Putting People in Boxes By BAS

Putting People in Boxes


No, I’m not talking about undertakers. I mean, the natural human desire to categorize things, and how that’s been perverted by leftists.

This post is the result of a discussion with a friend about standards and definitions. (For the record, this friend really exists; I’m not attributing my thoughts to an imaginary person.) He is a deep thinker, and has a propensity for making mental models of situations and people he encounters. I think this is fairly common among Odds, when we’re looking for sense and predictability in an unpredictable world. It also had serious evolutionary benefits; when we were still living in trees, rapidly sorting unfamiliar things into very basic categories like: Do I eat it? Do I mate with it? Do I flee from it? kept our ancestors alive. It’s hard to work out the nuances of categorization when the cannibal tribe from next door is gnawing on your arm.

But the discussion sent me down the rabbit hole, and I started thinking about what happens when a person doesn’t conform to the model or fit in the box. What happens when someone doesn’t meet the definition of female/male/black/white/purple/whatever.

Sane people assume that the definition isn’t quite right, and adjust their mental model accordingly. They expand the box to include a person who would otherwise find it a tight fit.

An increasingly vocal portion of the left assumes that the person isn’t quite right, and holds onto their precious definition by kicking the person out of the group. How many times did we hear that Sarah Palin wasn’t a ‘real woman’ because she’s a Republican? Conservative black people are insulted and derided, and the left screams that they’re not ‘real black people’, though they’d probably say African-American, wanting to show off how woke they are.

Combine the normal human desire to categorize with a knee-jerk tendency to exclude people who don’t belong, and ta da! Fireworks! And not the good kind. See, if a person doesn’t fit into one box, they MUST fit into another. That’s why we have 57 genders and an infinite numbers of races nowadays. One large box has become a zillion tiny ones, and woe betide anyone who thinks they’re too constricting.

Allow me a digression. I, though female, am not a girly-girl. I’ve painted my fingernails maybe five times in my life; I don’t care what my hair looks like as long as it’s not in the way; and for a few months when I was twelve, I had three sets of clothing. Until recently, I was fairly convinced that I would spend my life single, childless, and living in a cabin in the woods, surrounded by books, guns, horses, and woodworking tools and only interacting with other humans over the internet. Not exactly stereotypically female, is it?

I was blessed with sane parents, so they didn’t try to make me into something I wasn’t, aside from convincing me (mostly) that it was rude to read when other people were in the room and make me use a fork to eat instead of my fingers. But less sane parents might have encouraged me to think I was a boy or that I was a lesbian, because I built tree forts instead of playing with dolls and didn’t like the boys in my class (they were too childish for my taste).

My parents were smart enough to realize that, just because I didn’t fit into the box that our culture has labeled ‘heterosexual female’, I shouldn’t be made to find myself another box in which I would be an even worse fit. They were also smart enough to realize that, if they tried to convince me I was in fact, the opposite sex, I might have been persuaded. Not because I was overly gullible, but because I trusted my parents’ judgment and really wanted their approval (in some ways, I am stereotypically female).

Not everyone has sane parents, and perhaps more importantly, there is an increasing minority of people who believe that, just because a person steps out of their box or doesn’t fit perfectly in the first place, they shouldn’t be allowed back in. In its most benevolent form, this leads to 57 genders, one in each box, so everyone in the world fits into one. Have to make the little darlings comfortable, you know? And of course, people can only associate with like-minded people, right?

And if a person wants to step outside, finds that it’s cold out there and wants to come back in? Nope, can’t allow that. So you have people who try to transition from one sex to the other, regret their surgery and try to return to their birth sex, and they get crucified by both sides, transsexual and not. Many of them started their transitions when they were very young and didn’t know any better but were pushed into it by parents who a) wanted a child of a particular sex and didn’t get one or b) genuinely but mistakenly thought they were doing what was best for their child.

The same thing happens to black people who start out poor and pull themselves up into the middle class. Or immigrants who make good. Unless they abase themselves before the liberal gods- and even that’s not always successful- they become ‘traitors’ in the eyes of the people they left behind. Because they stepped outside the box, and in doing so, showed other people that it could be done.

Sticking people in arbitrarily defined boxes is emotionally simplistic, and when I’m the emotionally subtle one in a conversation, you know something’s wrong. For one thing, who decides the definition of a particular box? Is it one of those things that comes from a ‘collective subconscious’, whatever that is?

I think not. That sounds like a hive mind. Ants have hive minds. I don’t know about you, but I’m too big to be an ant and I don’t like being underground.

So what’s the solution? One option is to have individual sized wooden boxes, in which we can zoom around the universe, bumping into other people’s boxes, waving at our friends as we pass by, and challenging each other to box races. But individual sized boxes would necessarily be small, so as to be more maneuverable, and it’d be a tight fit whenever I want to snuggle with my honey. How would I cuddle the children (that I don’t have yet)? And I get terrible leg cramps when I ride in a car for too long; what do you think would happen if I was stuck in a teeny little box for my entire life? Let’s not even go into the fact that these things would bear a striking resemblance to coffins.

Ideally, I’d have a very large box with a long and complicated name (perhaps something in Old Entish, because an Ent’s name is essentially a recital of their life story), where people can wander in and out if they like. But it needs to be BIG. My books alone would take up half the space. It needs a corner where I can hide when I don’t feel like talking but it needs to be sturdy enough that I can use it as a stage when I want to. The walls can’t be very high, because I like to see out of it. And I need enough space to keep a few horses. Pretty scenery would be nice, too, but I get bored when I look at the same vista every day, so can I have a variety of views?

