September 29, 2014

Camille Paglia on the campus culture of mixing up "felonious rape" and "oafish hookup melodramas."

"Real crimes should be reported to the police, not to haphazard and ill-trained campus grievance committees," she writes, then lambastes "middleclass women, raised far from the urban streets" who expect too much protection from the "wilderness" of the world. But isn't there a place for a campus with some disciplinary rules and procedures? That's my question.

Paglia's answer is not to trust those horrible academic leftists who purvey "illusions about sex and gender" and blame society for oppressing us with "racism, sexism, and imperialism," which they see as "toxins embedded in oppressive outside structures that must be smashed and remade." But — as she sees it — sex is Nature, and the evil part of it can't be fixed.
There is a ritualistic symbolism at work in sex crime that most women do not grasp and therefore cannot arm themselves against.
Do not grasp... does she mean cannot grasp? I'm going to guess that she thinks most women could grasp this truth of hers, but only if we break free of the lefties' illusions and come face to face with Nature.
Misled by the naive optimism and “You go, girl!” boosterism of their upbringing, young women do not see the animal eyes glowing at them in the dark. They assume that bared flesh and sexy clothes are just a fashion statement containing no messages that might be misread and twisted by a psychotic. They do not understand the fragility of civilization and the constant nearness of savage nature.
Paglia, talking about men, sounds like Werner Herzog, talking about the bears, in "Grizzly Man":
"And what haunts me, is that in all the faces of all the bears that Treadwell ever filmed, I discover no kinship, no understanding, no mercy. I see only the overwhelming indifference of nature."

"The man who sued the prosecutors of a secret John Doe investigation into dozens of conservative groups now wants the lead prosecutor investigated..."

"... on charges of feloniously using his office for political persecution and personal reward."
Long-time political activist Eric O’Keefe, a director of the Wisconsin Club for Growth, on Monday sent a certified letter to Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm demanding that Chisholm ask the Milwaukee County Circuit Court to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the conduct of the DA and his office....

O’Keefe notes that Wisconsin law prohibits a district attorney from using the powers and privileges of his office for the financial benefit of himself, his immediate family members, or an organization with which his immediate family members are associated.

A distric [sic] attorney also is prohibited from using those powers and privileges to obtain an unlawful advantage for third parties, such as political candidates and recall committees; to obtain through official functions for those illegitimate purposes; and from allowing his office to become de facto campaign grounds.
Details at the link. This ties back to the revelations in the Stuart Taylor Jr. article we discussed herehere and here.

"I have a lot of respect for you, Ann."

Subject line on email, received just now, from Joe Biden.

Republicans advertise on "Big Bang Theory," Democrats on Hollywood gossip shows.

Etc. etc. etc.

"It’s easy to understand the instinct to keep the class objective. People who oppose having a separate African-American history course in the first place..."

"... will portray it as an ideological program or divisive propaganda. (This, of course, assumes that any other course in history—world history or European hstory [sic]—is not ideologically driven.) While no one has to fight to legitimize a course in, say, Algebra, proponents of ethnic studies are always put on the defensive. Darlene Clark Hine, the Northwestern professor who adapted a college textbook to create the one taught to Philly high-school students, argued that one of its strengths was that it lays out a history 'as tight and compelling as possible, without a lot of scholarly debate over interpretations.' The stated goal of the text, according to a 2005 Philadelphia Inquirer article, was to instruct students in chronological progression and cause and effect. But if the class can be vexing for students, it’s no less so for the people standing at the front of the room, who sometimes fear that introducing current events and encouraging interpretation and debate will lead to controversy or open conflict...."

From a New Republic article subtitled "Lessons from Philadelphia's mandatory African American History classes."

"'Simpsons' character's death, heavily publicized, leaves fans unmoved."

Sample fan tweets:
"So Krusty's dad is the major character to die on the #simpsons? I don't think so. What a letdown."

"Should the Simpsons be sued for false advertising over the major character being Krusty's dad?"

"Krusty's dad died. ... Um, Krusty had a dad? Never heard of him. Wasted anticipation."

"Either the president doesn’t read the intelligence he’s getting or he’s bullshitting."

