Feministe’s Favorite Fraudster

My favorite fraudster is back to pontificating at Feministe and she is as stupid and dishonest as ever:

Is the Russian government homophobicYou know, all of the evidence I have points to “nope.” The government was initially just trying to ride the wave of popular sentiment directed against sexual minorities – and it expected a Western backlash, because a Western backlash actually makes Russian officials seem tougher and more courageous (you can blame this on the disastrous 1990s, when the Russian economy and society suffered tremendously, when many people died, when there was no hope – and economic liberalization a la the West was blamed).

This is, of course, nothing but a bunch of stupid lies. Watch the members of the Russian Duma, listen to the President or any of the Ministers, and you will see that they practically foam at the mouth with homophobia. The “popular sentiment” is actually getting more enlightened and open to sexual minorities, especially if we are talking about people of my generation and younger. Yes, it’s a slow and painful process but more and more Russians are awakening to the ideas of tolerance. The reason why the government in Russia lags behind the rest of the population in this sense is that everybody in power is a remnant of the Soviet times. The same people who were in power when homosexuality in the USSR was punished by a prison sentence are in power now. They are not letting younger, more progressive folks to come to power.

As for the “disastrous 1990s” when “people died”, this loser chooses to disregard that this was the decade where an economy was actually created out of nothing and people finally started conceiving hope after decades of suffering in a country that was one enormous Soviet prison camp. That was also a decade that allowed her to make a living by chirping idiotically on American websites. I’d really like to see her try to do that if the 1990s had not happened.

The hatred of all things Western in Russia dates back not to the 1990s (when “America” was code word for “everything wonderful, enviable and amazing) but to the post 2000 era when Putin came to power and began spouting his anti-Western rhetoric.

The Worst Novel of the Decade

How does the following novel plot sound to you?

A housewife separates from her husband and decides she needs to find a job. After 10 years spent heating up pizza for her only child and doing absolutely nothing else, she heads to New York and immediately gets hired as a Vice President of a PR firm. Of course, she has no education, no credentials, no work experience in the field, and no people skills, but she immediately becomes a star in the field. By “immediately” I mean with the very first project she completes.

Soon, our housewife cum PR genius gets hired by the most famous PR company in NYC, gets a huge salary, a personal chauffeur, and is routinely invited to red carpet events. She puts to shame all of the seasoned PR execs at her company by her natural brilliance in the field of PR.

Then a Hollywood movie star falls in love with her. And that is just the beginning.

No, I’m not describing a plot of a Harlequin Romance. This is a novel called A Thousand Pardons by writer Jonathan Dee. Here is what Wikipedia has to say about him:

Dee was nominated for a National Magazine Award in 2010 for criticism in Harper’s. He has received fellowships from The National Endowment for the Arts[6] and the Guggenheim Foundation.[7] His 2010 novel, “The Privileges”, won the 2011 Prix Fitzgerald prize and was a finalist for the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. He was the second winner of the St. Francis College Literary Prize.

Amazon’s review page describes Dee as being in the same group as not only the trashy Jonathan Franzen but also as the phenomenally talented Richard Russo. I mean, this Dee fellow obviously has some pretensions to be an actual writer who produces actual literature. In reality, though, all he can create is an equivalent of 50 Shades of Grey without the bonus of the masturbatory potential. If the author of this kind of garbage gets prestigious literary prizes, then something had gone really wrong.

We all know that literary prizes get handed out for all sorts of corrupt reasons but the kind of shamelessness needed to short-list the garbage produced by this nincompoop for the Pulitzer is really scary.

Healthy Academics of the World, Unite!

It’s great to see that, among the whiners and the drama queens and the obsessive passive voice users, there are very healthy, balanced, and happy young academics:

I’ve enjoyed my seven years as junior faculty tremendously, quietly playing the game the only way I knew how to. But recently I’ve seen several of my very talented friends become miserable in this job, and many more talented friends opt out. I feel that one of the culprits is our reluctance to openly acknowledge how we find balance. Or openly confront how we create a system that admires and rewards extreme imbalance. I’ve decided that I do not want to participate in encouraging such a world. In fact, I have to openly oppose it.

Do read the whole article. I don’t do things the way this person does and I’m at a very different kind of institution, but I really like the intense emotional and psychological health that inspires this article’s every word. Even just reading the piece is soothing and therapeutic.

Thank you, dear E, who sent me this link.

My Magical Reader

Stupid WordPress statcounter shows the blog has had 1 visitor today. It also shows that this single visitor is in 17 different countries. Well, maybe this visitor has found a way to travel really fast. Should be taking out a patent, or something.

Seriously, how hard it is to make an algorithm that would at least show the number of unique visitors that would correspond to the number of countries blog visits come from?

