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September 2, 2014 9:00 AM

September 2, 2014 8:47 AM

So how can you blame me for wanting to unwind on the course or for five hours at dinner with former assistant chef? He’s a great organic cook, and he’s got a gluten-free backyard putting green. But, in a larger sense, we can dedicate, we can consecrate, we can hallow this ground where I can get away from my wife, my mother-in-law, Uncle Joe, Congress and all the other hazards in my life. The brave foursomes, living and dead, who struggled here in the sand, in the trees, in the water, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or subtract a few strokes to improve our score. Bill Clinton was Mr. Mulligan, and he is twice as popular as I am. The world will little note, nor long remember, what we shot here, or why I haven’t invited a bunch of tiresome congressmen to tee it up. I’m trying to relax, guys. So I’d much rather stay in the bunker with my usual bros…. It is for us, the duffers, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who played here have thus far so nobly advanced to get young folks to stop spurning a game they find slow and boring.

There are few things I find more thoroughly offensive these days than idjits who ridicule President Obama for playing golf. As a golfer myself, I think the game is the perfect form of recreation and relaxation for a man with more on his plate than any three Fortune 500 CEOs could handle. It’s quiet, peaceful, and (normally) free of prying eyes. It’s a humbling game, one that can drive the most composed person to fits of abject frustration. I used to caddy during the summer when I was in junior high school, and I learned early on that you can tell a lot about a person by how the conduct themselves on a golf course. Sure, it has a historic tinge of elitism, but golf today is a pursuit enjoyed by people on all points of the socio-economic spectrum. The rules of the game encourage honesty and discourage cutting corners and advantage-seeking.

Beyond all that, golf can be an enjoyable and very social experience. There’s a reason so much business is conducted on golf courses. Get people out of their suits and they tend to relax and become more real and accessible. I’ve played in foursomes with everyone from CEOs to pipe fitters…and everyone’s pretty much the same when standing in a fairway holding a six-iron.

Presidents have played the game throughout the course of this country’s history. While there have from time to time been rumblings of discontent voiced about a certain President playing golf, none have had to withstand the silliness that’s been directed at Barack Obama. Maureen Dowd’s tongue-in-cheek (and frankly insulting) screed is a fairly tame example of some of the ridicule tossed the President’s way.

September 2, 2014 7:19 AM

BarbWire’s Gina Miller used her column today to respond to a piece on the Huffington Post asserting that what is needed is not a new nail polish for women that can detect the presence of date rape drugs in their drinks but rather a concerted effort toward “solutions to shifting rape culture where consent, on both sides, is seen as the norm.”

Miller was decidely unimpressed by the supposed need to “stop blaming the victim [and] educate men on how not to rape” because the only real solution is to get our society to turn to Jesus … plus, all those drunken sluts who are dressing like prostitutes are partially responsible for getting raped because they are sending mixed messages:

Why do you suppose that there might be a “blame the victim” mentality today? Do women ever bear any responsibility for putting themselves in potentially dangerous places and situations, like drunken frat parties? Do they bear no responsibility for the outrageous “fashions” they choose to wear nowadays, clothing that makes them look like prostitutes and porn “stars,” clothing that arguably feeds the “rape culture”? Yes, we know that a man who sexually assaults a woman is always wrong, but why is it considered just fine for a woman to present herself in a hyper-sexual, sleazy way and then expect men to treat her with the dignity and honor she imagines she deserves? The disconnect from reason is palpable.

To many on the Left, the answer to most problems is “education,” but what young man doesn’t already know that it’s wrong to sexually assault another person? Who is unclear that “no” means “no”? There again, can it be argued that a woman dressed like a strumpet, yet saying “no” to unwanted sexual advances, sends a mixed message? Yes, I know it’s outrageous, but this is what our Godless culture has wrought. There are a lot of bad people out there, and no amount of “education,” telling them it’s wrong (they already know this), will change their evil hearts.

[T]here will be no shifting of any rape culture by throwing money at more “rape culture awareness,” or telling young men that it’s wrong to rape, or holding colleges accountable, or not “blaming the victim.” Our nation has turned its back on God. We have kicked Him out of our schools and out of the public square. We have raised several generations of Godless, self-centered, sex-obsessed kids, and the truth is that there can be no positive transformation of any sick culture without the saving power of the Spirit of God through Jesus Christ to change people’s hearts of stone into new hearts of flesh.

September 2, 2014 7:11 AM

September 2, 2014 6:57 AM

September 1, 2014 9:29 AM

September 1, 2014 9:20 AM

It was a quick trip- there and back in all of 30 hours- but I was fortunate enough to spend Saturday in Vancouver, BC. I flew up there with a couple friends ostensibly to see the Portland Timbers play the Vancouver Whitecaps at BC Place. More than anything, it was a boy’s weekend and an excuse to drink our way around Vancouver. Mission Accomplished…and the Timbers won 3-0, which made the trip that much more satisfying.

I’ve always loved Canada, and Vancouver is one of my favorite places in the world, though I don’t spend nearly enough time there. It’s like San Francisco without the crowds and the frenetic energy. If I could live anywhere I wanted and money was no object, Vancouver would be right at the top of my list. It’s beautiful, cosmopolitan, and interesting. The climate’s temperate (if a bit on the damp side). Best of all, the people who live there are some of the most unfailingly polite, courteous, and thoroughly decent folks you’ll find anywhere.

