On being taken seriously, etc.

I waded into a couple of somewhat heated discussions on Twitter.

One involved Steven Pinker, who, while loved by many, is absolutely despised by many of the Twitter woke.

I was amused; someone referred him to as a pop-writer and I reminded him that Pinker is in the National Academy of Science…(he is: linguistics) and stated that he was far more accomplished and smarter than the vast majority of his critics.

OMG, was there some butthurt!!! I love it.

Sure, Pinker often writes pop stuff over things not in his area, just like Paul Krugman does. And I am sure that some of it (at least) is an over simplification and he probably gets some things wrong, or at least gives a misleading impression.

And yes, some very smart people ..even Nobel Laureates in physics…have gone full crackpot. So the probability that some of his mediocre (or worse) critics are right and he is wrong is non-zero. But I know which way I’d bet.

And, IMHO, that is just reality.

I see an issue that I don’t know much about. On one hand, this proven smart guy, who is outside his specialty, makes a case saying “it is probably this way”..and some nobody says he is wrong.

I don’t have access to a CV..and unless I see the critic has at least some respect in said area, I am not going to take them seriously. …no more than I’d take “COVID is an overblown hoax” nonsense seriously.

Deeply gross?? What is “deeply gross” is how people want to be taken seriously when they’ve given no objective reason to do so.

Oh well…

The other issue was this one:

I had pointed out that in some cultures it is extra polite to take on a “sir, Madame”, etc. and of course the loudmouths threw a fit.

It is no skin off of my nose; I was merely pointing out that this could be awkward, but the noisy were not having any of it.

In my honest opinion, IF your goal is to win more acceptance into the broader community, you probably aren’t in a position to DEMAND it or to order everyone to bend to you..and your saying something doesn’t make it correct.

And speaking of Chappelle:

Streisand effect: Dave Chappelle threw shade at Hannah Gadsby so I decided to watch one of her specials on Netflix. I was expecting to be OUTRAGED. Instead I nodded off and fell asleep. Woke up, watched a short Bill Maher clip from a recent show and laughed so loudly that B wanted to know what was up (it was “woke Halloween Movies”; clip is elsewhere on my wall. I am not saying Gadsby was incompetent; her stage presence and delivery were pretty good. And some of her stuff was funny (her joke about making fun of Americans was “still punching up, but perhaps for not much longer”..But for me, the best “thought comedy” is the stuff where they say something that perhaps you thought of or felt but hadn’t put into words….even if the feelings aren’t the most noble ones.

Now, I would NOT say that Gadsby “wasn’t funny” but I would say that her humor really isn’t designed for me. There are all sorts of instances of that: sports specific jokes, discipline specific jokes, etc.

Another asymmetry

The clip is mostly asking Democrats to “dial it back.” Yes, he acknowledges the rage from the right wing is more shrill and more intense.

But there is something. The block of rabid, right wing MAGAs is, frankly, larger than any block the Democrats have. And it seems that much that comes from liberals (at least on social media) is “oh, you believe this…I HATE YOU…don’t you KNOW how BAD I HATE you!!!” and that is supposed to convince someone.

If you are in a tiny minority…no matter how righteous your cause is (or you THINK it is), rage will not change anyone’s mind. It is the wrong game plan, FOR US.

Maher goes on to note how it is NOT about “the issues.”

You can’t win over people who HATE YOU…and we seem to seek out such hate. There is an asymmetry here.

Now about the “National Divorce”: I want one. But I don’t want 2 countries. I want THREE. I don’t want MAGA-land (and their insistence that COVID is a hoax, or overblown…denial of science). I don’t want woke-a-stan either where even BRIDGE OPERATORS (they make a draw bridge go up and down) have to pursue equity and social justice

and any semblance of merit is called “white supremacy” and sex is a social construct. I don’t want the police abolished.

I want a third country which has a mix of people who can at least agree on some kernel of reality and have arguments/discussions on how to proceed from there.

Random rants and raves

First:

The I-74 bridge looks cool. Yoga today was a lot of lower back stuff and the walk…was probably about 3.3 but I didn’t start the watch until I was .25 into it (by mistake). Took breaks at 1, 2, and 2.6 miles to stretch it out.
Averaged 14:52 (outside walking is slower, and today was windy). Not super, but much better than Tuesday.

Now for general rants

Wokeness: this is a classic example. Yes, I know: these are college undergraduates, but unfortunately, the rest of us on the “left of center” are tarred by such antics (in this case, some students are upset that genetic males will be doing radiator repair and they want a “safe space” from genetic males.

