Leonard Peikoff is a pathetic joke:

The following block-quote sums up pretty much everything that sucks about Leonard Peikoff:

But for you to judge these matters yourself and reach an objective
view of Ayn Rand, you must be an unusually philosophical kind of person,

because you are living in a Kantian, anti-value culture, and you are going to be offered some very opposite accounts of the facts of her life. So you have to know:
what is objectivity? What sort of testimony qualifies as evidence in this context? What do you believe is possible to a man—or a woman? What kind of soul do you think it takes to write Atlas Shrugged? And what do you want to see in a historic figure?

The quote is from something called “My Thirty years with Ayn Rand” – a particularly sad and ridiculous attempt at “turd-polishing” Peikoff did around the same time the Brandens’ published their respective “Tell-all” books.

Quite frankly, while Ayn Rand was still alive, Peikoff’s function vis. a vis the tattered/smoldering wreckage of the (post-NBI) “Objectivist Movement” was: toadying little boot-lick.   Since her death in 1982, he has spent the last 35 years on a mix of frantic turd-polishing/damage control (against pretty much everyone who was actually involved with NBI/”Objectivism 1.0 – while simultaneously attempting to keep Ayn Rand “relevant” (which, not coincidentally, ends up funneling royalties on her shitty schlock “novels”/pseudo-intellectual screeds DIRECTLY INTO HIS POCKET.

The particularly telling bit — the thing that utterly discredits Peikoff as a serious thinker and as someone interested in the “facts of reality” is his plaintive whine disguised as the “rhetorical question”: “what do you want to see in a historical figure?”

Now, I could almost excuse Peikoff on this, if he had claimed something along the lines of: “Ayn Rand was neither omniscient, nor infallible.  In fact, she made some really serious errors – among them, allowing her previous “Legal and intellectual heir” to ‘tap that ass’.  Having admitted that, I still contend that her virtues outweigh her flaws.”

But Peikoff doesn’t do that – or anything even remotely similar.  Instead, he has spent the last several decades frantically alternating between the intellectual equivalent of “na-na-na, I can’t hear you!” (with regard to the Brandens’ books), and “excommunicating” any ‘student of Objectivism” intelligent/principled enough to refrain from (metaphorically) sucking his dick:

For example: http://tracinskiletter.com/2010/09/30/anthemgate/

The whole thing is just mind-numbingly stupid, and, the real tragedy is: they can’t blame Kant for it.  (For anybody lucky enough not to be aware of this: Immanuel Kant is essentially the Objectivist equivalent of Satan:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Folk_devil

 

 

 

I have no sympathy for most “parents”:

If you blundered into “parenthood” because through ignorance or idiocy, you don’t deserve any sympathy.

Most likely (in something like 99% of all cases), you were horny, and you decided to fuck.  I don’t give a shit whether you were in a “committed relationship”, or whether some religious busybodies consider your relationship to be a “sacrament”, or whether it was just a drunken “hook-up” in the Denny’s parking-lot.

You were horny, and decided to fuck.

Most likely, you were also too inept/ignorant/negligent/superstitious etc. to bother to know anything about “where babies come from” (beyond the most basic “pee-pee goes into wee-wee”-level ‘explanations”).

You were most likely ignorant of topics like ovulation tracking, “fertile” days, your options as to contraception, etc.   Sure, you might have “known” about condoms and pills (in a very nebulous way) — but if that was the extent of your “knowledge”, then it is almost worse than useless.

I have tremendous respect for those who recognize that human sexuality isn’t primary about “breeding”.  Humans don’t have a “mating-season”, and any religious/cultural “tradition” which attempts to even approximate that state of affairs is irremediably idiotic and indefensible.

I have Tremendous respect for those who choose to adopt – choose to love and nurture children (or even teens) for reasons other than mere consanguinity.

I have some respect for folks who (for any number of reasons) choose to utilize “assisted” reproductive techniques (donor eggs, “embryo adoption”, etc.)

I have ZERO respect for ANYONE – no matter how financially/sociologically “secure” – who “blundered into” parenthood – whether through ignorance or negligence.

Funny: our culture fetishizes “parenting” as the “toughest job”.  The odd thing is: all of those other (purportedly easier) JOBS actually require individuals to meet some minimum standard of qualification, and/or know WHAT THE FUCK THEY’RE DOING, before-hand.

-The only “qualification” for “parenting” is: a functioning crotch (too often coupled with a non-functioning brain).

Worse yet, we fucking lionize ignorant shit-chimps who blunder into “parenthood’ in that manner, by way of blockbuster films:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knocked_Up

TL;DR: stupid asshole bangs ditzy skank, who ends up pregnant – surprisingly decides not to “bail” on her ass.

