Monday Link Encyclopedia and Self-Promotion

It’s impossible not to admire the Israelis for their dogged determination to transform a desert into an orchard and ultimately benefit the entire humanity in spectacular ways.

Ian Welsh’s posts are so hilarious that I just need to link to the funniest among the recent ones. I know it’s wrong to laugh at mentally disturbed people but, in this case, I just can’t help it.

I am no Luddite, but I have always rolled my eyes a bit at the various expensive educational programs that seek to put a laptop into the hands of every student. A computer is a tool: It is only as good as its user.” Hear, hear! I am yet to see any benefits stemming from the current obsession with flooding classrooms with technology. And I absolutely love technology.

Homeschoolers discover that public schools are not as evil as they for some reason imagined.

The law enforcement in Quebec is beyond ridiculous. Oh, the stories I could tell!

In Russian: the leader of Russia’s Communist Party suggested that St. Petersbourg be renamed back to Leningrad. I actually happen to agree. Tsar Peter was marginally worse as a blood-thirsty maniac than Lenin, so why the hell not?

What’s the matter with Tom Frank? Why has his writing deteriorated so much since his brilliant What’s the Matter with Kansas? Here is a great response to Frank’s linked piece of inanity.

In case you needed any more proof why the mistaken belief that men and women are different is deadly: “But how could Rodger—or any lonely psycho—react differently? Girls perplex and terrify your childish mind. They’re just so different—as Jeffery Eugenides wrote, they’re “women in disguise” who are impossible to fathom. Often, they don’t even seem human; like Prufrock, you can only comprehend them as collections of parts. . . Since you can’t understand girls, it’s easy to turn them into fantasy creatures, whose love has the healing power of unicorn blood.

A graphic novel illustrating Chelsea Manning’s trial. The most horrifying thing to me was the very Soviet-like use of psychiatry to torture the prisoner.

Melissa McEwan insults women a lot more inventively than any vicious woman-hater I have ever met. See her exhaustive vocabulary list of insults directed at women. I get a feeling she really digs humiliating us and calling us names.

An insightful short post on who makes it impossible to speak the truth about the advent of the disgusting Russian nouveau riches to the UK.

In Russian: a new law is being prepared in Russia that will mandate forced abortions to be performed on women deemed unfit to procreate.

The French and the Germans keep selling themselves put to Russia.

Anyway, I wanted a sci-fi thing to listen to, and despite the fact that Ayn Rand is sort of a despicable person, I sheepishly admit, I like Atlas Shrugged. What? It’s a good story. I’ve read it probably 5 times, but after the first time, I always skipped the 100-page John Galt rant.” That’s exactly how I feel about Rand.

When such completely ridiculous stories are rolled out to illustrate the existence of misogyny in tech, I’ve got to wonder if there is any misogyny there at all. Do rad the story and tell me if you see any misogyny in it.

A great idea for a T-shirt. I don’t wear T-shirts, but I do want this one.

In Russian: everything that Ukraine has achieved in the last 3 months.

Finally, a good, useful post for people contemplating a switch to non-academic careers.

The overwhelming success of Russia’s propaganda machine.

One amazing thing that came out as a result of the Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl debacle is the fascinating story of how his father transformed himself to help his son. This is the only country I know of where a non-Jewish father will be so unabashedly nurturing and dedicated to his kid. I’m in awe of this outstanding father.

This is exactly how I see Kindle books vs real books.

I don’t really know what non-toxic masculinity is. Maybe we’ll only find out once we’ve dismantled the toxic kind. Maybe non-toxic masculinity is the dismantling of toxic masculinity. I know it’s my duty as a man.” What’s really toxic is the belief that all women or all men on the planet have some special way of being that they absolutely need to get right. In reality, masculinity or femininity is whatever the hell you want it to be. Because they don’t really exist. they are meaningless, silly, constrictive myths.

I’m not sure how much I agree but it’s an interesting take: “We need to grow up about espionage and have a real, adult debate about it. Snowden, his retinue, and his defenders, approach the matter like petulant children who hate that the world does not operate the way they fantasize it does. Thanks to this, and their continuing baldfaced lies interspersed with ugly smears of their opponents, they have no place in the grown-up discussion that free societies ought to be having about issues of intelligence and privacy.

