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Monday, November 30, 2015

Pretty girl jobs

A young man mentioned to me the other day that certain jobs are basically those that strippers would do if they had college degrees.

For instance, advertising account executive. They get hired in large part because of their looks, and also because they have pleasing personalities. They don't get hired because they're mistaken for marketing geniuses.

When was the last time you saw a plain woman who worked at Sotheby's or Christie's? An auction house hoping to present an elegant facade wants traditionally beautiful women to augment that impression. And management knows that if you're going to throw away a bundle on art, you at least want that money collected by enticing women. Even if those women don't know anything about art.

Pharmaceutical reps are supposed to have some understanding of chemistry, and biology. But if you've ever seen the women who traipse around to doctors' offices hawking recently FDA-approved drugs, you realize that their number one qualification is pulchitrude. Doctors are only human, and more susceptible to the blandishments of someone they want sex with. Science be damned.

Ditto for photographers' reps, though a college degree isn't a requirement there.

Even Wall Street hires saleswomen for their looks. Look at the contrast between the traders, analysts, investment banks, and internal technology people on the one hand, and the female salespeople on the other. Or just ask yourself this simple-but-telling question: how many of the former have had plastic surgery, vs. how many of the latter?

How many female newscasters do you see who aren't good-looking? Sure, a beauty might be disqualified by an overly strong regional or ethnic accent. But it's not as if what separates the women who get the on air jobs from their fellow Communications majors is a keen grasp of realpolitik.

As always, the gap between what employers will say ("We want self starters, hard workers willing to roll their sleeves up and learn the business") and what they mean ("We want good looks") is yawning.

You'll never see a help wanted ad for these jobs which specifies beauty as a requirement. But that doesn't mean that isn't the primary prerequisite. As the young man pointed out, these are all jobs where women get hired mostly because of their sex appeal.

The same reason strippers get hired.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Alinsky's "Rules for Radicals" is sociopathy in political form

Community organizer Saul Alinsky published Rules for Radicals: A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals in 1971. We've all heard his name, and we've all heard that Barack Obama is an Alinsky-ite, so it's instructive to take a look at exactly what tactics Alinsky recommended.

According to Wikipedia, the rules are as follows (my comments in italics) :

1.“Power is not only what you have, but what the enemy thinks you have.” Power is derived from 2 main sources – money and people. “Have-Nots” must build power from flesh and blood. (This reinforces what Alinsky said -- in 1971 -- about how real radicals must cut their hair, wear suits and ties, and infiltrate from within. Pretending to be what you are not or have what you don't is typical sociopathic behavior.)

2. “Never go outside the expertise of your people.” It results in confusion, fear and retreat. Feeling secure adds to the backbone of anyone. 

3. “Whenever possible, go outside the expertise of the enemy.” Look for ways to increase insecurity, anxiety and uncertainty. (Sociopaths are master manipulators, adept at ferreting out and preying on others' insecurities.)

4. “Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.” If the rule is that every letter gets a reply, send 30,000 letters. You can kill them with this because no one can possibly obey all of their own rules. (Sociopaths frequently insist that others play by the rules while they themselves flout them.) 

5. “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.” There is no defense. It’s irrational. It’s infuriating. It also works as a key pressure point to force the enemy into concessions. (Sociopaths are by nature bullies, which is what this is essentially recommending; this was obviously what Obama was trying to do when he said recently that Republicans were "afraid of widows and orphans.")

6. “A good tactic is one your people enjoy.” They’ll keep doing it without urging and come back to do more. They’re doing their thing, and will even suggest better ones. (More manipulation, from the drug dealer playbook: get them addicted, so they want more.)

7. “A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.” Don’t become old news. (Sociopaths themselves are easily bored, so they assume others are as well.) 

8. “Keep the pressure on. Never let up.” Keep trying new things to keep the opposition off balance. As the opposition masters one approach, hit them from the flank with something new. (Sociopaths show no mercy.) 

9. “The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.” Imagination and ego can dream up many more consequences than any activist. (Sociopaths love to threaten and scare.) 

10. "The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition." It is this unceasing pressure that results in the reactions from the opposition that are essential for the success of the campaign. (This sounds like a repeat of #8: show no mercy.) 

11. “If you push a negative hard enough, it will push through and become a positive.” Violence from the other side can win the public to your side because the public sympathizes with the underdog. (Provoke a reaction on purpose, then play the victim -- classic sociopathic behavior.) 

12. “The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.” Never let the enemy score points because you’re caught without a solution to the problem. (Sociopaths are glib, and always seem to have an answer to everything.)

13. “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions. (Sociopaths love to create dissension between others.) 

Sociopaths seem to come by these types of techniques naturally. It's pretty much instinctive with them, which is why we see these patterns repeated over and over again in their behavior.   

Believe it or not, Alinsky actually dedicated his book to the Devil: "the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom — Lucifer."

Little wonder Barack Obama would take to Alinskyism so readily.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

David Canary, RIP

Last night commenter Birdie told me that David Canary, a well known actor who lived in my hometown, had just died. I'd met him in 2008 without knowing who he was, and wrote about my impression of him here.

He was a regular at the local pool, so I saw him pretty often. Towards the end his Alzheimer's was more apparent. But even though he had lost his short term memory, he remained gracious. The last time I saw him, this past spring, he still looked magnificent.

Despite being a big star, he was unassuming, and modest. And he went out of his way to be nice to a nobody like me. 


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Protesting segregation by demanding segregation

An article, Princeton students stand up to political correctness, appeared on Marketwatch today. After the 200 members of the Black Justice League made certain demands to the President of the university, 1300 students signed a politely worded petition affirming free speech as a core value of the campus.

In any case, what really stood out was this paragraph: 

The Black Justice League’s demands include a dorm for those who want to celebrate black affinity; mandatory diversity training; and a requirement that students take a course on so-called marginalized peoples. They also want the renaming of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and the removal of a mural of President Woodrow Wilson. Wilson, who graduated from Princeton in 1879 and who served as the university’s president from 1902 until 1910, formally segregated the federal workforce.

So, to protest Woodrow Wilson's segregating of the federal workforce, the Black Justice League is demanding a "dorm for those who want to celebrate black affinity," i.e., a segregated dorm. 

What a finely tuned sense of irony this group must have.

Closet conservatives on campus

Although the BLM crowd has been kowtowed to by various campus administrators, it's hard to believe that every last college official has really been that fully brainwashed. All of these administrators know that it's worth their jobs to depart from the party line, so they all pay lip service to the proper pieties.

But there must be some academics who harbor secrets doubts about the current hothouse atmosphere on campus.

It's a little reminiscent of the atmosphere during Chairman Mao's Cultural Revolution of the 1960's. His Red Guard made sure that people toed the party line, or else. Anyone who didn't demonstrate the proper revolutionary attitude risked getting sent to a "reeducation camp" or being purged from party rolls.

Today, if you offend the politically correct cadres on campus, you might get sent to a "sensitivity training seminar." Or, you might even lose your job.

