Linky Friday: Circuit Courts

Crime:

[Cr1] En route to talking about ecigarette regulation, Carl V Phillips talks about cops and drug dealers and how they do would, and do, communicate.

[Cr2] Damn if this isn’t the most surefire get-out-of-relationship-free card I’ve ever heard of.

[Cr3] In Mexico, the drug wars have reached the capital.

[Cr4] New York is working on ways to catch illegal guns. Enforcing the laws on the books is good, though “radioactive to ever pick up a gun” is possibly concerning.

[Cr5] Must suck to be ratted out by your own parrot.

[Cr6] Blessed be, it looks like there are some limits to how much we’re going to indulge sex offender registries.

Law:

[L1] Should parents lose their children due to low IQ? Presumably there is a brainpower threshold below which they cannot take care of their children, but I’d think it would be lower than this.

[L2] It’s hard to express the many ways in which this is a bad idea.

[L3] People don’t believe me when I tell them stuff like this happens. The laws have improved since Reason shined a spotlight on the issue a long time ago, but there’s still work to go.

[L4] Sex, it would seem, matters to older women too.

[L5] The proposed Israel boycott law may not be quite as bad as advertised. {More}

[L6] Ahhhh, brevity.

Science:

[Sc1] Science is having a reproducibility problem, but these nine cognitive psychology findings have withstood the scrutiny.

[Sc2] Why does mister scientist hate science?

[Sc3] Related, Eric Armstrong wishes that Democrats weren’t so anti-science. The previously linked to statistics on Republicans and Democrats and science have been updated.

[Sc4] Michael Rosenblatt and Sachin Jain are worried that conflict-of-interest rules are doing more harm than good.

[Sc5] Oh, crap, I’m screwed.

[Sc6] The Angry Chef is mad at bad science.

Technology:

[Te1] A serious look at Trump’s solar border wall.

[Te2] Microsoft Paint is soon to be no more. Download Paint.net.

[Te3] Oh, wonderful. Okay, voluntary… but who would do this? And, of course a prison vendor

[Te4] Points to Steve Jobs, who called this a long time ago.

[Te5] In our post-labor future, drugs and video games may be our savior.

[Te6] This is like a modern day Jules Verne novel.

[Te7] We are a wretched and sinful people. Well, half of us.

Education:

[Ed1] Some more marginal STEM majors might do well to switch to the business major.

[Ed2] Wow, this is a monumental screwup. It’s never going to be exactly right, but that’s a lot of slots.

[Ed3] A new study says that whites and Asians look at education differently.

[Ed4] I think… some people desperately want this to be true.

[Ed5] Kellan Monroe argues that the conservative war on liberal campus politics has backfired.

[Ed6] Dante Ramos isn’t a huge fan of Betsy DeVos, but is hopeful that she can fix the mess Obama made. {More}

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Will Truman is a former professional gearhead who is presently a stay-at-home father in the Mountain East. He has moved around frequently, having lived in six places since 2003, ranging from rural outposts to major metropolitan areas. He also writes fiction, when he finds the time. ...more →

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169 thoughts on “Linky Friday: Circuit Courts

  1. Cr4: I can’t understand how police fail to get “felon in possession” and the like convictions, unless the NYPD has been caught planting guns on suspects so many times… Hey, you know what would help here, body cams!

    L1: This seems like something that would fall under the ADA?

    SC2: Technically this is Mr. Statistics hates scientists who use p-hacking & other shenanigans to appear significant.

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    • Cr4: I wondered this too, but the article links to another piece that says:

      Proving the former is fairly easy when the illegal gun is found tucked in a waistband or secured in an ankle holster, says David LaBahn, president of the National Association of Prosecuting Attorneys. But such clear-cut busts are also rare, he says.

      The farther the gun from the body, the easier it is for defense lawyers to raise doubts about who actually possessed the weapon. A gun jammed into the pocket of a jacket? The arrestee could say he grabbed the wrong jacket at a party, Le Bahn says.

      “The most common gun case,” Le Bahn says, “is the gun in the car, it’s not lying there in plain site. It’s under a seat. It’s in a glove compartment.” The person nearest to the weapon can say he’s just a passenger, and has no idea where the gun came from.

      Still, seems like a higher standard than is generally employed with drug contraband cases.

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      • Exactly. Drug cases, it seems that if the drugs are within easy reach, they’re yours.

        I mean, I get that felon in possession does mean the gun must be in possession, but drug cases seem to have made that definition pretty loose, so I’m confused why it’s an issue.

        Honestly, I’m still convinced that the lack of gun convictions is less about evidence and more about incentives. LE/DAs get credit and financial support from the federal government for drug convictions, but not guns, so if I got a case where drugs and guns are involved, I have an incentive to plea away the gun crime and secure the drug conviction.

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  2. Sc5: they don’t mention that people with that trait get tons of extra work dumped on them because it’s known they’ll finish it. It doesn’t mention that yes, the perception of us is as boring drones, as sheep, as those people who got told crap in school by classmates like ‘yeah, but Einstein was a **C** student’ and “well, we’re all getting the same grade on this group project, and you’re the one who cares about grades, so….I’m gonna let you do it all”

    I’m not even convinced we live longer; I think it just SEEMS longer because we’re playing clean-up on tasks others should have done but did not.

    And in adulthood, at least, the creative but disorganized people get celebrated. (And also get dates: “manic pixie dream girl” is a thing for a reason)

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    • filly,
      Oh, for the love of god, relax. At least you don’t have to watch your colleagues die for lack of conscientiousness (no, this isn’t hyperbole. The difference between a spy and an assassin is how many fuckups someone on your team has committed today).

      (and yes, I do get all the bitching about group projects. I hated group projects.)

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    • A friend of mine distinguishes between “childish” – which is something we generally don’t like – and “child-like” – which is something we cherish in adults.

      That is, there’s nothing wrong with conscientiousness. And it is possible to layer a sense of playfulness and fun on top of that.

      I know about all the hurts you are describing here, there’s even a male analogue to the “manic pixie dream girl” who seems to be the idea of attractiveness to some.

      Nevertheless, my conscientiousness has, in the end, served me well. And, so has my ability to be playful and fun when there’s no harm in it.

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          • — After a brief look-through, I can see how the first linked article is on-point, but not so much the second. However, the first measure outcome, not attraction. Which is to say, we might simply be seeing the result of more risk-tolerant dating strategies. Simply put, those with “impulsive non-conformity” might simply ask more people out, and thus get more dates even if they do not “come across as cooler.”

            They did note that those successful in the art business did better than average, but that is unsurprising. Fame is fame. I would also expect famous athletes do better than average, along with newscasters and televangelists. (Although the latter might be hesitant to admit it.)

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            • Yeah, separating outcome from causation is a place where sociobiology often fails. It’s actually one of my very least favorite things about sociobiology/evolutionary psych as a field. Although I can see someone who did like the hypothesis might argue that “impulsive non-conformity” and “unusual experiences” are necessary (albeit not sufficient) factors in coming across as “cooler”….

              The 2nd link was meant to complicate things, not to further support them, mostly because I find the hypothesis annoying (hence my use of the word “but”).

              However, if you google human mate choice creativity you will find many many scholarly articles that agree with Lee wrt outcomes if not reasons. So I’m not sure it’s super really a “citation needed” kind of statement. It might be a “real science needed” kind of statement…

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              • — Given the long history of men controlling the sexual behavior of women, along with the contemporary “nice guys finish last” discourse, I think we’re justified in demanding a high threshold of evidence before accepting these claims.

                That said, if someone suggested a correlation between a high tolerance for risky behavior and an increased number of sexual partners, then I would not object. That is almost certainly true. In fact, I suspect it is true of women as well as men. After all, going home with that big strong dude at the end of the night is pretty darn risky.

                Other things I would expect to positively correlate with number of sexual partners: general attractiveness, going to nightclubs, public drinking, etc. These things would be unsurprising. Furthermore, I doubt they are particularly gendered.

                That’s quite different from saying, “Hey, see that socially desirable trait. Men (specifically men) who have that trait do badly with women.” There is almost always a sexist subtext to such claims. They need to be unpacked.

                Regarding your first link, it defines sexual success in terms of number of sexual partners. That is fine, I suppose. I’m not sure I could come up with a better metric, at least for a small-scale study such as this. But still, is that really our main concern? If some guy hooks up with fifteen women instead of thirteen, does that really matter?

                In the article they also measured length of time in relationships. For this latter variable, they detected no correlation between it and schizotypal personality traits, likewise for creative activity.

                Hmmm. Perhaps stable people make stable partners.

                How do we measure success?

                In fact, I would expect the risk-tolerant behaviors to be negatively correlated with length of relationships, inasmuch as risk tolerant people are probably more likely to “step out” or otherwise fuck things up.

                So [citation needed] I guess. I did a quick Google, and it appears that “risk tolerance” is mostly a term that economists use, and not so much psychologists. Well fine. I could probably find something relevant in terms of attachment theory. Also, there is a lot here to look through, if one were so inclined.

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                • I guess my point is that there’s a big difference between [citation needed] and [quality citations needed] (aka in this case [real science needed]).

                  I actually think the latter is more important than the former, but if you go around [citation needed]ing in the vicinity of a librarian, expect to get some eyerolls if it’s trivially easy to find a crapload of citations.

                  If ONLY there being citations had a stronger correlation with there being quality research of any kind behind the citations…

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                • Veronica, can you answer something I’ve been wondering about? Why should I support a romantic system, for lack of a better word, that is causing me to miss out on everything. I’m in my mid-thirties and have been rejected my entire life. Meanwhile, nearly everybody else I know my age is married with kids or coupled st least. Why should some people, including myself, get the raw deal?

                  What’s your offer? I’m not really in a mood to be generous anymore. I’ve waited long enough. It’s my time.

