Wednesday, April 30, 2008

When should you credit an actual poet?

Using the stylistic tricks filling in at Instafuckingasshole taught her, Megan has produced a post where she doesn't call Kathy G. a blogging equivalent of a plagiarist, she just approvingly quotes entire emails by another blogger strongly implying it. The charges are based largely on KG seeming to have read not only the blogger's post, but also a paper by Coase the blogger linked to and found similar passages relevant. Shocking.
In the same spirit, I'd like to claim right to the most famous of Hunter S. Thompson's works by here using the phrase "fear and loathing". If you reference that work without crediting me, you are a poopypants.

(Explanation for the title of this post here.)

Quick shorters

Don't get too attached to that poll as is, I've a feeling there's editing left to do on it.(That should probably do it.)

The return of double-digit inflation?:

On a more serious note, the economy actually grew last quarter, albeit by a miserly 0.6%. Outright recession is starting to feel somewhat less likely to me, though even if we technically dodge two quarters of economic contraction, I expect we'll see very slow growth for some time to come.
Megan from 9 days ago:
Gap Inc reports sales declines. Can I haul out the "R word" yet? Please? Please?
Either way, Krugman is wrong.

By request: a long post in which I link Kathy G several times: This post is effectively a war crime, and I would be just as guilty as Megan were I to excerpt it in any way. My condolences to Kathy G., who will probably feel compelled to read the whole damn thing.

Do drugs make gangs, or do gangs make drugs?: So... are gangs chickens and drugs eggs? Or does that mean the white rabbit is Kissinger and Alice is Nixon? Duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuude.

Will legalization reduce abusive polygamy cults?: Not would, but "will". Megan is sitting on a hell of a scoop, it seems.

When should you link another blogger?: I'll treat this post individually in a moment, but first I'd like to highlight the following.
I quite agree that it is far too often applied profligately.
I disagree, I think it's far too often applied profligately with unfortunate frequency.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Soul Sister McArdle Testifies

It's short, so I'll save you the indignity of giving her a click:

Random musing

I defy Jeremiah Wright: I have always clapped syncopated [sic]. And there is no chance that I have any cultural or genetic African heritage--indeed, if I were any whiter, you could use my albedo to end global warming.

Luckily, I'm not running for president, so no one will bring it up. I mean, except me.
Excuse us, Sister McA., but as one's albedo is a sort of reflectivity index, would yours not make things even warmer? Unless you're planning on focusing reflections from your pasty whiteness (bet I'm almost as pasty, or was before being forced to the streets) to burn up greenhouse gases. Otherwise, if you start reflecting at us, it's just going to get hotter.

One might want to look at the comments, a particular commenter by the pseudonym of "Occam's Razor" makes an especial asshole of himself, as in Megan's earlier linking to a NSFW site (The Onion) about an asshole.

Weird science
This explains a lot. (Not workplace safe: sorry to any who clicked before the note.)
brad is right, there's no game here today, but I've still wasted precious time. Now if only we could teach her to clap syncopatedly. And teach the Rev. Wright & every white racist the differences between culture & genetics.

I haven't given up the cause

just been busy, plus Megan hasn't had her A-game going. I'll be back in action soonish.
Oh, and plz help me think of a new poll.

If only they'd let her spread her wings and fly!

OMG! OMG! It's another of those oh-so-rare self awareness alerts! The buzzers are going off! Red lights are flashing! Watchmen are on lookout for nefarious creatures on horseback and meteorologists have been dispatched to hell!

President Bush is having a press conference on the economy this morning. For the life of me, I can't imagine why. No one is exactly waiting with bated breath for his crack assessment of the nation's economic problems


Nonetheless, I, like all the other reporters, will dutifully discuss this press conference as if it mattered

Oh, woe is Megan! She'd be trenchantly analyzing what really mattered if only those stupid rubes in the public cared! It's not her fault for pandering!

So, wait, does it count as self awareness when you realize your own fault yet still blame your audience for making it so? I guess not, huh?

Call back the meteorologists, and stand down the watchmen. False alarm.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Actual Proof that Megan is a Conservative

She gets interviewed by "Right Wing News" under the headline "Interviewing Six Conservative Women on Dating."

My suspicions are confirmed.

Sunday, April 27, 2008


Can anyone parody this?

What adult would not only think this: "I realized the other night that I still haven't really emotionally grasped the fact that I am never going to have superpowers.", But actually share it with other people?


If you're in Boston

come on out to Sadlyly drinking, dammit.
We iz eleetests, so you can be cool too.

You don't even want to know...

how many times the phrase "robot overlords" shows up in a search of MM's archived drivel.

Well, you might, but I'll be fucked if I'm gonna count that shit.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Oy Vey

So, kathy g weighs in on my recent post about her fight with Megan.

First of all, to blogger NutellaonToast who characterized the exchange between Megan McArdle and me as a "catfight": cut out the dumbass sexist bullshit right now, please. It's insulting, dehumanizing, and very, very cheap. And it reveals your anti-McArdle crusade in the worse possible light, because it really does make you look like a gender-obsessed freak who's flipping out at the idea of an outspoken woman who publicly advocates opinions very different from your own. You'd be far more credible if you spare us the sleazy sexism and argue your case against McArdle strictly on the merits. Trust me, fella, it's not that hard.
My first impulse was to open both barrels at kathy but she doesn't really deserve it. I assumed the women bashing vein of that thread was over the top enough to make it clearly sarcastic. We here at FMM may hate women, but we're not misogynists. I thought it was funny. If it wasn't it just means that I'm not very funny.

There are an awful lot of modifiers here about what was, at worst, a failed attempt at snark. I'll grant "dumbass," "bullshit," and "cheap" as that's pretty much all we're capable of here at FMM, but "dehumanizing," "sexist," and "insulting," is taking things a bit far. I made a joke that was sarcastically sexist, and kathy throws a fit. Who, exactly, is the "gender obsessed freak" here? The idea that I'm attacking women for having a different opinion is absurd. I'm pointing out that Megan doesn't know shit about economics. There are no opinions involved. Even if there were, since I'm clearly taking kathy's side I can hardly be accused of insulting her for having a different "opinion."

With regards to credibility; I can't speak for other posters but I'm not really looking to be credible. Any blogger who deems themselves credible is a self important jackass along the lines of a graphic novelists. It's blogging, people. It doesn't matter.

Spare us the righteous indignation and learn to take a joke. Trust me lassie, it's not that hard.

In her second paragraph, I'm gonna have to pull a Megan and point out that kathy completely failed to grasp my point. She says:
Secondly, contrary to what NutellaonToast says, neither I nor Megan McArdle are economists
I don't know how this is contrary to what I think considering I make a direct joke about how neither kathy nor Megan are trained economists:
What did one untrained economist say to the other? "You can't say that. You're not a trained economist"
But, whatever, kathy was clearly blinded by rage at this awful awful posts which points out how right she was. I forgive her. In fact, I'll be so magnanimous as to clue her into my Jewish and Quaker ancestry. She now has permission to call me a kyke and make as many quaker oats and Nixon jabs as she wants. You're welcome, Kat.

brad adds:

Let's everybody relax a little. Nutella has a point insofar as we're not meant to be taken seriously here, Kathy has a point in that there are legitimate reasons for some people to not find some jokes funny. Both of you are upset because your sensibilities have been offended, but there's no real reason to get into a back and forth on this, or foreseeable gain from doing so. I don't want this blog to turn into a front for internecine warfare. That'd make us all war criminals.

Nutella concedes:
brad is right.

"The Lipstick Libertarian" Was My Second Choice

Known as a hard-luck ship, "Dresden Doll" was shot down by her own crew.

Proof Megan is a conservative

Megan describes JEB Bush's some other guy's expression of gratitude that the state can murder black people with needles as "odd."

No Megan, its odd that Clay Aiken is on QVC. Its evil that a governor is thankful that the state is going to kill more people.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Fire The Atlantic or, Follow The Money

Before recent (& radical) changes in my "life-style" (hate that term, being sarcastic here) the chances of my coming across a copy of The Atlantic, let alone opening it & thumbing through it, were slim to totally non-existent. However, I find myself in public libraries more often of late, & while I find it very easy to ignore on-line advertising (other than those epileptic fit inducing strobing ads that were running w/ Asymmetrical Information for a while -- I 've no recollection of what they advertised, by the way) my medieval obsession w/ print makes me pay attention to the adverts in the dead tree Atlantic.

And we all know that no matter what the editorial side may claim, the sales dep't. & the ads tell the story of who is being reached & why. W/ that in mind (& a tip of the Bouffant chapeau to fellow contributing editor NutellaonToast, who invented the "Fire The Atlantic" label) let's look through the April 2008 issue. That's the one w/ Brittany Beavers, the international pop star, on the cover.

