Saturday, September 20, 2014

Unselfishness Is How To Break Out Of The Mental Corset of Fashion

Here is a very rare thing in the American media, a serious discussion of the place that the recently fashionable nihilism has in history.     In the segment from the program, On The Media, Brooke Gladstone, Jad Abumrad and Eugene Thacker are those who are in the discussion.  I don't know which of the men's voices belong to who, since I don't listen to the Radio Lab program one of them hosts.  If I had the time, I'd type out passages of the recording to address and discuss, but I can expand on my comment at the On The Media website.


There is an alternative to the dichotomy this otherwise good piece presents. In the point when one of the men talking brings up The Decameron and the plague literature he says that the alternatives presented are 1. to seal yourself up (often in pleasant surroundings) to wait out the plague or, 2. to go to church and pray. He left out the alternative of putting yourself at risk to take care of those who are sick and dying, putting yourself at risk of dying while, at the same time, embodying the highest and greatest form of human life, someone who risks everything to take care of other people, the same thing that the medical missionaries and Doctors Without Borders are doing today in West Africa and elsewhere.

Leaving that out isn't surprising in a discussion among members of today's thinking class, even those of good will, because there is nothing more unfashionable in this or in any other age with members of any leisure class, the kind who generally write books and work in the media.  They may admire the examples of such people but they don't take their far more impressive actions seriously as compared to the words that "fork no lightning" of their fellow members of the educated class, the kind who review things, write criticism and who they are more likely to meet at a faculty meeting or a bar that caters to the class of people who work in the media. That the actions, instead of words, of people who put themselves at risk of dying, might contain something worth thinking about at least as seriously as the Dada Manifesto is may, perhaps, be due to the danger that you might feel morally bound to do something instead of talking about it and publishing about it.

It is in that lazy lassitude of the leisure class that I see nihilism at its most welcoming home.  It has infected what used to be the liberalism of the West that produced the abolition movement, the woman's suffrage and equality struggle and all other civil rights movements.  It is the death of any kind of progress, any kind of freedom because it is a comfortable denial of the reality of any of those things by people whose highest values are their own convenience and comfort.

Don't get me wrong, it's great to have somewhere on the radio where one still occasionally hears serious things being discussed. I would, though, encourage Brooke Gladstone to consider that in all of those instances of nihilism she discussed, it was members of upper economic classes finding that their expectations their values led to a dead end in a spiritual wasteland. Even Ecclesiastes, which shows that even members of the clergy who take that route end up spiritually empty, cynical and desolate.

Nihilism is both a luxury of the rich, or at least those who don't have to struggle for a living for themselves and those they come closest to loving and the product of their affluence. Its opposite can be found in James Cone, the liberation theologians - black, Latino and others. It can be found in the, frankly, religious struggle for justice, something which nihilists, at bottom, deny exists.

Generosity, kindness, and unselfish love are things that exist outside of the bump and grind of fashion.   While they are ridiculed by the fashionably cynical and nihilistic and talking about them or even in terms of them have been made to feel embarrassingly out of style, "kumbaya moments" when you are the recipient of them, you don't ever find them so.   Though the selfish will not appreciate their value when other people are the beneficiaries - in this we see the difference between conservatives and liberals.

Those things are not the product of the system which is, clearly, the only one considered in almost all of academic life and the media produced by those correctly fitted with a mental corset by their educations and acculturation into the milieu of the ascendant class.   I would think that pretty much no one got those from their strictly academic courses.  Their demotion is only furthered by their association with various religious traditions whose serious adherence in terms of economics and class are, as well, not welcomed by the economic elite and its clerks and praise singers in the media and academic life.

I haven't seen any other escape from either the stifling program of the materialist "enlightenment" or its destructive twin, nihilism, the two of which embody that rather dubious project of the intellectual class, modernism.   The fact is that in each and every period which Brooke Gladstone rather well brings up to demonstrate the existence of nihilism throughout human history, the alternative of unselfish generosity, self sacrifice for the possible good of others, has been a real and active alternative, one which has never grown old.

