May 3, 2014

Who Bullies The Bullies?

pacific-standard-cover.jpgbut they're welcome to buy an iphone

Pacific Standard. Get it? It's like The Atlantic, but it's Pacific. Totally different. So unlike The Atlantic, it will "attack the conventional wisdom from a west coast perspective." That's a quote. "But didn't the editors come from The Atlantic?" Yes. "So what's the diff? Does west coast imply the writers will be better looking?" The women will be, unless they write about gender issues, then they will appear gendered. The men will look wise if they're crushing on social science, or tough and no-nonsense if they're hating on Republicans. Don't worry, pics of the writers will be included to suggest an appeal to authority. "Hold on, is the owner of this magazine Sara Miller McCune? The same woman who is responsible for those atrocious SAGE journals like Psychological Science and Evolutionary Perspectives On Human Development that charge CV padding post-docs a few hundred dollars to publish linkbait like "Ovulating Women Prefer Men With Large Sneakers", that Malcolm Gladwell and media outlets like Pacific Standard then cross promote as valid science?" Yes, but I'm sure it's a coincidence. "This magazine sounds terrible." Duh.

This cover story details #young #vulnerable #feminist writer Amanda Hess's frustration with disinterested male law enforcement when, after writing an article about receiving rape threats from a troll, she received rape threats from a troll. I sympathize, though in my experience what's even more frightening than a guy telling you he's going to rape you is a guy not telling you he's going to rape you.

There's a big push for "women's safety" online, for getting rid of trolls and cyberbullies and cyberstalkers, not coincidentally another one of Randi Zuckerberg's pet causes; and while these are all legitimate worries someone should take a minute and ask why, when mustached men have been stalking women since the days of Whitecastle yet no systemic changes have been effected, the moment women feel threatened from the safety of their LCD screens America opens the nuclear briefcase. No one finds that suspicious?

In fact, regular stalking is barely ever mentioned in media, no matter how many times the guy was laying under her new boyfriend's front porch on Wednesday nights after Organic Chemistry class, what drives the article is "and then he stalked her on Facebook!"

Here's just a sampling of the noxious online commentary directed at other women in recent years. To Alyssa Royse, a sex and relationships blogger, for saying that she hated The Dark Knight: "you are clearly retarded, i hope someone shoots then rapes you." To Kathy Sierra, a technology writer, for blogging about software, coding, and design: "i hope someone slits your throat and cums down your gob." To Lindy West, a writer at the women's website Jezebel, for critiquing a comedian's rape joke: "I just want to rape her with a traffic cone." To Rebecca Watson, an atheist commentator, for blogging about sexism in the skeptic community: "If I lived in Boston I'd put a bullet in your brain." To Catherine Mayer, a journalist at Time magazine, for no particular reason: "A BOMB HAS BEEN PLACED OUTSIDE YOUR HOME. IT WILL GO OFF AT EXACTLY 10:47 PM ON A TIMER AND TRIGGER DESTROYING EVERYTHING."

As the recipient of not zero decapitation emails I admit it does make you curious about whether or not you can buy an alligator, but while you're arming your windows like a Saw movie you should contemplate the difference between what should be done and why it appears something should be done.


The force for this change isn't coming from safety or ethics. Neither is it activism. If you see any group advocating influentially for change in a media they don't own or control, you can double down and split the 10s, the dealer is holding status and quo. No change is possible on someone else's dime, and if what looks like a supermodel approaches you with a microphone and a camera crew, you should run like she's Johnny Carcosa. On occasion what the activists think they want may happen coincidentally to align with what the system wants, and from that moment on they will be lead to believe they are making a difference, which means they're making money for someone else. "Your writing is so muddled." Sorry. Were you better persuaded by the concise prose of Amanda Hess?

