The Diet Cookies Weren’t Working so I ate More of Them

This is an actual quote from the NY Times, January 22, 2018:

“There were many ways I tried to make it stop, which included giving in to having sex with him, which I did but was disassociated, frozen inside myself, barely there,” Ms. Rubinstein recalled.

Yes it is.   When she first reported this, in 2006, Ms. Rubinstein acknowledged that she had had an affair with the cad.  The cad was the director of Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven.  Forget all that– he will now only be remembered as a man who had sex.

It’s a novel approach, Ms. Rubinstein.   You wonder if it leaves room for ambiguity in the minds of neutral observers.  But I heard three women on the CBC the other day– all experts, of course– claiming that all allegations are always true.  I am not exaggerating in the least: I turned the radio up to make sure I understood them correctly.  Allegations are always true.  No woman has ever lied about a man who tried to have sex with her.

Some of us think some innocent men have been accused.  Actually, in many cases, there is very, very good proof that a man was false accused.  Are they collateral damage?

“What collateral damage”?  one of them exclaimed,  insisting there was none.

There are no innocent men.  Not even if you have pity sex with them.

One of them said that when you heard about the horrible feelings that one victim had said about her victimization you can’t possibly give the slightest credence to the perp’s denials.  No awful story about reputations shattered livelihoods destroyed, or families broken up will ever elicit that kind of compassion.  No University of Virginia, no Lacrosse team, no Paul Nungesser, no, no, no.

There very obviously is a lot of collateral damage.  But I’m not sure these women would disagree with me about the basic facts– for example, the woman who charged a man with rape and was later found to have text messages on her phone that expressed more than consent:  she was enthusiastic.  It did not happen as she reported to the police.  The charges– after destroying this man’s reputation– were dropped.  The NBA player who was in a different city at the time an ex-girlfriend alleged that he raped her.  The University of Virginia.  The lacrosse team.

It was a stimulating discussion by the three women on the CBC.  It got me seriously wondering about perception and judgement and memory.

I’m not sure these three women would not have just said, well, it was rape anyway.  If she feels it was rape now, then it was rape.  She’s not lying– just expressing an inner conviction about certain qualities of her relationship with this man.  That is enough.  And even if it wasn’t rape, he was a man who did not give her what she wanted: that is enough to justify vilifying him.  Nobody else should ever be friends with him.  They should be friends with me.


[whohit]Collateral Damage[/whohit]

The Billie Jean King Hoax

First of all, why did anyone ever think it would seriously prove anything if a 30-year-old woman, ranked second in the world, beat a washed-up out-of-shape 55-year-old man at tennis?  Even Billie Jean King knew the equation and understood it’s limits.

Secondly, did Billie Jean King really beat Riggs, or did Riggs throw the match?  Was the match, as sports journalist Don Van Natta Jr. implies, fixed?  (Von Natta Jr. probably doesn’t have a “smoking gun”; he takes what he does know, however, and builds a pretty strong case.)

I never did think much of King’s victory.  Riggs, at 55, had recently decisively and humiliatingly crushed the number 1 ranked woman in the world, Margaret Court.  This happened just a few months before the King match.  In the time leading up to his match with Court, Riggs practiced up to 12 hours day, lost weight, worked on his fitness, exercised, and trained.  In the months leading up to the King match, he gained weight, stopped practicing (he didn’t even do a proper warm up in the days leading up to the match), drank, partied, and generally did everything he could to ensure that his 55-year-old body would not be in any condition to beat any serious competitor in a full-length match.  During the match itself, Riggs made many unforced errors and double-faulted on critical serve after serve, a performance that was so uncharacteristic that the broadcast team, which included Howard Cosell, thought there might be something wrong with him.

If his intent had been to up the odds, by crushing Margaret Court, and then betting against himself against King, he could not have been more perfect.  He made it look like it was simply personal carelessness and sloppiness: not a plot.

If King’s victory had been emblematic of a shift in perception of women’s abilities and competence, why were there no sequels?  Why didn’t we ever see Navratilova or Evert or Hingus take on any of the leading male players?  Think about it– if the King vs. Riggs match really meant anything, would we not almost certainly seen more matches of top women players against men?  Yet we did not see any.

The answer is obvious: because, like Court, they would have been humiliated.  They would have been destroyed.

