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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Arguing like a liberal

After the recent sociopath alert about Al Sharpton, I got a comment from Glen Filthie in which he talked about racial differences and used the n-word.

I replied that while I don't disagree about group differences, the post wasn't about that, it was about Sharpton's character, and that character is not a matter of political stance. I also asked Glen not to use the n-word. I explained:

I'm in trouble enough for talking honestly about race and IQ, etc, without people pointing out that people on my site use the n-word. There's no point to it, it adds nothing to the discussion, and in fact once you use it, it means people who are sitting on the fence about various issues will stop listening to you.

I've always posted whatever comments people make, as long as they're relevant to the post -- and no matter how insulting they are to me. But use of the n-word is gratuitously ugly. I hate the hypocrisy and dishonesty shown by people like Sharpton, and I don't mind talking about group differences, especially as they impinge on public policy. I'll even make fun of black given names. But I don't hate anyone because of his race, and using a term like that insults all the members of a race.

Likewise, I never use the c-word to describe radical feminists, because that would insult all women, not just the feminists. And I try to steer clear of using the f-word to describe anything other than a bundle of burning embers.

Actually, all of these words are a little like calling someone a "fucking asshole." All it does is express your anger and expose your lack of eloquence. If you're really angry with someone, it's far better -- and more stinging -- to explain exactly why you feel that way about him.

Glen replied here (I'll leave you to judge the accuracy of what each of us said). His conclusion:

I'll leave you with the last word, John. Unfortunately you seem to be another intellectual poseur that is actually more politically correct and less objective and intelligent than he would care to admit.

It's actually sort of ironic -- I expect personal insults from liberals, it's how they argue. I expect it from women, too, as a high percentage of them seem unable to argue without resorting to ad hominem attacks. (I know one woman who loves to ask me about political subjects, but invariably will start talking over me as soon as I start to reply, and will just as invariably turn the argument into a personal attack; I avoid her as much as possible.)

But I generally don't expect it from conservatives. (At no point did I attack Glen personally, I merely took issue with what he said.)

In any case, I have received all sorts of insults on this blog.

I have had an Aspie accuse me of having Aspergers.

I have had a homosexual accuse me of being gay.

I have had a sociopath accuse me of being a sociopath.

And now, I have had Glen Filthie accuse me of being "an intellectual poseur that is more politically correct and less objective and intelligent than he would care to admit."


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Editorializing by photo

Newspapers can always slant their articles slightly by their choice photographs. Two recent examples came in NY Post articles about Obama.

The first article, from two days ago, was headlined Obama says US less racially divided and used this photo:

This is not a picture selected to inspire confidence. Obama actually looks as if he's telling a whopper. And an upraised finger often hints at an arrogant, pedantic personality.

The second article was headlined, Soldiers' dream wedding forced to move for Obama's golf game. The story didn't turn out to be particularly damning: Obama didn't schedule his own golf game, had no idea about the planned wedding, and personally phoned the couple afterward to offer both his apologies and congratulations.

But, the Post used this photo to go along with the article:

If all you saw was the headline and the picture, you'd be left with the impression that our self-involved President was running roughshod over other peoples' lives in order to indulge his own leisure time pursuits -- pursuits he seems to be a tad egotistical about.

These photos haven't been retouched or anything like that. But they were selected for effect.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Sociopath alert: Al Sharpton

Al Sharpton has led a life characterized by shamelessness, hypocrisy, dishonesty, and self-promotion. He doesn't even seem to make an effort to hide these traits, which makes him something of a rarity among sociopaths.

Sharpton first gained national attention with the Tawana Brawley "rape" case. Since then he has managed to insert himself into practically every major racial flareup in the country.

His history of race-baiting is generally well known, so there's no need to go into detail about all the incidents he has involved himself in: the Jena Six, the Trayvon Martin case, the Michael Brown case, and so on.

People have often ended up dying after Sharpton has inflamed passions, as happened in the Freddie's Fashion Mart fire, the Crown Heights riots, and the Ismaiiyl Brinsley killings. Sharpton has always  subsequently distanced himself from the killers. But in all of these cases he did his best to stir up resentment, whether or not it was justified.

Sharpton's credibility and point of view might best be summed up by this quote, from 1994: "White folks was in caves while we was building empires.... We taught philosophy and astrology and mathematics before Socrates and them Greek homos ever got around to it."

Sharpton and his for-profit corporations currently owe the IRS a total of $4.5 million in back taxes; he has been taking his time about paying the money back. On two separate occasions when the IRS was supposed to collect documentation from him, those documents were destroyed by suspicious fires.

Sharpton has never been able to fully account for how contributions to his National Action Network have been spent, either.

In any case, his hypocrisy in all of these instances has been amply documented elsewhere. What's far more interesting are the things that get much less publicity: his being an FBI informant, his early years as James Brown's manager, his even earlier years as a child preacher, and his family background.

Sharpton was born on October 3, 1954. He graduated from high school in 1972, and attended Brooklyn College for two years, dropping out in 1975.

In 1972, he became the national youth director for Shirley Chisholm's Presidential campaign. It's hard not to wonder what sort of 17-year-old has the nerve to apply for that job? What kind of fast talking and self-promotion did that entail?

Between 1973 and 1980, Sharpton served as singer James Brown's tour manager. He was still a teen-ager when he got that position as well. What kind of teen-ager thinks he's qualified to serve in that capacity, and actually manages to finagle that job? What kind of nerve and fast talking did that entail?

The fact is, no teenager really has either the knowledge or experience to take on these jobs. In order to get them, a teenager would have to pretty much dissemble about his qualifications. So not only did Sharpton exhibit tremendous nerve to get hired, he must have been something of a con artist as well.

And if you scratch a con artist, you'll almost always find a sociopath.

Even more revealing is Sharpton's history as an informant for the US government, though much of the information on a topic like this by its nature tends to remain shrouded in secrecy.

According to a 1988 NY Times report:

The Rev. Al Sharpton, a Brooklyn minister who has organized civil disobedience demonstrations and has frequently criticized the city's predominantly white political leadership, assisted law-enforcement officials in at least one recent criminal investigation of black community groups, Government sources said.

He also allowed investigators to wiretap a telephone in his home, the sources said.

But Mr. Sharpton disputed much of an account published yesterday in New York Newsday that said he had cooperated in several Federal investigations….

''I think the idea of this setup is either killing me or scaring me into running out of town,'' the 33-year Pentecostal minister said on a program on radio station WLIB. ''But I won't back down. When God made me, he forgot to put reverse in my transmission.''

As a young man, Sharpton managed to insinuate himself into the inner circles of Shirley Chisholm, James Brown, Don King, Adam Clayton Powell Jr., and Jesse Jackson. If he did want to further himself by informing on prominent blacks, he had plenty of opportunity.

Disloyalty, of course, is another hallmark of sociopathy.

Note Sharpton's own words: [God] "forgot to put reverse in my transmission." In other words, there is no room in his personality for qualms, shame, acknowledgment of error, or apologies.

But how did he become this way?

Sharpton evidently preached his first sermon at age four, and was ordained as a Pentecostal minister at age nine. (Smell a stage parent?) If you're preaching at an age when you're not old enough for kindergarten, what sort of narcissism does that encourage?

When Sharpton was nine, his father left his mother to have a relationship with Sharpton's 18-year-old half-sister (they had a baby together). What standard of loyalty must that have instilled in the young Sharpton? What level of ill will must that have fomented in that household?

It seems to have set a precedent in Sharpton's life which he has repeated over and over again, instigating discord wherever he goes.

One side note: Both of the two (white) sociopaths I knew best had a habit of over enunciating each of their words, as if every single thing that came out of their mouths deserved special emphasis. It's a weird sociopathic tic, reflective of feelings of self righteousness, narcissism, and a bullying nature. Think of the way Sharpton often bellows, not only overemphasizing every word, but sometimes even every syllable. It's the same tic.

Easy verdict: Sharpton is a sociopath. 

Friday, December 26, 2014

Pure Obama

The NY Post ran an article this evening with the headline, Obama says US less racially divided.

An excerpt:

President Obama says the United States is less racially divided despite the tensions raging from deadly police shootings and emotional protests. Compared to six years ago...when he made history as the first black president, Obama says American race relations are on the upswing.

Americans, however, seem to disagree.

A Bloomberg Politics survey out this month found a majority of Americans – 53 percent – feel interactions between white and black communities have deteriorated since Obama took office.

This is vintage Obama. First, he's saying something that's not true: there is obviously more racial enmity now than there was six years ago. Take a look at the comments section of that Yahoo article mentioned six posts ago if you have any doubt. 