And the advertisers are (in order):

ABB (International construction corporation, may be Swiss-based, may also manufacture munitions. Do your own research, things may have changed since I first heard of them. The ad itself is a two-page spread of a gargantuan fully-illuminated refinery at sunset or dawn.)

Altria Group, Inc. (Phillip Morris, the people who bring you tobacco.)

Credit Suisse


Wiley (Publisher, advertising a book by Fred Kaplan, Daydream Believers, subtitled "How a few grand ideas wrecked American power.")

Honda (Not advertising a specific car, but touting their CAFE #s.)


University of Florida

Calvert Group, Ltd. (Mutual Fund.)

Mercedes-Benz (C-Class. Not a specific car, but not just a corporate image move.)

The Vanguard Group, Inc. (Rollover your retirement funds.)


Subaru Forester


UBS (IBM when I CBS.)

GM Corp./Chevrolet (Touting environmental joys of a Chevy, no specific model.)

Aspen Ideas Festival (Produced by The Atlantic & The Aspen Institute. 30 June - 6 July. Are you all ready for Megatron's posts from there?)

Nissan Murano ("The All-New 2009 Nissan Murano" It's bloody April 2008!! Where do they get 2009? Something to do w/ the International Year Line? No wonder they lost WWII, they didn't know what yr. it was.)

Goldman Sachs Funds

General Motors ("It's just one part of GM's commitment to energy diversity...")

Suddenly (a few pp. before the staples) there is a distinct drop in advertiser quality. Bose noise-cancelling headphones. Mail order shirts ("Free Monogramming! An $8.50 value"). Fisher Investments (The 15-minute Retirement Plan. Features picture of Ken Fisher, "Chairman & CEO." Vanity advertising.) Three book ads. Rosetta Stone.

Here the full page ads stop & we are suddenly in radio country. The Bose cans & RosettaStone were just the start, we are confronted w/ shortwave radios & hand-cranked radios, exercise machines (this one costs $14,615, I kid you not). Coffee. Imported tea. Teach yourself calculus; open a new world for yourself(?). Books. Cunard. South American Emeralds. And a bunch of column by 3/4 inch ads for various crap. I'm a bit surprised there aren't any pitches for or for gold & precious metals w/ pictures of Megan, Sully or Yglesias telling us to "buy now before it goes up," (Those of you who, like me, are forced to listen to the radio all day so we can ignore our thoughts will understand.)

So The Atlantic is essentially intended for investors. It's the same crap you'll see on the Sabbath gasbag shows, if you're that much of a masochist. Most of the one page ads in the front of the mag, as we saw above, were corporate image pimpers, or from investment services/mutual funds. So there's the target audience, or the audience they're getting. Bad enough, & a good indication of why they'll never fire Free Market Megan. Even more insidious is that magazines, pundit-filled talk shows & the like are dependent on these large corporate entities, & if anything that truly goes against the corporate/capitalist/globalist/you-name-something-else-bad grain appears in The Atlantic these cos. can pull their ads & put any non-conventional wisdom enterprise out of business. It's not merely the corporations that advertise that must be appeased (because advertising in these magazines & on those programs makes no difference to GM's bottom line) but the very concepts behind big business that must be honored, in order for any advertising to keep the publisher's bottom line going. However, don't think you'll ever hear anything but "Oh, we're all journalists here, the advertisers have no influence on us," from any of these toadies.

Cat fight!

Mreowr! The women economists are getting feisty! Here's to hoping that in the fray they rip each other's shirts off or kiss!

First, Megan says something stupid. which is how these things usually start.

Then, kathy g points out that Megan said something stupid. A fair, if naive move.

Of course, we all know what comes next. Megan gets sanctimonious while mischaracterizing her opponents views, claiming her opponent misunderstood her and calling her opponent stupid. It's a Megan trifecta!

Let's examine step three, shall we?

Kathy G is worried

Hmm, worried. I somehow doubt that this is an accurate representation of kathy's internal state, but perhaps we should let her weigh in.
Kathy G. is further confused by the concept of "preference maximization". Often when I speak to non-economists, I try to explain things in the terms that they are most likely to understand, rather than the terms that appeared in my Micro textbook

Kathy got confused by a term Megan admits to completely making the fuck up? wow that must mean that:
Indeed, so far as I can tell, Kathy G. is an army of one in this respect. But confess I have not done a comprehensive research survey; I am relying entirely on the absence of confused emails, comments, or blog posts from anyone besides Kathy G.

Why, of course, kathy didn't read Megan's mind because she's singularly stupid. Duh!
Kathy G additionally says I should have specified that Coasean bargaining is impractical in the absent of clear property rights. I thought that went without saying, since the discussion revolved around who had a clear property right. I regret the error.

So in other words, you were arguing about property rights so you invoked a theorem which requires property rights to be completely settled. Yes, you're the one being misunderstood, Megan. Counter position, Megan doesn't understand Coasean bargaining.
Kathy G. avers that the Coase Theorem does not "dictate" anything. Please white out the word "the Coase Theorem dictates" on your screen and replace with "the Coase Theorem would seem to indicate". I regret the infelicitous choice of words.

Wow, she admits to being overly assertive about what was a matter of opinion. This is shocking. Man, our standards for her are low.
Finally, Kathy G. says that I should not have tried to apply the Coase theory willy nilly to the real world. This is a very important point. Unless you are a trained economist, like Kathy G., the safest thing to do is only apply it to imaginary worlds.

What did one untrained economist say to the other? "You can't say that. You're not a trained economist"
Well, let's ask a trained economist on the subject, then. Fortunately for us, one of these two sparkling women knows how to use a direct reference to back up their claims. Guess which one? If you guess Megan, go hang yourself.
"[W]hile consideration[s] of what would happen in a world of zero transaction costs can give us valuable insights, these insights are, in my view, without value except as steps on the way to the analysis of the real world of positive transaction costs. We do not do well to devote ourselves to a detailed study of the world of zero transaction costs, like augers divining the future by the minute inspection of the entrails of a goose. "

But of course, the economist kathy mentioned is totally biased. You see, his name is Coase and he INVENTED THE VERY FUCKING THING YOU'RE ARGUING ABOUT!

And the judges ruling? Point kathy by unanimous decision.
The judges further ruled that Megan should also go and hang herself.

My only post today

I'm now old, get off my lawn.
I'm not going to read anything by Megan today, it is my birthday.
And the birthday of the name America apparently, which I didn't know.
Anywho, I'll pop in once or twice, but not to post. Thanx for well wishes in advance, n Megan smells.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Oh Clem

Megan wants you to teach her about Dresden. See?

Oh, and Megan?

One could as easily argue that the purpose of torture is to satisfy our strategic objectives in Iraq and Afghanistan. The proper answer to which is, who cares? It's wrong.
That's fucking stupid of you to say. Of course it's wrong, but one could not argue that, not without being a baldfaced liar or braindead propaganda swallower. We torture because men with small penises and even smaller self-images hold the highest offices in our land, and they want the rush of power that comes with directly orchestrating the torture of the people who made them feel small and afraid on 9/11, or at least people who look like them. There is no rational argument for torture. The fictional situations common in 24 don't actually happen. By giving that ground, you give up your own, Megan.

How to fail to move goalposts

War crimes are not equivalent to atrocities, Megan, (though of course one can be the other) and the brutality of tribal war is not comparable to the types of wars the US wages.
Wars are bloody, yes, and involve all sorts of deaths that "shouldn't" happen.
That has fuck-all to do with war crimes, which are the topic of debate, via your use of the term in your original post, Megan.
Please pay attention, at least to yourself.
(In response to this little turd.)

Illiterate in Two Languages

La femme McArdle can't spell in French either. (Not that some of the other ninnies who post here are perfect, only I! In two languages!!)

Cri de cour [sic]
As I contemplate the purchase of another velocipede, this spectre haunts me
Not to mention the utter pretentiousness of "velocipede" & "spectre."

UPDATE: Earlier in the day, as she blockquoted MoDo, the very same phrase is used, yet spelled correctly. Say what you will about MoDo (or the NYT at least having editors so their columnists don't look goofy) she's a better typist/speller than MMcM. I do agree w/ her take on MoDo, taken it from this guy "Matt" she's always talking about & linking to. (Is he her boyfriend or something& we're just supposed to know who he is? I don't get it, but she may be writing for a group of obsessives who know everything & every one in her little world. You do all know who MoDo is, don't you?) Here's an idea: Moratorium on food & eating & vega-vegetarianism &...

Guess what's in my leek soup!


