Open letter to white males

Dear white males,

As white males, we’re enormously privileged in the world of work, society, and almost everything else. While the thousands of small systemic biases that ensure this can be hard to spot, the results are pretty fucking obvious: white males aren’t actually better than everyone else, but we end better-off than everyone else.

If you’re an able-bodied white male who feels that this isn’t the case for you, this is because you’re disadvantaged in some other way. Whether you’re being discriminated against on class grounds, other unfair grounds, or whether you’re just stupid/and or lazy, will vary significantly from case to case.

However, if you’re a white male who believes that you’re losing out because ethnic minorities and women get too easy a deal, then it’s almost certainly your whining stupidity that’s at fault.


John B

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Best-case scenario

The ideal policy outcome for the greater Middle East would be if Middle Easterners’ relationship with religion were to mirror Europeans’, Australasians’, Canadians’ and East and West Coast Americans’ relationships with religion. Extremists would be rare and mocked; life in general would be secular, although the moderately religious would have no problems fitting in.

The worst possible Western ambassador for such a strategy would be a man from (and electorally dependent on) the only significant part of the developed world not to have become secularised.

This may well be another reason why people outside the Southern and Midwestern USA are so overwhelmingly pro-Kerry. It also implies that non-fundie Americans have a moral obligation to vote for Democrats, at least until one of the Middle East and the Deep South loses its fundamentalism…

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On drugs

Drugs are fun. Many of the people who sell drugs are vicious, mean bastards; many of the people who sell drugs are friendly and enjoy making people happy.

Most people are capable of combining the consumption of drugs – whether alcohol, weed, pills or coke – with a happy and productive life. Some people are not. This suggests that they should probably avoid them, and that bad things will probably happen to them if they don’t avoid them.

The existence of the second group is not a sane argument for drug criminalisation, any more than the existence of appallingly bad drivers is a sane argument for car criminalisation.

Yes, some absurdly large percentage of the public want to keep the sale and use of drugs illegal. This merely proves that the public are ignorant and stupid, which we knew already.

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Poor fucker

This is a very good blog. It’s written by someone who’s serving nine years in jail for a non-crime, and has suffered more or less all the worst excesses of the US justice system – including barbaric mediaeval Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Impressively, the writer (an English stockbroker, author and rave promoter called Shaun Attwood) doesn’t express his opinion on Sherriff Arpaio, saying that it might be hurtful and that ridiculing people is negative. I have no such reservations, and would happily throw an illegal rave party if Arpaio and all the vile thugs who voted for him were slowly cheese-grated to death. In the unlikely event that their assailant survived his heroic actions, I’d also buy him several drinks.

It’s true that Mr Attwood did things that he knew were against the law, and that he should’ve been more aware of quite how crazy American justice can be. Nonetheless, nobody deserves to go through the kind of things he’s experienced – literally nobody; the fact that all Mr Attwood did was to throw parties where people had fun with drugs (as amusingly sensationalised here) just makes it even more clear-cut. But just in case his case doesn’t touch your outrage bone, his cellmate is a mentally disabled man serving two years for stealing a dog.

Calling all European expats in the less civilised world: be careful out there…

(original link via Ista)

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Plugs etc

If you want to know my views on Islamic cola, then buy a copy of the Economist and turn to page 37. Or if you want to know what’s going on in the agreeable Manchester suburb of Chorlton-cum-Hardy, then Chorlton Online might be a good place to go. Run by some people I know.

If neither of these appeal, I’d recommend reading the final lines of Charlie Brooker’s latest column, instead: "You might help raise the world’s sanity-and-perspective level, if only by a notch". Pointed and understated…

Finally, a scary advert for a scary drink:

Pleasingly, the Zwack Unicum website suggests that one should cure one’s hangover by drinking a Bloody Mary, which is exactly what I’m doing (thanks, Ista!) Although mine’s made with Stoli, as all vodka drinks should be.

It’s a good website, actually. The English-language text reads as if it were written by a congenial, drunk, Eastern European emigre poet, which is quite possible. They also sell a Unicum-based alcopop – I need to experience this…

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Some mistake shurely?

The Daily Ablution, October 23: Scott Burgess angrily describes Charlie Brooker’s Bush joke as ‘incitement to murder’ and suggests people complain en masse to the Guardian.

The Daily Ablution, October 26: A commenter directly incites the murder of council officials. Scott Burgess doesn’t delete the comment or criticise the commenter (and posts a comment shortly afterwards, implying that he is following the thread).

Of course the second example is also a joke – maybe even a moderately funny one, if you’re feeling pissed off with hopeless council idiots. But I can’t see how anyone could criticise the Bush joke without criticising the council joke (other than through being a partisan hack, obviously).

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The Johns Hopkins School of Public Health says that 100,000 Iraqis have died as a result of the US/UK invasion. 100,000. That’s more men, women, and children than Saddam’s regime killed in the 10 years before his removal.

This is not a comedy outfit like Iraq Body Count. They’re serious public health professionals whose professional reputation is on the line. If you assume they’re lying, that says more about your partisan leanings than theirs.

Anyway. Our troops are in Iraq now, and the slaughter will almost certainly get worse if we pull them out. The chances that Islamist terrorists will launch vicious attacks on the west will be far higher if we pull them out. So we’re probably obliged to leave them there for the foreseeable future, and hope against hope that some kind of non-slaughterous regime will emerge.

So what are we left with? A country full of corpses and ruins, where even the world’s most powerful army can’t establish law and order – and the knowledge that not only would the UK and the US be better off, not only would the War on Terror have been more successful, but that even the Iraqis would be better off, if Saddam were still in power.

Given how incredibly evil Saddam was, this conflict appears to have some important lessons for people who believe in the concept of regime change for humanitarian reasons [*]. Indeed, that’s almost certainly the only good it will do.

I’ve just noticed Johann Hari’s response to the study: he points out that a large proportion of the casualties are due to the appalling post-invasion fuckups and the non-cancellation of Ba’athist debt.

This probably bolsters the theoretical case for humanitarian intervention… however, I’m less convinced about the pragmatic case. Well-informed people with integrity supported the Iraq war because we thought it would make life better for the Iraqis, while perfectly aware that the Bush administration was in it for a wide range of other, unaltruistic and mostly fictional reasons.

We should have considered the point that – since the invasion wasn’t being carried out by people who gave a fuck about what happened to the Iraqis – that they wouldn’t do anything to stop them from dying. And this will be the case in pretty much every other comparable war: the people who start wars rarely do so because they’re lovable humanitarians. They generally do so because they’re low-down dirty bastards.

[*] I used to, up until about January this year.

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