Then, he takes credit for this nonexistent detente.

In fact, by installing the clearly racialist Eric Holder as Attorney General, and by hosting Al Sharpton in the White House on 62 different occasions, Obama has done more to set back race relations than any other President within memory. 

Another excerpt:

Obama also expressed optimism the New Year will usher in cooperation in Congress under GOP control. “Now you’ve got Republicans in a position where it’s not enough for them simply to grind the wheels of Congress to a halt and then blame me.”

After all, what better way is there to usher in this new spirit of cooperation than with a gratuitous insult?

The brave women of FEMEN

An AP headline today read, "Vatican arrests activist who bared chest in square."

The accompanying photo:

Yana Zhdanova, a member of FEMEN, snatched a statue of the Baby Jesus from a Nativity scene in St. Peter's Square and screamed, "God is a woman!"

Who knows, maybe she's right.

The women of FEMEN do not make headlines the way they used to, but evidently they have been quite active with their protests against the Vatican.

Just last month, three activists simulated anal sex with crucifixes in order to protest the Pope Francis's appearance at the European Parliament on November 25th..

The women chanted, "God is not a magician, pope is not a politician!"

Who knows, maybe they're right about that as well: God, to my knowledge, has never performed card tricks, and the Pope is not a secular leader.

But I can't help but wonder how these women feel about the Islamic practices of clitoridectomy, and forcing women to wear burkhas, and not allowing girls to attend school.

And I can't help but wish that these brave women would demonstrate their disapproval of these practices by traveling to Mecca and wiping their asses with the pages of the Koran.

It would certainly be instructive to see what sort of reception they got.

The real -- if unintentional -- message FEMEN is delivering by protesting in Vatican Square rather than Mecca is that the Catholics are a far, far more liberal and humane group than the Muslims.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Filial respect, Part V

Yesterday my son told me he wanted to hasten my death in order to sooner receive his (meager) inheritance.

He chortled, "I'll make it look like a suicide. But not just any suicide. A gay, angst-ridden suicide, with gay love letters strewn around your body."

He then thought better of it. "No, I'll make it look as if you died of autoerotic asphyxiation while jerking off to gay porn. I'll pull your pants down and put some gay porn near your body."

When he finally stopped laughing, he concluded, "David Carradine's death is going to look dignified by comparison."

I never once spoke to my father that way.

Life….. a long, winding journey of discovering how much of a nobody you really are.

That's been my experience, anyway.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Obama and Sony stand firm against tyranny

Sony Pictures -- urged on by President Obama -- announced yesterday that it will not cave to threats of terrorism and will release The Interview in 200 independent movie theaters on Christmas day.

All of Hollywood was up in arms about having their artistic output censored by Kim Jong Un. The prevailing attitude in Tinseltown was, if the little dictator can't take a joke, that's his problem. We're a free society, even if they don't understand this in a benighted place like North Korea!

Even George Clooney took up the cause, denouncing North Korea and sticking up for his pals at Sony.

But isn't this the same George Clooney who got incensed at a reporter who referred to Obama as "Obama" a few years ago and gave the reporter an earful about how it was disrespectful not to refer to "President Obama?"

All of which leads me to wonder, what if Sony had made a movie -- even a lighthearted comedy -- about assassinating Obama, and at the end of the movie Obama's head had exploded?

Would the same people who are so adamantly insisting we stick up for freedom of expression be voicing the same opinions?

As it was, plenty of people in our country tut-tutted when Amy Pascal of Sony and producer Scott Rudin, in a series of private emails, made a few harmless jokes about Obama's probable taste in movies.

After that was made public, Pascal had to beg for absolution from that pillar of moral rectitude, Al Sharpton. (That was really the only truly funny joke that came out of that episode.)

Question: did George Clooney feel that his friend Amy Pascal was being "disrespectful" by implying that Obama's taste in movies might be limited to black-themed movies? Pascal certainly did not refer to our leader as "President Obama" in that exchange.

It was noteworthy that Obama said that Sony had made a mistake during that same week that he himself knuckled under to another communist dictator, Raul Castro. Obama restored full diplomatic and economic relations with Cuba in return for the exchange of Alan Gross, an American who should never have been imprisoned by Cuba in the first place, and an American spy. (Cuba also got three of their spies back.)

The Castros have long occupied a fond place in the hearts of American leftists. Perhaps it's because they have never hesitated to put any of their Cuban critics in jail. Perhaps it's because Fidel sent us a batch of his most incorrigible prisoners in the Mariel boat lift. Perhaps it's because he has long aided Colombian cartels who wanted to use his island as a waystation for their drug dealing operations, and has managed to amass a tidy fortune of $200 million for himself while heading his socialist paradise.

I must admit, I'm a little confused by all these goings on. Is kowtowing to communist dictators a good thing, or a bad thing? Is freedom of speech and mocking national leaders a cherished American value, or not?

After this past week, I just don't know what to think.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Lance Armstrong's false emotionality

I've written about Lance Armstrong's sociopathy before, here and here and here and here. I thought I'd covered the topic fairly exhaustively. But when it comes to lessons about sociopathy, Armstrong is the gift that just keeps on giving.

Yesterday, commenter "Remnant" forwarded an article titled Lance Armstrong: I'd never cheat playing golf.

The relevant excerpt:

In an essay for Golf Digest, Armstrong writes he is drawn to golf because of its honor code -- the opposite, he says, of what he found in cycling.

"Cycling, it was the Wild West. Nobody considered doping cheating," Armstrong wrote. "It was an arms race where absolutely anything went, and it was every man for himself. You might consider me the last guy to have anything to say about cheating, but golf is different. I love adhering to a code of honor that we in cycling didn't have. If I moved my ball in the rough and got caught, I wouldn't just regret it, I'd be heartbroken forever. When I think about reform in cycling, I think about golf."

Armstrong actually has a valid point about cycling: it was, and probably still is, a dirty sport. (That, of course, doesn't come close to justifying the vicious way Armstrong went after those who said he was doping.)

But what betrays Armstrong's sociopathy here is his penultimate sentence: "If I moved my ball in the rough and got caught, I wouldn't just regret it, I'd be heartbroken forever." 

If most of us got caught moving our ball in the rough, we'd be ashamed. And when our friends kiddingly brought our trespass up to us later on, we'd feel a twinge of embarrassment. Unless, of course, they continually brought it up, in which case, after a certain point, the embarrassment would probably give way to annoyance. 

But Armstrong? He's such a saint that he'd be "heartbroken forever." 

With sociopaths, it's never enough to pose as an ordinary, decent person. They must show that they are morally superior to ordinary human beings. So they overdo it, and make ridiculous claims like that. 

But sociopaths are in fact morally inferior to ordinary people -- so extremely inferior that they have no sense of what an ordinary person feels. So, they make wildly inflated claims about their own supposed morality, not realizing that they're actually giving themselves away this way.

And Armstrong didn't just exaggerate his emotion: he used the wrong one. Heartbreak is what we feel when a loved one dies. Some people also use the term in the context of romantic disappointment. If we get caught cheating, what we feel is embarrassment, or shame. But sociopaths feel neither embarrassment nor shame. And, metaphorically speaking, they are heartless. So, they confuse the normal emotions. 

Note his three words, "and got caught." It's hard not to hear an echo of his cycling career here: Armstrong didn't really regret the doping, he only regretted getting caught. Here he unwittingly admits it would be likewise with golf.

Note also that Armstrong claimed, "I love adhering to a code of honor…"

If most of us are in a situation where there is a code of honor involved, we would feel obliged to conform to its dictates, especially since we would fear the consequences if we broke it. And we would probably take a certain measure of comfort in knowing that others are probably conforming as well. 

Those would be the prevailing emotions. 

But Armstrong? He's such a honorable guy that he absolutely loves adhering to the code!

Keep it coming, Lance.

If you ever stop acting like a sociopath, I'll be heartbroken forever.

Friday, December 19, 2014

El Caballo

One of the three greatest athletes Cuba ever produced was Alberto Juantorena, who won the 400 and 800 meter runs at the 1976 Olympics. (The other two were probably Teofilo Stevenson, the three-time Olympic heavyweight boxing champion, and Javier Sotomayor, the high jumper whose world record of eight feet and one half inch has now stood for over twenty years.)

Juantorena was a magnificent specimen:

Back then, with his bushy unkempt Afro, and extraordinary running talent, I just assumed that he was a light-skinnned mulatto. In fact, that swarthy, somewhat racially indeterminate appearance would have made him look right at home fighting alongside Fidel and Che twenty years earlier.

