Tuesday, May 30, 2017

"Bitter Gertrude" demonstrates the authoritarianism of Social Justice Warriors

Bitter Gertrude, aka Melissa Hillman, who used to be artistic director for the now-defunct Impact Theatre and is currently teaching high school students, is left of center, and so we agree on much in the socio-political sphere, and I've occasionally commented here when I've agreed with her.

But Hillman, like so many others in American theater is a Social Justice Warrior and therefore an irrational extremist when it comes to race.

When I heard about the Albee casting kerfuffle I knew Hillman would be right there with the extremists and sure enough, she was. So much so that her commentary on the issue is a perfect illustration of the Social Justice Warrior strategy used against those who disagree with them.

Hillman writes:
Racism isn’t the argument here. The estate’s decision was absolutely racist, period, the end. That’s not up for debate. It’s the kind of racism that demeans the entire industry and requires resistance.
There it is, two of the three stages of the standard SJW strategy:
1. Accuse those who disagree with you about any issue touching on race of racism
2. Shut down the conversation.
3. When the target complains that the conversation has been shut down, accuse the target of "white fragility."
Robin DiAngelo, as I've written about many times before on this blog, is the leading purveyor of the "white fragility" stage of the strategy.

Michelle Johnson an African American playwright, (who also happens to be my Facebook friend although we've never met in person) does not agree that Edward Albee's estate is racist.
On the Albee controversy, I was in the minority. As a playwright, and in general, I’m just not a fan of the “colorblind” concept. As with one-size-fits-all leggings, I believe it’s a fiction designed to make some people feel better about uncomfortable realities. Also, I don’t believe the writer’s intent is a secondary issue.
“Virginia Woolf” was written in 1962 — two years before the end of legalized discrimination. Projecting modern-day sensibilities on that doesn’t change it. Talking about the large number of amazing black actors today and how many black “Nicks” should have and could have been in existence in 1962 is beside the point.
The point is, that’s not the play Albee wrote. And to accuse him or his estate of racism in wanting his play about the 1960s culture of white academia to remain as he wrote it seems as ridiculous to me as letting a white woman be cast as lead in Lorraine Hansberry’s “A Raisin in the Sun,” a play about a black family discouraged from buying a house in a segregated neighborhood in 1959 Chicago.
So there you have it. An African American playwright doesn't think Albee's estate is racist, but Melissa Hillman is here to declare that the issue has already been decided, end of discussion, so STFU Michelle Johnson.

Social Justice Warriors like Hillman care much more about power and control than they do about actual social justice. Their idea of social "justice" is to willy-nilly accuse random white people of racism, based on faulty reasoning and even lies. I was a SJW target in 2011 and I've been watching them and their tactics in horror ever since. If SJWs ever get any serious political power they will use it to hunt witches and exact revenge on anybody who dares to disagree with them.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Another SJW in the theater throws a hissy-fit

I had heard vaguely of this controversy and then read the article in American Theatre magazine about a SJW idiot having a meltdown over casting idiocy. A deliberately obtuse director named Michael Streeter decided to cast a black guy in the role of Nick for a play set in 1962.

Author Diep Tran writes:
In writing about a similar casting issue with playwrights Katori Hall and Lloyd Suh in 2015 (white actors were appearing in roles explicitly written as characters of color), I wrote that “the rights of the playwright trump the rights of the directors/producers.” I stand by that, and I will continue to stand up for the rights of playwrights to dictate what should be done with their work.
What I find remarkable about this statement is that Tran feels it's necessary to point out that he believes in the principle of authors' rights even when the author is white.

That is how far the Social Justice Warrior insanity has gone in the theater - you are never to assume that a principle of justice covers any "white" person, because the thinking process behind the Social Justice Warrior ethos is that individual white people must be randomly punished in order to exact revenge against "whites" for everything done by whites at any time in the past or present to any non-white.

It's a literally insane way to foster "social justice."

And please note that the anger in this case is directed at Albee's estate - Albee is worshipped by almost the entire theater community as a god - I am one of the few people I know of who is not a huge fan of his. And even he - or his estate - is being called a racist, or at least it's implied that their reasoning in the casting decision is based on racism.

I also wrote about the Lloyd Suh kerfuffle and the reason that the cases are different is because the Suh production was for a college course, while Michael Streeter is working for a professional theater.

In the Tran article he quotes another SJW dumb-ass Amelie Hayes:
“White culture is so stupid,” exclaimed an exasperated Hayes. “The culture is shifting, you’re outnumbered. Be open to it. How can you be a part of this? Facilitate an opening. Also, what’s your role in being part of a wider culture. Not a whiter culture, a wider culture! And what does that mean?”
Hayes, in standard SJW fashion, makes a statement that is false, and easily demonstrated to be false. But SJWs are not interested in objectivity and facts. 

Haye's claim that "you're outnumbered" is flatly wrong, according to the Federal Population Census. It depends of course on how you define "white" - at one time Italians were not considered white, and many Latinos consider themselves white. But it's clear that the total number of people of European ancestry outnumbers those of non-European ethnicities.
Analysis by 2010 Federal Population CensusFifteen largest ancestries in the United States in the 2010 census.[81]
Rank | Ancestry | Number | Percent of total
1 German 49,206,934 17.1 %
2 African American 45,284,752 14.6 %
3 Irish 35,523,082 11.6 %
4 Mexican 31,789,483 10.9 %
5 English 26,923,091 9.0 %
6 American 19,911,467 6.7 %
7 Italian 17,558,598 5.9 %
8 Polish 9,739,653 3.0 %
9 French 9,136,092 2.9 %
10 Scottish 5,706,263 1.9 %
11 Scotch-Irish 5,102,858 1.7 %
12 Native American and Alaskan Native 4,920,336 1.6 %
13 Dutch 4,810,511 1.6 %
14 Puerto Rican 4,607,774 1.5 %
15 Norwegian 4,557,539 1.5 %
And a playwright wanting a specific gender/ethnicity/age/etc. for a play is not an example of "white culture" - it's an example of a playwright having a specific vision.

