Thursday, November 16, 2017

j'ever notice...

...Young single men and women will move to a new town for work or school and go on Craigslist or whatever to find a roommate, find one of the opposite sex, and make plans they swear up and down will be platonic as if they honestly believe it (or maybe it’s a friends with occasional benefits thing; I’m not sure how the younger generations rationalize such things these days)…

…but then when they talk about sources of angst in their lives, the men are like “I’m afraid a woman will make fun of me” and the women are like “I’m afraid a man will kill me?”

Really?

Not to trivialize violence and murder, and not to blame the victim—and not to even talk about how or if potential victims could or should protect themselves, and not to deny the asymmetry in what men and women fear from each other, but:
  1. If your first thought whenever you meet someone is “I wonder if he’s going to kill me,” your biggest problem probably is not the potential violence of that person.  Your biggest problem is probably much more immediate and compelling, like the actual death threats you have already received that, yes, compelled you to consider the question so promptly; or your pathological distrust of all men, most of whom (let’s not trivialize this with a “don’t say ‘not all men’” counterrebuttal, shall we?) are not in fact prone to whatever flavor of violence you’re worrying about.  Sure, men are more violent than women, in terms of quantity and severity of injuries (not counting the woman who think it's okay to throw shoes at her beau whenever she's angry at him, on the grounds that her fists are small and his counterarguments are sound), but killing is rarely at the top of the list of intentions.
  2. You don’t get to willingly enter living arrangements with complete strangers and then claim victim status just on principle.
I mean, not for nothing, but you can’t shoot yourself and then blame society for making you a victim of gun violence.

It’s awful that bad things happen like you talk about, but honestly:  what were you thinking?  “that’s not fair” and “you don’t understand” and “I’m sick of hearing that” aren’t answers.

This is why you hear more about how potential victims can avoid becoming actual victims, and less about how bad men can be less bad.  It’s not an either-or zero-sum game.  There are already laws and police and punishments that are supposed to limit that kind of behavior—setting aside the sufficiency or effectiveness of such measures for the time being--but not a trivial amount of that is to stop criminals from taking advantage of the people who not simply cannot but will not learn to take measures to avoid becoming a victim.

A lot of that is earmarked by soliloquies that start with “I should be able to….”  Well, yeah, you should, in a perfect world, and maybe even in a possible world, but it's not this world and we all need to learn to live in it…and sometimes that means learning to avoid criminal behavior and sometimes that means learning not to commit criminal behavior.

I repeat:  it’s not either-or, it’s not zero-sum.

Monday, October 23, 2017

The Orwellian language of inclusive corporate policy

So my employer was recently bought by a very large corporation.  One of the new perqs I enjoy *cough* is regular news e-mails from corporate.  A lot of it's just press releases or discussion of proxy fights, but sometimes they throw in something cultural.

All well and good, but it's usually about drumming up interest in one of their "employee resource groups," which interests me for almost two seconds before I realize there's no news there.

To be fair, they don't insist on joining any of these groups.  Some of the our-plant-only committees are always eager for fresh blood, but you can say no to their face and there are no repercussions.  I've heard of other large companies that take a dim view of people who hesitate too long before joining their more progressive employee groups, and I don't see that happening here.

Which is good, because the only groups are for veterans, professional women, Hispanics, and homosexuals.

I only need to point out that I don't really need to point out how odd this juxtaposition is.  I'm also a little surprised there are only four, but that's another matter.

Suffice it to say I'm not interested in any of them because I don't belong and I'm not much of a "join to cheerlead" type.

But then I saw one of these e-mails go out and while explaining how these groups are critical to our vitality as a company, they presented the statistic that 50.2% of employees' children are diverse.

What?  "Diverse" is a quantifiable thing that an individual person can be?

Uh, no, it's not.  You might say the group comprised of all employees' children is diverse, but I am suspicious of whatever survey they did that enabled them to calculate that 502 out of every thousand children raised by my coworkers wears some kind of "diversity" badge.

And when it's over half, aren't we getting to the point that whatever makes them distinctive from the traditional white male workforce no longer qualifies as a diversifying characteristic?  If they were all Hispanic lesbians, the group wouldn't be diverse at all.

For that matter, what are these criteria they're using?  50.2% might just be how many of the children we're talking about are girls. Not saying that doesn't count, but it is mundane.

