Tuesday, 16 December 2014

The Lindt Shop of Horrors

I would like to think that the filthy little bastard responsible for this is now screaming in Hell.

His list of crimes, both alleged and proven, before he embarked on his one-way ego trip to the grave was long and godawful, and almost any of them should have seen him either behind bars or with his refugee status declined and his sick and sorry arse on the first plane back to Iran, to face whatever fate awaited him there. Certainly he did nothing to deserve the place in Australian society that was originally so generously afforded him, having done very little (it seems) since his arrival other than to metaphorically piss on the carpet every so often.

I'm not going to provide hordes of links, because bloggers far greater than I (Andrew Bolt and Tim Blair among them) have already covered this quite well, and I intend to keep it quite short.

I will not stand for anyone who wants to apologise for this miscreant, or to minimise the horror of what he put his hostages through and what he has subjected the families of the people he killed to at what should have been the happiest time of their year. I don't want to hear it, and I don't need to hear it. I don't need to hear about anyone being the victims here apart from the two people whose deaths he brought about and the many more who are possibly going to have nightmares for years over this.

As Bolt has already covered quite well, I will not stand for people who profess compassion (the "I'll ride with you" hashtag) on the one hand yet who on the other hand are perfectly capable of writing this:

I’m learning about hate because I am coming to hate you, white person. You have all the control, all the power, all the privilege, and there is nothing holding you accountable. I hate the double standards and hypocrisy you display, the rank dishonesty of your conduct. I hate that you can harm us, when we cannot harm you. 

There are plenty of nations on this earth that are governed by non-white people. Perhaps the author of this vile, hateful tissue of lies would prefer to try her chances in one of them and see how much more pleasant life is there. It's very easy to spout such garbage when you're attacking a Western capitalist democracy from within; not so easy in other systems when they behave in ways you find objectionable. Like the way they execute people in Iran for being gay, or flog raped women in Saudi Arabia, or mutilate little girls' clitorises in Sudan, or murder a hundred and twenty schoolchildren in one bloody incident in Pakistan, or sell 200-odd teenage girls into sexual slavery in Nigeria.

You know, things like that.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

"The Game", by Neil Strauss

This book, lovingly bound in the old-fashioned style with (unfortunately faux) soft leather cover and (equally faux) gilt-edged pages, is the history of journalist Neil Strauss's journey into the Heart of Darkness that is the Pick-up Artist scene. Stauss's account, including the admissions of the things he got up to, is at times disturbing and occasionally even revolting, but it's not without its moments of moral lucidity - both at the time and certainly in retrospect. It's worth reading, and the last I looked, it seems that it's possible to find a pdf of the whole book online.

Everything that follows is seen through the filter of my interpretation of what Strauss saw, did and subsequently wrote.

What Strauss appears to have been offered at ground level was a method by which geeks, dorks and the otherwise socially inept could attain the same power to score chicks as the jocks and alpha males they went to school with - in other words, a levelling of the social playing field. I don't blame them - I was one of the otherwise socially inept as a teenager, and it used to baffle me as to how Boy A and Girl B, who in some cases had never before met in their lives, could be found snogging in a corner not an hour after they'd first made introductions to each other.

The essence seems to boil down to a series of routines, deeply rooted in a knowledge of linguistics and social psychology, with a very generous helping of experience gained through repeated failure. It has the advantage that someone who is socially awkward through being non-neurotypical can learn them (and as Strauss indicates, often does so with a vengeance) and apply them. The origin of all this goes back to a very few men who laid the original groundwork back in the Seventies, and whose followers then refined the techniques and expanded them through their own readings. The (somewhat potted) history of all this is recorded in Strauss's book.

By his own account, Strauss himself appears to have excelled at the Game, rising from apprentice to master very quickly by dint of application and innate intelligence, but also by combining the best of every school of thought he could get an "in" on. However, the old saying that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely was never more true than here, and the problem with the players of the Game is that they went beyond the ability to "level the playing field" and gained - too quickly and too easily - the power to dominate it. As I read it, men whose dream it had been simply to be able to approach a woman ended up living the nightmare of being addicted to picking them up - the end goal had been forgotten, and the means had become an end in itself.

