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« "The Kumars" | Main | Guest Posting -- Donald Pittenger 3 »

March 04, 2005


Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

* 2Blowhards favorite Nikos Salingaros' new book "Anti-Architecture and Deconstruction" has just received an appreciative review from The Architectural Review. The piece isn't online at the magazine's site, but someone has reprinted it here. Our five-part interview with Nikos can be accessed here.

* WhiskyPrajer has begun to wonder if originality is overrated.

* It pays to be polite, if only because the guy at the controls might not be having a good day.

* Thanks to DesignObserver for pointing out that the film editor Walter Murch is posting some thoughts here. Murch is the one film editor I'm aware of who has made a place for himself as a kind of philosopher of perception. His book "In the Blink of an Eye" is a terrific short meditation on why film editing works at all.

* DesignObserver also points out this first-class slide-show/essay by Virginia Postrel about the great Hollywood glamor photographer George Hurrell.

* The early '90s were some of the loonier days of Sexual Correctness. Lawyers, opinionators, and politicos were prone to lecturing us about the evils of mixing work and romance. Dating someone you worked near? According to the experts, there was no way such a thing could take place without someone -- horrors! -- being exploited. I'd listen to these people and wonder if the world had taken leave of its senses. Where would adult life be without office romances? Do experts have no idea what it is to be human? But in the midst of the era's tiffs, I never had good figures to cite. Now I do: CNN/Money reports that "58 percent of respondents said they have been involved with a coworker and 22 percent of respondents said they met their spouse or significant other at work." Outlaw that, morons.

* Exploitation alert: Nate Davis' dogs have been getting to know each other -- somewhat, it seems, to the larger dog's surprise. NSFW, I guess.

* The Social Affairs Unit's Zenga Longmore tells the tale of Max Fleischer and his immortal creation, the animated character Betty Boop. Here's Betty's own website, where, if you're in the mood, you can buy a Betty Boop shot glass.

* Dean Esmay wonders why the press doesn't report the good news -- or at least give the bad news better-quality context.

* Luke Ford interviews Steve Sailer. You'll need to scroll down to the bottom of the page.

* I've been enjoying a few new-to-me blogs: the fliply-amusing-yet-substantial Blithering Bunny; and Stephen Thomas' Harleys, Cars, Girls & Guitars, a blog devoted (very movingly) to acknowledging and celebrating both the good times and the bad.

* This piece from Whap! magazine summarizes 99% of what women need to understand about men in a few short paragraphs. I'm not sure I can go along with the author's ideas about how best to deal with men. But her description of what we're made of certainly rings true.

* Yahoo News reports that the world's oldest living woman may be a Brazilian who's said to be 125 years old. But I'm confused: a quick websweep turns up this 2003 item about a Dominican woman who was then thought to be 128 years old.

* Some people are a lot more devoted to having fun than I am.



posted by Michael at March 4, 2005


Hmm, I'm not sure about Whap! at least, as a fellow who started the day saying, "Beautiful day, fresh air, pretty plum blossoms, etc.", ate tofu at lunch and dinner, and checked the Seattle Ballet schedule online.... Furthermore Chuck Norris is so uncool I'd root for any bad guy trying to take him out, and I'll go even further than our female diner and point out that any cabernet is soooo 'blah' compared to a fine tea and that her foie gras is orders of magnitude more barbaric than his steak.

Not to be contradictory, it's just that I saw City of Women for the first time the other night and had the exact same reaction to it - that it described to 99% accuracy what it is to be male in today's society.

He is right about us being a little on the dense side though.

Posted by: Rob Asumendi on March 5, 2005 1:48 AM

Are you sure one of those waterskiing clips isn't of you? Come on, admit it, you're just a gonzo wildman on the waves.

Posted by: Friedrich von Blowhard on March 5, 2005 2:36 AM

Can I add to your weekend fun by offering a toy? Somewhat from a series "mine is bigger than yours!" toy, but fun?

All you have to do is to paste the URL of your (or others') blog in the dotted line at the bottom...and see the bush grow.
Or tree. Multichrome tree.
And some display total superiority with birds (alternative opinion: flies) hopping everywhere...

By some reason that I have no inclination to analyse, music sites produce the most astonishing results.

