Friday, November 17, 2017

Evan Marc Katz turns to a famous misogynist for advice

I really feel bad for the pathetic losers who look to "dating coach" huckster Evan Marc Katz as some kind of authority on women's lives. He's so obviously useless on his best days and evil on his worst.

Katz holds a classic both-sides view of men and women. In other words, yes, men have been bad to women, but women are just as bad to men

This is easily debunked if you do nothing more than look at which gender is more likely to kill members of the other gender. As The Atlantic reported in July:
The CDC analyzed the murders of women in 18 states from 2003 to 2014, finding a total of 10,018 deaths. Of those, 55 percent were intimate partner violence-related, meaning they occurred at the hands of a former or current partner or the partner’s family or friends. In 93 percent of those cases, the culprit was a current or former romantic partner. The report also bucks the strangers-in-dark-alleys narrative common to televised crime dramas: Strangers perpetrated just 16 percent of all female homicides, fewer than acquaintances and just slightly more than parents.
Obviously men are not killed 55% of the time by their former or current partners, partner's family or friends. Men are killed by male strangers far more often

Now I didn't have to look this up to have a rough idea it was true. I pay attention to the news, read magazine articles, etc. But if need be, it's easy enough to confirm via a Google search for online data. But I suspect that the kind of woman who looks to Katz as an authority on anything isn't well-informed and is unlikely to look things up for herself.

Meanwhile Katz promotes traditional gender-role men as mates to his audience - the kind of men who are more likely to commit violence against women.

Now he occasionally nods towards the problems of men being horrible to women - he mentions the MeToo movement. It looks good to the suckers.

Misogynists like to reinforce each other so here's Katz approving of Paglia's idiocy:
  • Men and women are more the same than ever before and it’s hurt the dating dynamic.
  • Men should be more courtly and chivalrous to women.
  • There is no male defense of sexual assault or harrassment.
  • Women could benefit by embracing the feminine, eschewing victimhood, and not lumping all men in with the worst of men.
This demonstrates just exactly how full of piping hot shit Evan Marc Katz is when it comes to "believing women." In the view of Katz and Paglia, women feeling like actual victims in a world of frequent sexual assault in the workplace and frequent violent assault in the home is unjustified and they are instead engaged in "victimhood."

One of Katz's sad followers quotes Paglia approvingly in the comments below his post:
“I was horrified, horrified by the pink pussy hats,” she said; the pink pussy hats were “a major embarrassment to contemporary feminism.”
Of course Paglia would say that. She hates women and she loves Donald Trump

And that is the essence of what Evan Marc Katz does to his audience - citing misogynists with approval to make them feel like worthless losers so they'll agree to relationships with the worst possible men. Because the important thing is Evan Marc Katz's track record and there are far more assholes than good guys in the world. Pushing women to go for assholes helps Evan Marc Katz's business and that's what any snake-oil salesman cares about.

And when these horrible men treat those women like inferiors the women will accept it for the cause of "vive la difference" and they will not ask for help because they've been advised by Evan Marc Katz and Camille Paglia to "eschew victimhood."

I really hope one of the victims of Katz's horrific advice sues that little weasel some day.

What's up FRANCE?

This British dude used to have a series called "What the F**k France?" but he toned it down and renamed it "What's up France" although he pronounces France closer to "Frawnce" as the British do.

Thanks to this episode I find Macron's been writing poetry.

Here it is:
On a trip to Paris one day, little Sophie 
Met a giant lady lighting up the night sky. 
"What's your name, you magical monster?" 
"My many visitors call me the Eiffel Tower." 
"In all your attire, don't you sometime tire 
Of being seen only as a humdrum tower? 
You, a dragon, a fairy watching over Paris, 
An Olympic torch held aloft in grey skies?" 
"How you flatter me! So few poets these days 
Ever sing the praises of my Parisian soul, 
As did Cocteau, Aragon, Cendrars, 
Trenet and Apollinaire… Since you're so good 
At seeing beneath the surface, you could- 
If you like, when you're back from France- 
Take up your pen and write down 
Why you like me-it would be nice and fun!" 
"You can count on me! There's so much to say! 
I'll write twenty lines…but who will read them? 
""Well, I know a man who'll read your verse." 
"Really? Who?" 
"The President of France."

I don't think our president is even capable of writing a dirty limerick.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Boy oh boy

I'm glad to see my actor pal Matt DeCapua is getting work.

I'm all in favor of attractive men in commercials, far too many commercials show seriously unattractive ones.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Shouldn't it be sju-elva?

They have 7-11s in Sweden. I found this one via Google maps. This just seems weird to me.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Blogging milestone

I put Google ads on the NYCPlaywrights web site at first almost as an afterthought. But as of today I have earned $5000 via Google ads - whoohoo!

Friday, November 10, 2017

Creeps of a feather

Well it looks like Louis C. K. is a creep.

 He seemed like one of the good ones.

What is it with all these men and their compulsions? They are not only creepy but they are creepy in exactly the same way every time. Anthony Weiner just had to text with other women besides his wife. Bill Cosby used the same roofie technique every time. And David Weinstein always asked for a massage in his robe. The same technique no matter who the victim was.

And Louis CK's thing was masturbation in front of women working in his industry.

The victims of these men always end up telling the same story because these men are so predictable in their own separate weird-kink way. The only thing that seems to unite them is that they were doing something risky and they knew they were doing something risky. So it's very likely that the risk itself was one of the things that drove their compulsions - perhaps every time they got away with it they felt like they were untouchable - but when that feeling wore off they had to do it again.

There was another way that Louis CK was a creep though. He made a movie which some critics have viewed called "I Love You, Daddy" and he presents a scenario that was based on a real-life event:
...Hemingway claims that Allen attempted to lure her to Paris once she turned 18—two years after she had filmed Manhattan. “Our relationship was platonic, but I started to see that he had a kind of crush on me, though I dismissed it as the kind of thing that seemed to happen any time middle-aged men got around young women,” writes Hemingway. The actress suggests that Allen attempted to act upon the crush by flying to her parents’ home in Idaho and inviting the teen to Europe. 
According to an excerpt obtained by Fox News, the actress cautioned her parents “that I didn’t know what the [sleeping] arrangement was going to be [in Paris], that I wasn’t sure if I was even going to have my own room. Woody hadn’t said that. He hadn’t even hinted it. But I wanted them to put their foot down. They didn’t. They kept lightly encouraging me.” 
Hemingway says that she woke up at night with the realization that “[n]o one was going to get their own room. His plan, such as it was, involved being with me.” She says that she went into his guest room and woke him up asking, “I’m not going to get my own room, am I? I can’t go to Paris with you.”
The actress says that Allen left Idaho the next morning.
So CK's movie, which he wrote, has the same scenario, except that while in real life the 18-year-old Hemingway turned down the 44-year-old Allen, in the movie the creepy old man - 69 in this case - has a happy ending.
C.K. both wants to take on the viciousness of rumormongering — it’s Glen’s presumptions about Leslie’s relationship with China that ruins his life — and the idea that perhaps lechery only happens in cases where it’s unwanted. In other words, if Leslie is creeping on a 17-year-old, can that really be considered creeping, if the young woman enjoys it and is three weeks away from no longer being a minor? It’s a lot of jumbled ideas and justification that ultimately doesn’t work, because Leslie is a goddamn creep! Whether or not he touches her, it’s weird of him to invite China on a trip to Paris with him. Not to mention that they first start getting close when she runs into him in the women’s department of Barney’s, where he tells her straight out that he’s there because “all of Manhattan’s elite girls go here and I like to look at them. I’m a pervert.” So of course she tries on a bunch of bikinis and Herve Leger dresses for him, as he narrates what she looks like in each of them (“Russian slave trader”). Later, she reminds him that she’s 17. “Oh, I thought you were 16,” he replies."
CK admires Woody Allen so much he wanted to make his dream come true, at least on screen. While he was cautioning the world about rumormongering. 

