Tuesday 26 July 2022

Simon & Garfunkel: My Little Town

Published 2008 by kimtisha
YouTube: My Little Town (3:52)
Photos of Florence and Roebling, NJ

In my little town
I grew up believing
God keeps his eye on us all
And He used to lean upon me
As I pledged allegiance to the wall
Lord, I recall
My little town
Coming home after school
Flying my bike past the gates
Of the factories
My mom doing the laundry
Hanging our shirts
In the dirty breeze

And after it rains
There’s a rainbow
And all of the colors are black
It’s not that the colors aren’t there
It’s just imagination they lack
Everything’s the same
Back in my little town

Nothing but the dead and dying
Back in my little town
Nothing but the dead and dying
Back in my little town

In my little town
I never meant nothin’
I was just my father’s son
Saving my money
Dreaming of glory
Twitching like a finger
On the trigger of a gun
Leaving nothing but the dead and dying
Back in my little town

Nothing but the dead and dying
Back in my little town
Nothing but the dead and dying
Back in my little town


Wikipedia: My Little Town
"My Little Town" is a 1975 song by the American duo Simon & Garfunkel. It was written by Paul Simon, who produced the track along with Art Garfunkel and Phil Ramone. The song was included on the 1975 solo releases from both Simon (Still Crazy After All These Years) and Garfunkel (Breakaway). It would not appear on any of the duo's albums until the 1997 anthology box set Old Friends and the 1999 compilation album The Best of Simon and Garfunkel. It was the first single release credited to the duo since the 1972 release of "America", released in conjunction with Simon and Garfunkel's Greatest Hits.

Wikipedia: Simon & Garfunkel
Simon & Garfunkel was an American duo consisting of singer-songwriter Paul Simon and singer Art Garfunkel. The duo rose to fame in 1965, largely on the strength of the hit single "The Sound of Silence".

web site: Paul Simon
During his distinguished career Paul Simon has been the recipient of many honors and awards including 12 Grammy Awards, three of which (“Bridge Over Troubled Water”, “Still Crazy After All These Years” and “Graceland”) were albums of the year. In 2003 he was given a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award for his work as half of the duo Simon and Garfunkel. He is a member of The Songwriters Hall of Fame, a recipient of their Johnny Mercer Award and is in the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Simon and Garfunkel and as a solo artist. His song “Mrs. Robinson” from the motion picture “The Graduate” was named in the top ten of The American Film Institute’s 100 Years 100 Songs.

web site: Art Garfunkel
official web site

my blog: Simon & Garfunkel: A Hazy Shade Of Winter
"A Hazy Shade of Winter" is a song written by Paul Simon, recorded and released by Simon & Garfunkel in 1966, and then included on their 1968 album, Bookends.

my blog: Simon & Garfunkel: Fakin' It
"Fakin' It" was one of Simon's and Garfunkel's single releases in 1967.


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Wednesday 13 July 2022

Dave Chappelle, Ricky Gervais, J. K. Rowling, and the Third Gender

3,125 words, 10-minute read

Over the past few years, especially during this era of t****, I have watched dismayed at the rise of opinion. One person's opinion is equal to another person's knowledge. Faith triumphs over facts. Belief is the same as reality. To paraphrase Winston Churchill:

Never have so many, knowing so little, said so much.

I remember a U.S. senator was being interviewed about global warming, and a journalist asked how he was going to vote on an up-coming bill. He said, "I don't believe in climate change. But I'm not a scientist." I don't believe it but I'm stupid? I don't believe it, but I refuse to spend any time correcting my ignorance? Our worldview is the sum total of our life experiences but what if our lack of life experiences leads to a faulty worldview? This is a U.S. senator voting on a critical piece of legislation which impacts our future, and he admits in front of the world he doesn't know what he's talking about.

Ignorance is not just for the uneducated.
  • J. K. Rowling
    She pens a four-thousand-word essay where she takes the stance that biology dictates we are all born male or female; any other variation is invalid. She declares herself a TERF, a trans-exclusionary radical feminist and voices concern about transgender women being allowed into women's restrooms afraid they may molest other women. Needless to say, she got a lot of flak.
  • Dave Chappelle
    In his 2021 comedy special The Closer, he makes a number of jokes about the transgender community. The reaction was mixed with some LGBTQ groups boycotting the film. Like Rowlings, he sees the issue as a question about biology; we are born either male or female. He also declared himself a TERF.
  • Ricky Gervais
    In his latest comedy special he bemoans the current state of affairs, missing the good ol' days when women had wombs instead of cocks.
  • Jordan Peterson
    His stance like the others seems to be about biology. I note he got himself in hot water on Twitter for criticizing the physician who performed the sex reassignment surgery on Elliot Page.
What does anyone do when they are confronted with something they've never seen before, with something they know nothing about? They do a double take. They doubt it's very existence. And if they're a comedian, they make fun of it, mocking it as not being real.

