Intelligent Design vs Evolution

It’s ironic that the stupid people are backing intelligent design, and the intelligent people are backing dumbfuck non-design. That’s essentially what evolution is: whatever traits lead to increased reproduction, those are the ones that survive.

And what traits lead to reproduction? Not intelligence, that’s for sure. Intelligent women don’t want to have ten kids. They’d rather be doing medical research, composing sonatas, studying society. And intelligent men? They’re not cruising the bars. They’re home with a good book if they’re not still in the office or the lab. It’s stupid women who forget to take the pill or don’t get a tubal ligation. And it’s stupid men who don’t use a condom or get a vasectomy. And it’s stupid brute force that rapes. And those men aren’t targeting the intellectuals. So we’re evolving all right. Right into propagated species-wide stupidity.

But isn’t evolution all about survival of the fittest? Yeah…fittest to the environment. And since stupid people, the ones reproducing, don’t even know what an ‘ecological footprint’ is, let alone have the character (and here I include both a certain morality and self-discipline) to minimize their ecological footprint, we’re not going to survive.

Which means maybe evolution is intelligent design after all.

To Wail like a Brat – and Advertise

On what basis do you claim the right to publicize your desire for money – at my expense?  You use forests full of trees for unsolicited mailouts, you produce and then dump tons of nonbiodegradable plastic for oversized packaging aka advertising, you destroy beautiful landscapes with your ubiquitous signs, you stuff my emailbox with your shouting forcing me to expend time and effort to shut you up, you intrude on my consciousness with your insistent voice – all because you want me to buy your product or service so you can make some (more) money.

Listings in directories – by category of product, service, and so on – should be free of charge; when we want to purchase something, we’ll find you in the directory.  Any other advertising should be illegal.  Frivolous depletion and destruction of the planet’s resources is irresponsible.  Shouting “I want I want I want” in someone’s face is invasive and assaultive.  In short, advertising is immature.

Poor Little Kids

So I heard on the news the other day about the poor little kids whose school backpacks are so full of books they’re developing debilitating back pain…  Oh please.

If they’d worked on their homework during the time allotted for just that purpose, instead of text messaging the person next to them, one painstaking letter at a time, to send the monumentally important query ‘hey brittiny ow r u’, they wouldn’t have so much left over to take home.

If they’d paid attention during class, engaged their minds in the mental effort required to learn something, they might have even finished it during that allotted time.

If they wore their backpacks properly with both straps over their shoulders and high up, instead of oh-so-fashionably slung low over one shoulder, they wouldn’t develop such back pain.

If mandatory physical education hadn’t’ve been cancelled, or if they actually played outside after school instead of watching tv, or walked the five blocks to and from school instead of getting chauffeured by mom or dad, they might have enough strength in their little backs  –  wait a minute  –  are these the same kids for whom pens with rubberized grips are designed because the user’s thumbs and forefingers are just too weak to hold onto them firmly otherwise?

Why aren’t there any great women Xs?

A new (for me) answer to the classic question, Why aren’t there any great women Xs, occurred to me when I saw a website for a small company of composers specializing in music for dance troupes (all four composers were male) shortly after a male friend of mine confessed that if he wasn’t getting paid to do it (write a book – he’s an academic with a university position), he probably wouldn’t, and another male friend confessed confusion at the idea of composing something just out of his soul (everything he’d written had been for pay – soundtracks for video games and what have you). Until then, the answer to that age-old question seemed to go to merit and/or opportunity.  Now I’m thinking it goes to money. Read the rest of this entry »

Assholes or Idiots (take your pick)

Every now and then I hear something really insightful on tv.  What recently caught my mind was an explanation of the behavior of one of the alphas on, of course, Alphas. Rosen says that Marcus can see twenty moves ahead and doesn’t understand why others can’t; so when what they do harms him, he believes it’s intentional.

Yes!  I too—and many, many others, it’s not an alpha trait—can think ahead. I can imagine the likely effect on others of my actions. And I work through the ethics of my behavior. So when what someone else does affects me, I can only assume that they don’t care about others (and so haven’t bothered to think ahead about the effects of their actions, or work through the ethics of their behavior) or they do, and have, and consider what they’ve done to be morally acceptable. Or I must assume that, unlike me, they cannot imagine the effects of their actions; they do not comprehend the ethics of their behavior. Which means, in short, either they’re inconsiderate, egoistic, irresponsible, lazy assholes or they’re idiots.

