Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Chris Baker from Slate reviews the new Grand Theft Auto IV video game, focusing on how its realism makes players think more deeply about the moral importance of actions they're performing in it:
"The game's improved characterizations give far greater weight to the act of killing. Grand Theft Auto was never the most violent game going. In the sci-fi shooter Gears of War, you can chain saw enemy aliens until fountains of blood seem to splatter onto the inside of your monitor. But since the game's world is firmly entrenched in the clichés of 1980s blockbusters like Aliens, you feel some distance from it all. There's no such distance in GTA IV, where the physics of death feel shockingly real—bodies can't be blown apart or torn to pieces, but they react convincingly to explosions and severe impacts. Each death is a decision. At one pivotal moment, [Niko] Bellic has to choose between killing two people—one a total jerk who could help advance his career, and one a good friend who can't do much for him. There's no right or wrong decision here—well, actually, there are two wrong decisions—and players will struggle to make the choice. No cheat code or online FAQ can help you here."
So often I've heard people complain about how video games that are "too real" will "replace real life with a virtual one" in which a player does not need to think about moral consequences. While to some extent this may be true, one of the important things about GTA IV's shockingly real atmosphere is that it is less of a "game." The whole point of making a book or a game or a movie "more real" and not less is to encapture some salient aspect of the world that the author wants to address, and it seems that this game is aiming at something like that.
Perhaps then video games of the future (foretold by ones of the present, GTA IV and Bioshock among them) will be less about playing and more like a reaction toward mediums we already appreciate. The central idea that people who want to examine the value of video games to society should be discussing well the author emphasizes the moral of things in his story. Granted that the GTA IV video game is only another installment in a long tradition of mindless violence for teenage enjoyment, there are still new and important ideas involved in making video games like it "more real" - ideas which cannot be categorized a priori as meaningless simply because they're in a video game.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Senator Clinton makes a patently-false claim to have the popular vote lead, but Senator Obama makes a strange rebuttal:
"We think that, in the end, if we end up having won twice as many states and having the most votes, then we should be the nominee."
We? I'm sure some PR staffer changed this line so I cannot be quoted as "... if I end up having won twice as many states and having the most votes, then I should be the nominee" which could potentially be perceived as haughty.
Still though, there's something that bothers me about that construction...
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Jonah Goldberg begins:
"In a hopeful sign that it’s once again safe to discuss [neoconservatism] sanely, Robert Kagan of the Carnegie Endowment offers a renewed defense of neoconservative foreign policy in the latest issue of World Affairs Journal."
I couldn't make it five paragraphs without giving up:
"Where Iraq will fall in the win-loss columns is unknowable right now. But the idea that the 'Iraq project' is some bizarre and otherworldly enterprise will seem laughable to historians a century from now, even if it is viewed as a disaster."
Okay, yes... in seventy years Vietnam will be viewed with a much less personal lens, one that can examine the role of the conflict in history in the broader picture as one event among many. So will Iraq. But it certainly won't be vindicated, anymore than the self-detonation of the USS Maine or the invasion and occupation of the Philippines are viewed today as "successful" more than a century later.
Monday, April 21, 2008
I'm very happy to say that the new issue of the Yale Free Press is hot off the press in time for Bulldog Days, Yale's prefrosh event, so while I try to figure out how to update the website proper, it can be found in a dining hall near you or right here.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Now the Yale Daily News is claiming that Shvarts disputes the University's press release, saying that while it's real menstrual fluid there is no way of telling if she was actually pregnant or not. The article goes into the gory detail, but it should be noted that she is still claiming that she artificially inseminated herself.
At this point, unless the YDN does something to restore its credibility by releasing some information about this debacle to the public, they are thoroughly discredited. I'm inclined to believe the administration. But this also puts pressure on the University now to explain just what the hell is going on here, and to tell Ms. Shvarts that this charade has gone on long enough.
The Committee for Freedom held a small protest outside of Woodbridge Hall, and within about thirty minutes Helaine Klasky, the spokeswoman for the University, came outside and announced that Ms. Shvarts had been interviewed by three deans and they determined that she was engaged in performance art, she had never been pregnant or induced any miscarriages, and that if she had "it would have violated many ethical standards."
