Thursday, August 13, 2015

Roosh V Is the Troll Toxic Radfem Deserves

As recently as a few days ago, I had a pretty low opinion of Daryush Valizadeh. The progeny of an Iranian father and an Armenian mother, Valizadeh -- or Roosh V, as he's more commonly known -- has become public enemy number one for radical feminism, or toxic radfem as I call it.

My personal opinion of pick up artists as a general rule is not high. In my personal opinion, they've set out to commonly objectify people in a quest for shallow sexual gratification. The impression I personally have about pick up artists is that they do this with virtually no care for the feelings of the people they objectify.

So even though I was disgusted by the behaviour of a Montreal feminist who led a swarm assault on Roosh V, I also had a very low regard for Roosh himself.

That slowly began to change as I gained a better understanding of who Roosh V is and what he's really about. That eventually culminated in his recent interview with Ezra Levant, and mine is a changed mind.

I've come to realize that Roosh V is a lot of things. But if I had to quantify it, I'd estimate it as follows: he's 50% serious about some serious issues, 20% comedian, 20% satirist, 10% provocateur. And all troll, but a troll in the George Takei vein: a troll with a very specific agenda which he genuinely believes is in the best interests of western civilization, and which he pursues in the most irreverent fashion imaginable. And like Takei he has a horse in the race.

His approach is that of the old-school wrestling heel who gets on the mic and says deliberately-provocative things to get his targets riled up. In pro wrestling, they refer to it as "cheap heat." Roosh V is absolutely swimming in it.

He says that rape should be legal. He says that women should submit to him. Just like Rowdy Roddy Piper always told the people of Tallahassee that the women of Tallahassee are the fattest and ugliest on the whole planet. And told the people of Raleigh the same thing about the women of Raleigh. And of course he always really meant it all of the time, right?

Let me put it to you this way: answer that question in a particular way, and you're a complete mark. That ain't a good thing to be.

The radical feminists of Montreal, the radical feminists of Toronto, and various civic politicians (as well as numerous NDP candidates) have effectively outed themselves as complete marks; people who can be taunted, baited, and insulting into giving someone exactly the reaction they want.

This isn't only how old-school wrestling heels work. It's also how trolls work. Trolls love cheap heat. It's their specialty.

In with the comments designed to be deliberately-provocative, Roosh also sprinkles some truth. Perhaps every bit as important as that, he also draws them out and makes them expose themselves for who they really are.

The Montreal incident is a classic example. A vengeful feminist threw a beer in his face. That's not a big deal, and it wouldn't be if that was all that happened. But it quickly became apparent that throwing a beer in his face wasn't enough. She then had to savagely berate him, which also wouldn't be a big deal if that had been all that happened.

She and a mob of her fellow toxic radfem psychos and their beta male toadies then followed him up the street, attempting to physically attack him all the way. They then sent out a torrent of tweets encouraging other people to also attack him. One Quebec beta even made Facebook comments wishing rape on Roosh's unborn hypothetical daughter. And received applause from self-described feminists for it.

All this over someone who wins if he can do so little as have a meet and great with forty guys in Toronto on Saturday.

Perhaps that in itself is the most revealing thing of all: the tolerance of toxic radfem to opposing ideas is so low that they seek to prohibit something so seemingly insignificant.

Roosh V is the troll toxic radfem deserves.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

This is What You'd Call "Salvaging Teh Narrative"

With the cat publicly out of the bag regarding just how insane the plight of Gregory Alan Elliott really is, and with the cat out of the bag regarding just how vicious and vindictive his accusers are, it's been interesting to see how the tables have turned.

Since a recent National Post article written by Christie Blatchford, it's also been remarkable to see the supporters of Steph Guthrie and Heather Reilly flock to try to salvage the narrative. I've previously examined an ethically-questionable Canadaland blogpost by Anne Theriault wherein the author essentially tried to shame Blatchford for publishing details of the case that are certainly portray Guthrie's and Reilly's conduct in a less-than-flattering light.

The general modus operandi of Guthrie's and Reilly's followers can be described quite simply: suppress the facts. They are smart enough to understand that their narrative cannot survive with those facts in the open.

But there was one supporter of Guthrie and Reilly who attempted to adopt a different tactic. National Post Full Comment blogger Alheli Picazo attempted a different tactic. She acknowledged the disturbing conduct of Guthrie and Reilly, but tried to muddy the waters by claiming the case had exposed Guthrie and Reilly to online harassment.

Then there was this:

"Should charges against Elliott be dismissed, Guthrie and Reilly, and their group of vocal public supporters, will be inundated with more misogynistic attacks from angry MRAs, including threats of rape or murder. It’s happened before. It will again."

It essentially amounted to: sure Guthrie (in particular) set out to harass people, and sure Guthrie (in particular) expressed a callous indifference to whether or not she was ruining lives, or even potentially driving someone to suicide. MRAs are bad, and that's somehow become central to this case.

Picazo's blogpost is essentially the kind of intellectual puffery you'd expect from someone attempted to look based without actually being based. While acknowledging the catastrophic damage done to teh narrative she still tries to salvage it by invoking -- often without evidence, or even being able to link the two -- MRAs and harassment.

That became all the more clear when Picazo was deemed by the toxic radfem mob to have not sufficiently dismissed Guthrie's and Reilly's ill conduct, and she rushed to write this blogpost, this time on her own blog. Wherein she twists herself into pretzels trying to still hate on Elliott.

It features gems like the following:

"To those accusing me of seeking to defend Blatchford, as intent to undermine Guthrie/Reilly, or as somehow actively championing an odious twitter persona I’m on the record as having no sympathy for..."

"I am genuinely concerned about the fallout should a verdict not favour the complainants."

"None of this diminishes the complainants’ perceived sense of fear, nor does it excuse Eliiott’s alleged behaviour."

"... Should the judge rule in Elliott’s favour, it ensures the focus remains on the Crown’s potential shortcomings rather than the validity of the complainants’ experience.

One can believe the allegations, even support the complainants, while recognizing evidentiary weaknesses."

These particular passages from Picazo's "explanatory" blogpost raise some serious questions about just how Picazo herself has judged whose side to take.

She makes herself perfectly clear here: she's on the side of Guthrie and Reilly. That's her prerogative. But having claimed to have read the available court documents, there are some clearly-glaring inconsistencies between Picazo's take and the facts of the case, as they've emerged through in-court testimony.

Most key is that Guthrie and Reilly testified to a feeling of being "creeped out," rather than fear. In my mind it's worth noting that "creeped out" is typically a term people use to attack people they don't like, rather than an actual expression of fear. In fact, at specific points in her testimony Guthrie (in particular) seemed tacitly unwilling to testify that she was genuinely afraid of Elliott.

If Bendilin Spurr put on the stand, I wonder if he could honestly say the same of Guthrie?

Picazo stipulates that she is concerned about the fallout from the case, specifically if the outcome doesn't favour Guthrie and Reilly. And of the evidence? Evidence be damned. The evidence is weak, but Picazo has still judged Elliott to be guilty. And she did that all the way back in 2012.

All this while constantly complaining about "harassment" of the complainants. She specifically refers to rape threats and death threats "from MRAs."

Not only does she not provide any evidence of any rape threats or death threats toward Guthrie or Reilly -- although I've seen plenty of common mockery -- that she attributes them to "angry MRAs" is very telling. For the toxic radfem mob there is no dog whistle to which they are more sensitive than that of MRA. Many of them seem to believe that there is an MRA hiding under every rock, behind every tree.

Here's where this takes a really ironic twist. First off, I can't think of any publicly-documented instances of feminists -- or even women, for that matter -- being besieged (literally besieged) by "angry MRAs." But it's a matter of public record that a University of Virgina fraternity spent a period of weeks last year with their home besieged (literally besieged) by angry radical feminists, all over rape allegations that turned out to be false. It's also a matter of public record that attendees of an MRA event at the University of Toronto were forced to first run a gauntlet of abusive radical feminists who berated them, cajoled them and insulted them every step of the way. There were even reports of violent threats.

Secondly, I myself have been threatened with violence by one of Picazo's followers. I'll decline to mention the individual by name, but essentially this amounted to some muscle dummy threatening to break my face because I used the phrase "self-styled," and he didn't know what it meant. (When you consider how often that phrase appears in comic books, that speaks volumes as to his reading level.)

I wasn't particularly intimidated by it, but it's very telling as to just how serious Picazo is about threats and harassment.

Picazo, erstwhile crusader against online threats and harassment, chose to say nothing that day. In fact, she chose to talk some smack about me with the guy who was literally minutes away from making a violent threat. (It also strikes me as a comment on the character of Picazo's online personae that she chose to do that after I'd agreed with her that Moncton shooter Justin Bourque is a domestic terrorist.)

So don't be taken in by Alheli Picazo's talk about harassment and threats. It's not anything that she's genuinely concerned about, it's just her last-ditch effort to salvage teh narrative. And she's utterly transparent.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Canadaland is the Worst

"Christie Blatchford is the Worst," blares the headline of a recent Canadaland blogpost about the Gregory Allan Elliot case.

