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From the New York Times:

The Facts Behind the Weaponized Phrase ‘Chain Migration’
By LINDA QIU JAN. 26, 2018

As Congress considers a deal to provide relief for young immigrants brought to the United States illegally as children, President Trump and his Republican allies are demanding an end to what they call “chain migration,” or family-based immigration.

The term itself has become a point of contention. Democrats and immigration advocates claim it is a pejorative phrase that demeans recent arrivals. Republicans argue it’s a useful shorthand for family sponsorship. …

“Chain migration” was originally a neutral, if not dry, phrase used by academics to describe the immigration process. …

In scholarship, the term appears to have emerged in the 1960s before tapering off in recent years, and even being eclipsed by the more recently established “family reunification.”

But popular use of the older phrase has skyrocketed. According to Google Trends search data, there were only modest spikes in user queries while immigration policies were debated in 2005 and 2015, before a spike in December 2017.

Why the sudden uptick?

The White House and allies have deployed the phrase to label existing policy they find undesirable. In talking points and white papers, they have stated a preference for a merit-based system while labeling the current sponsorship process as “chain migration.”

Democrats, meanwhile, prefer the term “family reunification” and say the practice is a reflection of American values.

The Trump Administration is emphasizing nuclear family reunification, while the Democrats want to preserve “clan reunification” or “tribal reunification.” They should call it “blood migration” for privilege blood relatives. It’s a “blood and no soil” immigration system.

Discussing DACA negotiations on Jan. 12, Senator Richard J. Durbin, Democrat of Illinois, called the term “offensive.” Though he has actually used it himself as recently as 2010 — a time when it appeared to be less of a loaded phrase between the two political parties.

Let’s not mention Durbin’s hilariously stupid rationalization for calling “chain migration” “offensive.” From iSteve:

Durbin continued: “When it came to the issue of, quote, ‘chain migration,’ I said to the president, do you realize how painful that term is to so many people? African-Americans believe they migrated to America in chains and when you talk about chain migration, it hurts them personally.

[Trump] said, ‘Oh, that’s a good line.’”

Back to the NYT:

Leo Chavez, a professor at the University of California at Irvine who studies media representations of immigration, said he had seldom heard ”chain migration” in public discourse until the debate over immigration intensified in the last few months.

It’s almost as if the public is learning more about the subject of immigration policy and is learning to speak of more sophisticated concepts such as “chain migration,” rather than just the usual lowbrow schmaltz about Muh Huddled Masses.

“It’s an attempt to sway public opinion,” Mr. Chavez said, adding that the once-scholarly term has taken on negative connotations as “if it’s a conspiracy, a plot, a threat to the changing demographics.”

Obviously, no Democrats ever speak among themselves about how immigration policy can used for their benefit to tilt future elections in their favor. They are not trying to change demographics. That’s a conspiracy theory! Instead, there’s just “the changing demographics” which don’t have anything to do with people like Durbin, Schumer, and Gutierrez.

Try to keep this straight, people: “climate change” requires massive policy changes. “Demographic change” is just a fact of nature like gravity. Nothing nobody can do nuthin’ about, except we’ve been talking and have a few ideas for how to speed it up to elect more Democrats.

It is not unlike “anchor baby,” “the browning of America” or even “Dreamers,” on the flip side, Mr. Chavez said.

“or even “Dreamers” … No, there’s nothing “weaponized” about Dreamers, it’s a traditional usage going back to the Preamble of the Constitution:

We the Dreamers not of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Non-Americans are who we are as Americans.

• Tags: Sapir-Whorf 
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A “news article” from the Washington Post:

‘Language as a weapon’: In Trump era, immigration debate grows more heated over what words to use

By David Nakamura January 21 at 9:14 AM

… Though Trump’s use of a vulgarity in a recent immigration meeting at the White House drew widespread condemnation, more mundane terms have been weaponized by immigration hawks, and to a lesser degree advocacy groups, in pursuit of political advantage.

On the right, Trump and his allies have warned of the dangers of “chain migration,” railed against “amnesty” for lawbreakers and urged a shift toward a “merit-based” system.

Those are old, straight-forward terms for the realities they are describing.

Their choice of words suggests that immigrants are taking advantage of the United States and are a drain on society.

On the left, advocates have defended a tradition of “family reunification” and cast undocumented immigrants who arrived as children as “dreamers” and “kids” in need of special care — even though some are in their mid-30s. Their rhetoric paints immigrants as the fabric of the American experience and as strivers seeking a chance at success.

… “Who controls the parameters around language really has a lot of power in the debate,” said Roberto Gonzales, a professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education who specializes in immigration. “How do you frame an issue in a way that sways public opinion?”

Although disagreements over immigration terminology predate Trump’s presidency, Gonzales said, the president’s willingness to use extreme rhetoric in the name of undermining political correctness has exacerbated the problem and raised the stakes. Gonzales pointed to Trump’s campaign against “chain migration” in the wake of a terrorist attack in New York in the fall in which the suspect, Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov, an immigrant from Uzbekistan, is charged with striking and killing eight people while driving a truck on a bike path.

Chain migration has been a common term in books since the mid-1960s, reaching a peak of usage by the late 1990s:

Screenshot 2018-01-21 16.21.03

Senator Durbin told President Trump that “chain migration” reminds African Americans that their ancestors were brought here in chains, which sounds like an idea for an article pitched to Salon that got turned down and ended up in the Huffington Post.

Senator Schumer then announced that he wouldn’t negotiate immigration policy with Senator Tom Cotton in the room because “Tom Cotton” sounds like an alternate universe version of “Jim Crow.”

Well, actually, Schumer didn’t.


… The advocates use the term “family reunification” to describe the process of U.S. citizens petitioning for family members in limited categories — spouses, children, parents and siblings — to come here, a process that can take as long as 20 years. …

But some newspapers and cable television stations have parroted Trump’s use of “chain migration,” often with limited context.

“It’s a real problem,” Gonzales said. “It’s become so distorted. If you use a term in an incorrect or incendiary way enough times, people start using it that way.”

Jose Antonio Vargas, chief executive of Define American, a media advocacy group that focuses on immigration coverage, said conservatives have deliberately “created this entire linguistic parallel reality that is framed by the language they use.”

Vargas pointed to outlets such as Breitbart News, which supports Trump and — until this month — was overseen by his former White House chief strategist, Stephen K. Bannon. Breitbart published recent stories with headlines such as “Illegal Aliens Escalate Amnesty Demands” and “Anchor Baby Population in U.S. Exceeds One Year of American Births.”

The terms “illegal alien” and “illegal immigrant” are much older and better established than politically correct Newspeak euphemisms “undocumented immigrant” or “undocumented worker:”

Screenshot 2018-01-21 19.19.09

Define American has run a campaign, “Words Matter,” that asks news organizations to commit to dropping what Vargas calls “dehumanizing” phrases, such as “illegal immigrant.” Although some major outlets, including the Associated Press, have complied, Vargas said progress has been slow. (The Washington Post’s style guide permits use of the phrase but notes that some find it offensive.)

“The right has been so good at using language as a weapon,” said Vargas, a former Post reporter who came out publicly in a 2011 New York Times article as an unauthorized immigrant from the Philippines. “Now we have gotten to the point where even legal immigration is a dirty word for people. That’s how successful they’ve been.”

• Tags: Orwell, Sapir-Whorf 
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An NYT op-ed columnist writes:

Why Does Donald Trump Keep Dissing Jews?