Mao Zedong wanted to promote 'true' Communist ideology in the country by purging remnants of capitalist and traditional elements from Chinese society. Barack Obama has said that he wants to "fundamentally transform" this country. So far, at least on the campuses, he seems to have taken a great leap forward.

But there must be some college flunkies out there who have secret misgivings about this new Cultural Revolution.

After watching the BLM-types run roughshod over the meekly cowed white students while simultaneously demanding "safe spaces," some college officials must think things are a bit awry.

Some of them must have reservations about equating words with "violence."

Some of them must wonder if clamping down on free speech is really such a great idea.

Some of them must wonder if dictating what is and is not an acceptable Halloween costume is the proper bailiwick of university administrators.

And some must wonder if the "rape epidemic" on campus is in fact real.

I can't imagine that all college officialdom swallow the party line whole. They can't all be that dumb.

Can they?

My guess is that there are quite a few faculty and administrators who feel nothing but contempt for the current wave of hysteria, but don't speak out because they need their jobs. 

Monday, November 23, 2015

Edwin Edwards quotes

I saw two days ago that John Bel Edwards had won the governorship of Louisiana, and wondered if he was related to Edwin Edwards, the colorful former four term Governor; he's not.

But, I was reminded of Edwards, who was born in 1927 and served from 1972-1980, 1984-1988, and 1992-1996. Eddie Edwards was a charming rapscallion of the sort rarely seen in politics anymore. (There are still plenty of rapscallions, but whatever charm they might have possessed is smothered by their overwhelming need to appear good and noble, an act Edwards never felt obliged to put on.)

Edwards was unquestionably corrupt, although he was not actually convicted until 2001 (he served a little more than eight years in jail), and he had, at best, a mixed record as Governor. But his charm and sense of humor carried him far further than his record should have.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the strong possibility that Edwards is a sociopath. He seemed to be without inhibition, had few brakes on his personality, and was an inveterate gambler as well as prolific womanizer throughout his life. He was glib and charming, and seemed to take his responsibilities lightly. (On the other hand, he never pretended to be what he was not, and did not leave a trail of disgruntled former associates in his wake.)

There are some men who act like naughty boys because that is essentially what they are, and there are some who put on that act to hide the fact that they are in reality evil. I'm not sure which Edwards was, so I'll remain agnostic on that score.

In any case, the point of this post is to celebrate his wit.

Edwards described his 1983 gubernatorial opponent David Treen as "so slow it takes him an hour and a half to watch 60 Minutes."

In 1985, Edwards was indicted on charges of mail fraud, obstruction of justice, and bribery. He was acquitted, and afterwards it was revealed that half of the jurors had stolen towels from the hotel where they were sequestered. Edwards commented, "I was acquitted by a jury of my peers."

On the subject of his alleged corruption: "People say I've had brushes with the law. That's not true. I've had brushes with overzealous prosecutors."

"I never speak ill of dead people or live judges."

In 1991, Edwards was asked by a reporter about a claim he had slept with six women in one night. Edwards replied, "No, it wasn't that way. He [the author] was gone when the last one came in."

In 1992, Edwards ran against white power advocate and former KKK member David Duke. Edwards, referring to his own reputation as a ladies' man, said of Duke that "the only thing we have in common is that we both have been wizards beneath the sheets." He also feigned concern for Duke's health due to smoke inhalation "because he's around so many burning crosses"and when a reporter asked Edwards what he needed to do to win the election, Edwards replied "stay alive."

During his 2011 roast after his release from prison, the 83-year-old Edwards said, "I give blood for them to make Viagra."

At that same roast, in reference to the aphrodisiacal nature of oysters, "I had a dozen last night, and only ten of them worked."

When his brother Marion told the 86-year-old Edwards that having sex with his 36-year-old wife could be dangerous, Edwards reportedly replied, "Well, Marion, if she dies, she dies." 

During a 2012 press conference with his wife, a registered Republican, on his upcoming run for Congress, when asked about what use he'd found for Republicans: "You sleep with 'em."

We still have plenty of corrupt politicians with dubious morality; it's just too bad that none of them are this entertaining anymore. 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

What is the appropriate penalty for a hate crime hoax?

One sure hate crime hoax and one likely hate crime hoax have been in the news in the past few days. At Delta College in Michigan, a person who posted on YikYak that he was going to "shoot every black person I can on campus" turned out to be Emmanuel D. Bowden, a black student.

At Harvard, there was a big outcry this week after students found black tape defacing the photographs of all of the black Harvard Law School professors. It turned out that the black tape was identical to the tape used by a group of activist black students at Harvard Law who used it the very same day to cover up Harvard Law School's current seal, which incorporates the coat of arms of a slaveholding family involved with the school's founding. While it isn't yet certain, this appears to be yet another hoax.

I've always felt that if a false accusation of rape can result in a prison term of, say, five years for an innocent man, if it can be proven that it was a maliciously false charge, the accuser should get an equivalent sentence herself. After all, this is what the accuser was trying to get for her victim, so that seems only fair.

So it should be with a hate crime hoax. What would the penalty have been for the white student who covered the faces of the black professors in black tape? Getting expelled from school? The same should apply to the hoaxer. Unfortunately, once an affair like this turns out to be a hoax, the matter is usually just dropped.

UVA rape accuser Jackie Coackley was never prosecuted for her false accusations. The woman who falsely accused the Duke lacrosse players of rape was never prosecuted. And whenever there is a racially-motived "hate crime" which turns out to be a hoax, usually everybody just breathes a big sigh of relief that it wasn't "real," and that's the end of it.

It shouldn't be. A hate crime hoax is every bit as bad as a hate crime.

In fact, the case can be made that a hate crime hoaxer is in fact guilty of a worse crime. What if the person who had placed that black tape over the photos of black professors had been white? What would he have been trying to accomplish? He most likely would have been trying to vent some animosity. The result would have been exactly what happened, a mini-tempest of outrage by the black students. The white student certainly wouldn't have won any converts to his side.

What would a black student have been trying to accomplish with that hoax? He would have been trying to stir up hatred between the races, which is arguably worse than just venting one's own spleen.

And all of this brings up a larger question: why are there so many such hoaxes these days? Because people want to be thought of as victims. It gives you the right to complain, to ask for special privileges, to demand more black faculty be hired, and so on.

A hate crime hoax is a hate crime, and should be prosecuted as such.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Mal Whitfield, RIP

An obituary for Mal Whitfield, the 1948 Olympic champion in the 800 meter run, appeared today in the NY Times. Whitfield was a heroic figure whose inspirational life story serves almost as a rebuke to today's self-indulgent college protesters.

The relevant excerpts, in italics:

Mal Whitfield, Olympic Gold Medalist and Tuskegee Airman, Dies at 91

Mal Whitfield, a sleek middle-distance runner who won three Olympic gold medals for the United States, at one point as a Tuskegee Airman, and later became an American good-will ambassador promoting athletics abroad, died on Thursday in Washington. He was 91…

Orphaned as a child in the Watts section of Los Angeles, Whitfield went on to set records and achieve celebrity while running for Ohio State University. In 1954 he became the first African-American to receive the coveted Sullivan Award as the nation's outstanding amateur athlete….

