The Professor Of Apologies (6-14-21)

00:00 My guest is professor Joshua M. Bentley,
03:00 Talk radio
07:30 The role of radio in Joshua’s childhood
17:00 Not the Best: What Rush Limbaugh’s Apology to Sandra Fluke Reveals about Image Restoration Strategies on Commercial Radio,
31:25 How Christian is Texas Christian University?
34:00 Getting fired though you have tenure
36:00 The zombie bite theory of information,
40:00 Was Sandra Fluke a private citizen?
43:00 Shifting identification: A theory of apologies and pseudo-apologies,
46:00 Media Matters
51:00 Do we have a true self?
1:02:40 The fundamental attribution error,
1:07:40 “If I offended anyone by (X), I sincerely apologize.”
1:11:00 Feeling offended
1:15:00 Apologize in Google NGram Book Viewer
1:17:00 The power of victimhood
1:28:00 Donald Trump and apology theory
1:43:00 When is it important not to apologize?
1:48:00 Nobody denies cancel culture works
1:51:00 Balance theory,
1:55:00 Ethnic/Racial, Religious, and Demographic Predictors of Organ Donor Registration Status,
2:00:00 The Well-Ordered Soul: Happiness and Harmony,
2:24:00 Phone condoms
2:25:00 Tucker Carlson on Buckhead and Atlanta
2:27:00 Soaring crime

Posted in Ethics, Joshua M. Bentley | Comments Off on The Professor Of Apologies (6-14-21)

How Porn May Change What We Crave

From American Greatness:

In 2007, two researchers tried to do an experiment, initially unrelated to porn, studying sexual arousal in men in general. They tried to induce the subjects’ arousal in a lab setting by showing them video porn, but ran into a (to them) shocking problem: half of the men, who were aged 29 on average, couldn’t get aroused. The horrified researchers eventually identified the problem: they were showing them old-fashioned porn—the researchers presumably were older and less internet-savvy than their subjects.

“Conversations with the subjects reinforced our idea that in some of them a high exposure to erotica seemed to have resulted in a lower responsivity to ‘vanilla sex’ erotica and an increased need for novelty and variation, in some cases combined with a need for very specific types of stimuli in order to get aroused,” they wrote.

Incredibly, porn can even affect our sexual orientation. A 2016 study found that “many men viewed sexually explicit material (SEM) content inconsistent with their stated sexual identity. It was not uncommon for heterosexual-identified men to report viewing SEM containing male same-sex behavior (20.7 percent) and for gay-identified men to report viewing heterosexual behavior in SEM (55.0 percent).” Meanwhile, in its “2018 Year in Review,” PornHub disclosed that “interest in ‘trans’ (aka transgender) porn saw significant gains in 2018, in particular with a 167 percent increase in searches by men and more than 200 percent with visitors over the age of 45 (becoming the fifth most searched terms by those aged 45 to 64).”

When this phenomenon is discussed at all, the prevailing narrative is that these men are repressed and discover their “true” sexual orientation through porn—except that the men report that the attraction goes away when they quit online porn.

This is astonishing. The point is not to try to start a moral panic about the internet turning men gay—the point is that it’s not turning them gay.

But perhaps it’s turning at least some men into something else. Andrea Long Chu is the name of an American transgender writer, who writes with admirable honesty about her gender transition and experience. For example, Chu braved criticism from trans activists by writing in a New York Times essay about the links between her gender transition and chronic depression, and denying that her transition operation will make her happy. In a paper at an academic conference at Columbia, Chu asked: “Did sissy porn make me trans?” Sissy porn is a genre—again, once extremely obscure and inexplicably, suddenly growing into the mainstream—where men dressed like women perform sex acts with men in stereotypically submissive, female roles. Sissy porn is closely related to the genre known as “forced feminization,” which is pretty much just what it sounds like. In a recent book, Chu essentially answers her own question: “Yes.”

