Au Revoir, Michael Porkwit

From: Steven Brenner, High School Music Director
To: Michael Porkwit, 11th grade
CC: Principal Dudley, Vice Principal Kurtz
Re: Recent events

That’s it, Michael. I just got out of a meeting about you with the Principal and Vice-Principal, and the decision has been made to expel you. Your parents will be notified today.

No, it is not funny to tell the boys in Special Ed that they can copy any object they want by masturbating their “reproductive fluid” into the school’s 3D printer. That is the most vulgar thing I’ve ever heard of from a student. Also, that is an expensive piece of equipment, and if it’s ruined, YOU are going to have to pay for a new one or for the cost of repairs. I wanted you to be forced to clean the mess you caused out of the machine, but since you’re expelled, I guess that’s not going to happen.

This puts the capstone on a spate of recent incidents that faculty have been trying to ignore up to now. It’s December and we’ve got end-of-semester meetings and whatnot. I wonder if you know this, and cynically time these little episodes of yours accordingly.

Anyway a list, and I’m not even sure this is comprehensive:

Regarding your innovative lyrics in chorus: Traditionally, it is Rudolph’s nose that glows in the dark, not any other body part.

Speaking of which, it was charming, when your Phys Ed teacher held class outside, to build some snow people for the amusement of the elementary school children across the street. That said, snowmen traditionally are not endowed with reproductive organs, let alone ones that are so prominent. Mrs. Gardner, the third grade recess monitor, snapped a photo of the snowman and sent it to me, and even from across the street his rather outsized endowment is quite visible. It would be visible from space, Mr. Porkwit.

An option that was on the table regarding you was a suspension, instead of expulsion, until you showed up for a disciplinary meeting with the Vice Principal and called his secretary “sugar-tits.” That’s what kicked you over the edge, in case you were wondering.

Treat this as an occasion to do some reflecting on your behavior. You’re irrepressible in your own weird little way, but you cannot get by on insouciance very long in the adult world. I chatted with the Guidance Counselor and he mentioned that for some reason the Jordan Machine Shop is willing to hire you on; I don’t know how you lucked into that job offer. At least it will keep you occupied, if you can manage not to get yourself fired, although the idea of you around industrial machinery is going to give me night sweats. Whatever. Maybe you’ll learn from all this and get your act together, and maybe you won’t. In either case you’re not my problem any more, thank goodness. Au revoir, Michael.

Sincerely,
Mr. Brenner

Neurotoxin and the Christmas Miracle

One December day Neurotoxin was skating at a rink. He chanced to skate over a section of the ice that had been sectioned off by the Orange Cones of Do Not Trespass.

Lo, a Rink Employee appeared and made it known to Neurotoxin that the Ice Planes of Do Not Trespass were forbidden, for they were dangerously rent by gaps and bumps and other hazards.

“What about skating between that last cone and the wall?” Neurotoxin asked. “That’s cool, right?”

“Nay,” the Rink Employee replied, “for it is our intention that people just avoid that whole area entirely.” And the Rink Employee withdrew.

And Neurotoxin began to cry.

Grievous and copious were his tears, for he had been rebuked by Rink Staff.

And lo, as he cried, his tears fell upon the damaged ice and began to resurface it.

And the other skaters gathered around, gazing in wonderment, for they had never beheld such an occurence. And then a bold one placed a foot upon the resurfaced ice and did skate upon it a little. And then did other skaters begin to emulate the bold one’s example. Tentatively they skated at first, but then with more confidence, and they exclaimed in wonderment, “This is like unto a resurfacing done by the best Zamboni that ever was!”

It was a Christmas miracle.

And God looked upon it, and saw that it was ace.

And then Scrooge appeared and gave everyone cigars and a turkey.

And then Tiny Tim, or maybe Long Dong Silver, I forget which, said “God bless us, every one.”

Also, there was a kitten there.

And a puppy.

Merry Christmas!

Miscellany 27: When you stare long into the Miscellany, the Miscellany also stares into you

(1) I don’t agree with the view of NRx that monarchy is better than democracy. I suspect the people who think that are comparing the sordid reality of democracy to the radiant vision of the best theoretical monarchy. That’s not a valid comparison; we must compare the sordid reality of democracy to the sordid reality of monarchy.

But.

It looks like we don’t have a choice anyway. Apparently history says either we’re going to get totalitarianism, which as a practical matter is going to be led by one person a la Stalin, or we’re going to get a Caesar, who is going to destroy our current totalitarianism and replace it with a non-totalitarian monarchy. In other words, in the long run it looks like our only choices are one kind of monarchy or another kind of monarchy.

If it is true that those are the only two possibilities, then it indeed makes sense to think about how to bend the coming monarchy, if we get one, into its best-case scenario.

(2) Director Eats Too Many Finger Paints in Art Class, Tries to Make TV Show Trailer

“Drama is people doing amazing things for good reasons; melodrama is people doing amazing things for no reason.” —Dictum of fiction writers.

Via Blind Prison of the Mind
https://blindprisonofthemind.substack.com/p/the-wheel-of-time

There’s a desperately sad trailer for an upcoming Wheel of Time vidya series. The Wheel of Time books are a fantasy series I haven’t read, but they’re well known among fantasy fans.

The trailer goes like this. A bunch of people – suitably racially diverse for Current Year – are sitting around in an old-timey tavern and inn. It’s definitely not a pub, let alone a bar or club, but a tavern. There’s no electricity, everything’s made of wood, etc. There’s a massive fireplace, the fireplace equivalent of a walk-in closet. That bad-ass fireplace turns out to be the best thing about this moronic trailer. We get enough shots of the clientele laughing to get that this is a laid back/party environment where everyone is having a good time. In fact, there’s enough unexplained acausal laughing that I started to wonder what the fucking joke was. But okay, whatever.

There’s a moment of two dudes having some dumb beta orbiter talk about the barmaid.

Then the stupidity really kicks in. The tavern door opens and we see a pair of boots. The camera is on the floor, lingering on this pair of boots. We cut away to some reaction shots of the tavern’s customers. They’re all appalled, or shocked, or just stunned into silence. My God, what is it? Back to the floor-level camera, showing us the boots walking a bit. “This is weird,” I thought, “what’s with the boots?” Then another couple of reaction shots of the stunned clientele. What is it, a dude with two heads or something? Then another floor-cam shot of the boots, walking. At this point I blurted, “What the hell? Is the director of this a foot fetishist?”

Then the camera pulls back and we see what has caused the tense hush among the people. It’s… a man! This is what has shocked the tavern’s customers into speechlessness. Or maybe it’s the fact that he left the door open behind him – on this rainy winter night – and they’re all thinking, “What a douche!”

(New joke:
You: “A guy walks into a bar.”
People you’re telling the joke to: “Yeah, then what?”
You: “I can’t tell you; I’m shocked into silence by a guy walking into a bar.”)

Challenged by the barmaid to identify himself, he dramatically pulls back the hood of his cloak and introduces himself as “Joe Shmoe, moron who was raised in a barn,” or whatever, I wasn’t really paying attention. Then we jump to a flashback or dream sequence or hallucination or something. It’s a severely out-of-focus shot of a figure walking toward the camera. What does it mean? The focus resolves and wait, nope, it’s not a dream sequence; it’s just a woman walking into the tavern, out of focus for absolutely no reason whatsoever. In she walks, and she also leaves the door open, even though there is no one else coming in after her. What a fucking twat!

The man introduces her and she orders a stable for their horses and a room for the night, a move that is so unexpected in this tavern and inn that everyone is still speechless. Finally the tavern owner is like “No prob; I’ll sesh you,” and… that’s the scene.

As one YouTube commenter asks:

“How do you reckon that conversation went? ‘Okay, so here’s the plan. I’ll walk in alone while you stay out in the rain and wait for people to stop what they’re doing to notice me before announcing myself. Then when I announce you you dramatically walk out of the downpour, and we leave the door open.’”

There also is a thread of commenters who have read the books wondering why these two people, who apparently need to be traveling incognito, are doing everything possible to draw attention to themselves short of setting their hair on fire.

