Archives for category: manners

Be polite to polite people. Be cuttingly, bitingly polite to rude people. Avoid violent people, but be prepared for violence if avoidance is not an option.

Approach each encounter offering the best . . . but be ready for the worst. The rule, after initial encounter, is reciprocity, tit for tat. When asymmetry appears inevitable, defend, be prepared even to destroy. Anything else risks encouraging the worst behaviors.

We train strangers and even our enemies. As well as our friends. 

Some might say this is what it means ‘to be a man.’ But I am unclear how this would not apply to women.

twv

…because ‘hindsight is….’

A few months ago we had occasion to remember an Obama Era scandal: the notorious “tan suit” brouhaha.

But why would we memorialize this idiocy? For Whataboutism’s sake.

It is probably the favorite ism of our time, Whataboutism.

It’s inane, sure, and an ugly, silly term, but it does insert a modicum of reciprocal thinking into our relentlessly partisan, cordoned-off political culture.

Yahoo News provides the story of that fateful day in late August, 2014:

In addition to being generally panned by fashion experts, Obama’s light-hued look, worn to a White House briefing, scandalized cable news pundits. Lou Dobbs called it “shocking,” while Republican congressman Peter King said it represented POTUS’s “lack of seriousness” in the wake of recent ISIS attacks.

Who are the people who were upset by this? The Yahoo story names some names, sure, but let’s break the complainers into their categories:

  1. The Professionally Upset, people who get noticed by being noticeably upset;
  2. Opposite Partisans, folks who find occasion to be vexed by anything slightly out-of-the-ordinary of the Other Side;
  3. Fashionistas, the folks who think their taste in fashion should dominate the culture;
  4. Sour Grumps, who just like complaining about every innovation;
  5. Racists, who in this case could be called Suitists.

I much prefer to judge politicians by what they do, and by the apparent content of their character. But as for a tan suit:

“Let me start off by saying that I was sorely tempted to wear a tan suit today for my last press conference, but Michelle, whose fashion sense is little better than mine, tells me that’s not appropriate in January,” he quipped while wearing a standard navy suit to his final White House briefing in January 2017.

Mark Twain and Tom Wolfe wore white suits — even out of season. Black men can wear yellow, purple, red and many another odd color and “get away with it” — that is, they can wear these colors and not look like goobers. And as for Obama’s preference, admit it: he looked great in it. When I start wearing suits again (you know, to acclimate friends for my final outfit), it will be some shade of brown.

But then, my interest in fashion is largely anthropological, not devotional. I guess I am just not that into suitist thinking.

twv

For your WTF Files, in case you had not seen this particular ‘Q&A’ segment from Down Under in other videos:

It features a grand and revelatory rant by Mona Eltahawy, an Egyptian-American feminist lunatic with fake red hair. ‘How long must we wait for men and boys to stop murdering us, to stop beating us, and stop raping us? … How many rapists must we kill until men stop raping us?’

Note the follow-up questions that need answers. Unasked and unanswered.

Note especially that she does not inquire how many rapists were killed in the past by actually patriarchal society, not today’s fantasied one. Until the rise of liberal society in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, the death penalty for even small infractions was common. We live in the societies that grew out of those harsher times. By inadvertent breeding, there are almost certainly less rapists today than there would be otherwise had not those bloody-minded patriarchs killed all those stupid, criminal young men before they could sire children, by rape or by seduction or by whoring or by conjugal relations.

But she’s against that — well, at least the State’s death penalty — suggesting, instead, that women should directly kill their rapists, something I am OK with in self-defense but not as revenge. Women just need guns.

I expect she and I would get along swimmingly, heh. Maybe she will join the ranks of women with firearms.

Now, this video’s commentary is helpful and droll. But it is Eltahawy’s racist and sexist rantings that take center state here, and include a classic riff: decorum and manners were invented by white men, you see, only for the benefit of white men, no one else. ‘Marginal voices’ are further marginalized by manners . . . or so her argument appears to run.

An absurd idea, but it should be responded to rationally, as absurd as it is.

Which I will leave for another time.

But most absurd of all? Eltahawy’s advice to straight men: don’t seek just sexual intimacy with women. ‘Be queerer. Be more bisexual. Be less cis-gendered. . . . Just fuck it all up and be free!’

