Arimathea
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There is need in human life for levity. So, enjoy your time here in leisurely frivolity, where no Puritan can condem you.
Thursday, January 30, A.D. 2014
Woman as Today’s Sage

My first—and consequently only—college English course was taught by an unhinged, psychotic misandrist who confirmed every stereotype of the postmodern leftist intellectual. I suppose that I should thank her for my classical and polyglot education, as I sought refuge in the Greek, Latin, French, and German departments to fulfill my core literature requirements. To this day, though, I feel like a philistine because I am largely ignorant of my own language’s classics. However, my school’s English faculty was populated by loonies and perverts, and I would not subject myself to another semester of learning about Western civilization’s reduction of women to saints, whores, and baby machines, ubiquitous penetration and rape imagery (The Matrix: Same Shit, Different Hole), and a rabid inability to use reason rather than personalizing topics. I am, however, thankful for having learnt the word “phallocracy” in the course. I have whipped that one out on many occasions.

Unfortunately, the crazy estro-infection has escaped English departments and spread even to computer science. Michael Enoch on The Right Stuff informs us of the latest move to destroy higher education: “The Hilarity of Postmodernism: Feminist Programming Languages” and “The Tragedy of Postmodernism: Rent Seeking.” A sample from the proposition to develop feminist logic:

A non-normative paradigm would be something that does not reinforce normative realizations of what a programming language is. That is to say, not whatever paradigms (OOP, functional, logic, etc) and programming languages you would consider standard (Java, C++, Ruby, Python, to list a few). The ideas is that the standard, normative, concepts reinforce the values and ideologies of societies standards. Currently, there exist projects built in response to normative programming languages and standard computer science, check out mezangelle for an example. In many ways this falls under the scope of critical code studies, as I am asking questions about the cultural, social impact of normal programming constructs.

What is a feminist logic is a question I’ve spent the past six months thinking about and researching. There are not a lot of women in philosophy, and there are definitely not a lot of feminist philosophers, so I don’t have a good answer for this question. There is great scholarship talking about weather a feminist logic can build off of formal logic or if it has to reject the laws of identity and create something entirely new. There are solid arguments for both camps, personally I’m swayed by the constructive theories that would build onto formal logic through a feminist lens. There exist logics that handle contradiction as part of the system, namely paraconsistent logic. I think this type of logic represents the feminist idea that something can be and not be without being a contradiction, that is a system where the following statement is not explosive: (p && ¬p) == 1.

Utterly horrifying! Even more distressing is that the woman behind the effort, Arielle Schlesinger, seems intelligent, earnest, and somewhat aware of the larger conversation. The perfidy of postmodernism! It turns academics away from truth, their one-time calling and goal. And, lacking their true end, whither do they turn?

The Elusive Wapiti also comments in “You Can Stop Programming Language Rape.”

But then here comes the kicker: Like a dog to its vomit, all feminism seems to return to rape™, and how to prevent rape™, and how individual consent to sex reigns supreme over structural constraints on sexuality.* One wouldn’t think that rape culture hysteria would extend into the world of “1s” and “0s”, but these folks are making it happen. Oh, and the person who thought this up is a dude, BTW:

Objects with “Agency”.

A MOO/MUSH is a multi-user, text based adventure game where the world is designed and programmed from the inside by the players themselves. Basically, everything that exists in the world is an object and has properties, which - on the surface - makes it look like an object oriented program. You, as a player, are allowed to make new objects, but other people in the world are not permitted to change your objects except in ways that you explicitly permit, and you can never prohibit another object from performing an action. Therefore, you have a world of objects where a sense of mutual consent is enforced by the environment.

My understanding of subject-object theory is as follows: Subjects act and objects are acted upon. If we define the world as a collection of interactions between objects, we are considering people and other sentient beings as “objects” when they should be treated as something more.

MUSHes reconcile this in an interesting way by extending the object-oriented paradigm with an additional constraint: “all things are objects, but some objects have agency”. So here is my hypothesis:

A feminist programming language is a language that respects the agency of objects, acting upon them only upon mutual consent. [bolded emphasis in original]

There is an interesting quality of such a language that follows from this definition: unlike most languages where anything is possible (Turing Completeness), in this language, some things are decidedly NOT possible. This has interesting analogues to reality: “just because something is possible does not mean you should do it”.