The political problem of that is, as Jesus envisioned in The Kingdom of God and The Reverend Martin Luther King jr. did in The Beloved Community, making it more general and the common experience of life.  Which is something all other systems and habits of thought seem to do anything to suppress.  If that is not the goal of American style liberalism, it is liberalism that is dead, not God.  The alternative is dead to life and will lead to nothing but death, the deaths of individuals and, eventually, us all.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Threshing Beans

I'm threshing my Jacob's cattle beans 

today, a major part of my personal economy.  

I'm not doing it this way but maybe I'll try it the next time.  It looks like fun. 

I'm doing it more like this

Next week I'll be threshing my king of the early beans. 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

I Read My E-Mail

There is a simple fact of life that nothing an atheist says about the various parables of the First Testament is nearly as interesting as what a scholar of that book says about it.  So, I pass on the ignorant comments at Baby Blue you gave me a heads-up on. 

Update:  Of special interest to NTodd, re his comment and which may have all of us looking more carefully at ingredient lists for a while to come.

Owning Adulthood 2

Continuing on with the question of adults making choices and living with the full results of them.

You either get to stand by your word or you abandon your claims to the right to have other people take you at your word.   You can have your "yes" mean yes" and not later claim that you get to make it mean "no"  when it suits you or you will encourage a system in which people can claim to believe that your "no" means "yes."   If that latter alternative sounds familiar, it has been a slogan used by rapists for decades.   It featured in that infamous chant by Yale frat boys that made the news a few years ago.  There is no other acceptable standard that adults must be held to.  They must be required to respect what other adults say and that the words "yes" and "no" mean what they mean.   That won't turn out to be a one sided contract, it must hold for both parties and both words or it invites that kind of muddled thinking and the opportunities that the more powerful or privileged party can make of the resulting ambiguity.   Certainly the law won't work in a system when yes can mean no any better than a system in which no can be claimed to mean yes.

It was one of the main goals of feminism, from the beginning, that women have equal rights to make contracts and decisions that were as legally binding as those of men.  In the past it was the legal policy in many places that men had to do those things in the names of women because women were biologically incapable of making those choices and contracts on a reliable basis.  As recently as the 1960s, it was often impossible for women to get insurance without having a man sign for them.  It is one of the most appalling things in this argument that people calling themselves feminists are insisting, essentially,  that those anti-feminist men were right and that women have a right to not be believed when they say "yes".

That adults have to have these things pointed out to them is a real scandal.  That the supposed intellectual class that college and university students are alleged to be needs to have them pointed out to them leads me to think that the age of adulthood is probably set far too low, in too many cases.  It isn't merely a situation that applies to women, there has been a general infantalization of the culture in the past few decades, under the influence of commercial media.   If the puerile antics of ivy league frat boys didn't lead to that conclusion the claims of those who push the idea that adults who have given consent to sex can, even days or weeks later, decide that their unsuspecting partner raped them, confirms that the childishness isn't restricted to the frat boys.

It is simply and plainly unrealistic to think that universities can both treat their students as adults, respecting their ability to make their own choices and also to protect those adults from their bad choices, especially those made in private, without any witnesses to corroborate the claims of one side or the other when disputed claims are made.  Since almost all college students are legally adults, universities can't be forced to both treat them as if they were minor children, on the one hand and full adults possessing the full right and responsibilities of adulthood.  Even insisting on them doing both at the same time won't make that possible and that is exactly what is being demanded of them in this case.

That is especially true when it is a question of rape among adults, when the existence of a crime hinges on consent being given or the request to have sex refused, something that generally happens in private, without witnesses.

It is a right of adults to consent or reject to have sex and the crime of rape hinges on the question of consent and unless that is in writing, in a form which can be used as evidence, that will always depend on whether or not one or the other is believed. That it is unsexy as hell to turn consent, each and every time, into a written contract would make the suggestion of it absurd.  But if one party can claim to not believe the verbal assent or refusal of the other or claim that they get a right to change the meaning of their "yes" to "no" after the fact, the only way to avoid claims of rape is to write it out, every time.   The fact that consent to having sex is often implied by the absence of an explicit if not forceful refusal,  and that, in many cases going back to someone's room or car can imply consent and is often understood as consent makes it especially important that no claims that the words "yes" and "no"  do not have have real, binding and final meaning are made or tolerated by rational adults.

