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Archive for the ‘hypocrisy’ Category

If You Oppose Circumcision Then You Must Be An Excessive Masturbator

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Emily Yoffe is the advice columnist for Slate Magazine. In her live chat on Dec 4, 2012 she printed the question of a writer (Circumcision Standoff), who wants to circumcise her future son based on some scientific studies which have shown beneficial effects of male circumcision but whose fiancé (who was circumcised) is vehemently opposed. The letter writer claims that this opposition could be a dealbreaker since her desire for circumcising her future son is borne out of her concern for his well being.

Ms. Yoffe replies that the fiancé is probably opposed to circumcision since his circumcision interfered with his masturbation. She goes on to say that she is a supporter of the physical abuse of male infants since she is Jewish. However thankfully she does mention to the letter writer that circumcision is not a panacea for HIV, HPV, herpes, urinary tract infections and possibly cancer. Finally she mentions to the letter writer that she and her fiancé should talk over their disagreement with a neutral party.

As is natural, I was disappointed on reading Ms. Yoffe’s response. While it could have been worse (e.g. uncritically praising the letter writer’s selective reading of the scientific literature) she continues to support the barbaric physical abuse of male infants.

As luck would have it, Ms. Yoffe was scheduled to participate in a reddit IAmA the next day. In that IAmA I asked her the following questions:

  1. In this column http://www.slate.com/articles/life/dear_prudence/2012/12/dear_prudence_my_sister_is_being_abused_by_her_husband.single.html “Circumcision standoff” you trivialized a man’s objection to circumcision as due to excessive masturbation. Do you think men cannot have principled objections to circumcision?

  2. You say “I’m Jewish, so a big believer in circumcision” — Does that mean Parents’ religious convictions should trump bodily integrity of their children? How then can you disagree with the cultural imperatives for female circumcision?

  3. Would you be ok with Type Ia female circumcision where the clitoral prepuce is removed (An exact analogue to male circumcision)? http://www.who.int/reproductivehealth/topics/fgm/overview/en/index.html

  4. Would you be ok with a ceremonial pricking or nick of the clitoris? http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/07/health/policy/07cuts.html

  5. Why didn’t you point out to the letter writer that she should not shirk her duties towards her son regarding teaching him genital hygiene instead of making her life easier by physically abusing him as an infant? Do or do you not think she is a bad mother for attempting to make her life easier?

  6. Do you think the woman would be endangering the life of her child by creating a false sense of security around her and her son that circumcision will prevent HIV, HPV, herpes (which could potentially motivate the son to forego wearing condoms)

  7. If a man wrote to you asking for advice on how to convince his wife to agree to circumcising their baby daughter (Type Ia or ritual nicking) would you advise him to seek out a neutral party?

  8. Why couldn’t you advise the woman that she should wait until her son attained the age of majority and then try to convince him of the advantages of circumcision and then leave the decision to her son on whether or not to proceed with non-emergency, non-lifesaving permanent body modification surgery?

  9. Would you recommend labiaplasty of infant females so as to prevent/reduce occurrence of urinary tract infections? http://www.cosmeticgyn.net/labiaplasty/labiaplasty-why-women-want-labia-reduction-surgery.html, http://www.vaginalabiaplasty.com/labiaplasty/medical-reasons-to-seek-labiaplasty

Unsurprisingly Ms. Yoffe chose not to answer the question. Interestingly my questions were voted the most controversial post of that particular IAmA. I got pushback from other posters that I wasn’t asking a “real” question (whatever a real question might be), I wasn’t asking an “honest” question (and what exactly is or is not an “honest” question was left unclear), I was pushing an agenda, I was a loon. One poster stated that the IAmA is only for asking Ms. Yoffe questions regarding her life as an advice columnist and thus my question was irrelevant. However Ms. Yoffe herself had stated:

I’m happy to talk about being Dear Prudence, how I choose letters, your favorites, what you think I’ve gotten right and wrong. … I’m happy to talk about whatever’s on your mind.

Finally, a poster raised a nice hypothetical for anyone who wants to circumcise their son so that he resembles his circumcised father::

So if [the mother] had big boobs and [the] daughter was flat, would [the circumcision-supporter] support her getting a boob job to “look like mom”?

