html xmlns="" xml:lang="en" lang="en"> From the archives: I should let it drop...

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

I should let it drop...

...but I totally can't. Long as I've got comment moderation on, I'm going to enjoy this. Ready?

Integrating women into firefighting doesn't hurt the quality of service provided.

Math ability is a predominantly a function of social constructs.

Lawrence Summers was not an innocent victim, railroaded by dogmatic feminists.


Men benefit hugely from feminist ethics and welcome the freedom to express a far wider range of ways to be than traditional gender roles permit.

I, me personally, can kick your ass in a fight. This is fact for all but a few exceptions and the odds are against your being an exception.

Integrating queers of all sorts into the military will not damage unit cohesiveness or military readiness after a brief adjustment. Military leaders are responible for setting the tone and enforcing this.

Soldiers in wars do horrendous things, and it is our collective duty to acknowledge that, limit and discipline it, and treat them on return.

Global warming is real, anthropomorphicgenic, and the leading trends are already showing up in our observation systems. Limiting the damage and adapting to new resource constraints will be the predominant task of mine and the next generation. Avoiding personal sacrifice to reduce global warming is shortsighted selfishness.

Arabs are simply people and should be treated as people. They are not inherently an enemy, but are instead pissed off and militarized when we invade one of their countries after an unaffiliated group of people from a different country flew planes into our buildings.


Homegrown evolutionary psychology is bullshit, and professional ev psych is highly suspect. In the first place, the idea that our nature is revealed by what animals would have done in a brutish struggle for survival IS NOT RELEVANT. What proto-humans would have done is purest speculation, and irrelevant as well. Our standard is NOT ANIMAL BEHAVIOR IN A STRUGGLE FOR SURVIVAL. We can do better than that these days. We have frontal cortexes now! This has been a very exciting development and it allows us to CHOOSE OUR BEHAVIOR! This is great! It means that we can act a hell of a lot better than animals in a brutish struggle for survival. So I DON'T FUCKING CARE what animals would have done on the veldt.

Immigrants, even newly arrived immigrants, contribute more to our society and economy than they drain from our resources.

Men do not come in alpha or beta types, and women do not react to them in some manner illuminated by game theory. Men and women are people, struggling to find connections and get their needs for touch and love and support fulfilled. Their reactions to each other are not categorizable and manipulable.

I can have extravagant, promiscuous, incredibly good sex before marriage, with whomever I choose AND have a wonderful life in all respects. I can be thoroughly loved by a man I love outrageously, NO MATTER WHAT SEX I HAVE before that relationship. Me and my adored can also have fantastic sex and make arrangements with each other for unconventional forms of sex and still have a loving and supportive relationship. I CAN HAVE SO MUCH GOOD SEX and never be punished for it in any form. Yep. I can have all sorts of crazy kinds of sex and be a great engineer and have a good job and have friends and family adore me and never ever suffer for AS MUCH SEX AS I WANT TO HAVE. Lots of conscientious fun sex, with whomever I want, and NO BAD CONSEQUENCES. Even though I am a woman. Having sex.


The value of the taxes you pay is less than the value of the services society gives you, that you never notice because you don't pay for them upfront.

The costs you see should cover the social and environmental externalities. Gas, food, water, clothing, single-family dwellings, parking, should all be considerably more expensive. You should eat local food, in season.

Civil servants are often bright and conscientious, trying to negotiate between multiple contradictory societal interests and established legal constraints. They are subject-matter experts and constantly solicit public input into their decisions.

There are other interests besides economic efficiency, like distribution of utility. Efficiency is simply one value, that should be balanced against other values.

RIDE YOUR FUCKING BIKE. You will like it better. SHARE THE MOTHERFUCKING ROAD and yield to cyclists!

Meat should be an occasional treat, not a dietary mainstay. What meat you eat should be humanely raised. If you can't afford grass-fed beef, you can't afford the full costs of the food you consume.

Being fat is the result of a mixture of complex factors; will-power is only one of them. Demonizing fat people is ineffective and mean.

Refusing to let a malevolent jackass spread ego-stroking, self-serving generalizations on a blog is not censorship or intolerance. It is protecting the discussion for people who want to read more than repetitive inane arguments that devolve into personal attacks.

Oh holy shit that felt good. Awwww man. You can't even know how good that was for me. Baby, I'm just gonna lie here a while and glow.


Blogger bBass said...

I understand how everything else on there at least could be true, but I'm not getting how mathematical ability per se even can be a social construct, if the math itself isn't socially constructed? Or is that the idea?

6:30 PM  
Blogger SEK said...

