Weekend reading recommendations

Some articles that  illustrate important changes in our world.

Excepts appear below for these:

  1. The war on terror is the real women’s issue“, Mark Steyn, Macleans, 9 January 2006 — Brief excerpt, setup for the following article.  Men behaving like alarmed cattle.
  2. Excusing the men who ran away“, Mark Steyn, Macleans, 5 March 2009 — “The new film ‘Polytechnique’ sidesteps the old norm of ‘women and children first’.”
  3. Stupid, feckless, greedy: that’s you, that is“, Brendan O’Neill, Spiked, 16 March 2009 — “Spiked reports from the premiere of The Age of Stupid, a cretinous film that unwittingly exposes the elitism and dodgy science of the green lobby.” 

Worth reading, but no excerpts given:

  1. Obama’s Czars Breed Chain-of-Command Confusion“, Cindy Skrzycki, Bloomberg, 17 March 2009 — Amateur-night organization, with up to 11 white house aids knighted at “czars” — sowing confusion among the already over-managed Executive agencies.
  2. On War #293: The Price of Bad Tactics“, William Lind, Defense and the National Interest, 23 February 2009 We do airstrikes that don’t work because our infantry tactics are bad.
  3. The problem with not having kids“, Mark Steyn, Macleans, 24 February 2009 — “Saving the planet for the next generation by not having a next generation is a bad idea.”
  4. Fear of Reese Witherspoon Look-Alikes on the Pill“, Brad Delong (Prof Economics at Berkeley), posted at his blog, 16 march 2009 — No matter what foolish things Charles Freeman said, nothing matches this!
  5. The Exiled Online reports on the Mexican Drug War — I have no idea as to the accuracy of these reports, but they are more vivid than the prose of Stratfor and the mainstream media.

Of special interest:  “Does Policy Endanger Female Soldiers?“, CBS News, 18 March 2008 — “Female Troops Face Threat Of Sexual Abuse By Comrades As use of ‘Moral Waivers’ by Army and Marines Increase.” For the significance of this, see my post 28 Articles: a guide to a successful insurgency against America (7 May 2007).

Excerpts

(1)  “The war on terror is the real women’s issue“, Mark Steyn, Macleans, 9 January 2006 — Brief excerpt, setup for the following article. Excerpt:

Thus, every December 6, our own unmanned Dominion lowers its flags to half-mast and tries to saddle Canadian manhood in general with the blame for the Montreal massacre — the 14 women murdered by Marc Lepine, born Gamil Gharbi, the son of an Algerian Muslim wife-beater, though you wouldn’t know that from the press coverage. Yet the defining image of contemporary Canadian maleness is not M Lepine/Gharbi but the professors and the men in that classroom, who, ordered to leave by the lone gunman, meekly did so, and abandoned their female classmates to their fate — an act of abdication that would have been unthinkable in almost any other culture throughout human history. The “men” stood outside in the corridor and, even as they heard the first shots, they did nothing. And, when it was over and Gharbi walked out of the room and past them, they still did nothing. Whatever its other defects, Canadian manhood does not suffer from an excess of testosterone.

(2)  “Excusing the men who ran away“, Mark Steyn, Macleans, 5 march 2009 — “The new film ‘Polytechnique’ sidesteps the old norm of ‘women and children first’.”

And yet, despite his artfulness, he can’t quite pull it off. He focuses his efforts on two composite students, Valérie (Karine Vanasse) and Jean-François (Sébastien Huberdeau). They’re sitting next to each other at the back of the class when the killer walks in and barks the two most important words in the movie: “Séparez-vous!” This is the hinge moment in the story, the point that determines whether the killer’s scenario will play out as intended, or whether it will be disrupted: drama turns on choices because choice reveals character.

But, when the man with the gun issues his instructions, every single male in the room meekly obeys him and troops out, and we are invited to identify with Jean-François because unlike the rest, who shuffle for the exit as if for a fire drill, he alone glances back and makes momentary eye contact with Valérie. Oh, the humanity!

And then, like everyone else, he leaves the room.

“I wanted to absolve the men,” Villeneuve said. “Society condemned them. People were really tough on them. But they were 20 years old . . . It was as if an alien had landed.”

