top of page

238 items found for ""

  • 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!

  • You Can't Change Your Genes

    There's only so far you can go with 'identity', even for an elf. Biology is real. Photo by Victoria Borodinova on Pixabay One of my most embarrassing secrets is that I used to be an elf. My name was Highspirit, and I belonged to a 'holt' (community) of elves largely resembling Kent State University. My friends and my fantasy world came courtesy of Elfquest, an underground comic book series-turned-self-published success beginning in the late 1970s by artists and storytellers Wendy and Richard Pini. The comics were then bundled together in a series of graphic novels and detailed the survival stories of gorgeous, fat-free elves and their battles for survival including trolls and, occasionally, hostile and not nearly as attractive humans. What we and other fans elsewhere did in pre-Internet days when we only encountered each other at fan shows, was to create our own make-believe holt, write stories and create artwork centering around our elven lives. The elf in the self I'm quite sure I would have gotten universal WTF? looks from anyone if I'd tried to claim I was really an elf. Outside opinion doesn't stop 'Otherkin', people who identify as creatures other than humans. The term itself was first coined in 1990 although it was defined as an adjective in the 1981 Middle English Dictionary as "a different or an additional kind of, other kinds of." Um, okay. A few 'otherkin' I've known included one of my 'elven' college friends who was also a 'furry' (anthropomorphic animal). And at a medieval re-creation event in Baltimore (because my college buds and I were also members of the SCA), I met someone who considered himself an Anne Rice-style vampire. While my furry friend seemed clear on the boundary between real-life and his online furry fantasy world, as we all were with our elven and medieval personas, the vampire dude seemed fairly convinced he was a vampire, even though he lived by day and didn't drink blood. He claimed he could project--I don't know, some sort of silly-ass mind woo--that prevented him from showing up in photographs. Elfquest fan art by one of my elven college buds who'd rather remain nameless. I'm the busty chick on the left bearing little resemblance to what I actually looked like. The artist confessed in email this week that he'd identified as a hobbit as an adolescent and that it was an example of exploring a role "not based in empirical reality (as a parallel to how some modern adolescents now question their gender identity) in the struggle to define their individual identities as adults." Elfquest art copyright Warp Graphics, Inc. Elfquest, its logos, characters, situations, all related indicia, and their distinctive likenesses are trademarks of Warp Graphics, Inc. All rights reserved. It's one thing to play a role, and another to know when it ends with objective reality. I think about us non-elves, the few 'furries' I've known and the wannabe vampire when more opinionated members of the trans community fight against the simple scientific fact: Biology is real. 'Immersive fiction' and trans culture It's hard to imagine how controversial it's become to state that people who menstruate and possess vaginas are biologically female, however they identify. Or that a person with a penis is a male, however we might treat her. We argue over semantics and language, and anyone who points out biological reality gets called ugly names. Yet one's body doesn't care how you 'feel' or 'identify'. It makes no difference if you feel like a woman trapped in a man's body or vice versa. What it knows is that you get woodies when you're sexually excited, or menstruate once a month, maybe even get pregnant. If you were born without the corresponding equipment you're not going to have a baby. Maybe someday. Feelings and identities are real, but they're not scientific. Not yet, anyway, as science struggles to define and understand both, as it does with human consciousness. Meanwhile, we're left to argue, debate, and cancel each other over two labels that have served humanity for millennia, as evolutionarily, all organisms' roles are to co-create their own. Our biological equipment is how we've been doing this forever. As someone who has adopted multiple personas over the years, but not 'identified' at any significant level with any of them, I'm comfortable with treating people as something other than what I think they are. Crossing sex is a well-documented human experience in many times and places, and today we can take it much farther. A recent book by Kathleen Stock, Material Girls, centers around gender-critical feminism and transgender rights, and presents an idea about how the two sides - biology-is-real vs sex-and-gender-mean-nothing - can perhaps come together. She calls it 'immersive fiction', the notion one can hold beliefs around something that isn't real, or two contradicting one another. In other words, you can accept someone who identifies as a woman even if they've still got their OEM intact. Stock compares it to a legal fiction, which reconciles opposing concepts in law, so one can hold two opposing concepts without a lot of mental drama. Historian and best-selling author Yuval Noah Harari argues in his book Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, that creating and believing in fictions are what impelled our hairy apey ancestors to leapfrog ahead of all other species on Earth to ultimate world domination, and uses the example of a legal limited liability company as a fiction we accept as real. He points out we believe in money which mostly doesn't exist since 90% of what we 'have' is what records and computers say we do, since banks are allowed to loan $10 for every real dollar in their coffers. The fake money system works well, as long as we don't all ask for the real stuff all at once as in a financial panic; then, chaos ensues. An otherkin elf tells it like she sees it in Merry Moderne England (2018) Transfolk should be taken seriously, but they can't force everyone to believe their subjective reality. Or even their truth. Not everyone believes the world is round, either. However one feels about the definition of 'sex' and 'gender', the core reality is we can't change our genes and we especially can't force belief changes in others. Just try convincing an anti-vaxxer they need to get the COVID series. We can, however, live in peace with a little compromise and understanding on both sides, like accepting the 'immersive fiction' that while Debbie was born a man, she now lives and identifies as a woman. Not everyone will accept her, but welcome to the human race, where no one is accepted by all. The fiction isn't how the person feels or identifies; feelings are real, but beliefs aren't always. Until about fifteen years ago, we accepted a universal understanding of what it meant to be 'woman' or 'man', 'female' or 'male'. With the exception of a small fraction of people who were born 'intersex'; we understood what woman, man, female, and male meant. Public figures like J.K. Rowling get publicly excoriated, 'canceled', and called the foulest, filthiest names by people claiming to be women but behaving an awful lot like misogynist, entitled men. It's hard to believe a transwoman is an actual woman when the first response out of her mouth is a traditional male gross insult--the 'c' word. All for stating that the genes you're born with you take to your grave. It's fiction to state otherwise. Millions of years of human evolution are indisputable. So's a good DNA test. There's a long-established history of human beings crossing sex long before surgery could render 'man' and 'woman' far more literally. You can go almost all the way, but you can't change your genes. Transmasculine person photo courtesy of the Gender Spectrum Collection What we can all refute is the idea that biology is destiny, that we're slaves to our origins. As humanity and science progress, older ideas fall by the wayside. Marriage is no longer as important as it once was to ensure the paternity of the children; we now have incontrovertible DNA tests confidently stating who the father is; fifty years ago it only proved a particular man wasn't the father; if it was positive he 'might be'. We no longer have to procreate if we choose not to. We can alter our bodies if we don't like our nose, our breasts, our hair. We can now even become surgically altered to be the opposite sex if we choose. What we can't do is force people to accept our identity. It's all part of transhumanism, which explores how humans change and one day will change even more about themselves with science; my friend Dr. Mehmet Yildiz has written about this. In the meantime, perhaps we can stop quibbling about minor details like who can menstruate (female bodies) and spend more time exploring how we can work and live together regardless of what we privately believe. After all, if you have a friend or relative on the far side of a political ideology and you love them anyway, you're already comfortable with 'immersive fiction' and accepting people you disagree with. Just don't ask anyone to deny science. Biology is real. So are feelings. Let's deal rather than fight. When I'm not wondering whether a transhumanist future can enable me to fly with real wings, an upgrade from the large man-made wings utilized by 15-year-old Holly in my favorite science fiction story The Menace From Earth, I help women reclaim their power on my website Grow Some Labia.

