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  • The Worst Thing That Happened To Me May Have Saved My Life

    Have you ever reverse-engineered your life? What didn't you realize before? “You have a time machine, you can pick one thing in your life to go back to. Where, when do you go, and do you just observe it from afar, or do you change something?” Well, THAT was easy. “Piece of cake,” I responded. “I know exactly what I’d go back and change. The worst mistake of my life.” The question came via my friend’s weekly Friday evening Virtual Cocktail Hour, a tradition she started during the pandemic. After chit-chat, we answer one interesting pre-chosen question of the week. So, so many times I wished I could return to the spring of 1993 and just be friends with Jerry instead of embarking upon a just-over-seven-years relationship, with a middle-break when he dried out and sobered up. So much sturm und drang before I realized he had a drinking problem. So much hope and comfort after he got serious and kicked the bottle. I thought now it was forever. It wasn’t. He waltzed in one night and said, “We have to talk.” Those ‘Bob is God’ details I love backward-engineering my life’s turning points, good or bad. This started, as I discovered, with the ‘Bob is God’ trash can in college. Ten years prior to meeting Alkie Boy, walking around campus drowning in a cloud of angsty depression over some guy and the certainty I would never be noticed by a man again, I often passed a trash can in the Psych building upon which someone had mysteriously etched ‘Bob is God.’ One afternoon the guy behind me in Psych class asked a fellow student, “Who is Bob and why is he God?” I pivoted around, blithely oblivious to the greater symbolism of escape from blander conventionality and much later, from the hell of a failing country. We laughed along with them as we speculated about a trash can. Jim was my first real love. Through him, I met a new crowd with whom I’m connected to this day. My life pivoted with new friends and an intro to geek/fan culture via a medieval re-creation society. Graduations and life travels created breaks in the friendships B.F. & A.F. (Before & After Facebook) but my life digressed from a more conventional path saving me, as I see it, from the tragedy of the commonplace. I’d been a weirdo in high school who craved ‘normalcy’ and found it in college; who knew returning the ‘weirdoes’ were my tribe? The college wallflower became a belly dancer, i.e. the post-high school equivalent of the Head Cheerleader, via the road taken. Bob, or Trash Can Vandal, you have no idea how you changed a life! Blame it on Buffy. Or Jerry. Or Ireland. For twenty years I’ve dealt with the fallout of Jerry’s ‘We have to talk’ moment. It would be unfair to lay the next fifteen years of misery on him since I’ve struggled with depression and anger issues from my early adolescence I can’t fully explain. I remember pre-school feelings of self-doubt and quiet inferiority I can’t pin on my family or, back then at least, non-existent school bullies. For the last seven years I’ve been climbing out of the mental pit I dug. Jerry handed me the shovel, but I’m the one who insisted on digging so deeply. We humans possess the most marvelous computers in the Universe between our ears, creations more complex than our most sophisticated technology, and boy oh boy it’s a shame we can’t periodically reboot, because brains ‘blue screen’ more than a Windows 98 beta. Although Jerry is behind me, he hurt me badly enough that, unlike other past lovers or partners, I want nothing to do with him. Ever. While I’m friends today with ex-boyfriends who once hurt me, if I find I’m sharing a social media platform with Jerry I block him in case he gets any dumb ideas about contacting me again as he has in the past — I’m convinced, just to be friends, but fuck you. The friend-ship sank in flames twenty years ago. I’ve kill-filed his email address and name. But… While watching the Ignited States slouch toward Gomorrah, as a great book title once put it, I’ve pondered what a favor Jerry did for me, even if I didn’t see the benefit for two full decades. He was another catalyst who changed my life. Today, I’m in a more stable place rather than what Donald Trump might call a ‘shithole country’, thanks to ol’ Jer. It’s a longer reverse engineer, beginning two years after the breakup: I tried to move to Ireland after reading a news story saying it wanted to become the Silicon Valley of Europe, and I was in I.T. Moving away for awhile appealed because I was chronically depressed and wanted to escape my nowhere life in Connecticut. When I couldn’t get into Ireland (they’d just opened it up with an EU-first policy, and every Eastern European was trying to move anywhere that wasn’t Eastern Europe), my cyber-friend near Toronto encouraged me to move to Canada because I couldn’t get into Ireland. I’d gotten email-friendly with him after we met as fans on Usenet’s back in 1997. And I began watching Buffy because of—Jerry. The idea of an entire TV series based on a poorly-performing 1992 movie the critics hated sounded like a supremely stupid idea. Jerry had said, “Oh, we have to watch it! It sounds really good! Joss Whedon, the creator, hated what they did to his movie. The TV show is what the movie was supposed to be. Darker. More serious.” “I’m tired of vampires,” I said. And this was well before Twilight, True Blood, The Vampire Diaries, Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter, and the endless succession of boring beautiful bloodsuckers stalking the early decades of the new century. “Let’s just watch the first few episodes,” he said. It was way better than I’d guessed, and I fell in love with Giles. Then Spike. Buffy is why I started hanging out on the Usenet group and cyber-met Larry near Toronto, eh? We transferred the friendship to email. His mother died, then Jerry and I split up, and when Ireland fell through, Larry encouraged me to come to Canada. Why did I immigrate rather than move temporarily? Canada wants immigrants, not half-assed will-they-stay-or-will-they-go semi-perms. Also, blame it on Bush. “You had the right idea! You knew what was coming all along!” Actually, I didn’t. I look terribly prescient to my American-imprisoned friends with 20/20 hindsight. Okay, I knew the country was ambling down the Highway To Hell under George W. Bush. When I saw the famous Abu Ghraib photo in the newspaper, I thought, “This is not the country I grew up in.” We tortured prisoners now. Political prisoners. Republican politicians and reactionary xenophobic mouth-breathers bobbled their slack-jawed heads in terrifying approval. “I want to get out of here,” I said. My devolving countrymen weren’t the only reason why, but it added urgency. I never foresaw the state of the States today. I never imagined we’d be dumb enough to elect a moron like Trump. Or that we’d prefer conspiracy theories and fake news over reality, even as a killer virus ripped its way through a country whose collective IQ more closely resembled a residential neighborhood speed sign. During the pandemic, I counted the number of American COVID-19 deaths by units of Vietnam: 1 Vietnam = 50,000 American deaths. One little, two little, three little Vietnams, four little, five little, six little Vietnams… Today, we still lead the world in all COVID-19 statistics, as always, now at 23 Vietnams and change. We’re #1! Words fail to describe how grateful I was not to be living in the COVIDed States anymore. Now I happily go about my business every day without worrying about taking a bullet in a mass shooting. I’m barely on speaking terms with my mother country. What would have happened if Jerry and I had stayed together? I might have died in Trump’s AmeriKKKa as my compatriots committed maskless, mass suicide, pitching tantrums over social distancing and a shut-down economy, dragging out their own torturous death throes as the world slammed shut its own borders to America. Remember when Americans worried about people trying to get in? That was, like, that January. The reverse-engineering exercise Reverse engineering is figuring out how a device works by starting with what it does and tracing backward to its beginning. When you apply it to your life it can reveal hidden insights can change your perceptions. I’ve been thinking about Jerry differently since I realized I have him to thank for my life in Canada. I’m not going to send him a fruit basket or anything, but I’ve experienced a little psychological relief as a result. What would have happened if I’d never left the U.S.? I might have been mired in near-hopeless, perhaps suicidal depression. Maybe unemployed, staring down poverty with a gossamer safety net, thanks to decades of Republican meddling, and a president who didn’t care about anything that wasn’t him. I’d be surrounded by hateful Americans from both political sides whose lives had always sucked and who wanted everyone else’s to suck too. Misery loves company. I might well have felt like those remaining Jews in Nazi Germany, no longer allowed to leave, realizing they’d waited too late to follow the smarter ones out the door. Stuck in a sea-to-shining-sea prison, goose-stepping toward totalitarianism, mindlessly chanting “Make America Great Again!” instead of “Seig heil!” What would I do if I could go back in time and change one thing? Maybe I couldn’t risk messing with my life and staying in America. Maybe I’d have to let that first ill-fated dinner date with Jerry take its natural course. Maybe this was the only way my headspace could lead me to a civilized country before it was too late. If I warned 1993 Nicole about what was going to happen if she persevered with Jerry (once she stopped screaming at the sight of Senior Nicole), would she—I—have listened? What if I could go back and be Nicole, but with my 2023 brain? I suspect that scenario would work out far happier, because I’d always know I needed to move to Canada as soon as Al Gore threw the election to Dumbya by not challenging its end game at the Supreme Court. Part of me is horrified at adding thirty years to a 60-year-old life on stop of the thirty or so years I still expect to live. Who wants to live to be 120, even when you don’t show it? But—I could remake a lot of mistakes, and the breakup with Jerry launched A Series of Unfortunate Events that I can mostly blame myself for. But it doesn’t really matter, because we can’t go back and fix the past. The worst thing that ever happened to me was the best thing that ever happened to me. Who knew? Did you like this post? Would you like to see more? I lean left of center, but not so far over my brains fall out. Subscribe to my Substack newsletter Grow Some Labia so you never miss a damn thing!

  • Feminists Against Women: When They Won't Say No To Men, They Harm All Females

    Over-inclusivity endangers women and opens the door to sexual predators intent on eroding female agency. Stop being so *nice*, girls! The 1996 movie The Crucible highlights a lose-lose Puritan ultimatum: Tell the truth—that you were not a witch and practiced no Biblically-forbidden dark arts—and be ostracized, not for witchcraft but for ‘lying’; and if you lied and ‘confessed’ to preserve your communal life, you forever damned your soul to eternal hell in accordance with Puritan belief. The truth was hateful to the Puritan community; it wasn’t the narrative they wanted. They chose—preferred—to believe in witches. When far-left blogging platform Medium declared war on truth I wondered how it could have allowed itself to become so subsumed by illogical woke idiocy. When Canadian Pride transactivists began attacking libraries I wondered how Pride let itself get hijacked by fetishistic heterosexual men. When so-called ‘progressive’ activists attacked not just libraries but bookstores and Amazon, I wondered why they practiced censorship themselves when they labeled right-wing censorship as Nazism. On the Orwellian far-left, free speech is now as verboten as on the far-right. How did we get to this place? I think progress stopped when progressives, and especially Third Wave feminists, gave up the ability to say ‘No.’ The Patriarchy thanks them for their support. Leda and The Swine MeToo dragged consent out of the bedroom and into the public square and turned ‘rape culture’ into a household phrase. A recent Unherd article debated whether the Noughties (the decade with central double-zeros) enabled Russell Brand to become a hypersexualized misogynist and alleged perpetrator of sexual assault. It’s really about rape culture. When feminists use the term they almost always mean male words or actions. They fail to consider how much women contribute to rape culture too. Like not saying No when you’re not in danger. Unfortunately, many women are raised to be nice, and far more considerate of others’ feelings than men are. It’s not entirely men’s fault when they’re raised to be the way they are, too. We all have to strive to do better after our parents’ inevitable mistakes. Women can be more forceful and assertive, and men can stop and consider how their words and actions affect others. Progressivism has jumped the shark with its obsessive largely female fetish for inclusivity: No one claiming to be from a ‘marginalized’ group must ever be challenged or considered worthy of exclusion. It’s incredible that an age that can condemn Russell Brand and Louis CK for not listening when women said No, now insist women can’t say No to more fashionably-dressed sexual predators and opportunists, and shame their sisters who do. The feminist trick, as clever misogynists have discovered, is to slap on thicker eyelashes than thou, steal their sister’s bra and stuff it like she did when she was eleven, and and whine on TikTok about how hard their appropriated ‘marginalized’ lives are. The silly little chickie-boos will suck it right up! You can even get them to ignore their fine-tuned sense of danger from strange men in enclosed, private spaces, and assure other women they should not fear transwomen in changing rooms or public restrooms. This, despite mounds of research showing the same levels of violent criminality between transwomen and men, and the growing list of busted cross-dressing sexual predators. These dizzy dames have even been persuaded we should reward convicted sex offenders who find their ‘real woman’ with female prisons, a level of punishment for female prisoners I’m guessing runs afoul somehow of the Geneva Convention. No, no, nothing to see here! These poor dear souls just feel comfortable ‘coming out’ now! This is not good for women. Gavin de Becker notes in The Gift of Fear, “No animal in the wild suddenly overcome with fear would spend any of its mental energy thinking, ‘It’s probably nothing.’” Animals evolved over millions of years to hightail it at the approach of a hungry predator. So, to, have women developed a highly-attuned sense of danger, whether their mate came home angry from a poor hunt or drunk from the local pub. The smart human female animal gets the hell out of the way. A violent transactivist faction dictates to women that they will complain no more when penised people demand (in the historical tradition of entitled men) that women grant them access to all their female-only spaces, including even sex-segregated spaces originally conceived to protect women from male predation. Worse, women, real women, comply like good little girls and do what these men want. Because it’s always men - however fashionably dressed or passably female—who make these demands. Women are femsplained by Regressive Lefties that they should say No to some men - the ones they don’t want to have sex with - but yes to the ones who want to penetrate women’s-only spaces - regardless of how unsafe it makes women feel. Like, it’s a major colossal global human rights crisis if they don’t. This even includes rape crisis centers and domestic violence shelters, absolutely the last places the be-penised should ever be. Until a few years ago, they were genuine safe spaces for women directly abused by penises who could count on not encountering another one. No more. Get over your transphobia, girlfriend! The Ghislaine Maxwells of the left ‘Fauxminists’ are as dangerous to women and women’s rights as the Freedumb Convoy and red-state politics. Fauxminists are a manifestation primarily on the left, since anti-feminist women on the right are largely honest about it. Fauxminists consider themselves feminists but support anti-feminist causes, and I can’t think of anything more anti-feminist than throwing imprisoned women to the rapists, or telling mothers and their young daughters that they should just accept transwomen in women-only spaces because ‘they’re not going to hurt anyone’. This is criminally ludicrous. It directly contradicts women’s lived experience with male stranger danger, and even the ones they know. It even contradicts central progressive belief that we are who we are via environment and culture rather than anything innate. Never mind that it’s a belief contradicted by countless anthropologists, biologists and neuroscientists, but the left’s resistance to inconvenient science and recognizing contradictory hypocrisy has a lengthy history along with the right’s. We believe what we want to believe. If feminists believe we’re the product of our upbringing rather than our sex, do they really think a human male will toss out the window his prior experience growing up male in a violent, sexist society? Especially a convicted sex offender? Do they honestly believe he stops thinking like a male because he realized ‘he always felt like a woman’? And do they believe everything a man tells them? One of the biggest psychological weak spots in the female brain is the nature and nurture drive to be nice, to help others, to avoid hurting someone’s feelings, especially men’s. This is a sound evolutionary response as some men can become violent if they feel shamed or rejected, and letting them down easy is a survival tactic that hopefully prevents one from killing her. This is where the ad hoc lie “Sorry, I’m a lesbian,” comes from. Or, “Thanks, but I’m married,” when she’s not. They don’t always work but they offer the less emotional suitor plausible deniability: She’s not rejecting me, it’s nothing personal. Fauxminists naively believe that everything changes when a man claims to be female, which directly endangers others when they demand all women collaborate with primarily heterosexual transvestites and autogynephiles who are in it for the woodies. They’ll argue on X’s #MeToo that women have to be wary of all men because they don’t know which are the rapists or killers. Unless they’re transwomen. Why do they turn their brain over to Da Patriarchy when blatantly opportunistic men demand access to a rape crisis center? Not only must real feminists and progressives battle vicious misogynists on the right, now we have to battle their fauxminist allies on the left. If you’ve ever wondered why resistance to extreme trans rights get charged with being a ‘right-wing’ effort, it’s because it is. Because the right supports sex-segregated spaces, and the left, well—it supports rape culture and male sexual predation. Full stop. Fauxminists are the Ghislaine Maxwells of the left. Isn’t it interesting that Jeffrey Epstein’s infamous list included, as far as I can tell, almost exclusively Democratic politicians and progressive-leaning actors and celebrities? The left just cain’t say no. Not even to victimizing underage girls. Besides Jeffrey Epstein, the far-left and its fauxminists have a long record of enabling and supporting male criminal sexual behavior: The ILGA’s conscious inclusion of NAMBLA into their ranks; England’s infamous grooming gangs which fauxminists and Regressive Lefties ignored. Notice they condemn Epstein more than his Chief Collaborator? And now they instruct women to ignore their most critical instincts and pretend there’s no danger when a big galoot like Lia Thomas is taking his pants off. “It’s just nothing,” they tell women. If victims of sexual assault feel uncomfortable with a ‘woman with a penis’ listening to or overhearing their story at the rape crisis center, or that some guy who sort of looked like Dame Edna commented at the pool what a beauty their little daughter is, suddenly the fauxminists abandon #MeToo and tell these women to ‘just get over it,’ because, you know, women don’t molest children, and ‘transwomen are women’. Maybe this explains the real reason the dodo bird died out. Every time they thought they caught a whiff of a human in the breeze they told themselves, “Oh, it’s probably nothing. Humans are non-violent just like us.” Just Say No To No Where is this leading? Social psychologist and relationship expert Dina McMillan describes the many types of controlling, abusive men in her book But He Says He Loves Me: How to avoid being trapped in a manipulative relationship. She lists the sort of women controlling men look for. Some want the easily manipulated victim susceptible to doing whatever it takes to please the man. The ones with the lowest self-esteem are the easiest to reel in. Others want higher-value women who may require a little more work. Some prefer a real challenge: The strong, independent, feminist woman. “How well does that work?” I thought dubiously as I, a strong, independent, feminist woman read the book. Better than I might have expected. Women who think they can’t be controlled or abused by men are a World Series-level grand slam if he can get her to submit. It requires much more investment in ‘training’ her for the relationship but it can be quite successful, from his point of view. I see this same dynamic playing out in the unquestioning fauxminist support for the trans narrative. Transactivists, like other abusive males, exploit their adversaries’ weakest link. Which, on the left, is its over-inclusivity and inability to just say no. To anyone. Social psychologist Dina McMillan extrapolated the connection I just made to all of the ‘woke’, who she says are using ‘all of the tactics from my abuse series…It’s really quite frightening….It’s an absolutist totalitarian religion…I can’t even call it a social movement.” They’ve won the hearts and minds of the easiest pickin’s of the progressive chickens. They’ve persuaded misogyny’s cock blocks to stop saying No to men. And to oppress any sister who refuses to submit. What’s their next step? Not saying No to men who force themselves into women’s-only spaces puts them one step closer to no right to say No to sexual access. It’s what the incels have been preaching for years: Women shouldn’t have the right to say no to sex with any man. Even certain sexually successful men would agree. You can have sex with more women if you don’t have to waste a lot of time with consent. ‘Progressive’ feminism’s willingness to lift critical boundaries on traditional predatory male sexual behavior is why fighting trans rights has come to be identified with the right. Many of us on the left join after watching the horrifying spectacle of predatory grooming tactics by men pretending to be something they’re not. Fauxminists are silent when transwomen complain of the ‘cotton ceiling’ that prevents their penile sexual pleasure because real lesbians, unattracted to male bodies, jawlines and genitals, refuse to have sex with these pseudo-dykes with pikes. When the ‘minor-attracted persons’, the people formerly known as pedophiles come for the children, we know the Regressive Left fauxminists will do nothing to stop them. They never have before. The pedeophiles’ self-marginalized argument will stem from the far-left’s widely-accepted conviction that even children as young as three or four, ‘know’ what gender they’re supposed to be, and that no adult should stand in the way of transitioning. “Who are you to tell your child they can’t have sex with me? Children know what’s best for them! They can make up their own minds who they want to have sex with. Now get out of our business!” And the fauxminists will. Did you like this post? Would you like to see more? I lean left of center, but not so far over my brains fall out. Subscribe to my Substack newsletter Grow Some Labia so you never miss a damn thing!

