Instapun*** Archive Listing

Archive Listing
January 18, 2011 - January 11, 2011

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

What goes on here:

Strange Attractor

Can the Universe scream? (uh. the missus thinks I should remind you of this.)

ABOUT US. Are we a political site? Over the years, we've talked about absolutely everything here: politics, sex, cars, dogs, science, music, movies, television, art, writers, religion, the Internet, songbirds, cities, rural life, sports, family, friendships, and the meaning of the universe and everything. Last week, InstaPunk had a post titled The New Civility, which generated a set of comments you're unlikely to see the like of at any other site. So I thought I'd just show it to you the way it all unfolded. I know people get bored with comment strings when they stray from areas of their own personal interest. But this one's interesting as a whole. It kind of has it all: an interloper who wants to hijack the discussion, regulars who are used to such antics and unimpressed, warm personal asides in the midst of apparently deadly philosophical combat, and a distinct turn, which is our unique hallmark, toward the meanings of things, including the value of (relatively speaking) absurd debates in the backwaters of the Internet. Do we take ourselves seriously? No. But we take our arguments and individual communications seriously. Perhaps that's why our little community is more interesting than most.

Eduardo  2011-01-13 12:11:00

Nothing new underneath the sun. Indeed.

pete  2011-01-13 12:21:00

It is a fight to the death. While I tend to criticize Republicans mostly (because how statist they tend to be), Democrats can legitimately be described as psychopathic. They want the total state. State control of any and everything, no matter the evidence against their view.

The consequences? If you run afoul of government edicts, no matter how trivial, you could wind up dead. Sufficiently resist a mere traffic ticket, and the cop will execute you. You can apply the same scenario to countless other ways government interferes in our lives.

Democrats want the government interfering or controlling every aspect of my life. Therefore, and maybe without even realizing it, Democrats want to kill me. (Republicans just want to kill... ok, not now...)

This is even more true if we're talking about society as a whole, because Democrats are openly hostile to the only thing that is really keeping literally billions of people from dying: the market.

J. W. Helkenberg  2011-01-13 12:25:00

I find it rather uproarious you have decided to argue that psychopathic behaviour is limited to one side of the isle, or to one side of the political dialogue. I think what you might mean to say is, perhaps, that one side launched a psychopathic propaganda machine and that the other side has been playing catch up ever since (King George would agree with me here, but for different reasons). I would think that you were a better student of history - everybody knows the wheels fell off with McKinley and his mailers (the first time in our long and storied history that political clubs were disbanded in favor of the now prevalent mailer and attack ad approach, thank you Mark Hanna).

Anyway, what you are railing against is a symptom, not the actual ailment itself. Fact is, hardcore animosity and violent rhetoric sells. If you want to change the tone, eliminate Neilson ratings for newscasts. Oh, no way! Can't do that! How would we know if the advertising dollars are being well spent?

Let's be real here, we are living under a media system that is 100% focused on sustaining its own interests, and when the chum is in the water the sharks even attack each other, for the smell of blood is the smell of money, and the producers are already licking thier chops (or rotating in new teeth, in the shark analogy) and there is nothing either 'side' can do with regard to *that*.

It is not the political process that is decaying, nor the people (so much), it is the fact that the Fourth Estate is now run by greedy self-serving anti-politico's whose only interest is profit and whose integrity is defined by thier bank account statement. Period. Nothing changes that. Or, maybe a bunch of bloggers can stem the tide, but if they can't sell Tide I seriously doubt they are going to get any play.

This message brought to you by Apple's new iPod. Remember: "Psycopaths may spend most of thier time listening to an iPod, but that does not mean the iPod is to blame for psychotic acts of violence."

Whew. That makes me feel A LOT better.

Pete  2011-01-13 12:28:00

It occurred to me:

Advocating socialism is at once a death threat and a suicide note.

J. W. Helkenberg  2011-01-13 12:39:00

Bad, bad rhetoric. I mean, is it any wonder our society is disintegrating into violence and chaos with videos like this to feed hate filled hearts? This was produced by High School Students for god's sake! Stop the madness already!

IP  2011-01-13 12:43:00


"I find it rather uproarious you have decided to argue that psychopathic behaviour is limited to one side of the isle [sic], or to one side of the political dialogue. I think what you might mean to say is, perhaps, that one side launched a psychopathic propaganda machine and that the other side has been playing catch up ever since (King George would agree with me here, but for different reasons)."

Ah. Canadian or Brit. I don't care which one. Neither of you know how to write anymore. "I think what you might mean to say is, perhaps..." uh uh. What I mean to say I say. If you didn't see it in what I said, I didn't mean to say it.

You're an ass, and I think maybe it's about time you got off my site. You use up an awful lot of bandwidth saying absolutely nothing of value. Please go away.

That's being polite. If you prefer, I can take you apart one molecule at a time. That would be boring to my regulars, though, so I'm, well, being polite.

Or should I find some four syllable word that says "go away" in terms you can understand?

superobserver  2011-01-13 01:23:00

IP: That is the spirit. Neither side, from underneath a rock.

Words, well, yes. I see that bells can still be made to ring, even when they are cracked. Fewer words better than many, the tremendous volumes of bandwidth I overtake speak volumes to your knowledge of bandwidth.

I am old, so old that it hurts to remember I never learned to read right, and that words swim around like fish out of school. Maybe every other post I could insert some puffery, like, "Your words are a clarion bell bemoaning the filth of inaccuracy and the righteousness of certitude." I could do worse than to say it would not be puffery, "my mentor"; it is sagacity that is evidenced in my effrontery. I do not sling cunning salvos? Perhaps you have been wounded by your own victory?

But aren't you the god of this domain? Particles are your specialty - remind me why poetry was banned from the Academy. Or don't. I am using this thread as more evidence of my existence. In that, I aim to make punks famous. It will be an incidental type of fame but one could do worse.


Also, won't you admit the first 27 seconds of this video bear a hyperbolic resemblance to the current difficulty the right faces in picking a viable Republican candidate (presumably to oppose Obama) in 2012? I write more clearly in Mandarin, btw. Such a lucid language. RISC versus CISC, that is.

[The rest of the video weakly resonates with the predicament, and helps understand the 'kids take' a little more well.] haha


Gnardo Polo  2011-01-13 01:27:00

The psychopathy does seem related to education, doesn't it? The more educated you are (or think you are) seems to be proportional to the amount of utter bull you are willing to accept. By education, I mean degrees and schooling, not knowledge or thinking.

So it comes out in different ways. The left seems more inclined to violence, but then again, the philosophies of the left practically demand it. At the same time, the right seems unable to confront anyone forcefully, and for a similar reason: their worldview demands true tolerance.

It's why we keep wondering when the right will truly defend themselves.

Good news: the less schooled masses, with the availability of more information, are becoming more truly educated, and are showing signs of thinking for themselves.

Which means that this is about to become even less civil than it is now.

Diogenes  2011-01-13 01:29:00

IP: two compliments in one day! I hardly know what to think! Made my week, at least. [although I am at that other place with the same initials, whose saying rhymes with "Go Ducks"]. Thanks.

Helkenberg: [You are about to see the difference between a Hadrosaur's and an Allosaur's repsonses] Pete got it directly, but you have missed the point. He sums it up in one sentence. Hostility and rhetoric are of no consequence in this battle. That "issue" is a distraction, and it is intended to be a distraction; and that's part of what's so dismal about this whole week's business.

A renaissance lit scholar named Stephen Greenblatt referred to the Elizabethan culture [wrongly, i think, but that's way off the track] as "totalizing and totalitarian." The left's project is totalizing, totalitarian, and millennialist: when they have complete control over us all, and we are entirely obedient to their ideas, then perfection will reign on earth. This is why they are aligned with the Islamists: both are identical in these characteristics. And all means are justified in bring the new man into being, including killing me or forcing me to behave their way.

I am not a number, I am a free man!


republicans? If they arent' statists, fine. Otherwise, out with them.

But the strategy, tactics, and ends of the left are inhumane, anti-human, psychopathological.

C.S. Lewis's greatest work was "That Hideous Strength" -- too bad he, like so many, relied on magic to defeat the antagonists. There is no magic; there is only us.

What is astounding is that our society is NOT disintegrating, as you claim. It is in precarious straights, but it holds yet. I worry that it might disintegrate, but it is not doing so now. In fact, the fact that we are fighting back is highly encouraging.

Think for a moment what an accusation of racism is. It is intended to destroy the other person and his ability to respond, while at the same time forcing him to defend himself on fraudulent terms selected by the person who plans to destroy him. Psychopathy. Pure and clear.

IP  2011-01-13 01:44:00


"But aren't you the god of this domain? Particles are your specialty - remind me why poetry was banned from the Academy."

Yes, I'm the god of this domain. And particles ARE my specialty, which is why the Academy ain't so fond of the poetry of particles anymore. Particles choose. Which means the universe isn't an abacus. It means that being the god of this domain is equivalent to being the god of every other domain. And because I'm a poet above all else, I am a particle who not only chooses but chooses beautifully.

Why the whole world quakes when InstaPunk roars.

IP  2011-01-13 02:41:00



I'm not going to expose your secret. But let me tell you a family story. My mother went to Hio State. Her parents went to Ohio State. One of my best friends, a Marine, lives in Columbus and sometimes closes his emails with the phrase "Go Bucks."

I can't tell you how long and cruelly I have suffered with Ohio State's battle against the Pac 10 and other awfulnesses. I just have. Like all Buckeye fans.

This probably means nothing to you, unless it does.

Sorry. Didn't mean to interrupt your day. Or anything like that. But who's that fat coach they just hired for the Wolverines? Sorry. Forget I said anything. My brother-in-law is a Wolverine. The way he talks about Buckeyes, I'm thinking he must be a psychopath.

