Monday, August 31, 2009
In this piece, Douthat laments the near disappearance of "America’s dwindling population of outspoken pro-life liberals." What he fails to see, however, is an inherent contradiction between the words "pro-life" and "liberal." The truth is that the mere fact of using the word "pro-life" marks you as decidedly anti-liberal. We have a whole group of society dedicated to a very outspoken defense of this point of view. Those people are called Republicans in the best of cases, and religious fundamentalists in the worst. The idea that liberals would suddenly convert to this ideology is bizarre. What next? The support for "free markets", no gun control. no medicare, no social programs? Can we do all that and still consider ourselves liberals? Apparently, Douthat thinks we can.
One of the things I hate the most about conservatives of Douthat's ilk is their judgmental hypocrisy. He laments the fact that "the abortion rate for fetuses diagnosed with Down syndrome, for instance, is estimated to be as high as 90 percent." In my opinion, you have to have some nerve to judge people who honestly see themselves incapable of raising a Down's syndrome child and choose to terminate. A truly religious person, in my opinion, can have no problem with abortion. For a believer, a mere human being cannot possibly hope to thwart God's plans. I believe that this child will be born eventually, only without the syndrome. Or, as a possibility, it will be born to parents who feel they have the strength to raise such a kid. Douthat's anti-abortion stance, however, has nothing to do with actual religious feeling. As we have seen many times, he is terrified of female independence and feels a profound need to control women.
Another annoying characteristic of this kind of writing is the constant effort at coopting feminism as a way of promoting an anti-feminist agenda. Douthat believes that he somehow has the right of telling women what "real" feminism is all about (in this case, being anti-abortion): "[Eunice Kennedy Shriver] knew what patriarchy meant: she was born into a household out of “Mad Men,” where the father paraded his mistress around his family, the sons were groomed for high office, and the daughters were expected to marry well, rear children and suffer silently. And she transcended that stifling milieu, doing more than most men to change the world, and earning the right to disagree with her fellow liberals about what true feminism required." The daring of a profoundly anti-feminist Douthat in judging what "true feminism" is would bewilder anybody even marginally acquainted with his women-hating writing.
What's so shocking about Douthat is that having failed to understand what being a Conservative means, he would set out to teach liberals and feminists what they should believe or do. He never even mastered the tenets of his own political persuasion and has the cheek to pontificate to others. People like Douthat are an insult to Conservative thought.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Of course, this whining about how much "power" (for what? manipulation? lying? milking men for money? What a weird understanding of women's power) women have lost with the advent of DNA testing tells us more about the journalist's own self-hating vision of women than about anything else. You need to have a pretty low opinion of yourself as a woman in order to bemoan the disappearance of a possibility to cheat both men and children out of the truth about paternity.
McDonagh seems to believe in all honesty that the truth about paternity makes everyone miserable: "You have to ask: is the man any happier for knowing that his children aren’t his? Are his children any happier now that their genetic father is proven to be someone other than their familiar father? DNA testing is the devil’s tool. It has certainly made this family more miserable." It doesn't occur to her that children might actually have a need to know who their real father is. It doesn't occur to her that men are people too and, as such, should have the right to know who their children are. She doesn't care that many women have been able to prove their children's paternity in court, which gave them access to child support. All McDonagh worries about is that you can't pass off your child on a millionaire or a Hollywood actor in order to get a lot of money for yourself (which is, of course, a problem confronted by every woman on a daily basis).
The most upsetting thing about this unenlightened and chauvinistic rant, though, is the picture it paints of feminists. The very fact of being surprised that feminists haven't protested the DNA testing presents us as science-hating money-hungry individuals who want to wrest the power to cheat and to lie from men at all costs. I wonder why McDonagh couldn't have written her piece without mentioning feminists at all. I guess the reason for that is her fear to recognize that her insane ideas are not supported by any reasonable person and are definitely not supported by the feminist movement.
Saturday, August 29, 2009
In a country where it has become normal and acceptable to diagnose 2-year-olds with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder (medication!), where schools label students as "hyperactive" (more medication!), where people often get prescribed 2 anti-depressants at once plus medication to deal with the side effects of the 2 anti-depressants, where psychotropic meds get peddled right from the TV screen, it would be a great idea to remember Dr. Freud and his American follower Dr. Putnam.
It's obvious that people have a vague desire for something different than prescription medication in the field of psychology. Dr. Phil's talk show originally gave some hope of presenting the "talking cure" in a more positive light. As we all know, the show soon degenerated into recommendation of prescription meds and a collection of unprofessional platitudes aimed at placating the bored suburban housewives who make up the bulk of Dr. Phil's audience.
