NRO on the cultural slow boat

No wonder they so enjoy their cruises:

Just had a conversation with a friend whose office assistant (in NY City) is female, 34 years old, smart, straight, and quite strikingly good-looking. I asked him why she isn’t married. He: “She says she can’t find a man. There are no men, she says.” Me: “In New York City? Come on.” He: “That’s what she says. ‘There are no men.’ My daughter’s the same. [His daughter is 35.] No men, there are no men to marry.”
– Derb

It’s plain from the email bag that the issue here is women (a) postponing partner-seeking till it’s too late (i.e. the man pool has been winnowed down to cranky bachelors, freaks, and bitter divorce survivors), and (b) having way too high expectations.
– Derb, many emails later

Having worked in Los Angeles for five years, then in the SF Bay area for another five years, yes, Ally McBeal clones are out there. They’re not the majority of single women, but they’re easily 40% — and climbing. These sorts of women don’t find any men because, well, they’re so self-obsessed that they don’t notice how men view them. At best, they’re seen as a quick flip in the sack, sans commitment of any kind. Why?

Well, men aren’t stupid, despite near-constant whinging to the contrary by women. Men look at some of these women and say “Let’s see: she expects me to earn more than she does, be her knight in shining armor, do the cooking, the cleaning, dress in bespoke suits and tuxes to go anywhere, listen to her constant, endless bellyaching about every little damn thing like one of her girlfriends and if I should marry her, when she gets into some midlife funk, she’s going to sue for divorce and take half of my life’s work and any kids we have.”

The male mind then turns the gears for a little while, netting this out on the bottom line of life: “Nope. No sale.”
– Lopez quoting a “somewhat representative” email

Of course, this notorious column kicked up a bit of a firestorm three years ago. Interestingly enough, neither of the two women who inspired it are married yet or even have any marriage prospects on the horizon despite being much more attractive than the norm. They both have excellent jobs, though.

What women would do well to understand is that they hit the height of their marriageability at around 24-25. This doesn’t mean that a woman shouldn’t be able to put marriage off until later if she so desires, but she is foolish to do so under the misapprehension that she will make a more desirable wife later because she has accomplished whatever it is that she wanted to accomplish first.

Social descent

Fred observes that progress no longer points forward:

Women dominate domestic politics and so we have the Fear State. With them security security security trumps liberty or taking chances of any sort, and so we must ban pocket knives. They are afraid of guns, want kids to wear helmets on bikes, and think tag is a violent and dangerous game. Yes, there are exceptions, but fewer day by day. We must fill in the deep ends of swimming pools and fear second-hand smoke and things that go bump in the night. I suspect a lot of this vague anxiety stems from the lack of a settled and satisfying place in society.

Men run foreign policy, and do it with the ardor and brainless territoriality of retarded pit bulls. We must confront The Threat—this threat, that threat, any threat in a storm. After the Soviets punked out on us, we adopted Terr, Terrace, and Tersm as interim threats until China comes online. We must Fight, we must Show Them, we must Draw the Line. All across America men with grade-school minds and beachball paunches growl that we gotta gettem before they get us, if we don’t stoppem there, they’ll land on the beaches of Peoria….

Anyhow, this division of irresponsibility leads to contradictions. In school, low-IQ teachers try to make little boys into girls and expel them if they play soldier and say Bang. Then the Pentagon recruits these transvestite artifacts and sends them off to shoot people they’ve barely heard of. What a plan. What clarity of vision. What consistency.

Assuming, of course, that it ever did. I couldn’t help but notice how women appear to be increasing ly dominating at least one aspect of the literary world when perusing the most recent SFWA Bulletin. Every single publisher mentioned was looking for more “paranormal romance”, which apparently derives its appeal from the overweight single woman’s desire to derive sexual as well as emotional fulfillment from her cats.

There were even several publishers who openly stated that they only publish female writers. I wonder if the SFWA is as accomodating of those who won’t publish black and Jewish writers….


DJ Gallo has it wrong, the NFL needs more poetic self-expression:

The NFL has basically become “West Side Story.” I imagine that after Lewis showed the Bengals the video, Johnson performed an interpretative dance expressing revenge and then Carson Palmer read a poem about his feelings on being injured in last year’s playoff game. And then they probably all got in their sleeping bags and took turns brushing T.J. Houshmandzadeh’s hair.

