"I love your "Malaysian Accent", can you say it again?"
"几够力一下有没有"

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Saturday, October 16, 2021

Links - 16th October 2021 (2) (Climate Change)

Facebook - "Climate change means more heat deaths but over the last two decades it is has avoided even more cold deaths These are facts. We all deserve to know them. But these facts are now censored on Facebook. This post will likely be flagged, too. They have been flagged by a self-appointed group of bad-faith climate-alarmists. Incredibly, they never actually produce an argument against the facts above. They even interview the guy, who co-wrote the article, and he doesn't make 𝗮𝗻𝘆 argument against them — because they're true. But they don't want you to know these facts, because they don't fit their narrative. This is shameful.  Censoring facts doesn't help us make better policy, it only helps underpin poor decisions and social scares."
Peer reviewed research is dangerous fake news when it contradicts the narrative

Bjørn Lomborg - Posts | Facebook - "Why do climate alarmists have such hard time with good news? Gas replaced much coal in US, because fracking made it cheaper. Great, because gas emits half CO₂ of coal. But so many (like McKibben) argue that methane leakage entirely undoes this achievement.... Wrong."
This is the same cognitive dissonance you see with apocalyptic cults

Bjørn Lomborg - Posts | Facebook - "Silly: "Climate change most significant public health issue of our time" Biden's Climate Advisor McCarthy Heart disease kills 33% and cancer 26% of all Americans Heat kills 0.3% and declining. Cold 6.4% and increasing Yes, global warming is a problem.  No, 0.3% is not our biggest challenge"

Massachusetts Climate Official Ismay Proposes 'Turning the Screws' to Break Citizens' Will to Stop Climate Change - "When he says this is something he can’t say publicly, it is pretty ironic. Socially distanced Zoom meetings have made more than one careless comment public. Perhaps the most shocking thing about this video is that none of the other participants look remotely surprised or shocked... taxes are not the only weapon the government has. In particular, the political left has several weapons at their disposal to make citizens behave the way they prefer and is willing to use them all. We all saw this during the COVID-19 pandemic.First, they have the bureaucracy. From that behemoth structure, they can select who will speak to the country, and they will choose those individuals carefully... Some of [Fauci's] advice has been outright contradictory. Yet anyone who does not follow it can be suppressed, vilified, or ruined by a video posted on social media.It was easy to find dissenting opinions if you were motivated to look, but many people aren’t. The corporate media never covered them and worked to discredit anyone who contradicted Fauci. Dr. Scott Atlas, a health policy expert from the Hoover Institution on the White House Task Force, was regularly targeted for sharing peer-reviewed research. Far more Americans than anyone would have predicted obediently went into their homes and stayed there for months on end. People gave up their small businesses and continue to allow their children to learn remotely, primarily because they hear a consistent message that breeds fear. Then there is the opposite approach, which we saw applied to the unrest and violence in Portland and Seattle this summer... The silence is so bad that on January 31st, left-wing radicals took over a hotel in Olympia, Washington. They brought knives, hatchets, and clubs, assaulted at least one staff member, and took over the building. They demanded the city government stop clearing homeless tent encampments and house the homeless in the hotel. They were eventually cleared by police, but there was almost no coverage. For residents in the Pacific Northwest, normalizing political violence breaks residents’ will to demand a government that protects them."

Burning wood under fire: Are forests going up our chimneys? - "You may think that conservationists would be happy with the European Union's (EU) goal to switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy. However, the reality of the issue is not that simple.They claim that a new demand for wood is driving deforestation and boosting carbon dioxide levels, as well as dangerous particulate matter emissions.The EU Renewable Energy Directive from 2009 requires member states to include renewables in 20 percent of their energy needs by 2020.This week, the European Parliament's Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) voted to increase the renewable energy target to 35 percent by 2030 and to introduce an additional target for renewable heating... In 2015, biomass accounted for about two thirds of the EU's renewable energy consumption, with wood and wood products making up about half of the used products... According to a study commissioned by the NGOs Birdlife Europe, Forests and the European Union Resource Network (FERN) and Transport & Environment, the use of wood for energy purposes increased by about 75 million cubic meters between 2010 and 2015 — an uptick of 21 percent.But they claim that the use of wood waste from the forest industry has gone up by only 10 percent, whereas the use of wood coming directly from the forest has increased by 24 percent... Slovakia's and Romania's forests are being chopped down to meet the EU's newly-risen demand for wood... Some countries - including the UK, the Netherlands, Belgium and Denmark - have built new wood-fired plants or converted coal-fired plants to produce electricity from burning wood.Drax power station in North Yorkshire, England, is the UK's biggest power plant and provides about 7 percent of the country's electricity. The company boasts that it generates 70 percent of its electricity from compressed wood pellets rather than coal. But part of their wood source comes from the US." "The USA is now the main supplier of wood pellets to Europe"... When power plants burn wood, they can claim to emit zero carbon dioxide.In practice that's not true of course, and depending on the water content of the wood, wood-burning furnaces might emit even more CO2 than coal-burning plants per unit of electricity produced.The popular notion is that if you cut down a tree, burn it and plant a new tree in its place, you are simply recycling carbon.But as Zuidema points out, "forests and trees have a very important role to play while they are alive and standing in the forest as a carbon sink."Cutting down trees that are still sequestering carbon is a big mistake, she says — even if young trees might indeed replace the older ones one day: "Forest biomass is not carbon-neutral at all."... In a simulation study, researchers concluded that an increased demand for wood fuel could cause ecosystems in North Carolina to shrink by about 10 percent until 2050, replacing natural hardwood and pine habitats with intensively managed forests... During the COP23 in Bonn, China and 18 other nations announced plans to increase the use of wood and other plant matter as a means of generating electricity.Announcements like this have left some conservationists deeply worried that if too many countries follow the example of the EU, the situation will only get worse."
The dirty secret of "renewable" energy. Environmentalism is bringing us back to the 18th century in the name of progress and we're just fooling ourselves about how "green" it is

Pollutionwatch: wood burning is not climate friendly - "Burning wood is not CO2 free; it releases carbon, stored over the previous decades, in one quick burst. For an equal amount of heat or electricity, it releases more CO2 than burning gas, oil and even coal, so straight away we have more CO2 in the air from burning wood. This should be reabsorbed as trees regrow. For logs from mature Canadian woodland, it could take more than 100 years before the atmospheric CO2 is less than the alternative scenario of burning a fossil fuel and leaving the trees in the forest... It seems that wood burning is not climate neutral in the short term and requires an increase in forested area to be climate neutral in the longer term."
So burning wood because it is "renewable" is actually worse for climate change
SPOING

Europe’s renewable energy policy is built on burning American trees - "all this, scientist Bill Moomaw argues, comes down to a tragically shortsighted view of both carbon accounting and our current climate predicament.Moomaw, now a professor emeritus at Tufts, is a co-author of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Climate report, co-author of four additional IPCC reports, and an expert on carbon sinks.In 2009, as Massachusetts began debating whether to treat biomass as carbon neutral, he dove into the science. By assessing carbon emissions from bioenergy, and the slow regrowth rates of a replacement forest, he concluded that biomass stood to be “a serious problem.” To Moomaw, the question of whether biomass was ultimately carbon neutral was less important than when it balanced out... The analysis was later confirmed by a colleague at MIT, John Sterman, who did the math, and confirmed that burning wood today would worsen climate change, “at least through the year 2100 — even if wood displaces coal, the most carbon-intensive fuel.”... one thing wasn’t up for debate: Burning biomass means quickly dumping more carbon into the atmosphere at exactly the point we need to begin rapidly drawing it down. “I’m at loss to understand how this [policy] went forward unless you discover there was total government capture by the forest products industry.”The first problem, he argued, comes from the industry-promoted idea that biomass simply makes use of wood that would have decayed anyway, an assumption made by the European renewable energy standards. Under the terms of the Kyoto Protocol, the forest owner, not the end-user of wood products, is supposed to account for the carbon lost when a forest is cleared. Because the assumption is that the cleared trees would decompose anyway, companies like Drax only have to count the carbon needed to turn from waste wood into fuel — gasoline for chainsaws, diesel for shipping — not the actual carbon that leaves their smokestacks.This means that wood bought from the US effectively disappears from carbon markets, if not the atmosphere... Whether burning trees for biomass or forging steel for windmills, every renewable energy policy releases carbon on the front end in hopes of savings on the back. The carbon-neutrality argument for biomass assumes that when a new tree grows back, it rebinds the carbon burned decades before for energy. After that point (called “parity”), the atmosphere is better off than if, as the biomass industry usually assumes, a power station had burned coal instead, and the wood had been burned as waste.This reasoning, Moomaw argues, is based on a set of dubious assumptions that effectively cook the books. Imagine carbon in the form of a household budget. “If we did financial accounting like that in our daily lives,” he said, “we’d all be in prison.”... “Carbon neutral,” Moomaw said, “isn’t the same as climate neutral. Even once you reach parity, that carbon has been floating around for a century, absorbing radiant heat. That means more methane released from the permafrost, and more melt on the glaciers. Those don’t go away in a hundred years even if replacement trees successfully grow. Even if we stopped releasing carbon tomorrow, sea levels would still rise for centuries. Climate effects are irreversible.”... Moomaw joined a group of nearly 800 scientists from across the world in petitioning the EU Parliament to end its support for biomass... To meet just an increase of 3 percent in global energy demand with wood, the scientists wrote, the world would have to double its commercial logging. “At a critical moment when countries need to be ‘buying time’ against climate change, this approach amounts to ‘selling’ the world’s limited time to combat it.” What role, then, do researchers see for biomass? Back when it started, the original renewables designation for biomass had been based on the idea that, say, a Finnish paper mill or a Swedish sawmill should get credit for running on its own scraps, rather than diesel. So if paper plants and sawmills burn residues and wastes that would otherwise quickly decompose, they wrote, that would be carbon neutral. But no increase in logging could be justified on climate grounds — even if, as the trade groups insist, it provided an additional income stream for forest owners."