Frank Bruni JULY 8, 2017

When something happens once, it’s a curiosity. Twice, it’s a coincidence.

Three times or more, it’s a pattern.

And Donald Trump has established a pattern of offending — or at the very least ignoring — Jews. …

Then there was an initial, strange silence from Trump and his aides about a rash of anti-Semitic vandalism and bomb threats around the country in January and February. …

Go back to his mini-tantrum during a White House news conference in February, when a reporter for a Jewish magazine tried to ask him whether he was paying proper heed to the anti-Semitic bomb threats. Trump interpreted the question as an indictment not of his behavior but of his being — “I am the least anti-Semitic person that you’ve ever seen in your entire life!” he trumpeted — and turned the discussion toward the big, bad media. Forget about any persecution of Jews. Let’s talk about the persecution of Trump.

Isn’t anybody embarrassed over twice citing this example? As you may remember and I remember, but Frank Bruni and his editors apparently don’t remember, two people have since been arrested for these bomb threats: a black leftist journalist and a Jewish Israeli man.

It’s a lot easier to remember facts like that when you possess a concept in your mind called Hate Hoaxes. Concepts are tremendous tools for possessing knowledge. Without concepts, facts are little more than random noise. A named concept like Hate Hoaxes is even more useful.

• Tags: Sapir-Whorf 
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U. of Virginia frat house window smashed by readers of Sabrina Rubin Erdely’s Rolling Stone hoax “A Rape on Campus”

From the annals of the Sapir-Whorf effect

Libertarian writer Cathy Young, a sort of Ayn Rand Lite, is getting some mileage in the Daily Beast out of accusing Ann Coulter of anti-Semitism due to guilt by association:

Ann Coulter’s Anti-Semitism Runs Deeper Than You Know

The Trump cheerleader shares his habit of promoting ethnic nationalists and their ugly ideas.

Amusingly, Cathy preceded this with a blogpost last month about how horrible it is that anybody could suspect that Sabrina Rubin Erdely, author of Rolling Stone’s notorious “A Rape on Campus,” is a wee bit anti-Gentilic (not that Cathy could imagine such a word):

… Luke Ford’s blogpost, which speculates on whether or not I’m a “neocon,” contains a tidbit that led me to another interesting discovery. As an aside, Ford takes a jab at me for having written two columns on the University of Virginia/Rolling Stone rape hoax “without mentioning Steve [Sailer] or Richard Bradley”: “Hard to say if she is just lazy or ignores the work of writers she doesn’t like.” Actually, both of those columns were reprints from; earlier, I had written two other RCP columns on the subject which did mention Bradley, a blogger and former magazine editor, and credit him for being first to raise questions about the credibility of the alleged fraternity gang rape victim, Jackie.

I’m not really sure why I should have credited Steve Sailer, who posted about the case on his Unz Review blog and then wrote about it for Taki Magazine but added nothing original. (In the magazine piece, Sailer claims that his November 29 blogpost drew attention to Bradley’s post, which had languished unnoticed since November 24. Reason‘s Robby Soave wrote about it on December 1. I don’t know if he was tipped off to Bradley’s post by Sailer or one of Sailer’s readers, but I can say that Robby and I were among several journalists privately discussing the problems with the Rolling Stone story by November 25.)

However! Ford’s mention of Sailer’s commentary on the UVA story reminded me of something I had forgotten: the Sailer acolytes in Bradley’s blog comments who tried to argue that Rolling Stone author Sabrina Rubin Erdely’s piece about rape culture at UVA, centered around Jackie’s story, had something to do with Erdely being Jewish. Apparently, she had some kind of Jewish agenda to destroy UVA because it’s too white, Christian, pretty and conservative, or something. (When another commenter pointed out that many of the journalists who helped debunk the hoax were also Jewish, the conspiracy nuts were undeterred: Of course the Jews will do that when their mischief is caught out!)

Okay, so these are just random commenters. But a December 3, 2014 post at VDARE by one of their prolific bloggers, Eugene Gant, highlighting Sailer’s Taki Magazine article, referred to Erdely as “militantly Jewish” (linking to an article about a Jewish day camp that briefly referenced Erdely as one of the parents) and “a hit thing for the Christophobic left” (because she had previously written a story, also of dubious veracity, about a boy’s sexual abuse by priests). The Occidental Observer ran a longer piece depicting the rape-hoax story as “ethnic warfare” born from Erdely’s “anti-White animus” (in the Alt-Right taxonomy, Jews are, of course, not “white”) and noting that some of her staunchest defenders were “Jewish female journalists.” Oh, and Luke Ford did a blogpost that referred to Erdely as an “proud Jew and anti-white fabulist” (with a headline calling her a “left-wing Jew with a history of Christian-bashing).

As for Sailer? Well, he didn’t exactly peddle this slimy nuttery himself, but he sure did pander to it. Check out this April 7, 2015 Sailer blogpost at VDARE titled “Sabrina Rubin Erdely’s Kristallnacht on Campus.” Its actual subject is the theme of broken glass in Erdely’s story (such as the glass table shattering during Jackie’s alleged rape) and actual broken glass at the fraternity named in the rape allegations, which was attacked by vandals throwing bottles and bricks through the windows in December 2014, shortly after the story’s publication.

If it weren’t for the obsession with Erdely’s Jewishness in certain quarters, I would have assumed that “Kristallnacht” was just a fancy metaphor. But was it actually a not-so-subtle reversal of an infamous attack on Jews in which a “militant Jew” becomes the perpetrator inflicting a Kristallnacht on gentiles? You decide.


• Tags: Sapir-Whorf 
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Affirmative action in college admissions based on race/ethnicity has been common since the end of the 1960s. It rather quickly was discovered to benefit primarily blacks and Latinos from above average homes.

So, slowly, the rationalization for affirmative action was rewritten by the Supreme Court from original assertions of fairness, anti-discrimination, and reparations for slavery and other past sins, which, presumably, diminish over time, to “diversity,” which we never ever can get enough of. Sure, the Rwandan U.N. ambassador’s granddaughter, whose white mother graduated from Wellesley, doesn’t really have any moral claim for special privileges in the United States, but that’s not the point, the point is that it’s good for the white kids in class to enjoy the fruits of diversity, such as the current Black Autumn on campus.

But let’s try putting together a new argument for a new kind of affirmative action in college admissions targeting the previously untargeted; kids who are a lot smarter than their parents. I have a theory that our society tends to under-invest in the smart kids of not so smart parents. If you are looking for a group for colleges to recruit more intensively among, this would likely have a higher payoff than more traditional affirmative action categories.

The basics of The Bell Curve suggest that tens or hundreds of thousands of children born each year will be significantly smarter than the average of their parents. But because they show up fairly randomly in the population, they have been ignored (in Sapir-Whorf terms, we barely even have a name for them) because they don’t fit into the usual identity politics categories. They are a little like lefthanders, a common minority but too randomly distributed a group to develop political mojo. (For example, major league baseball discriminates 100% against lefthanded catchers, but even in a world obsessed with teasing out instances of discrimination, nobody cares).

One thing that has been widely remarked is that applying to college has gotten more complicated in terms of competitive strategizing. This may well be overblown, but it’s a widespread social stereotype beloved by Tiger Parents and feared by Sloth Parents that getting into a “good” college is immensely complicated.

This tends to become self-fulfilling.

Research by Caroline Hoxby of Stanford has discovered that the biggest concentration of overlooked smart kids that colleges should recruit harder are, unsurprisingly, exactly whom the conventional wisdom doesn’t expect them to be: male, white, flyover states, maybe from broken homes.

