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Saturday, January 21, 2017

The Women's March on Washington

An article in this morning's NY Post described today's scheduled Women's March on Washington:

Organizers of Saturday’s Women’s March on Washington expect more than 200,000 people to attend their gathering, a number that could rival Trump’s swearing-in ceremony. Attendees are “hurting and scared” as the new president takes office and want a greater voice for women in political life, according to the organizers’ mission statement.

“In the spirit of democracy and honoring the champions of human rights, dignity, and justice who have come before us, we join in diversity to show our presence in numbers too great to ignore,” the statement says.

Isn't that, technically, plagiarism? The first two lines of Helen Reddy's famous song I Am Woman are, "I am woman, hear me roar, in numbers too big to ignore." Well, perhaps the mission statement was a "tribute" to Reddy.

The vagueness of the mission statement makes it hard to argue with. "In the spirit of democracy?" Who can find fault with that? The United States was founded as a democracy. As a matter of fact, that's how Donald Trump was elected -- by a democratic vote.

If you want to make yourself immune to criticism, it always helps to make your statements not only high-flown, but also vague.

Who wouldn't want to honor "the champions of human rights, dignity, and justice?" Of course, the definitions for such vary between people. Hillary Clinton, whom most of the female marchers presumably voted for, accepted donations from Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and other anti-LGBT countries which aren't exactly champions of human rights. Hillary hardly afforded the Arkansas State troopers, Secret Service men, and State Department Security details much dignity. (Which is why they all ended up hating her.) And was it justice that her husband escaped punishment for his rapes, while Hillary defended him?

Well, those must not be the types of human rights, dignity, and justice the march organizers were referring to.

The mission statement does raise one question, however: how can you "join in diversity" in a march whose very title excludes half the human race?

In any case, once you get past all those qualifying adjectives and adverbs and noble ideals, you get to the real purpose of the march: "to show our presence."

That seems to be the essence of the march: for women to affirm themselves.

There are other ways to affirm yourself. You can participate in a road race. Throw a party. See friends. Travel. Or express your political opinions.

Come to think of it, this march combined all of those. 

These women seem to feel that they will convince people by their numbers that they are right. Their feeling seems to be, the more of us show up, the righter we must be.

Sorry, but the election already took place.

The ironic thing is that Trump, far more than most Republicans, has embraced women's rights. He has come out in favor of government-mandated maternity leave and child tax deductions -- neither of which are mainstream Republican positions.

Given Trump's positions, it would make more sense for Muslims, or advocates for illegal immigrants, or those against law and order, to march. But no, today women wanted the spotlight on them.

Anyway, a lot of women have marched today in a spirit of democracy, and honoring the champions of human rights, dignity, and justice, to join in diversity and show their presence.

Undoubtedly they have succeeded in showing their presence.

Whether or not they changed any onlookers' minds is questionable.  

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Caitlyn, may I have this dance?

An article in the NY Post this morning reported that Trump's advisers are suggesting he dance with long time Republican Caitlyn Jenner at the Inaugural Ball. They're saying it would assuage the LGBTQ community and allay their fears.

Most readers of this blog will probably recoil at this suggestion, and Trump himself probably would as well, but it's not a bad idea.

Trump spent most of the campaign being attacked for being too enthusiastically heterosexual, so it's not as if anyone will suspect he's switched teams.

It's also not as if Trump is some back country rube who despises all gays. He's a big city billionaire who has brushed shoulders with all types. Dollars to dimes his Trump Tower apartment -- done up in Louis XIV -- bears the touch of a gay man:

(Any man who can bear to live in an apartment like this ought to be able to grit his teeth through one dance with another man. No one's asking him to kiss Jenner.)

Trump, unlike both Hillary and Obama, was never publicly against gay marriage.

It would allow Trump to appear magnanimous, the kind of guy who can rise above himself. And if there's ever been one person who needed to rise above the fray, it's that compulsive Tweeter Trump, who thus far has found no target too small to savage.

It would be interesting to see how the MSM reacts. They, of course, see only the bad and never any good in Trump, but what could they say about this? They might even have to swallow their bile, because putting the dance in a negative light would make them appear "unenlightened," something they couldn't stand.

Of course, there's never any underestimating the hypocrisy of the Left. They took great delight in referring to the Tea Party as "tea baggers," idiom for the gay practice of placing one's scrotum in the mouth of a sexual partner. Had the roles been reversed, the Left would have screamed homophobia.

Keep in mind, Bruce/Caitlyn himself might be somewhat revolted by this. My information may be old, but as of about a year ago, Bruce/Caitlyn had not had the operation, meaning he's still physically male, and from what I understand, he was still dating women even after he came out.

A dance with Jenner would also provide a contrast to Obama, who never publicly dared do anything like this, because in his case it would have made people wonder.

In any case, I hope Trump does heed his adviser's counsel, and if he does, manages to do so with an air of forbearance and even a grin, rather than a grimace.

Update, a few hours later: my son tells me I'm absolutely crazy to recommend this. I'm starting to wonder if maybe he's not right.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Back to Blood

I had occasion to listen to a few audio books recently, so finally got around to Tom Wolfe's Back to Blood, which I've been meaning to read ever since it came out in 2012. It got mediocre reviews at the time. But the cultural establishment -- the MSM -- hates Tom Wolfe for his apostasy: he describes different ethnic groups accurately, an unforgivable sin.

But to ward off the worst of these accusations, Wolfe was careful to include a sympathetic character of every major ethnicity.

The hero is Cuban cop. But virtually all of the other Cubans, for whom ethnic solidarity is everything, are portrayed as having a petit bourgeois mentality, and sound dumb in a peculiarly Hispanic way. Except for the conniving Cuban Mayor of Miami.

The villain of the piece -- but also the coolest character -- is a Russian oligarch. (It's always obvious whom a writer really favors because he gives that character best, most incisive lines.) Another Russian, a forger, is given the task of expressing Wolfe's disdain for modern art, around which the plot revolves.

All of the Russians, sympathetic or not, are completely free of the modern American penchant for euphemism. That insinuating Russian accent is great for....insinuation.

The old Jewish ladies in a retirement home (for "active adults") sound just like old Jewish ladies. They, too, are vehicles through which Wolfe expresses his disgust for the modern art scene. There is a Jewish billionaire porn addict as well. There weren't any particularly sympathetic Jewish characters; perhaps Wolfe felt that his Jewish wife would insulate him from criticism on that score.

There is a dumb brute of a black crack dealer, who is offset by a likable black chief of police who is loyal to the rank and file despite the possible harm to his career. This chief is well aware that he is a token, and also well aware of all the political pressures impinging on everyone else.

A pretentious light-skinned Haitian professor is offset by his daughter, who's genuinely angelic.

It's easy to assume that Wolfe, a WASP himself, likes WASPs, or at least sympathizes with them. But Wolfe reserves his greatest venom in the book for the Anglos. Edward Topping V is a weak but pretentious Yalie who is the editor of the Miami Herald. A social-climbing psychiatrist who treats porn addicts, is loathsome, though he's almost a WASP by default, as his loathsomeness isn't really an outgrowth of his ethnicity.

