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July 23, 2013

Interesting Reads

The Editorial Staff will be busy today, so we're posting a list of interesting reads in lieu of our usual inane commentary.

A young college student's thoughts on the inherent conflict between manhood and modern morality. We found this link via another blogger who claims the post proves Dr. Helen Smith's points about the essential rationality of men avoiding marriage and what used to be considered adult responsibilities.

To say the least, we found this assertion puzzling. What do you think?

Two excellent pieces by Walter Olsen: the first points out the contradiction in the idea that weakening legal protections for accused criminals somehow helps minorities. If you truly believe the legal system is already unfair to minorities, how does it help to make it easier to convict them?

The second details the idiocy of abolishing the reasonable person standard when dealing with "unwanted sexual advances". As we've said before, we don't necessarily have a problem with using a preponderance of the evidence to decide non-criminal disputes, but surely it should be left to schools to decide on their own standards, rules, and enforcement mechanisms?

Possibly related story: in what must surely be one of the most mind-numbingly stupid lawsuits ever, a female dental hygienist fired and replaced by another female alleges sexual discrimination. Predictably, the Sisterhood of the Perpetual Grievance piles on.

Someone needs to explain the meaning of "at will employment" and "sexual discrimination" to these folks. Does anyone seriously believe this woman would have been fired if she had chosen to limit her relationship with her boss to a purely professional one limited to normal office hours?

Stacy McCain explains why Trayvon Martin was never charged with a crime after school officials found stolen jewelry in his backpack:

In October 2011, after a video surveillance camera caught Martin writing graffiti on a door, MDSPD Office Darryl Dunn searched Martin’s backpack, looking for the marker he had used. Officer Dunn found 12 pieces of women’s jewelry and a man’s watch, along with a flathead screwdriver the officer described as a “burglary tool.” The jewelry and watch, which Martin claimed he had gotten from a friend he refused to name, matched a description of items stolen during the October 2011 burglary of a house on 204th Terrace, about a half-mile from the school. However, because of Chief Hurley’s policy “to lower the arrest rates,” as one MDSPD sergeant said in an internal investigation, the stolen jewerly was instead listed as “found property” and was never reported to Miami-Dade Police who were investigating the burglary. Similarly, in February 2012 when an MDSPD officer caught Martin with a small plastic bag containing marijuana residue, as well as a marijuana pipe, this was not treated as a crime, and instead Martin was suspended from school.

Either of those incidents could have put Trayvon Martin into the custody of the juvenile justice system. However, because of Chief Hurley’s attempt to reduce the school crime statistics — according to sworn testimony, officers were “basically told to lie and falsify” reports — Martin was never arrested. And if he had been arrested, he might never have been in Sanford the night of his fatal encounter with Zimmerman.

Question for the ages: does anyone really believe the President of the United States didn't know this before his speech the other day?

The President's dismal litigation record is attracting lots of notice:

President Obama celebrated the Supreme Court’s decisions Wednesday on gay marriage, but overall it has been a rocky term before the court for his administration, winning just more than a third of the cases in which it was involved.

Lawyers said the government traditionally averages about a 70 percent winning percentage before the high court. Its advantages are so great that the Justice Department’s chief Supreme Court attorney, the solicitor general, is dubbed the “10th Justice.”

But wait! Isn't Obama the first Constitutional Law Prof President like... ever?

Ilya Somin, a constitutional law professor at George Mason University, said it is striking to take into account the number of times the Obama administration has been on the losing end of unanimous decisions.

“When the administration loses significant cases in unanimous decisions and cannot even hold the votes of its own appointees — Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan — it is an indication that they adopted such an extreme position on the scope of federal power that even generally sympathetic judges could not even support it,” said Mr. Somin, adding that presidents from both parties have a tendency to make sweeping claims of federal power. “This is actually something that George W. Bush and Obama have in common.”

Interestingly, Somin's op-ed today seems to feature a decidedly lopsided unanimous judicial smackdown count. It would be interesting to see the actual count of unanimous defeats for each administration.

Mon Dieu!!! As if the news weren't depressing enough already, IMF analysis says the United States has a worse long-term financial position than Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, or France.

Has anyone informed the President? If the IMF says it, it must be true!

A detailed analysis of what George Zimmerman's calls to police imply about his view of blacks. Excellent and thought provoking read.

Study suggests women are less well informed on current events than men.