A newcomer to the US has found the most American thing ever. And it’s hilarious. I wept with laughter for five minutes when I read this post.

The European attack of puritanic paranoia would be funny if it weren’t very disturbing.

She said her parents were pressuring her. That’s what parents do in the land of privilege. They push their children to succeed, to excel, to stand out and prepare for the future in which the children, in turn, will pressure their children. If her parents had not been pushing her to get better grades, to work harder and be more, Carly Rousso would not have taken to inhaling chemicals to get high and escape her troubles.” The author of this post is trying (in a very gauche manner) to be sarcastic but accidentally makes a correct statement. This is exactly how drug addiction is generated.

I had no idea Sweden was such a totally crappy place: “Sweden has continued to lower tax rates for the already rich, while keeping taxes on new wealth through work or entrepreneurship high. In 2005 the left abolished the inheritance tax entirely. This means that today the top tax rate for someone who inherits wealth is 0%, and the tax rate for someone who creates new wealth by building a new company 67%.

“I’m not going to fill you in on the details of my own life because they aren’t important, but the fact of the matter is that avoiding thoughts about traumatic subjects are not how you learn to deal with traumatic subjects, and this bullshit that somehow I am responsible for your thoughts is just that — bullshit. I’m me. You’re you. I’m responsible for my own thoughts. You’re responsible for yours. The notion that your own thoughts are someone else’s responsibility isn’t a recipe for healing, it’s a cop-out.” A brilliant post, highly recommended.

And here is a really lame-ass defense of trigger warnings. A warning that one prof puts on thesyllabus: “If you ever feel the need to step outside during one of these discussions, either for a short time or for the rest of the class session, you may always do so without academic penalty.” Does this weirdo impose “academic penalty” for people stepping outside the classroom during other kinds of discussions? I’m now beginning to understand why my students keep asking, in terrified little voices, for permission to use the bathroom.

In Russian: the Russian media circulate a picture saying it’s proof that Ukrainian troops are bombing Ukrainian cities. The picture turns out to be one of a railway crash in Quebec, of all places.

I should have heard about this Chinese gentleman before I made such a huge effort to learn to drive.

The post of the week: A really powerful post on the importance and meaning of the Pride.

49 thoughts on “Monday Link Encyclopedia and Self-Promotion

  1. “Melissa McEwan insults women a lot more inventively than any vicious woman-hater I have ever met”

    If all women aren’t victims forever, then what excuse does she have for her obvious unhappiness? The alternative is that she’s a vicious psychopath (of course the two aren’t mutually exclusive…..)


  2. @Slurs directed at women:
    Butterface? Really? Is that really the kind of woman-hating insult that is apparently destroying women’s confidence around the world?

    @French warship:
    Clarissa, to the French Ukrainians aren’t Real Europeans(tm), they are Mini-Russians (And Russians are Asians, btw…). They don’t give a crap about Ukraine and Merkel does not either as long as it threatens her rule of the EU.

    @European puritany:
    People in Europe don’t like marrying each other and having kids anymore and that scares a lot of people who bought into the lie that only a wife/husband, 2.5 kids and a house on the land is the only way to be happy.

    @Misogyny in Tech:
    I have a couple of friends who are into some techy stuff (computers, electronics, hifi, photography…) but who never go to events because these are so horribly sexist. Some of them have never been to a meeting of any kind. What makes this often so annoying is that nothing is proof enough that things aren’t as dire as Jezebel describes them.

    Just two days ago, I tried to persuade a really good and female friend of mine to participate in a photowalk with me. And she said to me that she would really like to come, but photography is such a hyper-masculine and often very misogynistic hobby that she is afraid to come.

    I told her that photography as a typical male domain is a bullshit idea, to which she replied that she probably would be the only woman amongst all the men and that groups that consist of a huge majority of men are usually anti-women per default.

    I told her that the organizer herself was a woman and showed her the group photo from the last two photowalks and told her that there usually are 60-75% women participating. To that she replied that there surely will be only female models and that would also be problematic.

