Unperson Crimethinks: “Feminists” Hardest Hit

I don’t know much about Margaret Atwood, back in 1991 I was in an airport about to head off to Poland when it occurred to me that I didn’t have any in-flight reading. I went to a newstand and picked up the Handmaid’s Tale because I’d recognized the name somehow (probably from publicity from the movie version around that time).

For a couple of months it was one of only a handful of books I had in English (most of the rest were academic) and I couldn’t read enough Polish at the time and so I became _very_ familiar with the odd little world she created.I’ve never read anything else by her because for the most part “literary” fiction is not my thing (too literal and too unreal and too obtuse all at the same time).

Now it appears that she’s got a bunch of feminists’ undies in a knot because she wrote an opinion piece with the following extremely patriarchal ideas.

Human women are human beings with the same capacity for good and evil as men,

Women have moral agency and are not in fact infants who require constant supervision and benevolent protection,

Due process matters, even in cases when a person is accused of something bad,

An awful lot of the “Me too” (not using the hashtag on purpose) amounts to mob justice,

Mob justice rarely brings good results in the long run.

For these incendiary positions Canadian “feminists” have declared her public enemy…. have put her pretty high on their public enemy list (we can’t have rankings because that’s probably patriarchal or some such nonsense).

This is a good example of both traditional feminity in English speaking North America (where younger women systematically dishonor and disrespect older women for status) and the bankrupt nature of modern feminism.

To answer the Question in Atwood’s article. You’re a fine feminist, it’s the movement that’s bad. The future of feminism is a twitterstorm on the face of Margaret Atwood forever.

Feminism as it was once called is dead. Everything dies there’s no reason to mourn. But recognize the fact, stop trying to resurrect the corpse and move on with something new.

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Gorgeous Ladies of (Not Very Gorgeous) Wrestling

I’m finally getting around to watching GLOW. Back in the 1980s I enjoyed womens wrestling as much as the men (Sherri Martel and Velvet McIntyre especially) but they got short shrift on TV, as Jim Cornette said they were an attraction (come see the girls!) and not much effort was made to build story lines around them.

GLOW changed that but… the wrestling was pretty bad as wrestling with lots of wakward stumbling around and botches (moves gone wrong). But it wasn’t a promotion as such since the TV show was the product and not a hook to get people to go to the live shows (I don’t think they did live non-TV shows). And, let’s face it, the hook for most viewers were attractive you women in revealing poses….

Podobny obraz

Wrestlemania it ain’t… but it lasted four seasons….

Anywaaaay, despite all that the show is pretty great, maybe the best depiction of wrestling on TV or film ever. Allison Brie keeps making the case for being one of the premiere TV actresses of her generation (Mad Men, Community, Bojack Horseman… how many more favorites of mine will she be in?). She’s almost unrecognizable in the first couple of episodes but that’s just how good she is as a not very good but really ambitious and desperate actress clinging on to her last shot at…. whatever this will be.

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Strindberg it ain’t…. but it’s a livin’

The main thing I like is that the show is starting to show that it understands the heart of professional wrestling which is working class theater. The best scene so far is after the big dumb post-apoctalyptic storyline is junked and Bash just starts looking for characters that work with the wrestlers themselves, teasing out elements of their personalities that can be exaggerated into ring personas. My favorites are Machu Picchu (they’re right, no way would she be a good heel) and Tammy (played by real wrestler Kia Stevens aka Awesome Kong).

It started slow but I’m looking forward now to see how the rest of the season develops and will be looking forward to season two.


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Missing Repression and Loving Mockery

Some time after the Smolensk catastrophe a motley group of diehard conspiracy believers began holding monthly meetings (the 10th of each month) to commemorate the crash and make dark pronouncements about finding the truth behind the crash and generally be miserable.

Even the ringleader, the leader of the ruling party and twin brother of the president killed in the crash is getting sick of them and has been walking back the idea of their necessity saying that he expects the one in April (8th anniversary of the crash) to be the last (I don’t think it will be, I think they’ll carry on by themselves).

Anyhoo, this month I happened (by accident) to see a few minutes of a service in church where various, mostly older, people gave short speeches about the lies and cover ups and how one day the truth will come out.

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Braving the dark repressive forces of sanity to make a principled stand

I began to have a weird feeling of deja vu looking at the haggard, worried and furtive faces of those in the audience and suddenly I realized what it reminded me of – they looked very much like those taking part in church supported anti-government rallies in the early 1980s. The same mix of unease riding an adrenaline high was everywhere.

Then I realized why they can’t let go and of course I don’t think it has anything to do with the crash or those who lost their lives in it. They’re nostalgic for the threat of violent repression of the communist period. I’m sure that at the conscious level they don’t want some member of the ZOMO (extremely hated by everyone riot police) to burst in and start beating them or attacking them with water cannons… but they miss that fever high that came from speaking out when that _might_ happen.

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Those were the days my friend, we’d fight and never win…

That doesn’t explain the younger people but they have a different adrenaline high – speaking out when they know most people aren’t taking them seriously and don’t hide their contempt. Most people in Poland find the Smolensk die hards to be some combination of ludicrous, pathetic or contemptible and speaking out boldly when everybody things you’re full of it probably provides its own reward.

People are simultaneously predictable and extremely odd in the lengths they will go to in order to get their next fix of whatever emotional drug they crave.

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Polish Government Makes Nice (In Its Own Awkward Way)

Not long before the Christmas holidays there was a change in the Polish government with a new Prime Minister named. This is because Prime Minister and party leader are separate positions in Poland and at the national level the party leader of the ruling party couldn’t get elected to dog catcher.

There were no other changes then leading to a lot of jokes, but the changes came through today and they’re mostly…. surprisingly not terrible. One newspaper called it an ‘autorski rząd’ implying that these are people the Prime Minister (a pretty competent economic guy) rather than the party leader wanted.