But you know how that goes. Unless you don't.

superobserver  2011-01-13 03:29:00

Diogenese, the antagonism I 'evidence' as I lash out against "the intolerable certainty of an incontrovertible future" is triggered by one of your statements:

"In fact, the fact that we are fighting back is highly encouraging."

This statement, after you deny the disintegration. The enemy of people is no 'thing' it is a 'state of mind' really, that is my hypothesis. But a state of mind is a 'near thing': like hunger and the drive to reproduce are states of mind (over which we exercise little or no personal control), can we honestly say that we understand the stability of the human state of mind, outside the narrow and restrictive context of our currently stable cultural norms? There is no fight to be had, there is no victory to be achieved, because what is impending is not a political crisis, it is an existential one.

Particles are restricted to only one law (really), and to this one law all Man-made, Natural and Emergent phenomena are bound: Entropy is never decreasing.

Now, human society has a well-ordered formulation: based on predictions regarding modes of conduct, we think that aside from a few maniacs, anarchistic chaos is a far removed 'mental mode of conduct'. Well, buddy, I am here to be the bearer of some bad news: It is *patently not the case* that the inheritors of this great nation are (at all) well equipped in the formulation of complex instruction sets. Rather, they instantiate reduced (specialized) instruction sets - as a result of this, the granularity of our ever-improving technologies (+blogs, +videos). And by granularity I mean simply that the family doctor used to show up on your doorstep, because he had no 4-ton superconducting magnet (MRI) in tow. Where did the MRI come from? Man increasing the entropy of the universe (or, at least, not decreasing it).

John Adams brother wrote a little book about how all political societies seem to achieve a point of maximal political stability, and then proceed to evolve rapidly into totally anarchistic out of control fallen empires (no matter how big or small, the natural tendency of political economy is akin to performing a highdive into an empty swimming pool). wish I could recall the title.... he remarks how he was afraid to publish it, for fear of it being embarrassing to him and his brother. I mean, who could buy such an idea, that the more effective you are the closer to anarchy you become? -->then I read "The Goal" by Goldratt and knew immediately how our cultural 'fate drama' was going to play out.

Ants are in the sugar.

Anyway, what matters is: My (personal) measurement of this thread indicates that your reaction to it is a 'fait accompli' at best, and a symptom of the above mentioned irreversibility at worst. To avoid at least tinkering with this construct (spontaneous cultural decoupling) is an indication to me that people will not treat the possibility that the US government is on the verge of a fractionalization that (must/might) result with large numbers of people decoupling from societal norms and, as predicted elsewhere, behaving in ways no deterministic model can predict.

Fine, it would take more than a conspiracy of dunces at this point in time to destabilize the aggregate demand placed upon a hyper-industrialized and global commodities infrastructure, even in the midst of catastrophic natural disasters Rio Tinto can make an adjustment. I know they can; also, didn't that Obama chap just give us the best estate tax rate since the 1930's - I mean, as a pragmatist it is a victory, right?

Every jot and tittle counts for something.

The only way you can stop the liberal machine now is to pray that the sun has a coronal mass ejection strong enough to fry electrical devices but not so intense that it kills more than a few billion people

[Note: The liberal dream is realized in the machinery itself, is in fact a dormant aspect of the technologies we are adopting in the private sector. How can we stem the demand for the liberal dream/nightmare when it is coupled to the information technologies we depend upon to deliver us our 'facts' and our 'facebooks'?] ----> We cannot. Rather must brace for it and make a plan to outlive it.

Obviously fiction! Just a poet-deviants ramblings. Nothing to be troubled with, doesn't even reference the current 'players' and VIP's who really matter. Like the 2012 republican Presidential Candidate.............still waiting.....

Diogenes  2011-01-13 05:13:00

IP: I've been here since 1978 and met Woody! One time you wrote about the locution "THE Ohio State University" and I was going to explain it, but thought better than to waste everybody's time. Hah! Yeah, you got me. But it isn't a secret [and I'm not as clever as your hadrosaurus joke, either].

Oh, the fat Wol... uh, coach at least knows not to mention us out loud. Maybe next year will be fun. And the SEC curse is now over, at least, sorta.

Superobserver: I remember Chris McCandless and his self-chosen nick name. And Tim Treadwell. Talk about disintegration. Why have you changed your name, but not your assumptions?

superobserver  2011-01-14 07:56:00

I changed my name because, well, doesn't that make me an anonymous poster? Hilarious that anyone thinks anything is anonymous in the pipeline. I mean, I can set up a proxy and I can turn other peoples computers into slaves and I might possibly be able to produce a polymorphic virus that implants during the handshake protocol and hides itself in bad sectors on your hard drive, resulting ultimately with a complete information meltdown worldwide. But nothing, I repeat *nothing* is anonymous.

Also, I am wondering if the irony is lost on me: the image of the two people, one stabbing the other in the back, on "The New Civility" post. Do any of you know the website that image came from? Anybody?

Well, I think that is enough serendipity for one morning.

Eduardo  2011-01-14 08:00:00

Super Helk:

You are a lugubrious bore. I hope your entropic, existential particles figure that out. Soon.

superdisturber  2011-01-14 08:44:00

Let a painter stand in for me on this one. That is all I will ask of you right this second.

Or reference your previous collateral experience regarding the series of paintings by Thomas Cole, "The Course of Empire".

Srsly, what phase are we in?

I have my own fame to worry about (congrats on being you, whoever you necessarily are). The internet is free, though locally everywhere fascist in the most personal sense. Sadly, Zarathustra has something meaningful to say about this.

If only I could remember it.

Zarathustra  2011-01-14 08:55:00

"I teach you the overman. Man is something that shall be overcome. What have you done to overcome him?

"All beings so far have created something beyond themselves; and do you want to be the ebb of this great flood and even go back to the beasts rather than overcome man? What is the ape to man? A laughingstock or a painful embarrassment. And man shall be just that for the overman: a laughingstock or a painful embarrassment. You have made your way from worm to man, and much in you is still worm. Once you were apes, and even now, too, man is more ape than any ape.

"Whoever is the wisest among you is also a mere conflict and cross between plant and ghost. But do I bid you become ghosts or plants?

"Behold, I teach you the overman! The overman is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the overman shall be the meaning of the earth! I beseech you, my brothers, remain faithful to the earth, and do not believe those who speak to you of otherworldly hopes! Poison-mixers are they, whether they know it or not. Despisers of life are they, decaying and poisoned themselves, of whom the earth is weary: so let them go!"

apotheosis  2011-01-14 09:17:00

It's as though Penny ate an entire thesaurus.

Eduardo  2011-01-14 09:21:00

"It's as though Penny ate an entire thesaurus."

HAHAHAHAHA! That was awesome.

IP  2011-01-14 11:22:00


Cute. So you're the new determinism. The Joker standing above the inevitable model of entropy as the slayer of nations. That's your kick. Being superior to it all.

I don't doubt your capacity to be a vandal because it's deep in your philosophical nature. Just like your profound misreading of Nietszche, who was more outraged satirist than philosopher. His uniqueness was that he was a German with a sense of humor. Something you don't have, to your fatal detriment. You have wit and think it a synonym. It isn't.

But not every human being is a vandal, and not all developments in physics and society are accounted for by entropy. There is also a force which puts things together and makes them resilient against destruction.

Only a fool would claim at this moment in time to understand what is inevitable in the dynamic brew technology has created in our world. It MAY spiral into decline, but it may also rejuvenate, empower, and liberate the ordinary people who have historically been victims of increasingly centralized and psychotic power structures.

This isn't wishful thinking. It's a function of an exponentially increasing set of societal variables whose interactions no one can confidently predict, unless they're egomaniacal delusionaries surfing on a wave of academic language.

Your assumption is that when the variables escalate into the realm of chaos, i.e., unpredictability, the unavoidable result is accelerating entropy and therefore total breakdown.

But the history of Human culture is actually the generation of successively better metaphors for the way everything in the universe works. Your arrogance aside, we could be on the brink of metaphor breakthrough, one that offers promise rather than pain as the inevitable result of human effort.

One thing the entropy champions find hard to explain: all those doomed and dying empires, forever falling apart in the past, somehow keep advancing -- not linearly but on the whole -- oddly nondestructive effects like increasing lifespans, the comfort that makes possible art and contemplation, and the freedom to live lives less as slaves of the power lords and more as individuals who can aspire to meaning and even a sense of the divine.

I know you think you're intimidating. But you aren't. If I'm reading our commenters right, and I think I am, you're coming across as kind of sad. I don't doubt you're smart, in your way, but that's a key point. Smart is part of the equation but it's not the whole equation.

The people you're trying to dominate here aren't victims of anything. They're parents and citizens who have a very good sense of what their lives mean, whether you think they mean anything or not. And that's a much more powerful force than your patronizing scientism can ever comprehend.

One final point that may be lost on your nationality, whatever it is. American exceptionalism. There has never been a nation like this one, whose citizens made a distinct positive choice to come here and compete for what they most value. Which is to say that we might just escape all the unbreakable rules of history and survive for yet another lustrous day.

Besides, your scientific postulations are bankrupt. There is the physics of particles, to be sure, known as quantum mechanics, but a hundred years in there is still no quantum theory that explains the precise behavior of particles. It still looks very much as if individual human consciousness has a role to play in the deepest behaviors of the universe.

In other words, you are "super" only in your mind. Not here. And not in the physics that anyone can irrefutably confirm.

Note that I haven't even attempted to ban you. I just suggested you should go away. Because when all is said and done, you're just not very interesting.

Alfa  2011-01-14 12:05:00

At Apoth:

"It's as though Penny ate an entire thesaurus."

Lol. Bang on.

J. W. Helkenberg  2011-01-14 03:50:00

Brilliant, I haven't even listened to that Obama litany and I know already that what you just elicited in me cannot be superseded by the words of any supercilious pompous ass. No way.

