Category Archives: Culture

Culture for the cultured and uncultured alike.

Animal’s Daily Social Justice News

This makes a very good point:  Social Justice is an Oxymoron.  Excerpt:

Huge swaths of Americans still bow at the altar of social justice. They believe government-forced “charity” will advance us to an utopian paradise where everyone enjoys the same outcome, despite personal effort, upbringing, unique abilities and education.

Truth is, though, social justice is an oxymoron based on the false premise that the cure for injustice is leveling the playing field and redistributing wealth. As former Vice President Joe Biden once said, “You may call it redistribution of wealth – I just call it being fair.”

Karl Marx would be so proud.

Marx hated religion, private property and Judeo-Christian values as much as leftists do today. That’s why you should bolt out of any place of worship that combines Jesus, social justice and the government in the same sentence.

In his book, “The Fatal Conceit: The Errors of Socialism,” economist Friedrich Hayek nails what’s really at stake: “The aim of socialism is no less than to affect a complete redesigning of our traditional morals, law and language – and on this basis to stamp out the old order and the supposedly inexorable, unjustifiable conditions that prevent the institution of reason, fulfillment, true freedom and justice.”

Yesteryears’ creepy social justice warriors are now out of the closet and no longer hide their agenda. Instead, they give it a pink boa and parade their intentions to destroy capitalism, silence free speech and scrub Judeo-Christian values from the public square.

They harp about injustice and claim only they can fix it, which is one of the most arrogant, egotistical piles of hogwash you’ll ever hear.

I define “social justice” as the term is used by its advocates as “take someone else’s stuff away and give it to me, because reasons.”  In fact, the term is nebulous; it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

In fact, there can be no such thing as “social justice,”  Like rights, justice can only apply to individuals.  What advocates for “social justice” are calling for is not justice; it is theft.

But I differ with the author of this article, Susan Stamper Brown, in one respect, and that is the lateral arabesque they perform in making this a discussion of “Judeo-Christian values.”  While it is true that most modern, Western civilizations are – today – based on a Judeo-Christian ethos in social matters, the issues discussed now are those of economics; a restrictive socialist system as set against an Enlightenment-style, free market system based on strong property rights.  The two are not compatible; but no religious arguments are required here.  For that matter, they aren’t particularly helpful.

Ms. Brown should stay focused.

 

Animal’s Daily Enforced Pedestrian News

California, does thy nutballery ever end?  Now the Golden (hah) State is considering outlawing gasoline or diesel-powered cars.  Excerpt:

The head of the California Air Resources Board told Bloomberg News that the state is seriously looking into whether and how to make internal combustion engine cars illegal in the state, as part of its self-imposed plan to cut state CO2 emissions in 2050 to 80% of what it emitted in 1990.

That follows announcements over the summer that the UK and France will try to ban the sale of gas- and diesel-powered cars by 2040. More recently, China claims it will impose a ban in 2030.

The CARB’s Mary Nichols says California could implement such a ban in 13 years, and one state lawmaker plans to introduce a bill that would enforce it in 2040.

To put it bluntly, this is one of the most ill-conceived public policy ideas in a state that seems to have them in abundance.

First, some perspective.

According to the EPA, all transportation — cars, trucks, planes, trains and boats — are responsible for about a quarter of the nation’s CO2 emissions. The share contributed by passenger cars alone is considerably smaller than that. In the European Union, for example, cars account for 12% of CO2 emissions.

California’s move would make no noticeable dent in global CO2 emissions. Plus, it would take well over a decade before the entire car fleet turned over to all electric.

What’s more, the CO2 reduction claims from such a ban are wildly exaggerated.

Remember, electric cars don’t run on magic. They run on electricity. So forcing car owners to buy only electric cars will mean a massive surge in demand for electricity, which is generated largely by greenhouse-emitting natural gas and coal. In California, these fuel sources account for 40% of the state’s electricity. Solar and wind add up to just 17%.

Much of the CO2 “cuts” will really just be a shift from one source to another.

Here’s a consideration that the article doesn’t mention; how much of California’s economy depends on tourism, and how many of those tourists drive into that state?  If those people drive into California after the ban, will they find any gasoline stations to greet them, or will they be barred from bringing their faithful benzene-burners into the state?  What will that do to California’s economy?

Maybe whoever dreamed this piece of nitwittery up just believes in putting everybody afoot; perhaps they think there will be less mischief that way.

I don’t really care what China and France do in this regard.  But California has just produced another dumb idea in a long list of dumb ideas.

Rule Five Social Media Stupidity Friday

Ever wonder why people say so many stupid things on social media?  Wonder no more.  Excerpt:

Social media is full of word vomit, boneheaded comments, and sheer stupidity. Reasoned discourse regularly goes by the wayside.

