Against Anti-Natalism

Back in about 2014 I went through a bit of a nihilist stage. This included taking seriously ideas about being ‘pro’ suicide and anti-natalism. Now, I’ve moved well beyond this, but I can see how the ideas crop up. They are obviously heavily grounded in materialism, though you are not necessarily led to them if you are a materialist. Anti-natalism, which shares some ideas with veganism as we’ll see later, is particularly prone to materialist bias, and if based on purely material experiences ends up being completely imbalanced.

The first thing to note is that the apparently absurd idea of anti-natalism has been around for a long time. Take this part from Oeipus at Colonus:

Chorus:

It is obvious to me that those who shun moderation and want a longer life are fools.

The days of an overly long life are filled with pain.

Happiness eludes those who want to hang on to life longer than what the fates have allotted for them and in the end…

…the same attendant awaits him: Hades! Hades waits upon us all!

No ceremony, no wedding songs, no dances and no songs…

Just death! The end of us all is death.

The best would be not to be born at all.

But then, if he is born, the next best thing for him would be to try and return to where he came from…

…in the quickest possible time!

While youth and its careless mind lasts, no thought is given to what pain, what misery will, most certainly, follow.

Murder, mayhem, quarrels, wars will come before the inescapable end…

The hateful old age, frailty, loneliness, desolation and…

…your own misery’s neighbour, is even more misery.

And so, Oedipus like us, is old. Unhappy Oedipus! Bashed about like a reef facing north…

Bashed about on all sides by tempests of all sorts.

Never ending rain and wind crash over his head…

…fierce waves crash over him.

Now from West…

Now from the East…

Some during the midday’s light…

Some from the mountainous North…

…which the deep night darkens.

In modern times though the notion of anti-natalism has gained a sort of academic backing, one that dovetails neatly with so many other academic pursuits, namely colonial guilt and oppression. Now women are pushed towards careers, and anti-natalism takes on the nature of a choice, a right, a lifestyle decision. No longer merely a way to remove suffering from the world, but a way in which to increase your own pleasure.

David Benatar is a Professor of Philosophy at University of Cape Town. Now, leaving aside the fact that I find most South Africans less than savoury, his argument in favour of anti-natalism leaves a lot wanting. He was recently on Sam Harris’s podcast discussing these ideas, and one of his main arguments is that there is a greater gain from removing war and suffering than there is in producing love and joy. Harris makes the obvious point that this ‘benefit’ affects absolutely no one if there is no one to experience it. At this point going down this line of thought, you would — or should — immediately throw out the whole idea of anti-natalism.

This is particularly interesting because in a few podcasts before Harris had Max Tegmark on, who is a bit of an expert on Artificial Intelligence. His take away was that intelligence and consciousness is designed to spread, designed to become more complex, and so the best good we can do is to help it flourish. This is something Jordan Peterson echoes, especially in his Biblical stories series, specifically that ‘Whatever’s going on on this planet has to do with conscious reality, and the transformations of consciousness, for all we know, might be the most important things that happen everywhere.’ The anti-natalist position is completely at odds with these notions. It is a fault of the wrong type of materialism. If materialism takes as a presupposition that there is no inherent meaning to be found in the universe, then you can posit all sorts of other meaning values. That can be whatever David Chapman is trying to create, or it can be the complete reduction of suffering in the world, no matter the cost.

Interestingly, this appears to work as some sort of paperclip maximiser, without the runaway AI. It just requires unlimited empathy. Nothing else matters but the *ahem* humanitarian goal. This is where anti-natalism crosses with veganism. Both advocate not for the outright removal of their victim group, but for the slow disintegration of it, so that slowly suffering is removed. But what is the point of removing the beings that suffer if they are not there to experience this good?

The entire premise rests on suffering. Naturally I find Professor Benatar’s notion of suffering somewhat insufferable, even petty. In Fourth Way work there is focus on suffering, and how we use intentional suffering to further our own work on ourselves. Rather than try to solve or change suffering, modern and secular people — sometimes with a slightly too high IQ — would prefer to run away. They want big system solutions to the pain and suffering in the world, and none more all-encompassing than the idea of anti-natalism. It is quite plainly a cop out and an absurd solution.