Just a few points:

" your profound misreading of Nietszche..." They are just words, and Kauffman's words at that. I cannot misread them, though I can misjudge them. But then we arrive back at that problem of determining whether or not humans in this age are adept at comprehending (recognizing) complex instruction sets; both our minds apprehend with perfect clarity what is changeless (in a book, for instance) while we may trade (unfriendly) blows over what is irreducible in our personal prejudices. Our "meaning" is personally derived from what is changeless.

Entropy puts things together, not as an aphorism but as an irreducible constraint over which nobody exercises any authority. Complexity is a measure of entropy, and while you see the 'progress' as representing an additive, positive, anti-entropic series of contributions (to wit, the library of human awareness grows larger all the time, chock full of fact and wisdom and (negation of falsehood)), I see this process of 'improvement' as arising from a diagrammatic necessity tied to the operation of a cosmic law, again one over which no person exercises any authority.

You stated: "But the history of Human culture is actually the generation of successively better metaphors for the way everything in the universe works." It is also, maddeningly, the discovery of processes that are not explained by the 'metaphor of the moment'. Your 'better' arises from a quest to describe what cannot be predicted by the current model, springing from a black hole (literally and metaphorically) the arrival of a new interpretation comes at the tit of the current inadequacy. To be the 'discoverer' of any advance is also the greatest arrogance anyone could ever hope to promote ----> laws are inherent in the data, and the verbal description of the data table is always restricted to being a verbal description of the elements---> the system that constrains our awareness is the same one that enable us to transcribe our personal metaphor into a string of symbols; enabling a meme (or just a string of words) to be stored and transmitted necessarily constrains 'understanding' to the mental declaration of a word (or string of words).

To quote you: "Only a fool would claim at this moment in time to understand what is inevitable in the dynamic brew technology has created in our world." What is inevitable is complexity, what is relative about complexity is that it is a personal judgment as to what 'complexity' is a measure of. Necessarily, emergent phenomena either are or are not predictable (based on possessing a sufficiently general description you ought to be able to determine the probable outcomes for a system comprised of finitely many units, said units possessing many individual degrees of freedom, but whose total energy (as a global system) is tied to some overarching constraint. Specifically, Moore's Law is a general schematic operator that tells us what the processor speeds must (likely) look like over time, and it is pretty damn accurate). Is it safe to generalize when we have enough empirical data to confirm the trend? Not when we are describing dynamical systems of humans, apparently.

You said: "The people you're trying to dominate here aren't victims of anything."

Now you have really got me laughing. Of course *they* are not victims, they have had everything they ever wanted. It is their grandchildren that are doomed ----> but what culture, decoupled from morality and common sense, isn't doomed? Maybe an eternally more complex culture can avoid entropic forces?----> I guess grandpa will never fully understand why porn is so addictive, being how he turns his head and would rather die than watch any of that torrid stuff. Kids, however, love it (make it!). In fact, for many it helps offset the cost of a higher education. It is comforting to know there are alternative earnings strategies for so many of the kids today. *Hot*.

Also by you:

"It still looks very much as if individual human consciousness has a role to play in the deepest behaviors of the universe."

That does not sound very conservative to me. Are you suggesting that the human mind may possess faculties that enable it to engage in activities that could (for lack of better terms) only be described as "6th sense-ational". If I am reading *you* correct, I think I can confidently state, to God and Country, that some poster (whose identity I cannot confirm) just awakened to the dawn of a new synthesis. But, my good anonymous friend, if you go there, to the world of dreams, don't forget to take a thread with you. You'll need something to pull you back down from the Atman.

Your words: "I know you think you're intimidating. But you aren't. If I'm reading our commenters right, and I think I am, you're coming across as kind of sad." I *am sad* you fucking deuce, my culture (apart from some pricier gated places and such) resembles Somalia more than it resembles Academy! $14,000,000,000,000.00 is enough to scare a *reformed* Monetarist, let alone a pragmatist!

You all misread me; my sadness prevails. it is not as an enemy of conservatism that I encroach on your reliquary.

  2011-01-14 04:26:00

it is not as an enemy of conservatism that I encroach on your reliquary.'re really kidding now, right?

IP  2011-01-14 05:39:00


Actually, I'd love to debate you. But I'm faced with one of two cases: 1) you can't write; or 2) you can't think.

The fault is not mine. I defy you to find anyone who can make sense of your comments.

I write understandably. You don't. That makes you the fool, not me.

I do have a theory: you're just one more obnoxious Brit. But I'm prepared to be wrong if you can find some way to write a single goddam comprehensible sentence.

Lake  2011-01-14 07:29:00

IP, this site seems to be a Strange Attractor. Penny has not been gone long, and this bizarre distraction crops up. My instincts always suspect a conspiracy... or an inside job.

But we can tell that you're genuinely distraught and have been making deep points about the current travesty, so I don't think it's you, spinning another fascinating (if long-winded) character. Not anymore.

Hard to know what to make of it, though. I, too, am waiting to hear a basic, simple, and honest point from it.

Pete  2011-01-14 09:21:00

(back to,the actual conversation, if that's ok...)

"Bad, bad rhetoric"? Hardly! Provoke the opposition to go as far as they're willing to take things. We need them to show themselves. Better that people understand the true nature of their surroundings and the players. (Referring, of course, to the electeds. Last weekend's tragedy had nothing to do with politics.)

I think Rendell is 2 for 2 lately ("wussified Americans" and telling the press to grow a few more layers of skin.) Again - and I'm someone with little confidence in elected Republicans - the problem starts with the left. If our most intimate acts must be politicized, how can you not expect violent backlash. While there is such a thing as a "Christo-fascist", most - by far - "right-wingers" just don't want to be legislated and regulated into sin and blasphemy.

That, and deep down they know all tax is theft, even though they'd never go quite so far.

Reagan's Rotting Corpse  2011-01-15 04:59:00

"They are assassins targeting our lives and liberties. They hate us. They intend to kill us."

"I do have a theory: you're just one more obnoxious Brit."

"I'm from the country. We have a greater critical distance than most of you. That is, you get too close and we back away or make YOU back away. What we country folk have noticed about middle easterners (sic). They stand too close to you in the subway, in line, and in every other situation too. You city people may be inured to it. You're so close to everyone every day you create the necessary distance by living your lives looking at the sidewalk or sucking on your cellphones. We aren't inured to it. There isn't anyone in any tavern or pool hall in south Jersey who doesn't know that the guy who stands too close to you is preying on you or seeking to dominate you. That's when we push back. Sometimes very damn hard."

Psychopaths indeed.

Reagan's Rotting Corpse  2011-01-15 06:16:00

Oh, and who can forget this classic?

Seek help.

Diogenes  2011-01-15 09:39:00

All y'all chummin' the water, hoo boy.

"Ich liebe Den, der freien Geistes und freien Herzes ist: so ist sein Kopf nur das Eingeweide seines Herzens, sein Herz aber treibt ihn zum untergang." F.N. Also Sprach Zarathustra

Those are not Kaufmann's words.

Pete, in one way you're right: we ought to get back to the discussion. On another hand, maybe the dispute with [S]He-of Many-Annonymities [M. Helkenberg] is very precisely to the subject. If not, please think of me as a beagle getting distracted by a scent... and mixing my prior metaphor, I'm afraid.

Helkenberg: Your actual expression of fear about our $14T debt and its consequences for our descendants makes me think that the rest of your outpouring is a defense mechanism you've developed to protect your mind from a world beyond your ability to understand and a life beyond your ability to control. Get over it, dude; your answers don't answer and your obfuscatory logorrhea cannot protect. Face that abyss and be free.

You make a lot of assumptions. You say, "They [commenters on this blog] have had everything they ever wanted..." You have no idea of the depth of your ignorance; I'll leave it at that lest I become impolite. You attempt to demean IP's oblique introduction of Heisenberg into your plaster of popular physics. These abstractions regress forever: all answers, even contemporary physics, are products of human consciousness. Godel answered this-- what? -- 100 years ago. Jeez, don't waste your time trying to cope with this reality by grasping onto yet some other product. It is identical with somebody thinking that their deep empty anxiety will be cured, this time for sure, by buying a new car or having a bigger home, or getting drunk one more time. Just face that abyss buckaroo, and when it looks back at you, that'll be you in the mirror.

As Joe Bob Briggs says, I'm surprised I have to explain this to you.

Anyway, Helkenberg, I have this hunch that you're a bright young guy at a decent school trying things out. Keep trying. You'll grow up. If you are indeed young, well sorry about what my parents' generation did to you, money wise; but life has always been nothing but work and suffering. The Protestants figured the work part out, to our benefit; everybody Christian or Jewish already knew the suffering part.

Read Milton and Samuel Johnson [Rasselas is a good place to start with ol' Sam; figure out how it relates to Bob Marley...]. Paradise Lost, really. Try it. Milt knows things you don't.

On the anonymity of IP: hah! Most commenters here know who he is better than I, and I think with about ten minutes work, I could have a map to his house. It takes time to understand the blog's actual project.

Oh, and Aristotle's culture resembled Somalia a lot more than it resembled your idea of Academy... and neither resembled anything today, anywhere.

The other side of the sociopath [a slight difference form the psychopath, in my private usage] is the entirely unexamined sociogene. That creature whose superiority is energetic enough to create immense value [I'm not talking about perfection, though]. On May 1, the Church of Rome will beatify John Paul II.

It is American exceptionalism that I refuse to give up. I would rather be poor and attempting to work through the world under my own responsibility, with little government and lots of freedom; than to "have everything I ever wanted."

Lake: Strange attractor indeed. I guess I'm contributing to the strangeness.

Pete: sorry for my part in the distractions. Tax is theft, yes; no regulation into blasphemy and sin, yes and yes again.

IP: I don't think he's sad, unless he's our age [in which case... Holy Mackerel]. I just think he's young and has read a couple of books. I think I've read them too, but I didn't memorize them... the "Atman" b-s gave it all finally away.

