Friday, August 17, 2018

My favorite Jamelle Bouie tweet so far

When I mentioned on Twitter that my blog posts about Khan had been used by Bouie in his Khan takedown, Claire Lehmann freaked out.

I've been hoping that Bouie would focus more attention on Quillette and the "Intellectual Dark Web" and it looks like he's doing it.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Charles Lane, Richard Lynn and the tainted sources of The Bell Curve

Earlier in this evo-psycho bros series I quoted Charles Lane's 1994 review of "The Bell Curve" but I failed to discuss before now the interesting exchange of letters in the New York Review of Books where Lane's review appeared.

The first letter is from Richard Lynn, who I've mentioned a few times in this series and who is still alive:
Lane’s second criticism of my work is that some of it has been published in the journal Mankind Quarterly, which he alleges has a “white chauvinist agenda.” If this were true, the journal would surely have refused to publish my work showing that Orientals have higher IQs than whites. The fact that the journal did publish this work shows the absurdity of Lane’s charge. 
Furthermore, of my 25 papers cited in The Bell Curve, only 3 have been published in Mankind Quarterly. To reject the whole corpus of my work on these trivial grounds reveals Lane as a bigoted ideologue rather than a serious scholar.
To which Lane replies:
As for Professor Lynn’s description of the Mankind Quarterly, of which he has been a contributor and editor for over two decades—including the period when the journal was directly controlled by the outspoken Scottish white supremacist Robert Gayre—it is laughable. I didn’t try to discredit his “whole corpus” of work based on this association. Rather, I made a critique of specific points based on my reading of the evidence. In this connection, it is noteworthy that Professor Lynn does not attempt to defend his spurious claim that the average IQ of black Africans is only 70—a refutation of which occupied a considerable part of my article.

I will not comment on the balance of the review except to note that it seems about the same quality as the foregoing. Charles Murray has appropriately called this book review “McCarthyism” (Wall Street Journal, December 2, 1994). 
Harry F. Weyher
The Pioneer Fund
New York City

Lane's response was in part:
Still, if Mr. Weyher is suggesting the Pioneer Fund has never opposed racial integration he is being disingenuous. He was personally recruited by Wickliffe Draper to help the Pioneer Fund at a time when Mr. Draper was preparing to wage scientific battle against the Brown v. Board of Education decision. Later in that same decade, the Fund financed spurious research into chemical means of separating white donors’ blood from that of blacks’ in blood banks. This year, Mr. Weyher, who now operates the Fund more or less single-handedly, said in an interview with GQ: “That decision [Brown] was supposed to integrate the schools and everybody said we’d mix ’em up and the blacks’ scores would come up. But of course they never did. All Brown did was wreck the school system.”6 
The same article’s author wrote that “the fund’s hereditarianism forms a kind of dogma that leads it to venture well away from strictly scientific topics to shape the larger debate over policy implications. Weyher freely admits that he would like to eliminate what he calls “Head Start-type” programs. But, to judge by the grants that it has made, the fund’s administrators are also interested in limiting immigration, stopping busing, reversing integration, and ending affirmative action.”7
The hostility towards helping poor children is a common theme of the hereditarians, and in an interesting piece in April of this year in Vox, Matt Yglesias writes:
The actual conclusion of The Bell Curve is that America should stop trying to improve poor kids’ material living standards because doing so encourages poor, low-IQ women to have more children — you read that correctly. It also concludes that the United States should substantially curtail immigration from Latin America and Africa. These are controversial policy recommendations, not banal observations about psychometrics.
Murray’s critics are frequently accused of mischaracterizing him, so I want to quote, at length, what he says the upshot of this is (emphasis in the original):
We are silent partly because we are as apprehensive as most other people about what might happen when a government decides to social-engineer who has babies and who doesn’t. We can imagine no recommendation for using the government to manipulate fertility that does not have dangers. But this highlights the problem: The United States already has policies that inadvertently social-engineer who has babies, and it is encouraging the wrong women. If the United States did as much to encourage high-IQ women to have babies as it now does to encourage low-IQ women, it would rightly be described as engaging in aggressive manipulation of fertility. The technically precise description of America’s fertility policy is that it subsidizes births among poor women, who are also disproportionately at the low end of the intelligence distribution. We urge generally that these policies, represented by the extensive network of cash and services for low-income women who have babies, be ended. 
The government should stop subsidizing births to anyone, rich or poor. The other generic recommendation, as close to harmless as any government program we can imagine, is to make it easy for women to make good on their prior decision not to get pregnant by making available birth control mechanisms that are increasingly flexible, foolproof, inexpensive, and safe. 
The other demographic factor we discussed in Chapter 15 was immigration and the evidence that recent waves of immigrants are, on the average, less successful and probably less able, than earlier waves. There is no reason to assume that the hazards associated with low cognitive ability in America are somehow circumvented by having been born abroad or having parents or grandparents who were. An immigrant population with low cognitive ability will — again, on the average — have trouble not only in finding good work but have trouble in school, at home, and with the law.
These claims about the baleful impact of social assistance spending are not uncontroversial claims about science. Indeed, they are not claims about science at all. And since they constitute what Murray himself views as the upshot of his book, and because Murray is a policy writer rather than a scientist, it is correct and proper for fair-minded people to read the book for what it actually is: a tract proposing the comprehensive revision of the American welfare state along eugenicist lines.
Steven Pinker has steadfastly refused to admit to agreement with the Bell Curve's assessment of African Americans, while at the same time suggesting that Bell Curve's critics are unfair. We see him doing the same thing with Richard Lynn, which I will get to next.