Wolfe has a great ear for ethnic lingo. (Though he has his characters parsing their own and other's words to an extent real people never do.)

What Wolfe has in common with Elmore Leonard, who's also been called America's greatest novelist, is an ability to describe the kind of confrontation that occurs between two men who won't back down. Leonard specialized in low rent criminals, while Wolfe's specialty is pretentious strivers. But ego knows no class boundaries.

Wolfe also doesn't ignore the importance of physical appearance in the social pecking order.

The biggest problem with with Wolfe, though, is that the only way people differ is in rank and status. There are no gradations in character: everybody has the same (high) level of narcissism and pretension. And there seem to be no sociopaths.

The book goes a little heavy on the sound effects, which get tiresome. And the ending of this book was too abrupt. (I wanted more closure.) But it's still worth reading. No other book illustrates quite so well how little of a melting pot we are, and no one skewers pretension like Wolfe.

I'm usually annoyed when audio books seem to give the reader of the book almost as much "jacket" space (on the back of the CD box) as the author. Reading a book is not the equivalent of writing one. But Lou Diamond Phillips deserves credit. He had the Russian, Cuban, Haitian (French), Jewish, and even WASP accents down perfectly. And he would soften his voice for the female dialogue. (I also find it annoying that so many male actors, in a misguided effort to preserve their sense of manliness, refuse to change their pitch for the female parts.) Thanks to Phillips, the book may be even better listened to than read.

Monday, January 16, 2017

A few more Aspergers traits

I was speaking with two people who have family members with Aspergers Syndrome recently, and was struck by something both said: one of the annoying things about both was that neither would ever turn off lights or close doors or carefully screw tops back onto jars.

I don't know why that would be, but it seemed more than coincidence.

A couple of other things I've noted:

If they don't get the answer they want, they just keep on asking you, as if you're going to change your mind the next time they ask.

It recently struck me that one really telling thing is that Aspies simply never, ever rave about other people. You'll never hear an Aspie say, "That guy is sooo cool!"

Or, "Man, is he ever tough!"

Or, "That guy is an absolute riot! He had me in stitches!"

Neurotypicals -- how people without Aspergers are referred to in Aspie-land -- may be wrong when they rave. They may be naive, or misguided, or even completely out to lunch. But they do rave, at least on occasion. Aspies simply never do.

There seems to be a weird sense of jealousy at work there: the Aspies seem to feel that if they rave about someone else's ability, it's as if they're confirming that they don't have those same abilities. And since they have a hard time ever admitting anything is wrong with them, they don't want to give others credit.

It may also be partly because others are a mystery to them. Imagine you've suddenly been placed into a colony of space aliens: would you be inclined to rave about how one of them is just so incredibly intelligent, or funny, or tough?

No, the thought would never occur to you. Just as it doesn't to Aspies who've been situated among the neurotypicals.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Judging women on their looks

One of the complaints you hear most frequently from feminists is that women are judged by their looks. The implication is that men are not judged by their looks, and this is unfair.

I'm a fairly typical guy. I judge a woman's intelligence based on her IQ, her sense of humor based on the quality of her jokes, and her character by where she stands on the narcissism scale. All of which are the exact same way I'd judge a guy.

Of course, whether or not I'd want to have sex with her is almost entirely a matter of how she looks. A beautiful girl would have to either be a sociopath or certifiable or extremely noxious for me not to be attracted. (And those personal traits are often not evident at first.) Meanwhile, a corpulent female with an IQ of 150 will simply not attract me -- even as I might admire her intelligence.

Look at how gay men "judge" other men: visually. It's not sexism at work here, it's sex.

Men's sexuality is visually driven, women's by a man's status. (Though you never hear men weepily complain, "Women only judge me on how good a provider I'd be.")

The point being, men don't judge a woman's personality by her looks, nor do they judge her looks by her personality -- much as feminists try to conflate the two with their vague complaint.

Psychologists say that people -- not just men -- decide whether or not they'd want to have sex with another person within half a second of seeing them for the first time. Men make a similar snap judgment about other men: is this guy a threat to me? It's an automatic reaction that usually doesn't even rise to the level of a conscious thought. But it's always lurking: could this guy take me in a fight? And if you observe male group behavior, you'll see that how much respect they give each other, even in settings where a fight will obviously not happen, is largely driven by this consideration.

Yet you never hear men complain about how other men don't regard them as threatening. Or about how gay guys only "judge" them on their looks.

Of course, there seems to be no group more bent on proving women unequal than feminists.

I realize I'm pointing out the obvious here. But every time I hear a feminist complain about how women are judged on their looks, I feel the obvious has to be pointed out.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Angela Jonsson

Yesterday I happened to stumble onto a picture of Angela Jonsson, whom I'd never heard of before. She's a 26-year-old model from India, born of an Icelandic father and an Indian mother:

I see pictures of models in advertisements all the time, but for some reason Jonsson really struck me. She has a perfect face...

Perfect breasts.....

And perfect....

....shoulder blades.

Like all real beauties, she looks just as good with minimal makeup (maybe even better):

At 5'8" and 108 pounds, Jonsson also illustrates the rule that good looks and leanness are highly correlated. And like all real beauties, her face provides the illusion of wisdom and serenity.

Her upturned upper lip expresses unlimited sensuality....

....and her sparkling eyes hint at a playful sense of humor:

I have no idea what she's actually like. For all I know, she's a complete princess --

-- a temperamental twit with an IQ of 80 who's spoiled beyond redemption.

But in the meantime, that perfect face provides the illusion of goodness, and that's all we can really ask of a beauty.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Group crimes

You've undoubtedly heard of the recent torture of the schizophrenic white kid in Chicago by four blacks.

It's a refreshing change to see a black-on-white crime actually get some airtime. Usually, the MSM buries these crimes. But this incident got such a head of steam going thanks to that Facebook video that even the normally blinkered NY Times couldn't entirely ignore it.

Still, what no one seems to be mentioning is how the incident is so revealing of black attitudes. Brittany Covington laughingly streamed the abuse on Facebook, where she evidently figured that only her friends would see it. And she assumed that her friends, probably all of whom are black, would not object to her behavior. Or, if they did, would at least not turn her in for it. (After all, snitches get stitches.)

This may have been partly due to stupidity on her part, but it was also partly engendered by her knowledge of her friends' attitudes toward whites. (Which, most whites tend to be quite naive about.)

The other, larger takeaway, is there were four people involved in this abuse. This is a pattern I've noticed time and again. Usually, when a white commits some horrific crime, it's the work of some lone, sick, twisted individual who was abused as a young child. (Think serial killers.)

But when blacks commit a horrific crime, it's often a group of them, just guys who happen to be in the vicinity and see an opportunity. The spirit of the crime is more like, hey, we got one here, let's not let this dude go. And so, like lions spotting a wounded water buffalo, they close in.