The similarity argument, i.e. the son of a circumcised father should also be circumcised so that he doesn’t get confused over why he does not resemble his father, and that he would also resemble his circumcised peers in the school locker room (and so would avoid bullying), is an argument trotted out by a lot of circumcision enthusiasts. I wonder if they would also support the similarity argument raised by this father (written under the pseudonym “Want To Be a Dad”) here

Unsurprisingly Ms. Yoffe’s answer in the above case is quite different to what one would expect if the question was regarding male circumcision.


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Written by Polevaulter Donkeyman

January 3, 2013 at 04:28

Posted in hypocrisy

Tagged with ,

As if Viagra was never invented

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The Indian market has recently been invaded by a “vagina-tightening” gel 18 Again



Cue predictable outrage from Jezebel

Jesus, India — couple this with your vaginal whitening cream and you’re really starting to give us a run for our pussy-shaming money. Time to step up our game, America. Did you really think we could coast on Vajazzling forever?


One wonders though, do Jezebel and Madeleine Davis have the same reaction towards Viagra? Do they prefer wet noodles inside of them? Are Viagra ads a form of cock-shaming? Is it OK to make men feel inadequate? No mention of that of course. What do you expect from Jezebel?


From an Indian newsmagazine

American author Naomi Wolf writes that while one could look at the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, grey hair and the loosening of skin on an older woman as a mark of experience, the proud scars of what one has lived through — advertising for ‘female’ products almost always projects ageing as a disease that needs to be fixed.


And advertising for ‘male’ products don’t project ageing as a disease that needs to be fixed? I have yet to see young men in ads for Viagra and Cialis.


Written by Polevaulter Donkeyman

August 19, 2012 at 21:20

Posted in hypocrisy

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Radical Feminism, thy name is Collective Punishment

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Julie Bindel on radical feminism:

She says that while the booklet’s insistence that lesbianism could be a choice was controversial, debate was equally heated around the suggestion that men were the enemy. “We were trying to challenge the excuses used by some heterosexual feminists as to why they lived with Nigel or John,” she says. “They said, ‘Oh, but my man is OK,’ as a way of refusing to look at the fact that some men really do hate women.”

“Being a heterosexual feminist is like being in the resistance in Nazi-occupied Europe where in the daytime you blow up a bridge, in the evening you rush to repair it.”

I also suspect that it is very difficult to spend your daily life fighting against male violence, only to share a bed with a man come the evening. … why some feminists then block out the possibility of sexual relationships with their political sisters and instead turn to men for intimacy is beyond me.


So:

  1. All men are Nazis
  2. All men are equally responsible for the crimes of some
  3. All men are violent towards women
  4. The Resistance in Europe collaborated with Nazis; they blew up bridges in the daytime and repaired them in the night (that doesn’t make sense does it? Unless it was part of a Keynesian stimulus)


I don’t agree with Rush Limbaugh on a lot, but I do think “Feminazi” applies to radical feminists.


Written by Polevaulter Donkeyman

August 16, 2012 at 12:25

Agent Haddon Goes Wild for Taxes

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Author Mark Haddon has come out for higher income taxes on the wealthy like him:

“I’m a wealthy person. Austerity measures introduced by the coalition have caused real suffering to many people, but my comfortable life hasn’t changed in the slightest. Why have I, and people like me, been asked to contribute nothing?” Haddon told the Sunday Times he had annoyed his accountant by insisting on paying all tax that was due rather than seeking to avoid it. “I should be paying more tax,” he said.

