Archives for category: gender roles

The current “Me too” campaign – long overdue, should be an eye opener.

Pointing out the perpetrators is a good start and we have a long way to go.

If we want to significantly reduce sexual harassment we need to examine ourselves, men and women, in a mirror.

How many times, as men and women, have we heard other men bragging about their sexual exploits, and said nothing?
How many times have we learned about other men using their rank/position to sexually impose themselves upon women, our colleagues, and did nothing?

And these were the easy ones…

Who raised and educated the present generation of sexual predators? Their mothers and fathers? Their teachers and neighbors? Who had put together the ‘sex sells’ culture which currently permeates everything?
How many women had voted for the ‘American Pussy Grabber’, despite the fact that he had proudly bragged about the whole thing? Why so many women, including ‘his’ wife, agreed that receiving oral sex in the Oval Office was something completely different from ‘having sex with that woman’?
How many women, including actresses, have used their charms to snare their bosses/business partners? And got away with it?
Why is it that in most countries the legislation which punishes the ‘working girls’ does not incriminate their clients?

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About the future, I mean!

no kids

This ‘piece of information’ keeps bouncing inside the Internet and is interpreted in various manners.

From ‘what to expect from leaders who are ‘this’ selfish’ to “I find it trashy and irrelevant. Merkel’s husband has two sons, btw.
Well… Macron’s wife also has her own children. And a few nephews.

What startled me was this reaction.
I’m under the stark realization that the most intelligent of the population have the fewest children, which might not bode well for voting statistics in the future.”

While the observation is, of course, correct, I’m afraid the interpretation attached to it is somewhat ‘confused’.

First if all, it’s not ‘intelligence’ that drives people to give birth to fewer children. Intelligence – coalesced at social level – helps a population to increase its living standard. As such, children no longer die young so parents no longer have to have so many of them. In order to have somebody help you in your older days you no longer have to give birth to more than two or three children.

If intelligence alone would have prevented people from having children Israel and the US would have been at least as ‘childless’ as Japan or most of the European Countries.
On the contrary. The US is still in a better situation than the EU, 1.8 vs 1.6, while Israel thrives at 3.1

Another way of making sense of what’s going on is to consider that people no longer make kids simply because they have reached the conclusion that ‘money’ can just as well help them cope during their older days. Since so few children live with, or at least near, their old parents this no longer seems so farfetched as it may look at first glance…

But what’s going on in Israel? They also have enough money…

The country needs soldiers to defend it’s very existence?

But, you know, Israel is a free country. Those kids could leave anytime before being drafted. As some of them do.

But most of them stay! Freely!

Then how about people giving birth having at least some connection with ‘hope’?
As in people having hope for a better tomorrow? One worth defending?

One worth making children for?

I checked my FB wall before ‘reloading’ ‘on the thickness of things’.

‘Zuckerberg’ made me an offer I couldn’t refuse:

“Your Memories on Facebook
Sarchis, we care about you and the memories you share here. We thought you’d like to look back on this post from 4 years ago.”

Wow, a robot – you know that FB is involved way over its head in AI, don’t you? – which cares about it’s client…

Anyway…

Here’s what I posted then:

“A Dog’s Life

An older, tired-looking dog wandered into my yard.

I could tell from his collar and well-fed belly that he had a home
and was well taken
care of.

He calmly came over to me, I gave him a few pats on his head. He
then followed me into my house, slowly walked down the hall, curled up in
the corner and fell asleep.

An hour later, he went to the door, and I let him out.

The next day he was back, greeted me in my yard, walked inside and
resumed his spot in the hall and again slept for about an hour.

This continued off and on for several weeks.

Curious I pinned a note to his collar: ‘I would like to find out who
the owner of this wonderful sweet dog is and ask if you are aware that
almost every afternoon your dog comes to my house for a nap.’

The next day he arrived for his nap, with a different note pinned to
his collar:

‘He lives in a home, with my non stop chatting and nagging wife,
he’s trying to catch up on his sleep ……

Can I come with him tomorrow ?

Thanks !”

Since I do not have any recollection about this I googled some of it in an attempt to find it’s origin.

Disclaimer

Many of these articles were submitted by PetPlace.com dog lovers and the original source is unknown in terms of origin, author or copyright. It is not our intent to infringe on anyone’s copyright and if it is done, it is done unknowingly and we would be happy to remove the offending content. Just email us!.”