The whole trailer is notably fuckwitted, and it raises a question: What the fuck was the animating idea for this scene? Worse, this is what the producers of this thing think is one of the best scenes in the production, good enough to be featured in an ad for it. It’s clear from watching it that the director had no idea what the fuck he – or she! – was doing. An ad for a new show should make us think “Wow, that looks really cool” or “Hmm, I’m intrigued by the mystery.” Instead we’re thinking either (1) Close the fucking door! or (2) Why did they hire a director of foot fetish porn for this project?

That foot thing is surreal. You have to watch the clip to believe it. The director was just copying some technique he saw somewhere and now he thinks that’s just how you do it: You focus on the feet. This is a textbook example of the cargo-cult mentality: copying techniques without the faintest idea of why and how the techniques were originally used. Presumably this kind of shot originally was used in a way that made sense. One can easily imagine such uses. E.g., it’s from the viewpoint of a character who just got slugged and is lying on the floor. Etc. But this dumb-ass director has never even contemplated the notion that cinematic techniques are used for a reason. He just saw it in a music video once and thought, “I’ll do that.”

(Is western society becoming more idiotic? Or was it always this stupid, and the past seems better because the crap is forgotten over time, leaving mostly the good stuff?)

I tried to come up with a hypothesis of some conscious goal that the producers of this crap had in mind as they tried to string a coherent thought together in the fog of their oxygen-deprived haze. And maybe there is a semi-sentient purpose in this: to name two major characters who will be familiar to the fans of the book series. Thus we get Barn-Boy dramatically pushing his hood back and saying “I’m Barn Boy,” then adding, “And this is Standing-In-The-Rain Girl.” (No, I’m not going to re-watch it to see what their actual names are; I’ve already watched the crap twice, which is more than enough.) But this is done badly; badly enough for the YouTube comments to be overwhelmingly mocking. Do it correctly, asshats.

Off the top of my head: We start with the tavern. Two people enter. They don’t leave the door open, they don’t stand there in the middle of the floor, and they don’t do anything else to call attention to themselves. They unobtrusively go straight to a table and take a seat. They doff their hoods, not melodramatically, but normally, and we see that one is a man, who is sitting with his back to a wall so he can see the whole room, and the other, facing him, is a woman. He says to her, “Why don’t you swing around a bit so you don’t have your back to the room, [Her Name].” And she replies, “I don’t have to worry about that, [His Name]; I have you to watch out for me.” Thus we get their names for the fans, and we also get realistic behavior. We also get some mystery for the non-fans, because we want to know why it’s dangerous for her to be sitting with her back to the room and how/why she has this bodyguard traveling with her. And can the average person afford a bodyguard? Presumably not, so that raises the question of her social position as well. Is this a countess traveling incognito or what? And if so, why?

If that’s not enough there’s her ring, which figures prominently in the actual trailer. I have no idea what its significance is, but that could be worked in as well. Just have a barmaid come over to take their order and have the woman quickly pull her hand under her sleeve, obviously trying to hide the ring. That adds more mystery. And the whole scene, if I say so myself, has an appropriate measure of drama. None of it involves bizarre camera work that pulls the viewer out of the scene with its grating pointlessness, people traveling incognito going out of their way to call attention to themselves, or humanly unrealistic reactions of people being shocked into speechlessness by the once-in-a-lifetime spectacle of a guy walking into a bar.

Now my version doesn’t end on a dramatic note, so if you want, you can then do the standard rapid-fire montage of action shots to let people know that, yes, there is some action, and yes, we have a special effects budget of more than fifty bucks. Fine. It’s been done, but it’s better than trying to whip up drama with a couple of people requesting lodging at a tavern/inn.

Now as I said, I’ve never read the books. Maybe they’re not on some dangerous quest and my bodyguard notion is off. But I’ve heard this is a classic “band of heroes teams up to defeat the bad guy before he destroys the world” fantasy series. So there’s something interesting about them, or there wouldn’t be a series of like ten books devoted to their quest. Whatever that interesting thing is, the dialogue between them can hint at it.

I literally just made this up, and I dare say it does a better job than the version they actually came up with. I’m pretty sure that my version would at least dodge dozens of comments to the effect of “Close the fucking door, asshats,” and might even interest a few people.

(3) Circa November 8, 2021: I read some article about a guy slashing a bunch of people on a train in Germany. They don’t report the perpetrator’s name or any details. So of course I make certain inferences about the attacker.

If you dig around you can, with a little effort, find out the attacker’s salient identity-politics characteristics. He’s a Syrian immigrant. Surprise!

But that’s not my main point. My main point is that it recently hit me:

We now read the news like the citizens of the Soviet Union read their news.

Soviet citizens would read Pravda not because they thought it told them the truth, but because they could infer certain truths from Pravda by analyzing its content. They noted what it said, what it didn’t say, how it said what it said, how the narrative would do a blatant 180 from one week to the next, etc.

All that is stuff we do now, at least those of us with a clue. The newspaper didn’t tell me that the attacker was a Muslim and/or non-white and/or immigrant, but I inferred that with a high degree of confidence from what they didn’t say.

Of course, those of us who aren’t leftist wackos have been reading in a manner somewhat like this for decades, but it’s become different in the last few years. Consider e.g. the media’s simultaneous assertions, starting in late 2016, that subverting US elections is impossible (and anyone who thinks it’s possible is a fascist), and that Trump and Russia subverted a US election. That is a new level of double-think. The media has demanded that its faithful leftist readers abandon all principle, and embrace hypocrisy, for a long time. But

“US elections cannot be subverted and Trump subverted a US election”

is new. It is a leveling-up of the psychological demands made on the ideologically faithful.

Another case from 2016 is the case of Hillary Clinton having a blatant seizure on video, followed by the media saying, “You did not just see her having a seizure.” This was the clearest case of “How many fingers am I holding up, Winston?” that I can think of.

The other major example over the last few years is the new approach to reporting based on racial criteria. The media always reported in ways that helped the leftist party line on race. But lately the deliberate burying of news stories of black-on-white violence, playing up of the opposite stories, etc., has intensified significantly. It has mutated from silence about black-on-white violence to an attempt to convince the population of the opposite of the truth about inter-racial violence. The truth, which one can still learn from official crime statistics— for the time being— is that blacks are several times as likely to attack whites as vice-versa. But the media purposefully report, and don’t report, news stories in such a way as to create the opposite impression. I fear that many young people in the US might believe that whites attacking blacks is more common than the opposite.

Of course we know the media does this, but here’s an interesting case in which they actually admit to doing it. Here’s a piece at a Binghamton NY media outlet in which they lament, in 2019, that a 2009 shooting has all but been forgotten. Gosh, why was it forgotten?

https://www.pressconnects.com/story/news/local/2019/03/27/binghamton-mass-shooting-aca-american-civic-association-forgotten-murders/3222090002/

“Not that the community wants to be solely identified by its own active shooter at an immigrant center that claimed the life of 13 victims 10 years ago.”

Goodness, a shooting at an immigrant facility! It must have been a white supremacist!

“But with each subsequent mass shooting, it seems the shocking incident that gripped this community in fear and mourning on a rainy and chilly Friday morning fades further from the nation’s collective memory, creating a double tragedy for the innocent, many of whom were foreign nationals in an English class.”

We read a rather lengthy article filled with woe that this shooting has been forgotten. Strangely, the identity of the shooter is never mentioned. Then we get to an editor’s note at the end:

“Editor’s note: Though the identity of the man who killed 13 people at the American Civic Association in 2009 is public record and has been widely circulated, the Press & Sun-Bulletin has chosen not to include his name or likeness in these articles.”

Yeah, I noticed that. A quick Net search reveals this at Wikipedia:

“Jiverly Antares Wong, a 41-year-old naturalized American citizen from Vietnam, entered the facility and shot 17 people…”

Of course we don’t need the editor’s note or an article identifying the shooter to know why they censored his identity. This is merely a rare case in which they are relatively explicit about their censorship.

