Thursday, November 30, 2017

Stranger Towanda

I couldn't resist doing an homage to the Stranger Things opening title for this NYCPlaywrights video.

I've never seen an entire episode of Stranger Things yet. But I do like the opening credits.

I also like this version of the theme.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Macron en anglais

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Fun with Google Maps

You can walk through NYC museums via Google Maps. 

Museum of Natural History

Metropolitan Museum of Art

Monday, November 27, 2017

Rangiwewehi Poi song recorded in 1996

Still haven't found the lyrics/translation of this song since 2005 when I first blogged about it. That was 12  years ago. You can see me seven years ago on the Youtube page for the video asking in vain for the lyrics. 

But at least today, after all these years, I have found another version of the song. In the video below, I'm not exactly sure where the first song ends and THE song begins but I think it's around 1:45.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Defending women ~ don't count out mon premiere ministre d'amour!

Never underestimate
le Premiere Ministre d'Amour!
As I said soon after Macron was elected: Let the Macron - Trudeau awesomeness competition begin

Yesterday I blogged about Macron's call to fight violence against women. 

So today my Google alert informs me of this:

In a statement for the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, the PM said Canada must also transform a “culture that devalues women and dismisses their voices.”
And unlike Macron, Trudeau isn't mentioning that "puritan" nonsense. 

Also Macron can't even compete in the "hottest dad" competition. I was surprised that the Trudeau haters didn't point out that his youngest son Hadrien in this photo is dressed as the only female member of the Paw Patrol. This Australian comments with approval.

And now I have an excuse to post a photo of Trudeau. Yay! I don't care what the Internet said in May 2017. I still think Trudeau is hotter - it's the hair. He's also taller than Macron, which doesn't matter to me but many women say height does matter to them.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Go Macron ~ spoken like a true 21st century man

I've mentioned before on this blog that I consider Macron one of a trio of progressive 21st-century leaders. And he proves it again this week:

‘Sick With Sexism,’ France Must Fight Violence Against Women, Macron Says

Unfortunately France seems to have its own version of evolutionary psychology that says that men should be free to harass women since that is the French way and Macron reiterates it here:
But he also said he did not want France to become a country of “denunciation” where “each relationship between men and women is suspicious.”
“We are not a puritan society,” Mr. Macron said, echoing a longstanding perception in France that gender relations are different here than elsewhere, especially in the United States.
"Puritan" is code-word as this article explains for men in France being permitted to take liberties with women whether or not the women asked for it. Or as this Guardian article has it:
France always prided itself on a tradition of unbridled sexuality and a society based on seduction, where Jacques Chirac kissed female leaders' hands and declared that Michèle Alliot-Marie, who served as justice, defence and foreign minister, had "the best legs" on the right.
Many argued that the dreaded "American puritanism" – the US's strict laws on workplace touching and harassment – would make France a dull place. But now the floodgates have opened on women denouncing French machismo.
This attitude leads to extreme douchbaggery like this, later in the article:
The journalist and philosopher Jean-Francois Kahn dismissed the case as a "troussage de domestique", a phrase suggestive of French aristocrats having non-consensual sex with servants. He later apologised and quit journalism. Women politicians are speaking out. One female Socialist MP wearing trousers and a summer top to a recent commission hearing was reportedly told by a rightwing MP: "Dressed like that, you shouldn't be surprised at being raped."

French society, ruled by men maybe even more than in "Ango-Saxon" countries enjoys the tradition of "unbridled sex" because in practice it's men groping women at will, especially older powerful men groping younger women.

If women started to be as aggressive - especially older women groping young and handsome male underlings, the French, I guarantee you, would suddenly find out that they were rather puritan all along.

It's disappointing that Macron of all people would push that Puritan line since he's living proof that not only can a man be a devoted husband, but his wife can be a generation older than him. 

But then he has to be the leader of French people so his rhetoric has limits.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Evan Marc Katz is a right-wing snowflake who can't tolerate criticism

The king of MRA-style advice con-men Evan Marc Katz wants to have it both ways - first he wants to have a profitable little business telling sad conservative women how to snag "alpha males" by supporting their traditionalist bent in suggesting they behave as passive vessels for manly traditionalist men.

If he stopped there it would be fine. His audience is conservative, he offers conservative advice, it's a closed circle.

But he won't stop there. 

He also feels he has to publicly share his noxious political views which are invariably in the mode of the gender essentialist pseudo science-mongers like Steven Pinker and Richard Dawkins and the other cranky old white atheist men yelling at feminists to get off their lawns. 

His latest atrocity was citing hateful anti-feminist Trump-loving queen of internalized misogyny Camille Paglia to attack feminism by misrepresenting it as telling women to be victims. I've loathed Camille Paglia and her anti-feminism for a long time, first mentioning her on this blog in 2006. And she's even more loathsome now with her support for Trump. I didn't think it was possible for that crank to be even more loathsome.

If Katz didn't try to shovel his wretched anti-feminism at the general public I wouldn't bother with him. But it's his political propaganda disguised by an "aw-shucks-I'm-just-a-nice-guy-doin'-his-best-to-help-the-ladies" pose that makes me feel it is necessary to oppose him. 

He's much like Pinker and Dawkins and the other misogynists who like to claim that theirs isn't really a political view when they suggest that the real problem with women having less-successful STEM careers than men is that lady brains just aren't as good at math/science (or not as rational per Sam Harris) as men's brains. They're just pure apolitical science guys, just presenting the impartial truth - it's their critics who have political views, not them.

Predictably, Katz cannot tolerate disagreement and so blocked me on Twitter. Which is what a feminist-hating weasel would do.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Where racism & misogyny meet

This American Life on Gavin McInnes and his racist/misogynist "Proud Boys."

The piece reports that the racist who organized the Charlottesville alt-right rally was a member of the Proud Boys.

Here is McInnes supporting lunatic freak Alex Jones today. 

I have to wonder what kind of relationship McInnes has with his wife and has or had with his mother. According to this Gawker article his wife Emily Jendriasak is a few years younger than him, and is Native American on her mother's side. Since she was 31 in September 2005 that means she's about 43 years old now. Which makes me wonder how much longer the marriage can last since McInnes's hatred of post-menopausal women is extreme.

