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Thursday, September 29, 2016

Looking up old flames

Google-searching exes seems to be a fairly universal activity. With the internet, it's a lot easier to keep tabs on people.

Actually contacting them is less common, but certainly not unheard of. Whenever the subject is broached, it's almost invariably presented as a bad idea. This has actually been the theme of a few movies, where it always seems to backfire in one way or another.

But curiosity is hard to extinguish. What is your ex doing these days? How has he or she aged? What is the ex's love life like? Facebook can answer some of these questions, but theres no substitute for actual contact.

Getting in touch often has to do with wanting to show off. If you're doing better than the last time you saw each other, you want the ex to know that. The desire to boast can never be overestimated.

And there's always the hope that the flame might be rekindled. Which makes the potential for awkwardness immense, given that that hope is likely to be one-sided.

Part of it also has to do with wanting to revisit one's own youth. I've always found that whenever I see people from way back when, I feel as if I'm the age I was when I last saw them. If I see someone I haven't seen since I was 25, in some weird way I feel 25 again, psychologically if not physically. The natural tendency is to pick up right where you left off -- for better or worse.

In a way seeing old friends is the closest we can come to time travel.

Seeing and thinking a little more clearly

From about age 55 to 61, I was congratulating myself on not needing reading glasses. Other people my age used them, but I didn't seem to need them. 

Last year, at 61, I finally gave in and got some. Now that I have them, reading is much, much easier. 

I should have gotten them years ago, back when I was congratulating myself for not needing them while squinting at the crossword every morning.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Why CEOs support Clinton

The Wall Street Journal ran an article on Friday, No Fortune 100 CEOs Back Republican Donald Trump. It turns out that 11 of those 100 have donated to Hillary Clinton. An excerpt:

Altogether, the 11 CEOs have donated more than $30,000 to Mrs. Clinton, according to Federal Election Commission records....

Individuals are capped at donating $5,400 to a candidate, so the financial loss for Mr. Trump’s campaign is small. But gathering such support is traditionally a goal for candidates, because it sends a signal to voters about their competence, particularly on economic issues.

After all, if anyone understands the economy and what it would take to get the economy moving again, it would be these CEOs, right?

The NY Times jumped on board three days later with an article titled, Trump's a Businessman. Where's His Business Backing?

That article provided the expected anti-Trump spin.

But yesterday, Real Money ran an article, Cramer: We Could Be Setting up for Some Presidential Bargains, which offered a far more insightful and honest appraisal of why these execs donate. The salient paragraph, buried deep in the article:

Now let's circle back to the 11 CEOs who have given to the Hillary camp and discuss the difference between Clinton and President Obama. Clinton, by virtue of her many years in politics, has built up a huge number of friends, both liberal and pragmatic, who know she will take their calls. Most of the CEOs I have talked to during the last eight years have been deeply frustrated because President Obama either didn't take their calls or they believe he didn't take them seriously. I know plenty of Republican and Democrat CEOs who tell me that Clinton's the opposite. In the crazy year since this campaign really took off, I have only talked to one CEO of all the scores I talk to who is for Trump and has given him money. Other than that one CEO, I haven't talked to anyone who thinks Trump would listen to him and act on his or her advice.

When a chief exec says that Trump won't "listen to him and act on his or her advice," what that means is that Trump won't twist policy to suit the interests of the CEO's company because of his campaign donation.

Hillary, on the other hand, made it perfectly clear while Secretary of State that she would make herself available and amenable to anyone who gave a large enough donation to the Clinton Foundation.

CEOs don't get to be CEOs by being starry-eyed idealists. They attain their positions by being extremely self-interested, conniving sharks. And by being realists.

They recognize that Clinton is for sale, and Trump is not.

Hence the contributions.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Tonight's debate

A friend recently wrote to say that his main interest in the upcoming debates was ghoulish: to see if Hillary would manage to make it through them. He concluded that she would be pumped full of drugs.

Hillary probably will be on something.

But the most interesting thing is going to be how they pick at each other's weaknesses.

You can be sure Hillary's camp has been brainstorming on things she can say to get Trump to blow his stack. Trump's Achilles heel does seem to be that if insulted, he will almost always take the bait. Trump has claimed that he hasn't practiced much for the debate; he seems to consider it beneath him, and doesn't want to come across rehearsed.

So what does Hillary have planned? What is Trump sensitive about? Will she talk about his businesses which have gone bankrupt? ("Donald, for someone who claims to be a successful businessman, you seem to have had an awful lot of businesses which have gone bankrupt. The Taj Mahal, Trump Air....")

Will she mention Trump University, possibly in a scathing aside? ("That sounds like something they'd teach at Trump University.")

Will she talk about his foundation? ("At least at the Clinton Foundation we never spent $6000 on an oil portrait of either Bill or me.")

Will she question his children's role in his campaign?

Will she mention that he had originally said he would spend a billion of his own money on his campaign but has only spent a small fraction of that? ("It makes people wonder if you're as rich as you claim.")