Behold what feminist scholarship yields to the field of computer science. An OO programming language where the objects are prevented from having their way with another one, except of course by mutual consent of the objects. Which I suppose can be withdrawn at any time, and also of course consent is clearly articulated and is unmistakable by both objects involved and by the system as well.

It seems that CS nerds (of which I used to be one) really can keep their programs from getting bit-raped. The only thing keeping the programming language rape machine going was patriarchy™ and programming languages designed by vertical thinkers (i.e., men).  Who knew?

Sigh. Just as the “feminist logicians” really want to divorce discourse from objective reality—one that “judges” their propositions as true or false—, “feminist programming” wants to divorce will from objective reality so that one may indulge one’s fancy in solipcism for as long as one wishes. For what else can it mean for you to be free from interference from the outside world unless you consent to it? “Feminism” is just nominalism dressed up in drag—one more narcissistic, bitchy performer on the crowded, colorful, but spiritually vapid stage of modernity. See my “Nominalism, Nihilism, and the Will” for the details.

The Elusive Wapiti’s take reminds me of this clip from Family Guy (“Brian Goes Back to College”):

Female Student: [after spraying Brian in the face with mace] I’m sorry, I just came from that orientation seminar about college dating.

Kelly McGillis: [Scene cuts to an auditorium of students watching a video] Hi, I’m Kelly McGillis and I’m here to talk to you about rape. Ladies, look to your left. Now look to your right. Statistics indicate that both of those men will rape you.

Male Student #1: [Female student is seen sitting between two male students. She looks nervously at them] I’m not gonna rape you.

Male Student #2: I might.

What our society has become!

Posted by Joseph on Thursday, January 30, Anno Domini 2014
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Tuesday, January 28, A.D. 2014
Saving Science Fiction from Strong Female Characters

Several weeks ago, I wanted to share a series of posts by author John C. Wright, but I deferred in order to post more holiday related items. I heartily recommend that anyone with an interest in science fiction, fantasy, pop culture, and contemporary cultural matters read Wright’s tome on women in the sci. fi. and fantasy world: “Saving Science Fiction from Strong Female Characters.” It is witty and insightful, as I would expect from Wright—you may remember that I discovered Wright at last year’s Doxacon, which I covered in detail in “Doxacon Eidomenos.” Though lengthy and somewhat repetitive at times (as later posts recapitulate earlier points for the sake of those who just started reading Wright’s argument), the posts are full of gems. For example, I found Wright’s analysis of Buffy and of what Wright calls the Urban Fantasy brilliantly spot on (from part 3):

What is the wish in this picture, drawn, I assure you, in all serious and earnest good faith by a feminist who was being serious:

[It is a cartoon still of Aurora from Sleeping Beauty with a sword confronting the Maleficent dragon]

The wish is to do without Prince Charming. The wish is to be as good as a man at men’s work. This is from a Disney movie where all the main characters are female and everything that happens, happens because some female makes it happen. (The female are fairies, but so what? Women are magical in real life anyway, as far as I am concerned).

The Prince does little more than dance one waltz with the maiden fair and get his butt kicked by orcs and end up in chains while the evil fairy queen mocks him. Not only is he rescued by women, they are women no bigger than my pinky finger.

But his is the task to face the poisonous thorns and slay the dragon, who is filled with all the powers of Hell.

That anyone would see this, this small role occupying only a few minutes of screen time, as an insult to women, or as a threat, or as an imposition, is madness. So what is the wish being fulfilled in that picture above, where the Sleeping Beauty needs no rescue and needs a man only about as much as a fish needs a bicycle?

It is not a wish for female equality. This is one fairy tale where every female character is either royalty or is supernatural.

It is a wish for sexlessness. It is a wish to do away with everything feminine, and to be better at Prince Charming’s task than the Prince. Ultimately, it is a wish to do away with human nature itself.