Ms. Klasky was unusually dismissive of five kids holding signs quietly--the event prompted a response from three cop cars--and seemed to indicate that we should scram. I know it's been a long day for them because the national media tore this thing apart... but come on, guys.
The question now is who lied. Either the YDN was complacent in spreading a student's performance art as factual, or the University is okay to take what Ms. Shvarts says as fact and not investigate to make sure that this actually was all made up. I'm more inclined to believe that a YDN reporter didn't do her fact checking rather than a massive University cover-up.
UPDATE: The University has finally published the press release online. (Via Instapundit)
I'm at a loss for words. From the article:
Art major Aliza Shvarts ’08 wants to make a statement.
Beginning next Tuesday, Shvarts will be displaying her senior art project, a documentation of a nine-month process during which she artificially inseminated herself “as often as possible” while periodically taking abortifacient drugs to induce miscarriages. Her exhibition will feature video recordings of these forced miscarriages as well as preserved collections of the blood from the process.
"This school has jumped the motherf***ing shark."
I have in the past been ashamed at some of the things that our classmates have done, but this is the first time I have felt genuinely embarrassed that I go to Yale. This is so outrageous, such an egregious slap in the face of community standards. Ms. Shvarts and her faculty advisor, Pia Lindman, ought to be run out of town on a rail.
You'll be hearing more from the Yale Free Press as this story develops.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
The YDN is reporting that a law school student was assaulted because of his sexuality. It appears, however, that his sexuality--if it was a factor at all--was incidental. The timeline, as near as I can reconstruct from the article's limited details, is as follows:
-- Konnoth is riding home from the law school prom on his bike.
-- Two men approach him as he nears his apartment at Crown and High
-- One man asks him for a ride on his bike. Police suspect this may have been an attempted bike robbery.
-- A drunk and good-humored Konnoth "entertains" the request (does that mean he let them ride it for a second, or jokes with them about it?) before parking his bike in the building.
-- The following events happen:
"As Konnoth went to park the bike in the New Haven Towers complex, one of the men confronted him again, according to the report.
'Did you call me a faggot?' he allegedly demanded.
Konnoth said his response — that he would not call anyone a faggot because he is gay himself — prompted one of the men to pull the other backwards in an apparent attempt to convince him to leave. At that point, Konnoth said, he may have aggravated the situation by asking the men: 'Is there a problem with that?'One of the men then punched Konnoth at least once in the mouth and both men immediately fled, Konnoth said."
When I read the report this just seemed bizarre, like an episode of Springer. This whole incident stems from the fact that a man, who was probably drunk himself, thought that somebody called him a faggot and ended up punching the guy in the mouth before his friend pulled him off. It doesn't seem like a straight-up bike robbery, and it doesn't seem like a gay hate crime. If anything it does seem like Konnoth "may have aggravated the situation by asking the men: 'Is there a problem with that?'"
It all depends on the time scale. If within a period of less than ten seconds the guy asks if he was called a name, and as Konnoth is explaining the guy is trying to get at him, then punches him in the mouth just as he finishes asking if there's a problem with that, then it seems like a case of a drunk person not listening and still being angry over possibly being called a name. If, however, Konnoth explains that he is gay and then the assailant gets angry and tries to take a swipe at him, it seems like a more straight-forward case of sexuality being the trigger of the assault.
The LGBT panlists apparently got an e-mail explaining what actually happened, so I will defer to their knowledge, but as predicted they came out today with exaggerations and dramatic overstatements. My favorite:
"The alleged assault calls into question the safety of queer Yale students, said Maria Trumpler, special assistant to the deans on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer issues.
'[The incident] is really disturbing to all students,' she said. 'This kind of event really throws everyone into a feeling of uncertainty. We’re blessed that we could maintain the illusion of safety for so long.'"Special assistant to the deans (Is this person a student or a hired staff member?) saying that safety at Yale is an illusion? How about a student getting stabbed outside of Calhoun? How about kids getting their faces smashed in with milkcrates? There are a whole bunch of crimes that people commit against Yale students, and this one falls at the lower end of the assault spectrum. It's not cause for more victimization; it's cause for telling the NHPD and YPD to reassign their priorities to make it safe for people to walk more than a few blocks off campus after dark. This doesn't seem like a gay hate crime--it seems like another unacceptable incident of crime against Yale students by a city that hates us.
