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The Boston Marathon Bombing in Memes

“Adversity is like a strong wind. I don’t mean just that it holds us back from places we might otherwise go. It also tears away from us all but the things that cannot be torn, so that afterward we see ourselves as we really are, and not merely as we might like to be.” ― Arthur GoldenMemoirs of a Geisha

16 apt memes from last week’s Boston Marathon bombing crisis. Love that dirty water …

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Oh, and this just in ….

17.Boston Marathon Bombing Meme Palin

(please note source)

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Thank you Joseph Kony (you have roused a sleeping giant).

Your days are numbered. We the people may not agree on politics, religion, sports teams or global warming. But we are all on the same page when it comes to bullying, kidnapping and murder. We think it’s wrong. We think it’s twice as wrong when it involves kids. That’s what makes us the good guys. And despite all our differences, it is what unites us against you. All 3 billion of us. We are mobilized online and armed with communication. Joseph Kony is just a warm-up act. You’re next. So change your ways. Or you will be asked to leave the planet.

 

THREE WAYS YOU CAN HELP:

  1. Donate to Invisible Children
  2. Purchase KONY 2012 products
  3. Sign the Pledge

 

 

Welcome to Pussytown

How Sweden is winning the war against gender

U.S. Gender and Marriage expert David Popenoe has described Sweden as “the world’s most androgynous society“. David has never lived here. Had he lived here he may have used a different word. Androgyny is defined as “Being neither distinguishably masculine nor feminine, as in dress, appearance, or behavior.” I think Swedish men past that point  somewhere in the 1960’s.

Sweden is one of the world’s most socially-engineered societies. Its been a hobby that Sweden’s elected officials have dabbled in since the 1940’s. These engineering feats are meant to produce impressive statistics. This is all very appealing to the rational mind. But history has taught us that behind the impressive numbers,  social engineering often has unforeseen human consequences. In the case of gender equality in Sweden that unforeseen consequence is the effective emasculation of the Swedish male psyche.

Stockholm Nightlife (Source: http://www.thelocal.se)

From the perspective of a middle class American raised in New England, Swedish men seem feminine. It was Swedish women who first brought it to my attention, usually in social situations after a few drinks. I suppose it was a way of flirting.  It was always the same: Winging about Swedish men and what emasculated pussies they are. I would reply “I can’t believe you are telling me this. It was your archaic brand of 60-style feminism that has effectively neutered the male of your species. And now you are telling me you pine for real men from southern Europe?” It doesn’t make sense. But if you live in Sweden long enough you understand that unexamined acceptance of logical contradictions is as Swedish as surströmming (and about as palatable to foreigners).

It’s hard to miss the general absence of masculinity here. I met a British woman in London recently. She told me how she and her girlfriend, also from London, visited Stockholm for three days.  It was their first time in Sweden. I asked her how she enjoyed it.  “Not very much” she said.  “We went to Cafe Opera because everyone said it was the place to go, but I wish someone had mentioned that it was a gay bar.” After that, they went to two other bars in Sture Plan, central Stockholm, but the same deal. She said “I didn’t know Stockholm had such a pervasive gay scene.” I laughed. None of the bars she mentioned were gay bars. I’m sure few of the men there were gay, they were just Swedish.  A recent article on the topic in the New York Times commented on this point  “In this new world of the sexes, some women complain that Swedish men are too politically correct even to flirt in a bar.”

Absolut Wooss — The shape of things to come (Source:http://www.absolutads.com)

Swedish blogger Anders Janson observes that “Finns think that the comparatively talkative and urbane Swedish men are homosexuals.” I would not go so far as to call them homosexuals, but they certainly lean towards the metrosexual side of things. And its not just because they are so extraordinarily studied in their appearance. The general demeanor of Sweden men exudes a lack of backbone, even when they try to assert themselves. It’s as if its been beaten out of them and they are resigned to their subservient position in society now.

This perception is reinforced for me daily on my walk to work. Each morning I struggle to negotiate my way through the maze of pram-pushing papas who dominate the sidewalk. They stroll leisurely along, often two abreast gossiping on their way to a cafe or pedicure, obstructing the way for the women and me who need get to work.  Today 85 percent of Swedish fathers take government-paid parental leave. They are entitled to take up to 13 months off if their wife agrees.

Swedish men acknowledge the demise of their manhood. In a recent study in Sweden, “51 percent of respondents said Swedish men were more masculine in previous times, with men in particular (58 percent) agreeing with the statement. Only 13 percent of men and women felt today’s men were more masculine than their predecessors.”  This decline in masculinity bothers no Swede, in fact it is widely hailed as progress. Having talked with many Swedish men about this,  I get the sense that they have been so marinated in Swedish-style feminism since birth that they accept without question that masculinity itself is fundamentally wrong, a defect. There is an unspoken guilt associated with their masculinity and that keeps men from addressing it.  Like masturbation for Catholics, it comes with the territory of being human, but I’m not going to  march through the streets of Boston declaring my right to self-love.