  • How To Stop Being An Asshole, From An Expert

    Step One: Get Over Yourself I want to make one thing perfectly clear: I am still an asshole. Just not the kind that starts wars on Facebook. Anymore. I still lose it sometimes elsewhere, but I’m working on that too, realizing how deeply emotionally and psychologically traumatized so many of my adversaries are, particularly the ‘woke’ with whom I regularly do ideological battle. I’ll admit my reasons for toning myself down are more selfish than altruistic: Life is much more pleasant when you’re not an easily-triggered asshole. I’m still an asshole in many other ways, but I do go through life less prone to ‘losing it’. When I get emotionally triggered the reaction is more choppy-day-on-the-ocean than The Perfect Shitstorm. If you haven’t tried this anger management thing, I highly recommend it. It’s awesome! It takes awhile, I admit, and requires a lot of lurking with assholes. I call it ‘exposure therapy’. The masses call it ‘Twitter’ or now, ‘X’. Hijacked When your brain’s limbic system is ‘triggered’, the more primitive part of your brain (go figger) overrides your more modern cerebral cortex, where logic and thinking reside (or are supposed to anyway). It’s slower to react than the limbic system’s amygdala, the brain’s drama queen that stores a lot of memories of every awful thing anyone ever said and did to you. It’s also where your fight-or-flight instincts reside, and when it goes into hyperdrive, it gets ‘hijacked’ in neuro-scientific parlance, or in layman’s terms, ‘goes totally apeshit.’ So, your stupid sister makes another nasty crack about the size of your ass or some anonymous coward shares a ‘funny’ meme (ha ha) making fun of a breastless ‘transman’ and your amygdala goes into righteous hyperdrive. It literally happens before you know it. Then right after, maybe you feel badly about the way you reacted, if for no other reason than you gave your sister or that other dipshit the satisfaction of knowing they got to you. Wouldn’t it be great if you could just put your cortex front and center, since your amygdala is such a freaking nutcase? I mean, yeah, you need your amygdala’s whip-crack reaction for when a polar bear is about to eat you (probably not a problem in your area, but I live in Canada and they theoretically could come down to Toronto and turn me into human sushi). Your ‘myg keeps you safe, for the most part. Then you get on Twitter or Facebook or you get the latest news on Trump’s alleged and confessed crimes, and you turn into a flaming asshole. So here’s how I’ve been working on reducing my Inner Asshole. Lesson #1: People who disagree with you aren’t necessarily evil Something had to give. I’d started another fight on Facebook, I forget over what. Politics, most likely. I don’t expect others to agree with me but if they say stupid shit, my amygdala goes nuclear. But now I periodically remind myself: I don’t know everything. I’m not the ultimate arbiter of morality. Or reality. My opinions aren’t 100% right just because they’re mine. Once I got over my boundless expertise on everything, I could… Lesson #2: Expose myself (silently) to genuinely stupid people Once I recognized I might not know everything, I had to acknowledge there existed others who were unquestionably, demonstrably, indisputably wrong. This is where exposure therapy to Twitter, Ground Zero for emotional shitstorms and those with the self-awareness of a clam, came into play. I lurked on Twitter but responded to nothing. No matter what I read. I found the people I couldn’t stand the most and read their dumbass, awful, racist, misogynist, soulless, anti-American, scumsucking tweets and tweeted nothing. At first I could only do this for a few minutes. As soon as I was just DYING to set some hyper-moron straight, I went, “Okay, that’s enough, let’s go read a book.” I hung out with terrorists, incels, victim feminists, SJWs, racists, overprivileged black people, gun owners, pacifists, science deniers, tightassed atheists, Democrats, Republicans and Trump groupies. I’m triggered by everybody. We Are The Murky Middle: The enemy to all Eventually I could disengage at the sight of a truly abysmal opinion. My brain rewired to just deal with it. These blobs o’ water and goopy fat between our ears are ‘neuroplastic’, meaning they constantly wire and rewire, and we have more control over that than we know. Particularly in regards to getting angry. It’s a choice, you come to realize. When our ‘myg gets hijacked, the cranial slop controls us, not the other way around. I stopped to think before I posted on Facebook. Sometimes I’d be deliberately provocative, but now I paid attention to phrasing. I’d think, “Am I ready to take the shit for this one?” Who was most likely to get mad? How much did I really stand behind this opinion? Sometimes I’d hit Post and think, “Tomorrow night, remember not to get hijacked by the responses.” The next evening I’d stop, take a deep breath, and think, “Remember, respond calmly and rationally.” I mostly did. One night I got blindsided by an angry comment I wasn’t expecting. My amygDalai Lama reacted, this time with a mildly pissed wave rather than a spike. That’s when I knew I was making real progress. Lesson #3: Rethink the news I concluded something else: The news, which I’d cared about almost all my life, had to go, or at least I had to stop reading CNN. It served little purpose other than to turn me into an asshole about people and events I couldn’t affect. But, I believe we have an obligation as citizens to keep up on what’s happening in the world. Further self-examination into my triggered reactions revealed that my two main news sources, CNN for American news and the Toronto Star for Canadian news, while mostly factual, were both too emotionally slanted and biased, and just reading the headlines could spike both my brain and blood pressure. Really, was it news anymore when Donald Trump polluted social media with his very existence? Even worse, he worked to destroy democratic institutions with cheerleaders in cheap Chinese-manufactured red ball caps, and flags they used at night to wipe their butts when they were out of U.S. Constitution toilet paper. There wasn’t a damn thing I could do about it. Except vote, up here in Canada. Bye-bye, CNN and Toronto Star, you hysterical drama queens! I’ve replaced both countries’ news media with less biased, less emotional primary sources. Life without apeshit I still get mad. I still get triggered. I especially can’t stand having to define ‘woman’ for the freaking brain-dead ‘progressive’ left. The benefits of training your brain not to be an asshole — and remember, it is a choice — are multiple: No more anger spikes that leave you pissed off for twenty minutes (the average length of time it takes for your amygdala to just freakin’ chill, dude) or longer if you’re the type who just can’t let something go. Reduced susceptibility to heart attack, depression, high blood pressure, anxiety, and not getting invited to good parties. You choose your words more carefully and start fewer fights. You can virtue signal to yourself that you’re less of an asshole than those other assholes. You get a lot more done and enjoy greater relations with your loved ones when you’re not saying things to trigger them. Random assholes you don’t know don’t bother you as much. Fuck ’em. I still piss people off. I still sometimes say and do the wrong things, or react in anger. Then I think, “Why did you let him/her/them/it get to you?” Good question to ask yourself: Why do I care? For sure, I’m no Pollyanna when it comes to expressing my opinions, which remain controversial in some circles. I’m okay with that. But, I’m not pissing people off as much, and I’m okay with that too. And sometimes, they get pissed off because I stated a truth backed by evidence that contradicts some narrative they hold. Reality. Deal with it, mes amis. Assholery for the masses Being an asshole has become so commonplace it’s practically the national pastime. Our last president was a world-class asshole and we can’t say we didn’t know; he became a popular reality TV star being an asshole who fired people for our entertainment. Everyone who ever knew him or worked with him (or, God help them, for him) in New York knew what an asshole he was. It’s entirely possible his handful of supporters that bothered to show up at the courthouse in New York for his first indictment was only because everyone else was still pissed he’d never paid them. He appeals to a large swathe of assholes in America who’ve collectively decided democracy sucks and authoritarianism is better. They’re challenged and resisted by assholes on the left who hate everything about them but nevertheless agree with them about democracy and authoritarianism. I meet new people and I’m immediately on guard in case they’re assholes. Will they yell at me or walk away for being an asshole who said something they didn’t like? How can you be comfortable with someone when you’re worried they might suddenly turn into an asshole? I mean, assholery is the real pandemic in North America. I’m careful what I say on social media because I’ve been deplatformed three times and counting by transactivist assholes who thought I was an asshole for challenging their narrative. (Assholery is in the eye of the beholder, after all.) And one asshole tried to get me in trouble with my employer. Friendships break up and family members become estranged because some asshole holds a political opinion the rest of the assholes in his family disagree with. But future generations can perhaps avoid this tragedy by reading a book called How To Raise Kids Who Aren’t Assholes. A new university is fighting back against widespread academic assholery by putting truth before DEI and ‘safetyism’, making honest debate, critical inquiry, and rational thought central to what it aspires to offer: A good education, which should scare legions of student assholes whose constipated view of the universe may now go challenged by reason-wielding assholes. We have to fight the assholes ruining the world. We have to stop the Asshole Revolution, beginning with the Asshole Within. Because we can’t be the problem we seek to solve. I urge you, if you haven’t already, to get over yourself and stop being an asshole, kind of in the way Christians ever-strive to be more like Jesus. We, too, can ever-strive to be less of an asshole than we are. It’s probably unrealistic for me to believe I’ll ever reduce myself to Dalai Lama-levels of assholery, but I’ll settle for Oprah-level. I can die peacefully if I can believe I’m only an Oprah-level asshole. I hope you want to stop being an easily-triggered asshole too. If you can’t do it for others, do it for yourself. Like a selfish asshole! Did you like this post? Would you like to see more? I lean left of center, but not so far over my brains fall out. Subscribe to my Substack newsletter Grow Some Labia so you never miss a post!