UPDATE: YDN commenters agree. I liked "Are you talkin t'me?"'s response:
''Do you have a problem with that' is male code for 'Want to fight?' or 'Put up your dukes.' Aside from the possible gay-bashing aspect to this incident near Crown Towers, this sort of challenge goes directly to the gonads of all but the most secure males, who feel immediate castration anxiety at the thought that another male might think they won't resort to physical violence. At 6'2" and 200 lbs, I have lived a full life for several decades without ever having to so resort, by always observing the following rule: When challenged to physical violence, always back down, then run."
Monday, April 14, 2008
Sunday, April 13, 2008
I hate it when people who live off the fruits of market forces (e.g. everyone in the developed world who is not living in the middle of the wilderness) idealize the "traditional/indigenous" against the onslaught of Evil Capitalism. Does that put me on the left, or the right? I don't know.
Whatever the case, Kerry Howley has an important post summarizing economist Robert Paarlberg on poor African farmers.
Highlight: "Even if all the world’s remaining market distortions were somehow eliminated–as they should be–the net gains for sub-Saharan Africa would be quite modest, probably equaling only about 1 percent of GDP."
Apparently, Paarlberg argues, a key problem is European NGO's teaching African farmers supposedly "indigenous" techniques instead of the high-yield agricultural innovations that got the rest of the world out of near starvation.
I'm not adding a lot of original analysis here, I realize, but thought it's important to get the news out.
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
The YDN today published two brilliant opinion pieces. One is a staff editorial on how gender-neutral housing is long overdue at Yale (I'm not sure if it's being supported so guys can live with their girlfriends or to further complicate the housing process in the interest of a small if extant population of "transgendered folk", or which is worse), which Jake has discussed here just fine. The other was a student opinion on why international students are, against their knowledge, being slandered by the International Students Organization by being labeled "exotic" (they're having a date auction this weekend called “Wanna go on an Exotic Date?”). I quote:
The people being “auctioned,” while both male and female, and all volunteers, are called “exotic” — a name which creates a number of problems. First, it creates an artificial group deemed “exotic,” as opposed to those who are normal; strange and foreign, as opposed to familiar. That wording is unacceptable because it makes those so labeled feel unusual and out of place, less comfortable and less safe. This feeling is anathema to AI, ISO and indeed all who should strive to make each other feel accepted and united.Ah! Save me before I'm drowned in the PC tsunami and dragged into the PoMo abyss! This really shouldn't warrant a response, the criticisms should be apparent. For example, the "it's labeled 'exotic date' -> men will expect sex -> this is going to lead to rape [corollary: men suck]" logic is actually really poor. But, I don't want to be dismissive of other people's feelings, so I decided to do some research of my own. I Facebook messaged a few of the "auctionees" with a small questionnaire. The results were:
Second, the concept of “exotic people” has a long and shameful history, which is especially relevant in the precarious context of a “date auction.” The term “exotic” evokes “otherness,” and it also labels commodities. In the context of this date auction, the assumption is that if people want to purchase exotic goods or experiences, they must want to have an exotic dating experience (read: sexual experience). Whoever is made “exotic” loses humanity in the process, becoming a mere sexual experience to be desired. It is not far-fetched to imagine that someone who bids on an “exotic date” feels — perhaps subconsciously — entitled to sex, which greatly increases the likelihood of sexual assault and rape. Quite inappropriate for an event promoting women’s rights and dignity.
1. Do you "feel unusual and out of place" and "less comfortable and less safe" because the colonists in charge of the ISO are increasing your sense of "otherness"?
2. Does being "auctioned" remind you of your ancestors' slave days? Please bear in mind that white men are the root of all evil.
"I refuse to answer this question as I do not appreciate the implications you put into it": 1
3. Are you worried that your "date" will be a belligerent stereotype who will demand sex and have no qualms resorting to rape?