Guys, I'm gonna share with you my macaroni and cheese recipe now. Here goes


Cook the macaroni
Add the cheese

Serve hot


A couple people like the comment that I posted for the recipe, so I'll reprint here:

Wow, that looks really good. I kept putting boots in my potato leek soup and, while it was good, it tastes nothing like potato and leek soup. I now see where I went wrong.

I've also been having trouble with my peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Do you have a recipe for that you might share? I like to use mayonnaise and ham on mine and again, it's good, but it tastes nothing like peanut butter and jelly! In fact, it ends up tasting just like a ham sandwich!!! What am I doing wrong?!?!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Oh, fuck you

After arguing war crimes are an inherent part of war, perhaps not understanding that individual acts of brutality aren't war crimes, but rather that they require institutional involvement and some degree of official sanction, Megan, as everyone who's ever read her expected, says she was misunderstood by those who criticize this claim.

My colleague misunderstands me:

I did not say that what the Bush administration has done is no different from what any other president has done. I said that what the Bush administration has done was not the result of choosing what Glenn Greenwald called an "aggressive" war in Iraq. (To be distinguished, presumably, from the peaceful, passive sorts of wars that other countries have.)

What the Bush administration has done has been a choice of the Bush administration. They did not have to make it, even after they had gone to Iraq. They could (and did) make those choices even before we went to war in Iraq; they didn't stem from the fact this is a special, bad kind of war that requires torture in a way that other wars don't. Torture is a tactic that works just as well (or as badly) in defensive wars as in other kinds. The decision to do it is not an inevitable outgrowth of invasion. Lots of defending peoples have committed atrocities against their invaders.

I am arguing that it is dangerous to attribute war crimes to the type of war you are waging, because the implication is that when you fight a "good" war, you won't have war crimes. That tilts the calculus too heavily in favor of future wars.
War crimes are inherent to war, so don't wage war, but don't blame these current war crimes on our having gone to war. They merely stem from having our having gone to war.
(Can anyone make coherent sense of that chunk of Meganity? It is such bad writing I have genuine difficulty parsing it.)

Why did Dresden happen?:
Daniel Larison's critique of my post makes even less sense to me.
Than your own writing? That'd be difficult. (Note this critique comes, like Sully's, from the right, meaning Megan oddly finds no sexism in it. Only lefties blame her vag, I guess.)
I am not arguing that what the Bush administration did was inevitable, only that at the point when you decide to commit atrocities, the nation is almost never thinking of how the war started, but of the suffering that has come since. We did not firebomb Germany because "they started it"; we firebombed them because they'd killed a lot of people since then.
So now war crimes aren't an inevitable part of going to war? The Bush Admin was using torture before we ever got to Iraq, quite possibly even before we invaded Afghanistan, so this is true, but that's the precise opposite of what you claimed, Megan. Here's what you said
when you choose war, you choose war crimes--and that this is true regardless of why you are choosing the war.
Is it inherently feminine to contradict and misrepresent your own work? Jebus, I'm being sexist, aren't I?

If a tree falls in the woods and Megan isn't there to hear it...

Susan of Texas probably isn't really a wimmin. She makes too much sense.

Logic ought to tell McArdle that if liberals admire the female narrative style yet criticize her, they aren't criticizing her female narrative style; they're criticizing her content. But it's easier and more pleasant to claim victimization than it is to respond honestly. Self-styled independent thinkers ought to have principles based on reason and careful thought, and should be able to defend them.
This brings up a topic I've been seriously wondering about; wtf does Megan think is a "typically female narrative style, which touches on personal experience"? (Full quote from the Roy Edroso is a sexist rant.)
Adding her own viewpoint and events of her life to her blog? That's what every single blogger who exists does, be they male, female, or somewhere in between. Posting recipes? mikey does that, ffs, and, while I love the guy, he's not especially feminine. Besides, the criticism of the recipes is they're bland and unoriginal, not that they smell of vag.
The only thing I'm left with is Megan thinks her inherent crappiness is feminine. It would make her technically correct if that's true, insofar as if being a shitty thinker and writer is inherently feminine then we are going after her for her gender here. But, well, I'm not going to take the trope that far. Wimmin are weak and evil and all that, but they are not inherently stupid.
Your vagina and breasts have nothing to do with our taking issue with you, Megan. And you do a disservice to those who genuinely do suffer from sexism by selfishly using it as a shield against criticism. It's like a 1/1000th scale representation of false claims of rape. You make it easier for genuine sexists to dismiss charges against them as baseless.
I'm not claiming I'm perfect and bias free, I'm educated enough to know that more or less cannot be (even in radical feminists, Ilyka and Twisty readers). We, I, have crossed lines we shouldn't here, at times, and we, I, are glad to learn from those mistakes. And that, Megan, is what truly separates us, not what we have between our legs. We admit our mistakes, and try not to make them again. You blame others for pointing them out to you, then write about how being wrong was actually right. You're thick as a block, and that's not especially feminine, though I'll leave it for Megan to reify normative gender roles in society by calling thin, intelligent guys effete.
Sexism is only bad when directed at her, or a woman she likes, after all.
Feminist bloggers talk about women's issues, Megan. You talk about yourself. You can't see the difference, but the rest of us can.

Don't Be Sorry!

Sullivan demolishes McArdle.

Sully quotes Megan's defense of war crimes:

...when you choose war, you choose war crimes--and that this is true regardless of why you are choosing the war. You may be going to war for reasons that even the staunchest of libertarians would support, like defending your territory from violent attack. Just the same, if the war grinds on for any length of time, you will get people violating the Geneva Conventions, doing obscene things to enemy soldiers (dead and alive), and launching attacks that would horrify the population if they were watching a third party do them. By the time you're a year or so into it, the public and the soldiers are reacting to the last attack and the mountain of dead, not to who started it. Dresden would have been unthinkable in 1939; by the time it happened, anything was justifiable if it saved Allied soldiers.[...]

The point is, these things are part of the cost of war, not of the cost of "wars started by the Bush administration" or "wars with bad motives" or "wars we don't like".

Sully responds:
I'm sorry but this is preposterous, uninformed, ahistorical. The United States has managed to go to war for two centuries without the president authorizing and monitoring the torture of prisoners. The Bush administration's legalization of torture and withdrawal from Geneva is unique in American history. Yes, wars will lead to individuals committing war crimes in the heat of battle. Yes, it carries a horrifying logic. But an advance, pre-meditated decision by the president to engage in war crimes is new and unprecedented. Bush really is uniquely awful as a president in this respect: an indefensible war criminal, who has permanently stained the country he represents and betrayed the soldiers who expect decency and lawfulness in their commander-in-chief.

Don't be sorry, Sully, you misogynist. Of course McArdle's argument is preposterous, uninformed, and ahistorical. That is the sin qua non of her writing. This has got to be pretty embarrassing for Megan. Sully really didn't pull any punches. Has he ever said anything good about his colleague? No, I don't think so. No wonder he's paid about five times her salary--its the only way Mr. Harvard Ph.D. could stomach being on the same roster as Megatron.

I feel, in some small way, that we are winning.

(Note: My typical writing style of constructing egregiously long sentences full of daisy-chained clauses has been replaced by a poor imitation of Andrew "staccato" Sullivan's prose. I assure you my next post will have more semicolons, dashes, and commas than this.)


can't sleep, shorters.

Ask the blogger:

When I say that war crimes are an inevitable byproduct of war, am I trying to excuse the Bush Administration?

No. The point is that when you choose war, you choose war crimes--and that this is true regardless of why you are choosing the war.
So, Megan, you chose to support war crimes. Well done.

The hidden benefit of veganism:
Last night, at Matt Yglesias's book party, I was chatting to a couple of friends about my recent conversion to an animal-free lifestyle. The one thing I didn't expect was that it actually reduced the amount of time I spend thinking about food. This surprised the hell out of them, and it also surprised the hell out of me, so I thought it was worth mentioning.
If I were going to write a parody post in Megan's voice, I would begin it with precisely these words.

Fundamental attribution error:
Another mistake I think people make when they discuss police brutality, or war crimes, is to attribute them to some characteristic of the population that joins the military or becomes a police officer. One of my commenters says:
I think a lot of folks who join the military (not to mention police officers and prison guards) have authoritarian or sadistic tendencies which in turn increase the probability of war crimes being committed, especially given the stress of being under fire, in a strange land, among hostile locals.

What would you expect from people who sign up for a job where you maim and kill people you don't even know, just because someone else told you to do it?

