Monthly Archives: December 2013

Paul Wheaton gives a Permaculture Keynote

I’m a big fan of Permaculture. In theory. That is, this systematized assemblage of tips, tricks and techniques is, from all that I read, watch and listen to seems to be a very sensible framework for creating a healthy soil, environment and life-style that not only feeds one’s self, brings the creatures that surround us into positive utility, and does so to the benefit of all involved.

Permaculture, from what I can tell requires a fairly deep understanding of a range of subjects such as horticulture, agronomy, soil, animal husbandry, and to some lesser extent energy analysis plus as many other subjects as one is willing to learn. As a youth, I had never believed that I would become a vermiculturist or have an interest in mycology. The learning curve, from what I can tell is somewhat steep, with the results and satisfaction commensurate to the interest and energy invested.

The one lesson that has most resonated with me is a simple one, derived from watching my grand-parents work their farm: waste nothing. Everything from manure to a bit of string is stored up energy waiting to be accessed with the key of creativity–and the desire to save a few bucks.

While surfing countless Permaculture videos on YouTube, one can see an endless variety of excellent ideas that stand on their own. What I’ve failed to glean, however, are the practical applications of starting off one’s property, using this system, without first having taken a multi-day and multi-dollar course.

It is one of my interests, and thus share it with you few who may not yet be aware of it. What bits I have been able to put into practice fits in quite nicely with what some might call the Prepper lifestyle–or as I prefer to think of it, learning to be skillful and self-reliant regardless of easily accessible grid-provided energy.

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The Isolated Male

I found Spetsnaz YouTube channel via a recommendation by Barb Rossa. I very much relate to this video in many ways.

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Paul Sellers teaches woodworking

Woodworking videos and instruction. This is Paul Sellers’ YouTube channel where he shares his woodworking experience. The videos are mostly to show what you can do with wood but partially instructional as well.

I really like Paul’s style. For as much as I’m in love with Matthias Wandel awesome, motivating and inspiring engineering style of woodworking, much of his work would be very difficult to do without power tools. Paul shows us how to do woodworking when the lights go out (as did my grandfather’s generation).

https://www.youtube.com/user/PaulSellersWoodwork/videos?view=0&flow=grid

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What are men good for?

What I find interesting about this video is the way that men are downplayed throughout. First, we can acknowledge that historically, division of labour, that is men as hunters and women as gatherers was an effective strategy. That we exist today, is evidence of this.

The anthropology student claims that women have the ‘burden’ of breast-feeding and that men have the ‘freedom’ to go and risk their lives hunting to support the family.

Notice what women generally claim to think ‘a man’ is a provider, protector, motivated, ‘going somewhere in life’. Not necessarily a good parent, a complication to one’s life, but occasionally valuable for their sexual service or companionship to women. ‘What a man is good for’ seems to be answered with the the assumption that the question ends with ‘to women’. Not to children, other men, society at large or himself.

The traditionalist woman claims that men are not necessary anymore–yet completely ignore that her very survival is dependent upon a society built and maintained by men. Women, these days, are less often supported by one man, but by many. Hydro line workers, truck drivers, farmers, cloth makers, bankers, grocery store operators, construction workers, technology creators, gasoline providers, medical inventors, scientists, etc. Yet, ‘in this day’, women no longer need a man. In fact, she, like many women fails to observe that women now need many men to survive, and are utterly dismissive towards those who allow her greater lifestyle than her forbears. She renders the men who make her life possible invisible, yet still claim that men should work hard to be a good provider.

Comment is then made on how men should express themselves: we should ‘express our emotions’, presuming that men are like women. The assertion is made that that men tend to express only anger, or macho-posturing, or denigrating another person. What this video demonstrates to me is an example of the prevalent cultural bigotry against men.

I would have been curious as to the results had the question been asked ‘What are women good for?’ and to compare quantitatively and qualitatively the difference in responses.

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Does Anti-feminism Help or Hurt the Men’s Movement?