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Albion’s Seed: Four British Folkways in America

Here are some of my favorite bits from this 1989 book by David Hackett Fischer:

* Folkways in this normative sense exist in advanced civilizations as well as in primitive societies. They are functioning systems of high complexity which have actually grown stronger rather than weaker in the modern world. In any given culture, they always include the following things: —Speech ways, conventional patterns of written and spoken language: pronunciation, vocabulary, syntax and grammar. —Building ways, prevailing forms of vernacular architecture and high architecture, which tend to be related to one another. —Family ways, the structure and function of the household and family, both in ideal and actuality. —Marriage ways, ideas of the marriage-bond, and cultural processes of courtship, marriage and divorce. —Gender ways, customs that regulate social relations between men and women. —Sex ways, conventional sexual attitudes and acts, and the treatment of sexual deviance. —Child-rearing ways, ideas of child nature and customs of child nurture.

—Naming ways, onomastic customs including favored forenames and the descent of names within the family. —Age ways, attitudes toward age, experiences of aging, and age relationships. —Death ways, attitudes toward death, mortality rituals, mortuary customs and mourning practices. —Religious ways, patterns of religious worship, theology, ecclesiology and church architecture. —Magic ways, normative beliefs and practices concerning the supernatural. —Learning ways, attitudes toward literacy and learning, and conventional patterns of education. —Food ways, patterns of diet, nutrition, cooking, eating, feasting and fasting. —Dress ways, customs of dress, demeanor, and personal adornment. —Sport ways, attitudes toward recreation and leisure; folk games and forms of organized sport. —Work ways, work ethics and work experiences; attitudes toward work and the nature of work.

—Time ways, attitudes toward the use of time, customary methods of time keeping, and the conventional rhythms of life. —Wealth ways, attitudes toward wealth and patterns of its distribution. —Rank ways, the rules by which rank is assigned, the roles which rank entails, and relations between different ranks. —Social ways, conventional patterns of migration, settlement, association and affiliation. —Order ways, ideas of order, ordering institutions, forms of disorder, and treatment of the disorderly. —Power ways, attitudes toward authority and power; patterns of political participation. —Freedom ways, prevailing ideas of liberty and restraint, and libertarian customs and institutions.

Every major culture in the modern world has its own distinctive customs in these many areas. Their persistent power might be illustrated by an example. Consider the case of wealth distribution. Most social scientists believe that the distribution of wealth is determined primarily by material conditions. For Marxists the prime mover is thought to be the means of production; for Keynesians it is the process of economic growth; for disciples of Adam Smith it is the market mechanism. But to study this subject in a comparative way is to discover that the distribution of wealth has varied from one culture to another in ways that cannot possibly be explained by material processes alone. Another powerful determinant is the inherited structure of values and customs which might be called the “wealth ways” of a culture. These wealth ways are communicated from one generation to the next by many interlocking mechanisms—child-rearing processes, institutional structures, cultural ethics, and codes of law—which create ethical imperatives of great power in advanced societies as well as primitive cultures. Indeed, the more advanced a society becomes in material terms, the stronger is the determinant power of its folkways, for modern technologies act as amplifiers, and modern institutions as stabilizers, and modern elites as organizers of these complex cultural processes.

* Yankee speech owed much of its distinctive character to its pronunciation of the letter r. Postvocalic r’s tended to disappear altogether, so that Harvard became Haa-v’d (with the a pronounced as in happen). This speech-habit came from East Anglia and may still be heard in the English counties of Suffolk, Norfolk and Kent. At the same time, other r’s were added. Follow was pronounced foller, and asked became arst—a spelling which often appeared in town meeting records during the seventeenth century. Precisely the same sounds still exist today in remote parts of East Anglia.6 The Yankee twang did not develop in a perfectly uniform way throughout New England. In Boston it was spoken at a speed which made it incomprehensible even to others of the same region.

* Even in the twentieth century, the descendants of the Puritans still wear suits of slate-grey and philly-mort. In Boston’s Back Bay and Beacon Hill, Brahmin ladies still dress in sad colors, and their battered hats appear to have arrived in the hold of the Arbella.