Steven Pinker, defending "The Bell Curve" by linking to an article in Quillette, written by
admitted proponents of "human biodiversity" which defends statements about race and intelligence in "The Bell Curve" by stating: 
Perhaps the strongest evidence is simply that there are, as yet, no good alternative explanations." One of the authors thanks Pinker for his support.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Charles Murray - another member of the "intellectual dark web"

Like Steven Pinker and Sam Harris, Charles Murray is also a fan of alt-right Quillette, home of some of the world's most prominent hereditarians, "race realists" and "biosocial criminologists."

Murray is of course most famous for The Bell Curve from twenty years ago, written with lots of studies funded by white supremacist organization The Pioneer Fund.

I knew many articles first published in Quillette found a second home at the white supremacist publication American Renaissance - what I didn't realize was the very high number of Quillette articles are republished there.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

My continuing studies of the shameful career of Steven Pinker

Yes I was very disappointed that Justin Trudeau, mon
premier ministre d'amour, would say nice things about
a racist, misogynist & lazy thinker like Steven Pinker
I've had this blog for twelve years now - it will be thirteen as of November 2.

So what was I blogging about this time twelve years ago?

I have consistently discussed the career of Steven Pinker in the last 12 years on this blog, although some years I have not mentioned Pinker as much as others: in 2012 I only mentioned him twice and in 2008 I did not mention him even once. 

2018 has been a banner year focusing on Pinker's career, because he started out 2018 being more blatant about his defense of the right than ever before.

I hope to do even more going forward, justified by Bari Weiss citing Pinker as some kind of respectability high-point for the racist, misogynist, anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant, anti-trans "Intellectual Dark Web."

Monday, August 13, 2018

Woman explaining geometry to monks (14th century manuscript)

What it must look like when a female mathematician 
has to deal with proponents of evolutionary psychology. 

Sunday, August 12, 2018

More about Steves Pinker & Sailer

Steven Pinker included Steve Sailer's piece on why Iraqis are too in-bred to have a democracy, in "The Best American Science and Nature Writing" in 2004 because of course he agreed with it. 

Contrary to Pinker's reputation as a serious intellectual, what I have found time and again on reading his work is that it is often based on unsupported and untestable assumptions, and a complete disinterest in data.

The latter is demonstrated by Pinker's claim - in the right-wing tradition - that marriage prevents violence in men, a claim completely contradicted by data, as I discuss here.

Here we see Pinker discussing in 2007 in an article in the New Republic, Sailer's piece "The Cousin Marriage Conundrum" and of course he does not mention Sailer's inclination to white supremacy.
In January 2003, during the buildup to the war in Iraq, the journalist and blogger Steven Sailer published an article in The American Conservative in which he warned readers about a feature of that country that had been ignored in the ongoing debate. As in many traditional Middle Eastern societies, Iraqis tend to marry their cousins. About half of all marriages are consanguineous (including that of Saddam Hussein, who filled many government positions with his relatives from Tikrit). The connection between Iraqis' strong family ties and their tribalism, corruption, and lack of commitment to an overarching nation had long been noted by those familiar with the country. In 1931, King Faisal described his subjects as "devoid of any patriotic idea … connected by no common tie, giving ear to evil; prone to anarchy, and perpetually ready to rise against any government whatsoever." Sailer presciently suggested that Iraqi family structure and its mismatch with the sensibilities of civil society would frustrate any attempt at democratic nation-building.
The idea that there is a reverse correlation between cousin marriage and democracy is easy enough to debunk, as I did when writing about "The Cousin Marriage Conundrum" - by looking at the existing data on cousin marriage.

But as we have seen in the case of the magic of marriage, Pinker isn't interested in data if it's going to contradict his favorite sociobiological theories. 

It's true that it's easier to get data now on such things as consanguinity by country than it was in 2003 when Sailer published the piece, but that shouldn't matter - if Sailer and Pinker expect to be taken seriously on their claims about important issues, they should be expected to put a little work into backing their claims. 

And Sailer's "prescience" doesn't explain why, although Nigeria has a cousin-marriage rate of 51.2 - the highest in the world except for Kuwait and Burkina Faso, compared to Iraq's rate of 34.3, Nigeria is a democracy.

Pinker doesn't come up with arguments for why data doesn't tell the true story and thus why he and his friend Steve Sailer are correct in spite of data. Rather he completely ignores the existence of data.  It seems as though it has never even occurred to him that there might be data out there. His lack of intellectual curiosity is astounding.

And Pinker is the shining exemplar of scholarly respectability in the "Intellectual Dark Web" per Bari Weiss. This gives you some sense of what a joke the "Intellectual Dark Web" is.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Is it fair of me to link Steven Pinker to David Duke?

In her infamous article Meet the Renegades of the Intellectual Dark Web, New York Times right-wing op-ed columnist Bari Weiss identified Steven Pinker as a member of the "Intellectual Dark Web," presenting him as its most respectable member:
Go a click in one direction and the group is enhanced by intellectuals with tony affiliations like Steven Pinker at Harvard. But go a click in another and you’ll find alt-right figures like Stefan Molyneux and Milo Yiannopoulos and conspiracy theorists like Mike Cernovich (the #PizzaGate huckster) and Alex Jones (the Sandy Hook shooting denier).
As I demonstrated in my diagram Steven Pinker's Rightwing, Alt-Right and Hereditarian Connections - a sort of Pinker-centric illustration of the Intellectual Dark Web published a month before Weiss's article - Pinker has connections to Molyneux and Alex Jones (Infowars), thanks primarily to his promotion of and admiration for Quillette, a web site founded by Claire Lehmann, contributor (along with Mike Cernovich who does not appear in my diagram) to Canada's far-right Rebel Media.

Bari Weiss also admires Quillette.

Weiss thanked by frequent Quillette contributor Andy Ngo
identified as a "free speech grifter" in this excellent GQ article.
I have been accused by Pinker fans of smearing Pinker in my diagram through guilt-by-association.