Will she make a remark about his appearance? ("I'm overweight and know it, and I never criticize anyone else's looks. Which is why I don't understand why someone as fat as you would feel as free as you do to criticize other people's appearance.") By mentioning her own weight, she would defuse his most stinging retort. And although it makes her look bad, it's almost sure to bring a response that would make him look even worse.

Will she refer, even obliquely, to his record with women? ("Judging a man like Mr. Putin is not as easy as judging the Miss Universe contest.")

Will Hillary reference Trump's lack of knowledge when it comes to foreign leaders and international politics? ("How can the Donald say he has a plan for resolving our difficulties in the Mideast when he doesn't even know the names of half the leaders over there?")

But Trump should have a counterpunch ready for this, as for many of these barbs. ("Where has all of your knowledge gotten us, Hillary? The Middle East is a far more dangerous place than when you started as Secretary of State. In fact, the entire world is. And it's because the Obama/Clinton team has been so weak.")

If she references his record with women, he can play his ace in the hole: Bill. ("But Hillary, you were in charge of the war room dealing with Bill's bimbo eruptions, as I think you called them. When Monica came forward, you said it was a vast right-wing conspiracy, and you called Monica a narcissistic loony tune. That doesn't speak very well of your record on feminism.")

Or, "Hillary, at least I made my money legitimately, not by taking back door bribes from countries which don't give women full rights and which prosecute gays."

Trump could point out that she would be nothing if not her husband. ("I'm a little surprised to hear you questioningly my business record given that you rode into politics on Bill's coattails.")

If she questions any of his views, Trump can reply, "Hillary, you flip flop more than those things people wear on their feet. You voted for the Iraq war, now you say you were against it. You were for the Trans Pacific Partnership, now you're against it. You were strongly against gay marriage, now you support it and call yourself a champion of LGBT rights. How can anyone be sure that you're not going to change your current positions depending on which way the wind blows?"

Or, "I'm just curious Hillary, when they talk about your platform, are they referring to your misguided attempts to side with criminals rather than cops, your burning desire to bring more potential terrorists into this country, or that stool you're standing on?" -- The Clinton camp has evidently requested a stool for her to stand on so that she looks taller.)

When she questions any of his views, he can reply, "I know it's complicated Hillary, but don't worry, I'll send you an email on it. Oh, wait a sec; maybe I shouldn't."

Of course, Trump doesn't want to appear to be too much of a bully, since he is dealing with a sick old woman. And no matter what insults he throws Hillary's way, the media will describe them as nasty and small-minded and a reminder that he doesn't have the temperament to be President. While simultaneously describing Hillary's insults to Trump as zingers that really hit the mark, or something to that effect.

So, maybe Trump should rein himself in. As Pat Buchanan recently said, all Trump really has to do to win the debate is to not appear the monster that the media has portrayed him as.

Refraining from hurling any insults be a tall order, though, especially if Hillary tries to provoke him.

Get your popcorn ready.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Still more on Hillary: her laugh

Hillary Clinton -- that great feminist -- once, as a young lawyer, got a child rapist off the hook. Here is a clip of her boasting about how she did so. Note her laughter when she talks about how her client passed a polygraph, and how that forever destroyed her faith in polygraphs. (Meaning, she knew her client was guilty.)

And here is an article in the Daily Mail about the woman who was raped -- at age 12 -- by the 41-year-old drifter whom Hillary defended. Hillary evidently smeared the 12-year-old by questioning her credibility, and by suggesting that she sought out older men. 

Some have questioned how could Hillary have defended a child rapist, as if that in itself is an unethical act. To be fair, a lawyer's job is to provide the best representation possible to whomever their client may happen to be. Hillary was in private practice at the time, so theoretically could have turned down this case. But young lawyers in a large firm are expected to work on whichever case is assigned to them, at least if they want to keep their jobs.

The code of ethics that Hillary did violate was the legal one, by talking about the case afterward and indicating her client's guilt (by saying his having passed the polygraph forever destroyed her faith in them). There's a reason you don't hear criminal defense lawyers saying afterward that they knew their client was guilty, but they got them off anyway. It violates the client confidentiality rules.

Did you ever hear Johnny Cochrane quoted as saying, after the OJ trial, "Yeah, I knew the Juice had killed Nicole, but did you see the snow job I pulled at that trial? That stupid bitch Marcia Clark didn't know what hit her. I got the brother off and everybody knew he was guilty" -- and then laughing about it? No, you didn't, because, as sleazy as Cochrane was, at least he observed the legal code of ethics, unlike the even sleazier Hillary.

What was even more telling than Hillary's indiscretion -- from a psychological point of view -- is the way she laughed about the case. What exactly was funny about having gotten that rapist off?

Here is a clip of Hillary boasting and laughing about having killed Muammar Gaddafi. She says, "We came, we saw, he died," and then laughs.

Now, Gaddafi was unquestionably a horrible guy. He was responsible for the Lockerbie bombing, among other things, and probably deserved to die. But Hillary's joke, a slight twist on the "Veni, vidi, vici" boast, was, truth be told, not all that funny.