We arrived at our hotel about noon. Kickoff wasn’t until 7.30, so my traveling companions and I decided to spend some time bar hopping in Gastown. Two of the three of us were wearing our Timbers kit, and the third was wearing a Timbers t-shirt, so it was pretty clear we weren’t locals. I’ve done the same thing in Seattle and been hassled a fair bit for it (most of it good natured and largely devoid of malevolence). As we wandered through Gastown, though, I was stunned at the number of people who not only acknowledged us, but were exceedingly kind and polite in doing so. These were Whitecaps supporters being nice to us- “Good luck tonight, eh?”…or variations on that theme. For someone used to a rivalry with an unpleasant edge to it, this was something altogether different and refreshing.

After the game, it was more of the same. As we left BC Place, I couldn’t keep track of the number of people who congratulated us on our side’s convincing victory. To a person, they were unfailingly kind and polite- almost disconcertingly so. I’ve been to a Timbers-Sounders match at Century Link Field in Seattle, and I’m here to tell you that nothing similar would EVER happen there. Not that I don’t love Seattle- I truly do- but some Sounders fans can be dicks- not all of them, certainly, but enough to be noticeable. ‘Course, they probably would say the same thing about Timbers fans…and not without justification. The rivalry between Portland and Seattle can be pretty intense, especially on a soccer pitch. It’s not Man U-Man City, but it’s about as close as you’re going to find in the U.S. When you consider that the tifo raised by the Timbers Army at the last Timbers-Sounders match showed Seattle burning…well, you get the idea. There’s not a lot of love lost between Portland and our arrogant, self-superior neighbors three hours up I-5 (Unless the Seahawks are playing; then we LOVE Seattle. That’s another story for another time.).

We found a bar near BC Place after the game and ended up sharing a table with a half-dozen Whitecaps fans (Imagine Manchester United and Manchester City fans sharing a few friendly brews after a match? Unlikely to say the least, eh?). As we left to head for another bar, yet more Whitecaps fans greeted and congratulated us, several times joining us in chants of “WE ALL HATE SEATTLE!!” If nothing else, we have that in common.

Even the next morning as we walked to breakfast, people smiled at us and greeted us warmly. As Americans used to expecting a minimum of rancor and discontent in a strange city, it was odd but refreshing. At the risk of sounding corny, it was almost enough to renew my faith in humanity. Sure, I imagine that Vancouver has their share of assholes, malcontents, and unpleasant personalities…but we certainly didn’t encounter any, and we talked to a lot of people during our 30 hours there.

Since the Timbers play twice in Vancouver each year, I now have a great reason to head back. I probably shouldn’t spend too much time there, though; I’d probably decide to emigrate.

September 1, 2014 8:42 AM

September 1, 2014 8:21 AM

September 1, 2014 7:53 AM

[F]eminist critic Anita Sarkeesian posted the latest in a series of crowdfunded videos called Tropes vs. Women, devoted to aggregating and analyzing games that portray women as damsels in distress, ornamental eye candy, incidental victims, and other archetypes that tend to be written in service of and subordinate to male players and characters. The videos — which are essentially subjective cultural criticism — come with transcripts and lists of the games mentioned, making it possible to check them and critique her analysis, which can be reasonably disagreed with in places.

Obviously, this is not what’s actually happened. Since the project launched on Kickstarter way back in 2012, the gaming community has been treated to an incessant, deeply paranoid campaign against Tropes vs. Women generally and Sarkeesian personally. This includes a flood of violent comments and emails, videos documenting ways in which she’s not a “real gamer,” a game in which you can punch her in the face, and a proposed documentary devoted to exposing the “lies” and “campaign of misinformation” from what is, again, a collection of opinions about video games. Also, now, she’s apparently spent the night with friends after contacting law enforcement about “some very scary threats” against her and her family. She’s published a page of extremely violent sexual threats from the person who apparently drove her to call the police; in it, the user mentions the location of her apartment and threatens to kill her parents, who the user names and claims to be able to find.

This is an unusual low in the Anita Sarkeesian saga, but death threats in general are more or less par for the course for many women (and men) online. They can easily cross the line from bluster to menace — UK journalist Laurie Penny, for instance, contacted police in 2013 after being sent a very specific bomb threat. In this case, the vitriol might have been compounded by the support her latest video received from popular developers and media figures. Joss Whedon and William Gibson, among others, mentioned it, and Tim Schafer of Double Fine — known for Psychonauts and the Kickstarter-funded Broken Age — spent several hours fielding responses after urging everyone in game development to watch it “from start to finish.”

It’s also coming on the heels of another woman-focused gaming community tempest regarding Depression Quest developer Zoe Quinn, who internet denizens have accused of starting an affair with a games journalist (who never reviewed her game and, as far as I can tell, mentioned her in precisely one piece, which was written before they’re supposed to have started dating) in order to secure favorable press for her non-traditional text game. The “corruption” allegations Quinn’s critics put forward have started a discussion about how to handle friendships and crowdfunding support within a relatively small community of writers and developers. Our sister site Polygon updated its guidelines and now asks reporters to state if they have given crowdfunded support to developers through the Patreon service, and Kotaku banned such contributions outright. Intriguingly, the harassment and threats sent as part of this anti-corruption campaign seem to have focused mostly on Quinn herself, not the male journalist whose integrity would actually have been compromised by said corruption.

The threats against Sarkeesian have become a nasty backdrop to her entire project — and her life. If the trolls making them hoped for attention, they’ve gotten it. They’ve also inexorably linked criticism of her work, valid or not, with semi-delusional vigilantism, and arguably propelled Tropes vs. Women to its current level of visibility. If a major plank of your platform is that misogyny is a lie propagated by Sarkeesian and other “social justice warriors,” it might help to not constantly prove it wrong.

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