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                  • — What do you mean by “support”? As far as I can tell, no one is asking you to “pay into” the system, inasmuch as you don’t have to buy a premium account on OkCupid or Tinder if you don’t want to. You don’t need to post your profiles. You can ignore the sites completely. Likewise, you don’t need to provide anything to singles bars or nightclubs. You can avoid Craigslist. You can forgo speed dating meetups. You can refuse to “friend” single women on Facebook — unless of course they seem like useful professional contacts. You are not required to ask anyone out. You do not need to smile at women, hold doors for them, or any such thing, should you choose to do otherwise — although I would suggest you practice basic civility to all people regardless of gender, inasmuch as the latter is less about the “romantic system” and more about not being a jerk.

                    So who is asking you to support what?

                    Myself, I am asking for less sour grapes and more empirical accuracy, particularly when making claims that have historically been used to justify sexual slavery and “corrective rape” — which remain real issues for women in the world. Sexually insecure men continue to abuse and murder women, justifying this behavior according to their lack of sexual access. Even today there is a clear correlation between the Pepe-loving, “kekified” segment of the alt-right and sexually frustrated men. When you repeat their talking points, I will notice the connection — just as you are quite prepared to notice subtle connections to anti-semitism.

                    Yes, if you look at people (both women and men) who have a large number of sexual partners, you’ll tend to see risk-taking behaviors, high levels of extroversion, and really great cheekbones. Fine. But so what? I also know plenty of people, men and women, who are more restrained in their style and appearance, who hit a median point of attractiveness, who lack neck tattoos, but who nevertheless find fulfilling romantic relationships. I know a lot of people like that. Most people I know are like that. They didn’t get boundless sex in their early twenties, never mind high school, but they figured it out and made it work in their late twenties, early thirties, like most people do. Looking at the statistics, people like you are very rare.

                    Which sucks for you. But still, these are not grand trends — outside the fever dreams of the “manosphere.”

                    So again, who is asking you to support what? What does that even mean?

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                    • By support, I mean ideological agreement. As far as I can tell from different internet threads, the sex positive faction seems to expect that all right thinking people agree with it on all points. This isn’t any different than most other ideologies but they can get particularly brutal with people who disagree with them.

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                      • — In other words, “People disagree.”

                        Look, there is a pretty thin line between criticizing sexual politics and criticizing a person’s relationships, inasmuch as, for many of us, our relationships are unavoidably political.

                        Which sucks. I never wanted to be a “divisive issue,” but here we are.

                        I’ve encountered version of “sex positivity” that are somewhat pushy or demanding. For example, the asexuality crowd talks a lot about how they feel pressured in queer spaces. Likewise, most poly spaces will have at least one person saying “poly rules mono drools,” or some such thing. It’s not admirable. It is far better to see relationship styles as personal things.

                        Do as you will. All are welcome who welcome all. Etcetera.

                        The personal is sometimes the political, but gosh we need room to breathe.

                        Anyway, if you go around saying, “I’m not getting it so you should feel bad cuz you’re getting it” — well good luck with that. Likewise if you go around with the “nice guys finish last” schtick, or any version of “women are doing it wrong,” where that “wrong” is always “sleeping with men who are not like me.”

                        Blah. People sleep with other people for all kinds of dumb reasons — and occasionally for really amazing reasons. It’s messy and complicated. But the various flavors of “nice guys” criticisms are almost never insightful.

                        Except perhaps “Looks matter more than most people want to admit.” That one seems true. Halo/horns is real.

                        The trick: be as good looking as you possibly can.

                        All the same, you’ll still need a personality, unless you look like this or this.

                        (I’m not saying those two don’t have personalities. I’m just saying, they could get away with a lot.)

                        #####

                        On you follow up post, it’s not “FYIGM” because sex is not a commodity and women are not things.

                        I don’t “got mine.” I share something with others, freely given.

                        #####

                        Sure, I suppose it’s “natural” that you’d feel sour grapes. It is also “natural” that happy people will find you tedious as fuck. So now that everyone is behaving “naturally” … what happens next?

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                        • I’ve seen this, too. And the initial hyper-selectiveness on the part of a lot of women initially frustrates the hell out of me. Then I remember the bear. I’m not a big guy, but it’s very unlikely that if I choose poorly a woman to meet up with, I’ll end up being raped. The dynamic is emphatically not symmetric. It’s frustrating when I without malice aforethought say something that is triggering, but the triggering is a real thing. Remember the bear – in our culture, women who are out there in public have to never be unaware.

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                          • I’m not exactly sure if this is what Jaybird was saying. Jaybird’s comment about “guys under 6’2″” wasn’t about women facing greater danger by making a wrong romantic choice, which is true, it was about hypocrisy. I.e. the critique that men should be more open about dating non-conventionally attractive women, i.e. see Kimmi’s advice, while insisting they just can’t date short men.

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                            • Lee,
                              I want to just say that I am ideologically consistent on this one.
                              Since you’re the one complaining, I’m giving you advice… but if a woman was all “I can’t date short men” — I’d be all like “Well, there’s your problem!”

                              I feel really, really bad for the folks like Michael J. Anderson who despite being a TV star really can’t get chicks. And he’s not a dwarf — his genes would have him grow to normal height, it’s just his fragile bones kept breaking. A lot.

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                          • I appreciate that women are far more physically vulnerable in the interaction.

                            But I was making a joke about the whole “people who don’t think I’m attractive need to be more open-minded while people that I don’t think are attractive are people who shouldn’t even try to date me” thing.

                            Which was neither an attempt to start a conversation about how people are obliged to date people that they don’t find attractive nor an attempt to start a conversation about date rape or domestic violence.

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                    • And I’m not asking for a high number of romantic/sexual partners. I am just really tired of being single at this point and it feels like the universe is screaming at me “FYIGM”. Having to go out and out with repeated rejections tends to be extraordinarily emotional draining. Or as one friend put it after one particularly brutal disappointment that my face looked like somebody I was really close to died. I’ve experienced nearly all of the pain of romance but not really any of the joy yet.

                      So quite frankly based on my experiences, I think being cynical and feeling sour grapes is pretty damn natural. When you experienced rejection your entire life, you shouldn’t be damned for feeling lonely or wanting a lucky break.

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                      • I’m not sure anyone is saying you shouldn’t be bothered by it. But walking around all bothered is likely to be self-defeating.

                        Also, there is a very uncomfortable sense of entitlement coming through in your comments here.

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                  • Relationships aren’t transactions. There’s no queue, no place to put your money in, no guarantee of service.

                    Nobody owes anyone anything, relationship wise.

                    And acting like they do — like you’ve pressed the button, the machine should dispense you a SO, or that it’s your turn in line, is pretty self-defeating.

                    You really do seem to have a transnational theory of romance. I mean I feel for you, but your complaints about it seem to have a whiff of “I’ve filled out the proper forms, I’ve taken the steps, why won’t the world dispense me a SO” which is…not helping you.

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                    • I think he was just sold a bill of goods.

                      Be a good person, have a good job, follow the rules, and you’ll find someone.

                      We all know that this is bullshit, of course.

                      But there were a lot of people out there that were told this and they did what they could to be a good person, get a good job, follow the rules, so on, and, as it turns out, they did not get that good person they were promised while, at the same time, they see plenty of really bad people getting good people.

                      At this point the usual tactic is to point out “hey, if you’ve got a bad attitude, that means that you’re not *REALLY* a good person and you’re not *REALLY* following the rules!” but… well, if I believed that the world was fair, I’d probably have more sympathy for the counter-arguments that relied on things working out the way they should.

                      As it is, I think it’s fairly obvious that he did his best to play by the rules as they were explained to him and, as it turns out, the game is different than how the rules were explained to him and whenever he complains about that sort of thing, he’s accused of being part of rape culture or some bullshit like that.

                      Essentially restating that, hey, be a good person, have a good job, follow the rules, and you’ll find someone.

                      But we know that those aren’t *REALLY* the rules, don’t we?

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                      • As it is, I think it’s fairly obvious that he did his best to play by the rules as they were explained to him…

                        Essentially restating that, hey, be a good person, have a good job, follow the rules, and you’ll find someone.

                        Honestly curious, who made this promise? When? Was it written down? Do you have a link?

                        Was it his mom? Did she promise? His dad? His teachers? Some random guy waving a sign?

                        I’m not trying to be a nitwit. I understand what you mean to say. I just wonder if you realize how preposterous it sounds.

                        I made no promise to him. So far as I can tell, I’ve made such a promise to zero people. Having discussed this with my various friends — cuz you’re not the first dude to drop this awful theory — none of them will admit to having made such a promise. If you think they are lying, then name names.

                        Did television make the promise? Movies? Maybe. I can see it. {Insert here feminist critique of the objectification of women in media.} Did his synagogue? — well I’m not touching that one. Gender relations within Judaism are definitely not a subject on which I am qualified to speak. That said, if they made the promise — well, I have Jewish feminist friends. I’ll leave that to them.

                        Was it random pretty girls at the mall? Did they say, “Hey Lee, if you work hard and get a good job, I’ll date you!”

                        Somehow I cannot picture that.

                        My point: this is a myth. It was always a myth. I guess some people came to believe this dysfunctional sexist crap, that relationships are a transaction, that women are earned through hard work. So yeah, people say this, sexist people.

                        Fortunately for us, women didn’t sign up for this crap deal. In fact, feminist have been railing against this nonsense since before I was born.

                        Women are not things.

                        Short version: men such as you and Lee are exactly what we say you are. Cut it out. It’s unseemly.

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                        • Will you stop trying to have your cake and eat it to? You can not have a society that praises romance and sexuality and expect people having a rough time at it from at least on occasion complaining about their rough time at it while forever silently working on something until things get better or they die. Its a giant FYIGM.

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                          • — My objections to you are specifically about your sexism, not about your loneliness.