Gradually, people begin to believe that medication and Dr. Phil's idiotic proclamations are all that psychology has to offer. As a result, the popular trust for the fieldd at large becomes eroded even further.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Academic conferences and doctoral dissertations on rock stars only turn our field into one huge joke. With all due respect towards U2, what they do has nothing to do with literature. We can "analyze" their lyrics for fun (say, at a drunken party this type of "analysis" always entertains people). But trying to milk their songs for enough content to be discussed at an academic conference is pointless.
The idea behind this joke of a conference is that students find classical literary texts "irrelevant." This attitude betrays the pedagogical impotence of the teachers who are incapable of helping their students discover the beauty of these texts. Such professors think that conferences on rock stars and classes dedicated to analyzing the lyrics of what are in reality very silly songs will make them seem cool and hip to the students. Of course, they will achieve some easy popularity with the C-students who want a course where no work needs to be done and no intellectual effort expanded. But I don't think that smart, motivated students who actually want to get an education and not just have a good time will be interested.
As to "irrelevant" canonical texts, I don't want to blow my own trumpet too much here, but when I was teaching Cervantes to high school kids ages 13-16 (as an extracurricular course), I couldn't force them to go home 45 minutes after the end of class. Even after I started walking away from the classroom, the students kept following me and trying to continue the discussion of Don Quijote. If it's possible to make Cervantes relevant to a 15-year-old, I don't see why it would be all that hard to make The Scarlett Letter relevant to a 19-year-old.
I hate it when people try to present the younger generation as stupid and only interested in texting and Facebook. Today's students are great. They are smart, motivated and they are dying for someone to introduce them to the finer things in life. They are perfectly capable of finding out everything they need about U2 on their own. It's our help with understanding Cervantes, Jane Austen, Flaubert, and Thomas Mann that they need. Let's not let them down and substitute real education with senseless blabber about equally meaningless songs.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Today is Women's Equality Day!!!
It commemorates the passage of the 19th Amendment (the Woman Suffrage Amendment to the U.S. Constitution), which gave U.S. women full voting rights in 1920.
This is a great day for all of us, women and men alike. This is also a day to reflect on how much work still remains to be done in the area of gender equality.
"The fact is, women are in chains, and their servitude is all the more debasing because they do not realize it." (Susan B. Anthony)
"I can't say that the college-bred woman is the most contented woman. The broader her mind the more she understands the unequal conditions between men and women, the more she shafes under a government that tolerates it." (Susan B. Anthony)
"Our struggle today is not to have a female Einstein get appointed as an assistant professor. It is for a woman schlemiel to get as quickly promoted as a male schlemiel." (Bella Abzug)
"Women have been and are prejudiced, narrowminded, reactionary, even violent. Some women. They, of course, have a right to vote and a right to run for office. I will defend that right, but I will not support them or vote for them." (Bella Abzug)
"I have met thousands and thousands of pro-choice men and women. I have never met anyone who is pro-abortion. Being pro-choice is not being pro-abortion. Being pro-choice is trusting the individual to make the right decision for herself and her family, and not entrusting that decision to anyone wearing the authority of government in any regard." (Hillary Rodham Clinton)
"Man is not the enemy here, but the fellow victim." (Betty Friedan)
"The most notable fact our culture imprints on women is the sense of our limits. The most important thing one woman can do for another is to illuminate and expand her sense of actual possibilities." (Adrienne Rich)
"The more education a woman has, the wider the gap between men's and women's earnings for the same work." (Sandra Day O'Connor)
"But the problem is that when I go around and speak on campuses, I still don't get young men standing up and saying, 'How can I combine career and family?'" (Gloria Steinem)
"The truth will set you free. But first, it will piss you off." (Gloria Steinem)
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
His article "What Should Colleges Teach?" starts with a sentiment I actually share. Fish talks about how rare it is to see a college student (and I might add, even a professor) write a coherent sentence bereft of grammar errors and syntactic monstrosities. If only Fish could stop there! But no, he proceeds to analyze the reasons for this problem. In Fish's opinion, the main cause of this verbal impotence is that composition courses include discussions of ideological issues. Fish believes that "all courses listed as courses in composition teach grammar and rhetoric and nothing else."
The problem with this suggestion is that it is absolutely impracticable. I have had an opportunity to teach two such courses and in my experience, you need to a) suggest a topic that might interest the students enough for them to want to write a good piece about it; b) teach them how to create a convincing line of reasoning; c) show them the rhetorical means of supporting the argument; d) demonstrate how to put the product of their thinking in writing. Of course, we could teach our students the rules of writing by making them write only about the weather. However, you can't (or at least I can't) maintain their level of passion for this exciting topic until the end of the semester.