  • Smashing ‘The Patriarchy’ Between Female Ears

    Our own fear of personal power serves The Patriarchy quite nicely, thankyouverymuch. We need to uproot that #%^&. Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels “I want to marry a rich man,” some of my peers said in the 1980s. I tried to control my expression, since these were more often my office colleagues rather than close friends, few of whom valued themselves so little. These gold-diggers weren’t mired in poverty or hopeless circumstances with little ability to see a future over which they had any control. I worked in an upscale payroll services office crammed with overeducated entitlement-oozing ‘Yuppies’ in expensive suits and a certainty they were Going Places, all of which required flying First Class. Or marrying it. Twenty-five years into Second Wave feminism women positioned to Do Better were still willing to give up their power, hand it over to men. I guess a quarter-century wasn’t enough time to erase thousands of years of patriarchy between female ears. Sure, just let a man run your life. That’s the ticket. The one abrogating her power the most was the drop-dead gorgeous highest-producing account executive, the lone woman on the sales team. Solange, oozing a sense of beauteous female entitlement against which her colleagues were powerless, boasted about how a man had to have enough scratch to scratch her itch. “So the bucks started circling,” she recounted in the office lunchroom after a ski lodge weekend. Her voice oozed with condescending triumph, her face suffused with power. “But you’ve got to pay to play! If you don’t got the dough, you don’t get to go!” A faint, sick smile crossed my lips listening to Solange reduce marriage — her well-publicized goal — to rank whoredom. She was embarrassing. Didn’t she realize how unfeminist she sounded? Didn’t she understand rich men expected deference, submission and dependence from their often multiple women, whether they were married or not? A harem is part of the male entitlement package, and each woman is expected to cater unto him and him only. It’s why they want to be rich. They do it for the p**sy. ‘Scuze me, plural. Didn’t she understand how domineering and controlling rich men often were? The word I sought was patriarchal, but it hadn’t joined the vocabulary yet. Solange was partially the woman I wished I was: Strong, ambitious, successful. She made a lot more money than I. Solange embodied the New Woman birthed from the early labor of Second Wave feminism: Beautiful, street smart, educated, and made her own money. She didn’t have to depend on a man for survival. Underneath the whip-smarts go-getter was just another self-sabotaging princess willing to give it all up for, if not love, at least a big house in Fairfield County and a country club membership. The guys sniped behind her back she was the top producer because she slept with her prospects, something they couldn’t do. It wasn’t an unwarranted, misogynist response. Solange bragged about dating her leads. Working in that money-crazed office was an early lesson in how unquestioning women give up their power. The women I worked with came from good families, could have supported themselves, had careers of their own, but instead, they aspired to marry a rich man. Somewhere, the daisies rocked as Jane Austen nodded. “I don’t want to marry a rich man,” I’d say. “I don’t want to give up my financial independence. Why would you say that? We don’t have to do that anymore! This is the ‘80s! We can do whatever we want, be whatever we want!” While we organized Take Back The Night marches, maybe we should have also organized a few to Take Back Your Brain. It’s unreasonable to expect the human race to change thousands of years of male domination — patriarchy — in the century since First Wave feminism brought women’s suffrage to nervous males worried how female votes might cancel out their own or that politics and public policy might distract her from the only things she should be concerned with. Kinder, Küche, Kirche as they said in Imperial Germany. Children, kitchen, church. Patriarchal thinking, and submission to male will, dwells as much between female ears as it does male ones. I don’t know if as many young women still aspire to marry rich men — everything I’ve read about them indicates they’re too focused on their careers to even have sex — but I see how The Patriarchy is alive and well even in feminists. I researched personal development coaches on LinkedIn the other day and ran across one coaching women on how to nail a ‘high value’ man. A friend tells me he’s seen her, and other coaches like her. Old habits die hard. Marriage may be dying, but abusive partnerships aren’t. As smart, capable women gave their power to well-off men thirty years ago, many smart, capable women are still giving their power to controllers and abusers, ‘high value’ or otherwise. Women bare their teeth, patriarchal thinking fully displayed, when you question whether women are as powerless as they think. Just because a woman’s afraid to wield her power doesn’t mean it isn’t there. She doesn’t even know it’s there, especially if she’s an abuse victim. It’s buried treasure. Abusive traps don’t start in the seventh level of Hell. They begin at the top of the staircase, each step a choice the woman makes along the way. The educated, aware woman stops no more than a few steps down and backs away. She exercises her knowledge and power. The less savvy proceed down, giving away a little more of their power with each choice. Photo by Undermind on Needpix We, as women, need to stop being afraid of our power, to acknowledge we can avoid a lot of ugly drama in our lives, sleepless nights, self-blame and endless rumination on woulda-shoulda-coulda if only we’d known better. The longer we wait, the more w-s-c we accumulate. Not to mention psychological torment and worse. We live in an ocean of information in the 21st century. Time to stop blaming and start self-educating. Just as I saw nailing a rich guy as ‘something we don’t have to do anymore’ thirty years ago, I see tolerating control and abuse as something we don’t have to do anymore, today, either. Female patriarchal thinking is rooted in victimhood identification, the female acceptance of the traditional masculine view of women. We see it in some women’s inability to endure the everyday slings and arrows we all encounter. We can let every little insult or offense eat at us, screaming about victimhood, or we can choose to push them aside and not give the offender more power over us. We can be more vigilant and, instead of complaining to our friends how unfair life is for women, recognize it’s unfair for damn near everyone, and we’re not as different from others as we think. We can save our outrage for critical important battles and not waste energy and headspace on ‘microaggressions’ and other minor hypersensitivities. We can learn from our mistakes and break our own toxic cycles. We can continue to hold others fully accountable for the transgressions they make against us while acknowledging we must make better choices next time. We can stop making excuses for ourselves, and for others. When we don’t challenge our friends to do better, aspire better, choose better, we encourage a toxic subconscious dependence keeping women in their place — subservient to the larger patriarchy. We become enablers similar to those encouraging women to go back to their toxic relationships and ‘make it work’, by helping her stay stuck in life without tasking her with asking the woman in the mirror, ‘What can I do differently? What do I believe that needs to change?’ Photo by dawolf- on Flickr(CC BY-NC 2.0) My mother always said, “Even in an abusive relationship, it takes two to tango — one to abuse and the other to take it. They’ll give it to you if you’re a doormat.” She was often referring to her friend Marisol, whose husband was verbally abusive. Mom didn’t tolerate verbal abuse from anyone. Marisol allowed it. And that was almost sixty years ago. For some, it’s controversial to suggest women can educate themselves better. They can protect themselves against abuse by considering and tracing any ill-considered choices they’ve made already leading to, and deeper into, abusive relationships. Some self-infantilizing thought is still stuck in the ’80s populated, ironically, by many who hadn’t yet been born. It’s patriarchal residue designating helpless little girls to a realm once lorded over by husbands with near-supreme power. Just as right-wing gadfly Phyllis Schlafly once feared the liberties and scary new opportunities feminism brought, so, too, do some women still resist, on some unconscious level, personal responsibility for one’s life and safety even as they pay lip service to ‘empowerment’. When I was growing up young girls were counseled by assault prevention advocates not to ‘act like a victim’. Act strong, confident, walk tall and with purpose, like you know where you’re going. I believe this works. I don’t take a lot of dumb risks like walking down a dark alley alone, and while I attracted far more attention when I was younger, I don’t remember many fearful incidents from my youth. Now, victim feminists counsel women, “It’s not our job to not get raped; it’s men’s job to not rape. We need to keep the attention on them, and teach them not to rape.” Classic patriarchal thinking. First, suggest all men are potential rapists. Then give the rapists the power to stop, or not. Don’t seize the power yourself and protect yourself better, or learn how to stay away from patriarchal, misogynist men, thereby reducing the chances you’ll be assaulted or abused. ‘Don’t blame the victim’…rather than don’t be the victim. My youthful peers were women who didn’t believe in tolerating abuse, who looked out for each other. We reinforced each other. Today, some women reinforce misogyny and patriarchal thinking — in women. Educated prevention is always better than a cure. That’s what I want women, especially young women, to understand. We can do better. We can grow more. We can take back our power. We need never give it away in the first place. This originally appeared on Medium in October 2020.