It's nice how creeps look out for each other.

Thursday, November 09, 2017


I've been reading Sady Doyle's "Trainwreck" and think it's quite a good, if rather short read, for a book.

I've been a fan of Doyle's for a long time and have blogged about her here many times. My admiration for her has even survived her blocking me on Twitter because I failed to STFU about Mohammed Ali's sexist attitudes towards women the day he died. This is helped by the fact that she eventually did unblock me - I don't know if my open letter to her had any bearing on that or not.

I wasn't surprised her book is good, she's a brilliant writer. And I was especially pleased to see she mentioned what a creep Doug Henwood is, in two places in the book. 

Hopefully she'll write a follow-up and include mentions of people she left out of "Trainwreck" like Matt Taibbi or members of the Dirtback Left besides Henwood. I also hope she'll touch on the unhinged hatred of Sheryl Sandburg on the part of the alt-Left. I suspect it's due to their hatred of women in power generally (Henwood has made clear his idea of feminism doesn't have anything to do specifically with women's rights but rather with "peace and egalitarianism" - which does not, Henwood clarifies, have anything to do with putting women in positions of power.)

I had admired Doyle much longer than I loathed Henwood, but I was very gratified to discover that she clashed with him during the 2016 presidential campaign, which is what any real feminist would naturally do. 

And at the same time Henwood made common cause with Jason Grote, another brocialist utterly beside himself with hatred for Hillary Clinton. I clashed with Grote nine years ago, once, and then I clashed with him a couple of times on Twitter over the 2016 election. And for that, Grote literally claimed I had "stalked" him. Now stalking is illegal and Grote publicly lying that I did this illegal thing is a form of libel and I really should sue him for it, but it wouldn't be worth the lawyer's fees. 

So if a woman expressing a few opinions on three or four occasions on her personal blog and Twitter is experienced by a brocialist like Grote as this scary illegal thing, you can imagine how terrifying the prospect of a Hillary Clinton presidency was for him. 

The NYTimes review of "Trainwreck" is justifiably positive although the review had a quibble with Doyle's views of Harriet Jacobs' career. I also have a couple of quibbles with the book - a very minor one in that Doyle claims that only after their deaths did anybody find out that Anne and Emily Bronte were also authors like Charlotte - both Charlotte and Anne traveled to their London publisher to present themselves in their true identities. Only us Bronte-heads know this but still...

A much bigger quibble I have with her is about Mary Wollstonecraft. She suggests that thanks to her husband publishing her posthumous biographical details, Wollstonecraft was perceived as a "train wreck" and that this set back the fight for women's rights. I don't subscribe to the Great Man theory of history and I don't subscribe to the Naughty Woman theory of history either. There were actual socio-economic conditions holding women back that were little influenced by one writer's life, no matter how bad her reputation.

But overall a very good book and I recommend it.

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Razib Khan, National Geographic & Race

The "races of Europe" created by Gilbert Grovsenor for National Geographic
In January 2016 in his Unz site column, Razib Khan responded to someone who wanted to promote the notion of "human biodiversity" and proof of intelligence based on race by writing:
honestly i would just sit on my hands for now. in the next < 5 years the genomic components of traits like intelligence will finally be characterized. this is not speculation, but anticipation based on research going on now.
Which would appear to indicate that Razib Khan holds out great hopes for genomic evidence for race-based intelligence.

Elsewhere in the same Unz column, Khan wrote:

A different section of statement relays Fisher’s view of the empirical realities, which would make him extremely unpopular today:

Sir Ronald Fisher has one fundamental objection to the Statement, which, as he himself says, destroys the very spirit of the whole document. He believes that human groups differ profoundly “in their innate capacity for intellectual and emotional development” and concludes from this that the “practical international problem is that of learning to share the resources of this planet amicably with persons of materially different nature, and that this problem is being obscured by entirely well intentioned efforts to minimize the real differences that exist”.

But it's odd that Khan considers Fisher's beliefs to be "empirical realities" (although regrettably unpopular ones) when Fisher's understanding of race must have been formed by the race map above, which classifies the French as "Greco-Latins" while the Germans are classified as "Teutons" (along with the British) and meanwhile Khan says in 2017:
“French-German” is a cluster almost certainly because there are no clear and distinct genetic differences between French and Germans. 
So other than agreeing that "race" exists, Khan's understanding of who is which race based on genetic evidence is completely different from Fisher's "empirical realities." And this doesn't seem to concern Khan in the least. It seems as though, so long as one is a true believer in the vague concept of "race" it doesn't matter if the racial classifications themselves are all over the place.

Unlike Razib Khan, National Geographic appears to have rethought its position, not on who belongs to which racial group, but rather the existence of race itself. The map above is from National Geographic in 1918, but ninety-nine years later they published an article: Why Race Is Not a Thing, According to Genetics which is primarily an interview with geneticist Adam Rutherford who says:
In many ways, genetics makes a mockery of race. The characteristics of normal human variation we use to determine broad social categories of race—such as black, Asian, or white—are mostly things like skin color, morphological features, or hair texture, and those are all biologically encoded.

But when we look at the full genomes from people all over the world, those differences represent a tiny fraction of the differences between people. There is, for instance, more genetic diversity within Africa than in the rest of the world put together. If you take someone from Ethiopia and someone from the Sudan, they are more likely to be more genetically different from each other than either one of those people is to anyone else on the planet!
If I was Razib Khan, I wouldn't hold my breath about finding any stupidity markers on African genes any time soon.

Based on their Twitter interactions, Khan appears to be on much friendlier terms than I would have predicted with Rutherford, who was called a  “race denialist” this past August by “American Renaissance’s John “too racist for National Review” Derbyshire.

Khan and Derbyshire have a mutual admiration society going back to at least 2005.

And when Khan was dumped by the NYTimes Derbyshire spoke up for him.

Razib Khan believes that he is unfairly treated because of his racialist positions but I think a big factor in his career trajectory is that he is just not very bright, and people outside of the right-wing bubble are not so willing to forgive that.

