"Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Sultan of Johor are seen in a blue Proton Saga... "When asked whether there is any tension with the sultan, Dr Mahathir said: “No, I don’t see anything because I went to see him and he drove me to the airport. I don’t want to comment on the sultans because if I say anything that is not good then it’s not nice because he is the sultan”"

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Thursday, October 24, 2019

Links - 24th October 2019 (2)

Naked Yoga and Cuddle Parties: Lap Dancing Clubs for the Woke - "My friend Eva, who has accompanied me to a buffet of odd events, is giving me her feedback on the people we’ve encountered there. “I don’t know what it is, but I’ve noticed that if there’s an event with nakedness, the majority of people who turn up will be older guys.”As a journalist writing about weird workshops and unusual classes I’ve covered cuddle parties, rope-binding, naked yoga, and tantra, to name but a few. These classes are popular with the hipsters who are colonising Hackney Wick and other areas of East London in the throes of gentrification. And with each event I cover, I become more suspicious that these “alternative” workshops are simply a way for apparently progressive men to gawp at women—lap dancing clubs for the woke. On the surface, these workshops are all above-board. After all, what could be creepy about a fully-clothed cuddle? Don’t we all need some affection? What could be impure about practising yoga as nature intended? Surely we could all benefit from taking part in such innocuous activities? But in reality, these workshops predominantly appeal to men who attend in the hope of touching women, staring at naked women, and—best case scenario—touching naked women. These men are often older, usually single, left-leaning middle-class guys who sometimes sport a man-bun and a big, bushy beard—lubricated with artisan beard-oil—along with loose cotton trousers. They’re the kind of guys who performatively check their privilege, and who take it upon themselves to supervise the privilege-checking of others. They think of themselves as progressive or woke—most certainly nice. But these men are not that different to the guys who go to a strip club and pay £20 for women to grind their butts in their faces. It might seem like a stretch, but having carried out an undercover investigation into the lap dancing industry, I think the biggest difference is that paying for a lap dance is a more honest transaction... The organiser of the cuddle party told participants, “Arousal is okay as long as you don’t act on it,” and the naked yoga instructor assured men that if they got an erection, it wasn’t sexual, it was just the yoga. She explained: “When you do yoga you move loads of energy in your body and an erection can happen, so it’s not because you’re thinking about something sexual, it’s because of the energy in your body.”In giving these pseudo-assurances, wokeshop organisers give men permission to become aroused and erect while touching or looking at women’s bodies. So having enabled the men to access women, the organisers then give them a green light to get horny. This seal of approval affords the men a clear conscience, allowing them to feel like nice guys while they’re perving over women half their age who’ve been manipulated into pairing up with them. And all the while they think they’re morally superior to the sort of men who “exploit” and “objectify” women by paying them to take their tops off in strip clubs."

The BBC smeared me as homophobic because I criticized woke lesbian Megan Rapinoe - "Apparently, the BBC has decided I’m homophobic.How did BBC journalist Marianna Brady come to this conclusion? Well, evidently she decided to quote my criticisms of woke U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team captain Megan Rapinoe in an article entitled “Why is America's newest hero so polarising?” — without even so much as Googling me or glancing at my Twitter profile.If Brady had done so, she’d have known that I am both publicly gay and an outspoken advocate for tolerance and gay rights. Instead, she decided to directly juxtapose my criticisms with a bogus assertion that Rapinoe’s critics, such as myself, are all just bigoted, sexist homophobes. And, ostensibly, this was in a news article — not an opinion piece... It’s taken for granted that critics couldn’t actually dislike her because of her blatant lack of patriotism and fact-free feminist griping. I've already explained that I believe Rapinoe's kneeling at the national anthem is an act of disrespect toward the very nation whose tolerance and commitment to advancing women allowed her to become the star she is. But there's much more.Rapinoe also dismissed a White House invitation with extreme vulgarity that I'm pretty sure most parents of young girls would just as soon not have their children hear, let alone repeat. Is it now homophobic to point that out? Because Rapinoe did it? I specifically pointed out that she's a poor role model. Would someone like to argue that this is good behavior for young girls, or young people in general, to imitate?Beyond that, she's relentlessly pushed the "equal pay" narrative, even though her feminist arguments are completely unsupported. But no, we're supposed to believe that the only reason anyone could dislike Rapinoe is because they're homophobic"