I strongly believe that the best writing is produced by people who are passionate about its content. When you are forced to write about a subject that bores you and that is irrelevant to your life, the writing will reflect your lack of interest. Bringing controversial topics into the classroom motivates the students to want to think, argue, and ultimately put their ideas down in writing.
Teaching students to write well is extremely important. If, however, they have no content to fill the beautiful form we will teach them to create, then we have failed as educators.
It's only the second day of class and already the National Guard recruiters have arrived on campus.
I wonder why I never (not once!) saw them on Yale and Cornell campuses. Of course, the student body here is very different in terms of financial background and social class. I hate the hypocrisy of the people who use the fact that some of the students here find it extremely difficult to make ends meet in order to acquire some cheap and expendable cannon fodder.
I also wonder why the university doesn't prohibit these recruitment efforts on campus. Shouldn't we try to protect our students from these things while they are with us?
Monday, August 24, 2009
After my first day of teaching at a smaller not very well-known (at least yet, but give me a chance, it's just my first day here) university, I have no idea why people would pay huge amounts of money to send their children to super expensive Ivy League schools. Of course, Harvard and Yale grads have a famous school name to put on their CVs. But is that really worth upwards of $250,000?
As I observed my new students here, I discovered that in no way are they less knowledgeable and less talented than my Ivy League students. In some areas, their knowledge is actually greater. They are, without a doubt, more driven, hardworking and goal-oriented. I was truly surprised that not a single student whined at having written homework assigned the first day of class. (If you ever tried doing that at an Ivy League school, you surely know that huge collective moaning accompanies the word "homework" pronounced any time during the first week of class.)
My new students are so motivated to do well in their classes that two of them already cried today. Of course, I don't want my students to cry but it's great to hear them say: "I truly, really, totally want to learn. Are you sure I will be able to?" These kids are obviously less widely traveled (if at all) than my former students. Still, they have a hunger for the knowledge of other cultures that makes my job a breeze. For the first time in my life, after I finished a lecture over 20% of students raised their hands to ask a question. This is, of course, what a professor lives for.
So if you want to give your child a great higher education but can't afford to pay for an expensive, prestigious school, send them to me (or to a similar university). I promise, you will not be sorry. :-)
Classes at my university have started today. I haven't taught for the last 4 months (summer holidays) and now I'm back to teaching. It's great, my friends! The students at this university are fantastic, I love them already. The colleagues are great and extremely helpful. The Chair is nice and funny (in a good way).
Teaching is the best kind of work there is (besides reading and research, which are also a part of my job). It's incredibly energizing, fun, and exciting. It's also great to be around the younger generation all the time because you remain young forever.
I have already taught two classes today and then one more remains in an hour. I never taught three classes in one day and I thought it would be hard. But actually it's not hard at all. I feel I could teach several more hours easily. God, I love my job. :-)
P.S. It's 2 p.m. here and I'm already done and completely free until Wednesday morning. Isn't that amazing?? :-)
P.P.S. I'm sorry for the hyper posts but the first day of school feels like a birthday to a teacher. I just want to jump up and down, laugh, cry, and celebrate in every possible way.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Friday, August 21, 2009
Tom at OpinionForum just wrote this superb post that I just had to quote.
Politics and Packin’ Heat
August 21st, 2009
Just about 10 percent of our presidents have been assassinated while in office. Of those four, three were shot with handguns and one with a rifle (or rifles, depending on which conspiracy theory you prefer). You’d think we might be a little sensitive to people carrying firearms at presidential events — or political events of any kind, for that matter. But no — not in the goofy, wild-wild-west culture of America.
This photo shows a man carrying an assault rifle and a pistol at one of President Obama’s town hall meetings. Knowing how these people think, I assume both weapons were loaded. When this wacko was asked why he attended a presidential event so heavily armed, he answered, “Because I can do it. In Arizona, I still have some freedoms.”
The next photo is of a man at another of President Obama’s town hall meetings. He was more lightly armed, packing only a semi-automatic pistol. This ersatz hero carried a sign reading, as you can see, ”It is time to water the tree of liberty!” When asked in an interview on TV if the weapon had been loaded, he responded with words to the effect that of course it was; what use is an unloaded gun?
The sign being held by the doofus-looking guy in this photo refers to a quote from Thomas Jefferson: “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is it’s natural manure.”