Khan has spent much of his career impressing people who believe in white supremacy and he's apparently found that a convincing argument for his own brilliance. And so in his mind the only possible reason for his career failures are the dastardly machinations of the barbaric Left and the media. 

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Razib Khan & Robin DiAngelo: where race essentialists of the Left and Right meet

In June 2017 on his web site "Brown Pundits" Razib Khan proclaims himself the enemy of "barbarians," meaning the Left.
Much of the media lies about me, and the Left constantly attacks me. I’m OK with that because I do believe that the day will come with all the ledgers will be balanced. The Far Left is an enemy of civilization of all stripes. I welcome being labeled an enemy of barbarians. My small readership, which is of diverse ideologies and professions, is aware of who I am and what I am, and that is sufficient. Either truth or power will be the ultimate arbiter of justice.
This is amusing because he has so much in common with the Far Left - at least the anti-appropriationist branch - when it comes to holding an essentialist belief in race.

The anti-appropriationists are in perfect agreement with Razib Khan that race is a clear-cut, obvious attribute of every single person and which controls aspects of an individual's intellect and/or morality. A recent NYTimes piece by Thomas Chatterton Williams says it very well:
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. For Mr. Coates, whiteness is a “talisman,” an “amulet” of “eldritch energies” that explains all injustice; for the abysmal early-20th-century Italian fascist and racist icon Julius Evola, it was a “meta-biological force,” a collective mind-spirit that justifies all inequality. In either case, whites are preordained to walk that special path. It is a dangerous vision of life we should refuse no matter who is doing the conjuring.
Now I don't think Ta-Nehisi Coates is as bad as Williams says he is, especially in the superb piece he is talking about The First White President.

I think that Coates' talisman metaphor for whiteness referred in that case to the cultural perception of white difference and superiority in the United States as exploited by Donald Trump. Although I will agree that like identitarians generally, Coates is quick to advocate censorship when it suits him.

The argument between the Far Left and the Far Right on the issue of race is not the existence nor the essential nature of race, it's a disagreement over which "race" is superior. The Far Right believes in the innate intellectual inferiority of non-whites, most especially African Americans, while the Far Left believes in the innate moral inferiority of whites, especially those of northern European ethnicity.

Razib Khan mentions a victim of identitarian extremism on his GNXP blog:
 (basically I think anyone who has sympathies that they have the courage to make vocal with classical liberalism will end up on the Right eventually; I’m looking at you, Bret Weinstein).
Khan is referring to the incident when Weinstein, a leftist, was the target of race essentialists:
Bret Weinstein is a biology professor at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash., who supported Bernie Sanders, admiringly retweets Glenn Greenwald and was an outspoken supporter of the Occupy Wall Street movement. 
You could be forgiven for thinking that Mr. Weinstein, who identifies himself as “deeply progressive,” is just the kind of teacher that students at one of the most left-wing colleges in the country would admire. Instead, he has become a victim of an increasingly widespread campaign by leftist students against anyone who dares challenge ideological orthodoxy on campus. 
This professor’s crime? He had the gall to challenge a day of racial segregation.
A bit of background: The “Day of Absence” is an Evergreen tradition that stretches back to the 1970s. As Mr. Weinstein explained on Wednesday in The Wall Street Journal, “in previous years students and faculty of color organized a day on which they met off campus — a symbolic act based on the Douglas Turner Ward play in which all the black residents of a Southern town fail to show up one morning.” This year, the script was flipped: “White students, staff and faculty will be invited to leave campus for the day’s activities,” reported the student newspaper on the change. The decision was made after students of color “voiced concern over feeling as if they are unwelcome on campus, following the 2016 election.”

What the Left identitarians are doing, as I have pointed out many times, is revenge. People who have been identified as Black have been legally kept out of various establishments in the United States up until the 1960s. What the Left extremists seek to do is identify people who are White and keep them out of an institution - in this case Evergreen College for a day - as symbolic tit-for-tat micro-revenge.

I've mentioned the problem with the Far Left's quest for revenge against randomly-selected white scapegoats in my criticisms of the career of Robin DiAngelo on this blog.

Razib Khan's argument is that people of African ethnicity are intellectually inferior to the rest of humanity, and therefore any claims of systemic bigotry against the ancestors of the enslaved people in the United States are false and there's nothing that society can do. Razib Khan believes in "human biodiversity."

Robin DiAngelo's argument is that all people of European ancestry living right now in the United States are collectively guilty of injustice against people of African ethnicity in the US, regardless of the expressed beliefs, political affiliations, or personal actions of individual whites. And any whites who protest when accused of racism are lying and/or deluded. Robin DiAngelo believes in "white fragility."

They both agree that the most important aspect of any human being is that person's "race." Thus demonstrating the horseshoe theory. Both the Far Left and the Far Right reject liberal notions of striving for colorblind fairness and reject Martin Luther King's dream that we all be judged on the content of our character and not the color of our skin. For identitarians of Left and Right, race is absolute and all-encompassing.

For Khan the government should not create social programs without taking into consideration the essential biological inferiority of the racial underclass. An attitude he shares with Charles Murray:
right now, we assume that ALL GROUPS HAVE EQUAL APTITUDES. the result is that liberals devise new social programs to “uplift” groups to express their potentional.
For DiAngelo it's not enough that we continue to struggle to address the systemic racism of the United States which disadvantages people of color, we must also assume all whites are ignorant and immoral. She demonstrates this when she freely lies about white people's collective view of Jackie Robinson's career.
While Robinson was certainly an amazing ball player, this story line depicts Robinson as racially special; a black man who broke that color line himself. The subtext is that Robinson finally had what it took to play with whites, as if no black athlete before him was strong enough to compete at that level.
I expect that like Khan, DiAngelo feels misunderstood, even lied about, especially when quoted directly.

That's not to say that Khan is self-aware enough to recognize his own hypocrisy when he complains that his multi-ethnic childrens' school issues an advisory against certain Halloween costumes. He's so much more willing to accept the idea that people are not one race so long as we aren't talking about the descendants of African slaves in the United States.

The sweet sweet irony of Robin DiAngelo's targeting people of European descent is that Razib Khan is far more racist than many "whites" but DiAngelo only focuses on the racism of whites. So even though Khan built his career by sucking up to racialists like Charles Murray and Ron Unz, he gets a free pass from anti-white identitarians like DiAngelo.

Now please note, Khan claims he is not a racist.

However, I think what Khan said in 2006 applies to Khan himself:
Recently I’ve been saying that it is important to distinguish between what people believe, what they say they believe and what they do. The three do not always integrate well together
Khan's remark about Bret Weinstein was made in the same blog post where Khan complained he was blocked on Twitter by right-wing extremist Sebastian Gorka.

Meanwhile, I was blocked on Twitter by Razib Khan.

