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Saturday, October 21, 2017

Why the super rich often lean Left

One of the things I was struck by when I worked on Wall Street was that while the Wall Street rank and file were mostly Republican, the CEOs of the big investment banks tended to be Democrats. 

Someone once explained to me why that was: because what the super rich fear most is social upheaval, of the sort that will upset the existing social order. They like the status quo just fine, since they're at the top, and they want things to stay that way. 

The extremely wealthy realize that the biggest threat to stability would come from the underclass, not the middle class. So they favor things like affirmative action, as a sop to blacks to keep them from open revolt. And they favor generous welfare benefits to keep social chaos to a minimum. 

It's not as if the rich aren't smart enough to figure out that it's the IQ gap, and not "oppression," which causes blacks to score lower on the SATs. They just want to tamp down any possible major social upheaval.

The rich don't care about the inherent unfairness of giving a middle class black kid with lower test scores a leg up over a middle class white kid. Their own kids will get into college just fine, thank you, after they make an appropriate donation to the college of their choice. (The middle class are generally unaware of the transactional nature of college acceptances for some of the rich.)

I thought this explanation made sense. And there are a number of other levels on which the rich would favor "liberal" policies.

The extremely wealthy also favor increased immigration, so as to have plenty of cheap labor available. (Do the Silicon Valley bigwigs favor increased H1B visas because they care about the plight of poor people from India, or because they want to pay their programmers less?)

If the middle class gets hurt, who cares? The middle class is not about to start rioting in the streets.

The rich don't care about getting rich, and becoming successful: they're already that way. So, as an example, all the extra regulations the Obama administration imposed on small businesses are of no consequence to them. 

And when it comes to income tax rates, they don't mind: they've already made their pile, and in tis country, there's only an income tax -- not a wealth tax. Plus, the extremely wealthy can hire fancy accountants and lawyers who will figure out income tax loopholes for them anyway. 

Even the inheritance tax affects them less, in the sense that it will still leave their children extremely wealthy.

The one form of social upheaval the rich currently fear most is a resurgent nationalism. That would result in great social upheaval. And, perhaps, a recognition that the elites have screwed over the middle-class. If that were to happen, there would be revolt on a much larger scale. 

This is why Donald Trump's Presidency has been greeted with such hysteria: he represents the faintest glimmerings of nationalism, and a middle class revolt. 

Friday, October 20, 2017

Virtue signaling, high and low

One correlation that becomes clear when you look at the prison pen pal advertisements is that inmates who are obvious sociopaths always take pains to let you know what good people they are.

Nowhere is this more apparent than with Death Row inmates. If you were to take them at their word, there has never been a more giving, loving, caring group of people.

Take a look here, and here, and here, and here.

They are, to use a phrase generally used in another context, virtue signaling.

And even with the inmates who were not on Death Row, generally, the worse the crime, the more effort they take to let you know how virtuous they are.

Inmates who are in for, say, a minor drug offense rarely take such pains to tell us what wonderful people they are. (Generally, they try to emphasize how sexy they are.)

We've seen that the only people who ever talk of their consciences as distinct entities are people who lack one.

And one of the distinguishing traits of sociopaths is their emotional falseness. We saw it with Lance Armstrong telling us that if he ever cheated at golf and got caught he would be heartbroken forever.

We saw it when Bill Clinton told us that he feels our pain.

We saw it with Karen Sypher telling that desk sergeant about what a devout Catholic she is, how much she cared for her dying grandmother, and how much she regretted her abortions.

We see it when Tony Robbins says, "To know that in some small way I’ve made a difference for at least one person and that I have helped them to begin to create the quality of life they truly deserve is what drives me most."

These are all just poses. And we see it over and over again.

(If you look closely, you'll see the more skillful sociopaths actually pose physically, too, as Bill Clinton demonstrated here and here. One sociopathic tell, as both he and Karen Sypher have demonstrated, is the wiping away of nonexistent tears.)

One thing that has become clear after the recent pecking party directed at Harvey Weinstein is how similar the virtue signaling crowd is. There's a strong parallel here with the sociopathic inmates: the more loudly people protest their goodness, the less of it there is.

I'm not talking about the women who were Weinstein's victims; they've had to keep their outrage and hurt bottled up for many years because they feared Weinstein's clout in the industry, and are now finally getting a chance to vent their anger. That's certainly understandable.

I'm talking about the people who were not his victims, but who are releasing statements about how shocked they are and how much they disapprove of that type of behavior.

This is virtue signaling, plain and simple. And it's really not all that much different than when the Hollywood crowd virtue signals by paying lip service the right causes. (Actually, Harvey himself, an extremely outspoken liberal, is a prime example of that.)

It's like that old saying about how the only people who advertise their honesty and integrity are those who have none.

It's true of Death Row inmates, and it's true of Hollywood stars.

The harder they try to look noble, the worse they are. It's almost a straight line correlation.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

A question for the guys

Would you let Harvey Weinstein have anal sex with you if by doing so you could become the next James Bond?

Now, most of you will almost automatically, reflexively, say, no way! But take a moment to think about it.

The next James Bond.

In return for, say, ten minutes of discomfort and disgust, you could have all the women you wanted for the next ten or twenty years, and tens -- if not hundreds -- of millions of dollars. You could support your entire extended family with that kind of money.

Sure, you'd have a bad memory to last you a lifetime. But you'd also have hundreds of good memories -- of all the beautiful women you'd get to have sex with if you got the role.

Honestly, all you single guys, how many women could you expect to sleep with in the next ten years, realistically? And let's say, for argument's sake, you're not particularly into long term relationships. So, how many? Five? Ten? Twenty? (No need to be overly optimistic here: let your last ten years guide your estimate.)

If you were known as the actor who played James Bond, women would do their best to seduce you, just so they could boast about it to their friends. And that includes a lot of women far better-looking than any you would have had otherwise.

If you turned down this opportunity, you'd be being untrue to your own heterosexuality, given what you'd be sacrificing by saying no to Harvey.

If I'd been given this proposition at age 30, I think my immediate, instinctive reaction would have been, "Never!"

But now, looking back from the vantage point of 63, I'd urge that 30-year-old to say yes. I know, I'll be accused of being a homo for saying that. But, I would.

I'd sure as hell do it now. (It'd be gay not to.)

