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Saturday, December 31, 2016

Do radical feminists have Aspergers?

Commenter Gethin made the following comment about radical feminists on the post about Aspergers Syndrome yesterday:

I just had an epiphany - radical feminists are Aspies. I've been trying to understand the deranged, obsessive, utterly humourless, furious and empathy-devoid minds of radfems for years (think the nutters who blog on Radfem Hub). Nothing is ever their fault - anything bad that ever happened in their lives is the fault of men or "handmaidens of the patriarchy", AKA normal women. They love portraying themselves as victims and, if they can't find any real examples of how they're "oppressed", they'll invent some - or go on about how women were historically oppressed, as though that means sympathy ought to extend to them.

I've not once seen a radfem apologise or admit fault. Try arguing with them and you'll end up going around in circles; they have their unshakable, baseless beliefs and that's that. They are unable to even entertain the opposite viewpoint, let alone accept it. They project, believing all women think the same as them and yet display cognitive dissonance by loathing women who don't. No matter how nasty the woman or how gentle the man, a radfem will always defend the former. One commentator described this as an almost-religious belief in men being the absolute evil and women the absolute good, like the Original Sin.

Their mental gymnastics are impressive: they'll frequently hold two conflicting views simultaneously, i.e. "biology is not destiny" and "male testosterone poisoning". They misinterpret new concepts a lot. Radfem arguments are peppered with straw men and red herrings. They are obsessed with their ideology: watch their Twitter feeds and it's clear they think about it from the moment they wake up to the moment they sleep. Radfems don't seem to have any fun; I can't see them playing sports or having similar hobbies (no wonder the only emotion they experience is anger). The only 'friends' they seem to have are other radfems, and those are just online.

Basically, they're abject losers. Re-reading this has just made me realise that many must have Asperger's.


I suspect that some radical feminists may also have borderline personality disorder, and some may simply be narcissists; both of those syndromes would also allow for the type of hypocrisy, if not rigidity, that Gethin has described.

One vastly under explored subject is the intersection of psychology and politics. Much of modern Leftism is just various psychological syndromes writ large: the constantly claiming to be offended, the hysterical denunciations of any straightforward and honest observation of racial and gender differences, the hate hoaxes, and so on.

These are all the reactions of people who aren't quite right in the head.

Gethin nailed this one. A lot of Aspies must find a home in radical feminism, which suits their personalities perfectly.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds

When Carrie Fisher died, it seemed momentous, just because she had played such an iconic role in an iconic movie. But given her long history of addiction, to cocaine, alcohol, and pills, it really shouldn't have been all that surprising.

I vaguely recall having read part of one of her books once; she was undeniably clever. But when I first saw her as Princess Leia, my reaction was, why couldn't they have gotten someone good-looking for the role? (The answer, as it often is in Hollywood, was that she was a beneficiary of nepotism.)

She basically dined out on that one role for the rest of her life, a life characterized by extreme self-indulgence. And when she died, I can't say I was affected.

Debbie Reynolds had been someone I'd always been vaguely aware of as one of the old time movie stars. But she had been before my time, and although she was much prettier than her daughter, was not really my type, and so had never registered prominently on my radar screen.

But when she had a stroke and died the  day after her daughter, that drove home her humanity. She was 84, a vulnerable age, nonetheless it was still hard to escape the conclusion that she had essentially died of a broken heart.

And that actually was sort of affecting.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The worst insult an Aspie can hurl

My post describing Al Gore's Aspergerian personality from January 2012 has gotten a fair number of negative comments, mostly from people with Aspergers. I got the latest one today:

If you look up a list of people known or suspected to have Aspergers you'll find the bulk of humanity's progress in various fields. Sure, there's insufferable Aspies who contribute jack shit beyond unwarranted narcissism (e.g. the writer of this blog), but it's a small price to pay to no longer be primates.

The writer is referring to some of the lists of famous people with Aspergers which circulate on the internet. This list is typical: it claims Isaac Asimov, Abraham Lincoln, Mark Twain, Howard Hughes, Bobby Fischer, H.P. Lovecraft, and Charles Chaplin. I've seen other lists which include Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Thomas Jefferson, etc. 

Many of these lists seem to be compiled by Aspergers support groups, and seem motivated by a desire to show that people with Aspergers are indeed special, and not just handicapped. I'm sure that some of the people on these lists probably did have Aspergers; but the evidence in many cases is quite thin, and I'm also quite sure that the lists overreached. 

But the commenter quoted above has obviously swallowed the propaganda, and wants to claim all of humanity's greatest scientists and inventors for his club. 

But what really gave away his Aspergers Syndrome was the way he lashed out at me for having described Aspergers Syndrome in the Al Gore post (and elsewhere) as they are: socially awkward and lame. Most Aspies simply can't take criticism calmly.

And what was the worst insult he could come up with? He accused me of having Aspergers Syndrome myself (as well as having "unwarranted narcissism").

This is a pattern I keep seeing repeat itself. When people really want to insult you, they'll usually accuse you of being like them. 

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Red flags for sociopathy

Here is the list of traits defining "antisocial personality," as the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Psychological Disorders refers to sociopathy:

-There is a pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others occurring since age 15 years, as indicated by three (or more) of the following: having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another. 
-Failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors as indicated by repeatedly performing acts that are grounds for arrest.
-Deceitfulness, as indicated by repeated lying, use of aliases, or conning others for personal profit or pleasure.
-Impulsivity or failure to plan ahead.
-Irritability and aggressiveness, as indicated by repeated physical fights or assaults.
-Reckless disregard for safety of self or others.
-Consistent irresponsibility, as indicated by repeated failure to sustain consistent work behavior or honor financial obligations.
-Lack of remorse, as indicated by being indifferent to or rationalizing.


These categories encompass a wide variety of misbehavior. But they're so broad and vague that they could describe the way nonsociopaths behave at times, too. (Failing to plan ahead is something we all do from time to time.) And it's a somewhat dry, academic-sounding list. How do these traits express themselves in real life?

There are certain specific behaviors which have a peculiarly sociopathic flavor, which sociopaths seem to display, time after time. The following is by no means comprehensive, but it includes some characteristic tics that may ring a bell if you've ever known a sociopath well:

Sociopaths often display a certain uninhibited viciousness when it comes to lashing out at those who anger them. The people around them sense this, and make an effort not to displease them, simply to avoid a big scene or even worse. This is partly how sociopaths manipulate others.

Sociopaths often seem to have an incredible, almost supernatural confidence, which can manifest itself as incredible nerve  -- or gall, depending on your point of view. You may find yourself thinking, "I can't believe he said that," and thinking that you are a timid mouse by comparison.

Sociopaths never seem to get nervous, or flustered. They are good in debates (even on a national stage.)

Sociopaths tend to be fearless as well. Military Special Operations personnel are slightly more likely to be sociopaths. Some of our greatest war heroes may have been sociopaths. (Thank goodness they're on our side.)

Of course, saying you were a Navy SEAL when you weren't, or saying you worked for the CIA when you didn't, is a dead giveaway of sociopathy. Stolen valor is a sociopathic specialty.

The second surest sign of sociopathy, after serial killing, is pathological lying. I've never known anyone who constantly lied, who wasn't a sociopath. We all lie from time to time; but lying to burnish one's resume is generally the province of sociopaths.

Another form of lying is "sport lying," the purpose of which is simply to fool people for the joy of it. That joy comes partially from making the other person look foolish for believing you, and convincing yourself you're smarter than the other person because you fooled him.