We're not entirely sure this should bother anyone. People focus on different things and that focus is affected by how relevant we think various things are to our own lives. The Spousal Unit and I both follow the news, but he focuses more on individual stories and I focus more on what I perceive (rightly or wrongly) to be trends. Both are useful, and neither approach is sufficient it itself to ensure that one is "well informed".

Posted by Cassandra at July 23, 2013 05:36 AM

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Comments

The Villainy's Class Clown will also be busy today, so I expect all you intelligent folks to step up your game.

Thank you.

BTW, chicks and cars always make for a hot discussion topic.
Just saying.

Posted by: spd rdr at July 23, 2013 10:01 AM

If you truly believe the legal system is already unfair to minorities, how does it help to make it easier to convict them?

Easy. Apply affirmative action to the criminal justice system: institute different standards of proof based on race.

Posted by: Texan99 at July 23, 2013 10:27 AM

re the inherent conflict between manhood and modern morality.

"just as in the order of nature, a thing is said to be natural, if it agrees with nature, and unnatural, if it disagrees.
Accordingly, just as in the natural order there is a certain natural repose, whereby a thing rests in that which agrees with its nature, for instance, when a heavy body rests down below; and again an unnatural repose, whereby a thing rests in that which disagrees with its nature, as when a heavy body rests up aloft."

Question 18 Article 5 – The Summa of Aquinas
Any culture/government already in a disputatious relationship with nature over its (nature's) determinacy is not likely to be moved by a man's natural claim of natural fatherhood and his primacy in the family. I would not trust an illegitimate State concupiscent with Gnostic urges to resolve fairly disputes of its own making. I can understand a debate on theory but not a quarrel with nature.

The utterly compelling stories of men and extraordinary heroism/sacrifice have always fascinated me. When I had read of the 300 Spartans at Thermopylae, or the men of the TITANIC, or the men that had stormed the beaches of Normandy under withering and indiscriminate fire, (these were ordinary men with basic training not men from a Spartan culture and ethos) the question inevitably occured to me – how in hell does a man ever get talked into such things? The answer is he doesn't. There is something innate in him that requires no convincing. It's not innate as genetic material or material of any sort. It is innate in the spirit. There is nothing to it of mass, dimension, weight, form, or momentum. 'It' is just 'there'. And was put there for a purpose – to forego the cajoling and facilitate the doing.

Michael Bradley has it just right as he also notes the war on nature:

"I say that the world has perverted the ideal of manhood because there is content to that ideal that essentially constitutes the male nature.

Something so small as dodgeball seems too small to make a fuss over but I'm the one to do it. That a boy might get smacked in the mug and suffer a bloody or broken nose is the least of it. That he should never learn that there are injuries far worse than the physical and indignities far worse than being laughed at, is the most of it.

I see I've devolved from Aquinas to dodgeball so back to Aquinas for the high note ending. The natural order has the male as having a distinctly male nature. Nature had determined that masculinity is the raw material, the ore, from which the value is extracted and forged into the man. The same pertains to the feminine and the fashioning of the woman. When the culture decides to scrub away the male nature, or fashion it otherwise, denounce, condemn, criticize, censure, attack, rail against it, it is in the male nature to protect itself – like protecting the groin. Men will not be made into something other than they were made to be. It is not a matter of their being right in their reasoned decision to remove themselves from the culture that is hostile to them – it is not reason that instructs them, it is their nature.

This war against men is a war against nature. It is no less despicable than Islam's war against nature, against God himself, in its (Islam's) determination that females must be snipped because God had mucked up the creation of them. This war against nature comes from all directions, Islam, the Left, the gnostics. The war against nature is a war against God – it is the only way they have of getting at him. When it becomes evident that the made over world is a threat to children and women and civilizing influences there will still be men, the remnant that would not be too refined and altogether denatured, to put things right.

Posted by: George Pal at July 23, 2013 10:49 AM

I think the issues behind "Men on Strike" phenomena are at opposition.

1) People respond to incentives, even perverse ones

2) Part of manhood is doing what is right even against the incentives

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at July 23, 2013 10:59 AM

I forgot to include:

I think the difference between the supporters and detractors of Dr. Smith's stance is in the weighting of those two issues.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at July 23, 2013 11:05 AM

That was written by a Notre Dame student? I'm having a lot of trouble understanding what it's supposed to say.