The same text has been published by tens and tens of sites.
Or maybe more? I just scrolled down on the search results page, didn’t count them…

It looks like things do have a certain thickness, don’t they?

An otherwise excellent article published by Robby Soave in reason.com claims that “Trump Won Because Leftist Political Correctness Inspired a Terrifying Backlash

While I think that yes, there is something here, I’m also afraid that the author is ‘guilty’ of the same crime… he’s too afraid of ‘crossing the red line’ that to go all the way and spill it out.

“Trump won because of a cultural issue that flies under the radar and remains stubbornly difficult to define, but is nevertheless hugely important to a great number of Americans: political correctness.”

“What is political correctness? It’s notoriously hard to define. I recently appeared on a panel with CNN’s Sally Kohn, who described political correctness as being polite and having good manners.That’s fine—it can mean different things to different people. I like manners. I like being polite. That’s not what I’m talking about.

The segment of the electorate who flocked to Trump because he positioned himself as “an icon of irreverent resistance to political correctness” think it means this: smug, entitled, elitist, privileged leftists jumping down the throats of ordinary folks who aren’t up-to-date on the latest requirements of progressive society.

Example: A lot of people think there are only two genders—boy and girl. Maybe they’re wrong. Maybe they should change that view. Maybe it’s insensitive to the trans community. Maybe it even flies in the face of modern social psychology. But people think it. Political correctness is the social force that holds them in contempt for that, or punishes them outright.”

There are two problems with this approach.

It is both counterfactual and too imprecise.

First things first.
A sizable portion of Trumps supporters do not care much for such subtleties like ‘political correctness’. They might indeed feel ‘the social force that holds them in contempt’ but they are the kind of people who do not beat around the bush. They blame a person directly, not their manner of thinking.

Secondly, using the same name for two very distinct behaviors, ‘polite and having good manners‘ versus ‘jumping down the throats of ordinary folks who aren’t up-to-date on the latest requirements of progressive society.‘ is so imprecise that it becomes counterproductive.

By using the same label for both we end up discouraging both.

Do we really want to discourage people from being polite? From having good manners?
Do we really think that actually destroying all ‘political correctness’, the first kind included, is a good thing to do?

The way I see it we have to use a different moniker for the second behaviour.

How about ‘political bigotry’?

This way it would be clear what we stand for and what we strongly oppose.
‘Good manners’ would be in and ‘grab them by the pussy/jumping down the throat… simply because we can’ would be out.
‘Polite and considerate’ would be in while ‘smug, entitled and privileged‘ would be out.

OK, then please someone explain to me what the heck is going on here.

“Other researchers have pointed out the correlation between education rates and declining female health outcomes. The most shocking study, published in August 2012 by the journal Health Affairs, found that life expectancy for white female high-school dropouts has fallen dramatically over the past 18 years. These women are now expected to die five years earlier than the generation before them—a radical decline that is virtually unheard of in the world of modern medicine.”

femalemortalityratesmaplg

(Health Affairs/The Population Institute, University of Wisconsin)

“…women in parts of the country have been left behind, and in some cases, they are dying younger than they were a generation before.”

swing-states-20161

 

This map shows the probable number of votes each parties candidate would win in the Electoral College if the meeting of the College were held today.  If you live in a red state on the map above you probably do not have to vote for anyone for the office of POTUS but you should vote for a candidate for all  the other offices on the ballot.  – Abyssum

Specially after more of his antics have came to light…

I couldn’t find any current data so I’ll have to make do with what the Atlantic had published a month ago.

trumps-base

So, a little over 12% of his votes come from college, or higher, educated women while the total is no less than 48%.

Now, would you care to guess which of these women will continue to disregard his being ‘automatically attracted to beautiful’ and keep rooting for him?

Would you even consider Hillary Clinton as a likely candidate?

“Even though she found the job distasteful, Rodham mounted what she felt was her strongest possible defense of Taylor. As Newsday reporter Thrush wrote in 2008, “Her approach, then and now, was to immerse herself in even unpleasant tasks with a will to win.””

At that time Clinton had been ordered by a judge to defend a rapist – which all practicing lawyers can expect to be asked to do.
“Once she no longer had a choice in the matter, Clinton said in a 2014 interview that she had a professional obligation to give Taylor the strongest possible defense.

“I had a professional duty to represent my client to the best of my ability, which I did,” she said.

