The Lavatory as Laboratory

I have always supported the right of all people to be who they are without a political or legal war against them — provided they aren’t harming anyone else. That said, I can understand how the fight over transgender people in public bathrooms can make even the most tolerant person think twice about how this might affect others, especially women and children. Over at The Catholic Herald, I write about how and why this battle in the culture war is now pitting the Left against itself, instead of the usual Left vs. Right skirmish:

There’s a big difference between an abstract question – “Should transgender women be allowed in female bathrooms?’ – and a concrete scenario: that is, being a female, walking into a bathroom and having a deep-voiced person with the wrong anatomy follow you in. The first is a moral debate that costs you nothing to have; the second is a very real circumstance with which you or your children may have to contend. And when liberals finally do contend with it, even they start to question their own wisdom.

Often you’ll find that liberals act very conservative when no one is watching.


How The Need for Validation Took Over Our Culture

A month or so ago, Ace at Ace of Spades HQ drew attention to this Reddit comment in which a former “social-justice warrior” (SJW) describes how he fled from the lunacy of identity politics.

One of this young man’s thoughts — his description of how he initially fell into the SJW mindset — jumped out at me:

I was depressed at the time, and being applauded for being progressive definitely was an ego boost. Fighting people I perceived as bigoted made me feel better about myself. My SJW tendencies were based mostly out of self loathing — I felt weird, like an outcast, had never had a girlfriend, hated myself, and thought that I was fixing myself by jumping deep into feminism.

What struck me was this young man’s need to be applauded by his peers. Of course, in itself, this is not surprising: it is not a new thing to crave validation from other people, especially from one’s peer group. It wasn’t just that he was seeking approval from others, however; it was that he absolutely needed this approval to survive. He needed it in two respects. First, he would feel miserable and alienated without it. Second, since his social circle was defined solely by groupthink, there was no way to be a part of that culture without the constant approval of others within the culture. (more…)

More Thoughts on the Ashley Madison Hack; or, The Unbearable Unlikelihood of Scoring

In my last post, on the Ashley Madison hack, I wrote:

It’s amazing to me that anyone could have paid to use Ashley Madison for more than a few weeks. If I had to guess, I’d say that at least 90% of the male users of the site never consummated any kind of relationship with anyone else. How could they? The ratio of male to (real) female users was probably something like 100 to 1.

I thought I might have been exaggerating when I wrote that, but as John McAfee has observed:

Annalee Newitz, in a recent Gizmodo article, did an outstanding analysis of the Ashley Madison membership profiles and concluded that fewer than 12,000 women were actually using the site. My own analysis concluded that the number was fewer than 1,400 women. Even using Annalee’s more conservative estimate, that means that there was one femail [sic] member for each 3,000 male members — a 3,000:1 ratio. Using my numbers, the ratio of men to women would be 20,000:1. It would be nearly impossible for the average male member to hook up with a woman using either ratio.

20,000:1 — So imagine a nice afternoon at a crowded sports stadium. You are one of 20,000 men in the stadium’s bleachers. There’s one cute girl in the whole place and she’s sitting in the front row. All eyes are on her. Good luck.

Have You Noticed That All Men’s Colognes Smell the Same?

Me in PJ Media:

We’ve reached the point where there’s very little to distinguish between what a teenager douses himself with when he wants to pick up girls at Mike the quarterback’s keg party and what an adult wears to a wedding or romantic date. Must we all smell like we’re in the middle of Abercrombie & Fitch?