Monday, November 06, 2017

Razib Khan vs. Vox

Vox responded to Khan in an article There’s still no good reason to believe black-white IQ differences are due to genes.
I suspect that Khan’s reflexive criticism comes from a place of exasperation with the idea, still in circulation among some social scientists, that race is “just” a social construct or that the racial categories used in the US today are entirely meaningless. 
When social scientists say racial categories are "meaningless" I doubt many of them think that perception of race - and racism itself are "meaningless." They are certainly aware that there is a group of people in the United States who have been treated with horrific injustice, and that horrific injustice is based on the group's ethnicity, and that ethnicity has been characterized as "race."

An analogy would be theism - many social scientists are atheists themselves, but certainly don't characterize theism itself as "meaningless."

As usual, a cultural materialist approach is helpful. Anthropologist Marvin Harris used terms to indicate different perceptions of a culture based on whether one was trained as a scientist (etics) versus a participant in the culture itself (emics.)

In 1993 in the journal "Social Forces" Harris and three other authors addressed the issue of the fluidity of racial classifications in an article called Who are the Whites?: Imposed Census Categories and the Racial Demography of Brazil.

I think science writers want to give Khan the benefit of the doubt - after all, the guy is one of them, a science writer himself, and he's been given respect from mainstream outlets like Discover: surely, they figure, his belief in race cannot be as extreme as it seems. So they struggle to find common ground with him.

However, for all they claim they are not opposed to race as something besides a social construct, the Vox article describes the ever-changing nature of this social construct. The changing perception of Europeans is an excellent example:
Finally, we ignore some ancestral differences and focus on others when we categorize people into races. As a historical example, consider Carl Brigham’s 1923 book, A Study of American Intelligence. In a section titled “The Race Hypothesis,” Brigham attempts to classify people from different European countries in terms of their “Nordic,” “Alpine,” and “Mediterranean” blood: The Italians are estimated to be 70 percent Mediterranean; the English as 80 percent Nordic. 
The effort to divide Europe’s inhabitants by “blood” is crude, but in one respect, Brigham wasn’t wrong — with modern technology, you could certainly differentiate a person with English ancestry from a person with Italian ancestry. But sometime in the past century, we stopped conceptualizing the differences between the English and the Italians in terms of race. We elevate to the status of “race” the distinctions that are our current political and cultural preoccupations, while eliding others.

Yes, you can classify people into ethnicities. But race is a whole different story. A contemporary example is Latinos, who are generally considered "people of color." However, some Latinos consider themselves white. Who is to say whether they are right or wrong? Nobody, because clearly the label is completely subjective.

Ultimately what it all boils down to is that Khan, Murray and other proponents of "race" really just want to believe in race, and want to believe that contemporary African American problems, so obviously begun in slavery and continued for another 150 years of varying levels of oppression, are no longer due to injustice but rather due to biological inferiority.

But when you analyze their claims they fall apart. Which doesn't bother them at all. They just call anybody who questions their claims anti-science and politically correct.

When theists say atheists must prove there is no god, atheists respond that they are not obliged to disprove somebody else's claims, the obligation falls on the claimants to prove their claim.

This is why it's up to those who believe that race is scientifically valid to prove it. And so far they have failed miserably.

And like many theists when speaking of atheists who demand proof, Khan claims that race skeptics are "close-minded."

Sunday, November 05, 2017

23 and Razib Khan

I blogged about my own 23 and Me analysis some months ago.

But I didn't realize how closely Razib Khan was connected to 23 and Me. He's been writing about the company often on his Gene Expression blog since 2009. He's also discussed in the Forum section of 23 and Me.

Now it's clear that Razib Khan does believe that we are all, ultimately, Africans as the site he is (or was) associated with, FTDNA Learning Center says:

Don’t we all go back to Africa?

Yes. All of our Y-chromosome lineages trace back to a common ancestor who lived in Africa at least 115,000 years ago. Some lineages migrated out of Africa; others remained.
This map shows each of the major (backbone) paternal haplogroups’ paths out of Africa.

So the real issue for Razib Khan must be: at what point did groups of people moving out of Africa become intellectually superior to those who stayed behind in Africa? What was it that prompted the increase in intelligence?

I assume it can't be as simple as moving geographically northward, since Razib Khan's ethnic ancestry is from Bengal, which is fairly far south.

If you think all this DNA info would change Khan's unshakeable belief in the reality of rigidly-defined "races" you would be wrong. The Undark piece quotes Khan:
Still, Khan insisted that his writing about the biology of race was sound. “It’s not socially acceptable to say that there might be group differences in an endophenotype — in their behavior, intelligence, anything that might have any genetic component,” Khan said. “You cannot say that, okay? If someone’s going to ask me, I’m going say, ‘It could be true.’”
Other scientists, he insisted, believe the same things. They just won’t admit it. “I’m sick of being the only fucking person that says anything,” said Khan. “I know I make people uncomfortable, but a lot of times I say what they’re thinking.”
Clearly Khan feels constrained by political correctness, not by the weakness of his Got Smarter Once Out of Africa theory.

Just this past May, Khan replied to an article Charles Murray is once again peddling junk science about race and IQ in Vox, a piece which, as much as anything, demonstrates once again what a simple-minded bigot Sam Harris is.

Murray's point, as always, is that race is everything (it's pretty much his whole career) and that anybody who denies race, and who questions the use of IQ testing, is just being politically correct.

Of course Khan defends his hero, by quoting geneticist Neil Risch admitting that they don't have any scientific definition for "race" so they just go by the US census:
Risch: Scientists always disagree! A lot of the problem is terminology. I’m not even sure what race means, people use it in many different ways. In our own studies, to avoid coming up with our own definition of race, we tend to use the definition others have employed, for example, the US census definition of race. There is also the concept of the major geographical structuring that exists in human populations—continental divisions—which has led to genetic differentiation. But if you expect absolute precision in any of these definitions, you can undermine any definitional system. Any category you come up with is going to be imperfect, but that doesn’t preclude you from using it or the fact that it has utility.
First off - how convenient that he hand-waves away the broad brush used for race identification by saying "any category is going to be imperfect." But he believes it has "utility" - but what utility could it possibly have to broadly generalize people by "race"? Unless you're already convinced that race is a real thing and so you must have something in your data results that indicates race?

Risch is later quoted as saying that there is a connection between "micro satellite markers" and which race - presumably on the US census - the subject identifies with:

He's quoted in 2005. The US census for 2000 gave these choices:

One Race - Total                              450,000
White                                         400,000
Black or African American                      10,000
American Indian and Alaska Native               5,000
Asian                                             500
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander        100
Some Other Race                                34,400

Two or more races - Total                      50,000

Thanks to genetic testing we know that a large number of African Americans are two or more "races" - something that freaks Razib Khan out as I talked about here.

The reason it freaks him out is because his own beloved 23 and Me provided data to the NYTimes demonstrating the percentage of African DNA possessed by people who self-identified as African American. The percentage is as low as 65% in some states and less than 80% in most states. In other words most "African Americans" are two or more races.