This part is more or less exactly the argument made in Fight Club, though:

"Seeing that the boy’s central desire is fertile for exploitation itself, the world has constructed an ideal of manhood that revolves around the acquiring of possessions, self-direction and an independence that eschews commitments and lasting obligations to anything outside the self."

Those are legitimate problems, at least.

Posted by: Grim at July 23, 2013 12:23 PM

As for the budgetary troubles, you are not up to date on your regime propaganda, Mistress Cassandra. Not only do we not have a spending problem (as the President told us), we have a surplus. There is no need for reform of entitlements. The IMF is simply wrong.

Posted by: Grim at July 23, 2013 12:28 PM

I'm having a lot of trouble understanding what it's supposed to say.

I think what he's saying is this:

1. Being a good father can't be separated from being a good man - they're inextricably linked. To be a good father, one must first become a good man.

2. What is manhood? There are competing visions:

Vision A = self sacrifice, self control, higher purpose than pleasure. Subordinates individual gratification to achievement/welfare of larger goal or group.

Vision B = selfishness (individual uber alles), self indulgence. Subordinates larger goals/group welfare to individual gratification.

3. It's natural for boys/men to want both immediate gratification and ability to serve some larger goal. Vision B appeals to lower nature, Vision A appeals to higher nature.

4. Vision B is all about immediate gratification at expense of future. Vision A is about delayed gratification at expense of present. Denigrating Vision A only increases chance that individual men will choose immediate gratification over long term strategy. It's the easier path.

Posted by: Cass at July 23, 2013 12:54 PM

"Stacy McCain explains..."

Yanno, I said the same thing yesterday --
"
The reason why the jewelry was never reported was because the school didn't want their crime numbers for blacks to look *bad*. This was why he was suspended. Up until the day of suspension, he had been living with his mom. After he was suspended (for the second time, from the second school), his mom sent him back to live with his dad in Sanford.
Here's an interesting take-away question:
Suppose, just suppose, those idiots in the school had been more concerned with doing the right thing instead of covering their asses, and had called the police to report the recovery of stolen jewelry -- would TM have even been walking the streets of Sanford that night in the first place?


Posted by: DL Sly at July 22, 2013 12:23 PM"

Posted by: DL Sly at July 23, 2013 01:01 PM

Part of manhood is doing what is right even against the incentives

and:

I think the difference between the supporters and detractors of Dr. Smith's stance is in the weighting of those two issues

I don't see any part of Dr. Smith's arguments that suggests she believes that doing what's right regardless of incentives is a good thing, or that it's even part of what it means to be a man. As far as I can see, she ridicules men who believe in doing the right thing even when it's hard, calling them "White Knights" and "Uncle Tims".

Everything is framed as a conflict between individuals rather than as a conflict between the requirements of a civil society and aggressive individualism. So if someone argues that marriage is better for individuals and society, they're saying men should get married to benefit women, rather than that men should get married because everyone - men, women, and children - will be better off.

That's a huge distinction. Faced with a situation where he feels he's being treated unfairly, the individualist can't be bothered to change the system. His individual welfare is maximized (she argues) by withdrawing, avoiding conflict (is that really "masculine"?), and living only for himself. This is the only rational response.

Enlightened self interest, on the otter heiny, says that if the world goes to hell in a handbasket, that's a bad thing. So individuals who think they're being treated unfairly owe it to themselves and to society to seek conflict and fight for their values.

That's the missing piece in the MRA movement - I see a lot of "what's in it for me?" and not much, "Let's organize to build support for a better way of doing things". Given that men still far outnumber women in politics, that's extremely puzzling to me.


Posted by: Cass at July 23, 2013 01:06 PM

BTW, chicks and cars always make for a hot discussion topic.

I can't load your link, spd. Did they take it down?

Posted by: Cass at July 23, 2013 01:09 PM

Apply affirmative action to the criminal justice system: institute different standards of proof based on race.

Ironically (or maybe not) that's pretty much what the DoE is proposing with the elimination of the reasonable person standard for what constitutes offensive sexual contact: there are effectively different standards based on gender or level of attraction (and God help you if you don't read minds).

Making the standard subjective rather than objective effectively flips the burden of proof from the accuser (to establish that an offense even took place) to the accused (to prove a negative - that no offense took place). The line between acceptable and unacceptable behavior cannot be established ahead of time.

That's really the heart of this issue to me - not the preponderance standard, but the replacing of an explicit/objective definition of unacceptable behavior with one that cannot possibly be known in advance, and is therefore arbitrary and capricious.

