Friday, 22 February 2008

Rants

Incoherent weasel sighting


Stop campus shootings: ban prop guns- And while you’re at it, be sure to carefully cover your “but” (even at the expense of clarity):

“All of us have a healthy respect for the freedom of artistic expression that college theater represents, but and all of us agree that out of respect for the families of those victims of the tragedies at Northern Illinois University and Virginia Tech, but and from an abundance of caution, but it is best at this time not to undertake a campus production that contains the portrayal of graphically violent scenes.” - Robert C. Brown, president, Arkansas Tech University
This mound of incoherence is by a university president? It must be rough to try to do the politically correct thing without seeming to do so.[1]  (And then there's the “thinking” behind the decision.)

I guess what Mark Twain once said about school boards now goes double for university administrations.

(Having said that, Assassins is one of Sondheim’s suckier efforts.)


[1] UPDATE 080222 23:56:  A late comment to the insidehighered.com story by a poster identifying him/herself as an ATU faculty member (no permlink, scroll to the comment by “D, at 4:30 pm EST on February 22, 2008”) offers:
A third option... that certain parties may simply have felt the content of the play was distasteful and inappropriate...
Arkansas is a red state with a deep patriotic bent, maybe the administration (or some influential alumni) simply felt the play to be inappropriate...
Accepting this explanation, rather than the obvious no-guns-on-campus one, requires believable answers to the questions of why the play was scheduled in the first place, and why the administration, once it had determined to stop  performances, felt it necessary to mask its reasons for doing so.  It is a possible scenario, and one that would lead me to change the above sentence to, “It must be rough when you have to scramble for a politically correct excuse to mask what’s actually censorship.”  But it is also worth noting that raising the possibility of censorship is a good way to shift the blame for a (now embarrassing) action;  from politically-correct motivations of the  administration to agitation by unidentified red-state rednecks. 


Via: Althouse (at IP) who notes:
The bright side of this is:  Because it's high-class musical theater that's getting censored, even the usual prissy anti-gun types should get pissed off.
Ox, gored, etc.

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Thursday, 21 February 2008

Rants

Bring out your hair shirts


Will Wilkinson writes about why deciding the “things that we don’t need” is best left to individual choice...

...Most critics of consumption don't take it as far as Diogenes.[1]  But if you're going to take it anywhere, you've got to draw a line and say why pants and bowls go on one side of it, and iPhones and a 20-ounce soy milk mochaccino go on another.

But why suppose there's one line?  Different people have different aspirations and plans. They have different frames of reference for adequacy and excess.  What each of us needs depends on what we are trying to make of our lives.

Of course, moralizers of all stripes, from officious environmentalists to religious fundamentalists, have strong ideas about what we really need.  But the fact that you think you know what's best for me doesn't mean I don't really need my nose hair trimmer or my stuffed armadillo. I have my reasons.
...and the “moralizers of all stripes” reply:
...At the macro level too many Americans live in poverty and extreme insecurity.  They suffer from inadequate “materialism” by greedy businesses, indifferent citizens, and plutocratic politicians.  At the micro level too many families are being hurt by fraud and misleading consumerism, inadequate financial literacy, and a false belief that “more” is always better. - Eric
Ah yes, all those poor,[2] beaten-down, illiterate, falsely-believing Americans.. just waiting for the enlightened to rescue them!  (Hey, Mr. Enlightened, how much of your after-tax income do you spend to directly assist the poor?[3] If it’s not 20%, shame on you.  If it’s less than 10%, then STFU.)
The more stuff we consume, the less money there is to provide basic food, shelter and medicine to people who cannot provide for themselves. - Michael Ostrom
The old zero-sum fallacy makes its appearance, and it's only the third comment.
...Modern agriculture has contained some amazing scientific successes, but monocultures have taxed the environment in unprecedented ways, led to blander-tasting food, and (if you care) led us to treat our farm animals in pretty harsh ways...

- The suburbs are boring and not very sustainable as they help foster global warming. Everyone is realizing this, at least the first part.

- Scientific food products like Twinkies and Cheez Whiz, delicious though they often are, are screwing with our notion of food in ways we haven’t logically come to terms with. Is it unsustainable? I don’t know. - mk
So it's all about aesthetics?  The Horror of the Unenlightened, sitting in their boring suburbs, watching television while snarfing down Twinkies and Cheez Whiz!  (Except when they’re mistreating farm animals or shopping at Wal-Mart.)  Ick!
[To other commenters] What did the “common good” ever do to you? Why so unhappy? - Michael Ostrom, again
The problem, Michael, is whenever somebody brings up the “common good” it invariably turns out to be all about them getting their jollies by telling me how to live my life,  frequently with the force of the state behind them.

It might be marginally less-irritating if these folks would just admit that they really don’t like other people very much and that while they would be much happier if the (aesthetically-unpleasing) part of mankind simply disappeared, in the meantime they’ll settle for exhibiting their superiority by making rules for everyone else.  But that would require them to realize that, when it comes to their loudly-espoused beliefs having real effect on their personal lives, they’re a bunch of posers.  Not gonna hold my breath waiting for that to happen.

But I will head out to lunch... and buy a triple cheeseburger.


-----
[1] “...who extolled the unencumbered life of the lowly dog...  One day, Diogenes smashed his only possession, a wooden bowl, after seeing a peasant boy drink from his cupped hands.” (Wilkinson, again)
[2] Relatively speaking, of course.  In the same thread, another commenter evokes the “impoverished yet happy people like those in Magdalena, Guatemala.”  (And in the next paragraph he quotes Anton Chekhov.)
[3] Meaning direct contributions to food banks, shelters, The Salvation Army, and the like.  Not the $500 you spent to attend the last fund-raiser.  And donations to NGOs that spend most of their resources on whining to the media and government about how bad poverty is don't count, either.

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Saturday, 16 February 2008

Linkage

...and happy Valentine's day


The Archbishop would probably call it “cultural accommodation”:

The British government has cleared the way for husbands with multiple wives to claim welfare benefits for all their partners, fueling growing controversy over the role of Islamic Shariah law in the nation's cultural and legal framework.

Bigamy is outlawed in Britain, but authorities have never prosecuted Muslim men who had legally married more than one woman abroad and continued to live with them after immigrating.  Shariah permits men to have up to four wives at one time.

Now, after a review that began in November 2006, a panel of four government departments has decided that all the wives of a Muslim man may collect state benefits, provided that the marriages took place in a country where multiple spouses are legal. - Washington Times


Via:  From the Maas via Ace

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Thursday, 07 February 2008

Rants

Follow the leader


“Donut” suggests a bumper sticker:
I'm as LOYAL to the G.O.P. as McCAIN is

UPDATE 080209 19:35: Print your own!

Posted by: Old Grouch in Rants at 22:02:34 GMT | No Comments | Add Comment
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