There’s a simple explanation for this sorry cesspool. Social media puts humanity’s most primitive thinking on display for all to see.

That’s not meant to be an insult, it’s simply a matter of psychology. In his bestselling book Thinking, Fast and Slow, Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman makes the case that humans utilize two modes of thinking: system 1 and system 2. System 1 is the more primitive of the two, operating “automatically and quickly, with little or no effort and no sense of voluntary control.” On the other hand, system 2 is slow, deliberative, and controlled, used, for example, to fill out a tax form or to check the validity of a complex argument.

It’s apparent which system is most prominently used on social media. Take Twitter, for example, where lots of information arrives lightning fast in brief, 140-character tidbits, and one’s similarly short response is just a few types and a click away. The platform basically goads users into sharing their quickest and most mindless reactions and opinions.

All too often, those responses reflect disgust or take the form of attacks and rebuttals to perceived hostility. That’s not surprising, as Kahneman notes that showing disgust and detecting hostility are two key roles of system 1.

Before social media, public opinions were often prepared and measured. We read and discussed them in fully-formed and edited opinion pieces in reputable newspapers. We watched practiced and polished pundits debate meaningful ideas on cable TV. No more. Now, anyone can broadcast their most thoughtless thoughts and responses to a wide audience.

Readers of these virtual pages will already know I don’t use Twitter.  Being something of a garrulous old coot, I can think of few subjects on which I can express any meaningful opinion in 140 characters, except perhaps to petulant demands for justification for my various activities from lefties to whom my response is usually “fuck off.”

But I can see the point behind this assessment of social media in general, especially Twitter.  I  had a brief flirtation with Facebook some years back, and came to realize that Facebook has the worst noise-to-signal ratio on the Internet, save perhaps YouTube comments.  There are some exceptions to the generally low intelligence quotient of most discussion forums; my favorite at the moment is the Glibertarians site.  LinkedIn is usually better as well, although not exempt from the stupid-comment rule.  (I describe LinkedIn to my kids as ‘Facebook for people with IQs above 70.’)

But there’s a flip side to the stupidity of social media.  You’re looking (and I say this in all modesty) at an example of that.  That flip side, of course, is the rise of the blogger.

Most of us don’t do this for money.  A few high-profile bloggers, like our pal in Rule Five linkery Robert Stacy McCain, manage to monetize their blogs, but they are the exception.  Speaking for yr. obdt., I do this for one primary reason – my own personal amusement. 

But I would like to think that, unlike Facebook and Twitter, Animal Magnetism continues to be a force for, if not good, at least sanity.

Facebook, meanwhile, continues to provide ample research ground for those studying the Dunning-Kruger Effect.

Animal’s Daily Icons of Rock News

With all the Social Justice Warriors and virtue-signalling in the entertainment industry today, it’s fun to take a look at some songs from back in the day that would be considered “hate speech” today.  And the fun thing is, most of them are nothing of the sort.  Here are a few.

The first selection here may not be considered PC today, but it was and is one of the greatest rock&roll tunes over written.  The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down is a paean to a brave man who fought and lost in America’s only family war.  And no, the song never mentions slavery.  It’s a sad, touching song.  Forget Joan Baez’s middling cover; here, from Martin Scorsese’s The Last Waltz is the song’s originators, The Band.

And how about Sammy Hagar’s response to Imperial blackmail to force the states to the old double-nickel speed limit?  Here he is, pre-Van Halen, with I Can’t Drive 55.

Speaking of Van Halen; around 1982, they did a cover of Roy Orbison’s Pretty Woman.  The video was yanked from MTV; here is it in its entirety.  Take a look and see if you can tell why.

The penultimate selection here would be abhorred were it released today, due to a flurry of teacher/student “relationships” in recent years.  Van Halen touched on the subject with Hot for Teacher, but it was the Police with Don’t Stand So Close To Me that really nailed it.

Finally, from early 70s folks singer Melanie, this tune really fits only in the non-PC selection because of one line; listen, and see if you can guess which line I’m referring to:

On that musical note, we return you to your Thursday, already in progress.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Today’s  happy juxtaposition of fundamentalist Islamic shitbaggery with the usual Hump Day totty is completely intentional.

Our allies the Saudis have detained a Saudi woman for a heinous breach of morality – she posted a video of herself wearing a crop-top shirt and a miniskirt.  Oh, the horror!  Excerpt:

The woman in the video has not been identified, but she’s being called “Khulood” online. The country’s religious police said that her attire is “offensive” and promised to investigate the matter. In Saudi Arabia, women are supposed to wear an abaya, which is a loose-fitting, cloaklike garment, over their clothes, and their hair should be covered in public. These laws do not apply to foreign women, which is why female members of President Donald Trump’s delegation to the country did not cover their heads during their visit.