Posted by: Cass at July 23, 2013 01:20 PM

I thought you'd like that, Sly :)

Posted by: Cass at July 23, 2013 01:21 PM

...calling them "White Knights"...

Speaking of incentives, I find being called that very pleasing.

Posted by: Grim at July 23, 2013 01:25 PM

I find your lack of Darkness.....disturbing.
0>;~}

Posted by: DL Sly at July 23, 2013 01:39 PM

If we only relaxed the burden of proof on the prosecution we wouldn't have injustices such as this.

Absolutely, let's go from accusation right to sentencing. The prosecutor said so.

Posted by: Allen at July 23, 2013 01:42 PM

0 is a weight. I never claimed she wasn't at the far end of the scale. :-)

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at July 23, 2013 01:43 PM

Did you see where GZ came out of hiding yesterday?
He helped pull a family of four out of their overturned SUV in the middle of a crosswalk less than a mile from where the shooting took place. Yeah, he could have been seen and possibly killed given the level of hatred the master baiters have ginned up.
WTF was he thinking this hateful, racist, profiling, murderous cop-wannabe white Hispanic thug?
He didn't care.
He did the Right Thing.
The best Tweet of the day on that one came from someone named Kathy, "The most well-known white Hispanic saves a family of four. The most well-known white Black man refuses to save four Americans. Who's the hater?"

Posted by: DL Sly at July 23, 2013 01:47 PM

Speaking of incentives, I find being called that very pleasing.

I find it incredibly amusing, coming from a bunch of people who are always complaining about the unbearable unbearableness of Shaming Language directed at men. As we're so often told, calling your opponents names is a Conversation Stopper meant to discourage honest debate and criminalize disagreement .... well, at least when the "other side" does it.

It's also an amusing counterpart to the oft-voiced criticism of Feminism that only certain choices women make are acceptable to feminists. Seems to me that calling men who disagree with you names strongly implies that only certain choices men make are acceptable!

Can't see much daylight between the two groups. That's the problem with the identity politics crowd - it's all tribalism, all the time.

Posted by: Cass at July 23, 2013 01:56 PM

That said, taking away the reasonable person standard for harrasment takes a 0 weight on the incentives side by thinking that men will not find other opportunities everywhere else but at colleges.

I sure as hell would not take a job in that environment and put my family at risk in such circumstances. I doubt I would do it under a "preponderance of evidence" rule either. A vocal conservative (and therefor already sexist) gets accused? I'd be under the bus from day one on the job and I have no illusions about the willingness of the liberals surrounding me to pull me out from under it.

To change that, the incentives have to change, not my willingness for self-sacrifice.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at July 23, 2013 01:56 PM

Absolutely, let's go from accusation right to sentencing.

And skip the Show Trials? Allen, you ignorant slut :)

How else with the pols show they care deeply about whatever it is we're supposed to be outraged about this week??? Personally, I can't think of a better way to show that women are just as tough as men than to create special rules that effectively grant them a handicap in the game of life.

Pun fully intended :p

Posted by: Cass at July 23, 2013 01:58 PM

To change that, the incentives have to change, not my willingness for self-sacrifice.

If you require an incentive to atone for your guilt, you haven't been sufficiently indoctrinated.

Posted by: Texan99 at July 23, 2013 02:09 PM

That cracked me up.

I have a better idea, let's just get it over with. We'll make Nancy Grace the sole Supreme Court Justice and the Attorney General.

That way we'll get to keep the drama without having any of that messy trial business.

Posted by: Allen at July 23, 2013 02:11 PM

Seems to me that calling men who disagree with you names strongly implies that only certain choices men make are acceptable!

That's the sort of thing that shouldn't be implied. It should be stated definitely.

It's the reverse position I find surprising: the idea that men (or women) should be free to do whatever they want without judgment.

Posted by: Grim at July 23, 2013 02:13 PM

I sure as hell would not take a job in that environment and put my family at risk in such circumstances. I doubt I would do it under a "preponderance of evidence" rule either. A vocal conservative (and therefor already sexist) gets accused? I'd be under the bus from day one on the job and I have no illusions about the willingness of the liberals surrounding me to pull me out from under it.

I have to disagree with you on this one, Yu-Ain. The vast majority of jobs are 'at will' employment. You can be fired for all sorts of dumb reasons, including "You embarrassed me", to "I don't like the cut of your jib" to "Your tight scrubs make my pants go all bulgy and erode my willpower and now my wife wants you gone".