I don't always agree with traditional casting - I think WAITING FOR GODOT, being set in a vague time and place, has no good reason to prohibit women from taking roles in the play.

But WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF is set in a very specific time and place, in 1962 East Coast America. In fact, that's why I find the play useless as anything but a period piece. VIRGINIA WOOLF revolves around Martha's inability to have a baby. If the play was moved to the present time there would have to be discussions of the new fertility methods in use. And unless it was moved to modern times, a "mixed marriage" as Streeter's casting would have it, would be a big freaking deal in 1962 and it's silly to pretend otherwise.

Streeter simply didn't bother to perform due diligence before casting the play and ask the Albee estate about the issue before casting. It's hard to believe he's so obtuse and it's hard not to suspect he did this as a publicity stunt.

Fortunately the Dramatists Guild isn't ready to be dragged down the rabbit-hole of moral cretinism that SJWs like Hayes and Streeter have dug for playwrights. Ralph Sevush (who personally freed my play TAM LIN from the clutches of Edward Einhorn) wrote:
The Guild asserts that it is a playwright’s fundamental right to approve of casting choices to ensure they reflect his or her authorial intent. We assert this right for Edward Albee and his estate, just as we have asserted it on behalf of Lloyd Suh and his work Jesus In India and Katori Hall and her play The Mountaintop. We also assert the right of playwrights to specify diverse casting for work that is not demographically specific. Playwrights own their work, and therefore have the right to make decisions about all aspects of its presentation.
Based on their Facebook profiles both Hayes and Streeter are white. Since they are comfortable with abrogating a playwright's rights for the sake of inclusivity they are clearly fanatically dedicated to the cause - let them prove it by stepping aside from their current positions as a director and as an artistic director for theater companies and let non-whites take their jobs.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Christine LaGarde's unusual reaction to Justin Trudeau

It's safe to say that not a lot of women would have the reaction that Christine LaGarde has on looking over her shoulder and seeing Justin Trudeau. Damn that's cold. I bet Trudeau was sure surprised too.

I immediately recognized LaGarde because she's featured fairly prominently in the movie Inside Job. The other people here are of course Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron.


An Illustrated Play
by N. G. McClernan

(Enter MERKEL, LAGARDE, MACRON talking amongst themselves in a circle.)
(Enter TRUDEAU.) 
Yes but you're always very detailed.
       (Macron laughs)
       (Trudeau walks over to the group and stands behind Lagarde.)
       (looking over her shoulder)
Oh. It’s you.
(Trudeau smiles. Lagarde ignores Trudeau and turns her back to him. Trudeau remains standing, wondering WTF.)
I believe we have to go over THERE. Let’s go over THERE.
       (The circle breaks up. Trudeau goes for Merkel.)
I just want to say 'good morning.'
       (Trudeau gives Merkel bises.)
Hah HAH! I still got it!

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Ils parlent français ensemble - j'adore!

Entretien avec M. Justin TRUDEAU, Premier... by elysee

I will try to translate!

It is a great pleasure to meet the president of France, Emmanuel and I, we have a lot in common. It is really (can't understand because of camera sounds) to work with him. This is an extraordinary meeting(?) between France and Canada. We have so much to talk about, like international conflicts, climate change, terrorism, the security of our citizens, the community. Also we will have much work to do to show that as the youngest people (laughter drowns out what he is saying) - this is really a good time. 
Thank you. I am very happy to know the (something) yesterday... ( it is inspirational to see the  blah blah blah - it's harder to understand what Macron says than Trudeau, possibly because he is speaking Frenchy French instead of Canadian French) ...we had an amicable phone call, I'm pleased and very inspired to see the generation who are practical in matters of the world, it's a responsibility, we can discuss subjects like terrorism together. The work for climate change is an essential subject and the development of the economy, we can take - I think it's a (blah blah) I think it's a responsibility of freedom, when more and more there is fascination with totalitarian regimes with menacing values. The history of our country is maybe value and the responsibility of our generation, I am very happy if we can work together.

It's not a great translation. I got maybe 50 - 60% of what was said, and since I was aware of the context (and had heard Trudeau give many speeches on these subjects) quite a bit was guess work more than translation.

It's a work in progress.

But I personally think Macron's throwing shade on Trump with the remark about fasciation with totalitarian regimes.

And please note what an easy and friendly handshake they have.

Meanwhile Trudeau's advisor Gerald Butts is sharing beaucoup de photos avec Macron and Trudeau on his Twitter feed.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Stars collide

Macron and Trudeau have finally met!

And they seem to be able to shake hands without it turning into a tug-of-war.


Thursday, May 25, 2017

Let the Macron - Trudeau awesomeness competition begin!

Justin Trudeau gave a shout-out to Macron for appointing women in half of the positions in his cabinet - something Trudeau did in 2015.

But also - Macron did Trudeau one better in the Donald Trump handshake competition today.

When Trudeau first met Trump, he famously held his ground against Trump's famously weirdly aggressive handshake. Trudeau was much-praised for his defensive actions versus Trump, including the pre-emptive left-hand shoulder grab seen here.

Well instead of playing perfect defense, Macron played offense!