And since I’m a giver, I think everyone else should have boxes, too. They can decorate them however they like, and I don’t even mind if they overlap into mine. Just wipe your feet on the rug, don’t be a butthead, and don’t follow someone else when they try to move away from you.

If you must put me in a box, make it a large one. Earth sized at the very least. Multi-universe sized is better.


215 thoughts on “Putting People in Boxes By BAS

      1. I haven’t watched the video yet, but that thumbnail image right there? That’s Harry Dresden all over. (Although I don’t know if Harry would wear purple, but maybe that’s just the stage lighting making the guy’s costume look purple: I’ll have to watch the video to check.)

        1. Nah. Harry never wears a hat. That’s just the artist. Mr. Butcher has even made a few in-jokes about it.

      1. My grandmother used to own an economics textbook from the very early twentieth century. It used the word “undertaker” in that same meaning. Seemingly “entrepreneur” came into fashion rather later in economics.

  1. For the record, this friend really exists; I’m not attributing my thoughts to an imaginary person.


    K, that’s mildly rude, but it’s also the first thing a malicious twerp would take aim at, exactly BECAUSE it’s such a common, er, trick in opinion journalism.

    1. I suspect that Our Esteemed Hostess mentioned this as a preemptive strike.

      Experience demonstrates that a bound and determined malicious twerps will find ways to attack, even if it requires misinterpreting.

  2. Boxes, pigeon holes, coffins… Yeah I can see that. I am a simple man. I sort people by how they react to me. So friends, others. Others is also sorted by: fun, not fun, avoid. Works for me overall.

  3. I try to be aware that people are individuals, for all that their presentation can give you clues to how they’ll behave.

    But I wouldn’t mind a universal protocol for basic interaction.

        1. That’s because “politeness” had a nice general set of rules that could be applied in every circumstance. There were even rules for what to do if you accidentally transgressed.

          PC’s “rules” are more like Calvinball’s and even those who think they’re going above and beyond the requirements can arbitrarily find themselves declared anathema (see the recent brouhaha between the author of the Muslim Handmaid’s Tale and the YA PC police). And as far as I can tell, there is no way to make amends for an accidental transgression short of committing seppuku.

          1. Ever notice when the moderns eject classical values, the replacement is often more complicated?
            Classical manners evolved over centuries, and much of that was between men with swords. So it’s pretty well fitted for dealing between humans.
            The modern version is more fitted towards hounding people for being insensitive.

          2. I think it’s an evil subset of Calvinball: “I’ll set and change the rules so that I win and you lose. Always.” Thus at day X, “you didn’t do A. You lose”, while at day X+1, “you just did A. You lose.”

            The good news is that more folks are seeing those rules in action and refusing to play the game by SJW rules.

      1. ^^^^
        This. If Judith Martin were required reading at least fewer people would unintentionally give offense or take offense when none was intended.
        Of course there would still be those convinced she was part of the oppressive patriarchy and claim to be triggered by etiquette.
        Can a Manor house be a safe space from Manners?

      2. Yes, as RAH so correctly pointed out manners are the lubrication that makes a society of humans interact with a minimum of friction.

        1. I remember a conversation I had with a friend, where I was criticizing Obama on his breaches of protocol. Said friend felt that protocol was not necessary, outdated and should be gotten rid of.

          I pointed out that protocol was just a codified set of good manners, which, while complicated, help people deal with other people, especially from other nations, on a diplomatic, or international setting, that help them interact and if there is an oops, allows them to apologize for the oops in a way that doesn’t destroy the apologizer’s standing. Protocol that normal everyday people don’t have to adhere to, generally don’t have to be aware of, and thus, don’t understand why This Is A Bad Thing. If my friend thought that protocol should be jettisoned simply because he found it incomprehensible, then good manners, by that same reasoning, should be junked.

          Said friend did not think that good manners should be lost, for the same reason you cite that it allows humans to interact with a minimum of friction.

          1. While I am quite happy to criticize Obama for almost everything done during his presidency, I was disinclined to criticize his silly bowing to foreign rulers.

            Oh, I criticized his failure to employ competent protocol advisers, or to heed their advise, but I didn’t criticize his bowing … just the reasons for doing it.

            1. In contrast, I object to him doing it– because if he didn’t’ fire the guys who should’ve told him better, he SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER.

                  1. Accumulating evidence suggests Hillary and Lurch have set a mighty high* bar for incompetents in that administration.


          2. The caveat I’ll add is that manners are the general response to stimuli. Too often PC is “just manners” but you are denounced because the rules vary by person. Pronouns are the biggest case but the ‘we pick who can be ridiculed’ is a good second. Chimpy McBushitler is just humor. Noting dumbo ears is not.

            1. Noting dumbo ears is not.
              Speaking as a person whose ears outpaced the cranium for most of my youth… One of my many nicknames was “Dumbo”. Didn’t help that I could wiggle them either. I have seen people use it as an insult, makes one wonder if anyone has actually seen or understood the movie.

              1. Mostly referring to PBHO and the off-limits nature.

                I just look at manners as ‘I don’t know you so I follow the cheat sheet called manners’ where calling someone relatively androgynous the wrong appellation is a whoops not a thermonuclear trigger. And that rules have to be consistent and general. PC tends to be highly serpentine

                1. Reminds me of an editorial cartoon I saw in 2008/9. GWB and BHO are in the oval office with GWB at the desk. One thought bubble connected to both of them “Jeeze, look at the ears on that guy”. Wonder if it got memory holed.

