The Hume & Herring

If I had a pub, I’d call it the Hume and Herring. Sadly, I don’t – but I do have Facts and Information. Specifically, that David Hume died 228 years ago today, and that Richard Herring has a blog.

One of the two was the first modern thinker to recognise that you can’t derive any empirical facts about the universe from first principles, and instead ought to focus more on what you feel is probably going to be the case, thereby inventing nearly all of contemporary philosophy and economics.

The other one is the only laugh-out-loud funny UK blog I’ve visited (except for my own, and that tends to involve me to laughing out loud in a manic and evil way rather than in an amused way). Bloody professional comedians, moving in on the blog-world and spoiling it for everyone else…

More Herring here; more Hume here. Advanced students may even be able to gather which one is which.

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Men’s rights activists are stupid, throw rocks at them

When I was in the US, I spotted a couple of girls wearing ‘boys are stupid, throw rocks at them’ t-shirts. As a registered emasculated feminist dupe and gender traitor, a fan of t-shirts featuring silly cartoons, and *especially* a fan of girls who wear t-shirts featuring silly cartoons, I was most impressed.

(mild digression – the best purveyors of t-shirts featuring silly cartoons in the world ever are Kukuxumusu. Their t-shirts are excellent, and wearing one is approximately the best way to impress me [1]. The ‘boys are stupid’ shirt still ranks below Kukuxumusu on the t-shirt scale).

Anyway, on idly typing ‘boys are stupid, throw rocks at them’ into Google, I discovered that not everyone shares my view on the excellence of said shirts. The Canadian Children’s Rights Council, which seems to hover oddly on the boundary between humourless PC and deranged men’s rights activism, takes a particularly dim view, claiming that the shirts are a hate crime. Apparently, various other North Americans have stirred up similar local frenzies; it would probably be an error to assume that they were *all* paid shills for the t-shirt’s designer.

I’m not going to get into the details of why the protesters are stupid and deserve to have rocks thrown at them… although the facts that a male designer is working for a male-owned company to sell the t-shirts through chiefly male-owned shops, and that men in the relevant demographic tend to think that the t-shirts are cool, might provide some indication.

Just one thought for them: if you really do want to preserve traditional notions of masculinity (using the religious/conservative definition of ‘traditional notions of masculinity’) from the femininazi onslaught, perhaps the best way to achieve this doesn’t involve, erm, whining like a sissy that ‘it’s not FAIR and shouldn’t be ALLOWED’.

Update: I suspect that the US’ answer to Peter Cuthbertson, Ryan Thompson, would disagree with me here.

[1] Barring obvious exceptions, such as being Hunter S Thompson, Keira Knightley or the devil himself, or giving me a Gmail account. NB these aren’t necessarily all at exactly equal levels of impressive-ness.

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Discussion point

“If you can’t do it in bed, in a pub or on the Internet, it’s not worth doing”. Do you agree? [25 marks]

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Harsh but fair

From the New York Times: “when Concetta McGrath, 76, a widow in Staten Island, sold the home she had shared with her husband for over 50 years, she took $90,000 of the proceeds and put it into the stock market. It was 2001 and she hoped that the gains generated by the investment would bolster her monthly Social Security benefits of $800.”

The reader may be able to guess what comes next… yup, Ms McGrath ends up with 1/3 the money she started off with, after investing in a portfolio of technology and banking stocks, and now fears she’ll run out of money before she dies. The NYT uses her story as the basis for a piece about lack of stock market recovery.

The lack of stock market recovery is an issue worth noting, but blaming it for Ms McGrath’s tribulations is balls. If you can’t afford to lose money, you shouldn’t put it in the fucking stock market – stick it in a 4.5% deposit account. And if a financial advisor tells you otherwise (or, for that matter, comes near you), then throw rocks at him.

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Abuse of power

As a reward for providing you all with such excellent insight, analysis, commentary, humour, ranting, idiocy, and pictures of cute fluffy animals, I feel I deserve a Gmail account. Can anyone oblige?

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To some people, the phrase “Oliver Kamm is a pretentious buffoon who uses long and tortuous sentences to bamboozle the opposition – much in the style of a latter-day Sophist or a mid-20th century Continental-school ‘philosopher’ – frequently smears his ideological opponents as pro-terror or antisemitic when their original words imply no such thing; and laughably poses as a man of the left except when it suits him to deny this laughable pose” is meaningless.

I envy such people. However, if you’re not among them, I recommend that you read this auto-Kamm parody.

(via Nick Barlow).

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Yes, it’s fucking political

Harry Hutton has taken a break from his normal diet of whimsy [1] to get all political about Venezuela and eVoting.

While I doubt that the voting machines were rigged, it’s certainly true that the way Hugo Chavez has handled the election count could be straight from a ‘how to screw up what should be a resounding victory’ textbook [2]. The combination of delayed recounting and not storing proper paper records is guaranteed to undermine confidence in the final result.

And as Harry says, the implications for another electoral battle between vicious ideological opponents in a country with a history of electoral fraud and growing use of hard-to-audit eVoting machines could be scary.

[1] The Diet of Whimsy was called in 1085 to adjudicate on which of the six claimants to the Papacy was genuinely ordained by God, and which were ordained merely by chancers and heretics. It was one of the only recorded uses of Trial By Novelty Sports, with each antipope in turn being knocked out (and subsequently burned alive) after failing at simple and slightly ludicrous tasks.

The most favoured candidate, Antipope Clement III, was eliminated after failing to move enough inflatable balls from place to place while tethered by a bungee cord. The eventual winner, Cardinal Desiderius, was ordained Pope Blessed Victor III in honour of his blessed victory – although sadly he died within a year of assuming the Papal throne.

The medieval church subsequently abandoned Trial By Novelty Sports on the grounds of insufficient humour and brutality, and burned its inventor – a Cardinal Jersson Fruhntiay – at the stake. While Cardinal Fruhntiay is largely forgotten, his name has lived on as a bizarre linguistic quirk.

[2] According to “reliable conservative sources” [3], this textbook was donated to Chavez by the Kerry campaign, as part of their conspiracy to spread socialist solidarity throughout the Americas, surrender to the socialist Islamofacists, and betray the countrymen of all concerned. I’m normally reluctant to lend credence to such rumours, but it does certainly appear that Kerry’s team are expert enough in the field that they no longer need textbooks.

[3] This phrase shares a common meaning with the phrase “dribbling lunatics and paid shrills”.

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Yey, I win

B3TA are looking for someone to try the “BRITISH SUPER SIZE ME – instead of only eating MaccyD’s, try living for a month on a diet of Findus Crispy Pancakes, Panda Pops and Jammy Dodgers”.

If you pick any month from January 1983 to December 1988, then I’m there – along with all my then classmates, and quite possibly everyone else who was primary-school-aged in suburban England at the time…

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Special announcement

To the Aussie who googled for “saint paul was an anti-semite” – no, he was Jewish, and so were all the people he hung out with, you stupid beer-swilling convict.

Admittedly, he was a crazy woman-hating conservative, who turned Christianity into a nasty mess of repression and patriarchy, but that’s not quite the same.

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Nr and Nrs

In the (hopefully unlikely) event that you believe Ms, their, and chairperson to be disgraceful and unnecessary perversions of the English language, I’d recommend reading this piece by Douglas Hofstadter (old but good). And then change your mind.

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