Friday, March 28, 2014

"Disrupting" Real Estate Agents

Recently read this Gawker article about how real estate agents in over-saturated markets can just absolutely gouge renters and can even scuttle sales by taking just enough commission on both sides of the deal to make it less palatable for everyone involved.

This is a particularly bad problem in New York, which the article discusses in some detail. However, the problem is even worse in close proximity to popular colleges with huge student populations that can't quite fit into school-run or school-sponsored housing or dormitories. For instance, when I rented my house in Cambridge last year, I did absolutely all of the leg work, negotiation (for what little of it there was), and even found the place. All the realtor did was post a largely inaccurate and poorly crafted advertisement on Craigslist that I came across after a couple hours of searching. I called that agent, and had to hound her on the phone in order to get a call back and get her to show me the place at a mutually convenient time. She was late to the showing, which lasted all of 10 minutes, and took forever to get the paperwork together once I told her we were ready to move on the place. (By the way, all of that paperwork is completely standard and cookie-cutter and just needs to be filled out for maybe 10 minutes tops).

For all of my troubles, my four roommates and I had the pleasure of paying her a grand total of about $20,000. This total was comprised of: First month's rent, last month's rent, security deposit, and a $5,000 broker's fee (equivalent to one month's rent). So, for her 30 minutes of work, or let's say an hour to be generous...she was compensated $5,000. And, if we factor in some of her costs like the costs in attracting that client (the owner of the house) to allow her to rent it out, some of her fixed costs, and what she probably had to give to her broker as a cut, she probably still made out like a bandit. She made somewhere above $1,500 per hour for basically doing the easiest thing in the world.

There needs to be a way for renters in crowded markets like this to change the game by either going straight through the landlord (facilitated by some kind of sublet or leasing database). This money shouldn't be going to any middleman. It should discount the real estate, or be more profit for the landlord. Anything else (other than maybe a database posting fee) is just pure inefficiency waiting to be capitalized on by someone entrepreneurial enough to take the plunge and do it.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Book Review: Carnage and Culture (Part Three of Three)