            2. Yes, manners are a general response to stimuli, but also dictate what is the correct / proper response to certain stimuli. PC isn’t manners, and I’ll note, has never been. They tried to make it the modern manners, but the rules are not universal, and not expected of everyone, thus is not manners and very much a controlling mechanism. That it is accepted in this day and age as a replacement of good manners and proper conduct is why we’re in the situations we are in now.

        1. PCniks want to be offended. That way they can have their perpetual temper tantrums and be crybullies. If we retained manners they’d be revealed as the whiny brats they are. They’ve refused to grow up and act as responsible adults.

      3. There’s a line buried in Friday to the effect that loss of manners is a sign of a culture in decline.

  4. Categorizing is what a lot of grammar is based on. There are languages that have what are called “classifiers,” where you can’t just attach a number to a noun; you have to attach it to a special word that goes with nouns of a certain category. Of course English does this once in a while—”three head of cattle”—but there are languages, many of them East and Southeast Asian, that do it for every noun, and that have long lists of classifiers. Then there are languages that have gender. I particularly like the system in some Australian languages, where nouns are masculine, feminine, neuter, or edible, and where giving a noun an unexpected gender indicates that the thing it refers to is in some way anomalous or dangerous (for example, mammals are masculine and birds are feminine, but unusual ones are reversed—the platypus is feminine). And all of the coded information is learned in childhood, in the course of learning to speak.

    Now if we had that setup in English we could mark people as unusual by calling a woman “he” or a man “she”. . . .

    1. I understand, but that choice of example may not be the best one. I’m not sure linguists are aware, but it is my understanding that a the phrase “3 head of cattle” does not necessarily mean the same thing as “3 cattle” or “3 cows”. Perhaps Orvan can correct me if I am wrong as IANAC, however I believe that when using the term “head” it specifies that you are only counting adults and that calves with their mothers are still just counted as one unit. I think has some legal reason, so when you make agreements to use grazing land the calf can follow its mother into the field that its mother is grazing in.

      1. In southern Oregon (no idea how universal this is), the reference is “pair”, ie cow and calf. Usually, it’s talking about how many pairs an acre would support, or in poorer land, how many acres a pair would need.

      2. Out here, “three head of cattle” would mean a cow-calf pair plus one, or three steers, or any combination of 1+1+1. But YMMV, regional differences, and for some specific uses (range science in some areas?) it may also be different.

      3. *waves hand*

        Ranch kid can confirm.

        If you report “four head,” and we show up and find two pair, we’re going to be annoyed unless you’re an ignorant townie and they are VERY large calves.

      4. In fairness, after 25 ish years in the valley, if we get a phone message saying “two or three cows” we go in with everything to deal with four pair or three bulls.

          1. *instinctively touches chin*

            (I wish I was joking; no, I don’t shave, just been helping three generations pluck since forever….)

            1. Wait till you’re fifty. You don’t see well enough to find them all, and they come in faster than ever. Sigh. I need to do something about this. Emily is being charitable.

              1. Forget the flying cars — I want the facial depilatory we hear mentioned on Secundus in Time Enough For Love.

        1. It is widely acknowledged that you are a white Mormon male, with a great rack just for confusion of your enemies.

        2. Hey, my mom got out of a ticket that way!

          Got pulled over…in winter…in the vehicle with NO HEATER… and she’s got a double mastectomy….

          So she was shapeless mass.

          “Sir, do you realize how fast you were going?’
          *mom pulls off hat*
          “That’s ma’am, actually, son, and yes I do. Soon as your lights went on I looked down and realized I was wrong-”
          “OH MY GOD I AM SO SORRY—”

          *cue two basically decent folks doing the “dance out of each other’s way” thing*

        3. > sir

          That’s a thing, now that the feminazis are triggered if you don’t use the precise mzzzz-whatever pronoun they prefer at that exact moment. Since whatever you pick is wrong, you might as well go for the patriarchic, or something like that.

          After a while, George Carlin’s “Hey you! ***hole!” starts looking entirely reasonable…

          1. Given Sarah’s accent and admitted hearing issues, perhaps she is being addressed as “Zir” or “Xir” by folks afraid of offending her by implying that simply because she loos like a lady and dresses like a lady she identifies as a lady?

            From the archives, filed under 1987.

  5. And those zillions of tiny boxes are all made out of ticky-tacky, and they all look just the same.

            1. If they’d really go zooming around the universe, I might consider having my very own box. But I fear they’d prove to move or change with difficulty, so I’ll pass.

              1. I confess, I am quite happy with my box. Its inside’s bigger than its outside and it can take me anywhere in space or time I can imagine. Being a Gallifreyan wallaby has its perks.

                1. Is your box a medium-to-dark blue and masquerades as a way to summon the constabulary? 🙂

      1. Yes, but it was my best attempt at mocking both the leftist’s gender- and race-boxes, and also that idiotic folk song.

        If you thought it was BAS’s idea of “individual sized wooden boxes, in which we can zoom around the universe” that I was mocking, then I didn’t write enough to make my point clearly; sorry about that. I’m a firm believer in the idea that “the smallest minority is the individual”. What I intended to mock the leftists’ boxes, and to use one of their own songs to do it with. (I believe that the original “little boxes” song came from a communist. Does anyone know for a fact if that’s correct?)