It is apparent that not one of the above people have heard of The Third Gender, a concept which has existed for thousands of years and has been accepted in other cultures, but which is, according to Wikipedia (referencing Anthropological Theory: An Introductory History (2007) by Richard Warms, Richard L. Warms, R. Jon McGee), still somewhat new to mainstream western culture and conceptual thought. I return to our initial reaction: We don't believe it exists and ridicule the idea.

How did my views about this develop? Let me recount a number of events in my life from the past fifty years.

I, like the rest of the world, was amazed and enthralled in 1968 by the release of the album Switched-On Bach by Walter Carlos, proof once again of the genius of Bach but proof that this modern electronic instrument was more than just an experimental fad.

Fast forward to 1979. I walk by a display rack of magazines and see the latest copy of Playboy, announcing an interview with Wendy Carlos. I always thought Playboy was a good magazine and would have bought it without the pictorials of naked women. I paged through the mag to read the opening of the interview where they always gave a short bio of the person being interviewed. Holy cow! Wendy is Walter or was Walter. I bought the Playboy and read the entire interview. Had I ever heard of a man transitioning to a woman? I don't remember but because of my love for the original album, I certainly paid attention to this person's story of their life journey.

I was vaguely aware of Christine Jorgensen (1926-1989), an American trans woman who was the first person to become widely known in the United States for having sex reassignment surgery.

Throughout the 1980s and the 1990s, I followed the rise of gay culture and the horrors of HIV. There was a world out there I personally knew nothing about but just because I had no personal experience with it, didn't mean this world didn't exist. It was very much real.

I saw the 1992 thriller The Crying Game and was surprised by the reveal of the lead woman being a man. This was completely foreign to me. I had no personal experience with such a situation, and it was surprising to discover such a thing was even possible and existed in the world.

In 1997, I got a call from the wife of a high school buddy I had not seen in twenty years. Would I come visit him? He was dying from AIDS. Bobby completed university, got a career, got married, and had two children, a normal, typical life. But he confessed to me that he had had unprotected sex in a bathhouse with a man, a total stranger. Now, he was paying the ultimate price, and six months later, he was dead. Was he secretly gay? I suddenly remembered that while the rest of us dated in high school, he never did. Was there something I was unaware of all those years? In looking back on high school, there was homophobia. It was part of the culture. Did Bobby keep his true self hidden from the rest of us?

I was fascinated by the 1999 movie The Matrix. The Wachowshis brothers had produced an entertaining and profound film experience. Hats off to them.

Today, it's the Wachowskis sisters. Larry transitioned to Lana in 2008, and Andy transitioned to Lily in 2016.

Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, RuPaul rose the fame, presenting quite a different lifestyle and personage from the mainstream. There was more to life than the traditional man, woman, husband, and wife, white picket fence in the suburbs with 2.5 children.

In researching for my blog, I ran across the story of Casa Susanna. In the early 1960s, cross-dressing men and transgender women would gather at this weekend destination and spend time together, all as women. In 2005, a book of photographs was published which led to a stage play. It's curious to look at these mostly black and white photos showing dozens of men dressed as women sitting around, eating, playing cards, reading, behaving as normal human beings, their only exception is that these were men dressed as women.

I also discovered that the American Psychiatric Association (APA), in their book the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), classified homosexuality as a mental disorder until 1973. (Wikipedia: Homosexuality in the DSM) Even then, the manual listed in one form or another various terms to describe distress over homosexuality, and it was not until 2013 that any reference to homosexuality was removed. It would seem our views on human sexuality, whether anecdotal or institutional, are deeply ingrained.

From my blog What the @#$%^* do I know about sex?, Sep 27/2011:

Back in the early 90's, I'm watching one of the talk shows, not quite as elevated as Oprah but not as low as Jerry Springer. A couple is being interviewed but we're given to understand they have a secret. Commercial break. We return to see two women. I look closer. Woman number two is the husband; he's dressed up in drag. The wife explains that her husband has always had a fetish for women's clothes and once a month he dresses up and the 2 of them go out for a drink together as 2 female friends. She goes on to say that her husband is a wonderful man, a great husband, a good lover and an excellent father; he just seems to have this one special quirk and it is the only oddity out of an otherwise exemplary human being.

Now just mull that one over for a minute. We have a gentleman who has a fetish for woman's clothes. How in heaven's name did this couple arrive at a point where the man could bring this up with his wife? Who knows, maybe he told her about his fetish before they were married, and she married him anyways. The point is that their relationship was open and honest enough that they could discuss this. But look at the alternative. What if she had reacted to this discovery with, "Eew. Get away from me your goddamn weird-oh pervert!" Well, there's one relationship which would have come to a screeching halt and there's one guy who would say to himself that he would never, ever again speak frankly with anybody about "his secret".

