The Book!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Essence of Fascism is Mediocrity

“Embittered mediocrities play a key role in promoting 'human' fascism. Civil rights are small comfort, after all, to a Canadian journalism professor who may never, in his entire harrumphing life, write a paragraph that compares with Mark Steyn's prose tossed off almost at random. It suits such a fellow's interests to silence Steyn. After all, it just isn't fair, is it?”

Denyse O’Leary


It seems to me Mrs. O'Leary has got it exactly right. Fascism is all about mediocrities forcing their way to the top, by taking out the best above them.

That was and is the problem with the Jews, wasn't it? They're too damned smart, and they just keep coming out ahead.

A fascist movement—I mean fascist in the broad sense--therefore commonly replaces merit with commitment to the cause, if not specific biological qualities—belonging to the right sex or race or social class. This gives mediocrities their chance; and they love it as a result.

What accomplishments did Hitler, for example, have, before he came to power? None. Granted, he won an Iron Cross—but no promotion above the rank of corporal. He was a failed artist, and mostly unemployed. The only top Nazi who could claim any genuine prominence outside the party was Goering.

Mussolini qualified as an elementary school teacher, but was chronically unemployed before he went into politics. He wrote bad short stories. Mao Zedong was also an elementary school teacher. He wrote bad poetry. Stalin's only job before he entered politics was as a local weatherman. He never finished university. He tried his hand at poetry for a few years, but gave it up.

Pol Pot never held a job before entering the party; he joined as a college student. He had the distinction of failing his final exams three years running. He killed everyone in Cambodia suspected of being an intellectual. Even wearing glasses meant a death sentence: you probably read too many books.

Beware the embittered mediocrity: the person whose actual talents are not up to their self-image.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

More Feminine Privileges

- I have the right to be spoiled as a child. If I am wilful or throw a tantrum, it is cute.
- No matter how rich, comfortable, or ruthless I become, I get the satisfaction of pretending or believing I am oppressed and therefore justified.
- No matter who earns the money, I get to spend eighty percent of it. The entire retail industry is geared to my wants and wishes.
- If a man kills a child, it is murder in the first degree. If I kill a child, it is my right to choose.
- I can credibly run for high public office with far fewer qualifications than a man.
- If I feel I need help, I can ask for it—and expect to get it.
- No heavy lifting.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Obamamania, Like Real Mania, Has Its Down Side

It is not too soon to say Obama is toast. In fact, I've already said it, haven't I?

The press was too aggressive in boosting him, and his followers too starry-eyed—making him out as something Messianic. Nobody can deliver on expectations like that. When this becomes clear, the backlash is accordingly severe. They tend to crucify.

And it has begun. The Centre for Media and Public Affairs, having noted through the primaries an overwhelming prejudice in the mainstream press in favour of Barack Obama, now finds, though he still leads by far in media coverage, that most of that coverage is now, by their standards, “negative.” The swords are out.

A recent Comedy Central skit on his mock presidential seal included the line “It's okay to laugh at him.” When they start laughing, you know you're doomed.

And even with all the hype, Obama never achieved much of a lead against McCain—perhaps five to eight points currently, though some polls are tied and some even show him trailing. Kerry had a bigger lead over Bush at this point. So did Gore. The Democrat normally leads at this point in the process, and should, because far more folks are registered Democrats than Republicans. Before more careful scrutiny of the candidates begins in the fall, and before the undecideds have decided, party loyalty is an important factor.

Obama can also expect no boost from any VP pick, while McCain perhaps can. The VP nominee can help overcome doubts about the candidate. But no possible pick can do that for Obama; for him, there is only downside. An unusually inexperienced candidate, he should theoretically pick someone who gives him more credibility in foreign affairs, in economics, and in administration. But for foreign affairs experience, one needs a senator; for administration, one needs a governor. Pick someone who has both, and you end up with an old pol—violating Obama's campaign theme of “change.”

McCain, by contrast, needs no more than relative youth and economic experience. Mitt Romney, among others, comes to mind.

Wild cards? McCain holds them all. McCain, with his longer political career, is less likely to make a gaffe. And he is less likely to have hitherto unknown skeletons falling out of his closet, on the order of the Reverend Mr. Wright.

If the economy continues to look sour, that should argue for the candidate from the party out of power. But who is that? The Democrats hold both houses of Congress. The Republicans traditionally hold the edge on economic issues. And a crisis of any sort argues for an experienced hand at the helm.