When Mr. Trump greeted Emmanuel Macron, the recently elected president of France, the two leaders exchanged pleasantries before grabbing each other’s hands in what began as a manly greeting and ended as a kind of good-natured death grip. 
Jaws clenching, faces alternating between smiles and grimaces, the two men shook until Mr. Trump’s knuckles turned white. At one point, the president tried to pull away, only to have Mr. Macron clasp his hand even harder and keep pumping. Finally, the second time Mr. Trump pulled away, Mr. Macron let him go.

I got a huge kick out of Paste Magazine's blow-by-blow of the Trump-Macron handshake:
At the 20-second mark, Trump attempts his patented “Trump Pump”—the forceful pull into the body which has destroyed so many world leaders. This time, though, the movie is almost indiscernible, and that’s because Macron counters it so quickly, and with such brute muscle, that Trump gained less than an inch of leverage, and in fact wound up losing ground as a result of Macron’s crushing defense. We saw Trudeau manage to withstand the same move in Washington, but with him, it was a matter of survival, while Macron actually took the offensive. It’s clear that he studied the film of the Trudeau encounter, and decided on the risky gamble of taking his response one step farther and playing for a win. 
It paid off. After this daring maneuver, a stunned Trump was unable to recover. Macron, smile widening, continued to pump from the elbow and increase the strength of his grip on Trump’s hand, exerting pressure on the American president’s exposed knuckles. At the 23-second mark, now barely smiling, Trump broke eye contact first—a rarity—and turned to the photographers in desperation. He held on gamely for another split-second, but then came the critical moment that turned the handshake world on its head:
He tried to let go. Watch closely, and you can see his fingers release. Macron’s grip is clearly too much for him, and five seconds was all he could withstand. It’s a remarkable concession for such a proud man, and, unbelievably, Macron wouldn’t let him go. As if to emphasize his victory, and deepen Trump’s shame, Macron redoubled his grip. Trump’s fingers fluttered once, attempting to close the grip, but then released again. It was an absolutely vicious move from the Frenchman, and undoubtedly some scholars will question whether it violates the spirit of the game. 
Finally, Macron shows a bit of late mercy and releases Trump’s hand, while saying “thank you very much” in English—a subtle hint to Trump that he has just dominated him in the public eye, and can now use the language of the vanquished enemy to assert the victory. 
In all, the brutal six-second bout was shorter than most of Trump’s engagements, and shorter by a second than his draw with Trudeau. Macron was the kind of opponent he had not seen before, and was frankly not prepared for. It was a savage win for the French president, punctuated by a dose of humiliation, and it will inevitably tarnish the legacy of Trump, whose aura of invincibility has been irrevocably punctured. By a Frenchman.
In related news, expect America’s entire nuclear arsenal to fall on Paris by the end of the week.

It does seem probable that Macron sees Trudeau as his rival in the male politician heartthrob competition and figures he might be able to beat him.

Personally I think Trudeau is handsomer than Macron - mostly because Trudeau has all that hair and I have a thing about hair. But in every other respect they are pretty evenly matched, and of course Macron's marriage is more 21st-century than Trudeau's. But it's so great that there are two prominent young male world leaders who are self-declared feminists. I am looking forward to each of them trying to prove they are the coolest - because let's face it, since Obama has gone, Trudeau has had no serious rival, so Macro will keep him from resting on his feminist laurels. This is a great thing.


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The career of crackpot Robin DiAngelo still being promoted uncritically by the Good Men Project

The Good Men Project loves Robin DiAngelo, who believes that all whites are equally racist. In fact all major media outlets seem to adore DiAngelo and I have yet to find a single example of an article which critically examines the theories of race she is promoting. The only examples of critical reviews of her work I've found are nobody bloggers like me, and people making comments under her articles.

The latest example of DiAngelo's nutty extremism can be found in The Good Men Project here. It's full of her usual pseudo-intellectual quackery:
Take, for example, the Jackie Robinson story. Robinson is often celebrated as “the first African American to break the color line and play in major-league baseball.” While Robinson was certainly an amazing ball player, this story line depicts Robinson as racially special; a black man who broke that color line himself. The subtext is that Robinson finally had what it took to play with whites, as if no black athlete before him was strong enough to compete at that level.
This is a standard example of a straw man - DiAngelo misrepresents whites by suggesting that the popular narrative of Robinson was "...as if no black athlete before him was strong enough to compete at that level."

She does not actually offer any evidence of this. She just puts it out there as if it's a self-evident reality. 

Fortunately many of the commenters under her article are refusing to be dragged into DiAngelo's moral cretinism. One of them replied:
There is NO ONE…and by that, I mean literally NO ONE who thinks Jackie Robinson was the first black person “strong enough” or good enough. In fact, many people consider Satchel Paige to be the greatest pitcher of all time and he wasn’t allowed to pitch outside the Negro Leagues until he was almost 40 and well past his prime. Everyone understands that in football, baseball and the NBA, as in other aspects of life, there were black athletes who were capable of competing but not allowed to and further, I don’t know of anyone who represents it as anything else. I wasn’t taught anything other than that when I was in school in the 70’s.

For you to misrepresent this is an indication of either serious ignorance or a very warped sense of reality and a need to assign blame that doesn’t exist.

Or because she knows that in order to keep ginning up anti-white resentment as high as she can, she has to present "whites" as a group as even worse than we actually are.

It's time to push back against DiAngelo's relentless bullshit. She is not helping to fix race in America. She is making it worse.