Look at the recent beating of that white man in Chicago, ostensibly for having voted for Trump. This wasn't the work of one criminal. It was committed by a group of local blacks, who just happened to be at that intersection, with a girl egging them on.

Think about the knockout game, or, as it is also called, polar bear hunting -- because of the color of the "bear" those feral youths are hunting. Usually it's a young black male showing off to his buddies. In several of the videos I've seen, they all cackle with laughter when the white falls to the ground.

Think of the beating of truck driver Reginald Denny, who just happened to be caught in the middle of the riots in Los Angeles in 1992 and was nearly beaten to death by the black mob. (His skull was fractured in 91 places.)

Brittanee Drexel had been missing for seven years, since 2009; her case was finally solved this past summer. She had been kidnapped from Myrtle Beach, SC, during spring break. Then, according to FBI agent Gerrick Munoz:

Da'Shaun Taylor “showed her off, introduced her to some other friends that were there … they ended up tricking her out with some of their friends, offering her to them and getting a human trafficking situation.” As the media spotlight grew ever brighter on the desperate efforts to find Drexel, the girl was “murdered and disposed of.”

Her body was reportedly dumped in a local pond teeming with alligators.

Drexel's was a particularly gruesome case, and what was striking about it was the fact that so many local men participated.

Or think of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom, who were carjacked, raped (yes, Newsom too), tortured, and murdered by five blacks. Christian had bleach poured down her throat while she was still alive, then was wrapped in bags and left to suffocate.

There are far too many such crimes to catalogue here. But the group nature of black crime vs. the solitary nature of white crime is a consistent pattern. This isn't to say, of course, that all blacks turn into violent criminals the moment opportunity presents itself; most blacks are law-abiding. (Think of the blacks who eventually came to Reginald Denny's aid.) But the mere fact that it happens at all, with bystanders frequently willing to join in the festivities, is striking.

The only whites I can think of who have committed a group crime in the past 35 years are the Chicago Rippers, four Satanists who committed 18 murders in the early 80's. (There are undoubtedly other recent examples, but they are rare.) And there have been a few white serial killers who've operated in pairs. But the most reprehensible crimes that whites commit tend to be done by lone sociopaths.

The nature of black group crimes, on the other hand, seems to be more opportunistic: whoever happens to be around, participates.

If you keep an eye on these things, you'll notice the pattern. 

Imagine a world...... which humans hadn't evolved quite as they have, but that instead evolution stopped 70,000 years ago, and that the two extant strains of bipedal primate were Neanderthals and Homo Erectus.

Here are a few forensic artists' reconstructions of Neanderthals:

And here are a few forensic artists' reconstructions of Homo erectus:

Now imagine that these Neanderthals and Homo erectus had evolved different brain sizes, with correspondingly differing levels of intelligence and inhibition.

Now imagine that one group had created technology, and a written language, while the more primitive group remained in the Stone Age.

Then imagine that some of the Stone Agers tried to live in the society created by the group which had created technology. But since the Stone Agers hadn't evolved the same way, they generally didn't function as well in that technical/industrial society.

Then imagine that the Stone Agers performed relatively poorly on virtually every test of cognition ever developed, and that they had a higher propensity to commit violent crime.

Then, if you can, suspend your disbelief for a moment and try to imagine something really absurd: that anybody who noticed any differences between the two groups was considered a horrible person for having noticed! So, just about everybody had to carry on pretending that there were no differences.

Can you imagine what a horrible mess that world would be?

All I can say is, thank goodness that in our world -- the real world -- all groups evolved the exact same level of cognitive skills!

(Note that I did not say which group was which -- that's your own racist conclusion.)

Friday, January 6, 2017

Reality distortion fields, the Stockholm Syndrome, and sociopathy

It was often said of the sociopath Steve Jobs that there was a "reality distortion field" around him, and that people would just accept his twisted version of events as fact.

People often feel obliged to accept a sociopath's version of events because they know, or at least instinctively sense, that if they don't agree with it, they'll suffer the sociopath's wrath. So they end up taking, or at least paying lip service to, the sociopath's side in an argument, mostly out of fear.

Jobs imposed his own narcissistic reality on all those around him through his ferocious temper, and his power to fire anybody who displeased him. So people tiptoed around him and found themselves acquiescing to his distorted version of the world, which happened to revolve around him. If you didn't go along with his program, the price you paid was to be the recipient of his uninhibited viciousness.

And so, eventually, some Apple employees undoubtedly ended up agreeing, at least partially, with Jobs' views on things, a thought process engendered somewhat by fear. They essentially bought into that viewpoint out of a sense of self-preservation.

"Reality distortion fields" can be better understood when viewed through the prism of Stockholm syndrome. From Wikipedia:

Stockholm syndrome is a psychological condition that causes hostages to develop sympathetic sentiments towards their captors, often sharing their opinions and acquiring romantic feelings for them as a survival strategy during captivity. These feelings, resulting from a bond formed between captor and captives during intimate time spent together, are generally considered irrational in light of the danger or risk endured by the victims.

The syndrome was first named in 1973 after four hostages who had been taken hostage in a bank robbery in Sweden later refused to testify against their captors.

The fact that such kidnappers are likely sociopaths just means they're all the more manipulative.

What the Apple employees who dealt with Jobs had was a modified version of Stockholm Syndrome. Their lives may not have been at stake, but their professional lives were. And you can't underestimate the importance -- financially, socially, even maritally -- of hanging on to one's job.

Anyway, a "reality distortion field" is just another name for Stockholm syndrome. If you hear of either phenomenon, there's likely to be a sociopath lurking.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Free tampons

A friend, Ed, just sent this article along:

College students are demanding free tampons on campus

Some excerpts, with my comments not in italics:

Julie Chen, a sophomore at Emory College, wanted to help students get access to free tampons on campus, but she didn’t know how. So she started a petition last January to see how many people would use the supplies....The petition received so many responses that Emory launched a pilot program during the fall 2016 semester to provide free tampons....

“Everyone was really excited about it, and we’ve definitely heard positive responses,” Chen said. “One girl left a comment that said, ‘If men had a need for tampons, they’d be falling out of the sky...’”

Men need electric shavers, or at least, razors, more than women do. To date, none of those have been reported to have fallen out of the sky. Of course, "falling out of the sky" gives a sense of where the Left thinks manufactured products originate. One might call this the cargo cult school of economics.

You get the sense that the women who make these demands have no sense of the expenses incurred in manufacturing products. They only deal with the universities, where all laws of supply and demand, and any other sort of mundane reality, have been suspended.

“Every female has a period in some form, and these supplies aren’t luxury items and should not be treated as luxury items,” said Erin Deal, the infrastructure committee director at the University of Minnesota Student Association. “They’re a necessity. They’re a sanitation item...."

Food is not a luxury item, either: people need it to survive -- more so than tampons. Perhaps these feminists should march into a restaurant and demand free food, since, after all, it's a necessity.

And how about clothing, and shelter, and medicine?

“Talking to other people, it’s taught me that it’s important for equality purposes,” Chen said. “It’s a good step in the right direction of equality and prioritizing women’s health."