Interesting that McInnes's mother had a career outside the home according to the Gawker article, as a business teacher. One of the tenets of "Proud Boy"-ism is that women shouldn't work outside the home.

Surprisingly considering McInnes's views of female submission and traditional roles, his wife looks larger in photos than he does, or as this bizarre MRA web site has it: Gavin McInnes brutally skullmogged and heightmogged by his wife. The alt-right are a weird bunch.

Also interesting, the McInneses have only three children. That's not too impressive for a guy who believes that white men should have lots of children. Proud feminist Justin Trudeau has three children too. You'd think McInnes would set an example for his Proud Boy followers by having at least one more child than a guy who is considered a "cuck" by the alt-right. But how is McInnes going to do that when his wife's ovaries are perilously close to drying up? I don't have much hope for this marriage, I think McInnes is going to trade his wife in for a younger model.

Also, this is how he refers to his wife. No I don't give this marriage more than another couple of years.

The gang at Canadaland provide more evidence of the bigotry of McInnes.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Orange is the warmest hybrid


While sick with a cold recently and drinking lots of orange juice I decide to look up orange in Wikipedia and to my surprise it turns out that the common orange is technically called the "sweet orange" and a hybrid of the mandarin and the pomelo, which looks like a pear on the outside.

not a hybrid

In fact, it turns out that all known citrus fruits are hybrids of only four original species: the mandarin, the pomelo, the citron and the papeda. So for other examples, the lemon is a cross between the bitter orange (itself a mandarin x pomelo cross like the sweet orange) and the citron, while the key lime is a papeda x citron cross. 

This really makes the phrase "like apples and oranges" even more apt than before, since apples are an original species while oranges are a sub-species. That's like instead of "they fought like cats and dogs" saying "they fought like cats and poodles."

Monday, November 20, 2017

Bon anniversaire français!

It was right around this time last year that I decided to learn French. So after several courses I'm at level B1, which is Intermediate. Tres bien!

Here is all about the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFRL) scale of language fluency.

This page provides reasons for why it's easier to learn English than it is to learn French. Of course the real test would be for someone who speaks a language outside of the Indo-European language family - something like Korean - to try to learn both and then decide. Although of course once they learned one of them, learning the other would be easier than starting from scratch since English and French do have some things in common, especially the multi-syllable words.

But the chart below lays it out better than I've seen before. 

French English (with commentary by me)
accentsin many wordsonly in foreign words (easier!)
agreementyesno (much easier!)
articlesmore commonless common (easier!)
capitalizationless commonmore common (not easier to learn - but easier to read and at least we don't go totally nuts with capitalization like German)
conjugationsdifferent for each grammatical persondifferent only for third person singular (so freaking much easier!)
contractionsrequiredoptional and informal (please note - "optional!")
genderfor all nouns and most pronounsonly for personal pronouns (SO much easier!)
liaisonsyesno (if we decide not to pronounce a letter in a word we stick with that for all occasions - EASIER!)
negationtwo wordsone word (half as difficult)
prepositionscertain verbs require prepositionsmany phrasal verbs (a draw)
rhythmstress at the end of each rhythmic groupstressed syllable in each word, plus stress on important word (OK this one is harder)
Roman numeralsmore common, often ordinal less common, rarely ordinal (easier)

This chart demonstrates conclusively that there are just more things to learn in French. Of the 13 language features listed English takes the easier route in nine cases. Only one feature is more difficult in English, and that's syllable stressing. Which means it only counts in spoken language, not written.

I mean look at this:
  • No accents to learn in English. 
  •  No gender except for personal nouns - in other words no gender for objects like tables and pens. And no "agreement" - agreement means that you have to make sure the articles (the, a) and adjectives you use with your noun have the same gender as the noun. So if you write a feminine word like leg, which is "jambe" all articles and adjectives must be feminine (they "agree" which gender the noun has) so it would be la longue jambe and not le long jambe
  •  And then there are conjugations. 
Here's how you conjugate "to walk": 
  • I walk 
  • You walk 
  • He/she/it walks (this is third person singular) 
  • We walk 
  •  You walk 
  • They walk 

So you have to remember only two different variations on walk. Just stick an S on the end.

 Here is how you conjugate the French word for to walk, marcher
  •  Je marche 
  • Tu marches 
  • Il/elle/on marche
  • Nous marchons
  • Vous marchez
  • Ils/Elles marchent

That's right, there are five variations. And that's just for a "regular" ER ending verb. There are different rules for words that end in IR, other rules for words the end in RE and no rules at all for irregular verbs.

And that's just for present tense. They also have a tense called "imparfait" which means something happened on an ongoing basis in the past. So you can't say "I used to walk all the time." You have to change the word for "walk" itself. So the present tense in French for "I walk all the time" is "Je march toujours." But for "I walked all the time" you say "Je marchais toujours." And yes, of course they have five conjugations for the imparfait form of marcher, since you asked: marchais, marchait, marchions, marchiez, marchaient.

French also has conjugations for future tense, which we do not have at all in English. So if you want to indicate that you will walk in the future you say "I will walk" or "I am going to walk." The word "walk" doesn't get conjugated.

You could say "Je vais marcher" which means I go to walk. The word "to go" in French is the English speaker's best friend. Just say "Je vais" plus the verb and you can do anything in the future, sing, dance, eat, drink, whatever. Je vais chanter, danser, manger, boire. (Yes "boire" is an RE verb and you absolutely cannot guess how it is conjugated. Go here for details.)

Of course you also have to conjugate the word "to go" but at least you already learned that when you learned how to conjugate present tense, and that was hard enough. "To go" is "aller" so guess how they conjugate it? Like this!
  • je vais
  • tu vas
  • il va
  • nous allons
  • vous allez
  • ils vont
This word has six conjugations and only two of them look close to "aller" just to fuck with you. And of course aller has its own million ways to be conjugated in other tenses, but we'll let that alone for now.

