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Screenshot 2014-06-18 12.27.06

As I’ve mentioned before, my favorite of the new web journalism startups is turning out to be Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight, but precisely for the reasons that it’s likely not making much money: it’s not very partisan, ideological, or trendy, just pleasantly data-dweeby. In contrast, Ezra Klein’s Vox hasn’t done much of anything for me: didactic, won’t allow comments, and extremely JournoListy in reflecting whatever today’s official talking points are. The screenshot above of the latest salient in World War T is Vox’s Upper Left A-#1 Big Story right now.

 
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  1. Hepp says:

    Congrats on calling this correctly, Steve. When you first started talking about the upcoming fight for trangender rights, I thought you were going too far. Homosexuals is one thing; they have a lot of charismatic spokesmen and power in elite circles. But I figured there were many fewer transsexuals, plus the “ick” factor would be too much.

    But slowly, but surely, this is becoming a real issue. I shouldn’t have underestimated the way liberals always need a new cause to feel good about themselves.

    I expect a quick surrender on this. Not even conservatives will oppose anti-discrimination laws against anyone in the LGBT coalition anymore. And the fact that there are so few transsexuals make submission to the agenda even more likely. Why stand up on this issue, when odds are you’re never going to be affected by it?

    What’s next on the horizon? I’ve seen rumblings about “fat rights” on Jezebel and others. Here’s a recent (hilarious) example

    http://jezebel.com/im-being-stalked-and-terrorized-because-of-my-fat-accep-1568837119

    I used to think this would never catch on, but now I’m not so sure.

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  2. Hepp says:

    On a different note, I wish you would stop saying “World War G” and “World War T”. These kinds of inside jokes make it harder to distribute your writings to those not familiar with your work. Not to mention, I don’t really get the joke. Is it because it rhymes with “World War III”? Puzzling, since there’s never been a WWIII.

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  3. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    People seem to be wise to “Voxsplaining”. That is, taking matters-of-fact and patronizingly breaking them down into digestible chunks for today’s postliterate society. Vox actually WANTS you to be hip to this, though, as it provides perfect cover for them to administer a steady dose of advanced messaging direct from the mothership.

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  4. Sunbeam says:

    Eh, I’ll take your word for FiveThiryEight. I only look at that site when you talk about it for some reason.

    Seems like a fluff site to me honestly. The stats may or may not be done correctly, but I’m not sure I have seen an article on there that seems like it is about anything important or timely.

    “Full of sound and fury, but signifying nothing,” only they don’t even have the sound and fury.

    Geez they even screw up food articles. A) Who cares about burritos? and B) They still didn’t write an interesting article about burritos.

    And the burrito thing was the only thing interesting on that site.

    Plus some of the articles were just plain dumb. As a cynic, I don’t really have a dog in the electoral fight this fall. But the guy who wrote the one about the house elections seems like he doesn’t have a clue.

    He does know how to make a graph apparently, but not to understand too much more. If you have a dumb model, you have dumb results.

    And the Uber thing… god, what is it about internet bubble corps with no reason to exist, or at least a viable business model that gets these guys so excited? I realize it is a fairy tale for our times, guys just like them getting filthy rich for something that no one can exactly describe how it is supposed to work, but come on. Sooner or later the cows come home.

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  5. enderby says:

    Ok, I checked out Vox. The article you mentioned seemed to be outraged that the VA covers hormone therapy an some pre-op treatment but will not pay for gender reassignment surgery. But I was too bored to read the whole thing.
    I was surprised that they have an article on the site which categorically states that Israel’s occupation of the west bank is wrong and the cause of the Israel/Palestinian conflict. Has that ADL/SPLC seen Vox yet?
    It’s a good thing for Vox that they don’t allow comments otherwise they would likely suffer a massive hasbara troll invasion.
    Paging Abe Foxman… Ezra Klein may be a ‘self-hating Jew!’

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  6. Foseti says: • Website

    Vox makes me miss old-fashioned propaganda. They used to have be a little bit subtle (even the old Communists were a bit subtle). Vox just straight-up tells you what you’re supposed to believe in the first 3 sentences.

    I also miss show trials. Yeah, they were rigged, but at least they gave a nod to old procedures. Now we just take people’s stuff. Ask Donald Sterling.

