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Quote Of The Day.

Tuesday, April 30, 2002

In Direct Refutation

Of the iFeminists and their Intellectual Bill of Wrongs -excuse me rights - 50% of Spinsters readers say that the most important thing about an argument is its truth or falsity. Percent believing that its the argument's civility: 0.


posted by Gena on Tuesday, April 30, 2002 | link

There's Some Good Stuff

On interracial marriage over at Instapundit - you know I just reread that and the way I put it makes it sounds even more interesting than it is.


posted by Gena on Tuesday, April 30, 2002 | link

There's A Blog for Everything

Even haiku.


posted by Gena on Tuesday, April 30, 2002 | link

Wittgenstein's Curse

Jay Tolson blames Wittgenstein for the current, um, state of the humanities. He makes some good points, but he leaves out one which explains a lot. Tolson claims that universities push scholars to be original, when in fact the opposite is true. One of my most vivid memories of Chapel Hill is of sitting around a seminar table, listening to the professor weave a complex interpretation out of a passage I had no memory of reading. The class was on German Romanticism and at the time I had only been studying German for nine months. I listened as the other students - all except one graduate students in German, some native speakers - added their own ideas to what the professor was saying and I grew more and more confused. Finally, I couldn't stand it any longer, and I raised my hand, and said something like: "Excuse me. I'm sorry to
interrupt, but I haven't been studying German that long, and I honestly don't remember that passage." I then read the passage we were discussing, and said what I thought it meant. Deathly silence. The professor looked at the passage, nodded once, said, "You're right," and the class resumed.So there we had been weaving an increasingly complex interpretation out of a passage which didn't even exist - at least not in the way the professor said it did. I'm sure the professor's mistake was honest. The same doesn't hold true for the other people sitting around the table. I find it extremely hard to believe that none of these people, not even one, noticed that the
professor was wrong. In fact, I'd venture to say that all of them noticed it, and all of them chose not to say a word. Why? Because there was punishment to be had for speaking up, not overt perhaps, but punishment all the same: the subtle anger of the professor, the confusion as to why your assistantship suddenly spontaneously combusted.

If you train people in the art of sycophantism and kowtowing to the powers that be, one of three things will happen. The ones with the most stringent integrity will refuse to go along and more than likely emigrate to another profession. The ones with a medium amount of integrity will go into "internal exile." And those with the least integrity will happily join the party and jump in the fray. The happiest of all, of course, will be the idiots and incompetents who have no idea what's going on in the first place. This isn't true of all universities, of course. UT for instance has a wonderful German department which is congenial, convivial, and idiot free. Nor does it mean that graduating from a place like UNC necessarily implies a moral or an intellectual taint. It does however increase the probability that one will pick up habits of mind that are more conducive to a sort of connect the dots and paint by numbers mode of thinking than one which leads to originality or insight. And that is the problem, of course, for it is not that schools like UNC put too much emphasis on originality but not enough.


posted by Gena on Tuesday, April 30, 2002 | link

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Monday, April 29, 2002

"Tapped" by the American Prospect

Is synonymous with "touched" -  in the Southern sense of the word. For a national magazine, this blog more than sucks, it's an embarrassment. This is why the left gets killed online. The National Review pulls its regular contributors to write for its blog. The American Prospect hires Beavis from MTV.


posted by Gena on Monday, April 29, 2002 | link

The Tome Raider

Yes, I do know how to spell. I have a book addiction, I'll admit. When I move this summer, I'll have to rent a UHaul. For my furniture, you ask? Nope, to carry all my books. I haven't, however, let my addiction go quite this far, however. An English accountant, a Cambridge graduate no less, got a lengthy jail sentence for stealing 1.1 million pounds - that's money not weight - worth of books from various British libraries. The man then did something I would never do: he sold them. [via Library Stuff]


posted by Gena on Monday, April 29, 2002 | link

Hey I Just Noticed

Instapundit permanent linked us! Way cool! And thank-you!


posted by Gena on Monday, April 29, 2002 | link

Gang Rape for Allah.

Here is a sickening story out of Australia. An 18 year old girl was brutally raped by 14 men over the course of 6 hours. The attackers were Muslims who targeted the victim because she was an “Aussie pig” and were careful to ascertain that she wasn’t a Muslim before assaulting her. Notice the part where a woman from the neighborhood (likely of the same religion as the rapists) offered the girl help in exchange for money, and then handed her back to the rapist-animals. Apparently there have been numerous similar incidents in Australia, with one province reporting over 50 such attacks. One official describes the attacks as having become “culturally institutional.” This is not a culture that I want to have anything to do with.

posted by Lee Ann on Monday, April 29, 2002 | link

Look Out Gena!.

Poverty . . . thrift stores . . . writing. Dear God Gena, this guy is living our lives! How does he know?

posted by Lee Ann on Monday, April 29, 2002 | link

My Readings.

I have finished 3 books this week. It was a good week, reading wise. Here’s the run down, because I know you’re just dying of curiosity. Or boredom.

At Wit’s End by Erma Bombeck – I got it at the thrift stores (it was one of 11 books and a pair of pants for $8.34). I had forgotten how funny she was. I was also surprised at the literary and cultural sophistication of the average ‘60s housewife. The college grads of today seem like morons in comparison. The book was very funny. I hope I find more when I go thrifting again.

Open All Night by Charles Bukowski – Buk is one of my favorite poets. He’s one of my favorite authors. This is a great collection of his later poems. It is all good, with more than its share of gems. I have around 14 Buk books, and this is one of my favorites. I was actually going to write my Master’s on Buk and Georg Trakl when I was at the Madrassa of UNC. Anything by Bukowski is worth buying at full price. Hardback even.

Justice by Dominick Dunne - I really like Dunne. I like his novels and his trial articles. This book collects his articles on famous trials from Vanity Fair. It’s like bound crack. One page and you’re hooked. Actually, Gena, you should read the first article. It is called "Justice" and is about the trial of his daughter Dominique’s killer. It apparently gets assigned in a lot of law schools as an example of how badly a trial can go wrong. Dunne gives a fascinating look into the legal system from a man who is dedicated to the victims of crime, rather than the perpetrators of it.

posted by Lee Ann on Monday, April 29, 2002 | link

Check It Out!

I found a new site! It’s New Advent. It has all the Catholic info you’ll ever need. It has a great directory of a huge variety of Catholic sites. Dare I permalink it? I dare!

posted by Lee Ann on Monday, April 29, 2002 | link

Out of Sight.

What’s it like for a writer to go blind? Sion Simon is finding out. He’s slowly going blind from a rare genetic disorder. He addresses the subject manfully, with much more grace than I would have been capable of. I’m not sure I could handle being blind. I am a reader and I can’t imagine life without the printed word. I am a visual, not an audio, person. I hate audiobooks. They are too controlling. I like to read at my own pace, sometimes rapidly, sometimes very slowly, with a lot of pausing, thinking, and daydreaming. You can’t do that with an audiobook. I could handle paralysis (more time to read) but I don’t think I could handle blindness. I think the only thing that would keep me from suicide would be the balancing of the temporary hell of earthly life without reading with the eternal Hell of damnation. It gives me the creeps just thinking about it.

posted by Lee Ann on Monday, April 29, 2002 | link

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Sunday, April 28, 2002







posted by Gena on Sunday, April 28, 2002 | link

Well, I'm Tired And I'm Slacking

And Lee Ann didn't post much tonight, so therefore I don't have to either. Yes, I know, that's faulty logic, but on the other hand this is the last cool night before the unnatural Knoxville heat wave resumes. In other words, I'm off to count sheep. Regular blogging will resume tomorrow.


posted by Gena on Sunday, April 28, 2002 | link

The Germans

Some of them anyway want to ban violent films and video games.


posted by Gena on Sunday, April 28, 2002 | link

The France Problem.

The cover article for this week’s Weekly Standard is an in-depth study of French Anti-Semitism. The two-part article traces the political transformation of the modern French Jew-haters. While the virulent anti-Semitism of the French Muslims is covered, the article mostly deals with the French themselves. It is fascinating to see how anti-Semitism has become the trademark of the Left, as opposed to the Right. The difference between the Left’s Jew-hating and the Right’s is elaborated and the author also makes it chillingly apparent the Leftist attacks on Jews are treated far more leniently that similar or lesser incidents by Rightists. While the article is in-depth and requires a lot of thought, it is essential reading for those who care about the anti-Jewish fervor of Europe.

posted by Lee Ann on Sunday, April 28, 2002 | link

Hölderlin Translation Page

For those of you who are interested in poetry, I have a new blog - don't worry I'm still doing Spinsters. The new blog is devoted to the German poet Friedrich Hölderlin who is widely considered to be Germany's greatest lyric poet. Hölderlin was a contemporary of Goethe, but unlike the great old man of German lit. Hölderlin took the prize for best starving artist story. His mother basically stole his inheritance; he couldn't hold down a job; he fell in love with a married woman, was widely ridiculed by his contemporaries, got in trouble with the state, and was eventually hauled off to the nut house, after which he spent the remaining decades of his life in a tower in Tuebingen, a broken and possibly insane man. His poetry, however, is not only beautiful but also modern in terms of its themes and syntax. It is also almost never translated into English, and when it is, it is invariably done so by people who destroy the power of the verse by trying to iron it into "proper" English. The Hölderlin Translation Page is my attempt to remedy that. As a sample, here is an excerpt from the first translation:

Menon's Lament for Diotima

1

Daily I go out, and seek another, always.
All the paths of the land I have asked of her
There above on the cooling hill, the shadows all I have visited
And the streams; back and forth the spirit wanders
Asking for peace; so flees the wounded beast into the forests
Where otherwise it would rest at midday safe in the darkness
But never will its green shelter spur its heart
Crying out and sleepless it is driven forth by the thorn
Not the warmth of the light, and not the cool of the night will help
And in vain it immerses its wounds in the waves of the stream.
And just as in vain the earth will pass to it the joyous healing plant
And the seething blood will be stilled by none of the Zephyri
So it is with you, my love! To me as well, will it thus appear, and no one
Can take the sad dream from my brow?