The sexist ambient culture in which women live being what it is, it is in the interest of everyone that ambiguities be eliminated, not claimed as some kind of expression of freedom and, irrationally, adulthood.

It is important to remember that in this post I'm addressing only the matter of rape of rational adults, not of minor children and adults who are intellectually unable to give legal consent.  The issues and rational conclusions about sexual abuse of those people is a far different and far less ambiguous matter, something that is often forgotten in the general smokescreen raised around the issue of sex and rights.


Mixing in intoxication doesn't help at all.  There is a reason that alcohol was used as the original date rape drug, it impairs judgment and leads people to do things that they, sober, would not do.  It is often easier to talk a drunk person into doing things that they will later regret.    It is easier to get a drunk person to surrender their money than a sober one, one of the reasons that casinos keep the drinks flowing.   And it is often easier for an objectionable sex partner to get consent from someone who is drunk.*   There is a term for that and it isn't rape, it is "I got drunk and made a fool of myself" or "I got drunk and he/she made a fool of me".   There is a difference between being made a fool, especially by yourself, and being the victim of a crime.

Which is different from rape, non-consensual sex,  which is often a result of one or both parties being drunk.  Like it or not, someone who gets very drunk and passes out has made themselves more vulnerable to being raped.  A child has the excuse of being a child with the presumed lack of understanding and judgement and experience with alcohol. an excuse which is essential to their right to enhanced levels of protection due to their lack of maturity.   An adult will find it far harder to escape the expectation that they should have known the possible consequences of getting drunk, especially in a milieu which places them in greater danger of being attacked.  There is no argument that will keep that question out of peoples' minds in judging an attack made on someone who has voluntarily done to themselves what a creep who slips them a drug does to them involuntarily.  To pretend that even judges instructing juries or prosecutors deciding which cases are realistically prosecuted can change that fact is, as well, demanding the impossible.   People are not going to ignore the acts of even credible victims helping set up the scenario in which they were attacked.  If they were predisposed to believe the accused the choice of the accuser to be drunk will provide them with an excuse to not believe the accusation.

There is nothing feminist about denying reality.  There is nothing liberating about denying reality.  There is nothing feminist about pretending that the impossible is possible or pretending to have achieved that impossible condition is likely to lead to better results.  That currently sold model of feminism, in which women act as frat boys and Hollywood producers want them to, pretending that the choice to act that way isn't the product of thorough training and indoctrination by the media does nothing to enhance the conditions women live in.  The currently sold brand of feminism is a huge step backwards.  Programs like "Friends" on the less damaging end of things, in a million ads and commercials in the middle and in even mainstream movies on the worst, all teach women the worst ideas that Betty Friedan pointed out oppressed women a half a century ago.  Minus the house work, perhaps.   June Cleaver's house work in high heels is about the only thing missing.  But I'm only going to deal with one part of that program of self-imposed backlash.

There is nothing liberating about getting drunk, suspending judgment, impairing an ability to watch out for yourself and, in the event of an attack, to defend yourself.  Getting drunk turns an adult into a vulnerable child who is more easily taken advantage of by people who want to do that and of making choices they would not have made, sober.  Taking one drink and keeping your adult abilities intact is one thing, getting drunk to the point where you lose those is entirely different.  Getting drunk is an escape from adult responsibilities and it carries a loss of the ability to exercise rights.  There is no way that a university or even the judicial system can step in and do for an adult what they claim is their sole responsibility to do.  There is nothing that enhances the rights of women in insisting that isn't the case,  attempting to claim, both.  To insist on a right to that an unnamed form of in loco parentis while objecting to it as being patronizing is to insist on having a right to both of two opposing alternatives at the same time.   Insisting on that impossible condition does nothing to enhance the standing of feminism as a serious movement that serious people have a moral obligation to take seriously.