Why is the conventional wisdom’s expectation wrong that the real most overlooked demographic shouldn’t be the beneficiaries of White Male Privilege but should be the gay black Latinas from East Coast? Because it’s the conventional wisdom, obviously. The universities have been tilling those more ideologically congenial fields intensively for 40 or 50 years now, so they long ago hit diminishing marginal returns in Closing The Gap. But they can’t admit that, so they are constantly trumpeting: the theory can’t be wrong, comrades, so we must redouble our efforts!

Obviously, nobody respectable is going to invest in explicit special preferences for white boys from Flyover Country. But perhaps we can operationalize the Hoxby-Avery findings as calling for special investment in children who are smarter than their parents.

But is my theory correct that those are the kids most likely to be underinvested in relative to their potential? We should test it to find out.

Here’s a new research agenda: We probably now have multiple ways for social scientists to track two generations of achievement relative to test scores. For example, the 1979 National Longitudinal Study of Youth, from which much of The Bell Curve, was derived, is following thousands of children of female members of the original sample. This public database available to legit professional social scientists has cognitive test data for two mother and child, along with life events such as type of college they attend. If the average NLSY panelist was 18 in 1979, she’d be 54 today in 2015, with a majority of her children already having reached the age to apply to college.

So my theory that our society is underinvesting in the smart children of less smart parents could be tested thoroughly over the next few years using NLSY data.

I throw a lot of research ideas out there in the hopes that academics will pick them up and carry them out. So don’t feel any need to credit me for the idea if you want to go ahead and study this. I just like knowledge.

• Tags: Hox, Hoxby, Sapir-Whorf 
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With Jeb Bush and Donald Trump arguing over whether George W. Bush failed to stop 9/11, it’s worth going to the videotape (47:28) of the second Presidential debate of 2000. On 10/11/2000, the Texas governor denounced heightened scrutiny of Arab airline passengers by airport security. Bush said on national TV:

Secondly, there is other forms of racial profiling that goes on in America. Arab-Americans are racially profiled in what is called secret evidence. People are stopped, and we have to do something about that. My friend, Senator Spencer Abraham of Michigan, is pushing a law to make sure that Arab-Americans are treated with respect. So racial profiling isn’t just an issue at local police forces. It’s an issue throughout our society. And as we become a diverse society, we’re going to have to deal with it more and more. I believe, though — I believe, as sure as I’m sitting here, that most Americans really care. They’re tolerant people. They’re good, tolerant people. It’s the very few that create most of the crises, and we just have to find them and deal with them.

Note that when the future President said “we just have to find them and deal with them,” the “them” he was referring to as having to be dealt with were not Arab skyjackers but airline and airport employees worried about stopping Arab skyjackers.

In accordance with this statement, Bush appointed Democrat Norman Mineta Secretary of Transportation and directed him to root out profiling of Arabs at the airport.

In 2005, airport counter clerk Michael Tuohey told Oprah Winfrey of his encounter early on 9/11/2001 with the leader of the terrorists:

“I got an instant chill when I looked at [Atta]. I got this grip in my stomach and then, of course, I gave myself a political correct slap…I thought, ‘My God, Michael, these are just a couple of Arab businessmen.’”

By the way, on a personal note, this may have been when I started to realize I was the world’s least viral journalist. I’m not sure if the word “viral” had that meaning on 9/11/2001, but if it did, I was sure that the President’s 11-month-old denunciation of anti-terrorism efforts would soon go viral. I vividly recalled watching Bush say this to a huge television audience less than a year before. Back then you couldn’t post video, but it was easy to find a transcript. So I stayed up late that night writing up “Bush had called for laxer airport security” so I wouldn’t get scooped too badly by all the other pundits.

In all the rush, it didn’t get published for about a week. Yet by then, nobody else had brought it up. When my piece didn’t get any attention, well, lots of stuff was happening.

Every few years since then, I’ve brought up Bush’s statement, but it never seems to register on anybody other than my core readers. It’s an interesting example of the Sapir-Whorf effect in action. We are given categories to file facts away in: e.g., Republicans Are Racist; Bush Protected Us from Terrorism, etc. It’s very hard to remember anything that doesn’t fit in the right slots.

This is the first time I’ve posted video of Bush saying this. We’ll see if this makes any difference in the impact, although by now, after 14 years, I doubt it.

Similarly, the big Bush Push of 2002-2004 to ease traditional credit standards, such as down payments and documentation, that have disparate impact on black and Hispanic mortgage-seekers is practically impossible for most people to remember because it doesn’t fit in the categories: Republicans Are Racist; Bush Protected Us from Liberalism, etc.

Here’s a video of Bush telling his federal regulators that down payment requirements are keeping minorities from achieving the American Dream:

But I’ve posted this before with negligible impact.

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Screenshot 2015-09-09 22.15.42

Above is from the front page of the Washington Post.

When I was in the market research business back in the last century, the word “demographics” was understood to have a multidimensional meaning. It referred to things like sex, race, religion, age, education level, marital status, income, language, own or rent, and so forth, almost ad infinitum.

I’ve noticed, however, that as part of the Narrowing of the Western Mind, the word “demographics” increasingly means only “age,” and with that the assumption that young is better. Without that intellectual impoverishment of the term “demographics,” the phrase “defuse a demographic time bomb” would strike editors as obviously comic, if not sinister.

Refugee helping host society defuse demographic time bomb at 2013 Boston Marathon (too bad about Martin Richard, age 8, but as Stalin, or maybe The Economist, said: you can’t defuse a demographic time bomb without blowing up a few Little Leaguers)

As Orwell noted in his appendix on Newspeak, the more restricted your conceptual vocabulary, the more preordained your concepts.

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Screenshot 2015-09-09 17.15.11

Let’s review the NYT’s top headlines of the moment:

An Urgent Call for Europe to Embrace Unity, and Migrants


Jean-Claude Juncker, the European Commission president, urged the European Union to put aside deep divisions over welcoming refugees and forge a stronger and more unified response.

You know, only 3 governments — Germany, Sweden, and Austria — of the 28 in the European Union are enthusiastic about Ms. Merkel’s unilateral putsch against Europe’s indigenous people. So Jean-Claude Juncker is calling for the great majority of European governments to surrender to the German state’s demographic blitzkrieg on the European people. Why does German (passive) aggression against what had been the European consensus somehow represent unity?

By the way, “Jean-Claude Juncker” is about the EUiest name imaginable.

Migrant Stream Is Bringing Out the Best, and Worst, in Europe

I’m sure this article features a thoughtful consideration of the long term issues in deciding just who the Good Guys are and who the Bad Guys will turn out to be. Oh, wait, you say it’s just Who-Whom Thinking?

Refugees Desperate to Leave Denmark March to Sweden

Oh, the humanity!

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From the NYT:

Last Task After Layoff at Disney: Train Foreign Replacements [Link fixed]

ORLANDO, Fla. — The employees who kept the data systems humming in the vast Walt Disney fantasy fief did not suspect trouble when they were suddenly summoned to meetings with their boss.

While families rode the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and searched for Nemo on clamobiles in the theme parks, these workers monitored computers in industrial buildings nearby, making sure millions of Walt Disney World ticket sales, store purchases and hotel reservations went through without a hitch. Some were performing so well that they thought they had been called in for bonuses.

Instead, about 250 Disney employees were told in late October that they would be laid off. Many of their jobs were transferred to immigrants on temporary visas for highly skilled technical workers, who were brought in by an outsourcing firm based in India.

