May 28, 2020

"I was obsessed with femininity for years after I transitioned in 2001. I reveled in using cosmetics..."

"... and flattering outfits to look both more convincing and attractive as a woman, forms of expression my old gender denied me. But apart from how much time it took to dress up this way, I also grew weary of the awful feeling that my beauty was always on the verge of collapse, that a mere rub of the eyes or bunching of the cloth would ruin the effect. Also, the attention from men that at first felt intoxicating turned oppressive over time.... So I stopped wearing so much makeup.... More comfortable clothes steadily replaced my fussy dresses.... I turned to face my reflection in the mirror... and I suddenly wondered whether I could imagine myself with a man’s face.... I might have let go of the need to be feminine at all times, but I wasn’t sure it would be healthy to actively envision myself as male.... [R]eality is so much more malleable than people make it out to be; that the first step in making something real is believing it could be real.... [O]ver time, I’ve come to realize that every woman — whether transgender or cisgender — evolves a unique perception of herself, one that need not conform to any specific model of what a woman should be.... Making those judgments for myself is at the core of why I transitioned to be a woman in the first place: to express my gender how I want to, regardless of society’s expectations.... [A]s long as gender matters to the world, I will always be a woman to myself."

From "On Being a Trans Woman, and Giving Up Makeup/I have short hair. I don’t wear heels. Because there is no one way to be a trans woman, either" by Meredith Talusan (NYT).

Who could possibly break up this nasty street argument between a pro- and an anti-mask-wearer?

An old man wanders into the shot...

"If you give your mail-in ballot to a friend to drop in the mailbox, you didn't actually vote. Your friend voted twice."

Could one of you math geniuses check the math? If your friend knows your vote is for the other candidate and he chooses not to mail his, then he prevents his vote from being canceled by yours and keeps his vote as a vote. Is that equivalent to voting twice? I'm looking for a sophisticated math answer to that question.

Anyway, if he knows you're voting for the same person, and he goes ahead and mails your vote, then you're getting your vote counted only because he followed through, so that's 2 votes at his option, but we're just guessing that he might be tempted to trash your envelope if he didn't like the idea that it was canceling his vote.

Now, I'm thinking about this mythical devious friend. To accept Adams's clever point, you have to think that people don't feel bound by principles of integrity. The "friend" has to see that he has a choice before we can say that he "voted" when he mailed or did not mail your ballot. Have you ever looked back on your life and seen a place where you could have taken an advantage but you can't even give yourself "credit" because it didn't occur to you to be dishonest?

Anyway, Adams doesn't mention the possibility of a friend whose only deviousness is laziness. He's got your envelope and he knows you've checked the box for the other guy, and he decides he can simplify the whole thing by trashing your ballot and not voting. Now, do the math: How many times did that guy vote? Do your own math and do the math within the Scott Adams concept. He didn't vote, so you might say 0. But he didn't vote and he threw out your ballot, so how can it be the same number as if he just voted and you handled your own mail. So is the answer -1? If it's -1, then when he does vote, if he also throws out your ballot and you were against his guy, then it seems as though we should say he voted 0 times, but Scott says he voted 2 times.


The "bonkers idea" of doing a makeup job and photo shoot with the model in the U.S., the makeup artist in the U.K, and the photographer in Portugal.

View this post on Instagram

New Cover - CREATED IN THE MIDDLE OF LOCKDOWN (no one left their homes!) 💓 When I was asked to come up with a cover and shoot idea for the annual Beauty Special issue of @theststyle and Covid 19 had just hit hard, I had an idea ... a model in the US , me in the UK and someone fabulous in Portugal to help me pull this madness off . I met amazing mixed media artist @jon_jacobsen a few years ago and knew his combined talents of illustration, photography, painting , digital art plus genuine love of makeup (he always hung out in the makeup room on shoots) would be winning! We were lucky to have incredible model @yumilambert (who was actually in Maui) and Jon talked her through creating a series of beautiful self portraits that we could then use to create a cover and makeup story from. Inspiring editors @sarahjossel @sundaytimeslorraine and art director @leilahartley trusted in this bonkers idea (Thank you ) and then the fun/stress began. My main concern was that it shouldn’t look overly graphic, ‘digital’ and futuristic. So I started shooting makeup on my own face and arms with a good camera, macro lens and a mixture of daylight and ring light . I did five shoots like this so we had actual shapes and ‘makeup on real skin’ textures. Then (over probably about 100 🤪hours )Jon and I sat together on zoom as he layered and blended each bit of gloss, sparkle & colour directly from, in some cases, my arm on to Yumi’s eyelids! You can see some of the makeup is shot in soft daylight while other bits have ring flash highlights. Lorraine wanted something bright optimistic and warm for the cover and I think this combination of pinks, oranges and yellow delivers that . I’ll post the other shots tomorrow and Jon and I are working on a short video of the process. Someone asked me I’ll ever go on a shoot again as it can all be done from home ? The answer is resoundingly yes I will - as interesting as it’s been there is no substitute for the magic of applying makeup directly on to a human face. The issue is out tomorrow , don’t miss it I’m really excited for you to see all the other looks 🌈🌈🌈