  • What We Can Learn From Nicole Brown Simpson’s Bad Choices

    One of O.J.’s wives didn’t tolerate abuse. The other did. On the 28th anniversary of the world's most famous domestic homicide, let's explore the psychology behind the woman who gave O.J. permission. Public domain “Was he worth it, Nicole?” I found myself repeating over and over in my apartment the day of the O.J. verdict. The sonofabitch had pulled it off. They called him innocent. Who the hell else could have slashed up his ex-wife and her friend with all that evidence? “Was he worth it, Nicole? Was he worth the money, the good looks, the fame, the California living? Were the beatings worth it, the times you feared for your life? Were the bruises worth it? The shame? Was he that good in bed? Was he worth it? Was he worth it? Was he worth it, Nicole? Because the motherfucker got away with it!” I’ve thought a lot about the world’s most famous domestic abuse casualty since I read Faye Resnick’s book, Nicole Brown Simpson: The Private Diary of a Life Interrupted. Yes, I know it’s a cheap piece of trash and Faye Resnick is the shittiest best friend ever. But she got one thing horrendously right. Nicole had an opportunity to get out of the marriage at one point and in all likelihood not get murdered, and she blew it. With the worst in her string of colossal bad choices. The Reign of Errors became clear when I watched The Final 24: Nicole Brown Simpson. It started before she met O.J. If he’d [hit me], he would have got a frying pan upside his head. There was just no way that I would allow that to happen to me. — O.J.’s first wife, Marguerite, on 20/20 Update: Marguerite Simpson may have been lying about not getting abused by O.J. According to the book Raging Heart: The Intimate Story of the Marriage Between O.J. and Nicole Brown Simpson, while Marguerite has claimed or insinuated that he never hit her, their circle of friends widely believed he was hitting her and noted she wore sunglasses inside and outside the house, a classic sign of abuse. It doesn't prove it but it makes it suspicious that she may have lied about not being abused. Nicole’s bad choices began not when the young restaurant hostess met O.J. in 1977, but a year before during a high school class discussion on potential career choices. When Nicole spoke she said she wanted to marry a wealthy man. Hardly an uncommon aspiration for many young women back then. In the late ’80s and early ’90s, I remember many of my peers saying that. Even when I was young I recognized rich men wanted young women they could control. That an unskilled pretty girl who wanted to marry well wouldn’t own her own life. I often replied, “Why the hell would you say that? We don’t have to do that anymore! We can have our own careers! We can be whatever we want! We no longer have to depend on men!” Nicole’s next bad choice was agreeing to go out with O.J., period. He was married with two children and a third on the way. She was too naive to realize that a man who cheats with you will cheat on you. Many of their epic fights were over O.J.’s numerous infidelities. The violence started on their first date O.J. grabbed Nicole’s crotch and said, ‘This is where babies come from and this belongs to me.’ — Denise Brown Nicole’s chain of bad choices to allow O.J. into her life and keep him there even though he was abusive from the start snowballed. He ripped her panties on the first date trying to get them off. Nicole’s roommate and good friend David LeBon asked why she would let O.J. do this, said he wanted to talk to him, but Nicole said No, I kind of like him. O.J.’s control freakiness began soon after. He insisted she vacate the apartment she shared with LeBon even though they had only ever been just friends. O.J. was, by many accounts, quite jealous, and Nicole knew how to ‘push his buttons’. At a Buffalo Bills game, sister Denise claimed O.J. got upset when Nicole greeted a male friend with a kiss on the cheek and began yelling at her. O.J. once smashed Nicole’s Mercedes. When he learned Nicole was afraid of knives, he terrorized her with them and threatened to ‘slice her up’. Nicole’s multiple police calls when O.J. raged out of control are legendary. In 1989, she ran out of the house half-dressed to meet the police and said O.J. was trying to kill her. Like many domestic violence victims, Nicole always forgave her husband who said he’d never do it again. Of course he did. Nicole’s therapist, Dr. Susan Ford, noted victims ‘always hope it’s going to get better.’ She also noted the benefits of marriage to O.J. outweighed the costs for Nicole, as has been speculated about the more modern-day celebrity domestic violence case of Ray & Janay Rice. In 1992 Nicole had had enough and divorced O.J. Over the next few years he’d stalk and harass her. Faye Resnick claimed Nicole kind of missed the sick attention once it stopped, that she took it as a sign of his love. Resnick isn’t the best source for this interpretation but given everything else I’ve learned about Nicole, one thing is certain: She had as sick and obsessive a love for O.J. as he did for her. Compare this to the women O.J. supposedly didn’t assault in his relationships, like his ex-wife, Marguerite. If her frying pan quote is true, it sounds like he knew he wouldn’t get away with that shit. His longtime girlfriend Paula Barbieri claimed he never assaulted her either. But Christine Prody, who met him the year after the trial ended, did take his shit. There’s an uncomfortable lesson here on romantic cost/benefits analyses and what some men get away with if they think they can. And an even more uncomfortable question regarding the kind of woman who would date O.J. after the trial. Nicole’s biggest mistake I don’t like the dating scene. I miss O.J. I think about him. At some point after the post-divorce stalking/harassment, something critical happened I suspect rendered Nicole safe from O.J. He seemed to have accepted the marriage was over. He’d lost Nicole. He was dating Barbieri and had begun to live his own life. He appears to have psychologically disengaged from Nicole. But she couldn’t leave O.J. alone. According to the book Raging Heart, in 1993 she decided she wanted O.J. back. A friend thought he was finally getting used to the divorce and settling in with Barbieri. Friends asked if she truly wanted to instigate a reconciliation, saying he would never change. They’d cautioned her about his rough treatment from the beginning. Her sister Denise had urged her to leave O.J. in the early ’80s. Nicole, as always, didn’t listen, adding links to a lengthening chain of tragic choices. Nicole’s friends were right. O.J. didn’t change. The beatings began again, the police paid visits, and others, not always Nicole, made more mistakes: According to People Magazine, police often didn’t write up reports. Friends and family never confronted O.J. about his treatment of Nicole. Her father saw the bruised face photo after the 1989 incident in which Nicole had clearly been beaten but he dismissed it. Nicole’s sisters weren’t always clear on the existence of domestic violence in her life. Like many victims, she didn’t talk about it and covered the physical signs with makeup. Abuse in higher economic brackets is often better-hidden, and upscale batterers hide behind their public image. Until June 12, 1994, all of America loved O.J. Simpson and few had any idea he was a batterer. He’s guilty, but she enabled him Nicole’s worst nightmare ended in her own blood when O.J. finally acted on his threats to ‘slice her up’. He also murdered Ron Goldman delivering some eyeglasses dropped at the restaurant where Nicole ate dinner with others earlier in the evening. Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International (Samsongebre) The tragic death of Nicole Brown Simpson is a lesson to women everywhere, particularly those stuck in violent relationships, afraid to leave or, as in Nicole’s story, unable to abandon their own sick obsession. Nicole’s is the same sad story of millions of others: The cycle of abuse and forgiveness that keeps women trapped, the violence chipping away at their self-esteem until they either don’t believe they deserve any better or are afraid of what might happen if they leave, particularly if there are children involved. A domestic violence victim is at most risk for getting murdered after leaving. Sometimes the abuser kills the children rather than the wife. An abused mother hasn’t just herself to think about; she must consider her children’s lives as well. That said, once it starts, Nicole’s therapist notes: The victim must take the first step and reach out for help. The sooner the better. Unexplored: The victim’s role in the cycle of abuse The choices a woman makes throughout an abusive relationship have gone largely unexplored with the feminist/activist emphasis on holding the abuser fully accountable for his behavior. It’s inarguable the abuser is always responsible for his actions and reactions. Female abusers too. No matter how Nicole ‘pushed his buttons’ or dated other men when she and O.J. were separated or divorced, there’s zero excuse for what he did. Here’s what O.J. said on a Fox News interview in 2006, but only released recently. Although he didn’t say, “I did it,” it’s the closest he’s come since he wrote a book called I Did It and then added an ‘If’ at the beginning for plausible deniability. He did, however, make it clear he was at the scene even as he ‘hypothesized’ how it might have gone down ‘if’ he’d been there — adding details only the killer would have known. We MUST start moving the needle from ‘Don’t blame the victim’ to ‘Don’t BE the victim.’ Nicole Brown Simpson’s critical mistake may have been pursuing a reconciliation with her violent ex-husband after he’d detached from her enough to give up. This has bothered me ever since I read Resnick’s book, just as Nicole Simpson’s relentless choices to allow O.J. Simpson to make her life hell has bothered me since the criminal trial started. I’ve come to believe the perpetuation of the abuse cycle is more than just the abuser/victim relationship. The people around the relationship bear a certain responsibility too. Are You Too Tolerant Of Abuse? In cases when one ends up working with the victim individually, one has to walk the fine line between empathy and collusion. Without blaming, the therapist’s goal is to move the victim from blame to responsibility, from helplessness to accountability, and from hopelessness to empowerment. Victims should never take total responsibility for their suffering; however they must develop an understanding of how they contribute to their own victimization.— Ofer Zur, Ph.D., “Rethinking ‘Don’t Blame The Victim’: The Psychology of Victimhood” Like the police who often don’t do anything once they arrive at a domestic abuse scene, as Nicole often complained about the L.A.P.D. Then again, one must wonder at the frustration the police feel when an established victim goes back to the abuser over and over. Nicole wasn’t always terrorized into staying. She kept wanting O.J. back. She reconciled when she didn’t have to. She was as fatally in love with O.J. as he was with her. Where did this come from? Nicole didn’t come from an abusive family and I’ve found nothing to indicate she had somehow been ‘primed’ for this. At some point, her phone calls to police were a waste of taxpayer dollars because while O.J. was never going to change, neither, it seems, was Nicole. Would there ever have come a day where she realized enough is enough? We’ll never know. What is it in some women’s psychology that allows or teaches them to accept abuse when they aren’t ‘trained’ for it in childhood? We need to explore the role and choices victims make, and make fewer excuses for those choices. Domestic violence is multifaceted. Not all victims are ‘trained’ by abusive childhoods or misogynist religions or ‘the patriarchy’. Some women just have terrible taste in men and some never seem to learn from their mistakes. We need to explore and challenge this more. What about the women who dated O.J. after the trial? Like Christie Prody, who also suffered emotional and physical abuse from O.J.? Who was constantly compared to his dead ex-wife? When O.J. told her Nicole ‘deserved’ what happened to her, why did she stay? How surprised would anyone have been had Prody been murdered too? How many would have thought, “WTF, woman? What did you expect?” What sort of a ‘cost/benefits’ analysis do women like Nicole do to conclude the benefits of marriage to a man like O.J. outweigh the cost? How can we challenge this? What can we, as friends and family, do to recognize the abuse in front of us? Are we challenging women in abusive relationships enough to leave when they can still get out? There’s a danger for those in a domestic violence victim’s circle too. Abusers often target family members or supportive friends. Do victims have a responsibility to them? I’m frustrated when I see photos like Nicole Brown Simpson’s battered face. I’m frustrated that she kept returning to her abuser when she didn’t have to. Did it ever occur to her that one day O.J. might start beating their kids, especially their daughter, when her eventual blossoming adolescence became attractive to boys? I’m frustrated with the cult of celebrity and over-privileged athletes who believe, quite rightly, they can do no wrong nor ever be held accountable. I’m frustrated with people making excuses for bad choices because they don’t dare challenge an ideological dogma that infantilizes women and enshrines them as perpetual helpless little girls. Nicole didn’t have to end nearly decapitated. She was, by all accounts, a wonderful, vibrant, fun, friendly, and even strong woman who challenged O.J. many times and didn’t always take his shit. But that’s not how we remember her. She’s forever memorialized as the world’s most famous domestic violence story, the battered wife, the bruised face, the terrified voice on the 911 call, the pathetic weak victim. He finally did it. He killed her. With a knife, as he’d often threatened. And, as she predicted, he got away with it. It didn’t have to end like this, Nicole. What can women learn from her twenty-eight years later? Have we learned anything from this? What can we learn from Marguerite and Paula Barbieri, the ones who weren't abused? Why? Are these men ever worth it?

  • Which Online Platforms Don't Censor Content Creators?