                            About which, I’ve explained at length how you are being sexist. I don’t need to repeat all of that. By contrast, comments about loneliness, sadness, and frustration are normal and (I believe) healthy.

                            These are different things.

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                            • v,
                              You are starting to come across as a pretty judgemental person.
                              You’ve previously said that I strike you as a bigot (pretty sure I’m not, just a normal asshole), and that bigots should have their pseudoanonymity unmasked.
                              Do you believe the same thing about sexists?

                              /pretty sure I’m plonked, but still want to know.

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                        • Honestly curious, who made this promise? When? Was it written down? Do you have a link?

                          Let me just point this out. I didn’t say that they made a promise. I said that “he did his best to play by the rules as they were explained to him”.

                          This is an example of my words being twisted.

                          But to answer the question, I immediately have to say that I don’t know who… but I have some good guesses. I’m guessing, though I don’t know, that his parents explained something like this to him. I’m guessing, though I don’t know, that his grandparents might have said something to this effect from time to time. If he goes to Synagogue, I’m guessing, though I don’t know, that his rabbi has said something to this effect from time to time.

                          And if he is immersed in the same pop culture that I am, I’m fairly confident that this is one of the underlying messages in about 70% of “romantic” songs (and don’t get me started on the romcoms that get play in the theater).

                          “When?”

                          If it’s the parents, I’m guessing during childhood. Ditto for the grandparents and rabbi. “Constantly” is the answer for the whole “pop culture” thing.

                          “Was it written down?”

                          I can’t say for the people who know him in his real life, but in the case of songs, I betcha that by using the seek function on your radio, you can probably find one playing right now. If you wait an hour, I can guarantee that one is going to play in that time frame.

                          Do you have a link?

                          Well, the best example to come to mind is the most cynical example of such a song, like, *EVER*.

                          Alanis Morrissette’s “Head Over Feet”

                          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iBgP44KEf3Q

                          Damn, that’s a cynical song. Well played, Alanis. Well played.

                          Was it his mom? Did she promise? His dad? His teachers? Some random guy waving a sign?

                          I answered this above but I wanted to point out that you used the word “promise” again despite my not using that word.

                          That another example of my words being twisted.

                          I made no promise to him. So far as I can tell, I’ve made such a promise to zero people. Having discussed this with my various friends — cuz you’re not the first dude to drop this awful theory — none of them will admit to having made such a promise. If you think they are lying, then name names.

                          I didn’t say that you made him a promise.

                          These are my words being twisted again.

                          Did television make the promise? Movies? Maybe. I can see it.

                          Oh, good. I think it’s important that we agree that it’s possible that someone who was immersed in pop culture might see that these unwritten rules are floating out there. I mean, we can’t even pretend that those unwritten rules aren’t floating out there, no matter how hard we try to deny them.

                          But there is that word “promise” again. A twisting of my words.

                          Was it random pretty girls at the mall? Did they say, “Hey Lee, if you work hard and get a good job, I’ll date you!”

                          See this? “Lee was trying his best to play by the rules as they were explained to him” twisted into a question of whether random pretty girls at the mall made him an offer.

                          My point: this is a myth. It was always a myth. I guess some people came to believe this dysfunctional sexist crap, that relationships are a transaction, that women are earned through hard work. So yeah, people say this, sexist people.

                          Oh, I know that it’s a myth. I know that relationships aren’t a transaction. I know that it takes chemistry and we’re dealing with crazy people who have been damaged by abusive people in their lives and abusive messages in the culture and all that.

                          But that doesn’t change the dynamic in the life of someone who feels that they’ve done what they can to follow the rules as they understand them and then end up with what they feel is a raw deal.

                          This is not me saying that you owe him anything.
                          This is not me saying that anyone owes him anything.

                          Well, we owe each other the courtesy of not being abusive, I suppose. Not twisting the words that others say.

                          But I’m not saying that Lee is owed a girlfriend by the universe.

                          I never said (nor, implied) that the universe owes anybody a goddamn thing.

                          Fortunately for us, women didn’t sign up for this crap deal. In fact, feminist have been railing against this nonsense since before I was born.

                          I didn’t say you did. I wasn’t saying you did.

                          I believe that I said that this, as you put it, “nonsense” was bullshit.

                          I believe that I even went so far to say “But we know that those aren’t *REALLY* the rules, don’t we?”

                          Women are not things.

                          I wasn’t arguing that they were.

                          In fact, I wasn’t talking about women at all.

                          I was talking about Lee.

                          And I found my words twisted.

                          Short version: men such as you and Lee are exactly what we say you are. Cut it out. It’s unseemly.

                          Do these tools that you use work well in person in face-to-face interactions?

                          I don’t think that they translate well to text.

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                          • — So the point is, neither contemporary women nor in particular feminist women have made any specific promises to Lee regarding “hard work for romance,” because certainly if he feels misled he should take that up with those who misled him and not those who did not.

                            I expect if you look at the writing credits for most of those TV shows and movies, you will find they were mostly written by (now older) men, offering false promises to other men.

                            We gals were promised we could “have it all.” We cannot. It can be a bitter pill, but you live the life you get.

                            Of course, I never thought I could “have it all” — which duh obviously. I’m just damn happy with what I have.

                            In any case, a lot of men believe they “followed the rules” but did not get their women-shaped prize. Yes, indeed, and that is a really toxic viewpoint, the problems of which should be pretty obvious to anyone above the age of twenty-five.

                            Regarding Alanis, good grief listen to the rest of the fucking album.

                            (That said, back when JLP first came out, I remember listening to that very song of repeat while I pined away for an unrequited crush. She rejected me. Which, you know, you learn. The lesson: people indeed fall in love, but that does not mean they will fall in love with me.)

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                            • So the point is, neither contemporary women nor in particular feminist women have made any specific promises to Lee regarding “hard work for romance,” because certainly if he feels misled he should take that up with those who misled him and not those who did not.

                              From where I sat, the point was that Lee was acting like someone who was told the rules were a certain way and, it turns out, were a different way.

                              That has nothing to do with anything close to an obligation on anybody’s part.

                              More of the frustration related to the person who worked according to what he thought were the rules.

                              Again: I wasn’t *EVER* talking about your obligations to him. I was only talking about how he might feel given how he was told the rules were played in the first place.

                              As for the people who told him what the rules were? (Let alone the culture?), well. It seems somewhat pathological to blame him for those.

                              He only showed up and started listening to the radio.

                              We gals were promised we could “have it all.” We cannot. It can be a bitter pill, but you live the life you get.

                              Now, for one minute, I’d like you to imagine me telling you, in response to you saying this, that you are who I always thought you were.

                              And then imagine that I told you to stop it.

                              Of course, I never thought I could “have it all” — which duh obviously. I’m just damn happy with what I have.

                              You’re very lucky. Privileged, even.

                              In any case, a lot of men believe they “followed the rules” but did not get their women-shaped prize. Yes, indeed, and that is a really toxic viewpoint, the problems of which should be pretty obvious to anyone above the age of twenty-five.

                              I imagine that they’re painfully obvious to anyone over the age of twenty-five.

                              Well, excepting those who did the whole “just be yourself” thing and ended up married to someone that they considered a life partner for the next, oh, 7 years or so.

                              Everyone else, we can call “unlucky”.

                              If the “unlucky” people complain, we can then go on to call them “toxic”.

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                              • It’s not that the rules are other than what Lee was told. It’s that there are no rules. There may be some “best” or “better practices”, which folks (self included) have offered Lee and perhaps this was misguided.

                                I don’t think is a bad person. I think some of the ideas he expresses regarding dating/romance are discomforting and likely self-defeating with regards to his goal.

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                                • I agree?

                                  I think Lee shoots himself in the foot and engages in habitual self-sabotage (not deliberate… but habitual).

                                  That said, when he complains about his lot in life, the responses that involve accusing him of not understanding that women are people are pretty messed up.

                                  I’ll link to the opening of the SlateStarCodex essay “Radicalizing the Romanceless” because Scott Alexander made a pretty decent analogy:

                                  I recently had a patient, a black guy from the worst part of Detroit, let’s call him Dan, who was telling me of his woes. He came from a really crappy family with a lot of problems, but he was trying really hard to make good. He was working two full-time minimum wage jobs, living off cheap noodles so he could save some money in the bank, trying to scrape a little bit of cash together. Unfortunately, he’d had a breakdown (see: him being in a psychiatric hospital), he was probably going to lose his jobs, and everything was coming tumbling down around him.

                                  And he was getting a little philosophical about it, and he asked – I’m paraphrasing here – why haven’t things worked out for me? I’m hard-working, I’ve never missed a day of work until now, I’ve always given a hundred and ten percent. And meanwhile, I see all these rich white guys (“no offense, doctor,” he added, clearly overestimating the salary of a medical resident) who kind of coast through school, coast into college, end up with 9 – 4 desk jobs working for a friend of their father’s with excellent salaries and benefits, and if they need to miss a couple of days of work, whether it’s for a hospitalization or just to go on a cruise, nobody questions it one way or the other. I’m a harder worker than they are, he said – and I believed him – so how is that fair?

                                  And of course, like most of the people I deal with at my job, there’s no good answer except maybe restructuring society from the ground up, so I gave him some platitudes about how it’s not his fault, told him about all the social services available to him, and gave him a pill to treat a biochemical condition almost completely orthogonal to his real problem.

                                  And I’m still not sure what a good response to his question would have been. But later that night I was browsing the Internet and I was reminded of what the worse response humanly possible. It would go something like:

                                  You keep whining about how “unfair” it is that you can’t get a good job. “But I’m such a hard worker.” No, actual hard workers don’t feel like they’re entitled to other people’s money just because they ask nicely.