  6. I now have ‘Amal and the night visitors’ in my head. *wanders off whistling* “This is my box, this is my box, I never travel without my box!”

    1. The combination of these two songs is doing bad things to my head.

      “Little Boxes” is a song written and composed by Malvina Reynolds in 1962, which became a hit for her friend Pete Seeger in 1963, when he released his cover version.
      The song is a political satire about the development of suburbia, and associated conformist middle-class attitudes. It mocks suburban tract housing as “little boxes” of different colors “all made out of ticky-tacky”, and which “all look just the same.” “Ticky-tacky” is a reference to the shoddy material used in the construction of the houses.[1]…she wrote it on the way to the gathering in La Honda where she was going to sing for the Friends Committee on Legislation….The term “ticky-tacky” became a catchphrase during the 1960s, attesting to the song’s popularity.[4] However, according to Christopher Hitchens, satirist Tom Lehrer described “Little Boxes” as “the most sanctimonious song ever written”.[5]
      Covers[edit] (Lehrer is kind of the musical Orwell: a socialist, but not an idiot).
      That’s “Friends” as in “Quakers” and their positions today are pretty far left of center; don’t know if they are or were officially “socialist” however.

      1. Closest I’ve ever heard to that song is an SCA filk:

        Little Knight-es on the hill side.
        Little knight-es made out of ducky tape.
        Little knight-es, little knight-es all the same.
        There’s a red one, and a blue one and green one and a yellow one.
        And they’re all made out of ducky tap and they all look just the same.

        So they all went down to Pensic,
        And they fought each other on the tourney field,
        Little knight-es, little knight-es all the same.
        There’s a brown one, and a brown one, and a brown one and a browner one,
        And they’re all made out of ducky tape and they all look just the same.

        1. LOL!!!!

          I love that and I’m stealing it and singing it at ALL the scadian events I go to from now until the heat death of the universe!

      2. Yeah, I got the “rich person who has no idea how rich they are howling about the low quality of the poor person’s prized bit of jewelry” vibe in no small part because my otherwise never even visually annoyed grandmother dang near growled every time it came on.

      3. Many years ago, I heard, once, a song called “More Little Boxes,” an updated version in which “They’re all made out of plexiglas and they all look just the same.” I expecially remember the line “They want to have children but you can’t in a con-do-min-i-um.” C and I laughed and laughed. I wish I remembered who did it.

    2. Errrrr … that’s Amahl, with an Aitch.

      I confess I first misread your title of it as “Anal and the Night Visitors” and the poor wretch singing that song rather dolefully. I think it was a Weinstein Production.

  7. Andre Maurois observed that people who are intelligent but not in any way creative tend to enthusiastically adopt intellectual systems created by others, and to apply these systems more rigidly than would their creators.

    1. *gets sad*

      I can see that happening– if they’ve never been taught how to be a good follower.

      Not the nasty meaning way– I mean like “how to be a Samwise.”

    2. Creators can be pretty rigid too, if they are nuts in a way that drives rigidity.

  8. Sherri S. Tepper had a very weird early novel called The Revenants that involved a world being divided into smaller and smaller classifications, and severe penalties for those who exceeded those boundaries. I don’t remember the driving force for this, except that it was said or implied to be external, and the protagonists were a group of people who didn’t fit.

    And now the cycle has turned…

    1. I read some of Teppers’ work in the eighties but, while having some interesting milieus and characters, it seemed too overtly politically oriented to me (not so overt as the pamphlets she had written for Planned Parenthood, probably). On the forefront of the decline of SF into PCF, perhaps?

      1. Yeah. And she had some NASTY stuff. A benevolent force murders all third and later children under the age of two and disappears the bodies so that parents can’t even bury the kid.

              1. No, there’s a slot in their ideology for that. Possibly code word imperialism or some such.

            1. And it’s a cowardly hatred. They want someone/something else to do all the killing.
              Think Himmler fainting during a mass shooting.

  9. Remember the Old Days, when stereotyping was -wrong- and Lefties got all bent out of shape over it?

    Heh, good times…

    1. The lefties have never gotten bent out of shape over their OWN stereotyping. They always give themselves a pass. After all they’re the Lord’s Anointed.

  10. On BloggingHeads yesterday, I watched interesting conversation between Glen Loury and John McWhorter. They were discussing Ta-Nehisi Coates, and McWhorter talks about his well meaning white colleagues who think Coates is terrific and always expect McWhorter to agree but he doesn’t.

    Both Loury and McWhorter, and many other black scholars, think Coates writes well but that he’s mostly talking nonsense, he’s not a deep thinker. But it is Coates that is getting to decide what kind of box black people live in or experience.

    1. Of course he is.
      Coates gets to make white liberals feel good about themselves via “self-flagellation” that is really “flagellating white people who aren’t as woke as I am” and by saying that there is no principled opposition to liberal policies, only racism. He’s a courtier, not a scholar.

      1. “Courtier” sounds more polite than what I would have called him, so I’m stealing this 🙂

        BTW, McWhorter’s “Our magnificent b*stard tongue” is a pretty good read.

          1. Toadlicker suits me.

            Warning: What has been seen cannot be unseen, what is once heard cannot be unheard.

    2. I deal every day with academics who can’t write their way out of the proverbial paper bag. That said, the converse plague is people who mistake verbal cleverness for intelligence.