Gibson (the prosecutor who tried the case)  recalled that the young lawyer worked overtime on the case in hopes of impressing the court, which might them help establish the reputation of her new legal aid clinc.”

Further more:
“Despite her discomfort with the case, Clinton aggressively defended her client. In an affidavit to the court, she said a child psychologist had told her that children “from disorganized families,” such as the victim, “tend to exaggerate or romanticize sexual experiences.” “

In this sense is it possible that even a college educated woman, like Hillary Rodham Clinton, might vote for somebody like Trump, simply because she might consider other things to be more important than his bragging about ‘grabbing beautiful women, who allow him to do it because he is a “star”, by their pussies’?

OK, you’ll tell me that in the voting booth each of us should behave in a ‘personal’ rather than a ‘professional’ manner.

I’ll up the ante and ask you what kind of person is able to efface his/her personal self so efficiently, simply in order to ‘help establish his/her professional reputation’?

Or accept a gleeful ‘pussy grabber’ as the most powerful person on Earth?

bullshit

I’m not a Trump fan. How could I be? Just look at his face!

On the other hand….

“I call it the law of the instrument, and it may be formulated as follows: Give a small boy a hammer, and he will find that everything he encounters needs pounding.” Abraham Kaplan

Or, in this case, convince a journalist of something and he will ‘dress’ the facts to fit his new conviction.

As I said before, I don’t like Trump.
If I didn’t have a lot of trust in the overall resilience of the American democratic system I would be scouring for a big enough rock to hide behind if/when he might ascend to power.
Unfortunately the present most likely alternative isn’t any better.

But that’s another topic.

Let me go back to the present one.

What we have here is a news/opinion outlet which has a clear political option.
OK, I can live with that. I have some opinions of my own and I love to argue and defend them. In private as well as in public.

But I do believe that the quality of the arguments used in a debate are of paramount importance.

Let me analyze the four I mentioned above.

“Within 20 seconds at a press conference on Wednesday, actual Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump went from suggesting that Russian President Vladimir Putin had once called President Barack Obama the n-word to saying he hopes Putin likes him.”

The apparent implication here being that Trump has trouble maintaining logical consistency inside a rather short discourse and that he is rather gullible – “For the record, there is literally zero evidence that Putin ever called Obama the n-word. It’s hard to say where Trump got this idea, but he has a long history of naively restating things he heard from one person — even random people on Twitter.

Hard to argue against this, specially since there is ample video testimony that he really said it.

a shocked again trump

Well… after actually hearing him, things are not so clear anymore.

“Putin has said things over the last year that are really bad things. He mentioned the n-word one time,” Trump said from his resort in Doral, Florida.
“I was shocked to hear him mention the n-word. You know what the n-word is, right?” Trump continued. “He has a total lack of respect for President Obama.”
Putin doesn’t like Obama, Trump told reporters.
“I think he’s going to respect your president if I’m elected, and I hope he likes me,” Trump said.
Earlier in the news conference, Trump claimed he had never met the Russian leader.”

Not a trace of either ‘gullibility’ nor of any logical fracture here. So why not call Trump for what he really is – a callous manipulator – instead of using convoluted makeshift allegations?

normal versus anormal

Absolutely impossible not to agree with everything written here, right?
No matter what side any of us belongs to…but wait!

“The Democratic Party’s convention was a normal political party’s convention. …”
“The Republican Party’s convention was not a normal political party’s convention….”

A new cleavage in American politics: normal versus abnormal

America’s main political cleavage is between the Democratic and Republican parties. That split has meant different things at different times, but in recent decades it primarily tracks an ideological disagreement: Democrats are the party of liberal policies; Republicans are the party of conservative policies.

But in this year’s presidential election, the difference is more fundamental than that: The Democratic Party is a normal political party that has nominated a normal presidential candidate, and the Republican Party has become an abnormal political party that has nominated an abnormal presidential candidate.

No, I’m not going to take sides here. Not only because I’m not an American citizen so I’m not entitled to vote. But simply because Democracy relies mostly on mutual respect. You cannot refuse to the other party the very right to exist yet still call yourself a democrat. Pretending that your opponent is ‘abnormal’ means that you’re convinced that your opponent should not exist at all.

The way I see it ‘America’s main political cleavage is indeed between normal versus abnormal’ only it seems that both the  Democratic and Republican conventions, if not the parties themselves, belong to the realm of the ‘abnormal’.

But wait, things are getting even more juicier.

