aching part.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

What time is it?

Well that depends on where you are.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

oh right, it's the first day of Summer

Only three more months until Autumn!

Fun facts about FOREX

I've recently begun writing technical documentation for foreign currency exchange market trading software (aka FOREX) and it's much more interesting than I would have predicted.

Of course it helps that the Mighty Krugman happened to write an article of foreign currency exchange rates for the Library of Economics and Liberty.  Although the name of the web site sounds suspiciously libertarian, but so far I haven't found any direct libertarian links.

Right off the bat, Krugman provided me with interesting historical information about foreign currency exchange - I'm amazed at how recently currencies have been exchanged in the open market - 1973.

Exchange rates between currencies have been highly unstable since the collapse of the Bretton Woods system of fixed exchange rates, which lasted from 1946 to 1973. Under the Bretton Woods system, exchange rates (e.g., the number of dollars it takes to buy a British pound or German mark) were fixed at levels determined by governments. Under the "floating" exchange rates we have had since 1973, exchange rates are determined by people buying and selling currencies in the foreign-exchange markets.
Another fun fact - currency exchange traders sometimes refer to the UK/US currency exchange as "cable." Why? Because...

(a) Transatlantic Cable, a steel cable laid under the Atlantic Ocean in 1858, telegraphically linking the UK with the USA, enabling messages with currency prices to be transmitted between the London and New York Exchanges. The first such exchange rate to be published in The Times appeared in their issue of 10 August 1866.

Those traders sure love their old tyme slang.

Speaking of Krugman - he made another appearance with Rachel Maddow - yay!

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

What a coincidence - we have a gay homosexual actor

The Pippi Longstocking of Iceland returns. She surely does love that sweater.

Monday, June 18, 2012

the heroine with the hair of evil

I was pretty amazed when I saw Pixar's latest lead character in its new movie Brave. Not only is she a girl - the first time they've ever done that in a Pixar movie - but she has the hair of evil.

I never thought I'd see that. And they don't have her braid it or anything, she just lets her freak flag fly. Wow.

And this character sketch - boy does that bring back memories. How many times did my mother or some female relative have to torment me in order to tame my hair? I still remember hiding under my grandmother's dining room table to avoid the torture. My grandmother liked to get all the tangles out of my hair and as if that wasn't enough, would proceed to install these rollers - nice and tight - all over my head so I would have big fat curls the next morning. I gather she considered Margaret from Dennis the Menace -  also a redhead -  the pinnacle of girl style.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Pippi Longstocking of Iceland

Now I'm on an Iceland tear - because of Krugman pointing to Iceland as a global financial meltdown success story and also because Iceland consistently rates as one of the best places in the world to live for women.

And then I discovered this bizarre person, who appears to have a series of wacky video vignettes about Iceland. I like to call her the Pippi Longstocking of Iceland:

I already know an Icelandic expression - "Bless bless" which means good-bye. Sounds like they picked up some English up there.

This series is called "Surviving Iceland" and gives the address for the web site, but other than using the URL I'm not sure how these Pippi videos are connected to the web site - the videos aren't mentioned, as far as I can tell, on the web site.

The population of Iceland is only 320,000 (compared to say, 2.5 million people in Brooklyn NY) as Pippi alludes to in this video. Maybe that's why it's possible to have a listing of what appears to be every single bar in Iceland on one web page.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Two degrees of Venus & Mad Kane

I just read the New Yorker review of the off-Broadway version of VENUS IN FUR by Hilton Als and there's this weird coincidence:
Watching Arianda, one thinks of a number of legendary actresses, from Diana Sands as Doris the prostitute in Bill Manhoff’s 1964 play “The Owl and the Pussycat” to Jennifer Mudge as Lula, the brilliant hysteric, in the 2007 revival of Amiri Baraka’s “Dutchman.” Each threw herself into an emotionally sordid role in order to tell us something about our profound, collective self-interest, and about how the will to survive is essentially genderless, until society forces us to define ourselves by our sexuality.
It's a weird coincidence because as I was watching the play I thought that Arianda playing Vanda was reminiscent of Barbra Streisand playing Doris in the movie version of "The Owl and the Pussycat." I didn't see the original theatre version of course, that was back in 1964 (how the hell old is Hilton Als anyway?)

My play JULIA AND BUDDY, also a two-person, 90-minute play was originally inspired by THE OWL AND THE PUSSYCAT and back in October I was musing about other similarities between J&B and VENUS IN FUR.

I got into a discussion today with Madeleine Begun Kane on Facebook about VENUS - she saw it too, and was praising the show and I said that while I liked the performances too, I have some issues with the dramatic structure.