A post shared by Lisa Eldridge (@lisaeldridgemakeup) on

"How did I meet Larry? He called me a murderer and an incompetent idiot on the front page of the San Francisco Examiner magazine."

Said Dr. Anthony Fauci, speaking in a tribute to Larry Kramer, the playwright and AIDS activist, who died yesterday, at the age of 84. The article is "‘We Loved Each Other’: Fauci Recalls Larry Kramer, Friend and Nemesis/In public, the activist berated the infectious disease expert for federal inaction on AIDS. But their affection lasted decades and changed the course of the epidemic" (NYT).
“It was an extraordinary 33-year relationship,” Dr. Fauci said. “We loved each other. We would have dinner. I would go see him in the West Village, he would come down to Washington. But even recently, when he got pissed at me about something, he said to some paper, ‘Fauci’s gone over to the dark side again.’ I called him up and said, ‘Larry? What the….’ And he’d say, ‘Oh, I didn’t really mean it. I just wanted to get some attention.’... He was iconoclastic, he was theatrical — he wanted to make his point.”...

“During the administration of George H.W. Bush, he told me, ‘Tony, you should chain yourself to the gates of the White House,’” Dr. Fauci said. “I said, ‘Larry, how would that help? I can go talk to President Bush any time. He’s a friend.’ He said, ‘You should still do it.’”...

Mr. Kramer’s autobiographical play in 1992, “The Destiny of Me,” includes a character based on Dr. Fauci. “He’s named Anthony Della Vida — Tony Of Life,” Dr. Fauci said. “He told me he wanted the actor who was playing me to come down to Bethesda and go on hospital rounds with me and learn my mannerisms. He made the character a mix of goodness and rigidity.... On opening night... at the reception afterward... he comes up to me sheepishly and says, ‘Do you hate me?’”

Let's have some fresh orange juice...

... got to put the video after the jump — not because it's dirty, it's just TikTok, and I know some of you have troubles with your browser in TikTok. This is really super-wholesome and refreshing orange juice:

"We have a different policy than, I think, Twitter on this. I just believe strongly that Facebook shouldn't be the arbiter of truth..."

"... of everything that people say online. Private companies probably shouldn't be, especially these platform companies, shouldn't be in the position of doing that."

Said Mark Zuckerberg, quoted at Fox News. Links to Fox News never seem to work, so I apologize in advance for this bad link. Why does Fox News not play well with social media?

Anyway... I'm glad to hear that from Zuckerberg. I love Zuckerberg's self-effacing term "these platform companies." I have long argued that these platform companies should uphold the free speech values that the law requires government to uphold. (Here's my 2011 argument with Bob Wright on the subject.)

Meanwhile, Trump is choosing the worst way to fight for freedom of speech — governmental suppression: "Republicans feel that Social Media Platforms totally silence conservatives voices. We will strongly regulate, or close them down, before we can ever allow this to happen." That's a tweet, quoted at CNN. From the CNN article:

"It is a shame that December 7th is remembered as a dark day when America was attacked, when it could be seen as a bright day in our history, the beginning of constitutional ratification."

I wrote on December 7, 2007 — the 220th anniversary of the day the first state ratified the Constitution — the first state, AKA "The First State," my state, Delaware. Maybe you don't know that Delaware is the first state, but if you grow up in Delaware — at least if, like me, you grew up in Delaware in the 1950s — you know that Delaware is The First State, and you know that December 7th is Delaware Day. When you get a little older, you find out that other Americans don't even mention Delaware on December 7th. They call it Pearl Harbor Day. Another event vastly overshadowed the little state's pride. We weren't even the smallest state, if smallness can be a point of distinction, only the second smallest. But we were first. First! No one outside of Delaware ever seemed to notice.

But Joe Biden is a person from Delaware. He wasn't born there. He was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania in 1942, but his family moved to Delaware in 1953. Maybe I crossed paths with young Biden. Maybe he was seated at the next table at the Charcoal Pit. Clearly, he knows about Delaware Day, and wouldn't he have heard — every year of his life — the reminiscences about Pearl Harbor that overshadow Delaware Day? It's something that has affected me all my life, that caused me to write that line you see in this post title.