Refusing to let a malevolent jackass spread ego-stroking, self-serving generalizations on a blog is not censorship or intolerance.

Bullshit. When you refuse to let me preen in public, you might as well be Big Brother.


6:56 PM  
Blogger Jacqueline said...

Angry Megan is fun.

I am adding the phrase "cocksucking ratfucker" to my repertoire. Cocksucking ratfucker. Cocksucking ratfucker. It just feels good to say. Cocksucking ratfucker.

Oh, did you catch the latest xkcd?

8:08 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

SEK! I didn't know you read here! I'm glad.

Jacqueline - thanks. Most of the good curse combinations are fun to say.

Did catch the latest xkcd, and the one before that might answer bbass' question.

8:35 PM  
Anonymous SwissArmyDshrek said...

better out than in, I always say...

9:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You guys should stop at stop signs, though.

9:32 PM  
Blogger Kitten said...

Anthropogenic, I believe, not anthropomorphic.

Other than that, cool.

9:46 PM  
Blogger dcw said...

I like the idea of anthropomorphic global warming, but I think you mean anthropogenic.

10:21 PM  
OpenID Dewb said...

Wow, I'm a little surprised that I agree with almost all of this. Let me see if I can pick out some to play devil's advocate on.

On men benefiting from feminist ethics: I absolutely agree, but it depends on which feminists you're talking about. Catherine MacKinnon does not produce any freedom of expression; she does the opposite.

On queers in the military: I agree, and so would most active military officers. I want to ask those protesters in Berkeley if they realize Congress created the don't ask/don't tell policy, and that Congress needs to repeal it.

On the value of taxes being less than what we gain from society: Oh my yes. I thank my lucky stars I was born in the modern age and not a thousand or even a hundred years ago (despite how much fun it would be to visit those eras.) That's worth far, far more to me than the amount I pay in taxes. But you could use that argument to justify any amount of taxation short of slavery. That's society's job, to produce surplus welfare. There may be some other arrangement of the tax structure that increases utility for everyone, and we shouldn't stop looking for it just because we don't live in mud huts.

Not to knock mud huts or anything.

Angry Megan is indeed fun!

11:33 PM  
Blogger Jon said...

This is such a good idea for a blog post I may have to steal it within the next month.

11:51 PM  
Anonymous HC said...

Step out for a day or two, and apparently you miss something leading to vulcanism. Possibly related to the comments deleted by the administrator?

bbas - the argument, as I understand it, is that while there probably are genuine underlying differences in mathematical ability, they are presently so thoroughly obscured by self-reinforcing social constructs that the observed mathematical ability has very low correlation with an individual's potential mathematical ability. Exceptions exist - we can be confident that Erdos was really quite good at math - but who is good at math, as we think about it in day to day life, is
almost wholly determined by our societal preconceptions about who is good at math.

11:57 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Jon, I highly recommend it. It felt GREAT.

(It might make a little more sense if you were around for all the men telling me that I'll never get a husband with a pottymouth like that. Men don't like it when the ladies curse.)

HC - related. It was the return of the guy who came here to pick fights in October. That's not what my blog is for.

12:13 AM  
Blogger Scott Calvert said...

Ugh, had to go and post something that would make me go all fan boy on you. I might pick a nit here or there and I would add that the people on the **other** side do have a point once and a while.

Ok, enough hedging. FUCK. If only more of us who think like this were as clear and confident as you have been here this would be a better world. I could not have put this post together myself without getting hysterical and smashing things, therefore I'm in your debt. These things need to be said and said over and over and over again.

12:48 AM  
Blogger Jacqueline said...

(Note: in this comment, the terms girls/boys, women/men refer to gender averages, not every individual member of a gender.)

Speaking of girls and math, it might have something to do with iron deficiency anemia. Girls are actually better at math than boys right up to puberty, when they start menstruating. Heavy menstruation can cause or exacerbate iron deficiency. Iron deficiency impairs cognitive ability, especially mathematical ability. ~20% of women in the US have iron deficiency or iron deficiency anemia. (If you want sources, just Google the appropriate keywords -- I don't have time to look them up again right now, sorry.)

So it *could* be a physical difference, but environmentally caused (poor nutrition) instead of some sort of innate genetic or brain structure thing. Better nourished girls/women could actually even be innately *better* at math than boys/men, for all we know!

Eat your spinach.

12:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The ev psych argument is interesting, because, crudely put, it pretty much allies you with religious people who see humans as, say, created in God's image vs. secular libertarians who think we're just higher order animals.

4:28 AM  
Blogger scott said...

