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Saturday, October 31, 2015

The missing joke about Obama

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Subconsciously, white America knows

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Physical impressions of the Republican field

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

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

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


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


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

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


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

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



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

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


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

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



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

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


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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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


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

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


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



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

Christie would have been better off had the debate been held in water:


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



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


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

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

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Dope, Jurassic World


Saw two movies on pay-per-view in the last two days. Dope is about a nerdy black guy from Inglewood who wants to get into Harvard. Most of the movie is quite engaging. It's mostly a comedy, and like a lot of black-themed comedies, is quite funny.

But at the end, the movie got a little preachy. They felt obliged to inject a message about how stereotypes are wrong -- right after having spent the entire movie using stereotypes to good and humorous effect.

As my son said afterward, "The movie would have been better if it hadn't been aimed at a white audience as well as a black one."

The second night we watched Jurassic World, which was a big hit this past summer. It had a lot of expensive, well done special effects, and an entirely predictable plot. It was sorta fun predicting which characters were going to die, and how, though it wasn't much of a challenge. I never bristled while watching the movie, but it was instantly forgettable.

Bryce Dallas Howard, pictured below in an early scene, is a surprisingly good-looking and capable actress considering she is the beneficiary of Hollywood nepotism (her father is director Ron Howard).


Anyway, as my son said afterward, "This is the fourth installment of the series. Gee, you'd think by now they'd have figured out that it's not a good idea to open up a theme park with dinosaurs."

Friday, October 23, 2015

Michelle Carter, classic sociopath

Commenter Steven recently mentioned Michelle Carter. You may have heard of her: she's the high school girl in Massachusetts who cajoled and pressured her friend Conrad Roy into committing suicide.

There's no need to label this post as an alert because Carter's sociopathy is so obvious. But she's worth talking about because she illustrates several facets of sociopathy so perfectly.

Listen to these texts between Carter and Conrad the day of his suicide:

CARTER: You can’t think about it. You just have to do it. You said you were gonna do it. Like I don’t get why you aren’t.

CONRAD: I don’t get it either. I don’t know.

CARTER: So I guess you aren’t gonna do it then. All that for nothing. I’m just confused.

CONRAD: I am gonna eventually. I really don’t know what I’m waiting for but I have everything lined up.

CARTER: No you’re not, Conrad. Last night was it. You kept pushing it off and you say you’ll do it, but you never do. It’s always gonna be that way if you don’t take action. You’re just making it harder on yourself by pushing it off. You just have to do it. Do you want to do it now?

CONRAD: Is it too late? I don’t know. It’s already light outside. I’m gonna go back too sleep. Love you. I’ll text you tomorrow.

CARTER: No. It’s probably the best time now because everyone is sleeping . . . If you don’t do it now you’re never gonna do it, and you can say you’ll do it tomorrow, but you probably won’t. Tonight? . . . Love you.

Later that morning:

CONRAD: I do want to but I’m like freaking for my family.

CARTER: I told you I’ll take care of them. Everyone will take care of them to make sure they won’t be alone and people will help them get through it. We talked about this and they will be okay and accept it. People who commit suicide don’t think this much. They just do it.

CONRAD: I know. I know. LOL. Thinking just drives me more crazy.

CARTER: You just need to do it, Conrad, or I’m gonna get you help. You can’t keep doing this everyday.

CONRAD: Okay. I’m gonna do it today.

CARTER: You promise?

CONRAD: I promise, babe. I have to now.

CARTER: Like right now?

CONRAD: Where do I go?

CARTER: And you can’t break a promise.

That afternoon:

CONRAD: Like, I don’t want to kill anyone else with me.

CARTER: You won’t.

CONRAD: When they open the door they won’t know it’s odorless and colorless.

CARTER: You’re over thinking. They will see the generator and realize you breathed in CO too.

CONRAD: So should I keep it in the back seat or front?

CARTER: In the front. You could write on a piece of paper and tape it on saying carbon monoxide if you’re scared.

CONRAD: I was thinking that but someone might see it before it happens.

CARTER: Well, wait, the generator is gonna be on because you’ll be passed out, so they’ll know you used carbon monoxide. Dead.

In the early evening:

CARTER: So it’s time?

CONRAD: Oh, it’s been time.

CARTER: Are you gonna do it now?

CONRAD: I just don’t know how to leave them (his family), you know.

CARTER: Say you’re gonna go the store or something.

CONRAD: Like, I want them to know that I love them.

CARTER: They know. That’s one thing they definitely know. You’re over thinking.

CONRAD: I know I’m over thinking. I’ve been over thinking for a while now.

CARTER: I know. You just have to do it like you said. Are you gonna do it now?