Granted, this fellow may not be sufficiently educated to know the full quote; he may be just parroting some blather from one of his NRA meetings. But, given that he was carrying a weapon near the President, we have to assume that he knows what he’s saying. Therefore, it’s logical to conclude that an armed man was threatening the President’s life.
My question is, why weren’t both of these idiots arrested, if only to be held until the President was no longer in the area? No, seems we can’t do that. Politicians are too frightened of any group that can muster a few folks to vote one way or another, whether it’s the NRA or the DailyKos crowd. The White House even stated that they had no objections to the armed men attending the President’s town hall meetings because they have the right to be armed.
Of all the circumstances in which it’s wrong to permit people to carry weapons, proximity to the President has to be among the worst — right up there with kids’ soccer games, in public parks, near schools and churches, in or near bars, in cars and trucks (road rage, anyone?), in the supermarket…. If citizens must be allowed to have handguns, they should be outlawed anywhere outside the home, where paranoids can barricade themselves for as long as they like and wait for the black helicopters to land on their lawn.
I made my views on gun control clear in an earlier article. Handguns, which are designed for efficiently killing people — and do it quite well — should be outlawed. Period. The only people who should be able to legally own and carry handguns are sworn law enforcement officers and a few categories of carefully vetted security personnel. Private ownership of long guns, basically rifles and shotguns, should be permitted, with licensing and other restrictions.
Please don’t undertake to educate me on the Second Amendment. I know what it says, word-for-word; I know the relevant constitutional history; and I’ve read the legal cases. That includes District of Columbia et al. v. Heller, in which the Supreme Court confirmed that the Second Amendment means an individual has the right to possess a firearm. I don’t disagree with that decision, just as I don’t disagree with the long list of firearms that are already constitutionally banned. If we can outlaw private possession of automatic weapons, shotguns with barrels too short, and mortars, we can also consign handguns to the trash heap.
If we can’t make that leap into the modern world, how about making it illegal to carry a firearm at or near a political event? Is that too much to ask?
[You can read the rest of Tom's great piece here.]
Thursday, August 20, 2009
The most recent example of this "sex-is-bad-mean-and-scary" attitude is Tracy Clark-Flory's article "Generation XXX: Having sex like porn stars". Like many other people who write about sex today, Clark-Flory conceals her terror of human sexuality beneath the guise of worrying about teenager's unhealthy sex lives. It would be much more useful, of course, if she left the poor teenagers (whose crazy sexual excesses are wildly exaggerated anyways) alone and just talked about the reasons why the idea of sex makes her so uneasy.
Teenagers watch to much porn, suggests Clark-Flory, and as a result, pick up unhealthy, exploitative attitudes to sex: "What's most interesting to me, though, is the idea that young women of my own porned generation are embracing a sex act most often intended to humiliate the fantasy whore on-screen. Someone will surely pen a book someday soon that details how women's pornification of their sex lives amounts to shameful self-exploitation. There's another way to look at it, though: Enthusiastically engaging in that defining act, the grand finale of most X-rated fare is one way to dramatically announce oneself as a member of our dominant sexual culture -- which is the world of porn." The overused variations of porned, pornification and similar weird terminology signal the author's enjoyment of talking about pornography. Simply put, a need to play so much with the word betrays a desire - and simultaneously a fear - to play with the reality of porn.
The feminists' uneasy attitude towards sex is part of the reason why breastfeeding children more or less until they are ready to retire has become a huge part of the feminist agenda. Reacognizing that female breasts are sexual organs is too painful, so huge efforts are being made to concentrate on the purely utilitarian, asexual uses of breasts.
As feminists, we have to recognize that this fear of porn, of our own breasts, of sex in general is the legacy of the patriarchal culture. We will never be truly liberated until we reclaim sex as our own.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Yale University Press has deemed it necessary to censor a scholarly volume analyzing the cartoons that appeared in a Danish newspaper and sparkled a huge controversy: "After consulting what it says were two dozen experts, the publishing house decided that not only would the offending cartoons not appear in the book, but all renditions of Mohammad -- including a classic sketch by the 19th-century artist Gustave Dore -- would be banned." It's hard to imagine the book titled The Cartoons That Shook the World without the actual cartoons. What next, a book on Cervantes without a single quote? A book on Goya with no reproductions of his paintings? The whole purpose that the book's author, Prof. Jytte Klausen of Brandeis University, was attempting to achieve with her analysis is undermined. And for what? An unfounded fear that somebody, somewhere might get upset? Controversy? But isn't the whole point of publishing research to provoke debate?