I'm writing in your name this fall. You should be president. I wish we were electing God. I'd vote for you.

Hello, Megan.

5:56 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

Superb. If you made it into a poster I'd probably buy it.

I particularly like this:

If you can't afford grass-fed beef, you can't afford the full costs of the food you consume.

It's not the most important point, but it's the one that's almost never made.

6:34 AM  
Blogger Louis said...

OMG! Tar and Feather Megan!

You know in Iceland women actually outperform men in mathematical aptitude.

Well I have the tar warming up, if you'll stop by Georgia, we can get you take care of and send you back to California ;-)

7:09 AM  
Anonymous Peter said...


I agree 100%

8:38 AM  
Anonymous Sir Kraab said...

Your ev psych comment reminds me of this, from Cuomo's speech to the 1984 Democratic Convention:

"While survival of the fittest may be a good working description of the process of evolution, a government of humans should elevate itself to a higher order"

Also, right on!

8:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Umm, the least you can do and come clean and admit that this was your rejected entry for the This I Believe series.

Hearing this on NPR would definitely shake a few more pennies loose during the fund drive.


9:41 AM  
OpenID magpiebofh said...


To the demonizing fat people bit, I would add: You don't know why a given person is fat. Maybe he's bloated up from steroids, maybe she's just had a baby or has a thyroid problem. Maybe it's genetic. Maybe that person is a vegan who works out daily and the fat isn't budging. Maybe that person really is lazy and mainlining cheeseburgers on a daily basis. Maybe there's a reason that's good enough for you and maybe there isn't. But why do you think you need to have a "good" reason to treat a fellow human being like they're actually human in the first place?

9:41 AM  
Anonymous Peter said...

Arabs are simply people and should be treated as people. They are not inherently an enemy, but are instead pissed off and militarized when we invade one of their countries after an unaffiliated group of people from a different country flew planes into our buildings.

You might as well try to convince a bowl of goldfish. People are so panty-piddlingly paranoid of Arabs, and of Muslims in general ("OMG the Towel Heads are going to Conquer the World and haul us off to the ovens!!!!") that all logical thinking has gone completely out of the window. Anyone who dares try to point out otherwise is called a Dhimmi (today's equivalent to the past term "n***er lover"). It's hopeless. It's also hard to believe that just six and a half years ago people laughed at the mere concept of "Arab military might." How times have changed.


Men do not come in alpha or beta types, and women do not react to them in some manner illuminated by game theory. Men and women are people, struggling to find connections and get their needs for touch and love and support fulfilled. Their reactions to each other are not categorizable and manipulable.

It may indeed be that there are no such things as Alpha and Beta males from a sociological/psychological standpoint. The fact that everyone constantly talks* about these categories, however, has managed to give them a life of their own, so to speak. We've gotten so that we think in Alpha and Beta terms all the time.

As for "game theory," I don't know what to think. On an intellectual level it sounds quite silly to me, but apparently it actually does work for some men.

* = in the blogosphere, that is. I have never heard anyone in real life talk about Alphas and Betas. Not once.

9:42 AM  
Anonymous Indigo Starblaster said...

Hey Megan,

Gosh, that was fun to read. I only feel moved to quibble over/object to two of them:

1) Lawrence Summers. I don't know the man personally, but I think it is possible that he meant to speak the truth as he saw it, not out of malevolence but out of genuine puzzlement. Obviously a response was called for, but the emotional content of some of the responses was a little frightening.

2) Amateur ev psych is every bit as dubious as amateur med diagnosis, but I think bio science generally (microbio, physiology, evo and eco, etc.) absolutely must be taken into account in figuring out why and how we humans do stuff and maybe even why and how we should do stuff.

Sure, we have frontal cortexes, but they're wired up in really wonky ways to the pre-existing reptilian and mammalian brains. If we go around thinking that the frontal cortex can overrule the rest of the brain when in fact the wiring makes that really, really difficult, we should think about that, if only to do things in a way that makes the back of the brain also want to do what the front of the brain does, if you know what I mean.

Peace, yo :)

9:56 AM  
Blogger Dr. Zeuss said...

Megan for president. For serious. Even though I disagree with quite a bit of it (the math, ev psych, and game theory stuff). This is just so clearly/directly worded and awesome.

11:35 AM  
Blogger SEK said...

I've been here the whole time, Megan. (Or at least since Becks? Jackmormon? made fun of me for not reading it at UnfoggeDCon 1.0. two years back.) I've just never felt comfortable commenting until you wrote about people who can/can't be expected to know your stories already, because I realized: I know your stories! Some of your friends don't! That's somehow meaningful!

