GLASS HOUSES

Posted in Rants on July 31st, 2013 by Ed

It makes sense that people around the world can enjoy occasional America-bashing; god knows we make it easy for them. We export the worst parts of our culture – fast food, corn syrup beverages, idiotic entertainment, Jerry Lewis – around the globe, we still have a strict policy of American Exceptionalism in global affairs, we have an unpleasant tendency to start wars, and (worst of all, in my opinion) a large number of Americans know absolutely nothing about the world outside our borders. Many people around the world no doubt conceive of Americans as the stereotypes that some of us work so hard to deserve: as anti-intellectual, violent, proudly ignorant slobs who eat KFC every day and drive pickup trucks.

When I read non-U.S. news sites it's hard to miss the occasional "Look at how barbaric Americans are" stories, usually focusing on gun violence, racism, our failing healthcare system, or the latest can-you-believe-this-shit proposal from some Republican state legislator. Part of the reason that people in one country look down on another is to distract from their own problems, but there certainly is a ring of truth to these criticisms. Like I said, we do make it easy for anyone who wishes to paint us with a broad brush. It would be silly to take it personally or to point out the bleedingly obvious fact that stereotypes do not describe all members of a group accurately.

The one and only thing that bothers me is the accusation that America has a race problem. The smugness in some of the foreign coverage of the Zimmerman trial, for example, was palpable. We do, of course, have a race problem. But here's the thing: the planet has a race problem. I'd argue that racism, be it institutional, social, or held by individuals, is a bigger problem in any number of places than it is in the U.S.

Recently Italy made the news when some right-wingers threw bananas at the country's first black government minister. This borrows the "monkey noises and banana hurling" antics that soccer hooligans have been using for years on black players. Domestic politics in the EU – from Russia and Eastern Europe to Germany and Spain – are often tainted with xenophobia and racism. Ethnically homogenous societies in Asia – particularly Japan but also Korea and China – are hardly good role models. Watch a big sporting event in any South American country and you see the exact same "Everyone in the seats is white, everyone on the field is black" dynamic that you see here.

My point is not that the criticism of the U.S. as a place with a race problem is unwarranted. Rather I'd caution people in other nations from giggling at our Zimmerman trials and Rush Limbaughs with an air of superiority. Maybe stick with mocking us for believing that climate change is fake, at least until your society addresses its own issues with racism, nationalism, and xenophobia. We're not exactly alone in having those tendencies both individually and collectively.

THE R. KELLY PRINCIPLE

Posted in Quick Hits on July 30th, 2013 by Ed

A few things for today:

1. The soundest advice I give to students is: Never buy cheap toilet paper. The cost of failure is high; spend the extra dollar. The second most important thing I can impart is what I like to call the R. Kelly Principle: If you're going to commit a felony, don't make a video of yourself doing it. Or take pictures. Or make an audio recording. Or leave a lengthy paper trail. Basically, don't create mountains of damning evidence that will be used against you.

If only the former Indiana education commissioner Tony Bennett and his staff had taken my classes they might have known better than to write dozens of baldly incriminating emails about rigging their bullshit-reeking school "grading system" to help out a big money Republican donor (and noted charter school pimp/profiteer) whose school had earned a lousy grade. At the very least they might have learned not to do it on government email accounts, for christ's sake.

2. Here's a good spleen-venting rant about how the modern GOP lacks the intellectual consistency required to have their style qualify as paranoid.

3. Ask any cop or lawyer you know who has experience with criminal cases – "Some black guys did it" is a remarkably common statement from people trying to avoid suspicion during investigations. And it probably works pretty often, too. Fortunately in this case, which involved the murder of a child, the physical evidence was examined thoroughly. Race baiting is telling people that they can't commit crimes and blame it on "black kids."

4. Does it ever seem like the only problems successfully solved by the tecnho-wizardry of the Creative Class – Silicon Valley types and the venture capitalists who fuel them – are the "problems" of being a multimillionaire 30-something Silicon Valley/Venture Capitalist type? As George Packer put it, "It suddenly occurred to me that the hottest tech start-ups are solving all the problems of being twenty years old, with cash on hand, because that’s who thinks them up." What a wonderful world they're creating!

