Sunday Link Encyclopedia and Self-Promotion

The first week of the new year brought a surge of enthusiasm to the blogging universe. As a result, I have a pretty good crop of posts for your reading pleasure. Enjoy and don’t forget to self-promote!

The magic of literature. This post needs to be printed out and distributed to all students who say they hate reading and don’t understand the point of literary studies.

Another weird explanation of what “causes” autism. I think I need to start collecting them because they are always too hilarious.

A disgusting string of anti-Muslim acts of  vandalism in Montreal. Shame on you, fellow Montrealers! (Please do not read the comments that follow the article I linked to. They will make you want to vomit.)

An absolutely brilliant post on spanking.

It would be great if all Conservatives were this way. However, as often happens with most political movements, a screeching and raging minority of fanatics is a lot more vocal than such reasonable representatives of a movement. As a result, the entire group becomes associated with its most loud members.

A very insightful analysis of how newspapers undermine our society with what they choose to cover.

Want better students? Can the SATs!

If girls in school can wear high heels, why can’t a boy?

How the American Psychiatric Association makes its money. What a disgusting organization. Freud, who was horrified by psychiatry and set out to create an alternative for its barbaric methods, would be shocked to see how people are still enslaved by it.

The psychology of doppelgängers.

A really great cilantro lime mahi mahi recipe. Every word in the recipe’s title makes my mouth water. I’m totally addicted to cilantro.

Even Legos get stereotyped nowadays. What a crazy world.

When you try to analyze what happens in a couple of which you are not a member, the result is always very stupid.

The wave of let’s-dump-on-Schwyzer hysteria continues. Now he is being blamed for referring to a girlfriend of his as a “human being.” He did that twice, too. Just imagine that. Instead of calling her a woman, he calls her a human being. He also – prepare yourselves because this is too heavy – called her a person. The outrage, the horror! This is where feminism might lead you, folks. You might start referring to women as human beings. Beware!

Another obsessive post about Hugo Schwyzer. This blogger should have been told by somebody that first-person writing is still fiction. Do you think he will be able to deal with a revelation that Jane Eyre is a character in a book?

Another ignoramus blabbering on about Ukraine and Byelorussia: “Other scenarios that Brzezinski connects with U.S. “decline” that seem very unlikely include the Russian absorption of Belarus (why would Moscow want the hassle?), and exposing Ukraine to “Russian designs.” What these “designs” might be are never spelled out.” Erm, what else do you need to be spelled out to you, Mr. I’m-clueless-but-talkative? What day of the week it is? How to get your head out of your own ass? How Brzezinski writes for people who know at least some very basic stuff about the region and not for idiots like yourself?

What shamanism isn’t.

For those ignorant folks who still somehow manage not to realize that a fetus is a part of a woman’s body and not a person. Of course, I’m wasting my time here because those few anti-choicers who actually can read will not be able to comprehend the complex two-syllable words in the article.

Did you know that in some European airports there are smoking booths sponsored by tobacco companies? That is very civilized. Why is our continent lagging behind yet again?

He is too delicate who is delighted with his own country only : He is a courageous man whose own country is the world : But he to whom the whole world is a place of banishment is a saint.” Beautiful, eh?

A 26-year-old woman writes a letter to herself aged 12. A very powerful narrative which is also an incredibly useful technique of psychological hygiene. I highly recommend this to everybody. The post is long but extremely inspiring and insightful. And the author is obviously gifted.

An Indiana bill that would fine performers $25 for not meeting state-defined performance standards of the national anthem. Beware that elementary school kid who makes a mistake in the text of the anthem or that performer who tries to offer their own musical rendition of the anthem. Good to know that Indiana has no real problems to address!

Conservatives and pseudo-liberals have one thing in common: their desire to “protect” women (who, as we all remember, are poor, pathetic victims of everything) from pornography. Of course, women are so useless and stupid that we can’t decide on our own how to engage with porn without some guy somewhere wanting to take care of us. Here is an example of this ecstatic Conservative-Liberal union of despising women. Is there a woman who actually sleeps with this blogger? Of her own free will? If so, then I’m sure she only preserves her sanity through regular use of porn.

A great review of Murakami’s 1Q84.

How to become a feisty Leftist political blogger.

How “gender differences” are manufactured by the media because there are still Neanderthals around who can’t accept (or understand) the scientific findings proving that gender differences do not exist.

The approach to the penis-shrinking anxiety highlights the bias that informs psychiatric definitions.

The subway in Russia is a form of art. See these beautiful photos of new subway stations in a provincial Russian city. The post is in Russian, but you can just skip the text and look at the pictures.

Dear Republican candidates: You are campaigning on talking points that do not actually appeal to us. Why are you doing that? Who told you we want these things?

Sexism in the atheist community is just as present as it is everywhere else.

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Contempt for Human Beings as a Political Stance

Have you noticed how much certain Liberals despise people? Here is a very vivid example provided by somebody who was incensed at my review of Frank’s Pity the Billionaire:

The argument that we should blame people for taking a loan that’s shoved in their face I find to be disigenuous. We all have a dream of home ownership. These loans were hawked by those who simply wanted to pass them off. I don’t believe the Tea Party argument deserves any credibility whatsoever. OF COURSE people will snap them up. Who can resist the “Free” Market. The Tea party notion that it’s ACORN’s fault that we had the housing collapse is utterly absurd, yet that is what this argument implies and it is completely and utterly false on every ground. Stop blaming the victims. If someone wants to sell something for free….they’ll find buyers.

