a medicine for melancholy


The problem is: Paid-for Pocket looks exactly like free Pocket, and also it crashes at the same rate. Probably I should just bite the bullet and excavate the whole archive so I can get rid of the service, which is shoddy anyway (but convenient).

Also, stupid people keep moving my goalposts all over town. Like, did you read this awful thing that famously mendacious racist Andrew Sullivan wrote about getting an injection of testosterone? This man is too stupid to live. Here's a quote:
You need testosterone to turn a fetus with a Y chromosome into a real boy, to masculinize his brain and body. Men experience a flood of testosterone twice in their lives: in the womb about six weeks after conception and at puberty. The first fetal burst primes the brain and the body, endowing male fetuses with the instinctual knowledge of how to respond to later testosterone surges.
First-trimester fetuses have 'instinctual knowledge' of the world, despite not having brains. Excellent. The rest of the science is equally hilarious; Sullivan says, "[t]estosterone, oddly enough, is a chemical closely related to cholesterol," and doesn't bother to notice that all hormones are manufactured by the body from cholesterol. "Pregnant women who were injected with progesterone (chemically similar to testosterone)[...]," what. Progesterone isn't any more similar to testosterone than estrogen, which Sullivan actually goes to the trouble of explaining can be metabolized interchangeably from the same biological components (and then he forgets about it, I guess). Men and women manufacture equivalent quantities of progesterone under normal conditions, please shut up quickly. "The Big T correlates with energy, self-confidence, competitiveness, tenacity, strength and sexual drive," and here "correlates" is doing the work of ten men. "And most of the studies of the psychological effects of testosterone take place in culturally saturated environments, so that the difference between cause and effect is often extremely hard to disentangle," which invalidates his entire premise, but so what. Andrew Sullivan didn't get this far in life by letting a thing like the total negation of his hypothesis by all available evidence stand in his way!
None of this means, as the scientists always caution, that testosterone is directly linked to romantic failure or violence. No study has found a simple correlation, for example, between testosterone levels and crime. But there may be a complex correlation. 
No there isn't. If there were, this statement wouldn't have to be decorated with qualifications like the bumper-stickers on a 1978 Volvo.
It is also controversial yet undeniable that elevating testosterone levels can be extremely beneficial for physical and mental performance. It depends, of course, on what you're performing in. If your job is to whack home runs, capture criminals or play the market, then testosterone is a huge advantage. If you're a professional conciliator, office manager or teacher, it is probably a handicap.
Controversial, but undeniable. I am going to cry. Also:
Since most men have at least 10 times as much T as most women, it therefore makes sense not to have coed baseball leagues. Equally, it makes sense that women will be underrepresented in a high-testosterone environment like military combat or construction.
Sullivan then goes on to note a study undertaken by the well-respected, publicly-funded scientific research center Toys'R'Us.

The entire article displays a pathetic preoccupation with body hair, action verbs, and "assertiveness."