For themselves.

BETTER LIVING THROUGH CHEMISTRY, OR: THANKS, FREE MARKET!

Posted in Rants on July 29th, 2013 by Ed

Several summers ago I contracted two relatively rare infectious diseases at the same time…and right on the tail end of a long bout with mononucleosis. Despite being what the medical profession would consider Young and Healthy at the time (I believe I was 27) the one-two-three punch did a good job of overwhelming my body. At one point I was checked into a hospital with a fever of 105.2 F (40.6 C), which, in medical terminology, is balls high. Had I been very young, very old, or immunocompromised, the phrase "life threatening" would have been used.

For all the flaws of the American health care system, one thing it does pretty well is avoiding the overuse of antibiotics to prevent resistance from developing among infectious agents. Actually, it prescribes some of the common antibiotics (amoxicillin and other penicillin derivatives in particular) like candy. Azithromycin is a first-line treatment now for things as common as strep throat. But the formidable antibiotics of last resort, the "You can have this if you're about to die" drugs, are used more judiciously.

If common sense doesn't dictate this, cost does. I was finally given a course of vancomycin, a staggeringly expensive former last-stand antibiotic. After a few decades, resistance developed and it is now used as an intermediate step between common antibiotics and new "Oh shit" drugs like Zyvox. To skip forward to the very obvious ending, I didn't die.

Vancomycin had a good run. Its four-figure per-dose cost helped doctors ration it and lower the odds of resistance developing. But pathogens will develop resistance to any drug if given enough time, which is why pharmaceutical companies are constantly hard at work on new antibiotics, antivirals, and antiparasitics to stay ahead of the emergence of new infectious threats.

Wait. What I meant was, pharmaceutical companies don't do that at all. I apologize for the confusion.

Nature is shining the spotlight on the development of bacteria that are impervious to the current drugs of last resort, the carbapenems. If penicillin and chicken noodle soup are the Maginot Line against infections, the carbapenems are Dunkirk without the ships. If the carbapenems don't work, medical science can't kick it up another notch. The next step is prayer, and after that is death. Help is not on the way:

It seems unlikely that new drugs will become available soon. Perversely, the rapid advance of resistance and the consequent need to use these drugs sparingly has convinced pharmaceutical companies that antibiotics are not worth the investment.

The Nature piece is well-timed, as I was just having this conversation with a biologist-friend a few days ago. In it I was stunned to learn that, no, Big Pharma is not hard at work on the next wonder drugs. It turns out that there isn't much money to be made from antibiotics, and until recently it seemed like the extant options were working pretty well. Additionally – and this is far beyond my level of knowledge to judge – developing novel antibiotics is challenging. Certainly it's more challenging than the alternatives. The cost-benefit ratio does not support large investments in antibiotics.

Thanks to the glories of our free market, for-profit medical-pharmaceutical complex, we may not have any new antibiotics but we have plenty of new Magic Dick Pills, weight loss drugs, statins (Eat whatever you want!), indigestion remedies (And eat all of it!), chemical means of growing and removing hair, and a prescription drug to treat the scourge of insufficient eyelashes. By leaving the industry to its own devices we are guaranteed the absolute best possible treatments for our most profitable lifestyle diseases. Meanwhile, government research money is directed toward drug treatments for the medical conditions with the best PR team, which is why cancer research is absolutely awash in money with almost nothing to show for it in the last two decades. Oh, and no one cares about AIDS anymore. It needs a new celebrity victim, I guess.

Meanwhile we find ourselves on the brink of a potential public health catastrophe. The invisible hand does indeed allocate the efforts of private industry to the best possible uses, as long as "best" and "most profitable" can be used interchangeably. That's swell until the medical community finds itself with some rather unprofitable and unglamorous needs, exposing the flaws in our system of entrusting the direction of medical research to the whims of an article of right-wing religious faith.