Her article seems to be about what could be done to stop anonymous trolls from terrorizing and threatening women. How about prosecuting them, since terroristic threats is already a crime? Unfortunately, as Hess discovers, the police don't care much about online stalking, which is consistent since they don't care about IRL stalking either. But never mind, it's not the problem: misogyny is the problem, amplified 1000x by online anonymity. Anonymity makes the internet mean and gives trolls= men too much power. This is the subtle shift: what starts out as "misogyny is bad" becomes "anonymity facilitates misogyny."

Keeping in mind that actual stalking has never been dealt with in any significant way ever, the desire of a few female writers to curb online anonymity wouldn't be enough to get an @ mention, except that this happens to coincide with what the media wants, and now we have the two vectors summing to form a public health crisis. "Cyberbullying is a huge problem!" Yes, but not because it is hurtful, HA! no one cares about your feelings-- but because criticism makes women want to be more private-- and the privacy of the women is bad. The women have to be online, they do most of the clicking and receive most of the clicks. Anonymous cyberbullying is a barrier to increasing consumption, it's gotta go.


You may at this point roll your eyes epileptically and retort, "well, who cares 'what the system wants', the fact is anonymity does embolden the lunatics, shouldn't we try to restrict it?" Great question, too bad it's irrelevant. You've taken the bait and put all your energy into accepting the form of the argument. The issue isn't whether we should abolish online anonymity, since this will never happen. For every American senator trying to curb anonymity there's going to be a Scandinavian cyberpirate who will come up with a workaround, and only one of them knows how to code. Besides, there's no power in abolishing anonymity, the power is in giving everyone the pretense of anonymity while secretly retaining the PGP keys to the kingdom.

To understand what's really happening, start from basics: if you're reading it, it's for you. I assume you're not a cyberbully or a stalker. So do you have any power to abolish anonymity?

If Hess has made you wonder, hmm, maybe unrestricted anonymity is bad because it gives trolls too much power, then the system has successfully used her for its true purpose: brand it as bad, to you. She is unwittingly teaching the demo of this article, e.g. women in their 20s with no actual power looking to establish themselves, who are the very people who should embrace anonymity, not to want this: only rapists and too-weak-to-try rapists want to be anonymous. Smart women write clickable articles about their sexuality for nothing, because what good are you if you can't make someone else money? Interesting to observe that the article's single suggested solution to cyberharassment is to reframe a criminal problem into a civil rights issue using a logic so preposterously adolescent that if you laid this on your Dad when you were 16 he'd backhand slap you right out of the glee club: "it discourages women from writing and earning a living online." Earning a living? From who, Gawker? Most of the women writing on the internet are writing for someone else who pays them next to nothing. None of them control the capital, none of them get paid 1/1000 of what they bring in for the media company. You know what they do get? They get to be valued by work, and in gratitude they are going to the front lines to fight for the media company's right to pay them less.

And the indoctrination has worked, the less Asperger's a woman is, the more she'll hate writing anonymously. Don't get angry at me, they did a study, and I think it explains why women don't want to write for The Economist. In the reverse, put a pic in your byline and you improve your female audience; put a pic of a female in your byline and you've maximized ROI, everyone will click on a pic of a chick. This is economic and psychologic universe in which Hess finds herself.

"But you can't use a pen name at places like The New Yorker. You know they pay their top staff writers $100k a year?" Jesus. a) yes you can; b) listen to me: if those swindlers are willing to pay you $100k, then you could probably get $200k yourself, and if you can't get $200k yourself then you aren't worth their $100k either and they will eventually notice. When they pay you that much they're not paying you to write for them, they're paying you not to write for anyone else, that's called controlling the capital.

"So your solution is that she should use pseudonym? Isn't that blaming the victim?" No, not her-- you. You should use a pseudonym. You aren't writing for Gawker, you just use the internet, comment on things, etc. Why should you use your real name? "Why shouldn't I?" I'm sorry, I wasn't precise: why are you being encouraged to use your real name? Again, the question of whether anonymity emboldens trolls is not the force of that article, it isn't about their behavior, it is about yours.