Anybody who is said to create a "reality distortion field" around them is usually a sociopath. They typically do this using a combination of dishonesty and intimidation. Think Steve Jobs.

Cult leaders are almost always sociopaths.

Sociopaths often think they are fooling people when they are not. If someone tells you an obvious lie, and acts as if he expects you to believe him, beware.

Another way sociopaths give themselves away is by claiming that they are turning over a new leaf, and thinking people will believe that they are somehow actually changing their character. 

Sociopaths may pay lip service to loyalty, and expect it of others, but rarely display it themselves. If they do act loyal, they do so in a showy (and temporary) manner and point out their "loyalty" to whomever they expect gratitude from.

If you can't imagine a certain person hanging his head in shame, or even feeling embarrassed, you may be dealing with a sociopath.

Sociopaths have no sense of discretion. They will freely tell people the criticisms others have made about them behind their backs; most people assume a certain confidentiality applies to such comments. But a sociopath feels no such compunctions, and likes to create discord by reporting such. If there have been no such criticisms, a sociopath may just make some up.

One peculiarly sociopathic tic I've noticed is that they overenunciate, as if really savoring their own words.

Some sociopaths have the ability to appear extraordinarily warm and friendly at the drop of a hat, an ability which only the completely cold can summon on demand. A sociopath's ability to make everyone feel special simply means that to him, no one is special. He is good at manipulation, that's all. (Think Bill Clinton.)

Along the lines of simulating affection they do not feel, another sociopathic tell is to claim they feel  great fondness for you way too quickly, long before any such genuine emotion could have had time to take root.

Sociopaths often feel a compulsion to appear noble. It is not enough for them to appear the moral equal of others, they want to be thought downright saintly. (Think Lance Armstrong, with his Livestrong foundation.)

If you ever see someone wiping away nonexistent ("crocodile") tears, put your guard up. Less adept sociopaths do this from up close, where it's apparent that their eyes are not watering. More skillful sociopaths will do this from onstage, or on camera, when viewers can't tell the difference. (Think Karen Sypher, or look at this series of pictures of Bill Clinton.)

Some sociopaths can actually produce real tears on demand. (Tonya Harding and Marion Jones were both reportedly able to do this.)

Someone who claims to be an "adrenaline junkie" is in fact just admitting that they have a high threshold of excitement, i.e., get bored quickly. A sociopath's need for stimulation may express itself through high stakes gambling and fast driving.

If you hear of someone becoming "addicted" to something others don't find addictive, like gambling or sex, think sociopathy. Sociopaths have so few inhibitions that they are "unable" to resist things others can.

Sociopaths feel no qualms about picking on people who work for them. (Think of Hillary Clinton, picking on the Arkansas State Troopers and the Secret Service agents who had pledged to give their lives to protect hers.) Being a bully means punching down at people unable to hit back.

I've never heard of anyone acting as his own criminal defense lawyer who wasn't a sociopath. (Think James Traficant, Ted Bundy, Colin Ferguson, Dylann Roof, Robert Camarano, and Steven Dean Gordon.)

Sociopaths usually leave people feeling used. A long trail of bitter ex-spouses, ex-friends, ex-lovers, and ex-colleagues usually spells sociopathy.

A long trail of lawsuits, both as defendant and plaintiff, is another sociopathic hallmark.

Conning others out of their money is a sociopathic hallmark. Cheating your own family makes that diagnosis even more certain.

One weird sociopathic trait is the ability to party and enjoy oneself even when you know your house of cards is about to come tumbling down. Think of all the Ponzi schemers who seem to savor the trappings of wealth right up until the moment until they go to jail. Most people would be worried sick under such circumstances.

Sociopaths often have a surprising demeanor in criminal court, given the gruesome nature of the crimes they are being tried for. While most would hang their heads in shame -- and that's an understatement -- sociopaths comport themselves like rock stars. This post and this one as well show photographs of serial killers who look strangely proud while on trial.

Sociopaths always seem to have some naive sucker around who believes in him no matter how high the evidence stacked against him. (Think Lenny Dykstra and Dan Herman. Or think of all the serial killers who've attracted groupies.)

Anybody who advertises his integrity and honesty usually has neither. 

To most people, a "conscience" is a nebulous, ethereal entity they're not really aware of. In fact, it's basically metaphorical shorthand for their character: their inhibitions, qualms, mixed emotions, and ability to feel guilt and shame as well as love. But they rarely talk about it. A sociopath, who lacks such character, may actually talk about his conscience, as if it's a distinct, palpable entity which guides his every move. (Think Barack Obama.)

Nonsociopaths get plastic surgery. But a sociopath is more likely to get it -- and lie about it.  Likewise, nonsociopaths take steroids; but a sociopath is more likely to -- and also to lie about it. In fact, a giveaway of sociopathy is the self-righteousness with which a juiced athlete denies taking performance-enhancing drugs. (Think Marion Jones, or Lance Armstrong.)

A sociopath's emotional repertoire goes from hatred to bitterness to jealousy to envy to spite to glee (at his own victories, or others' misfortunes). Some sociopaths always seem to be brimming over with bitterness and resentment. If you know someone who always seems able to find a reason to hate people, you're probably dealing with a sociopath.

Sociopaths never have peace of mind. They are rarely content to settle down with a good book, or with a crossword puzzle, or any form of peaceful solitude. They don't enjoy their own company; they prefer to be out and about, actively stirring up trouble.

Sociopaths always seem to be able to glibly justify their own sociopathy. Here are a few of the ways in which they do. 

The only people I've ever heard excuse their own lying by saying that they were only telling people what they wanted to hear, as if they had no choice but to do this, were sociopaths.

At moments of tragedy, when most people would be completely shaken up, and distraught beyond words, sociopaths, if they're not feigning sadness, may express weirdly mundane concerns. After Justin Ross Harris killed his 22-month-old son by locking him in an overheated car (after taking out life insurance on him), he complained to police, "I can't believe this is happening to me," and worried that it would reflect badly on him at the office. Such behavior is a dead giveaway.

Another way sociopaths demonstrate their character is by not losing their appetite on occasions in which food would be the last thing on a normal person's mind. (Think Joran van der Sloot.)

One way sociopaths reveal their own character is by constantly suspecting others of sociopathic traits. I once knew a sociopath who would frequently say about others, "I don't trust that guy. He lied to me once." The only one he was really giving away was himself.

One minor sociopathic tic is wearing a large cross, prominently, as a way of advertising one's piousness and inner decency.

Cheating on endurance races, a la Rosie Ruiz, or Kendall Schler, or Julie Miller, is a distinctly sociopathic trait.

Anyone who "suffers from" Munchausen's Syndrome of Munchausen's-by-proxy is a sociopath. And anybody who falsely claims to have been the victim of a hate crime is acting out a variant of Munchausen's Syndrome, and not much of a variant at that.

Creating havoc so that one can appear the hero (as in, firemen who set fires they can then extinguish) is the behavior of sociopaths.

Posing as someone, or something, one is not almost always means sociopathy. Think of Christian Gerhartsreiter pretending to be Clark Rockefeller. Or Catch Me If You Can protagonist Frank Abagnale posing as an airline pilot or doctor.

Pretty much anyone who makes his living as a con man is a sociopath. (I've never known of one who wasn't.) And having multiple aliases almost always means one is a con man.

Taking advantage of people who are actually doing you a favor is a particularly loathsome, peculiarly sociopathic method of exploitation.