                                  “Why do rich white kids who got legacy admissions to Yale receive cushy sinecures, but I have to work two grueling minimum wage jobs just to keep a roof over my head?” By even asking that question, you prove that you think of bosses as giant bags of money, rather than as individual human beings who are allowed to make their own choices. No one “owes” you money just because you say you “work hard”, and by complaining about this you’re proving you’re not really a hard worker at all. I’ve seen a lot of Hard Workers (TM) like you, and scratch their entitled surface and you find someone who thinks just because they punched a time card once everyone needs to bow down and worship them.

                                  If you complain about “rich white kids who get legacy admissions to Yale,” you’re raising a huge red flag that you’re the kind of person who steals from their employer, and companies are exactly right to give you a wide berth.

                                  Such a response would be so antisocial and unjust that it could only possibly come from the social justice movement.

                                  My problem isn’t with the argument that Lee must be screwing something up and he needs to change. Dude. I know that Lee is screwing something up. He totally needs to change.

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                                  • Lee often asks when he can expect to get his and why he should buy into a system that doesn’t serve him. Pointing out that these are the wrong questions seems reasonable.

                                    And I don’t think he has to change. There are women who would love Lee just as he is. The question is… would he love those women?

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                                    • I don’t disagree with any of that.

                                      Again: My problem isn’t with the argument that Lee must be screwing something up and he needs to change. Dude. I know that Lee is screwing something up. He totally needs to change.

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                                            • Because he put it better than I did.

                                              My problem is with the attitude that says that people who complain about this sort of thing are bad people in the first place and go on to imply that people who complain about this sort of thing don’t see women as people.

                                              Is this where I get asked “Who in these comments has implied that Lee doesn’t see women as people?”

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                                              • Remember earlier when you objected to Veronica twisting your words?

                                                If no one said or even clearly implied that Lee doesn’t see wome as people, then you need to own introducing this particular topic because you wanted to talk about it.

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                                                • In the article JB refers to, Alexander compares guys-who-cannot-get-women with guys-who-cannot-get-jobs. Which, I’m not really sure how to respond to that argument except for an inarticulate screech: WOMEN ARE NOT THINGS.

                                                  Here’s the deal: men like Lee exist. It’s sad. I know it’s difficult (and I have in fact been there, a long time ago, for a decade). But there is nothing that can be done, because sexual coercion is wrong.

                                                  With jobs, housing, public accommodations — these things can (to a degree) be ensured. We treat them (to a degree) as entitlements. If you cannot find any job, we do not say FYIGM. (Well, at least I don’t say that.)

                                                  With romance?

                                                  OMFG. We’re talking about the romantic and sexual freedom of women. We are talking about precisely that thing. We are talking about the rights of women to choose their partners, to follow our own hearts, to make choices based on our own values. We are talking about nothing else. When a man expresses bitterness about that thing — he may not intend to be a misogynist, but the shoe fits damn nice.

                                                  Atwood claims that nothing happens in Handmaid’s Tale that does not have a real-world analog.

                                                  Nowadays we can just swipe left. Men (some men) hate this. They become frustrated, obsessive, needy, and codependent.

                                                  I assure you, the pissy attitudes we gals have with “nice guys” is based on experience. Believe that we are smart and have reasons. Lee is a type we have seen many times.

                                                  For guys trying to date, remember one thing about the odds: you probably find the median woman more attractive than the median woman finds you attractive. (I say this based on anecdote, a few papers I’ve read, plus that one OkCupid blog post that everyone likes linking to.) Is this unfair? Are women wrong?

                                                  Blah! Fuck that. Have you seen men? Have you seen women?

                                                  But still, do your best. Keep in mind, different women have different tastes. Looks matter a lot (more than most people like to admit). But personality matters also. Etcetera, etcetera.

                                                  (Free advice: dating apps are long odds. Work on your meatspace social networks. Myself, I joined a community theater. I’m meeting tons of new people of various genders. Do something like that.)

                                                  And if a guy goes 35 years with zero luck, and if he’s done the “get out there” thing, if he’s not a shut-in — well that’s a lot of women to pass him by, a huge variety, with different tastes, different values, different desires. Not a single one saw him as suitable?

                                                  Hmmm. I wonder if all those women are wrong, or if it’s something about that one guy.

                                                  Self inventory can be hard. Being honest with yourself can be doubly hard.

                                                  Can he build a life worth living?

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                                                  • Alexander compares guys-who-cannot-get-women with guys-who-cannot-get-jobs.

                                                    I don’t think that that’s the comparison.

                                                    I think that he’s comparing people who ask “why haven’t things worked out for me?” with each other.

                                                    He goes into great detail in this in the whole post.

                                                    But there is nothing that can be done, because sexual coercion is wrong.

                                                    We’re not talking about how sexual coercion is the solution to this problem. No one is suggesting such a thing.

                                                    Though, I grant, I can see how someone who sees wealth redistribution as the obvious solution to Dan’s problem would immediately assume that, by implication, that the obvious solution to Dan’s problem scales to the poor sad sack guy’s problem and how dare someone suggest sexual redistribution?!?

                                                    But that’s not where I was going with the comparison. I don’t think that that’s where Scott Alexander was going with the comparison. I’m actually pretty sure that he wasn’t.

                                                    He was comparing the existential feelings that led to asking the question “Why aren’t things working out for me?”

                                                    And, of course, comparing the “HOW DARE YOU ASK THAT?” responses.

                                                    (Paragraphs about Lee)

                                                    Again: My problem isn’t with the argument that Lee must be screwing something up and he needs to change. I know that Lee is screwing something up. He totally needs to change.

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                                                  • Alexander compares guys-who-cannot-get-women with guys-who-cannot-get-jobs. Which, I’m not really sure how to respond to that argument except for an inarticulate screech: WOMEN ARE NOT THINGS.

                                                    I think this is mistaken, in a pretty important way. A job is not a “thing” either — it’s an agreement between an employer and an employee. If you say someone has a right to a job, that means you’re saying that some employer somewhere should be forced to hire that person, at least in the same way that you’re saying Lee wants to force some woman to be with him.

                                                    In other words, you’re arguing in the context of relationships what libertarians argue in the context of other positive right claims — saying you have a right to something that someone else has to provide is tantamount to saying that someone else has to be coerced into serving you.

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                                                    • — The relevant laws don’t say you have to hire that one person who you believe would make a terrible employee. Instead, they say you cannot systematically discriminate based on race or gender or similar things. They have data and reporting requirements. However, (in Massachusetts at least) these requirements only apply for businesses with over 25 employees. For such small businesses, it will be really hard to prove discrimination unless it is blatant.

                                                      I am totally 100% and utterly happy requiring business owners and landlords to give women and minorities an equal shot. To suggest these same principles should apply to intimate relations is literally fucking monstrous and you should feel bad.

                                                      To give further clarification, most public accommodation laws require that landlords rent to minorities without consideration for race or gender. However, they are typically silent in terms of roommates. In other words, if I’m renting out an apartment in a multi-tenant dwelling, I have to give a black family a fair shot. If, on the other hand, I’m renting a room in my apartment, where I’ll share a bathroom and kitchen, then I can be as discriminating as I want.

                                                      This seem reasonable to me. It addresses, if only partly, the very real injustice of real estate redlining without requiring anyone to share their personal living quarters with someone they viscerally object to.

                                                      Myself, I wouldn’t want to share close living quarters with a transphobic asshole. I totally accept that bigots won’t want me as a roommate. Good. From my actually landlord, however, all I require is fairness and professionalism. It’s not too much to ask.

                                                      You might have to share a lunch counter with me, and I with you. This doesn’t mean you have to fuck me. Likewise.

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                                                  • , a lot of the men like me aren’t asking for a woman per se even though a lot of people like treating us as such. What we are asking for is:

                                                    1. The right to complain about it at least occasionally without people treating us like evil monsters that want to do the unspeakable.

                                                    2. To stop being treated as not real men because of our lack of success, which many people even in the sex positive movement do.

                                                    3. To, assuming we ever find somebody, have some understanding of where we come from. The way I see it, society expects men like me to be ready and able to provide whatever is needed to any theoretical partner without complaint. If it is “instant family, just add daddy” than you are supposed to do that. A lot of the advice is don’t be jealous, don’t be resentful, and nobody owes you anything. You have to give and give for whatever you get. That seems very one sided.

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                                                    • Let me be blunt with you on this: Whether or not you believe, in your heart of hearts, that neither life nor women owe you anything romantically, you consistently sound like you believe it.

                                                      Women aren’t telepaths, and people judge actions louder than words. And I’m a freaking clueless guy who is not good with women and about as socially oblivious as can get, and every time you talk about this subject it makes me cringe.

                                                      If this is how you sound and act around women in person, no matter how pure your intentions or how fully you believe that women aren’t objects to be dispensed once you collect the proper plot coupons, I can’t blame them.

                                                      You’re coming across as someone bitter that “women” and “society” have robbed you of your due. That you are owed. That somehow, somewhere, there’s some deep unfairness that singles out you. The whole…air of it…reduces women to objects.

                                                      And bluntly, I’m pretty sure most women find that really off putting.

                                                      It goes back to the ole saw about if everyone you meet is an a**hole, you’re the a**hole. Whatever the problem is, 99.999% change is it’s not women, society, the Western World, SJW’s — it’s you.

                                                      You’re the one commonality in your failed dates, your lack of relationships.

                                                      My honest, hand-to-god, you really seem like a nice fellow in a really rough patch who I’d dearly like to see happier in life (quite seriously, I mean it) is to seek professional therapy.

                                                      You’re bitter, you’re spiraling, and I suspect you’re stuck in a dark place that colors everything you do when it comes to the opposite sex and maybe you should find a real, qualified person to help get you out of the hole you’re in and back on your feet.

                                                      That — more than the right clothes, the right muscles, the right haircut or style — will do you more flipping good.

                                                      Because clothes, looks, fashion, riches — those are superficialities — and to the few women (and men) to whom superficialities are everything, you’re probably really easily outbid. I mean I figure you aren’t a multi-millionaire, for one.