"But merely 'branding anonymity as bad' isn't going to stop the cyberbullying misogynists." You are correct, which is why the spokesperson for this crisis is Amanda Hess. No one is trying to stop cyberbullies, there's no point, they don't shop and no one wants to look at them. Hess has entirely misunderstood what the medium wants. The whole game is to get women-- not the cyberbullies, not criminals, but the consumers-- to voluntarily give up all of their privacy, while paying lip service to privacy at home-- knowing full well women that women will pay money not to have the kind of privacy they have at home. Voluntarily exposing yourself makes you a targetable consumer and targetable consumable. Is it worth it?


All of this is for the benefit of the media, which is why I know with 100% certainty that nothing will change. Because she wrote that article, because some people camped in Zuccotti Park, the energy for activity was discharged. And the media got all the profits.

What Hess didn't realize is that while she was fumbling impotently with the cops, the media company that she worked for could have crushed the troll if it was worth it to them. Did you have this thought? If not, it's not your fault, some people are trained not to have it while others were trained to have it immediately. Which are you? If the founder of Religions For New Atheists Sara Miller McCune herself had received an electronic rape threat from some Fox News stenographer in a Kentucky man cave, you think she's dialing 911? From her apartment? She would have waited until she got to the office, waved her hands like in Minority Report and her lawyers would have midnight Seal Team Sixed him while he was overhand jacking it to interracial porn. Do you know what Hess's employers did for her? No, I'm serious do you know? It can't be nothing, right? That would be Bananastown. It was nothing? Really?

Maybe hypotheticals aren't your bag, ok, here's a true story: "Amy" received a couple of voice messages from a "customer" she met at work who wanted to put something in her vagina. These messages were not violent, in so far as forcing your fantasies of consensual sex into an unwilling girl's ear is considered not violent, but of course they creeped her out. There's one other crucial piece of information needed to understand this story: her harasser probably had large sneakers. I'll give you all a minute to catch up.

Every woman has some version of this story, with one important difference: Amy was a medical student, which meant a lot of money went into her and a lot of money was expected of her. One (1) phone call from the Dean to a phone number that was not 911 and that guy was evaporated. Two cops located him minding his own business, and because he defended himself with the magic words-- and you should write these down, they're gold-- "it's a public street, I have a right to be here"-- he was jailed for eight months for harassment and resisting arrest-- pre-trial. Pre means without. Of course his case was ultimately dismissed. Does that matter? Please observe a) Amy herself didn't have to do anything to effect any of this, she was mostly unaware of the results, the system was on autopilot; b) he was jailed not for what he did but for whom he did it to, had Amy been a 1040EZ at the Footlocker we'd say she was asking for it. "But it isn't fair that her protection money should get her concierge policing while the rest of us have to make due with socialized law enforcement." Was it fair that he did eight months because he couldn't afford bail, is it fair that he didn't know that it wasn't fair? On the other hand, was he a dangerous nut, should he have been punished? Of course. Was he operating from a perspective of institutionalized sexism, patriarchal thinking, misogyny? Sure, #whatevs. Sometimes the structural imbalances go your way, and sometimes they don't, better figure out who makes the scales.

After Hess got the runaround, she spent a lot of time trying to get a protection order, a force slightly less compelling than wind. Why didn't she just call the Mayor? "Hi. I work for the city paper, the one that caters to voting Democrats and men looking for Russian companionship. I'm doing a story about police apathy regarding sexual violence from a first person perspective, by which I mean your perspective. Comment?" That would have solved her problem, but more importantly it would have forced her to think about WHY that solved her problem. What is the difference between a "woman" who is threatened and a "reporter" or "medical student" who is threatened? Why is it more bad to attack a journalist than a woman? Think about that, it has not always been so. The former is an attack on the system, so the system must respond; the latter is an attack on a woman, so -------------------------------------. And so it goes.