Three of the worst stink bombs masquerading as ministers are out, the environmental minister who’s never met a tree he didn’t want to cut down and sell for timber, the foreign minister who made up a country (San Escobar) to make it seem like Poland had allies on some issue and the crazy conspiracy theory minister of defense who has sunk untold time and resources and effort trying to prove his whack Smolensk theories.

The minister of health is also out and healthcare is probably the government’s biggest Achilles heel. The system needs change but there’s a lot of things blocking that and the party leader doesn’t have any ideas that don’t come from communist times.

The main message here is that Poland is backing down on a lot of EU issues. The EU, for all its faults, is still popular in Poland and there’s nothing to be gained from antagonizing it too much. There will probably be further climb downs on some issues as a show of good will and to prevent sanctions from taking place. One issue I don’t expect much change on will be taking in pseudo-refugees to make Germany feel better, Poland is not alone on that issue and none of the evidence is pointing to it being wrong.

I’m not crazy about some of the new people but it could have been (and was) a lot worse.

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Babylon Berlin or How Much Worse Could Things Get, Anyway?

One of the weird things about general life and culture in modern Europe is the absolute dominance of Germany in economic and (slightly less) political terms and the absolute gaping hole that is modern German art. Over the last twenty years or so Denmark (with 5 million souls) has had a higher cultural profile than 80 million strong Germany, arguably even Iceland (less than half a million) has produced more high profile popular culture. It’s a weird situation and I recall that some years ago someone on another blog said it’s a matter of concern within Germany itself.

Now maybe things are changing. I’ve watched the first season of Babylon Berlin and it’s actually never less than watchable and at its best first rate TV. It’s a limited series that begins just before May day in 1929. German society is reeling from economic dislocations and the shadow of World War I still looms large and young people are partying like there’s no tomorrow because, from their point of view…. there might as well not be.

The story follows a policeman, who’s a drug addict suffering from shell shock (he doses himself to keep his shaking under control), who’s transferred to Berlin from Cologne to clean up a potential sex scandal. There’s also a young woman who dabbles at secretarial work at the police headquarters (they have casual labor set up for paperwork) by day and dabbles in kinky prostitution by night at a high end nightclub. In the background there are Russians at war with each other in Berlin and train cars filled with poison gas or smuggled Russian gold and don’t think too closely about the sense of it all just drink in the visual imagination and luxury.

It also does anachronisms right, rather than the real music of 1929 Berlin (the Morität from the Threepenny Opera) can be heard for a few seconds whining from a gramophone) the nightclub music is mostly modern, meant to sound to modern audiences how it probably sounded to people at the time. But unlike Moulin Rouge that went way too far (I enjoyed it but it was a hot steaming mess) it’s just a little more…. restrained and in character.

The musical highlight so far has been zu Asche zu Staub (to ashes to dust) performed by a Russian woman in male drag in a mad deco nightclub. It maybe lasts about a half a minute too long but it’s a delirious set piece that comes across as half self-aware decadence and half pagan ritual, it’s a wild mass delusion that obliquely foreshadows the horrors to come (all that energy looking for an outlet…).


I don’t know if this is just a one off flash in the pan, or if more interesting stuff is in the offing from Germany, but it’s a welcome sign of life in what has been a cultural black hole in the heart of Europe.


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The Sudden Unbearable Darkness of Hanson

I think if I had to choose a single favorite internet page it would be youtube, certainly no content provider has brought me so much fun and entertainment. I especially like how youtube allows people to take apart music and put it back together in different forms. My new favorite type of video are songs in changed keys.

For the uninitiated (simplifying and distorting…. a lot) keys in music are different scales with different intervals between notes that create different chords. As a shortcut, songs written mostly in major keys tend to sound more upbeat and happy and minor keys tend to sound a bit more serious or downbeat.

Basically some blessed souls have taken it upon themselves to electronically fiddle with some well known songs and change the keys of major key songs to minor (and the reverse).

Some of the songs that change the most in the most refreshing ways.

Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana (minor to major): The definitive grunge anthem turns into a Pixies song, or all Pixies songs blended together. I love the Pixies so this is a yuuuge win. Speed it up to 1.25 speed for even more fun.

Sweet Dreams by Eurhythmics (minor to major): Goes from haunting song about obsession into a kind of anthem of self-absorption.

Every Breath you Take by the Police (major to minor): The original hides the darkness of lyrics, with the key change it becomes very unsettling, a glimpse into a mind gripped by mad and destructive obsession.

Mmm-Bop by Hanson (major to minor): The insipid poppy shallowness of the original becomes the soundtrack to a teen satanic ritual and is oddly listenable.

I’m not linking to the videos because they’re easy to find, enter the name plus minor or major and they show up.

There are also videos where they manipulate the song into a near monotone by turning all the notes and/or chords into a single note or chord. At present the manipulation leaves too much of a footprint in the sound to be listenable.

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Iranian Protestors Inconsiderately Refuse to Go Away

I had a chance to talk with an Iranian acquaintance briefly and they confirmed some of what I had assumed about the protests. There is massive ground level resentment and hatred of the government “They’ve done nothing for the people!” which is also ignoring lots of domestic problems (like an epidemic of drug addiction) in order to fund Hezbollah and other foreign antics.

They’re worried because the protestors have nothing and the government is flying in people to help put the protests down because Iranian forces have shown too much restraint. Nonetheless the protests aren’t stopping.

At this stage it’s not a question of if, but when the current form of Iranian government comes to an end and if the world wants it to have a relatively soft landing or not. I’m in favor of a soft landing but most people, including most western politicians, at present seem to want the ayatollahs to stay in charge for as long as possible.

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