A discussion of this question, hosted by Sage Gerard, Director of Collegiate Activism for AVFM. On the panel discussion will be Paul Elam, founder and publisher of A Voice for Men, Glen Poole, director of the consultancy Helping Men, UK co-ordinator for International Men’s Day and author of the book Equality For Men, Dean Esmay, managing editor of A Voice for Men and Greg Andreson, researcher and media liaison for Men’s Health Australia and senior researcher for the One in Three Campaign.

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How to write a good argumentative essay

I found the following YouTube play list by Kevin deLaplante: How to Write a Good Argumentative Essay.

I’ve only started listening to it, but so far it seems quite good.

Description found below.

This is the introductory video to a tutorial course on how to write argumentative essays.

Full table of contents:

Introduction

Part 1: Guidelines for Structuring an Argumentative Essay
1.1 A Minimal Five-Part Structure
1.2 Writing the Introduction
1.3 Writing the Conclusion

Part 2: A Sample Essay with Some Problems (and Strategies for Fixing Them)
2.1 The Essay: “Should Teachers Be Allowed to Ban Laptops in Classrooms?”
2.2 Analysis: The Introduction
2.3 Analysis: The Main Body: First Argument
2.4 Analysis: The Main Body: Second Argument
2.5 Analysis: The Main Body: Third Argument
2.6 Analysis: The Main Body: Evaluation and Recommendations
2.7 Analysis: The Conclusion
2.8 The Essay: Improved Version
2.9 The Essay: Improved Version with Commentary

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It’s a Man’s World, And It Always Will Be

I was directed to this article on Time Magazine’s website: It’s  a Man’s World, And It Always Will be.

The modern economy is a male epic, in which women have found a productive role—but women were not its author.

I sat stunned. I agree with a great deal of the ideas, and wondered if the word was turning upside down.

A peevish, grudging rancor against men has been one of the most unpalatable and unjust features of second- and third-wave feminism. Men’s faults, failings and foibles have been seized on and magnified into gruesome bills of indictment. Ideologue professors at our leading universities indoctrinate impressionable undergraduates with carelessly fact-free theories alleging that gender is an arbitrary, oppressive fiction with no basis in biology

No! This has made it to Time Magazine? I read on, and while the ideas seemed just and fair to me, what stood out was the excellence of the writing. This is the kind of voice I’d like to be able to write with.

The article concludes thus:

The modern economy, with its vast production and distribution network, is a male epic, in which women have found a productive role—but women were not its author. Surely, modern women are strong enough now to give credit where credit is due!

I found it very satisfying for once, to read an article that spoke in positive tones about men–and in a mainstream venue.

Who, I wondered, is this excellent writer? I was fully intending to send him or her a short note of appreciation for the gesture, and praise for the writing. As I scanned for the author’s by-line, the mystery was revealed: By .

I might as well send a letter to Pavarotti telling him that he sings well.

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Feminist fights strawman. Strawman wins.

Strawmen

 

Ryan Coyle: defeated by own strawman.Ryan Coyle is soundly trounced by his own strawman.

Once again, from the same YouTube video thread. This was simply too precious. I stand amused and bemused. There’s very little content here of value, other than as a pristine example of what a feminist’s arguments looks like when addressing an egalitarian and a men’s rights activist.

Do some MRA’s come across a jerks? Sure do. And so do some feminists.

There is no good reason to read this post other than to witness something bizarre.  It was not unlike watching someone smash his thumb with a hammer, and then, as an act of revenge against the thumb for feeling pain, repeatedly and with increasing fervour smashing it harder and harder in a frothed up frenzy of misplaced loathing.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present Ryan Coyle.

PS: If I this post’s introductory paragraph starts off whiffing of snark, it’s that it was added after the full reply was written. Additional note: edited for clarity and as a writing exercise. The points remain untouched and unmodified, without addition or subtraction.


tl;dr? Your post is an endless series of claims assigned to me that I have never made. You are having a wicked battle with a ferocious army of  straw men of your own making. I respond to each one of your claims, and demonstrate that they are factually incorrect. And I do it in tiny morsels, using small words for your ease of understanding.

“God you Men’s Rights Activists are ridiculous. And that’s mainly because male rights and female rights are not mutually exclusive,”

Men and women’s rights are not mutually exclusive. Please point where I’ve stated differently.

“but you all seem to think they are.”