I finally contacted DiAngelo through her website's email form and said this:
Your career has been relentlessly promoted by media such as The Good Men project and there has been no critical analyses of your flawed theories of race permitted. And your theories are very flawed indeed which is why you must lie about and smear "white" people. 
Your presentation of the "white" view of Jackie Robinson in your recent Good Men Project article is a case in point. As one of the commenters under the article said, nobody thinks Jackie Robinson was the first black who was good enough to play in the majors. But that is how you presented it. You didn't bother to provide any evidence that this is how Robinson is viewed - but you said it anyway in order to make white people in general appear as evil as possible. 
You are a crackpot, a charlatan and a moral cretin and you are not making race in America better. And eventually you will be forced out of your cozy little criticism-free bubble, and instead of arguing against the straw men you invent for your articles, you will have to face real living people who can rationally analyze your theories and present arguments against you.
I don't expect a response from her. But I think she should be aware that she won't be able to get away with her monstrous career based on ginning up ethnicity-based hatred forever.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Another documentary about Macron

And this one is free on Vimeo. And you can watch it HERE on my blog.

Unfortunately it does not have subtitles. You're on your own with the French.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Bien sûr Macron est un feminist!

How did I miss this from a couple of months ago?

So awesome. I don't know if Macron could ever replace Justin Trudeau as my favorite world leader, but he's a damn close second. And Trudeau's age gap with his wife is a very traditional three years older.

But even if Macron was not a self-declared feminist it would be hard to resist his love story with his wife, whom he has been with for twenty-two years now (at least) and married for ten years. He had this response to controversy over his marital age gap:
"If I was 20 years older than my wife, nobody would think for a single second that we couldn’t be legitimately together," he told Le Parisien. "It's because she is 20 years older than me that a lot of people say, 'this relationship can't be tenable, it can't be possible.'"
The great thing about Macron is not only does he love his wife, he doesn't give a damn who doesn't like it. He also responded to gossip that he was really gay:
Macron also addressed rumours that he had been in a relationship with Mathieu Gallet, the chief executive of the Institut national de l'audiovisuel, saying that the speculation highlights the "rampant homophobia" in society as those accusing him of being gay are doing so as if it were a "hidden illness."

He also joked about it onstage, saying that if anybody saw him hanging around with Gallet, it was because his hologram ran away - this was a reference to another presidential candidate who had used hologram technology for an appearance.

Macron is just an all-around cool guy. I had heard that Macron had been hit with an egg during the French presidential election, John Oliver covered it on his show as well as the age-difference.

But the documentary Emmanuel Macron : Les Coulisses d'une Victoire, which is now on Netflix and called in English Emmanuel Macron Behind the Rise, showed Macron's response. Right after being hit he said something like "well it's just a little egg, no big deal" and even better, later on the documentary shows him looking at a recording of the egging on a cellphone and he's giggling over it.

He makes funny remarks elsewhere in the film, he has a great sense of humor. Also he appears to have put together a really good campaign team.

And the documentary makes clear that the Macrons are a very close couple in spite of the age gap. The same age gap as the Trumps, except with the genders reversed. And we see how bad that marriage is.

Here is the Macron movie trailer. In the trailer at 0:15 he can be seen having makeup applied prior to a speech and outside supporters of the Nazi Marine Le Pen are screaming and Macron jokes that what they're saying is "Macron for President." This article in The Local ("France's news in English") gives an excellent overview of the film.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Strawberry update

Strawberry flowers blooming

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that there is a strawberry patch in Central Park along the bridle trail but I was actually incorrect - there is more than one patch and it's not quite along the bridle trail.

In any case the plants are showing their yellow flowers with will turn into strawberries.

I'm not sure what to call the path along which I saw the strawberry plants. It's covered in some kind of thing like wood chips, but it's in-between the reservoir and the bridle path.

Here is the wood chip path and on the right the bridle path can be seen.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Those crazy French numbers

Illustration from the NYTimes:
The Benefits of Failing at French
I am now an advanced beginner in French (201) - I stepped up from the upper level of beginner (103). WHOOHOO!

While I like French I really do have an impulse to reform it. French could do very well without genders for inanimate objects. I understand from Mark Twain this is true of German too.

There is absolutely no purpose to genderizing things which do not have actual sexual functions. And especially because there is no logical sense to the assigned genders. For example the word for milk is "lait" which is masculine. Now milk invariably comes out of females. So why would milk be masculine? Semen (sperme) at least is masculine.

But even worse, while milk is masculine, the products of milk can be masculine or feminine. Cheese (fromage) and yogurt (yaourt) are masculine,  while cream (creme) and ice cream (glace) are feminine. So you're probably thinking aha, the higher fat incarnations of milk are feminine. Except sorry, no, butter (beurre) is masculine.

And as if that isn't bad enough, your adjectives must have agreement with your nouns as to the gender. For example, here I am saying: "that is a good milk, that is a good cream."
  • C'est un bon lait
  • C'est une bonne crème
Notice that the words "that is" - c'est - is the same but every other word is different. You have to use un for milk because it is masculine, but une with an e because cream is feminine. And you have to stick an extra n and an e on the end of the word for "good" - bon - because cream is feminine. So you have two chances to screw up the gender in the sentence.

And the numbers! French has a crazy numbering system. It doesn't have a separate word for the numbers seventy (sixty-ten), eighty (four-twenty) or ninety (four-twenty-ten). I've mentioned it on this blog before.

English has plenty of its own oddities and irrationalities but I have to say, as much as I enjoy French I don't see why they don't just invent a word for seventy, eighty and ninety. It's not that hard and they are certainly welcome to borrow English words in the way that they also borrowed "weekend" and "jogging" and "email." And English speakers have no problem appropriating words from other languages, so I don't see why the French are so snippy about anglicisms.

I am actually better than the rest of my classmates (only four others besides myself for this 5-week course) at numbers because I was in the habit of practicing my numbers every day using my Google translate app on my iPhone. But I still can't get it to recognize when I say the French word for 100 which is "cent" in part because so many other common French words sound like that - sans (without), santé (health), saint (holy), son (his), sont (are), centre (center), son (sound), sent (smell), sen (feel) and Dieu sait combien des autres.


