Just for catching flies.
I write now to express my support for the New York Times (a rare enough instance for me) in their publication of a controversial political cartoon, which is widely considered a work of anti-semitism. I won’t re-hash all the to and from over this — there’s plenty to be had elsewhere, as in this link to CNN coverage of the item. According to CNN:
Portuguese artist António Moreira Antunes has been drawing political cartoons for 45 years. He recently decided to take on the relationship between U.S. President Donald Trump and recently re-elected Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The result was an image of a Netanyahu as a dog on a leash, Star of David around his neck, held by a blind Trump wearing sunglasses and a yarmulke.
I remember the Salman Rushdie fatwa. I started blogging in the days of the Danish cartoons. I never want to see a repeat of the Charlie Hebdo attacks (which happened more than once). I support in no uncertain terms (I shouldn’t even have to say this) the right of any cartoonist to draw what he wants, and of any publisher to publish what she wants. He and she together have a responsibility not only to the larger sensitivities of a global audience, but as well to the shareholders of a company, the safety of co-workers and family, and to comply with laws and norms as appropriate.
Yet the foremost responsibility of a creator and a publisher is to the values that make them pursue their craft in the first place. We cannot have any form of representative government if we cannot express ourselves. We cannot claim to have a robust public discourse if some things are un-sayable.
The cartoon is reproduced here without permission, claiming under the terms of Fair Use that the details of execution are so important as to warrant visual representation in full, in order to facilitate discussion. I also do this as an exercise of free speech, as rights that are not used do not exist, and at any rate, Article 13 can go fuck itself.
See the cartoon here:
This cartoon is quite well executed. I disagree with the ridiculous and tiresome point made by the cartoonist. This is not the raving, drooling doggerel and graffiti style which typifies a lot of this point of view. Every stroke of this cartoon is lovingly (or loathingly) rendered to deliver a message. That message sucks, but that is not the point upon which I stand. The anti-US anti-semites often have a cluster of related pathologies of which Jew-hatred and Marxism are only two examples. I find these cartoons and their ilk boring and repetitive, and needlessly inflammatory.
The cartoon depicts the leaders of two nation-states, one of which as an avowed mission as a refuge and rock of an ethnicity and a religion. As an American, this founding mission of Israel is nearly opposite that of my own country. Yet Israel is one of precious few representative governments on the planet, not short of enemies, and confronted daily with existential decisions. Netanyahu is Jewish, but need not wear a Star of David as a dog. Neither need he be Trump’s or America’s dog in order to exercise a foreign policy which Americans find admirable. This latter insult was also directed at Tony Blair by many of the same cartoonists who hate America, hate Israel, hate Britain, hate free markets, hate freedom of speech, and who seem to find room in their hearts for whichever dictator finds himself ranged against America, the Great Satan, in any given year. So there’ nothing new or even interesting about the dog and master trope.
Trump in a yarmulke is about the closest I can get to calling this otherwise ho-hum cartoon offensive, beyond the crime of being boring. The cartoonist puts a yarmulke on Trump — Trump is not Jewish. Trump has Jewish relatives. So did Hitler. Now I realize that to the left, Trump is “literally Hitler”, but we may ignore this with ease. If the left wishes to legitimize their criticism of Trump by pointing out that Hitler actually did something about those darned Jews, that’s their argument, and they are welcome to make it. We’ll be waiting. Beyond that, Trump-in-a-yarmulke is simply political commentary, and not particularly well-informed. It is an insult, pure and simple. But to whom?
Ordinarily I would not reproduce such a misguided and frankly abusive picture. Yet here I am, putting it up on my own blog because of the furor which has erupted about the publication of this work. Were I publishing a newspaper, I might not publish this on its own merits. Yet as an item in a debate over free speech, I am happy not only to publish it, but to defend the author’s rights to draw it and market it, as well as those of the execrable, internationalist, wet-county, America-hating New York Times to publish it between their latest fictional expose of something that somebody said which reflects poorly on Trump and Americans in general, and their latest plumping for the international socialist scheme to ruin America.