    In case woke censorship has de-platformed you or otherwise taken you down, or could if you don't watch your mouth Updated 07/26/23: CounterSocial is moved to the list of ‘woke’ deplatformers. My account got suspended and everything I had on there was ‘irreversibly’ wiped off. They didn’t tell me why, of course; I’m guessing they didn’t like this article that I posted there yesterday. It’s A Sign Of The Apocalypse When The Right Supports Science And The Left Doesn’t. Glenn Loury is a black intellectual I subscribe to on Substack. He and his guests’ dialogues/trialogues are always thought-provoking. I especially favor one recurring guest, linguistics professor John McWhorter. While Loury is a bit more conservative, McWhorter and I are level-headed libs. I highly recommend his book Woke Racism: How A New Religion Has Betrayed Black America. McWhorter doesn’t ‘do’ victimhood racism, like I don’t ‘do’ victimhood feminism. Recently, YouTube took down one of Loury’s talks allegedly for violating ‘hate speech’ standards. As many have learned by now, ‘hate speech’ means first and foremost anything that offends, upsets, or challenges transactivists and no surprise, guess what triggered this takedown. Loury and McWhorter had studiously avoided discussing transgenderism, until Loury hosted both McWhorter and journalist, theologian and educator Mark Goldblatt, who’s recently written a book, I Feel, Therefore I Am: The Triumph of Woke Subjectivism. He’s who I sleep with at night! At least until I finish it. A few days later, Loury’s YouTube episode went down like You-Know-Who in a Miami federal courthouse. Goldblatt had floated the provocative, and as far as I know, fairly new idea that one element driving transgender growth is that gender dysphoria is a mental illness, possibly akin to schizophrenia. I found Goldblatt’s argument interesting but unpersuasive, especially since he didn’t address what has already been widely noted - that ‘gender dysphoria’ may be a haven for those with unrelated, untreated mental illness. If that’s what he meant he didn’t make it clear. It sounded like he made a case for gender dysphoria as a mental illness itself, and I’m not ready to agree with that. Nevertheless, it was clear it was an opinion, not stated fact. And YouTube took it down because, and this is a broad problem across online fora and social media, Thou shalt not speak critically of transgender broads (ar ar!). The demonstration of this sort of power is exactly why I consider transgenders to be the least marginalized group, ever. And also because it’s almost always biological males behind the power demonstrations. Big surprise. The woke battle against opinion I’ve been de-platformed twice for angering transgenders - first on Medium a few years ago and as I understand it, the Woke Reign of Terror continues there with others threatened, downranked, or de-platformed for offending transactivists, however rationally and politely expressed. Medium has a long and well-deserved reputation for being a far-left platform and nothing seems to have changed since I left. I got de-platformed more recently on Vocal.media, less problematic because thanks to its outworn platform and lack of support for non-fiction writers I was already on the verge of abandoning it anyway. But what’s interesting is they weren’t very specific about why my account was suddenly suspended, and without warning (with Medium there’s fair warning), and when I pushed, the customer support kid (I could tell) cited one article about transgenderism and vaguely alluded to others. “Then why did Vocal approve these articles in the first place?” I asked since, unlike Medium, one’s articles have to be approved before publication. They never answered, and I didn’t push it since I was done with them anyway. When I joined a few years ago humans approved submitted articles before publication. Then they automated the process and my articles published in minutes instead of a few days. So now, I assume, like Medium, someone has to complain about ‘hate speech’. And it is, as we will see very shortly, always woke snowflakes behind it. I’m sarcastic, I’m critical, and I’m without question opinionated, but I have never once said anything indicating I hate transpeople, or suggested they don’t have the right to exist, or they should all be killed, or whatever oppressive fantasy they’ve concocted about their feminist critics. I’ve stated many times the extent of my TERFiness is that male-born bodies don’t belong on female sports teams or places where women get naked or semi-naked. Otherwise, I don’t care what they do, where they go, who they love, how they dress, or what they call themselves. I had been thinking about getting back to making YouTube videos, but one thing that held me back was whether I could say anything feminist about transgenderism. Before, I’d never addressed it. Glenn Loury’s experience convinced me I can’t return to YouTube. The public platform Who’s Who of woke censorship (and not) Of the main Big Tech players, Facebook de-platforms the right just like everyone else but notably also occasionally, for the right. Particularly conservative religious cultures who live as in terror of free speech as Ron DeSantis. Google and YouTube also de-platform. Twitter’s commitment to free speech prevention has slacked off with its current and somewhat emotionally unstable CEO. It was pretty damning when Elon Musk tweeted photos of the closet full of #StayWoke t-shirts he found at Twitter HQ. The Old Regime had been hostile to critique of ‘marginalized’ groups however protected said speech might be under the First Amendment. It controversially removed a lot of far-right-wing groups and its demigod Donald Trump after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, but the optics would have been terrible if they hadn’t—the conspirators, after all, plotted it in plain sight on Twitter and elsewhere. And six people died. The Twitterati didn’t want to get caught in that forthcoming investigative shitstorm. Today Twitter appears more open to unpopular opinions regardless of whether from the left or right, although it’s still pretty arguably a multipartisan shithole for the mentally ill, since Musk’s rocky reign as the platform’s Fearless Tweeter caused advertisers, non-profits, journalists and many influencers to abandon it. Patreon, the fan-funding site where one can look for patrons to help fund one’s creative work, has banned some of its higher-profile and money-drawing former creators like Sam Harris and Jordan Peterson for saying controversial things that were not to the left of Castro. Censorship may now get very expensive for Patreon: They may be on the hook for millions of dollars in arbitration fees as a new California law argues that Patreon’s practice of banning controversial creators disrupts “the economic relationship between Creator and Backer,” legally considered to be “tortious interference with a business relationship,” and while the snowflakes at Patreon can continue to ban people, their backers can now dispute the decision and request it be moved to arbitration since they can’t support their creators anymore and possibly lose their content. Paypal may be next. But make no mistake, it’s the left’s censorship efforts driving the growth of alternative social media and blogging platforms to avoid being taken down for offending the fragile. There are not, to my knowledge, right-wing fora or platforms de-platforming others for political speech they don’t like. I can now add CounterSocial, a Twitter/X alternative that suspended my account for unspecified reasons but which pretty certainly is my article highlighting the lack of science behind ‘gender-affirming’ care. (07/26/23) The unfortunate result is that most alternatives are, to be blunt, right-wing shitholes. What I’m looking for are those committed to adult, mature speech (there are a few) with intervention only if there’s real ‘hate speech’ expressed (‘Kill all the blind pot-smoking left-handed immigrant multisexual plumbers’), as well as those that may have started out as super-right-wing, but may be getting infiltrated by lefties also abandoning platforms or getting banned by hyper-woke censors. Something to consider as you peruse the following lists. The last 10-15 years have sorely tested the First Amendment and opened debate on whether there should be limits the pre-online Founding Fathers couldn’t have anticipated. I myself, for all my resistance to censorship red-capped or trans-flagged, sometimes wonder whether there should be new limits for the First beyond prohibiting treason or endangering public safety (the latter of which may offer a particularly strong legal argument for it, eventually). So take my snark for what it is, but not necessarily my opinion as to whether these users should or shouldn’t be allowed their free speech. The list is offered to help navigate where they might want to devote their attention, and to cut through the plethora of right-wing sites many (including myself) would rather give a pass. Just know the extremists have all flocked to many of these because of the Big Tech purges. Where there is minimal or no moderation, you’ll find right-wing extremism. Other platforms are practicing some moderation in an effort to keep them from turning into hyper-partisan twitholes. Note that none of these following are censorship-free; and never have been. You still can’t claim you want to kill the President or offer groomer tips for sexually abusing children. These sites, for better or for worse, take a largely hands-off approach to the newer forms of ‘woke’ censorship endemic on Big Tech platforms. Many of them operate on the ‘Fediverse’, a conglomeration of countless open-source, independently-hosted, interconnected servers for social networking, blogging, microblogging, file hosting and sharing. There’s no central authority deciding what is or isn’t ‘acceptable’ and its decentralized nature makes it less vulnerable to government interference or shutdown. As well as to controlling what users have access to on this network constellation free-for-all. Still right-wing shitholes “You should check out Gab,” my conservative trans-man (yes really) fellow feminist writer told me. “It’s not as horribly conservative as you’re led to believe.” I considered it, out of curiosity, but didn’t. “I’m afraid I’ll wind up on some government shit list,” I told him. Good call, since Gab and other newer Twitter alternatives like Parler came under attack shortly after for their utilization in planning the Jan. 6th insurrection attempt. (As did Twitter itself). Gab and Parler are pretty much right-wing shitholes. So is Gettr, launched for conservatives by a former Donald Trump aide. FrankSpeech is a social media platform formed by MyPillow guy Mike Lindell. Minds is a darling of the far right, CloutHub is for Christian natonalists, and Telegram, based in Dubai, is a critical app for many far-right groups, and a playground for cybercriminals. BitChute is also famously far-right and banned from Paypal; London Real was started by American podcaster Brian Rose who became a British citizen and then switched from Democrat to Republican. (No word yet on whether he’s planning to become a woman.) The Wall Street/London banker in a fancy suit provides a platform for conspiracy theorists and started his own London Real Party. Also the LondonReal.tv platform promotes scammy-sounding crypto, bitcoin and getrichquick ‘academies’. Bleah. FreeTalk 45 was begun by Fox News wannabe One-America News, currently on the Dominion Voting Systems lawsuit list for allegedly lying about their voting devices. Steemit - This social media site is blockchain-based where users can get STEEM cryptocurrency for publishing and curating content. I myself am deeply suspicious of bitcoin and crypto, but what’s of much bigger concern here is how Steemit helped to mainstream QAnon. Don’t forget moldy oldies like 4chan with no accountability and famously a haven for extremists and ‘hacktivists’ (double bleah). Platforms and fora for grownups, including a few left-wing shitholes Substack - This is one of the few platforms which has a very clear understanding of what constitutes ‘hate speech’ and prefers not to interfere unless one engages in very clear unprotected speech. One will find plenty of right-wing writers but but you really have to look, and it won’t get recommended to you unless you read Trumpily to begin with. It does appear to have a firm commitment to free speech, the way it was before the First Amendment came under attack on both sides by extremists. I feel pretty comfortable that, unless Elon Musk buys it or something, I won’t get shut down here. They’ve already been attacked by and stood down transgender wannabe censors. Mastodon - This decentralized Twitter alternative has been around for awhile and when I joined several years ago, it was super-woke. It was also super-kludgy and painfully slow to use which was why I stopped bothering with it. It’s still a bit kludgy and I find it a bit confusing to use but it’s better than it was. So far, no issues with any of my articles. It did also find itself connected via the Fediverse to Gab a few years ago. But I haven’t seen Gab there myself. diaspora* - It appears not to have much of a right-wing problem apart from, briefly several years ago, having to remove ISIS-related pods and posts after Islamic extremists were kicked off Twitter. Friendica - Part of the Fediverse, Friendica doesn’t appear so far to have a massive partisanship problem. It appears to be closer to Mastodon than Parler. Tribel - It’s arguably a left-wing shithole, although I say that tongue in cheek since I’m left-wing. It’s run by Democratic activists, and lefty users complain they’re being infiltrated by more right-wingers. I like the platform. It’s easier to deal with than Mastodon and I like the political mix. Tribel is rumoured to be Elon Musk’s next big acquisition which means one less competitor for Shitter—er, I mean Twitter. Although I’m not sure he’s financially prepared for any ambitious acquisitions until Twitter is out of the red. I’ve found no allegations so far that it censors political speech. Tribel is currently crowdfunding and has raised their market valuation from $19 million to $21 million and are aiming for $25 million. I’m keeping an eye on these folks. Aether - Advertised as an alternative to Reddit (itself a political mix), Aether is decentralized and open-sourced with self-governing communities and some moderation. Their FAQ notes it’s a ‘civilized place for public discussion’ and offers the usual cautions against name-calling, ad hominem attacks, etc. But it avoids censorship. Shitposter Club - They don’t censor but they’re also trying to keep the platform from turning into the twithole Twitter turns into when there’s no adult supervision. Their terms of service warn about the usual stuff: No kiddie porn, spamming, doxing, persistent harassing (insulting is fine) but they ‘don't want the server to turn to shit and flamewars and Heil Hitler All The Time.’ So, no censorship, but kinda. A little here and there. Tumblr - This microblogging platform has famously been a left-wing shithole for years; hyper-super-duper-mega-ultra-woke with chocolate sauce, whipped cream, sprinkles and a cherry. It pretty arguably birthed and incubated the modern trans movement and all the labels. Despite this, it was so hands-off censorship at one time that it became a free-for-all that came under heavy criticism for not reigning back some extremism, starting in 2012 when it took a stand on blogs that promoted self-harm and eating disorders. It took forever to crack down on genuine hate speech, and in 2018 commenced The Great Purge of adult content including, allegedly, kiddie porn, along with violent imagery and sexual harassment. So it censors, but not, AFAICT, free speech. Good on them! It’s still super-duper woke but AFAICT only bans you if you post some really serious shit. Like porn. Right-wing-shitholes to keep an eye on They may have started out or may still be right-wing shitholes, but are showing signs of being infiltrated by cooler heads including the insufficiently woke on the left. MeWe - It’s a self-described Facebook alternative with a focus on data privacy, which is a nice change. Its hands-off moderation policies make it a natural for crackpots and crank jobs tired of being challenged and fact-checked. But it also counts among its advisors some pretty smart brains and Internet pioneers like Tim Berners-Lee, Steve Wozniak, SumZero CEO Divya Narendra and filmmaker Cullen Hoback. Locals - Right-wing but established as an alternative to Patreon after Dave Rubin, the founder, got banned. His political views have spanned the spectrum. He sometimes calls himself a ‘classical liberal’ and has interviewed conservatives who don’t fall within the purview of the far right, like John McCain, Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Sam Harris. So far, Locals looks right-wing but not super-far right. Rumble - This right-wing YouTube alternative is now being infiltrated by the left as woke censorship de-platforms liberals on The Big Guy. I’m watching them and weighing whether, or when, I might join Rumble since I’m quite sure I’ll get de-platformed by YouTube, and TikTok is also too woke for intellectual freedom (not to mention dangerously Chinese-y spy-ish). If I do join I may have to hold my nose, unless I can find a better alternative. Or maybe it will become the multipartisan shithole I prefer. Is censorship ever okay? My ‘let it all hang out’ free speech values were solidifed in the ‘90s during my pre-Internet BBS days. I hung out in skeptic groups and one particularly fun chat channel called #holysmoke for challenging Christian fundamentalism. I confess my commitment to free speech is sorely tested by events in recent years and in particular the Jan. 6 attack. Unregulated social media is a breeding ground for misinformation, disinformation, conspiracy theories, and genuine hate speech. Not to mention poor self-esteem. Jonathan Haidt on Substack is writing a book about social media’s negative impact on children’s, teen’s, and young adults’s mental health. Hate speech is a real problem, with the right believing anything goes, and the left having lost sight of what’s genuine hate speech. I didn’t complain, I’ll admit, when right-wing groups got removed from Twitter, and I tweeted how great it would be if Twitter did the same to the extremist woke left. That was never going to happen, since they didn’t attack the Capitol, but I knew Twitter would turn into a woke shithole without them, which was what happened until Musk. People got banned, shadow-banned, downranked and suspended for upsetting the delicate sensibilities of mostly ‘woke’ transvestites wielding their patriarchal power to shut down women for daring, once again, to say No to them and their penii. My censorship views aren’t 100% pure. I doubt anyone’s are. But what used to be unacceptable—hate speech and censorship—has become mainstream by both, and what was once acceptable free speech is censor-worthy if it ‘hurts feelings’ (like stating transwomen aren’t women - a biological fact that one may or may not accept), or makes people feel ‘unsafe’ (wokespeak for ‘I don’t have a rational, reasoned response to this’). I suspect we’re entering a new era where we may need to revisit what free speech is, what’s protected and what’s not, and whether some of it is driving violent acts like Jan. 6 or mass shootings. Or, you know, pizza shop threats because of some silly-ass conspiracy theory. Until we bring about a kinder, saner online world, the alternatives to Big Tech censorship are out there, and the good news is they’re not all right-wing shitholes. They may become less so as disgruntled liberals infiltrate and hopefully dilute the more toxic extremism. (Or righties infiltrate platforms like Tribel). A Level Lefty can dream. I Feel, Therefore I Am - The interview with Mark Goldblatt that got Loury his ‘first strike’ with YouTube I Was Censored By YouTube - Glenn Loury, speaking with is creative director on what happened, and how Substack is committed to free speech 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!