And eventually the discussion led to my Famous David Ives S&M Anecdote:
I asked Ives to sit in on a meeting of my group NYCPlaywrights back in 2007. I gave him a ride home after (with a bunch of actors in the back seat) and as we were driving (not far, he's on the UWS) I was telling him about how I accidentally bought too many bullwhips for my production of HUCK FINN (the bullwhip was for the slave trader) - I accidentally bough a dozen. I gave extras to the cast of HUCK FINN but I still have some leftover in the trunk of my Prius.

So as Ives is getting out of the car, I said "would you like one?"

Ives says: "no thanks, I already have one."

And we all had a good laugh at how witty and droll David Ives is.

And then a couple of years later I hear about VENUS IN FUR... hmm....
Then Madeleine wrote a limerick about it - in like ten minutes. Because she's a pro - she gave me permission to post it here:
There once was a playwright named Ives
Who wrote about S & M lives
In Venus and Fur.
So did real life spur
It? From facts fiction often derives.

How cool is that?

"Mad Kane" is an award-winning humorist - her winning column for the Robert Benchley award (yes that Benchley, from the New Yorker and the Algonquin Round Table) reminds me of Mark Twain - especially the crack about Wagner.

And who picked her column? Bob Newhart. Yes, that Bob Newhart.

We discussed playwriting too - I suspect that she could write some seriously good plays, at the very least in the tight 10-minute play format. Yes, I do like to try to recruit smart women into the playwriting field.


I finally saw VENUS IN FUR on Friday night and I pretty much have the same opinion of the play as I did when I read it - there isn't actually much conflict, other than a little slap and tickle. Really it's just a guy's sexual fantasy - and I mean that literally - at one point near the end the Vonda character says "was I here"? I really don't like plays about imaginary people - what's the point? It's already imaginary because it's a play.

And I got pretty bored a few times - Vonda's wacky-gal exclamations are funny for the first fifteen minutes or so, but it gets pretty old after that. 

But Vonda is a twist on the manic pixie dreamgirl trope - she's the manic pixie dominatrix.

Nina Arianda did a good job - she just won a Tony for best lead actress in the role, but I was mainly watching Hugh Dancy - it was great to see him again, since I really don't want to see Hysteria for a third time... or do I?

Friday, June 15, 2012

End this depression now!

I finally got Krugman's latest from the library and I'm looking forward to getting a chance to read it.

Meanwhile, I am enjoying Krugman's Friday column in which he derides the obnoxious, arrogant creep R. Glenn Hubbard (scroll down to see more of what I think of Hubbard) as a traitor - another richly deserved epithet for Hubbard:
Actually, it’s kind of ironic. While Republicans love to engage in Europe-bashing, they’re actually the ones who want us to emulate European-style austerity and experience a European-style depression. 

And that’s not just an inference. Last week R. Glenn Hubbard of Columbia University, a top Romney adviser, published an article in a German newspaper urging the Germans to ignore advice from Mr. Obama and continue pushing their hard-line policies. In so doing, Mr. Hubbard was deliberately undercutting a sitting president’s foreign policy. More important, however, he was throwing his support behind a policy that is collapsing as you read this.

In fact, almost everyone following the situation now realizes that Germany’s austerity obsession has brought Europe to the edge of catastrophe — almost everyone, that is, except the Germans themselves and, it turns out, the Romney economic team.
Needless to say, this bodes ill if Mr. Romney wins in November. For all indications are that the his idea of smart policy is to double down on the very spending cuts that have hobbled recovery here and sent Europe into an economic and political tailspin. 

I find myself looking at Iceland pretty often these days and if Romney wins... I wonder what kind of theatre scene they there? It's already one of the best places in the world for women.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Holy barbarians!

The memoir of the beat scene The Holy Barbarians is available for free at

The author, Lawrence Lipton, writes in a distinctive voice, a combination of un-self-aware affected ponciness and a heaping helping of beatnik lingo. Which makes sense when you realize that Lipton is the father of James Lipton. Small world.