Wind power, the unreliable renewable - "Even put together, wind and photovoltaic solar are supplying less than 1 per cent of global energy demand. From the International Energy Agency’s 2016 Key Renewables Trends, we can see that wind provided 0.46 per cent of global energy consumption in 2014, and solar and tide combined provided 0.35 per cent. Remember this is total energy, not just electricity, which is less than a fifth of all final energy, the rest being the solid, gaseous, and liquid fuels that do the heavy lifting for heat, transport and industry... Such numbers are not hard to find, but they don’t figure prominently in reports on energy derived from the unreliables lobby (solar and wind). Their trick is to hide behind the statement that close to 14 per cent of the world’s energy is renewable, with the implication that this is wind and solar. In fact the vast majority — three quarters — is biomass (mainly wood), and a very large part of that is ‘traditional biomass’; sticks and logs and dung burned by the poor in their homes to cook with. Those people need that energy, but they pay a big price in health problems caused by smoke inhalation. Even in rich countries playing with subsidised wind and solar, a huge slug of their renewable energy comes from wood and hydro, the reliable renewables... If wind turbines were to supply all of that growth but no more, how many would need to be built each year? The answer is nearly 350,000, since a two-megawatt turbine can produce about 0.005 terawatt-hours per annum. That’s one-and-a-half times as many as have been built in the world since governments started pouring consumer funds into this so-called industry in the early 2000s.At a density of, very roughly, 50 acres per megawatt, typical for wind farms, that many turbines would require a land area [half the size of] the British Isles, including Ireland. Every year. If we kept this up for 50 years, we would have covered every square mile of a land area [half] the size of Russia with wind farms. Remember, this would be just to fulfil the new demand for energy, not to displace the vast existing supply of energy from fossil fuels, which currently supply 80 per cent of global energy needs... Do not take refuge in the idea that wind turbines could become more efficient. There is a limit to how much energy you can extract from a moving fluid, the Betz limit, and wind turbines are already close to it... As machines, wind turbines are pretty good already; the problem is the wind resource itself, and we cannot change that. It’s a fluctuating stream of low–density energy. Mankind stopped using it for mission-critical transport and mechanical power long ago, for sound reasons. It’s just not very good.As for resource consumption and environmental impacts, the direct effects of wind turbines — killing birds and bats, sinking concrete foundations deep into wild lands — is bad enough. But out of sight and out of mind is the dirty pollution generated in Inner Mongolia by the mining of rare-earth metals for the magnets in the turbines. This generates toxic and radioactive waste on an epic scale, which is why the phrase ‘clean energy’ is such a sick joke and ministers should be ashamed every time it passes their lips. It gets worse. Wind turbines, apart from the fibreglass blades, are made mostly of steel, with concrete bases. They need about 200 times as much material per unit of capacity as a modern combined cycle gas turbine. Steel is made with coal, not just to provide the heat for smelting ore, but to supply the carbon in the alloy. Cement is also often made using coal. The machinery of ‘clean’ renewables is the output of the fossil fuel economy, and largely the coal economy... And let’s put some of that burgeoning wealth in nuclear, fission and fusion, so that it can take over from gas in the second half of this century. That is an engineerable, clean future. Everything else is a political displacement activity, one that is actually counterproductive as a climate policy and, worst of all, shamefully robs the poor to make the rich even richer."
The 2020 report doesn't seem to have an update on this figure, or indeed anything on general global/overall renewable trends, or breakdowns, probably because it is inconvenient

Wind energy to power UK by 2020, government says - "Friends of the Earth's renewable energy campaigner, Nick Rau, said: "We are delighted the government is getting serious about the potential for offshore wind, which could generate 25% of the UK's electricity by 2020... the vice president of the Royal Academy of Engineering, Dr Sue Ion, said that wind power could only provide about 20% of the country's electricity to preserve grid stability."
From 2007. Interestingly, in 2020, wind energy was 24.8% of the UK's energy

The $2.5 trillion reason we can’t rely on batteries to clean up the grid - "The authors of the 2016 study found steeply diminishing returns when a lot of battery storage is added to the grid. They concluded that coupling battery storage with renewable plants is a “weak substitute” for large, flexible coal or natural-gas combined-cycle plants, the type that can be tapped at any time, run continuously, and vary output levels to meet shifting demand throughout the day.Not only is lithium-ion technology too expensive for this role, but limited battery life means it’s not well suited to filling gaps during the days, weeks, and even months when wind and solar generation flags.This problem is particularly acute in California, where both wind and solar fall off precipitously during the fall and winter months. This leads to a critical problem: when renewables reach high levels on the grid, you need far, far more wind and solar plants to crank out enough excess power during peak times to keep the grid operating through those long seasonal dips, says Jesse Jenkins, a coauthor of the study and an energy systems researcher. That, in turn, requires banks upon banks of batteries that can store it all away until it’s needed.And that ends up being astronomically expensive. There are issues California can’t afford to ignore for long. The state is already on track to get 50 percent of its electricity from clean sources by 2020, and the legislature is once again considering a bill that would require it to reach 100 percent by 2045. To complicate things, regulators voted in January to close the state’s last nuclear plant, a carbon-free source that provides 24 percent of PG&E’s energy. That will leave California heavily reliant on renewable sources to meet its goals... “The system becomes completely dominated by the cost of storage,” says Steve Brick, a senior advisor for the Clean Air Task Force. “You build this enormous storage machine that you fill up by midyear and then just dissipate it. It’s a massive capital investment that gets utilized very little.”These forces would dramatically increase electricity costs for consumers.“You have to pause and ask yourself: ‘Is there any way the public would stand for that?’” Brick says.Similarly, a study earlier this year in Energy & Environmental Science found that meeting 80 percent of US electricity demand with wind and solar would require either a nationwide high-speed transmission system, which can balance renewable generation over hundreds of miles, or 12 hours of electricity storage for the whole system (see “Relying on renewables alone significantly inflates the cost of overhauling energy”).At current prices, a battery storage system of that size would cost more than $2.5 trillion. Of course, cheaper and better grid storage is possible... But it’s dangerous to bank on those kinds of battery breakthroughs—and even if Form Energy or some other company does pull it off, costs would still rise exponentially beyond the 90 percent threshold, Ferrara says.“The risk,” Jenkins says, “is we drive up the cost of deep decarbonization in the power sector to the point where the public decides it’s simply unaffordable to continue toward zero carbon”"

Facebook - "Congo Kids mining Cobalt in slavery for EV Cars"
Greta on train eating: "EV Owners thinking they are saving the world"

Bjørn Lomborg - Posts | Facebook - "Breathless climate reporting over and again tells us how the world will be rocked by ever more damaging extreme weather.It is wrong for US flooding — which has seen its impact decline about 10-fold since 1903.As we saw some days ago, it is also wrong for the whole world. The relative costs are not going up — in fact they are (insignificantly) decreasing... What we see is a dramatic reduction in costs in percent of GDP (which is a very a good proxy for the Net Stock of Fixed Assets — all the stuff that can be damaged) from costing almost 0.5% of GDP each year in the early 1900s, and now costly nearly 0.05% today.The reason why this is measured in percent of GDP is that more fixed assets (like bigger and nicer houses, more roads or more cars) mean more damage for the same amount of flooding. Correcting with GDP fixes that.It is also how the UN says we should measure impacts of catastrophes, here from SDGs: "Indicator 1.5.2 Direct economic loss attributed to disasters in relation to global gross domestic product (GDP)" (and similarly for 11.5)... If you wanted to focus just on absolute damage costs, perhaps one of the easiest ways to reduce absolute damage costs to zero would be to make everyone destitute — clearly not desirable."

What made the acid rain myth finally evaporate? - "The NAPAP reported in 1990. The findings were explosive: first, acid rain had not injured forests or crops in US or Canada; second, acid rain had no observable effect on human health; third, only a small number of lakes had been acidified by acid rain and these could be rehabilitated by adding lime to the water. In summary, acid rain was a nuisance, not a catastrophe.The findings of NAPAP were not welcomed by the powers-that-be, many of whom had staked their reputations on the impending Clean Air Act which would call for drastic reduction of sulphur dioxide emissions. The NAPAP was ignored.Acid rain was succeeded by the "hole in the ozone layer" as the next environmental worry, which in turn was pushed off the stage by global warming. Oops, I forgot! Just before global warming we briefly worried about global cooling, causing drought, famine, frozen oceans etc, fears triggered by a small dip in average northern hemisphere temperatures from 1940 to mid-1970s. As the fella said - "You'd have to wonder"."
All the "acid rain deniers" need to be banned from social media so they can't spread "misinformation"

Decade-Long Study Says Acid Rain Isn't an Environmental Crisis - "A $537 million, decade-long study ordered by Congress concluded Wednesday that acid rain should be ″viewed as a long-term problem″ requiring pollution controls but is not the environmental crisis some scientists have suggested."

[Yesterday, today, tomorrow. A retrospective look at the acid rain problem] - "Last century, at the end of the seventies, Europe was startled by a serious environmental problem: acid rain. Acid rain was held responsible for the decline of fishes in Scandinavian lakes. Later, it was suggested that acid rain could lead to forest dieback over vast areas of Europe. Forests in the Netherlands could be at great risk, as well. It was clear to everyone what it was all about, for 'rain' means water falling from the atmosphere and the meaning of 'acid' was evident, too. Acid rain caused much commotion in the eighties but, since then, it has faded into the background. Why is it, that there is so little attention paid to acid rain these days? Maybe the acid rain problem was a hype; with an exaggerated reaction to a problem that was, in fact, insignificant. This article aims to reconstruct the history of one of the most prominent environmental problems of the twentieth century. The article describes the origin of the acid rain problem in the 1960s and describes the scientific research that was carried out to develop a better understanding of the problem from an atmospheric chemical point of view. Subsequently, it treats the rise of public awareness in the seventies. The article subsequently focuses on the situation in the Netherlands. The initial research into forest health showed alarming results. This led to widespread concern within The Netherlands, which, once more, urged the government to come into action. Some measures to reduce air-polluting emissions were already taken in the early 1980s. However, these were meant, mainly, to improve local air quality. As the eighties progressed, acid rain provided an additional argument for reducing air pollution. This article presents the consequences of the emission reductions for the acidity of acid rain, and it discusses--in brief--the acid rain problem in light of current scientific knowledge. Finally, it answers the question of why forests did not die."