  • Crony Beliefs: When It's More Important To Feel Right Than To *Be* Right

    When we hold 'merit' beliefs, we can kill our 'little darlings' and change our minds when confronted with newer or better evidence I listened to the experts during the COVID-19 pandemic. Particularly to Dr. Fauci. I supported lockdown, masks, and social distancing (with some initial bitching). Young, badass COVID-19 circled the pre-vaccines globe killing millions, especially those who resisted preventive measures, and I didn’t want to deepthroat a giant metal phallus while I gasped out my last. Sure, I knew global extreme efforts threw billions into uncertainty and chaos. I watched the economy grind to a halt, along with my infant freelance writing business just as my employment insurance ran out. I sympathized with those suddenly unemployed, especially in the U.S. with little left of the safety net, run by a lying, narcisisstic halfwit who thought injecting disinfectant would send everyone back to work after Memorial Day. I survived The Plague and by the time I finally lost my ‘VID virginity, the worst physical affliction was the thoracic muscular fatigue from coughing that lasted longer than the infection. I stayed inside for five days except to take out my garbage, and I was a good citizen and masked up outside my apartment five days after the symptoms went away, in accordance with the latest decrees from Health Canada. Today I listen to skepticism and questioning from all quarters as to whether all those preventive measures, especially lockdown, did more damage to economies, families, children’s educations and our collective future than they protected. It’s hard to sort truth from fiction anymore, and especially fact from hack. I want to read or see a balanced exploration of what we did right, what we did wrong, what we could do differently next time around. Sure, even tell me what Da Right got right and what I got wrong. But one thing I feel confident about. If I was wrong to trust the experts as much as I did—I’ll accept that. And I’ll change my mind with newer, solid evidence. Crony vs merit beliefs Author and scientist Kevin Simler, who wrote The Elephant in the Brain: Hidden Motives in Everyday Life, compares our beliefs to employees in a company. Some are ‘crony’ hires, maybe nepotistic or as a favor for a friend, so they weren’t necessarily the best possible candidate. That employee might be awesome, good enough or they might be less than stellar. The ones chosen out of a pool of candidates, short-listed and interviewed further, with one designated the ‘best’, were chosen for their merit and are statistically better positioned to be more productive and beneficial to the company. Merit is based in reality. Therefore, ‘merit’-based beliefs are formed from all available evidence, versus ‘crony’-based beliefs—what makes us feel good or look good to others, just as hiring the not-necessarily-the-best candidate might make one feel good that they’re cutting someone a break, returning a favor or helping out a friend. Crony beliefs are more bound to our self-image, and therefore are more likely to be inaccurate, and difficult to uproot if they prove to be wrong. We all hold crony beliefs at one time or another, and on some level we’re aware they’re kinda fragile, laced with contradictions, uncertainty, and questionable origins. We don’t like to examine them too closely and we don’t want to discuss them with those who might come up with an argument we can’t refute. We’re defensive about our little darlings. They serve us, and we won’t give them up easily. Common crony beliefs include the conspiracy theories my lefty friend believes, and who lost his temper when I challenged him, asking for evidence. On the right, crony beliefs frequently connect to Donald Trump - that he’s the world’s biggest victim of political persecution, that the last election was ‘stolen’ from him, that more dead people voted for Joe Biden than appeared in Zombieland. Perhaps the most pervasive, and clearly untenable crony belief of the left is the near-dictatorial public speech freeze on criticizing or questioning transgender narratives: That people can simply ‘identify’ away their birth sex (but not cross-racially), that transwomen are the same as real women, and that Will ‘Lia’ Thomas has no appreciable physical advantage over his teammates. Because, like, he took female hormones or something. If you really want to start a fight with your favorite ‘woke’ progressive, point out there’s no science behind gender-affirming care for kids. There’s a moral apocalypse barrelling down the hill for the progressive left, and I fully expect their response will greatly resemble the clinging religious devotion to its discredited beliefs we now see with the right’s dogged devotion to Donald Trump. While Team MAGA plots Jan. 6th, Part Deux, whether Trump wins in 2024 or not (either way libs are going down), zero evidence also won’t pry the belief from the wokes’ cold dead brains that puberty blockers are just dandy for normal kids undergoing a normal adolescent physical transition. The lure of the virtue signal The number one reason why we cling like barnacles to our unhealthy, discredited, crony beliefs is we hate to be wrong. Especially when ‘those assholes’ are clearly right. The ‘assholes’ for the Donald Trump contingent are the Democrats and their liberal voters, and those for Team Trans are the Republicans and their conservative voters. Now, the right has a long history of antagonism to evidence, as detailed in the book The Republican War on Science. They, like many others, cherry-pick what conforms to their confirmation biases. The Religious Right shares much of the blame for the idiocrasizing of the Republican Party. Fundamentalist religion is almost 100% crony beliefs, at least some of which are demonstrably wrong, like the Creationist story or the tale of Joshua commanding the sun to stand still, based on the erroneous belief at the time that the sun revolved around the earth. Belief in a 100% inerrant Bible requires a hell of a lot of cronyism. It’s why QAnon seized the far right so seamlessly. QAnon appeals to that willingness to believe anything that fits the narrative, rather than any genuine commitment to truth. The left’s comparable fanatical devotion to the trans movement will not likely disappear once the truth comes out about the futility of truly changing gender. Relinquishing their crony beliefs will be intolerable, an admission that those ‘idiot Republicans’ were right and the left was wrong all along, opening them up to the accusation they’re ‘anti-science’ and challenging their conceit that liberals are the science supporters. Mostly, but not always, and less often today. The ‘woke’ are riven with many other crony beliefs but they’re not as virulent nor will they be as subject to direct contradiction as the immutability of sex. The belief that ‘white supremacy is baked into everything’ is a widespread opinion, and will remain so. ‘White supremacy’ is intangible, like ‘The patriarchy’. Both function more as a collective conceptualization of harmful beliefs, values, and a documented history of sexist oppression, and we’ll continue to debate how pervasive it is, but beliefs aren’t immutable. They’re also frequently wrong. To commit ourselves to truth and reality, we must make sure we don’t embody the problem we seek to eliminate. I’m willing to rethink what I believed about the pandemic if I’m proven wrong about how we could have handled it differently without lockdown. (President Obama tried to warn us about the need for pandemic preparedness in 2014, but no one inside or outside the government cared to discuss it.) To change my mind on the lack of vaccine efficacy I’ll require the newest scientific evidence and some logical, rational arguments for what we did wrong. I’m okay with changing my opinion if anyone can provide real evidence. I strive always to kill my little darlings. It’s not about ‘being wrong’; it’s about being as right as I can be given the evidence available. For example, I was quite, quite, QUITE certain the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians to win the 2016 election, but Robert Mueller’s final report admitted that while there was evidence of conspiracy, he couldn’t establish it as conclusive fact. He also stated “while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.” Regardless of how I feel about the Russia-Trump Election Collusion, I also know ‘gut feelings’ work best when you’re in danger rather than evaluating evidence you strongly identify with. I won’t state publicly Team Trump colluded with Russia. I may feel it in my bones but I acknowledge the Mueller Report failed to draw a conclusion. Free at last….free at last! The way to self-check for a crony belief is to observe how defensive it makes you feel. Do you want to discuss it with others, especially people more knowledgeable than you? Share it on social media? Do you feel a topic is ‘not up for debate’, and if so, why? Understandable if the premise is, The United States should abolish the 13th amendment and return legal slavery. Less so for Vaccines kill more people than they save. If a respectable source can provide real evidence the Fauci Ouchie has killed hundreds of thousands of people, I’ll listen. But not to Alex Jones or Mike Lindell or a semi-literate Facebook ranter. Very few of our most divisive topics are as truly undebateable as ‘legalize slavery’ so the rest are, in fact, up for debate. Those who want to shut them down are on very shaky ground and they know it. Here’s the beautiful thing about being willing to relinquish your ‘little darlings’; you may not realize how limiting and self-imprisoning your beliefs are until you let them out of their cage. Killing your ‘little darlings’ and moving on to a better explanation heralds a happier, more honest mental outlook. A Substack newsletter I subscribe to recently carried the story of a progressive-minded lesbian who experienced a ‘crisis of faith’ when she realized she’d been wrong to allow her son to transition. “My entire belief system crumbled,” she wrote. “I feared losing my entire tribe, all of my friends. I even feared losing my marriage. I had to slowly pick up the pieces, and reintegrate my sense of reality, my values, identity and beliefs.” But, she rekindled familial connections and rediscovered joys she loved that she’d given up when she was taught they were ‘oppressive’. Crony beliefs are cages. I used to pity on some level the fundamentalist Christians with whom I engaged in verbal battle in a New England community newspaper, sorry that these anti-scientists couldn’t appreciate the glorious universe we’d been given, whether by God or happenstance. I felt badly for the writer struggling with the desire to masturbate because he believed an invisible deity prohibited it for illogical reasons. They’re self-imprisoned, along with the QAnoners, the xenophobic Trumpers and now, more every day, the fading progressivism of the ‘woke’ left with its hidebound, useless, hopeless dogmas. The most oppressed person each one knows is in the mirror. They oppress themselves and others when they believe it’s more important to feel good and virtue-signal than to be factually correct, with a high penalty of feeling bad about one’s self if they’re smacked upside the head with a clue-by-four. Freedom of belief is our cherished First Amendment privilege, but perhaps freedom from belief is the greatest freedom we can possibly know. Did you like this post? Would you like to see more? I lean left of center, but not so far over my brains fall out. Subscribe to my Substack newsletter Grow Some Labia so you never miss a post!