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                                                      • This. I know short people with significant others, I know fat people with significant others, I know poor people with significant others, I know weirdios with significant others, etc.

                                                        I mean, some absurd number of people at a certain age are in long term relationships. I see no evidence this is changing, even in the era of Tinder etc.

                                                        I mean, frankly, New York has always been a special hell for dating. Maybe you need to start swiping in New Jersey or Connecticut or something.

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                                                      • I used to be where Lee is at when I was young. It very much is a social norm thing. Society gives all these signals about doing the ‘right’ thing, and being the morally ‘correct’ person and society will supposedly produce a mate that finds ‘value’ in that.

                                                        It’s the just be a good person and be patient and the right mate will bump into you and be bowled over by your social goodness.

                                                        It’s a repeating theme in books, movies and songs, reinforced by all kinds of culture things. It’s also a bunch of bullshit.

                                                        Being the ‘follow the rules, just by the book social monk’ is a terrible strategy to finding a mate. The whole ‘society provides’ thing isn’t going to work.

                                                        So society is signalling one thing, that is completely different than what most women are going to find subjective value in.

                                                        It is a problem of shit canning years of what was supposed to be social norms and retooling to what the current subjective value of a large portion of the female population wants.

                                                        You know what works, fun. Mischief, pirate like fun, found outside the parameters most people assume is social norm. The worst subjective hell I can think of for a woman to bring upon herself, is a lifelong commitment to an authoritarian monkish husband. No fun what so ever.

                                                        Commitment, there again, a pirate of fun isn’t that worried about commitment, if it happens somewhere down the road well then it happens somewhere down the road.

                                                        A pirate of fun has a low risk of being abusive. After all, if the main goal is fun, then abuse is exactly the opposite of fun. Unless your some kind of sadist, which most women can sniff that out a mile away.

                                                        My life got much better when I took the lion share of social norms put a bullet in ’em and buried them in the backyard.

                                                        That’s why I said to Lee before to be the pirate, don’t be the monk.

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                                                        • Be yourself — don’t put on a facade. In the end, the real you surfaces.

                                                          But yeah, there’s a lot of social norms out there — and it ain’t just men suffering. I’ve lost count of the number of women i know that ended up real bad relationships because of the crap they swallowed growing up.

                                                          And god help me, with my wife a HS teacher I’ve gotten to see how those toxic things start — and how it’s pretty much the same broken pattern on both sides. (“The girl who wants to save the brooding, hurting boy” and “The boy who wants to rescue the fragile, besieged girl” — it ends poorly).

                                                          It’s so easy to get bitter, and then to let that become everything — because growing up, movies and TV and books and everyone told you there were rules and patterns and then you grow up and find there’s not, or at least not the ones anyone told you about.

                                                          And in the end, you have a choice — keep contorting yourself, angrier and angrier, into some mold you think has to work this time or just be yourself.

                                                          At least if you just be yourself, there’s not so much freaking pressure.

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                                                        • At this point, I’m not even sure what is meant by fun and mischief. People in real life have found me funny and charming but not the type of fun person that attracts people romantically/sexually. So while I might be fun, I’m not the right type of fun or something like that.

                                                          My natural inclinations are to be a monk though and I hate pirates. I’m trying to figure out a way to get with somebody that doesn’t make me feel like I’m corrupting some of the things that I really like about myself.

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                                                          • Lee,
                                                            Try the library, and open yourself up to dating either women with kids, or fat chicks.
                                                            If nothing else, you get a nice discussion — and hey, you can always check out some romance books.

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                                                          • Part of it is to find out what fun and mischief are to other people. They have subjective vision on what that is, and each will be different and to different degrees. Even finding out what those things mean to you and how to interface that with others is part of the development.

                                                            I think you are at least aware from this part:
                                                            “People in real life have found me funny and charming but not the type of fun person that attracts people romantically/sexually. So while I might be fun, I’m not the right type of fun or something like that.”

                                                            Some monks are marginally fun, but I don’t think they are fun in the sense that matters for pursuit of a mate. There are reasons that types of ‘nice guys’ finish last.

                                                            If your inclination is to be a monk, then maybe a monastery community thingy is where your headed. Is that what you really want? From your complaints, it’s like you desire something else, something far away from monk or monastery, something intimate with a member of the opposite sex.

                                                            Can you be fun without full corruption of your morality, or whatever it is that you like about yourself? There probably is a balance there somewhere. If your problem is that fun may corrupt your moral authority/standing, that’s another can of worms.

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                                                    • Lee,
                                                      Well, it depends on what you want.
                                                      I think Damon’s comment on “We’re all broken” is on target.
                                                      At this point in your life, the good people are already taken. (Or, more to the point, were taken and now have kids).

                                                      You can choose to work with that, or you can work with the real crazies.

                                                      I mean, I figure you are actually managing to turn down some seriously codependent women who you wouldn’t want to date anyway. They’re out there, right? So, if you aren’t getting a relationship, you’re probably screening them out?

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                                                        • I’m not asking you to defend, explain, or justify words you never said nor beliefs you don’t hold.

                                                          People have been arguing against me as if I held a position I don’t hold. I said, over and over again, what my problem is *NOT*.

                                                          You asked me what my problem *IS*.

                                                          I told you.

                                                          That remains what my problem is.

                                                          Again: I’m not asking you to defend freakin’ *ANYTHING*.

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                                                      • It’s not as if I think he’d get the question wrong on a multiple choice test.

                                                        32. (t/f) Are women people?

                                                        Yeah, he’d mark ‘t’. I’m sure everyone here would.

                                                        That ain’t the point. The point is, this is about cognitive frame and implication. It’s about the adage “one person’s modus ponens is another person’s modus tollens.”

                                                        If women are people, and if relationships are a deeply personal expression of personhood, then can anyone be owed sex?

                                                        I shall quote:

                                                        Veronica, can you answer something I’ve been wondering about? Why should I support a romantic system, for lack of a better word, that is causing me to miss out on everything. I’m in my mid-thirties and have been rejected my entire life. Meanwhile, nearly everybody else I know my age is married with kids or coupled st least. Why should some people, including myself, get the raw deal?

                                                        What’s your offer? I’m not really in a mood to be generous anymore. I’ve waited long enough. It’s my time.

                                                        Emphasis mine.

                                                        “…miss out on everything.”

                                                        In his manifesto, Eliot Roger quipped that puberty is heaven or hell depending on whether girls liked you.

                                                        Fuck that. We didn’t ask for that power, so don’t put that on us. We are each of us capable of higher reason. Yes, you might struggle with difficult emotions, but you remain responsible for your ideological frame. If you assign the role “happiness giver” to women, then you are sexist as fuck.

                                                        Eliot Roger was also severely mentally ill and extensively bullied.

                                                        No one should be bullied.

                                                        Back to Lee.

                                                        “It’s my time.”

                                                        What does that mean exactly? I read it as “I am owed.”

                                                        Owed by whom? “The system”? The system cannot distribute women.

                                                        Well, our system doesn’t distribute women, but if you have half an ounce of perspective, you might understand how women are a bit touchy on the issue. Right? You can get that?

                                                        Is he owed by women?

                                                        Uh, no. We are not things. We are not like shoes or television sets. You cannot “redistribute” us. There are no “equal opportunity” laws on OkCupid.

                                                        Should there be? If you think so, then say so, in plain words.

                                                        (I know you don’t. But still, modus tollens.)

                                                        If access to sex can be fully commodified and compelled, will it only apply to women? Really?

                                                        Say I’m a big hairy gay bear, and say I take a liking to Lee, say he’d make a delightful little cub — now say I’m politically connected …

                                                        Well, we could go further down that road, but let us not.

                                                        Does he have a right to complain? Of course he does. We have a right to respond to his complaints.

                                                        It sucks to be lonely. It is deeply painful. Yes, indeed.

                                                        So what is next? Really, what comes next? What if Lee goes five more years without romance?

                                                        Well, this is a real place with real people. It is in fact the inevitable outcome of lonely men who cannot relate to women. (I wanted to link to r/incels, which is more directly about sexual access. However, that subreddit is locked down currently, which I guess happens from time to time. In any case, the migtows are comparable in attitude.)

                                                        Scott Alexander tried to blame those spaces on women not being sympathetic enough to men.

                                                        Scott can fuck off sideways. Seriously, that’s beyond offensive.

                                                        Which is to say, you can get me to agree that online social justice communities are often suboptimal in our strategic approaches. Like, duh. But still, all you need to form communities such as “mgtow” or “incels” is 1) frustrated people and 2) a feedback loop. There isn’t much that women/feminists/social-justice-techomages/etc. can do to change this.

                                                        Short version: “SJWs” did not “radicalize the romanceless.” We weren’t necessary for that. All that was needed was a bunch of lonely, frustrated men to find each other on r9k and Reddit. (See also.)

                                                        Anyway, we can try to listen and sympathize. Yeah sure. I agree.

                                                        But like, honestly — and seriously listen to this — it’s hard to be a sympathetic ear to a resentful person when you are precisely the target of their resentment.

                                                        This is the “nice guy” dynamic, this is its underlying dysfunction. This is what actually happens when that woman tries to nurture that man.

                                                        Such a man (I mean generically, not necessarily Lee) doesn’t quite want to be nurtured. I mean, he does, but there is a ton of baggage there, all kinds of shitty arrested development and broken masculinity in a toxic stew of badness.

                                                        Sometimes we say, “Just hang in there,” or, “Just be yourself.” We try to encourage, to care.

                                                        But the man continues to stew, to resent, to resent more, because what he really wants is sex, romance, and intimacy. Women either provide that or they do not. For the man, there is nothing else.

                                                        This really happens. It’s as clear as day in the case of Lee.