Attributing one's own bad behavior to noble causes is another sociopathic specialty. Think of Newt Gingrich explaining his multiple infidelities by saying, "There's no question at times in my life, partially driven by how passionately I felt about this country, that I worked too hard and things happened in my life that were not appropriate."

Or think of Jack Kevorkian, indulging his fascination with killing and death while masquerading as a man wanting to help ease the suffering of terminally ill people.

A woman who files a false rape report is likely a sociopath. Think of Jackie Oakley, the UVA fraternity rape "victim."

A stylistic quirk sociopaths exhibit is overuse of adverbs and adjectives attributing nobility to themselves. This post analyzes how David Berkowitz (Son of Sam) does it, and this post analyzes the  language used by Franklin Lynch (The Day Stalker).

You often hear convicts characterizing some horrific crime they've committed, like murder, as "a mistake" or "a bad decision." This too is distinctly sociopathic phraseology.

This is by no means a comprehensive list. But all of these behaviors give off a distinctly sociopathic scent. Also, bear in mind that they describe different styles of sociopathy. No sociopath will do all of these things; but most will do some. This list should help you recognize the sociopaths in your life. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The gulf

While researching James Burke, the Suffolk Police Chief who's now serving time for assault and may or may not be connected to the Gilgo Beach serial killings, I stumbled across this article, which contains an embedded video of the recent press conference in which the paid escort "Leanne" described her experiences with Burke at a sex party near Gilgo Beach.

She said he tried to have sex with her in a bathroom, but was unable to perform. He then roughly grabbed her by the hair and forced her to service him orally, but he wasn't able to perform that way, too. He then told her that she was "not a good whore," and tossed some money at her, as if angry.

Most guys, when impotent, are embarrassed, maybe even mortified. And they are apologetic to the woman. A sociopath reacts differently: he gets angry. Since, in his mind, nothing is ever his fault, he blames the woman. And maybe even gets violent afterward.

It would never even occur to most guys to react that way.

Yesterday, the NY Post ran an article about a Florida murderer. The relevant excerpts:

A Florida man told police he murdered his girlfriend’s cousin and then had sex with her body just for the thrill of the gruesome deed.

Christopher Shows, 21, was arrested Monday for the grisly Dec. 7 killing of Amanda Suarez, a 21-year-old mother of four — who was attacked inside her Okeechobee home.

“In his confession, it was just he wanted to know what murder was about. Unfortunately, it was no rhyme no reason. He just wanted to know what murder felt like,” the county’s sheriff-elect, Noel Stephen, told WPTV.


Here's a picture of Amanda Suarez and Christopher Shows:



Every now and then you hear of a murderer who kills just to see what it's like. Whenever the public hears this, they assume that there must have been some deeper, stronger, underlying motive. Perhaps Shows hated Suarez for some other, hidden reason. 

But, it's actually not that way. Sociopaths will kill just out of a mild curiosity. That's how utterly without compunction they are. 

Again, most people would never dream of doing something like that.

There is a huge gulf between what a normal person is capable of and what a sociopath is capable of. And since most people can't fathom the depth of depravity of a sociopath, they never suspect a sociopath of doing these horrible deeds.

That's exactly what allows most sociopaths to hide in plain sight. 

How many of the police who used to work for James Burke suspected him of being the Gilgo Beach serial killer? (I emphasize, there's no hard evidence connecting Burke to the killings yet, but he does seem to be a suspect.) My guess is, few of the rank and file, even if they knew he was a difficult personality, actually suspected him.

How many of Christopher Shows' high school buddies would have thought that in a couple years he would shoot and kill a woman just to see what it felt like, then have sex with her dead body?

My guess is, none.

Most people can't imagine that the guy who seems so trustworthy and earnest is actually embezzling company funds. Or trying to poison their relationships with their friends. Or trying to lure them into self-destructive acts. Or, killing people on the side. 

I can't tell you how many times I've heard people make excuses for a sociopath along the lines of, "Oh, he'd never do that." 

Or, "Well, he may have a dark side, I mean, we all do, but he's certainly not capable of that." 

Or, "He's a really honorable, honest guy. I know he is." (Because the sociopath told him he was.) 

Sociopaths bank on others' naivete, and lack of imagination.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

On suspending college teams for bad manners

There's been a fair amount of publicity recently about how various college men's athletic teams have had their seasons canceled or suspended for having made rude comments in their group emails. So far it's happened to Harvard soccer, Columbia wrestling, Amherst cross country, and now, Princeton swimming.

Evidently all of these athletic teams had some sort of listserv where the athletes could make comments. The Harvard men's soccer team, the first to be suspended, had a "scouting report" on the freshman women players, assigning them numerical values and assigning imaginary sexual positions to them.

The other teams did similar things. One of the Amherst College cross country runners referred to a female runner as a "walking STD," and reportedly racist and homophobic comments were made as well.

So far, these suspensions have happened only in the Ivy League and at Amherst. Are the male athletes at these schools so much coarser than their counterparts at big state schools? Are, say, the Ohio State football players that much more refined than the Amherst cross country runners?

What makes it more ironic is that cross-country runners tend to be quiet, introverted, masochistic personalities. They are far less boisterous, and rank far lower on the athletic/social totem pole, than their counterparts on the lacrosse, football, and basketball teams. (This isn't true of every last person, of course; but as a general rule, it holds.)

Swimmers and soccer players also tend to be less socially aggressive, though wrestlers are often a bit more truculent. (Knowing you can beat the other guy up if it comes down to that tends to have that effect.)

I spoke to a friend whose daughter goes to Amherst yesterday; she evidently told him that at least three or four guys on the cross country team there are gay. Why are they being penalized? And why are the straight guys who didn't make rude comments being punished alongside those who did?

Contrast this to what goes on at a big time football school. When a couple of the players are accused of rape, nobody ever thinks to suspend the entire team.

In fact, at the University of Minnesota, the opposite happened recently: the football players themselves threatened to boycott their bowl game because ten players accused of sexual assault were suspended from the team. (In fairness to those players, criminal charges were not brought against them; but there's also no question that all ten gang banged a drunk female student.)

Of course, football is a revenue-producer. Cross country, by contrast, brings in no revenue to a school, so it provides an easy sacrificial lamb for an athletic director or university president looking to score political correctness points.

You can say the Ivy athletes were stupid: these guys should have known that anything said on a public mailing list could be made public. Just because it was used mostly by them didn't mean that it wasn't accessible to others. They had no more right to privacy on a university-sponsored listserv than I have with this blog.

You can also say they were rude. Bad manners aren't welcome anywhere, and rating incoming 18-year-old girls on their looks in a public forum is mean. (At least, if they're low numbers -- I doubt any girl would be disheartened by being told she's a nine or a ten.)

What this matter really boils down to is whether bad manners should be punishable by having one's athletic privileges taken away. Of course, that depends in large part on how you define bad manners.

The BLM protesters who rampaged through that Dartmouth Library last fall, and many like them, were unquestionably rude, yet they lost no privileges. In fact, the upshot of their bad manners was that the university administration met with them to hear their concerns.

Another comparison: if a female team had made catty comments about their male counterparts, would they have had their season suspended? Or, what if, for example, some of the writers at a liberal student newspaper had exchanged group emails saying rude things about conservatives: would the university administrators suspend publication of that newspaper for the rest of the year?

The fact that one -- and only one -- set of bad manners are now punished with actual penalties seems to be an extension of the safe spaces mentality that is pervading academia right now: it's okay to attack one group, but not another.