Doesn't "prioritize" imply an ordering, which would simply mean sexism from the opposite direction?

You don't hear men protesting that treatment for prostate cancer should be made free, since women don't suffer from it, and that we should "prioritize" men's health, in the interests of "equality."

What this movement for free tampons seems to boil down to is that women resent having to pay for something that men don't need, therefore the university should provide it for free, otherwise the sin of sexism is being committed, somehow, by someone.

But who is actually committing that sin? Mother Nature.

Millions of years of mammalian evolution has resulted modern day humans, in all our wondrous diversity. And some of that diversity is caused by testosterone and estrogen molding brains and bodies differently, for better or worse.

This is simply the latest example of the Left wanting the laws of biology repealed. After all, it's not "fair" that we're all different in various ways. Some people bleed once a month; others don't. Some people have larger brains, others smaller. 

Unfortunately, the laws of biology cannot be repealed so easily. They can only be denied, which is, ultimately, what the Left is all about.

The twats on the Left want to take all those irksome laws of biology and shove them up our collective, well, you know. For free.

Unfortunately for them, those laws can't remain hidden forever.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Do radical feminists have Aspergers?

Commenter Gethin made the following comment about radical feminists on the post about Aspergers Syndrome yesterday:

I just had an epiphany - radical feminists are Aspies. I've been trying to understand the deranged, obsessive, utterly humourless, furious and empathy-devoid minds of radfems for years (think the nutters who blog on Radfem Hub). Nothing is ever their fault - anything bad that ever happened in their lives is the fault of men or "handmaidens of the patriarchy", AKA normal women. They love portraying themselves as victims and, if they can't find any real examples of how they're "oppressed", they'll invent some - or go on about how women were historically oppressed, as though that means sympathy ought to extend to them.

I've not once seen a radfem apologise or admit fault. Try arguing with them and you'll end up going around in circles; they have their unshakable, baseless beliefs and that's that. They are unable to even entertain the opposite viewpoint, let alone accept it. They project, believing all women think the same as them and yet display cognitive dissonance by loathing women who don't. No matter how nasty the woman or how gentle the man, a radfem will always defend the former. One commentator described this as an almost-religious belief in men being the absolute evil and women the absolute good, like the Original Sin.

Their mental gymnastics are impressive: they'll frequently hold two conflicting views simultaneously, i.e. "biology is not destiny" and "male testosterone poisoning". They misinterpret new concepts a lot. Radfem arguments are peppered with straw men and red herrings. They are obsessed with their ideology: watch their Twitter feeds and it's clear they think about it from the moment they wake up to the moment they sleep. Radfems don't seem to have any fun; I can't see them playing sports or having similar hobbies (no wonder the only emotion they experience is anger). The only 'friends' they seem to have are other radfems, and those are just online.

Basically, they're abject losers. Re-reading this has just made me realise that many must have Asperger's.

I suspect that some radical feminists may also have borderline personality disorder, and some may simply be narcissists; both of those syndromes would also allow for the type of hypocrisy, if not rigidity, that Gethin has described.

One vastly under explored subject is the intersection of psychology and politics. Much of modern Leftism is just various psychological syndromes writ large: the constantly claiming to be offended, the hysterical denunciations of any straightforward and honest observation of racial and gender differences, the hate hoaxes, and so on.

These are all the reactions of people who aren't quite right in the head.

Gethin nailed this one. A lot of Aspies must find a home in radical feminism, which suits their personalities perfectly.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds

When Carrie Fisher died, it seemed momentous, just because she had played such an iconic role in an iconic movie. But given her long history of addiction, to cocaine, alcohol, and pills, it really shouldn't have been all that surprising.

I vaguely recall having read part of one of her books once; she was undeniably clever. But when I first saw her as Princess Leia, my reaction was, why couldn't they have gotten someone good-looking for the role? (The answer, as it often is in Hollywood, was that she was a beneficiary of nepotism.)

She basically dined out on that one role for the rest of her life, a life characterized by extreme self-indulgence. And when she died, I can't say I was affected.

Debbie Reynolds had been someone I'd always been vaguely aware of as one of the old time movie stars. But she had been before my time, and although she was much prettier than her daughter, was not really my type, and so had never registered prominently on my radar screen.

But when she had a stroke and died the  day after her daughter, that drove home her humanity. She was 84, a vulnerable age, nonetheless it was still hard to escape the conclusion that she had essentially died of a broken heart.

And that actually was sort of affecting.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The worst insult an Aspie can hurl

My post describing Al Gore's Aspergerian personality from January 2012 has gotten a fair number of negative comments, mostly from people with Aspergers. I got the latest one today:

If you look up a list of people known or suspected to have Aspergers you'll find the bulk of humanity's progress in various fields. Sure, there's insufferable Aspies who contribute jack shit beyond unwarranted narcissism (e.g. the writer of this blog), but it's a small price to pay to no longer be primates.

The writer is referring to some of the lists of famous people with Aspergers which circulate on the internet. This list is typical: it claims Isaac Asimov, Abraham Lincoln, Mark Twain, Howard Hughes, Bobby Fischer, H.P. Lovecraft, and Charles Chaplin. I've seen other lists which include Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Thomas Jefferson, etc. 

Many of these lists seem to be compiled by Aspergers support groups, and seem motivated by a desire to show that people with Aspergers are indeed special, and not just handicapped. I'm sure that some of the people on these lists probably did have Aspergers; but the evidence in many cases is quite thin, and I'm also quite sure that the lists overreached. 

But the commenter quoted above has obviously swallowed the propaganda, and wants to claim all of humanity's greatest scientists and inventors for his club. 

But what really gave away his Aspergers Syndrome was the way he lashed out at me for having described Aspergers Syndrome in the Al Gore post (and elsewhere) as they are: socially awkward and lame. Most Aspies simply can't take criticism calmly.

And what was the worst insult he could come up with? He accused me of having Aspergers Syndrome myself (as well as having "unwarranted narcissism").

This is a pattern I keep seeing repeat itself. When people really want to insult you, they'll usually accuse you of being like them. 

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Red flags for sociopathy

Here is the list of traits defining "antisocial personality," as the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Psychological Disorders refers to sociopathy:

-There is a pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others occurring since age 15 years, as indicated by three (or more) of the following: having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another. 
-Failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors as indicated by repeatedly performing acts that are grounds for arrest.
-Deceitfulness, as indicated by repeated lying, use of aliases, or conning others for personal profit or pleasure.
-Impulsivity or failure to plan ahead.
-Irritability and aggressiveness, as indicated by repeated physical fights or assaults.
-Reckless disregard for safety of self or others.
-Consistent irresponsibility, as indicated by repeated failure to sustain consistent work behavior or honor financial obligations.
-Lack of remorse, as indicated by being indifferent to or rationalizing.

These categories encompass a wide variety of misbehavior. But they're so broad and vague that they could describe the way nonsociopaths behave at times, too. (Failing to plan ahead is something we all do from time to time.) And it's a somewhat dry, academic-sounding list. How do these traits express themselves in real life?