The new Swedish male archetype? (Source: http://thebeautybrains.com)

The Swedish media are onboard with the agenda. In deference to women males are uniformly depicted as impotent  fools in all Swedish advertisements. If there is anyone demonstrating a glimmer of intelligence, it will be the woman. If there is an apron to be warn, it will never appear draped across a women’s breast. Same goes for any other domestic cleaning or cooking aids. This has worked. In real life I’ve never known a Swedish woman who knew how to use a cooking or cleaning utensil. I’ve lived with three so far. Love them dearly, but they have been the most domestically-challenged roommates I’ve ever had (and that’s going back to my frat brothers when I was 18).

The Times article summed up the state of affairs like this  “In this land of Viking lore, men are at the heart of the gender-equality debate. The ponytailed center-right finance minister calls himself a feminist, ads for cleaning products rarely feature women as homemakers, and preschools vet books for gender stereotypes in animal characters. For nearly four decades, governments of all political hues have legislated to give women equal rights at work — and men equal rights at home.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There is also the more absurd fall-out from Sweden’s gender engineering. Just a sampling of the headlines induced by this social experiment:

  • The political debate to allow women to ride topless on the subway because men were allowed to do so (by the same logic women are already topless in city parks, municipal swimming pools and, of course, on beaches).
  • The elementary school system in one Swedish city mandating that for one week all male children had to wear dresses to school to help break down stereotypes (female student’s, however, were not obliged to reciprocate by wearing mens clothes).
  • Organizers of the Miss Sweden contest forced to cancel the event due to “feminist harassment”.  When the Miss Sweden pageant returned the next year the rules were changed to allow men to compete, remove the swimsuit portion and to declare that physical appearance had nothing to do with the judging. Yah, right.
  • Sweden’s government paving the way for the development of road signs at pedestrian crossings that portray women rather than just men.
  • A feminist group at Stockholm University is campaigning to ban all urinals from campus, and one Swedish elementary school has already removed them based on the “logic” that a man standing up to urinate is deemed to be triumphing in his masculinity, and by extension, degrading women.
  • Last year after the Pirate Bay file-sharing trial, Annika Qarlsson, a female member of Sweden’s parliament, wove a meandering web of “logic” that went something like this:  Since most of the people sharing files are boys, and they support the right to share files, then they are protecting their privacy, and most Swedish woman who are raped are raped by people they barely know, if the woman barely knows the rapist then the rapist is protecting their privacy, therefore Pirate Bay supporters are rapists.  ““I realize that my earlier post can be interpreted to mean that I’m accusing all Pirate Party supporters and all young men of being rapists.” she later said.
  • Tiina Rosenberg, a professor of gender studies at Stockholm University, and the brain trust behind Sweden’s politically influential feminist movement who boldly asserted that “women who sleep with men are traitors to their gender.”
  • The case of Ragnar Bengtsson, the 28-year-old Stockholm father who wants to breastfeed his children.  He spent three months last year pumping his breasts in public to try to stimulate lactation. It didn’t work.  He says he did it because he wanted to be closer to his children.  He is a student at Stockholm University. Maybe he was trying to get some extra credit from Tiina Rosenberg. (see YouTube commentary below).
  • Sweden’s Trade Ethical Council against Sexism in Advertising (ERK) which deems practically any depiction of a woman as sexist and protects the Swedish population by having it banned.
  • And then, of course, there has been the recent outrage over the fact that Sweden’s princess Victoria had her father walk her down the isle at her wedding which was heavily criticized as sexist here in Sweden and widely touted as an outrage against all women.

And that’s just what makes the papers.  I experience the effects of all this gender bending every day in both my professional and private life.  It’s as if masculinity is an itch and Swedes love to scratch it. So they constantly seek it out and then claw it to pieces.  To me Sweden’s zeal in this endeavor is not so much about equal rights for men and woman. That’s not the focus. I suspect there is another silent, perhaps subconscious agenda. It may be misplaced anger and frustration, false entitlement, or part of a larger political agenda.

motivational poster, feminism

Direct observation has taught me that Sweden is every bit as sexist as any other developed country. I see the same disrespect, the same bullying and the same political and workplace abuse, and the same  submission to power.  Its just that here the tables have been turned and its the women wearing the pants. This is modestly disguised under a thin veneer of girl power (as if that is supposed to justify it). I just wonder how long it will be before erections are outlawed.