Why is this referred to as outsourcing jobs when it’s clearly insourcing workers? Or is “insourcing” another one of those words that doesn’t exist for Sapir-Whorf who-whom reasons?

Over the next three months, some Disney employees were required to train their replacements to do the jobs they had lost.

“I just couldn’t believe they could fly people in to sit at our desks and take over our jobs exactly,” said one former worker, an American in his 40s who remains unemployed since his last day at Disney on Jan. 30. “It was so humiliating to train somebody else to take over your job. I still can’t grasp it.”

The layoffs at Disney and at other companies, including the Southern California Edison power utility, are raising new questions about how businesses and outsourcing companies are using the temporary visas, known as H-1B, to place immigrants in technology jobs in the United States. These visas are at the center of a fierce debate in Congress over whether they complement American workers or displace them.

According to federal guidelines, the visas are intended for foreigners with advanced science or computer skills to fill discrete positions when American workers with those skills cannot be found. Their use, the guidelines say, should not “adversely affect the wages and working conditions” of Americans. Because of legal loopholes, however, in practice companies do not have to recruit American workers first or guarantee that Americans will not be displaced.

Too often, critics say, the visas are being used to import immigrants to do the work of Americans for less money, with laid-off American workers having to train their replacements.

“The program has created a highly lucrative business model of bringing in cheaper H-1B workers to substitute for Americans,” said Ronil Hira, a professor of public policy at Howard University who studies visa programs and has testified before Congress about H-1B visas.

Unusually for an article about programmers in 2015, there’s no mention of gender questions.

Somebody should calculate how many American women programmers get laid off by these H-1B ploys. Fortune 500 firms tend to employ a higher percentage as programmers of American women than do Silicon Valley firms. Since everybody is worked up over making sure Women Code, why do we have a government program that’s used to fire American women coders?

Also, does bringing in a lot of H-1Bs from cultures with less advanced gender attitudes tend to create a hostile work environment for those American women coders who manage to keep their jobs? That’s what I’ve heard from a family friend.

• Tags: Sapir-Whorf 
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These days, transgenderism is celebrated as the essence of health and sanity, while transracialism is considered creepy and not to be discussed in polite society.

This is not necessarily true in other countries. For example, Neymar, the top Brazilian soccer star, looks these days like a vaguely ethnic Orange County skate punk. But only a half dozen years ago, before he got rich and could afford whatever it is he’s had done to change his appearance, he looked black.

Here in the United States, one well-known celebrity grew up being considered by everybody who knew him as “multicultural,” “international,” or “just another mixed kid.” But at 24 he decided to build his career around identifying as black. Last I checked, this exercise in transracialism had worked out well for him, career-wise. What’s interesting, however, is that almost nobody knows that this prominent individual changed his racial identity to get ahead in life, perhaps for the Sapir-Whorf reason that while “transgenderism” is very much a word these days, transracialism really isn’t.

• Tags: Sapir-Whorf 
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Our culture keeps ruling words racist so fast that even the poor black mayoress of Baltimore can’t keep up. From the NYT:

With buildings ablaze and looters rampaging through city streets, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake faced television cameras Monday night and sternly denounced the rioters as “thugs.” The next day, with some black residents in an uproar over a word they call racially charged, she walked it back.

“There are no thugs in Baltimore,” the mayor, who is African-American, said at a church, where she met with members of the clergy.

You always hear about how the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis has been exploded, but people sure act like the vocabulary version of that, as most memorably outlined in the appendix of 1984, is true.

• Tags: Sapir-Whorf 
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As I’ve been pointing out for awhile, the weak version of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis — that our vocabularies influence how hard or easy it is for us to recognize patterns of reality — offers an insight into a lot of recent feminist brouhahas, especially in Silicon Valley. Worldlier cultures than ours recognized that great concentrations of wealth and power, especially in the hands of more unworldly men, attract a certain type of woman formerly known as the adventuress.

In the New York Times Magazine, Emily Bazelon goes over the shocking charges made by a 21-year-old Stanford student and former professional model that she and a 29-year-old Silicon Valley entrepreneur had had sex in their luxury hotel room in Rome, and then in numerous other upscale locations before they broke up after many months. But looking back, she realizes now it was all rape Rape RAPE, and Stanford, pursuant to the Obama Administration’s 2011 Dear Colleague letter on lowering the standards in sexual assault charges, had better make her rich ex-boyfriend’s life hell for her.

While there’s no objective evidence that the bad guy in this story did anything very bad; at least, unlike Haven Monahan, ringmaster of the fraternity initiation gang rape on broken glass at UVA, he exists.

Screenshot 2015-02-11 15.37.25So, the never say the news media aren’t making progress!

Bazelon’s article slowly gets around to insinuating that the story told by ex-model Clougherty and her mother Anne was basically a scam. The key witness is Clougherty’s former friend Jane:

In the months after Jane [the friend] helped Clougherty [the ex-model] break up with Lonsdale [the rich sap], she says that she watched with increasing unease as Clougherty’s accusations mounted, from emotional abuse to rape. “In March 2014, she texted me that she considered herself a ‘sex slave’ during her relationship with Joe,” Jane wrote in her statement. “This is far, far beyond anything that she ever said about the relationship when it was happening or for a long time afterward. It also made no sense in light of her clear enthusiasm about the relationship.”

Jane told me by phone that the breaking point in her friendship with Clougherty came when Stanford began the second investigation of Lonsdale. Jane says she thought the investigation was not warranted and told Clougherty that she would not talk to Pope. Clougherty sent her three texts in April 2014: “Hey, all the investigators need to know is that you witnessed my escape from Joe and saw him pounding on the steering wheel.” “Did you really decline to speak with them?” “I don’t understand, I thought you’d support me.” On the night of the break up, Anne [Cloughtery's mother] and Jane [the friend] were sitting in the wine bar waiting for Clougherty. They saw Lonsdale drive up with Clougherty. In Anne’s account, she and Jane could see Lonsdale pounding on the steering wheel. Jane jumped up and went outside to knock on the window of the car and make sure Clougherty was O.K.

Jane, though, told me that “the conversation in the car looked completely normal.” She added: “I didn’t go outside. She came in, and I thought, Great! She’s fine, and it’s over.” She gave a short, bitter laugh. “They asked me to lie, and I said no. Ellie yelled at me over the phone.” She gave another short laugh. “She hung up on me after five years of helping her through all her life issues and crises, all the calls from Anne, ‘Will you look after Ellie?’ All of that, only to be put to the side when I won’t do what they want me to do.”

Bazelon adds an amusing coda:

Clougherty is currently a student at the University of Virginia… After Rolling Stone published its story of a lurid fraternity gang rape in November, Clougherty and Anne [her mother] arranged a meeting with the university president, Teresa Sullivan. On the day before Thanksgiving [November 26, 2014, the day after I began commenting on Richard Bradley's posting expressing skepticism about Rolling Stone's shattered glass story], they spent a couple of hours sitting in front of a fire at Sullivan’s home, drinking hot chocolate and talking about the effects of trauma. Clougherty gave Sullivan a beaded bracelet she had made and was thrilled when Sullivan mentioned the gift in a major speech on campus the following week, calling Clougherty the survivor of a “brutal assault inflicted on her at another university.”