(emphasis mine)


Mr. Haddon clarified on his blog:

also, for the record, all those on twitter and in the guardian comment columns who suggest that i simply send an extra cheque to the HMRC are missing the point. i am talking about a systemic, moral and political problem not personal feelings of guilt. and, in point of fact, i do send an extra cheque, but i send it to oxfam. some people think that’s wrong, too, but you can’t please everybody…

(emphasis mine)


Some questions for Mr. Haddon:

  1. What in your mind is the optimum marginal tax rate you should be paying?
  2. Why did you not cut a cheque to the HMRC based on your desired rate rather than paying only what was legally required?
  3. Did you take advantage of any deductions such as the personal allowance?
  4. Do you take any advantage of tax sheltered schemes such as Individual Savings Accounts, Pension Funds, National Savings Accounts, and other such devices?
  5. Would you release your tax returns (present and past) to the public?
  6. Do you take a deduction off your tax/taxable income because of your charitable contribution to Oxfam?
  7. Given that you do send an extra cheque to Oxfam (and your language makes it seem you see it as an adequate replacement for the tax you should be paying to the HMRC but don’t), if your tax rates are increased, would your contributions to Oxfam decrease? Do you think that higher tax rates would decrease contributions to charities by others?


To be charitable to Mr. Haddon there is a collective action problem here. He does not want to contribute alone to the HMRC, since his individual contribution would be minuscule given the total tax revenue. But that does not get him off the hook. His desire to pay more tax implies that the government spends wisely, so it speaks volumes that he does not trust the government enough to voluntarily give it more money, in fact he trusts Oxfam more. Is his call for higher taxes just a signal to all the “right-minded” folk that he is one of them?


And one final point. Mr. Haddon talks about the systemic, moral and political problem of low taxes and high austerity. But his solution is not to convince his fellow 1%-ers to contribute to charity to alleviate the hardships of people he claims to care about; it is to use the power flowing from the barrel of a gun, to force others to adopt his moral positions and to live as he prescribes.


The last word goes to Mr. Haddon:


P.S. Title of the post alludes to Agent Z Goes Wild, a children’s book by Mark Haddon.


Written by Polevaulter Donkeyman

August 14, 2012 at 11:58

Dear New York Times, You Need to Try Harder

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From a New York Times article on the staggering wealth generated by casinos run by the Shakopee Mdewakanton Indian tribe in Minnesota:

Alan Meister, an economist who compiles tribal gambling data, said Minnesota’s 18 tribal casinos earned a combined $1.4 billion in 2010, although the Shakopees’ portion of that is unclear. But even if the tribe accounted for nearly the entire $1.4 billion, its philanthropy would compare well with corporations, even though the tribe receives no tax write-offs for giving.

For example, the tribe’s $28.5 million in charitable cash contributions in 2010 was more than those of several Minneapolis-area Fortune 500 companies, including the 3M Corporation, which had 2010 revenue of $23 billion, and U.S. Bancorp, which had $19.5 billion in revenue in 2010, according to the Minnesota Council on Foundations.

The New York Times of course fails to mention:

Indian tribal businesses do pay a wide variety of taxes, including taxes on wagering, occupational taxes, and employment taxes. For federal income tax purposes, however, Indian tribes are governmental entities and, as such, are not required to pay taxes on the income generated by the Indian tribes, including income generated by commercial activities.

State governments have no control or authority over Indian tribes unless specifically authorized by Congress.
  • In 2011, 3M was on the hook for USD 1.674 B (USD 331 M deferred) in corporate income tax.


The NYT does though thankfully concede:

tribal facilities do not pay direct state taxes because of the tribes’ status as sovereign nations.


And why have the Shakopee Mdewakanton been so spectacularly successful? From the NYT article

The primary anxiety is competing casinos being hurriedly opened by states in pursuit of new revenue. But more menacing, tribes say, is a sophisticated and growing movement to legalize Internet gambling under state laws that would give those states the potential power to regulate and tax online gambling even on reservations.


Monopoly profits being made due to laws which previously banned internet gambling and restricted casinos? Somehow I don’t have much sympathy for the Indian casinos.


Written by Polevaulter Donkeyman

August 13, 2012 at 20:20

Grauniad and Nick Cohen, Your Bias is Showing

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Nick Cohen of The Observer has a column up on the prosecution of Simon Walsh for the possession of extreme pornography. A quote:

Charges of possessing extreme pornography are enough to destroy any man. When the Crown Prosecution Service added the allegation that the pornography included an image of child abuse, Simon Walsh’s disgrace seemed complete. He was a barrister, a City of London alderman, a magistrate and one of Boris Johnson’s appointees on the London Fire Authority. The mention of paedophile porn, and gay porn at that, sent these venerable institutions running.