My diagram is a quick and handy guide, a picture being worth a thousand words and all, but it isn't the whole story. I included a text-based explanation with the diagram, justifying the Pinker connections, but Pinker's fans are inclined to be intellectually slothful and shallow - much like Pinker himself - and they just can't be bothered to read what I have written, much less come up with actual arguments.

In my original Pinker diagram there are four degrees of separation in the shortest route between Pinker and white supremacist David Duke, currently being portrayed by Topher Grace in Spike Lee's new movie BlackKKlansman, as in: Pinker to Quillette to (three Quillette authors) to Stefan Molyneux to David Duke.

But I explained in the footnote of my diagram, I don't include all the inter-connections for the sake of clarity. But this time, I am presenting the most direct connection between Pinker and Duke. And this time I included the text explanations so that even the laziest Pinker fan cannot miss them. You can click the image to see the PDF version.

I think it's likely that Steven Pinker is, on a personal level, even more right-leaning than his public persona would indicate. I think he reigns in his more extreme opinions (and so do some of his fans) because, I believe, Pinker is foremost a careerist. Which is why we see, for example, Pinker bragging about his meeting Justin Trudeau even though many members of the Intellectual Dark Web hate Trudeau, especially Pinker's good buddy Claire Lehmann.

Their hatred of Trudeau, a proud feminist, is what you would expect from people who have a seething, bitter hatred towards feminists. Lehmann herself not only hates feminists but is a straight up misogynist. So is her fellow Rebel Media contributor Gavin McInnes.

Apparently the Quillette gang has begun podcasting. All the more reason I need to start a podcast examining the "Intellectual Dark Web."

The painfully slow but inevitable reckoning of TALLEY'S FOLLY

TALLEY'S FOLLY won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1980. TALLEY'S FOLLY is "romantic." TALLEY'S FOLLY only requires two actors and one set.

Few younger people seem interested in TALLEY'S FOLLY with its cis-heterosexual white couple, but young people are not the ones programming community theater, or off-Broadway bread-and-butter crowd-pleasers.

And so TALLEY'S FOLLY is still being produced in spite of the fact that it is a play about a stalker bullying a woman into marriage.

I have been blogging about my distaste for TALLEY'S FOLLY over the years. But I missed this excellent blog post from a blog called Ramblings of a Theatre Nerd, critical of TF, posted five years ago. Up until today I thought I was the only non-critic to mention TF and its disturbing stalker/bully aspects.

One aspect of the play that Theatre Nerd mentioned, which I didn't, is the audience's clueless response to the play:
But I think what bothered me the most was the audiences reactions. As Matt was saying all the ways he’s been stalking her (pursuing her) for the passed year, people would aww. As he’d control her, the audience would aww. 
And this is why abuse goes unnoticed. This is why society doesn’t get it. This is the problem. The abuser is charming at first. He disguises his nasty mask as this amazing guy – until it’s too late. And it can be so subtle that unhealthy behaviors can be perceived as ‘wow, this guy must really love me (her).’   
So, that’s why I didn’t like Talley’s Folly, and that’s why I’m not happy that this is considered a love story. We have some work to do, society! 

Five years ago I blogged that reviewers were finally begin to notice the truly awful subtext of the play.  Curiously, since then, there have been fewer mentions of Matt being a stalker in theater reviews of TALLEY'S FOLLY. However, I don't think that necessarily means critics are less likely to pick up on it. I think it's possible that since the #metoo movement, many theatre companies are passing on TF because either they recognize the problem at the heart of the play, or theatre companies are being run by new blood who aren't interested in TF.

So now, only the more backwards theater companies in more conservative communities are producing it, and they aren't likely to have a feminist perspective on the play. A search on "Talley's Folly" and "review" for the period of 2017-2018 demonstrates there are virtually no in-depth reviews of the small-potatoes productions of TF that happened during that time period.

I consider that a good sign. 

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Fun fact

Emmanuel Macron is two and a half years older than Macaulay Culkin.

Culkin and Donald Trump in "Home Alone 2"

Monday, August 06, 2018

Happy birthday Mr. President

The last real president of the US.

Sunday, August 05, 2018

What hath Robin DiAngelo wrought?

And she went after the Mighty Krug-Man too.
This can not stand.
It probably isn't Robin DiAngelo's fault, alone, or even primarily, that anti-white racism has become chic, but she certainly has been banging that drum for a long time, and a recent defense of Sarah Jeong mentions "white fragility" Robin DiAngelo's catch phrase which must surely be trademarked by now.

However, it's clear that it is chic and another article, by Zach Beauchamp, written in defense of Jeong argues that it's not so bad, all the nasty things Jeong said about whites, because all the other kids are doing it:
The problem here, though, is assuming that Jeong’s words were meant literally: that when Jeong wrote “#cancelwhitepeople,” for example, she was literally calling for white genocide. Or when she said “white men are bullshit,” she meant each and every white man is the human equivalent of bull feces. This is expressly Sullivan’s position: He calls her language “eliminationist,” a term most commonly used to describe Nazi rhetoric referring to Jews during the Holocaust. 
To anyone who’s even passingly familiar with the way the social justice left talks, this is just clearly untrue. “White people” is a shorthand in these communities, one that’s used to capture the way that many whites still act in clueless and/or racist ways. It’s typically used satirically and hyperbolically to emphasize how white people continue to benefit (even unknowingly) from their skin color, or to point out the ways in which a power structure that favors white people continues to exist. 
I get that white people who aren’t familiar might find this discomforting. 
But of course as we learn from Robin DiAngelo, finding this "discomforting" should not make one feel sorry for the white people, but rather contempt for their "white fragility."