It actually gets worse from there, as blogger Anne Theriault goes on to complain that Blatchford is insignificantly sympathetic to the complainants of the trial, and not hostile enough to the defendant. Theriault then goes on to spin on behalf of the complainants -- who in my own opinion, and based on the facts of the case are the ones who should really be on trial -- trying to pass off Blatchford's reporting as not sufficiently rooted in fact.

Yet, instead, it's Theriault's account that chooses to leave a vast swarth of fact out, and for reasons that strike me as fairly obvious.

For example, she makes no mention of the foul malfeasance in relation to not only Elliott himself, but towards Bendilin Spurr, a man who created an incredibly stupid online game in which those playing it could punch Anita Sarkeesian in the face until she's bruised and bloody.

For this, Guthrie targeted Spurr for harassment. In the online parlance, she doxxed him, and suggested that those participating in her harassment campaign against him should take care that he become unemployable in the Seault Ste Marie area.

When put on the stand, Guthrie expressed a stunning degree of callousness toward her target. She testified that she would feel no guilt whatsoever should Mr Spurr's life be ruined, or even if he took his own life.

Guthrie admitted that she also targeted Elliott himself, and declared that she actually thought herself entitled to attack and smear Mr Elliott without having to face a defense from him.

If that isn't demanding privilege, I don't know what is.

What's worse is that Guthrie and her supporters, via bail conditions, were actually granted such privilege. Guthrie's supporters continue to smear Elliott and can do so without without him having the opportunity to defend himself.

Theriault at least has the ethical wherewithal to identify herself as a friend of Guthrie and co-complainant Heather Reilly. However, this is where another interesting detail of the trial -- which I personally refer to as the Guthrie Trial, as that is who I personally believe should be on trial -- comes into play: that of the "August meeting" wherein Guthrie, Reilly and several other women involved in the WiToPoli community met in order to decide how they would communally attack Elliott.

Was Theriault, friend of these two women, present at the August meeting, wherein a conspiracy against Elliott was obviously hatched? If she was, this is undisclosed. I do have to admit that if Theriault were to claim she was not present at that meeting, I wouldn't be predisposed to believe her, as she has insisted on expanding the smear campaign against Gregory Alan Elliott to Christie Blatchford.

Theriault closes her blogpost by attempting to blame Blatchford's reporting for causing Guthrie and Reilly to be harassed. She offers less than a handful of cherry-picked tweets in order to serve as evidence of this.

There is some irony in this. First off, if the facts of the case, as revealed via testimony in court, are sufficient enough to provoke this scale of public disgust with these two women, perhaps Theriault has chosen the wrong horse to bet on. (Speaking strictly metaphorically, of course.) Second, if we are to be disgusted by harassment, perhaps there's a better horse for Theriault to bet on than one who herself was so proud of the harassment campaign that she instigated that she gave a TEDx talk about it, and actually bragged about the number of people she was able to get participating in that campaign.

But then we must consider one further point of irony: Theriault herself. The general line of smear against Gregory Alan Elliott by Guthrie's supporters is that he's a "creep" who doesn't respect people's boundaries.

Anne Theriault first got attention from the internet by spying on, and live-tweeting, some hapless couple's first date. Does this seem to you like someone who respects other people's boundaries?

In the final analysis, it's all incredibly ironic. Jesse Brown has managed to elevate Canadaland from some run-of-the-mill weblog into something of a destination blog because he frequently sets out to take the piss out of the mainstream media, usually on ethical grounds.

Well, this attempt on Christie Blatchord's reporting on the Guthrie Trial was an attempt that Brown should have simply declined to permit Canadaland to become involved in. Anne Theriault's ethically-dubious account of the story is ample fodder for anyone who may feel it necessary to take the piss out of Canadaland.

At least Christie Blatchford probably got a good laugh out of it.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Thomas Piketty's Fun With False Equivalence

Of all the so-called "star economists" in the world, by far the most undeserving of the title is Thomas Piketty. Bar none.

In fact, in Piketty's case, one would have to use a few more quotation marks to make clear just how unfitting the title of "star economist" is to him. It would be more like "star 'economist'." As in, not only is he not really a star, but he's not much of an economist.

Nor is he much of a historian.

As this is written, Greece's future is extremely uncertain. In a referendum the Greek people have voted "no" to adopting budget cutting measures in exchange for another bailout. Greece has already defaulted on its debt payments, and it's unclear if they intend -- or will be able -- to make future payments.

Enter Thomas Piketty. Unable to accept that Greece reveals the utter paucity of the school of economic thought that he not only prefers, but fudged the numbers in order to become a standard bearer for -- Piketty has decided to try to deflect.

His answer? Germany simply should not attempt to collect the debt Greece owes.

His reason? Because billions of gold marks in post-WWI debt was forgiven.

This is what people who are familiar with logical fallacy refer to as a "false equivalent." There is an obvious difference between a debt imposed on Germany when Germany was scapegoated for a war that those imposing the debt had every bit as much to do with starting, and a debt freely and openly sought by those who incurred it.

There are few ways Piketty could even possibly be more on the wrong side of history. The Treaty of Versailles did not produce a just peace,  In fact, the Treaty of Versailles is a textbook case of an unjust peace, one not reached through agreeable negotiation, but rather imposed at the muzzles of thousands of guns.

It was literally a peace imposed by parties that were every bit the belligerent and opportunist as Germany or any other participant in the war.

In the end, as anyone whose study of history is even passing knows, the economic consequences of the Treaty of Versailles gave rise to a regime far more extreme, capable of horrors the Kaiser would have never imagined, let alone performed.

This is a very different relationship between debtor and creditor than the relationship between Greece and its creditors. Greece's debt was not imposed upon it, but rather openly sought. The Greek government borrowed billions to fund consumption, and now will find that prospective creditors will not lend them even a single euro.

Perhaps even more insipid than Piketty's historical argument is his generational argument, wherein he bizarrely suggests that because the German government of today is not held responsible for the actions of the German government of 1914 (101 years ago), that the Greek government of today cannot be held responsible for its actions in 2009. Six years ago.

Yes, Piketty is this ridiculous.

Those who, like Piketty, cannot accept that the Greek mess is their mess, are now clinging to his poor and nonsensical arguments for dear life.

It boggles the mind to try to imagine just how Piketty imagines an economy should function. Greece wanted to fund absurdly generous social benefits it. It did not have the money to pay for them. So they borrowed it.

How could Greece have funded these programs had they not borrowed?

If borrowers commonly refuse to repay, lenders will simply stop lending. For other countries that may want to borrow to fund similarly unsustainable social benefits -- or perhaps simply want to borrow to fund infrastructure -- how will they do this if lenders are no longer willing to lend?

The act of borrowing comes with the acceptance of an obligation to repay. How does Piketty imagine that borrowers can simply walk away from the obligation they've accepted?

An economy cannot function like this. It's madness to think otherwise.

Greece is hardly the first country to ever default on a debt. In fact, it's been shockingly common throughout history. Recovery from default is, under most conditions, a long and arduous process. But it is possible.

What Thomas Piketty has advocated for is the debtor's alternative to predatory lending: predatory borrowing. This is the idea that governments, because they are governments, can borrow irresponsibly and unsustainably for decades and then simply walk away from the debts they've incurred, demanding "forgiveness" as they do so.

No economist in their right mind could actually support this kind of practice.

One thing is crystal clear: whatever "star 'economist'" Thomas Piketty is actually practicing, it is not economics; perhaps the Paris School of Economics should see fit to have words.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

How to Lose the Fight Against ISIS

The image above may be the most egregious blunder the west has committed in the fight against the Islamic state. We can look forward to it being used in ISIS propaganda.

Today, protesters took the "draw Mohammad" day on the road, and gathered around a Mosque in Phoenix, Arizona. This in itself is not much to fret about. It's long past time for Islam as a religion to grow up and accept that all things, including and particularly religion, are subject to criticism.

Accusing the protest organizers of bigotry is not a sufficient response to this criticism. So it's not about that either.

But one need not be a pacifistic hippie peace activist to recognize the foolishness of gathering around a Mosque while brandishing weapons.

If ISIS were -- and they surely were -- hoping for the west to grant them some sense of legitimate grievance they could recruit off the back of, this is it. Among those Muslims to whom the idea of beheading someone for not being a Muslim, for for being the "wrong kind" of Muslim, ISIS needed no help recruiting. Among those legitimately fear genuine oppression in the west, who needed to be given a legitimate grievance in order to join up with ISIS, there could have been no greater boon than the sight of armed Americans surrounding an Arizona mosque.

If any ISIS sympathizers remained within that particular Mosque -- a Mosque that had been frequented by those responsible for the Garland, Texas shooting -- literally nothing could spur them to more radical action than the sight of armed men outside of their own Mosque.

Now, ISIS' call to "Jihad" can more easily be perceived as legitimate, or even justified. Islamic doctrine holds that Jihad may only be waged against "unbelievers" who fight against them, and in the way they fight against them.

Those are two very important boxes that would-be ISIS fighters, be them in Arizona, the United States, the west at large or even in the Middle East, can now check off. They can now refer to attacks on the west as "Jihad" with a closer semblance to legitimacy than ever before. The idea that Muslims in western lands are oppressed now has a very powerful propaganda image to back it up.

