February 12, 2014

Observations about life

Feb. 13, 2014: If being gay or lesbian is not 100 percent genetically hardwired, then isn't it possible that for at least some people, identifying as such, etc., is in part an act of social rebellion?

Nov. 5, 2013: Looking at the site of one's home town on Google Maps, especially at the site of the house where one was born, with said house having been torn down several years ago, can be kind of depressing.

Nov. 5, 2013: Whenever I hear the word "evangelist" associated with the phrases "social media" or "online content," I reach for my revolver.

September 27, 2013: Here's a good way to find out just how racist an East, or central, Texas small town is. Go to City-Data or some other demographic type website that has national election results for the city, or at least, the county. If McCain, in 2008, got a HIGHER percentage of the vote than Bush did in 2004, despite Obama winning the election, in part because McCain nationally had Bush's baggage, you've got a good indication there that a fair chunk of people in that city or town were ultimately voting for McCain because he was white and his opponent wasn't. (Note: Discussion has temporarily been closed on this post due to this particular observation. I may or may not engage further discussion on this thread, depending on whether or not Mr. Asher chooses to reveal more about himself. I may also require a Google ID or something for repeat comments.)

September 19, 2013: Add a phrase like "21st century citizenship" to other recent barf-inducing neoliberal phrases like the "social sharing economy."

August 30, 2013: Just a wild, off the top of my head thought. In a symphony hall, in the middle of a performance of the Mahler 6, in the middle or near the end of the slow movement, has anybody jumped up and said, "Needs more cowbell!"?

August 20, 2013: Ray Kurzweil-type utopian futurists are even more religious than Gnu Atheists. 

August 8, 2013: Science tells you how to find a black cat in a darkened room.

Philosophy asks why are you looking for that cat? What emotional value does it have to you?

And, that's why science still needs philosophy, and when those why questions are tweaked properly, it still needs philosophers of science.

Philosophy for the win!

June 19, 2013: I think paleo dieters ought to combine with breatharians, once they figure out the exact composition, by ratios of elements and CO2, of the atmosphere of the PopEvPsych EEA, and therefore, lose weight, trump conventional science, and become Social Darwinist sexists all at once!

June 7, 2013: When you're a defense attorney, it's never a good sign when the prosecution spends more time on cross-examination of your first two witnesses than you do on direct examination. That's especially true in a capital murder case.

May 24, 2013: Equal pay for equal work for women (as well as minorities) is a great idea. However, there's no guarantee that, other than the general idea of financing it by taking more money out of CEOs' hands, it would magically transform the economy. It's also arguably sexist to claim that women have, by nature, special shopping habits that would magically boost the economy.

And, if equal pay, and equal opportunity through destroying the glass ceiling, ever happens at the top, I have no doubt we'll have plenty of female Mitt Romneys hoarding money in the Cayman Islands, too. It's also sexist to imply, even if it's not stated overtly, that because women are more "nurturing," they're going to be less greedy than men.

And, such ideas fuel the male-sexist angles of Pop Evolutionary Psychology, too.

May 3, 2013: Introverts and people with anxiety probably make poorer liars than extroverts for two reasons. One is that we may be more innate pessimists, and a more "realistic" view of the world makes it harder to lie. The other is that anxiety and fear make it harder for a lie to be more convincing. And speaking of such lies, no, we're not "all in sales" these days.

May 2, 2013: The less meat there is on a bone, the more that two dogs will fight over it. Metaphorically, the same is true for humans. That said, this doesn't mean that magical New Age thinking about "abundance," prayers for the Christian "success gospel," or anything similar, is the answer. Metaphorically speaking, the answers may include looking for a new bone, looking for a whole new carcass, eating something besides meat, or accepting the situation as it is.

Jan. 22, 2013: To be a good salesperson, does one have to be a good liar in some way, and especially a good liar to one's own self, per some streams of thought in cognitive science? It sure seems that way, and this is probably related to pessimists actually seeing the world "realistically."

July 20, 2012: Never let your past experiences harm your future. Your past can't be changed and your future doesn't deserve the punishment. (Borrowed observation from a Facebook photo-poster.)

July 18, 2012: If the devil is in the details, hell is often in the "small stuff"; it's not always easy not to sweat those little things. Often, with things like work and personal relationships, many small things become more of a problem than one big thing.

May 9, 2012: If matter isn't real, including music, why would Christian Science churches want musical soloists? (Actual Monster job ad.) Why would they want a bunch of other things?

May 6, 2012: Why do most new SUV owners drive their vehicles over 2-inch bumps as though they're driving a compact car with worn-out struts?

May 5, 2012: You know you're in a rednecky small town when the postmaster uses chewing tobacco.

April 29, 2012: Per Capt. James T. Kirk, if you improve machines, you improve mankind tenfold; improve mankind, and we improve mankind 1,000-fold.

April 23, 2012: If we don't have conscious free will, theoretically, could that make life less stressful?

April 13, 2012: Per a careers website, I am officially in the fifth-worst job/career path in the United States. Tell me something I as a (current and trying to get out) journalist don't know!

April 4, 2012: If Catholic Rick Santorum favors procreative sex so much, shouldn't he like the idea of letting Mormon Mitt Romney roll the polygamist clock back to before 1890?

March 31, 2012: Competitiveness in general is like capitalistic acquisitiveness of money in particular. At some relatively moderate level, you're either pretty satiated or else you never will be.