At some point she must have weighed the pros and cons and felt the balance sheet showed more benefits than liabilities. But picture what would have happened if the man felt so ashamed of his feelings that he never talked about them with his wife; he kept them hidden. Do I see a potential headline? "Respected family and businessman Fred Schwartz, seen here dressed up in drag in a photograph taken in the local bar Tom's Eatery, was arrested this past Saturday."

In 2017, on a social media platform, I run into a person identified by a female avatar, Alice. We chat, the usual small talk. But then, things turn serious, and Alice decides to tell me her story. Alice is actually Frank, a 55-year-old man transitioning to a woman. Frank was born male. He grew up male. He went to school, graduated, and found himself a career as a male. He got married and had two children. At the age of fifty, he decides to come out. His wife is accepting but she said she couldn't live as a lesbian, so they get a divorce, remaining good friends and still co-parenting. Frank sends me a real-life photo of himself. I see a man, wearing makeup and a wig in a dress. He looks nothing like a woman; he looks like a man in drag. He looks very much the men dressed as women in the photos of Casa Susanna.

Our conversation came to an end, and we went our separate ways never to see one another again. However, I've thought about this story on many occasions. What trials and tribulations was Frank going to face? What ridicule? Obviously, this was important to him, or he wouldn't risk it all, but I still found it incredible that he gets through fifty years of his life as a man but now feels it is of the utmost importance he finds the real him in a woman.

Moving into the 2010s, the question of transgender became more visible in the media. I was aware of Laverne Cox (b 1972), an actress and transgender advocate who rose to prominence in the Netflix series Orange is the New Black. I noted Wikipedia's list of transgender people, bringing attention to the extent of the phenomenon.

What does all this mean?

In light of the above, with the controversaries about transgender over the past few years and not delving into the differences between transgender, transvestite, gay, etc., I did some research and ran across The Third Gender. I like to say that if something happens once or twice, it could be nothing more than a fluke. But when it happens repeatedly, there has to be a phenomenon, something real which I'm unaware of. For years, I knew about the shemale niche in porn, males who appeared as women but with male genitalia. It was all titillating but my curiosity about the topic had led me some time ago to the conclusion there was more to this than meets the eye. I had heard of the ladyboys of Thailand (Kathoey), some, because of discrimination, are forced to work in the sex trade. I could ask why men would be attracted to a ladyboy, but I could also ask why a man would want to become a ladyboy.

I return to an earlier statement: [The Third Gender is] still somewhat new to mainstream western culture and conceptual thought. The Wikipedia article, with references in the footnotes, describes this concept as dating back thousands of years. Human sexuality can be more than just the traditional binary of male and female with various shades of gray, feminine males, masculine females, androgynous, hermaphrodite, etc.

All of us are faced with something we've never seen before; with something we know nothing about. It's disconcerting. It upsets the balance of our world. But is this thing really new, or is it merely new to us? Is the problem that we're confronting something unseen or is the problem that we're confronting our ignorance? I'll be the first to recognise that it's a big world out there, and there's a lot going on I know nothing about. My problem is not falling into the trap of dismissing something if I, personally, know nothing about it. My ignorance doesn't make something invalid.

J. K. Rowling
I just finished reading once again the entirety of the June 10, 2020 essay which supposedly got Ms. Rowling into trouble. It's heartfelt and brings up important points about the transgender issue. Nevertheless, her belief in the innateness of gender doesn't explain all of the previous examples I've mentioned. She admits to being "triggered" by her own bad experiences, and I question how much this has clouded her judgement. She says she's worried about men being granted access to women's washrooms, forgetting when referencing the leader of the free world’s long history of sexual assault accusations and his proud boast of ‘grabbing them by the pussy’, that any man can walk into the women's washroom right now without having to pretend to be a woman.

I can't help feeling that like water, this issue will find its own level. The pendulum has been on the side of denying transgender, keep it in the closet, ignore it, and it will go away. Activists have pushed the pendulum to the other side and now, everything is about transgender. (I see a parallel with homosexuality in our society.) I'm sure there's a middle ground. There is a third gender.

