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Archive for September, 2022|Monthly archive page

“Are You a Boy, or Are You a Girl?”

In "See you in the funnies" forum on September 14, 2022 at 3:53 pm

In which WOOF’s editor in chief, Old Bugler, expresses his up-to-the-minute-if-frustratingly-excursive views on nothing but 100% guaranteed genuine news, mostly in the annoyingly officious third-person, as befits his station!   


If you are as old, or nearly as old, as your humble editor–and granted, few are–you may recall a rock tune from the mid-sixties by a lesser known combo called The Barbarians. They scored a minor hit querying: “Are you a boy, or are you a girl?” The succeeding line, if memory serves, was,“If you’re not a girl, then you come from Liverpool!” It was funny in 1965 because it lampooned a sizable subset of American society that gloried in blaring the titular interrogative at any passing lad sporting hair past the tips of his ears. If you were so assailed in that era, you may recall that none of the assailing dullards seemed able to conceive any wittier insult, and seemed uniformly convinced that screaming “are you a boy or are you a girl?”constituted the ultimate squelch.

But whether you were a screaming dullard, or the recipient of the dullards’ taunts, you recognized the question was (albeit insultingly) binary. In other words you had only two available responses (or you could resist responding altogether, or you could break the issuer’s jaw)… No one in the Barbarians thought to include any alternatives, nor would it have occurred to recipients of the query to explain they were, in fact, “questioning” or “non-binary.” Nobody would have understood such gobbledygook, whereas nowadays we pretend to.

Then as now, however, with occasional hermaphroditic exceptions, all babies came in two varieties, which is to say “boys” and “girls.” It was easy to tell, because boys had penises and girls had vaginas. In fact, the same holds true nowadays. And, however briefly, babies are assigned one of two genders in the hospital, or yes, even by enlightened midwives, because the issuers of birth certificates are either unwoke, or, more probably, sensible of the insufficient space on birth certificates to accommodate whichever clusters of the 82 (currently available) ‘genders’ may appeal to woke moms and dads, dads and dads, or moms and moms. But yes, your editor has already committed an unpardonable sin–he has just confused gender with sex. Oops!

Oops!

Have you noticed how important such nice distinctions seem to liberal pundits? They relish imposing them at moments selected to disconcert the naive; usually college students eager to confuse paradox with profundity. These pedagogic slicksters bask in the stir their counter-intuitive assertions provoke:

“Rape,” the woke professor assures his dumbstruck students,”is not about sex!” Similarly, “the Civil War was not about slavery!” And of course–I admit the ‘error’–“Gender is not about sex–” an arguable lexicographic point rendered moot by repeated draggings (no pun intended) through the muck of  contemporary academe.  A few of us recall a day in which college professors contributed their insights to refining usage notes in dictionaries.  More recently America’s educators seem content to loaf about their faculty lounges confecting nonsense terms that inflate their various unhinged lexicons. Stuffing dictionaries (and students) with such evanescent gibberish is a full-blown professorial fad.

Descriptivism villainously distorts the meaning of language [see previous editorial rant] while constructivism appears to legitimate the resultant havoc. But in this case, to lock down the meaning of our terms, let us return to an epoch antecedent to liberal contamination.  Let’s consult Meriam Webster’s 1913 dictionary.  In 1913, Webster insensitively defined gender as “Sex, male or female.” Additionally, it can imply “a classification of nouns, primarily according to sex; and secondarily to some fancied or imputed quality associated with sex.” [Italics added.] The entry seems uncannily prescient.

Webster\s dictionary in its uncannily prescient avatar…

As to sex? Webster’s in 1913 defined it as “Sex, n. 1. The distinguishing peculiarity of male or female in both animals and plants; the physical difference between male and female; the assemblage of properties or qualities by which male is distinguished from female.” Of course, in 1913, nobody knew any better.

“Out there…”

Paula Leech, evidently a girl.