One thing I could promise you -- if I did have that opportunity, and I took advantage of it, I wouldn't be coming forward twenty years later to say that I had been one of Harvey's victims.

No, that secret would die with me.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Rose McGowan, avenging Fury.

There seems little doubt that everything Rose McGowan has said about what Harvey Weinstein did to her two decades ago is true. But it's a little strange that now, a full two decades later, she would suddenly transform into one of the Furies of Greek myth.

McGowan's wrath has spread to others as well. First, she scathingly castigated all of the women who hadn't come forward to tell their tales of harassment by Weinstein.

She criticized Jeff Bezos for the fact that Amazon Studios had a deal with the Weinstein Company.

When Ben Affleck pretended not to have known what Weinstein had been up to, Rose Tweeted, "YOU LIE!"

Woody Allen's take on the situation was,  “The whole Harvey Weinstein thing is very sad for everybody involved. Tragic for the poor women that were involved, sad for Harvey that his life is so messed up.”

McGowan's response to that was to call Allen a "vile little worm."

Two days ago, comedian James Corden made a few jokes about Weinstein at an AIDS benefit. Among them:

“It has been weird this week, though, hasn’t it — watching Harvey Weinstein in hot water. Ask any of the women who watched him take a bath — it’s weird watching Harvey Weinstein in hot water.”

“Harvey Weinstein wanted to come tonight, but he’ll settle for whatever potted plant is closest,” he added.

McGowan's response was to say to Corden --


“Hearing the audience’s vile roars & laughs show EXACTLY what kind of HOLLYWOOD you really are.”

She also demanded that CBS, for which Corden hosts “The Late Late Show,” to donate money to the East Los Angeles Women’s Center “OR YOU TOO SUPPORT RAPE CULTURE,” and added the hashtag “f–kjamescorden.”

To McGowan, even jokes at Weinstein's expense are unacceptable. 

(If a good-looking male actor referred to a fat female comedian as a "piglet," wouldn't that be deemed irredeemably sexist and unforgivably fat-shaming?)

All of which makes one wonder, is McGowan the right person to be leading this charge? 

She is, after all, one of the eight women who took money from Weinstein on the condition that they sign a nondisclosure agreement. McGowan took the money, in 1997, on the condition she remain silent. So she lied when she said she'd keep her mouth shut. 

And not only is she violating the terms of that agreement, she is scathing towards anyone who doesn't speak up -- never mind that she herself remained mute for 20 years. 

Post-rape, McGowan starred in at least three more Weinstein-produced or distributed movies: Phantoms, in 1998; Planet Terror, in 2007 (Dimension Films was owned by the Weinstein Company); and Death Proof, in 2007. 

And, as commenter LBD just pointed out, in 2011 McGowan starred in Rosewood Lane, which was directed by Victor Salva, who had previously been imprisoned for child molestation. 

Here's a picture of Weinstein and McGowan in happier times:

But McGowan, with her demands for donations to a women's center and her talk of rape culture, now sounds like a fire-breathing feminist. And she currently sports a hairstyle to match:

In case you were wondering what a feminist looks like when she's young, here's McGowan at 25:

(I remember seeing pictures of McGowan with then boyfriend Marilyn Manson and thinking, can't she do better than that? What kind of sex do those two have? Isn't there some more healthy, masculine guy she'd rather be with?)

And here's the budding feminist at 35, promoting the Weinstein film Death Proof in 2008, 11 years after she says she was raped by him:

McGowan seemed happy enough to take Weinstein's money up until 2008, which makes her current role as an ultra-feminist a little less convincing. I would as soon buy her as the one-legged machine gun artist in Planet Terror:

(This picture, by the way, doesn't seem a bad metaphor for her current incarnation as a Fury.)

If McGowan seems a little confused, you can hardly blame her. A look at the "Early Life" section of her Wiki bio is revealing:

Rose Arianna McGowan was born on September 5, 1973 in Certaldo, Tuscany, the second-eldest of six children of American couple Terri, a former writer and Microsoft employee, and Daniel McGowan, who worked as a commercial artist. McGowan also has two half-siblings. Her ancestry is French and Irish.

Her father ran an Italian chapter of the Children of God, to which both he and his wife held membership until 1978. McGowan spent her early childhood amid the group's communes, often traveling through Europe with her parents. When interviewed by Howard Stern in 2001, she stated she had avoided the group's calls for members to become sexually active as children and stated that she never personally experienced abuse as a child.

Through her father's art contacts in Italy, McGowan became a child model and appeared in Vogue Bambini and various other Italian magazines. Her parents returned to the United States when she was 10 years old, and settled in Eugene, Oregon. McGowan had a wayward childhood, living as a teenage runaway in Portland, Oregon and associating with a group of drag queens in the city. After her parents divorced, McGowan lived with her father in Seattle, Washington, attended Roosevelt High School and Nova Alternative High School, and worked at McDonald's. At the age of 15, she officially emancipated herself from her parents and relocated to Los Angeles.

It's enough to make you feel sorry for her. What was the story with her mother? (In 1983 it wasn't common for fathers to get sole custody.) And what does it say about her parents -- and McGowan -- that she would want to legally "emancipate" herself from them at age 15? A lack of stability early on in life generally presages instability later on as well.

(Her early association with drag queens certainly helps explain her comfort with Marilyn Manson.)

McGowan is fully embracing her role as rape victim (now, finally, two decades after it happened) and women's advocate. I've written before about how many of the prominent feminists of the past half century seemed to have come from mixed up backgrounds; McGowan fits that pattern.

Once again: I have no doubt that all those actresses, including McGowan, are telling the truth about Weinstein, who, as I pointed out a few posts ago, is a sociopath.

And Weinstein should, undoubtedly, be in prison.

But McGowan should probably be on a psychiatrist's couch.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Harvey finds out who his real friends are

I don't think I've ever seen a fall from grace (excluding those which involve murder) quite as quick as Harvey Weinstein's. The piling on has been fast and furious, to use the title of one of the few movies Weinstein had no hand in.

Now that Harvey's show biz career has gone the way of OJ's and Bill Cosby's, and now that he no longer has any power, everyone and their sister has come out to say that either (a) they, too, were a victim, or (b) they are oh-so shocked and offended to find out that Harvey was actually a serial sexual harasser.

At this point I'm almost more sympathetic to Weinstein than I am to his various accusers.