Part of life includes fighting back against unreasonable people, rules, and standards and no law is ever going to make that problem go away. And part of life includes choosing your associates wisely and conducting yourself in such a way that (at the least) people know your values and will be loathe to believe accusations that you've violated them.

I've told the story of my getting hauled before an honor court in HS on a frankly silly charge. It was scary, and the burden was preponderance (which I still believe is probably the right one for private orgs, as there's a freedom of association issue there along with the right of groups to define their own standards for inclusion/endorsement). Several kids were kicked out of my HS - something that has real repercussions - and some were kicked out for reasons that seemed trivial to me. But the school had no duty to accept students whose values conflicted with theirs.

Absent government interference, the problem's a self-correcting one as groups that are unreasonable will suffer in a free market. Here, the government is placing its thumb on the scale, and that's a problem. The other problem is that if govt. makes everyone adhere to the same standard, there's no correction mechanism for abuses b/c there's effectively no competition.

People have ALWAYS been able to accuse each other of all sorts of nasty things, and if there are no witnesses then one's reputation is the only real defense. Sadly, we no longer believe a reputation is worth cultivating.

I suspect that in most of these cases, the right isn't all on one side or the other. People don't normally lodge formal complaints for no reason. One can always find exceptions to this general rule, and literature and classic movies are full of stories of men and women unjustly accused who were "ruined" by the mere hint of improper behavior.

There are unbalanced/unscrupulous people in the world, and the system has never been very good at dealing with them. I would argue that the risk is actually less than it has been, historically, because we're a society with very few rigorous standards. Conservatives don't even want colleges to discipline students for camping out in front of women's dorms and yelling, "Yes means no. No means an*l".

So we're part of the problem, IMO. Is it really any surprise that outcome based education has been replaced by outcome based jurisprudence and public policy?

Posted by: Cass at July 23, 2013 02:25 PM

Which, by the way, is a position I often encountered vis. women as a young man. One reason I was initially very unwilling to hold women to moral standards was that I had been taught as a young man that to do so was wrong and oppressive -- for a man to judge in this way was a holdover of patriarchy, an attempt to put women in their place.

Your counter-critique of this position (i.e., that you can't take women seriously if you don't hold them to moral standards) was very enlightening. But it requires abandoning the kind of feminism I was taught in school, and raised around as a young man. You have to become comfortable saying bad things about women (or at least about their behavior), and holding them to standards they may not like.

Posted by: Grim at July 23, 2013 02:29 PM

I note by the comments that men should aspire to be men for it's own (manhood's) sake. That's as fine a social construct as I'd ever heard and makes the same audacious claim that incentives be damned because human nature may be made over. Before they are men, males are merely males. They have already that part of a fallen nature that moves them to take what they want when they can get away with it. They have also in them that part of a higher nature that might move them to discipline, sacrifice, selflessness, and such. There's the struggle. There are plenty of incentives to do as you please, take what you want, and sate your appetites according to your superior male strength. There had better be incentives to do otherwise. To believe otherwise is to expect our better natures will win out every time over our fallen natures – seven/eleven on every roll. That'll be the day.

Posted by: George Pal at July 23, 2013 02:44 PM

There are plenty of incentives to do as you please, take what you want, and sate your appetites according to your superior male strength. There had better be incentives to do otherwise. To believe otherwise is to expect our better natures will win out every time over our fallen natures – seven/eleven on every roll. That'll be the day.

George, that is sidebar-worthy :) FWIW, I think this applies every bit as much to women as it does to men - just in a different way. We're not physically as strong as men, but women have our own unique strengths and we've been known to misuse them and inflict great damage on others.

It also ties in neatly to Grim's comment just before:

One reason I was initially very unwilling to hold women to moral standards was that I had been taught as a young man that to do so was wrong and oppressive -- for a man to judge in this way was a holdover of patriarchy, an attempt to put women in their place.

That's actually very enlightening to me, as I interpreted your position as a lack of faith that women were capable of/worthy of being held to a lofty standard. I think the phrase "soft bigotry of low expectations" sums it up. I am surprised to read your explanation of why you were taught otherwise, but it's easy to find parallels in modern feminism (though they're by no means universal - see Cathy Young or Carrie Lukas for a more sensible perspective).