In the video below, we see Biden, bringing up Delaware Day as he lightly taunts the Governor of Pennsylvania over the fact that Delaware was once part of Pennsylvania: "But we declared our independence." Delaware separated from Pennsylvania at the point of the Declaration of Independence, in 1776. That's not the basis for Delaware Day, which marks the ratification of the Constitution on December 7, 1787. Biden not only mixes up the 2 important events in Delaware history — "We declared our independence on December the 7th" —  he forgets that December 7th is Pearl Harbor Day. He calls it D-Day:

The clip begins with Biden tracing the arc of the northern border of Delaware, which I can attest, is something people from Delaware believe is very interesting but really just shows how little there is to say about Delaware.

Anyway... what's up with Governor Tom Wolf? Did someone instruct him to abase himself by keeping the top of his bald head lower than Biden's effulgent smile?

May 27, 2020

At the Effulgence Café...


... you can radiate everything you are.

And now that the geese have flown off, it's a good time to use the Althouse Portal to Amazon. Something I just bought — a new FlipBelt.

Today's sunrise in 3 distinct phases... at 5:14, 5:30, and 5:52.

It was most dramatic at 5:14, before the sun crossed the shoreline:


The "actual" sunrise time was 5:23, and here's 5:30, with the sun in view, which makes it hard to photograph:


But there was a cloud for the sun to slip behind so that made an entirely new concept of sunrise, here at 5:52:


I hope that's not too much effulgence for one post, but I wanted to collect the wildly different presentations of a single sunrise.

"I get your point, but fresh and Joe Biden are two things that just don't go together."

Says mezzrow, reacting to my reaction to Blogger telling us about its new interface and saying it has "a fresh feel."

I'd said: "Rereading this I paused to visualize 'a fresh feel.' Somehow Joe Biden was in the picture." I was picturing his various old-mannish gropings of women and girls. (This one is fake.)

Mezzrow continued: "Does anyone use 'fresh' as a synonym of 'boorish and handsy' any more? I understood immediately, but then Althouse and I are in the same age cohort."

That makes me old enough to remember 1985, and this is as fresh as ever:

Wikipedia: "The song introduced a new meaning to the word 'fresh,' meaning 'good.'"

The top definition for "fresh" at Urban Dictionary is "This word originated during the 80's hip hop era in New York hip hop culture. It was used to describe something new or nice." So Kool & the Gang's usage is also historical.

But Urban Dictionary does treat "get fresh" like part of the living language: "The act of a guy or girl, (commonly used when describing a guy) making (or attempting to make) covert advances towards the object of their affection, typically to illicit sex later on, or 'test the waters' for further advances, typically physcial [sic] in nature." ADDED: I think they meant "typically to elicit sex," but you might elicit illicit sex.

Blogger is talking like a robot.

Here's a message that's been appearing lately on the pages I'm seeing as I work on Blogger:
In late June, the new Blogger interface will become the default for all users. The legacy interface will still be optionally available. We recommend trying the new interface by clicking “Try the New Blogger” in the left-hand navigation. Please file any critical issues encountered.
Please file any critical issues encountered? Is that any way to talk to a human being? It sounds like they're saying if you don't like it, shut up about it. I mean, I feel like adopting that phrase as a jocose way to tell someone not to bother me about their problems: Please file any critical issues encountered.

"According to a recent Qualtrics study, a majority of surveyed Americans now say they won’t return to the office unless their company makes wearing face masks mandatory."

"Mask-Wearing Needs to Be Easy, Understood and Expected/Persuasion works better than compulsion" by Angela Duckworth, Lyle Ungar and Ezekiel J. Emanuel (NYT).

Didn't anyone notice the flaw in that statement?!

It assumes that everyone works in an office!

The survey question was actually "Before returning to work, I want my company to require... a mask all of the time." It was the NYT that changed "work" to "office." What blindness!

Notice that in the question, each respondent would be thinking about his own workplace, with whatever conditions of indoorsiness and crowding that existed there. They were not saying what they thought the rules should be in other workplaces.

I used to work in a law school, and within that workplace, I had my own office, and also a classroom. I wouldn't call the whole building "the office," only my own room. And if I were working alone in my office and had the door closed and was subject to a university-wide rule that I had to keep a mask on, I'd think that was crazy — or just an example of bureaucratic rule that's written in a bluntly simple form so everyone would get the message that it's mandatory — rules are rules, no exceptions.