11:57 AM  
Blogger SEK said...

Wait, I misremembered: it was Dr. B. at UC Davis last March. (All those Unfogged women, they confuse me with their strong personalities and quick wit.)

12:12 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

They are rather dazzling, aren't they?

12:13 PM  
Blogger Erik said...

I don't necessarily agree with most of these but I'm confused by the comments on math.

Doesn't everybody know that science proved that women are better at math (except geometry because men visualize better in 3d)? Didn't I read studies about that in junior high, and have long conversations about it with the other smart kids? Isn't that why all the pilots are women in all those sci-fi novels?

Apparently California really is different from the Midwest.

12:23 PM  
Blogger DominEditrix said...

M -

I knew there were a few dozen reasons why I liked you.

Why, tho', does no one ever say "cocksucking Bushfucker"? I mean, rats, rats is good people...

12:48 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

I am a Rat! And it is my year!

12:53 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

I mean, my year, MOTHERFUCKER.

12:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a bunch of sycophants.

1:22 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

I know! In CLEAR VIOLATION of my comment policy. I'm going to have to crack down again.

1:37 PM  
Blogger ClueChick said...

Will you marry me?

2:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amen, sister! I haven't come across a blog post that was more fun to read for a long, long time, thanks!

2:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not just sycophants, but starfuckers! ;-)

Thanks for laying the smack down.


5:08 PM  
Blogger Dubin said...

OMG, I'm crying - your rejected entry to "This I Believe." HAHAHAHHAAAAAAAA!!!!!! Oh, that's good.

6:18 PM  
Blogger Dr Paisley said...

Men don't like it when the ladies curse.

My shiny metal ass! Pottymouth is teh hottt!!!!!!leventy!!one!

Beautifully done.

6:31 PM  
Anonymous doctorpat said...

I thought the whole thing about Men's and Women's academic ability was described these days as a difference in variance. Same mean, different variance. So if you take the top 5%, then there tend to be more men in there.

To avoid conflict, please realize that this statistic can just as easily be described as "men are more likely to be obsessive nerds with no life outside of their narrow field."

Likewise if you take the bottom 5%, that will also be largly men (prisons, mental wards).

Hence, when looking at the top 60% of society (ie. people who go to college) you will have a majority of women. It's just the simple application of a bell curve.

10:36 PM  
Anonymous doctorpat said...

Men don't like women who are pottymouths?????

It's called "talking dirty". Lots of men pay 55 cents/minute just to hear that.

10:37 PM  
Anonymous doctorpat said...

Starblaster wrote:

Sure, we have frontal cortexes, but they're wired up in really wonky ways to the pre-existing reptilian and mammalian brains. If we go around thinking that the frontal cortex can overrule the rest of the brain when in fact the wiring makes that really, really difficult

In fact, didn't Megan make just this point some time ago with that post about Johnny Cash and the Buzzards?

10:40 PM  
Blogger 無名 - wu ming said...

that was a thing of sheer beauty.

11:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Come on, seriously? No one's going to call you on this BS? Everyone is just going to suck up to you?

Didn't they have to reduce the physical standards to allow women into firefighting? And the police force as well? If the standards are lowered, why would you assume the quality of service, for a largely physical profession, hasn't dropped?

Math ability is a function of social constructs? BS. Some of the best mathematicians have been poor, uneducated, and from bad families.

Men benefit from the feminist stuff? No. Women still earn significantly less than men, but no longer want to fulfill their typical gender roles at home. It's a net loss for men. So, now, they still don't get to keep their paychecks, but they are expected to give up even more free time to do chores.

I would throw you around like a rag doll, and there's nothing you could do about it. You've said it yourself, men are generally stronger than women, and even working out, men advance faster.

Global warming. Once again, no model, not science. If you haven't made specific, accurate predictions that can be tested, it's not science. And, unless there's information out there that I'm not seeing, no one has come up with an accurate climate model yet. So, shame on you for pretending otherwise, you're educated, you should be familiar with the scientific method.

Men do come in alpha and beta types. That's hippy nonsense to believe otherwise. It's very apparent in a lot of different settings.

No, you can't necessarily have all the sex you want, with as many people as you want and expect it to NOT affect your future relationships. It's naive to believe otherwise. Yes, maybe it's possible, but, if that's the lifestyle you do choose to lead, you're throwing a lot of potential opportunities with men out the window, because the reality is, a lot of them will hold it against you.

No, the value of the taxes I pay is not less than the services I recieve. I pay higher than average taxes, but don't take advantage of most programs, social security, medicare, medicaid, etc.... No, I'd be much better off keeping that money, and choosing what to do with it.