In the movie, “The Battle of the Sexes”, great care is taken to imply that Margaret Court lost to Riggs because she was nervous.  She choked.  The same woman who won 24 of 47 Grand Slam tournaments.  She suddenly couldn’t take the spotlight?  But there is a reason why “The Battle of the Sexes” wants you to think that: because King had to be shown to win because she was a superior tennis player (to a 55-year-old man, no escaping that).  Nobody believes that King was very much superior to Margaret Court in 1973.  So if it wasn’t confidence, what could it be?  Could it be, as many have long suspected, that Riggs threw the match?  The film doesn’t want to let you think that.

So the narrative has been promulgated that King proved something when she beat this washed-up, out-of-shape, clown.  If I were a woman, I would be embarrassed that anyone ever tried to claim that this match proved anything about women’s capabilities.

[whohit]The King-Riggs Hoax[/whohit]

A Long Way From Little: Melanie Safka

Being the youngest of 8 children, many stray albums found their way into my grubby little hands as I grew up.  One of them was Melanie’s “Born to Be”.  I have no idea who brought it into the house, but I think it was abandoned.  I listened to it and grew attached to the raw power and bluesy darkness of the music on it.  One of the songs was “I Really Loved  Harold”.  I found it haunting.

The narrator recounts how she was told when she was little that she would go to heaven if she was good.  Now, she says, she is a long way from heaven, because she tried to find it herself. She thought she loved Harold, then she thought she loved John, and then Alfie, and “almost” Tom.  She loved them “so easy” and loved them “so free”, that she realizes that heaven will not want “to love me”.

It is a dark song, far darker than I even remember, and I remember it as dark and, like I said, haunting.  This young woman had sex with several men.  She was what some of the boys in my class at school would have called a “slut”.  The relationships failed and she moved on in a desperate search for the “heaven” of romantic and sexual love.  But she realizes her mistake too late: heaven will not want to shine on her.

I wonder if she performs the song today, in her concerts (which she still gives, as kind of a nostalgia act).  It would highlight the strange, archaic quality of the song– from a time when a girl who willingly had sex with more than one man could be called a “slut”.  It is amazing that she put it into a song, a confessional song.

Her most exquisite verse:

Hallo, song of the willow,
The dreams under my pillow,
Turned to tears that I cried.
Beauty and love are our riddle,
Never to answer, but always to try.
And, boy, did I try.

There is a raft of novels in that verse: the quest of a young woman to reconcile her ideals of beauty and truth and love with the reality of being, perhaps, ill-used, or with the realization that whatever it is men want from these relationships it was not hers to give or to take, in an enduring sense.  Ill-used?  Today, feminists would have a different term for it, but they would be just as inadequate in defining it as Melanie was when she “tried”.  The difference is, Melanie knows it’s a riddle, and reaches for poetry to express it.  The feminists  think they know it but if they do, they can’t express it.  The feminists think men don’t know it because if they did know it they would admit that the feminists are right.

So if you think Melanie was old-school compliant and dependent you might be surprised to read about her history with record labels and promoters.  She was her own woman, as independent-minded and formidable as any one, willing to dump a major recording contract when they didn’t respect her artistic integrity.

Another thing I remember about Melanie was a bizarre appearance on Ed Sullivan.  Sullivan usually looked a bit askance at pop acts.  He presented them because he wanted to be relevant and kind of hip but you could tell he didn’t know what to make of them and longed to get back to the talking Mexican mouse.  When he introduced Melanie, however, he clearly was impressed by something about her.  She was sitting on the floor of the stage surrounded by friends– one thinks of the word “acolytes”– looking groovy and priestessly and magical, and Sullivan chatted with her for a moment and she seemed totally befuddled by this strange man in a suit trying to ingratiate himself with her.  She smiled as if Sullivan were talking in a language she didn’t understand and she didn’t want to be rude.

She performed “Peace Will Come According to Plan”, if I remember correctly.

She also appeared on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.  Again, she is clearly respected and admired by the host: unusually, Carson tries for sincerity.  And you can see why: she seems utterly authentic and real.  You can almost see Sandy Duncan and Ed McMahon on the couch shrinking from her in fear.  For God’s sake, don’t ask me if I believe in peace or spirits or mother earth!

An exquisite performance of “Lay Down”.  Note that really strange audience she is performing for, in Germany.  They look like they have no idea.  They clap like they had been instructed to just before the performance.  Precisely on the beat, yah?

The evil twin of “I Really Love Harold”, by the way, is Alanis Morrisette’s “Unsent“.  In one  generation, the experience of casual sex has been transformed from shame and despair to how good it felt to cry in front of him for the first time or fall asleep on his couch.