What I found more interesting (and significantly more ironic) is that as each apprentice matured, his desire to take on apprentices of his own (for a handy teaching fee, of course, as was the case from the very start) expanded, until finally the place in which they were living and multiplying was seething with neophyte pick-up artists being churned through the "schools" like boot-camp conscripts. So the whole thing had basically morphed into not necessarily a consciously evolved pyramid scheme, but certainly a pyramidal structure, and the end result was market saturation: all the girls had been approached at one time or another with all the routines, and even the experts - the flexible ones, who'd developed and/or synthesised their own techniques and understood the deeper why as well as the rote-level what - found themselves locked out. They had, in essence, destroyed themselves.

Strauss appears only to have found true contentment when the insane situation in which he was living eventuallyh brought him together with a woman who appreciated him for what he was - which is what the Game had originally been designed to do. Others bailed out early, and some of them did so to find God.

The whole sordid business (and even reading through male eyes with most moral filters switched off, it's still pretty sordid) makes me wonder whether any of what he was doing was ethical, but at base level I think the original intention - to level the playing field for young men who are starting out from a position of social-interactive disadvantage - was (and remains) a pure one. The important thing for the person considering going down this road (and Strauss's follow-up, "The Rules of the Game", lays out the nature of that road pretty clearly) is not to lose sight of the basic goal - you are using this stuff to create an opening in which your natural self can shine.

The problem a lot of Strauss's fellow-travellers seemed to have is that their natural selves sometimes had very little to offer, either to begin with or because playing the game had consumed their lives and become the centre of their existence, and there was little for them to do but work their way through the routines (and the women who fell for them) as if that would bring them some sort of fulfilment.

By Strauss's account, it didn't. And this, to me, is not in the least surprising.

I give the book five stars out of five. Strauss's writing is excellent, his turn of phrase brilliant, and while some of the content is extremely disturbing, it does offer a glimpse into a part of the male mind that is all too often treated by some people as if it's the entirety. It isn't, and that fact needs to be recognised.

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Real Men.

I'm not sure what exactly prompted this post, but the seed for it was planted by the (by most accounts) execrable behaviour of former CBC golden boy Jian Ghomeshi, and the chatter that some close friends have engaged in concerning it. This has led on to other things, such as a discussion of the general category of "men who have bad opinions on women while at the same time trying to grope, fondle or fuck with as many of them as possible".

In the course of observing and participating in these discussions, I happened to be directed to this piece. I assumed at first it was satire, but I am assured by all involved that the author is in fact deadly serious. What follows is accordinly based on the assumption that my friends are correct. Also, for obvious reasons, everything that follows pertains to male-female relations.

Dear sweet Christ, what is this guy smoking? Because I don't want any of it. Ever.

For a start, the article is called How to Crush a Girl's Self-Esteem. And that just gets an automatic NO from me. You don't want to crush it - you want to build it if at all possible. And I say "if at all possible" not because any given man might not be incapable of doing this, but because any given woman might not need building up at all. She might already be quite strong, confident and sure enough of herself that no effort at building up is either necessary or desirable, thank you very much, and the only thing her prospective date need do is to affirm her self-worth rather than attempt the futile task of improving the unimprovable.

I will confess to having had self-esteem issues of my own (and to be honest, who hasn't at some stage?), but for fuck's sake, this does NOT give me either an excuse or a reason to go tearing down the self-esteem of a hypothetical prospective girlfriend. I say hypothetical because it just so happens that I'm happily married, with every expectation of never needing to think about looking for another girlfriend ever again, and so any question of "Ask yourself, what would Perturbed do?" needs to have that adjective understood even where it is unsaid, for the rest of the post.

This... individual goes on to state what to him seem self-evident truths, such as:

All else being equal, any man with a sack will choose an insecure girl who lives to please him over a Strong, Independent Woman™ every time.
Let me decode that for you: "Any man who is not gay, emasculate or effeminate wants a doormat for a girlfriend."