In many ways, women have been treated as though we were children for a very long time; initially by some aspects of traditional gender roles (women don't need to vote, shouldn't be allowed to own property, have zero rights in a custody situation) and later by some aspects of feminism (women's choices can't ever be criticized, government should protect us/help us compete with men, women should act like men instead or choosing our own paths in life).

It's going to take time to find the right balance between liberty and license for both sexes, but I don't believe we do either sex any favors when we grade on a curve. I do think we need to learn to honor each other's strengths and help each other develop our weak areas. Traditionally, that's what marriage was all about.

I don't know what will take its place (maybe nothing) but I hope that friendship may be part of the answer. I know this is unbearably corny, but men and women truly are made for each other. Friends support each other, but they can also inspire each other to become better people.

You have all inspired me, more times than I can count, to broaden my perspective and consider things I had not thought of myself. I need all the Ensmartening I can get!

Posted by: Cass at July 23, 2013 03:38 PM

Well, in addition to my (almost wholly female before college) teachers, you know my mother was (is) a pretty staunch feminist for a conservative lady from rural Tennessee. She objected especially to the Southern Baptist / Primitive Baptist standards for women she was brought up with, and impressed upon me that she didn't like men at all if they tried to hold women to those traditional standards.

On the other hand, as a young man I realized that I really did want to strive to live up to the heroic standards of old. So a compromise position that initially seemed reasonable to me, as a youth, was that men could have the old standards -- we were, after all, supposed to have been solely responsible for devising them according to the critique (which also proves to be completely untrue, but that's another story). Women could be responsible for setting new standards for themselves, whatever they wanted. In order to avoid the criticism of patriarchy, they'd have to be free to do this wholly on their own, without my (or other male) interference.

Your conversations with me have convinced me that that approach can't work out, even though it seemed reasonable when I was 18 or even 25. Your critique of it was quite right, and I've abandoned the idea as a consequence.

But you can see, perhaps, why it seemed reasonable to me when I was younger. I think perhaps an allied error is the one being made by many young men today, which is to accept the feminist rejection of traditional standards, and assume that means it's also good for men to reject those standards. That leaves us with men who, lacking the moral standards developed over thousands of years of experience, end up fumbling along and doing 'what seems right to me,' a matter which will always be heavily influenced by 'what I like' and 'what is pleasant to me.'

Posted by: Grim at July 23, 2013 04:08 PM

"You have all inspired me, more times than I can count, to broaden my perspective and consider things I had not thought of myself."

I'll take credit for the disco ball and trapeze, but it was JHD's idea for the visqeen and mazola oil. Not sure who came up with the whipped cream and cherries...maybe Mr. DeBille during his diorama stage when he was experimenting with the vanilla icing.....you'd have to ask my wardrobe manager about that.
0>;~}

Posted by: DL Sly at July 23, 2013 04:14 PM

Has anyone heard from Mr. DeBille lately?

Posted by: Grim at July 23, 2013 04:21 PM

I haven't. I had several email conversations with people wondering where/how he was doing, and I emailed him but got no response.

He was on a couple of email distro lists I'm on, and I haven't seen him respond in a very long time.

Someone - can't remember who - asked about KJ recently. He's doing fine, just working hard.

Posted by: Cass at July 23, 2013 04:35 PM

...you can see, perhaps, why it seemed reasonable to me when I was younger.

Absolutely, now that you've explained it to me :) It wouldn't have occurred to me on my own, though. So I truly appreciate the explanation. Obviously you don't owe me one, but it helps me understand where you're coming from.

I think perhaps an allied error is the one being made by many young men today, which is to accept the feminist rejection of traditional standards, and assume that means it's also good for men to reject those standards. That leaves us with men who, lacking the moral standards developed over thousands of years of experience, end up fumbling along and doing 'what seems right to me,' a matter which will always be heavily influenced by 'what I like' and 'what is pleasant to me.'

That strikes me as very sound.

It bothers me that the modern standard seems to do away with showing deference or respect to the other sex, regardless of whether we're talking about men or women.

How do we get along with people who don't see life the same way if we begin by suspecting their motives or disregarding their perspective? Expecting a lot of ourselves isn't just for the benefit of other people - it has real value to us, as most people repay kindness with kindness, disrespect or disdain with anger and defensiveness.

As with so many things, we tend to reap what we sow.

Posted by: Cass at July 23, 2013 04:43 PM

I'll take credit for the disco ball and trapeze, but it was JHD's idea for the visqeen and mazola oil. Not sure who came up with the whipped cream and cherries...maybe Mr. DeBille during his diorama stage when he was experimenting with the vanilla icing.....you'd have to ask my wardrobe manager about that.
0>;~}

To good times, and absent friends.