(What goes on the minds of people who censor news stories, then wonder why those news stories are forgotten? I can’t even imagine what it’s like to be that stupid.)

Even people who aren’t aware of egregious cases like this know the media does things like this all the time. And so we read and watch the media the way people in North freakin’ Korea read and watch their media.

And so we take another step into the psychology of totalitarianism.

Miscellany 26: Shred the Miscellany like You’re an FBI Agent and It’s a Pile of Documents on Electoral Fraud

(1) I do a certain amount of yapping about dark-haired women, but…

I get the thing about blondes if they look like that!

(2) Suones at https://blog.reaction.la/politics/make-women-property-again/ tersely sums up the problem in the priesthood:

“Since superior holiness is the currency of priests, their failure mode is holiness-spiralling.”

This is a clearly true statement about the priesthood. However, the problem is not limited to the priesthood, as a casual glance at the political environment in 2021 reveals. Thus I disagree with e.g. Pooch at https://blog.reaction.la/war/where-we-are-now/

“Open priesthood is at the roof [root] of the holiness spiral problem. A theoretical perfect religion will still inevitably get holiness spiraled to demonic levels with an open priesthood.”

A lot of dudes in NRx think that the main problem of holiness spirals is an open priesthood. Alas, it’s not that simple. Even without an open priesthood, non-priest assholes would still have a desire to holiness spiral to virtue signal, and everyone has an incentive to do it to reduce the chance of being attacked by the swarm. (Some resist the incentive, of course.) The people who post “Refugees welcome” on Twitter don’t do that because they’re hoping for a job in the African Studies Department of their local university. Yes an open priesthood exacerbates the problem, but it’s not the core of the problem.

(3) As a follow-up to the previous point: What are we going to do if we actually win and succeed in closing the priesthood? I mean, as a matter of policy? The unofficial policy, expressed casually, will be something like, “Be pious, but don’t have a stick up your butt about it. And DON’T try to out-pious your neighbors, or we’ll punish you.” Robert Heinlein, in To Sail Beyond the Sunset, had his character Maureen Johnson say something in a similar vein, summing up what makes a person liked in her town, as opposed to resented for being an a-hole about religion: “Commandment number four. Go to church on Sundays. Smile and be pleasant but don’t be too smarmily a hypocrite… Support the church by deeds and money but not too conspicuously.”

So the basic idea is simple. But how can we officially communicate it to the population?

(4) Game: A field report. In my previous Miscellany post I wrote about some shit testing that I’ve encountered at the rink where I’ve been skating lately. Since that post until today that mostly stopped— I suspect this is because as I’ve gotten used to the temperature in this rink I’ve been wearing gloves less, so my wedding ring is now visible most of the time that I’m on the ice.

So anyway, it mostly stopped… until earlier today (the day I’m writing this, not the day I’m posting it). I get this blatant shit testing (STing) from two young women. One of them is the alpha bitch I mentioned in the previous Miscellany post; the other is a buddy of hers. Buddy is also a regular there but has never ST’d me before so I’ll call her New Brat. Now I can’t describe the shit test, because it involves a fairly unique feature of this particular rink, and I don’t want to out my location. It was not subtle. It was one of those, “Let’s blatantly provoke this guy because we’re intensely curious about how he’ll respond” shit tests.

I give myself a C-minus for handling it, by the way; I would say C+ but I’m dinging myself because I should have been expecting it— I got complacent when the tests died down over the last couple of weeks. Anyway…

So in response to the blatantly unreasonable behavior I throw a couple of joking jabs in New Brat’s direction. I’m nowhere near being within reach of her— maybe five feet away— and I’m smirking at the girls’ blatant double-X chromosome antics, so any human who’s not autistic is going to get that I’m kidding. New Brat goes, “Seriously? You’d hit a teenage girl?” Either she’s an autist or this is just another shit test. (What do you think?) Now let’s replay that and dig my immediate response:

“Seriously? You’d hit a teenage girl?”
“Oh yeah, I do it all the time!”

Any reader familiar with the basics of Game will recognize this as Agree and Amplify. But what interests me is that I wasn’t thinking in those terms. It just came out of me spontaneously in response to this dorky rhetorical question by this silly chick. And this is my point: We think of Agree and Amplify as a Game technique, but the reason the technique is a good one is that it’s a man’s natural response when some chick is being a dork and you don’t take her at all seriously.

Of course, this is true of all Game: The entire point is to mimic behaviors of a man who’s not impressed or interested. But it’s been years since I’ve had a chick say something quite that austitically dorky to me. I couldn’t even be arsed to pretend to take her seriously.

Of course, all men who use Game have experienced the delightful change of having the right behaviors become natural and spontaneous. I experienced that decades ago. But I normally think about this in terms of general alpha behavior (Game in the large), not specific techniques (Game in the small). So it was interesting that I spontaneously Agreed and Amplified, a specific technique, without thinking about it.

Ah, the classic techniques. They’re classic for a reason.

By the way, New Brat’s expression changed noticeably in response to my mockery. It looked like she was surprised or confused. Hopefully it’s because she actually heard what I was saying through my words. My words were, “Oh yeah, I do it all the time!” But what I was saying was, “You dork!”

However, since I don’t think I passed the shit test well, overall, there will be a follow-up test some time soon. God damn it, now I have to think about this until it gets resolved. Females are such a pain in the ass!

Follow-up about ten days later: Another shit test!

Memo to anti-Gamers and assorted blue-pillers: Note that Game predicted these young women’s behavior. Game is scientific; it’s a set of generalizations gleaned from a large mass of observations. And so, like classical mechanics enabling us to predict the positions of the planets, Game literally enables you to predict the future.

This time it was the alpha bitch from the previous Miscellany post, whom I am going to refer to as Drama Queen henceforth, for reasons that will immediately become apparent.

This time she and I did sorta kinda have a near miss. But not a very near miss. So she yelps “You almost killed me!” or something like that, while holding her hand over her heart as if she’s having a heart attack, LOL. She then skates over to the boards to get a consoling hug from her friend New Brat. I swear I am not making this up.

So I skate over to them and say to Drama Queen, “You’re okay. Everybody has near misses.” (Really, it wasn’t a very near miss.)

“What?” she says, while she theatrically folds her arms across her chest and tries to give me a piercing Alpha Bitch stare. The problem for her is, while this would be scary if it were Russia a couple of centuries ago and she were the Czarina and had the authority to have me sent to Siberia, coming from a teenage chick in the modern US it’s just silly. Actually it was kind of cute. I wish that all the teenage girl shit testing had been this easy to handle when I was in my teens. Or maybe it was, and I just find it easier to handle now due to experience.

Anyway, at this point I’m already skating backwards away from her because I want to get back in motion, so I make my hand into a trumpet and loudly repeat what I said while keeping eye contact with her, then I turn and skate away.

Thoughts:

Drama Queen’s shit testing is so silly, like she hasn’t had much practice. In general she, like her friend, is kind of a dork.

Two possible explanations (aside from her just being a doofus):

1) She might be younger than she looks.

2) They attend an all-girls school. This would explain the silliness of Drama Queen’s shit testing, as well as the fact that even though she’s hot she obviously isn’t getting laid (man this chick needs to be pronged, as her hilariously melodramatic shit testing reveals).

I seem to have been identified as the situational alpha of this rink. This is flattering, but the ST’ing is annoying as well as amusing. The amusement comes from the fact that her shit testing drama queenery is so over the top. When we both had to stop suddenly, Drama Queen acted like she was in a sub-basement two stories belowground at Hiroshima when the nuke went off, and through a freak combination of circumstances managed to survive. (“I need a hug!”) Also, I was skating backwards and she was skating forwards, so she should have seen me coming plenty of time before I looked over my shoulder and saw her. The annoyance comes from the fact that I am there for ice, not to be ST’d by histrionic females. Women!

Memo to self: PLAN FOR FURTHER SHIT TESTING.