I haven't read the whole thing, but there is this priceless section:
A PROPHET CAME TO TOWN.  RUMOR HAD PRECEDED HIM. HE WENT ABOUT in an aura of wine and marijuana with a retinue of disciples at his heels, all of them drunk or stoned out of their minds with poetry and pot. He spoke in esoteric riddles and obscene metaphors. Lord Byron had introduced the open collar, Walt Whitman the open road, this new prophet the open fly. Dylan Thomas had come amid Philistine rumors of "she-bears, witches on the mountain, exploding pit-heads, menstruat ing babies, hounds with red ears, Welsh revivalists throwing dynamite and semen in all directions," according to Kenneth Rexroth.21 This new poet-prophet had the Philistines spreading breathless tales of bearded hermaphrodites speaking in secret tongues, jazz Saturnalias, manholes erupting piss, pus and corruption, and bebop poets careening madly down the San Francisco streets naked on roller skates.
People I knew in the Bay city reported huge throngs of youngsters crowding into poetry readings, carrying on like Elvis Presley fans at a Rock and Roll binge, shouting, stamping, whistling, doing snake dances in the aisles. A mailed announcement from San Francisco advertising one of these readings went like this:
Either you go home bugged or completely enlightened. Allen Ginsberg blowing hot; Gary Snyder blowing cool; PhilipWhalen puffing the laconic tuba; Mike McClure his hip hight notes; Rexroth on the big bass drum.
Small collection for wines and postcards.
Abandon    Noise    Strange pictures on walls
Oriental music    Lurid poetry
Extremely serious TOWN HALL THEATRE
One and only final appearance of this Apocalypse Admission free
A visiting poet from the East Coast, Richard Eberhart, had written an account of these goings-on for the New York Times Book Review.
"Poetry here has become a tangible social force, moving and unifying its audience, releasing the energies of the audience through spoken, even shouted verse, in a way at present unique to this region."
He attributed this activity in part to the establishment three years before of the Poetry Center at San Francisco State College, but from what I could gather from other sources and from a visit to San Francisco, the Poetry Center there was not much different from the dry, droning poetry readings at New York's Poetry Center at the Y.M.H.A. or any similar place. The only time the San Francisco State College Poetry Center was really swinging was when the poets of the new Apocalypse took the stage and their disciples whooped it up. Then it was a real ball.
I was not unprepared for Allen Ginsberg's visit to Los Angeles, since he had written me from San Francisco, but when he got to town Nettie and I were so exhausted from all the poetry-reading parties we had been throwing for visiting poets that I was relieved when the editors of Coastlines, the L.A. quarterly, offered to sponsor the reading. I knew they had no use for the sort of thing Ginsberg was writing or what we were doing in Venice West (in fact, much of their magazine is devoted to attacking it), but now that it looked like it might be attracting wide public attention they wanted to get into the act. The reading was to be held in a big old-fashioned house that was occupied by two or three of the Coastline editors, living in a kind of Left Wing bohemian collective household, furnished    what there was of furniture, which wasn't much in atrociously bad taste, nothing like the imaginative and original decor of the beat generation pad, even the most poverty-stricken.
I consented at their request to conduct the reading, "chair the meeting" as these people are in the habit of saying. To them everything is a meeting. In this case they got more than they bargained for. Allen showed up high mostly on wine, to judge by the olfactory evidence and, after an introduction by me, in which I tried to spell out something of the background of this "renaissance," he launched into a vigorous rendition of Howl. Launched is the word for it. It was stormy, wild and liquid. In his excitement he tipped over an open bottle of wine he had brought with him, spilling it over himself, over me and over his friend Gregory Corso who was with him and was also scheduled to read.
Allen and Gregory had refused to start till Anais Nin arrived, and now that she was seated in the audience Allen addressed himself exclusively to her. He had never met Anais before and knew her only from Henry Miller's books. She had written the preface to Miller's The Tropic of Cancer in the Paris edition of the book. He was sure that Anais was one person who would be able to dig what he was putting down. For him there was no one else in the audience but "beautiful Anais Nin." That she had long ago come to the parting of the ways with Henry Miller and was making her own scene now, a very different scene from the one they had once made together on the Left Bank of Paris, made no difference to Allen. She was still, to him, the Anais Nin of the Henry Miller saga, a fabulous figure out of a still brightly shim mering past. Artistically, he felt, she was his nearest of kin, and Anais very graciously acted out the role he had cast her in that night.
The audience, except for Anais and the people we had brought with us from Venice West, was a square audience, the sort of an audience you would find at any liberal or "progressive" how that word lingers on even though the song is over fund-raising affair of the faithful who are still waiting for the Second Coming. Few of them had come knowing what to expect. They never read anything but the party and cryptoparty press. The avant-garde quarterlies are so much Greek to them. Most of them don't even know such magazines exist any more. They associate that sort of thing with the little magazines of the twenties which were swallowed up with the advent of the Movement, the real Movement (capital M), in the thirties and transformed into weapons in the class struggle. The few who had heard rumors of what was going on in San Francisco and Venice West were there as slummers might go to a Negro whorehouse in New Orleans, to be with, briefly, but not of. But even they were not prepared for Howl, or for the drunken, ecstatic, tortured, enraptured reading Allen was giving it that night. A very moving performance, for all his tangle-tongue bob bles and rambling digressions. He was reading from the book, which had just came out, but he changed words, improvised freely, and supplied verbally the obscenities that the printer had in a few cases deleted.