But you know, each and all, "encroach on your reliquary" will be exactly right if we lose the battles we are in and are facing. Everything even the best of us has thought or done will be replaced by the darkness claiming to be light; and this little bit will appear exactly as a reliquary appears to a Sotheby's appraiser. So once again, face that abyss! Work through those ineffective defense mechanisms!

J. W. Helkenberg  2011-01-15 01:13:00

Those are not Kaufmann's words.

Exactly, but they are words none-the-less.

$14T debt, obfuscatory logorrhea cannot protect; faced that abyss and I *am free*.

You make a lot of assumptions

--->forecasting by its very nature consists of imprecise statements regarding some (authored) evolutionary operator as it transforms a field of real entities. The scope of our generalization is determined by our choice of words (elements).

[I do] demean IP's oblique introduction of Heisenberg---> I make it exact.

Goedel answered this-- what?

I will destroy you and your obnoxious ignorance! Speak not of things you conceptualize only through the action of a WORD. I *become incompleteness* when I manufacture a finite string. Summate that abyss, or don't.

Re: All finite systems (of logic) close around their own (self-evident) solutions (via the limit imposed by *scope*). Incompleteness (in your sense) is not a product of a physical reality, any more than Zeno's Paradox is a serious hindrance to accuracy of my arrow, rather it is a byproduct of continuous (classical) reasoning, and while this makes for fun mental acrobatics, it creates less than zero value for those whose business it is to find closed solutions for real world problems.

Read Milton and Samuel Johnson-----> BE THEM (oh, I am sorry, this reduced instruction produces a null pointer in your mind. Well.)

The global mind is simultaneously real.

Have you ever killed a bear, up close, with a spear? I know someone who has - are his thoughts available to me? Him, under the squelching fire of an August sun, at Paradise, me near a tree, him hanging from the tree, rope tied to two wooden spikes in his back, dangling, in the sun, with no water nor food of any kind, on a "vision quest". I refused taking a sip of the hanged mans tea....his cactus tea.

What, exactly, am I doing there, with my brain mere feet from the brain of this laughing man, this superficially pained man?

The classical mind says that I am just sitting there, drunk or not drunk on the spirit of my molecules, my context constrained to a word-view; by possessing a vocabulary I reconcile my state to the expression of a particular admixture of tokens. But what is thought, and vision, and what is the biosemiotic transaction(s) involved with processing empathy, and rage, and intuition?

Das Ich ist unrettbar. Die Vernunft hat die alten

Götter umgestürzt und unsere Erde entthront. Nun

droht sie auch uns zu vernichten. Da werden wir

erkennen, daß das Element unseres Lebens nicht

die Wahrheit ist, sondern die Illusion.“

On that note: We have a finite number of participants in our closed Earth game. I got a friend right now in NYC that wants to turn (this) you guys into a 'big deal', to be heard not just by those present in this cave, but by millions, and potentially billions, of ardent suporters. We create the supporters in advance, and then we tell the supporters what to do and what to think, in exactly that order. And they do it, you included, and so this *is* the Age of Reason, and if you don't want to be spit out as lukewarm (at best) and fetid (at worst), prepare to become one local mind. Say it: "I am all minds everywhere." Say it again: "I am all minds everywhere."

Of course, you can prove my (hook shot) assertion incorrect, because my ability to see all minds is not extensional, and so therefore you readily awaken to a personal fact, that I am inane and just pulling your chain. BTW, it is hard not to at least try to free those who are chained; at the core, Death lashes all beings to Her House.

*****Your assumption is that when the variables escalate into the realm of chaos, i.e., unpredictability, the unavoidable result is accelerating entropy and therefore total breakdown.*****

I used to think this was the rule, but no longer. There is no escalation, save from the perspective of those whose local judgment alone determines the relative pace of advance and decline. What there is, however, is a steady progress from indeterminacy to superselection (einselection specifically but suffer for me). The words used to assign meaning to our investigations are themselves the critical constraints. A far greater complexity and far greater chaos is introduced by a semantic system that conveys thought as thought, via the 'over-word'. How? Across a network of minds whose [O2] nuclear spin states are (to varying degrees of susceptibility) simultaneously coupled (entangled). Instantaneous communication ---> locally, barely better than cell phone speeds, but across cosmic distances the advantage of instantaneous networks become obvious. It (as I.T.) is manifest in the local creation of the 'missing exotic state of matter' ---> our node (on the cosmic-scale network of Real 'exotic matter machines') becomes extant as soon as we know how to address the other non-local but simultaneously real machines that maintain this special state of matter ----> they (the machines), do not communicate at the speed of light, at all, because light communication is Grandpa shit and sooo yesterday that I literally cannot comprehend it.

Such a machine is possible due to the fact the human mind operates on exactly the same paradigm; our physical brains exploit this exact property of quantum scale interactions. We are entangled with everything that has existed previously, and all that will exist, as a function of the fact the total energy of the cosmos is a conserved quantity.

The future self is inevitable, whatever form it takes.---> No Joker here, a man in a hole perhaps but no Joker.

*But you know, each and all, "encroach on your reliquary" will be exactly right if we lose the battles we are in and are facing.*

You are soooooooooo goddamn right, but based on your current perception of what constitutes 'thought' and 'transmission of thought' I don't think you are at all equipped to win the War, even if you win every single battle.

By the way, I have made Steers of Bulls, and I have smelled the cauterizing flesh, and kicked the balls from the dirt into the awaiting jaws of my hounds. I am Country in the oldest sense.

slasha  2011-01-16 02:19:00

What could be more sociopathic than people who mass consume mass produced mass information...and mistake it for reality?

superobserver  2011-01-16 10:04:00

Why beat a dead horse? Practice makes perfect.

I was relating my recent series of outbursts to a friend of mine, a professor of physics, as I helped him set up an experiment. What he is looking for is a quantitative approach for modeling voltage discharges measured for supercooled fluids undergoing a rapid phase transition from liquid to solid.

The experiment consists of taking a u-shaped tube, filling it a little more than halfway with H2O, adding a few grains of ordinary table salt (non-iodized) and then placing the tube in an ethanol cooling bath. We watch as the temerature of the fluid approaches 32f then down, down down to around 0f. It is still a fluid, just sitting there in the tube, stubbornly refusing to acknowledge its own desire to become a solid.

So, the prof suggests I take up a pencil and gently strike any given side of the u shaped tube. I do this, and as if by magic the liquid becomes a solid-slush.

Now, this is boring as shit right? I mean, who the fuck gives a flying rats ass about this?

The pro.f senses my total lack of enthusiasm, as my only reason for being there was to tell him about a bunch of dunces I met online. Well, he then asks me to wait, because he tells me that in this experiment of his, all the answers I seek are to be found. He then hooks up a voltmeter to the water in the u-shaped tube (by placing one bare wire in one side and one bare wire in the other, then plugging these wires into his voltmeter).

"Watch," he says, "and learn." He supercools the liquid and strikes the side of the tube and, voila, he buries the fucking voltmeter. Buries it. Like a veritable lightning strike.

I then *explain to him* that the disorganized molecular lattice of H20 molecules at the superfluid point has a potential organization that is *not realized in the superfluid state*; due to the absence of a nucleation site the crystalline lattice structure of water cannot evidence itself; there must be a precedent, an initiate, for the molecules to instantiate a new (internal) relation. When he taps the glass, the added energy is enough to induce a phase transition on the part of a single (or several) molecules, thereby the state rapidly transmits across all the molecules and the lattice becomes self-evident. I also then designed to explain that, in the classical model, the temperature gradient is relative to gravity (because the ethanol bath is lower than the top of the tube) and that the NA and CL ions (it is a slightly saline solution, remember) have no place where they fit in in this new H2O lattice, and therefore they are expelled at a velocity that is proportional to the rate at which the lattice 'spontaneously forms' - the voltage is registered as the motion of a charge (na or cl) moving in the space near the wire, and that given a few specific quantities being fixed at the outset, it should be easily demonstrable that the voltage induced by motion of charged particles being expelled by a lattice that forms relative to a temperature gradient is given by a first order equation.

Bo-Ring. Fucking lame show already. How the fuck does this help me understand Deutsche-bag lamers who are fundamentally obsessed with bi-polar politics? He then says something very profound, which has moved me to treat you all with (quantifiably) more respect.

"In dem Gitter sie sind, sie wissen es nicht. Sie wählen nicht ihre persönlichen Beziehungen und Experiment nicht. Weep neun Tränen für Na, Cl, oder H2O. Das Experiment erlaubt kein Wandel. Der Versuchsleiter muss sein!

Then I woke up to my Japaense bantam rooster, Phaedrus, cockle-doo-a-dooing. I love that rooster. When it gets really cold at night, I bring him inside and have him sit next to me as I work online. He is utterly humanized, and when I get emotional he crows. Sentience is (also) about registering unspoken sentiments. Also, the prof and the experiment are real - what makes you think the dream is any less real?

Lake  2011-01-16 02:34:00

Phaedrus? Is that a clue? Steve, is that you?

  2011-01-16 06:43:00

J. W. Helkenberg  2011-01-17 11:20:00

Das gericht ist Braucht!

Of course that superobserver idiot meant not to say a superfluid, but a supercooled fluid. Head scratching, indeed.

Brizoni  2011-01-17 02:05:00

"Of course that superobserver idiot meant not to say a superfluid, but a supercooled fluid. Head scratching, indeed."

What do you call that? Preemptive auto-satire?

IP  2011-01-18 10:49:00


You still can't write. Which means either that you can't think or that your thinking is opaque to others and of use only to you.

Therefore, you prefer to react to what others write, always from an imaginary position of superior perspective, a perspective which your own elaborations of physics suggest to be impossible.

Simultaneously, you seek to show off superior knowledge and assert that knowledge cannot exist except as egoistic delusion.

All your supposed learning has made you into a mere performer, which is what you seem to decry here.