Rose McGowan got a settlement from him back in 1997, signed a nondisclosure deal, and subsequently got cast in at least three more Weinstein movies. But now she's violating the terms of her deal. And she's lashing out not only at Weinstein, but also at all those who've remained silent for years, conveniently forgetting that she, too, was one of them.

Jane Fonda has expressed her dismay, adding that Weinstein never hit on her since he "preferred the younger ones because they're more vulnerable." (No Jane, he preferred the younger ones because they're more physically appealing, though you were a beauty in your days as Hanoi Jane.)

Minka Kelly has chimed in to say how terrible it was that Weinstein offered her trips on private jets and luxury vacations if she would be his girlfriend. (I'm not sure exactly what the crime was, there.)

Anyway, you've seen the headlines; the list of Weinstein's accusers currently stands at 30 and counting.

Then there's Hillary, who released a vaguely worded statement expressing surprise at Weinstein's behavior and condemning that type of behavior. Hillary is obviously an innocent idealist who had no idea that these kinds of pay-for-play schemes go on, otherwise she would never have accepted Weinstein's political donations.

Some of the men who've castigated Weinstein for his behavior are equally hypocritical. Ben Affleck and Oliver Stone chimed in with criticisms, but it turned out that both of them had acted similarly.

I'd be impressed if just one guy were to say, "Listen, we all knew what he was up to. He had a reputation as a pig, and from what I saw, he lived up to it. Let's face it, with that mug there was no way he was getting laid without using his clout, so he used it. A lot of guys would have done the same. But, the guy treated me well. He produced my script, and even let me direct. So he was a mentor to me, and for that I'll always be grateful. I can't condone some of the other things he did, but I try to treat people as they treat me, and he treated me well."

I'd be even more impressed if an actress were to say, "Sure, I slept with him. I had to, to get the role. He didn't spell it out that blatantly, but it was always sort of understood. I was young and poor and needed the work. So, I held my nose and let him do his thing. Frankly, I'm glad I did. Look at the career I've had since. I'm rich, and famous, and even have a reputation as a good actress. And if I weren't doing this, I'd be waiting tables somewhere. Do you have any idea how many beautiful young women come to Hollywood because their friends told them they should be actresses, and never get anywhere? One thing I'll say for Harvey, he was good on his word -- he gave me the part. You have no idea how many guys will lie to get you into bed. At least Harvey delivered. Sure, he was a grotesque pig, but overall, I'm grateful to him."

I could respect that. Working hard -- and having sex with Weinstein has to qualify as that -- to get ahead is the American way. And honesty is a rare commodity, especially in Hollywood.

But, so far, no such people have emerged. All of his former friends and associates and beneficiaries have used the opportunity to come forward and burnish their own credentials for goodness.

All of this brings to mind Ted Bundy's mother, who, on the eve of his execution, spoke to him twice by phone, telling him, "You'll always be my precious son."

That is true loyalty. Buddy obviously deserved to be executed -- at least 36 times over -- and there's no justifying him in any way. But, the fact that his mother still loved him after all he'd done shows exactly what real love -- or friendship -- is supposed to be. And it's actually sort of moving to know that his mother said that to him at the end. Especially since she appears to have been nothing but a victim in that situation too: Ted was apparently the result of her rape by her father.

You can't compare a mother's love to a Hollywood "friendship." But the point is that real love -- or friendship -- sticks through thick and thin. Things are pretty thin for Harvey right now -- as they should be -- and there seems to be no one who has stood by him.

Not even his own brother, or his wife.

There hasn't even been a single positive word.

I'm not even suggesting Weinstein deserves to have friends. (No sociopath does, really.) But there must be someone he was good to -- at least one guy whose career he helped -- who ought to show some loyalty. (Quentin, where are you?)

But so far, no one has.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Ann Coulter on Stephen Paddock

Two days ago commenter Fled the Undertow mentioned Ann Coulter's article, Media Begging Us for Conspiracy Theories on Las Vegas.

Coulter points out a couple of things that don't make sense about the media's portrayal of Stephen Paddock. First, unlike with real poker tournaments, where a skillful player can make money, you can't be a consistent winner with video poker. And while you can win from time to time, it's certainly not, as the Los Angeles Times claimed, "a steady income over a period of years."

So, why would he be spending that much time playing it, and getting, at best, a 99 cent return on each dollar he spent, if not to launder money for some illegal business?

Coulter also asks why Paddock would be wearing gloves if he had been planning to commit suicide? And why did it take eight days to figure out when he checked into the hotel? And have any other mass shooters ever had girlfriends?

There's too much about this shooting that doesn't make sense.

Coulter then offers the following scenario:

[T]he probable illicit business requiring money to be laundered that leaps out at us in Paddock’s case is illegal gun sales. If true, it would not only explain the arsenal in his hotel room, but also raises the possibility of either an accomplice or different perpetrator altogether.

If this were a movie script, a terrorist would go to Paddock’s room on the pretense of buying guns, kill Paddock, commit the massacre, put his gunshot residue-covered gloves on Paddock’s dead hands and slip out of the room when the coast was clear.

Coulter then says there is no evidence for that theory, but at least it doesn't require us to believe that Paddock was making lots of money from video poker.

This makes sense for a couple of other reasons that Coulter doesn't mention. According to David Newton, an officer with the LVPD, when police first entered Paddock's room at the Mandalay Bay, they found "an armory. So many guns, so many magazines, stacks and stacks of magazines everywhere just in suitcases all neatly stacked against pillars that were in the room, all stacked up, rifles placed all throughout. All kinds of monitors and electrical equipment he had in there. It just looked like almost a gun store."

Paddock couldn't possibly have used all of those weapons in one shooting spree. So why did he have them all there, neatly arranged, looking like "a gun store?" Maybe because it was? 

There are problems with the terrorist theory too. First, why would Paddock have rented a room overlooking that concert if he thought he was just going to be selling guns? And why would he have rented a room overlooking the Lollapalooza concert in Chicago back in August?

The answer to that might be that the person or people posing as the gun buyer(s) might have rented the rooms for him, offering to pay for them, and Paddock just figured he'd take advantage of the freebie.