Either we have rights or we do not. The New York Times did not see fit to publish this image, nor any of the dozen of the Danish Cartoons. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that Jews have not threatened to behead those who insult Israel.
Soo… how’s the old earning power?
I perused a couple of websites to validate the average annual salaries by age, then applied a deflator to adjust the results by age. This is because a person like me who should nominally earn $50K in 2018 would never ever had made $22K 35 years ago, like the chart implies.
So in the table below, the far left column indicates a person’s age in 2018. The second column indicates that person’s earnings in 2018. But to make the chart a bit more relevant, I crudely applied a deflator so that you can see how this ought to track in your own life. Find your own age from the age groups across the top, in columns 3-9, and then the salaries below that will apply across your own age timeline, as taken from the age in the far left column.
I realize that this table is not comfortable in this format. Too bad — that’s WordPress.
Enjoy! Oh, and these are men’s salaries, which are different from women’s.
|Age Group||Average Salary in 2017-2018||Age adj for age: 65+||Age adj for age: 55-64||Age adj for age: 45-54||Age adj for age: 35-44||Age adj for age: 25-34||Age adj for age: 20-24||Age adj for age: 16-19|
Just a quick post here — examples abound.
Never has it been more true than now that those who can do so, and those who cannot teach instead. And one of the problems we face in Western Culture these days is an undeserved elevation of the teaching types to positions of power. Professorial sorts should almost always be denied positions of power, and that includes power over educational institutions.
The amount of information available on YouTube, WikiPedia, and all around this great big web (and the internet in general for non-web assets) puts academia to shame. The fact that you have to wade through a lot of nonsense to get to the good sense makes it more an asset than the University. In University, students are not taught to exercise selective criteria. They are indoctrinated into the greatest argument from authority — that the University said it. In fact, to a great degree, university students are taught not to exercise selectivity, which is more pernicious than merely not being taught to be selective.
University-imposed thought police dicta such as respecting all points of view mean that the critical faculty must be checked at the door. Thank Heaven for the internet! On the internet, nobody knows you’re a dog. Your words are evaluated for their content and nothing else. You’re not the professor, you’re not the triple-diversity sweepstakes ringer, and you’re not the white male oppressor who must be ignored. *You* as such, do not exist — only your words. Obviously, you can make some (or all) of these status markers visible, and of course, Google, Microsoft, Apple and Facebook all know who you are, in ways that your ISP doesn’t even know. But that’s different.
I have been rummaging around through corners of the web which I haven’t seen in years, and you know what? Some of them have filled up with thoughtful communities. They swear. They make politically incorrect jokes. And they just crush the university-approved content of the modern stapled mind with facts, reason, examples, and common appeals to what we all know is true.
Just because a university says that a particular premise should be examined, this does not make it false. Treating that premise as false is just committing the same error as treating it true, but contrary to the evidence of long observation! Treating the premise as suspect is fair, but it is not fair to question all conclusion stemming from that premise when those conclusions have held up against the harsh justice of time.
Anyway. I said this would be a quick post. Go find your own examples. That’s what the web is here for. And take your mind back from the university thought police.
Even granting every good intent in the world to authors and proponents of yes-means-yes laws, there is a fundamental problem, which is that these are unenforcable contracts, which are on their face, not valid.
Let us take yes-means-yes to a probably absurd end, and say that “yes” means a signed contract, drawn up by a lawyer, for certain acts upon a certain evening, between two adults (the undersigned), with no purpose of deception or evasion.
After that evening, contention arises about what was done and not done and why. In the first case, a party alleging that a particular contracted act was left undone will have no place to stand, as contracting in the positive for these sorts of things is not by and large legal. Well, this is not really the focus of yes-means-yes laws, so we will leave this aside. This leaves the other potential grounds for contention — a thing that did take place.