That's why I say you are sad, regardless of your age. Because you are not a very good performer. You're the magician who is so innovative he makes a great show of putting a rabbit INTO a hat. All the theatrics can't hide the fact that the trick is a bore.

Your only insight is despair. Which is a prize purchased with far less verbiage than you expend. Hopelessness is the easiest possible interpretation of the human condition. It really doesn't matter how many circuits of Robin Hood's barn you navigate to get there. The same destination could be achieved with a simple "Oh shit."

But I do enjoy what I call Cosmic Narcissism, the super-intelligence which describes the entire universe as a chaotic meaningless mess inferior to its own embrace of thanatos, as if some Mount Everest of perception had been skillfully climbed, when the facts (yes, facts) are that a similar decision might have been made quite simply and easily on far less sophisticated evidence by Cro-Magnon man, thus saving us all the delusional achievements of impossibly incompetent human consciousness.

Without which, there would be no Venice:

You want to talk about bears. I want to talk about civilization. Which you equate with chickens, everything always inferior to yourself.

Sad. In your cosmology, the height of universal achievement is YOU. And your penetrating insights about super-cooled fluids.

Wrong. There IS a meaning to the human experience from which you are inevitably and permanently locked out. It is the story of human drama, achievement, courage, and aspiration. A meaning that can't actually be refuted by any of your stunning attempts at rhetoric.

Which will far outlast the peak represented by your derivative, presumptuous, and, yes, inane cosmological theory organized around the godlike brilliance of one J. W. Helkenberg.

One final word of advice. Learn to write, or you will be forever crushed or swept aside by a human capacity for faith that transcends all your loftiest illusions about yourself.

There's no need to rebut you. You rebut yourself in every strained, self-aggrandizing paragraph.

superobserver  2011-01-18 11:33:00

Ok you stupid fucking whores, listen up. you implied me retarded and naive for 'fearing' $14T. Ha! You must think me from the Ganges - I don't bathe in shit.

Well, maybe one of these days it will be *you* who learn to see like me? Biznatches.

Just a rattle, that is all, and the spike back to 21%. Remember (last time), under Reagan, those interest rates?

I am too stupid to read all that shit one word at a time, so I have to see it all as one word. Get it? You see at least a page at a time, right? Maybe both pages? Well, a book is a fractal and all I have to see is 15 words or less and I have seen the whole book. Any 15 words.

The whole 'future book', that is, which is a fake book by your interpolation.

Words die with the gods, but humans live (on/in) stories.

Hate it; know that my insertion here is a necessary occurrence: My inadequacy is the construct that evidences your superiority. That must be your new speech writing tactic, btw. "The Republican inadequacy evidences the Left's superiority.... not!" Must refocus the message on Eliminating Laws.

Re-form the line!

damn shame about Camden, also. I am sure you will rush down the County Line and park in front of some local taverns and make good with you locally spent dollars, right?

LMFAO at the GTFO treatment of the cops. Not. I am crying over America's apparent loss of appreciation for the old ballads and dance tunes.

I give you the link below because you have never seen it. That is the liars paradox (because you see the letters just now), and mixed with my lie is an investigation of what is inevitable. This *now* exists as a result of your previous existence; your life amounts to little more than the serial addition of discrete events to the Library. The 'dedekind cuts' made by your 'works' (all y'alls works and deeds) now reveal themselves to be serrated, gashed wounds in the near-dead body of our State (*Lady* Liberty is my Goddess). Over-bandaged and under-nourished she is defiled at every penstroke, ignored and now almost completely forgotten. Our worship of her amounts to little more than fucking her in every orifice and cutting her up a little more while we do so.

Sad thing is, only a few people treat her this way, but all America is watching, and everybody wants a piece of the action. Sick, fucking revolting nightmare.

The future is just another inevitable consequence of the past, just as this portal (instapunk), itself one of a finite number of possible worlds (.com, .net, .edu.....), *pulled me into itself*. Not my vision - IT's vision. And we are all ensnared.

BTW, isn't that a new twist on the ol' jester theme. Your twist, my cultural inheritance.

IP  2011-01-18 11:51:00

Super Helk:

"Ok you stupid fucking whores, listen up."

Finally. The real voice behind the hyper-intellectual mask.

Precisely as expected.


You see? In the end, no physics, no dispassionate wisdom from on high. Just the usual contemptuously juvenile and potty-mouthed pronouncements. (Probably by a German nihilist. Are we supposed to quake in awe of a one-man Blitzkrieg?) You be the judge. Colossal waste of time? Or part of the sum? Especially the imperturbability of the InstaPunk "hoi polloi," who were never fooled. They just waited him out -- and waited for me to make him scream. Mission Accomplished. What we do here that no one else does.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Bitten in the Ass

Yeah. The word 'sanctimonious' does mean something.

INSTAPUNK NOT ALWAYS RIGHT. So I screwed the pooch the other night. I said, and I quote, "Apart from Krauthammer and Jonah Goldberg, there are no first-rate intellects and writers on our side." I was out of line with that remark. Krauthammer actually deigned to post today at National Review Online -- after, I might add, Jonah Goldberg called him out very directly the day after the slobfest on the FNC Britt Baer Report -- and earned what is always a risk at NRO, a stern and politely damning email rebuke.

Here are the transcript original remarks Rush made (and Krauthammer reacted to) regarding the Tucson event. I found them fair, detailed, reasonable.

External Link

I don't want to get into a rant about Dr. K., but I find him increasing smug. self-centered, and contemptuous of the Right. He goes after Geert Wilders; he defends Helen Thomas. He can't bring himself to get excited over how Sarah Palin is treated. He terms Obama a "genius." My guess is he's going the David Frum-Kathleen Parker route, never to be seen again.

Note to NRO readers who might be fans of the Great Mark Steyn (who will never get a Pulitzer); Mark has abandoned NR. However, he does appear fairly regularly on Rush Limbaugh. NR (except for Peter Robinson) treats Thomas Sowell like a crazy black dude in the attic. Walter Williams, Thomas Sowell's close friend and fellow economist appears fairly regularly on Rush Limbaugh.

Draw your own conclusions.
I've actually dared to criticize Dr. Krauthammer in the past. But I always wanted to overlook his elitist mentality. I guess that's where we are now. I'm sorry it's come to this. But if I have to choose between Goldberg and Krauthammer -- and Steyn and Sowell and Palin against The National Review -- I'll side with the hoi polloi every time. Which, I suppose, means we're going to lose in 2012. I'm sick to death of intellectuals. Really, really, really sick. To death.

Please tell me we're not done for. I fear we are.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The New Civility

KEEPING ON KEEPING ON. All right. I'm feeling a smidgin better, thanks to DJMoore and Diogenes. It was Diogenes who offered this comment:

The behavior we witness from the left is classic [as in, "as defined by Cleckley"] psychopathic behavior. The difference is that it has been institutionalized into our "press" and the democratic party from its sources in the various radical lefts of the '60s and '70s. It is most easily represented by the Alinsky tactics that we've been hearing about and the Cloward-Piven strategy as well. If you compare the Alinsky/Cloward-Piven crap to the definitional behaviors of a psychopath, you'll find that they are strongly correlated. The left has analysed psychopathy, refined it, and made it into their operating system.

What the right has not yet learned is that you cannot fight a psychopath on his own terms and win; you will always lose. In almost every case, a psychopath will deceive a psychiatrist, let alone a "layman," into believing him; and then will wreak havoc on the "victim." They are, I assure you, almost magical.

As long as righties think lefties are coming from actual legitimate [or possibly legitimately arguable] positions, they will be tricked and will lose. It requires a tremendous amount of skill, insight, and energy to react to reality rather than the thing thrown at you by a psychopath. The only person who I think has an inkling of this is [I shock myself with this, frankly] Glenn Beck; and he's not entirely clear much of the time. Krauthammer has a clue on occasion. Conrad Black's pretty good, well, really good; but he can't lead the right here. Mark Steyn, ditto. Limbaugh doesn't need to understand this; he simply handles it better than anybody [my wife has the same gift]. But he's not going to run for office. Maybe Chris Christie...

Another way to think of this is older: diabolical [literally, in Greek] -- the evil thing thrown across the path of good. One must assume that everything "they" say is a lie.

Thing is, this is nothing new. Why my heart has been so dark of late. I've been talking very directly about this stuff for 20 years at least. Care to hear (from my Y2000 Amerian Glossary) about the "nonpartisan" initiative the kindly liberals are now urging on us because they lost a congressional election?

Non-Partisan Politics. 1) Obsolete: Doing what is right, without regard to the positions or preferences of political parties. 2) The spin employed by Democratics in support of their political objectives.

Or is "bi-partisan" the better term?

Bi-Partisan Politics. A cooperative, non-confrontational legislative process in which both Democratics and Republians work to achieve the political objectives of Democratics.

Read the rest of the Glossary, too, every jot and tittle. It's almost as good as I think it is. The story is always the same. When Republicans acquire some measure of power in Washington, they endeavor to play nice, make compromises, get along with their "esteemed colleagues across the aisle." What they always get in return is a dirk in the gizzard.

There is no civility any more. There won't be any civility in the future. This is a fight to the death. (Oh yeah, sorry for the crude martial metaphor. My defense? It's not a metaphor at all. It's literal reality.)

Why I despise Lindsey Graham, Orrin Hatch, Dick Lugar, and John McCain. "My good friends across the aisle..." Pooey. Why I hate -- yes, hate -- Harry Reid, Charles Schumer, Dick Durbin, Patrick Leahy, and Barbara Boxer. Because they're so naked in their hatred of us that it's actually humiliating to half the country when some dumbass Republican politician shakes hands with them in public. They should be pariahs, shunned by all decent people everywhere.

So the president made a speech last night that impressed some people. Whoop-de-doo. I can tell you he didn't impress me. We've had enough speeches. It's how he got foisted off on the American public to our eternal regret in the first place. Forget what he says. Look at what he does. And what he does is just awful. What he will do is equally awful.