Here's Amherst President Carolyn "Biddy" Martin, who called the comments from the cross country team "vulgar, cruel, and hateful:"


Their comments were definitely vulgar and cruel. But hateful? Not really. The Left always insists on attributing that emotion to anything they disagree with, but it probably does not describe the emotional state of the runners as they joked with one another. The comments were off-color, no question, and insensitive, to be sure. But were they written in a frenzy of bitterness and antipathy? That's highly doubtful.

This type of hypocrisy is most apparent when it comes to the media, which also condemns any such displays of sexism, when they themselves are the worst offenders in that regard. Most of their female newscasters must be attractive, and they make their money by running commercials (or ads) featuring only the most beautiful women as models.

(Coincidentally, I just happened to be chatting yesterday with a woman who used to work as a reporter at ultra liberal NBC. She volunteered, unprompted by me, that looks have a great deal to do with whether females get ahead at that station.)

To some extent, those students who made sexist, homophobic, and racist comments must have been doing so partly out of a sense of rebelliousness against the narrowly pc mentality that the universities -- and the media -- enforce these days.

Having your athletic season suspended is far less draconian than being expelled from school. But to a 19- or 20-year-old, an athletic season can be something on which the sun rises and sets. (This is not to say that it should be, but as a former college athlete, I can testify that it can be.)

In the current climate, no AD or college president will ever get fired for doing something like this, whereas if he lets rude comments slide, he could later be said to have been tacitly condoning and even encouraging the bad behavior, and his job could be jeopardized. So they take no chances, the student-athletes be damned.

The question that remains is, what is the proper punishment for these young men? They were unquestionably rude and uncouth.

The proper punishment should be what it has always been for the rude and uncouth: to be disliked. All those who dislike these boors should feel perfectly free to shun them socially, and speak ill of them, or even mockingly rate their looks if they so choose. That's exactly what those rude student-athletes deserve.

An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, and a comment for a comment.

Social relations are a vast, interrelated, complicated matter, with a host of different reasons why people think and speak and react the way they do. And, there are an infinite number of ways to be unpleasant, of which jokey references to women's attractiveness is just one.

For university administrators to try to insert themselves into the social fabric of their students' lives is simply meddlesome overkill.

It's the latest in a movement towards ever more stifling social engineering against which these young male students were rebelling.

And it will spark even more rebellion.

Friday, December 16, 2016

The Gilgo Beach killer


Last December I wrote about James Burke, the disgraced former police chief in Suffolk County, New York. He had beaten up a handcuffed man who had been accused of breaking into his car and stealing his sex toys and pornographic tapes. What I said at the time:

[He] was in the news for having purposely stymied an FBI investigation into the Gilgo Beach serial killings for several years, and also for having beaten up a handcuffed man who was accused of breaking into Burke's car and stealing his sex toys and pornographic tapes. Burke is also alleged to have broken into the suspect's apartment to retrieve those stolen items, and to have intimidated potential witnesses, including police who worked for him.

It occurred to me a year ago that Burke could actually be the serial killer. I didn't say so on the blog, because it sounds so farfetched. But it's not as farfetched as it sounds. What did we know at that point? 

-That Burke is a sociopath: anybody who would beat up a handcuffed suspect and also intimidate the police who work for him would pretty much have to be one. 

-That he was a bit of a sex maniac, given what he was carrying around in his car. 

-That he had broken into the suspect's apartment to retrieve those tapes. (Why,  unless they somehow incriminated him?)

-That he had stymied the FBI investigation into the Gilgo Beach serial killings. (Why? You'd think most cops would be glad to have FBI assistance with that sort of thing.) 

Yesterday, the NY Post ran an article about a prostitute who has claimed that Burke took part in "sex parties" at Gilgo Beach near where the bodies were found: 

A disgraced Long Island police chief is being connected to the infamous Gilgo Beach murders by a lawyer for one of the victims and a prostitute who claims the cop participated in area “sex parties.”

Former Suffolk County police chief James Burke, who allegedly obstructed the FBI from investigating the unsolved murders, attended parties with drugs and prostitution in Oak Beach, the lawyer said.

“This is the first time that there has been an actual connection made between former chief police Burke, Oak Beach and prostitution,” the lawyer, John Ray, said at a press conference.


Also, the prostitute who identified herself as Lee Ann claimed she had “rough sex” with Burke.

Lee Ann also said she witnessed Burke “grab a girl by her hair and drag her to the ground.”

Ray, the lawyer for the family of slain woman Shannan Gilbert, hopes to question Burke under oath about the his role in the parties.

The bodies of eight women, a man and a toddler have been found on or near Gilgo Beach since 1996.

Some of the murdered women are believed to have worked in the sex industry.


I'm not saying Burke is the serial killer. But I'd bet he's at least a person of interest in the case to the FBI now.

If Burke was the killer, he was in the perfect position to execute those crimes. He could have driven around all day in that area with a dead body in his police car, and nobody would ever have stopped him, since all the local cops reported to him. And now we know he took part in sex parties with prostitutes near Gilgo Beach. And that he liked to rough them up.

If it turns out that Burke is the killer -- if it can be proven -- this will be a huge, huge story.  

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Surrounding themselves with macho men

As I was looking for pictures for that post about how the Russian Duma is sexier than its American counterpart, it became apparent that Putin likes to socialize with tough, masculine men. Trump seems to be picking part of his Cabinet using the same criteria.

Putin is friendly with former heavyweight boxing champ and current Duma member Nikolai Valuev in his entourage (on far left):


Here's Putin with Russian super heavyweight wrestling champ Aleksandr Karelin:


Putin with heavyweight boxing champ Wladimir Klitschko (on left):


Putin's favorite seems to be Fedor Emelianenko, the great heavyweight mixed martial artist, seen above at right and below, next to Putin (Karelin is at far right):


Putin has attended several of Emelianenko's fights, and often gets into the ring and gives a speech afterwards:


It's easy to understand why Putin likes these men. The acromegalic Valuev looks like a movie monster, but is in fact a soft-spoken, thoughtful guy, as this interview shows.

Karelin was for many years the pride of Russia, the personification of the Russian bear.

Emelianenko is widely regarded as the greatest mixed martial artist of all time. He often overwhelmed larger and stronger opponents through sheer aggression, and was stoic in both victory and, toward the end of his career, in defeat. He is deeply religious, and humble. He has been married three times, but the first and third marriages were to the same woman.

It's a little harder to understand why Putin would have befriended Steven Seagal, but he has, even offering Seagal Russian citizenship recently (at Seagal's request):



It's also a little mystifying that Putin would become friends with Jean Claude Van Damme:



(Putin must like old martial arts movies. The only guys missing from his entourage are Dolph Lundgren and Chuck Norris.)

Similarly, some of Trump's Cabinet choices seemed to have been picked for their alpha qualities.

For the Department of Defense, retired Marine Corps General James "Mad Dog" Mattis, whose quotes seem to be a pretty big thing on the internet:




For National Security Advisor, retired Army General Michael Flynn:


(I'm not sure how hawkish he is, but he sure looks like a fierce bird of prey.)

For the Homeland Security post, retired Marine Corps General John Kelly:


(He could probably scare away any threats to the homeland with that scowl.)

For Secretary of the Interior, former Seal Team Six Commander Ryan Zinke:


(We need a Secretary of the Interior who can pick off those few pesky remaining buffalo with a single head shot from 500 meters.)