    I stopped at this point because her arguments were getting ridiculous. She knows fully well that a photowalk is walking through a city and photographing architecture, inner city and the like. There would be no models whatsoever.

    The women that you can find participating in ‘techy’ fields are unsuprisingly also the ones that don’t use the word privilege unironically.


    1. “The women that you can find participating in ‘techy’ fields are unsuprisingly also the ones that don’t use the word privilege unironically”

      – Exactly. I keep waiting for any real examples of real misogyny in the tech community. I’m very willing to believe it’s there. But all of the stories I ever hear to illustrate the point are beyond ridiculous. How on Earth is it sexist to say, “My girlfriend / boyfriend is annoying?” If he’d said, “All women are annoying,” that’s obviously sexist. But the jump from “my girlfriend” to “all women” only exists in the heads of irate listeners.


      1. “Butterface? Really? Is that really the kind of woman-hating insult that is apparently destroying women’s confidence around the world?”

        – The first time ever I heard the words she used was on her website in her own post. I find that very telling.


      2. Oh “Butterface” is common parlance among young people. It’s a really mean slur. (Meant to indicate a woman who has a “hot” body and “ugly face.”)


        1. How do you manage to keep up with the youngster lingo? I’m so hopelessly behind that I sometimes don’t understand my own student evals. 🙂


      3. @Clarissa, I have younger family members who keep me up on the lingo. But now that we are all aging, I’m going to be out of the loop pretty soon. 😉


      4. Butterface comes from “She has a nice body, but her face….”

        I think of it as a teenage kind of word and teenage slang has never been noted for sensitivity.

        I have a hard time taking anyone who uses it seriously (and assume their emotional development stopped at around 13) and I also have a hard time taking anyone seriously who gets in a tizzy at peurile insults (and make similar assumptions about their emotional development).


        1. I wouldn’t be in a tizzy if this were an isolated word. I’d probably not even notice it. But did you see the length of Melissa’s collection of insults aimed at women? It’s like she cherishes them, collects them, and loves to get the chance to trot them out. I do believe that she has a deep, albeit not conscious, hatred of women.


      5. “I wouldn’t be in a tizzy if this were an isolated word. I’d probably not even notice it”

        Of course, I wouldn’t expect you to care, you’re sane.

        I find the shakes person to be disturbed and disturbing but I’m having problems finding the right vocabulary to express how.


  3. “A computer is a tool: It is only as good as its user”

    I have a primitive mind* and tend to think of computers as either living things (working animals who need to be treated well) or magic boxes with benevolent fairies inside that make them work. But I also know how to use them. My students…. mostly are hopeless. They can’t even do basic formatting or much of anything that’s not related to social media, funny pictures, silly games or illegal downloading. The trend to turn laptops into pseudo smartphones or tablets is not going to help one little bit.

    *a comment from a friend many years ago which I chose to interpret as a compliment


    1. “The trend to turn laptops into pseudo smartphones or tablets is not going to help one little bit.”

      – Oh, that’s a horrible, horrible trend.


    2. I am now imagining your work room as having Laptop Oxen yoked by a Gigabit Yoking Hub that provides Magic Internet Bit Grasses to your herd, except when the Internet Farming Collective decides that you haven’t paid enough for your grazing rights or that you’ve grazed too much for the month …

      Really, it’s not a huge leap from this to playing Farmville, is it? 🙂


  4. I work in tech, and there is some sexism, but I don’t think it’s worse than any other industry.
    At my company we use personas to describe potential customers, and one persona is bad at technology, while one is an advanced user. One is male, one is female, and you can probably guess which is which. This isolated incident isn’t sexist, but this stereotyping happens over and over and the aggregate shows a sexist picture.
    From a quick glance, I thought the tech guy in the article was talking about ‘girlfriends’ in general, but if he was really talking about his girlfriend, then clearly there shouldn’t be an issue.


  5. The t-shirt makes me want to write on it with a fabric labelling Sharpie …

    This gives the idea of “checking someone out” a hilarious new meaning. 🙂


  6. I’ve been having some pretty deep dialogues with my interlocutor and here is an outcome, one of the insights I had into my dispositional objectivity:


  7. ERUSALEM (AP) — Israel’s parliament has chosen Reuven Rivlin, a stalwart in the ruling Likud Party, as the country’s next president.