Forest Fires Aren’t at Historic Highs in the United States. Not Even Close - "there is widespread agreement that California’s megafires stem largely from decades-long mismanagement of its forests. As The New York Times explained earlier this month, for more than a century, many firefighting agencies have aggressively focused on extinguishing blazes whenever they occur, a strategy that has often proved counterproductive... Texas actually has more forest and higher temperatures than California, but the Lone Star state rarely struggles with fires, perhaps because 95 percent of its land mass is privately owned and these owners act as responsible stewards of the land.If climate change was truly the primary culprit of the wildfires, wouldn’t it stand to reason other parts of the US would be suffering similar results? Are there reasons climate change impacts California more than Texas and the Southeast US?... News agencies and NIFC were simply ignoring all data prior to 1960. When this data is included, one sees 2017’s record setting fires burned about one fifth of the acreage of fires in 1930 and 1931. These were peak years, but they were not exactly anomalies, Lomborg pointed out. The entire data set, a quarter century of figures that comes from the official record of the United States, shows the yearly average between 1926 and 1952 was several times higher than the peaks of today... We’ve seen no shortage of crises in 2020, but it’s worth remembering a simple truth: pandemics, riots, and wildfires are nothing new. They have been around as long as humans have.What’s changing is our response to these phenomena. Each crisis is presented as an opportunity to save humanity, and each requires giving more control to central planners. Rahm Emmanuel popularized the phrase “Never let a good crisis go to waste,” but it was economist Robert Higgs who showed that crises are the mortal enemy of liberty. His great work Crisis and Leviathan lays bare the state's tradition of claiming new powers during emergencies, powers that rarely are relinquished fully when the crisis ends.Higgs admitted he was worried about the correlation between liberty and crises, because he understood a basic truth: there will alway be human crises."

'Climate alarm' is as big a threat as climate change - it leads to anxious lives and bad policies - "Climate alarmism is becoming ever more strident.In my home country, Denmark, the front page of the most read magazine proclaims that "climate anxiety is good for the climate".This is a remarkably honest message, signalling that it has become acceptable to frighten people senselessly to support climate policies. A YouGov poll in 2019 found that almost half of the world's population believes climate change will likely end the human race.It makes school children ask why they should educate themselves, when they don't have a future anyway.If climate change really could end the world, then perhaps this alarmism might be warranted, but that is simply not the case.The UN's climate panel has estimated that the negative impact of climate change equates to incomes reducing by 0.2% to 2% by the 2070s.By then, each person worldwide will be 363% richer; however, climate change will mean people will only be 356% richer than today. That's a problem - but it isn't the end of the world... When we panic, we make bad decisions... The UN's Environment Programme found that the impact climate policies have had in the last 10 years equates to living in a world where no new policies were made after 2005.Despite the poor track record of previous policies, many rich countries are now competing to go even further and become carbon neutral.Only one, New Zealand, has dared to ask for an independent estimate of the cost of going carbon neutral by 2050 - at least a staggering 16% of GDP, every year.Even this enormous sacrifice will only slow global warming by just 0.002°C by the end of the century.Due to three quarters of this century's emissions coming from poorer countries, the actions of rich countries have little matter.Even if all rich nations stopped all their CO2 emissions tomorrow, and for the rest of the century, temperature rise would only reduce from 4.1C (39.4F) to 3.7C (38.7F) by 2100... Climate alarm leads to anxious lives and bad policies. It also takes our attention off the world's many other problems, like preparing for global pandemics. We can do so much better."

Boromir in Lord of the Rings

#if you ask I will write a whole goddamn essay on Boromir #and why his death means more to us as we get older *whispers* babe I want the essay

"I rant through my tears about how much I love Boromir every time I watch Lord of the Rings, which I do about once a year with @captainofthefallen. Every time I watch it, his death means more to me, hits me harder, and I think that’s because the older we get, the more we identify with Boromir.

Here’s the thing. In all honesty, as a kid (I first read LotR when I was eleven, first watched the films at that age as well), I wasn’t too fond of Boromir. Oh I liked him all right, he was fine I suppose, but I didn’t connect with him. I was angry when he tried to take the One Ring from Frodo, and I cried a little at his death because death is sad and I was a kid, but it didn’t devastate me.

Because as a kid? I wanted to be Aragorn. The reluctant king who rises up and does the right thing, always. The guy who gets the amazing (be still my bi heart) Arwen, the Evenstar, fairest of the elves. The guy who literally kicks ass. The man who is noble, honorable, thoughtful, good with his words, humble, knows the burdens of leadership, who stands up and says there will be a day when the courage of men fails, but this is not that day.

I wanted to be the hero.

I noticed this trend among my peers growing up. We all loved Aragorn and wanted to be him. Boromir was sort of dismissed.

But then a funny thing happened, called getting older.

I got older, and I fucked up.

I got older, and depression hit.

I got older, and the weight of societal expectations, of being an older sibling, of adult responsibilities, of legacy, of family secrets, of family history, all settled on my shoulders.

I got older, and I learned that men are not always honorable, or kind, or humble, or the leaders they should be. And I learned how hard and desperate it is to continue to believe in the strength of men.

I got older, and I learned how temptation comes for us all, in different forms, and how we hurt people without meaning to, and how sometimes for all our regret and tears and apologies, we cannot mend what we broke.

I got older, and I leaned what it is to be forced into a role I didn’t want, to feel I’d hit a dead end, to struggle against those who had different views, to feel like people could look into my heart and see the anger and fear that I tried so hard to hide.

I got older, and I realized: I’m Boromir.

We’re all Boromir.

Tolkien was very deliberate with his characters. They aren’t just characters, flawed and wonderful though they might be. They also each represent something very specific. Aragorn represents the Ideal. The hero that we all can be, the hero that we should strive to be, the vision of mankind as we are supposed to be, if only we can let ourselves shed our hubris and our doubts. Aragorn represents who we should be.

Boromir represents who we are.

Flawed, frustrated, burdened, tempted, struggling, setback, good intentioned, afraid, angry, kindhearted, noble, loyal, and painfully, beautifully human.

Boromir went to the Council of Elrond reluctantly. He shouldn’t have gone. Boromir is a war leader, as we learn after his death. He successfully fought for and defended Gondor from Moria for years. That’s where he belongs. Faramir is the quiet one, the diplomat, the “wizard’s pupil,” the soft-spoken and patient one. Note that even in the film version, which shows a differently characterized Faramir than in the books (Tolkien heavily based Faramir on himself), Faramir only wants the One Ring in order to give it to his father and win his father’s pride and affection–he doesn’t want it for himself.

If Faramir had been at the Council and Boromir had stayed in Gondor, everything would have gone differently, and possibly for the better.

But the Steward of Fuckwits aka Boromir and Faramir’s father decides he wants Boromir to go, to represent their family, because Boromir is the son he values and is the “face” of Gondor. So Boromir sets aside what he wants, and he goes. And the whole time he feels out of place, feels like a fish out of water, feels second to Aragorn, feels lost, feels terrified his city will fall while he is gone, feels like the race of Men is being mocked and looked down on as weak.

How many of us as we grow up are stuck like that? We can’t fix our family (although we try), we can’t fix our broken country (although we try), we can’t get rid of the doubts and fears that whisper to us (although we try), and we can’t stop feeling like we’re constantly second best, constantly failing, looked down on, especially the millennial generation.

(Given what’s happening in the world right now, I wouldn’t be surprised if Tolkien found himself surprisingly similar in outlook and feeling to our generation. But that’s another topic.)

And of course that’s the key. Boromir–darling, frustrated, stuck, fatally flawed Boromir–is so very relatable because he tries. He tries to teach Merry and Pippin to protect themselves and then tries to save them and dies for it. He tries to convince Aragorn (who at that point is more elf than man in his outlook) that there is no reason to give up on his people, their people–and he succeeds in that, although he dies before he gets to see it. He tries to make his father proud. He tries to apologize when he fucks up. He tries and he fails, and he tries and he succeeds. And the most important things he does, the biggest seeds he plants, he never sees them flower.

Like my God, the man’s last words are I failed. I failed you, I failed Frodo, I tried to take the Ring. I’m sorry, I failed. That hits me so goddamn hard in my mid20s and it’ll hit me even harder when I’m older, I’m sure. How many times have we said that to people? “I tried to help him.” “I tried to reach out.” “I tried to apologize.” “I tried to stop them.” “I tried so hard.” I tried, I tried, I tried. For the job, for the friend, for everything, I tried.

And I failed.

I have a laundry list of things I tried and failed at, and God, do they hurt. Sometimes it was something out of my control, sometimes it was my own behavior. And that scene with Boromir, the flawed man, staring up at Aragorn, the ideal hero, and begging him, begging him, “save them, they took the little ones, find Frodo,” begging him for forgiveness, apologizing for his failures?

Talk about a fucking metaphor.

We make our ideals in literature so that we have something to look up to and strive for, for others to strive for. Boromir falls prey to the ring, but Aragorn does not. You did what I could not. Of course Aragorn did. He’s the ideal. And we beg our ideals to be better so they can show us the way and hopefully, maybe, someday, we can be like them.

I had so many heroes growing up, real and literary. Sara from A Little Princess. Aragorn. Lucy from Narnia. Nancy Drew. Harry Potter. And so many times I would look at myself in the mirror and cry because I knew, I knew if I stood in front of them they would be disappointed in me. I knew I wasn’t being the person I could be. I tried, I failed, I tried, I failed, but my God I swear, I tried.

As a kid or even a teenager, we still see mainly who we want to be. Our ideal. And I hope that we never lose sight of that. I love Aragorn and my God am I going to keep trying to be like him, and like all of my other literary heroes. We need those heroes, we need them so badly, and the darker the world gets the brighter we have to make them shine.

As an adult, though–as an adult, we start to see not only who we want to be, but who we are, and who we could’ve been, and how we failed to be, and the paths not taken and the paths that were lost. And that’s important too. Because Boromir died convinced he was a failure. Convinced he was, truly, the weakness we find in men.

And he was… but he wasn’t.

Without Boromir, Aragorn wouldn’t know what happened to Merry and Pippin or where they went. Without Boromir, Aragorn would’ve had no hope in the race of men. Without Boromir, who would have carried the hobbits up the cold mountain, or taught them how to fight, or said give them a moment, for pity’s sake! Who would have defended Gondor for so long, or loved his brother with a ferocity that Denethor’s abuse couldn’t knock loose, and inspired that brother to keep fighting even as the light faded and the night grew cold and long?

Aragorn carries Boromir’s bracers throughout the rest of the trilogy, right up to his coronation, where he is still wearing them as he is made King. Because Boromir might not have seen it–we might not see it–but we tried and we failed but we didn’t fail at everything. Lives are made brighter for our presence. The world is better for our gifts and our convictions. And no fight, even a fight lost, is done in vain.