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  7. Speaking of there being so few transsexuals, is there any data on patterns within that group? Most obviously, do more men tend to go female?

    To me it certainly seems that way. Most of the transsexuals I’ve heard about in the news have been people who were born male.

    If this is true, what are some of the other implications, both from a political perspective and in general?

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  8. syonredux says:

    RE: WWT,

    Granted, it’s quite fashionable at the moment, but it also looks like a quick victory. Just a mopping-up operation after WWG. That being the case, what’s next?:

    Plural Marriage: Seems almost reactionary after the transgressive thrillride ofWorld Wars G and T. After all, this is something that has actually been done before….

    Lowering Age of Consent: Well, having 12 year-olds in sexual relationships with, say, 40 year-olds would Épater la bourgeoisie, but I’m not sure that the feminist contingent would go along with it…..

    Any thoughts?

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  9. Ed says:

    Vox is very bad. I even find the glorified aggregation site HuffPo more insightful. What’s interesting about Vox is that I thought it was being marketed to smart people but its content is so pedestrian. Who are they trying to market their content to?

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  10. Syon,

    After WWT/WWG (is this a nod to the book World War Z?), I think the next phase is not polygamy, per se, but polyamory. Why should marriage mean monogomy? After all, most (nearly all?) gay men in relationships aren’t monogomous, and most straight men would probably like a ‘hall pass’ once in a while. Why should wives be freaked out just because her husband wants a little on the side? If he’s able to score, that just shows how alpha he is, and women want a husband whose alpha, don’t they?

    What’s the legal ramifications for this? Removing adultery as grounds for divorce, teaching kids that monogomy is just an unnatural life-style choice, legal benefits for mistresses, extra-marital partners, etc.

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  11. Anonymous says: • Website • Disclaimer

    A weary and desperate nation clamors.. nay, it BEGS for the DoD to IMMEDIATELY redress this hideous blot on out soldiers who serve honorably!

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  12. @Half Canadian:

    Correct. Noticing that polyamory almost always means polygyny would be sexist, or something. Noticing is bad.

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  13. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    Of course Vox is making money. Doesn’t every gov’t contractor make money?

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  14. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    Steve,

    Gender-changing is just going to increase as the technology continues to get better.

    Genetic engineering and regenerative technologies are eventually going to allow people to completely change genders.

    This will happen regardless of what happens in the West. China is already the leader in areas of genetic engineering.

    Making an issue out of gender-changing when we know it’s going to win seems like a distraction.

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  15. ogunsiron says:

    syon says:

    Lowering Age of Consent: Well, having 12 year-olds in sexual relationships with, say, 40 year-olds would Épater la bourgeoisie, but I’m not sure that the feminist contingent would go along with it…..
    ——
    The feminist contingent would be very unhappy about the “opening” of the teen market for heterosexual men. They’d be very much against that.

    On the other hand, a fair number of the lesbian feminists would want love a “conversation” about the ways mature women could “teach” younger women about sexuality. You know, vagina monologues but in small groups or face to face.

    How could the ruling coalition get what it wants while making sure that a certain category of “terrible human beings” don’t benefit in any way ?

    They could push for a dramatic gutting of age of consent laws, in the name of children’ rights and in the name of anti-bullying (they’d say that bullied lgtb minors need to be able to seek acceptance in the arms of lgbt adults ).

    At the same time, they could push for the idea that some pairings are inherently nonconsensual : a 35yo adult male pairing with a 15yo woman would be deemed intrinsically nonconsensual, because the adult male would be “privileged” compared to the young woman.

    A 40yo adult woman pairing with a 15yo woman would be less problematic because they’d both be part of the “unprivileged” and their pairing would be liberating and empowering.

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  16. Mr. Blank says:

    At this point, I’m convinced that child pornography and/or adult-child sex are going to be legalized within my lifetime — in some limited form, at least.

    I didn’t always think that; just because you’re on a slippery slope, there’s no guarantee you’ll slip to the bottom. But I thought “World War T,” as Sailer calls it, would be the natural stopping point on this particular slope. I thought that mainstreaming transsexuals would just be a bridge too far for the LGBQT crowd. Surely they’ll never be able to sell the public on this one, I thought. They’re going to say that we have to let beefy, fully-grown men with intact genitals (“pre-ops”) wander freely around bathrooms and locker rooms with little girls, just because those guys put on a wig and insist on being called Mary? Really? They’re REALLY going to try and sell that?