Yeah, I realized the above-mentioned movie is intended to be a “comedy”.  That’s the fucking tragic part: we live in a “culture” which has infantilized us all to the point where ineptitude, ignorantce and negligence are considered “funny”.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Idiocracy

Don’t get me wrong: this “civilization” will probably be able to free-ride on the “Flynn Effect” for some while longer – but we really need to stop mollycoddling/ass-patting/glorifying ignorance/ineptitude.

 

 

THIS blog is sheer genius (which is why it probably won’t make a damn bit of difference, in the long-run):

https://culturallyboundgender.wordpress.com/2013/03/03/the-concept-of-the-culture-bound-syndrome/

This part is particularly lucid:

Gender identity disorder is a culture bound syndrome–not something you’re born with.

Culture bound syndromes include a wide array of medical issues.  Some are very familiar to Americans and Europeans, like anorexia and bulimia, which arise because of the complex interplay between our culture’s views on beauty, food, and (often) femininity.  Others, though, are experienced more frequently (or exclusively) in other parts of the world, which can give them the air of otherness.  For example, the phenomenon of koro–in which, depending on one’s culture, one believes one’s penis to have been stolen or to have started shrinking into nothingness–is experienced today primarily in West African nations and parts of Southeastern Asia and the subcontinent, although it has been experienced as an epidemic in European/American cultures in centuries past.

Similarly, Dhat syndrome is experienced by people who believe very strongly that they are losing energy and sexual function, and are experiencing extreme symptoms of depression and anxiety, because they are losing semen in their urine.  It happens because of religious views about semen and ejaculation in some cultures in India and Nepal.

The idea that trans identity is neurologically innate, set by laws of biology in utero, is one that can only come from a perspective that is blind to historical and anthropological realities.  In some cultures, people who are outside the gender binary believe quite fully that they have chosen their gender path.  In some, it’s a choice made after the mid-point of one’s life, while in others, puberty is when the issue is decided.  What’s more important is that in different cultures and times, the idea of gender identity and what it means to violate the gender binary and have a non-conforming identity is different.

If the transgender identity phenomenon was, as many people have said (ad nauseam with arguments that sound way too much like people saying that men and women have different brains that explain their culturally-assigned differences), genetic/epigenetic and determined at/before birth, this would imply that the phenonemon of painful, debilitating dysphoria would manifest in this way throughout history and in many cultures.  It doesn’t.  While there are gender non-conforming people throughout history, the near-obsessive, anxiety and depression provoking, dysphoric feeling that one’s primary or secondary sex characteristics are “wrong” for one’s brain is a phenomenon that isn’t reflected in all history or cultures worldwide. It’s culturally specific.

What that means is that some elements of our culture are leading to the ways in which gender non-conformity manifests here, including the phenomena of transgenderism, gender identity disorder, and dysphoria.

This blog looks to explore some of those cultural elements from what I hope will be a somewhat different perspective.  Before we start looking at the specifics, though, I’d like to lay out some basics of what I believe and don’t believe, so that we’re all on the same page and I don’t get hate mail based on the fact that one time you interacted with a radical feminist who was mean to you.

What I DO Believe:

The reluctance to acknowledge GID as a culture bound syndrome comes from a history of discrimination against gender-nonconforming people and the greater willingness of Americans and Europeans to accept gender non-conformity if they view it according to their biological/neuroscience model, in which gender identity is innate and unchanging.  In some way, this makes it “not the person’s fault,” which is a sad and upsetting way to see gender non-conformity viewed.

Dysphoria and GID are experienced as real, sometimes painful phenomena.

Gender non-conformity occurs in many cultures and is the result of the fact that the sex-based gender binary makes no goddamn sense.  GID and dysphoria–the specific ways in which gender non-conformity are experienced in our culture–are what I’m referring to when I say that transgenderism is a culture bound syndrome.

Gender non-conformity and non-compliance is different from culture to culture, both historically and in contemporary societies.

A phenomenal amount of energy is devoted to telling people that their gender identity is brain-based and innate, and that there are “male and female brains.”  This notion is incredibly destructive and has little place in feminist thought.

That “third,” fourth, and so on gender identities in other cultures are also culturally mediated, and that in some of these cultures third gender identities work to reinforce rather than subvert sex-based binaries (we’ll get into this later, I promise).

That the concept of transgenderism as currently manifested in the United States can lead to complex issues of identity, appropriation, and acceptance.

What I DON’T Believe:

That being transgender is a “born this way” phenomenon bound by genetics that is experienced in the same way in all cultures.