During World War Two, he was a member of the celebrated and racially segregated Tuskegee Airmen, part of the Army Air Forces. In Korea, he once trained for the Games between bombing missions, running on runways at night with a .45 caliber automatic strapped to his side. 

Whitfield was still a staff sergeant when he set an Olympic record in the 800-meter event at the 1948 London Games with a time of 1 minute 49.2 seconds.

He won another gold medal in the same Olympics anchoring the United States’ 4x400-meter relay team, and a bronze medal in the 400 meters.

Four years later, at the Helsinki Olympics, he won the 800 again — in the identical time — and added a silver medal in the relay. He just missed making the Olympic team in 1956….

With World War II on, he joined the Army Air Forces after graduating from Thomas Jefferson High School in 1943. He enrolled at Ohio State after the war, in 1946, while stationed nearby as a member of the 100th Fighter Squadron, a unit of the 332nd Fighter Group, popularly known as the Alabama-based Tuskegee Airmen. With that double duty, he said, he would wake up at 5 a.m. and go to bed at 12:30 a.m.

When the Korean War broke out, Whitfield was recalled to the service and served as a tail gunner on 27 bombing missions. But he continued to train for track, running at night while carrying his sidearms.

He was honorably discharged in 1952 and went back to Los Angeles to complete his bachelor’s degree at California State University, Los Angeles.

Whitfield went on to become a sort of roving ambassador for sport.

It's hard to read an obituary like this, in the midst of all the current college protests, and not reflect that people tend to act as they are encouraged to. In Whitfield's day, people were encouraged to act heroic, and they did. Whitfield was a shining example of that. 

Today, people are encouraged to act self-indulgent, and, for the most part, they comply.

When Whitfield was training for the 800 meters on those runways in Korea, he didn't ask for a safe space. He just strapped on his .45 and ran.

When Whitfield was with the Tuskegee Airmen, he didn't worry about microaggressions from the white soldiers. He was too busy dealing with macroaggressions from the North Koreans and Chinese.

And not only did Whitfield not benefit from affirmative action, he lived under the opposite system, segregation. The only reason the Tuskegee Airmen existed was because in those days blacks were not allowed to be part of regular units.  

Rest in peace, Mal Whitfield. 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Liberal conflation

I had an extended argument with commenter "Highly Refined Pirate" on the Movie Stars' political opinions post yesterday. HRP was polite, and she (I'm guessing HRP is a she) wrote well. But she managed to invoke a number of misleading liberal beliefs, including that liberals -- or at least scientists who are liberals -- are by nature "willing to consider the possibility that they are wrong and engage in open discussion with those of differing viewpoints," and that "if you are introspective and open, it's hard to accept many of the policies of the modern conservative movement." In other words, liberals are better people. (I've known plenty of liberals, and many of them actually believe this.)

She said that talking about group differences in IQ means denying the humanity of anyone with a lower IQ and that you want to deny them equal legal rights. (I've heard liberals say this before and always wonder where they get that idea.)

She also said that it's the conservatives who want to impose their will on everyone else. (I've heard liberals say this before, too. I guess they must be referring to the way conservatives want to force people to pay for health insurance they don't want, or to force girls to have boys showering with them in their locker rooms, or to confiscate law-abiding citizens' guns, etc.)

The exchange went as follows (HRP's comments in italics):

Highly Refined Pirate said...

When you ask those capable of making informed decisions (i.e. professionals with higher education) you notice that they are far from identifying with conservative views.

I will quote a response I noticed at Quora that pretty much sums up this rationale.

Clint Law wrote:
"...With that said, I've seen scientists (mostly physicists due to my background) that run the gamut of positions on social issues, economic policy, foreign policy, etc.

The one near universal trait that leads to liberal voting tendencies is:

Introspection and communication. Scientists, by nature, are willing to consider the possibility that they are wrong and engage in open discussion with those of differing viewpoints. Even if your are very conservative by nature, if you are also introspective and open, it is harder to accept many of the policies of the modern US conservative movement (again, I'm referring mainly to isolationism, war-mongering and religion-based government). Even if you agree with some things in principle (e.g. abortion is wrong), it becomes increasingly hard to support forcing these beliefs on everyone as you fully understand the views and supporting rationale of others."

Highly Refined Pirate --
True enough, as many of the other commenters have pointed out, professionals vary in their political opinions. But it's interesting that the "conservative" positions you mention are at odds with the positions this blog takes, and are actually not universal conservative positions. First, "isolationism" and "war-mongering" are close to being diametrically opposed. It's the neocons, who are generally despised by the paleo-cons, who've been the loudest voices agitating for war in the Middle East. If a true conservative doesn't want to go to war, he's called an isolationist; if he does, he's called a war-monger. If a liberal doesn't want to go to war, he's called a man of peace; if he does, as with Clinton's years-long bombing of Iraq or Obama's escalation of the Afghanistan War, nobody calls him a war-monger.

As far as religion-based government, again, a more-or-less-libertarian blog like this one is not for that, but yes, there are definitely Republicans who are against abortion, and there are even a few who don't want evolution taught in the schools. But I would say that the more modern "religion" of equalitarianism which demands that we all ignore group differences and attribute any difference in accomplishment to white racism or to sexism has a much more deleterious effect on society. Okay, maybe it's a stretch to describe that as a "religion," but given the way its True Believers adhere to it, it might as well be. And as far as "forcing these beliefs on everyone," just look at the way that anybody who veers from this equalitarian orthodoxy is at risk of losing his livelihood if he should utter any apostasy.

For some reason you make Egalitarianism sound like a bad thing. I'm not sure if that was your intent. All humans are equal and should have the same opportunities and rights. That's the basis of human rights. Though the difference in accomplishment is a real thing, backed by solid evidence. Does that mean that other groups are more prone to engage in illegal or dangerous activities because of "genetics"? No. It means those living in the fringes of society (mostly minorities) will be more prone to crime than those raised with a good education and stability (mostly white). If you are raised in the ghetto, it doesn't matter wherever you are black or white, you are likely to have a troubled life.

Those who believe in the so called "group differences" tend to be short-sighted and lack knowledge on the history of human civilization. Wasn't civilization born in the middle east? Mesopotamia? The cradle of western civilization were the Greeks, heavily influenced by the cultures of the near and middle east. Both the Romans and the Greeks looked down upon the Gauls, the Celts and the Germanic tribes (ancestors to what is considered now as "white people" in the United States) as uncivilized savages, with their "foreign customs" and false gods. Were they right? No. Moral relativism is the key word here. No group, no religion, no society, no culture is better than the other. It's all a matter of perspective.

We are all human beings, but some people tend to forget that.

Highly Refined Pirate --
You're putting words in my mouth. I never said that we shouldn't be equal in the eyes of the law, or that we shouldn't have equal rights. Nor did I suggest that we're not all human. But what we have right now is a society in which anybody who is aware of group differences and points them out is considered a thought criminal.