Sad colors also survive in the official culture of New England. In the older universities of Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire, scholars and athletes do not appear in colors such as Princeton’s gaudy orange or Oxford’s brilliant blues and reds. The color of Harvard is a dreary off-purple euphemistically called crimson. Brown University’s idea of high color is dark brown, trimmed with black. On ceremonial occasions, the president of that institution wears a mud-colored garment which is approximately the color of used coffee grounds. Dartmouth prefers a gloomy forest-green. All of these shades were on the official list of “sadd colours” in 1638; and are still in vogue today. In the New England dialect, it is interesting to discover that clothes have been called “duds” for three centuries. This was an old English term of contempt for dress. A scarecrow, in his castoff rags was sometimes called a “dudman.” The language of dress in New England was a vocabulary of deprecation. That pejorative attitude still survives in the culture of this region.

* In most cultures, attitudes toward work are closely connected to conceptions of time. For a Puritan, time was heavily invested with sacred meaning.

* When Ebenezer Taylor of Yarmouth, Massachusetts, fell into a forty-foot well, his rescuers stopped digging on Saturday afternoon while they debated whether it was lawful to rescue him on the Sabbath.

* At New London, a courting couple named John Lewis and Sarah Chapman were brought to trial in 1670 merely for “sitting together on the Lord’s Day under an apple tree.” Sexual intercourse was taboo on the Lord’s Day.

* If daily and weekly movements were unusually strong in New England, other common rhythms were exceptionally weak or even absent altogether. The Puritans made a point of abolishing the calendar of Christian feasts and saints’ days. The celebration of Christmas was forbidden in Massachusetts on pain of a five-shilling fine. In England, the Puritan Parliament prohibited the observance of Christmas, Easter, Whitsunday, saints’ days and holy days.

* This “younger son syndrome,” as one historian has called it, became a factor of high importance in the culture of Virginia. The founders of Virginia’s first families tried to reconstruct from American materials a cultural system from which they had been excluded at home.

* The great majority of Virginia’s upper elite came from families in the upper ranks of English society.

* The more hierarchical a society becomes, the stronger is the cultural dominion of its elite.

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Earn What You Deserve: How to Stop Underearning & Start Thriving

Publishers Weekly wrote in 1994: “The author of How to Get Out of Debt, Stay Out of Debt and Live Prosperously here tackles the problems of another fiscally troubled group, those who are earning only enough to meet their needs. He touches on but does not treat in depth the destructive self-image that makes underearning only part of a syndrome. But he does offer advice for treating underearning, beginning with three cardinal rules: do not incur debt, do not take work that pays less than you require and do not say “no” to money, i.e., ignore opportunities to increase your income. Mundis urges drawing up a “spending plan” (not a budget, which is too constricting) and recommends such relaxation techniques as meditation and deep breathing. In what looks like padding, he also presents an adaptation of the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.”

Here are some of my favorite sections of this Jerrold Mundis book:

* Pain is the messenger. It tells me that something is wrong.

* The first step in freeing yourself from underearning is to accept responsibility for the problem. This doesn’t mean it is your fault. The fact that you are an underearner, if you are, is not a condition you wanted or that you brought upon yourself. You may be completely justified in thinking that you were neglected or terribly abused somehow as a child, and yes, it may truly be a shame, and yes, perhaps anyone would empathize with you. But going over that repeatedly is not going to help you free yourself—no one ever got better confessing someone else’s sins. That you are an underearner, while not your fault, is your responsibility. What you do about it is your responsibility. No one can change that for you; no external event or circumstance will alter it. But by accepting that it is your responsibility, you can begin to free yourself from ever having to underearn again.

* Underearners evade, avoid, and deflect money like running backs hurtling toward the goal line of poverty—touchdown! Do not say no to money. Do not evade it, avoid it, or deflect it. Let it into your life. We are talking, of course, about money that meets the first two criteria: money that isn’t debt, and money that isn’t less than you need. If it satisfies both of these, then do not say no to it.

* We evade money by not following up.

* Early in my own liberation from underearning, the communications director of a large professional association called me from Washington, D.C. She’d heard that I broke writer’s block for people. (I perked up, sensing income.) That was not the problem she had. (I sagged.) Her staff writers were not blocked. (I sagged further.) Their problem was burnout and staleness, caused by having to write about the same topics over and over. (Why was she calling me?) Could I help? (How? What did I know about burnout in staff writers?) They could pay $1,250 for an afternoon session with their four writers. It was truly depressing to know that $1,250 was available, but not for me. I was about to express my regrets and thank her for the call and tell her I hoped she could find an answer somewhere, when—with the force of a hammer blow, nearly taking my breath away, and causing the hand in which I held the phone to begin sweating—I was struck by the realization that I had a compulsion to underearn … and that I was about to turn down $1,250.