(sorry if I offend anyone; I know a few of you just signed up for the tuition support or needed the money and got more than you bargained for)
Maybe this is so, but I'm skeptical. I've known a lot of quasi-pacifists with aggressive, domineering personalities and a startling lack of empathy. Give them slightly different political beliefs and an M-16, and I sure wouldn't turn my back on them.
Sorry for the extended quote, but I wanted to make it clear I'm not being unfair when I say this is the stupidest thing Megan has written since at least Thursday.
Positions that obviously attract sadists mean hippies want to beat you up. That's her line of reasoning, folks.

Fight the conventional wisdom:
I'm going to join Ross in defending the debate. Not because I think that the questions were useful; I think they were vacuous nonsense. But I really wonder if any of it matters.
[The candidates are] just saying whatever they think will make us like them, so why bother with it? Look at their voting record and call it a day.
Dear Megan, it's too late for me to bother Googling for you, but Obama and Hillary have damn near identical voting records in the Senate, as everyone but you knows. That's the whole fucking justification for the petty bullshit that dominated the debate. Have an intern put together some info for you on it, eh?

Why aren't the superdelegates committing?:
As Matt points out, they undoubtedly already know which way they're going to go, so why are they subjecting us all to this painful ordeal?

Working theories:

1) They are afraid of retaliation by a vengeful Senator Clinton

2) They are afraid that she will somehow get the nomination, and retaliate from the Oval Office

3) They need the Clintons to fundraise for the general

4) No one wants to be the guy who put the last nail in the Clinton campaign's coffin.
Or they're still trying to milk influence and promises out of the candidates, and are media darlings so long as they don't commit, which means these powerful politicians have extra chances to get in front of a camera. Or they're positioning themselves as wise elders who can broker a compromise. Or they don't want to alienate either candidate or their supporters and are waiting for a clear winner's bandwagon to jump on. Puzzling, innit? Must be cuz Hillary's a beeee-yotch.

Just cuz I'm busy don't mean you get a pass, Megan.

Busy week

posting from me will probably be light through the weekend.
Bday on friday, lots else to do, and I'll be in Boston for the Sadly, Drinking! on Sunday (so come on out, even if you're Megan.)
Let me know if you give a damn about the bloggingheads bit, too. I'm getting very tempted to delete that draft.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Election Night Jive Blogging

On occasion, when reviewing my own output, I bemoan that I don't turn a simile or metaphor as others do. Although the more I read ( libraries, & the Borders Books Mucus Movies & A Cafe whence I was fired for mentioning that I might kill someone - oh, irony - are swell places for the unhoused to hang, so I've been reading a lot of drivel recently) the less I worry about it. And then I see simile & metaphor like these:

[I]t's like watching a World Poker Tour comprised entirely of librarians drawing to inside straights. At this point, her most likely winning strategy seems to be arranging for Sirhan Sirhan to get out on work-release.
Not knowing squat about poker, I assume inside straights are dull. (Librarians aren't. I've been looking at many of them recently, as I mentioned.) But what does the Sirhan Sirhan thing even mean? If The Great McGonigle realizes it's unlikely that SS would be released, how is that Clinton's most likely winning strategy? What. The. Fug.

On a more positive note, this was almost amusing:

The questions no one is asking
Which way did the Amish go?
Not to disagree w/ commenter (here & there) Margalis, but I did agree w/ virtually everything in this post. I'm just willing to take it farther, nihilistically.

Is this "aMouseforallSeasons" anonymouse posting under a different name in a last-ditch attempt to get its crummy music on the radioso as not to be further connected w/ Internet thuggery? Either way, you could cut the irony w/ a not very sharp object. Get this:
All in the interest of keeping Megan's comments section from degenerating into a casual conversation based on interesting anecdotes and candid personal observations, y'see.
Mouse, if the posts themselves are "based on interesting anecdotes and candid personal observations," why expect more from the commenters?

And read the comments here. They are all over our poor Muse, for the usual inaccuracies, etc. It almost sounded like a plea for public financing of elections. Almost.

That's it for this wk., my fellow Americans. The library's closing, & it's down Westwood Blvd. to the local Borders 'til eviction @ 2300.


I'm going back to school, SUCKAS!!!!!!!!!


mAcademia Nut

So Megan decides to pontificate about grumpy academics. Oh Joy, this is going to be fun.

Megan starts off by taking her discrete experiences as representative of all reality. Even though she acknowledges the bias of her own views, she decides to "assume that I'm on to something." Assume away.

Why does Megan think academics are more bitter, despite the very real possibility that they aren't bitter than other professions?

1) The money is so low relative to the professions they might have gone into. Journalists also suffer from this bitterness. Interestingly, the more lucrative their current options are, the less bitter the professors seem to be--economists and engineers seem relatively cheerful compared to English and History professors.

Got that? Professors are bitter because they could have made more money doing something else, except for Professors of engineering and economics. They aren't bitter, despite the fact that they could have made MUCH more money doing the same thing somewhere else.
2) It's so easy to tell exactly where you rank in the academic hierarchy. Well, I don't find it easy, but they all seem to. Unless you're very near the top, your ranking is reinforced every time you attend any sort of professional event. If you are near the top, you promptly switch to wondering why you're paid less than an entry level investment banking analyst.

Um, how is it 'so easy to tell exactly where you rank in the academic hierarchy?' How is it 'reinforce[d] every time you attend any sort of professional event?' Do conferences now list your name, school, and US News ranking on the name tag? Hello My Name is Third Tier?
3) It's so hard to switch jobs. Job mobility is so low that you can't salve your ego by telling yourself that your current job is merely a waystop en route to something better.

But academics get to travel...for work...nevermind
4) Academics have few alternative status hierarchies Getting tenure is an all consuming process that leaves very little time for developing other hobbies. And the job virtually definitionally does not attract the kind of people who will be happy putting their career on a back burner to family or lifestyle.

What she forgets to mention is that many academics view their research as a hobby. Getting paid for doing your hobby tends to not embitter people.
5) Academics have virtually no control over where they live They usually seem to go where the best job is, regardless of whether or not the local area suits them. In many cases, this further focuses them inward on academia, because there aren't all that many other people around who share their interests.

This, actually, is a valid point.

Now to the commenters:

Lou farts this out:
But let's say you are an English professor and not passionate about your teaching. What else do you accomplish? In many fields the articles and books are only read by others in your field, and their only value is to convince others that you are smart. I.e. status. Literally, there is nothing else that they produce except for status. So of course you are all-consumed by relative status, there is nothing else in your life.

Seriously, Lou, if you think writing books is just an attempt at making other people look smart, you're a moron. And this is great: "Literally, there is nothing else that they produce except for status." Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, How was the play?

Monday, April 21, 2008

Look on my works, ye mighty

Some of you may have noticed and complained about a lack of cat porn lately. Well, I haven't had a camera, so that's my excuse.

However, I just made the greatest discovery ever at Walgreens. For ten dollars you can get this:
That's right. It's a POS, but for $10 dollars you can get a reusable digital camera. IIt runs on a AAA battery and can take 243 pictures on its 16mb card. 60 if you use "high" res.

Now, no cats today (except for a cameo) but there is excitement. I have made passing reference to my health problems. I screwed up my back and have been in pain for a year and a half after a sky diving accident. Here is a picture of all of my empty bottles of narcotics and other pain killers:

I've taken over 1000 pills of vicodin, oxycodone and valium.

Recently, however, I've been feeling a lot better. Acupuncture and methadone are to thanks (I won't get into it, but methadone is actually the safest and most effective pain killer for severe pain as far as I'm concerned). How good am I feeling, you may ask? well, in the past month I have gone from being unable to purchase my own milk because it's too heavy, to taking on projects like this:


Guess where I got the rocks for that path through the middle. I sifted them out of the 30 cubic feet of soil I dug up, of course (our soil is very rocky. We're over a culverted creek so I think it's mostly crappy landfill). I have strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, hot and regular peppers, corn, carrots, spinach, green beans and a water melon plant (hopefully). I'm especially proud of the fence, which is staying up until the plants can withstand Ness and Samus's digging. After that, free fertilizer!!!

Yes, in March I couldn't tie my own shoes. In April I'm moving earth.


Tomorrow I'm meeting with my research adviser about returning to school.

Life is good again. :)!


Looking at this post, I'm actually tearing up. I'm so fucking happy. Holy shit it's been a rough 18 months.

Even when right, she's wrong


The Ministry of Propaganda White House on War: Yglesias made his mandatory pretend sane post of the week, this time about how the Bush Admin is known to be doing bad things to pump up support for the war and there's probably worse we haven't yet heard about. Megan is willing to allow that this is true, but she's not having this whole "the Bush Admin is largely composed of conscious war criminals" line of thought.