Yale UP based its cowardly and idiotic decision on the opinions of some unidentified experts whose names it made every effort to conceal not only from the public but also from the author herself: "Adding insult to injury, the Yale Press's director, John Donatich, only allowed Klausen to read a summary of the experts' recommendations if she signed a gag order that barred her from discussing them." The only reason for this secrecy must be that the "experts" in question realize how unreasonable and undemocratic their "expert opinions" are. What's scary, though, is that a university press should limit its own authors out of a deference to a bunch of insane religious fanatics. Research cannot exist without the freedom of thought and the freedom of expression. Academics need to be able to conduct their work and publish their findings without the limitations of some badly digested idea of political correctness.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
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Sunday, August 16, 2009
Saturday, August 15, 2009
The elevator in my previous building broke, and I had to drag two enormous suitcases and two bags downstairs at 4:30 a.m. Altogether, my luggage weighs as much as I do, so that was pretty horrible. Thank God for my super nice neighbor Harry who magically appeared in the stairwell and helped me.
Then I had to pay extra (a lot) because the luggage was so heavy. Then my money disappeared. Then I lost my passport. Then I couldn't get my luggage back. Then I was afraid I wouldn't have enough money to pay the cab driver. Then the woman who had the keys from my new house was away.
But now it's all over and I'm finally in my new home. My stuff will only arrive in two weeks (hence the excessive amount of luggage), but it's kind of fun to live in a completely empty house.
Special thanks go to my wonderful sister and my beautiful boyfriend. You guys are a pillar of strength and the best support system an absent-minded professor could ever hope for.
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Friday, August 14, 2009
Walking down the Commons last night I saw a very well-dressed super respectable couple in their sixties strolling around smoking pot. I thought they must be parents of a new Cornell student who need to anaesthesize themselves before facing the huge tuition bill. Still, this is the only place you can see such things. That's why this is the town people come to if they want to feel young forever.
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Thursday, August 13, 2009
For some reason, yesterday was the day I encountered a bunch of weird men.
Situation 1 (where I discovered that some people are just begging for a putdown):
A drunk guy screams at me as I'm walking down the street: Hey, you! Hey, blondie! Don't be a stuck-up bitch, talk to me!
Me (exhausted from packing and out to buy more trash bags): Buddy, I'm not in the mood, just leave me alone.
Guy: Oh, she's not in the mood! Typical woman!
Me (very annoyed now): I'm sure that's the only thing you ever hear from women. Feels just like home, doesn't it?
Guy's friends: Boooh! Burn!!
Guy: Oh, shut up you guys.
Situation 2 (where I discovered men have no solidarity):
At my favorite bar a very respectful man from Baltimore strikes up a conversation about his city. The second he leaves for the bathroom, his friend comes up.
Friend: So my friend told me he's taking you home tonight.
Me: Don't worry, you can still take him home yourself, I really don't mind.
Friend: No... I mean... You don't understand, he was bragging that he'd sleep with you tonight.
Me: As I said, you don't need to worry. He's still all yours.
Friend (indignant): I'm not gay!!
Me (compassionate): Really? Oh, I'm so sorry to hear that!
Friend (confused): Urm... What? (Then he walks away all confused).
Situation 3 (where I discovered you have to be rude to get some people to respect your boundaries):
A guy with a shaved head comes up to me and grabs my hair:
Man: You have beautiful hair!
Me: And you have... no hair.
(The man cringes and disappears in the bathroom).
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
The Oxford English Dictionary provides the following definition of the word:
• noun 1 a special right, advantage, or immunity for a particular person or group.
2 an opportunity to do something regarded as a special honour: she had the privilege of giving the opening lecture.
3 the right to say or write something without the risk of punishment, especially in parliament.
Paradoxically, in today's usage the 1st and the 2nd definitions of the word are being applied to destroy the third. Simply put, when people want to prevent you from "saying or writing something without risk of punishment" (i.e. having and expressing an opinion), they tell you that your "privilege" disqualifies you from doing so.
To give an example, recently a reader has told me that I shouldn't have an opinion about Carleton University because of my own "educational privilege" (meaning that I went to a more prestigious school as an undergrad). Of course, I could respond in kind and turn the "privilege" argument against him. I could say that as an immigrant, I'm by definition less privileged than he could ever be, so he should refrain from expressing his opinions on my experiences. Maybe in response he could claim some other area where my privilege trumps his. And so on and so forth.
Of course, then we would be stuck at the point where nobody can have an opinion on anything. Everybody's experiences are different, so you can always excavate some "privilege" that your opponents possess and throw it back at them to silence their point of view.
