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Mick Jagger and my exhausting brain

by Greg Krehbiel on 1 December 2017

A friend just asked if I ever have moments where things are going well and I sit back, enjoy the moment and think, “you know, life is good.”

Of course I do, but it’s often not quite that simple.

For example, if I see a baby laughing, I enjoy it. It makes me laugh. But my annoying brain immediately interrupts and says, “you know that’s just a trick. You only enjoy that because it’s better for the survival of humanity if people are solicitous to babies. So your ‘enjoyment’ is just your biology speaking — tricking you into liking things for its own reasons.”

The same thing happens if I see an attractive woman, or smell or taste something delicious. Some part of my brain has to try to spoil the fun and remind me that there’s nothing inherently good-looking about a particular form. A leopard or a Hrossa or a Ferengi might not have the same reaction, or might find what I like disgusting. This is all just stuff coded into my genes to make me appreciate things that promote the survival of the race.

Yeah, my brain is a killjoy.

When this starts to happen I sing: “I know it’s only flesh and bones but I like it.”

3 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2017-12-01  ::  Greg Krehbiel

It would be even worse if Trump were removed

by Greg Krehbiel on 1 December 2017

“Morning Joe” calls for Trump to be removed by Cabinet-led coup.

Trump is definitely a loose cannon and not “presidential” in the way we’ve come to think of that term. Or perhaps in any reasonable way to understand that term. But I don’t know what he has specifically done that would justify removing him from office. (Although let’s see what Mueller comes up with!)

Still, let’s say there is something. Let’s say Trump is mentally ill, and enough people in his inner circle believe that and think he can no longer serve. I’m afraid that removing him from office on such terms would be a big mistake — unless something is done to pacify the angst that put him in office in the first place.

Here’s the problem. A large portion of the public believes that “politics as usual” has been ignoring them and their concerns for decades. (It doesn’t matter if they’re right in that belief.) They feel beset and put upon by forces beyond their control, and the politicians seem (1) complicit, and (2) not willing to admit there’s a problem. The politicians will say everything is fine and the problems are all imaginary, when everyone can see for themselves that things are different. E.g., there are now (and didn’t used to be) dozens of foreigners at Home Depot every Saturday looking for pick-up work, foreigners taking jobs, etc.

You can come up with whatever high-minded ideas and justifications for this that you like, and you may be right, but it doesn’t matter. People don’t vote because of what’s right. They vote because of how they feel.

A large number of people can see America changing with their own two eyes, and they ask, “who authorized this? When did we agree to change our country so fundamentally?”

But that’s not all. They watched as Clinton, Bush and Obama did nothing to stop North Korea, and have been ineffective against global terrorism. Mostly — at least it seems this way — because they were afraid of confrontation. I know that sounds silly since we’ve been in a constant state of war for close to two decades, but it’s not silly. We seem to be fighting a war with our hands tied behind our back, and that makes people very frustrated.

People see their buying power deteriorating, their job prospects disappearing, and the future looking less bright than it ever has.

Meanwhile, their “representatives” just keep playing party politics. The people feel a huge disconnect between their lives and what Washington cares about.

Trump was able to tap into that feeling. (So was Bernie.) It’s a legit question whether he’s going to be able to do anything about any of it, but at least he understood and admitted the problem. People are sick of mealy-mouthed talk, beating around the bush and being diplomatic / politically correct. They were so sick of it that they were willing to look past Trump’s obvious problems and elect him. Which is a very remarkable thing. He was horribly unqualified and had lots of negatives. So clearly he understood something that everybody else was missing.

I think it’s very unlikely that Trump will be removed from office, but if he were — without addressing the angst that put him in office in the first place — you’re going to have a huge problem. And near as I can tell, the anti-Trump people still have not come to terms with why he won, and still don’t understand it. Not even a little.

6 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2017-12-01  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Funny juxtaposition of stories

by Greg Krehbiel on 30 November 2017


 ::  Add your comment  ::  2017-11-30  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Oh, so grant money does affect science

by Greg Krehbiel on 29 November 2017

I think I know what NPR wants me to conclude from this story.

Climate Scientists Watch Their Words, Hoping To Stave Off Funding Cuts

They want me to think the evil Trump administration is on an ignorant campaign against the established dogma of climate change, so those poor, underfunded scientists need to find ways to play with words to get past the Inquisitor.

Okay. But there’s another way to look at this. Research follows the money, and the money follows the political fads. Or, to put it another way, scientists know which side their bread is buttered on.

1 comment  ::  Add your comment  ::  2017-11-29  ::  Greg Krehbiel

The unexamined deceit of the female libido

by Greg Krehbiel on 28 November 2017

If you can stomach it, give this a quick skim. The Unexamined Brutality of the Male Libido

It’s perfectly alright for the “paper of record” to print a disgusting hit job on half the population. Provided it’s the male half.

When I was doing research for my book on thoughts for men — Eggs are Expensive, Sperm is Cheap (which happens to be free today on Kindle) — I read a lot of ugly stuff from the “men’s movement.” Some of it is truly nasty. But I’m not sure it’s any worse than this garbage from the NY Times.