But to look at pictures of Juantorena now, with his shorter, straighter hair and light eyes, it's hard to discern any black blood:

And with his strongly androgenized, Anglo-ish features, he looks almost like the chief of a police department in the South.

(Bull Connor?)

In any case, there are worse fates than going through life looking like El Caballo ("The Horse"), as Juantorena was known in Cuba.

I was reminded of Juantorena because Cuba has been in the news this week. But when I Googled him to see what he looked like now, I stumbled across the following picture, which made me wonder about something that had never occurred to me before. Is it possible Juantorena was on steroids?

He certainly dwarfed his competitors in the 800, both in terms of height (6' 2.5") and musculature. Usually when I say on this blog that someone is juicing, I'm completely convinced of it; I'm far from convinced about Juantorena.

But, it would be naive to entirely discount the possibility. He ran for a communist country at a time when the Eastern bloc was heavily doping its athletes. And his Polish coach would have been familiar with the advantage conferred by steroids.

On the other hand, Cuba, unlike East Germany, has never had the reputation of being a hotbed of doping. So, I'm agnostic on the issue. I just don't know.

What I do know is that as big a star as Juantorena was, and as good-looking as he was, he must have led a good life.

Even in Cuba.

Viva la revolucion!

Some conservatives seem to be seeing the recent normalization of relations with Cuba as Barack Obama having once again driven a very poor bargain. He basically restored full diplomatic relations, lifted the embargo, and freed three Cuban spies in return for a man (Alan Gross) Cuba should never have arrested in the first place, along with a US spy, and some vague talk about improving human rights. But there is nothing binding about that talk, any more than there was from China in the climate change treaty Obama signed with them.

A lot of liberals are probably reacting to the lifting of the embargo by thinking, ah, Barack's heart is in the right place; that embargo is silly an outdated.

What few have mentioned is Obama's most heartfelt desire: not that Cuba become more like us, but that we become more like Cuba. (Does anyone really doubt that the "fundamental transformation" of this country he had hoped for lay in that general direction?)

Fidel had a long history of trying to export his glorious socialist revolution abroad. Most of those efforts  eventually ended in defeat.

Who'd have thought that the one country whose leader would still be most receptive to that notion would be the United States?

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Kim Jong Un has no sense of humor

As wrong as the release of Sony's hacked emails is, it's hard not to feel some schadenfreude at each new development -- and the studio's reaction to them.

Two days ago a couple of Hollywood figures denounced the news media for quoting from the emails. The NY Post succinctly analyzed that hypocrisy here.

Most recently, the "Guardians of Peace" hackers announced that there might be terrorism at theaters which showed The Interview, and advised people to stay away from any such complex. (Those hackers are peacekeepers in the same sense that the Democratic People's Republic of Korea is a democracy.)

Their exact words: "Warning. We will clearly show it to you at the very time and places ‘The Interview’ be shown, including the premiere, how bitter fate those who seek fun in terror should be doomed to."

(That incredibly awkward phrasing definitely lends credence to the theory that the hackers are North Korean in origin.)

The thing is, even without the threat of terrorism, this movie was (bitterly) fated to be a bomb anyway. If you doubt that, check out this trailer.

Did you see anything remotely funny? Did it not seem to you that the two leads were pretty much sleepwalking through their roles? And this was the trailer, which is theoretically a short clip of the funniest moments that make you want to see the movie.

But the biggest takeaway of this entire affair is that the North Korean leader, who was mocked in this less-than-serious film, has absolutely no sense of humor about himself. Charismatic leaders have the ability to ingratiatingly mock themselves at times. Kim Jong Un is demonstrating himself -- as if we needed any further proof -- to be the opposite of charismatic.

In fairness to Kim Jong Un, he's been brought up to be the supreme leader of a country from birth, he has the luxury of being able to execute political enemies without consequence, and he is surrounded by fawning sycophants. That's not exactly the ideal environment in which to nurture a normal sense of give and take.

In any case, things have become quite tense, and it's probably not an exaggeration to call this a full scale international crisis that demands a serious response.

It's time we sent Dennis Rodman over there to straighten things out.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Hack attacks

It's been fun to follow this Sony saga, and see a liberal Obama donor like Amy Pascal get shown up for the hypocrite she is.

But, realistically, practically every large corporation could be shown in a similarly bad light if their emails were made public. None of us speak about people to their faces the same way we do behind their backs. So if all of our statements were made public, we'd all be in big trouble.

Just think of all the politically incorrect jokes that get forwarded in private. People do get in trouble for that kind of stuff. Or think of the porn so many men watch. What if their viewing habits were made public?

This is essentially what happened to Donald Sterling. His private conversations were made public. Even worse, in his case, his comments were taken out of context.

There should be a law that somehow indemnifies people from losing their jobs if their private conversations are made public, as happened to Sterling, and as may happen to Pascal.

Of course, no one can be indemnified against the personal fallout from such hacking attacks. Pascal's relationship with Angelina Jolie will certainly never be quite the same.

Pascal's emails, of course, are far more interesting to read about than those of most corporate execs, because her comments are about celebrities. Most of us would far rather hear the inside dirt on Jolie than, say, one oil exec's opinion of another.

This whole thing is thought to have started when Sony Pictures made the film, "The Interview," which ends with Kim Jong Un's head exploding. (Some have suggested that the hackers, who call themselves the "Guardians of Peace," are linked to the North Korean regime.)

At last report, the North Korean leader was fine; but Amy Pascal's career does seem to be exploding.

If it does, I won't shed a tear, because she's a typical liberal hypocrite. But do bear in mind, we're all vulnerable.

(By the way, the writer of this blog adores Kim Jong Un.)

Friday, December 12, 2014

Sony executives apologize

As I mentioned yesterday, it's always interesting to see how people have to grovel after making an un-politically correct comments. Sure enough, yesterday both Scott Rudin and Amy Pascal released statements.

Pascal's statement, in particular, seemed an exercise in disingenuousness:

"The content of my emails to Scott were insensitive and inappropriate but are not an accurate reflection of who I am…."

The truth, of course, is the polar opposite: those emails reflect exactly who she is. It's the apology, obviously written with the help of her PR people, that has nothing to do with who she is. 

Which do you think is the more telling indicator of someone's true personality: an unguarded, off the cuff email -- or an official corporate memo, vetted by lawyers in a desperate attempt at damage control? 

Not that either of these executives should have to apologize. All they did was privately joke about a public figure. But the current social climate is one where even joking is not permissible. 

Now that Rudin and Pascal have taken themselves out to the woodshed, that will probably be the end of it. If they were Republicans, of course, they'd have to resign in disgrace. But they're Democrats, so all is forgiven. 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

"Sony emails reveal racist slams on Obama"

I have to say, I don't think private emails should be hacked and made public.

But I also have to admit, I'm certainly enjoying reading how these rich, liberal Hollywood power brokers who donated money to Obama's campaigns talk in private.

How often do you actually get to be the proverbial fly on the wall?

The jokes weren't really all that "racist," by the way, though I'm sure both Scott Rudin and Amy Pascal are cringing right now.

It'll certainly be edifying to see exactly what form their groveling and apologies take.


There's been a fair amount of publicity about Columbia and Harvard Law Schools allowing their students to postpone their final exams because the students are upset by the recent grand jury decisions in Ferguson and New York.

Much of the reaction to these moves could be characterized as disapproval.

I disagree; I think Columbia and Harvard are on the right track.

In fact, I think I'll follow in their footsteps.

I'm very upset by the recent CIA torture report. So upset that I'm going to have to numb myself with a bottle of Jack Daniels every afternoon.

I'm in a huge tizzy about the Russian invasion of the Ukraine. Such a tizzy that I'm going to have to have a pint of Haagen Dasz chocolate chip cookie dough every night just to calm my nerves.

I've been in a complete snit about global warming recently. Given which, I couldn't even contemplate having to shovel the snow which will accumulate in our driveway this winter.

I'm extremely saddened because of all the vandalism and looting by the Ferguson protesters. So sad I couldn't even consider taking out the garbage anymore.

But most of all, I've worked myself into a lather from Obama's drone bombings, what with all the innocent children he's slaughtered. Since I can no longer even think clearly, I'm going to take a break from my self-assigned chore of writing this blog.

See you next year.

Party's over.

Every spring graduating college students fling their caps up into the air in a frenzy of mass exultation.

It's as if they're saying, "We're finally out of this prison! We're free now!"

Free from what? Having around ten hours of courses a week, doing a little homework, and partying the rest of the time?