Sometimes I want to cry
When the wideout runs the fly
And they leave it up to me
One lonely man against the D

I thought that we would run
It was Chester Taylor’s ball
Instead I became the one
Who was forced to take the fall

I didn’t know what I should do
And as the ball fell to the ground
The whistle blew to end the down
And I cried on fourth-and-two
Part of me died on fourth-and-two

– Brad Johnson

What you have to understand is that Brad Johnson is not only a poet, he’s a competitor. He’s a passer, not a thrower. He’s a sensitive guy, sure, but he’s not going to let one regular season loss get him down. He’s got a ring, he knows what it takes to get the job done and he’s eager to share his epic “Cheese is not for Champions” with everyone once the Vikes finish their season sweep of the Packers later this year.

Mailvox: typical emails on torture

Here’s a selection of ones, you’ll probably note the general theme:

I was simply shocked by your article, “The Shadow of the Torturer”. You clearly have little or no idea as to what kind of world we are living in today—and even less knowledge about the nature of Islamic terror. Your arguments sound strangely like those proffered by my liberal uncle a week ago….I will give you the same advice I gave my dear uncle: wake up. Just because you are not paranoid does not mean your enemies are not out to get you. Consider that before slurring those you regard as “fearful” or “foolish”. Moreover, in thinking that you are wise (which you obviously do), you should be careful to avoid transforming yourself into the fool.
– KW

How do you define torture? Is it anything which causes lasting physical or psychological damage to a normal human being? Would it include being forced to listen to the Red Hot Chili Peppers at the volume teenagers normally employ? It’s adolescent to accuse someone of torture and abuse if you’re unwilling to define what you mean. John McCain seems to have had a similar problem recently. He can’t rectify his because he is an unbounded hypocrite, but I expect that you can, so do it!
– MM

During my 92 years and 11 Months on this planet I have know fear from time to time. At my age I could have opted out of WW2 but volunteered anyway. Yes I experienced fear some of the time. I FEAR FOR THE WELFARE of my family and my country from those that want to kill us. My greatest fear is from people like you, The Democrats, John McCain and his trio all of whom seem to agree that we should sacrifice the lives of American women and children in order to be kind to the likes of Khalid Sheik Mohammad.

In WW2 if an enemy had information, he gave it up. Any one fighting on a battlefield without an identifiable uniform was left lying where he was shot. I am shocked at the lily-livered people that love our enemies more than our country and our people. Should we send flowers and social workers instead of Soldiers.?? There is no substitute for victory.
– DJ

I can’t believe you want to handle these heathen, Muslim thugs with kid gloves. If one life can be saved by “water boarding” these bastards, I say, go for it! I’m sure if any of your loved ones were involved, you would come down from your lofty perch! Give me a break; come to your senses.
– JN

I am a firm believer in Do on to others as you would have them do unto you.maybe you should give some thought to what the followers of Jihad do on a daily basis to their countrymen,i have never got over the image of our military being drug behind cars,set on fire,etc.and surely you jest when you stated that jihads ability to kill large quantities of Americans is arguably lower then that possessed by any American enemy since the war of there any doubt that Hitler or the Japanese would have used the Atomic Bomb if they had it before us? the same holds true today
with the followers of Jihads the only difference is that to day there are known enemies of this country that we know posses Atomic Weapons and would not hesitate to furnish them to those who follow Jihad.I’m not saying we should go to extreme torture
methods,however i am saying if every thing else has failed then do whatever it takes to insure the survival of America.
– CF

While I was impressed by the ability of most critics to avoid the obvious and inaccurate accusations of treason, insufficient patriotism, liberalism and so forth, I did think it was a little ironic that so many people responded to my point that fear is a bad reason to abandon civilized behavior by telling me that I just didn’t understand how scary the terrorists are.

First, the embrace of torture is neither proof of national resolve nor is it a magical guarantee of ultimate victory. Descending to the level of the barbarians actually makes defeat more likely; the Romans saw no need to paint their butts blue nor did the English start devouring Maoris in order to defeat the barbarians of their days.

Second, the slippery slopes towards a widening of the definition of the acceptably tortured and the acceptance of other uncivilized practices such as authority-approved rape and cannibalism are not logical fallacies, but reliable probabilities. That the pro-torturists recognize this and are attempting to circumvent the logic is clear from this exchange between KW and I:

VOX: Do you include child rape and cannibalism in your list of acceptable practices to defeat terrorism?

KW: Of course not, but you knew that already before you asked the question. You will have to do much better than that to put me on a slippery slope.

Actually, I don’t. If the utility of torture in saving “just one American life” or “insuring the survival of America” is sufficient justification for it, one need merely point to a similar utility to be found in child rape or cannibalism. After all, it’s impossible to argue that the jihadists at Guantanamo would pose any future danger to the Americans were they repeatedly raped by federal agents then served up raw to the U.S. Senate, and no doubt it would provide a very firm demonstration of the very unpleasant consequences of attacking America.