This was literally the worst blunder the protesters could have managed.

Protesters defended the presence of weapons at their protest by pointing out to ISIS calls for violence against the protesters. Fortunately, no ISIS fighters, actual or aspiring, turned up at the event. No shots were fired.

All this being said, it's not reasonable to pretend there was no threat of attack. It's not reasonable to suggest that protesters should not have taken steps to protect themselves against such attack. But there were better ways to do it than openly carrying semi-automatic rifles.

They could have done what Pamela Gellar did in Garland, TX and hired armed security to protect them. Failing that, they could at least have kept in mind that Arizona is a concealed carry state, and not carried weapons openly.

Of course that would have denied some of these neckbeards the thrill of playing soldier, patrolling a perimeter on US soil.

Certainly, ISIS propaganda could have still complained about weapons present, but those complaints are less potent without the image of them.

So these Arizona protesters may congratulate themselves for one thing: they handed ISIS a propaganda coup the likes of which they could only have imagined.

Good job, boneheads.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Joss Whedon Didn't Understand Social Justice Warriors

Joss Whedon must have thought himself very clever. Very clever, indeed.

See, Whedon was a man with a problem: most of the media properties he ever created or adapted had deeply conservative ideas at their core.

But he so desperately wanted to be one of who he thought the cool kids were. So he had to find a way to masquerade as a leftist. So first he made a video suggesting that electing Mitt Romney as President of the United States would result in a zombie apocalypse. (That there have been numerous violent outbreaks which roughly resemble the zombie apocalypse under Barack Obama simply reveals how insightful Whedon's leftist bleatings have been... not very.)

This wasn't enough. So Whedon decided to cozy up to who he -- with his epic lack of insight -- thought was the coolest kid of all: Anita Sarkeesian. He would masquerade as a feminist social justice warrior, even though nearly everything in nearly anything he ever produced was bound to disgust your average SJdub.

For a while, things were good. He helped Sarkeesian -- who despite having establishment feminists pushing her very hard down people's throats, is something of a nonentity within the media which she criticizes -- raise her profile. She at least seemed to be helping him evade criticism for the distinctly-non-social-justicey nature of his work.

Then Avengers Age of Ultron dropped, and Whedon began to receive harassment and threats over Twitter. But not from #Gamergate, who he liked to being like the KKK. Rather, it was all from the SJdub allies he had attempted to cultivate by associating with Sarkeesian.

This included Sarkeesian's producer and writer, Johathon McIntosh, whose attack on Age of Ultron contained eye-roll-inducing phrases such as "toxic hegemonic masculinity."

Somewhere Whedon is reading McIntosh's tweets and declaring "curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!"

Not-at-all-ironically, The Mary Sue -- a website typically obsessed with online harassment -- simply declined to recognize the virulent harassment of Whedon by radical feminists, who themselves did not understand the film.

(It was his own fault, really, Whedon had the gross misfortune to be born without a vagina, so of course TMS will ignore harassment of him by toxic radical feminists.)

The complaint of the toxic radical feminists in question was that the Black Widow (Scarlett Johansen) described herself as a "monster" after explaining how she was sterilized as part of her assassin training. (The detail that she was sterilized so that having a family would never distract her from being a killing machine somehow managed to elude them.)

Some demanded to know who permitted Whedon to write the Widow character. I can only presume they would have preferred she remain fertile so she could go on to have, like, a hundred abortions.

It's not Whedon's fault that he was targeted for concentrated harassment by toxic radical feminists. That's the fault of those targeting him. But it is his fault that he deluded himself about his place in the grand scheme of what passes for toxic radical feminist "thought."

In future he'll know better.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Democracy Watch Has Jumped the Shark

So, this happened.

Democracy Watch has officially joined the political hysteria over government advertising.

I suspect that someone in the Auditor General's office is going to find their email-writing campaign a little confusing. They describe their letters as "calling on the Auditor General to audit Conservative ads, and on PM Harper to stop them."

That's rather amusing. The Auditor General has no power to investigate Conservative ads, and Prime Minister Stephen Harper has no reason to stop them.

Then you read the rest of the page in question and discover that what they're actually complaining about is "the Harper Conservatives’ government advertising that is propaganda for the Conservative Party."


Now, I don't recall Democracy Watch complaining when the Liberal Party was in power and they spent $111 million on ads in a single year... this after the Liberal Party was caught red-handed stealing from one of its government own advertising programs, the sponsorship scandal.

One of the revelations from the Gomery Inquiry was that, aside from the blatantly-stolen monies, the sponsorship program was administered in such a way as to help Liberal Party candidates get elected in Quebec.

The problem was so bad that then-Finance Minister Ralph Goodale -- who learned so little from the sponsorship scandal that he simply refused to investigate the Income Trusts leak -- felt compelled to defend government advertising in this document.

That document contains the following statement:

"The government of Canada has a duty to tell its citizens about its initiatives, decisions and priorities. Government organizations advertise to inform Canadians and non-Canadians about their rights and responsibilities, government policies, programs, services and initiatives, or about dangers and risks to public health, safety or the environment."

The amusing thing is that Goodale wasn't wrong when he wrote this. But that was 2004. He and his party are wrong today when he objects to government advertising for this purpose, simply because it's no longer to their advantage.

With all the benefits the Economic Action Plan -- which is, by the way, a government program -- offers Canadians, it's unsurprising that the Liberal Party would prefer that Canadians not know about it. It undermines their entire "economic program" advertised to date.

So the Liberals are doing what the Liberals have always done: they're attempting to poison the well. It's a little strange that an allegedly pro-democracy group like Democracy Watch is working with them to try to undermine this vital link of information between the government of Canada and the citizens of Canada.

Unless, of course, Democracy Watch is no longer a pro-democracy group, and has simply become a partisan organization.

In other words, they've jumped the shark. As has the Liberal Party.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Real Rape Culture on Campus, Part Two

 If colleges and universities produce the next wave of a society's leaders, the next wave of toxic radfem's leaders are going to be an amazing ineffectual bunch.

Just how ineffectual are the next generation of toxic radical feminism's leaders going to be? Well, they're going to be so busy insisting that ideas that conflict with their own are "harming" them that they may find themselves far too busy to formulate, define, and defend their own ideas.

For a quick example of this, check out the toxic radfem backlash against a scheduled speech by Christina Hoff-Sommers at Oberlin College.

Apparently radical feminists on the Oberlin campus have taken the impending presence of Hoff-Sommers as some sort of existential threat. They're literally declaring that Hoff-Sommers being permitted to speak on the Oberlin campus is going to "harm" them.

What's Hoff-Sommers going to do that's so dangerous to radical feminists? She's going to give a factual discussion about rape on campus.

One thing has become clear, particularly in recent weeks: the factual foundation of the so-called campus rape epidemic was shaky from the get-go, and the facts of the matter demonstrate that, in fact, there is no such thing as a campus rape epidemic.

That's what seems to be so threatening to these ideologues. After all, they've made out like bandits under the shadow of the campus rape panic, and they intend to keep doing so, so much so that they've congealed into an online mob to try to shame or rhetorically-intimidate event organizers into not permitting Hoff-Sommers to set so much as a foot on campus.

The most sobering thing about it is that all of this is happening in the wake of the University of Virginia rape hoax -- a rape hoax in which toxic radfem transformed into a literally violent mob which may have succeeded not in bringing down a fraternity chapter falsely accused of rape, but Rolling Stone magazine.

These are people who apparently stopped to ponder nothing, question nothing, learn nothing.

This is the real rape culture on campus: an ideological movement that is not above using force and coercion to attain gratification -- as literal a definition of rape as there can be. The difference is that the real rape culture on campus, unlike the fictional (yes, fictional) rape culture on campus, is that the rape culture that is toxic radfem is non-sexual in nature.

But it's a rape culture no less. And unlike the fictional (I say again: yes, fictional) rape culture demanding unfettered access to women's bodies, the real rape culture demands unfettered and exclusive access to people's minds. Or else.

And so I say to the following people on Oberlin college campus -- to Lydia Smith, Sarah MacFadden, Juliana Feline, Stevie Anne, Madalyn Berg, and all the other proponents of the real rape culture on Oberlin College's campus -- no means no. And don't you forget it.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Culture Fights Back Against Cultural Marxism

First it was My Little Pony. Now it's Degrassi. Social justice warriors are certain to not be amused.

The internet reached a fever pitch recently when the season 5 premier episode of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic -- a cartoon show ostensibly for girls, yet enjoyed by many men -- turned its guns on extreme social justice ideologies. In particular, Cultural Marxism.

In the episode, the main characters travel to a village where the residents have surrendered their "cutie marks" (emblems on their flanks representing their special talents and powers) in the name of friendship. The idea, the main characters are told, is that nobody -- or nopony as the show's lexicon seems to hold -- can maintain a friendship unless they're equal in all things. So in the places of their "cutie marks" they all sport an equal symbol.

The villagers -- who all live in bland identical minimalist houses -- aren't as happy as they try to seem. With each villager stripped of their special talents, pretty much everything in the village is mediocre. For one thing, the muffins are terrible.

Fans of Derpy Hooves will understand the significance. 