Dave Chapelle
I've watched a number of clips about Chappelle's transgender jokes taken from the comedy special The Closer. (YouTube: here, here) In my piece The S Word, I talk about how the N word can only be used by blacks and go on to conclude that the S word (slut) can really only be used by women. Chapelle is a comedian. He's trying to make jokes. However, Chapelle is not transgender, and his jokes come across as homophobic and cruel. Yes, homophobic. In one piece, he talks about Caitlyn Jenner possibly posing nude in Sports Illustrated. After making comedic faces of surprise and disgust, he states that he's going to say it for everybody, "Yuck!" Every joke has a premise, and the premise here is that somehow Caitlyn's female genitalia are not just inferior but disgusting. Why? The only conclusion is that Chappelle is still thinking of Caitlyn Jenner being Bruce Jenner, and being a heterosexual man, Chappelle is saying yuck to a man. In another piece, he says, "I'm not saying trans women are not women. I'm just saying those pussies they got... You know what I mean?" I'm sorry, that's not funny. It's cruel. I'm sure a transgender woman as a comedian could impart humor in some of these ideas but hearing a man, Dave Chappelle say them, it comes across as mean. So, for me, the real controversy is not Chappelle stating his opinion about transgender issues, it's that he's a professional comedian who's failed at his job. He's not funny. And I find his opinion to be uninformed. It's obvious he has no idea of what The Third Gender is.

Ricky Gervais
In his Netflix special, Supernature, Gervais speaks longingly of the old-fashioned woman, the ones with wombs but says he enjoys the new women, the ones with beards and cocks. (YouTube: here) He's trying to be funny, but his joke is based on the premise that this issue is something new. It's like he tells a joke about machines in the air that fly like birds. Well, hello! Did somebody just wake up from a hundred-year coma? Gervais is a professional comedian. It's his job to be funny. I'm not going to discuss possible transphobia, woke culture trying to cancel him, etc. I'm merely going to say these jokes aren't funny. He's failed at his job. The reference to the old-fashioned confirms what was said above: This is new to western culture. There is a third gender.

Jordan Peterson
I don't really know Mr. Peterson. However, I have run into his public pronouncements through media and have found that for whatever reason, he has not clearly thought through the implications of what he's said. (Peterson talks about Canada's response to the pandemic, and I wonder, if he had been in charge, how many Canadians he would have killed.) He criticizes Elliot Page and his transition from Ellen to Elliot. Twitter suspends Peterson's account. (here) I have no idea what Peterson thinks he's going to achieve with his adamantly opinionated stance, but I repeat what I said above. There is a Third Gender.

Final Word
Something is going on. There's a phenomenon happening. I've never had doubts about my gender. I'm a male. I've always been one; I will always be one. However, I've seen enough to realize I'm not looking at a few isolated incidences, flukes as it were, but something significant in the human race as a whole. I can no longer look at the world purely from my own life but must conclude there are things going on outside my realm of experience.

I can't help thinking the above mentioned four public figures will sooner or later revise their opinions. It's obvious to me none of them know anything about The Third Gender. I repeat they are each giving their opinion as opposed to saying what they know. Belief trumps knowledge. In my piece Cancel Culture, Supposedly, I talk about those who complain about woke people trying to cancel them. I then go see why they've incurred the wrath of the crowd and have found on far too many occasions the individual in question deserves their wrath by being sexist, racist, xenophobic, ill-informed, misinformed, or just plain stupid. If what anybody believes ostracizes another group of people, I'd say they desperately need to reassess their beliefs. They complain about being cancelled, not realizing how they themselves are cancelling other people.


Wikipedia: TERF
TERF is an acronym for trans-exclusionary radical feminist. First recorded in 2008, the term originally applied to the minority of feminists espousing sentiments that other feminists considered transphobic, such as the rejection of the assertion that trans women are women, the exclusion of trans women from women's spaces, and opposition to transgender rights legislation. The meaning has since expanded to refer more broadly to people with trans-exclusionary views who may have no involvement with radical feminism.

Those referred to with the word TERF typically reject the term or consider it a slur; some identify themselves as gender critical.[5] Critics of the word TERF say that it has been used in an overly-broad fashion and in an insulting manner, alongside violent rhetoric. In academic discourse, there is no consensus on whether or not TERF constitutes a slur.

Wikipedia: Casa Susanna
Casa Susanna was a popular weekend destination in Jewett, NY for cross-dressing men and transgender women in the early 1960s. The bungalow camp was run by Susanna Valenti and her wife Marie, who also ran a wig store in town.

A Safe House for the Girl Within By Penelope Green, NY Times, Sept. 7, 2006
There was a pilot and a businessman, an accountant, a librarian and a pharmacologist. There was a newspaper publisher, and a court translator. By day, they were the men in the gray flannel suits, but on the weekends, they were Felicity, Cynthia, Gail, Sandy, Fiona, Virginia and Susanna. It was the dawn of the 1960’s, yet they wore their late 50’s fashions with awkward pride: the white gloves, the demure dresses and low heels, the stiff wigs. Many were married with children, or soon would be. In those pre-Judith Butler, pre-Phil Donahue days, when gender was more tightly tethered to biology, these men’s “gender migrations,” or “gender dysphoria,” as the sociologists began to call cross-dressing, might cost them their marriages, their jobs, their freedom.