But Hess preferred to see misogyny on the internet, so instead we get another trending article about how the problem has a penis. This coincides perfectly with the media's desire to frame it as a gender war because that makes for good clicking. Let's summarize the media's thesis via unwitting Hess: 1. cyberharassment is a women's issue, never mind the men who are harassed. 2. The appropriate way to handle women's issues is not necessarily to solve them but to discuss them in the media. "It's called awareness." We are all aware. Are you aware of how much you made for Pacific Standard at your expense and to no avail?


Hess is fighting the battles of 50 years ago because she was told to fight them by people who profit from the fight, and as a bonus it gets her out of any self-criticism. Oh, Sheryl Sandberg thinks Silicon Valley can be a boys' club? Was that why she manned up and sold us out to the NSA? Curious that she didn't accuse the NSA of being a boys' club. Perhaps real power transcends gender? More curious/on purpose is that she and the boosters at Wired are more horrified about NSA spying, despite there being an explicit terms of service agreement with them that what it finds without a warrant is inadmissible, but Google monitoring my sexts for their commercial benefit is SAGE approved behavioral economics. Google buying Boston Dynamics is better than DARPA having it, is that the game we're playing now? If I had to put my chips and my children against an 8 year rotation of civil service nincompoops vs. some nerd with an open marriage who spent $15M on a "bachelor pad" so he could score chicks of questionable emotional stability, I'm going with the group my private sector lawyers have an outside chance of pwoning. "But how cool is that guy that he could spend $15M on scoring chicks!" You're looking at it backwards, the only way he could score chicks was by spending $15M, and now that guy owns cybernauts. Power corrupts, but absolute power doesn't exist, so for everything else, there's Mastercard.

What Hess and others fail to see is that this kind of postgraduate sexismology-- Hess's "ability" to see it-- is encouraged because it favors the status quo. It is a tool for maintaining an economic and psychological disavowal favorable to Gen X and older-- men and women. Their collective psychology has caused to be a machine that is calibrated to ensure their life is not disrupted-- at the expense of everyone under 30, you guys waste your life Banning Bossy and make sure you pay back all of your student loans, sorry about the future but the SLEEP/CONSUME machine from They Live has to keep running.

Here's a "class struggle" example: name one Wall Street type who went to jail post 2008, everyone picks Bernie Madoff. Now name one person you know who was harmed by Bernie Madoff. That's weird. Note he didn't cause the crash, his criminal empire was a "victim" of the crash. What got him jailed was stealing from the wrong people-- that the media coded as either "celebrities" or "pension funds". Look carefully at the result: you got a distraction to label as evil so you don't have to feel any guilt about overusing your credit card; the rich guys get (some of) their money back; and the media makes millions of dollars engaging you in a "conversation." "But he was symptomatic of Wall Street excesses." Way to treat the symptoms. Hence the most important result: nothing changed. The whole thing is a defense against change, for the system and for you. Still have that credit card at max?

Radical political action, radical as in "outside the frame" radical, the kind self-aggrandizing #OWS is incapable of, would be to demand Bernie Madoff be released, so that everyone would have to watch him in restaurants and hookers, an unignorable signal to the system and to yourself that things are not right. Not to settle for symbolism and scapegoats. But the media won't let this happen, they thrive on symbolism and scapegoats; and you won't let it happen as long as you can get an iphone.

So the system encourages women like Hess to "critique the patriarchy" or "bring awareness" because it stands no chance of moving the money, let alone the power, and also the media gets a cut. Meanwhile men all over the place are left questioning why their opportunities are just as limited but their answer can't be a glass ceiling. "Maybe it's reverse sexism!" Maybe your media is no different than her media, we'll see what kind of sexism there is when the robots replace all of you. What is both obscene and astonishing in its power is that this distraction is foisted on Millennials by other Millennials, they're fighting for the other team, precisely because the immensely hard work of work can be avoided by hoping the problem is sexism. Hess is frantically fighting against-- whom? Cyberbullies? Frat guys? Stand up comedians? What are the results she expects from this fight? The fight is a symptom of neurosis, frantic energy as a defense against impotence, frantic energy as a defense against change. "Why am I in the top 20% of intelligence but I'm running the register at a store whose products I can't afford?" Because trolls are preventing women from earning a living online? "So it's Reddit's fault!"


