Tag Archives: the internets

Men, Women, the Law

There are plenty of silly memes on the internets, most of which have no relationship with logic or facts. One such is the “men should not legislate abortion laws” or “those without female reproductive organs shall not legislate reproductive organs.” I’ve seen the latter a lot of late. One wants to ask the people who post these things – all of whom are pro-choice (as I am) — if they are not aware that the Supreme Court that legislated Roe v. Wade was all male, or that the Governor of Alabama – the state that recently passed the restrictive abortion bill that has inspired these memes — is female.

Of course, what these people mean is, “men shall not legislate abortion laws unless they agree with me about said laws.”

Only Connect…

…as E. M. Forster wrote.

I am from a family full of addicts and issues – perhaps we are not so different from other families in that regard. I am also from a family which has always lacked emotional connections (unless you count vicious bullying as a connection). I am certain this is why Johann Hari’s Ted Talk about addiction caught my attention. It’s a tad simplistic, but his main point is a good one: “The opposite of addiction is not sobriety. The opposite of addiction is connection.” But of course it’s a vicious cycle, because the worse an addiction becomes, the more the addict isolates from other people, either by choice or because friends/family can’t stand being around the addict. Addiction creates deep mistrust, deep guilt, and constant dishonesty. It is difficult to connect with those things in the way.

Not unrelated – a fun link and blast from the past about Ted Talks.

Media Madness

I’ll admit that I had a strong and immediate reaction to the video clip of the students from Kentucky seemingly confronting and belittling a Native American elder. I was bullied quite viciously by an older brother (when I was seven he was already an adult, so there was a severe power imbalance) when I was growing up and so I have strong reactions to the sight of someone bullying or picking on another. I know the cruelty of that kind of madness.

In this case, though, it appears all might not have been as assumed at first glance. These two stories are from sane sources – first from Reason, the second from The Spectator — and worth a look. I left Twitter a while back and this was one reason – the online mob is just painful to behold. Even if these boys were as nasty as initially suggested, I don’t think their lives should be ruined. This could be a teachable moment for them – they are very young, and I believe most of us can learn.

Update: another good analysis.

The Importance of the “Block” Option

Large families are sometimes romanticized, but I am here to tell you that they are also often highly over-rated. Paul Gosar could tell you the same. I was thinking about this, when I stumbled upon a months-old column about Israel and the Mavi Marmara, in which an anti-Israel “activist” who was aboard the boat admits that the Israelis did not initiate the violence. No kidding. Was there ever any doubt?

What is the connection between these two topics? Well, I have a relative who is a bullying anti-Semite (cough, “anti-Zionist”, cough), who spent the better part of the first 18 years of my life putting me through unmitigated hell. Now, when the Mavi Marmara news hit the headlines, I wrote a story in the National Post about it. Aforementioned bullying relative (“BR,” for purposes of expediency) then sent me an email comparing the incident to the Achille Lauro (and comparing the Israelis to the terrorists). He also went on to accuse me of having written (on my previous blog) that I don’t believe in fact-checking. A lie and absurd, of course. I am a journalist and a historian (albeit, an amateur historian) and facts are what interest me the most. BR further asserted that he believed in “rigorous fact-checking.” Another lie.

So I wrote back to BR saying, “Put the words ‘fact’ and ‘check’ into the search box on my blog and anything I have written containing those words will come up. I guarantee I have never written that I don’t believe in fact-checking.” So BR writes back saying he is not good at technology and can’t put words in a search box and click. Yet another lie.

We went back and forth a couple of more times, with him trying to weasel out of his lies and me finally saying, “Follow your own advice and fact-check.” When I sent that message it bounced back with the message that I had been blocked. Bullies hate it when you get the better of them.

I forwarded the message chain to my oldest brother, Alan (far and away the smartest person in our family, and now deceased, sadly), who couldn’t stop laughing at BR’s assertions. Few things, said Alan, were more ridiculous than the notion that BR believed in checking facts in any capacity, least of all rigorously. Alan also gave me this advice: eventually BR will start messaging you again. Before that even begins, block his email address. So I did. It was great advice.

I also forwarded the message chain from BR to a non-family member to see if they thought I was making too much of it. Nope, they replied, this person is obsessed with you, and with hurting you, and is clearly deeply jealous of you. This person is nasty. He gave the same advice as Alan – block BR.

The moral of this story? Make sure your email program has a “block” option, something I’m assuming Gosar has already done. (A side note: if I had to wager a guess, I’d say the Gosar family divisions go far deeper than politics.)

Barron Trump

I feel for the kid. He is obviously an introvert stuck in a family of extroverts – this was my situation as a child and teen, and it was very difficult. It was made worse by the fact that I was viciously bullied by a family member (who frequently got other family members to join in). I hope poor Barron at least gets support at home – I sense he does. His mother seems very good as do his sibs. But he is now being bullied from the outside. Very unfair. He did not ask for this. I hope people will leave him be, as Chelsea Clinton requested.

Reggie Perrin: Dame Failure is a Perverse Mistress

I referred to Reggie Perrin in my Brexit post, and I have managed, through the wonders of the internets, to find what I consider one of the finest moments in the history of television. From season 2 of the Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin, Reggie has created a business he hoped would fail, and has appointed a bunch of clowns and rubes and looneys to run the business, in order to ensure disaster. Well, of course, the opposite happens: the business booms. Reggie, trying to fire all the people who have made it so, finds that at least one of the buffoons he has hired has seen through him. Go to shortly after the 27 minute mark and listen to Seamus Finnegan as you watch the hilarious body language and facial expressions of Perrin. I believe the moral of the story is…never count out the English.

Winchester Cathedral

I direct you to my latest post at My Uncle’s Letters from the War, wherein my uncle mentions a trip to Winchester and a visit to its cathedral.

Made me think of this song, in which hippies are nostalgic for the days of vaudeville. Rather like when we are nostalgic for hippies, though God knows why we would be. The 1960s, as my late brother used to say, have a lot for which to answer.

But this song is cute.