Eli Lake says Obama got it wrong on "60 Minutes":

Academic writing is so bad on so many levels for so many reasons.

Explained by Steven Pinker.

And he's not even talking about legal academic writing, where it's possible (and popular) to blame the student editors. (Here's a PDF of something I wrote 20 years ago: "Who's to Blame for Law Reviews?" Spoiler alert: I blame the professors.)

Jerry Brown signs a law requiring colleges and universities that get state money to impose a "yes means yes" standard on student sex.

The Chronicle of Higher Education — citing the famously spurious "one in five women" statistic — says the new law "ushers in a new era in the debate about how to curb sexual assaults on college campuses."

Actually, the statute doesn't — like the Chronicle — call it the "yes means yes" standard, which sounds silly, since "yes" already meant yes. They ought to at least say "only yes means yes." But the statutory term is "affirmative consent":
“Affirmative consent” means affirmative, conscious, and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity. It is the responsibility of each person involved in the sexual activity to ensure that he or she has the affirmative consent of the other or others to engage in the sexual activity. 
He or she... this is gender neutral, as, of course, it must be. So no more assuming that the male must want the female's touchings.
Lack of protest or resistance does not mean consent, nor does silence mean consent. Affirmative consent must be ongoing throughout a sexual activity and can be revoked at any time. The existence of a dating relationship between the persons involved, or the fact of past sexual relations between them, should never by itself be assumed to be an indicator of consent.
The statute proceeds to speak of "the accused" and "the complainant." The accused is not permitted to use intoxication as an excuse for misperceiving the existence of affirmative consent and there can be no affirmative consent when the complainant was "incapacitated" by drinking or drugs.

What if both are drunk? The smartass answer to that question is: It depends on who's the accused and who's the complainant. It seems as though, beyond the gender-neutrality of the statute, there is an assumption that only women will complain. The statutory scheme would collapse if men complained too. But social conditioning and convention keep men quiet... at least so far. Perhaps in the future, they will complain defensively after a night of ambiguity.

As The Chronicle of Higher Education says, it's "a new era in the debate."

ADDED: I suspect that what's really going on is an effort to change the culture of drinking and sex. It will go the way of drinking and driving and become something that decent people don't do... not beyond a light drink anyway. The feminist angle is the wedge.

See what happens when you call for philosophers?

By the Capitol Square, the city of Madison built what it called "Philosopher's Grove"  — artistically shaped stone seating positioned under shade trees.
A group of business and property owners in the area, Downtown Madison Inc. and the Downtown Business Improvement District “strongly support” physical changes to help curb drinking, fighting, abusive language, littering, drug dealing, prostitution and the use of alleys and doorways as toilets....
You can see the Philosopher's Grove at the beginning of this video I made in 2011, the year of the protests. It begins with a Grove denizen saying something we've never forgotten: "All the assholes are over on the other side." From this man's point of view, the "assholes" were — if I understood the context correctly — the protesters. The Philosopher's Grove was the territory of the people who in non-protest times are the regulars, and they seemed a bit put out by the upstart regulars who, at this phase of the protests, were camping out in tents all along the square in a demonstration they called "Walkerville."
The business property owners group has already sent a list of ideas suggesting relocation of the granite stones “as soon as possible;” opening up West Mifflin Street to create a walkway between the Square, Overture Center and the Central Library; more street parking and lighting; signs that inform about security cameras in the area and expected behavior; seating for restaurants; more police presence; beautification; and mounting a mural on the Wisconsin Historical Museum....

Any moves, however, could be controversial because they may affect homeless people who frequent the area. The fate of public art, mature trees and future development of a joint Historical Museum and Wisconsin Veterans Museum also could be at stake.
Here in Madison,  everyone has an opinion about which side the assholes are on.
In the spring, DMI, business and property owners, and city officials brainstormed ideas to improve the crossroads. The city stepped up cleaning, temporarily put up chalkboards to solicit public input and added sparkle lighting on trees in Philosopher’s Grove. But through the summer, “It got worse in terms of the behaviors,” DMI president Susan Schmitz said.
Sparkle lighting? Doesn't that create a sort of outdoor café, a nice atmosphere where street folk can continue to drink, use drugs, get into arguments, and experience sexuality and the need to urinate?

