October 7, 2017

"A Scot is facing a three-year jail sentence in Dubai for reportedly putting his hand on a man in a bar."

"Jamie Harron, who is 27... said he was trying to avoid spilling his drink in the crowded Rock Bottom Bar when the incident happened.... The charges he faces in connection with the incident are said to be twofold - drinking alcohol and public indecency."

BBC reports. 

"What could you say to have Judi Dench have your name stenciled on her ass?"

From a Maureen Dowd "Style" piece in the NYT last month called "Queen! Bow Down to Tattoo-Flashing Octogenarian Dame Dench":
Most memorably, she etched a message on her “bum” that said, “JD loves HW,” with a heart with an arrow through it, in gratitude to Harvey Weinstein for making her a movie star in “Mrs. Brown,” “Chocolat,” “Iris,” “Shakespeare in Love” and other films, after she had been starring in a sitcom with her husband in England.

As a young actress, she said, someone told her she would never make it in movies because “you have everything wrong with your face.”

“I’d like to know where that idiot is working now,” Mr. Weinstein tells me. “Probably for Breitbart.”

Ms. Dench pulled down her pants and flashed the tattoo at Mr. Weinstein at a celebrity lunch she arranged at the Four Seasons in 2002 with Mike Nichols, Nora Ephron, Carly Simon and others, and again at the BAFTA awards when Mr. Weinstein asked Ms. Dench to show his gift to a skeptical Oprah Winfrey at Royal Albert Hall.

“I walked in and I saw Harvey, and I said, ‘Hello, Harvey,’ and I dropped my pants down,” Ms. Dench recalls gleefully.

Ms. Winfrey, Mr. Weinstein recalls, “turned into a 12-year-old squealing girl” after Ms. Dench told her, “I hear you’ve been doubting my love for Harvey?” as she unzipped her pants.
Ugh. So much for queenliness and bowing down. How does the subordination of women happen? I dropped my pants, Dench recalled gleefully....

Since Weinstein mentioned Breitbart, I will link to "‘Your Silence Is Deafening’: Oscar-Winning Actresses Who Worked with Harvey Weinstein Stay Quiet on Sexual Harassment Claims" (at Breitbart):
While a number of female celebrities have spoken out since the allegations broke, including actresses Amber Tamblyn, Lena Dunham, and Brie Larson, several A-list stars who worked with Weinstein on Oscar-winning films have remained silent, including Nicole Kidman, Meryl Streep, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Winslet, Cate Blanchett, Anna Paquin, Renee Zelwegger, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Judi Dench, and Penelope Cruz.

"Attorney Lisa Bloom Resigns as Advisor to Harvey Weinstein Amid Sexual Harassment Claims."

People Magazine reports.
“I have resigned as an advisor to Harvey Weinstein,” Bloom, 56, wrote on Twitter Saturday. “My understanding is that Mr. Weinstein and his board are moving toward an agreement.”

She did not say whether she plans to continue working with Weinstein on adapting her book about Trayvon Martin into a television show, which Bloom had planned to do through his company.
ADDED: The NYT writes that board members of the company, Harvey's brother Bob and Lance Maerov, confronted Bloom after Bloom said she was going to put out “photos of several of the accusers in very friendly poses with Harvey after his alleged misconduct," which Maerov said would "backfire as it suggests they are exculpatory or negate any harm done to them through alleged action."

Maerov also accused Bloom of having a conflict of interest: “You have a commercial relationship with TWC via a TV deal so how can you possibly provide impartial advice to Harvey or address this group with any credibility?”

A third of the board members have resigned, and the rest have "hired an outside law firm to investigate the allegations."

The Times also tells us:
Lanny Davis, another adviser to Mr. Weinstein, is also no longer representing him, according to a person familiar with the matter. Mr. Davis, a lawyer and crisis counselor who served as special counsel to President Bill Clinton, declined Saturday to discuss his departure. But he and Mr. Weinstein had disagreed over how to handle the sexual harassment allegations, with Mr. Davis advising a more conciliatory tone and approach than Mr. Weinstein seemed willing to adopt....
Lanny Davis. Why did he drop Weinstein? Too much connection back to the Clintons? I was surprised that I already had a Lanny Davis tag, and clicking back to old posts, I see that he was acting chair of the Clinton Foundation in 2015 when he was grilled by Chris Wallace on "Fox News Sunday" over a $2.35 million contribution to the Clinton Foundation by the chairman of Uranium One, "that uranium company that the Russians wanted to buy," which Davis brushed off as "not major, even by any definition." Wallace asked Davis:
Do you think it was a coincidence all these Canadian mining executives are giving millions to the foundation, that a company with close ties to Vladimir Putin's government in Russia is giving half a million dollar speech? Do you think that's a coincidence that's happening while the Russian company that wants to buy Uranium One has business before the State Department? Do you think that's a coincidence?
Sorry. I'm reminiscing about the 2016 presidential campaign... you know, the one about which there's been so much talk about "collusion" with the Russians.

"A controversial mural at the Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum in Massachusetts will be replaced after several children's authors complained that it promoted racial stereotypes..."

"... and that they were boycotting an upcoming festival at the newly opened museum because of it" (Chicago Tribune).
[Mo] Willems, Lisa Yee ("Super Hero Girls") and Mike Curato ("Little Elliott") said the mural, which illustrates a scene from Theodor Geisel's "And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street," includes a "jarring racial stereotype of a Chinese man who is depicted with chopsticks, a pointed hat and slanted slit eyes." The authors called the caricature "deeply hurtful."

Following the uproar, Dr. Seuss Enterprises, which oversees the author's estate, said it would replace the mural with another image depicting another of Dr. Seuss' stories.

"This is what Dr. Seuss would have wanted us to do," according to a statement. "His later books, like 'The Sneetches' and 'Horton Hears a Who,' showed a great respect for fairness and diversity. Dr. Seuss would have loved to be a part of this dialogue for change. In fact, Ted Geisel himself said, 'It's not how you start that counts. It's what you are at the finish.'"...
Why didn't they figure this out as they were designing the mural?

"I willingly embrace vulgarity. I prefer vulgarity, that is, to the excessive refinement that has long stifled British society."

"Like St. Paul, I’m a convert, but my conversion was to rock ’n’ roll," said Jack Good, the inventor of "Shindig"...

... quoted in his NYT obituary. He was 86.
The premiere of “Shindig” ended a relatively short professional journey for Mr. Good that began in 1956 when he became transfixed by an audience’s response to the movie “Rock Around the Clock,” with Bill Haley and the Comets. In rock ’n’ roll’s energy and excitement, he recognized music’s future, especially as a fuel for adolescent rebellion....

He left “Shindig” after a year, exhausted by the demands of producing it but with something else in mind: a rock musical based on “Othello.” It became “Catch My Soul,” with William Marshall in the title role and Jerry Lee Lewis playing an unlikely Iago....

Why didn't Bill Maher — on his show last night — mention Harvey Weinstein?

I just watched the whole thing, because I was interested in what he would say, and the answer is nothing. He even had Billy Crystal as his main celebrity guest, and Crystal didn't have political topics, so there was plenty of time to talk about what's wrong in the movie business. Crystal and Maher ended up talking about how they were getting old and how it seems to still be acceptable to stereotype old people. (At the end of the show, Maher nevertheless made a joke that was nothing more than a stereotype about old people.)

I did a search to try to figure out if Maher has some connection to Weinstein, and stumbled into a Page Six piece: "Sanctum, a members-only sex club in Los Angeles, with celebrity clients like Bill Maher, is donating 100 percent of the proceeds for its next event to the victims of the Las Vegas shooting." Nothing about Weinstein there (except in teasers in the side bar).

Maybe Weinstein's problems hit close to home for Maher, but he was happy going after Bill O'Reilly last April...

"I have been having conversations about Harvey Weinstein’s history of sexual harassment for more than 17 years."

Admits Rebecca Traister in "Why the Harvey Weinstein Sexual-Harassment Allegations Didn’t Come Out Until Now."

Back in 2000, in NYC, Weinstein called Traister "a cunt and declared that he was glad he was the 'fucking sheriff of this fucking lawless piece-of-shit town'" and knocked her boyfriend/colleague down "a set of stairs."