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Thursday 7 July 2022

Pro-lifers are morally superior to the rest of us.

Postscript 2022-07-07

1,200 words, 6-minute read

Full disclosure: I'm a libtard, a badge I wear with great pride. To borrow from the 1960s hippies, I'm a peace, love, and understanding type of guy. And if you haven't guessed, I'm pro-choice but let me add a seeming contradiction: I, too, am anti-abortion. This is elective surgery and represents an unwanted pregnancy. If all babies arrived at the right time, if all pregnancies were wanted, nobody would have an abortion.

Morally Superior
Abortion is murder. It goes against God's will. I'm not going to argue those points but I'm going to point out the contradiction in all this.

Pro-lifers want to enact a law but don't care if it's followed. They've done their work; it is now up to the rest of us to respect that law. If somebody unintentionally gets pregnant, if somebody tries to get an illegal abortion, it's the fault of the individual, not the pro-lifers.

The rate of abortion could be zero, today.
If we collectively instituted a comprehensive program of sex education, if we ensured birth control was readily available to everyone, condoms for all, the pill for women, and I would also include vasectomies for men, pregnancy would only happen when people would want a pregnancy. Nobody gets an abortion if they want to have a baby. People seek abortions only because they don't want a baby.

But pro-lifers do not want sex education. They do not want to distribute birth control. They want abstinence and for them, there is no other way of dealing with sex.

An anti-abortion law makes pro-Lifers feel good about themselves
They don't care about reducing the rate of abortion to zero. They don't care who dies having a botched abortion. They don't care about the pain and heartache of those faced with a life-changing situation. I repeat they don't care about reducing the rate of abortion to zero. They just want to feel good about themselves. They want to feel morally superior to the rest of us. They want to go to bed at night, feeling they've done the Lord's work as if they had exclusive access to the Almighty's intent. If the rest of us can't see the goodness in His way, well, too bad for us. We're all going to Hell.

If pro-lifers truly wanted to reduce the rate of abortion to zero, they should be willing to do anything to achieve that goal, sex education, birth control, etc. But they aren't willing. And so, they fail. Making something illegal does not stop that thing. Prostitution, drugs, speeding, texting, heck, even murder! The very fact something is deemed illegal does not mean people will not do it. If people want something, law be damned!

As an aside, I would point out how Portugal decriminalized drugs in 2001, focusing on therapy not prison sentences. (Drug liberalization: Portugal) While going against the common, accepted approach of combating drug use with incarceration, the country has seen an improvement in their situation.

Pro-Lifers think they're doing God's will.
Guess what? Not everybody believes the same thing. Abortion is murder? Not everybody agrees. According to WHO, the World Health Organization, there are over 70 million abortions in the world each year. (WHO, Nov 2021) That's a lot of people who disagree with pro-lifers. Out of all religions, Christianity accounts for only 31% of the world population. (Wikipedia) In the United States, 55% of the population identify as pro-choice with 39% as pro-life. (Gallup, 2022)

God's will? I repeat how pro-lifers are so concerned about the fetus but then have nothing to say once the baby is born. Don't understand my point? Two words: school shootings. It is the height of hypocrisy to campaign against abortion and yet do nothing about gun violence.

The Christian Taliban
A pro-choicer says have an abortion, or don't have an abortion, it's your choice. A pro-lifer says I'm right, and everybody has to do what I say.

Final Word
This whole debate is f*cking stupid. Medical science says that preventative is better than curative. It is easier and less costly. Once you are sick, a lot more is involved in resolving the problem. We are arguing about how to deal with an unwanted pregnancy. Why oh why did we get to this point? Why is anybody getting pregnant when they don't want to get pregnant?

I repeat I'm pro-choice but I'm anti-abortion. Collectively, we have the means today to reduce the rate of abortion to zero. However, pro-lifers have turned this into a moral issue and refuse to do what's necessary to make that happen. Consequently, this supposed victory of overturning Roe vs. Wade is an empty victory. Abortions will continue regardless of the law, but now, due to the illegality of the procedure, those abortions will be done in secret, not under optimal circumstances, and the rate of injury and death will go up. The WHO estimates 45% of the over 70 million abortions a year worldwide are unsafe which I assume means illegal. Despite the morality of religion, despite the laws of the country, women still seek out abortions at the risk of their own lives. But Like Pontius Pilate, pro-lifers wash their hands of responsibility.