We also see a considerable portion of "whites" with one percent or more of African ancestry, with the highest  likelihood of African ancestry being in the former slave states.

Now instead of acknowledging that the micro satellite markers were unable to demonstrate the high percentage of "mix race" individuals, Khan just says this:
2005 is a long way from 2017. Risch may have changed his mind. In fact, it is probably best for him and his reputation if he has changed his mind. I wouldn’t be surprised if Risch comes out and engages in a struggle session where he disavows his copious output from 2005 and earlier defending the utilization of race as a concept in statistical genetics.
What Khan is refusing to say is that advances in genetic testing demonstrate how useless the utility of  Risch's 2005 methodology is, and instead he implies the real problem is political correctness and risk to reputation.

Tomorrow: Vox responds to Khan.

Saturday, November 04, 2017

Race-obsessed Razib Khan - still obsessed with race PART 2

I mentioned yesterday that in his Undark article Race, Science and Razib Khan, author Schulson compared the racism of Razib Khan to that of NYTimes columnist Nicholas Wade, and seemed to indicate that Wade was the most hard-core believer in "race" and racial essentialism.

I don't think Khan is any less racist though. I think the reason for this is because Wade, as Schulson indicates, is retired. Wade is 75 years old. As a commenter in Schulson's article notes:
Put more bluntly, I don’t believe that Razib truly disavows anything he’s said or done since 2008 or so. I think he’s a man who’s suffered a ton of professional damage by running in certain circles, and is now trying stop the bleeding.
Understandable? Yes, of course. He has a family to support, and he’s no longer on Unz’s teat. I’d do the same in his position. But I still think he’s lying.
It's not hard to find evidence that in spite of his ending his gig at Unz as a regular columnist, Razib Khan is still obsessed with race.

One of his concerns is making it clear that people from Southeast Asia are different from Africans as he discusses in Race is not just Skin Color (Khan's father is just as dark as some African Americans.)

And Khan's wrong-headedness on the subject of race can be clearly demonstrated in this September 2017 blog post from his Gene Expression site. He writes in Black Ancestry In White Americans Of Colonial Background:
I stumbled upon striking photographs of “white slaves” while reading The United States of the United Races: A Utopian History of Racial Mixing. The backstory here is that in the 19th century abolitionists realized that Northerners might be more horrified as to the nature of slavery if they could find children of mostly white ancestry, who nevertheless were born to slave mothers (and therefore were slaves themselves). So they found some children who had either been freed, or been emancipated, and dressed them up in more formal attire (a few more visibly black children were presented for contrast). 
This illustrates that the media and elites have been using this ploy for a long time. I am talking about the Afghan girl photograph, or the foregrounding of blonde and blue-eyed Yezidi children. Recently I expressed some irritation on Twitter when there was a prominent photograph of a hazel-eyed Rohingya child refugee being passed around. Something like 1 in 500 people in that region of the world has hazel eyes! That couldn’t be a coincidence. Race matters when it comes to compassion.
Several points to consider: Khan considers abolitionists to have been "elites" - the term elite is used at the present time by conservatives to refer to liberals. Who are always the Enemy. The media is also the enemy of the Right as Donald Trump's recent tweets have made clear. Razib Khan considers the elites - abolitionists, modern-day liberals and the media, to be three groups who use the same "ploy."

Khan describes a strategy by abolitionists to promote compassion - by showing pictures of slave children who looked white. And he confesses to find this irritating - and he compares it to the distribution of photos of hazel-eyed refuges on Twitter.

Khan seems to find it offensive that "elites" are aware that "race matters when it comes to compassion." But it is not a controversial view to hold that in general, people prefer those who look like themselves. My impression is that Khan is trying to smear "elites" for recognizing this reality.

But I think the more important source of Khan's agitation over the "ploy" is that abolitionists made an important point: that the concept of race itself was a social invention and not a biological one. A major justification for slavery was that blacks were innately inferior to whites - a belief that Razib Khan and his patrons hold and promote. And yet how could slave children who look exactly like superior white children be members of the inferior black group?

I don't think that Khan will continue to downplay his racial obsession for much longer. First because he can hardly help himself, that is who Razib Khan is, obsessed with demonstrating the inferiority of Africans - especially West Africans who were most heavily targeted in the slave trade for the Americas.

But also because blatant racism - especially racism that can pass itself off as science by employing STEM terms - is where the money is. 

And we know that's where the money is because we know that the very wealthy are bankrolling racism - the Koch brothers support Khan's intellectual hero Charles Murray, while Robert Mercer has been supporting Khan's admirers including, until recently Milo Yiannopoulous - although not to worry, Mercer sold his stake in Breitbart to his daughter Rebecca, she-wolf of MAGA.

And Khan seems to be building a case on Twitter to justify his association with right-wing racist moneybags - because it's hard to make money as a pure scientist:

But what about Razib Khan's idea that having ancestors directly out of Africa - instead of out of Africa and then through Europe or Asia -  contributes to reduced "aptitude"? I will talk about that next.

Friday, November 03, 2017

Race-obsessed Razib Khan - still obsessed with race PART 1

I actually didn't wonder very much about Razib Khan's reaction to the Undark piece about him, Race, Science, and Razib Khan by Michael Schulson. I thought the article bent over backwards to be fair to Khan, and it certainly supported its claims about Khan - and gave Khan a chance to try to deny his race obsession. So I assumed Khan wouldn't have a notably negative response. 

I should have known better. He wrote a couple of weeks ago:
After the recent hit piece that was written about me in a well respected science journalism publication* (which has really updated my priors as to what I think about journalism and how much, or honestly little, I respect the profession) there is really no point in engaging with any prominent liberal that is outside of science because their minds are made up. I am honestly OK with that since I’m not liberal, and I still retain influence and following on the Right, where people are more open-minded about the world in my opinion (basically I think anyone who has sympathies that they have the courage to make vocal with classical liberalism will end up on the Right eventually; I’m looking at you, Bret Weinstein).
It's interesting that Khan considers himself a conservative: he is not white, he's an atheist, pro-choice and pro-science. I assume that the reason he thinks that the Right is more "open-minded" than liberals is because the Right accepts without question the nineteenth-century "science"  that claims humans can be arranged in "race"-based hierarchies. Because obsessing over race is what Khan does.

