Most Decidedly Negative

Hey just curious, would you want to have sex with anyone who described themselves as “sex-positive”?

Didn’t think so.

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Three Blind Mice

Dismissive laughter is probably all this LA Times piece on women in tech deserves. But let us take it seriously; we should want nice things even if we cannot attain them.

In the story three female engineers complain of their lot. You can make of this whatever you want. You can uncritically accept everything women say as gospel, because they are holy and must not be displeased. Or you can wonder if it would be that hard to find three disgruntled movie stars or three newspaper journalists willing to be quoted in a story.

There was some hard data in the article, statistics on the percentage of technical employees who are female:

Pinterest: 21%
Apple: 20%
Google: 17%
Facebook: 15%

The consistency is interesting. The obvious conclusion is that sex differences are real and females have a more difficult time than males performing at a high level in technology careers.

But of course a requirement to be fashionable in 21st century America is a decided unwillingness to reach obvious conclusions.

A postscript, aka Great Moments in the History of Non-Bias: It’s freaking hilarious that I am required to attend (to quote the article) a “training program … that aims to fight cultural biases” while the author, Tracey Lien, is free to lament on her Twitter account:

And of course, the first emails I get mansplain to me why the problem isn’t sexism but *incompetent women*.

Our Intelligentsia In Action

Social Jastice Wurrior Brianna Wu is up to her tricks again, faking harrassment against herself.

(She was caught doing the same thing last autumn, as you see from the image below, though in that case the gun could be described as warm rather than smoking.)

brianna_wu_falsefag2

Faking attacks against oneself is a longstanding social justice tradition, dating back to 1987 when black teenager Tawana Brawley invented a tale of six white men raping her, smearing her with feces, and putting her in a trash bag.

Social Justice Warriors are awful people. They also engage in “rage profiteering”, a wonderful term coined by Louie Grifon at Return of Kings. Grifon and a friend created content designed to offend feminists, and made some very minor effort to bring it to public attention. Soon the Social Justice Twitterati were doing everything they could to publicize “The Typists of xoJane, Ranked by Bangability”.

Why profiteer in rage? Because it is actually to one’s advantage. Outrage is ginned up, clicks are minted, selfs are promoted, and a good slab of hathos can be enjoyed by all.

Awful people.

Regress

The Making of the President 1972 opens with Nixon flying cross country on election day. This quote is striking:

“It had taken Nixon only four hours and fifteen minutes to fly from Southern California to Washington. When he had first made that flight after his first election twenty-six years ago, it had taken thirteen hours.”

So … how long does it take you to fly the same route? Nixon took off from an air force base near what is now John Wayne Airport. There are no direct flights to the Washington Area from SNA, but this search from LAX to that area shows flights taking around four hours 45 minutes.

On the one hand, Nixon was president. They probably gave him the whole can of Coke and as many pretzels as he wanted.

On the other hand, he was flying a Boeing 707 which entered service in 1962.

Here is a Pan Am schedule from 1969. If I am reading it correctly, the San Francisco to New York flights lasted 5 hours.

Here are current listings for SFO to JFK. The flight lengths vary from 5:15 to 5:30.

There’s more to White’s quote. It’s almost painful to transcribe:

“If the supersonic plane — which he secretly hoped to set on the drawing boards in his second administration — came about, then the flight from coast to coast would take an hour and a half or two hours”

Instead, during my lifetime, travel speed has decreased. Welcome to your future, poorer and shabbier than your past.

Progress

Continuing the theme of my previous post:

What changed in American society such that a 1950s engineer would be viewed favorably by his fellow citizens, but a 2010s engineer is seen as despicable and gross? Jim theorizes

1. Elite culture has become more hostile to intelligence. Catcher in the Rye replaces Anabasis.
Smart people tend to exclude women and blacks. Shirtgate guy.

2. Smart people have a tendency to deal with girls on the basis of what they are taught …

I find the second reasonable, but not the first. Elite culture is not hostile to intelligence so much as it flirts with the underclass.