Postscript 2022-07-07
Shortly after I posted this article on Twitter, I got a response which led to the following exchange. According X's Twitter profile, she's "married, anti-abortionist asf, conservative." (FYI: "asf" seems to be textspeak for "as f*ck")


Me: I'm sorry you didn't read my article. I'm an anti-abortionist. I want to see the rate of abortion at zero. However, while you and others celebrate the overturning of Roe vs Wade, I note you have failed to stop abortion. You can make abortion illegal but you can't stop it.

X: I personally cannot stop abortion or make it illegal. I'm leaving it up to the higher ups to do that.

Me: I suppose we all leave it in the hands of the higher-ups. But should we support somebody who keeps failing to deliver? I want no abortions. None at all. Making something illegal doesn't stop it. This isn't a win.

X: I want abortion criminalized for the mother and abortionist. I think overturning Roe was a good thing but we still have work to do

Me: You haven't read my article. Until you address the issue of "unwanted" pregnancy, you will never stop abortion no matter the fines, the jail time, heck, even if you execute the mother and the doctor! Why? Other people don't see abortion the way you do.

X: Then that's not my problem then

I'm sure X is a nice person and wants to make the world a better place. But I keep running into this, especially with conservatives. They have a vote, and they're going to use it but detailed questioning reveals that they don't grasp the issues. Their vote is blind obedience to their party. Once they cast their vote, they get back to living their lives, free from any worry about whether or not issues are resolved. And if those issues are not resolved, there's always an explanation. "That's not my problem."

The sign of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. -Unknown

I have to shake my head. Over and over again, I see the same mistakes being committed. Why? Opinion is now the same as knowledge. Faith is the same as fact. One's belief is equal to another's expertise. But that's not my problem.


my blog: Abortion: If we make it illegal, the problem will go away - June 26, 2010
I watched a news item on television last night which stated that every year 25,000 women die from unsafe abortions in Africa and 1.7 million are injured. Due to the restrictive laws governing abortions in almost all African countries, virtually all of the 5.6 million abortions performed annually in Africa are unsafe. Apparently only about 100,000 of them are performed by trained professionals in a safe environment.

my blog: Abortion: My final word on unwanted pregnancy - Sep 24, 2010
The never-ending debate.


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Sunday 3 July 2022

Charlottesville: Jews will not replace us!

Like many on August 11, 2017, I watched the scenes of white supremacists and neo-Nazis, wielding tiki torches while chanting anti-Semitic slogans. An anti-Nazi meme I later saw stated: You don't get to be both a Nazi and a proud American. We literally had a war about this. The whole world was involved.

I was perplexed. It was 2017, 72 years after the end of WWII and the horrors of the Holocaust. Why was anybody bringing this up? The issue had been settled: anti-Semitism bad.

However, the more I thought about it, I had seen a growing number of examples over these past few years of where Jews have been made out to be the go-to group for hatred. Conspiracy theorists loved to formulate all sorts of evil plots around the Jews conquering the world and subjugating all other people. George Soros, being rich, was a well-known target for these tall tales.

I knew that the world population had passed 7.6 billion in 2017 and as of this writing, I've heard the number stands at 7.96 billion. What I didn't know was how many Jews there are in the world. Previously, I had seen pie charts showing the various religions in the world and remembered that the Jewish faith always was part of a very small slice of the pie labelled other. What was the exact number? Was it technically possible for the Jews replace them?

Question: How many Jews are there in the world?

20 million

I fell off my chair. Wait! What? That can't be right. There has to be more of them than that!

I had started with Wikipedia but then moved on to other sources to double check, triple check, and quadruple check that number. I consulted the work of Sergio Della Pegola, an Italian Israeli statistician, specializing in Jewish demography. (World Jewish Population,2020)

As of 2020, the world's "core" Jewish population (those identifying as Jews above all else) was estimated at 14.8 million, 0.2% of the 7.95 billion worldwide population. This number rises to 18 million with the addition of the "connected" Jewish population, including those who say they are partly Jewish or that have Jewish backgrounds from at least one Jewish parent, and rises again to 21 million with the addition of the "enlarged" Jewish population, including those who say they have Jewish backgrounds but no Jewish parents and all non-Jewish household members who live with Jews. Counting all those who are eligible for Israeli citizenship under Israel's Law of Return, in addition to Israeli Jews, raised the total to 23.8 million. -Wikipedia

Israel is the number one country with 6.3 million core population and the United States second with 5.7 million. All other countries are measured in less than half a million, most with tens of thousands. (Core = 100% Jewish, no partial connections)

My Background
I grew up in a Protestant family. The family across the street was Jewish. The people up the street were Catholic. Everybody in my neighborhood all seemed to be at the same place in life; all the neighborhood kids were around the same age. We all played together. Adults had cocktail parties together. Every May 24, the entire neighborhood came together to celebrate Victoria Day in Canada in a common park in the center of the neighborhood with Moms dispensing food and Dads lighting off fireworks. My parents went to a bar mitzvah of the Jewish family. I never thought anything of any differences such as religion. It all seemed perfectly normal.