So, here we go:
  1. The side-effects from testosterone injections administered to an ailing body do not, in fact, reflect the effects of global testosterone metabolism in a typical person.
  2. Speaking of ailing bodies, I suffer from PCOS and, before I sought medical intervention, I used to (naturally!) produce massive quantities of testosterone all by myself; I grew a stiff and fetching beard, and curly arm hair, and I was almost totally bald on the top of my head. Also I weighed nearly 300 pounds, and had three periods a month. [ETA: And I had painful, disfiguring acne!] Despite the unfortunate consequences of my all-natural excess testosterone production, I managed not to rape or kill anyone to prove my fitness for mating.
  3. Nor did I harass or attack anyone in a dog park, or mysteriously acquire the belief that I deserved to be stacked at the top of every imaginable human hierarchy and therefore get everything I ever wanted, whenever I wanted it.
  4. Explain that, asshole. 
  5. At the glorious pinnacle of my all-natural testosterone production, was I technically a butch lesbian, a man, or a kind of hyena? 
  6. When I was an inch-long fetus, what did my disorder train me to understand about my future ability to manufacture sex hormones?
  7. Can you explain why my possession of extremely huge quantities of all-natural personal testosterone failed to launch me directly into the Presidency, or any other lofty position? 
  8. And why didn't I start yearning to become a construction worker, or Marine Todd?
  9. I mean, mostly I just sat around having panic attacks and crying all day. And I couldn't sleep for shit! I was good for absolutely nothing. How did I manage to fail my beautiful testosterone so badly?
I would like to mention, before moving on, that Sullivan also thought #GamerGate was a reasonable reaction to women provocatively requesting to be treated as human beings rather than objects. Perhaps you think I'm kidding. "The argument seems to be that some feminists are attempting to police or control a hyper-male culture of violence, speed, competition and boobage. And in so far as that might be the case, my sympathies do indeed lie with the gamers." In the same essay, he blames libtards for the entire problem, because in high school the libtards were too socially-adequate to be bullied, and therefore don't understand how childhood bullying leads naturally to doxing, harassment, and proud misogyny in defense of innocent digital waifus. (Perhaps I should start calling him "the famously mendacious sexist Andrew Sullivan.")

The love on the left for this cretin is inexplicable. I think they just like calling him "Sully."

Sadly enough, I found that wretched article because I read this article, which also led me to read this inexplicable Twitter thread in which a bunch of tragic morons who don't understand what evolution is attempt to defend unequivocal gender segregation by suggesting that human behavior is informed by the culture of chimpanzees. I wonder how far down the road to Chimpanzeetown these fools would like to travel? Cannibalism? Gang rape? Infanticide? Circus tricks? Zoos? This is getting embarrassing. I will say that I'm willing to accept guidance on social engineering from any chimpanzee capable of getting a scientifically-illiterate, disingenuous article about testosterone published in The New York Times.

Your move, Bubbles.


  1. That article started out as "interesting, if a little misguided at parts" and devolved into "ugh". Basically the conclusion seems to be "more testosterone equals more better; I am more better and I can do what I want, so there".

    Your bullet point number 1. is so much yes.

    I was particularly amused by how astonished he seemed to be by the fact that regular fluctuations in his hormones led to changes in mood and libido. I think he genuinely thought he had discovered something new and exciting. Like, does he ever talk to the women in his life or...?

    1. Andrew Sullivan "talks" to lots of people, but the noises that come out of their faces make absolutely no impression upon him whatever. He actually thinks that scientific racism is a legitimate, if uncomfortable, line of public inquiry. He is an idiot.

      This article made me EXTRA MAD, because testosterone ruined my life for years. It didn't make me suave and decisive; it wrecked me biologically and ended any chance I would've ever had to have biological children (not that big a deal from my perspective, but it still happened). Exactly the same thing happens to men who inject testosterone over & above their natural serum levels, by the way. It ruins their health, leads to heart attacks and strokes, and renders them completely infertile within weeks of adopting supplementation. Like literally everything else about the human body, testosterone in normal, individualized quantities is good, but more (or less, to be fair) will destroy you. Sullivan is HIV positive and might actually need it, I don't know — but the fact that he thinks getting into a fight at the dog park is an improvement over his normal behavior patterns suggests that his real problem is a surfeit of self-loathing. He (apparently) believes that he lacks proper manly quantities of assertiveness, and is ready to stand behind the scapegoat of testosterone supplementation in order to be the dickhead he always dreamed of being.

      Also, the argument just doesn't make any sense on its own merits; he talks endlessly about how much hormonal variation exists both within and between genders in all species, which is accurate, but then launches into a specious defense of sexism based on facts that not only aren't in evidence, but are refuted by earlier parts of the essay.


      The fact that Sullivan is considered to be a member of the more legitimate class of pundit means that his horseshit will serve as "evidence" that garbage people will use to feel okay about being misogynists in public.

      Okay, now I have to stop.