So you could get by with "Je vais" but you can't be sure that those damn francophones are going to stick with that form, so you have to learn the future tense conjugations for "to walk"
  • Je marcherais 
  • Tu marcherais 
  • Il/Elle/On marcherait 
  • Nous marcherons 
  • Vous marcherez 
  • Ils/Elles marcheront 
It will take you from level A1 to level B1 (six 30-hour courses in case you're wondering) just to learn all the indicative conjugations. And then they tell you about the "mood" conjugations - the subjonctif. The concept of conjugating "moods"  does not even exist in English. You can read all about it here.

That's it for now but I will be complaining about French plenty more on this blog in the future.

Je vais me plaindre à l'avenir.
Je me plaindrai à l'avenir.

(Plaindre is a "reflex verb" which the chart above fails to mention. One more goddam thing.)

Friday, November 17, 2017

Evan Marc Katz turns to a famous misogynist for advice

I really feel bad for the pathetic losers who look to "dating coach" huckster Evan Marc Katz as some kind of authority on women's lives. He's so obviously useless on his best days and evil on his worst.

Katz holds a classic both-sides view of men and women. In other words, yes, men have been bad to women, but women are just as bad to men

This is easily debunked if you do nothing more than look at which gender is more likely to kill members of the other gender. As The Atlantic reported in July:
The CDC analyzed the murders of women in 18 states from 2003 to 2014, finding a total of 10,018 deaths. Of those, 55 percent were intimate partner violence-related, meaning they occurred at the hands of a former or current partner or the partner’s family or friends. In 93 percent of those cases, the culprit was a current or former romantic partner. The report also bucks the strangers-in-dark-alleys narrative common to televised crime dramas: Strangers perpetrated just 16 percent of all female homicides, fewer than acquaintances and just slightly more than parents.
Obviously men are not killed 55% of the time by their former or current partners, partner's family or friends. Men are killed by male strangers far more often

Now I didn't have to look this up to have a rough idea it was true. I pay attention to the news, read magazine articles, etc. But if need be, it's easy enough to confirm via a Google search for online data. But I suspect that the kind of woman who looks to Katz as an authority on anything isn't well-informed and is unlikely to look things up for herself.

Meanwhile Katz promotes traditional gender-role men as mates to his audience - the kind of men who are more likely to commit violence against women.

Now he occasionally nods towards the problems of men being horrible to women - he mentions the MeToo movement. It looks good to the suckers.

Misogynists like to reinforce each other so here's Katz approving of Paglia's idiocy:
  • Men and women are more the same than ever before and it’s hurt the dating dynamic.
  • Men should be more courtly and chivalrous to women.
  • There is no male defense of sexual assault or harrassment.
  • Women could benefit by embracing the feminine, eschewing victimhood, and not lumping all men in with the worst of men.
In a list advising women to take the traditional submissive role in relation to men, Katz/Paglia make sure to include something that anybody can agree with - no defense of sexual assault or harassment.

This demonstrates just exactly how full of piping hot shit Evan Marc Katz is when it comes to "believing women" which he claims for himself in the blog post about MeToo.

In the view of Katz and Paglia, women are not justified in feeling like actual victims in a world of frequent sexual assault in the workplace and frequent violent assault in the home. Acknowledging the horrors of living in such a world is considered "victimhood" by professional misogynists Katz and Paglia.

One of Katz's sad followers quotes Paglia approvingly in the comments below his post:
“I was horrified, horrified by the pink pussy hats,” she said; the pink pussy hats were “a major embarrassment to contemporary feminism.”
Of course Paglia would say that. She hates women and she loves Donald Trump

And that is the essence of what Evan Marc Katz does to his audience - citing misogynists with approval to make them feel like worthless losers so they'll agree to relationships with awful men. Because the important thing is Evan Marc Katz's track record and there are far more single assholes than single good guys in the world. Pushing women to go for creeps helps Evan Marc Katz's business and that's what any snake-oil salesman cares about.

And when these horrible men treat those women like inferiors the women will accept it for the cause of "vive la difference" and they will not ask for help because they've been advised by Evan Marc Katz and Camille Paglia to "eschew victimhood."

I really hope one of the victims of Katz's horrific advice sues that little weasel some day.

What's up FRANCE?

This British dude used to have a series called "What the F**k France?" but he toned it down and renamed it "What's up France" although he pronounces France closer to "Frawnce" as the British do.

Thanks to this episode I find Macron's been writing poetry.

Here it is:
On a trip to Paris one day, little Sophie 
Met a giant lady lighting up the night sky. 
"What's your name, you magical monster?" 
"My many visitors call me the Eiffel Tower." 
"In all your attire, don't you sometime tire 
Of being seen only as a humdrum tower? 
You, a dragon, a fairy watching over Paris, 
An Olympic torch held aloft in grey skies?" 
"How you flatter me! So few poets these days 
Ever sing the praises of my Parisian soul, 
As did Cocteau, Aragon, Cendrars, 
Trenet and Apollinaire… Since you're so good 
At seeing beneath the surface, you could- 
If you like, when you're back from France- 
Take up your pen and write down 
Why you like me-it would be nice and fun!" 
"You can count on me! There's so much to say! 
I'll write twenty lines…but who will read them? 
""Well, I know a man who'll read your verse." 
"Really? Who?" 
"The President of France."

I don't think our president is even capable of writing a dirty limerick.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Boy oh boy

I'm glad to see my actor pal Matt DeCapua is getting work.

I'm all in favor of attractive men in commercials, far too many commercials show seriously unattractive ones.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Shouldn't it be sju-elva?

They have 7-11s in Sweden. I found this one via Google maps. This just seems weird to me.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Blogging milestone

I put Google ads on the NYCPlaywrights web site at first almost as an afterthought. But as of today I have earned $5000 via Google ads - whoohoo!

Friday, November 10, 2017

Creeps of a feather

Well it looks like Louis C. K. is a creep.

 He seemed like one of the good ones.

What is it with all these men and their compulsions? They are not only creepy but they are creepy in exactly the same way every time. Anthony Weiner just had to text with other women besides his wife. Bill Cosby used the same roofie technique every time. And David Weinstein always asked for a massage in his robe. The same technique no matter who the victim was.

And Louis CK's thing was masturbation in front of women working in his industry.