Oh I know..they are saying “cis-males” which is a biological male that identifies that way.

I honestly think that colleges are doing their undergraduates a huge disscervice by not standing up to them. In the real world, these complaints would be considered ridiculous.

And that brings me to my second rant: it seems that many on the left see tantrum throwing as an agent of change. Yes, it might work on a college campus, but that is a very limited bubble.

In reality, the world is not going to rearrange itself to meet what you think your experience should be.

Oops, dinner calls.

Humility …

I wasted too much time in an often heated discussion (described somewhat in my previous post). It turns out that I waded into a grievance festival but there were some, ok, several, who engaged me in a thoughtful, respectful way.

Others just wanted to yell.

One said this was me…and…well..I did see myself in the sea lion.

If I decide to comment on such a thread again, I’ll ask a question: why do you find this objectionable when this similar word is in common use?

Or I’ll seek out and find better people to follow.

What I did learn, or relearn, is that priors matter. I live in a community that values athletic achievement and YOU BEAST is high praise and is often extended when one makes a big lift, runs a fast time, etc. I also follow women’s sports and yes, even the women lifters like praise when they’ve made a big lift.

Now about my “beast mode” (LOL) workout.

I started too late but did pull ups (4 sets of 10, 2 sets of 5 chins), 3 sets of 20 push ups with better range of motion, 3 sets of curls and 3 sets of rows. It wasn’t too bad and I actually did better on the pull ups.

Then came the PT and that was encouraging (new “hot spot” on the glute medius) and some very humbling exercises; including one I can’t do properly (I have to “cheat” by rotating my body.

New (to me) Rehab:

Perturbation training (with me: applied to spinal balance)

These were cool too:

I cannot do these properly as yet:

At the end, she shows what I am doing wrong.

Update: NO SHOULDER PAIN last night!

Not what it might appear at first glance


Last night, the Peoria Chiefs lost to the Beloit Snappers: 10-3. Blowout right? Well, the game went 12 innings and was 1-1 after 9 (2 hr, 10 minutes) The Chiefs had 3 double plays and the Snappers had 2 or 3; the game featured a ton of action; very fun to watch.


In the bottom of the 10’th, the game was 1-1 when a Chief hit the ball into deep left center; I just KNEW the Chiefs had won the game. But the center fielder made a spectacular run to the ball and caught it…that ended up winning the game for the Snappers.

In the 11’th the Snappers were up 2-1 and the Chiefs were down to 2 outs..when they drove home the tying run. Then came the top of the 12’th…8 runs, multiple home runs..ouch. A position player came in and retired the side in 5 pitches..but it was 10-2 by then.

In short…the 10-3 final does not indicate what a dramatic, exciting game it was.

Sadly, few were on hand to see it:

And afterward..I stayed for the fireworks…I often do not. I just felt like it this time.

And now we come to this:

Note: the author of the newspaper article didn’t write the headline.

Now OF COURSE, wokes on this thread are OUTRAGED….

and yes, “beast” or “beastly” might not be a compliment in gymnastics …it IS in other sports.

In running, an excellent time (say a 2:50 marathon), swimming (1:10 5K swim) or lifting performance (a 350 lb bench press) is often greeted with a YOU BEAST..which is a compliment.

And football fans know this too:

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is beastmode.jpg

Yes, I know…gymnastics is not football, weight lifting, running, etc. So while I concede the headline might have been a bit ham-fisted it is hardly the moral sin these wokes are decrying.

And this is why I tune out the knee-jerk wokes. Yes, there is truly offensive stuff out there, but there is a group of people that instantly get outraged over *everything*; they are basically background noise and their expressing outrage is really not “signal.”

Oh, yes, I did speak up and mention the customs, but some woke thought she would “correct” me:

Finger wagging and woke rules

This country, of course, is in a culture war. Topics include vaccinations, covid mitigation measures (e. g. mask wearing), how to teach the history of race in school (often incorrectly labeled as Critical Race Theory wars; in fact, CRT is really an advanced academic niche area)

And, of course, few change their minds, and almost never does a mind being changed come from an activist from the other side wagging their finger.

Yes, mostly I’ll be “attacking the liberals” as, well, let’s just say that my vision of what the country should be is, well, what many (most?) liberals want. So, I am very much interested in how the message is delivered and conveyed.