Diotima for those who are wondering was Hölderlin's name for Susette Gontard, his great love and the wife of his employer. Click here for the rest of the poem.


posted by Gena on Sunday, April 28, 2002 | link

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Saturday, April 27, 2002

Ah, the Advantages of Fighting a War by Proxy

From the Washington Post:


Factional fighting among rival militia leaders erupted across eastern Afghanistan today for the first time since January, killing and injuring dozens of people and complicating efforts by the U.S.-led military coalition to hunt down residual al Qaeda and Taliban fighters near the Pakistaniborder.


Rockets rained down on the provincial capital of Gardez, about 65 miles south of Kabul, as two well-armed camps fought for control of the city, while to the east in the border town of Khost, competing gunmen faced off in a tense confrontation at the police station.


posted by Gena on Saturday, April 27, 2002 | link

Not to Disagree With Instapundit but....

According to the Spiegel both of Steinhaeuser's guns were legal. He obtained a license for them by taking classes at a local shooting club whose other members have described him as a "totally normal member." Students at the school remember Steinhaeuser as a "reserved and unprepossessing young man with a bent for dark music and bloody computer combat games."


posted by Gena on Saturday, April 27, 2002 | link

Robert Steinhaeuser

The 19 year old German student who shot some seventeen people including himself was apparently stopped by a history teacher at the school. The teacher pulled off Steinhaeuser's mask and told him that it was senseless to go on. Steinhaeuser answered that he didn't want to, and the teacher locked him in a classroom where some moments later Steinhaeuser shot himself. According to the police, Steinhaeuser was selectively targeting his ex-teachers, whom he shot in the head.


posted by Gena on Saturday, April 27, 2002 | link

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Friday, April 26, 2002

Sowell Patrol!

I love Thomas Sowell’s Random Thoughts columns. It’s like peering into the subconscious of genius.

posted by Lee Ann on Friday, April 26, 2002 | link

Rules of (Intellectual) Behavior.

Wendy McElroy, iFeminist extraordinaire, presents a Bill of Intellectual Rights, along with their accompanying responsibilities. These are very good maxims to keep in mind as you head out into the uncharted waters of punditry. Not that Gena or I would ever have an impolite discussion . . .

posted by Lee Ann on Friday, April 26, 2002 | link

Censorship.

You’re coming in late to an old story, i.e. Pedophilia Chic. It’s had a resurgence of late. Technically the term for what the book advocates is “Ephebophilia” or something like that. It’s the dirty little secret at the center of The Scandal. By the way, all the books that have come out pushing this premise have been notorious for omitting mountains of evidence against their thesis and for wildly misinterpreting the statements of the victims of this behavior. Also, it is absolutely hilarious to hear anyone associated with a university press complain of censorship. Academic presses are notorious for suppressing conservative works and for making publishing decisions based on über-PC motives. I think you said something earlier about turn-about being fair play. Give me a week and I might be able to work up to caring about the trials of a censor-happy academic press.

Actually, distinguishing between pedophilia and “jail-bait-ophilia” is not quibbling. It is a matter of getting your facts straight and representing a sickness accurately. Pedophilia is a sexual attraction to pre-pubescent children. Pedophiles are not sex specific in their victims. In case you haven’t noticed, the under twelve set is virtually identical except for hair. Thus, for a pedophile, either sex will do. Predators of this nature are primarily focused on kids and don’t really develop adult sexualities like hetero- or homosexuality in the strict sense of the words. They tend to be “heterosexual” in that they typically marry to be able to get stepkids to molest or to breed their own supply of victims. These creeps seek out professions that will put them in a position of trust and power over potential victims which is why so many teachers, scout leaders, and child care workers get busted for it. “Jail-bait-ophilia” is the sexual attraction to the pubescent child. The perverts are sex specific in their victims, and will have victims of only one gender. Thus, there are heterosexual and homosexual predators in this group, while there really aren’t among the true pedophiles. While people tend to laugh off this category as a part of growing up or as a teen’s fantasy come true, but these relationships are based on manipulation and control. The kids who get caught up in this are, almost invariably, negatively affected by it.

posted by Lee Ann on Friday, April 26, 2002 | link

Supersize Them Fries, Would Ya?

Gena, before you have a fit and swear off fries, just remember that these studies come out all the time and are usually discarded as premature or misleading within a year or two. Here’s something that may put things in perspective: Sunlight Causes Cancer. Everything causes cancer now, except Swedish scientists, who cause ulcers.

posted by Lee Ann on Friday, April 26, 2002 | link

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Thursday, April 25, 2002

Don't Eat the French Fries

According to a Swedish study carbohydrate rich foods such as french fries, bread, cereal, and potato chips are potentially carcinogenic. All contain the chemical Acrylamide which the NIH has determined to be a medium-level carcinogen. Acrylamide forms when carbohydrate rich foods such as rice potatoes and cereals are heated, specifically when they are baked or fried. Interestingly enough, Acrylamide is also used in the treatment of drinking water.


posted by Gena on Thursday, April 25, 2002 | link

Actually

Sex with teenagers isn't technically pedophilia, but that's quibbling. The point is that these people were writing to their Congressmen about a book published by an academic press, and a scientific study published by the American Psychological Association. They weren't disagreeing with these works factually; they were trying to get the government to shut them up. As you said yourself, they were petitioning "Congress for a redress of grievances!" When you petition the government to address a severe grievance
in facts, you are petitioning for censorship. Yes, you have the right to do so, but just because you can do something, doesn't mean you should. And what if the study is right? The truth remains the truth whether you squelch it or not. You personally may not like the truth, but your personal preferences do not obviate the right of others to know what it is.


posted by Gena on Thursday, April 25, 2002 | link

Welcome Instapundit Readers

I saw our traffic had jumped by like a thousand percent and knew the "culprit" must be Instapundit. Instapundit rules and not just because he linked to us. Rock on, and welcome.


posted by Gena on Thursday, April 25, 2002 | link

Quiet Peons!

The Warliberal has posted a singularly dim item on people who object to sexually explicit material in prime-time. This has been bothering me for several days, and I have finally isolated why. He relies on the old “if you don’t like it change the channel” ruse. He honestly seems to think that the First Amendment doesn’t apply to people who criticize popular culture. Sure, TV people have the right to express themselves, but people who want to watch a little TV without diving for the remote every 10 seconds should just pipe down and accept what their cultural superiors deign to give them. The gist is, that if you don’t like what’s on, don’t watch. Well, what do you do if there isn’t anything else to watch?

What Warliberal is saying is that if you don’t like sexually explicit material shoved in your face or don’t want disrespectful attitudes instilled in your children, you should throw out your TV and exclude yourself from all pop culture. You certainly don’t have the right to demand more suitable programming. Did you really think the First Amendment gave you the right to voice you opinions and concerns? Silly you. Warliberal knows better. So I guess those of us who can do without foul language and T&A montages can just avoid TV altogether. Sure, Food Network, HGTV, Nick Jr., and Boomerang are fun, but after a while you need something more. Besides, why should I pay big money to the cable company for 4 channels? According to Warliberal, I should either get used to Emeril or throw my religious and moral principles out the window.

I resent being cut off from almost all pop culture. I won’t watch the filth that the networks and most cable stations push. Fox is mostly soft-core porn with better plot lines, so I avoid the station. Of course, this means that I have never seen an episode of the Simpsons. I haven’t seen a single second of Seinfeld, Ellen, Will and Grace, Sopranos, Friends, X-Files, Sex and the City, or any other major show. I don’t recognize half the people in the fashion magazines. Why don’t I watch shows that aren’t pure sex and sin? There aren’t any. Name one. I dare you. I watch three shows on the Discovery Channel (Tuesday crime shows) and the Iron Chef. That’s it. Now Warliberal tells me that I have no right to demand some intelligent, adult programming that won’t make me feel like I’m surrounded by particularly dirty high school freshmen.

Nickelodeon you suggest? Not with the diaper humor and anti-parent message that dominates its programming. The kids I nanny for aren’t allowed to watch it. I refuse to. Bad for the kids? Shouldn’t I be able to “Keep an Eye on My Kids” for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week? Well, yeah, if I don’t leave their side for a single second. If I don’t take 30 minutes to cook dinner. If I don’t ever let them play at a friend’s house. There’s no reason why I would ever want to let them have any time alone to develop in any kind of independence. Parents certainly don’t need any time to themselves. There’s no reason children should be exposed to an intelligent, mature culture that doesn’t denounce and actively undermine their religious beliefs. No, just send them straight from Winnie the Pooh to Debbie Does Dallas. Think that kids should be exposed to serious thought in an eloquent, mature manner? As Warliberal so eruditely put it, “F@#* you.”

Why is it that liberals give lip service to Free Speech, and then deride those who exercise that right? Why shouldn’t the consumers of a product (TV) be able to demand a better product from the manufacturer (Hollywood)? Why can’t we get commercials that don’t make us cringe? Shows that operate on a level above bathroom humor? A full half hour without a asinine, dirty double entendre? A cartoon that doesn’t degrade parents? How come Warliberal can demand smut, but I can’t demand intelligence?

posted by Lee Ann on Thursday, April 25, 2002 | link

The Nerve!