I know it is hopeless to seek to dent Boris Johnson’s self-portrait of a carefree British patriot in this moment of Olympic euphoria, but it’s all an act. In the 1930s, a journalist confronted Brendan Bracken, Churchill’s bumptious sidekick, and bellowed: “You’re phoney! Everything about you is phoney! Even your hair that looks like a wig – isn’t!” Bracken had a mop of red hair to match Johnson’s mop of blond. If Johnson were a true, plain-speaking patriot, he would have stood by Britain’s best principle that a citizen is innocent until proven guilty. But he is a phoney, and his officials fired Walsh without a second’s thought.


Given that Cohen has taken, the requisite Guardian mandated, potshots at a Tory politician, what he chooses not to mention in his column is illuminating:

  1. The law under which Walsh was prosecuted, the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008, §63 was passed by a Labour controlled Parliament.
  2. The law was heavily promoted by then Labour MP Martin Salter
“No-one is stopping people doing weird stuff to each other but they would be strongly advised not to put it on the internet. At the end of the day it is all too easy for this stuff to trigger an unbalanced mind. These snuff movies and other stuff are seriously disturbing. Many police officers who have to view it as part of their job have to undergo psychological counselling. [The Act] simply plugs a hole in the law because the Obscene Publications Act is about as much use as a chocolate fireguard as far as the internet is concerned. This new law is designed to meet the challenge of the internet.”[1]

“I am absolutely thrilled this law has been passed. But most of all I am delighted for Liz. If we can reduce some peoples’ temptation to watch violent images, including rape and mutilation, then that is a good thing. It is also important we protect the women who are in these videos.”[2]


But of course, no mention of Labour or any Labour MP anywhere in the article.


Footnotes


[1] ‘Extreme’ porn proposals spark row

[2] Justice for Jane as bill becomes law

I Would Do Anything for My Country, But I Won’t Pay a 75% Marginal Income Tax Rate

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Will Smith (while promoting Men in Black III in France):

I have no issue with paying taxes and whatever needs to be done for my country to grow. I believe very firmly that my ability to sit here—I’m a black man who didn’t go to college, yet I get to travel around the world and sell my movies, and I believe very firmly that America is the only place on Earth that I could exist. So I will pay anything that I need to pay to keep my country growing.


Interviewer:

Do you know how much in France you would have to pay on earnings above one million euros [under new French President Francois Hollande’s proposal]? Not 30%. 75%.[1]


Will Smith:

75?! Yeah, that’s different, that’s different. Yeah, 75. Well, you know, God bless America.


(Interview at 0’20”)



Hat tip: Ed Krayewski at Reason


This Meat Loaf fella seems to have multiple disguises.


Footnotes


[1] Indigestion for ‘les Riches’ in a Plan for Higher Taxes.

Written by Polevaulter Donkeyman

August 10, 2012 at 23:52

Ideological Turing Test

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Who said the following:

How does one argue with someone convinced that the routine massacre of our children is the price we must pay for our freedom?

In the Red Corner:

John Yoo, former Deputy Assistant Attorney General and author of the Torture Memos, who wrote (emphasis mine):

we understand that al Qaeda seeks to develop and deploy chemical, biological and nuclear weapons of mass destruction. Under these circumstances, a particular detainee may possess information that could enable the United States to prevent imminent attacks that could equal or surpass the September 11 attacks in their magnitude. Clearly, any harm that might occur during an interrogation would pale to insignificance compared to the harm avoided by preventing such an attack, which could take hundreds or thousands of lives.[1]

In the Blue Corner:

Adam Gopnik, of The New Yorker, who said on the occasion of [Osama Bin Laden’s] death:

Fear is the terrorist’s best weapon … [The fear] is so out of proportion, very often, to the real threat.[2]

Read the rest of this entry »

Mr. Gupta, have you met Mr. Gupta?

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Mr. Gupta, have you met Mr. Gupta?


Note:

  • Text on the right on green background is from Liberty is not libertinism by Kanchan Gupta, written on February 9, 2009. Text reproduced in the following table in the left-hand column.
  • Text on the left on white background is from Mini skirts, Jamaatis and their dark world by Kanchan Gupta, written on July 8, 2012. Text reproduced in the following table in the right-hand column.