CONRAD: I still haven’t left yet, ha ha.

CARTER: Why?

CONRAD: Leaving now.

CARTER: Okay. You can do this.

CONRAD: Okay. I’m almost there.

You can hear the impatience and lust to kill in Carter's texts. (Sociopaths are impulsive, and patience is not a sociopathic virtue.) 

Carter is manipulative (as are all sociopaths). She continually tells Roy that his troubles will be over, and that he will finally be at peace. Then, when he delays, she gets angry at him and accuses him of breaking a promise, playing on his guilt -- a guilt she would never feel.

Note the "Love you" at the end of one of Carter's tests. False emotionality is another sociopathic hallmark. 

Carter is also, like all sociopaths, utterly without shame. According to CBS News:

[Carter] allegedly sent text messages to her friends and to Roy's mother expressing concern about Roy's whereabouts on the day he committed suicide, despite having been in constant contact with him and encouraging him to take his own life.

The police documents indicate authorities believe she was putting together "a plan to get sympathy." They also allege that after Roy's death, Carter organized a softball tournament to raise money for mental health awareness in honor of Roy and posted several messages on social media about suicide prevention and how much she missed Roy.

In a message to Roy's mother dated July 25, 2014 -- twelve days after his death -- Carter wrote, "...There was nothing anyone could do to save him no matter how hard they tried. I never tried harder at something in my life."

So, like many sociopaths, Carter not only wanted the satisfaction of seeing another destroy himself, she also wanted credit for being a helpful, caring person. 

Carter was one of the worst people in the world, pretending to be one of the best. Which is exactly what many sociopaths are.

One final point always worth making: sociopaths come in all shapes and sizes, genders and colors. Look at this picture of Michelle:


What would you think, at first glance, if you saw her walking down the street?

You'd figure she is just another sweet, innocent, naive young high school girl who still has a lot to learn about life. You certainly wouldn't cross to the other side of the street to avoid her.

But, you should. She's far less innocent and sweet and naive than you are.

And if you take a closer look at that picture, you'll see that expression is in fact a calculated, practiced look of innocence.

There's a monster lurking in there, just as there is inside every sociopath. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

"Principal stalls school election results after too many white kids won"

An article in the NY Post just described why Principal Lena Van Haren at Everett Middle School in San Francisco decided to withhold school election results:

"It’s not okay for a school that is really, really diverse to have the student representatives majority white," she said (despite there being absolutely no allegations of fraud of any sort).

Van Haren further explained, “This is complex, but as a parent and a principal, I truly believe it behooves us to be thoughtful about our next steps here so we have a diverse student council that is truly representative of all voices at Everett….[This decision] was not about hurting democracy or putting diversity over democracy."

That, of course, is exactly what her decision was about: putting diversity over democracy. (Does anyone doubt that her decision have been different if black and Hispanic students had been disproportionately elected?)

The article didn't show any pictures of Van Haren, so, curious as to what she looked like, I Google-imaged her and found this:


I had expected a typical middle school principal-looking woman, but Van Haren is surprisingly attractive. She certainly doesn't fall into the bitter-against-the-world-because-she-wasn't-asked-out-to-the-prom cohort. She seems more to be a member of the nice-white-lady-who-doesn't-want-to-offend-anyone club. 

Some of the other pictures of Van Haren are telling. Here she is with two former students: 


Note the tense smile on her face. Alarm bells seem to be going off in her head. ("Don't show any racism! Don't show any racism!!")

Or check this selfie out:


How eagerly she leans towards her student in a game effort to overcome her white privilege! (And note the young black boy's expression of disbelief, disdain, and discomfort as she does so.)

The problem with these nice white ladies is not that they're too dumb to understand that they've been brainwashed, if someone explains it to them properly. It's that they're too nice to step outside the boundaries that have been set by the brainwashers.

This was just about a middle school election of little consequence. But unfortunately, this type of thinking permeates our society at every level. As post-election analysis showed, it was all those white women like Lena Van Haren who were so eager to prove they weren't racist who elected Barack Obama.

And if Van Haren had been in charge of that election, Obama would have won whether he had the votes or not -- you know, to make sure that "all voices" were heard.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

"The Killing of Osama bin Laden"

Seymour Hersh's article in the London Review of Books about how the killing of Osama bin Laden really occurred, which came out in May, hasn't gotten nearly the publicity it deserves. His account makes much more sense than the White House version of events, and is really worth reading.

I have to admit, having gotten my "knowledge" of the raid mostly from the Hollywood production Zero Dark Thirty, which was made with the cooperation of the Obama administration, I was shocked to find out how much of what we'd been told was untrue.