There's more afoot than there may seem. By the end of the episode it becomes clear that the episode's villain is really only out for herself. Her crusade against "cutie marks" and insistence that everyone be "equal" seems to be for the sake of gaining power for herself, nothing more.

I don't imagine that this episode will be very popular in daycares where children are forced to build identical LEGO houses so one child can build a better house than any other child.

So there's one blow up the gut of social justice warriors. Now, courtesy of Degrassi, comes another.
Batten down the hatchets, social justice warriors. It's not going to be smooth sailing from here on out.

Long a staple of Canadian television, it's hard to find a cultural property more socially progressive than Degrassi. It was among the first television programs to sympathetically tackle such subjects as HIV, disability, teen pregnancy, mental illness, homosexuality... far too many to name. All of this beginning in the 1980s.

Now the show is going to take a swipe at the concept of "safe spaces," -- the idea that social interactions must be strictly regulated in order to facilitate the comfort of specific groups -- and  not in a way that social justice warriors are going to enjoy. Judging from the above trailer, it doesn't look like the kids are down with this at all.

With a social justice ideologue holding the reins of power at their school as principle, it looks as if the kids are going to react quite poorly to the invasion of stifling, freedom-killing social justice ideology into their school. Some look like they're going to push back. Hard.

My Little Pony is incredibly popular among children. Degrassi's current home is on youth culture juggernaut MTV.

Social justice warriors have apparently managed to earn themselves some very powerful cultural adversaries.

Welcome to Degrassi, social justice warriors. Hope your Cultural Marxist ideologies (don't) survive the experience.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Hillary Clinton & The Hipster Vote

Hipsters ruin everything.

I think this is more than just a truism, it's an indisputable fact. Right now western culture has become a wasteland of things that hipsters have ruined. What passes for rock music foremost amongst it.

So hipsters, with their insatiable taste for anything and everything ironic, could certainly manage to ruin the 2016 Presidential election.

Elect a woman President who, as Secretary of State, left an American Ambassador to die? What could explain any prospect of such a thing other than irony?

It's enough to lead a person to presume that hipsters suffer from a supreme lack of self-respect. It explains the glasses, really. But just how little self-respect do hipsters have? Enough to elect a Clinton President? Consider what hipsters have grown up "knowing" about the Clintons:
"Blister in the Sun." Violent Femmes. 2000.

Essentially, the music video for this song -- which was originally written in 1983, but re-recorded in 2000 for the film Grosse Pointe Blank, not Weekend at Bernie's 3 (sorry idiots of the internet) -- holds that Socks was essentially the brains of the Clinton family.

Yes, Socks. The Clinton family cat was the only member of the Clinton family worth assassinating.

That's what hipsters have grown up being taught about the Clintons by staples of hipster culture.

So do hipsters have the dearth of self-respect necessary to cast their ballot in favour of a woman who, in the eyes of their culture, paled in importance comparatively to an adopted stray cat?

It can't all be about the irony. If hipsters want to do something really ironic, they could always vote Rand Paul for President.

Just imagine how Gordon Gano would respond to that.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

How Modernity Fell Out of Favour With "Social Justice"

In part one of this series, I explored the nature and the ongoing crisis of modernity. The crisis took the form of the conflict between camps referred to as the revolution (who preferred to rely upon empirical evidence) and the counter-revolution (who preferred to rely upon dogmas and doctrines).

The conflict could never be permanently resolved. Periodic detentes were achieved through a mediating force: Cartesian reason. But those detentes were few and far between. I refer to the ongoing process of attempting to mediate between the two Cartesian modernity.

Cartesian modernity was a successful enough project that for centuries it prevented Europe from completely destroying itself.

But as fate would have it, Cartesian modernity -- and with it, objective reason as its central mediating force -- would fall out of favour with powerful ideologues.

Why did this happen?

It happened when ideologues linked Renaissance-era modernity to imperialism and Eurocentrism. The world was quickly changing.  The old world, so to speak, was stumbling upon new ones, and discovering new ways to assert itself in others. As Hardt and Negri explain:

"The internal conflict of European modernity was also reflected simultaneously on a global scale as an external conflict. The development of Renaissance thought coincided both with the European discovery of the Americas and with the beginnings of European dominance over the rest of the world. Europe had discovered its outside. 'If the period of the Renaissance marks a qualitative break in the history of humanity,' writes Samir Amin, 'it is precisely because, from that time on, Europeans become conscious of the idea that the conquest of the world by their civilization is henceforth a possible objective ... From this moment on, and not before, Eurocentrism crystallizes.'"

European incursions into Asia, Africa and the Americas opened new fronts on which the philosophical adherents of the revolution and the counter-revolution could compete.

While the resources and the infrastructure of the revolution (universities, primarily) were immobile, the prime resources of the counter-revolution were not. The counter-revolution could send missionaries and militant forces into these lands and obtain relatively-instant gratification. Universities of the European standard didn't exactly sprout from the soil overnight.

But even as the counter-revolution gained an edge on these fronts, it appropriated reason, or at least what it could pass off as reason. In order to do this it had to appropriate many of the tools of the revolution.

The counter-revolution asserted that European domination over these lands was justified by the technological superiority and (what they deemed to be) intellectual superiority of European modernity.

So missionaries carried Bibles into the depths of Africa, Asia and the Americas. But instead of simply lecturing about Christianity, as European priests had with their flocks, missionaries taught their flocks how to read for themselves. In time, the Bible was even translated into those languages.

This was an under-appreciated lesson that the counter-revolution had taken away from the Renaissance. The refusal of the Catholic Church to permit the Bible to be translated into languages other than Latin -- which only the clergy spoke -- had opened a front within Christianity which turned far more ugly than perhaps anyone could have expected, with rivers of blood flowing.

This was just one way in which the counter-revolution appropriated the methods of the revolution. In short, the counter-revolution cloaked itself in the form of Cartesian modernity. And it was under this guise that it spread itself across the globe while the revolution remained rooted mostly in Europe.

It's with this in mind that perhaps it's easy for people such as Hardt and Negri to mistake the counter-revolution for Cartesian modernity itself. But make no mistake about it. For the counter-revolution, Cartesian Modernity very much was a problem. Even Hardt and Negri have it as such:

"On the one hand, Renaissance humanism initiated a revolutionary notion of human equality,of singularity and community, cooperation and multitude, that resonated with forces and desires extending horizontally across the globe,redoubled by the discovery of other populations and territories. On the other hand, however, the same counter-revolutionary power that sought to control the constituent and subversive forces within Europe also began to realize the possibility and necessity of subordinating other populations to European domination. Eurocentrism was born as a reaction to the potentiality of a new found human equality; it was the counter-revolution on a global scale."

Interestingly enough, this belief in "new found human equality" is the preserve of neither the revolution nor the counter-revolution. but rather the result of Cartesian reason.

Contrary to what one may be tempted to think, it wasn't a result of mediation of the two sides' views. In both revolution and counter-revolution can be found the seeds of Eurocentrism. For the counter-revolution, the lands into which Europeans had incurred were full of heathens, not yet uplifted by Christianity. For the revolution, (most of) these lands were filled with technologically- and scientifically-deficient peoples. In each case, the conclusion was that Europeans were superior,

A mediation between these views obviously does not produce a belief in the essential equality of humankind. Rather, this belief was a spontaneous product of Cartesian reason, but one that would require centuries before it would convincingly take hold.

The position of the counter-revolution was clearly rooted in subjective and self-serving thought. It could have been based on nothing else. But it's not difficult to look at the comparative states of these civilizations and see how one could presume the conclusion of European superiority was based on objective reason.

Speaking strictly for myself, I don't believe that presumption would fail the tests of virtue epistemics, particularly virtue reliabalism. It's my personal opinion that the locus of the conclusion of European superiority was as much, if more so, internal as it was external. In short: ego. It's not at all difficult to understand how someone may have made the comparison between the civilizations and simply wanted to conclude they were superior.

But the appropriation of Cartesian reason for the purpose of drawing this conclusion has, in the minds of many, linked it indivisibly to Eurocentrism and by extension to imperialism.

People who subscribe to social justice ideologies don't care for imperialism very much.

So they were confronted by the need for tools not tainted by Eurocentrism and imperialism. They stumbled upon a rather curious alternative: subjective reason. Thusly, postmodernity was born.

They found that subjective reason had advantages that objective reason did not. Objective reason required that one reason strictly according to empirical evidence -- material evidence which could be observed. But many of the arguments that the champions of postmodernity wished to make could not be made on the basis of empirical evidence, or at least not on empirical evidence alone.

To do this they would colonize the primary intellectual infrastructure of the revolution: the academy. And in doing so they would create entire new fields of study with loose evidentiary standards, and effectively non-existent tools of internal inquiry.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

The Real Rape Culture on Campus

The gray lady, she shall never be the same.

She's been violated. Will she survive her victimization? And if so, will she survive intact? Only time will tell.

But what of her victimization? Well, it just so happens that there really is such a thing as a rape culture. But the real rape culture is that of social justice ideologies that exist to force their ideas into the minds of as many people as it can, to colonize as many institutions with its toxicity as it can.

