Monday, July 25, 2011
UPDATE: I feel better, especially considering the hate that I have received from the "Men's Rights" movement, that the Southern Poverty Law Center has published a report on the hateful misogyny contained therein. When I wrote and posted this, all I was responding to was The Amazing Atheist. I wasn't even aware that this "movement" existed. Well, I'm sure as hell aware of it now, seeing as the group took a movement all over the comments section of my video. When something like the SPLC is on your side, you feel vindicated. /UPDATE
The amazing atheist recently posted a video attacking the CBS show The Talk, where they laugh over a man getting his penis cut off and thrown into a garbage disposal. First off, let's address the fact that their laughing about it is rather disturbing, especially being a man who is more that slightly attached to his penis.
That said, his response is wrong on one level, and at best misdirected on others.
First, he is flat-out wrong in his association of feminism with this. Men and women, who more than smack of misogyny, equate misandry, of which there is plenty in our society, with feminism. This is resolutely not the case.
I read Jezebel a lot. I also read lots of other blogs written by level-headed, intelligent people. Feministe, Feministing, and a variety of other sites that deal with gender and society. If these are representative of feminism in the world today, then he is wrong, and if he can't take feminism seriously, if he can't take the drive for absolute equality of women seriously, then he is nothing more than another stupid white guy who can't look past his own perspective.
Is there misandry? Of course. There's tons of it. Cosmo magazine is a great example, with its subtly misandristic portrayal of men as only animals in need of sexual placating. But all of the misandry in the world pales, PALES, in comparison to the amount of misogyny out there, especially in regards to the violent nature of the misogyny. If you feel that I need to make a list of examples of misogyny, you need to read more news.
For example, JUST as I was writing this, Kotaku, the gaming blog that is actually the sister website of Jezebel, wrote of a large LAN party celebrating the release of Battlefield 3, a video game. They banned women because their presence causes the men to act up. Put yourself in the shoes of the female gamers who wanted to attend, or those who attended the previous year, thus motivating this absurd regulation. You can appreciate the urge to portray men as chimpanzees.
He uses an example from Forensic Files where a woman killed her husband, but doesn't give us all of the details. The woman shot her husband in the head with a shotgun while he slept, and claimed that he had been beating her. Has he never seen Burning Bed? It's a viable defense. And it's not a viable defense for emotional reasons, there are reams of psychological research data describing the state of mind people can come to be in when living in an abusive household. He uses this as a counter example, but it fails.
He fails to take his OWN words into consideration when saying that women are treated differently. He talks about how every show is the husband killing the wife, and I watch the same shows, it's true, and then a episode is of the wife killing the husband. Doesn't that make any intelligent person think that, if all other cases are one way, and this one is another way, that there might be something different about it?
Especially considering that the episodes of that very show that involve women, which I've seen and I'm sure so as he, where the women's motivations are black as pitch, the women never do what he described. They poison, which is very popular, or they hire someone else.
Women do not physically abuse men. Even with recent research showing that female on male abuse is higher than originally thought, it is still a tiny fraction of the abuse of male on female.
He also mentions a case in Russia that may or may not be true of a woman who beat up a man who was trying to rob her store, cuffed him, and kept him as a sex slave for three days. He talks about the reaction to her behavior, with people creating her a Facebook fan page. Well, I have another case that is definitely true. The Russian “Black Widow.” A woman who was charged with drugging and raping ten men in 2009. I find the reaction of the men interesting. If this had been a man, the response from women would have been universal, “That is horrible. I can't imagine being in her shoes.”
But instead, the response from men was frequently “Why can't I find women like that?!” One of the men even refused to press charges because he liked it and only wished he hadn't been drugged. But even here, there were many obviously misadristic women nearly calling for the beatification of the Black Widow. Their words dripped with hatred. This is not feminism. Not in the very slightest. You would never hear these words from actual feminists like those on Jezebel. But EVEN THEN, the situation is not equal.
Misandry and misogyny are different. Absolutely. They are not different because one is right and the other wrong. They are both equally wrong. But they are different in the behaviors caused by them. The Amazing Atheist fails to notice that men raping women happens all of the time, but women raping men makes international news because it is so very rare.
That is not to say that female-male rape doesn't exist. Truly, women can be sexually aggressive as is found in statistics of sexual coercion between lesbians. But my likelihood of being raped by a woman, in ANY setting, is about as low as winning the lottery. My chances of being raped by another man, on the other hand, are much higher. This is probably the root of misandristic threads in gay culture and the fact that in your average gay club, every man in the building is watching their drink like a hawk.
The Amazing Atheist and the women on The Talk talk about cutting off the penis as identical to the breasts and clitoris. No. Wrong again. As my partner Danielle pointed out very succinctly, the penis can be a weapon, and it is a weapon that is widely used by millions of men every year when they rape. Women simply do not have a counterpart to the penis.