There are certain specific behaviors which have a peculiarly sociopathic flavor, which sociopaths seem to display, time after time. The following is by no means comprehensive, but it includes some characteristic tics that may ring a bell if you've ever known a sociopath well:

Sociopaths often display a certain uninhibited viciousness when it comes to lashing out at those who anger them. The people around them sense this, and make an effort not to displease them, simply to avoid a big scene or even worse. This is partly how sociopaths manipulate others.

Sociopaths often seem to have an incredible, almost supernatural confidence, which can manifest itself as incredible nerve  -- or gall, depending on your point of view. You may find yourself thinking, "I can't believe he said that," and thinking that you are a timid mouse by comparison.

Sociopaths never seem to get nervous, or flustered. They are good in debates (even on a national stage.)

Sociopaths tend to be fearless as well. Military Special Operations personnel are slightly more likely to be sociopaths. Some of our greatest war heroes may have been sociopaths. (Thank goodness they're on our side.)

Of course, saying you were a Navy SEAL when you weren't, or saying you worked for the CIA when you didn't, is a dead giveaway of sociopathy. Stolen valor is a sociopathic specialty.

The second surest sign of sociopathy, after serial killing, is pathological lying. I've never known anyone who constantly lied, who wasn't a sociopath. We all lie from time to time; but lying to burnish one's resume is generally the province of sociopaths.

Another form of lying is "sport lying," the purpose of which is simply to fool people for the joy of it. That joy comes partially from making the other person look foolish for believing you, and convincing yourself you're smarter than the other person because you fooled him.

Anybody who is said to create a "reality distortion field" around them is usually a sociopath. They typically do this using a combination of dishonesty and intimidation. Think Steve Jobs.

Cult leaders are almost always sociopaths.

Sociopaths often think they are fooling people when they are not. If someone tells you an obvious lie, and acts as if he expects you to believe him, beware.

Another way sociopaths give themselves away is by claiming that they are turning over a new leaf, and thinking people will believe that they are somehow actually changing their character. 

Sociopaths may pay lip service to loyalty, and expect it of others, but rarely display it themselves. If they do act loyal, they do so in a showy (and temporary) manner and point out their "loyalty" to whomever they expect gratitude from.

If you can't imagine a certain person hanging his head in shame, or even feeling embarrassed, you may be dealing with a sociopath.

Sociopaths have no sense of discretion. They will freely tell people the criticisms others have made about them behind their backs; most people assume a certain confidentiality applies to such comments. But a sociopath feels no such compunctions, and likes to create discord by reporting such. If there have been no such criticisms, a sociopath may just make some up.

One peculiarly sociopathic tic I've noticed is that they overenunciate, as if really savoring their own words.

Some sociopaths have the ability to appear extraordinarily warm and friendly at the drop of a hat, an ability which only the completely cold can summon on demand. A sociopath's ability to make everyone feel special simply means that to him, no one is special. He is good at manipulation, that's all. (Think Bill Clinton.)

Along the lines of simulating affection they do not feel, another sociopathic tell is to claim they feel  great fondness for you way too quickly, long before any such genuine emotion could have had time to take root.

Sociopaths often feel a compulsion to appear noble. It is not enough for them to appear the moral equal of others, they want to be thought downright saintly. (Think Lance Armstrong, with his Livestrong foundation.)

If you ever see someone wiping away nonexistent ("crocodile") tears, put your guard up. Less adept sociopaths do this from up close, where it's apparent that their eyes are not watering. More skillful sociopaths will do this from onstage, or on camera, when viewers can't tell the difference. (Think Karen Sypher, or look at this series of pictures of Bill Clinton.)

Some sociopaths can actually produce real tears on demand. (Tonya Harding and Marion Jones were both reportedly able to do this.)

Someone who claims to be an "adrenaline junkie" is in fact just admitting that they have a high threshold of excitement, i.e., get bored quickly. A sociopath's need for stimulation may express itself through high stakes gambling and fast driving.

If you hear of someone becoming "addicted" to something others don't find addictive, like gambling or sex, think sociopathy. Sociopaths have so few inhibitions that they are "unable" to resist things others can.

Sociopaths feel no qualms about picking on people who work for them. (Think of Hillary Clinton, picking on the Arkansas State Troopers and the Secret Service agents who had pledged to give their lives to protect hers.) Being a bully means punching down at people unable to hit back.

I've never heard of anyone acting as his own criminal defense lawyer who wasn't a sociopath. (Think James Traficant, Ted Bundy, Colin Ferguson, Dylann Roof, Robert Camarano, and Steven Dean Gordon.)

Sociopaths usually leave people feeling used. A long trail of bitter ex-spouses, ex-friends, ex-lovers, and ex-colleagues usually spells sociopathy.

A long trail of lawsuits, both as defendant and plaintiff, is another sociopathic hallmark.

Conning others out of their money is a sociopathic hallmark. Cheating your own family makes that diagnosis even more certain.

One weird sociopathic trait is the ability to party and enjoy oneself even when you know your house of cards is about to come tumbling down. Think of all the Ponzi schemers who seem to savor the trappings of wealth right up until the moment until they go to jail. Most people would be worried sick under such circumstances.

Sociopaths often have a surprising demeanor in criminal court, given the gruesome nature of the crimes they are being tried for. While most would hang their heads in shame -- and that's an understatement -- sociopaths comport themselves like rock stars. This post and this one as well show photographs of serial killers who look strangely proud while on trial.

Sociopaths always seem to have some naive sucker around who believes in him no matter how high the evidence stacked against him. (Think Lenny Dykstra and Dan Herman. Or think of all the serial killers who've attracted groupies.)

Anybody who advertises his integrity and honesty usually has neither. 

To most people, a "conscience" is a nebulous, ethereal entity they're not really aware of. In fact, it's basically metaphorical shorthand for their character: their inhibitions, qualms, mixed emotions, and ability to feel guilt and shame as well as love. But they rarely talk about it. A sociopath, who lacks such character, may actually talk about his conscience, as if it's a distinct, palpable entity which guides his every move. (Think Barack Obama.)

Nonsociopaths get plastic surgery. But a sociopath is more likely to get it -- and lie about it.  Likewise, nonsociopaths take steroids; but a sociopath is more likely to -- and also to lie about it. In fact, a giveaway of sociopathy is the self-righteousness with which a juiced athlete denies taking performance-enhancing drugs. (Think Marion Jones, or Lance Armstrong.)

A sociopath's emotional repertoire goes from hatred to bitterness to jealousy to envy to spite to glee (at his own victories, or others' misfortunes). Some sociopaths always seem to be brimming over with bitterness and resentment. If you know someone who always seems able to find a reason to hate people, you're probably dealing with a sociopath.

Sociopaths never have peace of mind. They are rarely content to settle down with a good book, or with a crossword puzzle, or any form of peaceful solitude. They don't enjoy their own company; they prefer to be out and about, actively stirring up trouble.

Sociopaths always seem to be able to glibly justify their own sociopathy. Here are a few of the ways in which they do. 

