The one thing all terrorists have in common

The Economist conjectured on the current decade of terrorism compared with previous decades. They had this to say:

Especially in America, it is all too easy to buy high-powered automatic weapons that can kill scores of people in moments. Neither great planning nor great intelligence is required to carry out such attacks. Even when the perpetrators are on the radar of the police and security services—and by no means all are—there is no guarantee they can be stopped, given the sheer number of potential jihadists.

Thus it seems likely that much of Europe and America will have to get used to acts of Islamist-inspired terrorism becoming, if not routine, at least fairly regular occurrences. The challenge for open, liberal societies is how they should respond to that threat, particularly at a time when popular confidence in traditional political elites has sunk so low. Above all, the danger is of over-reaction. (The Economist)

But the article makes these good points;

Last year General Michael Flynn, Donald Trump’s adviser on national-security issues and a former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, did just that. He described the terrorist enemy as “fuelled by a vision of worldwide domination achieved through violence and bloodshed” that was “committed to the destruction of freedom and the American way of life”. That may indeed be how IS thugs see themselves. But why should anyone sensible be so keen to validate their boasts?

To his credit, Mr Obama has consistently warned about the consequences of using hyperbolic language to describe the terrorist threat. In a TV address last December, after the San Bernardino shootings, he explained that success against IS and other terrorists “won’t depend on tough talk or abandoning our values, or giving in to fear”. Instead, he said, America would prevail by being strong and clever, resilient and relentless. Mr Obama is right. Defeating terrorism depends above all on good intelligence, a degree of stoicism and a refusal to allow it to undermine the principles that open societies are built on.

In other words, all this banning of Muslims entering the country is so ridiculously irrational and unhelpful that only Trump supporters are capable of thinking it’s a good idea.

If, indeed, you want to be safe from the greatest threats of violence, let’s consider the facts:

  1. Muslims commit terrorism.
  2. No, radical Muslims commit terrorism.
  3. But radical conservative Christians have killed as many in the US, some years they account for more and some years less than Muslims
  4. So maybe this is all a religion thing
  5. But wait, it’s not just religion. Despondent adolescents and angry workers have killed even more
  6. But wait…what connects EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THESE GROUPS?
  7. They’re all almost exclusively men
  8. Men are the greatest risk to our safety in this country and the world

 

Maybe it’s time to ban men. Not only are they nearly every single terrorist, they are also almost the entirety of the violent criminals, murderers, abusers, and rapists. If this post seems ridiculous to you, you need to really spend some time thinking about risk assessment, patriarchy, scapegoats, and red herrings.

 

All the androids are female

Interesting report on the gender issues at the World Economic Forum in Davos — where there is an 80/20 split of men/women.

We are all biased, she explains. “Even if you have the best intentions, it’s hard to overcome your unconscious biases.”

Her favorite example is about the top orchestras in the United States, which began having auditions behind curtains in the 1970s. At the time only 5 percent of their musicians were women. Orchestra directors were confident that they did not need the curtain and that they had been choosing candidates purely on sound.

But with the curtain, the proportion of female musicians in American orchestras started to rise. It’s nearly 40 percent today.

Bias is a big theme today. At a session that Ms. Bohnet moderates on forecasting bias, two professors — one male, one female — present together. He presents first; she doesn’t interrupt him once. When she speaks, he interrupts her six times — once, as he puts it, to clarify, before repeating what she said just 30 seconds earlier.

But some bright moments, and good things to hear from millennials.

And then there was the disturbing point made about artificial intelligence. Have you ever seen a male android? No hot male androids made by women; all hot females made by men. Creepy. This is the same bot that made headlines at SXSW last spring, wherein Macworld assured us Sophia’s creators weren’t looking to make sexbots.

Still, why do men insist on making female robots, and why must they all be sexy? My husband didn’t understand when I asked that. “Should they make the bot look like Rosie from the Jetsons?” he asked. Why not? What’s the value in a bot that includes sexual markers when the bot has nothing to do with sex? I’ll tell you why: because the bot is female, and making “good” females means making them sexually attractive to patriarchal eyes.

But wait, the gay dude knows all about lesbians

Have I ever mentioned how much I hate LGBTQIA groups? Know why? They’re all run by gay dudes. Gay men know shit about lesbian lives.

In college my lesbian rap group was asked to answer a survey for a gay man’s senior thesis. The man told us, “Lesbians aren’t as vain as heterosexual women.” I asked why he thought that. He said, “They don’t spend as much time or care on dressing and cosmetics.” He was suggesting, on the one hand, that lesbians have more substance and, on the other, that lesbians aren’t attractive.

I told him he was a fucking idiot.

dorothy-parker-quote-heterosexuality-is-not-normal-its-just-commonI had a girlfriend who ironed her jeans — her jeans — and wore cologne every day. She spent 30 minutes sculpting her flat top with gel. She cared a whole lot about appearance, as did every lesbian I knew. Ignorant of his male privilege, this gay dude knew nothing about what femininity really represented; he thought if a woman wasn’t feminine as defined by mainstream culture, then she wasn’t attractive and didn’t care to be. He didn’t see that women could have ideas of what was attractive that had nothing to do with what he thought.