You mean the anti-pedophilia nags are exercising their First Amendment rights! How dare they! Not only are they using their freedom of speech, they have the audacity to petition Congress for a redress of grievances! What is this country coming to? Next thing you know, people will be demanding that the police arrest child molesters and impede the perverts’ right to fondle vulnerable children in peace.

posted by Lee Ann on Thursday, April 25, 2002 | link

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Wednesday, April 24, 2002

The Impulse to Censor

A new book claims that teenagers who have sex with adults are not always harmed by it. This has raised the rabble so to speak, who are trying to discredit the book the good old fashioned way: not with facts, but with letters to their Congressmen. Don't like what someone says, try to find a way to shut them up. This is how debate is done .


posted by Gena on Wednesday, April 24, 2002 | link

The Plague

A mysterious flu-like virus has killed at least three people in Greece and seems to be spreading. The identity of the virus as well as its origin are still unknown, but symptoms include: muscle pain, high fever, and shortness of breath.


posted by Gena on Wednesday, April 24, 2002 | link

This One’s For Dante.

Sirius the Police dog died in the WTC attack and was honored today for his service. We often forget the brave dogs who are so instrumental in preserving our safety. Just so we don’t, here’s Jonah Goldberg honoring the noble rescue dogs. Thanks to The Corner for the heads up on this one.

posted by Lee Ann on Wednesday, April 24, 2002 | link

Hypocrisy in Norway.

The Norwegians have convicted a man for posting anti-Semitic hate speech on the Internet. Now I am, quite obviously, a person who despises anti-Semitism and anti-Semites, but I also think that you should be able to say whatever you want about anybody you want so long as you are willing to take the consequences. So-called “hate speech” is your right and no government should have the right to censor you for hatefulness. Inciting violence, yes, but just hating people is none of their business. If you offend someone, that person should take care of it, not the government. Thus, if somebody says something “hateful” the “hatee” gets to make fun of them or otherwise make their stupidity public. The feds have no dog in that. Thus, if this guy posted something foul about Jews and a Jew belted him, I say “fightin’ words.”

What makes this hypocrisy for the Norwegians is that they have not bothered to enforce this law against their own parliament. Seems a few members ejected another member for wearing a Mogun David. Let me be more specific, a dozen or so members, all wearing Palestinian head scarves or similar pro-PLO items, demanded that a member who wore a small Star of David on his lapel to be either ejected or forced to remove his jacket. It seems the tiny Mogun David was partisan and disruptive, while a dozen PA head scarves were just dandy. Now they go and convict a man for posting online what the parliament has been doing in its chambers. Or is anti-Semitism considered to be a “parliamentary privilege?”

posted by Lee Ann on Wednesday, April 24, 2002 | link

A Little Early Ain’t Ya?

Scripps Howard News Service has posted Ronald Reagan’s obituary. One problem: Reagan isn’t dead. Ronaldus Magnus is very much alive, though not well as he suffers from Alzheimer’s. While the news media has always despised Reagan, this is a bit untoward. No it isn’t; it’s flat out sick. This is not an error or mistaken posting, this is deliberate. I’m sure Nancy must be thrilled. I guess asking for a little decency is too much to ask. Sick, sick, sick.

Speaking of Reagan, read A Different Drummer by Michael Deaver. It is one of the best Reagan books I've read, and as a Reaganaut I've read plenty. It lets Reagan himself come though on the page, because Deaver doesn't try to psychoanalyse or interperet the Gipper. It's a beautiful book. I heartily recommend it.

posted by Lee Ann on Wednesday, April 24, 2002 | link

Achtung!

The German Police have apologized for suggesting that anti-Semitic violence could be stopped . . . by Jews not wearing Jewish symbols! OK, so they are not denouncing anti-Semitism itself. They are not cracking down on the Islamofascists that are attacking Jews. They are blaming the Jews themselves. They are telling Jews that the violence is their own fault for looking so darn Jewish. When they say the past is never really past, they mean it.

posted by Lee Ann on Wednesday, April 24, 2002 | link

Logic 101.

Gena, the Scientific American and its critiques of Lomborg have been debunked several times. It is ridiculous to cite the Scientific American to refute charges that the Scientific American is biased and wrong. A better idea would be to cite a different, respected source to reinforce your articles. Also, while having degree in political science, Lomborg is a statistician. His research on environmentalism is based on statistical analyses. He is also a devoted Environmentalist, doesn’t drive a car, is a vegetarian, and uses recycled products almost exclusively. By the way, Lomborg’s research into Environmental issues was considered first rate, until he started questioning the party line. Here’s Lomborg defending himself. Here’s a quick example of SciAm silliness in the past. Here are some pro-Lomborg Environmentalists. As a capper, here’s Lomborg’s own reply to te SciAm artile. You know, the one SciAm threatened to sue him for making. Gosh, the nerve of that Lomborg! Actually defending himself. What’s the world coming to?

posted by Lee Ann on Wednesday, April 24, 2002 | link

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Tuesday, April 23, 2002

I think I'd Like Larry Summers

Facilitators and conciliators in general piss me off, and I don't have any respect for people who shy away from debate or think their ideas somehow equal them. Criticism isn't an insult; it's the chance to defend and examine what you think. If you're wrong, you are intellectually and morally better for having been proven so. If you are right, then you extend the favor to the other person. Loyalty to one's ideas is dangerous like loyalty to oneself. Both can lead to blindness, the worship of false gods. The best thing you could ever say to me is: "OK, now tell me what the best argument is against your position." That this seems to be a problem at Harvard is evidence that Harvard's value has become its name.


posted by Gena on Tuesday, April 23, 2002 | link

Did Someone Call for Actual Knowledge of the Subject?

The editor of Scientific American is happy to oblige. John Rennie demolishes
Lomborg's response to the article in SA about his book, the Skeptical Environmentalist. Here's a sample, taken from the introduction:

The story of The Skeptical Environmentalist is one of a political scientist who wades into the vastly complex, unsettled literature of environmental science, scrutinizes a fraction of what is to be found there, and emerges confident that the simple summary he has developed is a fair and accurate representation of the science—notwithstanding the warnings of experts in the disciplines he skims that he is mistaken.

What follows is pretty much a point by point demolition job. Lomborg gets his ass kicked as he well deserves. Any idiot can sit in a burning building, and claim there's no fire, but when he does he has some blisters coming to him. The trouble with Lomborg, of course, is that he's not only saying that the building isn't burning, but trying to persuade everyone else not to run for the fire extinguisher.


posted by Gena on Tuesday, April 23, 2002 | link

Speaking of Strawmen

I never said that Europe had a

patent or monopoly on intelligence, political insight, morality, sophistication, or culture.

I like a lot of things about Europe, and dislike a lot of others, the same as I like and dislike a lot of things about this country, this state, and this city. You would feel the same way, if you lived over there for a period of time, and ironically the country you would like most is France. You dislike France because of the way it's portrayed by the American media, but this isn't the way France really is, and you would love the reality so much, you would even consider forsaking Alabama for it. Trust me on this; you would. There is no better fit for your personality or your interests than France. And in any event what could be better than a country of cooks? I'll admit it. I pretend to sophistication, but when it comes right down to it, I'm a big, fat, unrepentant food tourist. I almost bankrupted myself in France, but it was worth it. Chocolate eclairs for less than a buck. Seafood. Pies. Wonderful pastries of every description. Bread. Sandwiches. Chicken to die for. A culinary masterpiece on every street corner. Fifteen million calories in every meal. Sauces. More eclairs. More pies. Pastries. Pastries. Eclairs. I want to go back. Give me food, give me France!

posted by Gena on Tuesday, April 23, 2002 | link

Smoke, Marriage, and the Enlightenment

Well, as I said before I don't understand the point you were trying to make about Rauch and his article. You never said that the Enlightenment simply had an effect on social institutions period. I wouldn't have disagreed with that - speaking of straw men. Instead you mentioned Enlightenment rationality in relation to conservative arguments against gay marriage - I presume-, arguments which you claim Rauch ignores. I assume from the context of your previous posts that you think rationality has had a negative effect on the social institution of marriage, and since marriage is something the conservative position favors, I can only assume that from the conservative point of view, rationality at least in this instance is bad. I'll have to admit my confusion here, however.

I don't really understand how the Enlightenment and all the other points you raised relate to the issue of gay marriage. I can see how they might possibly be relevant to the case against the decline of marriage, but as I said before, Rauch isn't arguing against marriage, but rather for extending it to a group unfairly excluded from it. Nor does he have to take into account the whole conservative argument, since the point he is trying to make is that conservatives are for marriage but are undermining it by denying it to homosexuals. Indeed the only point you raise which directly relates to Rauch's argument is that homosexuals don't really want commitment, aren't prepared to act responsibly, and therefore shouldn't be allowed to marry. This is something Rauch does address, and if you read the article, you'll see that. Basically Rauch claims that it reveals an inconsistency in the conservative position, since conservatives argue for marriage in regard to irresponsible heterosexuals, but seek to deny it to gays on the assumption that all gays are irresponsible. To be consistent one or the other would have to go; either irresponsible young men in the inner city should be told not to marry, or gays should be allowed to. Let's be frank, however. What the inconsistency really reveals is that the operative word isn't really "irresponsible," but "gay." Conservatives don't seek to deny marriage to irresponsible people but to gay ones, and that's a big problem, because in the United States of America we do protect the minority, and we do so even it means that we "undermine and fundamentally transform an institution that extends through the entire history of humanity." Equal protection under the law means that all people have the right to the protection of the state, and that the law may not be applied arbitrarily, or discriminately. This means that even the tiniest minority within a minority is entitled to protection and that includes gays. We don't always act upon our principles
in this country, but we do have them. They are enshrined in the founding documents of our state. Denying homosexuals the right to marry violates both the spirit and the letter of those documents, and it is un-American in the sense of trammeling the best of who we are.


posted by Gena on Tuesday, April 23, 2002 | link

Bye-Bye Mama.

