Feminist Lunacy

Jan 312003

These days, I feel nothing but utter contempt for feminists. So NOW’s review of Super Bowl ads is just another illustration of the absurdities of feminist ideology. Two comments of that review are worth mentioning as particularly insane.

Insane comment #1: On the ads in general: “I don’t mind the number of male-oriented ads. In fact, I will get worried when the ads are more female-oriented. I prefer to think that not many women care about the Super Bowl.” Well, over 40% of football fans are women. But such feminists would prefer to cling to their rosy image of women as gentle and peaceful rather than acknowledge the readily-available fact that women like bone-crunching football!

Insane comment #2: About the FedEx — “Cast Away” spoof: “Good to see a woman be on top of things, showing the man that he should have been smart enough to open the package.” Ah, so it’s okay to see men belittled and mocked in commercials — that’s funny. But, as all the other comments make clear, to see any woman as the butt of a joke is sexist. (In fact, my use of the word “butt” and “woman” in the same sentence is probably sexist… Oh the shame!)

Unfortunately, rabid feminism is often found in Objectivist circles as well. In his third article on Objectivism and homosexuality, Chris Sciabarra presents Carolyn Ray’s views sexism within the Objectivist movement:

Underlying many of these discussions of homosexuality are important epistemological issues, according to Carolyn Ray, an Objectivist philosopher. Ray insists that “conceptualism”–which she views as “the epistemological piece of Objectivism–makes it easier to think through pretty much everything.” Ray argues: “Taken seriously, conceptualism eliminates the possibility of clinging to realist Categories to protect the oldest of training and prejudice, and new information can seep in and make sense. It fosters an openness of mind that is the extension of the openness of classifications. For people who don’t understand conceptualist epistemology, no matter what you say, all of this [discussion of homosexuality] is going to remain a complete enigma, as you can plainly see by the fact that they are willing to call names, throw rocks, and pass laws.” And similarly, Objectivists who fail to grasp central epistemological principles end up with “a strong sense of spoiled entitlement with regard to their own immediate grasp of all things knowable, and a penchant for fits of rage. I’m still hearing lots of slurs, from Objectivists, about nonheterosexuals, usually used with the intention of insulting heterosexuals. With the worst offenders, my opposition is usually met with redoubled efforts to insult women. However, what dismays me the most, personally, is that most of the slurs against males are derived from slurs about just plain ol’ females. Homosexual males, who not only share the female preference for males, but who are also stereotyped as being like females in other respects, are automatically devalued. A sissy, after all, is a boy being accused of acting like a girl. There’s something inherently wrong with being a girl, that makes homosexual males a problem. . . . So the ugly truth is that people who would like us to believe that they are the epitome of heterosexual maleness, are behaving hatefully toward homosexuals, bisexuals, and, most especially, women.” It is for this reason that Ray maintains: “Fair and respectful treatment of homosexuals isn’t getting off the ground until it happens for women, and that’s going to be a long time coming if Objectivists’ and libertarians’ idea of freedom is to be able to slander half the human race for having vaginas.”

This is the most absurd characterization of the Objectivist movement I’ve ever heard. The mind boggles.

UPDATE: As there has been some confusion, I should make clear that Chris Sciabarra is not endorsing Carolyn Ray’s views in the quoted paragraph, just reporting them.

An Award!

Jan 272003

I have been completely remiss in not publicly thanking Don Watkins for his kind comments about NoodleFood in his new blog. I’ve known Don from HPO for a while. Then last year, I met him at Washington Metro Objectivism Discussion during my talk on honesty. During that meeting, I blurted out something so me that it’s embarrassing. (It’s not really embarrassing, just so very much like me that it’s embarrassing… or something like that.) Don’s blog will tell you all about it.

Oh, and as for my previous profession, I was a web programmer for a few years, not a designer. Nevertheless, I did do a great deal of graphic design work in high school. (My mother was a graphic designer at the time. My sister, now a potter, also worked as a graphic designer for a number of years.) And, of course, my professional programming work always has me working closely with web designers, some of whom have been quite phenomenal.

So my aesthetic sense isn’t too terrible. But my sites would look a heck of a lot nicer if Josh Zader designed them. His redesigned site looks phenomenal!

More Hallmark Holidays?