I’ve yet to meet a single MRA who believes this.

“Equality is not a Zero-Sum Game. Everyone benefits from everyone else’s equal standing in society.”

I’m in complete agreement. I don’t know why you claim that I believe otherwise.

“Further, I have never met a feminist who is against male rights (however plenty of MRAs are against feminism, you included).”

Not only have I met feminists who were against men’s rights, but I’ve lived with them. I am anti-feminists. This does not imply that I am against women sharing  equivalent rights and duties. In fact, I insist on it. What I stand against is the ideological nonsense and the behaviour that derives from feminist ideology. Bigotry and hypocrisy being the two most evident.

“Sure, they don’t vocalize and fight for male rights as frequently (I’ve seen several feminist speakers who have, though), but would it have made sense for a Civil Rights Activist to fight for the rights of white people during the Civil Rights Movement?”

And there is your presumption laid bare: that men have a preferred station in life, compared to women. This is simply and demonstrably wrong.

“No. You have to focus on what is more prevalent and bring attention to it.”

Such as men having no reproductive rights? Such as men being overtly and implicitly demonized? Such as rampant, institutionalized bigotry in law, culture and politics? You mistake frequent repetition for actuality and popular acceptance for  importance.

“That’s the only way things change. Yeah, men have it shitty in some areas. Particularly the perpetuation by society that we are supposed to be dominant, hyper-masculine and emotionless. That’s very damaging to males as a whole.”

“But women experience the same sort of image-related issues propagated by our society on a larger scale, and they also are much more frequently the victims of domestic abuse, rape, victim blaming, slut shaming, fat shaming, cat calls, and image related insults.”

This argument is not fact based. In North America, domestic violence is a 50-50 affair. You can look it up using governmental statistics. More men than women are raped in the US. 2010 Department of Justice statistics: roughly 320 thousand men are raped in prison alone, and in the same year, across the country 270 thousand women were raped.

While women are shamed for their appearance, men are shamed for their performance. You are right, we have equivalents. Feminists ignore this. Feminism is one-sided. Egalitarians look at both sides.

“Tell me, how many times have you been beaten by a significant other? Or raped and then blamed for it? Or told you were a “whore” or “slut” because you had sex with someone?”

In North America, it’s 50%-50%. In Canada specifically, it’s 50% ± 1% across provinces and territories. How many women are falsely accused of rape and have done years of prison time for it? And yes, I’ve been called a “slut” and a “player”, because I had sex with someone.

“Or been told that you were fat/ugly/bitchy/prude for not responding to sexually harassment by a complete stranger?”

Been there too.

“Because none of those things have ever happened to me.”

Then, as the feminists might say “check your privilege before you speak”.

“But in our society, women have a VERY high change of experiencing one or more of those things in their life.”

And so do men.

“Statistically, it’s just about impossible for a women to not experience one of those things. I’ve been alive for quite a while and have never experienced anything close. But do you know how many girls I know who have experienced them? Many times I’ve even been present when they happened, and I’m sure you have too.”

Is your claim is that only women experience these issues? I know of a goodly number of men who have been raped, molested, and violently attacked. Further, I can count on one hand the number of men that I know who have not experienced physical violence, let alone relational aggression.

“But for some reason you choose to ignore that…”

I don’t.

“It’s painful to read through your replies. Look, men have power in our society.”

People have power in society. Some are men, some are women. Let us not forget that many of the worse off in society are also men. If you are unaware of the issues, I can share a handy list I have saved for folks such as yourself.

“It’s so obvious that I find it hard to believe there is anyone who doesn’t notice them. You claim that you don’t, so I’m left assuming that you’re either sheltered, really stupid, or are purposely trying to derail female advancement in society because you either see women as a threat or you want to continue reaping the benefits of sexism against females.”

Why is it obvious to you that men have power and not obvious that women also have power? And that men are powerless and women are powerless. Your point of view is quite one-sided–and this is a by-product of feminist thinking: overly simplistic; it is ideology rather than measurable fact and reality .

“Reading your comments, it’s obvious you haven’t done research either.”

Do go on… :)

“There are three waves of feminism, and you’re not accurately describing any one of them in your comments.”

