Sunday, April 23, 2006

Are Women Today Free?

Someone on another (open) board asked:

"I know what you’re all thinking. “Of course women are free how could you even question it?” or somewhere along the lines of that. Certainly women are now freer since the feminist movement in the 60’s-70’s era. They can now take on jobs while taking care of the kids. More women are now entering male dominated employment. Women can express their opinions and beliefs without getting punished for it—unlike some third world countries where it is condemned. I know very well there are lot more things to add (I know someone will indeed list more things than I have done here) but I also want to state the other side of the argument. As I was reading the newspaper the other day I noticed a lot of things that will contradict that women aren’t all that free after all. There is a constant pressure that women always have to look good, act like your stereotypical woman. You all know what that is. Increasingly, now, more aging women are considering the wonders of Botox. They are also spending a huge amount of money on plastic surgery, breast implants, ‘tummy tucks” etc. I know men do the same, but not in the same quantity. In Australia, women have been getting confused messages from the government and medical officials about HRT (hormone replacement therapy), the fight for paid maternity leave, health care and fertility. The government is blaming them because apparently women should have known better before putting pills in their mouth-- that a trusting doctor prescribed for them Not just in Australia but also in other Western countries, women are being harshly blamed for following their ambitions and heading for a full-time career. Then when they hit their 30’s they find out that it’s harder for conception. But I guess it’s their own fault huh? So the question: “Are women really free or do they still have some things to overcome?”

To be successful, a woman has to be much better at her job than a man." -Golda Meir

The emotional, sexual, and psychological stereotyping of females begins when the doctor says: 'It's a girl. -Shirley Chisholm"

I responded:

The freedoms are there. Her freedom depends upon how each individual woman designs her life. Priority one for me was always learning. Keeping that priority ever in mind, I designed my life to allow the maximum amount of learning. I married a man who dedicated his talents to developing mine. I had only two children. I never worked more than part-time. I do not spend money on luxury vacations, fancy housing, furnishings, clothes, hair-dos, make-up and certainly not surgery or frivolities. I do not allow Wall Street to determine what the essentials in my life are. My extra money goes into books, disks and other learning materials. I do not waste my time exercising or doing other meaningless activities. I come to the boards only after I'm too tired to do productive work. I am extremely free and I live just as I wish to. If I bought into the beauty and materialistic culture I would be a slave. My advice to any woman, or man, who wants to be maximally free is: 1) Prioritorize and keep your sights on your main priorities. 2) Simplify your life to the maximum.

Doreen Ellen Bell-Dotan, Tzfat, Israel

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

"It Must Suck to be You, Doreen."

Someone on an open board wrote: "It must suck to be you, Doreen. You're always bored."

I take the accusations that are leveled at me seriously unless there are good reasons not to. I thought about why though it doesn't suck to be me, it is true that I am bored a good deal of the time.

I'm bored a good deal of the time, outside the rarified realm of Laputa Manque, because the world that people in the average IQ range have created for themselves looks like the kiddy section of an amusement park to me.

In the course of doing research for a proposal for electoral reform in Israel that I am working on, I reconsidered Kenneth Arrow's paradox.

Kenneth Arrow's paradox, or impossibility theorem, is defined as a *non-trivial game*. He was searching for a *social welfare function* that will allow the will of the electorate to be maximally expressed in the make-up of the government. He relied on game theory, of course, to try to come up with such a function.

Game theory, per se, would bore me if it was in no wise applicable to social welfare. It would be no more interesting than playing poker, which I haven't played since I was a kid, except one time when the other D2 and I started dating and he said I don't play games because I can't. I proved him wrong and put playing card games behind me, probably forever. But game theory has always been intimately tied to fair distribution when absolutely fair distribution seems impossible, and so I find it interesting.

Game theory doesn't bore me - precisely because it is applied toward social welfare. Mathematicians who do game theory get their Nobel Prizes in Economics.

When I look at myself and the world I see around me honestly, I come to the sad conclusion that precious few provisions have been made to provide Human beings with entertainments that are at once enjoyable and which effect positive changes, or attempt to. Most entertainments are frivolities and fritter time away. They leave neither society nor the entertained edified or bettered in any way. Usually the inverse is true.

In a world in which there are so few challenges presented in everyday life to play games that are also searchings for solutions to Human problems I'll remain bored a good deal of the time in ordinary society.

It is their world that sucks. Not me.

Doreen Ellen Bell-Dotan, Tzfat, Israel

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Discomforting Thought of the Day

Who would want to have sex with someone with silicone implants?

I mean, who in their right mind would want to play with a couple of inflatable bags?

Probably someone who wasn't sure of the person's sexual skills and was afraid of getting into an accident.

Doreen Ellen Bell-Dotan, Tzfat, Israel

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

"Brilliant!" "Awesome!" "Amazing!" "Genius!"

That was how the man in the video on the URL below was described in four separate posts on the thread where the URL was posted.