That referring to GID as a culture bound syndrome is transphobic.  It is not anorexia-phobic to refer to anorexia as a culture bound syndrome–it doesn’t erase their experiences or trivialize them.  Your culture is an important part of you, and it’s not surprising or abnormal that your culture would manifest in important parts of your gender identity and self-concept.

That being transgender, inclusive or exclusive of SRS and hormone treatments, makes you somehow a bad person.

That transgender and non-gender conforming people should be subject to employment discrimination, street harassment, et cetera.

That people with gender dysphoria or a strong aversion to their culture’s typical gender identity are “faking it” in some way.

That it’s off-limits to discuss the ways in which our culture mediates and creates the phenomenon of gender identity and transgenderism.

Interestingly enough, a rather stark bit of evidence for at least some variant of the above hypothesis is the phenomenon of forced sex-changes, in iran:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transsexuality_in_Iran

 

Appalachia is the “canary in the coal mine”:

Here’s the thing:

The (predominately coastal/urban/comparatively “well-off”) segment(s) of the U.S. population have been pretty much ignoring the (initially slow, but escalating) transformation of “flyover country” into a Mad Max-type hellscape.

It’s not like there weren’t warnings: half-dead “Rust Belt” towns, the fact that even non-affluent Urban areas turned into warzones (especially during the ’80s), etc.

Hell, even documentaries like High on Crack street: lost lives in Lowell:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_on_Crack_Street:_Lost_Lives_in_Lowell

Or Skinheads USA: soldiers of the race war

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skinheads_USA:_Soldiers_of_the_Race_War

Did anybody lucky enough to inhabit one of the (relatively) prosperous and secure enclaves actually give a shit?

Pretty much, no: not until the various pathologies began to “spill over” into suburbia, and piss off “Soccer Moms”.

Nobody bothered to give a fuck, and now the entire U.S. is rapidly beginning to mirror what is (pejoratively) termed “Pennsylvucky” among folks from PA:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pennsyltucky

As James carville summed it up back in 1986:

Between Paoli and Penn Hills, Pennsylvania is Alabama without the blacks. They didn’t film The Deer Hunter there for nothing — the state has the second-highest concentration of NRA members, behind Texas.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pennsyltucky#Explanation

While the forerunners of today’s SJW’s and “politically-correct”, sensitive, and ever-so-“compassionate” Latte-Liberals were frantically self-flaggellating over their own “White-Guilt” complex over having mostly ignored the “Jim Crow” Southern U>S. until that particular powder-keg threatened to explode and take the rest of the U.S. with it  – “Flyover country” was dying.

Pretty much the only ones who were paying attention?  DISNEY:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radiator_Springs

Sames goes for non-coastal urban areas (the “Rust Belt”), and Appalachia:  exactly the regions which most stridently supported Trump/fell for Teabagger bullshit during the Obama years.

What we are witnessing is nothing less than the emergence of what will probably turn out to be the “American Outback”, in another 50 years of so:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outback

The primary difference between the American “outback” and its Australian counterpart?  The American “outback” will be littered with the decaying husks of non-elite cities, the kind of “Small-Town America” depicted by Norman Rockwell, and a vast opioid-slum in “Appalachia”.

It’s already happening now.

Exactly how long do you think comparatively-affluent “progressives” can afford   o continue ignoring – and/or ridiculing – those from the “Blighted” areas with impunity?

 

 

 

 

 

What if Objectivists/Libertarians admitted the truth?

One of the things which really hampers Objectivists/Libertarians is their (self-imposed) inability to accurately communicate their own views and values.

The textbook example of this is (of course), the claim that they support “capitalism”.

Quite frankly, if you have to keep reiterating the fact that what you support and advocate has NEVER ACTUALLY EXISTED, then you have no business (mis)using the name of an existing social/economic/political system.

Every time Objectivists/Libertarians handwave about how the trans-national corporate plutonomy isn’t “really” Capitalism, they are (justifiably) met with exactly the same sort of eye-roll which would-be apologists for Marxism get when they claim that the U.S.S.R, Cuba, North Korea etc. aren’t “really” Marxist.

So, here’s a few “ground-rules” that Objectivists/Libertarians could use as a starting-point:

  1. Acknowledge that what they insist on designating as “Capitalism” has never existed, and has only crudely ever been approximated.

How so?

SLAVERY and “Jim Crow”, for one.

The mere existence of corporations(whether notionally “for profit” or “not-for-profit”) and similar systems of State-granted privileges, for another.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Corporation_%28film%29

3. “Structural” sexism (IE: “Gender” roles): the infamous Kinder, Küche, Kirche mentality which systematically served to freeze females out of all but (stereotypically) “masculine” pursuits (thus privileging “White” males – yet again).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kinder,_K%C3%BCche,_Kirche

So long as women were relegated to the “gender”-role of domestic drudge/breeding machine, they were systematically disadvataged, relative to their “white”, male counterparts.