                                                        So what kinds of social relationships can he form with women, if literally none wish to date him? How can he just “be himself” and in turn build bonds that might grow into something more?

                                                        I have no fucking clue.

                                                        Well, I know things that worked for me, dealing with similar issues. But I cannot force anyone to practice mindfulness, dialectic, and radical acceptance.

                                                        If one truly accepts that sex cannot be owed, that intimacy must be freely given, then you might still experience sadness and frustration, but you’ll experience it very differently.

                                                        #####

                                                        tl;dr — Sexism is probably not why Lee does poorly with women, but it provides the frame within which he conceptualizes this experience, and thus it shapes how he responds. Furthermore, I think this sexist frame is dysfunctional, inasmuch as it limits his capacity to fully accept that romance could never be promised, that loneliness is a plausible outcome for some people, but that one must build a life worth living anyhow.

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                                                        • Well, our system doesn’t distribute women, but if you have half an ounce of perspective, you might understand how women are a bit touchy on the issue. Right? You can get that?

                                                          I totally can see how the argument that women should be distributed is an odious argument. It’s one that should be argued against by anyone with even a shred of integrity.

                                                          I’m not sure that anyone is making that argument, though.

                                                          Even when Lee says:

                                                          Why should I support a romantic system, for lack of a better word, that is causing me to miss out on everything.

                                                          Well, as someone who is in a long-term monogamous relationship with another person, I have to say that there are sizable benefits to being in one that well-exceed merely the sexytime ones. There are mental benefits and emotional benefits, and that’s without leaving the house. If you leave the house, there are cultural benefits too.

                                                          I’d say that being in a (somewhat healthy) long-term relationship with another human being is a very good thing indeed.

                                                          People who have not experienced such a thing are, in fact, missing out. They’re missing out on a hell of a lot.

                                                          I mean, that’s just a fact. There are a handful of outliers who would be mentally and emotionally better off without interacting with another person on a romantic level, but those people aren’t what we’re discussing. We’re talking about someone missing out on a pretty essential human experience and is frustrated by that.

                                                          Arguing against him as if he was saying “WOMEN SHOULD BE DISTRIBUTED AMONG THE LOVELESS” is not fair to him.

                                                          Why? Because he *IS* missing out.

                                                          Complaining that he’s noticed is kind of messed up.

                                                          But like, honestly — and seriously listen to this — it’s hard to be a sympathetic ear to a resentful person when you are precisely the target of their resentment.

                                                          I don’t disagree with this at all.

                                                          I do think that it’s possible to resist the temptation to argue against his position as if he were arguing for the redistribution of women, though.

                                                          So what kinds of social relationships can he form with women, if literally none wish to date him? How can he just “be himself” and in turn build bonds that might grow into something more?

                                                          Again: My problem isn’t with the argument that Lee must be screwing something up and he needs to change. I know that Lee is screwing something up. He totally needs to change.

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                                                          • Obviously he is missing out. Obviously frustration is natural.

                                                            My objection to Lee (and for that matter Scott Alexander) has never been the “I’m frustrated part.” It’s the “nice guys finish last” part. It’s not that they are wrong about missing out, nor the pain that comes from that. Instead, it is because the way they conceptualize their circumstances is precisely sexist. It is because their framing holds implications about women, our subjectivity, the value of female desire, our capacity to feel deeply, and our ability to approach sex and romance on our own terms.

                                                            Logic: if women have these things, then some men will be lonely. For zero men to be lonely, then women cannot have these things.

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                                                            • The “people should find people like *ME* attractive!” is a cri de coeur that doesn’t bug me too much.

                                                              It shows up in a lot of places. I think it’s called “The Labor Theory of Value” in economics. A similar phenomenon exists for women in the romantic marketplace under the heading of “She’s got a great personality!” Hell, the twitters was recently all het up about the argument over whether genital preference was bigoted.

                                                              I’m not saying that I don’t understand the response of “No, we should *NOT* change our norms!” in response to someone arguing “We should change our norms!”

                                                              It’s when we wander into “What you’re *REALLY* saying is that you don’t see women as people!” territory that my dander rises.

                                                              As for the “nice guys finish last” part, given that this does seem to describe a dynamic that does seem to kind of actually exist, the problem seems to be with people noticing.

                                                              I mean, imagine if one of the “she’s got a great personality!” types started complaining about beauty standards. (Let’s assume heterosexuality for the sake of ease.)

                                                              Easy to do, right?

                                                              Now imagine this person being told that beauty standards didn’t exist, she wasn’t entitled to sex from ANYONE, how dare she imply that she should be assigned a boyfriend from central casting, to ask if her mother told her that she would grow up and find someone to love her, and so on.

                                                              Hell, I might even agree that she was entitled to the occasional “Men Are Pigs” (though, probably not “Kill All Men”).

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                                                              • There is an asymmetry between the male and female versions of this, which is revealed if you try to seek out the female equivalent of r/incels or Eliot Roger or the “beta uprising.” Which is to say, this isn’t the same as that, and the differences are important.

                                                                To understand the difference, begin by understanding that women are the sexual target class and men are not. Likewise, understand that traditional relationship roles are built from patterns of dominance and submission. As a result, while I might care about who wants to date me, I care far more about how unwanted sexualization interacts with social power. This works very differently for women versus men.

                                                                What is the male equivalent of “Hooters waitresses”? Do men need to worry about how their sex appeal will affect their careers? Do men get catcalled? How is power-over expressed through requirements of female beauty versus male beauty?

                                                                For an example of how the difference plays out in practice, look at the (female dominated) body positive movement. It’s message: you’re beautiful how you are. Another message:don’t listen to random-ass men (or anyone else) who slag your appearance. Another message: don’t slag people’s appearance. If you’re not interested, just move on without being a jerk.

                                                                For example, this article seems to capture the zeitgeist well enough. The highlight:

                                                                Sometimes I think people are so reluctant to embrace body positivity because they’re afraid, even if they don’t realize it, that they’ll somehow get led into a trap where they have to fuck people they’re not into. But since body positivity is about working toward equity for different kinds of bodies, and about people taking ownership of their own bodies, its principles actually empower people to voice consent (or lack thereof), should they be in a situation that warrants it.

                                                                (Which is a totally different thing than loudly proclaiming what you’re not attracted to outside of such a situation, or shaming other people for what they’re into. Hint: Nobody cares!)

                                                                Bottom line: You can treat people with sensitivity and respect even if you’re not attracted to them, and anyone who attempts to pressure you into romantic or sexual activity under the guise of supposed “body positivity” is wrong, to say the least. And to say more, is an asshole.

                                                                Compare this with the kinds of things you see re-posted on r/niceguys.

                                                                I’ll give you a hint, “nice guys” are not actually nice. They are in fact wickedly unpleasant to deal with.

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                                                                • The few I’ve met in person were, bluntly, liars who didn’t understand why their lies doomed themselves.

                                                                  They literally faked everything. “I’ll act like her friend and then she’ll date me”. So you’re gonna lie about how you feel to her? Then get mad because she believes you? How about just be her damn friend? Or make it clear you want to date her and accept the yes/no result?

                                                                  They are never, ever themselves — they’re always acting. Putting on a front. Lying about what they want, lying how about they feel, and wonder why the run into the same pair of problems: Women thinking they’re something “off” about them and women thinking they just want to be friends and aren’t interested romantically?

                                                                  How the hell do they think it’s gonna work? Gonna lie and plot and connive and then once she falls for your false front she’ll obviously love the “real you” you’ve carefully hidden from her?

                                                                  How’s that work again, Einstein?

                                                                  In the end, you can’t have a relationship built on false pretenses — and certainly not one where so many of your interactions are scripted, carefully thought out to present a specific image. That’s not you, and people can sense that. And even if you can fool them, you can’t fake it all the time. It’ll break, eventually.

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                                                                • Oh, I’m down with the distinction between nice guys and Nice Guys(tm).

                                                                  That said, nice guys also get tarred as Nice Guys(tm) and get tarred with the whole “you’re just upset that there aren’t sex slaves handed out by the government!” thing just as much as the guys who are upset that there aren’t sex slaves handed out by the government.

                                                                  And, yes, there is asymmetry between males and females.

                                                                  Again: My problem isn’t with the argument that Lee must be screwing something up and he needs to change. I know that Lee is screwing something up. He totally needs to change.

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                                                                  • The worst thing that could possibly happen to guys like Lee is that they get yelled at online and have bad first dates.

                                                                    The worst thing that could possibly happen to women is rape and/or murder.

                                                                    So yeah, if women want to be choosy, so be it. Even if that means they choose men Lee doesn’t understand. And I’m saying that as somebody who has likely had even less success than Lee, partly due to my bad choices and partly due to some bad breaks, but doesn’t complain about it all the time.

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                                                                    • I am not arguing that women do not have the right to be choosy. I am not complaining about such a thing.

                                                                      But arguing against me having a problem with X because, hey, Y is an even bigger problem just makes me want to ask you why you’re writing about this instead of the bombing we’re doing in Yemen.

                                                                      And I’m saying that as somebody who has likely had even less success than Lee, partly due to my bad choices and partly due to some bad breaks, but doesn’t complain about it all the time.

                                                                      Yeah, different people deal with hardship differently.

                                                                      Again: My problem isn’t with the argument that Lee must be screwing something up and he needs to change. I know that Lee is screwing something up. He totally needs to change.

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                                                                      • This is the same thing you try with the, “I admit Trump is terrible, but I don’t care about that, so let’s talk about the thing I care about which is how terrible liberals are.”

                                                                        But yes, your problem is that women just won’t admit they’ve been mean and terrible to men like Lee and why won’t they just admit that they deserve all the backlash they’re getting, just like you just want us liberals to admit we’ve been mean and terrible to Trump supporters and we deserve everything we’re getting now.