  • It's A Sign Of The Apocalypse When The Right Supports Science And The Left Doesn't

    A left-affirming Missouri circuit court is responsible for destroying one of the most evidence-based gender-affirming laws we've seen. It’s interesting that there was no such thing as a ‘trans kid’ until about the last fifteen years, and probably no one older than 35 or 40 knows of any child or teen who committed suicide because they couldn’t, for one reason or another, medically transition to the sex they weren’t. I actually can name one. A boy I knew in high school became a ‘transsexual’ after he graduated. Back then, it took several years. He didn’t commit suicide because he wasn’t allowed to transition overnight, or before graduation. I’m the only person I know who knew a ‘trans kid’ before it became cool. I doubt many other Gen X’ers, and probably the first of half of Millennials, can remember a single ‘trans kid’. I define ‘trans kid’ as one self-defined as trans, not one who, in retrospect, seemed like ‘they might have been’. Who simply might have been gay or just a little effeminate, or butchy, and otherwise non-birth role gender-conforming. I mean a kid who said, “I’m not a boy, I’m a girl,” or vice versa. They just didn’t exist. Even my schoolmate didn’t claim it; I learned about it through the grapevine. In the ‘Teens, transgender became a veritable epidemic, infecting young people across social media along with older men, avid watchers of transgender porn and later ‘sissy porn’, who suddenly found their ‘inner woman’ the way people used to find Jesus. Critics of the ‘new normal’ have come most publicly from the right. But they’re quietly supported by growing allies on the Level Left and the center who have begun to acknowledge the illiberal Bizarro World we now live in: Conservatives on the right side of science, and far-lefties flipping it the bird. The prevailing scientific voices in North America are still out on whether so-called ‘gender-affirming care’ is scientifically sound, supported by leading medical organizations and science publications, but growing evidence overseas favors a much slower and cautious affirming approach than the insta-transition American model. The science is looking more crickety than it did 10-12 years ago. Meanwhile, back in North America, medical professional apparatchiks bow and scrape to transactivist masters rather than examine the latest findings from western Europe for which transgender support has been much less contentious. Why North Americans believe in gender-affirming care In April, Missouri introduced a ban on gender-affirming care, and the state’s Republican Attorney General added an ‘emergency rule’, adding the most rational and comprehensive rules we’ve seen so so far in the U.S. for such care. It started out as a ban on anything medical for children, then Democrats added provisions for kids already seeking treatment, but unfortunately the emergency brake provisions AG Andrew Bailey added for both children as well as adults got struck down. The rule required the patient: Must receive at least 18 months of therapy beforehand Must be screened for autism Must provide documented evidence of clear gender dysphoria for at least three years prior Must be screened for signs of social media addiction and ‘social contagion’, i.e., from their peer group Physicians also had to present a lengthy list of negative possible side effects short-term and long-term. That last part is a little troubling, given the historical Republican/conservative hostility to science and evidence-based policy. They have a tendency to get it wrong, or just make shit up if they can’t find any half-assed science to support what they want. They tried to argue several years ago that abortions were connected to an increased risk of breast cancer; it was utter fiction. A whole book was written called The Republican War On Science. The historical conservative hostility to evidence is well-established, encouraged further by the Religious Right and its naive commitment to Bible mythology. But this was pretty sound, based on the lack of hard evidence for the efficacy of gender-affirming care, and for the very real ethical and moral alarms it raised for children and teens. Should this include adults? Maybe. While adults have the right to decide what to do for themselves, it’s perhaps a better idea to return transitioning to the more cautious, systematic process that was in place decades previously. The American medical profession is primarily responsible for publicly supporting gender-affirming care and preaching the science is sound. Some skeptics wonder if doctors might have, shall we say, alternative motivations for uncritically supporting gender-affirming care besides the welfare of others and suicide prevention. You know who besides the political right supports banning or limiting gender-affirming care for kids? The most liberal, progressive countries on the planet. Sweden. Norway. Finland. They’re joined by France, the UK, and the Netherlands. As I’ve written before, the latest news coming out of Europe, which is always a few years ahead of North America, is that systematic literature reviews of the science behind gender-affirming care shows it to be almost completely based on low-quality, unreliable research. The ‘Dutch Protocol’ model, the default standard for gender-affirming care, has come under serious scrutiny, and in Holland, from whence the Dutch Protocol originated, even one of the co-authors of its studies has noted that the world is ‘blindly adopting their research’, which is outdated, having coming from a different time (2011 & 2014) and with small samples, and hasn’t been replicated. Yet North American pro-affirmation supporters can point to countless science-based organizations and publications and note that they all support gender-affirming care. This includes the American Medical Association, The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Nurses Association, the American College of Physicians, and the American Association of Geriatric Psychiatry. There are plenty of others. This also includes so-called science-based publications like Scientific American, which appears to have gotten ‘wokenized’ a few years back. SA published an article, Stop Using Phony Science To Justify Transphobia, which resulted in a backlash and the Paradox Institute’s highly scientific return volley, A Response to SciAm’s Stop Using Phony Science. Then there’s the Springer Journal, which accepted and published Lisa Littman’s peer-reviewed paper on the connection between social media and peer groups to the rise of adolescent transgenderism, which the Journal pulled under pressure by transactivists. (I highly recommend the research article, by the way.) Nature and its sister publications have now published guidelines for censoring politically incorrect research. Even our scientists are drinking the trans Kool-Aid except for those who still bravely support objective reality. It’s hard not to doubt one’s self when so many reputable organizations and publications assure us the science is there, making us feel like bad people, or maybe Trumpy fanboys and fangirls, because we might be hurting others by resisting this. But with European countries pulling back on affirming care, based on what they’ve found to be shoddy science and the discredited Dutch Protocol behind it, it gives us skeptics space to pull our heads out of the rainbow-colored clouds and ask some fairly obvious, no-science-required questions. Like Where were all the trans kids before? And, How come no one ever committed suicide before, say, 2007, because they were stuck inside their birth body? And, Why do people think you can change sex when no biological male hominid has ever gotten pregnant, and no biological female can fertilize a womb? As the King of Siam would say, “Is a puzzlement.” What’s behind the Missouri law? The proposed legislation was a brake for both kids and adults. Like with automobiles, brakes reduce speed, but the car can still move forward. Let’s break down the four main points: Must receive at least 18 months of therapy beforehand The rise in mental health problems, including drug and alcohol addiction, along with a spiralling suicide rate in all age groups including children and teens, long predates the rise of transgenderism. The lack of proper screening for pre-existing psychological co-morbidities in transition patients has been a hallmark of gender-affirming care. Is gender dysphoria the problem or a symptom? If the latter, then it would as foolish to medically transition someone as to treat them with chemotherapy if they haven’t got cancer. The therapy requirement seems a little onerous; not everyone can afford it. But Millennials have been described as the most depressed generation ever, and their younger Gen Z brothers and sisters may arguably be in even worse shape. Pre-screening may identify better, less expensive, and less permanently life-altering treatments better suited to the patient. Must be screened for autism People who identify as transgender or non-binary are six times more likely to exhibit autistic traits, or have diagnosed autism. Parents of children on the spectrum have complained for many years that the transgender movement is taking advantage of their kids, recruiting them into a movement with medical treatments they believe will ultimately harm their child. Properly diagnosing, evaluating, and treating conditions like autism or pre-existing psychological issues makes perfect sense. Must provide documented evidence of clear gender dysphoria for at least three years prior Only in the last fifteen years has ‘trans kid’ taken on the appearance of a social contagion. It’s already well-established that anorexia is socially contagious among teens as is suicide, and the now-debunked trans claim that kids who don’t get immediate ‘affirming care’ will commit suicide may teach children and teens that’s the typical, ‘appropriate’ response to parental resistance. Most will outgrow it. Any kid who meets the Missouri criteria can begin transitioning when they’re legal adults. If they even want it by then. Must be screened for signs of social media addiction and ‘social contagion’, i.e., from their peer group The Lisa Littman study and others draw an ever-darker potential correlation between the concurrent rise in popularity of transgenderism with social media. Jonathan Haidt, he of The Righteous Mind, is working on a new book about the harm he believes social media generates in children, teens, and young adults globally. In his Substack newsletter he shares some of what he and his team have found. He hasn’t mention transgenderism so far, but he’s making a very strong case for how much social media induces depression, anxiety, narcissism, anorexia, and other mental health struggles for young people, the most affected by far being young progressive/liberal women. Interesting. Strange times Unfortunately, a great, caution-based approach to gender-affirming care was ended by a circuit court judge on the grounds that Bailey had overstepped his authority. The Missouri ACLU celebrated the decision as did many other pro-affirming care groups. It’s a shame, because this sort of caution is desperately needed for a debate grounded more on ideology, feelings and the highly unreliable ‘lived experience’, than it is on actual evidence and genuine science. I wonder how tolerant progressive parents would be if their daughter decided she ‘identified’ as a Disney princess and insisted she’ll commit suicide if she’s not altered to look like Jasmine, or Belle, or Ariel (“Mommy, I need a fishtail. Also, I need to be black!”) We live in strange times, indeed, when the left denies gender-affirming care for so-called ‘trans kids’ is experimental, and Republican politicians point out the care is far too rushed and the science, not so good. There is so much wrong with the left’s uncritical evaluation of kids’ claims they may be ‘transgender’ or ‘non-binary’, with so little attention paid not only to the clear contradictions in leftist thinking, but also the naive belief that kids know what’s best for them. Go ahead, let them eat all the Twinkies, cookies and candy they want. Here’s a sheet Oregon Democrats stole directly from the Republican playbook: Attaching an unpopular rider to a bill that requires one to pass a something they find repugnant in order to get what they want. In this instance, they tied gender-affirming care to a reproductive rights bill. They were willing to throw women under the bus (of course) to continue their medical experimentation on children. Oregon and Texas Democrats also blocked amendments that would have required health insurers who cover medical transition to also provide detransition care. Because one is covered and one is not. Guess which one? And in this Bizarro World I find myself siding with a state’s Attorney General I probably couldn’t stand on any other point of public policy, a man who belongs to a party I largely regard as being on the wrong side of almost everything else. But this is the Bizarro World we now live in. 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 Handle A Woke Bully

