Wednesday, July 13, 2016

When Did It Happen?

     Did anyone notice the date and time when America’s loony bins opened their doors and sent their inmates out to mingle with us? I ask because it’s become obvious that persons with serious defects of reason are running around free and minder-less. In fact, they’re getting to be pretty thick on the ground. It’s getting hard for an ordinary American to stay out of their sights. You can hardly toss a rock into a crowd without, ah, triggering one.

     For example, there was a story either yesterday or the previous day about some reporter for Bloomberg who took quite dramatic exception when the captain of her airliner referred to the stewardesses as “pretty ladies.” Time was, that was considered a compliment. I’m reasonably sure the stews took it that way. Perhaps the reporter felt left out.

     Then we have this inexplicable phenomenon:

     While there are plenty of dumb trends out there, and things that most definitely should be banned from the internet, I have to admit that fish bras aren't exactly a terrible thing. It pretty much involves women posing topless while covering their goods with their catch of the day. So instead of seeing a bunch old dudes posing with ocean life, we get naked women instead.

     No, I’m not going to post the pictures here. But I will offer a word of friendly advice to the practitioners: Ladies, the #FishBra offers no support for your boobage. Use it sparingly – and preferably with bikini bottoms and a large bass.

     What’s that you say? That’s just ordinary everyday Internet-enabled weirdness? True, true; without the World Wide Web – particularly Twitter and photo-sharing sites such as Instagram – the #FishBra wouldn’t be much of a “thing.” But tell me, seriously: Can you imagine any previous era in human history when shapely ladies would even dream of covering their sweater puppies with a large, recently deceased fish? How much longer will it be before this fad spawns its own bizarre variations and I-dare-yous: “Who’ll be first to do it with a live lobster?” Yes, you may well shudder.

     Okay, enough with the #FishBra. Knockers aren’t all that interesting anyway, right? No moving parts. Generally non-operational. Useless for checking your email. But what’s this about carbon fiber as a tool of masculinist oppression of women and the disabled?

     “As a technology of hegemonic masculinity, carbon fibre extends the surfaces of bodies and produces masculinity on and across surfaces, male and female bodies.”...

     “Firstly, carbon fibre can be a site of the supersession of disability that is affected through masculinized technology. Disability can be ‘overcome’ through carbon fibre. Disability is often culturally coded as feminine”...

     “[C]arbon fibre can be a homosocial surface; that is, carbon fibre becomes both a surface extension of the self and a third-party mediator in homosocial relationships, a surface that facilitates intimacy between men in ways that devalue femininity in both male and female bodies.”...

     “To be clear, a homosocial relationship is an intimate friendship between two (or more) men, which is misogynist and which is based on the disavowal of the possibility of their sexual desire for one another.”...

     “Homosociality is triangular; the routing of male homosocial desire and power occurs through the bodies of women, bikes, cars, prostheses. In the triangle’s three points, men occupy two and a woman/cars/bikes/carbon fibre legs the third, but the sides of the triangle are weighted with greater emphasis on the line that forms the relationship between the two men.”

     That’s an actual academic paper, written by an actual academic – a woman, of course – who has apparently been awarded a doctorate in something. It brings to mind this classic line from Stranger in a Strange Land: “But when they began handing out doctorates for comparative folk dancing and advanced fly-fishing, I became too stinkin’ proud to use the title. I won’t touch watered whiskey and I take no pride in watered-down degrees.” Jubal Harshaw would have been unsurprised that doctorates are now being awarded to the insane.

     But perhaps the most startling discovery of the morning is that our Paper of Record is now being operated by the demented:

     Somewhere along the way, the term “government schools” entered the lexicon in place of references to the public school system.... George Lakoff, a linguistics professor at the University of California, Berkeley, has been tracking the trend for decades. He pointed out that the right has been more successful than the left at framing issues related to abortion, health care, labor unions and the concept of government itself, among other issues, with carefully contrived catchphrases: “Tax relief.” “Pro-life.” “The Democrat Party.” “Death panels.” (“Obamacare” was originally an attempt by the right to saddle President Obama with the repercussions of the Affordable Care Act, until he embraced the term himself.)

     Besides coining phrases, Dr. Lakoff said, the right has co-opted certain words — a practice that was demonstrated, he said, in President George W. Bush’s second inaugural address, which used “freedom,” “free” or “liberty” 49 times in 20 minutes. “The right has taken over the words ‘freedom’ and ‘liberty,’” Dr. Lakoff said.

     Why, yes: the Left is opposed to freedom – with the notable exception of the freedom to kill your unborn baby – so those terms are anathema to it, and have passed wholly into the vocabulary of the Right. But let’s not stop short when there’s so much more insanity to come:

     John Locke, a professor of linguistics at the City University of New York, said that in some contexts the use of the word government had a positive connotation: government bonds and government-backed programs, for example. “But among those archconservatives who, by nature or disposition, want less government, it can have a negative effect,” he said.

     He suggested, somewhat tongue in cheek, that swapping “government” for “public” could become a trend, with references to “government libraries,” “government parks” — even “government universities.”

     “It’s austere,” Dr. Locke said. “It has an oppressive ring to it. It sounds rigid, the opposite of open or friendly or charming or congenial. The people who use that term are hoping those words will come to mind.”

     We aren’t hoping those terms will come to mind; they have already come to mind. Indeed, the phrase “government schools,” which is apparently what triggered the reportress who penned this article, isn’t quite good enough to capture the way I and many others on the Right feel about the institutions that impose the “twelve-year sentence” on so many helpless American children. “Mandatory government day-care and indoctrination centers” gets a bit closer.

     (An old gag runs thus: “Marriage is a wonderful institution. Are you ready for life in an institution?” It should be reworded to apply to the “public” schools: institutions over which the parents of the incarcerated no longer have any appreciable control.)

     All the above clearly indicate serious, even disabling defects in the perception and appreciation of objective reality. Yet the persons manifesting those defects are unsupervised and unconstrained. They even possess checkbooks, cars, and computers. No doubt there are common factors among them to be studied. (I would focus first on the voluntary consumption of kale.) Whatever the genesis, the implications for the continued functioning of an advanced industrial-informational society are troubling.

     It’s entirely understandable that our nut-hatch operators could want a break from their duties every so often, but going all King of Hearts on us without giving us any warning is not nice. But then, the insane asylums are mostly run by the government, aren’t they? Perhaps the researchers mentioned in that Times article should give that some thought.


brinster said...

How was the procedure yesterday Francis?

Francis W. Porretto said...

It went much better than I feared, Brin. I'm almost out of pain and in a remarkably good humor this morning -- dampened only slightly by the recognition that my lawn really needs to be mowed.

Anonymous said...

Your mention of abortion 'freedom' (for whom you might ask.. microagressively of course) brought to the forefront a thought that has been knocking around my brain for awhile now.
IF abortion is really all about a woman's 'right to choose' what she does with her body then why are the 'progressives' not advocating the legalization of prostitution? Current law greatly impedes a woman's 'right to choose' a potentially very lucrative economic activity. The left is even more guilty since they are refusing a woman's 'right to choose' in all spheres.
I don't think this is a good idea by a long shot. However, to remain logically consistent then this makes perfect sense. As I type the last sentence however I realized the combining the terms 'the left' and 'logically consistent' is a non-sequitur.