So what was all the laughing about?

I wrote back in 2010 about how one of the surest signs of narcissism is to laugh at one's own jokes. this tends to go beyond an innocent "I crack myself up" laughter at a funny joke one is repeating. It's more, "Laugh with me in exultation about the way I pulled off this great coup!" Narcissistic laughs tend to have an aggressive, staccato quality to them. Just like Hillary's.

But as I outlined four days ago, Hillary is a sociopath, a far scarier diagnosis than mere garden variety narcissism. And what's really telling about Hillary's laughter is that only a sociopath finds other's misfortunes funny

Schadenfreude is universal: we all feel a certain satisfaction in seeing someone we hate get hurt, even if we don't admit it. We may even enjoy a quiet inner smile. But actually finding it laugh out loud funny is altogether different. Only a sociopath would laugh when he sees someone he doesn't even know crash his bicycle into a wall, or take a bad fall. Stitches have him in stitches, so to speak. It's a distinct sociopathic tell.

Someone ought to ask Hillary what she found so funny about those incidents. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

"Ryan Lochte's 'Dancing with the Stars' debut marred after attempted assault by angry audience members"

This on air assault is actually the absolute best thing that could happen to Lochte, and the more publicity it gets, the better. It will turn him — in the eyes of the non-swimming world — from a guy who looks like an irresponsible 32-year-old teenager into a figure of sympathy.

The public's reaction will be, how horrible to train so hard for a dance performance and then be attacked while on stage by a bunch of moronic thugs. (They won’t realize that he’s put maybe 1/10,000th of the effort into his dancing that he has into his swimming, but, no matter.)

Hopefully, this will mark the turning point in the public perception of him.

Can't say I'm wild about Lochte's dancing, a clip of which is available on the article linked above. But after such a short period of practice, you can't expect much. His 200 meter individual medley, on the other hand, is a thing of beauty. It's always a privilege to watch that rolling, surging, demonstration of relaxed power. 

Here's a video of his world record in that event, from 2011, which still stands. 

My guess is that the two arrested men -- 

-- are Brazilians. (There is no group of people more insanely nationalistic.) 

Anybody who ever thinks that disrupting a show in that manner will somehow bring support for their cause, is severely misled. 

That said, Lochte should still thank them profusely for their aid in rehabilitating his public image. Nothing like appearing the victim to wash all your sins away.

This is basically Kanye-Taylor, Part II. (And yes, I'm a little embarrassed that I even know about that.)

Monday, September 12, 2016

Leanness and looks

When I first saw Keira Knightley in Bend it Like Beckham, in 2002, I was impressed by her beauty. But when you look closely at her, feature by feature  --

-- it's not as if any one feature is that outstanding. The nose is straight and the eyes are level, but the lips aren't particularly curved, or even full, which is why she's never photographed without lipstick to make them appear larger, and is usually pushing them out in pictures.

Her nose is elegantly narrow, though I have no idea whether that was a result of surgery, and her eyebrows are distinct and well-shaped, though artifice undoubtedly played a role there.

Here's a better picture of her:

Knightley has made the most of what she has simply by staying thin. Because she's thin, her eyes are large, her cheekbones are prominent, and her jawline is well-defined. And that's often what beauty boils down to.

Roughly 75% of people -- both men and women -- would look good if they were the right weight. That means carving themselves down to perfection. The reason Knightley's face is so beautiful is because she's kept her body looking like this:

Now, that body may not suit everyone's taste. But it's that lack of fat that makes Knightley's face so beautiful.

Unfortunately, it's not that easy to lose weight. It seems that we all have a certain number of fat cells, and all we can do is starve them, not lose them. This is why 90% of people who lose a lot of weight end up gaining it all back within a year. Evidently, the number of fat cells is set in childhood and adolescence, and after that it never varies. 

I've scoured the internet to find out exactly how that number is set, and can't find a satisfactory answer. My guess is that it's at least partly a function of early diet. And my guess is that if you keep your kids away from sugary and starchy foods when they're young, they'll benefit for the rest of their lives. (Ironically, fatty foods make you far less fat than starchy foods do. It's all a function of insulin and speed of digestion and the hormones each type of food releases.) 

Lena Dunham got a flurry of publicity this past week with her comments about NY Giant Odell Beckham, who had evidently been seated at her table at last weekend's Met Gala. As per the NY Times:

“I was sitting next to Odell Beckham Jr., and it was so amazing because it was like he looked at me and he determined I was not the shape of a woman by his standards....He was like: ‘That’s a marshmallow. That’s a child. That’s a dog.’ It wasn’t mean. He just seemed confused.”

In Ms. Dunham’s imagination, the grid star’s “vibe” seemed to suggest he was thinking, “Do I want to have sex with it?” (she used an earthier term for “sex,” and yes, she said “it”).

Beckham evidently committed the unpardonable sin of not paying her any attention. (Don't feminists normally protest that men pay them too much attention?)