All we know so far is that there is no apparent motive for this killing. In the meantime, Coulter is right: there are a lot of questions about Paddock, many of which remain unanswered.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Georgina Chapman

Commenter LBD had some trenchant observations about Mr. and Mrs. Weinstein after the previous post. Her first comment:

When this first broke I told my husband, I'm counting down.....three, two, one...until his wife leaves him. She is twenty years his junior, very attractive, and he is now nothing but a liability to her. He has made her fashion company name toxic and is unlikely to earn much money in the future. If he were a nice guy with a giving heart I might believe she would like sleeping with him, but seeing as how he is a physically unattractive sociopath with a nasty personality and an odd kick in his gallop sexually, he is, as they say, neither use nor ornament.

Sure enough, today it was announced that she's bailing.

I replied:

You called it. You've described Harvey perfectly, and everything you say is completely logical, and makes sense from Georgina's perspective. But it also implies something about her that's less than appealing: that she married him for very cold, logical reasons that had noting to do with romantic feelings. Whenever I would see a picture of the two of them together, I'd always think, wow, that's one tough gold-digger. She was able to abide his appearance and his piggishness, all for the money. That implies a very calculating nature on her part as well.

LBD then answered:

John, it's not as simple as gold digging. I believe it was more like social climbing. She was capable of earning a more than adequate living by herself, but marriage to Fat Bastard brought both her and her company to what passed, until last week, for the upper echelons of society. The combination of film celebrities and political celebrities as "friends" must have felt like the ultimate in social clout.

Now that I think of the scenes in Austin Powers with Heather Graham and Fat Bastard, I can't help but think she and Mike Myers must have had ol' Harvey in mind when creating that character.

I replied: 

Ha, Fat Bastard, good analogy. And yes, they may well have based the character on Weinstein. And, not so coincidentally, Heather Graham was another actress who came out recently and said she had the impression Weintein wanted sex in return for a role. (One thing you have to say for Weinstein, he had good taste.)

You're right, social climbing had a lot to do with it too. I think the gold digging aspect shouldn't be underemphasized though (he was pushing Marchesa on all of the actresses who walked the red carpet of this films, and the brand would never have gotten that kind of exposure otherwise). But yeah, the opportunity to mingle with the rich and celebrated must have been a big part of the equation too.

One thing that nobody seems to be saying now is, "Oh, that poor put upon woman -- this must all be so difficult for her!" Everyone seems to realize that she knowingly made a deal with the devil. 

For her not to have known what he was like, she would have had to be incredibly stupid. And no one has accused her of that. 

She traded her looks for his influence and power, and as soon as his influence and power disappeared, she took her looks and departed. That's how business works. 

When one side doesn't fulfill their contractual obligations, the other side can back out.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Sociopath alert: Harvey Weinstein

Harvey Weinstein has been all over the news recently, mostly for the sexual harassment scandal, but also for the way he was nasty and unpleasant in other ways. In a way it's reminiscent of the Tiger Woods and Bill Cosby scandals: once the first couple accusers come forward, the floodgates open and a lot of others follow.

In that sense this post is just more piling on. But Weinstein is such a perfect illustration of how a sociopath operates, and succeeds, that it's worth pointing out how sociopathy informs his actions.

There are a lot of guys who, if they had the power to put beautiful women in their movies, and those actresses desperately wanted those roles, and were willing to do anything to get them, would probably take advantage.

It should also be pointed out that Weinstein hasn't been accused of raping anybody, which puts him a rung above Bill Clinton and Bill Cosby.

And, Weinstein hasn't been accused of explicitly telling an actress that a certain role would be contingent upon sex -- though one would think that was understood on a more tacit level.

Weinstein has long had a reputation for being hard to work with, meaning, he's temperamental. But he produced a string of Oscar-winning movies, and it was always possible -- from a distance, at least -- to see him as merely a demanding perfectionist.

It's not until you read the details of his behavior that you realize this is not a normal guy who succumbed to temptation. There's a certain forcefulness, and sense of entitlement, and utter contempt for others, that goes well beyond a normal guy's behavior.

In a recent article in the Huffpost, former newscaster Lauren Sivan said that Weinstein offered her a tour of a restaurant he partially owned, then dismissed the other employees and made a pass at her. She declined.

Imagine yourself (as the guy) in that situation. You've just been rejected; you'd probably feel a little humiliated, or, maybe just a little embarrassed. What would you do? Apologize and hope you hadn't offended her by making such an abrupt pass? Chat her up some more in hopes that she'll change her mind? Walk away with your tail between your legs?

Weinstein said, "Well you can stand there and shut up," then pulled his penis out and masturbated in front of her. He quickly ejaculated into a nearby potted plant, then escorted her out of the building.

Weinstein wasn't just a regular guy who enjoyed the perks of his position. That behavior shows a level of inhibition which is basically nonexistent.

Weinstein has reportedly come to eight separate financial settlements with various women for sexual harassment incidents. These couldn't have been just passes that were turned down, otherwise money would not have exchanged hands.

One woman, Jade Bukowski, worked as a waitress at the Tribeca Grill, and witnessed firsthand how Weinstein treated the help:

The staff could usually tell that the woman was there to meet him before she had even said a word. If a woman waited for him at the bar, he’d bellow furiously at more than one of us for not having seated her prior to his arrival, despite the fact that she’d insisted on it. “Why the f- -k isn’t she at the table?” he’d say....

As he attempted to charm his guests, he terrorized the wait staff. In his signature black T-shirt and jeans, he’d sidle over to one of his two favorite tables in the back. He would almost never look you in the eye, too busy reading the paper or biting off an assistant’s head.

Inappropriate touching was a habit of his. If you weren’t paying attention and the restaurant was loud, he might lurch at whatever part of you he could reach. Once, while I put in an order at the computer, he barreled up and body-checked me. Then, as if nothing had happened, he barked: “Back. Coffee. Tea. Now.”

Even though I’ve not seen him for six months, this week’s revelations brought back terrible recollections. The feelings of anxiety and degradation he inflicted on all of us — especially the women — continue to plague me to this day.

There's an old saying: if you want to know what someone you're having dinner with is really like, don't look at how he treats you; observe how he treats the waiter.

One thing that non sociopaths never quite fully fathom about sociopaths is the extent to which they view others as objects -- like a bicycle, or a remote control, or an article of apparel. If it somehow gets broken -- or if they break it -- it's no big deal. They just get a new one.