Posted by: Tatyana on March 5, 2005 9:41 AM

I was glad to hear Walter Murch use the phrase "intestinal trumpeting".

Posted by: Brian on March 5, 2005 1:33 PM

...just entered there Outer Life.

Man, you're ENORMOUS!

Posted by: Tatyana on March 5, 2005 7:31 PM

re: Dominican woman who was then thought to be 128 years old

"a falsehood perpetrated by the tourism industry there"

Posted by: carabinieri on March 6, 2005 1:19 AM

re: her description of what we're made of

"what does it feel like for a femme-identified girl to suddenly be catapulted (temporarily) into manhood? truly strange. there were things that i anticipated, like the horniness and energy. and then there were things that i wasn't quite expecting, like the sudden shift in world-view and the crazy knocking-sideways of my emotional state. i mean, i knew those things were coming, but i just didn't expect how drastic and serious they would be. i am glad to finally be able to look at my coworkers again and not think dirty thoughts about humping on them... my world is now branching out from fuck/fight/argue into fuck/cook/fight/snuggle/argue/cry/etc."

Posted by: carabinieri on March 6, 2005 8:36 AM

I sent info around on Steve Sailer from that interview link
and now look at the trouble I'm in. My friend Phil in DC
sent this out this morning

Someday I'll learn not to trust stuff that comes from internet "bloggers." Yesterday before I checked out this guy Steve Sailer, I sent you an interview with him. I liked his comment that we should be "citizenists" instead of basing politics on ethnic/racial/sexual/ etc. identities. But I should have gone to his web site before passing his material on.

When I did check out his web site, all kinds of red flags went up immediately. Among other reasons: He's complaining that an anti-immigration candidate for office in Los Angeles isn't getting enough press coverage. He also has some weird interpretations of crime statistics. For example, "Contrary to the image of New Jersey in the TV show 'the Sopranos," white people in New Jersey are among the nation's most law abiding." He bases that on the proportion of white people in jail. I don't know about you but I immediately felt that "Tony Soprano" just might be getting away with a lot of crime in New Jersey without being convicted and sent to jail. Sailer uses the same wrong-headed reasoning about jail statistics to assert that the most criminally inclined blacks are in (1) Iowa (2) Connecticut and (3) Minnesota. For my part, I think the jail statistics just prove that it's tougher to get away with crime in those states, no matter what ethnic group you fall into. Meanwhile, here in DC, only about 30% of homicides are solved, and for crimes like burglary the rate is something like 5%. Call me crazy, but something about all those unsolved crimes tells me that there is a higher proportion of criminally inclined young guys in Anacostia than in Davenport, Iowa!!

So Steve Sailer is bogus, despite saying a few things in that interview that seem middle-of-the road. My friend who sent me the interview told me he didn't know anything about Sailer because he pulled the interview off a third web site ( ie, not Sailer's). So neither he nor I really knew who we were passing on. Sorry.

Phil ( who will be more careful in the future)

Posted by: Bob G on March 6, 2005 1:49 PM

C'mon Michael, we guys get enough of a bad rap without promoting articles about how neanderthalic we are.

Posted by: . on March 6, 2005 3:12 PM

Bob, can you ask Phil The Careful:

1)why his red flag went to the notion of anti-immigration candidate not having enough press in LA? is it because (s)he does? Or (s)he shouldn't have under any circumstances? Or there are no anti-immigration candidate at all?
2)NJ crime statistics: is he saying whites getting away with more crime than blacks in the Garden State? If yes,
a) is police/courts/defence system don't go after non-whites, i.e. discriminate against blacks (meaning the royal-blue state of NJ is a RACIST state)?
b)are blacks smart as non-blacks, since they are getting caught more often? if this is not a RACIST notion, I don't know what is!
3) we have a statistic: more blacks are getting arrested (and convicted) in 3 listed states. Phil The Careful asserts it is tougher to get away with crime in those states. Agreed. But how he concludes "no matter what ethnic group you fall into" from it?