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Well isn't that special...


Robert Mueller, Former F.B.I. Director, Is Named Special Counsel for Russia Investigation

The Justice Department appointed Robert S. Mueller III, a former F.B.I. director, as special counsel on Wednesday to oversee the investigation into ties between President Trump’s campaign and Russian officials, dramatically raising the legal and political stakes in an affair that has threatened to engulf Mr. Trump’s 118-day-old presidency.

The decision, by the deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein, came after a cascade of damaging developments for Mr. Trump in recent days, including his abrupt dismissal of the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, and the subsequent disclosure that Mr. Trump asked Mr. Comey to drop the investigation of his former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn.

In some corners, the explanations took on a much more sinister tone. Fox News, talk radio and websites like Alex Jones’s Infowars heavily covered the story of a murdered employee of the Democratic National Committee and attempted to link his death to unproved claims that he surreptitiously sent party documents to WikiLeaks. The staff member’s family has vigorously denied the story, and distanced themselves from the private investigator working on the murder case, who has given conflicting accounts of his findings.
But the mainstream media, these organizations said, were burying the story and focusing on Mr. Trump’s woes instead.
“Where’s The Washington Post on this?” Ms. Ingraham asked on Fox.
Then there were Mr. Stone and Mr. Jones, who made the video about their suspicions that a coup was in the offing. (Under a provision of the 25th Amendment, if a majority of the cabinet and the vice president decide that the president can no longer carry out his duties, the vice president replaces him.) In the same video, Mr. Jones urged Mr. Trump’s supporters to fight attempts to undermine him. “There is a cultural war,” Mr. Jones said. “They want to bully you into submission.”
Mr. Jones touched on a point that some conservatives say will make it very difficult for Mr. Trump’s core supporters to easily abandon him. Mr. Trump has created his own political culture, and its devotees are strongly and emotionally committed to it.
“They took a huge risk, and they are deeply invested,” said Charlie Sykes, a conservative author who has been critical of Mr. Trump. And the news cycle they inhabit, he added, is only hardening their beliefs.
“These days when people say, ‘Oh, my gosh, this really looks terrible, was I possibly wrong about Trump?’ they quickly go on social media or see the shows and instantaneously find something that reinforces their opinion,” Mr. Sykes added. “And they cling to that.”

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Thought-crime police win again

I've written about Jonathan Kay on this blog before - he was the ghostwriter for Justin Trudeau's autobiography. 
Kay made an excellent point about the thought-crime police and their tactics:
What I (and other Canadian writers and editors) am angry about is the effort by TWUC and its Equity Task Force (which released its own statement) to shame Niedzviecki, and to suggest that his liberal approach to speech is somehow outside the bounds of respectable discourse. TWUC’s over-the-top apology describes the “pain” that the article allegedly caused. It’s part of what may be described as the medicalization of the marketplace of ideas: It is no longer enough to say that you merely disagree with something. Rather, the author must be stigmatized as a sort of dangerous thought criminal. Indeed, the Equity Task Force situates Niedzviecki as an apologist for “cultural genocide,” and accuses him of peddling “a long-debunked false universalism.” The Task Force also claims that the publication of his article is a symptom of “structural racism,” or possibly even “brazen malice.”
Well apparently Kay discussing the insanity of the thought-crime police resulted in his leaving The Walrus.

I've written about the insanity and anti-free speech aspects of the forces of anti-appropriation on this blog before, but this controversy has resulted in an absolutely perfect demonstration of their sleazy, lying bad-faith arguments, by someone named Saachi Khoul in Buzzfeed:
I can’t believe I have to fucking say this, but no one, in the history of writing books, has ever suggested that white people are not allowed to write thoughtful portrayals of Indigenous people or people of colour, namely in fiction. Frankly, we encourage it.

This is purest bullshit. Telling white people what the are not allowed to do - and not just what they are allowed to write about - by claiming that what they are doing is evil "appropriation" is the very essence of the anti-appropriation position, as demonstrated by Yasmin Abdel-Magied's response to writer Lionel Shriver's speech against anti-appropriationism:
It became about the fact that a white man should be able to write the experience of a young Nigerian woman and if he sells millions and does a “decent” job — in the eyes of a white woman — he should not be questioned or pilloried in any way. It became about mocking those who ask people to seek permission to use their stories. It became a celebration of the unfettered exploitation of the experiences of others, under the guise of fiction. (For more, Yen-Rong, a volunteer at the festival, wrote a summary on her personal blog about it.)
It was a poisoned package wrapped up in arrogance and delivered with condescension.
Look beyond Abdel-Magied's anti-white resentment and what she says is exactly what Khoul says nobody has ever said.

Khoul continues:
But remember how fucking mad all of you got when you found out there’d be a black Stormtrooper in Star Wars? Remember when some of you got hot over the suggestion that Santa Claus, a literal figment of children’s imaginations, could be black?
Without any shame whatsoever, Khoul conflates those who rightly object to the insanity of anti-appropriationism's extremist anti-free speech position with racists. The people who objected to a black stormtrooper or to a black Santa Claus are not the same people objecting to the anti-appropriationists. And I doubt Khoul is ignorant of this fact. I think she thought it would be a good idea to deliberately lump all white people together as anti-black racists, because her own argument on the subject is based on a lie.

Meanwhile someone named Jeet Herr, editor at The New Republic, on Twitter called Jonathan Kay, someone who co-wrote Justin Trudeau's memoirs and clearly likes and respects Truduea a "rightwing provocateur" and compared him to Anne fucking Coulter.

Which demonstrates what ridiculous lengths those sympathetic to the thought-crime police will try to go to in order to smear those targeted by the witch-hunters.