The victims of these men always end up telling the same story because these men are so predictable in their own separate weird-kink way. The only thing that seems to unite them is that they were doing something risky and they knew they were doing something risky. So it's very likely that the risk itself was one of the things that drove their compulsions - perhaps every time they got away with it they felt like they were untouchable - but when that feeling wore off they had to do it again.

There was another way that Louis CK was a creep though. He made a movie which some critics have viewed called "I Love You, Daddy" and he presents a scenario that was based on a real-life event:
...Hemingway claims that Allen attempted to lure her to Paris once she turned 18—two years after she had filmed Manhattan. “Our relationship was platonic, but I started to see that he had a kind of crush on me, though I dismissed it as the kind of thing that seemed to happen any time middle-aged men got around young women,” writes Hemingway. The actress suggests that Allen attempted to act upon the crush by flying to her parents’ home in Idaho and inviting the teen to Europe. 
According to an excerpt obtained by Fox News, the actress cautioned her parents “that I didn’t know what the [sleeping] arrangement was going to be [in Paris], that I wasn’t sure if I was even going to have my own room. Woody hadn’t said that. He hadn’t even hinted it. But I wanted them to put their foot down. They didn’t. They kept lightly encouraging me.” 
Hemingway says that she woke up at night with the realization that “[n]o one was going to get their own room. His plan, such as it was, involved being with me.” She says that she went into his guest room and woke him up asking, “I’m not going to get my own room, am I? I can’t go to Paris with you.”
The actress says that Allen left Idaho the next morning.
So CK's movie, which he wrote, has the same scenario, except that while in real life the 18-year-old Hemingway turned down the 44-year-old Allen, in the movie the creepy old man - 69 in this case - has a happy ending.
C.K. both wants to take on the viciousness of rumormongering — it’s Glen’s presumptions about Leslie’s relationship with China that ruins his life — and the idea that perhaps lechery only happens in cases where it’s unwanted. In other words, if Leslie is creeping on a 17-year-old, can that really be considered creeping, if the young woman enjoys it and is three weeks away from no longer being a minor? It’s a lot of jumbled ideas and justification that ultimately doesn’t work, because Leslie is a goddamn creep! Whether or not he touches her, it’s weird of him to invite China on a trip to Paris with him. Not to mention that they first start getting close when she runs into him in the women’s department of Barney’s, where he tells her straight out that he’s there because “all of Manhattan’s elite girls go here and I like to look at them. I’m a pervert.” So of course she tries on a bunch of bikinis and Herve Leger dresses for him, as he narrates what she looks like in each of them (“Russian slave trader”). Later, she reminds him that she’s 17. “Oh, I thought you were 16,” he replies."
CK admires Woody Allen so much he wanted to make his dream come true, at least on screen. While he was cautioning the world about rumormongering. 

It's nice how creeps look out for each other.

Thursday, November 09, 2017


I've been reading Sady Doyle's "Trainwreck" and think it's quite a good, if rather a short read, book.

I've been a fan of Doyle's for a long time and have blogged about her here many times. My admiration for her has even survived her blocking me on Twitter because I failed to STFU about Mohammed Ali's sexist attitudes towards women the day he died. This is helped by the fact that she eventually did unblock me - I don't know if my open letter to her had any bearing on that or not.

I wasn't surprised her book is good, she's a brilliant writer. And I was especially pleased to see she mentioned what a creep Doug Henwood is, in two places in the book. 

Hopefully she'll write a follow-up and include mentions of people she left out of "Trainwreck" like Matt Taibbi or members of the Dirtback Left besides Henwood. I also hope she'll touch on the unhinged hatred of Sheryl Sandburg on the part of the alt-Left. I suspect it's due to their hatred of women in power generally (Henwood has made clear his idea of feminism doesn't have anything to do specifically with women's rights but rather with "peace and egalitarianism" - which does not, Henwood clarifies, have anything to do with putting women in positions of power.)

I had admired Doyle much longer than I loathed Henwood, but I was very gratified to discover that she clashed with him during the 2016 presidential campaign, which is what any real feminist would naturally do. 

And at the same time Henwood made common cause with Jason Grote, another brocialist utterly beside himself with hatred for Hillary Clinton. I clashed with Grote nine years ago, once, and then I clashed with him a couple of times on Twitter over the 2016 election. And for that, Grote literally claimed I had "stalked" him. Now stalking is illegal and Grote publicly lying that I did this illegal thing is a form of libel and I really should sue him for it, but it wouldn't be worth the lawyer's fees. 

So if a woman expressing a few opinions on three or four occasions on her personal blog and Twitter is experienced by a brocialist like Grote as this scary illegal thing, you can imagine how terrifying the prospect of a Hillary Clinton presidency was for him. 

The NYTimes review of "Trainwreck" is justifiably positive although the review had a quibble with Doyle's views of Harriet Jacobs' career. I also have a couple of quibbles with the book - a very minor one in that Doyle claims that only after their deaths did anybody find out that Anne and Emily Bronte were also authors like Charlotte - both Charlotte and Anne traveled to their London publisher to present themselves in their true identities. Only us Bronte-heads know this but still...

A much bigger quibble I have with her is about Mary Wollstonecraft. She suggests that thanks to her husband publishing her posthumous biographical details, Wollstonecraft was perceived as a "train wreck" and that this set back the fight for women's rights. I don't subscribe to the Great Man theory of history and I don't subscribe to the Naughty Woman theory of history either. There were actual socio-economic conditions holding women back that were little influenced by one writer's life, no matter how bad her reputation.

But overall a very good book and I recommend it.

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Razib Khan, National Geographic & Race

The "races of Europe" created by Gilbert Grovsenor for National Geographic
In January 2016 in his Unz site column, Razib Khan responded to someone who wanted to promote the notion of "human biodiversity" and proof of intelligence based on race by writing:
honestly i would just sit on my hands for now. in the next < 5 years the genomic components of traits like intelligence will finally be characterized. this is not speculation, but anticipation based on research going on now.
Which would appear to indicate that Razib Khan holds out great hopes for genomic evidence for race-based intelligence.