Sure, I’ll probably get accused of “tone policing” but the fact is: you cannot FORCE people to listen to you; you have to find a way of selling your message and that might even mean that you are not the right messenger.

But to show that tone and “the correct message by the correct messenger” matters for conservative messages, I’ll talk just a bit about white conservatives and their finger wagging.

Yes, black and brown people are well aware of the community shortcomings in many areas including crime and education. And you can see that where I live: every so often a predominately Black Church or group will mount a “stop the violence” campaign, or put on some program that rewards teenagers for staying in school and not reproducing as a kid.

But too often, such efforts:

“Does giving voice to this message amount to “giving racists a stick to beat us with”? “

And, often unsolicted advice is delivered in a clueless, hostile, contemptuous manner:

I’ll now make an *I* statement: sometimes, I am just ignorant as to what some “other” group faces. I really didn’t know about this:

I don’t know *for sure* if this is a thing or not, but it sure appears that some post jobs and post a “well, this MIGHT happen on the job…be part of the job, but really isn’t” just to make an end run around providing accommodations.

Sure, there were times when I helped out by carrying a box of books; and there were times when I had to walk across campus and teach classes on the top floors of different buildings, but in the latter case, there were “work-arounds”..and my uni IS good about being accommodating. But not every place is.

Woke rules, turn offs, assumptions.

Ok, now to the main point. What are woke rules and assumptions?

Wokes take pains to classify people into groups of relative privilege. The “highest privilege”: the rich white male.

Females have lower privilege as do “people of color” (Black, Brown, Asian)

Disabled are sometimes grouped, including those with, say, anxiety disorders. And to be “intersectional” is to fall into several “not-privileged” groups at the same time:

Note how much the video focuses on the fact that she is, well, female, a Latina and has a disability. I would that the CIA would focus on recruiting those driven for excellence and service to country, but the vast majority of this was about identity and being a part of various groups (“intersectional”).

Wokes use these classifications to set up rules for behavior and discourse.

Example: consider the following situation: a sitting US Senator is giving a public address and an “activist” from the audience rushes on stage and disrupts. How does one judge the behavior?

To the woke: it depends on “privilege”: if the protester is a white male and the Senator is an African American female, then it is wrong.

If the protesters are African American females and the Senator is a white male, different story.

The fact that I see these as similar makes me an out of touch dinosaur.

And there rules for discourse too: slamming WHITE MEN is always ok, since they are privileged. Sweeping generalizations are welcome, even cheered. But making sweeping generalizations about other groups (women, African Americans, etc.) are considered taboo…in some cases, even “punching down” if there is a “power difference” and the critique is coming from someone of a “privileged group.”

In short: “privileged” critiquing “non-privileged”: sexism, racism, misogyny, abelism. “Non-privileged” critiquing “privileged”: honesty, “life experiences”, brave.

Another aspect: the non-privileged “get” to state what the privileged are thinking and how they see themselves and what they “need to do.” Here is an example:

Now what struck me as interesting is not that the Yale professor had dark thoughts; I think most of us get them from time to time. Sure, had it been a white professor saying the same about non-whites, well, they’d get fired..probably.

But going though the interview, note how Professor Hill and Dr. Khilanani seem to be comfortable talking about “how white people see themselves” and how wrong they are. On the other hand Professor Hill didn’t react to kindly to hard, cold statistics being cited and that perhaps the collective behavior of some of the African Americans in New York (at least) lead to more police interactions:

So, yes, there is a clear double standard. Wokes don’t hide this: they think that there *should* be a double standard; that is “fair.”

This might surprise you but I agree..to an extent. Example: there was a mean meme about President Bush that compared him to a chimp. Similarly, there were some that did similar to President Obama.

But the Bush one, while rude and crude, was not considered racist as there is no prolonged history of comparing white men to simians. But there IS such a history with respect to African Americans.

But, I think the wokes take things way too far.

But my opinion doesn’t really matter here. What I think matters more is that THE PUBLIC, on the whole, neither agrees with nor follows woke rules. And that just enrages the wokes.

The idea is that too many wokes set themselves as the “hall monitors” or discourse and customs and become enraged when they aren’t viewed as authorities by everyone else.

The wokes think they are doing something when they “call out” this or that..and are just perplexed when they are blown off. Hey, on a college campus, the mere mention of “racist” brings forth an army of deans, administrators, etc. Not so off campus.

