Thursday, May 05, 2016

A Disqus Dilemma

That would be the comments section. I changed a Blogger setting yesterday to redirect all visitors to the HTTPS version of the blog address.  It is supposed to be safer.

That change messed up the Disqus comments.  They disappeared, probably because the Disqus widget for Blogger uses HTTP and this creates mixed contents errors.   I tested the blog for those and Disqus was found guilty as charged.

The obvious solution seems to be here, but it's for the universal code, not for the Blogger plugin.  In any case, I don't see how I could get inside the plugin to mess with it.

 So I canceled the redirecting, but that can't be a long-term solution.  Any advice?  Anyone?  Bueller?  Assuming the comments work.

On Meat And Wolves. O How Women Dress!

Via Eschaton, this news about a poster found in the library of an Arizona school:

You can click on the picture to read the text, but it begins like this:
so you think you come to school looking pretty hot
but what the boys see is meat and it's distracting
so they make lousy grades
A senior at the school, Alissa Adams got the poster removed.  It seems that nobody took responsibility for making it, although it was a librarian who put it up.

I love the comparison of girls to meat and the boys to wolves.  But if girls really were meat and boys really were wolves, shouldn't the wolves be kept away from the school?  Instead, the poster then argues that the "meat" gets the "wolves" to fail at school and also in life and ultimately the "meat" will have to support the "wolves."

It's the old story:  Eve did it!  For almost any value of "it" among certain religious fundamentalists.

Note how insulting the above poster is to boys, too.  It assumes they are pulled around by nothing but their penises.  It assumes they have no will power, no self-control, no responsibility for their own grades, even.

The above is a very tiny example of the traditional belief that men cannot (or don't have to) control their libidos, so women must do that controlling for them by, essentially, covering up.

To see the same principle work in a much wider context, spring in Tehran means an increase in the size of the  morality police which patrols the streets looking for women who are not dressed properly:

As the mercury rises in Iran, winter coats are back in the closet, flowers are popping up — and so are the so-called morality police. Despite objections from Iran's president, Hassan Rouhani, Tehran's police have announced up to 7,000 undercover officers will be on the lookout for those who don't follow conservative Islamic modes of dress and behavior.
They're called the Gashte Ershad, the "guidance patrol," and they have broad powers to chastise and even arrest people for failing to meet what might be called the modesty test.
Men are occasionally stopped — perhaps if their beards are too long, making them resemble jihadists — but usually, it's women who attract the attention of the Gashte Ershad.
A 2014 campaign by the conservatives in Iran compared improperly clad women not to meat but to
unwrapped candy bars preyed on by flies 
The similarity to the Arizona school library example is clear:  Women and girls are food (meat or candy bars), men and boys are animals (wolves or flies).

But that these two cases resemble each other at all is puzzling from a different angle:

Iranian women are already dressed in ways which would count as extremely modest, even the ones who show a little bit of hair under their head scarves.  So why is that not sufficient?

Is any amount of modesty ever sufficient?   If a woman wears a niqab leaving only her eyes visible, she might still be scolded for immodesty in Saudi Arabia.

Sigh.  It's an impossible task, that getting rid of tempting females.

A post-script:  I'm not opposed to rules concerning appropriate dress in various circumstances (school, work, funerals, swimming pools etc), but such rules should be as gender-neutral as possible, and the rules shouldn't be made up by a few authoritarians but by some sort of a democratic process.

As an aside, it's fun to imagine what would happen if rules were, in fact, made gender-neutral in, say, Saudi Arabia, and men had to wear the abaya, too.  Right now men in Iran and Saudi Arabia can wear the same kind of clothing as men in the West.  But women cannot.  Yet it is presumably the western cultural onslaught that the morality police in Iran try to stop by harassing only women.


Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Big, Swaggering , Rascally He-Men. Or A Few Presidential Election Thoughts.

Some Echidne thoughts about the 2016 US presidential primaries:

1.  Ted Cruz, the forced-birth fundamentalist has aborted his run, and Donald Trump is now the winner in the Republican field,  even in the eyes of others than himself.