Forget all this crap about moving to the center and extending a hand across the aisle. That's not how it's going to happen. They never vary in their tactics. Never. They are assassins targeting our lives and liberties. They hate us. They intend to kill us.

And every moment we waste pretending that they're about to turn the page to a new day of collaboration and compromise is another step toward our destruction.

Do you get that? Do you? I don't think you do.

P.S. And in case you didn't think psychopathy was a generalized, spreading problem, here's a snapshot from Shuteye Town 1999, published in, uh, 1999.

The Functional Sociopath

The Thesis

Item. An 18-year-old girl in the company of adults sees a friend she has not spoken with for many weeks. As they talk, he reminds her of a ‘funny thing’ concerning one of their friends. The friend announced to several of her peers that she was leaving for a weekend jaunt somewhere. Subsequently they did not hear from her again, although she had been a frequent caller by telephone. Curious, a trio of her intimates visited her apartment about two weeks after the ‘weekend jaunt’, found the door ajar, and entered. There was no sign anyone had been inhabiting the apartment in the previous two weeks. Nothing was missing, but a few things were strangely broken. The trio left the apartment and went their separate ways. None made any further inquiries. By the time the ‘funny thing’ was related as an anecdote, more than two months had elapsed since the ‘friend’ had been heard from.

This is just one of dozens of such items I have collected in recent years. Not as spectacular as school shootings, they nevertheless have in common with them an odd emotional discordancy. We regard it as striking when a teenage boy responds to teasing by murdering a dozen of his schoolmates, but isn’t it equally striking that ‘friends’ seem unable to summon enough concern to investigate or sound the alarm when an intimate simply disappears?

I believe that such discordancies are both striking and widespread. It may be rare, thus far, for them to result in violence, but if my theory about what is happening turns out to be correct, we will see far more apparently inexplicable violence in the years to come.

What is my theory? I am convinced that what amounts to a system-wide collapse in all our child-rearing institutions has created a virulent new strain of personality disorder—one I call the functional sociopath.

A sociopath is a person without conscience and without deep emotional connections to other human beings, individually and collectively. Science has long sought an organic basis for this kind of pathology, but it is also known that early environmental influences can play a major role in shaping the sociopathic personality.

I am persuaded that we have, as a culture, established an accidental combination of educational and child-rearing approaches which are practically ideal for generating sociopathic personalities in otherwise healthy children. To wit:

Self Esteem. The elevation of self esteem as a principal, if not the cardinal, goal of elementary education has dramatically reduced the opportunity for children to experience the necessary pain of perceiving that the world outside of themselves can and will make demands on them. This is a deprivation which stunts the prime mechanism by which children grow from infantile self absorption to fully individuated, ethical adult personalities. In other words, the permissiveness that accompanies the emphasis on self esteem aborts or sabotages the development of a real self of any kind.

Arma virumque cano...

And something about young, crazed shooters from the same work. But now they're not just gun-toting losers; they're lefty blogger losers with millions of admiring followers. Markos Moulitsas anyone?

Why, oh why, am I in a bad mood?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

What to Look Forward
To At 8 pm Tonight.

He'll set us straight. I can't wait.

DEATH IS JUST ANOTHER OPPORTUNITY. It's always inspiring when the president takes time out of his busy golf vacation work schedule to lecture scold educate us about everything we're doing wrong in America. You know. The way Lincoln Carter always did. I know a lot of you think Obama's latest sharing of wisdom from on high is unavoidable, but if you're one of the tiny handful of citizens who don't feel like hearing it, there are options. I've listed a few of them:

ESPN1: Pittsburgh at Georgetown in a clash of senior-laden Big East Contenders. uh, yeah, it's basketball.

ESPN2: Louisville at Villanova in a Big East matchup in Philadelphia. More basketball. Maybe the president will watch it instead of inflicting... er, forget it. I was just fantasizing.

The Golf Channel: Long drivers are counted down. Included: John Daly, Hank Kuehne, Michelle Wie, Laura Davies. Naps are seriously under-appreciated. Why I want a Fishing Channel, too.

TNT: Bones. "Cinderella in Cardboard." When a bride-to-be's body is found in a bundle of compressed cardboard at a recycling facility, Brennan and Booth use records from a cell-phone dating service to search for suspects. Okay, it's not really an option. But it's a listing.

USA: NCIS. "Semper Fidelis." An ICE agent is murdered during a secret meeting of officials at the home of the SecNav. Presumably, Zeva is as spectacular as always...

Bravo: Top Chef All-Stars. "Advantage Chef." The chefs prepare a holiday stuffing dish without the benefit of any kitchen tools or knives. I'd say something about knives but it would be taken the wrong way. Trust me.

Syfy: Ghost Hunters. "Rocky Mountain Hauntings." The team journeys to Manitou Springs, CO, to probe Briarhurst Manor, where a ghostly child and a skeletal female specter are said to lurk. I don't know about you, but I love the Roto-Rooter truck. The way it transforms into the Ghost-Hunter-Mobile reminds me of that David Hasselhoff classic, Knight Rider.

E!: Sex and the City. "Freak Show." More nonsense about Samantha (Kim Cattrall), only no bare boobs because this is standard cable, not HBO.

Spike: 1000 Ways to Die. "I See Dead People (and they're cracking me up." A hot dog thief, a college student, a death-row inmate [etc] die in unexpected ways. Except that we're all expecting it every minute. Great show.

Animal Planet: I Shouldn't Be Alive. "Boys Adrift" Two shark-fishing teens are swept out to sea by a riptide. Yeah, they shouldn't be alive. Maybe we can all agree on that. That would be progress in civil discourse, wouldn't it?

TLC: The Man with Half a Body. A man with half a body. I mean I'm sorry and all, but I won't be watching.

A&E: Dog the Bounty Hunter. "Nice Guys Finish Last." Tell that to Chicago politicians...

HGTV: Property Virgins. A sordid tale of real estate rape in evil capitalist America. Narrated, surprisingly, by Hugo Chavez.

Family Channel: America's Funniest Home Videos. Animal bloopers you've seen hundreds of times before. Remember what we said about naps?

TVland: Sanford and Son. "Committee Man." A community organizer buys Fred's vote, as usual. You think I'm making this up. I'm not.

The Weather Channel: Weather Center. Have you heard about Global Warming? It's awful. Especially for all the blizzards it's causing this winter.

MTV: Jersey Shore. In the season opener, Snooki takes her top off again and still nobody notices... Well, I'd notice if they'd didn't blur out the only watchable parts of the show.

VH1: Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew. Addicts whine about this and that. Included: Leif Garrett. If they had a way of curing people of celebrity, this would be a keeper. But they don't.

Style Network: Search for the Messiest Home. "The Mitchell Family." Another startlingly successful search. How do they do it? And more importantly, why?

Game Show Network: Family Feud. Can you believe this is still going on? Me neither. No wonder the Democrats hate America.

History: The Black Plague. What better entertainment can you imagine? On a Wednesday night? Come to think of it, it's cheerier than what we'll be seeing on NBC, CBS, ABC, PBS, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News and Fox Business, CNBC, and Headline News. I'll be dialed in. How about you?

Okay. Maybe not good options. But options nonetheless. Sometimes the glass is half full.

The Crazy Right

NOBODY LISTENS. Good God. When will people realize that responding to an argument legitimizes that argument. I've said I'm in a bad mood. This is why. The righties who think they are smart are dumb as rocks. Like Hotair and Ace of Spades.

Gah. Bah.

There's no need to respond. What have lefties done in the last ten years? Wished openly for the assassination of George W. Bush. The rape and murder of Michelle Malkin. The public gynecological examination of Sarah Palin and her daughter to determine who gave birth to Trig Palin. John Kerry made jokes about shooting Bush. So did intimates of Chuck Schumer, insisting he'd put a bullet between Bush's eyes if he had the chance. Alan Grayson insisted that Republicans wanted sick people to die. Good, tolerant liberals hoped Laura Ingraham would die of her cancer, and every time Cheney entered the hospital, the Huffington Post orgasmed with blood lust for his death. I won't go on. And we're seduced into responding to their charges that Tea Party passion is out of bounds? Really? REALLY? HOW FUCKING DUMB CAN YOU BE?

These so-called liberals are fucking sick. There's nothing to answer to here.

Why I'm sick of the new media conservatives. They're exactly like Eric Holder, who can't possibly imagine that Islamists want to kill us because their religion tells them to. The lefties want to kill us for our beliefs. Same thing. Doesn't take hundreds of words of argumentation to suss that out, Ace. All those hundreds of words do is provide new targets for semantic sharpshooting, which semi-literate conservative bloggers are hardly well positioned to refute.

Don't you get it? There's one part of their construct that's correct. They're smarter, better educated, and more rhetorically adept than Ace of Spades and AllahPundit. And Glenn Reynolds, bless his bland, mayonnaisey, oh-so-objective heart. They're waiting for your objections. Because as soon as you lay down your half-assed arguments, they'll eat you for lunch.

Why I'm in a bad mood. Apart from Krauthammer and Jonah Goldberg, there are no first-rate intellects and writers on our side. You're all just meat for their grinder, and I'm in despair.

So shut the fuck up about Tucson. Every time you click a key on your keyboard you do us harm. STOP it.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I don't know why this is
relevant today...but it is.

Oppressed minority? Slave? Or cultural keystone.