Given that the claims of continuity have already been debunked and the ideal of a universal Western warrior has been demystified, the next step is to address Hanson’s claims of uniqueness and the dichotomy he posits between West and East. In essence, Hanson’s argument reeks of Orientalism because of its essentialist and reductionist components. For Hanson and contemporaries like Keegan, the otherization of the East functions both to subjugate the East and to reflexively self-define the West. In this sense, the East is definitionally antithetic to the West; it substantiates the West’s self-understanding of itself as structured and modernized through the East’s own apparent backwardness. Intrinsic to this process, the European attitude toward the Orient[1] consciously underscores attributes that differentiate the two artificially constructed polarities (East and West), “exil[ing] the Orient into an irretrievable state of otherness.” Kegan goes as far as to describe all “Oriental” military cultures as being characterized by evasion, delay, and indirectness. The flaws of this over-generalization are not solely due to an innocent lack of knowledge about Eastern culture, but also can be attributed to overlooking certain Western tendencies. For instance, many armies in the 16th century were indirect in that they were battle averse and even Sir Basil Henry Liddell Hart, someone who had a large influence on Western military tradition, openly advocated an indirect approach. Drawing upon Gramsci’s theories about hegemony and Foucault’s postulations about the relationship between discourse, knowledge and power, Edward Said aptly demonstrates how the Orientalist trap can guarantee the sustenance of a system in which the West exercises hegemony over the Orient; as Said explains, Orientalism is a “Western style of dominating, restructuring, and having authority over the Orient. Said’s theories of Orientalism help to explain how the unrivaled dominance of the West has been solidified in the modern era and accounts for Hanson, Parker, and Keegan’s unapologetic, albeit nuanced, Western triumphalism.
Hence, Hanson’s argument is rooted in an ignorance of non-Western warfare. First and foremost, the claim that Eastern armies did not have the same discipline as those of the West as a result of some cultural feature is sheer naivety. During the Warring States period (403-221 BC) in China, rival Chinese rulers formed huge disciplined armies of conscripted subjects. Several Chinese writers of that period such as Han Fei-Tzu, and Ying Shao also frequently commented on the need for discipline, indicating that this was not a unique Western cultural feature; Chu-ko Liang (181-243 AD) even advocated a five-step training program to create a disciplined army. Also, the coordination of several weapons and warriors using bows, crossbows, spears, and halberds in close order while marching suggests expertise that could have only come as a result of drill.
Examples from the Warring States period also debunk Hanson’s claims about capitalism. During this period, polities fielded up to 600,000 troops and equipped them effectively with weapons and armor of the highest order. The same holds true for Vedic India and the campaigns of the Mughals under Aurangzeb, who campaigned with an army several thousand strong around the year 177. It is also important to note here the diversity of such forces in East Asia and South Asia in terms of differing moral codes, use of elephants, and varying degrees of infantry usage according to preferences and customs of each individual polity in question. Although the exact quality of arms cannot be ascertained, Asian, especially Chinese, technology was quite advanced as evidenced by excellent samurai swords, seagoing vessels, and ironworks. At this juncture, Hanson might reiterate that these societies could have never produced on the same scale as the West. But in light of the size of the armies indicated above and the fact that these were the times in which the Great Wall was built, is it that unbelievable that a system other than capitalism succeeded?
Another manner in which Hanson essentializes the Oriental “Other” is in regard to the concepts of legal freedom and separation of politics from religion, which he claims to be hallmarks of Western culture. However, for the Greeks, politics and religion were far from separate and freedom was often deified in and of itself. The poleis were rife with religious rituals; in fact, the Spartans did not arrive at Marathon in time for the battle because of an elaborate religious ritual. Also, all of these city-states relied on the advice of oracles and priests and engaged in ceremonial public worship. The Athenians worshipped the concept of freedom as part of the cult of Zeus Eleutherios; as Hanson oddly admits, “deities did more for the average Athenian than Ahura Mazda had ever done for the Persian subject.” Further, Hanson ignores the way in which secular ideology can be just as deadly as a force of religion and the similarity between the Puritan spirit that drove America to victory over the British and the moral codes of Islam. The argument about secular oversight of the military completely overlooks how figures ranging from Alexander to Augustus were deified.
Despite his proclivity toward Western triumphalism, Hanson’s thesis is certainly worth consideration and, for the most part, his scholarship is of the highest caliber. Unfortunately, he falls victim to overgeneralization and ends up with too many inconsistencies and inaccuracies as a result of distortion and omission. The cultural approach is certainly viable and perhaps the most important lens through which to view the history of warfare, but should not function as a vindication of Western hegemony. “In [Hanson’s] interpretation, [he] combines two visions of the West that have themselves been at war during the last 30 years: the celebration of the West for its democratic vision…and the condemnation of the West for militarism…the tendency is to see these positions as incompatible.” To contravene this tendency would truly require history to be written (or rather, rewritten) by Victor.

*Citations omitted

[1] It should be noted that European and American audiences interpret the term “Orient” differently. The “Orient” for Europe is more commonly associated with the Near East, or the totality of non-Western society, whereas the term’s semiotic extension in the West is more often associated with the Far East.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Book Review: Carnage and Culture (Part Two of Three)