Dunham later walked her comments back. Which still leaves the question, what did Beckham think? It's doubtful that he confused her with a child or a dog. But Dunham is shaped a bit like a marshmallow, or at least as if she eats her share of them. To the extent that Beckham even noticed her, that was probably his vague impression, even if that wasn't precisely the metaphor he would have used.

Dunham frequently poses for photographs in provocatively revealing outfits. Is she mocking herself? Or is she boldly informing the world, this is what you should be attracted to if you weren't all so taken with your outdated concepts of female beauty? She's probably doing a bit of both.

Now, this may sound sacrilegious to people who read this blog, given Dunham's personality and political stances, but she would in fact be beautiful.....if she were skinny. Not skinny, as in, she'd look better if she lost 10 or 20 pounds. But skinny as in, Keira Knightley skinny.

Look at this picture --

-- and try to imagine what would happen if she were magically to suddenly become thin. Her cheekbones would emerge. Her jawline would become more crisply defined. And her neck would appear more elegant. She'd look like a different person.

Then imagine what would happen if she wore lipstick to make her mouth appear larger, as Knightley does, and had her eyebrows professionally plucked, shaped, and enhanced, the way Knightley has. (Her nose would still be a little wide, but that's nothing a rhinoplasty couldn't fix.)

Look at this picture from a Vanity Fair shoot:

It's telling that they shot her from a slightly high angle, so as to hide her second chin. But other than the mouth-widening lipstick, she's had the Knightley treatment here. And if the fat were sculpted from her face and body, she might look like Keira's sister.

I know it's a stretch, but use your imagination.

A better example of the difference weight makes is to look at what happens to faces when people get fat. Remember what Val Kilmer used to look like?

This is what he looked like more recently:

The cheekbones have disappeared, the eyes have gotten smaller, and the jawline is indistinct. And he's unrecognizable.

Fat loss always seems to be defined by how many pounds you lost, and what size clothing you can now fit into. But it's always more fascinating to see what effect it has on the face.

Now that we've established that there's a skinny beauty trapped inside Lena Dunham, here's a more interesting question: if Dunham's parents had raised her on the paleo diet, and she had far fewer fat cells, and had grown up looking somewhat like Keira Knightley, what effect would that have had on her personality?

And in which direction might it have nudged her politically?


A friend just sent this video of Hillary's collapse last night. It's a little scary.

The way Hillary has her back to the camera reminded me of the scene at the end of Psycho when Norman Bates's mother is revealed.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

"Clinton reportedly has 'medical episode' at 9/11 ceremony"

The article that just appeared in this morning's NY Post:

Hillary Clinton had a “medical episode” that required her to leave a 9/11 commemoration ceremony early, a law enforcement source who witnessed the event told Fox News.

The Democratic presidential nominee appeared to faint on her way into her van and had to be helped by her security, the source said. She was “clearly having some type of medical episode.”

Clinton’s stumbled off the curb, her “knees buckled” and she lost a shoe as she was helped into a van during her “unexpected early departure,” a witness told Fox News.

Clinton was in New York for Sunday’s ceremony commemorating 15 years since the 9/11 terror attacks.

The Clinton campaign would not confirm Clinton’s location to an NBC pool producer. After Clinton left the ceremony, the reporters following her on the campaign trail were prevented from leaving the media area.

Ordinarily, I'd be inclined toward sympathy for anyone with medical problems. The problem here is that Clinton and her campaign staff -- which includes most of the media -- is using the same playbook here that they for everything else. 

Anyone who has recently asked straightforward questions about her health has been treated with the same contempt and dishonesty with which they treat anyone who questions her about the Clinton Foundation, her email scandal, or Benghazi. 

The Clintons use the same tactics, over and over again. 

First they try to hide the problem. Then, when someone inquires about it, they scoff at the question and attempt to laugh it off. Then they accuse whoever asks the question of "playing politics," or being part of a "partisan witch hunt," or participating in a "vast right-wing conspiracy." 

Then, they lie about it some more. And then, after their lies are proven false, they deny having lied in the first place. 

Have they ever considered just telling the truth? 

It would make Hillary a far more sympathetic candidate.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Filial respect Part XI

My son is teaching our dog, a Cairn Terrier, to howl. My son howls and the dog, though not a natural howler, joins in with a sort of high-pitched mewl.

This afternoon, when I howled, the dog just looked at me and barked a couple times. 

My son explained, "PJ howls for me because I sound like a wolf. howl like Allen Ginsberg." 

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

How will sexbots be received?

We know how feminists are reacting to the coming advent of sexbots. But these machines actually raise a host of interesting new issues.

For instance, what if married people have a sexbot on the side? Will that be considered cheating? After all, a sexbot is just a toy. This is really no different, spiritually speaking, than masturbating, even if the "pornography" is more sophisticated. (Though some women do object if their husband looks at porn.)

Will real life partners feel neglected? Will husbands and wives be able to name the sexbot as the corespondent in a divorce? Will they become justifiable grounds for "alienation of affections" charges?