It is certainly true that "the social justice left" says hateful things about "white people" - as I have noted several times on this blog, especially white women - especially white feminists.

It's interesting how often the social justice left attacks others on the left more than they attack the right. 

I always wondered if some of the more ambitious on the social justice left would ever pay for their flagrant ethnicity-based attacks - I've speculated about a lawsuit against Robin DiAngelo, which has still apparently not happened yet, but I still haven't counted it out. I was glad that Mikki Kendall seemed to have finally paid a price for her relentless race and gender based attacks when Michelle Goldberg wrote about her in The Nation. But now the NYTimes has demonstrated that ethnicity-based attacks are no barrier to career advancement.

In addition to the "all the kids are doing it" arguments in defense of Jeong are:
  1. She's just parodying racists (like Andrew Sullivan)
  2. It's OK to say racist things against whites because whites are all-powerful and all-privileged
  3. It's impossible for a non-white person to be racist because they are all oppressed by whites
  4. Jeong was attacked by racist trolls so that excuses her racism. This seems to be the one adopted by Jeong herself.
The worst thing about this defense of anti-white racism is that it gives the Right the opportunity to take the high road, as demonstrated by Jeong's attack on some right-winger and his response.

All these excuses given for why it's OK to attack people based on their ethnicity, if that ethnicity is white, makes the left look like a bunch of shameless hypocrites. And racists. And I hate shameless hypocrites and racists. And I hate it when idiots on the Left like Sarah Jeong make the Right look good.

Saturday, August 04, 2018

Blocked by Sady Doyle - again

I was once blocked by Sady Doyle on Twitter because I refused to back down from pointing out what a sexist Mohammad Ali was. Although I had written admiringly of Ali too

But apparently to disagree with Sady Doyle on some matter concerning race is to be blocked by Sady Doyle.

That is how the New Philistines are. It doesn't matter if you are a solid anti-racist, as my blog testifies I have been for at least the last twelve years - if you disagree with a New Philistine on anything, including tactics, they will treat you like you are the Grand Wizard of the KKK.

 I will be writing more about the New Philistines, focusing on Roxane Gay and her "stay in your lane" philosophy soon.

So Sady Doyle blocked me again. This time because I criticized her piece on the contemptible hereditarian Robin DiAngelo

Friday, August 03, 2018

The secret to Robin DiAngelo's success: attacking liberals

I have wondered why the Right doesn't attack Robin DiAngelo more, considering how flagrantly racist she is against whites, but I think I finally realized the answer - because Robin DiAngelo attacks liberals more than any other group.

She benefits both from liberal guilt/martyrdom complex and the right's hatred of liberals and desire to deflect their racism onto liberals. It's a win-win proposition. 

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Living is the best revenge

One of the few benefits of getting older is thinking back on your childhood up to your twenties, and remembering the people you knew, teachers and employers and co-workers, who were twenty or thirty years older than you back then, who were mean or abusive to you. And you think: "hah hah asshole, you're probably dead now."

I sometimes sit and reminisce about the many jobs I had when I was younger just so I can think of another nasty person who is probably dead. It's not a very nice thing to admit, but I can't help it. 

It's said that living well is the best revenge, but in some ways, just living is the best revenge.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Did Brigitte Macron and her first husband appear in an episode of "French in Action" - mystere et boule de gomme!

"Brigitte" says "we save it" ("On l'economize")
I am 99% sure that this brief clip from the 1980s educational TV series "French in Action" shows Brigitte Macron, current first lady of France.

The clip is part of a 20-second segment, originally, I think, an advertisement for a French bank called Caisse d'Epargne ("savings bank").

Here is the episode of French in Action in which the segment appears, beginning at 11:53.

The segment features a variety of French people being asked what they would do if they suddenly had a lot of money - they all say "put it in the bank" as far as I can tell. My French comprehension is still only about 70%.

A teacher in the 1990s
The woman in the clip not only looks a lot like Brigitte Macron, she's about the right age (late 20s/early 30s) and there are photos of her from her younger days where she wears the same exact hair style, and she has some orthodontic issues, fixed since then, which can be seen in photos from her teacher days.

The key to the mystery is the guy in the video next to her. It is impossible to find a photo of Brigitte's first husband, André-Louis Auzière online - and not even all the French language media has apparently been able to find one since even in articles about Auzière, they never run a photo. If it turns out he looks like the guy in this video clip then the mystery will be solved.

If nobody else has noticed this apparition of Brigitte Macron in French in Action except me it's probably because a. she wasn't famous until a couple of years ago and b. I have watched the entire French in Action series all the way through about ten times in the past year and even I didn't notice this until today.

Oddly, I had wondered if Emmanuel Macron would ever show up in the series - he would have been around ten years old - like in the background for one of the puppet shows they keep showing in the series. I hadn't considered Brigitte might show up.

French in Action - oh lah lah!
Also oddly, this clip is from a  commercial for a bank and André-Louis Auzière had a career as a banker. Maybe that's how they ended up in this video.

Also oddly, in this same episode of French in Action there is a scene of "Aunt Georgette" reminiscing about "the one that got away" - a guy named George who - spoiler alert! - she reunites with by the end of the French in Action series.

And he is much younger than her.


Here is the clip of "Brigitte" from the French in Action episode.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Doug Henwood constantly attacks feminists, has no criticisms of Putin

To nobody's surprise, Doug Henwood attacks feminists in defense of Trump/Putin. 

Now I have my own problems with Amanda Marcotte - in fact I blocked her on Facebook a couple of years ago when she defended one of her asshole friends who maintained that the Bronte sisters - who grew up in virtual poverty and worked their entire lives to support themselves in often horrible conditions - were "privileged" and so we shouldn't care about their books overmuch.