    If you're going to act like a woke dickhead, do it somewhere anonymously, not under your real name on Linkedin I forget what the LinkedIn discussion was about. I said something positive about Elon Musk returning free speech to Twitter and allowing people to criticize the trans movement, and for being able to state the scientific fact once again that women are women and men aren’t. I wasn’t mean, and I wasn’t snarky. But as we all know, the woke are always on the lookout for someone to cyberbully. Especially commenters backed by science. Some young guy responded back with the usual woke parrot response, ‘You’re transphobic.’ LinkedIn no longer lets me see the back-and-forth comments we engaged in that day last year except for my end-of-the-exchange comment denying his accusation I’d been ‘harassing’ anyone and noted that he had harassed me. He had been a woke little nag all day long in his previous, highly patronizing comments. Unfortunately ‘woke’ influence has normalized misogyny on the left and while, to my knowledge, LinkedIn isn’t super-woke or super-censor-y, woke kiddies have too much power to get people banned, suspended and de-platformed. So I watched my mouth but I challenged the kid. I reminded myself to ‘take back my power’ and stand up to a male bully, especially in front of others, and stuck to the scientific facts about a sexually dimorphic species. At the end of the day I received a message from the tech support folks at a sales agency I worked for. Seems someone had complained I’d been making ‘transphobic’ comments on LinkedIn. 'We just thought you ought to know,” they said. I replied back that I’d merely been gender-critical, but thanks for letting me know. Seems the little shit wanted to make trouble and pat himself on the back for being a good little wokenazi. I figured support wouldn’t say anything to the managers and they didn’t. But man, was I pissed. The next morning, a Saturday, I lay in bed and thought about what the little shit had done. And then I realized something. When I’d gone back for my last comment the previous evening, after learning he’d tried to get me in trouble with my employer, I’d planned my answer carefully and didn’t acknowledge what he’d done. I wanted to end the conversation and forget about it. In his last comment, though, he seemed even more eager than I to end it. His last response was definitely un-wokey. He stated we would just have to agree to disagree on this, and he’s done with this conversation. When the hell does a spoiled virtue-signalling woke kiddie ever admit it’s okay to agree to disagree? Or give up that easily? He was spooked about something. I reviewed our conversation over breakfast. I revisited his profile and located what I figured was the reason for his spookiness. He’d just started a new job. Oh, man, wouldn’t it be bad if he’d done something dumb that could get him in trouble? Ready to rumble! I wasn’t worried about my job. There was nothing pejorative or ‘transphobic’ about my comments. I spent a little time researching the woke kiddie’s company on LinkedIn, and then I reached out to him in direct message: Before I report you to HR... ...Maybe we can resolve this privately. I don't appreciate your bullying, misogynist comments, using me to virtue signal and call me names just because you don't like my standing up for women's free speech rights. How classically patriarchal and misogynist you are to treat male-bodied people as though they were no different, and more important than, the class of people men have been bullying and dominating for thousands of years. How *dare* you dic(k)tate to women as men have always done what constitutes a 'real' woman. You don't know me, you don't know anything about me, and you sure as hell don't know where I stand on trans rights. Nor do you know what 'transphobic' means. You're entitled to your opinions, as I am to mine, but you don't have the right to hurl pejoratives and shut down opinions you disagree with. I shortlisted two or three XXX [his new employer] HR names I could report you to. But it looks like you just started a new job, so it might be more productive to come to an understanding here. Want to reconsider or rephrase anything you said the other day? His response was swift. Sure. I apologize, it's a tough subject and I wish people would be respectful. I should have worded it better. I can delete those later if you'd like. I told him I didn’t care if he deleted them or not (privately, I hoped they’d stay so others could see someone standing up to a woke bully) but maybe he did and that’s why I can’t see the previous comments now. This was a minor kerfuffle, but it created serious anxiety for me to learn this little shit had tried to get me fired. It would have made sense if I’d been as snarky as I am on my blog. Not justifiable, but comprehensible. But I hadn’t been. My initial comment, reviewing it many months later, was pretty straightforward, and I was definitely guarded in my later responses. Woke kiddies (this includes all ages of this self-infantilizing extremism) just can’t ignore a non-woke comment that offends their dogmatic narrative, however respectfully worded. This is LinkedIn, after all, the world’s biggest corporate office. It’s not like people don’t engage in political discussion, with perpetual corners of the platform burning with raging flame wars. I largely stay out of them. But sometimes I take the opportunity to reservedly challenge common narratives. I repurposed an old blog post on pronouns and posted it on Linkedin earlier this year. I made a straightforward and sincere complaint about how the people who need to offer their pronouns the most don’t. There were no flame wars. There were a few positive comments, including one pointing out that people might not want to ‘out’ themselves that way. I pointed out that they must know they’re androgynous-looking and to please help us out. Meanwhile, those whose pronouns are glaringly clear proclaim what we already know. Not to mention, if you can’t tell the world your pronouns, they’re really not that important. Sometimes, we have to step out on a limb and take back our power. Today’s woke kiddies have entirely too much power they don’t know how to wield wisely and for reasons I may never understand, so-called responsible adults bow and scrape to their every whim. Maybe it’s all the Gen X’ers in charge who raised Millennials and Gen Z’s to be protected, undeservedly rewarded, and most importantly, unchallenged. Gen X’ers are used to caving and treating their young’uns as the adults they are not. Mostly, I keep my un-woke opinions to myself on LinkedIn. I never mention my website. I have a second profile under which people, if they wanted to, could find it, read my horrendous opinions and try to cancel me once they revived from their faint. But I expect most won’t. And I’m getting too old to care. I removed the sales agency from my LinkedIn profile. I use a different last name on the phone with my calling campaigns. This is where woke censorship has led. It DOES feel a bit like Nazi Germany, or the former Soviet Union. But one little wokie boy on LinkedIn, I hope, learned an important lesson from fucking with a pissed-off older woman. Take your own medicine, sonny-boy, and be respectful. And if you're going to act like a woke dickhead, do it somewhere anonymously, not under your real name. Amateurs…. 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!

  • When Did Certain Feminists Become Such Tools For The Patriarchy?