No: 5 (including 2 men)
Now, the author anticipates this criticism, and answers it using the old "mention two problems, respond to one and hope people don't notice what's missing" technique, as such:
Some Yale students have told me that this event’s title is not offensive, that some organizers do not mind being called “exotic,” or that the title is clearly a satire given its context. These are justifications of ignorance, and they are contradictory. If the title is satirical, then the word “exotic” is clearly problematic. But if the word “exotic” isn’t offensive, where is the satire? Frankly, as a one-line title for an event, and without any further discussion of wording or context, the use of “exotic” here cannot be called satirical. This is important to note because many will only hear the title of the event, and not its laudable goals.
So on the one hand, we have Saybrook junior Edwin Everhart (whom Facebook reveals to be a white male, with political views "Very Liberal" and religious views "sin does not exist") defending the honor of helpless international students, and on the other have we have real life international students who, to quote an international friend, are "usually very comfortable with their being foreign, or even proud to be international." Well, perhaps it's just Mr. Everhart's burden to help internationals discover the degradation they feel deep, deep down, but I have a feeling when it's the guilty white man who gets offended on behalf of people who apply a "degrading" label to themselves, it's time for him to find a new hobby.
The Yale Daily News has not reported about it, but the brothers of Zeta Psi went to ExComm on Monday for disciplinary action and were fully acquitted. No punishment, no record, no slap on the wrist. You heard it here first.
The YDN drum continues to beat for gender-neutral (co-ed) housing:
Ivy peers have embraced gender-neutral housing
EDITORS: Gender should not dictate Yale housing
What the editors fail to realize is the strain that this additional option will put on housing. It's hard enough to get 6-7 people together for housing draw, both in terms of intra-suite drama and simply utilizing the fixed room layouts which the residential colleges offer. Now throw the opposite sex into all of this. There will be some people who don't want a co-ed suite but end up doing it just to have a suite the next year, and are we to throw out concerns for those people as well in our mindless goosestepping towards "inclusiveness"?
College isn't about getting a personalized, comfortable, inclusive experience. That's why freshmen don't pick roommates--they're assigned, and it's done because living with someone who is different from you is a valuable life experience. There are times when it is uncomfortable and unsatisfying, but it makes us better people. This push for co-ed housing is based on the idea that your four years in college (a short period of time, as I have come to realize) should be spent with you and your preferences at the center of decision-making. While I don't think it's causal, I do think the decline in community involvement by our Yale generation is evident when members of the Yale community make the entire college bend and contort to be "inclusive" towards a small (and possibly non-existent, even in the eyes of LGBT Co-Op organizers) group on campus. The YDN does make a good point that for $10,000 there should be some choice. Yes, housing costs here are extremely inflated, I agree. And if you want co-ed housing you're welcome to move off campus and use part of that $10,000 to rent an apartment.
And that's not even to mention the highly-pragmatic concern that CO-ED HOUSING WILL CREATE PAIRINGS OF OPTIMISTIC COUPLES WHO BREAK UP OVER THE SUMMER AND COME BACK TO YALE HAVING TO CO-HABITATE WITH AN EX! Am I the only person who realizes this? You're going to have deans scrambling throughout the year to re-assign housing to the couples who cannot stand to be with each other any longer. This is why high schools don't assign co-ed lockers: kids that are dating are the most likely to want to share a locker, not realizing that at some later point they might break up and could not share the locker anymore. Co-ed suites have disaster written all over them.
If you are an alumnus of Yale College, please for God's sake write a letter to the Dean's office demanding that housing remain single-sex. Threaten to withhold donations if you have to. Write to him at:
c/o Dean's Office
P.O. Box 208241
New Haven, CT
Ah, NATO talks, almost as worringly amusing as the British government.
"Do you understand, George, that Ukraine is not even a state!" Putin told U.S. President George W. Bush at the closed meeting, the diplomat told Kommersant.Interestingly enough, this perspective is reflected in the Russian language. The basic prepositions for "to" and "from" in Russian are "v" (в) and "iz" (из); for certain geographical regions (islands, mountain areas, etc), however, you use "na" (на) and "s" (с). Using the latter to refer to places like Ukraine and Kosovo indicates a lack of political support (leave it to the Russians to have bar-fight fodder in their grammar).
Russia's tried-and-true international relations policy of "Working Europe into submissive anxiety by convincing them that we're batshit insane" continues to prove successful.