Descriptivists are busy improving these definitions, or rather, deconstructing them into radical insipidity. A representative example is offered by no less an authority than Paula Leech, LMFT, and AASECT-certified sex therapist. Paula writes, “Thankfully, [sic] it’s 2022, and many of the terms surrounding gender are becoming more widely recognized in our society. The language we have around [gender identity] is rapidly expanding to accommodate for [sic] the wide variety of gender identities and expressions out there.” Out there? No wonder Leech believes 2022 is so thankful–it has shaken the stodgy encumbrances of binary neanderthalism and reached the heady apogee of constructive wokeness.

Jackie Golob, MS, writes, “Gender is a term that relates to how we feel about ourselves, the way we choose to express our gender through makeup, dresses, high heels, athletic shorts, sneakers, and more.” (So, in other words, gender is how we express our gender.)

Oh boy, it’s a continuum…

Golob, MS (And Ms, of course)–also a girl.

But Golob insists gender identity is more than a mere social construct, it is also “a continuum. Our society has convinced us that there are just two options for gender identity, ‘male’ ‘female,’ based on biological sex. But in reality, there’s more fluidity!” See? Fluidity. Now your college students can feel haughtily superior as they condescend to inform you that gender isn’t about sex, but rather, “how we feel about ourselves” (because), “In reality, there’s more fluidity!” Tuition, by the way, is sky high, but worth it if your students learn to recognize reality.

Marching to La-la Land…

But none of what Goleb and Leech are blithering about has any association with reality. Almost the entire literature of gender re-identification is pure fantasy, or as Meriam Webster sentiently suggested back in 1913,”some fancied or imputed quality associated with sex.”

By now the properly programmed liberal will be furious with your humble editor, assuming him homophobic (properly meaning afraid of sameness but relegated lately to what Joseph Sobran called “hive speak,”or what we currently call political correctness. In this sense it connotes one who is hatefully predisposed toward homosexuals.  But this screed is not about homosexuality–not a bit of it. Rather, it protests the Liberal Order’s substitution of fantasy for biology, its abandonment of lexical precision in pursuit of that fantasy, and its casual ransacking of psychology en route to La-la Land.

The world according to Jesse…

Your editor shall now quote liberally (as it were) from an article by Jesse Belinsky that appeared on the website The Verge, Aug 8, 2022. In fairness to Jesse, who seems like a well intentioned bloke (or blokette), we’ll first explain that The Verge is a tech blog, thus Jesse’s article is understandably suffused with thoughts on social media and on-line realms. That said, Jesse also embodies the perfect conflation of fantasy and self-imagery that liberalism celebrates, although in Jesse’s case it is greatly accelerated by the Internet…which Jesse praises as a first-rate accelerant.

Jesse Belinsky, as he prefers to be represented.

Jesse writes that he attends a “fairly liberal high school,” and affirms having “come out as Gay,” but his insecurities remain troublesome because “in real life, I’m a tall, slightly chubby, pubescent boy with the acne and self-esteem to match.” It seems significant that “real life” is mentioned only in this context, and is otherwise sloughed off as unacceptably burdensome. 

Not all school counselors are judgey!

A good school counselor or qualified psychologist might guide Jesse to accept the physical realities of the here-and-now while tackling deficits he realistically desires to modify (e.g., his weight, social anxiety, and acne). If he wishes to embrace his sexual preferences and transvestism, therapy may help him there, too–but Jesse seeks release online. Online he is meeting up with his “pals,” and he is determined to dress appropriately. “I want to show off my sense of style,” Jesse writes, “so I spend a solid amount of time trying on different skirts, dresses, and accessories in order to find the cutest look.” But Jesse assays these fittings on his computer. The dresses and shoes aren’t fitted to his physical body, “but rather, on my villager in the world of Animal Crossing: New Leaf for the Nintendo 3DS.” We don’t know what that means exactly, as we last played a video game when Pong was all the rage, but obviously, Jesse can flaunt his transvestism ‘virtually,’ while concealing his body dysmorphia behind his monitor.