I already have a woman, so leave me alone, you little spazzes! And even if I didn’t, there are also a few other considerations. I don’t want to fail shit tests, because I want to keep my dignity (and honestly, it’s fun to practice passing them). But the more I pass them the more of these chicks’ attention I’m going to draw. The ideal outcome is that they both start getting laid soon and they’ll suddenly be a lot more… relaxed. Then, one may hope, this whole issue will go away.

How to Ice Skate Repost

Reposting this today because it’s October first, a good day to put up stuff about skating. If your local rink isn’t open for the season yet, they will be soon. I think I’ll repost this every year on October 1 (until I forget or get bored). I’ve added some edits this year, particularly some links about stopping, the topic that n00bs at rinks ask me about the most.

Aright, bitches, ’tis the season, so listen up.

Ice skating is awesome. When you’re going fast it is the closest a human being can get to flying. The American Psychiatric Association defines “not liking ice skating” as a mental disorder. It’s in their diagnostic manual.

I always see a lot of n00bs ice skating, which is great! Here are some tips.

(1) You will fall. Get used to it.

(2) Ice skating is not walking on ice. The physics is different.

When you walk, you push backward with one foot. (See Figure 1.) If your foot has good traction on the ground, it can’t slip back, though, so instead you are pushed forward. (Newton’s third law of motion, “Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.”)

skatefig1small
Figure 1

You cannot do this on ice skates, padawan, because you’re on ice, on a blade that’s like a sixth of an inch thick. If you push your foot straight back, there is not enough area of the blade making contact with the ice to produce good traction. (See Figure 2.) Instead of being planted on the ice and thus propelling you forward, your foot will simply slide back. Then, because you’re a n00b, you’ll fall down. (Newton’s lesser-known fourth law of motion, “N00bs fall down.”)

skatefig2small
Figure 2. The thin black line is your blade’s contact with the ice.

How do you deal with this? Well, plainly you need more area of the blade making contact with the ice. Simply turning your foot somewhat sideways does it. (See Figure 3.) This gives your foot enough traction, so when you push it back, the only thing that can happen is that the rest of you goes forward.

skatefig-3small
Figure 3. (The extent to which the foot is turned here is exaggerated for clarity.)

Meanwhile you are pointing the other foot in roughly the direction you want to go, so you glide forward on that foot. (As per Newton’s fifth law, “Ice is slippery.”)

Then the feet switch roles, with the gliding foot becoming the foot you’re pushing back with, and the pushing foot becoming the gliding foot. Repeat.

Once you learn this, it really is easy and natural.

(3) On falling: One of the problems is that your instincts about righting yourself when you’re off balance are all wrong. Moves that help you regain your balance when you’re on terra firma don’t necessarily help you, to put it mildly, when you’re skating on blades on ice. You have to learn new reflexes (if learned reflexes isn’t an oxymoron). I can’t re-wire your neural wiring that handles these reflexes, so I don’t know what to tell you here, except that you have to practice.

(4) “Crossover,” logically enough, is the term for when you cross one foot over the other. You’ve seen this: It’s that thing a skater does where it seems like his feet are moving independently of the direction his body is traveling in, so it looks like he’s moonwalking or something.

Crossovers function best when you’re turning at high speed and really leaning into the turn. You do this naturally when you turn while running on ground, but when you do that your foot is planted. When you’re skating, in contrast, you continue to glide on that foot as you shift your weight into the turn, so that for a moment the foot is actually moving in a different direction from your body’s center of mass.

Crossovers are a great way to add speed with relatively little effort, because gravity is doing some of the work for you. When you change direction you lean in the direction you want to go in. So you start to fall in that direction. Before you fall very far, though, you put a foot out under yourself so you glide in that direction instead of falling.

By the way, when you take a turn with a fast series of crossovers, it actually is as fun as it looks. Hell, it’s much more fun. There’s a power and smoothness that is like nothing else. Cf. comment above, in re: “flying.”

(5) Control: As long as you’re not going too fast, turning is so easy that it’s practically subliminal. (No crossovers for the moment; I’m not talking about that level of speed.) Actually you’re shifting your weight ever so slightly in the direction you want to go in. But it feels like you’re just thinking yourself into changing direction. Telekinesis!

(6) Efficiency: Another way you can tell n00bs, even after they’ve learned to not fall much, is by how much energy they waste. In extreme cases it looks like they’re expending half again as much energy as they need to per foot-pound of work accomplished.

If this is you don’t worry; this takes care of itself over time. Your body’s natural reluctance to waste energy will quickly make you adjust so that your motion is economical.

(7) Stopping. Several n00bs at rinks have asked me for advice, particularly about how to stop.

The correct answer is: Stopping is for the weak and timid! Are you a wuss!? Are you!? Huh!? No? Then let’s have no more nonsense about stopping.

If you insist, though, you can just point yourself at a wall. That usually works.

All kidding aside: There are several ways to slow down, and if you slow long  enough or hard enough you’ll stop.

The easiest stop for n00bs is the snowplow stop. Just point your skates toward each other, while keeping your legs stiff so your feet don’t actually come together. If your feet bump into each other you’ll fall, obviously. But if you hold your feet apart at that angle, the blades will scrape against the ice, slowing you. And if you keep doing it, stopping you.

You can feel and hear the scraping, at least if you’re not at a rink where they constantly blast fucking country music over the sound system at full volume, what the actual fuck, not that I’m complaining or anything, but what the fuck? Don’t they know that playing that shit voids the warranty on your speaker system? Anyway…

Another popular method of stopping is the much-admired “hockey stop.” That’s the one you think of when I say “how to stop,” where they turn sideways and kick up ice shavings.

Just turn sideways and dig the blade of your leading foot into the ice. You’re also using your trailing foot, of course, but more for balance than friction, at least the way I do it (YMMV). Also, you’re doing some rapid adjustment of your balance, naturally.

When you first try this you’re going to think, “I shall now attempt a hockey stop.” That’s well and good, but you learn faster if you just think, “Shit! I need to stop!” and imagine what you’d do if you really needed to stop suddenly. This makes it more instinctive and less cerebral.

There are also innumerable fancy ways to stop.

If you don’t find those interesting enough try this: These guys are hilarious in their low-key Canadian way.

(8) Sharpness matters so your blades dig in. You need this (a) for acceleration, so your pushing foot can bite into the ice, (b) to slow yourself and stop, and (c) to execute a crossover. (Probably for six other reasons that I’m not thinking of at the moment too.) When you’re doing a crossover, the gliding foot has to bite into the ice to a certain extent or the foot will just slide out from under you. This happened to me once when I was trying to take too steep an angle with my gliding foot. Foot shot backward, rest of body went, “Hello, ice!”

The blade has some thickness; it’s not a knife blade. It’s the blade’s edges that are sharp. A couple of times I’ve actually draw blood from my hand accidentally with the edge. But that was probably right after they’d been sharpened; normally blades aren’t that sharp.

(9) Miscellany:

(A) Little kids on the ice are cute, but DANGER DANGER DANGER!!! Partly this is because they can’t control themselves yet, and partly because even the ones who can control themselves have no social awareness whatsoever. If they see Mom over there, they will simply turn with no warning in that direction, and if you’re behind them you’re going to be doing some fancy dancing to not hit them. This leads to hilarity and occasional bruises, because of course you’re going to steer yourself into a wall or shift so that you take a digger, instead of plowing into a little kid.

I recently cracked my elbow into the wall of a rink because I had to dodge a little one who seemed to execute a right-angle turn right in front of me with no warning. I had to do something to avoid smashing into him and I hit the plexi-glass. He didn’t even realize it had happened, but I got a sympathetic look from someone on the other side of the glass.

They can also turn quite suddenly because their centers of gravity are so low. It’s like they’re equipped with little inertialess drives.

Just remember this:

Little kids on ice = Brownian motion + inertialess drives.

(B) Use your ears as well as your eyes to help maintain awareness of other skaters in your vicinity. Thus you can avoid pulling a “little kid” and turning suddenly just when someone’s coming up behind you.

Caveat: Noise bounces around weirdly in the corners of the rink. Sometimes it sounds like someone is coming up behind you and just about to smash into you. You’re like “Gah!” but when you look around there’s no one within ten yards.