    But I’ll be damned if they’re not going full speed ahead with it, and with surprisingly little resistance. If they can pull this off, I don’t see any real limits left. It just seems like the logic will lead slowly and inexorably to legal kiddie porn and kiddie sex. It won’t happen overnight, but the line of progression, or regression, seems obvious to me. Given that we’ve established that complete sexual fulfillment for adults is evidently the highest possible good, and given that jailbait sex already has a kind of loose, unofficial acceptance among gay men, I can’t see how this taboo is going to stand much longer. It’s hard for me to think of any convincing arguments that wouldn’t apply equally to other forms of deviancy that look like they’re probably headed for “acceptance.”

    Further, I suspect a lot of the people pushing for World War T are aware that this is where we’re headed, even if they can’t quite admit it to themselves. I don’t think it’s any accident that child porn and child molestation have been elevated to the status of The Ultimate Of All Evils in much of our contemporary entertainment. Not to discount the evil of this stuff (and make no mistake, “evil” is the right word for it), but given the way our culture already flirts with the idea of child sexuality, it’s always seemed to me that the whole business of turning kiddie porn into the greatest horror since the Holocaust has a “the lady doth protest too much” quality to it.

    I can’t be the only one who was wondering about this while watching that Robin Williams movie “The Night Listener.”

    Or maybe I’m just being paranoid…

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  17. eah says:

    Gender-changing is just going to increase as the technology continues to get better.

    Let us know when they have a 3D printer that’ll do the job.

    Here’s the deal: I don’t care, and I think most people don’t care, if one forlorn soul or another wants to change gender. I just don’t want to pay for it — in any way. By financing research into it at public institutions. Via taxation (hence the administrative discharge — these people do not belong in the military, in any case). Or via my health insurance premiums.

    Those who want to help gender-changers can establish private charitable foundations. To fund research into it. Also to finance actual gender-changing. Take out full-page ads in the NYT to solicit contributions. Just don’t bother me about it, or pick my pocket to finance it.

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  18. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    Blank,

    The Left’s view of transexuals and same-sex couples is based on individual rights / human rights.

    Underage porn violates individual rights / human rights. Suggesting underage porn could be a future step misunderstands the Left.

    Transexualism seems pretty irrational to me, but I don’t really care about it, and I’d rather spend my political capital on higher priority issues.

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  19. 5371 says:

    Whatever the topic, you can contribute to the discussion by saying “technology” in the voice that movie character used to say “electrolytes”.

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  20. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    “Suggesting underage porn could be a future step misunderstands the Left.”

    Decriminalization of child porn possession doesn’t even require lefty idiocy. It’s essentially a victimless crime. Sure there is a victim, but the perpetrator is the molester, not the wretch that masturbates to a recording of it. If you want to jail people for owning footage of felonies, you have to do the same for people who masturbate to gore. They exist.

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  21. Sean says:

    Commenter SamF: ” Suggesting underage porn could be a future step misunderstands the Left.”

    The German Greens including the well known sixties radical Daniel Cohn-Bendit (who currently leads a European parliament voting block) advocated legalising adult-child sex in the 80′s. Patricia Hewitt, a British lawyer and Labour party figure, represented a civil liberties group affiliated with a paedophile pressure group in the 80′s.

    BTW, Hard core child pornography was openly sold in American cities during the mid seventies.

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  22. ogunsiron says:

    Sam in SF :

    Underage porn violates individual rights / human rights. Suggesting underage porn could be a future step misunderstands the Left.


    What happens when a faction of the left decides to go for the “right of minors to bodily autonomy” angle ?

    In the 70s, those who were pushing for sex with the young were arguing for the rights of adults to do as they please. That eventually didn’t work out. The next push might argue for the rights of the children (the rights of lgbt youth especially) themselves to do as they please.

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  23. Mr. Blank says:

    Sam SF,

    I originally thought this as well, but now I’m not so sure. The Left doesn’t have much time for individual rights that don’t involve members of the coalition of the oppressed, and “human rights” is increasingly becoming a term that means whatever the Left wants it to mean at any particular moment.