If the situation on the ground in Iraq continues to improve, that is again an advantage for McCain, who is identified more than anyone with the policy of the surge. Iraq nearly killed McCain's chances last summer, and revived him last fall. It matters, in American politics. Similarly, in 2004, Howard Dean looked like a sure thing for the Democratic nomination, on the sole issue of getting out of Iraq. Until Saddam was captured, and suddenly being in Iraq looked like a good idea. On the reasonable assumption that present trends continue, then, McCain should win on this issue.

And, if some new crisis in foreign policy occurs between now and November—this is again an advantage for McCain, with his military and foreign policy bona fides.

What could work in Obama's favour?

Mass hypnosis?

So far, so good.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Parties and Their Backers

A friend sends an interesting opinion piece identifying the Democratic Party in the US as the “Lawyers' Party.” Barack Obama is a lawyer. Michelle Obama is a lawyer. Hillary Clinton is a lawyer. Bill Clinton is a lawyer. John Edwards is a lawyer. Everyone nominated by the Democrats since 1984 has been a lawyer, and every VP pick since 1976 except for Lloyd Bentsen.

So much for real change.

Compare the Republicans. McCain is a sailor. Bush Jr. is a businessman. So is Cheney. So is Romney. Huckabee is a Baptist minister. They have not nominated a lawyer since Gerald Ford.

That's a striking difference.

How about in Canada? Stephane Dion—academic. Bob Rae—lawyer. Michael Ignatieff—academic. Paul Martin--lawyer. Jean Chretien—lawyer. John Turner—lawyer. Pierre Trudeau—lawyer. Lester Pearson—academic. A bit more diverse—mostly lawyers, with a couple of academics.

On the PC/Alliance/Reform side? Stephen Harper—economist. Stockwell Day—teacher and minister. Preston Manning—professional politician. Peter MacKay—lawyer. Joe Clark—professional politician. Brian Mulroney—lawyer. It seems unpredictable—a Tory leader can come from anywhere.

To round it out, shall we look also at the NDP? Jack Layton—academic. Alexa McDonough—social worker. Audrey McLaughlin—social worker. Ed Broadbent—academic. David Lewis—lawyer. Tommy Douglas—minister. Obviously some kinship here with the Liberals; with a few social workers thrown in.

Taken together, it says something about whom each party represents. In the US, the Democrats are the party of the professional class; the Republicans are the party of the rest of us. In Canada, the Liberals are the party of highly-paid professionals: doctors, lawyers, professors, and MBAs. The NDP speaks for the interests of the lower-rung professions: teachers, social workers, nurses, mainstream Protestant ministers, university students. The Conservatives are the closest thing to a party of ordinary working people.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Literature and Religion

If you take an English Lit course in a modern university, you will spend your time, guided by professors, painstakingly trying to find a way to interpret the masterpieces of English literature to be secretly talking about homosexual desires, or expressing some truth about Marxist class war, or demonstrating Western oppression of darker-skinned people, or supposed male oppression of women. Failing that, you must find them reflecting some psychological or anthropological theory, most often those of Freud or Jung. When I went through, it was Jung and Levi-Strauss.

This is a perfect illustration of G.K. Chesterton's comment that, when people stop believing in God, they will believe in anything. It also illustrates, I think, that higher studies require a unifying vision of the universe, and a unifying mission. Strip them of their original religious mission—for all our major universities were founded as theological colleges--and they are open to any kind of stuff and nonsense.

Yet the intellectual key to English literature is all perfectly clear. There is no mystery to it at all. Indeed, it is the key to all art, in all cultures, at all times. Art is a religious expression; in most cultures there is no such thing as art outside of expressly religious art. This is obviously true of the great writing of the Ancient world: the Iliad, the Oddyssey, Hesiod, the Homeric Hymns—it is directly from them that we derive the “official” versions of the Greek myths. It is equally true of the Ramayana and Mahabharata of Medieval India—it is from the latter we derive the de facto essential expression of the Hindu religion, the Bhagavad Gita.

English literature, therefore, is more or less always an exposition and meditation on the truths of Christianity. If you are to look for symbols, look for symbols of Christ. Although studiously ignored in the Literature classroom, this is ridiculously obvious. What is the great English poetic epic? Milton's Paradise Lost, written “to justify the ways of God to man.” Is it possible to read Marlowe's Doctor Faustus in anything but a religious sense? T.S. Eliot's Ash Wednesday? Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe? John Dryden's Religio Laici? One fellow student was aghast when I pointed out to him that Coleridge's Ryme of the Ancient Mariner was obviously Christian. Yet Coleridge himself thought it was.