His run reminds me of the time when my sainted pointer, Henrietta the Hound, was chasing a squirrel in the woods (yes, I yelled various commands at her to stop) and realized that she was actually going to catch the critter, which she didn't want to do.  So she started running in place, to give the squirrel time to climb up a tree.  It was one of the funniest things I've ever seen.

I don't see how Trump could run in place that way, which means that we are in for a very interesting and vicious election campaign season.

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Trump's Use Of The Woman Card. Brilliant, Says Scott Adams.

James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal (yes, that James Taranto) loves Scott Adams, the cartoonist who created Dilbert.  That love is based on important values the two men share:  a general contempt for women, the belief that women are not that smart and that women are mostly just a very annoying necessity which should have been created with an off-switch*.  So it's natural that Taranto quotes Adams a lot.

Most recently he linked to Adams' brilliant explanation for why Trump was going to win not only the votes of most men** but also enough of those over-emotional and illogical women's votes (too bad about that female suffrage) to give him a good chance to be the new Lion King (president) of the United States. 

10. Trump rolled out the “woman card” attack on Clinton. Expect lots of backlash and hollering about sexism. Also expect that 100% of the voting public knows that the “woman card” accusation is a persuasion death blow to Clinton’s campaign. And Trump is the only candidate alive who would dare say it out loud.
Trump’s “woman card” strategy is weapons-grade persuasion. It is a “high ground” maneuver with an “identity” angle. Either one of those approaches can be a kill shot. But together?
Holy sh*t.
I’ve not seen anything like it. The engineering is superb.
Trump will probably win with men for all the obvious reasons. But winning with women has until lately seemed impossible. So the “woman card” kill shot is aimed at women voters, not men. And what it does is flip the framing, as Trump likes to do.
Clinton framing: It is time for a woman president.
Trump framing: Gender is not a job qualification
I remind you that this is the year 2016. Trump’s message recognizes that gender should not be a hiring criteria. That’s the high ground. You can’t get higher.

Wow!  That is sooo smart.  I would never have been able to create such an engineering miracle, being a girl goddess.

Whatever.  In this reality Hillary Clinton is still about a zillion times more qualified in actual political job experience and relevant knowledge than Donald Trump, who, I must admit, is a lot more experienced in bankrupting firms.  So if we leave gender (and Trump's sexism) out of this altogether, Clinton remains the more qualified candidate.

Why did these two gentlemen find Trump's "woman card" trick so awe-inspiring?  I have no idea, but if I had to make a guess it would be that they truly think female voters aren't that sharp.  So it goes.

Where was I?  Oh yes, more on Taranto's opinions:

Give Trump this: He is the one candidate you can count on to ignore feminist demands that he put Mrs. Clinton on a pedestal.

What rubbish!  Trump would put her up a pedestal in a minute, if he could then look up her skirt.***

*  Want to learn more?  Check out these two posts (1) and (2) on Scott Adams' views on women, or that lions-are-men-zebras-are-women post.  This post has a bit more on James Taranto's views.

** Against Hillary Clinton.  She is assumed to be the Democratic candidate.    As Adams states, Trump is assumed to win enough men's votes "for all the obvious reasons."  That could be code for something very mysterious, having to do with men being lions and women being zebras.  Or he might just mean that white men tend to vote Republican.

I do love that lions-and-zebras story!  It's wonderful, even in the present setting:  Trump, the old lion with the bad mane, sets a trap at the watering hole (voting polls) for the almost equally old zebra, Clinton,  to gobble her up.

*** The bit about "feminist demands" is also mostly rubbish.  That is because the world of feminism is a dangerous jungle where boa constrictors hide behind every tree and where poisonous giant spiders glide down a vine and drill straight through insufficiently pure people's eyeballs, in order to lay eggs inside their cerebellums.

I made that last bit up, largely because a) manly men like Taranto always assume that feminists are like ladies in a church choir, all singing in harmony, but not really frightening at all,  and b) because many feminists are not Clinton-supporters and c) because there really is no central Kremlin office which coordinates Feminist Demands.  Rather the reverse, in fact.