The only people I've ever heard excuse their own lying by saying that they were only telling people what they wanted to hear, as if they had no choice but to do this, were sociopaths.

At moments of tragedy, when most people would be completely shaken up, and distraught beyond words, sociopaths, if they're not feigning sadness, may express weirdly mundane concerns. After Justin Ross Harris killed his 22-month-old son by locking him in an overheated car (after taking out life insurance on him), he complained to police, "I can't believe this is happening to me," and worried that it would reflect badly on him at the office. Such behavior is a dead giveaway.

Another way sociopaths demonstrate their character is by not losing their appetite on occasions in which food would be the last thing on a normal person's mind. (Think Joran van der Sloot.)

One way sociopaths reveal their own character is by constantly suspecting others of sociopathic traits. I once knew a sociopath who would frequently say about others, "I don't trust that guy. He lied to me once." The only one he was really giving away was himself.

One minor sociopathic tic is wearing a large cross, prominently, as a way of advertising one's piousness and inner decency.

Cheating on endurance races, a la Rosie Ruiz, or Kendall Schler, or Julie Miller, is a distinctly sociopathic trait.

Anyone who "suffers from" Munchausen's Syndrome of Munchausen's-by-proxy is a sociopath. And anybody who falsely claims to have been the victim of a hate crime is acting out a variant of Munchausen's Syndrome, and not much of a variant at that.

Creating havoc so that one can appear the hero (as in, firemen who set fires they can then extinguish) is the behavior of sociopaths.

Posing as someone, or something, one is not almost always means sociopathy. Think of Christian Gerhartsreiter pretending to be Clark Rockefeller. Or Catch Me If You Can protagonist Frank Abagnale posing as an airline pilot or doctor.

Pretty much anyone who makes his living as a con man is a sociopath. (I've never known of one who wasn't.) And having multiple aliases almost always means one is a con man.

Taking advantage of people who are actually doing you a favor is a particularly loathsome, peculiarly sociopathic method of exploitation.

Attributing one's own bad behavior to noble causes is another sociopathic specialty. Think of Newt Gingrich explaining his multiple infidelities by saying, "There's no question at times in my life, partially driven by how passionately I felt about this country, that I worked too hard and things happened in my life that were not appropriate."

Or think of Jack Kevorkian, indulging his fascination with killing and death while masquerading as a man wanting to help ease the suffering of terminally ill people.

A woman who files a false rape report is likely a sociopath. Think of Jackie Oakley, the UVA fraternity rape "victim."

A stylistic quirk sociopaths exhibit is overuse of adverbs and adjectives attributing nobility to themselves. This post analyzes how David Berkowitz (Son of Sam) does it, and this post analyzes the  language used by Franklin Lynch (The Day Stalker).

You often hear convicts characterizing some horrific crime they've committed, like murder, as "a mistake" or "a bad decision." This too is distinctly sociopathic phraseology.

This is by no means a comprehensive list. But all of these behaviors give off a distinctly sociopathic scent. Also, bear in mind that they describe different styles of sociopathy. No sociopath will do all of these things; but most will do some. This list should help you recognize the sociopaths in your life. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The gulf

While researching James Burke, the Suffolk Police Chief who's now serving time for assault and may or may not be connected to the Gilgo Beach serial killings, I stumbled across this article, which contains an embedded video of the recent press conference in which the paid escort "Leanne" described her experiences with Burke at a sex party near Gilgo Beach.

She said he tried to have sex with her in a bathroom, but was unable to perform. He then roughly grabbed her by the hair and forced her to service him orally, but he wasn't able to perform that way, too. He then told her that she was "not a good whore," and tossed some money at her, as if angry.

Most guys, when impotent, are embarrassed, maybe even mortified. And they are apologetic to the woman. A sociopath reacts differently: he gets angry. Since, in his mind, nothing is ever his fault, he blames the woman. And maybe even gets violent afterward.

It would never even occur to most guys to react that way.

Yesterday, the NY Post ran an article about a Florida murderer. The relevant excerpts:

A Florida man told police he murdered his girlfriend’s cousin and then had sex with her body just for the thrill of the gruesome deed.

Christopher Shows, 21, was arrested Monday for the grisly Dec. 7 killing of Amanda Suarez, a 21-year-old mother of four — who was attacked inside her Okeechobee home.

“In his confession, it was just he wanted to know what murder was about. Unfortunately, it was no rhyme no reason. He just wanted to know what murder felt like,” the county’s sheriff-elect, Noel Stephen, told WPTV.

Here's a picture of Amanda Suarez and Christopher Shows:

Every now and then you hear of a murderer who kills just to see what it's like. Whenever the public hears this, they assume that there must have been some deeper, stronger, underlying motive. Perhaps Shows hated Suarez for some other, hidden reason. 

But, it's actually not that way. Sociopaths will kill just out of a mild curiosity. That's how utterly without compunction they are. 

Again, most people would never dream of doing something like that.

There is a huge gulf between what a normal person is capable of and what a sociopath is capable of. And since most people can't fathom the depth of depravity of a sociopath, they never suspect a sociopath of doing these horrible deeds.

That's exactly what allows most sociopaths to hide in plain sight. 

How many of the police who used to work for James Burke suspected him of being the Gilgo Beach serial killer? (I emphasize, there's no hard evidence connecting Burke to the killings yet, but he does seem to be a suspect.) My guess is, few of the rank and file, even if they knew he was a difficult personality, actually suspected him.

How many of Christopher Shows' high school buddies would have thought that in a couple years he would shoot and kill a woman just to see what it felt like, then have sex with her dead body?

My guess is, none.

Most people can't imagine that the guy who seems so trustworthy and earnest is actually embezzling company funds. Or trying to poison their relationships with their friends. Or trying to lure them into self-destructive acts. Or, killing people on the side. 

I can't tell you how many times I've heard people make excuses for a sociopath along the lines of, "Oh, he'd never do that." 

Or, "Well, he may have a dark side, I mean, we all do, but he's certainly not capable of that." 

Or, "He's a really honorable, honest guy. I know he is." (Because the sociopath told him he was.) 

Sociopaths bank on others' naivete, and lack of imagination.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

On suspending college teams for bad manners

There's been a fair amount of publicity recently about how various college men's athletic teams have had their seasons canceled or suspended for having made rude comments in their group emails. So far it's happened to Harvard soccer, Columbia wrestling, Amherst cross country, and now, Princeton swimming.

Evidently all of these athletic teams had some sort of listserv where the athletes could make comments. The Harvard men's soccer team, the first to be suspended, had a "scouting report" on the freshman women players, assigning them numerical values and assigning imaginary sexual positions to them.

The other teams did similar things. One of the Amherst College cross country runners referred to a female runner as a "walking STD," and reportedly racist and homophobic comments were made as well.

So far, these suspensions have happened only in the Ivy League and at Amherst. Are the male athletes at these schools so much coarser than their counterparts at big state schools? Are, say, the Ohio State football players that much more refined than the Amherst cross country runners?