We're not seeing the Bush administration trying to manage the media because of the kind of war this is--they were doing it back when the war was extremely popular, too.
So, if you're in an abusive relationship it's not the abuser's fault for being that way if the relationship was happy at first. Yeah, I'm being a bit unfair, but you haven't seen this yet
There's a weird tendency to diagnose a bunch of different aspects of war as being somehow unique to the sort of war we're fighting now. When I did that Bloggingheads debate with Glenn Greenwald, he kept speaking of torture as being an inevitable result of "aggressive war". But this is silly. War crimes are not a special characteristic of the invading side; we did lots of things in World War II that would now be recognized as war crimes (Dresden, Tokyo), as well as number of run-of-the-mill war crimes like shooting inconvenient POWs and desecrating bodies. Nor was Sherman's March to the Sea strictly within the Geneva Conventions. People who are trying to kill each other tend to get sloppy about the niceties of things like not slapping around your prisoners for information--whether they are the invader or the invadee [sic].
(Oy, that bloggingheads bit. There's some whoppers in it, like when Megan uses the abject stupidity of one of her most devoted readers to show the public is dumb, so I don't want to give up on it, but neither do I want to finish watching it. Argh.) Silly Glenn Greenwald, thinking that just because this is the first time the American government has "legally" and effectively publicly tortured people there's something notable about it. And just because the Geneva Conventions were written after WWII (and the Civil War, to be clear), to address mistakes made on both sides, though of course publicly focusing on Axis misdeeds, doesn't mean we haven't learned from past mistakes and tried, unsuccessfully, as Vietnam and Cambodia showed, to clean up our act. After all, the first Bush Admin had to use massive amounts of torture to make the first Gulf War last about 15 minutes, not careful planning, overwhelming force, and comparative compassion for the opposing side, at least once they surrendered. Look, this is war, and if random innocent people across the globe are kidnapped based on faulty intelligence and rendered into the "care" of torturers for years at a time, that's just how war has always been. Sure, it's "bad", but have some perspective.

Leading indicators?:
Banana Republic and J-Crew seem to be having literally non-stop sales; the day after one ends, another sale notice appears in my mailbox. And the gimmicks are getting more complicated--a 20% discount is disguised by promising $10 off for every $50 you spend. Also, some of their sale items have been there for months. Hardly surprising, since Gap Inc reports sales declines. Can I haul out the "R word" yet? Please? Please?
Not until Krugman is fired for doing the same. He's been chicken littling it for years, almost as if he understood that the economic policies of this Admin were leading us to ruin. If only he'd known to wait until the clothing stores Megan likes announced off-peak sales, a hitherto unknown phenomenon that only careful market watchers like Megan would even think to connect to overall economic problems.

School loan crunch:
I've been asking myself that about student loans for quite some time. It's still not clear to me how much, if at all, they benefit the students they are supposed to help. It seems at least equally plausible that they're simply feeding the tuition inflation which makes it impossible for a normal kid to work his way through college--that is, that all the benefits of the student loans are not being appropriated by the students, but by the faculty and administration, and the non-borrowing students, who get to enjoy the shiny new facilities that tuition inflation helps pay for.
Yep, rising tuition costs only hurt those who have to take out loans to meet them. You see, no one has ever been turned down for financial aid because, say, their parents make too much to qualify, yet still too little to afford tuition. And it's not a hardship on any family who manages it to pay, what, 150-200k for 4-5 years of undergrad tuition and housing at a non-state school. Oy.

Light day, all things considered, tho last week would be hard for her to match.

Not a lie, just a conscious distortion of the truth

Megan comes back with evidence of her earlier claim that

large number of commenters who have just immigrated from Mauritania
were attacking her personally. Her proof is a rude email and a rude comment in response to her Cindy McCain post from Thursday, the day before her Obama post.
I'm not quite sure what she thinks this demonstrates, tho. Unless they were pissy about a post she'd yet to write, the comment on the Cindy McCain post isn't likely from an Obama supporter and, well, Megan said
Most distressing of all, however, is the fact that they seem to have completely missed the point. I am a Barack Obama supporter, albeit of a rather tepid variety, worried about a potential issue in the general election, not a detractor looking for nasty things to say about him.
but at least the email, while not a comment on her blog, actually comes from an Obama supporter and discusses her sexuality. She didn't completely make it up, she just distorted everyday internet rudeness to make herself seem put upon.
Megan probably has some very offensive work in the pipe, and so she's laying down a preemptive defense grid. Please evil Jebus from the reverse dimension, don't let it be about race or comedy.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

*highly childish laughter*

I still don't know quite how I manage it, but I really annoy Ann Althouse, the un-me.

Brad is desperate for traffic to his blog and he's trying to get it by dogging people with higher traffic. Of course, I linked to him. Don't know what came over me, but it did. I just wanted to briefly point out that the guy's understanding was shallow, not to bolster his dopey little enterprise.
4:21 PM
(Time included in case the link doesn't work.)
You all know how hard I work to drum up traffic here. I know it's a bit unseemly, but I need those ad revenues and paypal donations and presents from my wish list that hits bring.
I'm still miffed that Glenn Greenwald didn't do a bloggingheads with me after I totally had his back, too.

I'm not sure Ann understands that narcissism isn't universally the primary motivation for every action. She's 163, she should have learned that by now.

I take it back

This is the funniest post Megan has ever written. You see, the problem with Megan's critics is that they're all sexist, because they're all men. (Sorry, Mona, Kathy G., and Susan of Texas, you don't count.)

About once a month, some liberal blogger links to a piece I have written, declaring that I am an idiot who doesn't know what I'm talking about. The subject is almost always economics. Often the liberal blogger himself doesn't know anything about the topic, but having heard other people assure him that I am a complete idiot who doesn't know what she's talking about, he feels on relatively safe grounds. Frequently, he also links to a criticism of what I have written that does not, in fact, prove that I am a complete idiot who does not know what she is talking about.
Or you're incapable of admitting a mistake, Megan, and a sloppy writer and thinker who makes abundant mistakes. Instead of accepting your own fallibility, you attack the messenger. (And yes, we're not about factual counterarguments or reasoned debate here, but she's clearly not talking about FMM. More Glenn Greenwald or, say Crooked Timber, both of whom are waaaaaay out of her league.)
And now, quite possibly the stupidest passage Megan has written on my watch. And no, I'm not being hyperbolic.
The fun begins when the readers begin emailing and commenting to the effect that I am a complete idiot who does not know what she is talking about. For they all have two things in common:

1) They are men

2) They really, really have no idea what they are talking about. When I write back pointing out the elementary errors they have made, providing an elementary explanation, and a question as to, say, which model of minimum wage employment they are endorsing, they "softly and silently vanish away".
You mean people emailing you to vent over how horrible a person you are don't choose to get in extended policy discussions with you, Megan? That's just... shocking. And as for assertion 1.... nope. At best a vast overstatement, more likely an outright lie.
Still, you have to love the hypocrisy. We go after Megan because we're men, not because she's wrong and supports bad things.
I'm pretty sure that if I were a man, most of them would not agressively [sic] accuse me of knowing nothing about the topic I write on solely based on the assurance of someone else who knows nothing about the topic I write on. Perhaps I am wrong, having never been a man, but based on watching public interactions between same, I surmise that the attacker would credit the notion that the man might have done something--other than being cute and possessing ovaries--to get his job, and therefore leave room for himself to back down. He would not start on the assumption that the man would be unable to respond to the overwhelming power of "you're an idiot who doesn't know what he's talking about."
.... Once again, I take it back. THAT was the stupidest passage Megan has ever written. Megan, you're familiar with Tbogg, Sadly, No!, Roy Edroso, Thers, etcetcetc. I don't know that even you are stupid enough to believe that, but how did you convince yourself enough to so much as write it? You really think guys treat each other with more respect? I know for a fact you are aware of the existence of Jonah Goldberg.
But complaining that they push me into silence would be shameful. First of all, it misses the most important point about these people, which is that they are completely hilarious. These stories are completely hilarious even when the person involved is not a pompous jerk--I laughed for about an hour at a story told by a scientist that involved explaining some major physics theorem to the airline passenger next to him, only to find that he was explaining it to the guy who had discovered it. But when you add cocksure misogyny to the picture, you've got comedy gold. I like to circulate the funnier emails to friends in the economics profession--it's hours of fun for the entire family.
If there's one thing Megan knows, it's comedy, like a story of a guy being disrespectful to another guy after a claim guys never treat other guys like that. As for this whole "expectation of silence" thing, yes, it's unfortunately a legitimate phenomenon and very bad thing. But it it has shit all to do with you, Megan. You're a paid pundit whose work is published by a major international magazine, not a beaten down housewife. You are not being silenced, you're being legitimately attacked for shoddy thought and work. Even we here at FMM do not ask, or even seek, that you be silenced. We merely feel you are unqualified for and shitty at the position you now hold. We're not saying "shut up". I mean, fuck, I copy entire posts by you into my own here. That's hardly telling you to be quiet. You are, in effect, blaming others for your unwillingness to accept criticism by responding to it this way.
But beyond that, really, who cares? Are you seriously going to outsource the design of your social persona to some guy who thinks that women who disagree with him are definitionally stupid? The behavior is sociologically interesting and socially annoying, but on the list of things that has radically impaired my life, this ranks well below the TSA. Honestly, the hardest part of these encounters is that awkward moment when he realizes that you know what you're talking about and he, alas, does not. Everyone pauses in silent embarassment [sic]. But I have learned that you can ride out your empathetic shame by fumbling in your pocketbook for a mint.

