Archive for the ‘Society’ Category

Is “lesbian” out?

November 28, 2007

Another stupid CNN headline: “Gay retired general questions candidates.” I bet he really got in their faces about homophobia in the military. Here’s the CNN screencap:

cnn_lesbiana.png

Somehow, questions like this are supposed to appear legitimate when asked by gay men. Professional enough? Seems a diversion from the real question: whether the presence of openly homosexual forces helps or hurts unit cohesion and loyalty.

And is “lesbiana” a typo or is this the new self-appointed adjective for homosexual women? Is the final “A” meant to emphasize their feminine gender? Can I start calling gay men “lesbianos”? I mean, I’m not gonna lie to ya . . . lesbiana with each other here. This seems silly to me. I thought these people were into ultra-inclusiveness. You know, GLBTQ—where Q used to stand for Queer, but now apparently stands for Questioning. I guess the L now stands for lesbiana. Stay tuned until next week, when the homosexual intelligentsia decides that the remaining letters also stand for words too outmoded to express the full complexity of the “alternative lifestyle.”

(By the way, the article itself didn’t say a single word about homosexuals.)

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Diversity: “The conversions were forced conversions.”

August 18, 2007

Diversity is a full-fledged social dogma these days: we’re all better off individually and collectively by being around an ethnically diverse and values-diverse group than we are if we limit ourselves to hanging out with our own kind. One of the great ironies of higher education is that it is supposed to be a place of free inquiry, where ideas stand or fall on their own merits; yet diversity is set up as the source of this freedom of inquiry, as its guarantor; diversity is therefore sacrosanct, shielded from all criticism, indeed, in some cases a shibboleth to academic advancement, and those who question it find themselves under a very real but unscientifically-justifiable social stigma.

Instead of setting up diversity as the source of free inquiry, why not set up Truth instead? Oneness, unity . . . instead of plurality and fragmentation?

While I’m not an enemy of any particular ethnic group, I’m certainly against many values that are not my own. Any benefit I get from being around people holding those values amounts to the extent to which they can help me understand and strengthen my own viewpoint. Diversity says it’s better if others don’t think like I do. I don’t see how this principle of institutionalized fragmentation can bode well for societies.

Robert Putnam, a Harvard professor, has done a huge study of diversity and found it doesn’t deliver on the grandiose promises that “diversity officers” across the nation (and world) have been making for it. Read this WSJ editorial discussing it. Here are a couple of highlights.

“Diverse communites may be yeasty and even creative . . .” (YEASTY. Nice.)

A quotation from the original study:

Inhabitants of diverse communities tend to withdraw from collective life, to distrust their neighbors, regardless of the color of their skin, to withdraw even from close friends, to expect the worst from their community and its leaders, to volunteer less, give less to charity and work on community projects less often, to register to vote less, to agitate for social reform more, but have less faith that they can actually make a difference, and to huddle unhappily in front of the television.

The editorial concludes that immigration is “inexorable” but that assimilation into the middle class is the best hope for fighting against the detrimental effects of “diverse” communities. The study suggests a model for assimilation:

Here, too, Robert Putnam has a possible assimilation model. Hold onto your hat. It’s Christian evangelical megachurches. “In many large evangelical congregations,” he writes, “the participants constituted the largest thoroughly integrated gatherings we have ever witnessed.” This, too, is an inconvenient truth. They do it with low entry barriers to the church and by offering lots of little groups to join inside the larger “shared identity” of the church. A Harvard prof finds good in evangelical megachurches. Send this man a suit of body armor!

I would guess that the more doctrinally squishy of the megachurches would end up having less solid integration than the more doctrinally sound ones. But this sounds like a much-needed study to put this completely oversold and overblown concept of “diversity” into perspective. Now it’s time for universities to fire their Diversity VPs, dismantle their offices, and spend those millions of dollars on things that actually help students. Like hiring more real professors instead of armies of adjuncts.

Let a stranger pick your baby’s name

June 24, 2007

From the Wall Street Journal: I guess people are becoming more sophisticated in their approach to picking names for their children (i.e., they are freaking out). They want something snappy, not trendy, and that will give their children a “corporate edge” when time comes for them to get jobs.

This means a lot more “made-up” names. In that respect, I think some of our foreign friends have a better system than we do:

In Germany, the government still bans invented names and names that don’t clearly designate a child’s sex. Sweden and Denmark forbid names that officials think might subject a child to ridicule. Swedish authorities have rejected such names as Veranda, Ikea and Metallica.

A few that have come across my path in recent weeks: Slivy, Jenifer, Ginnifer, Raluca. Don’t forget Orange’jello and Lemon’jello . . . I’m serious. And I was helped the other day at Home Depot by a woman named Na’Stashia. As Russ said in National Lampoon’s Vacation, “Is that made up? That sounds made up.”

Ex-wife becomes a man; ex-husband seeks end to alimony

March 28, 2007

The article says that the ex-husband (who is still a man) will likely have to keep paying $1,250 a month to his ex-wife (who is now also a man). But I am rooting for the ex-husband. It seems to get one into contradictions to say that sex changes are okay, but that for purposes of alimony payments one must act as if no sex change occurred.

Velocity Credit Union update

March 18, 2007

Seen this morning on the way to church:

From lasik fees to shopping sprees. Lifestyle loans for what you want. Now.

Link to the original Velocity marquee post.

Lifestyle loans

March 14, 2007

There’s a scrolling marquee off the freeway by me for Velocity Credit Union:

From LCDs to SUVs. Lifestyle loans for what you want. Now.

It used to be even more offensive:

From pickup trucks to tummy tucks. Lifestyle loans for what you want. Now.

I’m of the opinion that loans should be used for things you need, not things you want. And that taking on debt should be related to need, and not a “lifestyle” decision. I know that virtually since the dreaded “dawn of time” people have racked up debts in order to live in a certain style and at a certain level (courtiers come to mind right away) but I don’t get the idea that Velocity Credit Union is targeting aristocrats with their appeal to pickup trucks and tummy tucks.

Facing Middle Age With No Degree, and No Wife – New York Times

August 6, 2006

Facing Middle Age With No Degree, and No Wife – New York Times

The caption on the first photograph in this article reminds me of the Simpsons episode in which the Van Houtens divorced. Mr. Van Houten moves into an apartment community with lots of juvenile amenities, such as beds shaped like racecars. Mr. VH tries to impress Homer with his new independence: “I sleep in a racecar!” Homer pulls him back to reality by replying: “I sleep with my wife . . .”

A couple of highlights from the article:
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