America 60 years ago, being much more sane, celebrated middle class values such as getting good grades, receiving a worthwhile education, getting a good job. Geeks[1] do well in this straightforward framework.

Six decades of “progress” have given us the alliance of near and far, the overclass allying with the underclass. American popular culture can be described as cultivating underclass values up to the point where they would manifest in reality and become dangerous.

Toying with stupidity, lust, and violence is a way for the elite to demonstrate their “sophistication”, which in 2015 does not mean the appreciation and comprehension of things that are beautiful and sublime; “sophistication” means mental and moral flexibility. Get together with your friends on Sunday night to watch torture and execution; email your friends on Monday morning asking them to sign a petition against torture in Guantanamo.

This flexibility does not come naturally to the scientist or engineer, who likes to view the world as stable and reproducible. The computer developer would do well to consider that sucking up to progressivism is not something he is suited to succeed at.

[1] It’s noteworthy that the slur “geek”, and its somewhat antiquated relative “nerd”, trips easily off the tongue, while I cannot think of a convenient moniker for “engineer or scientist.” A “geek” used to be a circus freak who, anticipating Ozzy Osbourne, bit the heads off chickens.

The Once And Future Geek

In a post on game, Jim mentions that the geek-as-disgusting-to-women stereotype is relatively recent:

Before 1972, there was no stereotype of the sexually unsuccessful awkward high IQ nerd. I don’t believe the awkward high IQ nerd existed until recent times. Something has changed.

I was not around before 1972, but based on period literature and video, I think this is accurate. The early-to-mid-20th century scientist, engineer, or scholar is portrayed as being too wrapped up in his studies or experiments to bother with women. The ladies in his vicinity are not repelled by him; rather they are annoyed that he cannot lift his attention from his test tube or telescope.

It’s been a very long time since I watched Gilligan’s Island … but my recollection is that The Professor (the best looking man on the island) does not inspire disgust in Ginger and Maryann, but rather resignation that he is more interested in his bamboo chemistry set than in paying attention to a pretty girl.

The average software geek would almost certainly be happier, ladies-are-all-up-ons-wise, if he were teleported to the America of the 1950s. This would surprise most of my contemporaries. It might even repel them. “The 50s? A decade of conformity and repression? Where would we be without the liberation of the 60s?”

There was actually a movie released around the year 2000 (I forget the name as I did not see it personally) in which the passage between those two decades was symbolized by a transition from black and white to color.

Do you despise the 50s? You were not present in the 50s. You just have a bunch of vague impressions which haven’t been closely examined. Whites only? One of the most popular TV shows of the period starred a Cuban bandleader with a funny accent. Conformist? Another TV show had a character who was a beatnik and played bongos. (There are some counterculture elements like beatniks which the Left has not weaponized, so they are fun and cute.)

Repressed? If you’re actually dumb enough to believe that Americans six decades ago did not like sex, were afraid of sex, please go stand in front of a mirror and say that until you become suitably ashamed and smack yourself in the face.

We cannot teleport ourselves to 1955 even if we wanted to. But it is remarkable how the very mention of the word “1950s” triggers an involuntary adverse reaction in educated Americans. Just as “Joe McCarthy” triggers an involuntary adverse reaction. My guess is that 99% of people who had that reaction, if asked why, would say “well, he accused people of being Communists, just at random.” They have not read about McCarthy from a neutral viewpoint. (If they did, they would learn that McCarthy was almost certainly fed information under the table from the FBI, and that pretty much everyone he named was in fact a Communist.) They have delegated their opinions on McCarthy, and the 1950s, to a third party. They have delegated their opinions on McCarthy, and the 1950s, to a Maoist insurgency.

“The past is a foreign country.” And we are taught to despise the past. What does this say about progressives? How can one claim to love all men equally, if one cannot tolerate the past versions of one’s own self?