      Thank you for your comment. ♥️

    2. Sorry if you got this twice; I put it in the wrong place the first time.

    3. He (apparently) believes that he lacks proper manly quantities of assertiveness, and is ready to stand behind the scapegoat of testosterone supplementation in order to be the dickhead he always dreamed of being.

    4. That actually looks a little worse than I meant it to...

      Who cares?


  2. "Or try this thought experiment: what if parents committed to gender equity opted to counteract the effect of testosterone on boys in the womb by complementing it with injections of artificial female hormones? That way, structural gender difference could be eradicated from the beginning. Such a policy would lead to 'men and women with normal bodies but identical feminine brains,' Matt Ridley posits. 'War, rape, boxing, car racing, pornography and hamburgers and beer would soon be distant memories. A feminist paradise would have arrived.' Today's conservative cultural critics might also be enraptured. Promiscuity would doubtless decline, fatherhood improve, crime drop, virtue spread. Even gay men might start behaving like lesbians, fleeing the gym and marrying for life."

    This is maybe the stupidest thing I have ever read. This is an experiment in non-thought. Actual thoughts had to human-centipede each other to create this chimera of dumb.

    Which of suggested testosterone-encouraged-traits -- comfort-level with hitting dogs and screaming at strangers, apparently -- precedes hamburgers and beer? THESE ARE JUST FOODS. EVERYONE EATS FOODS.

    Is this supposed to be a sincerely enticing suggestion to people who care about "gender equity," or some kind of "test" to prove that everyone is secretly shitty and no one does? Or, christ, do Sullivan/Ridley/et al. GENUINELY think this is something we’ll be deciding for-or-against in the near future... even though both its theory and intended result are completely nonsensical, and it would require pregnant women to somehow know they’re carrying a male embryo months before it’s possible to identify said embryo’s genitalia? Who is green-lighting these articles? (Oh NYT.)

    "Diversity need not mean the equalization of difference."

    Ignoring the fact that I think he actually means "equality," not "diversity," because diversity LITERALLY NECESSITATES DIFFERENCE and the sentence as-written makes no fucking sense: no one is saying equality means eliminating or denying differences. NO ONE. Equality means the equalization of opportunity, you disingenuous window-licker. But it’s so much easier to argue with imaginary people when they’re wrong, isn’t it?

    (This is especially funny to me because I actually have a first-trimester fetus occupying my uterus at at this very moment, so, what... if it is in possession of a Y chromosome I will either make a "real boy," or will instead give birth to... a clicky-jointed wooden puppet? Unboy? Cucklord faerie baby?)

    1. I actually have a first-trimester fetus occupying my uterus at at this very moment
      Oh, that's amazing!!! Congratulations!!! I'm sorry I made you read a thing written by Andrew Sullivan!!!

      Also, if you don't at least consider naming your child "Anthy" or "Akio," I don't think I can continue this friendship.

      The important thing to remember about Andrew Sullivan and all those other cowards is that they truly believe that the world is divided into Wealthy White Males, who are Real People, and Everyone Else, who are Just Kind Of There. You either have a future White Male in your uterus right now, or you have Something Else. Sullivan wants to delineate those two categories very cleanly, but also avoid being called names on the internet, because he is chickenshit (and also because his employment pool would contract to "guest appearances on Sean Hannity's show" and "Head Bullshitter at the Breitbart News Bureau").

      You also have to understand that all inanimate objects are ordered according to Sullivan's hierarchy as well; hamburgers are Man Food, salads are for Other People (unless they're Paleo salads, and then they become Man Food again). Rape is a Man Thing, but being a rape victim is for Other People. Boxing is Man Stuff; yoga is Not. Their sanctioned brand of mental illness begins to look less opaque if you try to visualize the world this way.

