That explains a lot

John Scalzi mentions the education of Tor editor Patrick Nielsen Hayden. Or, more precisely, the lack thereof:

Yes, there are people who have done well without college or even high school diplomas; allow me to point at my own fiction editor, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, an autodidact of the first order and one of the smartest people I know.

While I am second to no man in expressing serious doubt regarding the effectiveness and importance of a college education for most people, I rather suspect there may be a direct connection between the gentleman’s lack of an education and the way in which so many Tor books absolutely and utterly and completely suck from a literary perspective.

As Spacebunny once muttered in exasperation while determinedly slogging her way through yet another execrable hardcover: “who on Earth keeps giving these people book contracts?” Answer: a guy without a high school diploma. Thus is great American literature born….

Lest you wish to consider this some sort of sour grapes, I note that despite my membership in the SFWA, I have never submitted a single book proposal to Tor or any science fiction/fantasy publisher except Pocket Books.

Disputing the disputation

Dr. Helen disagrees with part of my previous post, unnecessarily in my opinion:

Anger is not always stupid, petty and irrational; sometimes it is a legitimate response, a way to tell us that something is wrong or that we need to become more aware of what we are feeling and why. Women are not irrational creatures, but actually very rational at times and their angry behavior, even in a passive aggressive form, is not always about being emotionally manipulated.

What I was saying in an admittedly unclear manner is not that anger stems from being emotionally manipulated, but rather that being anger-prone renders one vulnerable to emotional manipulation.

If I cannot reason with you, if I cannot appeal to your rational thought processes, then you leave me no choice but to manipulate your emotions. Once I determine that a woman is one of the anger-prone, I make no attempt whatsoever to reason with her unless I intend to humiliate her in public, in front of those who are capable of rational thought.

Now, there are certainly men who are helplessly ruled by their anger, but there are fewer of them and they tend to be more obviously choleric. It’s a little easier to steer clear of them entirely if one is not inclined to put up with the bluster and nonsense.

We ask so many times how anger is felt by women or how women are affected by men’s anger or the anger of other women, but I would really like to know how angry women affect men. It’s always funny in our culture to see women lash out angrily at men, hit them, call them names and act in passive aggressive forms towards kids, husbands and male colleagues, and many men take the abuse, but at what cost?

As is probably quite clear to most of my readers, I am openly contemptuous of those who are ruled by their emotions, particularly anger. This is often mistaken for misogyny, but that is a blatantly sexist assumption. Having seen far too many men virtually emasculated by their fear of women’s anger, my instinctive reaction is to confront it, either by attempting to gently defuse it or simply crushing it with an avalanche of icy contempt.

What’s interesting is the way in which many women who use the threat of their anger to bully men can sense this unwillingness to cower before them and openly fear it. It’s both amusing and a little disturbing to see how such women will not even dare to meet my eyes once they detect it.

The best way to defang a passive-aggressive individual is to bring the subtext out into the open. This is most easily done by asking a direct question: “do you really think it’s appropriate to talk to your husband like that in front of all of us?” Most women would rather die than have their bad behavior exposed like that, which is kind of strange because they have no problem exhibiting it in the first place.

Another approach is to take the negative reinforcement line, for example, an individual who habitually speaks in an inappropriately disrespectful tone will usually knock it off if you inevitably respond with calmly polite vulgarities.

“Yes, of COURSE I’ll do EXACTLY what you require of me, your Highness. (said in a voice dripping with sarcasm)

“Yes, I very much expect you will follow your fucking orders in the precise fucking manner I have given them to you.” (spoken in a polite, inoffensive tone.)

“You can’t talk to me like that!”

“I can, and I will, so long as you speak to me like that. It’s up to you.”

In such cases, you cannot meet fire with fire and passive-aggression with passive-aggression, as it only exacerbates the situation. Conflict is an excellent issue-resolver.

Interesting comparison

Instapundit (180.5k daily visits, 4,623 links)
Votes in Pajamas Media poll: 739

Vox Popoli (2.7k visits, 258 links)
Votes in Pajamas Media poll: 333

It signifies nothing, I was merely surprised that the difference wasn’t an order of magnitude or more. Although I suppose that wouldn’t have been possible considering that the Ron Paul votes here currently make up about 15 percent of his total and he’s running a strong second on the Republican side.