  • Therapy Is The Super-Spreader Of Wokeness

    ''Critical Social Justice' has infiltrated the mental health industry and spreads rather than contains wokeness's harmful ideas Well this explains everything, I thought to myself. The fox is coaching the henhouse! Author Lisa Selin-Davis explains the perpetuation of wokeism in her recent The Free Press Substack article, How Therapists Became Social Justice Warriors. I had no idea social justice had infiltrated the mental health industry, which makes me rethink whether greater resources for affordable mental health help will alleviate or multiply pervasive societal mental illness. Because wokeness is a primary driver. Selin-Davis traces the short history of how therapists got ‘woke’ and trained to view the patient as a collective part of a greater group, whether it was a ‘dominant’ group or a ‘marginalized’ one, rather than treating them, as therapists have historically have, as an individual. God help you now if you’re unfortunate enough to be white, male, or ‘cis-heteronormative’. Because you and your privilege are ground zero for what ails others. And their antidote to your mental distress is woke mind poison. The therapist training Selin-Davis describes sounds frighteningly like those hellish DEI corporate workshops we read and hear too much about. First, start with a dictatorial commitment to ‘antiracism’, whatever that means this week. Then be sure to give all the ‘right’ answers in class, or risk being shamed and penalized. What galvanized the social justice-izing of mental health counseling was the rise of Donald Trump, the death of George Floyd and street protests . One student described a ‘civility pledge’ she had to sign toward the end of her training, stating her commitment to acknowledge all the social justice warrior evils: Racism, ableism, sexism, classism, nativism, heterosexism, politically incorrect country music, etc. Vulnerable, unhappy people, oppressed by mental health struggles, come to these freshly-minted head specialists and pay for more mental poison. Mental dis-ease begins with social justice One woman in the article illustrates how Critical Social Justice ideology creates and perpetuates pre-existing mental illness. The social justice warrior cared deeply about diversity and equity, but found herself struggling with her ‘whiteness’ and her constant fear she was oppressing others without even trying. Critical Race Theory teaches a hopeless narrative for everyone, but particularly for white people: They’re born into white supremacy and can never escape it, and oppress others simply by existing. The woman felt guilt as a lesbian, too, as Queer Theory teaches ‘cis’ is “associated with colonization and white supremacy and oppression.” WTF? She’d internalized social justice’s self-hatred lessons that the only acceptable authenticity is that of the marginalized. If you’re not—and apparently someone granted privilege to lesbians when she wasn’t looking, your only permissible response is a never-ending demand for public confession for your sins of being born ‘privileged’. Instead of working to achieve genuine social justice, and existing happily lesbian with her girlfriend, the woman became consumed with CSJ-manufactured guilt as she anguished over her alleged ‘internalized white supremacy’. Social Justice created her unhealthy pathologies that diverted her from a path of helping others, to counseling she might not have otherwise needed, and, as it turned out, might have been better off without. She found a black therapist to help her with her race and gender issues and all went very well for several months. It went tits-up, ironically, when she began making real mental health progress. Getting better weakened her ‘wokeness’ which threatened her therapist’s social justice commitment to a victim-centered identitarian worldview. When the patient criticized cancel culture the therapist accused her of assimilating ‘white supremacy culture’ and making the black therapist feel ‘unsafe’. If there’s one word that must never pass a mental health professional’s lips unless the patient has turned on them with a knife, it’s ‘unsafe’. That’s a social justice distortion most often applied to challenged ideas for which the recipient has no rational answer. Eventually, the therapist ended the relationship with the patient for being insufficiently attentive to her presumed birth-granted skin power, which was even more harmful for the patient. She was in essence ‘cancelled’, the very worst punishment for the non-conforming social justice warrior, by someone she’d trusted with her psychological vulnerability. Social justice activism drove the patient both into and then out of therapy, when the good it did her did so-called ‘harm’ to the therapist. Interestingly, a therapy modality that perpetuates the problem it seeks to reduce results in a prolonged financially remunerative arrangement for the therapist which can last for years, even decades. It’s an ironic position for a mental health professional: If you do your job well, success is rewarded with profit loss. I can’t help but think the patient could have saved herself many months, and a lot of stress and money, by reading books outside her social justice bubble that might have challenged and illuminated her in more psychologically healthy ways, especially books challenging the myopic social justice self-flagellating prison. The therapist, treating her patient as a presumed ‘oppressor’ rather than an individual with her own unique neuroses and traumas, worked to reinforce the pervasive ‘woke’ ideology of helplessness and hopeless oppression. She told the patient, ‘You’re not free because of homophobia and sexism. You’ll never be free.’ What a supremely bleak and depressing view of one’s future, not to mention humanity. How utterly demoralizing it must be to believe that ultimately, struggle is useless, including against genuine oppression - so why even bother trying? Why protest in the streets, why bother striving to become a better person, if you remain forever either an assigned victim or an oppressor, regardless of your most sincere efforts? Ideology vs empowerment Under the old therapy modality, the patient was guided toward healthier mental perceptions, coping, and resilience skills, along with a growing inner strength, the exact opposite of the victimist mindset, the very definition of powerlessness. In fact, it’s victimhood that often drives people into therapy, the point being to not allow whatever makes her feel like a victim control her life. In the proper setting, one is encouraged to grow mentally stronger and develop personal power, which is what the aforementioned therapy client did until her therapist pulled her back from the cliff edge of psychological health. Selin-Davis’s article notes that some ideologized newbie therapists claim they could never take on a Trump-supporting client. I can’t imagine another group of people as much in need of real mental health help as the MAGAs. They’re subject to their own toxic, victimizing, self-defeating and self-destructive ideologies, greatly resembling their social justice antagonists. MAGAs, like SJWs, need to challenge their self-perception as victims, whether they were victimized against their will with a neglectful childhood or an abusive partner, or whether they agreed, consciously or not, to adopt identitarian victimhood. But ultimately, if you can’t find a marginalized group to join, simply make up your own label! If you’re a group of one, congratulations! You’re marginalized! So none of it is your fault! Empowerment, genuine empowerment, not woke-warrior lip service, is the sworn enemy of victimhood ideology. The less you see yourself as a victim, the less you act as a victim. The more you see your power to change your life, and you engage that power, your life will most likely improve. It’s a direct threat to those who prefer to reject personal responsibility because they’re marginalized. The message of covert disempowerment promoted by emotionally unintelligent social justice warriors self-oppresses and benefits those with real power unwilling to share any of it. I wonder if the SJW’s therapist felt threatened by the very freedom from psychological pain to which she’d led her patient, perhaps longing to seize some of that freedom herself but risking her job and potential ostracism when her peers found out she questioned the core tenets of social justice ideology. It would lay to waste everything she’d been taught and believed in. Donald Trump and his lackeys play to this same mindset for Team MAGA, blaming everyone for the working class’s plight without ever challenging them to aspire higher, educate themselves, to take charge of their lives more, or to demand better politicians to address their real interests. It benefits Trump and the Republicans to keep their base feeling victimized - if the voters took charge of their lives rather than blaming immigrants and progressive elites, they might not need the GOP anymore. Who needs a saviour when you can save yourself? The futility of eternal victimhood Mental un-health is socially contagious. It includes anorexia, suicide, and depression, but happiness is also contagious. One study found that having a happy neighbor increases one’s happiness probability by 34%. Hanging out with a more positive crowd and taking breaks, whether it’s vacation or just some time off from thinking about systemic racism, rape culture or colonialism, might be more beneficial, not to mention time and money-saving, than a therapist with an unexamined sense of her own self-imposed victimhood. It’s frightening to think that people in real mental distress visit professionals who feed their pathologies and turn them away from the timeless skills of empowerment, self-challenge, coping and resilience that results in stronger psychological health. The Buddha, 3,500 years ago, taught human beings the secret to happiness and mental well-being not by wallowing in the injustices of the world, but in learning to co-exist with and alleviate it with good deeds, to strive not to contribute to others’ unhappiness, and to challenge one’s own self-harming mental perceptions. He deconstructed how our beliefs can cause us as much, and arguably more, pain than any actual victimization we’ve experienced. The more new-ish mental health treatment Cognitive Behavior Therapy, or CBT, closely resembles Buddhist teachings. CBT seeks to challenge ‘cognitive distortions’, the ‘mental constructs’ Buddhists encourage followers to root out. It challenges thoughts, beliefs and attitudes that may or may not be real, that may hurt us. One such cognitive distortion in the social justice movement (and Judaeo-Christianity) is the distasteful notion of original sin - that you can be born into a negative state through no fault of your own. It was the putative basis of the Genesis tale of Adam and Eve, purporting to explain why humanity is so ugly (it’s our fault for disobeying God!) and it’s extended into CRT-based antiracism, which teaches the cognitive distortion that you can be born into an inescapable white supremacy, just as Jews and Christians believe you can never escape the taint of Adam’s and Eve’s original sin, and all you can do is strive ever harder to be a better person. Ideological victimhood dies without validation from others, and people who abandon victimist thinking and take charge of their lives, are deeply threatening to those who won’t. The ‘woke’ and the MAGAs each hew to a toxic, self-limiting, self-destructive self-image in which nothing is ever their fault. Rejecting victimhood is the Kryptonite of ‘wokeness’ and MAGAtry. Evidence, logic, rationalism, reason and hard data are their sworn enemies. Mental health is the primary tool in the arsenal of The Silent Majority, those of us who want to take back our power from the perma-victims of modern discourse, who hold themselves, not to mention others and their social justice causes, back. Therapy can still be beneficial, and Selin-Davis’s articles lists the rebel therapists banding together to offer un-woke therapy for those who don’t want their therapists to dictate some issues are ‘off the table’ because it makes them feel ‘unsafe’. If you can’t afford therapy, no problem! Good books will challenge what you think you believe to be right in social justice. You can read them for free from the library or order them on-line, used copies super-cheap. I just saved you a whackload of money, and maybe hastened your journey to a healthier mental outlook. You’re welcome ;) Not all mental health struggles can be addressed with a few books, so if you need a therapist’s help Selin-Davis’s article offers non-woke therapy sources to start. Also research and interview potential therapists to make sure they won’t undermine your progress. It’s okay to be liberal or progressive or supportive of social justice, but the key thing to remember is they shouldn’t be pushing any particular political worldview on you. If your mental health issues come from your social justice work, start with a few of these books: The Righteous Mind - Why Good People Are Divided By Politics and Religion - Jonathan Haidt Cynical Theories: How Activist Scholarship Made Everything about Race, Gender, and Identity―and Why This Harms Everybody - Helen Pluckrose and James Lindsay Woke Racism: How A New Religion Has Betrayed Black America - John McWhorter I Feel, Therefore I Am: The Triumph of Woke Subjectivism - Mark Goldblatt The Content Of Our Character: A New Vision of Race in America (this book is over 30 years old but it’s as fresh and relevant today as it was in 1990) - Shelby Steele Trans: When Ideology Meets Reality - Helen Joyce My Problem With Everything: My Journey Through the New Culture Wars - Meghan Daum The Morning After: Sex, Fear & Feminism - Katie Roiphe War Before Civilization - Lawrence Keeley (On how violent pre-colonial Indigenous cultures were) Emotional Intelligence 2.0: Harness the Power of the #1 Predictor of Success - Dr. Travis Bradberry & Dr. Jean Greaves This last is one of the best damn books I’ve ever read that will put you on the road to more highly fortified mental health. Did you like this post? Would you like to see more? I lean left of center, but not so far over my brains fall out. Subscribe to my Substack newsletter Grow Some Labia so you never miss a post!

  • The Left And The Right Must Work Together, Or Die

    We libs *can* work with the right on some issues without assimilation into the Mar-A-Borg-o cult Pejorative labels are meant to control us via the fear of shame. But they have only as much power as we give them. There’s a quick ‘n’ easy way to officially lose an argument on social media with your first post or tweet. If a label bothers me, it’s my job to examine it. Is it accurate? Am I guilty? Do I resemble that remark? There’s one label that’s bugged me a bit, more than the now-tired racist, Nazi, white supremacist, transphobe, TERF, closet Michael Cohen groupie, etc. but which I’ve now faced down and realize I no longer need fear. While the other labels now leave my blood pressure at a comfortable 139/68, calling me a ‘right-winger’ has made me want to run for the exit like a little girl. “You morons don’t realize you’re shills for the right wing!” the tran-scult crowd crows. Before, I fell over myself protesting that I was NOT in fact a right-wing shill. Perish the thought! How dare they! But I found a certain level of denial: A kinship I find sometimes with the right—even conservatives like fundamentalist Christians I would otherwise eschew, and against whom I was a liberal gadfly for many years when I wrote for an alternative newspaper in Connecticut. That was before progressives abandoned liberal principles and embraced authoritarianism, censorship, and demanded unquestioned fealty to their illogical ideologies. Now my blood pressure hops like an anemic frog at the ‘right-wing’ accusation and returns to my customary resting state. Buddhism kicks in and says, “It’s just a label, this is XTwitter, so whaddaya expect?” I don’t have to agree with Those People on much, but I can tweet a supportive comment once in awhile to a PATRIOT CHRISTIAN GOD BLESS AMERICA THESE COLORS DON’T RUN XTwitteratus profile when she comments about not supporting laws that deny puberty for children. We can agree on that, at least. She and I won’t follow each other, but I may get a like or a supportive comment in return. We’d never kaffeeklatsch if I lived in her ‘Murican ‘hood and it’s best if we don’t talk about guns, free trade, income inequality, immigration, abortion, Jesus, Trump, Canada’s Freedom Convoy, MAGA, the 2024 election, indictments, Lauren Boebert, MTG, or gay kids, but we can figuratively bump fists in passing as we both support what we agree to be one of the greatest evils and failings of the so-called ‘progressive left’ - the uncritical acceptance of the misogyny-fueled trans movement. It’s gone far beyond normal rights for non-conformists to a hate-on for women and a sick obsession with medically changing children whom we wouldn’t trust to smoke, drink, vote, or drive, but whose words we treat as though they issued from granite tablets under Moses’s armpits when they say, ‘I want to be a girl.’ I’m not a shill for the right, but I will sound like it when I state what is verboten to the ‘woke’ left: At least on this one particular issue, the right is right and the left is wrong. Hold your nose and extend your hand I speak treason. “Fluently!” Here’s some more treason for ya: The right needs the left and the left needs the right. One speaks the truth when the other side won’t. If you really want to know what’s going on with Donald Trump’s alleged (or confessed) crimes and his indictments, consult the left-wing media. If you really want to know what’s going on with the growing evidence of the transgender movement’s toxicity and lack of scientific evidence for gender-affirming care, consult the right-wing media. We’re coming to a place where we must work with people we don’t like very much - or at all - in order to rein in two toxic cults gone mad. This isn’t as bugspit insane as it sounds. We used to do it like this in the olden days of the twentieth century. We even do it sometimes now, when something like a financial collapse or a killer pandemic has us by the short ‘n’ curlies. Back in the olden days, transgender meant folks who had transitioned for any number of reasons and left it at that. When it became politicized by misogynist men it greatly resembled what feminists have always had to contend with—self-centered male backlash in response to expanded rights and growing power for women. Invade my boardroom will you, you uppity little rhymes-with-runt? Fine, I’m coming for your bathrooms! A woman stole my job, because she couldn’t possibly have gotten it through merit. Penis, for gods’ sakes! It adds like 65 points to your IQ! Okay bitch, I’m coming for your sports trophies! I know the right wing has never been much of a friend to women, and yeah, it’s their fault American women have to jump through ever more—now illegal—hoops to access an abortion, but fighting the excesses of the transgender movement and especially its horrifying attack on children’s bodies is every bit as critical. It means conservatives will, whether they want to or not, fight for women’s rights, power, and bodily autonomy, which could bite them in the ass later with a different Supreme Court. Forcing male athletes back onto male athletic teams will boost Title IX sports once again, giving young women an opportunity to compete fairly, achieve, win and take that killer confidence into the adult world. So who knows, maybe some will accuse them of being shills for the left. The spectrum Not all liberals wave the Pride flag, and not all conservatives wave the Confederate one. Both can be selectively pro-science. One side can’t acknowledge climate change despite living on our planet, while the other denies the biological differences of their own eyes. So, like, ludicrously blind stupidity is bi-sectual. There are Nazis and Communists and Fascists and Antifascists and Libertarians and monarchists and socialists and Social Democrats and Market Liberals and whateverthefuck Jordan Peterson is this week. Some conservatives know climate change is real and a gigantic threat to humanity; I hope Greta Thunberg and others will accept their help and support if they want to work toward a cleaner planet before it burns to a crisp or turns Miami into an underwater snorkel park. My sister-in-law’s dearly departed sister-in-law, a cherished member of our blended family, was a conservative Christian who worked with women to choose alternatives to abortion. But she still supported choice, even though she thought it was the worst one. She couldn’t in good conscience tell a woman she must have a baby. She also didn’t think you must accept Jesus as your Lord and Saviour, which is why we enjoyed many digestion-boosting post-Thanksgiving walks and chats before she died. People don’t fit the neat little peg holes we create. They especially don’t fit our childishly simplistic dichotomous pits of moral certainty, the ‘wrong’ side defined as anything less than 100% purity in one’s commitment to a dogmatic narrative. As the ‘progressive’ left descends into chaos, ‘eating its own’, creating dangerous conspiracy theories and turning its back on science and evidence-based policy, I find myself looking over to the other side to see with whom I can commune, who are as repulsed by the excesses of conservatism gone wild and Trumpian authoritarianism. So I look ‘right-wing’ to minds that can’t see a swathe of blended shades of beliefs, values, ideologies, religious beliefs, and understanding of humanity. I can agree with the right—the rational-minded ones—without joining Mar-A-Borg-o. Just as they agree with me on some issues, if not on everything, they may not want to subscribe to my Substack. The mark of a true progressive is evidenced by someone close to me who recently said, “My husband and I are almost to the point financially where it would make sense for us to vote Republican. But I won’t do that; I won’t forget those who don’t have a seat at the table.” She recognizes her privilege and doesn’t blame others who couldn’t accomplish what she and her husband have. They got lucky in the birth lottery. How many of us are that strong a liberal? If you found yourself making enough money that it would be in your best interests to vote for all those juicy Republican tax breaks, would you do it? How much of an economic political whore are you? You may never have to find out. The other day, someone threw the ‘right-wing’ label at me for a snarky comment I made. The iron-poor amphibian hopped like a feeble old man. The label no longer burns because I’ve confronted my own role, and gotten honest with myself about engaging with ‘the enemy’. Not all of them are. We need them if we’re going to change anything. Not all the anti-democratic dangers are on the right. I was surprised to learn from a podcast featuring Greg Lukanioff, the inspiration for The Coddling of the American Mind, that of the top ten schools in America, the left has a 75% success rate in getting a professor punished or fired. This includes not just losing one’s job but suspensions, extended investigations, ‘sensitivity’ training, and having your paper or syllabus censored. He also notes we don’t know what’s happening at the schools outside the top 400 because their cases rarely, if ever, make the news media. But threats from the right result in punishment less than half the time. Lukianoff further notes that on most college campuses, there’s not much chance of being cancelled by the right, unless you teach at a religious college or a state university in a red state. Overall, attempts to get people fired come from the left 60% of the time, and from the right 40%, with right-wing organizations like Fox News pitching many of the tantrums about ‘offensive speech’. You may not like what Ron ‘Don’t say gay’ DeSantis is doing in Florida, but you can’t ignore the left either. Écrasez l’infâme! Opposing political sides have never been wholly at peace with each other; mudslinging political attacks are as old as the rise of politics many thousands of years ago. Ancient Romans accused their political rivals of murder, incest, greed, impiety, sacrilege, effeminacy, drunkenness and public vomiting, just to name a few. Cicero really pissed off Marc Antony when he accused him of having had a love affair with a young man during his misspent youth. Oh please. That’s a Democratic campaign slogan! But an empire divided is ripe for conquest, which is why dictatorship was such a popular form of government back then. Sometimes, you needed one super-strong proven dude to lord over the rest and tell them how it will be, and send anyone to the gallows or the torture chamber who gave him any shit. We can still work across the fence. Like, even, believe it or not, right now. Both parties in America have come together in the last few years on legislation to support military sexual assault prevention, on reforming the police after the George Floyd tragedy, and this summer to suspend the debt ceiling and set federal spending limits. I guess no one in Congress wants their daughter getting raped by her C.O. and prefers to reform the police before the far-left garners enough support to defund it. Cross-partisanship can happen. We need to find our common ground with the other side on issues we agree are important and, uh—not talk about a lot of other stuff. Republicans and conservatives who want to see Donald Trump kept out of the White House will find plenty of support in the liberal wing. They may not have enough support on their own side - Republican Congresscritters display an appalling lack of balls or labia to stand up to the Trump Train(wreck) - and will need reinforcements. Others can back them up when the MAGAs start throwing tomatoes, rocks or pipe bombs. Democrats and liberals who want parents to understand there’s no real science behind ‘gender affirming care’ will find plenty of support from the ‘Murican flag-wavers and cross-wearers. We may not agree on much, but at least we can on: Hell No, Trump Must Go Home, And Fer Fuck’s Sake, Leave Kids Alone! Here’s the deliciously subversive part: We might even make some odd new friends. Because not all Christians are rigid Bible thumpers, not all pro-choicers are on the left, not all liberals want to abolish the police nor all conservatives the FBI. There’s a Silent Majority in the middle, somewhere between MAGA and woke, where we can work together, perhaps even talk together about politics without downtowns nesting in glass-shattered streets and cop cars burning like a Canadian forest. Where, if we can listen to each other, we can find commonalities, and perhaps integrate some of our compatible beliefs and values to incorporate some good ideas we got from those other guys. Like: They respect authority and we respect science. Make Evidence-Backed Doctors Great Again! Because here’s the thing: The other Republicans are trying to seize power illegally since they can’t win enough votes, and the far left preaches we must ‘burn the system down’, and some of them may try. They sound frighteningly similar. The rest of us look at both extreme alternatives, shake our heads, and say, “Nuh-uh.” It’s up to us, folks. The bird can’t fly with only one wing. Did you like this post? Would you like to see more? I lean left of center, but not so far over my brains fall out. Subscribe to my Substack newsletter Grow Some Labia so you never miss a post!