VICTIMS OF THE MODERN AGE

Posted in Rants on July 25th, 2013 by Ed

Are you happy?

If you're an American, the odds of answering that question in the affirmative are decreasing with time. If you're a Gin and Tacos fan, it's close to nil. But I kid.

There has been no shortage of hand-wringing since the early 1990s when the diagnosis of depressive disorders – and subsequently the prescription of antidepressant drugs – exploded. The growth of medically diagnosed unhappiness is quantifiable, to say nothing of even more depressed people who avoid diagnosis or treatment.

Not only are rates of depression high among the general public, but in certain populations (the elderly, young adults, etc) it is nearly epidemic. This might say more about the company I keep than anything else, but sometimes I wonder if I know anyone who isn't on antidepressants or hasn't been on them at some point. The prescription for Cymbalta or Lexapro seems to be as popular among twenty- and thirty-somethings as PBR and Breaking Bad.

Doctors recognize a range of causes, from biological to social to psychological. There is no single reason people get depressed, but many. Some of the risk factors are things that are becoming less common; others are on the rise. One that I've been thinking a lot about lately is, as the DSM states, "feelings of helplessness and pessimism." It is not hard to imagine why a sense of helplessness could lead to general depression.

In the last thirty years, Americans have dramatically increased the number of reasons to feel helpless. Especially in terms of economics, how many of us really control our own fate these days? Young adults leave college (with loads of debt) to enter a job market and economy that, through no fault of their own, might leave them unemployed. Older working people have seen the protections that Americans once took for granted – labor unions, non-toothless enforcement of labor laws, general job security – radically scaled back as well. Employers, and the political-economic class as a whole, relish in emphasizing the lack of job security that defines the modern economy. No long term contracts, no pensions, no job security beyond day-to-day – we're nearing a full return to the At-Will Utopia that the Robber Barons of the 19th Century once enjoyed. The only right you have is the Right to Work. No matter how hard or well you work, your job may one day disappear to Mexico or India or some other low wage nirvana.

In my field, I often hear the Old Timers tell tales of job hunting in the 1970s when interviewing was more about the school convincing the applicant to work there rather than vice-versa. Even the most ordinary candidates could expect multiple job offers. Today, even the most excellent candidates often find themselves without one. This is no different than most other professions – I'd bet that whatever line of work you do, the number of applicants vastly outnumbers the available jobs these days. Combined with the constant threat of offshoring in the post-NAFTA world and the average American finds him- or herself feeling professionally powerless. Helpless, even. We find ourselves at the mercy of forces beyond our control. We have little power and little choice over where we live, what working conditions we will accept, and what wages/benefits we receive.

That is, of course, exactly the way They want it. Some people benefit tremendously from this state of affairs. Most of us do not.

When we see news stories and commentaries about tens of millions of prescriptions for antidepressant being written annually in this country – other industrialized nations are catching up, too – economic and political conditions rarely enter into the discussion. But is anything more depressing than being unhappy with your situation and powerless to change it? We've successfully transitioned to a nation in which "If you don't like it, there's the door…and good luck finding anyone else who's hiring" is the zeitgeist and elected officials (from whom we are completely alienated by a system that auctions them to the highest bidder) make decisions that degrade your working conditions, job security, and chances of finding employment at all. Whatever skills or profession we have, our sense of control and agency have eroded. Can anyone be surprised that so many Americans feel hopeless and turn to drugs – from a doctor or otherwise – to cope with the growing sense that we have no control over our own economic fate?

THE SUBTLE ART OF LYING

Posted in Quick Hits on July 24th, 2013 by Ed

Sorry to do this on a weekday – not to mention on consecutive days – but I'm doing some traveling and both time and energy are currently at a premium.

1. Indiana's imbecile man-child governor Mike Pence came up with a very creative way to make "Obamacare" look all scary: he had his staff make shit up. More accurately, he had them make a conceptually ludicrous average of the average cost of all available health care exchange options irrespective of the fact that the lowest-cost options are far and away more popular. How does math work? When Forbes is calling bullshit, you've probably gone too far. Nice try though. Very subtle.