See how this commenter despises his fellow human beings? If a loan is “shoved into your face”, there is absolutely no way you will be able to exercise your good judgment and make a rational decision not to take it. People are like dogs who “snap up” any old bone that you throw to them. They are as incapable as dogs of seeing that there is a piece of string tied to the bone, a piece of string that will drag them right to the slaughter-house.

This commenter sees people as “victims.” They fall into the category of a victim simply because they exist. You are born human? You are victim! From now on, pseudo-Liberals of this ilk will keep harping on the idea that you are not responsible for anything that happens to you. Buy a lot of useless garbage, take on loans it is mathematically impossible for you even to begin paying off, screw up your life in every possible way? Don’t worry, there is always some pseudo-Liberal out there to tell you how the helpless, pathetic little you is not responsible for anything.

Of course, Conservatives despise people, too. Just like many Liberals don’t believe that human beings are capable of being in charge of their own finances, the Conservatives can’t deal with the suggestion that humans can manage their own bodies without the guidance of politicians and religious leaders.

As I shared recently on this blog, I got into debt when I was a student. This created all kinds of problems for me (the debt is in Canada, I’m here, paying Canadian debts from an American bank account is extremely complicated, etc.). This entire issue tortured me for years. But if somebody told me that it wasn’t my fault, that I was a victim, that I couldn’t have been expected to resist the credit line that was “shoved into my face”, that I didn’t have a choice but to “snap it up”, I’d be as insulted as I am when I see politicians who try to police my uterus.

I am an adult. I am completely and totally responsible for my finances and my body. I manage them the way I see fit. And anybody who wants to dispute that responsibility is a person who despises me and infantilizes me. And I don’t respond well to that.

So here we are stuck between two political groups, both of which cannot bear the idea that human beings should have the right to make their own decisions and bear responsibility for them. Both Conservatives and Liberals often proceed from nothing but contempt for others.

We keep hearing about how this country is torn politically between two opposing camps. I used to think that, too. However, the more I observe this country’s Liberals and Conservatives (or, at least, the most vocal representatives of these groups), the more I am convinced that any differences between them are merely superficial.

P.S. Another pseudo-Liberal in the same thread just had the gall to compare the irresponsible borrowers to slaves or rape victims:

That mentality where the victim is made to believe that he/she is at fault for the predicament they are in is evidence of mental subjugation comparable to that of the slave or the rape victim.

What did I say about contempt?

Through the Eyes of a Stranger: Paranormal Occurrences

You never know how much you miss something until you see it. Yesterday, during my regular walk, I saw two very strange things.

First, I saw a well-dressed man walking slowly. By well-dressed I mean that he was very obviously not engaged in any athletic activities. He just walked. I even followed him for a while because the only person I’ve seen take long leisurely walks alone in this town is me. The idea that there is another walk-loving soul in the area was disturbing and heart-warming at the same time.

Then, I saw a group of teenagers. They were rowdy, as teenagers should be, throwing a ball to each other, laughing, shouting. I stared at them like they were an apparition. God, I haven’t seen a group of 13 or 14-year-old kids walking around, enjoying themselves out in the streets since I moved into this area. It made me so happy to see that at least there were four or five boys in town who got a chance to hang out with their friends doing nothing instead of being shipped from one scheduled activity to another by helicoptering parents.

This is the safest area in the universe, folks. I’m a very paranoid person but I have now started forgetting to lock my front door when I go on my walks. It’s safe, quiet, and beautiful. And still, nobody is ever outside. Yesterday, we were at +21C. This is summer-time weather. And nobody went outside to enjoy it. I’ve walked around our middle-class area, the nearby poorer area, and the rich-folks area across the road. There is never anybody outside. Gangs of teenagers and people taking walks do not exist. Young people drive to a convenience store they can see out of their windows for a can of soda.

Say what you will, this is just wrong.

A Recruiting Riddle

Here is a riddle from a professional recruiter I know. Today, the most in-demand profession is that of a social media specialist. That’s a person who blogs, tweets, Facebooks, etc. and can use their knowledge of social media to promote the company that hires them.

How does a recruiter know, however, if they are interviewing a real media fanatic or somebody who simply wants to ride the wave of this profession’s popularity to get a well-paying position?

The very first selection mechanism is the following: the recruiter asks the candidate to fill out some paperwork and leaves the room. After the recruiter comes back, she knows immediately if her candidate is the real deal without asking them a single question.

Question: how does the recruiter determine if the candidate is a true social media enthusiast before even talking to them?

Supplementary question: is this the coolest job in the world, or what?

Dictating to Bloggers

So many people are eager to tell bloggers what our “responsibilities” are. Take this statement, for example:

I believe that blog owners do have a responsibility: to edit things out that they don’t want appearing. It’s part of the job of keeping a blog.

Excuse me, but who exactly are you to tell complete strangers what their responsibilities are? And since when is blogging a “job”? Of course, there are bloggers who are on payroll somewhere. For the majority of us, however, blogging is a hobby. It’s something we do in our free time because it entertains us.

The only responsibilities that I recognize as a blogger are the ones I choose for myself. If I feel like censoring, I will censor. If I don’t feel like it, I won’t. And I’ll be damned if I allow some stranger  to explain to me that the way I choose to spend my free time should follow some weird rules she dreamt up in her free time.

The funny things is that blogging is the only hobby I’m aware of that attracts so many censors and rule-setters. Can you imagine a skier or a stamp-collector being approached by officious do-gooders, telling her how to do her “job” of skiing or collecting stamps?