Will some women actually encourage their husbands to buy sexbots so as to lighten their own marital "duties?"

Will men have sexbot-swapping parties? There are certain issues of hygiene to deal with here, but the sexbots will undoubtedly have a self-cleaning function, and, after all, a little variety can be nice. Or will men be possessive of their "girlfriends?"

Will people be able to make alterations to their sexbots? For instance, would you be able to get her implants? Change her hair color? It might be end up being the grown up version of Barbie dolls, where you can change her outfits, and so on. 

And if, say, certain parts of a female sexbot get a little worn out from constant use, will you be able to get them, say, tightened up a little?

Will men be embarrassed to ask for that particular procedure?

Will women be embarrassed to ask if the penis on their sexbot be replaced with a larger one?

Will people be secretive about their sexbots? Will owning one be considered shameful? Will it become the love that dare not speak its name? (The love that was formerly mute has gotten quite voluble of late.)

Will it become a common insult to suggest that someone owns one? ("I betcha that loser hasn't had a real woman in years!")

Will editorialists pen essays about how, while they themselves don't own one, there should be no shame in owning one, and it shouldn't be considered a taboo? (While, in fact, they actually own one.)

Or will sexbots become the latest status symbol, with men who have the latest, most finely detailed and realistic models parading them around and showing them off to their friends? Will some particularly rich men boast about their "harems?"

How expensive will they be? They're not going to come cheap, especially at first. Over time, their price will undoubtedly go down, as their quality goes up, just as happened with computers. How long will it take for them to become commonplace? 

Will people laugh at the old models? ("I can't believe I used to be able to get it up for that thing!")

Will sexbots come with security devices to insure that other men don't "borrow" them? Will these be modern versions of chastity belts?

Will a traffic in stolen sexbots develop? What sort of discount will you be able to expect on the black market? 

What will the difference in price be between new ones and used ones? Will used sexbot salesmen develop a reputation for being sleazy? ("This little baby here was bought new by a 75-year-old with lung cancer; she's practically a virgin!")

Will men develop an inability to perform with real women because (a) the idea of being with another actual person becomes intimidating, and (b) because they know their own performance will be pretty pathetic compared to a male sexbot's performance?

If, say, sexbots of one race are more expensive than sexbots of another, will this be viewed as evidence of "racism?" If they're priced the same, but the models of one race sell better, will that be viewed as evidence of the same? Will sociologists get government grants to do studies about this?  

There will undoubtedly be all sorts of physical types, to suit every taste. Will actresses and models become competitive about how the sexbot modeled after them is selling compared to how those modeled after other women are selling? 

What variety of personality will they come with? Will some sexbots be programmed so as to seem unwilling to have sex? After all, some men are more turned on by a shy, reluctant woman than by a sexually demanding one. ("No! Stop it, please! I don't want to do this! It's wrong!")

And some men are turned on by the idea of screwing other men's wives. ("If my husband finds out about this he'll kill me! I've never cheated on him before!") 

Will the sexbots be programmed to be skilled at flattery? Pretty much all men like that. ("Oh my, but you're a handsome fellow!"/"You're not going to fit that huge thing inside me!"/"Just being in the same room as you gets me all wet!"/"Oh my god, I've never cum this way before!")

(It seems unlikely that the "I won't do it until you marry me!" and "You don't spend enough money on me!" and "We don't talk enough!" models will sell that well.)

Will male sexbots be programmed to say "I love you" and "Will you marry me?" and cuddle afterwards?

How will they be advertised? Will there be certain media their ads are banned from? Obviously it would be wrong to buy space in, say, Junior Scholastic, but will ads for sexbots be banned in regular publications, the way ads for cigarettes have been?

Will owners name their sexbots?

Will people become addicted to their sexbots? Will we see Sexbot-aholics Anonymous groups? 

Will we see men -- or women -- who fall in love with their sexbots, and actually form an emotional attachment to them? A recent movie, Her, suggested that a man can fall in love with the disembodied voice of an operating system with artificial intelligence. That seems a little farfetched, but a man should certainly be able to fall in love with an embodied voice -- particularly if the body is appealing, and perpetually "in the mood" for sex.

Will people take their sexbots on vacation with them? Will there be discreet carrying cases for them?

One wonders how the media will treat these cases. If there are any stories about men becoming attached, will they be treated as weird loners with intractable psychological problems and an inability to deal with real live human beings? ("The poor guy actually spelled out in his will that he wanted his beloved Angelina Jolie-bot to be buried with him.")

Will parallel stories about women be reported in a semi-commiserating fashion, and focus on how actual human men are such pathetic saps, and so lousy in bed, that they couldn't possibly keep up with these new Fabio Dolls? ("Little wonder she got so attached to him!")

Thinking about all these issues, it's hard not to conclude we're living in the Dark Ages now. Still, one thing won't change in the next 30 years: human nature.

People will react to the advent of these new toys in predictable ways, as described above.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Sexbots and feminists

It's been in the news recently that the scientists are getting ever closer to producing realistic sexbots. As of now, most of the available ones look pretty unappealing:

But the current prediction is that by the 2040's, much more realistic-looking androids which can actually hold a conversation with you will be available.