‘Girl Power’ Doesn’t Excuse U.S. Women’s Soccer’s Rude Celebrations - "On behalf of men everywhere, I would like to officially thank the U.S. Women’s World Cup soccer team: The ladies’ excessive scoring and embarrassing, grave-dancing celebrations have finally made it permissible to criticize women without instantly being labeled a misogynist by the Woke Wide Web... Even as the score climbed well past the point of competitiveness, each goal was punctuated by prolonged celebrations more suited to a closely contested final match than an opening-round blowout. My favorite was Alex Morgan exuberantly leaping into a teammate’s arms after scoring Team USA’s oh-so-crucial twelfth goal. The display was so antithetical to good sportsmanship that, in a society trained to speak no evil of female athletes (or female anything), even a white male sportscaster felt comfortable criticizing the team’s puerile performance. Of course, liberal media outlets spun themselves into the ground trying to justify this boorish behavior... This is the type of oblivious offense only committed because the Gen Y & Z members of the U.S. Women’s World Cup team grew up in a society that told them they could do no wrong. That society has tried to correct the sexism of its past by telling today’s girls to shatter traditional norms and demand to be heard, decorum be damned.More than the actions of a few overzealous female athletes, then, what United States 13, Thailand 0 really exemplified was the disservice our society does young women by excusing their actions in the name of compensatory political correctness. If we want women to truly be equal to men, we must teach them not only to reach for the stars, but also when to call off the dogs."

World rolls its eyes as 'cocky' US team proclaim their own 'GREATNESS' after World Cup victory - "USA may have won the Women's World Cup, but the nation appears to be the only one celebrating the victory as the team comes under renewed criticism for its 'arrogance' following booze-fuelled revelry.Having defeated The Netherlands 2-0, the players were seen jumping around the dressing room and spraying each other with bottles of champagne.Videos taken by players and support staff show captain Megan Rapinoe being greeted with cheers and applause by her teammates.Later, the medal-clad team emerged from the stadium to an ecstatic crowd singing Queen's hit 'We Are The Champions,' each carrying a bottle of champagne and roaring sparkler.As Rapinoe climbed on top of a table to spray fans and teammates with champagne, Goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris could be heard yelling 'You know we came to mother-f***ing party.'"... Laura from Holland put: 'Rapinoe ruined it for me with her arrogance towards Sari, sorry. Why do Americans always have to go the arrogance route? This is why the world sees you as arrogant - because you are.'"

There Is No Wage Gap in Soccer - "men’s and women’s soccer teams have different pay structures, with men’s earnings heavily dependent on game bonuses and women being paid a guaranteed salary with benefits. According to the US Soccer Federation, “U.S. Soccer guarantees WNT contracted players $100,000 per year…atop which they can earn game and tournament bonuses.” Men have no such salary guarantee. Furthermore, the women receive “a robust package of benefits that are not provided to the men,” including “fully-paid health, dental and vision insurance; severance; a 401(k)-retirement plan; paid maternity leave; guaranteed injury protection; and assistance with childcare.” These differences in payment structures are not the result of sexism. CBS noted that “it's a pay structure the women themselves wanted.” But apparently, it isn’t enough. Asked if USWNT would like the same pay structure as the men’s team, the response was, “We want the same [bonus] money that the men are making, exactly.”Of course, if they make the same bonus money as men, in addition to their guaranteed salaries and range of fully paid benefits that men don’t get, that’s hardly “equal pay." Regardless, the assertion that the women’s soccer team gets paid less than the men’s is untrue in the first place. We know this thanks to the president of the US Soccer Federation, who released an independently reviewed financial fact sheet that covers how both teams were paid between 2010 and 2018.During that timeframe, the US Soccer Federation paid a total of $34.1 million in salaries and bonuses to the Women’s National Team (WNT), which is decidedly more than the $26.4 million paid to the Men’s National Team (MNT). It is also worth pointing out that between 2009 and 2019, the women’s team brought in $425,446 of gross revenue per game in comparison to the men’s team, which brought over twice that amount ($972,147 per game.)"

Revenue Disparity Explains Pay Disparity Between Soccer World Cup's Men And Women - "The Women's World Cup brought in almost $73 million, of which the players got 13%. The 2010 men's World Cup in South Africa made almost $4 billion, of which 9% went to the players."

Absurd feminist demands for equal pay will kill women's football - "For US co-captain Megan Rapinoe to call for women’s football to “move to the next step” in discussions about equal pay, presumably on the basis she is doing the same job as Ronaldo, would be like me trying to demand the same pay as JK Rowling. After all, we both write. It is just that there is a slight difference in the numbers of people who are prepared to pay to read us.If you want to kill off women’s football there would be no quicker way of doing so than demanding equal pay. Which club could afford to stage it and which TV network would be prepared to pay for the rights if women’s teams commanded the same wage bill as the men’s? Campaigners for equal pay in football like to make a comparison with tennis, where female players at the grand slams now get paid the same as the men and have done for years. But that is only possible because there is a huge hidden cross-subsidy going on between men’s and women’s tennis.If you want to know the relative value the market puts on men’s tennis compared with women’s tennis go and look at the prices for debenture seats at Wimbledon – the seats which can be legally resold at whatever price they can fetch.Today, you can buy a ticket for Saturday’s ladies final for £2830. For Sunday’s men’s final it will set you back £7830. Aside from last year, when the men’s final clashed with the World Cup final, the same is true of TV viewing figures – which year after year show that more people want to watch men’s tennis. In fact last year, the most-watched match was Kyle Edmund’s third round match, with 6.5 million viewers compared with 4.6 million for the women’s final. That is real discrimination in action: women players being paid artificially inflated rewards which are not justified by the income that they are earning the tournament. If sportswomen want to be paid more they should do it by entertaining us more, not by bullying their employers through political activism."