Elsewhere in the same Unz column, Khan wrote:

A different section of statement relays Fisher’s view of the empirical realities, which would make him extremely unpopular today:

Sir Ronald Fisher has one fundamental objection to the Statement, which, as he himself says, destroys the very spirit of the whole document. He believes that human groups differ profoundly “in their innate capacity for intellectual and emotional development” and concludes from this that the “practical international problem is that of learning to share the resources of this planet amicably with persons of materially different nature, and that this problem is being obscured by entirely well intentioned efforts to minimize the real differences that exist”.

But it's odd that Khan considers Fisher's beliefs to be "empirical realities" (although regrettably unpopular ones) when Fisher's understanding of race must have been formed by the race map above, which classifies the French as "Greco-Latins" while the Germans are classified as "Teutons" (along with the British) and meanwhile Khan says in 2017:
“French-German” is a cluster almost certainly because there are no clear and distinct genetic differences between French and Germans. 
So other than agreeing that "race" exists, Khan's understanding of who is which race based on genetic evidence is completely different from Fisher's "empirical realities." And this doesn't seem to concern Khan in the least. It seems as though, so long as one is a true believer in the vague concept of "race" it doesn't matter if the racial classifications themselves are all over the place.

Unlike Razib Khan, National Geographic appears to have rethought its position, not on who belongs to which racial group, but rather the existence of race itself. The map above is from National Geographic in 1918, but ninety-nine years later they published an article: Why Race Is Not a Thing, According to Genetics which is primarily an interview with geneticist Adam Rutherford who says:
In many ways, genetics makes a mockery of race. The characteristics of normal human variation we use to determine broad social categories of race—such as black, Asian, or white—are mostly things like skin color, morphological features, or hair texture, and those are all biologically encoded.

But when we look at the full genomes from people all over the world, those differences represent a tiny fraction of the differences between people. There is, for instance, more genetic diversity within Africa than in the rest of the world put together. If you take someone from Ethiopia and someone from the Sudan, they are more likely to be more genetically different from each other than either one of those people is to anyone else on the planet!
If I was Razib Khan, I wouldn't hold my breath about finding any stupidity markers on African genes any time soon.

Based on their Twitter interactions, Khan appears to be on much friendlier terms than I would have predicted with Rutherford, who was called a  “race denialist” this past August by “American Renaissance’s John “too racist for National Review” Derbyshire.

Khan and Derbyshire have a mutual admiration society going back to at least 2005.

And when Khan was dumped by the NYTimes Derbyshire spoke up for him.

Razib Khan believes that he is unfairly treated because of his racialist positions but I think a big factor in his career trajectory is that he is just not very bright, and people outside of the right-wing bubble are not so willing to forgive that.

Khan has spent much of his career impressing people who believe in white supremacy and he's apparently found that a convincing argument for his own brilliance. And so in his mind the only possible reason for his career failures are the dastardly machinations of the barbaric Left and the media. 

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Razib Khan & Robin DiAngelo: where race essentialists of the Left and Right meet

In June 2017 on his web site "Brown Pundits" Razib Khan proclaims himself the enemy of "barbarians," meaning the Left.
Much of the media lies about me, and the Left constantly attacks me. I’m OK with that because I do believe that the day will come with all the ledgers will be balanced. The Far Left is an enemy of civilization of all stripes. I welcome being labeled an enemy of barbarians. My small readership, which is of diverse ideologies and professions, is aware of who I am and what I am, and that is sufficient. Either truth or power will be the ultimate arbiter of justice.
This is amusing because he has so much in common with the Far Left - at least the anti-appropriationist branch - when it comes to holding an essentialist belief in race.

The anti-appropriationists are in perfect agreement with Razib Khan that race is a clear-cut, obvious attribute of every single person and which controls aspects of an individual's intellect and/or morality. A recent NYTimes piece by Thomas Chatterton Williams says it very well:
I have spent the past six months poring over the literature of European and American white nationalism, in the process interviewing noxious identitarians like the alt-right founder Richard Spencer. The most shocking aspect of Mr. Coates’s wording here is the extent to which it mirrors ideas of race — specifically the specialness of whiteness — that white supremacist thinkers cherish. 
This, more than anything, is what is so unsettling about Mr. Coates’s recent writing and the tenor of the leftist “woke” discourse he epitomizes. Though it is not at all morally equivalent, it is nonetheless in sync with the toxic premises of white supremacism. Both sides eagerly reduce people to abstract color categories, all the while feeding off of and legitimizing each other, while those of us searching for gray areas and common ground get devoured twice. Both sides mystify racial identity, interpreting it as something fixed, determinative and almost supernatural. For Mr. Coates, whiteness is a “talisman,” an “amulet” of “eldritch energies” that explains all injustice; for the abysmal early-20th-century Italian fascist and racist icon Julius Evola, it was a “meta-biological force,” a collective mind-spirit that justifies all inequality. In either case, whites are preordained to walk that special path. It is a dangerous vision of life we should refuse no matter who is doing the conjuring.
Now I don't think Ta-Nehisi Coates is as bad as Williams says he is, especially in the superb piece he is talking about The First White President.

I think that Coates' talisman metaphor for whiteness referred in that case to the cultural perception of white difference and superiority in the United States as exploited by Donald Trump. Although I will agree that like identitarians generally, Coates is quick to advocate censorship when it suits him.

The argument between the Far Left and the Far Right on the issue of race is not the existence nor the essential nature of race, it's a disagreement over which "race" is superior. The Far Right believes in the innate intellectual inferiority of non-whites, most especially African Americans, while the Far Left believes in the innate moral inferiority of whites, especially those of northern European ethnicity.

Razib Khan mentions a victim of identitarian extremism on his GNXP blog:
 (basically I think anyone who has sympathies that they have the courage to make vocal with classical liberalism will end up on the Right eventually; I’m looking at you, Bret Weinstein).
Khan is referring to the incident when Weinstein, a leftist, was the target of race essentialists:
Bret Weinstein is a biology professor at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash., who supported Bernie Sanders, admiringly retweets Glenn Greenwald and was an outspoken supporter of the Occupy Wall Street movement. 
You could be forgiven for thinking that Mr. Weinstein, who identifies himself as “deeply progressive,” is just the kind of teacher that students at one of the most left-wing colleges in the country would admire. Instead, he has become a victim of an increasingly widespread campaign by leftist students against anyone who dares challenge ideological orthodoxy on campus. 
This professor’s crime? He had the gall to challenge a day of racial segregation.
A bit of background: The “Day of Absence” is an Evergreen tradition that stretches back to the 1970s. As Mr. Weinstein explained on Wednesday in The Wall Street Journal, “in previous years students and faculty of color organized a day on which they met off campus — a symbolic act based on the Douglas Turner Ward play in which all the black residents of a Southern town fail to show up one morning.” This year, the script was flipped: “White students, staff and faculty will be invited to leave campus for the day’s activities,” reported the student newspaper on the change. The decision was made after students of color “voiced concern over feeling as if they are unwelcome on campus, following the 2016 election.”