2. John Hodgman offers some choice excerpts from back when Ayn Rand had a column for…Parade??? How did I not know that was a thing? Does anyone remember this? Readers really get to see her human side:

Short column today. Once again, I have cut my finger trying to open a can of Fresca. What are they, made of Rearden Metal? I am joking, because I am not joyless. What is your favorite joke, readers? Write me and let me know.

Am I getting trolled? Is this real?

3. Lawyers, Guns, and Money examines the problems created by the stranglehold that two schools – Harvard and Yale – have on legal education in the U.S. and the legal/judicial system in general. Even though I work in an academic field where the same elitist dynamics apply, I found these numbers about law schools shocking.

4. What's this…original reporting from BuzzFeed? It turns out that foreign governments looking for the support of the American defense complex have found that the ol' payola system works remarkably well on right-wing bloggers. Does the name Armstrong Williams ring a bell for those of us with the misfortune to recall the Bush years?

5. You've probably seen this by now, but McDonald's inadvertently admits that no one can live off of minimum wage in the U.S. without having a second job. By offering a budgeting tool for employees, Mickey D's has show its employees just how screwed they are. But, you know…work hard and save and Horatio Alger and Freedom and a bunch of other nonsense. America!

RELEVANT CRITICISM

Posted in Quick Hits on July 23rd, 2013 by Ed

Two quick anecdotes:

1. One of my friends has been highly visible in the local news coverage of the Texas abortion bill protests. Predictably, this has resulted in strangers sending her messages ranging from supportive to…less supportive. Here's one she shared with her friends:

I support the bill. The only time I support abortion is in case if incest, rape or the mother's life is in danger. For those women who goes out have sex knowing that there's a possibility that they might end of pregnant, they should not be allowed to have an abortion, period. If possible, could you please stay off television? Being fat, you are really nauseating to look at.

Priscilla Reyes
West El Paso, TX

Can't really criticize an unknown woman on the internet without making some sort of crack about her appearance, right? That happens to all of the fat, jowly men that find their way onto the news too, right?

2. Or if that's too hard you can always just call her a whore!

SUSPECT

Posted in Quick Hits on July 22nd, 2013 by Ed

This is a couple weeks old, but it has been bothering me. This is a rather dull video of Aaron Hernandez – accused multiple-murderer recently of the New England Patriots – being arrested.

Pretty boring, right? Given the number of times you've seen video of people being arrested in this country, doesn't it feel like something's missing? This is a potential triple-murderer! Where are the drawn guns? Where's the SWAT team? Where's the body armor? Where are the tasers? Where's the battering ram through the front door? Why is no one crashing through the windows?

My, who knew the police could be so cordial. They almost look like they're sorry for bothering him. They had to cuff him, but they're careful not to embarrass him by taking him outside shirtless. And to top it off, they manage to get him in the back seat of a squad car without slamming his head against the frame of the car. I didn't even know that was possible!

This is a prime example of the two justice systems that operate side-by-side in the United States, and your income level (with the possible added bonus of celebrity status) determines which one you experience. Frankly, it's bad enough that millionaire traders get this gentle treatment when they're arrested for fraud – at least law enforcement can fall back on the disingenuous excuse that they are non-violent offenders. But in the opinion of the police, Hernandez murdered three people. If ever the "crash through the doors" approach could be justified, it would be here. Wouldn't it be logical to worry that he'd start shooting? And they already know he has destroyed a good bit of evidence (cameras, phones, etc) so time would be of the essence, right?

Instead we see the smoke and tear gas and body armor deployed not only against poorer violent offenders but non-violent ones as well. The great legacy of the War on Drugs – the militarization of American law enforcement – is on full display not for accused killers but for the scourge of marijuana. Aaron Hernandez might be armed to the teeth and have nothing to lose by starting a shootout, but Joe Blow has a shoebox of pills in the hall closet. Better shoot first and ask questions later.