Daniel Jordan - "Megan Rapinoe on how fans can support the fight for equal pay: Come to games, buy jerseys, become season ticket holders, tell your friends about it."
"So she admits that women soccer players make less than men because they sell way less jerseys and tickets than men soccer players do? Congratulations, you played yourself."
"Imagine being so privileged in a society that you actually feel comfortable openly asking people to come and support your job purely in the interest of you being able to generate as much money as someone else. That moment when activism becomes professional begging is absolutely priceless."

Women’s Soccer Negotiated the Compensation They Now Say Is Sexist - "One wonders how many of these suddenly enthusiastic women’s World Cup fans have ever bought a ticket to a regular season women’s soccer game or watched one on television. As one woke Buzzfeed editor admitted in a bizarre piece about the World Cup winners, “I don’t closely follow most sports, soccer included—I still barely understand what offsides means, no matter how many times my friends try to explain it to me—but this World Cup, as with the last, I was drawn in by all these incredible lesbians.”... It’s also worth noting that the path to qualifying for the men’s World Cup is much more arduous and competitive than it is for the women’s World Cup. The men have to win more games over a longer period of time to qualify than do the women... In the U.S., women’s games have recently begun to generate slightly more revenue than men’s games; according to the Wall Street Journal, from 2016-2018, the women’s games generated $50.8 million and the men’s games $49.9 million, a sign of growing enthusiasm for women’s soccer. But that game revenue represents only one-quarter of the USSF’s total revenue. The rest comes from corporate sponsorships and TV broadcasting rights. And since the Federation sells those rights for both teams together, it’s nearly impossible to tell which team generates more (although TV ratings consistently show viewership for men’s soccer is much higher than for women’s soccer)."

Christian soccer player Jaelene Hinkle allegedly cut from U.S. national team over religious beliefs - "Five members of the U.S. women's team have come out publicly... You do have a very activist team,' John Stonestreet, president of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview in Colorado Springs told The Washington Times. 'It's very much a part of the program... Captain Megan Rapinoe even credited the team's gay players after she scored both goals in a 2-1 quarter-final win over France.'Go gays!' she yelled to reporters. 'You can't win a championship without gays on your team. It's never been done before. That's science right there.'"
What does this say about stereotypes about lesbians in sport?

Christianity’s Enduring Legacy

Tom Holland On Christianity’s Enduring Legacy | History Extra Podcast - HistoryExtra

"‘What do you see as the key influences on Christianity from the ancient world?’

‘Well, the obvious influence, of course, is the inheritance of Hebrew Scripture. There's a temptation to say Judaism, but I think it's a mistake to think that something called Judaism exists in the lifetime of Jesus. What there is, is something that is called in Greek Eudaismos [sp?] i.e. Jewishness, which covers the whole range of Scripture, of practice, of sense of nationhood, of ritual practice. One of the things that is distinctive about this is really that it's probably best to think of it as being points on a spectrum, points on a bandwidth. And the two ends of that bandwidth are defined by the fact that the God of the Jews is very distinctive.

On the one hand, he is the god of Israel, he has a personal covenant with the children of Israel. On the other end of the spectrum, he is the God who has created all the heavens and the earth, and therefore is the fashioner of every human being who lives. So what emphasis do you put on him? Do you put an emphasis on him as as a kind of ethnocentric god, a god who is who is primarily concerned with with the children of Israel? Or do you put an emphasis on him as a kind of universal God who cares for all the peoples of the world.

And in a sense, what emerges as rabbinical Judaism is the form that that emphasizes the status of God as the God of Israel. And what becomes Christianity is the form that emphasizes his role as a universal deity. So that, of course, is the overwhelmingly significant influence, that really is what Christianity emerges from, but it's seasoned with all kinds of other influences.

It’s seasoned by the inheritance of Persian dualism, which it's absorbed through the Jewish inheritance. It's born into a world that is culturally deeply saturated in Greek concepts, Greek language, Greek notions, Greek philosophical notions. So these two are part of what informs it. And then of course, it's born into a self proclaimed universal Empire, the empire of Rome, and the circumstances of its emergence, this proclamation of a son of a God, who has come to rule an entire world. This is clearly influenced by and a reaction against the Roman portrayal of Augustus, who is the son of Julius Caesar, the deified, Julius Caesar, also the son of a god, also with claims to a universal rule, and whose enthusiasts proclaim hew and [sp?] gaily on the good news of the Augustan peace, And so it's possible to see Christianity as well as a kind of parody of the Imperial cult.’