I was interviewed a year ago for the Undark article because I have been criticizing Khan since the earliest days of this blog, so my blog posts about him tend to appear on Google searches of Khan. Thanks to this visibility, I was a contributing factor in his being denied a post at the New York Times

As I said, I thought Schulson was much too sympathetic to Khan:
For all of this, dismissing Khan as a crank would be a mistake. While his associations are extremist, his science is not, and very little of what he writes about human genetics falls outside the pale of ordinary scientific discourse. Khan is also not alone in bridging the worlds of scientific racism and mainstream science and science writing. The Times dropped Khan in 2015, less than a year after one of its own science journalists, Nicholas Wade, published a book that made more sustained, incendiary arguments about race, with far more blowback from scientists.
In fact he is a crank - and a lousy writer too. The fact that the NYTimes publishes another crank, Nicholas Wade, does not make Khan any less of a crank. It's interesting that Schulson quotes Khan as saying: "Obviously, I don’t condone (racism)” while writing this about Wade:
“I can’t control how people use the book,” said Wade, who retired from The Times last year but still regularly contributes freelance articles to its science section — and who was himself interviewed by Khan back in 2010. Wade insisted that the book was not racist, but in an phone call, he also did not take an opportunity to disavow the white nationalists who have embraced it. He was dismissive of the controversy that surrounded “A Troublesome Inheritance,” and of the biologists’ letter to The Times. “It was an attempt to suppress a discussion of race,” Wade said. “Almost everything in the book you can find in The New York Times in my articles, and none of these guys objected at the time.”
I don't think this means that Khan is any less racist than Wade though. I will discuss that tomorrow.

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Nome on the trapeze

She's still doing trapeze stuff.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Party on the LES

My friend Starra's cousin is an artist who works in neon and she has a great apartment and really knows how to throw a party.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

It's OK to appropriate the culture of the Celts, apparently

I really hate the concept of "cultural appropriation" which is based in the belief that
a. we are all neatly divided into "races" and  
b. only people of the correct "race" can do or wear certain things.
This of course goes against all of human history and is a reactionary and stupid and most importantly a completely untenable position to hold.

Most Irish people don't fetishize being Irish (except for a few of my cousins) so nobody seems to realize that Halloween is a Celtic tradition.

As says:
Halloween is an annual holiday, celebrated each year on October 31, that has roots in age-old European traditions. It originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts. In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as a time to honor all saints; soon, All Saints Day incorporated some of the traditions of Samhain. The evening before was known as All Hallows Eve, and later Halloween. Over time, Halloween evolved into a day of activities like trick-or-treating and carving jack-o-lanterns. Around the world, as days grow shorter and nights get colder, people continue to usher in the season with gatherings, costumes and sweet treats.
So idiots whining that a non-Hawaiian wearing a Disney's Moana costume is cultural appropriation - yes, it really happened need to realize is that unless you have ancestors from the British Isles, if you celebrate Halloween you are guilty of cultural appropriation.

Thursday, October 26, 2017


Fascinating recent article in the Guardian about Macron, Orbiting Jupiter: My Week with Macron by Emmanuel Carrère. 

One of my favorite parts:
He started by breaking the ice in a particularly effective way with a two-minute preamble in Greek, learned phonetically. 
And, speaking as someone with a smattering of modern Greek, I can tell you that’s no mean feat. Then he launched into his favourite topic: Europe, and the sovereignty of the European peoples, which he doesn’t want to leave, he says, to the faint-hearted, fearful clan known as sovereigntists – those rightwing populists who want to shut out the world and retreat into splendid isolation. 
Half an hour of fine rhetoric leads up to the oratorical climax: “Look at the time that we are living in: it is the moment of which Hegel spoke, the moment when the owl of Minerva takes flight.” Macron doesn’t explain the metaphor; no doubt he overestimates his audience’s level of philosophical sophistication. Minerva is the goddess of wisdom, and the owl is her symbol; this owl, Hegel says, waits for night to fall before flying over the battlefield of history. In other words, philosophy can’t keep pace with events. “The owl of Minerva,” he continues, “provides wisdom but it continues to look back. It looks back because it is always so easy and so comforting to look at what we have, what we know, rather than at the unknown … ”
You would never catch an American president, even Obama, making allusions to a German philosopher and Roman mythology, let alone in the same sentence. That's what's great about the French, they don't despise someone who displays intelligence even to the point of esotericism. 

A little later on in the article:

When it’s not Hegel he’s quoting, it’s Spinoza, who he loves for his struggle against the “sad passions” such as bitterness, resentment and defeatism – to which Macron himself seems to have had remarkably little exposure. Today in interviews he engages in dialogue with the German thinker Peter Sloterdijk, and while still in his 20s he served as assistant to Paul Ricoeur, an immensely respected, octogenarian humanist philosopher. Since Mitterrand, we have forgotten what it’s like to have a cultivated president. The day after his speech on the Pnyx, there was a lunch with Greek intellectuals. These Greek intellectuals were ardently Francophile, and quoted one great French poet after the next. With each poem Macron was able to pick up where the other person had left off, reciting the next verses without missing a beat. Baudelaire, Rimbaud, all by heart: it’s hard not to believe that this man really likes poetry.

I despise Hegel but I still respect his knowledge of his work. And Carrère doesn't mention it but it strikes me that French socialists will appreciate Macron's shout-out to Hegel, given that the Hegelian dialectic is at the heart of Marxism (although the mystical nonsense that ruined Marxism according to anthropologist Marvin Harris.) 

I have seen Bernie Sanders-supporting socialists with Hegel quotes in their profiles, so that's some indication of where Hegel stands to the far left. And that matters especially since, according to this article, Macron has been leaning right.

Like many people, Carrère speculates on the authenticity of the Macron marriage and comes down firmly on the side of love:

Philippe Besson, a French writer who knows him well, wrote a book about him aptly called Un Personnage de Roman, or “a character from a novel”, which contains the following description: “This man, so warm, so physical, who knows so many people and whom so many people know, has no friends.” Is that true? I ask. He’ll go on to answer that it’s not exactly true, that although he has few real friends, he does have some, and that his private life is absolutely essential for him. But before he says these reasonable things, before reflecting at all, he blurts out: “My best friend is my wife!” 
It’s tempting to see Macron as a sort of cyborg, a seducing machine completely void of emotion. It’s tempting, but no sooner has it occurred to you than you’re obliged to think the opposite. Because there’s no getting around the fact that the young, ambitious technocrat, the man who tells everyone what they want to hear, is also, at the same time, the hero of a grand love story. I think this story is what the French like most about him, particularly French women. It’s a kind of revenge for centuries of patriarchy during which everyone found it normal for a man to be 24 years older than his wife, but not the other way around. And, taking this breach of convention to the extreme, the woman who is 24 years older than him seems perfectly at ease, and her husband loves her as much as he did when they first met.
He also offers this charming portrait of Brigitte Macron:
She had been one of those teachers that students love, to the point of hanging around after class to talk about Stendhal or Flaubert. Even though she’s retired, she remains a teacher, and accepts with a smile that she’s a bit of a pedant. Where others would say “I don’t want to talk in my husband’s place”, she said something I’ve never heard anyone else say: “I don’t like prosopopoeia.” (Just in case you don’t know, prosopopoeia is a figure of speech in which an absent person, or even an abstract thing, speaks.) Coming back to my question, she let me know kindly that both she and her husband faced their share of adversity. “I can’t honestly say we’ve had to deal with defeat, but we’ve had our share of adversity. To live a love like ours, we’ve had to harden ourselves against malicious remarks, mockery and gossip. We’ve had to stand shoulder to shoulder, be courageous and joyful.” And she was joyful when she said it, just as joyful – and likable – as everyone told me she would be. (Everyone loves her.)
Again that failure to apologize for a large vocabulary. J'adore!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