And I love the way you put genetics into quotation marks, as if they make no difference. One of the most obvious genetic differences is between men and women: men have more testosterone, and are far more prone to violence. And there have been tests in which people who are given testosterone supplements become more violent. Would you deny that? Is the difference in violent crime rates between men and women just a social construct? Likewise, blacks have more testosterone than whites, and are more prone to violent crime than whites. The statistics bear this out, and it's not a matter of prejudice or racism, it's simply a fact. Whites who were brought up during the Depression didn't have murder and rape rates anywhere close to today's rates in the ghetto.

It's the people who try to paper over group differences who are short-sighted and lack knowledge of the history of human civilization. Nobody denies that the Middle East, where agriculture first appeared, was the cradle of civilization. And Europe, by the way, is where the industrial revolution took place. But what does that have to do with current IQ differences between Europeans and sub-Saharan Africans -- who are clearly not the same race as the Mesopotamians.

I'm glad you're a moral relativist and see no difference between a Muslim culture which demands that girls not be allowed to go to school, be forced to wear burkhas, and have their clits cut off, and Western civilization, which demands none of those things. The real sin, after all, would be to notice or point out any of those differences.

I said I wasn't sure if that was your intention. I didn't mean to offend or put words in your mouth. Back on topic:

Of course genetics make a difference, just not the way you are trying to twist it. So what about the whites of the Germanic tribes and the Vikings. There is a bulk of evidence of their infamous brutal acts, sacrifices and terrible deeds in ancient records. Was it genetics then? or social conditioning? What about the holocaust? Trying to exterminate an entire ethnic group must mean something, no?

So now you bring the IQ differences to the table. So apparently if you raise a bunch of black kids in a WASPie home, send them to an Ivy League then you won't expect them to be of any worth, because you know, inferior genes. Blacks have nothing to do with Mesopotamians, but people from the middle east do, and they are heavily discriminated, along with Latins (which many are 100% european white btw) and to some extent the jews.

Moral relativism doesn't mean you approve what they do. It means you have a world view perception other than your own self-centered self. I wonder what people in the Middle East think after America went there to get their oil and bomb their cities. We shouldn't look through a one way glass.

Highly Refined Pirate --
Fair enough, you did say you weren't sure if that was my intention.

But how am I trying to "twist" genetics?

The difference between different groups is not that some are capable of mass brutality and others are not; every single ethnic group in human history has committed atrocities somewhere along the way, the Germans are hardly alone on this score, though they are often held up as singularly evil. Every group has murder, rape, and cannibalism in its past. The difference between groups is that some are more capable of civilization and functional democracies than others.

Interesting that you would bring up adopted children. In fact there have been extensive studies on that subject and they have found that adopted children inevitably have IQ's more in line with their biological relatives than with their adoptive families. This is true for both interracial and intraracial adoptions. And by the way, I would never say that someone is "not of any worth" because he has a lower IQ.

The larger point: liberals always seem to assume that if someone says that because there are group differences in IQ, then that is the same as saying that the lower-IQed group is "worthless" or "not human" or something along those lines. I've never used the word "inferior" to describe any group, and there's no morality imputed to a lower IQ, if you take a look at this blog you'll see I write about sociopathy quite often, and I talk about smart sociopaths as often as I do dumb ones. (They are equally evil.) But neither is the question of IQ differences a morally-weighted one; it's a scientific one. What you do with that information may have moral consequences, but the scientific answer is either true or false, not good or bad.

If I were to say that blacks are better sprinters than whites -- as a cursory glance at the Olympic results would make clear -- that does not mean I'm saying that whites are "inferior people," nor am I denying their worth as human beings. It's simply an accurate conclusion that any open-minded and clear-thinking person would come to. Likewise with other traits.

As far as moral relativism, what you said earlier -- that "no group, no religion, no society, no culture is better than the other" -- is interesting. I take it by this that you don't think that the Muslims are any worse for their attitude toward women. Or that Nazi Germany, which you referred to in your most recent comment, is any worse than any other society -- since "No group, no religion, no society, no culture is better than the other. It's all a matter of perspective." After all, it is good to "have a world view perception other than your own self-centered self."

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

How whites react

It's hard to make it through a day without reading about some situation which makes you think, hmm, if the races had been reversed, the sky would have come falling down.

Another such, a Black Lives Matter protest at Dartmouth College, took place this past weekend. BLM protesters rampaged through a Dartmouth library, yelling at the students who were trying to study.

They yelled:

“Fuck you, you filthy white fucks!”

“Fuck you and your comfort!”

“Fuck you, you racist shits!”

(Ah, the Ivy League: it takes only the best of the best.)

Throngs of protesters converged around fellow students who had not joined in their long march. They confronted students who bore “symbols of oppression”: “gangster hats” and Beats-brand headphones. The flood of demonstrators self-consciously overstepped every boundary, opening the doors of study spaces with students reviewing for exams. Those who tried to close their doors were harassed further. One student abandoned the study room and ran out of the library. The protesters followed her out of the library, shouting obscenities the whole way.

Students who refused to listen to or join their outbursts were shouted down. “Stand the f*** up!” “You filthy racist white piece of s***!” Men and women alike were pushed and shoved by the group. “If we can’t have it, shut it down!” they cried. Another woman was pinned to a wall by protesters who unleashed their insults, shouting “filthy white b****!” in her face.

Take a look at the reactions of the white students who were trying to study to the protesters in the embedded video in this article

For the most part, they kept their heads down, and didn't respond at all, each obviously hoping that he or she wouldn't be singled out for special abuse. 

Their behavior reminded me of nothing so much as the way people react to a large, barking dog: they try not to show fear, but at the same time don't do anything to antagonize it, and hope it won't bite them. 

This is an almost universal pattern. When whites see young black men on the street, they often feel trepidation, but they've also had it drilled into them that it's "racist" to feel such an emotion, so they try to hide that reaction. Occasionally, a white will do something overt like clutch her handbag closer and cross to the other side of the street. Blacks, of course, inevitably interpret this as proof of whites' innate "racism."

Whites instinctively sense that they are dealing with creatures who don't have the same level of inhibitions and constraints on their behavior as they do, so they walk on eggshells hoping not to provoke them. This is the dynamic that plays out in that video.

And it's a dynamic that is near universal. It's not as if this is the way it plays out at Dartmouth but not  at Cornell, or in Hanover but not in Portsmouth. This is the basic dynamic in every town, in every state, and at every college in the country.

Some whites are so afraid of blacks that they actually join these rallies, hoping to somehow placate and pacify them by showing "solidarity." (You can see some whites marching along at Dartmouth, though they are nowhere near as obstreperous and aggressive as some of the blacks are.) 

It's hard to even imagine a bunch of unruly whites disrupting black students who are trying to study, yelling, "Fuck you, you filthy black fucks!" and and "Stand the fuck up!" and "Filthy black bitch!" while pushing and shoving the black students, who would only respond meekly, if at all. 

It's an image that just won't come to mind. 

But if it ever did happen, we'd never hear the end of it. There would be endless editorials by the New York Times and their ilk, likening this horrible behavior to Nazism and the resurgence of the KKK.