    Far-left feminists have left the 'reality based community' and joined the effort to destroy women's rights It feels like a very dark time to be a woman, online or offline. You’d better watch your mouth, or else. Guns and rape threats from one side, deplatforming and rape threats from the other. People who’ve decided to be women - because, you know, it’s that easy, just snap your carefully-manicured black-polished fingers - will shut you down, assault you, threaten you, maybe even your family. They will get you fired. They will ruin your life. And that’s just the angry transvestites, doing what abusive men have been doing to women for thousands of years. What’s far more mystifying is their genteel little handmaids - not the ones on the right, although they’re there too, waiting for their menfolk to take charge (yet still I add #NotAllConservativeWomen). I reference those on the left - mostly those way farther down who fancy themselves ‘feminists’, who are nothing more than good little Tools of the Patriarchy. Doing the bidding of the sort of men they’d never tolerate if he wore a NASCAR shirt instead of a bustier. Yammering on about abusive men and ignoring the ongoing monstering of their sister J.K. Rowling, just as in the witch hunts of yore. Condemning celebrity men accused of physically abusing their partners, yet cheering on transactivist physical assaults on biological women at Let Women Speak rallies. Cute little girlies playing at being feminist, little realizing how closely they resemble their sisters on the far right. This is what went down at my alma mater, Kent State University, recently. A female (a real one) transactivist proved a challenger’s point about how much she acts like a Nazi. She realized she overstepped her ‘rights’ when the guys noted she’d just committed an assault on camera. Okay, it’s not an ‘assault’ in the traditional sense but it absolutely is by ‘woke’ standards. She slinks away slowly, into the crowd, I bet to make a break for her dorm room before campus security shows up. How did feminists become so passive? Remember when feminists stood up for women’s rights, rather than men’s? Let’s be clear: The trans movement is primarily about men’s rights, to define themselves as women and to go where they want to go, parade their dicks around where they want, and destroy Title IX by discouraging women out of sports by competing against them. All with the blessing of so-called ‘lefties’ and easily-gaslit Regressive Left ‘feminists’. It’s getting so you can’t tell the difference between the left and Ladies Against Women. Although at least LAW is a conscious joke. June 23rd marks the 51st anniversary of Title IX, making it illegal to discriminate against women’s sports at any educational institution receiving federal funding. Second Wave feminists fought long and hard for this, and now their adorable little granddaughters with purple hair and rainbow-colored clothing are working to destroy it, guilelessly playing into the hands of the far right who can’t stand how confident succeeding in sports makes women, and greedy male athletes who’d rather have all the funding back for themselves, thankyouverymuch. It’s not hard to see the right-wing agenda at play in the ‘transwoman’ athlete debate, unless you’re a gutless girlie who hasn’t challenged your own assumptions since you were old enough to legally drink. How can these women obsess so much about ‘the patriarchy’ and ‘misogyny’ and endlessly debate male entitlement, narcissism, and abusive behavior toward women and yet be so relentlessly blind to exactly that, right in front of their pretty little faces? Male violence: It’s not always bad, I guess. Those TERF bitches had it comin’ to ‘em, amirite? How can rational, intelligent women who brook no nonsense from religious fundamentalists on women’s place, who will fight celebrity sexual abusers tooth and nail, who will support their victims, stand with E. Jean Carroll and Jeffrey Epstein’s former Lolitas, who condemn Donald Trump as possibly the worst human being ever, turn a blind eye to the grossest, rankest, most obvious misogyny, including statements and behavior they’d vehemently condemn if Republicans or famously conservative celebrities made or engaged in? All for the Devil in a blue dress. I mean, how tolerant would they be if Matt Gaetz told his female critics to ‘Suck my dick,’ or Ronald DeSantis demanded the right to use the women’s changing room? Which he might actually get away with if he added a wig to his white go-go boots. I’m not kidding. He’s kind of an aging prettyboy. What if he did it in a dress and a cheap wig? Would that make it okay? When did some feminists turn their brains over to The Patriarchy (dun-dun DUUUUUNNN!!!)? The New Satanic Panic Sometimes I feel like I’m walking among the Pod People. Like, any moment, Donald Sutherland will turn, point, and make that hell-demon scream. Because I haven’t drunk the Kool-Aid. Or fallen asleep near a trans-pod. Christian fundamentalist nuttiness in the ‘80s spawned the Satanic Panic, leading Americans and Europeans for about fifteen years to search for some mythical underground Satanic network torturing and abusing children by repurposing the old ‘blood libels’ against the Jews. I’ve encountered weird beliefs as a Pagan, and New Age observer, and, for about twelve years, student of comparative religions. I’ve known people in groups who believed they were alien abductees, reincarnations of historical people, and in possession of amazing psychic abilities they weren’t. That God created the world in less than a week and that he picked a bunch of illiterate desert dwellers as his chosen people. Hoomans are good at self-aggrandizing, deluding each other, and most of all ourselves. But nothing takes the biscuit in my two-thirds-lived life so far as the utter steamrolling of such clearly delusional trans ideology over so-called ‘feminist’ brains. It’s our equivalent Trump’s-stolen-election-level delusion. Tragically, real people, genuine transfolk, suffer as a result. Their antecedents crossed the gender lines in many historical times and places. Why some people feel genuinely ‘born in the wrong body’ is beyond my understanding but given that it’s clear many are born gay or lesbian, a subject that was not resolved when I was in college, I accept that there may be processes in the fetal brain that mess up a bit, leaving someone more than a bit confused in our sexually dimorphic world. Or that hormonal events can perhaps change how one feels about one’s self. Or even that it might be a mental illness. We don’t know yet. Research on transgenderism is still in its infancy, shackled by vicious transactivists who shut down academic research and ruin careers if scientists don’t support their fundamentalist narrative. If they’re ‘right’, as they maintain, what are they so afraid of? I’ve known people with genuine gender dysphoria, and it’s as difficult for them, in many ways, to exist in a patriarchal world as it is for the rest of us, although more liberal environments can make it easier. But the transgender movement, infected by the homophobic, gynophobic woke mind virus, isn’t primarily about them, the genuinely gender dysphoric, it’s been hijacked, as always, by largely heterosexual men with differing agendas who’ve deduced, quite rightly, that they can get certain naive ‘feminists’ on board if they successfully appropriate the mantle of marginalization. It’s about coercing women to submit to male desires. Like good women did before ‘feminism ruined everything’. Never has there been a ‘social justice’ movement that demanded, and received legal support for, requiring and enforcing the rest of us to go along with their self-perceptions. Civil rights, #MeToo, poverty activism, environmental activism and many others have all, at times, demanded too much, or in certain circles required uncritical fealty to some dominant narrative or dogma, but no one ever got fired because they said they thought George Floyd or the whooping crane had it coming to him. A repugnant idea, as I’m sure some have said, at least privately, but not cancel-worthy. Even ugly ideas are a part of public discourse, and exactly how much of which is a problem we’re going to face in the coming years. And all with the help of patriarchy’s good little handmaids. If you can’t beat The Patriarchy, join it! The most dangerously uncritical, pro-patriarchal element in Regressive Left ‘woke’ feminism is the erroneous belief that puberty is a dis-ease that needs to be treated medically for children resisting the perfectly natural physical transition from childhood to adulthood, leading one to wonder whether perhaps the problem is real-world Peter Pans. Instead, puberty gets redefined as supreme torture requiring escape into the other sex. J.K. Rowling began speaking out about the trans movement when she read how, in the U.K., the number of girls suddenly wanting to become boys grew by a mind-boggling 4,000%. Historically, males to females have far outnumbered the reverse, Chaz Bono being very much an early-movement outlier. Anyone older than forty can remember a time when the number of trans kids was zero, and changing sex wasn’t even an item for discussion. Now girls with sexual trauma in their past and discomfort with the attention their budding bodies receive from immature boys and even more ominously, creepy older men, are escaping into the birth sex they aren’t. How have we older feminists failed young girls if we’re not teaching them from a very early age how to handle misogyny and sexual harassment, who to complain to and to come to Mom and Dad if it persists? Rather, today’s tools for the patriarchy preach the supremely, 180-degree-about-face unfeminist lie that, if you don’t like living in a sexist, misogynist world, the answer is to become a man rather than, say fighting misogyny, sexism and patriarchy. Because I’d like to remind these ‘feminists’, and the transvestites they defend, there’s nothing wrong with being a biological woman. How did the normal process of turning from a child into an adult, which humans have been undergoing for millions of years if they’re lucky enough to not have died before adolescence, become so pathologized, that it must be treated medically rather than psychologically, since genuine delayed puberty affects only a small percentage? The farthest-left feminists, who scream the loudest about misogyny and bigotry on the right, are as silent as little lambs about the abusive practice of cutting off a girl’s breasts and shrivelling her reproductive organs before her brain is fully developed enough to know what the person inside the meat package really wants. Women’s rights? Really, girlies? When is male abuse of women acceptable? Don’t say ‘never’ when you watch mansplaining transactivists and your witless biological sisters shut down women’s speech and physically assault them for challenging the mass madness. Where were these feminist sisters when the Trans-Patriarchy forced female athlete Riley Gaines into a classroom where she had to remain under police protection for three hours while harridans biologically male and female screamed abuse and epithets at her the entire way? Like this video here documenting it from Twitter. Posted by a notorious right-wing whack job. Who was RIGHT about the left’s response to this. Gaines’s response: Gaines was at San Francisco State University in April to speak out against how she and her female teammates had to compete against Lia Thomas, a fully male ‘transwoman’ competitive swimmer and share a locker room with his full maleness on display. The same feminists who damn the Republicans and conservatives for their anti-science opinions and policies on how women’s bodies work ignore the glaringly obvious truth—no need for detailed scientific papers on this one, folks—that male athletes shouldn’t compete with female athletes because of their clear, obvious, historically-documented physical advantage. THEY ARE MALES. An advantage they never lose no matter how many hormones they take. This is the sort of WTF is wrong with your brain, you dizzy bint, moment, accentuated by the same Tucker Carlson face I also serve the pizza pedophile conspiracists, Trump supporters after his federal indictment, and pretty much anything emanating from Marjorie Taylor Greene. I mean, the stupidity of the far-left’s embrace of the glaringly ridiculous, dangerous, and obviously unscientific fallacies perpetrated by the phallocracy is every bit as palpable as evolutionary physiology suddenly taking a wild, drunken U-turn the wrong way down a puberty exit ramp in the 21st century. Puberty is not torture. Males should not compete with females. It’s really, really simple for feminists if you’re not highly malleable and susceptible to male manipulation. It’s not my opinion. It’s the science, stupid. I am part of what the Republicans twenty years ago began disparaging as the ‘reality-based community’. Now ‘woke’ feminists and their transactivist masters have divested themselves of reality, and support assaulting children with unneeded medical intervention and women’s rights with transvestites on female sports teams and concerted attacks on free speech exactly like you see in Putin’s Russia. And I’ll remind you, it’s no longer a Communist country. It’s a right-wing dictatorship, which is why Donald Trump loves Putie-Pie so much. Critics call Riley Gaines a ‘conservative’ speaker. I don’t know her politics and I couldn’t find them; but she’s made several appearances on right-wing media. Hmmm, I wonder why? Maybe because they provide the love, support, sympathy and sound science vs the abuse she receives coming from the left? Dear Goddess, is the right now more feminist than the left? Real feminists still have a lot of work to do Sometimes I wonder if I’m too hard on the young’uns, expecting them to know what I know after forty years of conscious feminism. Then I wonder what happened to Generation X, my generation, that we let girls grow up thinking, tacitly or publicly, that it was okay to identify with victimhood, and at the same time still manage to raise misogynist boys. Patriarchy wasn’t built in a day, and it will take more than a century of modern-day feminism to tear it down. It strikes me that the problems, as always, are the psychological weaknesses in feminine brains. Not intellectual weakness, but evolutionary traits that may no longer serve us as well. We don’t challenge ourselves, and each other enough. We don’t question our own bad judgments, bad decisions, and bad behaviors enough. We’ve turned ‘Don’t blame the victim’ into a holy, untouchable mantra rather than evolving it into what’s more relevant today: Don’t BE the victim. A turn from personal responsibility somewhere in the ‘90s has rendered some feminists as helpless as our foremothers at the beginning of Second Wave feminism. They existed in a world where they had far fewer rights than we have today, when sexual harassment was ‘just how men are’, and ‘take it as a compliment’. When rape was jokingly treated as ‘If you can’t stop it, just lie back and enjoy it’, a supremely male way of thinking. I doubt many jokesters would have just stayed still and ‘enjoyed it’ if another man was forcing his dick into his asshole. Rape: It’s never as funny when you’re the victim. Regressive feminism isn’t just a problem of the young woke. Much of it comes from still-unaddressed, outdated victimhood ideology in older X’ers and Boomers. No, it doesn’t matter what she was wearing when she was raped, but we need to acknowledge that sometimes we do dumb shit and if we think more proactively and preemptively, we can reduce the rape rate simply by making better choices. What kicked off the ‘take back your power, grow some labia’ idea in my brain was when I got into a car with a strange man I’d met an on online dating app and came close to a real sexual assault. I was 51. I got out of it okay, was really mad at him for what happened and never saw him again but later, I was really mad at myself for allowing that to happen, even though I’d had reservations about it. We have to focus on ourselves now. It’s no longer all about men, male dominance, power, and the patriarchy. We have more power now, but we haven’t yet accepted the responsibility that comes with it. The woke kiddies have the power but neither the maturity, experience, nor responsibility the mature handling of power requires. They misuse and abuse it, exactly like their brothers and sisters on the far right. Right-wing gynophobes have successfully ended women’s reproductive rights. Left-wing gynophobes have targeted women’s. I expect Lia Thomas will successfully compete in the Olympics women’s swimming pre-trials. And he will take the gold that belongs to real women. But the good news, for the left at least, is that they’ll all be woke AF. 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 Titanic Savages Of The Oceangate Tragedy