The currently unfashionable "second-wave" feminism was such a movement. That is the reason it was the target of the media and political backlash that includes "third-wave" "feminism".   It was a movement by serious women who demanded their full rights including that the aspects of culture that oppressed them had to be changed. That it was women who were demanding their rights, issues of sex were central to that and that impinged on what people found sexually stimulating, in all too many ways based in differential levels of power and status**.  In all too many cases, the culture has reinforced those to sell people on things through what they were accustomed to finding sexually appealing, including aspects of that which are oppressive.  The old ideas about women and men were oppressive, the idea that there were major intellectual and mental differences between men and women were used to oppress women.  There is no way to retain the belief in those differences, to have them embedded in the culture and in the law and to achieve full equality.  Yet that is exactly what the currently fashionable thing that has hijacked the word "feminism" insists on doing.  It won't happen, no matter how many times you insist that it will.

*  Back in the 1970s, in response to the inevitable problems of having gay life so tied up in bars, there was an all too minor and all too short lived sobriety effort among gay folk.  Part of the problem was people waking up to find that they'd agreed to have sex with someone they really didn't want to or in ways they would rather not have or should not have often consenting to it.  Getting drunk while gay was not liberating, it wasn't positive, it wasn't good, it created problems and, in a lot of cases, destroyed lives.

I've come to think that the current model of feminism creates, in some ways, a situation similar to that which gay men experienced in the run up to AIDS, in which the most irresponsible and puerile behavior was sold as liberating and celebrated as such.  Biology, hard truth, reality shows that isn't sustainable and the results are not liberating.  Not even on a rather short term.

**  Another similarity with the struggle for gay rights and the fact that gay men are often their own worst oppressors through the sexualization of inequality.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Owning Adulthood 1

In the discussion of the comments made by Stephen Trachtenberg which I wrote about yesterday, there are several problems.  Since I have young nieces who are influenced by this and similar discussions, I'll go through some of those one by one.

There is the accusation that someone who pointed out problems with the case made at Mother Jones,  Jezebel blog and other places is "putting the onus on the victims of rape".

Well, no, that onus isn't placed on those who make accusations of rape it's placed on anyone who makes any accusation of wrongdoing and, especially, law breaking.  That's an inescapable consequence of the law making a presumption of the innocence of those who are accused, ideally the basis of the American justice system.   If that isn't the basis of how justice is done then any entirely innocent person could be accused of a crime and they would be responsible for proving that they were innocent.   History shows that even in the United States, when the presumption of innocence is suspended that the results have not favored those who are not privileged.  Poor people, social outcasts, ethnic minorities, women, have all suffered under systems where the presumption of innocence isn't the basis of justice as it is really administered.

Anyone who has not been convicted under due process is not "known" to be guilty. That is as true of those accused of rape as it is those accused of any other crime. In too many cases, including in rape cases, convictions have been shown to be false and people have been proven to have, actually, been innocent.   No one should get to begin by assuming that someone who is accused is guilty or that everyone who makes an accusation is a victim of a crime.   That a crime was committed has to be established even before someone can sustain an accusation against someone.  If that's not the standard that is followed, all hell breaks loose.

If you want examples of what happens when that isn't the case, you can look at the infamous Stuart case in Boston, where an accusation was against an unnamed "black man"made by a white man who murdered his wife and then shot himself to deflect suspicion from him.  A real black man was arrested and brutalized and perp walked before the entire world's media before Charles Stuart was shown to be the real criminal who committed the murder of his own wife, who committed the "assault with a firearm" on himself.   You can also look at the infamous Scottsboro Boys case in which no crime took place and, it is quite possible, the "victims" were pressured into making false accusations by the assumption that something must have happened under the circumstances.  In that case the accusations were almost certainly coerced by social and legal expectations and a presumption that the young white women were victims and that the teenage boys were rapists when nothing happened.   The entire injustice was created by a presumption of, not only guilt, but of a crime having happened.

There is no possible perfect justice system that can be administered by people, an imperfect one is the best we can achieve.  But there are ways to prevent the casual insertion of common forms on injustice into it.  Putting the onus on the accuser and the prosecutor is one of the most important of those measures.  That the presumption of innocence might, sometimes, be especially vulnerable to allowing the guilty to escape punishment  is the result of the crime hinging on the question of consent being given, in private.  It is also vulnerable due to the fact that the accused may be able to excuse their actions by claiming to have done what they were given permission to do.   That is an inescapable problem with the presumption of innocence but there isn't any remedy that isn't liable to even worse problems arising.