Even the very video to which the Amazing Atheist linked stands as a testament to misogyny, and this is again something that he doesn't discuss. It was posted by some absurd “Manhood Academy,” which references “getting your balls back.” Because in this blatantly, horribly sexist and misogynistic world, masculinity is something that women can take away, because masculinity exists only vis a vis women.
If a man is attacking you for being a bad person, even if you aren't, you call that person an asshole. Nothing else. He's just an asshole. But if women do it, you're being stripped of your masculinity. Because here, masculinity is a reciprocal construct that exists to put women in their place. If women are not in their place, masculinity has been “stripped.” Masculinity is directly associated with sex.
That “Manhood Academy's” website lists this, and I quote”Manhood Academy is the first worldwide male educational center specifically designed to train men like you in social competence. And best of all—our content is ABSOLUTELY FREE. Whether it's going on your first date, saving a troubled relationship, addressing your wife's 'bitch' behavior, making new friends, or standing up for yourself in this emasculating feminist environment, our goal is to teach you how to conduct satisfying social interactions.”
Notice how in their list of things that they can help you do, of the five items that emasculate you, four are directly associated with women. Funny how that is. That is because in this view, women are not people. They are “women.” Something that is somehow fundamentally different and separate from men.
The content of the video is just that, but you cannot avoid recognizing that the people who saw fit to post this video online are just as bad as those they attack.
So why are people not getting up in arms, like the Amazing Atheist demands? Because women doing this is so damned rare. Rape of men is not a pestilence on society. Men might fear mugging, but women on the street fear abduction, rape, murder, AND mugging. It is a predatory world out there, and it is just plain stupid to argue otherwise. How many serial killers killed men? How often do women form gun-toting gangs? How often do women form small armies that are paid with the rape and pillage of wherever their leader sends them? Do you have any examples? I do not. I do have examples of the men doing it, like when the Red Army raped every German woman they came across during the fall of Berlin. Again, you can appreciate the urge to portray men as chimpanzees.
If I met any misandristic women, I would just as soon run for the hills from their toxic nonsense as I would from misogynistic men. They are equally large assholes in a purely intellectual sense. But something tells me that those same women would not go off and rape, beat, and molest. The men do. I do not feel threatened by misandry, but women do and should feel threatened by misogyny.
It's not that men don't have the right to get up in arms, it's that they have no reason. Sexism doesn't affect them systemically. Men, for all intents and purposes, rule the world. As women reach higher positions of power in the future, this will likely need addressing, and I may become to feel threatened by misandry, but it doesn't today.
Women and those damned angry feminists get up in arms precisely because the pissed off men who follow stupid shit like Manhood Academy are so ready to put women back into their “place.” The definition of manhood for these people is having women under control. Religion wants them back in the kitchen. Society wants them sexualized and put up for decoration.
Angry men the world over want those bitches down. Look at the scummy social underbelly of France that has been revealed with the Strauss-Kahn case in New York. Or the governmental representatives in Australia who keep meowing at female representatives. This is a seething, toxic undercurrent to our social zeitgeist. And because of that, misogyny and misandry are, and will remain for the perceivable future, different. Logically identical, but practically very, very, terribly, violently different.
UPDATE: Because of the direction that the comments on this site and YouTube have taken, I want to focus on a good example of what shows up on real feminist websites. Misandry is not feminism. Real, level-headed feminists write about gender in general, and freedom, and apple pie, and the American way, and all that good stuff!
Once Again, Men Can Be Raped Too (Jezebel.com)
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
I don't think that the security measures are necessary. Even if companies knew precisely what Apple was doing, they would still fail to copy it. They would fail because it is not the ideas that are valuable, it is Apple itself. It is the machine and the philosophy that produce the ideas.
For example, look at the iPhone. Apple was KGB-like secretive about its production, but why? After it was released, the rest of the market did... nothing. Nokia did not and has not responded. It took Google years to match Apple's quality and conception. It was the idea, it was the company.
Apple doesn't need lawsuits. They don't need secrecy. I think that it is painfully obvious that other companies, being run by idiots who have no philosophy, wouldn't know what to do with the information even if Apple made daily reports as to precisely what was happening behind the brushed aluminum curtain.
A good counter-example is Microsoft. Microsoft is one of the two software giants in the tech world, and they have been floundering badly in recent years. I argue that it is because their philosophy, which was tacit, has become depricated. Apple has an explicit philosophy that is discussed at length by Steve Jobs whenever he is given a chance. He wants things to be beautiful and magical. They must do what they do and do it perfectly. It's one of the reasons why Apple's products sometimes have features missing. If they didn't integrate perfectly, they were left on the cutting room floor.