And for Secretary of State, Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson, who has no military pedigree, but nonetheless exudes alpha:


Tillerson was evidently picked because of his close relationship with Putin:


Which brings us back to the two guys this post is really about, Putin and Trump. Both are aggressively heterosexual, and there's probably not even any homoeroticism involved in their choice of companions and coworkers.

It probably has more to do with that atavistic instinct to want fierce warriors on your side, which has been evolutionarily adaptive for most of the past four million years.

But most of it is probably a matter of self-image. Both Putin and Trump like to see themselves as tough guys, and they seem to feel that the machismo of their companions somehow reflects on them.

Is that silly? Of course it is. But, it's also understandable.

Putin's posse has more of a combat arts flavor, whereas Trump's team has a more military cast.

But, Putin and Trump seem predisposed toward liking each other, so it's highly unlikely the two groups would ever have a rumble.

Which is a good thing, foreign policy-wise.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Thank you Jill Stein

The NY Post just ran an article, Michigan recount reveals error, but not the one Jill Stein wanted.

The relevant excerpts:

WASHINGTON — Green Party nominee Jill Stein’s presidential vote recount in Michigan may have turned up massive voter irregularities — in the Democratic stronghold of Detroit.

Now it’s Republican leaders who are demanding an investigation to determine why a third of the city’s voting machines registered more ballots than actual voters, the Detroit News reported.

Ruth Johnson, the Republican secretary of state, is launching an audit.

Republican state Sen. Patrick Colbeck called the probe a good start on the suspicious results turned up in Detroit, which Hillary Clinton won with 95 percent of the vote.

The Detroit News found voting scanning machines at 248 of the city’s 662 precincts — 37 percent — tabulated more ballots than the number of actual voters counted in the poll books.

“There’s always going to be small problems to some degree, but we didn’t expect the degree of problem we saw in Detroit. This isn’t normal,” Krista Haroutunian, chairwoman of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers, told the paper.


The small tip of a large iceberg.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Analysis of a famous person from afar, vs. from up close

Every now and then you'll hear someone say, you can't analyze someone unless you've examined him in a clinical setting. This seems to be the official position of the American Psychiatric Association.

But if you meet someone for the first time in a clinical setting, you might have no knowledge of him and how he behaves outside the psychiatrist's office. You have only a few sessions in which to get to know a complete stranger, and you will see only whichever face he chooses to present to you.

On the other hand, when someone is running for President, you see far more complete picture of that person. You can read about his entire life history, find out what his family background was like, see his entire employment history, and read many of his previous quotes. You get to see how he behaves on camera, and read about how he behaves off camera, in both stressful situations and during his relaxation time. You get a sense of his sex life, his extracurricular interests, and hear about how he treats the people he's known personally. And you get to hear what former friends and associates have to say about him.

All of this is far, far more revealing than a couple of interviews where he knows someone is trying to psychoanalyze him and he will try to hide things he doesn't want seen. And such subterfuge will always be the case with a narcissistic personality, or even worse, a sociopath. And almost by definition, virtually everyone who runs for President is, at the very least, a narcissistic personality.

The old expression "Actions speak louder than words" would seem to apply here.

(I wrote here about how you can't possibly understand how a sociopath works by chatting with him in a psychiatric setting.)

The American Psychiatric Association, of course, has a vested interest in preserving their fiefdom. They want to make it seem as if anyone who doesn't operate in a clinical setting is incapable of rendering any sort of worthwhile judgment. But the mere fact that they seem to believe that a few sessions in a doctor's office provides a better basis for understanding than seeing an entire well-publicized life history, calls into question their own judgment. 

Think of it this way: according to the APA standard, none of us should jump to the rash conclusion that Ted Bundy was a sociopath, because, after all, we never interviewed him in a clinical setting.

Psychiatry by its nature tends to lean liberal. Psychologists look for psychological/sociological -- as opposed to genetic -- explanations for all human differences. Someone who works in the field told me recently that politically incorrect conclusions are strongly disapproved of, and can even get you drummed out of grad school.

The fact that every article I saw on the subject of armchair analysis, like this Washington Post article, spoke only about Donald Trump's possible diagnosis, and not Hillary Clinton's, is proof of that narrowly pc view.

Anyway, that's my armchair analysis of the APA.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

How a sociopath makes himself feel smart

If a sociopath with an IQ of 100 -- someone for whom understanding calculus would be an impossibility -- is asked for directions by someone with an IQ of 150, and the sociopath points him in the wrong direction, and the 150 believes him, the sociopath figures that makes him smarter than the 150.

He knows, and the nonsociopath doesn't, ergo, the sociopath is smarter. (This is known as "sport lying.")

This is why sociopaths will lie even when they don't have to: it proves how much smarter they are than their victims.

That's a fun feeling, and one which is easily obtainable if you don't have a conscience.

Aspie disapproval

The people I've known who have Aspergers Syndrome would frequently castigate others for their behavior. They were forever telling others that they were acting inappropriately, as if they themselves had any sense of what was appropriate or not.

With Aspies, it's as if they think the sheer vehemence of their disapproval will somehow demonstrate how sane and socially clued in they are. The equation goes something like this: the more offended they act, the more they think they are proving how refined their sensibilities must be.

It's pathetic, but that seems to be how they think.

It's not dissimilar to liberals who claim to be offended all the time. They seem to think that by saying, "I find that really offensive," they are demonstrating moral superiority.

Sometimes I feel like responding, to both sets of people, "Ah, what an exquisitely sensitive and enlightened person you must be -- especially compared to a moral reprobate like me!"

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Manly grace

An AOL article a couple of days ago referenced this video of Arnold Schwarzenegger being hit by a raw egg during his initial campaign for Governor in 2003.

Schwarzenegger's response when asked about it a few minutes later was perfect: "Well this guy owes me bacon now. There's no two ways about it, because you can't just have eggs without bacon." He segued from there into a paean to free speech, and why he loves America so much.

Schwarzenegger seemed completely unaffected by the attack, and grinned as he joked about it later.

The whole incident made him seem incredibly, ineffably, manly. And likable, to the point where it made me wonder if the entire incident hadn't been staged, as a set up for that perfect response.

It reminded me of what happened a couple weeks ago when Vice President-elect Mike Pence attended Hamilton on Broadway. He was booed when he walked in with his family, and then, at the end of the show, was lectured from the stage about how people were concerned that his administration might not be as protective of them as it should be.

When asked about the show later on, Pence shrugged, "I wasn't offended by what was said."

He added, "My daughter and I and her cousins really enjoyed the show. 'Hamilton' is just an incredible production, incredibly talented people. It was a real joy to be there."

"When we arrived we heard a few boos, and we heard some cheers," he said, "I nudged my kids and reminded them that is what freedom sounds like."

Pence's response also made him come across extremely manly. And likable -- in stark contrast to all those snarky New Yorkers who booed him.

And in Pence's case, there was zero chance that the Hamilton cast was colluding with him.

One wonders how someone on the Left would have responded to an equivalent situation. Given how hard liberals try to point out how offended they are all the time, it's hard to imagine one ever pointing out that he wasn't offended by a statement from the opposition, and acting so utterly unperturbed.

Acting unperturbed, by the way, is probably the best way to "win" an argument. If you let someone goad you into a fury, you've lost the argument at the emotional level. And that's the more important level, since most people make decisions with their emotions (go with their "gut"), and only use their intellect to rationalize afterward.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Popularizing the Nobels

It's Nobel Prize week in Stockholm. Each of the distinguished recipients will give a lecture on his field, and the media will duly take note, although the attention of the world will be focused mostly elsewhere.