As it happened, Allen and Gregory were not the only ones in the place who had been drinking. There was one other in the audience. He was someone who had drifted in, having somewhere picked up one of the pluggers advertising the reading. At first he applauded Allen's reading at all the wrong places and too loudly. Then he took to cheering, the kind of cheers that are more like the jeers they are in tended to be. I watched him and it struck me that he looked and sounded like a brother Elk on the loose, or am American Legion patriot on a convention binge. When Allen got to the poem America, the drunken square was visibly aroused. He began to heckle. Allen ignored him and, at one point, interrupted the reading to ask the heckler, very gently, to hear him out and he would be glad to talk to him about it later and listen to any comments or criticism he cared to make. That, and disapproving scowls from some members of the audience who, being squares themselves and sober dislike anyone "making a scene," stopped him for a few minutes.
Gregory Corso now got up to read or, rather, sat down to read Gregory, unlike Allen, is the gentle, relaxed persuader rather than the shouter. At least he was that night. When the drunk started heckling him, too, he turned the face of an injured angel to him. When that failed he reversed himself and tried shock therapy.
"Listen, creep, I'm trying to get through to you with words, with magic, see? I'm trying to make you see, and understand - "
The square had an answer for that. "Then why don't you write so a person can understand you, instead of all that highfalutin crap?"
"You will understand," Gregory replied patiently, "if you open your self up to the images. Try to get with it, man."
"You think you're smart, don't you?" Gregory ignored the remark and went on with his reading. Nothing could have angered the drunk more. It brought out the righteous citizen in him.
"Think you know it all, don't you? I know your kind. It's punks like you that are to blame for all this - all this - " he sputtered, unable to make up his mind which of the crimes punks like this were to blame for were equal to the enormity of the occasion. He tried again, gave up, turned a beet red and, to cover his chagrin, launched into a tirade
of uninspired, stereotyped, barroom profanity, ending with, inevitably, an invitation to "step outside and settle this thing like a man!"
Gregory grinned. "Yeh, I know, you want to fight. Okay, let's fight. Right here. Not with fists, you cornball. That's baby stuff. Let's fight with a man's weapon with words. Images, metaphors, magic. Open your mouth, man, and spit out a locomotive, a red locomotive, belching obscene smoke and black magic. Then I'll say: Anafogasta. Rattle- boom. Gnu's milk. And you'll say: Fourth of July, Hydrogen bomb! Gasoline! See? Real obscenities..." The drunk was indignant. He was outraged. When he heard snick ering in the audience he started toward the front of the room, menacingly, repeating his challenge to step outside and settle this thing.
"You're yella, that's what. Like all you wise guys. You're yella."
Ginsberg got up and went forward to meet the drunk. "All right," he said, "all right You want to do something big, don't you? Something brave. Well, go on, do something really brave. Take off your clothes!"
That stopped the drunk dead in his tracks.
Ginsberg moved a step toward him. "Go on, let everybody see how brave you are. Take your clothes off!"
The drunk was stunned speechless. He fell back a step and Allen moved toward him, tearing off his own shirt and undershirt and fling ing them at the heckler's feet. "You're scared, aren't you?" he taunted him. "You're afraid." He unbuckled his belt, unzipped his fly and started kicking off his trousers. "Look," he cried. "I'm not afraid. Go on, take your clothes off. Let's see how brave you are," he challenged him. He flung his pants down at the champ's feet and then his shorts, shoes and socks, with a curious little hopping dance as he did so. He was stark naked now. The drunk had retired to the back of the room. Nobody laughed. Nobody said a word. The audience just sat there, mute, staring, fascinated, petrified, till Allen danced back to his seat, looking I couldn't help thinking at the moment with inward amusement like Marcel Marceau, the great French mime, doing his hopping little David and Goliath dance. Then the room was suddenly filled with an explosion of nervous applause, cheers, jeers, noisy argument Our hosts, the editors of Coastlines, had been having a huddle on the side lines. Now one of them, Mel Weisburd, dashed up front and stood over Allen menacingly.
"All right," he shouted, "put your clothes on and get out! You're not up in San Francisco now. This is a private house... you're in someone else's living room... You've violated our hospitality...  If this is what you call..."
He looked over at me as if to say, "You're chairman here, do something.
I rapped for order like a proper chairman and announced the next order of business. Gregory Corso would read another group of poems and then we would hear from Allen Ginsberg once more with his poems Sunflower Sutra and A Supermarket in California. Corso was all for leaving at once. "We'll go somewhere where we can get good and drunk and take Anais Nin with us." But Allen shook his head and quietly put his clothes on, one piece at a time, in slow motion, smiling to himself with half-closed eyes. A sly, mysterious, inner- directed Buddha smile.
The reading went on amid general approval and with closer, more respectful attention than before. The incident had sobered up the drunk. When the reading was over he approached Allen and said, loud enough for everybody to hear, that he was sorry he had made such an ass of himself and where could he buy a copy of Howl?
Through it all Anais Nin, faithful to the role in which the poets had cast her, sat imperiously still, only slightly disdainful of the hubbub, like a queen on a throne.
Stuart Perkoff, who was present, later made the incident the theme of a poem...
 This should certainly be made into a play... and since James Franco has already played Ginsburg, he can certainly play Ginsburg getting naked. Oh yes, that would work for me.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