‘What do you think made it so successful in its early days? What enabled it to spread so quickly, in a way that other similarly *something* cults hadn't?’

‘Well, I think I mean, clearly part of it is that it does fuse together so many disparate cultural elements at a time where the Roman Empire is serving as a kind of melting pot, and it does much more successfully than almost any other kind of philosophy or cultic practice. Beyond that, what it offers to non Jews, in a sense is all the riches and the kind of the theological potency of Jewish scripture and Jewish practice, without actually having to go through what for men is the most unsettling demand, which is it circumcision. So that's the huge appeal. But I think that also in a world that is governed by power and by brutal displays of power. And the most terrifying image of that power really is the cross on which people can be nailed at the whim of any provincial governor.

It offers a reassurance that actually those who've always been despised, those have always been at the bottom of the pile, those who've always been liable to the most brutal and sordid executions actually are as close to if not closer, the omnipotent deity who’s fashion the heavens, the earth, and the rich and the powerful. And this is an enormously potent concept. And it's one that clearly people find spiritually satisfying, but also as the church grows, so also that does the church come to provide practical sustenance. It effectively comes to provide a welfare state.

And so the church as it grows, the kind of cuckoo in the Roman nest, ultimately comes to kind of provide a shadowy state within the state because it's bishops, it's our figures of an awesome authority of a kind that that any Roman would respect. But it also provides famine relief, it provides help to those who've been imprisoned, it provides sanctuary for orphans or for widows, or for the old. Essentially, it provides everything that we today would look for in a welfare state. And there is simply nothing comparable to it in the Roman world.

And so you can see why all of these circumstances would combine to make it very, very popular to large classes of people. And then of course, when Constantine converts, and it becomes the official Imperial cult, and of course, it has all that weight behind it as well. And so it's not surprising that its growth accelerates prodigiously.’

‘So how integral is the Roman adoption of Christianity to its long term success?’

‘It's a very good question. It's been an enduring ambivalence in the heart of Christianity, that it rejects Empire, it rejects power, it praises those who are at the bottom of the pile, the first will be last and the last will be first. This is Christ's own message. However, the paradox is that Christianity becomes the Imperial cult. And then over the course of 2000 years, it's spread and grown to become the most hegemonic way of understanding the world that humanity has ever devised. And so its very power, its very spread, its very hegemony, has caused Christians and even more post Christians a great deal of anxiety'...

‘There's a tension at the heart of Christian universalism, and it's there right from the beginning. So Paul, right into the Galatians, preaches this new covenant. The Old Covenant, that Moses brought the children of Israel, no need for it anymore, because there's this new covenant, written in the blood of Christ on the cross. And that means that there is no Jew or Greek, he says. No slave or free, man or woman, because all are one in Christ. Now, that's a model of universalism, a dissolution of difference, that that we today find enormously appealing, and that I think is largely because we remain its heirs.

But if you are a Jew, and you don't want to have your distinctiveness, you don't want to have your personal covenant with God dissolved into this kind of Universalist mush, then what do you do? Well you say, no, I don't want that, I want to stay as I am, please. And that then, of course, generates resentment among those who say, well, you should, you know, forced to become part of our universal brotherhood of man.

And once you get Christians who are armed with swords, or, you know, horses or guns in the case of the Conquistadores, then you can essentially justify conquering people who are not Christian, who reject the gospel as as an expression of God's will, and indeed, can provide a kind of fanaticism, that makes quite effective conquerors of Christians. But at the same time, you have the problem that, first of all, what do you do if people don't want to be part of your universal Christian order? And secondly, if Christ was crucified, suffered death under an oppressive Empire, and you've now become an oppressive Empire, then doesn't that mean that actually it's those who are suffering under the Empire who are closer to Christ. So the very process of Imperial conquest, if you're a Christian, inevitably throws up reactions against it, both among those who are the conquerors, so people like Las Casas in Spain, and then Quakers in New England and North America, and then in due course, among those who have actually been conquered and who absorbed, Western ambivalence is about Empire.

So that is why essentially, the paradox of Christianity is that it simultaneously, it inspires people to aspire to conquer the whole world, bring the whole world to Christ, while also suffering from the anxiety that doing that is somehow to betray the example of the crucifixion. And that's a tension and a paradox that continues to lie at the heart of the West today. I mean, it may be secularized, but it's still absolutely there.’