I don't mean to excuse their behavior; they're sexist jerks. But the correct response to sexist jerks is to ignore them and speak the hell up anyway. Eventually, the declining returns to being a sexist jerk will drive the species into extinction.
Men are sexist jerks. Or at least the liberal men who are the only people who've ever disagreed with Megan are. And there is no sexism involved in trying to dismiss people based solely on their gender. Megan, you make this blog so, so easy to produce. It's not us, it's you.

Funniest moment of the Sadly, No! fest

D. Aristophenes (or however you spell it) on brad re: Megan McArdle:

"That guy hates her on a level that is kind of frightening."

Oh man, good times.

brad adds:

I hope/assume that was tongue in cheek. I don't even hate Dick Cheney. Hate is ugly, stupid, and unproductive. It takes you over, and makes you blind and dumb. I loathe Megan, n she inspires a visceral reaction in me probably because I grew up with her ilk, rich girls who call themselves liberal so they can feel charitable but are repulsed by actual liberal beliefs and people, but I'd never give her the power involved in hatred. I get it out here, n move on.
I know, over-serious response, but it's worth making clear.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

I may not be Ann Althouse

but she still loves me. It'd been so many months since we last danced, I was beginning to fear she'd forgotten.
Thank goodness.

Oh, and Ann-fans, do stick around. We've been lacking for trolls here. Try to be concise, tho. Paragraphs = who cares.

To follow up on Nutella's post

His quotes came from an update Megan added to her transparently sexist post on Obama having an honorary vag.
Here's the thing, tho. No one called her a lesbian in that thread. Or a skinny beanpole, or anything but sexist. Obviously, I don't have access to her emails, and I'm not going to scan the threads above that post, but I'm calling bullshit.
You wrote a very sexist post, Megan. Acting victimized by the critical response is dishonest and pathetic. A strong, self-possessed woman would own her mistake. You hide from it.
N yeah, I know that's been well established as what she's going to do when faced with legitimate criticism, but that doesn't mean it's ok. You may have successfully lowered the standards of your friends, family, and employers, Megan, but we're not buying in.


I skimmed through each comment thread from the top post to the one in question, while my clam chowder was warming, and she outright made it up.
There's one comment she deleted, by a regular, which in context is likely dirty song lyrics. There's not a single claim she is a lesbian, nor a single mention of her being skinny. She is quite simply lying.
If it's an email or two, Megan, well, that's not what you said.

Adding to the Catholic Church's death toll

The BBC reports that "Masturbation 'cuts cancer risk'".
For guys, at least.

Men could reduce their risk of developing prostate cancer through regular masturbation, researchers suggest.
Well..... if you insist.

She gets surprised a lot

A surprising number of commenters sent here by other blogs seem to believe that implying I am a lesbian is a gross insult. An even more surprising number seem to think that it is a wicked "gotcha" to point out that I too, am kind of on the beanpole side, as if this fact had perhaps escaped my notice. For the apparently large number of commenters who have just immigrated from Mauritania, American women are not usually flustered and ashamed when you tell them how skinny they are.

A surprising number of commenters are resorting to personal attacks after you post a bunch of them? That's a surprising surprise. I'm surprised she's so surprised, to surprise you. Then again, maybe if that surprises you I should ask "what else have you learned on your visit to our planet" "Are you from Mauritania?"

Well, we know she's got one good quality. At least she recycles.

Most distressing of all, however, is the fact that they seem to have completely missed the point. I am a Barack Obama supporter, albeit of a rather tepid variety, worried about a potential issue in the general election, not a detractor looking for nasty things to say about him. I don't think it's weird or crazy to worry that a Democrat promising to end the war and trying to project a super nice-guy image may lose the testosterone race to a fighter pilot promising 100 more years. This does not imply approval of philandering, other fraternity-boy antics, or the 100 years war.

Yeah, it's like how Jews can make Jew jokes. Or only black people, and Megan, can make fun of black people. Guys, she's an Obama SUPPORTER! She's totally allowed to spread ridiculous, sexist bullshit attacks that have nothing to do with his policy. It would be irresponsible of her not to.


Fine, I'll stop shouting.
Matt Besser is a founding member of the Upright Citizen's Brigade and one of the most awesome people on the planet. This project is just.... too good to be true.

What is the show? It's not a parody of a sitcom. It's a sitcom. But the kind we would make if we were allowed to. David plays David Cross, he shares a shitty cookie-cutter house in a development somewhere in middle america with two other guys. Crazy shit happens. It's inspired by "The Goodies" "The Young Ones" "Fawlty Towers" "Mr. Show" "South Park" "Sarah Silverman Program" "All In The Family" and on and on. Pretty much everything except MASH. Although in episode 2 David flashes back to his time working on a MASH unit during the Korean War and the whole flashback is told from the point of view of the soldiers bloody wound.
I know, I'm amping myself too much. HBO's execs will have a collective aneurysm and not pick it up. Still, lemme again say bring back Bill Hicks, too, since I'm on a roll.

Oh, n here's a taste of Besser, from the all too short lived show Crossballs. He's the pro-pot "researcher".

Friday, April 18, 2008

Branching out

This makes me want to go into midtown and punch David Brooks. (Relax, I won't. You really think I'd go into midtown?) I can't even snark it, but I have to vent. This amounts to actively campaigning for John McCain. David Brooks is a worse journalist than Megan. She's gonna go far, isn't she.

... it occurs to me Brooks might be in DC. I don't care enough to check on wikipedia, I wouldn't go there to punch him, either.

Three fucking posts today

About fucking airline security.

We KNOW already. It's a horrible travesty that you have to take of your shoes. It's also, apprently, noble to grill public service employs about the minutiae of the guidelines they enforce over a bottle of toothpaste. finally, when you're too stupid to pack any bags and so vain you buy all replacement toiletries at Sephoria rather than go a day without moisturizer, it's the TSA's fault for implementing measures to prevent midair explosions of airplanes.

Sooooo fucking petty, I don't even know how to snark.

Oh yes, and how could I forget. It's fun to call underpaid civil servants working to the ends of your safety retarded.

Oh yeah, and don't forget that I'll be at this if you wanna see my ugly mug

Time to offend my home city

Sorry, Megan, but this whole "NYC has the best bagels" meme is bullshit. We don't.
The best bagels in the world are made at a small Jewish bakery in Montreal.
This is not open for debate.

A basic rule of comedy

is some jokes are too easy to deserve being made. For example:

this is an issue of vital importance. The flag is real. I've seen it. And I certainly don't want a flag-denier as our next president. Just think of what he might do to the national history curriculum . . .
Megan? When infants born in comas think up a joke before you, you shouldn't make it. Jokes are meant to be funny, typically by being in some way unexpected.
I'm just about your biggest critic, and even I'm embarrassed for you when you try to be funny. Just stop. It's pathetic.

We're sexist but Megan isn't?

From the Obama is a little girly girl post

On the one hand he's tall, but he's kind of, well, scrawny looking. But also, the political space I think he's trying to occupy--building understanding and reconciliation between hostile voter grops--is generally seen as a woman's role. And he's running against a much-decorated fighter pilot renowned for chasing women until his walker started getting in the way.
Only fags build coalitions. Real men threaten people into voting for them, or, if they're female, fuck a vote out of 'em.
Amazing how well women have done at defining the characteristics of a right they've only had about a century. It only took that long for a woman to have a realistic shot at a major party candidacy, too!

I just Boscov'd

Its impressive how many things Megan' gets wrong in this post.

Megan claims that Obama's masculinity will be questioned because the role of "building understanding and reconciliation between hostile voter grops [sic]" is generally seen as a woman's role. Further compounding Obama's trouble is that he's running against a "much-decorated fighter pilot."

So now I see why Obama's masculinity will be questioned: he's a 'Uniter' running against a combat-worn Vietnam vet! I remember in 2004 when the press lampooned Bush for being totally metro and touted Kerry's tough guy war experience. Bee tee dub, Megan, McCain isn't really "much-decorated."