Jan 252003

I found this bit of spam in my inbox this afternoon. I must admit that I’m really tired of all these new “Hallmark” holidays…

Every 14th of February you get the chance to display your fondness for your wife or girlfriend by showering her with gifts, flowers, dinner, shows and any other baubles that women find romantic.

Secret…guys feel left out. That’s right…left out. There’s no special holiday for the ladies to show their appreciation for the men in their life. Men as a whole are either too proud or just too embarrassed to admit it. Which is why a new holiday has been created.

March 20th is now officially “Steak & Blowjob Day.”

Simple, effective and self-explanatory…this holiday has been created so your ladies can have a day to show your man just how much you love him. No cards, no flowers, no special nights on the town-the name of the holiday explains it all…just a steak and a BJ. That’s it.

This twin pairing of Valentine’s Day and Steak & Blowjob Day will usher in a new age of love as men everywhere will try THAT much harder in February to ensure a more memorable March! It’s like perpetual love machine.

The word is already spreading, but as with any new idea, it needs a little push to start the ball rolling. So spread the word, and help bring love and peace to this crazy world.

Gee, if this holiday will “help bring love and peace to this crazy world,” perhaps the naked Marin anti-war protesters were just celebrating a bit early. Granted, cooking steaks seems like a hazardous activity in the nude and blowjobs merely require the lifting of a woman’s burqua, but it would explain a great deal…

Utah Baby Names

Jan 242003

All I can say is that I’m deeply grateful not to be named “Dianarea.” (Thanks to Eugene for the link.)

Diana in Hiding

Jan 182003

I have been hiding in my office, not really answering e-mail, blogging, or whatnot due to two huge projects with looming deadlines: (1) my paper on philosophy of mind for the TOC Advanced Seminar and (2) a very important demo for iHealer, a programming client. (Yes, I still do have this one client left over from my days as a programmer, only because working for them is the epitome of programmer bliss.)

Basically, both are due mid-week, so I don’t expect to be returning to my normal activities until, say, next weekend.

But let me just say that I’m totally thrilled with the comments I’ve gotten on my recent paper surveying the Objectivist literature on philosophy of mind, Mind in Objectivism. I know that I have some typos to fix and some arguments to shore up–which I’ll get to next week. But much thanks to everyone who has written me about it so far…and to any one who will be writing too!

Rape and Consent

Jan 152003

A few days ago, I read Eugene Volokh’s comments on the recent California withdrawl-of-consent rape case. His basic position was that the case was decided rightly. In light of those comments, I was quite astonished upon reading the facts of the case cited in Wendy McElroy’s excellent FoxNews column.

Wendy wrote:

What are the facts of the case? 17-year-old Laura T. attended an otherwise all-male party at which she did not drink. After allowing two teenaged boys to undress and fondle her in a bedroom — acts she admitted enjoying — she had sex with each. Laura did not say the word “no” nor did she resist. Instead, she said, “I have to go home.” Because John Z. continued for approximately four minutes after she first expressed what might have been reluctance, he was convicted of rape.

Rape is an abomination no civilized society can tolerate. But precisely because rape is such a serious crime, it is important to establish explicit and reasonable standards by which to judge the guilt or innocence of those accused.

If a woman (or man) clearly says “stop” during consensual sex, then the partner should be morally and legally constrained to do just that — stop. But what if the partner proceeds in good faith on the basis of a “yes” given moments before? Common sense dictates that the rescinded “no” must be explicit and that the partner should have a reasonable amount of time to grasp the changed circumstances.

But the Court ruled that sex becomes rape the instant the women rescinds consent and it provided no guidance on what constitutes the withdrawal of consent.

The sole dissenting voice, Justice Janice Rogers Brown found that none of Laura’s statements were “unequivocal.” Her requests to go home could have been interpreted as a need for reassurance or a request for greater speed….

The Laura T. decision may well become a Pandora’s Box for false accusations of rape. No longer can the man point to a woman’s explicit consent because she can now argue that — once penetration occurred — she changed her mind. She need not utter the word “no!” She can merely say, “I have to go home.” As the former mainstream feminist Professor Erin O’Connor notes in her blog , “this ruling neatly dispenses with the idea that rape necessarily involves force, and replaces it with a definition of consent that is as uncertain and shifting as the woman who wields it.”