First things first: that outfit is in no way offensive for walking around a city on a hot summer day. It wouldn’t be out of place in any American shopping mall.

Second: it’s absolutely abhorrent that a woman could be detained by the police for walking around outside. She wasn’t in a religious site or in some other area like a workplace where one could reasonably expect a dress code prohibiting crop tops. She was outside.

Third, there’s this gem from Linda Sarsour:

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:  Fucking savages.

It’s hard to form an opinion from a few seconds of grainy video, but the person in question appears to be a lovely young woman in the prime of life, a picture of the Feminine Aesthetic that we adherents to Western civilization love and revere.  But in the Kingdom, she is now in jail for wearing an outfit that would not be out of place in any high school in the United States.

That’s not morality.  It’s bald, unadulterated oppression.  Real oppression, not the hysterical “I’m oppressed because the government won’t pay for my birth control” kind of oppressed.  This is real, not-allowed-to-drive, not-allowed-to-speak-to-an-unrelated-male, not-allowed-to-speak-unless-spoken-to oppression.

So, in response, let’s remind ourselves what a real, self-confident, capable American woman looks like.

Animal’s Daily Snake Oil News

First of all, our hearty thanks once again to The Other McCain and Pirate’s Cove for the Rule Five links!

Moving on:  Gwyneth Paltrow is a fair actress and she’s pretty hot, but when it comes to “alternative medicine,” she’s barking nuts.  Excerpt:

This week, Gwyneth Paltrow’s high-profile lifestyle and e-commerce site, Goop, gave birth to a beautiful gift to the Internet—and it wasn’t a moon-powered vagina egg that invigorates our mystical “life force.” No, it was a perfectly crafted reference guide for how to sell snake oil.

It’s really quite impressive.

Read the whole thing; but if you’re pressed for time, here’s where it gets really funny:

But before we take a dive into how Goop makes its money, it might be useful to run through the inventory of ridiculous products and practices that the Goop brand has peddled. This way, you can have an idea of just how much legwork might be needed during a sales pitch to move these types of products.

I’ll start off with the jade egg, which is, of course, intended to empower women when inserted into the vagina. According to Goop’s “beauty guru/healer/inspiration/friend Shiva Rose” it can improve your sex life and “detox” your lady bits, among other things. It sells for a mere $55 to $66 on Goop’s site.

To be fair, some women might feel emboldened by shoving an expensive rock in there. But there is no evidence to support—or even reason to believe—the health claims. For one thing, unless your kidneys are failing or you have been poisoned, you do not need to detoxify your body. Detoxing is not a thing. Plus, as Dr. Gunter and others have pointed out, keeping a porous egg that may harbor bacteria in your vagina has the potential to spur an infection. Similarly, Goop has also recommended vaginal steam cleaning, which is unnecessary because the vagina is self-cleaning. The steaming could also encourage infections, as well as burns.

Holy.

Effing.

Shit.

Question, True Believers:  Is it fraud if you actually believe the bullshit you are spewing to sell your useless crap?  Because this smells like fraud to me.

Don’t get me wrong; I do actually believe that, at some point, fools and their money deserve to be parted.  But really, horseshit like this strains credulity.  What’s really disappointing, what really shakes what little faith I have left in my fellow man, is the fact that some people actually believe in and spend money on this absolute codswallop.

Seriously, Ms. Paltrow – you should be ashamed of yourself.  You are taking advantage of people who (I’m guessing) don’t have two IQ points to rub together, and you’re doing so by selling them the biggest line of horseshit since the Greeks convinced the Trojans to roll an enormous wooden horse, big enough to contain a few hundred Greeks in full armor, inside their city gates and all go off for an early night.

Rule Five Sex Robot Friday

Not a robot.

This seems an appropriate subject for Rule Five Friday:  Reuters says we need to have a talk about sex robots.  Excerpt:

Artificial intelligence (AI) is making its way into the global sex market, bringing with it a revolution in robotic “sextech” designed to offer sexual gratification with a near-human touch.

In a report on the growing market in sex robots, the Foundation for Responsible Robotics said rapidly advancing technologies have already led to the creation of “android love dolls” capable of performing 50 automated sexual positions.

They can be customized down to the nipple shape and pubic hair color, and can cost between $5,000 and $15,000.

Still not a robot.

The increasingly life-like robots raise complex issues that should be considered by policymakers and the public, the report said — including whether use of such devices should be encouraged in sexual therapy clinics, for sex offenders, or for people with disabilities.

Noel Sharkey, a professor of artificial intelligence and robotics at Britain’s University of Sheffield, said it was difficult to predict how far or fast the market would grow, or what its effect on societies might be in years ahead.

“Will these robotic dolls be niche? Or will they change societal norms and become widespread?,” he asked at a news briefing. “How would (sex with a robot) equate to a truly human intimate relationship?”