The Dartmouth protest, however, will just fade down the memory hole, like countless other incidents of its kind. After all, the polite thing to do is to pretend you didn't notice it. 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Paris and Missouri

I don't really have anything to add to either story, other than to point out that it's a coincidence that both would happen at about the same time, since both reflect, directly or indirectly, a new high water mark for Western insanity.

It seems almost sacrilege to link the tragedy in France to the teapot tempest in Missouri, but both incidents are inevitable outcomes of the long period of liberal ascendancy.

The Muslims who have come to Europe don't go there because they want to assimilate. They want to take advantage of the generous welfare benefits the Northern Europeans offer, and, in some cases, because they want to get away from the cesspools they have turned their own countries into.

But what they want most of all is to have Europe assimilate to them -- and they have said as much. Even if they don't intend to become suicide bombers, they want Sharia law, and intend to outbreed and out-proselytize native Europeans.

Most of these Muslims have zero loyalty for the countries they emigrate to. More British Muslims have joined ISIS than have enlisted in the British Army.

The Muslims who live in the banlieus on the outskirts of Paris regularly riot and burn cars and attack outsiders who enter their neighborhoods. All of which demonstrate the same basic sentiment motivating the terrorists who attacked Parisians with AK-47's and hand grenades.

Yet Europe, hamstrung by political correctness, remains willfully obtuse. Will Europe finally heed this latest wake up call? Or will they, as they did after the Charlie Hebdo massacre, act horrified for a day or two, then hit the snooze button and continue to accept more immigrants who feel nothing but contempt for them?

At the University of Missouri, 200 protesting students pressured Tim Wolfe into resigning as President. His crime was to have not reacted with the requisite hysteria to recent racial incidents, and for having refused to stop his car to listen to protesters during the annual homecoming parade.

Since Missouri erupted, there have been similar incidents at Claremont McKenna College, Smith, Yale, and Amherst. The students have conflated words they don't like with "violence," and some have asked for "safe spaces," i.e., those where dissenting voices are not allowed.

The Left has come a long way since the Free Speech movement of the 1960's.

These protests seem to be pushing middle-of-the-roaders to the right. I've recently spoken to several people who've never been particularly partisan, including at least two who voted for Obama in '08, and all are disgusted by the protesters' ridiculous self-indulgence. One of the Obama voters said he'll vote for the Republican in '16 no matter who the candidate is.

Just as the attacks in Paris will help the National Front, the Missouri protests will help the Republicans.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Billionaire confidence

No matter how much you agree with Donald Trump's policies, it's hard to escape the conclusion after listening to him for a while that as a billionaire, you're apt to end up thinking yourself a little better-looking, a little smarter, and a little funnier than you actually are, simply because people treat you a certain way.

The Miss Universe contestants who throw themselves at Trump must make him feel quite attractive. They must all say something along the lines of "Oh Donald, you're so sexy," even if what they really mean is, "I find the idea of a multibillionaire quite stimulating, and by the way, I'm willing to do whatever it takes to have you fix the contest in my favor, if that's possible."

(You can tell Trump thinks he's good-looking by the way he so freely insults others' looks.)

Trump also seems to equate dollars with IQ points. In his view, he's basically ten times as smart as a guy with only one billion.

Much of Trump's justification for running seem to be that he has written The Art of the Deal and has a net worth of (supposedly) ten billion, which makes him far more successful than the other candidates. Given which, one has to wonder how he will react if Michael Bloomberg, who's legitimately worth 37 billion dollars, decides to run as an independent.

In the most recent debate, Trump responded to a criticism from Governor Kasich with, "I’ve built an unbelievable company worth billions and billions of dollars. I don’t have to hear from this man. Believe me, I don’t have to hear from him." Trump wouldn't really be able to use that line on Bloomberg.

The people who work for the Trump Organization undoubtedly laugh heartily at all of Trump's jokes, funny or not. Which has undoubtedly led Trump to see himself as quite the wit.

If I had a billion, I suspect people would treat me differently. And it would probably take more discipline than I've got to dismiss their blandishments as empty flattery.

Donald Trump doesn't seem to have that kind of discipline either. And he's a longtime billionaire, which only makes it worse.

Sometimes, when you look at the pictures of the nerdy young internet billionaires, they seem to have a deer-in-the-headlights look, as if they're uncomfortable in the spotlight and afraid of making fools of themselves. And while many look understandably happy, they don't have that practiced look of arrogance.


Give them a couple decades with yes-men (and "Yes!" women) and they'll see themselves differently.

As I've said before, I think Trump would actually be the best candidate for the middle class, unlikely as that seems. Of course, if he actually gets elected, it's always possible he will renege on some of his campaign promises.

One thing will not change, however, and that we can be sure of: his ego.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015


I'd read some middling reviews of the new James Bond film, but was still looking forward to seeing the movie last night. I figured, the critics just don't get it, Sam Mendes and Daniel Craig did such a great job with Skyfall that they couldn't possibly have gone too far astray with SPECTRE.

They did. The writers must have been so happy with the praise they received for Bond's childhood backstory in Skyfall, and for having resurrected the original Aston Martin, that they decided to milk the nostalgia angle even more in the new movie. They tried way too hard.

They threw in -- spoiler alert -- the exact stretch of highway in the Alps where Sean Connery used his Aston Martin's tire-slashing hubcaps to good effect on Tania Mallet's (Tilly Masterson's) Mustang in Goldfinger.

Ernst Stavro Blofeld's white pussycat -- formerly highlighted in You Only Live Twice and Diamonds Are Forever -- reappears.

At one point Bond finds himself in an underground chamber next to a body of water, which looks like one of the scenes in Dr. No. The high tech desert encampment vaguely resembles Dr. No's island fortress, and the way it self-destructs at the end is similar as well.

The funeral scene with Monica Bellucci is evocative of the funeral scene in Thunderball, and the house she retreats to afterward is similarly elegant.

During one high speed escape, Bond's car goes almost on its side, just like in Diamonds are Forever.

The only thing that was missing was Roger Moore's car which turns into a submarine. But at least the moviemakers were smart enough to realize that audiences are only nostalgic for the real James Bond --

-- so there were absolutely no references to any of the Moore, Dalton, or Brosnan Bonds.

In any case, one or two references -- a la Skyfall -- would have been fine. But referencing the entire Connery oeuvre was overkill.

Much of the movie was so over the top that it verged on camp, which is always unwelcome in a Bond movie. At the beginning of the movie, in the much lauded Day of the Dead sequence, Craig surfs his way down a collapsing building, in a ridiculous sequence far beyond any parkour artist's wildest dreams, and then lands, finally, in a couch.

How cute. Only James Bond is not supposed to be cute.

In another scene, Craig, in an airplane, does battle with the bad guys in their cars (usually it's the other way around). When the wings of Craig's plane come off, he continues to use it as a sort of prop-propelled sled, and drives it through a barn. (Well, maybe that was a Roger Moore-ish touch.)