It's not a sexual rape. It's not a rape of the body. It's a rape of the mind, and make no mistake, journalism has been raped.

For evidence of that, one needs look no further than the vile hoax perpetrated by Sabrina Rubin Erdley, whose story entitled "A Rape on Campus" was published by Rolling Stone. The story sparked a firestorm on university campuses across the world. It was also completely false.

Before other outlets began to do the pesky work of actually fact-checking Erdley's article, Erdley spent some time as a media darling. She was treated to slathering praise on such media outlets as MSNBC, wherein she was toasted for helping to crack the case on the "rape epidemic" on American university campuses.

Thankfully, this didn't last.

The story slowly unravelled until today, when the last thread was pulled. After the New York Times published a damning account of Erdley's shoddy journalistic work, Rolling Stone finally retracted her article in full.

But it turns out that there was more to the story than simply Erdley reporting a story she had been told. Rather, Erdley spent months going from campus to campus, "shopping" for the most sensational rape story she could find. Erdley had been to Harvard, Yale and Penn State (yes, that Penn State) before she finally found "Jackie," who claimed she'd been brutally gang raped at a fraternity party.

The story had literally everything Erdley was looking for, including convenient rape villains.

Even now, in the wake of the story's proven falsity, there are signs that the ideological violation of journalism may be harder to shake than it should be. Far, far harder to shake.

In Politico, UVA student Julia Horowitz offers her personal explanation for why the story got so much traction at UVA. The following excerpts offer a stunning revelation: Horowitz has learned nothing.

"The University of Virginia — like most American universities — has a problem with rape. Current estimates, cited earlier this year by Vice President Joe Biden, hold that one in five women will be sexually assaulted while in college. That means that in my 200-person politics lecture, roughly a full row will be filled with survivors. In my 20-person major seminar, there are at least two. That is not a calculus I should have to work out in the margins of my Marx-Engels reader."

"We were frustrated by the repeated use of the 'Rugby Road' song, which appeared to make fun of the rape culture on campus but which most students, in fact, had never heard."

"... from where I sit in Charlottesville, to let fact checking define the narrative would be a huge mistake."

"Yes, the story was sensational. But even the most sensational story, it seems, can contain frightening elements of truth."

Clearly, Horowitz continues to staunchly believe that there is a "rape culture" on campus. She invokes the "1 in 5" canard, despite the study on which it's based having been thoroughly discredited. And she actually attempts to sublimate a disdain for fact-checking that she and Erdley share in common, and was in fact the very reason for this entire debacle in the first place.

Hopefully, someone at UVA is making Horowitz an appointment with a dunce cap. Perhaps she'd manage to learn something from that, even if she has learned nothing from the ignominious ending of Erdley's journalistic career.

And it is over, make no mistake about this. It's over as a reporter, and it had damn well better be over as a journalism instructor.

And in a terrifying portent for the future of journalism, it just so happens that Erdley has taught journalism at the University of Pennsylvania, and at Temple University.

Sabrina Rubin Erdley wrote a story based on a false account of gang rape. Rolling Stone published it. A group of young men were terrorized out of their fraternal home by a mob of psychos similarly-indocrinated into social justice ideologies as was Erdley, as was Horowitz. And from the looks of it, the next generation of journalists may be ready to rush out and repeat the injustice all over again with the same disdain for fact checking.

How could they not? Apparently they were taught by Erdley.

And when they do this, large swaths of the journalistic landscape will accept it unquestionably. Because of the narrative. Because of the agenda. Increasingly in journalism it's becoming the narrative, the agenda, that matters.

It's been an institutional rape of terrifying proportions, with horrifying results. Will the gray lady survive this violation? Only time will tell.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

After God Made Azealia Banks, He Broke the Mold... No One Needs Any More of That

Previously, I wrote about rapper Azealia Banks and about how she spews social justice rhetoric while failing to understand it or apply it to herself.

In an eye-opening interview with Playboy Magazine (good gawd, have they ever dropped their standards) Banks confirmed that, yes, she really is virulently racist.

But more than that, Banks confirmed another already-known-fact: that she's a blathering moron. Her comments on religion are as incoherent as they come:

"I don’t understand how someone could be an atheist. Think about God as software, right? If you were to look at God’s face, your head would explode. Because your head is a calculator, and the amount of information that would be embedded in his face would fit only on a Google-size data center. Your head cannot handle that much information. Stop looking for God."

It's almost as if someone from the mighty Google paid her to tell Playboy magazine that Google is God. Which shows what she knows. Anyone who has seen Airheads knows that Lemmy is God.

Banks isn't making many friends these days. Other rappers. White people. Homosexuals. Christians. Atheists. Middle America. None of them are people she's coaxing into her dwindling fandom.

I've listened to enough of her music to conclude one thing: she's seemingly got just one gift, and it's not music. Rather, that one gift is alienating absolutely everyone. She's finally alienated enough people that the only way she can get mainstream press coverage is to show off her birthday suit in Playboy. And apparently can't even do that without humiliating herself during the interview.

In the words of other, better musicians (most of whose catalog, oddly enough, I don't really care for): you did it to yourself.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Actually, It's About Ethics in Villainous Internal Monologues

So, did Marvel Comics take a cheap shot at #Gamergate?

This appears in the most recent issue of Loki: Agent of Asgard.
Many #Gamergate supporters are not impressed. They feel as if Marvel Comics has taken a shot at them to *ahem* avenge criticism they've faced over the new Thor.

Speaking for myself, I don't buy it.

Perhaps if this quip had come from a character such as Tony Stark that would be one thing. But the quip comes from Loki. Not only a villain, but the single most treacherous and deceitful villain in all of Marvel Comics. A character who, as he is literally the God of Mischief, would likely look at all the chaos and discord social justice warriors have sewn in the world and approve of it.

Taking character motivations into account, even if writer Al Ewing intended to take a shot at #Gamergate, that's not the message that realistically comes through.

As for female Thor: as I understand it, the objection many comic books fans have raised have less to do with the actual change, and more to do with the contrived way in which it was done.

Even then, everyone needs to relax. The idea of Thor as a woman has an interesting novelty. For a time that will drive sales, then when the novelty is gone Marvel will change things back.

Remember, this is the company that couldn't keep 90-year-old May Parker dead (bless her fictional soul).

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

How Does Canada's Budgeting Process Undermine Parliamentary Democracy?

If you weren't aware of it before, in reading Brent Rathgeber's Irresponsible Government you may be stunned to learn that what could quite accurately be described as Canada's "real" federal budget is essentially self-approving.

At first glance that doesn't sound correct. After all, the federal government presents a federal budget each year. In years past the late former Finance Minister Jim Flaherty would go out and buy a new pair of shoes. There would be a short debate, a few days of acrimony from opposition leaders, then the budget would be passed.

Then the media loses interest and goes home.

And why wouldn't they? What's left to see?

For the media, not much at all. For any elected MPs who sit on a parliamentary committee overseeing a specific department, there's lots left to see: the tabling of the estimates.

If you've never heard of this you're unfortunately not alone. That so many Canadians haven't heard of this is nothing less than a cataclysmic failure of the media and other educational institutions that we count on to keep us informed.

Most simply put, estimates are each department's spending plans for the next year, laid out on a line-by-line basis. MPs have a very brief time to examine them, then 21 supply days in the house to debate them and propose a maximum of 14 amendments to the estimates.

In order to be formally adopted, however, the estimates merely have to be voted upon by the committee in question, and the adoption of that estimate reported to Parliament. But here's where the entire process becomes largely irrelevant: if the committee doesn't report adoption of the estimate back to Parliament by the deadline, the committee is deemed to have reported and the estimate is adopted.

If it sounds like the budget presented in Parliament is largely for show, there's a reason for that.

If the media really thinks the federal budget is the most significant portion of the process they could be forgiven for being fooled. After all, there is no sequestration period prior to the tabling of the estimates during which the media may examine the estimates, then later report to the public on the plans detailed therein.

It's been this way largely since 1971: Canada, a Parliamentary democracy under the principle of responsible government, in which the executive is supposed to be accountable to the legislature, spends its taxpayer dollars in a manner not nearly as dissimilar from executive-centric France as we may have preferred to think.

Compounding the problem is that the vast majority of Parliamentarians lack the requisite skills to glean the necessary information out of these documents, and many of them lack even the motivation. So when it comes to how government spends taxpayer dollars, Parliament is effectively asleep at the switch.

So how is this problem, which Parliament doesn't even seem to recognize that it has, solved?

Well, perhaps the simplest way to solve it is not to table the estimates merely for members of each committee, but instead table them for the general public. Then, concerned citizens can contact their MP -- hoping that they've taken care to elect a good one -- to draw attention to their concerns.

If the public is engaged, Parliament will have no choice but to be similarly engaged. It may slow down the process of government spending taxpayer dollars, but do we really want a government that's in a hurry to spend our money?

Sunday, March 15, 2015

About #Gamergate, Ben Kuchera,and Gatekeeping

If Electronic Arts executives have any stones whatsoever, Polygon opinion editor has fouled up epically.

In fact, it should wind up being one of the most epic foulings up in any genre of journalism in journalism history.

Just what did Kuchera do?