New Yorker Parity Report - June 18, 2012

Back down to 31% - because that's how the New Yorker likes it.

The New Yorker Parity Report

A regular report on the gender parity - or lack thereof - of the current issue of The New Yorker based on table of contents by-lines
Includes fiction, non-fiction, poems. Does not include illustrations.

A score of 50% means that half of all writers in the issue are female.
A score of greater than 50% would mean more female than male writers. This never happens.

Parity change from previous week: -3%

June 18, 2012

Total writers: 19
male: 13
female: 6
gender parity score: 31%

Total writers: 23
male: 15
female: 8
gender parity score: 34%

Monday, June 11, 2012

Glenn Hubbard - still a gigantic asshole

If you saw the important movie "Inside Job" you may have been struck by what a full-on, flat-out, no-holds-barred undeniable asshole Glenn Hubbard was.

Let's review the tape:

Of course he's not only an asshole but like all true right-wingers, a shameless asshole:

Gramm and Hubbard: What a Romney Recovery Might Look Like

Krugman's reponse:
A number of people have asked me to respond to this Hubbard-Gramm piece on the Reagan recovery versus the Obama recovery, and why it proves that right-wing economics roolz. But I already did respond. When? In February 2008 — back when people like Hubbard and Gramm were denying that there was any recession at all. In fact, as late as July 2008 Gramm declared that all we had was a “mental recession”, and that America had become a “nation of whiners”. So, more than four years ago I predicted a very slow recovery. Why? Because recessions like those of 1990-91, 2001, and 2007-2009 have very different origins from recessions like 1974-75 or the double-dip recession of 1979-82. The old recessions were more or less deliberately created by the Fed via tight money to control inflation, which meant that you had a V-shaped recovery once the Fed decided that we had suffered enough and loosened the reins. The new recessions all reflected private-sector overreach, which is much harder to make up for.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

welcome to Funky Sunday

Clean Up Woman

So take this tip - you better get hip.

Low Rider

I'll Take You There


Oh, hell, I'll just put together a Funk classics playlist on Youtube.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Car Talk goes into retirement

Well I've been afraid this was coming - it seems that Car Talk is ending because the Magliozzi brothers are retiring.

I learned about the retirement via Katherine Lanpher on Facebook, who posted this:
Katherine Lanpher
Apparently I am the only person for whom life is unchanged because Click and Clack are retiring. Wait! Put down those stones!
You would think that people would either be sad, or not care either way, if they got nothing out of Car Talk. But Lanpher and some of her douchier friends had to make sure to declare how they won't miss Car Talk.

Every ten years or so, some group of hipsters declares that the Beatles sucked, or at least they sucked ever since Revolver. This is how hipsters demonstrate how edgy they are.

Car Talk, like the Beatles, is almost universally beloved, and at worst the Beatles and CarTalk are innocuous. If you don't care for them, well, don't listen.

At best the Beatles records and Car Talk episodes are mood-raising experiences.

Car Talk is nothing more or less than two guys who don't take themselves seriously, dispensing practical advice with abiding good humor.

I guess Lanpher & friends are the hipsters of the NPR world, trying to show how cool and discerning they are by trashing Car Talk.

Well I guess I could never run with the alpha NPR clique, but then I'm the kind of person who listened to almost every episode of Al Franken's radio show. Lanpher was his co-host for most of the run.

I never thought Katherine Lanpher was in danger of being hip - but I really never guessed she'd turn out to be a big ole douchebag.

Friday, June 08, 2012

the funniest thing I've ever seen in an elevator

Now I can't ride in my elevator without laughing.