    Rivlin now faces the difficult task of succeeding Shimon Peres, a Nobel peace laureate who brought the position international prestige.

    The job of the presidency is largely ceremonial. But Rivlin’s political views could be a liability.

    From another article:

    For a long time, his own fellow party member Netanyahu refused to support him.
    The two politicians are said to have a difficult relationship. Netanyahu initially wanted the election to be postponed by half a year; then, according to Israeli media, he tried to abolish the office of president altogether. Only when the election could no longer be avoided and the date was set for June 10 did Netanyahu publicly announce his support for Rivlin – an about-face that provoked some derisive commentary.

    Rivlin, 74, is a member of the Likud old guard. He’s the candidate of the political right. Unlike Peres, he is opposed to a Palestinian state. He’s seen as a nationalist: he rejects a two-state solution and is in favor of settlement-building.
    As speaker of the Knesset, however, he often blocked the course of Netanyahu’s coalition, and fell out with Netanyahu during his second term in office. The prime minister removed him as parliamentary speaker without offering a reason.


  8. Have you seen:

    Online Ed Takes Off at Georgia Tech

    Also, the below article describes “Mosul Madness in a Collapsing Middle East” and asks whether “Obama administration has a strategy for dealing with this situation.” I don’t understand what Obama can do at all, do you? What does the article’s author expect USA to do?


    1. As for the situation in the Middle East, I agree with the article in that there is a lack of consistent foreign policy on the part of the US and that doesn’t concern only the Middle East. You can’t just decide, “OK, this is not our business all of a sudden”. If that’s the new policy – after over 100 years of something completely different – there’s a lot of work that needs to be done before changing the course.


  9. Because of Hebrew Book Week, a collection of bookmarks (the post is in Hebrew, but there are pictures):

    Btw, if I go to a post in Polish, for instance, my computer offers to translate it. May be, yours too?

    This week is also Tel Aviv Pride Week, and I found this optimistic article:

    To be young, Orthodox and openly gay
    Orthodox Jewish high schools in the United States try to balance concerns for their reputation and their students, as growing number of teens openly identify as gay.


  10. For people who usually don’t read the site:

    German government officials readily acknowledge that anti-Americanism—fueled most recently by revelations of National Security Agency surveillance activities in Europe—plays a significant role in how the public perceives the Ukraine crisis and has bred a reluctance among many Germans to side with the U.S.

    After reading “Europe’s Immigration Crisis Resembles Our Own”

    and looking at the graph of illegal border crossings into EU, I wonder whether German anti-Americanism may not be a result of general shift to the right, and not because of USA spying.


  11. Знаменитый режиссер, новый президент киноакадемии “Ника” Андрей Кончаловский в интервью корреспонденту РБК Александре Федотовой рассказал, почему в России, как в Африке, нет общества, а также о свободе, интеллигенции, сочувствии к оппозиции и новых зрителях, выросших на голливудских ситкомах. Главный европеец отечественного кино уверен, что мы закрыли петровское окно и до сих пор живем в Московском княжестве с ордынскими комплексами.


  12. I think Uri exaggerates here, even though there is some grain of truth:

    Other news:

    Security forces fear three teenage yeshiva boys, all 16 years of age, were kidnapped in the West Bank after they went missing from a hitchhiking spot in the Gush Etzion area Thursday night. […] families say they have no reason to believe the boys decided to leave home on their own.


  13. I hope they haven’t been kidnapped. Both for poor teens and their families, and for Israel. If you remember the story of Gilead Shalit, and before that Israel released numerous live terrorists for bodies of 3 soldiers.

    In connection to the possible kidnapping, began searching and read this:

    Netanyahu: Unity deal gives Hamas foothold in West Bank

    Rather than moderating Hamas, there are increasing signs that the Palestinian unity government pact is helping the Gaza-based Islamist organization gain strength in the West Bank, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said at the opening of Sunday’s cabinet meeting.

    From the article:

    [The EU leader] said he recognized that Israeli- Palestinian peace was not a “magic wand” that would solve all the problems in the Middle East overnight, but that it would “eliminate a key fault line running through the region.”

