Going through the motions.

The narrative for feminist STEM poster child Elizabeth Holmes and her company Theranos continues to unravel.  Last week the WSJ published an article titled Agony, Alarm and Anger for People Hurt by Theranos’s Botched Blood Tests (paywall warning).  As the title suggests, the article shares examples of the anguish caused by inaccurate Theronos test results.  And the inaccurate test results were themselves due to a focus on image over substance and rigor.  One expert the Journal discussed the situation with explained:

They were just going through the motions.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise.  Feminism is in many ways a cargo cult, with the pervasive belief that if women just ape the dress, language, and mannerisms of men, the accomplishments they see men achieving will magically follow.  Indeed, play acting the role of a famous man is all it takes to become a true feminist hero.  This is why all it took for Amelia Earhart to be nicknamed Lady Lindy and Queen of the Air and be thrown a ticker tape parade was to cut her hair short, don a flight jacket, and ride as a passenger on a transatlantic flight.

The same could be said for Holmes and Theranos.  What exactly did Holmes accomplish besides mimicking the dress and mannerisms of Steve Jobs and declaring that she was going to change the world?  In both cases, all it took was a coat and a hairstyle, and feminists around the world swooned.

Just a few days before the WSJ piece, Jonathan Gottschall published his own devastating Theranos piece at Harvard Business Review titled Theranos and the Dark Side of Storytelling (emphasis mine):

Holmes constructed an inspiring hero narrative starring herself—a precocious girl-genius who, at nineteen years of age, began pioneering medical technologies that could potentially save millions of lives around the world. Despite abundant warning signs, and despite the Silicon Valley company’s refusal to provide real evidence that their technology worked, journalists didn’t skeptically evaluate Holmes’s story—they simply repeated it. They told and re-told Holmes’s story until she began to seem less like an actual person, and more like a living symbol—of progress, of innovation, of female empowerment. The problem, as The Wall Street Journal’s John Carreyrou has reported in more than a score of articles, was that there was little to Theranos beyond its story—and that story was mainly fictional.

Gottschall blames this on a general willingness of venture capitalists and the media to fall for a good story.  This certainly is a human weakness, but in this case the bolded part above is quite important.  This was the story they desperately wanted to believe, and it is a story feminism has primed all of us to believe from a young age.  Holmes was the messiah feminists had foretold for many decades.  Here she finally was, the pretty young woman who one day decided to pull back her hair, don a lab coat and some glasses, and poof!  A miracle occurs.  As Oppenheimer Funds puts it:

So there!

The same story of Earhart and Holmes has repeated countless times, and we can be assured of falling for it in the future.  Just because Holmes is turning out to not be the feminist messiah, it doesn’t mean feminists are giving up on the narrative.  One day soon, a young pretty girl will pull her hair back, put on a lab coat and some glasses*, and change the world!


*Either glasses or fashionable safety goggles.

Posted in Elizabeth Holmes, Envy, Feminist Territory Marking, Feminists, Moxie | 33 Comments

The hum of the pumps.

One thing to always remember is that feminism requires constant effort just to avoid moving backward.  We aren’t in a steady state regarding feminism, and despite the myth of progress there is nothing natural about how we have organized our society.  Feminists know this and therefore never stop working, refining and reinforcing their efforts.  For nearly everyone else most of these efforts have become a sort of background noise.  If you’ve ever tried out a good pair of noise canceling headphones on an airplane you know that background noise, even if quite loud, is impossible to really hear after a very short period unless you have the ability to at least temporarily filter it out.

The same thing happens with feminism, where we often can hear the loud clanging as a new piece of machinery comes online.  What we don’t tend to hear anymore is the cacophony of all of the existing machinery in the background.

The conservative position is to conserve the roar of background noise while complaining about the clanging. Thus when feminist efforts start to bear fruit conservatives inevitably complain about weak men screwing feminism up. This is of course a great boost to feminism, but ultimately having an “opposition” group that forever stands ready to make your every innovation permanent after a brief period of complaining isn’t enough. Conservatives have their place in conserving feminism, but by themselves they aren’t enough. Feminists need to excite and motivate younger generations to constantly push for more. If they don’t entropy will have its way, despite the best efforts of conservatives. This is where the background hum effect ultimately starts to hurt feminists as well. Each new generation of would be feminists takes feminists and conservatives at their word, that we have reached (or nearly reached) the natural state of humanity. Where is the excitement, where is the glory, in “blazing” an established trail?

Young girls will watch commercials like the one above and will grow up to be bossy women.  They will even congratulate themselves on how extraordinary they are for being a woman who is pushy and controlling.  But feminism is being presented to them as a largely completed project.  Sure they will constantly complain that the whole world is stacked against them, even while basking in their personal triumph over the patriarchy.  But more and more they will ask what is the point of showing that women can do what other women have already shown women can do, especially as the inevitable costs of decades of previous feminism show up.

Posted in Ban Bossy, Feminists, The Real Feminists, Traditional Conservatives, Ugly Feminists | 74 Comments

Four legs good, two legs better.

