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Meet radical feminism’s cheerleaders

To understand just how cynical, divisive and mean-spirited radical feminism has become, look no further than the commentary section of Feminist Current.  An article written by Meghan Murphy, the website’s founder and editor, provides a scathing critique of Dennis Hof, the now deceased owner of the Moonlite BunnyRanch,™  a legal brothel in Nevada.  Hof gained notoriety on HBO’s ‘Cathouse,’ a reality television series about his business.  From Murphy’s perspective, however, death was not good enough for the likes of Dennis Hof, someone whose sins went unpunished. “I am never relieved when evil men die,” she admits.  “Rather, I feel angry—ripped off.  Those men never got their comeuppance.” Her vengeance instinct is widely shared by avid supporters of Feminist Current, especially those who participate in the online discussions.  Take, for instance, Therealcie.  This commentator celebrated Hof’s death and, like Murphy, felt he had not received his just deserts: “Ding dong, the douche is dead…. It really doesn't feel as if justice was served.  He seemed to live his reprehensible life with no repercussions.”  Cleetus Joe was overjoyed with Hof’s passing: “This is the best news I have ever heard! wow you really made my day.”  Another Murphy loyalist, Wren, was even more ecstatic: “I was thrilled to find out he died.” Murphy follows the radical feminist script to the letter.  Prostitution is a form of “patriarchal oppression” in which women are little more than “sex dolls,” exploited to “suit men’s fantasies.”  Like conditioned subjects of a Pavlovian dog experiment, the faithful readers of Feminist Current drool over every word fed to them by Murphy.  Lady R agreed that decriminalizing prostitution was morally equivalent to “legalizing slavery.”  Ik was adamant that “men who work in or solicit women in the prostitution industry are abusive and exploitative no matter how ‘nice’ a john… Read More

Christmas, Physics, and Time

Charles Dickens, left, and Werner Heisenberg, right.   I just turned turned eighty, and so recall many very different Christmases. The childhood ones were much enjoyed, but their religious meaning was, I’m afraid, almost entirely lost on me. At school in Calgary from 1944 to 1956, my fellow students and I all daily recited the Lord’s Prayer and heard our teachers read a passage from the King James Bible, and all of us, of widely mixed origins, were mostly respectful, but nearly all of us thought of these morning devotions as unquestionable but little pondered, like being required to obey traffic lights. I knew one or two more reverent students in every year, but they were always the exception. I changed my mind completely in my late teens, drawn by a close friend into duplicating his own switch from our blandly modernist United Church upbringing to Calgary’s High Anglican Cathedral. Unlike my friend, who became a member, I did not undergo a full religious transformation, remaining something of a soapbox atheist. But I was emotionally moved by the beautiful English of the Book of Common Prayer, the solemn processionals, the flute-like voices of the little boy sopranos, and the works of Bach performed by the organist and the choir. Christmas was especially wonderful, with familiar carols sung in harmony, and also lovely older ones. I began to realize that religion had dimensions I had never imagined. I was also just beginning to learn something of philosophy, from Plato and Aristotle to Bertrand Russell. The Cathedral happened to be just across the street from the local Salvation Army Citadel, which bore outside a permanent placarded message: ‘Jesus Christ: The same yesterday, today, and forever.’ I had walked past it without interest for years, but now began to see it differently. I also… Read More

Waiting for the Next Black Swan

[caption id="attachment_8109" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Gaming dice[/caption] I witnessed two events in my childhood which have affected how I have understood the world lifelong. The first happened when I was six, living in a house in Calgary, on a small dead end street, lined with poplar trees, close to the hill sloping down to the Bow River. It was May 9, 1945, VE-Day, marking the end of the Second World War in Europe. As part of the celebration, a daredevil and decorated Calgary pilot twice flew his famous 'F-for-Freddie' Mosquito bomber right down our street, so low that the twin propellers chopped leaves off the treetops. It had been part of an equally amazing low flying display all around the city. I and every kid on the street were out under the poplars, thrilled to the marrow. But we were all devastated, only a day later, when we learned that the plane had crashed, killing the pilot and crew, due to one last deadly stunt tried just before landing. I learned more about this double event year by year (there is a fully detailed account at http://www.bombercommandmuseum.ca/s,freddie.html). By the time I was twelve and an avid reader, I knew that the Mosquito was one of the most brilliantly-designed, fast, and versatile aircraft of the war. I had also met a former Mosquito pilot, who told me that, while pilots loved the plane, landings were often nerve-wracking, as it landed 'very hot' at well over 100 mph. By my teens, I also reflected that the pilot might have been exhausted, perhaps – who could blame him? – nursing a hangover, or perhaps just caught by a deadly cross wind. But anyway, on what was to be one last daring flyover before landing, his plane clipped a pole on the ground,and immediately crashed,… Read More