The management company of my building posted this notice in the elevator yesterday afternoon. By yesterday evening someone had written the response at the bottom. Then this morning someone else wrote "LOL" underneath that. I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks it's hysterically funny.

You'll probably have to click on it to enlarge the image size to read the comment.

If you still can't read it click here.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Whaler Bar breakthrough

I believe I have discovered the artist of the Whaler Bar mural - it's most likely Bruce Church, who appears to be living still and has a web site. The picture above is from his web site and that clinched it for me - the clouds and something about the boats is very reminiscent of the Whaler Bar mural. For example:

My first clue was his signature. I originally guess the first name was Bruce, and when I looked at it again recently, I guessed the last name was Church. So I typed "Bruce Church" and "muralist" into Google and voila!

I emailed him via his online contact form, so hopefully he will confirm his identity soon. I will certainly want to interview him for my Willie the Whaler article.

UPDATE: I just got an email from Bruce Church confirming that he painted the Whaler Bar mural. Progress!

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Learn to Swim with Ben Franklin

I blogged a few months ago about Benjamin Franklin's prank on his brother, the letters he contributed to his brother's New-England Courant, while acting as his apprentice, under the name Silence Dogood. I mentioned at the time that it was all I could do NOT to write a play about the incident.

Well, I have been asked to contribute a play for a 4th of July show and so now I feel I must write the play. I'm 2/3 done with the first draft.

I've been doing more research on Franklin, including reading his autobiography, focusing on his early days. I have to say, there are some fascinating bits, like this passage from his early 20s - he had been sent to England by the governor of Pennsylvania in order to get supplies to set up a printing business. But the governor turned out to be insolvent and allowed Franklin to set off for England without the  money or letters of recommendation he had promised.

However, Franklin managed to get by and even thrive as a printer in England for awhile. And then...
I now took leave of printing, as I thought, forever, and was daily employed in my new business, going about with Mr. Denham among the tradesmen to purchase various articles, and seeing them pack’d up, doing errands, calling upon workmen to dispatch, etc.; and, when all was on board, I had a few days' leisure. On one of these days, I was, to my surprise, sent for by a great man I knew only by name, a Sir William Wyndham, and I waited upon him. He had heard by some means or other of my swimming from Chelsea to Blackfriars, and of my teaching Wygate and another young man to swim in a few hours. He had two sons, about to set out on their travels; he wish’d to have them first taught swimming, and proposed to gratify me handsomely if I would teach them. They were not yet come to town, and my stay was uncertain, so I could not undertake it; but, from this incident, I thought it likely that, if I were to remain in England and open a swimming-school, I might get a good deal of money; and it struck me so strongly, that, had the overture been sooner made me, probably I should not so soon have returned to America.
That's right, Benjamin Franklin briefly considered a career providing swimming instructions to the English nobility. Bet you didn't see that coming.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Seven sisters

My mother posted this to her Facebook page today in honor of her sister Carmelita, the tall thin lady on the right-hand side of the photo above. Sister Aunt Carmie, to me and my siblings, died this past Saturday. I'm not exactly sure of what she died, but she had been in decline for the past five years due to Alzheimers' and was in her 80s.

My aunt Carmelita, instead of the life of tempestuous passion her name seems to promise, became a nun as soon as she hit eighteen, and remained one the rest of her life. Her nom de nun was Sister Marie Martin - after the first names of each of her parents.

That's their father Martin, smoking a cigarette. Like my father, he died of lung cancer, although he died much younger than my father - only about ten years after this photo was taken.

The photo is from the mid-1940s, during my grandfather's prosperous years when he was hobnobbing with Jimmie Hoffa (true story) and making great money as a leader of a Philadelphia Teamsters local.

Martin Maguire and family used to spend summers in Beach Haven, New Jersey, which is where this photo was taken. They're all dressed up here, probably on the way to church. My grandmother loved to go to church, and for Catholics, it's a big sin to miss Sunday Mass. Of course parishioners also hand over their weekly "offering" to support the Church at Sunday Mass. I'm sure it's just a coincidence that you avoid Mass and its attendant fleecing at the risk of being tormented for all eternity.

Only three people in this photo are still alive. The baby in my grandfather's arms, Muriel, died a year ago of cancer; the girl on the left, my Aunt Ginnie, died in the mid-1980s of cancer. Her face wasn't   deformed - the original photo had a jagged white tear right through her face and I did what I could with Photoshop; Aunt Joan, second from the right, also died of cancer in the mid-1980s, a couple of years after Aunt Ginnie.