But why is it that we are continuously faced with more and more absurd propositions? Why, for example, is the acceptance of abortion no longer absurd? Or any other progressive talking point from the last fifty years? Scott has a recent post where he goes into this idea of holding the line against absurdity, where we have to really question whether loosening or tightening the status quo is quite as strange as we fear it might be. How long until the idea of anti-natalism as a selfless mission falls into the Overton Window and is discussed openly, even lauded? Laws are in place because of custom or revealed truth, not the other way around. We did not create laws to enforce culture, but created laws to implement culture. We have forgotten why we made such laws to begin with. Reaction is the opposite of complacency, of letting go. Even if the world around us is speeding by, we have to be ready to plant our feet firmly in the ground and have reason ready to combat the waves of absurdity.

And these waves grow in strength, enabled by the new wonders of civilisation. Anti-natalism is plainly an absurd idea, but I can see it encroaching on good people. So its arguments must be laid to bare as what they are: ridiculous. They are premised on flimsy materialism and asymmetrical point scoring. We must remain against it.

Masculine and Feminine Are Not Dirty Words

I realised recently that I have been on a self-help journey for a while, and it all began with Elliot Hulse. Don’t hate on me just yet.

Maybe five years ago I watched a lot of Strength Camp videos as I was getting into weightlifting, and I found Elliot’s videos very instructive. Among all the practical stuff, there were also many woo-woo videos where he would discuss things like sex and ‘breathing into your balls’. He was also a fairly consistent reader, and recommended a book by David Deida called The Way of the Superior Man. I bought this years ago on Kindle, but finally got around to reading it in the last week.

A number of things are now clear to me. First, this is at least one source for where Elliot got his ideas for breathing and sex exercises. Second, and more interestingly, I can see some of Jordan Peterson in here. To me this says (and something I think we’re all aware of) is that there is no such thing as new ideas. Unless you’re a prog, of course, and that doesn’t mean the new idea is good.

The critics of Peterson have many avenues of attack, but in particular is his discussion of the masculine and the feminine. With Deida’s book we can see that this is far beyond Peterson, and the idea that masculinity is Order and femininity is Chaos is entrenched in myth. If the Canadian psychologist appears to appeal to men, it is only because, as Deida says, the feminine cannot change. It is what it is. And so it is up to the men to seek order, slay the dragon, clean their room or channel their masculine energy in order to move forward in this world, dragging his woman kicking and screaming behind him (though the point is that she will do so compliantly if you are suitably masculine).

The feminine always seems chaotic and complicated from the perspective of the masculine.

This is a quote from Deida, but could easily been heard coming out of Peterson’s mouth. And the fact that so many have been blinded to this truth is perhaps why we feel like we are on the edge of civil war. If the feminine cannot change their chaotic nature, they promote stasis. That is in the Greek sense of the word, of battle between oligarchy and democracy. It has become too easy for men to avoid their duty and so the world spins towards the famine, chaos and stasis. All that Peterson is trying to do — along with hundreds of other gurus in the past — is channel masculine energy in the correct way.

What Are You Scared Of?

Part of the transfiguration that takes place when you divest of mainstream points of view (that is, Leftism or Conservatism) is your appreciation of language. Suddenly, you see that your average newspaper ‘report’ is actually written in such a way that the reader will come to certain conclusions, as if the writer has an agenda. You begin to see the ways in which language becomes policed, and the ways it is manipulated. Simplification or obfuscation are the key tactics.

A great example employed by populists in Australia can be seen in the heavy-handed use of simple slogans. When Tony Abbott was running for Prime Minister, progressives constantly berated his constant repetition of ‘Stop the Boats’. This was in relation to turning back the boats coming across from South East Asia with people smugglers taking advantage of refugees. It is quite a callous sentence, but at least it is a sentence, which is more than can be said of the three word bomb used by the SSM campaign in recent months: Love is Love. Sounds nice in principle, but does it actually mean anything? It becomes a very easy way to dismiss counter-arguments and itself cannot be argued against. For that reason it is a far more insidious appeal to populism.

There are countless examples of this propaganda that is used against you every day. It’s the inevitable end result of living in a democracy: you have to be convinced one way or the other. But a particular favourite, and one that I keep returning to as it rears its ugly head over and over again, is the almost casual use of the suffix ‘-phobia’. Homophobia, transphobia, and queerphobia are all words on the rise. Christopher Hitchens warned against the growth of the word ‘islamophobia’. Of course, what do all these entail? Why, they are meant to point out how scared the intended object is of the category in question. But being against homosexuality does not automatically make you scared of gays. Being worried about Islamic immigration does not automatically make you scared of Muslims (although they do their best to make it so). So why do they use such a blatantly false accusation?