There is one question Swedes may want to ask themselves as they progress with their gender cleansing campaign: Is masculinity just some vestigial remnant from the Neanderthal mind that should be scrubbed from the gene pool or is it an essential part of what makes us human?  I think both Swedish men and women should ponder the consequences of the utopia they are engineering before it is too late.

Personally, I think true discrimination should be engineered out of society ( I preface it with “true” because the word discrimination is widely misapplied today).  But the Swede’s won’t solve sexual discrimination by neutralizing gender.  No more than we would solve racial discrimination by neutralizing skin color.

In memoriam

What is Sarah Palin’s Higher Calling?

I’m dismayed . I hope you can help. Its about Sara Palin, the woman who just mysteriously abandoned her position as Governor of Alaska. “If I die [politically], I die” Sarah Palin told us today. What mystifies me is the word “if”.

I understand how she was catapulted into the national spotlight to start: A bull-headed politician with a history of rash decision-making throws all caution to the wind and chooses her as a running mate in a desperate attempt to spice-up his failed presidential bid. I get that.

A match made in ... haste

A match made in ... haste

I can also understand why McCain’s plan backfired. Palin may have been the sexiest vice presidential candidate America had ever seen, but it was equally evident that she was also among the least qualified. Sarah Palin is, essentially, Dan Quayle with less experience and nicer legs.

Here is where it starts to get fuzzy for me. In interview after interview Palin has demonstrated her estrangement from the facts in every manner of domestic and foreign policy. The self-proclaimed “hockey mom” may have fielded questions with folksy charm, but her grasp of the issues was an insult to the mothers of young hockey players across America.

Then Obama is sworn in. McCain is quietly reabsorbed back into the Senate. And Palin becomes embroiled in legal battles over numerous violations of Alaska’s ethics code. (Ironically it was Governor Palin who fought to have the ethics bill signed into law. After it was disclosed that her own conduct was unethical, she marginalized the violations as “frivolous”. These violations were anything but frivolous when she championed them through her state’s legislature. It would seem the perspective gained while being hoisted with her own petard has changed the Governor’s view.)

Despite all this, Palin persists. Republican leaders, voters and pundits keep referring to her as the republican party’s shining star for the 2012 election. This is were I need your help.

Sarah Palin is, essentially, Dan Quayle with less experience and nicer legs.

Sarah Palin is, essentially, Dan Quayle with less experience and nicer legs.

Aside from celebrity and the MILF-factor, what does Sarah Palin have to offer that keep her in serious contention for the most intellectually and ethically demanding job in America?

Haven’t we seen enough over the past 10 months to ascertain that despite everything we may like about Sarah Palin, she’s just not up for that job?

And haven’t we seen enough in the eight preceding years to understand that it takes more than folksy homespun populist ineloquence to lead a nation?

Lastly, if we were not convinced a week ago, hasn’t her behavior over the past few days revoked her right to be taken seriously by anyone who cares about the preservation of our democracy?

First there is how she handled the announcement itself. Her decision to step down as governor was so rashly conceived that both politicians and friends were taken by surprise. Never a good idea in politics. In fact, the announcement of the press conference was handled in the same way one might announce a backyard keg party. “Palin hastily called a news conference Friday morning at her home in suburban Wasilla, giving such short notice that only a few reporters actually made it to the announcement.” (Rachael D’Oro, AP).

Second, there is the vague wording and cryptic reasoning she provided for her resignation. The people who voted her into office deserve a straight answer as to why she is abandoning their trust – sans the political double-talk and diversion tactics that plague “politics as usual”.

Third is the drama she is trying to stir up over her next move by dropping hints via Facebook and Twitter to a “higher calling”. Why not just tell people? If nothing else, she owes her constituents that much. This showboating is an insult to anyone who actually cares what she does. As for the higher calling, are we to assume she is about to enter the convent? (At least that way her legal fees would be subsidized by the Catholic Church.)

In any event, her 30-minute song and dance last Friday fell way short of the mark on every level. I interpret her inability to articulate why she is quitting the state’s highest office to mean:

  • she doesn’t know
  • she does know but it trying to conceal the truth
  • she does know but is purposely using her position to create confusion and drama in the hope of furthering her career.

All of those alternatives are equally disturbing.

Palin the Rodeo Clown: Will the last laugh be on Sarah?

Palin the Rodeo Clown: Will the last laugh be on Sarah?

Given all this, can anyone seriously consider Sarah Palin as a candidate for President? Is celebrity and a certain MILF-factor the best credentials the republican party has to offer our political system? Or is that just the point? Perhaps the republican party is using Sarah Palin as some sort of political rodeo clown to keep us all distracted between elections so we don’t focus on the shambles that the party is in. Perhaps her job is to keep the party in the headlines until 2012 and keep the focus off people like Ensign and Sanford. Chances are she would self-destruct by the time the 2012 campaign started in earnest and then she could be sidelined so that people like Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee could take center stage.