  11. sturdy enough that I can use it as a stage when I want to
    And, yet, small enough it can be flipped over once in a while and used as a soapbox. 😉

  12. That sounds like a hive mind.

    I refuse to assimilate into The Borg.

    Funny thing, I strongly suspect that those who created the character of The Borg were not thinking that it resembled the direction of the Progressives … but just about any political bent taken to the extreme can become hive minded.

    1. Rod Serling touched on this a bit during an excellent Twilight Zone episode. The individuals from the government who appear at the end of the episode (saying “Obsolete!”) make a noise that resembles insects right before they tear the main character to pieces.

  13. The desire to put people into a box comes from a failure to communicate.

    (sorry, couldn’t resist)

  14. There are the boxes of categorization, but a lot of this seems “tribal” identification. Any tribe has a set of common beliefs and identifiers. Tribes come down hard on members who do not hold to either as a means both of correction and preservation of the tribe. It also means that an outsider can believe everything the tribe believes, but will not be a member of the tribe if they do not have the accepted identifiers. And that’s why those who jump through all the hoops in an desperate attempt to sit at the “cool kids” table will never realize their dream.

    The aforementioned examples of Sarah Palin and conservative blacks are examples of tribal anger, just like the old criticisms of someone “Acting above their raising” or “Acting too white.” They’re all complaints about someone not acting in the manner accepted by “their” tribe.

    Boxes are interesting things, too. What usually happens when someone meets something that does not fit in a box is that the person is viewed as non-standard rather than question the validity of the parameters. A bit of psychological insulation there.

  15. We had a guy who wouldn’t fit in the boxes. Not any of them – not even the very largest. He broke them. They had to find other ways to “torture” him (in resistance training).

    His name is Chad Hennings.

  16. A few years ago there was a search to see if an unmodified original Levittown house remained for a major anniversary. (This was in the New York development by Levitt & Sons, their first planned community.) Only one candidate was found, and it had been changed somewhat from original. People have a way of adjusting their surroundings to their needs and fancy if they are free to do so.

    1. Malvina Reynold’s song was inspired by the development in San Bruno, just south of San Francisco. No idea what they look like now, but I saw them for the first time in the ’70s (from I-280), and they were stunningly alike. At least from the back, the only difference was color. IIRC, all pastels.

      I heard the story from a Steve Goodman & friends concert broadcast in 1978-ish. Reynolds was there (and told the story), along with Jethro Burns. The latter helped make that version of “City of New Orleans” amazing.

    2. Ah, Mr. Seeger, if you only could see what your Communist heros are building for the Workers

  17. Personally, I’ve created a tesseract living space for myself. Roomy, infinitely adaptable, the only downside is that occasionally when chasing a new concept down a hole I find that I’ve stuck my head upside my own fundament. Embarrassing that!

    1. Be careful and read “And He Built a Crooked House” immediately for what can go wrong and how to deal with it.

  18. Reading Tom Sowell has had me thinking about Race = Culture and Disparate Impacts and the challenges of holding two contradictory ideas before brekkers.

    If R=C, then one Race/Culture box is distinctly different from another failing to recognize those differences is raaaaacist. Thus, to reflect a recent contretemps, it is raaaaacist to suggest that adhering to the precepts of Bourgeois Culture might be beneficial to African-Americans seeking to prosper in contemporary society.

    Disparate impact, on the other hand, the legal doctrine so beloved of the prior administration, insists that if a policy of, for example, school discipline, does not produce equal punishment rates for African-American and Asian-American students, then the policies must be racially discriminatory.

    But if African-American culture holds that subservience to authority is slave thinking and Asian-American culture teaches that subservience to authority is a duty, shouldn’t we expect disparate impacts in school punishment rates? Isn’t it raaaaascist to expect the one policy to treat different races as if they were not different?

    Or take the question of housing. If Race 1 has a culture which places great emphasis on paying debts and on maintaining property well and attractively, shouldn’t we expect them to receive different loan acceptance rates than Race b which believes loans are a problem for the lender, not the borrower, and that any effort to maintain their house and yard is wasted and betrayal of their race?

    The two propositions seem irreconcilable, that Race = Culture and all cultures are unique does not comport with the precept that any differences in results must be a result of discrimination?

    Putting people, putting races, in boxes seems to cause incoherence.

    1. Except that you have forgotten that we must each deal with members of those different cultures on their own ground.

      So, you must award those mortgages on the basis of that culture’s own standards, rather than some expected single standard derived from Western Civilization. You must punish based on each culture’s standards of behavior. You must reward based on each culture’s expectations of scholarly effort.

      Because tribalism works SO much better than the American ideal. *eyeroll*

      1. The thing to keep in mind os that these categories are only used to serve the Progressives. They won’t allow them to be used to benefit anyone else. The boxes are to keep the Lower Orders in their place, where their Benevolent Betters can keep an eye on them.

        The Progressives in this country never did get over the way the Working Man got shut of them, like a recruit getting clear of a live grenade, after WWII.

  19. I think it stems from a desire to both be themselves and belong to a group. They can’t figure out that sugar dissolved in water doesn’t go away, it just becomes part of the solution. They don’t want to disappear into a large group, but they don’t want to strike out completely on their own either, so they create a much smaller group, subdividing existing groups as necessary to keep their egos safe and secure.

