Tuesday, March 29, 2005
PSAYINGS.5A.41. It's the silly season. But when isn't it? Every so often it's good to stand back a bit and appreciate the circus and some of its star performers. Call it comic relief.
More Gender Squabbles
Not long ago, we noted, here and here, that relations between the sexes seem to be heating up again -- and not in a good way. The first fistfights broke out on the left, and now they're spreading.
There's a Harvard professor, believe it or not, who hasn't been very impressed with the behavior of women during the Summers fiasco. His name is Harvey Mansfield, and he's a professor of government (a.k.a. political science). Like his university's president, he really should know better than to jump into a catfight, but here's what he had to say in a recent article for the Weekly Standard:
It takes one's breath away to watch feminist women at work. At the same time that they denounce traditional stereotypes they conform to them. If at the back of your sexist mind you think that women are emotional, you listen agape as professor Nancy Hopkins of MIT comes out with the threat that she will be sick if she has to hear too much of what she doesn't agree with. If you think women are suggestible, you hear it said that the mere suggestion of an innate inequality in women will keep them from stirring themselves to excel. While denouncing the feminine mystique, feminists behave as if they were devoted to it. They are women who assert their independence but still depend on men to keep women secure and comfortable while admiring their independence. Even in the gender-neutral society, men are expected by feminists to open doors for women. If men do not, they are intimidating women.
Thus the issue of Summers's supposedly
intimidating style of governance is really the issue of the political
correctness by which Summers has been intimidated. Political
correctness is the leading form of intimidation in all of American
education today, and this incident at Harvard is a pure case of it. The
phrase has been around since the 1980s, and the media have become bored
with it. But the fact of political correctness is before us in the
refusal of feminist women professors even to consider the possibility
that women might be at any natural disadvantage in mathematics as
compared with men. No, more than that: They refuse to allow that
possibility to be entertained even in a private meeting. And still
more: They are not ashamed to be seen as suppressing any inquiry into
such a possibility. For the demand that Summers be more "responsible"
in what he says applies to any inquiry that he or anyone else might
Professor Mansfield spends most of his article describing the antics
of feminists at Harvard in re Summers. but he closes with some
interesting questions about where all this might be headed:
Feminist women rest their cause on "social construction" as opposed to nature. The patriarchal society that has been made by humans can be unmade and remade by humans. But how do we know that the reconstruction will be favorable to women and not a new version of patriarchy? To avoid a resurgent patriarchy or other injustice, society, it would seem, needs to be guided by a principle beyond human making, the natural equality of men and women.
Accepting that principle would require,
however, thinking about how far it goes and what natural inequalities
in the sexes might exist. This might in fact be a benefit if it induced
women to think more about what they want and like, and about what is
fair to men and good for children. We do need feminism, because women
are now in a new situation. But we need a new feminism conceived by
women more favorable to liberty and the common good than the
"feminists" of today.
If this reference to "liberty and the common good" sounds abstract,
consider this restatement of the issue in a different context by
conservative firebrand Ann
How many people have to die before the
country stops humoring feminists? Last week, a defendant in a rape
case, Brian Nichols, wrested a gun from a female deputy in an Atlanta
courthouse and went on a murderous rampage. Liberals have proffered
every possible explanation for this breakdown in security except the
giant elephant in the room — who undoubtedly has an eating disorder and
would appreciate a little support vis-a-vis her negative body image.
She goes on to recount the history of affirmative action for females
in police and fire departments, which tends to echo Professor
Mansfield's inference of a double standard at work, somehow more
frightening when it's occurring in real life rather than in an academic
conference. Even as they work to dilute the hiring standards in ways
that make it possible for women to gain jobs they haven't the
qualifications for, feminists and their intimidated pawns cook the
books to hide the fact of inequality:
A 1993 news article in the Los Angeles
Times, for example, referred to a "study" –- cited by an ACLU attorney
— allegedly proving that "female officers are more effective at making
arrests without employing force because they are better at
de-escalating confrontations with suspects." No, you can't see the
study or have the name of the organization that performed it, and why
would you ask?
So far, this may sound like a Coulter column of the kind derided by
her leftwing critics -- scathing denunciations unsupported by facts.
