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Sunday, June 15, 2003


The only thing that outsiders could do to save Africa from AIDS at this
point would be to take over most of the continent and impose something like
Mosaic Law (see Leviticus).

It actually is possible for a woman to change a man, just not the men they
want to change or in the fairly drastic ways they want to change them. They
always want to change a bisexual heroin addict into a stable husband and
father of four, or a good looking rebel who plays by his own rules into a
sensitive monogamous snuggler. But if you just go out with a guy who has no
girlfriend for awhile, you automatically change him into your boyfriend.
This distinction will usually be accompanied by some small changes in
dress, frequency of shaving, etc. Let a guy squeeze your boob and he'll be
strutting around all day, people won't be able to put their fingers on it,
but he'll be affected. A woman can't interact with a man at all without
changing him in some way.

Why is it so hard to tell non-conformists apart?

Ranch dressing has gotten totally out of hand. It just does not go with
everything. Even roquefort and bleu cheese are more versatile. If you need
ranch flavoring on your corn nuts, maybe you just don't like corn nuts as
much as you thought. Meanwhile, green goddess dressing has vanished without
a trace, no one even remembers there ever was such a condiment. It was a
little like catalina, if I recall correctly.

Trauma itself probably has no direct negative effect on the development of
a child's mind. Rather, the defensive reaction of the child's own mind to
the abnormal environment that tends to come along with trauma is what
seriously screws people up. Take a child who is beaten by his parents, for
example. If it is the trauma of the beatings that cause such children to
develop abnormally (aside from physical damage), then one would expect the
children that I beat up as a child to be similarly screwed up. Naturally, a
beating at the hands of one's own parents is more traumatic, but if trauma
= abnormality, then there should be a continuum on which the level of
abnormality indicates the intensity of the causative trauma. Small traumas
would have small but observable long term effects; In fact, large traumas
often have relatively minor ones, such as phobias. Small traumas leave no
significant trace. In the case of the child beaten by his parents, his
entire upbringing can be considered abnormal. One of the chief functions of
childhood is to give the ensuing adult a standard by which to determine
what normalcy is. Anything that is experienced in childhood is incorporated
into one's concept of normalcy. It is this distortion that prevents the
development of a normal personality, not individual traumas. This may seem
self-evident, but most of us persist in attributing personal problems that
stem from unhealthy upbringings to isolated disturbing incidents, and
concentrating our efforts to give children good upbringings on protecting
them from such ultimately inconsequential traumas.

How come no young girls will admit to liking Brittiney Spears, but they all
look more and more like her every week? How did this happen? For that
matter, how can Maddona remain employed if no heterosexuals consume her
product? Does everyone in Brazil own her complete works?

Circumstances in which it would be unconscionable not to have someone
tortured are all too easy to imagine, and all too likely to actually arise
in the future, near and otherwise. I'm the last guy to object, in
principle, to burning off people's feet and forcing them to march on the
stumps (say, Allan Dershowitz). However, if any American government
agencies were given the official authority to torture, before you know it
the IRS will have Willie Nelson riding the one-legged horse, Serbian style.
This is hardly necessary. If a certain individual just must be subjected to
torture (and this is not a frequent necessity), it should be a fairly
simple matter, and minimally disruptive to the Republic, to arrange for
such a person to be apprehended by agents of foreign governments that have
already been entrusted with the authority to torture, and shown themselves
to be relatively worthy of such trust. Failing that, prisoners could
"somehow fall into the hands" of such agents, or even private individuals
who are known to have a way with pliers.

For most people, the respect you have for them as people is proportional to
the contempt you have for their beliefs. For example, if you have respect
for another person's religion, yet you do not practice that religion, this
implies disrespect for that person. If you believed that their belief was
true, you would share it; a falsehood is good enough for them, but not for

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