    The only social unit that actually exists is the individual. When you talk about anything larger you have to start using generalities which becomes less and less accurate as the groups get bigger. We all have our own boxes, but we can combine boxes, Voltron-like, to make something more powerful, if less precise.

    1. They can’t figure out that sugar dissolved in water doesn’t go away, it just becomes part of the solution.

      Obligatory quote: “If you aren’t part of the solution you’re part of the precipitate.”

    2. Like the gaggle of punks I saw one evening a decade ago or so, all of them lounging on the steps of one of the churches in Mainz, Germany. They were identical in their rebellion. It was hard not to laugh.

      1. I remember when some random woman got upset with me once (I was catching attention from men while just standing there waiting for my mom to come back from the restroom) and tried to accuse that I was just wearing goth (more Elegant Gothic than punky, really, kind of a blend of that and perky goth) just to rebel against my parents. I said “My mother bought me this skirt, and the chains and the stockings. She likes how pretty the clothes are. It’s hard to rebel if your parents approve.”

        And to highlight that, my mother walked up, happily holding up this lacy bolero thing, saying “Look what I found for fifty pesos! Isn’t it beautiful?!

              1. And for that someone should be receiving carp in increasing increments ending with a crescendo of carp.

          1. Foxier, it’s the elegant version of the sawed-off sweaters that have been trendy for a while. [erases rant about Spencer jacket vs. sawed-off-sweater vs. bolero vs. good taste]

        1. Haha!

          I was one of those kids who didn’t really push the boundaries (much). I did a few things that were technically dangerous (using the trampoline at the YMCA camp by myself, endlessly catching snakes at the creek, that sort of minor thing), but my father didn’t care because he did much worse when he was young, and my mother figuratively put her fingers in her ears and went, “LA LA LA LA! I’m not listening!”, because she wouldn’t contradict dad on such things.

          Not being a girl, I didn’t have such visible things to be accused of rebelling over (my wardrobe was boring even for a boy of the 70s), but if anyone had done so for any of the things I did, I could have honestly told them that if my parents told me to stop any of the things I was doing, and gave a decent reason, I would stop immediately.

          And in fact, that bit me in the ass years later, when i told my mom that I should have taken that year off school to work before going to college, which I didn’t do because she told me it was a bad idea, because after my sister did that, she decided not to go to college at all, and she asked me, “Well, why didn’t you do it anyway?”

          1. My Dad also didn’t mind what I wore, as long as it was appropriate for the occasion, and I could ‘carry myself well’ and wasn’t self conscious in the outfit. His reaction to my gothwear was “That looks very formal. What’s the occasion?”

            Mind, if he felt that something didn’t look good on me, he would tell me so – That color doesn’t suit you; that makes you look frumpy; that top doesn’t look like it fits you well, especially on the shoulders, etc=> this would look better. It was through such honestly feedback that I learned to look a bit more critically at how clothes would sit on my body, versus slavishly trying to follow the latest styles and fashions versus developing a style and look of my own that suited me.

            It might seem strange to some people (or for some, creepy) that a father would have such input on his daughter’s appearance and clothing, but quite honestly, his feedback (as well as my mother’s) was what gave me confidence in my appearance and carriage – something that I noticed later on a lot of my peers did not have. “Stand tall, don’t look afraid. Be proud of who you are, but don’t look down at people, be gracious in manner, appearance and speech,” etc.

            I swear a lot though, so the latter bit was probably where my real ‘rebellion’ came out.

            1. *twitch* “Stand tall, don’t look afraid.” Would you perhaps be able to find a way for your father’s spirit to come give posture and deportment lessons at my school? We had an assembly this week and the students were all slouching. I wanted to jump up and down and yell “Sit up straight!”

            2. Strange, or even creepy? OK, I get that some fathers might want their daughters to not attract any kind of attention at all (I think that’s crazy, as it’s an impossible goal), but it doesn’t start to seem strange to me until they’re giving tips on undergarments, or if they start trying to get their daughter to dress like a complete tart.

              1. The general impression that I get from reading parenting sites is that the mothers are expected to do all the parenting things, and the dads are occasional parents at best, with very little input save for disciplining, and financial provision. It’s nothing said outright, but the vibe I get is that a father who gets really involved with his daughters in a way that doesn’t involve mere Fatherly Overprotectiveness = watch it, he might be a pedo. Which, honestly, pisses me the hell off, because of how it immediately erases any ability of fathers to care about their daughter’s behaviour, appearance, attitudes, etc. Oh sure, scold them if they’re rude or such, but positive reinforcement? MALE PATRIARCHY HE IS GROOMING HER FOR OTHER PREDATORS!!1

                1. That rumbling you hear is me headdesking so hard it’s creating earthquakes.

                  Yes, I realize you’re in Australia. How do you think my neighbors feel right now? 😈

                2. *mouth opens in shock and horror. Mouth closes with firm snap* Well bless their hearts. How nice. *opens fan and uses it briskly*

                  1. I’m pretty sure that if someone accused me of being a pedo because of my involvement in my daughter’s life, she’d stick ’em with something pointy.

                3. It’s less insane than it sounds if you remember that mom’s boyfriend is the most common assailant, and a lot of women grew up without a dad, and secure people don’t buy many magazines.

