I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe
The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken
Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell
October 25, 2016 - 2:11 p.m.
I'm starting to write without knowing what I'm going to write about. I have one solid idea but there's a reason I want to hold it back. Well if I need it, I need it. I don't need to; my diary idea bin has come to the rescues. There's something I would have written about three days ago if I hadn't done things worth writing about.
Yesterday was Monday so I did what I do on Mondays, I went to Bagel Bob's on University Pl. The bagels are half-price after 4 PM then. I usually go to Trader Joe's then too but I decided against it. Stupid me. Now I have to go today. I need eggs. Why go to Trader Joe's for eggs? A dozen jumbo eggs are $1.29; at the City Island supermarket, it's $4.49 for a dozen extra-large. There are other things I always need there so it's worth the trip. Todays' plan is PO Box and Trader Joe's on the upper west side.
Last night I made gnocchi for the first time in ages. I didn't have half & half and had to use milk for the "sauce" but it was still great. All I do for sauce is the same thing I use making mashed potatoes, a mixture of half & half, butter, and olive oil. I add some garlic salt. That's it and it's delicious. I should publish the Wise Madness Cookbook: The guide to unhealthy but tasty eating for those that can't really cook.
Some friends of mine posted an article on Facebook that claimed that Charles Manson had endorsed Donald Trump. Without even clicking on it I knew it was faked and quickly snoped it. It isn't even a fake news site, it's a prank site. You can make up your own fake story and post I there. It starts by what sounds like a real article then devolves into things totally unrelated. This one became Isaac Asimov's great short story, The Last Question. The point being that people don't read these things through to the end. When you get to the end it says, "You've been pranked." This is not why my friends posted it. They were fooled because it said something they wanted to hear. I'm not up to the part I'm mad about. When I posted the Snopes rebuttal which is proved if you just read the entire article, one person's response was, "It doesn't make a difference. If Manson could he would endorse Trump." She kept it up and kept defending it against others like me that objected. All that mattered was that it attacked Trump. She is doing exactly what Trump does, and that's what makes this dangerous. In Lord of the Rings Faramir says, "I won't even deceive an orc with a falsehood." That's a good lesson for us all. If we use the ring, we don't defeat the Dark Lord we become the Dark Lord.
Now on to what I had in my ideas bin. It was inspired by this article in the New York Times, Where Are Women in F.B.I.’s Top Ranks? Give it a read. It explains that one of the reason that women don't advance to the top ranks of the FBI are that it often involves being transferred across the country on short notice. Men do it and usually their wives follow. If women do it not as many husbands are willing to follow. And men are in more likely to accept being away from the spouse and children than women. Now we get to my point. Many people's reactions, perhaps your reaction, is, "that's fine. It's a choice that women are free to make. They choose to accept lack of advancement for the sake of their family; this is fair, not discrimination." I might have once thought along those lines. I bet many women think along those lines. But think outside the box, what are the unstated assumptions? It's that it's necessary to the FBI's mission to force their employees to accept being transferred on short notice. If women had been part of the FBI culture from the start do you think that's how it would look today? I don't. Now it's tradition and everyone in the FBI has been trained to accept it as necessary. That doesn't make it necessary. It was thought that brutal hazing was necessary in the military. We discovered that they aren't.
This is not just about the military, it's about our entire culture. The rules and tradition were made by and for white nondisabled men. It wasn't about the starters of the traditions being misogynists, racists, or prejudiced against the disabled. It wasn't that they were bad people. It's that there was no need at the time to take these people into consideration and they wouldn't have known what to do if they did consider them. Women are going to do a much better job of providing a woman's needs than a man. The same is true in reverse. But then when the members of the formerly excluded classes enter the organizations they don't fit in as well and the blame is put on them.
This type of fossilized discrimination hurts men too. Men's attitudes have changed with the times. Men now care for their children too. Men have domestic duties. Men can't expect their wives do just pack up and leave their careers. The balance of career and family has tilted towards family for men as it has tilted towards career for women.
Society needs to adjust to the new realities. Childcare needs to be more available. The providers should be better compensated. If men can accept change this could be a respected and well-paying job for men without college degrees.
So much of discrimination is not the actions of people today but the lack of action in changing practices to fit the world we live in, not the world of the 1950s. That's how it should be sold. Let's get back to the FBI. Some of the most talented people are being excluded from top positions. That means they don't have the best "man" for the job. And do we want a law enforcement agency's leadership to consist of people that devalue family? Is that going to reflect our society?
OK, now it's time for me to get moving. When I get back tonight I'm going for half-priced burgers at the Snug and watching the World Series. Go Cubs Go!
Intellecutal Honesty Leads to the Best Policy - October 30, 2016
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