G.L.Piggy [at] gmail.com
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Gawker of all websites has a post about a man who was harassed online, in person, and by the police after being accused on Facebook of being a rapist and child molester:
Earlier this week, Toledo resident Chad Lesko was walking around a local park when an angry stranger approached the 23-year-old and told him he had to leave. “He just walks up to me and says, ‘You’re not allowed in this park because you’re a rapist,’” Lesko recalled yesterday over the phone. “I’m like, ‘No, I’m not!’”
A Juggalo who started attending church about eight months ago, Lesko went to a meeting there and someone called the authorities. “The church people had seen my picture on Facebook, so then the cops showed up and ran my name, but I had nothing come up,” he told me. “When I was on the way home, I had another cop stop me and actually slam me to the ground because he thought I was wanted.”
The Nicole McCarthy profile, a dummy page created by Lesko’s ex-girlfriend and the mother of his son (who confessed to posting the slanderous accusation on a local radio show), came down on Wednesday, but only after the false accusation had more than 30,000 shares.
Even men’s rights enthusiasts focus mostly on false rape statistics that are documented in some way by cops and the justice system. There is the argument over whether 2% or 8% or 50% of rapes reported to police are false claims. But very often it is non-institutional false rape accusations that are worse for the falsely accused. Sometimes its worse when false claimants spread the lie through social networks – family, friends, small towns. The risk isn’t that the man will end up in jail but that he’ll get beaten up or shunned by the community.
Then, what percent of police-reported rapes are false accusations, and what percent of extra-institutional rape accusations are false?
At The Atlantic Benjamin Schwartz discusses how American men are charmless:
Male charm is all but absent from the screen because it’s all but absent from our lives. Most men hold charm in vague suspicion: few cultivate it; still fewer respond to it; hardly any know whether they have it; and almost none can even identify it. Women commonly complain about the difficulty in gaining any conversational purchase when, say, trying to engage the fathers of their children’s classmates or the husbands of their tennis partners. The woman will grab from her bag of conversational gambits—she’ll allude to some quotidian absurdity or try to form a mock alliance in defiance of some teacher’s or soccer coach’s irksome requirement. But the man doesn’t enter into the give-and-take. The next time they meet, it’s as though they’ve never talked before; the man invariably fails to pick up the ball, and any reference the woman might make to a prior remark or observation falls to the ground. Men don’t indulge in the easy shared confidences and nonsexual flirtations that lubricate social exchange among women. Even in the most casual conversation, men are too often self-absorbed or mono-focused or—more commonly—guarded, distracted, and disengaged to an almost Aspergerian degree...Men consistently fail to meet the sort of obvious standards set by guides to etiquette and to the art of conversation common 50 years ago.
It seems pretty simple to me. First, the types of conversations that Schwartz is talking about sound a lot like petty gossip. Gossip is one type of glue that helps solidify social bonds, and women navigate it pretty well.
Schwartz’s piece is very jumbled and he’s jumping around from talking about George Clooney and Cary Grant, and he’s also lumping men of all ages and all relationship statuses into one group. I’d say that married men have suffered the greatest erosion of charm. At some point they just don’t care anymore about such things, and I doubt that married men in 1948 were any more charming than married men today. For one, there is much more interaction between men in women in social life. The guys we might see in the movies didn’t interact with women every minute of the day like they do now. It’s hard to be ‘on’ like that all the time.
Another reason for the general guardedness of men has to do with the perception that any man who shows any sort of interest in women – even parents of their kids’ friends – is trying to get laid. Even down to remembering specific details of past conversations that Schwartz mentions. A man who remembers details runs the risk of being called another ‘c’ word, not ‘charming’: ‘creepy’. It’s enough to keep men, generally, from showing all too much interest or recall in interactions with women, though we also might do this with other men as well.
What is called ‘charm’ by Schwartz nears a fine line towards something else. Flirtation – another word for strong interest – is easier for women because they have an easier time wiggling out of it if they need to. If they are actually flirting but their flirtation begins to get too heavy or they get bad looks from other people or if they just become bored by it, they can slough it off and pretend that they were just being nice. Men aren’t given that leeway. If they show an interest or smile too long or hover in any way, they are marked with a big, huge ‘F’ for ‘failure’ or ‘flirter’ or ‘flirting failure’.