What makes it more ironic is that cross-country runners tend to be quiet, introverted, masochistic personalities. They are far less boisterous, and rank far lower on the athletic/social totem pole, than their counterparts on the lacrosse, football, and basketball teams. (This isn't true of every last person, of course; but as a general rule, it holds.)

Swimmers and soccer players also tend to be less socially aggressive, though wrestlers are often a bit more truculent. (Knowing you can beat the other guy up if it comes down to that tends to have that effect.)

I spoke to a friend whose daughter goes to Amherst yesterday; she evidently told him that at least three or four guys on the cross country team there are gay. Why are they being penalized? And why are the straight guys who didn't make rude comments being punished alongside those who did?

Contrast this to what goes on at a big time football school. When a couple of the players are accused of rape, nobody ever thinks to suspend the entire team.

In fact, at the University of Minnesota, the opposite happened recently: the football players themselves threatened to boycott their bowl game because ten players accused of sexual assault were suspended from the team. (In fairness to those players, criminal charges were not brought against them; but there's also no question that all ten gang banged a drunk female student.)

Of course, football is a revenue-producer. Cross country, by contrast, brings in no revenue to a school, so it provides an easy sacrificial lamb for an athletic director or university president looking to score political correctness points.

You can say the Ivy athletes were stupid: these guys should have known that anything said on a public mailing list could be made public. Just because it was used mostly by them didn't mean that it wasn't accessible to others. They had no more right to privacy on a university-sponsored listserv than I have with this blog.

You can also say they were rude. Bad manners aren't welcome anywhere, and rating incoming 18-year-old girls on their looks in a public forum is mean. (At least, if they're low numbers -- I doubt any girl would be disheartened by being told she's a nine or a ten.)

What this matter really boils down to is whether bad manners should be punishable by having one's athletic privileges taken away. Of course, that depends in large part on how you define bad manners.

The BLM protesters who rampaged through that Dartmouth Library last fall, and many like them, were unquestionably rude, yet they lost no privileges. In fact, the upshot of their bad manners was that the university administration met with them to hear their concerns.

Another comparison: if a female team had made catty comments about their male counterparts, would they have had their season suspended? Or, what if, for example, some of the writers at a liberal student newspaper had exchanged group emails saying rude things about conservatives: would the university administrators suspend publication of that newspaper for the rest of the year?

The fact that one -- and only one -- set of bad manners are now punished with actual penalties seems to be an extension of the safe spaces mentality that is pervading academia right now: it's okay to attack one group, but not another.

Here's Amherst President Carolyn "Biddy" Martin, who called the comments from the cross country team "vulgar, cruel, and hateful:"

Their comments were definitely vulgar and cruel. But hateful? Not really. The Left always insists on attributing that emotion to anything they disagree with, but it probably does not describe the emotional state of the runners as they joked with one another. The comments were off-color, no question, and insensitive, to be sure. But were they written in a frenzy of bitterness and antipathy? That's highly doubtful.

This type of hypocrisy is most apparent when it comes to the media, which also condemns any such displays of sexism, when they themselves are the worst offenders in that regard. Most of their female newscasters must be attractive, and they make their money by running commercials (or ads) featuring only the most beautiful women as models.

(Coincidentally, I just happened to be chatting yesterday with a woman who used to work as a reporter at ultra liberal NBC. She volunteered, unprompted by me, that looks have a great deal to do with whether females get ahead at that station.)

To some extent, those students who made sexist, homophobic, and racist comments must have been doing so partly out of a sense of rebelliousness against the narrowly pc mentality that the universities -- and the media -- enforce these days.

Having your athletic season suspended is far less draconian than being expelled from school. But to a 19- or 20-year-old, an athletic season can be something on which the sun rises and sets. (This is not to say that it should be, but as a former college athlete, I can testify that it can be.)

In the current climate, no AD or college president will ever get fired for doing something like this, whereas if he lets rude comments slide, he could later be said to have been tacitly condoning and even encouraging the bad behavior, and his job could be jeopardized. So they take no chances, the student-athletes be damned.

The question that remains is, what is the proper punishment for these young men? They were unquestionably rude and uncouth.

The proper punishment should be what it has always been for the rude and uncouth: to be disliked. All those who dislike these boors should feel perfectly free to shun them socially, and speak ill of them, or even mockingly rate their looks if they so choose. That's exactly what those rude student-athletes deserve.

An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, and a comment for a comment.

Social relations are a vast, interrelated, complicated matter, with a host of different reasons why people think and speak and react the way they do. And, there are an infinite number of ways to be unpleasant, of which jokey references to women's attractiveness is just one.

For university administrators to try to insert themselves into the social fabric of their students' lives is simply meddlesome overkill.

It's the latest in a movement towards ever more stifling social engineering against which these young male students were rebelling.

And it will spark even more rebellion.

Friday, December 16, 2016

The Gilgo Beach killer

Last December I wrote about James Burke, the disgraced former police chief in Suffolk County, New York. He had beaten up a handcuffed man who had been accused of breaking into his car and stealing his sex toys and pornographic tapes. What I said at the time:

[He] was in the news for having purposely stymied an FBI investigation into the Gilgo Beach serial killings for several years, and also for having beaten up a handcuffed man who was accused of breaking into Burke's car and stealing his sex toys and pornographic tapes. Burke is also alleged to have broken into the suspect's apartment to retrieve those stolen items, and to have intimidated potential witnesses, including police who worked for him.

It occurred to me a year ago that Burke could actually be the serial killer. I didn't say so on the blog, because it sounds so farfetched. But it's not as farfetched as it sounds. What did we know at that point? 

-That Burke is a sociopath: anybody who would beat up a handcuffed suspect and also intimidate the police who work for him would pretty much have to be one. 

-That he was a bit of a sex maniac, given what he was carrying around in his car. 

-That he had broken into the suspect's apartment to retrieve those tapes. (Why,  unless they somehow incriminated him?)

-That he had stymied the FBI investigation into the Gilgo Beach serial killings. (Why? You'd think most cops would be glad to have FBI assistance with that sort of thing.) 

Yesterday, the NY Post ran an article about a prostitute who has claimed that Burke took part in "sex parties" at Gilgo Beach near where the bodies were found: 

A disgraced Long Island police chief is being connected to the infamous Gilgo Beach murders by a lawyer for one of the victims and a prostitute who claims the cop participated in area “sex parties.”

Former Suffolk County police chief James Burke, who allegedly obstructed the FBI from investigating the unsolved murders, attended parties with drugs and prostitution in Oak Beach, the lawyer said.

“This is the first time that there has been an actual connection made between former chief police Burke, Oak Beach and prostitution,” the lawyer, John Ray, said at a press conference.

Also, the prostitute who identified herself as Lee Ann claimed she had “rough sex” with Burke.

Lee Ann also said she witnessed Burke “grab a girl by her hair and drag her to the ground.”

Ray, the lawyer for the family of slain woman Shannan Gilbert, hopes to question Burke under oath about the his role in the parties.

The bodies of eight women, a man and a toddler have been found on or near Gilgo Beach since 1996.