As an aside, the political and social milieu in which this question is argued doesn't help clarify things when it also champions such things as bondage sex, sexual sadism and other things associated with the practices of rapists and those who prey on vulnerable people.  You can't have it both ways.  You can claim to have a right to the full range of sexual depravity that is based on creating and exacerbating differences in power and control, claiming a right to degrade and abuse people for sexual gratification but you will find it impossible to insist that they have a right to presume that other people will have a heightened respect for their full right to personal dignity and autonomy at the same time. That distinction is damaged and destroyed, you won't find that there is a universal safe word that works when you play like that.  Mix in the insistence on that at ever earlier ages of consent and with alcohol and drugs mixed in and you are insisting on the right to something even as you make it impossible to have it.

Choices matter in real life.  Real choices have real and effective consequences.   You choose one alternative and you accept the results, those you like and those you don't.

You can choose that people act like adults who respect the rights of other people or you can have people who don't respect those rights when it comes to you.
You either get to claim the right to dignity and respect for autonomy in sex or you get to accept sexual incidents that include the denial of dignity and the respect for autonomy.  You don't get to claim a right to the presumption of innocence when it suits you but, then, to deny that right when its results don't suit you.  Responsible adults don't try to have it both ways and irresponsible ones who insist they do aren't allowed to do that by responsible adults.  And that isn't a matter of gender it is the difference between being a responsible adult and a person who can't and so isn't allowed to have the full measure of personal autonomy and choice in their life.  Accepting responsibility for your choices is the basis of adult autonomy and agency, the only means of achieving that.

I have to say there is something a little disgusting about having to point these things out to people deputed to be adults.  It is an extension of the disgusting situation in which "adults" of college age have to be told by a college president that they are endangering themselves by choosing to get drunk.  Something they should have known years earlier.  It is especially disgusting when people even far older than college age who are told that holler and complain that the person telling them what is obviously true and responsible are violating their rights as adults to do stupid stuff and expect that their university is responsible for preventing them being harmed by their own choices.   That's not something the feminists I knew in the 1970s would have done, they were all about claiming their rights as adult women and owning all of what that means.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Lili Kraus (1952) - Brahms - Klavierstücke op 76 Capriccio No 2


Like It Or Not People Who Get Drunk Share The Blame When They Are The Victims of People Who Prey On Drunk People

The word "mansplaining" seemed really useful to me the first times I heard it, back when it was used to describe the condescending manner in which men talked to women, often feigning explanation when what they were doing was articulating their sense of entitlement at the expense of women.  But that quite valuable use of the word has given way to  it meaning just that some man, somewhere has said something that some woman or women don't like.

It is hardly the only useful word that is stolen to be used in a way that ruins its usefulness, "irony", "troll", "The First (or Second) Amendment", virtually all the names of the common classical fallacies of debate have undergone this kind of abuse and diminution of usefulness.  It's my guess that the rise of the internet and the explosion of unedited babbling by the soi disant educated class has accelerated this kind of thing.   There is no surer sign of a mid-brow with a degree than the dishonest application of the names of logical fallacies.

This article by Dana Liebelson,  Controversial Former College President Mansplains Alleged Rape Victim, is part of the piled on response to Stephen Trachtenberg, the former president of George Washington University, saying that women on college campuses needed to have the dangers of getting drunk pointed out to them.  Not having heard the program he said it on, here is how the incident was described in the Washington Post.

“Without making the victims . . . responsible for what happens, one of the groups that have to be trained not to drink in excess are women,” Trachtenberg said on the [Diane Rehm] show. “They need to be in a position to punch the guys in the nose if they misbehave. And so part of the problem is you have men who take advantage of women who drink too much. And there are women who drink too much. And we need to educate our daughters and our children on that — in that regard.”