It’s a blessing… 

Jesse admits he would face embarrassment and ridicule if he dressed as a female in public,” but online he can “be whoever I want to be — within the confines of New Leaf’s binary gender system, skinny player models, and light skin tones, that is.” Well, no fantasy is perfect. Jesse concurs. “It’s not perfect by any means, but New Leaf is the first game…that lets male villagers wear feminine clothing and vice versa. So, for people like me…it’s a blessing.”

Is there a Shrink in the hut?

Time for your estrogen booster!

There may not be any villagers in New Leaf’s game who practice psychology, (nor apparently any staffers at Jesse’s “fairly liberal high school”) but if such a clinician appears he might recognize transvestism as one of eight paraphilias (sexual deviancies) somewhat bashfully detailed in the 5th edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM-5).

If Jesse wished to discuss his transvestism with a professional he might discover that sexually-arousing fantasies entailing cross dressing are not uncommon in his age range–that homosexuals, bisexuals, and heterosexuals present with transvestism, that the symptoms often remit over time, often do not, and that the fundamental dangers are primarily to the transvestite–for obvious reasons.  Jesse might find ways to reduce or refocus his behaviors, or simply learn to function more comfortably within his diagnostic envelope.

The village shrink had best make haste, however, because as God is our witness, Jesse’s paraphilia will vanish from the always-trend-conscious DSM‘s next edition–following in the wake of such prior ejectees as homosexuality, ego-dystonic homosexuality, and sexual perversion, all flushed down the editorial memory hole.

The Search for Jesse’s Gender Identity…

Predictably, the computer simulations are soon insufficient to assuage Jesse’s yearnings. “I’m starting to wear skirts,” he writes….”I’m at the beginning of the process of figuring out my gender identity” and though still riven with incertitude, he is making progress. “[I] pierced my septum and my ears; and …recently began painting my nails. However, I still can’t bring myself to wear dresses or try earrings that are larger than studs…” 

A fashionista forever!

Jesse next praises Discord (the web platform, not the pejorative noun) exclaiming, “With the higher-resolution screen, brighter colors, and better graphics, the styles I choose…can really pop…and instead of asking me if I’m a boy or a girl …New Horizons asks me what my sense of style is…My friends and I can hop on Discord...I can now post screenshots of my villager on social media to say, “Hey! Check out my bangin’ style!”

But Jesse remains pessimistic owing to “the wave of transphobic fearmongering passing through the United States right now,” insisting his predilections make  computerized meeting places “more necessary than ever.” [More than ever? Seriously?] “I hope that queer youth are able to continue to use these digital playgrounds as a safe and fun space to play with gender…I’ll never be able to resist the life of an Animal Crossing fashionista.”

 Transphobia sweeps through the United States…

WOOF supports everyone’s right to dress stylishly.

We hope no one supposes this editorial an attack on Jesse. whose libertarian right to dress in feminine attire (‘bangin” or otherwise), we are predisposed  to defend. Jesse also retains the 1st amendment right to deem himself an occupant of any whimsically-excogitated “gender category” he likes– but not the right to make rational Americans pretend it’s real. That’s a bridge too far–a ‘right’ invented by the liberal establishment. Discerning Americans are well advised to oppose such flapdoodle.

It pains your editor to disappoint Jesse, but he needn’t bother himself further about his true gender identity. In skirts or out of skirts, you’re male Jesse. Even if you ultimately succumb to surgical mutilation to more persuasively disguise the fact, (as is your adult right), you will still be a male, however brutally amended. The Left will help you play dress-up and urge you to pretend otherwise–but it’s not so.

              Say, was that Ze with Zir? Are HU certan?

Seizing upon zany, nonsensical nonce terms to decorate one’s “gender identity” is really just another kind of transvestism. And eventually, probably after playing with numerous gender flavors, Jesse will opt for whichever current phrase strikes him as the sheikest –the most nearly perfect touch that gives his putative identity the most appealing glow. But he’ll still be a guy.