Feminists are against the idea of sexbots. Here is Dr. (of philosophy, not medicine) Kathleen Richardson arguing against them. To hear her speech, click on the "HERE" link to the Toronto conference.

Richardson suggests that the idea of sexbots doesn't come from loving relationships, but rather from prostitution.

(The idea of masturbation doesn't come from loving relationships either; does that mean it should be banned? And the idea of sexbots doesn't "come from prostitution" any more than the idea of one night stands comes from prostitution; all of these things simply arise from our innate sex drive.)

Richardson then says that the existence of child sexbots might encourage those who already harbor vague sexual leanings toward children.

(Sexbots modeled on children would violate all sorts of laws against child pornography in this country, and will never be available here. And all the evidence shows that it's awfully hard to change male sexuality: you can't convince an adult male to "become" a child molester anymore than you can "cure" homosexuality.)

Then Richardson says that prostitution is all about politics, and power. She then suggests helpfully that if someone had tried to lessen racism by inventing black robots for the white race to take out its anger and hatred upon, that that wouldn't solve the problem of racism at all.

(This is an incredibly strained analogy, as well as transparent virtue signaling. Richardson wouldn't have to stretch like this if she had solid arguments. And her premise is wrong to begin with: whites take out their "anger and hatred," i.e., commit violence, against blacks far less than vice versa.)

Richardson mentions multiple times that she is an empathetic person. At one point she says that her empathy extends to men who have a hard time forming relationships.

(But she doesn't suggest anything to help them.)

Richardson concludes by saying she is against the objectification of women, and that people who'd have sex with robots are essentially doing that.

(Sexbots represent the opposite of the objectification of women: the women-ification of objects.)

Then Richardson says that she is also against the objectification of men and boys, which she defines as the narrative that men are sexually driven creatures who can't control their own desires and who commit rape.

(Isn't the basic feminist premise that men are pigs? And whether or not men can control their own desires has nothing to do with whether sexbots ought to be allowed. And if in fact they can't, sexbots will allow an outlet for some of that steam, keeping real women safer.)

Her final conclusion is, we all need each other, and no one should be left behind.

(People only resort to this kind of boilerplate when they have nothing substantive to say.)

Or listen to this paragraph from male feminist Mitchell Blatt:

Sexbots don’t just demean women. Ultimately, they demean men in thinking that men are nothing more than base animals only interested in carnal desires. The idea that robots can replace humans relies on the idea that men aren’t interested in meaningful lives. (It is also a demeaning view of individual men who think of themselves as not being able to attract desirable women.)

(This is a curiously prudish, Victorian view of humanity, one that divorces mankind from the rest of the animal kingdom -- or, as Blatt puts it, "base animals." Plus, no one is suggesting that if you're interested in sex, that that's all you're interested in. I know plenty of men who desire meaningless sex to go along with their meaningful lives. And the fact is, some men aren't able to attract desirable women; that's simply realism. Should those men be forced to forego sex?)

Blatt also points out that a robot that looks like a woman is just a woman for men who don't like women.

(Actually, the robots are for men who really like women, but don't always have a willing partner available. And, the fact is, there do exist women who are either fussy, illogical, gold-digging, hysterical, self-centered, gossipy, or some combination of those things -- even if Mr. Blatt himself has never experienced them.)

Blatt also helpfully points out that machines can't replace people.

(Did anyone suggest that they can, for anything other than temporary sexual needs?)

And Blatt offers that an act of sex with a robot wouldn't be "meaningful."

(Who in the world ever suggested it would be meaningful? Does Blatt ever do anything but set up straw man arguments? And why does sex itself have to have a deep meaning? That tends to be the kind of thing people say when they haven't had much sex.)

But the ultimate argument against feminists who disapprove of sexbots is, what's the ethical difference between those and vibrators? Both are mechanical devices used for sexual pleasure. If a toy can give you pleasure, why ban it?

How exactly would feminists react if men suggested vibrators be outlawed?

Another feminist argument is that these sexbots will set unrealistic beauty standards that young women will feel unable to live up to. But don't dildos -- which never go soft, and come in extra large sizes -- set up unrealistic comparisons for men?

Also, don't feminists believe that what goes on behind closed doors is no one else's business, and that the government shouldn't poke its nose into anyone else's bedroom? Feminists call those who are not on board with the LGBTQ agenda intolerant. Why does that principle not apply here?

Aspies deserve sympathy (but aren't good at getting it)

The original post I wrote on Aspergers Syndrome in 2011 seems to have been linked on some site for people with Aspergers, as an example of how insensitive and insulting some "neurotypicals" can be. The post now has 509 comments (a fair number of which are my replies).