(C) Downhill skating. Sweet! But why didn’t they have this when I was 19? You kids today don’t know how good you have it, let me tell you, when I was your age I had to skate 40 miles to school, and it was uphill both ways! By God!

http://www.redbullcrashedice.com/en_INT

http://www.foxsports.com/north/story/downhill-skating-fun-to-watch-hard-to-do-011112

http://www.foxsports.com/north/story/ice-cross-downhill-competitors-hope-for-olympic-showcase-in-future-022114

(D) This is a politically incorrect blog, so an observation about the sexes. Normal people, continue to read; shrieking feminist shrikes, go somewhere else (permanently).

Still with me? OK, a fun observation:

All good skaters have both power and grace, strength and fluidity. But there is a difference between good female skaters and good male skaters. Good female skaters have strength – you can’t be a good skater without it – but they have more grace compared to male skaters. And good male skaters have grace – you can’t be a good skater without that, either(*) – but they have more power compared to female skaters. Just a nice little “the world is gendered” observation to affirm normality and freak out the screaming SJWs.

If you’re like most people, i.e. psychologically normal, you understand (there was a time when no one denied this!) that the sexes are different and that the differences, in so many ways, can be a source of delight to everyone. This is just a small example of that.

* Even the most brutal hockey player, 190 pounds of muscle and missing three front teeth, who starts throwing jabs at the slightest provocation, has grace on the ice. If you don’t believe me, Youtube is your friend.

(10) Have fun!

UPDATE: DON’T TEXT OR TAKE SELFIES WHILE SKATING! FUCKING RETARDS!

Miscellany 25: Shred the Miscellany like It’s Ice and You Need to Stop Fast

UPDATE: edited to include a crucial paragraph in the last item that was originally omitted.

(1) Contaminated NEET at https://blog.reaction.la/war/the-isi-with-the-help-of-america-defeated-america/

Well, sure, of course physical violence is ultimately at the base of all power. I don’t disagree with that. Don’t underestimate the importance of organizing, channeling, inspiring, discouraging, rewarding, punishing, and otherwise controlling physical violence with words and ideas, though. That’s the progs’ specialty, and they’re nearly undefeated over the last century or more.

True. They’re evil as fuck-all, but we have to learn what we can from a force that, with the exception of one huge loss, the Cold War, is basically undefeated for the last century.


(2) FUCK, that’s funny: Here’s The Cominator, also at https://blog.reaction.la/war/the-isi-with-the-help-of-america-defeated-america/, in the context of a debate about Christianity:

“So no the story of Christ is not properly viewed as that as a jew nerd who got cast out because he couldn’t fit in with his fellow jew nerds, and then he was crucified by the chad romans… that is the progressive and cuckstian view of jesus.”

Fuck, I’m dying here! jew nerds… chad romans… I’m gonna bust a gut.

Alf comes back with,
“What you mean all the crucifixes from all the churches and painters over the past millenia are evil and homosexual?
[LOL.]
…the crux (heh) of the story, to me, seems to be that he died for our sins, not that he gave his haters the middle finger three days later.”

I just flashed on an image of Jesus, floating up toward Heaven, flipping the bird to all the hatas down below.

Maybe Jesus is a Taylor Swift fan. Hatas gonna hate… Except that he’s not going to “shake it off,” he’s going to open up a can of Cosmic Whoop-Ass on them.

(3) Simone Biles’s walk-off: Obviously all the media adulation got to her head. And she didn’t have the personality to deal with it (not to say that most people would). She had the bad taste, before the Olympics, to wear a sweatshirt that had “GOAT,” that is, Greatest Of All Time, embroidered on it. Really, Biles? Among football quarterbacks Tom Brady is constantly called the GOAT, but he hasn’t gotten a jersey that says that on it. Lordy. How could Biles not see how narcissistic that looks? And before the Olympic gymnastics started there was a bit on the TV coverage that showed Biles standing near an actual goat, while on the screen they flashed “A goat” with an arrow pointing to the goat and “The G.O.A.T.” with an arrow pointing to Biles.

It was all ridiculous, of course. And any human being, told “You have to win 6,000 gold medals or you’re letting us down,” could get screwed up by the pressure. It got to her head and messed up her performance.

The media’s narrative? Instead of admitting their coverage had been excessive, they spread some BS about her proprioception being shot. I.e. The Narrative is now that there is an actual medical problem with her sense of balance. Which, by a strange coincidence, just happened to manifest during the Olympics. As I recall, this story is ultimately coming from the Biles camp. I don’t believe it. I think she just was fucked up by all the pressure – understandably, really.

Sooooo…. what actually happened in cultural terms? Well, if you’re reading this in CURRENT YEAR you already know: Presented with a black female who is unquestionably extremely good at what she does, the US media just couldn’t resist excessively pumping her up. It’s like putting a bacon cheeseburger in front of a wolf and expecting it not to chow down. So they shot video footage of her next to a goat, et cetera, with results that were pretty predictable.

I wonder what will happen the next time a talented black chick pops up on the public stage. Has the media learned anything from the Biles episode? Or, like the Bourbons, have they forgotten nothing and learned nothing? Or perhaps it doesn’t matter, because they’re so caught up in a holiness spiral that the next time there’s a black woman who excels at anything, the first one to stop clapping gets shot, I mean, the media outlet with the least hagiographic coverage will be called “racist” and they won’t be willing to risk that. On the other hand, media leftists must hate seeing a black female fail to live up to expectations, so maybe they’ll hedge their coverage with the next one. But betting on leftists being sane is never a safe bet, so we’ll have to wait and see.

There’s also an interesting point about sports psychology here. Elite-level athletes are taught that the mental game is crucial and are trained to shrug off “You suck!” comments from the peanut gallery. But so few of them have to deal with “You’re the Greatest Of All Time!” that standard sports psychology training doesn’t cover it. After l’affaire Biles it might.


(4) Leftist ass-hat perceives Big Truth, blurts it out in public before her wrong-think filter can kick in.

Michelle Obama, of all people, says this in her autobiography:


“I have been at probably every powerful table that you can think of, I have worked at nonprofits, I have been at foundations, I have worked in corporations, served on corporate boards, I have been at G-summits, I have sat in at the U.N.: They are not that smart.”

Of course this accurate observation about the limitations of our self-appointed dictators destroys the entire case for having big government intervene in everything.

La Obama, being a leftist ass, uses this Big Truth to push some narrow politically correct message like, “If you’re a woman of color, don’t let white men with Harvard PhDs intimidate you.” The message about not being intimidated by sociopathic morons with “credentials” is good advice, but talk about burying the lede!

(5) Vive la différence, a couple of data points. The regulars at the main rink where I skate are mostly figure skaters, which means they’re mostly women, with one guy who is an out gay and another who is pretty obviously gay. There are also two men who seem straight, but they’re on the older side all they do is skate at walking speed. Now I’m not 19 any more, nor am I Chad Thundercock in terms of my build or height. But I’m the only man there who is reasonably of breeding age, and who is obviously a hockey-style skater, not a figure skater. I’m there to work on my speed, power, and acceleration, not twirl around to Mendelssohn overtures or whatever. You can probably guess where this is going.

Over time, several female figure skaters have been skating ever closer to me during their routines/workouts, to the point that it would be dangerous if I couldn’t control myself on the ice – some sudden stops and fast turns have been needed. Of course, this is either to get my attention or a shit test or both. The key fact is not that there are near misses – shit happens – but that they’re getting more frequent and closer over time. And there are two young attractive women who are particularly interested in me. One I can tell because she’s constantly checking me out. She can’t help it; it’s adorable. Another is a very hot young woman, I would guess 18 years old. She is damn good-looking and has a taut, lithe body (like lots of young women figure skaters), in other words she’s unquestionably an alpha bitch of whatever her social circle outside the rink is.

