Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Sometimes I think the Internet needs a "smite" button.

This young lady ought to be an inspiration to a generation of girls who are mathematically inclined and who are in need of a role model who is (a) still alive and (b) not impossibly sundered from them by a generation gap (or even a several-generation gap).

I subscribed to her channel (among others) because some of my leisure-time interests required me to have a grasp of integral and differential calculus which are either not taught in, or I have forgotten since, high school, and because her teaching style is clear and easy to follow in terms of both delivery and content.

It annoys me, therefore, when I find comments left on her YouTube vids which ignore the content and primarily reference her appearance. Yes, she's an attractive, well-presented young woman; yes, any single straight man with at least half a brain who wants a partner with at least half a brain has every right to find her attractive and would be stupid not to be interested in someone like her. But guess what, folks? That's not why she's there. She's there to teach mathematics; not to be slobbered after by, and act as masturbatory material for, legions of morally and socially dysfunctional post-adolescent reprobates and certainly not to be the recipient of comments explicitly stating the commenter's desire to undress her and have sex with her.

If they want a pin-up girl, they need only go to the restricted section of the magazine rack and buy one of the many magazines that are printed for the purpose. Either that or buy a good-quality inkjet printer and make hard copies of what they find online. And if it's moving pictures which take their fancy, there are more than enough brainless young women disporting themselves disgracefully around YouTube that the intelligent ones doing their selfless best to help others could and should be left the hell alone.

Boston Marathon bombings

I hope the people who did this are caught, publicly identified, incarcerated and given a lifetime of being made to wish they had never been born.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Feminism vs. Women's Lib, Suffragettes, Bluestockings, etc.

Whenever I hear the word "feminst" or any of its relations, my blood boils just a little. Not because I don't believe in women's equality (I probably lean towards thinking they're the superior sex in many ways) or their right to equal pay or any career or a comprehensive education or owning property or even control over their own fertility, etc. etc. etc.

No, the feminism I take objection to is something very different.

It is that school of thought which trots out "the Patriarchy" as the reason that horrid things sometimes happen to specific women. Worse, it is that school of thought which, when representatives of "the Patriarchy" advocate harsh punishments (up to and including the death penalty) for rapists, child molesters and wife beaters, claim that this is because "the Patriarchy" is upset at having its property spoiled. No, you fuckwits - it's because there's nothing we despise more than people who do bad things to women and children.

It is that school of thought which decries teaching young girls to be able to defend themselves physically in favour of "educating" boys to treat girls decently. We used to do this once upon a time, but if "nice girls don't and nice boys don't ask" was a shade too far the other way, it at least allowed us to define a standard of behaviour which responsible and enterprising adolescents could choose to set aside in private once they had discussed the matter between themselves, and which irresponsible boys could be punished harshly for breaching. The baby clearly went out with the bath-water here. The other problem I have with the "feminist" line here is that it puts control of a girl's safety in the hands of the boy. If he's not the sort to accept her advice (and let's face it, there are boys who simply aren't), she's in big trouble if she doesn't have both the means and the mental attitude to fight him off.

It is that school of thought which holds that catalogues featuring young adult women in very revealing bikinis (and the clothing they advertise) are exploitative of women and worthy of making a big hue and cry about. Ditto jelly wrestling and other spectator sports in which scantily clad women are the participants and men are overwhelmingly the intended audience. Um, no. Nobody is forcing these women to be there. When you liberate women in the sphere of their sexuality and careers, you have to accept that some of those women are going to take both in directions you don't approve of.

There are more pressing problems. The original push for women's rights in the Western World was for more basic and essential things - the right to own property (including themselves, basically); the right to vote (and by extension, to be voted for); the right to work; the right to an education. All of those battles HAVE BEEN WON in the Western World, and were won long before the current crop of twentysomething campaigners for "women's rights" were even born - to which the lives of both Golda Meir and Margaret Thatcher will attest.

These days we are the bemused observers of essays in which these "feminists" angst over the eating of meat as a symbol of approval of male violence over women. In the meantime, there are millions of women around the world who do NOT have the basic rights outlined in bold above. I think "feminism" as a whole should get a grip on itself, shut the fucking hell up about its ideological concerns and concentrate on rectifying these deficiencies in the rest of the world.

Then, and only then, should it come back and lecture us about the sexual politics of being a carnivore, telling adult women what brands of bikini they're allowed to wear when they choose to participate in mud-wrestling, and insisting that it's not as important to teach adolescent girls how to repel a pushy or aggressive boyfriend who won't take no for an answer as it is to try to indoctrinate boys who won't listen.

Monday, 1 April 2013

Why I believe in the right of the general public to own military-pattern firearms.

Because no Nazi wants to be the one to deliver the midnight knock on the door of an armed Jew.

Yes, that is a metaphor. It is a metaphor for any minority group.

Consider that it is the Republicans who are the most aggressive defenders of the American public's right to keep and bear arms. Consider that it is they who, in the backward world of Leftist "gay death camp" paranoia, would be delivering that knock on the door. Do you really think they would do that, having (in their own perfect world) enabled that target population to arm itself to the teeth?

The ability of a vulnerable minority group to arm itself and give its aggressors a thorough beating is as old as history - the Book of Esther (for those who bother to read the Bible any more) offers the perfect example. Which leads to my second bolded point, widely attributed and almost certainly as widely paraphrased:

Only a tyrant fears an armed population.

I have to ask of the gun-control advocates in the United States: "What do you fear? And why?" I do not think they can point to Sandy Hook and other such atrocities with any conviction - murder with firearms is a daily occurrence in many places in the United States, but it seems to me that far too dim and limited a spotlight is cast (if at all) on who is shooting whom, and with what (e.g. illegally-obtained firearms). It's very easy to wave your arms when twenty little middle-class kids are killed all at once in the same place, but not so easy to drum up outrage when the killings are occurring on a regular basis, far from you, among people with whom you would never dream of associating (inner-city youths who are part of gangs). Where are THEY getting their guns?

I cannot and will not defend progressive restrictions on the ownership of firearms by law-abiding persons as being either an honest or a moral response to the actions of singular maniacs, however horrific those actions may be. 

It is the punishment of the innocent for the crimes of the guilty. It is unjust and hypocritical. 

Justice is the punishment of the guilty for their own crimes.