And so when I point out that what they’re doing does affect me, invariably they respond with aggressive defensiveness.  Because, of course, I’m implying they’re either assholes or idiots.

(Pity they don’t apologize for their thoughtlessness and ask me to help them work through the ethics of their behavior. After all, I’m an authority on applied ethics. Don’t people seek expert opinion on important matters?  Yes, but not from a woman.  Who’s either a bitch or just crazy.)

Rules of Combat

Why are there rules of combat?  Rules apply to civil interactions and games.  Combat is neither.

Rules give the impression of fairness, decency, civility.  They thus make war permissible.

But if war is really about defending your loved ones, wouldn’t you do whatever is necessary?  Wouldn’t you ‘fight dirty’ if that’s what it takes?

Rules of combat suggest, therefore, that war isn’t about defending your loved ones.  Or even your land, your water, your resources.  As Allan G. Johnson points out, in the best analysis of men and war I’ve ever read (The Gender Knot, p.138-142), “war allows men to reaffirm their masculine standing in relation to other men….  It is an opportunity for men to bond with other men—friend and foe alike—and reaffirm their common masculine warrior codes.  If war was simply about self-sacrifice in the face of monstrous enemies who threaten men’s loved ones, how do we make sense of the long tradition of respect between wartime enemies, the codes of ‘honor’ that bind them together even as they bomb and devastate civilian populations that consist primarily of women and children?”  Good question.  So (and this explains the response to women in the military) war is really all about men getting together and hating, hurting, killing women.

Same old same old.

The Waiting-for-the-Elevator Thing

So I’m sure this has happened at least once to every woman.  You’re standing in front of an elevator, waiting for it, and a man comes up and presses one of the buttons.

Oh is that what those are for?  I saw the two buttons, one with an upward-pointing arrow and one with a downward-pointing arrow, and I understand that elevators go up and down, but you know, I just never put the two together!!

I was just waiting for it to know that I was standing there.

I thought I might try to push one of the buttons, but then I thought, no, I’m just not strong enough.

So I was just standing there.

Or maybe I did push one of the buttons (you know, I just don’t know?), but the system doesn’t recognize buttons pushed by people with uteruses.  Which is why you had to push a button.  You’ve got a penis!

So good thing you happened to come by!  I could still be standing there!

In Praise of Dead Air

People are uncomfortable with silence.  On the radio, over the telephone, in person.  It’s a curious thing.

We are obsessed with filling up the air space.  That sounds very male – the need to occupy territory (take a look at how men sit, their legs crossed open and their arms resting on the backs of the adjacent chairs, compared to how women sit, legs crossed closed and their hands in their laps).  But women too consider dead air problematic.

Is it that Read the rest of this entry »

Crossing the Line

I crossed a picket line once.  The Ontario Federation of Secondary School Teachers (OSSTF) in the Toronto area was on strike in 1983, and one of their demands was that union members be hired to fill night school and summer school teaching positions.  They were concerned about quality of education: they didn’t want these courses to become second-class courses as a result of being taught by second-class teachers who were unqualified and inexperienced.

Well.  I was qualified.  More qualified than many of the older OSSTF members who got their teaching jobs when you didn’t even need a B.A., let alone a B.Ed.  And I was experienced.  In addition to about ten years of private music and dance teaching experience, I’d had a half-time regular day school position for one year and had taught a few night school courses the following year.

But more than that, Read the rest of this entry »

The Road to Hell

I’ve reconsidered intent-based moralities.  They’re bloody irresponsible.  I’m giving new meaning to “The road to hell is paved with good intentions” (or maybe I’m just finally understanding it).

Intention-based moralities are for people too stupid or too lazy to consider the consequences of their actions.  “But I didn’t mean to” is the cry of an idiot.  (What did you think would happen when you put a firecracker in the dog’s mouth?)  “I was only trying to help” is an attempt to absolve oneself of the burden of figuring out the effect one’s behavior has on others.  (In what universe is that helpful?)

If you only meant to have a bit of fun, getting in your car drunk out of your mind and driving down the 401, if you didn’t intend to hurt anyone, well then, okay, you can go (you should go) — to hell.