"France, Germany and several other NATO members opposed putting Ukraine and Georgia on the path toward NATO to avoid provoking Russia..."Here: The two Presidents share a press conference at Sochi.
1. If my name was Vlah-DEE-mir and someone kept referring to me as VLAD-uh-mer, I'd be pissed.
2. Putin is a fucking bad-ass for refusing to speak English (he can). (Вы знаете, что я вас люблю, Владимир Владимирович.)
3. When Bush first met Putin, he looked him straight in the eye and later said he got "a sense of his soul". What does our President have to say about Mr. Medvedev? "He's a smart fella!"
4. Medvedev looks like a gap-toothed hockey forward next to Putin. Come May 7th, the Russian Presidency will be taking definite hits in the gravitas and sex appeal departments.
Tuesday, April 08, 2008
Bob Nelb geeks out. Slumber parties will be enjoyed by all. I can't wait for the one themed around syphilis management policies for transvestite hookers in the Dominican Republic!
We were too tired on Friday, but Yonah Freemark joined the Communist Party. Among the gems:
"By the 1960s, however, the impoverished in American society found themselves poorly served by their government and the capitalist system. . . . Something had to be done by the government, because the private sector had proven that it simply wasn’t up to the task."
"Whereas the top 0.1 percent of earners made around 1 percent of total national income in 1969, they make around 7 percent today (70 times their share)."
"Not only was the Great Society fully funded for only a short period of time, but many of the programs worked as they were intended, which is why millions of Americans still rely on them today."
Good work, Komrad Freemark. Sometimes you've gotta break a few eggs to make a big public housing complex, right?
Monday, April 07, 2008
A group which seemed to be called "Take Back the Night!" had several dozen t-shirts hung outside of Sterling Memorial Library this morning, each with a different anti-rape slogan.
So, yes, we're all on-board that rape is an extremely terrible thing. There is absolutely no division about that. But we all know that the Women's Center chooses to define its terms so loosely that the original connotation loses any meaning.
If you choose to define rape as "any penetration," as some Women's Center organizers have said, then lots of people get raped at Yale every year. If you go with Connecticut's extremist laws, which revoke the right of adult women to consent to sex if they have drank any alcohol whatsoever, then the vast majority of people who go out on the weekends rape and get raped.
There needs to be clear difference drawn between "rape" (which, for me, involves forceful initiation of sex or continuing intercourse after one partner expresses a wish to stop, and is usually done in darkened parking garages or under the influence of specially-acquired date-rape drugs) and "I had sex last night, enjoyed it at the time, but I woke up this morning and had second thoughts about what I had done." The latter cheapens the excruciating emotional and physical pain which actual rape victims endure.
Julian Sanchez wrote something a few weeks ago which tidily rebuts the t-shirt on the left:
"I wrote a while back about feeling uneasy when some feminists react as though you must, ipso facto, be engaged in victim blaming' and 'slut shaming' if you observe, on the heels of a well-publicized rape, that there are parts of American cities where it is, tragically, not safe to be alone, intoxicated, and female at 3 am."
As for the statistic that 92 women have been raped at Yale this year, I find that to be at the very least improperly extrapolated, and at worst an intentional, no-holds-barred attempt at deceit. It's hard to find numbers in a snap, but the New Haven Police projected 24-26 rapes for the first six months of 2006. We'll just average and double and say that 50 rapes should have occurred in 2006.
Now look at the difference between Yale (affluent and highly unrepresentative of society as a whole) and New Haven (poor, high-crime, crumbling industrial center). According to the census, New Haven had a 2003 population of 123,626 people, 52.1% of whom were women, so there were 64,409 women in New Haven in 2003. That's a rape incidence 7.76 per 10,000 women; Yale has 11,398 students, so if Yale trends followed the greater New Haven area (and that is a ridiculous assumption) we could expect 8.86 rapes at Yale for all of 2006, a little less than 10% of the number thrown around by the Women's Center.
And that number is based on several very sketchy assumptions which will produce a higher number than under more reasonable conditions. I'm guessing how they got the 92 was by using some elevated national statistic for rape (of the "1 in 4 American women have been raped" variety) and applied that proportion to the campus as a whole.