*clink*

Posted by: Cass at July 23, 2013 04:44 PM

Last I heard from John of Argghhh!, Mr. DeBille had raised a fiddly bit a month or two ago on Facebook to let everyone know he was still perfecting his recipe for mud. That was the last I heard, though.

Posted by: DL Sly at July 23, 2013 05:00 PM

The vast majority of jobs are 'at will' employment. You can be fired for all sorts of dumb reasons

Certainly, but choosing between two environments where the likelihood of such is events is not equal doesn't strike me as unreasonable.

And part of life includes choosing your associates wisely and conducting yourself in such a way that (at the least) people know your values and will be loathe to believe accusations that you've violated them.

Exactly. Choosing to work in an environment where the majority of the workforce already sees you as have two strikes against you does not seem very wise. And when people knowing your values (conservative) is likely to make them *more* likely to believe accusations against you strikes me as even less wise. I've always said, I want to work for someone who wants me to work for them. They clearly do not. That's OK, I'm not mad at them.

the problem's a self-correcting one as groups that are unreasonable will suffer in a free market.

This is pretty much what I'm talking about. The rules are stupid and they would never be able to buy my labor because of it.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at July 23, 2013 05:01 PM

None of this is to say that the rules shouldn't be fought. Only that that battle must be won first.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at July 23, 2013 05:28 PM

New subject.

The link you have under 'sisters of perpetual grievance' begins with a reference to Homer's Odyssey. Curiously, though, the Odyssey does not say at all what they think it says.

What the Sirens were singing about was kleos, which is to say glory. It wasn't sexuality that was supposed to be so enchanting, but hearing songs of the heroism of old friends, battles fought, sung in a way that reminded you of the great things of the past. In other words, the idea wasn't that these Sirens would enchant you by virtue of being female and drawing your attention to sexuality. It was that a veteran of the Trojan War, like a veteran of the Vietnam War or any other war, could lose himself in the pleasures of hearing about old friends again, and remembering the great things done when young, and battles fought.

I think any veteran would understand that, and in those days men tended to have been veterans. Sexuality wasn't unimportant to the Greeks, but that's not what this was about at all. Odysseus tied himself to the mast not because he was afraid he'd swim out to the women qua women, but because he wanted to hear the songs of his old companions without being lost to their memories forever.

Posted by: Grim at July 23, 2013 05:31 PM

Fair enough, Yu-Ain. FWIW, I see both the preponderance and the lack of an explicit standard of wrongdoing to be fairly meaningless in the context of at will employment, because let's face it: you can be fired for ANY reason, no matter how specious, at will.

The real issue, which your comment touched upon several times, was the unwise decision to work with people whose values are so clearly different from yours. That's where the danger in an employment situation comes from - not the burden of proof (which is actually irrelevant in this context, since no proof is required) or the subjective definition of the offense.

Don't know if that helps, but it is clearer than my original comment (which was made on a hurried break from reading (*&%$# requirements documents). That said, I find the willingness to jettison objective and explicit standards to be every bit as alarming as the Dems' newfound willingness to weaken the presumption of innocence.

Odysseus tied himself to the mast not because he was afraid he'd swim out to the women qua women, but because he wanted to hear the songs of his old companions without being lost to their memories forever.

NO, NO, NO! IT'S ABOUT MEN AND THEIR BULGY PANTS!!!!11!

I just re-read that entire post and am fairly sure I lost about 50 IQ points I could ill afford to part with :p

How in the holy hell can firing one of several women in an office and replacing her with yet another woman be discrimination on the basis of sex? Clearly, simply being female isn't the "discriminator", so to speak.

Aye, chihuahau. These people work so hard to be offended.

FWIW, I've been hired by men who said openly sexist things (such as, "You don't need as high a salary as that single guy over there b/c some day he'll have a family to support. Note: at the time I had a husband and child and we needed my salary badly enough to live apart for a year so I could get a paying job.)

Most men who say things like that are able to put their general opinions of women as a class of people aside when the situation warrants doing so. I have one relative who occasionally says things that I think sound pretty racist. But she is able to put that aside when dealing with individuals and she (gasp!) voted for Obama.

