tropico is my new …

tropico is my new favourite strategy type game. you run a carribbean island. you have to keep the people happy and housed, keep them in jobs, run the farms and the industries, manage the tourism, get the people to build your new buildings, make money, keep up diplomatic relations, win (or buy) elections and sneakily shovel off money into your swiss bank account. the game has a lot in common with railroad tycoon II and the graphics are brilliant. when you get bored with managing you can sit back and watch your little people work.

everyone ought to be …

everyone ought to be equal. men and women. young and old. all races. all creeds. everyone. makes sense to me, i can’t understand why anyone would think otherwise.

on a mailing list yesterday someone posted a message about equality and feminism and one of their points was that women and men will never be equal because women don’t want to give up the advantages they have over men but only want to give up the disadvantages they have over men. i think this argument is complete rubbish and i’ve argued against it many times.

usually this takes the form of the door opening argument. ‘you’d get annoyed if men didn’t hold the door open for you’ someone will say. holding doors open is a matter of politeness and ease. yes, if someone slams a door in my face i’ll get annoyed. i don’t care if they are male or female, it’s just plain rude not to hold the door open until the person right behind you has hold of it. it’s also plain silly to insist on holding a door open when it’s not the easiest thing to do. picture the scenario:

  • bob and brenda approach the door from opposite directions.
  • brenda reaches door first and pulls it open towards her.
  • bob has some bizarre breeding thing that says he must hold the door open for brenda.
  • bob tries to hold the door open away from him which involves holding the door open close to the hinge and takes far more effort.
  • bob insists brenda go through first.
  • brenda is in a much more comfortable door holding position and tells bob to go first.
  • bob still insists.

eventually someone gives in but it would have been a much smoother and faster transaction if bob had just walked through the door while brenda held it. if this was two men or two women we wouldn’t have had to go through this stupid dance. the person who finds it easier to hold the door open for the other does so, the other person just says thank you. my conclusion is – having played out this scenario about a million times – is that everyday life would be simpler if men didn’t think they had to hold doors open for women.

anyway, that was a bit of a tangential rant. another point that my mailing list poster made was that women didn’t want to give up the insurance breaks that they get. this has been bugging me ever since and i can’t square fairness with equality. insurance is inherently unequal.

i’ve been looking around for insurance deals for a new car. when i ask for a quote i give all sorts of details about myself to allow the insurance company to judge how good or bad a risk i am. to do this they put me into a whole lot of boxes. they decide how what my premiums will be by looking at what they know about what previous 29 year old female software engineers living in the same place as me who aspire to drive little sports cars did. they don’t have anyone quite like me to compare me too (i hope!) but they use all those details and more to assess what kind of a risk i am.

would it be fairer if they took the female out of the equation? then why am i being judged on my age? statistically i’m a better driver than an average eighteen year old and a worse driver than an average forty year old. is it fair i’m being rewarded for not being eighteen or penalised for not being forty yet? i have no more control over that than i do over my sex. for my occupation, my driving history and the car i drive you could argue that i do have a choice of those things. that it’s fair to penalise someone for having caused various road accidents in the past. that it’s fair to penalise me because i want to swap my run of the mill hatchback for something more sporty.

i don’t know what to conclude. agism and sexism are inherently wrong, but is it not those but something else that is being practised here?