One odd artefact of this manful attempt by the modern academy to study and analyse English literature while avoiding at all costs noticing what it is plainly saying is the tendency to ignore the later works of most authors. Why? Because in their later works, authors tend to become more explicitly religious—as do the rest of us, as they grow in wisdom. People therefore suppose poetry and literature are a young man's game, that there is little there for us old farts. Donne's later poetry, Blake's later poetry, Shakespeare's later Romances, Eliot's later poetry—all too dangerous to mention. The older Yeats survives the cut; I suspect, because he remained, almost uniquely, staunchly non-Christian. The fact that he remained vaguely Fascist in politics—this is much less worrying. Not that his religious beliefs, fascinating though they are, are ever really examined in the literature class. But at least the issue is not so obvious and threatening. Best, on the whole, to focus on authors who died young.

But our best and greatest minds are perfectly right in what they consider the most important things to talk about; and most likely generally right in the Christian solutions they find. In place of this, we place the perfectly trivial: sex, power, politics, economics.

We are not teaching our young; we are trying to prevent them from learning.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Best and the Brightest

What do the smartest people end up doing for a living?

The answer may or may not be what you expect.

Here is a table of SAT scores by intended college major.

Adding verbal and math scores, for the most recent year available, gives a rough-and-ready answer to our question.

The highest score overall goes to math majors. Next, close behind, is language and literature—the English majors. Then the physical sciences; then foreign languages.

All of these are theoretical subjects, not directly related to occupation. The moral here is that the very intelligent are less likely to be motivated by money or social status; they are interested in thinking for its own sake. What do they end up doing for a living? God knows. Some perhaps go on to teach at university or college; many probably end up selling insurance. Some may serve you fries at McDonald's.

Only then do we come to the first profession. Guess which one? Not the highest-paid, nor the highest prestige. Engineering. Biological sciences, the likely choice for future doctors, comes next, albeit not far behind. Then philosophy/religion/theology, obvious choice for a future clergyman. Then library science; then social sciences and history—-my guess is that history is pulled down quite a bit, and the social sciences up, by this arbitrary association of the two. But this is presumably where the future lawyers punch in. Business and commerce—the place for budding MBAs and CEOs, not to mention budding millionaires—ranks even lower. For the brightest among us, money is indeed no object.

Now we're scraping the bottom of the intellectual barrel. The last dregs is about what one would expect: “technical and vocational.” Only a little ahead, though, in second-to-last spot, is “public affairs and services”--bound for the civil service. Just one level up, and tightly matched: agricultural majors and el-high teachers.

Yep; sounds about right.

Among the conclusions to be drawn is the clear one that the world is run by mediocrities. The professions in general are at the mid-range of the scale. And the dominant professions socially—lawyers, civil servants, businessmen and educators—are at the bottom of the scale.

Consider that next time you are thinking of giving more power to government, or to the professions.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Mushrooms in My Back Garden

Here, as I see it, is the probable current Israeli thinking on Iran:

- The US will not strike Iran's nuclear facilities. Their troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Persian Gulf are too vulnerable, as is the oil link through the Gulf. From the American point of view, it is far better and far less destabilizing to the region to let Israel do it. Therefore, if the thing is going to get done, Israel is going to have to do it.

- Israel needs at least tacit US permission to strike—they will have to fly over Iraq.

- There is an overwhelming likelihood, at minimum, that Iran will get nuclear weapons sometime within the next eight years—some say as soon as next spring. That so, the time to strike is now. After next January, there will be a new president, who may well not be as well-disposed as this one to permitting an Israeli strike.

- In theory, one could wait until November, to see who wins the US election. But this is still risky: even McCain is a relatively unknown quantity, compared to a clear yes from the US now. And what happens if the Iranian reaction gets messy? Bush, as president, will probably want the time to mount his own preferred response in this case. It would not be good for US security interests to have this happen in the midst of the relative confusion of a turnover of administrations.

- Accordingly, if it is tactically possible, the time for any Israeli strike against Iran is now.

- It is also probably in the US's best interests, and that of the current administration, to help in any way they can to make this tactically possible. First, it takes the onus, the blame, and most of the risk, off them in acheiving a US foreign policy objective. Second, from the partisan point of view, an Israeli strike on Iran could be a useful “October surprise” for the Republican party, bringing foreign and military policy to the fore in the current US election. That would certainly help McCain against the relatively inexperienced Obama. Third, the current administration probably has the same fear as do the Israelis—that the succeeding administration may not follow the policies they believe in.