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LOBSTER WARS!

In "Any way you slice it" forum on September 13, 2022 at 2:03 pm

We had to dig back to “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea” to find a pic of a clearly sentient lobster, but here you go!

See? Just when you thought we were going all soft and opening up a culinary forum here on WOOF, it turns out to be more political carping (no ichthyologial pun intended), but we too were surprised to discover politics at the heart of this matter! Honestly, we were simply checking out recipes on the Internet, or so we thought.

Be it ever so humble…

Since the WOOF Cave is located on the coastline of the Atlantic, we harbor a powerful appreciation of coastal cuisine–certainly including mussels, clams, oysters, and especially lobster. Fun fact: Lobster was historically deemed almost inedible in Maine, where it was so commonly available that it was fed principally to prisoners, who complained about having to eat it. Clearly, the state’s indigenous crustacean has staged a resounding comeback.

“Lobster number four, step forward and say, ‘give me the money!'”

Nowadays, Mainers, like millions of their fellow Americans, cheerfully shell out (no ichthyological pun intended) hard earned and increasingly depreciating dollars for the pleasure of cracking the claws and forking out the meaty tail sections of huge, buttery, marvelously delectable lobsters. Participating in these voluptuary rites, we would argue, is as Yankee Doodle as chowing a Big Mac–A thoroughly American repastas customary a gustatory indulgence for American diners as ingesting the proverbial slice of apple pie (possibly with ice cream)! And given the supernal bonhomie that prevails wherever lobsters are joyfully gormandized, why would anyone set about sabotaging such events? What sort of fiends could derive pleasure from quashing these celebrations of gastronomic harmony?

We didn’t know either, when we first learned of lobster wars in the news–but the answer was soon apparent–all too familiarly apparent. The answer was liberals. That;s right, gentle readers, it transpires that lobsters are not woke, or, conversely, perhaps, they are so woke that they have removed themselves from the American menu.  Thus far, in the civilized world, only Switzerland, Austria, Norway, and New Zealand have officially banned the boiling of putatively cognizant lobsters, with the United Kingdom verging on similar legislation, but these bizarre misadventures are not so safely removed from our shores as may at first be supposed.

All over the Internet one encounters bizarre assertions to the effect that cooking lobsters is either illegal or barely legal in the United States.  But none of it seems reliably reported or even rationally explained. On the one hand, much media excitement is aroused by the idea that “boiling lobsters while they are alive could be made unlawful under new proposed animal welfare laws.” Currently the American Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill only contains laws relating to animals with a backbone (literally)– but this is being reviewed by the government. In other words, “boiling lobsters while they are alive could be made illegal under newly proposed animal welfare laws.” That said, one might be forgiven for wondering why the government is concerned with such redundancies when the boiling of invertebrates has, in fact, been banned in America since 1999.  That’s right–but don’t tell anybody.

We suspect a longstanding explanation of all this confusion may well be indifference–or rather, a bygone era of benign indifference lately dragged into public awareness by a gaggle of woke humanitarians bent on ruining everyone’s dinner. In other words, until recently, nobody thought about how to cook lobsters–we just cooked them.  And almost nobody this side of PETA paused to contemplate to what extent–if any–an invertebrate crustacean might momentarily suffer pain upon being dropped in a pot.  And even today, almost nobody ponders the vagaries of the Lacey Act, or for that matter, seems to know it exists.  We feel bad letting the news out, but the Lacey Act is real!

A gaggle of woke humanitarians bent on ruining dinner.

The Lacey Act?

Colin Ley–the light bringer!

As Colin Ley (normally an expert on financial asset protection), put it in a recent column: “This is probably news to you and you may be doubting what I write. The fact is though, New Zealand banned boiling lobsters alive…back in 1999. I’m not sure how you’re supposed to legally kill a lobster in New Zealand. Perhaps a humane suffocation? That’s besides [sic] the point…the law reads that no live lobster shall be tossed into a boiling pot of water.” So, “since it is illegal to boil a live lobster in New Zealand, it is therefore illegal to boil a live lobster in the USA.”