One thing that's become clear recently is that everybody in the business feared Weinstein for his temper. This is a classic sociopathic method of manipulation: to bend people to your will simply by making them fear your uninhibited outbursts.

In 2007, he married Georgina Chapman, a clothing designer. Since then, he has pressured a lot of famous actresses who have starred in his movies into wearing his wife's Marchesa gowns on the red carpet: Jennifer Lopez, Halle Berry, Cate Blanchett, Emma Watson, Renee Zellweger, Blake Lively, Uma Thurman, and Kate Hudson.

Much of Hollywood has remained strangely silent this past week -- which implies they're still afraid of him.

The statement Weinstein released after the NY Times expose came out last week was a masterpiece of evasion and misdirection and manipulation, all sociopathic specialties. [My words in brackets]:

"I came of age in the 60's and 70's, when all the rules about behavior and workplaces were different. That was the culture then. 

[During the 60's, "free love" did not refer to cornering women in deserted hallways and then masturbating in front of them while ordering them to stand still. That was never "the culture" in this country.]

I have since learned it's not an excuse, in the office - or out of it. To anyone. I realized some time ago that I needed to be a better person and my interactions with the people I work with have changed. 

[Well, maybe in the past week.]

I appreciate the way I've behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologize for it. 

[He's not just apologizing, he's sincerely apologizing; sociopaths are forever overusing adjectives and adverbs emphasizing their own honesty.]

Though I'm trying to do better, I know I have a long way to go. That is my commitment. My journey now will be to learn about myself and conquer my demons....

[He is now on a "journey," just like the protagonists of so many of his movies. And his use of the word "demons" implies that he himself is a victim of those "demons," which are somehow separate from himself.]

I so respect all women and regret what happened....I cannot be more remorseful about the people I hurt and I plan to do right by all of them.

[He so respects all women? Actions speak louder than words. No one, sociopath or not, actually "respects" every single member of either gender. And he "cannot be more remorseful?" Again, that telltale sociopathic emotional falseness.]

I am going to need a place to channel that anger so I've decided that I'm going to give the NRA my full attention. I hope Wayne LaPierre will enjoy his retirement party. 

[What anger? He was just talking about his remorse. And ah, how timely, after Las Vegas. If you don't come down too hard on Harvey, he'll help fight the good fight against our real enemy, the NRA!]

I'm going to do it at the same place I had my Bar Mitzvah. I'm making a movie about our President, perhaps we can make it a joint retirement party. 

[What possible reason can there be to mention his Bar Mitzvah other than to remind the powers that be in Hollywood that he is their tribesman? And in another message to Hollywood, well, if you support Harvey, he'll also help oust our horrible President!]

One year ago, I began organizing a $5 million foundation to give scholarships to women directors at USC. While this might seem coincidental, it has been in the works for a year. It will be named after my mom and I won't disappoint her."

[See? He's just a mama's boy at heart, one who wouldn't do anything to disappoint dear old mama. And actually, that $5 million foundation doesn't seem coincidental at all -- it seems like a calculated attempt at image rehabilitation.]

All in all, it was a carefully worded statement: he confessed to less than perfect behavior in general without admitting to any specific wrongdoing.

A couple days ago, Weinstein issued a statement saying that the NY Times account was filled with factual errors, without saying exactly what those errors are. Denials like this are common; if some minor detail is wrong -- even if the gist of the accusation is right -- lawyers in prominent cases will always issue a statement saying that the statement is "factually inaccurate."

The most interesting question, as always, is why did Weinstein turn out that way? The "Early Life" section of his bio in Wikipedia really doesn't give any clues.

One small clue is that a number of people seem to be speculating that his own brother had a hand on turning him in. You'd think his brother, of all people, would be loyal to him. But, he's shown the same amount loyalty to Harvey that Harvey showed to everyone else. And that makes one wonder about how they were brought up.

But, maybe it was just the case that his brother Bob was a decent guy who knew that Harvey was toxic, and was tired of covering up for him after decades of misbehavior. And, Bob was probably tired of being overshadowed. They were theoretically equal partners, yet Harvey was the larger than life figure who was the public face of the company and got to be photographed on the red carpet with various actresses.

But whatever Bob is, there's no question about Harvey's diagnosis.

The lesson Harvey Weinstein teaches us is not that he's just another sociopath who mistreats people and has no self-control or loyalty. The important thing is that he got to where he got precisely because he was a sociopath, so instinctively knew how to manipulate people.

Weinstein was a lot like Steve Jobs and so many other successful people who achieved success essentially by bending others to their will: he had no special talent of his own, other than manipulation. He didn't write, or direct, or film. He merely produced, meaning, he orchestrated and schemed and dominated.

Harvey knew how to pay lip service to the right values. It's highly doubtful that he personally cares about fighting the NRA all that much, given that he glorifies guns so much in his movies (like Pulp Fiction and Django Unchained). But he cares about being seen as the type of person who is against gun violence.

It's highly doubtful that he cares so much for women's rights, given how he treats them personally. But he wants to be seen as the type of noble person who will endow a scholarship for women directors.

Weinstein desired a reputation for nobility and good character the same way he lusted for power and money and women and food and Oscar glory -- uninhibitedly. And he went after those things uninhibitedly, the way sociopaths do: using every trick he could think of. And that's undoubtedly why he was so successful.

Until you realize that, you don't realize how the world works. Sociopaths almost always triumph over the little people -- like you and me -- until the little people point out their dishonesty and hypocrisy.

(By the way, bravo to the New York Times for having written that expose; it was surprising to see them go after one of their own.)

Update, next day: Looks like I spoke a little too soon about Weinstein not being a rapist.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

"Harvey Weinstein's brother may have been mastermind behind sex allegation expose"

The New York Post ran an article yesterday suggesting that Bob Weinstein may have been the one to leak the details about his brother's serial sexual harassment to the press:

It’s Cain and Abel — Hollywood style.

Disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein may have been stabbed in the back by his own brother, who, sources told The Post, has been trying for years to replace his sibling as the sole head of their marquee film studio.

Bob Weinstein, the disgruntled co-founder of The Weinstein Company, may have been the mastermind behind an exposé of lurid sex allegations that led to his brother's humiliating downfall, the sources said.

“Bob’s wanted Harvey out for years,” said a former staffer, who added that the two brothers are becoming increasingly suspicious of each other.