[whohit]A Long Way From Little: Melanie Safka[/whohit]

Lying Scumbags

It was commonly accepted that the FISA Warrantless Surveillance Bill violated several sacred constitutional principles including the right to privacy.  It was passed in the wake of 9/11 because American politicians were scared shitless of terrorism, or of the public perception that they might not be doing enough to prevent future terrorist attacks, which might kill another 3,000 people, even while the public was delighted that they did nothing to prevent 30,000 people a year from dying by gunshot.

The rationale was thus: yes, it is wrong.  Yes, it violates your privacy.  But these are extraordinary times– we are at “war” with violent terrorists.  The law is justified.  Just to reassure everyone, they included a sunset provision: this law will expire in 6 years.  See?  We’re not violating your rights.  We’re not spying on everyone.  We’re not instituting measures that begin to make your government look and function like Big Brother.  Oh no– because there is an expiry date.

Even the Supreme Court bought that we live in extraordinary times.  We can no longer afford privacy.

I predicted, when it was first passed, that the measure would never be repealed.  That U.S. politicians (and Canadian) were lying.  Why?

You don’t need to understand philosopher Karl Popper to appreciate the philosophical framework behind my point.  But it would help.   In essence, if something is really true, you could, theoretically, prove it was false.  In this particular instance, we have two truths that qualify.  Firstly, that our political leaders will be true to their words and repeal the measure once the crisis has passed.  So here’s the proposition: George Bush Jr., or Obama, or McConnell, or Ryan, will lead a drive to repeal the measure because the crisis has passed.  Can you serious imagine that proposal?  Can you imagine it being made, aloud, in a press release, at a campaign rally?  I can’t.  I don’t believe that the theoretical here exists.  So the idea that this law exists to deal with a terrorist threat is false.  It will exist regardless.

Secondly, we are asked to believe is that we are (or were) under such dire threats from terrorism that we need this extraordinary law in order to deal with these unusual, exceptional, threats.  What “proves” that we are under constant, continued threat?  Terrorist attacks, anywhere, anytime.  But we are in a “crisis” only if this period is unique in that regard.  It is not.  It is not!  Check your history of the 1960’s, the 1970’s, the 1980’s, and so on.  We have always had regular intermittent terrorist attacks, hijackings, bombings, and assassinations.  What would justify rescinding the law, according to the politicians, are conditions that have never existed anywhere.  Therefore, the law is always justified.

It will never be rescinded.  We have voluntarily and willingly allowed our government to adopt repugnant measures depriving us of rights we have always been told were sacred.

Since 9/11, there has really been no significant attacks in the U.S. from foreign terrorists (which is what the FISA Warrantless Surveillance Act is supposed to address).  We have had numerous, horrific attacks by domestic terrorists.  Nothing will be done to stop them because that would involve a teensy, weensy infringement of the rights of white Americans to carry powerful weapons around with them.  Nothing can be done.  Not a thing.  Too bad!  Suck it up and hope none of your loved ones happen to be a victim!

Yet, Congress will re-enable the FISA Warrantless Surveillance Act.  Because they can.  Because the authorities want this power and they DO NOT CARE about your right to privacy.  They really do not.  They don’t.  They sing praises and anthems and worship at the alter of the Constitution mainly for your entertainment: they don’t really believe it.  They don’t really care.  They want to spy on you.

They will sell it to you as this: they really believe that the only reason you would not want the government to read your mail or listen in on your phone call is because you are up to no good.  All right-thinking Americans have nothing to fear.  Do they really believe it?  Do you really believe that the FBI or Homeland Security would tell Congress that they really don’t need FISA anymore?  We don’t need it.  We don’t mind not being able to read anyone’s email whenever we damn well feel like it.

Would a single politician– other than the heroic Bernie Sanders– campaign on the policy of repealing FISA, or even not renewing it?  Only a politician with courage and real principles would do that.  That leaves Bernie Sanders, and, I think, Ron Paul.  And Russ Feingold, who lost his quest for re-election right after he voted against the Patriotic Act.  Yes, the lone vote against it.

There will always be incidents in Europe and America that can easily be made to justify the FISA Warrantless Surveillance Act because you Americans are so easily manipulated and so gullible that you will believe whatever they say.

You Americans don’t deserve Democracy.  You rolled over like mewing kittens as soon as your senator or your congressman said “boo”!

If I was in Congress and had enough support, I would add a proviso to the bill.  I would require that all conversations, emails, texts, and other communications by all members of Congress be recorded and handed over to the FBI, and your local police, and maybe the school board, and maybe posted on the internet, and transcribed in pen and ink and mailed to their mothers.

Why would they object?  What’s the problem?  What are you hiding?   You’re not a terrorist, are you?