There should be no controversy: a guy should never tell a girl he's going to rape her, online or not, kidding or not. I get that he's probably not serious, but there should be no instinct at all to defend such a jerk, and yet----- and yet that is precisely the instinct many people get. Men who have never wanted to threaten anyone read Hess's story and side with the troll. And Hess will agree: it is a massive number of people. So they're all misogynist jerks, too? No other explanation?

Yet a typical such "misogynist" probably has a wife and daughters whom he loves in a more equal way than sexists in the Whig party did. He is aware his daughter is a girl, he wants the best for her, he'd be thrilled if she became President, do you think he doesn't want her to have power/money/influence, more than any man? And of course he wouldn't want his daughter to receive such rape threats, but what's important is that he believes she wouldn't-- she wouldn't deserve them.

There is plenty of existing sexism and [insert lip service here]. I do not deny or minimize it, the point here is to identify the self-imposed kind of oppression, instead of top down it is bottom up: impotence. All of these choices, all of these products, all of that sex, all of that power-- why not me?

The troll and Hess have this feeling of impotence, which Hess easily finds to be the fault of patriarchy, which she uses interchangeably with class, except when that class is Sarah Miller McCune, then it's just patriarchy. The troll thinks the source of his impotence is "militant feminism", which also explains why he's not worrying about his daughter. She's not a woman, she's a person, i.e. like all American parents, he's raising her like a boy: school x 16, sports x 12, violin x 6, and for everything else there's LCDs. I don't know why he thinks his daughter will fare any better through the same machine that is failing his son, but I guess it's worth a shot. Of course, he probably won't be too happy if she becomes a "feminist"; e.g. living with a teenage Zosia Mamet drove David Mamet to the Republican Party. I'm going to go ahead and protect myself by saying that's a joke.

So in order to explain their otherwise irrational feeling of impotence, they pull from any of the media-approved categories of blame, depending on your news network: sexism, racism, feminism. The central importance of the media in soliciting their anger is totally lost on the older "activists" who still believe that the -ism is the primary force. They're enraged that a white Princeton student would dare to write that white privledge doesn't exist; they never wonder why they read it. They are at a loss to explain why the very same trolls who want to "rape" feminist bloggers are even more enraged that women in Saudi Arabia are forced to wear burqas. So do misogynists hate Arab men more than American women? Is there a hate hierarchy? Yet the media is unsurprisingly ambivalent about the burqa, the feminism risks an assertion of cultural priviledge so they'd just as soon not get involved. And to hell with George Bush who made us have to.

There was a time not long ago when the dumbest people in the world were polacks. Do you see any dumb polacks around today? What happened? "Awareness?" Do you think we all just learned "poles are just like us?" You think it was... education? Pole empowerment? Tolerance? The question is not how did we learn to get over that prejudice, but rather what purpose did it serve in the first place, why was it the preferred expression of hate of that time?


Hess had a chance to wonder about this, but the media's keyword list and her own personal psychology converge to make her prefer to see sexism. Against these force vectors she is powerless. The medium is the message, she just puts her byline at the top. Hess even looked for a "woman problem" at The Economist which I thought was going to be that there weren't enough women there because she cited the statistic that 77% of the writers are men, except that she then lamented that since there are no bylines you couldn't tell which ones were the men and the women, which was also bad. But she had something else in mind:

In many ways, the magazine suffers from the same woman problem that plagues libertarianism more widely. The Economist's central belief in "free trade and free markets" informs its one-size-fits all approach to its readership--the idea that women might actually want to consume news differently than men doesn't fit into this theoretically level global playing field.