All of the action scenes in Casino Royale, if not completely grittily realistic, at least gave that illusion. (Think of the initial fight scene where Bond earns his double-0 status in that bathroom, or the scene where he kills the bomb maker at the African embassy, or the way he strangles the African leader in that basement stairwell.) Most of the action scenes in SPECTRE, like the initial fight on the helicopter, were silly, and didn't even try to appear realistic.

It was almost as if, by trying so hard to evoke the early Connery movies, they turned it into Never Say Never Again.

The chief enforcer for the bad guys was played by Dave Bautista, a half-Filipino professional wrestler:

Bautista's low forehead, beard, and height make him appear sufficiently menacing, and of course a 'roided-up body is almost de rigeur for battle these days. Craig and Bautista have an extended fight scene in an elegant Orient Express-style train going across the North African desert (one wonders which line that is) in a scene which is meant to evoke the train fight in From Russia With Love.

This David-and-Goliath fight wasn't quite as ridiculous as, say, Angelina Jolie beating up a bunch of musclemen in a Lara Croft movie, but watching Craig hold his own against Bautista did defy credibility.

The fight, like so much of the movie, is so over the top that it verges on camp. The inside of the train is laid to waste as if it were made of papier-mache, and it was hard to escape the feeling that the action sequence was choreographed by the same people who choreograph Bautista's pro wrestling fights.

Somehow, having included a professional wrestler seems a fitting metaphor for the movie.

Christopher Waltz plays the criminal mastermind, and his performance marks the second film in a row in which the chief villain is effeminate. Waltz doesn't gay it up quite as much as Bardem did in Skyfall (the one discordant note of that movie). But, at the rate the franchise is going, it won't be long before Bond himself is playing for the other team.

My son complained that it was ridiculous that Bond didn't shoot the villain when he had the chance to at the end of the movie. That, of course, was because Blofeld must return in another movie.

I almost regretted that Bond didn't shoot himself.

The weird thing is, despite everything I just said, the movie was still fun: I have to admit, I enjoyed watching it, though not nearly as much as I did Skyfall. It's mostly when you think about it afterwards that you recoil a little.

Ah, I guess I'm glad Bond didn't shoot himself.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

What would Hillary have been without Bill?

A Gail Collins article in the Sunday Review section of today's NY Times was titled Hillary in History. About halfway through the article is the following line:

When the question of whether Hillary would have risen to presidential status if she hadn’t been married to Bill comes up, her fans tend to argue that if she hadn’t gotten married at all, she’d probably have gotten to the same place quicker on her own.

If you ever doubt how delusionary Hillary fans are, just remember that. First of all, the odds that anyone -- no matter how politically talented -- will rise to the point where they are considered a viable Presidential candidate are minuscule. The path to the Presidency is a long, serpentine one that requires ambition, fortuitous circumstance, the right connections, willing accomplices, a friendly media, and usually, a ton of subterfuge.

There are lots of people with political ambition and talent who never make it. The formula for success is tricky and far, far beyond any one person's control.

So the idea that any individual was somehow predestined from the start to end up with a major party nomination necessitates a leap of faith so large that it precludes any sense of how the incredible amount of happenstance required to actually ascend to that position.

Family connections can certainly help. Even the elder President Bush had a father who was a US Senator, Al Gore had a father who was a US Senator, and President Kennedy had a father who basically pushed him into the Presidency.

But the Rodhams were neither a political nor financial dynasty.

If you don't have those family connections, you have to be able to ingratiate yourself with those who can help your career. To do that, you must employ charm, humor, salesmanship, and a certain moral flexibility.

Hillary has only that last attribute.

So the idea that Hillary would "probably have gotten to the same place quicker on her own" is as ludicrous as saying that George W. Bush would have risen to the Presidency even if his father hadn't been President. Or that Donald Trump would be the Republican frontrunner if he was a blue collar worker with a net worth of $50,000. Or that a less-than-one-full-term Senator from Illinois with no legislative accomplishments would have been elected President if he hadn't been black.

The difference is, you don't hear any of those statements from Bush, Trump, or Obama supporters. Only Hillary's supporters are that insane. (That quality, of course, is reflected in many of their other cherished beliefs.)

If Hillary hadn't been married to Bill, it's not hard to imagine where she would have ended up. She might have been a small time lawyer in Chicago. Or, with a little luck, a partner at a larger law firm. She might have been a college professor, maybe in law, or maybe in a subject closer to her heart, like Women's Studies. Or, she might have ended up as an organizer for NOW.

She probably would have been fairly successful at any of those occupations. She's smart enough, and probably would have been fairly successful at currying favor within the Women's Studies Department, or among the other functionaries at NOW.

But the idea that the political powerbrokers in Illinois, Arkansas, or anywhere else would have taken a look at this woman --

-- and thought to themselves, "Yep, there's the charisma we're going to ride all the way to the White House" is just not credible.

Bill was known to have the ability to make every person he spoke to feel special. He was quick on his feet, charming, and humorous. He could appear patriotic when that was called for, contrite when that was called for, angry when that was called for, and compassionate when that was called for. He may have been none of those things, but he knew how to project those emotions because he was a great salesman, and a consummate seducer. (He is, after all, a sociopath, and sociopaths tend to be good at those things.)

And even with all that going for him, he needed a tremendous amount of luck.

Hillary is by nature stiff, brittle, and (genuinely) angry. During the '08 primary campaign, Obama was criticized for having said, lukewarmly, that Hillary was "likable enough." He was actually being generous.

If Hillary hadn't married Bill, you'd never have heard of her.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Jeb: the postmortem

The main reason Jeb was the early frontrunner in the Republican sweepstakes was his last name. Despite the fact that we are nominally a democracy, Americans still harbor a secret hankering for royal dynasties.

But that hankering has its limits. After eight years of Bill Clinton, the American public was nostalgic for the decent, patrician George H.W. Bush, so they elected his namesake. But even after eight years of Obama, the American public is not nostalgic for W. So, Jeb is paying the price.

Jeb also had other problems right from the start. First, that eminently punchable face. And second, he was way too liberal on immigration. You don't win over American voters by pandering to the Mexican electorate.

Early on, Jeb's own parents saw him, not W, as the carrier of the family flame. This, despite W being the older brother. If anyone knows which the smarter sibling is, it would be the parents. But the Presidency is not an SAT test; it's simply not enough to have a high IQ.

Character counts -- bad character, that is. Jeb is simply too nice a guy for this arena. He is an intelligent beta male without the instincts for battle that a Trump or Cruz or Rubio have. It's almost as if Jeb was coddled too much as a kid, and never developed the kind of spiky armor that more feral kids tend to develop. For instance, Jeb obviously defers to his wife. (Do you think Trump does that?)

Ted Cruz had a great line about the moderators in the last debate, but he was wrong about one thing: a debate IS a cage match. And if you don't have the instincts of a pro wrestler, you're simply not going to survive the Wrestlemania Summer Slam, or Wrestlemania Survivor Series. The debates were just slightly higher IQ versions of those extravaganzas. Both sets of audiences certainly want the same thing: blood, whether physical or metaphorical.