The first couple hundred comments included many telling me what a horrible person I am, but the tone of most of the more recent comments has been more balanced. An anonymous commenter had something perceptive to say this morning:

What is interestingly absent is sympathy for those with autism. Almost every extension of sympathy are to people who live with or know said person with autism, which is actually kind of autistic in a way ironically. If a man with a heart attack were to fall down and block a door to a bathroom, who is suffering more: the person who tripped over the person on the way in or the person with the heart attack himself?

People with autism/aspergers really really suffer from their condition. Heightened levels of neuropathic headaches, bullying in their youth, sensory overload, and many more but people who have posted comments don't see it that way, they see an only autism and not a person WITH AUTISM. Everyone suffers in the end and many would gladly be cured (minus the one's in the USA for some reason, everyone here in Asia with the condition seems to want to be fixed.) We do not see people with autism and people without vs autism the disorder as it should be, rather I keep seeing people putting it as autistic people vs non autistic which shouldn't be that way.

When I read stories about parents of low functioning children, I shake my head when all the supposedly "empathetic and sympathetic" comments always go out only to the parents or relatives, nobody stops to feel bad for the person in the article who self harms and is in constant painful hell. Some even seem to be glad about it saying "serves them right for being autistic!" without realizing the inconsistency in that statement.

Annoying as aspies or autistic are, you have to admit they aren't happy and they may suffer even more from their disease than their parents or peers in some cases. So ironic, despite having fully functioning empathy, many NTs laugh when they hear misfortune happening to autistic people nor do they realize they could have been born with the condition if they were unlucky enough. So they say "they aren't people! They are things! Retards!", well the hatred displayed seems to not look like a negative hatred directed at an inanimate object, it looks very personal and like positive hatred.

But this also cuts the other way too, many higher functioning aspies can choose to realize their differences exist and attempt to fight what they can. They have an obligation to also accommodate others. There is this quote from a video game "Is it better to be born good or to overcome one's evil nature through great effort?" well autism doesn't really equal evil so much as weird nor can a person be cured through willpower alone, but the point rests. It seems to be more of a western thing for aspies to romp around and be proud of it, many other patients I've heard about in Hong Kong for instance would prefer to be normal.

I replied:

Anon --
You make a good point. And I'm obviously as guilty in that regard as anyone.

It does go against human nature, though, to be sympathetic to a set of traits which, individually, don't inspire sympathy. What if someone told you you had to be more sympathetic to someone who was extremely hypocritical? Most people's reaction would be, screw that. Or if you were told you had to be more sympathetic to someone who had no sense of humor and was painfully awkward? Or if you were told you had to show more sympathy to someone who would frequently lose his temper and scream at you? These are traits it's hard to work up sympathy for.

The average person will be inclined to feel sorry for someone who is severely autistic, because there is an obvious organic defect there which is apparent right from the start. Aspergers is more subtle, and is often not apparent at first. So people only gradually become aware of its presence, trait by trait, and by the time the realization of its presence sinks in, they've been annoyed and even infuriated by that person so many times that the window for sympathy has usually been closed.

That said, though, I agree with your larger point: people with organic conditions cannot help themselves, and deserve sympathy for a condition they have no control over.

It occurs to me that one good way for Aspies to gain sympathy would be to own up to their condition early on when they meet new people, which would allow others to be aware of their handicap, and thus make allowances for those Aspies in a way they would not for a neurotypical who exhibited the same traits. 

Friday, September 2, 2016

Kaepernick, Part II: Remember, the quarter black is a quarterback

There's a whole other dynamic at work with Kaepernick which hasn't been discussed elsewhere: as a quarterback, he's a target for every vicious linebacker in professional football.

Football isn't as black-dominated as basketball, but look at this list of the top current linebackers in the NFL: 8 of the top 10, and all 5 honorable mentions, are black.

Now, put yourself in Kaepernick's shoes (his cleats, to be exact). What would you rather have these 275 pound linebackers think as they try to sack you:

(A) This light-skinned mofo thinks he's better than me -- I'm gonna break his neck.


(B), Colin's a righteous warrior who's down with the cause. I'm gonna do my job, then help the brother up.

Those linebackers are a lot scarier than the white scribes who criticize Kaepernick's lack of patriotism.

This may not have occurred to you before. Believe me, it's occurred to Colin.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Colin Kaepernick, out-brothering the brothers

Light-skinned blacks often seem to feel compelled to "prove" their blackness by militantly out-flanking their brethren.

Colin Kaepernick is a case in point.

Often, an American with a white mother and black father (the usual combination) is genetically more than 50% white, since the father usually has some white blood. This appears to be the case with Kaepernick.

And Kaepernick's psychological demons are compounded by the fact that his adoptive family is, apart from himself, entirely white:

(It's impossible to see that photo and not feel some sympathy for Kaepernick; that just had to have been an awkward situation to grow up in.)

Kaepernick's personal background aside, there is a long tradition of light-skinned blacks who have striven to demonstrate racial solidarity in order to avoid being called Toms.

Remember what Bobby Rush said while running against Barack Obama for Congress in 2000? He said that while he had lived the civil rights movement, Obama had only read about it. Rush saw Obama's vulnerability, exploited it, and then crushed Obama in the election. Do you think the half-white Obama, raised in Hawaii and Indonesia, felt obliged to prove his blackness after that?