No. Any man with a sack - any straight man with a sack - should be the sort of man whom even a Strong Independent Woman would occasionally live to please. Maybe he gets off on the power trip - who knows? - but to me, this guy sees a woman who won't drop everything for him 24/7 as undesirable, some sort of threat, or both. I've got no time for that sort of bullshit. Said bullshit continues immediately with:

But because of you-go-grrl propaganda encouraging girls to behave like ersatz men, few if any women can admit their desire to submit to the whims of a man.

Oh wow. So a woman who goes out and gets what she wants from life (career, business, professional qualifications she needs for both) is being an ersatz man? No, she's a successful, self-made woman, you twit. And as for submitting to whims, there's a little thing called give and take in a successful and healthy relationship. Sometimes the man does the taking, sometimes the woman. You don't abuse the power, and you certainly don't go out of your way to have the sort of relationship in which you can exercise it constantly. Most decent men I know would get bored of this pretty quickly, but I'm pretty sure that there are some out there who'd get drunk on it, and that's where all sorts of really bad shit can start to happen.

Merely banging a girl isn’t enough for a man: he needs to possess her very being to be satisfied.

Umm, yeah. There's a name for that - it's called marriage and it's an integral part of the human condition, which is why every culture and every religion since the dawn of humanity has developed some sort of ritual for it. But the flipside of that is that she wants the exact same thing, and she deserves to get it. Any sane member of any sane congregation in any sane church will tell you that.

 If you’re in a relationship with a girl, this is how you can crush her self-image and own her mind, body and soul.

I don't want or need that level of power over somebody, thank you very much - and I certainly don't want to obtain it in the manner subsequently described.

I could say a lot more and I almost certainly will, but right now I need to go scrub my brain.

ETA 7 December 2014 - It does appear that I might have been wrong and that the above IS a satire site after all. If so, I beg the author's forgiveness - but the sentiments I have quoted in italics are still, if interpreted without irony, utterly revolting and my replies to those sentiments IF EXPRESSED WITHOUT IRONY remain unchanged.

Sunday, 11 May 2014


Have been very busy with Real Life, hence absent from here.

The abduction of over 200 teenage schoolgirls in Nigeria by the fundamentalist Islamist group known as Boko Haram is disgusting enough, but what is almost MORE disgusting - in its moral and intellectual spinelessness if nothing else - is the response to it in the West, which is basically a big vacuous nothing.

No, I take that back. It is WORSE than a big vacuous nothing. A big vacuous nothing would have been the circulation of hashtags of the sort which greeted Russia's recent victimisation of the Ukraine (I have to admit, tricky to counter IRL; are you really going to risk a superpower conflict over this, even in an era where the fingers are NOT automatically poised over the nuclear trip-switch?). But the thing that makes me really sick is the exact nature of the hashtag.

bring back our girls

I'm not putting the hash in and I'm breaking the phrase up because I don't want hashtag crawlbots to find this and add it to the general swag of support for this meaningless gesture.

First of all, spineless Western wankers, they are not YOUR girls. They are their families' girls.

Second, it does no good to "bring them back" if the fucking murderous scumbags who took them in the first place (and who also seem to delight in the massacre of teenage boys as well as sundry others, but hey, who cares about bunch of teenage boys, right?) go on existing to perpetuate their murderous rampages in pursuit of their murderous, pre-medieval ideology.

Perhaps a hashtag comprising or including the phrase "exterminate Boko Haram" would be more appropriate, and the achievement of this goal would be a fine training ground for Western special forces everywhere. It should be noted that Boko Haram are not signatories to the Geneva and Hague Conventions and thus do not benefit from the protections of either one. I do not give a single flying fuck WHAT the Western military would do to these creatures if unleashed, so long as it is final.

Bring Back Our Girls? No. Exterminate the people who took them in the first place. Mark Steyn and Ayan Hirsi Ali have it right - the West, and especially that Western philosophy which mistakenly calls itself "feminism", has shown its utter moral vacuity and intellectual bankruptcy on this issue.Instead of doing a selfie with a hashtag, Michelle Obama should be beating her husband nightly with a rolling pin for not sending people in to deal with this shit AT ONCE. Obama once said that if he'd had a son, he might look like Trayvon Martin. If he had a teenage daughter, she might look like... Oh wait...