"The costs you see should cover the social and environmental externalities." according to who? Get over it, the majority of the country/world doesn't give a fuck about your hippy world view.

Cars should NOT have to yield to cyclists. Cyclists are normal legal traffic obligated to obey all the same traffic laws.

"Being fat is the result of a mixture of complex factors" Let me get this straight, the causes of obesity are too complex to determine, the obvious calories in vs. calories burned ratio can't be trusted, but you're 100% sure we understand the climate system well enough to know for certain the causes, and outcomes of global warming?

And, in response to someone else, no it's not sexy when women act crude. Sorry, again, reality check here, that's not what most men find attractive in a woman.


11:57 PM  
Anonymous Peter said...

Men don't like women who are pottymouths?????
It's called "talking dirty". Lots of men pay 55 cents/minute just to hear that.

That $3.99 per minute I've been paying must be a total ripoff.

8:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Justin,

I'm pretty sure M's gripe wasn't about what was, but what should be. Yes, lots of sex now impacts relationships later. But it shouldn't. Yes, there are men who judge harshly a fast-talking woman. But they shouldn't. Yes, lots of people don't care about hippie-meat-eating-rules. But they should.

If the reality matched her words, there'd be no gripe.

And even if it being obese was all an individual's fault, and easily preventable, these people should still be treated kindly. Should we then alter insurance costs to benefit those who are controlling their lives and being healthier? Sure. But then we should apply that across the boards - because boy am I sick of helping pay to cover a smoker's lung cancer.

This was a should-be growl, not an as-is.

9:04 AM  
Blogger Nathan said...

H'm...the post in review (capitalization sketchy due to broken finger)

firefighting women: maybe?
math: to some degree, I doubt it's the whole explanation
Summers: I disagree (not entirely, but mostly)
men and feminism: has pluses and minuses, minuses largely underexamined (pluses too, possibly)
you can beat me up: absolutely true! please don't prove it!
gays in military: quite possibly
horrors of war: i agree
global warming: not as convinced as you are, but we should keep thinking/working on it
Arabs: Yes, they're people. Not only that, but they vary widely in what they think of the US, Iraq, and each other. This one needs a little work.
Ev. psych.: needs a long answer
immigrants: I agree
men and women: I agree (at least, I sure hope this is true)
sex: i don't agree
taxes: definitely true for me, not sure about general principle
costs: why should they be higher? (local food: sure)
civil servants: true but not always relevant
not just economic efficiency: sure
bikes: is it OK if I walk?
not so much meat: sure
fatness: I agree
comment policing: I agree

11:01 AM  
Blogger Nathan said...

For the rest...incipient Tourette's syndrome?...

11:06 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

Nathan - No no. Swearing is entirely voluntary for me.

A9:04 - Actually, the rant is sortof in the middle between as-is and should-be. What I wrote is fairly standard among the people I socialize with. For everyone else, my post is encouragement.

DoctorPat - what post? I don't remember writing about Johnny Cash.

Justin - some people agree with the post, some people agree with your read.

11:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. That was good for me too.

4:44 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

I waited fifty comments for someone to say that.


12:55 AM  
Blogger Dizzy said...


God, I've been so distracted lately, I didn't realize what was going on over here.

3:48 PM  
Anonymous Andrew said...

That was awesome; I've never seen anyone play to the stereotype of their demographic cohort so accurately.

3:50 PM  
Anonymous doctorpat said...

DoctorPat - what post? I don't remember writing about Johnny Cash.

Here we go...

No, you didn't mention Johnny Cash directly in your original post, though you did in the comments.

6:00 PM  
Anonymous doctorpat said...

And this alpha/beta/omega male stuff?

Based on a warped version of descriptions of herd animal behaviour, it all sounds very weird and contemptuous to me... BUT

It is very, very easy to see why it is popular.

1. There are a series of easily observed facts:

a) Some guys can get a lot of girls, some guys can't.

b) It doesn't correlate very well with looks.

c) It doesn't correlate very well with "niceness".

Guys who are in the "can't" category would like, very much, to find out how to change their situation.

2. Alpha/Beta theory is the ONLY theory on the market. It might be wrong, it may not work (I haven't tried). But there is really no alternative except to live with not having a lot of female attention.

3. There are guys, a lot of guys, who manage to have a lot of success with women without acting like game playing jerks. But they have no idea HOW they do it, and I've never encountered one who could tell other guys what to do. They certainly don't offer courses, and books and the like.

6:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


check out offer course!

8:53 PM  

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