During office hours, during class time — that would be different. But how awful it would be to need to wear a mask when your role is speaking to other people and communicating! But the #1 message to be communicated now is: I am trying as hard as I can not to spread a sometimes-deadly disease. And we're all saying it constantly, forced to say it. Fortunately, I am retired, so this scenario is merely imaginary for me.

But I should be clear. I've been harping on the use of the word "office" — an unwitting mistake that no one corrected — and the cultural bias it betrays. There's a lot more to this op-ed, and the key point is that that compulsion is the wrong way to proceed:
It is human nature to adhere to social norms. When uncertain about what to do, people tend to look around and copy what other people are doing.... How do we create a social norm of mask-wearing when, in fact, so many Americans are doing exactly the opposite? One common mistake is drawing attention to the lack of compliance. For instance, highlighting littering as a commonplace problem can inadvertently lead to more littering because it strengthens the perception that littering is the norm. Instead, in press releases and public service announcements, officials should emphasize that the clear trend in this country is toward universal mask-wearing.... 
I agree that compulsion isn't going to work. Something they don't say is that if you force people to do something, they get rebellious. It's much better to get them to feel that they have a choice and that they're choosing this thing you'd like to make them do. I'm sure the op-ed writers thought of that point, but to say it is to encourage rebellion, and they're inside the project of manipulating opinion, and that project is not furthered by getting people to see the manipulation.

"We don't talk about the commerce of squirrels."

Said Meade, just now, long into a conversation that began when he read the previous post, which was published 40 minutes ago.

"Because what if no one picks you for their bubble? And how do you decide who belongs in yours? How do you issue an invitation, or reject one?"

"What if your parents swear they’ve been following the rules and are dying to see their grandchildren, but you’re not ready to risk it because they’re Fox News viewers and who the hell knows what they think 'observant' even means? What if you’re desperate to hang out with your bestie, but she’s already committed to a guy she met three weeks ago on a dating app and wants to get to know in person? And again: What if no one picks you?... If the very thought of being picked last or going completely, utterly unchosen is giving you flashbacks to junior high where Michelle Goldman said that you couldn’t sit at her table in the cafeteria because all the seats were taken when clearly all the seats were not taken, I am right there with you. And would like to remind you that you are a successful, accomplished, beloved adult and also how many novels has Michelle published?"

Writes Jennifer Weiner in "The Quarantine Bubbles Are Coming and I, for One, Am Stressed/How do you decide who belongs in yours? What if you join and find it’s not working out? And what if you aren’t invited to one at all?" (NYT).

1. Jennifer Weiner has published 13 novels.

2. Is "observant" a standard term people are using to mean observing the rules about coronavirus? The most standard meaning of "observant" — used as shorthand — has to do with religion, meaning actually following the rules and not merely identifying with the culture of the religion.

3. There's an obsolete meaning of "observant" — "Deferential, respectful; considerately attentive; assiduous in service; obsequious" (OED). Mary Wollstonecraft used it in "A Vindication of the Rights of Woman" (1791): Would men but generously snap our chains, and be content with rational fellowship, instead of slavish obedience, they would find us more observant daughters, more affectionate sisters, more faithful wives, more reasonable mothers — in a word, better citizens."

4. Imagine extending the separation of grandchildren and grandparents for more months because your parents watch Fox News. It's not the politics, per se, but the Fox News as evidence that they're not fact-based, not connecting with science and the right experts.

5. Are you worried about the coming "bubbles" — these enclosed groups of households that are phasing out of one-household-only lockdowns? Is it obvious which other household you'd take on as part of your bubble or are you beset with other households who'd like to bubble-ize you?

6. What's the bigger bubble problem — being left outside of any good bubble like the high-schooler who can't find a table in the cafeteria or having too many people who want you in their bubble? I think the latter is the bigger problem, because you can always continue to shelter alone, and no one sees how alone you are. It's not like standing there in front of the whole school holding a tray, feeling unwanted, and getting rejections right in your face.

7. If you weren't one of the popular kids in high school, but you've become a pretty successful adult, how do you feel about the popular kids now? Do you think about them at all? Do you still agonize about whether you are popular? Or are you a popular adult?

8. If you are a popular adult, did you learn anything interesting from your time in seclusion? Have you changed what you want out of relationships, or are you just eager to get back to socializing?

9. If the seclusion for you was not that different from the way you were living before the virus, are you wistful seeing other people wonder and worry about their bubbles, or are you ready to see your lifestyle once again reserved for those who come about it only in ways that have nothing to do with the virus?

10. Do you want a bubble but not know how — or not have the nerve — to ask anyone to be in yours? What if all the people who you might ask feel the same way too? What if that's not so different from how you and they were living in non-virus times?