Third, I don’t know why people think that attempting to quibble about a well-defined term is an effective means of debate. The fact that the word “torture” has been degraded in the popular sense to mean “anything I really don’t like” does not modify its historical meaning in the slightest, namely, to intentionally inflict pain on another individual for pleasure, punishment or the pursuit of information.

As usual, it is those who wish to avoid the obvious meaning of the term that engage in Clintonian contortions in their feigned failure to understand it.

Mailvox: Two soldiers on torture

JR seems to think my caution with regards to the authorities is misplaced:

I found your last equivocation of torture very interesting. I suppose; since I am a soldier having had to deal with the reality of the fact that I will be tortured far worse than any detainee of the U.S., should I be captured, that I am somehow calloused to your remarks. I get this feeling that I was supposed to be uncomfortable after reading your words. I get this empty feeling that somehow I should get a feeling of remorse; however small, for the direction that the current administration is taking this torture argument. But I am having difficulty understanding your line of reasoning.

When I made the commitment as a soldier to defend The US Constitution, I understood that there were some things I would have to face in times of war, especially in dealing with being a POW. I accepted this willingly. Call me masochist, but I would expect that all soldiers who make such a commitment would expect the same, regardless of who they give their allegiance. While the Geneva Convention has reformed, and is constantly reforming the term “all is fair in love and war”, I have to say that omitting torture as a means of extracting information out of prisoners seems to be prattle of the barmy fool, and frivolously unrealistic.

I admit that giving the ability to the police to use torture is disturbing. While I don’t agree with Rusty Humphries about the police using torture to extract information, am I being unrealistic in thinking that this excerpt has almost no bearing on the argument you are presenting? Am I being short-sighted in thinking that this argument over torture will never come to the table over domestic policies, or when discussing police brutality?

You saw the fear in Mr. Smith’s hands as he expended his overview of the war onto paper. Am I delusional in seeing the fear and trembling in your hands, over the visions of a smarmy acceptance of torture, reminiscient of a fascist, brutal police state? If it is fear by the general populace that dictates acceptance of torture of POW’s and detainees in times of war, how am I to believe that this fear will transcend into subjugation of criminal suspects; something driven by a much more individual, and unctuous motivation? Are you telling me that Americans are now irrationally fearful of every common criminal on the street?

I think that most Americans are irrational in their fear of crime, mostly due to how the danger of criminals is constantly beaten into their heads with every news show and drama series. I also think that Americans harbor insufficient rational fear of their government, after all, the Founders included the Second Amendment for a reason, an amendment which American governments at all levels have been warring against for decades.

Furthermore, as I’ve demonstrated previously, the average human’s chance of being murdered by a representative of his own government was significantly greater than his chance of being murdered by a common criminal acting on his own. I do think JR is being shortsighted, as Humphries’ column indicates that once the principle of acceptable torture is embraced by the American authorities, it merely becomes a question of who may be tortured. As with the original income tax, this list will inevitably expand with time.

RO, on the other hand, tends to see it my way:

An excellent column today. I myself was a trained prisoner interrogator in Vietnam for two tours there. In a e-mail response to one of his columns, I told Mr. Craig [Smith], whom you mentioned in your column, that we, the AF, never used torture and did neither the Army and the Marines. I mentioned that aside from it being absolutely forbidden by military regulations, I personally found torture incompatible with being a Christian (my faith, Catholicism considers it a mortal sin), as well as incompatible with the moral authority that the US had.

He was unsympathetic with the regulations and with my personal belief, and rued that we didn’t use torture because we might have been able to find where US POWs were being held. That alone would supposedly have justified any techniques we had to use. I did not, nor could have responded to such a callous means-justifies-the-ends attitude from a man who is purportedly a Christian.

I find the notion that torture is permissible because terrorists are not covered by the Geneva Convention to be as specious as the idea that abortion is permissible because unborn children are not covered by the U.S. Constitution. There is no moral requirement to capture terrorists or accept their surrenders, they have declared No Quarter after all. But once surrendered, the American forces do have a moral duty to treat them in a civilized manner.

Short-lived secularism

Trey Parker and Matt Stone have the answer to shutting it down once and for all:

“That’s where we kind of agree with some of the people who’ve criticized our show,” Stone says. “Because it really is open season on Jesus. We can do whatever we want to Jesus, and we have. We’ve had him say bad words. We’ve had him shoot a gun. We’ve had him kill people. We can do whatever we want. But Mohammed, we couldn’t just show a simple image.”

During the part of the show where Mohammed was to be depicted — benignly, Stone and Parker say — the show ran a black screen that read: “Comedy Central has refused to broadcast an image of Mohammed on their network.”