Perhaps, I thought, the reason I am about to turn this money down is not valid; perhaps it is a function of my compulsion to underearn. Though it was difficult, though my throat began to close and I had trouble getting the words out, I forced myself to say: “Yes, I think I can help you with it. I’d like to give it some thought. Is there a time tomorrow afternoon that would be convenient for me to call you back?”

Six weeks later, I led a four-hour workshop for that woman and her writers down in Washington. I called it “Word Renewal.”

* Much of your underearning has resulted from distorted attitudes and perceptions you have about money, about yourself, and about yourself in relationship to money.

* On your pad, write the heading Underearning. Beneath it, list all the ways you can think of in which you actively or passively underearned over the last twelve months. (Don’t bother classifying them; the purpose here is to help you see the ways rather than to divide them.) For example: Sought work for which I wasn’t qualified. Spent a lot of time on projects that weren’t going to make me much money [if self-employed]. Incurred heavy expenses.

* Now make a second list. Here, write down all the ways in which other people you know underearn: set low fees, for example, insist on getting things their own way, continue to employ unproductive employees. Now get creative and add every other way you can think of: claiming that emotional problems prevent one from working, arguing constantly with co-workers and supervisors which results in never being promoted, not honoring commitments.

* Things I Could Do to Change My Emotions

Under this heading, list seven things you could do to change your emotions about money. Let your imagination run free: You don’t have to do any of these. The point is only to show yourself that there are ways to change, ways you never even realized or considered before. Some of your ideas will be more desirable than others. When you’re finished, breathe, exhale, and relax.

Now write the heading: Things I Could Do to Change My Beliefs

Here, write down ten things you could do to change your beliefs or attitudes about money, or about yourself in relationship to money.

* Sit down with your pen and pad. Write thé heading, 100 Ways I Could Bring More Money In.

* Sometime within the next seven days, write out a description of your ideal relationship with money—not what you think an ideal relationship ought to be but what it would actually be for you. It’s important for you to have a clear picture of this. This clarity will help you make choices and take actions that are more likely to serve your best interests.

* If you’ve been underearning for any length of time, a fair amount of what fills your life—clothes, kitchen equipment, furniture—can have become worn out, flawed, and second-rate.

* Pick a drawer, a bureau, a closet, or even an entire room in your apartment or house. Evaluate every single article within that space, from an old tie to a television set. Ask yourself: Do I really need this? Do I enjoy and take pleasure from it?

* “When I’m inside my own head,” says Harry, a chef, “I’m behind enemy lines.” What he means is that sitting alone with his own thoughts doesn’t help him—they are depressed thoughts, fearful thoughts, the thoughts of an underearner. He means that he can’t simply think his way out of underearning, or out of the low self-esteem esteem that is part of his underearning, and into feeling better about himself. So how does one improve one’s self-image, lift one’s self-esteem?

* One of the simplest and most effective ways to lift your self-esteem is by doing estimable—or esteemable—acts. Write down a number of things you could do for which you would respect or admire yourself.

* Diversifying was part of my own liberation from underearning… Diversification, then, is a process in which you identify the skills and abilities you possess in addition to those you use in your main occupation—or further ways to apply those you already do use—and then find avenues through which to turn them into income-producing activities.

* Stick with the winners.

* Finally, remain open—open to new and unexpected possibilities of recovery. To any technique, discipline, or practice you might encounter that can help you in your liberation from underearning.

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Sex, Lies & Videotape (1989)

Bud says: I just watched Sex, Lies and Videotape (1989) for the first time since it came out, what a debut by Soderbergh. One detail I missed the first time, Andie MacDowell’s character wears a cross throughout the film, up until after she does the video interview with Spader, when she confronts her husband with the bad news she’s wearing what appears to be a Magen David. In the final scene she has no necklace. Quite odd, Soderbergh is not MoT.

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