So why didn't she out him? And why didn't any of the other journalists who were there report anything? Photos were taken, but never published. Why did all you people shield him, and why should I listen to you now?
Back then, Harvey could spin — or suppress — anything; there were so many journalists on his payroll, working as consultants on movie projects, or as screenwriters, or for his magazine.
He could only do it because you were complicit. Were you all paid off?
I never really thought of trying to write the story myself. Back then, I didn’t write about feminism; there wasn’t a lot of journalism about feminism. 
There's been plenty of journalism about feminism for the last 50 years, but why did you need a foundation of plenteous journalism about feminism to write about such beastly behavior?
His behavior toward women was obviously understood to be a bad thing—this was a decade after Anita Hill’s accusations against Clarence Thomas had helped the country to understand that sexual harassment was not just a quirk of the modern workplace, but a professional and economic crime committed against women as a class. But...
The "but" should be, but we the liberal journalists helped everyone forget what we'd learned because it was so important to help Bill Clinton. But Traister's "but" is:
...  the story felt fuzzier, harder to tell about Harvey: the notion of the “casting couch” still had an almost romantic reverberation...
Oh, bullshit. Harvey was another liberal, like Bill Clinton, so you pushed the obvious principles to the side and protected him. The only fuzziness is the blur imposed by politics, and once you let that in, you have no principle.
But another reason that I never considered trying to report the story myself... I remembered what it was like to have the full force of Harvey Weinstein — back then a mountainous man — screaming vulgarities at me, his spit hitting my face. I had watched him haul my friend into the street and try to hurt him. That kind of force, that kind of power? I could not have won against that.
Ridiculous. You were afraid of him because of his physical size and strength in an in-person encounter? What the hell is writing for?! You got your distance. He wasn't around. From a distance, in writing, his "mountainous" physicality is one more thing that makes it easier to portray him as a brute — an ugly brute. The photographs of this man that accompany any article about him stir up only revulsion, not sympathy. Why would you not have won with words?
But Weinstein didn’t just exert physical power. He also employed legal and professional and economic power. He supposedly had every employee sign elaborate, binding nondisclosure agreements. He gave jobs to people who might otherwise work to bring him down, and gave gobs of money to other powerful people, who knows how much, but perhaps just enough to keep them from listening to ugly rumors that might circulate among young people, among less powerful people. For decades, the reporters who tried to tell the story of Harvey Weinstein butted up against the same wall of sheer force and immovable power that was leveraged against those ambitious actors, the vulnerable assistants, the executives whose careers, salaries, and reputations were in his hands.
That was even more material to use against him, and it's material that goes against all you reporters now. If you don't know how to get a story where a corrupt miscreant is using legal maneuverings and payoffs to suppress it, how are you a journalist?!
Something has changed. Sources have gone on the record. It’s worth it to wonder why. Perhaps because of shifts in how we understand these kinds of abuses. Recent years have seen scores of women, finding strength and some kind of power in numbers, come forward and tell their stories about Bill Cosby, Roger Ailes, Bill O’Reilly, Donald Trump. 
So! Now, we get to the meat of it. When the targets were right wing (or perceived as right wing), like Clarence Thomas all those years ago in the pre-Clinton era, the journalists knew how to get at the story. But they did it so aggressively and brought down such big targets that the protection of Harvey Weinstein was too obvious. The wall of silence broke.
But now our consciousness has been raised. 
Oh, please. You had consciousness before. Take responsibility for the politically skewed reporting that has infected sexual harassment stories since the Clarence Thomas/Bill Clinton combination that shamed political liberals in the 1990s.

There's one more thing, according to Traister:
I saw Harvey Weinstein earlier this year, at a Planned Parenthood celebration. I was struck... by his physical diminishment; he seemed small and frail, and, when I caught sight of him in May, he appeared to be walking with a cane.
So what are you saying? You feel better about kicking a weak little guy? You really were holding back because of his erstwhile mountainousness?
He has also lost power in the movie industry....
This is a confession of the absence of courage in journalism. You should be going after the most powerful people and go after them when they are doing their damage, not tell us about it after age and bad fortune have done half the work of laying him low.

ADDED: "I saw Harvey Weinstein earlier this year, at a Planned Parenthood celebration. I was struck... by his physical diminishment; he seemed small and frail...." How awful to see the words "Planned Parenthood" come up when the subject is the author's comfort in going after someone who is weak and small! This is one more effect of the liberal cocoon. Traister must not have noticed the grisly irony. 

October 6, 2017

Thomas Chatterton Williams explains "How Ta-Nehisi Coates Gives Whiteness Power."

A NYT op-ed.
In the study of German history, there is the notion of sonderweg, literally the “special path,” down which the German people are fated to wander....

A similar unifying theory has been taking hold in America. Its roots lie in the national triple sin of slavery, land theft and genocide. In this view, the conditions at the core of the country’s founding don’t just reverberate through the ages — they determine the present. No matter what we might hope, that original sin — white supremacy — explains everything, an all-American sonderweg.

No one today has done more to push this theory in the mainstream than the 42-year-old author Ta-Nehisi Coates....

I have spent the past six months poring over the literature of European and American white nationalism, in the process interviewing noxious identitarians like the alt-right founder Richard Spencer. The most shocking aspect of Mr. Coates’s wording here is the extent to which it mirrors ideas of race — specifically the specialness of whiteness — that white supremacist thinkers cherish.....
Thomas Chatterton Williams comes very close to calling Ta-Nehisi Coates a white supremacist.

"Weinstein, in an interview on CBS in April 2016, expressed a preference for Clinton over her then-rival in the Democratic primary, Sen. Bernie Sanders."

"'I'd rather go with Hillary's, who's a strong, proven leader,' he said at the time. According to an email leaked and published last fall, the Clinton campaign helped prepare Weinstein for the interview."

From "Harvey Weinstein Harassment Claims Put Obamas, Clintons in Tough Spot" (Hollywood Reporter).

HACKED EMAILS SHOW that movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, a longtime ally of Hillary Clinton and a major fundraiser for her 2016 campaign, urged her campaign team to silence rival Bernie Sanders’s message against police shootings of African-Americans. He suggested countering it with “the Sandy Hook issue” — a reference to Sanders’s opposition to lawsuits against gun manufacturers.

If Harvey Weinstein's sexual harassment problem was an open secret, why did Malia Obama intern for him?

The internship took place this year, I'm reading at "How Will Democrats Respond to the Harvey Weinstein Allegations?/The film mogul has been a major donor and fundraiser for Democratic causes and candidates, including Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and several possible 2020 candidates" (The Atlantic).

So I don't think her alliance with him and failure to speak out about him had anything to do with protecting Democrats in the 2016 election, but I can't understand why her people wouldn't say: Don't connect yourself to that man, because there's a big scandal about him that's going to blow up one day, and you want to protect your credibility on women's issues.

Perhaps one could intern with him and somehow remain sublimely out of the loop, but the position would have had to have been extremely well vetted, and her advisers would have known that even if she had no direct experience with Weinstein's corrupt modus operandi that it could hurt her.

People (like me, right now) will say you knew but you said nothing; you took personal advantage to further your career and you did not use your position of great cultural influence to help the women who were victimized in a system you were part of. 
Weinstein also raised money for President Barack Obama. In August 2011, Obama spoke at a $35,800 per guest dinner at Weinstein’s West Village home. In February 2012, Weinstein was one of several co-hosts for a $10,000 per plate fundraiser in New York City. Several months later, in August 2012, he hosted a $35,800 per head fundraiser at his home in Connecticut. In 2013, Obama was back at Weinstein’s house for another fundraiser, during which he praised Weinstein’s films. Malia Obama, Obama’s eldest daughter, interned for Weinstein this year. A spokesman for Obama declined to comment on the allegations.
Forget spokesmen. I want to hear from Barack Obama and from Malia Obama.

Here's some more info (in Bustle) about Malia's internship:
Malia's job at The Weinstein Co. was reportedly fairly common entry level work that consisted of the teen reading through unsolicited scripts sent into the office. Sorting through the "slush pile," as the voluminous mass is called, is draining, often unrewarding work, but that didn’t stop Weinstein from promoting meeting the First Daughter as a potential perk when auctioning off another internship for over $15,000 in February 2017. As The Hollywood Reporter reports, a memo advertising the internship said it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to “learn all the ins and outs of the movie biz, and maybe even run into Malia Obama while you're at it."
He sold her. 