Here’s the relevant paragraph from the speech UVA president Teresa Sullivan gave on December 1, 2014, the day the mainstream media started to pick up on my November 29, 2014 link to Richard Bradley’s blog:

On my wrist today I am wearing a bracelet that was given to me last week by a rape survivor. We talked for nearly two hours about a brutal assault inflicted on her at another university. I have three takeaways from that conversation. First, rape can destroy lives. She is strong and resilient and rebuilding her life, but it has taken her full-time effort, the constant effort of her family, and the support of therapists to put her life back together. Second, rape is not about sex. Her rape was about domination, anger, isolating your victim, and then making her believe that if she ever talks, something even worse will befall her. Third, rape is a national problem – it happened at this young woman’s college, but it also happens in the military, the workplace, and our high schools. Now our university has been placed at the center of this crisis. We will not shrink from it. We will lead. I will make periodic reports to the community on what we are doing, and you can hold me accountable for our efforts.

So not only was the primary subject of President Sullivan’s speech — Haven Monahan’s gang rape on broken glass — bogus, so was her spotlighted example: the Stanford coed being raped month after month by the zillionaire at five star hotels.

As I wrote back in December:

Attractive women tend to have fewer problems than unattractive ones, but when our society, starting with the White House, relentlessly encourages reasonably attractive women to proclaim themselves victims … watch out. People are hardwired to like and believe attractive young women, so it’s pretty easy to be an adventuress, and they can wreak a lot of havoc.

Chris Rock reflects in Top Five: anything you do with a woman that doesn’t end in you marrying her is, from her point of view, just wasting her time.

By the way, Emily Bazelon is, I would imagine, an old friend of Hanna Rosin from Slate, which Rosin’s husband David Plotz long edited. When Rosin’s old friend from The New Republic, Jonathan Chait, attacked political correctness a couple of weeks ago, I suggested that what we’re seeing is a split among the Former Friends of Stephen Glass.

Glass’s old college buddy Sabrina Rubin Erdely took away the lesson from the Stephen Glass scandal that it’s pretty easy to get away with stuff as long as you let a self-purported witness make stuff up for you rather than make it all up by yourself the way Glass did.

The UVA hoax, in contrast, seems to have gotten Glass’s old pals Rosin and Chait (and their friends like Emily Bazelon and Emily Yoffe) worried about the left of center’s re-descent back into mindless credulity.

• Category: Ideology • Tags: Sapir-Whorf 
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Earlier this week, I wrote in Taki’s:

O’Brien conceived of new manifestations of Big Brother’s power as “subtler,” but in 21st-century America, “sillier” might be a better term for Big Sibling’s muscle-flexing. For example, World War G over gay marriage was immediately followed by World War T. That the struggle for transgender rights to, say, beat up women in mixed martial arts fights has always been on the verge of collapsing into Bruce Jenner farcicality is part of its appeal. WWT offers a new opportunity to uncover the wreckers who can’t help but smirk.

Today, the NYT emits a thumbsucker on the Meaning of It All:

The Transition of Bruce Jenner: A Shock to Some, Visible to All

Bruce Jenner has been an Olympic superstar, the hunk on the Wheaties box, a Playgirl cover boy, the author of inspirational sports books and a sometime actor and celebrity game-show contestant. In recent years, he has also been an ancillary but vivid participant in the bizarre public spectacle that is the Kardashian family.

Now Mr. Jenner, who muscled his way into American consciousness when he won the gold medal in the decathlon in the 1976 Montreal Summer Games and was anointed the World’s Greatest Athlete, may be entering the newest and most surprising phase of his multi-act career. Though he has not confirmed it, he is widely reported to be in the midst of making a transition from male to female.

… Dwight Stones, a former Olympic high-jump medalist who has known Mr. Jenner for years, said that his apparent transformation presented a “phenomenal opportunity.”

“I think he is going to have a tremendous impact on popular culture,” said Mr. Stones, who is now a broadcaster for NBC. “The parents of kids who are suppressing this, or trying to find a way to reveal themselves to the people they care about, are going to know who Bruce Jenner is. That might smooth the way or make the reality a little less difficult.”

Once again, let me toss out the possibility that Jenner, who has fathered two children with each of his three wives, may not have actually always felt like a girl on the inside. A decade ago, J. Michael Bailey, professor of psychology at Northwestern, offered an alternative explanation for highly masculine middle aged men who suddenly declare themselves transsexuals. He was methodically persecuted for spilling the beans in his book by highly masculine middle-aged transsexuals like economist McCloskey and computer scientist Conway.

I don’t know that Bailey’s is the only alternative explanation, but it’s at least a valuable complement to the “always felt like a girl on the inside” orthodoxy.

There’s a Sapir-Whorf aspect to this since we don’t have a category name for the kind of high profile m to f transsexuals like Wachowski (whose latest flop sci-fi movie is coming out soon), Jenner, Rothblatt, McCloskey, etc, nor for the other kind, who start out extremely effeminate. So, it’s easy for the propaganda organs to insinuate the idea that Bruce Jenner must have some poor feminine little boy who was always getting picked on the by the big mean bullies. Sure, it doesn’t make any sense, but that’s the category they’ve given us, so it’s a lot of cognitive work to rebel against it.

… But for people from his early days in sports, this latest development is a shock. They remember Mr. Jenner the gifted athlete, the big personality, the charismatic wheeler-dealer who parlayed a single towering Olympic achievement into a lifetime of success and fame beyond sports.

“He was a hell of an athlete,” said Keith Jackson, who covered Mr. Jenner’s Olympic triumph while working as a sportscaster in 1976. … In recent days, Mr. Jackson said, he has talked to friends and former colleagues who competed against Mr. Jenner. “They were just like me, with their mouths open,” he said.

Advocates for transgender issues declined in interviews to discuss specifics about Mr. Jenner’s situation, saying that until he announces what is going on, it is wrong to make any assumptions. But at the very least, they say, his prominence has provided momentum for a continuing national discussion on the topic.

Denise A. Norris, the director of the Institute for Transgender Economic Advancement, said that the United States was going through what she called a trans-peak, with the issue often in the news.

Like I said, World War T.

Besides Mr. Jenner, she mentioned Laverne Cox, a transgender actress in “Orange is the New Black,” and the online show “Transparent,” among other things.

“Right now we have a potential trans celebrity, and this creates a conversation,” Ms. Norris said of Mr. Jenner.

… The memoir “Redefining Realness,” by the transgender campaigner Janet Mock, became a New York Times best-seller last year. Last summer, Ms. Cox was on the cover of Time magazine, the star of an article titled “The Transgender Tipping Point.”

“If we look at historic trans-peaks, we get celebrities out there — they may be great, they may be bad — but regardless of what the celebrity is doing, this creates a conversation,” Ms. Norris said. “And then the activists come in and lock every bit of gain we can out of it.”

Mr. Jenner’s potential problems include the multitudes of people — and not just sympathetic transgender campaigners — who are trying to squeeze every bit of gain they can out of him. He has lived so long in the public eye that it will be difficult for him to harbor an expectation of secrecy now.

Not that he is seeking secrecy, at least from what is known so far. Mr. Jenner is reportedly in negotiations with Diane Sawyer over an exclusive tell-all interview. There are also talks of a reality television show about his transition.

… Marcia Ochoa, chairwoman of the feminist studies department at the University of California, Santa Cruz, said that much of the publicity swirling around Mr. Jenner, especially the obsession with his physical changes, had been ugly and prurient.