She tries to get my attention, by e.g. doing weird moves on the ice and glancing at me to see if I’m looking at her, talking loudly with her friends and glancing at me to see if I’m looking at her (which I almost never do for exactly this reason) and – surprise! – shit testing me. In particular, because there are lots of skaters there most days, there are lots of near misses. Figure skaters tend to change direction unpredictably on the ice (don’t even get me started). But one day she and I had something that was not by any stretch of imagination a near miss; she was merely skating behind me and I was skating backwards so I could not help looking in her general direction. She histrionically threw her hands up in the air, as if at my rudeness in daring to skate within a parsec of her. When I didn’t react, she did it again, even more overtly. Ridiculous. She never has done this with anyone else at the rink, with whom she has had some near misses (we all have). In other words: Baseless acausal female histrionics to get a male’s attention and get some data on his reaction.

I already have a woman I’m quite happy with, so am not going to do anything about this, and my point is not to brag about being shit tested by a hot young alpha bitch (well, maybe a little, heh). My main point is this:

It’s amazing how true traditional beliefs are. You think you know this, you think you’ve got it dialed, and then it pops up when you’re not looking for it and reaffirms itself. In this case, the truth is that women like masculine men. I’m the only person at the rink who exhibits a normal Y chromosome and is of breeding age, and BAM! unsought attention from attractive females.

This chick is certainly young enough to have lived her entire life in the Empire of Lies propaganda regime that says that women don’t like “toxic masculinity,” etc. And the sum total effect of that on her sexual interest, compared to decades ago when I was in college/high school, is: Nil.

“Dude, this is obvious!” you say. Yes, among the sane it is. But read my blog’s tag line: It is necessary these days to belabor the obvious.

We live in the Empire of Lies. I wonder what it would be like to live in a world that wasn’t the Empire of Lies. Of course it would be infinitely less stressful. What would we do with ourselves if we didn’t have to devote time and emotional energy to pushing back against lies? Would we seek out even more truth, even more knowledge? Or would we just chillax and enjoy life more? Maybe someday our children will have the luxury of choosing an answer to that question.

Meanwhile, if you’re a man prowling for babes, look for situations in which you’re one of few obviously straight males and have a legit reason other than prowling to be there. I’m at the rink to skate, not score, and no doubt my lack of interest in them is another reason the women like me. If you actually are there to swoop babes you’ll just have to fake it, but all that takes is a tiny bit of effort. See your local Game blog.

I dunno… maybe take a jazz dance class, but make sure you dress and comport yourself in a way that makes it clear that you’re straight. And loudly explain (if someone asks) that you’re there because “I heard that dance will help me bulk up my muscle mass in my lower body” or something. Or you could take up skating. Just buy a pair of figure skates and NO, DUMBASS! that was a joke. Seriously, rent a pair of (hockey) skates; all rinks rent them. Get out there and start learning. Note: Most rinks are not just chicks and gay guys so you won’t automatically provoke female interest just by being there. Also that probably won’t happen until you get reasonably good so you’re personifying masculine power when you’re on the ice. (I’m the fastest skater there, am constantly accelerating as hard as I can, then slamming to a stop in a spray of ice shavings, etc.) But give it a try it if there’s a rink near you.

Coda:

Gosh, female figure skaters in motion are beautiful. It gorgeously embodies feminine grace.

Pro Tip: You were born gendered. You’re not some disembodied brain floating in a vat of nutrient solution like a scene from a bad 1950s science fiction movie. So bear with me, dear reader, as I once again belabor the obvious:


Women are irresistibly attracted to masculinity; men are irresistibly attracted to femininity.

Miscellany 24: Shred the Miscellany like You’re a Surfer and It’s the Ultimate Wave

(1) June 2021, the Dark Herald makes a side remark about Lois McMaster Bujold’s novel Memory, prompting me to glance at its Wikipedia article. I find this:

“After years of refusing to marry any of the tall, slim, eligible Barrayaran ladies paraded in front of him…Gregor unexpectedly falls in love with a short, voluptuous Komarran…”

I.e., short and fat. I’m guessing this is a fiction version of…
Sailer’s Law of Female Journalism: The most heartfelt articles by female journalists tend to be demands that social values be overturned in order that, Come the Revolution, the journalist herself will be considered hotter-looking.”

(2) First, some background: The Williams Institute at UCLA is a gay and lesbian think tank. In 2011 they released a study claiming that 3.5% of American adults identify as homosexual or bisexual. (A little over half of those are people, mostly women, who identify as bi.) And since this is a gay think tank, they have an incentive to exaggerate the number. So this is an upper bound on the percent of homo- and bi-sexuals.

With that number in mind, let’s consider a recently-published novel.

Leigh Bardugo’s Crooked Kingdom is a novel about a criminal gang of seven people (To recall them for those who have read it: Kaz, Inej, Matthias, Nina, Jasper, Wylan, and Kuwei). Three of the seven are homo or bi: Jasper, Wylan, and Kuwei. In the follow-up King of Scars, per Cataline Sergius’s review June 2021 https://arkhavencomics.com/2021/06/28/book-discussion-king-of-scars-by-leigh-bardugo/, Nina becomes a lesbian, making it 4 out of 7. So more than half of the main characters are homosexual or bisexual.

This is not about “representation.”

(3) A funny aspect of Game: Because it starts by accepting certain features of female psychology like their desire for assholes instead of nice guys, one way of describing Game in general terms is

“Men cannot change women. Men have to accept women as they are.”

If just left at that, it would prompt shouts of agreement from women in general and feminists in particular: “Right on, pal!” “Preach it, brother!” “You got that right!” But the details— what it actually means to take women as they are instead of trying to change them— is something that fills feminists with rage. Feminists of course cannot abide any speech other than “All women are totally perfect in every way.” And women in general do not like to be understood in the mating game: it destroys much of their power in the game.

(4) Uri Harris, July 2017: Even moderate leftists are becoming rarer in academia.

“What is particularly striking about this shift is that the number of moderates has dropped sharply among professors…

As part of the survey, members were asked to identify their political affiliation on an eleven-point scale, from ‘very liberal’ to ‘very conservative’…

Intriguingly, the least popular point among the left-of-centre points was the most moderate one… More than two thirds (67.8 per cent) chose one of the three points furthest to the left on an eleven-point scale, and more than a third (38 per cent) chose one of the two points furthest to the left. And 16 per cent chose the furthest possible point to the left on an eleven-point scale.

This means that there were almost as many people who chose the furthest possible point to the left as there were who chose all the conservative points, the centre-point and the most moderate left-of-centre point combined.”

(5) I once read that an old definition of heresy was focusing on one of God’s attributes at the expense of others. I don’t think this definition is doctrine, but maybe it should be, since it could damp holiness spiraling. For example, focusing on God’s justice at the cost of ignoring his mercy, or focusing on God’s mercy at the cost of ignoring his justice, would be heresies.

In an environment in which promulgating heresies in this sense is energetically punished, holiness spiraling probably would have a harder time getting off the ground: You and your buddies start holiness spiraling about who can be most like God in the sense of being most just. But soon the inquisitor shows up (or tons of people weigh in on Twitter) to give you a warning about obsessing about God’s justice at the expense of ignoring His mercy. And the opposite if you’re spiraling on mercy. It could be a built-in moderator.

As I was surfing around on this topic I came across the same thought here: https://quillette.com/2017/12/12/worry-piety-contests-not-virtue-signaling/

The problem, rather, is judging the acceptability of statements and actions on the basis of a single sacred criterion. Fundamentalism in this sense is part-and-parcel of the piety contest. No matter what your foundational principle, if you have only one, there will be bullets you have to bite.

The defense against piety contests, therefore, is to cultivate a multiplicity of irreducible sacred values. This gives the moral community a vantage point from which to evaluate the consequences of each norm against something else. Christianity, for example, is filled with pairs of concepts that orthodoxy holds “in tension”: trinity and unity, free will and predestination, grace and works, and so on. Indeed, heresy has been defined as emphasizing one element of one of these pairs at the expense of the other, and throughout Christianity’s history it has been heretical movements of just this sort that have been filled with the fervent zeal of the piety contest.