Some of the murdered women are believed to have worked in the sex industry.

I'm not saying Burke is the serial killer. But I'd bet he's at least a person of interest in the case to the FBI now.

If Burke was the killer, he was in the perfect position to execute those crimes. He could have driven around all day in that area with a dead body in his police car, and nobody would ever have stopped him, since all the local cops reported to him. And now we know he took part in sex parties with prostitutes near Gilgo Beach. And that he liked to rough them up.

If it turns out that Burke is the killer -- if it can be proven -- this will be a huge, huge story.  

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Surrounding themselves with macho men

As I was looking for pictures for that post about how the Russian Duma is sexier than its American counterpart, it became apparent that Putin likes to socialize with tough, masculine men. Trump seems to be picking part of his Cabinet using the same criteria.

Putin is friendly with former heavyweight boxing champ and current Duma member Nikolai Valuev in his entourage (on far left):

Here's Putin with Russian super heavyweight wrestling champ Aleksandr Karelin:

Putin with heavyweight boxing champ Wladimir Klitschko (on left):

Putin's favorite seems to be Fedor Emelianenko, the great heavyweight mixed martial artist, seen above at right and below, next to Putin (Karelin is at far right):

Putin has attended several of Emelianenko's fights, and often gets into the ring and gives a speech afterwards:

It's easy to understand why Putin likes these men. The acromegalic Valuev looks like a movie monster, but is in fact a soft-spoken, thoughtful guy, as this interview shows.

Karelin was for many years the pride of Russia, the personification of the Russian bear.

Emelianenko is widely regarded as the greatest mixed martial artist of all time. He often overwhelmed larger and stronger opponents through sheer aggression, and was stoic in both victory and, toward the end of his career, in defeat. He is deeply religious, and humble. He has been married three times, but the first and third marriages were to the same woman.

It's a little harder to understand why Putin would have befriended Steven Seagal, but he has, even offering Seagal Russian citizenship recently (at Seagal's request):

It's also a little mystifying that Putin would become friends with Jean Claude Van Damme:

(Putin must like old martial arts movies. The only guys missing from his entourage are Dolph Lundgren and Chuck Norris.)

Similarly, some of Trump's Cabinet choices seemed to have been picked for their alpha qualities.

For the Department of Defense, retired Marine Corps General James "Mad Dog" Mattis, whose quotes seem to be a pretty big thing on the internet:

For National Security Advisor, retired Army General Michael Flynn:

(I'm not sure how hawkish he is, but he sure looks like a fierce bird of prey.)

For the Homeland Security post, retired Marine Corps General John Kelly:

(He could probably scare away any threats to the homeland with that scowl.)

For Secretary of the Interior, former Seal Team Six Commander Ryan Zinke:

(We need a Secretary of the Interior who can pick off those few pesky remaining buffalo with a single head shot from 500 meters.)

And for Secretary of State, Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson, who has no military pedigree, but nonetheless exudes alpha:

Tillerson was evidently picked because of his close relationship with Putin:

Which brings us back to the two guys this post is really about, Putin and Trump. Both are aggressively heterosexual, and there's probably not even any homoeroticism involved in their choice of companions and coworkers.

It probably has more to do with that atavistic instinct to want fierce warriors on your side, which has been evolutionarily adaptive for most of the past four million years.

But most of it is probably a matter of self-image. Both Putin and Trump like to see themselves as tough guys, and they seem to feel that the machismo of their companions somehow reflects on them.

Is that silly? Of course it is. But, it's also understandable.

Putin's posse has more of a combat arts flavor, whereas Trump's team has a more military cast.

But, Putin and Trump seem predisposed toward liking each other, so it's highly unlikely the two groups would ever have a rumble.

Which is a good thing, foreign policy-wise.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Thank you Jill Stein

The NY Post just ran an article, Michigan recount reveals error, but not the one Jill Stein wanted.

The relevant excerpts:

WASHINGTON — Green Party nominee Jill Stein’s presidential vote recount in Michigan may have turned up massive voter irregularities — in the Democratic stronghold of Detroit.

Now it’s Republican leaders who are demanding an investigation to determine why a third of the city’s voting machines registered more ballots than actual voters, the Detroit News reported.

Ruth Johnson, the Republican secretary of state, is launching an audit.

Republican state Sen. Patrick Colbeck called the probe a good start on the suspicious results turned up in Detroit, which Hillary Clinton won with 95 percent of the vote.

The Detroit News found voting scanning machines at 248 of the city’s 662 precincts — 37 percent — tabulated more ballots than the number of actual voters counted in the poll books.

“There’s always going to be small problems to some degree, but we didn’t expect the degree of problem we saw in Detroit. This isn’t normal,” Krista Haroutunian, chairwoman of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers, told the paper.

The small tip of a large iceberg.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Analysis of a famous person from afar, vs. from up close

Every now and then you'll hear someone say, you can't analyze someone unless you've examined him in a clinical setting. This seems to be the official position of the American Psychiatric Association.

But if you meet someone for the first time in a clinical setting, you might have no knowledge of him and how he behaves outside the psychiatrist's office. You have only a few sessions in which to get to know a complete stranger, and you will see only whichever face he chooses to present to you.

On the other hand, when someone is running for President, you see far more complete picture of that person. You can read about his entire life history, find out what his family background was like, see his entire employment history, and read many of his previous quotes. You get to see how he behaves on camera, and read about how he behaves off camera, in both stressful situations and during his relaxation time. You get a sense of his sex life, his extracurricular interests, and hear about how he treats the people he's known personally. And you get to hear what former friends and associates have to say about him.

All of this is far, far more revealing than a couple of interviews where he knows someone is trying to psychoanalyze him and he will try to hide things he doesn't want seen. And such subterfuge will always be the case with a narcissistic personality, or even worse, a sociopath. And almost by definition, virtually everyone who runs for President is, at the very least, a narcissistic personality.

The old expression "Actions speak louder than words" would seem to apply here.

(I wrote here about how you can't possibly understand how a sociopath works by chatting with him in a psychiatric setting.)

The American Psychiatric Association, of course, has a vested interest in preserving their fiefdom. They want to make it seem as if anyone who doesn't operate in a clinical setting is incapable of rendering any sort of worthwhile judgment. But the mere fact that they seem to believe that a few sessions in a doctor's office provides a better basis for understanding than seeing an entire well-publicized life history, calls into question their own judgment. 

Think of it this way: according to the APA standard, none of us should jump to the rash conclusion that Ted Bundy was a sociopath, because, after all, we never interviewed him in a clinical setting.

Psychiatry by its nature tends to lean liberal. Psychologists look for psychological/sociological -- as opposed to genetic -- explanations for all human differences. Someone who works in the field told me recently that politically incorrect conclusions are strongly disapproved of, and can even get you drummed out of grad school.

The fact that every article I saw on the subject of armchair analysis, like this Washington Post article, spoke only about Donald Trump's possible diagnosis, and not Hillary Clinton's, is proof of that narrowly pc view.

Anyway, that's my armchair analysis of the APA.