That leaves my Aunt Margaret, the oldest, who is a couple of years older than Aunt Carmie - she's the second from the left, barely visible behind the baby; and the two little girls in the front, my aunt Marianna is on the left and my mother Claire is on the right, squinting slightly without her glasses, which she began wearing at the age of four.

I feel bad that I don't feel worse about my aunt Carmie's death. In my defense, I never knew her well, although I spent a week at her convent in Delaware, along with my cousins Margaret and Tina, who are close to my age. My aunt was trying to convince at least one of us to become a bride of Christ, but we all went onto heterosexual sex and reproduction, and in my case raging atheism to boot.  And during the time we were there, I didn't get the feeling that Sister Aunt Carmie was exactly interested in us as people, but rather as Christ-bride fodder. She wasn't unpleasant though, not at all. I previously blogged about how excited I was to get access to her nice stereo system and Broadway show albums, where I discovered Jews via Fiddler on the Roof.

And to say that our personalities were incompatible is an understatement - not only was Aunt Carmie all about lifelong celibacy and religious devotion, she was a prissy neat freak. I always thought this was completely incompatible with her usual job, which was teaching art. The only artwork I recall seeing by her was some quasi-expressionist monstrosity in muddy colors, which my father disparaged as "modern art." As I've mentioned on this blog before, my parents were proud, practicing Philistines. But my aunt the nun, in common with her mother and with my mother, was extremely uptight about sex and nudity, and that can't possibly be conducive to developing an expressive, artistic personality.

I once pointed out to my mother that the Sistine Chapel is covered in naked bodies, but she didn't want to hear it. Then again, she has never had a high opinion of Italian Catholics on the grounds that they are much too relaxed about attending Sunday Mass every week - "they just go Christmas and Easter" has always been her complaint.  From her perspective such sang froid places them on the very edge of Hell.

I feel bad most of all for Sister Maureen, who was my Aunt's best friend, almost her partner.  Not that I think they necessarily had a lesbian relationship - at least not a physical one. But I've seen few marriages that were as close as their friendship. I hope Sister Maureen has friends she can turn to now.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Realm of the MacGoddess

My first web site (not blog, this was before blogging) was called "The Realm of the MacGoddess" and it can still be seen via the Wayback Machine.

Ooh, I found the poster I did for the Brick Playhouse in Philadelphia lo these many years ago!

Occasionally I assume the identity of the MacGoddess when I have to do tech stuff for my friend Bob's radio show blog Reverend Bookburn. I make him pay for it though:

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Play of the Week

NYCPlaywrights Play of the Week. Because hey, why not?

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Steven Pinker, John Derbyshire, Razib Khan

An earlier incarnation of Razib Khan's Gene Expression included 10 Questions for Steven Pinker. But now the original links to that page redirects to Khan's less blatantly racist (but still totally obsessed with race and the "different abilities" of humans based on race) at Discover Magazine.

Neither the old Gene Expression or the Discover Magazine version links refer back to the original 10 Questions for Steven Pinker - they redirect here.

 Luckily there is the Wayback Machine which has the original 10 Questions for Steven Pinker.

If that disappears, I downloaded a copy. Just ask for it.

Another interview at the Gene Expression site is with John Derbyshire - also only available via the Wayback Machine: 10 Questions for John Derbyshire.  (The link from the Discover Magazine page goes nowhere.)

Just as Richard Dawkins revealed what he really thinks of women last summer, Derbyshire revealed what he really thinks of non-white people a couple of months ago.

Those are the kinds of people that Razib Khan admires. Steven Pinker and John Derbyshire.

And certainly in the case of Steven Pinker, the admiration is mutual.

It's interesting to note that nine other people were interviewed as part of the 10 Questions series, and those all link back to the original pages just fine.

UPDATE: the blog ManBoobz links to the most extreme example of flaming right-wing evolutionary psychology yet:

Next, he defends the practice of throwing acid in the face of “independent” women:
[F]emale independence is strongly correlated with a whole host of social ills. Using the utilitarian metric favored by most atheists, a few acid-burned faces is a small price to pay for lasting marriages, stable families, legitimate children, low levels of debt, strong currencies, affordable housing, homogenous populations, low levels of crime, and demographic stability. If PZ has turned against utilitarianism or the concept of the collective welfare trumping the interests of the individual, I should be fascinated to hear it.
Predictably the Vox Populi blogger is a fan of Steven Pinker.

the political agenda of the evolutionary psychologists

Promoters of evolutionary psychology theories like to chant "is-isn't-ought" when defending their beliefs that women are "naturally" more monogamous than men, or that rape is an "adaptation" or that women can't feel sexual attraction for men who don't have more money than they do.