‘And do you notice differences in the way that Christian countries and empires have behaved over history compared to say, Muslim ones or even say China, things like that? Can you see differences in behavior?’

‘I think there is a much greater ambivalence among Western empires than say, among the caliphate, Muslim empires. I think that the mandate for conquest in Islam is much clearer. Certainly, that's how historically it's been understood. That doesn't mean that Christians haven't been just as brutal and just as concerned to conquer that and they clearly have, but I think the ambivalences have been much greater.’

‘An interesting point you raised in the book is how Christianity has really shaped other religions, and even the concept of them being a religion’...

‘We talked about the saeculum, this eternal flux. Counterpointed against that is the bond that you as an individual Christian can have with God. And bond is in Latin is a religio and a religio in classical Latin meant anything that established a bond with a god, so a festival, a priesthood, a sacrifice, something like that. In the Christian era religio comes to signify those who have a particularly close bond with God, who consecrate themselves to God as a bond. So monks, nuns, hermits, people like that.

With the Reformation, this concept of a personal bond with God becomes democratized. Everybody has it, monasteries get closed down. Every individual Protestant has a religio with God. And so a two fold understanding of what in English comes to be called religion, it gets anglicised as religion. On the one hand, a religion is something that's personal to a believer, it's, you know, what religion do you have? What are your personal beliefs? What is your personal relationship to a deity, that's what a religion is. Simultaneously a religion is something that can be seen as distinct from something called, again, it's been, saeculum is emphasized to the secular.

So religion is something distinct from the secular. And by the 18th century, 19th century, when the British are expanding across the world and taking their language and therefore these concepts with them. The idea that something called religion, the idea that something called the secular exists, is taken absolutely for granted by not just missionaries, but by everybody going out to other civilizations.

So in India, people arrive, British arrive in India, and they start saying, well, what religion do the people of India, who they call the Hindus, you know, what religion do Hindus have? Well, there's the religion of the Muslim Hindus, there’s the religion of the Christian Hindus, and then there's the religion of all the other Hindus. And in time, this religion of all the other Hindus comes to be called Hinduism. And Hindus comes to be acquainted with those who practice the Hindu religion. And the British take for granted that there is something called Hinduism, which exists distinct from everything else in India, all the great swirl of its, the way that people live their lives, cultures, everything.

And in time, this is an idea that Indians themselves come to take on, so that by the time the Raj comes to an end, India proclaims itself to be a Secular Republic, with a notion that there are religions - Hinduism, Islam, whatever, absolutely woven into the fabric of the Indian Constitution. And, as a great Indian scholar has said Christianization proceeds in two ways. It proceeds through conversion, which doesn't happen in India. And it proceeds through secularization, which really has happened.

And I think a large part of what's happening in India at the moment with Modi, and the rise of what is called the Hindu right, is a kind of reaction against that. A kind of recognition that actually, the secular isn't something that is universal, it's not a kind of given, it's not something that's just there, like the oxygen we breathe in. That in fact, it's very, very culturally contingent, and it's a legacy of the British imperial period. And so that's why they want to get rid of it. Difficult to get rid of it, though, because it's become an idea that so embedded in the way that people and not just Christians see the world, but it's almost impossible to kind of imagine a world where that that notion of the secular doesn't exist.

Likewise, with Judaism, and with Islam, much the same process happened, except Jews is kind of fascinating example, because they are actually living within Christendom, within the Christian world. And they had always seen themselves as belonging, not to anything called a religion. I mean, this is an alien, wholly Christian way of conceptualizing things, they see themselves as belong to a people, they are the people of Israel. But what happens in the 19th century, with the French Revolution and the emancipation of Jews, is that they're offered citizenship. But they have to accept that they do not belong to a distinct people, that the laws of Moses are given no status at all, under the constitutions of the emergent European states in the 19th century. And Jews have to accept that they belong to something called a religion, not to a people. And so over the course of the 19th century, you see, Reform Judaism emerged as a kind of almost overtly Protestant attempt to satisfy that.

And much the same thing is happening, again, with Islam. That, again, Muslims don't have an idea of something called Islam as if that's a religion. It's only gradually over the course of the 19th and 20th century that that idea comes to be taken on board by Muslims. And that's why you will often see among Muslims who reject secularism, that they will avoid using the word religion, even if they’re native English speakers. They'll use the word deen, which is conventionally translated as religion but has a very, very different signification. Because again, I think they recognize that, to use these words, and to apply them is inherently to Christian eyes, something that previously had been uninfected, as they would see it by this.’