  • Complaining About One's Birth Body Is A Ridiculous Sign Of Privilege

    Maybe we should remind them how lucky they are to have what they've got When I ruminate, as I am wont to do (Regrets—Oy’ve had a few-ah as Sid Vicious put it) and I need to stop self-obsessing, I consider those who’d do anything to live the sane, routine, boring, often tedious post-pandemic forever-changed life I am privileged to live. After all, no one’s bombing the shit out of my country in an effort to regain the alleged glory days of forty years ago, nor do I leave my apartment every day wondering if I’m going to wander into a mass shooting. I have good, mostly steady, freelance sales work that keeps me off the streets and out of the pool halls, and I have good healthcare available - much of it covered by the province of Ontario. I’ve begun to appreciate my previously taken-for-granted and oft-unappreciated body. I don’t know how many of us don’t value our healthy, functioning bodies until they’re not. At sixty, I’m feeling my age more, although not like my parents did. While I hefted a heavy bundle buggy of groceries off the bus the other day I considered how my parents might have done it more carefully, how my mother would have asked a stranger for help. My parents’ generation didn’t do physical exercise like we do. My dad’s ‘exercise’ was volleyball once a week followed by a big bowl of ice cream in front of the TV, and, as fathers have done for millions of years, fell asleep in front of it. A friend in his late fifties told me how his doctor expressed surprise he wasn’t on any medication. Nothing to manage a heart condition, cholesterol, depression, anxiety, blood pressure, excess stomach acid, or the heartbreak of golfer’s elbow, mostly because he doesn’t play golf. I’m not on any prescription meds either. Our healthy lifestyle isn’t the whole story; we just got lucky with good genetics. So far, anyway. Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes I have a friend in Australia with body dysmorphia. She wishes she hadn’t been given the body she has. She would happily trade it for someone else’s as long as it didn’t hurt all the time, if she could go back to having a normal life, like she did before her manageable, but not curable, physical conditions set in. If only she could change her body. I have another friend closer to home, whose life is a constant stream of health issues. She lives in doctors’ offices for herself and her senior mother. She hates living in a regularly malfunctioning body. We joked a few years ago about a woman we knew who managed Type I diabetes. “I’d happily switch bodies with her,” my friend said. “Only having to manage diabetes would be a cinch.” How is it so many aren’t happy with the bodies they’ve got, especially if everything works in accordance with the way our physiology has evolved? The gender-blending movement is only the most recent iteration of a millennia-long campaign by humans to improve bodies never good enough for us. The dissatisfaction is too often between the ears rather than in physical well-being. Nothing hurts, everything works—so how does it not ‘feel right’? Humans have tattooed, body pierced, and otherwise adorned themselves with body ‘enhancements’, the same we engage in today, not to mention modern body mods we criticize and debate - bigger boobs, surgically-enhanced pecs for those too lazy to go to the gym, cheek implants, tummy tucks, liposuction, and many other medical treatments to ‘fix’ bodies that may otherwise be seen as ‘imperfect’. Boob Jobs & Butt Bleaches & Brazilians, Oh My! Sometimes our body mods are more practical and life-affirming, done to treat a painful condition or disability that reduces quality of life. But mostly, people look in the mirror, frown, and think, “My life would be so much better if I just changed blah blah blah.” Body doctors for brain ailments A lot, but not all, children are born in fine, healthy bodies. Or their bodies are fine but their brains, like all human brains, can become depressed, anxious, stressed and delusional. Today they’re directed to body doctors when what they need are brain doctors. They’re told if they’re unhappy, they were born the wrong sex, and if so, why not fix it? Why should you have to live in a body you don’t want? Wouldn’t you be better off with different one? (I wonder if some black people were born with skins who’d be ‘better off’ white. Just a devil’s advocate thought.) Adolescence is a rough time for everyone, but also a ridiculously human life transition everyone must pass through if they’re lucky enough not to die from leukemia at age four, as a childhood playmate of mine did. It won’t be much longer now before the U.S. and Canada are whacked upside the head with a clue-by-four coming from Europe that there’s near-zero science behind ‘gender affirming care’. We resist, but in the immortal words of The X-Files, ‘the truth is out there’. Like, on a plane leaving right now from Stockholm. The North American medical profession lies to people of all ages about what’s known about the long-term effects from puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and adolescent surgery. (Answer: Fuck all.) Much more research needs to explore the short- and long-term effects of transgender healthcare, but not only is anything that threatens the trans narrative career-destroying, it’s also a punch in the ol’ Bulgari wallet, since the industry is estimated at $2.1B USD in 2022, projected to $5B by 2030. Parroting debunked kiddie suicide threats, these doctors wonder why they get compared to Josef Mengele. Related: STUDY ANALYSIS: Transgender Identity and Suicide Attempts and Mortality in Denmark We don’t even know what percentage of patients have de-transitioned after regretting their previous decision. Estimates range from 1-1.5% by the medical profession that’s making mountains of cash off troubled people, to 25%, based on the small assortment of clinical studies. It’s a big, vague football field of a spread. Many detransitioners don’t tell their doctors what they’re doing out of a sense of embarrassment and shame, and they don’t go public; that’s as socially destructive as conducting non-transactivist-approved scientific research. As I watch this medical-scandal-to-be unfold, I wonder why the hell so many ‘progressive’ parents who worry about anorexic daughters otherwise teach their kids at ever-earlier ages that they’re ‘imperfect’ and that somehow evolution, which has brought our sexually dimorphic species to apex biological dominance over millions of years—has somehow horribly fucked up with so many newer humans. The kids who don’t grow up Do these parents ever thank God, Darwin or their lucky stars that their children aren’t suffering from real health problems? I don’t remember Dorothy much - my only memory is standing in her bedroom, as she regarded me cross-eyed, a consequence of the chemotherapy to treat her leukemia. I don’t remember actually playing with Dorothy before she got really sick but I remember regretting she was no longer there to play with. She lived in the hospital while we visited her mother. My mother provided as much moral support as she could to a grieving parent. Dorothy passed away on Christmas Eve, 1967. She never got to open her presents. I don’t know if her parents talked to her much about Christmas. I sort of hope Dorothy passed not regretting the presents she’d never get to unwrap. Christmas Day was a particularly joyous one for my parents as they had a new baby son. While they celebrated my brother’s first Christmas and my fifth, Dorothy’s parents planned a funeral. Do today’s ‘progressive’ parents ever read or hear about kids whose childhoods are a series of painful medical treatments, often restricted to homes or hospital beds to keep them alive? Do they ever read about some child who bravely fought cancer or a heart condition or a blood disorder to the very end, bravely smiling and bald, withered, with tubes stuck up her nose and think, Thank God my child is healthy? Is ‘self-acceptance’ an obscene word? If it’s okay to be fat, is it okay to be thin? If it’s okay to be gay, is it okay to be straight? If it’s okay to be trans, is it okay to be ‘cis’? Are parents trying to perpetuate a toxic culture of self-hatred and body dysmorphia? It’s the very apex of privilege to just schlep them off to the doctor, instead of exercising parental authority (Does it even exist anymore?) saying No, you can’t be a boy, you’re a girl? Or take away their phone, so Johnny and Janie can’t compare themselves to others on Instagram or learn the newest goofy identity label. Will privileged parents allow Barbie-obsessed eight-year-olds to get boob jobs? I mean what the hell, she can cut ‘em off when she’s sixteen and decides she hates how much boys like big boobs. There was an old Bloom County cartoon from the ‘80s in which some stupid college student interrogates Cutter John, the Vietnam vet in a wheelchair, about what he really wants to do. Is he angry? Does he want to kill people? What does he really want to do? “Walk,” Cutter John replies. I wonder what people with real disabilities, leading limited lives in a society for whom they are always a burdensome afterthought, think when they look at grown-ass adults running to the doctor. “Fuck, I’ll take any body, no matter the sex, no matter the race, if only I could (walk, see, hear, move, bathe myself, pee in a bathroom rather than a plastic bag).” I try to ‘fix’ my ‘imperfections’ too. I lose weight, but I’m not Jack Skellington. I dye my hair. I wear makeup. But that’s it. I’ll age naturally, like Brigitte Bardot. The wrinkled face of old age: It’s a privilege! I have so many school friends who weren’t as privileged as I. I miss them. A lot. Plastic surgery carries real risks and complications but gender transition ‘healthcare’ is performed too much on the young and with uncritical acceptance of whether the patient truly knows what s/he wants. It may eventually teach a horrifying, no-backsies-allowed lesson about just how good they had it when their worst problem was what every human being longs for - whatever they don’t have. Before 2014, transition for all ages involved a much lengthier process. Now you can get your McTopSurgery done practically as a drive-through. Yeah. Just wait until you want a baby. It strikes me as singularly ungrateful to not cherish the luck of the birth lottery for a well-functioning body rather than for t’other side of the fence where there’s a dick or a vagina you don’t have. I read recently the searing story of a mother’s pain caused by her transgender son. What had once been a lovely, happy little girl got recruited by the ‘trans cult’ and turned into an angry pseudo-man, hooked on anabolic steroids and prone to intense rage against all those who loved her. The mother says she screamed in horror and cried to see her daughter’s breast-less chest. She raged silently for her own sister, dead from breast cancer, who would have given anything for two healthy breasts. I don’t begrudge those who really are gender dysphoric, who may require medical intervention to change their sex. Some gender dysphoria may be real in ways we don’t yet understand. I support gender-affirming care for adults, but I believe it should be a long, slow process like it used to be, with lots of self-evaluation with the help of mental health professionals required, and mandatory screening for autism. It will not kill progressive parents to tell their ‘trans’ kids, “No,” or at least “Wait, you can’t transition now. The law requires you to be 18. You can live how you want until then.” Their kids won’t kill themselves, either. It’s just not happening in Europe, or America’s red states. It didn’t happen prior to 2014 when gender transition moved from slow and steady to fast-track. Not happening. If there’s one word missing from public discourse, it’s ‘authenticity’. I note it’s least common in trans discussions on social media. I wonder why. I’m appalled by the horrific thanklessness of neurotic adult patients, and parents who don’t value their beautiful children as they are, who refuse to challenge their sick mental perceptions the way they would if their daughter was a 60-pound Instagram influencer with millions of fellow ‘Ana’ followers. What if they said, “No. You’re fine the way you are. Why don’t we go visit a pediatrics sick ward at the hospital so you can see how goddamn lucky you are to have the healthy, mobile, functioning body you have?” Robin Williams killed himself because he was suffering from dementia and Parkinson’s and didn’t want to be a burden to others, or suffer the horror of a slowly paralyzing body that would have left him like a babbling baby in a cradle. I can’t say I blame him. How can you live a life of freedom and fulfillment, then be told by your traitorous genes, “That’s enough, no more fun for you! One day, you will only be able to stare at the ceiling.” Now how bad is your life, trans-gender-queer-non-binary whateverthefuck? Did you like this post? Would you like to see more? I lean left of center, but not so far over my brains fall out. Subscribe to my Substack newsletter Grow Some Labia so you never miss a post!