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Winter Olympic Gaymes (sic) and other matters.

Congratulations, advocates of gay rights, for letting Vladimir Putin get into your heads, rent-free.

Instead of concentrating on WHY YOU ARE THERE (winning, and rubbing the Russians' faces in the dust on the basis of pure athletic talent), you have allowed yourselves to become preoccupied with an issue which not a whit of your screaming, whining or protesting will affect one little bit.

Why not? Because Vladimir Putin doesn't give a fuck, never has given a fuck and never will give a fuck about what you think. He doesn't NEED to give a fuck and doesn't WANT to give a fuck, except with regard to how thoroughly he can fuck with your heads with the minimum of effort required.

All you've done is to give your own athletes one more thing to worry about while they're there, and politicised an event which should have remained apolitical. He has quite successfully got you playing the man, not the ball, and you will end up losing both battles.

While you are angsting over all of this and focussing on the horribleness of it all and the importance of supporting gay rights etcetera, etcetera, Middle-Eastern autocracies are quite happily going about their business of not just suppressing expressions of homosexuality but actually judicially executing homosexuals purely for being gay, something they've been doing for quite some time without anywhere near as much noise being made.

Meanwhile, gay activists and pro-gay legislators in the US concentrate their attention on such minor details as bakeries and wedding photographers refusing their services to same-sex couples planning their weddings, as if that were the end of the world, and how such terrible, terrible people ought to be obliged to provide those services to said gay couples under pain of criminal prosecution.

There is a world of difference between stating one's moral position by refusing someone a non-essential commercial service on the basis of their sexuality, on the one hand, and arresting and hanging that someone by the neck until dead because the local law demands it, on the other. Simply to label both actions as "homophobia" as if they were morally equivalent is in my opinion intellectually deficient, and to put more effort into punishing the first group than protesting the actions of the second is something I find really quite disturbing.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

"It's not easy being Green" Part the Second...

...otherwise known as "The resignation was not given but demanded; the sequel."

As with the NBN, so (it seems) with the Australian Greens.

Here, link courtesy of Andrew Bolt, is the source article at the Sydney Morning Herald website.

The text, quoted in full in the event of redaction or modification, is as follows:

Christine Milne has survived an aborted push to challenge her leadership - but some senior Greens claim the Tasmanian senator is now ''living on borrowed time''.

Fairfax Media can reveal the departure of Senator Milne's most senior political aide, Ben Oquist, is linked to moves within the federal party to switch to Adam Bandt, her deputy.

A source close to the turmoil inside the leader's office said Senator Milne had demanded the resignation of Mr Oquist, her chief of staff, after she became aware he had backed moves for Mr Bandt to mount a challenge at Monday's party room meeting.

''This is about disloyalty. Ben was trying to get rid of Christine. Adam Bandt was going to make a run for the leadership, but they called it off about an hour before party room because they didn't have the numbers,'' the source said.

Another Greens source confirmed a push to replace Senator Milne was on, but there was ''not enough confidence they had the numbers''.

Senator Milne's office declined to make any comment on Thursday and Mr Bandt, who is on holiday, could not be reached.

Senator Milne fronted the media alongside Mr Bandt after Monday's meeting to declare both leader and deputy had been re-elected to their positions unopposed. ''We are a strong, united team,'' she said.
Three days later, she had lost Mr Oquist and five other senior policy and media staff.

Senator Milne said the ''flat administrative structure'' she imposed when she took over from Bob Brown was the reason Mr Oquist had moved on. ''I think Ben had a view that it should be more hierarchical,'' she said.

Mr Oquist is travelling overseas and has made no statement other than he left on good terms, but ''fundamental differences of opinion in strategy had emerged''.

Well, now. This does shoot a fairly large hole in the suppositions from my last article; it seems some within the Greens wasted no time deciding they had been led to an avoidable defeat and that action to remove the one responsible was required. And yeah, I have to admit, if I found out that my Chief of Staff had been whispering to the "Other Side" within my own ranks without being frank to me about it, I'd probably send them packing too.