According to Hersh:

Waterboarding had nothing to do with getting the crucial information which led to bin Laden; the CIA learned of bin Laden's whereabouts from a Pakistani informant who wanted to collect on the $25 million bounty the US was offering for information leading to bin Laden.

Bin Laden had been at the Abbotabad compound since 2006, and he was more a prisoner of the Pakistanis than their guest. They used him as a bargaining chip in their dealings with the Taliban and al Qaeda; the Pakistanis could always threaten to turn bin Laden over to the Americans.

The two Black Hawk helicopters carrying the Navy SEALs could not possibly have entered Pakistani airspace undetected by the sophisticated radar of the Pakistani military, especially considering that the helicopters went directly to Abbotabad, the nerve center of military operations in the country. This means that the Pakistani military cooperated with the raid.

In fact, negotiations had started in the fall of 2010 and continued right on up to May of 2011, when the raid occurred. The Americans threatened to cut off all aid to Pakistan if they did not cooperate, and in fact had already started to do so.

The Pakistani intelligence service (ISI) guards around the bin Laden compound had orders to leave as soon as they heard the rotors of the American helicopters. Residents of the neighborhood had been warned by ISI personnel to turn off their lights that night, stay inside their homes, and not come out until they were told it was safe to do so.

Despite what the Obama administration has maintained, there was never any intention of taking bin Laden alive; the SEALs knew from the start that their mission was simply to kill him. (This was actually one of the conditions Pakistan had set.) Bin Laden did not shield himself with one of his wives, nor was he reaching for an AK-47 when the SEALs confronted him. He was not killed by a "double tap" to the head but instead his body was ripped to shreds by numerous bullets.

The SEALs did not shoot their way into the compound, and there were no guards there to be dealt with. There was no firefight, despite White House claims to the contrary. The only person killed was bin Laden; there weren't five people killed as the administration maintains. An ISI liaison officer actually led the SEALs up to the third floor, where bin Laden was located.

There was no treasure trove of computers and storage units with vital information on al Qaeda. Bin Laden was not actively involved in al Qaeda operations anymore.

Bin Laden was never buried at sea. His body was most likely tossed out of the helicopter in pieces over the mountains on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

If you read Hersh's account carefully, it makes far more sense than the Obama administration account. And Hersh has a long history of journalistic exposes, starting with that of the My Lai massacre in Viet Nam; almost all of what he has written has proven to be true. Anonymous sources with little to gain are more likely to be telling the truth than an administration hell bent on reelection.

Hersh's article takes roughly half an hour to read, but it's well worth the time.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Another gay look-alike couple

My deepest, darkest confession is that I read The New York Times wedding section. (The darkest one you're going to hear here, anyway.) My only excuse for reading it is that it's so gratifying to see certain patterns repeated over and over.

One of the patterns is that a bride's looks correlate highly with the amount of money the groom makes. It's not a perfect correlation, but it's pretty close. The really pretty brides almost always get married to a guy who works at a private equity firm, or a hedge fund, or at an investment bank, or maybe a lawyer at a high-powered firm, or maybe a doctor.

After a while, you realize, the pretty ones are essentially just selling themselves to the highest bidder. Yes, the guy's looks enter into the equation, but they don't count for nearly as much as his job.

These good-looking brides usually work at pretty-girl-jobs, which they will undoubtedly quit after their weddings. For instance, they might work for Sotheby's, or as a buyer for Macy's, or as an account executive at an advertising firm, or as a fund-raiser of some sort.

I could reproduce their pictures and wedding articles here, but if I did there wouldn't be room for anyone else. And I don't think the fact that pretty girls tend to marry rich guys exactly qualifies as a huge newsflash.

Another pattern that I see repeated fairly frequently is that gay guys who get married often marry guys to whom they bear a notable resemblance. One such couple, Andrew Hermann and Timothy Poulin, were featured in today's Times:


No one would mistake them for identical twins; but they could easily be fraternal ones.

You'd think that having sex with someone who looks like you would pall quicker than normal, but this is evidently not the case in certain sectors of the gay community.

(I was going to say something about how this way at least we won't have to wonder about whom the children will take after, but commenter "Gardner" recently implied I was snarky, so I'm going to refrain.)

Another pattern it's hard not to notice is how often the gay guys have gay jobs. Andrew Hermann, on the left, "is a digital producer in New York for the website of Bravo, the cable television network. He graduated from Swarthmore College."

That sorta makes him a walking, talking gay stereotype. (Bravo has a lot of gay-themed shows, and Swarthmore is, well, Swarthmore.) Poulin, on the right, has avoided that stereotype: he works for a mutual fund, Lord Abbett.