I am not saying that he is not talented. I am certainly not saying that being a juggler and entertaining people is not a worthy profession. I think that those who make people happy contribute a great deal to society.

But is this genius? Should this be what inspires people's awe? Can this man's ability in his field be compared to that of Hypatia, Mozart, van Gogh, Dostoevsky, Pierre and Marie Curie and Gustav Landauer in theirs?

Why is it that people of ordinary intelligence become downright rapturous upon seeing a demonstration like the one in the video, while intellectual brilliance leaves them coldly indifferent at best, belligerent at worst?

Doreen Ellen Bell-Dotan, Tzfat, Israel

Sunday, April 09, 2006

The Doppelganger Effect

Whizzing, whirring and beeping happily down the street on a mid-day brightly lit by the moons, D2 suddenly heard whizzing, whirring and beeping approaching, growing ever louder.

She looked to one of her right sides and saw herself, then R1, superimposed. Smiling she asked him: "Aren't you either too old or too young to be up at an hour like this?", feeling oddly as though she had asked that question before. He responded: "How did you know I was up? I might have seen myself walking down the street once, but if I did I didn't stop to say hello", and she heard his whiz, whir and beeps merge into one indistinct and ever-fading yyyyaaaawwwwwww.... as he passed.

Doreen Ellen Bell-Dotan, Tzfat, Israel

Friday, April 07, 2006

Comforting thought of the day:

There is an infinite number of women with my mind and Carmen Electra's looks who do not have to clean for Pesach in infinite parallel universes – some perhaps as close as 10^10^497 meters away, give or take.

Doreen Ellen Bell-Dotan, Tzfat, Israel

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Now There's Hope - Bibliophilia Recovery Program

OK, let's dispense with the 40 questions for self-diagnosis. You know who you are – and so does everybody else. Think your family hasn't noticed that you spend four hours on the toilet seat – every time you go? Or the cleaning lady hasn't seen the stacks of books under your bed? Get real.

We're here to offer you help – serious help for an otherwise intractable illness that is progressive and ultimately fatal.

The Bibliophilia Recovery is a simple program based loosely upon, but in no way associated with, 12 Step programs.

The Bibliophilia Recovery Program is a 12! Step program.

That's right. You read correctly. It's a 12 Factorial Step Program and you must do all the steps, in order, or it won't work. Half-baked measures will avail you nothing. Just surrender your will and judgment and do exactly what we tell you to. Shut up and let us love you until you can love yourself.

The Step One is admitting that you're totally insane. From there you can proceed reasonably toward taking responsibility for yourself. The Step Two is writing down exact nature of your ideation. Step Three is sending a formally notarized copy of what you have written while doing Step Two to all of the people you have harmed. Step Four is following up Step Three with cutesy e-mail: "Oops, I didn't mean it. I'm really sorry." cards. If those you have harmed do not respond with an acceptance of your apology, continue to send them the e-card repeatedly each day. Take each step slowly and go on to the next only when you feel you have mastered the one you've been working on.

Feeling a bit intimidated? Doubtful? Yeah, we know it's a rigorous program. But, hey, you've got a serious problem and it's doing exercises right now out in the parking lot even as you read this.

If you undertake to follow this program faithfully, we promise you the freedom from addiction that has heretofore eluded you. You will be the person you have always wanted to be. Hundreds of thousands of people in hundreds of thousands of countries have recovered successfully using this simple program. Believe us. It can help even a hopeless wretch like you. Hey, it helped us and we were really skid row. You'll be able to get through a day, then a week, then a month, then a year, eventually the rest of your life without reading another book. That's a guarantee.

Doreen Ellen Bell-Dotan, Tzfat, Israel

Monday, April 03, 2006


I neglected to mention that I'm the Queen of the Laputans Manque - of course, as Queen of the Laputans Manque I neglect to do just about everything.

I so wanted to be Queen Doreen of Southern Ireland. It seemed quite fitting, until I realized that I can't so much as afford a flat in a decent neighborhood in Dublin and a Queen, after all, is expected to live in a decent flat in most countries.

I realized that even the Irish on their drunkest and foggiest days would expect me to make some reasoned decisions and adhere to a predictable code of behavior - an expectation I could not live up to, especially when I go into one of my blue funks.

Crestfallen, I had to admit that I wasn't right for the job.

Then, as randomness would have it, I met Richard May on line. He introduced himself as the Founder of the Laputans Manque. It sounded absolutely ideal!

I could be a schlemeil and not feel mylife was being squandered. In fact, I could reign as Schlemeil Supreme. It was so Me.

I entreated and pleaded and generally nudged him to let me be the Queen of the Laputans Manque.

I explained to him that I am eminently suited for the job being as for all my ruminations, I can't so much as remember what it was I go to the grocery store for.

He asked me to promise that I wouldn't impose anarchy on Laputa. That would be entirely too orderly.

I swore solemnly.

And so, I was coronated Queen Doreen of the Laputans Manque, and nary a more fitting Queen they could hope to find.

Doreen Ellen Bell-Dotan, Tzfat, Israel