But Jeet Heer is wrong if he believes that he has protected himself against future witch-hunts by anti-appropriationist thoughtcrime police. Because the thoughtcrime police don't base their accusations of racism, imperialism etc. based on any kind of rational thought. And this is largely because there are no boundaries for what counts as "appropriation" - the anti-appropriationists define appropriation on an ad-hoc basis to suit themselves. And anybody who is non-compliant at any time to the whims of the thought-police will be attacked and mobbed. Any media outlet is foolish to bow down to the insanity of anti-appropriationism.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Back to the future with Life Magazine

While I was researching old magazines for a topic for the NYCPlaywrights weekly email I came across this fascinating illustration from Life Magazine 1914. It portrays the artist's guess for how people would dress in 1950.

The artist seems to guess that people thirty-six years in the future would adopt a look that was a cross between Native American and ancient Greek.

The couple might almost get away with dressing like that in a museum now - they definitely would get away with dressing like that on the street in NYC in 2017. And the guy's tattoos are definitely a 21st century touch, although it's funny that the artist changed so much else but the guy in "1950" is still holding a cane.

I had guessed that the artist Otho Cushing was gay by the way he lovingly renders the butt and biceps of the 1950 guy, and sure enough, although the Wikipedia article doesn't explicitly say Cushing's preference in the main body of the entry, at the bottom it indicates that one of the categories the subject falls under is "gay artists."

Also this other drawing by Cushing.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Conservatory Garden in Central Park 2017

Beautiful as always...

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Hubert est un NAZI!

Franck de la Personne as Hubert
on "French in Action"
It seems to me like the series "French in Action" is well-known, but it really isn't. Not even my French teacher heard of it. But I am perhaps a member of the FIA cult now. I'm interested in what has happened to the people who participated in FIA, especially the actors.

Malheureusement, Hubert, one of the characters in the FIA story was played by Franck de LaPersonne, whom Wikipedia indicates is not only a supporter of the National Front but is running for office in the National Front.


This article quotes de LaPersonne:

Franck de LaPersonne had scoffed at Emmanuel Macron, calling him "dashing foal of the party from abroad", and had greeted Victor Hugo, who "did not learn Arabic at school", eliciting "we are at home We "in the room, tells Agence France Presse.

I don't exactly understand what that means. Google translate can only do so much I guess.

Fun fact: when French in Action was recorded,  Emmanuelle Macron was ten years old.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Thank you NYTimes, exactly what I was thinking

In Trump’s Firing of James Comey, Echoes of Watergate

WASHINGTON — In dramatically casting aside James B. Comey, President Trump fired the man who may have helped make him president — and the man who potentially most threatened the future of his presidency.
Not since Watergate has a president dismissed the person leading an investigation bearing on him, and Mr. Trump’s decision late Tuesday afternoon drew instant comparisons to the Saturday Night Massacre when President Richard M. Nixon ordered the firing of Archibald Cox, the special prosecutor looking into the so-called third-rate burglary that would eventually bring Nixon down.

Monday, May 08, 2017


Macron Decisively Defeats Le Pen in French Presidential Race
Emmanuel Macron, a youthful former investment banker and political novice, handily won France’s presidential election on Sunday, defeating the staunch nationalist Marine Le Pen after voters firmly rejected her far-right message and backed his call for centrist change, according to projections based on preliminary results.
Mr. Macron, 39, will become the youngest president in the 59-year history of France’s Fifth Republic, after leading an improbable campaign that swept aside France’s establishment political parties.
The election was watched around the world for magnifying many of the broader tensions rippling through other Western democracies, including the United States: populist anger at the political mainstream, economic insecurity among middle-class voters and rising resentment toward immigrants.
Mr. Macron’s victory offered significant relief to the European Union, which Ms. Le Pen threatened to leave. His platform to loosen labor rules, make France more competitive globally and deepen ties with the European Union was also likely to reassure a global financial market jittery at the prospect of a Le Pen victory.

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Strawberries in Central Park

I once had a strawberry patch in my sister Karen's back yard. I've never lived anywhere that I had access to enough land to have a garden my entire adult life, but my sister was kind enough to loan me the land one summer. This was over 20 years ago but I still know what strawberry plants look like. And so I noticed them even though I certainly wasn't expecting to see a strawberry patch along the bridle path right next to the reservoir in Central Park today. But there they were. I will go back in a couple of weeks and see how they are doing.

Saturday, May 06, 2017

More critiques of evolutionary psychology

Coincidentally right after I wrote about Evan Marc Katz promoting evolutionary psychology and quoted PZ Myers to address the standard "critics of evo-psycho hate science" party line, Myers himself provides another useful critique of evolutionary psychology.

Myers begins:
I’ve criticized evolutionary psychology more than a few times, and usually my arguments rest on their appallingly bad understanding of the “evolutionary” part of their monicker — proponents all seem to be rank adaptationists with a cartoon understanding of evolution. But what about the “psychology” part? I’ve mentioned at least one dissection of EP by a psychologist in the past, but here’s another one, a paper by the same author, Brad Peters, that explains that evolutionary psychology is poor neurobiology and bad psychology.

Friday, May 05, 2017

Evan Marc Katz ~ bullshitting the gullible with pseudo-science

I've already demonstrated that Evan Marc Katz is so lacking in ethics that he advised single women to set their sights on married men.

He also advises women to be passive in order to catch "alpha males" whom Katz believes are the only real men. These are men who cling to traditional gender roles so hard that if a woman offers one a ticket to see his favorite band he will FREAK THE FUCK OUT because his masculinity is so fragile. Men who believe in rigid gender roles have been demonstrated to be more likely to abuse women.