“It’s such a courageous act, if she’s going to be transitioning publicly and subjecting herself to that kind of ridicule,” Ms. Ochoa said, using the feminine pronoun to describe Mr. Jenner. “In some ways, this is changing the whole landscape of it, because ultimately it looks inhumane, and she is a person who deserves to be happy.”

One obvious trend is that extremely ambitious and attention hungry individuals have figured out how to exploit the sacralization of official victim groups to promote themselves even further. But, you aren’t really supposed to notice that.

And in other Bruce Jenner news, he was involved this afternoon in a fatal car crash on Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu:

Deputies said a white Lexus was one of two vehicles that stopped abruptly in front of Jenner. He rear ended the Lexus by chain reaction, and pushed the vehicle into oncoming traffic.

The Lexus was then struck by a Hummer at the scene.

Authorities pronounced the elderly female driver of the Lexus dead at the scene.

• Tags: Sapir-Whorf 
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Washington & Lee is a private college in Virginia that Robert E. Lee headed for the last years of his life. Although Sabrina Rubin Erdely was viscerally repulsed by the conservatism, broken glass, and overwhelming blondness she sensed lurking at the University of Virginia, I suspect that if Sabrina had visited Washington & Lee she would have spontaneously combusted out of fear and loathing.

But, no matter, with the Obama Administration threatening to cut off all federal funding to colleges that don’t bend to its will, Erdelyism is in the ascent everywhere, even at Washington & Lee. From the student newspaper at Washington & Lee, the curiously named Ring-Tum-Phi:

UVA story sends shock waves through more than one campus
Students and administrators must work together to promote conversation and stop sexual assualt

An article recently published in Rolling Stone revealed a gang rape at a fraternity house at the University of Virginia.

Margaret Voelzke
December 10, 2014

It has been three weeks since Rolling Stone released “A Rape on Campus,” and Sabrina Rubin Erdely’s article is still making headlines and running rampant on social media.

Although the article, which told the story of the brutal, violent gang rape of a woman nicknamed “Jackie” at a University of Virginia fraternity house, has since had its veracity called into question, students at Washington and Lee University agree it has done something remarkable on campus—started a conversation.

“[These articles] give people leverage and inspire people to start talking,” said senior Anna Kathryn Barnes.

On a campus with statistics saying one in four women is sexually assaulted before graduating, talking about assault is surprisingly difficult.

“I think it goes down to the way we talk about sex,” said senior Annie Persons. “People don’t know what rape is… [And] there are probably women on this campus who have been raped and don’t even know it.”

When asked in a round-table interview whether or not students at Washington and Lee understand the severity of the university’s sexual assault problem, all four students agreed that the student body does not necessarily understand what is happening behind closed doors, and that continuing dialogue sparked by the Rolling Stone article is going to be integral to fixing the problem.

“It is really tempting to read the first part of the [Rolling Stone] article and say ‘that was a really extreme example and she was gang raped by seven men, but that doesn’t happen here so we don’t have to worry about it,’” said junior Kelly Douma. “But I think it’s something we need to keep talking about here and keep pushing and acknowledge the spectrum of it. It’s not just the super brutal, violent things that make the news… it’s also the micro-agressions in talking about rape.”

Those micro-agressions are something that the administration at Washington and Lee is aware of. …

According to Title IX Coordinator Lauren Kozak, Washington and Lee students who have been victims of sexual assault or misconduct have two options.

“When a report comes in there are two paths that we can take… [A] remedies based resolution or a more disciplinary approach,” she said. “[A] remedies-based would be anything that can help remedy the effects without doing discipline against the respondent… that can include anything from change in housing, some academic accommodations, perhaps even a no-contact directive between the parties.”

If students choose to take a disciplinary approach, Kozak and Dean of Students and First-Year Experience Jason Rodocker launch an official investigation into the victim’s claims.

From there, Kozak and Rodocker assemble a report that goes to the chair of the Student-Faculty Hearing board, who make the determination of whether or not to issue a charge against the accused.

“If a charge is issued, then a Student-Faculty Hearing Board panel will be convened,” Kozak explained. “They will read the investigative report and that will serve as the main evidence in the case, and then they can ask follow-up questions to the parties. And then they make a decision by the preponderance of the evidence whether they found that the policy was violated. If they find that the policy was violated, they will determine a sanction. If it’s a nonconsensual sexual intercourse case, the sanction is dismissal; it’s a mandatory sanction for that.”

For charges other than nonconsensual intercourse, “there is a range of sanctions the [Student-Faculty Hearing Board] can choose from,” Kozak said.

Although the process of reporting might seem simple, Barnes and Persons agreed that students choosing to report may face fears of ostracization and social fallout similar to Erdely’s account of “Jackie” in “A Rape on Campus.”

“I think people are rightly concerned that if they go through the procedure, people will find out and they will be ostracized. Particularly first-year women… I think that they wouldn’t necessarily want to hurt their chances of making friends, or getting a bid from a sorority or be that girl who reported,” said Persons.

Barnes noted that students can make small changes, like the language used to discuss sanctions for sexual assault, to counter fears of ostracization.

“Oftentimes the language we used [after someone has been dismissed from the university for sexual assault] is that the victim, he or she, got the accused, he or she, kicked out,” Barnes said. “That is unacceptable. The accused got themselves kicked out for their own actions, and I think those are the little things that we don’t think about.”

A male student who got himself kicked out of Washington & Lee on November 21, 2014, two days after Rolling Stone posted Erdely’s hoax story about UVA, has now filed suit against Washington & Lee for kicking him out. From the Roanoke Times:

Student claims he was expelled from W&L for consensual sex

by Luanne Rife

Posted: Tuesday, December 16, 2014 9:15 pm

A day after Rolling Stone published an article describing a brutal gang rape at a University of Virginia fraternity house, a former Washington and Lee student claims he was expelled for having consensual sex with another student who eight months later regretted the encounter and claimed rape.

The former W&L student has filed a federal lawsuit claiming the private Lexington university discriminated against him because he is a male, and because it wanted to avoid the negative public scrutiny that UVa was experiencing. Moreover, the student, identified as John Doe in the lawsuit, contends W&L’s Title IX officer advocates to female students that “regret equals rape.”

… W&L spokesman Brian Eckert said, “We don’t feel it is appropriate to discuss the specifics of a legal proceeding, but we’re confident that we correctly follow our established university policies and procedures, as well as federal mandates.”

That’s the scary thing, isn’t it? As they say in Washington, personnel equals policy, and six years of the Obama Administration choosing the personnel has had an effect.

John Doe claims that twice, he had consensual sex with a student identified in the lawsuit as Jane Doe. The first encounter occurred in his room at the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity house where they went after an off-campus party on Feb. 8. Both had been drinking, he said.

Lots of salacious details ensue which you can look up for yourself, either in the news story or in the court filing. Keep in mind that we don’t have anybody else’s side of the story. The college inquiry was done in star chamber with no public records.

… He claims she spent the night, that he contacted her later through Facebook and that they had sex again in early March. He said she told her friends she had a good time. But at a Pi Kappa Phi St. Patrick’s Day party a few weeks later, Jane Doe left when she saw him kissing another woman, who is now his girlfriend.

Not Andrea Dworkin

It wasn’t until July that Jane Doe told a friend that she was sexually assaulted, the lawsuit claims. Then in October, Jane Doe, as a member of a student organization against sexual assault called SPEAK, attended a presentation by W&L Title IX officer Lauren Kozak.