‘And you even go so far in the book as to say that groups like Islamic State themselves are to some extent heirs of this Christian tradition’

‘Yeah, well, what happens in the Muslim world over the 19th century is that the British, for instance, when they are approached by the Sultan to join Ottoman forces in the Crimean War, one of the conditions is that the Sultan has to crack down on the slave trade. And they're Muslim scholars, this seems bizarre. Why would they want to do that? Slavery is something that every society has practiced. It's sanctioned in the Quran, it's sanctioned by the example of the Prophet, it's sanctioned in the Hadiths. Why would they want to do that? And the British say, you’ve got to do it, because it's the right thing to do. And in saying that, they're trying to disguise the fact that actually they think it's the right thing to do, because a distinctively evangelical brand of Protestantism has convinced the British that it's the right thing to do’

'People take for granted concepts like the secular concept like religion, things like that. So on that level. But I think they're also very engineering on the level of ethical and moral assumptions. So if we look at the concept of the woke, the idea that that you get awakened to a proper understanding of how things should be seen, and invariably, being awakened, becoming woke, seeing the light, enables you to recognize that it's those who are downtrodden, those who are marginalized, who actually have the highest status. And, you know, this is absolutely a very strange way of understanding things. And yet, people who advance that can take it completely for granted that it's the right thing.

And the only reason they can take for granted that it's the right thing is that they live in societies that are so saturated with Christian assumptions, that you don't need to be a Christian, just to take it for granted. The question is how long these assumptions will last without the kind of seedbed of actual Christian faith and practice? And I don't know the answer to that. I mean, it's, you know, it's one of the most interesting questions that we face in the future, is whether assumptions bred of Christianity can survive decline of Christian faith'…

‘Do you think this profound Christian legacy that we have that's been here in the west for, say, 2000 years, has that on balance been a good thing?’

‘That begs an enormous question as to what is good? And essentially, our definition of what is good and bad, remains a Christian one. And if we judge Christianity and say it's been bad, the paradox is that we judge it to have been bad by Christian standards.’

‘It's failed to live up to its own standards.’

‘But without Christianity, we wouldn't have those standards by which to judge it. I think that that's a question for moralists, and theologians’"

Links - 24th October 2019 (1)

Swiss-raised Japanese woman points out fundamental difference in Japanese, western communication - "''In the west, there’s the preexisting shared notion that ‘People are all different, so it’s absolutely essential to confirm your impressions and ask questions. Making assumptions is impolite.’ But in Japan, the attitude is ‘Everyone feels this way, so it’s normal. If you have to double-check about everything, it’s proof that you don’t trust the person!’'... Japanese conversationalists are less likely to explicitly nail down every detail than their western counterparts are. Japanese society, starting at an early age, stresses the importance of thinking about other people’s feelings and circumstances. In its idealized form, the concept gets extended all the way to not only trying to provide for the needs or preferences of others, but to preemptively act in a way so that they won’t have to incur any self-placed guilt by directly stating what their problem is or asking you to accommodate them. And in a country where traditions and ceremony are so highly valued for their ability to create harmony, there’s often a surprisingly high chance of both people in the conversation having the same image of what counts as “normal” or “obvious” for a given topic. But as Daya points out, the success rate isn’t 100 percent, and when a message someone thinks should be “obvious” isn’t quickly conveyed to the listener, the aura of consideration and courteousness can break down pretty quickly.
    “If someone’s words aren’t understood, they often blame the listener for not being smart enough to understand. But it could be that the speaker’s way of explaining is lacking, or some combination of both problems. As long as you both are committed to understanding one another, you can meet each other half-way, but in Japan a lot of people think that the end goal of a verbal disagreement is to beat the other person into submission.”...
It stands to reason that if your opinion is “normal,” than whoever doesn’t grasp it immediately must be unreasonable, and if your take on things is the “obvious” one, it becomes hard to see the non-understanding party as anything other than dumb"

Reproducibility: A tragedy of errors - "In the course of assembling weekly lists of articles in our field, we began noticing more peer-reviewed articles containing what we call substantial or invalidating errors. These involve factual mistakes or veer substantially from clearly accepted procedures in ways that, if corrected, might alter a paper's conclusions.After attempting to address more than 25 of these errors with letters to authors or journals, and identifying at least a dozen more, we had to stop — the work took too much of our time. Our efforts revealed invalidating practices that occur repeatedly (see ‘Three common errors’) and showed how journals and authors react when faced with mistakes that need correction...
Science relies essentially but complacently on self-correction, yet scientific publishing raises severe disincentives against such correction. One publisher states that it will charge the author who initiates withdrawal of a published paper US$10,000."