My sneaking suspicion is that, if they're not just using the number of girls as a shortcut around statistical sampling, they're looking at race and making sure we know they mean homosexuals too when they say "diversity," so we have one more thing to look for in our own children, even if they're too young to know how they're oriented or what claiming to know really means.

I wonder what the veterans group thinks about that.

postscript:
Actually, I have more than a sneaking suspicion.  Some of the more recent postings have some nice, neutral jabber about how inclusiveness helps make sure ideas and perspectives we might not otherwise consider get brought to the table, as if this were an elementary school where that was a lesson that needed to be taught and was willing to be learned; but just so you know what they mean, the postings are all decorated in rainbows.

Can't just put the bullhorn down once so we can give your intentions the benefit of the doubt for a second, can you?

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The cost of social programs

Half a century ago, give or take, the Second Vatican Council normalized the use of the vernacular language in Mass for the first time in centuries in the Latin church.  This was accepted, if not always happily, but many were so excited about that and the other rumored changes that we saw abuses on the level of priests in seminary switching to street clothes and taking girlfriends because "celibacy will be out with Vatican 2."

More recently, the order of the mass was retranslated into English because the previous "dynamic equivalence" attempt had proven itself to have some weaknesses that led to some liturgical abuses and other pastoral problems beyond what seminarians were getting desensitized to.

This was less accepted, by the argument that the fifty-year-old translations were deep-set and had become too familiar to change; but mostly because the people who benefited from or caused these abuses and problems did not want to give it up.

And so, I see the same thing on a much shorter time scale with the health care debate.

Lots of hope about finally bringing all the uninsured masses in from the cold, and lots of drowning out of concerns from people who realized the financial numbers weren't that solid, and it was going to help some people who needed it but only at the expense of other people who belonged to the demographic that already has the lion's share of the tax burden, and that there were some legal irregularities that portended nothing good.

But, Obamacare was pushed through with suspicious ease, and none of the criticisms have proven false.

What do we hear, though?  "We can't repeal it!  Trumpcare will hurt the weakest amongst us!  Your pie in the sky constitutional objections are pure selfishness!"

Well, there were evils attached to it, and both before and after it was signed into law, people suspected Obamacare was designed to fail so the sense of emergency would allow a radical expansion of government control over the health industry and people's well-being.

"Look at how much it would hurt...oh, people over 60!"

Never mind how much it's already hurting, oh, employed middle class people in their 30s and 40s...and would hurt 20somethings if they didn't strategically opt to take the penalty--which they have done, since the loophole was big and obvious enough to fly the Moon through, to the insolvency of Obamacare.  

What's funny is whenever a bill to dismantle or replace Obamacare gets introduced, the talking heads on cable TV and on newsprint start talking about how Trump has already taken away health care for various demographics. Chicken little much?

Look at what you achieved in your year fighting for Obamacare!  All you had to do was pass a black-box law, corrupt the Commerce Clause of the Constitution, and rape the largest demographic in the country.  What could go wrong?

"You're metaphorically taller than the rest of us, so you should recognize your obligation to get stuff off the highest shelves for us, even if you don't recognize our entitlement to them!"

Who's this 'us' you're claiming to be a part of, Hollywood?  We're taller than some but we're not the tallest, and we sure as hell aren't taller than you are.  There are just more of us middle classers for you to nominate to carry the burden of hastily developed social programs, so it will just take longer for a different crisis to emerge when you run out of our money.  Surely you realize that's the real reason we're the ones expected to foot the bill for...well, everything.  And yes, I caught that bit where you insinuated that we owe payment because we can make a payment, and you have a rightful claim on behalf of the people who couldn't make a payment--and thus, your behalfism forgives you of any obligation you yourself have for having bank accounts larger than my house.  

Nice try, but false.

Thursday, October 05, 2017

No doubting their priorities anymore

Remember when certain parties and entities used to tug at our heartstrings after a tragedy like Las Vegas in order to motivate us to go along with their political agenda--or better yet, get motivated to do some grassroots activism on your own?

Oh, the shift started at least as far back as the Orlando shooting.  I was seeing in social media hashtags that expressed vulgar opposition to the NRA and nothing about the shooter, but there was still sympathy for the victims mixed in.  Of course, the shooter was a Muslim, so any motivations related to that were off limits, but they spent very little time speculating about how he may have been more mentally ill and less a fitting representative of Islam.  Not much of a fig leaf.