But almost unbelievably, she has discovered some data that many of us
have suspected without being being able to prove:
The U.S. Department of Justice regularly
performs comprehensive surveys of state and local law enforcement
agencies, collected in volumes called "Law Enforcement Management and
What's worse is that I probably wasn't wrong about my ability to overpower her in those particular circumstances. Coulter has other facts about this.
In a study of public safety officers — not even the general population — female officers were found to have 32 percent to 56 percent less upper body strength and 18 percent to 45 percent less lower body strength than male officers — although their outfits were 43 percent more coordinated. (Here's the cite! Frank J. Landy, "Alternatives to Chronological Age in Determining Standards of Suitability for Public Safety Jobs," Technical Report, Vol. 1, Jan. 31, 1992.)
Another study I've devised involves asking a woman to open a jar of pickles.
I've conducted the pickle test myself, as have many of you. But if we were to try to conduct it formally and officially, there's every chance we'd be thwarted:
Feminists simultaneously demand that no one suggest women are not as strong as men and then turn around and demand that all the strength tests be changed. It's one thing to waste everyone's time by allowing women to try out for police and fire departments under the same tests given to men. It's quite another to demand that the tests be brawned-down so no one ever has to tell female Harvard professors that women aren't as strong as men.
How is this not madness? But we let it happen because we pretend to ourselves that what the pinheads discuss at a Harvard colloquium will never have an impact on those of us who live in the real world. We really should stop pretending.
For example, should we care about this? Is it just silly? Or is it considerably darker than that?
Diamond State Dimwit
Now for some comic relief from our comic relief. I live about ten minutes away from a tiny state called Delaware, which is a tad larger than Rhode Island in area but populated by fewer than a half million souls. Still, as a state of the union, Delaware has two senators, one of which is named Joe Biden. We once wrote about Mr. Biden in the Year 2000 edition of Shuteye Nation. The entry was fictionalized to show how dead serious it was.
Joe Biting. The most sanctimonious member of the U.S. Senate°, Biting represents the most insignificant state in the union, Dullaware, but achieved national prominence via his tour de force performances as a character° assassin in the Senate trials of Supreme Court° nominees Robert Boink and Clarence Remus. Colleagues marvel at the dizzying level of condescension Biting consistently attains in his political° and personal° discourse, despite being afflicted with the first and worst hair transplant in the U.S. Senate. It is reported by female senate staffers that he can sneer even in his sleep, which is still filled with dreams of a Biting Presdency, though that opportunity disappeared in reality some years ago during a brief campaign which foundered on the disclosure that he had been a devout plagiarist during his academic career. Rumor has it that Bill Broadley’s decision to resign from the Senate was prompted by his inability to wrest the championship from Biting in the chamber’s annual Delusions of Grandeur Tournament.
Now, it seems, Senator Joe may be contemplating another shot at the presidency. The March 13 edition of The New Yorker carried a long piece on Biden, which declared among other things that:
...Biden and Kerry are also rivals—for primacy among the forty-four members of the Democratic caucus in the Senate and, presumably, for the Party’s Presidential nomination in 2008 as well.
Part of the setup for this was the following assessment:
At sixty-two, Biden has a cheerful vanity and an exuberant restlessness that make him seem far younger. Since the election, he has become a leader of a modest-sized faction—“the national-security Democrats,” in the words of Richard Holbrooke, an ambassador to the United Nations under President Clinton—that includes the most hawkish members in the Democratic Party. Among them are Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, the former Vice-Presidential candidate John Edwards, Senator Evan Bayh, of Indiana, and Governor Bill Richardson, of New Mexico, along with a number of Clinton Administration foreign-policy officials, now in exile at think tanks scattered about Washington.
The New Yorker piece demonstrates his "muscularity" in matters of foreign affairs with anecdotes like the following:
“The decision to go to war was the right one,” Biden said recently, “but every decision they’ve made since Saddam fell was a mistake.” In particular, Biden blames Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld for the troubles of postwar Iraq—for the Abu Ghraib torture scandal, for the failure to anticipate an organized insurgency, and for the difficulties encountered in the training of Iraqi soldiers. He told Condoleezza Rice, at her confirmation hearing, “For God’s sake, don’t listen to Rumsfeld. He doesn’t know what in the hell he’s talking about on this.”