In the second case, a party alleging that a certain contracted act was done *but that it should not have been done despite the contract* will not be thrown out of court, but will be heard, and will probably prevail. Why? Because of the fluid nature of consent, which can, after all, be granted and withdrawn at any time, including monstrously enough — after the fact.
Let us examine attempting to enforce the contract in the second case. The contract says that a thing is to be done, and as the evening unfolds, that thing is indeed done — and in a way consistent with the usual sense of the terms in use at the time, and cultural expectations, and so forth. We are not talking about edge cases; we need not go that far in order to demonstrate the silliness of these laws. Consent is about the here-and-now, and cannot be contracted for at another time.
So we limit ourselves to consent given at the here-and-now, foregoing any lawyerly contributions such as written contracts, and signing, and witnesses. This is now *less* enforceable than the written version of such a contract, by any meaning of the term contract. So consent is by its nature a fleeting, difficult-to-judge thing. There can be no clarity sufficient to A) convince those who were not there at the event but who are motivated to argue the facts, nor B) establish beyond a shadow of a doubt for all time the validity of such consent even to those who were there, and even to those who partook of said behavior. That’s right — even he-said vs she-said is subsidiary to I-thought vs I-now-think, and for good reason. This topic is not amenable to legalistic treatment such as requiring written consent, requiring specified verbal consent, or any other attempt at formalization. It is a social thing buried in each of us, and some people will simply rail against reality.
I once received a remarkable piece of advice for men, which I will simply pass on without further comment.
“Always let her put it in. It will avoid complications later, and besides — she knows the way.”
Women also receive sage advice which serves them well.
“Don’t go in the bedroom unless you mean it. We all know what the bedroom is for.”
Sure, there are some who will find fault with these words of wisdom, and I don;t claim that these bits of advice are a cure-all. But they do a damned sight better service to those who heed them than do razing our cultural constructs and replacing them with a mirage of enforceable contracts hiding a tyranny of opinion and second-guessing.
This is not about two parties who find that they have a single enemy in common. It is about a besieged single party who finds that his many enemies are actually only one.
It is a stroke of genius of the modern anticulture to appear on multiple fronts, so that normal society is forced into multiple losing engagements. The anticulture only appears to divide its forces while forcing the culture to actually divide in response. That’s smart stuff right there
Much of the anticulture, labelled the left, is concerned with what it calls intersectional politics, which is the buzzword 2.0 version of identity politics. At any rate, it divides the population as a whole into stripes, which can then be pitted against each other (the identity focus), or combined into controllable sub-populations where two or more stripes intersect.
Yet these apparently numerous enemies of culture can be identified by their flawed diagnoses of what is wrong, their equally flawed descriptions of the ideal state, and their prescribed tactics to achieve such a state. Those enemies who share common goals, desires, and tactics are not numerous — they are the same enemy. What differs from apparent enemy to apparent enemy is only the set of falsehoods that lead the culture’s eye away from the real anticulture. Fighting off the assault by transsexualist forces as such is bound to lose. Instead the transsexualists, like any anticulture force, muct be fought as anticulture, not as transsexuals. Nobody cares about trannies, for the most part, and to the extent that anybody does, it is probably sympathy for such a sad deluded creature.
Something old, and something new.
First the new thing, which like many new things is trivial. This blog currently has 3,664 comments, all but perhaps 100 are guaranteed to be spam. Well I had put up a “sticky” post some months ago, which means that it stays at the top of the blog no matter what. Guess what? Of the 3,664 posts, 3,231 of them are attached to the sticky post. A-ha. Most of these spam-bots simply attack the first post listed on the blog. So new anti-spam measure #1: create a spam magnet post and make it sticky. Tell people not to comment on this post. Periodically, dump all of the comments.