      Like a lot of aging men, Sullivan had some testosterone injections and mistook the side effects for a philosophical epiphany. It's just that simple. A normal person might be disturbed by the personality changes that hormone therapy can engender, but that probably means they're not White or Male enough, or at least not sufficiently dedicated to the maintenance of the worldview that puts White Men in their proper place (at the top of the heap). What's weird to me is that the article is so long, and so full of contradictory arguments. He says that hormone levels vary widely between and within genders, and then goes on to ascribe behaviors to specific hormone profiles, for one thing. He makes all kinds of unscientific assertions about what wonderful things testosterone can do for you, and then tries to (also unscientifically) blame it for crime and rape. And he never bothers to wonder if it might be a good idea for our financial sector or military establishment to be staffed primarily with people whom he suggests are incapable of controlling their natural tendencies toward rage and competitiveness. I mean, maybe that's why we keep having financial crises and losing wars?

      It should go without saying that I don't agree with any of this horseshit.

      That dumbass thing about estrogen injections is factually incorrect, too. If you inject male fetuses with estrogen, they turn into (biological) girls. Estrogen administered during puberty and early growth phases would also radically impact an adult's physical and sexual development. Also it would probably put the kibosh on biological reproduction outside a lab. "Whither boxing?" would be the least of anybody's worries.

      And we all know girls don't get angry, right?

      I wonder if Sullivan realizes that he's cosigning for the benevolently sexist idea that women are more fully human than men, and better at everything that isn't a raw display of force and aggression.

      Probably not.

      I feel like this comment has overshadowed your awesome news with the looming presence of Andrew Sullivan's bigotry, so I just want to tell you again how happy I am for you & you husband and your whole family. I know you'll be an absolutely amazing mom, and I'm sure your baby will be an adorable antidote to the ravings of idiots like Andrew Sullivan.

    2. The suggestion that market research by companies like Toys 'R' Us and Fox somehow proves his arguments is especially painful, as well. Targeted marketing campaigns are about MONEY, not biology. Fox isn’t assigning biological causality to their findings; the dots to connect between their branding strategies and Sullivan’s position do not exist. These companies don’t care WHY 2-year-olds are already displaying differences in focus/interest that correlate with their assigned gender, they care about profiting from observable differences regardless of cause.

      And thank you! ♥♥♥ For some reason I was totally convinced that I was special and invulnerable, and there was no way I was going to be one of those people who got queasy and weepy and whiny when they became pregnant. I was wrong. But I hear the 2nd trimester is better (KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK on wood).

    3. That dumbass thing about estrogen injections is factually incorrect, too. If you inject male fetuses with estrogen, they turn into (biological) girls. Estrogen administered during puberty and early growth phases would also radically impact an adult's physical and sexual development.

      I'm not sure about that. A fetus is exposed to shittons of estrogen, from the mother's own supply and from the placenta itself which generates whole metric shittons more. "Female" is the default model for fetal development... unless enough androgens turn up to shift development onto the "male" epigenetic pathway. And if the fetal cells have mutant androgen-receptor proteins, "it" will stay on the default pathway and become "she" anyway, with XY chromosomes but a female phenotype. This is Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome, which makes it sound like a problem.

      In fairness, Ridley was sharing his Deep Thinks with us back in 1994, so I guess we must forgive him for being even more ignorant than we are today. And I see now that Sully was having his Alpha Male period of pop-sci back in 2000, so he's had 18 years to become even stupider now.

    4. @Alexa: Sorry for the late reply here, but I never got a notification of your comment from Blogger. Also I hope this is going in the right place! Blogger's comment-positioning scheme leaves much to be desired. You're right about Toys'R'Us, of course — if a little boy grew up in a household where his father put on lipstick every morning and his mother used power tools, he'd want a makeup vanity like Daddy and a big drill like Mommy. And five of whatever terrible stupid thing was being advertised during his Nicktoons binges. People are always trying to prove that ("normal") little boys innately desire weapons and ("normal") little girls innately desire dolls — but there is literally no way to determine this that's humane. If you raised children in an isolated and gender-neutral environment for the first ten years and recorded their toy preferences, all you'd know about would be the toy preferences of those poor deprived kids. It makes a lot more sense to just let kids have whatever kinds of toys they want and not agonize about it. Or use it as a foundation for your diseased theories on gender relations.