"How Brie Larson, Amber Tamblyn, Lena Dunham, and More Have Responded to the Accusations Against Harvey Weinstein."

At W.

Rose McGowan is an interesting outlier:
Anyone who does business with __ is complicit. And deep down you know you are even dirtier. Cleanse yourselves.
Do you see how that's different from, say, "As always, I stand with the brave survivors of sexual assault and harassment. It's not your fault. I believe you" (Brie Larson)?

Rose McGowan calls everyone to a higher level of morality. Here's a picture of her with Harvey Weinstein:

I think Weinstein is part of a system that uses some people and rejects others and that extrudes a commercial product that we've been consuming with insufficient attention not only to the suffering entailed in its manufacture but to the unwholesomeness of the product we allow to infuse our brains. Movies reach us on a deep level, they invade our consciousness, they shape us and the culture around us in unknowable ways.

I would not eat food that came from a questionable location.

And deep down you know you are even dirtier. Cleanse yourselves.

ADDED: I'm going to start following Rose McGowan on Twitter. I just found this from 2015:

And here's a Buzzfeed article about here from 2015: "Rose McGowan Is Starting A Revolution
After 20 years of acting — and finally realizing she hates it — Rose McGowan has become Hollywood's feminist whistleblower. To the industry, she says, 'Fuck your rules.'"
That article talked about the "Madam Panhandler" tweet:
One week after her tweet about the [Adam] Sandler audition...  she checked her phone and saw an email from Innovative Artists, her agency — dropping her. "Like, 'We no longer want to work with you,'" she said. She felt a wave of "semi-panic — my ankles shook a little.... And then I was like, fuck ’em! Fuck you," she said for emphasis. And then I just wrote back, 'You're hilarious.' Because I thought it was hilarious." She also tweeted about it, of course: "I just got fired by my wussy acting agent because I spoke up about the bullshit in Hollywood. Hahaha. ‪#douchebags ‪#awesome ‪#BRINGIT."

UPDATED POST TITLE: facial dysmorphia.

UPDATE: I'm removing the part of this post that links to a UK Telegraph article that has been taken down because, I'm told, it contained factual inaccuracies about a particular individual. The article brought up the subject of "face dysmorphia" — which was defined as a belief that one is ugly (despite evidence to the contrary).

ADDED: Why is the term "facial/face dysmorphia" being used here? When I first looked up the term, I got to articles about actual deformities of the face, not delusional false beliefs that the face is deformed or otherwise unbeautiful. Shouldn't the term be "facial dysphoria," like "body dysphoria"? But I'm looking up the word "dysmorphia" in the OED and seeing that "body dysmorphia" is a psychiatric term, with its first recorded usage in 1994:
J. R. Marshall Social Phobia vii. 129 People with body dysmorphia do not consider their anxiety and concern to be inappropriate, and they do not experience the relief that is characteristic for socially phobic people when they are finally alone.
1998 Guardian 10 Feb. ii. 4/1 Although still relatively uncommon, dysmorphia holds up a mirror for us to understand something about almost every woman's (and, increasingly, every man's) experience.
Somewhat older is the psychiatric term "body dysmorphic disorder," defined in the OED as "a disorder in which a person becomes excessively preoccupied with an imagined or slight defect in his or her appearance, typically causing some impairment of social and occupational functioning, and often resulting in repeated plastic surgery."

It seems as though the word "disorder" should be in the term for it to make literal sense, because there's nothing misshapen about the body. The problem is in the mind. If you shorten it and replace "dysmorphic" with "dysmorphia," you lean toward the patient's own idea that the solution is in changing the body.

And, in case this discussion makes you want to talk about transgender issues, here's "Stop Confusing Gender Dysphoria With Body Dysmorphia Already" (Jezebel), which makes the point that transgenders don't have a delusional belief about what their body looks like.

"I grew up in Paris... By the time I was 15, I had been exposed to more flashers than I care to remember, a few 'frotteurs'..."

"... and one man who followed me into my building to have a conversation about my sexual habits when I was about 8. When I was only dreaming about boys my age, I already was very familiar with the chilling effect of adults inserting themselves into my intimate life. This was how city kids grew up in the aftermath of sexual 'liberation': navigating these uncomfortable interactions, unaware we maybe were escaping something worse."

Writes Valentine Faure in "Can an 11-Year-Old Girl Consent to Sex?" (NYT) about a new case in France in which a 28-year-old man who enticed an 11-year-old girl into sexual intercourse cannot be charged with a crime but an "atteinte sexuelle,"  ("sexual infraction"), because — according to the prosecutors — there was none of the "violence, coercion, threat or surprise" required by French legal code to make the sex act a crime.

"Video poker... attracts a lot of very intelligent people."

Said Anthony Curtis, who has a website about the casino business, quoted in "Stephen Paddock and the World of Video Poker" (New Yorker).
“Video poker is well known for attracting people who have compulsive gambling problems,” he told me. “It’s almost the perfect gambling game. But it also has the property of being able to be beaten. So it attracts a lot of very intelligent people.” Curtis told me that he’d been in touch with a number of such players in Las Vegas who “can derive advantages over the casino of half of one per cent, sometimes higher.... They call themselves A.P.s... and just about everyone I talked to said, ‘No, he wasn’t A.P. level.’... People who are semi-sharp, as we say in Vegas, they know they’re better off playing video poker than slots. This guy was smart enough to know that....”
ADDED: One concert-goer described the walled-in space full of people as a "kill box." Perhaps Stephen Paddock saw that box as something like a video poker machine over which he'd finally figured out how to get the advantage.

Why didn't Harvey Weinstein — writing his statement in response to the NYT exposé — check the lyrics of that Jay-Z song he purported to quote?

Does Weinstein not know how to use the internet? Writing just another one of my 50,000+ blog posts, I'd do a Google search if I were quoting a song lyric. I'd only quote from memory when absolutely sure I knew a line verbatim. Even to write something as securely familiar as "The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind," I'd check to get the punctuation right.

Weinstein, in the crucially important statement, wrote "Jay Z wrote in 4:44 ‘I’m not the man I thought I was, and I better be that man for my children.’ The same is true for me." The closest thing like that in the actual lyrics to the song is — amidst a great deal of bemoaning his infidelity — "And if my children knew / I don’t even know what I would do / If they ain’t look at me the same / I would prob’ly die with all the shame."

How could he make such a sloppy mistake? I think I know. Weinstein has people do things for him. I think he dictated the statement he wanted, throwing in the reference to the song, paraphrasing the general meaning, and somebody else wrote up the statement and assumed Weinstein knew what he was quoting. That was a terrible assumption. Why wouldn't this person check?!

How does a person get a job transcribing dictation for Weinstein and not have the caution and skill to check what's in quotation marks? All quotes should be perfect, down to the punctuation. And beyond that the text has Jay-Z using the ungrammatical "I better be that man" rather than "I'd better be that man"? If Weinstein is wrong about that, he's going to look racist — a white man interposing his idea of how a black man speaks. I'd protect my boss from any dangers like that. And I wouldn't just guess about whether or not there's a hyphen in "Jay-Z."

How big is the system of corruption around Weinstein? The Times exposé forces me to suspect that everyone who works with Weinstein is there because she/he understood and went along with his modus operandi. Who gets the job and who is rejected? Those who go along are complicit in a system that victimizes newcomers who either become complicit themselves or lose job opportunities.

Do the jobs go to those who are qualified at taking dictation or qualified at taking dick?


I appreciated the push to read the lyrics to "4:44." This has nothing to do with Weinstein, but this is some stunning male chauvinism:
I apologize for all the stillborns cause I wasn't present
Your body wouldn't accept it....
AND:  "I’m not the man I thought I was" sounds infected by "Rocket Man," so bandied about in the news lately.

October 5, 2017

"In public, [Harvey Weinstein] presents himself as a liberal lion, a champion of women and a winner of not just artistic but humanitarian awards."