          The first major problem with his thesis is his claim of a 2,500-year continuity rooted in Greek hoplite warfare. Hanson argues that what produced the present Western superiority in arms was “not a fundamental alteration and improvement in arms and…the classical military paradigm, but rather its gradual spread throughout Europe and the Western hemisphere.” However, professional Roman legionaries, mounted medieval aristocrats, Germanic tribal levies, and disenfranchised mercenaries of early modern Europe had very little in common with the agrarian hoplites of ancient Greece (Lynn, 2004, p. 26). The most common challenge to rupture Hanson’s line of continuity is the fact that there was a thousand year period in which Europe was completely on the defensive against Islamic armies. Instead of explaining practices like siege warfare in terms of what he calls a Western cultural tradition and chronicling heavy European losses in this period, he chooses to focus on Lepanto as the embodiment of this period and argues that most states in Europe managed to retain the cultural traditions of Classical antiquity over this time.
Hanson posits the emergence of civic militarism combined with the proclivity toward decisive battle among other factors as a distinctly Western phenomenon. Of course, his analysis begins by easily drawing a line connecting Greece and Republican Rome, but this line of continuity starts to fray as the republic evolves into an empire because civic militarism became almost non-existent when the demands of foreign wars engineered a shift from citizen militia to professional mercenary force whose allegiance rested with generals and emperors; this development was a key factor in fueling the Roman Civil Wars that ultimately contributed to the empire’s demise and would be an important cultural legacy left to the successors of the empire.
After the fall of the Roman Empire, Classical traditions did not persist with the “barbarian” armies that defeated the Western empire. The sheer diversity of combat styles among the Germanic tribes that raided the Western half of the Roman Empire after Adrianople in 378, ranging from Goths who came out of the steppes emphasizing their cavalry to Franks who came down from Northern forests accentuating their infantry, seriously test the validity of Hanson’s idea of a unique Western way of warfare. Although proponents of Hanson’s thesis point toward the fact that, once settled, these tribal societies picked up some old Roman practices and institutions, but they rapidly disappeared and such egalitarian societies were governed by custom and not a continuation of Classical practices. Later, in the high and late Middle Ages, regardless of relatively weak attempts by scholars like Keegan and Hanson to make knights seem like they followed Greek shock combat tactics (which were very rare at that time), it is quite difficult to reconcile the importance of aristocratic cavalry with the Greek infantry-based ideal. Although some armies emphasized formations like Swiss pike squares, such configurations were not the norm and were responses to military realities of the times rather than results of careful perusal of Greek precedent. Even in the Hundred Years War in which infantry was the largest component of the fighting force, there was no appearance of any phalanx or legion type formation. The historical aberration of centralized polities such as that of Charles Martel in the age of feudalism is not, as Hanson says, a “continuation of a 1,400-year tradition.”
While Hanson focuses on the era of chivalry, he misses out on the other half of the story of that period in which devastating “chevauchees” painted the story of combat in blood red. Again, the Hundred Years War is again illustrative of the places where Hanson’s thesis falters; during the campaign leading up to, and ultimately, the Battle of Crecy in 1346, there was a varied and incongruous relationship “between reality and discourse in medieval warfare.” Moreover, feudal armies were composed not of citizen soldiers, but of peasant and serf levies and mercenaries, which certainly does not help the claim that these armies exhibited a strong tradition of civic militarism. At the end of the Middle Ages, the so-called representative institutions that emerged in some European monarchies like Louis XIV’s Fronde, the French Estates General, or the English parliament, were merely manifestations of the authority of nobles or the king himself and cannot credibly be used as evidence toward Hanson’s thesis regarding equality among the middle classes and consensual government. Hanson even disparagingly references Berber, Mongol, Arab, and Ottoman armies that employed the same types of people to fight in their armies, further diminishing the force of his theory.

The crucial point in terms of the continuity debate is the Renaissance. However, instead of the gradual spread model propagated by Hanson, the aforementioned historical context demonstrates that the Classical practices and institutions of the Renaissance were adapted to the technological and socio-political context of early modern European armies (Lynn, 2004, pp.16-19). Even if opponents of Hanson’s line of continuity were granted a complete Classical revival in tactics (engineered by Maurice of Nassau and others), there still remains the fact that these armies (like the Italian condotierre) were battle-averse, did not seek decisive battle, and did not feature any semblance of civic militarism. In fact, the desire for decisive battle only returned with Napoleon’s ascendancy, which coincides with the return of civic militarism at the eve of the French Revolutions. Subsequently, “from Marius to Robespierre is a gap of nearly 1,900 years in a claimed continuity of 2,500 years” and even if the Roman Empire is credited with a degree of civic militarism, this breach in an alleged Western tradition persisted for over 1,400 years.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Book Review: Carnage and Culture (Part One of Three)

