Surfin’ the web yesterday, I come across this:
How the pressures of the shipping industry have shaped everything about this maritime culture. Right down to their penile implants.
Many Filipino sailors make small incisions in their penises and slide tiny plastic or stone balls — the size of M&M’s — underneath the skin in order to enhance sexual pleasure for prostitutes and other women they encounter in port cities, especially in Rio de Janeiro. “This ‘secret weapon of the Filipinos,’ as a second mate phrased it, has therefore obviously something to do,” Lamvik wrote in his thesis, “‘with the fact that ‘the Filipinos are so small, and the Brazilian women are so big’ as another second mate put it.”
What the hell? That must hurt like a bitch. Why would they do that?
Viewed in this context, bolitas is more than just a physical oddity adopted for the benefit of port women. It’s an important element of the Filipinos’ larger battle to assert their masculinity and compensate in a rivalry that they can’t always win aboard the ship. “It’s part of that competition that starts in the labor market that then bleeds over into culture,” McKay said. “They are dealing with how others see them.”
Apparently, the port competition is one that they feel they can win, and not just because of bolitas. Filipino sailors take a sort of Pretty Woman tack in their relationships with prostitutes, treating them as more than mere objects in a sexual marketplace — and above all, the Filipinos think, treating them better than other sailors do. As one Filipino officer told McKay: “‘The women prefer Filipinos because we treat them nice, not like other nationalities,'” he said. “‘[Sailors from other countries] think because they pay, they can treat them badly … But the Filipinos — we treat them like girlfriends. We pay too, but we’re nice, we smile, we even court them. That’s what makes the Filipino special. We’re romantic.'”
Romantic. Right. The Brazilian hookers are thinking about your frankendick aaaall day for months. They just can’t have enough of ya li’l Asian dick. But well what can you expect. These people were doing head hunting there until yesterday. What’s the average IQ over there, 85? Stupid people do stupid things. They just can’t see the world as it is, objectively. Fortunately we Westerners discovered the scientific method, and know how to detach ourselves from a situation, and put objective facts before everything else.
On the Daily Telegraph:
Pure objective facts. No emotional input whatsoever. It is obvious that a dispassionate analysis of the history and culture of England takes you to the conclusion that Islam is way more English than the English Defense League. Way more, mind you. And this guy’s the biographer of Pat Buchanan! Fuck, I just hate this stuff. How people can spit such amounts of bullcrap with a straight face. What happened with reason? Rationality! The unbiased examination of the world? Public discourse in the West is no better than filipino sailors tales about the sexual prowess of their super-enhanced penises. But wait, at least in the West some people do care about rationality and unbiased inquiry. Yes, smart people, few as they are, are getting together in the internet to support objective science and engage in high-level intellectual discourse. Yeah, there’s an official community even, right? Less Wrong they call it. Let’s take a look.
Why species membership really is an absurd criterion
In the beginning of the article, I wrote that I’d get back to this for those not convinced. Some readers may still feel that there is something special about being a member of the human species. Some may be tempted to think about the concept of “species” as if it were a fundamental concept, a Platonic form.
The following likely isn’t news to most of the LW audience, but it is worth spelling it out anyway: There exists a continuum of “species” in thing-space as well as in the actual evolutionary timescale. The species boundaries seem obvious just because the intermediates kept evolving or went extinct. And even if that were not the case, we could imagine it. The theoretical possibility is enough to make the philosophical case, even though psychologically, actualities are more convincing.
We can imagine a continuous line-up of ancestors, always daughter and mother, from modern humans back to the common ancestor of humans and, say, cows, and then forward in time again to modern cows. How would we then divide this line up into distinct species? Morally significant lines would have to be drawn between mother and daughter, but that seems absurd!
Wait wait wait. This is the rationalist community? The objective, smart guys? Well at least this guy does sound smart. Too smart maybe. Yeah, he can’t be really saying what I think he is. It’s just me, I’m not smart enough to follow his writing style. At least I feel severe mental pain when trying to read the whole thing. Let’s see the summary to see his conclusions.
Our speciesism is an anthropocentric bias without any reasonable foundation. It would be completely arbitrary to give special consideration to a being simply because of its species membership. Doing so would lead to a number of implications that most people clearly reject. A strong case can be made that suffering is bad in virtue of being suffering, regardless of where it happens. If the suffering or deaths of nonhuman animals deserve no ethical consideration, then human beings with the same relevant properties (of which all plausible ones seem to come down to having similar levels of awareness) deserve no intrinsic ethical consideration either, barring speciesism.
Assuming that we would feel uncomfortable giving justifications or criteria for our scope of ethical concern that can analogously be used to defend racism or sexism, those not willing to bite the bullet about torturing babies are forced by considerations of consistency to care about animal suffering just as much as they care about human suffering.
Ok. Cool. Forget anything I said. There’s no hope. We’re doomed. I’ll see you in a brothel in Rio.