The remains of the Fellowship ride to Gondor not just because it’s the Right Thing to Do, but because it is the city of their fallen brother, it’s Boromir’s home, the home that above all he gave everything to defend. Boromir doesn’t want the Ring for power, he wants it so his home will be safe, his family will be safe, and God who can’t relate to that, as we grow older and we see our families and friends attacked and scarred, as we have children and want them out of harm’s way. Who wouldn’t be tempted to seize the chance to keep them safe?

I see so much of myself in Boromir. And I take hope. I take inspiration. I cheer through my tears as he is hit again and again with arrows and each time he gets back up on his feet and grits his teeth and you can see him thinking not today. As a child I thought Boromir was selfish but as an adult I hear him use his last breath to apologize to Aragorn and call him his brother and his king and I see he’s more selfless than he ever gave himself credit for being. Boromir sees only his faults, but we can see what he doesn’t, we see his positive impact and we see his virtues, too.

Because as an adult I’ve failed, and I want to believe that like Boromir, I’ve also succeeded, I’ve also been more than just my faults–even if I can’t see that yet.

Aragorn is who we should be. But Boromir is who we are.

And my God, we should be proud of that. Because Boromir is a damn good person to be."

Links - 16th October 2021 (1) (China's 'peaceful' rise)

Chinese communist govt cuts off widow’s pension for refusing to renounce Christ - "“Because the Communist Party feeds you, you must only believe in it, not God,” they told her. When she refused to remove the images of Jesus, they canceled her subsidy"

Huge Chinese rocket core falling ‘out of control’ back to Earth - "A hulking, out-of-control Chinese rocket core is currently pinwheeling around the globe once every 90 minutes, and there’s no telling exactly when — or where — it will come crashing down to Earth in a potentially dangerous re-entry.  The object is a 30-metre tall, 21-tonne leftover from China’s Long March 5B rocket, which carried a piece of its new Tianhe space station into orbit on Apr. 29. The rocket launched its cargo into space before its core tumbled into a chaotic temporary orbit around Earth, where it’s been rapidly circling the planet while slowly falling ever since... “What’s bad is that it’s really negligent on China’s part,” McDowell said. “Things more than 10 tonnes, we don’t let them fall out of the sky uncontrolled deliberately.”... It’s just the second time that China has launched one of these rockets, and the second time that it’s been accused of being careless with the leftovers."

Meme - "CHINA WHEN FISHING: our waters
CHINA WHEN THEIR SATELLITE IS ABOUT TO FALL: international waters"

China Defends Giving Experimental Vaccines to Thousands - Bloomberg - "China said giving coronavirus vaccines still being tested to hundreds of thousands of people outside of clinical trials is justified given the risk of Covid-19 returning through its borders and the lack of any significant side-effects so far from the shots."

Facebook - "It starts with: "you cannot express those ideas" Then it moves on to: "you cannot even think those ideas" Then: "you cannot even *know* those ideas" This is why they're removing pro-democracy books from HK libraries. Because if you're trying to de-program minds, it's way easier to prevent people from knowing forbidden ideas in the first place. They're nipping it in the bud.  Parallels abound. I hope this holds up a mirror to both the reactionary Christian right (who purge books about gay penguins and young wizards) to the leftists clamoring for social justice (who purge Mark Twain and Dr. Seuss for not being woke)."

Ebola Outbreak: From the Perspective of African Migrants in China - "During the Ebola outbreak, the China Health Department deployed a temperature monitoring system to bolster surveillance of travelers. An unofficial quarantine of recent African travelers from the Ebola-affected countries was also imposed in the city of Guangzhou. For example, about 90 people from Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo were asked to leave an airplane before other passengers and submit to a health screening. They were asked to report their body temperature twice daily for the next 21 days and carry a GPS-enabled mobile phone at all times. Africans who have residency in China could return to their homes, but those with visitor status were permitted to stay in only one hotel. It is understandable to take precautionary steps to prevent the spread of the virus; however, prevention efforts ought to apply universally to people at risk for carrying the infection, including all passengers coming from the Ebola-affected countries, not only individuals with African nationalities.  Racial discrimination is a major concern among African migrants living in China. Carrying foreigner status is already a barrier to access health information and services. As a result of Ebola-related stigma, the African migrants become more susceptible to discrimination"
"The United States is the most racist country in the world"

Facebook - "Discontent against the Chinese has been brewing for YEARS in many African countries which has welcomed Chinese investments and businesses. I used to spend time in South Africa every year. Sometime around 2014, I noticed the growing resentment against Chinese people among the locals. When they found out I wasn't Chinese, they would be really relieved and would air their grievances about the ways in which they were being screwed over by Chinese companies and their governments and elites. The Chinese profiteering was simply not trickling down to the locals and more than anything they were being actively discriminated against.  So none of this is new. It's like a lobster in a pot where the water temperature has been slowly dialed up. It's hard to notice when the delta only shifts degree by degree. All of a sudden the pandemic shifted that dial by a huge margin and everyone is suddenly paying attention to things that have already been happening for a long time. I see this as a silver lining. Many of these issues are ones that long-time China watchers like me have been trying to sound the alarm on. We're only now finding that we have a captive audience."

Meme - "Art Nouveau w/ Brutalist Char... I refuse to say bad things about China online because yes, there are important conversations we need to have, but I will not be tweeting about it on a public platform where westerners including Asian diaspora can and will use these criticisms as fodder for the American empire"
With liberals like these, who needs white supremacists?

Facebook - "The police in China are collecting blood samples from men and boys from across the country to build a genetic map of its roughly 700 million males, giving the authorities a powerful new tool for their emerging high-tech surveillance state. Why collect DNA samples from men and boys? They commit more crimes, statistics show. Perhaps our energies are better spent interrogating Thermo Fisher Scientific for its role in establishing a surveillance state rather than worrying about how to rebrand 'racist' Aunt Jemima's pancake syrup?! But no, acquiescing to outrage in a performative branding exercise is far more important than actually addressing actual existential issues affecting the world."

China's tiny Jewish community in fear as Beijing erases its history - "For this year’s Hanukkah, Amir is lighting menorah candles and reciting blessings to celebrate the holiday’s eight nights, as many Jews are around the world.  But he does so in secret, worried that Chinese officials will come around – as they often do on religious occasions – to enforce a ban against Judaism, pressuring him to renounce his faith. Sometimes, he’s even called in for interrogations... As well as Christians and Muslims, Mr Xi’s suppression has hit China’s tiny congregation of Jews, whose ancestors settled more than a millennium ago along the Yellow River in Kaifeng, then the capital of the Northern Song Dynasty.  That such a small group can attract the Communist Party’s ire shows how far the crackdown has spread. Only about 1,000 people in Kaifeng claim Jewish heritage, and of those, only around 100 or are practising Jews, experts say – barely a splash in China’s sea of 1.4 billion. Even at its peak in the 1500s, the community only numbered around 5,000... In Kaifeng, stones engraved as far back as 1489 with the community’s beliefs and ancestry that used to mark a 12th-century synagogue have disappeared from a public exhibit.  An ancient well, believed to be the synagogue’s last ruins, has likewise vanished under a cloak of cement. The authorities have also torn down the city’s few Hebrew signs that once marked the Teaching Torah Lane. In that same lane, a spot where a few dozen Jews – some of whom were government officials – used to meet for services is now plastered in propaganda about China’s “management of religious affairs.” They include reminders that Judaism is prohibited. A security camera is directed at the entrance. A handful of schools that taught Hebrew and Judaism – established by foreign Jews visiting Kaifeng – have been forced to shutter. Displays in a museum and historic merchant guild hall that documented the history of Jews in the city have also disappeared in favour of large pictures of Mr Xi.  The crackdown is so intense that Kaifeng residents are afraid to dine together in public. “It’s a small place,” one Jewish man said. “Restaurant managers know that we are the Jews, and they will report us to the authorities.” Across the city, the remaining trace of Jewish heritage appears to be two tombstones with the star of David and epitaphs in Chinese and Hebrew – but even this, they fear, will soon be gone.  Yet the Jews in Kaifeng are remarkably resilient, and have found ways to keep their faith alive underground... Unable to obtain religious materials, they buy Bibles and read the Old Testament – more or less the same content as the Torah – and disregard the New Testament.  They also pass around dog-eared pamphlets with translations compiled during a brief revival when Jewish scholars, rabbis and tourists flocked to Kaifeng as China opened up in the 1990s.  Now, “no print shop dares to help us copy these,” said one resident. Groups like Mr Laytner’s Sino-Judaic Institute and Shavei Israel had previously set up centres to teach Hebrew and Jewish history and traditions, and helped some to emigrate. But both groups were expelled a few years ago, among the first targets of the government crackdown."
So much for China only cracking down on terrorists

Emily Feng 冯哲芸 on Twitter - "NEW: China is questioning volunteers who staffed epidemic services - notably manning hotlines for finding open Wuhan hospital beds - over suspicions they leaked info fueling US allegations China covered up the scale of epidemic (the volunteers deny this) Update: Chen Mei and Cai Wei, who helped update a Github repository of censored coronavirus articles, have been formally arrested for “disorderly conduct”, taken to Beijing’s Chaoyang detention center, and given state appointed lawyers despite having lawyers already"