They should be ashamed of themselves.

(P.S. — the headline of this post is, of course, a parody of the title of the article linked above. I don’t think the female libido is deceitful — whatever that would mean.)

16 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2017-11-28  ::  Greg Krehbiel

I guess I’m a racist

by Greg Krehbiel on 28 November 2017

I play flag football with some friends from time to time. One day, one of my friends brought along his daughter, who was wearing some leather boots with frills. Kinda like these. Double Fringe Tramper Boot

I couldn’t remember her name, so I called her Pocahontas.

Mea maxima culpa.

9 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2017-11-28  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Are we witnessing a “sex panic”?

by Greg Krehbiel on 27 November 2017

I’ve seen that phrase tossed around a bit lately, and it’s got me wondering ….

The media loves to take a few incidents and make an epidemic out of it, to scare us — so we keep watching the news. Child abductions, airplane crashes, etc. And now, sexual predators.

We all know that there are sexual predators out there. We know the kinds of environments that can lend themselves to that sort of problem.

Is it a surprise that people in positions of power abuse that power? In a nation of 320 million, is it all that shocking that a couple dozen have been exposed recently?

3 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2017-11-27  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Just say “gender non-conforming” and be done with it

by Greg Krehbiel on 27 November 2017

It’s gone past silly into madness. Teachers Attend ‘LGGBDTTTIQQAAP’ Sensitivity Training (WTF?)

I have a similar reaction to “people of color.” Just say “non-white,” please.

5 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2017-11-27  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Liberals who “genuinely can’t comprehend” anything outside their own echo chamber

by Greg Krehbiel on 27 November 2017

This one made me laugh: Archbishop of Canterbury baffled by Christians who back Trump.

The Most Reverend Justin Welby told ITV’s “Peston on Sunday” program that he “really genuinely” can’t comprehend why fundamentalists have provided such a strong base for Trump.

“There’s two things going through my mind: do I say what I think, or do I say what I should say? And I’m going to say what I think,” he said on the show, referring to the support Trump has garnered, especially from so-called Evangelical Christians. “No, I don’t understand it. I really genuinely do not understand where that is coming from.”

That’s no surprise to me. It’s my experience that many liberals are simply incapable of understanding conservatives, and there is some “social science” that allegedly demonstrates this. I.e., when conservatives are asked to answer questions as if they were liberal, they do a decent job of it, but when liberals are asked to answer questions as a conservative, they do horribly.

I suspect that in this case the bish feels that his inability to understand those vile Trumpers is some sort of virtue.

6 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2017-11-27  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Is “sexual harassment” too vague?

by Greg Krehbiel on 22 November 2017

I saw a headline or a tweet or something to the effect that 25 members of Congress are under investigation for “sexual harassment.” I’m not sure what that means, or how significant it is.

Does that mean 25 members have been accused? Have they been credibly accused? By one, or by several people? For boorish behavior, or for actual assault? With adults, or with children? With employees or not?

I don’t want to excuse any sexual harassment, but I also don’t want to participate in a witch hunt.

Remember when people went crazy about “recovered memories” of child sexual assault, and most of it turned out to be nonsense?

“Sexual harassment” can be anything from calling a female colleague “toots,” or making an unwanted pass, to actual rape.

Do we need more precision about this? Should there be classes of sexual harassment?

If you say that an unwanted pass is a “class 1” violation, I’m fairly sure some people will say that trivializes it, and we should “take all sexual harassment seriously.” Besides, if you define sexual harassment broadly enough, then every woman can participate in the “me too” campaigns. We don’t want to leave anybody out, do we? I mean, it’s got to be embarrassing if you’re the only woman in your coffee group who hasn’t been harassed. What’s wrong with you? (I’m mostly joking, but I have been in conversations where women who say they’ve never been harassed have been treated as if they’re in denial, or insufficiently aware.)

It seems that failing to make distinctions causes harm because it makes it tempting to trivialize the whole topic, which is a bad thing.

When the headline screams “Senator accused of sexual harassment,” the cynical reader will think, “yeah, he probably complimented an intern on her dress.” Because — let’s be honest — sometimes it is that silly, and after a while it becomes like the boy who cried “wolf.”

But it’s not silly. Sexual harassment is real and it’s a serious problem. I am not in any way trying to minimize the obvious problem we have about this. There’s clearly abuse going on, and it seems to be more pervasive than a lot of people think. And it’s precisely because I believe it’s a problem that I think we need to have a little more clarity in our language about it.

If an unwanted try at a kiss is just as much “sexual harassment” as rape, the term becomes meaningless, and that’s a bad thing.

13 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2017-11-22  ::  Greg Krehbiel

2017-11-21 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
When the drone swarm comes …
+ 1 comment
2017-11-21 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
God is so relieved
2017-11-08 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
How to lie with statistics
2017-11-08 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
A bad day for Trump?