Well, EA's director of digital communications, Chris Mancil, wrote a blogpost praising Breitbart UK writer Milo Yiannopolous. In passing he mentioned that Kuchera had some worthy ideas on how Twitter could better handle harassment on its site.

For this, Kurchera freaked out. He tweeted EA demanding that someone at the company intervene with Mancil to remove a link to a column Kuchera published at Polygon.

From this we can glean the full extent of Kuchera's irrationality: apparently one may not praise Kuchera if they happen to be praising Yiannopolous at the same time. And if they do, Kuchera will complain about it to that person's employer. That's how authoritarian, how stunningly eager to abuse his power, Kuchera has become.

Since his meltdown many other social justice warriors have joined Kuchera's chorus, going even further than Kuchera and demanding that Mancil be fired.

This brings us to a very interesting question: just how much power does Kuchera have? How much power do games journalists have?

At first glance,it might seem that they have a great deal of power. They're considered by many to be the gatekeepers of the industry. They have the power to decide which games get coverage, and which games don't.

So surely games developers and publishers must be sensitive to their whims and demands, right?

Well, perhaps not so much.

The relationship between the games industry and games developer is far more symbiotic than many might give it credit for. While  games journalists may have the power of gatekeeper at their end of the relationship, games developers and publishers have the same power at their end.

They have the power to refuse to grant interviews, or even release review copies of games, to journalists with whom they are unwilling to interact.

Therein just how badly Kuchera has fouled up.

It takes no more than a cursory look at Mancil's blogpost to recognize that Kuchera is being hilariously unreasonable and, in fact, unprofessional. To give in to Kuchera's demands would only reward that unreasonability and unprofessionalism from someone who writes for a publication that EA actually pays for advertising.

As an online website with no paywall Polygon literally has no source of revenue other than their advertisers. Kuchera is literally making demands of the hand that feeds him even as he embeds his incisors into it.

There's really only one way EA can respond: they must pull their ads from Polygon, and refuse to restore them until Kuchera is no longer employed by the publication. Other games developers and publishers should also recognize Kuchera's behaviour for what it is and do the same.

In other words, if Polygon will not fire Ben Kuchera, the games industry must fire Polygon.

No more ad revenue, no more review copies of games, no more access of any kind. The games industry must exercise its gatekeeping power and cast Ben Kuchera outside its gates. If Polygon insists on remaining attached to Kuchera, it should share his predicament.

If this seems unreasonable, games developers and publishers must remember: Kuchera would enthusiastically do the same to them.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

The Twisting Road to Victory Over the Islamic State

Even as Canada continues to reel from its first casualty in the war against ISIS, one important question must loom in our participation in this war effort is meaningful at all:

How does Canada, and how do its allies, intend to win this war?

Obviously, we intend to win it. If we didn't intend to win it there was no sense in going. Likewise if we didn't have any sense of how we were going to win it.

But how can the war be won? The war requires an endgame. And as Canada looks ahead to discussions about the potential extension of the mission, this is a necessity that must be at the front of our minds.

So what does victory over the Islamic State look like?

In my opinion, it looks a lot like a Kurdish state.

More specifically, in my opinion it looks like Kurdistan.

There should be no question that the Kurdish people have been our strongest and fiercest dog in this fight. They turned the tide of battle from near-defeat to victory in Kobane, and are generally believed to be giving at least as good as they get.

But they're always in need. Of materiel. Of reinforcements. And to that end, we in the west are not giving the biggest, fiercest dog in the fight against ISIS as much support as they need.

In fact, at least one British woman has been arrested for planning to leave the UK to fight not for ISIS, but for the Partiya Karkaren Kurdistani -- the Kurdish People's Party. They maintain the YPG and YPJ, the people's defense forces. The YPJ, specifically, is comprised of women fighting ISIS forces.

So with that in mind you'd think the PKK isn't an obvious villain in the region. Until you keep in mind that the British government -- in fact, virtually all western governments -- consider the PKK to be a terrorist organization.

It's said that one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter. It's been said often enough that the phrase has nearly transcended cliche. Yet in the case of the PKK, it's an obvious truism.

Until the establishment of no-fly zones in northern Iraq following the first Persian Gulf War there was virtually no safe haven for the Kurdish people. Even after the establishment of those no-fly zones the region historically known as Kurdistan remains spread out across the states we currently know as Iraq, Iran, Turkey and Syria.

Turkey is a particular issue in regards to the PKK. Since 1984 the PKK has conducted regular raids into Turkey, where the Kurdish population lives oppressed.

Turkey, meanwhile, is a NATO country. Which would complicate matters greatly for the UK even if it's government was sympathetic toward the oppression Kurds suffer there. The UK -- and the whole of NATO -- could not help but recognize the PKK as a terrorist organization lest it alienate an ally.

Turkey has been touchy enough about the Armenian genocide, often threatening geopolitical consequences if its western allies dare condemn it. And that was something that happened 100 years ago. Just imagine how Turkey would react were the west to condemn something it's still doing today.

So of course the UK must continue to recognize the PKK as a terrorist entity. Nor can it even partake in a serious push to reincarnate Kurdistan as a country without risking a key Middle Eastern ally.

This situation is in no small part analogous to the conditions that fomented the Israeli insurgency following the 1939 white paper. Then it was a British government dependent on Arab Muftis who ultimately controlled the flow of Middle Eastern oil to the British war effort, and placating them by limiting Jewish immigration into modern-day Israel to only 10,000. Then it was Jews -- particularly in the post-war years -- defying British law to immigrate there illegally, all so the Israeli people could have a land in which to realize their right to self-determination.

Now it's Yazidi Britons defying British law in order to repel the hordes of the Islamic State so that the Kurdish people may have a land in which to realize their right to self-determination. Them, and non-Yazidi citizens such as Aussie Ashley Johnson, who have joined the fight and in some cases even given their lives. (In Johnson's case, it's Australian law he has defied.)

In that western governments haven't arrested western fighters upon their return is indication that we have recognized the legitimacy of the PKK, at least by half-measures. We're willing to tolerate western fighters doing battle alongside them, so long as they don't intend to join full-time.

Half-measures are not even half-sufficient. While the contributions of western nations to the fight against ISIS are undoubtedly valuable, we must recognize that they are not enough to win the war.

I firmly believe that, in the end, only the Kurds can win this war. There's clearly quite a diplomatic and legal minefield that must be navigated in order to maximize the west's ability to fully contribute to that victory, but no other path to victory appears immediately feasible.

In terms of issues on which Foreign Affairs Minister Rob Nicholson could attempt to insert some leadership internationally, there are worse places he could look. There are few signs of anyone else trying to blaze this vital diplomatic trail.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Azealia Banks & the New Nadir of Social Justice ideology

For an ideology with such lofty goals, social justice ideology certainly manages to stoop to some shocking lows. Every time you think this ideology has reached it's nadir, it manages to stoop even lower.

Enter Azealia Banks.

Azealia Banks would really, really like people to think that she's all about teh social justice. She's openly declared herself a feminist and anti-racist. (Yet she assailed Iggy Azalea under the vaguely-racist guise of "cultural appropriation.") Yet while she quickly built an audience among the LGBTQ community, she's quickly alienated them with her own ignorant behaviour.

She seems to love the word "faggot," and spits it with the zeal of the most stereotypical homophobic redneck you could possibly imagine.

This has led to torrents of criticism from an audience -- gay men -- that Banks seems to think she had locked up. And so in an effort to stave off the criticism, Banks has apparently chosen to shield herself from criticism of her homophobic behaviour with feminism.

"The word 'faggot' came to me from my mother. And it was never a thing about a guy being gay. It was always just a man who hates women. You can be gay or straight. You can be a straight faggot… Faggots are men who want to bring women down, fuck with their heads, control them.

I definitely think a lot of the time with the 'white gay media' – especially with female artists – in order for you to seem successful or seem feminine you have to desire their approval. I feel like a lot of times gay men can be way more misogynistic than even straight men. Even how they come to you picking at your hair, telling you you're fat, telling you all this other shit. Telling you how to be a woman. What the fuck do you know about being a woman?

To be homophobic would imply that I'm, like, 'I can't sit next to a gay man cuz Imma catch the gay, but I already caught the gay. I feel like when I use the word 'faggot,' it comes from, like, a feminist point of view, not a homophobic point of view. It's really just kinda like you feel attacked as a woman."

So to Banks it isn't all gay men she hates. It's just white gay men. The gay white devil. That's supposed to make it all better one imagines, intersectionality and all.

Of course in theory intersectionality is supposed to teach social justice advocates that oppression exists across a wide variety of identities, all of which intersect throughout the population of people who the ideology considers oppressed.

This often also leads to an almost-mathematic tallying of alleged victimhood, wherein people who consider themselves oppressed rank their oppression over the oppression of others. For example, Azealia Banks is a black bisexual woman. Allegedly oppressed as black, bisexual, and a woman. So of course she feels she may disparage those who allegedly not as allegedly-oppressed as she.

But as a general rule, feminists -- even those who believe in intersectionality -- do not accept or tolerate homophobia. So attempting to excuse homophobia by hiding behind feminism shows only how out-of-touch she is with feminism.

