Ecce Europa - Web Design for Business
The Cookiepus Conspiracy

Mindless ramblings, leading to perfect clarity.
Saturday, June 29, 2002
For years, tourguides in Philadelphia would point out the stairs of the Art Museum which Sylvester Stalone ran up on in "Rocky." In fact, it's pretty common to visit sites where various movies or tv shows took place. Now, a New York entrepreneur Georgette Blau, founder of On Location Tours takes it one step further by offering excursions that visit only the sites featured on tv or even follow a specific show, such as The Sex in the City Tour. And of course, Kenny Kramer has been offering his Kramer Reality Tour for a while now. With most of these shows not even shot on location (all of Seinfeld was shot in LA, for example) are such tours aimed at only the hard-core fans, or would you too be interested in seeing The Sopranos diner?
The NYPD is downplaying accusations of accepting Police Academy recruits that have been arrested for drinking offenses like driving while intoxicated or drinking from an open container. Some even admitted to drug and domestic violence arrests. A report in The New York Post claimed the PD is lowering its standards because it is in need of more recruits. The PD's response highlights the difference between "arrest" and "conviction," since none of the recruits have actually been found guilty. While I think there should be no tolerance for crimes committed once you're a cop (NYPD automatically kicks out officers found guilty of DWI,) is it fair to hold prior arrests against wanna-be recruits? Is sipping from a Heineken keg-can outside Chelsea Piers really so bad?

Friday, June 28, 2002
The US demands immunity from the International Criminal Court and is ready to pull out from peacekeeping if it doesn't get its way. Charges of being a bad member of the world community are often levied against the US because of our disinterest in adhering to international guidelines such as Kyoto (though, it's not just us,) but are we actually justified on this one? The ICC sounds like a noble enough concept, with its "potential to help put an end to the past century's cycle of impunity for the most serious crimes of international concern [and] decide on the criminal responsibility of individuals and act as a strong deterrent for possible future perpetrators," but the US argues the tribunal would infringe on national sovereignty and could lead to politically motivated prosecutions of its officials or soldiers . Examples of international bias against the US aren't hard to find. Is the US doing right by its soldiers when it threatens to veto the resolution extending Bosnian peacekeeping mission unless it is provided immunity from the ICC? Is the Congress going too far when it considers legislation authorizing invasion of The Hague (where ICC will be based) if the prosecutors grab a U.S. national? Of course, some Americans support the ICC. Is there any way for America to a considerate world neighbor without subjugating itself to the perceived international bias?

Thursday, June 27, 2002
Remember the Simpsons episode where Lisa asked everyone to stop recycling? Mayor Mike Bloomberg is asking New Yorkers to do just that by suspending glass and plastic recyclinging to save money. The city will still recycle paper and metal, while the other things go in the trash. I respect the mayor's sober prudence in these tough times, but is recycling something we can afford to economize on?

As a city official myself (Mayor Defacto of SimCity,) I recognize that cutting recycling programs is one of the first things to do in a budgetary crisis. Still, like the Sims, I care about the environment. What effects will these actions have? As it stands, the suspention of plastic recycling is only for a period of a year, and glass for two years - but still, is this conscienable environmentally?

Tuesday, June 25, 2002
Sweat or Die

It's obvious that Third World sweat-shop labourers don't have much alternative in employment, and the difference is between making a few cents working for Nike, or making no money at all, is a great one. In a sense, you can't blame business for not wanting to pay more than they have to.

On the other hand, sometimes (or if you believe Chomsky, all the time) the actions of the American/Western governments, influenced by the same business community, had a hand in the 3rd world being in the sorry state in the first place.

I don't buy the ultra-left argument that every single shithole of the world would have been blossoming if not for the dirty hand of the white man - but you have to admit that the business community that controls our politicians is the same business community that greatly benefits when foreign labourers are forced to assemble their products for less than a buck a day. Foreign aid, economic assistance, loans, military assistance, etc., are dived up with these concerns in mind. For example, if a Latin American leader decides to improve the lives of his people by not allowing the West to exploit the labour force for less than the minimum wage - the US is likely to label him a Socialist (at least in the past) tyrant, withdraw all aid, and (in the good old days) sponsor a military coup. Once the coup took place, foreign and military aid will resume, assuming the new leaders agree to whore out their people and national resources in the name of Free Market.