China’s Overrated Technocrats - "advocates for China’s supposed technocracy are not only wrong about the background of Beijing’s current leadership. They are also fundamentally mistaken about how their training shapes policymaking. China’s leaders today—including President Xi Jinping himself—have been molded less by their education and more by the need to consolidate control and prevail in the brutal internal power struggles of the Chinese Communist Party. It’s true that a generation of engineer-leaders once dominated the Communist Party. But they’re now mostly retired, dead, or in prison. The current crop of leaders is distinctly lacking in engineers; Xi is the only member of the party’s seven-person standing committee with an engineering or science degree... legal or economic training has become far more common. Education matters less than most observers think. China is not like the West, where a rigorous degree in law or economics often leads to a career that in turn becomes a path to politics, such as former U.S. President Bill Clinton’s days teaching law or London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s human rights work. For some Chinese officials, their schooling was cursory at best—and very rarely translated into actual work experience. As the Carnegie Mellon University professor Vivek Wadhwa and others have demonstrated, the quality of engineering education in China, especially before 2010, was well below international standards. Many engineering degrees would barely qualify as technical certificates in the United States. Although Xi nominally graduated with a degree in chemical engineering from the prestigious Tsinghua University in 1979, his curriculum contained an outsized number of classes on Marxism rather than mechanics, as was common at the tail end of the Cultural Revolution. And Xi never worked as an engineer... Like many other so-called princelings, Xi was fast-tracked to power, and his career was entirely contained within, and shaped by, officialdom. A similar trajectory holds true for four other members of the standing committee...  The idea that China is governed by a class of educated mandarins goes back to an 18th-century fascination with Qing-dynasty China. The virtues of the examination system, which supposedly promoted the wise and learned, were held up by figures such as Voltaire looking for a stick to beat their own societies with. While the examination model certainly had its merits, a majority of official appointments in that era, as recent research has shown, were a result of political patronage or bribery. The determination among outsiders to see apolitical or meritocratic technocracy in the Chinese leadership—based largely on decades-old degrees—reveals more about Western fantasies about China than it does about politics in Beijing. In fact, the struggle for power inside the Communist Party is cutthroat and intense, as the number of suicides and life sentences resulting from Xi’s purges and the rampant corruption of figures such as the fallen leader Bo Xilai have shown. And that’s just the small part outsiders can glimpse: When the windows open up even a little, the blood spills out. Chinese leaders still do everything they can to promote the facade of a meritocracy... In the rare instances when reporters have been able to get ahold of leaders’ dissertations, they’ve found widespread plagiarism. In some cases, the writing of these theses was farmed out to other students at first-rank Beijing universities in exchange for a fee. It might seem strange that these degrees are faked rather than awarded as honorary titles, but there’s an ideological impetus behind the pretense that China’s leaders are scholars. The notion that science is important carries a special weight in Chinese culture thanks in part to the conviction of early 20th-century reformers that science was the way out of the country’s backwardness. To be scientific (kexue) in the 1920s was to be modern, advanced, and precise.  The status of science grew further with the establishment of the People’s Republic of China. Scientific communism—the belief that Marxism was a discipline as precise and objective as mathematics—was one of the cornerstones of party ideology. Although the generation of leaders before Xi had far more practical technical experience and often held actual jobs as engineers before becoming officials, those qualifications didn’t guarantee the kind of clean, technocratic leadership that Westerners assume... As the sociologists Diego Gambetta and Steffen Hertog examined in their research on the backgrounds of suicide bombers, engineers raised with a strong ideology, whether Islamism or communism, can be among the most rigid of thinkers. Engineering is “more attractive to individuals seeking cognitive ‘closure’ and clear-cut answers as opposed to more open-ended sciences”... If Xi is an engineer, he is what Joseph Stalin said poets should be: an engineer of the human soul."

Beijing Won’t Bow to Bluster on Taiwan - WSJ - "Permitting the erosion of the U.S. position around Taiwan was one of the great strategic blunders of modern times. The fall of Taiwan would be bad news not only for Taiwan’s democracy-loving and independence-minded residents. It would be a strategic catastrophe for Tokyo, leaving Beijing in control of the sea routes Japan needs for survival. A Chinese takeover would be such a conclusive demonstration of American weakness that no country, from India to Vietnam, could or would risk its security on U.S. ties. Given that the island also hosts the world’s most advanced semiconductor industry, controlling Taiwan would put China on the road to world technological and economic supremacy even as it became the arbiter of Asia."

Taiwan to step up efforts to prevent Chinese spies settling - "Parliament last year passed an anti-infiltration law to improve how Taiwan combats perceived threats from China.  Beijing denounced the move, saying Taiwan was trying to stir up enmity towards China."

Escape The Echo Chamber - Posts | Facebook - "An attempt to hold a panel discussion at Brandeis on the Chinese Government’s abuse of the Uigurs was disrupted by ‘Zoombombers’ who attempted to make the discussion unwatchable."

China defies Deng Xiaoping warning - "“If one day China should change her color and turn into a superpower, if she too should play the tyrant in the world, and everywhere subject others to her bullying, aggression and exploitation, the people of the world should identify her as social-imperialism, expose it, oppose it and work together with the Chinese people to overthrow it.” ~ Deng Xiaoping speech at the United Nations, April 10, 1974... today, China is bullying, not just the Philippines, but almost every neighbor it has... Deng did not give a message to China’s future leaders, he directed the message to the people of the world, to work directly to the people of China to overthrow the leadership of arrogance and tyranny. The wisdom of the veteran saw where China could go given its growing power, and that this rise to global superstardom could be restrained only by the wisest and firmest of leaders. Otherwise, only the people of the world helping the people of China could overthrow new Hitlers from China."

Emmersen Azalea on Twitter - "Someone suggested that there should be an organization for all in the Chinese diaspora who stand against the Chinese Communist Party. It sends 2 messages: a) To the CCP that they can't control those beyond the fire wall b) To everyone else that our values transcend ethnicity"
"there should also be an organization for the Chinese diaspora to stand against the West, in that our parents made the mistake of giving in to the allure of the West, the West is deeply racist and too overrated, we resent not having the option of obtaining citizenship of China"
Liberals and China shills hate the West so much, yet so many people want to live there. They must be doing something right
In light of this, apparently it's still going to be racist to tell people who hate the West so much to go back to their ancestral countries which they claim are so much better

China slams US 'bullying' over Tiktok, WeChat
Amazing, given that foreign apps aren't allowed in China

China’s Disinformation Effort Targets Virus, Researcher Says - Bloomberg - "An army of bot accounts linked to an alleged Chinese government-backed propaganda campaign is spreading disinformation on social media about coronavirus and other topics, including an exiled businessman, according to a London-based researcher.  The accounts have been used to promote content attacking critics of the Chinese government and to spread conspiracy theories blaming the U.S. for the origins of virus, according to Benjamin Strick, who specializes in analyzing information operations on social media websites."

Meme - "China Then
-Build the Great Wall
-Invented Gunpowder
-Trained Martial Arts
China Now
-Is Scared of Winnie the Pooh"

WOKE WATCH: Millennials rejoice! China app reports 'mistaken opinions' | Toronto Sun - "Mainly, the communist party is cracking down on people who say mean things about the communist party.  Included among the offences are “distorting” the party’s history, leaders, or policies. You can also land in hot water for “denying the excellence of advanced socialist culture.”  CAC blamed “nihilistic false statements” in an “attempt to confuse people’s thinking.”"

Press Censorship Has Always Hurt Democracy. In the Age of COVID-19, It’s Also Killing People - "If China allowed more media freedom, the scale of the pandemic might have been reduced, and countless lives might have been saved. Indeed, a new report from Reporters Without Borders (RSF) concludes that if such freedoms existed, the COVID-19 outbreak might never have become a pandemic in the first place."

China says it has never interfered in other countries' affairs - "China has never interfered in other countries' affairs nor does it have any interest in doing so, a foreign ministry spokesman said on Friday (Nov 6), in response to Australia charging the first person under its foreign interference law.  Wang Wenbin, spokesman with the ministry, was speaking to reporters at a regular news briefing in Beijing"
Hilarious. But China shills will buy it

It’s like I have a memory but without any details of the event : dankmemes - "English kids in history class: Are we the baddies?
German kids in history class: Are we the baddies?
Swedish kids in history class: Are Denmark Norway Russia Poland the baddies?
Chinese kids in history class: We are the goodies and always has and always will and nothing happened at that place at that time"

China Suspends BTS Fan Social Media Accounts as K-Pop Band Drops Single - "Weibo, a Communist Party-controlled social media outlet, had taken action to ban some of the most prominent accounts for fans of the South Korean pop group BTS from the site... The Chinese Communist Party has belied apprehension about national interest in the group, who have become cultural ambassadors for capitalist South Korea around the world, in the past. Last year, Chinese state media outlets, citing government-approved “netizens” on sites like Weibo, condemned the band after member RM thanked the government of the United States and its military for its “sacrifices” in the Korean War. The pro-American sentiment allegedly offended Chinese Communist Party supporters because it did not also thank China. China fought against South Korea in the Korean War...   The Global Times claimed the bans were popular because music fans were annoying.  “The chaos existing in online fan clubs, such as abusing each other, spreading rumors, cyber manhunt and improper consumption, are among the prominent problems on today’s social media,” a Chinese Communist Party official claimed this month, following the announcement of a larger, sweeping government campaign against online pop fandom called “Clear and Bright.” At the time, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) insisted the Communist Party had a responsibility to curb “irrational behaviors” by pop fans online through censorship. The announcement of the campaign did not mention BTS, however, but the fanbase of a Chinese reality television pop star competition."

Opinion | BTS RM Korean War comments: China went up against a K-pop giant — and lost - The Washington Post - "K-pop group BTS accepted the Korea Society’s James A. Van Fleet Award, which recognizes the group’s role in developing goodwill between South Korea and the United States. By all accounts, it was a harmless event focusing on diplomacy. But then band leader Kim Nam-joon, better known as RM, made a comment about the tragedies of the Korean War, saying “we need to always remember the history of pain shared by the two nations, and sacrifices of many men and women.”  This immediately triggered the paranoia of the Chinese propaganda machine, which bizarrely interpreted the remark as an insult because there was no mention of Chinese lives lost during the war. State media flooded Weibo, WeChat and Twitter with misinformation and incited Chinese-nationalist sentiments while denouncing BTS, causing brands such as FILA and Samsung to remove images of the group from their Chinese sites.  Yet as the dust settles on the spat, it has become increasingly clear that China picked a fight with an enemy it can’t beat... By attacking, Beijing likely thought it could curb South Korean influence and reassert its own political importance in one shot. This was a grave misstep. BTS has become one of the most popular global acts with an extremely protective fan base. Its fan battalion, called the ARMY or Adorable Representative M.C. for Youth, has members across all races, genders, creeds, ages, sexualities and nationalities — at least several million of whom are likely Chinese, based on the group’s Weibo account. And K-pop has continued to grow in China despite pressure from Beijing. When the Chinese government put an embargo on South Korean commodities in 2016 — including K-pop — because of THAAD, all of BTS’s music and promotional activities came to a halt in China. Nevertheless, its Chinese fan club was able to buy 220,000 copies of BTS’s latest album through a surrogate shopper and bring them into the country, breaking the record for fan purchases. For group member V’s birthday, Chinese fans raised $935,318 to not only support the band but also donate to charitable causes in the name of their idol.  So, when the Van Fleet Award situation erupted, Chinese nationalists were met with opposition not only from fans but also from regular Chinese netizens who were confused as to why there was a controversy to begin with. This forced state newspaper Global Times to remove some of its smear pieces on BTS and the initial online furor quickly died out. Being challenged was not what Chinese authorities and state media were expecting. Unlike in previous spats — for example, with the National Basketball Association over comments by the Houston Rockets general manager, or with brands such as Marriott over their inclusion of Taiwan and Tibet in some materials — BTS was largely unaffected. Its record label Big Hit Entertainment is still sitting above its initial public offering price. And in the past few years, the group’s global promotional efforts have made them less reliant on China.  The Chinese government underestimated K-pop and just how emotionally passionate fans are for their idols and what they represent — an inclusive safe space that provides a comforting escape, especially in these pandemic-ridden times. This sentiment is not something the government can strong-arm into submission, like its failed attempts to subvert and strong-arm religion. From a cultural standpoint, Beijing made a deeply unwise decision. As the demand for Korean pop culture increases around the world, China’s image continues to suffer. In the recent election to the U.N. Human Rights Council, China received the fewest votes ever since joining. And when a high-level government official such as China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian picks a fight with a boy band, the embarrassing spectacle goes against the image of invulnerability China likes to project. If Beijing cares about its image, it could take a few notes from South Korea. Since the Asian financial crisis of 1997, the South Korean government has been generally supportive of the country’s creative industries"
Xi Da Da does not want anything not under his control flourish