A few minutes later, another panelist on the show questioned Trachtenberg’s remarks. Caitlin Flanagan, a writer for the Atlantic, said she wanted to “take a slight exception or maybe a real exception to what Dr. Trachtenberg is saying about how if young women are sober they have a better chance of protecting themselves from rape by being able to punch the guy in the nose. That’s not a realistic strategy for protecting ourselves from rape.

Well, no it isn't a strategy but it would certainly be part of any realistic strategy for preventing campus rapes or any other kinds of attacks.   People who get drunk or drugged are at increased risk of being preyed upon by the kinds of people who take advantage of people who are vulnerable to them.  It's part of the reason that rich people so much more often rob poor people instead of rich ones, even stone cold teetotalers, because they are more vulnerable than rich people.  People who are drunk, not just women, are obvious targets for people who want to take advantage of them and harm them.  Men who get drunk are certainly at a higher risk of being raped.   And men are raped, by men and by women, apparently at a far higher rate then you might guess.   Being gay, it is the rape of men by men I know the most about and for a long time and, I would guess, even today, the idea that a gay man would accuse another  man of raping him would have been laughed out of the police station, never mind the courts as being incredible.   A straight man who made the accusation would have been taken more seriously, though both a combination of the stigma or being raped and the suspicion that the man was covertly gay would certainly impede many criminal complaints being filed.  I think a lot of the refusal to see rape as a problem for anyone except women might be due to the failure of male victims to come forward.

I remember way back in the period when sobriety became an all too minor and all too short term fad in some gay circles that a lot the discussions about the consequences of gay life being centered around bars included the fact that being drunk made you vulnerable to people who wanted to take advantage of your impairment.  Were the people who pointed that out "straightsplaining"?

Liebelson says:

In the midst of this controversy, a woman who says she was raped when she was a George Washington student in the early 2000s and was "extremely traumatized" by how the university handled her case confronted Trachtenberg via email to share her experience and denounce his remarks. In an email response, Trachtenberg, now a professor at the school, said her story "surely entitles you to your anger" and implored her to "tell me exactly what I said that you think I need to be ashamed of." The exchange was obtained by Mother Jones.

Following the NPR show, the woman—who asked not to be named—emailed Trachtenberg about her case and said:

…Your recent remarks on the Diane Rehm show disgust me. Shame on you. Shame on the message that you have just sent to millions of women, millions of daughters, and millions of us survivors. I hope you can take the time to reflect on your statements and understand the impact of your words.

In interviews with Mother Jones, the woman recounted what happened to her. She said she was raped on campus by a fellow student, in the middle of the day, with no alcohol or drugs involved. She didn't immediately report the assault, but after she began to experience depression and symptoms of PTSD, she decided to take a leave of absence. According to documents she provided to Mother Jones, a counselor recorded the account of her rape and an associate dean examined her records in order to approve the leave. "No one ever talked to me about my options," she said. "No one suggested reporting to the police or going through the student judicial process." Maralee Csellar, a George Washington spokeswoman, said she can't comment on the case due to privacy laws.

Notice buried in Libelson's text is this statement, " she was raped on campus by a fellow student, in the middle of the day, with no alcohol or drugs involved."  "NO ALCOHOL OR DRUGS INVOLVED"  which you would think could lead a reasonable person to conclude that a comment about the role of alcohol in rape wasn't relevant to the woman's case.  Why would a professional journalist choose that incident to condemn Trachtenberg's comment when the victim's statement proves that it isn't covered by what Trachtenberg said?   Why would the victim think she was covered by a statement about the dangers of being drunk since she wasn't drunk at the time she was raped?

The LGBT rights movement, the feminist movement, civil rights movements claiming the rights of ethnic and racial groups are all based on the right of adults to self determination within the framework of mutually held rights.  It is a demand that they get to exercise the full range of rights of adults when they achieve adulthood and as children, while they are still children.  No civil rights movement that doesn't accept the necessity of those rights also coming with responsibilities to other people and for your own actions will succeed or produce good.  All of them must accept that just as the rights they demand are equally held, so are the responsibilities that come with adulthood.