What the Left identitarians are doing, as I have pointed out many times, is revenge. People who have been identified as Black have been legally kept out of various establishments in the United States up until the 1960s. What the Left extremists seek to do is identify people who are White and keep them out of an institution - in this case Evergreen College for a day - as symbolic tit-for-tat micro-revenge.

I've mentioned the problem with the Far Left's quest for revenge against randomly-selected white scapegoats in my criticisms of the career of Robin DiAngelo on this blog.

Razib Khan's argument is that people of African ethnicity are intellectually inferior to the rest of humanity, and therefore any claims of systemic bigotry against the ancestors of the enslaved people in the United States are false and there's nothing that society can do. Razib Khan believes in "human biodiversity."

Robin DiAngelo's argument is that all people of European ancestry living right now in the United States are collectively guilty of injustice against people of African ethnicity in the US, regardless of the expressed beliefs, political affiliations, or personal actions of individual whites. And any whites who protest when accused of racism are lying and/or deluded. Robin DiAngelo believes in "white fragility."

They both agree that the most important aspect of any human being is that person's "race." Thus demonstrating the horseshoe theory. Both the Far Left and the Far Right reject liberal notions of striving for colorblind fairness and reject Martin Luther King's dream that we all be judged on the content of our character and not the color of our skin. For identitarians of Left and Right, race is absolute and all-encompassing.

For Khan the government should not create social programs without taking into consideration the essential biological inferiority of the racial underclass. An attitude he shares with Charles Murray:
right now, we assume that ALL GROUPS HAVE EQUAL APTITUDES. the result is that liberals devise new social programs to “uplift” groups to express their potentional.
For DiAngelo it's not enough that we continue to struggle to address the systemic racism of the United States which disadvantages people of color, we must also assume all whites are ignorant and immoral. She demonstrates this when she freely lies about white people's collective view of Jackie Robinson's career.
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.
I expect that like Khan, DiAngelo feels misunderstood, even lied about, especially when quoted directly.

That's not to say that Khan is self-aware enough to recognize his own hypocrisy when he complains that his multi-ethnic childrens' school issues an advisory against certain Halloween costumes. He's so much more willing to accept the idea that people are not one race so long as we aren't talking about the descendants of African slaves in the United States.

The sweet sweet irony of Robin DiAngelo's targeting people of European descent is that Razib Khan is far more racist than many "whites" but DiAngelo only focuses on the racism of whites. So even though Khan built his career by sucking up to racialists like Charles Murray and Ron Unz, he gets a free pass from anti-white identitarians like DiAngelo.

Now please note, Khan claims he is not a racist.

However, I think what Khan said in 2006 applies to Khan himself:
Recently I’ve been saying that it is important to distinguish between what people believe, what they say they believe and what they do. The three do not always integrate well together
Khan's remark about Bret Weinstein was made in the same blog post where Khan complained he was blocked on Twitter by right-wing extremist Sebastian Gorka.

Meanwhile, I was blocked on Twitter by Razib Khan.

Monday, November 06, 2017

Razib Khan vs. Vox

Vox responded to Khan in an article There’s still no good reason to believe black-white IQ differences are due to genes.
I suspect that Khan’s reflexive criticism comes from a place of exasperation with the idea, still in circulation among some social scientists, that race is “just” a social construct or that the racial categories used in the US today are entirely meaningless. 
When social scientists say racial categories are "meaningless" I doubt many of them think that perception of race - and racism itself are "meaningless." They are certainly aware that there is a group of people in the United States who have been treated with horrific injustice, and that horrific injustice is based on the group's ethnicity, and that ethnicity has been characterized as "race."

An analogy would be theism - many social scientists are atheists themselves, but certainly don't characterize theism itself as "meaningless."

As usual, a cultural materialist approach is helpful. Anthropologist Marvin Harris used terms to indicate different perceptions of a culture based on whether one was trained as a scientist (etics) versus a participant in the culture itself (emics.)

In 1993 in the journal "Social Forces" Harris and three other authors addressed the issue of the fluidity of racial classifications in an article called Who are the Whites?: Imposed Census Categories and the Racial Demography of Brazil.

I think science writers want to give Khan the benefit of the doubt - after all, the guy is one of them, a science writer himself, and he's been given respect from mainstream outlets like Discover: surely, they figure, his belief in race cannot be as extreme as it seems. So they struggle to find common ground with him.

However, for all they claim they are not opposed to race as something besides a social construct, the Vox article describes the ever-changing nature of this social construct. The changing perception of Europeans is an excellent example:
Finally, we ignore some ancestral differences and focus on others when we categorize people into races. As a historical example, consider Carl Brigham’s 1923 book, A Study of American Intelligence. In a section titled “The Race Hypothesis,” Brigham attempts to classify people from different European countries in terms of their “Nordic,” “Alpine,” and “Mediterranean” blood: The Italians are estimated to be 70 percent Mediterranean; the English as 80 percent Nordic. 
The effort to divide Europe’s inhabitants by “blood” is crude, but in one respect, Brigham wasn’t wrong — with modern technology, you could certainly differentiate a person with English ancestry from a person with Italian ancestry. But sometime in the past century, we stopped conceptualizing the differences between the English and the Italians in terms of race. We elevate to the status of “race” the distinctions that are our current political and cultural preoccupations, while eliding others.

Yes, you can classify people into ethnicities. But race is a whole different story. A contemporary example is Latinos, who are generally considered "people of color." However, some Latinos consider themselves white. Who is to say whether they are right or wrong? Nobody, because clearly the label is completely subjective.