Because it works! Much like being called a racist, there is a lot of baggage loaded on to you if any of these words are directed at you. No one cares a whit for particulars, nuance and discussion. No, everybody needs a label so we know where to draw the lines. It’s also a handy deflection from having to debate the topic at hand.

This is drawn into stark realisation with a recent incident in Australia. A Labor Senator has got himself in hot water over links with the Chinese Communist Party, and the current government is rightly a little concerned about this. But of course, members of the opposition come out and attack the Prime Minister as being ‘Chinaphobic’. Excuse me? Is that even a thing? Wouldn’t want to upset the 21% of residents in Bennelong who are Chinese, now, would we? Of course, the Senator at the centre of all this has now stepped down, but that doesn’t change the absurd counterpoint in the form of a label. Politics is now a series of jibes released from context. The culture wars are fought between snipers shooting off precision hits of ridiculousness before finding a new position.

To be called ‘-phobic’ is to already have won, and yet neither party will believe that. To resort to such weak name-calling is the sure sign of an intellectual deficit, while at the same time the shaming tactic is a highly effective one. But it must be resisted. Language is slippery and so it must be mastered. If these words are used against you or others, call it out. After all, you aren’t scared, are you?

Unable to See the Majority For the Minority

As I keep noting on this blog, publishing is gripped by diversity mania. There is an obsession with inclusion and stories from outside the realm of White Man territory. The Man Booker Prize is not safe from this either, and indeed the world’s biggest literary prize is a locus point of SJW energy. And as usual it is The Guardian that leads the way with its ‘unique’ criticisms of authors, publishers and prizes.

But why is diversity such a big deal? Aside from the obvious acceleration towards ‘equality’ across the entirety of popular culture, the reason is people. The real question should be why it has taken so long for the voices within publishing to get so loud. Publishing is 70% female across the Western world, though men do make up a sizeable chunk of senior management. In the last few years young women with gender studies degrees have probably managed to get a foot in the door, and are starting to shift the focus at a faster pace. They bring with them the usual baggage of intersectionality and the need to have perfectly balanced gender ratios. I have plenty of my own horror stories from listening to these young female ‘professionals’. But despite ‘improvements’ it is, of course, never enough.

Literary prizes are the perfect grounds to attack white privilege. Not enough BAME authors are getting recognition. The situation is so bad that The Guardian recently posted an article titled How Many Man Bookers Must Writers of Colour Win Before They’re Accepted? (which kept in theme with last years article called Man Booker Prize Longlist is a Disappointment for Diversity). But I want to focus on the former piece and why exactly this is all madness.

The author, a creative writing professor, makes a number of spurious claims. The main gist of the piece though is that despite the last two winners of the Man Booker being black, readers still don’t recognise books written by minorities as literature. Of course, the reality is that there are much bigger issues at stake than her hyperbolic theory. She uses this study, a study that states that, ‘90% of people who have read a novel in the last 6 months consider that novel to be literature.’ Let’s keep in mind that about 75% of the general population has read ONE book in the last YEAR, and that men read far less than women. Here are some of the authors these people consider ‘literature’:

  • Jeffrey Archer
  • Danielle Steel
  • Lee Child
  • Thomas Hardy
  • Agatha Christie
  • Catherine Cookson
  • James Patterson
  • Terry Pratchett
  • Dan Brown
  • J R R Tolkien
  • Enid Blyton
  • The Brontë sisters
  • George Orwell
  • Stephen King
  • Jane Austen
  • Roald Dahl
  • J K Rowling
  • Charles Dickens
  • William Shakespeare

I’ve marked in bold those that are actually literature. William Shakespeare and Charles Dickens probably count, but at the time of their writing they were ‘popular’ literature. However, if you are looking at these results and complaining about the lack of brown people, you have an agenda. The true problem is that people read shit books by shit authors. They read the same authors over and over. The real problem is that if we consider J K Rowling, Dan Brown and Lee fucking Child as literature, then we as a civilisation are lost. (Oh yeah, and one twat called Reza Aslan a writer of literature.) If you look at the full list of authors, there are clearly some real writers there, and also some minorities. These names were probably given by REAL readers, ones who appreciate and understand what literature is. So the author of The Guardian piece is cherry picking the data and coming to absurd, and frankly frightening conclusions.