In liberal circles, people often enjoy tracing every shadow of their own "privilege." They tend to announce the results of this search with a self-deprecation that often becomes self-congratulatory. Then, they engage in public exhibitions of being ashamed for all that privilege. Of course, if you look long enough, you can discover privilege in anything: race, class, gender, language, body type, long hair, short hair, and the list continues ad infinitum. They love confessing how they are still not doing enough to recognize their privilege and fill page after page, discussion after discussion with talk about privilege.
The reason for this is, of course, that "recognizing your privilege" frees them from a need to have an opinion. As a "privileged individual" you can never understand the reality of those who are less privileged. Having an opinion about that underprivileged reality is absolutely unacceptable. Nobody is ever underprivileged enough to afford to have an opinion.
For me, any use of the word "privilege" today equals the person's saying as loud and clear as possible: "I refuse to think, consider, and analyze and try to hide this refusal underneath empty verbiage."
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
In an article titled "Can a busy female politician give reliable evidence? A judge says no," Globe and Mail reports: "Lisa MacLeod's evidence in trial of Ottawa mayor was dismissed because she was commuting to Toronto, ‘leaving her husband and child in Ottawa'. MacLeod is a young female politician who commutes to her job at Queen's Park from Ottawa and leaves her husband, Joe, and four-year-old daughter, Victoria, at home. Mr. Justice Douglas Cunningham of Ontario Superior Court said this is a big distraction for the 34-year-old woman and as a result he felt he could not accept her evidence as corroboration of the Crown's key witness in the recent high-profile, influence-peddling trial of Ottawa Mayor Larry O'Brien."
It's unbelievably disturbing that in Canada a woman's evidence at trial isn't given any weight because she dares to be a working mother. This is beyond disgusting. Shame on you, Justice Cunningham! You give a bad name to all Canadians.
Now I have a question: is the growing frequency of such outrageous events a result of the noxious influence of Canada's Conservative party? Does the conservative ideology trickle down from the Prime-Minister's seat to infect all strata of our society?
Monday, August 10, 2009
I always thought how great it was that you and I split the household chores evenly and never have to argue about whose turn it is to do the dishes or make dinner. I always appreciated your belief that there are no male or female activites, duties, or capabilities. I know that for a feminist like you it's crucial that I hold the same beliefs.
Today, however, UK's Daily Mail has informed me that the fact that you do household chores has made you "abandon [your] natural manly instincts and become [a] hybrid of both sexes." Even though you were the one to suggest we split our household duties, it turns out you must have been bullied into it by bad horrible me. According to a relationship expert Francine Kaye (yeah, I know, this "profession" can better be described as "loser-swindler"), you are now a "male-female hybrid." I have recently had an ample opportunity to verify that your "manly instincts" are perfectly fine, but who knows what could have occurred in these few hours we haven't seen each other? Maybe two years of all this dishwashing and bathroom cleaning have finally kicked in.
I got upset at first but then I realized that this "expert" considers me a "masculine-like female." I know this suggestion makes you laugh. But remember that time I stayed at home waiting for the fridge repair person? Remember how I sometimes book airplane and Greyhound tickets? This is what turns me into a masculine-like female in our expert's opinion.
So everything is fine, sweetheart. A male-female (you) and female-male (me) can surely find a way to mesh our male and female parts quite nicely.
And believe me, contrary to this article's assertion, I will never resent you for not treating me like your household slave.
Lots of love,
As I have discussed in an above-quoted post, Carleton is trying to squeeze out of the university's curriculum all courses that would give the students the skills necessary to analyze, question, and change ideological conditioning. They strive to create mindless little drones who would perform their duties and shut-up. In Carleton administration's ideal world, it would be possible to blame the victim of an assault for "provoking" the crime and get away with it.
But they can't get away with it. I am going to write a letter on my departmental letterhead protesting this disgusting statement to Carleton University's President and Vice-Chancellor. For those who want to do the same, here is the address where we can send our protests. I believe that doing this in a letter format will be more productive than sending an e-mail.
Dr. Roseann O’Reilly Runte
President and Vice-Chancellor
1125 Colonel By Drive
Ottawa, ON, Canada K1S 5B6
P.S. Here you can find the description of the attack and Carleton U's unconscionable response. I have to warn you, though, that the details are painful to read.
Here is what Palin wrote about the healthcare plan: "And who will suffer the most when they ration care? The sick, the elderly, and the disabled, of course. The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s 'death panel' so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their 'level of productivity in society,' whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil." Of course, what she describes here is beyond evil. One has to be a total Nazi to support the extermination of those who are deemed "unproductive".