‘Batman’ star Adam West had sex with eight women a night - "West discovered the only limits to his bedroom batpowers were those caused by his famous costume.The actor explained years later: “Because of the physical limitations of the costume, you gotta have quickies.”And he had an awful lot of them, as well as dates with fellow stars including actress sisters Natalie and Lana Wood, and Raquel Welch.West explained: “Burt and I were like kids in a candy store. It was the Swinging Sixties with free love and women threw themselves at us. I remember one night with eight different women. Orgy is a harsh word, but it was eight at one time. I’d have young female co-stars in my dressing room at 7:45 in the morning.” In fact, West did once turn up at what he described as an “orgy” in Hollywood with Frank Gorshin, who played “Batman” baddie The Riddler.But they were thrown out for behaving like their TV alter-egos and making everyone laugh... trusty Boy Wonder Ward, who is now 71, claimed West was definitely the ringleader when it came to their own adventures.He recalled decades later: “When I entered ‘Batman’ as a naive 20-year-old who had only dated a couple of girls, I met Adam West, who immediately introduced me to the wildest sexual debauchery that you can imagine. We often found that women were banging on our windows while we were bedded down with other women.”He added: “We’re talking about wild times in the dressing rooms, on the set, between the shots, in the lunch wagon. And then of course, doing the personal appearances on the weekend, that’s where it really got wild. And I have to be honest with you, we became like sexual vampires.”He added that the costumes seem to be part of the lure for women: “If you look at our show, you’ll see that we always stood with our legs open, our fists on hips and our bat bulges forward, which had a profound effect on women.”"

The Story Behind Bizarre Tree-Climbing Goats of Morocco - "Because seeing goats in trees is such a novel sight, more and more farmers have purchased larger number of goats to create a profitable attraction. This means that many of the goats visitors see in the trees, especially in areas close to major roads, have actually been lifted into the trees by the farmers. They are kept in the trees throughout the day and then taken down in the evening. Ropes are often used to haul the animals in and out of the trees, and the goats may sometimes be tethered in the trees. The goats may stand on branches, though it’s not uncommon to notice small planks of wood nailed to the branches to act as a more stable support for the photogenic goats."

Crony Capitalism Is The Norm In A French Film Industry Shielded From Free Markets - "Dany Boon earned $4.6 million for the movie “The Perfect Plan”—a fee which exceeded ticket sales. Daniel Auteuil earns $2 million per movie, even though his “last four movies were huge financial failures.” Jean Reno, Marion Cotillard, and Audrey Tautou receive “fees between $660,000 and $2.6 million.” Owing to these amounts, a significant return on investment should be expected by French taxpayers in the form of spreading the French culture around the globe. Yet this is far from being the case. Return on investment? There is none! Vincent Maraval stressed that “on the top 10 movies of an industry that produces 220 of them, only one [it could be argued] provided a return on investment.” The CNC has failed to disseminate the French culture. Maraval pointed out that “our talents are unknown across our borders” and the French movies are “limited to the French market only.” Worse: the French taxpayers are actually the producers of films that they would have never invested a penny in if asked. Art is a business, but if the French movie industry were to be managed as a real business two things would happened: First, based on business forecasts and ROI, only one out of 10 French movies would actually be funded, meaning that 90 percent of the present French production would never make it into the theaters. Public money would really be saved. Second, French actors would be paid according to their market value and talent. Let’s take the example of French actor Vincent Cassel. In the free market American movie industry, Cassel was paid $300,000 to perform in the Academy Award-winning “The Black Swan,” which generated $330 million in revenue worldwide. In the subsidized French movie industry, the same actor received a $2 million fee for “Mesrine,” which generated only $30 million worldwide. But pure business is not an option for the French movie industry. There is so much money to be plundered from the government that the French “artists” cannot imagine working without it"

Removal of swastika tiles at Intramural Center draws praise, criticism - "For over 100 years, people entering the IU Intramural Center have been met with swastikas.The swastikas were part of a display including other icons from across different cultures. For years, they drew controversy. But in the beginning of July, IU started to remove the tiles containing swastikas from the collection and sand down the images.IU spokesperson Amanda Roach said in a statement to the Indiana Daily Student the tiles have been brought up to administration every year, but a decision was made to remove the tiles this year... The removal is the latest incident of the university addressing controversial campus landmarks. In 2017, the Office of the Provost announced classes would no longer take place in Woodburn Hall 100, a lecture hall which contained a mural panel depicting a KKK rally. Trustee Ora Wildermuth’s name was taken off the Intramural Center in 2018 due to his segregationist beliefs.The tile display was created in 1917 when the oldest section of the Intramural Center, the Men’s Gymnasium, was built. Signs around the Intramural Center explained why the swastikas were included on the tiles.The term swastika originated from Sanskrit, according to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum website. For thousands of years, the symbol was used in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. The symbol also appeared in pre-Christian European artifacts. Western culture at the beginning of the 20th century became fascinated with the swastika as a good luck symbol... Even though the swastika tiles at the Intramural Center were installed before Nazi usage, some feel the positive intention behind their creation does not defend the effect of seeing the symbol. IU Hillel Rabbi Sue Silberberg said she had received complaints about the swastikas for years.“It has such a strong negative impact on people who see it that I think it’s almost like giving Hitler a victory all over again,” Silberberg said."
It's easy to destroy history. When something else becomes non-Kosher, they can remove some other tiles, and eventually nothing will be left