I think that the general rule is that women set the pace of social interaction. The myth is that women are more social than men, but the truth is that women are more social with a smaller circle of close companions. Men may be more guarded with people they already know, but they’re just as guarded with people they don’t know. Women, since we’re generalizing here, are very open with people they know but completely closed – some might say frozen shut – to people they don’t already know.
Schwartz’s article just strikes me as him focusing on a vignette, probably from his personal life, and then making a huge extrapolation. I don’t automatically think Schwartz is wrong in saying that American men have lost charm over the decades, but it’s not as if we all just decided that it should go that way. And I doubt that we all decided to do it just to be bores.
See also: Spengler’s Universal Law of Gender Parity.
George Zimmerman’s lawyers released a trove of Trayvon Martin’s text messages. I’d previously pointed out that Martin was getting into guns. He’d ‘liked’ guns on his StumbleUpon page, and his increased penchant for fighting suggested that he was purposely moving towards a thug persona.
On page 7 of this series of text messages – since deleted – Martin asks about a friend’s .22. He wants to buy one. He also discusses a .38 with someone. He also admits to someone else that he’d been fighting a lot. Mediate reports on Mark O’Mara’s unveiling of this information.
Which of the two out of Martin and Zimmerman had recently been primed towards fighting? As someone who’s gone through a spell like that too, when you have a hammer all you see are nails. For Martin, he’d been in street-fighter mode and so he was ready to jump on Zimmerman, this white looking dude who was eyeballing him.
I went to see Baz Luhrmann’s Great Gatsby the other day, and the thing that stuck out at me there was that DiCaprio’s Gatsby worse sunglasses. I’m exhibiting a pattern for pedantry here because I also watched Bladerunner for the first time a couple of weeks ago and noticed that there was way too much smoking in Los Angeles: 2019.
DiCaprio’s sunglasses made me wonder when sunglasses were invented and marketed. They weren’t widely worn until they started being mass-produced in 1929 by Sam Foster of Foster Grant. The character of Gatsby was avante-garde and wealthy so it’s conceivable that he could have had a pair. But there’s no mention of sunglasses (or shades or sun cheaters) in Fitzgerald’s book. Robert Redford’s Gatsby (1974) didn’t wear them. The 1949 version starring Alan Ladd doesn’t seem to have a shaded Gatsby either.
Because it proves everything, I checked the Google Ngram to see trends in the mention of ‘sunglasses’ and ‘eyeglasses’ in books up until 2008:
What’s strange is that I get the use of Jay-Z on the soundtrack – Luhrmann wanted to capture Fitzgerald’s modernity which relied on jazz and so he chose the oh so cutting-edge First Best Bud to create the score. That and Nick Carraway’s writing his book from an asylum are Luhrmann additions put in for his own creative reasons. So I’m wondering, for no good reason, if the sunglasses had significance to Luhrmann or if they were just thrown in there because they fit DiCaprio.
There was some minor buzz last week about a study that found that women find men with heavy stubble more attractive than clean-shaven or heavily bearded men. Another study on human voice has a similar finding:
The results show that male listeners preferred a female voice that signals a small body size, with relatively high pitch, wide formant dispersion and breathy voice, while female listeners preferred a male voice that signals a large body size with low pitch and narrow formant dispersion. Interestingly, however, male vocal attractiveness was also enhanced by breathiness, which presumably softened the aggressiveness associated with a large body size. These results, together with the additional finding that the same vocal dimensions also affect emotion judgment, indicate that humans still employ a vocal interaction strategy used in animal calls despite the development of complex language.
In both cases, women prefer characteristics that imply dominance in men. But they don’t want too much dominance. If facial hair or a dominant voice are characteristics that are appealing to women, we might logically deduce that more of a good thing is better. A bigger beard and a more aggressive voice. But it seems that there are limitations. They want it all: strong but gentle. There is some tipping point at which dominance displays become a handicap. The same thing holds for bodybuilder types. Women tend to prefer men with more muscle, but they are often turned off by egregious displays of musculature.