Friday, October 15, 2021

Links - 15th October 2021 (2) (Feminism)

Are Women "Less Ambitious" Than Men? Yes, and Here's Why. - "In a recent study conducted at the Harvard Business School, men and women were shown a ladder with rungs numbered from 1 to 10 and were asked to choose a rung for their ideal position. When thinking about what they wanted, women chose lower rungs on the ladder.  The researchers, and the media, concluded women are less “ambitious” and in many ways, that’s true. Compared to men, women in the study listed life goals that see the whole picture, not just work. They also associate having power with more conflict and negative consequences (which is real, since we still live in patriarchy)... women want to study engineering when they feel it can make a meaningful difference and impact in other people’s lives"
Clearly we must force women to be 50% of leaders - even if they don't want to be leaders

The Yaboiposting - Posts | Facebook - "Actresses are funny. Lately, they all want their movie roles to lack any femininity, sexuality, and personality. Yet they seem to love showing off their goods at awards shows and unfunny late night shows. *Brie Larson on Jimmy Kimmel*"

Modern Video Games Are Giving Kids Unrealistic Standards For How Many Swords They Can Carry At One Time - "out in the real world, I’m worried that they’ll be in for a rude awakening. I shudder to think of my kids grown up and staggering around with half a dozen swords strapped to their back and several on each hip, or worse, armfuls of unsheathed blades. How will they open doors? How can they possibly go up or down stairs? How many childhood gamers need to throw out their backs before we finally tackle this issue head-on?  When a generation that grew up thinking it can strap on nearly unlimited katanas, claymores, falchions, and gladiuses finally comes face to face with reality, it’s going to be ugly.  I’d love to be able to write these games off as harmless wish fulfillment, but what’s “harmless” about literally rewiring children’s brains to see effortlessly toting five swords, two axes, a dozen potions, and a hundred hobgoblin skulls as normal? Nothing."

'Upward-thrusting buildings ejaculating into the sky' – do cities have to be so sexist? | Architecture | The Guardian - "As far back as 1977, an American poet and professor of architecture named Dolores Hayden wrote an article with the explosive headline “Skyscraper seduction, skyscraper rape”. Hayden tore into the male power fantasies embodied in this celebrated urban form. The office tower, she wrote, is one more addition “to the procession of phallic monuments in history – including poles, obelisks, spires, columns and watchtowers”, where architects un-ironically use the language of “base, shaft and tip” while drawing upward-thrusting buildings ejaculating light into the night sky."
"Remember when people were mad about the first hoax paper Peter Boghossian and James Lindsay published on the Conceptual Penis?"

The Transformed Wife 🦋 on Twitter - "Women are repulsed by the idea of serving their husbands yet a “borrower is servant to the lender” (Pr 22:7). Women owe two-thirds of the $1.3 trillion student loan debt. Women willingly serve their lenders (having to get jobs to pay back their loans) rather than their husbands."

Gender enrolment trends in Australian universities - "Females accounted for 58 percent of all domestic students enrolled in Australia Universities in 2016. The ratio is 100 females to only 72 males. This proportion is above the Australian demographic distribution where 49.5 percent of females are in the age group 15 to 39 years and 55 percent are in the age range 15 to 59 years. The proportion of female postgraduates is higher than for undergraduates, accentuating the imbalance. Of the 42 universities in Australia 35 have more female than male students with two having more than70% females. The gender gap is a worldwide phenomenon with the OECD reporting that women now account for 56 percent of students enrolled in higher education... The male participation gender imbalance has consequences for Australian society, including cultural and wealth distribution changes"
Clearly we cannot rest until women are at least 50% of each individual STEM field. It doesn't matter how underepresented men are

Female teacher who had sex with pupil, 16, sobs as she's spared jail - "Parsons pleaded guilty to abuse of a position of trust by causing or inciting sexual activity with a child.However she sobbed in the dock as Judge Philip Statman said exceptional circumstances, including her previous good character, genuine remorse, the impact of custody on her young daughter, and the extensive delay in court proceedings, enabled him to impose a sentence of 12 months' imprisonment suspended for two years. But he told her that although she and the boy had had consensual sex, her behaviour had involved 'significant planning and an element of grooming'."
The 'patriarchy' strikes again

Woman asks if she's 'an a**hole' for wanting to dump her boyfriend because of his rape. She got answers. - "I completely understand that its horrible being a rape victim but honestly i dont know if i could see him the same way again. I had this image of him that's completely shattered and honestly everytime i see him text me I just feel weird now.My best friend thinks i should try to keep dating him for a bit but im really not attracted to him like i was before. We're not broken up yet but im considering it kinda. AITA?"
Of course, feminists will continue to mock men for not showing their emotions

Meme - "It's so attractive when a guy isn't afraid to open up and be emotional. Takes maturity to do this though (imo)"
"The last time a guy cried over me I literally had to force myself to think sad thoughts to stop myself from laughing in his face."
What women say they want, what women think they want and what women really want aren't always the same. Alternatively this can be seen as a test to dupe weak men, just like feminism (since even feminist women prefer sexist men)

‘Ruined’ lives: Mediated white male victimhood - "When the hashtag #metoo began to circulate in digital and social media, it challenged a familiar interpretation of those who are raped or sexually harassed as victims, positioning women as embodied agents. Yet, almost exactly a year after the #metoo movement shot to visible prominence, a different, though eerily similar, story began to circulate on the same multi-media platforms as #metoo: a story about white male victimhood. Powerful men in positions of privilege (almost always white) began to take up the mantle of victimhood as their own, often claiming to be victims of false accusations of sexual harassment and assault by women. Through the analysis of five public statements by highly visible, powerful men who have been accused of sexual violence, I argue that the discourse of victimhood is appropriated not by those who have historically suffered but by those in positions of patriarchal power. Almost all of the statements contain some sentiment about how the accusation (occasionally acknowledging the actual violence) ‘ruined their life’, and all of the statements analyzed here center the author, the accused white man, as the key subject in peril and the authors position themselves as truth-tellers about the incidents. These statements underscore certain shifts in the public perception of sexual violence; the very success of the #metoo movement in shifting the narrative has meant that men have had to defend themselves more explicitly in public. In order to wrestle back a hegemonic gender stability, these men take on the mantle of victimhood themselves."
Great logic. White men cannot be victims because historically "white men" were not victims

"I need feminism because No means No, but sometimes Yes doesn't mean Yes." /r/TumblrinAction takes a light-hearted stab at meaningful/drunk consent : SubredditDrama
"I need feminism because I have no agency and don't want to take responsibility for my life choices" Allie Beth Stuckey on Twitter - "I’m just confused by the women who confidently assert men/the patriarchy have held them back. How? All the people who have given me opportunities & pushed me forward in my career have been men. The most “repression” I’ve suffered has been at the hands of gossipy, petty women."

Princess Power: Longitudinal Associations Between Engagement With Princess Culture in Preschool and Gender Stereotypical Behavior, Body Esteem, and Hegemonic Masculinity in Early Adolescence - "Princess culture is criticized for contributing to gender stereotypes and poor body esteem, however, there is little longitudinal research examining these claims. This study examines associations between engagement with princess culture during early childhood and gender stereotypes, body esteem, and adherence to hegemonic masculinity in early adolescence. Participants included 307 children (51% female, Mage = 4.83 years, 87% White) who completed questionnaires at two time points, 5 years apart. The results indicated that early engagement with princess culture was not associated with later adherence to female gender stereotypes. However, princess engagement was associated with lower adherence to norms of hegemonic masculinity and higher body esteem. Socioeconomic status and gender moderated the results. Effect sizes were small to moderate. The changing nature of Disney princesses is discussed in the context of gender development across childhood."
Another feminist myth destroyed.
Some feminists might claim that modern princesses are different but older ones are "harmful", but even though modern Disney has overhauled their message, they still are not (yet) glorifying obesity. So the fact that body esteem increases with engagement is telling. Furthermore, they did ask about kids' favourite princess, and 5 trained coders assessed princesses' femininity. High femininity princesses included Snow White, Aurora and Cinderella. Low femininity princesses included Merida, Elsa and Moana. Yet, favourite princess was not related to female gender stereotypical behavior, body esteem, attitudes to women or masculine ideology.

The army says you should die for them. Women say you should look after them. People tell men: "Do what's right" People tell women: "Do what's right for you" If you're a man, you need to learn to be selfish and look out for yourself. Put yourself first. Let them cry. : LifeMathMoney

Swedish Left Party Chapter Wants To Make Urinating While Standing Illegal For Men - "Male representatives on the Sormland County Council in Sweden should sit rather than stand while urinating in office restrooms, according to a motion advanced by the local Left Party.  Known as a socialist and feminist organization, the party claims that seated urination is more hygienic for men — the practice decreases the likelihood of puddles and other unwanted residue forming in the stall — in addition to being better for a man’s health by more effectively emptying one’s bladder...   A representative from the party said he hopes to move toward sitting only bathrooms."