I realize this is off-topic, but Ms. Kozak has the most distractingly blue eyes. Part of the genius of what the Obama Administration has been up to is converting the promotion of Rape Culture hysteria from the demented obsession of Andrea Dworkin-style she-beasts into a sensible professional career path for tasteful-string-of-pearls young ladies like Ms. Kozak. The Rockbridge Report noted on December 11:

W&L Title IX Coordinator Lauren Kozak agrees that the issue is nothing new. She attributes the news attention to the Obama administration which has made reducing campus sexual assaults a priority.

“The re-focusing and changing of some of the laws on how schools need to respond to misconduct, I think, also started a public discussion on the issue, and I think that’s continued,” Kozak said. “It’s just more light on an issue that’s been around for a while.

Kozak was hired this past summer to make sure W&L is complying with all federal guidelines for Title IX. … Kozak points to two main documents that focus on sexual violence: The April 2011 “Dear Colleague” letter and the subsequent Q and A clarifications.

In addition to the new Title IX guidance, changes to a federal law called The Clery Act were adopted this year to account for sexual misconduct offenses. The Clery Act now overlaps with Title IX in some ways and Kozak works with W&L Director of Public Safety Ethan Kipnes to put together the report.

Back to the Roanoke newspaper:

According to the lawsuit, Kozak shared an article, “Is it possible that there is something in between consensual sex and rape … and that it happens to almost every girl out there?”

Here’s the article recommend by Title IX coordinator Kozak. It’s on Total Sorority Move by HotPieceOfTSM:

Is it Possible That There Is Something In Between Consensual Sex And Rape…And That It Happens To Almost Every Girl Out There?

by hot piece of TSM

He wasn’t traditionally good-looking, but he was a notorious charmer with some serious bad boy in him that made him weirdly hot in a not-hot way. Even though we’d been strictly platonic since we met, I always felt a twinge of secret excitement when I had his attention, so when I found myself having a heart-to-heart with him in his bedroom, I felt a weird combination of emotions. Part of me felt as if I was 15 again. I was excited and nervous to be there. I was hyper aware of my body, and of his, wondering, maybe even hoping, he’d kiss me. Another part of me felt that this was wrong. Not in an “it’s wrong, but it’s hot and scandalous and I still want to do it” way–wrong as in not right, wrong as in uncomfortable. This was not a guy I wanted to get involved with. This was a guy who’d had anonymous girl after anonymous girl in and out of his bedroom since we were in the dorms. This was a guy with whom I’d had countless conversations about his inability to care about women, romantically.

So then they had sex. Why did she have sex with the sexy bad boy? Not surprisingly, Hot Piece of TSM has a lot to say on the subject, although it’s not particularly definitive:

Maybe I didn’t want to feel like I’d led him on. Maybe I didn’t want to disappoint him. Maybe I just didn’t want to deal with the “let’s do it, but no, we shouldn’t” verbal tug-of-war that so often happens before sleeping with someone. It was easier to just do it. Besides, we were already in bed, and this is what people in bed do. I felt an obligation, a duty to go through with it. I felt guilty for not wanting to. I wasn’t a virgin. I’d done this before. It shouldn’t have been a big deal–it’s just sex–so I didn’t want to make it one. …

We have inherited a masculine legal culture that is traditionally oriented toward coming to some kind of decision, such as guilty or not guilty. It’s in conflict with our current feminine therapeutic culture that is oriented toward talking for the sake of talking.

I certainly didn’t feel like I’d been raped. But what had happened the night prior was not consensual sex, and I didn’t like it. I wanted the flirting. I wanted the kissing. I wanted the sleepover.

Sleepover? I get the impression that this is a Thing these days. Back in the 20th Century, “sleep together” was a euphemism for sexual intercourse, but now it appears to be something that girls expect to do with boys without sex. Or something. Or at least if sex happens she gets to decide later whether she wanted to or not. The young female mind seems more adept at projecting backwards than forwards in time.

This sleepover thing sounds like the weird old custom of “bundling,” which had died out by the 20th Century everywhere except among the Amish. From Wikipedia:

… it is understood the practice involved each of the young persons being put into a sack, or bag, which was tied closed at their neck. They were then allowed to sleep together, each in their own sack. They could cuddle one another, but that was as far as they could go.

Other bundling customs involved a board down the middle of the bed.

Maybe this is not a terrible idea? The Amish aren’t educated but they aren’t stupid. Mating is a big deal, and maybe the Amish have thought about it more realistically that the rest of us? But they made plans, such as sewing the young people into sacks so all they could do is cuddle. We don’t make realistic plans anymore.

Back to the Roanoke Times:

The article talks about alcohol-fueled sex in which the woman later regrets the encounter.

“Ms. Kozak introduced and discussed the article with the members of SPEAK to make her point that ‘regret equals rape,’ and went on to state her belief that this point was a new idea everyone is starting to agree with,” the lawsuit contends.

I can’t find anything on Google for a search of “Kozak ‘regret equals rape.’” I’m skeptical she said something that bald-faced. (Or maybe it’s just the blue eyes talking.) Of course, that’s what the Power Structure wants young women to take away, but they tend not to put it in so many words.

Five days after the presentation, Jane Doe reported to Kozak she was sexually assaulted but indicated she did not want to pursue a complaint, the lawsuit said.

By the end of October, Jane Doe changed her mind once she learned that both she and John Doe had been accepted into a program to study in Nepal for a semester, the lawsuit states.

So they were both scheduled to go to Nepal for an entire semester (is there really 15 weeks worth of stuff to learn in Nepal?) and she didn’t want to go with him what with him having a girlfriend, so she had expelled. Or at least that’s what the lawsuit claims.

So then on the day after the Rolling Stone article was published they had a kangaroo court (from the lawsuit: when the frat boy asked if he could get a lawyer, he was told by the administrators: “a lawyer can’t help you here. We won’t talk to them. This matter stays strictly within the school.” And on November 21 he was expelled on a 3-1 vote.

John Doe said that, since Jane Doe initiated sex, she, not he, would need to obtain consent. Therefore, “W&L engaged in blatant gender bias” by relying on gender stereotypes as to whom should be responsible for sexual assault.

Hey, John, what do you expect: we live in the “Who? Whom?” age.

As I said before, keep in mind that we don’t have the other side of the story.

I’m reminded of a comment on my blog by Buddwing:

December 16, 2014 at 5:22 am GMT

The Sapir-Whorf/Orwell effect of vocabulary is even more fundamental to this issue than you seem to realize, because it is not just the word “catfish” that is missing from the conceptual larder, but, in fact, an actual word for what allegedly happened to Jackie. The word “rape,” you see, is a euphemism, meaning abduction (related to the word “raptor”) with sexual relations only implied.

It is hard to draw boundaries around something only implied by the word that designates it. Searching the thesaurus, one only finds words that reference the idea of “honor,” such as “violate” or “despoil,” or legal subcategories, such as “sexual assault.”

I think that this points to a very important perspective. The idea of “Rape” as a crime is in important ways about controlling one’s and one’s family’s offspring, rather than sex or power. It is tied up with the idea of “honor,” particularly “family honor,” so much so that honor can only be restored in some cultures by the killing or suicide of the victim. This is the case in ancient Roman stories such as the Rape of Lucretia, as well as in present day news reports from Pakistan. An alternative method of restoring honor, for the bold or the powerful, was vengeance and vendetta.

Fortunately, the western world invented mechanisms short of death to restore a victim’s honor. These include societal mechanisms for impugning the honor of the perpetrator, the solicitation of sympathy for the victim, and the criminal prosecution of the rapist.