Ultimately what it all boils down to is that Khan, Murray and other proponents of "race" really just want to believe in race, and want to believe that contemporary African American problems, so obviously begun in slavery and continued for another 150 years of varying levels of oppression, are no longer due to injustice but rather due to biological inferiority.

But when you analyze their claims they fall apart. Which doesn't bother them at all. They just call anybody who questions their claims anti-science and politically correct.

When theists say atheists must prove there is no god, atheists respond that they are not obliged to disprove somebody else's claims, the obligation falls on the claimants to prove their claim.

This is why it's up to those who believe that race is scientifically valid to prove it. And so far they have failed miserably.

And like many theists when speaking of atheists who demand proof, Khan claims that race skeptics are "close-minded."

Sunday, November 05, 2017

23 and Razib Khan

I blogged about my own 23 and Me analysis some months ago.

But I didn't realize how closely Razib Khan was connected to 23 and Me. He's been writing about the company often on his Gene Expression blog since 2009. He's also discussed in the Forum section of 23 and Me.

Now it's clear that Razib Khan does believe that we are all, ultimately, Africans as the site he is (or was) associated with, FTDNA Learning Center says:

Don’t we all go back to Africa?

Yes. All of our Y-chromosome lineages trace back to a common ancestor who lived in Africa at least 115,000 years ago. Some lineages migrated out of Africa; others remained.
This map shows each of the major (backbone) paternal haplogroups’ paths out of Africa.

So the real issue for Razib Khan must be: at what point did groups of people moving out of Africa become intellectually superior to those who stayed behind in Africa? What was it that prompted the increase in intelligence?

I assume it can't be as simple as moving geographically northward, since Razib Khan's ethnic ancestry is from Bengal, which is fairly far south.

If you think all this DNA info would change Khan's unshakeable belief in the reality of rigidly-defined "races" you would be wrong. The Undark piece quotes Khan:
Still, Khan insisted that his writing about the biology of race was sound. “It’s not socially acceptable to say that there might be group differences in an endophenotype — in their behavior, intelligence, anything that might have any genetic component,” Khan said. “You cannot say that, okay? If someone’s going to ask me, I’m going say, ‘It could be true.’”
Other scientists, he insisted, believe the same things. They just won’t admit it. “I’m sick of being the only fucking person that says anything,” said Khan. “I know I make people uncomfortable, but a lot of times I say what they’re thinking.”
Clearly Khan feels constrained by political correctness, not by the weakness of his Got Smarter Once Out of Africa theory.

Just this past May, Khan replied to an article Charles Murray is once again peddling junk science about race and IQ in Vox, a piece which, as much as anything, demonstrates once again what a simple-minded bigot Sam Harris is.

Murray's point, as always, is that race is everything (it's pretty much his whole career) and that anybody who denies race, and who questions the use of IQ testing, is just being politically correct.

Of course Khan defends his hero, by quoting geneticist Neil Risch admitting that they don't have any scientific definition for "race" so they just go by the US census:
Risch: Scientists always disagree! A lot of the problem is terminology. I’m not even sure what race means, people use it in many different ways. In our own studies, to avoid coming up with our own definition of race, we tend to use the definition others have employed, for example, the US census definition of race. There is also the concept of the major geographical structuring that exists in human populations—continental divisions—which has led to genetic differentiation. But if you expect absolute precision in any of these definitions, you can undermine any definitional system. Any category you come up with is going to be imperfect, but that doesn’t preclude you from using it or the fact that it has utility.
First off - how convenient that he hand-waves away the broad brush used for race identification by saying "any category is going to be imperfect." But he believes it has "utility" - but what utility could it possibly have to broadly generalize people by "race"? Unless you're already convinced that race is a real thing and so you must have something in your data results that indicates race?

Risch is later quoted as saying that there is a connection between "micro satellite markers" and which race - presumably on the US census - the subject identifies with:

He's quoted in 2005. The US census for 2000 gave these choices:

One Race - Total                              450,000
White                                         400,000
Black or African American                      10,000
American Indian and Alaska Native               5,000
Asian                                             500
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander        100
Some Other Race                                34,400

Two or more races - Total                      50,000

Thanks to genetic testing we know that a large number of African Americans are two or more "races" - something that freaks Razib Khan out as I talked about here.

The reason it freaks him out is because his own beloved 23 and Me provided data to the NYTimes demonstrating the percentage of African DNA possessed by people who self-identified as African American. The percentage is as low as 65% in some states and less than 80% in most states. In other words most "African Americans" are two or more races.

We also see a considerable portion of "whites" with one percent or more of African ancestry, with the highest  likelihood of African ancestry being in the former slave states.

Now instead of acknowledging that the micro satellite markers were unable to demonstrate the high percentage of "mix race" individuals, Khan just says this:
2005 is a long way from 2017. Risch may have changed his mind. In fact, it is probably best for him and his reputation if he has changed his mind. I wouldn’t be surprised if Risch comes out and engages in a struggle session where he disavows his copious output from 2005 and earlier defending the utilization of race as a concept in statistical genetics.
What Khan is refusing to say is that advances in genetic testing demonstrate how useless the utility of  Risch's 2005 methodology is, and instead he implies the real problem is political correctness and risk to reputation.

Tomorrow: Vox responds to Khan.

Saturday, November 04, 2017

Race-obsessed Razib Khan - still obsessed with race PART 2

I mentioned yesterday that in his Undark article Race, Science and Razib Khan, author Schulson compared the racism of Razib Khan to that of NYTimes columnist Nicholas Wade, and seemed to indicate that Wade was the most hard-core believer in "race" and racial essentialism.

I don't think Khan is any less racist though. I think the reason for this is because Wade, as Schulson indicates, is retired. Wade is 75 years old. As a commenter in Schulson's article notes:
Put more bluntly, I don’t believe that Razib truly disavows anything he’s said or done since 2008 or so. I think he’s a man who’s suffered a ton of professional damage by running in certain circles, and is now trying stop the bleeding.
Understandable? Yes, of course. He has a family to support, and he’s no longer on Unz’s teat. I’d do the same in his position. But I still think he’s lying.
It's not hard to find evidence that in spite of his ending his gig at Unz as a regular columnist, Razib Khan is still obsessed with race.