"In 2015, the year [Lauren O’Connor wrote a searing memo accusing Weinstein of sexual harassment and other misconduct], his company distributed 'The Hunting Ground,' a documentary about campus sexual assault. A longtime Democratic donor, he hosted a fund-raiser for Hillary Clinton in his Manhattan home last year. He employed Malia Obama, the oldest daughter of former President Barack Obama, as an intern this year, and recently helped endow a faculty chair at Rutgers University in Gloria Steinem’s name. During the Sundance Film Festival in January, when Park City, Utah, held its version of nationwide women’s marches, Mr. Weinstein joined the parade. “From the outside, it seemed golden — the Oscars, the success, the remarkable cultural impact,” said Mark Gill, former president of Miramax Los Angeles, which was then owned by Disney. 'But behind the scenes, it was a mess, and this was the biggest mess of all,' he added, referring to Mr. Weinstein’s treatment of women."

From the searing NYT article "Decades of Sexual Harassment Accusations Against Harvey Weinstein," by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey.

Here's how searing it looks on Drudge:

Hillary looks rather fabulous there, doesn't she? Positively actressy. Kittenish!

The Times publishes Weinstein's absurd response:

How bad was it for Cam Newton to say "It's funny to hear a female talk about routes"?

The female reporter (who covers the Panthers for The Charlotte Observer) was not charmed:

The NYT says:
The Panthers’ spokesman, Steven Drummond, addressed the episode in a statement Wednesday evening. “I have spoken with Jourdan and Cam and I know they had a conversation where he expressed regret for using those words,” he said in the statement. “We strive as a department to make the environment for media comfortable for everyone covering the team.” Rodrigue’s comments, however, made it appear that Newton’s expressing regret did not include an actual apology.
You might find it relevant that in his last game, Newton "rais[ed] his left fist after a touchdown, echoing a gesture made famous by civil rights activists in the 1960s":
“It was to signify black power,” Newton told reporters after the game, “but more important, I pray every night for God to give me a pinnacle to give people hope.”
Watching the video, I thought Newton looked cute and probably believed that he was being attractively flirty, but that underscores the sexism of not crediting the woman with having professional status as a journalist. How can he be ignorant of the problems facing women trying to make it in sports journalism?

But part of me wants to say it was her pronunciation of the word "routes"— not like "roots" but rhyming with "outs"— and that made him smile and then mock her pronunciation, which feels to me more like the kind of camaraderie that might go on between men, in which case it it's not sexist, but inclusive.

How bad was it for Cam Newton to say "It's funny to hear a female talk about routes"?
pollcode.com free polls

The plaque outside Canada’s new National Holocaust Monument in Ottawa refers to the “millions of men, women and children murdered during the Holocaust”...

... and the “survivors who persevered and were able to make their way to Canada after one of the darkest chapters in history.” (NYT.)

Is the failure to specify Jews (and anti-Semitism) an outrage?
The omission of any mention of Jews in the inscription was immediately seized upon by opposition politicians, rights advocates and the Israeli news media. Some groups turned to social media to express criticism. The plaque was removed.
Remember that President Trump was criticized for failing to specify Jews (and anti-Semitism) when he made a statement on International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

"The 25 Best Man Versus Nature Movies."

I like this list, by Scott Tobias (at New York Magazine). This is one of my favorite types of movies, I've seen 12 of them, and 4 of my all-time favorite movies are on the list: "Touching the Void" (#17),"Aguirre the Wrath of God" (#9), "Grizzly Man" (#8), and "The Gold Rush" (#1).

Of the ones I have not seen, I added 4 to my Amazon Prime watchlist. (And I'm not saying that to get you to use Amazon, but if you do decide to use Amazon, I'd appreciate your going in through The Althouse Portal.)

"Thank you, Bret Stephens, for saying what I have never seen a conservative pundit say in all my years of following the political scene."

Top-rated comment — with 517 up votes — at the NYT column "Repeal the Second Amendment."

The comment is ambiguous. Has the commenter still never seen a conservative pundit say this?

"Black Lives Matter Students Shut Down the ACLU's Campus Free Speech Event Because 'Liberalism Is White Supremacy.'"

Writes Robby Soave at Reason.com:
At first, [American Civil Liberties Union's Claire Gastañaga, a W & M alum] attempted to spin the demonstration as a welcome example of the kind of thing she had come to campus to discuss, commenting "Good, I like this," as they lined up and raised their signs. "I'm going to talk to you about knowing your rights, and protests and demonstrations, which this illustrates very well. Then I'm going to respond to questions from the moderators, and then questions from the audience."

It was the last remark she was able to make before protesters drowned her out with cries of, "ACLU, you protect Hitler, too." They also chanted, "the oppressed are not impressed," "shame, shame, shame, shame," (an ode to the Faith Militant's treatment of Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones, though why anyone would want to be associated with the religious fanatics in that particular conflict is beyond me), "blood on your hands," "the revolution will not uphold the Constitution," and, uh, "liberalism is white supremacy."...

These students have clearly made up their minds about free speech: they don't want to share it with anyone else—especially Nazis, but also civil liberties lawyers who happen to be experts on the thing they are willfully misunderstanding: the First Amendment. Their ideological position is obviously incoherent—Liberalism is white supremacy? What?—and would not stand up to scrutiny, which is probably why they have decided to make open debate an impossibility on campus. They really shouldn't get away with this.
I wouldn't assume the "ideological position is obviously incoherent," but chanting is not an attempt to provide a coherent explanation. Why doesn't William and Mary stage a debate on the proposition "Liberalism is white supremacy" and have a speaker who will try to present the idea coherently? Or are debates and demands for ideological coherence the stuff of white supremacy?

The liberals in my town did a tremendous amount of chanting during the anti-Scott-Walker protests of 2011. A favorite chant was "shame, shame, shame, shame," which Soave calls "an ode to the Faith Militant's treatment of Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones." That's not the association the "shame" chant has for me, and by the way, I am so sick of references to "Game of Thrones."

Anyway, chants have their place and can be very effective persuasion. I'm thinking of "Hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?" Did that have — did that need — ideological coherence?

I'd love to hear debate on these topics, but I know they'd probably just get shouted down. When you stage in-person events, you create opportunities, and some people will grab what they can. To say "They really shouldn't get away with this" is not to prescribe a remedy to this persistent phenomenon, which is part of living in a free society, as Claire Gastañaga seemed to be trying to say before she gave up on controlling the stage that was set up for her.

One might say the freedom of speech is obviously incoherent. But freedom is good, incoherent or not.

"The 2017 Nobel Prize in Literature has been awarded to British writer Kazuo Ishiguro..."

"... whose best known novels include 'The Remains of the Day' and 'Never Let Me Go.'"
Announcing the award, Sara Danius, Permanent Secretary of the Swedish Academy, said he was a writer "who, in novels of great emotional force, has uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world."...

"If you mix Jane Austen and Franz Kafka, then you have Kazuo Ishiguro in a nutshell," Danius told reporters of this year's winner. "But you have to add a little bit of Marcel Proust into the mix, and then you stir but not too much, and then you have his writings. At the same time, he's a writer of great integrity who doesn't look to the side. He's developed an aesthetic universe all his own."
ADDED:  Seems like they went super-normal this year, after last year's wackiness. I guess I was hoping for something weird, but they can only do Dylan-level weirdness once in a generation (at most).

Ishiguro was a perfect choice for them. And how ickily banal Danius speech was! He's like X and Y and Z all mixed together in a perfect blend that magically becomes utterly all his own. (Where X, Y, and Z are the most obvious choices of authors possible when what you want is to say great and unique.)

"16 Unanswered Questions About The Las Vegas Shooting That The Mainstream Media Doesn’t Want To Talk About."

From Michael Snyder (a Republican candidate for Congress in Idaho’s First Congressional District). Excerpt:
#1 Photos of Stephen Paddock’s hotel room have been leaked, and one of those photos appears to show a suicide note. Why hasn’t the public been told what is in that note?

#2 Were there additional shooters?... #3 Why were law enforcement authorities discussing “another suspect on the fourth floor”...

#4 As Jon Rappoport has pointed out, it would have been impossible for Stephen Paddock to kill and wound 573 people in less than five minutes of shooting with the kinds of weapons that he is alleged to have used. So why won’t law enforcement authorities acknowledge this fact?

#5 How in the world did Paddock get 42 guns and “several thousand rounds of ammo” into his hotel room without anyone noticing?...

#7 Why was one woman telling people in the crowd that they were all going to die 45 minutes before the attack?...