September 28, 2014

"Poetry is not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion; it is not the expression of personality, but an escape from personality."

"But, of course, only those who have personality and emotions know what it means to want to escape from these things."

From a BBC piece, published Friday, with the insipid title: "Happy Birthday, T.S. Eliot: 20 of His Most Life-Affirming Quotes."

You know what's not "life-affirming"?

Along the Lakeshore Preserve.

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"Nice little island you've got there," Meade comments, looking over my shoulder.

Reminder: A blog post with a photograph and minimal text should be regarded as a "café" post — just like the posts with "café" in the title — and that means it's an open thread in the comments. Write about whatever you want.

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Dogs allowed in outdoor areas of restaurants.

It's the law now in California.
The law, AB1965, sailed through the Senate and Assembly and was signed by Governor Jerry Brown, a dog owner himself, in August. Restaurants can choose to continue prohibiting dogs, and the law allows individual cities and counties to create their own ordinances banning them.

Pet welfare group Social Compassion in Legislation drafted and pushed for the law after the organization’s president, Judie Mancuso, was kicked out of a restaurant with her two rescue chihuahuas and became aware of the state prohibition. Reception to the new law has been positive across the board, she said.
It's a free market. It's not like the restaurants are banned from discriminating against ladies with chihuahuas. (Or is breed discrimination forbidden?)
The new law does not allow dogs to sit on seats or tables, prohibits contact between employees and dogs, and bans dogs from areas where food is prepared — “real common sense stuff,” Mancuso said.
That sounds like the dog can still be on the customer's lap or in a handbag on a seat. But, again, as long as the restaurant can make the rules, I see no problem with dog-friendly restaurants included in the options.

AND: Governor Brown's dog is a corgi.

Don Diego el Guapo

Not that corgi.

"Will jihad-style attack boost 'bring gun to work' laws?"

"Americans should be ready to face these fanatics... As the Oklahoma [attack] indicates, people can stop terror attacks with firearms. Americans need their guns to defend life and freedom."

"What strikes me as noteworthy is how easy it is to parent certain values in your kid if the whole culture supports a set of imperatives."

"The mom didn't do this on her own. The kids are used to good social behavior because they learned it in school, with friends, at family gatherings. She is just the maraschino cherry on their path in life. Much of the socialization of children takes place in schools and day care centers here, starting with infancy, where good manners, especially table manners are taught as assiduously as nursery rhymes and letters of the alphabet."

From a description of very young French children eating dinner at a restaurant with their mother. You have to scroll past (or linger over) many travel photos to get to this text, which surrounds the last of the photographs.

"Lamb is more Nutritious than any kind of Poultry, Mutton than Lamb, Veal than Mutton, and Beef than Veal; But Pork is more Nutricious than any of these..."

"... for the Juices of Pork, which is more like Human Flesh than any other Flesh is, are more adapted to the Nourishment of a Human Body than the Juices of any other Flesh." 

IN THE COMMENTS: BDNYC points out that I've blogged this before. I'd forgotten! I wonder how often I do such things. I'd like to think this is the first time. Perhaps not. It's interesting to see that I blogged it exactly the same way — except for the placement of the line break — even though I contemplated doing some different things with it, including discussing the chapter titled "A Short Digression on the Pig; or, Why Heaven Hates Ham" in Christopher Hitchens's "God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything."
[O]ne may note that children if left unmolested by rabbis and imams are very drawn to pigs, especially to baby ones, and that firefighters in general do not like to eat roast pork or crackling. The barbaric vernacular word for roasted human in New Guinea and elsewhere was “long pig”: I have never had the relevant degustatative experience myself, but it seems that we do, if eaten, taste very much like pigs.

"The Khorosan Group Does Not Exist/It’s a fictitious name the Obama administration invented to deceive us."