- Ehud Olmert, the Israeli PM, would also hugely benefit from a military strike on Iran ASAP: it would take the heat off in his current corruption scandal.

Hence, expect an Israeli attack on the Iranian nuclear facilities before November.

I expect things to get lively around here soon.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Left-handedness

Journalists have recently twigged to the interesting fact that both John McCain and Barack Obama are left-handed.

But, on closer inspection, this turns out to be less (or more) remarkable than it seems—most recent presidents, and even many major presidential candidates, have been left-handed: George Bush Sr., Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan, Gerald Ford, John Kennedy, Harry Truman; Bob Dole, Bill Bradley, Ross Perot, Colin Powell, Pat Robertson, Nelson Rockefeller. Remarkable, when you consider that left-handers are less then ten percent of the general population.

What gives? Well, apparently left-handers really do think differently than right-handers. Most notably, they seem to be better at pattern recognition, at intuition, at seeing the forest instead of the trees. This might be very useful in politics, might, for example, give one an ability to detect and voice the popular zeitgeist.

Other big-name political left-handers: Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Winston Churchill, Fidel Castro, Bismark, Napoleon, Bolivar, Julius Caesar, Charlemagne, Alexander the Great, Horatio Nelson, and Mahatma Gandhi.

No doubt for the same reason, lefties are also overrepresented in the arts: Michelangelo, Da Vinci, M.C. Escher, Charlie Chaplin, W.C. Fields, Lewis Carroll, Hans Christian Anderson, Mark Twain, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Paul McCartney, Paul Simon, Mozart, Paganini, Beethoven, Goethe, and so on.

Not to mention: fully half of those with IQs above 140—-Mensa material-—are left-handers. As was Einstein.

Though, to be fair, left-handers are also overrepresented among famous criminals and those deemed insane.

Or maybe in these cases they are just so smart we don't understand them any more.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Women's Rights

This blog has fallen largely silent because it seems to me there is no longer much need for it. I used to feel that if I did not make a point, nobody else might. But there are now many voices making the same points. I suspect the culture wars have been won.

I recall Gandhi's analysis of the progress of an intellectual revolution:

First they ignore you;
then they laugh at you;
then they fight you;
then you've won.

As all the lawsuits flying around the Canadian blogosphere attest, we are now at the fight stage. It's only a matter of time.

For example, here are various lists of “feminine privileges” floating around the net currently:

As a woman …
1.I have a much lower chance of being murdered than a man.
2. I have a much lower chance of being driven to commit suicide than a man.
3. I have a lower chance of being a victim of a violent assault than a man.
4. It is acceptable for me to cry.
5. I will probably live longer than the average man.
6. Most people in society probably will not see my overall worthiness as a person being exclusively tied to how high up in the hierarchy I rise.
7. I have a much better chance of being considered to be a worthy mate for someone, even if I’m unemployed with little money, than a man.
8. I am given much greater latitude to form close, intimate friendships than a man is.
9. My chance of suffering a work-related injury or illness is significantly lower than a man’s.
10. My chance of being killed on the job is a tiny fraction of a man’s.
11. If I shy away from fights, it is unlikely that this will damage my standing in my peer group or call into question my worthiness as a sex partner.
12. I am not generally considered to be capable of violence.
13. Conversely, if I lack this capacity, this will generally not be seen as a damning personal deficiency.
14. Even if born in North America since WWII, I can be almost certain that my genitals were not mutilated soon after birth, without anesthesia.
15. If I attempt to hug a friend in joy, it’s much less likely that my friend will wonder about my sexuality or pull away in unease.
16. If I seek a hug in solace from a close friend, I’ll have much less concern about how my friend will interpret the gesture or whether my worthiness as a member of my sex will be called into question.
17. I am not compelled to wear emotional armor in interactions with most people. I need not suppress my emotions in public.
18. I am generally the emotional center of my family.
19. I am allowed to wear clothes that signify ‘vulnerability’, ‘playful openness’, and ’softness’.
20. I am allowed to BE vulnerable, playful, and soft without calling my worthiness as a human being into question.
21. If I interact with other people’s children — particularly people I don’t know very well — I do not have to worry about the interaction being misinterpreted.
22. If I have trouble accommodating to some demands of my traditional sex role, I can be applauded for publicly denouncing the unreasonableness of the demand, instead of being condemned. This failure to accommodate or adjust will not be seen as signifying fundamental inadequacy as a member of my sex.
23. I am less likely to be shamed for being sexually inactive than a man.
24. From my late teens through menopause, it is easier for me to find a sex partner, and an attractive sex partner, than it is for a man.
25. My role in my child’s life is seen as infinitely more important than the child’s father’s role, by society and by the law.

