• My Identity: Tom Sawyer? Deb? Tortured artist?

    I personally think that one’s sexual identity is the least interesting thing about a person, but I understand that is not a common thought or feeling. I do understand why people would be fascinated by the new and strange, and the current new and strange is transsexuality. Therefore people are in a lather one way or another

    I didn’t meet my first out gay person till I was 20, and I promptly fell in love with him and stayed in love till he died horribly from Aids. From then on, there has been a cavalcade of gay men and women in my life. My best friend in New York was a gay man, my boarding school roommate turned out to be gay and recently married her current wife after a first marriage to the father of her children. Most I’ve met are fantastic people, with a fresh eye on the world and straight culture and I almost always appreciate them. So I don’t really get homophobia, other than understanding that a frank and outspoken gay sexual identity is new to some people and maybe a bit scary. I worked on a film investigating identity so met quite a few transsexuals, pre and post operation and some straight up transvestites. The transvestites were pretty confident, compared to the transsexuals who, the newer they were, the more fragile and frightened. They needed quite a lot of care and soothing. Which makes sense, why would you withhold simple compassion?

    Simple compassion would defuse a lot of anger. Jordan Peterson who stands on a flaming bed of fame because he is unafraid of being tough on the vulnerable, was right when he said we should not be forced to use certain pronouns. However, it is right and kind that we should choose to honor the choices of our fellows. The thing about the free world is that one must have free will to choose to be a stupid bastard or a simple, good human. Without that, we are truly lost. Isn’t that obvious?

    By the way, this is how I see myself. This identity has been slivered throughout my working life. I carry around a bunch of masks: the socialite, the sophisticate, the worthy Canadian, the graduate student, the dispassionate reporter, the bewildered mother, stepmother and grandmother, the country kid who identifies as Tom Sawyer and the tortured beast sitting in front of an easel wondering from whence the next string of words. Sorry for the tilt on the photo, I’m tired.

  • Where Conservatism fails Women

    In another 50 years, men may regain the status they lost, but it’s going to be an uncomfortable few decades for them. I’m not sad.

    I listened to as much self-congratulatory guff from Jordan Peterson and Roger Scruton in Peterson’s latest podcast as I could tolerate. Much of it seemed to mourn the loss of status they have collectively as men and the irrationality of women who won’t accept that the traditional ways served women best. “When, O when will it end?” was the tone of the (very long) podcast.

    I have some sympathy for this idea, some, it’s not very large. In fact, it’s kindof tiny. I do believe that the marriages of the elites are stable and equitable, and frankly I think they always have been so. Intelligent men and women understand that deep mutual respect is the base from which to build a family, that each contributes very specific skills and talents the other does not hold and power plays are self-destructive. It’s obvious, I don’t need to belabor this.

    What Peterson and Scruton miss in their paens to themselves as excellent male beings, that while they may always have been wonderful (I doubt it) their generation of men has not. The level of self-indulgence, the cheating, drug-taking, promiscuity and generally vile behavior of boomers and Gen Xers has been spectacular. And any women knows, any woman, that if it hasn’t happened to you, it’s happened to one of your friends. They have been abandoned, with the care of children entirely theirs, having given up work to build a family. Afterwards, they rebuild, with half the money if not less, a tiny proportion of the opportunity of the male, and 90% of the child-raising responsibilities. At least half of women, half, have experienced this in the last 50 years, and I am not even counting the women who sucked it up and carried on in marriages where he ran around and she kept the family going. Another 25%?

    Of course some women have been badly behaved, but this pales before the immutable fact that child-rearing is their primary responsibility, and therefore their ability to make money is limited.

    Let’s build in here the fact that attractive women in any workplace have been, and still are, prey.

    Peterson has done sterling work in waking up young men to their responsibilities, proving decisively that in being responsible adults, you find yourself and a great deal more. But the endless harping on the insufficiencies of “feminists” is silly and beneath him.

    Finally, I was at a think tank thrash a few years ago where Scruton tried to prove that gay marriage was wrong. I love (loved) his work, but this was disqualifying. It behooves men like Scruton to try to see things from another’s rather less privileged perspective. I don’t care if this makes me seem an identitarian nutcase, it’s true. In another 50 years, men may regain the status they lost, but it’s going to be an uncomfortable few decades for them. I’m not sad.


  • Mr. Black Swan unfollows Jordan Peterson

    Nassim Taleb had a hissy fit last night:

    Nassim Nicholas Taleb‏Verified account @nntalebFeb 3

    Where I block @JordanbPeterson for violation of intellectual integrity/virtue signaling.