Five to one the next terrorist attack they can't write off as simply "workplace violence" they attribute to the neologism "white Muslim."

But back to Vegas.  The blood was still wet on the ground when people jumped on the bandwagon faster than they took a knee to fill the vacuum of Colin Kaepernick.

I've been seeing blurbs since day one criticizing Trump for expressing sympathy instead of banning guns.  Really?  If you can't even see the humanity in the victims--I'll let the humanity in your political opponents slide for the nonce--clearly enough to add even a drop of compassion for the victims and their families into the mix, is there anything about the victims that motivates you at all?  Anything?
I saw one tweet express that sentiment in 25 characters.  That left 115 to say something human instead of merely political.  There's a time and a place for focusing on the message, sure, but the bodies in the street were still warm; can we at least talk about that and be humane for a minute?

This is why you get knee-jerk slacktivism like celebrities posting selfies and issuing platitudes that could have been written by a kindergartner but then not doing anything to actually fix a problem--no, the real work is for someone else.  The real work isn't even for the mediocre unemployed athletes who touched off the whole thing and now have enough time on their hands as well as money to make a difference.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

J'ever notice...

On TV and in movies these days, there's never a question about a guy and a gal being platonic friends, no jealousy, no temptation, no confusion, no doubts, no conflicts, no unrequited hopes, no complications arising from crossed boundaries...

...but if it's two guys, there has to be a homoerotic element, even if it's just waiting to be eisegeted by some cultural gatekeeper Who Really Knows What's Going On?

Edit: Really not impressed with Blogger guessing at the formatting I want to use but not showing me the tags until I see the post looks stupid.....

Friday, January 27, 2017

And without a whiff of irony...

Tweets from earlier in the week, courtesy of one of those "alt/rogue government" Twitter feeds:  "We're not going to let politics get in the way of getting the truth out."  Fine, it's still a free country, and unlike the president you should have things other than politicking to do on company time, so it's great to keep them separate whether or not you were being above board.

Tweet from yesterday, from one of those very same feeds:  "...so now we're handing the reins over to some journalists and activists."

Really?  That seems perfectly natural, and you can't hardly be brought even to guess why some people are skeptical of your facts when your actions run this way?

No, I guess you couldn't.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Maybe I just need to get off social media.


Teh stoopidz, it burnz.

I usually skip right over it, but I just spent twenty minutes chasing articles on Twitter looking for some sobriety.  What did I find instead?

Mockery of "deplorables" allegedly griping about the election being rigged and then backing down when a recount is proposed...but when does a faction that wins an election ever complain about corruption and demand recounts--and then, only in swing states they won, and not swing states they lost?  Red flags raised about allegedly alt-right Twitter feeds getting suspended, insinuating it's official and wannabe neo-Nazis who are getting censored but not really showing that it's not just a broad list of people who were reluctant to support Mama Hillary in her time of need, or at least not making it clear that censorship of people you mildly disagree with on some issues is bad no matter who you are.  Some doctored photos and quotes that probably also were doctored showing Obama emitting rainbows and threatening not to be so nice once he stepped down--rhetoric I haven't seen since his '08 campaign, rhetoric that was tellingly absent in '12.  Outrage about Trump doing personal deals and threatening national security, even though he's not in office.  Outrage once again at the failure of the electoral college, where eleven states can cinch the presidency...but somehow it would be okay for politicians to focus on Boswash, Chicago, and L.A., which if they thought it through would be sufficient in a strictly democratic system, because, y'know, this is modern America and we have modern needs.

Again, there's lots of stupid on the other side too, but one point I'm trying to make is these people whose security in social media seems assured don't even recognize the irony (to put it politely) of their concerns. 

And another point?  This is the status quo.  Things aren't any different from what they've been for the last, oh, eight to eighty, maybe even 190, years.  Act appalled all you want--things aren't perfect--but don't act shocked.  This goes for high level politicians as well as hoi polloi who voted for them.

Be mindful of the dangers of taking privileges that you wouldn't like your opponents also taking but in a different direction.  You can hold a tiger by the tail, but you can't hold a snake.