Far more people tune in to various sports events, or to the Grammies, than to the Nobel ceremonies.

So maybe it's time to spice those dry speeches up a bit, to stir up more interest in the hard sciences like chemistry and physics. To turn the Nobel Prizes into something the public actually wants to see. Like the Super Bowl.

The 2016 Nobel Prize in Physics is being split between David J. Thouless, F. Duncan M. Haldane, and J. Michael Kosterlitz. Each will undoubtedly bore their audience silly with some soporific speech which will hardly inspire the average teenager to take up physics.

Why not borrow pages from the worlds of sports, and hip hop? Athletes understand that a little trash talking increases the gate. Why are the Nobel laureates too dumb to realize this?


Imagine if Mr. Thouless -- a condensed matter physicist from the UK -- were to channel, say, heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder. He could get up on stage and say the following:

"Man, this feels great. I'm just real excited, you know? It just feels great to have a real Englishman, you know, bring the Prize back to the UK, where it belongs. Britannia rules! You notice these other two dudes, Haldane and Kosterlitz, they only got a quarter of the prize each, while I got a half. I wanna give a shout out to the Nobel committee for recognizing me, but for real, I shoulda got the whole thing. I don't want to be a poor sport or nothing, but the fact is, I am the true champ -- the greatest physicist of all time! But really, I'm just all about having fun, I like to have fun with physics, man, otherwise it's not worth it. Anyway, I just wanna thank the Lord, I know He was behind me on this one, and I'm blessed to have won this award."

Then, as Thouless leaves the stage, he could do a cute little hip-gyrating shuffle.

How much more publicity would that speech generate? How much more entertaining would it be?

Here's a scientific equation most of these physicists seem too stupid to grasp: Gracious + Inhibited = Boring.

The more these guys understand that G + I = B, the more students will understand E = MC squared.


Or how about Yoshinori Ohsumi, who won the Nobel Prize for Medicine this year, for his discoveries of mechanisms for autophagy? He should follow Kanye West's lead:

"Hey, I appreciate this award and all, but let's be honest -- I am the number one human being in medicine. That means that any person living or breathing is number two....Medicine is the new rock and roll. We are the rock stars, and I'm the biggest of all of them....Come on, how could you be me and want to be someone else?....I'm like a vessel and God has chosen me to be the voice and the connector...My greatest pain in life is that I will never be able to see myself think."

Then, as he walks off the stage with a raised fist, "Banzai!"

If you want to proclaim your own greatness, there's no point in being inhibited about it.

These guys should also show a little more camaraderie, maybe with some youthful hijinks to dispel some of the dullness. A couple of those scientists should arrange to pour a bucket of Gatorade onto the winning scientist's head.

Hey, it's all about making science sexy!

Shake up those bottles of Dom, spray the fizz, and turn Stockholm into a party town!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Lies, Papini-style?

This picture of Sherri Papini --


-- shows that while her husband Keith appears to be consumed with love, or at least passion, Sherri is giving the cameraman an appraising look. She reminded me of a bit of Karen Sypher, the woman who blackmailed Kentucky basketball coach Rick Pitino --


-- and of Melba Ketchum, the sasquatch hoaxer:


All three women have crucifixes displayed on their chests. Papini's crucifix is more discreet, her cleavage less so.

I'm not saying Papini is a sociopath like the other two; but neither is an angelic face a guarantee of innocence. Of course, if her case turns out to have been a genuine abduction, then she's obviously an innocent victim.

But in the meantime, there are a lot of unresolved questions.

Why would two Hispanic women kidnap her and keep her captive for three weeks? It doesn't sound as if they sexually abused her. (If they did, it would be the first case I've ever heard of where a couple of rampaging lesbians went around kidnapping women to molest.)

They didn't make any ransom demands, either. So what did they want with her?

Papini evidently has said that she didn't get a good look at them because they kept their faces obscured or kept her face covered. But she has also described them as an older Hispanic female with straight hair and heavy eyebrows, and a younger Hispanic female with long curly hair and pierced ears. (So which was it?)

If the Hispanic females allowed her to see their faces well enough to describe them, why did they allow her to survive? Papini was reportedly left by the side of the road "for dead." But according to Papini, the two Hispanic females had a handgun, and if they wanted to leave her for dead, why not make sure?

Also, why leave her right by the side of Highway 5, a major interstate, in broad daylight? If you have someone you expect to be a corpse, you dump the body off in the middle of the woods -- preferably, buried -- in the middle of the night.

It was said that they had chopped Papini's hair off. But the woman driver who spotted Papini by the side of the road and called police said that the woman she saw had long blonde hair. So which is it? Or was it that only part of her head had been shorn?

Panini was also said to have been left with her hands chained to her waist. But the driver who spotted her said that she was waving something that looked like a shirt. How do you wave a piece of cloth if your hands are chained to your waist?

Papini was described by her family as a "super mom," and the media has since used that term to refer to her. But it has also been reported that both of her children had been in full time child care. Given that Papini did not work, how was she "super?" Because she was pretty and because she jogged?

These are not all inconsistencies that came directly from Sherri Papini; but they do need answers.

Initially, her husband Keith was a suspect, but he evidently passed a lie detector test. And he wouldn't necessarily have been in on a hoax. (And it is possible to fool a lie detector test if you know what you're doing.)

The police have said that this abduction appears to have been real. They seem to be basing this on the fact that Papini was covered in bruises, weighed only 87 pounds, and had been branded. These are certainly strong indications that Papini was not making up her story. But it's not impossible that someone determined enough to stage her own kidnapping would have these things done in order to convince people it was real.

(If it was faked, then Papini is suffering from "Munchausen's Syndrome," that peculiar form of sociopathy in which people fake illnesses or great hardships in order to win others' sympathy.)

It is true that she lived in the so-called Emerald Triangle, which consists of Mendocino, Humboldt, and Trinity Counties, and is the largest marijuana-producing area in the US. Evidently some of the Mexican cartels have set up camp in the thick forests in the mountains there. And the Triangle is also supposed to be an area active in sex trafficking.

One of the initial theories was that the two Hispanic women worked for a cartel.

But Papini says she was abducted while jogging along a road, and cartels do not set up shop on roadsides. And if she had been kidnapped for sex trafficking purposes, she would not have been let go after three weeks. Although it's always possible that her kidnappers were scared off by all the publicity surrounding her case, and decided they didn't need the heat.

Anyway, it's yet unclear what transpired. But before any conclusions are reached, some of the inconsistencies will have to be accounted for.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Sex sells, Sherri Papini-style

I far prefer the New York Post to the New York Times. The Post is less pretentious, has a much more reality-based editorial section, and has articles that you actually want to read. If the Times is dinner, the Post is dessert.

Sometimes, maybe too much so.

You've probably heard by now that a woman named Sherri Papini was kidnapped, then released a few weeks later, in northern California. (Yahoo and other outlets have given this story plenty of coverage as well.)

On November 24th, the Post ran Abducted jogger found alive bound on side of interstate, featuring this photograph:


On November 25th, Abducted mom 'very emotional' after authorities found her, featuring this photograph:


On November 26th, Abducted jogger was found chained, beaten.

On November 28th, Cops: Abducted jogger's horror story appears to be true.

On November 29th, Kidnapped jogger was branded, starved nearly to death.

On November 30th, Abducted jogger had message burned in her skin.

On December 1st, Jogger coughed up blood from screams for help: Husband.