Ridiculous, you say? Not hardly.  The New Zealand law matters in America because we passed the Lacey Act in 1900, to protect plants and wildlife.  Obviously it has not been against the law to cook a lobster in America until recently, so why is it illegal now? Because of New Zealand pioneering humane pro-invertebrate legislation to which we were immediately, though retroactively, bound.

It is, in fact, a federal crime to boil a live lobster because the Lacey Act declared it a federal crime to “possess any fish or wildlife taken, possessed, transported, or sold in violation of any law or regulation of any State or in violation of any foreign law [emphasis added] or Indian tribal law.” So  Americans have been legally prohibited from boiling lobsters since a foreign law (to wit, New Zealand’s law) banned the process in 1999. If that seems preposterous, take heart. The law is real, but almost nobody knows it exists. So, shhh!

Stop that bear!

In fact, the Lacy Act is so obscure in this context that liberals are currently going to considerable lengths to pass a new (and stunningly unnecessary) law doing what Lacey already does, or at least would do, if it were better known or enforced. Fortunately, nobody in recent memory–at least in America–has been perp-walked by federal authorities for attempting to prepare a lobster dinner–but liberalism, as we know, never sleeps!  As evidence, there is much ado online reviewing contemporary efforts to ban lobster boiling, and a good deal of congratulatory verbiage aimed at the United Kingdom, where “progress” is considered visible.  “Ministers,” declares the UK Independent, “are planning to strengthen the welfare rights of crustaceans and molluscs in the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill, which is currently making its way through the House of Lords.”

Evidently, the House of Lords feels a certain consanguinity with clams.

Happy as a humanely cooked clam!

Boris Johnson assures a supporter of his safety.

That’s correct, gentle readers, the Ministers of Great Britain are not content to ruin lobster dinners, they are also intent on saving mollusks from agonizing deaths. A bill, which enjoyed the support of Boris Johnson (before he wound up in…well…hot water) acknowledges that crustaceans and molluscs are sentient beings and therefore must have rights.This means clams, as well as mussels, oysters, and scallops, will soon be spared boiling or steaming. Presumably, it is difficult to shoot oysters or to electrocute clams–so options are not readily apparent, but the House of Lords has nothing better to do just now, so they are saving the mollusks. Thus, the question is clearly begged, what does one do to one’s lobster (or one’s favorite gastropod, cephalopod, or bivalve) in order to cook it more compassionately?

“No exit strategy”

Charlotte and friend.

Here, we are proud to note, Maine is in the forefront of the effort to cook lobsters more lovingly…and the answer turns out to be marijuana. Esquire reports that Maine lobsters are “dying a happier death thanks to the efforts of Charlotte Gill, the owner of Charlotte’s Legendary Lobster Pound in Maine.” Charlotte, by lucky coincidence, is also a licensed medical marijuana caregiver (one of which you cannot throw a rock in Maine without hitting). Charlotte told the  Mount Desert Islander that she felt bad cooking lobsters on her premises with “no exit strategy.”

Roscoe chills out…

But when Charlotte “hotboxed” a pioneer lobster named Roscoe, exposing him to massive infusions of marijuana fumes,  “he chilled out,” and appeared to greet the boiling water with remarkable equanimity. But as perfect a solution as Charlotte’s technique might seem, it fails to satisfy the preclusions of the Lacey Act. Roscoe (like all his relatives subsequently “hotboxed” by Charlotte Gill), was nevertheless boiled to death, albeit serenely. And the law, if the Lacey Act  is properly consulted, will not abide such inhumanity to seafood.

“Like, man, can I have one more hit?”