This reminds me of the Sixties, when hippies told us to take LSD: tune in, turn on, drop out. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

As an answer to problems of violence in society, it is ridiculous.

As, I am afraid, is Mona Eltahawy.

Mona Eltahawy, radical feminist.


Women have struggled their whole lives just to have rights and to be treated equally. Now they can’t even have their own identity, as men are now walking up and claiming to “identify” as female. Is it wrong to feel this way?

…as answered on Quora….

The first part of this question seems a bit iffy to me on grounds of fact and reasoning, yet I sympathize: it must be weird to invest a lot of your conception of yourself as deriving from womanhood, and then see a few men fard up their faces and mince about in clothing not normally worn by men . . . and call themselves women and even demand others to accept their self-categorizations. 

Well, their demands are ignoble and immoral, but, alas, commonly accepted and defended and even amplified amongst the lunatics that currently sit at the commanding heights of our culture. I am annoyed by all that.

As for their self-categorization? Very rarely are they convincing. And even at their best they are fake women.

But fake women have rights too, and they can certainly be given enough cultural leeway to do what they want without forcing others to “accept” them and “respect” them. In a free society, the right of free association entails the right of disassociation. You need not hang around them. Freedom of conscience and freedom of speech means that none of us should be forced to speak of them in ways they prefer. And it is a tragedy that these principles of liberty are now denied and flouted by the cultural left these days.

More importantly, I have trouble understanding how you are denied your “identity” by their shallow or deep fakes. You are you. They are whatever they are.

But then, you seem to be defining yourself (as your “identity”) not by your personhood and individuality, but by your commonality with members of your own sex. I find this bizarre. I define my identity not primarily by my commonality with other men, but by my differentiation. 

I see the whole focus of the question as buying into the presuppositions of those men who pretend to be women: as hollow, as a distraction from individuation by recourse to group membership and similarity with others.

It is a fine thing to extol one’s similarities with others, but that isn’t your identity. That is commonality. The whole postmodern movement focusing on “identity” strikes me as as fake as men pretending to be women by dress-up and mere assertion. 

For we are not talking about identity, we are talking about its opposite.

Indeed, the struggle of feminism, I would have thought — before I ditched using the term approvingly, anyway — is the struggle of individual women to be treated as individual persons despite their categorization by sex. The perversion of feminism, as I see it, has been the anti-individual promotion of the sex (modish folks’ll say “gender”) rather than the liberation of individuals from the confines of over-sexualized, constricting and collectivist expectations.

So, like the other response to this question that I noticed, I urge: “let it go.” Not because the fake women are not wholly unthreatening, but because they threaten something you should not take personally.

As for these fake women, my attitudes vary, person to person, expressing (as I have) pity, sympathy, laughter, indifference, pro forma respect and, yes, acceptance.* It all depends. On whether they allow me my freedom, or, instead, have some tyrannical agenda. And also whether they are doing themselves and their loved ones harm, even sans force.

We do live in strange, decadent** times.


* When I was young, I had a number of pre-op “tranny” friends — that is what they called themselves — and I liked them a lot, despite our lack of . . . commonality.

** Also when I was young, I extolled “decadence” even as I denied any precision to the term. Now I know what it means, and remain somewhat ambivalent — that is, I do not think decadence should be normed, even while I confess to being something of a decadent myself.


N.B. I am not at all certain that my response on Quora will be allowed to stand. And I could even be removed from the platform. Why? For merely referring to “fake women.” It will be interesting to see how it goes. Since posting I saw a number of other answers. They are uniformly bad.

Should there be straight pride?

as answered by TWV on Quora:

Probably not. But there should be no “straight shame,” either.

And, more importantly, most people should practice a bit of modesty, as part of humility and decorum, rather than “pride.”

The point of “gay pride” was, as near as I could make out, a reasonable and necessary push back against the anti-homosexual shaming that was once the norm. That the “pride” movement went overboard, as can be seen in too many of the gay pride parades I have noticed, is sad. By putting aside the question of being unashamed of one’s orientation and instead publicly glorying in indecency and immodesty, “gay pride” paraders have promoted shamelessness when shame be more apt.

You see, the original idea of not feeling shame for one’s desires is good. But the shameless public promotion of private, even lewd activities strikes me as bad, immoral, inconsiderate — what amounts to grand effrontery.