Women consume news differently. True? Let's find out:

When I lived with a boyfriend who subscribed to The Economist, I'd pick up the magazine occasionally, scanning the table of contents for the odd piece that appealed to me--a dissection of the racial dynamics of American marriage, for example, or a takedown of U.S. sex offender laws. Typically, though, I'd flip straight to the book reviews, a space I discerned as a little more inclusive than the front of the book. I recently asked that guy whether the contents of the magazine ever struck him as particularly masculine, too. "It's called The Economist," he replied. "It's like Maxim for nerds."

Lord have mercy.

First of all, Maxim is already for nerds, who else would want to look at glamour shots of still dressed women only women have heard of? This month is Sophia Bush and Olympic figure skater Tara Lipinski, yum, time to get your hard on. "Oh I loved her with Johnny Weir covering Sochi!" Can't say Maxim doesn't know its demographic.

usweekly-maxim link.jpgthis is what women are told men want; this is how women are told how to want

So for him to think Maxim isn't for nerds means he thinks it's for Dude-Bros, i.e. large genitaled males who get to rape all the drunk chicks at the Delta house. Which means he's an easy mark for branding, and which, I am willing to bet $10M, is why he tells his guy friends about Maxim but shows his girlfriend he subscribes to The Economist. Don't worry, Amanda, he only reads the book reviews, too. Stab in the dark, here's a guess at his character sketch: a smart underachiever, proud he's "not some frat jerk", he knows he's supposed to be interested in topics not related to him but finds his concentration isn't up to the task-- so he reassures himself with the trappings/magazines of intelligence. "Would Adderall help me do more work and less porn?" No, but it will help you write a book of porn and you will be terrified at what you learn. His favorite way to consume news is to forgo primary sources in favor of skimming two paragraph dissections written by others who also forwent the primary sources. Unmotivated, unthreatening and unrelevant, publicly not drawing from the system according to his need but privately disavowing a lack of contribution back to the system according to his ability. "But the system is corrupt." $100M says there's a vaporizer nearby.

Second of all: hell yeah, dissections and takedowns, thank you for your consideration.

Third of all: observe that she asked him about The Economist after they had broken up. Her ex was her go-to guy when she had a question about masculinity, and magazines. Does she know any other men? Has she interacted with any men without the polarized glasses of stereotype, prejudice and fear? Is every guy only either a love interest or a Dude-Bro?

Fourth: she misunderstood/completely understood his answer about whether the magazine was particularly masculine: "It's called The Economist." Uh oh. If I ask, "Is Cosmo Magazine particularly feminine?" and you reply, "Duh, stupid, it's called Cosmo, any more feminine and it would have a tailbone tattoo," then you are implying not only that the magazine is feminine, but that I should have been able to infer that because cosmos are feminine. To him, The Economist is masculine is because economics is intrinsically masculine-- and she implicitly accepts this. Now who's the sexist? Whose theoretical daughters have a better chance of learning economics? Of course she'd say any women can learn economics, yay women, but her daughters would be learning a masculine discipline, see also math, which I predict she's bad at. The barrier is in herself, sexism is merely her projection of it.

So while she pretends that it is the male perspective she doesn't like, it is evident that it's the contents themselves that she objects to. They're boring, but that can't be related to intellectual curiosity because she's a thinker. So it has to be the "male perspective". But didn't the same male perspective write the takedowns and dissections? Books, sex, relationships; those are "inclusive to women". What happens when you don't sign up for NATO-- that's masculine. But is it? Really? I agree that most of the articles in The Economist are boring and don't "relate" to my lifestyle as an alcoholic, but I force myself to go through them like social studies homework, and most of the women who do the same are doing it as the same. The articles aren't supposed to be interesting to me, they are supposed to be important and I force myself to be interested.