So naturally Katz would have no qualms, most recently, against passing himself off as an expert defender of science even though it's painfully clear that he gets all his "science" right from pop-psychology articles in the newspaper.
Today’s post is a little more serious, because it talks about something that is unique and dangerous in our partisan post-fact world: the idea that beliefs about how the world should work are more valid than facts about how the world actually does work.
Witness this article in the LA Times, which poses a very challenging question: “Are gender feminists and transgender activists undermining science?”
I've already criticized evolutionary psychology, aka evo-psycho plenty on this blog over the years but it never hurts to mention that proponents of evolutionary psychology are so reflexive in their belief that all cultural phenomena is due to adaptation that even when women are sold into slavery, they interpret it as evidence of female sexual desire for "alpha males" as David Buller demonstrated in his comprehensive critique of evolutionary psychology (from over eleven years ago already) Adapting Minds (my emphases):
...in a well-documented study, the anthropologist William Irons found that, among the Turkmen of Persia, males in the wealthier half of the population left 75 percent more offspring than males in the poorer half of the population. Buss cites several studies like this as indicating that "high status in men leads directly to increased sexual access to a larger number of women," and he implies that this is due to the greater desirability of high-status men (David Buss 1999 "Evolutionary Psychology the New Science of the Mind"). 
But, among the Turkmen, women were sold by their families into marriage. The reason that higher-status males enjoyed greater reproductive success among the Turkmen is that they were able to buy wives earlier and more often than lower-status males. Other studies that clearly demonstrate a reproductive advantage for high-status males are also studies of societies or circumstances in which males "traded" in women. This isn't evidence that high-status males enjoy greater reproductive success because women find them more desirable. Indeed, it isn't evidence of female preference at all, just as the fact that many harem-holding despots produced remarkable numbers of offspring is no evidence of their desirability to women. It is only evidence that when men have power they will use it to promote their reproductive success, among other things (and that women, under such circumstances, will prefer entering a harem to suffering the dire consequences of refusal).
Of course the kind of people who are stupid enough to care what a huckster like Katz says aren't likely to be aware of any serious critiques of evolutionary psychology. Katz lives in a bubble of dullards, which no doubt makes him feel like a genius, and he's perfectly content to live that way.

Evolutionary psychologists are not bothered in the least that their "science" is not empirical and in fact, like the poster children for the Dunning-Kruger effect that they are, they claim it's their opponents who don't understand or are even hostile to science.

I'll let an actual scientist, P. Z. Myers address that issue:
Why, oh why, do EP’s defenders rely on throwing up armies of straw men to slaughter? It’s silly. Here’s how (Jerry Coyne) starts:
There are some science-friendly folk (including atheists) who simply dismiss the entire field of evolutionary psychology in humans, saying that its theoretical foundations are weak or nonexistent. I’ve always replied that that claim is bunk, for its “theoretical foundations” are simply the claim that our brains and behaviors, like our bodies, show features reflecting evolution in our ancestors.
Have you ever seen a critic of evolutionary psychology deny that we evolved, or that features and differences of the human body and brain are products of evolution? Not me. When I say that it’s theoretical foundations are ridiculous, I don’t mean the idea that there are evolved differences between the sexes, but that EP comes with a set of ludicrous assumptions, such as that we are adapted to the African savannah and the agricultural and urban adaptations of the last 10,000 years don’t count. It leads to absurdities like the paleo diet, in which it’s assumed that we should eat like cavemen, because evolution. 
I also criticize the just-so story-telling. Coyne should know this well: studying evolution is hard and demands rigor. Yet evolutionary psychologists will do a quickie study on color perception in college undergraduates and announce that women evolved to be better at recognizing ripe berries. 
And obviously, as you might guess, there are the methodological problems. There is so much trivial market-driven crap in evolutionary psychology that it swamps out any hypothetically ‘good’ research in the field. If I were doing research on the evolutionary basis of human behavior (I’m not, fortunately), I would run away so fast from the label “evolutionary psychology” that I’d make Kanazawa’s head spin, and he’d have to formulate some story about the distant ancestors of white people having to sprint away from noisy speculating sabre-toothed tigers. 
But then Coyne pulls his magic “proof” out of his hat: the existence of sexual dimorphism. Yeah, who has a problem with that? Men and women look different in grand and subtle ways. Some of those differences were almost certainly selected for. Again, I don’t know anyone who denies that, so it’s kind of weird to use it as his triumphant example. Except that he seems to think all those lefty wackos — you know, feminists, apparently — are in the business of denying the obvious. 
But the left-wing opposition to evolutionary psychology as a valid discipline in principle, especially when it involves differences in sexual behavior, seems to me based more on ideology than on biology. Ideologues cannot allow any possibility that males and females behave differently because of their evolution. Such people think that this would buttress the view that one sex would be “better” than the other.
I know a lot of modern radical feminists. I’m pretty solidly in the left-wing camp myself. And NO ONE denies the physical differences between men and women, or claims that evolution could not have played an important role in shaping the diversity of modern humans. Nor do any claim that there aren’t significant behavioral differences — we encounter those every day. What we oppose is the credulous insistence that every single difference is a product of selection, that the influence of culture is noise gently overlaying the purity of the biological signal, and worst of all, the idea that the status quo is justified as a product of biology (which Coyne at least tries to distance himself from at the end).
Katz himself demonstrates the untestable nature of evolutionary psychology. Evo-psychos claim that men and women have fundamental, completely oppositional natures. But when an example of someone behaving in a way that goes against their alleged gender nature is presented, evo-psychos will say something like Katz says here:
Sort of misses the point, Emily. We’re talking about generalities – always.
But "generalities" is the very essence of evolutionary psychology and that's why it's just as much a science as astrology. Evo psychos make claims about how men and women are but admit there are exceptions - but if you have a high enough percentage of exceptions to a rule, the rule is bullshit. 