So I wrote Eugene the following note:

Since you wrote on this rape ruling, I thought you might be interested in this FoxNews column by Wendy McElroy. If indeed the woman merely said “I have to go home” that would hardly qualify as an unambiguous statement that consent has been withdrawn, no?

Frankly, I would argue that verbal consent is too weak of a standard for acquaintance rape, as it allows a woman to self-deceptively or maliciously turn a regrettable sexual encounter into a rape. Rather, the woman must be physically threatened with harm or struggle physically against the man, preferably while making clear statements along the lines of “get off me you bastard!” Women need to take responsibility for making their wishes crystal clear. The best way to do that is with action in conjunction with words.

Sadly, far too many women are not above charging rape in order to cope with feelings of regret or anger. (Feminists like to claim that a woman would have no motive to false charge rape. That’s absurd.) And the thought of a man going through a trial, going to jail, and being labeled a sexual predator due to a woman’s failure to make her wishes known, coupled with an act of self-deception or simple dishonesty is pretty abhorrent. According to the stats in Warren Farrell’s The Myth of Male Power, women falsely charge rape far more often than we might think.

Ages ago, when I was a teenager, I was pressured into sex by my scummy boyfriend at the time. I didn’t want to, but based upon ambiguous statements he made the night before, I feared that he might overpower and force me. (Scummy boyfriend that he was, I’m quite certain in retrospect that he never ever would have forced himself on me.) By modern feminist standards, I was raped. By reasonable standards, I was just stupid and timid.

Mind in Objectivism and Habits in Aristotle

Jan 122003

After two weeks off from philosophy over the holidays–mostly spent upon an excellent Christmas visit from my family–my nose has definitely returned to the philosophical grindstone. My most pressing project is a paper on philosophy of mind for The Objectivist Center’s 2003 Advanced Seminar, as a decent draft and proposal is due by January 23rd. So most of the past ten days was spent reading the existing Objectivist commentaries on philosophy of mind and summarizing them in what was supposed to just be a blog entry. (After all, it’s not as if Objectivism as it stands actually has a theory of the ontology of mind! So there shouldn’t be much material, right..?)

But 7000+ words later, I decided to make my survey a paper in and of itself: Mind in Objectivism: A Survey of Objectivist Commentary on Philosophy of Mind. If my Advanced Seminar paper is accepted, I’ll likely use it as an optional appendix of background material.

Oh, and I’ve also finally posted my third paper from my Aristotle class, The Habits of Aristotle.

Searle on Terrorism

Jan 122003

Continuing in his Searlean theme, David Jilk sent me this amazing essay by John Searle on the proper response to 9/11. Although a date isn’t noted, based on the text it must seems to have been written sometime in the few days between our initial attack of Afghanistan and the fall of the Taliban.

My delight in reading this passage from the Berkeley professor of philosophy was dampened only the sheer ugliness of the truth identified:

We need to give up on the illusion that there is some policy change on our part that will change the attitude of the terrorists. Short of all of us converting to an extreme version of fundamentalist Islam and driving all the Israelis into the sea, there is no policy change that will alter their determination to kill us. The policy changes that are urged on us — stop the bombing, use the United Nations, etc. — might peel off some of their moderate supporters but will not weaken the resolve of the terrorists.

As an admirer of Searle’s work in philosophy of mind, it’s a particular and unusual pleasure to agree with him on international politics.

Selling His Soul

Jan 102003

My husband has turned into an anti-trust whore for the whopping sum of $20. Sheesh, is it too late for an annulment? Surely I can’t stay married to a man who would sell himself so cheaply! He should have held out for at least $100…

Beyond Atheism

Jan 092003

David Jilk send me this amazing quote by John Searle from a section of his book Mind, Language and Society entitled “Beyond Atheism”:

I believe that something much more radical than a decline in religious faith has taken place. For us, the educated members of society, the world has become demystified. Or rather, to put the point more precisely, we no longer take the mysteries we see in the world as expressions of supernatural meaning…the result of this demystification is that we have gone beyond atheism to a point where the issue no longer matters in the way it did to earlier generations. For us, if it should turn out that God exists, that would have to be a fact of nature like any other.”


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