The most likely explanation – that Hernandez's expensive attorneys negotiated a surrender with the police before anything shown in this video – of course remains out of reach for 98% of criminals. The public defender sure as hell isn't going to tell the State Police that it's OK to show up in three-piece suits. We should all be o lucky.

(If you're anything like me, your mind immediately went to Tron Carter from Chappelle's Show in the skit where crack dealers get the same treatment from the police as white collars)

NPF: POTTER'S FIELD

Posted in No Politics Friday on July 19th, 2013 by Ed

We don't like to think of things concerning death very often, especially the nasty technicalities of disposing of human remains. A few years ago I read Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers (10/10 should read) which offers a good deal of insight on this morbid topic. I was reading it on a flight to New York City; as we were landing, a fellow passenger pointed out the gargantuan Fresh Kills Landfill on Staten Island, once considered the largest man-made structure on Earth. It was aerial sightseeing at its finest. It struck me just how much garbage a city the size of NYC must produce.

And then I thought back to Stiff and wondered, with its enormous and highly transient population, how many dead bodies New York generates. Processing the dead probably happens there much as it does anywhere else, with the vast majority ending up in cemeteries, crematoria, and so on. But certainly big cities must have to deal with an above-average number of unclaimed and unidentified bodies as well. So I did a tiny amount of research and learned about Hart Island, which is apparently the largest publicly-funded cemetery in the world. Hart Island is where all of the unclaimed (or indigent) dead in New York City end up for more than a century.

It's not in the tourist guides.

It is estimated that Hart Island contains well over 1 million bodies, having been used to inter bodies from the public hospitals and morgues since 1869, when it was sold by the Army (who were also using it as a cemetery) to the City. Until 1913 remains were buried in mass graves. Today they are buried (by Riker's Island inmates, formerly conscripted but who are now paid prison wage for the labor) in rows of 25 in thin pine boxes. These "trenches" are re-used after forty to fifty years, by which time the previous boxes (and occupants) have decomposed almost completely. That's 140-plus years of New York City's dead, literally buried atop one another. If you've ever wondered what hospitals do with amputated limbs, well…in New York they end up on Hart Island. In special small boxes marked LIMBS. I'm not suggesting that this is inappropriate; personally I don't think it matters what is done with the remains of the dead. I'm simply amazed by the quantity of people who have ended up in this one modestly sized cemetery – and the literal layers of social and human history found on that island.

Hart Island is hard to visit. Ceremonies are not conducted with burials, nor are individual markers placed. If you discovered that a friend or relative is buried there, there are only one or two opportunities per year for the public to go to Hart Island to see the burial site. Is it not intriguing to think that right in the middle of one of the world's biggest cities is an inaccessible island laden with corpses?

Oh, Hart Island has had other tenants in the past besides the impoverished dead, and the list reads like a Who's Who list of the parts of our society that get shuffled off to the margins (and the worst real estate). The last tenant was a drug rehabilitation home that closed in the 1970s. A century earlier, it was used to quarantine (and presumably bury a good number of) yellow fever sufferers during the 1871 epidemic. It was also home, over time, to a tuberculosis hospice, a home for juvenile delinquents, an insane asylum, and, during the Cold War, Nike Ajax anti-aircraft missiles. Side note: I've found a few of the Nike sites around Chicago – there was an installation right behind the Museum of Science and Industry, for example – and finding them in your city makes for fairly enjoyable urban exploration.

It turns out that New York City is unique in its maintenance of a public cemetery. Other large cities contract with mortuary companies to take bodies that are not claimed from public morgues and the vast majority end up cremated. It may be morbid and unpleasant to think about, but big cities must produce thousands of such corpses every year. If you're interested, here's a photo gallery and informative site from the Hart Island Project, which is trying to piece together records about the thousands of dead who ended up there. There's also a documentary, if you have $25 to drop.