The only problem with Palin's critique is that she should have addressed it to Hitler rather than to Obama. It is evident to anybody with half a brain that nothing in the President's politics or record suggests that he is a follower of fascism. He has been accused of many things but an accusation of this magnitude should be substantiated.
The healthcare plan is very important to all of us. It should be scrutinized and subjected to the most rigorous analysis possible. What Palin offers us, however, can't be called analysis. It's just a pretext she uses to proffer some entirely unfounded and bizarre accusations. She wants to use the natural feelings of compassion for the elderly, the terminally ill, and the disabled that every normal person has in order to manipulate us into hating Obama. She obviously feels that it's perfectly OK to use these people to achieve her political goals.
Only to image that at some point somebody so unscrupulous and unintelligent as Palin actually had a chance to become the Vice-President of the United States. The thought literally makes me cringe.
Saturday, August 8, 2009
The main idea behind this "art of pick-up" is that you have to be as insulting as possible to attract women's attention. There are some people who are making pretty good money by peddling this theory to desperate idiots who haven't been laid in years and don't have a chance to be noticed by anybody with half a brain. When I read some of the techniques they offer, I realized that quite a few of them have been used on me. My only response to this kind of behavior has always been, of course, a total rejection of a jerk who would try to approach me in that way.
Here are some examples from one of the sites:
KINO OPENERS (TylerDurden) Pushing girls, grabbing drinks out of their hands, lightly hip checking them, snapping bra straps, grabbing hats off heads, poke her, tap the opposite shoulder, etc…(these require no memorization are easy for newbies)
PRIMP OPENER (Harmless) First, here is the frame you're using for this opener:
"You're CUTE... but I'm going to make you a ROCKSTAR!"
This is, in fact, the exact wording I used to open Schematic's HB9 on Saturday night. I opened her and I let him take over and #close her. (He should have gotten more. Bad schematic. Oh well, I'll call her later. Maybe)
You don't even need to say anything to open, so this works in the loudest clubs.
You walk up, of course making sure to keep your BL under control. (Shoulders away, etc.) You check her out then make a face like you aren't happy with what you see. Then you hold your hands out like you're judging her style. You move in SLOWLY, pick some article of clothing (hat, shirt, etc. Best if it's upper body or head) and PRIMP it. Take her hat and TWIST it ever so slightly. Now, back away, lean back, look her over, and give her a thumbs up.
"NOW you're a SUPERSTAR!"
Continue with push/pull if you wish... "But wait..." and twist the hat back the other way. If she touches her hat, bust her for messing it up.
Tell her she's allowed to be seen with you now, and promenade her around the club.
COMPLIMENT OPENER Compliment her on something she’s wearing or her hair or just style in general. The trick is compliment openers are to never compliment her on her physical beauty.
You have an incredibly energy about you You have an artless grace That’s an incredible whatever-x accessory/garment
There is also a technique called "negging." It's a putdown that is supposed to make a beautiful woman feel so insecure about her looks that she will consider dating you. It's from this site:
Your hair looks shiny, is it a wig? Oh well it looks nice anyway
That’s lovely long hair – are they extensions?
I think your hair would look better up/down
Nice nails – are they acrylic. Oh, well they look good anyway.
Awww, how cute, your nose wiggles when you laugh – look there it goes again !!!
Is that your natural hair colour
You have U shaped teeth.
Well at least you have a nice body
Eww your palms are sweaty
Where is your off button
Were you a dork at school or something
Your kinda cute, like my little sister
Did you parents not give you enough attention as a child ?
How short are you?
You’re already back to square one with me
You need to get out more often...
I can see you work out…………occasionally
Wow, that’s a great tan….have you like not washed for a week or something he he
Wow, I reckon with a bit of training you could be a stripper or a pole dancer….how cool would that be
You remind me of my weird ex
Oh – you’re one of THOSE
You have a nice act but somewhere in there, is a little girl who just wants to be held and appreciated for who she is.
A suggestion for would-be-rapists from one of these idiotic sites:
Stop Asking For Permission. Can we dance? Can I have your number? Can I kiss you? Because guys don’t know what it’s like when someone asks for permission to escalate intimacy, they don’t realize how lame it is for them to do so. Asking for permission introduces an awkward moment where the girl’s brain floods with reasons not to do what you are asking to. Plus you make it seem like you are scared of getting rejected, a quality not attractive to most women. Instead of asking, just do it and see what happens.