LADIES. I've been blogging for a long time now, an eternity in Internet terms. Last week I had reason to cite an early post that dated to pre-Internet times. In the process I stumbled on a 2003 entry from this blog's precursor site, and when I finally reread it today I knew I had to post it again here in 2011. I don't know why. I'm counting on you guys to tell me the reason for my sense of compulsion.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

The Dinosaur Perspective

This latest entry requires a bit of setup because it began as a dialogue across the divide between conservatives and liberals. I discovered, on a "right-wing" website, a link to 'Pussification,' a deliberately outrageous satirical essay by one Kim du Toit (, who delights in playing the unreconstructed male chauvinist gun nut. I found the piece funny, sharp and, in the way of good satire, incisively true in many essentials. Du Toit had also created a link to an extended dissenting opinion at a website called Philosoraptor ( I read this essay as well and had a mixed reaction to it. The prose resonated with the usual liberal tone of superiority, and much of the argument marched down the predictable dogmatic path of secular egalitarian orthodoxy. Nevertheless, I sensed here and there an intent, an aspiration even, to be fair and even-handed: Philosoraptor went so far as to allow that du Toit's argument included elements that in less 'neanderthal' hands might be worthy of further thought. I also suspected that the attempt at even-handedness was being undermined by youth, naivete, or both. For example, he began his argument thus:

"I’m torn about Kim du Toit’s essay about, as I’ll put it, avoiding his gratuitous crudity, the wimpification of the Western male. I’m inclined to ignore it, since it’s unlikely that anyone who found the essay insightful will listen to anything I have to say about it; but du Toit is full of shit, and that, combined with the apparent popularity of the essay on the right wing of the web makes it hard to ignore. I’m torn about it also because… I do think that the threat of wimpification is worth discussing. That’s why it’s too bad that du Toit’s essay is such a piece of crap--the wimpification point gets lost in a torrent of bigotry, falsehoods, and right-wing fantasies."

I thought it laudable that he would consider up front the possibility that "wimpification is worth discussing." I thought it very X-gen that he would haughtily shrink from the word "pussification" and then use the word "shit" in the very next sentence. As he proceeded with his extended denunciation of anti-feminist reaction, I also found myself doing a double-take at a few of his assumptions:

"Conservatism is currently the Colossus of American politics. Extremist conservatives control the Presidency and both houses of Congress, and conservatives exercise virtually unchallenged control of the political agenda… Never in my lifetime has one end of the political spectrum so dominated American public life."

Let's see: the last time one party held the presidency and both houses of Congress was… 1992? And then there was this:

"Here’s another textbook fallacy (note: sounds like “phallus,” but means something different. And, although I know you think that using a phallus makes you smart, using a fallacy does the opposite.) This fallacy is called the “post hoc fallacy” from post hoc ergo propter hoc. That’s Latin, which is an old language that smart people used to use. It means after this, therefore because of this. See, what you are saying is that government got bad after we foolishly started treating women as if they were human beings, letting them vote and suchlike. So, since it happened after women got the vote, it must have been women’s voting that caused it. Textbook fallacy. Oops...I meant: textbook fallacy, dumbass. First, government has probably gotten less intrusive since women got the vote. The government has, since then, become less likely to interfere with sex acts between adults, abortion, and contraceptive use. It was, until recently, less likely to tell us what we could and couldn’t read. But, far more importantly, the country has become far more just and fair since women got the vote—think about the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts of the early ‘60’s. Since these were passed after women got the vote, should women get the credit for them? You know, men did have al little something to do with ‘em. Especially Lyndon Johnson. You should like Johnson—he’s a little like W. He’s from Texas, and he lied to get us into a war. But he cared about civil rights, so he's different, too."

Government less intrusive since 1920? (Time out for head scratching.) I was convinced I was reading the work of a youngster, and so, looking past the actual subject of his diatribe, I sent Philosoraptor an email in which I suggested that his perceptions were distorted by ignorance attributable to his youth. I was somewhat patronizing but not hostile. I suggested that he suspend his automatic assumption of superiority over dinosaurs such as Du Toit and (by implication) me.

I promptly received a courteous reply from Philosoraptor. He told me I was mistaken in my assessment of his youth. He told me he was 40 years old. (More head scratching.) He shared some particulars of his background and upbringing. He reemphasized his scorn for du Toit but conceded he might have been wrong in his assertions about a trend toward less intrusive government. He also allowed that there were extremists at both ends of the political spectrum but opined that the extreme left had been effectively marginalized, while the extreme right had contrived to capture the center of political debate. He thanked me for writing.

Thereupon, I was moved to write the following:

Dear Philosoraptor,

I grant that 40 isn't a kid anymore, and I was initially surprised when you clocked in at that age, but it has caused me to rediscover an idea I've considered in the past. I am 50, older than you but only moderately so in chronological terms. Yet the idea I'll share with you is that the particular ten years of difference between us amount to a whole world of experience and perspective that is critically important.

I am not insulting the character of your youth and upbringing. I accept that they are as you say they are. Why, then, do you still strike me as naïve? For example, your email statement that the far right is now taking over the center, while the far left is marginalized sounds to me, well, ludicrous. Why?

The ten years I have over you takes in the American culture and politics of the late 1950s, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the assassination of JFK, the mounting protests against the Vietnam War, the sudden arrival of drugs, the semi-revolutionary generation gap between teenagers and parents, SDS, the Black Panthers, the RFK/MLK assassinations, feminism, Woodstock, Altamont, Kent State, Eugene McCarthy, George McGovern, and Watergate. Granted, you were also alive during some of this, but you were not witness to the extraordinary transformation of the country that happened in this short period of time, and you cannot know with real emotional conviction the "before" that gave way to the "after" we have all inherited.

Before the transformation, liberal Democrats were JFK and LBJ. They differed from conservatives in believing that government should be more activist in trying to ameliorate inequities in the population. They wanted bigger government, more federal controls of business, more federal law in areas such as civil rights. Republicans wanted less of all these things. Both Democrats and Republicans were united in their defense of the nation against foreign threats. Democrats wanted, perhaps, to spend less on defense, not because they wanted to undermine the military, but because they wanted more to spend on social programs.

It is popular now to regard the "before" era as a repressive, stultified dark age. For some percentage of the population, every age is a dark age. In every age, some constituencies suffer more injustices than others. This does not mean that every age is inherently without value and virtue. So it is with the "before" I remember that you cannot.

In the context of that time, your assertion that the far right has occupied the center is absurd. What happened in the 1960s was that the entire nation lurched, or was hijacked, left. What used to be a leftism so secret that it often accompanied membership in the Communist Party became the accepted left wing of the Democratic Party, which re-engineered the party's nominating process so that Democrats strong on national defense could never again be nominated. The influence of this part of the Democratic Party combined their reflexive responses to Vietnam and Watergate into a permanent hostility to the use of American military power overseas and to the executive branch, especially in matters of foreign policy and especially when Republicans held office.

In the "before" era, the current posture of the Democratic presidential candidates toward the president and his foreign policy would have been unthinkable. Harry Truman faced at least as difficult a situation in Korea as George Bush does now, with far fewer immediate national security issues at stake, and while he faced political opposition to his war policy, he was not accused of lying, cronyism, imperialism, self-aggrandizement, and fraud. JFK brought us so close to nuclear war that I can still remember days of direct, continuous cold fear, but in the aftermath, no one sought to turn his government inside out for the purpose of ridiculing his decision making and his honesty. I know you are itching to leap in here with your current events expertise to make the usual liberal case for why all these charges are true, but bear with me for a moment. Regardless of what merit you believe your case holds, what you cannot see is that the whole context in which it is socially acceptable to hate George Bush with the open venom you (or your colleagues, if I'm being presumptuous about you) display is a function of "after" -- after Vietnam, after Watergate. These events gave the permission for the politics of personal destruction, a kind of total war that could bring down even the President of the United States. That's right. It didn't start with Nixon. Or with Clinton. It started with demonstrators outside the White House in 1966: "Hey, hey, LBJ. How many kids did you kill today?"

You can argue all you want that it's better now, that the transformation was justified. I will contend that it wasn't, while allowing for opposing views. What I insist on is that much that was good has been lost. My father loathed JFK; during that president's term in office my father spent almost half his time overseas on business. And when he was on foreign soil, he refused ever to say a word against Kennedy or the policy of the U.S. government. Neither did his fellow Americans.

Many rank-and-file Republicans were bitterly disappointed that Nixon refused to contest what appeared to be flagrant voting irregularities in Mayor Daley's Chicago, which represented the county that gave JFK Illinois and the election. Nixon refused to turn the presidential election into a partisan legal battle because of the dangerous precedent it would set. Before. Politics at both the citizen and candidate level had some standards of decorum.

Other things have been lost as well, notably quality of life for the overwhelming majority of Americans. In the 1970s, this country embarked on the most radical social experiment ever attempted by a human society, without even allowing itself to recognize that it was an experiment. I'm referring to feminism. Five thousand years of accumulated traditions and roles were almost immediately junked. If you never knew the "before" it's easy to see why all this seems like it must represent all that is best in humanity -- justice, freedom, equality, and so on. Yet it also seems that no one is counting the cost. The divorce rate has skyrocketed, illegitimate births have risen to astonishing levels, juvenile encounters with drugs, crime, and sex have moved from virtually nonexistent to epidemic, educational achievement has plummeted to near ruin, and a new statistic called "abortions per year" was developed, computed into the millions, and then banished from the pages of the almanac because we don't like counting it anymore. Do women at least seem happier to those of us who remember the "before"? No. They don't seem happier. Their marriages crumble, the new equality deprives them of the protections they used to enjoy in the event of divorce, their children are too often unsupervised, too often kidnapped by their unsupervised peers into addiction, sexual promiscuity, and premature cynicism. Further, women feel obligated to pursue careers that turn out to be -- surprise! -- tedious, stressful, wearying, and debasing (whether in the factory or the boardroom, the "Company's" most universal motive is debasement). They abandon age-old protections of dress, behavior, and speech, and -- surprise! -- they pay for it with date rape, violent assaults, the need for abortions, and worse.

And for some of us "before" dinosaurs, these kinds of unintended consequences aren't even the worst ones. What we failed to take into account in our unacknowledged experiment was the real socio-political role the nuclear family played in the culture -- in every culture above the hunter-gatherer level known to recorded history. The few years a child has in the home with its mother and father before reaching serious school age, 6 or 7, is the only time when the goodness latent in that child can be developed without countervailing influences from institutional culture. It's a brief window during which parents can instill curiosity, manners, awareness of right and wrong, the meaning of responsibility, altruism, and honesty.