However, the point isn't that she should read The Economist, the point here is that she saw sexism, which means she didn't notice this:

UNWITTINGLY, perhaps, Vladimir Putin is playing Cupid to America's Mars and Europe's Venus. ... "I have not felt this good about transatlantic relations in a long time," whispers one senior European politician.

WTF, why would anyone whisper this? Is Putin standing right there? The Economist does this all the time, citing unnamed sources while alluding to their power and significance. Of course the easy critique to make, and even this one Hess was not allowed to formulate, is that in this way The Economist conveys the impression that it has personal access to the levers of power, the way Us Weekly recasts publicists as "sources close to Kim Kardashian", shrinking the gap between the magazine and the sources and artificially widening the distance between Kardashian and us. She becomes more important and less accessible-- except through Us Weekly.

But this critique is backwards, it assumes the magazine is trying to trick its audience, this is wrong, the audience is using the magazine to trick itself. The audience wants this distance. It wants heroes, celebrities, people with power-- it wants an upper class-- and it wants them inaccessible. Envy? No, that's advertising, this is the "news." This is what happens when a whole generation's narcissism is threatened with injury-- since everything is possible, why aren't you enjoying everything?-- the personality structure becomes overwhelmingly defensive. "If I were Kim Kardashian, then I would be able to do X!" is NOT envy, flip it over and read the redacted obverse: "Only Kim Kardsahians can do X -- therefore it's not my fault that I can't!"

The Economist demo appears to want this same defense. The real trick of The Economist is that as a magazine of "libertarianism" [sic], its belief in "free trade and free markets" requires as axiomatic that these are not real. The Invisible Hand is actually attached to a benevolent class of gentlemen capitalists who have the money, the connections, and the information to best mold the world. You don't know these people, but fortunately The Economist does. Their motto, inscribed in runes over a blue moongate on Jekyll Island, is, "Be content to bind them by laws of trade. You have always done it. And let this be your reason."

Why would the The Economist's rich and powerful demo want to be ruled? Because they aren't powerful, only rich, all that time getting rich did not translate to any power, only the trappings of power. So they've postulated a fantasy power structure/NBA owners that explains why they can't enjoy their lives as they think they should-- to absolve themselves of the guilt they feel for having money/intellect/opportunities and NOT being able to do anything with it except spend it on the system-wide approved gimmicks: Trading Up, college educations, the National Bank of S&P 500.

And you say, boo hoo for the rich. That's your media approved classism talking. Does $200k/yr have more in common with $50k/yr or $1M/yr? What do your TV commercials tell you? Don't think about where the lines are drawn, think about who draws the lines.

Hess yells about a world of masculine power because she has the power to yell at it. But of course her power is limited only to yelling, she is impotent against a troll who yells at her. But her mistake is in thinking he has the power. No one has it, the system doesn't allow it. Even the mighty Economist demo feels impotent. Are they all delusional? This is the true critique of the system, not simply that one group reliably oppresses another; but that the entire system is based on creating a lack. This lack is not a bottomless hole that nothing could ever fill, but a tiny, strangely shaped divot in your soul into which nothing could ever fit: not money, not sex, not stuff, not relationships. Nothing "takes." Nothing counts. Nothing is ever right. Only novelty works, until it wears off.

This lack of power-- not power to rule the world, but existential power-- what is the purpose of my life? What is this all for? I get that I'm supposed to use my Visa a lot, but is that it? Shouldn't I be able to do more than this? Everything is possible, but nothing is attainable. Nothing tells them what is valuable; worse, everything assures them that nothing could be more valuable. That the media is the primary way the system teaches you how to want should have been obvious to Hess, she works for it, but for that same reason it was invisible to her.

You shouldn't be surprised that the only sane response to this impotence is neurosis, for which of course the system provides a psychiatric treatment that couldn't possibly work. "I need an Ambien, I can't sleep." But where did you hear that you needed to sleep?