Why would straight people wish to emulate all that?

But straight people do need to defend their desires against the onslaught of anti-straight social forces.

I believe heteronormativity also needs to be defended.

Why? Because the norming of the activities that lead to procreation, to the maintenance of the species, is pro-life, humanistic, civilized. To oppose heteronormativity is to promote decadence.

Quite literally.

Of course, the reader will gather that I think heteronormativity need not be oppressive to the small population of sexual outliers. A society can norm heterosexuality without pride and overbearing condescension and exclusion. Heteronormativity can be humble, not proud.

It is a worse than a shame when it is, instead, shameless and tyrannical.

I believe it is imperative that straight people resist cultural decadence and re-learn modesty, responsibility and the blessing of human reproduction. Also, it might be helpful to relearn that sexual activity can be pleasurable within a context centered around the production of offspring and the raising of same.

But “straight pride” won’t do that. “Straight virtue” might.

twv, September 19, 2019

I oppose the concept of “gender” and quite a bit of today’s intersectionalist nomenclature. This is especially the case with the trans mania.

But I should clarify. For the record, I am not “trans-exclusionary.” That term of alleged opprobrium doesn’t do my position justice. I am a trans denier. Whether or not I play along with other people’s fantasies and fakes and frauds is a matter of whimsy only, circumscribed by manners and fleeting circumstance. On principle, anyone who threatens me — in the realm of manners or in courts of law — to obtain my compliance with their fantasies and fakes and frauds will gain only my contempt and defiance. The current trans movement is a bullying idiocy.

Now, though I oppose current trends in trans advocacy, I have no great animus against these sexually confused and deliberately confusing people. When I was young I knew a number of trannies. That is what they called themselves. Trannies. They were technically called pre-op transexuals, I think. But whatever they were called, I liked them. I had no trouble with them. I thought their passion for drag shows was stupid, but I think most other people’s pastimes are stupid, and as everyday people I got along with them fine.

But at no point did I think of these men as women. Lacking two X chromosomes and sporting dangling pudenda put the kibosh on any of that. Putative trans women, even after plastic surgery, are still not women. Though if they can pass I give them a pass.

But that was yesterday — today’s trans activists are my enemies.

Why? Well, they have gotten increasingly bold in their effrontery. About once per month I encounter some public argument to the effect that I am somehow bad if I do not want to get naked and engage in penetrative sexual play with a “trans person” just because I do not like their genitalia. Well, I like women. Well, a very few women. And I have a fondness for their genitalia, too. And I have no interest in naked play with any man. I would be most happy if I could go the rest of my life without seeing another penis, at least up close. The idea that trans activists think they can guilt me into accepting their hidden or mangled pudenda appalls me.

And I have a right to my feelings.

My values.

My sexual preferences.

Today’s trannies who seek to take away my right are evil.

twv

Stelter’s tweet is rather like Cain’s reply when asked where Abel was. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

Well, Cain’s rhetorical question implies a truth: we are not our brothers’ keepers. But that was hardly the point, was it? Cain had murdered his brother. Cain used his rhetorical expression of a truth to conceal a crime. He had made himself the keeper, so the tale goes, of his brother’s corpse.

Just so, Brian Stelter — I would be tempted to call him the most witless man on television, except that he is on CNN and he is way down the line of nincompoopery — expresses a truth: one faked victimization event does not negate any other real crimes of a similar variety. But that is hardly the point, is it?

The reason we stick pols’ and journos’ noses into this foul fraud is that they fell for the hoax without questioning it — indeed, they fell all over themselves touting its cultural importance, as yet another example of their political opponents’ evil natures. When discovering that their celebrated cause was indeed a hoax — that their honored victim was a liar — they should have expressed shame, made an apology. Not a defensive excuse.

What the event revealed was that they, the major media and cultural and political elite, are themselves bigoted, racist and evil. Not their opponents.

twv

On Gab before the proof came in about the hoax.

It used to be a joke. Old people would regale us with all the difficulties that they had had to endure when young: walking home from school, splitting firewood, etc. Some of this was funny because it was such a cliché, some because it spoke to real progress but was said with such fondness, and some because . . . well, I walked a ways away home from school, and with a French horn case; and I split, and threw and stacked firewood, too.