March 21, 2012: Why is it that houses and yards with the most "no tresspassing" signs are, in general, the ones you're least likely to want to trespass on?

Feb. 18, 2012: Reflecting back on another Valentine's Day gone by, I wonder what that day would be like if America would drop its mix of Christian prudery and romantic rose-colored glasses and call a fair amount of what now gets labeled as love as good old-fashioned lust instead?

Jan. 28, 2012: Not only can you not go back home again, figuratively, you often can’t even go back to the same neighborhood again. That’s especially true if you were viewing the old neighborhood through rose-colored glasses. Or, if you’re viewing a possible relocation through rose-colored old neighborhood glasses. Often, that may be more the problem.

Jan. 21, 2012:  Early in a column about Joe Paterno's death, it said, "We in the media ... "

Whenever you see "We in the ... ” there's often a sanctimoniousness alert ahead. The commenter is about to contrast his or her saintliness on the issue at hand against all other members of his or her profession.

That said, the column is primarily going to be my direct quotes/comments, like this one updating Erma Bombeck:

"The grass is often greener on the other side of the fence because somebody's been crapping on it a lot."


Sheldon said...

Regarding the no tresspassing signs on undesirable houses. You are obviously not a meth head or a crack head! :)

(neither am I, but a house like that in my hood is reputedly one of those types of house)

Asher said...

I'm trying to figure out how an increase in McCain's vote total over Bush's indicates "racism".

Gadfly said...

Asher, I can't prove that racism is the cause, but it stands to reason from where I sit.

When Obama increased, vs. Kerry in 2004, his percentage of votes by 2 percentage points nationally and by a smaller margin in Texas, yet a number of small towns and counties in East Texas showed Obama getting noticeably less white support than Kerry, race seems the most likely answer.

Asher said...

Why is voting on the basis of race necessarily demonstrative of "racism"? The former PM of Singapore once noted that in multi-ethnic societies people have a strong tendency to vote their race, over anything else. Is it just that everyone is "racist"?

I guess I have to figure out what you mean by the term.

Gadfly said...

When the voting by race has a racist background, such as calling Obama a "nigger" (I'm not going to bowdlerize), emailing pix of Obama eating watermelon, etc., it's pretty obvious that racism is behind some of the "voting by race."

You got one more try at trying to defend this. It had better be better than what you've done so far.

Asher said...

How are those instances any different than claiming that when you vote Republican people are going to get dragged to death behind trucks or that "they want to put you all back in chains"? Actually, there is a difference, and that difference is that my examples were made in contextual circles much closer to the center of Democratic power.

I have Republican acquaintances who claim that Obama winning something like 97 percent of black vote is evidence of "racism". My response is "so what", I mean that's just an example of what is normal and standard throughout human history. To slap that label pejoratively on something that is normal and standard is pretty arbitrary.

Either you're stuck claiming that of human history is one of ubiquitous "racism", rendering the term meaningless, or you need to explain how things are different today.

Gadfly said...

I don't think your analogy totally holds up, starting that we've never had a black president until now. And, while I'm white, I've not heard about any great numbers of black people regularly circulating racist emails about white presidents/presidential candidates, etc. And, not that many of the counterclaims that you put forth were made "close to the center of Democratic power."

That said, people of all races can be racist. I've held that for years.

Anyway, I don't know if you have a blog or anything; there's no link to click on your name, so I don't know more about you.

And, while this was better than your previous offerings, without something like a blog link or something else to know more about your background, I don't think this conversation is going much of anywhere else.

Asher said...

Basically, you're offering a circular argument: "racist" therefore "racism", "racism" therefore "racist". For me to accept that the emails to which you are referring are "racist" I need to understand what you mean by that term. Make it:

a) unitary
b) coherent
c) nontautolgical
d) fewer than thirty words

My free time comes and goes in big chunks, which is not conducive to running a blog.

Anyways, having grown up in a neighborhood where at least 50 percent of my age cohort was black I assure you the stuff in those emails are quite tame. Further, they are no less slanderous than Joe Biden's line about putting "you back in chains". And Biden is far closer to the centers of power than some clodhopper living in rural Texas.

Gadfly said...

Given the fact that elected officials have passed around racist emails, cartoons, etc., I disagree. Also, one Biden doesn't offset many dozens of city councilmen, county commissioners, GOP county chairpersons, etc.

Otherwise, you know what racism is and you know what I mean, especially since I said racism is not limited to whites only.

Therefore, your "30 words" I take as a red herring. Even more so your "clodhopper living in rural Texas." This conversation is ended.

Gadfly said...

To follow up on my previous comment, not only was the call to define "racist" a red herring, the four stipulations behind it had certain insinuations that I wasn't even going to begin to argue about, or acknowledge as real by trying to argue about them. So, Mr. Asher, since I moderate, until I see a blog or other links to learn more about you, the discussion's done.

Gadfly said...

And, who says I don't agree with your definition of racism, Asher, or couldn't have made a similar one myself?

You assumed that I couldn't even before the last comment of yours that I let through moderation. I say that because, even before that, I noted that people of all races can themselves be racist.

You also assumed that I was basing my comments on some "institutional racism."

Given that both assumptions are wrong, I'll keep this post on moderation until I see some comment that I want to let through.