But it’s always as if an alien had landed. When another Canadian director, James Cameron, filmed Titanic, what most titillated him were the alleged betrayals of convention. It’s supposed to be “women and children first,” but he was obsessed with toffs cutting in line, cowardly men elbowing the womenfolk out of the way and scrambling for the lifeboats, etc. In fact, all the historical evidence is that the evacuation was very orderly. In reality, First Officer William Murdoch threw deck chairs down to passengers drowning in the water to give them something to cling to, and then he went down with the ship-the dull, decent thing, all very British, with no fuss. In Cameron’s movie, Murdoch takes a bribe and murders a third-class passenger. (The director subsequently apologized to the first officer’s hometown in Scotland and offered 5,000 pounds toward a memorial. Gee, thanks.) Pace Cameron, the male passengers gave their lives for the women, and would never have considered doing otherwise.

“An alien landed” on the deck of a luxury liner-and men had barely an hour to kiss their wives goodbye, watch them clamber into the lifeboats and sail off without them. The social norm of “women and children first” held up under pressure.

At the École Polytechnique, there was no social norm. And in practical terms it’s easier for a Hollywood opportunist like Cameron to trash the memory of William Murdoch than for a Quebec filmmaker to impose redeeming qualities on a plot where none exist. In Polytechnique, all but one of the “men” walk out of that classroom and out of the story. Only Jean-François acts, after a fashion. He hears the shots . . . and rushes back to save the girl he’s sweet on? No, he does the responsible Canadian thing: he runs down nine miles of windowless corridor to the security man on duty and tells him all hell’s broken loose. So the security guard rushes back to tackle the nut? No, he too does the responsible Canadian thing: he calls the police. More passivity. Polytechnique’s aesthetic is strangely oppressive-not just the “male lead” who can’t lead, but a short film with huge amounts of gunfire yet no adrenalin.

… I prefer the word passivity-a terrible, corrosive, enervating passivity. Even if I’m wetting my panties, it’s better to have the social norm of the Titanic and fail to live up to it than to have the social norm of the Polytechnique and sink with it. M Villeneuve dedicates his film not just to the 14 women who died that day but also to Sarto Blais, a young man at the Polytechnique who hanged himself eight months later. Consciously or not, the director understands what the heart of this story is: not the choice of one man, deformed and freakish, but the choice of all the others, the nice and normal ones. He shows us the men walking out twice-first, in real time, as it were; later, Rashômon-style, from the point of view of the women, in the final moments of their lives.

If M Villeneuve can’t quite face the implications of what he shows us, we at least have an answer to Mme Bazzo’s question: you can’t make art out of such a world. Whether you can even make life out of it for long will be an interesting question for Quebec, Canada and beyond in the years ahead.

(3)  “Stupid, feckless, greedy: that’s you, that is“, Brendan O’Neill, Spiked, 16 march 2009 — “Spiked reports from the premiere of The Age of Stupid, a cretinous film that unwittingly exposes the elitism and dodgy science of the green lobby.”  Excerpt:

Imagine a film in which an Asian businessman who spoke loftily of ‘eradicating poverty’ was cast as the villain, while an insufferably middle-class wind-turbine developer from Cornwall was held up as the hero.

Imagine a film in which the audience was encouraged to giggle at the sight of the wealthy Asian using a red carpet to board his plane – ha ha, who do these foreigners think they are! – and was then cajoled into crying when the wind-turbine developer phoned his mum to break the news that Bedford Council refused him permission to build 10 new windmills. Imagine a film which played so promiscuously fast and loose with the ‘scientific facts’ that it strongly implied that the Asian businessman’s penchant for flying was responsible for fatal rainstorms in Mumbai, and that Bedford Council’s rejection of our heroic wind-turbine developer’s planning application led to Bedford’s ‘worst ever floods’ in 2007.

No one would make such a morally warped film, right? Wrong. All of the above comes from The Age of Stupid, a half-documentary, half-‘peril porn’ hybrid, which has been hailed by commentators as ‘the most powerful piece of cultural discourse on climate change ever produced’, but which left this reviewer feeling more than a little nauseous at its solar-powered, carbon-lite premiere in London yesterday.

Afterword

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17 thoughts on “Weekend reading recommendations

  1. This generation, this metrosexual left, ideologically castrates its young bulls into steers in the early years of schooling, then reinforces the castration throughout adolescents and adulthood. The poor mind enfeebled steers are chuted down the leftmost green path until that is all they understand. Passive to a fault, unless confronted with someone such as FM, who suggests that they might have chosen a different path.