As usual, the stupidity drips into the comments section, where DaveM claims that "Barack also has a problem in that he's a lawyer" and thus "he will come across to men as either weak or devious (a new Laval or Petain) or both." Got it? Obama=Petain. The similarities are striking! Long Live Liberal Fascism!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

She Just Told Him That Brad's the Father

Yglesimus Prime and Megatron

brad adds:

Like a wimmin, she lies. I lost my Megatron figure long before I hit puberty. My best guess is it was Doughbob Spongepants, and she doesn't want to admit she got that drunk.

Also, this is why Clem retains emeritus status.

Y'know what?

I'm starting to think our vocal fan is our pal anonymouse, trying to stir trouble. Seems someone left this comment at Atrios's place with FMM as their homepage.

I have tremendous respect for Brit Hume.
Charlie Gibson | Homepage | 04.17.08 - 9:11 am | #
My guess is we're supposed to be annoyed by this, but it's just such a poor effort I can't get my hackles up.
Or maybe it's just a bizarre cry for attention from an internet mental case.
At any rate, remember, folks, if it links here but you don't know wtf it's talking about, it ain't us.
Anony or whoever you is, do speak up. We're hardly unwilling to engage trolls here.

Do libertarians dream of ruggedly individualistic sheep?

Megan loves her some Instapundit, hence a post on fucking robot bodies.

would you download your consciousness into a robot?

There are, of course, a lot of factors to consider. How good is the robot? Is it more attractive/stronger/faster than you? What's the MTTF? How good are your backup systems? Will you still enjoy normal human pleasures like eating? What about sleeping?

Then there's the question of tradeoffs, which becomes particularly difficult if we posit a robot self that is in some way less than idea. Do you download now, or like a lapsed Catholic, wait until you are near death and try to pull out a last-minute save? Is a few more years of gourmet meals worth the risk of a Sudden, Unexpected Mortality Event? And do you really want to live forever? Wouldn't you get bored?

I open the question to my readers: robot consciousness--yea or nay? Now or never? And how many of you would be willing to count on a death's door Hail Mary pass?
Let me explain something very, very simple. If you copy your brain structure or whatever the hell Megan thinks is being "downloaded" here into a robot, that will not be you. You will receive no sensation from it, you will not have physical control of the robot body, and you will still die with your physical body. Having your brain transplanted into a robot body might produce different results, but that's not on offer in Megan's scenario. She's asking if you'd copy yourself so the rest of the world would have to deal with some echo of your personality eternally. I'm going to be generous and assume Megan doesn't realize that's what she's placed on offer, because otherwise she's so narcissistic she thinks the world needs her voice permanently, and, well...

Furthermore, if we develop the technology to, say, transplant brains into android bodies, we'll also have the technology to give those brains sensation from those android bodies, allowing eating and screwing and all the rest. Otherwise, theres no fucking point. We'd be brains in jars, without the ability to speak to Steve Martin. So the whole trade-off question is basically moot. They'd probably even have an option where you take your reproductive organs with you so you can still have kids. Now that's a fucked up possibility, a hybrid android/human mother having a human baby. Megan can't even think her scifi all the way through.

Philosophy ain't her strong suit

but then again, Megan probably thinks she's talking about cog sci.

Students who have been exposed to the idea that free will is a cognitive illusion are more likely to cheat. No word on whether proctors who have been exposed to this notion are less likely to turn them in. Luckily, most of us were programmed, at the moment of the big bang, to ignore people who tell us that free will is an illusion.
Bad joke, bad science, horrible philosophy. I could get all Nietzsche this and Kant that, but it'd be kinda boring. But, to paraphrase Nietzsche, free will stands in the way of freedom. Free will is what makes sin "real", and it only exists in a societal context, mostly in Christianized ones, at that. The illusions of choice and dominance of consciousness are two of the most fundamental errors made by western man, and Megan's pride keeps her very attached to them. Then again, I'd be surprised if she's at all literate in philosophy from later than, say, the turn of the 1800s. (And no, Rand and cog sci don't count.)
Ok, I guess that was a bit of a Nietzschean rant. It could have been much, much longer, tho. (And more convincing.)

Also, I really am going to post about that bloggingheads bit, but I'm still only about 20 mins in. It is painful. Thers has the right take on the whole fecking format.

Fatty fat fat fatty fat

Marc Ambinder is a fat retard.

Reflecting on the debate, he writes:

Obama's going to be the next president of the United States, maybe. The most powerful person in the world. And questions about his personal associations, his character, his personal beliefs, his statements at private fundraisers -- the answers to these questions tell us a lot. Sometimes the questions are unfair (( -- nothing about Colombia and Mark Penn -- )), but this ain't Pop Warner; the artificial distinction between politics, personality and policy doesn't exist in this league, and if you're uncomfortable with it, then change the rules or don't run for office.

The introduction of ex-Weatherman William Ayers into the mainstream of the debate (wasn't that Sean Hannity's question). Tax pledges by Clinton and Obama. Insinuations by both Democrats that they would not accept the advice of generals and admirals who urged them to keep troops in Iraq. My guess is that the debate helps Clinton marginally in Pennsylvania ... and is a mixed bag outside of Pennsylvania... where many Dems will be troubled by Obama and his performance... and others troubled by the attacks against Obama and what they say about the media....

Got that? Obama's friends are more important the torture.

So I guess Ambinder's Room 101 would to be placed in front of a hard-to-reach twinkie after watching informative political discourse.

UPDATE:I wanted to make this clear: the above picture is an actual picture of Marc Ambinder, sans fat suit.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The commenters, they hurt me.

I point out that the commenter's in the gun rights thread are all dancing around the fact that one of libertarianism's failures is its inability to accommodate situations in which the boundary between my property, your property and public property is nebulous.

Yancy Ward, never one to not be a fucking moron, says this:

On the contrary, this is precisely the point of the debate, but it is perfectly understandable that you are mystified by this- you and most others simply want to assert that there is no clear distinction between my property, your property, and public property. Libertarians don't accept this assumption. It is notable that this claim to indistinct boundaries to property is always made by those looking for new ways to infringe on the individual's property rights, and they always do it with the claim that they are being unselfish in doing so.
Apparently I'm asserting that there's always fogginess at the boundary, which is stupid. The better assumption is to assume that there is never any gray area.

Anyone who says otherwise is infringing on civil liberties.

"What were you talking about?" I hear you ask.

Well, how bad the Civil Rights Act was, of course. What else?

Just to make clear

A vocal supporter of FMM has been commenting a lot over at Megan's place with various names, all linking here. (For an example see "Lipstick Libertarian" in this thread.) While we appreciate the love and I've seen no reason to take particular issue with anything our fan has said, I just want to establish, for the record, that this person isn't any of us. As a general rule when we comment over there it's with the same names as we post with here.
Vocal fan- I'm not being critical, just making things clear for all. I'd say feel free to speak up here, but I've a feeling that was you as anonymous a couple times, so you already have.

Not really helping

Perhaps realizing that if she wants to call herself a feminist Megan might need to acknowledge the existence of other women, we get a post on pay discrepancies. Obviously this is a genuine issue, and equal pay for equal work, along with equal access to opportunity to work, should be a given. But the piece is about how female lawyers are screwed out of billable hours by their firms. That is wrong, duh, but you have to a lawyer for it to matter to you.
Megan is hinting she's the worst kind of second wave feminist; she confuses rich white women's issues with women's issues. I'm sure she's "aware" of the legitimate, and often well accepted, criticisms of the unconscious biases in the focuses of the midcentury mass feminist movement, but I doubt she's taken them to heart.
There's no "women's" minimum wage. (Tho there are gender inequalities in workplaces across the economic spectrum.) The difference between making 70k and 100k is more than countless millions of women, and men, earn in a year, and depends on having the opportunity to work in the first place.

Random notes

First, read this. Susan of Texas must not wear lipstick, she's too awesome. A random highlight

Reynolds: I'm bringing in Megan because we Extraordinary Bloggers need someone to explain Bush's economic policies to the little people.

Althouse: Dwarfs need economic advice?

Goldberg: No, stupid, he means Munchkins.

Megan: Some people say I look like an elf.

The Bloggers all turn and look at Megan.

Megan: What? They do.

Then there's this. You see, folks, making fun of Megan in the Village Voice is going to turn the nation against Obama. Armed liberal seems to be of the Althouse wing of the Democratic Party, which is to say a concern troll. I know I shouldn't help by linking, but damn that's a funny kind of stupid.

What Aimai said

Megan, this is a scream:

The point, aimai, is that "lipstick" is being used as a perjorative. Lipstick is only something that is worn by women. The very term implies that femininity is in some important way lesser. And it would never have been written about a man. How do you not understand that this is sexism?