Again on December 1st, Abducted jogger was nearly killed by driver who saved her.

On December 2nd, Husband recalls moment he found out abducted jobber was alive, featuring this photograph:


Again on December 2nd: Elizabeth Smart: Abducted jogger will never be the same. This article mentioned that Smart was raped four times a day by her kidnapper.

And today, December 3rd: How this jogger survived a 3-week kidnapping nightmare.

A question with an obvious answer is, would the Post, and other news outlets, have run so many articles about Papini's abduction if she weren't so delectable?

Of course not.

(Many of those articles featured videos which included more shots of Papini looking mouthwateringly sexy.)

There have been plenty of other cases of kidnapping and rape which get far, far less publicity. But few of those women looked as if they could be the prototypes for future sexbots.

There are murders which get less attention than Sherri did. In fact, there are multiple murders which get less.

For the past two weeks, the New York Post might as well have been called the New York Papini.

I'm not claiming to be any better than anybody else. I read every one of those articles. I, too, looked at those pictures of Papini and thought, damn. And I wondered exactly what had happened to Papini during the two weeks when she was held hostage. Exactly what had happened.

I'm only human.

And so are the Post's other readers, which is why the Post and all those other news outlets paid so much attention to the abducted jogger, as she is now known.

Google "Sherri Papini" and you'll get 892,000 results.

After all, the business of journalism is to attract as many readers as possible.

The Post does it with titillation.

The Times does it by constantly trying to show that it is more "high-minded" than the Post and its ilk. Even if that supposed "high-mindedness" means ignoring and denying human nature at every turn.

I'll take the Post, any day.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Was Ted Bundy a product of incest?

In the previous post I linked an article about Ted Bundy to substantiate his work at a suicide hotline. But the article, Six Little-Known Facts About Ted Bundy That Every Bundyphile Should Know, contained two other tidbits I'd been unaware of.

First:

Ted Bundy, born Theodore Robert Cowell, grew up living a lie. Ted’s mother, Louise Cowell, was single when she gave birth to him and in the 1940’s that was a serious no-no. Ted’s grandparents took their daughter in, telling young Ted that his grandparents were his parents and his mother was his sister.

As if that wasn’t messed up enough, Ted’s grandfather, Samuel Cowell, is rumored to be his biological father. Although it was never confirmed, if the rumor is true, that would make Ted Bundy the product of incest.


Here's the picture they provided of a young Ted with his grandfather (and maybe father):



If the rumor is true, then Ted inherited three-quarters of his genes from Samuel Cowell. And Louise Bundy never gave up the name of Ted's father, which tends to lend credence to the rumor.

The incest also raises the possibility that Ted's mental problems were organically-caused. Ted was wasn't inbred-looking, in fact was often described as handsome. But that doesn't negate the possibility that the incest resulted in brain defects.

I had always assumed that Louise was a cold, harsh woman whose lack of love for her son turned him into the monster he became. But if she had been raped by her father, Louise was just another victim herself.

In addition to the shame of bearing a child out of wedlock, Louise must have worried about how the inbreeding would affect Ted. And all of those feelings must have been subtly communicated to Ted from the moment he was born. 

Louise Bundy was evidently steadfast in her defense of her son up until he started confessing. It sounds as if she actually believed in his innocence, too, which, while the height of naivete, is understandable in a mother. 

On the day he died, she told him twice, "You'll always be my precious son." Which makes it sound as if she actually did love him. 


Most of the pictures I've seen of her, like the one above, showing her lean, tough face, and the severe hairdo she kept all her life, gave her a somewhat stark and forbidding demeanor. But reading about her has softened my view of her. And what can you do if, as a young girl, you're raped by your father?

None of Louise's other four children -- all fathered by her husband John Bundy -- ever got into any significant trouble. Which would indicate that it was Samuel Cowell, and not Louise, who put the curse on Ted.

The other thing I hadn't known was that Bundy had helped take down the Green River Killer:

It’s surprising to see the words “help” and “Bundy” in the same sentence. In a surprising move, Bundy contacted the detective that helped put him behind bars, Robert D. Keppel, while he was on death row. Keppel was working on the “Green River Killer” investigation, desperately seeking to stop the infamous killer. Bundy was able to help Keppel understand the inner workings of a serial killer’s mind, ultimately helping the detective identify Gary Ridgway and bring him to justice.

This is a little reminiscent of Clarice Starling going to visit Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs in order to obtain his help in tracking down the serial killer "Buffalo Bill."

Buddy's probable motivation for helping out was to prevent the Green River Killer from surpassing him. (Bundy, like many serial killers, took a certain proprietary pride in the number of his victims.) 

I had known of Bundy's job at the suicide hotline before. But his motives for doing so weren't purely to appear noble. Sociopaths actually savor other people's pain. And where better to experience that than on a phone with someone who is so distraught they want to take their own life?

Ted Bundy is probably the most famous serial killer in history, the first person people think of when they think of serial killers. He's the archetype, the bogeyman whose name is shorthand for everything evil and twisted. Much has been written about him over the years, a lot of which I've read. I'm surprised I'd never heard the incest rumor before, or about how he'd helped find the Green River Killer. 

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Spoken like a sociopath

In February 2014 I pointed out that former NFL star Darren Sharper, who'd been accused of eleven druggings and seven rapes in four states, was also active in A Call to Men, an organization dedicated to preventing violence against women.


(Note the pink ribbon -- raising awareness of breast cancer -- on Sharper's lapel.)

The point of the post wasn't that it was surprising that a guy active in that organization would turn out to be guilty of sexual assault. It was that you should actually expect a sociopathic serial rapist to do something like that. What better cover for being a rapist than to pose as an advocate for women? It's not as if a sociopath is going to be bothered by his own hypocrisy.

It was a little like when Ted Bundy worked at that suicide prevention hotline.

Since then, Sharper has been convicted. (And it seems likely that the women who came forward represent only a fraction of the women Sharper assaulted.)

Yesterday, he was sentenced in California for the two druggings and two rapes he committed there.

What I found most striking about the AP article was what Sharper said to the judge in Louisiana when he was being sentenced there: that he "wanted to apologize a thousand times."

There's something peculiarly sociopathic about being so emphatic in one's phoniness.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The temperament to be President

For all that the Left talked about how Donald Trump does not have the right temperament, he's shown remarkable forgiveness in the three weeks since he's been elected.

Today he had a phone conversation with Michael Bloomberg, who had said during the campaign that "we must unite around the candidate [Clinton] who can defeat a dangerous demagogue," and that "I'm a New Yorker, and New Yorkers know a con when we see one."

Trump evidently decided to forgive, if not forget.

Mitt Romney said during the campaign that Trump was a "phony" and a "fraud."

Now Trump is reportedly considering Romney for Secretary of State.

During the campaign, Ted Cruz said that Trump "doesn’t know the difference between truth and lies. He lies practically every word that comes out of his mouth. The man is utterly amoral. You know, morality does not exist for him.”

Since the election, Trump has met with Cruz and is reportedly considering him for the Supreme Court.

None of those salvos went unreturned during the campaign, of course; in fact, it was often Trump who started the battles. 

But Trump's moves since the election are not those of a hothead. (Would Hillary have tried to mend fences with people who'd savaged her the same way?)

It's reassuring that Trump's been able to put his ego aside. (Who'd have guessed it from his Tweeting history?) These meetings were probably his advisors' ideas, not his; nonetheless, just agreeing to them was statesmanlike. 