My biggest concern is that Americans, and in particular republicans, will continue to take this woman seriously, no matter what. That hurts, because I want to believe that the days when being a plucky dolt with a homespun take on the world and marginal grip on the facts qualified you for president were over. I had hoped that was simply a phase we were going through in the 90‘s and that we, as a nation, had grown out of it with the retirement of George W. But the popularity of this plucky Alaskan dolt would seems to indicate that we never learn and that a significant percentage of our populous will always gravitate towards the dim and inarticulate for leadership.

Perhaps the real question with Palin is simply: How far can good looks and pluck take you in life? I’m hoping the answer to that question is Governor of Alaska, and no further.

Europe and its Muslims: A Gap of Trust

The following is a reply to a post made by Hollywood filmmaker, author of “Mother of the Believers” Kamran Pasha in the Huffington Post Titled: Europe and its Muslims: A gap of Trust.

Kamran, I admire your optimism. But your analogy to the ancient people of Abyssinia is absurd. And the fact that today Ethiopia has a 61% Christian majority is cold comfort to Europeans who are facing a Muslim majority in their own country within their lifetimes.

As a US expat living in Sweden I think advising Europeans to determine if their fears are based on prejudice or facts is a bit late. They are afraid and the facts support their apprehension. Chief among these is the fact is that unlike Abyssinia Sweden will have a Muslim majority in 2049. As the Gallup pole reveals most European Muslims have a greater affinity to their religious beliefs than to their adopted country. The religious beliefs of Islam are diametrically opposed to Sweden”s liberal world view, particularly as it regards gender equality, free speech, sexuality, and tolerance. Will a Muslim majority in Sweden separate church from state and leave the Swedish culture intact? Many here doubt that, and are prudent to do so.

So I feel tales of ancient Abyssinia have little relevance here. But I have a suggestion: Instead of using your last book as an example to calm the waters, write a new one. Show the Europeans what Europe as an Islamic nation would be like. Because that is the reality they are trying to deal with. I”ve already started such a project and would be happy to collaborate. I’m on WordPress named Nonrhotic ( https://nonrhotic.wordpress.com/ ).
More on Europe
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Civil liberties still grounded at many US airports

George W. may be done and dusted, but his legacy lives on in several of the laws and institutions he left in his aftermath. The oxymoronic Patriot Act, the Department of Homeland Security and the Transportation Security Administration come to mind.

I travel a lot so I’m all for keeping our airlines safe — to a point. And that point is when overzealous security folks begin to bully passengers and disregard civil liberties under the guise of keeping our airways safe. The recent case of Steve Bierfeldt, a US citizen who was detained and subject to interrogation and abuse for trying to board a domestic airplane while carrying $4700 in cash is a case in point. What makes his case special? Nothing except for the fact that he happened to record his interaction with the TSA. His story provides us with a glimpse of what homeland fascism sounds like.

The TSA and its parent organization, the Department of Homeland Security have operated with impunity since they were established by the Bush administration as part of their misguided war on terror. Giving these organizations what, in practice, amounted to carte blanche was a mistake in the first place. But now it is time to rein them in.

George Bush taught us that if we wanted safety it would cost us our civil liberties. I speculate that he did this because he lacked the mental facilities to find a solution incorporating both. And because it served his administration’s shady interests to curtail the rights of ordinary Americans. In any case, selling us protection in return for our liberty set a dark precedent in US history.

Evidently, all these posters will need to be reprinted to include cash

Evidently, all these posters will need to be reprinted to include cash

I think some people representing the TSA pose as great a threat to our constitution and our way of life as the bad guys they are supposed to be keeping off planes. On more than one occasion since 9/11 I have had to bite my tongue at the hands of obnoxious, bullying airport, airline or TSA personnel who were clearly out of line. To do otherwise would surely result in an incident report making matters worse. For the last eight years Americans who wish to travel have been forced to avail themselves to either Bin Laden’s brand of terrorism or Bush’s brand of fascism. I don’t want either.

I want to be safe when I fly and I want my civil liberties respected. I think our America under the Obama administration can accommodate both.

Its time to make our airports safe for passengers and democracy. The TSA encounter recorded by Steve Bierfeldt indicates this is not yet the case. I suggest that Janet Napolitano and Gale Rossides find ways to make it explicitly clear to their respective organizations that the constitution of the United States (including all its amendments and the bill of rights) were officially reinstated as America’s rule of law on January 20th, 2009. Then I, for one, can turn my travel-related indignation to more fitting subjects like the lack of leg room in economy class.


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