  2. FM, facinating summary of the destruction feminism has wrought. i saw it first hand in the military. it’s not that women can’t do the job, mostly, it’s that men can’t do the job when women are around. and for every story of harrasment, i could tell two of women who would do “anything” to pass a certain class or course. yes there is a lot of groping and grabbing, but for every woman who has to sleep with a knife, there’s several who joined the military specifically to shop for mates and to be “adored.”

  3. Fabius, I wasn’t aware of that particular incident. Thank you for making us aware.

    Another tale of the primacy of the legal system over morality. We have been taught to leave action to the ‘experts’. Except, in a lot of instances, there really aren’t any and certainly none able to act with the immediacy that situation required. But don’t blame those poor men. Each of them probably thought about what would happen if they had acted – the likely loss of life or wounding of one of the group, their vilification in the press for acting ‘rashly’ and not ‘waiting for the experts’, the inevitable criminal trial and civil trials, and the long term damage to their reputation, livelihoods, and probable ability to earn a living due to the attendant notoreity. In other words, in a best case situation they might get out alive with a life not worth living.

    So nothing was done. And one even killed himself out of shame. And many died. We are coming to accept the irrationality of these sorts of situations by noting that they acted in a legalistic “reasonable and proper” manner. But circumstances failed none the less. And will continue to do so. Once, such men who acted out of bravery were declared heroes. Now, they are submitted to the court system to be dissected and either ruined or imprisoned.

    Such is benefit of the triumph of feminism, and the downfall of paternalism? I, for one, am not impressed. Perhaps it is time to go back to that wonderful Phillip Longman article you posted a few months back on how patriarchial societies clean matriarchal societies’ clocks and reflect further on it.

  4. Defending the men: firstly, agree with above post, we are told to sit quiet and let the experts deal with it. (Since Beslan, the best advice may be to immediately scatter and run !). If act bravely, we end up in prison for assault. Secondly, when asked to separate, I’d have thought the men would have expected the worse things would happen to them; so by going out calmly, they did follow the ‘ Birkenhead Drill ‘ (Birkenhall?). Thirdly, we take cues from our fellows, so we dont act inappropriately. It needed one woman to say – Help! Dont go! Defending the patriarchal society (although not defending honour killings – or abortions). In return, the man is supposed to be the provider, protector, and someone worthy of being looked up to. (Yeah, dream on.) Also, some religious rules may have been about health issues. Eg , eating pigmeat. So, lock up your women – keep STDs out your family.
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    Fabius Maximus replies: Were this comment from a man, my reply would burn out your screen. As it is not, I will note that most men know know by instinct that this is arrant nonsense.

    On a lower level, of fact and logic, her second point is false. By leaving the room containing the gunman, there was no reasonable basis to expect “worse things would happen to them.”

  5. Self defense for women classes teach that it is better to die fighting and screaming on the spot than to obey, and get in a car with your assailant, gun or no. Do we need “How to be a man classes” that explain leaving the armed psycho with the women is also a bad idea?
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    Fabius Maximus replies: That’s an interesting perspective. Going back to the Sabine Women, few buy into the “death before dishonor” mindset. An esp odd viewpoint in an age of “hooking up.” Death before partner #25!

    However, you point about the behavior of men is, shall I say, seminal.

  6. Mark Steyn’s article elided a significant detail. From Wikipedia:

    After approaching the student giving a presentation, he asked everyone to stop everything and ordered the women and men to opposite sides of the classroom. No one moved at first, believing it to be a joke until he fired a shot into the ceiling.

    Lépine then separated the nine women from the approximately fifty men and ordered the men to leave.

    Fifty men, presumably unarmed and untrained in counter-terrorism, stand on one side of the room, nine women on the other side, and a man with unknown intentions and a semi-automatic rifle then orders the men to leave.

    When you’re the only one in the room with an effective weapon, you are the de facto authority. Rebellion is possible — see flight 93 — but in that case, the passengers knew from phone communication they were doomed if they did not revolt, and they were left alone to work out a response. Had the Montreal gunman left the room for fifteen minutes, the results might have been different.

    Confronted by an incredible situation for which they had no preparation and no time to think, these men reflexively obeyed de facto authority. Deplore that if you will, but don’t lay it at the feet of feminism. Look to the twelve years of public schooling most of us receive where conformance is the rule and independent thought a special assignment to be undertaken only with prior approval.

  7. bc: Self defense for women classes teach that it is better to die fighting and screaming on the spot than to obey, and get in a car with your assailant, gun or no.
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    Fabius Maximus replies: That’s an interesting perspective. Going back to the Sabine Women, few buy into the “death before dishonor” mindset.

