Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Learning the hard way

Once, when I was a little girl my mom told me not to touch the iron. Then, she left the room, and I immediately touched the iron. I learned that lesson the hard way, by burning the crap out of my hand.

This week we get to hear about two more kids who have learned their lessons the hard way, and unfortunately not come out the other side.

A young boy in Bejing:

"The children shot the animals with catapults and beat them with wooden
sticks," the agency said. "One of the irritated crocodiles bit Liu's clothes and
dragged him into the water, where he was eaten by a swarm of crocodiles."

And another in Cleveland, who was shot to death while attempting to rob someone.

These deaths are sad, as all deaths are. But... you can't say they didn't have it coming to them.

Remember kids, Thou shalt not Steal and Thou shalt not provoke vicious carnivores.

Stereotypes and the Right

McQ has a post at QandO today "White lies and the left" in it he links to and quotes this article by Andrew Klavan.

The thing I like best about being a conservative is that I don’t have to lie. I don’t have to pretend that men and women are the same. I don’t have to declare that failed or oppressive cultures are as good as mine. I don’t have to say that everyone’s special or that the rich cause poverty or that all religions are a path to God. I don’t have to claim that a bad writer like Alice Walker is a good one or that a good writer like Toni Morrison is a great one. I don’t have to pretend that Islam means peace.

I have to admit I got a chuckle out of that. As a libertarian, I couldn't agree more with his point. I've always wondered, given the basic truth of what Klavan writes here, how the left has managed to brand themselves as the 'reality based' community. Their beliefs, as outlined, are anything but reality.

Their beliefs, as outlined. I am not really clear on what "the left" as a group believe. ( I don't generally consider myself to exist in any particular location.) But I'm not sure that that really summarizes all of their beliefs. Nor do I think the assumption that all of those are false is really accurate.

"I don’t have to pretend that men and women are the same." Men and women are demonstrably not the same, we look different we smell different so on and so forth. So while I as a woman am not the same as McQ who is a man, does that mean that I am necessarily more like Michelle Malkin than I am like McQ? Michelle and I look different, we smell different, we have different personalities, strengths, weaknesses and interests. So why should we be grouped together under some huge category "Women" that is used to describe us. And more than just "describing" us as women, this categorization allows others to make assumptions about us:

And because we’ve allowed leftists to define the language of political good manners—don’t say women are less scientific;

Emphasis mine. Apparently McQ and Andrew don't understand exactly WHY they aren't allowed to say that women are less scientific. Possibly because, it might not be true? And that by saying this you might be hurting the careers and opportunities of women who are in fact more scientific? I know a plethora of women who I can guarantee are more scientific than McQ or Andrew, so who are they to say that women are less scientific? If perhaps Steven Hawking would like to make the judgement that women as a whole are less scientific than him, we could work something out.

Here we have two guys just itching to say that "All women are X." And this is why liberalism is bad? Because the do not let people make value judgements on half the population of the world based on stereotypes? That's the "little white lie" really?

Essentially these "lies" that are being told are just ideas that Mr. Klavlan doesn't agree with, and the big problem he has is that he has to interact with the world as though everything he says isn't unverifiable fact. Instead of having to prove his case that what he's saying is true Mr. Klavan can just say "Hey isn't it great that I can say this because I'm a Conservative!" Mr. Klavan can say that Alice Walker is a bad writer just because he personally doesn't like her, but that doesn't make it true. Under the horrid regime of the left Mr. Klavan would be forced to prove that Alice Walker is a bad writer, and prove why he thinks that, and perhaps discuss it with someone who disagrees, and possibly find out horror of horrors, that not everyone agrees with his upper middle class white male worldview.

Political correctness is a touchy subject that he gets into, how different groups use language to hide their real points. And I agree that that is a real problem. People need to be clear about what they think, no matter what it is. I don't think that Islam is a religion of peace, but I also don't think all Muslims are terrorists, so where does that leave me? But I can be honest and tell you what I think, and now you are free to convince me either way.

I think the biggest problem in this article is the implication that people are "forced" to say certain things by liberalism, not that this is what liberals actually believe. A lot of liberals actually think that men and women are equal, that's why they say it, not because they are lying. If you have to lie about what you think then you need to re think your choice of party.

(I know after reading McQs article I certainly have, gosh I just can't wait to join the libertarian party where the big strong men can explain science to me. I'm so glad I've finally found a place where I can be patronized and then we can all complain about how much we hate the darkies and those pesky poor people. )

A much better response to this article via Pandagon, at Whiskey Fire, The conclusion:

Also, I wish these assholes would make up their fucking minds already if
liberals are too civil or too incivil. I just want to know whether people like
Klavan prefer being politely or impolitely told to fuck off with their straw man
passive-aggressive bullshit. Because as a liberal I of course consider even my
rhetorical opponents' feelings to be of prime imortance at all
Heh, Indeed.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

On Average

A recent study being touted in the media claims that on average women and men work about the same (in and out of the home). I heard about it this morning on the radio. The finding doesn't really surprise me, nor does the finding that in poorer countries women more than men.

