Sunday, June 16, 2019

Happy Fathers' Day 2019

First of all, here's wishing a happy Fathers' Day to all of my readers. Last year, I wrote a post about masculinity, and the worrisome backlash against the advances that women have made in society. To a large extent, it's an online phenomenon, but it periodically manifests itself in the real world, with deadly consequences- most mass shooters have a history of violence against women. Once again, it seems like our society is failing its boys and young men. I was fortunate to grow up in an environment in which the older kids had a protective attitude towards the younger kids... the boy who lived across the street from my grammar school was three years ahead of me in school, and when he was in high school, he would still stop by to make sure that we were all doing well. I won't say that bullying didn't occur, but it was typically nipped in the bud by other kids.

I chose my 'nym years ago as a send-up of tough-guy masculinity... paradoxically, I think it's ridiculous while being able to draw upon it on those rare occasions when it's handy (sometimes, coming across as someone who'd be perfectly happy to rip someone's head off is a useful skill, especially when backed up with the ability to rip someone's head off). Part of me believes that much of the current crisis of masculinity is due to the synergistic effect of poor job prospects, lack of physical activity combined with a toxic gamer culture, pop-cultural depictions of largely-unattainable physiques, and an echo chamber of disaffected misogynists who want to blame women for the woes of young men rather than blaming the effects of the metastatic stage of current capitalism. Thankfully, my brothers, my male cousins, and my friends are involved with their children, and the next generation of my social circle is made up of well-adjusted kids with impressive accomplishments. It's imperative that we, as a society, break this cycle of radicalization.

Men just have to do better, and part of it is making sure that masculinity isn't seen as a straitjacket which limits boys' and men's emotional expressions and life experiences, masculinity shouldn't be monolithic. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: The problem with toxic masculinity is the toxicity, not the masculinity... and we need poison control badly.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

The Internet's Augean Stables

Ah, 8Chan, how does one describe it? It's a festering heap of child pornography, Gamergate misogyny, racism, anti-semitism, conspiracy mongering, and exchanges between mass shooters, wannabe mass shooters, and fans of mass shooters... you will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. 8Chan is the Augean Stables of the internet, the shittiest of shitposting shitholes... it is also the subject of a recent search warrant:

It will be interesting to see how the Chan Klan handles the prospect of being outed after having assumed anonymity on the imageboard... how many anime-Nazis are sweating over the prospect of their employer finding out that they are egging on potential mass shooters? What is 8Chan's biggest 'celebrity', the anonymous hoaxer(s) known as "Q" going to do if anonymity is compromised? Ben Collins of NBC speculated about this as well...

Reading over this post, I realize that I need to step away from the internet for a bit- it's a beautiful summer night, with an almost full moon... that beats a shitstorm anytime.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Excising Expertise

The latest atrocity in the current maladministration is Trump's executive order directing governmental agencies to cut their advisory committees by a third. At a time when scientific expertise is needed now, more than ever, this clown is showing scientists the door. The idea that this is a money saving measure is ridiculous in light of the growing deficit. The idea that this is a measure meant to curb conflicts of interest is even more ludicrous, especially in an administration that puts a former aerospace executive in the position of Defense Secretary. The very idea that Republicans were waging a war on science has become axiomatic. Trump is ramping up this war, he's basically nuking science from orbit, it's the only way to be sure that his corporate cronies can complete their Global War on Terra.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Gulf of Oman Incident?

I don't trust the Trump maladministration, and I especially don't trust neocon loon John Bolton and theocon loon Mike Pompeo, thus I am more than a little skeptical about the recent attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman, which Pompeo insists were perpetrated by the Iranian armed forces. While I find the Shiite fundamentalist regime of Iran repulsive (though I think the Saudis are worse, despite our purported alliance with them), I've been suspicious of Republican claims of Iranian malfeasance ever since George W. Bush lumped them in with Iraq and North Korea as part of the 'Axis of Evil'. In light of Trump facing increased scrutiny for his failures and felonies, I am concerned that he might pull a 'wag the dog' maneuver if he thinks it'll save his badly bronzed hide (I've never bought that 'Donald the Dove, Hillary the Hawk' narrative). I can see Pompeo and Bolton egging him on towards this end, I just hope that Congress would act to stop any sort of foreign policy blunder.

I really don't want to sound paranoid, but it's not like trumped-up naval incidents in the gulfs of the world are that far-fetched.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Men Wouldn’t Face This Scrutiny

I watched most of yesterday’s women’s World Cup match between the United States and Thailand while playing bar trivia last night. It was a 13-0 rout, in case you missed it. Tonight, one of the stories on the network news concerns whether or not the continual scoring and subsequent celebrations were evidence of poor sportsmanship. I doubt that a men’s team would face the same criticism- they would have been portrayed as exuberant rather than bullying, their displays of bravado being portrayed as admirable.

The US is a large, wealthy country, and one that places more of a premium on women’s athletics than most other nations (though the Michigan State horror shows how far we need to progress). It’s no wonder that the women’s national team would be a dominant force in the World Cup. Coming opponents will be wealthier countries than Thailand, countries with stronger soccer traditions- the outcomes of the games might be uncertain. Let the women’s team have their moment of exuberance, they play a lot better than their male counterparts.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Another Young Immigrant Dies In Trump Administration Custody

Via Tengrain, we have the tale of another young immigrant dying in custody of the Trump maladministration... the French oak sapling given to Trump by Emmanuel Macron as a token of goodwill between France and the United States has died. It had been placed in quarantine after already having been symbolically planted on the White House grounds... whisked away to an uncertain fate like a Guatemalan toddler. It’s axiomatic that everything that Trump touches dies, whether corporation, child, or tree. Part of me suspects that Trump didn’t want anything shadier than he in the vicinity of the White House. At this rate, we’ll be lucky if the Republic is left standing when he leaves office.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Unarmed Man Enters Battle of Wits

I had a long, arduous (but fun) weekend on the job, so I spent most of this rainy day sleeping. I missed John Dean’s testimony in Congress, which was knocked out of the local headlines by a Manhattan helicopter crash. I DID manage to catch up a bit this evening, and was struck by this exchange:

What we have here is a failure to communicate a drunken bro-hole trying to outclass a man who has been a public servant and a truth-teller for longer than he’s been alive. It’s amazing to see callow nepotism hires believe that they can best individuals who have weathered the greatest political scandals of our time. Looks like Gaetz chose the wrong day to quit drinking.