I can see why kids are happy to get out of high school. In most high schools they're confined to classrooms for roughly thirty-five hours a week, have little choice about what they study, eat lousy high school cafeteria food for lunch, and at the end of the day get to go home to their parents.

In college, you get to live in a dorm with other young people, all of whom have as few responsibilities as you. It's your first taste of real freedom, far away from Mom and Dad's prying eyes. You're young and energetic and at the peak of your looks. So is everyone else. Everyone is single, which means they're pretty much available. And everyone likes to drink -- which makes them even more available.

You have to wonder about those joyful faces at graduation. Do they have any idea of what they're facing? The lucky ones -- or the smart ones, who majored in something practical -- have jobs. A job means responsibility. You have to show up on time, make an effort to get along with people you don't like, and keep your boss happy. (You may not see yourself as an ass kisser in college, but that'll change soon enough.) You don't get to choose your coworkers, and you spend an awful lot of time with them. And they're all way older than you.

The unlucky grads will be going home to live with their parents again.

So why the celebration? College graduation should look more like a funeral. Because all you're "celebrating" is that the party's over.

Good luck, and enjoy that forty hour work week with old people.

(Not a very timely post, I realize, but I was reminded of this by the recent decisions by Columbia and Harvard Law schools to allow their students to postpone finals because of the recent grand jury decisions.)

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Jackie, Part III

One of the things I expressed curiosity about in the first post about Jackie Coakley was her parents.

While looking for news about Jackie Coakley last night, I stumbled across this excerpt from the original Rolling Stone article by Sabrina Rubin Erdely:

Jackie had a strained relationship with her father, in whose eyes she'd never felt good enough, and always responded by exceeding expectations – honor roll, swim team, first-chair violin – becoming the role model for her two younger brothers. 

Where would Erdely have heard this? Obviously, from Coakley. So it can't be taken at face value -- except for the description of Coakley's relationship with her father as "strained." That much is probably true: even if they'd had a good relationship, which seems unlikely, characterizing it to a national audience as "strained" would by itself be enough to put a strain it.

It's doubtful that anyone who's ever lived has always exceeded expectations; but we can mark that down to sloppiness by Erdely.

The most telling part of the excerpt was the way Erdely describes Coakley as a "role model" for her two younger brothers. Again, this is something she could only have heard from Coakley. Only one type of person refers to herself a role "model," and actually sees herself as an inspiration to others: a narcissist. (Sociopaths are a subset of narcissists.)

Anyway, the snapshots of Coakley's personality continue to fall into a consistent pattern, as they always do with a sociopath.

Coakley won't be turning into a serial killer, despite not having the slightest concern for others' lives. (Her fantasies seem to revolve more around being raped.) But, whatever her path in life, three dynamics will never change: her instinctive dishonesty, her craving for sympathy, and her inability to feel shame.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Her real name: Jackie Coakley

Commenter "Jokah Macpherson" pointed out today that the UVA false rape accuser has been named.

The wheels of poetic justice certainly turn quickly: one day after I suggested that her name be made public, released it.

I also said I was curious as to what other lies Jackie had told in the past. Sure enough, the article said:

We can also confirm that Jackie Coakley has misled other students at both her high school and her college about her past sexual relations with men.

(Details will evidently be forthcoming.)

Here's her picture:

This is the scary thing about sociopaths: they rarely look scary. Look at her picture, then look at my picture at the right of the blog. Who looks more like your mental image of an evildoer?

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Sociopath alert: UVA rape accuser "Jackie"

There have been a lot of words written about the University of Virginia Rape-gate scandal over the past two weeks. But the one word which seems to be missing from all the accounts is "sociopath."

Steve Sailer, as usual, had the best take on it, A Rape Hoax for Book Lovers. He did an excellent job of analyzing in detail how the purported rape victim's story didn't add up. He also touched on the essential dishonesty of a media all too willing to suspend disbelief in the service of political theater.

But Sailer also referred to "Jackie," as the self-styled victim wanted to be known, as "unsettled," a vague word which misses the key point about her personality. She is a pathological liar, ergo, a sociopath. (The only surer sign of sociopathy is serial killing.) And while sociopaths may unsettle other people, they rarely suffer from nerves themselves. (It actually takes a lot of nerve to run with a huge lie the way Jackie did.)

Jackie was described in other accounts as "troubled" and "unhappy," which also miss the point. Sociopaths trouble others, but generally don't suffer from self-doubt. And "unsatisfied" is a better description of a sociopath than "unhappy." A sociopath always wants more: more fame, more admiration, and more sympathy.

It was this last desire which motivated this entire charade. Jackie has Munchausen's Syndrome, whose "sufferers" (sociopaths all) invent various maladies in order to quench their bottomless need for sympathy and affection. But instead of inventing an illness in order to gain attention and sympathy from doctors and nurses and friends, Jackie invented a rape in order to gain attention and sympathy from her friends and the UVA dean and even real rape victims in the campus support group she joined.

She even tried to get sympathy from Rolling Stone writer Sabrina Rubin Erdely, and by extension, her readership. It was that national exposure which ultimately proved her undoing.

A non-sociopath would never try to perpetrate such a hoax. Try to imagine yourself doing what Jackie did. First, you tell your friends that you were raped by nine guys. Then, you go to the dean of the university and report your "rape" to her. Then, you tell a reporter from a national newsmagazine about it.

These actions require a level of shamelessness that goes far beyond what a nonsociopath is capable of. They also require the confidence that you can always fool other people with your lies, a confidence only sociopaths seem to have.

The only other alternative here is that Jackie is psychotic. But her actions reek of dishonesty, not insanity. She can't even be that dumb, either: it's hard to get into the University of Virginia. (Of course, as a sociopath, Jackie must have gamed the system as much as possible: cunning often trumps IQ.)

Sabrina Rubin Erdely, the author of the original Rolling Stone article, is probably not sociopath. (If she were, she'd have seen through Jackie.) But she is dumb, and also somewhat dishonest, in that peculiar way that so many liberals are. She wanted so badly to believe that this rape took place, and she wanted so badly to believe that all those WASPy frat boys were capable of such evil, that she never looked critically at the "victim." And, she never bothered to let the accused speak.

When the Rolling Stone article first appeared, the usual people saw this as a great opportunity to "raise awareness" of campus rape. But the only thing this sordid episode should raise awareness of is sociopathy. Unfortunately, that angle will undoubtedly be lost amid all back and forth about feminism, politics, and the media. 

So far Jackie's real name hasn't been given, a courtesy traditionally extended by the press to all rape victims. But should that courtesy be extended to those who make false rape accusations? 

I'm curious to find out more about Jackie. What were her parents like? Was she adopted? What was her childhood like? How did her siblings turn out? What other lies has she told? 

I'm not sure what the appropriate penalty should be for Jackie. She never tried to get those fraternity brothers sent to jail (she never filed charges with the police), so it's probably not a jail sentence. But she should be expelled from UVA for the ruckus she caused. And, she did name some of her "rapists," to the dean and others. So her real name should be made public. 

And, if justice is truly served, this story will hound her for the rest of her life. 

Monday, December 1, 2014

How Obama sees himself

Obama's comments at the news conference he held right after the Republican sweep in early November put his narcissism in stark relief.

First, he said that "the American people sent a message" that the public expects their elected leaders to work as hard as they do. That is ridiculous: they sent a message that they didn't like Obama's policies.

After being asked why the election was so devastating for Democrats, Obama responded that the American people felt that Washington wasn't responsive to their needs. Again, he tried to make it sound as if they were dissatisfied with Washington in general rather than with the Democrats in particular, a typical Obama dodge.

Then he added that "every election is a moment for reflection," once again implying that this election was no different than any other -- and essentially saying that he refused to draw any conclusions from the Democrats' resounding defeat.

Obama also emphasized the two thirds of the electorate who didn't vote. His clear implication was that had more people turned out, the results might have been different. But turnout is traditionally low in non-Presidential election years, and the energized Republicans base sent a strong message.

A few minutes later, Obama said that he wanted Congress to act on immigration and that America needs policies which allow "the best and the brightest" to live here. Obama's definition of the "best and the brightest" seems to mean, "those who can cross the Rio Grande without getting caught."

Obama also said that he would give Congress six weeks to act on such a bill. Two and a half weeks later, he issued his executive order.

Much has been made of how Obama has circumvented the Constitution with his order. But as any psychologist will tell you, narcissists never feel the rules apply to them.

A few days later, Obama stated that had he been allowed to campaign more actively, the Democratic candidates would have fared better. (This, after an election during which virtually every Democrat put as much distance between himself and the President as possible.)

The statements from that press conference all seem jarringly at odds with reality, but they were in fact normal for Obama, who has always been a case study in narcissism.