Jeb simply isn't bloodthirsty enough. When someone shoots an arrow at Jeb, instead of shooting back, he just looks down in astonishment at the feathers sticking out of his stomach. He spent much of the debates looking like a mole that's been dragged from its protected underground lair, and, blinking in the bright sunlight, has no idea how to defend itself against the coyotes which surround it.

And, nice guys finish, if not last, at best sixth in a field of ten.

In the last couple debates, Jeb has tried to be a little more combative, because his advisors have told him he needs to be. But you can tell, it's really just not in his nature.

But while it's hard to blame Jeb for being too nice, it's a little easier to criticize the vague sense of entitlement that always surrounded his campaign. Jeb's pedigree is that of card-carrying member of the East Coast WASP establishment who used to run the country. You can see it in the way he talks about the illegal immigrants, with the sort of noblesse oblige that WASPs of good character were expected to show when speaking of the less fortunate.

But it's a little as if Jeb is living in a time warp, and doesn't quite realize that the world has changed. The nexus of power has long since shifted from the WASPs to the Jews, and while most of the candidates were eagerly declaring their allegiance to Israel in hopes of some of that Adelson and Singer money, Bush seemed to think that if he carried himself like Clark Clifford, he'd inherit the Presidency.

It just doesn't work that way anymore.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Ben Carson and the Pyramids

An anonymous commenter pointed out this morning that Ben Carson has "forfeited his right to be taken seriously" because of his belief that the Pyramids were not built by the pharaohs, but by the biblical figure Joseph for use as grain silos. An AP article about this came out this afternoon.

I agree with the commenter: I don't want a President who subscribes to theories which fly in the face of all the evidence. Carson is a Seventh Day Adventist; his base has always been the fundamentalists, who as a group tend to take their religion more seriously than most Christians do.

If Carson should get the nomination, expect the liberals to lambaste him for this faith-based belief the same way they lambasted fundamentalists who don't believe in evolution. The liberals, of course, never framed their insults as a matter of mocking religious beliefs; they simply referred to those who believed in Creationism as "conservatives" or "Republicans."

But what about other religious tenets? Islamic beliefs are staggeringly at odds with Western civilization on issues like women's education, homosexuality, and marriage. Yet when was the last time you heard a liberal mock a Muslim?

Jewish people have historically seen themselves as God's "Chosen People." You'll occasionally hear some rabbi bemoan the fact that too many Jews marry non-Jews. And the Talmud states that one cannot be a real Jew unless one's mother is Jewish. These attitudes all directly conflict with the modern non-discriminatory ethos. Yet when was the last time you heard a liberal mock a Jew for any of those things?

Religious beliefs really matter only to the extent that they impinge on national policy. Obviously, Carson's beliefs about the Pyramids have no bearing on any current national debates. In all fairness, the debate about Creationism vs. evolution did affect educational policy; some of the creationists wanted Creationism taught in the schools alongside evolution, or, in some cases, even in lieu of evolution.

(Of course, the liberals don't want the teaching of evolution to go too far.)

Liberals believe -- or at least pretend to believe -- that intelligence is completely independent of genetics, and any differences in accomplishment between the races must be ascribed to white racism. This is profoundly unscientific, yet liberals go after anyone who argues otherwise with the fervor of a Muslim who's just seen a cartoon of Muhammad.

Liberals also believe -- or claim to believe -- that, other than a few minor physical differences, men and women are essentially the same. That, despite all evidence to the contrary, there are no differences when it comes to logic, mathematical aptitude, mating instincts, nurturing abilities, and so on.

These equalitarian beliefs affect national policy on any number of fronts: educational policy, affirmative action, disparate impact, the military, and so on.

If you tell Ben Carson he's wrong, he'll calmly defend his (misguided) beliefs. If you publicly pronounce the liberals wrong, they'll do their best to destroy your career.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Best proof yet of society's insanity

The US Department Education's Office of Civil Rights has ordered the Palatine Illinois Township School District to allow a boy who identified as a girl to shower with the girls. Even after the Illinois school district relented and said it would be okay, but that the student should stay in a curtained off part of the girl's locker room, the Justice Department called this discrimination, and insisted he be allowed to shower in the communal area.

Strangely, this was all done in the name of Title IX, which was formulated to prevent discrimination against girls.

Is this fair to the girls?

Men who put cameras in women's locker rooms get sent to jail. But, if they want to be there themselves, that's evidently okay.

For decades now we've had the feminists tell us that men who stared at (clothed) women the wrong way are guilty of sexual harassment. That men who comment about women's looks are guilty of the same. And generally, that men who make women uncomfortable in any way are pigs.

But now the Obama administration -- which has done its best to promote the lie that one in five college women is sexually assaulted -- is forcing girls to parade around naked in front of a biological male.

I can't wait for the feminists to weigh in on this controversy.

What is to prevent a heterosexual guy from growing his hair long, claiming to identify with girls, and taking advantage of this policy? What would the girls have to say about this?

"I feel really uncomfortable with Mike, or Michelle as we're supposed to call him, staring at us all the time. I just put my clothes on as fast as I can."

"The thing is, if he says he's a girl, why does he have an erection, or at least half an erection, bobbing around all the time?"

"I was sort of creeped out when Michelle said we should get together for some hot girl on girl action sometime."

"Michelle spends forever in there changing. He's always taking his time tying and then 'accidentally' untying his shoelaces while looking up at our crotches."

"Why is he always offering to wash my back for me? I've never needed anyone to do that."

Granted, boys who actually think of themselves as girls have little interest in seeing naked females. And very few normal guys would actually go to the trouble of pretending to be transgender in order to gain access to the girl's locker room. But, all it would take would be one or two to turn this controversy on its head.

However, this kind of trespass could prove difficult to prosecute. After all, who's to say what's really going on inside someone's head? What exactly would the charge be? And, at least in high school, any prosecution would likely be of a minor anyway.

But this will undoubtedly spread beyond the high schools. In March of this year there was a report of a Planet Fitness revoking a woman's membership after she complained of a man in the women's locker room.

And what do we makeof those men who are transvestites but still heterosexual? This is a not uncommon sexual category. They'll potentially be in hog heaven under this new system. Will the government now get involved in determining who is merely a transvestite and who is a legitimate transgender?

And why have there been no cases of female-to-male transgenders wanting to use the men's locker room?

The simplest -- and fairest -- solution would be to make individual locker rooms available for those who, for whatever reason, want to change in privacy. Unfortunately, that wouldn't repeal biology enough to suit the Obama administration.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Frederick Forsyth, Part II

Back in March of '09 I described why author Frederick Forsyth is such a heroic figure. (He's actually one of my two greatest heroes ever.)

But it wasn't until yesterday, when I read a NY Times review of his latest book, The Outsider, that I found out that he'd actually been an MI6 operative as well.

(If you check out that review, be aware that they don't get to Forsyth's book until the last three paragraphs of the article.)

So, while Forsyth was churning out all those blockbusters, he was actually James Bond as well.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

The missing joke about Obama

You don't have to look far on the internet to see a lot of nasty jokes about Obama. There are jokes about how he was born in Kenya. About how he is really a Muslim. About how he never had a serious job before he entered politics.