Speaking of differences of opinion with other feminists, I feel that my side of the argument over Anthony Weiner vs. Marcotte and her friend Lindsey Beyerstein has been fully vindicated. This is from 2011. I can't believe that's seven years ago already.

I certainly have had my differences with other feminists, but Henwood and his wife and their dirtbag left gang have a problem with all feminists. 

Just as the Right claims that professional misogynists like Christina Hoff Sommers are "equity feminists" the far Left claims that real feminists are women who don't focus on women's rights. As Henwood explained it:
“The side of feminism I’ve studied and admired for decades has been about moving towards that ideal [of a more peaceful, more egalitarian society], and not merely placing women into high places while leaving the overall hierarchy of power largely unchanged.
Henwood feels that "feminists" shouldn't spend their time thinking about the lives women are living in the here and now, but should rather devote themselves to the "peaceful more egalitarian society" of the ideal future. And screw that self-centered feminist project of getting women elected. 

In 2017 the Daily Beast mentioned Henwood in an article about how the Far Left was played by Putin. I have serious doubts that Henwood was played rather than went along - and is going along - quite willingly:
Another Nation staple, contributing editor Doug Henwood, has maintained a professional relationship with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, yet is apparently very tetchy about the collaboration, as I also discovered when I engaged him. 
Henwood had planned to work with Assange on putting out a book about Hillary Clinton’s Goldman Sachs speeches—Henwood annotating, Assange writing the foreword—transcripts of which were of course originally hacked by Russian intelligence and disseminated through WikiLeaks, at least according to 17 different U.S. intelligence agencies, two of which concluded that this was done with the express purpose of helping Trump get elected. When I brought up this pending project, as detailed both on the book publisher’s website and in multiple articles, Henwood called me a “fucking idiot.” 
(Henwood’s publisher, when contacted for this story, noted that Henwood was no longer affiliated with the endeavor, saying that he had now grown “weary of chronicling Hillary Clinton’s boundless political shortcomings.”)

Henwood's hatred of Hillary Clinton is partly explained, I believe by his own misoygny, but more and more I've begun to think it's also because he's aligned with Vladimir Putin. I've looked and although Henwood has mentioned Putinon occasion  and defended the Trump-Russia connection I have never found any evidence of Henwood criticizing Putin. 

And yet Doug Henwood has no problem at all harshly attacking feminists, none of whom have been accused of murdering journalists or meddling in US elections.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Robin DiAngelo and the specialness of whiteness

The name of the obnoxious Robin DiAngelo is still showing up in my social media feeds and so I've been forced to think about her again.

She included the incident of how she bullied a German woman named Eva in her book, which I discussed in this blog post and this struck me anew:
I was working with a small group of white participants when a woman I will refer to as Eva stated that because she grew up in Germany, where she said there were no black people, she had learned nothing about race and held no racism
I found this interesting because when I confronted a co-worker about her racist statements, a few years ago, the coworker said that I had to forgive her bigotry against African Americans because she grew up in Russia without black people. Which apparently was what made her racist.

DiAngelo continues:
I pushed back on this claim by asking her to reflect on the messages she had received from her childhood about people who lived in Africa. Surely she was aware of Africa and had some impressions of the people there? Had she ever watched American films? If so, what impression did she get about African Americans?
What I find interesting about DiAngelo's interrogation of the German woman is DiAngelo's assumption that just being made aware of African people or seeing American films with black people in them made Eva likely to be a racist. I don't see how that follows.

As far as American films, the biggest issue is the underrepresentation of black people. But when black people are portrayed they are often sympathetic figures - from Cleavon Little in "Blazing Saddles" to Danny Glover in the "Lethal Weapon" films to Samuel L. Jackson in "Pulp Fiction" to Morgan Freeman in "Shawshank Redemption."

Sure black people are sometimes portrayed as bad too, and the list of black leading characters I came up with off the top of my head doesn't include black women, but although black people are badly underrepresented in American media, when they do show up they are no more likely to be portrayed as bad, percentage-wise than white people.

Now that doesn't mean that growing up in Germany it was impossible that Eva felt superior to Africans or African Americans. But that's not a white thing - that's the human condition. People generally feel that their in-group, however they define their in-group and it's often on ethnic or nationalist terms, is the best.

This is an example of the "specialness of whiteness" that Thomas Chatterton Williams is talking about. DiAngelo apparently reckons that there is something associated with white skin that makes white people more likely to feel superior to the Other than people of any other skin color.

This is not supported by the data, but Robin DiAngelo isn't interested in data about this any more than she's interested in finding out what white people today actually think about the career of Jackie Robinson. DiAngelo says whatever she wants to say, and she is treated so deferentially by all who interview her that she will never be questioned about her more bizarre statements. 

And that's how Robin DiAngelo continues to have a successful career based on pushing extremist beliefs about the specialness of whiteness.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Welcome to the trip

I finally launched the NYCPlaywrights podcast. So far the response hasn't been overwhelming.

It's still technically rough in spots, but it should get better as we go along and learn more. We'll see...

Saturday, July 21, 2018

In the kiosk

The kiosk at East 72nd - if it looks like it's listing,
it is - try keeping your rolling chair in one place
in that thing - it's not easy.
I had my second shift in a Central Park information kiosk on Friday. It's a three-hour shift and I have been completely exhausted by the end of each shift. I couldn't believe the woman who took the double shift in front of me. That's six hours, I don't know how she did it. 

The kiosk shift on Friday was at the kiosk right near Strawberry Fields - if I had a dime for every time I was asked where it was (the answer - go to those food carts, cross the street, up the hill) I'd be rich. Where did people go in Central Park before Strawberry Fields was installed? 

The more ghoulish tourists want to see where Lennon was shot (answer - go across Central Park West, the Dakota is on the north corner at 72nd.)