    And note that I didn’t say I felt that legal underage sex and porn were explicit goals. I don’t think a lot of people have thought that far ahead. I’m just looking at the “drift” of things and it looks likely to come about as an inevitable consequence of the ever-expanding sphere of sexual rights. The Left isn’t there yet, but they’re eventually going to reason themselves into this position, because I no longer see a logical place where they will be willing to draw a hard, bright-line restriction.

    It’s not hard for me to imagine scenarios where adult-child sex might be transformed into a “human rights” issue. I know from reading innumerable police reports (I used to be a newspaper reporter) that many, many cases of child molestation involve mutual consent. Yes, legally, kids can’t “consent,” but it doesn’t seem like it would be very difficult for a determined activist to find a bunch of borderline cases that could be portrayed as “tragedies” where pairs of “young lovers” are being punished “just for following their hearts,” yadda yadda yadda. Bonus points if the couples are gay, of course — that case of the 18-year-old lesbian girl and her underage lover awhile back might have been a trial balloon for this sort of thing.

    Also: We’ve already seen courts establishing the rights of six-year-old “transgender” kids. Well, if a six-year-old possesses enough agency and competency in the eyes of the law to declare themselves “transgender,” with all the attendant rights and privileges, then presumably they possess enough agency and competency to declare themselves “gay.” I’m awaiting the inevitable court case when some eight-year-old “gay” kid gets taken away from his Bible-thumping fundamentalist parents “for his own good.”

    From there, it’s not a huge leap to argue that, since little kids possess enough agency and competency to be “gay,” presumably they are also able to consent to sex. Here’s where a bunch of anthropologists would appear to explain to us uptight prudes about how many oppressed third-world peoples have different ideas about the age of consent, and how dare we impose our racist Western standards, etc., etc., racism, hate, Nazis, etc.

    At each step, another barrier falls because of “heart-wrenching” cases in which existing laws prove an inconvenience to some Leftist client group. We’ve already got at least one Supreme Court justice who seems to think exclusively in these terms.

    As for individual rights: If I’m not mistaken, it’s already been established that “simulations” of kiddie porn aren’t illegal, because they involve no actual harm to real people. Well, computer graphics technology is constantly improving. The graphics on my friend’s Xbox One are realistic enough to be mistaken for live action footage if seen from a distance. I’d imagine that hyperrealistic simulated kiddie porn isn’t very far away, if it’s not already here.

    The friends I have on the Left are not monsters, so I know that they’ll initially recoil from the implications of this stuff. I’m sure we’ll see tortured attempts to keep all of these “breaches” carefully contained. That’s why I added the caveat that this stuff might only be legalized in a limited form.

    At least at first…

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  24. Hunsdon says:

    5371 said: Whatever the topic, you can contribute to the discussion by saying “technology” in the voice that movie character used to say “electrolytes”.

    Hunsdon said: For those of us slightly older (and I’m looking at you, Mrs. Robinson!) the word was “plastics.”

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  25. Bud says:

    Vox fills a niche. Some young urban lefties might find BuzzFeed too dumb (or gay), Gawker too celebrity culture oriented. Who writes for the policy wonk lefty urban young who DVR Rachel Maddow and Chris Hayes every night?

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  26. Bud says:

    BTW, NAMBLA wants ya’ll to know that most of its members are pederasts/ephebophiles, not pedophiles. There is a HUGE difference, H8ers

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  27. “Here’s the deal: I don’t care, and I think most people don’t care, if one forlorn soul or another wants to change gender. I just don’t want to pay for it — in any way.”

    That could be the GOP platform (on almost anything)

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  28. ATBOTL says:

    “BTW, Hard core child pornography was openly sold in American cities during the mid seventies.”

    Who were the people selling it?

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  29. Did you see how a couple of army O-3s had to move their wedding so Obama could use MCAB Kanehoe’s golf course? Because a couple sworn to defend O-3s are a huge security risk, I guess… What a prick.

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  30. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @Ed
    Vox is very bad. I even find the glorified aggregation site HuffPo more insightful. What's interesting about Vox is that I thought it was being marketed to smart people but its content is so pedestrian. Who are they trying to market their content to?

    Democrats and their constituents

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