Insiders believe that Bob may have helped concoct the explosive New York Times story that exposed the harassment allegations from Ashley Judd, Rose McGowan and other former employees.

“Bob may have even fed this story” to the Times, the insider said.

There may have been a taste for vengeance in the brother’s fateful move, as another insider said, “Bob wanted Harvey to get what’s coming to him.”

The backlash from the scandal is expected to oust Harvey from the storied franchise — for now — settling a long-simmering feud between the two.

“There has always been a love-hate relationship between the brothers,” says a former Weinstein employee.

“There have been times they wouldn’t speak for months. Let’s just say they have an ‘inconsistent’ relationship.”

Another source added, “Bob’s trying to take over and push Harvey out” and also said that some staffers at The Weinstein Company believe Bob was a source of the damning Times story.

Call it Biblical, or Shakespearian; call it a tragedy, or a comedy.

It's probably all those things. Whatever it is -- somebody should make a movie about it!

Maybe we could even get competing versions, from Bob and Harvey.

Bob's version could be called, Sin City: Harvey-Style.

His brother's version might be called, Harvey Unchained.

Three vignettes to illustrate the effectiveness of gun laws, as envisioned by the Left

Part I: The Russian Home Invaders

SCENE: A suburban family of five sit around their dinner table. The three daughters, ages 10, 8, and 6, are all as cute as can be.

Suddenly two tough-looking men with Slavic features burst in. Both carry AK-47's. The larger one takes the 8-year-old by the arm and places his gun at her head, forcing it to tilt slightly to one side.

He speaks in that thick Russian accent which sounds both insinuating and brutal at the same time.

          Geef me all your money, now, or the gy-url dies!

           Please, we'll give you everything we have, please
           just don't hurt the girls!


           Okay, just give me a second, I have at least a
           thousand in cash upstairs.

He gets up as if to go upstairs. Suddenly the 10-YEAR-OLD GIRL, who has been peering at the man's weapon, speaks up.

            Hey, that's an AK-47! Those are fully automatic!

(She then start to speak in the nyah-nyah singsong voice kids use when they're one-upping someone.)

            The City Council recently passed a law saying that
            anybody who gets caught with a fully automatic
            weapon gets a minimum of two years in jail!

The RUSSIAN MAN suddenly looks panicked. He pulls back a little, so that the 8-year-old girl's head is no longer tilted.

             Vat? I not know this. Eez not fair.

The FATHER, on his way upstairs, stops in his tracks.

                                     10-YEAR-OLD GIRL
             Yeah -- two years in the slammer! That's no joke.

The RUSSIAN MAN drops the 8-year-old's arm and backs away. Suddenly he and the other Russian bolt for the door and scramble through it, desperate to escape.

Part II: The Sociopathic Rapist

A pretty BLONDE GIRL is jogging along a path in the woods when a large man suddenly jumps out and grabs her from behind, putting his hand over her mouth. He points a gun at her head and drags her off into the woods.

                Scream and you're dead.

He drags her into a clearing and slowly looks her up and down, practically salivating. His intentions are all too clear. The BLONDE GIRL looks terrified. Tears start to form in her eyes.

                                      BLONDE GIRL
                Please don't hurt me. Please.

               Take off all your clothes. Now!

The BLONDE GIRL pulls her t-shirt off. Underneath she has on a white bra. The MAN obviously likes what he sees and makes a waving motion with his gun to indicate she should continue.

               I'm gonna screw you like you never been
               screwed before. Front and rear.

He is clearly enjoying his power over her. She hooks her thumbs into her running shorts. But his waving motion has drawn her eye and she focuses on the gun.

                                     BLONDE GIRL
               Hey waaaaaaait a minute!

Suddenly she has more assurance in her voice.

               And I'm guessing you're a convicted felon. You're
               not even allowed to own a gun!

The MAN backs off, and looks at his gun as if seeing it for the first time. He looks confused.

               Yeah, you get caught with one of those things
               and it's two years in the Big House. And then
               you'll be the one getting screwed.

The BLONDE GIRL wears a triumphant look. She suddenly reaches out to grab his crotch. He pulls back, shocked.

              Whatsamatter, lose your hard on?

The MAN suddenly darts off into the woods.

              Hey, what about that screwing you promised

The BLONDE GIRL, now completely in control, shakes her head and laughs.

Part III: The Three Bloods

Three Bloods sit in an abandoned house. In between them is a worn table with three semiautomatic handguns on it.

                                        BLOOD #1
              Muthafuckin' Crips think they can come on
              our turf, they crazy. We gonna teach their sorry
              asses a lesson with a drive by.

                                        BLOOD #2
              You trippin', fool. These guns ain't even
              properly registered!

BLOOD #1 looks down at the guns. He then puts his head in his hands and slowly shakes his head.

                                        BLOOD #3
              Treyshawn, you even got any idea how hard it
              is to get a carry permit these days?

By this point BLOOD #1 looks completely penitent. He holds his hands up helplessly.

                                        BLOOD #1
              Man, I don't even know what I was thinkin'.

                                        THE END

Okay, so there wasn't a lot of character development, subplots were lacking, and the dialogue was a bit cliched. But, all I wanted to do was make a point about the gun control advocates' keen grasp of human nature. 

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

So what SHOULD we do about these shootings?

As always, within a day of these mass shootings, the Left called for more gun control, and the Right accused the Left of politicizing the tragedy.

Personally, I have nothing against "politicizing" a tragedy like this: of course we should do what we can to prevent such occurrences from happening. But, the people who do so ought to at least be consistent -- and realistic -- in the way they do so.

In all fairness, the Right "politicizes" every terrorist incident by a Muslim, too -- as they should.

It's almost more off-putting how after every single tragedy we have to hear everyone from the President on down mouth the usual platitudes about how their "thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families" when they obviously are neither thinking nor praying about the strangers who were killed.

Anyway, let's look closely at the policies the Left advocates. 

One of the more consistent themes they sound is about "assault rifles." It's true that rifles have been used disproportionately in the recent larger mass shootings. Paddock, Adam Lanza, and Omar Mateen all used rifles. But the very use of the phrase "assault weapon" misleading -- all guns are meant for assault. (Why else would they fire bullets?)

If you look at the statistics, most gun-related murders are committed with handguns. In 2010, for instance, there were 6009 homicides known to have been committed with a handgun, vs. 358 by rifle. 