What does surprise me is that there was not a single standard deviation, margin of error etc mentioned in the slate article, or the abstract I found online. The Slate article blithely compares averages as if there were nothing else in the world worth looking at.

In Sweden, Norway, and the Netherlands, men actually work more than women,
although the differences are small. In Belgium, Denmark, Finland, and the United
Kingdom, women work slightly more, though less than 5 percent. Among rich
countries, the largest differences emerge in Italy, where women work eight hours
while men work only 6.5, and in France, where women work 7.2 hours and men 6.6.

So In Italy women work on average 1.5 hours more than men, and this is considered a "small" difference.

While men and women spend about the same time working in rich countries, women do work more than men in poor countries. And the gap widens as countries get poorer. While in the United States, which has a per capita GNP of roughly
$33,000, there is no difference between the amount of male and female work, in
Benin, Madagascar, and South Africa, which have a per capita income of less than
$10,000, women work one to two hours more per day than men.

So, 1.5 hours in Italy isn't considered a big difference... but in Benin, Madigascar and South Africa 1-2 hours is? I'm lost.

You know what would make this whole article a lot clearer, Standard Deviations. Do we remember those press? They were some of the things that got Larry Sander's in so mcuh trouble a few years back when he asserted that standard deviations for men were larger in the math and sciences resulting in more men at the top of the science food chain. It tells us how much variation was in the sample so we know how the rest of the data looks, (You know, representing those handfuls of people in the US who make more or less than 33k)

Well are the standard deviations for the hours worked men and women in America the same? And what about in Italy, because depending on how big the standard deviation is it can tell us how important that 1.5 hours really is, does it really symbolize a significant gap between the two? And what about in Benin, Madigascar and South Africa,? We can't really tell how significant that 1-2 gap is without the standard deviation.

I gotta say 20 minutes vaccuming while the man watches TV is pretty damn significant to me, even if it doesn't seem that long "on average" without some kind of proof that it isn't that important, I'm definetly going to start whining. And I think the women in Italy should throw a large riot.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Believing our own Bad Press

I saw a commercial for a "Mind of Mencia" episode where he interviewed women who didn't think that there should be a female president. In fact I had a similar conversation with my younger sister the other day. When I asked her why she said the same thing that the women in the commercial said "because we're irrational." (Then I disagreed with her and started trying to make a point and she did what she always does when we have any kind of serious discussion "I don't wanna talk about it, I just don't care." What's with that? )

So yeah, because women are irrational we aren't qualified to be president or something. Now as a woman, I'm not going to say that women aren't irrational. (Having thrown a steel toed boot at an Ex's head because he didn't wash the dishes, I really can't argue that.) What I am going to point out is that men can be just as irrational as women.

Wait What? But they don't have crazy hormonal fluctuation causing them to lose their shit for a week every month! They are spatial thinkers, rational actors, right? That's why they get drunk and start fights for no reason, get blow jobs at work (very rational, Right Mr. Clinton?), stare blankly at women's T or A, and get completely lost and refuse to ask for directions, play video games for days on end instead of cleaning their filthy house, and compete over really stupid stuff. But y'know, they don't cry about it, so it must be a rational behavior, right?

Now look, I'm not saying that all men do these things, but some do, and a lot of them I'm very confident engage in other very irrational behaviors. In fact I be that if you examined pretty much anyone's life (male or female) you would be able to find several examples of them behaving irrationally, or overreacting to something, or making the wrong decision. Not everyone in America is qualified to be president. You couldn't pick a random man off the street to do the job any more than you could a random woman.

I think that when these women who think women can't be president, my sister included, think about a woman president, they are thinking about themselves as women. (Or the stereotypes we are all brainwashed to believe represent all womankind.) They don't feel qualified or strong enough to do the job, they are putting themselves in the job, or their crazy roommate who cries for no apparent reason, or the girl at work who keeps backstabbing people. They are believing the press that lumps women together as a group "women are good at this an not at that, they like this and not that." Somehow they are forgetting that like men we are made up of a group of individuals with different strengths and weaknesses and that not all of us are qualified to be president.

If we elect a female president it will not be Jane Smith from down the block who keeps throwing out her husband because he played video games instead of doing the dishes. It will be a woman who has navigated the political waters long enough to secure the confidence of her party and their nomination. She will be just as qualified to do the job as any man in the position to be elected to the office of President, and her being a woman will just be incidental to her being a good candidate for the job.

Monday, April 02, 2007

What is this?

This blogger accepts no responsibility for how blown your mind will be after you watch this.

Social commentary on sexualization of women in the music industry? Satire on how completely retarded song lyrics are these days? Challenging the industry to acknowledge that there are still people in the world who can sing and play instruments? Or video proof that her hair can actually look good? You decide!

How to Write Questions You Already Know the Answer to

A handy tutorial via TPMCafe examples courtesy of Fox News.