Alabama is poise to retire Big Yellow Mama in favor of lethal injection. While lethal injection is more humane, it doesn’t inspire the same caliber of nickname. Fare thee well Big Yellow Mama, you have served us well.

posted by Lee Ann on Tuesday, April 23, 2002 | link

Buckle That Swash Cornel!

OK, my dislike of Cornel West is visceral and completely irrational. I keep confusing him with Cornel Wilde. So I end up with an indelible image of a be-fro’-ed swordsman swinging across Harvard Yard on a tendril of ivy and fighting off the evil Sheriff of Honkeystan. That in combination with that dog-lame rap CD make it hard for me to respect the man. Just as I was going to leave the matter with an insult and a sharp quip, John McWhorter goes and gives an intelligent analysis of the whole situation. McWhorter talks about how West’s antics have reinforced racist stereotypes and hurt the entire discipline of African-American Studies, a discipline in desperate need of serious scholarship. Sheesh, that’s no fun at all.

posted by Lee Ann on Tuesday, April 23, 2002 | link

Gena Get a Grip!

I never said rationality was evil, I just said that it had an effect upon traditional social institutions. Guess what, so does every other thinking person. The philosophical discussions of the effects of Enlightenment rationalism on modern society are widespread and well respected. I wasn’t aware you were so far out of the loop. The meat of said discussion is quite fascinating from a historical and philosophical perspective. I never gave a summary of any one particular argument, I just mentioned that the argument existed. I had no idea you were so out of touch with social philosophy. What is with you? Do some research would you please! Your hang up on this subject is beginning to seem rather Freudian.

Oh, yeah. The Scientific American article you cite has been debunked several times over. It is, to be blunt, a smear job. In fact, the articles I posted on Lomborg did a good job of summarizing the debunking. If you had bothered to read the article that is. Maybe a scientifically minded reader can weigh in with some actual knowledge of the subject. Walt . . where are you!

posted by Lee Ann on Tuesday, April 23, 2002 | link

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Monday, April 22, 2002

Scientists Wouldn't Say This

Because the evil Enlightenment has infected them with rationality, but I will: Bjørn Lomborg's is an idiot who doesn't know what he's talking about. That's the essence of this Scientific American article decimating Lomborg's book, The Skeptical Environmentalist. Lomborg responded and the authors' answered back. You can read the whole exchange here. [via iMakeContent.Com]


posted by Gena on Monday, April 22, 2002 | link

As You Can See

I've been on a blog scavenger hunt today. This one's by far the best I've turned up so far. Welcome to iMakeContent.com, a blog by a London based journalist, who's a little like Instapundit, only on the left.


posted by Gena on Monday, April 22, 2002 | link

What A Web Server

Really thinks. Hey, don't be so insensitive. Servers have feelings too.


posted by Gena on Monday, April 22, 2002 | link

Check Him Out!

Finally, the only living conservative in Vermont has a blog! Actually, the Reactionary is a student at some university up there. University of Vermont at Some City that Begins With “M.” Ah, whatever, if it’s not in Alabama, it’s crap. But his blog isn’t. Check out his analysis of campus political debate, particularly his points on how extremist labels are used to nullify debate.

posted by Lee Ann on Monday, April 22, 2002 | link

All This and Brains Too!

Condi Rice, our National Security Advisor and first recipient of the coveted Croix de Grits, played a lovely duet with Yo-Yo Ma at the National Medal of Art Awards. Turns out Condi’s an accomplished pianist. Brains, beauty, and Beethoven! Better not criticize Condi now Gena, you might be accused of having “pianist envy.”

posted by Lee Ann on Monday, April 22, 2002 | link

Read for Comprehension!

This is a quick round-up of responses to posts that I don't feel are worth an extensive rant.

ICC -- It’s a bad idea and will provide more abuses than benefits. I used the quote mentioning Israel because of the fact that it points out that they will harass the IDF, not Arafat and his terrorists. I am most concerned about the targeting of Americans for ICC persecutions because I am an American. The rest of the world can shift for itself. Not that I’m an isolationist, but if you won’t defend your own rights, you are pretty much useless to anybody else. As for Eurobashing, I have already mentioned that Conservative Mandate No. 4, 297 regarding Frog Bashing. Actually, Eurobashing is my hobby. It’s fun and fulfilling. Plus, they set themselves up as such wonderful targets. Also, you have a tendency to see Europe through the proverbial “rose colored glasses.” You often need to be reminded that Europe has no patent or monopoly on intelligence, political insight, morality, sophistication, or culture.

Le Pen -- Hitler? Think Pat Buchanan. He’s a loon and will lose the run-off in a landslide. The moderate turnout was practically nil. Let me introduce you to a phenomenon called the “protest vote.” The people of France are incredibly ticked off at their arrogant, out of touch leaders and are sending a message. They want the violent Arab radicals reigned in and law and order in the streets. They want a government that treats them like citizens, not subjects. Le Pen will lose. He is also symptomatic of a political system that has eliminated any sane, mainstream conservative movement. They have socialists and Nazis (boy, those Frogs like Nazis!) and nothing in between. By the way, remember that European and American political definitions of things like, “left” and “right” or “conservative” and “liberal” are very different. In Eastern Europe, the Communist Party are the conservatives and the Free Marketers are the liberals. In America, the opposite is true. This doesn’t apply to Le Pen, but is a fact to bear in mind. And sure, Le Pen’s an anti-Semite, but so is the rest of France nowadays.

Rauch – I was not giving a complete account of the arguments Rauch ignores. He’s not arguing against the conservative case against gay marriage, he’s deliberately ignoring it. The problem with his article is that it sets up a straw man that he falsely alleges to be the “conservative” argument and knocks it down. Rauch addresses almost none of the conservative arguments against gay marriage. I’m not going into all of the conservative arguments, so I’ll give an inadequate summary. Rauch does not address the history of marriage or of gay relationships before the current “gay rights” era. He has an agenda and pushes it, facts be damned. Don’t you think the current heterosexual social problems are more pivotal to the “decline of marriage” than gays who could never marry when marriage was going strong? The Enlightenment rationalism called into question all previous social institutions and keeps re-evaluating them. Marriage to one person for all your life can be seen as very irrational. The romantic nature of marriage in the Modern West is very irrational and committing your life to someone and staying even when it seems that you are not fulfilled is also irrational. The individualism vs. social responsibility argument is tied to the previous one, but is fundamentally the conflict between what we want to do and what we owe to others. A temporary romantic attachment may be good for you, but is terrible for any children involved. Marriage is essential to a functional society, but can be constraining to the individual’s search for self-fulfillment. How do society and its members balance these ideas? There is a huge volume of material that Rauch ignores in order to push his point. Rauch does not address the fact that most gays don’t seem to want social responsibility. Look at the gay community’s response to the AIDS crisis, look at the astonishing rise in STDs in that same community. Sorry, you don’t undermine and fundamentally transform an institution that extends through the entire history of humanity in order to appease a minority within a minority.

posted by Lee Ann on Monday, April 22, 2002 | link

Ok, It's 3 am

So I'm ending my blogosphere tour, but you have to check this out. It's a blog devoted to a two man discussion of Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations. Rock on.


posted by Gena on Monday, April 22, 2002 | link

Where Are All the Liberal Bloggers?

Well, here's one. His formatting sucks - dude, seriously, get a better template - but he's got a sharp tongue. Check out the post on Bush and Venezuela.


posted by Gena on Monday, April 22, 2002 | link

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Sunday, April 21, 2002

Now This is Cool

A book review blog that smashes Harry Potter to bits. Check out Logic and Chaos, done by the very clever Ingrid and bell.


posted by Gena on Sunday, April 21, 2002 | link

I Never Thought I'd Say This

But damn I wish I were still in graduate school. Henry Darger
wrote the unpublished book I most want to read, and produced some beautiful and horrifying art. I want the job at the American Folk Art Museum "marrying the images to the text." Yes, I'm a geek, but I really, really do want it.


posted by Gena on Sunday, April 21, 2002 | link

The Lee Ann's "Wronger" Roundup

Goldberg

Using small words this time and short sentences. You said Goldberg had evidence and that his argument was logical. He doesn't; it wasn't. Clear enough?

The ICC (And Our Favorite Friends the Israelis)

How can you be right and still be wrong? And what about our moratorium? Does this mean the truce has been broken? I was rather enjoying not having to crack out the artillery. Retreat now, or the war resumes.

On the Court itself. The main problem with the Court is that it resembles Bush's military tribunals (without certain sections). It is a court designed to ensure convictions and thus provides only token procedural safeguards to the accused. In other words, regardless of how the accused are "presumed," they're guilty in terms of the procedural structure of the court. You don't want to Hitler to escape because of "technicalities," now do you? The Court is thus designed to give the appearance of fairness, not the real thing. Hitler, therefore, most likely will not go free, but you are right that the Court could be abused, and that trials could be unfair. The main problem with the Court, however, is that it is a stand alone court. The Court rules on matters of both fact and law, and since it is the only court, there is no appeal except to the Court itself. This means that the very judges who ruled something ok during the trial are then asked to declare themselves idiots during the appeal. This would be bad enough if the statutes governing the Court and its jurisdiction were not so unclear. What does it mean for instance to "impose conditions of life calculated to bring about destruction?" Such a sentence could and should generate reams of judicial interpretation, and what is, therefore, needed is an international court system, with criminal trial courts to rule on fact and appeals courts to rule on law, as well as something akin to the Bill of Rights, which sets clear limits on the powers of the Court and defines the inviolable rights of the people, including the accused.