    I think you’ve misunderstood the principle. The idea isn’t “death before dishonor”: it’s that it is in your best interests not to allow your opponent to control the grounds of the confrontation.

    This applies whether you’re male or female. If an assailant whom you cannot reasonably expect to overpower demands your wallet or your purse, or anything else that you can surrender without improving his tactical position, you give it to him and hope that is his entire objective; but if he wants you to get in a car, or to walk into an alley — it’s a fair bet that he will only be more willing and able to do harm in his venue of choice than where you stand.
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    Fabius Maximus replies: Thank you for explaning. My guess (with zero data) is that relatively few women will take the choice of likely death now vs. possible death later, however rational in a cold-blooded sense. More guys might, in the “die with your boots on” ethos.

  8. I couldn’t find the narrative extract I was looking for in which the men bodily encircled the women and children in a circle and refused to surrender until shot by allied troops, but here is a snippet describing the situation with White Russian POW’s being repatriated (contrary to Geneva conventions) back to Russia after WW II (they had served against the communist regime as allies of German troops).

    Prior to ‘entraining’, families whose menfolk were liable for repatriation … were given 24 hours in which to decide whether the males should travel alone or whether their dependents should accompany them. … As soon as this macabre proposition was put to them, it was immediately obvious that husband and wife, by being obliged to make a decision of such fatal importance, had been placed in an intolerable position.

    The husband could not, in good conscience, require his wife and children to accompany him to his doom. His wife, on the other hand, by volunteering to go with her husband, would have her own blood and that of her children on the husband’s hands; while by declining to accompany him, she would place herself in a morally indefensible position according to the tenets of her religion and of her marriage vows. Very painful scenes of real agony ensued and were endured for 24 hours.

    … The fact that not one husband consented to his wife and children accompanying him, whether the wife was willing or not, is sufficient proof of the terror with which they viewed the prospect of being handed over to the Soviet authorities.
    The attitude of the men was summed up by one of them as follows. ‘Please shoot me now-that I may die a merciful death and not end my days under torture.’ …

    Different times, eh?

  9. Sorry for double posting. Computer glitch. Above extrace from ‘Operation Keelhaul’.

    From ‘Witness to History’

    “”At 0730 hours on June 1st, I went with Major Davies to Peggetz Camp . . . at the camp I saw a very large crowd of people, numbering several thousand, collected in a solid square with women and children in the middle and men around the outside. There appeared to be an evenly spaced cordon of uniformed men round the whole crowd. A body of fifteen to twenty priests was assembled in one part of the crowd, wearing vestments and carrying religious pictures and banners. At 0730 the priest began to conduct a service and the whole crown began to chant.

    … He [Davies]told them that they had half an hour in which to finish the service, and when this time was up he gave them another half-hour. But there was no sign that the prayers were about to end. Davies then realised ‘that appeal to this crowd for voluntary movement was useless and that they would have to be forcibly evacuated.’

    … “Even when the soldiers advanced into the crowd with their clubs and bayonets, the Cossacks carried on praying and refused to move. Like a herd of animals facing an attack by predators, they had hidden their women and children in the middle of the crowd, while along the edge was a line of young men resolved to defend the tribe.

    “In Davies’s words, ‘the people formed themselves into a solid mass, kneeling and crouching with their arms locked around each others bodies.’ The soldiers tried taking hold of individual Cossacks and pulling them away from the mob. Ivan Martynenko remembers how ‘the whole crowd trembled and rocked as the soldiers tugged at it, but they were not able to prise anyone away’.” – The Last Secret. Lord Bethell”

    No shooting as mentioned incorrectly in post above (although other events have such accounts).

    (Purpose of these excerpts: examples of more traditional male ‘protector principle’ in action from previous time, not anything political about WW II etc.)

    Bravery of women in dire circumstance:

    “”What shocked the soldiers most of all was that the Cossacks were not only drowning themselves, but also their children.” – A typical case is described by the émigré writer, Fyodor Kubanski:
    “A young woman with her two small children ran to the edge. She embraced the first child for a moment, then suddenly flung him into the abyss. The other child was clinging to the bottom of her skirt and shouting, ‘Mama, don’t! Mama! I’m frightened!”
    “Don’t be afraid, I’ll be with you,’ the frantic woman answered. One jerk of her arms and the second child was flying into the waters of the River Drau. Then, she raised her arms to make the sign of the cross. ‘Lord, receive my sinful soul’, she cried, and before her hand reached her left shoulder she had leaped in after her children. In a moment she was swallowed by the raging whirlpool.”
    “General Naumenko estimates that twenty or thirty people were drowned in this way.”