Both Andrew and Timothy look like nice guys, the kind who would be quite pleasant to be around.

I wish them both happiness. And I hope they never get bored looking in the mirror.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Are good moods caused by pleasant memories, or vice versa?

You may have noticed that when in a good mood, you'll either relive a pleasant experience, or indulge in a pleasant fantasy about something you hope will happen.

Conversely, when in a bad mood, you'll stew over an unpleasant memory, or will worry about some potential catastrophe.

And either of these moods can strike without any immediate catalyst, i.e., anything good or bad happening in your life.

But is it thinking about fond memories which puts us into a good mood? Or do biologically-induced good moods steer us in the direction of pleasant reveries?

Are bad feelings sparked by a random series of thoughts which then cause us to remember something unpleasant, and then go into a funk? Or are they, too, primarily functions of our neurochemistry?

I suspect it's the latter. When your serotonin and endorphins are going full blast, and you're well rested, and your blood sugar is just right, that predisposes you to travel down neural pathways which stimulate the pleasure centers of our brains.

And, when you're exhausted, you tend to become more paranoid and think negatively.

Certainly, unpleasant experiences can put us into a bad mood. When bad things happen, that makes us feel bad, no question. But when nothing particularly noteworthy has happened recently, our mood ought to be independent of recent experience.

I know I tend to think more pleasant thoughts right after having exercised (when the endorphins are circulating), or right after having eaten. Or when I'm well rested.

Think of how alcohol can put us into a good mood, or cause us to think silly thoughts. My guess is that our normal biorhythms can have similar, but subtler effects.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Lamar Odom


Lamar Odom is the former Los Angeles Laker who was married for a few years to Khloe Kardashian. If you read the tabloids -- as I do -- you've probably heard of his epic binge this past weekend in a Nevada brothel which resulted in an ischemic stroke, at age 35. He is now in a coma and it is unclear whether he will survive.

Over the course of a three day weekend Odom evidently smoked crack cocaine (on several occasions), took ten doses of an herbal sexual performance enhancer, and when he was found had needle marks on his arms and an open bottle of cognac by his side.

It would be easy to laugh at his foolish behavior, and I'm certainly not going to argue with its essential foolishness.

But there's something epic, almost heroic, about someone who would party that hard. Someone who has absolutely no thought for tomorrow or the risks he is taking and throws down with that kind of abandon is demonstrating a certain kind of fatalistic courage.

I know, I know, it's stupid, and Odom is now paying the price for his stupidity. (And I understand that a real hero is someone who takes risks for other people, not just out of recklessness.)

But I can't help but contrast Odom to someone like me. I'm the kind of little weenie who, before he has a second beer, thinks to himself, gee, this is going to make me have to urinate more frequently, and that will be inconvenient. And it will kill some brain cells, a side effect I don't want. And what little nutritional value there is to beer is more than offset by the harm alcohol causes. And it will hurt my conditioning. And if I don't get to sleep soon, I won't feel good tomorrow morning. And I might even get a headache…..

In other words, I'm no fun to hang out with.

Odom, on the other hand, must be a blast. Or, must have been a blast.

I'm actually serious about this. This sounds like another tongue in cheek post which is really making fun of someone, and, well, maybe there's a touch of that here. But I actually do admire -- even envy -- people like Odom who live entirely in the present.

If you're looking for someone to party with, he would make a far, far better companion than someone like me.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Kevin McCarthy and Renee Elmers

Kevin McCarthy, who withdrew his bid for speaker of the House yesterday, is now being accused of having had an affair with fellow Representative Renee Elmers. Here are the two of them in 2011:


They actually bear a resemblance to each other: similar eyebrows, foreheads, noses, and slightly cleft chins. Even their hair seems to fall similarly. Both are from California, and both are Republican. It's not a stretch to believe that both politicians have similar dispositions.

Assuming the accusation is true, does the fact that both are attracted to someone to whom they bear a resemblance mean they are narcissistic personalities? Or does it simply mean that they have a healthy self-regard? Or does it signify nothing?

I have no idea. But the resemblance is notable.

Maybe both felt they had finally met their soulmates when they started seeing each other.

McCarthy, by the way, looks nothing like his wife, pictured with him here:


But that probably means nothing, either.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Matt Jackson


The current Jeopardy champion, Matt Jackson, is on a roll. He's won eight straight games, and over $200,000. By the second or third time I saw him win, I found myself rooting against him. He would rudely step on all of Alex Trebek's lines, not waiting until Trebek finished before choosing the next question.