Of course feminism isn't the only subvariant of social justice ideology that Banks attempts to hide behind, yet is oddly non-compliant with. In a 2014 feud with Australian rapper Iggy Azalea, Banks accused her, as a white person in hip hop, of "cultural appropriation."

Banks earned any fandom she had in the gay community by absorbing influences from the sub-culture of black gay men into her music. Azealia Banks is not a black, gay, man. Ergo, she herself is guilty of cultural appropriation. You need not believe in the uniquely-bigoted concept of cultural appropriation to realize that Banks is non-compliant.

So should Azealia Banks be excused for her rampant racism and homophobia? Well, I'm not a gay man so it's not up to me to decide. But for any such person who is thinking of forgiving Banks, it seems necessary to remind them that social justice ideologues would suggest that perhaps they've internalized the oppression that is at the root of Banks' behaviour.

Unless social justice ideologues are prepared to expel Banks from under their ideological umbrella this will simply represent a new low these identity zealots have stooped to; a new nadir for social justice ideology.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

An Appendix Regarding #Gamergate and Modernity

Yesterday, I wrote what I consider to be a preface to a series of blogposts I'm going to write about #Gamergate, social justice ideologies and cultural imperialism.

This blogpost is intended as an appendix to that particular blogpost.


If we accept the idea of video game culture as a singular front of the current crisis of modernity -- regardless of whether or not we agree that the crisis is manufactured -- then we must ultimately decide what role #Gamergate will play.

Is #Gamergate to be the counter-revolution, or something else entirely?

At first glance it may seem that #Gamergate is the counter-revolution, and social justice warriors (hereafter to be referred to as SJdubs) are the revolution. But first we must consider the attributes of each group and decide whether or not a role as revolutionaries or counter-revolutionaries would be mismatched.

Is #Gamergate the revolutionaries -- who believed in a singular locus of modernity based strictly on "what has been discovered in the arts and the sciences can now be reorganized through usage, meditation, observation, argumentation" (in the words of Sir Francis  Bacon)?

Or is #Gamergate the counter-revolutionaries, who believed in a singular locus of modernity based strictly on faith?

Well, here's where the lines cross and become more obscure. Revolutionaries are, typically, challengers. In the discursive battle over video game culture, #Gamergate is not the challengers. Rather, #Gamergate arose in response to corrupt video games journalists who were in league with the SJdubs who set out to declare video game culture oppressive as a means of covering their own corruption. It's the SJdubs who are the challengers.

Yet it's the SJdubs who have adopted the faith-based modus operandi of the Renaissance-era counter-revolution, telling people that they must "listen and believe," rather than observe and consider. So if we agree that #Gamergate is the counter-revolution of this modern discursive battle over modernity, then we must also understand that the specific roles are very similar but reversed.

Must #Gamergate accept the role of counter-revolutionary?

If #Gamergate is to accept and adopt the role of counter-revolutionary, it will have to re-make that role. During the Renaissance, within the Catholic Church in particular, a prominent tool of counter-revolution was the Inquisition.

Admittedly #Gamergate is neither as powerful as the Catholic Church, nor (hopefully) as dogmatic. But there appears to be a direct corollary between harassment complained of by many SJdubs -- whether real, fabricated, or attributable to third-party trolls -- and the culture of intimidation and fear created by the Inquisition.

Even if one doesn't fully believe the stories of harassment told by SJdubs, many people do. What is perceived as real can be very real in its consequences. Even if it's not within the power of #Gamergate to completely dispel this fearful environment -- remember that no one controls a third-party troll (perhaps not even themselves, really; I find third-party trolls to be deeply-disturbed individuals, and suspect many of them may be severely mentally ill) #Gamergate can at least stymie it by refusing to participate in the harassment.

To #Gamergate's credit, the vast majority of its members (at least by my personal estimation) refuse to participate in harassment. It must also be noted that this refusal cannot be applied across a social media-based movement, and so it will be up to individual supporters to refuse, to stand up to those who do harass.

If this resembles the status quo to you, there's good reason for that: it's because this reflects the current state of affairs quite accurately.

In fact, the so-called "revolutionary" SJdubs have adopted the methods of the Renaissance-era (and later-era) counter-revolutionaries for themselves; conducting witch hunts for game developers and game journalists who don't echo their views, seeking to banish them from the establishment, and threatening them with blacklisting.

These tools may seem overwhelming. Renaissance-era counter-revolutionaries certainly used them to devastating affect. But as we can see by examining the result of that discursive war, the tools of the revolution ultimately prevailed.

Speaking for myself, I would urge #Gamergate to accept the role of counter-revolutionary, but use the tools of the Renaissance-era revolutionary. Therein lay the tools to victory.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Anita Sarkeesian, Jonathon McIntosh and the Battle for the New Modernity

I'm sure this thought has occurred to Gamergate supporters from time to time as they ponder the contributions of Anita Sarkeesian and Jonathon McIntosh -- or, more specifically, the ideology they represent -- to the unethical mush that has become video games journalism.

At times some have certainly even wondered: do these two matter at all?

For my part, the answer is yes. But the threat these two pose to reason itself -- yes, to reason itself -- looms far greater than the quality of their academic work justifies. But in order to show this to be true, first the shortcomings of their work must be laid bare.

I'm certain this is another thought that has occurred to Gamergate supporters: just what is their problem, anyway? Why are they doing this?

The answer is both simpler and more complex than you may think: their problem is with modernity.

Just what is modernity? Perhaps most simply described, modernity is the prevailing ideological construct shaping the way in which we see the world around us. It's a combination of the technological, scientific, religious, intellectual and philosophical state of the modern world. Essentially modernity is what is modern.

Under no conditions is it, or should it be, static. In their book Empire, Thomas Hardt and Anthonio Negri explain how modernity evolved through the Renaissance into the Enlightenment, and beyond:

"Modernity is not a unitary concept but rather appears in at least two modes. The first mode is the one we have already defined, a radical revolutionary process. This modernity destroys its relations with the past and declares the immanence ofthe new paradigm of the world and life. It develops knowledge and action as scientific experimentation and defines a tendency toward a democratic politics, posing humanity and desire at the center ofhistory. From the artisan to the astronomer, from the merchant to the politician, in art as in religion, the material of existence is reformed by a new life.

This new emergence, however, created a war. How could such a radical overturning not incite strong antagonism? How could this revolution not determine a counterrevolution? There was indeed a counterrevolution in the proper sense of the term: a cultural, philosophical, social, and political initiative that, since it could neither return to the past nor destroy the new forces, sought to dominate and expropriate the force of the emerging movements and dynamics. This is the second mode of modernity, constructed to wage war against the new forces and establish an overarching power to dominate them. It arose within the Renaissance revolution to divert its direction, transplant the new image of humanity to a transcendent plane, relativize the capacities of science to transform the world, and above all oppose the reappropriation of power on the part of the multitude. The second mode of modernity poses a transcendent constituted power against an immanent constituent power, order against desire. The Renaissance thus ended in war— religious, social, and civil war."

The counter-revolution prevailed and the vanquished paid the price. Copernicus was forced to recant his heretical claim -- in time proven true -- that the Earth orbits the sun, and was imprisoned regardless.

But though the conflict was over the ultimate result had yet to be decided. An Enlightenment was coming.

The cultural conflicts that marked the Renaissance had to become the Enlightenment somehow. As Negri and Hardt explain, what was needed as a mediatory measure:

"The ontological dualism of the culture of the ancien regime had to be replaced by a functional dualism, and the crisis of modernity had to be resolved by means of adequate mechanisms of mediation.

...Nature and experience are unrecognizable except through the filter of phenomena; human knowledge cannot be achieved except through the reflection of the intellect; and the ethical world is incommunicable except through the schematism of reason. What is at play is a form of mediation, or really a reflexive folding back and a sort of weak transcendence, which relativizes experience and abolishes every instance of the immediate and absolute in human life and history. Why, however, is this relativity necessary? Why cannot knowledge and will be allowed to claim themselves to be absolute? Because every movement of self-constitution of the multitude must yield to a preconstituted order, and because claiming that humans could immediately establish their freedom in being would be a subversive delirium. This is the essential core of the ideological passage in which the hegemonic concept of European modernity was constructed.

The first strategic masterpiece in this construction was accomplished by Rene Descartes. Although Descartes pretended to pursue a new humanistic project of knowledge, he really reestablished transcendent order. When he posed reason as the exclusive terrain of mediation between God and the world, he effectively reaffirmed dualism as the defining feature of experience and thought."

It was with reason acting as the arbiter between science and religion that humanity was able to move beyond the fractious revolutionary/counter-revolutionary conflict of the Renaissance, and adopt what would eventually evolve into contemporary modernity.

That was a wordy paragraph. Allow me to simplify it, if more for my sake if not for yours: ultimately however you may see the world around you, you see it that way because Rene Descartes was successfully able to advance the idea that the best way to settle debate was to think about it rationally.

Centuries later that seems so intuitive. Yet when Descartes originally posed this idea it was threatening to a great many people still.

Descartes was considered to be the definitive figure in how this conflict would be settled. His mode of mediation endured for a very long time indeed.