Is it really a surprise though? You are polling the general public, of course the results are going to skew towards popular literature. Look at the stats for the full list of authors:

  • 31% are female
  • 7% are Black, Asian or Mixed Race in ethnicity
  • 44% are non-British (mostly American)
  • 51% are living writers.

The fact is that most people are going to consider old, dead authors (who, shock of shocks, will be mostly white) as literature. Americans feature heavily because American culture is so ingrained across the world. 7% minority is pretty good given the statistics for readers (from the same study):

raceandreading

If you have fewer readers of literature, then you’re going to have fewer writers. The fact of the matter is that the majority of readers in Britain (and indeed in the Western world) are white, female and educated. Shockingly, this is also the largest demographic for social justice warriors, which I’m sure is not a coincidence.

The author of the piece has issues she wants to make relevant, so fuck the actual problem. She makes some infuriating claims, such as:

Without doubt, Shakespeare, Chaucer, Dickens and many more men of letters have done Britain proud. But times have moved on.

Given she is a professor of creative writing, I find her beliefs disturbing. Literature is not a moving object, one that floats with the tide. It is quite fixed, in that what most people consider literature is writing that has stood the test of time (hence Shakespeare, Chaucer and Dickens). That’s what makes it capital L literature. And while the writer can make claims about the stupidity of readers and their inability to consider minorities as writers of literature, she herself is too dumb to read into the numbers, saying:

A misconception prevails that books penned by non-white writers have limited relevance to the population at large.

If the audience is mostly white, female and educated, then unsurprisingly books written by POC authors about POC themes are probably not going to appeal to all of them.

She then cites a 2013 study about literature and empathy, which of course is a line that geeky SJWs love to throw out at every opportunity. ‘Reading makes you a better person!’ the headlines scream whenever a new study linking literature to altruism/empathy/long life/better memory/clear skin comes out. Not only are the studies dubious (like most studies you find written about in the MSM) but the notion that you can magically read a book and become a Good Person is absurd, and is not a line that should be pushed by anyone, least of all a creative writing lecturer. That said, I’ve never met a group more self-righteous and sure of themselves than those undertaking or teaching a creative writing degree. Books do not make you more humble, it seems.

Then she tries to link this idea with real life events. Mentioning both hate crimes and Brexit, she actually has the audacity to pose the question that perhaps if more people had read literature by minorities the Grenfell Tower tragedy would never have happened. Fake news gets a mention, saying:

But judging from the lack of nuanced real-life stories in circulation about marginalised groups, cultural deprivation is a pretty apt description for the condition members of mainstream society find themselves in. Consider, for instance the report of the Christian girl fostered by a Muslim family spun into a far-right fantasy; a story fuelled by paranoia and an evident lack of awareness about the lives of others.

Correct me if I am wrong, but that is a true story that actually happened? Or is she referring only to the dumb Photoshop job by the paper that originally reported on it? Whatever. She decries race elitism while displaying her own elitism and disdain. The only conclusion I can draw is that the writer wants to eliminate white written culture and force minority writing on the majority. Perhaps she’s just mad she can’t get her novel published.

 

No Award

It’s official. Literary awards mean nothing and are little more than political plays. The actual content of a book and whether it meets the criteria of the award is irrelevant. Let’s review the evidence.

  • Last years Man Booker Prize went to The Sellout, a book about prejudice against blacks in America, in the year that Black Lives Matter dominated the headlines.
  • Underground Railroad, another racial fantasy tale, won the Pulitzer and, more worryingly, the Arthur C. Clarke Award.
  • This years Women’s Prize for Fiction went to The Power, which dares ask the question, ‘What if the power were in women’s hands?’

Now, hold that thought.

It was just announced that the 2017 Royal Society Insight Investment Science Book Prize was won by Cordelia Fine’s Testosterone Rex, and this is the point where I have decided that something is fishy in the publishing waters. Not only did Testosterone Rex, which has a rating of 3.73 on Goodreads, win against such books as In Pursuit of Memory (4.17 from 18 ratings) and I Contain Multitudes (4.21 from 3,730), but one of the judges on the panel was Naomi Alderman, the author of The Power. What a coincidence.