Other networks took a similar course, refusing to air images of Mohammed — even when reporting on the Denmark cartoon riots — claiming they were refraining because they’re religiously tolerant, the South Park creators say.

“No you’re not,” Stone retorts. “You’re afraid of getting blown up. That’s what you’re afraid of. Comedy Central copped to that, you know: ‘We’re afraid of getting blown up.'”

It’s a pretty simple blueprint for those scary right-wing Christians who are so actively attempting to establish a theocracy. If someone takes the name of your Lord and Savior in vain, then kill him on the spot. If a television show is insufficiently respectful towards the Alpha and Omega, don’t boycott, simply bomb.

Atheists, secularists and “brights” (who is the marketing genius who thought that one up?) only believe they have this one life to live, so they’re reasonably inclined towards cowardice in the interest of preserving it. A single churchload of committed theocrats could probably have an American theocracy up-and-running in time for Christmas.

Scoff and pain shall be given unto you
Jeer and ye shall die
Mock and bombs shall be exploded next to you
Hallelu, Hallelujah!

Ban the no-knock

Reason makes a case against the legal home invasion:

In 2000 drug cops in Modesto, California, accidentally shot 11-year-old Alberto Sepulveda in the back of the head at point-blank range during a botched raid on the boy’s home. In 2003 police in New York City raided the home of 57-year-old city worker Alberta Spruill based on a bad tip from an informant. The terrified Spruill had a heart attack and died at the scene. Last year Baltimore County police shot and killed Cheryl Lynn Noel, a churchgoing wife and mother, during a no-knock raid on her home after finding some marijuana seeds while sifting through the family’s trash.

There are dozens more examples. And a botched raid needn’t end in death to do harm. It’s hard to get a firm grip on just how often it happens—police tend to be reluctant to track their mistakes, and victims can be squeamish about coming forward—but a 20-year review of press accounts, court cases, and Kraska’s research suggests that each year there are at least dozens, perhaps hundreds, of “wrong door” raids. And even when everything goes right, it’s overkill to use what is essentially an urban warfare unit to apprehend a nonviolent drug suspect.

Criminal charges against police officers who accidentally kill innocent people in these raids are rare. Prosecutors almost always determine that the violent, confrontational nature of the raids and the split-second decisions made while conducting them demand that police be given a great deal of discretion. Yet it’s the policy of using volatile forced-entry raids to serve routine drug warrants that creates those circumstances in the first place.

Worse, prosecutors are much less inclined to take circumstances into account when it comes to pressing charges against civilians who make similar mistakes. When civilians who are innocent or who have no history of violence defend their homes during a mistaken raid, they have about a one in two chance of facing criminal charges if a policeman is killed or injured. When convicted, they’ve received sentences ranging from probation to life in prison to, in Maye’s case, the death penalty.

I’d like to see a law passed that would guarantee the following:

1. Any civilian defending an erroneously targeted home shall be immune to all criminal prosecution for all of his actions relating to the no-knock raid.

2. Any police officer guilty of injuring an innocent civilian will be suspended from the force for a year. Any police officer responsible for “accidentally” killing a civilian in a no-knock raid will be removed from the force, lose 50 percent of his pension and be charged with a crime ranging from manslaughter to murder one depending on the circumstances..

3. The individual responsible for ordering the no-knock raid will be jailed for twenty years to life.

I bet we’ll see far fewer lethal accidents with such civilian protections in place. The worst thing is that all of this indefensible authoritarian activity is in defense of the idiotic drug war.

Discuss amongst yourselves

Mailvox: inscrutable insults

I searched in vain for references to Michelle Malkin and “Fiver”. Couldn’t find any. Can anyone explain?

What are you, an idiot? All it requires is a knowledge of Watership Down as well as an obscure Internet debate from two years ago. Anyhow, the term refers to Michelle Malkin’s rabbit-like inability to count beyond the number five, as evidenced by her tally of USN carriers in 1942.

On a related note, I expect I’ll be making more friends in the right-wing commentariat tomorrow morning. And yes, before you ask, I was reading a little Wolfe of late….

Blood and irony

I was speaking to a publisher this week when I learned the funniest news I’ve heard in a long time. It seems a certain NFL star will soon be publishing a children’s book, one dedicated to the worthwhile topic of teaching children how to share.

As for his identity, let’s just say that there is an amount of irony involved in the concept.

On a tangentially related note, I had an interesting conversation with John Romero yesterday evening. His forthcoming MMOG sounds as if it will be characteristically innovative; he has a sharp mind and always brings a creatively synergistic approach to game design. I harbor great respect for those who aren’t afraid to take risks, whether they manage to pull it off every time or not.

In any event, it’s always fun to speak with guys from the CGDC old school.