Obama's entire career since might be viewed as one big attempt to do that. But he's not the only one.

Julian Bond was a longtime civil rights activist. He served six terms as a Democrat in the Georgia State Senate, was chairman of the NAACP for twelve years, and was the first president of the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Bond divorced his black wife in 1989 to marry a white woman in 1990, but his resume immunized him from criticism.

Even light-skinned public figures who are not in politics put on a show. Harry Belafonte, who gained fame as a calypso singer, is a longtime civil rights activist; his involvement dates from the 1950's and the 1960's, when "civil rights" was a just cause that stood for almost the opposite of what it now does. But he has also been a longtime supporter of Cuba and the Soviet Union, and has remained far Left to this day.

Alicia Keys has always been outspoken politically. She is the co-founder of Keep a Child Alive, an organization which provides medicine to people with HIV and AIDS in Africa. And she has donated to Frum Tha Ground Up, which give scholarships to needy children.

She has also been quoted as saying:

"‘Gangsta rap’ was a ploy to convince black people to kill each other."
The gold AK-47 pendant around her neck “symbolize[s] strength, power and killing ’em dead.”
The bicoastal feud between slain rappers Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G. was fueled “by the government and the media, to stop another great black leader from existing.”
If black leaders such as the late Black Panther Huey Newton (a cop killer) “had the outlets our musicians have today, it’d be global. I have to figure out a way to do it myself.”

Here's Alicia:

Beyonce is a vocal Democrat, and at a recent halftime show at the Super Bowl incorporated a tribute to blacks who've been killed by police:

Louis Farrakhan is the head of the Nation of Islam, a black nationalist group advocating separatism:

Jeremiah Wright is the fire-breathing former pastor of the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago:

Some of these light-skinned blacks may genuinely dislike whites. They have all undoubtedly felt the subtle, patronizing, dishonest kind of racism that white liberals specialize in, and some may have experienced overt discrimination as well. Belafonte, Farrakhan, and Wright were all born during the Jim Crow era, thus witnessed real institutional discrimination.

But, as rich as most of these people are, at some level they must be secretly grateful for the protection police provide.

Wright, for instance, now lives in a 10,400 square foot house in a gated community on a golf course in a white suburb. Think he wants a riot in his hometown? Or hordes of inner city blacks overrunning his property?

Do you think Colin Kaepernick wants to share his NFL riches with a mugger?

Nonetheless, at a certain level, these light-skinned blacks feel obliged to prove they're every bit as black as anyone else. They may not even be fully conscious that this is what their motivation is; but the result is, they often end up more strident.

The fact is, dark-skinned blacks are usually accepting of lighter-skinned blacks; historically, the prejudice has usually run the other way. (Spike Lee devoted his second feature film, School Daze, to precisely that subject.) But when the darker-hued do sense snobbery, they're resentful, and nobody wants to be the target of that resentment.

All of this is not to say that the darker-skinned themselves -- like Jesse Jackson or Danny Glover -- don't become militant. But if they do, it's either to make money and gain personal power (like Jackson), or because they are convinced of the movement's righteousness (like Glover).

It's not because they have to prove their blackness.

Whites have a tendency to look at blacks and see just one color. But there's a whole range of skin tones there, and with them come a range of psychological dynamics.

Blacks generally don't worry about what whites think about them (unless they stand to lose money as a result). If you're black, you can say the most racist things, and whites will for the most part just pretend they didn't hear. Blacks worry much more that others in their community will see them as traitors.

Witness the treatment accorded Clarence Thomas, Walter Williams, and Thomas Sowell. (It takes a strong person to withstand that.)

So don't be too hard on Colin Kaepernick. Bear in mind, Kaepernick was brought up in a white family in Turlock, California, which is 1.7% black. Much of his early impressions of blacks undoubtedly came from reading about them committing crimes and rioting and so on. So at a certain level, he may be almost as scared of blacks as most whites are.

Listen to Kaepernick for a minute or so in this interview, and note his vaguely black accent. When did he pick that up? He certainly didn't grow up speaking that way. It's an affectation, every bit as phony as Obama's black accent.

Kaepernick is, for all practical purposes, a wigger, the only difference being that he actually is roughly a quarter black.

His sitting down during the national anthem is not a well-considered if misguided moral stance arrived after a painstaking study of all the police shootings of the past few years. It's more just a desperate attempt to try to fit into a community in which he never really belonged, and with whom he's not entirely comfortable. Unfortunately for Kaepernick, his psychological issues are playing out on a national stage, on a touchy issue, at a particularly fraught time in the national psyche.

The next time you see a Kaepernick-type in action, understand that what you're seeing is not necessarily just hatred of whites; a lot of it may just be posturing. Light-skinned blacks don't want other blacks to think that they think they're better just because they're lighter. And they really don't want other blacks to realize that they're actually afraid of them. (Even if, deep down, that's how they feel.)