In the present day world of the college campus, we have a wide variety of circumstances and a lack of appropriate words. Thus everyone from Todd Akins (“legitimate rape”) to Whoopi Goldberg (“rape rape”) has struggled to express the distinction between the paradigmatic stranger assault with violence and the various forms of dishonor which the drunken coed might find visited upon herself. Without the words to divide categories, we find commentators citing the 1-in-5 college women are subject to some form of “sexual assault” as 1-in-5 college women are “raped” (self-righteously and with no sense that they have made a major categorical confusion).

We have women who want their “rapist” sex partners shamed, or expelled from campus, but not criminally prosecuted (I suggest, because they want their honor restored), while outside commentators cannot understand why they are not handed over to the police. Yet none of this seems to be discussable, because we lack both the vocabulary and the conceptual framework for conducting such a conversation.

Back in November, the Rape Culture hysterics wanted to have a UVA administrator named Nicole Eramo fired for not rousing a lynch mob to burn down the fraternity house where Jackie might (or might not) have told Dean Eramo she had been lured by Haven Monahan. Eramo was nationally denounced for saying nobody had been expelled under the UVA disciplinary procedure since the burden of proof was low and the procedures for determining justice in campus hearing were weak.

More strikingly, Erama implied that, in her experience, a lot of coeds didn’t want the boys they’d had sex with punished, they just wanted to tell off the boys in front of an authority figure who would validate their feelings.

This doesn’t make much sense, except in Buddwing’s framework of the girls wanting to feel that their honor has been restored by society.

My general impression is that we’re dealing with a lot of emotions of Biblical proportions — I’m reminded of the horrifying story in the Book of Genesis of Jacob’s daughter Dinah and Shechem, son of Hamor the Hivite — and our postmodern worldview is inadequate for thinking about them.

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In a review of John McWhorter’s book The Language Hoax, which denounces the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, Oliver Kamm writes in The Times of London:


Put like that, the idea that language determines thought seems absurd. Why do people believe it? There is an understandable motivation. Peoples are diverse. Whorf analysed what were once popularly and falsely thought of as “primitive” tongues, such as the native American language Hopi, and demonstrated that their speakers were far from being primitive. It’s a short step from this fascination with the complexity of other languages to the notion that it invests their speakers with an understanding of the world that is more nuanced than the one possessed by, say, speakers of Standard English.


In George Orwell’s great invention of Newspeak in Nineteen Eighty-Four, striking a word from the language makes literally unthinkable the idea it expresses. That’s Whorfianism on a totalitarian scale. Yet the link in the real world is subtler. In McWhorter’s image, “language dances ever so lightly on thought”. The differences in language are variations on being the same. All humans have the innate faculty for learning a set of complex grammatical rules — Hopi, Flemish, Japanese, or one of thousands of others. That sameness, as McWhorter wisely suggests, is worth celebrating.

So close, but so far away. Shouldn’t the distinction be obvious that grammar hasn’t proven to be terribly important, but vocabulary has? Orwell’s Newspeak is less about grammar than about controlling what vocabulary is politically correct, and thus narrowing the limits of what it is convenient to think.

For example, contemporary Americanese lacks any and all of the terms common in Spanish for sophisticated racial distinctions. Hence, who gets called what depends upon who has the power.

• Tags: Sapir-Whorf 
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From the Wikipedia bio of a short-lived contributor to a long-running debate over whether a particular glass is part full or part empty:

Benjamin Lee Whorf

Born April 24, 1897
Winthrop, Massachusetts
Died July 26, 1941 (aged 44) Hartford, Connecticut

Nationality American

Fields linguistics, anthropology, fire prevention

Institutions Hartford Fire Insurance Company, Yale University

Benjamin Lee Whorf (April 24, 1897 – July 26, 1941) was an American linguist and fire prevention engineer. Whorf is widely known as an advocate for the idea that because of linguistic differences in grammar and usage, speakers of different languages conceptualize and experience the world differently. This principle has frequently been called the “Sapir–Whorf hypothesis”, after him and his mentor Edward Sapir, but Whorf called it the principle of linguistic relativity, because he saw the idea as having implications similar to Einstein’s principle of physical relativity.[2]

Throughout his life Whorf was a chemical engineer by profession, but as a young man he took up an interest in linguistics. At first this interest drew him to the study of Biblical Hebrew, but he quickly went on to study the indigenous languages of Mesoamerica on his own. Professional scholars were impressed by his work and in 1930 he received a grant to study the Nahuatl language in Mexico; on his return home he presented several influential papers on the language at linguistic conferences. This led him to begin studying linguistics with Edward Sapir at Yale University while still maintaining his day job at the Hartford Fire Insurance Company. …

After his death from cancer in 1941 his manuscripts were curated by his linguist friends who also worked to spread the influence of Whorf’s ideas on the relation between language, culture and cognition. Many of his works were published posthumously in the first decades after his death. In the 1960s Whorf’s views fell out of favor and he became the subject of harsh criticisms by scholars who considered language structure to primarily reflect cognitive universals rather than cultural differences. Critics argued that Whorf’s ideas were untestable and poorly formulated and that they were based on badly analyzed or misunderstood data. In the late 20th century, interest in Whorf’s ideas experienced a resurgence, and a new generation of scholars began reading Whorf’s works, arguing that previous critiques had only engaged superficially with Whorf’s actual ideas, or had attributed him ideas he had never expressed.

The field of linguistic relativity studies remains an active focus of research in psycholinguistics and linguistic anthropology, and continues to generate debate and controversy between proponents of relativism and proponents of universalism. By comparison Whorf’s other work in linguistics, the development of such concepts as the allophone and the cryptotype, and the formulation of “Whorf’s law” in Uto-Aztecan historical linguistics, have met with broad acceptance….

Whorf graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1918 with a degree in chemical engineering where his academic performance was of average quality. In 1920 he married Celia Inez Peckham, who became the mother of his three children, Raymond Ben, Robert Peckham and Celia Lee.[4] Around the same time he began work as a fire prevention engineer (an inspector) for the Hartford Fire Insurance Company. He was particularly good at the job and was highly commended by his employers. His job required him to travel to production facilities throughout New England to be inspected. In one anecdote his arrival at a chemical plant is described in which he was denied access by the director because he would not allow anyone to see the production procedure which was a trade secret. Having been told what the plant produced, Whorf wrote a chemical formula on a piece of paper, saying to the director: “I think this is what you’re doing”. The surprised director asked Whorf how he knew about the secret procedure, and he simply answered: “You couldn’t do it in any other way.”[5] Whorf helped to attract new customers to the Fire Insurance Company; they favored his thorough inspections and recommendations.

Another famous anecdote from his job was used by Whorf to argue that language use affects habitual behavior.[6] Whorf described a workplace in which full gasoline drums were stored in one room and empty ones in another; he said that because of flammable vapor the “empty” drums were more dangerous than those that were full, although workers handled them less carefully to the point that they smoked in the room with “empty” drums, but not in the room with full ones. Whorf explained that by habitually speaking of the vapor-filled drums as empty and by extension as inert, the workers were oblivious to the risk posed by smoking near the “empty drums”.

Did Whorf ever solve the “empty drums” problem?

There was an even worse fire safety problem with the English-language word “inflammable,” which means “easily set on fire,” but seems like it might well mean “incapable of being set on fire.” You really don’t want confusion over that when dealing with overturned tanker-trailers, so the word “inflammable” has largely been abandoned in America in favor of the more easily grasped neologism “flammable,” as we see here:

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
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