We have failed to understand that every organization in which we become members, all our lives, will exert amoral pressures that benefit the organization and work, directly or indirectly, to mold the identity of a person into a shape different from its initial individuality and humanity. That we have good and virtuous people who are ever proof against corruption, seduction, and greed is a function of what happens in those first six or seven years of life.

Now, we have enticed mother out of the house, away from her children (and please don't preach to me about economic necessity: there is absolutely no need for the exorbitant number of parentless households we now tolerate), and we have attempted to plug the ugly holes in the fundament of our culture with -- what else? -- new, more intrusive institutions of government, which reach deeply into that once private preserve of the home to monitor the children's welfare and begin the process of absorbing them into institutional identities at an earlier age than any society has ever attempted.

Perhaps the change in the children is not sinister or even detectable if you weren't there before. A close friend of mine has spent the last six years living in a household with a contemporary American teenager of good reputation and recognized academic and personal merit. He told me in a recent letter, "I have no doubt she has been trained so well in accordance with the accepted standards that if she chanced to become a junior executive, fresh out of B-school, with the Final Solution Corporation, she'd have no trouble managing the day-to-day schedules and operations reports of the divisional crematory. As long as she didn't have to work too much overtime and could phone in sick pretty often after an all-nighter with her current boyfriend."

Some of us, including "bigoted idiots" like du Toit, can't help remembering ladies. They were our mothers and grandmothers, our friends' mothers and grandmothers, and they had no idea they were prisoners of a vicious sexist culture. They knew how to smile, how to make strangers and shy ones feel welcome, they knew how to dress up for a party, how to dance to ballroom music, how to practice countless skills that made houses into cheery homes, and we loved them. In every possible way they exemplified the essential human virtues and mediated their children's vulnerability through their own. They were playing a life-and-death role, especially in those first six years, and one that fathers couldn't play because their role back then was different. Fathers weren't second-string mommies, always playing catch-up on the sensitivities not born into men. They were, when all was said and done, judges -- the ones charged with preparing the children to be strong against the institutional temptations and corruptions that were coming after the time of safe haven was over. Their job was not to be taken in the way mother could be by an artful grin or pleading. Their job was to say no, to describe the consequences, to levy the punishment so that the lesson would be learned in the home, not in the dangerous realms of the outside world.

"Before" there were fathers and mothers. "After" we have "deadbeat dads" and a plethora of lawyers, doctors, journalists, executives, and bureaucrats, all with ticking biological clocks and an enduring confusion about the difference between home and government. If they can't be in the home, then they want the world as a whole made as safe as a home. They want more laws, more protections, more services. They beg the government to come deeper into the home, inside the car, into the chemistry of their children's brains. Your post hoc ergo propter hoc analysis is dead wrong. The women's vote has played a pivotal role in the rise of nanny government precisely because they're always looking back in the direction of a home that is no longer what it was.

And as I've said, you're perfectly welcome to prefer the "after" to the "before." It is just that the certitude you display about your preference for what has been a very recent drastic change is as shallow as it is rigid. The so-called return of the right-wing has not rolled back the clock in any material way in any part of the culture. GW Bush is proposing and signing levels of entitlement spending that would have made him a leftwing Democrat "before," and in his domestic policies generally he can only be called conservative by a contemporary leftist. Your apparent blindness to these contradictions in terms is what makes you seem naïve. And to some of us, probably, you also seem presumptuous in your automatic assumptions about the world reactionaries would like to have back, at least in part.

Doctors made housecalls. People who went out to dinner at nice restaurants dressed up for the occasion. Fathers were as stern about the importance of being a "gentleman" as they were about the importance of being a man. To hit a girl or to swear in public was not just wrong. It shamed you.

Shame was apparently a function of class oppression, because now there is no shame. Why did so many of us rightwingers hate Clinton so much? Because he was obviously no gentleman, and the president should always be a gentleman (or a lady). Then he proved it and shamed the nation before the whole world. What did we rightwingers really want to happen with the Lewinski scandal? What we couldn't ever have. We wanted him to resign because that would have been the right and gracious thing to do. A fanciful archaic throwback of a notion? Maybe. But if Clinton had resigned, then perhaps President Gore might have focused more national attention on a certain piece of violent Arab street trash and prevented a few thousand deaths.

Funny how being a gentleman can sometimes also be a pragmatic and positive act. If Al Gore had been a gentleman like Nixon (!) before him, he would have disdained to contest the results in Florida. He would still have won his popular vote victory, despite the electoral defeat, and he would have been well positioned, even admired, as a candidate for 2004. (Pause: Compare this scenario with the erratic hide-and-seek irrelevancy Gore has since become.) Meanwhile Bush might have been spared the rancor and bile of the Democrats, and the new "tone" everybody had hoped for might have been achieved. And by the time foreign policy decisions became so horrendously critical, the Democrats might have had a respected advisory role to play. Hell, they might even have played a respectable role. Instead of seething on the sidelines, characterizing every single presidential decision as a new low in corrupt right wing power politics. If a few more of our leaders had behaved like gentlemen, in fact, our foreign policy might be more successful at this very moment.

"Hey, hey, LBJ. How many kids did you kill today?" That's our tone. It's been our tone ever since. It was the tone of the 1968 Democratic convention in Chicago. It's the tone of civil rights leaders since the assassination of Martin Luther King (though it wasn't his tone). It was the tone of the Watergate scandal. It was the tone of about 2,000 book-length feminist screeds about men and the unfairness of being born with a uterus. It was the tone of the Reagan haters. It's the tone of both sides of the abortion debate. It was the tone of the Thomas and Bork hearings. It was the tone of the impeachment debate. It was the tone of the 2000 presidential election aftermath. It's the tone now. And some of us are tired of that tone precisely because we remember the time before it was there.

It's the tone of spoiled kids, boys and girls, who are just plain pissed at not getting their way, at not having every obstacle removed from their path by someone else. They should get their way because they're entitled. And we have made that principle the basis of our great secular religion, the religion of "after." Never mind the consequences. Even though the economics is slam-dunk against women in divorce, never mind that. Fire them up about their freedom to throw the bum out if he has an affair. Never mind that she, and her kids, will be paying for his affair forever. And by the way, don't teach the boys about being a gentleman -- even in courtship and marriage -- because that's an elitist term, and if we start talking about gentlemen, then somebody else might be tempted to start talking about ladies, and everyone knows that women have to be free to do whatever in hell they want, regardless, damn the consequences, because that's what equality is all about. And if they want, they can dress like sluts from grade school on, and talk like sluts from grade school on, and act like sluts from grade school on, and do all the drugs that any slut might want to do, and have as many abortions as any slut would want to have,.and marry the first idiot who asks, and divorce him when he cheats, and marry the next one, and maybe do some cheating herself, and have a kid, and divorce the next one, and then set up shop as a bitter single mother who has it on good authority that all men are no-good bums. Now, how about all those government programs she'll need to get by as a single working mother…? And isn't this absolute paradise compared to the days when women weren't free, and men weren't permitted -- by their fathers or each other -- to be total, irresponsible slobs?

In fact it's all working so well that we can try another experiment, and start bringing the boys up to be more like girls, so that they can dress like sluts from grade school on, and talk like sluts from grade school on, and act like sluts from grade school on, and do all the drugs that any slut might want to do, etc etc. After all, the only difference is that girls have sockets and boys have plugs, and they can start connecting to one another (and calling each other slut and ho and bitch) from grade school on, because that's what freedom and self esteem are all about. And look at all the other progress we get with this approach: no more toy guns, double the cologne sales, and a fantastic new growth market in condoms.

Of course it's better. That's how we can be absolutely sure it's okay to sneer at the idiot Republicans who hearken back to the evil racist sexist "before," because we all know what they really miss is being able to use the N-Word on the servants, and commit secret incest with their daughters, and treat their wives like slaves, blah, blah, blah.

And because we also know that it's very very dangerous to allow ourselves to consider, for even a moment, that maybe most women were better suited to the old way, and maybe only a small percentage actually belong out here in the nasty rough-and-tumble, and maybe our kids and all our home lives would be better, happier, if we could admit that the nuclear family is the indispensable foundation stone of an entire civilization, and that dynamiting it away without a single forethought might have been a criminally stupid thing to do.

But no. It's always been this way. For everyone 40 and younger. It's the right way. The conservatives are stupid, bigoted, immoral, and wrong. "Hey, hey, LBJ. How many kids did you kill today? Not as many as we're going to kill in the next 50 years…"

Forgive me. Yes, we get heated. That's because we're so stupid. And wrong. And immoral. Maybe you could bear that in mind, and treat us dinosaurs with a little kindness. Like a gentleman.


So tell me. Why am I thinking of all this right now?

P.S. My better half reminds me that the archetype of the women I'm remembering was Jackie Kennedy, who wasn't typical by any means, but she was an ultimate lady of the time, and she's as much a part of the Camelot legend as her husband was.

Slave? Or power behind the throne. Regardless. She was a lady.

If you can, forget the horrifying image of her climbing across the trunk of the presidential Lincoln trying to retrieve a piece of her husband's skull. (What the "weaker" sex can do in crisis is flat-out astonishing.) Forget the historically iconic instruction she gave John-John to salute his father's casket. Forget the pain of losing a baby in the full glare of worldwide publicity. Forget her constant valor, dignity, and lifelong grace. Remember instead that she was a good sport about the political back-and-forth of the day, which used to be something like, well, humor:

Back when even liberals had a sense of humor. Instead of veins filled with cobra venom. But women with a sense of humor have become like liberals with a sense of humor: a vanishing, vanishing breed.

I miss them. The ladies, not the liberals. I have one, but one is a very small number.

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