There are plenty of things to criticize about me without dragging my gender into it.

Posted by Megan McArdle | April 16, 2008 12:02 PM

Of course there would be "plenty of things to criticize about" you if your thoughts on politics weren't so transparently childish and uninteresting. Why bother? You are a self satisfied, incoherent, uninteresting, product of upper class privilige. You mistake the life you lead for something you "do" rather than something you act out. You mistake the "ideas" that you spout for something you've thought about rather than something you've parrotted from poorly digested libertarian tracts. You suck up to your social equals and betters, ignore or kick down those you think your inferiors. The rights you champion qua libertarian you sell out in a second qua crypto conservative. Even your feminist posturing comes on top of your anti feminist lectures to other women on how their feminism isn't the right one. And now you want to bitch about the word lipstick? Puh-lease. You haveve no more idea of the politics and economics that underpins your world than my cat does of the can opener. In two years you will have been booted from the atlantic when they find some younger, prettier, cheaper version of you and all that will be left of you will be the phrase "lipstick libertarian." Its not because the atlantic is sexist that they hired you (though you are offensive to actual women) and it won't be because they are sexist that they terminate you. Its because your musings are, literally, a dime a dozen and even at that you are probably overpaid.


Posted by aimai | April 16, 2008 12:38 PM

Also, let's start a list of men who wear lipstick. There's already Eddie Izzard, how's about David Bowie? Oh, and Heath Ledger sorta wore lipstick as the Joker, how can Megan forget him and miss a chance to laugh about his death? Then there's the male portion of the Kiss Army.

The single funniest post of Megan's career

I don't even know where to begin, so let's just get to her words.

There was a debate on this subject a little while back that I didn't link because it centered on me, which seemed a little too much like whining, particularly I'm not sure I have anything to whine about. But one of the women offered an interesting analysis: women who blog about "female" subjects will be punished by being taken less seriously; Ezra can post recipes, but I can't.
No, I did not make that up and write it myself. I'm not that funny.
I read that comment and thought, "What decade is this?" Are we still under the impression that we have to dress up like men, at least metaphorically, in order to be treated as equals? Seeing women call on other women to eschew feminine pursuits in order to improve our collective position makes me deeply, deeply sad. This is what we were supposed to be fighting--the ingrained notion that domestic pleasures are women's work, and that women's work is fundamentally frivolous.
I thought the problem was a double standard, y'know Ezra can and you can't? Now you're not being allowed to be feminine?
I am to be sure, something of a girly girl, with thirty pairs of shoes in my closet and a really astonishing collection of hair styling appliances. But I don't think of cooking as some sort of spiritual extension of my womb. Cooking is fun, particularly if you like to eat well and don't have a ton of money with which to satisfy that desire. It doesn't get any less fun if you have an Adam's apple.
That's why Ezra posts recipes. That's why I cook, sometimes. That's why mikey seems to be a culinary genius; he's so damned effete. (inside joke for S,N! regulars.)
I bring this up now because last night someone I'd recently met asked me how much of a role I thought misogyny played in the liberal blogosphere's er . . . energetic . . . reaction to me. I'm not qualified to comment on that; obviously, when someone doesn't like you, the most psychologically comforting explanation is "sexism". Then this morning, someone emailed me Roy Edroso's screed. It was good for a smile--until I reread it and noted that he'd called me a "lipstick libertarian"? What the hell? I'm hard put to think of a way to pack more snide sexism and heteronormative stereotypes into two words. I do wear lipstick (well, usually gloss), and more than occasionally eyeliner and mascara and a little shadow. And what the hell does that have to do with my political ideas?
Megan, I was wrong. You are an incredibly talented comedienne. I cannot mock this passage, I can only highlight it so others may gaze upon its genius. (As an aside, Roy and I exchanged brief emails about Megan this week. He's good people. Megan won't link to it, but she's talking about his long, and good, piece in the Village Voice. Go read it, I'll wait. *Update* Seems she linked to it earlier with a sad attempt to say it missed the mark and didn't bother her. Hence, of course, the extended rant.)
I do not know whether being a woman has ultimately helped or hurt my career, and I don't waste time worrying about it. But I get a little testy when Kerry Howley and I, among many others, see the comment threads on our media appearances degenerate into extended wardrobe critiques, or debates about whether and under what conditions one might "hit that". I'm irritated when interlocutors both left and right assume that my second X chromosome has conveyed upon me a sacred obligation to agree with their political ideas. I'm annoyed that a typically female narrative style, which touches on personal experience, is derided as fundamentally unserious--particularly when it is so derided by people who admire it in feminist bloggers. And I'm perilously close to despair at finding that so many of my correspondents not only believe that pointing out that I am 35 and unmarried is a devastating insult, but apparently expect me to share that opinion. Was I born in 1973, or am I living in it?
That's a good question, as you shift your age around so often no one is quite sure, Megan. We get hits from google searches about your age roughly weekly. Now, nevermind trying to use the peak of the ERA era as an example of sexist hell, let's talk about style. What the fuck is a "typically female narrative style"? Does Digby write with her vagina? Majikthise? You comparing yourself to Twisty Faster? Much as I have real problems with "blaming", Twisty teaches me more in 3 words than covering you for six months has. The only time you write about being a woman, Megan, is when you want to use your gender to deflect criticism. If that's the typical female narrative style in your mind, then I could spend the next 6 months calling you nothing but a twat and still be less sexist than you, yourself, are.
I will say that I'm particularly shocked to find that about 95% of this comes from the left, particularly the fraternity potty talk--my right wing commenters usually limit themselves to saying "you're pretty", which is the sort of thing no one, male or female, minds hearing. Why the hell is the phrase "lipstick libertarian" being written by a left-wing blogger, much less published in the Village Voice? Would my blogging really improve if I traded in my Prada boots for a pair of Doc Martins?
Megan, the actual difference is lefty guys don't really mean it, tho I don't mean to excuse every possible joke, and the righty guys are thinking much, much worse. You went to prep school just like I did. Don't play dumb, you're not smart enough to. The idea that we're sexist because we respect women enough to treat them like we do other guys is, well, fucking stupid. Having a vagina doesn't privilege you, Megan. You have to face the same world as the rest of us.
Update Yes, I know the many uses of the phrase "lipstick lesbian"; indeed, I count several as friends and loved ones. But the facts remain:

1) Lipstick lesbian is used to imply that wearing makeup somehow makes you less serious and authentic.

2) Would the phrase "lipstick libertarian" have ever been used about a man?

Am I humorless? Perhaps. But while I used to feel like my gender didn't really matter on my blog, lately it's come to feel like half the commentary I attract contains some mention of the fact that I'm a woman. Given that few people see a need to remark on the fact that male bloggers are male, I find it annoying.
2) Is Eddie Izzard a libertarian?
1) No, it isn't. It's used to imply a lesbian isn't butch, essentially. I've spent a fair amount of time among lesbians in undergrad and grad school, and I've never heard one complain about how not being butch means no one believes they like women.*
If you're going to whine for several hundred words, Megan, it helps to have a point. At least then you'd give me something wrap up on. There's women out there who are actually victimized because of their gender. They need help, and you're bitching about being made fun of for posting shitty recipes. Way to advance the cause, sister.

Megan adds a comment
The term "lipstick lesbian" is used to deride wearing makeup and high heels as making you fundamentally unserious, at least as far as I've always understood it. It wasn't, in the circles I ran in, used to denote people who weren't actually attracted to women, but people whose clothes made you question their views.

Posted by Megan McArdle | April 16, 2008 11:26 AM
So because Megan's friends used the term derogatorily, Roy is a hatemonger. The post about how her friends were all sexist homophobes is in the queue, I assume.

*- Assholes in bars calling anyone who won't sleep with them a cock tease and dyke don't count. I'll admit this may be an unfair exclusion, but if there's anything Megan and I could agree on it's probably "Fuck them."

Missing the point

In Megan's rant about our prime motivating factor, sexism, we have a comment by albo that I think deserves an award for missing the point entirely.

I remind you, reader, that Megan was ranting about sexist stereotypes being applied to her. In response, albo poops:

Progressives seem to be tied in closely with their emotions. They're at the girl end of the reaction spectrum--when they read you it quickly becomes their time of the month. They can't help but react with their viscera.

Reminds me of the time that I was in a Human Resources sexual harassment prevention training at work, and we had to judge the offensive nature of various scenarios. One scenario involved an elderly person being greeted with black balloons and a card that read "You are over the hill!" A fellow employee in the training who emitted weirdness said, "oh, well only women get offended by that kind of stuff." I kid you not.