Here is a longer version of a similar speech (different speech)

The bottom line, in my opinion: “call outs” only work when they come from “within”; from someone that the other person respects. And few outside of woke circles respect wokes.

Yes, much of what I said about “wokes” applies to MAGAS as well; I didn’t dwell on that because I think the MAGA vision of the United States is, to state it charitably, fundamentally simplistic. They do not seem to realize that the United States only contains them…they are not the sole, or even the most important example of what Americans are.

How wokes lose the battle of messaging

I first saw this guy here when he went ballistic when inconvenient statistics were brought up:

And no, there is no criminal gene but people under certain soci0-economic conditions are prone to certain crimes; and then the other police officer puts into better perspective.

But I digress. I found out that the professor has a show and he brings on all sorts of guests, including those who have very different opinions…many contrary to his.

And I watched this one:

Now frankly, the lady, was..well..she did not impress me for a variety or reasons. But move to the very end 13 minutes she asks him if he thinks that all white people are racist. He answers…

And, in my opinion, this tilts the entire political battle toward her, no matter how dreadful her reasoning was in the first 13 minutes.

Yes, it appears that humans tend to reason inductively. Yes, humans tend to pick up their group norms, even on an unconscious level. The religious types might phrase that as part of our sinful nature.

I might phrase that as “well, maybe 50K years ago, it made sense to keep the other humans out of “our territory.” Just look at the violence displayed by our evolutionary cousins:

I’d like to think that we’ve advanced beyond this stage..sort of…but I think prejudice against “the other” is more common than we’d like to admit and we need to make a deliberate effort to combat it.

None of us are perfect.

But just coming out and saying “all white people have some racism in them” is just politically toxic though, I’d see it as “well, of course, NONE of us are prefect…all of us have some prejudice of some sort..” type of thing.

I am not saying that professors should lie to the public but I do think there are ways of saying things that make the message easier to receive.

Woke rules. A couple of decades ago, a female English professor was talking about an all female group who was moving furniture and joked about the dynamic ..saying “we were acting like we had extra testosterone” (a playful insult at men) and I countered “oh, so you were being logical and holding yourselves accountable?” She tried to correct me as I had violated a “woke rule”: someone from an underprivileged class can make fun of the privileged class but not the way around” and while she is white, she is a “she”…I did NOT play the “Latino card.”(being “intersectional” means you belong to several “underprivileged groups” and therefore have extra cards).

But the public doesn’t go by woke rules; in fact, there is an opposite dynamic:

“My suspicion is that this is a weird tic of campus politics that has followed graduates into the professional arena where they unconsciously started deploying it in less appropriate contexts. If you’re in a dorm at a fancy college and you can convince an administrator that something is racist, the administrator will probably put a stop to it. At the same time, “this is bad for poor people” just isn’t going to get you far as a campus argument. After all, these schools more or less openly auction off a number of admissions slots to wealthy donors (while, of course, practicing affirmative action to keep things diverse) so they can hardly take a hard line on class politics.

But electoral politics in a democracy isn’t like that. And to the extent that the US political system isn’t democratic, it’s mostly tilted in favor of over-representing white people with no college degree. So if you actually want to close racial gaps by raising the minimum wage, expanding union membership, expanding Medicaid, and reducing student debt, the last thing you want to do is to sell people on the idea that this is really all about race.”

I’d surf to the link and read more; it is very well reasoned.

So..any academic who wishes to influence the opinion of the public at large would do well to remember this; the rules of persuasion are very different outside of the ivory towers.

But wait…I am TIRED of making the truth palatable to “the other”” some might say. And that might be true. But do you want to change opinions or not?

What irks me..is it wokeness? Or is it something else..

I read this tweet and something came to mind:

I want to make it clear: I see Critical Race Theory (CRT) as an academic construct originally designed to understand law; its basic premise, as I understand it, it is necessary to take race into account when understanding public policy, public institutions, law, etc.
And when one does the calculations to see whether a policy or a law is good, one has to view it from many angles, including from those at the bottom of the economic and social scale.

But I am very much a non-expert; I haven’t even read, much less digested, the primary sources.

And I honestly think the debates over CRT being taught in public grade schools (and public universities) are not completely in good faith; one side points out that what is being taught is NOT CRT..but ignores the genuinely kooky nonsense that is taught in the name of being “anti-racist” and the other side tends to label anything they don’t like as CRT and to exaggerate the amount of kooky nonsense that is out there.

In a country our size, on statistical grounds, we are all but certain to have a few kooks in the educational sector.