- Modified from http://www.feministcritics.org/blog/2008/06/08/female-privilege/

1. I’m under less pressure than men to engage in risky, dangerous and unhealthy behaviors.
2. I can choose professions that are less lucrative, and not be called a loser.
3. If I don’t rise to the top of my profession, it’s OK – people won’t think the less of me for it.
4. I’m entitled to the benefits of a safe, orderly society, but no one expects me to risk my own neck to maintain it.
5. I have the right to have the overwhelming majority of personal risk suffered in defense of my country handled by men.
6. I’m allowed to avoid violence, and even run from it, without being ridiculed.
7. If I see someone else in danger, I’m allowed to stop and think carefully about my personal risk before saving them, without having my courage called into question.
8. I have the right to avoid risky, dangerous challenges, and not be called a coward.
9. As a child, I’m allowed to cry and tell my parents I’m scared of something - my parents won't be disappointed with me.
10. I have the right to have most of the really dangerous professions handled by men.
11. If I commit a crime, I am less likely to be charged, less likely to be convicted, and, if convicted, will get less jail time than men would get for the exact same crime.
12. When I find myself with others in a terrifying, life-threatening situation, I have the right to be evacuated first, once the children are safe. Men must wait.
13. If I get slaughtered as part of some atrocity, people will be especially outraged and will call particular attention to the fact I was slaughtered. When men are slaughtered, who cares?
14. I have the right to give my child up for adoption, and thus totally repudiate any personal and financial responsibilities I might otherwise have. If this strikes me as too much trouble, I can unilaterally choose to have an abortion. The father of the same child can do neither.
15. I can choose whether I want to be a parent or not, knowing that society will support me and compel the other parent to meet their financial responsibilities - whether they want to or not.
16. If I am personally attacked, I can expect otherwise safe, otherwise uninvolved people to come to my defense.
17. If I see someone else being attacked, I’m not expected to risk my own safety to defend them. It's OK for me to wait for others to intervene, and it’s also OK for me to criticize others if they don’t.
18. In any dispute involving custody, I’m granted the absolute presumption that I am the better parent.
19. If I choose to become a parent, people understand if I want to focus entirely on the personal, day-to-day care and nurturing of my children. Society expects my spouse to make enough money to make this choice possible.
20. Conversely, if I choose to work outside the home, my spouse is obliged to make the necessary accommodations. It's my choice, not his.
21. The money I earn doing this is mine. The money he earns from his job is ours.
22. I can get real nasty when someone makes me mad, and call them ugly, a loser, a nerd, a geek, a disgusting creep, a revolting little worm, a worthless piece of garbage, a scum bag, a wimp, a pervert, a jerk-off, an old fart, or a fat slob.
23. Nobody has the right to call me anything I don't like. That's harassment. I have the right not to be treated meanly at work, and the right not to hear harsh things that might make me uncomfortable. I have legal recourse if that right is not respected, and I have the right to make this perfectly clear in my job interview.
24. I’m allowed to embrace and cultivate my spiritual qualities, and adopt a more elevated and more refined view of life - because other people handle all the "dirty work": yard work, garbage hauling, construction, fishing, mining, sewage disposal, street cleaning, long distance trucking, baggage handling, painting, sandblasting, and cement work.
25. If I fail at something, I can go to college and study the historical forces and social constructs that make it harder for people like me. If others fail, it’s because they don’t have what it takes.
26. If I fail at almost everything, I can always teach college courses that explain why people like me fail a lot.

- from http://sweatingthroughfog.blogspot.com/2007/10/mens-privilages-vs-womans-privilage.html


1.If I marry, I will be given the option to quit my job and live off my partner's income without having my femininity questioned.
2. I can be certain that I will never be held financially responsible for a child I didn’t want to have, and that I will never have my unborn child aborted without my consent.
3.Most large employers, including the government, have policies specifically designed to discriminate in my favour and against males in hiring and promotion.
4.If my husband is unfaithful to me or abuses me, I will receive sympathy instead of derision.
5.I am significantly more likely to graduate from college than I would be if I were a man.
6.Moderately impaired social skills are not a serious impediment to my ability to achieve romantic and sexual fulfillment.
7.Although I am every bit as likely as a man to allow my sex drive to compromise my judgment, I will never be accused of thinking with my clitoris.
8.I can expect to pay a significantly lower premium for car insurance than a man with a similar driving record.
9.Men are expected to buy me drinks, meals, flowers, and jewelry in exchange for a chance to spend time with me.
10. I have the privilege of being unaware of my female privilege.