Trump has also made some good tactical moves. Today he named Elaine Chao as Secretary of Transportation. (That seems to be one of those positions where you hear about the appointment and then never hear about the person again.) 

That was a neat three-fer. He got to tick off the "woman" box, the "of color" box, and Chao also happens to be Mitch McConnell's wife, so now Trump has the Senate Majority Leader in his pocket as well.


Naming Nikki Haley (above) as Ambassador to the UN was a nice twofer: a woman of subcontinental Asian descent. (Though she's got to be the whitest-looking Indian ever.)

And with loyalist Ben Carson as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (another position where you never hear about the person after the appointment), Trump now has a black Cabinet member as well. 

Alexander Pope once famously said, "To err is human; to forgive, divine." 

Nobody would accuse Donald Trump of divinity. But the forbearance he's shown since his election, combined with the Machiavellianism of some of his picks, bodes well.

Judging the intelligence of someone who doesn't care about intelligence

Most of the wits I've known have been stamped with the "smart" sign in one way or another: they did well on standardized tests, went to fancy schools, and pursued some career associated with above average IQs.

But, some of the wits have not.

I recently spoke with a 63-year-old woman who'd had some ambition when young, but who has spent the second half of her life working in clerical positions. She came from a dysfunctional background, and was never encouraged to pursue any sort of academic interest. She was also a beauty when young, and most people saw her primarily in that light.

I made some small suggestion to her about something which was bothering her. She replied, "Too late. Mental equilibrium has left the building."

My initial reaction was, hmm, clever -- I wouldn't have thought to phrase it that way.

She said other clever things as well.

And I found myself wondering, how smart is she? I probably understand more stuff than her; but, I've probably made more of an effort to. And I wouldn't have come up with that rejoinder, nor some of the others. So I really can't judge her intelligence.

Sometimes, a positive impression is largely a matter of not being familiar with the limits of the person's repertoire. But sometimes, there's a genuine, undeniable wit there. And you're left wondering.

Usually, it's all too easy to see someone's lack of intelligence.

When someone lacks logic, you can see their limits clearly.

When someone spouts cliches, or recites old jokes, and then looks proud, their lack of originality is painfully apparent.

When someone is only willing to harbor "respectable" opinions, you can see their lack of intellectual courage quite clearly.

When someone bases their opinions on fiction, technically speaking, they're crazy.

When someone thinks you'll be interested in a two minute diatribe about their health status, well, enough said.

But when someone may not be interested in same things you are, or may have different opinions, but has clever ways of talking and different ways of looking at things, they seem smart. Are they? It's hard to tell.

Not entirely coincidentally, I witnessed the same woman change her opinion based on a fact she had been previously been unaware of. (Open-mindedness in a 63-year-old is probably even more impressive than plain old wit.)

That was a refreshing change from witless "intellectuals" too timid to think thoughts that are verboten.

One interesting corollary to all this is that black people tend to have good senses of humor. Despite a lower average IQ, they are better at saying funny stuff, and appreciating funny things.

And in that regard, the converse is also true: Northeast Asians may have the highest average IQs, but when was the last time you heard one of them say something genuinely funny?

(How does all that reflect on the woman? I don't know.)

I explored the somewhat tenuous relationship between IQ and a sense humor a bit here, six years ago.

In any case, clever people are fun. And, high IQ or not, it's sorta nice not to be able to see someone's limits. 

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Affirmative action: a concept that must be supported, then ignored

While I'm on the subject of race and IQ...

These days, if you're not in favor of affirmative action, you're considered morally repugnant. But, if you ever suggest that a specific person of color benefitted from affirmative action, you're also considered morally repugnant.

How is that not contradictory?

The idea seems to be that you must support affirmative action, but then pretend that nobody has ever been granted preference because of it.

Which, of course, makes absolutely no sense.

The fact is, it's something that virtually every white person takes into account when they hear about a black person's academic pedigree.

This may have something to do with why you never even hear phony white liberals rave about how brilliant Michelle Obama must be for having gone to both Princeton and Harvard Law School.

Of course, only the rudest person would actually say, "Well, of course she got in because of affirmative action."

But that doesn't mean everybody else doesn't think it.

Unmentionable

The extent to which IQ has simply disappeared from public discourse has been amazing. It's not even mentioned in the context of noting how those horrible racists think there's a genetic difference between the races when it comes to intelligence.

It has simply disappeared.

It's almost as if the Left realizes that they've lost the nature/nurture argument, so feel it's best to just not bring up the subject.

Forty years ago the nature-nurture controversy was still a hot topic: are differences in intelligence genetic in origin, or more due to the environment? Even though political correctness had not set in during the 1970's the way it has now, the battle lines -- and arguments used -- were strikingly similar to what they are now.

On the Left were arrayed such luminaries as Richard Lewontin and Stephen Jay Gould, who would invariably try to turn what should have been a scientific argument into a moral one, and would invoke America's long history of slavery and discrimination to back up their arguments.

Gould tried to draw a parallel between geneticists and the old time phrenologists. And those on the Left would frequently try to tar their opponents by associating them with the KKK, or by saying that Hitler held similar views (sound familiar?)

On the right were the men widely regarded as heretics: Richard Herrnstein, William Shockley, and Arthur Jensen. All three were widely reviled by student activists at the time. But all stubbornly stuck to their view, knowing they had the facts on their side, even if those facts were unwelcome.

As the evidence accumulated, eventually it became plain that intelligence is largely genetic in origin. All the studies comparing IQ differences between adoptive siblings and biological siblings, or between separated identical twins and regular siblings raised together, pointed in the same direction. And every sophisticated mathematical analysis applied to studies of IQ pointed toward regression to a different mean for each race.

Environment obviously can play a role: if a child is starved as a youngster, or kept in a closet his entire life, that will obviously have a strong negative effect. But, by and large, differences in IQ are due to genes.

Herrnstein, Jensen, and Shockley all acknowledged that environment does play a role; however, those in the nurture camp refused to concede any role to genetic differences.

In 1994, Herrnstein and coauthor Charles Murray briefly reawakened the controversy with The Bell Curve, an 845 page book of which three pages were devoted to racial differences in IQ. Herrnstein and Murray were of course roundly denounced for their heresy; soon after the issue went back to sleep. (Come to think of it, you rarely hear the phrase "bell curve" these days, either.)

But after decades of affirmative action, Head Start, disparate impact lawsuits, countless movies and TV shows featuring wise blacks and foolish Anglos, and even a black President, all those racial differences stubbornly persist. The SATs, ACTs, LSATs, GMATs, MCATs, PISA scores, the various Regents exams, the Army's ASVAB test, and the various other civil service exams, all show the same rank order of finish.

All of which combine to make clear that your IQ is as genetic as the features on your face.

So, IQ never gets mentioned anymore. Because once you take it into account, the whole edifice of liberal thought comes tumbling down. Once a realistic look at IQ enters the picture, all the talk of how our schools and teachers are failing us looks misguided. All the talk of racism as the explanation for the differences in accomplishment, all the talk of white privilege, all the talk of disparate impact, just look sort of....silly.

As silly as saying that the only reason the men's weight-lifting records are better than the women's is because of sexism.

As silly as suggesting that the only reason 64 out of the last 64 finalists in the men's 100 meter dash at the Olympics have been black is because they had better coaching.

Ignore differences in natural ability, and you're left with a lot of inexplicable patterns and correlations.

And the most striking thing about all this is how obvious it is -- which is why you never hear IQ mentioned much anymore.