            Dispensing with more static explanations of Western hegemony such as technological or ecological determinism, Victor Davis Hanson adeptly tenders a cultural argument that enables a more complex appreciation of the variety and change that have characterized military thought, practice, and institutions over thousands of years. Granted, the alternative accounts of such prominent scholars as Jared Diamond, Fernand Braudel, and Charles Beard represent significant contributions in concretely rationalizing the ascendancy of the West; yet, these variables are necessary, but not quite sufficient pieces of the puzzle of Western cultural dominance. As for ecological explanations, it suffices to say that few civilizations were situated more disadvantageously than Greece. With respect to the technology-driven thesis, Hanson co-opts much of its strength by explaining technological superiority as having a causal relationship with certain Western cultural attributes; and, many landmark battles like Salamis and Midway featured a technological stalemate (even a Western disadvantage in technology at times) with cultural variables such as the status of freedom, individualism, and civic militarism among the opposing forces. Additionally, there were really only a handful of watershed advances in military technology ranging from the breeding of horses specifically for war and the transition from bronze to iron to the refining of gunpowder and even a historical event as seemingly crucial as the Industrial Revolution has been described by many ultimately as “a tide that raise[d] all boats.”
                  Despite the strength of the cultural approach in terms of its analytic utility and explanatory power, Hanson’s overarching thesis that seeks to explain the politico-military dominance of the “West”[1] over and against “the Other” over a continuous period of the last 2,500 years suffers from problems regarding continuity, uniqueness/universality, reductionism, and essentialism. In other words, the cultural approach is still superior to the aforementioned alternative theories, but Hanson falls prey to the tendency toward causal generalizations and linear postulates that even he cautions against by encouraging his readers to not “judge the Western military record in absolute terms, but always in a relative context vis-à-vis the conditions of the times.” Hanson’s prioritization of a rigid conceptual framework that omits or distorts any information that does not fit conveniently within its preconceived, strictly delineated boundaries is a grave historical solecism. In addition to such cherry picking of information, Carnage and Culture exemplifies the penchant for describing present social behavior in terms of past institutions and practices too much and thus exemplifies spurious continuity.[2] Hanson himself acknowledges the tendency for historians to regard such a strong thesis with a certain degree of skepticism and tries to dispel this sentiment with a disclaimer in the preface of Carnage and Culture that “[it] is not a book…written for academic specialists.” But, for the student of history, such a disclaimer does not insulate his work from the burden of historical specificity.

***Citations Omitted

[1] Hanson dismisses some of the debate surrounding his definition of “Western” by acknowledging that not all European states had exactly the same values and that institutions and practices have indeed evolved to some extent. However, the adequacy of this attempt to avoid criticism on this front is outside the scope of this paper and as Hanson states, “I have no interest in entering in such contemporary cultural debates, since my interests are in the military power, not the morality, of the West.”
[2] See Norman Jacobs’ The Sociology of Development (1966) for a more in-depth discussion of the tunnel-vision style tendency to explain present behavior strictly in terms of past institutions and practices and exemplify spurious continuity and vice-versa.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

March Madness Begins

Now that I've gotten over my disappointment that LeBron didn't score 100 and live up to my ridiculous expectations and dreams when when he was on pace to do just that after the first quarter against the Cavs (which I guess could be a blessing in disguise because I don't want him to have any more happy thoughts associated with the city of Cleveland until he re-signs with Miami for the discernible future). OK, enough Heat ranting. March Madness time.

Here's an ugly version of my bracket because my friend didn't invite me to our league with the correct e-mail address. Please forgive him.

Anyway, the Pitt and Harvard upsets worked out well for me, but Dayton and BYU went ahead and lost me a billion dollars. Not picking Oregon was stupid, but I was rushed. Also, picking BYU in anything but the first game despite them being one of the last teams in the tournament was also a pretty dumb thing for me to do. Billion dollar mistakes.

Side Note: Harvard Basketball is killing it. Are these consecutive tournament appearances/wins the residual Jeremy Lin boost or just the normal ebb and flow of relevance of an Ivy League basketball team?

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

What Makes a Great Admissions Counselor

College and professional school application counseling can be a huge difference-maker for millions of students. Though many are skeptical of the help that admissions counselors can provide to an applicant, there is demonstrable value added by those who are some of the best in the business.

One of the most effective models for admissions counseling is having a counseling team that gives you access to a graduate coach, who has successfully navigated the process himself/herself at the highest level, and a former admissions officer, who has made admit/deny decisions about candidates like you in the very recent past. inGenius Prep, a relatively new player in the admissions counseling business, utilizes this unique business model that very few others do and boasts an unrivaled team. The strategic perspective and insider knowledge about the admissions process that the former admissions officers provide is undoubtedly valuable.

Moreover, the student coaches (at inGenius Prep, these are all students from top schools) have significant counseling experience and are some of the best writers and editors in the world. With the student coach doing more of the day-to-day revision, commentary, and feedback and the former admissions officer overseeing the overall strategy, the system tends to work extremely well. Another benefit is that if students do not want or need such comprehensive application counseling, they can get more affordable services that are performed solely by the student coaches. These services underprice any similar service in the market and applicants to work with some of the most successful and qualified professional school students in the world.