Anyway, regardless of what CRT is and whether or not some ideas are closely tied to CRT…these politicians…Republicans…are seeking to BAN speakers on college campuses?

Where have we heard that before? Hmmm….

As I’ve said before, “political correctness” is NOT unique to the left wing; if anything, the right wing variety has a lot more money behind it.

Then I read another post about someone being aghast that their father found out about an “IDW” (Internet Dark Web) person and wants to read their ideas.

You also see some posts about kids visiting their parents and programming their TV sets to NOT receive Fox News.

And that sort of attitude is part of what grates me about “wokeness”. I am fine with people expressing ideas that I don’t agree with. But I bristle when someone thinks that they are somehow qualified to tell me what speakers a campus can book, what speakers I can listen to (sans interruption).

Look: I am as capable as anyone else of determining which ideas are bad and which ones are good. In fact, I see myself as much more capable of making that determination than the mediocrities on social media or of, say, other woke faculty members or students, etc.

So, part of what I object to is the de facto censorship and the fact that the wokes or the Bible Beaters or the right wing Q-anon embracing nut jobs thinking that the rest of us needs protection from corrupting ideas.

Workout notes: weights only; shoulder ache last night. Wonder if the shoulder ache came from positioning on the stationary bicycle?

pull ups: 10 singles, 20 “on the 10 second), set of 10, 3 sets of 5 (last set a penalty set for partial reps). Sissy push ups: 3 sets of 40, one of 20 (miscounted the last set of 40?)

Tons of rehab exercise (30 minutes worth, at least),

curls: 6 sets of 10: 3 hammer with the multi-grip bar, 3 with the curl bar, 3 sets of 10 rows with 134. In the second video, you can hear me talking to my wife…being annoyed that my working out has not given me an attractive body.

Diversity statements and other woke matters

I talked a little about some push back against “required diversity statements” for those applying for faculty jobs here.

So, on a related note, the Florida Governor is requiring students, faculty and staff to complete viewpoint surveys. Now I do NOT know whether these will be anonymous or not and if they are, that makes them a different animal than the required “diversity statement.” And these appear to be “after the fact”; not “to see if we will admit you or hire you” sort of thing.

I will be following this to see what develops.

Clothing:

This was part of a Twitter dust up about women in academia and clothing:

I think this started it all:

Now some of the conversation is that “sexy attire and intellectual accomplishment are independent” and I’d agree with that.

But for me, the issue is: is there event appropriate, situationally appropriate attire?

I’d say “yes”; one can make a statement with attire and how one is dressed can affect how one is perceived (“serious?” “professional?” )

I’d venture to say that some attacking this lady for saying what she did would attack this scientist:

(context: here)

But..in “woke friendly” communities, there ARE double standards based on “privilege”: some think that males should NEVER comment on what a woman wears (unless it is something with, say KKK or a swastika) and, due to “privilege”, women have license to do that to men.

BTW, I did think this shirt was a bad shirt for the occasion …but thought the pile on was unwarranted …(maybe some gentle correction would have been better: psst: dude: bad shirt; wear something else next time)

And..this is one reason I think that academics get is so completely wrong when it comes to politics or to getting the public to go along.

Critical Race Theory interesting discussion here:

This won’t change anyone’s mind but it might help the skeptic see what the other side thinks.

Discussions in bad faith

One of the things I’ve followed, at least a bit, is the issue of requiring “diversity statements” from job applicants (common for academic jobs in this era). Here is one example.

What I find discouraging is the bad faith in the discussion. Someone says “I don’t think diversity statements are a good idea” and immediately the crowd attacks them for supporting White Supremacy …or something.

It seems to be “situation X is bad/problematic/should be changed and therefore I propose policy A and if you disagree with policy A, it MUST be because you don’t see situation X as a problem.

And as evidence that policy A is good, they point out self selected testimony from groups affected by situation X think that policy A is a good idea.

Now, as far as the diversity statement stuff: if this policy was billed as “ok, we’ll try this and reassess to see if it worked” that would be one thing.

If they said “after requiring diversity statements”, we saw some tangible improvement, say, better minority student retention, increased minority student GPA, more minority student graduates, or say, a more diverse faculty, or a more productive minority faculty..or more of the “diverse faculty” choosing to stay, then hey, count me as a supporter!

But this business about “you are bigot if you are skeptical of this” or for waiting to see if things change for the better…well, the wokes are acting more and more like the old religious nutters.