#15 Why were nearly all of the exits out of the concert venue completely blocked?…
ALSO: "Before targeting the Route 91 Harvest music festival, Paddock rented a room at a condominium complex overlooking the Life is Beautiful music festival, another downtown event held between September 22 to September 25.... 'Was he doing pre-surveillance?'..." (CNN).

AND: In case you're wondering why I linked to that and whether I'm a conspiracy-theory nut, I got to that list of #16 via Drudge who has this list of links at the top of the page today:
MORE: "There was a note in his hotel room whose exact contents the authorities have yet to reveal. Sheriff Lombardo said that it contained numbers that were being analyzed for their relevance, and that it was not a manifesto or suicide note" (NYT).

Michelle Obama tells us what to like.

The former First Lady said this to a crowd in Boston last week:
As far as I'm concerned, any woman who voted against Hillary Clinton voted against their own voice in a way. To me, it doesn’t say as much about Hillary ― and everybody’s trying to wonder. Well, what does it mean for Hillary? No, no, no. What does it mean for us as women? That we look at those two candidates, as women, and many of us said, ‘That guy. He’s better for me. His voice is more true to me.’ Well, to me that just says you don’t like your voice. You like the thing we’re told to like.
I'm using the transcription from "Millions of American women disagree with Michelle Obama: Donald Trump is their voice," by Eugene Scott, who "writes about identity politics" for The Washington Post. He says, "But what Obama and other critics may not understand is that Trump's voice actually IS the voice of many of his female supporters — the traditionalist voice that speaks out against a liberal culture that many conservative women feel has left them behind."

I first read the quote here at The Federalist, in a piece by Inez Feltscher, who rejects the idea that conservative women fail to think for themselves and says: "[I]magining that women on the Right are mere sock puppets for their husbands, sons, and fathers is a crucial illusion for an ideology that has constructed a political paradigm entirely upon identity."

I just want to note the irony: Michelle Obama is herself telling women what to like.

What I'd like to tell women (and other people) to like is endlessly asking: What do I like?

It's not easy to know, especially since part of the propaganda that surrounds us is about our "own voice." But those who tell us to be in touch with our own desires are often merely trying to make us believe that what we want is the thing that they are selling. We see that in endless TV commercials for food and cars: You know you want it. Like your insides are crying out for this sandwich. This car expresses what you, deep in your heart, have been trying to say. This shirt is you.

We're used to that kind of persuasion, for political candidates as well as commercial products.

It's harder to play this game out in the open, the way Michelle Obama is doing. Once you call attention to the way the other side drew people in by making them feel that their candidate expressed what they really felt inside, you're waking us up to the fact that you were doing that too, and you seem rather pathetic complaining that your depiction of the customer's internal desires didn't work on many people.

Complaining about your ineffective sales pitch won't make it more effective: We said true women vote for women, and those women who did not feel what we meant to make them feel are inauthentic women. Our "voice" was their "voice." If they rejected us, they rejected themselves.

Said openly, it sounds absurd.

I think I've seen ads for commercial products that play with this idea of misunderstanding your own true desires. You see a guy happily eating a sandwich, and his inner voice prompts him about some other sandwich, superior to this sandwich in so many ways, until he stops mid-bite, looks at the sandwich, and drops it and goes running off and is suddenly seen getting a sandwich at the advertiser's store.

That might be funny and persuasive, but now try to imagine a Democratic Party commercial that depicts a pro-Trump woman, enjoying what she thinks are her true desires, then realizing how Democrats really are better, and running off to join the liberal crowd and finding happiness at last. Hard to picture that being handled well. From what I've seen, it's better to keep it subliminal:

October 4, 2017

At the Diogenes Café...

... enjoy today's sandwich.

The painting of Diogenes is by Jean-Léon Gérôme.

You know, Diogenes "destroyed the single wooden bowl he possessed on seeing a peasant boy drink from the hollow of his hands. He then exclaimed: 'Fool that I am, to have been carrying superfluous baggage all this time!'" But you might, nevertheless want or feel you need some things, and if you're buying them through Amazon, please go in through The Althouse Portal. You can get a simple wooden bowl or a lantern.

"As Einstein said, those who created the problem will not be able to solve it."

Said Arnold Schwarzenegger, after the Supreme Court oral argument yesterday, which he attended. The "problem" in this case is political gerrymandering, and "those who created the problem" are elected politicians, who draw the legislative districts thereby setting up the game that they get to play in the next go 'round.

I'm reading the Schwarzenegger quote in the NYT article "Kennedy’s Vote Is in Play on Voting Maps Warped by Politics."

Of course, the problem of self-interested legislators is very well known, but the argument on the other side is that if the Supreme Court gets involved, it will create a different problem, and then — if we take the Einstein quote to heart — who will be able to solve that?

But is that really an Einstein quote? People love to pass along quotes they think are from Einstein because Einstein is the one name everyone associates with GENIUS! and we have this delusion that if a genius says something, on any subject, it must be genius. Consequently, the "Einstein" label gets slapped on some counterfeit goods.

The quote whipped out by Arnold Schwarzenegger is listed — at Wikiquotes — among the disputed Einstein quotes. And the wording — translated, I presume — is significantly different:
We cannot solve the problems using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them

"Einstein's famous saying in Copenhagen", as quoted in a FBIS Daily Report: East Europe (4 April 1995), p. 45
Following that quote, those who created the problem could solve the problem if they used a different kind of thinking.

"When Ms. Ruzickova was 15, the family received what the Germans called 'an invitation' to Terezin, which the Nazis considered a model concentration camp for the cultural elite."

"Her grandparents and father died of disease there. Within six months, she and her mother were shipped to Auschwitz in German-occupied Poland, where she survived the gas chamber twice — first after lying about her age, and then when the camp’s routine was upset by the Allied invasion on D-Day. She and her mother were then transferred to bomb-ravaged Hamburg, where she repaired oil pipelines, worked in a cement factory and dug tank traps. Early in 1945 they were shipped again, this time to Bergen-Belsen, a German concentration camp, where tens of thousands died from malnutrition and disease. She weighed 70 pounds and had malaria when the camp was liberated that April. With her hands badly damaged during the war, Ms. Ruzickova practiced 12 hours a day to catch up after it was over. She attended the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague from 1947 to 1951, when she gave her first harpsichord recital."

From "Zuzana Ruzickova, Leading Harpsichordist and War Survivor, Dies at 90" (NYT).

"Men attracted to men objectify other men, not because they are gay, but because they are men."

"This is how male sexuality works. We immediately respond to visual stimuli. The emotions often follow, but are not required to fuel our rich fantasy life... But the word ['objectification'] has taken on an ugly veneer, as if the object of desire is reduced to the status of thing. Not so fast. Gay men objectify other gay men, and let me tell you, those of us who have been objectified don’t mind it at all. In fact, we seek it out and enjoy it immensely. We don’t feel insulted — quite the opposite. When Hugh Hefner proposed that men stop feeling bad about the primacy of lust in their thought process, he may have been talking to heterosexual men, but gay men heard the message as well. It enabled us to grasp that whom we were attracted to, gender-wise, counted less, experientially speaking, than the way we were attracted to them...."

From "Hugh Hefner’s Legacy from a Gay Male Perspective," by Mark Olmsted (at HuffPo).

I advise Neil Gorsuch to bring a sandwich to oral arguments and eat in front of everyone.

Let's see how that happened.

1. I wrote a post called "We sent you Unclubbable Neil!" in which I tweak Jeffrey Toobin for writing "Perhaps Gorsuch will, as the years pass, prove to be a more clubbable colleague...." and consult the OED for the definition of "clubbable" and the older word "unclubbable."