The problem with the Court is not however that it could try Americans. If the US military participates in war crimes, it should be held accountable, and if it is held accountable to a fair and impartial Court, then let the trial begin. And lay off the Euro bashing. Europe may be a bureaucracy, but we on the other hand are a plutocracy. This doesn't absolve Europe from its problems or make it more democratic than we are, but the reverse also holds true. It's fine to criticize Europe, but not to think somehow that Europeans cannot criticize us in turn. If the prerequisite for criticism is perfection, then we both fail, and critique becomes impossible.

Rauch

"He ignores the influence of Enlightenment rationalism, individualism vs. social responsibilities, Boomer selfishness, and the general hostility of modern society to any traditional, self-sacrificing, or non-hedonistic institution."

I have absolutely no idea what that means. What does Enlightenment rationalism have to do with gay marriage? I assume you think Enlightenment rationalism is bad, but bad as opposed to what? Unenlightened irrationality? What about individualism vs. social responsibilities? If you read Rauch's article, you will find that he thinks prohibiting gay marriage undermines socially responsible behavior. And as for " the general hostility of modern society to any traditional, self-sacrificing, or non-hedonistic institution," perhaps
a pair of reading glasses are in order, since for you the text is obviously blurry. Rauch isn't hostile to marriage; marriage is what he wants.


posted by Gena on Sunday, April 21, 2002 | link

Jean Marie Le Pen

Came in second in the first round of the presidential election in France, beating out the Socialist incumbent Lionel Jospin. Le Pen is a member of what is known in Europe as the "radical right," which translated means, one scary dude. Think Hitler.


posted by Gena on Sunday, April 21, 2002 | link

No Pain, No Gain.

I love this article. It’s a world-class take-down of Arundhati Roy. Now I thought I was good at insulting people (OK, Gena), but this guy has a gift for it. Well-written and vicious. Two of my favorite adjectives.

posted by Lee Ann on Sunday, April 21, 2002 | link

Get me to ICC, Stat!

More fun with the Euroweenies’ new forum for anti-Americanism, anti-Israelism, and anti-everyone-who-disagrees-with-us-ism. Here are a few quotes from the article:

“Euroland is organized to project moral authority, and people who rely on its military protection--like the hapless refugees of Srebrenica or the Tutsis of Rwanda--have a way of ending up massacred. Still, Europeans wonder why Israel thinks it's so special that it has to insist on defending itself with its own troops. It should accept a force of ‘international peacekeepers,’ the Europeans say. Haven't these Euro forces done well in the past?”

“We can't now say for sure what will happen at The Hague. For example, we can't know for sure whether the first indictments of Israelis will come down in July or August. We can't know whether Americans will be indicted as early as September or only in November. But we know the court will be a major disappointment to its sponsors if it has not produced some resounding indictments by Christmas.”

OK, so the ICC is a court with self-defined jurisdiction, whose powers can be expanded at will, full of judges appointed by unelected bureaucrats, who themselves are appointed by elitist political parties, who are parliamentarily elected, not democratically. Am I really supposed to be encouraged by this?

posted by Lee Ann on Sunday, April 21, 2002 | link

Bye-bye Crudsoe!

What quarterback controversy? Looks like Drew Bledsoe got traded. Good. With Brady at the helm of a mostly intact Super Bowl Champion team, the Patsies could have a monumental season. If that SI Jinx doesn’t get us first. If the Jinx does blow our season, I and the rest of the New England Patriots Fan Club, Seed Exchange, and Jihad will take appropriate measures.

posted by Lee Ann on Sunday, April 21, 2002 | link

British Humor.

Good point on Lucky Jim. I don’t much like British humor. Monty Python and AbFab rule, but most of the rest of it, how shall I say it politely, blows. It seems the British are either hysterically funny or painfully non-funny.

posted by Lee Ann on Sunday, April 21, 2002 | link

Gena’s Wrong Round-up.

Just to be quick. I would respond to your last Goldberg post, but I still can’t understand what the heck you said. You danced around every issue he or I brought up. At least I think you did, as your post was unintelligible. I cut and pasted it into that Google translator, translated it from English to Russian, from Russian to German, and then from German back to English. It made more sense, but was still supremely confusing. Seriously, when you read through your posts before publishing, read for comprehension.

The Rauch article on the other hand was a good post on a silly article. Rauch blames modern marriage woes on lack of gay marriage, but without presenting any real evidence. He ignores the influence of Enlightenment rationalism, individualism vs. social responsibilities, Boomer selfishness, and the general hostility of modern society to any traditional, self-sacrificing, or non-hedonistic institution. Rauch is more sane on this issue than Andrew Sullivan, but is still operating on too superficial a thought level. When gay issues are at stake, both he and Sullivan have a tendency to think with the wrong head.

posted by Lee Ann on Sunday, April 21, 2002 | link

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Saturday, April 20, 2002

Kingsley Amis

Christopher Hitchens, and Lucky Jim conspire to prove that the Brits have a fundamentally different sense of humor than we do. I found Lucky Jim moderately amusing when I read it, but not the laugh riot reviews like Hitchens's had lead me to expect. And if ever there were a character who had his misfortunes coming to him, it is Jim Dixon - who is every bit as boring, shallow, superficial, craven, and stupid as the people who - to use Hitchens's word - oppress him.


posted by Gena on Saturday, April 20, 2002 | link

As Enron Executives

And others have found out, only fire really destroys stuff, and sometimes not even then. Cullen Murphy gives a short history of failed destruction.


posted by Gena on Saturday, April 20, 2002 | link

Jonathan Rauch

Argues in this month's Atlantic that cultural conservatives are undermining marriage by creating a class of successful, attractive people who lead affluent, somewhat glamorous lifestyles and live together without the sanction of marriage. Homosexuals want to marry but cannot, and their lifestyle, Rauch argues, provides an attractive, socially acceptable alternative to those who could marry but prefer not to. In other words, by forbidding homosexuals to marry, cultural conservatives undermine the very institution they're supposedly defending.


posted by Gena on Saturday, April 20, 2002 | link

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Friday, April 19, 2002

Want to See What A Neanderthal Looks Like?

Sure you do.


posted by Gena on Friday, April 19, 2002 | link

Maureen Dowd Blames Men

For the fact she can't find one. Bruce Feirstein says this is nonsense, and for all the right reasons, even if he does write in fragments. I'm stubborn about what I want, and since I've already decided what that is, none of this really applies to me. I would take issue, however, with Mr. Feirstein's assertion that people don't date outside their social class, or that a successful wife is a necessity for any ambitious man. The guy I like is smart, accomplished, and successful, but if he suddenly declared that he wanted to go work at Burger King tomorrow, I honestly wouldn't care, and I would be just as proud to call him mine (if he were mine, that is). Heck, I'd be proud to call him mine, even if Burger King were his career, and if someone had a problem with the fact I was dating someone "outside my class," I would crack the champagne bottle over
their stupid, snooty little head. I like this guy simply for himself, and that's how I would expect someone to like me, and nothing would hurt my feelings more than to find out some guy was dating me, because I was a "badge of honor." Not going out with someone because you're intimidated by their intellect is wussy and shows a real lack of self-confidence, but dating someone because you find them the perfect accessory is even worse. It's superficial and it's self-interested and self-serving. I'd dump any man who did this to me, and what is more I'd lose all respect and all affection for him. All people have the right to be loved and accepted for and of themselves, and if someone rocks your world, then everything else is just trivia.


posted by Gena on Friday, April 19, 2002 | link

Shot Down in Flames

George Bush's proposal to drill for oil in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge went down yesterday in a fiery crash the Washington Post called a "stinging rebuke to a core item in his [Bush's] domestic agenda." Could this be the end of the great roll-over-and-play-dead Congress? Probably not, but at least there's hope.


posted by Gena on Friday, April 19, 2002 | link

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Thursday, April 18, 2002

Dude, That Definitely Wins the Longest Post Ever Award

Since you spent all that time or at the very least all those words writing it, I'll waste a few refuting it. First off I never said that conservatives were racists. I never even said that Mr. Goldberg was racist - just that his article was. As for my little parody, it was never meant as an assertion of fact, but rather of as an illustration which would still sound pretty damn anti-Semitic even if every word of it had been true. And it would sound anti-Semitic for the exact reason you gave:

Gena just says stuff about Jews.

Bingo. Down goes the king in a cloud of dust. Ah, you say, but there was something before that. Yes, indeed there was. Ladies and Gentlemen, the entire quote:
This didn’t work, because while Goldberg uses logic and evidence to back up his claim, Gena just says stuff about Jews.

Step right up; it's the return of the magic evidence - visible onlyto those wearing the new, improved, extra special you're on my side glasses. If you don't have a pair of said glasses, however, then Mr. Goldberg's article looks like a third grade rendition of the fearsome wizard in the Wizard of Oz. In other words, the logic is paltry and the evidence is worse. Allow me to demonstrate.

Mr. Goldberg's thesis is that:

"Too many people are afraid of holding black politicians to the same standard as everybody else."

To prove the factual part of this thesis Mr. Goldberg would have to demonstrate two things:

A). That black politicians are being held to a different standard than everyone else

AND

B). That too many people are afraid to hold them to the same standard as everyone else.

This is essentially an inductive argument. To prove his point, all Goldberg needs to do is provide enough examples of:

A). Black politicians who are held to a different standard

AND

B). People who are afraid to hold them to the the same standard as everyone else.