    Sometimes I swear we're only one or two steps away from resurrecting Nero's Circus On Thursday, June 22nd, hours before we learned the adventurers in the Oceangate Titan Sub calamity were absolutely, positively, Titan-ically dead, I scrolled Twitter looking for up-to-the-minute news. Like many, I followed the story closely and like some, I hoped for a safe outcome for all. Not everyone on Twitter was compassionate. Because, billionaires. You don’t even want to know what the emotionally deficient were producing over on Tik Tok. Apparently, a tragedy like this is super-hilarious when you don’t know or like the victims. Yeah, there’s a lot wrong with the passengers in this story. Willful blindness to safety issues. A VP fired for pointing out what a deathtrap this thing was. ‘Experimental’ submarine: Something you NEVER descend into. A submarine guided by a cheap VIDEO GAME CONTROLLER. A Plexiglass shield. No GPS. Maybe some spit and duct tape. And oh yeah, bolted inside. While sitting on the floor. For a four-hour round trip. Then there’s the stupidity of risk-takers who signed a waiver mentioning death three times. Who paid $250,000 each to tourist the Titanic, see it up close and personal, and cross that off their bucket list. The sheer brainlessness in getting into a thing like that with its known safety issues. Did they know? If not, why? And if they did, WTF??? Men take what appear to the rest of us to be reckless risks. On the other hand, as I’ve seen expressed elsewhere, it’s why men do and discover great things in crazy places and women don’t. It was men who located the Titanic in 1985, not ambitious women. When women do crazy things - like climb Mount Everest - we do it years after men have gone before us. I don’t think these passengers were stupid for wanting to see the Titanic from a submarine, I think they were stupid for doing it in that submarine. And although I can unequivocally say I’d never do anything that stupid, I too am not immune from the desire, every once in a great while, to do something reckless. About fifteen years ago I climbed to a sacred kiva at the top of a New Mexican cliff with ladders and narrow paths. The ladders looked strong and I really wanted to see the kiva, but it was dangerous. What if I slipped? What if I fell? I might get killed, or permanently injure myself, and I was a Canadian in the United States with travel insurance. Several years later, I did something a helluva lot dumber, with some peer pressure from a male friend: I climbed the Scarborough Cliffs in the east end of Toronto with him and a third (female) friend. Words have yet to be invented to describe how stupid that was. People have died doing that. People have had to be rescued from this foolish endeavor. Today, not back then, the City sends you the bill for many thousands of dollars. I can’t blame him. I did it to push myself to do something I’d never done before. I survived the kiva climb, right??? There’s pushing yourself, and then there’s being a complete dumbass. So I get it, but I wouldn’t have climbed into the Titan if they’d paid me $250,000. The teenager supposedly didn’t want to go, but his aunt said he did. So who knows. Dumbassery may or may not run in his family. But that doesn’t mean their deaths were funny. Stories like this are packaged with the movie drama of will-they-or-won’t-they-reach-them-in-time, and the larfs you get when people you look down on as stupid gits git what you think they deserve. Sometimes I swear we’re one step away from burning (fill in your least favorite outgroup) as human torches in Nero’s Circus. The Twitter circus I’ve been thinking of this ever since the rise of torture porn, and I don’t mean the garbage you see on actual porn sites. I refer to movie franchises like Saw, Hostel, and The Human Centipede. What kind of a person pays good money to watch other people fake being tortured, for fuck’s sake? Fake torture or live torture in ancient Rome, there’s not much difference, and there are only a few short moral steps from the former to the latter. Maybe we can blame it on OJ. His infamous car chase arguably launched the succeeding era of ‘reality TV’ although anyone old enough to be alive during the B.C. era (Before Cable) remembers all-channels live coverage of breaking news events. John F. Kennedy’s motorcade wasn’t mega-covered outside of Dallas, it was just an ordinary presidential motorcade, interesting only for the locals, until something tragically extraordinary happened. America remained glued to its TV sets in the days after, and as a result, millions watched Kennedy’s accused assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, get assassinated live. So maybe it’s Jack Ruby’s fault. Or maybe it’s the Hindenburg’s, another event only interesting to the locals, but which went globally viral when the flight went horribly tits-up. Sometimes, it doesn’t end the way it does in the movies. Sometimes the rescue mission fails, and everyone dies. Sometimes the rescue mission never had a chance. We can laugh about it if we’re particularly heinous or just congratulate ourselves on being neither rich enough nor arrogant enough to climb into a demonstrably unsafe sardine can navigated by a Super Mario controller. Still, diving deep to see the Titanic is a pretty cool adventure, assuming you’re in a seaworthy vessel and the manufacturer’s CEO isn’t a fucking idiot. And when they fail, we get to laugh at them, because other people’s pain and tragedy is, like, fucking hilarious. Or something. Twitter isn’t famous for its compassion, and many took the opportunity to create memes and compare the disaster to allegedly prescient pop culture precedents like an episode of The Simpsons in which Homer pilots a submarine that gets stuck in a coral cave and watches his oxygen signal flash ‘Gone’. Or noting that if there had been a pretty 24-year-old on board, Jack Dawson would have saved everyone. Many on Twitter noted how the media reported after the fatal implosion that ‘knocking sounds’ were heard coming from way down below. Experts haven’t yet determined where they came from but it’s not likely the Titan, since the implosion and death were instantaneous. I was reminded of the old Twilight Zone episode in which a Navy destroyer crew hears strange knocking sounds coming from a submarine nearby that sank in World War II. But I didn’t mention it. It seemed to trivialize the gravity of what had happened. Rich people or not, lacking in judgement or proper safety management analysis or not, I can’t take pleasure in their deaths. I can’t imagine even taking pleasure in their deaths had it been Matt Gaetz, Josh Hawley, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Alex Jones and Donald Trump. I might have guiltily thought, Well at least they’re expendable, then castigated myself for it. We may not love them, but someone who knows each one and shares some of their DNA does. We all do dumb shit sometimes. Had my friends and I fallen off the Scarborough Cliffs, others might have laughed at how dumb we were, how we ‘deserved it’. There’s an argument to be made for that, but it doesn’t make it right. Not everyone does something dumb out of a reckless sense of invulnerability. Sometimes they do it to please their dad. How different are we from the savages of yore? The first two results are for movies featuring fake torture. The last two may be a mixed bag of make-believe torture and the real deal. Porn sites don’t much care whether the people in it are actors or real victims. Whatever keeps ‘em clicking, and the real deal, I’ll bet, gets a lot more clicks. Human suffering has always provided entertainment, but in ‘Pre-Code’ Hollywood certain standards had to be met for a movie to be released. The bad guy had to get punished (because in the earliest films he often wasn’t); no romantic or sexual relations between blacks and whites; no white slavery; no making fun of the clergy. How one handled other difficult depictions, such as rape, cruelty to children and animals and drug use were carefully defined. In ancient Rome, there were no such restrictions. It’s unclear whether Nero was ever the ratbastard of which some have written. He was no angel, for sure. The stories of his fabled cruelty stem primarily from three historians: Tacitus, Cassius Dio and Suetonius, who may have been the QAnon of their day. They and Nero existed during a time when the rhetorical tradition of vituperatio flourished. This pretty much encapsulated the ‘anything goes regarding what you want to say about your opponent’ including fake news, conspiracy theories and the vilest accusations imaginable. (Sound familiar?) Others have noted how similarly Nero’s alleged cruelties are to mythological stories. So the QAnon Toga Triumvirate might have been bullshitting about Nero’s human torches and other alleged atrocities, and I’ll note we’ve found no ancient corpses to back up any of it. Nevertheless, torture and execution as entertainment were popular back then and for many centuries after, with the fifteenth century being the most brutal, with torture raised to an art form according to Steven Pinker. We civilized ourselves after that, but I’m not so sure civilization is forever. At least Lee Harvey Oswald’s family wasn’t subjected to hideous memes on social media. We’ve all taken part in today’s ancient circuses, with only some of us hoping the Evil Billionaires would be rescued. In the movies we don’t have to root for them—they’re not real. Also, movie billionaires are always demonstrably evil, whereas I’m not sure any on board the Titan can be believed to be evil for any reason other than being billionaires. One wonders. Who personifies the real evil in the world? And how different are we, really, from the ancients? 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!

bottom of page