That tacit philosophy that I mentioned at Microsoft, as opposed to Apple's explicit one, was a philosophy of geekiness. They wanted to take what the geeks had and give it to the entire world. And that worked wonders. The 1990's was, in my mind, the golden age of geekdom.
In 1995, we saw the release of Windows 95, which was really the culmination of Microsoft's philosophy. It was still very DOS-y, and allowed the geeks to fuck around to their hearts' content, but was also user-friendly. If you clicked on something, it ran.
But from that point forward, Microsoft's philosophy became ever-more outdated. Geek stuff got pushed further into the background. It stopped being about numbers and more about refinement and experience. It became Apple's time with the release of the iMac.
Apple has nothing to worry about. Microsoft is now trying to copy the gross aspects of Apple, just as other companies are doing, but without the core philosophy, they are failing and will continue to fail.
I wish that I could like Apple. I wish that I could buy their stuff. But I just can't get on board, and I hate other companies for failing to do what Apple does. I WANT what Apple has, but I refuse to be caged. I refuse to buy into a closed ecosystem.
Morals don't exist
I hate morals. They don't exist.
How do I know that they don't exist? Point to one.
If you do think they exist, how do they exist? If morals are objective, such as from God, why should we listen to God? Why is what he says right?
I hate morals because there are no answers to these questions. Philosophers have tried for thousands of years and have failed every time. The best we have is utilitarianism, and even that is riddled with problems.
Don't even get me started on Mere Christianity. Christian apologists love to attack the simplistic philosophy of Richard Dawkins or Sam Harris, but then hold up their own facile piece of philosophical garbage as something special. I won't go into a blow-by-blow deconstruction of it here, but as I've said before, if you think that it holds up, you really need to read more books.
The reason why I hate morality the most is precisely because it's so nebulous.
What does it mean? Right and wrong? What do those mean?
Since all words must come from something external, when I describe something as morally right or wrong, what do I mean.
I argue that, especially in religious usage, morally wrong means that elicits a disgust response. Even a mild one.
We can use the word to elicit disgust responses from stimuli that would have never done so if we hadn't relied on such a poorly defined concept. We can use words with such a massive amount of wiggle room, that we can apply them to situations and then use the word to manipulate other people to have similar responses.
Obviously, we do have some fundamental issues that seem inborn. So in that sense, an inner sense of right and wrong does exist. Cross-cultural studies showing similar determinations about hypothetical situations proves this, but that is an incredibly primal response. It has to be if it's shared by all people.
These primal responses are notoriously difficult to explain or tie down with words because the sensations in all likelihood predate the formation of language. We can safely recognize these sensations, but when applying words to them that have a whole bevy of subtle connotations, we have to be careful. Otherwise, we can use language to manipulate these deep feelings and totally fuck with our, and other people's, worlds.
Saturday, July 16, 2011
Thursday, July 14, 2011
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Unfortunately, doubling down with the carriers is the worst idea. RIM has been cozier and better served by the carriers than any other company in the past decade, which is precisely why they're in the shitter.
The carriers are lazy. They have an oligopoly in the United States and only really care about squeezing as much money from customers as possible. They are expanding their networks more slowly than their European or Asian counterparts, they're services are slower, and they cost more. What the carriers are concerned about, if Apple and Google have their way, is that they will lose the ability to squeeze money from customers when they become what's known in industry-speak as a dumb pipe. Basically, the company is nothing but the channel through which services run.
This is actually an enormously profitable place to be, but it's not romantic and it's very hard to be a rip-off, which is what the cell companies want to be. As such, the cell companies want the status quo to change as little as possible. RIM was attached to these corpses more tightly than any other company. If your company is tied to another company that wants to keep the status quo, there is no motivation to change and innovate. This state of affairs was as much responsible for RIM's current state as any internal problems the company might be having.
It was also directly responsible for a company like Apple, being lead by a legendary boardroom bully, being able to shove its way in and completely upset the old business model.
Saturday, July 02, 2011
Maybe I shouldn't say that our children are illiterate, certainly they're not. Our kids today are smarter and more capable of multiple, complex tasks than generations previously. Combined with websites, texting, chat, and school, kids today probably read more words per day than any other demographic.
The problem is that kids aren't reading books, and as this study shows, reading stories expands one's sense of self. It makes a person more than they were before! By incorporating different narratives and ideas, we are able to reprogram ourselves. We can make ourselves better.
With an expanded sense of self, nationality and group identity becomes less important. Just imagine if White Supremacists read more books. Maybe they'd stop thinking in ridiculous in-group/out-group terms like the pack of chimps that they are.
But instead of encouraging and expressing reasons to read, we're trying to convince kids to simply know how to read. In our moronic quest to be "better" than Eastern schools, or to cater to the head-aching stupidity that is No Child Left Behind, we're neglecting to explain WHY to our children.