For example:

Too many people are afraid of holding black politicians to the same standard as everybody else. 75% of the nation's leading black politicians have told the Washington Post they believe George Bush to be responsible for the Sept. 11 attacks. They have made no secret of their views, and have called for Congressional hearings and the appointment of a Special Prosecutor. When they have spoken about this subject, the response has inevitably been favorable, a fact which strikes some members of Congress as somewhat strange. In March of this year, fifteen white Congressmen called for an investigation into George Bush's involvement in the September 11 attacks. They were shouted down by their colleagues, excoriated in editorial pages across the country, and faced by mobs of angry constituents when they returned home. The reason for this discrepancy is that people are afraid to criticize black politicians. Said John Jones of the Washington Post, "I don't feel comfortable taking on the country's leading black politicians, because I'm afraid of being labeled a racist." This is echoed by a series studies to appear in recent years indicating that people are less likely to criticize minorities. For instance, a recent study by Harvard University of 3,000 journalists found that the journalists were 10 times less likely
to criticize black politicians than white ones. Eighty percent of these journalists attributed this to their fear of being labeled racists.

Having shown that black politicians are getting away with saying things other politicians cannot, all Goldberg would then have to do is explain why this is bad. The argument would be clear, well supported, and logically developed. Unfortunately for Mr. Goldberg, this is not his argument.

Directly after his thesis statement, Goldberg writes:

Exhibit A: Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, D-Ga., a woman whose every spoken word is a veritable pinata of imbecility; attack it from any angle and something stupid will drop out.

What follows is a catalog of McKinney's views, along with Mr. Goldberg's disquisitions on their nuttiness. Even if McKinney's views are nutty, they are still not enough to prove Goldberg's point; since McKinney is only one black politician. The only other black politicians Goldberg mentions are Jesse Jackson, Colin Powell, and Condoleezza Rice. Out of four black politicians Goldberg finds two to have nutty views, and two to have acceptable ones. This hardly helps Goldberg's case, since the four politicians essentially
cancel each other out. If you flip a coin four times, and it lands on heads twice and tails twice, then it doesn't show that the coin too often lands on heads. Nor does Goldberg provide examples of non-black politicians who have tried to express the same or similar views to those of Jackson and McKinney and been subjected to different treatment. And finally although he does provide some support for his claim that McKinney and Jackson try to escape criticism by using their race, he does nothing to show that people
are intimidated by this. And if people aren't intimidated by this, then Goldberg's thesis goes kerplunk, because his claim is that too many people are afraid to hold black politicians to the same standard as everyone else.

Mr. Goldberg's argument boils down to this:

Of four black politicians two have nutty views.
These black politicians try to escape criticism by using their race.
Conclusion:
Too many people are afraid of holding black politicians to the same standard as everybody else.

If you didn't fail formal logic, then you know that the conclusion doesn't follow from the premises, meaning that the argument is, drum roll, please, illogical, and that on account of the complete lack of evidence in support of it. So by your own standard what is true of Gena and the Jews is true of Goldberg and the blacks. If the one is anti-Semitic, the other is racist. Step away from the sideshow for a moment, and you might see that.


posted by Gena on Thursday, April 18, 2002 | link

Holy Cow!

They arrested White OJ! I wasn’t going to post anything else, after my last Proustian epic, but, man, they arrested White OJ!

posted by Lee Ann on Thursday, April 18, 2002 | link

I’m the Conservative, She’s the Idiot.

I never thought I’d see the Platonic Ideal of “Stupid,” but Gena came through. Gena has finally achieved Idiot-Nirvana. She is a Zen master of the Art of Asininity. She is “Transcendentally Dumb.” Shall we peruse her Ignoble Prize winning post? Let’s.

Just to be sure we all know that Golderg is indeed a member of the Tribe, Gena chooses to emphasize this with three almost clever examples. This is intended to “do to Goldberg what he did to blacks.” This didn’t work, because while Goldberg uses logic and evidence to back up his claim, Gena just says stuff about Jews. Her black/ Jew equivalence is logically flawed from the get go, but the aspiring Zen Moron must look past this.

“During his campaign, FDR regularly denounced the "soft bigotry" of low expectations. He was referring to the practice of expecting less of Jewish students than we do of others.” Bad example, as nobody has ever had low expectation of Jews, academically speaking. Jews were barred from most universities for reason of race, not intelligence. For the record, even universities that accepted blacks (pre-Civil Rights) had strict quotas on, or banned outright, Jews. FDR was a bad example too. If you want a presidential conspiracy, your sainted FDR is the one you should point fingers at. He really did have prior knowledge of a Japanese assault on American Naval bases in the Pacific but chose not to act on those warnings for political reasons. Pearl Harbor happened because FDR wanted to get in on WWII. Great cause, but surly there were less lethal ways of going about it.

“Perhaps it was Theodor Herzle who introduced the art of claiming criticism was anti-Semitic...” This is also a bad analogy. Herzl came out of 19th century “nation-state” socialism and wasn’t a religious Jew. He was more of a leftist. He never said that criticizing Jews was anti-Semitic (I think the term was “anti-Judaic” anyway). His schtick was that the Jews needed their own state in order to keep from being exterminated by their host nations. Seems he was right. The Goldberg parallel to this statement involves Jesse Jackson, who has frequently said that criticizing blacks was racist. You know, like when Goldberg said, “When Jackson ran for president, he often claimed that if you questioned his qualifications, you might be racist.” This is public knowledge for those who care to investigate it.

“There is a cloaked racism in Mr. Goldberg's article, as well as a dangerous authoritarianism, and intolerance.” Ooh, how ominous. I went back and reread Goldberg’s article, just to make sure I didn’t miss his subliminal Klan rally. The lack of textual evidence to support this claim makes me wonder if Gena realy read the article, or just spilled out all her anti-Conservative prejudices. The cloaked racism must be because Goldberg is a conservative and all conservatives are, by definition, racist. The authoritarianism is where he wants politicians to be held to a certain standard of concrete evidence. The intolerance is Goldberg’s intolerance of moronic demagogues.

“McKinney says things Goldberg disagrees with; rather than confront what she says, Goldberg identifies her in terms of her race, and contextualizes her in terms of a problem to be solved: . . . The problem is larger than this however because there's a similar problem in American politics.” More of Gena’s subconscious here. Goldberg mentions race in the context of his opening Bush quote, then towards the end of the article to specifically address McKinney’s habit of playing the race card when she makes an ass of herself. The body of the article is a series of concrete examples and logical deconstructions of McKinney’s IDEAS!! Crazy Cindy is not “contextualized” she is “analyzed!” That’s what happens in serious discourse. Of course, you may have to be one of those racist conservatives to believe that blacks are capable of serious discourse . . .

“Many (Most?) black politicians are likewise inferior, and are similarly coddled.” Goldberg neither says nor implies this. Asserting that blacks are being held to a lower standard is not the same as calling them inferior. Goldberg is asserting that blacks are fully equal to whites and ought to be treated accordingly. How is that racist? The racist thing is thinking blacks are inferior and making allowances for them that you wouldn’t make for whites. He specifically calls attention to the black politicians who are patronized and insulted by this sort of nonsense. Says Jonah, “This is unfair to responsible black politicians of all parties, and it's a real threat to free speech.” That would imply to a thinking reader (there’s that word again, thinking) that your average black politician doesn’t do this. Many black politicians are dolts. So are many white, Latino, Indian, or Asian politicians. This does not mean that most are. Apparently Gena is having a Freudian moment and was writing in response to her own opinions, not Goldberg’s.

“None of this would work if McKinney were white - and this is precisely why it is racist.” What!?! Have you never heard of “Borking?” This happens all the time to white politicians. Look at what happened to John Ashcroft. The Senate Judiciary Committee felt it perfectly proper to deride the man because his religion prohibits him from dancing. Mocking a white politician’s religious faith is OK, but mocking an incredibly stupid statement by a black politician is not? Of course, Ashcroft’s also a Shabat Goy, which probably makes him as suspect as Goldberg.

“Goldberg is characterizing McKinney's views as a function of her race, as something only coddled mediocre black politicians could hold, and indeed he must do this, otherwise his critique would be meaningless.” McKinney views herself as a function of her race, as she has proclaimed many times. Take it away Goldberg, “She has a longstanding record of saying that she should not be held accountable for what she says. . . . ‘I believe,’ she wrote, ‘that when it comes to major foreign policy issues, many prefer to have black people seen and not heard.’ " Crazy Cindy can make statements like this but Goldberg can't call her on them? Isn't that a double standard? Or do you have lower expectations for McKinney than you do for Goldberg?

“Either American policy in the Middle East contributed to the Sept. 11 attacks or it didn't. Either George Bush was indirectly responsible for the attacks or he wasn't.” It didn’t, he wasn’t. Claiming that W. actively conspired to murder up to 20,000 people so his father could make less from his consulting firm than he makes for one speech is baseless, libelous, and pure partisan bigotry. America was in no way “asking for it,” any more than a rape victim is. Did those 3,000 innocent people deserve to die? I suppose you think those Greeks who objected to the Vietnam War had every right to beat up or kill your mother then? Well, I don’t. The Middle East has been the beneficiary of billions in financial, political, and economic aid and has done nothing but hate us for helping them. Maybe they object to America’s forcing Israel to negotiate with a known terrorist and offer statehood to a people that has sworn to exterminate the Jews?

Not Even P.J. O’Rourke could come up with a better example of brainless, hack-kneed, leftist cant than you did. I’m so underwhelmed I could spit.

posted by Lee Ann on Thursday, April 18, 2002 | link

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Wednesday, April 17, 2002

The Old Movies Got It Right, Sort Of

Remember the old sci-fi movies where humans and dinosaurs battle each other, and the dinosaurs usually lose, but not before the humans get eaten. Turns out they may not have been quite so ridiculous after all. Some scientists now say that primates - though unfortunately for the movies not humans - were around at the time of the dinosaurs.


posted by Gena on Wednesday, April 17, 2002 | link

Chirac Could Beat Jospin

In the upcoming election in France. The main issue seems to be the rising crime rate.


posted by Gena on Wednesday, April 17, 2002 | link

A Knife Under a Napkin Is Still A Knife

As for Mr. Goldberg and his article, let's pretend for a moment that it's 1939:

"During his campaign, FDR regularly denounced the "soft bigotry" of low expectations. He was referring to the practice of expecting lessof Jewish students than we do of others. It was a powerful and intelligent critique considering how difficult it is to address the very real problems of Jewish underachievement in our schools. I think there's a similar problem in American politics. Too many people are afraid of holding Jewish politicians to the same standard as everybody else.