Commentary: Is drinking the problem in cases of sexual assault? - "There is indeed a plethora of evidence showing that alcohol often leads to bad decisions and actions. But we don’t typically use alcohol to excuse perpetrators of any other crime. When a drunk driver crashes his car, nobody balks at penalising him for his decision to drink and drive."
/Ironic. If someone said a drunk woman who got "raped" was responsible, good luck to him...

Facebook - "When a man drinks excessively and gets embarrassing photos of himself posted online, we place the fault on him for getting drunk. When a man drinks excessively and gets embarrassing photos of himself posted online, and gets robbed, we place the fault on him for getting drunk, AND on the robber for robbing him. When a man drinks excessively and gets embarrassing photos of himself posted online, and gets robbed, and gets beaten badly, we place the fault on him for getting drunk, AND on the robber for robbing him AND on the person who beat him up. Now flip the gender. When a woman drinks excessively and gets embarrassing photos of herself posted online, we place the fault on her for getting drunk. When a woman drinks excessively and gets embarrassing photos of herself posted online, and gets robbed, we place the fault on her for getting drunk, AND on the robber for robbing her. Yet... When a woman drinks excessively and gets embarrassing photos of herself posted online, and gets robbed, and gets raped, she is suddenly absolutely free from blame? Doesn't compute. Sympathy for the victim, and need for punishment for the rapist, doesn't mean the victim gets complete freedom from taking personal responsibility for making bad decisions."
No one thinks women are as helpless and have as little agency as feminists

Meme - "Look at how Feminism has 'helped' women turn from classy, intelligent, strong women, into braindead, aggressive, misandrists. Replacing dignity with depravity., Education for ignorance, Self respect for self loathing. Feminism destroys women."

Where have all the good men gone? - "I'm not going to cook or make sandwiches"
"I don't want kids and I won't do any chores"
"I won't hang out with your jerk friends"
"I'm not going to try to match society's sexist beauty standards"
"Where have all the good men gone?"

Meme - New York Times Books: "Valerie Solanas is best known as the woman who shot Andy Warhol. But to focus on the shooting is to ignore her contributions to the feminist movement, including her seminal text, "SCUM Manifesto."
Overlooked No More: Valerie Solanas, Radical Feminist Who Shot Andy Warhol
She made daring arguments in "SCUM Manifesto," her case for a world without men. But her legacy as a writer and thinker was overshadowed by one violent act."
"Fidel Castro is best know as a brutal dictator who murdered 11,000 Cubans. But to focus on the murders is to ignore his contributions to the education policies, including his seminal “massive literacy program.”"

I Am a Grooming Gang Survivor: My Story - YouTube
"Video is demonetised, the survivor's account is suspended due to mass reporting by the woke left. Think about what that means.‬"
Feminists only care about sexual assault when it can be ued to shit on men (as a whole)

Colleges, universities seem to hate men. Can Title IX complaints fix? - "Higher education has a gender problem: With a surplus of women and a shortage of male students, colleges are becoming more and more gender unbalanced. The more farsighted among university administrators are starting to worry that this will turn universities into a pink-collar ghetto, places that the public thinks of as finishing schools for girls rather than gateways to middle-class stability.  Part of the problem, of course, is that our K-12 system, staffed overwhelmingly by women whom research shows tend to favor girls, leaves a lot of boys demoralized and uninterested in further education. But another big part of the problem is that college has become an anti-male space.  At today’s universities, masculinity is almost never discussed except in negative terms, usually with the word “toxic” attached. When girls and women are discussed, the question is always about how to help them do better. When boys and men are mentioned, it’s almost always as some sort of a problem. The anti-sex-discrimination education law, Title IX, is supposed to promote sexual equality, but in fact it has been turned into a club with which to beat male students. Universities treat accusations of sexual misconduct against male students (disproportionately, though they don’t like to admit it, minority male students) as presumptively true. The accuser is given all sorts of help and deference, the accused is treated as a criminal from day one, and often not allowed to call witnesses, cross examine his accuser, or otherwise enjoy the sort of due process that, say, a university administrator would demand if accused of a crime. (For instance, Yale student Saifullah Khan was acquitted of rape, based on hard evidence, but still expelled by Yale.) Now people are starting to fight back... Cornell has immense resources dedicated to female students, ranging from a Women’s Health Center (but nothing for men), a Women’s Resource Center (but no Men’s Center) and a total of 390 scholarships available only to women, with no scholarships dedicated to men... Pekgoz has also filed a complaint against Harvard University, based on its partnership with the American Psychological Association, which recently issued guidelines calling “traditional masculinity” harmful. And Harvard is also being sued for discrimination by fraternities and sororities over its ban on single-sex organizations... The irony is that these complaints and lawsuits might have the effect of saving higher education from itself. If college stops being an anti-male space, perhaps more men will want to attend, and save higher education from its ongoing self-marginalization."

Jessica Ellis on Twitter - "Teen stabbed with scissors after pulling student's dress up at Memphis school, police say"
"That's a weird way to say "Sexual assault victim uses self-defense to escape her attacker"
Looks like feminists don't believe in the principle of proportionality
Comment (elsewhere): "Someone flips a girls dress. Most likely as a prank. Retarded simps in the comments freak out and claim it's sexual assault. Jesus Christ the smoothbrains. This shit is on the level of pantsing someone. Its not like he groped her and rubbed up against her. These dumbasses are acting like they've never been to high school before. For fucks sake I've seen women do this to other women back in high school. The absolute state of the neets in this group."

Feminism's Dependency Trap - "The unintended and painful irony of recent feminism’s preoccupation with overcoming male oppression has been to place men at the centre of female identity...   We hear a lot about “male privilege” but historically it has been the “privilege” of men to make their way in the hard world in order to first win a woman’s affections, and then support the family structure financially. We might call this “patriarchy,” but this term isn’t the synonym for misogyny that contemporary progressive political culture seems to think it is. (One has to appreciate the misplaced sincerity of many of my university students who roundly condemn The Patriarchy, while driving their father’s Toyota to campus every day, and using his savings to pay for their tuition. Not infrequently it occurs to me that the people who are most vocal against The Patriarchy are those who have benefited from it the most.)   A further concern I have with the message and tone of contemporary feminism is that women have evidently forgotten that we have power over men as a result of the fact that we’re women—men adore us, and almost all their efforts at work or at home or in social settings, are made to win our approval, if not our admiration. In short, I am bewildered by the fact that in a culture in which The Patriarchy has never had less power over women, women seem to want to attribute to it a greater power than men in fact have, thereby confining women to a position of victimhood and powerlessness.   Victim status holds its own form of power, of course, but this nurtures resentment which is always utterly joyless. Curiously, mainstream feminism seems designed to perpetuate the story of male power and oppression: feminists seem to need it as an antagonist against which to define themselves...   I take a particularly keen interest in telling an alternative story of women because I see my university students anxious and angry about female identity generally. And, as a single mother to two young daughters, I have my own personal stake in the game. Questioning a culture that seems to tacitly naturalize female weakness is more than an academic concern for me... We’re teaching young women to embrace resentment dressed up as liberation and agency. This is a counsel of despair... we need men in order to prove to ourselves that we don’t. I don’t need to sleep with a stuffed animal at night, but were I to insist on mentioning this at every opportunity, it would become abundantly clear that the idea dominated me...   If feminism is, in part, about women being seen as independent and free sexual agents—adults, in other words—then why is it so frightening to them when a man treats them as just that? If women want to be seen as sexual free agents then we should stop acting like scared and helpless children when men treat us as such."

Dave Vescio on Twitter - "Why does every woman know another woman that was raped but no man knows a rapist?"
Responses (elsewhere): "Because we don't hang out with rapist 🤷"
"I dunno. Maybe I don’t hang out with scumbags?"
"Obv bc men arent going to fucking out themselves as rapists like what"
"Why does every guy know a crazy girl, but no girl knows a crazy girl?"

Feminism and mate preference: A study on relational cognitive dissonance - "Evolution proposes differences in mate preferences between the two sexes. Females prefer mates who can invest in them and their offspring. In the contemporary era, gender ideologies are not always in line with these premises, but desires still could be. The conflict between ideology and desire could trigger cognitive dissonance in contemporary feminist women. We recruited 246 women online to investigate the occurrence of dissonance based on feminist attitudes, and whether dissonance reduction strategies (i.e., behavior change, cognition change) differed based on their preference for consistency. Results showed that highly feminist women who desire sexist men experienced more cognitive dissonance (operationalized as negative affect) than women lower in feminist attitudes. Preference for consistency moderated cognitive dissonance's association with behavior, but not cognition change."

Prohibition: everything you wanted to know

Prohibition: everything you wanted to know - HistoryExtra

"‘You have to keep in mind that in the 1830s, in the United States, the the per capita alcohol consumption level was about triple what it is today. Okay. And this caused huge problems. It caused the problems that alcohol always causes. Family issues, particularly. Domestic violence. Inability for men to support families, it's overwhelmingly a male, male issue. And this goes through the society at all sorts of levels. That continues to grow throughout the 19th century, as industrial capitalism becomes the way of the land, more and more in the United States, alcohol becomes more of a problem. 

On the one hand, employers and various other social institutions begin to rely more and more on ideas like efficiency, and timing and workers need to show up and they need to be on top of things and they need to work hard in order to make the profits that they expect. That's a lot different than an older sort of rural society that works on much different sort of rhythms. Likewise, industrialization also leads to a lot of dangerous, a lot of dangerous things. Working in a factory with big machines, working around things that can hurt you, and can hurt other people, you know, a drunken railroad engineer is a problem, they can hurt lots of people’...

‘Does the average American, are they very pro prohibition? Or is there a division in society about this?’

‘It depends on where you are. And what you mean by the average American, the idea of the average American is changing, of course, through the 19th century, in the late 19th century. Essentially, prohibition is very, very strongly supported in small town, white, Anglo Saxon Protestant, and again, this is evangelical Protestantism we're talking about. And it’s very strongly supported there. Okay. Evangelical Protestantism, arises in the US. And it's formulated about the same time as the temperance movement, and they go hand in hand with one another. Evangelicals believe, you know, differently than, than a lot of other Christian groups, that sin can be purged from the world. Most Christian organizations believe that sin is, is part of God's design, you shouldn't sin, you can be forgiven for your sins, you should confess your sins, you can do all of those things. But sinfulness is part of God's design. Resist it, you don't get rid of it. Evangelicals, on the other hand, believe that sinfulness can be purged. That sin can be purged from the world. And I think there's a reason to do that. Because if they're successful, that will help to bring about the second coming of Jesus. Okay. And so they go to work doing that, and they go to work against the things that they think are sinful. 