So yes, in many places, slaving for a foreign corporation beats the alternative - but in many of these places the corporations are more or less directly responsible for the alternative being so very bleak in the first place.

Apparently it’s a bad time to be a man. More women are landing college degrees while fewer men are doing the same, sexual-harassment rules assume every male is a would-be rapist, college-age men are feeling unwelcome on their own campuses, etc. etc.

First, as someone who has gone through the ordeal of being falsely accused of sexual harassment on campus, I want to share my experiences.

* The written rules are stacked against men. If a female reports anything, the college has to believe her. Even if the person receiving the complaint (RA, etc.) knows the complaint is bullshit, they can't say "you're lying" - they have to write it down and pass it on. Otherwise the university will have to deal with the charges of ignoring complaints, and no one wants that.

* Once you're written up, there's a lot of leeway as to how it will end up. If the university has a history of rapes and is trying hard to shake off the image, they probably will be harsh on the accused - and your career at that school is doomed regardless of the facts. On the other hand, if the staff cares, they will actually try to be flexible in their actions and try to be fair to both parties. In my case, the quad director read the report (luckily the girl's lie was a small one, she could have accused me of a lot more) and he understood that even if I did do what I was accused of, it wouldn't warrant harsh punishment - so he took the risk of actually just interviewing me, determining my innocence, and leaving it at that. I say that was a risk, because if the girl wanted to, she could have raised a stink about the case not going before the Judiciary and gotten him in trouble too. But anyway, because the person actually cared, this is something that I can now laugh about (I was laughing about it at the time, too - but in a dark way) as opposed to something that ruined my life.

I don't know if this has anything to do with male enrolment rates in college - and I pretty much doubt it. It is a horrible thing regardless. A friend of mine was falsely accused of some type of harassment (he's gay, and he was accused by a woman...) and not only did he lose his RA position (immediately upon accusation,) had to move across campus - but he felt pressured to leave the university as soon as possible, and he did.

Of course there's a genuine cause for these rules and attitudes: blaming the victim / ignoring complaints doesn't work. But most often, it's his word against hers, and the university usually has less to loose by giving the female the benefit of the doubt.

Solution? I don't have any.

Even outside the judiciary, women have it good. What about all those Woman Studies classes. Why don’t men have Men Studies?

Well, I don't deny that some (many?) of the faculty and even students in Women Studies departments are the proverbial man-hating dykes. However, there's a need for women's studies departments for the same reason there's a need for African studies departments: if you take any mainstream class, like, oh say American History - 90 percent of it (or more, depending on what time period is in focus) is about the actions of white men. Granted, that's based in reality: most of the decision makers were indeed white men: but the idea is that a lot of academic departments can be grouped under a "White Man Studies" department. Fem studies (etc.) are there to provide counter-balance to it. I mean, if you take the said American History course, you can walk away with the idea that women had no impact at all. And yes, perhaps there's nothing a single woman has done during the revolutionary war that was truly pivotal, but that doesn't mean women played no role at all. And so, it's important that a Fem Studies offers something like "Women in American History" - because otherwise, how's a woman to know what other women have done in the past. Of course oftentimes these venues are abused for spreading Femnazi rhetoric, but that's not the intended purpose.

So is it really that bad being a man?

There’s the issue of our societal role. On one hand, we’re expected to do all the traditional things like being strong, having a car, making money – and at the same time take on more of the domestic duties previously considered woman-work. It’s hard to be what society says is a ”good man” nowadays. But of course, but there's a difference between what society expects and what your girlfriend expects.