SUZANNE VENKER GETS DESPERATELY NEEDED ATTENTION AND THE FJM TREATMENT

Posted in Rants on July 17th, 2013 by Ed

There is ample money to be made Uncle Tomming in the conservative media; there's no quicker way to a book deal, columnist gig, or TV appearances than to be something other than a white male. Flap-jowled white guys are 90% of the intended audience, and they love nothing more than being able to feel like they are totally not sexist/racist because, look, a woman/black person just said it! Thomas Sowell says there's nothing racist about George Zimmerman! Ann Coulter says women are responsible for getting raped! See? It's totally OK for us to say it if they can say it.

The market is highly competitive, though. The number of female writers, for example, willing to whine on behalf of men that it's really, really hard to be a white male in America is not small. They struggle to stand out by tripping over themselves to declare just how oppressed men really are. They can all stop now. We have found the winner, the writer with absolutely no dignity, willing to say anything, and with no limit to how wide her unhinged jaw opens. I have no idea who Suzanne Venker is (her tagline identifies her as the author of the hit book How to Choose a Husband and Make Peace with Marriage, which I honestly didn't make up) but oh my god does she take the cake. We're about to examine her FoxNews.com opus "Men – The New Second Class Citizens." If this is liberal trolling, it's almost too obvious. If this is a real person writing a real thing intended to be taken seriously, there is no god.

Are you ready? You say yes, but just wait.

In November of last year, I wrote an article for Fox News called The War on Men (which I subsequently expanded to an eBook). To keep it pithy, in the piece I focused on one effect of this war: the lack of marriageable men.

Pithy:
1. adj. Concise and forcefully expressive
2. adj. Containing much pith (of fruit or plant)

By the end of this piece you will agree that she is likely referring to the second definition here.

But there’s so much more to it. The truth is, men have become second-class citizens.

"Hey guys did you like my last exercise in pandering? Well you have seen nothing yet, absolutely nothing. I can pander even harder! It felt pretty good when I told you that you're not married because women are bitches or society won't let you hit them or whatever insipid red meat I threw at you, but there's more! You're an actual second-class citizen, not unlike pre-Civil Rights African-Americans! Look, you even have separate bathrooms, just like they did!"

The most obvious proof is male bashing in the media. It is rampant and irrefutable. From sit-coms and commercials that portray dad as an idiot to biased news reports about the state of American men, males are pounced on left and right. And that’s just the beginning.

Well, that's settled. Are you convinced? I'm convinced too. It's irrefutable, after all. Sitcom dads are dolts, whereas the other characters on sitcoms are really complex, intelligent, mature, and multidimensional. Also, biased news reports. Always biased news reports. Bias bias bias. People probably think fire burns things because of bias.

This is the laziest shit I have ever read. She is not even trying. She just throws out, like, three keywords in one paragraph without even the usual feeble attempts to justify them. Since EVERYONE KNOWS these things we can just throw them out there and move on.

The war on men actually begins in grade school, where boys are at a distinct disadvantage. Not only are curriculums centered on girls, rather than boys, interests, the emphasis in these grades is on sitting still at a desk.

So let's just get this straight: The argument, if we can be generous and call it that, is that boys are at a disadvantage in school. That's what we're gonna go with? I feel like a sympathetic blackjack dealer watching a nice customer try to hit on a hard 17. I'm looking over my shoulder to make sure the pit boss isn't looking, then I whisper "Nah, you don't wanna do that."

He tries to hit again. Once again, I give him the little "Dude, seriously…stand" face. Still trying to hit. OK, fine, here's your Jack of Clubs. Nice job, Stu Ungar.

Plus, many schools have eliminated recess. Such an environment is unhealthy for boys, for they are active by nature and need to run around. And when they can’t sit still teachers and administrators often wrongly attribute their restlessness to ADD or ADHD. The message is clear: boys are just unruly girls.

Boys are "active by nature". Straight from this 1913 Madison Grant textbook on Human Nature. Boys also have a preponderance of concentrativeness according to these skull measurements!

Actually, Dr. Venkman, schools are cancelling recess because of shortages of non-academic staff (THAT MEANS BUDGET CUTS) and constant funding-dependent pressure to perform on standardized tests. You're in favor of bigger education budgets and less emphasis on testing, right?