(6) Biden appoints a person who said that blacks are genetically superior to whites as his civil rights Czar.
https://cnsnews.com/commentary/hans-von-spakovsky/biden-pick-civil-rights-czar-advocated-black-supremacy
The nominee is Kristen Clarke. Writing in the Harvard Crimson,

START OF QUOTE FROM FOREGOING LINK.
Clarke cited a number of “experts” regarding what she called the “truth” about the “genetic differences between blacks and whites.”

She posited that “human mental processes are controlled by melanin — that same chemical which gives blacks their superior physical and mental abilities.” Additionally, “melanin endows blacks with greater mental, physical, and spiritual abilities.”

The liberal editors of [Harvard University newspaper] The Crimson found Clarke’s “racist theories” to be “outrageous,” saying that Clarke had “resorted to bigotry, pure and simple.”… Not long after she penned her letter claiming that blacks are genetically superior to other racial groups, the Black Students Association under her leadership invited professor Tony Martin to campus.

A notorious anti-Semite, Martin’s ensuing lecture about his tract, “The Jewish Onslaught,” was apparently a racist diatribe against the Jewish people, their history, and their traditions, claiming they were the source of the supposedly “ordained” notion of “African inferiority.”

Yet Clarke told The Harvard Crimson that “Professor Martin is an intelligent, well-versed black intellectual who bases his information on indisputable fact.”

END OF QUOTE.

(7) Related: In the comments at https://blog.reaction.la/culture/mate-guarding-game/, Rick says “This isn’t surprising but remember to let your people know the score:
https://www.islandpacket.com/news/local/crime/article251689813.html
Black guy murders white retired police chief, confesses to the crime and the all black jury lets him walk.”

Here’a another link which confirms that he was acquitted: https://www.islandpacket.com/news/local/crime/article251701818.html, though neither link mentions the race of the jurors.

(8) France is worried that US identity politics is penetrating France and damaging it. It’s good to know that they have the sense to be worried. Though it might be too late at this point.
https://twitter.com/ggreenwald/status/1359139829418758146

“French President Emmanuel Macron has joined numerous French intellectuals & journalists in warning that ‘out-of-control woke leftism of US campuses and its attendant cancel culture’ poses a grave threat due to the social strife it creates.”

Miscellany 22: Dr. Neurotoxin’s Home for the Moral Improvement of Wayward Miscellany

1. Welfare for invaders worsens the problem.

“The Welfare Magnet Hypothesis: Evidence from an Immigrant Welfare Scheme in Denmark,” by Ole Agersnap, Amalie Jensen and Henrik Kleven. American Economic Review: Insights vol. 2, no. 4, December 2020, pp. 527-42.

ABSTRACT: We study the effects of welfare generosity on international migration using reforms of immigrant welfare benefits in Denmark. The first reform, implemented in 2002, lowered benefits for non-EU immigrants by about 50 percent, with no changes for natives or EU immigrants. The policy was later repealed and reintroduced. Based on a quasi-experimental research design, we find sizable effects: the benefit reduction reduced the net flow of immigrants by about 5,000 people per year, and the subsequent repeal of the policy reversed the effect almost exactly. The implied elasticity of migration with respect to benefits equals 1.3. This represents some of the first causal evidence on the welfare magnet hypothesis.

2. The first rule of holiness spiral is…

A remark I made in the comments on my “True Beliefs” post of May 2020:

“Sooner or later the concept of holiness spiral—perhaps under a different name—is going to be a standard concept in political science, sociology, etc., and preventing them is going to be an acknowledged Big Problem. But since current academics are involved in a holiness spiral, they cannot acknowledge that a holiness spiral is happening, so a significant change in academia probably won’t happen until after The Big Show.”

It’s notable that “holiness spiral” is a thoughtcrime which people involved in a holiness spiral cannot acknowledge. Why? Because participating in a holiness spiral requires keeping a rhetorical straight face. If you say “The average woman makes just as good a soldier as the average man,” you can’t add, “And by the way, I’m only saying that because I’m in a holiness spiral.” That defeats the purpose, which is to pretend to assert the proposition sincerely. Acknowledging that there is a holiness spiral, i.e. acknowledging that people are saying things that make no sense for political reasons, ipso facto puts one outside the holiness spiral.

Thus for people in a holiness spiral there is a kind of unspeakability of it. It is not like being in an old-fashioned socialist revolution, in which you could say to your socialist friends, “We’re in a socialist revolution and I’m a socialist revolutionary.” It’s not like being in the mafia, where you can talk about the omerta (code of silence) with other mafia guys, as long as you don’t break omerta and blab to outsiders. A holiness spiral is a weird social dynamic which by its very nature prohibits its participants from ever speaking of it.

3. TheDividualist: Religion as the brain’s agency detection module generating false positives.

While this is not rational, it is presumptively evolutionarily optimal: Falsely detecting agency where there is none generally has small or zero costs, but for an animal that deals with social dynamics constantly, failing to detect agency where it exists could be very costly. Suppose you have an enemy who tries to kill you by rolling a boulder down a hill at you. If you think it’s just an accident, you’re not alert for later attempts on your life. As a result, you die. If you have a bias to thinking it was an attempted murder, you’re alert for further attempts on your life, and you live.

In contrast, a false positive, i.e. thinking that it was an attempt to kill you if it actually wasn’t, doesn’t cost you anything.

So of two targets of attempted murder, one with a bias for concluding that there was agency survived to leave more genes in successive generations. Since neural structures are to an extent inherited, evolutionary pressure favors people who over-detect agency.

That humans are adapted to think in terms of agency is obvious, and there’s an wonderfully simple and persuasive demonstration of this in psychological experiments: The Wason Selection Task.

Basically: Take a certain pure logic problem and present it to people. Only about 10% of them solve it correctly. Take exactly the same logic problem, in terms of formal structure, but embed it in an example in which someone might be trying to get away with breaking a social rule. Catching rule-breakers requires solving the logic problem. Result: 75% to 80% of people get it correct. Plainly it engages a brain module that evolved to detect cheaters.

(By the way, the logic problem involves a rule of logical inference called the contrapositive. My blog’s tagline from 2020 illustrates this: “If you’ve got a modem, I’ve got an opinion. Therefore, by the contrapositive: If I don’t have an opinion, you don’t have a modem.”
If this makes you laugh (and I hope it does), it’s because the contrapositive is not an intuitive mental rule for humans, outside of certain social contexts that we’re evolved to deal with.)

4. Outside of Dungeons and Dragons, there is no “lawful evil.”

In 1986, Fortune magazine ran an article on the 50 biggest Mafia bosses in the country. Thirty-three years later, 49 of them were dead. The only one who survived was Michael Franzese.

Franzese says “I don’t know one family of any member of that life, including my own, that hasn’t been totally devastated.”

Evil really fucks up the evil. They like to pretend that they’re happy, that they’re successful, that they’re winners, that they can easily cooperate with each other… but it’s all lies. It simply isn’t true. Their life expectancy sucks. They’re unhappy, stressed out, devastated, and constantly at war with each other.

“But evil is winning!” you say. “They just terminated American democracy and installed themselves in power!” I didn’t say that they don’t fuck up the world for the non-evil as well as each other. Obviously they do. But they are not at ease, can never be at ease, because they’re a pack of cannablistic jackals (apologies to jackals) who attack each other as naturally as they attack anyone else.

See New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s current crisis: His fellow leftists are not only attacking him rhetorically (an excellent example of Jim’s “He’s falling, falling, fallen” rhetoric, by the way); they’ve appointed an “impeachment committee” in the state legislature! This guy was until five seconds ago a darling of the left, a Democrat whose COVID policies killed lots of old white people (i.e. Republican-leaning voters). Now Dems think they don’t need him any more – it’s a solidly left-voting state – so they try to oust him. I chuckle with satisfaction whenever I think of how bewildered he must be right now.

Joining the leftist gang at best provides you with temporary protection from them, which can end unpredictably at any time.

5. Purple Pill in Fiction: The Lives of Tao

“I was possessed by a super-advanced alien, and all I got was The Speech from the father of this chick I’m dating.”