So, no: what Objectivists/Libertarians claim to support has never actually existed, and has only ever been (crudely) approximated.  IN ACTUALITY, the “capitalist” system which actually exists amounts to a system of  transnational, corporate plutonomy.

If all economies have always been “mixted” economies (IE: systems involving various levels of STATE CONTROL and/or SOCIOECONOMIC stratification), then it follows that there are really no “mixed” economies – merely economies.

The first (and most important) thing for Objectivists/Libertarians to acknowledge is the fact that (by their definition) there have never been any genuinely “free” economies, and no genuinely “moral” socioeconomic systems.

At absolute most, some socioeconomic structures have been somewhat less evil (in that they “permitted” more individuals a – somewhat – wider spectrum of permitted alternatives.)

 

 

Just barely managed to sit through twenty minutes of a “documentary” on Bluegrass music. some observations:

The “Documentary” in question is called something like “Bluegrass country soul”, and involves (poorly-edited) footage taken at Carlton Haney’s 7th Bluegrass festival, sometime in the 1970s.

The things that stuck out most about the documentary (and the “scene” which it purports to be documenting), are as follows:

  1. OVERWHELMINGLY “WHITE” crowd.  There is some off-hand mention of occasional attendees from Japan, but the whole “scene” appeared to consist near-exclusively of WHITE Appalachian-types, and wannabe-Appalachian types.  Some vaguely hippie-ish “longhairs” in the crowd and as performers, but….the whole thing was weirdly (and rather tragically) segregated.

2. NO discernible “evolution” since whenever this documentary was filmed.  Bluegrass festivals (and “jam sessions”) tend to be exactly the same – at least they did as late as 2013, when I had my most recent opportunity to brush up against that particular genre-based “scene”.

You see exactly the same demographic/subcultural mix: hell, probably mostly the same people.  The “scene” is utterly stagnant and repetitive to the point where once you’ve gone to one such festival, you’ve essentially vicariously attended all of them.

This isn’t about some ersatz “tradition” dating from the 1940s.  This is about an increasingly-marginal (and never particularly “relevant”) music genre which has spent over fifty years dedicated to NOT evolving.

See, here’s the thing:  this isn’t about (for example) the “Great American Songbook”, or “Jazz Standards”, or whatever;  many music genres/subcultures develop a more or less coherent set of subcultural “shibboleths” – aesthetic/structural attributes which permit the most ignorant/least discerning elements of the “fan-base” to make snap-judgments about the (supposed) “authenticity’ of any given example.

That’s pathological in a different way, but that at least allows for a significant amount of exploration/syncretism/creativity (even if you do have to waste time and effort on fruitless debates over whether or not such “fusions”/derivative genres are “authentic”, or not.)

The situation with Bluegrass is weirdly different, in that even the most “exploratory” or “progressive” elements of the genre never substantively deviated from the defined aesthetic “palette”  set down by the “canonical” groups in the 1940s and ’50s:

“Fiddle”, guitar, banjo, bass, mandolin, “Dobro”.

Even the most “progressive” individuals/groups seldom (if ever) deviated from the above formula, OR from the (increasingly stagnant and self-parodyling) palette of imagery related to Appalachian stereotypes.

Weirdly enough, the ersatz “HIllbillies” involved in the “Bluegrass” scene never seemed to do anything to actually help appalachia develop.

Why is this, do you think?  Could it have something to do with the fact that they had either managed to escape from the grinding stagnation/poverty/degradation of “the holler”?

I submit that the “Bluegrass” music scene was to Appalachia what “hip-hop culture”/basketball is to the urban “Minority” subcultures: a way for *some* to escape the specific “ghetto” into which they were unlucky enough to have been born:

Because make no mistake:  Applachia is definitely a ghetto, in many respects:

http://theweek.com/articles/452321/appalachia-big-white-ghetto

Quite frankly Appalachia is irremediably fucked:

There is here a strain of fervid and sometimes apocalyptic Christianity, and visions of the Rapture must have a certain appeal for people who already have been left behind. Like its black urban counterparts, the Big White Ghetto suffers from a whole trainload of social problems, but the most significant among them may be adverse selection: Those who have the required work skills, the academic ability, or the simple desperate native enterprising grit to do so get the hell out as fast as they can, and they have been doing that for decades. As they go, businesses disappear, institutions fall into decline, social networks erode, and there is little or nothing left over for those who remain.