2. The commenter Henry remembers that the word "unclubbable" appears in the description of the The Diogenes Club, in the Sherlock Holmes story "The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter":
There are many men in London, you know, who, some from shyness, some from misanthropy, have no wish for the company of their fellows. Yet they are not averse to comfortable chairs and the latest periodicals. It is for the convenience of these that the Diogenes Club was started, and it now contains the most unsociable and unclubbable men in town. No member is permitted to take the least notice of any other one. Save in the Stranger's Room, no talking is, under any circumstances, allowed, and three offences, if brought to the notice of the committee, render the talker liable to expulsion. My brother was one of the founders, and I have myself found it a very soothing atmosphere.
3. I do a little reading on Diogenes:
Diogenes... became notorious for his philosophical stunts such as carrying a lamp during the day, claiming to be looking for an honest man. He criticized and embarrassed Plato, disputed his interpretation of Socrates and sabotaged his lectures, sometimes distracting attendees by bringing food and eating during the discussions. Diogenes was also noted for having publicly mocked Alexander the Great.
4.  Distracting attendees by bringing food and eating during the discussions? I say:
Note to Neil Gorsuch: Emulate Diogenes by bringing a sandwich to oral arguments and eating.
5. Why a sandwich though? Where did that come from? It's the most food food to me. Warren Zevon said: "Enjoy every sandwich." And I don't know what Diogenes ate, except that it is sometimes said that he died from eating raw octopus.

Now, leave Neil Gorsuch alone while he prepares for the next oral argument:

We sent you Unclubbable Neil!

Forgive me, but I need to talk about Jeffrey Toobin again. I started the blog-day with a long Toobin-focused post, but now I'm reading Instapundit:
MORE SUPPORT for my theory, expressed earlier, that Ruth Bader Ginsburg was the source in that Jeffrey Toobin anti-Gorsuch piece from last week. If RBG can’t handle having Gorsuch around, perhaps she should retire.
The first link there goes to the same Toobin piece I already wrote about and the second one goes to an Instapundit post titled "I’M GONNA GO WITH 'NOT BADLY ENOUGH'" and linking to a Jeffrey Toobin piece from a few days ago titled "How Badly Is Neil Gorsuch Annoying the Other Supreme Court Justices?"

There's something I want to talk about in that other Toobinity:
As Linda Greenhouse observed in the Times at the end of Gorsuch’s first term, he managed to violate the Court’s traditions as soon as he arrived. He dominated oral arguments, when new Justices are expected to hang back. He instructed his senior colleagues, who collectively have a total of a hundred and forty years’ experience on the Court, about how to do their jobs. Dissenting from a decision that involved the interpretation of federal laws, he wrote, “If a statute needs repair, there’s a constitutionally prescribed way to do it. It’s called legislation.” Perhaps he thought that the other Justices were unfamiliar with this thing called “legislation.” Gorsuch also expressed ill-disguised contempt for Anthony Kennedy’s landmark opinion legalizing same-sex marriage in all fifty states. Earlier this year, the Court’s majority overturned an Arkansas ruling that the state could refuse to put the name of a birth mother’s same-sex spouse on their child’s birth certificate. Dissenting, Gorsuch wrote, “Nothing in Obergefell spoke (let alone clearly) to the question.” That “let alone clearly” reflected a conservative consensus that Kennedy’s opinion was a confusing mess.

Perhaps Gorsuch will, as the years pass, prove to be a more clubbable colleague; or perhaps he’ll decide, at least socially, to go his own way....
A more clubbable colleague...

Oh, sorry. I'm supposed to read that like a New Yorker reader, someone who is upper class or striving to feel upper class. Here's the Oxford English Dictionary definition of "clubbable":
Having such qualities as fit one to be a member of a club; sociable.

1791 J. Boswell Life Johnson anno 1783 II. 475 Boswell (said he) is a very clubable man. [Johnson is said to have used unclubable sometime earlier: see unclubbable adj.]
Okay, let's see "unclubbable." (Unclubbable/That's what you are/Unclubbable/That's Gorsuch so far....) "Unclubbable" is the older word, and "clubbable" is the back-formation. The OED defines "unclubbable" as said of a person who is "not suitable for membership of a club owing to lack of sociability or desire to conform; (of a characteristic) that does not inspire friendly relations; unsociable." The oldest usage in print is:
?1764 F. Burney Early Jrnls. & Lett. (1994) III. 76 Sir John was a most unclubable man!
So the question becomes: Is the Supreme Court a social club, where the old members have their established manner and the new man must fit in? One thing that's very unclublike: The Court doesn't get to decide if it wants to let the new person in. He's been sent in by the President and the Senate, who got their power from the people, and we're a diverse bunch, quite rowdy and ornery many of us. You wouldn't want me in your club, and I'm a lot nicer than many — probably millions — of very rude folk who vote.  

We sent you Unclubbable Neil and you're stuck with him. We clubbed you over the head with him.

"Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr. Were Close to Being Charged With Felony Fraud."

In 2012, "New York prosecutors were preparing a case. Then the D.A. overruled his staff after a visit from a top donor: Trump attorney Marc Kasowitz."

Jeffrey Toobin says "Ginsburg Slaps Gorsuch in Gerrymandering Case," and I found the video:

Yeesh! That was intense!

Now, what was that all about? As Toobin explains it, in yesterday's oral argument in Gill v. Whitford, the newcomer, Neil Gorsuch, didn't behave with sufficient respect for seniority.
The argument had gone on for nearly an hour when Gorsuch began a question as follows: “Maybe we can just for a second talk about the arcane matter of the Constitution.” There was a rich subtext to this query. Originalists and textualists such as Gorsuch, and his predecessor on the Court, Antonin Scalia, often criticize their colleagues for inventing rights that are not found in the nation’s founding document. Gorsuch’s statement that the Court should spare “a second” for the “arcane” subject of the document was thus a slap at his ideological adversaries....
So Gorsuch slapped first.  
...of course, they, too, believe that they are interpreting the Constitution, but, in Gorsuch’s view, only he cares about the document itself.
The Gorsuch usage of the word "Constitution" to mean, specifically, the original text harks back to the distinction between "Constitution" and "constitutional law" famously propounded by Reagan's Attorney General Edwin Meese in 1985. Gorsuch was arch and got off a bon mot — "Maybe we can just for a second talk about the arcane matter of the Constitution" — and I'm sure that was irritating to the Justices who want to rest on constitutional law — that is, the court opinions that have over many years supervened the constitutional text with the gloss on the text written by the judges.

Toobin says that "Gorsuch went on to give his colleagues a civics lecture about the text of the Constitution," but all that means is that he proceeded to demand that the lawyer pushing the Court to strike down the work of the state legislature identify the clause of the Constitution that authorizes the Court to act:
“And where exactly do we get authority to revise state legislative lines? When the Constitution authorizes the federal government to step in on state legislative matters, it’s pretty clear—if you look at the Fifteenth Amendment, you look at the Nineteenth Amendment, the Twenty-sixth Amendment, and even the Fourteenth Amendment, Section 2.” In other words, Gorsuch was saying, why should the Court involve itself in the subject of redistricting at all—didn’t the Constitution fail to give the Court the authority to do so?
Toobin calls that a "civics lecture"? I think what he means is that the demand for a text is so basic that to talk about it is to sound as though we are back in high school, and that's either an insult to the old folks on the Court who should be presumed to already know such things or it's an implicit criticism of them for failing to live up to the standards that of course Gorsuch knows they know.

October 3, 2017

We don't include Muslims?

I'm disturbed by this gaffe on the front page of The New York Times:

Here's the column by Thomas L. Friedman, "If Only Stephen Paddock Were a Muslim." I know he's trying to insult the "right" people, but the damage is not limited to those he's targeting. In attempting sarcasm, he's coming across as cloddishly crude (and at such a sensitive time).

But the front-page teaser is even worse, since millions of Muslims have the United States as their country of origin.

"It's not a photo."

Said Jonah Goldberg, responding to this:

"Sorry kids, you're SOL this Christmas."

Said Iowahawk, responding to this:

"Kennedy was cryptic about how he might rule in the case, but gave no sign that he has abandoned his view that extreme partisan gerrymandering might—at least in theory—violate the Constitution."

Politico reports (on today's oral argument).
"Suppose [the court] decides this is a First Amendment issue, not an equal-protection issue. Would that change the analysis?" Kennedy asked....
I'd like to see how that question was answered, but I think the honest answer is no.
Chief Justice John Roberts, who's known for a desire to safeguard his court's reputation, was unusually blunt about his concern that opening the door to partisan gerrymandering cases would drag the justices into a political morass. He said voters will look askance at the notion that districts failed to meet a complex formula that assesses wasted votes and a so-called "efficiency gap."

"The intelligent man on the street is going to say, 'That's a bunch of baloney. It must be because the Supreme Court favored Democrats or Republicans,'" Roberts said. "That's going to cause a very serious harm to the status...of the decisions of this court in the eyes of the country."
Here's what I said about the case earlier this morning. I'll have more when I can get a transcript.