Stylistic Question

OK, so please look at the following sentence: “He wanted to call his daughter but the phone call would have had to have been monitored.”

It sounds very clunky to me but what do you, the native speakers, think? Is “have been” redundant here if we already used “would have had”? Does it convey the sense of the plusquamperfect? Like the call would be monitored before he conceived the desire to make it? Does the whole thing sound right?

What would you use, “would have had to have been” or “would have had to be”?

Homeschooling Is Finally Condemned in the National Media

Finally, the tragedy of homeschooled children is getting attention from the national media:

Powell was taught at home, his parents using a religious exemption that allows families to entirely opt out of public education, a Virginia law that is unlike any other in the country. That means that not only are their children excused from attending school — as those educated under the state’s home-school statute are — but they also are exempt from all government oversight.

School officials don’t ever ask them for transcripts, test scores or proof of education of any kind: Parents have total control.

This is real progress because just a couple of years ago I was cyberbullied and cyberstalked by a bunch of deranged hysterics for saying exactly what this article says.

Trader Joe’s Takes a Stand

Trader Joe’s refuses to stop carrying Russian vodka. Here is its response to the initiative of the LGBTQ community to stop selling or consuming Russian vodka as a means of showing solidarity with the Russian gays and lesbians who are being persecuted viciously on the state level in Russia:

Thank you for your email. We can assure you that at Trader Joe’s, we do not take stands on local, national, or global political or human rights issues. We leave that stuff up to the governments involved, and we rely heavily on the trade regulations established by the United States government. We bring in many products from around the world as allowed by the U.S. government. We are an economic democracy, meaning that if people don’t buy a product, we won’t sell it. Our customers make statements about our products with their dollars every day, and we are dedicated to this approach. The Russian products we carry continue to sell well and will not be discontinued for any other reason! We hope you will continue to enjoy these and the many products we bring in from around the world!” – Trader Joe’s, responding to a customer request.

Of course, it is obvious that “we do not take stands on local, national, or global political or human rights issues” is a fallacy. Not taking a stand against injustice perpetuates the status quo and, in fact, constitutes taking a stand in a pretty major way.

I hope that this email is not real because the annoying chatty tone and the complete lack of sensitivity it demonstrates are very disappointing.

Not That Girl

I wanted to share this really great, funny post about the “I’m not that kind of girl” mentality with you:

I mean, Jesus, girls are crazy. I’m not embarrassed to say that, because it’s true. Especially during that time of the month. God, if you think it’s bad being a guy and having to deal with us, try being a girl surrounded by other girls. I mean, I love my girlfriends, but sometimes I just can’t deal with the crazy anymore.

Read the whole post here: Not That Girl.

And observe how, in spite of the best intentions and the brilliant writing, the post is based on the “I’m not that kind of girl” mentality that it tries to subvert.

The Perfect Vagina Media

I need to start a collection of all the insanely weird things that victimize people. See this example, for instance:

Women have been manipulated by the media to believe in a mythical “perfect vagina.”

I’m not only a woman but also not a very young one, yet in all the long years of my protracted existence I have not been able to locate any medium where “perfect vaginas” are mentioned even accidentally, let alone to the extent where I’d feel manipulated by the “perfect vagina” discourse. Is there a radio station, a TV channel, a website where show hosts and commentators go “Perfect vaginas! Perfect vaginas! Have you gotten your already? Get three for the price of one now!”

The funniest thing is that just this morning I read 2 posts in a row that discussed how menstruation was supposedly a huge taboo in American society and how it is never mentioned not only on TV but also among close friends. Now I’m discovering that there are actually different media that do nothing but talk about vaginas. These messages only appear contradictory. In reality, they are driven by the same conviction that women are always passive victims of everything, including their vaginas.

RSS Woes Continue

If somebody had told me that The Old Reader is run by Russians, I would have never subscribed to it. Trust it to the Russians to get bored with a project just when it’s about to start bringing in money and requiring hard work.

Now The Old Reader is scheduled to die within two weeks, and I need a new place to move my blogroll. Is there anything but the hateful Feedly?

Is there a reason why nobody is creating a website for reading RSS feeds? It’s obvious that the demand is huge and there is a lot of money to be made from the project. Why is nobody jumping on the opportunity? Here is a ready-made pool of hundreds of thousands of users in the first week and tens of thousands in each subsequent day, but nobody wants these users. What is up with that? Websites are going out of their way to entice at least a few thousand to visit them, yet here is an opportunity going to waste.

The whole thing is completely bizarre. First, Google Reader goes out of business for no discernible reason. No The Old Reader throws potential profits out of the window and regales the users with some touchy-feely blabber about the psychological issues of its creators. Like we haven’t clocked on to their issues after seeing the endless pictures of kittens they have been posting on the website for days.

How is a person supposed to blog without a reliable RSS reader?