- Adapted slightly from http://distributedrepublic.net/archives/2008/06/24/female-privilege

1. If I do not put myself in danger to save another person, even my own child, I will not be though of as unfeminine or cowardly, nor will I be thought a coward if I ask someone else to do so on my behalf.
2. I can choose combat assignments in the military, but cannot be forced to accept one.
3. I have the right to judge a man's masculinity, but woe unto him if he dares judge me.
4. I have a much larger set of clothing and grooming choices, and as a bonus I can complain about how easy men have it because their choices are so constrained.

5. If I find myself in a crowd, I will never be expected to give my seat to a man.
6. If I am married and am allergic to certain furry creatures, I will never be expected to "live with it."
7. Since I'm never expected to get really filthy building, repairing, or installing anything, I never have to hear, "OMG, what a mess. Who's going to clean this up?Can't you be a little more careful? Who do you think I am, your cleaning lady?"

8. If I wish to alter my partner's behaviour, I am not required to put my case rationally and my partner must respect my "feelings". My friends, magazines, television personalities, newspapers will agree that I am right to do so.
9. If my partner wishes to alter my behaviour, no matter how rationally he puts his case, he is attempting to control me and I am under no obligation to acquiesce. My friends, magazines, television personalities, newspapers will agree that I am right not to do so.

- adapted from the comments section of the same blog.

And here are the few that I can add, offhand:

1. I can take jobs that involve interacting with kids without fear of losing my career and reputation suddenly to spurious accusations of “child abuse.”
2. I can take any job without fear of losing my career and reputation to spurious accusations of “sexual harassment.”
3. I am virtually unrestricted by any sort of dress code in what I wear, socially or in business.
4. If someone sees me nude, he is guilty of being a Peeping Tom. But if I see him nude—he is guilty of exposing himself.
5. For the first twelve years or so of my life, as I attend school, I will see virtually no role models in figures of authority who are not the same sex as I am. This may continue to be true through high school.
6. I am free if I so choose to spend as much time as I want in groups limited to members of my own sex. At the same time, I can insist on being included in any and all meetings of members of the other sex.
7. I get to spend all my time with the children, if I so choose. If I find it to my advantage, there is nothing to stop me from using them against or turning them against their other parent.
8. If I am crossed by a man, I can bring him down at any time by going to the legal system with false charges. If the charges are proven to be false, I am unlikely to face any consequences.
9. I can get a Bachelor's, Master's, and Ph.D. just by talking about myself and my own experiences.
10. I can afford to get a Ph.D. Most men cannot afford not to work full time.
11. I am automatically treated as being one social class above my male siblings.
12. I am automatically awarded the honourary title "lady." Men must earn the rarer male equivalent, "gentleman."
13. I can change my name at will; nobody thinks this suspicious.
14. I can marry for money; nobody thinks this caddish of me.
15. I can complain endlessly about my situation in life; nobody thinks me a "whiner" if I do.
16. I can say I wish I had been born a man, that men have it better, without being thought to be a lesbian.

And that's the way the deck is really stacked.

Readers: what have we missed?

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Canadian Rights and Freedoms

A columnist friend of mine, writing in honour of Canada Day, asserts that the essence of Canada is “freedom.” He even argues that we have greater freedom than the US. The ads in the papers locally, promoting emigration to Canada, say something like “wait until you see all the rights and freedoms you will enjoy in Canada!”

Yes indeed. Here they are, courtesy of the Canadian human rights commissions:

1.You have the right to remain silent.
2.Anything you do say can and will be used against you in a court of law...

Friday, July 04, 2008

Eat First, Burn Later

This piece from Britain's Guardian cites a World Bank report that finds biofuels to be the main cause of the sudden rise in world food prices.

In other news, a company in California has developed a genetically engineered microorganism that, when fed biological waste, excretes diesel oil. They project the cost of oil using this method at about $40 per barrel—the same as tar sands.

Just feed the critters urban garbage, algae, and grass clippings, please. Not corn or sugar cane.