One of his concerns is making it clear that people from Southeast Asia are different from Africans as he discusses in Race is not just Skin Color (Khan's father is just as dark as some African Americans.)

And Khan's wrong-headedness on the subject of race can be clearly demonstrated in this September 2017 blog post from his Gene Expression site. He writes in Black Ancestry In White Americans Of Colonial Background:
I stumbled upon striking photographs of “white slaves” while reading The United States of the United Races: A Utopian History of Racial Mixing. The backstory here is that in the 19th century abolitionists realized that Northerners might be more horrified as to the nature of slavery if they could find children of mostly white ancestry, who nevertheless were born to slave mothers (and therefore were slaves themselves). So they found some children who had either been freed, or been emancipated, and dressed them up in more formal attire (a few more visibly black children were presented for contrast). 
This illustrates that the media and elites have been using this ploy for a long time. I am talking about the Afghan girl photograph, or the foregrounding of blonde and blue-eyed Yezidi children. Recently I expressed some irritation on Twitter when there was a prominent photograph of a hazel-eyed Rohingya child refugee being passed around. Something like 1 in 500 people in that region of the world has hazel eyes! That couldn’t be a coincidence. Race matters when it comes to compassion.
Several points to consider: Khan considers abolitionists to have been "elites" - the term elite is used at the present time by conservatives to refer to liberals. Who are always the Enemy. The media is also the enemy of the Right as Donald Trump's recent tweets have made clear. Razib Khan considers the elites - abolitionists, modern-day liberals and the media, to be three groups who use the same "ploy."

Khan describes a strategy by abolitionists to promote compassion - by showing pictures of slave children who looked white. And he confesses to find this irritating - and he compares it to the distribution of photos of hazel-eyed refuges on Twitter.

Khan seems to find it offensive that "elites" are aware that "race matters when it comes to compassion." But it is not a controversial view to hold that in general, people prefer those who look like themselves. My impression is that Khan is trying to smear "elites" for recognizing this reality.

But I think the more important source of Khan's agitation over the "ploy" is that abolitionists made an important point: that the concept of race itself was a social invention and not a biological one. A major justification for slavery was that blacks were innately inferior to whites - a belief that Razib Khan and his patrons hold and promote. And yet how could slave children who look exactly like superior white children be members of the inferior black group?

I don't think that Khan will continue to downplay his racial obsession for much longer. First because he can hardly help himself, that is who Razib Khan is, obsessed with demonstrating the inferiority of Africans - especially West Africans who were most heavily targeted in the slave trade for the Americas.

But also because blatant racism - especially racism that can pass itself off as science by employing STEM terms - is where the money is. 

And we know that's where the money is because we know that the very wealthy are bankrolling racism - the Koch brothers support Khan's intellectual hero Charles Murray, while Robert Mercer has been supporting Khan's admirers including, until recently Milo Yiannopoulous - although not to worry, Mercer sold his stake in Breitbart to his daughter Rebecca, she-wolf of MAGA.

And Khan seems to be building a case on Twitter to justify his association with right-wing racist moneybags - because it's hard to make money as a pure scientist:

But what about Razib Khan's idea that having ancestors directly out of Africa - instead of out of Africa and then through Europe or Asia -  contributes to reduced "aptitude"? I will talk about that next.

Friday, November 03, 2017

Race-obsessed Razib Khan - still obsessed with race PART 1

I actually didn't wonder very much about Razib Khan's reaction to the Undark piece about him, Race, Science, and Razib Khan by Michael Schulson. I thought the article bent over backwards to be fair to Khan, and it certainly supported its claims about Khan - and gave Khan a chance to try to deny his race obsession. So I assumed Khan wouldn't have a notably negative response. 

I should have known better. He wrote a couple of weeks ago:
After the recent hit piece that was written about me in a well respected science journalism publication* (which has really updated my priors as to what I think about journalism and how much, or honestly little, I respect the profession) there is really no point in engaging with any prominent liberal that is outside of science because their minds are made up. I am honestly OK with that since I’m not liberal, and I still retain influence and following on the Right, where people are more open-minded about the world in my opinion (basically I think anyone who has sympathies that they have the courage to make vocal with classical liberalism will end up on the Right eventually; I’m looking at you, Bret Weinstein).
It's interesting that Khan considers himself a conservative: he is not white, he's an atheist, pro-choice and pro-science. I assume that the reason he thinks that the Right is more "open-minded" than liberals is because the Right accepts without question the nineteenth-century "science"  that claims humans can be arranged in "race"-based hierarchies. Because obsessing over race is what Khan does.

I was interviewed a year ago for the Undark article because I have been criticizing Khan since the earliest days of this blog, so my blog posts about him tend to appear on Google searches of Khan. Thanks to this visibility, I was a contributing factor in his being denied a post at the New York Times

As I said, I thought Schulson was much too sympathetic to Khan:
For all of this, dismissing Khan as a crank would be a mistake. While his associations are extremist, his science is not, and very little of what he writes about human genetics falls outside the pale of ordinary scientific discourse. Khan is also not alone in bridging the worlds of scientific racism and mainstream science and science writing. The Times dropped Khan in 2015, less than a year after one of its own science journalists, Nicholas Wade, published a book that made more sustained, incendiary arguments about race, with far more blowback from scientists.
In fact he is a crank - and a lousy writer too. The fact that the NYTimes publishes another crank, Nicholas Wade, does not make Khan any less of a crank. It's interesting that Schulson quotes Khan as saying: "Obviously, I don’t condone (racism)” while writing this about Wade:
“I can’t control how people use the book,” said Wade, who retired from The Times last year but still regularly contributes freelance articles to its science section — and who was himself interviewed by Khan back in 2010. Wade insisted that the book was not racist, but in an phone call, he also did not take an opportunity to disavow the white nationalists who have embraced it. He was dismissive of the controversy that surrounded “A Troublesome Inheritance,” and of the biologists’ letter to The Times. “It was an attempt to suppress a discussion of race,” Wade said. “Almost everything in the book you can find in The New York Times in my articles, and none of these guys objected at the time.”
I don't think this means that Khan is any less racist than Wade though. I will discuss that tomorrow.