There are a slew of jokes about how Obama is effeminate, and about how he is less of a man than Vladimir Putin. There are Photoshopped pictures of him with a Pinocchio nose, in an Urkel outfit, and with a Hitler mustache.

There are even Photoshopped pictures making him and Michelle look like chimps, and jokes about how Obama is shit-colored.

On the mostly anonymous internet joke circuit, there's basically nothing considered sacred, or off-limits. Google-image "Obama jokes" and you'll see what I mean.

But the one thing you never see is a joke implying that Obama presents a danger to white women, or a about Obama-as-rapist. Given that so many of the other jokes about him indulge in overt racial stereotypes, you'd think you might see something along these lines. But you simply never do.  

Certainly, as evidenced above, there are people who wouldn't be above making such jokes, if they resonated. If the President were a darker-skinned ex-football player, the internet would be plastered with jokes about locking up your wives and daughters and so on. That's how the internet works: if you think it, somebody's already put it online.

But Obama simply doesn't evoke those fears. Absolutely no one seems to suspect him of chasing white women. Or, really, any women. (If Herman Cain had somehow been elected, there would have been endless jokes along those lines. He would have been compared to a pimp, have been named as a "suspect" in countless unsolved rapes, would have been asked to provide a DNA sample, etc, etc.)

But in 2008, white America subconsciously felt about Obama the same way it felt back when Michael Jackson "dated" Brooke Shields in 1981: it's okay, really, we don't mind. Really. I mean, he seems like a nice guy. You know, harmless. 

The feeling back then was, our sweet little Brooke isn't about to be defiled by some big black thug. (And this was long before the public had heard anything about Jackson's child molesting.) 

For similar reasons, white America -- at least at first -- didn't mind having Obama take them to the prom. As it turned out, he was interested in stealing from their wallets. But he never evoked fears of rape. 

Subconsciously, white America knows

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Physical impressions of the Republican field

The Republican debate last night generated the usual amount of publicity. All of the candidates are obviously intelligent, and well-rehearsed, and several had interesting ideas when it came to taxes, trade pacts, and so on. But voters are emotional creatures, and tend to vote for more visceral reasons. Do they like the way a candidate looks, does he seem likable, and does his body language inspire confidence?

So, based on such superficial criteria, here are some takeaways from last night's debate:

John Kasich's campaign is on its last legs, so his advisers told him to come out swinging. He was the only one in the field who didn't even try to answer the moderator's first question about what their biggest weaknesses were. He said, "Good question, but I want to tell you…" blah blah blah.

Kasich was trying too hard, and it showed. With his slightly unkempt look, hunched posture, and overly emphatic hand gestures, he evoked the Christopher Lloyd character in Back to the Future:

The overall effect was that of desperation, which never inspires confidence.

Mike Huckabee comes across as sincere, but he is neither physically prepossessing nor inspirational. When he objected to Chris Christie's plan to means check Social Security recipients, he used the analogy of someone who says he's going to have one more Krispy Kreme donut before he goes on a diet.

It was hard not to see this as a somewhat veiled jab at Christie's weight. But since Huckabee is the second fattest candidate, it was a barb that should have been delivered by someone else.

I've written about Bush's resemblance to Ned Beatty before:

This probably has something to do with why Jeb never really caught on. Of course, Jeb's Mexicans-come-first priorities never really captured the hearts of the Republican base either.

Marco Rubio has a lot of crowd-pleasing lines ("I'm against anything that's bad for my mother," in reference to Medicare). He exudes earnestness, but comes across like the President of the Student Council at your high school.

He's 44, but looks 32, and if he's listed at 5' 10" by his campaign, you just know he's got to be shorter. (If you're going to look like a kid, at least be taller than a kid.) Rubio is tougher than he looks; he wasn't fazed in the least by the personal attacks on him. But he'd be better off looking as tough as he actually is.

I've written before that Donald Trump reminds me of Goldfinger, and that the resemblance is more than physical:

Like Goldfinger, Trump comes across confident, which inspires confidence. And also like Goldfinger, he is unapologetic about who and what he is, which inspires even more confidence. This, as well as his stance on immigration, has something to do with Trump's high poll numbers.

Dr. Ben Carson seems like a nice guy; he has a gentlemanly demeanor. And he must be smart if he's a neurosurgeon. But his slow, sleepy way of talking always make him seem as if he just smoked a doobie. And it's hard to imagine him out negotiating Vladimir Putin.

Carson recently admitted that when he was 14 he tried to stab someone in the stomach with a knife. (An early attempt at surgery?) He needs to bring a little of that fire back. America needs a President who's ready to stick a shiv in Putin's belly, not heal him afterward.

Despite this, though, Carson is doing surprisingly well in the polls.

Carly Fiorina, whom I'm convinced is a sociopath, said she was Hillary Clinton's worst nightmare. That may or may not be true:

Fiorina's problem is that she also comes across like Dorothy's worst nightmare:

Trump needn't have insulted her looks; all that was required was a bucket of water.

Ted Cruz had the best moment of the debate, when he lambasted the CNBC announcer for his nasty questions: "Let me say something at the outset: The questions that have been asked so far in this debate illustrate why the American people don't trust the media. This is not a cage match. And you look at the questions: 'Donald Trump, are you a comic book villain? Ben Carson, can you do math? John Kasich, will you insult two people over here? Marco Rubio, why don't you resign? Jeb Bush, why have your numbers fallen?' How about talking about the substantive issues?"

What was most impressive about this little speech was that it couldn't have been fed to Cruz beforehand -- unlike the other candidates' better lines. Cruz managed to remember all those questions in the heat of the debate, modified them slightly, and then recited them back -- without rehearsal. That took considerable wattage.

Cruz's problem from an image standpoint, however, is that he always looks so pleased with himself:

He also looks a little duplicitous. The other Republicans seem to feel he's opportunistic; and he does give off those vibes.

Many have pointed out that Chris Christie is too fat. But it's a little surprising that no one has pointed out that Christie has spent an inordinate amount of time leaning on the podium during all three debates:

Virtually every time the camera panned to him, Christie would have a full forearm on the lectern, and seemed to be resting some of his bulk on it.

In a way, it makes him appear relaxed and informal. But in his case, it also seems to be a crutch. The Presidency is not a physical fitness test, but it also shouldn't be a weight loss camp. And how is a candidate who needs support for two hours going to last four years?

Like the hippos he resembles, Christie would have been better off had the debate been held in water:

Rand Paul is a smart, commonsensical guy, and his voice sounds authoritative enough. But at 5' 8," he looks a little elfin (note the shape of his ear):

Paul isn't quite pretty enough to have been one of the elves in Lord of the Rings, but with his Irish-looking features, he could easily have been one of the hobbits:

Unfortunately for Paul, America doesn't seem to want President Frodo.

Yes, this is an awfully superficial analysis of the Republican field. But, the fact is, physical considerations -- which are often referred to as "presence," or "charisma" -- do count with the voters. And it's always been my contention that the voters these factors resonate most strongly with are those unaware that they are swayed by such things.