  • Abusive Partners And Crazy Stalkers: Where Your Power Lies

    Did you know you even have any? And that not all death threats are equal? Or that not all stalkers are serious threats? I don’t know why some women can’t or won’t recognize the red flags of abusive, crazy-ass men, but even when a therapist draws them a road map to imminent, fatal destruction, these women follow their heart rather than their brain, knowing they possess bad judgement. Even after the therapist explains exactly how it’s badly skewed by abuse. Nicole Brown Simpson’s therapist’s road map led to a splattered walkway and a frightened, confused dog. Nicole’s insanity also sucked in an innocent person. Nicole knew it was coming. She updated her will a month before the infamous deed. She also had to suspect the end might come at knifepoint rather than by gun. She’d said she thought dying by knife had to be the worst way to die. One wonders if she shared that with O.J., or someone told him. Despite all her therapy, despite all the books she’d read including one that described O.J. down to the last cell of his narcissistic, violent self, despite clear warnings she was in danger of getting murdered, Nicole walked with eyes wide open to her death. I’m glad he didn’t decide to send the kids along with her - or kill them and not her. Colluding with the enemy I moved from Raging Heart: The Intimate Story of the Marriage Between O.J. and Nicole Brown Simpson to Gavin de Becker’s now-classic book The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals That Protect Us From Violence. De Becker is a leading expert on violence prediction. His large consulting company advises clients on how to predict and avoid violence, and just as importantly, to determine when one is in, and not, in real danger. Not all death threats are serious. He designed his MOSAIC Threat Assessment to analyze threats to U.S. Supreme Court Justices. De Becker himself was raised in a violent home. Instead of becoming an abuser, he chose the path of violence prevention. The book is a great segue from one on America’s most committed violence victim. It’s quite clear some women don’t understand male violence doesn’t just come from nowhere; they ignore countless signals. Some women simply can’t or won’t learn. Women no longer have much excuse. There’s been too much public discussion of spousal battery, too many publicized deaths, too many talk show discussions, and examples of celebrities suffering or causing abuse. Yet still, feminists and anti-abuse advocates resist exploring ways women can self-protect and self-acknowledge their own personal power. The conversation MUST change from Don’t blame the victim to Don’t BE the victim. It harms women by encouraging helplessness to teach them men are solely responsible for abusive relationships. Men are solely responsible for their own behavior; women bear responsibility for protecting themselves, and their children. It was gratifying to read a major expert saying out loud what I’ve been saying for years: Women are victims the first time a man hits them. After that, they’re volunteers. Thank you! Thank you, Gavin de Becker! Victim feminists won’t listen to me; since they give all their power to men, maybe they’ll listen to someone with a penis. He also notes the importance of mothers in violence prevention for their daughters. He asked one mother who’d most recently suffered three broken ribs from her husband what she’d do if her teenage daughter was beaten up by a boyfriend. “Well, I’d probably kill the guy, but one thing’s for sure: I’d tell her she could never see him again.” “What is the difference between yourself and your daughter?” de Becker asked. The lady offered a lot of silly-ass excuses for her husband’s behavior, in the grand tradition of compliant victims, so de Becker rejoined with this: “The difference is that your daughter has you—and you don’t have you. If you don’t get out soon, your daughter won’t have you either.” Finally the scales fell from her eyes: She lacked the self-protection element she offered to her daughter. Some women have someone in their corner like that, if not a mother. Nicole Brown Simpson’s therapist tried to convince her to stay alive, that it would be suicidal to go back to O.J., but she didn’t listen. Abused women, even before they’ve been abused to the point of compliantly marching toward death, often don’t listen to others. They listen to their hearts—or their egos—rather than their brains. De Becker says it out loud: Staying is a choice. If we acknowledge how much choice women have every step of the way, then they can recognize leaving as a choice and an option, and hopefully sooner than “He’s on the verge of killing me.” Let me quote some of the other things this man says that vindicate me. I’ve never claimed to be the first to say them, but I do feel sometimes like I’m shouting into a maddening crowd of lobotomized feminists. “Whoever we blame, there is some responsibility on both sides of the gender line, particularly if there are children involved.” Yes! Yes! Yes! I’ve refuted the argument over the years that domestic violence is ‘no one else’s business’. Violent men sometimes take the rest of the family, or her family, with her. He can show up at her workplace primed to kill indiscriminately. Or take out innocents like poor Ronald Goldman; if only he’d been ten minutes earlier with those eyeglasses. Domestic abusers are heavily represented in mass shootings. So no, a woman’s private pain is no longer her own. She’s responsible for innocent people’s lives as well. Related: ‘Private’ Domestic Violence Is Now Everybody’s Business The role of rejection De Becker notes that spousal homicide, easily the most predictable, is the kind people are unwilling to predict. A man in Los Angeles accused of killing his wife mystified the neighbors: “He seemed so normal.” “He must be crazy.” “I can’t imagine a father would kill his own children.” What, they never read the paper? Watch TV? Happens all the time. Said individual had already tried to kill his wife three times prior, and had been arrested twice on domestic violence charges. Surely someone at least noticed cops at this family’s door? Heard some shit beforehand? An important violence predictor is the role of rejection, an extremely tough pill for anyone to swallow but when others know it’s worse. De Becker notes how many homicides happen at the courthouse, where now others have become involved. It becomes intolerable when outside parties know of the abuser’s personal ‘failure’ to keep his partner happy. It’s a threat to his identity and self-image, and there’s nothing so intolerable. They sometimes kill others, too, especially the person who made their failure and rejection public. Suicide accompanying murder attests to how damage to one’s self-image is more important than staying alive. “This is war!” De Becker and his firm advise their clients on how to prevent escalation of hostilities. Men are conditioned to ‘win’, to ‘go to war’ when necessary, so if a violent man is convinced that “This is war! I can’t let her win!”, a woman is in greater danger. This is where restraining orders fail. They work best when there’s no prior history of violence with a man, whose fear of arrest is greater than his desire to force a woman to conform to his will. Especially early on, when there’s less emotional investment, like a stalker one didn’t date for very long. But when the stakes are life and death, a restraining order is a declaration of war. For an emotionally invested, entitled man, a court order to leave a woman alone asks a lot of him—to abandon an intimate relationship, his control and perceived ownership over someone else (who has allowed him to assume this), and his self-perception as a powerful man in control. That’s far different from a love-besotted rejected dude who has a future ahead of him that he can ruin in a heartbeat with an arrest if he violates the restraining order (I know someone like this; he doesn’t know I know about his long-ago very bad judgment. I wasn’t his target). Women with dangerous exes or soon-to-be exes must tread more carefully, and with professional help, but women with stalkers are in a stronger position. The hidden power of stalkers’ targets Stalkers are in a related but different class to violent partners. Their targets are in possession of a strength most don’t know they have. Stalkers are less likely to be emotionally invested in a woman, in the sense that they’ve at one time known and engaged with her, like on dates. Some do stalk and terrify public figures, and some famously kill them, like John Lennon’s assassin. De Becker observes that rejecting women often err by saying less than what they mean, in an effort to ‘let him down easy’. It’s how we’re raised, to be nice, to not hurt others’ feelings, and that if we hurt a man’s feelings, he could act violently against us. And that happens. But letting him down firmly and early, making it clear she’s not interested in pursuing any further relationship with him, puts him in less of a position to argue to himself that she didn’t really mean it, she’s just a bit conflicted, he just has to convince her with further contact. And every time she rewards him with contact, even if it’s not responding until the thirtieth phone call, she teaches him that’s the price he must pay to hear her voice again. Stalking is, de Becker notes, a crime of power, control, and intimidation, similar to date rape. In the past, women had less power to determine who would be in her life and hot pursuit more often resulted in what the man wanted. Today, some men don’t understand that women have the power and the right to reject. Some stalkers are truly dangerous, others less so. De Becker believes women can head off potential stalking early just by clearly communicating her lack of interest, and ignoring all further attempts at contact. He warns women Do not negotiate. Any contact afterward will be viewed by the man as negotiation. In other words, if No means No, women need to be loud and firm about it. Don’t tell him you don’t want to talk to him, because you have to talk to him to do that. Any contact is progress in his mind. Show, don’t tell, by not talking. There’s one characteristic of stalking victims similar to what we see in domestic violence victims: A certain willingness on the part of the woman to be the victim. De Becker notes that Men who cannot let go choose women who can’t say no. They’re women who don’t want to be explicit in their rejection. They keep trying to ‘let him down easily’ but refusing to ignore him ‘feeds the beast’. With abused women, too, there is a certain level of unconscious assent to being abused. First time a victim, second time a volunteer. A victim should always seek outside help if she’s being stalked; a professional is qualified to determine just how much of a threat he is. Not all stalkers, and not even all death threats, are equal. Experts can evaluate death threats to determine whether she’s in real danger. She still needs to be vigilant, even if her stalker is evaluated to be likely non-violent. She never knows whether some flukey thing will push him over the edge. She can only follow the Best Practices and take precautions. The gal who told me about my stalker friend said he’d never been violent with her, nor did he ever threaten violence. She never worried he’d kill her. But she still got a restraining order and changed her address and told no one except her closest intimates. It made her feel better to know he didn’t know where to stalk her, and eventually he stopped. He had no violent history, including his previous girlfriend who I also knew. His victim was in far less danger, yet he still scared her and restricted her freedom. But she listened to the professionals, and did what she was told. She took back her power. As can many other women. Because the power dominant, oppressive men have over us is our fear. We can’t help being fearful, but we can refuse to show it. Steal their thunder. Take. Their. Power. If you need help with a stalker, domestic abuser or other violent threat : Gavin de Becker & Associates (I have no association with this man or his firm) National Domestic Violence Hotline (US) iDetermine (Canada) Or call your local domestic abuse hotline. Did you like this post? Would you like to see more? I lean left of center, but not so far over my brains fall out. Subscribe to my Substack newsletter Grow Some Labia so you never miss a post!

  • A Man's Suicide Started With A DEI Consultant's 'Antiracism' Workshop

    Are bullying, nasty labels and encouraged pile-ons really the best way to fight 'systemic racism', or was the purpose to galvanize it? A 60-year-old educator for the Toronto District School Board committed suicide last month. He’d spent the last two years of his life shamed and defamed by the fallout from a black consultant labeling him a ‘white supremacist’ and a racist when he politely and logically challenged her claim that Canada was more racist than the United States, in a DEI Zoom workshop in 2021. Kike Ojo-Thompson of the Toronto-based KOJO Institute was contracted to teach ‘anti-racism’ at the Toronto District School Board. She mocked Richard Bilkszto, holding him up as an example of ‘white supremacy’ in action, as ‘evidenced’ by his refutation of her claim about Canada. Not one of Bilkszto’s colleagues defended him against her attacks. The only person who spoke up was an assistant facilitator to defend the consultant. You can hear part of the recorded exchange here. Bilkszto challenged her politely and offered facts and his personal experience - ‘lived experience’, in woke parlance, which is held as almost the highest standard of ‘evidence’ by the progressive left - and she responded by noting there are inequities in the system. Yes, he agreed, but he encouraged his fellow workshoppers to research it so they can see the differences between Canada and the U.S. He acknowledged racism in Canada and admitted there’s room for improvement. Ojo-Thompson responded by shaming him for being white and daring to express an opinion in contradiction of her own. Specifically, “You and your whiteness think that you can tell me what’s really going on with black people.” Ojo-Thompson offered her opinion on the level of race relations in Canada, and Bilkszto, an Ontario principal who’d lived and taught in Buffalo, pointed to Canada’s healthcare system, and greater spending for poor students (including black) than that for American students. But he’d really gotten under her skin, and she couldn’t just let the impudent white man with his damnable facts and logic and greater experience go. She mocked and shamed him again the following week (without him speaking up this time as a catalyst) as an example of ‘white supremacist resistance’: “One of the ways that white supremacy is upheld, protected, reproduced, upkept, defended is through resistance and, like I said—I’m so lucky,” she laughed. She revelled in her opportunity to bully a white man. “Who would’ve thought my luck would show up so well last week,” she crowed in front of Bilkszto and everyone, “that we got perfect evidence, a wonderful example of resistance that you all got to bear witness to, so we’re going to talk about it, because, I mean, it doesn’t get better than this.” Bilkszto took a leave of absence after that and reported the incident to the WSIB, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, after the TDSB refused to investigate his complaint about her performance. The WSIB found Ojo-Thompson’s behavior to be “abusive, egregious and vexatious, and rises to the level of workplace harassment and bullying.” The TDSB, by the way, paid $81,000 for this ‘anti-racist’ employee abuse. Since it didn’t support Bilkszto’s complaints, he subsequently sued the TDSB, which has allegedly sued the KOJO Institute for breach of contract, for the same amount Bilkszto demanded. Putting the racism in ‘antiracism’ For the KOJO Institute, diversity stops at whites-only racism and bias. In fact, Ojo-Thompson ordered Bilkszto and the other attendees to uncritically accept what she decreed. Her facilitator told Bilkszto, ‘If you want to be an apologist for the U.S. or Canada, this is really not the forum for that,’ and Ojo-Thompson concluded the exchange by informing the class that ‘your job in this work as white people is to believe’—not to question—claims of racism. Shut up, white people. Black skin is infallible. Ojo-Thompson didn’t express regret for Bilkszto’s suicide, preferring to center herself as the victim of a right-wing witch hunt trying to damage her so-called ‘good work’. It’s all about her, the real victim. Now, what about all the good, passive little co-workers sitting silently in their seats while Ojo-Thompson bullied a colleague and ran down their country? Did they agree with her assessment that “At least (the U.S.) had a fighting posture against at least the monarchy, here we celebrate the monarchy, the very heart and soul and origins of the colonial structure”? Did she forget, or is she simply ignorant of the fact, that the British abolished slavery in 1807, fifty-six years before the Americans, over which the latter fought an ugly civil war? This intellectual dishonesty is what makes corporate DEI initiatives so contentious. The far left pretends only the right opposes DEI ‘training’, but they ignore plenty of us liberal critics, who formed our objections in response to CRT-fueled victimist extremism rather than while marching on Charlottesville. Those of us who believe in a more equal, universalist approach to solving human problems, and especially racism, raise our hackles at any racism, not just our or the other tribe’s. We know you can’t be the problem you profess to resolve. Speaking as someone who lived for over forty years in the United States, in three different parts of the country and eighteen years in Canada, I can’t believe anyone can make the claim the US is less racist. One of Canada’s many charms is our more open race relations and easier, if far from perfect, acceptance of immigrants. Maybe that’s just Toronto. Friends who live or have lived in farther-flung parts of the province describe traditional redneck attitudes and racial intolerance, so this city is not necessarily representative of the rest of Ontario or Canada. But we don’t have a lot of the black/white problems the U.S. has. When racist shit goes down in The Sticks, it’s often against the First Nations (Indigenous). I wrote a few months ago about a DEI consultant at Uber who was put on leave not because she bullied white people, but because she made some non-white women feel ‘uncomfortable’ with a couple of talks called Don’t Call Me Karen, exploring the racism behind the label. Unlike other DEI workshops, this one challenged a different group to ‘do the work’ and challenge their own prejudices. Not surprisingly, these women weren’t up for it. Ojo-Thompson doesn’t have the right to demand uncritical white obeisance. She needs to learn the difference between a ‘fact’ and an ‘opinion’ and accept an intellectual challenge with logic and reason, not racist abuse. Maybe the others in Bilkszto’s group didn’t have his American experience. Maybe they felt unqualified to challenge a black woman claiming racist harm. I can understand both reactions, but I question whether some of them could have stood up for their colleague. There’s strength in numbers, as Ojo-Thompson learned the hard way a few months later. How to shut down a DEI abuser Ojo-Thompson’s confrontational approach created problems in the Ontario city of Sarnia, close to the US border. The KOJO Institute was hired for antiracism workshops. Madame ended the first and only workshop prematurely when City Councillor Bill Dennis and several others pushed back, accusing her of promoting critical race theory, describing her as “militant, smug, self-righteous and condescending.” He complained, “It was turned into a radical (session) and if you’re white, you should feel ashamed of yourself,” and described his brief time with her as “a horrible experience”. (What if the TDSB’s good little virtue signallers had challenged Ojo-Thompson?) Dennis’s critique didn’t sit well with some when the imbroglio hit the news media. He complained of ‘horrible calls’ on his cellphone, a threat to his dog’s life, and claims his car got keyed. Some have alleged that he and others went over the line in their pushback against Ojo-Thompson. There may be truth to that, there are no recordings, due to a technical glitch. Does DEI training even work? Toronto’s DEI leaders have reacted with horror at the news of Richard Bilkszto’s suicide: They, too, are more concerned about the backlash as a threat to continuing DEI training. Harvard social sciences professor Dr. Frank Dobbin argues you can’t train away bias, and that in fact such training may activate rather than suppress it. Another professor at Princeton notes that “A lot of our research shows training makes the dominant group – usually white men – feel threatened and fearful of being excluded. They fight back instead of internalizing [the training]”. Hard to imagine why when it treats white skin as an indelible mark of ‘white supremacy’ and they’re told to shut up because, white. Other research in the decades-old DEI field supports that it’s of limited value in changing peoples’ attitudes. Positive effects often wear off in a matter of days, and they can even reinforce stereotypes by bringing them up to the conscious mind. Poorly-executed DEI training can be harmful, as the City of Austin found with a DEI consultant who wasn’t abusive, but inept, inaccurate and occasionally offensive. Related: Why Ineffective Diversity Training Won’t Go Away Resistance also comes from employees feeling they’re ‘controlled’, and in many companies, hiring diversity actually drops, with fewer black women and Asian-Americans in management. A theory is that talent recruiters don’t want to feel ‘strong-armed’ in their hiring, but perhaps also they’re hiring on merit and the POC isn’t always the strongest candidate. Hopefully no one’s getting turned down because they’re a POC with a strong resume but the unspoken ‘quota’ has been reached, or the HR director’s feeling pissy from last week’s DEI workshop. The good little disciples in Bilkszto’s Zoom call nodded like properly-indoctrinated virtue-signallers, but did they really believe the things Ojo-Thompson was saying? One article noted there was behind-the-scenes texting indicating at least some of them thought what she was teaching was wrong but no one had the balls or labia to stand up for their colleague, someone roundly described by those who knew and loved him as a committed progressive. While not all DEI trainers are likely as outrageous as Kike Ojo-Thompson, her training style is ripe for debate. How much of a no-brainer is it to realize you never change minds by berating others for being such awful, terrible, oppressive people? Ojo-Thompson shouldn’t assume just because others bobblehead that they’re necessarily agreeing with her. Maybe they just want to get the hell out of there without suffering vengeful abuse themselves. I suspect a real overhaul could save DEI but I’m not sure the industry has the balls or labia to ‘do the work’. DEI as it’s presented today smells strongly of ‘woke’ ideological indoctrination rather than addressing genuine systemic inequity, so maybe they could abandon the ‘social justice’ angle. DEI can illuminate unconscious biases if everyone is ‘heard’ and no one feels attacked. Dark skin is no untouchable arbiter of truth, and being on the receiving end of racism is no fun for anyone. Would workshops be more effective if they were roundtable discussions in which everyone pitched in their ideas, comments, and questions to try and find common understanding? There’s got to be a better way than training that assumes perpetual victimhood for the ‘marginalized’, encouraging them to think of themselves as helpless, chronically-aggrieved victims, while concomitantly encouraging them to bully others, thereby demonstrating how disempowered they are not. Madame herself renders her own lessons meaningless when she fails to answer challenges with thoughtful responses. DEI can’t be a channel to vent hostility by the emotionally unintelligent. The KOJO Institute lost a separate contract out of this fiasco and has blacklisted the City of Sarnia for any future workshops. Bilkszto’s lawsuit wasn’t resolved at the time of his suicide, and I assume neither has the TDSB’s against the KOJO Institute. I can only hope both lawsuits proceed and succeed, teaching an important lesson from the United States: Nothing forces others to carefully choose their words quite like the growling, snarling pack of hungry lawyers just outside. Did you like this post? Would you like to see more? I lean left of center, but not so far over my brains fall out. Subscribe to my Substack newsletter Grow Some Labia so you never miss a post!