But human nature cannot be done away with. Consider that epitome of liberated strong femalehood, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, who has spawned as many homages and imitations in her day as John Carter did in his. He created a genre of his own, called the Planetary Romance. She created a genre of her own, sometimes called Urban Fantasy, but which should really be called Monster Romance.

It should be called Monster Romance because the main story arc for Buffy was about her love life. First she was sweet on Angel, but that did not work out, then Riley, and then Spike. Despite that she was a kick-ass wire-fu superheroine with a smile full of quips and a hand full of stakes, the main point of the drama was, as in most stories of this kind, her love life.

And Anita Blake? And countless others? Where is the main conflict? Where is the reader’s interest? Where is the drama? It is all about Jean-Claude or Spike or whomever the semihuman male lead is. It is all about the romance.

Most if not all of these urban leather clad ninja-babes and modern swordswomen feed a need in the audience. The males, by and large, just like seeing cute girls dressed as catwoman. The females, by and large, like the romantic drama. There is no drama if the boy and the girl kiss on the first page and get married on the second. The drama exists if something prevents the marriage. These days, there are no real taboos to marrying whomever you would like, and the guy can even start out married to someone else, because divorce is no fault. Modernity allows no dramatic and realistic obstacle to romance.

The solution is to employ dramatic, unrealistic obstacles, such as by having your male lead be a nonhuman from the Night World. In urban fantasy, the vampire or the werewolf can fulfill this role neatly. Also, the half monster can be masculine in a fashion no soft modern man is likely to be: werewolves can be badass as Conan, and vampires as seductive and dangerous as Lord Byron. (Who no doubt was a vampire, anyway). And since the heroine is the Chosen One, and destined to kill monsters like him, she is placed in a situation where she must overcome both his fallen nature, and the powers of hell, and her own best judgment, and defy the Council of the Illuminati, to win his heart and restore his soul.

Which is a perfectly satisfying book because this is exactly what finding and domesticating a man feels like or should feel like to a woman.

And, of course, in the modern age, where the despair of women is at a historical all time high, and the divorce rate is high and the suicide rate is high, romance feels like a back alley brawl with a supernatural monster. These books are a picture of the despair of women in the sexual free-for-all that exists in a postchristian, feminist world, a world where women are defended by no one but herself.

A leather-clad street fighter with a sword and a chainsaw, covered in blood, is what life feels like to the female readership, who need an image of strength and security to admire. No wonder such books are popular.

Perspicacious, eh? Vampires are needed when contemporary Jane Austens no longer may count on social convention to provide the proper obstacle to the heroine on her mission.

Posted by Joseph on Tuesday, January 28, Anno Domini 2014
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Friday, January 17, A.D. 2014
Stereotype Confirmation

Hristos se naște—and a blessed synaxis of the Seventy Apostles!

Earlier this week, I posted on funny foreigners, in which I linked to Steve Sailer’s thoughts about ethnic humor. Sailer notes that we delight in recognizing patterns and in simplifying knowledge of human differences in stereotypes. I do not understand the common objections to stereotypes, as they are repeatedly substantiated—with every bus ride in D.C., every county festival in Ohio, every passing of a Starbucks in Dupont or on U Street, every shopping experience at a farmers’ market or organic grocery, every liturgy or mass,  and so on. Yet, it remains surprisingly droll when we witness the confirmation of less founded stereotypes. For instance, I recently watched the documentary Happy People: A Year in the Taiga, which focuses on the life of Siberian trappers. The main character is one such trapper—a real Russian Daniel Boone fellow who makes pretty much everything with his bare hands. During the course of the documentary, this man who lives in the freezing Russian boonies ruminates about the human condition like a Solovyov or Tolstoy on the frontier of civilization.