My big exciting moment on Friday was giving directions in French. The woman was very nice and said I spoke French well. I screwed up cinq and quinze (5 and 15) though, which is dumb mistake. But still - the entire conversation was conducted in French and there was mutual understanding. Formidable!

Friday, July 20, 2018

Randy Rainbow makes good

Randy Rainbow and I go back to 2005 when I paid him to perform a play by Brett Holland in the NYCPlaywrights fundraiser. He was going by Randy Rainbow even then.

I've been watching his videos on Facebook since he started making them and I'm thrilled that he's becoming an actual celebrity. Today I see there's a profile of him at ABCNews.

Brett Holland has also found success but via a more conventional path.

Although I love his Trump-focused videos to me this is one of Randy's funniest:

Thursday, July 19, 2018


What did the President know?
Russia attacked our democracy by order of Putin.
When did he know it?
January 6, 2017
What did he do about it?
Continued to lie about it right up to the present in order to continue to commit treason.
There is no need to wait for Mueller any more.


Steven Pinker, still shilling for trashy alt-right Quillette

Pinker is such a contemptible alt-right friendly creep. And please note that professional racist Steve Sailer, whose career Pinker has promoted over the years, likes this tweet.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

The Nation's Liza Featherstone (wife of Doug Henwood) of course defends Trump against charges of collusion

And of course she hates Ruth Bader Ginsberg. Because any non-compliant woman, especially feminists are the enemies of Liza Featherstone and Doug Henwood and their little Hillary-hating cult.

I wonder how many people are aware of this small New Yorker article about Henwood and Featherstone and their love of Russia and nostalgia for the old Soviet Union? I know about it because I occasionally check in to see what these two assholes are up to in the name of The Nation. It appeared in the March 20, 2017 issue of the New Yorker:
Liza Featherstone, an advice columnist for The Nation, arrived with her husband, the economics journalist Doug Henwood. They’d been coming here for seventeen years; it was “the site of our failed first date,” Henwood said. At a nearby table sat a young woman in a knitted pink pussy hat. “I should have worn my penis hat,” Henwood remarked, to no one in particular. The bar’s Communist-red walls are festooned with posters of Soviet triumphs: victory over Nazi Germany, the first woman cosmonaut in space, Cheburashka (the U.S.S.R.’s answer to Mickey Mouse). KGB carries three varieties of Baltika, a decent proletarian beer brewed in St. Petersburg. The leftist power couple ordered Lagunitas I.P.A.s. “At no point would I have enjoyed living in the Soviet Union,” Featherstone said. “The seventies were pretty comfortable,” Henwood rejoined, pulling out his iPhone to share a 1978 photograph of General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev lounging in turquoise swimwear. Featherstone was summoned to the podium, where she delivered a meditation on the complexities at the intersection of B.D.S.M. and feminism. Forty-six hundred and sixty-three miles away, in Moscow, Vladimir Lenin rolled over in his mausoleum. 
And the rest of us are rolling our eyes.

It's important to note that Henwood's economic interests don't end in simply critiquing capitalism. Not only has capitalism been good to the Featherwoods via real estate, Henwood also offers advice to high-net-worth individuals via what used to be called The Liscio Report but which is now called TLRanalytics. I assume Henwood makes a decent living from this publication since it offers extremely pricey subscriptions.

Henwood & Featherstone have a bitter hatred for bourgeois feminists or the bourgeois in general (and feminists in general) - I wonder how many members of the working class can afford a subscription to Henwood's content.

I believe that when all the info has come out about Russia meddling in the US, not only is Trump going to be a proven Russian asset, so will Featherstone and Henwood.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

The Nation's Doug Henwood defends Trump against charges of treason

Anybody who has read this blog knows how much I've despised Doug Henwood since 2014

It was clear right away he hated feminists, or any non-compliant women, really.

But I didn't realize how friendly he feels towards Putin nor how shameless he would turn out to be in defending Trump against charges of treason.

And it seems he has decided to become pro-Trump. 

He needs to have his ass fired from The Nation.

Monday, July 16, 2018


One of the best takes I've seen yet on the #TreasonSummit 

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Exploring the "intellectual dark web"

Bari Weiss, conservative columnist at the New York Times in her infamous article on the topic, mentioned the people in the list below, as either members of or allies of the "intellectual" dark web. 

I believe what they mostly have in common is racism,  misogyny and anti-Muslim bigotry. Weiss glosses over the race issue as "identity politics" when she first describes the group in her piece:
Here are some things that you will hear when you sit down to dinner with the vanguard of the Intellectual Dark Web: There are fundamental biological differences between men and women. Free speech is under siege. Identity politics is a toxic ideology that is tearing American society apart. And we’re in a dangerous place if these ideas are considered “dark.”
I'll be looking at other ways they are connected, and not just the fact that Eric and Bret Weinstein are brothers and Heather Heying is married to Bret Weinstein. 

And eventually I'll create a visual guide to the interconnections among the IDW as I did with Steven Pinker's right-wing, alt-right and hereditarian connections. Several of the people in that chart are also identified as IDW, in addition to Pinker - Molyneux, Charles Murray, Sam Harris, and Claire Lehmann.
  • Ayaan Hirsi Ali
  • Mike Cernovich
  • Sam Harris
  • Heather Heying
  • Alex Jones
  • Charlie Kirk
  • Claire Lehmann
  • Abby Martin
  • Stefan Molyneux
  • Charles Murray
  • Douglas Murray
  • Maajid Nawaz
  • Candace Owens
  • Jordan Peterson
  • Steven Pinker
  • Joe Rogan
  • David Rubin
  • Ben Shapiro
  • Michael Shermer
  • Debra Soh
  • Christina Hoff Sommers
  • Eric Weinstein
  • Bret Weinstein
  • Kanye West
  • Milo Yiannapoulos

Saturday, July 14, 2018


In addition to the NYCPlaywrights podcast I'm about to launch, I'm toying with the idea of doing a podcast about the Intellectual Dark Web, or Steven Pinker's alt-right connections.