Exhibit A: Commentator Jonah Goldberg, a man whose every spoken word is a veritable pinata of imbecility; attack it from any angle and something stupid will drop out....

Perhaps it was Theordor Herzle who introduced the art of claiming criticism was anti-Semitic....

Goldberg is following in Herzle's footsteps. He believes that he has an undiminishable right to say unpopular things. Fair enough. But he also believes that he should not be judged harshly as a result. This, to me, is the real anti-Semitism. It says that we cannot - dare not - judge nutty Jewish commentators by an objective standard. This is unfair to responsible Jewish commentators of all parties, and it's a real threat to free speech."

There might be a sucker born every minute, but I'm not one of them. There is a cloaked racism in Mr. Goldberg's article, as well as a dangerous authoritarianism, and intolerance. McKinney says things Goldberg disagrees with; rather than confront what she says, Goldberg identifies her in terms of her race, and contextualizes her in terms of a problem to be solved: most black children are underachievers in school, adn they are allowed to be so by teachers who coddle them because of their race. The problem is larger than this however because there's a similar problem in American politics. Many (Most?) black politicians are likewise inferior, and are
similarly coddled. Goldberg is writing about McKinney, but he does so in such a way that he reduces her to an example. He diminishes McKinney and spares himself the honest confrontation of her beliefs. And he expects people to overlook the fact that no one has shied away from criticizing McKinney, least of all Mr. Goldberg himself.

None of this would work if McKinney were white - and this is precisely why it is racist. Goldberg is characterizingMcKinney's views as a function of her race, as something only coddled mediocre black politicians could hold, and indeed he must do this, otherwise his critique would be meaningless. If lots of people black and white could hold McKinney's views, then Goldberg couldn't characterise those views as being symptomatic of one group defined not by its political or intellectual affiliations, but solely on the basis of its skin color. Goldberg is using the color of McKinney's skin as a weapon against her, and he is shoveling a whole number of undefined others into the hole with her, based solely on their race.

The fact is that people do have the right to say unpopular things, and sometimes people who say unpopular things are right. Right or wrong however the right of the people to express their views is in fact undiminishable, and the idea that it shouldn't be, is more than just a "real threat to free speech." It is its negation. Tolerance isn't the acceptance of others' views; it is the willingness to take them on, examine the evidence, and test them against your own. Mr. Goldberg does not do this. Instead he appeals to an undefined "objective standard." This is fair enough, since all of McKinney's views are questions of objective fact: Either American policy
in the Middle East contributed to the Sept. 11 attacks or it didn't. Either George Bush was indirectly responsible for the attacks or he wasn't. The objective standard would be the truth of those assertions as ascertained through the evidence supporting them. Based upon the fact, however, that Goldberg offers no evidence either in support of his views or in refutation of McKinney's we can assume that this is not what he means by "objective standard." Instead he means the extent to which the views of others conform to his own. This is intolerant, authoritarian, and it is most certainly not objective. Mr. Goldberg reveals himself to be what his picture implies: a smug, self-satisfied, supercilious, little snot.


posted by Gena on Wednesday, April 17, 2002 | link

Speaking of Speaking.

Remember how you pined for the days of Bush’s malapropisms? Well, here’s an article built around one of those silly things Bush said. That thing about the “soft bigotry of low expectations.” You know, the assumption (usually liberal) that blacks are mentally inferior and that mediocrity is the best they can do. Remember Bush denouncing that attitude and demanding that blacks be viewed as having the same abilities and responsibilities as everyone else? Here’s Jonah Goldberg on why black politicians should not be given a pass when they start spewing moronic idiocies. Yes, it deals with Crazy Cindy, but it deals with so much more.

posted by Lee Ann on Wednesday, April 17, 2002 | link

Viva B&N!

You made a couple of logical errors in your post on bookstores. I’ll point out where you erred, because it makes me happy to do so.

Returning books. You ignored the issue of selection and jumped right to returning a book. At an independent store, you’d be lucky to find a book you wanted to buy in the first place. Then again, as a leftist, the books detailing how the CIA, FBI, Congress, the military-industrial complex, and the Planter’s Peanuts people have conspired to create the solidified motor oil known as “margarine” and pass it off as food may be right up your alley. I want good books on topics that don’t require toxic doses of tie-dye to take seriously. The miserable selection at the indies is heavily censored and only the “correct” thoughts will be disseminated. I don’t mind a staff that isn’t hyper-friendly, but why should I shop in an indie where the staff is outright hostile? Treating me like dirt because I’m wearing a Packers sweatshirt is unacceptable and means you lose my patronage permanently. I’ve worn torn jeans and a ratty T-shirt to Saks and been treated better. Also, prices are so high at an indie that I couldn’t afford the book in the first place, so forget returning it. A ten dollar book at an indie? Was it printed on somebody’s home Lexmark?

Second point: you tried to return a purchase without a receipt? Dear God, are you insane? Everyone requires a receipt! How else do they know you bought it there? Even if you did buy it there, how do they know what price you paid? Stores have return policies to avoid being ripped off. You live in Maryville, not Mayberry, remember?

Third, the German book. Virtually all stateside bookstores charge the foreign currency amount in dollars. That 14 marks/ dollars includes shipping. How much does it cost to ship books from Europe to America? Do they sell enough to get bulk rates? B&N is a business, not a charity. By the way, I’ve never seen an indie with any kind of foreign literature section. The foreign stuff they do have is along the lines of that Frog book that claims the Pentagon wasn’t hit by a plane on 9/11. The Weekly World News has those kind of stories and for only three bucks. If you want cheap foreign books, shop Amazon, not B&N.

posted by Lee Ann on Wednesday, April 17, 2002 | link

Ashcroft and Porn.

Nice comment on the porn thing. Unfortunately for you, half of the NRO staff argued the same points you did. I’m disappointed. I expected a more liberal commentary. For the record, the punishment for producing, distributing, or accessing kiddie porn should be Drawing and Quartering.

posted by Lee Ann on Wednesday, April 17, 2002 | link

Calm Down.

As for your WaPo article, allegations are not proof. There is no evidence that they were abused. If they can prove it, fine, but I’m giving the cops the benefit of the doubt. If there was abuse, how do you know the government knew of it? They can’t control what might happen, they can only respond to what does.

They violated their visas. That is a crime. Why shouldn’t they have been arrested?

Were they segregated for their own protection? To prevent them from giving messages to terrorist comrades?

It is not easy to verify the vital statistics of foreign nationals, especially those from Third World hellholes. Should we have released them and then later found that they were Al Qaeda? Better safe than sorry.

Way to be outraged though. I’m proud of you. I can’t wait to read your posts on Cuban prisons and the abuses there. Once you focus your rage on Cuban government thugs and torturers, Castro’s toast!

posted by Lee Ann on Wednesday, April 17, 2002 | link

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Tuesday, April 16, 2002

Half Right is Still Half Right

When Barnes and Noble first came to Knoxville a friend of mine and I walked through it making fun of it. Six years later you can find me on most Saturday nights at the cafe in Borders. Knoxville has a lot of independent coffee shops, but none of them have what Borders has - plugs for your laptop and an entire store full of books and magazines. The staff know me; most of the regulars recognize me. I've been sketched by an artist, and inspired to blog. I've heard a lot of really crappy local bands, and I could even learn how to hack into your hard drive. I don't see anything wrong with any of this, and in any event, it's my writing/ coffee time. People who have a problem with it can just bug off.

There are good and bad things about the store, however. It is true that the staff at places like Borders and Barnes and Noble is courteous and friendly. It is also true, however, that the staff frequently changes, and comprises a large number of people. This is a problem because it means that it is hard to build a relationship with the people who work there. A few weeks ago for instance I wanted to return a book for which I didn't have a receipt. I remembered though that I had paid ten dollars for it. The manager however said the book was only worth five; I could take it or leave it. This wouldn't have happened at the independent stores I visit; for the simple reason that I know the people who work there and they know me. They would have given me the benefit of the doubt.

Where you really run into problems with a chain store is in matters of policy. A locally owned store is dependent upon the community, and is responsible to an owner who lives in that community. If you get really pissed off about something at an independent store, you are much more likely to be listened to. I once tried to buy a German book at Borders. The list price of the book was 14 Marks, and the store was selling it for 14 dollars. 14 Marks, however, is the equivalent of a little less than seven dollars. I told the clerk and then the manager that the price was unfair, and they told me that there was nothing they could
do. It was the policy of the company. Whether it actually was the policy of the company, the staff still had the option of fobbing the situation off to a higher power, leaving me with the choice of not getting the book, or of being ripped off. And they honestly didn't care that I was angry or that I was going to tell all of my friends what a rip-off Borders was. It wasn't their responsibility and there were a hundred more like me already filing through the door. Friendliness is oftentimes the luxury of those who have nothing to lose.

posted by Gena on Tuesday, April 16, 2002 | link

This Makes Me So Angry

I can't even be articulate about it. It doesn't surprise me. I majored in Russian for God's sake. I know what happens when the government is allowed to violate the liberties and rights of the people. I will say this, however. Ashcroft and Bush are a stain upon the conscience of this country. They will be condemned by history, and if they are not, it will be a sign of the utter decadence and moral bankruptcy of the future. If the people of this country genuinely cared about it, genuinely cared about the substance behind the slogans of "freedom" and "justice" they would hound Bush and Ashcroft into the streets and from the land. They would never submit to their leadership; for people who spit upon the values of the United States, who have such contempt for the principles upon which it was founded and the documents which guide it are degenerate as people and unfit as leaders. They are unworthy even of hatred, but only of the most disdainful contempt. Don't let them get away with it; don't let them stain your honor, and steal your nation's soul.


posted by Gena on Tuesday, April 16, 2002 | link

Win One For the Supreme Court

Lose one for Ashcan, I mean Ashcroft. The Court struck down the Child Pornography Prevention Act as being overly broad. The Washington Post writes:

"At issue was a 1996 law aimed at cracking down on computer generated child pornography by prescribing prison terms for those who distribute or possess images that "appear to be" of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct, or who sell images by "convey[ing] the impression" that they contain child sex.