"Hugh Hefner was the original Pajama Boy."

Said Meade just now in a conversation we were having about Hugh Hefner.

I'd been going on about how Hugh Hefner wasn't very masculine: The image he created for himself — for viewers of the magazine to identify with — was as a man who spent all his time hanging around the house, listening to jazz, wearing pajamas. He didn't engage in traditional masculine activities like sports or working on the car. He hosted parties. Did he do anything outdoorsy? Was he ever outdoors in the daylight? I can only picture him outdoors after dark at his swimming pool, which was itself designed to have an indoors, a "grotto." That was some outré interior decoration — a grotto.

I want to make fun of the self-propelled baby stroller, but I can't.

It looks great:

Here's a poll, but please don't answer until you've watched the video:

If I could afford it and I had a baby...
pollcode.com free polls

I can't make up my mind until I see it pass the Odessa Steps test.

"I am on overload with all the drama in the political landscape."

"I don’t want to hear it, but then I don’t want to be ill-informed — or worse, complacent by not paying attention. How to balance?"

A question addressed to Washington Post advice columnist Carolyn Hax, who begins her answer "You and me both."

I'll bet huge numbers of Americans identify with this question, and a lot of them won't even admit it because even to ask is to risk appearing ill-informed or complacent (or, if I may add a concept, unempathetic).

I believe that most people who have this question find that the answer is to be a chameleon. Just reflect whatever the people around you are saying so you'll be seen as a good person and you won't be prolonging the experience.

Hax's answer is about restricting your intake of news. She assumes the questioner's issues are about the inside of her head and not in her social relationships. And, in fact, the questioner does say "I don’t want to be ill-informed — or worse, complacent." I'm hearing "I don’t want to appear to be ill-informed — or worse, complacent."

I think this is why so many showbiz people and college students seem to be on the left.

ADDED: If the questioner really is concerned about the inside of her own head, my advice is: Only read the news. Don't watch it on television. Television news controls your time. It's designed to operate on your emotions and to make you feel that you are monitoring what's going on in the world and caring people in real time. You could watch all day and not become more informed than if you spent 10 minutes scanning the headlines and dipping into the opening paragraphs of the articles in the top newspapers.

On an advanced level: Read the news to develop your powers of critical thinking. Don't let it buffet you with one thing or another. When you read a news article, stop and ask yourself: What do I really think about this? If you can write one sentence in answer to that question, you can have a blog. But keep it private, unless you're not afraid of showing your true colors.

And better than that: If you really care about people, instead of keeping vigil in front of the tube, do something for somebody in your own town (or house!).

"Many times things have happened like I’ve gotten a flat before an important meeting and arrived with my hands covered in oil and grease."

"Most of the people in the company know that I’m a cyclist. I’m that sweaty person with his hair always wet."

And: "I’m really sweaty... and then I’ll stand in front of the air-conditioner for like five minutes. Everyone in my office just understands that I have to do that because I ride my bike to work.”

From "Biking to Work, Arriving in Style" in the Men's Style section of the NYT.

Today's in the Supreme Court: oral argument in the Wisconsin political gerrymandering case.

The NYT headline is: "Supreme Court to Hear Case on Wisconsin Voting Maps Warped by Politics."

Politics is warped by politics. But if you're looking for the courts to step in and unwarp politics, please keep in mind that the courts are also warped by politics, and if they get involved in unwarping politics, they may become even more warped by politics, and everyone may see that it's all politics and politics is inherently everlastingly warped by politics. And then we can be even more cynical than we are now.

But what do you say? Should we just take the plunge? Come on! It'll be great, because maybe for 10 or 20 or 30 years, we can embroil ourselves in litigation, with some of us irked by the delays and the expense to taxpayers and the endless questioning of democracy but some of us excited by the hope that courts will redraw the lines and make it fair at last. And won't that be great for all those long years before people realize the hope was hollow?

Is it strange that we have heard nothing about whether the Las Vegas shooter was a Republican or a Democrat?

I'm cynical enough to assume that when news reports don't say whether someone who's done something wrong is a Republican or a Democrat that he is a Democrat. In this case I know Paddock's brother said he had "no political affiliation." Then again, the brother seemed out of the loop (and not clearly credible).

There's also this, at Heavy, saying that "Paddock was not a registered voter, as either a Democrat or a Republican, in Clark County or elsewhere in Nevada, where his permanent residence was located. He was also not a registered voter in Florida, despite some social media claims he was a registered Democrat there."

ADDED: From "False News of the Vegas Attack Spread on Google, Facebook" (NYT):
[A] story by the pro-Trump political website "The Gateway Pundit" named a different person as the shooter, citing a Facebook page to claim the individual was "a far left loon" and "a Democrat who liked (MSNBC host) Rachel Maddow." Posters on the anonymous, anarchic 4chan.org forum likewise trumpeted supposed findings that the same individual was both the shooter and a "social democrat."...

Google said in a statement that it highlighted 4chan's "Politically Incorrect" message board, where the incorrect posts appeared, for several hours before its search algorithm replaced it with more relevant results... Facebook said its security team removed Gateway Pundit results and other similar posts from its social network, some within minutes....

Both companies are under fire from lawmakers for promoting false stories in the lead-up to last year's election, and have been invited to testify at a congressional investigation into Russian meddling in the race.
AND: From "Terrorizing if Not Clearly Terrorist: What to Call the Las Vegas Attack?" (NYT):
Was it a plot by “deep-state Democrats” (Alex Jones of the conspiracy site Infowars) or perhaps divine punishment for the “profound disrespect” shown to Mr. Trump and the national anthem (the religious broadcaster Pat Robertson)? Was it something to do with country music, given the concert crowd Mr. Paddock targeted?...

"Activists are working to bring a steel sculpture of a 45-foot-tall nude woman to Washington, where she will temporarily face the White House from a perch on the National Mall."

"Transporting the sculpture from its home in San Francisco will be an undertaking, but its artist, Marco Cochrane, said he saw it as an opportunity to start a conversation about violence against women. His creation, called R-Evolution, depicts a short-haired, nude woman standing in mountain pose — a yoga posture chosen by the sculpture’s model, the singer and songwriter Deja Solis."

So... a man is starting a conversation about violence against women and relying on 2 concepts: 1. Gigantic erection and 2. Female nudity.

The NYT not only has an entire article about this guy, but it also says he needs $90,000 to move the thing to Washington and links to his crowdfunding page!

But of course, this would require a permit, and the man does not have a permit yet. Why would the government approve a bad 45-foot-tall sculpture on the National Mall facing the White House? For 4 months! Or is the idea to infuse the forthcoming denial of a permit with political meaning and set up a viewpoint discrimination argument?

Cochrane's collaborator Julia Whitelaw calls attention to President Trump's supposedly negative attitude toward women: “We are hoping that he will see this sculpture and come experience her and change his perspective.”

Yes, looking at sculptures that are nothing more than the figure of a nude woman has great potential for people to change attitudes about women.

Cochrane says: “For her to be able to just stand there and express nothing, just to be present in the moment, is a really powerful statement.”

Yes, the silent women, just standing there, as constructed by a man.  He makes the sculpture and he talks about it, touting the meaning. She expresses nothing, and that's what he likes, a woman present and saying nothing. What an immense challenge to the imagined mindset of President Trump.

I'm a woman, and, as you may know, I am a great proponent of nothing. I made up the saying: Better than nothing is a high standard. In that view, it would be better to have nothing on the National Mall than a bad 45-foot sculpture of a nude woman.

The most popular museum in Croatia — based on the quantity and quality of TripAdvisor reviews — is The Museum of Broken Relationships.

That's one interesting thing you learn from "These Are the 25 Most Beloved Museums in the World, as Ranked by TripAdvisor" (ArtNet News).

Also, the second most popular museum in the world is the National WWII Museum in New Orleans. The Louvre is only the 13th most popular museum in the world. The most popular museum in Germany is Topography of Terror. The most popular museum in Hungary is the House of Terror Museum.

You'd think art would be more popular, but perhaps it's just not that popular with the sort of people who go into TripAdvisor and write reviews.