It's unbelievable that any man would be clueless enough to pay for seminars that offer this kind of suggestions.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Douthat's and Collins's debut column is titled "Are Liberals More Corrupt?" The title alone begs the question of why anybody would claim that this is a liberal-leaning newspaper. They could have asked, of course, "Are Conservatives More Corrupt?" or at least "Which Party Is More Corrupt?" But no, our liberal paper par excellence has no interest in exploring even the possibility of the Republican corruption.
In his response to Collins's vapid questioning, Douthat plunges into theorizing about a vague possibility of liberal corruption. There are no actual facts this "journalist" can offer. All he gives us is this truly bizarre conservative reasoning about how the very existence of government fosters lobbying. Lobbying is bad, hence we have to reduce government to reduce the effects of lobbying. He never stops to consider, of course, that a reduced governmental control will allow companies to do whatever the hell they please without even wasting time and energy proving their case to anybody. Besides, taking out the government in order to reduce corruption is like cutting off your head in order to avoid having to buy hats.
Another scary thing is that in an article about governmental corruption there is not a word about the incredible extent of corruption we have seen under the Bush administrations. Has Douthat heard the words "defense industry"? Did he snooze through the Hurricane Katrina debacle? Is he really so out of touch or is he following the well-known sales technique of "fake it till you make it"?
Is this disgusting or what?
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Not only does Shibley Hide present a lot of data to counteract the gender difference myth, she also talks about its social consequences: "Gilligan’s (1982) argument that women speak in a different moral “voice” than men is a well-known exampleof the differences model. Women, according to Gilligan, speak in a moral voice of caring, whereas men speak in a voice of justice. Despite the fact that meta-analyses disconfirmher arguments for large gender differences (Jaffee & Hyde, 2000; Thoma, 1986; Walker, 1984), Gilligan’s ideas have permeated American culture. One consequence of thisoverinflated claim of gender differences is that it reifies the stereotype of women as caring and nurturant and men as lacking in nurturance. One cost to men is that they may believe that they cannot be nurturant, even in their role as father. For women, the cost in the workplace can be enormous. Women who violate the stereotype of being nurturant and nice can be penalized in hiring and evaluations."
In conclusion to her great article, Shibley Hide says the following: "It is time to consider the costs of overinflated claims of gender differences. Arguably, they cause harm in numerous realms, including women’s opportunities in the workplace,couple conflict and communication, and analyses of selfesteem problems among adolescents. Most important, these claims are not consistent with the scientific data." The essentialized view of gender offers us an illusion of simplifying the world's complexities. But the price we pay for this fallacy on a daily basis is too higgh.
Anti-Kindlers tend to come up with the weirdest criticisms of the device. Their strange arguments are aimed at hiding their fear of technology and their lack of affinity with today's world. They can't keep up, it's as simple as that, so they try to conceal this self-evident truth behind endless anti-technology rants.
So what are Baker's objection to the Kindle? First of all, it's not pretty enough. The e-paper isn't as white as the journalist hoped it would be and the font isn't very attractive, which somehow detracts from the value of the texts one reads on the Kindle: "Monotype Caecilia was grim and Calvinist; it had a way of reducing everything to arbitrary heaps of words. " I personally happen to believe that nothing could reduce, say, Cervantes Don Quijote to an arbitrary heap of words but I guess it's just me.
The next reason to hate the Kindle is that there are many stupid books available in the Kindle format. The fact that these same books are also available at every major bookstore means nothing to Baker. It's all the Kindle's fault.
Another complaint is that "photographs, charts, diagrams, foreign characters, and tables" are often mangled or simply absent on the Kindle. It doesn't interest Baker that now there is Kindle DX, made specifically for the kinds of texts that have lot of tables, charts, and diagrams. When this journalist finds out about this version of the Kindle, I'm sure he will complain that the Kindle doesn't do the dishes or cook dinner.
The next objection: the Kindle doesn't preserve colored illustrations. That's true, it doesn't. As an avid reader, however, I haven't missed colored illustrations in the books I read ever since I turned 6. Yes, the Kindle is not for looking at pictures. It's for reading texts. Since when isn't it enough to just read a book without being distracted by illustrations? Has Baker never read a print book that had no pictures? How many articles did he published complaining about that experience?
Another horrible thing about the Kindle is that its books are encoded in a format that protects the rights of the writers. So all you get on the Kindle is "a grouping of words in front of your eyes for your private use." Baker is undaunted by the faact that a print book offers you the exact same thing. If it's electronic it must be bad.
Baker's last objection to the Kindle is the weirdest. This bad device, he says, turns the page when you press the next button. So if you press it before finishing the page, you will find yourself at the next page. So the buttons do what they are supposed to do? What a horrible little machine!