The thing is, there is quite a bit of overlap between Pinker and the alt-right and the Dark Web. However, there seems to be quite of bit of podcasting now about the Intellectual Dark Web, by its proponents like Bari Weiss, and none from critics. So I think that's a gap that needs to be filled.

I already have an evo-psycho bro series on this blog. Perhaps in preparation I'll start blogging while gathering material for the IDW podcast. 

I will start with Bari Weiss's infamous article for the New York Times. And by the way, my theory for why it is "dark" is because most or all of its members are "racial realists" - that is, they believe that Charles Murray was correct to suggest that black people are intellectually inferior thanks to evolution. So I will especially be exploring the race science aspect of the IDW.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

I have created a monster

Mr. Fuzz taking his daily constitutional
My two cats are getting on in years, they are both almost 15 years old and are showing signs of age.

Poor Miss Willow has a thyroid problem and has to have a topical treatment in her ears twice a day. She eats and eats thanks to the hyperthyroidism but is still too thin. I stopped giving her the medicine for a while because she's such a pain in the ass about taking it (she's semi-feral and hates to be handled too much by anybody, even me) and she almost wasted away. I won't be trying that again.

Mr. Fuzz, on the other hand, is too fat. And he has asthma and the doctor said it would help if he lost weight. So I have begun a regime of making Mr. Fuzz walk up and down our apartment building stairs once or twice or sometimes even three times a day. And he loves it. As soon as he gets in the mood to go down the stairs he will stand by the door and start screaming to go out. Ugh. But at least he's getting some exercise. I even got him a harness for cats, and although he tolerates wearing it for a few minutes after awhile he gets tired of it and flops down on his side in protest. And unfortunately I can't really take him for walks. The streets of this neighborhood, while relatively quiet for Manhattan are still too much for a cat who has spent all but a few hours (in total) of his entire life indoors. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Robin DiAngelo - still a counterproductive, authoritarian, obnoxious charlatan

The name "Robin DiAngelo" has been cropping up again in social media because she's apparently published another book proclaiming all white people are racists and any white people who don't agree with Robin DiAngelo are not only racists but fragile too.

You can see that DiAngelo is still riding her simple-minded hobby horse in this latest article, in Medium. Most Medium articles come with a comments section, but DiAngelo's does not. Because DiAngelo must control the narrative. 

DiAngelo doesn't want a dialog about race, she wants to make a well-paying career out of her simplistic revenge narrative without having to respond to any questions about her statements and in some cases, her outright lies.

She ends her Medium article like this:
But we aren’t likely to get there if we are operating from the dominant worldview that only intentionally mean people can participate in racism.
You see, you cannot be trusted to be anti-racist merely because you consciously object to racism and because you've taken actions to oppose racism. Presumably even Heather Heyer, who lost her life opposing racism, is no better than "intentionally mean" white people.

Robin DiAngelo would like a life in which she can feel free to point at any random white person she sees and accuse them of racism, without knowing anything about them, and rather than the white person objecting to her accusation, instead, bow down to Robin DiAngelo and say: "oh thank you Robin DiAngelo for teaching me what an unconsciously racist piece of shit I truly am. Please allow me to give you money to say it again in front of a group."

And since DiAngelo controls the narrative and her audiences so carefully, this is almost always exactly what she gets. 

But every now and then DiAngelo meets a non-compliant white person and so she writes articles like the one in the Medium telling tales of those stupid white people.

It's important to note that Robin DiAngelo never admits to being wrong on this subject. She never admits to going too far. She has a true authoritarian personality and it shows, even though the cause of anti-racism is a good one. Her authoritarian personality twists the fight against racism into something else entirely.

I have spent the past six months poring over the literature of European and American white nationalism, in the process interviewing noxious identitarians like the alt-right founder Richard Spencer. The most shocking aspect of Mr. Coates’s wording here is the extent to which it mirrors ideas of race — specifically the specialness of whiteness — that white supremacist thinkers cherish. 
This, more than anything, is what is so unsettling about Mr. Coates’s recent writing and the tenor of the leftist “woke” discourse he epitomizes. Though it is not at all morally equivalent, it is nonetheless in sync with the toxic premises of white supremacism. Both sides eagerly reduce people to abstract color categories, all the while feeding off of and legitimizing each other, while those of us searching for gray areas and common ground get devoured twice. Both sides mystify racial identity, interpreting it as something fixed, determinative and almost supernatural.
He could have had DiAngelo in mind.

DiAngelo's belief in "the specialness of whiteness" - the special evilness of whiteness - is demonstrated in this Medium article. 

There is a huge problem of racial inequality in the United States as a result of slavery and the various terrorist and apartheid systems developed by the white majority right up to the present time. There's a very specifically black/white dynamic, which I have written about at length in my evo-psycho bros series, in which I discuss the way evo-psychos and their sociobiology fellow travelers erase American history in order to maintain that there is something innately bad about blackness.

Robin DiAngelo has much in common with the evo-psycho brotherhood. The difference isn't in her approach to the concept of "race" though. They both believe race to be fixed and determinative, as Williams said - the only difference is which "race" is bad. 

And the evidence that DiAngelo has a problem with whiteness itself, rather than the race system of the United States is that DiAngelo does not only accuse white Americans of being congenital racists. She blames all white people for racism, as in her charming tale of the German woman named Eva. 