I'd love to know just what this "flat administrative structure" is all about. Hierarchy is important in a political organisation; people need to know who's boss and just where the buck stops.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

"It's not easy being Green" - with apologies to Kermit the Frog.

I just recently wrote this post at Catallaxy Files, relating to this newspaper article about the Australian Greens Party losing six of their leader's staff, and I feel it worthy of some enlargement. I began by quoting The Australian's article:

including chief of staff Ben Oquist, director of communications Georgie Klug and policy adviser Oliver Woldring, her climate change adviser, her economics adviser and campaign coordinator.
I commented that...
That’s pretty much the solid core of a minor party’s staff, especially relevant when one of them is the Climate Change adviser to a Greens party.
...because the Climate Change thing has been central to the Greens' raison d'etre and indeed their brief occupation of the nexus of Australian political power over the last three years. I will now enlarge a second quote from the original newspaper article:
Mr Oquist issued a statement saying he was leaving with good will but cited "fundamental differences of opinion about strategy".
I continued in this (admittedly flippant and VERY hypothetical) vein:
Possible translation: “We fucked up and lost the balance of power in the Senate; we did this because you didn’t listen to me; and now the idiots have gone and kept you on. You’ve made us irrelevant and got rewarded for it. I’m outta here.”
But what else could he do, regardless of the underlying reasons? With advice not being taken and a poor result to show for it, what more can the advisers do but hand in their notice? And what does that say about the person at the top (Milne) and all the people who, in the wake of the result, have elected to keep her there? 
As I said over at the Cat, this should be a very interesting space to watch. Sure, she was re-elected to her leadership unopposed and so was Bandt (deservedly so, if he increased his local stake1), but I think that was a reflex action so as not to leave them leaderless the way the ALP currently is (the Greenfilth2 are doing that one bit right in any case). However, to continue hypothesising, they’re still getting their heads around what a Coalition victory is actually going to mean – especially with the new Senate still not quite finalised and their supreme Lower House influence made irrelevant – and when they’ve finished doing that, we may see rumbles for change.
The advisers seem at least to have waited for the first torpedo (Bandt’s irrelevance in the Lower House) to hit before running for the lifeboats. The rest of the salvo is on its way. (It will arrive when the Senate changes in mid-2014, and Labor and the Greens combined become a relatively3 powerless minority.)
The following election (due 2016) constitutes yet another salvo, with a target-rich environment – the majority of what’s left of the Greens – up for reaping, and everybody knows that at least some of those torpedoes will hit4. At that point, what we will arguably see is infighting for the highest place on the Senate ticket in every state, somewhat akin to a struggle for the last seat in the lifeboats. If there’s going to be a leadership challenge, I suspect that’s when we’ll start to see the leadership knives come out.
If Abbott can set up (but not pull) a DD trigger before then, he might be able to start the panicked stampede early.

1. I despise Bandt, his party and everything they stand for, but at least in the context of intra-organisational performance, success requires rewarding. Failure, not so much. Some failures are of course beyond the control of those who did the trying, but the differences of opinion quoted above are at least suggestive that this may not be so in Milne's case.
2. A fairly common name for them in the comments at Catallaxy Files, and IMO rightly so. They at times seem resolutely opposed to everything that has made Western industrial civilisation the success story that it is, and their ideology is as blinkered, bloody-minded and ill-informed as they accuse their opponents' of being.
3. Not completely powerless because there may be specific issues regarding which the Minor Parties share their opposition to Government intentions, in which case those intentions might be modified or blocked, but the ability of Labor and the Greens to bloody-mindedly stonewall everything Tony Abbott wishes to do will be destroyed. They are in Opposition now, and cannot offer enticements to the Minors the way they could in Government.
4. The Greens' support fell at the 2013 election, and since the climate modelling on which the anthropogenic argument for climate change - and much of their core policy - rests is looking increasingly shaky (if not already thoroughly discredited), it may yet fall further. The majority of their Senators are up for re-election at that half-Senate ballot and they could suffer rather terribly, especially if hot-headed young guns such as Sarah Hanson-Young or extreme radicals like Lee Rhiannon make a spectacle of themselves.