Oh, and Ritalin makes boys girls. When I was 8 the Rialto Theatre in Joliet, IL had a show on its marquee called "Boys Will Be Girls" and my dad had to explain the idea of a drag show, which in hindsight I bet was pretty funny. But now I wonder if it wasn't a show about boys on Ritalin. Which makes them girls.

This gets worse, folks. These are, comparatively speaking, the good arguments.

Things are no better in college. There, young men face the perils of Title IX, the 1972 law designed to ban sex discrimination in all educational programs.

This has turned into a journalistic Sharknado at this point. Come on. Is this even serious? THE PERILS OF TITLE IX. Male readers, do you remember THE PERILS OF TITLE IX during college? It was basically all I thought about for four years.

Boy it sure would be funny if she had no goddamn idea how Title IX even works. But that can't happen, what with this being a professional writer for a major media outlet.

Under Title IX, the ratio of female athletes is supposed to match the ratio of female students. So if not enough women sign up for, say, wrestling and ice hockey, well then: no more wrestling and ice hockey.

That is not even a tiny little bit how it works. Not even close. This is like writing, "One of the big disadvantages to being female is sexual harassment" and then continuing to explain that sexual harassment is when a woman is catapulted into a barn.

The total number of athletic scholarships must equalize under Title IX, so ice hockey for men could be offset by women's gymnastics, for example. Or the teams could operate without scholarship athletes. But according to Venkelmeyer, schools that have 50 male football players on scholarship can only have a football team by giving 50 football scholarships to women and WHAT AM I EVEN DOING HERE, PEOPLE? AM I ALIVE ANYMORE? WHY? WHY IS THIS HAPPENING? HELLO? IF YOU CAN HEAR ME, SEND LIQUOR. SEND ME LIQUOR.

What was once viewed equal opportunity for women has become something else altogether: a demand for equal outcomes. Those are not the same thing at all.

*scratches ass with keys*

Yeah, that follows logically. Just do whatever you want from this point on. I'll just amuse myself with these jacks.

Title IX is also abused when it comes to sex. In 1977, a group of women at Yale used Title IX to claim sexual harassment and violence constitute discrimination against women.

Where did they get the idea that things like rape and domestic violence constitute a discriminatory environment for women? Boys are active by nature! They need to rape! After all, look at how these college girls dress.

I don't even know who's writing this response anymore, I shot myself a few paragraphs ago. Now I'm reading a BuzzFeed piece called 17 SIGNS YOU'VE BEEN SHOT IN THE HEAD OR TORSO. It's really funny. Lots of movie stills from The Sandlot and 1990s Nickelodeon shows.

Genuine harassment and violence should be punishable offenses, obviously.

Well that's big of you!

But the college campus is a breeding ground for sexual activity, which makes determining wrongdoing (and using Title IX to prove it) extremely difficult. Sexual misconduct does not necessarily constitute harassment—and women have as much of a role to play as men do.

You all knew we would get here, right? I mean, you saw this coming. You read the first paragraph or two and you were like, Jesus tittybanging Christ, this isn't going to end without her explaining how men are victims in sex crimes. You just knew. You shall not be disappointed. In a certain sense of the term.

Here again men are in an impossible situation, for there’s an unspoken commandment when it comes to sex in America: thou shalt never blame the woman. If you’re a man who’s sexually involved with a woman and something goes wrong, it’s your fault. Simple as that.

"and something goes wrong"

Don't you hate it when you're dating a woman and "something goes wrong," guys? You think the relationship is going well and then you slap her around a little and suddenly everything is all like BUT OFFICER… and everyone's making YOU the bad guy? How's that for fair.

Note the passive construction: the male doesn't do something. Something happens. You're a victim of external forces. When things, uh, "go wrong."

Judith E. Grossman shed light on this phenomenon in a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed. A former feminist, Grossman concedes that in the past she would have expressed "unqualified support" for policies such as Title IX. But that was before her son was charged with "nonconsensual sex" by a former girlfriend.