Bob, it must be fun to have hallucinating friends (not my definition, see Sailer's post about hallucinating nation at his site), it's never boring.
For my part, I had an entertaining talk on this here topic with one of my, not friends - say, acquantances. She came up with inventive twist, very entertaining.
We were walking along South Street Seaport and talked about crime in NY (she's a first-time visitor). I asked how she'd explain close correlation between percent of blacks convicted of hard crimes (rape, robbery, etc) and percent of victims describing perpetrators as blacks.
"It's all stereotyping" she said. "If you're color-blind, you wouldn't notice the race of the offender. The so called victims are all racists."
-Wait a minute, says I, -what if the victims are also blacks, are they racists too? "No, but they are brainwashed by the media in seeing black criminals everywhere. It's an evil cycle!"
I said, OK, do you see that guard coming towards us?[black as a night around] What color is his skin? "I don't know", she said, "he's a colorless person".

OK you, guys, I am going to finish my Montrache and head to the movies, right into the tender NY night.

Posted by: Tatyana on March 6, 2005 4:40 PM

Oops, vine talking:
in 2)-a) above it should be ...don't go after whites.

Posted by: Tatyana on March 6, 2005 4:42 PM

i think that's being unfair. who do you mean by 'blacks'? or your stereoptypical view of who blacks are?

anyone with dark skin with lineage to africa thru slavery?

the problem, i think, is treating people as a category tends to be dehumanising, particularly if based on outward appearance. it's not taboo, but be careful.

more constructive then category, i believe, is agency.

if you think blacks are causing more crime because they're black, well then that believe it or not is more helpful. that can be discussed on its merits. what is it about having dark skin and being lineally descended from african slaves makes one more prone to committing crimes? would this be happening if everyone was black? or is it just because they're a minority of blacks among 'whites'?

if you think it's the culture of misogyny, violence, lack of positive role models and history of achievement, then you're again ascribing agency. and that too can be discussed on its merits. a genetic predisposition to crime, lack of self-control, intelligence, ability to behave 'civilly'?


that's all agency. then the hard part, where you have to be sensitive, is assigning people to them.

assigning blanket categories might be accurate, or it might not. is it just blacks? or is it just people who self-identify as 'black'? do 'wiggers' count? then does tolerating this culture of blackness give license to criminality? if so, how do you combat that? do you arrest more people engaging in black culture, or does that reinforce behaviour?

and are there other categories of people who fit the bill? say, recent immigrants from southeast asia, eastern europe, the caribbean or central america of a certain educational and income level. or maybe it's only mostly second-generation kids of immigrants, because their parents are afraid of being kicked out or something. and it's really this 'lost' demographic, growing up in radically different circumstances than their parents, you have to watch out for; rebellious and who listen to rap :D

i dunno!

and you'd want to cross-correlate these findings, say with police force representation. for one, would it be different if cops policing a black neighborhood were black than if they were white? what about conviction rates of judges and juries by 'racial' makeup? how segregated are the schools? how good are they? who goes to public vs. private? etc.

these are the interesting questions i find regarding blacks, among others, and all the implicit assumptions and stereotypes (perhaps prejudices?) one has to unpack in order to gain a 'true' or at least better understanding of the causes of, and perhaps even solutions to, crime... among other social ills. sometimes it's the person and sometimes it's the system. more often than not, though, it's the person in the system. the trick is figuring out if the system's broke, the person, or both...

and, just maybe, neither; altho that's hard for any one individual to concede in my estimation, much less discern. maybe everything's working as it should? but to admit that, we'd have to know it can't get any better, that it's as good as it gets :D and that's a rare form of arrogance... or humility?


Posted by: carabinieri on March 6, 2005 6:29 PM

Regarding Sexual correctness: a newest example.

Posted by: Tatyana on March 7, 2005 10:27 AM

Only 58 percent?!

Posted by: Nick on March 7, 2005 3:26 PM

In re Bob's comment:

When he said that "red flags went up," I assumed he was referring to Luke Ford, once the 'net's top porno gossip blogger. (Last I heard, he gave up that site to focus on his religious beliefs, but that was a few years ago. I can't be arsed to figure out what he's been up to since then.)

I'm not sure why Sailer should bring up all these red flags. Because he's been wrong about something? 'Cause if that's the case, Good God Almighty, I'm Code Crimson!

Naw, it's because Sailer writes about race and immigration and Must Therefore Be a Right-Wing Nut and a Racist. Me, I miss Pim Fortuyn and Theo van Gogh (but loathe Le Pen; far from a contradiction).

Posted by: Nick on March 7, 2005 3:38 PM

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