Posted by: Cass at July 23, 2013 06:23 PM

That's very similar to what my father taught me, when I was a boy, about the difference between Northern Racism and Southern Racism. Northerners (in those days, he said) rejected racism as a theory, but if you brought a particular black man into their office to get a job, there was no way he was getting one. Southerners would accept racism as a general theory, but they'd make exceptions for the individuals they knew personally. "Well, not John. He's not like the others. He's a good man and works hard, first in line at church on Sunday."

Things have changed since then. It's still probably an insight worth thinking about as we struggle with what remains.

Posted by: Grim at July 23, 2013 07:01 PM

The only thing I can figure is that the woman objected to being fired on the ground of her no longer being attractive to her boss as a girlfriend, rather than for her work performance. I can understand why that would be irritating, but then since she was carrying on with her boss, can she be sure she was previously staying employed for any better reason than her being attractive to her boss as a girlfriend? Live by the sword, die by the sword. Yes, he was judging her as a sex object rather than an employee, which makes him a pig, but she auditioned for the former position. Anyone who thinks a romance won't be soured by power politics in that situation is an idiot who deserves to be fired for that reason if no other.

Posted by: Texan99 at July 23, 2013 07:09 PM

It's Summertime, people!

Chicks and cars redux: http://jalopnik.com/how-not-to-talk-to-a-woman-who-likes-cars-824147900

More interesting stuff concerning chicks and cars: http://www.darkroastedblend.com/2007/01/girls-cars-european-vintage-ads.html

I could go on, you know.

Posted by: spd rdr at July 24, 2013 07:15 AM

I see both the preponderance and the lack of an explicit standard of wrongdoing to be fairly meaningless in the context of at will employment, because let's face it: you can be fired for ANY reason, no matter how specious, at will.

In some sense that's correct. My objection is not that it is possible, of course it is. As a matter of policy I think it's better than someone can be fired for stupid reasons than that someone can't be fired for good ones.

But when an employer openly and publicly proclaims a policy that they'll fire people for stupid reasons, it takes a special kind of stupid to wonder where all the good people went.

Replace "people" with any particular subgroup you desire and it still holds.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at July 24, 2013 11:13 AM

Sexuality wasn't unimportant to the Greeks,

I read an interesting article over on TV Tropes where the Greeks would not have understood the modern trope of women witholding sex from men as "punishment". The Greek trope would have the genders reversed.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at July 24, 2013 11:25 AM

I watched an interesting video this morning featuring that guy who just wrote a book on female sexuality.
He brought up the speed dating study (men were less choosy until the roles were reversed to have the women approach the men - suddenly women were much less selective). Having read WAAAAAAY to many "explanations" of female selectivity involving cave men and highly speculative (and self congratulatory) rewritings of how it was long before history was recorded, I found this all very amusing.

I've said it before and I'll say it again - we attribute a whole lot of things to "wiring" that clearly aren't hard wired. And then we're shocked when incentives change (and so does all this supposedly hard-wired behavior).

Men and women aren't exactly the same but there's a whole lot more overlap than people want to admit. The other major finding from his book was that women get bored sexually far more quickly than men. Which kind of makes sense when you consider that it takes more work for us in the first place. It's also a very plausible alternate explanation for women not wanting to have sex as much, once they're married.

I view all these theories with a rather large grain of salt, but I'm guessing we won't see male bloggers linking to reviews of this guy's book any time soon. As one reader remarked, "Yikes - that's not very flattering to the old ego..." :p

Too funny.

Posted by: Cass at July 24, 2013 12:27 PM

The only thing I can think of is that these researchers have never raised kids of their own.

Anyone who has, knows that they come hardwired with certain things and are not "blank slates", but that it still leaves a lot of room for us to write on.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at July 24, 2013 12:36 PM

"...but that it still leaves a lot of room for us to write on."

Just don't use the Mr. Clean eraser sponge to clean up afterward. That thing'll take paint off the walls, imagine what it'll do to skin.

Posted by: Gustavo Evil at July 24, 2013 01:50 PM

Grim: that was funny. I can still remember what a shock it was to travel up north for the first time, having heard all my life how racism was a Southern thing. I heard casually ugly racial animosity directed at living, breathing black people that I'd never dreamed of encountering at home.

C.S. Lewis has Screwtape say something about the intolerable (to him) habit of Englishmen to rave that no punishment is too severe for their distant enemies, and then offer tea and cigarettes to the first wounded German airman who shows up at their back door.

Posted by: Texan99 at July 24, 2013 03:12 PM