      As for the pregnancy moods — my heart goes out to you. I was once on a too-strong birth control pill and had morning sickness for two weeks, and I can pinpoint that as the exact moment I knew I didn't have the Mom Stuff. I'm way too much of a pussy. Pregnant people are warriors, and fuck anybody that thinks otherwise.

      @Smut Clyde: I'm sure you're right, of course. The only things I 'know' about hormones are based on stuff I was told or researched re: PCOS. I thought the placenta produced a shitton more progesterone during pregnancy, though? And that high estrogen levels were associated with miscarriage? It can be hard for regular people to find these sorts of things out; estrogen has become a boogeyman in alt-health circles lately, so most of the current publicly-available information on it is biased. Maybe the placenta produces both hormones, as well as Lemon-Lime Chupa Chups. Clearly I have no idea what I'm talking about. And I was basing my opinions about estrogen injections in male children on the risks of cross-gender hormone therapy associated with transitioning young. Or, actually, on the three things I've ever read about it. So probably no one should listen to me.

      One thing about which I can offer my qualified scientific opinion is how absofuckinglutely stupid Andrew Sullivan is. Just an abject fucking moron. Every time I think about this article I want to punch him in the face, even though my testosterone levels have been low-normal for several years now. Explain that, Sully.

  3. Sullivan will always be linked in my mind with "The Bell Curve", as he started his career as an enthusiastic booster of "racism is right because SCIENCE". So it comes as no surprise to find him now caught up in the mens-rights circle-jerk of "sexism is right because SCIENCE". Melanin reductionism is never far away from testosterone reductionism.

    "This is maybe the stupidest thing I have ever read. This is an experiment in non-thought. Actual thoughts had to human-centipede each other to create this chimera of dumb."
    [Nods enthusiastically] Matt Ridley is another buffoon, but you probably knew that.

    For a few years he was lying low and keeping his facehole shut, and everyone was grateful... that was after he had gone from promoting FREEMARKET and Thatcherism and NO REGULATIONS as the answers to everything, to mismanaging the major UK bank he'd inherited into a burning pile of rubble, so that taxpayers had to buy him out. Lately, though, he's decided that enough time has passed since the market crash for him to have served his penance, and he can go back to being a dumbarse in public. And because Ridley is from a Good Bank-Owning family, and went to Oxbridge, he is not limited to voicing his bumblefuck / plagiarised opinions over a pint of ESB to his equally ignorant cronies at the boozer, but is given columns in the UK media, syndicated around the world.

    1. Melanin reductionism is never far away from testosterone reductionism.
      I've suffered from insomnia since I was 19 years old, and I currently get normal-human amounts of sleep because I take 2mg of melatonin and 2.5mg of Ambien every night. Every time I mention this online — usually by way of trying to help people who have themselves suffered debilitating insomnia — some asshole always pops out of the digital woodwork and tells me that I'm FLOODING MY BRAIN WITH 48,000X THE NATURAL BIOLOGICAL LEVEL OF MELATONIN and I'M GOING TO HIGHKEY DIE IMMEDIATELY. So I am writing this comment with a very bitter smile of intense internet irony on my face.

      Well, now I have to google Matt Ridley... oh, god.
      Do you actually hate me?
      At least he's a viscount.
      I do hate getting my noxious, unscientific horseshit from untitled plebs.

      Jesus Christ.

    2. HAHA, I CAN'T READ.
      Fuck it, I'm leaving it up. It's 7AM on Sunday.

  4. Ah, I see now that you meant that Sully and Ridley were being Wrong on the Internet about "men and women with normal bodies but identical feminine brains". Yes, they are wrongwrongwrong, both about "feminine brainzzz" and about the idea of fetal hormone shenanigans not affecting body development.



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