According to David Mainiero, the head of the BA & JD Divisions at inGenius Prep, “student coaches are carefully vetted and submit academic writing samples, application writing samples, resumes, grades, and perform mock-counseling sessions with inGenius Prep’s leadership team before they are be hired. They then read hundreds of pages of our curriculum materials and go through hours upon hours of extensive training.”

Another important quality that inGenius Prep seeks, according to Mainiero, is that a graduate coach (or former admissions officer) genuinely enjoys helping students unlock their potential. For instance, one of inGenius Prep’s former admissions officers, Jana, said “I love helping applicants express their authentic personality through the application process.” It is this type of attitude that is a key indicator of a great counselor. Carolina, the Former Director of Recruitment at Yale Law School said, “I love making the admissions process more open and accessible by helping students with their applications . . .”

InGenius’s generous financial aid program for qualified students and its non-profit division (partnerships with Teach For America and the Dallas Urban Debate Alliance) will all help thousands of students achieve their goals.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Law School Personal Statement Tips from Co-Founder of InGenius Prep - Joel Butterly

This is the latest video from admissions expert and co-founder of InGenius Prep, Joel Butterly. He has examples from successful and unsuccessful law school applications and picks them apart to find the good and the bad as you watch. Joel has some terrific examples here to work with that provide concrete examples of regurgitating your resume (don't), telling the admissions officers nothing about yourself, and not tying your application persona to a compelling story about your interest in the law.

You can reach Joel by e-mailing him here

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The New SAT: Paradigm Shift or More of the Same? (My post on the Harvard Crimson Admissions Blog)

Follow this link to find my article on how the College Board's changes to the SAT that are due to take effect in the spring of 2016 are not so earth-shattering. They don't accomplish the goals that the College Board is claiming to try to address, and are merely an attempt to regain ground picked up by the SAT's main competitor - the ACT. This is marketing and nothing more.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

For All You Fans of The Wire Out There

          I took a class last semester about race and social justice issues through the lens of the critically acclaimed HBO show The Wire. Here's a snippet (quotations and footnotes excluded) about the value of Urban Debate Leagues - even the writers of the show knew how great high school debate is! 

          School-after-school activities offer “corner kids”—and others that might be alienated by the rigid hierarchical structures of “gen pop” classes—the opportunity to become more engaged with the world and to change the trajectory of their lives. Throughout The Wire, Namond Bryce’s developing sense of belonging and empowerment mirrors his character’s arc. His “ability to join the new world and his inability to follow the script of the street are interrelated.” When taken out the “prison” that he believes the “gen pop” classrooms represent and brought into the experimental classroom, the children, especially Namond, become much more animated and engaged in discussing the world they know—“the game.” Fielding a question from Major Colvin about why no one can ever give anybody a break on the street, Namond parrots the street mantra that “if you let him slide for a dollar, it’s a sign that you’re weak. Today’s dollar is tomorrow’s two.” Yet, that increased level of engagement enables Namond to see connections to the larger world when Major Colvin asks the students to write down some of the rules of the “the game”:
Like you all say: don’t lie, don’t bunk, don’t cheat, don’t steal, or whatever. But what about y’all, huh? What, the government? What’s it—Enron? Steroids? Yeah, liquor business. Booze, the real killer out there. And cigarettes? Oh, shit. Hey, you got some smokes in there? . . . And drugs, pays your salary right (pointing to Colvin). We do the same thing as ya’ll, except when we do it, it’s like, ‘Oh my God, these kids is animals.’ Man, that’s bullshit . . .What’s it – hypocrite, hypocritical?
Joe Chappelle, The Wire, Episode 4.08.
Traditional school programs, and reform efforts, have failed to provide urban students with similar opportunities for engagement with the curriculum. Perhaps more important than problems such as the narrow focus on “juking the stats” and “teaching to the test” (or, “curricular alignment,” as a school superintendent in Season 4 refers to it), urban youth are all too often marginalized from society and alienated by the their classroom experiences. While these marginalized students certainly need to improve basic academic skills, the substance of their education should provide an outlet for them to express their identities and take ownership over their own education and maturation. In other words, schools must emphasize ways to equip students with “not just the tools of the academy, but also the tools of empowerment.”
Extra-curricular activities, such as after-school athletics, are common outlets for students to learn critical lessons about team-building, hard work, sacrifice, and discipline. Equally importantly, they keep students off the street and give a fortunate group of them an avenue out of their neighborhoods and into college by virtue of athletic scholarships. Participation in athletics is not for everyone though, and athletics is not a panacea in and of itself. There must be other avenues for education and empowerment, particularly those that are more directly tied to helping students develop academic skills and engage meaningfully with the world around them. Unfortunately, many other extra-curricular activities (and even athletics sometimes) are often the first on the chopping block when budgetary cuts must be made and/or when schools panic to reallocate all available resources to the “basics.” This paper implores schools to avoid such rash decisions when it comes to successful activities and programs; specifically, this paper will focus on expanding debate programs at inner-city schools.
Debate—an “academic sport” that helps students build reading, research, communication, and critical thinking skills—provides urban youth with a competitive outlet that empowers them to succeed in school, college, and their careers. Through the efforts of the National Association of Urban Debate Leagues and other organizations, Urban Debate Leagues (UDLs) now thrive in more than nineteen cities in the United States. By teaching urban youth how to think, communicate, and collaborate, and by providing them with constant opportunities to receive feedback and support, UDLs can transform these students educational career and their lives by inciting their passion for learning. This passion creates synergy with their school coursework, and helps students engage positively with the world around them.
Namond’s turnaround—capped off by the Season 5 scene featuring his speech about the HIV/AIDS epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa at the Baltimore Urban Debate League championship—can be attributed to his finding an outlet through which he could express himself. This process started with the “school-within-a-school” experimental classroom with the rest of students that were too disruptive for “gen pop” classes. Obviously, the importance of Bunny Colvin’s adoption of Namond cannot be overlooked. Having a responsible role model and stable parental figure in his life facilitated his maturation and gave him space to find himself that he did not have when he was trying so hard to live up to the legacy of his father. Yet, participating (and succeeding) in the Baltimore Urban Debate League ostensibly granted Namond the opportunity to exercise autonomy and control, to learn that he can succeed, and to feel an enhanced sense of belonging.
Namond’s experience, like much of The Wire, is not pure fiction. His story plays itself out every day in urban schools around the country. Urban Debate Leagues help smart students that may have struggled in school, had poor attendance records, and a history of disciplinary problems turn their lives around. Statistics convincingly demonstrate that more debate leads to better grades, higher standardized test scores, and higher graduation rates.