And fully automatic rifles are already illegal, though it's possible to convert a semiautomatic rifle to one which is closer to being automatic with a bump-stock converter kit.

The Left has also advocated much stricter gun ownership laws. They have succeeded in some places: Chicago, Washington DC (until recently), Baltimore, and California. Yet DC, Chicago, Baltimore, and Oakland have traditionally had some of the highest murder rates in the country. Detroit also has relatively strict gun laws, yet ranks as one of the murder capitals. 

All of which would tend to indicate that such laws don't work. 

In 2016 Chicago had 781 homicides, the vast majority committed with guns. That means that every month Chicago averaged 65 killings. (And this year they are on track to beat that number.) A mass shooting like the one in Las Vegas, of course, attracts far more media attention because of its sensational nature. But if you're serious about cutting down on gun deaths, shouldn't you be focusing on places with a consistently high murder rate, rather than just the latest highly publicized incident?

One tactic which has been shown to work in high crime areas is stop and frisk. But the same people who call for more gun control are adamantly against that, since young black and Hispanic males are stopped by the police more frequently. But if, as statistics show, they commit the majority of murders, shouldn't they be checked more frequently?

Liberals always point out Canada and Britain as places with fewer guns, and lower homicide rates. But they never seem to mention Switzerland, where every adult male is required by law to have a fully automatic rifle, and ammo on hand; Switzerland has one of the lowest murder rates in the world.

Another suggestion we hear a lot is that guns should be kept out of the hands of the "mentally ill." This is easy to agree with in principle. But who exactly do we deem mentally ill? (I wrote here about the difficulties inherent in defining the "mentally ill" for purposes of gun control.)

A disproportionate share of the recent mass killers seem to have suffered from Aspergers Syndrome. (Think Elliot Rodger, the Santa Barbara shooter, Seung-Hui Cho, the Virginia Tech shooter, Christopher Harper-Mercer, the Roseburg shooter, or Adam Lanza, who may have had a more severe form of autism; and there are undoubtedly others.)

Now, imagine Congress were to try to enact a law saying that no one with Aspergers can own a gun. How do you think advocates for that group will react? Pretty much the same way advocates for depressives, borderlines, and schizophrenics (Jared Loughner and possibly James Holmes) would.

Advocates for all of these groups would say that the vast majority of people who suffer from that syndrome are law-abiding and nonviolent, and that they deserve the right to protect themselves, too.

And they'd be right.

Per capita, men are more violent than women, and blacks are more violent than whites. Yet no one dares argue that a law be passed keeping guns out of the hands of black males. Do those who advocate keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally ill realize that they are making a parallel argument?

Likewise, a disproportionately high percentage of serial killers are homosexual. Would anyone on the Left ever dream of suggesting homosexuals be treated differently for that reason?

The fact is, many people with various syndromes go undiagnosed. And if people have been diagnosed, should their psychiatrists or psychotherapists be required to "out" them? What would that do to the principle of doctor-patient confidentiality? And how strongly would it discourage anyone from ever getting psychological help?

On top of that, how many psychiatrists and psychologists make misdiagnoses? We've all been told that getting a second opinion is always worthwhile; that bit of folk wisdom did not arise from the fact that all doctors always come to the same accurate conclusion. 

If you ask the populace to give up their registered guns, then that old NRA saying becomes true: if guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.

And if that becomes the case, those outlaws will be emboldened to prey more on the law-abiding populace, and even carry out home invasions. There is some evidence that murder rates go down when concealed carry is allowed. 

The most central conceit of the gun control advocates is that a determined killer will somehow be swayed by local gun laws. A potential murderer is ready to risk death or serious injury (in case his intended victim shoots back) and also the death penalty (if he's caught) in order to kill someone. Is someone like that going to be concerned about the legality of the gun he's using?  

Think of it this way: when someone robs a bank, and maybe shoots a teller in the process, is the getaway driver's primary concern going to be whether he was parked illegally?

Likewise, the only people concerned with gun laws are people who aren't intending to commit worse crimes. Such as your average suburban homeowner. 

Every now and then one of those homeowners may go berserk for some reason. Stephen Paddock owned a home in the suburbs, and he went on a rampage at age 64. How could that have been predicted? The only honest answer is, it couldn't have been. 

If we're going to have a discussion about gun control, let's at least be realistic, and take into account how effective such laws are in the locales where they've been enacted, who exactly the "mentally ill" are, and how concerned a person bent on murder is going to be with local gun regulations. 

The most commonsensical reforms would be strengthening background checks, not allowing the sale of semi-automatic-to-automatic converter kits, instituting more stop and frisk, and having stiffer penalties for illegally-owned guns. Waiting periods (also known as "cooling off periods")  are a good idea too.

But most of what the Left advocates is simply not realistic. 

Monday, October 2, 2017

The Las Vegas shooter

Whenever a mass shooting occurs, the early information -- anyone's own theorizing -- is inevitably misleading. The initial reports this morning said that two people were killed and 20 wounded in last night's deadly attack.

It's now reported to be the deadliest mass shooting in US history, and with 527 reported injured, the current number of dead, 58, is almost sure to rise.

My first thoughts, like a lot of peoples', turned to ISIS. But then it turned out that the shooter, 64-year-old Stephen Craig Paddock, was just a regular old American.

As the death toll mounted, ISIS claimed responsibility, but then the FBI said that the shooter had no  connection. (It does seem that ISIS would take credit for Hurricane Harvey if they could.)

I wondered if his girlfriend, Marilou Danley, who I heard was of Indonesian descent, might have had something to do with it. (Indonesia is a Muslim country.) She was initially reported to be in Las Vegas, then missing, then another report came out that she had been detained in a foreign country. Now, I'm hearing that she was visiting relatives in the Philippines when this happened, which would indicate that she is Filipino, and therefore less likely to be Muslim.

I also thought, aha, Paddock must be ex-military. He understood the tactical advantage of shooting from the higher elevation, he knew how to use a fully automatic rifle, he was old enough to have been drafted, and he was a deadly shooter. All of this pointed to a guy with training.

But, it turned out, he wasn't. He had been an accountant, and bookkeeper, and had most recently had described himself as a professional gambler.

The most interesting report was that Paddock's father had made the FBI's 10 Most Wanted list as a bank robber, then escaped prisoner, back in the 60's. At the time the father was reported to have been diagnosed "as psychopathic." And, as it turns out, his father was also an avid gambler.