Yes, being lesbian is more about gender than sexuality.

As recently as last year, my girlfriend left an LGBTQIA organization because the cis, white, gay dude in charge didn’t understand intersectionality or believe in feminism. He didn’t accept that gender was an issue that mattered or that had complexity. His refusal to embrace that diversity meant he had no more organization because the rest of the organization was not comprised of cis, white, gay dudes. Good riddance.

Quotes

Some of my favorite parts from Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence (link below):

Lesbians have historically been deprived of a political existence through “inclusion” as female versions of male homosexuality. To equate lesbian existence with male homosexuality because each is stigmatized is to deny and erase female reality once again. To separate those women stigmatized as “homosexual” or “gay” from the complex continuum of female resistance to enslavement, and attach them to a male pattern, is to falsify our history. Part of the history of lesbian existence is, obviously, to be found where lesbians, lacking a coherent female community, have shared a kind of social life and common cause with homosexual men. But this has to be seen against the differences women’s lack of economic and cultural privilege relative to men; qualitative differences in female and male relationships, for example, the prevalence of anonymous sex and the justification of pederasty among male homosexuals, the pronounced ageism in male homosexual standards of sexual attractiveness, and so forth. In defining and describing lesbian existence I would hope to move toward a dissociation of lesbian from male homosexual values and allegiances. I perceive the lesbian experience as being, like motherhood, a profoundly female experience, with particular oppressions, meanings, and potentialities we cannot comprehend as long as we simply bracket it with other sexually stigmatized existences. Just as the term parenting serves to conceal the particular and significant reality of being a parent who is actually a mother, the term gay serves the purpose of blurring the very outlines we need to discern, which are of crucial value for feminism and for the freedom of women as a group.

The extension of this assumption is the frequently heard assertion that in a world of genuine equality, where men were nonoppressive and nurturing, everyone would be bisexual. Such a notion blurs and sentimentalizes the actualities within which women have experienced sexuality; it is the old liberal leap across the tasks and struggles of here and now, the continuing process of sexual definition that will generate its own possibilities and choices. (It also assumes that women who have chosen women have done so simply because men are oppressive and emotionally unavailable: which still fails to account for women who continue to pursue relationships with oppressive and/or emotionally unsatisfying men.) I am suggesting that heterosexuality, like mother-hood, needs to be recognized and studied as a political institution–even, or especially, by those individuals who feel they are, in their personal experience, the precursors of a new social relation between the sexes.

The assumption that “most women are innately heterosexual” stands as a theoretical and political stumbling block for many women. It remains a tenable assumption, partly because lesbian existence has been written out of history or catalogued under disease; partly because it has been treated as exceptional rather than intrinsic; partly because to acknowledge that for women heterosexuality may not be a “preference” at all but something that has had to be imposed, managed, organized, propagandized and maintained by force is an immense step to take if you consider yourself freely and “innately” heterosexual. Yet the failure to examine heterosexuality as an institution is like failing to admit that the economic system called capitalism or the caste system of racism is maintained by a variety of forces, including both physical violence and false consciousness. To take the step of questioning heterosexuality as a ”preference” or “choice” for women–and to do the intellectual and emotional work that follows–will call for a special quality of courage in heterosexually identified feminists but I think the rewards will be great: a freeingup of thinking, the exploring of new paths, the shattering of another great silence, new clarity in personal relationships.

Download the PDF Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence (From University of Georgia)

You do not love Jesus

crucifix-silhouetteYou live a moral life. You follow the Bible’s commandments as told to you through your church. You turn to your family and friends and your city and tell everyone they should be living like you. You say it’s not because YOU say this, but because God does, because Jesus does, because it is Truth. You are living as Jesus wants, and you will try to make everyone live as He wants.

Then years pass and the leaders of your church begin to speak differently. They say that the things you do are not the best. Things others are doing are better. They say Jesus has been misused and that He really wants you to change what you’re doing.

Do you change what you are doing to conform or do you turn away and condemn this church?

Oh, I know quite well that you picked this church in the first place simply because it supported what you already believed. You picked a church that made you feel all right with your bigotry: the church once told you it was righteous for you to use politics to prevent people from loving who they wanted and to control women’s sexuality and their bodies and their power. But you didn’t admit this made the homophobia and sexism you already harbored easier. You didn’t care this made you drunk with power and anger and required no conversion of the heart.

Now that the church that once interpreted the world in a way that made you comfortable, requires you to change, you turn away and condemn it.

Welcome to the Catholic Church under the leadership of Pope Francis, a man who lives the spirit of Jesus, exhorting us to put aside politics and help the poor, comfort refugees, love the outcasts. But it’s so hard! It’s so HARD to love those Jesus called us to love while scheming to stack the Supreme Court at the expense of an administration that helps the rich and takes away all support for the poor, the marginalized, and the outcast.

You do not love Jesus.