In proof of just how upset Biden was over the Abu Ghraib affair, the official record shows that the senior senator from Delaware voted against the nomination of Alberto Gonzalez as attorney-general, presumably because he regarded it as unconscionable to humiliate known and suspected terrorists in an American theater of war.
We can surmise how impeccable his judgment of such matters is from his remarks about -- of all things -- the subpoenas issued to major league baseball players. Reuters reported on March 17:
The witnesses include ex-slugger Jose Canseco, who alleges widespread use of steroids in the game despite claims to the contrary by Major League Baseball.
Democratic Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware
acknowledged there was
very little Congress could do, but said lawmakers should "embarrass the
living hell out of these people."
It's apparently okay for Joe Biden to embarrass "the living hell"
out of American citizens, while it's impossible to discover any
mitigating circumstances for U.S. troops to humiliate and embarrass
enemy combatants who may be conspiring against their lives.
Biden can be eloquent in defense of his party, and in his criticism of President Bush, but his friends worry that his verbal indiscipline will sabotage any chance he might have to win the Democratic Presidential nomination in 2008.
Verbal indiscipline. Okay. The piece goes on to cite as an example a convoluted tale of he said/he said regarding Biden's unflattering characterization of Kerry's response to the Bin Laden tape released just prior to the the 2004 election. But here's the funny part. The New Yorker also apparently played accomplice to another episode of "indiscipline" embedded within the Kerry anecdote that says far more about who Biden is as a person than anything else in the article. Here's the quote:
“That night, I got off that trip, from Scranton, I got off the
plane, Wilmington airport, only private aircraft, get off, pick up a
phone, call a local place called the Charcoal Pit before it closes.
They have great steak sandwiches and a milkshake. Triple-thick
milkshake. And I hadn’t eaten. I’m going to pass it on the way home.
They’re literally sweeping the floors. A woman, overweight, forty years
old, a little unkempt, had a tooth missing in the side, not in the
front”—he showed his flashing white teeth, to demonstrate—“walks up to
me to give me my steak sandwich. ‘Senator Biden, I’m so glad you’re
here. I’ve got a problem.’ And I take out a piece of paper, maybe
Social Security for her mother, and she said, ‘I heard you’re for
Kerry.’ And she said, ‘You’re so strong and he’s so weak.’
Biden looked at me, to make sure I understood what he seemed to
think was a point of considerable nuance. “I’m gonna tell you why I’m
going to vote for someone,” he said, addressing the woman of the story.
“Look, you’re working here tonight. If the Republicans have their way,
you won’t get paid overtime. When you stay here tonight, you’re already
closed. Besides that, what they want to do with your health care.” Then
he quoted what the woman had replied: “But you’re so strong, and he’s
so weak. And President Bush—he seems strong.”
Once again, I'm going to intervene here with a personal perspective.
The Charcoal Pit is a real place, situated just where Biden said it
was. Here's a picture of it.
By implication, the woman in the story is also real. "A woman, overweight, forty years old, a little unkempt, had a tooth missing in the side, not in the front”—he showed his flashing white teeth, to demonstrate—“walks up to me to give me my steak sandwich."
Here's the nub. Biden doesn't care who he embarrasses, patronizes, slanders, or humiliates. For his transparency in that, he is a walking joke and he will never become President of the United States. And I hope the good woman of the story puts something nasty in his next steak sandwich.
The Department of the Obvious
Today brought a news item that I'm sure all us were waiting for with bated breath. Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post reports:
College faculties, long assumed to be a liberal bastion, lean further to the left than even the most conspiratorial conservatives might have imagined, a new study says.
Imagine that! What are we going to do now?
The excellent site called JunkScience.com has started a hilarious new feature. It's a running tote board of the costs of the Kyoto Protocol. You can find it here. Remember when it was all the rage to keep track of the national debt on LED billboards during the Reagan administration. (Well, some of us do.) At any rate, read the whole thing. You'll get a glimpse of the madness that can be created by the supposedly most brilliant and objective among us -- scientists.
All together now: HORSE LAUGH.
Thank you for donating the time for this little detour into mainstream insanity.