The old thing is profound. Obvious, but profound. WordPress is not the friendliest environment in which to make bulk changes. This can be an issue when you need to target large numbers of obviously spam comments while protecting those few worthy comments form, you know, human beings. So, using a statistical trick and a bit of laziness, you can wipe out vast tracts of weeds while preserving the wheat. Look at the comments in reverse chronological order, which is the default. The first comment that you see is the most recently posted. Let us assume that the time and date a comment was posted have nothing to do with whether it is spam or not.
Glance at the comment to ensure it is spam, and believe me, most of the time, a glance is all it will take. Spam senders are diverse — some send a lot and some send just a little. Some send in bursts, while others send slow-Loris-like, trickling slowly but consistently to generate huge numbers regardless. Still, the numbers will tell, and the lw of large numbers means that this tip works particularly well *just when you need it*.
Find the first spam comment. Note its sender address. Search your comments (using the search function for @baddomain.com, and when those results pop up, hit select all. Then delete. You’ll want to se the number of results to the maximum, 250 at last report. You may only get seven, or three, or one on your first try. But just by taking each spam comment in turn and then searching for similar senders, you will eliminate larger numbers sooner than smaller numbers. Why? Because at any point in the sequence of comments, you are more likely to run across a comment sent from a prolific sender than a more — shall we say — discerning spam sender. You could go about in any order you like or none at all and statistically, the results would be the same. No matter what you do, you will hit the worstest the firstest. But the simplest thing to do, the one which takes the least work, is to simply accept the reverse chronological default listing and plod away at that.
Why is this such good news? Because when you’re smart, you make things hard. God knows I do, and I’m so smart that my shirt is inside out. It’s easy to get wrapped up in a workflow of extracting counts by sender of spam comments, and then ranking by count, and then re-attacking once you have this highly valuable information. You then proceed with an accurate list of the most prolific spam commenters, and you know that your list will eliminate the greatest amount of spam comments in the shortest amount of time, because you have them sorted on order count, descending.
But there’s a price to pay, and it is two0fold. First, you;ve spent some amount of time and effort to generate that list. I say that the effort to do that is *not* repaid by the slight increase in performance you *might* see as opposed to just going down the list and searching on each bad guy you find, letting the Law of Large Numbers do the heavy lifting. Second, once you expend a great deal of effort on proving your intellect to yourself, you are *less* likely to follow through with the monkey work of searching and deleting, and less likely to finish what you might start.
In order to generate some data, I went ahead and did the search thing for a while, until I ran out of lines on my pocket Moleskine. Seemed like a fair enough “nothing up my sleeve” stopping point. But I’m about to go whack everything on the sticky post and edit it to apologize for any worthwhile comments that I may have deleted.
Here are some numbers for the curious:
|(A)Rev Chronological First Found||(B)Domain||(C)Count in 131||(D)Projected Total = (C)*(3,661/131)||(E)Actual Total|
And a picture of the correlation:
I received a scam e-mail which centered on the following text:
“Your Apple lD has been blocked due to too many failed login attempts from other lP location. To unblock your account, Please contact Apple Help Desk at (800) 275-2273 or Click the button below and confirm that you are the valid account owner.”
- The return address was a nonsense string with no relation to Apple.
- The grammar issues in the paragraph above were another red flag.
- Finally, the preview of the mail (what you see before you open it up) displayed an announcement about some “Grand Opening”, but this was not visible in the mail itself (and not at all related to the subject or body of the mail).
I am passing through Virginia once again, on my way to Texas maybe, or perhaps Guam, and eventually back to Japan. Gotta hit Texas in the near fiture no matter what, and then to select a place to live for the next couple of years. Maybe Texas, maybe Virginia. Maybe the moon, as long as it comes with a US zip code.
Things are good. Hectic, frustrating, but exciting and full of good people. I have worked with bad people, years ago. My recent job of the last two years grew increasingly frustrating, but it was populated by good people, which made the thing bearable and even a pleasure in several ways. But job satisfaction, and a feeling of effectiveness were not much among those things by the end.
Well, lucky me, I am a man of many options. Exercising another option, and excited about the possibilities open to me.
I have a good feeling about this.