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                                                                        • But yes, your problem is that women just won’t admit they’ve been mean and terrible to men like Lee and why won’t they just admit that they deserve all the backlash they’re getting,

                                                                          This isn’t my position.

                                                                          It has nothing to do with wanting women to admit anything.

                                                                          just like you just want us liberals to admit we’ve been mean and terrible to Trump supporters and we deserve everything we’re getting now.

                                                                          It’s not about wanting liberals to admit anything.

                                                                          Wait, in this analogy, it’s the liberals who are the sad sack guys and the states are the ladies who don’t like Nice Guys(tm)?

                                                                          Hey, liberals. Maybe you should get some abs. Shower occasionally. And you dress like a slob.

                                                                          You’re not entitled to have people vote for you.

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                                                              • It’s not the literal term “nice guy.” You can replace “nice guy” with a phrase such as “organized type of man,” which you did at the opening of the subthread. Likewise, you can say “creative but disorganized type” instead of “bad boy.” It’s the same basic template.

                                                                Potato/potahto. Same dynamic. Same core attitude.

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                                                                  • This “heads I win, tails you loose” dynamic is illustrated with how the Magic Pixie Dream Girl fantasy is handled. The Magic Pixie Dream Girl is analogous to the Bad Boy fantasy because the MPDG usually takes a bit more initiative role in the
                                                                    romance, I guess seducing the male target of their affections. Yet, the MPDG fantasy is treated as prima facie sexist and to be questioned.

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                                                                    • I don’t think you quite get the objections to the MPDG. It is not that she takes the lead. It is, instead, that the men in the films are usually such complete non-entities, transparent author-inserts, whereas the women is merely a projection of the writer’s hopes and dreams. In other words, basically, these films are a middle-brow version of the “pizza guys delivers to the sorority house” plot in porn.

                                                                      I get why that is an attractive fantasy. I hope you understand, however, why women don’t watch much “pizza guy” porn. Furthermore, if you’re making a medium-budget feature film, one you expect to be taken seriously, maybe you should aim higher than a repackaged porn plot.

                                                                      So on one level, the MPDG is simply bad art. That said, it is also gendered. So we get to talk about that.

                                                                      The point: do you want to understand why women find those men insipid?

                                                                      But more: do you think women are wrong to find those men insipid?

                                                                      (#notallwomen, etc.)

                                                                      #####

                                                                      The gender-swapped version of the MPDG is, of course, Twilight and Fifty Shades. Consider, both Bella Swan and Anastasia Steele are pretty much empty vessels into which the reader can project herself. It’s fantasy. It’s the modern Cinderella (updated to contain, respectively, vampires and bondage).

                                                                      So, do women understand that these are fantasies and that real-life relationships don’t work like that?

                                                                      I’ve said this before: I’ve met women in BDSM circles, always newcomers, who kind of hope to find a Christian Grey. So the answer is clearly, no, not all women understand that these are fantasies. In the case of Twilight, by contrast, most of the fans seem to be teenagers. I think we can let teenagers have their dreams. They’ll grow up.

                                                                      Okay, most men ignore (or mock) those books/movies. Fine. One question though: would most men want to date Bella Swan or Anastasia Steele, should the opportunity present itself?

                                                                      I honestly have no idea. That said, women like that seem to exist. If you want to date one, then feel free —

                                                                      — assuming they want to date you, of course. Which seems unlikely, since Edward Cullen and Christian Grey are idealized men who don’t exist. And the men who superficially resemble them —

                                                                      I think the real-life analogs of those women will need to grow up quite a bit. Real men are not like the men in those books. A real Edward or Christian is an abuser. It may seem hot on the page, but — trust me! — in real life he’ll leave you a broken mess.

                                                                      #####

                                                                      Back to the MPDG. To me this is a question of self-awareness. One suspects, looking at the zeitgeist from which those films emerged, that the men who made them had literally no idea they were creating sexist tripe. They had no idea they were making “pizza guy” porn, with less sex and better scenery. They thought they were creating “strong female characters,” that they loved women, that they admired cool and amazing gals, and thus they were good feminist aware guys.

                                                                      Bzzt! Wrong boyo!

                                                                      We don’t want to be on pedestals. Moreover, we don’t want to look down from our pedestals at some cipher of a man, wrapped in insecurities, unfun, with not much to offer but his boundless emotional need and lack of self development, and then to climb down to him.

                                                                      I ain’t your mommy, sweet pea.

                                                                      Hard lesson. Some guys still don’t get it.

                                                                      #####

                                                                      The teenage Twilight fans will mostly grow up. Presumably most of them have grown up by now. It’s been seventeen years. So good. Likewise, there is nothing wrong with fantasy — that dreamy guy with the great cheekbones and mysterious eyes, or that free spirited women with quirky clothes and a boundless capacity for fun. Go ahead and fantasize. But understand, real life is different.

                                                                      In BDSM circles, there is an active effort to educate newcomers in how to do kink safely. We warn people away from known abusers. Kink groups give classes on how to manage risks and consent. Numerous books exist that detail rules and principles to keep folks safe. This is important work.

                                                                      The point is, you can in fact get the hotness of Fifty Shades without the abuse. It happens all the time.

                                                                      #####

                                                                      The men still longing for their MPDG to rescue them from their insipid lives…

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                                                                      • v,
                                                                        Can you tell all the watchers of Orange is the New Black that women don’t want to be on pedestals?
                                                                        Propaganda’s still propaganda even when it’s on your side.

                                                                        Love how you’re okay with women being encouraged to fantasize about being raped. I think we might be better off giving girls rolemodels that aren’t drips.

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                      • More or less this with some exceptions. People I know in real life tend to feel more compassion for me and don’t point out that I’m a bad person when I complain. The usual answer is that a lot of life is random chaos, which is true. Its online where I get if you complain, your not really a good person response because of a lower emotional connection.

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                        • Lee,
                          Well, I do want to say that folks in real life are generally more likely to “smile and nod”. They may not actually be as sympathetic as you think they are.

                          But, I do think you’re getting people being a tad too irascible.

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                    • Its true nobody knows anybody anything relationship wise at least when it comes to establishing a relationship. Its also true that loneliness is a thing and causes a great deal of pain to people experiencing it. There isn’t anything that could really be done about this, because you can’t force people to be in relationships they don’t want to be in, but telling lonely people that you are immoral and evil every time they express their loneliness is not helpful.

                      As to transactional relationships, how come on. There are lots of people who use the granting and withholding of affection as means to get something they want or to enforce behavior. If that isn’t transactional relationship behavior, I don’t know what is. Just because the sucky behavior you hate exists, doesn’t mean that sucky behavior that you have no problem with doesn’t also exist.

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                    • morat20,
                      Buuulshit. Relationships aren’t transactions… unless you can hold someone’s citizenship over their heads, and say “marry me or go home.”

                      Or half a dozen other things.

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                      • Yeah, like a spouse not having sex with the other cause they are made that one didn’t take out the trash or such and is using sex withholding as punishment. That shit never happens.

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                  • There’s no guarantees even if you find that relationship. Twelve and a half years of a happy marriage and boom, Natasha left me and now I get to start that part of my life over. And it feels damned lonely.

                    I have two choices: I can accept that this part of my life is over and I’ll simply never have a romantic partner again, or I can go out and look for another one. There are things that will enhance my odds at attracting a new partner. Sitting at home feeling sorry for myself isn’t one of them. Not that I haven’t done plenty of that, but I’m well aware when I’m doing it that it isn’t really helping. And when I do indulge in it, I’m well aware that my pain doesn’t create an obligation on anyone’s part. Not Natasha’s, not some other woman’s, not society in general.

                    You have functionally the same choices I do: accept that you don’t have a partner and aren’t going to get one, or figure out what it takes to attract one and go do those things.

                    An advantage you have over me is you’re, what, ten years younger than I am? That’s a body ten years more resilient and sculptable than mine. You no doubt find it easier to be attracted to women in good physical shape than women who aren’t, so why would a woman be any different? Hit the gym, which is where I’m going this afternoon now that my intended plans for the day didn’t pan out.

                    But it’s really a test of your social abilities and social opportunities. And here, too, you’ve a massive advantage: you live in the largest, densest city in the United States. I’m near a large city, but spend most of my time out here in the exurbs where there’s a much higher percentage of already-married people.

                    I’m discouraged and sometimes struggle to keep hope up as I try all manner of things to attract a woman. But there’s nothing for it but to keep at it. Sometimes you’re going to screw up and sometimes you’re going to get unlucky and find someone who seems absolutely perfect but there’s going to be some star out of alignment on her end and there isn’t going to be a damn thing you can do about that. Just had one of these myself a couple of weeks ago and I was so frustrated I almost punched a hole through the wall. (I didn’t. Drywall repair may not be expensive but I’m not particularly good at it.)

                    Your only other choice is to give up. And for me, giving up is not going to be an option.

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                    • Thanks. Yes, I know and yes, I go to the gym, work out with a trainer, and do go out fairly often, like at least a couple of times a week. I was out at last night, thats why my message to Veronica was posted so late.

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                        • I’d actually go with projecting confidence/bit o arrogance before abs. Yep, you should get into better shape. Most folks should, but a little bit of the “i don’t give a damn” arrogance / super confident I think is always preferable. You gotta let the ladies know you’re capable of killing the mastodon and dragging it home to feed her in the cave.

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                          • Ugh, the be a hyper masculine dick is even worse advice because I know that there are plenty of men who got into relationships without it. Its not my personality either, I wouldn’t be able to pull it off convincingly.

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                            • Lee, not jerk, confident.

                              This is the way I look at it. Know what you want and go after it. No hesitation, no doubt. No fear. If you get turned down, whatever. Be fun, hell, ask all the questions. Better for the guy to keep his mouth shut and listen. Women like that. Be passionate about something. Let that fill your life. If you’re on dating sites, find a smart women you respect/is friend and ask her to evaluate your pics/profile.