                  They’re not thinking of your dad, they’re thinking of my brother. (married a lady with a 11 year old daughter– HE is fine, and she has an awesome dad, and she didn’t hardly ever date between a youthful mistake and my bro. But my goodness, they BOTH knew that it was a dangerous situation)

                  1. It’s not the stepfather situation; but the ‘the dad’s been there since before marriage, watched their children grow, and it’s all fine while the girls are wee, but when they start hitting puberty…’ all that seems acceptable is variations of ‘that skirt is too short’.”

                    It’s a vibe that preys on a mother’s insecurity.

                    1. Very much preying on insecurity, and by now it’s probably trained into a lot of them. I’ve been reading the dang magazines for about twenty years now– heck, when did Murphy Brown do the whole thing with a mom being the only needed parent?

                      It’s a sick culture. Of course it’s uncomfortable with standards that do nasty things like differentiate between a father and an unrelated, unattached guy who finds the decades older model attractive.

              2. It should be the earnest goal of all good fathers to get their adult daughters married to suitable husbands at the earliest practical age, lest they accumulate under foot in his house and cause allergic reactions in his wife. Advising her on how to dress in order to best attract such prey beaus is something which must, under any circumstances, not be left to females.

    3. This may be part of the appeal of anime– and why the non-porn stuff is so hated by some groups.

      A whole LOT of it is about being the arm/leg/chest/head of the greater whole, but still being YOU.

      Some folks really don’t WANT to deal with individual foibles….they want a universal cog, which is so generic that it doesn’t even have a set purpose.

        1. I can’t even remember the words, but Vathara (crossover queen’s creative chaos I think her blog is?) does a really awesome job of using it.

          Everyone is a PERSON, and then the persons can do stuff.

          1. crossoverqueen dot wordpress dot com
            crossovercreativechaos is the handle she uses on that blog.

            I very much recommend reading her there, on FFN, and on AO3. Not all stories are up everywhere. (Thanks again to Emily for teaching me about the last website.)

    4. Well, if you can’t stand out based on your own talents/abilities/ect, there’s always pure taxonomy.

  20. (For the record, this friend really exists; I’m not attributing my thoughts to an imaginary person.)

    T-Bone got a better gig in Jersey, yo…

  21. (For the record, this friend really exists; I’m not attributing my thoughts to an imaginary person.)

    T-Bone got a better gig in Jersey, yo…

    “0Many of them started their transitions when they were very young and didn’t know any better but were pushed into it by parents who a) wanted a child of a particular sex and didn’t get one or b) genuinely but mistakenly thought they were doing what was best for their child.”

    Or they were doing it for their own gratification and the cachet in their circle of having a transitioning child, a particularly vile form of Munchausen’s Syndrome by Proxy…

  22. ” I was fairly convinced that I would spend my life single, childless, and living in a cabin in the woods, surrounded by books”

    Oh my gosh! My wife has a spiritual sister out there!
    The funny thing is, she was the first of her six siblings to get married. I came along and ruined everyone’s plans. Mua ha ha ha!

    Yeah, a box the size of the universe seems about right. I’ll second the motion!

    1. Your wife is far from alone. Change the cabin in the woods to a studio in Denver, and the horses to cats, and that was my expectation at 21. At 22 I was married.

      1. She was 24, and a huge surprise it was too extended family and friends.
        (Is it terrible that I took malicious glee in ruining their expectations?)

        1. *laughs*

          Dad was theoretically going to be the one takign care of his mom and dad like a monk…until he met my mom at 30.

          Reading between the lines, part of why my mom changed her college course away from that of the mother of hear heart was because if she’d stayed around, she would’ve been raped by graduation. No male involved. (took me until into my THIRTIES to figure out the odd silences and sudden changes of topic. I’m pretty sure she didn’t get assaulted, but probably got worse than I did in the Navy with the…forceful propositioning.)

          1. Original point was that she, too, was “supposed” to be a monk in the pursuit of her passion. Supposed both by her, and her family.

            And I just realized I fulfilled the childhood observation that I was “so much like her,” made by folks who also thought I’d never have kids… hey, look! Most kids of anybody!

        1. Depends on the size of the cats, doesn’t it? I recall Randall Garrett employing them for such purpose in his Gandalara Cycle.

          And thanks to Wiki I now have the delight of being reminded that Garrett was one half of the writer known to me as Mark Phillips, whose novels I recall with a great fondness.

    2. Add another– and for that matter, bar the internet part, that’s what my mom expected as well.

      Amazing what years of being told you must been a mainstream teenage girl to have a future will do….

      1. Yes, but think of what “mainstream teenage girls” typically end up married to and count your lucky stars.

        1. …..uh, nothing?

          Hell, my husband is awesome compared to anything, much less an endless string of guys who were dumped by the last six gal they dated because they were too worthless to even have around.

          (The female version of those guys, which I’ve met, don’t date.)

  23. There are people who think inside the box. Those who think outside the box. And a small group who never recognized that those lines on the floor WERE a box.

    Most real progress depends on that third group.

        1. That was not a box. Boxes are three dimensional, and my neighbor’s cat claims all boxes as his own (caught him trying to sneak away with my Amazon box today. *shakes head* I let him have it, after I took the contents out. The box, I mean).

          There was a somewhat dubious rhombus-like squiggle on the ground back there somewhere, I think. Couldn’t have been a box, though.