Fifty years ago women were kept out of the Boston marathon, on the theory that women just couldn't handle it. As Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to officially enter the Boston Marathon said:
"It was feared that anything longer (than 800 meters) was going to injure women, that they wouldn't be able to have children or they somehow turned into men," she told NPR.
" 'You'll never have children,' they said. 'You're going to get big legs. You're going to grow hair on your chest.' It was hilarious, the myths.
I'm sure the sexists of the time argued, after Switzer ran the marathon, that she was an exception to the general rule of female fragility. Now that millions of women have run in marathons I don't think even someone like Evan Marc Katz could deny that women do not endanger their fertility by running marathons. Because Switzer was NOT exceptional. But until women were allowed to run, it could not be proven.

But evolutionary psychologists avoid presenting test scenarios. The claim that women are by nature "hypergamous" and men are not could be disproved if enough men and women were shown to behave differently than their gender roles. But evolutionary psychologists are not attempting to find such people - assuming you could tease out "natural" behavior from its complex interaction with culturally-learned behavior - because they are already certain they are right. And so it will never be known how many exceptions there are to this alleged rule of gender-based behavior, and evo-psychos don't even bother to predict the percentage of exceptions there will be. They just do a lot of mumbling and hand-waving about generalities. So evolutionary psychology is unfalsifiable.

That is why evolutionary psychology is a pseudo-science.

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Plastic Bertrand a soixante-trois ans

Bette Midler is 71
One aspect of getting older is being freaked out by other people getting older too. It's sort of depressing to see anybody be older than they were when you first met them long ago, since virtually nobody gets better-looking as they age, with the possible exception of Bette Midler.

Long ago my ex-boyfriend John turned me onto Plastic Bertrand, and this fact was never of any use to me until my French class the other day, when some classmates and I decided to surprise our teacher with a little party for her birthday, with typical French stuff like cheese, bread and of course wine. So Prof played some French music Youtube videos during the festivities and when she asked for some French music to play, I piped up "Ca plane pour moi" which was a quasi-punk hit in 1977.

So my memory of Plastic Bertrand was as the hip young thing, so it was a shock when I looked him up on Wikipedia and saw that he is 63 years old. Which is just so weird, although of course completely inevitable.

Here are the lyrics for the song in French and in English, although the song itself, while mostly in French has several English words and even a complete distinctive phrase "I am the king of the divan."

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Colbert's message to the right-wing snowflakes

Trump supporters don't like talk of an imaginary homosexual act - which in this case was a metaphor for treason. 

They have no problem VOTING for an evil freak who brags about getting away with sexual assault.

I blogged about the Social Justice Warrior campaign to #cancelColbert on Twitter in 2014. Not only did it not hurt Colbert's career, but CBS gave him his current gig right after.

It should be noted that Trump supporters are upset about Colbert mentioning a homosexual act - many of them are perfectly OK with treason:

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Le bonhomme de fourrure

Le vrai bonhomme de fourrure
My French class is coming to an end soon (le temp passe!) and it has been  very helpful in furthering my language studies.

Unfortunately I dont have anybody living with me with whom I can practice French. However that doesn't stop me from making up French songs about my cats and singing them out loud.

Here is my goofy song about Mr. Fuzz. A little background - the French call snowmen "bonhomme de neige" which means literally "gentleman of snow." So I've taken to calling Mr. Fuzz le bonhomme de fourrure - gentleman of fur.

All I have for my song is the refrain so far:

Le bonhomme de fourrure 
C'est le bonhomme de fourrure 
Tout les temps c'est lui.

(The man of fur, that's the man of fur, all the time, that's him.)

Also it's good practice to say - or sing- the word "fourrure" because it is a bitch for non-native French speakers with all those guttural Rs that will just rip up your throat. But it's necessary to learn unless you want to speak French like a loser.

The French have a love-hate relationship with fur. You can hear the word pronounced in this video.

Monday, May 01, 2017

More free advertising for professional crackpot Robin DiAngelo

I'm a liberal and so it really annoys me when the left-liberal media engages in mindless group-think. The constant, uncritical promotion of postmodernist race crackpot Robin DiAngelo is a case in point.

It's DiAngelo's business to sell herself as some kind of consultant on how to fix race in America, although what she actually does is make things worse, by judging people on the color of their skin, and not the content of their character. Her approach to fixing race in America is the opposite of what Martin Luther King Jr. proposed.

In a recent puff piece in The Stranger on April 5 she reiterated the unbearable false equivalence that she constantly pushes: no white person is better than the worst possible white person:
She sees a shared dynamic in the rise (and fall) of Breitbart News darling Milo Yiannopoulos, whose speech at the University of Washington led to violent protests on Inauguration Day. "White progressives are very attached to this idea of 'good whites and bad whites,'" she says. "We can use somebody like Milo to distance ourselves [from racism]. He's so clear. He's so outrageous. And yet we aren't actually looking at the narratives that we use every day and how those function."

Yes, Yiannopoulos is a "bad white."

Being a vicious professional racist like Yiannopoulos really is objectively worse than NOT being a vicious professional racist.

Not only does DiAngelo insult all the whites who hate and oppose Milo Yiannopoulos for his racism, she also normalizes Milo Yiannopoulos by claiming he's no worse than any other white person due to a shared European ethnicity.

That's the insanity of Robin DiAngelo's message and the only time it is ever challenged is in the comments section of career-promoting articles that constantly appear in the liberal press.

Is this an ad?

And the answer is yes, it is an ad.

It is wrong for the left-liberal media to continue to promote Robin DiAngelo's scam-master career as a rational approach to racism. Her own words prove again and again that Robin DiAngelo is absolutely NOT rational when it comes to race.