28 August 2012

Where's Whoopi


You know, I’m kind of surprised that Whoopi “It’s Not Rape-Rape” Goldberg hasn’t weighed in on the whole Mark Akin/"legitimate rape" issue.  After all, if there’s anyone who would know the ins and outs of legitimate rape, it would be Whoopi “It’s Not Rape-Rape” Goldberg.

25 August 2012

Other Blogs


I’ve started posting at my other blogs again.  There are a pair of movie reviews at Allusions of Grandeur.  One is a review of The Campaign.  An excerpt:
What prevents the movie from being a hilarious take on the American political scene, a la Duck Soup or Idiocracy, is its theme:  Big Money is ruining politics.  This theme, stated directly a couple of times throughout the film, is wholly fallacious.  Big Money is not why democracy, and its attendant elections suck; Big Money is merely the symptom.  No, the real problem is that gullible idiots are not only permitted, but often encouraged (I’m looking at you, Get Out the Vote) to vote.  The reason why so many millions of dollars are spent making ads that focus on stupid reasons to vote for or against a given candidate, or why so many politicians and talking heads quibble over the most inane of talking points (like how much money a candidate makes, or what grades a candidate received in college) is because there are a large number of people who think that this sort of discourse is meaningful, and these people have the right to vote.  The simple fact of the matter is that it is shockingly expensive to convince shallow and gullible people to commit to choosing a candidate for office.  And that’s why big money is so prevalent in politics.  Of course, the theme of voter stupidity was already dwelt upon in Idiocracy, and so it would seem a little shopworn to dwell upon it now.  However, this movie could have easily been reworked as a send-up of Swing Vote, with Ferrell retaining his initial role as unopposed incumbent and Galifianakis being cast as Marty Huggins, a man needing to be convinced to be the one person to vote in his state, and thus lend the election a sense of legitimacy.  Now that would be political satire that strikes close to home.
The other is a review of The Dark Knight Rises.  An excerpt:
Whereas the prior installment focused on the dangers of anarchy, DKR focuses on the danger of fascism, and totalitarianism dressed up as equality.  This is a remarkably mature theme for a comic book movie, but Nolan handles it with aplomb.  I would suggest that Nolan is a conservative in the truest sense of the word, recognizing the pitfalls of both anarchy and fascism, and striking to find balance between the two.  Interestingly, Nolan seems more accepting of the use of force in this film than in prior ones (cue Catwoman:   I’m not fond of the whole ‘no guns’ rule…), recognizing that sometimes the only way to combat evil is with evil.  Thus, while Nolan is leery of a world without a central authority, as in the character of the Joker in DKR, he is also just as leery of a world where madmen are the central authority.  Nolan’s overarching of the Batman series appears to be that Power is a necessary evil, and one that should constantly be kept in check, which is itself a very Jeffersonian view.
I’ve also picked up posting at Red Carpet Blues. For those who might have been wondering, here’s a hint as to why I have not been blogging as much over the past couple of months.

Another Republican Wimps Out


A sheriff candidate in New Hampshire apologized Thursday for saying he would “absolutely” do whatever it takes to stop abortions — including using deadly force.

Frank Szabo, a Republican candidate for Hillsborough County Sheriff, prompted calls for him to drop out of the race after his comments Wednesday, WMUR-TV reported. It started when he issued a press release vowing if elected to arrest anyone performing an abortion, even if their actions were legal under state law. Szabo then took it a step further to say he wouldn’t rule out deadly force to stop one from happening in his jurisdiction.
Well, it should be no mystery why the GOP can’t seem to get any political traction anymore:  all the party leaders are a bunch of nutless sad sacks, incapable of standing for even the most basic of human rights.  Any time any candidate tries to stand up for a basic right, said candidate gets neutered or hung out to dry by party leaders.  Pro tip for GOP party bosses:  people don’t vote for spineless jagoffs, so quit making that a prerequisite for party candidacy.

Another pro tip for GOP party bosses:  when you brand yourself as a shitty version of your opposition (as opposed to an actually different party that offers an actual alternative to the competition), don’t be surprised if you keep losing.  The supporters of your opposition don’t want a shitty version of it; they already have the real deal.  Your party supporters don’t want a shitty version of it, either; they’d much rather have an actual alternative.  I swear, it’s like the GOP is intentionally trying to lose.

In further keeping with his recent recantation:
He told WBZ-TV, “Deadly force is the last thing that law enforcement should be using, if a citizen’s life is in danger they need to be protected….If there’s no other choice, that’s what’s needed to protect the citizen.” [Emphasis added.]
So, no one gets upset when the police violate their own rules and kill innocent adults, but suggest that they merely arrest mass murderers, and suddenly everyone’s up in arms about the police overstepping their bounds.  This country is fucked up.