There have already been a number of writers pointing out the flaws with Cordelia’s work, but this goes a step further. When it is so clear that a book was chosen for its political point-scoring alone, how can you ever take this award seriously? And you can’t use the popularity line. People are fascinated by the microbes inside us (and they should be educated about this topic) and are obsessed by the brains of the octopus, as written about in the shortlisted book, Other Minds. It clearly isn’t a particularly good book. The only reason it won is because of the explicitly political line it is trying to push.

If you look at the reasons the judges give for these awards it speaks plainly to their intention. Underground Railroad was chosen for the Arthur C. Clarke Award for a number of reasons, but without a doubt the main one was to give the award itself some literary prestige. It is somehow vitally important that science fiction be taken seriously by mainstream writers. And what did the judges have to say about the book?

And finally, Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad, which takes literally Samuel Delany’s notion about sf literalising the metaphors. If you look at the Wikipedia entry on the system that helped slaves, you’ll find the statement that “The escape network was not literally underground nor a railroad.” Here it resolutely is, and we follow one slave’s attempt to get to safety, as well as some of those on her trail. It is, the judges say, “a deeply subversive alternate history” and personally I was left wondering if this novel is set just before the civil war or closer to our present time. One judge noted how the novel argues “even before oppression exists, resistance exists.”

The first novel to win the Clarke Award, Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, was also about an individual in an oppressive society asserting their humanity and agency. It has spoken to us and haunted us for over three decades now. It became a film and now a television series, and protestors have been dressing up as handmaids in America.

Of course, speaking of The Handmaid’s Tale, the judges had this to say about Testosterone Rex:

Every man and woman should read this book on gender bias. Testosterone Rex is an important, yet wickedly witty, book about the 21st century which touches on the current debates around identity and turns everything on its head. Pressingly contemporary, it’s the ideal companion read to sit alongside The Handmaid’s Tale and The Power.

All these books are connected by a thread. Can you pull at it?

The theme with all of them is political correctness. And is it any wonder when politics has infested every corner of publishing? Just look at the blogroll on the front of The Bookseller’s homepage:

booksellerpolitics

And for a more personal example, the other day a colleague told me that she was turned off a book because she looked up the author, and he looked too ‘Right’. What does this even mean? This is where we are at.

There is without a doubt a bigger issue at work here. With the Man Booker Prize coming up, it will pay to take heed of what ideology is in the air. I don’t necessarily agree with everything in this article, but the main point it tries to make is that publishing is increasingly at the behest of corporations. As we see every day, companies fall over themselves trying to prove their diversity/equality credentials. Awards are actually a few steps ahead of the publishing companies. This is not a conspiracy nor a concerted effort. It is the natural flow as everybody tries to follow each other. There is money to be made, after all.

Updated Sayings #1

‘Youth is wasted on the young.’

Well, duh. Of course it is. It goes against the laws of physics to give youth to the elderly, who apparently deserve it.

Why do we have this saying? What’s the actual message, because it isn’t that we should rewrite the laws of space-time.

It really means

‘Wisdom is wasted on the old.’

The old can’t do anything, but they have a stockpile of wisdom. Or at least, the old old people had wisdom. Maybe not so much the new old people. Which is why the young can’t even get a scrap of wisdom unless something shocks them into wakefulness. Unless they open up a PDF of a dusty book and perhaps try to find wisdom on their own. (How frightening!) Their parents sure didn’t share any with them, and that’s probably just because their parents assumed that wisdom is shared by osmosis.

No!

It has to be taught.

We have no redistributive system for wisdom.

This is our task.

Gender Inequality in Publishing

One thing that always gets me is why exactly do women want to receive the same pay as men? I’m not talking about the same pay for the same work; I’m talking about the very clear fact that women are now demanding that over the length of their ‘careers’ they want to receive the same amount of money.

But why would they need to? The only reason is if they plan on being independent their whole lives, never having children and making sure that if there is ever a divorce (which, statistically, there will be) they will have a job to keep them going. If you are in a relationship, the normal approach should be to have only one partner work full-time. In addition, if all relationships have two people working full-time that means, inevitably, that prices go up (as they have over the last few decades). There seems no logical reason why a woman should get as much money as a man over their lifetime. In particular the cry for ‘equal pay’ seems most noticeable in publishing.