  • How To Not Start A Gender War When Some Strange Guy Touches You

    Aunt Claire demonstrates how a calm, level-headed woman handled a stranger's caress with the benefit of the doubt It’s just so cute. A man stroked his wife at a Tom Jones concert in Wales in a loving, husbandly way, thoughtfully recorded by her nieces. Just one problem: It wasn’t his wife, it was Aunt Claire, attending with her nieces, with a clear humorous WTF look on her face as she gets more action than she might expect. She obviously finds it funny, looking around and smiling at her phone-wielding nieces, so of course it wound up on CNN. Aunt Claire clearly isn’t offended or frightened by what’s happening. The mistake was understandable. You can see a little of the man’s actual wife from behind in the video, with the same hair color, cut, and blue denim jacket as Aunt Claire. The poor Welsh gent had simply moved behind the wrong woman while enthralled with Sir Tom, who, ironically, was singing ‘Sex Bomb’. It’s fortunate he made his mistake with an older woman, one less likely to be hypersensitive about accidental (or not) male touch. This could have gone down much differently if the pair were younger. Aunt Claire’s Big Adventure Although there was nothing sexual in the nameless man’s touch, it was clearly disconcerting. Some women might have reacted more aggressively, turning around and smacking him one or scolding him. A victim-oriented feminist might have made a huge stink and #MeToo’d him immediately on social media. I thought it was sweet, and Aunt Claire reacted more humorously than I probably would have. I imagine, in her shoes, I might have immediately turned around and said politely, “Excuse me?” Then he and his wife and I would have had a good laugh all around, although it wouldn’t likely have made CNN. No need to get histrionic about it. Mistakes happen. Having a sense of humor certainly helps. The video demonstrates how different a simple mistake like this is for different generations. We Gen X’ers and earlier Boomers don’t always lose our minds when something like this happens, whereas younger women raised in progressive, liberal families where inappropriate touching may have been discussed might have reacted more angrily. When I was a small child my mother warned me only of stranger danger, not inappropriate touching. No one ever considered Dad, Uncle Tom, the neighbor or Father McFeeley might molest the child. They were far more innocent days, before the Catholic Church was unmasked as a haven for pedophiles and incest was believed to be quite rare. It wasn’t adequate training for a child but no one knew much about molestation back then. Fortunately, I never got victimized. Mom talked to me as I grew older about men’s advances and how to handle them. Some of her advice was good, some of it, in retrospect, not so much, but she got right more than she got wrong. She taught me never to tolerate bad behavior from men, and it worked. Today’s young women, steeped in Third Wave victim feminist culture and pumped up by gender studies nonsense (the kind that teaches women to think of themselves as helpless and forever in thrall to ‘the patriarchy’), have been taught to engage in performative overblown hissy fits on social media or blogging platforms, like ‘Grace’ who shamed comedian Aziz Ansari years ago because she didn’t know how to set boundaries with a date (although he respected them when she finally did). As I watched Aunt Claire turn around, smile at her nieces and allow the man to caress her arm, I marveled at how this might have gone down just as easily in decades past, before everyone got so hypersensitive. “We were all laughing, there was nothing offensive about it,” Aunt Claire told CNN. “We just went with the flow.” What’s also heartening is that her much younger nieces also thought it was funny rather than a hegemonic patriarchal phallocratic assault on their auntie. “My auntie is such a character, so it was just so funny when it happened,” one of her nieces commented. Nice to see a young woman not losing her mind over something so minor. Whoever this gentleman was, he’s fortunate he stroked the arm of a much more casual woman than another who might have reacted very poorly. Which could arguably have been from pre-existing sexual or violent trauma, but also perhaps from the post-pandemic craziness that seems to have engulfed the world, when private rage explodes in public violence or just angry tirades against others. Like the woman who pulled a public apeshit at Miami-Dade Airport at Christmas because she’d lost track of her children. Her violent actions and words suggest entitled frustration rather than fear for her children. The tirade erupted not because she couldn’t find them but because they were about to miss a connecting flight. Aunt Claire’s adventure at a concert, along with her nieces’ reactions, are gentle reminders that we don’t have to assume others bear us ill intent, and that sometimes an inappropriate touch is a simple mistake. When I blogged on Medium years ago, I was regularly regaled with articles by women making a huge fuss over minor male interactions, many of which were inappropriate by most people’s standards but which didn’t merit the world-class meltdown these women engaged in, performatively exaggerated so as to elicit the maximum amount of feminist support, outrage and attention. Which they always got, with a lot of overblown hand-wringing and laments about entitled patriarchy and how hard it was to be a woman and men just don’t understand. Because feelings are paramount in Third Wave feminism unless they’re male feelings. Then they can be easily brushed off and mocked. Whereas I might have said to the miscreant who impudently touched a brooch on my chest, “Don’t touch that, it’s not yours!” with an icy stare and turned away. No need to ruin my entire weekend by turning a minor, inappropriate reaction into an Epic Battle With The Patriarchy. Aunt Claire is the kind of older woman I try to be - one who takes something like this in stride and doesn’t react to make the guy feel like a dirtball. It could have been a different story, and events like this have probably played out similarly in other times and places where the man knew what he was doing, especially to a younger, more naive woman who might have been less willing to react, stop him or fight back. But Aunt Claire kept her cool, seeing the humor and showing us that we can make mistakes without shaming the shit out of each other on social media. The gentleman in question commented later, humorously blaming it on Tom Jones and his sexy songs. He and his wife got a laff out of it, as did many others, and no harm was done. A good time was had by all. Hilarity ensued. Aunt Claire did what so many are unwilling to do in these hostile times: Give a man the benefit of the doubt and not assume he was up to evil. His wife handled it well too, not taking it personally that he mistook another woman for his wife for a few seconds. The whole affair was quite sweet and evocative of a simpler, gentler time not so long ago, one that we can return to one day if we make a collective effort to treat each other better, with kindness, rather than violence and aggression. One thing I’ve begun doing is thanking people for their kindness and consideration when they might have reacted badly and don’t. As a career mostly phone salesperson, I often irritate and annoy many. Sometimes I call when they’re on vacation, or in the middle of a family crisis. I’ve called people visiting a loved one in hospice. Or just in the middle of a meeting or Zoom call. Sometimes they’re angry or irritated and snarky, which I understand and accept. But often they’re not, and I apologize for interrupting whatever I did, because I would never intentionally call someone in those circumstances, but I can’t know. “Thank you for being so nice about it, enjoy the rest of your vacation and have a pina colada for me!” I’ll add. I do appreciate their not reacting negatively, even though it’s entirely justified. I try to do the same for others, and remember they may not necessarily be trying to aggravate me. I’m not always kind, but I’m kinder than I used to be. The benefit of the doubt. We’d all do well to offer that more. Did you like this post? Would you like to see more? I lean left of center, but not so far over my brains fall out. Subscribe to my Substack newsletter Grow Some Labia so you never miss a post!