Just last year Obama said, “Kindness covers all of my political beliefs. Empathy, the idea that we have a stake in each other’s success, is what gets me up every single day.”

In other words, "I do what I do because I'm a kind and empathetic person."

The same rule that applies to prison pen pal advertisements applies to politicians: people who actually have those qualities never feel obliged to advertise them.

This is a man who has said, in one of the two autobiographies he had written by the age of 45, "I find comfort in the fact that the longer I’m in politics the less nourishing popularity becomes, that a striving for power and rank and fame seems to betray a poverty of ambition, and that I am answerable mainly to the steady gaze of my own conscience."

Another rule which applies here is that people who have consciences don't talk about their own as distinct entities. (It's also true that no one says he doesn't care about his popularity who doesn't, in fact, care a great deal about it.)

Obama has claimed that the reason he did not make the varsity basketball team at Punahou is because the coach just didn't "get" his style of street play. The fact is, Obama just wasn't good enough. But since becoming President, he's felt he's good enough to play with NBA players. They undoubtedly don't play their hardest against him and let him score on them. But that probably doesn't stop him from indulging his fantasy that he's far better than he actually is.

When he was at Harvard Law School, the other students coined a term, the "Obamometer," to measure the extent to which someone seemed pleased with his own glibness. The term actually outlasted Obama at the law school. (Think about that: at a place which must attract an inordinate share of grandstanding egomaniacs, one ego stood out above all the rest.)

This is a President who looks in the mirror and sees, as he said on The View, "eye candy."

This is a man whose self-regard is such that he once told an aide, "I think I'm a better speechwriter than my speechwriters. I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I'll tell you right now that I'm a better political director than my political director."

Obama also evidently thinks he's a better military strategist than his generals, since he routinely disregards their advice.

When Obama first met Queen Elizabeth, the gift he gave her was an iPod filled with his own speeches. Even most narcissists would be too embarrassed to do that.

Obama's acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention in 2008 was famously staged in front of fake styrofoam pillars. It was never clear whether that was meant to evoke Plato, Socrates, or Demosthenes.

In that speech, Obama famously proclaimed that would be remembered as the day the rise of the oceans started to slow. He evidently sees himself as Moses as well.

The list of narcissistic transgressions is far to long to list here, but it's apparent every time he opens his mouth.

Every time he shifts blame for a national problem.

Every time he attributes the best of motives to himself and the worst of motives to his opponents.

Every time he feels that his charisma will be enough to win over intransigent foreign leaders.

Every time he tries to pull the wool over the eyes of the American public.

Once you recognize the sound of a confirmed narcissist, you don't even have to listen that closely. It's impossible to miss. 

Saturday, November 29, 2014


Today I kicked 50 meters long course on a kick board in 36 seconds. That's as fast as I could go 30 years ago. I can't swim nearly as fast as I could back then, I can't run as fast, and my right shoulder won't even allow me to do bench press anymore. My back is stiff when I wake up in the mornings, and a fair amount of my hair has gone MIA. But for some weird reason my kick is hanging in.

I'm sort of like a 60-year-old woman who got implants a few decades ago. Everything else on her has shriveled, wrinkled, and sagged. But her breasts are still standing proud and firm, almost mocking the rest of her.

Just as my kick seems to be taunting the rest of me, all of which is falling apart.

Friday, November 28, 2014


Watched Cleanskin, last night. It's a 2012 British movie about the effort to root out homegrown Islamic terrorists.

It offered a rare semi-sympathetic glimpse into the mind of a Muslim terrorist, and showed what a chess  game intelligence is. The plot had some nice twists, and the ending was unexpected.

Sean Bean stars as the British soldier recruited to stop the terrorists; his portrayal was grittily realistic. His character was a stoic man of action, not the usual Dorothy Parker-with-a-gun type Hollywood generally favors.

If you like realism, and don't mind violence, you'll enjoy it.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

To anyone who's ever been hoodwinked by a sociopath:

What you should take away from the experience is this: that you're a decent person. You're probably not a saint, but you're a far, far better human being than the sociopath who took advantage of you.

Most people instinctively believe that other people think and feel pretty much as they do. And someone like you, if you've never experienced a sociopath before, assumes that everyone else pretty much thinks and feels the way you do. So you never suspect that anybody could be as dishonest, disloyal, and vicious as the sociopath who fooled you.

Sociopaths know that other sociopaths will instinctively see through them, and therefore don't make good marks. So they gravitate towards nice, innocent people. Ergo, if you were taken unawares by one, it's actually testament to your good character.

If you get taken a second time, well, that may be proof of stupidity as well; but we all get one pass.

Just remember this: you, unlike the sociopath, had at least one parent who loved you.

You, unlike the sociopath, will not leave a trail of bitterness in your wake.

You, unlike the sociopath, can have long term friendships.

You, unlike the sociopath, have an emotional repertoire which extends beyond hatred, fury, spite, and occasional glee.

And you, unlike the sociopath, can enjoy relative peace of mind.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Rounding out a high school education

(Why this post is titled this way may not be apparent at first, but be patient.)

Just to be clear what the Ferguson protesters are protesting, and in some cases, rioting, about:

Michael Brown, when asked to stop walking in the middle of the road by Darren Wilson, taunted him and told him he was too much of a pussy to fire his gun. When Brown approached the car and Wilson tried to get out, Brown blocked the car door and punched Wilson twice (photographs showed the bruise). Then Brown reached for his gun, trying to get his finger on the trigger (forensic evidence showed that the gun went off twice inside the car). When Brown walked away, Wilson followed and told him to stop. Brown then turned around and charged Wilson, who then shot the 6' 4", 295 pound Brown. Although a few witnesses claimed that Wilson shot Brown while his back was turned, three separate autopsies, including one commissioned by the Brown family, proved that this was not true. (Over half a dozen other witnesses confirmed Wilson's account.)

This is the case about whose grand jury decision Americans held their collective breath for last night.

This past summer, three days after Brown was killed, a black Salt Lake City police officer shot and killed a 20-year-old white, Dillon Taylor, because he did not get down on the ground when was asked to. Taylor was not in any way threatening the police officer, and according to all accounts, didn't obey simply because he couldn't hear him because of the earphones he was wearing.

(Where is the media outrage about this? Where are the white rioters?)

The hypocrisy of the media, and of Eric Holder, and the lies told by the agitators are so blatant that it hardly seems worthwhile for me to belabor them here.

Anyway, all of this is not to say that there are never unjustified shootings of blacks. This past Thursday two rookie police officers were patrolling the darkened stairwells of the Pink Houses project in East New York, a particularly crime-ridden building in a high crime area. One of the rookies, Peter Liang, had his gun drawn and his finger on the trigger while he patrolled, a violation of NYPD policy. Akai Gurley and his girlfriend happened to open the door to the stairwell right when Liang and his partner were there, and Liang pulled the trigger and killed Gurley.

Liang claims it was an accident. My guess is that he simply panicked, even though Gurley was doing nothing wrong. (Of course, that's pure speculation.) Gurley's relatives will undoubtedly get a nice fat settlement from the city -- which they deserve.

This, not Ferguson, is the case that blacks should be upset about.

That said, it's also easy to see why a rookie cop would be on edge in that particular housing project. There have been multiple murders committed there over the years, and the stairwell's lights were broken (drug dealers and other criminals prefer it that way). That doesn't excuse Liang's actions; but it does make them more understandable.

In the past 24 hours there has been a lot of talk about the need to preserve peace, talk that of course has been ignored by the Ferguson arsonists. But peace can only come about through understanding, which seems to be in short supply.

Here'a an idea to counteract that: every senior in high school should be required, before he graduates, to spend three days at a police station, part of which should consist of riding around in a patrol car, preferably in a high crime neighborhood. The senior would find out what it's like to have to patrol a high crime area, and what it's like to deal with real criminals and a hostile populace.

All the white liberals from the suburbs (the types who join in Ferguson protests in relatively safe places like Times Square or on college campuses) would gain some perspective. All the spoiled rich kids would get some (minimal) sense of life in a poor community. And blacks from poor areas, many of whom are reflexively leery of authority, would at least see how things look from the other side.

It's possible that some students would come away from that experience feeling even more anti-police.  But I suspect that for the vast majority, three days of being slapped in the face with reality would be a real education, and they'd get a sense of how difficult that job can be.

I don't think for a moment that such a proposal would have the slightest chance of being enacted. Most parents would be up in arms about their little dears going into a high crime neighborhood. And the first time a high schooler was killed in such circumstances would result in all sorts of repercussions. Plus, the police wouldn't want to be saddled with a useless third person they'd have to protect.