Speaking of Russkies and stereotype confirmation, I found the following image last month on English Russia:

The photograph captures my experience of Russian life remarkably well. The tank-built women work like horses, while the men drink, slouch, and play. Another thing that I noticed in Russia was feline ubiquity. There are cats everywhere, from the Hermitage to convents to churches under construction. So, when I read “Two Months Underwater: The Life of a Russian Submariner” in Russia: Beyond the Headlines, I laughed when I saw the picture of the sailor with his cats on the submarine. Are vermin really a problem in the great deep? The article also recounts a humorous story about miscommunication and crow eating men in authority:

The most colorful character among my commanders was Capt. First Rank Gaponenko. Once he came down from the bridge, looked at us, and asked: “What are you guys up to?” We replied that we were practising formation maneuvers, and were about to coordinate actions with the other boat, No 685.

Suddenly, the commander reached for the mike: “No. 681 to 685, please kill your engine.” The reply came instantly: “No. 685 to 681, unable, over.” Gaponenko didn’t like this at all. “Kill your engine now, it’s an order!”

An even more insistent reply came: “Repeat, unable to comply, over.” Gaponenko flew right off the handle: “I am ordering you to kill your engine, right now, do you hear me? It’s Capt. First Rank Gaponenko speaking! I’ll hang you out to dry when you return to base!” Uneasy silence fell.

Then the radioman, who was half dead with fear, whispered: “Comrade Captain 1st Rank, I am sorry, it was my mistake. We need to coordinate with No 683; No 685 is an aircraft.” Gaponenko broke the communications panel in wrath, stormed out, and stayed in his quarters until we surfaced.

This coming Sunday is Theophany on the old calendar, but most Greeks currently celebrate the feast according to the new calendar. The Orthodox bless their holy water on the feast, as the Lord sanctified the River Jordan upon his baptism, which Theophany celebrates. It is common to bless nearby bodies of water, as well, and such has led to another custom for Theophany where men and/or boys dive for a cross that is thrown into the river, lake, or sea. I have written about the practice in “Happy Theophany,” “Theophany, A.D. 2010,” and “As Many As Have Been Baptized into Christ.” Well, this year when I was reading about such celebrations in Australia in “True believers take the plunge,” I found yet another amusing example of stereotype confirmation in the article’s featured image:

Seriously? At least, the cross retriever wasn’t wrestling a crocodile. The Aussie’s fit fitting the stereotype reminds me of Russian spy Anna Chapman (Kushchyenko) in leather pants and with a pistol.

Among other stereotype confirmations recently experienced online (which is always representative of statistical normality) are the dancing hillbilly and his coon buddy

as well as Ann Coulter and a logos-challenged termagant on Dr. Drew:

Let us not forget the youth in our panoply of human predictability. Last summer, I read “Drunkest D.C. Intern Ever Loses Shoe While Stalking Paul Ryan.” Sad, but not really surprising. I followed a link in the comments to DC Interns, where I found this gem:

Our “new intern” has been incredibly helpful and professional, so my story fits more into the category of laughing with him rather than laughing at him. On his first day, our “old intern” took the new intern down to the supply store to show him around.  When they got to the flag section, the old intern explained that constituents could ask to have a flag flown over the Capital for special occasions. New intern proceeds to ask, “Do they just put them in a plane all together and fly them over the Capitol once a day?” Amazing.

Patterns continue. About a year ago, a local story made the Drudge Report: “Man in court after posting Facebook photo of baby & gun.” Sad, but not really surprising. Note that Wilson Dykes is Domonic Gaines’ father. At least, he did not name his child Shitavious.

Lastly, I leave you with this wonderful stereotype confirmation involving a Jewish flash mob. I sent it to my family with the caption, “When Hebes Plot.”

Enjoy the last days of the Yuletide.

Posted by Joseph on Friday, January 17, Anno Domini 2014
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Thursday, January 16, A.D. 2014
Mars Spirit

المسيح ولد

Merry Christmas and happy feast day of Saint Genevieve! As a one time resident of la Ville Lumière, I developed a piety of fascination with the city’s patroness. It is a pity that the theomachists desecrated her temple and her relics, but the Panthéon still stands as a testament to her place in the city’s heritage and life. When a Christian king once again rules France, Parisians will honor Saint Genevieve properly. They can even leave M. Arouet in the temple’s basement, as he could probably benefit from the nearby prayers of the faithful. As for Jean-Jacques, well, I suspect that there might be a legitimate limit to Christian charity.