There’s the tragedy, right there: the “vibrant folk-culture” of the region has been relentlessly exploited and milked by everyone from Pete Seeger, Alan Lomax and other “musicologists”, and used as a means to GTFO by such folks as Bill Monroe and Jean Ritchie – while the region itself has either been ignored or ridiculed.

To the extent  that there was ever anything resembling an “economy” in that region, it consisted primarily of resource extraction (most notably, coal-mining).    Now, the region is both “played out” in terms of mining (hence the mountaintop-removal thing) and no longer nearly as economically “necessary”  (due to coal mining in other regions of the world, and other fuel sources – fracking, “renewables”, etc.)

At any rate: the “vibrant folk culture” milked by Lomax and others has now become essentially an affectation for the (comparatively) well-off in other regions.  Appalachia itself?  Not so much:

THERE ARE LOTS of diversions in the Big White Ghetto, the vast moribund matrix of Wonder Bread–hued Appalachian towns and villages stretching from northern Mississippi to southern New York, a slowly dissipating nebula of poverty and misery with its heart in eastern Kentucky, the last redoubt of the Scots-Irish working class that picked up where African slave labor left off, mining and cropping and sawing the raw materials for a modern American economy that would soon run out of profitable uses for the class of people who 500 years ago would have been known, without any derogation, as peasants. Thinking about the future here and its bleak prospects is not much fun at all, so instead you have the pills and the dope, the morning beers, the endless scratch-off lotto cards, healing meetings up on the hill, the federally funded ritual of trading cases of food-stamp Pepsi for packs of Kentucky’s Best cigarettes and good old hard currency, tall piles of gas-station nachos, the occasional blast of meth, Narcotics Anonymous meetings, petty crime, the draw, the recreational making and surgical unmaking of teenaged mothers, and death: Life expectancies are short — the typical man here dies well over a decade earlier than does a man in Fairfax County, Va. — and they are getting shorter, women’s life expectancy having declined by nearly 1.1 percent from 1987 to 2007.

No amount of “bluegrass festivals” or “quilting bees” is ever going to solve those problems – Bean Blossom notwithstanding.

 

I’m either sentimental, or a glutton for punishment, I honestly don’t know which:

So, I called Karl (KA3RCS) earlier today.

I’ll be honest about my motivation with this: I am most likely the closest thing he has to a “friend”, or will ever have, at this point.

From what I can gather, his “lifestyle” is either utterly stagnant, or slowly unraveling:  shit job, which supposedly “wipes him out” to the point where he can’t even summon up enough motivation to go to the repeater site, or even loiter around in parking-lots, anymore.

Supposedly (I have no idea why), he frequently stays at the place far beyond his actual shift, ostensibly to help other people out with computer/electronics-related problems of their own, unpaid.

I have no idea why he would do this (given that most of his co-workers are probably at least as skilled as he is – which admittedly isn’t really saying that much).

Is he trying to be a “suck-up?”   Trying to ingratiate himself with co-workers?  One piece of the puzzle is that if he lurks at the workplace, he doesn’t have to turn on the air-conditioning at his trailer.

Realistically, it sounds like he has basically figured out a way to scam time in an air-conditioned environment, and “suck up” to co-workers.  This doesn’t really surprise me, given that his other two alternatives amount to: rummaging through the hoarded E-waste (which he describes as “overwhelming”), and/or loitering in various parking-lots.

His rickety shit-bucket of a jeep is even worse, still not inspected or registered.  He hasn’t been to the storage-units in over a year, at this point.  Medical bills?  My wife attempted to advise him on some resources which are typically available to those in financial difficulty – and he neglected to contact them in a timely fashion.

Bottom-line: Karl is irremediably fucked, and (as per usual) extremely bitter and depressed – especially about the fact that his younger sister (Julia) supposedly received nearly a million dollars (which would supposedly have been “her inheritance”), from the sale of some property karl’s parents owned.

Of course, Karl blames this state of affairs on the fact that “they actually loved her”, and supposedly always treated him as some sort of after-thought.

Dunno.  I do know that Karl’s (endless – and accelerating) run of (self-inflicted) failure has long since crossed from “mildly entertaining” to “just plain pitiful”.

In theory (if he can manage not to fuck anything else up), his rickety shit-bucket of a jeep will finally be paid off sometimes next year, at which time he will theoretically have (slightly) more money to sink into getting the shit-bucket repaired to the point where it is actually legal to drive it.

Of course, this assumes that the shit-bucket remains at least semi-functional
(which is exceedingly unlikely).

At any rate, Kar’ls “life” has essentially become a “cautionary tale”.

I don’t even find that funny, at this point – it’s just pathetic.