Writes Andrew C. McCarthy (at National Review):
The “Khorosan Group” is al-Qaeda. It is simply a faction within the global terror network’s Syrian franchise, “Jabhat al-Nusra.” Its leader, Mushin al-Fadhli (believed to have been killed in this week’s U.S.-led air strikes), was an intimate of Ayman al-Zawahiri, the emir of al-Qaeda who dispatched him to the jihad in Syria. Except that if you listen to administration officials long enough, you come away thinking that Zawahiri is not really al-Qaeda, either. Instead, he’s something the administration is at pains to call “core al-Qaeda.”

“Core al-Qaeda,” you are to understand, is different from “Jabhat al-Nusra,” which in turn is distinct from “al-Qaeda in Iraq” (formerly “al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia,” now the “Islamic State” al-Qaeda spin-off that is, itself, formerly “al-Qaeda in Iraq and al-Sham” or “al-Qaeda in Iraq and the Levant”). That al-Qaeda, don’t you know, is a different outfit from al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula . . . which, of course, should never be mistaken for “al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb,” “Boko Haram,” “Ansar al-Sharia,” or the latest entry, “al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent.”

Coming soon, “al-Qaeda on Hollywood and Vine.” In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if, come 2015, Obama issued an executive order decreeing twelve new jihad jayvees stretching from al-Qaeda in January through al-Qaeda in December.
McCarthy looks at the big picture and criticizes Obama for using terminology that obscures it, but there could be reasons — other than to deceive us. It could be to demoralize the enemy. (If that's the idea, though, we should avoid "Islamic State.") It could be some notion of breaking a seemingly impossible big project down into doable chunks. (Which sounds like an idea from a business self-help book. Stuff like this: "Chunk!")

Up too early in a surveillance society.

Why am I up too early? Apple forced an iPhone update on me the other day, and it defaulted to "yes" on whether I wanted to receive "amber alerts" and "government notifications." I got buzzed with an amber alert at 5 a.m.

Apparently, it was this case of an 8-year-old girl — now found — who was missing in Green Bay. Green Bay is well over 100 miles from here.

Here's an article in Forbes from a year ago: "With Auto Amber Alerts, We're Opted In By Default To A 'Little Brother' Surveillance Society."
The alerts are a public-private partnership tour de force: Requested by the president after 9/11 and mandated by Congress in 2006, the Wireless Emergency Alerts are overseen by the FCC and FEMA; major carriers from Verizon to AT&T had to get on board and mobile handset providers such as Apple and Android had to make changes to their operating systems to make the alert on by default, as well as giving carriers access to their APIs to send the messages to phones.
It's Bush's fault!
While you can opt out of the Amber alerts (if you’re willing to be thought of as a horrible person)...
I am.
... and “alerts involving imminent threats to safety or life” (if you’re a risk-loving person)...
I'm balancing the more real risk to my life: not getting a full night's sleep.
... you can’t block alerts from the President. The alerts go out to anyone within a geographical area, broadcast from cell towers....
I'm 130+ miles from Green Bay. If the targeting were more focused, I wouldn't have noticed the opt-in and turned it off.

September 27, 2014

Early fall, lakeshore.

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When 100 feminists protested The Ladies Home Journal, they lunged at the editor, John Mack Carter, tried to push him off the edge of his desk, and they smoked his cigars.

John Mack Carter died yesterday, at the age of 86. Do you remember who he is?
John Mack Carter, a Kentucky-born journalist who... was already a veteran editor of women’s magazines when, in March 1970, more than 100 feminists led by Susan Brownmiller stormed Ladies’ Home Journal and held an 11-hour sit-in at his office. Some of the women perched on his desk and smoked cigars. The protesters wanted Mr. Carter to resign and be replaced by a woman. They demanded that the magazine run a “liberated” issue...
That's from the NYT obituary, but let's look at the article the NYT published in March 1970:
More than 100 militant feminists staged a day-long occupation of The Ladies' Home Journal's editorial offices yesterday and demanded a chance to put out a "liberated" issue of the magazine...

Mr. Carter, who is 42 years old, said it had been an "educational" day...

Many of the 47 female and seven male editorial staff members expressed outrage and disgust as the demonstrators crowded into Mr. Carter's office at 9 a.m.