It wasn't until later in life I started running into racism, sexism, antisemitism, etc. These ideas were foreign to me. And perplexing. Just what the heck was the issue? Hate Jews? Why? I couldn't see any justification for such an attitude.

For my entire adult life, Jews have always been around: neighbors, friends, school mates, co-workers, businesspeople, etc. Every major center had a synagogue. For the last 23 years of my career in I.T., I ran the computer department of a small company. One of my best employees was an orthodox Jew who always wore a yarmulka.

It did occur to me that the entertainment industry had its share of Jews. Mel Brooks and Jerry Seinfeld immediately come to mind however, in consulting a list, there are an astounding number of names.

Question: If Jews don't have quantity, do they have visibility?

Although Jews constitute only 3% of the U.S. population, 80% of the nation's professional comedians are Jewish. (Time Magazine, Oct 2/1978)

Wait! What? Hold on here a sec. Why would so many Jews gravitate to such a field?

New York City Psychologist Samuel Janus, who once did a yearlong stint as a stand-up comic, thinks that he has the answer: Jewish humor is born of depression and alienation from the general culture. For Jewish comedians, he told the recent annual meeting of the American Psychological Association, "comedy is a defense mechanism to ward off the aggression and hostility of others." (Time Magazine, Oct 2/1978)

Holy cow!

However, the question of visibility segways into the next question.

Question: Are Jews richer than others?

My father was a dentist. I grew up in an upper middle-class family in an upper middle-class neighborhood. In my own life, I lived in an upper middle class tax bracket. If my impression is that I've always run into Jews, is there a correlation with income?

The median income of the United States in 2020 was around $67,000. (census.gov)

A study in the United States (based on data from 1985 to 1998), conducted by the sociologist Lisa A. Keister and published in the Social Forces journal, found that adherents of Judaism and Episcopalianism accumulated the most wealth, believers in Catholicism and mainline Protestants were in the middle, while conservative Protestants accumulated the least; in general, people who attend religious services accumulated more wealth than those who do not (taking into account variations of education and other factors). Keister suggested that wealth accumulation is shaped by family processes. According to the study, the median net worth of people believing in Judaism is calculated at 150,890 USD, while the median net worth of conservative Protestants (including Baptists, Jehovah's Witnesses, Seventh-day Adventists, Christian Scientists) was US$26,200. -Wikipedia: Wealth and religion

The same article has an interesting explanation for this income gap: A study published in the American Journal of Sociology by Lisa Keister, found that "wealth affects religion indirectly through educational attainment, fertility, and female labor force participation" but also found some evidence of direct effects of religion on wealth attainment. Keister notes that certain religious beliefs ("one should have many children", "women should not work") lower wealth accumulation, both on the micro- and macro-scale.

I have to assume that being richer means more important types of work, positions with more power, more authority, and hence, more visibility.

Question: Why are Jews seemingly always picked on?

To understand why anti-Semitic rhetoric is so common among modern conspiracy theorists, we need to go back over 2,000 years. Deborah Lipstadt, an Emory University historian and leading expert on anti-Semitism, traces the structure of anti-Semitic ideas back to the very origins of Christianity — specifically, the New Testament description of Jesus’s death.

The early Church taught that “the Jews” conspired to kill Jesus — even though Jesus and his apostles were all Jewish and the Romans who actually executed him in the story were not. This, according to Lipstadt, was in part a strategic choice: Christianity had become a competing religion to Judaism, and its leadership wanted to marginalize the older, more deeply rooted tradition. What better way to do that than to blame Jews for killing the literal savior, casting remaining Jews as Christ-denying heirs to a dark conspiracy?

(Marjorie Taylor Greene’s space laser and the age-old problem of blaming the Jews, Vox, Jan 30/2022)

As I said above, I've always lived with Jews around. I do not understand hatred for them. But I also have to note that I have always been less religious than others. In fact, I would never say I'm Protestant, even though I was supposedly raised as one, and today, I declare myself to be agnostic. Does my lack of religion mean I may have been less influenced by Christianity and potential anti-Semitism?

It's curious to see that Pew Research reports that Jews in U.S. are far less religious than Christians and Americans overall:

12% of U.S. Jewish adults say they attend religious services weekly or more often, compared with 27% of the general public and 38% of U.S. Christians. And 21% of Jewish adults say religion is very important in their lives, compared with 41% of U.S. adults overall and 57% of Christians.