What they mean is that just because they are identifying the true evolved natures of people it doesn't mean they are saying we should, for example, not arrest men for raping on the grounds that rape is "natural."

The only problem with this is that promoters of evolutionary psychology invariable make the leap from is to ought.

Here is Richard Dawkins' good friend Helena Cronin suggesting in a policy paper to the British government that men ought to be ensured jobs with longer hours and less access to children - and presumably better pay - than women so that they will be more marriageable  - she turned the policy paper, originally called "The Evolved Family" into an op-ed in the Guardian, "Pity the Poor Men."

Here are Thornhill/Palmer suggesting that rape victims ought to be counseled that in fact rape is just part of nature. Nicely debunked and reported here by FAIR.

For the most part prominent EP boosters avoid saying what they really think about women and non-whites, but it usually isn't a problem with non-whites. The primary focus of EP is to demonstrate the inferiority of female mental faculties only - as when Simon Baron-Cohen claims that females are "empathizers" and males are "systematizers" - something that has not been found in actual empirical testing of infants by Elizabeth Spelke and others. Here's Spelke debating Steven Pinker about it. Pinker was the most prominent defender of Lawrence Summers who claimed, per evolutionary psychology theories, that women are just not as good at math and science as men

Although Richard Dawkins pretty much gave the game away by going on the record last summer during "elevatorgate"  with what he really thinks about women and their stupid concerns for safety, or their daring to complain about sexism so long as Muslim women are out there being mutilated.

Like any promoter of evolutionary psychology, Razib Khan is obsessed with proving that women are completely different from men in every way due to evolution and not due, in any way, to culture. You can see Khan here, trying to downplay female infidelity because women are, per evolutionary psychology theory (and affirmed by Richard Dawkins on a Pharyngula thread in 2009) supposed to be more monogamous than men.

And here is Khan telling men what they ought to feel about female infidelity:
* Yes, I’m making a normative assumption here that if you’re male you should be displeased if you find out that children whom you assumed were your biological offspring turn out not to be. If, on the other hand, you think it’s fun and adds more zest to your life, you’re just kind of weird.
Well to be fair he said "you should" instead of "you ought to."

But unlike most evolutionary psychology promoters, Khan is as concerned about proving race-based inferiority as gender-based inferiority.

Khan and his buddies, like Steve Sailor, are worried that Dawkins and Pinker aren't quite on-board the sociobiology of race sufficiently - and when they find there is some agreement, they are thrilled. And they tell us about it. Which is very convenient for those of us making the case for right-wing bias in promoters of evolutionary psychology.

Here's Khan giving Richard Dawkins approval for acknowledging the "usefulness" of race and for attacking affirmative action.

Khan is quoting from Dawkins' "The Ancestor's Tale":
It is genuinely true that, if you measure the total variation in the human species and then partition it into a between-race component and a within-race component, the between-race component is a very small fraction of the total. Most of the variation among humans can be found within races as well as between them. Only a small admixture of extra variation distinguishes races from each other. That is all correct. What is not correct is the inference that race is therefore a meaningless concept. This point has been clearly made by the distinguished Cambridge geneticist A.W.F. Edwards in a recent paper “Human genetic diversity: Lewontin’s fallacy.” R.C. Lewontin is an equally distinguished Cambridge (Mass.) geneticist, known for the strength of his political convictions and his weakness for dragging them into science at every possibile opportunity. Lewontin’s view of race has become near-universal orthodoxy in scientific circles
Lewonton and Stephen Jay Gould are the boogie men of evolutionary psychology, and the favorite way for promoters of evolutionary psychology to attack them is to point out that they had left-of-center politics and claim that it polluted their scientific work.

Here's Pinker in an email to me in 2005, during an exchange about Summers (bold emphasis mine):
Dear Ms. McClernan,

...The criticisms of Stephen Jay Gould have been extensively addressed in my writings and others, and I believe they stem more from his political ideology than from the empirical literature.

Steve Pinker
Johnstone Professor of Psychology

But if you have right-wing opinions well - it bothers EP boosters not at all. Khan is an Unz Fellow. Unz is the publisher of The American Conservative.

Here is Khan promoting an Unz historical research competition on his science blog.

Pinker completely approves of Razib Khan - as I blogged about months ago, Pinker points to Khan to defend him against a book review.

Shameless. Hypocrisy.

Friday, June 01, 2012


And done! Much quicker to edit this video than the February Play of the Month - and I didn't even have to pay the actors to come back and do voice-overs. I really like this play - it's the kind of play I would write.