The most likely conclusion is that most of my readers do not regularly frequent Pajamas Media sites, whereas Insty’s readers do. This would make sense, given that he’s involved with them and I am not.

Religion’s sins against science

I’m looking for a comprehensive list. So far, I’ve got the following off the top of my head:

1. Putting Galileo on trial.
2. Banning fetal stem-cell research.
3. Suing to teach ID in public school.
4. Suing to not teach evolution / teach evolution as theory instead of fact in public school.

Anyone got anything else?

The ever-simmering sex

Dr. Helen notes a study on anger:

Do you think it’s mainly men who are the supposed angrier sex so the insults must be coming from them? Think again. Research from a British study of 22000 people over 50 years shows that women are the angrier sex. Heather Joshi, the study co-author, states, “Our study show that women report being angry far more often than men do.”

I rather like Dr. Helen, in part because she’s able to consider something like this from a dispassionate point of view instead of immediately going off on an illogical and ironic rant about how women aren’t angry, it’s men who are angry and if women are angry it’s only because men pissed them off by being such oppressive, patriarchal jerks.

There’s nothing actually newsworthy about this study, except for the fact that it violates the Unicornitopia view that women are sugar, spice and everything nice and angry white males are the cause of all evil. The truth is that most women are walking around half-cocked at all times, always a single comment away from erupting in anger.

Why? I don’t know. I don’t pretend to know. But I do know that it is a major handicap in attempting to achieve anything or work with anyone. I also know that men who live in fear of setting off the permanently half-cocked tend to cripple themselves both emotionally and intellectually.

Anger isn’t often righteous, it’s usually stupid, petty and irrational. If one feels angry all the time, or bordering on being angry all the time, then one is teetering on the edge of constant irrationality. If that’s not enough to give you pause about giving into anger at every opportunity or even glorying in it, well, there’s not much point in attempting to speak reason to you, is there, since you’re nothing but an irrational creature capable of nothing but being emotionally manipulated.

And living in fear of such a one is rather like being a well-trained dog. Face the fear, let the anger come and then note how little effect it has on you once the shouting is done. And once the angry realize how little effect their anger has on you, they’ll either cut it out or their passive hatred for you will go active. Either way, you’ll be much better off.

Arrivederci, Rudy

Not only are Republicans demonstrably unenthusiastic about him, but the man obviously doesn’t even want to be president:

Asked whether his wife would sit in on Cabinet meetings, Giuliani said, “If she wanted to. If they were relevant to something that she was interested in. I mean that would be something that I’d be very, very comfortable with.”

Giuliani described his wife as a close adviser who has as much involvement in his campaign as she wants.

Asked if she would sit in on policy meetings, Mrs. Giuliani, who was a nurse, said: “If he asks me to, yes. And certainly in the areas of health care.”

Yes, it worked so well the last time a President of the United States turned health care over to his wife. There’s an analogy you want people to draw…. I expect him to drop out of the race before the Republican convention.

Behold the power

Pajamas Media rethinks their ill-considered notion to fix the vote:

The tenth week of the PAJAMAS MEDIA PRESIDENTIAL STRAW POLL has officially begun. Rudy Giuliani and Bill Richardson were again winners in the ninth week. Barack Obama continued as runner-up to Richardson on the Democratic side, but Newt Gingrich (trending upwards) once more moved past Mitt Romney for the Republicans.

Fred Thompson 1445 37.3%
Ron Paul 906 23.4%
Rudy Giuliani 532 13.7%
Newt Gingrich 294 7.6%
Mitt Romney 281 7.2%

Yeah, people just LOVE the lisper, don’t they. Of course, Pajamas will probably spin this as a DRAFT THOMPSON mass movement. Note that the speech-banner is already sinking out of sight and the sacred-undies guy can’t even maintain his top three position against two guys who aren’t running.

I have no idea if they did this in response to my critical column, but regardless of why they did the right thing, I’m pleased that they have done so.

Just to let them know there’s no hard feelings, I’ve even registered VP as one of their 300+ Internet precincts. Check the right sidebar if you want to vote in the Pajamas Media straw poll. The ability to see the results of a single precinct is a really nice feature, actually, and I have to admit that I’m kind of curious to see if some of those 2004 Bush voters have moved to the right in the last three years.