Then, after he would win, he would give a completely insincere smile. He looked like a six-year-old who's been told to smile, and who does so in a purposely insincere way, merely stretching his mouth out to the sides. (The picture above doesn't quite capture it.)

Then it hit me: Jackson has Aspergers Syndrome.

If you're curious to see an Aspie in action, watch Jeopardy tonight (on channel 7 at 7 PM Eastern time). He'll probably be on for at least a few more nights; he's awfully good.

Jackson evokes the phrase "idiot savant." But idiot savants, as some autistic people used to be known, usually have just one or two subjects about which they have encyclopedic knowledge. Jackson's memory seems to encompass everything.

Anyway, he demonstrates what's both good and bad about Aspies. He's completely focused, has tremendous recall, and evinces no discernible social skills.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Aspergers and mass murderers

According to Christopher Harper-Mercer's mother, who was quoted in the NY Times this morning, he had Aspergers Syndrome. Just like Elliot Rodger (the 2014 Santa Barbara killer) and Adam Lanza. (Seung-Hui Cho, the Virginia Tech killer, was initially said to be autistic by family members in South Korea, though that diagnosis was later disputed.)

In his "manifesto," Harper-Mercer bemoaned his inability to get a girlfriend, just as Elliot Rodger had.

There are all sorts of other correlations among both mass killers and serial killers. Profilers haven't been shy about pointing out that most are relatively young males who are loners and most often white.

Being male, or white, seems no barrier to profiling.

However, even though a highly disproportionate share of serial killers have been homosexuals, you don't hear about that as much.

That's probably because gays are a group favored by the media.

Now it seems that a disproportionate number of mass murderers have some degree of autism. Are they, too, a favored group about whom nothing bad must be said?

My experience with Aspies is that they have a hard time dealing with frustration and lash out much more easily. If you doubt that, look at the comments after this post about Aspergers Syndrome and note the number of Aspies who lashed out at me for having written it.

(They won't be happy with this post, either.)

This certainly isn't to say that most Aspies are a threat; only a very tiny percentage of them ever murder anyone. But, if a disproportionate share of mass murderers do have the syndrome, given the current push to not allow those with mental disabilities access to guns, shouldn't this correlation be pointed out?

Saturday, October 3, 2015

"Secret Service agents: Hillary is a nightmare to work with"

The worm's eye view of a person is always far more illuminating than any other view.

Update, next day: yet another book detailing Hillary's violent tantrums, many of them directed against Bill. 

Friday, October 2, 2015

Filial respect, Part VI

While we were on the subject of men's looks this evening, my son offered the following analysis of mine:

"Dad, you're like a walking, talking anti-miscegenation poster."

(I'm half white, half Asian.)

Another commenter insulting himself

In June of 2011 I wrote a sociopath alert about Frank Abagnale, the con man about whom the movie Catch Me if You Can was about.

Yesterday I got the following comment on the post from "Mark":

what is this the Jerry Springer show? Is that retard Steve Wilko going to throw people off the stage. Uneducated finger pointing trailer trash calling people sociopaths and narcissists as if the they have a clue. Passing judgement is so unproductive.How disrespectful to this life we are lucky enough to have that you draw conclusions with such tiny amount of facts. So this is what feels like to be a hypocrite.

I replied:

"Passing judgment is so unproductive"?

What exactly is it you just did?


Mark is a perfect illustration of someone whose worst insults are unwittingly about himself. First he calls me "uneducated finger pointing trailer trash….as if they have a clue." Then he makes that statement about how passing judgment is unproductive. Then, to cap it off, he accuses me of being a hypocrite, which is what he has just proven himself to be.

Judging from Mark's grammar, his syntax, his tendency towards projection, and his absence of knowledge about sociopathy (Abagnale is an open and shut case), I'm guessing he's also sensitive about his own education and socioeconomic background.

Anyway, a big thank you to "Mark" for providing yet another colorful example of a person whose most scathing insult is to accuse someone of being like him. 

Thursday, October 1, 2015

A nation of immigrants

The other day Ed Gendreau pointed out:

"People always say 'We're a nation of immigrants' as a rationale to allow illegal immigrants to stay, find a path to citizenship, and so on. In other words, since we started that way, that path must be continued indefinitely. But aren't we are also a nation born of, and founded by revolution? And does that mean we should continue to revolt? Why work with a dysfunctional government?" 

Indeed. 

A few other thoughts: 

We're a nation of slaveowners. 

We're a nation of indigenous people-killers.  

We're a nation of atomic bomb-droppers.

We're a nation of Jim Crow law-enforcers. 

We're a nation of polluters. 

We're a nation of people who drove many animals, like the buffalo, to near extinction. 

Liberal logic demands….