Young women I know today are being sold a number of stupid ideas in the name of feminism, it would seem mostly from online sources.  There are similar campaigns of folly in other movements, certainly among gay men.  A number of those ideas are not adults demanding their rights and accepting their responsibility as adults, they are adults gaming the language of liberation to claim a right to be irresponsible and to attack people for saying reasonable things.  Those stupid ideas have nothing to do with adults demanding their full rights as adult citizens of the world.  And a lot of those are around the issue of adults taking responsibility for their bad choices and the stupid idea that you taking responsibility as an adult is unrelated to your ability to exercise legitimate rights.  The false claim is that being realistic about this excuses the behavior of criminals who do what criminals do, take advantage of the weakness of other people, especially when that weakness is voluntary, in the form of getting drunk or being drugged is, somehow, oppressing you.

The issue of rape figures into a lot of them, as could be expected when it seems to be a right to get plastered in venues in which predators are known to prey on vulnerable people that is being claimed.  Well, guess what, such human predators are not going to be driven into extinction by any campaign or any laws, rapists are already breaking the law just as certainly as the people who roll drunks and take their wallets are.   And if the police and the justice system can't stop people from rolling drunks or raping drunk people then colleges and universities aren't going to stop that happening either.

I have nieces and nephews in college and in the age group which has been sold the stupid idea that there is a right to get drunk and that people who voluntarily get drunk share no part in the strategy of people who are out hunting for drunk people to victimize.  I despise the "journalists" and bloggers who sell people their age on irresponsible behavior that could end up getting them attacked, raped or murdered.

There is nothing in noting that people who choose to get drunk are doing a good part of the criminals' work for them in making themselves into easier marks that exonerates the criminal.

The example of someone who gets their wallet stolen when they are drunk is a perfect example of why, even if they could get the sympathy of those willing to ignore their part in it, their wallet would still be as missing as if they took all of the blame.  But they don't.   Stealing someones' wallet is a crime.   About the only improbable defense relevant to this argument would be if the thief could claim that the wallet was given voluntarily, something that happens far less often than consent to have sex.

The only difference is that with rape is that a rapist can claim that there was consent.  And, no matter how much you might not like it, that means of defense will always be open to someone making an accusation of rape who was drunk not remembering giving consent or not realizing they have. Getting drunk impairs the memory which will will make the that of use in defending accused rapists in court.   If there were witnesses who could say that the accuser was extremely drunk it would make a conviction far less likely if the standard of judgement was on the level of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.  People accused of rape couldn't easily use that in their defense if the accuser was known to never drink and if the prosecution could make a credible claim that the accuser had not been drinking at the time of the attack.

I know nothing about Stephen Trachtenberg except what I've read about him this morning and didn't hear the show but I don't see anything in what he's quoted as saying that warrants the response it's gotten.  If there was worse I'd imagine they'd include that, in the absence of that, he's getting railroaded in the media.

There is, my fellow adults, no right to get drunk.  Being drunk is a voluntary mental impairment, a voluntary suspension of the ability to act like a responsible adult for the term of inebriation.  And, worse, there is no possibility that getting drunk is not going to figure into the defense on a charge of rape.  That people of the age of college students hadn't already been taught that they are setting themselves up by getting drunk, that they needed to be told that as young adults is a scandalous proof that our society is negligent.  Pretending that getting drunk isn't a problem and that it shouldn't be discouraged and prevented isn't feminist, it is an abdication of responsibility.  And if you think that me pointing that out is condescending, well, there really isn't any other way to address ideas that are so childish, so badly thought through and so unrealistically self-indulgent that avoids talking down to those thoughts.   Make an argument on an adult level and it can be addressed in a way that doesn't have to deal with the childishness in these claims.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Bill Cunliffe 

Mary Lou's Blues

Live at the Culver Club featuring Bill Cunliffe - Piano, Tom Warrington - Bass, Paul Kreibich - Drums, Andy Martin - Trombone, Bob Summers - Trumpet, Rickey Woodard - Tenor Sax and Bob Sheppard - Alto Sax

Not the "Mary Lou Blues" I was looking for, a great boogy-woogy style piece by my favorite and Bill Cunliffe's teacher, Mary Lou Williams with post-war parallel chords on just about every note and wonderful inventiveness (not big on boogy-woogy style playing but hers is entirely worth hearing).  Bill Cunliffe is a great arranger, composer and player whose work I'm not very familiar with.  I hope to change that. 