When women speak, people tend to mentally turn up the volume

Women, and women leaders in particular, often get criticized more for how they say something than for what they actually say. They have to walk a difficult line of being assertive but not too aggressive, likable but not too much of a pushover.

Even though women are interrupted more often and talk less than men, people still think women talk more. People get annoyed by verbal tics like “vocal fry” and “upspeak” when women use them, but often don’t even notice it when men do.

The same mental amplification process makes people see an assertive woman as “aggressive,” which gets in the way of women’s personal and professional advancement. Women are much more likely to be perceived as “abrasive” and get negative performance reviews as a result — which puts them in a double bind when they try to “lean in” and assertively negotiate salaries.

These kinds of implicit biases are sexist, but having them doesn’t make someone “a sexist” — or if it does, it makes all of us sexists. It doesn’t matter how smart you are or whether you are a man or a woman; everyone has some implicit biases against women.

And that may be one reason why this is the first time a woman has ever won a major party’s nomination.

OK, so what should people do? Vote for Hillary Clinton simply because she’s a woman?

And no, I don’t have any implicit biases against anybody. I cannot vouch for anybody else but I cannot see myself as ‘abnormal’ so I expect there are others in my situation.
Hence I strongly believe that candidates should be evalued ‘all around’, without any biases based on their gender.

Or race.
Hey Trump, this one is specially for you.

barack is not the cause

I’m afraid that Dara Lind, the author of the article I just quoted above, has got her ‘butterfly’ wrong.
It’s not Obama that inadvertently caused any hurricane.
Do you remember the intensity of the birther campaign that had swept across America both before and after Obama was elected President?

And while it’s clear that Trump was one of the most vocal ‘birthers’  do you know who started the whole thing?

“You know who started the birther movement? Do you know who questioned his birth certificate, one of the first?” Trump asked.

“Hillary Clinton, she’s the one who started it. She started it years before it was brought up by me.”

Trump said he no longer talks about the issue because it always breeds controversy but promised to “raise it against” Clinton in a general election.

OK, we don’t have to take Trump’s word on this, even if he’s quite an authority on the subject – given his passion about the issue.

The last quote is from an article published on the CNN site. Click on it if you want more specifics.
OK, so where does all these leave us?
Scratching our heads while trying to figure out what went wrong around the ‘deep well of anxiety about America losing its culture and values’?
Or rather staring at those who drew from deep within this well and used the proceedings to stoke people’s emotions in order manipulate them? One way or the other?
It seems the he wasn’t the only one. Wannabe presidential candidate and ‘racial provocateur’.
So why keep on hoping that by choosing the ‘lesser evil’ we’ll ever reach the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’?
Why keep on trying to manipulate people one way or another instead of finally calling both ’emperors’ for what they are?

trumped up plagiarism

I’m not naive enough to argue that the most powerful man on Earth must also be a very honest one and that not even the slightest shadow must be allowed to tarnish his public image.

After all even his followers portray him as an effective leader who gets things done, not as a virgin knight riding a white horse. Otherwise the ’eminent domain’ incident and all subsequent ones would have already scuttled his political career.

Recent developments show that at least some Americans have started to figure out the real danger posed by his ‘management style’:

It’s an embarrassing screw up; clearly the passages were lifted, and a half-assed attempt was made to vary them by changing a word or two. Sad thing is, Melania actually did a good job in the delivery. This didn’t have to happen.

It just offers more evidence that Trump can’t/won’t hire competent people. He’s ultimately responsible here. With him as President, we’d probably be subject to these kind of embarrassments on a daily basis. Seems he either hires people who are in way over their head, or hires smart people and then refuses to listen to them. What kind of cabinet would he pick as President? It really doesn’t matter; he probably wouldn’t heed their advice anyway

Unfortunately they also prove that there are some people who don’t give up on him so easily:

Michelle Obama did not write “her” speech. A team of paid political speechwriters did. THAT is Trump’s point with having his wife repeat those words.

PS.
Just read about another possible interpretation of what had happened.

The sentences were probably planted there to make Melania’s speech go viral and drive the left wing crazy.

Very plausible hypothesis, given Trump’s modus operandi, and suggesting that Trump may entertain an even more disparaging opinion on his followers than the one he has already expressed:

““I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters,” he said.”

‘I can make my wife do some dirty work for me and still not loose any voters’.

shooting trump

rape in the not so virtual reality

Two concepts are slowly merging into one and becoming more and more obvious for the most oblivious among us.