    FAMILY SUICIDE PACTS ….”

  10. With respect to comment #6, the reason self defense for women experts say “Fight, scream, but do not get in his car.” is that:

    1. Your average psycho rapist has an elaborately rehearsed mental “script”. “First I’ll show her the gun. She’ll be afraid. Then I’ll say, “Get in the car.”, She’ll get in the car…” and so on. Deviating from the script will often shock and paralyze the attacker, giving you time to escape.

    2. If you get in his car, your odds of surviving go way, way, down.

    I should have said, “Better to risk dying screaming and fighting…”
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    Fabius Maximus replies: Thank you for the explanation. Still, what are the odds that a given women will meet an average psycho rapist-murder? Perhaps women (and men) would be better off taking lessons to learn better diet and driving.

  11. Personally, I’m a fan of concealed weapons carry, for men and women.
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    Fabius Maximus replies: Agreed. More more sensible than years of self-defense classes.

  12. “An armed society is a polite society.”
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    Fabius Maximus replies: I believe this is from Robert Heinlein’s book “Beyond this Horizon”. Can you cite any actual historical examples? Dodge City? Tombstone?

  13. Burn up the screen if you like, FM , but I think a lot of women are more interested in nest building in their fertile years than having careers. But if successful at school, all their mentors deride and trash that option for them. I also think my father might have arranged me a more successful marriage , from his experience of men , than the one I arranged for myself. Never mind, I’m sure you are right and we’ll all say on our deathbeds, ” I wish I’d spent more time at the office.”
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    Fabius Maximus replies: If convenient, please relate this to this something I said. That’s why your keyboad has those quote keys.

  14. Re #14: Historical examples? Well, I lived in Alaska in the early 80s and people were (and probably still are) pretty selective about who they might piss off. Seriously, how about pre-Meiji Japan? Pretty polite folk, there.
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    Fabius Maximus replies: You have to be kidding. How many people in Alaska went about armed in the 1980’s? How many shot it out with folks who dis’d them? As for pre-Meniji Japan, only a tiny fraction of the population was allowed to have arms — so that is (if anything) a counter-example. Strengthening the Japan as a counter-example, when the Samuri were disarmed violent crime did not substantially rise (it’s still microscopic by US standards).

  15. Update on Canada: “‘I’m not going to give up,’ suspended student’s father vows“, Globe and Mail, 5 January 2009.

    Someone screams racist crap at a Korean kid with an A average, Korean kid punches racist in the nose, breaking it. Korean kid suspended. Canada doesn’t tolerate male physical aggression, but if you have ever had a Canadian woman come after you with a high-heeled shoe, as I have, you realize the reverse is not true.

    The government has decreed that I am not responsible for myself, and most definitely not responsible for someone else. I don’t need a lawsuit over improperly performing CPR, a wrongful death for failing as I try to manage some lady’s tension pneumothorax, or being convicted of something and sent to prison for savaging the gunman.

    The corollary to the feminist belief that women can ‘handle themselves’ and deserve to be respected as ‘equals’ translates to males deciding that women are to take responsibility for their own safety. Under stress, it is not hard to believe that a bunch of man raised in this culture simply assumed that nine ’empowered’ women could handle a gunman.
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    Fabius Maximus replies: It might go deeper than that. A common trope in modern movies and TV is women fist-fighting on equal terms with men. Or women just decking a guy and getting away with it. Daisy Duke in the Dukes of Hazard, Hermione Granger hitting Draco Malfoy (from memory, in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix), and countless others. Boys growing up with such a cultural background might have a low or zero tendency to defend women.

  16. Yay, it isn’t a problem in the USA. College Student Shoots, Kills Home Invader

    COLLEGE PARK, Ga. — A group of college students said they are lucky to be alive and they’re thanking the quick-thinking of one of their own. Police said a fellow student shot and killed one of two masked me who burst into an apartment.

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    Fabius Maximus replies: You give one example in a nation of over 300 million people, and on this basis say its a problem? Ms. Daisey, meet Mr. Probability. Tens of thousands of people die each year in auto accidents and from the flu. Millions of people’s lives are shortened by by diet and smoking. What’s your point?

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