                              1) everybody is broken
                              2) I don’t want kids, and have no interest in raising them, especially hers, so I don’t date women with kids that aren’t “out of the house”. That leaves women with no kids, it’s own kind of special hell or women of a older age range.
                              3) If you don’t care about kids, date women with. Your access is more limited but maybe they are more anxious to “settle down again”?

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                    • Sometimes, when I hit the last mile, or the middle of the last set of exercises, I start to flag, and then I remember that I’m not doing this for my health. Okay, I am doing it for my health, but that’s not the only reason. At 5’7″, I’m starting out 1-2 in the count. I need something in order to get a swipe. And it’s not going to be sensitivity or erudition.

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                    • What women really want is a man who bakes pies. They like to tell themselves that their lives don’t revolve around pie, but they do. There was even an award winning book and movie about it recently, starring some Indian guy.

                      So today I made USS Missouri buttermilk pie, because the USS Missouri is manly. I could win any girl I wanted with that. But they’re not going to get a chance to taste it because no woman deserves my pie, except perhaps for Charlize Theron for her role as Imperator Furiosa in Fury Road. She could eat my pie. But nobody else.

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                      • There is some truth in that. Most of the women i’ve run into/dated, loved the fact that I cooked well. One would even text me pleading to come over for dinner because she loved my “roasted veggies”.

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                  • Lee,
                    Well, if you decide that raping a woman is the only way you’re going to get laid, I suppose that counts as supporting the prison romance system…
                    … if you like that sort of thing.

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  3. Ed4: It’s a royal bitch to raise kids IQs. Americans wouldn’t stand for it. Please stop asserting that performance in school has anything to do with improving intelligence… it really doesn’t.

    And, yes, there are people who are Extraordinarily Gifted Individuals. I happen to know… one of those people. I’ve mentioned before, I believe, that he’s tested as an idiot (his words) on IQ tests before (his cognitive deficiencies are multifold). It takes an extraordinary person to take native skills like that, and actually pull off, well, groundbreaking research. He’s a world expert in multiple fields.

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  4. Cr4: This paragraph really stuck out for me:

    The theory behind the push to make more successful gun cases is that certainty of punishment is more important in deterring crime than the severity of punishment. If would-be criminals believe police will get their DNA and there’ll be no way to avoid conviction, they’ll be less likely to break the law, Aborn said.

    This addresses my long-held criticism of our standard approach to criminal justice. What we have is essentially an economic model of crime prevention. “If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime.” So “getting tough” on crime generally reduces to increasing the penalty, generally longer prison sentences.

    There are a number of problems with this, the first being that many — I don’t know the proportions — crimes aren’t planned, aren’t premeditated, so there’s no contemplation of a price to be paid. Further, as a general rule, most criminals who commit premeditated crimes don’t expect to actually get caught, so once again, the price is irrelevant to the decision process. Finally, the price as it exists, is both uncertain and opaque, much like pricing in healthcare, and only ever certain when sentencing actually occurs. Plea deals; competency of counsel; mitigating and aggravating factors; the judge’s disposition; the jury’s bias either way, etc all play into it. The price paid for any particular criminal act, if any, is highly variable. How can any theory based on rational economic models ever hope to be effective?

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    • What we have is essentially an economic model of crime prevention. “If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime.” So “getting tough” on crime generally reduces to increasing the penalty, generally longer prison sentences.

      The economist who has done the most work on crime, Gary Becker, pointed out that increasing the swiftness and certainty of punishment was a good alternative to making the punishment more severe. In fact, this is perfectly consistent with rational decision-making.

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  5. [L1] I just visited my sister the social worker. She told me about a couple who are very similar to Ziegler and Fabbrini – developmentally impaired and with a child. But her agency has not removed the child, instead they are teaching the couple skills for dealing with the child, and by her report it’s working. On top of that, the female now has lymphoma. But Sis says he’s acquired enough skills with the baby that she isn’t worried about his ability to care for the kid during treatment, and in the event it should fail.

    So no, I do not support the idea that children should be removed because of some existential descriptor on the parents. It should be limited to the actual treatment that the child receives at the hands of their parents.

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  6. L1,
    Hm. Not a word about the lost children. Not a word about forced abortions (even over the objections of the mom).
    Welcome to America, where eugenics is still on the books.

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  7. L5,
    Yes. The hilarious part was that the ACLU found criminal penalties in the Import/Export Act, and then Cardin (the D sponsor of the bill) when called on it, was hysterically saying that there weren’t any criminal penalties.

    AIPAC wrote a bill, Senators/Congressmen rubberstamped “AIPAC gets what it wants” and got caught with their pants down when the ACLU “overreacted.”

    I’m rather strongly pro-BDS, simply because I’d rather everyone stick to economics rather than bullets.

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  8. Te3: “The tiny chip, which uses RFID technology or Radio-Frequency Identification, can be implanted between the thumb and forefinger ‘within seconds,’ according to a statement from the company.”

    There are a lot of things that can be done within seconds. I don’t think anyone would be objecting to how long it takes to be implanted with a chip.

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    • That 10,000 hours was always pretty bogus. No one is going to spend 10,000, or even 100, hours doing something and seeing no sign of improvement. The ones who start improving will continue, and if they keep improving, they might make it to 10,000 hours. That number is as much about selection as about perserverance.

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  9. L1: The Charlie Gard thing leads to some strange places.

    To be perfectly honest, I don’t see how the attitudes underlying an official position of “children do *NOT* belong to the parent” won’t lead to stuff like Lora Faye Wirsing on a national scale.

    The best interest of the child is paramount.

    Edit: Well, not the Charlie Gard thing per se, but the axioms that lead us to the Charlie Gard thing.

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  10. Ed4: Is Steven Pinker someone that we’re making fun of now? If so, please ignore this next comment.

    Back in 2002 and 2003, I read Steven Pinker’s “The Blank Slate” and thought that it was freaking awesome. It covers a handful of assumptions that society tends to make about Human Nature and gives examples about how these assumptions have led to all sorts of bad stuff.

    the blank slate (the mind has no innate traits)
    the noble savage (people are born good and corrupted by society)
    the ghost in the machine (each of us has a soul that makes choices free from biology)

    I mostly read it as part of research for a tabletop RPG because I wanted to come up with a reasonably awful dystopian government. But I digress.

    Anyway, Ed4: is back to blank slatism.

    It will be wrong like the last however many times its turned out to be wrong.

    Creationism was a red herring. We need to stamp out all sorts of religious belief in science.

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    • I don’t endorse the Blank Slate as factual either. However, it is the correct null hypothesis. That is, if you want to claim that such and such behavior is the result of biology, the burden of proof is on you. It’s not on me to disprove it, it’s on you to prove it. This is not an insurmountable barrier.

      And to add another point: Most behavior isn’t a black-and-white binary, but lands on a spectrum of tendencies, and biology tips the odds somewhat.

      You see far more fathers in public showing nurturing behavior these days, doing stuff with their kids. Biology didn’t just change, and there’s some case for biology having an effect on the prevalence of nurturing among females. And yet, we see this change in public behavior.

      This stuff is complicated, and we need to stop acting like it isn’t.

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      • The Blank State maybe scientifically wrong but it could also be a polite fiction that we need to maintain for a relatively free and just society and a non-dystopian government. There lots of things that aren’t strictly true but need to be maintained as polite fictions because acknowledging the reality is either useless or will lead to an ever worse problem.

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      • That is, if you want to claim that such and such behavior is the result of biology, the burden of proof is on you.

        Why? Speaking purely epistemically, I don’t see any reason one explanation should be preferred over another. In practical terms, people promoting the blank slate hypothesis are very often doing so in service of pushing for some expensive new government program or regulation. In such cases, it should be on them to demonstrate that the program they’re pushing has some reasonable chance of accomplishing its stated goals.

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    • I think the real story here is the fact that we now have an aircraft carrier named after an unelected, 2 year president. I guess all the other names were taken.

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      • It seems like every prez gets a carrier named after them now. The exception is Carter of course for good reason. The pre WW 1 brits really knew how to name ships: Indomitable, Indefatigable, Dreadnought, Inflexible. Now those were good ship names.

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        • I agree, naming a ship after a person should be reserved for very exceptional people, like Medal of Honor recipients and such. These days the naming is such a political act.

          I actually appreciate when SciFi authors get creative with ship names. One book I read had a fleet called The Poet’s Fleet, with every ship named after a famous poem (not the poet), or being named after a line from a poem. The names could get a bit unwieldy, but I appreciated the creativity.

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          • Iain Banks was a master of that. :) (In fact, the ship names in Halo are generally homages to the Culture).

            Especially the lengthy list of ships taking names in light of some poor sod saying the Culture ship names lacked “Gravitas”.

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    • Each sleeping quarter — what the Navy calls a berthing area — will have traditional porcelain bowls in the heads (or bathrooms) of the newly designed aircraft carrier, which can hold over 5,000 sailors.

      Navy warships do not traditionally have porcelain bowls, they traditionally have stainless steel ones. (I think maybe the Ohio SSBN/SSGN has porcelain bowls, but I can’t remember; total underway time on those was only a day or two.)

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      • To add: The reasons for stainless steel toilets are numerous. They don’t break, or rust, or chip, dents can be worked out, and if they get plugged up, you don’t need a plunger, you just grab a fire hose, shove the nozzle in the bowl, and let loose (pretty sure a porcelain bowl would shatter under that pressure).

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    • In fact, it was under actual President Ford in 1976 that women were first allowed to join the Naval Academy. 81 of the 1,300 inductees that year were women — just 6%. 2016’s class, on the other hand, had 24%, just above the average 18% female population of the Navy overall.

      I don’t know if this is still the case, but in the early 00’s, enlisted recruits were limited to 15% female per year. There was no cap for officers, but some large job sectors (e.g. subs) that were off limits to women.

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