Still, it's unfortunate that such a requirement will never be put in place, because it would promote understanding, which is what's needed at the moment.

Friday, November 21, 2014

How the argument against illegal immigration should be framed

Both Republicans and Democrats have always claimed to speak for the middle class, the backbone of the country. But in fact, the Republicans have by and large promoted policies designed to help the upper class, and the Democrats policies which helped the lower class (along with a few select cronies in the upper class).

As a result, the middle class has been squeezed from both ends. Blue collar wages are lower than they were 30 years ago, recent college graduates have had a much tougher time finding jobs than graduates in previous generations, and the percentage of the population receiving various forms of welfare (like food stamps) has increased, putting a strain on everyone else.

Obama's executive order on immigration -- which in the long run will only encourage more illegal aliens -- is just the latest nail in the coffin of the middle class.

Whichever party wants to truly help the middle-class will:

(1) Secure our borders, and not just pay lip service to that end.

(2) Abolish, or at least weaken, NAFTA (and the exporting of American jobs that has resulted in).

(3) Lower the corporate tax rate to the point where it is no longer economical for companies to do inversions. In the long run that will increase revenues from corporate taxes, the same way Reagan's lowering of personal income taxes resulted in more tax revenue.

(4) Make it less economical for companies based in the US to export jobs. Every time you phone the help department of a major company and are answered by someone speaking in an Indian or Filipino accent, that's a job which has been lost to an American. Every time you buy an article of clothing or computer which has been assembled abroad, that's another job lost to an American. If that requires tariffs, so be it.

And (5) balance the budget. In the long run, the only way for the US to escape its debt burden is to inflate its way out of it, and make no mistake, that is what will happen eventually. That hurts the middle class most. The rich, with their financial assets, have all sorts of ways of staying ahead of inflation. But the middle class, whose biggest asset tends to be the house they live in, do not. And the poor, who have almost no savings anyway, have no stake in ensuring that the dollar keeps its value.

I know I'm oversimplifying here, and I know that free trade has always been what's best for the world overall. But recently, more than ever, what's best for the world has not been what's best for this country, and it's time for this country to act in its own self-interest -- and the interest of the majority of its people.

China has four times the number of people in their military that we have in ours, but doesn't waste its manpower or money intervening in the civil wars of other countries, or "nation building," or trying to act like the world's policemen. And they have economic policies in place which benefit their country, period. That's why their economy has grown so much faster than ours in the past two decades, and thats why it's projected to overtake ours in the near future.

We are the only country in the Americas whose immigration policy is basically, "What can we do for you?" Every other country in this hemisphere asks, "What can you do for us?"

It's time for us to start acting more like our neighbors, and our competitors abroad. We can't afford not to.

Frankly, it doesn't look as if either party has the political will to do these things. But they are what needs to be done to save the middle class.

The more the middle class shrinks, the less the US will be like the US, and the more it will be like Latin America.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

"Dad forces 11-year-old daughter to swallow 104 cocaine capsules"

A counterpoint to the article linked in the previous post.

The tragedy is that people like that father often have as many, if not more, children, than people like the mother in the previous article. If there were only a way to prevent that.

My proposal: any man or woman convicted of child abuse, should, as part of their sentence, have their tubes tied so they can spawn no more. Alternatively, they should be kept in prison until they are past reproductive age.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The clustering of sociopathic traits

An article in the NY Post today, The murder that became the oldest solved cold case in America, described how John Tessier was finally convicted of the killing of a 7-year-old girl that he committed as a 24-year-old back in 1957.

That a murderous pedophile is a sociopath goes almost without saying. But what was most striking about the article was how Tessier's life away from that murder exhibited both his sociopathic antecedents and his sociopathic traits.

The relevant excerpt:

The Tessiers, meanwhile [after the murder], presided over a house of horrors. All seven children suffered abuse by both parents. John, the eldest, abused all of his siblings, and along with his father, repeatedly and brutally raped his sister Jeanne. (Tessier has denied these allegations.)

After serving in Vietnam, Tessier settled outside of Olympia, Wash., and began an ignominious civilian life. He worked as a policeman until he was arrested for statutory rape; he pled down and avoided jail time. He was constantly in debt, married four times and completely estranged from his family.

Most sociopaths are either completely ignored by their parents or abused by them. (The most violent offenders tend to be abused.) John, as the eldest, probably took more abuse than the others, and also took those brutal lessons most to heart.

The Post characterizes Tessier's post-murder life as "ignominious" rather than "sociopathic." That is not an incorrect description. But if you look closely, his sociopathic nature is reflected in everything described in that second paragraph. 

That Tessier would want to work as a policeman is not atypical for sociopaths. There have been plenty of serial killers who've wanted a badge because they think it will make them above the law. Often, those serial killers, like Kenneth Bianchi, the Hillside Strangler, or Edmund Kemper, are turned down because police departments make an effort to screen -- not always successfully -- against sociopaths.

That Tessier would lose that job as a policeman because he had sex with an underage girl is also in keeping with his sociopathic nature. He uninhibitedly surrendered to his sexual impulses of the moment, not worried about possible consequences, and undoubtedly thinking he could beat the rap if he were ever brought up on charges. (Sociopaths always think they can fool others, even when they can't.)

Being constantly in debt is a not uncommon outcome for those who uninhibitedly surrender to their impulse purchases.

Multiple marriages, as this blog has pointed out in the past, are often a yellow flag for sociopathy. Think of it this way: neurotics, who are in many ways the opposite of sociopaths, often look at prospective spouses and see things which they know will wear on them in the future, and worry if their love will last. Sociopaths never love in the first place, so that's not a consideration. And they tend not to worry about the future, and like the idea of a legal hold on another person right now. Sociopaths with high sex drives probably also figure that marriage means a guaranteed source of sex, without any constraints on sex outside the marriage, at least for them.

And, of course, being completely estranged from one's family is a common outcome among dysfunctional families, especially when one has raped one's sister. (The next time you hear of a "dysfunctional" family, think of one where there's no real love.)

Sociopaths, when you look closely, always display all of the traits of sociopathy. So if you happen to know someone well enough to have seen just some of those traits, expect the full complement: dishonesty, glibness, impulsivity, recklessness, inability to love, disloyalty, irritability and aggression, irresponsibility, and lack of remorse. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

What a great climate change treaty!

It emerged yesterday that the US and China, after nine months of secret negotiations, have agreed to a treaty on emissions: The US has agreed to reduced its emissions of heat-trapping gases by 26 to 28% by 2025, compared to 2005 levels.

China, on the other hand, has set a target for their emissions to peak in 2030, if not sooner. How much will their emissions increase between now and then? Two times? Four times? Who knows.

This just doesn't strike me as a great deal for the US. I understand that the US now has a much higher per capita pollution rate than any other nation. But this seems like a particularly one-sided "treaty."

Maybe, with Barack Obama at the helm, we can drive similarly hard bargains on other matters.

Perhaps we can force the Russians to agree to only double the number of nuclear warheads they have, if we halve ours. Yep, that'll show them Russkies.

Perhaps we can coerce the European Union to not increase their tariffs by eliminating all of ours.

And finally, let's bring Mexico to its knees by not enforcing our border with them and declaring amnesty for at least five million current illegal aliens.

Oh, that's right, Obama is already working on that one.

Feminists bent on proving women unequal, Part II

In May of 2013 this blog pointed out some of the ways in which feminists -- not all women, just feminists -- unwittingly prove that women are not the equal of men. Last night I was reminded of yet another way.

I saw Gone GirlIt features various female characters who are ditzy, two-faced, or downright sociopathic, along with a couple of intelligent, level-headed, likable female characters.

As you may be aware, feminists have objected strongly to the portrayal of the female sociopath, saying she presents a bad image of women. The feminists seem particularly incensed because this sociopath wreaks her havoc in a uniquely female way, leveling unfounded accusations of rape, falsely posing as an abused woman, and taking advantage of naive men.

Strangely, the feminists have not objected to the other female characters. If I were the type of woman whose sense of personal self-worth was wrapped up inextricably with that of every female character I saw on screen, I'd be far angrier about the portrayal of the ditzy, gossipy neighbor, or the airheaded Nancy Grace parody, or the trailer trash robber. The main sociopath is, while evil, is also intelligent, inventive, and capable.

But what's most telling is simply that the feminists have chosen to complain in the first place. Movies are, after all, fictional entertainment. And they simply wouldn't be entertaining if they didn't feature a wide variety of both male and female characters spanning the gamut from saintly to evil.