Nowadays it is the youngsters who regale us with the horrors of their lives, their ordeals. We “just do not know” what they go through. They now often tell us of all the racism and homophobia that gets directed to them.

Their lip-smacking glee in the telling, however, is less innocent than the oldsters’ old complaints, and their most obvious guilt is the fact that many of the worst, most celebrated instances of victimization turn out to be hoaxes. Ah, Jussie Smollett is just the latest.

There is, as Gad Saad often asserts, a sort of Münchhausen’s syndrome in play: get attention by malingering, by pretending to be sick; get attention by pretending to be a victim.

Note that the hoaxers are not pretending to any great heroism or achievement: that would be jejune! They pretend to be victims.

If you ask me, there is more honor in pretending to have achieved something one has not achieved than in pretending to having been victimized when one has not. At least the former promotes achievement; the latter promotes resentment.

These are the days of the Last Men. They are only grimly funny.

twv

The point being that you need moral leukocytes.

Not a scandal.

Robby Soave, over at Reason, defended Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez against those on the right who mock her for her telling of whoppers about her past, about her pose as a poor person, and for her recently unearthed dance video, which I have no interest in seeing. Since AO-C is a pulchritudinous woman, I am certain I would have no great objection to her alleged Terpsichorean antics.

There. I got out my inner Bill Buckley, so I can move on.

Anyway, the meat of Soave’s defense and remonstrance (or is that mere warning?) is this:

Conservatives who obsessively comment on Ocasio-Cortez’s wardrobe and dance video are feeding into the narrative that the right is anti-women and does’t treat them seriously. Bafflingly, they are also attacking her strengths. Being a young person with a sense of style is a good thing! Occasionally unwinding, dancing, and livestreaming dinner while taking questions from constituents: also good.

Robby Soave, “Criticize Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Socialist Policies, Not Her Extremely Likable Dance Video” (January 3, 2019)

Just as Aristotle reminded us that one swallow does not make a spring, I insist that calling attention to the young pol’s pretentions to poverty and Woman of the People status is not an obsession. Not yet.

And just calling attention to a dance video? It is fun to note the quirks of one’s opponents,

Of course, criticizing her for her mad policy preferences is best.

But it is not as if progressives do not actually obsess about Trump’s looks and his manner of speech. And it is not as if they did not relentlessly attack Sarah Palin for her looks and her cultural goofs more than they did her substantive errors.

Sure, anyone not a leftist criticizing a leftist woman on non-policy grounds is going to “feed a narrative” of misogyny. But that is just a marker for the besetting sin of the left, who regard negative comments against any particular woman as being a sign of the dread attitude of being “anti-women.” There is not much we can do about that.

Donald Trump, though, was brilliant in his response to Megyn Kelley’s famous and rather sexist challenge of his alleged anti-woman attitudes. Did he say nasty things about a few women? Sure. He also said many nasty things about men. But no one ever accused him of misandry. Just misogyny.

Mr Trump — one of the things people love about you is you speak your mind and you don’t use a politician’s filter. However, that is not without its downsides. In particular, when it comes to women. You call women you don’t like, ‘fat pigs,’ ‘dogs,’ ‘slobs’ and ‘disgusting animals.’

So Trump’s reponse was spot on: “Only Rosie O’Donnell.” He particularized. Megyn Kelley collectivized. As is so common in the media, as well as, generally, on the left.

The cultural left.

Which is why any criticism of a famous left-of-center woman will be added to the evidence for misogyny. Because leftists will take even the most iffy opportunities as license to make the misogyny charge.

It is a similar case with feminism. Were I to say that “I hate feminism,” such a statement routinely would go through at least three transformations: (1) “I hate feminists”; (2) “I hate all feminists”; (3) “I hate all women.” Truth is, of course, feminism is not feminists is not all feminists is not all women.

But ideologues of a collectivist bent proclaim the opposite.

Miss AO-C is quite obviously “Trumpian” in one important way: she has a few peculiarities in the looks department, she is astoundingly ignorant, she says goofy things, and she is not on the side of the angels. And, in our rather superficial age, I reserve the right to make fun of her for any and all reasons. Which narratives that might feed? I do not care much. Progressives cannot be reached. I make my pitch to convince others.

Still, caving in to doing politics like the left does politics is, I suppose, not any great advance.

twv