Last week, Fr. Z. posted a charming tribute to the Mars Rovers: “Spirit and Oppy on Mars.” It included this xkcd comic:

One of the commentators opined that little Spirit would one day return home to be lavished with attention at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. I thought the same when I saw the comic. One day . . .

Posted by Joseph on Thursday, January 16, Anno Domini 2014
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Wednesday, January 15, A.D. 2014
Funny Foreigners

Christ is born! Happy feast day of Saints Sylvester and Seraphim of Sarov!

Recently, I followed a link in an essay by John Derbyshire to one of his National Review pieces from seven years ago: “When Foreigners Were Funny.” I remember reading the piece when he first published it. As usual, Derbyshire shows himself to be an insightful man and a contrarian against contemporary dogma. The article reminds me of another of Derbyshire’s essays where he commends ethnic jokes as a method of diffusing tension in multiethnic neighborhoods, as in early twentieth century New York—but I cannot find it now. A search for John Derbyshire, ethnic humor, tension, and similar terms brings up scores of sites in which folks comment upon his departure from Buckley’s magazine, but I wasn’t able to find the piece (though I did find a good one by Steve Sailer: “Why Ethnic Humor Is Funny”). Anyway, Derbyshire updated “When Foreigners Were Funny” with a link to an entertaining sketch with Catherine Tate, who played Donna Noble on Doctor Who:

As one would expect, many of the YouTube and other online comments judge the piece to be “racist” (thankfully, most enjoy the humor). Others point out that it is subversively “racist” because it allows viewers to indulge in their naughty “racist” attitudes while pretending to laugh at the ignorance of Tate’s character. Of course, Tate’s character is a buffoon and ridiculously over her head in the situation, which we find humorous, but the piece is also funny because foreigners (and foreign languages) are funny—for many reasons, including Derbyshire’s and Sailer’s points previously linked. A related reason to Sailer’s is the joy that we human beings find in the spectacle of man in all his diversity. The recognition of convention (that all men do not behave as we do) and of the road not traveled (look how weird those Polynesians are with their genital gourds) is exciting and endlessly amusing. Yet, the current masters of discourse disapprove. Isn’t it strange that the contemporary folks most incensed by ethnic humor are the ones who pretend to champion multicultural learning? Isn’t it odd that the self avowed multiculturalists appear so ill equipped to admit or even to recognize both the universality of human nature and the many peculiar instantiations thereof. It is sad that they stunt themselves (and everyone else) so. Humor—including ethnic humor—is a most worthy topic of investigation. Aristotle certainly thought so (much to the chagrin of Eco’s characters in The Name of the Rose). Much profundity, observation, and intelligence are required in order to understand humor. Why do you think there are so many Jewish comedians?

Posted by Joseph on Wednesday, January 15, Anno Domini 2014
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Wednesday, January 1, A.D. 2014
Gifts That You Have Not Given

Happy civil New Year’s Day! I wish those who follow the new calendar “Merry Christmas” during their twelve days and my own folks a blessed Advent. The feast of the Nativity is almost here. Accordingly, there is still time for us latter folks to get the following gems to bestow upon our loved ones. For those who give on the American commercial frenzy from last week, there is always next year. Behold—socially conscious board games for budding Trotskyites and young professional activists: EcoChoices cooperative board games, which I discovered when reading Dan Gainor’s “Goofy ‘Green’ Gifts for the Tree Hugger in Your Family This Solstice Season” (very helpful suggestions). Gainor focuses on a beauty, as described on the page:

New America. Given our economic and social problems, this game is prophetic. Players act as Research and Development teams trying to redesign North America’s Social-Economic System before it’s too late. The focus is on Energy and Resources, but all fields are explored. Whatever the interest, this game tries to address it.

Very suitable for thinking friends, high school and college classes. Designed to provoke discussion among mature, thinking people!

In all honesty, I would love to try these games—but then, again, I enjoy engaging the enemy on his home turf.

Happy holidays!

Posted by Joseph on Wednesday, January 1, Anno Domini 2014
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