Yes, I’m quite aware of the developmental stages of feminism. If you have a specific correction to make, please do so. Use facts, rather than waving you hands.

“I used to think feminism was about female superiority too (wasn’t even too long ago).”

I have never made that claim. I challenge you to copy-paste a quote where I do.

“Until I read about feminism and talked to feminists.”

I lived among a group of women who were women’s studies majors. I’ve read their books. It was an incessant conversation. They would on a nearly weekly basis gather together and more or less force me to sit among them and endure and blame and shame session, and would beat me over the head with their statistics, their stories, their theories and their ideas. This went on for three years or so. I’m familiar with feminist ideology. Thanks for asking.

“Lastly, I just wanted to say that a lot of the things you brought up are problems no doubt. But many of them are not for women to solve.”

Again, please quote me where I claimed that men’s issues were exclusively women’s to solve. And stop conflating “women” and “feminists”. If I understand correctly, you are male, this should be evidence enough that the conflation is incorrect.

“Feminism focuses on the issues women face in society. Just like you MRAs focus on men’s issues. Different movements with different purposes.”

Again, we’re in agreement.

“Yet you’re claiming feminism doesn’t do enough to help your cause? Well, neither do animal liberation groups. Because that’s not their focus!”

Again, I have never made such a claim. Quote me. I do claim that people behaving under the assumptions posited by feminist theory harms people, both women and men. I claim that the greatest majority of feminist claims, especially the foundational ones are false. I claim that it is a toxic ideology that promotes bigotry against men.

“Oh, and lastly, claiming that “false accusation” is as big of a problem as rape is fucking insane and insulting. Women have a 25% chance of being raped before they leave college, okay.”

Citation needed, okay? The 1 in 4 stat has not only been refuted, but the entire methodology, and thus the results, has been dismantled, dismembered and dismissed as incorrect. May I recommend spending some time reading The Innocence Project’s website? Or that of The Community of The Wrongly Accused?

“And a very large portion of rape victims don’t report the crime due to assholes like you who will tell them it was their fault for what they are wearing or that you don’t believe them.”

Once more: quote me. You are assigning all kind of claims to me that I have never made, and that I don’t endorse.

“Women are shunned and shamed for being victims of rape in this country.”

And men are falsely accused of being rapists all over the world. What is your point?

“Explain to me why a women would purposefully put herself through that if it weren’t true?”

First, it is not my obligation to speculate on a stranger’s motives. Here are some reasons given by the very women who have made false rape claims. The list is obviously incomplete. 1. To cover up an affair when caught 2. To save face before a peer group 3. Embarrassment as their choices of sexual partners 4. Has a high-conflict personality and enjoys attention and drama 5. To avoid paying for cab fare (I f*cking kid you not) 6. As revenge against someone who slighted her, or cheated on her 7. To gain advantages in legal proceedings.

To a woman who has not been raped, the procedures of making false rape allegations not traumatic. It is likely to be more traumatic to a woman who has been raped to make legitimate claims.

“Not to mention the conviction rate, even when ample evidence is provided, is far too low, so a false accusation is very unlikely to go anywhere.”

Again, you are not using facts. I refer you, once more, to the previously mentioned websites.

“But still, here you are arguing that the insignificant number of false accusations (when compared to overall rape statistics) is large enough that we should just forget about rape.”

Once again: I have never made this claim. Quote me. Question: is one single woman being raped insignificant? If not, when why would one man being violently beaten thanks to vigilante justice, or spending years in prison any less significant? Did we not agree that men and women deserve equivalent rights and obligations?

“Let women deal with it by themselves, right? Fuck it. They’re probably lying anyways.”

Yet again: Quote me. Yet again, you cannot.

“I don’t have a problem with male rights, obviously, but you MRAs are (usually) a different story. You claim that feminists don’t focus on your issues enough and then you turn around and do the exact same thing to a greater extent in addition to condemning women and being part of the problem they face.”

And, tiresomely, yet again: quote me.

“FEMINISM IS NOT INCOMPATIBLE WITH MALE RIGHTS!”