Oh cool, so she was a "feminist" until her son raped someone. She sounds credible. When parents change their tune to excuse and defend the behavior of their Precious Snowflake children, that's usually a sign that they have the intellectual and moral high ground. LET'S LISTEN TO HER, EVERYONE.

"Title IX has obliterated the presumption of innocence that is so foundational to our traditions of justice. On today’s college campuses, neither "beyond a reasonable doubt," nor even the lesser "by clear and convincing evidence" standard of proof, is required to establish guilt of sexual misconduct," she writes.

Those would be really relevant points in a courtroom. Isn't it a shame how some universities don't follow the standard sexual assault trial script of putting the victim on the stand and talking about how she dresses like a whore and is a giant whore and whores all whore-y like? Oh, the horror of an environment in which there are fewer (BUT STILL PLENTY OF) loopholes to escape trouble when you bang someone who isn't conscious.

Being a man is hard.

When men become husbands and fathers, things get really bad.

They get…ATTACKED by SPIDERS!!

In family courts throughout America, men are routinely stripped of their rights and due process. The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is easily used against them since its definition of violence is so broad that virtually any conflict between partners can be considered abuse.

Well technically that's after a divorce, not "when men become husbands and fathers."

And come on, anyone who knows anything about our legal system knows that it's really, really easy to get a man charged with and convicted of domestic violence and my god, I read all of Going Rogue and Atlas Shrugged and an essay by Stephen Baldwin and yet this takes the cake as the absolute dumbest goddamn thing I have ever read. This is like trolling the "Men's Rights" forum on Reddit, but worse. It's as if a council of 15 year old boys, convicted rapists, and apes with serious head injuries wrote this by committee.

"If a woman gets angry for any reason, she can simply accuse a man and men are just assumed guilty in our society," notes Dr. Helen Smith, author of the new book, "Men on Strike." This is particularly heinous since, as Smith adds, violence in domestic relations "is almost 50% from men and 50% from women."

Yep. I have nothing to add – that's how enforcement of domestic violence laws works. This is correct in every way.

Shocked?

Not really, given that none of this is true, cubby!

If so, that’s in part because the media don't believe men can be victims of domestic violence—so they don't report it.

TO THINK THAT THE MEDIA AND SOCIETY AT LARGE COULD PLAY SOME SORT OF ROLE IN THE UNDER-REPORTING OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE.

They would rather feed off stories that paint women as victims. And in so doing, they've convinced America there's a war on women.

Well then I guess the best solution is for the media to report less about domestic violence, amirite?

What kind of recent events in various state legislatures could lead people to the crazy notion that there's some sort of "war on women"? Must be all that reporting about domestic violence.

Yet it is males who suffer in our society. From boyhood through adulthood, the White American Male must fight his way through a litany of taunts, assumptions and grievances about his very existence. His oppression is unlike anything American women have faced. Unlike women, however, men don't organize and form groups when they've been persecuted. They just bow out of the game.

OK, this is fake. This cannot possibly be real. It was fun and you had me going for a while, but you got greedy with "His oppression is unlike anything American women have faced." You blew your cover. Fun while it lasted, though.

"His oppression is unlike anything American women have faced."

I yield. This has broken me.

America needs to wake up. We have swung the pendulum too far in the other direction – from a man's world to a woman's world.

Yes, which is why America is controlled, top to bottom, by women.

Friends, one criticism I receive often is that I ignore the substance of an argument in favor of mocking the person making it. And my defense is that some arguments are so goddamn stupid that it would be excruciatingly boring to waste time refuting it. This is a perfect example. Can you imagine anything less interesting than explaining in a serious tone that this is not correct?

That's not equality. That's revenge.

Fuck you.

No, wait, let's do the Scooby-Doo ending.

*pulls off mask*

WAIT A SECOND! Suzanne Venker is actually…Marcel Duchamp!

Do your best, Coulter and Malkin wannabes – you will never, ever top this. This is the Sistene Chapel, the Led Zeppelin IV, the Citizen Kane of pandering to an audience of angry white men. I'd be in awe of it if I didn't have such a splitting headache from stupid right now.

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