Final Word
I can summarize my findings as follows:
  • There are approximately 20 million Jews out of a world population of nearly 8 billion, representing 0.025% of the global population.
  • While Jews are throughout the world, the two major countries for Jewish populations are Israel (6.3 million) followed by the United States (5.7 million).
  • In the United States, Jews are wealthier than average.
  • Because of their higher income, Jews tend to be in professional positions, implying more visibility in society, and potentially with more influence.
  • Anti-Semitism seems to have its origins in Christianity.
I'm impressed. I stand back and look at the big picture, studying the statistics, and conclude there is something about the Jewish faith which makes them work harder and achieve more. While numerically, they can't replace everybody, they may seem to be everywhere. Certainly, their involvement in the entertainment industry is astounding.

I'm also angry. Over the past ten years in writing this blog, researching articles, trying to determine "the truth", I have constantly run into people voicing opinions which have no basis in reality. Two plus two does not equal five. The Earth is not flat. These people do no research on their own but merely parrot things said by others. It's not about the truth; it's about confirmation bias. And the Dunning-Kruger Effect is on full display. I'm not a genius. I don't know everything. But somehow my critical thinking, my bullsh*t detector ofttimes leads me to question statements made by people, whether in person or in social media. Is such and such really true? Where's the evidence? It's pretty much given that the Right, conservatives, Republicans, and Christian Evangelicals will say things but be unable to prove them. I'm willing to discuss any topic but please, for the love of God, quit telling me I'm a sheeple and that I should look it up, because when I do, I find out you're full of sh*t! I am outraged by the sheer tsunami of unprovable conspiracy theories blindly repeated by people displaying a level of stupidity which defies belief.

I read several articles about Peter Cytanovic, the 20-year-old man in the picture above. He got himself into a lot of P.R. trouble over this picture making him the face of white supremacy. He claims to have denounced the movement but still spouts white nationalistic ideas. If you're white and think your race needs defending, you need to reassess your worldview. We in North American have always lived in a white-dominated culture. Don't tell me you're hard done by. Reverse racism, my ass!

Charlottesville: Jews will not replace you? Fuck off!


Wikipedia: Unite the Right rally
The Unite the Right rally was a white supremacist rally that took place in Charlottesville, Virginia, from August 11 to 12, 2017. Far-right groups participated, including self-identified members of the alt-right, neo-Confederates, neo-fascists, white nationalists, neo-Nazis, Klansmen, and various right-wing militias. Some groups chanted racist and antisemitic slogans and carried weapons, Nazi and neo-Nazi symbols, the Valknut, Confederate battle flags, Deus vult crosses, flags, and other symbols of various past and present anti-Islamic and anti-Semitic groups. The organizers' stated goals included the unification of the American white nationalist movement and opposing the proposed removal of the statue of General Robert E. Lee from Charlottesville's former Lee Park.

Wikipedia: Charlottesville car attack
The Charlottesville car attack was a white supremacist terrorist attack perpetrated on August 12, 2017, when James Alex Fields, Jr. deliberately drove his car into a crowd of people peacefully protesting the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, murdering one person and injuring 35. 20-year-old Fields had previously espoused neo-Nazi and white supremacist beliefs, and drove from Ohio to attend the rally. He was convicted in a state court for the first-degree murder of 32-year-old Heather Heyer, eight counts of malicious wounding, and hit and run, and was sentenced to life in prison plus an additional 419 years in July 2019. He also pled guilty to 29 of 30 federal hate crime charges to avoid the death penalty, which resulted in another life sentence handed down in June 2019.

UnHerd: Should we forgive extremists? - April 20/2022
On August 11, 2017, [Peter] Cytanovic [,a 20-year-old student at the University of Nevada in Reno] travelled to Charlottesville, Virginia, to attend the Unite the Right rally, a gathering of white nationalists including Klu Klux Klan members, neo-Nazis, and white supremacists. As night fell, the angry crowd marched and chanted racist and anti-Semitic slogans. Cytanovic was in the thick of it, holding a tiki-torch aloft as he screamed at counter-protesters. A photographer captured the moment. Soon, his picture was everywhere. “I was the face of white terror,” he tells me.

Wikipedia: Jewish population by country
As of 2020, the world's "core" Jewish population (those identifying as Jews above all else) was estimated at 14.8 million, 0.2% of the 7.95 billion worldwide population. This number rises to 18 million with the addition of the "connected" Jewish population, including those who say they are partly Jewish or that have Jewish backgrounds from at least one Jewish parent, and rises again to 21 million with the addition of the "enlarged" Jewish population, including those who say they have Jewish backgrounds but no Jewish parents and all non-Jewish household members who live with Jews. Counting all those who are eligible for Israeli citizenship under Israel's Law of Return, in addition to Israeli Jews, raised the total to 23.8 million.


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