No need to shout. Have you been drinking? Feminism is incompatible with men’s rights. Bigotry is incompatible with men’s rights. Promoting bigoted behaviour and attitudes towards men is incompatible with men’s rights. Lobbying for laws that knowingly disadvantage men is incompatible with men’s rights. When a woman, amongst the highest ranking US politicians claims that “Women have always been the primary victims of war. Women lose their husbands, their fathers, their sons in combat.”, ignoring the inconvenient fact that it is husbands, father and sons who die in combat, is met with applause, the point is well illustrated.

“But your views are incompatible with feminism, because you are not talking about equality, and that is the paramount difference between the two movements.”

At this point, I’m wondering if you’ve even addressed the correct person. I speak only of equivalent rights and obligations for all humans. I am above all, an egalitarian–feminism is not an egalitarian movement. They claim to be, but demonstrate otherwise. Actions speak louder than words.

“The modern male rights movement was created in response to feminism”

No. The modern men’s rights movement was formed  as a means to redress systemic and institutionalized inequities that men experience.

“and uses phrases like “faminazi” to purposefully insult women in the women’s rights movement.”

You are doing it again: conflating “women” and “feminism”. Read the following very, very carefully: “Feminism is a collection of movements and ideologies. Women are people. Movements and ideologies are not people, and people are neither movements nor ideologies.”

“You’re whole joke of a movement was started out of spite!”

Seriously? Are you trolling me?

“How the fuck does that make sense. Let me answer that for you: IT DOESN’T!”

Yes. We agree. That claim makes no sense whatsoever.

“You’re just a misogynist prick trying to put a positive spin on your hate, when really all you do is troll feminist blogs and videos and insult women and anyone who stands up for them.”

1. I am not a misogynist. 2. I am not a prick. 3. I do not hate. 4. I do not troll. 5. I no longer read feminist blogs. 6. I do not insult women. 7. I do not insult people who stand up for women.

I am a kind, compassionate individual who does not tolerate bigotry–against anyone. I speak up for the egalitarian point of view. I speak out against feminism because 1. It’s claims are incorrect, 2. It is harmful in that it promotes falsehoods, and bigotry whose by product is hatred and antagonism against men as individuals and as a class.

“You’re a coward and a loser and you will never find true satisfaction in any of your relationships because you’re filled with hate and bigotry.”

Now that’s just impolite! :)

“I could continue writing forever, because what you have said is so offensive and wrong, but I’m done.”

Most everything you have attributed to me, from the claims made, to my attitudes to your understanding of my knowledge and experiences is simply incorrect.

“Reply if you want, but I’ve already wasted enough time on you. I’m sure one of the thousands of actually intelligent people on this thread will further respond to your idiocy.?”

Imagine: you had a full-on drag-out battle with a straw men–and the straw men won.

I stand bemused.

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Bodily Autonomy and Bad Decisions

An interesting conversation between two YouTubers: The Skeptical Heretic and The Justicar.

The Skeptical Heretic starts off

Followed by The Justicar

 

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Countering common feminist arguments part 1

More from a previously mentioned thread.

Since my comments on YouTube frequently and quietly vanish, I save them here for posterity. I invite your conversation and corrections should you have any.

Today’s “Metaphorical MRA Browbeating” is with affirmedatheist.

“Here’s the thing: If women are equal to men, then the logic follows that men are also equal to women. The latter is implied.”

Yes–but this is not the feminist message, it’s stated purpose nor it’s behaviourally demonstrated goals.

“The reason the focus is generally on women is because that’s the side that gets trodden the most.”

No. There are a number of problems with this argument. “Trodden upon” is  vague to the point of uselessness as a referent. That one is exposed to the message “women are downtrodden” (which they are not) more than men (which is not quantified) is not indicative of the factual state of affairs. Said otherwise: that you hear it more doesn’t make it true.

“Male rape? That’s definitely a problem, though it’s a problem almost exclusively caused by other men.”

1. This is overly simplistic. 2. A victim is a victim regardless of the perpetrator–the point is irrelevant. 3. This is a mere perpetuation of the the feminist narrative of “men as perpetrators, women as victims”. This argument, as is the previous one is simply a lazy.