    This spat was over Jordan Peterson’s endorsement of golden rice. Patrick Moore, one of the founders of Greenpeace, is a promoter of Golden Rice, vis this in the Globe and Mail a few years ago:

    Two humanitarian scientists, Dr. Ingo Potrykus and Prof. Peter Beyer, used their knowledge of genetics to create Golden Rice, a variety of rice that contains beta carotene, the essential nutrient that we make into vitamin A. They were aware that two million people, mostly young children, die each year from vitamin A deficiency. Most of them live in urban slums in Asia and Africa and eat little more than a cup of rice each day. Conventional rice contains no beta carotene, resulting in 250 million preschool children who have chronic vitamin A deficiency. Vitamin A is necessary for eyesight and the immune system. As many as 500,000 children go blind each year, half of whom die within a year of becoming blind, according to the World Health Organization.

    Taleb calls this argument Pedophrasty. He defines this as follows (in Medium, in a piece called “Pedophrasty, Bigoteering, and Other Modern Scams“):

    Definition: Argument involving children to prop up a rationalization and make the opponent look like an asshole, as people are defenseless and suspend all skepticism in front of suffering children: nobody has the heart to question the authenticity or source of the reporting. Often done with the aid of pictures.

    Taleb continues his hysterics: Actually it is not just virtue signaling but Peterson’s DISGUSTING use of appeal to pity or some FAKE humanitarianism “because blindness” to justify selling speculative options in place of less lucrative more robust ones. Similar to pedophrasty.

    Never mind that Greenpeace and every other environment crackpot organization use children ruthlessly in their advocacy, using their authority to insinuate themselves into every school, at just about every grade and filling the open minds of school children with flat-out terror.

    Taleb continues in his twitter thread:

    “And of course Patrick Moore whose dangerous, dishonest (& exploitative) arguments psychologist @jordanbPeterson was diffusing is a well identified shill for glyphosate.”

    I have friends whose ability to reason I respect, who are completely unreasonable on the grounds of glyphosate and GMOs. I am moderately afraid of glyphosate myself and dislike it when Jamie spends a day spraying the dandelions in his five-acre, meticulously kept garden. I keep the pets indoors – as directed on the bottle – and am sullen for a day afterward. I have some kind of grain sensitivity which some health professionals believe is a glyphosate sensitivity. Hundreds of thousands of first world dwellers have developed glyphosate sensitivities and many naturopaths think it contributes to cancer, particularly in pets. The European Union has banned glyphosate and GMOs, on those grounds.

    But damn, it is an effective poison and it makes the growing of food (and exquisite gardens) much much easier. Here is Patrick having his own hissy fit:

    I believe that this argument can be solved by actuarial science. In the deep dark reaches of corporate and government labs, a grim calculation takes place. Its primary assumption is the following: Life Is Valuable. In the first world, our world, the value of a human life, last time I looked was estimated at about $3,000,000. That would be in the US and Canada. In Europe, given their refusal to use GMOs and Roundup, the value may in fact, be judged higher. In any case the boffins in the basement have judged that the cost of treating the one in 1,000,000 cancer caused by exposure to glyphosate is such that the value of a human life spread against 500 million people is $3 million or $5 million or $10 million, the value of life rising as the culture gets richer. Fine. The first world can argue this as if we are medieval monks arguing the number of angels on the head of a pin. We can afford it and we can afford organic, GMO-free, glyphosate-free food.

    Not in the world where the value of a life is neglible, which is to say people die of starvation in the many many thousands every single day. If a chemical comes along that stops that, take it now. Right now. After titanic battles by Patrick and others, golden rice is about to be planted in Bangladesh.

    Here are a few facts about starvation in Bangladesh.

    Undernutrition costs Bangladesh $1BillionUS a year, and more in health care costs. 41% of children under five are undernourished. Even in the wealthiest households, 26% of children are stunted, and 12% are wasted. Sacrifices in food consumption in favour of children, particularly in times of scarcity, is highly gender biased. In most cases, it is an adult woman who must make a sacrifice.

    You can read the rest of these grim statistics at the World Food Program. https://www.wfp.org/stories/10-facts-about-hunger-bangladesh

    India has just closed two offices of Greenpeace and stated that the organization acts against the interests of its citizens. They’ve made the choice, not Mr. Fancy Pants on Twitter inveigling against feeding the world’s poor because he is jealous of Jordan Peterson’s fame.