          Also, is the box that all these people seem to do their thinking in like the tent thing on Ace last week? The something pod? If so, it’s probably marketable. After all, these “people” are strange, but have money, so…

    1. I was under the impression that thinking inside the box is what got Harvey Weinstein in so much trouble.

  24. There’s a political motive here, too. If you get free bonus political points, largely with the press, by being the self-proclaimed spokesman for some disadvantaged group or other, you want to keep your pitch simple, and you want to make your group appear as big as possible.
    Hence, NOW speaks for all women, or has to pretend to, and the NAACP speaks for all colored people, or has to pretend to. To admit to anything else reduces their political pull, and so any dissenters have to be discredited or excommunicated.

  25. Actually, I spent most of my life wanting to put most of humanity into individual small boxes, usually of pine.

    That was what I gave up on the mountain this year…not sure it was the right choice. Maybe today is one of those days when I want to be one of those guys in ranks with the sleepy eyes.

  26. A short presbypoem
    I AM Not My Attributes

    This applies to both God and me

    I am Christian.
    I am American.
    I am a man – son – father.
    I am a Giants fan.
    I am a writer.
    I am a poet.
    I am an individual. (twin note)
    Do you know who I AM?

    1. What is the left up to? What are they accusing the right of?

      More fool me for taking them at face value.

  27. Are you kidding? Most comfortable in the world? I dropped the remote the other evening and had to pull open a drawer to get at my Unger Nifty Nabber Extension Arm with Claw, 51 Inches (available on Amazon) to pull the thing out from under my rocker!

    And only this morning I saw an article about a woman who makes $70K a year posing her feet for fetishists on Instagram and she has to, like, paint her nails, buff away calluses and twist into uncomfortable poses and all sorts of hard work!

    It’s brutal out here, brutal I tell you!

    America Has Built the Most Comfortable Civilization in the World
    By Sarah Hoyt
    I was talking to two friends in their twenties recently, about our travel experiences in foreign parts, and we circled around like an airplane looking for a landing place before we all agreed that foreign parts are all very well, but they’re not… comfortable.

    Now, sometimes it’s worth it to endure some discomfort in the name of travel — of seeing new places and broadening your horizons. I put up with an awful lot of it when I was a kid, traveling by train across Europe. It was worth it because I had stuff to see and places to go.

    But… In normal life? Every day?

    We Americans get all sorts of opprobrium from Europeans and other self-designated superior life forms about our obsession with being comfortable, being at ease, doing things in the easier, most direct, and – often – cleanest way possible.

    Agatha Christie in “At Bertram’s Hotel” makes a comment about Americans liking their rooms warmer in winter, and needing air conditioning in the summer. There was a faint sneer to the words. Americans, you know, like to be comfortable, and aren’t hardened, easy-going travelers like the rest of the world. They don’t put up with discomfort and inconvenience with a smile. For some reason, this is held against us.

    The thing is, you stack all your cathedrals, all your palazzos, the broad expanses of European plazas, of arches and columns and ancient paintings, and they’re all very fine, very impressive, very worth seeing. But you can’t have them and ease and comfort in the same day. Because nowhere in Europe, no matter how much you’re paying (unless you are at the very top of the tree and paying multi-millionaire type of money) will you find the consistent comfort and ease of American life.

    I don’t say this to be derogatory of Europe. They’re used to their little discomforts, they aren’t bothered by them, and that’s fine for them.

    But we’re not made of the same stuff. The idea of America, where citizens rule and every man is a king, permeates our daily life.


    1. I’d never really appreciated climate control in places of worship until I was in Austria in winter when it was 20 degrees F outside and forty F inside the church. Stone is nice and cool in summer. It is not nice and warm in winter.

    2. In a 1950’s car, automatic transmission, radio, air conditioning, power steering, and power windows were expensive luxuries pretty much only available from Cadillac or Lincoln. All are standard features on all makes of cars now.
      One fun thing about America’s poor- the truly poor are those who spend hundreds of dollars on drugs, cigarettes, and alcohol every week.

        1. European cultural mores fit America in the same way Metric parts fit SAE Standard. Some things are close, but not quite.

  28. It doth strongly correlate with that, indeed.

    rapidly sorting unfamiliar things into very basic categories like: Do I eat it? Do I mate with it? Do I flee from it?

    Yup. And from this basic psychophysiology PoV, schizoid setup skews frame operations toward “descend to a subtree”, while paranoid toward “cycle to the next element on this level”. As a result, some people tend to be lost down the first rabbit hole, while others are highly resistant to this.
    Which also does correlate, yes.

    How many times did we hear that Sarah Palin wasn’t a ‘real woman’ because she’s a Republican? Conservative black people are insulted and derided, and the left screams that they’re not ‘real black people’

    It’s a somewhat different phenomenon IMO.
    Both “chase every beast to a little stable” and “I Decide Who Is a Jew” thing are subsets of “…so much the worse for the facts”, not each other.

    1. I remember having discussions more than once where people insisted that anyone who called himself Christian was Christian, but Jews got to decide who was a Jew (with, needless to say, no answer when I point out the recursion problem).

      1. What all sides of those questions tend to miss is that the answer isn’t determined in this sphere. Whether I call myself Christian or Jew, whether other Christians or Jews accept or repudiate my self-definition, whether interested third parties such as the Nazis of jihadis concur in that identification doesn’t really matter. It is up to Him whether or not I make His grade.

        1. Here on Earth, the term has some utility as the designation for people who profess the religion — even if, in the end, they turn out to be tares.

          I’ve heard definitions of Christianity propounded in such discussions that would require all Muslims be included, and (slightly more rigorous) definition that would include a fair chunk of Hindus.

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