Anyway, The Museum of Broken Relationships began as an art project.
Museum of Broken Relationships is a physical and virtual public space created with the sole purpose of treasuring and sharing your heartbreak stories and symbolic possessions. It is a museum about you, about us, about the ways we love and lose.
From the museum's website:

October 2, 2017

"The Gospel of John reminds us that there is no greater love than to lay down one's life for a friend."

"The memory of those who displayed the ultimate expression of love against an unimagined act of hate will never fade. Their examples will serve as an eternal reminder that the American spirit cannot and will not ever be broken."

Stop dragging my heart around...

Hoping for the best for the great Tom Petty, who "was put on life support after being found unconscious in full cardiac arrest...."
He wasn't breathing when he was found, but EMTs were able to find a pulse on Petty. TMZ updated their reporting to say that a source close to the singer alleged that Petty had "no brain activity" when he arrived at the hospital and was later pulled off life support.
UPDATE: TMZ: "We're told after Petty got to the hospital he had no brain activity and a decision was made to pull life support."

AND: Back in the 70s:

At the Calm Café...


... peace be with you.

Scott Adams speculates about the Las Vegas shooter.

On Periscope.

"It feels like the most likely motive is that he was a little deranged, but it was an anti-Trump statement."

AND: Here's speculation from David French (at National Review):
[A] person who’s “not a gun guy” [according to brother] has either expended untold thousands of dollars to legally purchase fully-automatic weapons, somehow found them on the black market, or purchased and substantially modified multiple semi-automatic weapons — and did so with enough competence to create a sustained rate of fire. This same person also spent substantial sums purchasing just the right hotel room to maximize casualties. I cannot think of a single other mass shooter who went to this level of expense and planning in the entire history of the United States.

And there was no real warning? His family was unaware? His brother also reported that the shooter had no meaningful political or religious affiliations. “He just hung out.” At the same time, however, there are reports that a woman told a group of concert-goers, “You’re all going to die tonight.”

"Hefner re-imagined the American male as a connoisseur in the continental manner, a man who enjoyed all the fine pleasures of life, including sex."

"Hefner brilliantly put sex into a continuum of appreciative response to jazz, to art, to ideas, to fine food. This was something brand new. Enjoying fine cuisine had always been considered unmanly in America. Hefner updated and revitalized the image of the British gentleman, a man of leisure who is deft at conversation — in which American men have never distinguished themselves — and with the art of seduction, which was a sport refined by the French.... Hefner’s worldview was already dated by the explosion of the psychedelic 1960s. The anything-goes, free-love atmosphere — illustrated by all that hedonistic rolling around in the mud at Woodstock in 1969 — made the suave Hefner style seem old-fashioned and buttoned up. Nevertheless, I have always taken the position that the men's magazines — from the glossiest and most sophisticated to the rawest and raunchiest — represent the brute reality of sexuality.... Hefner’s bunnies were a major departure from female mythology, where women were often portrayed as animals of prey — tigresses and leopards. Woman as cozy, cuddly bunny is a perfectly legitimate modality of eroticism. Hefner was good-natured but rather abashed, diffident, and shy. So he recreated the image of women in palatable and manageable form. I don’t see anything misogynist in that. What I see is a frank acknowledgment of Hefner’s fear of women’s actual power."

Said Camille Paglia.

Much more at the link, including this, connecting Playboy and Trump:
I certainly saw in Trump the entire Playboy aesthetic, including the glitzy world of casinos and beauty pageants. It's a long passé world of confident male privilege that preceded the birth of second-wave feminism. There is no doubt that Trump strongly identified with it as he was growing up. It seems to be truly his worldview.

But it is categorically not a world of unwilling women. Nor is it driven by masculine abuse. It's a world of show girls, of flamboyant femaleness, a certain kind of strutting style that has its own intoxicating sexual allure — which most young people attending elite colleges today have had no contact with whatever.

I instantly recognized and understood it in Trump because I had always been an admirer of Hefner's sexual cosmos. I can certainly see how retrograde and nostalgic it is, but at the same time I maintain that even in the photos that The New York Times posted in trying to convict Trump of sexism, you can feel leaping from these pictures the intense sizzle of sexual polarization — in that long-ago time when men were men and women were women!
She also theorizes that as "the sexes have blended, " the sexes are less interested in each other, so "we’re now in a period of sexual boredom and inertia, complaint and dissatisfaction," and "all that's left are these feminist witch-hunts":
And meanwhile, men are shrinking. I see men turning away from women and simply being content with the world of fantasy because women have become too think-skinned, resentful and high maintenance.
Yes, "think-skinned" is a mistranscription, but however unintended, I'm interested in it as a concept.

The skin has the sense of touch, and the call to sexuality — from Playboy or hippies or whoever — is an invitation to be more in touch with touch. What happens to the skin goes to the brain, but if you are "think-skinned" — I'm inventing this concept!— the brain goes first and sends instructions to the skin. The order is reversed and you feel what you thought of feeling.

The think-skinned person may be numb or may be highly sexualized, but it all depends on what's going on in her head, so what goes in there really matters — pornography, feminism, the wit and wisdom of Camille Paglia, etc.

Or stop being so think-skinned and find out what you really feel.

Today's found poetry.

1. Drudge (linking here):
DC turns to feral cats
to fight rising tide of rats...
2. From Robin Givhan, "Crocs on the runway, and other strange signs of the time in fashion" (WaPo):
He believes there is an inherent beauty in the misbegotten
He not only remembered the forgotten...

"I worry that there is a narrative that is being suggested — that is a false narrative — that campuses are not places that respect free speech and the rights of people to engage with and listen to speakers."

Said Peter McDonough, vice president and general counsel of the American Council on Education, quoted in a Chronicle of Higher Education article about the Justice Department, under Jeff Sessions, intervening in campus free-speech cases.

There's a quote from University of Chicago lawprof Geoffrey R. Stone: “I can see the federal government intervening to put its two cents in, but they have to be doing it in a principled and honest way.... There’s no evidence that they are willing to do that. They’re going to pick and choose the cases that fit their perspective.”

Sessions has made a statement (accompanying a court filing) asserting a “national recommitment to free speech on campus and to ensuring First Amendment rights is long overdue. Which is why, starting today, the Department of Justice will do its part in this struggle.” And in a recent speech at Georgetown, he said college campuses were an “echo chamber of political correctness and homogeneous thought, a shelter for fragile egos.”

Trump speaks on the Las Vegas massacre.

ADDED: President Trump's speech was overwhelmingly about empathy toward the victims. He doesn't name the gunman, he calls it "an act of pure evil," and refers to the ongoing investigation before going on to praising the first responders and then concentrating onto the victims: "We cannot fathom their pain. We cannot imagine their loss."

At the 2 minute point, he turns to religion: "Scripture teaches us the Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. We seek comfort in those words for we know that God lives in the hearts of those who grieve."

"ISIS claims responsibility for Las Vegas massacre."

AP reports.
Islamic State claims Las Vegas attack, says shooter converted to Islam months ago, but provides no evidence.
Why not claim the incident as theirs after the fact?

"No, no, no. That's not how you negotiate. You don't tell them they've got 30 days. You tell them, 'This guy's so crazy he could pull out any minute.'"

"That's what you tell them: Any minute. And by the way, I might. You guys all need to know I might. You don't tell them 30 days. If they take 30 days they'll stretch this out."

Said Donald Trump, allegedly, to Robert Lighthizer, a trade negotiator who was part of a discussion about the U.S.-Korean trade deal (along with Defense Secretary Mattis, Agriculture Secretary Perdue, and Secretary of State Tillerson), quoted in "Scoop: Trump urges staff to portray him as 'crazy guy'" (Axios).

Why are we hearing this? Is it an unauthorized leak or part of the art-of-the-deal game?

Axios has a lot of analysis but doesn't entertain those questions. From Axios:
Plenty of world leaders think the president is crazy — and he seems to view that madman reputation as an asset. The downsides are obvious: the rhetoric can unnerve allies and has the potential to provoke enemies into needless, unintended war....

The president's top aides argue his negotiating strategy has forced Mexico and Canada to renegotiate NAFTA, China to put more pressure than ever on North Korea, and NATO allies to spend more than they'd otherwise have spent on their militaries (a claim that's impossible to adjudicate.)....

Bottom line: Trump's threats can only produce short-term results, if he doesn't follow through on them....