1. The faulty math on sexual assault in the military. I feel bad because I really should have gone a step further and looked into the statistics on this because they are almost always found to be overstated for several reasons, the most common being selection bias in the sample and a watered-down definition of the crime being addressed.
2. This sad sack had open relationships with women who ended up wanting to date other women instead of him. His reflection is aimed in the wrong direction.
3. Should the NBA raise the rim? No.
4. At WaPo’s WonkBlog: “Why are tornadoes so hard to predict?” Maybe I’m reading too much into the headline, but it strikes me that such a question can spring only from an unconstrained liberals’ distorted mind. Tornadoes are hard to predict because they are natural, chaotic phenomenon.
5. No evidence that home computers improve education outcomes for poor kids.
Smoking, or lack of it, contributes 1.9 years to the life expectancy advantage for foreign-born Mexican women in America. The advantage is at 1.3 years for men:
More than three decades of health disparities research in the United States has consistently found lower adult mortality risks among Hispanics than their non-Hispanic white counterparts, despite lower socioeconomic status among Hispanics. Explanations for the “Hispanic Paradox” include selective migration and cultural factors, though neither has received convincing support. This paper uses a large nationally representative survey of health and smoking behavior to examine whether smoking can explain life expectancy advantage of Hispanics over US-born non-Hispanics whites, with special attention to individuals of Mexican origin. It tests the selective migration hypothesis using data on smoking among Mexico-to-US migrants in Mexico and the United States. Both US-born and foreign-born Mexican-Americans exhibit a life expectancy advantage vis-à-vis whites. All other Hispanics only show a longevity advantage among the foreign-born, while those born in the United States are disadvantaged relative to whites. Smoking-attributable mortality explains the majority of the advantage for Mexican-Americans, with more than 60% of the gap deriving from lower rates of smoking among Mexican-Americans. There is no evidence of selective migration with respect to smoking; Mexicans who migrate to the US smoke at similar rates to Mexicans who remain in Mexico, with both groups smoking substantially less than non-Hispanic whites in the US.
According to the Kaiser Foundation, 20.8% of whites, 23.1% of blacks, and 15.8% of Hispanics in the U.S. smoke.
Camille Paglia has an article reviewing three books published by university presses on BDSM. According to Paglia, the works avoid properly analyzing an interested topic full of interesting characters because it gets mired down in an allegiance to Foucault, social constructionism, and Marxist analysis and refuse to characterize BDSM and kink as any sort of sexual perversion.
She writes of one of the trio of books:
As this book began to veer astray, I felt that Lindemann’s mind was like a sleek yacht built for exhilarating grace and speed but commandeered by moldy tyrants for mundane use as a sluggish freighter. Her book is woefully burdened by the ugly junk she is forced to carry in this uncertain climate, where teaching jobs are so scarce.
The writers have no cultural knowledge, only academic theorizing. They don’t seem to know that BDSM is not a post-capitalistic phenomenon:
All three books under review betray a dismaying lack of general cultural knowledge—most crucially of so central a work as Pauline Réage’s infamous novel of sadomasochistic fantasy, The Story of O, which was published in 1954 and made into a moody 1975 movie with a groundbreaking Euro-synth score by Pierre Bachelet. The long list of items missing from the research backgrounds and thought process of these books is topped by Luis Buñuel’s classic film Belle de Jour (1967), in which Catherine Deneuve dreamily plays a bored, affluent Parisian wife moonlighting in a fetish brothel.
…These three authors have not been trained to be alert to historical content or implications.
And little if any mention of Marquis de Sade who Paglia says heavily influenced Nietzsche, the philosopher who Foucault tried unsuccessfully to mimic. The religious symbolism within BDSM is so obvious that it’s hard to believe that none of the three writers explored this vein, but Paglia says they didn’t:
Sadomasochism’s punitive hierarchical structure is ultimately a religious longing for order, marked by ceremonies of penance and absolution. Its rhythmic abuse of the body, which can indeed become pathological if pushed to excess, is paradoxically a reinvigoration, a trancelike magical realignment with natural energies. Hence the symbolic use of leather—primitive animal hide—for whips and fetish clothing.