But with the rise of post-modernity there are those who have sought to cast off the Cartesian intellectual order, so that arguments rooted nigh-entirely in emotion can be advanced over those who prefer rational thought.

The locus of intersectional ideologies which belched Anita Sarkeesian and Jonathon McIntosh represent the tip of the metaphorical spear. They and their academic progenitors have come to see nearly everything about modernity in its current form as intolerable, and so they have done whatever they to portray its very existence as a crisis. Wherever they have found evidence of such a crisis they have exaggerated it. Where they have found no evidence of such a crisis they have fabricated it.

Where Sarkeesian's and McIntosh's generation of activists largely differs from their forebears is in their revolt against reason. To listen to the discourse of third-wave feminism is to be assaulted with a continual barrage of the importance of feelz over realz.

In other words: how they can make people feel about a particular claim is more important about whether or not that claim is actually real.

A specific example: Sarkeesian's claim that video games normalize violence against women. There's no evidence for this whatsoever. In fact, the evidence openly defies this claim, as rates of violent crime have declined precipitously across the board.

But in presenting scenes of violence against women in video games, Sarkeesian wants you to feel as though this is a bad thing, with catastrophic consequences, and be angry about it even if the evidence -- what can be confirmed as real -- contradicts and disproves this.

Another example: the harassment Sarkeesian says she's received. She wants you to feel as though this is real and be angry about it even if she's never managed to produce convincing evidence of credible threats. Indeed, the alleged threats made against Sarkeesian -- particularly prior to a scheduled speech at Utah State University -- were deemed by police to not be credible.

Feelz over realz. Listen and believe. And reason be damned.

Anita Sarkeesian and Jonathon McIntosh are by no means the sole standard bearers for this anti-Cartesian shift, but for the time being they are the ones on whom I shall focus.

Consider this but the introduction. There is a long journey ahead of us.  It's dangerous to go alone.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Thawing the Nuclear Hellfrost of Social Justice Ideologies

If you've seen a photo of Reece Eber lately, there's a reason why he looks like a scared little bunny.

And if you've never heard of Reece Eber until just now, there's a reason why you're not alone. Then again, there's also a reason why you might only be hearing of him just now.

There can be no doubt that for the last several days Eber has been living in fear for his life, as news exploded that Eber desecrated the grave of "Dimebag" Darryl Abbot.

Eber is formerly the lead singer of a band named "Nuclear Hellfrost." (If you've never heard of them before now there's a reason for that as well.) Nuclear Hellfrost is based in Fort Wayne, Indiana. But a recent post on the band's Tumblr blog -- now deleted -- revealed that during a December tour through Texas, the band paid a visit to Abbott's grave.

There, they spat on his grave. That's the least of what they did as a group. According to Eber's account, he lingered behind after his bandmates departed and attached a note to the plaque covering Abbott's grave simply reading "fag." According to his initial account he also stole a pair of cowboy boots left by the grave.

He even took pictures of his work, and posted it to his Instagram account, with the following explanation:

"I HATE pantera…with a passion. and so does the rest of my band. so on tour going through texas we paid douchebag darrell a visit, we spit on his grave, stole a pair of cowboy boots, and i wrote fag on his grave… in not a homophobe but i hope the panturrrra fans see this… buncha racist hillbillies."

Well, Pantera fans saw it. And now Eber is at least pretending to see the error of his ways. But does he really?

Despite having used a homophobic slur, Eber insists that he is "not a homophobe." But even more disturbing is the final slur uttered on his Instagram posting, which seems to stand apart almost as if offered as justification for his actions:

"Buncha racist hillbillies."

I've listened to the entire catalogue of Pantera's work countless times over. Never have I heard a single lyric that would suggest the band is racist. I'm aware of no racist remarks ever uttered by a member of the band.

But even if it were true that Pantera, or Abbott himself, were racist, does that justify desecrating a gravesite?

Only under philosophical conditions that treat only people who hold requisite political or social beliefs as being worthy of even the most basic moral consideration.

It's become no secret that Nuclear Hellfrost considers themselves an "anti-racist" band. Even if they don't adhere to the other requirements necessary in order to be included under the banner of identity politics-based social justice ideologies -- and spewing homophobia is certainly a failure to adhere -- they clearly consider themselves to be adherents of social justice ideologies. As with all such ideologues, they seem to grant themselves infinite "free passes" for violations of that same ideology.

Moreover, their asserted adherence to that ideology -- even if they don't actually adhere to it -- grants them a free hand to heap all manners of abuses on those who don't adhere to it. Alleged racism, sexism, homophobia, or any other violation can be invoked by such individuals as justification for any kind of moral act they may wish to commit.

In the final analysis, they treat themselves as uniquely privileged to decide, on such basis, who is or is not worthy of moral consideration.

There's a phrase that describes this attitude: moral authoritarianism.

Moral authoritarianism has become as much a landmark on the landscape of left-wing politics as social justice ideology; such metaphorical monoliths grow evermore in size, import and prestige the further one moves toward the far-left.

This is why social justice ideologies are uniquely toxic. The ideologies, their teachings and their methodologies should be rejected anywhere and everywhere they appear in favour of means that actually pursue actual social justice.

Here's a general rule of thumb: people who actually pursue actual social justice will not do so by doing things that are unjust, as Reece Eber and Nuclear Hellfrost have done.

Not that Nuclear Hellfrost matters much. Their hatred has not only extinguished any meaningful humanity in themselves, but now also their musical careers.

Simply put, they're not a big enough band to afford the amount of security they'd need to keep themselves safe at a metal concert.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Why I'm Disappointed in Revolution 60

Don't get me wrong: I was hardly super-excited for Revolution 60. I've never planned to play the game, and I certainly have no plans to buy it.

But all the same, I had high hopes for Revolution 60. Well, perhaps more for the idea of Revolution 60 than Revolution 60 itself.

Many women insist that video gaming, if not a hostile environment for women, is at least not inclusive enough of women. They claim that not enough games are made that attract women to gaming. They insist that more games should be made that would appeal to women.

In the latter point, they're not wrong.

In fact, many of the people we refer to as "social justice warriors" believe that more games should be made that would appeal to people of any number of different identity groups.

They're not wrong.

Where they veer into untenable territory is when they demand that AAA companies make such games, and that they only make such games. No one has any business attempting to dictate to any games developer what types of game they should or should not make. That is what the market is for, and it works well.

Games that are more inclusive of such various identity subgroups is what the independent market is for. As a subgroup of the video game industry, robust and healthy indie gaming is the key to ensuring that video gaming is, and remains, inclusive.

Breanna Wu says she doesn't believe video gaming is inclusive enough. She says she believes it's hostile to women. Or so she says. She's certainly willing to lie in order to make it seem that way.

And if she really believed that, Revolution 60 could have been part of the answer to demands for more inclusive games. That is, it could have been if she had actually delivered what she promised.

Wu essentially promised that Revolution 60 would be true to its name. She promised a game inclusive of women, mixing empowering female characters with inventive gameplay in a way that would transform how women are portrayed in gaming.

Instead, Revolution 60 is the mediocre product of a mediocre developer. By all accounts, vast gaps in its gameplay are filled in with banal QuickTime events. Her female character designs are the most hackneyed and typical -- yet unappealing -- imaginable. And Revolution 60's graphics are reminiscent of the worst eyesores of the PS1 generation of games.

In the midst of all of this, Wu's constant wailing to the press about "harassment" and her self-aggrandizing behaviour cannot be ignored. It forces upon me the impression that Wu, whose game is achingly substandard (if not antiquated), is fully aware that her work is substandard, and so insists on injecting herself into the #Gamergate discourse in hopes of using the controversy to coverup the terminal flaws in her work.

In doing so Wu actually becomes the embodiment of the journalistic ethics issue that remains at the root of the #Gamergate discourse. Wu isn't getting coverage from NBC, CBS or CBC because her work is newsworthy, or even because her stunts -- such as "pulling out of PAX East" -- are newsworthy. She's getting coverage because she's connected.

If Wu spent the amount of time that she spends pulling stunts such as suggesting that #Gamergate supporters threatened PAX East with Sarin gas -- it was in fact a #Gamergate opponent who mused about using Sarin gas against gamers -- working on her game, then perhaps Revolution 60 could have become the game she promised it would be.

But instead Wu would rather create threads on Steam message boards asking if she's a terrible person -- only to delete them when she realizes she did so using her own account -- than doing the work giving Revolution 60 the polish that would make it a passable product.

In other words, Brianna Wu is too busy actually being a person to produce a product that deserves people's money.

I can't help but conclude that Wu's plans to not show up to PAX East has more to do with avoiding having to answer any questions about just how awful a product Revolution 60 is, and why it's so awful, than it does any belief that there are any credible threats against her.

After all, the whole Jace Connors debacle did turn out to be a #Gamergate opponent attempting to give other #Gamergate opponents more ammunition to use against #Gamergate. A lot of #Gamergate opponents managed to fall for that, too. Sam "Bring Back Bullying" Biddle even declared Connors "all that's left" of #Gamergate.

How very droll.

Thus, the heartwrenching disappointment in the overwhelming lousiness of Revolution 60. When SJdubs are told to go make the games they want to see made, lousiness of this magnitude is unequivocally not what anyone means.