Of course we're never going to hear Eva's side of it. DiAngelo writes:
 I was working with a small group of white participants when a woman I will refer to as Eva stated that because she grew up in Germany, where she said there were no black people, she had learned nothing about race and held no racism. I pushed back on this claim by asking her to reflect on the messages she had received from her childhood about people who lived in Africa. Surely she was aware of Africa and had some impressions of the people there? Had she ever watched American films? If so, what impression did she get about African Americans? I also asked her to reflect on what she had absorbed from living in the U.S. for the last 23 years, whether she had any relationships with African Americans here, and if not, then why not. 
We moved on, and I forgot about the interaction until Eva approached me after the workshop ended. She was furious and said that she had been deeply offended by our exchange and did not “feel seen.” “You made assumptions about me!” she said. I apologized and told her that I would never want her to feel unseen or invalidated. 
However, I also held to my challenge that growing up in Germany would not preclude her from absorbing problematic racial messages about black people. She countered by telling me that she had never even seen a black person “before the American soldiers came.” And when they did come, “all the German women thought them so beautiful that they wanted to connect with them.” This was her evidence that she held no racism. With an internal sigh of defeat, I gave up at that point and repeated my apology. We parted ways, but her anger was unabated. 
A few months later, one of my co-facilitators contacted Eva to tell her about an upcoming workshop. Eva was apparently still angry. She replied that she would never again attend a workshop led by me. Notice that I did not tell Eva that she was racist or that her story was racist. But what I did do was challenge her self-image as someone exempt from racism. Paradoxically, Eva’s anger that I did not take her claims at face value surfaced within the context of a volunteer workshop on racism, which she ostensibly attended to deepen her understanding of racism.
If I was Eva I would have been very tempted to take a pop at DiAngelo's smug obnoxious face with her "internal sigh."

The German woman said what all white people can say about Robin DiAngelo: "You made assumptions about me!" Robin DiAngelo is the anti-Martin Luther King, Jr. She firmly believes in judging people completely on the basis of their color and never on the content of their character. 

  • In DiAngelo's world, you as a white person do not get to claim your own narrative about your life. 
  • Your pointing out that you were not raised in the US black/white apartheid system means nothing to DiAngelo. 
  • Your saying you think black people are beautiful means nothing to DiAngelo.
Robin DiAngelo has a ready-made narrative for you.

And if you push back against her simplistic literally black-and-white model of the world she will sigh at your stupidity and then write up your interactions to make herself the patient yet bemused heroine.

The best part of the Eva narrative is the gas-lighting. DiAngelo "challenged" everything this woman said about her life and her attitude towards black people because DiAngelo was clearly implying the woman was racist.

After DiAngelo recounts Eva's protestations, DiAngelo writes: "This was her evidence that she held no racism."

DiAngelo could not possibly be more obvious: she has heard the woman's evidence against DiAngelo's implied charges of racism, and Judge Robin has ruled Eva guilty of racism. And yet DiAngelo shamelessly states "I did not tell Eva she was racist."

DiAngelo doesn't even have the personal or professional integrity to admit what she did to this woman.

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Le français est incroyable

"Those French are crazy."
This has been driving me crazy, the French over-use of the sound "sawn."

I made the letter "n" in "sawn" smaller to represent the nasal "n" sound that is so often heard in French. It's like "dawn" but instead of using the tip of your tongue against the top-front of your upper palate to pronounce the letter "n" you pronounce it behind your nasal passages.

This is an actual French sentence:
Cent sens sans sent sang.
According to Google Translate it means: "One hundred senses without the smell of blood." 

That is technically a meaningful sentence. Granted it's unlikely to be used, and when I flipped it back and forth between English and French translation it turned into "Une centaine de sens sans l'odeur du sang" which means "A hundred senses without the smell of blood." Which is damn close to the original sentence meaning in English.

In print "Cent sens sans sent sang" looks like five distinct, if somewhat similar words. But you can easily see they are different words. Visually. 

 Now this is why French, as spoken, is so hard for non-native speakers to understand. 

Because according to Google Translate at least, "Cent sens sans sent sang" sounds like this:
"sawn sawn sawn sawsawn"
That's right, those five distinct words are pronounced exactly the same way.

It's like the stereotypical French laugh "hohn hohn hohn" (see the French chef in The Little Mermaid for an example) but with an "s" in front of each "hohn."

I mean, sure, English has plenty of homophones, but I can't think of any you can use to make a five-word sentence.

And it's made worse by the fact that the French don't like to emphasize words when speaking sentences - they don't even like to emphasize syllables in a word, they try to make them all the same. Which is why French sounds like rat-a-tat-tat-tat.

Here is an article about French homophones which rightfully complains about this particular one.  And there are quite a few others.

And don't even get me started on "le souris qui sourit" which means "the smiling mouse."

The main problem, in my opinion is the French often don't pronounce the last letter of their words. In English we can tell the difference between sis and sit because we pronounce the last freaking letter. But in French, souris and sourit both sound like soo-ree. And BTW - it's not soo-ree where you grit your teeth together to pronounce the "r" sounds. Instead you have to make this gargling sound in the back of your throat for the letter "r." The letter "r" is probably the worst for English speakers - it gives me a sore throat after speaking French for a few minutes.

Ça me rend si fou!

Monday, July 02, 2018

Friday, June 29, 2018

Speaking of bots...

There's a worrisome phenomenon going on in my web analytics. Usually the vast majority of visitors to this web site are from locations in the US. Over the past few weeks I've gradually noticed there's been a huge influx of visits from Russia.

I don't think they are targeting me - I think this is more likely evidence that the Russians are focused on the US generally, probably planning to try to help Republicans in the midterm elections.

Although it's also possible they are bots constantly trawling for ways to hack and steal from computer systems. Operating in Russia of course.

Or both stealing money and stealing elections.

I see Trump is planning to meet his boss, Putin, in Finland.

I guess Putin is giving Trump his annual employee review.