Paglia summarizes the shortcomings of the works and the non-value academies from which they are produced:
First of all, every gender studies curriculum must build biology into its program; without knowledge of biology, gender studies slides into propaganda. Second, the study of ancient tribal and agrarian cultures is crucial to end the present narrow focus on modern capitalist society. Third, the cynical disdain for religion that permeates high-level academe must end. (I am speaking as an atheist.) It is precisely the blindness to spiritual quest patterns that has most disabled the three books under review.
As for the practitioners of BDSM, many are painted as social rejects:
Newmahr captures how her subjects, even before they entered SM, viewed themselves as “outsiders” who lived “on the fringe of social acceptance.” Most are overweight, but it’s never remarked on. Several women are over six feet tall, generally a social disadvantage elsewhere. Newmahr gets answers from her subjects to questions about the past that Weiss never asked: Some men are small-statured or have vivid, angry memories of being bullied at school. Newmahr notes the “pervasive social awkwardness” in the scene, the “ill-fitting, outdated clothing” and the women’s lack of makeup and jewelry. The men often have little interest in sports and own cars of middling quality.
That topic should be its own book.
Hoping to become the next Al Sharpton now that Tawana Brawley’s former attorney now works for MSNBC, Benjamin Crump of Trayvon Martin case fame is now representing the family of murdered gay Mississippi mayoral candidate Marco McMillan. Even though someone, a black man, has confessed to the murder and was found driving McMillan’s car the day after the killing, the autopsy had some inconsistencies which has caused the family and other clingons to look for what they want to see. It could be that McMillan was the victim of a anti-gay hate crime or possibly some sort of political hit job. The undertone of the latter implies a bit of old fashioned Southern racism. From the Grio:
Lettman-Hicks said she and McMillian’s family believe his political aspirations may have been a factor in his death.
“We’re looking into that…we don’t necessarily believe Reed may have acted alone, if was even the killer,” she said. “There is a lack of willingness in the general community to provide information…So it makes us have the assumption that there may be a political motive behind his death and not this fabricated relationship gone bad that seems to be the general norm of…speculation. Why aren’t they looking into whether the person who said he killed him actually killed him and he’s not being the scapegoat for someone else?”
The Clarksdale election was held on May 7.
“There are mixed feelings in the community,” Meredith said. “It’s been an ordeal for the community and for the family that‘s for sure,” Meredith said. “We have come so far in race relations in Clarksdale that we don’t need anything to set us back. Everything is good. God made all of us and that’s the way I see the whole community, with that same attitude. And that’s the only way we’re going to make it. We don’t need any trouble at all.”
“Again, where is the decency?” Lettman-Hicks asked. “We black folks. We don’t operate like this especially in a little country town. This is a local community and this young man was running for mayor. This is a high-profile case. Where is just the human dignity? Where is the cardboard box? Or the Ziploc bag with his belongings being brought back to a grieving mother’s home, and the conversation, explanation or expression of grief and condolence and respect for a mother for her only child? Where’s the southern hospitality? I can’t even get beyond that. I mean, there isn’t anything illegal about that. But it is quite inhumane.”
Justice. Dignity. Respect. Relative terms that leave a lot of wiggle room for people who don’t want to accept reality.
A co-worker at the restaurant came looking for my wisdom the other day. “What do you say when a fat customer jokes about their weight?” This happens a lot in booth sections, by the way. Fat people struggle to squeeze into booths and, because they are embarrassed about it, make light of their size. I have a friend at work who makes jokes about being big. I don’t bite by lying and automatically saying that she’s skinny. She’s not fat, but she’s not skinny. I just don’t want to play that game so I tell her, jokingly (yeah, I cop out), that it’s not right to put people on the spot like that. You’re either begging for a lie or making that person feel like a jerk for agreeing. But this is becoming common enough that I’m at the point where I’m just going to start agreeing and amplifying self-referential fat jokes. “God, I’m so fat.” “Yeah, you’re huuuuuge. You want Diet Coke with that tub of alfredo sauce, right?”