The Joys of Paying for Dentistry: An Eschange on The Brat Below

Having typical musician's teeth, the product of lean years and deferred treatment - I had an involved session at the dentist bad enough to need to recover at home - my articulation would scare away customers.   Since so many on the left have concentrated their attention and efforts on making the world safe for the "art" of 14-year-old boys whose medium is feigned sex with statues instead of pushing through comprehensive, single-payer healthcare, I don't have dental coverage and the way I feel, I'm, as they say, pissed.  AND I AM HOLDING THEM RESPONSIBLE!  Why?  I just am.  Ok.

Here' an ongoing exchange.

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      He didn't "desecrate" (damage) the statue in any way. Actually I think the photo is funny. To prosecute him violates the 1st amendment (freedom of expression, separation of church and state). To give him two years prison also violates the 8th amendment (excessive punishment).

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          He did desecrate the statue, damage isn't an essential part of desecration - the dictionary is rather a basic reference tool but one that is better than pulling it out of wherever. You don't get to say that this act doesn't desecrate it,
          There is no first amendment right for a stupid 14-year-old to desecrate private property. The assertion that there is is 1. stupid, 2. would lead to politically intollerable conditions, 3. lead to more Republican-fascists using the outrage that such acts caused to win elections and put judges on courts who would do a lot worse than giving this brat community service.
          The rote claims of constitutional protections for stupid, unimportant stunts like this have benefited the Republican right a lot more than it has the idiots who mistake themselves for being on the left who hand them that weapon to use against the real left, over and over again. In a country where "free speech" is the excuse that even the friggin' liberals on the Supreme Court use to allow anti-abortion fanatics to get within easy shooting range of abortion clinics that have already had murders of people working in them, it's stupid for that rote claim to continue whenever something really stupid is said or done.

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              If he had not taken pictures, no one would know this "desecration" ever happened, sorry but to claim any desecration from those pictures is laughable. It is even funnier, that by prosecuting this kid those pictures have now seem much further dissemination than they ever would have.
              This was a performance art by the kid, and art whether tasteless or not is protected by the constitution. This case will go nowhere, he has a stronger case in counter suing that his constitutional protections have been be violated.
              Saddest part is that this insane persecution of this kid, can actually have negative ramifications on him for the rest of his life. What he did as a silly joke, where no one was harmed or property was damaged, he may now have giant court fees and it could stain his reputation locally making it difficult for him to find employment.
              He should sue and he will win.

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                  Well, he did, part of his stupidity was in taking pictures of himself desecrating the statue and posting them. It's a really stupid criminal who hands proof of what they did to anyone who either wants to prosecute them or punch them in the mush.
                  While I'll agree that the prosecutor is way, way overcharging the brat who should get to make some kind of arrangement with whoever owns the thing to get the charges dropped, prosecutors in most places are a political position and, in the case of a conservative prosecutor, making sure people who are outraged by what the brat did know about it and see what he did serves his purpose rather well. I doubt he could sue and I doubt he would win. If I were his lawyer I'd advise against it.
                  Anyone who calls this kind of juvenile stunt "art" deserves to be ridiculed for being a disingenuous dolt making an absurd claim that only other disingenuous dolts will pretend to believe. Most people looking at this will see it for what it is, a stupid kid doing something stupid to get attention for himself. It's about as artistic as a kid belching loudly in the back of the bus or telling a fart joke.

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                      No criminal act took place, they will have to show that this law has been used before in similar situations.

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                          Let's see if that happens. If what he did is legal then any 14-year-old attention seeker can go simulate sex with any statue, anywhere and be protected for his act of "free speech". If that became common the political backlash would be rather enormous and would benefit Republicans. Meanwhile the play leftists would preen in their superior free-speechyness in their affluent abodes while the real agenda of the real left went into the crapper.
                          I'm beginning to see that the biggest problem of the left is the immature, stupid play left. The real left will have to dump them and their antics, leaving them behind. They are the left's equivalent of the Tea Party, only without the ability to shift elections to the left.