How David Mamet portrays sexual harassment claims in OLEANNA

I updated my essay about OLEANNA from thirteen years ago for the NYCPlaywrights weekly email, with 2017 info.
In OLEANNA David Mamet portrays charges of sexual harassment as a plot by feminists to destroy men. And it should be noted that OLEANNA was first produced long before Mamet came out of the closet as an extreme conservative happily joining his buddy Rush Limbaugh on his radio show.
Many people, including critics, seem to think that David Mamet wrote about male-female miscommunications. In Virtual-Lancaster, Paul Wilkenson wrote:
“What men say and what women hear (and visa versa) is one of those tricky areas of human nature that science steers clear of and only playwrights and comedians dare to tread.” 
Some people think OLEANNA is an indictment of political correctness, as Michael Billington of the Guardian believed:
“Mamet is not just attacking the lunatic excesses of political correctness. His play is really a lament for the destruction of mutual trust and personal interaction that makes academic freedom possible.”
Maybe it seems to be about miscommunications or political correctness on the stage, and the final message of the play depends a good deal on how it is directed. But on the page, OLEANNA is a folk tale about a hero fighting evil. 
The title of the play is inspired by a folk song, which Mamet quotes in the introductory pages of the published play:
"Oh, to be in Oleanna, 
That's where I would rather be. 
Than be bound in Norway 
And drag the chains of slavery. 
- folk song”
In OLEANNA, John the professor fights evil in the form of the Group (Mamet's capitalization). Many reviewers entirely overlook the importance of the Group to the dramatic structure of the play. This review of a currently running production does not mention The Group at all.
The Group is mentioned only four times in the play, and probably in a stage presentation the physical reality of actors portraying John and Carol works to minimize audience awareness of the Group even further. But in the text it's easier to see the Group is responsible for the power dynamic that develops between Carol and John.
JOHN: Yes. Tell me frankly.
CAROL: position...
JOHN: I want to hear it. In your own words. What you want. And what you feel.
CAROL: ...I...
JOHN: ...yes...
CAROL: My Group.
When asked what she wants, Carol refers to the Group. It's what the Group wants that matters now, and Carol is merely its spokeswoman. 
In the Lindsay Posner production (London, 2004) some critics felt that John was portrayed as sexually exploitive.  
Charles Spenser in The Telegraph comments:
“One also feels a great deal less warm towards the professor in Aaron Eckhart's performance. He presents a man fatally in love with the sound of his own voice and far too preoccupied with his impending purchase of a new home to concentrate fully on his pupil's distress. When he puts his arm round Carol to comfort her, and later hugs her and offers to massage her grades, there is a distinct crackle of exploitative sexuality in the air.”
To audiences the big question in the play is always whether or not John is actually making a sexual move on Carol. I think the text shows he is not. But although that issue is in dispute, what is absolutely indisputable is that the Group tries to blackmail John in its efforts to ban his book:
CAROL: We can and we will. Do you want our support? That is the only quest... 
JOHN: .. to ban my book...? 
CAROL: ...that is correct... 
By the end of the play, the charge of sexual harassment has become attempted rape:
CAROL: My Group has told your lawyer that we may pursue criminal charges. 
JOHN: ... no... 
CAROL: Yes. And attempted rape. That's right. (Pause)
This completely changes the ethical issue at the heart of the play. The play does not portray at any point an attempted rape. The charge is clearly a vicious lie by an evil shadow organization that has immense but unexplained power. We never learn anything about the Group except its criminal machinations and its control over Carol's mind. 
So the play is not actually about a man-woman misunderstanding or political correctness gone wild. This play is about a Group with an agenda to censor free thought by any means necessary. The Group creates a situation where John's life is ruined unless he capitulates to blackmail. And he responds by transforming from a self-absorbed jerk or a subtle groper (depending on the production) into a fearless champion of free speech:
JOHN: And, and, I owe you a debt, I see that now. (Pause) You're dangerous, you're wrong and it's my job... to say no to you. That's my job. You are absolutely right. You want to ban my book? Go to hell , and they can do whatever they want to me.
This is why audience members cheer at the end of some productions when John makes Carol cower before him: at great personal sacrifice the Hero slays the Dragon. 
It's fascinating to compare Mamet's folk tale with reality. And Hollywood isn’t the only problem. Naomi Wolf claimed she was groped by literary celebrity Harold Bloom when she was his student.
She was attacked for discussing it in public and  Kathleen Parker, writing for, even suggested that Wolf owed Bloom an apology for her reaction:
The fact that Bloom's boneless hand prompted Wolf to regurgitate her dinner inarguably put an immediate and explicit end to this would-be tale of sexual harassment, with no harm to any except perhaps to poor Bloom's withered self-esteem. Given Wolf's then-considerable gifts of youth, beauty and guile, I should think she owes the dear fellow an apology.
Incredibly Parker can't imagine that the incident could have a long-term impact on Wolf's relationship with Bloom, and therefore on Wolf's academic career. In general the conservative response to Wolf's claim is not disbelief that Bloom did what Wolf says he did, the response is that it's no big deal, it's strictly a personal issue between Wolf and Bloom, and Wolf should get over it. 
And Wolf herself advises extreme caution when making accusations: unlike the world of OLEANNA, in Wolf's experience the accuser is far more likely to be punished than the accused:
“For years now, Yale has been contacting me: Would I come speak at a celebration of women at Yale? Would I be in a film about Jewish graduates? Would I be interviewed for the alumni magazine?  
I have usually declined, for a reason that I explain to my (mostly female) college audiences: The institution is not accountable when it comes to the equality of women. I explain that I was the object of an unwanted sexual advance from a professor at Yale - and that his advances seemed to be part of an open secret. I tell them that I had believed that many Yale decision-makers had known about his relations with students, and nothing I was aware of had happened to stop it. Where is the professor now? they ask. He is still there, I explain: famous, productive, revered. I describe what the transgression did to me - devastated my sense of being valuable to Yale as a student, rather than as a pawn of powerful men. 
Then, heartbreakingly, a young woman will ask: "Did you tell?"  
I answer her honestly: "No. I did nothing. "
"Have you never named the guy, all these years on?"  
"No," I answer. "Never."  
"But," she will ask hesitantly, "don't you have an obligation to protect other women students who might be targets now?"  
"Yes," I answer. "I do have that obligation. I have not lived up to it. I have not been brave enough." 
And then there is always, among those young, hopeful women, a long, sad silence.  
After such speeches, a young woman will come up to me - in Texas, in Indiana, in Chicago - in tears: My music professor is harassing me , she'll say. I tried to tell the grievance board, but they told me it is my word against his, and that there is no point in pursuing it. I know I won't get a job if I do anything about it. My lit professor made a pass at me; he is grading my senior thesis. My female adviser basically told me to drop it if I want to graduate; to switch classes; to start all over with another subject. My lab instructor keeps putting his hands on my body, and his mentor is on the grievance committee. I can't sleep. What should I do?  
I am ashamed of what I tell them: that they should indeed worry about making an accusation because what they fear is likely to come true. Not one of the women I have heard from had an outcome that was not worse for her than silence. One, I recall, was drummed out of the school by peer pressure. Many faced bureaucratic stonewalling. Some women said they lost their academic status as golden girls overnight; grants dried up, letters of recommendation were no longer forthcoming. No one was met with a coherent process that was not weighted against them. Usually, the key decision-makers in the college or university - especially if it was a private university - joined forces to, in effect, collude with the faculty member accused; to protect not him necessarily but the reputation of the university, and to keep information from surfacing in a way that could protect other women. The goal seemed to be not to provide a balanced forum, but damage control.
So why is it that although many women have been sexually harassed at school and on the job and even Naomi Wolf advises them to worry about making TRUE accusations, the most famous play on the subject of sexual harassment is about an evil Group using lies and blackmail to ban a book? 
Village Voice theatre critic Alexis Solomon noted in 1999:
“…since 1975 the percentage of plays by women has stayed virtually the same on Broadway (16 percent) and increased only marginally off-Broadway (from 13 to 21 percent). Never mind that the study found that nearly two-thirds of ticket buyers are women. Often they're trying to drag their reluctant husbands or boyfriends along to the theater, and winning them over means insisting that the play in question will appeal to their male sensibility. (No wonder the misogynist OLEANNA was one of the most-produced plays in the history of regional theaters.)”
In 2015 the Women Count study by the League of Professional Theatre Women indicated the situation had improved somewhat: 21% of off-Broadway plays were by women in 1999, sixteen years later the number was 29% (down from a high of 36% in 2013).
Things are slowly getting better, but men are still telling a greater share of human stories although humanity is 50% female.  
Under such conditions, it’s not surprising that the focus in theater has not been on the impact of sexual abuse on women’s lives but rather on men as victims of false charges. 
Mamet includes some lyrics from the folk song "Oleanna" in the published version of the play. Oleanna is not only a place to escape the chains of Norway, it is a magical land, where chores are done for you. The cows milk themselves and the hens lay eggs ten times a day. And if the women get out of line, you don't even have to beat them yourself:
In Oleanna the women do all the work.  
If she doesn't work hard enough 
She takes a stick 
And gives herself a beating!
You can read the entire song here:
(please note - the above link to the OLEANNA pdf is no longer available. Here is a different version of the lyrics - the translation is different, but the idea is the same:

The women there do all the work 
As round the fields they quickly go 
Each one has a hickory stick 
And beats herself if she works too slow
Maybe one day when women's plays are produced 50% of the time, or when sexual harassment is no longer so common, Mamet will have cause to be paranoid about female power. But OLEANNA is an example of the way history - and folk tales - are written by the winners.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Dreams from My Father

I finally listened to the audiobook Dreams from My Father by Barack Obama. It's really great for the most part, but the last hour and a half is so much about Obama's paternal relatives.

I know more about his relatives than I know about mine. 

That would have been OK, but he ends the book there, with a tiny epilogue. I really wanted to hear about his years in law school and then meeting Michelle and working and going into politics.

Obama is a good mimic and handles impressions of his African relatives, male and female, convincingly.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Happy Macron Anniversary

The Macrons have been married for 10 years today.

There are excerpts of their marriage video in the documentary Macron, la stratégie du Météore.

I had two different therapists tell me I should date "older men." I made clear to each of them that I had no objections to dating a man my own age, or even a little older, but that I wouldn't rule out younger men either. So it was evident that what they meant, but I couldn't get either of them to come out and admit it, was that I should only date "older men." Because, you know, we live in a misogynistic patriarchy and it's never going to change.

At that point I fired each of them - the first one after seeing her for three years, the second after only four months - but I gave the second one warning right when I began seeing her that I fired the first one for telling me to date older men. So she should have known better.

I think part of the problem is that these two women believe that marriage should be at least in part about how much money the man has. Their minds are totally stuck in the old model of heterosexual relationships. 

Women making their own money changes everything. Had Bridgette Auziere been a traditional French housewife, instead of having a career of her own as a teacher, she would not have had the option to leave her husband and take up with such a young man.

Every time I think about the Macrons I'm tempted to send a postcard to each of my ex-therapists that says "suck it, bitch." I'm sure had Bridgette Auziere gone to either of them in the early days of her relationship with Emmanuel, they would have told her to end the relationship. Immediately. And she would have missed out marrying the love of her life, not to mention becoming first lady of France.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Charles & David Koch destroy the world

Billionaires Charles and David Koch are absolutely not afraid to go down in history as the two individuals most responsible for climate change and all the attending weather & oceanic disasters that entails. Their insatiable, pathological greed blinds them to anything in the world except making more money.

As Jane Mayer, New Yorker's scourge of the Koch brothers writes in her article about Mike Pence this week:

One by one, all the things that Trump campaigned on that annoyed the Koch brothers are being thrown overboard. And one by one the Koch brothers’ priorities are moving up the list.” Trump’s populist, nationalist agenda has largely been replaced by the agenda of the corporate right. Trump has made little effort at infrastructure reform, and he abandoned his support for a “border-adjustment tax” after the Koch network spent months campaigning against it, and after Pence and Short discussed it privately with Charles Koch at a meeting in Colorado Springs this summer. Bannon’s proposal to create a higher tax bracket for citizens earning upward of five million dollars was dropped. The Kochs enthusiastically support the White House’s proposed tax-cut package, which, according to most nonpartisan analyses, will disproportionately benefit the super-rich. (The proposed elimination of the estate tax alone would give the Koch brothers’ heirs a windfall of billions of dollars.)

There are no people who embody sociopathic evil more than those two Koch brothers. Every time I read another example of them using the Republican party to rig the system for their own financial gain, I think about that scene in Chinatown where Jake Gittes asks Noah Cross how much more money he needs. Cross says he wants to buy the future. But the future will surely remember the evil done by the Koch brothers and so they are not even buying "the future" for themselves. They are just relentlessly trying to make as much money as they can before they shuffle off this mortal coil. Let's just hope it's not much longer - Charles is 81 and David is 77 -  and that their children are not as monomaniacal about piling up enormously excessive wealth and screwing the whole world to do it.

There are two other Koch brothers - one, William, is also involved in right-wing political organizations but not to the same degree as Charles and David. He appears to be the playboy Koch.

Meanwhile the oldest of the brothers, Frederick, appears to have no political involvement, based on his Wikipedia entry, and fun fact, has an MFA in playwriting from Yale. I don't know if he's ever had any of his work performed, but if you're going to be a playwright, starting out with an inherited fortune is a good way to do it.