Writing for the majority, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy said that with such penalties "few legitimate movie producers or book publishers, or few other speakers in any capacity, would risk distributing images in or near the uncertain reach of this law. The Constitution gives significant protection from over-broad laws that chill speech within the First Amendment's vast and privileged sphere."

Yesterday's decision showed that the court is willing to forge ahead with an expansive First Amendment doctrine even in a technologically novel context where public sympathy for the rights of those seeking free expression is probably low."


posted by Gena on Tuesday, April 16, 2002 | link

America Rules!!!

America is the greatest, best, freest nation that ever existed in the history of the world. “Duh!” you say? Well, it’s not so obvious to the stupid, the elitist, or to our self-proclaimed moral and intellectual superiors. Well, Derb reviews a book that defends America from all her hypocritical detractors. He writes of his own love of America and, by doing so, shows why you should too. As for the book he reviews, Dinesh D’Souza’s What’s So Great About America, a good summary is as follows:

“D'Souza does anti-Americans the courtesy of taking their arguments seriously, and methodically refutes every one of them. Was this country founded in racism? No, he argues: The founders did not see themselves as establishing a finished thing, perfect and immutable, with the institutions of colonial racism cemented in, but a kind of country that could improve and rectify itself — as, of course it did, and continues to do. . . . And what nation has ever been so firm in the belief that the best way to advance its interests is not to oppress other peoples, but to help lift them up?”

Take that, Euroweenies!

posted by Lee Ann on Tuesday, April 16, 2002 | link

Random Thought.

I have been reading more of my fashion magazines and have noted, much to my dismay, that the strappy evening sandal is still going strong. Now I like strappy evening sandals, but they are not appropriate for every dress. They go great with more streamlined, modern looks, but are discordant with more elaborate, traditional gowns. Sometimes they just look wrong. They are also worn without hose, and some celebrities really, really need hose. The worst thing about those shoes is how almost nobody who wears them wears a pair that fits. On every page of the magazine, all you see are big old toes hanging off the ends of shoes. If you are going to wear shoes, wear ones your feet fit in. There is nothing tackier than toes hanging off the end of your shoes and dragging on the ground. Is it really a coincidence that, ever since those shoes made their appearance, I’ve been seeing more and more of those anti-toenail-fungus medications advertised? People are getting nasty infections from their nasty old toes sticking off their shoes and dragging on the ground. Yuck.

posted by Lee Ann on Tuesday, April 16, 2002 | link

Sowell Patrol.

Pacifism causes war. Appeasing tyrants only stokes their appetites. Thomas Sowell explains these facts, using many more words than I did.

posted by Lee Ann on Tuesday, April 16, 2002 | link

Half Right is Still Half Wrong.

Yes, Spinsterians, I’ve used the word “wrong” about somebody other than Gena. Yes, I’m feeling all right. The person who is wrong, or half wrong at least, is Norah Vincent. She writes about Oprah’s now defunct Book Club and how said Club was a sign of mediocrity and amateurism in literary culture. Quite frankly she’s right on this front. The books Oprah chose to highlight strove for mediocrity and didn’t always achieve their goal. I read a couple and that’s enough for anybody. They are like Danielle Steel books, you can read one and then you know how all the rest go. I have nothing against second rate books. They are fun and very relaxing. I like my brain candy as much as any bookworm. The problem is when you read nothing but brain candy. You get a light frothy pleasure, but not the substantial, expanding pleasure of great literature. All frosting, no cake. That’s what Oprah’s Book Club was. She chose very few books that fell outside of a narrow range of genre fiction. She chose no histories or serious nonfiction. She only chose her few examples of good literature because she had the movie rights (Beloved) or she got caught up in the hype (The Corrections). Her books had no depth and no imagination. All sugar, no spice.

Vincent is dead wrong when she starts slamming Barnes and Nobles along with the Big O. In Vincent’s words, “Winfrey and B&N represent the same pernicious homogenization of American life that makes existential despair all but unavoidable.” Maybe I’m just not the existential despair type, but when I enter a B&N I get as hyper and giddy as a three year-old in Chuck E. Cheese. So many books; so many kinds of books, and they could all be mine! Then Vincent trots out the old “driving out the indie bookstores and drowning obscure works of brilliance in a flood of crap” routine. Well cry me a river and go drown yourself in it! The indie bookstores are overrated dinosaurs and B&N has more variety than almost any other book source you can name. Every independent bookstore I’ve been in had no selection, high prices, and a snootier than thou sales staff that would do Needless Markup proud. Don’t expect any customer service if you don’t appear to be the “right” sort of customer. I’ve been to a lot of indie bookstores yet I haven’t found one that carried more than one or two token conservative titles, if they carried any. They are outright hostile if you ask for anything to the right of Mother Jones. Don’t even ask about theology if you want to leave the place alive.

Barnes and Nobles, on the other hand, has almost every book in print, very nice prices, and a sales staff that doesn’t inspire homicidal rage. No indie-bookshop-attitude here. The selection is incredible. I can find works from the University of Chicago on the Hittites, pick up the new Remini, cruise over to mysteries for a Kinky Friedman, stop by the philosophy section to browse around, and then head over to the magazines to if the new issues are out. I can pick out a random volume of poetry from somebody I’ve never heard of, then go over to the coffee shop to drink some tea and leaf through the book to see if I actually want to buy the stupid thing. Try that in an indie. They carry not only the National Review, but a dozen other conservative rags too. They get all the leftist indie store favorites too, including the ones that look mimeographed. If they don’t carry it, they’ll order it. They even get those pretentious New York hipster mags. As for the obscure work of genius in the remainder bin, that’s the only place it would be at a price where I’d take a chance on buying it. Oh yeah, price. I can actually afford to buy the books at B&N. Somehow all this megastore “oppression” doesn’t make me want to wear a black turtleneck, slap on a beret, and set lame unrhymed poetry to bongo drums.

posted by Lee Ann on Tuesday, April 16, 2002 | link

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Monday, April 15, 2002

Ever Wonder What Happened

To those wonderful Bush malapropisms? Surprise, surprise someone in the White House has been reading 1984.


posted by Gena on Monday, April 15, 2002 | link

I'm Slacking Tonight, I'll Admit It

I spent the morning job hunting, the afternoon working in the garden, and the evening riding. All of this sounds quaint and relaxing, but the totality of it has made me sore, tired, and irritable. Plus, it's
80 degrees here. 80 Degrees!! In Knoxville. In April. In other words here are the results of my Philosophical Health Check, which claims that seven percent of my beliefs are contradictory:

Questions 26 and 6: Can I make choices for my own body?

353 of the 3058 people who have completed this activity have this tension in their beliefs.
You agreed that:
Individuals have sole rights over their own bodies
And also that:
Voluntary euthanasia should remain illegal

Why, if individuals have sole rights over their own bodies, should voluntary euthanasia be illegal? This appears to be a straight contradiction. Ways around this might include adding a condition to the first principle, to the effect that 'except when it comes to decisions of life and death'. But what could justify this added condition? You might also think that euthanasia is different because it requires third-party assistance. Yet normally we do not think that the right a person has over their body is forfeited if a third party is involved. If I want a tattoo, I need third party assistance. But this doesn't mean I don't have sole right to decide whether or not I am tattooed.

This is why I never post internet quizzes; the programs that run them aren't sophisticated enough to make distinctions. In this case, the issue is one of perception. If you see euthanasia as an issue of control over one's body, then my beliefs are contradictory. If on the other hand you see euthanasia as killing, then my beliefs are entirely consistent, because I said it is always wrong to take another person's life. From the perspective of the third party euthanasia is wrong and should remain illegal, because it involves taking another person's life. That doesn't mean, however, that a person isn't free to take his or her own life. Mercy killing yourself without involving anyone else isn't a problem, individuals having "sole rights over their own bodies." That however wasn't the question.


posted by Gena on Monday, April 15, 2002 | link

The Return of Osama

Sort of. I saw a clip of the tape when I was down at Sam and Andy's - a place to avoid at all costs - trying to choke down a detergent drenched salad. Osama didn't say anything, but just sat there looking like a great big green puppet - something sure to strike fear into the hearts of millions.


posted by Gena on Monday, April 15, 2002 | link

See, I’m Normal.

I told you so. I’m perfectly normal. This here woman says that collectors are perfectly normal, even beneficial people. We’re not the maladjusted freaks we have been taken to be. We’re merely, uh, archiving popular culture for posterity, yeah, that’s it. All those cheap mysteries stacked up in the corner? The stacks of European histories? Those hundreds of other books in the basement? I’m preserving them for future literary study. Those years’ worth of fashion magazines under the bed? Don’t you care about the history of textiles!?! See, I’m just fine. I’m performing a valuable service to future historians. Pardon me while I rearrange my book mounds.

posted by Lee Ann on Monday, April 15, 2002 | link

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Contact Spinster Lee Ann at calhounista_at_hotmail

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