    I think it’s a problem with my English. What does “a key fault line” mean? Key / line to what? If to peace, how is Israel connected to Syria now, to Sunni / Shia, etc.? Does he believe Israeli-Palestinian peace would change Middle East?


  14. I also haven’t linked previous Uri’s column:


    Ben-Gurion did everything possible to split the Arab world. […]
    His intellectual adversary was Nahum Goldmann, then the president of the World Zionist Organization. He believed in the exact opposite. The Arabs, he asserted, will only recognize us if they are united and feel strong. Therefore, every split in the Arab world was “bad for the Jews”.

    If Goldmann and Uri are right, the above EU leader reverses the cause-effect connection. FROM “united and thus peaceful Arab world” –> “peace between Israel and Palestinians” TO “peace” –> “magical improvement in the entire Middle East.”

    Do you see any connection between the two?


    1. I have to say, I would really REALLY love to see “magical improvement in the entire Middle East.” However, for now, things are obviously going in the opposite direction. And if, hypothetically, there had never been any Jews on the face of the Earth, the situation would be exactly the same.

      Israel can make things worse. But it can’t make them better (for others.) Take as an example Ukraine and Russia: Russia can make things much worse by continuing the invasion. But it can’t make them better for Ukraine. Only Ukrainians themselves can choose to do that.


  15. From the article about the missing yeshiva students:

    The Jerusalem Post has learned that one of the three is an American citizen. US Ambassador Dan Shapiro has been briefed on the situation.
    Israel says it holds the Palestinian Authority responsible for the well-being of the missing youths.

    I wonder whether USA will do anything at all. Israel released terrorists to protect Israeli citizens, what about an American Jew? I would bet on Israel releasing terrorists for him as well as for others as a Jewish country, while USA does nothing as usual. (The recently released American soldier seems to be an exception to usual USA behavior.)

    Another thing which may make the negotiations harder is the recent law:

    The cabinet approved proposed legislation on Sunday to enable courts to sentence terrorists to life in prison without any chance of presidential commutation.

    The bill is aimed at preventing the large-scale release of convicted Palestinian terrorists in the future.


  16. Hungary’s going insane:

    Over the past decade, and with increased frequency in recent years, Jobbik politicians publicly attacked Jews and Roma, on the basis of a variety of false accusations, which are at the heart of traditional anti-Semitism and hatred of Roma. The latter are the primary target of the party, whose leaders speak openly about “Gypsy crime,” and their hopes of establishing ghettos for Roma “deviants.”

    Also dangerous, however, is the party’s open anti-Semitism. Thus, for example, in 2012, Jobbik MP Marton Gyyongyosi called for the registration of Jews with double citizenship (Hungarian and Israeli), since, in his opinion, such persons pose a “national security risk,” an accusation repeated by Jobbik president Vona, who called for the screening of all Jewish MPs and government members. That same year, Sandor Porzse, a prominent member of the party, told a French website that Hungarians were the victims of “a Jewish conspiracy to colonize our land and rob our resources.”


  17. We might soon have to pay our banks for holding our money for us. This is a veritable penalty for being in the black, as distinct from egregious rates we are charged when overdrawn. Such a negative interest scheme has just been instituted by the European Central Bank as a supposed growth stimulant.

    Since we are bound by ties of imports and exports to Europe, it’s not too far-fetched to assume that something of the sort is bound to eventually reach the bank branches nearest us.

    It appears that savings are the latter-day enemy of economic well-being. What was conventionally held as the long-term common-sense goal for industrious and productive households has now become a mind-set to be actively discouraged.


    1. Man, this is exactly what always happens whenever I try to read or watch anything on this subject. I sit down with the firm intention of watching the documentary, and then the newscaster just has to say, “Imagine this happening in Australia or any other civilized society.” And all I want to do is spit at his stupid, lying, self-serving face. Australia is increasingly coming under fire for its own racism and hatred of immigrants. How can I now see this documentary as anything but an attempt to say, “Yes, but there are people who are even worse, so let’s forget about our small mistakes and criticize them.”

      I’ll try to keep watching but I’m not promising anything at this point.


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