“I’m not saying F on M rape doesn’t occur (it does, it’s just far rarer. In fact, I think there was a case that got to court last year here in Oz where a woman was actually convicted.”

Again, irrelevant.

“Where it becomes a problem is where men, when confronted with the issues that women experience blame women for their own problems instead of [unfinished sentence]”

As you have just done above for men. By your very definition, your argument is “a problem”, and you have done what you complain about.

“And if men are more victims of violent crime, that’s usually CAUSED BY OTHER MEN, which makes it a non-sequitur.”

False. The only way this sentence can even make sense is the following assumptions are accepted: a. The point of speaking of men’s issues and to counter feminist rhetoric is to assign blame. b. An argument’s concordance with the feminist narrative of “Men as perpetrators and females as victims” is the measure by which the argument is to be evaluated.

“As is the racial argument. I’m not saying that black men don’t get a bad deal – they do – but black women have it even worse than black men, because they have both racism and sexism acting against them.”

False. First, the statement is so devoid of context as to be meaningless. It is little more than a bald assertion pointing to nothing. Second: if we do give context to the assertion, it will be found to be false in the majority of contexts. Black men “have it worse” than black women under law, with the police, in the court systems. They are stopped more, arrested more, charged more and convicted more, they are given longer and harsher sentences than black women for the same crime. Economically they receive less social support and are, politically, are under-represented vis a vis black women in terms of programs and lobbying efforts. Culturally, from my understanding, especially in “the black community” endure a greater amount of negative stereotyping, interpersonal conflict, experience a greater level of violence both publicly and domestically than black women and even their white counterparts.

“A note for MRAs: yes, some of your issues are legitimate”

Please name one commonly repeated claim of an issue made by Men’s Rights Activists in general that is false on it’s face. Name more, if you can think of them, I’ll address them all.

” – but that does not make your metaphorical browbeating of women any more acceptable.

You will find that of those who “browbeat”, I would prefer to choose the term “rail against” as being more accurate fall into two categories. The first being MRA’s that are sloppy with language, and use the term “women” when what is intended is “feminists”. You, yourself have demonstrated the very same offence of conflating “women” and “feminist” Feminism is an ideology. Women are human beings. The second being a very natural human reaction to the treatment by women, interpersonally, as a class and of feminists who incessantly carry forth and act upon a narrative of male despicability.

“Drop the antagonism toward women, and feminists might be more receptive to your claims.”

The antagonism is the natural by-product of antagonism towards men. MRA’s respond to false claims (such as yours) that are consistently acted upon. We rail against those who “metaphorically browbeat” men. Unlike individuals such as yourself, as evidenced by your arguments, MRA’s have been utterly receptive to your claims. We have listened very carefully. We have thought deeply about what you have said–a favour which has yet to be returned by the majority of the population, I might add, and we have found the arguments that you use to typically be false as a whole, and individually. We object to the feminist narrative as bigoted and we counter-argue as I have above, only to have our arguments ignored, dismissed or as is frequently the case with me, to have polite and thoughtful comments simply quietly deleted. I have taken to putting these arguments up on my blog as a means of preserving evidence of this.

“(again, the male rape thing… definitely needs more attention, but I would add that fighting against rape culture can work both ways.”

This is an example of a feminist argument used that bears no relationship to reality whatsoever. That you use it so freely and without embarrassment indicates that you have never bothered to do a few simple things. First, to ascertain what rape culture is. Give me a clear definition without exclusively resorting to pointing to examples that you believe are representative of “rape culture”. Second, you are likely unaware that the term “rape culture” was coined by a black, male prisoner in Lorton Prison, Virginia to describe the environment of prison. Third, there is no sensible definition of “rape culture” that can be applied to North American (or even the Western world’s) culture.

Your arguments are not thoughtful, because you have failed to think about them before accepting them.

“And yes, ther eare resonable people who wish to call attention to issues that men experience; we are not against those issues being addressed.”

If you genuinely are an open minded individual (most claim to be, as a matter of mere lip-service), then excellent. If you are in fact a genuine egalitarian, I challenge you to continue this conversation with me, in this medium, or others.

Doing so will be the demise of your acceptance of feminist tenets, and this will better serve both women and men.

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