Should there be a rule that all the bad people must be men and women can only be portrayed in a positive light?

Imagine if men objected to negative portrayals of men.

"We at the National Organization of Men object to the portrayal of Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs. The invidious stereotype that most serial killers are male feeds into the kind of sexism which hurts the self-image of impressionable young boys."

"We would like to register our unhappiness with the character of Sergeant Barnes in Platoon. That most war criminals are male is a pernicious cliche which has haunted men since the dawn of time. It would be far preferable if those soldiers who do happen to be men were shown to be acting in a more positive, peaceful spirit of cooperation."

"NOM does not approve of the character Freddy Krueger in the Nightmare on Elm Street movies. These films promulgate the ancient, outdated canard that men are responsible for most of the violent crime in this country. We demand that in the future Freddy be portrayed as a giving, caring, and compassionate person."

Saturday, November 8, 2014

The Last Action Hero

The Last Action Hero was a flop when it was released in 1993, and at the time even the critics didn't like it. I never understood why. It's one of the cleverest, funniest films I've ever seen.

Audiences seem to prefer the dull, predictable True Lies, which was released the next year. (Which I also don't understand.)

The Last Action Hero is both a satire of action films and an homage to them. That's a tricky balancing act, but the movie pulls it off. It has dozens of beautiful women, over the top villains, and comic book violence. It also features an extremely macho hero who spouts lame puns, improbably survives multiple dangerous situations, and leaves a trail of destruction in his wake.

We see and experience the movie through the eyes of a young boy who is an avid movie buff and uses them to escape from the mundaneness of his everyday life. There's a hilarious scene at the beginning where his junior high school English teacher screens an old black and white version of Hamlet, and he fantasizes about what Schwarzenegger would do with the role.

The Last Action Hero not only makes fun of Schwarzenegger movies, it makes fun of Schwarzenegger himself for his greed. (Schwarzenegger plays along gamely.) There's even an inspired scene where the Schwarzenegger action hero meets Schwarzenegger the actor -- and disapproves of him. (It makes sense in the context of the movie.)

I've never seen a movie which so mercilessly picks apart Hollywood cliches. I've also never seen one which so romantically evokes the magic of movie-going.

Watch it, and you'll understand.

It's available on Netflix.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

"Voter fraud, Voter ID, and fearmongering""

An excellent article by Thomas Sowell on electoral fraud.

And there are plenty of ways to commit fraud Sowell hasn't mentioned. In 2012, a number of Philadelphia city wards reported 99% voter turnout, with 100% of the vote being for Obama. Generally, 70% is considered good turnout for an election, and historically, turnout in the inner cities has been less. So how did all these wards get 99%? It strikes me that it would be awfully easy for the people working those wards to simply check off the names of people who didn't show up to vote and simply fill out their ballots for them.

Or how hard would it be to have people whose job it is to transport paper ballots to a central counting spot to conveniently "lose" the votes for a certain candidate.

How hard would it be to rig an electronic voting machine? There were plenty of reports of people who thought they were voting for one candidate seeing that they had "voted" for another when they tried to use these machines.

How closely do the registrars check to make sure that all of the people who have died recently have been purged from the voter rolls?

As Joseph Stalin said, "It's not the people who vote that count. It's the people who count the votes."

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

How dumb is it to give someone the benefit of the doubt because he's handsome?

Here's a follow up to yesterday's post about whether it's fair to dislike someone because of his face.

A recent article from Yahoo News highlighted a second "hot mug shot guy," Sean Kory, on the left:

Jeremy Meeks, on the right, got a fair amount of publicity a few months ago when his mug shot appeared and he was touted as a potential model. Meeks is a gang member from Stockton, California who's spent time in jail for grand theft and most recently was arrested on weapons charges.

Kory was just arrested this past weekend. According to Yahoo News:

Sean Kory, a 29-year-old from Santa Cruz, was at the city's annual Halloween parade on Friday when police say he spotted [someone dressed as a Fox News reporter], voiced his opinion about the cable news network, grabbed the victim's microphone prop, proceeded to run the microphone on his crotch, and pummeled the victim with an aluminum tennis racket. The victim, who was not hurt, alerted police, who nabbed the suspect as he was attempting to flee. Kory was arrested and booked into Santa Cruz County Jail.

In other words, he's a complete asswipe.

Kory is remarkably good-looking, though, in a Johnny-Depp-as-Captain-Jack-Sparrow sort of way. Both men have the good cheekbones that blacks often have, but also have enough white blood (I'm guessing slightly over 50%) to give them blue eyes and sculpted features.

Two post ago, I gave a somewhat mixed reply to the question of whether it's unfair to dislike someone because of his face. This time, the answer is simpler: it's incredibly stupid to give the benefit of the doubt to a beauty (of either sex).

(And if you look at the comments after that Yahoo article, the most "liked" comments were those which  expressed disgust with the women who made gushing comments about the two men.)

That said, it's something we all do.

Beautiful women will always make a man's better judgment go haywire, and good-looking men, to a lesser extent, can do the same to women.

The good news here is that both Kory, 29, and Meeks, 30, should lose their looks within ten years. Dumb and impulsive guys generally don't take care of themselves, and if you don't pay attention to diet and exercise, you'll likely be a mess by 40.

You could call that poetic justice, in a way, but since justice delayed is justice denied, as they say, that conclusion would be inaccurate. The better news, I suppose, is that both of these guys are too moronic to take much advantage of their looks while they have them. 

"Mommy blogger throws autistic son off bridge: cops"

This article appeared in the NY Post yesterday. A few excerpts:

A mommy blogger told police that the voices inside her head told her to hurl her 6-year-old son off the side of a bridge Monday.

Oregon mom Jillian McCabe, 34, was standing on Yaquina Bridge about 10 miles north of her hometown, Seal Rock, when she dialed 911 to report that she had tossed her little boy over the side and killed him...

The McCabes also wrote “Autistic London,” a blog about their experience raising their son. “What gets me through the day & stops me from pulling a Thelma & Louise,” read the title of one of McCabe’s archived posts from April 2012.

In the posting, the wife and stay-at-home mom describes several things that help “get her through” life — including her husband, family and friends. She also lists simple things like dark chocolate, cardio and famous quotes which help her deal with her struggles, as well. 

(Judging from her picture, Jillian used more dark chocolate than cardio.)

If McCabe actually heard those voices in her head, then she is genuinely schizoid. But if she is just claiming to have heard them, then she could well be a sociopath who is just setting up an insanity defense. 

My guess is that she's genuinely crazy, though. If she was devoted enough to her son to write a blog about him, had a good relationship with her husband, and phoned 911 herself to report what she had done, chances are she's not a sociopath. 

(A sociopath would have been far more likely to try to make it look like an accident. Or she would have set it up to make it look as if her husband murdered the son, so she could have rid herself of both of them at the same time; and then would have phoned 911 only to report that her son was missing.) 

Another possibility is that she is on the autistic spectrum herself; it does, after all, run in families. The current generation of kids is probably over diagnosed when it comes to the milder forms of autism, such as Aspergers. But the previous generation was undoubtedly underdiagnosed, especially given that Aspergers wasn't even formally recognized in official psychological manuals until the 1990's. 

What caught my eye about the headline above was, of course, the word "blogger." When I read the article I couldn't help but feel a little embarrassed at this one additional piece of evidence that bloggers tend towards insanity. Or, at the very least, weirdness. 

A friend, who in the pre-internet era would write occasional letters to the editor, once told me that he had heard that writing letters to the editor was the first sign of incipient insanity. 

Writing a blog is probably the closest thing to writing letters to the editor. So I kinda wish my friend hadn't told me that. 

Anyway, if McCabe does try to mount an insanity defense, maybe she can use her blog as Exhibit A.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Is it unfair to dislike someone because of his face?

The TV show Blacklist was recommended to me recently, so I watched a couple episodes on Netflix. The premise of the show is that a criminal mastermind, played by James Spader, knows all about crimes the FBI doesn't even realize have been committed, and has connections to all of them. The other main character, a young female FBI agent, played by Megan Boone, spends half of her time histrionically demonstrating how upset she is at various plot developments, and the other half gruffly barking out orders to other FBI agents. (How many new hires behave that way?)

I didn't like the show. But, I have to admit, part of the reason for that is because I can't stand James Spader's epicene, smug face. To see him is to want to punch him. For me, at least.

We've all been taught that hating someone because of the way he looks is the height of unfairness. No one has any choice about the face he was born with, we're not supposed to judge a book by its cover, etc, etc.

Ergo, I must be extremely superficial.

But what if the face does say something about the person? Is it possible to discern character from a face?