Whenever me and (past and present) girlfriend go out, the waiter will always bring the check and put it near me. That's what society expects. But that doesn't bother me too much, because 50% of those times, the girl takes the check and takes care of it. Of course the waiter brings the change or credit card receipt back to me. It's a little bit annoying to her, but it's possible to live with. Same with domestic life. If it works out and the GF actually becomes a doctor, there's a chance she'll be earning more than me. If so, I won't say a word if the burden comes on me to quit the work force and take care of the kids. If I end up making more and it will make sense for her to quit work, she'll do it. Not because she's a woman but because it will make sense under the situation.

The idea is, society is what it is - but hopefully you and your gf interact by your OWN rules, not societal ones. For every woman who wants a big macho man with a Mustang, there's a woman who thinks it's cool that her guy is "man enough" to take the bus.

I think that you shouldn't want a woman who subscribes too much to the societal view of what a man should be like anyway. Regardless of what society dictates, it's always possible to be yourself and have a woman who will like you just that way.

Do men have it bad when it comes to dating? Allegedly, we have to “do the work” of chasing down a woman. But is that not in our favor? As men, we don't necessarily care what we look like. I've never been to a bar that didn't have a dude with a beer belly hitting on women, for example. It's not like we're raised to feel we have to be pretty for girls to like us. In fact, I think the "masculine" opinion is that guys who work hard to impress women are "fags" while "Real Men" believe that they are god's gift to women no matter what they earn, what they drive, what they look or smell like. And in my experience, it's exactly this confidence that women like - I think they can spot easily enough when a guy's trying too hard.

On the other hand, a woman is raised believing that she has to be pretty and dressed nice or no one will ever look at her. What some may call "men having to work on chasing women," I view as "men doing the picking" and the woman is the one who has to work hard to stand out. Seems like women have it a lot worse than us in the dating field.

So I really don’t think it’s time for us guys to lament the days gone by.

And by the way, for those who think that higher female to male ratios on campus will mean all you losers will get dates, that's such a fallacy. If there's something about a guy that's worthwhile, he'll have women even if there is 1 woman for every 3 guys - because chances are those other two guys are complete dicks and she has already gone out with enough men like them to not be interested. And similarly, even if there are 3 women for every guy, if that guy is shit, the women will just hang out with each other. Higher women to men ratios will just result in more lesbianism on campus, while the percentage of guys who can't get a date will remain steady.

Sunday, June 23, 2002
Investors trying to control the politics of a third-world nation? I am shocked!

The game is the same as it has been for decades. During the Cold War, the United States had a pretext of combating Communism when meddling in the runnings of Central and South American countries. Of course, our efforts to strengthen democracy and freedom just happened to coincide with what's best for the business interests. If the labour unions got too strong, or a government decided to help its people by nationalizing natural resources, we pretended to fear the domino effect and neutralized the threat. Of course, the only beneficiaries were the (foreign) businesses that took advantage of the labour and natural resources in the first place. Any notion that the labour and resources of a nation should benefit the nation was stomped out.

How can the people of an indebted third world country have any shred of self-determination if the foreign investors with huge amounts of control over their economy are willing and able to make the country pay economically for thinking about electing someone the investors disagree with? Well the idea is, they aren't supposed to have any self-determination at all - at least not when it interferes with our profits. It's not like the investors are pulling out because they are offended by leftist rhetoric - they are pulling out because they fear being denied full control of the country. What good is Brazil to them if it doesn't have a government that would put foreign investor interests above that of its impoverished majority?

In the good old days, the government would have acted on behalf of the business community and assassinated the potential troublemakers, or if already elected, sponsor a millitary coup that would rule with terror (and which we would prefer to the Communist alternative and send much aid to - history is rich with instances of us doing just that.) Times have changed, and the government isn't in the position to tinker around with violence (unless, of course, they can frame it as a part of either the War on Drugs or the War on Terror.) There probably wouldn't even be the political climate to impose a Cuba-like embargo. But it looks like they don't need to - how long do you think the Brazilian elites will tolerate being deprived of their money-making arrangements with Americans and rich Euro nations? Can Brazil, or any other South and Central American nation, hope for any development that's not granted to it by rich investors? I don't think so. Like a crack addict, there countries need the very thing that's killing them - foreign money.


  This page is powered by Blogger, the easy way to update your web site.

email me

Home  |  Archives