Just one rape at Yale is too many, and an inexcusable failure to live up to the standards of this institution and its traditions. But using broad, unrealistic definitions of rape only does a disservice to women who are actually, violently raped, and dishonestly playing with the numbers to make a point--which I'm sure they justify to themselves, the same way they justified suing Zeta Psi--numbs those students who need to hear this message most.
"The Coalition Against Trafficking in Women argues that 'all children and the majority of women in the sex trade' should be considered 'victims of trafficking'. As Agustín says, such an approach 'infantilises' migrant women, 'eliminating any notion that women who sell sex can consent'. Ironically, it objectifies them, treating them as unthinking things that are moved around the world against their will."So writes Brendan O'Neill in a review of Laura María Agustín's ballsy new book, Sex at the Margins: Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry. She takes people who are pretty much at the bottom of the chain- female minorities supposedly forced into prostitution (ie rape victims) and asserts that "they are not 'passive victims' who must be 'saved' by anti-trafficking campaigners and returned to their country of origin. Rather, frequently, they are headstrong and ambitious women who migrate in order to escape 'small-town prejudices, dead-end jobs, dangerous streets and suffocating families'." Makes me feel like a lightweight for opposing welfare and affirmative action.
"She writes about the 'rescue raids' carried out by police and non-governmental organisations, in which even women who vociferously deny having been trafficked may be arrested, imprisoned in detention centres and sent back home - for the benefit of their own mental stability, of course. It used to be called repatriation; now, dolled up in therapeutic lingo, it is called 'rescue'."Thank goodness someone is looking out for the disenfranchised.
Sunday, April 06, 2008
YFP contributor Will Wilson '09 enjoys a beer and sunshine on Saturday afternoon.
America: radical individualism, slavish devotion to absolute personal freedom, obsessive demand for instant gratification. Roman Catholicism: none of the above. What's a pope to do?
The US houses the third largest Catholic population in the world, and on April 15, 2008, Pope Benedict XVI will arrive on Yankee turf, hoping to reign in the flock. It's a good thing he's got God on his side, 'cos he's up against some rough odds:
"70% of American Catholics approve of the Pope's leadership.Earlier this year students at La Sapienza University in Italy protested a planned address by the Pope so vehemently that his visit was canceled.
58% believe the Church should allow women to be ordained.
63% believe the Church's position on condoms is wrong."
"Students had said they would greet the Pope with a 'sonic siege' of loud rock music - which he once defined as 'the devil's work' - an 'anti clerical' gay and lesbian parade and banners reading 'No Pope' and 'Knowledge needs neither fathers no priests'."There are two kinds of balls, ladies and gentlemen: those enabling courage and confidence, and those enabling ignorance and stupidity. The careful testes bearer must be ever vigilant in evaluating which sort he finds between his legs, lest he end up like these fine, Italian scholars.
High-gonad-theory aside, liberal Catholicism reflects a worrying inability to appreciate tradition, a shameful disinterest in history, and incredible, hypocritical ignorance about theology. Laziness and ignorance are bad for everyone, even we godless libertarians, so here's wishing God's Rottweiler all the best in his quest to raise the American bar.
Saturday, April 05, 2008
'Let's go back to... before the US won the Mexican-American War of 1848.' So sings a new ad for Absolut vodka appearing throughout Mexico.
Add this to the list of reasons why русская водка is the only acceptable kind.
Friday, April 04, 2008
The folks over at Sigmund, Carl and Alfred have taken a potentially interesting topic ("The Self-Loathing of Journalists") and turned it into something tired and uninteresting. Given the Yale Political Union's debate next week (Resolved: The press should not be objective), I think it merits revisiting.
"We wonder if the media is depressed as the result of being unsure of themselves and dissatisfied with their role as observers in society at large.
It would appear to the casual observer that media is assuming a role that has nothing to do with journalism because they are uncomfortable with who they are and with the role they have as journalists. By assuming this other role, the media indicate their very real psychosis, as Dr Sanity makes clear."
1. The media is depressed.
Apparently, focusing on all the bad, scary things is indicative of a depressed media. Maybe it's just that the bad, scary things are more interesting to read about- and that anything positive will be perceived as either propaganda or a puff piece. Cynical rightists swear up and down that if/when Obama is elected, all of this negative press will stop- I wouldn't bet on it.