What do you see in Spader's face? To me, he looks soft, and spoiled, and conceited, and maybe a little coy. Not a winning combination.

I could be wrong. Maybe he's hard, and tough, and brutally honest with himself. (If he is, he does a great job of hiding it.)

The role Spader plays on Blacklist is that of a supercilious guy. And yes, one shouldn't mistake the actor for his role.

But was it typecasting?

The role Spader may have been most famous for before was in Sex, Lies and Videotape, another Spader vehicle which just didn't do anything for me. And I can vaguely recall being put off by his face even back then. Here he is as a younger man:

There's something about that carefully arranged hair and those dandified clothes and that air of self-importance that, well, makes me sympathetic to violent people.

With those feminine cheeks of his, Spader actually reminds me of Linda Kozlowski from the Crocodile Dundee movies:

Come to think of it, I found her off-putting as well.

That's probably unfair. If you get to know someone, after a while you'll simply associate their face with their personality, and like or dislike them accordingly.

But sometimes, you don't have to wait to get to know them: their narcissism just emanates from their faces, as Ted Cruz and Barack Obama demonstrate here.

Obviously, it's unfair to dislike someone because he's ugly, or because of his ethnicity, or because of his mix of hormones. No one has any control over those things.

But if it's because his face broadcasts smugness, that's different.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

It's not just women who suffer from hybristophilia

The men who are doing this should be embarrassed.

But people who suffer from hybristophilia tend to be immune from embarrassment (and sanity), as a look at the last 50 or so comments on this post show.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Sociopath alert: John-Roger Hinkins

Two days ago the NY Times ran an obituary for cult leader John-Roger, who died last week. I'd heard about him years ago, and got the distinct odor of sociopathy back then. But he hadn't been on the radar for a while, so I had forgotten about him. Seeing the obit reminded me of what he was all about.

The verdict of sociopathy won't come as any shock to those familiar with Hinkins. But there were so many familiar -- in his case, flamboyantly -- sociopathic patterns to his life that it's worth reviewing.

Hinkins was most famous as the founder of the Movement for Spiritual Inner Awareness (MSIA, pronounced, "Messiah"). Founding a cult is, if not a red flag for sociopathy, at the very least a yellowish-red flag. (Offhand, I can't think of a single cult leader who wasn't a sociopath.)

Hinkins' Messiah complex was evident from the other organizations he founded as well.

From Wikipedia:

In 1976, he founded Koh-e-nor University, later renamed the University of Santa Monica (USM), a private, unaccredited institution offering master's degrees in Spiritual Psychology and Consciousness, Health & Healing, and a doctoral degree in Spiritual Psychology. John Roger serve[d] as the chancellor of the University.

In 1977, Hinkins founded the Peace Theological Seminary & College of Philosophy (PTS) as an educational non-profit organization for MSIA students to undertake undergraduate workshops, courses and retreats, and also postgraduate programs. The school, which is ecumenical and non-denominational, offers a Master and Doctorate degree in Spiritual Science. Its headquarters is home to the Peace Awareness Labyrinth and Gardens. Hinkins received his doctorate in Spiritual Science from this organization, and is its President….

(What kind of person founds a college, and then awards himself a doctorate from it? One has to wonder about the impartiality of the professors who reviewed his thesis.)

In 1979, Hinkins founded the Heartfelt Foundation, a volunteer-driven, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to serving and assisting people in any form of need.

(The "Heartfelt Foundation?" If there's one thing that sociopaths don't do, it's feel with their hearts -- which, of course, is why they feel obliged to advertise that they do.) 

In 1982, Hinkins founded the Institute for Individual and World Peace (IIWP), a volunteer-driven 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to studying, identifying, and presenting the processes that lead to peace. IIWP owns and operates the Windermere Ranch, a 142-acre property in the Santa Ynez Mountains that is used to breed and train Arabian horses.

There's often grandiosity written right into the titles of the organizations that sociopaths found. The narcissism inherent in thinking that you are the one capable of raising people's "spiritual inner awareness," or in thinking that you are the man qualified to bring "individual and world peace" to humanity is not only apparent, but overwhelming. 

And spiritual inner awareness, philosophy, and inner peace are the kind of squishy topics that a glib sociopath can expound endlessly on. 

In his personal dealings, however, Hinkins demonstrated anything but inner peace. In the 1980's and 1990's, several disenchanted former members of Hinkins' cult began to expose the inner workings of the cult. (Disgruntled former associates tend to have a clearer view of cult leaders than do his current acolytes.) 

According to Wikipedia:

Dissidents in the organization say Hinkins employed covert listening devices at MSIA's Santa Monica headquarters to support his claim of possessing extrasensory perception. One disenchanted member claimed "What people thought was J-R's clairvoyance was just his cunning and deceitful information gathering."

(This sort of dishonest trickery is, of course, the province of sociopathic con men.)

Susan and Wendell Whitmore, who joined MSIA in the early '70s, finally decided to leave MSIA in 1983 after several male staff members confessed during an informal group discussion that Hinkins had used spiritual threats and promises to coerce them into having sex with him. The Whitmores claim that MSIA members had been led to believe that Hinkins had taken a vow of celibacy, and therefore did not question the series of attractive young men that stayed in his house. "He always had someone sleeping in his bedroom at night, supposedly to protect his body while he was out of it," says Whitmore. Former MSIA members charge that staffers who submitted to their leader's sexual advances were promoted to positions of authority and were praised by Hinkins for their spiritual qualities. Ex-MSIA member Victor Toso, said that although he was not homosexual, he consented to Hinkins's requests for sex because he feared being expelled from the MSIA staff. "Whenever we fell out of line, having another sexual encounter with him was sort of required to seal us back in the brotherhood," said Toso.

(Taking a public vow of celibacy is the type of thing a sociopath would do to prove that he is "pure of heart," and also that he is better than other people. Completely ignoring that vow is, of course, also sociopathic behavior. Thinking that you're fooling others when you're not is another sociopathic behavior pattern. Coercing others into having sex with you is yet another sociopathic specialty. And rewarding those who do have sex with you with positions of authority is also something you'd expect from a sociopath.) 

Wesley Whitmore, Wendell's twin brother and also former MSIA staffer, recalls that in "contrast to his public behavior, Hinkins in private was often angry, vindictive and bizarre, occasionally shouting that he was under attack from negative forces." He and his wife said that their devotion to Hinkins kept them from addressing these issues.

(The gap between one's public and private behavior is never wider than it is with a sociopath.)

According to Susan Whitmore, MSIA defectors hesitated to challenge Hinkins publicly even after leaving the movement "because we were made to be afraid." She claims that Hinkins would declare that people who questioned him had placed themselves "under the Kal (a devil-like spirit) power and its field of negativity, known as the Red Monk," and would essentially be warning that members who associated with defectors risked spiritual disaster. Whitmore alleges that one woman was told she had had a miscarriage because she had hugged one of the defectors.

(Witch doctor is the perfect occupation for a sociopath.)

The Whitmores also claim that after they left MSIA, their cars were vandalized, they received obscene letters accusing them of homosexuality, and phone calls in which threats were made on their lives. Similarly, Eve Cohen, the daughter of ex-MSIA ministers Matthew and Ellen Cohen, and at the time a teenager, received a letter graphically alleging that her father had had sexual acts with other men. The letter claimed to be from a friend of Eve's in Los Angeles.

(You don't have to be a sociopath to accuse others of what you yourself are guilty of, but sociopaths probably do this more than most. And actually sending a letter to the daughter of a former member does rise to a sociopathic level of vindictiveness. The usual sociopathic desire for control is quite apparent here as well.)

Religion academic and writer David C. Lane claims that in the fall of 1983, after he called Hinkins, who at that time he considered to be a friend, to get his response to the allegations of plagiarism, sexual manipulation, and charlatanism that had been raised by other friends, he was subjected to a series of threats, including several made against his life and the lives of his friends/informants. His home was subsequently ransacked and a number of his research files were stolen. He claims that documentary evidence implicates John-Roger with the robbery, as well as with implementing a smear campaign including threats against Lane and other of his critics. This included setting up a front organization called the "Coalition for Civil and Spiritual Rights", an act which was eventually traced directly back to Hinkins.

(Can you imagine yourself breaking into a home of someone who considers himself your friend, ransacking it, and stealing research files? No? That's because you're not a sociopath.)

John-Roger Hinkins. 
David Koresh. 
The Reverend Jim Jones. 
Charlie Manson.
L. Ron Hubbard. 
Warren Jeffs. 
Yahweh ben Yahweh (Hulon Mitchell). 

Messianic sociopaths all.