The Lives of Tao by Wesley Chu is a mediocre (being generous) SF book and the male-female stuff is mostly noticeably blue-pilled. For example Our Hero, who is sucked into some high stakes cloak-and-dagger stuff at the start of the book, has to learn all kinds of combat. In the hand-to-hand training, a chick is constantly beating the crap out of him, and this is portrayed as not at all being a barrier to her being attracted to him. Lordy.

However, on page 329 (paperback edition) we suddenly get a red pill passage in the form of a little speech made to Our Hero by the father of a chick he’s dating. The thrust of the speech is, “My daughter’s getting close to The Wall, so you’d better not be toying with her.” There is nothing startling in this passage (especially for a reader of this blog), except for the fact that it comes in the middle of a book which is otherwise so blue-pilled. And after it, we go back to the blue-pill nonsense. Interesting.

Here’s The Conversation, edited for brevity.


“Look, Roen,” Louis began, “let’s get a few things clear. This is the second time that Jill has introduced us to one of her boyfriends, so it’s a big deal. Now, I’m just a country boy from the swamps of Alabama, so I’m going to tell you some of my country-boy sexist philosophies, and you’re gonna listen.”

Roen gulped and nodded. His mind raced as her tried to mask his terror. [Don’t be such a pussy!]

“I like you,” Louis said. “So here’s my philosophy on life and women. I’ve always viewed God as very fair. Girls in their twenties – the world’s their oyster. They’re beautiful. Older men want to date them. Guys pay for everything, and everyone desires them. Men on the other hand, when we’re in our twenties, we’re dumb, we’re poor, and women our age want nothing to do with us.” [They sure don’t if you don’t know how to handle them.]

“But like I said,” Louis continued, “Our Lord is a fair and good God. Women shine bright, but they burn out fast. [Like Roy Batty in Blade Runner.] Their lives are over by thirty. What do you geeks call it? Half-life? Shelf-life? Whatever. It’s shorter than for us men. They have to find the right guy right away or it becomes a game of settling. Guys are like wine. We get finer with time. We start earning money. [Money doesn’t matter as much as blue-pilled people think, but anyway…] We become more confident. Younger girls will still date us. You get me?”

Roen nodded. “I think so,” he mumbled politely.

“So,” Louis continued, “if you waste the best years of my little girl’s life because of your fine-wine-aging process, I’m going to kill you.”

[Appropriate way to deal with this: Get the father fuck-faced drunk, drag him into a poker game and clean him out, then escort him home. (You also might learn some Irish drinking songs. It just hit me, I don’t know enough Irish drinking songs.)]

The father adds, annoyingly, “I might even call you son one day, as long as you know how to hunt and fish.”


What is this weird “son” thing? And who likes to fish? I used to know a couple of dudes who lived near me who would get up at like four in the morning to go fishing. What the fuck? You’d be hard pressed to get me out of bed at 4:00 in the morning for anything other than my house being on fire, let alone for fishing, a pastime so boring it makes golf look dynamic.

By the way, there’s another irritating feature of this novel, which I’ve been seeing a lot lately. Advice to aspiring authors tells them to make their opening chapter, especially their opening paragraphs, exciting or weird or otherwise grabby so the reader is hooked and drawn in. The problem is, a lot of mediocre authors have internalized this advice and spent a lot of time refining their first couple of chapters so the stuff is actually reasonably good. Then you read it and the rest of it turns out to be mediocre pap. Grrr. Thank goodness for libraries; they’ve saved me from buying a lot of crap the first few chapters of which looked good on Amazon.

6. On attempts to design religions or found political movements in existing religions:

Most regulars over at Jimbo’s already get this, I think, but it doesn’t seem to be stated tersely anywhere, so for clarity: Outside of its explicitly prescriptive parts (“Don’t steal”), your religion should restrict itself, as far as possible, to assertions that are true, or assertions that are metaphysical and therefore meaningless by positivist standards. Assertions that are empirically meaningful and false are an entry point for a lot of problems.

“Alligators have teeth.” OK.

“Alligators have metaphysical souls which survive their deaths.” OK.

“Alligators do not have teeth.” No, bad!!! This gets you into all sorts of trouble. See modern leftism with its insistence that e.g. men and women are interchangeable, and so forth. Founding major parts of the ideology on such naked falsehoods has led to all kinds of avoidable complications for the left, viz. necessitating taking over the entire media and educational establishments just to slow the propagation of truth.

(Lately leftism has entered an advanced stage in which it insists that, e.g., everyone assent to the notion that a person’s sex is whatever the person wants it to be, a flagrantly obvious falsehood which is asserted because it is a flagrantly obvious falsehood. But that is not doctrine designed to acquire and unify adherents; it is a naked bullying power flex perpetrated by an entrenched ideology. It generates opposition; leftists are willing to pay that price because they’re a bunch of power-mad sadists. And of course they’re caught up in a holiness spiral.)

Miscellany: Probably the last non-civil-war post for a while

MarketWatch October 1, 2020 runs an article on saving stategy:

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/the-fed-plans-to-keep-interest-rates-low-for-years-heres-how-you-should-approach-your-savings-strategy-now-2020-10-01?mod=home-page

The accompanying photo is very, extremely, CURRENT YEAR.

  1. Supreme Court will review Trump plan to exclude undocumented immigrants from calculations for congressional seats.

WHAT THE FUCK? Why is this even being “reviewed”? The US government doesn’t represent people who aren’t citizens of the US, let alone those who snuck into our country illegally! What the fucking fuck!?

The Washington Post says, “The justices put the case on a fast track and said they will hold a hearing Nov. 30. By then, it probably will be a nine-member court again, if Judge Amy Coney Barrett is confirmed, giving the court a 6-to-3 conservative majority.”

(No, there will be no 6-3 “conservative majority,” since Roberts always votes with the left when (a) it’s important, and (b) his vote makes a difference to the outcome. We will see if we have an occasional 5-4 sanity majority.)

How can this even be a question that is being asked?!

  1. Why is there no substitute for experience? Can this fact of life be explained in a terse way? Yes, actually. Here’s Ted Chiang in “The Lifecycle of Software Objects,” an otherwise pedestrian story about an attempt to create AI:

Experience isn’t merely the best teacher; it’s the only teacher. If she’s learned anything raising Jax, it’s that there are no shortcuts; if you want to create the common sense that comes from twenty years of being in the world, you need to devote twenty years to the task. You can’t assemble an equivalent collection of heuristics in less time; experience is algorithmically incompressible.

Experience is algorithmically incompressible. That nails it.

Real-world experience is somewhat compressible, of course; to use a thematic example from this blog, that’s why we preach “Chicks like guys who aren’t that into them” to young men. But the application of that idea in the real world is, in technical terms, nuanced as fuck. Memorizing the dictum orients the learner to focus on certain aspects of female behavior, and so accelerates the learning… but just memorizing the dictum doesn’t even get you halfway to using it effectively. That can only be done by the algorithmically incompressible process of going out and interacting with real-world chicks.

In the language of information theory, women are high-information, thus not (completely) compressible.

This is why Claude Shannon was such an unstoppable bad-ass at pickup. (I kid.)

Obviously chicks are merely an illustrative example. It’s much more broad and deep and profound than that; it’s about life in general.

  1. Zamboni on fire.

At least that rink’s ice is open!

Via Ace: http://ace.mu.nu/archives/390769.php

  1. Study: 56% of Liberal Women Under Age 30 Have Been Diagnosed as Mentally Ill

Scandal erupts in the psychiatric community as they try to figure out how they missed the other 44%.

  1. This AI meme generator has some funny stuff, e.g.

Via Ace: http://ace.mu.nu/archives/387051.php.

  1. Eddie Van Halen died earlier this month, as I lamented in a recent post. It occurred to me later that most artists don’t attain their peak reputation until after their deaths. Therefore, his reputation is probably going to go up from its already Guitar Mount Everest level to… What’s above Guitar God?

(Update: I’d originally meant Mount Rushmore, but now that I think of it, Mount Everest works too.)