Thursday, September 18, 2008

WHERE'S OUR CUT?

As you know, the string of government bailouts of lending institutions continues apace with the government's essential purchase of AIG. I am 100% in favor of this. That doesn't mean I like it but I'd rather see the economy get away with merely being rocked as opposed to foundering. It's a lot like being in a car driven by the sort of jackass whose sarcasms are only outmatch by his ignorance in that a fatal crash would be so emotionally gratifying were you not riding along with him.

As the great Paul Krugman has pointed out, we are living in an economy where risks are being socialized but profits aren't. Would now be a good time to ask how come? If the rich folk are going to be bailed out when they screw up then don't they owe us higher tax revenue? Just asking.

Friday, April 04, 2008

RABBIT TEST REDUX

It has been disclosed that an Oregon "man" is now pregnant and will be carrying "his" baby to term.

If it's a boy, is there any chance of he and his wife naming him Butch?

Thursday, March 20, 2008

YET ANOTHER RAPE STORY THAT SMELLS

According to FBI statistics, about 9% of all rape stories brought to the attention of police are lies. A little over a year ago, Amanda Marcotte made an ass of the Edwards campaign by calling sympathizers of the Duke lacrosse players "evil" long long long after their innocence was clear to everyone but those ultra-enlightened beings known as feminists who are so amazingly correct that they refuse to let a little thing like facts stand in the way of knowing when they're right. "Can't a few white boys sexually assault a black woman anymore without people getting all wound up about it?" she wrote "So unfair." This post was so enlightened that Marcotte was obliged to censor it on the grounds that "some people" were "Making hay" out of it and you just can't get any more enlightened and free of sexism than that. Feminists have over the years repeatedly damaged their own credibility by grossly overstating the incidence of rape and ferverently endorsing whole swaths of rape that don't even exist as they did when they got behind the Satanic Ritual Abuse hysteria back in the 1980s.

Which brings us to the latest blatantly fishy rape story from some character calling herself Jezebel DEMANDING THE RESIGNATION OF DEAR ABBY for not believing a woman's story that she was anonymously raped by one of her husband's many brothers. According to the story, she and her husband were sleeping in separate bedrooms while staying over at his mother's house with his brothers. The next morning the wife thanked the husband for sneaking downstairs and boffing her in the dark. You can perhaps see where this is going. The brothers admit that one of them had sex with the wifey but refuse to say which one because, get this, they didn't want to cause trouble. Dear Abby pointed out the unlikeliness of the wife's story. Brothers are different sizes, taste different and employ different sexual techniques and suggested that hubby give his wife a good grilling to see if her story holds up. Abby also advise him to cut off his brothers if they continue to refuse fessing up. She might have also mentioned the frank unbelievableness of a husband sneaking down to his wife's room, having sex with her and departing without at least some small attempt at conversation like saying "Hi, Honey, it's me," upon entering the room.

Let's go Jezebel's remarks after snipping off the top paragraph:

Maybe it's natural to assume that a guy helpless enough to come to you for advice on what to do about his younger brother raping his wife would be foolish enough to believe anything of his manipulative wench of a wife. Maybe you think this sounds like a pretty good way for a woman to confess a spontaneous dalliance without really confessing it. But to jump to one of those scenarios is not only misogynist, it's FUCKING CLUELESS. Let me tell you a little story about a friend of my mom who is pregnant with her fourth child. Guess how she got pregnant? She woke up in the middle of the night to find her husband fucking her. She didn't know who it was, at first. You know how sleep can be weird that way? People walk in their sleep, initiate sex in their sleep, eat in their sleep, dream they are doing it with Barack Obama in their sleep.

But you know what they don't do in their sleep? Get up out of bed, go downstairs, and start fucking their brother's unconscious wives. No, that takes some hardcore wide-awake premeditation, and while I hate saying this, it's a kind of premeditation that is all too common in modern dudes. Read our site sometimes, you'll see. I'm not sure what it's all about: porn, evil, testosterone, evolutionary biology, alcohol, or just a "culture of impunity" -- but I'm pretty sure the last part is the biggest offender. And if telling 110 million readers a woman who says she was raped in her sleep is probably lying isn't fostering that sort of culture, I don't know what is.


First off, the wife in the story was able to figure out that she was being fucked by her husband which mitigates against Jezebel's theory. Second off, Jezebel says nothing about her Mom's friend being in different rooms. Aren't you more likely to wonder about who's fucking you when no one besides you is even supposed to be in the same bed? Third off, I think her friend's husband is the problem. I've occasionally fondled someone I was sleeping with—when you're spooning naked, it's pretty hard to avoid. But I've never started fucking someone unless I knew they were awake. That would be truly loutish. In the third place, don't you think she and her husband would have talked just a little bit after it was all over? Also note how Jezebel complete refuses to address any of Abby's reasons for being suspicious. As for It's a kind of premedition that is all too common in modern dudes," which, naturally, she "hate[s] saying," there's a word for that. It's called sexism.

My money's on the wife being a cheat and a liar. It's really the explanation that makes the most sense.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

THE LAST OASIS

As an atheist, the Marx Bros. are the closest thing I have to a personal deity. When I was in high school, the Marxes were big cheese among college students and some of our more politically active dropouts. By the time it was my turn to be packed off to an institution of higher learning the tide had ominously shifted and it was now the Three Stooges who were in ascendency. A few short years later, Ronald Reagan was elected president. Coincidence? I think not.