2. Journalists are insecure in their role as journalists.
Insecurity usually manifests itself in shyness, extroversion-as-overcompensation, and lots of flip-flopping between the two. Does this pattern of behavior describe the American media? Perhaps. Forget the disappearance of scripts for gender roles- even our journalists don't know how to conduct themselves anymore. Maybe it's because the proper journalist is by nature scriptless, so all we have to go by nowadays are the dimestore mystery novellas of muckrakers and the junior high history essays of propagandists.
Oh, and the impending death of the printed daily probably isn't helping, either.
3. Observing society is unfulfilling and dissatisfying.
The implication here is that doing is better than watching. This makes some sense- active engagement in your community is the best way to define yourself and get a grip on your identity- sitting alone in cafes for days at a time thinking really really hard about who 'you' are and what 'you' value won't get you very far. This may explain the crusader-journalist, trying in earnest to save the republic and forgetting that because the pen is mightier, you have to handle it a lot more carefully.
I didn't really get to self-loathing, but I think that's a decent start (of course, we could settle this all right here and now by pointing out that, duh, the media loathes itself, it's composed entirely of neurotic Jews).
Yale Police Department Chief Jim Perrotti continues a string of e-mails announcing progressively more disturbing crimes:
To the Members of the Yale Community:
Consistent with federal reporting requirements and in order to increase awareness of personal safety, I write to let you know that today at approximately 1:30 pm, New Haven and Yale Police responded to a report of a man being shot at with a bb gun on Elm Street near High Street. Two teenaged males, 13-16 years of age, shot in the direction of the man walking on Elm Street. They are 5'8" tall; one was wearing a black backpack, and the other, a dark zippered hooded sweatshirt and blue jeans. Fortunately, the man, who is not affiliated with the University, was not seriously injured.
Anyone having information about this incident should call the Yale Police immediately. If you should witness suspicious activity, please report it immediately to the Yale Police at 432-4400.
Chief James A. Perrotti
This isn't just a mugging up by the Divinity School late at night, this is central campus in the middle of the day. I cross the Elm-High intersection at least 5-6 times daily. Granted, it was just a BB gun, and that strikes me as a prank rather than malicious assault. But the fact that it's happening in the heart of campus with lots of people around is unsettling.
It also prompts several important questions about campus crime:
(1) Where is the YPD? If history is a guide, they are out enforcing Connecticut's drinking laws while little townie shits take pot-shots at Yalies. They're wandering the basements of residential colleges at 11 PM, where no crime has ever happened. Ever.
(2) What's next? The Roomba burrito cart at the corner of York and Elm (just one block up) was robbed at gunpoint last fall, prompting several members of my then-freshman class to wonder what the hell we'd gotten ourselves into. Students have been beaten with milk crates. A student was robbed and stabbed outside of Calhoun, just a half-block away from Elm and High.
(3) Are we safe? I hate to ask the Parade question, but these crimes are getting closer and more serious, and the criminals behind them are becoming more audacious. When people call for escorts or shuttles they can plan on waiting 30-45 minutes to avoid a 10-15 minute walk. (And even then, on some nights with busy schedules the shuttle has pulled away quickly if students are not waiting on the curb immediately when the shuttle pulls up.) Yale does not permit students to arm themselves, leaving us defenseless and known sitting-ducks for townie muggers.
Since it's a joint jurisdiction problem, blame lies on two fronts. Maybe the next time Don DeStefano runs for re-election the unquestioning Yale Democrats will ask him some tough questions about crime in the city and his own police department's embarrassing internal corruption. And as for the YPD, when a Yale student gets killed by a mugger don't say we didn't warn you. At this pace it's a question of "when" not "if," and all the warning signs are pointing towards tragedy.
Wednesday, April 02, 2008
A spate of gender-sexuality-oppression related articles came out on the front page of the YDN today. Among them:
"Gender-neutral housing explored" - Not only is the LGBTQ Co-Op lobbying Yale to let trangendered students choose what gender they want to live with, but apparently there are a large number of gay students at Yale who make housing decisions based on who they are sexually attracted to. This seems like a recipe for mid-year meltdowns.