And then there’s this hilarious rejoinder:
Fellow Republicans criticized Szabo for his remarks, including New Hampshire House Speaker Bill O’Brien, who said Szabo’s comments “make it clear that he does not understand the constitutional role of sheriff in New Hampshire.” [Emphasis added.]
Well, I guess I didn’t realize that Republican politicians cared about rule of law these days.  I can’t wait for them to lead the charge in prosecuting the banksters for their fraud and bringing the troops back from their unconstitutional wars in the Middle East.

Quotes from That Hideous Strength


I’m about halfway finished with C. S. Lewis’s That Hideous Strength.  I’ll have a review of it when I’m finished with it.  In the meantime, here are some excerpts that I found to be enjoyable and/or insightful.

On the flaws of the social sciences:
“I should want to pull it to bits and put something else in its place.  Of course.  That’s what happens when you study men:  you find mare’s nests.  I happen to believe that you can’t study men; you can only get to know them, which is quite a different thing.  Because you study them, you want to make the lower orders govern the country and listen to classical music, which is balderdash.  You also take away from them everything which makes life worth living and not only from them but from everyone except a parcel of prigs and professors.”
That basically sums up most economists, especially those who are Keynesians or, worse, behavioral economists.

On women talking:
“Husbands were made to be talked to.  It helps them concentrate their mind on what they’re reading…”
On young couples:
And so, all evening, the male bird displayed his plumage and the female played her part and asked questions and laughed and feigned more interest than she felt.  Both were young, and if neither loved very much, both were anxious to be admired.
On politics:
“Don’t you understand anything?  Isn’t it absolutely essential to keep a fierce Left and a fierce Right, both on their toes and terrified of the other?  That’s how we get things done.  Any opposition to the N.I.C.E. is represented as a Left racket in the Right papers and a Right racket in the Left papers.  If it’s properly done, you get each side outbidding the other in support of us—to refute the enemy slanders.  Of course we’re non-political.  The real power always is.”
On submission in marriage:
[Speaking to Jane] “They never warned you.  No one has ever told you that obedience—humility—is an erotic necessity.  You are putting equality where it ought not to be.”
On submission:
Her beauty belonged to the director.  It belonged to him so completely that he could even decide not to keep it for himself but to order that it be given to another, by an act of obedience lower, and therefore higher, more unconditional and therefore more delighting, than if he had demanded it for himself.
On the differences in how the sexes communicate:
“The cardinal difficulty,” said MacPhee, “in collaboration between the sexes is that women speak a language without nouns.  If two men are doing a bit of work, one will say to the other ‘Put this bowl inside the bigger which you’ll find on the top shelf of the green cupboard.’  The female for this is, ‘Put this in the other one in there.’  And then if you ask them, ‘in where?’ they say, ‘in there, of course.’  There is consequently a phatic hiatus.”
On certain types of men:
“I want you to like him if you can.  He’s one of my oldest friends.  And he’ll be about our best man if we’re going to be defeated.  You couldn’t have a better man at your side in a losing battle.  What he’ll do if we win, I can’t imagine.”
On matchmaking:
“If you two quarrel much more,” said the director, “I think I’ll make you marry one another.”
Thus far, I’ve found the book to be quite engaging and well-written, and more humane than most of Lewis’s other writings.  His prose can be quite enjoyable at times, and he never feels like he’s trying too hard to make a point, which is what I think made the two prior installments in this series trilogy feel considerably more inferior.  At any rate, this book is a highly recommended read.

24 August 2012

Judging Rape


Judge Napolitano misses it on this one:
The criticisms of the recent absurd comments by Missouri Republican Congressman Todd Akin, who at this writing is his party's nominee to take on incumbent Missouri Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill in November in a contest he had been expected to win, have focused on his clearly erroneous understanding of the human female anatomy. In a now infamous statement, in which he used the bizarre and unheard-of phrase "legitimate rape," the congressman gave the impression that some rapes of women are not mentally or seriously resisted. This is an antediluvian and misogynistic myth for which there is no basis in fact and which has been soundly and justly condemned.
Actually, some studies suggest that anywhere from 25% to 50% of all rape allegations may be false.  Also, it appears that roughly 10% of women have what are known as “rape fantasies,” wherein they are turned on by the thought of being raped.  So the idea of legitimate rape is actually quite sound, seeing as how a) false rape accusations do actually exist and b) there are some women who apparently desire to be raped (or at least thoroughly dominated sexually).  And no, these aren’t “antediluvian and misogynistic” myths.  These are the realities of our modern times.

Thus, to suggest that there may be some rapes that aren’t legitimate, though awkwardly phrased, is actually correct.  Some rapes aren’t rapes at all, and some rapes aren’t unwanted.  This isn’t misogyny; this is reality.  Perhaps we should get over our cultural prudishness about the nature of sexual desire and accept reality for what it is.  In the meantime, let’s stop with the politically correct shaming language that is predicated on the misandrist myth that all women are as pure and innocent as the wind-driven snow.