Flesh and blood.

It’s easy to think that someone who may shell out big bucks for a sex-bot is pretty pathetic; to be honest, I’m inclined to think that myself.  But is it a possible answer, say, for a man whose wife has a terminal illness – a man who still has physical urges but no desire to cheat on a wife who is no longer able to engage in sex through no fault of her own?

Maybe so.  No matter how realistic, sex with a robot can’t be considered an act of infidelity; it’s just masturbation with a fancy toy.

Still; consider the last question quoted above:  “Will these robotic

Not mechanical.

dolls be niche? Or will they change societal norms and become widespread?”  My prediction:  They won’t change societal norms, any more than the Fleshlight (Note:  link NSFW!) did.  Sex-bots are just another fancy sex-toy; more expensive and more complex than most, but still just another sex toy.  

Even the incorporation of artificial intelligence into the sex-bot bill of materials wont’ change things much.  The most sophisticated AI still won’t be able to experience the wide range of human sensory input, of emotion, of tingling nerves and twitching muscles that makes up an act of consenting sex between two willing people.

Humans have been using sex toys since they started using tools.  The advent of complex, even AI sex-bots is just another aspect of an old, old theme.

A real girl.

Animal’s Daily Icons of Rock News

Joan Jett!

Here’s another interesting sub-genre of rock & roll, one that I’ve always enjoyed – bad-girl rock!

The whole genre really got going with the lady pictured here, Joan Jett, when she and Lita Ford started The Runaways.  (Don’t bother seeing the biopic of the same name; it was well and truly awful.)

Joan went on to have a substantial career of her own, and she can well and truly be described as the founding lady of bad-girl rock.  So here, on this sunny California Thursday, I present a few examples of bad girls rocking!

First up is the lady herself, Joan Jett, with a rendition of her Runaways hit Cherry Bomb.

Now Joan had a bigger solo career than her former Runaways partner, but that doesn’t mean Lita Ford didn’t do some rocking too.  Here she is with her song Hit and Run.

 And here they are together!  Going back to 1977, here is a performance of the tune Wasted by The Runaways.


Joan and Lita kick-started a genre.  They did it without auto-tune, while actually playing instruments, by doing live shows without lip-syncing.

How many young women performers now can say the same?

Rule Five I, Claudius Friday

National treasure Dr. Victor Davis Hanson presents an interesting historical comparison to President Trump.  Excerpt:

Claudius was an unusual emperor, the first to be born outside Italy, in Roman Gaul. Under the Augustan Principate, new Caesars—who claimed direct lineage from the “divine” Augustus—were usually rubber-stamped by the toadyish Senate. However, the outsider Claudius (who had no political training and was prevented by his uncle Tiberius from entering the cursus honorum), was brought into power by the Roman Praetorian Guard, who wanted a change from the status quo apparat of the Augustan dynasty.

The Roman aristocracy—most claiming some sort of descent from Julius Caesar and his grandnephew Octavian (Caesar Augustus)—had long written Claudius off as a hopeless dolt. Claudius limped, the result of a childhood disease or genetic impairment. His mother Antonia, ashamed of his habits and appearance, called the youthful Claudius “a monster of man.” He was likely almost deaf and purportedly stuttered.

That lifelong disparagement of his appearance and mannerisms probably saved Claudius’s life in the dynastic struggles during the last years of the Emperor Augustus and the subsequent reigns of the emperors Tiberius and Caligula.

The stereotyped impression of Claudius was that of a simpleton not to be taken seriously—and so no one did. Claudius himself claimed that he feigned acting differently in part so that he would not be targeted by enemies before he assumed power, and to unnerve them afterwards.

Contemporary critics laughed at his apparent lack of eloquence and rhetorical mastery, leading some scholars to conjecture that he may have suffered from Tourette syndrome or a form of autism. The court biographer Suetonius wrote that Claudius “was now careful and shrewd, sometimes hasty and inconsiderate, occasionally silly and like a crazy man.”

Sound familiar?

It is an interesting comparison.  I’ve read a fair amount of Roman history myself, although most of my reading has to do with the Republic, not the Empire, as in prior to the second Roman Civil War.  But I agree that there are parallels between President Trump and Claudius.

Both were/are political outsiders.

Both were/are considered rude and uncouth by the political elites of their times.

Both were/are the subject of relentless attacks by those same political elites.

Of course, there is one major difference; President Trump was elected to office by the citizens according to a republican Constitution in place for nearly two hundred and fifty years.  Claudius was installed in office by the Praetorian Guard, over the objections of the Roman Senate, who were the last badly weakened vestige of the old Republic.

No comparison is perfect.  But this is an interesting one, and it’s important to note the road the Romans went down – and it’s not dissimilar (especially in fiscal matters) than the road the United States is on now.