I've probably squandered years watching reruns of their movies and have seen their Paramounts so many times as to view the world through grainy, black and white colored glasses. The only one I'd seen just once was "A Night in Casablanca," way back in 1974 at the Elgin Theater in New York, where I also once saw a triple feature consisting of "A Day at the Races," "Reefer Madness" and "Night of the Living Dead." I remembered it as being something of an odd duck. Then last week I finally overcame my miserly ways and bought a copy. For a Marx Brothers Comedy it's a very odd duck indeed.

Right from the opening credits, which are beautifully done, the most striking thing about the movie is that, for all appearances, no one seems to have told the director that he was supposed to be doing a comedy, though one might think having three Marx Brothers on the set would have been an important clue. Instead the film is stylistically dominated by a deadly-serious melodrama involving murderous ex-Nazis trying to get away with stolen treasure and an unfairly disgraced French pilot trying to restore his good name who the brothers are helping so he and his girl friend can live happily ever after. The movie looks so much like a period drama one half expects Humphrey Bogart to step onto the set at any moment and the score has only the rarest hints of anything like humor. Mostly, it's lush and romantic and, though a nice little earful, it hardly puts you in the mood for comedy.

As for those murderous ex Nazis, in films past the Marxes were put in situations where they could show off their irreverency for social convention (though Groucho provoking a war out of personal spite in "Duck Soup" looks less like satiric farce these days than it does an eerie precognition of the current administration). The brothers run riot through a snooty party. They disrupt normal proceedings at a college by mashing coeds or burning books to stay warm. They inflict themselves on the rarified world of opera. The climaxes were always overwhelmingly comic in tone even if the comedy wasn't always stellar as with "The Cocoanuts." But here Groucho finds himself being set up for murder and, though his plight does result in a few pearly moments, it severely crimps his style as the great effronterer.

And that climax! Though not without its comedic touches the overall tone is surprisingly serious. For one thing there's that music again which has the dramatic urgency one would normally expect when chasing after Nazis. And the brothers who in earlier times, would at least chop a train up for fire wood or ride around a department store on roller skates and a unicycle while trying to save the day in this picture earnestly risk their lives to keep the villain from getting away. At one point, Groucho is obliged to hit the main baddie (played with excellent finesse by the estimable Sig Ruman) on the head with a heavy blunt object. In previous days, this might have been an opportunity for some fine embellishments. Here, Groucho just slugs him.

Despite this, "A Night in Casablanca" has a lot going for it and is easily their best film since "A Day at the Races." It was also one of their biggest hits. If I were you, I'd have a look. But then, I already have.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

DR. FRINK SHE AIN'T

One of the classic negative stereotypes infecting society is the one which has it that scientific or medical people aren't sexy—a view I once admittedly held great sympathy for as the movie star my ophthalmologist father most reminded me of was Elmer Fudd. (His looks and voice, anyway. Personality-wise, he had an occasionally daffy charm somewhat similar to that of the regrettably late Phil Rizzuto.) One of the most disappointing things about being the male of the species is how often painfully beautiful women aren't the brightest bulbs on the Xmas tree and how many wonderfully intelligent women aren't exactly the stuff of dreams. Smart, beautiful women are a gift from The Great Deceased and, in this case, Stingy Deity in the Sky.

Which brings us to a biologist Olivia Judson who defies said stereotype big time over at NY Times with a blog called The Wild Side, who I just discovered and am now a fan of because, hubba, hubba, can that skirt write. I suppose I should be embarrassed for just discovering her. It isn't like she's been in hiding or something. She wrote a book entitled "Dr. Tatiana's Sex Advice to All Creation: The Definitive Guide to the Evolutionary Biology of Sex."

And get a load of her picture. I've never seen any columnist or blogger with a head shot looking quite so mischieviously predatory as Dr. Judson's.

She currently as a piece up about fossils not from bones and what they say about the normal speed of dinosaurs plus what fossil DNA tells us about the evolution of birds plus other real interesting stuff.

Go. Read. She's great.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

As most of you are aware, there has been a rather glorious blowup regarding a very insulting column appearing in the Post Outlook Section basically informing us that women are stupid. The heat emanating from the liberal blog-o-sphere, as you may expect, has been something fierce. I would like to add a couple of observations to the ensuing pandemonium.

1) The lie isn't that women are stupid. It's the implication that men aren't. The Bush Administration is macho as hell. Anyone here want to tell me these guys are smart?

2) Exploding in anger and self-righteous snark, though understandable, is not the canniest political response. Instead of waxing like the Terrible Tempered Mr. Bang (an ancient cartoon character and my pet name for Atrios) we should be cheering. Intelligent liberals should want conservatives to insult women and insult them as egregiously and often as possible. Insulting women can do for conservatives what insulting white men has done for liberals: Drive voters who might otherwise be theirs deep into their opponents' camp.

Unfortunately, the tone on our side has consisted almost entirely of umbrage hardly leavened by the spice of bitter sarcasm. What a pity. This could have been so much fun that more people might have wanted to join the party.

And, BTW, if Atrios doesn't want people to think that women are stupid, why does he keep promoting Amanda Marcotte?

Friday, July 18, 2003

Just thought I'd put something in here to salve my ego into thinking it isn't all just an inglorious waste (though you just know it is).

Last weekend I took Amtrak's much-vaunted Acela express up to Boston and the ten-dollar Fung Wah Chinese waiter express bus back to hoary old Gotham. The Acela represents a multibillion dollar government investment in all the latest railroad technology.

Fung Wah beat my train by fifteen minutes and vitrually tied Amtrak's best advertised time of three-and-a-half hours.

I can just hear the Libertarians rubbing their hands and cackling from the inside of their SUVs.

I hate them.