(Family background almost always provides the why of a killer's personality.)

Maybe part of Stephen's motivation was that he wanted to outdo his father in terms of badness.

Paddock himself had not been unsuccessful: his brother reported that he had been a multimillionaire real estate investor.

This is the first case of a multimillionaire mass shooter I've heard of. Given that this country had treated him so well, his final act was the ultimate in ingratitude.

It's also been reported that he was a heavy gambler, and moved to Nevada so he could gamble more. is it possible that he had gambled his fortune away and felt that at age 64 he had nothing left to lose? That's not clear yet either.

Is it possible he had just gotten some bad news about his health, possibly a cancer diagnosis, and just didn't want to face an infirm old age?

One of the worst things about all these mass shootings is that they always seem to target young people. Whether they take place at a concert, a school, or a nightclub, it's mostly young people, who had their entire lives ahead of them, who are massacred.

His family was evident shocked by the massacre, or at least claimed to be. Some of his former neighbors were shocked, too. They described him as a nice, friendly guy. But another report mentioned neighbors in Nevada who had described him as "aggressively unfriendly."

So which was it?

What is Paddock's psychological diagnosis? The first thing that comes to mind is, sociopath. But while basically all serial killers are sociopaths, mass shooters are more likely to have Aspergers Syndrome. But most killers are also relatively young, Paddock was not only the deadliest shooter in US history, but, at 64, also the oldest.

In any case, we just don't know enough about him to say. The fact that Paddock's father was diagnosed as a psychopath,would tend to lead us in that direction. The fact that he was apparently a gambling addict is another clue leading in that direction. And there's no questioning the evilness of his act. But we'd have to have more of a sense of his entire life, especially his upbringing and his relationships, before we can be sure.

The truth about Paddock will gradually emerge. But at times like this, sometimes it almost seems as if it's not even worth reading any of the reports -- or formulating any theories of your own -- until the second or third day.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

All roads lead to Rome, Part II

This blog has a "traffic sources" section that allows me to see the searches that lead people to this blog. (I can't see who's looking, but I can sometimes see what has led them here.) And I'm constantly surprised to see the nature of the searches that land them here.

Back in January of 2014 I wrote about some of those searches. I've scribbled down a few more a while back, and added a few recently. Here they are:

"Prominent clitorises, photos" Honestly, you won't find any of those here; I'm mystified as to how that search led here.

"Naked photo underage" Those neither. (I'd actually be afraid to look for those; don't they convict people based on what they find in their computers?)

"Is Obama gay?", "is Obama gay or bi", and "Is my gaydar off or is Obama gay?" I do know how those inquiries led here. The answer is, yep, as I explained here and here.

"fuck sharia femen" At first, I thought the searcher was conflating Sharia and FEMEN. Then I realized, ah, he was referring to the FEMEN who wrote "fuck sharia" on their naked torsos. I enjoyed writing about FEMEN, here and here and here, but don't think I ever featured a photo with that particular slogan painted on.

"Chelsea Clinton looks weird" I mentioned her here, and a couple other places, but I never focused on her looks. 

"el Chapo house" That would be houses, plural. I showed three pictures of one of them when I put el Chapo up against Donald Trump in a machismo contest.

"James Bond IQ." It was actually a relief to find out that someone else had pondered a question that silly.

"Are people with Asperger childish?" and "Aspergers have no friends" and "want my asperger friend to get lost" I can understand why they'd feel that way.

"Can Aspergers say they're sorry?" Nope.

"Asberbuger are they ridged?" Yes, some can be quite rigid; on the other hand, some can also spell.

"Is Dave Chapelle on steroids?" Yup.

"little boy with big balls" I mention courage from time to time, but I suspect this particular inquiry was of a more physical nature.

"Hairy vulva" Sorry, no beaver shots here. But I do hope he found something else that excited his interest, and tarried a while.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Hugh Hefner, RIP

I gave my impression of Hefner here, back in 2010.

Even now that he's dead, it's hard not to envy him the life he had.


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

"White privilege" as projection

I know a girl who got 800 on her math SAT, and 781 on the verbal portion. She had decent, but not great, grades. She was rejected by about half the colleges she applied to, including the one Ivy League school she sent an application to.

Had she been black with those scores, she would have had Ivy League schools lining up to recruit her.

Employers at larger firms are desperate to find smart, presentable blacks with whom they can buff up their diversity credentials, so jump at the opportunity to hire smart, affable blacks.

White people are generally aware of these things, although most know it's not a good idea to mention them in polite company.

Blacks, too, are aware of these things, though they generally have a different take on it: that they deserve these things, after all the years they suffered under slavery and then Jim Crow. (Never mind that most beneficiaries of affirmative action come from middle class backgrounds.)

I've written many times about projection. I've been accused of being gay by a gay commenter, of having Aspergers by various Aspies, and of getting a "buzz from others' misfortunes" by a sociopath.

Projection is pretty much universal; the natural assumption for most people is that others are like them. It's why nice people always give others the benefit of the doubt, and sociopaths always suspect the worst of others.

And, if there's ill will involved, the first insult that comes to mind will be something they themselves are guilty of.

Once you become aware of projection, you'll see it all the time.

Just last week Kim Jong Un accused Donald Trump of "mentally deranged behavior" and of being "a rogue and a gangster fond of playing with fire." Trump may be a narcissist who's constitutionally incapable of leaving an insult unanswered, but he's hardly a gangster, and has shown no predilection for using unnecessary firepower.

On the other hand, Kim Jong Un was describing himself perfectly.

After hearing a lot recently about the nebulous concept of white privilege -- a concept which negates the achievements of any individual whites -- it occurs to me that there's more than a little projection going on here.

Put yourself in the shoes of a black college student at one of the more selective colleges. He goes through his entire four years there knowing that the white students all regard him as a beneficiary of affirmative action. None of them will say that to him, of course; but he knows they all think it. And he will, naturally enough, grow resentful about being regarded this way. (I know I would.)

And, if he graduates in good standing, when he gets hired by a good firm, the suspicion attaches that the need for diversity played a role there, too. So, he feels a little paranoid -- and somewhat resentful -- about his place in the hierarchy there.

And the natural thing to do is channel that resentment into a little projection.

Voila, white privilege.