  • The Weirder, Lesser-Known Similarities Between Hitler and Trump

    Both were underestimated by those around these two laughable buffoons, and both were idiots at running a government It’s fashionable to compare one’s enemies to Nazis, but I was surprised to read how much Hitler’s narcissism, incompetence and shitshow government resembled Donald Trump’s, in a book written before the latter became President. It’s startling to realize how similar they were on an interpersonal level. We think of the Third Reich as a highly-engineered, well-oiled and strictly maintained political machine, but in fact it was anything but. That Hitler’s regime was able to invade other countries and pull off some battlefield successes, and exterminate millions in regimented concentration camps, disguises just what an internal clusterfuck his Nazi regime actually was. Hitler’s hubris is detailed in the highly readable, ridiculously risible book Humans: A Brief History of How We F—ed It All Up by British journalist and humor writer Tom Phillips. You will never read a funnier book containing endless examples of human arrogance, bad judgment and colossal, mind-blowing failure. My fave tale is the sad story of Sigurd the Mighty, a 9th-century Norse Earl of Orkney, whose murder of his enemy Máel Brigte the Bucktoothed resulted in Máel returning the favor posthumously. Siggy decapitated Bucky after double-crossing him in battle by showing up with twice the amount of agreed-upon warriors, and rode his horsey home dangling his enemy’s noggin hanging from his saddle. En route, Máel’s famous buck tooth grazed his bare leg, and a few days later Sigurd died mightily of the infection. Payback’s a bitch, bitch! Phillips’s book was published in 2018. Given the length of the publication process, the book was likely written before Trump won the 2016 election. Phillips couldn’t have foreseen the comparison, before Trump ran the White (Supremacist) House with all the efficiency and productivity of the Third Reich. Hitler and his Japanese buddies never had much of a chance of winning the war, and putting a work-averse, not terribly educated idiot in charge arguably didn’t help. When he failed spectacularly and Germany surrendered, he handled the humiliation as we’re all well-familiar: He and his bride Eva Braun killed themselves after a day and a half of marriage and he likely died a virgin (a detail that sets him distinctly apart from Trump), although conspiracy theories persisted that Braun somehow survived. I remember hearing a news story in the ‘80s that witnesses claimed seeing Braun walking on a beach in Argentina. Hitler’s government was every bit the clusterfuck the Trump All-White House was, but Trump didn’t respond to severe public humiliation with suicide. He lives for another day, and no one knows whether he will get a second crack at destroying democracy. So there’s one thing they don’t share. Hitler was more fragile. Another minor difference is the two men styled their ridiculous-looking combovers differently. Hitler parted his on the side and pasted it to his head with pomade, while Trump brushes his forward and uses hair spray, which I doubt the highly homophobic and gynophobic Hitler would have touched even at gunpoint. The WTFness of it all Everyone around Hitler thought he was a joke, and could be easily controlled by smarter people. He was called, among many other things, a ‘pathetic dunderhead’, a ‘half-mad rascal’, a ‘man with a beery vocal organ’, that he led ‘a society of incompetents’, and was widely regarded as a ‘blustering idiot’. One of his former Reich rogues wrote in his memoir of Hitler, “In the twelve years of his rule in Germany, Hitler produced the biggest confusion in government that has ever existed in a civilized state.” That would make a good high school debate topic: “Who produced the loonier, least effective government? Adolf Hitler or Donald Trump?” Like Trump, Hitler hated to read paperwork and made decisions based on gut feeling, a habit also shared by the infamously information-aversive George W. Bush. Hitler’s aides dreaded policy meetings as they often degenerated into his rambling, self-absorbed whines about whatever he was thinking about at the moment, although there’s no detail indicating that the only way to get his attention was to make something be all about him. (Which is how Trump aides got The Donald to read important papers - they edited them to put his name in them.) Hitler, like Trump, was very insecure about his lack of knowledge. He hated hearing the expertise of others unless they supported his preconceptions and he ‘raged like a tiger’ if anyone corrected him, which the Trumpettes also found. Especially important: Hitler, like Trump, loved making fun of and mocking others but lost his shit if anyone did it to him. He was a Charlie Chaplin fan but banned the Hitler spoof The Great Dictator in Germany and all German-occupied countries and derided Chaplin as “one of the foreign Jews who come to Germany,” despite Chaplin not being Jewish (back then, people lobbed around ‘Jew’ the way today they carelessly toss off ‘racist’). Hitler’s unreliability drove his staff insane, which led to chronic government chaos. No work got done while Hitler rambled, and when his people weren’t wondering if they’d get home in time for dinner - by Friday night, they were fighting each other and backstabbing (sound familiar?) Hitler was and Trump is a minor little fuckup but each had a major talent: An ability to speak to the lowest common denominator of the masses and to move them with his words. Hitler’s speeches, at least, made syntactic sense, unlike Trump’s word salads. "Look, having nuclear — my uncle was a great professor and scientist and engineer, Dr. John Trump at MIT; good genes, very good genes, OK, very smart, the Wharton School of Finance, very good, very smart — you know, if you’re a conservative Republican, if I were a liberal, if, like, OK, if I ran as a liberal Democrat, they would say I'm one of the smartest people anywhere in the world — it’s true! — but when you're a conservative Republican they try — oh, do they do a number — that’s why I always start off…” What about having nuclear…? I’m not quite sure how far Hitler would have gotten if he was about as eloquent as Donald Trump. Nineteen-thirties Berlin was way different from 21st-century rural America. Knowing a real Nazi when you see one We like to think another Hitler shouldn’t rise again, and that one can’t rise here, but someone with more similarities than just a fondness for white supremacy, a habit of demonizing others and putting them in concentration camps (Jews for one, immigrants for another) did become President. He arguably might again, although that’s really very much up in the air as a criminally indicted, possibly imprisoned by then President is truly unprecedented and there’s no guarantee he’ll be allowed to serve, regardless of what constitutional lawyers believe right now - it may well take a Supreme Court decision or two to resolve it. Especially as Donald Trump is a massive national security threat. Phillips’s book makes the point that some of the ‘greatest’ leaders in the world weren’t evil geniuses so much as supremely talented fuckups. It’s not the Einsteins or Wright Brothers who take over the world, it’s the petty tinpot dictator wannabes who speak to the right useful idiots in the right ways. Here’s the key to how Hitler, and Trump, and so many others pulled off their black magic: Shame, nationally. There is no feeling more powerful in the world. Hitler arose after Germany’s defeat in WWI and the nation keenly felt the rest of the world’s blame. Hitler offered the Germans a fake enemy to explain it all - it was the Jews, da Jewz, dammit!!! - who were responsible for everything that had gone wrong for Germany. No leader ever rises to power telling his countrymen the truth, that the way out of shame and humiliation is to do some national soul-searching, identify what they did right and what they didn’t, and resolve never to make those mistakes again. Yeah, that would have gone over with Germans like a V1 attack. The United States today is not the Weimar Republic, but many of Trump’s supporters feel the keen shame of being society’s losers and the sting of Hillary Clinton’s claim that they were a ‘basket of deplorables’. Donald Trump speaks to their fading sense of manhood and their ignorant xenophobia just as his forefather did in Nazi Germany. Highlighting the more trivial ways the two despots resembled each other clarifies how one can identify a petty dipshit who seeks unlimited power and knows how to manipulate the masses. Phillips’s book derides other historical leaders we customarily think of as ‘great’ but who also fucked up a lot: Genghis Khan, King James I (the Bible guy), Sultan Ibrahim of the Ottoman Empire, and of course Napoleon. Modern Nazis aren’t everyone who disagree with us or who share a few elements of fascist thinking (the left can be fascist too) but the people who really do hew to Nazi thinking even if they themselves are unaware of most of it (as I suspect Trump is). It’s also important to remember that men like Hitler and Trump are just ding-y dipshits without support from others, especially those who seek to gain from that person’s ‘leadership’. There was no new Hitler to take the other one’s place. If Trump died tomorrow, there would be countless wannabes lining up and fighting each other for the 2024 nomination. The Great Dictator: The film that dared to laugh at Hitler Did you like this post? Would you like to see more? I lean left of center, but not so far over my brains fall out. Subscribe to my Substack newsletter Grow Some Labia so you never miss a post!

  • 'Racist' And Other Labels No Longer Mean What They Used To

    Which means there's no shame, even for bigots, when human label-bots drop pejoratives like pinatas and candy The snippet alleged ‘dog whistle racism’ in the post…I couldn’t see the rest. NextDoor’s email notifications only include maybe 7-8 words to pique one’s interest. But when I clicked on View comment, it ‘couldn’t load’. Pretty sure it was my post someone had responded to. I made a good-faith effort to find it, but the whole post and thread had disappeared. I could load no part of it, so I suspect either the original poster had deleted theirs, or maybe someone complained, and NextDoor ended it. What I’d done is respond, unemotionally, to the OP who'd lamented the end of affirmative action in the U.S. I stated some arguments in favor of the decision by paraphrasing earlier discussions by American black intellectuals I’ve been reading this year, specifically Thomas Sowell and Shelby Steele, both of whom make a case (decades ago!) for how affirmative action policies perpetuate the racist notion that blacks aren’t good enough to get into prestigious schools on their own merits, that some may not be psychologically and behaviourally prepared to get into an Ivy League school with a very good SAT score, when their Asian and white counterparts have to score much higher to be considered. And also, that affirmative action never helped poor black people. I was straightforward and honest. Perhaps what may have gotten up people’s nose is that I said blacks might have to work a little harder - not because of racism but to get the same high SAT scores expected of others. I relayed uncomfortable observations from these two authors - one of whom noted that “Asian Americans who benefited from the end of racially discriminatory policies are now criticized for being 'white supremacist' [i.e., 'acting white' - brackets mine] rather than lauded for being the grand academic and economic successes they are.” Although I can’t be certain, I’d bet the ‘dog whistle racism’ comment was meant for me. After all, white people aren’t supposed to challenge marginalized groups. Not even when they quote smart black people. It didn’t bother me. Had I been able to respond, it would have begun, “Stop it already with the dog-whistle racism. I’m not racist just because you don’t agree with me.” It didn’t bother me that perhaps, for a few hours, I was publicly labeled a racist. The label doesn’t mean much anymore. Neither do any of the other pejorative labels the left and right hurl at each other. Nazi, homophobe, transphobe, misogynist, misandrist, hater, fascist, woke, TERF, troon, blackface, womanface. They all mean only one thing: “I disagree.” Them’s not fightin’ words I don’t understand why some get so easily triggered, still, when someone pastes an irrelevant label on them. I know I’m not a racist, so if someone called me a racist because I summarized what two black intellectuals said decades ago and added I agree, and hey, isn’t it weird how Asian-Americans who succeed are now accused of being ‘white supremacist’, so what? People with brains who aren’t prone to ideological extremism can see the accuser for what they are. Especially if they’re a coward hiding behind an anonymous profile, with a gray head for a profile photo, and a careless-sounding name like empene19404636, the hallmark of someone whose account gets shut down fast, a lot. The sad fact is racism and white supremacy are real, words for very serious political and social cancers, that used to carry a lot of punch, but now land with the power of a baby’s fist. ‘White supremacy’ is a once-powerful epithet that should only have ever been applied to genuine white supremacists, rather than everyone who doesn’t agree with the Critical Race Theory narrative. When antiracists defined it more broadly, and claimed it was ‘baked into’ everything, they unintentionally normalized it. Since it’s everywhere, but we don’t see it, how bad can it be, right? Real racists are the KKK or the Nation of Islam. Both believe their respective races are superior to another and will not allow that ‘inferior’ race to join. One is more violent than the other, and I won’t say neither is better than the other (although I can say a few good things about the Nation) but they’re both racial supremacists. On the feminist front, rape, as Matt Damon pointed out quite rightly, is very different from a butt grab but Minnie Driver and Alyssa Milano #MeToo’d him right off Twitter by sparking a flame war because they didn’t know the difference. And of course ‘TERF’ means ‘feminist’ since there’s nothing the slightest bit radical about pointing out simple biology: You can’t change your sex, and women need to be protected from certain male bodies and psyches. ‘TERF’ is just a silly word that never meant anything substantial anyway; invented by men to marginalize feminists who stand up to them and continue to tell them, ‘No’. Attack of the Nazi-bots I got added to another ‘Nazi sympathizer’ list the other day on Twitter. It was compiled by what looked like some young (of course) guy. So I blocked him. I have no patience with these people. Oh yeah, that sure showed me. There’s a whole army of human Nazi-bots on Twitter who toss the word at others like apes flinging their feces. Don’t like someone? Call them a Nazi, or just throw your poo. Most of these little social justice sparkies wouldn’t know a real Nazi if one goose-stepped into their living room and Jahwohl-ed them while they watched Queer Eye. And I’m quite certain they’d never fight actual Nazis, they’d quiver in their closets like frightened kittens. ‘Nazi’ used to mean real-world Nazis. Nazism, and genuine white supremacy, are as serious as a nuclear war. Both are dangerously close to achieving real power as so many have in governments around the world. Genuine Nazis and racial supremacists (they’re not always white, depending on the country) are never good for those who aren’t born with the Chosen Ones’ skin color. Careless use robs critically important words of their power. Now there’s no shame in being called a Nazi because everyone can write them off as just another hysterical ‘woke’. Or an idiot MAGA, since Nazi Tourette’s Syndrome isn’t just an ailment of the left. Politicians like Marjorie Taylor Greene compare face masks to WWII Jewish stars, and for decades anti-abortion activists have compared the practice to the Holocaust. In fact, many people lose the argument the moment they open their mouths - or set fingertips to keyboard - if one invokes Godwin’s Law that the first person to compare their opponent to Hitler or the Nazis loses the argument. “You know, Nazis were the National Socialist Party,” Greene said. “Just like the Democrats are now a National Socialist Party.” Nazis to the left of me, Nazis to the right, here I am, stuck in the middle with Jews! Even if one is anti-Semitic, that doesn’t make them a Nazi. Historical footnote: Anti-Semitism long predates Hitler’s Reich. I doubt the Charlottesville Nazis - real Nazis, carting the schwag and the swastika that defines those who clearly hew to Nazi values - give a rat’s patoot what people call them. It’s okay now. It’s been normalized. It’s a joint effort by the left and right to make Nazism okay again. Special kudos to the post-modernist left’s efforts to erase word meanings: Not only do we not know what a real man or woman is, we also can’t tell a fake Nazi from a real one. Or Marjorie Taylor Greene. Do the work Impugning ugly motives to one’s opponents isn’t just a way to ignore genuine grievances; it can also be used to avoid uncomfortable self-examination if one belongs to a marginalized group. Let’s return to ‘dog whistle racism’, which often crops up in marginalized groups’ speech who’d rather not self-examine too deeply. The point I’d made on NextDoor was that not everyone believed affirmative action was a good idea, or was perhaps a good idea past its expiry date, and now held many back, and that I was hardly alone in noting American blacks may need to develop themselves more. Some black students got into good schools on their own merits because they did score highly, thanks to immigrant parents who didn’t schlep the entire family to the Promised Land in the U.S. so their kids could wear their jeans around their hips, spout shit about cops and pretend that black authenticity is dying young and profoundly ignorant in a street gang shootout. Maybe black parents could push their kids harder, like middle-class and upper-class white parents do. This is an opinion shared by many on the left, not just the right. And not just white liberals, either. Personal responsibility. It’s a concept despised by those who prefer victimhood to power. I reminded NextDoor how women, like blacks, were once considered ineducable, and how we hyperventilated decades ago about the lower numbers of women completing college and whether they could compete with men and now—we’re graduating in higher numbers than men. If the chickie-boo girlies can do it, so can American blacks. Not all lefties subscribe to the soft bigotry of low expectations, nor do all black antiracists. So I smiled when I saw ‘dog whistle racism’, because I might have struck a nerve. There’s nothing unthinkable about what I, Sowell, Steele, and many others of all colors, and partisanship, have said already. Black Americans need to compete on their own merits, just as women have had to do. It’s hardly racist to suggest they can do the work. It’s not implying the old stereotype they’re ‘lazy’; I see the same fear holding them back that hold back many women. The other day I was in a Zoom brainstorming session with a friend who’s trying to establish her European-based business in Canada helping companies train the right women to be leaders; she shared with us how women resist leadership training because of Imposter Syndrome; fear that they can’t compete with men; and that no one would listen to them. She said male managers have shared their frustration with her that good, strong, female candidates reject the idea because they themselves don’t believe they’re ‘leadership material’ regardless of what anyone else thinks. That’s one big freakin’ honkin’ reason why we don’t see more female leaders, but you’ll never hear that from the victimhood feminist brigade. And similarly, some black Americans are unwilling to relinquish the training wheels the Supreme Court just removed. Pejorative labels applied to those whose speech one doesn’t like, because it threatens one’s self-worth, or highlights internalized feelings of inferiority and group Imposter Syndrome, are a psychic Bandaid. They make you feel better but you’re still as sick as you always were. Or self-defeating. Add ‘dog whistle racism’ to the lexicon of words that no longer mean anything anymore. Yay, teams MAGA and woke. No one any longer knows what an actual racist or Nazi looks like. Did you like this post? Would you like to see more? I lean left of center, but not so far over my brains fall out. Subscribe to my Substack newsletter Grow Some Labia so you never miss a post!

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