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The Omphaloskepsis of the Faux-left
Once you become aware of the self-indulgence of first-world media like the New York Times, you can see it everywhere. Their reporting, such as it is, is almost irony-free. It's fake, a balsam designed to keep you calm and happy in your comfortable first-world cocoon. <h>Empathizing with the Elite</h> <pullquote width="300px" align="right">This is literally the worst thing to happen to anyone, ever.</pullquote> For example, the article <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/03/style/modern-love-you-may-want-to-marry-my-husband.html" source="New York Times" author="Amy Krouse Rosenthal">You May Want to Marry My Husband</a> is about as manipulative as they come---and privileged. The author writes about having been diagnosed with cancer. Something like that is literally the worst thing that has ever happened to them, by definition. However, does the Times have to participate in her catharsis? Cancer is, for that person and her family, probably one of the worst things that has ever happened to them, but she doesn't even attempt to put it in context. And neither does the Times. And people---like those at <a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/books/comments/5xde4o/amy_krause_rosenthals_article_you_may_want_to/">Reddit Books</a>---lap it up, congratulating her bravery. Lines like <iq>[n]o wonder the word cancer and cancel look so similar.</iq> are celebrated instead of denigrated as manipulative. This may sound harsh, but read below for what was <iq>canceled</iq>: <bq>No trip with my husband and parents to South Africa. No reason, now, to apply for the Harvard Loeb Fellowship. No dream tour of Asia with my mother. No writers’ residencies at those wonderful schools in India, Vancouver, Jakarta.</bq> Their daughter's name is <iq>Paris</iq>, for fuck's sake. The Times publishes this pap instead of real news and gets its readership to identify and sympathize with the plight of a woman whose wonderful (and, compared to almost everyone else, very privileged) family is losing her to cancer. But why should 99% of the country waste its sympathy on a woman who quite clearly has a more-than-adequate support system already? Is that the intent? What is the intent of articles like this? Why are they in newspapers, right next to news? Is that intent for people on food stamps to read this article and feel so bad for her that they send money to the Amy Krouse Rosenthal fund before they come to their senses? She continues, <bq>Cancer cancelled our relationship in the worst way possible.</bq> I don't blame her for writing that. I blame the Times for publishing it without context. Is there really no-one around to gently ask her to tone it down a bit? That there are, perhaps, worse ways to lose your loved one? For example, suddenly, because a cop shoots him in your passenger seat? Or because he made a sudden motion while black? Are we supposed to have forgotten about Philando Castile? Or what about the horrific ways that one can die in the rest of the world? By the hand of a president that Amy Krouse Rosenthal probably voted for twice and continues to adore? Is a drone attack out the blue more merciful than cancer? I would argue that picking your loved one's scattered remains out of a pile of rubble that was your ancestral home after a Predator drone fired hellfire missiles into it <i>for no reason whatsoever</i> is worse than losing your loved one to cancer, especially when it's a first-world couple that enjoyed a long ride together and had ample time to say goodbye. Hell, the wife has enough time to pimp out her husband in the New York Times. <h>Ignoring Capitalism as it is</h> <pullquote width="300px" align="right">The Patriarchy is a bigger problem than Inequality and Crony Capitalism.</pullquote> Then there's this article <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2017-03-29/a-new-kind-of-male-birth-control-is-coming" source="Ari Altstedter">A New Kind of Male Birth Control Is Coming</a>. It includes the following gem, <bq>“The fact that the big companies are run by white, middle-aged males who have the same feeling—that they would never do it—plays a major role,” said Herjan Coelingh Bennink, a gynecology professor who helped develop the contraceptives Implanon and Cerazette as head of research and development in women’s health for Organon International from 1987 to 2000. <b>“If those companies were run by women, it would be totally different.”</b> (Emphasis added.)</bq> This is specious speculation. It doesn't belong in any news source, much less one that purports to report from a financial angle. Two paragraphs earlier, they'd noted that <iq>India’s reversible procedure could cost as little as $10 in poor countries</iq>. Isn't the clear fact that <i>there's no money in it</i> the reason why the leaders of our free market are utterly uninterested in it? Hell, it could be a cure for cancer and if it grew in your backyard like dandelions, they wouldn't lift a finger to help package and distribute it. But Bloomberg can't ever show that they know that this is how the world works. No-one in power cares about anything but making more money for themselves. If some good can come of their getting richer---as a side-effect---then they will of course use that angle to sell their personal money-making scheme to the suckers who will fund it. But get population growth under control for $10 per person? Forget about it. This is a real invention. It's been in human clinical trials for 13 years. It has the real potential to change the world. Our society and economy are built such that no-one in power cares. Why do you think it's taking so long to stop harming the climate? Because there's no money in it. Until the big players can figure out how to collect the same massive rents they do while killing the planet, they won't lift a finger to save it. <h>Your Opinions are Stupid</h> <pullquote width="300px" align="right">If you think fluid genders might not be such a simple concept, you're a hateful Nazi.</pullquote> The video report <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hmoAX9f6MOc" source="YouTube" author="John Oliver">Transgender Rights: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)</a> included John Oliver describing some of the new laws being thrown out there, like <iq>allowing high-school students to use the restrooms and locker-room facilities of the gender with which they identify</iq>, as if there was absolutely no issue there whatsoever, as if anyone who thought that a rule/law like that might be a minefield was just a small-minded hater. Of course there are knee-jerk haters, Does anyone else even remember being a teenager? How stupid they are? How stubborn? How deliberately obtuse and rebellious? How terrified and shy? How utterly broken? Now imagine a roomful of guys who can't even get naked in front of each other and a girl-who-is-a-guy-inside walks in. That should be possible, in an ideal world, I guess. But it's (A) not a number-one priority and (B) not that <i>fucking simple</i>. Now reverse the genders (since it's that easy, ammirite?). A guy-who-is-a-girl-inside walks into a locker-room full of girls. Now, is there any way to tell the difference between someone who's seriously transgender, someone who, like all teenagers, is an utter incompetent and has <i>convinced</i> themselves that they are transgender and a student who is taking advantage of the law to get a look at some titties in training bras? Really, John Oliver? Everyone who thinks this isn't as a simple as dotting a legislative I is a bigot? Framing such obviously fraught issues as if there was nothing to be worried about is condescending to people who have reservations. While some have reservations based on prejudice, others have legitimate questions about how this is all going to work. This is the kind of attitude that makes a divide: refusing to see how anyone could have a legitimate problem with something you feel strongly about, and then judging them publicly for it. Shame is not an effective political cudgel. Or is, at best, a temporary one.