If you're a guy, you probably don't realize the awesome pressure on women to let themselves get looked at: to reveal themselves online, to post a pic, to give everyone your attention, to stop what you're doing and give the other your self, even if they want to yell at you. "Hey lady, I hate you!" And yet that same pressure tells women they are valueless unless they are public. Madness.

The system is illogical, the things you want cannot actually coexist, but you dare not attack the system that promises everything, therefore something else must be blamed. As a basic example, Hess probably wants all the benefits of socialism and all the brand products of capitalism. When she can't have it, obviously the problem is misogyny.

Another example: Donald Sterling.

donald-sterling.jpgeveryone hates two of these: fat cats, america, virgins

Here's a transcript of an illegal recording not done by the NSA that therefore everyone is ok with, consistent with our new standard of conduct: it is not illegal to make an illegal recording as long as it is given to the media and they profit from it and we can use it to rationalize our lives. Got it. Now I know you think you know what he said, but this time pay attention because he leaked a state secret:

You can sleep with them, you can bring them in, you can do whatever you want. The little I ask you is not to promote it on [Instagram] and not to bring them to my games.... Don't put him [Magic Johnson] on an Instagram for the world to have to see so they have to call me... Yeah, it bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you're associating with black people. Do you have to?...You're supposed to be a delicate white or a delicate Latina girl.

Here's a question: who is THEY who have to call him? Why is a gazillionaire 3 years from God's judgment worried about They? And why would They care what his girlfriend does? The implication is that They are even more racist than he is, which should blow your mind when you consider They are about to pretend to try to take his team away from him and give him $600M.

But the other possibility-- which coexists with the first-- is that They don't exist, not in any coordinated way: They are you, the public, far more dangerously racist than he is because his racism is overt and yours is disavowed. What he is worried about is that you will see a picture of "a delicate white or Latina" girl next to a guy with large sneakers and... film your own conclusions.

Some clueless TV types have deduced that she set him up. Duh. Then they tried to figure out why he hooked up with such a manipulative harpy, and I therefore know with 100% certainty that to them having a hot young girlfriend is an unattainable fantasy. But he didn't have a choice: his superego required it, as a condition of his identity he is obligated to have a mistress, a miss-stress-- a girlfriend who is way more headache than any wife he was "bored" with. Since everything is possible, he is obligated to enjoy-- and if it isn't enjoyable there must be something preventing it, and that obstruction has to be her fault, or They's fault, what it can't be is his fault. He's 80, his sexuality is... on the decline. If he can't enjoy sex someone else has to enjoy it for him, in his place: no, not the black guy, but her-- she is doing the enjoying for him. Being cuckolded-- that's what this is, right?-- is fine, it works for him, as long as he isn't humiliated in public. "It's ok if They see me as a racist because I AM a racist, I accept it as part of my identity, there's no shame in it; but if They think I'm not satisfying her, or worse-- if they think I'm a cuckold-- if they don't see me the way I want to be seen----"

"If only you were the girl I thought you were!" he said, paraphrased. But of course she was the girl you thought she was-- she picked you. When you pick a woman for certain reasons, you are also picking the kind of woman who wants to be picked for those reasons. You may even have succeeded in tricking her that you like her for other reasons, but this is irrelevant: you like the kind of girl who likes the kind of guy who pretends to like women for other reasons....... But in any event, his desires were illogical, they can't actually coexist, so it must be They's fault.

It is heartwarming to think of the backlash against Sterling as a new intolerance of racism, and I'm told his case is important to society because he's famous and rich, but his money doesn't come with any power. So while you are all glowing in self-righteousness because you outed another racist rich guy, consider that you will never hear a recording of the head of Goldman Sachs making racist statements. "Maybe he's more progressive?" Hmm. Or maybe power won't allow it, power won't even allow you to think about it. The more likely explanation-- remember, basketball is a TV show on The Disney Channel the outcome of which couldn't be less relevant to humanity-- is that it is projection, it represents frantic activity as a defense against change. "I'm not a racist-- because THAT's a racist!"


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