Elizabeth Warren Goes All-In on the Woke Vote - "Have you tried explaining what “nonbinary” means to anyone over the age of 50? Please do it and send me the video. The replies to Warren’s tweet were overwhelmingly negative. There are, of course, the standard replies from MAGA types calling Warren "Pocahontas," but there also Democrats, including those in the LGBTQ community, chiming in. Seattle musician, writer, and filmmaker Amy Dyess, who calls herself a liberal, lesbian Democrat, responded to Warren: “You just lost my vote with this regressive nonsense. Read a basic biology textbook. Sex has meaning. It’s a real thing, not make believe. Democrats are supposed to believe in science, but I see you have a new woke religion that preaches alternative facts. This Dem is fed up.” Dyess is “trying to stop Trump from being elected, and the nonsense Dems are catering to isn’t helping”... While Americans are sharply divided on many political issues, from immigration to abortion, 80 percent of respondents across all demographics agreed on one thing: “Political correctness is a problem in our country.” And it’s not just racist old grandpas polishing their shotguns in front of Fox News who are concerned about it. As Yascha Mounk outlined in the Atlantic: “Even young people are uncomfortable with it, including 74 percent ages 24 to 29, and 79 percent under age 24.” The survey found that views on political correctness vary a bit across racial groups, but not in the direction you might anticipate. “Whites are ever so slightly less likely than average to believe that political correctness is a problem in the country: 79 percent of them share this sentiment,” Mounk wrote. “Instead, it is Asians (82 percent), Hispanics (87 percent), and American Indians (88 percent) who are most likely to oppose political correctness.”The one group that doesn’t fit this trend is progressive activists, only 30 percent of whom said PC culture is a problem... This is not the first time Elizabeth Warren has embraced PC dogma: She’s also got her pronouns listed in her Twitter bio, which may make her the oldest woman on the internet to do so. She still managed to fuck it up: Instead of “she/her,” her pronouns were initially listed as “she/hers.” This has since been corrected, but it’s a bit reminiscent of Julian Castro’s flawed attempt to signal his allyship at the first Democratic debate. When speaking about abortion, Castro referred to “trans females” who can pregnant, when what he should have said was “trans men.” These nods at inclusivity may be genuinely held, but by fucking up the basics, Castro and Warren then immediately show how little they actually get it."

Meet the anti-woke left - "Frost describes herself as a socialist. She says she came to socialism through feminist organising. But the current wave of media feminism turns her off. It is about ‘middle-class women trying to get spots in the boardroom’. ‘A lot of this stuff is “fight the power, put me on the throne”.’ Or it’s, ‘Men are rude to me and they explain things to me’, she jokes. Of course, I suggest, there are many real struggles that women face, particularly working-class women – from low pay to childcare – so why do these issues barely get a look in? ‘They don’t care about working-class women’, Frost says of contemporary feminists. ‘Half the time they’re smearing them as reactionaries because they voted for Trump.’ ‘I fundamentally think they are disgusted and horrified by working-class people’, says Khachiyan. ‘Real women don’t live up to the liberal-feminist pieties’, adds Frost. ‘And I think that’s very threatening for the uptight, white, overeducated, liberal women to be confronted with’, replies Khachiyan... Liberals, suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome, have been far too moralistic about the Trump vote, she argues: ‘Most people don’t believe that presidential candidates are telling the truth the entire time.’Worse, the left’s response to Trump has been totally counterproductive: ‘Do you want to tell people how bad they are? Do you want them to repent because they’re bad racists? Or do you want them to pursue a left-wing project?’... The problem with liberals, she says, is that ‘they can’t differentiate between their political critiques of Trump and their aesthetic critiques of him… He really brings to the fore all these inarticulable taboos. But as a politician, he’s not very exceptional.’ It is not so much Trump’s policies that anger the liberals, but his brashness, his demeanour. Frost adds, by way of example, that Obama also ‘threw tear gas at the border’. Three years on from the 2016 presidential election, Democrats are still largely in denial or in despair about Trump’s victory. The now-discredited Russia-collusion narrative provided an excuse to avoid any soul-searching... lots of American women are ‘voluntary removing their reproductive organs’. ‘Nobody is talking about this. It’s a middle-class, very elite phenomenon, where they’re like, “I have menstrual problems, I’m going to remove my womb”. Lena Dunham wrote a whole fucking essay about it.’... ‘Antifa have manufactured a threat to have some semblance of an identity’, she says. ‘All these people who say they are anti-fascist don’t know what it means to be persecuted.’"
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