Publishing is predominantly female-driven. Anywhere from 70-80% of employees are female, and yet most of the top-level jobs are given to men. CEOs, head of sales and head of finance are still run by men! There are many legitimate reasons why this would be the case (hint: you have to accept that men and women have different strengths and weaknesses) but the argument never seems to go away. Take this recent article from the Guardian:

‘Why’d he get promoted? Because he has a dick’: sexism in publishing survey reveals widespread frustration

Forgetting the overtly sexist headline, let’s dive into the meat of the argument.

Jenny, who works in corporate publishing, said: “The new hire in my company – who is on exactly the same level and job description as me – was offered £8,000 more than me as his starting salary.” While admitting that she felt her male colleague had more experience, she described the pay differential as “insulting”.

What does this show? That women are, as we know, inherently emotional. The facts say that the male colleague is more experienced, but emotionally she feels hard done by, and that is all that matters.

Penny, who works in editorial at a non-managerial level for a “massive company”, recounted the situation of two junior colleagues, one male and one female in the same role, both of whom had no previous experience. “The man was given a pay rise to ‘recognise’ his work on a specific project,” she said. “He revealed this at the Christmas party to another colleague. Of course word spread, and it became apparent from this that the women, who had all worked equally well (and in some cases better) on other projects, received no pay rise.”

Aside from the fact that this stupid man should have kept his mouth shut, this is nothing more than hearsay and a subjective opinion, completely inadmissible in a court of law.

Adele, who has worked in publishing for more than a decade and now holds a senior editorial role, said: “There’s a perception that women are fine for creative and arty jobs but aren’t as business-minded as men so less suitable for upper management.”

Is there any evidence to support the claim that this perception is wrong? This statement completely begs the question and leaves an assumed answer in the reader’s head.

The belief that pregnancy was a career killer was widely held. Naomi, who holds a managerial role in the editorial department of one of the “Big Five” corporate publishers, said the discrimination was often subtle. For instance, she said that when commissioning editors returned from maternity leave to work part-time, they were expected to commission fewer books, but their sales targets remained the same. Others reported seeing colleagues being demoted while on maternity leave.

The experience might be different in Australia to the UK, but downunder I’ve seen nothing but support for female employees who have children. Conversely, I have heard unappreciative remarks from women, asking why the full 12 month period of leave (you get 6 weeks paid maternity leave, plus however much unpaid) doesn’t count to long service leave. Um, sweetie, it’s because you aren’t working. Having children is an admirable decision, but don’t be surprised if, because you aren’t there, promotions don’t come your way and you don’t get extra leave because you’re ‘loyal’. If anything, there is a constant undercurrent of resentment and entitlement among the women I work with.

Not a single woman I know has had to accept a lesser role, and indeed they get to work either one day from home or just a straight four-day week. Another anecdotal story is the woman who fell pregnant for the second time who decided to quit. One of the assistants said that she would continue to blog about books, as if raising children was not a noble enough undertaking and she had to do something with her time as mundane as blogging (yes, I am perfectly self-aware in this moment). Of course, this is also one of the many assistants who out-rightly say they do not want children. But despite this mentality, there is nothing but making room for women who decide to have a family.

Many women felt frustrated at their lack of promotion because it effectively excludes them from decision-making roles – a point acknowledged by Ian, one of the few men to respond to the survey. “In my experience, I’m usually commissioned by a man, I’m briefed by a man, I report to a man, the tech guy is a man, but the person that sorts out all the HR stuff is a woman,” he said.

I’ve worked and interned at four different publishers. Two had female CEOs, all were majority female, and most of the managerial roles in publicity, publishing, design and marketing at all four publishers were headed by women. You have to ask yourself: is this really a patriarchal dominance, or is this just how the cards lie? Sure, the CEO is in ‘charge’ but that just means he has the responsibility of guiding the company as a whole, and cops shit when it goes wrong. The actual decision makers – what gets published and how – end up being overwhelmingly women.

I really can’t take articles like this as anything other than propaganda. Apparently the sexism is ‘widespread’, but in a survey of only 92 people, 67% felt they were treated differently, and this was not sorted for bias. A final anecdote: I literally got my first job because my female boss was sick of female assistants. The last two she’d had had been useless. Thank the Lord for discrimination.