 

Kanchan Gupta on[1] the Pink Chaddi Campaign Kanchan Gupta on[2] the dress code[3] called for by Jamaat
A … point that merits elaboration is the disdain which the charlatans who pose as emancipators of women … have for local community sensitivities, which are often casually referred to as local culture and tradition No less telling is the implicit worldview of the Jamaatis. The world they crave for is not splattered with colours and cultural diversity; it’s a joyless world where women are made to disappear …
There really is no need to fashion our lifestyle after Sex and the City. Recall … how faces were blackened of women who refused to don the burqa.
Just because … lip-locking …raises no eyebrows in the West does not mean the East must ape the mating game. Frivolities apart, there’s something darkly and deeply sinister about the Jamaat’s attempt to impose a dress code …
What is material and important is whether those around the individuals … are comfortable with it; if they feel discomfited or outraged, then their sensitivities must over-ride the presumed right to make a spectacle of yourself in public. … what is being sought is to titillate the imagination of the lowest common denominator of Kashmiri society, the rage boys of Islam … in the guise of protecting faith-based, culture-centric sensitivities.
By idolising deracinated men and women who have scant regard for moral values … we are promoting everything that is antithetical to our culture, our tradition. In the absence of that resistance[4], time will come when Jamaatis – whatever their organisational loyalty and affiliation – will demand that women be barred from wearing “mini skirts and other objectionable dresses” anywhere in the country as it hurts Muslim sensitivities

 

Alternative titles considered for this post:

  • That was then, this is now
  • Gupta vs. Gupta
  • On Miniskirts and Pink Chaddis

Note: I am, in no way, implying that Mr. Gupta supported the Sri Ram Sena. He in fact refers to them as “a bunch of goons masquerading as soldiers of Sri Ram Sena” and states that he does not defend “Pramod Muthalik’s hooliganism”. The question however remains: why give more importance to one community’s sensitivities compared to another community’s sensitivities? Of course, it could be that his opinions on the issue of personal liberty vis a vis community sensitivities have evolved. However I received no answer when I asked him that.

  1. PolvolterDnkymn
    @KanchanGupta Great post. Have you repudiated “What is material … is whether those around … are comfortable” http://v.gd/VqSvni
    Sun, Jul 08 2012 11:52:14

 

Footnotes

[1] Gupta, K., Liberty is not libertinism, Feb 9, 2009

[2] Gupta, K., Mini skirts, Jamaatis and their dark world, Jul 8, 2012

[3] “Some tourists, mostly foreigners, are seen wandering in mini skirts and other objectionable dresses which is quite against the local ethos and culture. We have simply requested foreign tourists moving around to respect Kashmiri culture.” — Jamaat spokesman Zahid Ali said (emphasis mine).

[4] … the political will and courage to call [the Jamaat’s] bluff and stand up to [the Jamaat’s] bullying …

Spot the Difference

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  1. In 2012:
  2. In 1990:
  3. Context:

    Helms ran for reelection in a nationally publicized and rancorous campaign against the former mayor of Charlotte, Harvey Gantt, in his “bid to become the nation’s only black Senator” and “the first black elected to the Senate from the South since Reconstruction”. In the primary, Helms had two opponents, George Wimbish (as in 1984) and another; Helms won with 84.3% of the vote.

    Helms aired a late-running television commercial that showed a white man’s hands ripping up a rejection notice from a company that gave the job to a “less qualified minority”; some critics claimed the ad utilized subliminal racist themes. The advertisement was produced by Alex Castellanos, whom Helms would employ until his company was dropped in April 1996 after running an unusually hard-hitting ad.

  4. Answer:

    The Indians and Chinese are not asking for any special treatment. They are only asking to be treated equally (This is not to say that affirmative action is all bad; after all, blacks were treated horrendously in the past).

    Why does President Obama not think of Indians and Chinese as worthy of equal treatment?

  5. Take it away Prof. Landsburg

Written by Polevaulter Donkeyman

June 28, 2012 at 00:18