Slate XX has a piece up explaining that women like Beth Moore are much more of a force in driving conservative evangelical opinion on politics than outsiders would likely suspect.  Slate quotes CBMW co founder John Piper explaining that it is fine for men to listen to Beth Moore’s sermons, so long as they don’t “become dependent on her”:

But these women are often underestimated as influencers, both from within the evangelical world and outside it. In conservative corners of evangelicalism, the question of whether and how women can properly serve as spiritual teachers is a sensitive topic. “I’m a guy,” a questioner asked the influential pastor and author John Piper in 2010. “Is it wrong for me to listen to Beth Moore?” It’s OK to listen, but be careful not to “become dependent on her as your shepherd,” Piper answered. “There is a certain dynamic between maleness and femaleness that when a woman begins to assume an authoritative teaching role in your life the manhood of a man and the womanhood of a woman is compromised.”

Readers who have viewed the movie War Room will recall Beth Moore delivering her signature line:

Submission is ducking so God can hit your husband.

Slate links to the full transcript of Piper’s answer to the question, and their summary and quote is accurate.  This answer from Piper in July of 2010 is an evolution from the original answer Piper and Grudem put forth when they created the CBMW.  In their inaugural book, Piper and Grudem explained that they believed the traditional reading of 1 Tim 2:14 is incorrect:

First Timothy 2:14 says, “Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner.” Paul gives this as one of the reasons why he does not permit women “to teach or have authority over a man.” Historically this has usually been taken to mean that women are more gullible or deceivable than men and therefore less fit for the doctrinal oversight of the church. This may be true (see question 29). However, we are attracted to another understanding of Paul’s argument.

As a result of their innovative interpretation of 1 Tim 2:14, Grudem and Piper had Dr. Moo explain that 1 Timothy 2:11-15 only prohibits women from preaching to men:

…we argue that the teaching prohibited to women here includes what we would call preaching (note 2 Timothy 4:2: “Preach the word . . . with careful instruction” [teaching, didache ̄]), and the teaching of Bible and doctrine in the church, in colleges, and in seminaries…

…Paul’s position in the pastoral epistles is, then, consistent: he allows women to teach other women (Titus 2:3-4), 17 but prohibits them to teach men.

But this was back in 1991.  By 2010, Piper explains that 1 Timothy 2:11-15 permits women to formally teach/preach to men, so long as the man doesn’t start to see her as his pastor.

I want to learn from my wife and I am happy to learn from Beth Moore. But I don’t want to get into a relationship of listening or attending a church where a woman is becoming my pastor, my shepherd or my authority. I think that would be an unhealthy thing for a man to do. I could give reasons for that biblically, experientially and psychologically, but I have given the gist of it.

So the answer is, no it is not wrong for you to listen to Beth Moore, but it could become wrong. I think Beth Moore would be happy with that answer. I’ve talked to her about this, and I think she would be OK with what I’ve said. Our paths cross at the Passion Conference every now and then, and we talk.

To see the full complementarian progression on the topic we have to add in Jenn Wilkin at The Gospel Coalition.  This gives us the full progression to date, although certainly not the final complementarian word on the evolving meaning of 1 Timothy 2:11-15:


Posted in Complementarian, Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, Dr. John Piper, Dr. Wayne Grudem, Jen Wilkin, The Gospel Coalition, Traditional Conservatives, Turning a blind eye, War Room | 187 Comments



Vox Day has lead the creation of a fork of Wikipedia called Infogalactic.  Creating an alternative to the SJW converged Wikipedia is a massive undertaking, but starting with a fork is a great way to approach this.  For more information see Vox’s recent posts Project Big Fork: Infogalactic and Wikipedia: where information goes to die.

Edit:  I’ve placed a link to Infogalactic on the blogroll.

Posted in Social Justice Warriors, Vox Day | 46 Comments

Deepwater Horizon is a pleasant surprise.

In our discussion back in 2014 of Mom’s Night Out, Cane Caldo astutely commented:

Our movies really hate married fathers. “Taken” is acceptable as a movie premise because Liam Neeson’s father character is divorced. “Homeland” is also fine because Jason Statham’s character doesn’t have a wife in the way while he sexily protects his daughter.

I have found this observation to be spot on, which is why I was so surprised that Deepwater Horizon doesn’t follow Hollywood’s rule on married fathers.  Mark Wahlberg’s character doesn’t go to his difficult and dangerous job knowing that he is failing as a husband and father.  He isn’t shown missing his daughter’s recital or presentation.  Nor do we learn that she resents him for being away from the family for long stretches of time due to his job.  On the contrary, his daughter loves him and looks up to him, and is proud of what he does to support the family.  Likewise, his wife is not unhappy, and does not provide the audience with a list of his shortcomings.

Secular movies are far better regarding married fathers than Christian movies are, but even for a secular movie this is vanishingly uncommon.  It is refreshing to see a movie which so thoroughly bucks the trend here.

Posted in Christian Films, Disrespecting Respectability, Fatherhood, Marriage | 76 Comments