:: My favorite reading of the week is Thomas Frank's TED TALKS ARE LYING TO YOU, which is just so right-on. An excerpt:
Those who urge us to “think different,” in other words, almost never do so themselves. Year after year, new installments in this unchanging genre are produced and consumed. Creativity, they all tell us, is too important to be left to the creative. Our prosperity depends on it. And by dint of careful study and the hardest science — by, say, sliding a jazz pianist’s head into an MRI machine — we can crack the code of creativity and unleash its moneymaking power.Read it all! The next time you hear the word "creativity" spoken from a calm NPR-sounding voice (and my radio consigliere, Gregg Jocoy, can do a bang-up NPR-announcer impersonation!) --you should keep this essay in mind.
That was the ultimate lesson. That’s where the music, the theology, the physics and the ethereal water lilies were meant to direct us. Our correspondent could think of no books that tried to work the equation the other way around — holding up the invention of air conditioning or Velcro as a model for a jazz trumpeter trying to work out his solo.
And why was this worth noticing? Well, for one thing, because we’re talking about the literature of creativity, for Pete’s sake. If there is a non-fiction genre from which you have a right to expect clever prose and uncanny insight, it should be this one. So why is it so utterly consumed by formula and repetition?
In fact, I may never watch a TED talk again! (Jimi Hendrix reference: "You'll never hear surf music again")
:: A nasty Georgia Tech frat-boy email has recently gone viral, since it's title--"Luring Your Rapebait"--was guaranteed to get attention. It's offensive, and appears to be one of those GAME things (more about which in due course) that plague the internet like winter head-colds.
Danny, who is no feminist, politely takes it on in his ever-graceful fashion. His post is titled Open Letter to a Frat Brother on the view of masculinity:
I can understand that sex is a desirable thing but I worry that you, just like many others, place too much priority on having sex with women as being a necessary part of masculinity.Why, indeed?
Have you considered what affects this pressure can have on guys, namely guys who are in a position where they need to gain the approval of others? Don't you think that pressure can lead to them doing things that range from immoral to illegal in order to gain favor and approval?
Yes, you can say that "They choose to do that stuff." That would be true. But why do you exert such pressure in the first place? Why expect those pledges to be on such a vigilant lookout for sex partners? Why not just let nature take care itself and just throw a party and if people want to get together they get together on their own rather because they might get tossed out of the party and shamed for not looking for women?
Maybe because "looking for women" is the very DEFINITION of manhood, for these sorts of guys. The idea of NOT looking for women?!? Well, what ELSE would they do?
These men are conditioned from an early age, that this is "what men do." They don't know how to have a good time and just BE. The female equivalent are the Sex and The City gals who spend most of their evenings fussing over their appearance, and won't dance or get rowdy because they might sweat or mess up their hair.
Quite possibly, they deserve each other. I just wish they wouldn't clutter up the parties and fun spaces for everyone else.
:: If you need something to explain the government shutdown to you, have a look on my Tumblr, where I quoted from a great article on No More Mister Nice Blog, titled The Punishers Want To Run The Country or We Are All Tipped Waitstaff Now.
Check it out, it's a gem. It explains so much. (And if you are now/ever were a restaurant server, required reading.)
:: There has been LOTS of arguing in cyberspace over the "Pick Up Artist" (PUA) movement, men who claim to know all the evo-psych rules of just exactly what makes those stubborn, mysterious sexy ladies put out. It's called GAME, and they endlessly talk about it on their many forums and blogs (warning: those link are gross, but fairly typical). Like most evo-psych fans, they make everything that happens fit into their concept of GAME, which is damned annoying. (It's exactly the same way very religious people will inevitably see everything that happens as being an answer to a prayer.) This is why you can't argue with them using facts; they will simply claim that your facts prove --GAME is CORRECT!--right after they tweak them a few times, or twenty.
It gets old, so I stopped bothering some time ago... or even reading. If I see a male blogger refer to GAME, I reach for my mouse, clickety-click, gone, GONE WITH THE WIND.
But Echidne recently found an intrinsic contradiction in the statement of Roosh, one of the BIGGEST of the BIG GAME THEORISTS. Roosh went to Denmark (he writes books about how to apply GAME in every country; getting-laid travel guides for men), where apparently, he says GAME doesn't work:
Roosh calls [his book about Denmark] the “most angry book” he’s ever written. “This book is a warning of how bad things can get for a single man looking for beautiful, feminine, sexy women.”Wow, during this awful government shutdown, we see STILL ANOTHER great reason for the welfare state! Then again, haven't anti-feminist conservatives like George Gilder always argued that welfare services for women and children would inexorably lead to women becoming far more picky about who they, um, spend their time with?
What’s blocking the pussy flow in Denmark? The country’s excellent social welfare services. Really.
Danish women “won’t defer to your masculinity,” he writes. “They can fuck you, but no more. What they do have are pussies and opinions you don’t really care about hearing. That’s it.” Advocates of Nordic social democracy should be thrilled to discover a perk of gender-equalizing work-family reconciliation policies: they combat skeeviness.
Roosh comes to the conclusion that women who aren’t as dependent on men for financial support are not susceptible to the narcissistic salesmanship that constitutes phase one: “attraction.” That’s why Roosh fails to advance to the second level—”trust”—without being creepy. Thus “seduction” is almost always out of the question.
The reality of WELFARE means women won't experience the material desperation men have always depended on, to make their case.
Echidne is all over it:
But that refutes his evo-psycho theories about what women want! If women were hard-wired to go for the dominant growling alpha monkey, then women would do that even in Denmark. That they do not suggests that dating rules and what appeals to people is also culture-dependent and affected by economic realities.Whatever happened to Neil Young's "Welfare Mothers make better lovers?"
I guess the official PUA verdict is in: No they don't.
Speaking of which, I used to wonder if that was a sexist song or not. During the time *I* was a welfare mother, I remember feeling like persona non grata, not like I was considered a better lover or any kind of bargain. In fact, it seemed to me that this one fact about me would easily scare people away in droves, potential lovers and friends alike. (Maybe they were afraid I would ask them for money?)
I used to listen to the song ruefully and wonder JUST WHO he was talking about, hoping that maybe I was getting some good press in the bargain. But I was pretty sure I wasn't... hard to believe that love is free, now.
But whatever else, it sure does ROCK.
Welfare Mothers - Neil Young and Crazy Horse