Among those things, for instance, particularly in the north, is racial slavery. Slavery, enslaved African Americans in the south. And they find it simple because it interferes with one's ability to decide. And again, for evangelicals, you know, the, salvation is a matter of personal choice. Still today, you know, evangelical meetings and revivals, they will say, who here is ready to take Jesus Christ as their personal Savior today? All right. And so that matter of choice requires someone to be free. So in the case of slavery, it's clear that, that, you know, slavery is sinful. It impedes choice and along with all the other things that it does. But you can be a slave to other things than just a southern slave master. And that is, you could pretty much be a slave to the bottle, as well...

Where isn't it backed? Well, that would be in the big cities... we're in a period of very high immigration, and particularly in the later part of the 19th century, what we see is the so called New Immigration, and the New Immigration, it doesn't mean that immigration is new. What it means is that the sources of immigration are different. And rather than the older sort of traditional immigration from northern and western Europe, what you see is a lot more people from Southern Europe, and a lot more people from Eastern Europe, particularly, you see, let's say Italian Catholics, and Russian Jews…

Alcohol and drinking is much different in Europe than it is in the US. And so a lot of those cultures bring their drinking practices with them. Italians drinking wine, also Jewish families and wine, you know, sacramental wine used in various things... we're making this sound very much city-country, that sort of old, old world, white Anglo Saxon Protestant versus the newer world. 

There were also a lot of other people that we would consider to be progressive today that were very much in favor of alcohol prohibition. Booker T. Washington, the African American leader, you know, that the late 19th, early 20th century, the first real sort of major voice of black America after slavery, he was absolutely in favor of it, because he thought it held back African Americans... other, you know, progressive figures, a lot of people who thought of themselves as very sort of informed in terms of science and health, looked at it in health terms and said, no, this is very bad for people. And we really need to, we really need to control this, you know, other sort of organizations like that. The International Workers of the World, which were really very strong left wing movement, they wanted Revolution and the communal ownership of the means of production. They were for Prohibition, because again, it held workers back’...

‘Did people at the time, they really thought it would work?’

‘They did think it would work. I suppose for us looking back, we would think they were incredibly naive. And maybe they were but people in the temperance movement, thought that alcohol was something that had been foisted on the American people by, by these nasty industrialists. By the brewers, by the distillers and by the the saloon owners. In order to get rich. And they took advantage of, particularly of men, they brought them in, they, they they liquored them up, and they created habits in them. And they really thought that if you just stopped that, if you stopped them, that the Light of the Lord would shine through, everybody would straighten up, all of those rough men would stay home and bounce the baby on their knee, and everything would be fine. It's just stop the distillers and the brewers. They never seem to understand that drinking for the majority of people isn't a problem. And that it's important in their lives, particularly the immigrant communities. You know, you have lots of people supporting Prohibition because they thought that this was really hurting the sort of immigrant working class and holding them back. But they never thought to ask those people about what it meant to sit down with your family at dinner and of course, you had a glass of wine with your, with your meals and that sort of thing. Or the importance of sacramental wine or whatever. They never thought to ask them about it. But they just thought that it was holding them back’...

‘Al Capone is the most famous of the gangsters of the 1920s. It's not because what he did is so particularly different than what lots of others were doing. It's, it's because he loved publicity. And he was happy to do interviews, he was happy to talk freely about what he was doing. He dressed up in, you know, Santa Claus outfits for local children. He was happy to be in the newspapers, he had no problem with that at all’...

‘Was Al Capone's brother really a Prohibition agent?’

‘Yeah, he was. Al Capone comes from a large family. He had nine siblings. His older siblings were born back in Sicily, including his older brother. His older brother grew up in the US, he was ashamed of his accent. He thought it held him back. He did everything he could to lose that accent and he idolized cowboys. He changed his name then, to, to William Hart, Two-Gun Hart., he became known as. Did Al Capone know him well? Probably not that well. He was, he was quite a bit older and he becomes a federal agent. A Prohibition agent and is known again for extremely strongarm tough tactics. Two-Gun Hart, the guy who patterns himself on cowboys and shoots up, you know bootleggers, is his reputation. He ends up living the rest of his life as a agent on Native American reservations. Bureau of Indian Affairs’...

‘We've had a couple of questions sent in from listeners to do with taxes’...

‘It's a huge amount of money that was lost from the taxation of alcohol. But was there a compensatory tax? There was indeed, let me explain this. The brewers who, the Brewers Association that I mentioned before, led by Adolphus Busch, Adolphus Busch was a man who thought that he could turn back the entire temperance wave himself. And he could do it basically through bribery. And through the vast amount of money that he threw around. Again, he is the, he runs the Anheuser Busch brewery, which of course, still exists today with a very famous brand of beer, the most famous American brand of beer, right? And he thought that he could turn back the entire thing. Why was he so confident? Well, for a lot of reasons, they could do things like control newspapers, again, the amount of advertising, the amount of money they could throw around, he made huge amounts of money, it didn't bother him in the least. Throw around whatever it took to get their way. But the thing that he always had going, right, that the Brewers had, was the tax, because there were years when the US government made as much as 70% of their income on alcohol tax, and he knew there was no way that they would ever ban alcohol as long as it was that kind of a source of wealth. 

But a very bad thing happened to them in 1913. And that was the passage of an income tax for the first time. Right. And so US income taxes suddenly come into play. The dry forces led by Wayne Wheeler, who again was absolutely ruthless, he seemed to know everything, knew that that could happen. Right. So who's pushing income tax in the US? Well, the anti saloon movement for one, because Wheeler knew that the moment that they get in the, an income tax, that that means that the dependence on alcohol tax would fall through the floor as it did. Right? And it made it made it possible then to do that, along with, you know, some of the other factors that we talked about. And, and particularly the fact that the Brewers Association conducted its business in German, they were behind Germany in the First World War, they were all about German culture... the government lost a huge amount of money in alcohol tax, but they made it and more back through income tax...

The legacy of Prohibition, you know, people look at it as this great failure. I think that we need to nuance that a lot, we can do it by looking at the, the legacy. On the one hand, if the goal is to decrease alcohol consumption, okay. It's successful, initially, at least, alcohol consumption drops by about a third in the United States. People who drank drank more, it was dangerous in many ways. You could buy you know, if you were buying the branded alcohol from you know, as a reputable, reputable criminals, you could get anything. And there are instances of people drinking horrible things, and something called Ginger Jake, in the Midwest that was laced with wood alcohol and caused a horrible nerve disorder called Jake Leg. That's sort of the most famous instance. But it was, it was tough, but people who drink, they tend to drink more. 

Nonetheless, drinking levels dropped, it took until the 1970s until the average consumption of alcohol was at the same level it was before Prohibition in the US, which is striking. And I don't think that people very often realize the impact that it does have on alcohol consumption. It caused a lot of other things to change. The saloon never came back. Right, the rough male only fighting, drinking, you know, disaster, that I say disaster, you know, often and certainly in the eyes of temperance people it had its good sides as well, union organizing, finding out who's hiring and where, that kind of thing is, is done through saloons, as well. But nonetheless, the saloon never comes back. Women continue to go out to drink. This does have a calming element on men's drinking, the fighting, as bad as it can be, all of that is, nonetheless drops. Quite a lot. 

Many states in many areas still have very strong anti alcohol laws. You know, it's different in different states. People who have gone on a ski holiday in Utah, for instance, will know that you have to buy alcohol from a state store. Restaurants, you have to go to a package shop in order to bring your bottle with you, as Prohibition laws often do, you often end up drinking more, you know, you walk into a restaurant with an entire bottle of vodka and all they're doing is charging you, you know, orange juice to, to mix your vodka, and you end up sitting there and you can end up drinking a lot more. I, you know, went to high school and university in Oregon, and at least then, it may still be the same, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, run, ran state liquor stores, and that's where you'd have to go, you could buy beer in the grocery store. But but spirits, you have to buy in a packet shop. So that kind of regulation is still there. 

You know, there's actually a lot more regulation of alcohol after Prohibition than then during it. Things like age, things like opening hours, all of that kind of stuff can be controlled when there is, when it's legal, and the government can go in and regulate it. When it was illegal, it was everywhere, and everything. Anybody could could get a hold of whatever they can get a hold of, because it's all criminal anyway. Right. So all of those sort of controls on drinking, are there. 

And also, I think it's important to keep in mind that the temperance movement is still very, very active. Still around us. You know, when you teach these things or talk to students about it, people will laugh and think, oh, yeah, time when the, you know, the country, people and their pitchforks all got angry, and they tried to ruin the city people's fun. That's all gone now, though, isn't it? Well, it's, the temperance movement is still very active, and it's still very powerful. We have it in Britain. Scientific temperance, though, rather than moral, tends to be dominant. You know, we hear all the time about 21 units, 14 units, whatever the unit number of drinks that we're supposed to drink, in terms of health is, that's, that's scientific temperance, and it's still, you know, clearly there. There's also moral temperance. 

Again, I'll, you know, stick with the British examples, you know, how many times do you watch a documentary on television, about binge drinking, and there are the youth there, they are rolling in the streets. Again, it's completely sexualized, young women wearing, you know, not enough clothing to keep warm, you know, on a cold Newcastle evening, let's say. And there they are really drunk. And again, there's the moral thing about heavy drinking. Are these real problems? Sure, at some level they are. But again, we still have those same kinds of things. 

I suppose the last point, you know, to make is, you know, thinking about that, particularly in the US context, is that the biggest temperance organization in the US has, the WCTU still exists. And they're still in the temperance game, although they're much smaller than they were. But it's something called Mothers Against Drunk Driving. And they were incredibly influential in the late 20th century, started by a woman whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver. And they did things like push through laws in the US, where many states allowed people to drink at the age of 18. 

But Mothers Against Drunk Driving went to work with incredibly well orchestrated television campaigns, advertising campaigns, and they pushed through legislation that basically said, you don't get any federal highway money unless you raise the drinking age in your state to 21. So the state's free to say you can drink at 18, but you won't get any federal highway money. Well, needless to say all 50 states have, put in the age of 21, as the legal drinking age, so those organizations still exist, still exist with us today’"

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