"LGBT Co-op to reinstate 'Queer Peers' counseling" - Everybody wants an office in central campus, and the gay mafia are no exception. Apparently it's needed to service the hordes of Yale students who require institutional assistance to label their sexuality.
"The few, the proud: male Women's and Gender Studies majors" - Who do you have to go down on at the YDN to get a puff piece with a giant color photo headshot on the cover? (Oh, wait... déjà vu!) It's like Colin Adamo '10, Sex Week at Yale organizer and model for that event's smut magazine, endowed a professorship or donated a building. What's the big deal? Why is this front-page news? Why is this news at all?
I was so disillusioned with the "gender-neutral housing" article that I wrote a parody. (n.b.:What does that even mean? I asked a classmate in Spanish today and he said he read the article and didn't get it, either. Just a helpful "here's what this means" paragraph in the article would have been so much easier than assuming every Yale student is up-to-date with PC jargon and radical-leftist policies about gender identity.)
Women's Center proposes new policy changes
Snipping the wires. Clogging the pipe. Droppin' nuts. Students have many names for it, but mandatory castration could be coming soon to University Health Services.
In a paper submitted Monday to the Yale College Dean's Office and obtained by the News last night, the Women's Center is proposing that all incoming male students be castrated prior to registration.
Citing high rates of sexual violence on campus, the correlation between fraternity membership and testicular possession and a history of patriarchal abuse, the report calls on administrators to mandate castration for all freshmen as early as next fall.
Students remain divided on the issue. A News survey late Wednesday night of twelve students leaving the Women's Center showed strong support for the initiative. "I think it's great," said Lauren McQuinty-Mellon-Parish-Berkowitz '09. "We have been waiting for this justice for so long, and the administration will finally hear these long-silenced voices."
Some students felt moderation was needed. "I would support this policy, but only if anesthesia is provided," said Ellen Paige '10. Paige is a staff photographer for the News.
A Facebook group titled, "LGBTQQQG-F for Castration" had 17 members by late Wednesday night.
Other students, however, opposed the idea. "I would have to see the report's findings, but I tentatively oppose mandatory castration," said John Davenport '08. Davenport is a former layout editor for the News.
Dean of Multicultural Re-Education Muhammed al-Sadr expressed high hopes for the new policy. "We want to initiate a campus dialog with these infidels, and having blood run from their loins like the rivers of Palestine is one way to approach these issues."
Dean of Student Affairs Michel Gentry did not return multiple calls for comment to his home at 3:30 am this morning as this article went to press.
[NOTE: This is a parody. College students and administrators get really pissed-off over misinterpreted satire in student newspapers.]
All these years we've been getting it wrong! Being poor isn't about scarcity, it's about abundance- of problems. Like the car owner whose hatchback is dinged up to all hell, Johnny Welfare doesn't see the point in getting just one of those dents banged out- the car's still gonna look like crap. So argues Charles Karelis, philosophy professor at George Washington University and author of The Persistence of Poverty: Why the Economics of the Well-Off Can't Help the Poor.
"In challenging decades of poverty research, Karelis draws on some economic data and some sociological research. But, more than that, he makes his case as a philosopher, arguing by analogy and induction. This approach means that he remains relatively unknown, even among poverty researchers."I'm sorry, Charlie, but are you really surprised the big boys don't want to play with you? Professor Karelis justifies turning economics on its head with this stunning defense: "...the car dent [argument]... I've never had anybody say that that isn't true." I can only wonder what his car looks like.
In all seriousness, his assertion that "being poor is defined by having to deal with a multitude of problems" distinguishes the poor from the rest of the populace... not at all. This is merely a different flavor of "the poor are like children and lack maturity and responsibility!" The child overwhelmed by his mess of a closet pouts in the corner instead of cleaning it- an adult behaving the same way doesn't deserve the gentle cooing and prodding caresses with which we motivate the child; at best he is ignored, at worst actively derided. We, all of us, are born with crosses on our backs- indeed, the best among us seek out new ones. To argue that lack of anything above the bottom tier of Maslow's hierarchy prevents men and women from functioning productively in society is not only incredibly patronizing, but downright foolish.
Side note: was anyone else unsettled by the bee-sting/car-dent analogies classified as philosophical arguments? No wonder even our anti-anti-intellectuals are anti-intellectual.