The misconceptions of anti-postmodernists

Anti-postmodern commentaries are certainly in vogue these days.  Whether penned by conservatives or reactionary leftists, these opinion pieces all support the same general premise:  postmodernism poses an insidious threat to society.  In a recent Quillette publication, Velvet Favretto is the latest to parrot misconceptions surrounding postmodernism.  According to Favretto, postmodernism erodes truth, undermines core Western values, and creates an atmosphere of intolerance on post-secondary campuses.  All three assumptions are highly suspect.   Myth #1: Postmodernism Undermines Truth  First, postmodernism does not impair our ability to negotiate truth.  What postmodernism says is that we only have access to the material world through human descriptions of it.  Since none of us come equipped with a God’s-eye point of view, we make do with our own vocabularies to explain reality, such as those established in law, science, philosophy, ethics, sociology, etc.  Because these vocabularies offer different perspectives, various groups compete to determine standards for truth.  That said, claims still require the marshalling of evidence to test their legitimacy; therefore, truth cannot be established by fiat or by mere opinion. Favretto distorts postmodernism’s essence by taking it to absurd extremes.  Referencing American public intellectual Stanley Fish, she insists that postmodernism “relieves me of the obligation to be right,” adding: “you don’t have to be right, because right and wrong don’t exist.”    If we accept Favretto’s premise, the difference in agendas between Hitler and Gandhi is argumentative.  Likewise, no qualitative distinction exists between the rhetorical eloquence of Martin Luther King Jr. and the rantings of a Tiki torch-wielding white nationalist.  It’s a red herring that no one in the arts or humanities takes seriously. Because postmodernism rejects grand narratives, Favretto assumes that there are “no grounds on which to say that any interpretation is superior to any other.”  There may be no ultimate grounds, but… Read More

The Treacherous Escalators of Sex and War

Over the last fifty years, relations between men and women, and relations between potentially warring states, have both been going through major changes. Sexual ones have come about mainly for cultural reasons, the strategic ones due to political and technological forces, but with a metaphorical parallelism. Both developments display widespread acceptance of a series of escalating steps, based on empirical observation and rational calculation, but also obscured by a fog of unrecognized possibilities, even the hint of 'other escalators'. Past 'steps' remain part of the psychological furniture of both the sexes and the strategists. Until the late years of the tumultuous 1960s, the central preoccupation of the majority of people in sexual relations was engaging in steps (even if a lot fewer than a hundred years earlier) in 'courtship' and its successful conclusion in marriage and parenthood. Full sexual intimacy often came first, but was largely 'pre-marital'. Non-marital intercourse was acceptable for single young males, but only for unusually adventurous upper-class women who did not fear social stigma, or for prostitutes or near-prostitutes. Otherwise, a socially powerful code for 'ladies' and 'gentlemen', while often violated, almost provided the very definition of middle-class life. International relations of the same era were dominated by the experience of the two World Wars and the Cold War that followed, by the predominant power of the U.S. and U.S.S.R., and by the existence of nuclear bombs, soon joined by lightning-like missile delivery. The weapons kept evolving, but as competitive threats, not for practical employment. Their awful destructiveness meant that even the most hawkish political and military leaders had to regard the escalator as one that must never be climbed to its top, with as few states as possible being allowed to set foot on the steps. This was not fully realized at first. Both the… Read More

Millenial Media Moguls: Doing the convention circuit like a pro with Barabara Dunkelman

I love Cons. Awesome Con, like all the rests, sparks fervor among it’s attendees like any other, to the point where it seemed as if most of the neighborhood had been taken over by costumed characters of every description. Having been to so many I can say authoritatively, these types of cons are usually about 90% similar to each, which is something I enjoy, but awesome con turned up the awesome in a myriad of ways. Near the front of the convention center there two huge areas for gaming, one for table top and one with video games of all types set up for fans to enjoy. The show floor was as replete with comics and other memorabilia as any I’ve seen with some extra guests as well. Booths set up by NASA, National geographic and the CIA rubbed up against those giving out 5-hour energy bottles and trying to sign up guests to a Dungeon and Dragons themed bed and breakfast. However a special highlight for me was that as part of my Awesome Con coverage I was lucky enough to get a chance to chat with the ever effervescent Barbara Dunkelman of Rooster teeth productions. Rooster teeth is a web video and community website which boasts the longest running web series of all time: Red vs Blue. Started back in 2003 in founder Burnie Burns’s living room, over the last decade and a half Rooster teeth has grown into a behemoth of web video production with hundreds of employees working on tons of different projects across tons of genres. Barbara Dunkelman An Ottawa native, Dunkelman moved to sunny Austin Texas back in 2011 to work as Rooster Teeth’s community manager and has since risen to be their Director of Social and Community marketing as well as on camera… Read More
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