Saturday, March 1, 2014

Leave the Girl from Duke Alone

Internet bullies, judgmental bloggers and writers, critics, pundits, commentators, and especially anonymous cowards everywhere should lay off the girl from Duke who was recently (and perhaps inappropriately) outed as a porn star.

There's something about sitting behind a computer screen and passing judgment on other people that gives people a certain feeling of empowerment. Putting others down for your own psychological benefit is reprehensible behavior though, especially if you are doing it just for page views and you don't actually care about the content of what you're saying (certain posts on Gawker, etc.). While I'm disinclined to jump on the anti-bullying bandwagon (not because I disagree with the message, but because I don't think it's really that effective other than as a support mechanism for people being bullied).

There's something about anonymity that gives people an unfounded confidence and makes them feel like they have a blank check to say things they would never even think, let alone say to the person they are talking about in person.

It's fair to disapprove of what the girl is doing from various perspectives, and it's fair to criticize her feminist rationale for doing what she is doing, but it's totally unfair to slut shame her and say things about her with no basis to be saying them. With the exception of a handful of people, not one of them know anything about the girl besides a post she made because she was outed before she was ready to share what she was doing with the world. Granted, part of the deal if you're doing porn is that you're doing something very public, and part of what you get paid for is people seeing what you are doing. So, a lot of the outcry about her being outed as a porn star is probably overblown. But, the way in which she has been outed is not acceptable at all.

Personally, I don't really think what she's doing is a good thing, but it's her choice, and she shouldn't be vilified for it. I also don't really credit her purportedly feminist rationales for doing this on any level, especially when she is doing videos talking about liking to see the misery in girls' eyes when they are treated roughly during sex on terrible sites with names like "Facial Abuse."

People are entitled to their opinions about her very public acts, but they aren't entitled to level accusations against her personally as if they are in some privileged position with respect to who she is. The Internet bullies should be ashamed. Anonymous bloggers, especially. Free speech is great, and there are certain instances in which it's valuable to be able to criticize people in positions of power anonymously; nonetheless, most examples of anonymous blogging are just examples of cowardice in its purest form.