Inspired by Gill’s efforts, scientists at the University of California San Diego; Colorado College; and the University of Washington, recreated the pot-to-pot research method, only without bringing their water to a fatal boil. Their methods produced no firm findings as to whether marijuana truly calms lobsters, or even whether lobsters feel pain in the first place. And how one might go about cooking lobsters if one’s ethical compunctions rule out boiling them, remains–well–hotly debated.

The alternatives seem sub-optimal. Swiss chefs, who are forbidden by law to boil a live lobster, are encouraged to first sedate the lobsters by electrocuting them or “stabbing them in the eyes.” (WOOF is not making this up.) Neither option strikes us as markedly less cruel than just  tossing them in the pot, but what do we know?

The perspicacious reader may, by now, feel assured that lobster law is so fraught with contradictions, hypocrisies, and internal paradoxes that the entire crusade to banish the boiling pot will surely collapse of its inherent inconsistencies. Indeed, the day may dawn when, despite all the folderol and moralistic pretense, the Lacey Act is deemed blue–a risible side-note of culinary history. But not so fast.

The anti-lobstering lobby has moved from woke to woker. Never mind the paroxysms of pain the coastal crustaceans may (or may not) suffer in the interest of humankind’s epicurean demands. All those arguments, together with everything you’ve just read, (we should have warned you in advance) are now utterly passé. That’s because you can’t eat lobsters nobody catches– and you can’t catch lobsters nobody fished for. And you can’t fish for lobsters because–guess what! We need to save the whales! (Again.)

Lobsters versus Whales: The “Red List!”

*$#^% lobster fishermen!

That’s right. Lobstering now threatens Moby Dick–well, Moby wasn’t a Right Whale, but you get the picture– and we couldn’t resist the illustration. It seems all lobstering must halt immediately or Right Whales will all get killed by lobster traps.

Never mind the fact that no record exists of a Wright Whale perishing in, near, or because of, any Maine lobsterman’s traps. Comes now the ultra-woke “fish-sustainability” activism from Monterey Bay Aquarium in California, (where the lobsters are terrible anyway).  Monterey Bay Aquarium has gone to pains to supply the country with a publication called, Seafood Watch, downgrading all lobsters taken by lobster traps to a glaring red “AVOID” status, which is Seafood Watch‘s lowest possible rating. This places lobster on the publication’s dreaded “red list.” It couldn’t be much plainer–eat a lobster, kill a whale. 

The right Right Whale–looking surprisingly unfettered.

Seafood Watch insists that 80% of right whales have been entangled in fishing gear “at least once.” But who interviewed the whales–and doesn’t this seem to suggest they are pretty good at getting away? And make no mistake, Maine’s lobstermen are furious at the injustice of the rating. First, they point out, their existing traps are so heavily regulated by State and Federal inspectors that it is virtually infeasible that any Right Whale, no matter how masochistically determined, could become prolongedly ensnared, let alone deceased.  Beyond that, the Maine Lobstermen’s Association pointed out, “Maine lobstermen have not had an interaction with Right Whales in nearly 20 years.”

Hmph! If you ask us, RED CHANNELS had a much catchier cover!

Allison Ferreira, the pecksniff from NOAA.

Allison Ferreira of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which apparently oversees the country’s fisheries, countered that just because Right Whales have not been identified in any recent interactions with lobstermen does not mean fatalities don’t occur. Pressed, however, Ferreira  admitted that of 1,600 alleged entanglement scars and incidents evaluated by New England Aquarium, only about 16 have been traced back to a fishing location, in other words 1%. Obviously, the whales just aren’t trying.

Woke, Inc…

But woke culture is undeterred.  Once the call to arms is sounded, no matter how atonally, nothing matters except virtue signaling…and the biggest virtue signalers around the globe are not the soccer moms or the callow college sophomores–they are the corporations whose greatest fear is earning the enmity of the elite Left.

Save the arugula!

Humanitarians of the Left, rejoice! You have nothing to lose but your lobsters–and we know, most of you stick to tofu and arugula anyway. But now there’s more good news on the feel-good front…

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