Virtual reality was mentioned for the first time way back in the XXth century.
In 1938, Antonin Artaud described the illusory nature of characters and objects in the theatre as “la réalité virtuelle” in a collection of essays, Le Théâtre et son double. The English translation of this book, published in 1958 as The Theater and its Double,[2] is the earliest published use of the term “virtual reality”.
Nowadays the concept has been widened to cover a lot more than what’s happening inside the theaters.
In fact, the technology used to create VR is able to transform everyplace in a stage, everybody in an actor and to broadcast everything almost everywhere.

The other concept I was mentioning at the beginning of my post is a lesser known one.
The Social Construction of Reality“, published in 1966 by Peter L Berger and Thomas Luckmann eloquently explains how various groups of people collectively adapt their historically accrued habits (cultures) to the ever-changing surrounding reality. One of the sources of change being human activity itself.

The latest, that I heard of, addition to the realm of the not so virtual anymore reality is Periscope. A mobile app that lets its user broadcast, live, whatever he/she deems interesting enough from what is taking place around him/her. What is broadcast has a ‘shelf live’ of 24 hours but can be deleted at wish or made permanent. Also the sharing ‘voyeur’ has control over the audience, it can be set as ‘public’ or ‘private’ – and broadcast only to a selected few.

Some days ago two female high-school students and friends, one 18 and the other 17, met a 29 male in a Columbus, Ohio, mall. He bought them a bottle of vodka and “encouraged them to meet him the following day“.
The girls ‘honored’ the invitation, the three  ‘socialized’ for a while – read “had all been drinking“, and then the male proceeded to raping the youngest of the girls.
The older one live-streamed the rape using Periscope.

The case came to light when authorities were contacted after an out-of-state friend of the woman saw the images, Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien said.

It is not unusual for a rape to remain unreported by the victim. It’s not OK, but it happens.
Also it is not that unusual for a rape to remain unreported even after friends or relatives of the victim learn of the event. Again, it is not OK but it is known to have happened before.

Yet this is the first time that I’ve heard of a rape that had taken place practically in public and which wasn’t reported ‘live’ to the police.

‘She does everything possible to contain the situation even to the point of asking while it’s being filmed to these Periscope followers, “What should I do now? What should I do now?”‘ Shamansky said.” Shamansky being a lawyer for the older girl, who is currently charged with rape, alongside the male perpetrator.
Separately, she is being charged with “illegal use of a minor in a nudity-oriented material or performanceforlivestreaming her friend nude the day before the assault“.

And how did the viewers react to the broadcast? Except for the “out-of-state friend of the woman” who reported the incident, of course?

Here’s the prosecutor’s side of the story:

O’Brien said Lonina is seen trying to help only briefly during the 10-minute video. O’Brien said the victim was clearly screaming ‘stop’ and ‘no’ during the assault.
Although Lonina told police she was trying to record the assault as evidence, her behavior as people watching via Periscope ‘liked’ the assault painted a different picture, O’Brien said.

‘She got, I guess, taken up with all the “likes” that her livestream was getting and therefore continued to do it, and did nothing to aid the victim,’ O’Brien said.

I don’t know what, or even if, she could have done anything in a really effective manner – remember that all three had been drinking – but I know for sure that at least some people were watching the live stream. The ones “liking” it.

I still cannot understand how come all of them failed to call 911.

iqvl1s8v8lzmbki8xjyy

“Administrators at the Success Academy—a network of high-performing charter schools in the New York area—are standing behind what they call a model teacher, who was caught on camera ripping up homework and berating a first grade student for answering a math problem incorrectly.”

 

I totally disagree with this kind of behaviour.
Having said that let me offer you a glimpse of what’s going on in the minds of those who accept or even promote it:
Shouldn’t we be working at both ends of the problem?
Educate the educators about how to motivate the children to learn without crippling their souls AND educate the employers and their agents (managers) about how treating your work force with due respect would yield way better results than using mockery/belittlement as a motivation tool?
And shouldn’t we also be educating ourselves about the fine difference between spoiling a child and helping him/her into becoming a fully-fledged adult (a ‘man’ in the un-gendered meaning of the word)?

p03j0k3f

“Saudi women need to ‘think like men’

Gender segregation in Saudi Arabia has sometimes led to “immaturity”, a Saudi businesswoman and member of Jeddah’s municipal council has told BBC HARDtalk.”

 

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